Animal Health Foundation Blog

Archive for the ‘Medical Issues’ Category

AHF treats homeless pets at Santa Ana River Trail for free

Monday, July 31st, 2017
PUBLISHED: July 30, 2017 at 7:17 pm | UPDATED: July 31, 2017 at 7:50 am

 

 

ANAHEIM   Michael Diehl has had Osiris since the pit bull was just a pup.  Diehl, 46, suffers from sudden seizures and Osiris helps keep him safe, alerting him before they happen, he said.  “He means everything to me,” he said. “He protects me from everything.”  

As one of hundreds living on the riverbed of the Santa Ana River Trail, Diehl was among 60 people and their pets who took advantage of free veterinary services offered on Sunday, July 30.

The services were offered by two groups, the Healthcare Emergency Animal Rescue Team out of Yorba Linda run by veterinarians Debra and Dr. Todd Kopit, and  Dr. Mark Malo, vice president of the  Animal Health Foundation, a nonprofit that is a charitable wing of the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association.

The veterinarians did wellness checks, vaccinations, de-worming and parasite treatment.

“We launched this program because we know there are many services for homeless people but not for their pets, ” said Malo, who also works at the Garden Grove Dog and Cat Hospital. “These people are dedicated to their animals. They would go without their own meals to feed them.”

Angel Nole, 32, brought his dog Bandit, a Dalmatian pit bull-mix, for shots and flea control. He also brought Robin, a six-week-old pup for his first puppy shots.

“It helps out a lot,” said Nole said, adding that he can’t afford any veterinary care.

TJ and Chance Ivey were thankful for the opportunity to get their pit bull-Labrador-mix Daisy checked out.

Daisy has helped make life bearable for the couple, they said.

“She brightens everybody’s day,” TJ Ivey said. “If they’re disgusted with life, she walks up to them and it’s a blessing.”

Angel Fund Helps Paulina

Friday, July 28th, 2017

The Los Angeles Veterinary Center was approved for an AHF grant to help the Munoz family’s 10 year old Paulina with her curtiate ligament repair surgery!

We hope Paulina a doing better after the surgery and will be back to her sweet self soon!

Angel Fund Helps Mango Overcome Chronic Disease

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

 

Some five years ago, Linda Lockwood found a stray cat outside her home in Vancouver, British Columbia.  “She was nobody’s cat.  I contacted shelters and looked around the neighborhood.  Nobody claimed her.  The shelter asked if I could keep her.  I had another cat but I thought I could take care of two.  So I said, OK, fine.”

Linda named her new charge Mango. She soon discovered that the new family member had some chronic health problems, particularly constipation.  “She had to get enemas once or twice a month,” she said.

Linda came to Southern California to go to school in June, 2014, with Mango in tow on the airplane.  (Her other cat had died.)  She enrolled at Pierce College in Winnetka, intending to become a veterinary technician because of her love of animals. But she ran into some trouble with a chemistry course and decided to change her major to computer science.  She did well – all A’s and one B –but decided to enroll at California Institute of the Arts to pursue her first love, music.  She will complete course work this spring on a master of fine arts degree.  Earlier, she had earned a bachelor’s degree of music in jazz studies from Vancouver Island University in British Columbia.

In November of 2015, Mango’s chronic constipation became a very real problem.  “She would poop everywhere – on my bed, on the floor,” Linda said.  “Sometimes, she’d try to poop and she couldn’t, so she’d cry. She was losing weight. She was extremely bloated because her colon was impacted.”  Linda had little money to spend but she took Mango to Happy Pets Veterinary Center in Valencia.

“They took x-rays and they told me how severe the problem was.  I just didn’t know what I was going to do,” Linda said. “Eventually, Dr. [Jane] Kelly told me, Mango was going to require surgery to remove almost the entire colon. She said she would have to refer me to a surgery specialist and that could cost more than $5,000 – and I just didn’t have that kind of money. But Dr. Kelly said that Mango’s life is at risk.  If you are unable to afford it, she’ll have to be put down.”

Dr. Kelly put Mango on intravenous fluids, multiple enemas, laxatives and pain medication for three days to stabilize her condition and suggested that Linda apply to Angel Fund for help. She did and received a grant of $275, a sum matched by Happy Pets.

But Mango still needed surgery.  “I found myself looking on the ground for coins, when I walked on campus,” Linda said.  “It only cost $1.20 to get rice and beans at my school, so that’s what I was eating.” Dr. Kelly suggested going to a low-cost clinic.

Linda talked to several clinics before selecting one. She raised money on a website, the largest contribution coming from a friend in Canada.  Mango got her surgery but the stitches holding the incision together quickly came out. “It was a gruesome thing. Her intestines came out,” Linda said.  “Everybody thought she was going to die.  I took her back and they sewed her up again – and the stitches came out again.”

This time, Linda found another veterinarian (on Christmas Eve), who repaired the damage and ordered Mango confined to a cage for a month as she healed. “After that month she was cage free and was as good as new,” Linda said.  “Today, she’s doing very well.  I give her everything that I can.”

And, she added, “I can’t believe I went through all of that.  I had to get extensions on all my essays and I had to leave classes early to pick Mango up.”

Linda believes that Angel Fund played a major role in saving her cat’s life. “Without them, I don’t know if Mango would have been in condition for what came next. The time she was in the hospital [at Happy Pets] bought some time for me to make plans for what to do.  I’m very grateful for what Angel Fund did for Mango.”

She also praised Dr. Kelly: “She is very compassionate and very caring.  I know she did it for Mango.”

And, she said, “It’s amazing how people, even if they don’t know you, they love animals.  I’m very grateful for what everyone has done for Mango.”

 

AHF Therapy Dog with Cancer Received Petco Grant

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

“Rock star” Therapy Dog Gets Sidelined with Cancer
Jane Horsfield and Dan Balza of Fountain Valley, California, adopted their dog Kiss at six-months-old when her previous owner no longer had time to train her for flyball. Through the years, Kiss’ super energetic nature has made her a perfect participant in flyball, agility, and nose work competitions as well as in recreational dock diving and K9 Disc.

Named after the rock band Kiss because of her black and white face, her outgoing nature also made her an ideal candidate for pet therapy work. As part of the Animal Health Foundation, an affiliate of Pet Partners, Horsfield and Kiss started visiting adults and children at local hospitals as well as elementary schools where children practiced their reading skills with Kiss sitting by their sides.

“There is not a person she doesn’t love to meet,” says Horsfield. “She loves everyone, and everyone loves her.”

As a “rock star” therapy dog, Kiss also gets invited to special events around town to raise awareness and money for skin cancer awareness through the local Rotary Club. It was during an event that Jane noticed some swelling above Kiss’s front left paw.

“At first, I thought it was related to her athletic activities,” says Horsfield. “So, I put some ice on her leg when we got home, and it looked a little better the next day.”

The family had been down this road before

But a week later, Kiss’ lower front left leg still looked swollen. Her veterinarian, Dr. Wayne Kopit of Brook-Ellis Pet Hospital, biopsied the lump and called Horsfield the day after Thanksgiving with the results. Kiss had a soft tissue sarcoma on her leg.

He decided to refer Kiss to Southern California Veterinary Specialty in Irvine, California for the cancer treatment.

Never in my wildest dreams did I expect it to be cancer,” says Jane. “The news struck terror into my heart.”

That’s because the previous Thanksgiving, the couple also had received cancer news about their dog Sheila. She died seven months later despite extensive surgeries and treatments to save her life. Unfortunately, the heartbreak doesn’t end there. The couple has lost four dogs to cancer through the years.

“My veterinarian says 50% of dogs die of cancer these days, and that none of the cancers my dogs have had have been related,” says Horsfield. “But that doesn’t make the news any easier when it’s your fifth dog with the diagnosis.”

New treatment delivers the right stuff

When Horsfield contacted the Animal Health Foundation to let them know about Kiss’ diagnosis, they told her that Pet Partners had grant monies from the Petco Foundation’s Pet Cancer Awareness campaign to help therapy dogs with their cancer treatments.

A $3,000 grant provided help with Kiss’ surgery and chemotherapy. “We had already spent thousands on Sheila’s treatments, so we really needed this support to help Kiss,” says Horsfield.

In the past, doctors might have amputated Kiss’ leg because of the difficulty in removing the entire tumor. But a new therapy combined surgical removal of the tumor with chemotherapy beads implanted directly into the tumor site. “The beads dissolve over four to five weeks releasing chemotherapy drugs to where it’s needed most,” says Horsfield.

So far, the results are good. The tumor hasn’t grown back, but Horsfield checks the leg daily, since if it returns, it will come back in the same spot, doctors say. She and Kiss are making therapy visits again, and Kiss is participating in some of her favorite sport activities on a limited basis.

“She won’t officially be out of the woods for 18 more months,” says Horsfield. “But in the meantime, we’ve got our sassy girl back. I am grateful for the help in saving her life. I never had kids, so my dogs are everything to me.”

 

6 Natural Remedies for Your Dog’s Itchy Skin

Thursday, April 27th, 2017
Skin allergies are a common problem among dogs and owners and veterinarians alike are constantly fighting to make dogs more comfortable. Dogs, like people, can be allergic to just about anything, from their food to the environment. While there are many different medications to help deal with allergy symptoms, many of us prefer to go a more natural route first to make sure we’ve tried all of the safest options. Always consult with your veterinarian before giving your dog any treatments or supplements, but if you’re looking to try some natural allergy remedies, consider these.

#1 – Proper Bathing & Grooming

This might not seem like a “natural” remedy, but if your dog suffers from environmental allergies, frequent bathing and grooming is going to offer much needed comfort. Using soothing ingredients such as oatmeal in the shampoos will help your dog’s skin feel softer and will relieve the itching they feel. Depending on the severity of your dog’s allergies, bathing once a week will greatly improve your dog’s condition. Brushing and combing will also help remove dead skin and coat, promoting new growth and removing allergens on top of the skin and fur.

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IMAGE SOURCE: MAUREEN_SILL VIA FLICKR

#2 – Feed a Wholesome Diet

Your dog’s diet might be completely overlooked if your dog only suffers environmental allergens. But the more natural your dog’s diet, the better their bodies are able to fight off and heal from allergies and external stressors. If your dog is allergic to certain ingredients, you’ll want to avoid those ingredients and replace them with something else. Grain-free diets are highly recommended for dogs with any type of allergy (or no allergy at all!) but if this isn’t possible, consider feeding organic, whole grains. The better your dog’s nutrition, the better their overall health and their ability to fight off allergens.

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Image source: Oleg. via Flickr

#3 – Try Apple Cider Vinegar

Organic, raw, unfiltered apple cider offers many benefits to dogs suffering from allergies. If your dog has hot spots or itchy skin, you can apply a 50/50 solution of apple cider vinegar and water to your dog. Put the solution in a spray bottle for easy use. This same spray will help repel fleas and ticks – a common allergen for many dogs. You can also use it to clean out your dog’s ears. The acidity of the mixture makes for an environment that yeast can’t live in – and yeast infections are typically caused by allergies. Make sure that the acidity isn’t too strong for your dog – some prefer a different mixture than the 50/50 suggested.

#4 – Manage Heat & Moisture

Your dog’s environment plays a large role in the health of their skin. Be sure to keep your home appropriately cooled and use a humidifier in dry conditions. When grooming, avoid using a high heat blow dryer, which might be faster but wreaks havoc on your dog’s sensitive skin.

Make sure your dog always has access to fresh, filtered water. Dogs on a dry kibble diet are in need of more moisture in their diets than dogs that eat a home-cooked, raw, or wet food diet.

#5 – Consider Applying Calendula

Calendula is a member of the sunflower family and offers several benefits to dogs with allergies. Either made into a tea or gel, applying calendula to your dog’s skin will help relieve inflammation from allergies. It also has natural anti-fungal and anti-yeast properties. It also helps improve your dog’s immune system when taken internally, so consider this as an allergy treatment as well.

#6 – Add Omega-3 Fatty Acids Supplementation

Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely beneficial to dogs with allergies. These oils help improve your dog’s skin and coat by keeping the natural oils present in healthy amounts. Omega-3s also work as anti-inflammatories and greatly reduce the intensity of allergens. There are many Omega-3 fatty acids on the market, and you’ll want to look for something that works quickly to support a soft, silky coat, minimize normal shedding, and maintain the skin’s normal moisture content, such as Project Paws™ Omega-3 Select soft chews.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional. 

Grapes and Raisins Pose Serious Threat to Dogs

Saturday, January 21st, 2017

From the Boston Herald on January 20, 2917

Q My 3-year-old female Weimaraner got into a large quantity of grapes at the house this morning. After some quick research, I reached for some hydrogen peroxide and gave her a few teaspoons. Within a few minutes, she vomited up three large piles of the barely chewed grapes. I took her into my vet’s office, and they ran some tests and gave her some fluids and medication. She seems well now. What could have happened to my dog if she had eaten these grapes and I was not around?

 

A Grape toxicity can lead to kidney failure, with typically the signs of vomiting and diarrhea occurring a few hours after ingestion. Lethargy and a loss of appetite also can be seen, along with a lack of urine production. Raisins can also be toxic. Since they are dried grapes, they are toxic in a smaller quantity. The toxic dose for grapes is about 1⁄2 ounce per pound of body weight, but that can vary, so any consumption should be taken seriously.

I often suggest that if vomiting can be induced within an hour of an ingested toxic substance, then chances are good that the toxin will not have detrimental effects on the patient. One must be cautious in using hydrogen peroxide. The actual suggested dosage to induce vomiting is 1 ml per pound, and never give a large dog more than three tablespoons.

 Had you not been present to do what you did and then take your dog to your veterinarian, your dog might have suffered irreversible kidney damage. My guess is that your veterinarian did bloodwork, a urinalysis, gave some fluids to flush the kidneys and some activated charcoal to bind up any toxins. I suspect she will be fine given what you have described, and a follow-up blood panel might be warranted in a day or two to ensure that her kidneys were not negatively affected. Sounds like you did a good job and I would not be too concerned.

 

Angel Fund Teams Up With Clinic to Save Pit Bull Named Mitch

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

MitchOne morning in March last year, as Ruben Gonzalez walked out into his Inglewood yard to get into his car, he saw that something was wrong with Mitch, his Pit Bull.

“He wasn’t himself. He started vomiting. And he was real stiff,” Ruben said. “Normally, he plays around the yard with my other dog, Brandy. And as soon as I step into my yard, he normally runs toward me. On that day, he just was not himself. He wouldn’t budge. So I put him in my car and drove to the emergency hospital. It was 7 o’clock in the morning and I was real concerned.”

Later that morning, Ruben and Mitch were at the Family Pet Clinic in Redondo Beach, a hospital with which he and his wife, Jennifer, have had a long relationship. Dr. Kimberly Daffner soon discovered that Mitch had a blockage – a piece of wood that was lodged in the duodenum. The doctor surgically removed the wood, Ruben said, “but Mitch was still throwing up and wasn’t recovering the way they expected so they did another surgery and removed a wad of grass from his stomach.”

Dr. Daffner told Ruben that Mitch needed to be neutered.  He also needed dental work, including pulling an infected tooth. “I told her I didn’t have the money to say yes, as much as I wanted to.  And she said, ‘You know something? We’ll work it out.’

“I was really strapped for cash,” Ruben said. “I was on disability leave because I had gotten hurt at work [he is a painter]. My CareCredit card was pretty much maxed out because of bills when my cat had gotten sick and died a couple of months earlier. My wife’s CareCredit, same thing.  And she was the only one who was working. The last thing I wanted to do was to put my dog down. But I didn’t have the money to cover the bill. I was hoping to make monthly payments but they told me they don’t really do that.”

The staff at the clinic suggested Angel Fund.  Ruben applied and was granted $500. The hospital contributed $1,800. He is grateful to Angel Fund and to the people at the Family Pet Clinic. “Everyone was great,” he said. “They went above and beyond for my family and my dog.” One technician – Erica, he said – took Mitch home with her to keep an eye on the dog for a couple of days when Ruben couldn’t do it.

Today Mitch, at five or six years old, is very much the dog he used to be, Ruben said. “He’s running around, doing great, enjoying life.” Ruben checks the yard daily for objects that a dog might want to chew.  He is working full time now but has a long commute. Wife Jennifer works in the fashion industry. The family includes her two daughters from a previous marriage, 17-year-old Rosemary and Mia, 11.

“I take Mitch and Brandy to the clinic about once a month, now, and Mitch always knows exactly where he is going,” Ruben said.  “As soon as we pull into the driveway, his tail is wagging.  As soon as I open the door, he jumps out of the car and can’t wait to get inside.  Everyone gives him a big greeting.  He loves it.

“I am so thankful to Dr. Daffner and everyone in the office. Without them, I’m pretty sure my dog wouldn’t have made it.”

Angel Fund Helps Rescue Sabrina, a Bossy Feline

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

sick brinaAbout three years ago, Julie Waters found a young female cat she named Sabrina alone in a parking lot. “She was a stray and she was tiny,” Julie recalled. “But ever since she came into my house – she was just a couple of months old – she has been in charge. I have another cat and big dog but Sabrina is the boss.”

In December, 2014, more than a year after finding the kitten, Julie noticed that the usually high energy Sabrina was lethargic. “She wasn’t interacting with the other pets. She was just laying around a lot. I thought maybe she was sick but I didn’t think it was anything serious.  One of my friends saw her after a week and she said, ‘She doesn’t look good. You should take her to the vet.’ I was thinking the same thing. Sabrina wasn’t getting any better. So I took her in and it was like, oh no, this is really bad!”

Julie took her cat to Redwood Animal Hospital in Redondo Beach not far from her home.  Dr. Veronica Pirotto examined Sabrina and found “a mass of some sort. Sabrina was very uncomfortable when she was touched in the abdomen.  Two days later, they did exploratory surgery. They called me while she was still on the table and said that they needed to send her to a specialist. She was going septic. All the tissue around her organs was infected and there was some leakage into her kidney. If she doesn’t have surgery to remove the infected tissue she is going to die of kidney failure, the doctor said.”

Julie took Sabrina home with medications to keep the infection at bay and made an appointment with Dr. Mary Somerville at Animal Specialty and Emergency Center, also in Redondo Beach.

Dr. Somerville performed surgery to remove the infected tissue. “But she called me and said that Sabrina needed a second surgery to removed one of her kidneys. Dr. Somerville quoted me a price of $3,500 for the first surgery and the hospital stay. And with the second surgery and longer stay, it was going to more like $5,500. But she honored the original quote. She was really wonderful.”

At the time, Julie had just earned a graduate degree at Cal State Dominguez Hills and had begun the 3,000 hours of practical work needed to qualify for a license as a marriage and family counselor. She is self supporting and had little income. She did not know how she could pay for the surgery. “It was very scary,” she said. “My cat was just a year and a half old. She is not supposed to be dying of kidney failure. And I was like, I can’t afford this [second surgery].  I could barely afford the exploratory surgery.”

The doctors and staff at Redwood told Julie about Angel Fund and helped her apply. They also told her about other foundations that might help.  And, she said, they provided her with free services.  “I am very thankful to them and to Angel Fund because that whole time was so stressful. My grandmother passed away in surgery a week before Sabrina had her surgery and that whole time just feels like a blur.” Julie now has her counseling license and is launched on her career.

And Sabrina still runs the house. “She has so much energy,” Julie said. “She is totally the boss of the house again. . . . She is a hussy.  That’s what she is.”

 

What You Should Know About Canine Lymphoma

Friday, February 26th, 2016

Canine Lymphoma

What You Should Know About Canine Lymphoma

Thursday, February 25th, 2016
Canine Lymphoma