Tag Archives: health

Summertime Danger to Your Dog’s Feet

I was working a tent at an event one day.  A woman came along and stopped to talk with an acquaintance in front of our tent.  It was summer, quite warm, and we were set up on asphalt.  As their conversation continued I noticed that the senior Boxer the woman had on a leash was “dancing” a bit.  I waved to get the woman’s attention and asked if she’d like to move over so she and her dog could cool her feet in the shade of our tent.

is it safe for dog feet“Oh, no: I’m fine.”  She responded from under her sun hat.

“Yeah,” I thought, “YOU’RE fine but your dog is suffering.”

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Summertime Danger to Your Dog’s Feet

 

Sneaky Ways to Medicate Your Dog

If you provide care to a canine, you know there are times when you must medicate your dog .  Some medications: like their heartworm prevention tabs, are flavored so most dogs will gulp them down like a treat.  But when you have to get them to take a pill, that can be harder.  Fortunately, most of us are smarter (or sneakier) than most of them.

Small Pills

Small pills like Diphenhydramine  and Prednisone can be hidden pretty easily in a glob of peanut butter, cheese, or pumpkin puree.  I can put a pill or two in a half-teaspoon of peanut butter and drop it on top of their kibbles and the dog will usually scarf it down without ever knowing.

If the dog is the suspicious type and will “search” the glob of peanut butter for alien objects, roll the glob in their kibbles.  The kibbles sticking to the glob make it harder to detect your deception. Continue reading Sneaky Ways to Medicate Your Dog

Tis a Humbling Thing

supermanIt is a humbling thing to be confronted with the fact that you are not Superman. You can no longer do things you once could … or rather, when you do them anyway you pay a hefty price. Stamina fades faster that it once did. And concepts you were confident you could handle turn out to be deeply distressing.

This is a big part of why I said “farewell” to my co-workers at the Humane Society of Jefferson County today. This was a bittersweet parting for I do need to rest and heal but I have enjoyed working with the animals, and the people, and I have learned a lot: especially in the realm of medical treatments and testing.

All of the staff members were (are) great to work with: patient while I was learning (for there is a great deal to learn) and helpful when I lagged behind. I found no petty rivalries here: they are a team of big-hearted, hard working people dedicated to providing a clean, safe environment for the animals in their care, and then finding them homes again. There are also some wonderful volunteers who step in to help and will work hard without pay. These volunteers deserve an extra helping of praise.

Bittersweet

On the one hand, I love working with the animals. Except maybe the rats: I still can’t say I enjoy the rats. As a youngster I wanted to be a veterinarian, but that was not to be. The medical side of this job has been as close to that as I’ve come. And I liked it. I like every one of the people who I worked with, and will miss them.

On the other hand, I will again have time to spend with the 6 dogs I have at home: some are pets, some are fosters. I’m supposed to be training the fosters, I will again have time to actually do that. These animals will be thrilled to NOT be cooped up and on their own all day, almost every day. I will also have the opportunity to let my abused body heal, and to catch up on the “office” work that has been piling up while I was occupied elsewhere.

So I’m moving on. Or stepping back or … maybe sideways. It’s hard to say yet. But I feel this is the right thing to do, even if it’s not easy.

Giving People Medicine to Your Dog

Benedryl uses and dose diphenhydramine
Click to enlarge

If your dog has mild allergies, you can treat them with over the counter medications intended for humans (people medicine) and avoid the risks and cost of prescription drugs like Prednisone.

There are a number of reasons you might want to give your dog Benedryl (diphenhydramine – also available in many generic brands).   Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine, so it helps in relieving itching from contact allergies or bug bites or stings.  It can be used to reduce swelling and pain from a snake bite.  It will calm a hyperactive dog or reduce “terrors” during fireworks or thunderstorms.

The usual dosage of Diphenhydramine for dogs is 1 mg per pound of dog every 8 to 12 hours (two to three times daily), but a single dose can be doubled to 2mg/lb if needed in an emergency such as a snake bite. This suggested dose is for formulations containing the active ingredient diphenhydramine only — NO Tylenol. Tylenol (acetaminophen) is poisonous to dogs.  Overdosing on diphenhydramine for an extended period can be lethal, but there is a wide margin of safety.

If you need something stronger, Cetirizine (Zyrtec) and Loratadine (Claratin) are also safe for canine use and available in affordable generic forms. Continue reading Giving People Medicine to Your Dog

Heartworm Treatment Aftermath

How dogs deal with heartworm treatment aftermath varies considerably: depending on several factors.

  • Severity of worm infestation. A low-count infestation will have less effect on the dog as the worms die and potentially cause problems.
  • The dog’s temperament. Dogs, like people, deal with sickness or pain differently: some are wimps and will cry and moan over every little thing, others are stalwart and seemingly ignore discomfort. Most are somewhere in between.
  • How well the treatment went. If a dog jumps or lurches during the injection, it leaves a bruise in the muscle that is very painful – and it requires that the injection be repeated in a slightly different location because the bruise will allow too rapid absorption of the Immiticide. The injection must be done intramuscular to slow the absorption rate.
dolly cochise nursemaid, heartworm treatment aftermath
Dolly was Cochise’s nursemaid during heartworm treatment

Some dogs we’ve cared for were hardly slowed down at all, while others (like Cochise) were hit hard. It took him a week or more to get over the nausea and pain. Most are stiff and sore in their lower back and hips for one to three days, then bounce back quickly.

This is actually more dangerous than one who convalesces for a while because it is vital to keep the dog on crate rest for a minimum of two weeks. High levels of activity cause increased heart rate which causes an increased chance of dead worm matter breaking loose from the heart, lodging in the capillaries of the lungs and causing a lesion or embolism in the lung. This can be fatal. The dog must be given time for his body to absorb the dead tissue before they become active again.

Volt’s Heartworm Treatment Aftermath

Because Volt was underweight, Dr. Conklin decided to use a slow-kill method with him. This takes longer and is more expensive, but is easier on the dog. Volt went in for his final treatments yesterday and today. Yesterday went well and he experienced little discomfort. He felt a little yucky this morning, but that was all. Today (we suspect) did not go so well.

He’s got a visible lump on his back where the injection would have been given, so we suspect he twitched and tore a bruise in the muscle. He’s also quite uncomfortable:

And here we are, out of Tramadol. I gave him a baby aspirin. At 71 pounds, Volt could probably have two, but we’ll try one. Maybe we’ll do two at bed time so he gets a good nights rest. He should feel better in the morning.

A low dose of aspirin is safe for large dogs for short term use (like a day or two) for pain, when advised by your veterinarian.  Do not use if the dog is taking Prednisone.  Generally, a dog 50 to 100 pounds can have one regular aspirin tablet twice a day — SHORT term. Aspirin causes gastric bleeding if over-used. Baby aspirin is straight aspirin but in a lower (81 mg) dose. Tramadol is a better option, but it requires a prescription and is pricey. Do not use Tylenol.

Tylenol is Acetaminophen. Acetaminophen, which is not an NSAID, is poisonous to dogs. Typical symptoms of pain killer poisoning include difficulty breathing, vomiting (can be a good thing), change in coloration of the gums, jaundice (a sign of liver damage) and a change in body temperature among others. Do not use Tylenol on your dog!

heartworm treatment aftermathAn hour after I gave Volt the baby aspirin he was able to rest. He was not sleeping, but could lie still and rest without whimpering and shifting around. I tried to make him comfortable in the den with the rest of us, but he preferred to suffer in solitude and went to the bedroom. He did appreciate an occasional belly rub.

After another hour he came and got me to tell me that he needed to go outside. I took him out (without a leash this time: the last thing he wants to do right now is run) and he went as far as the very first patch of grass to take care of all his business. I cleaned up after him (since this was in a major traffic pattern) and he was waiting for me at the back door.

The First Night

When I dish up kibbles, Volt always comes to supervise. At first he was hoping I would drop some (or he could grab some) and I had to close the door to keep him from raiding the kibble buckets as I opened them. When he learned to control himself, I started giving him a kibble or two as a treat for his improved behavior.

That evening, Volt did not come to the door of the Kibble Treasury when I began scooping kibbles into dishes. He was dozing just across the hallway, and that was more important to him than a snack.

As dinner preparation was about concluded and ready to serve, Volt did come out of the den (it did smell good). We decided to try letting him eat on a blanket beside the table like Cochise and Blondie do. Volt has been getting fed in his crate because he will wolf down his own food then try to push Blondie out of her bowl as well. And she is mild tempered enough to let him do it. She will give him a “How rude!” look, but not fight him over it. Tonight, he’s not feeling all that pushy, because of the heartworm treatment aftermath.

He did well. He ate much slower than normal, then went and sat behind my chair and waited. When Blondie and Cochise finished their dinners, all three wandered off to lie down and let the meal settle.

I woke him from his nap to take him outside so he would sleep through the night. He wasn’t thrilled with that, but he complied, squatting like a girl-dog because raising a leg hurt too much.

When bed time arrived, Volt was crashed in the den. I asked him if he wanted to join us in the bedroom, but the only response I got was a brief, groggy, one-eyed, glance.

Normally we insist on it because it’s easier to track his whereabouts. He has tried at least one Midnight Caper while we slept. But I didn’t think he’d be up to any mischief this time.

Nurse Blondie monitors Heartworm treatment aftermathVolt woke Marie at 12:30 am when he got up to wander restlessly. He was in pain again. Marie gave him another baby aspirin and he settled into his bed in the bedroom. Blondie moved from her bed to the floor next to him to be nursemaid. She stayed there all night.

At 6:00 most of us got up again. Volt seemed comatose – and caused me some concern – but it turned out he was just unwilling to leave the Nirvana of slumber. We can all understand that!

Dealing well with heartworm treatment aftermathCochise stood in for Volt as kibble inspector when I dished up doggie breakfast. Once I got the bacon and eggs going, Volt was up and sitting in the living room watching. He was more animated this morning. Enough so that he was served breakfast in his crate again.

After breakfast we went outside and he again squatted to pee. Then he settled in with us in the den and went to sleep. He is still sore, but not so sore as to need pain meds to sleep. That’s good. He’s bouncing back already. I’ll let him sleep as much as he wants, that’s the best way to heal.

The Outlook

Volt is a laid-back hound dog. Keeping him calm for the next few weeks will not be the challenge that it is in a high-energy dog. Still, I’ll use a leash to take him out for potty breaks, once he’s not suffering so.

Once he’s feeling better, we will have to take him on another trip to Tractor Supply just to be sure he does not come to associate truck rides with bad things happening to him.

Volt is a sweet, good-natured dog, he will be fine. It’s just going to take a few days to get past the rough part of heartworm treatment aftermath.

NASCAR

Canine Toenail Trimming

I did some toenail trimming on all the dogs yesterday. Trimming a dog’s nails is a necessary part of caring for them.  Sharp claws are a hazard to you and your belongings, claws that push down on the floor as they walk can be painful to your dog.  For both your sakes, keep them trimmed.

Cochise is always cooperative: he’s a good boy. Blondie did well too. She has gotten to where I ask, “May I have your paw” and she will lift a front paw and present it for trimming. She does expect the treat after each snip or two, but she sits still. Her hind feet are a little trickier (she’s ticklish) but that went well too.

Offering treats during toenail trimming does not work for Volt besubmits to toenail trimmingcause he gets so excited by the prospect of food. I waited until Volt was napping, then sidled in with the nippers and said, “Volt … buddy … may I trim these toenails?”

Volt said, “Hmmm? What? Yeah, sure … whatever.”

Volt got several treats when the session was done.

So they’re all trimmed up and looking spiffy.  We do this about every two weeks.

Toenail Trimming Treats

To attain even Blondie Bear’s cooperation (she was once terrified of toenail trimming) I make treats by slicing hot dogs into wheels about 1/4″ thick, spreading them on a paper towel so they don’t touch, and microwaving them for 3 minutes (that will vary depending on your microwave). Raw ones work too, but raw hot dog bits go bad quickly (sometimes in just hours). These cooked (dried) bits will keep for days if you want to use them in a training treat pouch. Longer if you store the pouch in the fridge when you’re not using it. I learned this trick from a book about fictional dog trainer Raine Stockton written by Donna Ball.

To start with, sit down and call the dog over. When she complies, give her a treat. Let her sniff the clippers. Give her a treat. Repeat that a couple of times, so she associates the clipper with pleasure. Snip one nail, give a treat. Be firm, but don’t turn it into a wrestling match. Reward her liberally with treats but only when she complies in some way. Bribery (treats before the fact) does not work on dogs: they’re too smart for that.

Growing Satisfaction

People garden for a lot of different reasons: reducing household costs, increase food quantity, increase food quality, providing food for the less fortunate of their community, those who tend flower gardens seek to beautify their property, give shelter to certain insects and birds, and improve the aesthetics of their life. But one common thread that runs through it all at some level is that we do it because we enjoy it: when we grow flowers or vegetables we are also growing satisfaction and contentment.

satisfaction, gowing, gardening, dirt
Image courtesy www.Patheos.com

There is something therapeutic about working the soil with our hands, watching as seeds we planted push up through that soil, develop into plants and thrive under our attentive care. Then we EAT THEM, mua-hahaha! Sorry, I got carried away there. (read more…)

Canine Pneumonia and Heartworm

Bristol in recovery - canine pneumoniaBristol has canine pneumonia. He started coughing on Sunday, by Monday morning it was a continuous thing if he got active at all. A deep, rattly cough that ended with an ejection of phlegm. No blood (thankfully), so an embolism is not indicated. I contacted our Vet Tech, Alicia.

Because he is ill, Bristol has lost his seat on this weekend’s Rolling Rescue run. Hopefully he will be well again by the Rescue run on Dec. 4th (two weeks).

Parasitic pneumonia in dogs is often caused by lungworms directly or from the migration of other worms (e.g. heartworms) through the lung. 9 out of every 69 dogs (13%) treated for heartworm also develop pneumonia. At this stage (he’s just finishing his recovery period), I do not think the pneumonia was caused by heartworm migration, because they should all be long dead. However, the dead worm tissue in his lungs may have opened a path for a bacterial infection that resulted in pneumonia. Heart disease or heart failure can lead to pneumonia; perhaps this is aftermath of his heartworm infestation and damage to his heart. The heart damage should heal in time. His lungs may have been irritated by the couple of cold, damp nights we had.

Symptoms of Canine Pneumonia

The hallmark symptom shown by dogs suffering from pneumonia is coughing (although of course not all coughing dogs have pneumonia). In addition, watch out for these symptoms: Continue reading Canine Pneumonia and Heartworm

Cutting the Cost of Heartworm Prevention

Doug
The dogtor is in

Heartworms are a serious threat to dogs.  The heartworm larvae are carried and transmitted by mosquitoes: mosquitoes are everywhere, even in our home at times.  Keeping your dog from being bitten by a mosquito is almost impossible, therefore heartworm prevention is important to keep the heartworm larvae from developing in your dog’s blood stream.

Heartworm prevention medications can be pricey since they need to be given every month, year round.  One very popular brand is Heartguard: a chewable treat for your dog.  It is reliable and well liked by veterinarians and dogs alike.  Pet Armor is the same formula but is less expensive.  If that is still too much for your budget, there is another option. Continue reading Cutting the Cost of Heartworm Prevention