Saturday, March 5, 2016

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Hairy Teeth, What Makes Dogs Fart, and more ...

What Causes Hairy Dog Teeth?
Dr. Jennifer Coates/petMD

I have to say I've never seen this or heard of this before, for which I'm thankful. Surely it must be one the the weirdest things to see happen. What would go through one's mind?

No, the dog doesn't have fur growing in their mouth. They have fur in their mouth from chewing on itchy skin. A dog with hairy teeth doesn't have some wild genetic mutation but does have a skin problem. This happens particularly to dogs with coarse hair which is most likely to get stuck under the gums. Which causes further problems, because it leads to immune reaction, inflammation and contributes to periodontal disease. Not so good, is it? The way to get rid of hairy teeth and all following problems is by treating the skin issue that is behind all that.

Alliums in Dogs and Cats – A Tasty Toxicity!
Dr. Christopher G. Byers/Critical Care DVM

What the heck are alliums? I did not know and had to look it up. It's a fancy word for type of spices that include garlic, onions and similar vegetables. I do hope we all know by know these things are toxic. What makes them toxic are organic sulfur compounds that after absorption turn into reactive oxidants that attack red blood cells. More specifically hemoglobin in the red blood cells. This destroys the cells and leads to anemia.

There is no antidote to treat this. The best thing is to keep these things away from your dog. Initial treatment consists of inducing vomiting if you catch it within two hours of ingestion, and activated charcoal that binds the toxin in the GI tract. In severe cases, blood transfusions or oxygen therapy are needed.

There is still debate whether garlic at reasonable doses is beneficial or harmful. Since there is no clear consensus, everybody needs to do what they believe in, if they do it with careful consideration. As for the onion family, keep it away from your dog.

Is Your Dog’s Food Making Him Fart?
Dr. Jennifer Coates/petMD

Jasmine used to have farts that would make you want to jump head first out of a moving car. It was bad. Very bad. But is passing out driving down the road from being intoxicated by your dog's farts the biggest problem on your hands? Well, it is if you really pass out driving down the road. But here is the thing. Healthy, happy gut does not produce such toxic fumes. Jasmine had inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Cookie too only has bad farts when her belly is unhappy about something. That is the point to understand. Abnormal farting can be a symptom of a number potentially serious diseases such as exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI), the already mentioned IBD, pancreatitis, GI parasites or infections, and food allergies or intolerance.

What your dog eats alone, of course, can do this too but has not in our dogs if I don't count "squirrel farts" Cookie had.

Check out Dr. Coates' thoughts on the subject.

Bad Breath... It's NOT Always Their Teeth
Dr. Jason Nicholas/Preventive Vet

Dental disease is the most common cause of bad breath. And don't be mistaken, dental disease is a serious problem that goes far behind the stinky issue. But the point Dr. Nicholas is trying to raise in his article is that it is NOT ALWAYS bad teeth!

Why is that important to keep in mind? Many people talk themselves out of dental care. There is the cost. There is the anesthesia they worry about. There is the fact they don't appreciate the consequences dental disease can have. But all that aside, what if the reason for your dog's bad breath is way more serious than their ailing mouth?

You might procrastinate to take care of their teeth but what about their kidneys? Or liver? Or lungs? Or diabetes? Or cancer?

Whether you think you're willing to treat your dog's bad teeth or periodontal disease, if your dog's breath stinks, please do see a vet anyway. At least make sure the problem is the teeth and not their kidneys or liver or ...

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