Friday, September 27, 2013

Pet Health Tip #25- Chocolate Toxicity

With Halloween and other chocolate filled holidays right around the corner, this Pet Health Tip is well timed!

The symptoms of chocolate toxicity can range from mild diarrhea and vomiting to seizures and death.  The severity of the symptoms depends upon the amount and type of chocolate ingested.  The toxicity levels are as follows:

Milk Chocolate: Mild signs at 0.7 oz per pound of body weight; severe toxicity at 2 oz per pound of body weight.  In other words, one pound of milk chocolate can cause severe signs in a 20 lb dog.

Semi-sweet Chocolate: Mild signs at 0.3 oz per pound of body weight; severe toxicity at 1 oz per pound of body weight.

Baking chocolate: This one is the most toxic and can cause severe symptoms with as little as 2 small 1 oz squares.

In most cases, you will only see mild symptoms of chocolate toxicity, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or fever.  However, if enough is ingested, it could cause severe symptoms, such as muscle spasms, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, seizures, coma, and cardiac arrest.

It is extremely important to keep chocolate stored away from pets.  If you know your dog has ingested chocolate, then keep in mind the above information when determining whether or not your pet will require veterinary attention.  If it is just a piece or two of milk chocolate, then be prepared for some mild diarrhea.  On the other hand, if your dog ingested an entire bar of bakers chocolate, then you will need to seek veterinary attention.  If you are in doubt about the need to seek medical attention, then call your veterinarian and follow their advice.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Kirkus Review of Dogs Aren't Men

A fast-paced, energetic romance with a little sass.

Dr. Rebecca Miller, a 30-year-old veterinarian, immerses herself in caring for her animal patients and spending time with her dog, Captain. So what if her mother, Barbara, has made it her mission to find her daughter a husband? Meanwhile,Derrick Peterson, an ER doctor, has never been able to truly connect with a woman since he generally finds them superficial and untrustworthy. Nonetheless, Rebecca’s and Derrick’s worlds collide when Barbara gives Derrick’s stepmother Rebecca’s number. Derrick passes the number off to his friend, Mitch, who calls Rebecca and asks her out on a double date. After an embarrassing run-in at the local park, Derrick and Rebecca formally meet on the double date;they’re drawn to each other, though they keep their feelings to themselves. Derrick and Rebecca continue to bond over animals, basketball and their careers, and they finally become close after a frightening situation involving her employee’s sister and domestic violence. But the question remains: Will Derrick and Rebecca eventually fall in love?Though engaging and energetic, Tiner’s writing can get a bit repetitive. For instance, when describing Rebecca, she
writes, “She had an athletic build that attested to her active lifestyle. She kept her medium length brown hair pulled back from her face more from necessity than preference.” Varying the sentence structures would have made some of the descriptions less cumbersome. Additionally, the narrative jumps around frequently, which, although expected as the narrative switches between Rebecca’s and Derrick’s perspectives, is unnecessary at times. For a few paragraphs, the point of view even changes to Rebecca’s veterinary assistant, Jimmy. Nevertheless, while scattered at times, the novel successfully keeps readers engaged, and an enthusiastic audience shouldn’t be too difficult to find.

A light, easy romantic comedy that will appeal to animal lovers and young professionals.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pet Health Tip #24- Patellar Luxation

Has your dog ever been running and suddenly picked up one of his back legs and started running on three legs?  Usually, this will be for a short distance.  Then, he will give his leg a shake and go back to running on all four legs.

Your dog is experiencing something called Patellar Luxation.  Sounds complicated, but it is really very simple.  The patella (knee cap) is a small bone that sits in a groove at the front of the knee.  For some dogs, the groove the patella sits in is too shallow.  So, when the patella is experiencing a lot of movement (i.e. the dog is running), it will slip out of the groove and cause the knee to lock up.  The dog will hold the leg up and sometimes give it a little shake causing the patella to slip back into its groove.

Patellar Luxation is a congenital problem caused by the failure of the bone to develop correctly.  It is a common problem for small breed dogs such as Pomeranians, Poodles, and Chihuahuas.  The luxation itself isn't painful.  It is more of a nuisance.  However, over time, the action of the patella sliding up and over the groove will cause “wear and tear” on the cartilage of the knee joint.  Eventually, this will lead to arthritis.

If you have a dog that has a luxating patella, then it is important to make sure they maintain a healthy weight.  This will help slow the progression of the arthritis.  Patellar Luxation can also be surgically repaired.  The surgeon will go into the knee joint and deepen the groove the patella sits in, causing a tighter fit.  Surgery is the best solution, but can be expensive.  Most dogs with Patellar Luxation do very well even without treatment.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pet Health Tip #23- Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is caused by the abnormal development of the hip joint.  The hip joint is a ball and socket joint.  The head (top) of the femur (long upper leg bone) is the ball and it sits in a socket (acetabulum) of the hip bone (os coxae).  The head of the femur is supposed to sit very snugly in the acetabulum.  It allows a rolling motion, but is not supposed to have a sliding motion.  So, in a dog with Hip Dysplasia the ball is usually too small and the socket is too shallow.  This results in a "loose" joint.  In other words, instead of getting that snug fit, the joint has too much motion.  This can allow the joint to subluxate or "pop in and out".  Over time, this extra motion causes "wear and tear" on the joint and results in arthritis.

The development of Hip Dysplasia is primarily the result of genetics.  That is why it is more common in certain breeds of dogs such as Labs and Rottweilers.  As the puppy ages, the joint doesn't develop correctly and results in Hip Dysplasia.

It is often hard to diagnose Hip Dysplasia in really young puppies.  All puppies have pretty loose joints.  The question is whether they are going to develop normally or abnormally as the puppy grows.  By the time the puppy is about six months old, you will often start to see evidence of hip dysplasia.  The puppy may have a "rolling gate" where you can actually see the hip joint slipping when they walk.  This is often missed due to the fact that puppies are pretty resilient and will ignore the inconvenience of a slipping hip joint.

Typically, Hip Dysplasia is diagnosed once the dog has fully matured and the joint starts to break down.  The dog will have trouble rising or may cry out if their hips are pushed on.  Other symptoms include: trouble maneuvering up stairs, jumping into cars, or onto the bed.

Treatment for Hip Dysplasia is usually therapeutic, meaning we just try to alleviate the pain and slow the progression of damage to the cartilage in the joint.  There are several good medications available to accomplish this.  Passive activities, such as walking and swimming, are also good for the joint.  Additionally, it is very important to keep the dog’s body weight normal.  If the dog is carrying extra weight, it will speed the progression of arthritis.

Hip replacement surgery is also an alternative.  There are several veterinary practices that perform this surgery with very high success.  It is expensive, but it will cure the problem rather than just manage the symptoms.