Animal Health Foundation Blog

Archive for the ‘Medical Issues’ Category

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

From a Reader re: Dynamic Pet Products

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

My name is Khristie Reed ,I purchased a Real Ham Bone made by Dynamic Pet Products, from Wal-Mart on Sunday 3/1/15. I gave it to Fred, our basset hound, he chewed on it and ingested some. By Monday morning 3/2/15, he was vomiting and having severe diarrhea. By the afternoon, he was bleeding out of his rectum and we rushed him to the vet. He was put in intensive care and we were told he was so sick, the vet recommended we put him to sleep. I am never going to forgive myself for buying him that deadly treat. Please share this so others don’t make the same mistake I did. DYNAMIC PET PRODUCTS (in Missouri) know they’ve killed dozens of dogs and they still sell them at big retail companies like Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart.

Does My Dog Have Cushings Disease?

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

scottiesVeterinarian Jeff Kahler explains the symptoms of Cushing’s disease and how it is diagnosed and treated. The example of a 10-year-old Scottie with hair loss on his flanks, increased drinking and eating, and apparent weight gain illustrates a possible case of Cushing’s disease, which involves hormonal abnormality. Owners concerned about the disease or anything unusual should see a veterinarian for an examination. The Modesto Bee (Calif.)

Mac is a 10-year-old Scottish terrier who has lived with Joe and Paula for almost all of his life. He has always been a healthy dog. Joe and Paula give Mac a monthly tablet for prevention of heartworm disease and intestinal parasites as well as a monthly topical flea preventative. He is fed a good diet and is not allowed to eat from their table. Recently, Mac has displayed some changes in his body and his habits and Joe and Paula are concerned.

Mac has begun to lose hair mostly on his sides and he seems to be getting a bit portly. He has been stout as described by Joe and Paula, all his life but lately he looks like he’s getting fat. He has become a much more aggressive eater and his thirst has become increased as well. Through their research, Joe and Paula have concluded that Mac might have Cushing’s disease and wanted some advice on how to proceed. Their need for veterinary intervention is obvious and acknowledged by Joe and Paula, but they would like to be educated on the diagnosis of Cushing’s disease as well as its treatment. They would also like to know if there might be another possible cause for the changes in Mac’s stature and behavior.

I must commend Joe and Paula on their active role in trying to determine what might be Mac’s problem. When caretakers are familiar with their companions and the changes that are apparent, it can make our jobs as veterinarians and investigators much easier. Joe and Paula are of course correct in surmising Mac’s need to see his veterinarian, and they are also correct in their conclusion that he may have Cushing’s disease.

Cushing’s disease is something we have discussed here before but some of the information bears repeating. This disease is one of the more common in the group called endocrine disorders. These diseases involve hormone systems in the body. In the case of Cushing’s disease, the specific area of concern involves the adrenal gland or glands and sometimes the pituitary gland. The “technical” name of the disease is hyperadrenocortisism. This is because it involves increase in the size and production of the area in one or both adrenal glands responsible for producing cortisone. With this increase in produced cortisone, the symptoms of Cushing’s disease occur. These include increased appetite and thirst, increased panting, thinning and loss of hair over time, usually equally on both sides of the body, development of a pot-bellied appearance, and thinning of the skin. Any or all of these symptoms can occur with this disease. Mac’s symptoms as described by Joe and Paula certainly do fit.

There are two types of Cushing’s disease. One type involves the development of a tumor in the pituitary gland in the brain that produces an excess of a hormone called adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which stimulates part of each of the adrenal glands to produce too much cortisone. The other form of the disease involves the development of a tumor in one of the adrenal glands that directly produces excess cortisone and causes the disease. The pituitary form of the disease is far more common.

To diagnose Cushing’s disease, we use blood samples testing for the presence of cortisone in the blood before and after stimulation of the adrenal glands. If the testing is positive, treatment for the disease can be initiated and is usually effective in eliminating the symptoms. Not all dogs that are positive for Cushing’s disease need to be treated right away. It depends on the severity of the symptoms and which type is involved. Of the two forms of the disease, the pituitary form is more amenable to treatment with medication. An important point to understand about this form of the disease is that it is not considered curable. It can be effectively treated. The adrenal tumor form of the disease is curable in some cases by removal of the tumor, although some of these tumors are not amenable to surgery.

As far as the possibility of another disease causing Mac’s symptoms, diabetes and low thyroid condition are two that come to mind. I strongly suspect, as do Joe and Paula, that Mac has Cushing’s disease.

Read more here: http://www.modbee.com/living/pets/article4011235.html#storylink=cpy

 

Ringworm: Symptoms and treatment

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Ringworm is a zoonotic skin infection that affects cats, dogs and other mammals, including humans, who can contract it from their pets, writes veterinarian Ruan Bester. Ringworm can be confused with other problems, so a veterinary exam and diagnostics are necessary to properly identify the infection. Treatment options range from allowing smaller lesions to resolve on their own to using oral antifungal medications. Macau Daily Times (Macau)

In the past few months I have been dealing quite a lot with Ringworm. Its has been on my staff, on the clients and a lot of Macau pets. So I thought its a good topic cover this week.
Pet ringworm is a fungal infection that can affect both cats and dogs as well as other small animals. The most common cause of ringworm is the infection with Microsporum canis, Microsporum gypseum or Trichophyton mentagrophytes.
Ringworm is highly contagious to both humans and pets and is transmitted through spores that infect the skin and hair, objects and the soil. The spores can live in the environment for a ling time, waiting for another host, so complete cleaning of the pet’s environment must go together with the treatment.
Ringworm has symptoms very similar to other skin conditions, so diagnosis by a competent veterinarian before starting any treatment is compulsory.

Symptoms of Pet Ringworm
– Hair loss in circular areas mostly on the head but often on the legs, feet or tail, which is the single symptom that is specific to ringworm
– Small papules surrounding the area that has no hair
– The skin is scaly and inflamed inside these areas
– Acne on the chin
– Dandruff
Diagnosis of Ringworm
As the visible symptoms of ringworm are difficult to differentiate from the symptoms of other conditions, once the veterinarian suspects your pet is affected by it, he will need to perform more tests.
A black light lamp, Wood’s lamp, is sometimes used. The ringworm fungi are fluorescent under this light. However, this test is not 100% accurate, as some species of ringworm fungi do not glow under the lamp. Also, healthy animals can have fluorescent fungi on their coat and not have the infection.
The most effective method is a fungal culture that your local veterinarian can easily perform.

Pet Ringworm Treatment Options
Ringworm is highly contagious to pets as well as to humans. Having an infected pet will involve not only treatment of the respective pet but also preventative care for all the pets in the household and thorough cleaning of the environment.
Your options include topical or oral treatment:
1) Small, isolated lesions can heal without treatment in up to 4 months (but the pet will be contagious during that period of time).
2) Topical treatment involves clipping the hair around the lesions as close to the skin as possible. You will need to be extremely careful as the smallest injury will help the infection spread further. The most common topical solutions are Miconazole cream, Clotopic cream, 1% chlorhexidine ointment or dips in lime sulfur or antiseptics.
3) Antifungal shampoos like Malaseb, Mediderm are recommended in order to keep the spreading of the spores under control.
4) Vaccines for ringworm are available, but they can only be administered accompanied by treatment.
– Systemic treatment involves several oral medications. A older oral medication for ringworm is Griseofulvin, as it is administered together with food.
– This medication will be accompanied by regular blood tests, to watch for side effects (bone marrow suppression).
– Itraconazole and Ketoconazole are other options. If your pet is pregnant, you should notify your veterinarian when discussing treatment of ringworm, as some medications can interfere with pregnancy.

When having an infected pet, you should be cautious about always wearing gloves and washing your hands thoroughly after having touched the pet.

Chattanooga Zoo chimpanzees advancing understanding of heart issues

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

ChimpanzeeChattanooga Zoo has lost two chimpanzees to heart disease, and veterinarian Tony Ashley is working with Memorial Health System’s Chattanooga Heart Institute to learn more about the issue. The zoo’s chimpanzees undergo an echocardiogram annually as part of their physical exam, and the work is part of the Zoo Atlanta-based Great Ape Heart Project. Cardiologist Bill Warren says he is seeing striking similarities in disease between humans and apes. The Washington Times/The Associated Press

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) – The camels paid no mind as the bulky white computer cart rumbled past their pen on a recent afternoon.

And the African spur-thighed tortoises barely lifted their wrinkly heads to acknowledge the ultrasound machine as it rolled into a bamboo thicket and entered the Gombe Forest.

But in a cavernlike back room at the Chattanooga Zoo, Goliath knew something was afoot in his domain.

And he didn’t like it one bit.

As a sedative-laced dart hit the 38-year-old chimpanzee’s skin, his powerful shrieks echoed through the building, until his eyes slowly closed and his head slumped to his chest.

Finally, when the anesthetic had lulled Goliath to sleep – his fingers gently curled at his side – four zoo staff members wrapped him in a blanket and hoisted his 154-pound frame over to a folding table covered in a flowered sheet.

There Eric Smith, an echocardiographer with Memorial Health System, leaned over the reluctant patient and rubbed some ultrasound gel on the chimp’s hairy barrel chest, as cardiologist Dr. Bill Warren readied the ultrasound machine.

The slice of screen suddenly lit up with the steady throb of muscle. A gushing sound filled the room – sound waves tracking the velocity of blood flow. And as the ape’s chest rose and fell with his breath, colorful lines spiked and fell across the screen:

Goliath’s heartbeat.

“His heart has the same measurements and valve structures as the human heart,” explained Warren. “If you had shown us pictures without telling us that it was a chimpanzee, we wouldn’t have known the difference.”

That’s why zoo veterinarian Dr. Tony Ashley first reached out to Memorial’s Chattanooga Heart Institute three years ago.

Hank – Chattanooga’s famous chimpanzee and the zoo’s former mascot – had recently died of heart disease, without showing any clear symptoms. Ashley wanted to introduce more preventive measures with the rest of the zoo’s chimps.

Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death among chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans living in captivity. Three months ago another Chattanooga Zoo chimp, Annie, also died of heart complications. She was 28 years old.

Ashley’s skill with the animals doesn’t extend to the specificity of cardiology. But he knew an echocardiogram used on humans would be just as revealing for chimps. Such tests have become more common at zoos.

“I called the hospital and said, ‘I’d like to conduct an echocardiogram on a chimpanzee,’” Ashley remembers. “I got passed around until I was talking to the hospital’s CEO. I don’t think they really knew what to do with that statement.”

Goliath’s echo is now the third test performed by Warren and Smith at the Chattanooga Zoo, as part of a partnership between the two organizations that Warren calls “a public service.”

While the two have performed hundreds of such tests on humans, it hasn’t lessened the strangeness of working on the powerful apes.

“The first time, the chimp actually growled while we were doing the test,” said Warren. “Maybe it was my stomach. Either way, it was a little unnerving.”

The Chattanooga chimps’ initial echocardiograms have been submitted to a database with the Great Ape Heart Project based at Zoo Atlanta. The project is a national effort to investigate cardiovascular disease in great apes in hopes of curbing the number of such deaths.

So far, reports have shown remarkable similarities in how heart disease afflicts both apes and humans, Warren said.

Now the echocardiogram has become part of the chimps’ annual physical exams. As Warren and Smith examined Goliath’s heart Wednesday, Ashley and the other technicians worked quickly to measure Goliath’s height, collect his blood and conduct a TB test. Another worker swiftly clipped his fingernails and toenails.

Goliath’s heart looked good, said Warren, and the group finished up just as Goliath began to stir. Quickly, the zoo workers detached him from the mechanism and gently moved him to a bed of hay.

And before the chimp awoke from his slumber, the ultrasound machine had been whisked out of the ape den, past the turtles and the camels, and back to more hospitable territory.