Saturday, March 18, 2017

Top Veterinary Articles: Different Approaches to Pet Medicine, AHDS, and more

Pet X Talks - Dr. Patrick Mahaney - Understanding the Different Approaches to Pet Medicine

Dr. Patrick Mahaney

Acute Hemorrhagic Diarrhea Syndrome (AHDS) – A Cause of Bloody Feces in Dogs

Dr. Christopher Byers/CriticalCareDVM

You might be familiar with this problem under the label of Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE). Don't you just love when they change what they call things? Though I suppose this new label is more descriptive of the problem. The way diseases are named has to do a lot with describing the problem rather than explaining it. In fact, when it comes to AHDS, the true cause of AHDS has not been determined. The present thinking is that the evil behind it is clostridium bacteria.

So how much blood is there? If you're thinking a dog diarrhea with a few drops of blood in it, that is not it. With hemorrhagic diarrhea, there is ay more blood than that. Lots of it. Enough to be deadly.

Bloody diarrhea characteristic of acute hemorrhagic diarrhea syndrome. Photo CriticalCareDVM

"Many pet parents describe the feces as pure blood" ~Dr. Byers

If your dog is pooping blood, it's an emergency.

Read Dr. Byers' great article explaining
acute hemorrhagic diarrhea syndrome.

When pet owners are blind to blindness

Dr. Marty Becker

I'd like to think that if my dog started having vision problems that I'd notice it right away. But would I? I remember a story from one of Dr. Stanley Coren's books about a dog who quietly went blind without anybody knowing until they took him to a groomer who trimmed his whiskers. [I so wish groomers didn't do that.]

You see, until then, the dog was relying on his whiskers as a blind man on a cane. The whiskers let him know when he was close to objects. By reacting to subtle changes in air currents, the canine whiskers provide important information about nearby objects. But then he got groomed for show and started stumbling around, bumping into everything and overall became quite scared and miserable. It wasn't until then when his owners found out he was blind.

I imagine, like with many issues, the more gradual the onset, the better everybody adapts without really noticing until the status quo suddenly changes.

"I’ve had a dog of my own who went blind, probably starting days to weeks before I noticed." ~Dr. Marty Becker

Read Dr. Becker's story and advice here.

Should you give your dog Vitamin C?

Dr. Karen Louis

An important takeaway point is that dogs can synthesize vitamin C. While for people, vitamin C is an essential nutrient, it is not so with dogs. For that reason, a healthy dog does not need any vitamin C supplementation.

Dr. Louis is making a strong point when such supplementation can do more harm than good, particularly in young puppies. I fully agree with that. Based on my integrative dog nutrition course, though, I believe that there are times when vitamin C can become conditionally essential and should be supplemented in cases when production is insufficient either because the liver is unable to produce enough. This can happen when liver function is impaired either due to disease, age or when the demand is higher than the liver can keep up with.

I do believe that there is a time and place for vitamin C supplementation but needs to be way more discriminate than taking it yourself. I would not supplement it without discussing the need with a vet. It certainly isn't one of those "the more the merrier" situations.

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