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Tinkerbell, Puppy Seizures, and Halloween

October 28th, 2011

What They All Have in Common

It was my first year after graduating veterinary school, which meant I was working and on-call Halloween night (I should just say all the time). It had been a pretty slow evening when a client dressed as Tinkerbell came rushing into the hospital cradling her petite Yorkie Precious in her arms.

She is having seizures and shaking! I don’t know what to do! Tinkerbell proclaimed with sincere fear in her voice.

It did not take long to see that her owner was indeed correct. Most often, I just get a verbal (sometimes acted-out) description, but I got to observe Precious in real time. She was paddling furiously, salivating with a locked jaw, and had lost control of her bladder and bowel.

I reached for the medicine and a syringe, quickly prepped for insertion of the drug, and a few seconds later…seizure stopped.

Having the opportunity to stop a patient’s seizure is one of the most incredible things for a veterinarian. We simply have to calculate how much drug to give, administer the injection correctly in the vein, and we look like true miracle workers. Sometimes it takes a little more or a second drug, but usually we just have to reach for one injection. Immediate (albeit temporary) fix for the pet, and immediate relief for the owner, and a vet who is always under performance pressure, especially when the pet parent feels helpless and the situation is serious.

Diagnosing the cause usually proves to be considerably more difficult. Luckily for all of us, this was the case for Princess. A thorough history and a simple blood panel later, and I saw the answer unfold before my eyes, right onto the blood glucose value that I held in my hands.

Precious was experiencing severe hypoglycemia (dangerously low blood glucose).

Tinkerbell was confused...“why would her blood sugar be so low? I’ve been feeding her Halloween candy and treats for the past several days.” (I didn’t think that Tinkerbell could talk in “Peter Pan.”)

She was understandably perplexed. Allow me to explain.

Precious had received an incredible amount of sugar over the past several days. When the stomach receives all this glucose and the body processes it and it moves throughout the bloodstream, the body realizes it needs to bring this blood sugar level back under control.

Fashion update -the most popular Halloween costumes for people in 2009 were Michael Jackson (#1), Harry Potter, Star Trek Uniform, Zombie, Hermione Granger, etc. It seems like celebrity deaths and the movie industry heavily influences our 31st of October fashion couture. “Tinkerbell” was a little late to respond to the Johny Depp movie Finding Neverland (2004).

The pancreas is the source of insulin, which many of you may know, is a hormone that helps that body effectively use all this glucose for useful energy. Unfortunately, some pets, especially small dogs are susceptible to “crashing.” Crashing means that the body thought that there was so much glucose to “pick up” and use, that it picked up too much, and now the patient becomes dangerously hypoglycemic, which causes decreased energy, uncoordinated movements, and even seizures.

Puppies, especially toy breeds, are predisposed to developing hypoglycemia because they less ability to store and mobilize glucose in times when it is needed. Ironically, giving more foods rich in simple sugars precipitates the cycle when they are out of the sugar supplement.

This diagnosis was good news for Precious. One night in the hospital, IV fluids, and frequent monitoring, and she was ready to go back home, after of course some valuable nutritional recommendations to Tinkerbell and her promise to keep Precious out of the candy bowl.

Precious is a wonderful reminder that though Halloween is a fun and wonderful holiday to share with your pets, some simple rules must be followed:

1. Keep your pets away from the candy! Most of us now know that chocolate is toxic to pets, but don’t overfeed on the non-chocolate stuff either! Hyperglycemia can be dangerous to pets, and can cause a number of illnesses and side effects, such as seizures, urinary tract infections, and even hypoglycemia.

2. If you are taking your child trick-or-treating and considering taking your dog with you, it may be safest to leave Fido at home. Unless your dogs is extremely docile and laid-back, many dogs aren’t used to all the scary costumes, fog-making machines, and creepy music that you may encounter.

3. If Fido stays home, and is going to be loose in the house, make sure he or she won’t escape. With all the many times the door will open, make sure pets can’t dart out!

4. Choose the costume wisely! I love pet costumes just as much as you do, and am personally very pro pet costumes. Just make sure that the costumes is not too tight, cannot injure their eyes, or has no small bells or other parts that your pet may bizarrely decide to eat. Avoiding a costume around the face all-together is a good idea.

5. Use caution with lighted candles in jack-o-lanterns. Curious pets may pay the price.

6. If you take your pet out at night, make sure they are wearing something night reflective. This is a good idea any night of the year. There are many night reflective collars available online very affordably.

Pet Fashion Update: The most popular pet Halloween costumes are as follows:

Devil, Angel,Witch, Princess, Pumpkin, Hot Dog, Bat, and Black Cat (dressing up your non-black cat as a black cat)! Yes, my favorite is Hot Dog!

Good luck and be safe. Happy Halloween!

Dr. Laci

P.S. I am dressing as an Elf!

Leak under the Kitchen Sink

December 3rd, 2010

By Jana Radeask a vet a question online, second vet opinion, is my dog sick, symptoms of a sick dog

You find a small puddle under your kitchen sink and because you’re quite sure you didn’t spill anything you call a plumber.

The plumber comes and examines it carefully. “It seems to be a minor leak, might stop on it’s own, why don’t you keep an eye on it for couple weeks and see what happens,” he says.

You pay the plumber and watch it for couple of weeks, wiping up puddles.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

It does not stop, it seems to be getting worse. You call the plumber again.

Why would you let your vet get away with something you wouldn’t tolerate from your plumber?  It’s your pet’s health that is in stake.

He takes a look at it and informs you that you indeed have a leaking pipe. “It’s an old building,” he says, “something like that is to be expected.”

Yes, you know that you’re living in an old building. But you don’t want to spend your days wiping up under your sink.

“Hm, why don’t you put a container underneath it, that should prevent damage from the leak. Call me in couple weeks if this doesn’t help.”

Read the rest of this entry »

The Last Hour…
The GRAND PRIZE explained by Nigel and Becky

November 14th, 2010

Thanks for participating in the 2010 Blogathon for Pet Charities.

As a token of our appreciation for your donations, we have put together an incredible grand prize for the last post!  Watch Nigel and Becky’s video for more information about the grand prize.  Just one hour until the Grand Prize!

Contest Rules


In order to comment, will have to comment on the next hour’s blog with a reply that tells us which post over the last 27 hours was your favorite and why.  So put on your thinking caps and good luck!

Dr. Laci and Dr. Jed

Dr. Jed and Dr. Laci Schaible, Owners VetLIVE.com






















Blogathon 2010 | Please donate during this 24 hour period

This post is part of the 2010 Blogathon Fund Raising Charity Initiative.

VetLIVE is trying to raise money for National Mill Dog Rescue. National Mill Dog Rescue (NMDR) has saved over 3828 dogs and counting. At National Mill Dog Rescue, “It’s all about the dogs.” NMDR has pledged to put an end to the cruelty and evil of the commercial breeding industry, more commonly known as puppy mills. Through educating the public and through the use of their 500 volunteers, NMDR is on the cutting edge of saving mill pets and helping improve the industry. NMDR is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.

Please simply press the “Donate” button below to contribute. All size donations are accepted!


VetLIVE Photo Contest!

November 14th, 2010

VetLIVE is hosting a pet photo contest on Facebook!

Enter your pet’s photo in our VetLIVE Photo contest.  The prizes include a $50.00 American Express Gift Card, and VetLIVE question and answers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Win a Doggie Dinner Platter

November 13th, 2010

This is a Prize Post

Watch the video and enter to win!

Contest rules.

Dr. Jed

Dr. Jed Schaible Signature

Dr. Jed Schaible VMD



This post is part of the 2010 Blogathon Fund Raising Charity Initiative.

VetLIVE is trying to raise money for National Mill Dog Rescue. National Mill Dog Rescue (NMDR) has saved over 3828 dogs and counting. At National Mill Dog Rescue, “It’s all about the dogs.” NMDR has pledged to put an end to the cruelty and evil of the commercial breeding industry, more commonly known as puppy mills. Through educating the public and through the use of their 500 volunteers, NMDR is on the cutting edge of saving mill pets and helping improve the industry. NMDR is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.

Please simply press the “Donate” button below to contribute. All size donations are accepted!


How to keep your dog from eating too fast – fast eating can lead to bad things…

November 13th, 2010

Dogs don’t really have to chew their kibble if they don’t want to.

Although this is a common characteristic of dogs in general, it is very beneficial to slow down the speed of their ingestion. Large dogs, like St.Bernards, Dobermans, Great Danes, labs, etc. are at risk of bloat and even a more dangerous condition and potentially fatal called gastric dilatation/volvulus (GDV) when a torsion of the stomach occurs.  So how, as pet owners, can we prevent bloat and GDV and what are the risk factors?

Risk factors for bloat and GDV:

  • Narrow and deep chestDog eating with baby
  • Once-daily feeding
  • Rapid eating
  • Exercise after eating
  • Consuming large quantities of food and/or water
  • Fearful temperament
  • Being underweight
  • Eating from a raised feeding bowl
  • Stress

Strategies to prevent, bloat, vomiting, and gastric dilatation volvulus:

  1. Feed kibble that measures at least 3 cm forces the dog to bite down on the kibble before swallowing, thus limiting the risk of aerophagia (swallowing of air), a known risk factor for gastric dilatation. There are large kibble foods available at leading pet stores
  2. Feed your dog using a slow-eating dog bowl or a puzzle toy. See the bowl recommendations below. They range in quality and price. Be sure that if your dog eats plastic to splurge on the stainless steel versions.

  3. Feed smaller portions more frequently. A deep-chested dog should be fed 3-4 times a day smaller meals to prevent bloat. Never feed just once a day. Read the rest of this entry »

Our beneficiary

November 13th, 2010
All about National Mill Dog Rescue:

VetLIVE is trying to raise money for National Mill Dog Rescue. National Mill Dog Rescue (NMDR) has saved over 3828 dogs and counting. At National Mill Dog Rescue, “It’s all about the dogs.” NMDR has pledged to put an end to the cruelty and evil of the commercial breeding industry, more commonly known as puppy mills. Through educating the public and through the use of their 500 volunteers, NMDR is on the cutting edge of saving mill pets and helping improve the industry. NMDR is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.

National Mill Dog Rescue Logo

Here are some of the Puppy Mill pets they have saved:

Saved Mill Dog Puppy

Mill dog saved

Not familiar with puppy mills?  Read these 11 facts about puppy mills.

Read the rest of this entry »

Winner of Puppy Mill Puzzle Contest Announced! | Win Vet Advice

November 8th, 2010
Congratulations to the winner of the October Puppy Mill Awareness Puzzle Contest!

Jenny Stephens of North Penn Puppy Mill Watch, out of Lansdale, PA is the winner

Jenny Stephens generously has donated 1/2 of the $50.00 prize to VetLIVE Charity.  This money has been sent to Days End Farm Horse Rescue and will be well spent on the quality care and treatment of horses through intervention, education, outreach, and vet advice.

Don’t forget to enter your pet’s photo in our VetLIVE Photo contest.  The prizes include a $50.00 American Express Gift Card, and VetLIVE question and vet answers.

Get Vet Advice Now | Enter Photo Contest

Current Leader

Online Vet Advice | Current Leader in Votes

Books, journals, and the clutter associated with staying current in vet med

October 29th, 2010

I never loved reading as a child like Dr. Laci did.  I preferred working with my hands, being outside, and playing sports.  How things have changed.

I am bombarded with books- they seem to be everywhere and they get in the way. They are an obligation and a time-taker (not waster); we have to read them, especially as vets, to stay current.

There are books on my desk.

Books on a desk

There are books in bookcases

Books in bookcase
Read the rest of this entry »

My pet has diarrhea? Stories from my Diary-rrhea

October 24th, 2010

Check out our first guest post at Dawg Business– a very comprehensive blog resource for dog health problems and dog wellness.  It is written by a pet owner and is easy to read while still being very informative.

The post I wrote is on doggy diarrhea– a humorous approach to a subject we are all to familiar with!

Dr. Laci AKA Dr. Poop

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Online vet, Dr. Laci Nash Schaible, DVM

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