TRAVEL SAFETY TIPS FOR YOUR PETS

Our case of the week involved a young, healthy dog that suddenly overheated.  As this can happen very quickly and unexpectedly I thought the following tips might help.  I am happy to report the dog is now fine.
Planning a road trip with your furry friend?  Here are some tips to help you maintain safety, good health and a relaxing time
1.      Make sure you have current health and vaccination records from your veterinarian, and also a thirty days ( or more) supply of any medications. Give him his monthly flea/tick control so you know he is protected for your vacation time  If you are travelling to certain areas make sure you know ahead of time if lymes vaccine are recommended and/or heartworm prevention. You can find this out on the AVMA website www.avma.org
2.      Make sure your dog/cat is used to being crated and take a favorite blankie and toy with you.  The crate will be very useful in hotels ( often a requirement) as well as for safety in the car.
3.      Ensure you have your pet microchipped and registered with the company as well as a good collar and leash with clearly marked tags.  Hint: Use your cell phone on the tags…if your pet is found you won’t be answering your home phone on vacation.
4.      Make sure you check ahead that pets are welcome and that you have a place for them to stay if you decide to go to a Park for the day.  Many of these, such as Disney and SeaWorld have kennels on site.  You will be pleased you have your vaccination records with you, or your pet won’t be staying!
5.      Stop often for rest stops and water breaks.  Do practice runs in the car first to ensure your pet does not get car sick. Most dogs travel well especially if they feel they are going somewhere special with their best friend.  That’s you!
6.      Never leave your dog in the car.  The interior can heat up to a life threatening temperature in as little as ten minutes. Remember that road surfaces and pool decks can burn pets feet easily.  If you are going from a cooler state to a hotter state you will need to make allowances and realize your pet will feel the difference.  Keep alert for signs of heat exhaustion.  Heavy panting, extreme redness of tongue, vomiting or diarrhea.  If this happens get to the nearest vet ( which you will also have researched on line) immediately.  On the way there pack ice under his arms and turn on a fan or air conditioning directing it  at him
7.      I do not recommend tranquilizers as this can alter or even eliminate a dogs temperate regulation control as well as having an unknown side effect of extreme lethargy or ironically excitement.

If travelling by air, consult the airline for regulations.  Many now do not take certain breeds, or fly pets at certain times of the year, due to climate influences.  There is a new company that specializes in flying just your pet.  You can find them at www.petairways.com.     

Happy travels!

THINGS THAT GO LUMP AND BUMP

We do find that certain problems seem to come in twos.  We may go for weeks without seeing a fracture and then boom! Two in one day.  Last week was lump and bump week, and I hope this blog will help clarify why it is SO important not to ignore or play “wait and see” with any growths that may appear in your dogs or cats.  Generally speaking we will see more problems in dogs, and the majority of them will not be of any concern.  But, as always, the moral is, check it out first.

The first case we will look at was a 6 year old cat, with very vigilant owners, who have never missed any scheduled exams and are wonderful fur -parents.  About three weeks previously, they had noticed small lumps on the left side of the lower thorax.  They elected to have these removed and sent to histopath after the doctors recommendations.  After shaving and prepping the area for surgery, it became apparent that there were more very small lumps, barely palpable lower down in the mammary chain.  At this point, it no longer became a simple lump removal but a decision to act aggressively and do a full one side mastectomy.  There were no apparent changes on the right side of the body.   The surgery was completed successfully and the cat recovered quickly and smoothly .  Histopath results showed feline mammary carcinoma or breast cancer .  Due to the highly aggressive form of this cancer, the owners have elected to have further preventative surgery on the right side of the body.

In the second case, a wonderful elderly rescue Bulldog,  that was adopted,  had had a small persistent lump on the breast, as well as assorted others, that had been monitored for some months.  Cytology did not show anything to be overly concerned about. Then, suddenly, the largest lump grew and the owner elected to do surgery, despite the risk of anesthesia this particular patient was faced with.  The surgery went very well, and with the extra precautions that we use for Bulldogs, including EKG bloodwork and very close monitoring, the dog did much better than expected and woke up ready to go home.  A very large area of flesh had been excised by Dr Greer.  This would prove a challenge from the healing point of view, but this had been anticipated, and wound care and cold laser therapy helped tremendously.  Again, and as is always recommended, a sample was sent to histopath.  Despite the tissue involved ( mammary tissue) the result actually showed osteosarcoma….bone cancer cells.  This is very rare, and did not make for a good prognosis.  Research shows an average lifespan after this diagnosis of mere months.  However, this brave bully has apparently decided to ignore the diagnosis and just carry on with life.  The owner reported today that she is doing better than ever, her appetite and zest for life is as good as always.  As there is no successful treatment for this, we opted for specific frequency low level laser therapy.  Certainly, the owner and pet are happy and we continue to wish the best for them and will keep you updated.

Bulldog Surgery

Case number three, was a perky 1 year old beagle that had a small pea –sized pigmented,dermal mass on the chest.  Pigmented masses are always suspicious of cancerous growths such as melanomas, which can be fatal.  In this case we were happy to let the owner know that the mass showed it to be completely excised, and a benign tumor known as a hemangioma.  The area will be closely monitored for any changes.

In all these cases, two with serious potentially life threatening conditions, and one that was benign, the owners had caught the problem early.  The lesson to be learned is when you are caressing your pet and notice something that wasn’t there before always get it examined.  We have seen cases spread rapidly and dramatically from one small lump on the foot to the pet needing a leg amputation to save its life.  When a growth is found and is reported as cancer we will then always follow up with X rays and ultrasound of the body to see if the cancer has metastasized into the internal organs.  Treated early your pet may be cured completely or have a longer life span.  And that’s what we all want for our best friends.          

Time to Clean Your Pet’s Ears?

Veterinarians see a lot of patients with ear infections. In fact, it’s the second most common reason for a client visit, according to pet health insurer, VPI Pet Insurance. With ear problems prompting so many trips to the vet, should ear cleaning be a necessary part of grooming your pet?
There are signs to watch for if your pet is having an issue with its ears. These, according to Jonas, include:
  • Shaking its head
  • Flapping its ears
  • Rubbing at its ears, either with a paw or by rubbing against furniture or carpet
  • Self-massaging the ear to ease itch, pain or irritation
  • Debris and/or redness inside the ear
  • Sores inside the ear
  • Odor in the ear due to abnormal oils and bacteria
“If you [the pet owner] look in the ear, you can see sometimes a lot of debris,” said Jonas, explaining what an ear with an infection or problem may look like. “Then [you] see redness on the ear flaps (inside) or sores developing. And then there’s also odor that occurs when you have an abnormal ear.”
Breeds to watch
There are certain breeds of dogs—such as Shar Peis, bulldogs and poodles—that have narrow ear canals and have a higher chance of incurring ear issues. Poodles, especially, have more hair in the canals, Jonas explained. “The hair itself is not a problem, but if they’ve got something abnormal with their whole defense system, all that extra hair in there makes it difficult.”
Cocker spaniels are notorious for ear problems, Jonas added.
When to clean your pet’s ears
According to Jonas, it’s best to consult your veterinarian before going forward with an ear-cleaning regimen. Unlike cleaning the teeth, cleaning the ears does not need be done regularly. If a pet owner suspects that something may be wrong with the ear, it’s advised to visit the veterinarian and establish whether the dog’s ear needs to be cleaned by the owner either routinely or for an instructed period of time.
Cleaning the dog’s ears without first seeing a veterinarian is not a good idea, Jonas said, “because you don’t know what’s going on inside. You don’t know if there has been a ruptured ear drum; you don’t know if there’s a stick or a stone or something stuck down inside the ear that needs to be fished out by a veterinarian.”
A veterinarian can diagnose the problem and make the proper recommendations, which may be cleaning and/or medication.
Typically, there are two situations for which a dog’s ears would need to be cleaned regularly. The first is when a veterinarian instructs for it to be done, and the second is when the dog is frequently in water. “Water in their ears disrupts the normal defense barrier system in that ear, and can make them prone to getting infections and irritation and inflammation,” Jonas said.
If there needs to be ear cleaning
A veterinarian should show the owner how to properly clean the dog’s ears because “there are a lot of different techniques, and it depends on what the problem is,” Jonas advised.
There are a couple of precautions to always remember, according to Jonas. First, never use a Q-tip, because it tends to push the wax and debris further into the ear. Second, be sure a groomer does not pluck the hair out of the dog’s ears, unless that hair is contributing to an ear problem; Jonas believes that doing so may cause irritation.
One thing pet owners should also consider is that if the dog has an ear infection, it could be very painful for them. Forcing the dog to get its ears cleaned or putting medication in them can be a dangerous situation for the owner and the dog.
“If your pet doesn’t want you to do it, don’t, because it hurts,” Jonas said. “You’re just going to create a problem, and you need to look to alternatives.”

Originally published by Healthy Pet.