Friday, August 29, 2014

Veterinary Highlights: Vaccinating Small Dogs Study

Should a Great Dane receive the same vaccine dose as a Yorkie?

That seems highly counter-intuitive, doesn't it? Either it's not going to be enough for one or too much for the other, right?

And yet, all dogs have been receiving the same dose of vaccine, regardless of their size.

Could that explain why toy breeds are more likely to suffer adverse reactions to their vaccines?

The fact is, anybody can speculate but nobody knows.

Dr. Jean Dodds has agreed to conduct a small pilot a study which should help determine efficacy of body-mass based vaccinations, specifically, giving reduced vaccine strengths to toy breed dogs.

The estimated cost of the pilot study is $5500 and is the first step in determining whether we can lessen the severity and frequency of adverse reactions to vaccinations in our tiny pups by reducing the actual vaccine itself.

To download a donation form and pay by check or money order (or by credit card offline, including Discover and American Express), click here.

Source article:
Tiny dog vaccine study

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Primer On Leukemia

Written and reviewed by John A. Bukowski, DVM, MPH, PhD
and Susan E. Aiello, DVM, ELS

Leukemia is a cancer of blood cells.

It can show up within the circulatory system as well as in the bone marrow, where blood cells develop. Leukemia can affect dogs of any age, but as with most cancers, it is more common in middle-aged to older dogs.

Leukemia can affect any of the cells in the blood.

Red blood cells (which provide oxygen), the white cells (which fight inflammation and infection), and the platelets (which help with clotting). 

However, the vast majority of cases arise directly from white blood cells.  

Leukemias are generally divided into two classes based on the type of white cell involvement. The predominant cells involved with lymphocytic leukemia are the lymphocytes, whereas granulocytic leukemias involve granular white cells such as neutrophils.

In leukemia, cancerous blood cells in the bone marrow multiply out of control.

In some cases, these cells remain confined to the bone marrow, but in many cases they can escape into the circulating blood and other tissues, such as the liver and spleen. This massive multiplication of one type of cell disrupts the normal immune system, and can crowd other blood cells out of the bone marrow, leading to anemia and/or bleeding problems.

The level of illness produced by leukemia depends largely on how rapidly the cancerous blood cells are multiplying. 

Acute cases (sometimes referred to as "blastic" forms) are associated with rapid cell production and serious illness. Dogss with acute leukemia usually have a rapid onset of vague signs of illness, including loss of appetite, fatigue, weight loss, breathing difficulty, and (possibly) lameness or gastrointestinal disturbances.

The gums of affected pets are often pale because of anemia, and the liver, spleen, and/or lymph nodes may be enlarged. In the chronic form of leukemia, the cancerous blood cells multiply slowly and affected pets often go for long periods with few signs or symptoms. However, this can change rapidly if the chronic form shifts to a more acute form of the disease.

Leukemia is usually diagnosed by blood tests, but bone marrow samples may also be needed.  

White blood cell counts can be many times higher than normal, with malignant cells sometimes visible within the circulating blood, although in some cases, the white blood cell count can be normal or even low.

Your veterinarian may also want to perform other tests, such as x-rays, to look for signs of involvement in the abdomen or chest. 

Dogs with the chronic form of leukemia may need little immediate treatment aside from vitamins and other medications to promote bone marrow and immune function. Repeated blood tests are usually performed to monitor the status of chronic leukemias, and chemotherapy may be useful if symptoms develop.

Chronic cases often survive for months to a year (or more) after diagnosis. 

Acute leukemias may respond initially to chemotherapy, but long-term control is difficult. Most acute cases have a guarded to poor long-term prognosis. 


Visit WebVet for a wealth of information about the health and well-being of pets. All medical-related content on WebVet has been veterinarian approved to ensure its timeliness and accuracy.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Gretel's Brush With Scary Bloat

Should one rush their dog to the vet at the slightest sign of not feeling well?

There are times when things are best left to resolve on their own and there are times where not treating is the better strategy. Particularly when treatment equals drugs, such as antibiotics, steroids and the like.

The body does have the tools to heal itself in many cases.

So when does one ought to do something and when does one ought to wait it out?

I admit that I do take our guys to the vet even with things I feel they should be able to overcome. I want to make sure I am not missing something. And our vet was always happy to examine, evaluate and when he felt that we best not treat, he'd say that.

Find out for sure has always been my policy.

Particularly when it happened just before the weekend. Last thing I wanted was a situation blowing up on me during the weekend.

The important thing is to know your dog and to be able to assess how serious the problem might be.

But no matter how much experience we think we have, things can take unexpected turn.

Picture your dog playing with a rubber squeaky toy. Long lost toy gets its time in the spotlight. Sooner or later it becomes too much and you go to take the toy away to get some quiet.

You notice your dog's belly looks distended and when you touch it it feels like a drum.

Panic might come over you. Distended abdomen is a sign of bloat!

But your dog is a Dachshund, they are not prone to this stuff, are they?

You call your vet and they ask you if your dog's stomach is still gurgling away (when the stomach rotates on itself, it wouldn't).

Your dog is not trying to throw up and doesn't look to be in major distress.

The vet asks you to measure and monitor circumference of the abdomen. The belly doesn't get any bigger and by next morning it's a normal size. That's a big relief.

Things go back to normal until a few months later.

As if out of the blue, you find your dog's stomach distended yet again. Nothing unusual happened prior.

Because this is the second time, you go through the same steps as before. You measure the belly and monitor. And yet again, things return to normal on their own.

All remains well until it happens again.

Having it happen once, fine. Twice? But three times? This is neither normal or an odd fluke any more. Something isn't right. This time you decide to take your dog to the emergency clinic after all.

After a long exam and x-rays it turns out that your dog indeed does have bloat!

Not the really scary one with the stomach twist (Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus), but bloat nonetheless. From a bloated stomach to a twisted one isn't far to go, though.

How the heck did your dog get bloat?

The vets induce vomiting to see what they can find in the stomach. Some food stuffs that match what your dog had for dinner. Some lettuce and grass, yes you dropped some and your dog does like to graze on fresh grass.

Rubbery white chunks ... where did those come from?

The vet insists they look like chunks of rawhide. But you never give your dog any! Ever! The vet is also certain your dog has gotten into something you didn't know about.

You have to leave your dog at the hospital for the night and return home with lot's to think about.

Fortunately, the next day your dog is released to go home and doing well.

However, the cause of her bloating remains unknown.

After a discussion with your family vet you determine that she might have bloated because she got her paws on a loaf of moldy bread. It was in the garbage, behind a fence, but the landscapers didn't close it properly and it did look like "something" got into the garbage.

If that's what it was, your dog should be fine in the future.

But it is scary and dangerous stuff and thank goodness it's over and all is well. Bad things can happen to good dogs and sometimes one just cannot have eyes everywhere and prevent everything.

Original story:
I Am NOT A Bad Dog Mom! (Gretel’s First Visit to the Doggie ER)
Gretel Comes Home and Emerald City Emergency Clinic Sucks

Related articles:
Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (Bloat): RIP Barbie
Gastric Dilatation And Volvulus (GDV): What Did The Latest Study Reveal?

Further reading:
Dog Stomach Swelling: Causes and Treatment
Bloat - The Mother of All Emergencies

Monday, August 25, 2014

Adoption Monday: Serenity, Irish Wolfhound & Giant Schnauzer Mix, Deerfield, NH

Check out this lovely girl at Mary's Dogs Rescue and Adoption!

Serenity isn't quite sure why she ended up in the shelter....and we can't figure it out either. 

She is a sweet girl who is unsure of what the future holds but as long as she feels love, she is happy. She was difficult to photograph because as soon as the photographer got down to her level, she rushed over for a kiss... :)

Serenity is spayed, house trained and current on routine shots. Want more info on Serenity? Call Mary's Dogs: or send along an email:

Ready to bring Serenity home? Tell us about yourself and your interest in Serenity in the adoption questionnaire. Check out all the wonderful dogs on Mary's Dogs Facebook Fan Page.


Mary’s Dogs rescues and re-homes dogs and puppies from Aiken County Animal Shelter, a high-kill shelter in South Carolina, USA. They also serve as a resource to communities in Southern New Hampshire and pet owners nationwide by providing education and information on responsible pet ownership, including the importance of spay/neuter, positive behavior training, and good nutrition.

Don't forget to check out Mary's Dogs Shop where you can shop dog and support their work!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

One Vomit, No Vomit

Our foreign languages professor, back in college used to grade based on this philosophy:

One mistake, no mistake.

Meaning you could make one mistake on your oral exam or paper and still get an A. He also used to cite his rule every time he was giving out a grade. It's no surprise it stuck in my head.

Can this rule be applied in real life?

I think that in some cases it can, it some cases it cannot. Some single mistakes can cause a lot of damage. Other mistakes, though, can be treated this way.

How does that translate to an upset stomach?

The other morning hubby got up a bit earlier and took the dogs for a little walk before I came out.
"Cookie threw up," he reported.

There was a time when I'd simply panic every time any of my dogs threw up. Today, I first investigate.

We went to find the puke and I took a good look at it. 

It was just bunch of big chunks of grass. All our dogs like go graze on fresh grass in the morning. Every now and then they might get a bit carried away with it.

Sometimes, they would eat grass when their stomach is upset.

Was Cookie's stomach upset?

She was very interested in her treats and wolfed down her breakfast. If she didn't, I'd view the whole situation differently. But all criteria, she did not have an upset stomach.

There were no other worrisome signs present either. She was bouncy and playful like any other morning.

One vomit, no vomit.

She remained fine since and her throwing up got written off to a bit too much enthusiasm at her morning salad buffet.

Sometimes dogs throw up.

Usually because they decided to snack on something that wasn't meant to be eaten.

JD after he munched on groceries including the plastic. Cookie after she decided that a bunch of rocks was particularly yummy.

When you do find foreign object in the vomit, though, you do need to pay attention and be on lookout for further trouble. Often these things do make their way out on their own but when they don't your dog would be in trouble.

I don't worry only when nothing else seems wrong.

Cookie had to throw up only once for me to seek veterinary attention when she did so after a night of being lethargic. I didn't like that already and when she threw up on top of that and didn't look better after, we were on our way to the vet.

It is important to be able to figure out how much trouble your dog is in. If all seems well, then you can tell yourself, "One vomit, no vomit."

When they look or act off, refuse food, and vomit, that is another story all together.

Related articles:
When To Take A Vomiting Dog To The Vet 
What's in the Vomit?
Why Examine Your Dog's Vomit?
Causes of Vomiting in Dogs
Vomiting in Dogs: Is He Actually Vomiting?
Vomiting Versus Regurgitation 
Grocery Bag Is Not An Open Buffet: What Was In JD's Vomit 
The Story Of Flossy And The Mystery Vomiting 
The Project That Is Cookie: Pancreatitis Up Close And Personal 
The Gross Factor: When A Dog Vomits In Your Hands

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Dog With Fleas and Flea Allergy


Dr. Greg Martinez, DVM is a proponent of home cooked diets for dogs. He believes that feeding dogs differently  may prevent or help with chronic medical conditions like obesity, skin issue, ear issues, digestive problems, diabetes, mild seizures, and bladder crystals and stones.

He is the author of Dog Dish Diet, Sensible Nutrition for Your Dog's Health.
You can connect with Dr. Greg on Facebook or Twitter.
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