Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Stinky Breath, Fly Biting, and more ...

Distichiasis in Dogs – A Hairy Eyelid Problem!
Dr. Christopher G. Byers/Critical Care DVM

Distichiasis. Photo CriticalCareDVM

I doubt you've ever heard this word before. I haven't either even though Jasmine actually did have it! I remember one afternoon she looked at me and one of her eyes looked really weird, as if it had a coating on it. She wasn't fussing with it but was squinting. The eye didn't look happy at all. We don't take chances with the eyes so we went to a vet right that day. And Jasmine was diagnosed with distichiasis, though not in so many words. We were told that one of her eyelashes was growing wrong, pointing towards and poking at the eye. Ouchie. Jasmine had to have it removed. We were offered two options, either cryosurgery, which would involve seeing a veterinary opthamologist, meaning having to wait longer, or laser surgery which could be done right at her vet's office. We opted for the solution that was faster.

Fortunately, that was the only renegade eyelash and Jasmine had no further problems with this.

Here is the scary part. Not only this hurts, but it can also cause serious eye damage. I'm glad we went to a vet right away and had it taken care of.

The take home about eye issues? Don't wait, see a vet. Your dog has only one pair of eyes per life.

7 Reasons Your Dog Has Bad Breath

Some time back I already wrote about stinky dogs. Whether the bad odor is coming from the mouth, or other parts of the body, it's important to see it as the body communicating a problem.

Stinky breath is not only unpleasant, it's an important sign. Unless your dog just munched on a pile of deer poop or something else yummy but stinky. Of course, first thing that comes to mind if your dog's breath smells bad is a problem in the mouth. Rightfully so. Dental or gum disease are the most common reason why your dog's breath would stink. If you feel like shrugging that off, please don't. Oral disease is a very serious problem, painful, and one that can affect the rest of the body.

Sometimes the problem might not even be in the mouth at all. Kidney disease, diabetes, poisoning, foreign bodies and even oral tumors too can cause bad breath. Scary, isn't it?

If your dog's breath smells bad, don't just turn away from the doggy kisses, see a vet and do something about it.

Second Opinions With Specialists: No Obligation Beyond the Consultation
Dr. Nancy Kay/Spot Speaks

Here are my rules as a health advocate for my dogs. When there is something wrong, see a vet. Talk to the vet if things are not adding up or treatment isn't working. (Note: for the treatment to work it actually has to be implemented). If you're not getting anywhere, get a second opinion.

Have you ever get a second opinion about your dog's health issue? Have you ever seen a veterinary specialist?

Sometimes your vet might recommend a consultation with a specialist. And sometimes you need to ask for it yourself. The beauty of seeing a specialist is that they have much deeper understanding in the particular field of veterinary medicine than a general practitioner reasonably could have.

We have seen veterinary specialists on a number of occasions. Some of our experiences were great, some of them not so much. But if you hit a brick wall with your dog's treatment, you clearly need to try something different. Sometimes it might be an integrative or holistic veterinarian, sometimes it needs to be a specialist. Either way you gain additional insight and hopefully a solution to the problem.

The consultation itself does not cost an arm and leg and you're not obligated to anything beyond that. Whatever happens next is your decision, as it always is.

Fly Biting: Is it a Seizure or a Digestive Disorder?
De. Jennifer Coates/petMD

Does your dog do some weird things? Things that don't make sense? Before dismissing them as your dog just being a weird nut, ask yourself if there is a reason.

What about biting at nonexistent flies? Does that sound weird enough? It certainly does, doesn't it? Until recently it was believed that such behavior is a symptom of a partial seizure. Serious enough explanation for a weird behavior, isn't it?

However, a recent study discovered that other causes might be at play. And no, not weirdness, but rather gastrointestinal disease. That is pretty unexpected. Not long ago, obsessive licking of surfaces was connected to GI issue, and now this strange behavior as well.

If your dog is doing something weird, do make sure there isn't a medical cause. And if your dog is biting at non-existing flies, have your vet do a work-up for gastrointestinal disease.