Saturday, August 12, 2017

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Diarrhea, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and more ...

Things Your Vet Might Recommend for Your Pet’s Diarrhea

Dr. Nancy Kay/Spot Speaks


Diarrhea. First instinct we all have is to make it stop. But is that a good idea or not? And what are the best ways of doing that?

Self-limiting diarrhea, diarrhea that will resolve on its own is typically caused by dietary indiscretion and should go away in a day or two. If your dog's diarrhea lasts longer than a few days or keeps coming back doesn't need a remedy, it needs a diagnosis. Many different things can cause diarrhea, and many of them can be serious.

If my dog is having diarrhea and is also vomiting or being lethargic, that's a different story altogether, and I won't put off a swift veterinary visit.

The key to treating diarrhea properly is diagnosing the cause properly. While some measure you can take might make some improvements, it doesn't mean they will do anything for the underlying cause. That's where your veterinarian needs to start - figuring out what is behind it. The treatment, then, will depend on what their conclusions are.

There are times when treating diarrhea directly regardless of cause is warranted if it's severe and could cause enough damage in itself.

Read Dr. Kay's article to better understand what your vet might do and why.

Related articles:
Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: Diarrhea
A Tale of Many Tails—and What Came Out From Underneath Stories from My Diary-rrhea (part I)
Acute Small Intestinal Diarrhea
Acute Large Intestinal Diarrhea (Acute Colitis)
Chronic Large Intestinal Diarrhea
Chronic Small Intestinal Diarrhea


What You Need to Know about Bringing Pets to High Altitudes

Dr. Marty Becker

Altitude sickness is caused by the thin air at high altitudes. It's not all that common in dogs, though I wonder whether it is because they are more resilient or because they don't go mountain-climbing so much.

Brachycephalic breeds are particularly at risk.

Read Dr. Becker's article to learn more about when this can become a problem for your dog.


7 Signs of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in Dogs

Jessica Vogelsang/petMD


Who doesn't hate ticks? Not only they are incredibly gross, but they transmit a variety of nasty diseases. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is one of them. We are fortunate that in our area no cases had been reported yet and the main thing we contend with around here is Lyme.

I think pretty much everybody is familiar with Lyme disease by now. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is not as well known, except perhaps in endemic areas where I'd hope people realize it's one of the potential threats. It is a nasty disease which causes damage to the walls of small blood vessels. To make things worse, the symptoms can be vague and ambiguous which isn't helpful with swift diagnosis.

Signs to watch for are abnormal bleeding and bruising, loss of appetite, lethargy, fever, joint pain, and swelling.

Check out Dr. Vogelsang's presentation to learn more about Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Related articles:
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: Clara's Story
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: Booboo's Story
Death by Ticks: Julia's Story


Why Do Dogs Shed?

Dr. Justine Lee

When I was little, after a short time of having long hair, my mom cut it short because "she was sick and tired having my hair everywhere." It was that much worse because it was long. I wasn't changing my coat seasonally, but human hair falls out too.

Dogs shed for practical purposes. Our guys drop their undercoat twice a year; a different one for summer and a different one for winter. Some shedding does happen all the time, and it's also influenced by stress or excitement.

Different breeds shed differently and, of course, the longer the hair, the more of a nuisance it is. I have made my peace with many things that come with having a dog as a family member, and shedding is one of them. I do make sure I help them to get the loose undercoat out but more for their sake than mine. One thing I would never do is to shave my dog's coat for any such reason.

As for brushes, after having tried many different kinds, I am now loyal to the FURminator de-shedding tool. It is the best one we've ever tried. For day-to-day grooming, I use the rubber "massager" type brushes because my dogs like them the most. Recently I decided to try one of the grooming gloves, and Cookie just loves that one. I should do a review of that one soon.

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