Friday, April 27, 2012

Pet Health Tip #9- "My dog scoots on his butt, does he have worms?"

I have been asked this question several times over the years.  Many people see their dog scooting across the floor and assume that they must have irritation due to worms.  However, scooting across the floor is almost NEVER a symptom of intestinal worms.  Instead, it is almost ALWAYS an indication that the dogs anal glands are full or impacted. 

Every dog has two glands located on each side of the anal sphincter.  These glands are filled with a liquid that is sprayed onto the fecal material when the dog eliminates.  The pressure of the fecal material passing through the anal opening along with the constriction of the anal muscle help to express the liquid out of the glands. When these glands do not express normally, then they become overly full and the liquid can thicken into a paste like material.  The full glands cause an irritation and the dog scoots on his butt to try to express the glands.  Occasionally, the dog is successful and the glands empty as a result of the scooting.  However, often times, the material inside the glands has become to thickened and they will not empty when the dog scoots.  In this case, the glands need to be manually emptied.  This is something that you can be taught to do for him. However, due to the unpleasant nature of the task, most people elect to take the dog to a professional (ie vet, vet tech, or groomer) to have them emptied.

There are several factors that contribute to full anal glands.  There are some breeds of dogs that are prone to having problems.  These are usually small terrier breeds.  There are some hereditary issues such as position of the glands that can contribute to the dog not being able to empty the glands naturally.  However, most of the time, it is an issue with diet.  If the dog is overweight, then the gland are cushioned by fat deposits and are not being expressed when the dog eliminates.  Also, the diet can cause the stool to be too soft and therefore, it does not apply enough pressure to express the glands when the dog eliminates.

So, should you worry when you see your dog scooting?  Not necessarily.  As I stated earlier, often times the dog is able to get the job done by scooting.  However, if you see your dog scooting on a regular basis and/or he starts to bite at the area or act as if it is painful, then the glands are probably impacted and you need to have them emptied.  Impacted glands can rupture through the dogs skin and cause a pretty nasty infection.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

5 star review of Heart of a Hero by Readers Favorite

Reviewed by Joy H. for Readers Favorite

While helping Mr. Thompson on his farm, Carl and one of the farm puppies fall in love with each other. Seeing this, Mr. Thompson gives the puppy, Lady, to Carl as a little added bonus for his work. Carl and Lady spend a lot of time together, until Carl decides to join the Marines to help fight in the war. Lady is heartsick that she is losing her best buddy Carl, but eagerly awaits his return. Well, Carl doesn’t return, and Carl’s dad ends up giving Lady to the military program to help in the war Carl was killed in. Lady was excited about her new adventure, and was given to a wonderful soldier named Steve. And well, this takes Lady on a journey like she never expected, and you need to read the book for the rest of Lady's awesome story.

This is a precious, well-written story about a smart and intelligent furry friend, Lady. Lady is the loveable dog every one wants as a pet. I loved getting to know her, and it is especially nice that she can talk, so the reader knows what she is thinking. Lady’s life is different from that of most pets. She is sometimes safe, sometimes she fights for survival, and sometimes she saves lives. And in the last few years of her life, she is rewarded with a happy and contented life. Lady is truly a hero in every sense. Her life found special meaning everywhere she was placed.

What a wonderful sweet story for anyone to read. I thoroughly enjoyed every part of Lady’s life, and I learned a lot about military animals, and about dogs in general from Lady. If you are looking for a good read for your child or teen, I highly recommend you grab “Heart of a Hero” by Billi J. Tiner for them. This is a truly awesome book for those who love dogs.

Available on Amazon

Friday, April 20, 2012

Humerous Life Story #6- "Awkward Veterinary Moments"

I thought that I would share a couple of very awkward moments that I have experienced as a veterinarian. 

Story #1-My first year out of veterinary school, I was working in a 4 doctor small animal clinic in Oregon.  A woman rushed into the waiting room clearly distraught.  She was carrying in her arms a grey cat.  I was free, so I rushed her into the exam room that I was using.  The woman placed the cat on the examination table.  She told me that the cat had been playing with some of those styrofoam puffs that are used in packing boxes and suddenly started choking.  It was clear without even touching the cat that it was deceased, but just to make certain I placed my stethoscope on the cat's chest and listened for a heartbeat.  The woman stood by anxiously waiting for my comments.  I removed the stethoscope from my ears and said, "I'm sorry, but you cat has passed."

"Aren't you going to do anything?" she asked.

I was a little caught off guard by her question and answered, "There isn't anything that I can do, ma'am.  She is dead."

Then the woman flew into histerics.  She started screaming and pulling at her hair.  Then she threw herself into the wall and fell to the floor.  She was rolling around on the floor making loud wailing noises.  I was at a complete loss for what to do.  I had never witnessed such a total meltdown before. I knew that the people in the waiting room could hear her.  I just stood there in frozen stunned silence.  Finally, after a few minutes, the woman stood up and asked me if I was sure that there was nothing that could be done.  I assured her that the cat was deceased and there was absolutely nothing that I could do for it. and proceeded to tell me that it was the cat's first birthday and that she and her kids had planned a big party for it.  She was at loss for how to tell them that the cat had died.  I felt terrible for her, but was very relieved when she finally accepted that the cat was deceased and left the clinic.

Story #2- During my time in the US Army Veterinary Corps, I was station at Lackland Air Force Base.  I was in charge of the small animal outpatient clinic on base.  The purpose was to provide a low cost clinic for soldiers and retirees to bring their pets for basic care.  One day, the elderly wife of a retiree brought in her Boston Terrier to get its annual vaccinations.  I examined the dog and gave him its vaccinations.  After I was finished with the dog, I bent down to place it back on the floor.  While I was bent down, I saw something move out of the corner of my eye.  I glanced over and saw that the woman's pants were around her ankles.  Out of sheer surprise, I glanced up and the woman was pointing to an area on her inner thigh.  I quickly averted my eyes as it registered that the woman was talking to me.  She said, "Will you please look at this spot on my leg?"

I lept to my feet and went around to the opposite side of the exam table.  I think that my face was probably about a red as a tomato.  I told her that I was a veterinarian and that it was against the law for me to practice on people.  I recommended that she consult her doctor.  She told me that she had already seen her doctor and that he told her that it was a spider bite, but she just wanted to get my opinion, since I had been so good with her dog.   I told her that I was flattered, but just wasn't allowed to give her my opinion.

Story #3- This didn't happen to me, but a friend of mine.

My friend was giving vaccinations to a small kitten.  After he finished, he scooped the cat up to hand it back to its owner.  He had been looking down at the cat and when he looked up to hand the cat to the owner, she had half of her blouse unbuttoned. She held the blouse open and said, "Billy rides in here."  In his shock, my friened about dropped the kitten.  The woman was just standing there holding her blouse open expecting him to place the kitten there.  He said, "That's nice." Then placed the kitten back on the table and turned and hurried out of the room.

My friend called me that night to tell me the story.  He thought that it was especially funny, due to the fact that the kitten and I shared the same name.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Pet Health Tip #8- "Should I spay or neuter my pet?"

One of the most important decisions that you have to make for your pet, is whether or not you are going to have them spayed or neutered.  So, should you spay or neuter your pet?  YES!!!!!

There are multiple benefits to spaying or neutering you pet.  All of these benefits add up to one thing, your pet will live significantly longer.

So, here are a list of reasons to get your pet spayed or neutered:

For female dogs: Each time the dog goes through a heat cycle, their chance of developing breast cancer increases.  So, that means it is very important to have your female dog spayed prior to their first heat cycle (approx 6 months).  Another major benefit is that the older your female dog gets, the greater their chance for developing a uterine infection (pyometra).  Pyometras can be life threatening and the treatment is to have the dog spayed. The risk of surgery is MUCH greater, when you have an infection involved.  So, get your pet spayed BEFORE the pyometra develops.

For male dogs:  Intact male dogs are at MUCH higher risk of developing prostate cancer than neutered dogs.  Also, intact male dogs can develop testicular cancer.

So, as you can see, there are definite health benefits to having your pet spayed or neutered.  But, again, your bottom line is that they will live significantly longer.  We do not have them for very long as it is, so why wouldn't you want to extend that time?

Another point to consider, is how young to have the surgery done.  I am a BIG supporter of pediatric spays/neuters.  These surgeries are performed at 8-10 weeks of age.  As long as the pet is over 2 lbs, then they can under go the surgery.  Puppies that are spayed or neutered at this young age heal much faster than the bigger puppies.  I worked in an animal shelter and have performed thousands of these surgeries.  It is amazing how quickly these puppies heal.  The puppies are up and moving right after the anesthesia wears off and the incision is gone within a few days.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Humorous Life Story #5- "My son-Always good for a laugh"

My son is 5 years old.  He is a constant source of laughter.  Sometimes by being funny on purpose and other times just by being a growing boy.  I thought that I would share some of his funniest moments:

Church services near Christmas last year, the minister says the word, "Peace." My son looks up from coloring and says in a voice loud enough for the entire congregation to hear, "Peace? Peace? I want a piece of chicken."

Church services near Mother's day last year, the minister says, "I think that if God were to speak to Mothers today, He would say," and pauses dramatically.  At the same instant, my son just finished drawing a picture and yells, "TaDa!"

About a year ago, my son was in his room changing clothes.  My husband was in the kitchen fixing him breakfast.  I was away from home.  My son starts screaming in a panicked voice, "Dad, I need you.  Hurry!" My husband drops what he is doing and rushes down the hall and into my son's room.  My son is in his underwear, in the middle of his room, dancing.  My husband says anxiously, "What's wrong?" My son replies, "Help me, Dad. I can't stop dancing." as he continues to dance around. My husband scoops my son up into his arms and my son sighs dramatically and says, "Thanks Dad."

One day, about the time my son just finished potty training, I am walking by the bathroom and hear my son say, "Oh, my god, poop.  Get out of my butt!"  (He has a teenage sister.)

I know that no one finds a child as amusing as their mother does, but I hope these stories still gave you a chuckle. Kids, you gotta love them!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pet Health Tip #7- Ringworm

I have had several people over the years ask me if ringworm is really worms.  The answer is, NO.  Ringworm is caused by a fungal infection.  There are really not that many diseases that can be spread from one species of animals to another or from animals to people (zoonotic). However, ringworm is one of the diseases that CAN be spread. Cats and dogs can give ringworm to each other and both of them can give it to people.

In humans, it causes a lesion on the skin that is usually circular and very itchy (pruritic).  In dogs, it causes patchy hairloss (alopecia) that can occur anywhere on the body.  The skin in the area of the alopecia is usually flaky.  Dogs are usually not pruritic. 

Cats are the tricky ones.  Some cats will have patchy hairloss.  Usually the hairloss is localized around the mouth, eyes, and on the ears.  However, there are cats that are asymptomatic, which basically means that they have the fungus on their fur, but don't have any lesions.  These cats are still contagious!  So, if you suddenly come down with a ringworm lesion and you recently had contact with a cat.  The cat was probably the source, even if it appeared healthy.

The fungus that causes ringworm can also survive very well in the environment including the dirt.  The fungal spores can also travel through the air and hide in places like air conditioning ducts for very long periods.  It is very difficult to get rid of ringworm once it has entered an environment.  The fungus is very susceptible to household cleaners.  So, it is pretty easy to get kill it on cleanable surfaces.  The problem is the places that it can hide that we don't usually clean.

If your pet is diagnosed with ringworm, it is very important to limit the areas that it goes and to keep it isolated from other pets and also from children.  Ringworm is a treatable disease, but as I said, it is very hard to get rid of once it gets into an environment.