Saturday, November 4, 2017

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Hypothyroid-associated Neurologic Signs, Osteosarcoma, and more ...

10 Things You Must Know before Using Essential Oils on Your Dog

Dr. Carol Osborne

We do use some essential oils, namely lavender or jasmine, for their calming effect but always only used it environmentally. I haven't applied any essential oils directly to my dog yet, with exception of a couple of natural tick repellents I tried.

I am generally open to the idea but I understand that some essential oils can be harmful, particularly in high concentrations. Tea tree oil, for example, can be quite "corrosive" when applied to the skin without substantial dilution. Dilution is the key to using essential oils safely.

"Dogs can suffer acute allergic reactions and become seriously ill ... whenever using essential oils topically with pets, always dilute the oil. One percent dilution is a good place to start (one drop of essential oil per 100 drops of carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil) and using only a drop of this dilution until you know how your animal will react," ~Dr. Andy Roark

Check out the article to learn more about Dr. Carol's recommendations regarding the use of essential oils for your dog.

Osteosarcoma in Dogs – A Painful & Aggressive Bone Cancer

Dr. Christopher Byers/CriticalCareDVM

Osteosarcoma is one of the scariest words in vet speak. It stands for highly malignant, nasty, painful bone cancer. The osteo- bit refers to the fact that it affects bone. The sarcoma bit defines the kind of cancer. Sarcomas can develop in various connective or soft tissues including bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels and others.

Among various potential causes of lameness, osteosarcoma is the worst case scenario. The hallmark sign is that the pain and lameness continue to get worse in spite of treatment. You might find a painful lump or edema. Sadly, many cases of bone cancer don't get diagnosed until the affected bone is damaged enough to break. If your dog is lame and not responding to rest and medication, do insist on x-rays.

To learn more about osteosarcoma, diagnosis, and treatment, read. Dr. Byer's article. If you own a large breed dog, you want to have at least a basic clue about this disease.

7 Causes of Weight Loss in Pets


Underweight dogs aren't a wide-spread problem these days. It is most likely for a dog to be obese than too skinny. However, sudden weight loss is a red flag indicating a problem.

Firstly, rapid weight loss is dangerous even when you do want your dog to drop some pounds. A healthy weight loss rate should be between one and two percent of body weight per week.

If your dog starts losing weight without you having made any changes to their diet or routine, pay attention. It could be that he isn't getting needed nutrients or that his body is unable to use them properly. Causes can include parasites, stress, dental disease, kidney disease, heart disease, and even cancer.

Hypothyroid-associated neurologic signs in dogs


This article isn't new but because hypothyroidism is back on my radar, I thought it would be interesting to include it here. Cookie finally got conclusively diagnosed a month ago but I was suspecting a thyroid issue for some time. I considered it a possibility ever since Cookie's weird leg issues.

The typical signs of low thyroid function in dogs are weight gain, skin and coat issues, cold intolerance and reduced activity. Typical but not the only ones.

Did you know that there can be neurologic signs associated with poor thyroid function? The above article discusses a couple actual cases where hypothyroidism led to an acute onset of tetraparesis (weakness of paralysis of all four legs) and facial nerve dysfunction.

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