Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Devil in the Hor D'oeuvres: Beware of Toothpicks

Did you watch the Needle in a Haystack House MD episode? 
A teenage boy becomes gravely ill and a cause cannot be found. He bleeds in his lungs, then his liver, than his bladder, then his spleen ruptures ... Nothing adds up. When they finally discover a cause it turns out to be a swallowed toothpick, wreaking all that havoc.

Things like that are not likely to show on x-rays.

Unlike other foreign bodies, toothpicks can make themselves invisible. All you see is the problem but not the cause.

Imagine your dog gets diarrhea that isn't going away for about two months. He'll vomit every now and then and show signs of abdominal pain. Sometimes he's better, sometimes he's worse.

With an ongoing problem like that, you see a vet.

At least you should. Your vet is rightfully concerned and orders further diagnostics. Could it be pancreatitis? Could it be IBD? Could it be something even worse?

Ultrasound finds inflammation and fluid in the abdomen. The fluid tests positive for inflammatory cells and bacteria. What now?

Fortunately, the vet(s) in charge drained some of the fluid and did another ultrasound which revealed the culprit.

There was a toothpick stuck in the spleen.

Where the heck did such thing come from?

Then you remember that your dog is present with you at all times, including any special occasions and celebrations which involve serving hor d'oeuvres. Yummy smelling food bits, held together by toothpicks.

Dogs can be quite fast and stealthy in helping themselves to a bite or two of the goodies meant for your guests.

Pointy foreign bodies are uniquely suited for travel. A toothpick can perforate the stomach and take a scenic tour until it finds a fun place to stay.

Such renegade foreign bodies can be tricky to diagnose.

Particularly wood and plant material which like to hide from imaging.

Your dog was lucky. Once the culprit was found and the toothpick surgically removed, the fluid drained, he bounced right back.

It doesn't always go like that.

If you use toothpicks or skewers for your party goodies, watch them like a hawk. Put them somewhere your dog cannot get to them. Be also careful how you dispose of them after because they will still smell yummy.

If your dog is sick with no good diagnosis, keep digging until one is found. And think back. You might remember what the culprit could be.


Source article:
Why dogs should avoid the hor d'oeuvres: the tale of a migrating toothpick

Further reading:
Gastric Foreign Bodies in Dogs
My Dog Ate What? 2014 X-ray Contest Winners


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 yo

Monday, July 27, 2015

Adoption Monday: Bonnie Sue, Rottweiler & Mastiff Mix, Burbank, CA

Bonnie Sue is the happiest dog you'll ever met. Nothing gets her spirits down. 


Bonnie Sue loves everyone she meets and can't wait to do the Rottie giggle and get petted and if you lean down low enough she'll lick you a big lick!

She seems to be great with kids and other dogs as long as they are friendly too. 

At 7 years old Bonnie Sue is just looking for a forever home where she can be the loyal companion that she is.

Bonnie Sue walks well on leash, perfect manners in the house, crates easily, happily rides in the car and is just waiting to have a person/family of her very own. She is in foster care in Burbank.



Bonnie Sue prefers a home without cats. She is house trained, spayed and current on vaccinations.

***

The Animal Protectorates (TAPS) facilitates the direct protection of animals in every possible way;  provide sponsorship for, and financial support to programs and organizations involving animal welfare;  provide outreach and education to promote an increased awareness of animal cruelty;  encourage every citizen to become active,  involved and responsible animal guardians; promote the legal re-classification of animals to a category other than property; and, to carry on other charitable activities associated with these goals as allowed by law.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Dog Days of Summer: Cookie Gets Her Sprinkler

Daddy promised and daddy delivered a sprinkler. Well, it's not really a sprinkler but rather a glorified hose with a fancy attachment.

As it seems, doing it this way is actually more fun.

At least Cookie thought so.

It's been very hot and it hard to have some serious fun in this weather. But hunting a water stream made my wish come true - Cookie having a lot of fun without getting overheated.

We have to give kudos to daddy because he set this up where there is no running water. He filled a large barrel with water and set it up with a pump and a hose.



Does it look like Cookie is enjoying this?

She seemed a bit cautious at first but it turns out she prefers the stronger stream to soft spray. Probably that the stream gives her something to hunt.

She had a blast and got nicely wet which kept her from getting too hot.

We did this for a while and then went for a little walk. On the way back Cookie ran straight to the hose, looking for more fun with the water.

To me that was the best testament to how much fun she really has with that.

So we played with it some more.


JD didn't want to have anything to do with it and observed from a safe distance. He's not really so keen on water. We'll see whether we can convince him to have some fun with it too.

Cookie says, "Thank you, daddy."

A note of caution: if you're going to play with your dog this way, make sure that you drain the hose of any water that was within it. Sitting out on the sun the water in the hose can get really hot. Run the water for a little bit to make sure fresh cool water comes out before letting your dog play with it.

Related articles:
Signs, Symptoms And Treatment Of Heat Stroke In Dogs
Heat Stroke: What Happens In The Dog's Body?
Heat Stroke Is No Light Matter! 
Heat Stroke - See It Coming: Canyon's Story 

From The End Of A Lead Line To Casa Jasmine: Meet Cookie, Our New Adoptee
Creative Solutions And An Incidental Product Review
Taming Of The Wild Beast: Cookie's Transition To Civilization  
Staying On Top Of The Ears: Cookie Is Not Impressed  
Who's Training Whom? Stick And Treat 
Observation Skills Of Dogs  
If You Want Your Dog To Do Something, Teach It  
Tricks? It's Not Just About The Tricks 
What Constitutes The Perfect Dog?
Are Dog Training Classes Really For The Dogs?  
Look Where You Want To Go: Finding My Reactive Dog Training Zen Zone? 
Dog Training And Emotions 
Dog Training And Emotions: Postscript
Dogs Love Sentences In Question Form?
Not All Dog Trainers Were Created Equal Either 
A Thought On Separation Anxiety
Happy One-Year Adoptoversary, Cookie!
About Freedom, Trust And Responsibility: A "Pilot Study"
So, We Have A Bear 
About Happiness: What Makes Your Dog Happy? 
Our Example Of The Use Of "Look At That" (LAT) 
Why Do Dogs Dig?
Who Is In The Wrong?
Your Dog Wants To Follow You. You Just Gotta Be Going Some Place
We Still Have Two Dogs: A "Pilot Study" Part Two  
Early Winter Safety: Exploring New Territories
Cookie Is Okay. We ... Might Be, Eventually. (Don't Try This At Home)
One Thing I Love About Winter: I See What They "See" 
Give Your Dog What They Need, Get What You Want
Cookie, The First Of The Great Hunting Rottweilers  
Distance Is a Relative Concept  
Dog Communication: Be Good to Cookie or She'll Tell on You
The Benefit of the Doubt  
Putting The Guilty Dog Look To Rest?
The Stench of Fear: Is There Good and Bad Timing for Vet Visits? 
I am a Helicopter Dog Mom
Routines: Easy Come, Hard to Go
Mosquito Apocalypse 
Things Always Change: Cookie's Hunting Adventures 
The Advantage of Your Dog Not Barking All the Time: Cookie Saves Horses' Asses
"Look at That" (LAT) Game and Barking at Traffic  
The Role of Thresholds in Dog Training and Behavior 
Dog Days of Summer: Keeping an Eye on Cookie

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: What Your Vet Really Wants to Tell You and more ...

Case Study: Discovering Early Kidney Disease with SDMA

Earlier this year I highlighted a new blood test that should allow screening for kidney disease way ahead of standard test used. It is a test I definitely plan on having done on our dogs' next annual wellness blood panel.


This case study highlights the outcome of putting the SDMA into clinical practice.

A 6-year-old, spayed female golden retriever came in because she was a bit off for several weeks. Just ever so slightly under the weather. There was nothing in her history to point to a problem. There was nothing really remarkable on her blood panel either. BUT and creatinine, the values normally checked to assess kidney function were in the upper normal.

(One thing to watch with these values isn't only whether or not they fall within the normal range but also trends over time. If they remain within normal range but seem slowly shifting toward high end of normal, it is something to pay attention to. I always like to review our dogs' blood results and compare them to previous tests.)

SDMA was higher than normal range. Further diagnostics confirmed early kidney disease.


Will my pet be in pain?

Many people still seem to be in the dark on the simple principle - if it would hurt me, it hurts my dog too. Whether it's bad teeth, injuries or other health issues, these things hurt. There isn't much difference between the way ourselves and our dogs perceive pain.

There was a time when it was believed that animals didn't experience pain the way we do. But research says otherwise.
  • talk to your vet about signs of pain
  • talk your vet about pain management
  • talk about rehabilitation and other steps to manage chronic pain


What Your Vet Really Wants to Tell You

Don't avoid your dog's annual exam. Don't avoid your dog's annual exam. Don't avoid your dog's annual exam.



Regular wellness exams are so important. We never skimp on them. Do you? Every blue moon is technically regular too but your dog needs to see a vet at least once a year.


First aid for pets

Would you know what to do if your dog got injured, got a seizure or ate rat bait? Learn what you should do if your dog is bleeding, limping, got dirt in their eye, torn nail, got bitten by a snake or an insect and more.

While at it, check out what we got in our dogs' first-aid kit. Just yesterday I was happy to have sterile saline in it, as we needed to flush a blade of grass out of Cookie's eye. Couple weeks ago Cookie got stung by something in her mouth. I didn't see what it was, just saw her reaction to it. Fortunately, Benadryl, also included in the kit, took care of it.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Veterinary Highlights: Eye Drops that Dissolve Cataracts?

Cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye, making it progressively opaque. This causes blurred vision and blindness over time. In some dogs, cataracts are an inherited condition and can develop at any age. Diabetes is the main cause of cataracts in dogs. The go-to treatment is surgery.

Image Tufts University

Scientists are now testing a solution in dogs that might dissolve the cataract out of the lens.

Out of all things, it seems that a steroid-based eye drops might just do the trick.

Cataracts develop because proteins that make up the lens (crystallins) scramble and form a sheath-like obstruction. One of the steroid compounds naturally produced in the body seems to be involved in keeping the lens healthy.

When applied to an eye with naturally occurring cataract, it leads to its dissolution.

The scientists don't know how exactly it works but the improvement was readily visible.

Eye drops instead of surgery? That is a very exciting premise.



Source article:
Eye drops could dissolve cataracts

Further reading:
Cataracts in Dogs
Cataracts and Cataract Surgery in Dogs
Lanosterol reverses protein aggregation in cataracts

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Probiotics Best Served in Dairy Products?

Probiotics are getting a lot of attention and it is for a good reason.

The first time a probiotic supplement was suggested to us for Jasmine's ongoing digestive issues was when Purina came out with FortiFlora and had vets run field trials.

We did try it and saw some improvement. We might have had better results if Jasmine's problem wasn't chronic and deep-rooted.

After her IBD was finally diagnosed, along with other measures we took, we continued to experiment with different types of probiotic supplements.

Given how sensitive her system was, experimenting with dairy products wouldn't have crossed my mind.

There are numerous probiotic supplements for dogs out there. The challenges with supplements are including the right culture(s) and keeping them viable. Manufacturers have various patents on dealing with these things and much of that is top secret.

Cookie enjoying her fermented goat's milk

Over time I've learned that prebiotics are at least as important and I started adding those with every meal, while still using one supplement or another.

Then I learned that Cookie really loves yogurt.

Yogurt smoothies with cranberries
For most part I have replaced the probiotic supplement with plain white yogurt. True, using yogurt as a source of probiotics has its challenges also, but it sits well with her and she enjoys it. Once raw goat's milk became available, I started giving her that too. The product that we can get here is also fermented and has turmeric and ginger added to it. Yummy.

Because Cookie's digestive system is doing well, I dropped the probiotic supplements and use the prebiotic (inulin) and yogurt or raw goat's milk alone.

We are not treating any health issue, I'm just adding these things for a good measure.



When the USDavis' study results got published, I found that quite interesting.

The question they asked themselves was how the products containing probiotics might influence their effectiveness.

Could it really be important whether you consume a probiotic in yogurt or other fermented foods and beverages rather than in a supplement? And is there something about dairy products that makes them particularly well suited for probiotics?

The results from two recent mouse-based studies suggest that yes, most definitely.

What would make dairy products ideal to deliver probiotics?

Is it the carbohydrates present in dairy or is it that dairy foods buffer the probiotics from exposure to stomach acids? Or is it simple the fact that dairy foods are stored refrigerated?

The scientists compared the difference between a probiotic strain (L. casei) incubated in refrigerated milk and milk that has not been chilled.

The probiotic incubated in refrigerated milk fared much better.

In the second study the scientist compared the effectiveness of the same strain delivered in milk and delivered in nonnutritive medium in treatment of symptoms of IBD in mice.

The mice that received the probiotic in milk had fewer IBD symptoms than those fed milk alone or the probiotic alone.

It sounds like dairy products as a delivery vehicle for probiotic (at least the particular strain used in the studies) wins hands down.

I'm sure that the question which strain(s) are most effective and whether all strains would do better this way still remains but these are interesting findings.

It looks like we're going to be making our way from yogurt, through various powders and tablets, back to yogurt.

Cookie is definitely down with that.

Do you give your dog probiotics? What kind?

Further reading:
Dairy products boost effectiveness of probiotics, new studies show

Related articles:
Probiotics, Prebiotics ... What Does It All Mean for Your Dog?

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