Posts Tagged ‘health’

Online vet advice to keep your pet safe at Easter

April 6th, 2012

online vet advice, ask a vetEaster is a very fun time of your for children and adults alike, but there are some dangers that the pastel holiday poses to our pets. Ask a vet and they are certain to agree that the following items are off limits.

Chocolate is toxic for dogs and cats as well.

Foods containing the artificial sweetener xylitol (think candy, gum, many baked goods and even toothpaste) which can cause a fatal drop in blood pressure and death.

Easter basket grass can cause intestinal obstruction in cats and smaller dogs and may lead to emergency surgery.

easter food toxic for dogsEaster lilies are highly toxic to cats and can cause kidney failure and even death.

Also posing a risk are candy wrappers, sticks and plastic eggs.

If your Easter dinner contains any atypical holiday foods, here are some friendly reminders for foods that are toxic to dogs and cats: Read the rest of this entry »

Ask a vet about risks of surgery in pets

January 31st, 2012

ask a vet a questionOnline vet reviews a rare complication from anesthesia that is no fault of the veterinarian’s, just a risk

Real question from pet parent to VetLIVE’s veterinarians:
My 8 yr, 10 mo old FS boxer went deaf after having an MRI on her brain. Could the MRI or the Anesthesia have caused this. She was given the following drugs during the MRI: Diazepam, Glycopyrrolate, Hydromorphone, Isoflurane, Naloxone, Propofol. Is there anything we can do to reverse this hearing loss?

Dear Terry,

I am very sorry to hear about the sudden deafness of your dog.

I have looked into some veterinary databases for you, and there is nothing reported connecting acute deafness with an MRI of the drugs you listed. The adverse side effects include CNS depression, coma, respiratory depression (these are all either very rare or as the result of an overdose), but there is nothing on deafness.

But, I was surprised to learn myself that general anesthesia itself may cause deafness in both ears from unknown causes. In rare cases, animals awaken from anesthesia deaf in both ears, often following ear cleaning or teeth cleaning. It may be the case that Read the rest of this entry »

Pet Nutrition: Pet Food Label Tips from your Online Vet

November 29th, 2011
Part 2: Ask a Vet

online vet, ask a vet, chat with a vetAs we reviewed last week in part one of pet nutrition, AAFCO stands for Association of American Feed Control Officials. This organization sets the nutritional standards for pet foods sold in the United States.

Easy things first–

online vet, ask a vetMOISTURE

There are four product forms for pet foods based on moisture level of the food:

1.  Dry = < 20% water content

2. Semi-moist = >20% and <65% content

3.  Wet = >65%  water content

4.  If the moisture level is above 78%, the product must be labeled as a stew, gravy, sauce, broth, milk replacer, expensive pet food in water, etc. The reason is that the maximum moisture declared on a wet pet food shall not exceed 78%

pet food nutrition, how to read a pet food labelThis probably seems pretty basic and logical to you.  Moving forward with how nutritional adequacy is actually determined.  There are two methods.

1. Formulation method

This method is less expensive, and results are determined more quickly because actual feeding or digestibility trials are not required. There is no guarantee of pet acceptance or nutrient bioavailability when utilizing this method.

The pet food product must simply meet the nutrient requirements for the specific life stage established by an AAFCO recognized nutrient profile. This is accomplished by a laboratory analysis.

Read the rest of this entry »

Pet Nutrition: How to read a pet food label 101 by your online vet

November 17th, 2011

pet food label, pet nutrition, ask a vetPart One: Ask the vet

Choosing proper pet nutrition is one of the most important things that you as the pet parent can do to lengthen the healthy time that you and your pet will share together. After the melamine recall of 2007, pet owners internationally are taking a more active interest in pet nutrition.


Reading a pet food label can be quite the daunting task, but with a small amount of education, you can arm yourself with the information to make an informed decision.

We’ll start at the beginning. There are a few basics required to be on pet food labels. The manufacturer’s name, brand, and product, as well as what species the food is designated for, the net weight of the product, and a pet nutrition statement indicating if the food is for a juvenile, adult, etc. Not too many companies skip this basic info, and if they do, consider yourself warned.

Do you need to ask a vet about pet nutrition?  We provide online vet nutrition consultations, and you can get started by typing your question in the box to the right.

Here’s where it gets interesting.  The next broad area of the label to make sense of is defining what the food is labeled as.

The first group is the food that is labeled as 100% something, be it 100% beef, chicken,

ask a vet, online vet, pet nutrition

buffalo, you name it. If a pet food label says this, then it means that the product must be 95% or more of that particular food product they are claiming to be.

Read the rest of this entry »

Aggression in Cats

September 14th, 2011

aggression in cats, how to stop cats from bitingHissing, scratching, biting, screaming, fur flying…if you have been around cats, it is likely you have witnessed at least one of their displays of aggression. While aggressive behaviors in cats can be normal, they can become problematic and there is no quick fix.

Play aggression is perhaps the most common types of aggression cat owners have seen. So what is it? During a causal play session, the cat may suddenly begin biting and scratching. The playfulness escalates to an unacceptable level of aggressiveness. The aggressiveness is most often directed toward other cats or humans but may occasionally be directed toward dogs or other animals.

Kittens that have been removed from their mothers too early, or have had inadequate or inappropriate socialization of kittens to people and other cats may be a cause. This is because kittens that are bottle-raised have not been taught what is appropriate during play by their mother or littermates. They may not realize that their behavior is unacceptable. Read the rest of this entry »

Vomiting in Dogs

September 1st, 2011

vomiting in dogsDogs vomit. A lot. But even more than the number of times your dogs has vomited, so is the long list of causes of vomiting in dogs.

This seemingly endless list is broken down into two relatively simple categories.

Regurgitation and actual vomiting.

Sometimes after a dog eats, the food stays in the esophagus and doesn’t make it all the way to the stomach. This can happen for a number of reasons, from a mass to a hernia or even an enlarged heart. Any cause results in the same thing though: food accumulates in the esophagus until it is overloaded, and the it goes right back out of the dog’s mouth, usually in tubular shape. It isn’t always immediate, and can occur up to 24 hours after the dog ate, so don’t rule it out as quickly as you might think. Also, the longer the food stays in the esophagus, the more digested it will appear.

Remember, vomiting in dogs is a cause of a disease or ailment, not the disease itself. If you would like personalized help for vomiting in your dog, or don’t know if you should be concerned, you can ask a vet for help in the question box to the right.

If your dog did however go through the full vomiting experience (nausea, lip licking, retching, and abdominal contractions, it is likely that this is true vomiting. The most common causes of vomiting are eating inedible food objects or food that just doesn’t agree with a dog’s stomach, eating too quickly, eating too soon after exercise, motion sickness, parasites, and stress. Yes, dogs do experience stress even without a daunting mortgage payment hanging over their fuzzy heads. Read the rest of this entry »

Giardia in Dogs

July 12th, 2011

Ask a Vet About Causes of Diarrhea in Dogs | Giardia

ask a vet online, dog diarrhea, giardia in dogs

Do you have a dog with sudden or relentless diarrhea? One of the common causes of diarrhea in dogs worldwide, indoor, or outdoor, big dog or teacup princess is caused by a single celled protozoan parasite called Giardia. Giardiasis is an acute or chronic gastrointestinal (GI) tract disease. It is characterized by diarrhea and weight loss in both dogs and cats.

Wondering what could be the cause of your pet’s diarrhea?  Ask a vet online now to find out what could be going on.

Giardia may infect dogs and cats. Some types of Giardia can also infect humans. Transmission is by the fecal-oral route, which means that the parasite is swallowed in food and water contaminated with feces. Note, your pet doesn’t have to eat feces to get the parasite. Usually the transmission is through contaminated water–think puddles, lakes, streams, or water that isn’t suited for drinking in some countries.

Giardia in dogs can be asymptomatic, but when signs are present, the most common one is diarrhea that results in the passage of large volumes of watery feces–think cow patty consistency. It has a distinct odor to it as well, one that I have become all too familiar with after being in veterinary medicine for over a decade. The color of the stool usually isn’t abnormal–if you are seeing grey, green, yellow, or black, you’re probably dealing with another culprit.

giardia in dogs, ask a vet, diarrhea in dogs

Giardia

Intermittent or chronic diarrhea, weight loss, decreased appetite, and vomiting occur less often. Rarely, acute or chronic large-bowel diarrhea may develop, with increased frequency and straining to defecate and the presence of mucus and red blood in the feces.

Read the rest of this entry »

Beat the heat with vet tips for a safe summer

July 9th, 2011

summer pet tips, ask a vet, ask the vet, heatstroke in pets

July is here, and along with it the official dog days of summer. Keep your pets safe during this heated season with these easy tips.

Outdoor smarts.

Dogs and cats can become dehydrated quickly, so give your pets plenty of water when they are outdoors, even if they are only out for a short period. Shady places are important so Fido can escape the sun when the temperature rises. In addition, don’t let your pet linger on hot asphalt. Lying on a hot surface cause your pet’s temp to quickly soar, and may even burn them. Of course our readers know to never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle, but be sure to keep an eye out for careless dumb dumbs that do. Don’t forget–heatstroke can be fatal.

heatstroke in dogs, signs of overheated cat, overheated dog

Heatstroke is NOT this obvious.

Know how to tell if your pet is overheated.

The signs of heatstroke include excessive panting, difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, seizures, and an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees, and even blue or bright red gums. Don’t forget—short-faced or stub-nosed breeds like pugs are more susceptible to overheating as they can’t pant as effectively. Also at risk are overweight pets, or those with concurrent illnesses, espeically heart or lung in origin.

Read the rest of this entry »

Overheating in Dogs

May 28th, 2011

heat stroke in dogs, online vet reviewsAs the weather warms up, it is important to brush up on your knowledge of heat stroke in pets.

Signs that your dog is overheated

Panting is one of the most early and common signs, followed by the dog appearing dull or disoriented. Breathing is usually fast and noisy. They may even collapse or convulse. Their gums may either be bright red or blue. Vomiting, diarrhea, and internal bleeding (manifesting as red/purple spots on the gums, skin, urine, or feces) may occur. Sudden death from cardiac arrhythmias is even a possibility.

If your dog is just panting and you aren’t sure if they are in danger for overheating, you can attempt to take their temperature. Heat stroke usually occurs at a temperature of 104 F and over . Keep in mind, rectal temperatures are the most accurate way to take your dog’s temperature, however, if they have stool in their rectum, it will be artificially lowered.

What should you do if you suspect your dog is overheated?

Grab your dog, wet him or her with cool tap water, and head to the veterinarian ASAP! Wrap your dog in a wet towel on the way to the hospital, as lowering the temperature (slowly, not rapidly) is of crucial and timely importance. Cool tap water, not ice, should be used. If you dog shows interest in drinking water, allow them by all means. If you dog is unconscious, make sure no water can get up their nose or mouth. Call your vet en route, so they can have a team prepared to act quickly! Read the rest of this entry »

Reviewing EPI in Cats

May 20th, 2011

diarrhea in cats, EPI in cats

Yes, it can happen
The following is an excerpts from a real answer from the pet parent of a 12-13 yr DSH cat that was been diagnosed as a diabetic 3 years ago. Her diabetes is well-regulated, but she has loose and very pungent stools. Hyperthyroidism was ruled out, and the below is a portion of the discussion about Exocine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI), which her vet suspected but had yet to be diagnosed.

Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) is a disorder in which the pancreas does not produce an adequate amount of digestive enzymes. This deficiency results in maldigestion (poor digestion) and malabsorption (poor absorption). EPI is rare in cats, but it does exist.

Clinical signs include weight loss, ravenous appetite, poor haircoat, and very thin body condition.

The most common cause of EPI in a cat is chronic pancreatitis. Many cats with EPI also have concurrent IBD.

Testing is by running a serum TLI. This is the only accurate test, and there isn’t a point in spending your money on the others. The TLI test is a simple and reliable way of confirming the diagnosis of EPI; however; it is essential to use an assay specific for feline TLI since there is no cross reactivity between canine and feline TLI. Performing the test to rule it in or out of course is best. You may want to ask your vet how much it costs, as it may not be more expensive than the enzymes your vet is using, depending on the brand.

Most cats with EPI can be successfully treated by dietary supplementation with pancreatic enzymes. Dried extracts of bovine or porcine pancreas are available (e.g. Viokase or Pancrezyme). The powder is more effective than tablets or capsules. Read the rest of this entry »