Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Ear Infections, Hygromas, and more ...

Are You Smarter than a Vet Student About Ear Infections?

Dr. Nancy Kay/Spot Speaks

You must not miss Dr. Kay's new post in the Are You Smarter than a Vet Student series. I love this series and enjoy flexing my knowledge muscles. Go check it out. You can win a copy of one of Dr. Kay's awesome books. Correct answers will be posted on Monday, I think.

Hygromas in Dogs – Rubbing Elbows Isn’t Always a Good Thing

Dr. Christopher Byers/CriticalCareDVM

Many dogs develop elbow calluses during their lifetime. Bruin had enormous elbow calluses. Before we adopted him, he spent most of his life laying on a mat in a hallway. Jasmine started getting calluses from having her elbows sticking over her cooling bed. We discovered that the worst surface for elbows is not wood, tile, dirt or gravel but short-pile carpet. We put a soft blanket under (and around) her bed and her calluses shrunk quickly.

Elbow callus. Photo Better Beds for Gun Dogs

Hygroma. Photo CriticalCareDVM

Hygromas are not calluses. Hygromas are fluid-filled, and calluses are not. Besides elbows, they can develop over other bony prominences of the body, such as hocks, or ankles. Hygromas are the body's protective response to While they start small and harmless, they can become large, painful and infected.

To learn more about hygromas, check out Dr. Byer's article.

Do You Know the Difference between Byproducts and Organ Meats in Pet Food?

Dr. Marty Becker

This is an interesting problem; a cause of confusion and controversy. I believe the actual problem with "byproducts" is the same as with "meat." What meat? What byproducts?

Here is the AAFCO definition of meat byproducts:

"Meat Byproducts: the non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals. It includes, but is not limited to, lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, livers, blood, bone, partially de-fatted fatty tissue and stomachs and intestines freed of their contents. It does not include hair, horns, teeth, and hoofs. It shall be suitable for use in animal feed. If it bears a name descriptive of its kind, it must correspond thereto.

To put it another way, meat byproducts are most parts of an animal other than its muscle tissue—including the internal organs and bones.
Byproducts include some of the parts that some Americans eat (such as livers, kidneys, and tripe), but also parts that they typically do not. Although the USDA does not deem certain byproducts, such as udders and lungs, edible for human consumption, they can be perfectly safe and nutritious for other animals.

As with meat, unless the byproducts are derived from cattle, pigs, sheep or goats, the species must be identified."

So here is the problem the way I see it. I'm happy to feed most of the things listed - lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, liver, blood, bone, stomachs or intestines. Not keen on the de-fatted fatty tissue. What I like, though, is to have things actually listed for what they are. With meat, I want to know what kind of meat exactly it is. And with byproducts the same. I want to know exactly what it is. A mix of the above? Just liver? Just intestines? Just bone? Big difference between those things. What I don't like about the term "byproducts" is the ambiguity that comes with it.

Dog Hiccups: What You Need to Know


Are hiccups a medical problem or not?

Puppies hiccup at the drop of a hat. Jasmine did, and JD did. There are rare cases when hiccups could be a sign of a serious problem such as respiratory defects, pneumonia, heart disease, etc.

How to give your dog (SQ/SC) subcutaneous fluids

Dr. Krista Magnifico