Saturday, June 10, 2017

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Masticatory Myositis, At-Home Euthanasia, Reverse Sneezing, and more ...

Masticatory Myositis in Dogs – When Chewing Hurts!

Dr. Christopher Byers/CriticalCareDVM

Masticatory myositis is a fancy term for inflammation of chewing muscles. Can you imagine that? Eating should not hurt but that's what happens if a dog suffers from this condition. It's a type of auto-immune disease and it sucks. With Jasmine, at one time the vet suspected she had this. It turned out, however, that she had arthritis in her jaws instead. That poor girl had arthritis everywhere.

Jasmine fit the bill, including being one of the susceptible breeds. I was glad that diagnosis was eventually ruled out; arthritis was easier to deal with.

If you want to learn more about this condition, read Dr. Byers' insightful article.

Euthanasia Outside of the Veterinary Hospital

Dr. Nancy Kay/Spot Speaks

"More and more veterinarians are dedicating their house-call practices to providing an in-home euthanasia service." ~Dr. Nancy Kay

There was a time when one couldn't even dream of having their dog euthanized at home. When the time came, you had to take your dog to a vet, period. Over time, this is changing.

When we realized we weren't going to put Jasmine through any more suffering, home euthanasia was what I wanted to do. This wasn't my original plan; all along I sought for Jasmine to be able to spend her last moments where she was the happiest - some place in the woods. I was sure that her vet would be willing to go along with that. However, that fateful day, everything conspired against Jasmine. Not only her own body but even the elements. It was mid-April, but we had freezing rain. Every inch outside was covered with ice. If she was just nonambulatory, we could have driven her to the woods and carried her to a beautiful place. That, however, was not an option in the weather we had that day.

My second best option would have been letting her go at home. But for the same reasons, it was too dangerous for her vet to drive all the way to our place; not that he wouldn't. We had no choice than driving Jasmine to the closest vet hospital. Fortunately, she was familiar with that place also, because she was getting her physical therapy there. She passed peacefully, but it was not at all what I wanted for her last moments.

Dr. Kay has many profound thoughts and comments on at-home euthanasia. I encourage you to read her article.

What Dog Owners Need to Know about Reverse Sneezing

Dr. Marty Becker

Episodes or reverse sneezing can be very scary when you don't know what is going on. When Jasmine had it for the first time, I was freaking out. Once you learn what it is, it's not as scary anymore.

Reverse sneezing is a result of irritation of soft palate. This can be caused by many things. However, if it is severe or ongoing, I'd want to make sure nothing sinister behind the irritation.

In his article, Dr. Becker explains what it is and what it looks like.

How to Examine Your Dog at Home (and When to See a Vet)


This article describes some routine things everybody should be doing for their dog regularly. Looking for lumps, bumps, and irritations (and don't forget ticks!), checking inside the mouth, monitoring body weight, and checking vital signs. At least every now and then one should practice checking vital signs just to know how it's done as well as having a baseline for when things are not the way they should be.

This, of course, does not substitute regular wellness exams with a veterinarian; there is so much more they can learn from a thorough physical exam alone. But it is a good habit to keep. It also helps your dog get used to being handled, an advantage for veterinary appointments.

Care of Hair in a Shih Tzu Dog

Dr. Krista Magnifico

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