Saturday, October 14, 2017

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Telemedicine, Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA), and more ...

Telemedicine: Gaining Steam Within the Veterinary Profession

Dr. Nancy Kay/Spot Speaks

Telemedicine is gaining steam both in human and veterinary medicine. While nothing can substitute your veterinarian's hands on your dog, at least not yet, many things can be handled remotely. In case you're not familiar with what telemedicine is, it is a veterinary consultation without actually having to physically go to the clinic.

In a way, we were practicing telemedicine with Jasmine's veterinarian all along. Besides numerous visits, sometimes we'd just talk, email back and forth, I'd send photos or videos to consult about. If you ever called Pet Poison Helpline, that is a form of telemedicine too.

Naturally, not everything can be handled this way but some things can. The range of issues that can be evaluated remotely is growing with improving technology. You can not only describe what is the cause for your concern or send photos and videos, but you can now also have a live video call where your veterinarian can see your dog. New gadgets are cropping up where your vet might be able to evaluate your dog's heart rate, respiratory rate and other values with the help of data collected through your cell phone. I think the possibilities will only expand with time.

One day, perhaps, technology will even replace veterinarian's hands. Though that depends on the hands. Some veterinarians have such keen diagnostic hands that I don't believe any gadget could ever replace those. On the other side, not having to drive down to the clinic with every funny-looking stitch or a hiccup is an advantage I would not pass on. To me, the ideal solution is a healthy combination of hands-on evaluation and telemedicine. And that's the path I pursue.

Read Dr. Kay's thoughts on the subject.

PDA in Pets – There’s Nothing Affectionate About Patent Ductus Arteriosus

Dr. Christopher Byers/CriticalCareDVM

After all the medical challenges with our dogs, family and friends' dogs, I'm quite happy to come across a condition I never heard about. Sadly, it doesn't happen very often, but it does happen sometimes. Checking out Dr. Byers' article, I was quite pleased there still are conditions I don't know anything about. There is a good reason for my not knowing, this condition applies to newly born puppies.

So what is this patent ductus arrteriosus? Let Dr. Byers explain it in his article.

Lyme Disease in Dogs (Part I)

Dr. Justine Lee

After finding ticks on Cookie back-to-back last fall, things had been quiet. So far this year, not one. I don't know whether it is the tick tag working or whether they're just not around so far, I take either of the reasons.

Of course, the primary concern with ticks are not the ticks themselves but the diseases they can bring with them. Around here that means mostly Lyme disease. After such a tick-busy season, we tested Cookie, and we are in the clear. But it is important to stay on top of things.

A tick tag is not the most sure-fire solution out there, but after Cookie's reaction to Advantix, we decided to give it a fair shot. Should it turn out that the tag cannot handle the situation, we'd have to revisit the matter.

Read Dr. Lee's introduction to Lyme disease.

7 Causes of Weight Loss in Pets


These days, the opposite, obesity, is the most common problem. And when trying to get some pounds of your dog, weight loss might be welcome. But what if it happens faster than it should or without you even trying?

Unexplained weight loss, particularly when rapid, is a reason to investigate. What do you think the most common cause of unexplained, rapid weight loss might be?

Things that can be behind such weight loss can be anything from stress, parasites, dental disease, to advanced heart disease, kidney disease or cancer.

It's important to take any changes in your dog seriously. Watch petMD slideshow.

Related articles: Unexplained Weight Loss

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Dog Longevity Survey: How Important Is Mental Stimulation for Longevity?

Sadly, not everybody who took the survey sees dental health as important for dog longevity. Almost 10% participants in total feel that it is either somewhat important or not important at all.

Do you agree?

Did you ever have a toothache? Longevity aside, poor dental health can have an extremely negative impact on quality of life. How many dogs do you think go through their lives with constant, sometimes excruciating pain from bad teeth or periodontal disease?

For such dogs, longevity might not even be the goal as all they might end up wanting is to have the pain ended.

Check out those snappers, will you?

Here is the problem with dental disease, though, it affects more than just the mouth.

Dental disease can trash your dog's heart, liver, kidneys, and brain and it can contribute to a number of inflammatory diseases, including cancer.

A friend of mine who is a real-life dentist already wrote a fantastic article on the subject, so instead of repeating the information, I'll point you right to it here.

If you want to do anything to extend your dog's lifespan and give them a good, long life, take care of their teeth.

The statistics are frightening. 87% of dogs over three years of age suffer from periodontal disease! For your dog's health, it's like living in the middle of a minefield.

We take our dogs' dental health seriously. We've been brushing their teeth daily for years now. What we found was that brushing alone keeps the mouth in good shape for a year or two but eventually, a veterinary cleaning was necessary.

What really works for Cookie is the combination of daily brushing and raw meaty bones.

Related articles:
Know Your Dog's Enemies: When Bad Breath Can Kill.

Dog Longevity Survey Part I
Dog Longevity Survey Part II
Dog Longevity Survey Part I Results
No TV Tonight
The Cancer Antidote that Lies Within

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Helmut's Fight with T-Cell Lymphoma: Can You Help?

by Candace Escobar

Helmut is my heart dog. He is nine years old, loving guy.

Helmut has t-cell lymphoma, an unfortunate curse of his breed. 

In November of last year, we took him in for a growth in his mouth. As it turned out, he also lost a lot of weight since his last visit,

Our amazing vet recommended we investigate thoroughly because of his breed age and history of growths and their removals throughout the years.

The search for Helmut's diagnosis began. 

Helmut has had three ultrasounds, spleen biopsy, and his diagnosis came after 2 PARR tests with CSU. The extracted cells were suspicious of t-cell lymphoma.

Helmut was still feeling great until the end of March.

The official diagnosis came in April.

Helmut was two treatments from completing the CHOP protocol when he came out of remission last week, 6 days after I was laid off. We have three other chemo options and are going to take the less invasive protocol so he can live his life to the fullest as there is no promise he has more time with the more aggressive approaches.

Right now, Helmut feels great, and you can't tell he is sick whatsoever.

To date, Helmut's medical costs for his lymphoma has been $8281.21. This doesn't include his annual check-up or one emergency visit due to reaction to his chemotherapy.

$6083.77 for the chemotherapy, medications and 2 ultrasounds with an oncology specialist. $2197.44.were bills from our regular vet for original diagnosing, first ultrasound, blood screenings during chemo and other cancer-related costs.

At the same time, Helmut's housemate, Violet, needed a TPLO for a completely ruptured CCL. We had postponed to help us with Helmut a long as possible but between April and June, her medical costs were $3024.10.

The lomustine protocol will be between $1200 and $1400 and I am working on some holistic therapies including changing his diet, CBD/FECO, acupuncture for pain (he has "bionic" knees) and others.

I am embarrassed to ask for help but Helmut is my baby and he feels good as far as I can tell. If I hadn't been laid off and waiting 4-6 weeks for unemployment, we would have made it work.

Helmut wants to fight his cancer. 

He eats, jumps, plays, and snuggles. He is the alpha to two sisters and I want to complete his Bucket List and get him through the holidays, We want to make every day he has left with us full of love, snuggles, treats, and adventures.

Thank you for reading. If you could find it in your heart to help us get Helmut the treatment he needs and deserves, please check out our GoFundMe.


Monday, October 9, 2017

Adoption Monday: Polly, Keeshond & Mixed Breed Mix, Page, AZ

Polly has just arrived at Page Animal Adoption Agency.

Her caregivers are working hard to write Polly's biography.

Polly plays well with big dogs and loves to play in the water. She even likes the resident cats.

No one is really sure of her breed, but Polly is about 2-3 years old and very friendly!

Polly is house trained and current on vaccinations.


Page Animal Adoption Agency is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that provides animal adoption, education, and low-cost spay and neuter services to Page, Arizona, and the surrounding communities.

Page Animal Adoption Agency began about four years ago as a small group of people who wanted to reduce the number of unwanted pets being euthanized in the city shelter. Now, they are in the process of renovating a building donated by the city to turn it into an Adoption Center of which Page can be proud. Through fundraising efforts and generous donations, that goal gets closer every month.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Vestibular Disease, Shaking, and more ...

Bringing Your Pet Home after Hospitalization – What to Expect

Dr. Karen Louis/VetChick

Hospitalization is hard on both the dog and the owner. I've been there enough times. Firstly, your dog either needed surgery or was seriously ill (or both) to require hospitalization in the first place.

Your dog will greatly appreciate being back home. But that doesn't mean the challenges are over. Depending on what lead to the hospitalization in the first place, a recovery period will follow. Being prepared beforehand is invaluable.

For example, I wrote an article on how to survive a dog's post-op. If I were writing that article now, I would be able to add a whole lot more points to it. Every situation is different, and it is best to have your vet or surgeon walk you through what to expect in detail.

Read Dr. Louis' tips.

Separation Anxiety – When Your Dog Is Scared You Won’t Come Back

Dr. Christopher Byers/CriticalCareDVM

Can we really understand how a dog with separation anxiety feels? For us, as much as we might hate a loved one leaving for an extended period of time, we can understand that they will be coming back. We know when and we know how long that is going to be. For many dogs, however, it doesn't work that way. When their human walks through that door, they don't know whether mom or dad are ever coming back. At least that's what is believed to be the root of the problem. Whether we got that assumption right or not, they go through an enormous mental anguish.

Here is where I don't agree with Dr. Buyers saying that separation anxiety is the manifestation of inappropriate behaviors due to separation from a major attachment figure (e.g., pet parent, child) or from home. Or calling it a behavioral disorder.

Anxiety is an emotion, and it exists whether it outwardly manifests or not. Just because a dog doesn't tear the house down, it doesn't mean they don't suffer being left alone. A study was done that was not only monitoring dogs' behavioral response, but it also evaluated their stress response by measuring cortisol levels. As it turned out, even dogs who didn't act out can still suffer from separation anxiety. I believe it is essential to get a good idea how your dog feels even if they don't do any damage while alone.

The only way to deal with this is to change the way a dog feels about being left alone. This can include making sure they are good and tired beforehand, they have something to do while alone, as well as carefully training them to believe that their human will indeed come back again.

To read Dr. Byers' thoughts check out his article on separation anxiety.

All About Vestibular Disease

Dr. Donna Spector/Radio Pet Lady

Did you know that many people never even heard of vestibular disease? Not having such knowledge to fall back on can make an episode the scariest thing ever to witness. Do you know you think all there is to know about vestibular disease? I bet you don't.

Dr. Spector's podcasts are a treasure trove of knowledge, and I never miss a single one.

Dog Breeds Predisposed to Shaking Issues

Dr. Jennifer Coates/petMD

To me, a dog that is shaking or trembling is either very cold or a very ill dog. But I am a large breed owner. I do know that daughter's Chi shakes at the drop of a hat. All it takes is a bit of excitement, and she'll tremble uncontrollably.

Everything needs to be judged in context. What breed is the dog? How old is the dog? What are the circumstances?

Some specific conditions that can cause your dog to shake or tremble are the  shaker syndrome, shaking puppy syndrome, and head tremors. As for me, I wouldn't take a chance, particularly not having a breed that is prone to shaking. Such signs can indicate a serious infection, poisoning, low blood sugar or calcium, seizures, hormonal issues, neurological issues ... If my dog starts trembling, I'm on the way to a vet.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Dog Longevity Survey: How Important Is Mental Stimulation for Longevity?

69.23% of survey participants checked mental stimulation as extremely important, and 30.77% as important for dog longevity. Nobody thought it was unimportant.

What say you?

For dogs, there is generally a minimal separation between physical activity and mental stimulation. Under ideal circumstances, these two things come hand in hand. Playing, running, sporting, hiking, chasing things ... all these things engage the both body and the mind. Moreover, physical activity is the best way to challenge the brain as well.

There are circumstances when physical activity needs to be restricted, such as post-surgery, post-injury, or when your dog is seriously ill.

In general, though, finding ways to keep your dog physically active is ideal.

That takes care of the body and the mind all in one.

Even when Jasmine was in such poor shape that all she could do was to lay around, laying around outdoors provided so much more mental stimulation than doing the same at home. There are smells and sounds, there is the air playing with the fur ... being outside was always Jasmine's preference no matter what.

When your dog absolutely has to stay put indoors or in their crate, there are games and puzzles they can engage with, there are tricks you can teach.

How much is the importance of mental stimulation simply about the will to live in the first place?

I think that will to live, in other words, having something to live for plays a significant role. I've seen people literally wither away and die after they lost the motivation to go on for one reason or another. Social interaction and mental stimulation have a lot to do with that.

In a way, the brain is like a muscle in a sense that it responds to challenges. With the absence of challenge, it too will atrophy.

Doing things and social interaction makes dogs happy.

Happiness goes a long way to extend lifespan. A dog who doesn't get to do anything is heading for depression. And depression can certainly shorten one's life whether it's a dog or a person.

Related articles:
Dog Longevity Survey Part I
Dog Longevity Survey Part II
Dog Longevity Survey Part I Results
No TV Tonight
The Cancer Antidote that Lies Within