Saturday, October 15, 2016

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Prescriptions and Pharmacies, Imodium for Dogs?, and more ...

EPI – Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency: A Lack of Digestive Enzymes

Dr. Christopher Byers/CriticalCareDVM

The pancreas is an amazing organ with two crucial functions. It produces hormones involved in the control of blood sugar levels, and it produces digestive enzymes. Both of these functions are vital for survival.

When the pancreas fails to produce digestive enzymes, food passes through the digestive system undigested. Which means that regardless of the amount of food your dog eats, they are starving. It figures that the most typical symptoms are chronic diarrhea and weight loss. German Shepherds are particularly prone to this disease.

If your dog is having pale, greasy diarrhea and losing weight, do see your vet.

Related articles:
Weight Loss, Brittle Fur, Starving All The Time ... Beaner’s Story (Part I)
Beaner Has Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency: Beaner’s Story (Part II)

Prescriptions and Pharmacies: For Pet Owners (FAQ)


Why do you need a prescription? What's the difference between the brand name, trade name and generic name of a medication? Is there a difference between the brand name version and the generic version of a medication? Where can I get my pet's prescriptions filled? Why should I consider getting my pet's medications from my veterinarian? If I choose to get my pet's prescriptions filled elsewhere, can my veterinarian refuse to give me a prescription? Can my veterinarian charge me a fee for writing a prescription for my pet? My veterinarian is telling me that I have to bring my pet in for an examination before they'll write a prescription or authorize a refill. Why? What are the risks of ordering from an online pharmacy? How will I know if there are problems with the medications I get from a pharmacy?

Find the answers to these, and more in AVMA's exhaustive article on prescriptions and pharmacies for pet owners.

Additional Resources:
Purchasing Pet Drugs Online: Buyer Beware (video)
Online Pet Pharmacies: Protect Yourself and Your Pet: Be Online Pet Pharmacy A.W.A.R.E.

Imodium for Dogs: Is it a Good Idea?

Dr. Jennifer Coates/petMD

Did you know that Imodium is actually a synthetic opioid, which puts it in the same family with morphine, oxycodone, and similar drugs? I did not know that. With this class of drugs, constipation is a common side effect. Loperamide, the active ingredient in Imodium doesn't do much for pain, but it is so notorious with this side effect, that it became the primary reason for its use. I had no idea.

Only once during all the years I've shared my life with dogs, I had Imodium on hand to potentially use to control diarrhea in my dog. It was after Cookie had an adverse reaction to sedation which included liquid gushing from her rectum. This wasn't even diarrhea as you know it; it was quite terrible. Since shortly after Cookie needed to be sedated again for the platelet-rich plasma treatment, I was naturally concerned. We changed the sedation protocol and took other measures to prevent all that from happening. Part of the contingency plan was having some Imodium ready.

An important note here, it needs to be plain loperamide, without any other fancy stuffs they put is some of the OTC Imodium products.

Fortunately, everything went well with Cookie's sedation, and we didn't need to medicate her at all.

Something like this is just about the only situation when I would consider treating the diarrhea directly. By something like this I mean situation when I KNOW what the cause of the diarrhea is and the diarrhea itself is a serious enough problem that it needs to be curbed. I would never use Imodium to randomly treat diarrhea of unknown origin. I would never use Imodium to treat diarrhea without talking to my vet first. Nipping a symptom at the bud doesn't do anything for the underlying cause. That, in my opinion, is very risky right there. Wouldn't do it.

Plus, Imodium can cause some serious side effects such as constipation, severe sedation, bloat and even pancreatitis.

Read Dr. Coates' thoughts on the use of Imodium for dogs.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

What Do I Do when I Run out of Dog Food?

I have managed never to run out of kibble. But with Cookie on the raw diet, now and then I forget to thaw some out for her next meal. It can happen to anybody.

No dog food. Now what?

One thing I would never do is putting the food in a microwave to thaw it out.

To me, that defies the whole concept of feeding raw, or healthy for that matter.

Some foods thaw out quickly or can be fed frozen, such as Nature's Variety Instinct Raw Bites. I like the food; Cookie likes the food, and I always loved having some extra on hand. And PetSmart is supposed to carry it, so it should be easy to get. Unfortunately, PetSmart does have it, but as it seems, nobody other than myself is buying it. Which means that their stock just sits there. You can tell right away because the whole bag is one clump. The last time we bought it when I saw how old it looked, I just threw it out. I suspect it was in their freezer ever since the launch.

Whatever the reason for being out of dog food, what to do now?

One option, of course, is to fast the dog. Many holistic veterinarians recommend fasting a dog at least once a month for a number of health benefits. While I like the idea, my dogs beg to differ so I haven't fasted them except for diagnostics or medical procedures.

One of the things I like to do when I realize I don't have any dog food ready for a meal is to scramble some eggs.

Eggs are easy to digest and loaded with nutrients.

If I have boiled ones, I use those. Poached eggs would work as well. If I can find some left-over veggies, I quickly warm them up and throw the eggs in it. Cookie is willing to eat quite a lot of vegetables this way.

The only time I'd be careful with eggs would be if my dog had present or past pancreatitis caused by fat in the diet. In such case, I'd drop some of the egg yolks and use most egg whites. Cookie, though, probably wouldn't eat that. She's not very fond of the whites.

I like to have a backup stash of canned salmon.

This is the fastest and easiest way to substitute a meal. Open the can, feed it. Again, if I have some left-over veggies, I might mix them into that as well.

Those are my go-to meal substitutes. What are yours?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

What Turned Out Not Being An Adverse Drug Reaction After All (Part III)

Continued from Part II

With JD virtually unable to walk at all, we were sitting at the vet's waiting for the blood results, hoping his liver values were high.

In the meantime, the vet called up a neuro specialist to consult on what was happening. The specialist definitely didn't believe all this could have been caused but a reaction to the Metronidazole but then, neither did we any more.

The most likely scenarios, unless the blood showed something significant, was either infection or cancer in the brain or in the spinal cord.

We were really hoping the blood was going to offer a better reason.

But the results came back and everything was normal. There was nothing remarkable on there at all. That hopeful theory was out the window.

Here were the findings as the vet wrote them in her notes:

Neuro exam:

  • decreased proprioception in hind legs- 1+
  • ataxic in hind end, worse on the left
  • right front- 3+ proprio
  • left front- 1+
  • ataxic on all 4 limbs
  • a positive tricep reflex front right and left
  • patellar reflex on left is exagerated
  • right side down- patellar reflex is also exagerated

Cranial nerve exam:

  • pupils are dilated bilaterally and are minimally responsive to direct light
  • menace is present on both sides
  • palpebral present both eyes
  • activaly swallowing
  • visual
  • facial nerves normal
  • tongue normal

The vet kept repeating she was very concerned about his neurological state.

She said we could go and see a neurologist; she'd get us an appointment for the next day. They'd keep him for two days to run diagnostics to see whether they can do anything about this. She was listing the possibilities.

The look on her face and tone of voice said more than her words, though.

JD's odds were slim.

Perhaps an abscess was behind the swelling and spilled? Perhaps cancer was there and bled or threw an embolism?

Should we go through with figuring out what this is exactly and maybe be able to do something about it? And that something maybe working? JD was insured, finances weren't an important part of the considerations. It was the poor odds and putting him through all kinds of stuff perhaps for nothing.

Appointment the next day meant JD having to remain in this state, or getting worse till then. Then it meant a day's worth of drive. And then two days in a hospital. And then, if they could attempt to treat, further stay in the hospital. Knowing JD, he was likely to die of grief the first day. He was distraught over the state he was in enough as it were.

How far should one keep going and when should one stop?

Just because we could keep trying, did that mean we should? Should we keep poking and prodding and putting him through all that perhaps for nothing? Should we hold on to him in spite of his misery?

JD was miserable and would have been even more miserable.

Because JD was hubby's buddy, I made it hubby's call, even though we discussed it in length. Having seen Jasmine being so miserable her last days, only to get worse, seeing the odds were just about the same this time, 

JD had a happy life. He got the spend the night cuddled up with hubby. Prolonging his misery didn't make sense to either of us. Not with the odds as slim.

Right or wrong, we decided to set him free of his body and join Jasmine over the Bridge. It was the decision we could best live with. It was the decision we found most compassionate and selfless.

With all the available technology and medical advances, one could keep going to almost no end.

When the chances are good, and one can afford it, it makes sense to take full advantage of all that is available in veterinary medicine nowadays. But to keep going for the sake of keeping going wasn't something we wanted to do to him.

Related articles:
Bugs. I Hate Bugs. But They Seem to Have Nothing to Do with JD's Puffy Eye 
The Saga of JD's Puffy Eye Continues
If We Don’t Hear From The Vet Today, We’ll Be There First Thing In The Morning: Jd’s Swelling Keeps Bouncing Back
What Turned out Not Being an Adverse Drug Reaction after all (Part I)
What Turned out Not Being an Adverse Drug Reaction after all (Part II)

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, October 10, 2016

ADOPTION MONDAY: Avalon (A), Rottweiler Mix, New York, NY

Avalon (also known as Whopper) is a 9 year old female senior Rottweiler who was brought into BACC as a stray. P

Poor Avalon, who knows the things she has seen and what she has lived through in her life? She is so afraid of everything!

Avalon needs a calm home and someone with patience who can earn her trust and show her that the rest of her life can be full of love, comfort, and gentle hugs. 

Avalon is up to date on shots, house trained and crate trained. She has been living in foster with other dogs and is doing well with them. If you would like to give Avalon the chance she needs, and can offer her patience and gentle guidance, please apply here:


Rescue Dogs Rock, Inc., rescues puppies and dogs from high kill shelters, owner surrenders, puppy mill throw aways and medically neglected and suffering dogs and give them the proper medical care, then we do our best to find them the perfect home. We are deeply committed to healing the physical and emotional wounds these animals have suffered.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Another Mushroom Reminder, Myofascial Pain, and more ...

In Your Own Yard: Dogs and Poisonous Mushrooms

Dr. Jason Nicholas/Preventive Vet

I know I already highlighted an article on this topic. But during this time, we keep tripping over all kinds of mushrooms everywhere. This is the season for them to thrive. Some of those I can recognize as poisonous. Most of them I have no idea. I have even seen one that looks like an autumn leaf. I kid you not. I keep Cookie away from all of them. Whether I know they are poisonous and I am not sure - it's always best to err on side of caution.

Dr. Nicholas' advice is to clear them from the yard. While I cannot practially do that having 80 acres of it, and surrounded by more bush on all sides, I do concur that any "normal" size yard should be mushroom-free safe zone.

Another reminder we have to live and love as greatly as we can today, because tomorrow is never guaranteed. At approximately 11:15pm last night myself and @laurenhashianofficial had to make the painful decision to end Brutus' suffering by taking him off of life support and sending his soul to pup heaven. I held his lil' paw as he was finally at peace. As all puppies and dogs do, he ate a mushroom while playing outside with his brother Hobbs. This mushroom happened to have a lethal toxicity and within hours it was rapidly destroying his liver and immune system to the point of no return. I encourage all of you out there to be mindful of mushrooms in your yards, parks or anywhere outside your dogs play. What looks innocent, can be deadly to your lil' family members. Thank you Dr. Deckelbaum and Dr. West and the incredibly caring nurses and staff at The Animal Medical Center At Cooper City. We'll always love you Brutus.. and you'll always be my lil' main man and rough housing Brute. #RIPBrutus #WishICouldHaveSavedYouOneMoreTime #TheresPickUpTrucksInHeavenYouCanPeeIn
A photo posted by therock (@therock) on

Parasite Myth: Ticks Fall From Trees

Dr. Susan Little/CAPC

Have you ever heard this myth? Do ticks fall from the trees? Find out what you can actually expect from ticks.

If Your Pet Suddenly Yelps, This May Be Why

Dr. Karen Becker/Mercola Healthy Pets

We are no strangers to myofascial pain. Jasmine had issues with it, and after her injury, Cookie had an issue with it as well. She had trigger points all over. It's actually quite common but often missed.

You can check Susan Davis' article on myofascial trigger points here.

Trigger points can be caused by acute injury but also as a result of overuse and muscle imbalance. Unaddressed, these can develop into a chronic, progressive problem.

Check out Dr. Becker's thoughts on myofascial pain.