Friday, June 24, 2016

Veterinary Highlights: Low-Dose Radiography

IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. announced the ImageVue™ DR50 Digital Imaging System which has the ability to use 40 to 50 percent less radiation with the same results.

Same quality, same detail and less radiation? Count me in.

When it comes to radiation, less is always better. This might be more important to veterinary professionals who are using such equipment all the time, but I think even dogs benefit. And since I love our vets and vet techs, I'd be happy to see them safer a well.

Source article:
IDEXX Launches Low-Dose Radiography System

Thursday, June 23, 2016

What Treats Do Our Dogs Get?

When it comes to feeding my dogs I fall into the category of "foodies", people focused on (or obsessed with) high quality nutrition. Our dogs do eat better than we do and I only give them what I consider the best.

What about treats?

Some people feel strongly about dogs not needing treats. I am not one of them. I use treats generously. I use them in training, behavior modification and sometimes just because. After dinner, we get a dessert and our dogs get a dessert also. They look forward to it. I think it's perfectly fine as long as they are healthy treats.

There are many great options for healthy treats for dogs.

Veggies are certainly one of them. But our guys are not very fussy on that. They'll accept veggies as part of a meal but not as a treat. Every now and then they enjoy chewing on a carrot, cabbage or cauliflower core, frozen broccoli ... but if I tried to pass that as treats I wouldn't get very far.

I admit I am yet to try cooking up some flavored veggies. I have to try that one of these days.

If your dog accepts veggies as treats, you're lucky.

Where is the bacon?

As it were, the only thing that passes as treats with my dog has to be made of meat. No, I don't give them bacon except the odd morsel every once in a blue moon. They love it. But pancreatitis is something I rather avoid. Even when Cookie did get pancreatitis it had nothing to do with fat, I prefer to play it safe. Plus there are other issues with bacon beside the fat content.

I only use lean meats for treats.

Since right now we're trying to get Cookie to lose some more weight, I opt for cooked over dehydrated. Meats I like using for treats are lean beef, lean pork, variety of organ meats ... presently I'm mostly using poultry breast and organ meats because they contain less calories per volume than beef or pork does.

Typically I slow cook it, though the guys certainly enjoy them barbecued. When I'm not counting calories, we make our own jerky from any of the listed ingredients.

I don't make cookies.

For one thing I'm not the baking type and I also prefer avoiding carbs. I baked salmon cookies only when I needed some really smelly attractive treats for Cookie's classes.

I typically make my own Kong stuffing. Sometimes I stuff the Kong with cream cheese or peanut butter. I use peanuts only peanut butter.

Cookie gets raw goat's milk but as food, not as a treat.

I give raw bones as snacks.

JD isn't into that; he'll just walk around with it, dropping it, picking it up but not eating it. Cookie, however, loves them. She gets turkey necks, chicken feet ... edible, raw bones. She loves that. I give large meaty bones as well, I suppose that in a way they qualify as treat as well though I mostly give it for their entertainment value and what they do for oral health.

There is only one type of commercial dog treats I buy.

Sometimes it's just easy and convenient not having to make the treats. The only product I buy is Benny Bullys Liver Chops. I discovered these because all of our vets are using them. They are made from a single ingredient - beef liver, freeze dried, low in calories, easy to store and easy to use.

What treats do you give your dog?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Cookie's PRP Treatment for Partial Cruciate Tear: Update

It's been about three months since Cookie got her platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment for her partial cruciate tear(s). We knew that it wasn't a sure-fire option and the success depended on the degree and type of tear, stability of the knee(s) and other factors.

We knew that it might not work going in. However, it made sense to us to give this a try.

The odds were reasonable and, more importantly, there is not downside to the treatment. The entire time we were very careful about what we allow Cookie do, making sure that she rebuilds her strength and stamina gradually. Cookie has gone through intensive physical therapy to give the treatment the best chance.

Three times through that period we thought that the ligament might have failed.

Cookie would suddenly start favoring the hind left leg and might heart would sink. Each time, though, everything looked fine the next day and neither of those times a problem with the knee was found.

This confirms the reports from her physical therapist.

Last Saturday Cookie went to see Jasmine's vet, who did the treatment for her, for evaluation. He was asking about how Cookie was doing and how much credit we though the PRP should get. I figured that the best way to find out where were are at with those knees would be him getting his hands on her once again.

The news is good!

He examined her thoroughly and said there wasn't much she was telling him. He found no myofascial trigger points and he found both stifles stable with no thickening or joint fluid effusion.

We are now going increase the intensity of her exercise. By now she gets to trot all she wants and we are introducing controlled running. Mommy is going to be in excellent shape.

A month or two of working her up to her normal activity level so her body is ready for it.

After that, there will be the first time we'll let her of leash. We'll go for a long walk first and then pick the safest area and hope for the best. She might just get busy looking for mice or she might lose it realizing she's free once again. I hope she'll just get busy looking for mice.

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

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, June 20, 2016

Adoption Monday: Briar, Treeing Walker Coonhound, Southington, CT

Briar is a very handsome 18 month old tricolored Walker Hound who weighs 50 lbs.

Briar is quickly learning all the wonderful things there are in life when you are loved and cared for. 

He was hesitant about being in the house initially, obviously something very new to our sweet boy. Now he 'laughs' all the way to his favorite spot in the living room where he contentedly takes a well deserved nap.

Briar has had only one accident since being in foster and that was his first night, Foster mom says it wasn't even his fault, he tried to tell her but she didn't understand what he was saying. Now that he has learned the doggy door there is no need to wait for anyone to let him out. Foster mom does say that he may need some additional training if he goes to a home without a doggy door but it would just be a matter of learning his cues and getting on a good schedule.

Briar is an early riser and will happily entertain himself by going out to run and play. 

Foster mom says he does love the company of other dogs to play with as well so he is pretty versatile. Briar has the kind of loving demeanor that invites all to lavish him with an abundance of affection.... which he happily accepts. Our goofy boy is a hoot to watch run around bouncing and leaping a bit clumsily as he tries to maneuver around with those long gangly legs. He adores the seven year old boy who lives at the house. Foster mom does however suggest older sturdy children who can handle the occasional accidental run in (like we said, he can be kind of clumsy at play). Our precious guy pleasantly surprised with his very good leash manners, very little pulling and easily corrected. We can't help but think that with those long legs and some training, he just might make a pretty good running partner.

Briar is about as gentle and easy going as they come.

 As far as cats are concerned he would likely be fine with an indoor cat but would probably enjoy the chase if outside. He doesn't show any aptitude to having anything less than a sweet loving nature. He has been crated for a few hours during the work day, no more than 5 or 6 hours though. Crating is not his favorite thing and he will howl about it but will settle in after a bit.

Briar is already neutered, up to date on all vaccinations, and current on preventatives. He has come a long way in a short period of time and only gets better and better with each passing day and new adventures to enjoy.

Just imagine how happy you would be if you and Briar shared the same forever loving 'laughing' place.


Best Friends For Life is a privately run, 501 c3 non profit organization, privately funded NO KILL dog rescue. They operate on a strictly volunteer basis out of foster homes.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: An Eye on Eyes, Foxtails, and more ...

Why Is This Single Organ One of the Hardest Hit Disease Locations?
Dr. Karen Becker/Mercola Healthy Pets

Did you know that out of 26 Biggest Health Conditions that Plague Dogs compiled by PetBreeds, 9 of them involve the eyes? And that's from a list that includes hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, bloat, seizures, allergies and other common health issues. Nine. Are we paying enough attention to our dogs' eyes?

Read Dr. Becker's article to learn about the common eye problems.

Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS) – Dry Eye in Dogs
Dr. Christopher G. Byers/Critical Care DVM

Having issues with dry eyes myself, I can commiserate. At the very least it is very unpleasant. But it can also lead to ulceration and infection and potentially mess with vision.

It is one of the most common eye disorders in dogs. There are a number of causes that can be behind this issue, starting with genetics, immune-mediated disease and ending with being idiopathic. Diagnosing the condition itself is quite straightforward. There are medical treatment options but some dogs do require surgery.

Breathing Difficulties in Dogs

Difficulty breathing is always an emergency. It's very scary for the human and I imagine for the dog as well and it can be life-threatening. If your dog is having hard time breathing, be on your way to a vet. Love is not all you need, you also need oxygen. And so does your dog.

Foxtails – A pain in the... everywhere
Jason Nicholas/Preventive Vet

Check out how much damage a foxtail can do. Photo Reshareworthy

This is not the first time I'm highlighting foxtails. However negligible this problem seems it is not. You might think, well, it's just grass awns, how much damage could they do? Unfortunately, a lot.
Grass seeds are designed to do one thing – to burrow.
And that is what makes them so dangerous. Foxtails can cause excruciating pain, infections, they can even work their way through your dog's body to vital organs. If your dog starts behaving strangely and might have been exposed to foxtails, do see a vet.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Veterinary Highlights: Cannabis and Cancer

Cannabis for dogs has been on the radar for some time now. It's also been a source of quite a controversy. Good idea? Bad idea?

For me it was like with many such things - if I ran out of good options, I'd try it.

Just a little while ago I saw a blog post promoting dog treats with cannabidiol (CBD). It's supposed to be great for many issues, including anxiety ... Well, I don't know about that, but again, if my dog was suffering from extreme anxiety ... who knows.

Cannabis continues being studied as a treatment for various cancers.

The evidence supporting pros and cons of such use is growing. When it comes to cancer, cannabinoids inhibit tumor growth, block the grown of blood vessels to feed the tumor as well as they promote natural cell death. They even have the potential the lower the likelihood of metastasis.  Who knows, perhaps there is a place for the use of cannabis in veterinary medicine.

Given that no effective treatment is without side effects, why not give cannabis a chance?

We shall see where the evidence leads us.

Source article:
Cannabis for Brain Tumors?
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