Saturday, March 24, 2018

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Coccidioidomycosis, Fatty Lumps, and more ...

Coccidioidomycosis – An Important Fungal Infection

Dr. Christopher Byers/CriticalCareDVM

Coccidioidomycosis – An Important Fungal Infection
Coccidioides immitis. Photo Wikipedia

Valley fever likely sounds more familiar than coccidioidomycosis, and it's easier to say and remember. It can also be known as California disease, desert rheumatism, or San Joaquin Valley Fever. But by any other name, it would still be as nasty.

Every time a name of a disease has myco- in it, it means it's fungal in origin. Fungal diseases, in general, are nasty and hard to treat.

Like with any infection, exposure alone does not a disease make. Only exposure together with an inadequate immune response does. That's why dogs that live in the endemic regions are less likely to actually get sick than dogs who just visit. Which makes sense as the immune system of dogs who are always exposed to it learned how to deal with it. The amount of exposure, of course, plays a role as well.

To learn more about this disease, read Dr. Byers' article.

Neem Oil for Pets: Is It Safe?

Dr. Patrick Mahaney

I've seen many products contain neem oil; it is supposed to be an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and antiparasitic miracle. Actually, I never heard of it being anti-inflammatory but have seen it used in various bug and parasite repellents. I also never heard of it being used orally but, apparently, that has also been done.

So is it safe? Neem oil is extracted from the Azadirachta indica tree

"Neem oil contains properties like omega-6 and omega-9 essential fatty acids and vitamin E, but most of its benefits are attributed to triterpenes." ~Dr. Lisa Pinn McFaddin, medical director at Independent Hill Veterinary Clinic in Manassas, Virginia

Topical use as a repellent is most common, however well it might or might not work. My observation is that it doesn't do a whole lot when there are many bugs such as mosquitoes.

Safety with these things always depends on concentration, or rather, dilution.

To learn more about neem oil, its use, benefits, and risks, read Dr. Patrick's article.

When a Family Pet Wants to Be an Outdoor Dog

Dr. Marty Becker

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Coccidioidomycosis, Fatty Lumps, and more ...

In general, I frown on people keeping their dogs outside. In the old days, most dogs had a dog house in the yard, and that's where they stayed, tied up or not. I believe that if one wants a dog, they should share their home with them. But I also believe that a dog should have their say in how to live their lives. Dr. Becker's story is about a rescued dog who hated being in the house. What to do if a dog doesn't want to be in the house? You gotta do what you feel is right for the dog.

Fatty Lumps (Lipomas), Other Lumps and Why Surgery Is Not the Best Choice

Dr. Peter Dobias

Fatty lumps, lipomas, are benign and unless they mechanically interfere with normal function, they don't need to be removed. Except when they start changing rapidly, which is an indication they something more might be going on, and some cancerous mischief is brewing within.

It is important to never make assumptions about any lump and properly identify every single one with a fine needle aspirate.

An interesting point Dr. Dobias is making, though, is a correlation between lumps and corresponding spinal segments.

"The interesting thing that I have noticed is that most lumps appear to be associated with the spinal segments that have the tightest muscles or evidence of inflammation and injury." ~ Dr. Peter Dobias

That is pretty interesting. So perhaps to get rid of lumps, instead of removing them, you might want to get a chiropractic adjustment or acupuncture for your dog? Interesting theory which might have something to it.

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