Saturday, August 1, 2015

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Obesity, Outdoor Water Safety, and more ...

Why Can't I Call A Fat Pet Fat? Why is the truth so offensive? 

I think that political correctness is being taken too far these days. God forbid somebody got offended.

I myself don't like hurting anybody's feelings. I will white-lie until I'm blue in the face. If I don't have anything good to say, I'll find SOMETHING. Or keep quiet. But only when avoiding the truth isn't hurting anybody.

Obesity negatively impacts health and quality of life

But sometimes it is important to call things what they are. If a dog is obese, their health and quality of life suffers. This is a problem that can be fixed if somebody calls it what it is and it gets addressed. But somebody needs to say the words. We need to wake up and see things for what they are rather than getting offended by somebody calling us on it.

Out of all people, veterinarians should be able to tell the truth, however unpleasant. And we should be thankful for them doing so.


Countering pet obesity by rethinking feeding habits

Dogs get obese because they eat more calories than they expend. If more comes in than comes out, the difference ends up being stored. That is a simple math. Or is it?

The typical weight loss diet consists of a diet with less calories and more fiber to fill the stomach. But is this working? Many dogs put on such diets seem to suffer from constant hunger. It appears that weight loss diets that are higher in protein are more successful in keeping dogs satiated.

And what about the nature of the food itself? Many holistic vets emphasize the superiority of raw and whole-prey diets but being highly criticized for that.

One overlooked feeding strategy may lie in the nature of the food itself. Raw and whole-prey diets may provide a viable alternative to extruded ones."
~Dr. Katherine Kerr, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Florida

Hide, hair and bones of their prey, together with other plant and animal fibers have positive impact on energy metabolism and gut environment of wild felines. Perhaps  such diets could have similar results in domestic pets.

According to Dr. Kerr these type of diets are undervalued and under-researched nutritional therapy options.

I'm happy to see that somebody is taking this point of view.


Is That Outdoor Water Safe for Your Pet?

Jasmine LOVED water

Most dogs love water. Jasmine was crazy about water. Puddles, ponds, lakes ... the only time she would take off ahead of us was when there was a lake. The only time we'd ever lose sight of her was when she found a pond. If you couldn't find Jasmine, all you had to do was look for the nearest body of water. You could follow her around with the fanciest bottled water, she'd prefer to drink from a tarp. Cookie loves water too. The boys don't like themselves wet but will drink from any water they can find outside.

Naturally, there are risks in every water source, be it toxins, bacteria or other pathogens. The one I really worry about and always diligently watch out for is blue-green algae. A drink of outside water can also contain things Giardia, Leptospira, and others.

I worry about these things but keeping our guys away from all outdoors water just isn't possible.

If a dog who's been exposed to outdoor water sources gets vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite or becomes reluctant to play, it's important to see a vet immediately.


Reconsidering Universal Spay and Neuter for Dogs

Spaying and neutering used to be a clear-cut issue. It was something we never thought twice about. We didn't plan on breeding so we spayed and neutered at the vet's recommendation, as early as they felt we should do it.

Today, I'd think much harder about it. With JD, we waited until he was a year old before we had him fixed. Cookie is adopted and was already spayed, according to the vet's finding at very early age. She is already paying for it with intermittent incontinence.

Over last few years, research found some previously unknown risks with early spay and neuter. How much should we rethink what we've been doing?

Friday, July 31, 2015

Veterinary Highlights: Influenza A(H6N1) Virus Found in Dogs in Taiwan

Influenza A virus (H6N1) was isolated in dogs in Taiwan.

Photo Nisa yeh

Normally wide-spread in chickens in Taiwan this type was rarely found in mammals. A study conducted at the National Taiwan University Veterinary Hospital in Taipei was done to determine prevalence of influenza A in dogs in Taiwan. The serum of 474 pet and free-roaming dogs was tested for antibodies and nasal swabs done for dogs with respiratory signs.

H6N1 can infect dogs.

It isn't clear whether it can cause a disease; the dogs that were sick could have coincidentally had a different respiratory disease.

It is a reminder of how unpredictable influenza viruses can be.

Source article:
Yet another influenza in dogs

Further reading:
Influenza A(H6N1) Virus in Dogs, Taiwan

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: Head Tilt

There is the cute, adorable heat tilt dogs do when you talking to them. And then there is head tilt that is a sign of a problem. It isn't all that hard to tell the difference.


The head tilt we all love is side to side, in response to interesting stimuli. The dog is looking at the source of the stimulus and is happy and interested.



A persistent head tilt to one side only needs your attention. 

It's quite easy to recognize that something is going on.



Your dog might also have problems with balance, walk is circles and show other signs of a problem.

Once Jasmine gave us quite a scare when she suddenly started walking funny, holding her head low, tilting it to one side and whimpering. It came out of the blue and she looked very unhappy.

First thing that came to my mind was to check her ear on the affected side.

And there it was. She had a tick latched to her ear flap. Jasmine wasn't a cry baby; I assume that it might have bitten her right at a nerve ending or something like that. Just recently there was a story about a dog becoming very lame because a tick attached to his foot.

From my observation, pain or discomfort can cause a dog to tilt their head like that.

Cookie does that when something is bothering her ear, such as deer fly bite or itch.

The tilt goes away as soon as the problem gets addressed and I don't panic every time my dog tilts their head temporarily. However, there are more serious things that can be behind persistent head tilt.

Most common cause of head tilt are middle or inner ear infections.

We were fortunate that our guys never suffered with ear infections but many dogs have chronic ear problems. Your dog's ears will smell bad, have brown, yellow or bloody discharge. They will likely scratch at their ears and shake their head excessively. They might eventually develop a head tilt, loss of balance and start circling if the infection doesn't get resolved.

Anything that affects the vestibular system can result in heat tilt.

Some dogs suffer with what is referred to as idiopathic vestibular disease.

Contributing factors can be chronic ear infections, ear injury, head injury, brain inflammation or infection, stroke, cancer and even certain drugs.

As always, if your dog is displaying concerning symptoms, consult your veterinarian.

Further reading:
My Dog's Head is Tilted
Head Tilt in Dogs (Vestibular Signs)
If Your Dog Suddenly Starts Circling or Staggering, This Could Be Why
Causes of Head Tilt in Dogs
Head Tilt, Disorientation in Dogs

Related articles:
Veterinarians Answer: 10 Main Symptoms To Watch For In Your Dog 
Symptoms: Recognition, Acknowledgement And Denial 
When Is It An Emergency? 
Don't Panic, Don't Panic: Know What Your Job Is   

Excessive Panting
Excessive Drinking 
Changes in Urination/Urinary Accidents 
Changes in Behavior
Bad Odor 
Excessive Drooling  
What Can Your Dog's Gums And Tongue Tell You? 
Coughing 
Excessive Head Shaking 
Excessive Licking
Shaking/Trembling
Lumps and Bumps
What Is That Limp? 
Nose Bleeds (Epistaxis)
Unexplained Weight Loss
Unexplained Weight Gain  
Loss Of Appetite  
Lethargy 
Fever (Pyrexia)
Vomiting 
What Happens in a Dog's Body with Severe Vomiting?
Regurgitation
Diarrhea
Gastroenteritis is when ...  

Whats In The Urine? (Part I: What You Can Notice On Your Own)
What's In The Urine? (Part II: Urinalysis)
A Tale of Many Tails—and What Came Out From Underneath Stories from My Diary-rrhea (part I)
Acute Small Intestinal Diarrhea
Acute Large Intestinal Diarrhea (Acute Colitis)
Chronic Large Intestinal Diarrhea
Chronic Small Intestinal Diarrhea

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
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