Friday, December 2, 2016

Veterinary Highlights: The Funniest, Most Embarrassing Vet Staff Moments

All my articles are always serious, highlighting interesting advances and studies in veterinary medicine. Sometimes, though, there is nothing to highlight. While searching, I came across this fun article on Veterinary Practice News. It's okay to have a laugh ever now and then.

Here is a taste of the content:

“Gets hungry for brownies after having a dog vomit chocolate. Nothing like the smell of warm chocolate, even if it is warmed by the inside of a dog’s stomach.”
— Mary Romine 

Check out the rest of the article here.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Dog Medical Emergencies Survey: Is Panting an Emergency?

Only 9.38% of the blog readers who took my survey believe that panting is an emergency. Is it or is it not?

Most of the time, panting is not an emergency.

In fact, most of the time, panting is not a medical problem at all. But it can be. A panting dog who becomes quiet, recumbent, and lethargic, is, in some cases, a dying dog.

How can one tell the difference?

How can you know whether your dog's panting is normal, a medical issue or an actual emergency?

Firstly, assess the circumstances. Has your dog been running and playing? Is your dog excited? How warm is the weather or environment? This is when knowing what is normal for your dog is very helpful.

Is there no obvious explanation or reason?

Are there any other concerning signs?

Medically significant reasons for excessive panting:

Medically significant reasons for excessive panting include obesity, pain, fever, heatstroke, heart or respiratory diseases, hormonal imbalances, even with poisoning.

Panting is an emergency under these circumstances:

  • if your dog is also showing signs of severe pain or distress
  • if your dog has been exposed to high temperatures
  • if your dog is restless, unable to lie down comfortably, trying to vomit unsuccessfully
  • if your dog is showing signs of weakness or lethargy
  • if your dog seems unresponsive or disoriented
  • if your dog's gums are any than normal color (normal gum color depends on the breed; typically it's pink)

Always consider things in context and when in doubt seek veterinary care.

Related articles:
Doe Medical Emergencies Survey
Dog Medical Emergencies Survey Results
Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: Excessive Panting
Dog Medical Emergencies Survey: Is Unproductive Retching an Emergency?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Our Dogs' History of Adverse Drug Reactions (Part II)

Continued from part I

Jasmine's potential reaction to the NSAID was the first time we had a scary reaction to meds. Suddenly, the advice to watch for the usual (vomiting or diarrhea) was not good enough. The more I was reading all kinds of horror stories posted regarding the particular NSAID Jasmine was put on, the more I was freaking out.

Whether what was happening was a reaction to the meds or not, I stopped giving it immediately.

It was Sunday, of course, all horrors happen during weekends, don't they? The main question was whether the situation was dire enough to run Jasmine to the emergency or whether it could wait till Monday. Jasmine wasn't getting worse and by the end of the day I was able to get her to drink some chicken broth "shake".

Monday morning, after sending a lengthy email describing everything in detail, I was on the phone with the vet. He agreed we should bring her in, have her checked out and run blood work. Ruling out other causes, the NSAID came as the highest suspect. Particularly since things improved quickly once I stopped giving it. The vet himself used the words "an eye-opener."

Many dogs benefit from the use of NSAIDs and have no issues.

JD had them a few times and even Cookie did. They worked well and neither JD or Cookie had any adverse effects. I accept their use as a short-term crutch when quick pain and inflammation relief is needed. I would not use them long-term. Because Jasmine could not have any NSAIDs for the rest of her life, I quickly learned about all the available alternatives. There are many great options out there. For long-term management, those are my go-to solutions.

A note on using NSAIDs safely.

There is the right way of using NSAIDs and there is the wrong way.

To lower potential adverse reactions, proper screening needs to be done. That includes a medical history and blood work to make sure that kidneys are healthy and working properly. Though that doesn't mean thing cannot go wrong. Jasmine did have fresh blood work and everything was in order. However, I would not start my dog on NSAIDs without having blood work that is no older than a month.

Never give NSAIDs on empty stomach. They have to be given with food. Also, when Cookie was on relatively long-term course for her iliopsoas injury, we used stomach protectant as well.

Never mixed different NSAIDs. That also means aspirin and/or Tylenol. If you did give any of these to your dog prior the vet visit, let your vet know about it.  If switching between any two different NSAIDs, allow for "wash-out" period. This is the time it takes for all the drug to be cleared from the body. Recommended wash-out period is three to seven days.

If you're giving any other medications or supplements, make sure your veterinarian knows about it.

If you suspect your dog is having side-effects, stop the NSAIDs immediately and talk to your veterinarian.

When in doubt, ask, and ask, and ask again.

I also recommend getting the product safety sheet and reading it thoroughly. Many of the scary, serious side effects are very rare but you want to be aware should you run into them. Figuring out what is happening quickly allowed me to stop the medication and prevent further complications.

To be continued

Related articles:
Our Dogs' History of Adverse Drug Reactions (Part I)

Do you have a story to share?

Your story can help others, maybe even save a life!

What were the first signs you noticed? How did you dog get diagnosed? What treatment did/didn't work for you? What was your experience with your vet(s)? How did you cope with the challenges?

Email me, I'll be happy to hear from you.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Adoption Monday: Hank, Labrador Retriever & Rottweiler Mix, Page, AZ

Hank is a big boy who is trying to mellow. He likes dogs but doesn't like it when they are too rambunctious and in his face.

Hank would probably like to corner a cat and maybe chase it--he wouldn't hurt anyone. He's  pretty chill and just needs a home on his own. Email Thank you for adopting!


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, November 26, 2016

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, Thoughts on Cranberries for Urinary Health, and more

Chinese Medicine Primer for the Uninitiated

Dr. Narda Rominson, Veterinary Practice News

I wrote about Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) a number of times. We decided to explore it when conventional medicine failed to provide neither answers or solutions to some of Jasmine's chronic issues. Since then, we use an integrative approach to maintaining our dogs' health. Some believe that an integrative vet is not genuine but I like the idea of being able to take advantage both modern science and technology as well as ancient wisdom.

It's been working well for us.

This article outlines the basic principles behind the TCVM approach.

Cranberry & Your Pet's Urinary Health—Miracle Berry or Just a Fad?

Dr. Jason Nicholas/Preventive Vet

Depending on who you ask how to treat your dog's urinary tract infection (UTI), many of those who answer will recommend cranberry juice. Is it a miracle cure? Spoiler alert - there is no such thing as a miracle cure, at least not yet.

We did, however, use a cranberry supplement when Jasmine started getting UTIs as a result of a combination of her mobility issues and being on steroids toward the end. We did so after consulting with her vet. As much as I might argue with my vet, I never do anything without their blessing. We did so as a supportive treatment, not as a sole cure. It's hard to tell whether it helped or not but it didn't do any harm.

Dr. Nicholas wrote a thoughtful article about the potential benefits and problems with treating UTI's with cranberries.

Do Dogs Get Colds? Everything You Need to Know

Dr. Jennifer Coates, DVM

Even though other viruses can be to blame, common cold is typically caused by a rhinovirus. Most viruses are picky about their species and rhinoviruses are one of those. Which means that the same virus that can cause common cold in me is not going to infect my dog. There are, however, viruses that can cause sneezing, congestion, coughing, runny nose and other cold-like symptoms in your dog. So, dogs can get what looks a lot like common cold but technically is not.

To learn more about whether or not dogs get colds and what to do about it, read Dr. Coates' article.

Don't Let Your Dog Suffer From Motion Sickness

Dr. Andy Roark/vetstreet

Dr. Andy Roark's videos are always priceless! You want to watch every one of them. Learn something and have a laugh.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Veterinary Highlights: Further Evaluation of The Benefits of a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for Dogs with Splenic Hemangiosarcoma

When I was reading Four Paws, Five Directions: A Guide to Chinese Medicine for Cats and Dogs by Cheryl Schwartz, DVM, it stated that anything that can be treated with conventional medicine can be treated with Traditional Chinese Veterinary medicine (TCVM). With the exclusion of surgery, of course.

Coriolus Versicolor mushroom. Image: Chris Moody

At that time I was disillusioned by conventional medicine and intrigued by the potential of TCVM.

We've been using an integrative approach to our dogs' health since. That's why I find the potential use of a TCVM supplement in place of standard chemotherapy fascinating and exciting.

Splenic hemangiosarcoma has poor survival prognosis even with surgery and chemotherapy. This clinical trial is the next phase of research with I'm Yunity supplement, comparing its effects to those of standard chemotherapy in dogs with splenic hemangiosarcoma.

The supplement is derived from a mushroom, Coriolus Versicolor, which was first studied in 2012 and the results were promising for longer survival times in dogs treated with this supplement. That is quite promising. Quite often a study sounds very exciting but then one never hears about it again.

If I had a dog diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma, I'd be all over this one.

Source article:
Further evaluation of the benefits of a Traditional Chinese Medicine supplement for dogs with splenic hemangiosarcoma