Posts Tagged ‘Informative Pet Posts’

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 »

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 »

Ringworm in Pets

May 10th, 2011

Dr. Jed and I have been on the hunt for a new cat or kitten for around the past six months. We have been holding out as we were waiting for “the one.” When I saw her pictures on PetFinder, I thought she was adorable, but it was the in-person visit that convinced us that she was the perfect new family member.

ringworm in pets, online vet

Almost all healed up, and tuckered out after playing in her new harness.

As luck would have it, a few days before we were supposed to adopt her, she developed ringworm. The rescue group politely gave us an out if we wanted it, and I must admit, we did consider.

I am one of those people that are particularly susceptible towards ringworm and I contract it very easily. In addition, we are adopting a second kitten (we ended up finding two that melted our hearts and we all know nothing is cuter than two kittens playing), and we had concerns that the second kitten would catch it from the first.

After much deliberation, we decided to move forward with the adoption of both kitties. We figured that two vets could treat her ringworm more effective than a rescue. That is not to say the rescue was doing a poor job, but we have the time and resources for her to be our full focus.

We have now had McKenzi for a week, and sure enough, I did get ringworm, but I treated it aggressively and it’s already resolved. McKenzi’s is greatly improved and only one tiny spot remains.

Myths about ringworm in pets

5. Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way first, but I do believe it deserves a mention as some people aren’t aware of it. Ringworm is not a worm. Ringworm is cause by one or several fungal infections that infects and survives on the top surface of the skin, called keratin.

ringworm in cats, ask the vet4. Ringworm is not just spread by direct contact. Not only can it be spread by indirect contact, such as by touching an object that is infected with it’s spores, it can even be spread by the air.

3. The type of ringworm that people naturally get is different than the type that cats and dogs naturally get. If your human family has an outbreak, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the family pet is responsible if they have no signs. A child could have picked it up at school or a playground. Either way, a culture is needed to determine the species of ringworm being passed around. Read the rest of this entry »

Sticks, stones, and other mysterious things your dog eats

April 21st, 2011

ask a vet, pica, why dogs eat rocks, why dogs eat paper

Word's most expensive dog snack

Ask the vet why your dog eats things that aren’t food

Many dog owners have this problem:  your dog eats the most bizarre things.  Guest what?  Veterinary medicine has a term for it and a diagnosis even.

The consumption of nonfood items is called pica. Although pica can be a sign that a dog’s diet is lacking in nutrition, pica often occurs in puppies and young dogs as a result of boredom.

Puppies eat all kinds of objects, and they tend to explore their world with their mouths. Although we aren’t quite sure why puppies do this, many puppies tend to chew and eat a variety of inedible objects, from rocks to plastic bags and toys, clothing, and even pieces of wood. Most puppies grow out of this behavior as the morph into adult dogs, with only the mildest of discouragement from their owners.

ask a vet why my dog eats grassMany adult dogs that eat inedible objects may do so out of destructive chewing. This is different from pica, in that destructive chewing starts off as just that, chewing. Most doggy chewing doesn’t lead to actual swallowing of the object, but inevitably your dog may swallow bits and pieces. Dogs have an ever-impressive ability to swallow something that is in the back of their mouths without second thought.

Read the rest of this entry »

Online Vet Reviews Spring Cleaning Tips to keep your pets safe

April 5th, 2011

ask a vet, online vetAsk a Vet

Though the mercury isn’t yet rising in our part of the world, spring time is here, and for many of us, a thorough spring cleaning is in order.

As you clean out your medicine cabinets and drawers, please remember that many pets often find pills tasty little treats (dogs) or toys to bat around on the floor and then ingest (cats).

One of the most common types of accidental ingestions that we see as VetLIVE veterinarians is pets that have gotten into medications. While many human drugs can be safely prescribed for dogs or cats, overdoses can be dangerous or deadly.

So which drugs are the common ones that pets get into? Listed below are some of the most common drugs pet owners report to us that their pets got into.

1. Aspirin. Did you know that giving a puppy even one baby aspirin can be fatal? Toxic quantities of aspirin can adversely affect all organs of your pet, including impaired blood clotting, vomiting and diarrhea, acute kidney failure, and even seizures.

2. Ibuprofen (or many similar drugs such as Aleve). For dogs, ibuprofen can easily exceed toxic levels. The most common cause of ibuprofen toxicity is a well-meaning owner who tries to alleviate pain in their dog by giving a dose he thinks is adequate or reasonable without knowing the toxic dose. The initial toxic effect is bleeding stomach ulcers. In addition to ulcers, increasing doses of ibuprofen eventually lead to kidney failure and, if left untreated, can be fatal.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dog Diabetes: Ask the Veterinarian

March 2nd, 2011

I thought we would do something different today.  We receive a lot of questions about canine diabetes mellitus, and it seems to be a commonly confused topic in veterinary medicine for pet owners.  Today I wanted to share with you a portion of a Q&A from our ask a vet service.  Additional topics were discussed, but for the purpose of this post, I have only included relevant information on diabetes.

Ask a vet a Question:

ask a vet a question, ask the vet, dog diabetesI have a seven-year old female miniature schnauzer Daisy. Over the past month, I have noticed her drinking more, asking to go out more–just to pee it seems, and she seems to be losing weight. She still has a strong appetite, and seems otherwise normal. I already went to the vet, and they thought it was probably a urinary tract infection and gave her antibiotics. We didn’t do the test because the vet thought it was pretty sure and money is tight, and the antibiotics were expensive enough. We finished the antibiotics but they didn’t seem to help any. What do you think could be wrong?

Vet Answers:

I am very suspicious that your dog may have a condition called diabetes mellitus. Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a endocrine disease often called “sugar diabetes” because of the dog has an abnormally high blood and urine sugar levels. Diabetes arises when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, the hormone that allow the body to use glucose, and in turn, when not enough insulin is produced, there is excessive glucose in the blood, and negative consequences happen.

The most common reason is that the cells of the pancreas that are responsible for insulin production, called beta cells, get destroyed. They usually get destroyed from chronic inflammation of the pancreas, such as flare ups with pancreatitis or chronic GI issues of many kinds. This is Type 1 DM, and is the most common type of DM in dogs, while Type II which arises from insulin resistance is very rare in the dog.

The common clinical signs are why I am suspicious this is what your pooch is suffering from. Increased thirst and urination are the most common signs. The miniature schnauzer is one of the most common breads that we see DM in, and females are more likely to suffer from it than males. The average age of onset is 7-9 years. Other signs are increased appetite and weight loss. This is because even though they are eating more, the body can’t effectively use the glucose because of low insulin levels, so they are in essence starving.

The diagnosis is fairly straight-forward. A significantly elevated fasting blood glucose Read the rest of this entry »

Ask the vet: What is the deal with Pet Dental Care?

February 25th, 2011

dog dental cleaning, ask a vet, online vet, pet dental careHaving the conversation with pet owners that are dubious that their pets need dental care is a repetitive part but essential part of being a veterinarian.  It is true that periodontal disease is by far the most common disease I see in dogs or cats older than a mere two or three years of age, and while more and more pet owners are recognizing that they pets can get toothaches like they can, there are still a large number of pet owners that ignore the fact that pets need dental care too.

Bad dog breath is not normal. It usually signals periodontal disease, which leads to tooth decay, oral abscesses, bleeding gums, tooth loss, and systemic infections that affect the kidneys, liver, and heart. And that doesn’t even mention the pain associated with periodontal disease.

So how often should you brush your pet’s teeth? Daily. This is one of those do as I say and not as I do. I am guilty of not brushing our pet’s teeth daily. I understand how difficult it is, and am not passing judgment. But if you strive for daily and perhaps reach every other day, I can vouch in the difference it will make.

Luckily, most general practice vets are trained in dental cleanings. While the procedure does require anesthesia as we are poking in the backs of their mouths with tickly instruments and headlamps, it is not a reason to shy away from the procedure. I would seek out a vet that includes pre-anesthetic blood-work (including both a complete blood cell count and a serum biochemistry panel) as part of the package deal. If your veterinarian has the blood work itemized separately and as an option, they really don’t have your pet’s best interest at heart and it is a red flag warning that they are willing to cut corners and risk your pet’s health.

After getting a clean and squeaky smile to move forward with, you can ask a vet to demonstrate how to effectively brush your pet’s teeth. It may take some practice (okay, guaranteed it will), but give it time. Also, make sure to use a toothpaste specifically for dogs or cats. Since they don’t rinse and spit, if they swallow our toothpaste it can be dangerous for them.

We are nearing the end of Pet Dental Month. How many times have you brushed your dog or cat’s teeth this month? Make the last few days count if you’ve forgotten! What are your best tips for fellow pet owners?

Dr. Laci

SIGNATURE DVM

Dr. Laci Nash Schaible, DVM



Vaccine Fine Print (Not Another Argument)

February 17th, 2011

ask a vet, online vet, online vet reviews, dog vaccinesWhile many pet owners are becoming more concerned about which vaccines they should let their vet give their pets (and you can read our take on that here) , one message they may not be clear on when they leave the vet’s office is.

Just because your new puppy got his first vaccines does not mean he is protected.

We have excellent vaccines available in veterinary medicine to help protect against many infectious diseases.

But they take time to work.

There is a period before a puppy or kitten reaches 16 weeks of age where their immune system switches from antibodies from the mother and their own. During this switchover, they essentially have no protection and are at risk for serious illness.

This is nothing to make light of. Many states have recently reported an increase of both canine parvovirus, as well as deadly distemper. Both diseases have a great vaccine, but unfortunately not every dog is vaccinated and many pets suffer because of it.

Read the rest of this entry »