Saturday, September 24, 2016

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Strategies for Handling Cost of Veterinary Care, and more ...

IBD – Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Dogs & Cats

Dr. Christopher Byers/CriticalCareDVM

We are intimately familiar with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

We are also intimately familiar with how hard it can be to get it diagnosed. We were lucky that once we did have the diagnosis, we were able to manage it quite successfully using mostly natural measures.

Chronic gastrointestinal issues - IBD or not? There are, unfortunately many things that can cause such symptoms. All those need to be ruled out. And then, the only conclusive way to diagnose IBD is to do a biopsy. Fun, isn't it?

If you need good basic recap on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), check out Dr. Byers' article.

5 Strategies To Handle The Cost of Veterinary Care

Dr. Andy Roark/Cone of Shame

Avoid Tragedy: Check Your Yard for These Potentially Fatal Growths

Dr. Karen Becker/Mercola Healthy Pets

As the fall comes, the ground gets literally polluted with all kinds of mushrooms. At least around here. Different mushrooms thrive in different environments. Some like open areas, some like wooded areas ...  Most mushrooms are harmless but some can be deadly. Though back in my country they say that all mushrooms are edible; just some of them only once.

There are articles stressing that all mushrooms are poisonous to dogs. That is not true. But could you trust your dog to discern which ones are okay and which are not? Most people cannot do that reliably. That's why it's best to keep your dog away from all mushrooms growing outside. Using some mushrooms medicinally or in food is different.

I wish I could just rid our yard of all mushrooms to keep it hundred percent safe. But with 80 acres of it, that is an impossible task. I'm trying to watch my dogs and teach them to stay away from them. They have no interest in mushrooms as such; sometimes ingesting them not-on-purpose, as with Cookie snuffing the ground for mice, could still be a problem, though.

Check out Dr. Becker's article to learn which mushrooms are really dangerous and how to keep your dog safe.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Veterinary Highlights: Tackling Skin Disorders with Holistic Care

There are two modalities that are my first choices whenever possible - regenerative medicine and holistic medicine. The reason for that is quite simple. Both are aiming to address the root of the problem, rather than dealing with the fallout. Both are aiming to assist the body to restore itself to health.

While we don't actually use a holistic vet in the direct sense, we use what is referred to an integrative approach. Simply put, this approach reaches in whichever "toolbox" is best for dealing with the problem at hand. Why limit care to one or the other?

Restoring balance and health

That should be the goal of medicine. Managing a problem is never as good as making it go away.

When it comes to skin issues, conventional therapies mostly focus at relieving clinical signs. That is sometimes important. But getting things to where they should be so management isn't necessary should be the goal. Skin problems are never skin deep. What is happening with the body that the skin became unhealthy? And how it could be fixed? That is the question.

I'm always happy to learn how the body can be helped to sort itself out

Natural approach encompasses a number of therapies which should be chosen on individual basis.

Bathing with proper shampoo is one of the most important things that can be done for an itchy dog. There are products that help restore normal skin barrier. Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in restoring skin to health. Probiotics and immune support is becoming a mainstay of natural therapies. Antioxidants and herbs can help. Immunotherapy can be effective.

Before I flood my dog with pharmaceuticals, I always ask myself whether there is a more natural way.

Source article:
How to Tackle Pet Skin Disorders With Holistic Care

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Primer on Myasthenia Gravis

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

Myasthenia gravis is a disease of the nervous system that occurs in dogs and (rarely) cats. 

Myasthenia gravis in dogs can be present at birth (ie, congenital), but is usually acquired in adult dogs.  The most commonly affected breeds include German Shepherd dogs and retrievers.  The most common cause of myasthenia gravis in dogs is an autoimmune condition in which antibodies in the blood attack receptors for a chemical called acetylcholine, which transmits nervous impulses to the muscles.

Dogs affected with myasthenia gravis typically show up with stiffness, shaking, and weakness after exercise.  

The signs usually go away with rest.  The muscles in the head and throat may also be affected, leading to a slack appearance in the face and difficulty swallowing.  Some dogs will spit up their food and may even aspirate some into the wind pipe, which can cause pneumonia.

Diagnosis is based on signs of illness and several clinical tests.  Your veterinarian may give your dog a shot of a chemical similar to acetylcholine, to see if signs resolve.  A positive response to this test is suggestive of myasthenia gravis, but a definite diagnosis of acquired disease involves checking for specific antibodies in the blood.  Diagnosis of congenital cases requires a muscle biopsy.

Treatment involves daily administration of drugs that replace the missing acetylcholine.  

Your vet may also prescribe high doses of corticosteroids to suppress the autoimmune response.  Prognosis is generally good, with many cases clearing up on their own.  Dogs that develop pneumonia do not tend to do as well.


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, September 20, 2016

Cookie's PRP Treatment for Partial Cruciate (CCL/ACL) Tear and Leg Circumference

Jasmine's vet always said that up to 25% of favoring of a leg is invisible to a human eye. This means that your dog might not be using their legs equally without you having a clue.

That's where measuring circumference comes in.

It is one of the objective measures to assess how the legs are truly used. Substantial muscle loss one one side can be readily apparent but smaller differences aren't something one can just see.

At the last evaluation, we were very happy to learn that both Cookie's knees felt stable and that there was no swelling and no thickening.

Swelling would have meant that the joint is inflamed and unhappy. Thickening would have meant that the joint did stabilize itself by forming scar tissue. That's what happens if the knee heals in spite of the ligament being dysfunctional.

No thickening indicates that the ligament did indeed heal.

However, through that whole time, Cookie's muscle mass on the hind legs was not equal. The difference became smaller but it was still there. Meaning the legs were still not equally used. Why?

Considering that Cookie's hind end has had a number of other challenges, as well as one of her hind legs is shorter than the other, was a possible explanation. It could also have been from Cookie simply not trusting the leg enough.

Every time there is any imbalance, though, other parts of the body end up paying for it.

I was very happy to learn that on her last physio appointment, the circumference of both Cookie's hind legs is now equal.

Her physical therapist also said it was the first time she saw Cookie do a functional sit and stand.

Functional sit is the "tuck sit" when a dog pulls their feet in under their pelvis as opposed to just slumping down.  A functional stand is to push up with the back legs, not the back and forelimbs.

I feel there are still things to work on but lately, it's been all a series of good news.

I am very glad that we decided to try the platelet-rich plasma instead of jumping to surgery. We'll continue working on getting Cookie to tip top shape and hoping that we can keep her there.

Related articles:
From The End Of A Lead Line To Casa Jasmine: Meet Cookie, Our New Adoptee
And So It Begins Again(?) Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie 
I Didn't Know I Could Fly: Why Cookie Wears A Harness Instead Of A Collar
C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Chews For Dogs CAN Be A Choking Hazzard 
Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie: The Knee Or The Foot?
Creative Solutions And An Incidental Product Review
Too Young For Pot: Cookie's Snack With A Side Of Hydrogen Peroxide  
Taming Of The Wild Beast: Cookie's Transition To Civilization  
Staying On Top Of The Ears: Cookie Is Not Impressed  
Putting The Easy Back Into Walking
Cookie's Ears Are Still Not Happy 
The Threat Of The Bulge Is Always Lurking 
Today Is Cookie's Three-Months Adoptoversary  
Cookie Meets The Electric Horse Fence And Her First Chiropractic Adjustment  
Why Examine Your Dog's Vomit? 
Why Is That Leg Still Not Happy? Cookie's Leg Keeps Getting Sore 
Cookie Too Is Insured With Trupanion
Does Being Insured Mean Being Covered? Our First Claim With Trupanion
Is Cookie's Leg Finally Getting Better?
Is Cookie Going To Be Another Medical Challenge Or Are We Looking To Closely? 
The Project That Is Cookie: Pancreatitis Up Close And Personal  
Pancreatitis: Cookie’s Blood Work   
Another Belly Upset: Pancreatitis Again Or Not?  
Happy Birthday, Cookie 
Incontinence? Cookie's Mysterious Leaks 
Who's Training Whom? Stick And Treat 
Don't Just Stand There, Do Something? Cookie's Mysterious Bumps 
Cookie's Mysterious Bumps Update
One Vomit, No Vomit 
Happy One-Year Adoptoversary, Cookie!
Cookie's Leaks Are Back: Garden Variety Incontinence Or Not?
Cookie's Leaks Update 
Don't Panic, Don't Panic: Know What Your Job Is 
The Continuing Saga Of Cookie's Leeks: Trying Chiropractic Approach 
Cookie's Minor Eye Irritation
Regular Wellness Exam: Cookie's ALT Was Elevated 
Cookie's Plantar Paw Pad Injury 
How Far To Take It When The Dog Isn't Sick?
Cookie Has Tapeworm Infection 
Cookie's Elevated ALT: The Ultrasound and Cytology  
Cookie's ALT Update
The Importance of Observation: Cookie's Chiropractic Adjustment
Sometimes You Don't Even Know What You're Looking at: Cookie's Scary "We Have No Idea What that Was" 
Living with an Incontinent Dog 
Summer Dangers: Cookie Gets Stung by a Bald-faced Hornet 
To Breathe or Not To Breathe: Cookie's Hind Legs Transiently Fail to Work (Again)
Figuring out What Might Be Going on with Cookie's Legs: The Process 
Figuring out What Might Be Going on with Cookie's Legs: The Diagnosis 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Trazodone  
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Other Medications 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Laser, Hydrotherapy and Chiropractic 
Cookie's Recovery from Iliopsoas Injury: ToeGrips 
It Never Rains ... Cookie's New Injury 
Mixed Emotions: When What You Should Do Might Not Be What You Should Do for Your Dog 
Cookie's New Injury Update 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury: The Symptoms 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury: Battling the Zoomies 
Cookie's Muscle Injuries: What Else Is Going On?
Theory and Actual Decisions for an Actual Dog Aren't the Same Thing: Cookie's Knee Injury
Does Your Vet Listen to You? Cookie's Post-Sedation Complications
Would I Ever Treat a Symptom Directly? 
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment for Cookie's Bad Knee(s)
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) for Cookie's Bad Cruciate Update 
Injury or Surgery Recovery: Mishaps versus Setbacks 
See Something, Do Something: Cookie's Lumpectomy 
Cookie's Lumpectomy Update 
Using Pressure Pads to Evaluate Lameness in Dogs: My Observations
Cookie's Musculoskeletal Challenges: What Supplements Am I Using?
Cookie's Musculoskeletal Challenges: Restricted Activity and Weight Management
Cookie's PRP Treatment for Partial Cruciate Tear: Update
Has Your Dog's Physical Therapist Taken Dog Training Classes? 
Cookie's PRP Treatment for Partial Cruciate Tear Update and Considering the Future

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, September 19, 2016

Adoption Monday: Val, Cane Corso Mastiff, Toronto, ON

Val is a 2yr old Cane for so that was dumped in a shelter because her owners could not afford her eye surgery. Since then she has had both cherry eyes fixed, been spayed, micro chipped and is it to date on vaccines.

Val is a very affectionate girl but needs a strong leader with breed experience e that will show her the ropes through positive reinforcement training. Val does like some other dogs but she is a bossy girl and likes to say what goes on in her home and yard when other dogs are present. She would do best in a home where the attention is training is all hers.

If Val is the girl you've been looking for please visit our website and fill out an adoption application.


ANML-RESQ is a dedicated group of volunteers looking out for the 4-legged creatures we share this world with. Their goal is to save a dog or cat from being euthanized in a shelter, through no fault of their own - just in the wrong place at the wrong time. If they don't have a foster home available they will work with other reputable organizations to find a place.

ANML-RESQ relies solely on donations and fundraisers to spay/neuter, vaccinate and microchip their pets prior to adoption.  They don't even use funds for gas to transport the pets in their program to their new homes!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Hypothyroidism, Nosebleeds, and more ...

What To Do To Help A Dog Hit By A Car

Dr. Andy Roark/Cone of Shame

If your dog gets hit by a car, see a vet. Period. It doesn't matter they they seem fine. Much damage can have happened internally which you won't see until it might be too late. Of course, the best treatment is prevention. Dr. Roark has a fantastic list of tips and advice of what to do should this ever happen to your dog.

The Tissue -Pathies of Hypothyroidism and the Controversy

Dr. Jean Dodds/Dr. Jean Dodds' Pet Health Resource Blog

I admit the title is as creative as it it confusing. It took my a while to figure it out. Since I honor the original titles of the articles I feature, I am not going to change it but I feel it begs for explanation.

In my series on veterinary prefixes and suffixes, I also defined -pathy.

As in neuropathy, cardiomyopathy, myelopathy ... the suffix indicates disease. It doesn't really identify it any further. So neuropathy is a nerve disease, myopathy is a disease of muscle(s), myelopathy is a disease of the spinal cord ...

In her article Dr. Dodds explains disease of the thyroid and related diseases. Because of the important function of the thyroid hormones, in her article Dr. Dodds explains how other tissues can get diseased as a result. I know what dysfunctional thyroid did to Jasmine's body. When Cookie started having her musculoskeletal problems, thyroid was one of the things the function of which I wanted to test. I'd also want to test thyroid function if my dog had skin issues and a number of other problems.

The thyroid hormones regulate cellular metabolism - conversion of oxygen and calories to energy. Every cell in the body is like a tiny factory. Can a factory function without energy? Nope. And if individual cells cannot do their job, the organ cannot do its job. And if the organs cannot do their job, the body cannot function properly.

The main take away is to remember that your dog has thyroid glands with an important job. If you're dealing with medical issues described in Dr. Dodds' article, don't forget to have the thyroid checked.

Nosebleeds in Dogs & Cats – What Do They Mean?!

Dr. Christopher Byers/CriticalCareDVM

Nosebleeds in dogs are often often scary news and not just because they can get very messy.

Dogs don't get nose bleeds as easily as people do. One thing to understand that just like vomiting or diarrhea, nose bleed is not a disease in itself. It is a result of one. Things that can result in nose bleeds are trauma, bleeding disorders, foreign objects, infections, parasites, cancer and number of other causes.

Like with many other things, to treat a nose bleed effectively, the cause needs to be determined. You might not need to run to a vet with one minor nose bleed. But with repeat or profuse bleeding, I'd be on my way.