Saturday, June 3, 2017

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Dry Mouth, Herbs and Cancer, and Lyme

Dry Mouth in Pets: What to Do About It

Dr. Jennifer Coates/petMD

You might consider your dog's drooling a pain in the backside. Sometimes, too much drooling can be a sign of a problem. But what if the opposite happens?

Saliva serves an important purpose. It not only lubricates food so it can make its way down easily, it not only is important for oral comfort, but it also helps prevent dental disease and infections.

Dehydration is the most common cause of dry mouth. You can detect that your dog is getting dehydrated by noticing the saliva forming white "streaks" on the tongue. Rehydrating your dog fixes that.

Some medications, just like in people, can cause dry mouth in dogs. But there are other causes of dry mouth in dogs, which are not as easily fixed. These include radiation treatment, immune-mediated disorders, and nerve degeneration or damage.

Read Dr. Coates' article about causes and treatment of dry mouth.

Support for Cancer Patients Using Herbs and Supplements

Dr. Nancy Kay/Spot Speaks

I always like to keep my options open, attack a problem from multiple angles if possible. This is even more true when it comes to serious diseases such as cancer. Would I put all my eggs in one basket with something like that? Not if I could help it.

I admire and prefer oncologists who are open to the idea of a comprehensive, multimodal attack.

In her article, Dr. Kay lists some commonly used supplements and herbs with her comments.

It is important, however, to work with your oncologist to make sure that the supplements and conventional treatment(s) don't interact in negative ways.

Lyme Disease in Dogs – Borreliosis is a Bit of a Bugger!

Dr. Christopher Byers/CriticalCareDVM

Image by Zoetis

I've been complaining about ticks a lot lately, ever since we kept finding them on Cookie back-to-back last fall. This year, so far, we haven't found any *knock on wood. We did take some preventive measures as well as we just recently tested for tick-borne diseases.

The tick-borne disease most prevalent in our area, and pretty much all over, is Lyme disease. Lyme is a bacterial infection transferred by some species of ticks, where we are it's deer ticks. Not every dog who gets exposed to the bacteria shows clinical signs; only about 5% do.

The bacteria prefers to break a camp particularly in joints closest to the site of infection. You probably know some of the expected signs such as lameness, swollen joints, fever and other signs associated with an infection.

You probably don't know, and I didn't either, that a potentially life-threatening complication can be kidney injury. It's not the bacteria itself that causes it but the byproduct of the immune system wading off the infection. How is that for scary?

Check out Dr. Buyers' thorough and informative article.

New Ontario Lyme Disease Risk Map

Dr. Scott Weese/Worms and Germs Blog

If you're in Canada, the best place to keep track all that is related to infectious diseases, keep an eye on the University of Guelph's Worms and Germs Blog.

They even established a Tick Tracker where people can report their findings.

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