Did you ever wonder why your dog needs to fast before undergoing a procedure requiring anesthesia? Why it's not always a good idea to induce vomiting in your dog after they ingested something poisonous? Yes, the answer is preventing aspiration pneumonia. If your dog vomits under certain conditions, they can inhale some of their vomit. Don't ever cheat on the pre-op fast and always consult with your vet or Pet Poison Helpline if your dog ingested something poisonous.
Aspiration pneumonia is inflammation and the following infection of the lungs after something other than air got inhaled. This is a serious, and potentially deadly, problem.
There are conditions that can lead to aspiration pneumonia, such as megaesophagus, laryngeal paralysis, or gastrointestinal disease. Learn more about aspiration pneumonia in Dr. Byers' article.
While not as common as it used to be, distemper is still out there. Last year, there were two heartbreaking cases on my dog health issues group, seeking help and support. We vaccinated against distemper and I wouldn't even consider not doing that.
"More than half the adult dogs who get distemper die; in puppies who get the disease, the death rate can be as high as 80 percent. When we see distemper, it’s usually in dogs who haven’t been vaccinated."
While I plan on doing titers this year instead of a booster, I do want to make sure my dog is protected. Over-vaccinating is bad. But not vaccinating can be deadly.
I was going to include a video of what suffering canine distemper can cause but it is too heartbreaking to add it here. I do encourage you to do a quick search on youtube so you know how terrible this disease can be.
|Digital x-ray of Cookie's knee|
The most common imaging that your vet will use diagnosing your dog is, without a doubt, x-rays. X-rays have been around the longest and do a great job to help diagnose many common issues. There are things, however, x-rays don't show as well.
We used x-rays to look at joints and bones, as well as Jasmine's heart.
|A screen from Cookie's abdominal ultrasound series.|
I tell you, I have learned to get some idea about what I'm looking at on an x-ray
but I admire anybody who can make sense out of an ultrasound :-)
Ultrasound is a great tool to look inside various organs.
We used ultrasound to look at Cookie's liver and urinogenital tract.
Both an x-ray machine and ultrasound are commonly available at many veterinary hospitals.
Computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are usually used only by specialty hospitals. However, they can see things neither x-ray or ultrasound would show or they wouldn't show it very well.
To learn what each of these techniques is about and what they are used for, check out Dr. Kay's article.
While some places are all ready to celebrate spring, we still have plenty of snow up here. Have you ever considered snow being a diagnostic tool, though? I can be.
Of course, the most obvious thing you can see better in the snow than any other time of the year are changes in urine color. I got used to observing the stream as it comes out and I can tell what it will look like even before it hits the ground. But snow displays any abnormalities beautifully. Any discoloration or blood really stands out against the blank canvas.
Would you, however, consider snow being able to show whether your dog has neurological problems or arthritis? Paw prints that are not uniform or snow-scuffing shoulds send you to a vet. Signs of arthritis can be as subtle as your dog being less excited about going outside when there is snow on the ground. To find out why, and more great revelations about "snow diagnostics," read Dr. Louis' article.