Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Ear Hematoma in Dogs

One of my Scotties recently had to have a hematoma removed from her ear.  I had never heard of this problem in dogs and didn't realize how serious it can be.  Poor baby had to have surgery and it looks like her ear will not be able to stand up again. My Vet says this is a fairly common problem.
I will post some pics and medical info.  The earlier it is caught the simpler the surgery.

An ear hematoma is a pocket of blood that forms within the exterior portion of a pet’s ear flap. Although both dogs and cats can suffer ear hematomas, the condition is much more common in dogs.
Ear hematomas are usually caused by some kind of self-trauma — such as when a pet aggressively scratches at the ears or shakes his or her head, causing the ear flaps to slap against the skull. This trauma can cause blood to leave the vessels and pool in a pocket between the skin and cartilage components that make up the outer part of the ear flap.
Treatments range from draining the hematoma with a needle, to surgical correction of the problem.

Surgical repair is often considered the most effective treatment for ear hematomas. While under anesthesia, an incision is made along the length of the hematoma on the inner surface of the ear. After the fluid and blood clots are removed, the inner surface of the ear is tacked down to the outer surface of the ear with sutures. You can see this result in picture at left.

The most common cause of an ear hematoma in dogs is an ear infection or other irritation within the ear. Ear infections cause irritation to the ear, resulting in shaking of the head which in turn causes the development of the hematoma.  I also read that a trauma or even flea infestation can be an underlying cause.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

6 Bones and Chews Dogs Should Avoid

dog with bone

If there's anything that galls my clients, it's being told they could have prevented a painful and expensive condition - if only they'd been told to stay away from A, B or C hazard. Such is the case when it comes to the use of common chews and devices designed for dental cleaning or as an outlet for natural chewing behaviors in dogs.
Yet when I inform my dog-owning clients that certain "dental health" products can lead to serious problems, many can't easily accept the notion that dental fractures, gastrointestinal obstruction and gastroenteritis (among other problems) are possible outcomes. After all, they say, how could anything sold expressly to help improve our pets' dental health and behavior so adversely affect them?
SEE ALSO: 5 Most Intelligent Dog Breeds
The Truth Behind the Marketing Hype Yet it's true. Some of the most commonly marketed "oral health improvement" items are considered unsafe, unwholesome and/or downright unhelpful by board-certified veterinary dentists (and plenty of run-of-the-mill vets like me, too).
But here's the thing: While many dogs won't experience safety issues with the goods veterinary dentists suggest you should eschew, as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Which is why I say you should steer clear of the following six "dental health" products:
1. Rawhides. I used to have a Boxer who would swallow these whole, only to turn blue in the process of regurgitating them. Now, you might well ask why I'd give her the second rawhide after watching her do such a thing, but in my defense, I was trying to see whether different sizes might actually get chewed properly. No such luck. To my credit, I always watched carefully just in case a tracheotomy might be in order.
Honestly, though, some dogs tolerate these just fine. And they can be good for the teeth once they become soft and yielding. Just be sure that a) he actually chews it (otherwise, it's not only useless but also a potential gastrointestinal obstruction), b) you know how many calories you're offering when you give him that ginormous one you hope will keep him busy all day, and c) you never leave him unsupervised with it.
2. Dried Pig Ears. Now, these aren't strictly off limits. As with rawhides, however, they can be swallowed whole by some dogs. And these fatty morsels do have far more calories than you'd expect. Moreover, some fat-sensitive dogs can be prodded into pancreatitis by consuming one. Overall, it's perhaps not the best idea.
3. Antlers. I have one patient who not only fractured a tooth, but she also developed a terrible fungal infection at her gumline after eating one. All in all, it was a very strange situation. The good news, however, is that most dogs seem to enjoy these chews, and most do not fracture their teeth while chewing them (much less develop fungal infections). Still, I say you should beware.
4. Cooked Bones. Though there's a lively debate when it comes to whether it's safe or not to feed raw, meaty bones, there's none on the subject of cooked bones. These hard-as-a-rock, splinter-prone bones aren't good for the teeth or the GI tract.
5. Rocks and 6. Cow Hooves. As with cooked bones and antlers, rocks and cow hooves are generally considered a bad idea for pets. Not only do numbers 3 through 6 increase their risk of a tooth fracture and foreign body ingestion, they also don't do much to improve their dental health, either.
After all, says Dr. Jan Bellows, board-certified veterinary dentist and owner of Hometown Animal Hospital in Weston, Fla., products that offer hard, unyielding surfaces are unlikely to offer much help against tartar buildup and gum disease. He urges pet owners to "make sure that whatever they use bends and allows teeth to sink in."
What the Dentists Recommend But none of this should lead pet owners to assume that all chews and treats are a no-no. Dr. Bellows recommends that pet owners head on over to VOHC.org where the Veterinary Oral Health Council offers a seal of approval to dental products deemed effective against periodontal disease in pets. Still, it's important to be cautious, he says.
Dr. John Huff, board-certified veterinary dentist at Alameda East Animal Hospital in Denver, Colo., agrees. Here's what he says when it comes to assessing the safety and efficacy of dental chews and tartar-control products: "Though I have found all the VOHC products to be safe and effective, [VOHC] does not test for safety."
Moreover, he urges pet owners to keep things in perspective: "'Effective' is relative. If brushing is a hundred [percent], treats and chews are probably a one." He adds, "The positives on the VOHC-approved dental products are [that] they are better than nothing."
Which, I'm afraid, can't be said for numbers 1 through 6 above. Proceed to feed any of the above at your pets' peril. And whatever you do, don't skip that nightly brushing your veterinarian recommends.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Feed cats and dogs fresh produce, and they will reap the health benefits

By Shawn Messonnier, D.V.M  http://www.organicgardening.com   
I believe fresh organic food contributes to improved health in my patients. There are many foods that are easy to grow, appeal to most pets, and provide health

Fruits and vegetables are generally low in calories, which means they make great treats for pets on a diet. As for how much to feed a pet, I don't suggest a particular amount, as long as the vegetables or fruits make up no more than 20 to 25 percent of a dog's diet (if you are feeding a processed natural food) or 40 to 50 percent of a natural homemade diet.
Carrots. Most dogs like carrots, either whole or cut into pieces. The tops of carrots can be fed whole to pet rabbits and rodents, or chopped fine and used as a topping on dog food.
Beans. Many owners give their dogs varieties of green or string beans. Bean pods (including the seeds) can be used whole or cut into small pieces.
Broccoli. Broccoli is one of my favorite recommendations to pet owners, especially for pets with disorders of the immune system, including cancer.
Dark leafy greens. Any dark green leafy vegetable is good for pets. Some dogs will eat the greens after they are cooked.  
Dark-colored berries. I think of fruit as more of a dessert than a main ingredient; therefore I recommend no more than 10 to 15 percent of the diet contain healthy organic berries
Foods to Avoid
While most pets can eat pretty much anything you grow, there are some things to avoid due to potential toxicity. Cats and small dogs are sensitive to some of the chemicals in onions and garlic, as these foods can cause red blood cell damage leading to anemia. All pets should avoid onions. Garlic has many health benefits (antibacterial, anti-blood clotting, immune system support), and I like my patients to have small amounts if their owners desire. I recommend one small clove per 10 to 25 pounds of body weight per day. Regular blood testing (every 3 to 6 months) can detect anemia, wh
ich is unlikely at this dosage. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs and should be avoided.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Top 5 Pet-Related Resolutions for 2014 By vetstreet.com | Pets

Every year it's the same thing. You attempt to shape up, slim down, spend less, live more or quit something for good. So how about this year you resolve to do something you'll easily achieve? For all you pet people I've got just the thing: Resolve to accomplish something on your pet's behalf instead!
Interested? Consider the following five New Year's resolutions I've devised (with my patients in mind, of course):
1. Trim down. According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, 38 percent of humans made weight-related New Year's resolutions in 2012. So why not extend that to our pets this upcoming 2014? We know that our pets are chunky and getting chunkier, so why not resolve to start trimming her down now? Not sure where to start? Ask your vet how.
SEE ALSO: 10 Most Popular Dog Breeds of 2013

2. Get pet insurance. If you can't afford a big vet bill in the event of an emergency, you may be facing the unthinkable unless you put a financial solution in place. My sister's dog, Maddie, almost died of salmon poisoning last year, and had it not been for a $13,000 reimbursement to cover 80 percent of the cost of university-level healthcare, he'd have surely succumbed. Who can afford that kind of expense without help? Resolve to get your pets a policy this year!
3. Walk your dog. If you've made resolutions to lose weight and never managed to keep them, consider that long-term weight loss is often more easily achieved when pet owners exercise with their pets. In his book Walk a Hound Lose a Pound, vet surgeon Dr. Phil Zeltzman evangelizes about this concept in a way that's truly inspirational. So this year resolve to get moving in a way that's both fun and doable.
4. Take your cat to the vet. It sounds pretty basic, and yet a recent study conducted by Bayer in conjunction with the Association of Feline Practitioners found that 52 percent of owned cats did not see a veterinarian in the past year. Annual wellness visits for cats, though universally recommended by veterinarians to help prevent and manage serious disease, aren't something most cat owners manage. Resolve to beat the odds and take your cat in this year!
5. Start brushing! I know, I know. You all hate it. But it works! You'd never think not to brush your own teeth, and yet you'd rather hand your pet a highly caloric, dubiously effective "tartar control" chew than whip out the toothbrush and spend 30 seconds brushing. What's up with that? Resolve to fix that this year!