http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/rss en Don't Let One Bad Vet Make You Lose Faith in Humanity http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/jvogelsang/2015/april/making-world-better-place-one-animal-time-32680







The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets. < Previous Post Apr 24, 2015 Don't Let One Bad Vet Make You Lose Faith in Humanity by Dr. Jessica Vogelsang








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I often ask myself how I can help leave the world in a better place than it was when I found it. We all have different ways of doing this, of sharing our talents and passions to enrich others, but in my case it always seemed pretty clear that I was going to be one who gravitated towards the animal kingdom.
 
There are lots of ways to indulge this particular itch, be it becoming an animal trainer, volunteering with a rescue, living in the jungle watching chimpanzees, or fundraising for a shelter. But while many roads lead to one end, I moved with a single-minded pursuit to the medical side of things. It was a pleasure going to veterinary school and finding myself surrounded by like-minded individuals, people whose commitment to animals led them to spending their entire careers in pursuit of their treatment.
 
Although we all had different interests within the field and personality variations that pushed us to one type of work over another, I always functioned with the assumption that in order to become a veterinarian, one had to be in their heart a person with a deep thread of compassion.
 
So it was with shock and horror that I, along with millions of other people, saw the viral photo last week of young veterinarian Kristen Lindsey, who had shot a cat with a bow-and-arrow and proudly bragged about it on her Facebook page. It can’t be true, I thought. Maybe it’s Photoshopped. Maybe this isn’t a veterinarian.
 
But it was.
 
Lindsey’s tone-deaf actions and callous glee were so beyond the realm of what we expect of our colleagues that all I can say to the swift condemnation, investigation, and talk of charges is: good. Being a veterinarian, sadly, is not a guarantee of a kind and gentle heart—though I still think it’s the guiding principle that most of us continue to live by.
 
Compassion and kindness are learned, I believe, and we absorb the examples we grow up with. I could despair from this story, but instead I choose to be hopeful. I want to remind you all that these principles are still, regardless of what we read on the news, alive and well in the world.
 
Let me draw your eyes away from Lindsey and to a different part of Texas, to five young boys who stopped in their tracks when they noticed an emaciated dog wandering their campus. Close to death, little Londyn was covered in ticks, suffering from heartworm, and suffering from Ehrlichiosis.
 
The boys, standing with their sunglasses down and their hands stuffed in their pockets the way most teenage boys do, called a local rescue and sat with the dog until a rescuer arrived to take her to safety. The stark contrast between their approach to a stray animal to that of the renegade veterinarian is striking.
 
Lindsey was an exception, but there is no reason these young boys couldn’t be the rule. I can’t control what terrible choices others make in this world; all I can do is continue to model good ones in my own.
 
My daughter wants to be, depending on the day, an artist, a dancer, or a singer. She has no interest in being a veterinarian, and I’m OK with that. Nonetheless, she made me pull over the other day when she spotted a little Maltese sitting by himself on a sidewalk perilously close to rush-hour traffic. While I watched, she safely approached him, checked his collar for tags, and delivered him to the very grateful person in the house next door who didn’t realize the dog had gotten out.
 
Veterinary medicine may be the natural career choice of many animal lovers, but we certainly don’t hold a monopoly on the sentiment. And thank goodness for that.
 
 

Dr. Jessica Vogelsang
 
 
Image: Vinogradov Illya / Shutterstock
 
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/jvogelsang/2015/april/making-world-better-place-one-animal-time-32680#comments TheDailyVet Fri, 24 Apr 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32680 at http://www.petmd.com
Celebrate World Veterinary Day With a Disease Themed Party - And Maybe Win Some Money, Too http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/aobriendvm/2015/april/celebrating-world-veterinary-day-32679









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TheOldBroad Penguins 04/23/2015 05:53pm And Saturday, April 25th, is World Penguin Day. Wouldn't it be fun to have a party and all the guests dressed as penguins?

Actually, that sounds a bit more appealing than TB or the Plague.

However, if I had your home address, rest assured I'd be there looking for unusual cupcakes. Reply to this comment Report abuse
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For Pets With Cancer, Some Questions to Ask Your Vet http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/drjintile/2015/april/what-you-need-be-asking-your-vet-32678
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/drjintile/2015/april/what-you-need-be-asking-your-vet-32678#comments TheDailyVet Wed, 22 Apr 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32678 at http://www.petmd.com
Medical Care for Military Dogs http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/ken-tudor/2015/april/medical-care-military-dogs-32676









The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets. < Previous Post Next Post > Apr 21, 2015 Medical Care for Military Dogs by Dr. Ken Tudor








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I very recently attended a veterinary continuing education seminar conducted by our local specialty referral center, California Veterinary Specialists. The keynote speaker was Lieutenant Colonel Dr. James Giles, U.S. Army Veterinary Corps. Dr. Giles is board certified in veterinary surgery and is responsible for the care of Military Working Dogs in a war zone. In his case, it has been repeated deployment to Afghanistan.
 
Dr. Giles’s presentation was an enlightening breakdown of the various duties of military dogs and the stages of care when they become ill or are injured during combat duty. Fascinating was the description of behavior characteristics that are unique to these dogs and how post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can affect them as it does their handlers. Although this post cannot do justice to Dr. Giles's slide presentation, I think it is interesting enough to share it with you.
 
Roles of Dogs in a Combat Zone
 
The main role of all dogs working in combat is to protect human life.
 
Direct engagement dogs — These are the dogs that are constantly in direct control of only one handler and are trained like police dogs to chase and take down the enemy. Often these dogs parachute into enemy occupied areas with their handlers. Dr. Giles reminded us that it not only takes a special person to jump out of an airplane, but also a special dog that won’t struggle, urinate, or defecate during the descent. Often these dogs, with cameras mounted on their backs, are the first soldiers into potential enemy strongholds
 
These dogs are never off leash in combat and truly respond to only one handler. Dr. Giles recounted multiple incidents where the dogs of injured handlers attacked medical personnel administering CPR or other procedures to the handler. The military has built in procedures for administering aid to these handlers to minimize risks from dog bites. The dog is merely doing its job and all involved are respectful of its duty.
 
Detection dogs — Called ‘bomb sniffers” or “dope sniffers,” these off-leash detection dogs identify dangers to military personnel and drug trafficking that finances insurgence, as well as identify (in this case) “less friendly” Afghan nationals. These typically are the labs and other friendly breeds that have a great sense of smell. These dogs can have multiple handlers, often regular enlisted military personnel or non-military contract workers.
 
Detection dogs alert soldiers to hidden explosive traps and work far ahead of the military team. These dogs are so effective that enemy snipers are trained to kill these dogs to protect the hidden traps. Dr. Giles shared slides of one of his patients that survived a sniper attack and another sentry dog that was injured along with his handler by a suicide car bomber. Without these brave K-9 soldiers so dedicated to their jobs, the loss of human life and our personnel would be much greater in these war zones.
 
Something I did not know is that there are categories or ranks of military working dogs. Some dogs are classified as military personnel. But there are also non-military contract dogs that provide the same services as the military dogs. If injured in combat, contract dogs are afforded the same medical care courtesy of the U.S. government. If they are injured severely enough to be sent home, further medical care is the responsibility of their owners or adopters. Military dogs shipped home continue to receive government medical care until they are retired and discharged from service.
 
What are the levels and services of medical care provided to military working dogs? Remember the TV series M.A.S.H.? My next post details the stages of care for injured military dogs treated “in country,” the stages of care when returned home, and Dr. Giles observation of canine PTSD.
 
 

Dr. Ken Tudor
 
 
Image: ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock
 
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TheOldBroad Pigeons 04/21/2015 06:25pm If I remember my history correctly, didn't pigeons play a big role in WWII? If so, were any of them afforded the same medical care? Reply to this comment Report abuse
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/ken-tudor/2015/april/medical-care-military-dogs-32676#comments TheDailyVet Tue, 21 Apr 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32676 at http://www.petmd.com
More of What You Need to Know About the Current Canine Flu Outbreak http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/dr-coates/2015/april/more-what-you-need-know-about-current-canine-flu-outbreak-326-32667









The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets. < Previous Post Next Post > Apr 20, 2015 More of What You Need to Know About the Current Canine Flu Outbreak by Dr. Jennifer Coates








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Last week we talked about an outbreak of canine influenza that has been hitting the Chicago area hard in recent weeks. Some new information has come to light that puts an interesting spin on what’s been going on.
 
Previous outbreaks of influenza in dogs have been caused by the H3N8 strain of the virus. This is the disease that originated from a form of influenza that, in the past, had primarily infected horses. It appears that this outbreak of flu in dogs is different, however.
 
According to laboratory scientists at Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin:
 
The canine influenza outbreak afflicting more than 1,000 dogs in Chicago and other parts of the Midwest is caused by a different strain of the virus than was earlier assumed. Researchers at Cornell say results from additional testing indicate that the outbreak is being caused by a virus closely related to Asian strains of influenza A H3N2 viruses, currently in wide circulation in southern Chinese and South Korean dog populations since being identified in 2006. The H3N2 virus had not been previously detected in North America. The outbreak in Chicago suggests a recent introduction of the H3N2 virus from Asia.
 
H3N2 has caused infection and respiratory illness in cats. There is no evidence that it can be transmitted to humans.

 
This new information complicates matters. Some of the tests commonly used identify flu infections in dogs will not pick up the H3N2 virus, which makes me suspect that this outbreak is even bigger than it appears to be. (Cornell recommends testing be done using a “broadly targeted Influenza A matrix reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction assay.”) Also, we simply don’t know if the canine flu vaccine that I recommended as a preventative measure in last week’s article will have any efficacy against this different form of the virus, which makes the advice to avoid areas where dogs congregate (kennels, doggy daycare providers, groomers, shows, dog parks, etc.) even more vital.
 
While the Chicago area has been at the epicenter of this outbreak, dogs in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana have also been infected. If you live in the Midwest, protect your dogs by keeping them as isolated as possible and by washing your hands before petting them if you have had contact with dogs outside of your home.
 
And in case you’re wondering… this new (to the U.S. at least) form of canine influenza is not related to the highly pathogenic avian influenza epidemic that is leading to the deaths and culling of millions of birds in commercial and backyard poultry flocks across the Midwest (over 1.4 million turkeys have died in Minnesota alone, the last time I checked). That flu variant goes by the moniker H5N2 and was likely brought to the area by migrating waterfowl. H5N2 has sickened people in other countries, but no human illnesses have been reported as a result of this outbreak. Some H5N2 flu viruses do appear able to infect dogs and cats, so keeping pets away from bird flocks is probably a wise precaution at this time.
 
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
Related
 
As the Canine Flu Outbreak Worsens, What Should You Do?
 
Should You Vaccinate Against Canine Flu?
 
How Flu Vaccines Work for Dogs
 
Should Dog Flu strike, would you recognize it?
 
 
Image: Dewayne Flowers / Shutterstock
 
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TheOldBroad Vet Visits 04/20/2015 06:54pm I have two Fluffies that currently go to the doctor pretty often. They both are immunocompromised. This makes me worry a little about them catching the flu. Reply to this comment Report abuse 1
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/dr-coates/2015/april/more-what-you-need-know-about-current-canine-flu-outbreak-326-32667#comments TheDailyVet Mon, 20 Apr 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32667 at http://www.petmd.com
How Limited Iodine Diets Can Be Used to Treat Cats with Hyperthyroidism http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/ken-tudor/2015/april/how-limited-iodine-diets-can-be-used-treat-cats-hyperthyroidi









The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets. < Previous Post Next Post > Apr 18, 2015 How Limited Iodine Diets Can Be Used to Treat Cats with Hyperthyroidism by Dr. Ken Tudor








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Hyperthyroidism is the most common hormonal abnormality in cats, causing the thyroid gland to become overactive and produce excess amounts of thyroid hormone. Fortunately, a more recent discovery has made the way to treat the disease easier for veterinarians, while also making the costs of treatment less expensive on the cat owner.
 
Traditional treatments included radioactive iodine treatment to inactivate the tumor cells that cause excess secretion of thyroid hormone, or medication to suppress hormone secretion. Several years ago, it was found that a limited iodine diet was just as effective as the traditional methods of treating hyperthyroidism in cats. The solution was revolutionary and substantially reduced the costs of treating this condition.
 
Hyperthyroidism and Limited Iodine Diets for Cats
 
The thyroid hormone regulates body metabolism. Older cats with microscopic tumors of the thyroid gland secrete excess thyroid hormone, which increases metabolism. This excess secretion results in an increased appetite with weight loss. Affected cats often beg for more food and arouse owners late at night with howls of hunger. These cats also drink lots of water and have increased urination. The increased metabolic rate also causes an increased heart rate and an eventual heart murmur due to heart malfunction. The increased metabolic rate also affects kidney function and these cats are often in secondary kidney failure when the condition is diagnosed.
 
Recent research found that limiting iodine in the diet of hyperthyroid cats decreased thyroid hormone production and the resulting harmful side effects. This treatment approach was more affordable and as reliable as the traditional treatment methods. The proof is in the research.
 
Research Findings on Limited Iodine Diets for Cats
 
A study published in the International Journal of Applied Research last year (A Restricted Iodine Food Reduces Circulating Thyroxine Concentrations in Cats with Hyperthyroidism) found that after being fed a limited iodine diet over a 12-week period, half of the cats with hyperthyroidism at the beginning of the study were euthyroid, or had normal thyroid gland function. The randomized and blinded study enrolled 33 cats – 18 on the restricted iodine diet and 15 in the control group.
These results show that over 12 weeks, feeding a limited iodine food reduces serum thyroid hormone concentrations in hyperthyroid cats without negatively affecting other measures of health. Feeding a limited  iodine food warrants further study as a treatment option for feline hyperthyroidism.
 
Will Limited Iodine Diets Harm My Other Cat(s)?
 
At the Academy of Veterinary Internal Medicine Symposium last year, I had an opportunity to meet with scientists who had developed the limited iodine diet and had done research into the effects of this diet on normal cats. Their findings were extremely encouraging.
 
Admittedly, their research population was limited, with 15 cats receiving a diet with adequate iodine and 15 receiving limited amounts of iodine. But they did extend the research period to 18 months. This is far longer than most nutritional studies. Their findings concluded that no health problems were noted for healthy cats on a limited iodine food.   
 
The researchers admit that longer studies are necessary to conclusively prove that iodine-deficient diets are safe for normal cats. However, this research suggests that owners of a hyperthyroid cat in a multi-cat household do not have to make Herculean efforts to ensure dietary segregation and can even feed the same food for all members of the household. Of course, caution should be taken for kittens exposed to limited iodine diets. Their sensitivity could certainly result in problems and access to limited iodine foods should be restricted until research in this group has been conducted.
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How Low Can 'Standard of Care' Go? http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/jvogelsang/2015/april/how-low-can-standard-care-go-32665









The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets. < Previous Post Next Post > Apr 17, 2015 How Low Can 'Standard of Care' Go? by Dr. Jessica Vogelsang








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It’s no secret that not all veterinary clinics are created equal, and not all veterinarians practice the same medicine. Let’s be clear from the outset that I agree this is the case.
 
As veterinarians, we all struggle to help clients figure out what is in the best interest of their clients and pets; those who don’t think of this as their primary directive shouldn’t be someone you trust with your pet.
 
The problem is this: What is defined as “best interests?” That is where standard of care comes in.
 
When people talk about the standard of care for a patient, it refers to the level of care at which the average, prudent practitioner in the community would provide. This can vary from community to community, or state to state. It doesn’t mean “the best you can provide at any cost,” it means “the level below which you are being negligent.”
 
Sometimes it’s easy. If a pet comes in and has fleas, the standard of care pretty much everywhere is “remove the fleas.” It doesn’t matter where you practice or what your client base is like, everyone is capable of doing this.
 
Sometimes it’s a little trickier. If a pet has a broken leg, how should it be fixed? If you are the only vet in the county and you are not a surgical specialist, you are going to be held to a different standard than if you are a general practitioner in a major city practicing a mile away from a board certified orthopedic surgeon to which you can refer.
 
And sometimes it’s a big old ball of “I don’t know,” as is the case with many veterinary cancer cases. There are so many variables: the health of the pet, the finances of the owner, and their willingness to go as far as medicine will allow in the pursuit of treatment.
 
It’s not always cut and dried. In fact, most of the time it’s clear as mud. But if you have a pet with a brain tumor and do not elect to go for the $10,000 treatment option, few people would argue that you are being a negligent owner.
 
I lay all of this out to you to explain why there is so much angst in the veterinary community surrounding Dr. Pol, the star of a very popular show on the Nat Geo channel.
 
To those who have sufficient knowledge of the workings of a typical veterinary hospital, so much of what we see makes us cringe: surgery without gloves, anesthetized pets without intubation, pets treated without pain medication.
 
Dr. Pol’s response is somewhere along the lines of, “these city vets just don’t get what it’s like to be in the country,” along with a side of, “I make care affordable for people who couldn’t get care otherwise.”
 
And while he’s correct that the average practice out in the country may do things a little different than one in a city, he’s trying to make it sound as though the complaints levied against him are somehow unreasonable.
 
This is not a matter of a specialist dumping on a country boy for not doing all those highfalutin fancy things. Some things are below the standard of care no matter where you are.
 
If you bring a dog to a vet with fleas, would it ever be okay to send them home with no treatment whatsoever?
 
If you bring a dog in for an amputation, would it ever be okay to skip pain meds?
 
If you bring a pet in for a surgical procedure, would it ever be okay to skip gloves?
 
We’re not talking hundreds of dollars; tens or ones of dollars, maybe.
 
I’ve gone to third world countries and performed surgery in areas with no electricity and STILL managed to accomplish parasite treatment, pain meds, and gloves.
 
There are some standards of care that apply no matter where you live. The bar for some of this stuff is pretty low, and Dr. Pol still manages to slide under it. That’s why I can’t watch the show. Do you?
 
 

Dr. Jessica Vogelsang
 
 
Image: Kachalkina Veronika / Shutterstock
 
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Margroks "Dr." Appalling 04/17/2015 07:51am I've never watched the show but I definitely will not watch now. What I hear about this guy is appalling. I always wondered about the commercials where they brag about how many animals he sees in a given amount of time. It sounded way, way, way, too little time with each.

My own vet, and every vet in her practice has never spent so little time with me no matter what the issue. And Dr. Pol's comments make him sound like a total jerk. He should lose his license for such poor care and attitudes toward the animals he allegedly cares for. Reply to this comment Report abuse 4 TheOldBroad Cable TV 04/17/2015 05:47pm I don't have that channel with my cable package - heck, I don't even have animal planet.

However, if I did have it, I'd watch and then my head would probably explode. Reply to this comment Report abuse 4
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Girl Power – Women Veterinarians Can Be Strong Too http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/aobriendvm/2015/april/girl-power-women-veterinarians-can-be-strong-too-32664









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TheOldBroad Short! 04/16/2015 06:23pm We're not short. We're vertically challenged. :-) Reply to this comment Report abuse 1
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Bedside Manner Can’t Be Taught, But It Can Be Learned http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/drjintile/2015/april/bedside-manner-cant-be-taught-but-it-can-be-learned-32649









The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets. < Previous Post Next Post > Apr 15, 2015 Bedside Manner Can’t Be Taught, But It Can Be Learned by Dr. Joanne Intile








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Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about grief. I’m not sure if it’s associated with the particularly gloomy run of cases I’ve seen at the clinic or the personal stress and sadness I’ve recently faced, but something is pulling my emotional barometer towards focusing on the different ways people inwardly, and outwardly, express grief.
 
I’ve witnessed grief in many different forms. Grief is an emotion shared by all humans, and, if you’re a believer, animals as well. Setting aside observations incurred in my daily activities with friends, family members, and even strangers, and considering only what I see working as a veterinary oncologist, I feel qualified to contemplate this complex topic with a fair share of authority.
 
Death, illness, disappointment, heartache these are not unfamiliar terms or experiences for me professionally. I recognize this makes me far from unique.
 
What is particularly distinctive to my perspective as a veterinary oncologist is that I am entrusted to deliver news that will bring grief to other human beings.
 
The stereotypes of doctors being perceived as compassionate and caring are often equally juxtaposed against those suggesting we are inanimate, cold, and sterile in our delivery of information, especially when it is anything negative or complicated.
 
The words “bedside manner” are used to describe our ability, or inability as it may be, to perform this exact task. I’m hard-pressed to think of a time when I’ve heard the words used to describe the way we discuss the positives or present favorable news.
 
I received only very rudimentary grief training during vet school. I possess no formal education in counseling or psychology. I’m not someone considered overly outwardly emotional myself.  Like many of my colleagues, I entered the field of veterinary medicine because I relate better to animals than people.
 
Despite the shortcomings of both my professional training and my personal mental outlook as it relates to grief, my job requires me to be capable of gauging human emotional responses, and to thoughtfully discuss complex topics such as death, palliative care, and hospice. For better or for worse, my education with grief has pretty much solely come from on the job experience.
 
To this end, I’ve been a quiet observer, watching colleagues speak with owners about issues related to illness, death, and suffering. In this capacity I’ve witnessed ineffective speech, disheartened wording, and dispassionate phrasing. 
 
I’ve also seen colleagues show remarkable empathy, patience, and kindheartedness — even in the face of an owner who literally is taking their grief out on the individuals associated with their pet’s care.
 
I’ve watched pet owners comfortable with outward manifestations of their sorrow, shedding copious tears, their sadness obvious not only in their facial expressions, but also by their physical actions. Equally as often, I’ve seen those owners who are quiet, preferring to restrict communication to silent glances, nods, or short-worded answers.
 
When confronted with grief, some owners will ask a tremendous amount of questions, probing for details and explanations of why the terrible event is happening and what can be done to change it. Others are much more accepting, seemingly unconcerned with specifics, focusing more on the moment at hand and how to move on.
 
What I find the most shocking are those who express their grief through anger. When an angry owner, looking to impart blame as a means to deal with their pain, confronts me in a hostile manner, my faith in all the good aspects of my profession is completely rattled. Of all the emotions I encounter in a given day or week, it’s anger that causes me the most personal anxiety and strain.
 
It would be wonderful if I always knew the right words to say or the best way to console someone, or if even half the time I felt as though I did an “okay” job calming down an aggressive owner. The truth is, I simply don’t always know the right response. When anger and grief mix, I’m not the person you want playing on your team.
 
Though I’m a tougher person than I was when I first started working, I’ll never possess thick enough skin to let such events roll off without consideration. When I write about such cases from vet school, or about my early days as an oncology resident, my husband will ask me, “How do you remember these pets?” I answer honestly, “These are the things I can never forget.”
 
Despite knowing I’d certainly rest a bit better if I could dislodge those memories of angry pet owners from my brain, I’m certain I wouldn’t want to forget them. The fact that I still consider the words and actions of a few select owners this far along in my career keeps me grounded.
 
Even though I’m far from perfect in my ability to handle aggressive situations when they arise, I’m still capable of feeling something other than resentment towards those who are angered at the news I bring. This is, at least in part, because I can remember those who do the opposite; sharing their sorrow with me because they trust my response.
 
Those are the one percent we doctors do it for. Their quiet voices are heard as much as the raging ones. Their grief affects me as deeply as those who resort to anger.
 
My bedside manner indelibly influenced their pain and grief.
 
 

Dr. Joanne Intile
 
 
Image: Kamira / Shutterstock
 
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TheOldBroad Humans 04/15/2015 06:54pm Unfortunately, when delivering bad news, one needs to know how the recipient will handle it. Will they cry? Will they turn inward? Will they become angry? Will they even hear you when you try to discuss the next step?

Even more unfortunately, my vet has had to give me bad news on several occasions. I know it's not his fault Fluffy is sick and I try very hard to listen and understand when he shares what should probably happen next.

And then I go home and cry. Reply to this comment Report abuse
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How Horse Dung Can Make Your Pet's Food Safer http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/ken-tudor/2015/april/how-horse-dung-can-make-your-pets-food-safer-32647







The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets. < Previous Post Next Post > Apr 14, 2015 How Horse Dung Can Make Your Pet's Food Safer by Dr. Ken Tudor








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Are you getting a little tired of watching the FDA pet recall list to make sure your pet’s food isn’t on it? Since December 31, 2014, seven different pet foods or treats have been recalled due to Salmonella or Listeria bacteria. Unfortunately, this matches the normal recall activity of about 20 to 25 recalls per year for pet food.
 
I have written posts here and elsewhere that explain why this trend will not change in the near future. But a protein with antibiotic properties found in mushrooms that grow on horse poop may soon change things.
 
The Benefits of Copsin
 
Due to grazing, the dung of horses is home to a rich variety of microscopic organisms, including fungi and bacteria. A fungal mushroom called Coprinopsis cinerea grows readily on horse feces. Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich isolated a protein from the mushroom’s cap called “copsin.” They found that the protein inhibited the growth of bacteria and acted like an antibiotic. Oh, by the way, copro- is a Greek prefix for dung or feces, hence the name of the fungus and the protein.
 
As it turns out, copsin belongs to a class of proteins called defensins that are produced by many biological species. In fact humans produce defensins in the skin and on mucous membranes to kill disease causing micro-organisms.
 
What sets copsin apart from other defensin is that it is extremely stable under conditions that destroy other proteins. It can be boiled to 100 degrees Fo, subjected to strong acids for hours, and treated with very aggressive enzymes, without affecting its antibiotic properties. Says lead researcher Andreas Essig: “This feature allows us to, for example, also go into applications in food industry, food preservation, productions where strong acids in high temperatures are very common.”
 
Copsin is particularly deadly to Listeria, so its potential benefit to the pet food industry is a bit of a no-brainer.
 
Like the newly discovered teixobactin I recently posted about, copsin rapidly kills bacteria by inhibiting their ability to form a cell wall. This method of destruction makes it extremely difficult for bacteria to readily develop resistance. Listeria has enjoyed great successes in causing food poisoning in pets and humans due to its ability to become resistant to common antibiotics.
 
Co-researcher Markus Aebi is not certain that copsin could also be used like other traditional antibiotics, but its role in antibiotic research is very important. He is intrigued by what he calls the fundamental question of how fungi have used defensins and other naturally antibiotic substances for millions of years to protect themselves against bacteria, while antibiotics used in modern medicine have developed resistance in just 70 years, reports Jim Drury, who covered the story of copsin for Reuters news service. 
 
Don’t look for copsin to appear on your pet food ingredient list soon though. Senior scientist Paul Kallio says, “We are growing Pichia pastoris, which is a methylotrophic yeast, and in this yeast we are producing copsin.”
 
Kallio says it takes five days to cultivate, harvest, and extract copsin. If copsin proves useful for the safety of pet food, it will require the development of faster methods for producing much larger quantities.
 
 

Dr. Ken Tudor
 
 
Image: Fairy Inkcap, by Stu's Images / Flickr
 
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TheOldBroad Resistance! 04/15/2015 06:47pm "This method of destruction makes it extremely difficult for bacteria to readily develop resistance."

Fingers crossed that this might be an answer to ALL the food recalls and maybe even turn out to be an antibiotic humans could use.

Great stuff! Thanks for the info. Reply to this comment Report abuse Jim Dandy Temperature question 04/18/2015 03:42pm "It can be boiled to 100 degrees F°.....
Pardon me for interjecting here, but if I remember correctly from my elementary school science class, 100° Fahrenheit is nowhere near boiling, that's barely above the normal body temperature for humans, (98.6°). Dogs and cats have a normal body temperature of somewhere around 100° - 102° Fahrenheit. The boiling point of water is 212° Fahrenheit. Reply to this comment Report abuse
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As the Canine Flu Outbreak Worsens, What Should You Do? http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/dr-coates/2015/april/canine-flu-outbreak-worsens-what-should-you-do-32646









The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets. < Previous Post Next Post > Apr 13, 2015 As the Canine Flu Outbreak Worsens, What Should You Do? by Dr. Jennifer Coates








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The Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control is reporting that there have been more than 1,000 cases of canine influenza in the Chicago area in recent weeks. Unfortunately, five dogs have died from the flu during this outbreak.
 
Canine influenza is a relatively new disease having first been diagnosed in a group of racing greyhounds in 2004. It developed after the equine influenza virus mutated and gained the ability to spread from dog to dog. The disease has been reported in most states and in Washington, D.C. Chicago is just the latest hotspot.
 
For most dogs, the symptoms associated with canine influenza are indistinguishable from what we traditionally call “kennel cough” — a condition that can be caused by a variety of germs like the parainfluenza virus, or Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria. All of these respiratory infections typically make dogs cough, sneeze, have a runny nose, lose their appetite, and be somewhat lethargic, but a small proportion of dogs do go on to develop pneumonia, some of whom die. A laboratory test can determine whether a dog with signs of a respiratory infection has the flu or another condition.
 
Treatment for canine influenza generally consists of supportive care, rest, and antibiotics to prevent or treat secondary bacterial infections. Severely affected dogs may need to be hospitalized for oxygen therapy and other forms of more aggressive treatment.
 
In light of the current outbreak, what can owners do to protect their dogs from canine influenza?
 
If you live in the Chicago area…
 
1. Keep your dogs as isolated as possible — no doggie daycare, trips to the dog park, stays at the kennel, etc. It is important to realize that dogs may have the virus in their bodies and be contagious even if they don’t show signs of illness. Also, people can transport the virus from one dog to another even though we can’t get sick from it ourselves. Anyone (including you!) who has had contact with other dogs should wash their hands thoroughly before touching your dog.
 
2. Make sure your dogs are up to date on their canine influenza vaccines. Your dogs may not have gotten this vaccine in the past because it is considered “non-core,” meaning that it is generally only given to dogs who are at higher than average risk for the disease. Dogs in the Chicago area are definitely now at higher than average risk! A previously unvaccinated dog should receive two inoculations 2-4 weeks apart. Annual boosters are recommended unless a dog’s risk factors decrease. The canine influenza vaccine doesn’t necessarily prevent dogs from becoming infected with the virus, but it does significantly reduce the severity of disease that can develop as a result.
 
If you don’t live in the Chicago area…
 
Stay calm. Ask your local veterinarian whether he or she knows if dogs are being diagnosed with canine influenza in your area. If your town is influenza-fee and you have no plans to travel with your dog in the near future, your dog does not need a canine influenza vaccine and can continue with its normal routine. If canine influenza has been seen in your area and your dog has significant dog to dog contact, talk to your veterinarian to determine whether or not vaccination is in your dog’s best interests.
 
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
 
Image: Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock
 
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TheOldBroad Nightmare 04/15/2015 06:43pm Must be a nightmare for shelters and adoption events.

Are the shelters giving the vax now? Or does it take too long to take full effect? Reply to this comment Report abuse 4 Dr. Jennifer Coates 04/16/2015 12:04pm Full immunity from the canine flu vaccine usually is in place 2-4 weeks after the second vaccine is given. Reply to this comment Report abuse 3 Dr. Patty Khuly Flu Vax? 04/17/2015 09:22am I hate to be the veterinarian-curmudgeon here but I have to weigh in on the flu vaccine:

The dog flu vaccine is *highly unlikely* to confer *any* protection against this version of the dog flu. We have confirmed that these are different strains of dog flu! It's not even a very good vaccine for a variety of reasons (read my post on this here: http://www.drpattykhuly.com/dolittler-blog/2015/4/12/does-your-pet-need-a-lifestyle-vaccine-re-thinking-the-dog-flu-vax

So why are we still recommending it? 1-Because the manufacturer is still pushing it (as they have relentlessly been doing for this problematic vaccine way since way before this outbreak). 2-Because Chicago authorities want to look like they're recommending something tangible. 3-Because veterinarians are happy to see more patients for whatever reason, never mind that a veterinary establishment is *exactly* the kind of gathering place dog owned should be avoiding! Reply to this comment Report abuse 10 Dr. Jennifer Coates 04/17/2015 03:12pm Dr. Khuly is right in that after this post was published, scientists at Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin released results of their work indicating that this outbreak is due to a strain of flu that is new to the U.S. (look for an second post on this situation here on Monday). However, we simply don't know whether or not the canine influenza vaccine will have any efficacy against this new strain. I suspect it won't be very helpful, but I'll leave the final decision to veterinarians and owners who are dealing with this outbreak first hand. Reply to this comment Report abuse 3
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How Worried Should You Be About Your Pet’s Health? http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/jvogelsang/2015/april/how-worried-should-you-be-about-your-pets-health-32644
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Deciphering Vet Lingo: See One, Do One, Teach One http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/aobriendvm/2015/april/deciphering-vet-lingo-see-one-do-one-teach-one-32643









The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets. < Previous Post Next Post > Apr 09, 2015 Deciphering Vet Lingo: See One, Do One, Teach One by Dr. Anna O'Brien








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There is an adage in vet school that goes “see one, do one, teach one.”  This applies to the learning process and illustrates how little time we get to learn a procedure and then are expected to know it perfectly from then on out. 
 
And not only know it perfectly, but be able to TEACH it perfectly to the next poor ignorant soul who wanders along wondering how one goes about castrating a rabbit, or passing a nasogastric tube in a horse, or extracting an infected tooth from a German Shepherd.
 
I assume vet school didn’t take on this approach as a way to expedite the learning process, but rather to take advantage of the fact that sometimes there just aren’t many chances to do something (e.g., there are only so many infected teeth to pull from a single German Shepherd that walks into the small animal hospital).
 
This teaching method draws on one assumption: that your students are fast and efficient learners, not unlike the most absorbent sponges in the world. 
 
I, however, am not very spongy; I am instead more like a leaky bucket.
 
Fast forward to the present. I am in the real world, helping real animals, in a real job. One day a few years ago (this was soon after my graduation), I was riding along with my boss to watch her repair an umbilical hernia in a goat kid, having never performed the procedure myself. Of course everything looked marvelously simple and straightforward; just a few nips and tucks and voila — no more enormous belly button.  And wouldn’t you know it, the “see one, do one, teach one” kicked in when, a few months after I witnessed said surgery, I was called on to do another by myself.
 
Honestly, I balked. Nervously looking over my notes, suddenly the nip and tuck appeared as a complicated maze of suture patterns, subcutaneous undermining, and dangerous flirting with the thin and easily breached body wall. The “see one” seemed so far away that the “do one” just seemed too hypothetical, too novel, too intimidating.
 
Somewhat sheepishly, I declined to perform the surgery and left it for my boss, citing a shaky memory and a request to change the “see one, do one, teach one” to “see a few, do some under supervision, then in the future maybe teach one to some poor ignorant soul such as myself.”
 
My boss, empathetic to the woes and the stress-induced gastric ulcers of a still relatively new vet, was fine with that. Grateful, I thanked her, saying that hernias and C-sections are surgeries I’m just not yet comfortable doing on my own.
 
Her response? Oh, now, you’ll need to be doing C-sections on your own ASAP.
 
Well, she was right about that.
 
 

Dr. Anna O’Brien
 
 
Image: WilleeCole Photography / Shutterstock
 
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TheOldBroad Vet Students 04/09/2015 06:15pm I've often thought that vet students must be supermen and superwomen due to the vast amount of things they are expected to learn/know.

I've also thought that when one is a new graduate, it only makes sense to have a seasoned vet as a mentor. I've heard horror stories about new graduates getting a job at a one-vet clinic and the seasoned vet immediately takes his/her first vacation in years, leaving the newbie on their own.

(Not to mention, new vets aren't paid anything near what they're worth!) Reply to this comment Report abuse 1
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/aobriendvm/2015/april/deciphering-vet-lingo-see-one-do-one-teach-one-32643#comments TheDailyVet Thu, 09 Apr 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32643 at http://www.petmd.com
Second Guessing Paves the Way to Wisdom http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/drjintile/2015/april/second-guessing-paves-way-wisdom-32619









The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets. < Previous Post Next Post > Apr 08, 2015 Second Guessing Paves the Way to Wisdom by Dr. Joanne Intile








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The Dalmatian stood hunched in the corner of the exam room, barely lifting his head high enough to scan his surroundings. His discomfort was obvious, even from a distance.
 
I watched as he made several unsuccessful attempts to lie down. The sound of his anxious panting echoed the sound of the blood rushing in my ears. My eyes fixated on the tiny drops of blood-tinged urine slowly trickling from the underside of his belly that contrasted so starkly against the gleaming white of the tile floor of the hospital.
 
I’d examined the dog about an hour prior, a few minutes after he’d arrived, but I’d just completed telling his owner my recommendations for how to move forward.
 
She spoke slowly and deliberately, “To be honest, I’m extremely uncomfortable with everything you are telling me. I’m taking my dog home and I will see my regular veterinarian tomorrow when his office is open. You clearly have no idea what you’re doing. You’ve only just graduated from veterinary school. And I’m not paying for this exam.”
 
The words reverberated in my skull and my already flushed skin prickled and reddened to an even deeper shade of crimson. I rubbed my sweaty palms along the tops of my scrub pants, rigid with the newness of unwashed polyester. They’d only been in my possession for a few days, along with my pristine white lab coat and shiny laminated plastic nametag bearing the identification, “Dr. Joanne Intile.”
 
It was my first shift working on the emergency service, during the first week of my veterinary internship, and my first experience seeing a case on my own as a newly minted veterinarian.
 
Countless years of preparation, weeks spent toiling on the clinic floor of vet school, hours of studying and experience all led up to this moment. It was my quintessential time to shine. Yet, I found myself stumbling over what to do, what order to do it in, and what to tell the owner.
 
I was seeing a young male Dalmatian with signs of stranguria (straining to urinate) and hematuria (blood in the urine). Though the causes of such signs are numerous in dogs, we are taught in veterinary school that “when we hear hoof beats we are to look for horses, not zebras.”
 
Dalmatians, especially young males, are predisposed to forming a specific type of stone in their urinary tract called urate stones. Urethral obstruction can occur when stones that formed in the bladder or kidneys become lodged in the urethra. It is a life-threatening complication.
 
Obstruction can lead to severe bladder distention and eventual rupture. The blockage can also lead to buildup of toxic waste products of metabolism in the bloodstream, as the kidneys are unable to filter the blood properly from the back pressure from the stone.
 
The conversation with the dog’s owner should have been straightforward. I should have immediately recommended first stabilizing my patient, treating his pain, confirming the diagnosis by obtaining a radiograph (X-ray) and visualizing the stone lodged within his urinary tract, followed by an immediate effort to remove the stone by sedating him and passing a urinary catheter, and surgery to remove the stone.
 
Within the recesses of my mind, I knew what I should do, but under the stressful situation of being an inexperienced doctor, in the unfamiliar position of working on an emergency service, and an abrasive owner questioning my qualifications, I had zero confidence in my ability to help this dog.
 
Instead of doing the “right” thing, after I performed my exam I spent the next 40 minutes pouring over my textbooks and class notes, relearning the pathophysiology of urate stone formation in Dalmatians and the intricacies of their surgical removal.
 
I fumbled over creating an estimate of what it would cost to enact the plan I wanted to offer the owner. My voice trembled when I talked with the on-call surgeon, informing her she might need to come in to perform surgery that night. She aggressively chastised me for calling her without having a definitive diagnosis and hung up the phone.
 
By the time I re-entered the exam room to talk to the owner, the damage was done, not only to the dog, but also to my fragile newborn doctor ego.
 
I’ve come a long way since that first emergency case ten years ago, and despite possessing a great deal of confidence in my ability to treat my cancer patients accurately and ethically, there are times where I still find myself questioning my decisions about a particular recommendation or conversation with an owner.
 
Humility is a trait not often associated with medical professionals, but I’m certain it would be far more dangerous for me to be overconfident rather than conservative when practicing my craft.

I’m certain I’ve saved more patients by second guessing a biopsy report or lab work result. I know I’ve made more allies than enemies by calling owners and admitting I’d made a mistake rather than brush it off and pretend it didn’t happen. I’ve never regretted recommending an owner seek a second opinion when I felt I could not meet their goals.
 
Some would argue these characteristics make me a weak and self-doubting doctor. I’d argue these are the things that keep me human.
 
I still wonder what happened to that Dalmatian. And despite how horrible the events of the visit were, I’m still grateful for the experience. The most important lesson I learned is that a follow-up phone call after a difficult appointment can do much to ease the minds of both doctor and owner.
 
Even when the outcome isn’t the optimal one, in the end it’s communication and caring that matters the most.
 
 

Dr. Joanne Intile
 
 
Image: Dmitry Kalinovsky / Shutterstock
 
 
Related
 
Treating and Preventing Bladder Stones in Dalmatians
 
Bladder Stones in Dogs: What are Signs and How to Best Treat Them
 
Using Diet to Treat and Prevent Bladder Stones
 
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TheOldBroad Ack! 04/08/2015 06:08pm Even if the client was questioning credentials, it was obvious the dog was miserable. Not to mention, as an owner, there's no way I would "wait until morning" if my pet had bloody urine leaking and dropping from its belly.

I might question a treatment plan (hopefully it would be done tactfully) or perhaps even ask to see another doctor at the emergency clinic, but I would NEVER take an animal home that had those symptoms without some kind of relief.

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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/drjintile/2015/april/second-guessing-paves-way-wisdom-32619#comments TheDailyVet Wed, 08 Apr 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32619 at http://www.petmd.com
Why Dogs Chose Man: It's All About the Love Hormone http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/ken-tudor/2015/april/why-dogs-chose-man-its-all-about-love-hormone-32616







The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets. < Previous Post Next Post > Apr 07, 2015 Why Dogs Chose Man: It's All About the Love Hormone by Dr. Ken Tudor








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When you hear the word “oxytocin” you probably think of moms nursing and bonding with their babies. This hormone, oxytocin, is also known as the “bonding hormone.” But its power is not limited to human bonding.
 
A new study from Australia suggests that the hormone of love may have played a role in leading wild dogs to man’s fires and eventual domestication.
 
What is “Oxytocin”?
 
Oxytocin is a hormone produced in the hypothalamus of the brain and released from the back half (posterior) of a pea sized pituitary gland. Oxytocin is important for sexual arousal in both sexes for orgasm and sexual reproduction. It is particularly important for its effect on the cervix and uterus during childbirth and breast nipple stimulation that causes milk “letdown” for nursing.
 
The effects of oxytocin on other parts of the brain during these activities are thought to bring about positive pair bonding, maternal bonding, and positive social recognition bonds. A PhD researcher at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, has found that oxytocin plays a role in the interactions between dogs and humans.
 
Why Oxytocin May be Important in the Domestication of Dogs
 
Previous studies have shown that just three minutes of petting and talking to a dog increases blood oxytocin levels in both dogs and humans. Other studies have shown that humans who are particularly close to their dogs have more oxytocin in their urine. This data lead Jessica Oliva to conduct her PhD thesis experiment.
 
62 dogs, 31 male and 31 female, were tested to see if oxytocin increased their ability to read cues from humans to the whereabouts of bowls with hidden treats. The dogs were scored on their abilities after receiving either a nasal administration of oxytocin or a saline placebo. Nasal spray was used because it ensures the direct passage of oxytocin to the brain in order to eliminate other factors that could cloud the response results.
 
Not only did the dogs respond more accurately when given oxytocin, but the enhanced performance lasted 15 days after administration of the oxytocin. Oxytocin in some way aids a dog’s ability to read human cues. This far exceeds the ability of wolves to do the same. Oliva cited research that has shown dogs were far better at using non-verbal cues from humans than even wolves that were highly socialized and hand-reared by humans.
 
This research only demonstrates the role of oxytocin in man’s relationship to dogs but does not explain the exact brain interactions involved. Oliva wants to conduct the same experiment on wolves to see if there is a different result. That would really help clarify the evolutionary separation of the wild dog from wolves and their eventual domestication.
 
She also suggests that the identification of a genetic sensitivity to oxytocin in modern dogs may lead to better performing dogs. This could have an impact on breeding dogs that may be better suited as guide or service dogs, military dogs, or customs dogs.
 
Maybe the dog-human bond boils down to a famous song lyric, “All you need is love.” Thanks oxytocin.
 
 

Dr. Ken Tudor
 
 
Image: Mat Hayward / Shutterstock
 
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TheOldBroad Cats 04/07/2015 06:07pm I've always thought that cats were pretty fickle and would "bond" with whatever human fed them.

Would oxytocin make my cats be more loyal to me perhaps? Reply to this comment Report abuse Dr. Ken Tudor 04/07/2015 06:15pm Good question. Since cats don't have owners but rather have staff, I don't know if oxytocin can change that working relationship they find so satisfactory. Reply to this comment Report abuse 2 TheOldBroad 04/07/2015 06:20pm Well said. Since I am unpaid staff, it stands to reason there wouldn't be a whole lot of loyalty.

Gotta admit, that made me chuckle. Thanks for that. Reply to this comment Report abuse
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DNA Tests Make Shelter Dogs More Adoptable http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/dr-coates/2015/april/dna-tests-make-shelter-dogs-more-adoptable-32613









The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets. < Previous Post Next Post > Apr 06, 2015 DNA Tests Make Shelter Dogs More Adoptable by Dr. Jennifer Coates








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The Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA in California may be on to something. 
 
Shelter personnel thought that prospective owners might be more willing to adopt mixed breed dogs who had undergone genetic testing to reveal their breed make-up. To test this hypothesis, they picked 12 dogs who looked likely to be Chihuahua crosses of some sort and sent off their DNA for testing. Some of the combinations that were revealed were surprising, but even better were the names they gave to those mixes:

Chihuahua/Corgi… a Chorgi
Chihuahua/Rat Terrier/Poodle… a Chiratoodle
Chinese Crested/Miniature Schnauzer… a Far Eastern Chinzer
Shetland Sheepdog/Chihuahua/Labrador… a Sheepish Chabrador
Terrier/Miniature Poodle… a Terridoodle
Yorkshire Terrier/Beagle… a Yorkle
Chihuahua/Miniature Pinscher/Yorkshire Terrier… a Chorkie

 
(My favorite dog of all time was a Dachshund/Beagle/Corgi mix. Why did I never think to declare him a perfect representative of the Corglehund breed?)
 
The shelter’s efforts appear to have been a success. In their Winter, 2015 newsletter, they report that “most of the initial group of tested dogs in our Who’s Your Daddy? program were adopted and we ordered tests for another group.”
 
The Peninsula Humane Society has focused their efforts on dogs who look like potential Chihuahua mixes since this is the type they are currently being overrun with. While some folks might have an anti-Chihuahua bias, I think genetic identification of breed make-up would be most beneficial for all those dogs out there who look like they might have some Pitbull in them.
 
Pitbulls have such a terrible reputation that they can be very difficult to adopt, and people have a tendency to call almost any short-haired, muscular dog with a somewhat blocky head a Pitbull or Pitbull mix. This despite the fact that even trained observers (veterinarians and shelter personnel included) are just awful at accurately identifying what breeds are behind a mutt’s unique look. One study found that “87.5% of the dogs identified by an adoption agency as having specific breeds in their ancestry did not have all of those breeds detected by DNA analysis.” 
 
Want more proof of how bad people are at correctly identifying Pitbull mixes? Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program (a part of University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine) “conducted a national survey of dog experts to compare their best guesses for the breeds of dogs in a series of photographs.” They then compared these visual assessments to the results of DNA testing. The “dog experts” correctly identified 14 dogs as having some Pitbull in them (specifically American Staffordshire Terrier or Staffordshire Bull Terrier). However, they incorrectly identified 17 dogs as Pitbull mixes when genetic analysis revealed a complete absence of Pitbull heritage.
 
As unfair as it is, many people would be much more likely to adopt a dog knowing that it is 25% Labrador Retriever, 25% Manchester Terrier, 25% Belgian Sheepdog, and 12.5% Boston Terrier (dog number 36 in the survey) rather than the Pitbull mix they assumed it to be based on looks alone.
 
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
 
Resources
 
Comparison of adoption agency breed identification and DNA breed identification of dogs. Voith VL, Ingram E, Mitsouras K, Irizarry K. J Appl Anim Welf Sci. 2009;12(3):253-62.
 
 
Image: Esteban Sanchez / Shutterstock
 
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TheOldBroad Breeds 04/07/2015 06:03pm My personal favorite: Sheepish Chabrador

Truly, I think knowing what breeds make up a mixed breed makes them more adoptable because people want to know. How many times have any of us asked, "What breed is it?" I think people like having an answer. Reply to this comment Report abuse 1 MikeC Mutts are the best 04/12/2015 08:22am I know pitties get a bad rep, however, our dog is a Belgian Malanois/Pit Bull mix. What a great dog. She seems to have more of the inherent character traits of the Malinois. I love mutts, best dogs in the world. Our dog is also a rescue from the local SPCA. I hear that sometimes mixed breeds are less prone to develop some of the health problems associated with some pure breds. Not sure how true that is. Reply to this comment Report abuse Tia Deb Is DNA testing reliable? 04/13/2015 09:01pm We have a poster of dogs that were DNA tested at the shelter I work at. It has 12 dogs, their pictures & what the test said each's breed mix is. On one dog, the test said it was a Chihuahua/Rat Terrier. There is no way that you mix a Chihuahua with a Rat Terrier and get a 50 lb dog that looks like an American Staffordshire! I agree that better identification is needed, but I'm not certain that canine DNA testing is as accurate as human testing-yet. Reply to this comment Report abuse
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/dr-coates/2015/april/dna-tests-make-shelter-dogs-more-adoptable-32613#comments TheDailyVet Mon, 06 Apr 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32613 at http://www.petmd.com
Why Are You Still Buying Jerky Treats? http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/jvogelsang/2015/april/why-are-you-still-buying-jerky-treats-32612









The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets. < Previous Post Next Post > Apr 03, 2015 Why Are You Still Buying Jerky Treats? by Dr. Jessica Vogelsang








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Another day, another warning about pet jerky treats. This has to go down as one of the most frustrating mysteries facing the pet owning community in memory. Every time we think we’re getting ahead of the problem, it just gets worse.
 
The first alarm bells sounded in 2007, when reports started coming in to the FDA about a variety of illnesses affecting dogs who had one thing in common: they recently ate chicken jerky treats manufactured in China.
 
Among the most alarming signs were the pets showing signs of Fanconi-like syndrome (FLS), which is normally associated with a rare genetic condition. When affected with FLS, the part of the kidney responsible for re-absorbing important nutrients fails to work, causing the nutrients to be lost in the urine.
 
In 2008, Australia banned certain treats thought to be associated with the onset of these diseases and cases dropped off dramatically. In the rest of the world, though, the problem continued on.
 
The FDA joined forces with the American Veterinary Medical Association to get the word out about previously healthy pets with sudden onset signs of GI distress or renal disease, and the reports poured in.
 
By the end of 2014, the FDA had received over 5,000 reports of illness; 1,000 of them involved the death of a pet.
 
Our inability to find the source of the illness hasn’t been due to a lack of effort from regulatory agencies, scientists, and the veterinary community. Despite all this, we’ve still been unable to pinpoint a cause.
 
Testing of suspect jerky has shown traces of antibiotics, DEET, and the antiviral amantadine. Sadly, even after the terrible events of the 2007 melamine recall, which made us more vigilant, it seems we are just unable to trust the safety of food supplies arriving from China.
 
Without proof of injury, companies were unwilling to change their protocols or invoke a voluntary recall. This left suspect products on the shelf and the burden on vets and pet lovers who were in-the-know to get the word out.
 
The solution, at least until we know the real problem, seemed for a long time to be this: Don’t buy chicken jerky treats from China.
 
That worked, at least until similar diseases starting popping up in pets who hadn’t eaten chicken jerky at all. The jerky they had ingested contained other ingredients, like duck or sweet potatoes.
 
This was the last straw in the eyes of many in the pet loving community, and after strong pressure from consumers, Petco was the first major pet retailer to announce in 2014 that they would stop carrying made-in-China treats by the end of the year.
 
Finally, we said. Whether or not we figure out what the problem is, 2015 will be a better year. With made in the USA products on the shelves, things are bound to get better, right?
 
I thought so, until the news came out this week that chicken jerky made in the USA may be associated with Fanconi-like syndrome in pets.
 
According to the VIN News Service and their interview with an FDA spokesperson, even the “Made in the USA” label may not be enough to prevent jerky associated illnesses.
 
So now what? The good news is that most cases resolved once the jerky treats were withdrawn, so owners who are concerned about jerky treats should discontinue feeding them immediately and talk to their vet if there’s any concern about their pet’s health.
 
As for me? I haven’t bought a jerky treat, from China or otherwise, since I first heard the reports. I have a dehydrator and make my own jerky from freezer burned chicken that I’d probably otherwise toss out, which has the double bonus of making my husband happy at my thriftiness while ensuring the ingredients in the treat are exactly what I want them to be.
 
Or, and this is even more often the case, I give Brody a different treat: apple slices, popcorn, he doesn’t care.
 
You know, I like treats as much as the next guy, but if you told me my chocolate chip cookie stood a chance of blowing out my kidneys, you bet I’d be looking up cupcake recipes stat. It isn’t worth the risk.
 
 

Dr. Jessica Vogelsang
 
 
Image: Composite, Theresa Scarbrough and Eskymaks / Shutterstock
 
 
Related
 
Chicken Jerky Products May Be Associated With Dog Illness
 
Problems with Chicken Jerky?
 
FDA Issues Another Update on Jerky Pet Treats
 
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TheOldBroad Sigh 04/03/2015 05:48pm Sigh. Maybe this is some kind of sign to stop giving jerky treats to pets.

If the problem is showing up in Made in USA treats, first I'd look to see where all the ingredients are sourced. If that's OK, then maybe it has something to do with the manufacturing process.

Your chocolate chip cookie analogy is excellent. Maybe it's time to completely stop giving jerky treats. It's just not worth the risk. Reply to this comment Report abuse 2 annroc2004 04/24/2015 09:32am "ya think ?" maybe all Jerky treats are bad; maybe "treats are bad"?; thanks! Reply to this comment Report abuse
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How to Bring a Baby to Life Without Killing It First http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/aobriendvm/2015/april/how-bring-baby-life-without-killing-it-first-32611









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TheOldBroad Flinging 04/02/2015 05:44pm Flinging might work for puppies. Flinging might work for kittens. Flinging obviously works for cria.

However, what would you do for something the size of, say, a giraffe? Surely you have a trick or two when it comes to the really large babies. Reply to this comment Report abuse TheOldBroad 04/02/2015 05:45pm P.S. I love a happy ending! Reply to this comment Report abuse
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/aobriendvm/2015/april/how-bring-baby-life-without-killing-it-first-32611#comments TheDailyVet Thu, 02 Apr 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32611 at http://www.petmd.com
How Do Dogs Sniff Out Cancer? http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/drjintile/2015/april/can-dogs-really-sniff-out-cancer-32601









The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets. < Previous Post Next Post > Apr 01, 2015 How Do Dogs Sniff Out Cancer? by Dr. Joanne Intile








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A curious headline popped up along my Twitter feed the other day: “Could Dogs Sniff Out Thyroid Cancer?” I read the words and paused a few seconds, contemplating taking the bait before opening the link.
 
Convinced I would be disappointed in what I was about to read, I contemplated how a dog could be able to detect cancer given the complex nature of the disease and how troubling it is to uncover even under the best of circumstances. I figured the title was just a catchy way to drive readers to an advertisement for something completely banal like air fresheners.
 
One the other hand, what if it were true? What if dogs were really able to pick up on the subtlest of changes in our biochemistry, leading them to distinguish those of us with disease from those without? What if doctors could somehow capitalize on a dog’s powerful sense of smell and bypass the need for invasive diagnostics? How remarkable would that be?
 
I clicked the link.
 
To my surprise, the sensational headline was completely legitimate. In early March 2015, during the 98th annual meeting of the Endocrine Society, a group from the medical school of the University of Arkansas presented a research abstract entitled “Scent-Trained Canine Prospectively Detects Thyroid Cancer in Human Urine Samples.”
 
As if that weren’t fascinating enough, this presentation was actually a follow up to a previous study by the same group that demonstrated that dogs could reliably discriminate between urine samples obtained from patients already diagnosed with either metastatic thyroid cancer or benign thyroid disease.
 
What I wouldn’t have given to be a fly on the wall during that conference just to listen to this fascinating topic!
 
In the study, a single dog (which an unconfirmed source reports is a German shepherd mix named “Frankie”) was trained to either lie down when he detected the presence of papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) in the urine sample, or turn away or do nothing if the sample was ‘clear.’
 
Urine was collected from 59 human subjects who presented for evaluation of one or more thyroid nodule(s) suspected to cancerous. In the meantime, Frankie was “imprinted with urine, blood, and thyroid tissue obtained from multiple patients with PTC, and trained over 6 months to discriminate between PTC and benign urine samples.”
 
During the experiments, a gloved handler, lacking information about the diagnosis of the person providing the sample, presented Frankie with the urine samples. Frankie sniffed the samples and responded with the cues above. The handler verbally communicated Frankie’s response to a blinded study coordinator. Control samples (both cancerous and benign) were interspersed with the unknown samples and Frankie was rewarded with positive reinforcement when his answer was correct.
 
Frankie’s diagnosis matched the final surgical pathology diagnosis in 24 out of 27 cases (92.3% correct, 2 false negatives and 1 indeterminate), yielding a sensitivity of 83.0% (10/12) and specificity of 100% (14/14). Not too shabby for a four-legged ball of fur that never graduated more than a basic puppy training class!
 
In all seriousness, the most fascinating aspect to me is that the researchers have no idea what the dog actually smells to trigger the response. There clearly must be a chemical present that is excreted by affected individuals. However, research thus far has failed to identify this particular biomarker.
 
Much energy and effort in medicine is spent on early disease detection and veterinary oncology is gaining much ground in this aspect of medical care. We routinely recommend preventive screening diagnostics in order to discover illness at an earlier stage. We model our testing algorithms off those presented to our human counterparts.
 
But what if the reality is that we simply need to learn how to listen to our animals in a different way to understand their capacity for communication about their health?
 
Veterinarians lament the lack of ability to communicate with our patients and their inability to tell us where it hurts. It seems maybe we just need to heed their warnings a little harder. 
 
The old wives tale of a cold, wet nose indicating a healthy pet may not be as farfetched as we presume. How wonderful would it be if man’s best friend were also the best advocate for not only their health, but for that of their owner? 
 
I suppose maybe Frankie's nose knows the best answer to that question.
 
 

Dr. Joanne Intile
 
 
Image: Rita Kochmarjova / Shutterstock
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laylang5 how can it happen 04/01/2015 01:27pm I read the twitter also and thought the same of the headline and i wonder the genetic it takes for the dog to be able to sniff out a disease like "Thyroid Cancer" what are the breeds, the genes, the blood or are you saying that every dog and dog breed can sniff out the cancer.
Reply to this comment Report abuse TheOldBroad Sniffing 04/01/2015 05:55pm I saw a TV "article" about a dog that was trained to detect cancer. (Considering the results, I'm guessing skin cancer.) The human persuaded a friend to lay down and let the dog sniff. The dog signaled cancer so the subject human went to the human doctor. No cancer found.

Human #1 persuaded human #2 to do it again. Again, the dog signaled cancer and human #2 again went to the human doctor. No cancer.

Although it took a lot of convincing, human #1 talked human #2 into doing it a third time. Again, the dog signaled cancer. Human #2 again went to the human doctor. Lo and behold, the doctor found cancer this time.

The point to the story was the dog was correct from the beginning and found the cancer much earlier than the human doctor's tests. Reply to this comment Report abuse
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The Myth of the 'First Ingredient' on the Pet Food Label http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/ken-tudor/2015/march/myth-first-ingredient-pet-food-label-32595









The Daily Vet is a blog featuring veterinarians from all walks of life. Every week they will tackle entertaining, interesting, and sometimes difficult topics in the world of animal medicine – all in the hopes that their unique insights and personal experiences will help you to understand your pets. < Previous Post Next Post > Mar 31, 2015 The Myth of the 'First Ingredient' on the Pet Food Label by Dr. Ken Tudor








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Pet parents want the best food possible for their fur kids. We try to make the best possible choices by carefully reading the pet food labels and using tools believed to help accurately decipher the label contents. Unfortunately, what seems to be fact often isn’t.
 
As pointed out in last week’s post, the definition of “meat” for pet food makers is very different than what is commonly thought of as meat. This is because the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has carefully defined meat for pet food makers. AAFCO also sets the standards for all other claims on pet food labels, including the pet food ingredients. But AAFCO’s rules for the ingredient list have led to the popular belief that the first ingredient listed in pet food is the major component of the food.
 
Again, perception is not fact.
 
The First Ingredient Rule
 
AAFCO mandates that ingredients must be listed in order of their weight contribution to the pet food. The first ingredient should represent the largest ingredient by weight.
 
Most food makers list a meat as their first ingredient, so pet owners have come to believe that meat is the largest ingredient in their pet’s food. Not so fast.
 
AAFCO allows meat to include its water weight! For meat, that is about 70-80 percent of its weight. If the water, which provides no nutritional value to the food, is subtracted, then the first ingredient is not the largest protein source in the food. The second and third proteins are probably the largest ingredients.
 
We have no way of knowing the weight contribution of the first ingredient because AAFCO does not require the actual weights or percentage of weights for each ingredient.
 
Here is an example of an actual pet food ingredient list for “Real Duck + Sweet Potato” dog food:
 
Deboned duck, turkey meal, salmon meal (source of omega 3 fatty acids), sweet potato….

 
The main proteins in this pet food are turkey meal and salmon meal, not duck. Minus its water weight, we have no way of knowing how much real duck is actually contributing to this food, but it is not the primary protein or ingredient.
 
Here is another real example of a “Prairie” puppy food:
 
Bison, lamb meal, sweet potatoes, egg product, pea protein, peas, potatoes…

 
Remember the prairie bison in this case contains water, so the primary proteins in this food come from lamb meal, egg products, peas, and pea protein. We have no idea how much bison protein is really in the food, and clearly most of the protein does not come from the prairie.
 
So what are we pet parents to do to ensure we provide our pets the best food possible? Unfortunately, the choice to feed commercially made pet food will always compromise quality regardless of what we would desperately like to believe about our chosen brand. This is true from the cheapest dry food available at discount retailers to the pricier, raw, frozen loafs in boutique pet stores. Pet food affordability relies on using the parts of meat that cannot be marketed to humans.
 
There is a growing trend of specialized “kitchens” that make and sell pet food made with USDA restaurant grade ingredients. Whole Foods actually stocks one of these products. But presently, most are geared for lower manufacturing volume, geographically limited in distribution and priced for more affluent customers.
 
Making your own homemade is more affordable than the specialty kitchen sources because you are taking out the labor costs for production and eliminating the mark-up on the ingredients. Homemade can actually be as affordable as premium wet pet food if you shop carefully and take advantage of sales. And most importantly, you control the quality and safety of the diet.
 
Unfortunately, making homemade pet food does not fit everybody’s lifestyle. Also, homemade diets that are not properly supplemented can be more unhealthy and dangerous than commercial pet food.
 
I wish the pet food industry were more transparent so it would not be so darn difficult to research our pet’s food. It is hard to make decisions with limited information. I hope these posts have helped clear some of the air.
 
 

Dr. Ken Tudor
 
 
Image: Hannamariah / Shutterstock
 
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TheOldBroad Illuminating! 03/31/2015 06:02pm This post was very illuminating. I, for one, didn't realize that water weight was included in the protein.

I may have to make a trip to Whole Foods.

Thank you so much! Reply to this comment Report abuse
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