Thursday, May 24, 2018

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: Shifting Lameness

We all know this one, right? The cause of shifting lameness, quick, anybody? Yes, intermittent or shifting lameness is a common symptom of Lyme disease.

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: Shifting Lameness

So that's it? Case closed?


Not so fast. Yes, shifting lameness, stiff walk, and sensitivity to touch can signal Lyme disease. It likely wouldn't be the only symptom you'd see. You can observe any other symptoms involved with an infection such as swollen joints, lethargy, fever, loss of appetite, lymph node swelling, and others. Serious complications can even include kidney damage.

Only 5-10% of dogs who might test positive for the disease are likely to show any symptoms.

The traditional antibody test can only tell you whether or not your dog has been exposed to the organism that causes Lyme; it doesn't tell you whether or not there is an active disease. Meaning, your dog will have antibodies if they successfully fought off Lyme disease and from vaccination as well. There is a better antibody test available now, that is better at diagnosing only active infections.

However, Lyme disease is not the only potential cause of shifting lameness.


If you have a medium to large breed puppy between the ages of 5 to 18 months, your pup's joint pain might have nothing to do with an infection but rather be caused by what is sometimes referred to as growing pains, panosteitis.

While the reason for joint inflammation is very different, the result is similar.

All that doesn't exclude the possibility of other conditions that affect more than one leg.


For example, when Trago started limping, panosteitis was the initial diagnosis he was given. As it turned out, however, this wasn't Trago's problem at all. Trago had bilateral elbow dysplasia.

Both elbows were hurting. Picture this, if you will. One might hurt just a little bit more than the other. Compensation will lead to overusing the other leg, making that one hurt more. And so on. The mystery behind shifting lameness.

Your dog can have hip dysplasia but start favoring one of the front legs. The principle is the same. Compensation can result in pain even in places that had nothing wrong with them initially.

Additional causes of a shifting lameness include other infectious diseases like ehrlichiosis or leishmaniasis, immune-mediated disorders, and even problems that affect the back.

The only thing shifting lameness tells me for sure is that there is a problem.


Does it tell me what the problem is? Not really. I can have my suspicions based on age, history, and lifestyle, but without a vet and proper diagnostics I'd be just guessing.


Related articles:
Lyme Is Lame (Pun Intended)
Symptoms to Watch for in your Dog: What Is that Limp?
Gus' Missed Diagnosis
Running with the Wind: Trago's Elbow Dysplasia

Do you know what your dog is telling you about their health?


Learn how to detect and interpret the signs of a potential problem.


Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog now available in paperback and Kindle. Each chapter includes notes on when it is an emergency.

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog is an award-winning guide to help you better understand what your dog is telling you about their health and how to best advocate for them. 

Learn how to see and how to think about changes in your dog’s appearance, habits, and behavior. Some signs that might not trigger your concern can be important indicators that your dog needs to see a veterinarian right away. Other symptoms, while hard to miss, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or limping, are easy to spot but can have a laundry list of potential causes, some of them serious or even life-threatening. 

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog is a dog health advocacy guide 101. It covers a variety of common symptoms, including when each of them might be an emergency. 

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog has won the following awards:

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

A Subtle Sign for One Dog, a Major Red Flag for Another: Jade's Story

There are dogs who are picky eaters and turning down one meal won't get you reaching for the car keys. There are dogs who might have a chronic condition, such as Jasmine did, and refusing a meal every now and then just meant that her inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) was acting up.

With most dogs, though, walking away from a full bowl is a big red flag.


A Subtle Sign for One Dog, a Major Red Flag for Another: Jade's Story of Intestinal Obstruction

Jade is a young, vibrant Doberman. Active and always hungry. When one morning she refused her breakfast, it was a big red flag.

Jade is three years old, and this has never happened before.


You can still assume that something didn't agree with her and that once she gets it out of her system, she'll bounce right back. One turned-down meal may or may not send you to a veterinarian.

Then, however, Jade didn't want to go for her regular walk either.

Any one of these things would have had Jade's dad concerned but two? Something was seriously wrong. Jade's dad did not hesitate and brought her to a vet right that moment.

During an examination, Jade did look dull and dejected, but there were no apparent clues as to why.


Her abdomen seemed uncomfortable, but that could be caused by a number of different problems.

Blood work didn't show much out of the ordinary either, except generic clues of inflammation.

How likely, at this point, would your vet be to send you back home with "some stomach medication" to see what happens?


How likely would you be to follow that recommendation? In how many cases, say out of a hundred, do you think that would be a good thing to do?

Jade's veterinarian, fortunately, continued to look for a definite explanation.


He took Jade for x-rays. Jade's intestine was much fuller of gas than would be normal and in the middle of all that there was a suspicious shadow, measuring about 3 x 5 cm.

Jade's intestine was fully obstructed by something she has eaten but shouldn't have.


Jade needed immediate surgery. The offending object was wedged in place so firmly, her intestine had to be cut just to get it out.

Naturally, it's extremely important to suture everything water-tight to avoid any leakage of the intestinal content; otherwise, you'd be looking at the danger of a life-threatening peritonitis. This could happen days following the surgery. Jade's veterinarian did a meticulous job, though.

What was the object blocking Jade's intestine?


Corn on the cob. Believe it or not, corn on the cob is one of the most common causes of obstruction in dogs. This stuff does not digest, and the shape and rough surface seem ideal for plugging things completely.

Jade has recovered fully.


But she also might have died. The only clue her dad had was one skipped meal, and one skipped walk.

Know your dog, seek answers. And keep corn cobs away from your dog.


Read Jade's original story here.



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 your 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.

Do you know what your dog is telling you about their health?

Do you know what your dog is telling you about their health?

Learn how to detect and interpret the signs of a potential problem.


Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog now available in paperback and Kindle. Each chapter includes notes on when it is an emergency.

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog is an award-winning guide to help you better understand what your dog is telling you about their health and how to best advocate for them. 

Learn how to see and how to think about changes in your dog’s appearance, habits, and behavior. Some signs that might not trigger your concern can be important indicators that your dog needs to see a veterinarian right away. Other symptoms, while hard to miss, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or limping, are easy to spot but can have a laundry list of potential causes, some of them serious or even life-threatening. 

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog is a dog health advocacy guide 101. It covers a variety of common symptoms, including when each of them might be an emergency. 

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog has won the following awards:

Monday, May 21, 2018

Adoption Monday: Spain, Labrador Retriever & American Staffordshire Terrier Mix, Page, AZ

Spain is an in-house photographer--Yes, that is a "Go Pro" on her back and she loves to film all of her doggie adventures.

Adoption Monday: Spain, Labrador Retriever & American Staffordshire Terrier Mix, Page, AZ

Spain is about 7 yrs. and is living in a foster home--she has excellent manners and is housebroken. She is good with other dogs and cats, but would also be fine as an only dog.

Spain has been at the shelter for several weeks and no one has stepped up to claim her. She would love to find a forever home to call her own.

Spain is house-trained, spayed and up-to-date 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, May 19, 2018

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Coughing, Fungal Infections, and more ...

Coughing in Dogs and Cats – What’s Going on with Your Pet?

Dr. Christopher Byers/CriticalCareDVM

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Coughing, Fungal Infections, and more ...

Coughing is a straightforward symptom with not always straightforward reasons. The cause of your dog's coughing can be inflammatory, mechanical, infectious, cardiovascular, or neoplastic (cancer). And that is only the list of categories of the potential problem. Given there are so many variables, there is no way I'd brave guessing what the reason for my dog's coughing is.

While you can gain some clues from the way the cough sounds like, when it happens, whether or not there is any phlegm and so on, would you really bet your dog's life or well-being on the accuracy of your guess? And how many of the above causes you figure can be treated at home?

To learn more about the mechanism of coughing, causes, and treatment, read Dr. Byers' article.

Related articles:
Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: Coughing
Kolchak and Kennel Cough
The Kennel Cough Cockup: Kupo's Story


Is Blastomycosis the Same as Valley Fever?

Dr. Jean Dodds

Just like not all bacterial infections are not the same, fungal infections are all different as well. Fungi can invade your dog's skin on their organs. Your dog can get an infection by skin exposure, inhalation or ingestion. Some fungi will make your dog sick only if he's immunocompromised and some will make any dog sick.

There are quite a few fungi that can infect dogs, you can read about all of them here.

To cut to the chase, blastomycosis and Valley Fever are both caused by different fungi. Either of them is more prevalent in different geographical regions. The symptoms are somewhat similar but can also be misdiagnosed as something else altogether which can be quite dangerous to your dog's prognosis.

To learn more about the differences and similarities between blastomycosis and Valley Fever, read Dr. Dodds' article.


Your Dog Will Love This 2-Minute TLC Treatment

Dr. Karen Becker/Mercola Healthy Pets

Is your dog obsessively licking their paws, between their toes, licking or chewing at their rear end or inner thighs? Allergies are likely to blame.

Is there anything you yourself can do to help them out? Yes, you can rinse or soak your dog's feet to remove the allergens.

Read Dr. Becker's article to learn when this can help and how to do it effectively.

Related articles:
Symptoms to Watch for in your dog: Excessive Licking


Is It Wrong To Treat Dogs for Cancer?

Dr. Sue Ettinger/Dog Cancer Blog

There was a time when if I were faced with a cancer diagnosis, I would have said no to the treatment. At least to the typical cancer treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy.

The more I have learned about these things, the more likely it has made me think about that differently, and the choices I would be likely to make today are vastly different than those I would have made in the past.

Dr. Ettinger's article, however, has been sparked not by the debate about outcomes but about costs. It is true, the fancier the available treatment options, the higher the cost.

The question raised is whether or not it is ethical to spend all that money on your dog's cancer treatment if there are people who cannot afford theirs. Did this spin on the subject catch you by surprise?

When my dog is sick, I spend whatever money I have available on whatever treatment might best help them. My money, my choice. I earned the money. And my spending it contributes to jobs and taxes, helping everybody.

If we decided that spending money on "excessive dog care," what is next? Is having a car going to be excessive? Or just a car that runs? How about clothes? Food?

I think that helping other is right. But so is making our own decisions about what to do with money we earn.

What say you?



Thursday, May 17, 2018

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: Polka Dot Stools

If your dog's poop looks like somebody just had a birthday party in their belly, somebody did. Cooties… in other words, parasites!

Unfortunately, it will not look as cute as in this illustration.

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: Polka Dot Stools

That said if the pie isn's freshly baked, the worms might not have come out of your dog's bum, they might have just shown up after the party’s started, so to speak. I have seen freaked out people sharing photos of worms that invaded their dog’s poop after it’s been on the ground for awhile and I have seen that happen every now and then too; guest showing up for an open buffet.

It is also possible that your dog ate something that didn't digest well and that's what you're seeing. Some foods don't digest, particularly when eaten whole, but you might need to freak out if you see rice-like things in your dog’s poop or around your dog’s rear end. They’re probably tapeworms.

Once you've seen the tapeworm segments, you will recognize them.


If a tapeworm is a worm, why does it look like rice? Well, it doesn't, until it does. They do look like worms when they are inside your dog’s body, but they shed body segments as part of their life cycle. When the segments first come out, they are small, white and may even wiggle. But as they dry, they shrink up into what looks like rice. I actually saw a couple crawl right out of Cookie's bum and then experimentally watched one shrink.

Cookie most likely got them from eating a squirrel or from fleas. An ingested flea is the most common way dogs get tapeworms.

Tapeworms and roundworms are the only ones you'll usually be able to see with your eyes.


If you actually see worms in your dog's poop, you have a leg up. Because only two out of the four common intestinal worms can usually be seen in the stool; tapeworms and roundworms.

Roundworms look more like what you’d think of a worm looking like. Long and, well, round. Unless your dog has lots of roundworms, though, you probably won’t see any in the poop. Just because you don't see any, doesn't mean they're not there.

You may or may not be able to tell whether your dog has worms by other symptoms, such as diarrhea, vomiting, a pot-bellied appearance, weight loss or dry hair.

That said, I am not a fan of treating a problem I don't have; I wouldn't routinely deworm my adult dog. I do, however, have the poop checked regularly. Worms are not only gross but severe enough infestation can be dangerous.


Do you know what your dog is telling you about their health?


Learn how to detect and interpret the signs of a potential problem.


Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog now available in paperback and Kindle. Each chapter includes notes on when it is an emergency.

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog is an award-winning guide to help you better understand what your dog is telling you about their health and how to best advocate for them. 

Learn how to see and how to think about changes in your dog’s appearance, habits, and behavior. Some signs that might not trigger your concern can be important indicators that your dog needs to see a veterinarian right away. Other symptoms, while hard to miss, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or limping, are easy to spot but can have a laundry list of potential causes, some of them serious or even life-threatening. 

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog is a dog health advocacy guide 101. It covers a variety of common symptoms, including when each of them might be an emergency. 

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog has won the following awards:
MINIMAL BLOGGER TEMPLATES BY pipdig