Sunday, February 5, 2017

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: What is a Titer Test? Von Willebrand Disease, and more ...

What is a Titer Test, and is it Right for Your Pet?

Dr. Patrick Mahaney

To prevent over-vaccinating my dogs, I researched and started using titer testing a few years ago. It's not the cheapest test to have done, at least not around here, but to me, it is better to dish out for the test than either giving an unnecessary vaccine or risking my dog not being immune to some of the nasty infectious diseases out there.

VacciCheck. Photo Patrick Mahaney

Titer testing is measuring levels of antibodies in the blood. It might not be the perfect measure of the "true state of immunity, " but it does provide an idea. It has been acceptable both to myself and my vets to use instead of just going ahead and blindly booster.

Shampoo For Your Pet - Which Kind Should You NOT Use?

Dr. Jason Nicholas/Preventive Vet

Back in the day, Roxy hated baths. She got bathed rarely, and when hubby did bathe her, he used our shampoo. We were pretty broke back then and even our own shampoo was the cheapest money could buy. Her coat never felt right after that. The only time her coat was both clean and healthy to touch was when she was boarded at the vets. They always returned boarded pets washed and they did, of course, use dog shampoo on the dogs. It was a remarkable difference.

Even today, I don't bathe my dogs frequently. They get showered when they get dirty (read really nasty dirty such as a good roll in something nasty) or when they had a skin issue. When I do, I only use dog shampoo and the simplest one in terms of ingredients I can get. I like Earth Bath or Vetoquinol Canadian Medicated Shampoo. We tried some fancier ones but I didn't see them doing any better job than the two I named.

There is a reason why using human shampoo on your dog is a bad idea - the human skin and animal skin are not the same. They have different pH. The wrong shampoo can result in irritation and inflammation, increasing the risk of infections.

To learn Dr. Nicholas' recommendations regarding shampoos for your dog, check out his article.


Von Willebrand Disease – An Inherited Bleeding Disorder

Dr. Christopher Byers/CriticalCare DVM

Von Willebrand Disease is another of the things that you'll be happiest never having to learn about. We all understand how important blood is and that one cannot live without it. The body is designed to keep it where it belongs and prevent it from spilling out. Of course, with enough trauma, too much might still be lost. But what if even the smallest nick could be deadly?



Von Willebrand Disease is an inherited bleeding disorder in which the clotting mechanism that is to stop bleeding doesn't work properly. Any bleeding, external or internal can get out of control.

Read Dr. Byers' excellent review of the disease.

Related articles:
Von Willebrand's Disease: Greta's Story


I love to share my food with my dogs (except when I don’t)

Dr. Marty Becker

Have you ever been told that you're killing your dog by giving them [any] people food? Some people are quite strong on that point. Perhaps they fail to realize that food is food is food is food. Yes, there are some foods we enjoy that can indeed kill a dog because they are toxic to them. Then there are some foods which aren't good for us either. I would not share any of those. But why not share a bit of lean meat or a chunk of a vegetable?

The America's Veterinarian confesses to being guilty of feeding his dogs off the table. As far as I'm concerned - how could I not share? When it turned out that Jasmine was allergic to chicken, we didn't have chicken in the house for years. I could not enjoy a food I wouldn't be able to share.

Are you impervious to the puppy eyes your dog uses trying to get you share some of the goodness on your plate? Dr. Marty Becker isn't.

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