Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Canine Chronic Hepatitis, How the Washing Machine Can Make Your Dog Itch, and more ...

Hank. Cervical Disc Disease Management When Surgical Treatment is NOT an Option.

Dr. Krista Magnifico/Deary of a Real-Life Veterinarian

Intervertebral disk disease (IVDD) is a hard problem to deal with. It is extremely painful, it can cause partial or full paralysis. I believe it's the worst when it affects the neck, cervical spine, Jasmine had problems with her cervical spine and it was heartbreaking to witness. All you want to do is to help your dog right away but there is no quick fix.

Surgery can be a wonderful option but it comes with risks and sometimes it's out of the question whether due to the dog's overall health, financial restraints, or other considerations. Can it be managed conservatively?

Hanks story is so inspirational. Yes, it was hard. Very, very hard. But he recovered so well. Don't give up on your dog when they suffer from IVDD. And keep your dog thin, particularly if you have a breed predisposed to spinal issues!

Canine Chronic Hepatitis – Inflammatory Liver Disease in Dogs

Dr. Christopher Byers/CriticalCareDVM

Chronic conditions suck and are frequently incurable. Chronic hepatitis is one of them. Once it's there, it can be controlled or slowed down but it's not likely to go away.

When Cookie's ALT levels were elevated repeatedly upon retesting, I was quite concerned. We tested, retested, we did an ultrasound, we did punch biopsy. Not much was discovered. What was hurting the liver? You cannot expect to heal the liver if you can stop what is insulting it. Fortunately, after a course of Milk Thistle, the levels settled down and the problem seems to have gone away. While we'll likely never know what happened there, it was something more acute in nature.

Needless to say that discovering a problem early, whether acute or chronic, always offers the best prognosis. That's why it's important not to skimp on regular wellness check-ups and that's why it's important to try and get to the bottom of any changes in health, activity level or disposition.

Signs of chronic hepatitis can be quite ambiguous and include things such as lethargy, weakness, vomiting, weight loss, loss of appetite, diarrhea, abdominal pain, increased thirst/urination, jaundice, bleeding, seizures ... that's quite a range of possible symptoms, isn't it? I cannot stress enough how important it is to know what you're treating when your dog gets ill.

Read Dr. Byers' overview of canine chronic hepatitis.

How the washing machine can make your dog itch

Dr. Marty Becker

I bet this title aroused your curiosity. I've read enough articles and warnings about the effects of dryer sheets. Even though there doesn't seem to be any empirical evidence to that end, we stopped using them a few years back. But let's keep in mind that chemicals enter the washing machine too. Various detergents are touted to deliver all kinds of wonderful results and make the laundry super clean, super white, remove stains, preserve color ... but at what price?

Acute reactions, such as in the aforementioned article get the most attention. You know something has gone wrong and you can figure out what happened. But what about issues that build up slowly and gradually?

Don't forget that even if you don't apply something directly to your dog's skin, it will still make its way to it. That goes for laundry products, household cleaning products, deodorizing products, even things such as air fresheners or make-up. Be careful and conservative before selecting any of such things.