It’s the weekend or an evening and you have a question about your dog’s health that is just begging an answer right now. You can’t get ahold of me – I am not answering your Facebook or Google+ messages in the last minute or so since you posted and you are getting worried something has happened to me or my family, but worse yet your question is not being answered!
What to do?
You are in luck! There are websites out there with veterinarians that are ready to answer your question!
Granted they may not have my wit and personality but some may. Also you may not receive the integrative or holistic touch that you really want, but when you are desperate for an answer, the vets on these websites are more than qualified to help you out in deciding if your question about your dog’s health can wait for my reply or if you need to get help sooner.
Just Answer Veterinarians (http://www.justanswer.com/sip/veterinary) is a cool site that has experts from many different fields including in this case veterinarians. Most of the time there is a veterinarian actually online and will answer your question in real time. The cost is $14-$38 depending on Urgency and Level of Detail Required and you have to be 100% satisfied.
Ask A Vet (https://askavet.com/) claims we’ve got America’s Best Veterinarians ready to answer your pet’s health, nutritional and behavioral questions. How can they say that? Well their vets are board certified in their area of expertise, which means they went to even more schooling than your typical vet and they have really focused on a specific area of veterinary medicine. They have sat for boards just like a medical doctor would that has board certification – certifications in cardiology (heart), oncology (cancer), neurology (nerves), etc.It is a flat fee of $18 and 5% of that goes to charity. Again there is a 100% money back guarantee.
VetLive (http://www.vetlive.com/) run by Drs Jed and Laci Schaible is a 24hour chat service of a hand selected group of veterinarians chosen by Dr Jed and Dr Laci. Most of the time though you will be dealing with the owners of the site. The price depends on time of day, demand and if a vet has to be woken out of bed to answer your question. From $17-$50 and $35-$70 for second opinions that would include detailed information from the previous vet visit.
Pawbly (http://www.pawbly.com/) is free! I figured I would tell you the best part of this website right away. It does not mean that the value is any less than the paid sites. Pawbly is advice and assistance for everything pet 24 hours a day from reliable, local experts. Pawbly allows you to find or seek out experts based on their responses to your questions, their location, or their availability. Several veterinarians including my internet friends and colleague Dr Krista Magnifico and Jana Rade are verified Pawbly Advisors. ?
With these choices you can find a veterinarian to answer your questions anytime. So the next time you can not get ahold of me then please try one of the above websites. Writing this article has given me an inspiration of doing a something similar with an integrative more holistic approach…hmmmm.
When looking for a good dog health website you could just type into Google “dog health” and I am sure you will get 1 if not all 4 of these websites on the first page – doghealth.com, petmd.com, pets.webmd.com, and, of course, wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog_Health, but although these sites have a lot of information, they are certainly not the “best” dog health websites out there. I am not even sure if there is a true 10 best dog health websites as it would be subjective and full of opinion.
For me, the “best” dog health websites are the ones that I HAVE to go to every morning to see if they have posted any new articles on their blog. Yes I know I have a blog here and of course it goes without saying that this is one of the 10 best dog health websites on the Internet today (I’m writing the article what else would I say), but since I am writing the article I am going to omit Dogkinetics.com from the list because I don’t read it everyday (I don’t even post to it everyday).
Every morning when I click on my browser I have a bunch of tabs open up to all the websites that I visit frequently. You know like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. One of those tabs is a website called feedly.com and on that page is a list of blogs that I want to check up on and see what they are writing about that day. In my opinion, this is the heartbeat of the topic of dog health. It is what I want to read to keep abreast of everything. The following is the list of those websites – THE 10 Best Dog Health Websites
These three websites are the heavy hitters in the dog health topic. They post several articles a day and have very large followings and some very prominent veterinarians and other professionals writing articles. If any web/blog managers read this post I would be happy to do a guest post for any of these –
Vet Street (http://www.vetstreet.com/) – Dr Marty Becker, the vet from Good Morning America, writes here, but he is not the only big name that writes here just probably the most well known. Other big names are Dr Nancy Kay from Speaking for Spot, Dr Narda Robinson a nationally known authority on scientifically based alternative medicine, Dr Patty Kuhly a well known blogging vet, Dr Andy Roark who is well known for his contributions to veterinary business and management and several other veterinarians that are respected in their field.
Pet Place (http://www.petplace.com/) – With articles titled such as Why Do Dogs Drool? and Yes Dogs Eat Glue and crazy pictorials such as Tongues Out!, how can you not like this website?
Mercola’s Healthy Pets with Dr Karen Becker (http://healthypets.mercola.com/) – My friend, colleague, and co-conspirator with many clients, Dr Becker provides the information for this website. What can I say, I decided to become a father of 4 and play soccer with them and she decided to really make a difference for pets and became voted one of the 10 best veterinarians in the Chicago area. She caught the attention of Dr Mercola and the rest is history. There is at least one new post everyday and has a more holistic natural approach to veterinary medicine.
The Lonely Veterinarians
These next 5 websites are blogs written by a single veterinarian and their life, trials, tribulations and of course the good times of being a veterinarian.
Speaking for Spot (http://speakingforspot.com/blog/) – Dr Nancy Kay’s, author of Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health and contributor to Vet Street, personal blog. Dr Nancy has won many accolades and awards including the Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog.
Diary of a Real Life Veterinarian (http://kmdvm.blogspot.com/) – Blog of Dr Krista Magnifico advisor at Pawbly.com another excellent dog health website. I love Dr Krista’s stories and I especially like her post on Living and losing the last moments with your terminal dog.
Dr Patrick Mahaney (http://www.patrickmahaney.com/) – Fellow veterinary acupuncturist and veterinarian to the stars, Dr Patrick’s blog is full of information. If you have any questions on Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA) you can read his dog’s, Cardiff, blog (http://www.patrickmahaney.com/cardiff-blog/) who has suffered from IMHA
Shawn M. Finch DVM (http://rileyandjames.com/) – Dr Shawn has her life on this blog – veterinary stories, books read, and little life tidbits. The 24 Books to Change Your Life series was an excellent read.
Elliot Garber The Uncommon Veterinarian (http://www.elliottgarber.com/) – Do you want an interesting read for veterinary medicine? Dr Elliot’s blog is the one to read then. He is an author and a skilled writer and in this blog writes and does podcasts with some of the more interesting career choices that veterinarians have made. Hey Dr Elliot, I’m a veterinarian that has chosen to do only chiropractic and acupuncture on horses and dogs – is that interesting enough? If you read his blog, you will find out that NO its not interesting enough! Oh and if you want to be a veterinarian, he takes you step by step to reach your goal.
You may have read or heard me say that I do not think pet insurance is worth the money. Instead, if you open a savings account for your pet and have the dedication to place the monthly premiums in it that you normally would give the insurance company, you would be much better off. So you may be surprised that one of the blogs I read everyday is owned by a pet insurance company! Yeah you read that right, besides it being a good blog and has good information on pet health I realize that many people (OK most people) do not have the dedication to put money into a savings account for their pet so if you must buy pet health insurance this is one of two companies I would recommend, Embrace (the blog I read) and Trupanion.
Embrace Pet Insurance Blog (http://blog.embracepetinsurance.com/) – Laura Bennett co-founder of Embrace is not a veterinarian but rather a mathematician, but she is very good at writing about dog health. It helps that she also has guest posts from veterinarians, including my Internet friend and colleague Dr Patrick Mahaney. Laura and Dr Patrick do a podcast together as well. Laura is doing the dog health topic a good service as well as providing good pet insurance.
Last but most definitely not least –
Dawg Business (http://dawgbusiness.blogspot.com/) – Jana Rade has become a friend because of her blog and my interest in it or maybe because of her great questions. She is just like a favorite client (the type of client that most vets dread that I thrive on) a dog owner that questions, EVERYTHING! Her blog is dedicated to her late Rottweiler Jasmine and their story together. Jasmine was a sickly dog and had a multitude of problems which provided Dawg Business with a wide variety of topics to cover in dog health. Jana has certainly made an impact in the dog health topic and has befriended many veterinarians and has numerous guest posts because of these friendships – you might even find a couple by a good looking vet there. I’ll help you out here’s his latest post there – Alternative Treatments For Discoid Lupus Erythematosus (DLE) in Dogs
You can be sure that every morning I am clicking on my feedly.com page and checking to see if any of these blogs have posted something new. I love to write and as with most writers, I also love to read and these blogs is what I love to read.
Cancer can affect all living creatures. 25% of dogs die of a cancer related illness. If you didn’t know this Pet Trust wants you to know.
Pet Trust is a Canadian charitable fund, based out of Toronto, dedicated to enhancing the health and well-being of dogs and cats. Pet Trust created the “Keep Cancer on a Leash” campaign to raise awareness of animal cancer. Monies donated to the campaign also go for the treatment of dogs and cats with cancer at the Ontario Veterinary College Mona Campbell Animal Cancer Centre at the University of Guelph.
If you haven’t seen the video “We Could Be Heros” from Pet Trust here it is –
The cool thing about this video is that you can put your own dog in the video. Click on the link on Pet Trust’s website that says “Put Your Pet In The Video” – upload up to 3 photos and your email address and your video link will be sent to you.
Do not forget to donate! In fact go right now to Pet Trust’s Keep Cancer on a Leash website and donate what you can.
Canine Rehabiliatation, similar to human Physical Therapy, is becoming more prevalent. Just as in people there are modalities such as laser, electrical stimulation and specific exercises to help dogs recover from injuries and surgeries. More expansive facilities even have swimming pools and underwater treadmills.
If your dog has a severe injury that if you had the same type of injury that you believe you would have to have physical therapy to recover, then yes your dog can have canine rehab to help it recover. To find a veterinarian in your area that has had training in Canine Rehab go to - http://www.caninerehabinstitute.com/Find_A_Therapist.html
This past week a great story from The Huffinton Post tells a tale of one lucky Doberman benefiting from the power of the Internet and the power of Canine Rehab after an unlucky event occurred at a rescue facility paralyzing him. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/08/paralyzed-doberman_n_4235835.html
Here’s the video – what an awesome story.
Mobile and tablet users- click here to watch: https://vimeo.com/78767578 Visit http://www.twohandsfourpaws.com to find out more about Kenny’s story. and visi…
Simple answer to helping your dog lose weight, just as in humans – less calories and more exercise. There is one more component for some dogs, and for some people for that matter; it’s not HOW MUCH you eat that is as important as WHAT you eat!
For people avoiding whites such as sugar, flour (wheat/gluten) and milk (dairy) will go a long way in helping you to lose weight. For some dogs it is similar – avoiding grains (corn, wheat, oats, barley, rice) will help reduce inflammation and allow a dog to lose weight.
Pet Obesity discussed by Kelly Lewis of barkTV. (fat dog health, lose weight loss). Kelly is a mobile groomer from Raleigh (apex) NC.
Helping Murphy lose weight required better eating habits and also some daily exercise, which, of course, is part of a healthy dog’s life. Every morning, Murphy and I walk for 15-20 minutes and another 30-45 minutes in the …
If a dog shows signs of being overweight consulting a veterinarian is crucial in adopting a weight loss programme supported by the right health nutrition. Veterinary practices are geared to monitor controlled weight loss in dogs …
It’s cold outside here in Crown Point and while we remember to bundle ourselves up before going out in the cold we often forget that our pets might not be equipped to handle the cold weather and snow that comes along with it. Below are some good habits to get into during the winter months to keep your dog safe.
- Thoroughly clean and wipe down your dogs feet, legs and tummy after going for walks. The salt and chemicals that are used to melt snow can be very irritating to a dog’s feet. A good pair of boots for your dog to wear out in the snow and for winter walking will protect their feet from ice and chemicals.
- Make sure dogs have current identification secured to collars and microchips. Snow can make it difficult for animals to follow scents back home and are more easily lost. Keep cats indoors.
- Fur keeps a dog warm, if you normally keep their coat short consider letting it grow out a bit to help keep them warmer during cold weather. Dogs with thin or short coats may need the added help of a sweater or coat during the winter months to stay warm. Older dogs and dogs suffering from arthritis will also appreciate the extra warmth that a sweater can provide.
- Puppies are very sensitive to the cold, if you are housetraining during winter months consider paper training the dog and then transitioning outside when it gets warmer.
- Keep your dogs moving. It’s easy to let our dogs become couch potatoes in the winter. Many dogs experience muscle atrophy during the winter which can lead to injuries when spring arrives and they are not physically ready to begin running and playing all day.
A video Dr Dan took of a client’s dogs walking on a treadmill
Anyone can get their dogs trained to do this. The little Frenchie begs to be on the treadmill several times a day. I know this is a post about safety and these guys are usually hooked up to a safety string that pulls a kill switch that shuts off the treadmill if the dog falls. The owner usually has this on when the treadmill is running faster. However, this was a quick video at a slow pace just to show you a treadmill in action. You can see the dog can hop right up on the treadmill and run up to the front with ease at how slow it is going.
A related post about winter safety in cats –
Flowers and plants add beauty to any holiday, and they make great holiday gifts. But if your family includes pets, you may want to learn which plants are safe and which ones you need to avoid.
A dog that has a wet bed in the morning, a dog that dribbles urine throughout the day, a dog that seems to just stand up and then pee uncontrollably, or a dog that is licking itself continuously can all have the problem of urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence is a weakening of the sphincter that controls the emptying of the bladder, most commonly affecting females.
There is a lot to urinary incontinence and there is quite a bit that we do not fully understand about it but I am going to go over the most common issues and keep it simple. The first issue to contend with if you have a dog with a leaky bladder is be sure your pup does not have a urinary tract infection because this an cause inflammation in the entire urinary tract including the sphincter and your dog just is not going to be able to control itself. The best course of action when you first notice a leaking problem is to bring your dog to the vet for evaluation for blood tests and a urinalysis. If your dog has kidney issues, hormonal issues, or a urinary tract infection the cause of the leaking is secondary and treating the primary problem of the underlying disease should resolve the leaking issue.
Now if your dog does not have any illness found then it is most likely that yes your dog has a weakened bladder sphincter causing the urinary incontinence. To keep it simple there is two major reasons why your dog has a weakened muscle – neurologic or hormonal. If the nerve pathways are not optimal then your dog leaks because there is no or low nerve stimulation to the muscle. If the dog has been neutered, more likely if it has been neutered early in life, there has been a lack of hormones, which weakens the muscles in and around the genital area and specifically the bladder sphincter.
Traditional medicine typically uses two different types of drugs to correct this problem and there is a new surgical treatment available in some cases. The first drug is actually hormone replacement therapy using diethylstilbestrol (DES) in female dogs. It is used at low doses to try and avoid the side effects of the drug. Holistic practitioners have long been concerned with the use of this drug and its potential long term effects on the hormonal system and its possibility of causing certain types of cancer. The other drug commonly used for urinary incontinence and this is used in female and male dogs is phenylpropanolamine (PPA). This drug is used to help stimulate the nervous system and increase tone in the bladder sphincter. This drug has many side effects although most are manageable or minor that they go unnoticed. It can have more side effects with drug interactions of commonly used drugs such as NSAIDs, some tick preventatives, and other drugs. It can cause anxiety in pets because it does stimulate a fight or flight response due to its effect on the nervous system. It also causes an increase in blood pressure for the first few weeks of using the drug so dogs with heart conditions should avoid using PPA. Many times vets will use both drugs together if they are not getting a response from either one and have some success with their use together, which usually indicates multiple system problems with urinary incontinence.
Alternative treatments focus on the same simple principles of either nervous system malfunction or hormonal system malfunction. The most common treatments I use are chiropractic, acupuncture, Chinese herbs and food supplements.
Chiropractic treatments usually focus on subluxations (joint dysfunction) at the Lumbosacral joint and/or the SI joints. Adjustments usually are needed at L6, L7, and Sacrum. I have had great success over the years with just chiropractic alone most of my patients will have to have return visits monthly to every other month to maintain urinary control.
Most of the time I will also place the pet on a nutritional supplement such as Symplex M (males) or Symplex F (females) from Standard Process. These are formulated from compounds extracted from glandulars. There are other products, which are direct glandular products that some holistic vets use instead of DES to lessen the risks associated with DES.
Many times I see immediate results using the chiropractic and the Standard Process supplements but if I see no results within 2-4 weeks then I will suggest adding acupuncture and/or Chinese herbs to see if we can stimulate the bladder sphincter to function better. Most chronic urinary incontinence is a Qi deficiency in Traditional Chinese Medicine and more specifically a Kidney Qi Deficiency so I choose points to help strengthen Qi. In western medical acupuncture terms, we try to stimulate the nervous system for the reproductive area of the body, similar points are used in both types of acupuncture. Common points used are BL22, BL23, BL26, ST36 and CV1
If all else fails there is a surgical treatment that is being tried. It is fairly new to use in dogs and has some success. Under anesthesia collagen is injected around the urethral opening causing a mechanical blockage, which then allows the dog to hold its urine easier. Some of these dogs still need to take PPA and many of them have to have the procedure repeated. Definitely not a first line of correction but when it means the life vs death because of urine leakage it is worth trying to find a vet to do the procedure.
There is a lot we do not understand about urinary incontinence. We do not know the true cause and why some treatments work for some dogs and not for others, but there are many treatments and hopefully if you have a dog with urinary incontinence, you can find one that works for your dog.
Your dog is keeping you up all night scratching. In fact, your dog scratches all the time, its skin is red and raw and may have hair loss and lesions. Your dog could have allergies. The most common symptoms owners bring their dog into the vet suspecting allergies is itching and chronic skin infections. However did you know that there are other signs of allergies such as red paws, chronic ear infections, chronic loose stool, and even vomiting? All of these problems are very frustrating for the owner and also frustrating for the veterinarian to attempt to treat. Conventional veterinary care has a difficult time managing this disease and many veterinarians are just as frustrated with treatment as the owners of the allergic dog. So what can we do? In this series of posts I am going to explain how I manage dog allergies using an approach called EDVS.
First, every owner that has a dog that suffers from allergies needs to know that allergies is a disease that can be controlled and managed but most likely will not ever be cured. To control the disease, you need to support and balance the immune system and focus on the (E)nivronment, (D)iet, (V)accinations, and (S)upplements. Once explained to you it will make sense to use the EDVS approach and how you can live with your dog and your dog can have a good quality of life living with you for many years.
Basically, an allergy is a hypersensitive immune system. Unfortunately the immune system is one of the most misunderstood systems of the dog’s body. Although it is studied extensively and many components are well understood the actual cause and effect of how it actually all works is elusive. The immune system is a well trained and amazing war machine capable of identifying numerous foreign invaders, however it can make mistakes, especially when it is hypersensitive. If we could figure out exactly how the dog’s immune system makes mistakes we could easily prevent allergies. The mistakes that the immune system makes is on identifying foreign invaders. When the immune system is hypersensitive it can misidentify a substance as foreign and attack it. Most commonly the body misinterprets proteins and synthetic chemicals that are chemically structured similar to proteins.
When the dog’s immune system finds a virus or bacteria and identifies it as such, it goes into attack mode using lymphocytes and other white blood cells to kill it and remove it from the body. Viruses and bacteria are essentially protein molecules and dna molecules that the body understands and the system of attack is usually quite effective in removing these proteins and abnormal dna molecules from the body. When the body misidentifies a different protein or chemical substance as an invader and attacks it using the same defense mechanisms it is unable to clear it. The immune system becomes confused especially if the dog continues to be exposed to the substance. The dog’s immune system attacks even harder and with more ferocity, continuing to try and exterminate the substance that it can not destroy; which explains why over time the dog’s allergies are worse and worse. It explains why every year the dog’s allergies are worse than the previous. Using immunoglobulins, mast cells, basophils and other white blood cells, the weapons of the dog’s immune system, the immune system continues to fight creating havoc by releasing histamine and destroying surrounding normal cells in its attempts to clear the allergen it sees as a foreign invader. The symptoms of allergies, red inflamed skin, inflamed ears, diarrhea, vomiting, etc is caused by this destruction and histamine release. Many dogs have chronic ear infections and skin infections because the body is so busy trying to destroy the allergen that it is not able to take care of other bacteria and yeast.
Conventional veterinary treatment seeks to decrease the immune response and help the symptoms using corticosteroids such as prednisone and antibiotics. The problem is that this only provides temporary relief and does not address the underlying issue of the hypersensitive immune system. However, even holistic medicine can not cure the issues of a hypersensitive immune system it can only manage the problem and that is by managing (E)nivronment, (D)iet, (V)accinations, and (S)upplements. More to come in future posts.
Golden retrievers have some of the friendliest, most lovable dispositions out of any dog breed. Many owners consider their golden retrievers to be important members of the family who provide everything from companionship and entertainment to boundless love and selfless devotion.
Through its Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, the Morris Animal Foundation has come up with a wonderful opportunity for golden retriever owners who are at least 18 years of age and living in the United States to give back to the pets who give us so much. Cancer is the leading cause of death in all dogs older than age two, and it sadly kills over half of all golden retrievers. The Golden Retriever Lifetime Study hopes to drastically lower these numbers and improve the health of golden retrievers everywhere by studying them, as the study’s name suggest, over the course of a dog’s lifetime.
Participation is limited to golden retrievers that are healthy, less than 2 years old at the time of application and that have a three-generation pedigree, and it extends throughout the life of your dog. If you participate, you are responsible for selecting a veterinarian, completing an online questionnaire about your dog’s habits and temperament and annually visiting the veterinarian for exams and sample collections.
While participating is certainly a long-term commitment, the study’s findings have the potential to be incredibly valuable in improving the health of future golden retrievers. Participating will allow researchers to help identify how certain factors such as genetics and diet could affect a golden retriever’s risk of getting cancer and other major health disorders, and can assist researchers in developing more effective methods of dealing with cancer diagnosis, treatment and prevention.
The study is an easy, minimally invasive and inexpensive way to give back to future generations of golden retrievers in a big way. If this seems like an opportunity that you or any other golden retriever-owners you know may be interested in, visit the Morris Animal Foundation online to learn more about the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study and get started on the registration process. Sign up today and help make the world a better, healthier place for your golden retriever!