Monday, November 30, 2015

Adoption Monday: Blaze, Labrador Retriever Mix: Deerfield, NH

Check out this awesome boy at Mary's Dogs Rescue and Adoption!

All Blaze wants for Christmas is a family to snuggle up with him.

That would make his little tail waggle.

Blaze is an adorable 4 month old lab mix that makes friends very easily, loves to play, and is ready for big adventures. Maybe even playing in the snow!

If you are ready for an outgoing pup that is full of love and tail-wags, contact Mary’s Dogs and ask for Blaze!

Blaze is house trained, neutered and current on vaccinations.


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.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

DIY: Donna Hill's Tip for Leg Wraps to Prevent Licking and Chewing of Wounds on Front Legs

With JD, we managed with a bottomless sock. I think it worked about as well as anything else. We used vet wrap to hold it in place. More on JD's wound care here.

Cone of shame was a complete fail with JD, not just because he hated it
but also because the wound is so far down he could just stick his leg into the cone.
For his wound, cut-off top part of a sock worked just fine.

Donna's solution is awesome too, though, and her video includes techniques of getting your dog used to the idea. We considered similar idea as well but since the sock was doing the job, we stuck with that solution.


Donna Hill, Donna Hill B.Sc. B.Ed., has a degree in zoology and a teaching degree. She has 20 years experience in adult and child education and enjoyed teaching people how to observe animals in nature as a nature interpreter, field biologist and train-the-trainer for presentation skills and now applies her knowledge and skills to help people and their dogs. She helps people with disabilities to train their own service dogs and has experience working with autistic and developmentally delayed teens. She uses plain English to explain what you are doing and why and also provides analogies you can relate to. She was also a Girl Guide and earned the highest honor as well as worked in the Tourism industry as a information counselor. She loves to share key information with people!

Visit her blog at Online Clicker Training Tutorials & Coaching.

Check out her two Youtube channels supernaturalbc2009 and supernatural 2008 for more awesome videos. Her motto is "Yard by Yard, Life is hard. Inch by Inch, It's a Cinch!" Break everything down into it's simplest parts and it's achievable!

Don't forget to visit Donna's FB group Observation Skills for Training Dogs or connect with Donna on Twitter.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Treating Vomiting at Home, GI Foreign Objects, and more ...

GI Foreign Objects – A Big Pain in the Gut
Dr. Christopher Byers/CriticalCareDVM

Ah, yes, foreign objects. One of the main reasons we got health insurance for JD. Often he'd come home from the farm and throw up a bunch of sticks, hay and horse poop the next morning. And he wouldn't stop there. Surgery to remove a foreign object was high on the list of health risks with him.

Jasmine generally only munched on things generally eatable, such as horse poop and a little bit of grass. Only when she was little she once swallowed a sock by accident. She didn't mean to eat it, she was hiding it in her mouth from a pestering dog. Further and further until it made its way all the way down. I didn't even know that happened, I thought she got tired of hiding it and just left it somewhere so she could play with the dog. It wasn't until she threw it up when I remembered where it came from.

Cookie is learning to discriminate but she ate her share of rocks and other non-food things. She's getting much better at it, particularly since we made it a game. She can chew and shred things as much as she likes, but has to spit out the pieces. Then she immediately gets a treat as a replacement. She likes the game.

X-ray of foreign object in the stomach.
Photo criticalcaredvm

The variety of things dogs eat or swallow is quite amazing; there is even a annual competition for the weirdest or craziest things animals ate in the past year.

Depending on the size and type of object, sometimes they just come out on their own, on one end or the other. Sometimes, though, they can cause big trouble. In ideal world, dogs would not eat things that are not meant to be eater. We can do our best managing their environment to prevent as much of that as possible. But when it does happen, find out when you should worry. Sometimes foreign objects can cause a life-threatening situation.

When Your Dog's Panting Might Mean Trouble
Dr. Karen Becker/Mercola Healthy pets

I have already written on excessive panting in the past. Recognizing and understanding your dog's symptoms is one of the most important jobs of a dog parent.

Some of the causes of excessive panting are self-explanatory but it doesn't make them any less of the problem. Such as excessive panting from overheating, which can lead to heatstroke. Obesity or breed predisposition can make a dog's life quite miserable. Just imaging struggling for every breath every day of your entire life.

Pain is quite a common, and usually underappreciated, cause of panting.

Heart or lung disease, Cushing's disease, anemia, anxiety or stress, these are all things that can lead to increased panting. None of those are good things. If your dog starts panting more than usual, without an obvious reason such as he just chased a bunny or is excited to see you, do take it seriously.

Client Handouts: Pain Management for Dogs and Cats
American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)

Speaking of pain, AAHA as published a great client handout, listing sings of pain as well as treatment suggestions.

Signs pain can range from changes in vocalizations, facial expressions, posture, activity level, daily habits and changes in behavior. Please make pain a high suspect behind any changes that you might observe in your dog.

A Guide for Using Diet to Treat Vomiting in Dogs
Dr. Jennifer Coates, petMD

Dogs are build to vomit and when it happens once or twice because the stomach is trying to purge something that didn't agree with it, it can be a perfectly normal and natural thing.

When Cookie ate a whole partridge, including most of the feathers, and then started heaving, I figured the whole thing was coming back out. I was quite surprised and amazed that she threw up only the feathers and a bit of a gut and the rest stayed in. Who would have thought that her stomach could be so smart?

Unless something really suspicious comes out, or there is the potential my dog got into something toxic, my rule of thumb is one vomit, no vomit.

If a dog starts vomiting, the main question to figure out the answer to is how sick your dog is and how much danger are they in. That depends on their age, general health and other warning signs.

If your dog is a healthy adult and seems perfectly normal otherwise, you might try to help them out yourself. Such as when Cookie threw up the partridge refuse, she didn't even need help at all. The stomach dumped what it didn't want and all was well.

In any other situation, though, or when in doubt, see or at least call your vet.

Find out when and what to do in Dr. Coates' article.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Veterinary Highlights: Vaccine for H3N2 Influenza Virus Available

This Spring, new strain of canine flu, that has originated in Asia, has made its way to American continent. With dogs' immune systems unprepared, many dogs got sick, some of them died.

Existing canine flu vaccines haven't been shown effective.

This month, USDA has issued a conditional product license for Merck Animal Health's H3N2 Canine Influenza Virus vaccine.

We live in a remote area where risk of exposure is low. We're not going to rush to get our dogs vaccinated, also because the vaccine is very new.

If we lived in high populated area, though, I'd be happy to know that it is available now.

Source article:
New Canine Influenza Virus vaccine for H3N2 available

Related articles:
Canine Influenza Outbreak
Blood Test for the New Dog Flu (H3N2) Available

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Primer on Diaphragmatic Hernia

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

The diaphragm is a muscular partition that separates the abdomen and the chest. A tear in this thin muscle is called a diaphragmatic hernia or rupture.

The most common cause of diaphragmatic hernia is blunt trauma, such as being hit by a car or falling from a high place.  

A congenital diaphragmatic hernia that results from defective development of the fetus is seen in puppies.

Once the diaphragm is torn, abdominal contents are able to enter the chest cavity.  

This compresses the lungs and prevents them from fully inflating, causing respiratory distress.  The abdominal contents can also press against the heart and cause abnormal heart rhythms.  Fluid can leak into the chest cavity, further worsening heart and lung function.

Signs depend on the size of the tear and the amount of abdominal contents that move up into the chest cavity. 

With small tears and most congenital hernias, there may be no obvious signs.  However, in most cases, the dog may have some breathing difficulties, especially during stress or exercise, and mild gastrointestinal upset.  In severe cases, the dog may have much more trouble breathing and abnormal heart rhythms.

Diagnosis is based on history, physical examination, and x-rays.  Sometimes, ultrasound or special x-ray dye studies are needed.

Treatment requires surgical repair. In cases of recent trauma, the dog must be stabilized before the hernia can be corrected.  Prognosis after surgery is initially guarded because of the seriousness of the operation and the risk of complications.

Congenital hernias in females are often discovered and repaired when the dog is spayed.


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, November 24, 2015

Figuring out What Might Be Going on with Cookie's Legs: The Diagnosis

Most of the sinister reasons why Cookie's legs weren't working the way they should were more or less ruled out. We were awaiting the appointment with orthopedic specialist hoping that we'll get some definite answer(s).

Cookie in pursuit of a chipmunk

The specialist examined Cookie thoroughly.

She translated our description of the events as Cookie not being able to get her hind legs under her. In retrospective, that could be a good way to describe it. It is important from diagnostic point of view.

In physical examination, both iliopsoas muscles were sensitive touch and particularly to stretching Cookie's hind legs backward.

On that note, the stretching of the legs was causing Cookie enough pain to cry, yet the vet went on doing what she was doing.

I was taken aback and didn't really know what to do about it as it wasn't clear whether it was or was not necessary for the diagnosis. I stood there, screaming inside, praying it's over sooner rather than later. The vet finished just when I was going to make her stop.

Knowing now what the diagnosis is, I DO NOT feel it was necessary. Jasmine's vet diagnosed the same type of injury on Jasmine without causing any pain whatsoever.

I will not allows this to happen ever again, that's for sure.

I asked around and apparently such things happen often with orthopedic surgeons. I don't find it acceptable. Jasmine's vet is not a specialist but is able to diagnose things just by feeling the resistance and subtle signs of pain. He never made Jasmine cry no matter what he was diagnosis, except when her neck was bad and she cried even when nobody was touching her.

I feel I failed Cookie by having allowed that.

In retrospective, if we just made the trip back South to see Jasmine's vet we could have had the diagnosis without causing pain to Cookie. Next time we should probably just do that.

Besides that, the specialist did a rectal exam to feel for pain in lumbosacral spine, fortunately there was no pain there other than the obvious pain in the butt. There were no signs of any back pain, no neurologic deficits in any of Cookie's limbs and no issues with her joints. All joints checked out. Those were all good news.

The diagnoses was suspected bilateral iliopsoas injury.

She used the term suspected because I guess MRI would be needed to confirm that conclusively.

She said Cookie was going to have be on strict rest for one to three months. Whoa. Cookie is a dog who needs three hours of exercise and play daily. Because we did feel she should be taking a bit easier since the last event, we cut down to two hours and she was already bouncing off the walls at that! I expressed to the specialist than this was not going happen unless Cookie was sedated.

It didn't seem to surprise her much and she recommended a medication to use for that.

I will write about the medication later. I avoid using drugs for my dogs with all my might but I knew that without some chemical help Cookie was going to be frustrated, miserable, depressed and out of control--complete danger to herself. She needed help to remain at peace with the sudden lack of activity because the main part of her treatment was to be strict rest.

I also agreed on short-term NSAIDs until we were going to work out an integrative approach with Cookies primary vet.

The specialist agreed that it will be good to continue with Cookie's regular chiropractic treatments.

Typically, iliopsoas injuries come secondary to another orthopedic problem. In Cookie's case this would be the situation at her pelvic region.

She recommended a physiotherapy consult which we had already all planned. I was very happy to find out that by leaving our old place we didn't leave the possibility of hydrotherapy. There is a place up here, at reasonable distance, which does physical therapy and has underwater treadmill. It's about an hour and a half drive each way but that's not really that much further from how far we normally travel(ed) to any of our vets.

The diagnosis made sense to me. The needed treatment--strict rest, nearly broke my heart for Cookie.

But we gotta do what we gotta do to get her back to doing what she loves.

Cookie's primary vet was kind of surprised by the diagnosis, unfamiliar with this issue. That's not too strange, many vets are not familiar with this and it's rarely diagnosed. Rarely diagnosed, though, doesn't mean a rare condition.

The specialist is quite confident that not only the physical exam but the presentation match this diagnosis quite well.

Thinking about it armed with this knowledge it is adding up.

What the heck are iliopsoas muscles?

I've looked at tons of picture but all of them make it hard to really picture how the muscle goes.
This genius depiction by keeps the illustration very simple and awesome.

Iliopsoas muscles are also referred to as hip flexors or groin muscles. Their main function is to flex the thigh at hip joint. In other words, they work when the leg moves forward toward the body. Which would explain why with this injury Cookie would have a hard time getting her legs under her.

There isn't much good literature on this type of injury in dogs.

But Jasmine's vet is familiar with it, and through Jasmine so were we.

This injury is most typical in sporting and working dogs. But Cookie works at least as hard as an agility dog, probably harder, particularly given the terrain she runs through. Overall, it's all adding up to this diagnosis.

So that's what we're working with now.

Further reading:
Iliopsoas Muscle Injury in Dogs

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

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!
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