Saturday, October 7, 2017

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Vestibular Disease, Shaking, and more ...

Bringing Your Pet Home after Hospitalization – What to Expect

Dr. Karen Louis/VetChick


Hospitalization is hard on both the dog and the owner. I've been there enough times. Firstly, your dog either needed surgery or was seriously ill (or both) to require hospitalization in the first place.

Your dog will greatly appreciate being back home. But that doesn't mean the challenges are over. Depending on what lead to the hospitalization in the first place, a recovery period will follow. Being prepared beforehand is invaluable.

For example, I wrote an article on how to survive a dog's post-op. If I were writing that article now, I would be able to add a whole lot more points to it. Every situation is different, and it is best to have your vet or surgeon walk you through what to expect in detail.

Read Dr. Louis' tips.


Separation Anxiety – When Your Dog Is Scared You Won’t Come Back

Dr. Christopher Byers/CriticalCareDVM

Can we really understand how a dog with separation anxiety feels? For us, as much as we might hate a loved one leaving for an extended period of time, we can understand that they will be coming back. We know when and we know how long that is going to be. For many dogs, however, it doesn't work that way. When their human walks through that door, they don't know whether mom or dad are ever coming back. At least that's what is believed to be the root of the problem. Whether we got that assumption right or not, they go through an enormous mental anguish.

Here is where I don't agree with Dr. Buyers saying that separation anxiety is the manifestation of inappropriate behaviors due to separation from a major attachment figure (e.g., pet parent, child) or from home. Or calling it a behavioral disorder.

Anxiety is an emotion, and it exists whether it outwardly manifests or not. Just because a dog doesn't tear the house down, it doesn't mean they don't suffer being left alone. A study was done that was not only monitoring dogs' behavioral response, but it also evaluated their stress response by measuring cortisol levels. As it turned out, even dogs who didn't act out can still suffer from separation anxiety. I believe it is essential to get a good idea how your dog feels even if they don't do any damage while alone.

The only way to deal with this is to change the way a dog feels about being left alone. This can include making sure they are good and tired beforehand, they have something to do while alone, as well as carefully training them to believe that their human will indeed come back again.

To read Dr. Byers' thoughts check out his article on separation anxiety.


All About Vestibular Disease

Dr. Donna Spector/Radio Pet Lady

Did you know that many people never even heard of vestibular disease? Not having such knowledge to fall back on can make an episode the scariest thing ever to witness. Do you know you think all there is to know about vestibular disease? I bet you don't.

Dr. Spector's podcasts are a treasure trove of knowledge, and I never miss a single one.


Dog Breeds Predisposed to Shaking Issues

Dr. Jennifer Coates/petMD

To me, a dog that is shaking or trembling is either very cold or a very ill dog. But I am a large breed owner. I do know that daughter's Chi shakes at the drop of a hat. All it takes is a bit of excitement, and she'll tremble uncontrollably.

Everything needs to be judged in context. What breed is the dog? How old is the dog? What are the circumstances?

Some specific conditions that can cause your dog to shake or tremble are the  shaker syndrome, shaking puppy syndrome, and head tremors. As for me, I wouldn't take a chance, particularly not having a breed that is prone to shaking. Such signs can indicate a serious infection, poisoning, low blood sugar or calcium, seizures, hormonal issues, neurological issues ... If my dog starts trembling, I'm on the way to a vet.

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