Friday, May 31, 2013

Veterinary Highlights: Stem Cell Treatments For Paralyzed Dogs



NC State neurologist Dr. Natasha Olby is studying a promising new treatment for paralyzed dogs. Olby has used stem cell treatments to restore partial use of the legs and bladder control to dogs with spinal cord injuries. Her research holds promise for humans, too.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Problems With Canine Over-Vaccination

by Daniel Beatty, DVM

First and foremost, vaccinations are an important component of health care, prevention and wellness for your dog. I am, by no means, recommending not vaccinating your dog.

It is vitally important to vaccinate appropriately.

For the core vaccines of distemper, parvo, adenovirus (together called DAP) and rabies, appropriate vaccination is as young puppies not before 9 weeks of age and with the final puppy vaccine for DAP at 15-16 weeks of age.

Rabies between 4 and 6 months of age and then 1 year after the initial vaccine.

After these puppy vaccines, boosters of these vaccines should not be given before 3 years and in many instances well beyond 3 years. 

There is plenty of evidence and research to support that giving vaccines more frequently does not improve their effectiveness and instead increases the risk of  adverse reactions.

Research and information from veterinarians like Dr Ronald Schultz, Dr Richard Ford and Dr Jean Dodds has been available since the 1970's and continues on to the present day. In 2006 major vaccine guideline changes were made and posted by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), recommending 3 year vaccination protocols
for the core vaccines vs annual vaccination.

Here are a couple of research articles from Dr Schultz -
http://www.rabieschallengefund.org/images/Duration_of_Immunity_Schultz.pdf
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0021997509003338

The consequences of overvaccinating can be immediate or delayed reactions, called vaccinosis.

These reactions can occur anywhere between 24 hours to 45 days. The three major consequences are increased allergy symptoms, autoimmune disorders and cancer. However the list of reactions overall
is quite extensive and includes -

  • Autoimmune diseases such as autoimmune hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia, arthritis, skin, and even nervous system disorders - seizures, epilepsy.
  • Behavior changes increasing anxiety, obsessive behavior, and/or aggression
  • Cancers such as fibrosarcomas at injection site
  • Muscle weakness and muscle atrophy
  • Chronic digestive problems such as inflammatory bowel
  • Skin issues such as chronic skin allergies, self-mutilation and tail chewing

How this occurs, although not completely understood, can be attributed to the overstimulation of the immune system and inflammatory system. 

There are two parts to a vaccine, the antigen and the adjuvant. 

The antigen is the specific disease particle that the vaccine is trying to protect against. The adjuvant is the substance that carries the antigen and includes substances that stimulate the immune system.

What the adjuvant does is yell at the immune system - "Hey look over here I have a disease particle that needs to be attacked!"

Substances such as aluminum salts, organics, and oil based adjuvants are all used to stimulate the immune system. These products are really good at their job, which makes for a better immune response to the vaccine. However the problem with these products is that they are really good at their job, which can overstimulate the immune system.

There have been claims that some of these substances can stimulate the immune system for up to 2 years. 

If you are giving vaccines every year you can obviously see the very likely possibility of immune system  overstimulation.

Some new technologies in adjuvants, such as virosomes, appear to have less overstimulating effects on the immune system, less inflammatory response, and have a technique that mimics the natural way the body reacts to an attacking disease. 

Continued research into these types of adjuvants is important in preventing the reactions to vaccines, however using vaccines appropriately and judiciously is just as important and gives us an answer right now to reducing the possibility of vaccinosis in our dogs.

Take home message: The core vaccines of Distemper, Parvo, Hepatitis and Rabies have a duration of immunity much longer than 1 year and even longer than 3 years.

Vaccinating more than every 3 years has no benefit and actually increases the risk  of reactions.

If you base your dogs health only on risk vs reward it is obvious that vaccinating annually is not in your dog's best interest. For those of you that your dog's health is more important than just risk vs reward, it is even more obvious that you should be reducing how often you give your dog vaccines.

***

Daniel Beatty, DVM (Dr. Dan) is an integrative veterinarian that believes in a holistic approach to medicine and wellness. He uses the best of both the allopathic and the holistic worlds of medicine to maintain a proper balance to health and movement for his canine and equine patients. 

He also blogs at Dog Kinetics and loves to teach pet owners his ideas through blogging and webinars.

Articles by Dr. Beatty:
What Acupuncture Did For Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD) 

Related articles:

To Booster Or Not To Booster: Jasmine's Parvo and Distemper Titer Results Are Back
Veterinarians And Vaccines: A Slow Learning Curve 
DAP (Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus): Fourth Year In, Still Full Immunity 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tackling The Veterinary Terminology: Prefixes (brady-)

Remember the Spelling Bee? Big words are easier to tackle when you understand how they're put together. Veterinary terms are composed in the same way. Just like with other words, the main parts of a veterinary term are a prefix, a root, and a suffix. The difference is that they typically come more directly from Greek or Latin.

A prefix is placed at the beginning of a word to modify its meaning by providing additional information. It usually indicates number, location, time, or status.
brady- [brā'dē] - from Greek - slow, delayed, tardy

Things in the body are meant to happen at certain speed. The reason for that being that everything needs to happen in sync with the rest of the body,  as well as the body needs to be able to adapt to outside factors.

If you're chased by a mountain lion, you better run fast!

Ideally, you better run faster than he does. Not that I'm an expert on wilderness survival.

Hyperventilation is a good example of what happens when you breathe faster than your body needs. It results in decrease in blood pressure, dizziness and eventually fainting.


If one wheel on your car turned slower than the other, you wouldn't be able to keep your car on a straight path.

In any system, it is important that things are in sync.

Bradycardia is a condition when the dog's heart beats too slow. This means too slow for the body to get the supply of oxygen it needs. The opposite problem is tachycardia, heart rate that is too rapid.

Then there are combinations, such as bradyarrhythmia, heart rhythm that is slow and irregular, or bradycardia-tachycardia syndrome, aka sick sinus syndrome.

Bradypnea, then is slow breathing rate.

***

Related articles:
Veterinary Suffixes (-itis)
Veterinary Suffixes (-oma) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-pathy)  
Veterinary Suffixes (-osis) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-iasis) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-tomy) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-ectomy)  
Veterinary Suffixes (-scopy) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-emia)
Veterinary Suffixes (-penia)
Veterinary Suffixes (-rrhea) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-cyte) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-blast) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-opsy)
Veterinary Suffixes (-ac/-al)

Veterinary Prefixes (hyper-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (hypo-)
Veterinary Prefixes (pyo-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (myo-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (myelo-)
Veterinary Prefixes (spondylo-)
Veterinary Prefixes (cardio-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (cervic-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (osteo-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (fibro-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (broncho-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (hemo-)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Judging A Mouth By Its Cover: There Is More To Dental Health Than Meets The Eye

Clean teeth equal a healthy dog. True or false?


Yes, it is a trick question. Healthy teeth, or rather a healthy mouth, equals a healthy dog.

But how do you know whether your dog’s mouth is healthy?

There are some obvious signs that there is a problem with the mouth, such as
  • bad breath
  • discolored, loose, broken or missing teeth
  • excessive drooling
  • red, swollen gums that bleed easily
  • sensitive, painful mouth
  • reluctance to eat or chew
  • pawing at the mouth
  • aggression or depression
  • abnormal discharge from tooth, nose or eyes
  • digestive upsets…

But what if your dog’s teeth look perfectly fine?

If they LOOK fine, and nothing seems to be going on with them, they ARE fine, aren’t they?

The real dental problems go on where the eye cannot see them.


JD’s mouth looked fine. At his last wellness exam earlier this month, his mouth was graded 1 out of 4 with recommendation for prophylactic cleaning and evaluation.

It was only expected that he was going in to get his teeth cleaned and checked.

We booked an appointment and JD went in last week. And then, a surprise. A thorough examination, which would not really be possible with JD awake, and the x-rays revealed that he had one tooth in the back that was broken, one tooth was loose, and two that had deep periodontal pockets of infection between them and the big adjacent teeth.


JD came back home three teeth short.

Did I mention that his mouth looked perfectly fine? Before the x-rays, JD’s mouth was graded 1 out of 4. After the x-rays, 3+ out of 4.

There is more to dental health than meets the eye

Unless you have an x-ray vision, you need an actual x-ray to know for sure what condition your dog’s mouth really is in.

That is certainly one good reason not to skimp on regular wellness exams. It is one good reason not to decline dental work if your vet recommends one. It is also one good reason to think twice about anesthesia-free dental cleaning. Because dental disease only snowballs.

Just because the teeth seem to look good, doesn’t mean they are good.

Jasmine's teeth, on the other hand, didn't LOOK so great but were holding up. Even after they rapidly declined from the steroids, and there were a number of signs that led us to believe the mouth had some serious problems, a close look and x-rays revealed minor issues only. And, unfortunately, nothing that would explain the symptoms we were seeing.

Although discolored teeth and foul breath are upsetting, the real problem is the infection around the teeth. 

When the germs escape into the blood stream, they can affect distant organs like the lungs, heart, liver, kidney, joints and bones and cause physical damage to the organs.

The other bad, and maybe worse problem, is the resulting chronic inflammation. Inflammation releases mediators that damage cells and organs in the body distant to the primary site. These mediators can trigger premature cell death (premature aging), failure of heart valves or changes in cellular genetic material (cancer). This is why oral health is important.

Now, there is the new product out there, OraStrip QuickCheck to detect periodontal disease. Dr. Marty Becker seems impressed by it.

Our vet hasn't tried it yet but maybe it can be a good tool in seeing what the eyes cannot.

How do your dog's teeth look? When was the last time they were seen through x-ray? Is your vet using the OraStrip QuickCheck?

***

Related articles:
Know Your Dog's Enemies: When Bad Breath Can Kill!
Talking Teeth
Anesthesia-Free Dental Cleaning
OraStrip QuickCheck Canine To Detect Periodontal Disease 

Further reading:
Why Does My Vet Want To Clean My Dog or Cat’s Teeth? 
Pets Need Dental Care Too!
Little strip can make a big difference in a dog’s dental health

Labels:

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Show Off Your Dog's Waistline: Pavlov

Fluffy fur can still have a waistline underneath!


Name: Pavlov
Sex: female
Breed: Australian Labradoodle
Age: 1

Pavlov is an Australian Labradoodle who celebrated her first birthday March 22. 

She comes from a long line of therapy dogs. She recently obtained her Canadian Good Neighbour designation from the Canadian Kennel Club (the Canine Good Citizen Test in the US by the AKC).  She graduated from Therapy Dog school and I am hoping that she will be able to take the Therapy Dog registration exam in the near future.


"My people are quite strict: no food from the table- EVER! I eat the food my vet recommends, as there is a lot of research to demonstrate it's effectiveness, and I get freeze dried liver when I am going to school, learning new tricks, or practicing for my Therapy Dog registration exam."

Dr. Alexandra Segal has a practice in Clinical Neuropsychology and Clinical Psychology and has recently completed training in Animal Assisted Therapy.  Her hope is to integrate Pavlov in her Clinical Practice. You can find Pavlov on Twitter.


It's your turn!

Take a photo of your dog's waistline (and dig up some old "before" photos for comparison, if you have any!), and share your story about how you're keeping them fit. If you have a blog, blog it, if not, email me and get your story featured on Dawg Business.


Show Off Your Dog's Waistline Campaign Badge Code: 

<a href="http://dawgbusiness.blogspot.ca/p/show-off-your-dogs.html" target="_blank"> <img src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ZRvwIIFbuPs/UPCGhO_JLlI/AAAAAAAAF3Q/KuLVsX2i-qo/s1600/DB-SODW.jpg" alt="Show Off Your Dog's Waistline" border="0" />


Join the Show Off Your Dog's Waistline Campaign.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Veterinary Highlights: Walks Like Lyme, Quacks Like Lyme ... Borrelia miyamotoi

Just when you thought there were enough reasons to hate ticks already, the Tufts researchers discovered yet another tick-borne disease.

Just look at those little bastards. Image Ladyamorea

What if your dog was showing all signs of Lyme disease and yet test came back negative?

Could it be that he does have Lyme but his body isn't doing anything about it? Or could it be that he's been infected by Borrelia miyamotoi?

This bacteria is a close relative to Borrelia burgdorferi, the spirochete bacteria causing Lyme disease, and it causes similar symptoms.

But is is a brand new disease, yet to be named. So the question is, is it really new, or has it simply been slipping under the radar?

The upside is that this infection responds to the same treatment as Lyme disease.

Would your veterinarian have treated based on symptoms contradicted by negative test results?

Gus' veterinarian didn't, in spite of Gus showing full spectrum of severe symptoms
(read the story here).

Not until Gus finally tested positive for Lyme. It begs a question, whether Gus had Lyme disease all along, or whether he had this new disease and just happened to catch the Lyme eventually. And what would have happened to him if he continued to test negative?

A scary question.

This new disease makes yet another addition to the tick-borne diseases to worry about, along with Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

What would you do if your dog was showing signs of Lyme disease but kept testing negative? What would your vet do?

***

Source article:
New Tick-borne Disease Found

Related articles:
Gus' Missed Diagnosis
The Ticking Bomb
Lyme Is Lame (Pun Intended)
Lyme Disease: Treating Lab Results Versus Treating The Dog
Twist And Shout: No Dog Owner Should Be Without A Tick Twister

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Primer On Pyometra

Written and reviewed by John A. Bukowski, DVM, MPH, PhD
and Susan E. Aiello, DVM, ELS 


Pyometra is a bacterial infection in the uterus of dogs. 


It is a serious and frequently life threatening condition that requires prompt treatment.

The risk of Pyometra is highest in dogs that have not been spayed or that are on any type of hormone-based therapy. Pyometra may be seen in young to middle-aged dogs, but it is most common in older dogs. It usually develops about 1-2 months after an estrus (or heat) cycle.

The uterine wall becomes thickened and engorged after many years of heat cycles, making it more prone to bacterial infection from bacteria that are normally present in the vagina.

In an open pyometra, the cervix is open, and the dog will have a vaginal discharge.

In a closed pyometra, the cervix is closed, and there is no vaginal discharge.

Other signs in both types of pyometra can include fever, increased water drinking and urination, lethargy, lack of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Dogs can have only mild symptoms or be extremely ill. 

Signs are often more severe in closed pyometra, because the closed cervix does not allow the vaginal discharge, which contains bacteria and pus, to drain from the body.

Diagnostic evaluation includes blood tests, x-rays, and sometimes ultrasound. The preferred treatment is surgical removal of the uterus and ovaries, ie, a spay or ovariohysterectomy.

Dogs diagnosed before the signs become serious are very good candidates for surgery. 

Dogs that are already quite ill are at greater risk, and intravenous fluids, antibiotics, and general supportive care are also necessary. Medical management with prostaglandins, which open the cervix and contract the uterus to expel bacteria and pus, is a controversial and sometimes dangerous treatment. In addition, pyometra often recurs with medical management.

***

Visit WebVet for a wealth of information about the health and well-being of pets. All content is rev

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tackling The Veterinary Terminology: Prefixes (hemo-)

Remember the Spelling Bee? Big words are easier to tackle when you understand how they're put together. Veterinary terms are composed in the same way. Just like with other words, the main parts of a veterinary term are a prefix, a root, and a suffix. The difference is that they typically come more directly from Greek or Latin.

A prefix is placed at the beginning of a word to modify its meaning by providing additional information. It usually indicates number, location, time, or status.
hemo- [hemō] - from Greek - having to do with blood

This prefix can come in various forms, such as hem-, hemo-, hema- and so on. All of these variations indicate that the issue has something to do with blood.

Image Interactive Biology

Hemorrhage, for example, is a very common word, indicating bleeding from a ruptured blood vessel. The -rrhage suffix, btw, stands for an excessive or abnormal flow.

Are you starting to see how things fit together?

Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis is a potentially life-threatening intestinal disease with severe symptoms, one of which, obviously, is bloody diarrhea. While gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the GI tract, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis is all that plus profound bleeding.

Hemoglobin is another example you're familiar with, it's the oxygen-carrying pigment of red blood cells. Hemoglobinuria is abnormal presence of hemoglobin in urine.

Hemolysis is the destruction of red blood cells. Hemolytic anemia is a deficiency of oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood as a result of destruction of red blood cells. In dogs, it is typically an autoimmune condition, IMHA (Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia). However, other things, such as zinc toxicosis, can lead to destruction of red blood cells.

Hematoma is the accummulation of blood within tissue, such as the ears, caused by ruptured blood vessels.

Hemangiosarcoma is a cancer of blood vessels. Hemangioma is a benign tumor of blood vessels.

These are just a few examples, but I'm sure you get the picture.

***

Related articles:
Veterinary Suffixes (-itis)
Veterinary Suffixes (-oma) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-pathy)  
Veterinary Suffixes (-osis) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-iasis) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-tomy) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-ectomy)  
Veterinary Suffixes (-scopy) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-emia)
Veterinary Suffixes (-penia)
Veterinary Suffixes (-rrhea) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-cyte) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-blast) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-opsy)
Veterinary Suffixes (-ac/-al)

Veterinary Prefixes (hyper-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (hypo-)
Veterinary Prefixes (pyo-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (myo-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (myelo-)
Veterinary Prefixes (spondylo-)
Veterinary Prefixes (cardio-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (cervic-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (osteo-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (fibro-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (broncho-)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

DAP (Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus): Fourth Year In, Still Full Immunity

Jasmine had her titers last fall. I was going write about it, but too many things kept happening … JD just had his this month.


Three years ago, when the majority of Jasmine’s medical disasters got under control, at least for the time being, I finally had a chance to start paying attention to the big picture.

I felt that in order to keep things under control I needed to look at things more globally.

This included scrutinizing Jasmine’s nutrition, and with the time for her annual DAP booster coming up, the topic of vaccinations.

As I’ve done my homework, I’ve learned that her last vaccine should be good not for one, but for three years. I brought that up to her vet.

We love her vet dearly, and he has proven himself to us time and time again.

However, he is an old time practitioner and the new AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines did not resonate with him.

We had lengthy discussions on the subject; he had his reasons and stood by them.

I knew he’s been around the block enough times. I knew he had Jasmine’s best interest in mind. I admired that, based on his knowledge and experience, he had formed his own opinion on the matter. Who was I to argue?

Deep down, however, I disagreed.

We discussed the living daylights out of the topic, until finally he said, “I guess she should be ok not getting the annual booster.”


I guess she should be ok, though, was not good enough for me.

I trusted the AAHA experts, as well as I was aware that over-vaccination was a bad thing. With Jasmine, though, I was long pass the point of taking anybody’s word for granted.

The only solution to the dilemma was to run titers and see where her immunity was truly at.

And so we did that. The lab results said that she had enough antibodies. A booster wasn’t needed. We did this every year, because I didn’t not want to subject Jasmine to unnecessary vaccination but I did not want to leave her vulnerable to the infections either.


It did cost me extra, but I had my own proof that Jasmine’s (and JD’s) individual immunity was in place.

And her vet had the proof in front of him also.

Last fall we’re at our fourth year. The antibody levels haven’t changed. Jasmine’s vet said that either vaccines are lasting long enough or she is boostered by exposure to field (wild) strains of virus.

I suppose that either could be the case. What was important to me was that she didn’t need her booster yet again.

We ran JD’s titers this spring. He also still has immunity against these viruses.

The equation is simple. The purpose of vaccination is to generate antibodies. If the antibodies are still there, what is the vaccine going to change other than excite the immune system?

As we were signing JD up for another year of veterinary care plan, I saw that a discount for titers is now also included ...

Yes, I could have saved money just insisting on following the AAHA guidelines. But this way, Jasmine's vet and I went through our own verification process and we could both have been satisfied that Jasmine truly did have the protection she needed.

I am glad I did that. If nothing else, for my own peace of mind.

Last thing I would want to do was to take chances with Jasmine's already frail health.

Related articles:
To Booster Or Not To Booster: Jasmine's Parvo and Distemper Titer Results Are Back
Veterinarians And Vaccines: A Slow Learning Curve 

Memories Of Jasmine: The Lost Forest 
Treatments Jasmine Benefited From The Most 
Memories Of Jasmine: Remix 4 
Memories Of Jasmine: Remix 3
Making The Last Decision
Memories Of Jasmine: Remix 2
Memories Of Jasmine: Remix 1
Jasmine's Last Happy Days Before The Final Crisis
The Last Act Of Love: Run Free, Jasmine
Pain, Reaction To Narcotics Or Something Else? Please Pray For Jasmine
It Just Keeps Piling Up 
I Always Thought That A UTI Would Scream It's Presence
Taking A Break From Orthopedic Issues To Deal With Inappetence, Diarrhea And Listlessness That Come And Go 
Positive Update, Though Little Clarity
Jasmine's Neck Setback Update  
Jasmine's Neck Setback  
Elbow Problem Or Root Signature? 
Back To Where We Were Last May?
Jasmine's Disc Injury: Spanking New Ramp  
Jasmine's Disc Injury: The Parole Hearing
Jasmine's Disc Injury: Mom, Why Can't I Go For A Walk?
Jasmine's Disc Injury(?) Day Three 
Jasmine's Disc Injury(?) Day Two 
A Time Bomb Ought To Go Off At Some Point, I Guess: Jasmine's Neck
OK, I Am A Sucker: We're Going Through With The SLIT 
Jasmine's Episodes: Back To The Allergies Dilemma 
This Is What Jasmine's Episode Looks Like
Gotta Try Everything Once (Or Twice): On The Quest To Figure Out Jasmine's Episodes 
Thundershirt vs. Jasmine's Episodes
Jasmine's Mysterious Swelling And Another Experience With VetLiveThe Diagnosis Is In: Jasmine Has An Interdigital Cyst
Jasmine's Mysterious Swelling And Interdigital Cyst Update  
Is Crawling Under Things Some Kind Of Secret Physical Therapy?  
Is There No Place Safe? Jasmine's Acupuncture Session
Senior Sensory Systems Function: Zero Defects  
It Looks Like A Keeper: Jasmine's New Integrative Vet 
Jasmine's Acute Lameness
Jasmine Doesn't Like "Doing Time"
Our Of Jail Free Pass
When It's Looks Too Good To Be True … The Lameness Returns
The Day Of The Treatment
First Time For Everything: A Healing Crisis(?)  
From Zero To Sixty In Four Days: Stem Cells At Work
The Calm After The Storm 
If It Was Easy, It Wouldn't Be Jasmine
Practicing What I Preach: Jasmine's Semi Annual Wellness Exam  
No Skimping On Oral Care 
I'm Still Standing! (Happy Birthday, Jasmine)
How Dogs Think (Well, Jasmine Anyway)
Jasmine is Vet-Stem's poster child!
Rant About Quality Of Life Versus Quantity, And Differential Diagnoses
Jasmine Is Headed For Her Next Stem Cell Treatment
Jasmine's Stem Cells Are In
Arthritis? What Arthritis? 
Guess Who Is An Ever-Ready Bunny And Really Liking The Bit Of Snow We Got? 
Don't Knock It Until You Tried It: Animal Chiropractic 
Jasmine's Fur Analysis
Back At Chiropractic Care 
Our Own Emergency Vet Horror (Part I)
Our Own Emergency Vet Horror (Part II) 
How The Oddysey Started: Jasmine's ACL Injury
Meet Jasmine

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Memories Of Jasmine: The Lost Forest

Jasmine loved hikes in the woods. 



She loved the woods in the winter, she loved it in the spring, she loved it in the fall. Summer was trickier with the woods full of mosquitoes. In the summer we'd typically go swimming. The place we liked to go to was fairly free of mosquitoes too.

On the days it wasn't too bad, natural sprays helped. The best one kept them off for about 20 minutes at the time before it had to be re-applied. I don't think one can really expect much more from such products. It was easy enough to spray everybody again.

A very good reasons to be religious about heartworm prevention

We never skipped a treatment and we tested every spring. It takes only one mosquito to get a dog infected. We'd use heartworm prevention even if we weren't spending so much time in the woods but this way we were really very much aware of the risks.

Jasmine could spend a whole day in the woods.

Her idea of the perfect hike was the bipeds getting lost. And yes, it did happen couple of times. Once in a blizzard! We went out with her best buddy and his mom took us to an area she said she knew. She didn't expect what difference a good blizzard can make. We were walking around for good four hours before finding our way back.

Of course, Jasmine thought that was just fine.

I know she knew every time we made a wrong turn. She had that look on her face, "you sure you wanna go this way? Fine with me, I ain't stopping you."

It wasn't dark yet, we still had treats ...

I'm sure she would have gotten us home in time for dinner.



The second time I managed to get lost in the summer, taking the guys for a hike around the horse farm. It was a hot day and I was avoiding open areas with direct sun. With the challenging terrain, you go around this thing and another and you think you still know where you are ...

When it was time to go back, I took a direction which I thought was gonna take us back.

I saw a clearing, headed towards that. 

Except ... it was a totally different meadow than it should have been! Where the heck were we?

I felt I still knew in which direction the farm should have been (and I was right, actually) and took path going that way. The path had horse poop on it, should take us to the horse farm, right? Except, somehow the path wiggled its way round and round and right back to where we started. It was like the Blair Witch Project!


And again, Jasmine was looking at me whether I was sure I wanted to go that way ... "If you insist ... I'm happy hanging around here as long as you want," her expression was saying.

We found a campground of sorts.

I didn't really know how big the area was and how much more lost we could or couldn't get. As much as Jasmine loved being lost in the woods (well, I was, she wasn't), I decided not to take any chances and get to the phone before we lost that also.

As it turned out, the name of the campground was Lost Forrest! I kid you not. If the whole forest could get lost in there, no wonder we did...

Hubby drove up to rescue us. Yeah, I got a GPS for my birthday that year ... And used it plenty.

I'm sure Jasmine would have gotten us home in time for dinner, though.

In her own time. Because she thought the bipeds getting lost was just awesome.

***

Related articles:
Treatments Jasmine Benefited From The Most 
Memories Of Jasmine: Remix 4 
Memories Of Jasmine: Remix 3
Making The Last Decision
Memories Of Jasmine: Remix 2
Memories Of Jasmine: Remix 1
Jasmine's Last Happy Days Before The Final Crisis
The Last Act Of Love: Run Free, Jasmine
Pain, Reaction To Narcotics Or Something Else? Please Pray For Jasmine
It Just Keeps Piling Up 
I Always Thought That A UTI Would Scream It's Presence
Taking A Break From Orthopedic Issues To Deal With Inappetence, Diarrhea And Listlessness That Come And Go 
Positive Update, Though Little Clarity
Jasmine's Neck Setback Update  
Jasmine's Neck Setback  
Elbow Problem Or Root Signature? 
Back To Where We Were Last May?
Jasmine's Disc Injury: Spanking New Ramp  
Jasmine's Disc Injury: The Parole Hearing
Jasmine's Disc Injury: Mom, Why Can't I Go For A Walk?
Jasmine's Disc Injury(?) Day Three 
Jasmine's Disc Injury(?) Day Two 
A Time Bomb Ought To Go Off At Some Point, I Guess: Jasmine's Neck
OK, I Am A Sucker: We're Going Through With The SLIT 
Jasmine's Episodes: Back To The Allergies Dilemma 
This Is What Jasmine's Episode Looks Like
Gotta Try Everything Once (Or Twice): On The Quest To Figure Out Jasmine's Episodes 
Thundershirt vs. Jasmine's Episodes
Jasmine's Mysterious Swelling And Another Experience With VetLiveThe Diagnosis Is In: Jasmine Has An Interdigital Cyst
Jasmine's Mysterious Swelling And Interdigital Cyst Update  
Is Crawling Under Things Some Kind Of Secret Physical Therapy?  
Is There No Place Safe? Jasmine's Acupuncture Session
Senior Sensory Systems Function: Zero Defects  
It Looks Like A Keeper: Jasmine's New Integrative Vet 
Jasmine's Acute Lameness
Jasmine Doesn't Like "Doing Time"
Our Of Jail Free Pass
When It's Looks Too Good To Be True … The Lameness Returns
The Day Of The Treatment
First Time For Everything: A Healing Crisis(?)  
From Zero To Sixty In Four Days: Stem Cells At Work
The Calm After The Storm 
If It Was Easy, It Wouldn't Be Jasmine
Practicing What I Preach: Jasmine's Semi Annual Wellness Exam  
No Skimping On Oral Care 
I'm Still Standing! (Happy Birthday, Jasmine)
How Dogs Think (Well, Jasmine Anyway)
Jasmine is Vet-Stem's poster child!
Rant About Quality Of Life Versus Quantity, And Differential Diagnoses
Jasmine Is Headed For Her Next Stem Cell Treatment
Jasmine's Stem Cells Are In
Arthritis? What Arthritis? 
Guess Who Is An Ever-Ready Bunny And Really Liking The Bit Of Snow We Got? 
Don't Knock It Until You Tried It: Animal Chiropractic 
Jasmine's Fur Analysis
Back At Chiropractic Care 
Our Own Emergency Vet Horror (Part I)
Our Own Emergency Vet Horror (Part II) 
How The Oddysey Started: Jasmine's ACL Injury
Meet Jasmine

Friday, May 17, 2013

Veterinary Highlights: A Gene Responsible For Atopic Dermatitis?

Researchers of the Uppsala university and Åke Hedhammar, SLU, Sweden, identified what they believe is a gene involved with atopic dermatitis (atopy).


The PKP-2 gene encodes for a protein that is crucial for formation and proper function of skin.

Atopy is a genetic predisposition to allergic skin disease. It is a condition similar to hay fever in humans, except with dogs it results in itchy skin and can lead to secondary infections.

The researchers from Uppsala University, SLU and Broad Institute, compared DNA samples from a large group of purebred German shepherd dogs affected by atopic dermatitis with the DNA coming from healthy dogs.

Certain variants of the PKP-2 gene seems to be behind increased risk of developing the disease.

This knowledge might lead to better long term treatment strategies, as well as it might allow the development of genetic screening for the disease.

It make sense that the lack of proper skin barrier would cause trouble.

Source article: Gene Associated With Eczema in Dogs Identified

Thursday, May 16, 2013

What Happens In The Dog's Body With Zinc Toxicity?

by Jennifer Coates, DVM

A West Highland White Terrier named Sierra died last month down the road from me in Denver, CO after eating just one penny. Unfortunately, the dog was in the last throes of zinc toxicosis when she was brought to a veterinary clinic and could not be saved.


At this point you might be confused, thinking, “What do zinc and pennies have to do with each other?” 

In fact, American pennies minted after 1982 (and some produced during that year) are made of 96% zinc, a much cheaper metal than copper. Other potential sources of toxic levels of zinc for dogs include Canadian pennies minted after 1996, galvanized hardware, plumbing supplies, zippers, jewelry, old toys, and zinc-containing sunblock, diaper ointment, and other lotions (e.g., calamine).

Once swallowed, zinc’s first effect is to irritate the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and a loss of appetite. 

But these are the least of the dog’s concerns. 

Zinc is easily absorbed into the blood stream. This isn’t too surprising since small amounts of zinc, derived from the diet, are essential for normal body function. Even zinc that might appear to be “locked up” in a copper-coated penny or other metallic object will eventually be set free and absorbed by the action of strong acids in the stomach.

When zinc levels reach a critical point, they start to adversely affect red blood cells. 

We don’t know exactly why, but high levels of zinc cause red blood cells to burst through a process called intravascular hemolysis. Severe intravascular hemolysis is devastating for two reasons:
  1. It destroys red blood cells leading to anemia and an inability of the blood to carry sufficient amounts of oxygen.
  2. It releases hemoglobin. Free, circulating hemoglobin (hemoglobinemia) is toxic to tissues.

Anemia and hemoglobinemia can lead to
  • weakness
  • rapid breathing
  • pale and/or yellow mucous membranes and skin
  • dark urine
  • pancreatitis
  • multiple organ failure
  • disseminated intravascular coagulation (an oftentimes fatal condition characterized by blood clotting when it shouldn’t and/or failing to clot when it should)
  • cardiopulmonary arrest

Small dogs, like Westies, are at highest risk for zinc toxicosis.

As Sierra’s case points out, it doesn’t take much zinc to have disastrous consequences on small bodies. Also, coins, bolts, etc. are less likely to get stuck in the stomach of large breed dogs and will pass out of the gastrointestinal tract before much zinc has been absorbed.

Therapy for zinc toxicosis can be successful so long as it is begun before too much damage has been done. When the source of zinc is still present, it must be removed either surgically or with an endoscope. If removal has to be delayed while the patient is stabilized, antacids can be prescribed to decrease stomach acidity and reduce the absorption of more zinc. Blood transfusions and chelation therapy (the use of substances that bind to metals and aid in their elimination from the body) is sometimes necessary in severe cases. Treatment for organ failure and/or disseminated intravascular coagulation may also be necessary. Once the source of zinc is removed, blood zinc levels should return to normal in about two days.

As we all know, some dogs are willing to eat just about anything. Take special care to keep zinc-containing objects out of their reach.

***

Jennifer Coates, DVM graduated with honors from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in 1999.  In the years since, she has practiced veterinary medicine in Virginia, Wyoming, and Colorado.  She is the author of several books about veterinary medicine and animal care, including the Dictionary of Veterinary Terms: Vet-speak Deciphered for the Non-veterinarian

Dr. Coates has recently joined the PetMD team and she is now writing for the Fully Vetted column; great blog, do check it out.

Jennifer also writes short stories that focus on the strength and importance of the human-animal bond and freelance articles relating to a variety of animal care and veterinary topics.  Dr. Coates lives in Fort Collins, Colorado with her husband, daughter, and pets.


Articles by Dr. Coates:
Kidney Disease – Say What? 
What Happens In The Dog's Body When The Kidneys Fail To Function Properly? 
Heat Stroke: What Happens In The Dog's Body?  
The Perplexities of Pancreatitis
The Other Side Of The Coin: The Cost Of Defensive Medicine
To Neuter Or Not To Neuter… That Is The Question
Don’t Forget the Physical Therapy
Common Misdiagnoses (Part 1)
Common Misdiagnoses (Part 2)
Picking the Right Dog to Breed
When Is It An Emergency?
Dog Allergies: Common, Commonly Misdiagnosed, or Both? 
Why Does The Spleen Get No Respect?
Protect Your Dog From Snake Bites 
More Creepy Crawlies
Why I Dislike Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Salmonella – A Significant Problem, Or Not? 
What’s In the Vomit?
Cortisol: What Happens In A Dog’s Body When It Goes Awry? 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tackling The Veterinary Terminology: Prefixes (broncho-)

Remember the Spelling Bee? Big words are easier to tackle when you understand how they're put together. Veterinary terms are composed in the same way. Just like with other words, the main parts of a veterinary term are a prefix, a root, and a suffix. The difference is that they typically come more directly from Greek or Latin.

A prefix is placed at the beginning of a word to modify its meaning by providing additional information. It usually indicates number, location, time, or status.
broncho- [brong'kō] - from Greek - of or relating to bronchi

Bronchi are any of the large passageways carrying air from the trachea to the lungs.

Image Glendale Animal Hospital

One picture is worth of a thousand words, right?

But, of course, you already knew all this, didn't you? The most common condition affecting the bronchi? Infectious tracheobronchitis, aka kennel cough.



In general, bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchi, which can be caused by things other than an infection as well, such as allergies or inhaled irritants.

Chronic bronchitis is typically a non-infectious inflammatory condition. Acute bronchitis is usually caused by an infection.

Bronchopneumonia is the inflammation of both the airways as well as lung tissue.

***

Related articles:
Veterinary Suffixes (-itis)
Veterinary Suffixes (-oma) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-pathy)  
Veterinary Suffixes (-osis) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-iasis) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-tomy) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-ectomy)  
Veterinary Suffixes (-scopy) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-emia)
Veterinary Suffixes (-penia)
Veterinary Suffixes (-rrhea) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-cyte) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-blast) 
Veterinary Suffixes (-opsy)
Veterinary Suffixes (-ac/-al)

Veterinary Prefixes (hyper-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (hypo-)
Veterinary Prefixes (pyo-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (myo-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (myelo-)
Veterinary Prefixes (spondylo-)
Veterinary Prefixes (cardio-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (cervic-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (osteo-) 
Veterinary Prefixes (fibro-)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Injured Dog? Recovery And Rehab Activities For Dogs After Back, Hip, Leg And Knee Injuries

Donna Hill's video shows awesome examples of activities for your dog while rehabilitating from an injury, surgery, or undergoing Heartworm treatment.



Dogs that are on crate rest get bored, especially active dogs. The best way to help them cope is to use their brains. As a bonus, they'll learn some additional behaviors for when they are ready for activity.

Here is a list of other links that will get you started in training the various behaviors.

Capturing a lip lick (Jessie's curl was captured this way)
Capturing head tip
Ring Toss
Cover Your Face (captured when scratching her eyes
or place a piece of tape on the side the the dog's head.)
Muffin Tin Game
Shell Scent Game
Left and Right
Shaping the light switch
Shaping the dog to hold smaller and smaller objects and to Put Them Away
(toys, objects etc)
Teaching Take
Teaching Paw Target
Tug and Shut
Object discrimination (Names of Objects)

An extra activity that uses the front end of the dog only. This little daxie is blind and has just had surgery on her hind legs, has no use of her back legs yet she still wants to participate! The activities work for disabled dogs too!

Isn't this awesome?

***

Donna Hill, Donna Hill B.Sc. B.Ed., has a degree in zoology and a teaching degree. She has 20 years experience in adult and child education and enjoyed teaching people how to observe animals in nature as a nature interpreter, field biologist and train-the-trainer for presentation skills and now applies her knowledge and skills to help people and their dogs. She helps people with disabilities to train their own service dogs and has experience working with autistic and developmentally delayed teens. She uses plain English to explain what you are doing and why and also provides analogies you can relate to. She was also a Girl Guide and earned the highest honor as well as worked in the Tourism industry as a information counselor. She loves to share key information with people!

Visit her blog at Online Clicker Training Tutorials & Coaching.

Check out her two Youtube channels supernaturalbc2009 and supernatural 2008 for more awesome videos. Her motto is "Yard by Yard, Life is hard. Inch by Inch, It's a Cinch!" Break everything down into it's simplest parts and it's achievable!

Don't forget to visit Donna's FB group Observation Skills for Training Dogs or connect with Donna on Twitter.

Related articles:
Talk To Me About ACL Injuries
Knee Surgery Post-Op Helper: Bottom's Up Leash 
Compensation: An Attempt To Restore Harmony
How The Oddysey Started: Jasmine's ACL Injury 
ACL Injuries in Dogs: Non-Surgical Alternatives?
ACL Injuries in Dogs and Stem Cell Regenerative Therapy
Newest Surgery For Ruptured ACL In Dogs
Preventing ACL Injuries In Dogs
ACL Injuries In Dogs: Xena's Story 
ACL Injury Conservative Management: Sandy's Story
Surviving The Post-Op: After Your Dog's ACL Surgery
Talk to Me About Arthritis
Don't Forget the Physical Therapy 
My Love Is Sleeping At My Feet: ACL Surgery Complications 
Coco's TPLO Post-Op Diary 
Small Breeds Can Hurt Their ACL Too: Star's Naughty Knee 
One Thing Leads To Another: Why The Second ACL Often Goes Too 
ACL/CCL Injuries In Dogs: Is There Such a Thing As A False Positive Drawer Sign?
Dog Knee Injuries: Should You Say Yes To Pain Management?  
Range Of Motion: It’s A Matter Of Degree… 
Functional Strengthening Exercises: the What, Why and How
One Thing Leads To Another: Why The Second ACL Often Goes Too
Canine Massage: Every Dog ‘Kneads’ It”
Photon Power: Can Laser Therapy Help Your Dog?  
Physical Therapy in the Veterinary World  
Reiki: Is it real? 
The Essentials Of Canine Injury Prevention: 7 Tips For Keeping Your Dog Safer 
It's Not Just Walking, It's Therapy! 
Treatment And Prevention Of Canine Intervertebral Disc Disease (Part I)
Treatment And Prevention Of Canine Intervertebral Disc Disease (Part II Physical Therapy)