Saturday, April 21, 2018

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Polyphagia, Puppy Strangles, and more ...

Polyphagia – When Your Pet is Eating You Out of House and Home

Dr. Christopher Byers/CriticalCareDVM

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week

Polyphagia is a fancy word that refers to excessive, "just can't stop eating" type of appetite.

For some reason, this reminds me of an old fairytale about a magic tablecloth. All you had to do was to put it on a table and order any food you wanted. And there it was. The one caveat was that should you eat if it long enough to have to loosen your belt, you would be cursed to keep eating until you exploded.

How would such a curse even work? Perhaps it would mess with the center of the brain that tells you that you had enough.

That's what happens with polyphagia. Your dog's hypothalamus is what controls appetite. To do that it receives information from the body. Simply put, the body reports to the hypothalamus what its status is, and the hypothalamus decides when your dog should acquire more nutrition--when they're hungry.

When any part of this system breaks down, your dog is trapped in the "magic tablecloth effect."

Things that can cause polyphagia include issues with the brain or central nervous system, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, and other conditions.

To learn more about polyphagia, read Dr. Byers' article.

Homeopathy Is Less Likely to Kill Animals than Refusing to Take a Pet to the Vet

Dr. Pete Wedderburn/vethelpdirect

There is a war on homeopathy raging out there. There is a war raging on every other thing as it seems. There seem to be enough people who would like to see homeopathy outlawed. Science-based medicine ought to be the only thing allowed.

I have nothing against science; I love science but what does science-based medicine mean?

"Science-based medicine (SBM) evaluates health claims, practices, and products by the best scientific evidence available." ~the Skeptic's Dictionary

To me, this means the sum of available funding, subjective choice of topic and ways to study it. While science itself is objective, its application need not be. And lack of evidence is not evidence to the contrary. Perhaps the day is coming when science will understand and have an answer to everything. I do not believe that day is here.

I love science. I love and used regenerative medicine, immunotherapy, I am happy to have surgery or antibiotics available to use when my dog needs them. I have virtually never used homeopathy, but I have been using integrative medicine.

I do want to have the choice of using homeopathy for my dog if I so chose so. I do not like the idea of somebody telling me I'm not allowed.

"Successful veterinary treatment is not just about prescribing proven medication" ~Dr. Pete Wedderburn

You never know what might or might not work for your dog. I know people whose dogs benefited from homeopathy. I know there are things science is just catching up on. I want to have the choice.

One note I'd make here is that homeopathy is a holistic modality. Which means that choosing a treatment that worked for another dog will work for yours. Proper hands-on evaluation is essential regardless of the modality you want to use.

I appreciate Dr. Pete's article in defense of choice.

Puppy Strangles

Dr. Justine Lee

Puppy strangles is a rear disease that affects puppies. Considering how rare it's supposed to be, I feel I am aware of more cases than I should be. It certainly can happen.

Puppy strangles is a skin disorder. Doesn't sound like much, does it? However, this disease can be quite severe, and it requires early and aggressive therapy. It can lead to devastating scarring and even death if not treated.

Puppy strangles typically affects puppies up to 4 months of age; some breeds are more susceptible. It is not really known what causes it, but it seems to be primarily an immune-mediated disease.

To learn more about puppy strangles, read Dr. Lee's article.

Related articles:
Jojo Recovers from Puppy Strangles

7 Things You Need To Know About Heartworms

Dr. Anna Coffin/Guthrie Pet Hospital

Heartworm Society Mosquito
Infographic American Heartworm Society

Believe it or not, I already got several mosquito bites; in the house. I have no idea how they get in there, but they do. To clarify, we still have a couple of feet of frozen snow cover outside.

Last year, we found the odd mosquito inside while the temperature outside was -30 degrees Celsius. I kid you not. It seems they like to ride out the winter in our pile of wood, especially where it is close to the ground.

For that reason, and the fact that winters are not as consistent in outside temperatures as they used to be, I give heartworm preventive all year round. No, I don't like putting poisons into my dog's body, but I like the potential of heartworm infection even less.

Dr. Coffin lists seven things you ought to know about heartworms:
  1. Heartworm disease is prevalent in all 50 states.
  2. It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to infect your pet.
  3. It takes six months after being bitten by a mosquito for the worm to reach the heart.
  4. It is 15 times more expensive to treat heartworms than to prevent.
  5. There is only one approved treatment for heartworms in dogs.
  6. There is no approved treatment for heartworms in cats.
  7. 1 million dogs in the United States have heartworms.

One million dogs in the US have heartworms. Can you imagine? It is certainly one thing I don't intend to take any chances with.

Read Dr. Coffin's article to learn why are heartworm infections on the rise, and other insights.

5 Things You Need to Know About Hip Dysplasia

Dr. Andy Roark/Cone of Shame

I'm always excited when Dr. Roark puts out another video. He's fun, easy-to-understand approach to explaining topics is well worth watching. Check it out.

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