Saturday, May 14, 2016

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Removing Ticks, Panting and Trembling, and more ...

Corneal Ulcers and Erosions – Getting Poked in the Eye is No Fun!
Dr. Christopher G. Byers/Critical Care DVM

Cornea injuries hurt. They hurt bad. And they can result in permanent damage. An active bush dog like Cookie is at risk of an eye injury all the time. Fortunately, the worst that has happened so far was a minor issue which resolved with generous sterile saline flushing and once she came how with a blade of a grass in her eye, which to got flushed out with saline. That time she didn't even know it was there.

Other than branches and brambles, dangers our dogs' eyes face are cat claws, chemicals, infections and eye diseases.

Jasmine's eye got quite hurt by her own eyelash. She had to have the eyelash removed with a laser. Cryosurgery is an option for that too.

How can you tell if your dog's eye is in trouble? Squinting or excessive tearing are the signs most easily seen. You can also note redness or other color changes. Jasmine's eye looked as if it had a blue membrane over it. We saw a vet the moment we noticed there was a problem.

Ask a Vet: What Causes Panting and Trembling in Senior Dogs?
Dr. Eric Barchas/dogster

Some breeds are more prone to trembling or panting. With our guys, though, when they are panting more than it would make sense, I take a serious note. If they were trembling, I'd be on my way to a vet. With all the issues we've ever been through with our dog, I've never seen one tremble. To me, shaking and trembling is a serious symptom.

On the other hand, daughter's Chi shakes at a drop of a hat. All she needs is a bit of an excitement.

In older dogs, apparently, trembling can also be quite benign. Dogs can tremble the same way elderly people sometimes do. It has to do with muscle weakening. Adrenaline can also be the cause. Of course, adrenaline levels can go up from excitement or stress. Stress is not a good thing.

But before I'd even consider dismissing these symptoms as part of my dog getting older, I'd want to make sure that something more serious isn't at play. My rule is that whenever something changes about my dog, I start by seeing a vet. Or, when it's a really mild change, at least make a note of it and bring it up at the next regular wellness exam.

10 Ways to Remove a Tick from Your Dog
Jennifer Kvamme, DVM

Who doesn't hate ticks? Nasty, disgusting, disease-spreading blood suckers? We were fortunate enough to find just the odd tick on our dogs. Though one day Cookie came home from the horse farm with three at once, all on her head. I just picture her sticking her head into somewhere after a critter and getting the nasty collection.

Our main weapons for removing ticks is the Tick Twister. We first learned about it from our vet and wouldn't want to be without it. It works really well. We include it at every version of our first-aid kit, even the most minimal one.

Dr. Kvamme's article covers not only removing ticks but preventing them from attaching to your dog in the first place. We don't have a very good experience with that, though. After the three-tick jackpot we put her on Advantix but she had a terrible reaction to it. Since so far we weren't finding many, we just stick with checking out dogs thoroughly and removing any found ticks as soon as possible. If the situation changes we'll have to reassess.

Ear infections need to be diagnosed before we treat them
Dr. Karen Louis DVM

Diagnose before you treat. Shouldn't that always be the rule? That all depends on what one considers a diagnosis. Technically, an ear infection is a diagnosis. Or is it?

With ear infections, two things are at play. What kind of infection is it? Bacterial? Yeast? Combination? It's an important distinction. And if bacteria is involved, which one? And even more importantly, if your dog has an ear infection, why? Particularly if both ears are involved, you're most likely looking at a systemic issue.

You still need to treat the infection itself but then you need to go looking for a cause, particularly if your dog is getting ear infections repeatedly. Ear infections demand your vet puts on their detective hat.

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