Saturday, July 23, 2016

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Body Condition Score, Superfoods, and more ...

What is Your Pet’s Body Condition Score?
Dr. Nancy Kay/Spot Speak

Here we are, talking about body weight and condition again. As tired of hearing about this as you might be, this is too important to let off. Way too many dogs are either overweight or obese. It shortens their life span, it contributes to disease and pain, it diminishes quality of life.

Whether your dog is overweight or not does not depend strictly on weight only. Weight does provide some information but it's important to remember that how much a dog should way can be hard to determine in itself. It is the proportion of muscle to fat that helps to make sense of things.

To illustrate what this means, let's take a look at something we can all understand. How much do you think Jason Statham weighs? 185 lbs. Ideal body weight for 5' 10" male is 149-183 lbs. That puts Jason Statham right up there, doesn't it? But what does that mean?  I mean, seriously, have you seen the guy?

That's where the body condition scoring comes in play. It's not just about weight alone but what it consists of. Muscle or fat?

Because of his hips, we're keeping JD just below optimal. With all her exercise restrictions, she actually gained some fat but we got her back to about optimal now and working on getting here where JD's at.

How Important is Paw Friction to Dog Traction?
Dr. Julie Buzby/

Apart from potential ice in the winter, or the odd slick rock, how many slippery surfaces do you find in nature? And yet, our civilized environments are full of them. It's nice to have lovely hardwood or tile floors. It looks great; it's easy to clean, and if you're allergic it's better for you. But what do our dogs think of such surfaces? There are plenty of "funny" videos featuring dogs slipping on such surfaces. Do you find it funny? I do not. Now, there are some who learned to take advantage of the slick properties and have some fun with it sliding on purpose. But it is not safe and dogs are not made to deal with it. A healthy young dog can compensate, but even they can slip or fall when rushing around the corner excited their mom or dad came home.

I can tell you, that when Cookie came to us, she had no experience with any man-made surfaces at all and was slipping even on cement tiles!

What about dogs who are older whose muscles aren't that strong, have joint or other mobility issues? When Jasmine came home after her hyperthermia horror, she could barely hold herself up at all. We plastered all the floors with rugs. But she was able to find the couple inches that weren't covered and slip. She was not able to compensate for the lack of traction at all.

Is it the foot or the nails that are meant to provide traction? And what happens to how they can feel their environment through their feet when you put booties or other non-slip contraption on them? The toenails, working like cleats, are the primary traction mechanism for dogs.

Read Dr. Buzby's thoughts on the subject of dog traction in their natural environment and how it translates into helping them in our homes.

The Fab Five: Five Superfoods to Feed Your Pet
Dr. Ernie Ward, Petplan

One of the things I love about Dr. Ernie Ward is that he's an advocate of whole foods. I too believe that while nutrients are important, counting just a few isolated ones does not a wholesome diet make. Whole foods go beyond a few amino acids, vitamins and minerals. And even at that, processing destroys many of them too. I wonder what would happen if you fed anybody just a mix of select essential nutrients without all the rest of goodness that comes with wholesome ingredients. But I'd rather not find out because I believe that would produce a very unwell individual, whether human or animal.

What are Dr. Ward's top five recommended whole foods?

Friday, July 22, 2016

Veterinary Highlights: New Test for Shar-Pei Autoinflammatory Disease (SPAID)

Shar-Pei Autoinflammatory Disease (SPAID) is a nasty, spontaneously occurring disease specific to this lovely breed. It can present with fever, swollen, painful joints, ear problems and kidney failure. It has no cure or vaccine, only treatment to relief the symptoms.

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine'a AHDC and SLU, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, will now offer testing for SPAID. 

"As a health tool, alerting owners to watch their dogs carefully for signs of SPAID, and as a breeding tool, with the aim of reducing the presence of SPAID in the worldwide Shar-Pei population” by not breeding dogs at high risk for SPAID."

Source article:
New test for Shar-Pei breed: Cornell's AHDC first in nation to provide the diagnostic

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: Head Pressing

This is one of the things that might come across as funny, quirky or weird. Or maybe it can make you think your dog is pouting. What would you think of it if your dog started doing that?

Photo Baxter Boo

It is actually a sign of an emergency.

It's a sign of damage to the nervous system. Yep, that serious.

What kind of damage? The kind which needs immediate veterinary attention. It could be caused by a tumor, metabolic disorder, infection of the nervous system, toxicity or head trauma ... Toxicity can be from exposure to a poison, such as lead, or toxic accumulation of toxins in the body from a liver damage or liver shunt.


If your dog starts doing this, be on your way to a vet.

You can observe other symptoms along with head pressing, such as pacing, circling, seizures, vision problems, poor reflexes ...

If you found this article because your dog is doing this, drop everything and go.

Further reading:
Head Pressing 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? 
Excessive Head Shaking 
Excessive Licking
Lumps and Bumps
What Is That Limp? 
Nose Bleeds (Epistaxis)
Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: Head Tilt 
Unexplained Weight Loss
Unexplained Weight Gain  
Loss Of Appetite  
Fever (Pyrexia)
What Happens in a Dog's Body with Severe Vomiting?
Gastroenteritis is when ...  

Whats In The Urine? (Part I: What You Can Notice On Your Own)
What's In The Urine? (Part II: Urinalysis)

What’s in the Poop? (Part I - Consistency) 
What’s in the Poop? (Part II - Color) 

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 19, 2016

Limping Dog Checklist (part IV): Broken Bones

by  Krista Magnifico, DVM
See full article here

Broken bones cause significant non-weight bearing lameness and usually have considerable swelling. 

I know lots of people worry about broken bones but they are not normally seen without significant trauma like hit by car, jumping off bed, etc. They are swollen, painful and the leg often looks disfigured.

Do not touch a broken leg without a muzzle in place. 

If the bone is sticking out of the skin wrap the leg in a towel and get to a vet to help stop the bleeding.

Jana's note: Not long ago a friend went through a terrible ordeal when their dog's broken femur first didn't get diagnosed at all, and then subsequent failure to identify bone cancer as the cause of the break. The whole case was grossly mishandled. I strongly believe that bone cancer should be on the list of things to rule out with every broken bone, particularly in older dogs.

If you have a pet question, or want to share your pet knowledge, please join the free online pet information exchange network that is dedicated to helping pet parents learn about how to best care for their pets. is free to use and open to anyone who loves pets.

I can also be found at the clinic, Jarrettsville Vet, in Jarrettsville Maryland. We post our prices and fees every year and we have a wonderful Facebook page. I am also on Twitter @FreePetAdvice.

Articles by Dr. Magnifico:
Don't Make This Mistake: Ruby's Death To Heat Stroke 
Parvo: Cora's Story 
Jake's Laryngeal Paralysis
The Tip Of The Iceberg: The Unexpected Dental Dilemma
The Ear Ache That Wasn't Going Away: Tottsie's Story
Cody's Eyelid Tumor
Ruger's Mysterious Illness
The Day The Heart Stood Still: Timber's Story 
Different Definition Of Comfort Food: Levi's Story 
Savannah's Pancreatitis  
Histiocytoma: Rio's Mysterious Bump
Von Willebrand's Disease: Greta's Story 
Alice's Heart Murmur  
Jekyll Loses His Tail Mo-Jo 
Pale Gums Are An Emergency: Bailey's Story 
To Amputate Or Not To Amputate: Heidi's Story
Lessons From A Real-Life Veterinarian 
Charlie's Life Saving Lipoma Surgery  
Understanding and Diagnosing The Limping Dog, Why To Probe The Paw 
Angus' Dog Fight And The Consequences
When To Induce Vomiting And When It's Not A Good Idea  
Abby's Survived Being Run Over By Car But Sucumbed To A Mammary Tumor 
Palmer's Hemoabdomen: Nearly An Unnecessary Death Sentence
A Puppy That Doesn't Want To Eat Or Play Is An Emergency: Aurora's Story
Does Your Dog Like Chewing Sticks? Hank's Story  
Lexi's Bump 
Pyometra: Happy Ending for Pheonix 
Never Give Up: Bella's New Legs 
How Losing His Spleen Saved Buddy's Life 
Pyometra Emergency: Saving Chloe  
Limping Dog Checklist (part I): Did You Check the Toenails?
Limping Dog Checklist (part II): Did You Check between the Toes?
Limping Dog Checklist (part III): Foot Pads 

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, July 18, 2016

Adoption Monday: Osborn, Labrador Retriever, New Milford, CT

Osborn is a about two years old, sweet boy who loves to play! 

Osborn will need some basic obedience and can get a bit over excited! He is a bit of a rough player but usually does well with other dogs.

Osborn would like a home that will give him lots of loving and play time!

For more information on Osborn, call AWS at 860-354-1350 email


The Animal Welfare Society of New Milford, is an independent, non-profit, non-destroy organization founded in 1965. Our mission is to aid and find loving homes for abandoned and abused cats and dogs in New Milford, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Roxbury and Washington, Connecticut.

We maintain our own shelter housing 80 cats and 20 dogs (and the occasional rabbit) and place approximately 350 animals each year.

The shelter is supported by the generosity of private individuals and local businesses, dues from our annual Membership Drive and special fundraising events held throughout the year. If you are interested in donating or purchasing an item from our shelter wishlist, please visit the you can help page of our website.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Anybody Can Complain But How about Educating Instead? #vetmedcommunicationfail

There are couple threads I follow on Twitter, which are dedicated to pitfalls of working in a veterinary clinic. Some of the posts are funny. The rest of them make me sad.

I can fully appreciate the frustrations vets and vet technicians go through daily. Many people don't know what the heck they're doing, and many just don't want to do anything but look for excuses. I get that. As I'm trying to help people out on my group or, I pull my hair out regularly.

I have to say I'm glad I'm not a client in either of those clinics.

At least I hope I'm not, because the threads belong to individuals who didn’t identify where they work.. Which makes sense.. Reading all those posts, it often makes me feel bad for the offending owners. Maybe they just really don't know better.

That begs the question, who should educate them?

They don't teach you anything at school. Heck, they don't even teach kids how to act around dogs, let alone how to take care of them. Dog ownership doesn't come with a manual. You can research and buy some books ... but how many people would even think of doing that?

Ignorance is not an excuse.

But people are what they are. Perhaps a little help would go a long way. If an owner doesn't know how to recognize an emergency, who should have taught them?

Have you ever came to a clinic a walked out with a little pamphlet or another resource to learn such basic things from? I haven't. All I've learned I did on my own. But how many people can be expected to go to such lengths? Realistically?

So who should help make people better dog owners?

Judgement doesn't change the world, education does. How about less complaining and more educating? I know that not all of it will fall on a fertile ground. But some of it will.

Other people's ignorance shouldn't be an excuse either.

Just saying ... You can't win them all, but you win some. Maybe even most. If not for the sake of the owners, do it for the sake of the dogs.

Rant over.
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