Saturday, November 11, 2017

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Reverse Sneezing, Entropion, and more ...

Reverse Sneezing in Dogs: Is It Normal?

Dr. Jennifer Coates/petMD

Reverse sneezing is the scariest of all mostly benign things you can see your dog doing unless you know what's happening. I remember how concerned I was when it happened to Jasmine for the first time.

Dr. Coates describes it as a loud snorking sound; that is the best description I've heard so far.

Just like a regular sneeze, reverse sneezing is a reaction to irritation. It can happen for various harmless reasons. However, when it's severe or persistent, you might be looking at a cause that is more serious such as an infection, a foreign body, anatomical abnormalities and even masses.

I never miss a single article by Dr. Coates and neither should you.

Dog Breeds That Suffer from Eyelid Problems

Dr. Katy Nelson/petMD

Eyelids serve to protect the eyes, but when they don't develop properly, they can also cause a lot of trouble. As a result of breeding trends, our dogs suffer from more and more issues arising from the changes to their anatomy. The eyes have not been spared.

The most common breed-related issue affecting the eyes are eyelids that turn inward. This is called entropion, and it is quite painful. JD had a minor case, and even that was causing some irritation and discharge. The list of breeds that are susceptible to entropion is quite long, and if the problem is severe enough, it may require surgical correction.

Other eye issues are becoming more prevalent as well, though not always proven to be genetic in origins. That can include eyelid masses, eyelashes that grow inward, etc. Jasmine had one eyelash grown inward, and it caused a major issue. She had to have it surgically removed. Fortunately, it was just the one, and all other eyelashes were well-behaved.

To learn more about breed-related eyelid problems and affected breeds, read Dr. Nelson's article.

Why is My Dog Whining All the Time?

Dr. Eric Barchas/Dogster

Dogs can white for a bunch of reasons. Excitement, impatience, frustration, fear, pain ... I put pain last because from all the times my dogs whined, pain was the least frequent cause. I find dogs more likely to whimper from pain than whine.

Cookie, for example, whines when she hears voices outside and nobody is coming in to meet her. Especially when they are familiar voices.  For most of other communication, she uses an assortment of various other sounds--I think Cookie is just one step short of speaking English.

For the most part, I consider a whining dog an unhappy dog which means I want to figure out the reason and how to avoid it. It is essential to figure out the cause, particularly since there are medical issues that can cause whining too. This can be metabolic or glandular issues, neurological problems, and cognitive changes.

My rule of thumb is that every time there is a problem I like to investigate and confirm or rule out medical reasons first.

Hotspots in Dogs

Dr. Krista Magnifico

Friday, November 10, 2017

Veterinary Highlights: Stem Cells to Treat Atopic Dermatitis?

I am always excited to see new advances and trials in regenerative medicine. This is my number one go-to option to consider when evaluating best treatment for my dogs.

Jasmine did great with her stem cell treatments, and Cookie got platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment for her partial cruciate tear(s). Her knees are still holding up well.

Canine atopic dermatitis is a hard to treat, chronic skin disease associated with allergies. The culprit are normally harmless things in their environment. From the presently available treatments, immunotherapy is what I would try.

A new study is underway to evaluate how could stem cells work to treat atopic dermatitis. I know that IV stem cells had been tested for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and it is possible that was one of the things that helped Jasmine with hers.

Stem cell treatments show good hope for treatment of various chronic and degenerative diseases. Some of the things administration of stem cells does is immune system modulation and reduction of inflammation.

I'll be watching what comes out of this study.

Source article:
Can Allogenic Stem Cells Treat Canine Atopic Dermatitis?

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Dog Longevity Survey: How Important Are Wellness Exams for Longevity?

If there ever was a dog health subject that should not have any controversy over it, it would be wellness exams. I'd very much like to have seen a full consensus that wellness exams absolutely are extremely important to longevity.

There is no downside to wellness exams.

Unlike weight management which people might find difficult, or vaccinations and spay/neuter which indeed are controversial, your dog can always only benefit from wellness exams.

Here is what people who took the survey answered. 

Extremely important53.49%
Somewhat important  6.87%
Not important  2.33%
I don't know  2.33%
Other  0.00%

I am glad that majority believes wellness exams are either extremely important or at least important.

I wish nobody had checked any of the remaining options.

Anybody who cares about their dog's well-being and longevity should take them for a wellness exam at least once a year.

Many health issues can be brewing under surface long before they show up outwardly. Wellness exams are a way to peek inside for what problems might be hiding from plain sight.

Often it's not until a disease reaches an advanced stage before symptoms crop up. Early stage dental disease, orthopedic issues, heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, and other systemic issues can go unnoticed. Yet, the sooner they are discovered and addressed, the better the prognosis is.

Wouldn't you like to have a crystal ball that would tell you what problem your dog might come down with in the future?

Wellness exams are almost like having a crystal ball. For example, the new kidney test, SDMA, can detect kidney disease roughly a year before your dog would develop visible symptoms. Knowing of a brewing problem that far ahead can give you the upper hand increasing your dog's longevity. And that is just one example.

We have wellness exams done for our dogs twice a year. That includes full physical examination, fecal, urinalysis and comprehensive bloodwork.

Do you take your dog(s) for regular wellness exams?

Related articles:
What's the Difference Between Annual Exams and Wellness Exams?

Dog Longevity Survey Part I
Dog Longevity Survey Part II
Dog Longevity Survey Part I Results
How Important Is Weight Management for Longevity?

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

What Does the Thyroid Do? Cookie Is Hypothyroid (Part II)

Continued from Part I

Hormones as substances that control and regulate processes such as growth, metabolism or fertility.

The thyroid gland, while a tiny organ, wields awesome powers.

Thyroid gland: Image Pets Adviser

Thyroid hormones control metabolism - the chemical processes that occur in a living organism to maintain life. In the extreme, a body void of thyroid hormones would die.

Every organ in the body needs thyroid hormone to function normally.

Thyroid hormones help regulate body temperature, heart rate and cardiac output, fat and carbohydrate metabolism, central nervous system function, and other essential processes.

"Thyroid hormones are like spark plugs of the body." Dr. Paul Eck

I like that metaphor. Not really all that accurate, I don't think, but illustrates the fact that without it, you can have the engine and the fuel and all the other parts, but you're not going anywhere.

Dr. Eck continues to explain, "They [thyroid hormones] ignite the fuel in the mitochondria of the cell to produce energy with which the body performs all of its functions."

With hypothyroidism, very little work gets done, and most of the fuel provided through nutrition just gets put away because it's not being used.

That explains the symptoms that come with low thyroid function, such as lethargy, weakness, weight gain, poor skin and coat quality, reduced immune function and other effects resulting from poor energy management. It can also lead to neuromuscular issues, which is why the first time thyroid issues came to my mind when Cookie started having problems with her legs. Whether or not her thyroid was involved with those things, I'm glad we got the problem nailed down and treated.

Related articles:
What Does the Thyroid Do?

From The End Of A Lead Line To Casa Jasmine: Meet Cookie, Our New Adoptee
And So It Begins Again(?) Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie 
I Didn't Know I Could Fly: Why Cookie Wears A Harness Instead Of A Collar
C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Chews For Dogs CAN Be A Choking Hazzard 
Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie: The Knee Or The Foot?
Creative Solutions And An Incidental Product Review
Too Young For Pot: Cookie's Snack With A Side Of Hydrogen Peroxide  
Taming Of The Wild Beast: Cookie's Transition To Civilization  
Staying On Top Of The Ears: Cookie Is Not Impressed  
Putting The Easy Back Into Walking
Cookie's Ears Are Still Not Happy 
The Threat Of The Bulge Is Always Lurking 
Today Is Cookie's Three-Months Adoptoversary  
Cookie Meets The Electric Horse Fence And Her First Chiropractic Adjustment  
Why Examine Your Dog's Vomit? 
Why Is That Leg Still Not Happy? Cookie's Leg Keeps Getting Sore 
Cookie Too Is Insured With Trupanion
Does Being Insured Mean Being Covered? Our First Claim With Trupanion
Is Cookie's Leg Finally Getting Better?
Is Cookie Going To Be Another Medical Challenge Or Are We Looking Too Closely? 
The Project That Is Cookie: Pancreatitis Up Close And Personal  
Pancreatitis: Cookie’s Blood Work   
Another Belly Upset: Pancreatitis Again Or Not?  
Happy Birthday, Cookie 
Incontinence? Cookie's Mysterious Leaks 
Who's Training Whom? Stick And Treat 
Don't Just Stand There, Do Something? Cookie's Mysterious Bumps 
Cookie's Mysterious Bumps Update
One Vomit, No Vomit 
Happy One-Year Adoptoversary, Cookie!
Cookie's Leaks Are Back: Garden Variety Incontinence Or Not?
Cookie's Leaks Update 
Don't Panic, Don't Panic: Know What Your Job Is 
The Continuing Saga Of Cookie's Leeks: Trying Chiropractic Approach 
Cookie's Minor Eye Irritation
Regular Wellness Exam: Cookie's ALT Was Elevated 
Cookie's Plantar Paw Pad Injury 
How Far To Take It When The Dog Isn't Sick?
Cookie Has Tapeworm Infection 
Cookie's Elevated ALT: The Ultrasound and Cytology  
Cookie's ALT Update
The Importance of Observation: Cookie's Chiropractic Adjustment
Sometimes You Don't Even Know What You're Looking at: Cookie's Scary "We Have No Idea What that Was" 
Living with an Incontinent Dog 
Summer Dangers: Cookie Gets Stung by a Bald-faced Hornet 
To Breathe or Not To Breathe: Cookie's Hind Legs Transiently Fail to Work (Again)
Figuring out What Might Be Going on with Cookie's Legs: The Process 
Figuring out What Might Be Going on with Cookie's Legs: The Diagnosis 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Trazodone  
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Other Medications 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Laser, Hydrotherapy, and Chiropractic 
Cookie's Recovery from Iliopsoas Injury: ToeGrips 
It Never Rains ... Cookie's New Injury 
Mixed Emotions: When What You Should Do Might Not Be What You Should Do for Your Dog 
Cookie's New Injury Update 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury: The Symptoms 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury: Battling the Zoomies 
Cookie's Muscle Injuries: What Else Is Going On?
Theory and Actual Decisions for an Actual Dog Aren't the Same Thing: Cookie's Knee Injury
Does Your Vet Listen to You? Cookie's Post-Sedation Complications
Would I Ever Treat a Symptom Directly? 
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment for Cookie's Bad Knee(s)
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) for Cookie's Bad Cruciate Update 
Injury or Surgery Recovery: Mishaps versus Setbacks 
See Something, Do Something: Cookie's Lumpectomy 
Cookie's Lumpectomy Update 
Using Pressure Pads to Evaluate Lameness in Dogs: My Observations
Cookie's Musculoskeletal Challenges: What Supplements Am I Using?
Cookie's Musculoskeletal Challenges: Restricted Activity and Weight Management
Cookie's PRP Treatment for Partial Cruciate Tear: Update
Has Your Dog's Physical Therapist Taken Dog Training Classes? 
Cookie's PRP Treatment for Partial Cruciate Tear Update and Considering the Future
Cookie's PRP Treatment for Partial Cruciate (CCL/ACL) Tear and Leg Circumference
Cookie's Wellness Exam
Ticked Off at the Tick Situation: What Do You Use for Tick Prevention?
Ticked Off at the Tick Situation: The Verdict Is In (for Now)
Cookie's Annual Heartworm and Tick-Borne Diseases Test
One Yelp, No Yelp. But Two?
One Yelp, No Yelp - Update
Cookie's Rabies Booster
Is Your Dog Struggling with Weight in spite of Diet and Exercise? Cookie Is Hypothyroid (Part I)

Do you have a story to share?

Your story can help others, maybe even save a life!

What were the first signs you noticed? How did your dog get diagnosed? What treatment did/didn't work for you? What was your experience with your vet(s)? How did you cope with the challenges?

Email me, I'll be happy to hear from you.

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog now available in paperback and Kindle. Each chapter includes notes on when it is an emergency.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Adoption Monday: Tess, Rottweiler, Toronto, ON

Tess is looking for a Rottweiler-experienced foster family.

She is very sweet and has great people-skills but needs work on dog-on-dog manners.

Tess has just been spayed and is being treated for a possible skin allergy. She is estimated between 5 and 7 yrs. old.


ANML-RESQ is a dedicated group of volunteers looking out for the 4-legged creatures we share this world with. Their goal is to save a dog or cat from being euthanized in a shelter, through no fault of their own - just in the wrong place at the wrong time. If they don't have a foster home available they will work with other reputable organizations to find a place.

ANML-RESQ relies solely on donations and fundraisers to spay/neuter, vaccinate and microchip their pets prior to adoption.  They don't even use funds for gas to transport the pets in their program to their new homes!