Saturday, June 23, 2018

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Tick-Borne Infections Screening, Tramadol Efficacy, and more ...

What to do if Your Dog is Poisoned

Dr. Alex Molldrem/petMD

When it comes to poisoning, prevention is the best policy. This can be sometimes easier said than done. With my dogs, we had a couple of close brushes with potential poisoning.

Once when Cookie snatched and inhaled something outside what possibly could have been a [pot] brownie. Once when Cookie seemed ill and might have ingested a portion of a Belladonna root. After consultation with the Pet Poison Helpline, it turned out it was another similar plant and Cookie felt fine a couple of hours later. But it was scary.

And once when the dogs found some kind of a stew behind a neighbor's yard, and it wasn't clear whether it could have had rat poison in it. I went to ring the door and fortunately found out they just disposed of their left-overs that way.

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Lyme Study, Tick-Borne Infections Screening, and more ...

Many things can poison a dog, some more obvious than others. Knowing what to do is crucial.

There are two ways to suspect your dog might have ingested poison. One way, the better of the two, is discovering evidence of your dog getting into something before any signs crop up. Such as chewed up pill bottle or box of chocolates. The other way, the scarier one, is when you see the signs of potential poisoning and might not even have a clue what the poison was.

In either case, depending on the situation, I might call the Pet Poison Helpline or rush my dog for an emergency vet visit. Inducing vomiting may or may not be a good idea, and I would never do it without consulting with a veterinarian first.

Dr. Molldrem outlines the following steps:

  1. Evaluation/identification 
  2. Consultation with the Pet Poison Helpline
  3. Not jumping the gun
  4. Getting help

Which pretty much covers what I said. To learn more about what you should do if your dog gets poisoned, check out Dr. Molldrem's article.

Related articles:
Too young for Pot: Cookie's Snack with a Side of Hydrogen Peroxide
Don't Panic, Don't Panic ... Too Late: Our Call to Pet Poison Helpline
Keep Chewing Gum Away from Your Dog
Poppa's Orbit(al) Adventure
Antifreeze Isn't just a Winter Hazzard
Antifreeze Poisoning: What Happens in the Dog's Body


Why Annual Screening for Exposure to Infected Ticks is Vital

Dr. Melissa Beall/Veterinary Practice News

"Because dogs don’t always show clinical signs, it can be challenging to understand the true harm to a pet’s health" ~Dr. Melissa Beall

Finding a tick on your dog is one thing. Another thing is whether or not the tick was carrying any disease(s). Every now and then we had the actual tick tested. And every year we have our dog(s) tested.

While a dog might not be showing any symptoms, they could still have been exposed. Does exposure mean something bad is brewing? The answer is, who knows? The more information one can have at their disposal, the better they can protect their dogs' health.

Dr. Beall considers regular, comprehensive screening critical. According to a new study, exposure to infected ticks increases the risk of chronic kidney disease even when they don't show any signs of active infection. Relying on symptoms only might not be enough. Given that the standard testing doesn't reveal kidney disease until over 75% of kidney function is lost, we might need to rethink how we do preventive screening.

To learn more about this issues, read Dr. Beall's article.

Further reading:
Exposure to Infected Ticks Increased Risk of Chronic Kidney Disease


9 Human Medications That Are Safe for Sick Pets

petMD

Everybody wants to help their dog when they get sick. Not everybody wants to or can see a veterinarian. What most people look for is running down to a pharmacy and grabbing something that could quickly fix what is ailing their dog. But does that work and is that safe?

Some medications are the same for both humans and dogs. But many human medications are toxic and do more harm than good. So are there any human medications that are safe to use? The list is nowhere as long as you'd wish.

To learn more, check out petMD's article.


Tramadol for Pain in Dogs and Cats

TheSkeptVet

While I do check out The SkeptVet's blog from time to time, it usually just frustrates me. The blog features an extreme level of skepticism for things I have seen working. And as much as I love science, I don't believe that it has the only answers.

Just yesterday I learned that science is going to have to revisit everything that was believed about the cause(s) and progression of Alzheimer's disease. It seems that science might have had this wrong. Over and above that, a lack of scientific proof does not equal proof to the contrary.

Anyway, the above article did catch my eye. Jasmine was prescribed Tramadol on multiple occasions and we never saw it make any difference whatsoever. That doesn't mean that no dogs benefit from the medication, but my dog certainly has not.

As it seems, more studies are finding that Tramadol is not as useful to treat pain in dogs than it was hoped.

"In preclinical studies, it has been difficult to convincingly show that oral tramadol is absorbed and metabolized to the active metabolites to a degree that would be expected to produce meaningful analgesic effects."

While some studies do suggest that the absorption and metabolism are adequate, it does not reflect our experience. To learn more about this, read the SkeptVet's article. Don't spend too much time on the blog, though, unless you want to become overly skeptical about everything.


Thursday, June 21, 2018

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: Coffee Grounds in Vomit

When talking about blood in vomit, I touched on the fact that blood doesn't always look like blood, meaning doesn't always have the typical bright red appearance. Fresh blood does, blood that has already been digested does not. Instead, it looks like coffee grounds.
Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: Coffee Grounds in Vomit

I don't want to freak anybody out with graphic images, so I just include illustrations. But if you want to see what that really looks like, there is an example photo here.

Couldn't a dog just get into garbage and eat some coffee grounds?


Well, everything is possible, particularly with dogs. If that were the case, you should be able to find evidence of that quite easily. If that is the case, you might be looking at potential caffeine poisoning. Caffeine toxicity generally ranges from moderate to severe.

The symptoms of caffeine toxicity can indeed include vomiting, diarrhea, as well as hyperactivity, restlessness, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rate, tremors ... and in severe cases seizures, collapse and death.

The urgency and actions you need to take depend on how much was ingested and how is your dog feeling.

Coffee grounds that are not from coffee


What appears like coffee grounds might not be coffee grounds at all but digested blood. This can be accompanied with black tarry stools. This too can be caused by a stomach ulcer, or it can be digested blood that comes from elsewhere, such as swallowed blood from the respiratory tract.

Your dog is likely to be refusing their food, lethargic and having diarrhea.

What can cause this?

The most common potential cause is damage in the GI tract; ulceration or erosion. It can happen as a result of gastritis, trauma, severe vomiting, foreign body, mass/tumour, liver disease, pancreatitis, Addison’s disease, drugs (e.g. NSAIDs, corticosteroids) and even mast cell tumors that are actually on the skin (they can release histamine etc leading to hyperacidity in the stomach).

Less likely causes are lung disorders (where blood is swallowed and the vomited) or bleeding disorders. In such cases, you'd likely see many other red flags along with vomiting coffee grounds.

Any of these sound to you like not being an emergency?


Related articles:
Symptoms to Watch for in your Dog: Vomiting
What Happens in a Dog's Body with Severe Vomiting?
Why Examine Your Dog's Vomit?
What's in the Vomit?
Blood in Vomit
Worms in Vomit

Do you know what your dog is telling you about their health?


Learn how to detect and interpret the signs of a potential problem.


Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog now available in paperback and Kindle. Each chapter includes notes on when it is an emergency.

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog is an award-winning guide to help you better understand what your dog is telling you about their health and how to best advocate for them. 

Learn how to see and how to think about changes in your dog’s appearance, habits, and behavior. Some signs that might not trigger your concern can be important indicators that your dog needs to see a veterinarian right away. Other symptoms, while hard to miss, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or limping, are easy to spot but can have a laundry list of potential causes, some of them serious or even life-threatening. 

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog is a dog health advocacy guide 101. It covers a variety of common symptoms, including when each of them might be an emergency. 

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog has won the following awards:

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Look at Those Snappers, Will You? Cookie's State of the Mouth Address

In a couple of months, Cookie is going to be six-and-a-half years old. She came to us at the age of one-and-a-half. Yes, it's going to be her adoptoversary soon.

Cookie has never had a dental cleaning yet.


Look at Those Snappers, Will You? Cookie's State of the Mouth Address

I care a great deal about her dental health, and I cannot stress enough its importance. Poor oral health not only affects the quality of life but can negatively impact systemic health. I'd be the first one to advocate for Cookie to get dental if it looked like it was needed even just a little bit.

The official recommendation is for every dog to get annual dental cleanings starting at the age of two. Given the widespread epidemic of periodontal disease in dogs, from very young age, I can see the rationale.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.


Cookie gets a wellness exam twice a year. Every time, the state of her mouth is assessed as well. It is true that you can't always see every problem in the mouth with plain eyes.

Cookie's mouth looks perfect, though. There is no visible gum issue, and there is no apparent issue with any of the teeth. Her breath doesn't smell, and she has no problems chewing. I would be hard-pressed to rationalize putting her through anesthesia with no evidence whatsoever that she needs any dental work. Would you?


A number of people asked what we're doing to keep Cookie's breath to smell so good--they should take a whiff after Cookie munched on some deer poop. There are tricks and products to fend off bad breath. But we don't do any of those things. Cookie's mouth just smells--or rather doesn't smell--like that all on its own.

Cookie is on a raw diet. We brush her teeth daily, and she chews on raw meaty bones daily. Whether it's any of those things, their combination, or something else together, I don't know. But it ain't broke so I'm not going to try to fix it.

Note: Jasmine and JD got their teeth brushed daily as well but did need dental cleaning about every two years. So the assumption that either raw diet or raw meaty bones do play a role. 

One way or another, Cookie's mouth looks happy and doesn't smell. She gets her mouth checked every six months. I do not see any convincing argument to put her through anesthesia to fix something that isn't broken.

What do you think?

Related articles:
When Bad Breath Can Kill
Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: Bad Breath
Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: Excessive Drooling
Judging a Mouth by its Cover



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 your 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.

Do you know what your dog is telling you about their health?

Do you know what your dog is telling you about their health?

Learn how to detect and interpret the signs of a potential problem.


Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog now available in paperback and Kindle. Each chapter includes notes on when it is an emergency.

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog is an award-winning guide to help you better understand what your dog is telling you about their health and how to best advocate for them. 

Learn how to see and how to think about changes in your dog’s appearance, habits, and behavior. Some signs that might not trigger your concern can be important indicators that your dog needs to see a veterinarian right away. Other symptoms, while hard to miss, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or limping, are easy to spot but can have a laundry list of potential causes, some of them serious or even life-threatening. 

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog is a dog health advocacy guide 101. It covers a variety of common symptoms, including when each of them might be an emergency. 

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog has won the following awards:

Monday, June 18, 2018

Adoption Monday: Frodo, Pittie, Killeen, TX

Frodo is a 1-year-old Pittie looking for a forever home.

Adoption Monday: Frodo, Pittie, Killeen, TX

Frodo is good with kids, cats, and other dogs! He is potty trained, crate trained and pretty good on basic commands.

His adoption fee is $150 and includes his neuter surgery, current vaccinations, microchip, heartworm test and 30 days of FREE pet insurance at the time of adoption.

***

PAWS Humane Society was founded by dedicated animal rescue volunteers to provide a loving environment and veterinary care for the highly adoptable animals in local shelters that otherwise would not have received the opportunity to continue their lives. 

PAWS Humane Society is a non-profit group that relies on donations provided by the public. PAWS Humane Society has no physical shelter location and all of their animals are placed in fosters until their time for permanent adoption comes.


Saturday, June 16, 2018

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Monoclonal Antibody Therapy, Dilated Cardiomyopathy, and more ...

Canine Lymphoma Update

Dr. Sue Ettinger

"You may have heard it's coming, and now it's here: monoclonal antibody therapy to assist in the treatment of lymphoma in your canine veterinary patients." ~Sue Ettinger, DVM, DACVIM

Monoclonal antibodies lymphoma has been around for people for a while. The exciting news is that now there is a version to treat B-cell lymphoma in dogs.

Even it doesn't replace chemotherapy but it's being used in conjunction with it. The way it works is that it flags the cancerous cells to highlight them to the immune system for destruction.

Further reading:
Monoclonal Antibody Therapy for Canine Lymphoma

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Monoclonal Antibody Therapy, Dilated Cardiomyopathy, and more ...

Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Dogs – When the Heart Becomes Too Big

Dr. Christopher Byers

There is one organ your dog can survive without but the heart is not it. Without a properly functioning heart, blood cannot circulate properly. Blood is what carries oxygen and nutrients to all body cells.

Dilated cardiomyopathy is the most common disease of the heart muscle in dogs. It has a genetic component but nutrition can have its impact as well.

I was going to explain what this condition is but found this fantastic video which does a superb job. I could never possible beat their explanation. If you want to understand what happens with this condition, watch it.



To learn more about this condition, read Dr. Byers' article.


Green Gunk In Your Dog’s Eye – Let’s Talk about “Dry Eye,” or KCS

Dr. Karen Louis

Dry eye is pretty much what it says--a dry eye. However, it can be an incredibly frustrating condition to deal with.

Dry eye is the result of insufficient tear production. The job of tears is to lubricate, debride, and protect the eye. Without that, you end up with inflamed eyes vulnerable to damage and infection. To protect the eyes, the body tries to make up for the lack of tears by producing extra mucus--which is greenish in color. Hence, green gunk in the eyes. Not really the brightest idea.

A diagnosis is pretty straightforward; treatment, on the other hand, far from it.

To learn more about dry eye and what can be done about it, read Dr. Louis' article.


How Do You Know When Your Dog Needs to Go Potty?

Dr. Jean Dodds

How do you know your dog needs to go potty?

My observation is that every dog has their own way to communicate their wants and needs [or not]. Jasmine and Cookie are great communicators. They also know to keep trying different things until one of them works. Jasmine could get quite creative.

JD did okay but had two things to try and when neither of them worked he never invented the third one. Bruin was a terrible communicator. He'd go to the door and stand there. That was it. If somebody noticed, he got to go out to potty. If nobody noticed ... you get the picture.

We tried to help him out by installing a bell on the door. It took Jasmine 20 minutes to figure out how to use it and 2 hours to figure out how to abuse it. Bruin never even noticed it there, I don't think.

Bottom line, you cannot expect same communication with different dogs. There are, however, things you can do to help both of you out.

Read Dr. Dodd's article to find out what her tips are.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: Worms in Vomit

Every time my dog throws up I make sure I scrutinize the contents. When I discover something weird-looking, first I try to think of what they have or might have eaten.

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: Worms in Vomit

Over the years I found all sorts of things from sticks, rocks, toy fragments, plastic pieces ... even an accidentally swallowed sock one time. Fortunately, with our dogs, all these things found the natural way out of the system with no consequences.

But what if your dog's vomit looks like they've just eaten spaghetti noodle soup?


If your dog indeed ate some spaghetti and threw them up still recognizable, it can mean a variety of things, which we'll cover next time. This time we're talking about what looks like spaghetti but isn't - worms.

Worms in vomit? Yuck!


Well, yes, but however yucky that is, the bigger problem is where they came from--inside your dog. That's where you really don't want any. But how could worms survive in the stomach? While there is such a thing as stomach worms when you find spaghetti-like worms in your dog's vomit, you are most likely looking intestinal parasites instead, namely roundworms.

How would intestinal worms get into vomit?


They should show up in the poop, come out that way, no?

Dogs are most commonly infected with roundworm by ingesting the eggs in another dog’s poop. After being swallowed, the eggs undergo a strange but fascinating lifecycle that involves migration through the wall of the intestine into the liver and then into the lungs. They are then coughed up and swallowed so they can make their way to their home in the small intestine.

Adult worms actively wriggle upstream, against the efforts of the intestines to push everything downwards towards the pooping end. They usually stay in the intestines, but sometimes manage their way all the way up into the stomach. That's how they can make their way into the vomit.

Roundworms are most common in puppies, but that doesn't mean an adult dog could get infected.

If your dog or puppy has just been dewormed, it is not unlikely for them to throw up a bunch of worms. If they're acting normally, vomiting the dead worms can occur.

If your dog is throwing up worms and has not been dewormed recently, do see a veterinarian.

Why worry about roundworms?


Roundworms are not just gross but can become a serious health threat. Not only they rob your dog of nutrients, but complications include intestinal blockage or pneumonia.

Beside finding worms either in the poop or vomit, other signs can include diarrhea, changes in appetite, lethargy, swollen belly, weight loss, and even coughing.

Puppies are most vulnerable, which is why screening and the de-worming regiment is quite rigorous. When it comes to adult dogs, I don't like fixing a problem I don't have. However, I do believe it is essential to have the stool checked regularly even if I don't see any evidence of parasites.


Related articles:
Symptoms to Watch for in your Dog: Vomiting
What Happens in a Dog's Body with Severe Vomiting?
Why Examine Your Dog's Vomit?
What's in the Vomit?


Do you know what your dog is telling you about their health?


Learn how to detect and interpret the signs of a potential problem.


Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog now available in paperback and Kindle. Each chapter includes notes on when it is an emergency.

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog is an award-winning guide to help you better understand what your dog is telling you about their health and how to best advocate for them. 

Learn how to see and how to think about changes in your dog’s appearance, habits, and behavior. Some signs that might not trigger your concern can be important indicators that your dog needs to see a veterinarian right away. Other symptoms, while hard to miss, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or limping, are easy to spot but can have a laundry list of potential causes, some of them serious or even life-threatening. 

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog is a dog health advocacy guide 101. It covers a variety of common symptoms, including when each of them might be an emergency. 

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog has won the following awards:
MINIMAL BLOGGER TEMPLATES BY pipdig