Saturday, November 14, 2015

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Antifreeze Poisoning, What Vets Don't Like about ER Clinics, and more ...

Alternative Remedies for Your Pet's Joint Pain
Dr. Ken Tudor/petMD

I like using alternative remedies wherever I can. There is time and place for heavy-duty drugs but often alternative remedies and treatments can do a very good job. With Jasmine in particular, who couldn't have NSAIDs and had issues with other drugs also, alternative options were our only choice. We had very good results with them.

What remedies does Dr. Tudor recommend? Herbs, such as turmeric and boswellia, therapeutic oils and cold laser therapy.

We did use cold laser therapy, as well as hydrotherapy, physical therapy and acupuncture. In our case, we used Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) herbs but turmeric or boswellia are great also.

A Rare But Devastating Complication of Orthopedic Surgery in Dogs
Dr. Jennifer Coates/petMD

When we were making a decision of what we felt was the best treatment for Jasmine's partially torn cruciate ligament(s), we considered every option out there, including surgery versus conservative management, stifle brace, prolotherapy and stem cell therapy. We finally decided to try stem cell therapy. But other medical issues cropped up, and abdominal surgery was needed and by the time Jasmine would had been ready for her stem cell treatment, the ligament got fully torn.

At that point the consensus was that surgical repair was the best thing to do for her. There was still a decision to be made about which surgery to choose. We decided for "traditional" suture method. This option isn't favored for large dogs and it does has its cons, particularly longer, more vulnerable post-op rehabilitation. However, the worst complication to contend with would be a suture failure, which would really just leave us back where we started. Compared with relatively rare but more substantial complications with TPLO and other similar surgeries, we decided to go with the less invasive option with less dramatic complications should any happen.

Jasmine has the same type of surgery done on both her knees and they worked. Once she got past her recovery period, her knees worked as good as new until she passed on.

Orthopedic surgeries are godsent and most dogs don't suffer any complications. Most complications from these surgeries happen early in the healing process and involve things such as implant failure (busted plate), infections or delayed healing.

After these surgeries, metal implants remain in the body, even though technically they don't really need to be there any more. It doesn't make much sense to have the dog undergo another surgery just to remove them.

I do know of dogs who had complications with the implant long after the surgery and the implant had to be eventually removed.

As it turns out, though, surgery involving metal implants can also result in cancer years after the fact. However rare, metal orthopedic implants are associated with an increased risk of cancer at the surgical site. Dr. Coates includes highlights from a recent study of characteristics of implant-associated cancer in dogs.

This complication is rare but it is good to be aware of it.

Antifreeze Poisoning In Cats & Dogs – Now Even Scarier
Dr. Jason Nicholas, Preventive Vet

While antifreeze poisoning is a risk year-round, with the weather getting colder, the possibility of exposure increases. Every time hubby changes coolants in the truck or his machines, he is not allowed to spill a single drop. He can only do these things when the dogs are not anywhere near. He has to listen to a lot of preaching about how dangerous antifreeze is and swear he won't leave a single drop on the ground. He does take extreme precautions. Not only the dogs' but also his life depends on it.

At-home fluid changes or leaky car that drips on the ground pose serious risk. Access to garage where antifreeze is stored also poses risk unless put away carefully and thoughtfully (such as a cabinet).

Let's all remind ourselves of this lurking danger and take steps to prevent accidental fatal poisonings. Particularly since earlier this year, the manufacturer of the antidote of choice for ethylene glycol poisoning have discontinued production of the drug. There is still another treatment option but it comes with its own serious potential side effects and complications.

Check out Dr. Jason's article for insights and safer options.

Six Things Non-ER Vets Can’t Stand About Pet Emergency Rooms
Dr. Patty Khuly/Dolittler blog

We only had one experience with ER vet clinic and it was a true horror. And I am not talking about pricing; I understand that the pricing needs to be higher there. I'm talking about a complete misdiagnosis which could have cost Jasmine her life if we took their word at face value. Fortunately, we did not and getting a second opinion at a teaching hospital which fortunately wasn't too far away was life saving for Jasmine.

Our Own Emergency Vet Horror (Part I)
Our Own Emergency Vet Horror (Part II) 

I am quite happy that up here we don't have an emergency clinic, rather, the veterinary hospital we chose has their own on-call service in emergency situations. Given our past experience, I definitely prefer this option.

What I didn't realize is that not only us, owners, but veterinarians too have their misgivings with ER clinics. While they cannot, they would prefer to see their own patients and keep control of their patient's care. Yes, I most definitely prefer that too. I fact, even though the vets at the teaching hospital were competent and did save Jasmine's life, they were deaf to our concerns and Jasmine's medical history which led to much frustration and I believe hurt the process of Jasmine's recovery to health. In fact, I insisted that even though Jasmine was hospitalized there, her primary vet remained overseeing her case. Which he fortunately agreed to and, reluctantly, the teaching hospital did too.

For full thoughtful list of things non-ER vets don't like about ER hospitals, read Dr. Khuly's article. Even though I'm not a vet, I fully agree with her sentiment and from my position as an owner, it isn't much different from my own.

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