Friday, May 29, 2015

Breed Focus: Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen (PBGV)

Small legs but lots of energy! (Image Source)

The Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen (or PBGV) is not a very common breed but seem to have spurts of growth in popularity! They are an active fun loving dog that will need discipline and socialization. Originally bred in France for hunting they have a loud voice and are not afraid to use it! They will do best in a home that is willing to spend time training them and exercising them regularly!
Course hair and little legs are a breed standard! (Image Source)
Although they have a course coat, it requires minimal grooming. By brushing them once a week, you can remove an tangles or dead fur that could be causing problems. As with many dogs you may need to wipe their ‘food beard’ after eating.
They come in a variety of colors too! (Image Source)
Overall they tend to be a sturdy breed.  With their short legs, they are prone to certain joint disorders. This could include elbow dysplasia, as well as hip dysplasia. When looking into this breed it will help to have their hips certified as free from disease. This will minimize the chance of your puppy having hip issues. They also seem to be more prone to hypothyroidism. This is a condition that can lead to weight gain, hair loss and lack of energy. Fortunately, it can be managed with medication. Once diagnosed however, the treatment is typically lifelong. Be sure to research your breeder or rescue prior to picking out your PBGV.
They are intelligent and will do very well with training! (Image Source)
The PBGV while not a very common breed is very popular with their owners. Once you get to know them, it is hard to resist their charm and spunk. If you would like more information on this breed you can find it at the following website here and here.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Doodle Days #53

I'm ready for my dinner and treats please!

Well this was quite a week for me! As some of you may know, I am not always the most well behaved on my leash when we are out and about. I just get so excited!!!  We have been working on my walking and making progress but now we taken it to the next level and entered into a training class with lots of distractions.
Look at that focus! I'm ready for whatever you want to give me!

I actually think I behaved myself really well. It may have something to do with the fact that I was STARVING! I didn't get dinner and had to work for it throughout the class.
It is not often you see a loop in my lead. I'd call this progress! 

I liked seeing all the other dogs but I really like working with my person and that awesome treat pouch! (Isn't it super stylish, I just love when my person puts it on because it means good things for me!)
Some may call it a fanny pack but I call it an amazing treat dispensing pouch!

I look forward to seeing my friends again next week and learning something new!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Ear Infections

This poor dog has a terrible ear infection! (Image Source)

Ear infections are a common problem we see in pets. Many people are familiar with ear mites and tend to blame an infection on mites. While we definitely need to be aware of ear mites (especially in cats) an itchy ear does not always mean mites. So what other causes could there be for ear infections? We will commonly see yeast and/or bacteria contributing to itchy, smelly ears.
Using a swab we can obtain a sample to look under the microscope and get a diagnosis. (Image Source)
Symptoms of an ear infection include pawing at the ear, shaking the head, reddening of the inside of the ear and an odor coming from the ears. Pets can have one or all of these occurring. To obtain a diagnosis, a swab needs to be taken of the ear. Then we look under the microscope to determine the cause for the infection. This will determine the course of treatment.
Your veterinarian will recommend or prescribe products based on the infection type. (Image Source)
Treatment again will be directed by the type of infection. Many times it will be a two-step process. Where we first flush the ears and dry them thoroughly. To flush the ear the liquid can be applied directly into the ears OR can be added to a cotton ball and then the cotton ball placed in the ear. You will then need to massage at the base of the ear with either method. Then remove cotton balls (if choosing that method) and use dry cotton balls to remove any debris and liquid that remains. After waiting at least 5 minutes for thorough drying, the medicated ointment can be applied. Again, there are MANY types of ear medications and your veterinarian will decide which will be the best option for you and your pet. I like to use the flush weekly on my dog to make sure the ears stay clean and dry and hopefully detect any signs of infection early!
A great view of an ear with an infection and an ear without! (Image Source)
So, how do dogs get ear infections? There are several ways these can occur. Some dogs are more predisposed these include dogs with allergies (food, flea or environmental), those with floppy ears and those that spend a lot of time in the water! Some pets may be born with a smaller canal and this seems to make them more prone to infections. Once yeast or bacteria get in the ear they can really thrive, it is dark and warm and with a little moisture, it can get out of hand quickly! It is a good idea to take your pet into the veterinarian at the first sign of itching so you can get to it before it gets out of hand. For more information on ear infections you can visit the following website here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Toxin Tuesday: Potpourri and Essential Oils

This may seem innocent enough but potpourri can cause some problems in our pets. (Image Source)
Potpourri and essential oils may seem harmless, but to our pets they can actually cause several problems. Unfortunately with the wide range of products available it is difficult to know precisely what each product is capable of in our pets, however there are some general trends we can look at. For instance, it seems cats are more frequently exposed to the liquid potpourri products. This could be due to placement, as many of us put these products on higher shelves, or that the smell is more appealing to them.
Oral ulceration is one side effect of liquid potpourri (Image Source)
Again because there is a large variety in products, there can be a very wide range of side effects. Many times animals exposed to the liquid products will end up with burns in their mouth or on their skin depending on how they were exposed. Several products can lead to liver failure, while others mild vomiting and diarrhea. Still others can affect the respiratory and nervous system. If possible it may help your veterinarian to know what products were in the oils you use. Some examples of the active ingredients include pennyroyal oil, melaleuca oil, citrus oil and oil of winter green.
Depending on the active ingredient, symptoms can be mild gastrointestinal OR more severe liver disease (Image Source)
If you suspect your pet has gotten into a product like this, it is important to call your veterinarian quickly. Likely they will not make you induce vomiting at home. Many of the products are caustic which means they can cause erosion of the mucous membranes so if they come back up that is twice the throat and has been exposed. Meaning it is more likely to cause ulceration. On presentation your veterinarian may recommend blood work to assess the liver values, as well as a bath if the skin has been exposed. This will hopefully prevent the skin from becoming ulcerated. In severe cases patients may need to be hospitalized and placed on fluids.
Hot Potpourri has the additional threat of thermal burns. Keep these items away from our pets (Image Source)

While potpourri and other essential oils are not a very common problem we see, they do pose a threat to our pets. It is best to keep all these products up and away so they cannot have access to them. This can be difficult with cats as they can reach many different areas in the house. Taking extra precautions and keeping the products completely put away can help avoid future problems. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Breed Focus: Pomeranian

A very happy dog with a very FULL coat! (Image Source)

Pomeranians are a small breed that are frequently found in the top rankings of popularity according to the American Kennel Club. Their small size makes them adaptable to many living situations, but their big personality endears them to many families. Although they may not be the largest dog, their attitude can take up a lot of space! They will thrive in a more active household. If you are looking for a lap dog, this may not be the right one for. They will spend time bonding with their family but they will also spend time patrolling their domain. One other thing to bear in mind with this breed is that they can be vocal, which can be disturbing to some potential owners (or their neighbors).
They can come in a variety of colors! (Image Source)
This breed has a very dense coat that will need regular brushing. If you keep up on this, then little grooming will be necessary. If you do not, then they may need to be shaved down to start over.

There are a couple of health concerns to keep in mind prior to adding a Pomeranian to your household. As with many of the smaller breeds they can have issues with their knee caps slipping in and out of place. They can also have problems with clogged tear ducts that can cause staining on the fur near their eyes and nose. They also seem to be predisposed to cataracts. One other condition that seems to have a genetic link in this breed is a patterned baldness that can develop. Many people are drawn to this breed because of their luxurious coat so this can be quite a disappointment. In some cases there are medications that can help the hair regrow where as in other cases they do not respond. The good news is this is mostly a cosmetic issue and they are typically otherwise healthy. The bad news is, it is possible the hair will not regrow. 
This little one looks ready for anything! (Image Source)
If you are looking for a pocket size friend with a large, fun loving personality this could be the right breed for you! You can find more information at the following websites here and here.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Doodle Days #52

I got a really special treat this week! I think it was because I was such a good boy for my dental! While sweets necessarily make sense after a dental cleaning, I do still get my teeth brushed every night!

It's a doggy doughnut! It is made specifically for me and my canine friends. I did share one with my special friend Polly (you may meet her later!)

I really only ate a very small piece of it, but what I had was so good!!! 

Do you ever get spoiled with special treats?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Heartworms (Again)

Heartworm disease is a series but preventable condition. (Image Source)

While we briefly touched on heartworm disease last week, it is such an important topic I thought we would look a little more closely at it again. Heartworm disease is preventable. This is so important to remember. You dramatically decrease the risk of your pet contracting heartworm if you keep them on a monthly heartworm preventative. The added bonus of some of these preventatives is that they will help protect your pet against some of the intestinal parasites we focused on last week. We have reached a point where it is recommended to keep pets on the prevention year round. It used to be customary to stop in the winter months (except in the southern states) as we saw less mosquitoes at those times. However we are seeing mosquitoes later in the year and they seem to come back sooner each year too.  It is much easier to remember to give it monthly than to take a break. Also it is MUCH cheaper and safer to keep your pet on heartworm prevention then to treat heartworm disease.
This incident map is from 2010 but you can begin to see that cases are become more frequent in northern states. (Image Source

As we mentioned before heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes. The baby worms are deposited into the blood supply then travel to the lungs where they mature into adults and start to cause the clinical signs associated with this condition. This includes coughing, exercise intolerance and sometimes decrease appetite/ weight. Cats can also be affected by heartworm but many times will not show symptoms at all. If they do show symptoms, they can be similar to that of dogs, or it could be much more dramatic including seizures and difficulty walking. The good news is, there are preventatives available for cats too!
An example of a 'snap test' that is frequently used to diagnose heartworm disease. (Image Source)
To identify if your dog has heartworms there is a blood test that is performed. Many times veterinarians will initially use the ‘snap’ test. If that is positive it is a good idea to verify the presence of the larvae (or baby heartworms) in the blood stream. This is done by looking at a small amount of blood under the microscope. Testing for heartworm disease should be done prior to starting any heartworm preventatives. Heartworm disease in cats is much more difficult to diagnosis and may require advanced imaging such as an ultrasound of the heart.
An example of the typical heartworm life cycle. (Image Source)
If your pet is positive, the good news is there are treatment options. The bad news is that many of the treatments can be very expensive and not without risks. The typical treatment includes a series of three injections administered deep into the muscles along the spinal column. This can be painful and most patients will be started on anti-inflammatory medication to help control their discomfort. During this time the worms will be killed off and can start to flood the blood supply. If the pet is too active, this could lead to an increase in circulation and the worms can actually flood the respiratory system and lead to death. Many times the hardest part of treatment can be keeping your pet EXTREMELY quiet. After treatment is completed a recheck blood test should be performed at 6 months. During this time the pet should be kept on monthly preventatives as directed by your veterinarian.
An example of 'baby heartworms' found in the blood supply. These are typically identified under the microscope. (Image Source)
Again, this is a very brief overview of what can be a complicated and drawn out condition. For more information on heartworm disease you can visit the following website here. You can also ask your veterinarian about their recommendations.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Toxin Tuesdays: Phosphide

Zinc phosphide can be found in many mole repellents. (Image Source)

Zinc phosphide is an ingredient that can be found in over the counter rodent repellents. It is most commonly associated with ‘below ground’ treatment of pests such as gophers and moles. While it is not the most common rodenticide toxicity we see it is definitely one to be aware of due to the severity of symptoms. It cannot be stressed enough to keep the bags or at least take a picture of the active ingredient. This will dramatically speed up treatment time if your animal becomes exposed to toxins.
Even though they aren't supposed to pets can get into anything! Make sure you keep potential toxins stored safely away from your pet. (Image Source)
Phosphides can affect basically every system. This includes the gastrointestinal system where we may see vomiting, or blood in the stool. The heart can start to have an abnormal rhythm and breathing can become difficult. Many will start to have seizures or stagger when they walk. The liver and kidney values will start to increase. Symptoms can be seen as early as 15 minutes after exposure. Death can occur within three hours to a couple of days after ingestion. Some owners report a fish like smell coming from their dog’s mouth. (A VERY strong fish smell) One very important thing to keep in mind is that if your pet has had exposure and then begins to vomit that vomit can contain phosphide gas which can affect people. If your pet vomits be sure to ventilate the area well or move away from the vomit immediately. This is another reason knowing the active ingredient is so important. As veterinarians and support staff are trying to treat the animal they could be exposed to the gas as well and need to take every precaution to keep themselves safe.
If your pet has exposure to phosphides and they vomit make sure to ventilate the area immediately! This could cause harm to you! (Image Source)
Unfortunately, there is no anecdote available. Treatment needs to be started immediately and consists of decontamination and supportive care. Due to the rapid metabolism of this product treatment is not always successful. If patients do survive, they will need regular monitoring of blood work to ensure that there was no long term damage to the kidney or liver.
Our goal is to help keep your pet happy and healthy! Help us by keeping track of products your pet could be exposed to! (Image Source)

If there is one thing to take away from this, it is to know what products you are using. This will help tremendously in case your pet becomes exposed to something. In cases like this, any time lost could mean the difference between life and death in your pet.  

Friday, May 15, 2015

Breed Focus: Manchester Terrier

A small but mighty breed! (Image Source)

The Manchester terrier is not a breed we see frequently. Their small size can make them adaptable to many living situations. As we have discussed before, many terriers have big personalities! This breed was originally bred to hunt rats and mice, so some may require a little more exercise and activity than others. Their prey drive may still be quite high and require some training to keep them in check. They will also serve their household as an excellent watch dog and likely alert you to any newcomers!
They are typically on alert and will notify you if anything seems amiss! (Image Source)
With a short hair coat, the Manchester terrier, requires very little in the way of grooming. They also tend to be very healthy.  As with many of the smaller and toy breeds they can have issues with luxating patellas. This is when the knee cap is not fully stable in the joint and can wiggle in and out of place. They also seem prone to hypothyroidism which is a condition that can lead to weight gain, decrease energy and thinning of the hair. They can also have issues with their eyes including glaucoma (an increase in pressure in the eye) and cataracts. While some of these conditions can be screened for, not all can be identified in puppies. It is best to work with a reputable breeder to decrease the risk of these conditions in your puppy.
No matter if they are a puppy or full grown they are still pretty cute! (Image Source)
Overall the Manchester terrier is a small dog that has a personality that will allow it to adapt to many different living situations. If you are willing to have a little excitement in your life and give a little bit of time for training this could be a great fit for you! For more information on this breed you can visit the following websites here and here.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Doodle Days #51

Last Wednesday was a big day for me. I went under anesthesia and got a dental cleaning! We decided it was time to start with a fresh slate since we were getting serious about brushing my teeth.

I was a little nervous when I got there but I was in good hands! Everyone was so nice to me. First I had catheter placed in my vein. I'm told this was to help with relax me prior to the anesthesia. After this I don't remember much.
They had to shave my legs and then the catheter just went right in! I didn't even flinch! 

Here I am having my teeth cleaned! I don't remember anything, but everyone tells me it went smoothly!

I got to wake up to a nice warm blanket and lots of hugs and kisses.

Now every night before bed we brush my teeth! I'm loving this routine! The beef flavored toothpaste is right up my alley!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Worms: A General Overview

With the warmer weather, unfortunately comes more parasites. I thought we’d take a quick look at some of the different worms that can affect our pets. The good news is most of these can be prevented and all of them can be treated!
A great schematic of how heartworms are transmitted in dogs. (Image Source)
First let’s start with heartworms. This is a worm that is transmitted by mosquitos and can be found in the blood supply. So in this case, checking a stool sample will give you no indication if your pet is affected. To diagnose heartworm disease we have to draw blood. This is recommended yearly as administering heartworm prevention to a heartworm positive dog can be risky. The baby worms live in the blood stream but the adults typically set up shop in the lungs and sometimes in the heart. As they grow and reproduce they cause damage to the heart and lungs, so most patients will present with a cough or exercise intolerance. Fortunately, there are preventatives available that can stop the development of the worms. Most options are given to the pet monthly. Your veterinarian may have different products available and be able to work with you on what will best fit your pet’s needs. One additional thought is that heartworms do not just affect dogs, but can also affect cats. There are preventatives available to help keep cats safe. For more information on heart worms please visit the following websites here and here.

Whipworm egg seen under the microscope. (Image Source)
The next set of worms we will try to group together, as they are diagnosed the same way. The main worms in this category include roundworms, hookworms and whipworms. These are intestinal worms that can be identified through regular screening of stool samples. One thing to remember is that when we are looking at stool samples, we are looking to identify the eggs of the worms that could be present. There are times where worms only shed the eggs intermittently so a diagnosis could be difficult to obtain. Sometimes checking several stool samples at different intervals will help us arrive at a diagnosis. Most are obtained from ingesting something in the environment that is carrying the worms. Hookworms and roundworms are also very commonly found in most puppies typically transmitted from the mother. These can all be treated with medications, however making sure the environment stays clean so they do not continue to re-infest themselves is VERY important. Something to keep in mind, is that many heartworm preventatives will also have some medications that offer a level of prevention for the intestinal parasites as well. Not all products will, so be sure to ask your veterinarian if the product you are using will help decrease your pet’s risk. For more information on these parasites please visit the following websites here, here and here. It is important to identify if worms are present, not only for the health of your pet but also the health of your family. There are cases where people can be affected by several of these worms. This another reason why yearly stool screenings are recommended.

Schematic of how pets can obtain tapeworms (Image Source)

One final category of worms we commonly see include the tapeworms. Now these are also seen in the stool, but they are not typically obtained from the environment. Tapeworms infections usually occur after a pet as ingested a flea. The life cycle of the worm is then completed inside the new host. Even if you pet is on monthly flea prevention they are still at risk for tapeworms as they could ingest a flea from the outside environment or even be exposed to a rodent that is carrying the tapeworm. Fortunately most pets on FLEA prevention will rarely have issues, but if they do there are medications that can help eliminate the worms. Tapeworms are typically seen in the stool and look like little pieces of rice, but they can also look like little sesame seeds around the tail of your pet or where they like to sleep. Sometimes the eggs can be difficult to find in a stool sample as they are very fragile and can fall apart before we can identify them. The easiest way we make the diagnosis is seeing the rice like segments of the worm in the stool. For more information on tapeworms you can visit the following website here.

Remember many of these worms can be preventive with monthly flea and heartworm medication. (Image Source

This was just a very brief overview of some of the most common worms we see in practice. The good news is many can be prevented before our pets have any long term effects. You can always work with your veterinarian on a proper deworming/ screening process specific for your pet’s needs. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Toxin Tuesdays: Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3)

This rat poison could lead to significant damage in your pet (Image Source)

Cholecalciferol (more commonly known as Vitamin D3) used to not pose as much of a risk to our pets as it does today. This is because the exposure used to be confined to ingestions of vitamins, supplements or foods that contained extra amounts of this compound. Now rodenticides contiaining Vitamin D3 are becoming much more common placed. This means our pets could be at increased risk, and unfortunately there is not good treatment.
Be sure to keep pets away from products they shouldn't have! They can be very inventive on how they find things! (Image Source)
There are several internal systems that can be affected by this toxin. Many of the side effects are related to the increase in calcium that occurs throughout the body after ingestion of large quantities of Vitamin D3. These high levels can lead to damage to the kidneys, as well as slow the heart rate and lead to irregular heartbeats. We can also see depression, weakness and seizures. Vomiting and diarrhea as well as increased drinking and urination have been reported in many cases. Often these signs can start as early as 12 hours after exposure. It is possible that patients that live through treatment could have lifelong damage to the heart and kidneys.  
Many pets will require hospitalization after exposure (Image Source)
If we know the patient has gotten into this product recently, and are currently not showing any symptoms, there may be some benefit in inducing vomiting. In other cases medications may be given to help absorb any of the remaining toxin still in the gastro-intestinal tract. Blood work will also be necessary to monitor calcium and phosphorus levels and help treat appropriately. Most cases need aggressive treatment in the hospital. This will include intravenous fluids to help flush the system and hopefully protect the kidneys from long term damage. If seizures are occurring many times they can be controlled with medications. Your veterinarian may also start medications to help protect the gastro-intestinal tract from irritation.  
Prevention of exposure to toxins is the best way to keep our pets happy and healthy! (Image Source)
The outcome depends greatly on the amount of product the pet was exposed to and how rapid treatment is initiated. Although this is a vitamin it can have deadly consequences if consumed by our pets and left untreated. For more information on this particular toxin, you can visit the following websites here and here.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Breed Focus: Russian Blue

They are known for a distinctive coat, and many have the very striking green eyes! (Image Source)

The Russian Blue cat is typically recognized for its distinct coat color. They have a nice blue color where the tips are highlighted with silver, giving them almost a glowing appearance. Overall this is a sturdy breed that is affectionate but not overly fond of being under foot. This breed was a favorite of Russian nobility and is likely how the name was changed over time to Russian Blue.
They can fit in just about anywhere! (Image Source)
They do have a double coat which makes them able to withstand harsh winters, however they will adjust just fine to indoor living. It will require brushing once or twice a week, but no regularly haircuts will be needed. Initially they may have a reserved personality but will warm up to their people without being too demanding of their time.
That's a whole lot of cuteness! (Image Source)
The good news is this breed seems to be very healthy! All cats can be affected by certain health problems but so far the Russian Blue does not seem to be over-represented with any of them except for bladder stones. One thing to keep in mind is that this breed may do very well having a mixture of dry and wet food to help keep the bladder flushed out. They may also benefit from having various water types available to them including a bowl and a running water fountain. The more you can encourage them to drink the more fluid is flushed through the bladder make it more difficult for stones to form.
Overall a healthy and beautiful cat! (Image Source)
If this cat has caught your eye, you can find more information about this breed at the following websites here and here