Saturday, April 14, 2018

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Fever, Sago Palm Toxicity, and more ...

Fever in Dogs and Cats – Figuring Out Why Your Pet is Burning Up!

Dr. Christopher Byers/CriticalCareDVM

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Fever, Sago Palm Toxicity, and more ...

Fever is an elevation in body temperature as part of an immune response in order to enhance the immune response and to create an environment inhospitable to invading organisms.

Your dog's body temperature is regulated by the hypothalamus, the body's thermostat. When there is inflammation in the body, the hypothalamus turns on the heat. That's because that the common cause of inflammation is an infection even though other things can be at play such as drug reaction or an immune-mediated condition.

This is different from hyperthermia. Fever is on purpose, while hyperthermia is not; your dog will suffer hyperthermia when their body is unable to dissipate excess heat.

How to best address your dog's fever depends on what caused it in the first place. In other words, your dog needs to be diagnosed first.

How would you know your dog has a fever, or, in other words, how would you know to check your dog's temperature? It depends on the dog and on how high the fever is. Your dog might be slightly less active or lethargic. They might get picky about their food or stop eating altogether. They might feel warm to the touch. And they're likely to exhibit other symptoms related to the underlying cause.

If your dog has a fever, you should see a vet. How fast depends on how high the fever is and how severe are the symptoms.

Do you have a rectal thermometer in your dog's first-aid kit?

To learn more about fever, read Dr. Byers' article.
Related articles: Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: Fever

Will Elbow Surgery Help Your Dog’s Arthritis?

Dr. Marty Becker

Any joint, particularly those that have to withstand high impact, can be affected by arthritis. Most of the time you hear about knee and hip issue, but elbows can cause trouble as well. The dog's elbow is actually a very complex joint which too can be affected by dysplasia. Elbow dysplasia is an assortment of ways in which the joint can be deformed and not develop properly.

There are surgical solutions available, which even include an elbow replacement.

Read Dr. Becker's article to learn more.

Related articles: Hip and Elbow Dysplasia: Are They the Same Thing?

Are Anxiety Blankets Safe for Pets?

Dr. Wailani Sung/petMD

One of the latest inventions in the battle against dog anxiety are weighted blankets. This has been extrapolated from human use where studies have reported it being helpful. Currently, there are no weighted blankets designed specifically for use on pets.

The main two questions, like with any other treatment, should be whether it is effective and whether it's safe. Weighted blankets may or may not be effective; there are other similar concepts out there such as anxiety vests and wraps which do seem to help at least some dogs. They are, however, light and do not restrict movement.

When it comes to the safety of the weighted blankets, there are concerns. According to Dr. Sung, the smallest blanket might weigh anywhere between two to four pounds, simply too heavy for your dog. This may not only cause discomfort and decrease the ability to move but it might even place too much weight on the chest, making it difficult to breathe. That does not make it sound like a good idea to me.

And that's leaving the consideration of what happens if your dog chews it up aside. These things are filled with heavy plastic beads--not good or safe eating.

If it were me, I'd stick with the vests and wraps.

Read Dr. Sung's thoughts on the subject.

My Dog Just Ate a Sago Palm

Dr. Justine Lee

This story reminds me of the movie Jurassic Park, where the botanist was voicing concerns about some of the vegetation they chose to feature in the park. "You have plants in this building that are poisonous; you picked them because they look good. But these are aggressive living things that have no idea what century they're in, and they'll defend themselves, violently if necessary."

Being toxic is indeed part of the plants' defense mechanism. Works well, too; you're not going to feast on one of those twice.

As a human, you're not likely to come up with such a bright idea in the first place. You pick them for their looks. But your dog might have a different idea--and pay for it dearly.

"Ssago palm and plants from the Cycad family are VERY poisonous to dogs, and can result in death untreated." ~Dr. Justine Lee

Only about 50% dogs survive sago palm poisoning!

Before you select plants to decorate your home or yard, please check whether they could kill your dog.

Further resource: Plants Toxic to Dogs

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