Questions and Answers

Oradell Animal Hosptial Veterinarian Says” Bloating In Dogs Is Life-Threating”

Posted by d2030476 on July 23, 2012  /   Posted in Questions and Answers

Question:  What does it mean when a dog has bloated? And is it as dangerous as they make it out to be in the movies?

The most common signs of bloating are that your dog will begin to have non-productive retching or only producing variable amounts of stringy, foamy vomitus or drool. Often times these dogs are also very restless and cannot seem to get comfortable, and can be quite painful in the abdominal area.  Sometimes (but not always!) you can see that their abdomens look very large and bloated, hence the name.   Due to the close proximity of the stomach to the diaphragm, these dogs may show signs of respiratory distress, and may seem as if they cannot catch their breath, which will sometimes lead to your dog collapsing and not be able get up. The most common sequence of events leading to bloating is that the pet eats a meal and then soon after begins to play or rough-house, and then begins to exhibit the aforementioned signs shortly thereafter.

When a dog “bloats” it is an emergency and they should be seen by a veterinarian immediately, as time is truly of the essence in this disease process. Gastric Dilatation Volvuolous or “bloat” is a fairly common problem of large breed, deep-chested dogs such as Labrador Retrievers, Standard Poodles, German Shephard Dogs, Great Danes, and multiple others.  What actually happens is that the dog’s stomach flips around on itself anywhere from 90 to 360 degrees; when this happens not only are the contents of the stomach not able to get out into the intestines, but the blood supply to and from the stomach are also diminished.  Due to this twisting and lack of blood movement, the dogs enter into a state of shock wherein their bodies are unable to maintain proper blood pressure and blood flow to their bodies, which if left untreated is deadly.  Once the dog arrives to the hospital, the doctors will immediately start to give aggressive volumes of IV fluids and pain medications to help with the shock, however, until the pet is taken into surgery, he will remain in great danger.  Once in surgery, the doctors will manually untwist the stomach and then examine the tissues to ensure that the blood flow has returned and that the stomach tissue is healthy.  Sometimes the veterinarian will have to remove part of the stomach or even the spleen of the pet to ensure a full recovery.  Once the stomach is deemed healthy, the veterinarian will perform a procedure called a gastropexy, wherein they will attach the stomach to the dog’s body wall in the natural position, in an attempt to prevent the twisting from ever happening again.  The success rate of the surgery is very good, with almost 80-90% of the pets returning to a completely happy and healthy life!

[doctor name = “Steven Berkowitz”]

Oradell Animal Hospital surgeon says, “Dogs’ bone disease is usually temporary”

Posted by d2030476 on June 18, 2012  /   Posted in Questions and Answers

My dog was diagnosed with panosteitis.  What is the long term prognosis and treatment?

 

This disease affects primarily the long bones of large breed dogs and is often seen in dogs less than 2 years of age and frequently in puppies 8 to 12 months of age.  Panosteitis causes limping in dogs in any of the four legs, and sometimes can shift from one leg to another over the course of weeks.  The pain can be severe enough that the dog needs to be hospitalized, but most often they can be treated successfully with an anti-inflammatory medication.  The pain and limping usually subsides within 1 to 3 weeks, however in some dogs the pain can return in the future in another leg.  There seems to be no long term problems with panosteitis, so usually your veterinarian can give you an excellent prognosis.

The cause of panosteitis is still unknown despite the disease being recognized in dogs for over 50 years.  Theories such as fast bone growth and too rich a diet are thought to contribute, but it is not due to too much calcium or not enough vitamin C in the diet.  Interestingly, panosteitis was reported in a camel recently, though we know it does not occur in cats or people that we know.

[doctor name = “Jonathan Miller”]

Feline chin acne is often easy to treat

Posted by d2030476 on June 06, 2012  /   Posted in General Information, Questions and Answers

Q:  My cat is 6 years old. He has black spots under his chin. They first showed up a few months ago & I had read that you could put peroxide on them to clear it up.  They had disappeared for a while but now came back and just won’t go away. He had been eating from a plastic bowl but now he only eats from glass dishes as I heard that plastic could cause that problem.  Is there anything I can do or should he go to the doctor and have them checked?

 

A:  Your cat likely has feline chin acne, which is usually the appearance of comedones (blackheads) in the area of the chin and lips of cats.  Many cases never progress past this stage are mostly a cosmetic concern, but many times there is an underlying problem or infection that needs to be addressed and can lead to bigger oozing lesions.  Things that need to be ruled out are bacterial, fungal, or parasitic infections which can be done relatively easily by your veterinarian and treated appropriately.  Your vet can also prescribe a gentle antiseptic solution to scrub the area clean.  This syndrome can also be secondary to a contact allergy and therefore (as you have done) glass or stainless steel bowls that are washed regularly are your best choice.

[doctor name = “Reena Shah”]

Dog Bite Prevention, What’s a Dog Owner To Do?

Posted by d2030476 on June 06, 2012  /   Posted in General Information, Questions and Answers

This information was gathered from a public health news source of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Here are the facts:

  • 4.7 million people in this country are bitten by dogs every year
  • children are by far the most common victims
  • 800,000 Americans receive medical attention for dog bites each year
  • children are far more likely to be severely injured; approximately 400,000 receive medical attention every year
  • most dog bites affecting young children occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs
  • senior citizens are the second most common dog bite victims

There are a number of things that you can do to avoid dog bites, ranging from properly training and socializing your pet to educating your children on how, or if, they should approach a dog. 

What’s a dog owner to do?

  • Carefully select your pet.  Puppies should not be obtained on impulse.
  • Make sure your pet is socialized as a young puppy so it feels at ease around people and other animals.
  • Don’t put your dog in a position where it feels threatend or teased.
  • Train your dog.  The basic commands “sit”, “stay”, “no”, and “come” help dogs understand what is expected of them and can be incorporated into fun activities that build a bond of trust between pets and people.
  • Walk and exercise your dog regularly to keep it healthy and provide mental stimulation.
  • Avoid highly excitable games like wrestling or tug-of-war.
  • Use a leash in public to ensure you are able to control your dog.
  • Keep your dog healthy.  Have your dog vaccinated against rabies and preventable infectious diseases.  Parasite control and other health care are important because how your dog feels affects how it behaves.
  • Neuter your pet.
  • If you have a fenced yard, make sure the gates are secure.

How can your protect your family?

  • Be cautious around strange dogs, and treat your own pet with respect. 
  • Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
  • Be alert for potentially dangerous situations.
  • Teach toddlers to be careful around pets.  Children must learn not to approach strange dogs or try to pet dogs through fences.   Teach children to ask permission from the dogs owner before petting the dog.

Dog Bite Emergencies:  If you are bitten by a dog, here is a checklist of things you should do:

  • If the dog’s owner is present, request proof of rabies vaccination, and get the owner’s name and contact information
  • Clean bite wound with soap and water as soon as possible
  • Consult your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room if it’s after office hours.
  • Contact the dog’s veterinarian to check vaccination records.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oradell Animal Hospital Neurologist says “Seizures In Dogs Are Quite Common”

Posted by d2030476 on May 14, 2012  /   Posted in General Information, Questions and Answers

I have a 9 ½ year old Labrador/Pitbull mix dog who has been healthy except for a few allergic reactions in the past.  More recently, she had a seizure.  Can this be related to the allergic reactions?  How can this be avoided?

Allergies are very common in dogs and can be triggered by many things, similar to people.  Seizures occur in dogs and cats relatively commonly as well and are very upsetting to witness.  Although both allergies and seizures are frequently seen, the two are unlikely to be related.  The most common type of seizure is a generalized seizure (formerly called grand mal seizures).  During this type of seizure, the animal suddenly loses consciousness and falls, often with the limbs extended.  The dog (or cat) often salivates, urinates or defecates.  They then progress to paddling or jerking of the limbs, and often display chewing movements.  The average seizure of this type lasts 30 seconds to 2 minutes.  There is another large class of seizures, called partial seizures, which vary greatly in appearance.  They may involve movement of one limb or one part of the body (i.e. the face), may be manifested as “fly-biting” or chewing, and the animal may or may not lose consciousness.  These often last seconds, but can last longer.  After a seizure, dogs and cats usually display what are called postictal signs.  They are temporary and may include disorientation, restlessness, wobbliness, blindness, or deafness.  These abnormal behaviors may resolve after several minutes, but may last for days, especially after prolonged/severe seizures.

There are several causes for seizures and it is important to identify any underlying cause of a seizure such low blood sugar, a brain tumor, or inflammation in the brain, so that treatment for the underlying cause can be started.  The most common cause of seizures in dogs is idiopathic epilepsy, meaning there is no underlying disease process causing the seizures.  The typical dog (there are some exceptions) diagnosed with epilepsy begins to have seizures between 1 and 5 years of age, often seizures at night or when the dog is resting or sleeping, and has normal behavior in between the seizures.  Epilepsy can be seen in any breed or mixed breed, but it is known to be inherited in the following breeds:  Beagle, Belgian Tervuren, Bernese Mountain Dog, Collie, Dachshund, English Springer Spaniel, Golden Retriever, Irish Wolfhound, Keeshound, Labrador Retriever, Poodle, Shetland Sheepdog and Vizsla.

If you witness your dog (or cat) having a seizure, it is advised you bring him to a veterinarian who will perform thorough physical and neurological examinations. Next, blood work is usually performed to rule out metabolic causes of seizures.  MRI or CT scan of the brain and analysis of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) may be indicated in patients where an underlying disease process is suspected.  However, often times, if a dog fits the classic description of an epileptic, these advanced tests are not needed.

Fortunately, the average short seizure is not life threatening.  However, multiple seizures that occur within a 24 hour period of time (called cluster seizures) or a single seizure that lasts more than 5 minutes (called status epilepticus) are life threatening events and need to be treated as emergencies.  If your pet ever experiences one of these situations, you must bring him to a veterinarian/emergency clinic immediately.

The decision to treat seizures varies among veterinarians and owners.  Therapy should be started once the risks of additional seizures outweigh the risks of treatment.  The risks of seizures include the seizures themselves as well as the emotional effects on the family.  The risks of therapy include drug side effects and the cost and effort of daily medication and monitoring.   The goal of therapy is to decrease the frequency and severity of seizures.  Ideally it would be to eliminate seizures completely, but less than one third of dogs treated for epilepsy become seizure-free.  Therefore, therapy is typically life-long.  If therapy is ever stopped, it must be done slowly, under the careful guidance of your veterinarian.  Seizure medication must never be stopped abruptly.  Several drugs are available to help control seizures and fortunately some of the newer drugs carry few side effects.  The cost of some of these newer drugs may be significant depending on the drug chosen and the size of your dog.  Treatment options are numerous and must be tailored to the individual dog and owner.  Because each patient responds to drugs differently, it is very much trial and error in the beginning to establish the best treatment protocol.  In some cases more than one drug is needed to control seizures.  It is important to have a good relationship with your veterinarian and discuss all drug options available.  Once medication is begun, future trips to the veterinarian are necessary to monitor how your pet is responding to the drug.

[doctor name = “Kerry Bailey”]

Puppy’s Aggressive Behavior Is Not Right

Posted by d2030476 on May 07, 2012  /   Posted in General Information, Questions and Answers

Q:  Last November I bought a female Boston Terrier puppy from a breeder inPa.She is a good dog but when she sees strangers she gets aggressive where I am afraid she may bite them if they go to pet her. It’s not all the time though, sometimes when she is on one side of the street and they are on the other she just stops and looks at them. She is not a mean or aggressive puppy its only with strangers until she knows them. Otherwise she is loving and friendly and playful. I thought allBoston’s were quiet and friendly. Is this just a stage she is going though where she is protective of us?  How can I get her to stop?

 

A:  If there are words I would choose when describing Boston Terriers, quiet would certainly not be one of them!  Like most terriers, they are barkers.  In your case, I think you have to watch your pup carefully to observe what her body language looks like when strangers approach.  Is she tentative, scared, or nervous?  You say you are afraid she may bite but then say she is not aggressive so there is a disconnect here.  Many fearful dogs fit that description.  If a puppy is acting fearful or aggressive or both, it is a huge alarm for concern.  Puppies should not be either.  You should talk to your veterinarian as soon as possible to find out if there is a treatment path you can begin and try to build better behavior in your dog.  Best of luck to you.  The fact that you have reached out is a great sign that you are going to be tuned in to your dog’s behavior. 

[doctor name = “Tracy Kroll”]

Oradell Animal Hospital doctor says Yorkie may need surgery on patella

Posted by d2030476 on May 01, 2012  /   Posted in Featured Articles, Questions and Answers

Q:  My 5 1/2 year old Yorkie was recently diagnosed with a luxating patella after falling down a flight of stairs.  He was given anti-inflammatory medication which he took for 2 weeks and is now on Glucosamine.  Although he seems to be getting better, I still notice that he would occasionally lift the injured leg when walking.  He does not appear to be in any pain.  He has a follow-up visit in a month to see if things have gotten better however if he does not, my vet suggest that he sees a orthopedic veterinarian.  I’d like to know if anyone has had the same problem and if they opted for surgery.

 

A.   The patella, or knee cap, is a small bone burred in the tendon of the muscles that extend the knee joint. The knee cap normally rides in a groove at the end of the thigh bone (femur) at the knee joint.  Above the patella, the quadriceps muscles attach to the pelvis.  Below the patella, the patellar tendon attaches to the tibial crest, a bony prominence just below the knee.  The quadriceps muscle, the patella and its tendon form the “extensor mechanism” and are normally well-aligned with each other.  Patellar luxation is a condition where the knee cap rides outside the femoral groove when the knee joint is flexed.  It can be further characterized as medial or lateral, depending on whether the knee cap rides on the inner or on the outer aspect of the knee joint.

Patellar luxation is one of the most common congenital anomalies in dogs, diagnosed in about 7% of puppies and is now thought to be a component/consequence of a more complex congenital condition that affects the overall alignment of the hind leg .  The condition affects primarily small dogs, especially breeds such as Boston terrier, Chihuahua, Pomeranian, miniature poodle and Yorkshire terrier.  The incidence in large breed dogs has been on the rise over the past 10-15 years, and breeds such as Chinese shar pei, flat-coated retriever, Akita and Great Pyrenees are now considered predisposed to this disease.  Patellar luxation affects both knees in 50% of all cases, resulting in discomfort and loss of function.

Clinical signs associated with patellar luxation vary greatly with the severity of the disease: this condition may be an incidental finding detected by your veterinarian on a routine physical examination or may cause your pet to carry the affected limb up all the time.  Most dogs affected by this disease will suddenly carry the limb up for a few steps, and may be seen shaking or extending the leg prior to regaining its full use.  As the disease progresses in duration and severity, this lameness becomes more frequent and may even become continuous. In young puppies with severe medial patellar luxation, the rear legs often present a “bow-legged” appearance that worsens with growth.  Large breed dogs with lateral patellar luxation may have a “knocked-in knee” appearance.

Patellar luxation, as in your pets case, occasionally results from a traumatic injury to the knee, causing sudden non-weight-bearing lameness of the limb.  The lameness associated with a traumatic patellar luxation may initially respond to rest and anti-inflamatory therapy to some degree.

The diagnosis of patellar luxation is essentially based on palpation of an unstable knee cap on orthopedic examination and the severity of the luxation can be graded on a scale of 0 to 4.  Additional tests, such as palpation of the knee under sedation, radiographs of the knees and pelvis, and occasionally CT scan of the hind limbs, may be needed to help diagnose conditions often associated with patellar luxation and to help the surgeon recommend the most appropriate treatment for your pet.   Patellar luxations that do not cause any clinical sign should be monitored but do not typically warrant surgical correction, especially in small dogs.  Surgery is considered in grades 2 and over.  Surgical treatment of patellar luxation is more difficult in large breed dogs, especially when combined with other associated orthopedic conditions.

One or several of the following surgical strategies may be required to correct patellar luxation:

  • Reconstruction of soft tissues surrounding the knee cap to loosen the side toward which the patella is riding and tighten the opposite side.
  • Deepening of the femoral groove.
  • Moving  the bony prominence where the patellar tendon attaches below the knee.
  • Correction of abnormally shaped thigh bones (femurs).

The procedures that will best address the problem are selected on an individual basis by the surgeon that has examined the patient.

Studies have shown that over 90% of pet owners are satisfied by the results of surgical treatment for patellar luxation.  As alluded to earlier, the prognosis is less favorable in large dogs, especially in individuals where patellar luxation is combined with other orthopedic abnormalities.

Remember, you should seek veterinary advice if you have any concern about the gait of your pet.  Your primary veterinarian may wish to refer you to a surgeon specializing in orthopedic disease for treatment of patellar luxation if it requires surgery.

[doctor name = <Arthur A. Fettig>]

Is Your Bulldog High Maintenance?

Posted by d2030476 on April 30, 2012  /   Posted in General Information, Questions and Answers

Oradell Animal Hospital Doctor Tells Why

I’m thinking of getting a Bulldog puppy but I’ve heard they may have lots of problems as a breed.  Is this true and what are the problems? 

  Bulldogs are a very popular breed because of their cute, wrinkly faces and generally pleasant demeanor and temperament.  However, many people who acquire them don’t realize how high-maintenance this breed can be.  Bulldogs inherently have a unique set of health problems because of their genetic make-up.  For example, the folds and wrinkles might appear endearing but they predispose these dogs to skin infections, especially around the face and tail areas.  Ear infections are also very common in this breed and routine ear and skin fold cleanings are needed to prevent or control infections.  They also tend to have a lot of problems with inflammation and infections of the feet (pododermatitis) which may be related to their predisposition to develop allergic skin disease. 

The shape of their heads and faces causes them to snort, gurgle and snuffle and while this may seem charming to some, it also puts them at higher risk for breathing difficulties and low heat tolerance.  This so-called brachycephalic airway syndrome (B.A.S.) can be severe and may even require surgical correction in certain cases!  As you can imagine, this also puts them at increased risk during general anesthetic episodes.  Bulldogs can be a sociable, enjoyable breed but they definitely require a lot of extra care and maintenance to keep them healthy.

[doctor name = “Jamison DeSantis”]

Neurologist at Oradell Animal Hospital discusses canine degenerative myelopathy disease

Posted by d2030476 on April 30, 2012  /   Posted in General Information, Questions and Answers

Our 12 year old Collie has been diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy.  We started noticing a weakness in his hind legs several months ago and thought it was arthritis.  However, after a full examination, we were told he does not have arthritis and actually has a good range of motion.  He was started on azium, but no positive results were seen.  On the contrary, he got worse.  He could no longer stand up without help.  We reduced the dosage to 1 pill every other day, and he seemed to get a little better.  Do you know of any other treatments?  Can you provide us with the typical outlook for this condition?  How fast does it usually progress and what additional symptoms can we expect?

  Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) is a degenerative disease of the spinal cord, whose underlying cause is yet unknown.  It is thought to be similar to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in people.  Clinical signs of this disease are most typically a slow progression of hind limb weakness and ataxia (“wobbly” or “drunken” gait), and may start in one hind leg and then progress to the other.  This disorder is not painful, and often time dogs are very willing and even excited to continue trying to exercise despite their limitations. 

Diagnosis of DM is usually based on a combination of breed, age, clinical signs, and an absence of any other cause for hind limb weakness through orthopedic exam and, in many cases, imaging of the spine via MRI.  The spinal MRI of a dog with DM will be normal, ruling out other causes of similar clinical signs such as intervertebral disc protrusion (“slipped disc”), spinal malformations, tumors of the spine and/or spinal cord, and infection or inflammatory diseases of the spinal cord.  There is a genetic test for DM available through the Orthopedic Foundation of America. This test can tell if a dog is a carrier for the gene for DM, though this does not definitively diagnose the disease, as some carrier dogs will never develop any signs of DM; it is therefore more helpful to rule out the disease. 

At this time, there are no effective treatments for DM.  There are some anecdotal reports of improvement with a supplement called aminocaproic acid, however this has not been proven through clinical trials. There has been some recent evidence that daily, controlled physiotherapy including walking, range of motion exercise, massage and hydrotherapy may prolong the ability to walk with DM. 

DM will typically progress over a period of 6-12 months, with gradual, if not constant decline in ability to walk.  Some dogs will appear to experience “plateaus” in which the disease remains static for weeks or months before progressing again. Most dogs have no other clinical signs, however, as the disease progresses; some dogs will experience urinary or fecal incontinence. 

If you are interested in trying to get a more definitive diagnosis for your Collie, ask your veterinarian about referral to a neurologist in your area who will be able to help you decide on a diagnostic plan. 

[doctor name = “Michaela Esteban”]

 

Oradell Animal Hospital Veterinarian Discusses The Treatment of Canine Lymphoma

Posted by d2030476 on April 26, 2012  /   Posted in General Information, Questions and Answers

Q:  My dog was just diagnosed with lymphoma. My vet recommended chemotherapy. I heard that chemotherapy is different in dogs than it is in people. Is this true?

 

            A:  I am very sorry to hear about your dog. Lymphoma is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in dogs. It is a cancer of lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell and part of the immune system. The immune system is throughout the body, and consequently lymphoma often involves multiple sites throughout the body. The most commonly affected sites are the lymph nodes, liver, spleen, and bone marrow, but almost any site in the body can be affected.

            Before starting any therapy, your veterinarian likely will recommend that some staging diagnostic tests be performed.  The purpose of clinical staging is to determine the extent of the cancer in your dog’s body, identify any unrelated diseases that might impact treatment decisions, and assess overall health. Staging information guides treatment recommendations, helps to more accurately assess response to therapy, and provides useful prognostic information. (There is a numeric staging system used for canine lymphoma, with stage I being the least advanced and stage V the most. However, the number itself has relatively little prognostic significance for this particular cancer.)

            The treatment for canine lymphoma typically involves chemotherapy. This disease rarely affects only one location or organ, and therefore drugs that circulate throughout the body are most effective. Surgery and radiation therapy play very limited roles in the treatment of this cancer. The chemotherapy drugs used to treat canine lymphoma are also used to treat non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in people. There are several different published chemotherapy protocols, and deciding which to use will depend on several factors: staging test results, clinician preference, and family-based factors (frequency of visits, length of protocol, cost). Your veterinarian likely will discuss several different treatment options along with the advantages and disadvantages of each.

            Chemotherapy treatment in dogs is very different than chemotherapy treatment in people. Yes, for the most part the same drugs are used, but there are two very important differences. First, the drug dosages are much lower, even when taking into consideration differences in body size between people and dogs. Second, in veterinary oncology not as many drugs are given at the same time; instead, we usually space them out on a rotating basis. As a result, adverse effects from treatment are less frequent and usually are muchless severe.

            The potential adverse effects depend on the specific drug(s) included in a given treatment protocol. However, the most common adverse effects seen are gastrointestinal (decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea). Only about 10% of dogs experience these effects, and when these signs do occur they usually are mild and resolve on their own within a day or so. For more pronounced gastrointestinal signs, there are very effective medications that often can help amelioratethem. If adverse effects are observed, future occurrences often can be prevented either by prescribing gastrointestinal supportive medications preemptively or reducing the dosage of a given chemotherapy drug. Again, maintaining quality of life throughout treatment is paramount.

            The trade-off for fewer adverse effects is lower cure rates, but most oncologists (myself included) agree that quality of life is more important.Having said that, with our most effective treatment protocols, about 85-90% of dogs with lymphoma will attain a complete remission (defined as complete resolution of all signs associated with the cancer). About half of our patients will enjoy at least one year of excellent quality of life, and about twenty-five percent will enjoy at least 2 years of excellent quality of life. Less than five percent of dogs with lymphoma are ever truly cured (i.e., the cancer never recurs). Left untreated, canine lymphoma usually is fatal within 4-6 weeks of initial diagnosis.

            The decision to pursue cancer treatment for a family pet is never easy. It is important to have as much information as possible before making any decisions. Questions you should ask your veterinarian include: What is the chance of the cancer responding to treatment? If the cancer does respond to treatment, how long is the response likely to last? What is the potential for any adverse effect from treatment? What is the potential for a severe adverse effect from treatment? If adverse effects do occur, are they reversible?I wish you and your dog all the best.

            For additional general information regarding cancer in companion animals, I would recommend an on-line video published by the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine at the following website: http://partnersah.vet.cornell.edu/node/189.

 [doctor name = “Dennis Bailey”]

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