Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Always Being Surprised

One of the nice things about being a veterinarian is that you constantly are learning and seeing new things.  Just recently, I saw a new client whose dog was having a problem after urinating.  The owner reported that after her male dog urinated he would continue to dribble urine and get it on himself.  He was four years old and the problem had probably been going on for a couple of years.  The previous veterinarian prior to the owner moving to our area had run a few diagnostic tests on the urine, but did not find anything conclusive.

After hearing the history I started out with a physical exam and pretty soon felt like I had found the possible culprit.  Male dogs have a skin fold called the prepuce (similar to foreskin in humans) that covers and protects the penis.  In this case, the opening of the prepuce was very narrow and there was a large amount of extra skin.  I thought that the narrow opening was leading to the urine pooling in the extra skin and then dribbling out after the dog was done urinating.  I suggested that we perform surgery to remove the extra skin and make the opening wider.

The owners agreed and we performed the surgery the next week.  I called for an update a couple days later and the owners reported that the problem was resolved and no more dribbling was happening.  If you would have told me in vet school that I would essentially circumcise a dog I would have laughed, but like I said earlier, I am always surprised at what I get to see and do as a veterinarian.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Cold Weather Precautions

It was -11 degrees this morning when heading to work, so I thought it would be prudent to discuss cold weather considerations for pets.  Most of the recommendations are fairly straight forward, but I thought I would review them anyway:

1.) Make sure your pet has adequate shelter.  If your pet isn't going to be indoors with you, then make sure they have an place to stay warm.  This should mean an insulated and draft free shelter.  In cases where the temperature is dangerously low (such as today) I would strongly suggest allowing your pet inside where there is heat.

2.) Have adequate water and food available.  Also, make sure that the water isn't frozen.  When temperatures are cold pets have a higher metabolic rate, so will need more calories.  Make sure that enough food is available to them.

3.) Protect pets feet.  Many people will put out salt to help with the ice on driveways.  This can be irritating to pet's paws, so make sure to wipe down pets feet after being outside.  Also make sure that pets are not running over sharp areas of ice or snow that could cut their paws.  Booties are available for dogs and many dogs are surprisingly tolerant of them.

4.) Watch for ice.  Dogs tend to have a better footing than people, but they can still take a tumble on the ice.  Especially with older pets, make sure that the walking routes you are taking are clear and ice-free.

5.) Lastly, make sure that any antifreeze is stored up and out of the way of pets.  A very small amount of antifreeze ingested by pets can put them into kidney failure.  For those do-it-yourselfers, make sure to keep this liquid away from your pets.

Hope everyone stays warm and safe during the current cold streak.  Happy New Year!!!