Saturday, August 22, 2015

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Who Comes First, Improving Life Span, and more ...

Listen to the patient first, the owner second, and the tests a distant third

When we brought Jasmine to her vet with a problem, he'd hear out what we had to say about the reasons we were in. Actually really listened to what our concern was. Then he talked to Jasmine. He'd examine her head to toe. Then we'd discuss what she was telling him and how it fit with our concerns. We'd then discuss the next best step, be it treatment or be it further diagnostics.

It was a three-way dialog. I only do what I'm told when I understand what and why I'm doing. If I didn't feel heard or didn't feel my dog is being helped, I would switch vets.

As for the lab results, any diagnostic is only as good as its interpretation. I like to see the labs myself, understand and discuss what they are showing. I do a lot of research as well to understand everything the best I can. Only then I can be comfortable with doing (or not doing) something.

Check out Dr. Magnusson's view.

11 Ways You're Shortening Your Dog's Life

We love our dogs and we want them to live forever. But do you know that some of the things that we do (or don't do) can actually shorten their lifespan? Curious what those things are?

Obesity is talked about all the time and yet more and more dogs are getting overweight and less and less people even realize it. And veterinarians are often reluctant to even say something any more. But obesity conclusively shortens life span and reduces quality of life! And not just that. Fat tissue is an active organ, flooding the body with hormones. All these hormones are having a frat party in your dog's body, which lead to inflammation and whole array of issues other than the extra pounds. Do you love your dog? Do you want to do something really awesome for them? Get them and keep them thin.

Neglecting dental care is another culprit which can easily lead to disease, pain and even systemic issues. Yes, brushing a dog's teeth is pain in the back side. Yes, proper dental work is expensive. But important. It is estimated that 85 percent of dogs over five years of age suffer from periodontal disease. That is no joking matter.

Skipping annual check-ups. Another of the things we hear about all the time and often gets neglected. Just because everything looks fine, it doesn't mean there isn't a problem brewing. The sooner it gets discovered and addressed, the better prognosis.

Not providing daily exercise. Exercise is important. It is even more important for your dog to get it regularly. Not only it helps with weight management and injury prevention (weekend warriors are the dogs most prone to injuries), it provide mental and physical stimulation. In other words, exercised dog is a happy dog.

Exposure to second-hand smoke. Second-hand smoke is bad for anybody. And dogs even suffer with what is referred to as third-hand smoke - the residue that collects on carpets and furniture and gets transferred onto our dog's bodies. Hubby and I are smokers. But we always smoke outside.

Forgetting about heartworm and flea and tick prevention. We are very religious about heartworm prevention. Never ever skimp on it or miss a dose. I do have to admit we never used and flea prevention and our stab at tick prevention ended up with Cookie having a bad reaction to it, so we stopped using it too. We are lucky as our dogs never had fleas and we haven't been finding any ticks either. We check regularly and thoroughly. While for us flea and tick prevention is optional, heartworm prevention is a must.

Pushing certain breeds too hard. Not every dog was born an athlete. And some dogs are extremely ill-equipped to exercise strenuously or in hot weather. Even our guys slow down when it gets hot. We give our guys the amount exercise they are asking for. If they need a lot, we give a lot. If they want to just relax in the shade, we let them relax in the shade.

Feeding table scraps. I think that how bad your table scraps are depends on how healthy your own diet is. To me, a piece of turkey breast or lean steak are not table scraps. However, some actual table scraps can be quite dangerous. If you're going to share from your plate, share only things that are healthy and appropriate for a dog. Things we share with our dogs include all lean meats, fish, some veggies, and some fruits. I hope everybody knows by now what foods are toxic to dogs. But things such as a doughnut or fat drippings, while not toxic per se, can still hurt your dog.

Check out the article for more tips and suggestions.

Inflammation is the new obesity

Since I talked about obesity - again - this is a great article putting a new spin on how to look at and talk about obesity.

For the last three years, I’ve altered the way I describe obesity to clients and veterinarians. Pet owners see a “big pet.” Most veterinarians see a “fat pet.” I see an “adipokine storm.” ~Ernest E. Ward Jr., DVM
Remember how I mentioned a frat party in your dog's body? That's what I meant. Frat parties are bad for the hosting house. With a wild enough party, you'll be lucky to find the house in one piece. You might find the house burned down. And if not, at least cigarette burns on your furniture and carpets, vomit in the hallway ... you get the picture. Frat parties are bad, bad for houses. Obesity is bad, bad for bodies much in the same way.

Homeopathic Remedies For Insect Bites

We tried about every modality out there but homeopathy isn't one of them. Other than using a bit of Traumeel for Jasmine, which I'm not really positive whether it helped or not. It was harmless enough.

Frankly, I'm quite skeptical about homeopathy. But when Cookie got stung by a bald-faced hornet recently, one of these remedies was suggested to me - Apis mellifica. I truly hope nobody gets stung by anything in the future but if they did, I think I'd give this one a try.

Toad Venom Toxicosis in Dogs

Around here, we don't have any truly dangerous toads, such as the Bufo toads. Just regular garden variety frogs and regular garden variety toads.

Even with a regular toad, Cookie learned quickly that it's not something she wants to put in her mouth. The first time she tried, it made her salivate like crazy. Nothing else bad happened to her but it must have been unpleasant enough. She learned her lesson quickly.

Some toads, though, can be dangerous. Exposure to their toxin can not only cause signs of discomfort but also difficulty breathing, neurological issues including seizures, hyperthermia and collapse.

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