Saturday, June 23, 2018

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Tick-Borne Infections Screening, Tramadol Efficacy, and more ...

What to do if Your Dog is Poisoned

Dr. Alex Molldrem/petMD

When it comes to poisoning, prevention is the best policy. This can be sometimes easier said than done. With my dogs, we had a couple of close brushes with potential poisoning.

Once when Cookie snatched and inhaled something outside what possibly could have been a [pot] brownie. Once when Cookie seemed ill and might have ingested a portion of a Belladonna root. After consultation with the Pet Poison Helpline, it turned out it was another similar plant and Cookie felt fine a couple of hours later. But it was scary.

And once when the dogs found some kind of a stew behind a neighbor's yard, and it wasn't clear whether it could have had rat poison in it. I went to ring the door and fortunately found out they just disposed of their left-overs that way.

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Lyme Study, Tick-Borne Infections Screening, and more ...

Many things can poison a dog, some more obvious than others. Knowing what to do is crucial.

There are two ways to suspect your dog might have ingested poison. One way, the better of the two, is discovering evidence of your dog getting into something before any signs crop up. Such as chewed up pill bottle or box of chocolates. The other way, the scarier one, is when you see the signs of potential poisoning and might not even have a clue what the poison was.

In either case, depending on the situation, I might call the Pet Poison Helpline or rush my dog for an emergency vet visit. Inducing vomiting may or may not be a good idea, and I would never do it without consulting with a veterinarian first.

Dr. Molldrem outlines the following steps:

  1. Evaluation/identification 
  2. Consultation with the Pet Poison Helpline
  3. Not jumping the gun
  4. Getting help

Which pretty much covers what I said. To learn more about what you should do if your dog gets poisoned, check out Dr. Molldrem's article.

Related articles:
Too young for Pot: Cookie's Snack with a Side of Hydrogen Peroxide
Don't Panic, Don't Panic ... Too Late: Our Call to Pet Poison Helpline
Keep Chewing Gum Away from Your Dog
Poppa's Orbit(al) Adventure
Antifreeze Isn't just a Winter Hazzard
Antifreeze Poisoning: What Happens in the Dog's Body

Why Annual Screening for Exposure to Infected Ticks is Vital

Dr. Melissa Beall/Veterinary Practice News

"Because dogs don’t always show clinical signs, it can be challenging to understand the true harm to a pet’s health" ~Dr. Melissa Beall

Finding a tick on your dog is one thing. Another thing is whether or not the tick was carrying any disease(s). Every now and then we had the actual tick tested. And every year we have our dog(s) tested.

While a dog might not be showing any symptoms, they could still have been exposed. Does exposure mean something bad is brewing? The answer is, who knows? The more information one can have at their disposal, the better they can protect their dogs' health.

Dr. Beall considers regular, comprehensive screening critical. According to a new study, exposure to infected ticks increases the risk of chronic kidney disease even when they don't show any signs of active infection. Relying on symptoms only might not be enough. Given that the standard testing doesn't reveal kidney disease until over 75% of kidney function is lost, we might need to rethink how we do preventive screening.

To learn more about this issues, read Dr. Beall's article.

Further reading:
Exposure to Infected Ticks Increased Risk of Chronic Kidney Disease

9 Human Medications That Are Safe for Sick Pets


Everybody wants to help their dog when they get sick. Not everybody wants to or can see a veterinarian. What most people look for is running down to a pharmacy and grabbing something that could quickly fix what is ailing their dog. But does that work and is that safe?

Some medications are the same for both humans and dogs. But many human medications are toxic and do more harm than good. So are there any human medications that are safe to use? The list is nowhere as long as you'd wish.

To learn more, check out petMD's article.

Tramadol for Pain in Dogs and Cats


While I do check out The SkeptVet's blog from time to time, it usually just frustrates me. The blog features an extreme level of skepticism for things I have seen working. And as much as I love science, I don't believe that it has the only answers.

Just yesterday I learned that science is going to have to revisit everything that was believed about the cause(s) and progression of Alzheimer's disease. It seems that science might have had this wrong. Over and above that, a lack of scientific proof does not equal proof to the contrary.

Anyway, the above article did catch my eye. Jasmine was prescribed Tramadol on multiple occasions and we never saw it make any difference whatsoever. That doesn't mean that no dogs benefit from the medication, but my dog certainly has not.

As it seems, more studies are finding that Tramadol is not as useful to treat pain in dogs than it was hoped.

"In preclinical studies, it has been difficult to convincingly show that oral tramadol is absorbed and metabolized to the active metabolites to a degree that would be expected to produce meaningful analgesic effects."

While some studies do suggest that the absorption and metabolism are adequate, it does not reflect our experience. To learn more about this, read the SkeptVet's article. Don't spend too much time on the blog, though, unless you want to become overly skeptical about everything.

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