Saturday, February 25, 2017

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Elusive Tapeworms, Vasectomies, and more ...

Tapeworms – you can see ’em, the lab can’t!

Dr. Karen Louis

"You scream, drop the poop… then pick it up again ..."

I typically don't use direct quotes in this column but this time I couldn't help it. I find the picture it paints funny because I'm way past being freaked out over a few worms. For some reason, tapeworms gross out even seasoned vets, I don't really see why.

I remember when I discovered that Cookie had tapes. I suppose it was lucky that she had a sore leg and therefore was going on leashed walks only. We're walking along and I saw something hanging off her bum. It kind of looked like a thread and since it was feasible it was, I didn't give it much more thought. On the next walk, however, I see something actually coming out of her rectum. It was moving, trying to "look around." Okay, that was no thread.

This is exactly what I saw. Photo by Artem Castillo

It was the first time I saw a real live tapeworm and I wasn't even sure that's what it was given it looked nothing like a grain of rice. They do turn into them eventually, though. I "saved" it and monitored the change.

And yet, if you bring the stool sample to have this confirmed, you might be told the results were negative. How come? If it is so easy to see in the stool, or coming out of the bum as I did, how does it become invisible to a lab? And what then?

Read Dr. Louis' great tapeworm article.

Why a wheelchair may not be the best thing for your paralysed dog

Dr. Megan Kelly

When I saw the title of this article, I was puzzled. If a dog cannot walk, isn't a wheeled cart an awesome idea to help them get around? Why wouldn't one want to do that? And what would a paralyzed dog choose if they had they say? Mobility, of course!

However, Dr. Kelly brings up an interesting point, a point about how the body heals. In a way, it reminds me the discussion I had with Jasmine's vet when I was wondering whether we could combine surgery AND the stifle brace in order to lessen her exercise restrictions. I thought it would have been a great idea. Stabilize the knee surgically but, before it all heals, help hold things together with the brace so Jasmine could still go on her walks and all that. He said, though, that the brace stabilizes the knee differently and if combined, proper healing would not take place.

Dr. Kelly is making a similar point about dogs after a spinal cord injury. "If you don't use it, you'll lose it." The point being that introducing a wheeled cart during a phase where a dog still has a chance to regain their own mobility can make such healing impossible. I think it's a good point to keep in mind.

Dr. Nancy Kay/Spot Speaks

Did you know that your male dog could get a vasectomy instead of a traditional neuter? Yes, it's the same idea as is being done in human males. Instead of removing the reproductive organs, the "little guys" are simply prevented from making their way out.

It's much less invasive and preserves normal testosterone levels. Is it a good solution or it is not? That is the question. The evidence is mounting that neutering dogs, particularly before they reached full maturity, has some serious negative health implications. There are, however, some other health problems that come with keeping the dog intact. Figuring out which option to choose for your dog and when is a big deal and not a decision to be done lightly. Each solution has its pros and cons.

One thing I'm certain of is, that if I ever had a young male puppy, I would not have them neuter until they reach full maturity. Since we made up our minds that we will only adopt or foster from now one, I don't think I will have this choice to make. But if I did, I would take it with all the seriousness it deserves.

Read. Dr. Kay's thoughts on canine vasectomies.

Dr. Becker talking about cruciate injuries, explaining how common they are and what are the main risk factors.


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