http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/rss en Your Dog's Poop Can Energize Your Home http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/ken-tudor/2015/may/your-dogs-poop-can-energize-your-home-32772







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 May 26, 2015 Your Dog's Poop Can Energize Your Home by Dr. Ken Tudor








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Unlike most students, I did not make the decision to go to veterinary school because of an overwhelming need to help animals. This is not to say I don’t love animals, it is just that I had a different motive. I needed a career that would provide the necessary income so I could develop simple, alternative sources of clean energy for households in developed and undeveloped countries. I wanted to turn household waste, human waste, and pet waste into methane gas to supply household energy. It appears I was 40 years ahead of my time.
 
A Swiss designer in Geneva has built a convertor that harvests methane gas from dog poop. The gas is then used to generate electricity that is stored in batteries and used in household appliances. The concept has the same simplicity I had imagined.
 
So how does it work? Why and how did I decide to go to vet school and eventually get side-tracked from alternative energy development?
 
Methane Conversion
 
Most of us take flushing the toilet for granted. Our waste, with a substantial amount of water to make flushing practical, leaves our toilets and is routed through underground pipes to sewage treatment plants. This was not always so, and still isn’t in many areas. Many homes still have underground septic tanks in their yards to collect waste and water from toilets, sinks and wash machines. These tanks contain bacteria that break down the waste and produce methane gas. This gas is not captured but released into the air.
 
At sewage waste plants the methane gas is burned by their “eternal flame” to reduce the odor that is characteristic of the gas. My plan was to design a capture system for septic tanks and even sewage plants to generate electricity or burn directly for gas appliances. Many hog and dairy farms are presently doing just that to power their homes and sell energy to electric companies.
 
The technology has even helped in developing countries where poor households collect human and animal waste in plastic bags. Bacteria ferment the waste, creating methane gas in the bag. The bag can then be connected to “camp stove” like burners to prepare daily meals.
 
This simplicity was captured by the Swiss designer Océane Izard, who designed the Poo Poo Power conversion device. Dog poop is deposited into an elegant, artistic convertor containing the poop eating bacteria. The methane is converted to power that is stored in detachable batteries used to run small appliances, like battery operated lights, fans, vacuums etc. The amount of energy produced depends on the amount of poop your dog produces, or the amount you collect from other dogs. Izard estimates that a German shepherd produces enough poop to keep a refrigerator running.
 
The potential for this technology is unlimited. According to Adele Peters, the author of the story featuring this invention, Paris, France, cleans up 12 tons of dog poop from its streets daily. She also reports that U.S. dogs produce about 10 million tons of poop each year. You can see why I was excited those 40 years ago about the possibilities.
 
Why I Chose Vet School Over Alternative Energy
 
My background in science made me contemplate which careers would pay enough to support my energy research endeavors. Human medicine was the obvious first choice.
 
In the 1970s, doctors were one of the highest paid professionals. But the eight years of school, internships, and residencies was more than I wanted to commit. Also, I reasoned the cost of malpractice insurance, and the risk of malpractice suits, was much too high. I had no interest in dentistry, so veterinary medicine it was. In the '70s, veterinarians were also doing quite well, and when parvovirus broke out in the early '80s it was even better.
 
But as I was studying, the industry was changing. City zoning rules made working out of the home impossible, and opening a practice required a larger investment. Brick and mortar facilities all have built-in infrastructures needs that also require large operating costs. And the most important thing I didn’t factor in was the time needed daily to practice good medicine, own a hospital, and raise a family. As these all became my primary focus, my desire to save the environment through methane technology waned. I found that I was good at medicine and concentrated on perfecting those skills, especially in the field of nutrition. I feel I have made a difference in the lives of my patients and their owners, so I don’t regret my decision.
 
It is merely that stories about alternative energy remind me of why I went to vet school, and I thought I might share that personal journey with you.
 
*
 
What do you think — would you use a Poo Poo Power machine to convert your dog's waste into energy for your home? How much would you be willing to pay for such a device? Share your thoughts in the comments.
 
 

Dr. Ken Tudor
 
 
Image: Composite: elenabsl, Rinika25, Aleksandrs Bondars / Shutterstock
 
 
Related
 
How Green is Your Dog's Poop? Shining a Light and Finding a Solution to Pet Waste
 
Dog Poo Recycled Into Wi-Fi?
 
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/ken-tudor/2015/may/your-dogs-poop-can-energize-your-home-32772#comments TheDailyVet Tue, 26 May 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32772 at http://www.petmd.com
Pets Help People and Communities http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/dr-coates/2015/may/pets-help-people-and-communities-32771









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 > May 25, 2015 Pets Help People and Communities by Dr. Jennifer Coates








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The health benefits for individuals who own pets have been well documented:
 

Petting an animal reduces a person’s blood pressure.

Dog owners get more exercise than non-dog owners.

After heart attack, death rates are lower in pet owning versus non-pet owning patients.

People with high blood pressure who adopt pets seem to handle stress better than people who don’t.

Infants who are exposed to animals have a lower risk of allergies, asthma, and eczema.

Alzheimer patients have fewer agitated outbursts and better maintain their weight when exposed to animals.

For people without good social support structures, having a pet decreases loneliness and depression.

 
Dr. Edward Creagan, an oncologist with the Mayo Clinic, has gone so far as to say “I consider getting a pet to be one of the easiest and most rewarding ways of living a longer, healthier life.”
 
But a new study has added another dimension to this research by showing that pet ownership “may be an important factor in developing healthy neighborhoods.” Scientists conducted a telephone survey of 2692 randomly selected residents of Perth, Australia; San Diego, CA; Nashville, TN; and Portland, OR. They asked the following questions:
 
“Have you got [sic] to know people in this neighborhood that you didn’t know before you lived here?”
 
“Do you own a pet?” followed by, “How many, if any, of the following pets do you have? (dog, cat, bird, fish and other)”
 
“Have you got [sic] to know people in your neighborhood as a result of your pet? (for example, through walking your pet or talking to your neighbors about your pet)”
 
“Do you regard any of the people you have met through your pet as a friend (more than just an acquaintance)?”
 
“Have you met anyone through your pet who you could:

talk with about something that was worrying you, such as a work or family issue?

ask for information, such as if they could recommend a tradesperson or restaurant?

ask for advice?

ask to borrow something (such as a book or tool), or ask a favor (such as collect mail), or ask for practical help such as getting a ride?”

 
Analysis of the responses found that “pet owners were significantly more likely to get to know people in their neighborhood than non-pet owners,” and “dog owners in the three U.S. cities were significantly more likely than owners of other types of pets to regard people whom they met through their pet as a friend. Around 40% of pet owners reported receiving… social support via people they met through their pet.”
 
Check out what some of the survey respondents said:
 
“I tend to talk to people who I wouldn't normally talk to. Without the dog, I wouldn't speak to them” (male, Portland).
 
“The cat steals people’s socks from their houses, and then I return them. It's a good way to get to know people. They all think it is hilarious” (female, Perth).
 
Seems to me like strong evidence that pets are not only good for individuals but also for the communities they live in.
 
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
 
Resources
 
The pet factor - companion animals as a conduit for getting to know people, friendship formation and social support. Wood L, Martin K, Christian H, Nathan A, Lauritsen C, Houghton S, Kawachi I, McCune S. PLoS One. 2015 Apr 29;10(4):e0122085.
 
 
Image: Kichigin / Shutterstock
 
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/dr-coates/2015/may/pets-help-people-and-communities-32771#comments bonding TheDailyVet Mon, 25 May 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32771 at http://www.petmd.com
When Dogs Bite: Are You 'Asking for It?' http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/jvogelsang/2015/may/when-dogs-bite-were-you-asking-it-32758









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 > May 22, 2015 When Dogs Bite: Are You 'Asking for It?' by Dr. Jessica Vogelsang








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When my son was seven, each child in the class was asked to draw an animal as part of a story. Being a child of my blood, he of course drew a dog. The little boy who sat next to him started crying.
 
“Not a DOOOOG!” he yelled. “I hate dogs! They always bite me! Every single one!” As I looked at him in horror, a couple of other kids nodded their agreement.
 
“More than one dog bit you?” I asked.
 
“Yes!” he insisted. “They all do!”
 
So there are two possibilities here: One, this is a little kid who just has terrible luck. After all, I’ve been working in the field every day with dogs longer than he’s been alive and I’ve never had a serious bite. The other more likely possibility, which his parents would probably protest mightily, is this: The kid was asking for it.
 
He may not have KNOWN he was asking for it, and in all likelihood if the child had been educated as to what he was doing he might have been able to avoid his traumatic events. And that is why Dog Bite Awareness Week, which happens every third week of May, is so important.
 
The statistics are sobering: 4.5 million dog bites a year in the United States, almost a million of which require medical attention. Children represent a disproportionate number of dog bites. Although the rare random dog mauling can happen and is a terrifying occurrence, by and large most dog bites occur with familiar dogs during everyday activities.
 
Why is all of this so important? Because most of those bites are preventable. Children do not know they are interacting in an unsafe and threatening manner, and dogs don’t know what to do when a child is ignoring all the warning signs they are trying to send out. That leaves it up to the adults to maintain control of the situation, which happens less often than I’d like.
 
One need look no further than Pinterest to see the evidence: hundreds of “cute dog and baby pictures” featuring a child sticking their head right next to a dog that is indicating all the hallmarks of a stressed animal:
 

Pulling or looking away from child

Crescent shape of the white of the eye indicating distress

Ears pulled back

Yawning

Licking lips

Tail low

 
Children don’t know any better. It’s up to parents and dog owners to teach them these warning signs and the basics of safe dog interaction:

Always ask and receive permission from a dog owner before approaching a strange dog.

Allow the dog to approach you; if they aren’t interested, do not force the interaction.

Pet on the shoulder, not the head.

Talk calmly, avoiding yelling or jumping around that makes a nervous dog more aroused.

Never put your face near a strange dog’s face.

 
There are many more tips and tools for teaching kids (and adults!) to be safer around dogs, but those are the basics that anyone, whether or not they own a dog, should know. I’m willing to bet my son’s classmate was doing at least some of these on a regular basis to provoke multiple aggressions and never knew it.
 
Although many people who are bit say “It came out of nowhere! We never saw it coming!” video of dog bites often shows otherwise. Multiple instances available on YouTube of dogs biting reporters happen when both the handler and the news reporter ignore clear warning signs that the dog is upset.
 
Dog bites are dangerous, painful, and traumatic. They result in many otherwise wonderful pets going to shelters or getting euthanized.
 
This Dog Bite Prevention Week, make a vow to review some of the excellent resources out there and share with the people you know. We all play a role in keeping dogs and people safe!
 
For more information, check out:
 
Dog Bite Prevention Week
Doggone Safe
Videos from the American Veterinary Medical Association
Animal Safety is Fun
 
 

Dr. Jessica Vogelsang
 
 
Image: vvital / Shutterstock
 
 
Related
 
Preventing Dog Bites
 
Any Dog Can Bite
 
Dog Bite Fatalities: Breed or Human Problem?
 
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annroc2004 NEVER PULL A DOGS TAIL 05/22/2015 09:06am NEVER EVER PULL AT A DOGS TAIL; DOGS ARE VERY SENSITIVE THERE. Reply to this comment Report abuse 1 annroc2004 05/22/2015 09:07am Never ever try to take food from a dog's mouth; esp. not a treat. Never ever have a child go up to a strange dog and pat the dog on the head. Dogs see any action as a possible defense; THROW THE DOG A BALL INSTEAD!!! Reply to this comment Report abuse 1
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/jvogelsang/2015/may/when-dogs-bite-were-you-asking-it-32758#comments TheDailyVet Fri, 22 May 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32758 at http://www.petmd.com
The Will to Walk – Prosthetic Limbs for Horses http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/aobriendvm/2015/may/will-walk-prosthetic-limbs-horses-32757









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 > May 21, 2015 The Will to Walk – Prosthetic Limbs for Horses by Dr. Anna O'Brien








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In recent news, there have been several heart-warming stories about dogs thriving with prosthetic limbs. No matter if their special needs come from congenital abnormalities or injuries, these pooches seemingly have no worries bouncing around partly on prostheses. But what about horses? Is there still truth to the maxim “no hoof, no horse?” Perhaps not.
 
Several maladies outside of injury can cause a horse’s foot to become useless. Simple neglect of proper hoof trimming in a situation where the horse cannot wear the hoof down on his own (e.g., if the animal is restrained to a stall or muddy paddock) can result in grossly overgrown hooves that, if infected, can cause permanent disfigurement and pain. If infection spreads to the bone inside the hoof, it becomes incredibly difficult to treat with antibiotics.
 
One of the primary challenges of equine prosthetics is the sheer weight of the animal for which the prosthetic must hold. The average adult horse weighs 1,000 pounds. Due to weight distribution during movement, this would require a prosthetic to be able to bear up to 4,000 pounds. In addition to the weight load, precautions against chafing and pressure sores must be taken. Understandably, an equine prosthetic is made to order, usually by a company that makes human prosthetics.
 
Equine prosthetics by necessity have to be tough, so they are usually made of either laminate or carbon graphite with a titanium post. They also include shock absorbers to decrease stress and pressure on the stump to which it is attached. The point of attachment to the leg can be a tricky piece to fit to ensure proper alignment with the leg and a secure fit, all while preventing the formation of sores. Some crowd-funded research is being conducted on finding out if it is possible to attach a prosthesis directly into a horse’s bone instead of outside leaning on the stump.  
 
Of course, once a horse gets a prosthesis, there’s still upkeep. Although the horse should be able to lie down and get back up as well as ambulate faster than a walk if need be, attachment straps and foam liners need to be periodically replaced. Sometimes a boot or sock is placed at the end of a prosthesis, which would also need regular replacement. The owner should also regularly monitor the prosthesis for signs of breakdown or improper wear on the stump.
 
Given the issues with size, one might think that prostheses have only been successful in miniature horses and ponies. However, this isn’t true.
 
Sure, a plucky black miniature horse named Midnite hit the news a few years ago with his successful prosthetic leg, but then there’s also Spirit, a gray horse of average size who, thanks to a rescue group, made a comeback with a prosthetic front leg after being abused.
 
Not to have one species hog the limelight, bovines, too, have been fitted with prosthetics every now and then. Just last year a calf named Hero, whose mother rejected him and who then lost his hind legs to frostbite, received not one but two prosthetics. Also, the anatomy of the mountain goat leg has inspired a manufacturer to design a prosthetic for human mountain climbers. Pretty cool, right?
 
 

Dr. Anna O’Brien
 
 
Image: Molly the Pony, by Jean / Flickr Creative Commons
 
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TheOldBroad Oscar 05/21/2015 06:02pm And don't forget Oscar the bionic cat who had both back feet "replaced" and implanted. Just Google "cat prosthetic YouTube" and there are some great videos. Reply to this comment Report abuse
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/aobriendvm/2015/may/will-walk-prosthetic-limbs-horses-32757#comments TheDailyVet Thu, 21 May 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32757 at http://www.petmd.com
Using Injections to Cure an Injection Caused Disease in Cats http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/drjintile/2015/may/using-injections-cure-injection-caused-disease-cats-32756









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 > May 20, 2015 Using Injections to Cure an Injection Caused Disease in Cats by Dr. Joanne Intile








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Injection site sarcomas (ISSs), as the name implies, are tumors of the skin and subcutaneous tissue that develop in cats secondary to a previous injection. They are most often implicated with vaccinations, however they could develop secondary to any prior injection, including those related to administration of drugs or even microchips.
 
I dislike all forms of cancer, but if I were forced to pick the one I despise the most, ISS would rank among my most loathed. When a pet develops a devastating and deadly tumor, as a consequence of something its owner did to try to keep it healthy and free from disease, it’s more than a terrible or unfortunate set of circumstances.
 
An essential part of treatment for a cat with an ISS is a carefully planned first surgery designed to remove the tumor with very wide margins. The current recommendation is to measure a 5cm radius of tissue around the tumor, and use this as the “edge” of where surgery should be done.
 
With this radical surgery, tumor recurrence is dramatically reduced and, consequently, patient’s survival times are longer than expected, as compared with the typical outcomes of more conservative surgeries.
 
Despite the better outcome, this form of surgery is rarely initially pursued because either the person performing the surgery is unable or unwilling to perform this aggressive procedure, or owners are unwilling to subject their cats to this type of treatment.
 
More frequently, tumors are removed with narrower planned margins, leading to disappointing outcomes. Narrowly excised tumors are extremely likely to recur without additional local control in the form of radiation therapy (RT). Even with aggressive pre- or post-operative RT, a decent proportion of tumors will regrow.
 
ISSs also have a modest chance for spreading to distant sites in the body, including organs such as lungs and regional lymph nodes. Chemotherapy is offered to try to prevent or delay this process from occurring; however, results are inconclusive as to providing a clear-cut benefit.
 
The treatment of feline ISS has recently shifted gears towards capitalizing on the patient’s own immune system to fight the tumor cells by using a novel protocol entailing the administration of Interleukin-2 (IL-2). IL-2 is a special type of protein that regulates the activity of white blood cells as part of an immune response.
 
The National Cancer Institute defines interleukin-2 (IL-2) as a biological response modifier, which is a substance that can improve the body's natural response to infection and disease.  IL-2 stimulates the growth of disease-fighting blood cells in the immune system.
 
Kevin Whelan, Merial’s Technical Manager, explains the mechanism of action of how IL-2 works:
 
Following injection around the tumor surgery site, the recombinant canarypox vector virus enters the cat’s cells, which then produce interleukin-2. The presence of this cytokine stimulates an anti-tumor immune response by a variety of mechanisms, including the induction of T-lymphocytes and natural killer cells.

 
There is limited data regarding the efficacy of IL-2 for treating ISS in cats. One study showed a significantly longer time to tumor regrowth in cats treated with surgery, superficial radiation therapy, and IL-2 as compared to a reference group of cats treated with surgery and radiation therapy alone. This same study showed cats receiving IL-2 had a significant reduction of the risk of tumor relapse by 56% at one year and 65% at two years after initial treatment compared to cats not receiving IL-2.
 
I have no personal experience using the IL-2 immunotherapy, but I am always encouraged to try innovative anti-cancer treatments, especially for those diseases where options can be limited and outcomes can be poor.
 
I’ll admit it’s hard to talk to an owner about giving their cat a series of injections as a treatment for a tumor we believe was caused by an injection. It’s also difficult to discuss because the IL-2 treatment is manufactured by the same company that makes vaccines, the very substances that are implicated in the tumor formation in the first place.
 
Those issues aside, I think this represents an exciting new therapeutic for an otherwise devastating disease. I look forward to what the data will reveal regarding its success and implementing it in my clinic in the near future. 
 
 

Dr. Joanne Intile
 
 
Image: Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock
 
 
Related
 
The Frustrating Vaccine Related Sarcoma
 
Vaccine-Associated Sarcoma and Your Cat
 
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TheOldBroad ISS 05/20/2015 06:26pm This certainly sounds promising. Now, if someone could just figure out a way to avoid getting ISS in the first place! I was always under the impression it was due to the "fillers" in the vax as opposed to being caused by a needle inserted into the skin.

Thoughts? Reply to this comment Report abuse Dr. Joanne Intile 05/24/2015 10:59am Hi - yes the adjuvants (aka "fillers") are though to be problematic because they incite an intense inflammatory response. The idea now is that some cats are genetically predisposed to the inappropriate response to the inflammation + the actual inflammation itself that leads to tumor formation. But any injection could in theory case a tumor in a predisposed cat. Reply to this comment Report abuse
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/drjintile/2015/may/using-injections-cure-injection-caused-disease-cats-32756#comments TheDailyVet Wed, 20 May 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32756 at http://www.petmd.com
Sport Nutrition Bars for Dogs http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/ken-tudor/2015/may/sport-nutrition-bars-dogs-32755









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 > May 19, 2015 Sport Nutrition Bars for Dogs by Dr. Ken Tudor








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My graduate studies in human exercise physiology and sports nutrition confirmed that serious athletes will use any means to gain the slightest competitive edge. Short of blood doping like Lance Armstrong, there are legitimate nutritional techniques that can help athletes maintain a high level of performance.
 
It appears that human nutritional strategies can also help canine athletes gain a competitive edge. A study in the latest issue of the American Journal of Veterinary Research tested a sports bar for dogs that is similar to exercise recovery products for humans to see if it could help canine athletes. They found that this bar may help canine athletes recover faster and be ready for further competition.
 
The Use of Energy Sources in Sports
 
Athletic performance requires energy. Energy or calories can only be stored in the body as carbohydrates, fat, or protein. That’s it. Athletes try to maximize their body stores of these energy sources without adding unnecessary body weight that would decrease athletic performance.
 
Carbohydrates are stored in the form of glycogen in the muscles and liver. Muscle glycogen supplies sugar or glucose directly to the muscles during exercise. The liver glycogen is a “back-up” to deliver glucose as the muscles use up their glycogen. Unlike humans, dogs do not use large amounts of glycogen during exercise and therefore have very small stores of glycogen in their muscles and liver.
 
Proteins from muscle are also used for energy during exercise. This means that muscles are actually torn down during athletic events. Muscle protein is a major source of energy for dogs during exercise and athletic performance.
 
Fat provides the greatest amount of calories per unit of weight. But using fat for calories requires lots of oxygen. Humans can only use oxygen to burn fat at lower levels of exercise intensity. This means the faster or harder you exercise, the less fat you burn directly for energy. Human athletes can only burn large amounts of fat if they slow down to an intermediate level of exercise. Otherwise fat is burned after exercise while the body restores its glycogen and proteins.
 
Remarkably, dogs can burn fat at very high levels of exercise intensity. In fact, protein and fat are the major fuels for athletic performance in dogs. This is why sled dogs can pull for 10-12 hours without slowing, while a human could not perform at that intense level of exercise for that long.  
 
Nutritional Strategies for Sports
 
Post-Event Nutrition
 
Human studies show that the absorption of glucose by the gut and muscle is greater within 60 minutes after exercise. Further studies indicate that glucose eaten with protein after exercise promotes muscle production. This research has created a large number of products for human athletes that combine various sugars and amino acids for post-exercise recovery. This dog study examined a similar “recovery bar” that has become popular with owners of working dogs.  
 
The canine sports bar contains maltodextrin and whey protein. Maltodextrin has the highest glycemic index of all sugars so it is readily absorbed from the gut. Whey, a protein by-product of cheese production, contains large amounts of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) that are important for building muscle.
 
The researchers found that the sports bar readily increases blood levels for glucose and BCAA and sustains them at levels necessary to replenish glycogen and muscle tissue. Because glycogen stores are limited in dogs, unused glucose can be converted to fat to replace fat stores that were depleted during exercise.
 
Unfortunately, the researchers did not biopsy fat, muscles, or livers in these dogs to verify that the glucose and BCAA in the blood did in fact replenish glycogen, fat, and muscle tissue. Despite definitive proof, the study suggests that canine athletes can benefit from post-event nutritional strategies.
 
But don’t assume these sports bars are appropriate for your dog. They are very high in calories (250 calories/bar) and are intended for nutritional recovery for extreme canine athletes (i.e., sled dogs), intensively trained herding or event dogs, or rescue and military dogs subjected to prolonged, intense activity.
 
250 calories from maltodextrin and whey will not transform your dog into an athlete; it will only promote weight gain.
 
 

Dr. Ken Tudor
 
 
Image: Ksenia Raykova / Shutterstock
 
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TheOldBroad Common Sense 05/19/2015 06:12pm Not giving Doggie Sports bars to a couch potato dog is as much common sense as a couch potato human not eating like an athelete. Reply to this comment Report abuse
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/ken-tudor/2015/may/sport-nutrition-bars-dogs-32755#comments TheDailyVet Tue, 19 May 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32755 at http://www.petmd.com
Treating Tapeworms in Dogs and Cats http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/dr-coates/2015/may/treating-tapeworms-dogs-and-cats-32752









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 > May 18, 2015 Treating Tapeworms in Dogs and Cats by Dr. Jennifer Coates








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I don’t generally recommend that owners diagnose or treat their pets without first seeing or at least talking with their veterinarian. Tapeworms are an exception to that rule.
 
Tapeworms are different from other intestinal parasites. Most worms reproduce within the pet’s intestinal tract and then shed their eggs in the animal’s feces. A microscopic fecal exam is necessary to know whether or not a dog or cat has one of these types of worms. Tapeworms, on the other hand, shed entire segments of their bodies that contain their eggs.
 
Tapeworm segments are visible with the naked eye, looking something like flattened pieces of rice. Freshly shed tapeworm segments are soft and may be seen wiggling around in the fur around a pet’s anus or in the animal’s immediate surroundings (e.g., on bedding). After they’ve been “out” for a while, they stop moving and become harder, tinged with yellow, and somewhat translucent.
 
Because tapeworms shed body segments rather than individual eggs, the microscopic fecal examinations performed by veterinarians are actually not a very good way to diagnose whether or not tapeworms are present. Fecal examinations on pets with tapeworms often have false negative results.
 
If you think your pet has tapeworms, buy a deworming medication that contains praziquantel, epsiprantel, or fenbendazole and is labeled to work against tapeworms. Many products are available over-the-counter. Because the dosing instructions for tapeworms are sometimes different than for other intestinal parasites, make sure you read the label carefully and follow the instructions that are specifically aimed at getting rid of tapeworms.
 
Most pets get tapeworms because they have fleas. Fleas ingest tapeworm eggs. The tapeworms mature inside the flea to a stage where they can infect dogs and cats when the flea is eaten during self-grooming. Even if you don’t see fleas on your pet, it is very likely that they are present if your pet has tapeworms. Pets (especially cats) who hunt can also pick up tapeworms through eating rodents, birds, or rabbits who have ingested tapeworm eggs.
 
I’ve often heard owners complain that treatment for tapeworms didn’t work because they started seeing tapeworm segments again in just a few weeks. In almost all of these cases, I think the dewormer was effective in getting rid of the tapeworms that were present at the time, but the dog or cat quickly got reinfected. Dewormers have no preventive effect. The only way to stop dogs and cats from getting tapeworms again is to institute a good flea control program and/or stop them from hunting and eating rodents.
 
Tapeworms rarely make dogs and cats sick. If your pet doesn’t seem to feel well, I do not recommend treating for tapeworms. Make an appointment with your veterinarian instead.
 
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
 
Image: Best dog photo / Shutterstock
 
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TheOldBroad Ack! Worms! 05/19/2015 06:09pm "If you think your pet has tapeworms, buy a deworming medication that contains praziquantel, epsiprantel, or fenbendazole and is labeled to work against tapeworms."

Is it dangerous to the pet to be treated for tapeworms if they don't have them? Reply to this comment Report abuse Dr. Jennifer Coates 05/20/2015 03:24pm As long as you follow the directions on the label, these medications are very safe... even if no worms are present. Reply to this comment Report abuse
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Dogs Have Superpowers Even Beyond Their Noses http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/jvogelsang/2015/may/dogs-have-superpowers-even-beyond-their-noses-32748









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 > May 15, 2015 Dogs Have Superpowers Even Beyond Their Noses by Dr. Jessica Vogelsang








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Dogs, for all their familiar, comforting, domesticated presence in our homes, remain to me mysterious creatures. How an animal can predict epilepsy at one turn like some ethereal body scanner and drink out of the toilet the next moment is one of the great paradoxes of the universe; this capacity for strange miracles comingled with the banal. 
 
Some of the mystery surrounding dogs’ unusual prowess in sensing disease resides in their noses. The canine nose is thought to be between 10,000 and 100,000 times more sensitive than the human nose. In addition, a greater portion of their brain is dedicated to interpreting this massive amount of data.
 
Given their aptitude to experience the world through their noses, it’s no surprise than among the many things dogs can sniff out, cancer is one of them. Dogs have been trained to correctly identify lung cancer on the breath, colon cancer in the stool, and bladder cancer in the urine.
 
While we know dogs have been able to correctly identify the difference between ill patients and well ones, we still haven’t been able to isolate exactly what it is the dogs are smelling; inflammatory mediators, necrosis, or benzene derivatives secreted by cancer cells? Perhaps we’ll figure it out one day, but for now we can simply revel in the marvel of the idea of a dog breath-sniffer one day replacing the dreaded mammogram or colonoscopy.
 
In a 2006 study in Integrative Cancer Therapy, dogs from Guide Dogs for the Blind were able to identify breast cancer patients 88 percent of the time. Until they were trained to identify the smell of cancer, these dogs had completed only basic obedience training, meaning this sort of sniff sensitivity isn’t limited just to certain “supersniffer” canines.
 
My mother, who loves all of my dogs, remarked earlier this year that she had a special bond with my current pup Brody. It’s true, he lavishes love on everyone, but it seemed like he had a special attachment to her.
 
Three weeks ago she was diagnosed with a malignant glioblastoma, one of the most aggressive forms of cancer and the worst of all the brain cancers. We all realized that Brody knew well before the rest of us did.
 
We have no way to explain “this person has terminal cancer” to a dog the way we can to another person, no words we can use to get them to understand what is happening to their human. We don’t need to. In the time since the diagnosis, my parents have been staying with me. My dog, who has spent every night of his life sleeping by my bedside, hasn’t left her side. He sleeps at her feet at night, lays his head on her by the couch by day, and licks her toes whenever a medical person stops by to check on her.
 
“He’s my natural Xanax,” Mom says, and we laugh, but it’s true. Of all the gifts dogs have to offer, that is still the greatest one of them all. 
 
 

Dr. Jessica Vogelsang
 
 
Image: Annette Shaff / Shutterstock
 
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TheOldBroad Prescription 05/15/2015 06:17pm I wonder if the day will ever come that a prescription is written for "dog sniffing" or a reimbursable medical "dog sniffing" test.

Honestly, the "dog sniffing" sounds a lot more reliable and much easier than a series of work-up tests to make a diagnosis. Reply to this comment Report abuse 2 05/19/2015 12:22am I would love that. Dog sniffing vs colonoscopy? Sign me up. Reply to this comment Report abuse
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A Peek at the 2015 Preakness Race http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/aobriendvm/2015/may/peek-2015-preakness-race-32747







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 > May 14, 2015 A Peek at the 2015 Preakness Race by Dr. Anna O'Brien








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This Saturday is the Preakness, a thoroughbred horse race that is the second in a series of three races that make up the Triple Crown: the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont; all run within May and June every year. The Triple Crown is the epitome of horse racing — no other race or series of races comes close to the media coverage and hype each year.
 
The winner of this year’s Kentucky Derby was American Pharoah. Although I must admit I did not have a favorite in the Derby, I’m now rooting feverishly for American Pharoah to take the Triple Crown. There hasn’t been a Triple Crown winner since 1978. We’re sorely overdue.
 
In fact, it almost seems like the horses are mocking us. Since 2000, there have been six horses that have been “near misses” — those who win both the Derby and the Preakness, only to lose at the Belmont. Even as close as last year: Remember California Chrome?
 
Although Chrome’s co-owner was criticized for his outburst at the Belmont loss, I sympathized with him. A practical man with a tan cowboy hat, Steve Coburn accused the Belmont winner (a horse named Tonalist) of taking the coward’s way out by not running in either the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness, thereby ensuring he was fresh for the Belmont.
 
Although citing cowardice is harsh, to be sure, I completely understand Coburn’s frustration. Folks have suggested in the past that only horses who have run the Derby and the Preakness both should be allowed to run the Belmont, that way ensuring an even playing field. Would that help usher in the next Triple Crown winner? I think it would certainly make it more likely (this is coming from a person who believes with all her heart that she will not see a Triple Crown winner in her lifetime). But that doesn’t negate the fact that all previous Triple Crown winners (11 in total) have also faced the same challenge.
 
Many have wondered why we are waiting so long to see another Triple Crown winner. The theories are interesting. Some argue that thoroughbreds today simply don’t run races much longer than one mile and the Belmont is a beast at one and a half miles. Add on top of this the fact that today’s racehorses usually have four weeks of rest before each race, while the schedule of the Triple Crown demands two races only two weeks apart, followed by the Belmont three weeks later. No rest for the wicked.
 
Others blame today’s breeding, stating that most breeders now select for speed at the shorter distances instead of endurance. Many winners of the Belmont aren’t popular as studs because, I suspect, the Belmont is unique in its length nowadays.
 
The most intriguing theories to me are the medical ones. Horse racing regulations are tighter than ever regarding drug testing up to and the day of the races. Steroids were banned in 2008 from thoroughbred racing and the practicing of milkshaking was banned in 2005.
 
To “milkshake” a racehorse is to give him a large oral dose of bicarbonate on the day of the race. While bicarbonate itself is not considered a pharmaceutical — after all, it’s baking soda — this practice gives its users an edge: Bicarb helps neutralize the build up of lactic acid in the muscles. This is especially beneficial during longer races when muscle fatigue is more likely to affect performance.
 
I’m not sure about the use of steroids in the early 20th century, but I’ll bet those Triple Crown winners in the 1970s took advantage of a little bicarb — not that I want to drag Secretariat’s name through the mud. This 1973 winner, affectionately known as “Big Red,” is my all-time favorite racehorse. It was discovered at his death that he had an exceptionally large heart, estimated near twenty pounds. Large hearts in racehorses have been genetically linked, this trait being called the “x-factor,” as it filters down through the female’s side of the family tree.
 
Could it be that all we’re really searching for is another Triple Crown great with “heart?” Possibly. Let’s see if American Pharoah’s got what it takes.
 
 

Dr. Anna O'Brien
 
 
Image: ksb / Shutterstock
 
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TheOldBroad Tip 05/14/2015 06:28pm One of my favorite lines is,

"I'll give you a tip: Don't bet against Secretariat."

We all love a winner and I, personally, would love to see another take the Triple Crown. Reply to this comment Report abuse 1
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/aobriendvm/2015/may/peek-2015-preakness-race-32747#comments TheDailyVet Thu, 14 May 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32747 at http://www.petmd.com
When It Comes to Being Sick, Dogs and Cats Are Stronger Than Us http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/drjintile/2015/may/when-it-comes-being-sick-dogs-and-cats-are-stronger-us-32746









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 > May 13, 2015 When It Comes to Being Sick, Dogs and Cats Are Stronger Than Us by Dr. Joanne Intile








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I recently faced a case diagnosed with the most frightening disease known to the medical community. Once I learned the patient’s signalment (age, breed, and gender) and the description of his presenting signs (cough, congestion, restlessness, agitation, and poor appetite), I knew I was in for an incredible diagnostic and therapeutic challenge.
 
Surprisingly, my patient didn’t have an aggressive form of cancer. He also didn’t have outrageously complicated blood work abnormalities or questionable biopsy results. There were no broken bones or bleeding wounds to tend to. The patient wasn’t even a companion animal.
 
The subject I speak of was my husband.
 
And the diagnosis was the dreaded “Man Cold.”
 
Women around the globe are well aware of the enormous gap between what transpires physiologically when they are sick with a cold versus what transpires when a man is stricken with the same illness.
 
What will debilitate the male species to a puddle of trembling, feverish flesh is what woman bravely face on a Tuesday morning when pollen counts are up. My own research has found that “sick” men require approximately 75% more sleep, 50% more couch time, and 85% more take out food than their healthy counterparts. Sick women seem to require no such adjustments, and show quicker recovery times when they actually take on more than their usual workload.
 
In fact, most men insist that human MDs consistently underestimate the severity of a runny nose, swollen glands, and watery eyes in those possessing a Y chromosome, inexplicably confusing surefire signs of imminent death with those of the common cold.
 
My ill husband’s constant wincing, sighing, tossing and turning, and overall grumpiness led me to consider the outward signs of illness I see in my own patients.
 
As "serious" as we humans should be about Man Colds, I know this fictional disease biologically contrasts significantly with what sick animals encounter during the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
 
When I paused to consider the disparities, I concluded that although women handle illness far more gracefully than men, when it comes to the mental and physical toughness required to face a truly devastating diagnosis, it’s animals that really show us humans up, regardless of our gender.
 
Most newly diagnosed dogs with cancer actually show no life-threatening signs. They also maintain their stoicism while undergoing aggressive treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy. When illness develops, they are rarely prone to protests or changes in attitude. 
 
Cats, on the other hand, are typically diagnosed at more advanced disease stages. In turn, they are more likely to show signs of affliction. However, they aren’t particularly creative in their repertoire of symptoms, as most sick cats show identical signs, like hiding, constantly sleeping, or refusing to eat or drink regardless of the underlying cause. I wouldn’t consider any of outward these to be overly remarkable though.
 
From a strictly biological perspective, it's not surprising that companion animals are adept at hiding signs of disease. Domesticated cats and dogs, for the most part, retain at lease some semblance of the survival instincts of their wild ancestors, who are forced to mask signs of pain or sickness or otherwise be considered easy targets for other species to prey on them.
 
This certainly isn’t true for all animals, however, and owners must be careful when approaching their pets when they are sick, as their behavior can be unpredictable. Even the calmest pet could react by biting or scratching out of fear or pain when their more primitive reflexes overtake learned submissive behaviors.
 
Those patients are the most challenging from a veterinarian’s perspective as well. We are trained in the art of healing, yet this cannot be directly communicated to the animals we work with. We may be faced with an animal that behaves aggressively because it is scared, or put ourselves in danger in order to help treat a pet that ultimately views us as a threat.
 
Certain dogs will always wag their tails, no matter the amount of pain or suffering they endure. Purring can be a sign of affection or anxiety in cats, and may occur despite severe sickness and debilitation. Whether their actions are a result of nature or nurture is debatable. We are fortunate that the vast majority of our patients tolerate disease in a way that allows us to provide comfort, with zero complaint.
 
What matters more are the lessons humans could stand to learn from our veterinary counterparts when it comes to dealing with adversities related to our own health. We should be more patient, more tolerant, and keep negative thoughts from pervading our mindset in order to allow for the chance to heal.

Though there were touch and go moments this past weekend, it appears the Man Cold has completely resolved, with my subject making a near complete recovery. And I’m blowing off my newly developed annoying running nose and persistent cough because I really don’t have time to be sick myself.
 
Ladies — I know you understand what I mean.
 
 

Dr. Joanne Intile
 
 
Image: Sick as a dog, Michael Pettigrew / Shutterstock
 
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TheOldBroad Man Cold 05/13/2015 06:19pm I've not heard the dreaded Man Cold explained so well.

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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/drjintile/2015/may/when-it-comes-being-sick-dogs-and-cats-are-stronger-us-32746#comments TheDailyVet Wed, 13 May 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32746 at http://www.petmd.com
Are You Responsible Enough for the Dog Park? http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/ken-tudor/2015/may/are-you-responsible-enough-dog-park-32745









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 > May 12, 2015 Are You Responsible Enough for the Dog Park? by Dr. Ken Tudor








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As my last post suggested, not all dogs are “dog park dogs.” Well my time at my local dog park has shown me that not all humans are “dog park humans.” Let me explain.
 
The leading complaints people have about dog parks are the behavior of the owners.
 
Social Hour Owner
 
Some owners think dog park time is their time to socialize with other dog owners and leave the supervision of their dog to other dog owners. Social hour owners don’t see their dogs poop so they don’t clean it up. They are oblivious to annoying behaviors of their dog and absent if trouble arises. This is also true of the owner who thinks dog park time is their chance to read a book or the newspaper, or fixate on their cell phone.
 
Lack of Social Courtesy Owner
 
Some owners just don’t seem to believe that being a part of society means taking social responsibility, and are unresponsive to other dog owners who suggest their dog may be causing problems for other dogs and owners. These are the owners unwilling to exchange information — like "Is your dog vaccinated for rabies?" — or take financial responsibility for an injury to another dog. We had one owner leave the park with his dog after it bit a child without provocation. The dog’s rabies vaccination status was unknown. Fortunately the bite did not break the skin of the child.
 
Dog Rescuer Owner
 
We have a “crazy dog guy” in our city who has a great heart and rescues dogs of all ages and breeds. But he brings them to the dog park to socialize them. It always ends badly.
 
Clueless Owner
 
It is frightening how many people own dogs and haven’t a clue about them. These are the owners who bring female dogs that are in heat; unneutered, aggressive males; unvaccinated dogs; or dogs that have not been examined or treated for internal parasites.
 
Although these rules are posted at dog parks, they are completely unenforceable, especially if the park is on public property. These are the dog owners who don’t know the difference between normal and abnormal behavior and how to read dog ”body language” so that they know whether to act quickly or relax and let the dogs work it out. The dog park is not the place for the clueless dog owner to learn about dogs.
 
Dog park time is for the dog, not the owner. Owners need to be constantly attentive, in close proximity to their dogs, and have voice control at all times. They also need to be courteous, objective about their dog’s behavior, and have spent some time educating themselves about dog behavior.
 
I like the idea of dog parks and I truly feel the benefits of exercise, social play, and interacting with strange humans far outweigh the risks. But responsible dog owners need to realize the potential for injury and necessary veterinary and/or medical treatment, because not all dogs, or humans, are dog park material. 
 
 

Dr. Ken Tudor
 
 
Image: Rock and Wasp / Shutterstock
 
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TheOldBroad Clueless 05/12/2015 05:47pm From your post, I'm guessing that some humans think the dog will go about it's merry way and get all the exercise it needs all by itself. These are probably the same people that put Fido in the back yard, unsupervised, while they go about their business. And then they wonder how/why Fido got out or someone stole the dog. Reply to this comment Report abuse 3
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/ken-tudor/2015/may/are-you-responsible-enough-dog-park-32745#comments TheDailyVet Tue, 12 May 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32745 at http://www.petmd.com
Human Plague Outbreak Linked to Pet Dog http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/dr-coates/2015/may/human-plague-outbreak-linked-pet-dog-32735









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 > May 11, 2015 Human Plague Outbreak Linked to Pet Dog by Dr. Jennifer Coates








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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released their Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, which discussed a mini-outbreak of plague that occurred here in Colorado last year. Four people fell ill with the pneumonic form of the plague after coming in contact with a sick dog. The dog was euthanized before veterinarians could determine exactly what was going on (a full necropsy was not initially permitted), and it was only after one of the human patients was diagnosed with plague that follow-up testing revealed the cause of everyone’s illnesses.
 
The word “plague” conjures up pictures of the Middle Ages and epidemics that killed millions of people, but it is simply the name given to the disease that results from infection with Yersinia pestis bacteria. Plague can take three forms:
 

Bubonic — infection is localized in nearby lymph nodes after exposure occurs through the skin.
Pneumonic — infection involves the lungs resulting in pneumonia and can develop as a result of untreated bubonic plague or breathing in Yersinia pestis that has been coughed up by a sick person or animal.
Septicemic — infection of the blood that leads to shock and death if not treated quickly and aggressively.

 
In animals, plague is usually spread by fleas that feed on infected rodents, like prairie dogs (the most commonly affected species), rabbits, squirrels, mice, and rats. When an animal dies from the plague, the fleas leave the carcass to find another host, thus spreading the disease. Animals can also become sick after coming in contact with blood or tissues from another infected animal. This often happens through hunting or scavenging.
 
Treatment for plague is straightforward and includes appropriate antibiotic therapy, supportive care, and isolating patients until they are no longer contagious.
 
The CDC report on the cases in Colorado is notable for several reasons:
 

Symptomatic plague infections in dogs are quite rare. Unlike cats, dogs are naturally quite resistant to the plague. Feline behavior (hunting rodents) also puts them at greater risk for coming in contact with Yersinia pestis bacteria.


The possibility exists that one of the human cases resulted from direct human-to-human transmission. The last time this is thought to have happened in the United States was in 1924.


Dog-to-person transmission of the plague is even rarer. Only one other case like this has been reported.

 
I found the CDC’s timeline absolutely fascinating, particularly the fact that Patients B and C (both employees of the veterinary hospital that took care of the sick dog) put themselves on antibiotics without consulting their doctors. This practice is more common in the veterinary profession than we’ll ever admit to.
 

 
Now, plague is not a nationwide problem, but if you live or travel to the Western United States (especially the Four Corners region) you should take precautions, like these put forth by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, to protect yourself and your pets: 
 

Do not directly handle any dead rodents, including prairie dogs, rabbits, squirrels, mice and rats.


Keep pets away from wildlife, especially dead rodents.


Don’t let dogs or cats hunt prairie dogs or other rodents.


Don’t allow pets to roam freely.


Treat pets for fleas according to a veterinarian's advice.


Do not feed prairie dogs or other rodents. This attracts them to your property, brings them in close contact with other rodents, and increases the risk of disease transmission.


Be aware of rodent populations in your area and report sudden die-offs or multiple dead animals to your local health department.

 
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
 
Image: Patrick O'Connor / Shutterstock
 
 
Related
 
CDC Confirms Human Plague Infection from Dog in Colorado
 
The Plague is Alive and Well in the American West
 
Cat Infects Colorado Man with Bubonic Plague
 
Plague in Dogs
 
Plague in Cats
 
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PedroSheeler My Pet and me 05/11/2015 06:30am Nice article , We must take care of our beloved pet ,because they are the one who dont leave us at any situation in life, no matters its hard time or good.I love my love like hell. Reply to this comment Report abuse 2 TheOldBroad Bingo! 05/12/2015 05:50pm Not letting pets roam freely and keeping them clear of fleas. That's just good common sense anyway. Reply to this comment Report abuse 2
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/dr-coates/2015/may/human-plague-outbreak-linked-pet-dog-32735#comments TheDailyVet Mon, 11 May 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32735 at http://www.petmd.com
Seizures in Cats May be Caused By Weird Sounds http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/jvogelsang/2015/may/seizures-cats-may-be-caused-weird-sounds-32730









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 > May 08, 2015 Seizures in Cats May be Caused By Weird Sounds by Dr. Jessica Vogelsang








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When my husband and I first started dating, I quickly learned that he had a bizarre superpower that was of interest mostly only to him and his roommates: he could drive cats insane by making a weird noise.
 
The first time I saw him in action, his roommate’s cat Spike came roaring out of the bedroom, smacked him in the head, and immediately started pulling on the carpet. Later, before I banned the noise from the house, he would try it with our own cats and they would start scratching the furniture or biting my hands. It was an annoying noise, sure, but nothing shrill or disturbing enough that any of us could figure out why cats uniformly started destroying things when they heard it.
 
I put it out of my mind for many years, mostly because I wouldn’t let my husband indulge it any longer, but a recent article in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery regarding audiogenic seizures in cats has me wondering if maybe there is more to it than mere annoyance.
 
In this article, the authors identify a new epilepsy syndrome in geriatric cats, which they name Feline Audiogenic Reflex Seizures (FARS). While primary idiopathic epilepsy is uncommon in cats compared to dogs, it usually shares an early age of onset, around 1-4 years of age. FARS, on the other hand, has two distinguishing characteristics that make it a unique condition: first, the average age of affected cats is much greater. Second, the majority of FARS seizures are reflex seizures, caused by an identifiable stimulus.
 
While cat lovers have long taken notice of the feline’s unusual sensitivity to noise, this research paper seems to be the first to actually attempt to quantify it. Researchers solicited owners via advertisements, the Internet, and through veterinarians. If the cats appeared to exhibit behavior consistent with an audiogenic seizure, data was collected via a comprehensive questionnaire for inclusion into the study.
 
The mean age of cats in the study was 15 years of age. Interestingly, almost a third of the cats with FARS were Birman cats, and half of those affected were reportedly deaf or had hearing impairment. Owners identified very specific trigger noises that caused seizures; most commonly noted were crinkling of tinfoil, metal spoons clanking, tapping on a glass, keyboard noises, and jingling keys. While quiet noises could trigger the seizures, as they got louder the severity of the seizure increased.
 
While many of the cases were non-progressive, owners who pursued treatment were often able to manage seizures successfully with medication, and few felt that the seizures affected the cat’s quality of life. This means that fortunately, no one killed their pet off by dropping a spoon.
 
Though this research is very preliminary, it may open the door down the road to better understanding epilepsy in people as well as animals. It certainly makes the case that some of us need to find a better way to entertain ourselves with our cats. So what does this mean for owners who delight in irritating their cats with clinking coins or howling hoots? We might actually be herding them down the line towards a full blown tonic clonic seizure. If you find yourself in my husband’s company and he offers to show you his amazing cat trick, feel free to tell him no.
 
Do any of you have cats with very sensitive ears? What’s their trigger?
 
 

Dr. Jessica Vogelsang
 
 
Image: Telekhovskyi / Shutterstock
 
 
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Bliss Grey Yes 05/08/2015 10:49am I have a female cat who is at least 14+ years old. About six months ago I noticed that she twitches when the computer desk's metal closures click when I close drawers or covers. Lately I get the feeling that she does not hear well, if at all. She seems a little surprised when I approach her when she is not looking at me or is sleeping. The exception are those clicks at the computer desk and sometimes when I'm eating close to where she is resting. She is not a Birman cat, she is a copper and black colored stray that I brought in after feeding at my front door. One of her absences was so long that I thought that she had died. When she returned it was sub zero weather, she was horribly thin, and I discovered that she had been declawed on all four feet. She gained weight, and her health until she had a UTI issue and an overactive thyroid that is controlled with medication. When I first noticed the twitching I thought that her thyroid medication needed adjustment, but even with the adjustment she still twitches at metallic clicking sounds. Reply to this comment Report abuse 1 Peacecat Computer Games 05/08/2015 11:45am The first time I realized we had a problem was when I was playing a computer game and clicking really fast, my cat who was on a cat tree near my desk, started having a seizure and fell off the tree, after that any clicks or bag crinkle or anything in that range started causing him to shake and finally had to put him on phenobarbital. Reply to this comment Report abuse TheOldBroad Shame! 05/08/2015 05:56pm "So what does this mean for owners who delight in irritating their cats with clinking coins or howling hoots?"

Shame on anyone who causes pain of any kind, including seizures, for their own amusement. Reply to this comment Report abuse dr.mohamedghanem 05/09/2015 07:50am please tell me different affections of Nrevous disorders in cat
[url=www.fvtm.bu.edu.eg]Fac Vet Med[/url]
Benha Univ Reply to this comment Report abuse dr.mohamedghanem 05/09/2015 07:52am many cases have nervous signs without apparent cause
[url=www.fvtm.bu.edu.eg]Fac Vet Med Benha Univ[/url]

www.fvtm.bu.edu.eg Reply to this comment Report abuse
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/jvogelsang/2015/may/seizures-cats-may-be-caused-weird-sounds-32730#comments TheDailyVet Fri, 08 May 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32730 at http://www.petmd.com
New Yoga Positions for Veterinarians http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/aobriendvm/2015/may/new-yoga-positions-veterinarians-32729









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 > May 07, 2015 New Yoga Positions for Veterinarians by Dr. Anna O'Brien








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Tonight was yoga night in the living room. As I attempted various poses called “downward facing dog” and “mountain pose,” Jetta the dog insisted on licking my fingers and head butting me while Scabs the cat wound through my legs and aimed at jumping on my back. It was at best a semi-successful yoga session.
 
I have come to enjoy yoga, though I don’t practice it regularly. Although holding odd body contortions for prolonged periods and being constantly told to “breathe” may not sound like much fun, it does stretch out body parts that you didn’t even know you had and I’m told it’s great for core strength. However, sometimes I derive the greatest joy simply from learning the names of the poses.
 
Either the yogis of the past really liked animals, or they had a veterinarian in their midst, as a majority of poses are named after animals. Take “dolphin” for example, or “cat,” or “cobra.” There is even “cow," “lion,” “monkey,” and “heron.”
 
On some of these positions, I can feel and hear my shoulders crack and hips pop. I am reminded that palpating large Holstein dairy cows takes its toll on the human form (a common chronic use injury for large animal vets is rotator cuff injury) and I sometimes think that perhaps one should design a yoga session or two aimed at the large animal practitioner.
 
For starters, a very basic position, in which the practitioner is standing straight, with one arm long at the side and the other arm at a right angle to the body, could be called “Lucky Cow,” facetiously mimicking the stance we take as we palpate. During this position, the practitioner would close her eyes and her mouth, taking only deep breaths through the nose, focusing on the feel of ovaries and a bovine uterus and keeping manure out of her face.
 
Another possibility, albeit a position aimed at the more experienced Yoga for Vets practitioner, could be a pose in which the individual is bent at the waist at about a thirty-degree angle, with arms and legs bent and tense. Feel the tension in your hands as you wiggle your fingers in small, intricate movements. Focus your eyes on a small area just below your hands, visualizing suture material and a scalpel making incisions and tying knots. This is the “sheep C-section on barn floor” position. This position really helps strengthen the core and concentration abilities.
 
For the most seasoned Yoga for Vets practitioner, there is a position called “leaning Clydesdale.” In this position, one would be bent at about a seventy-degree angle, with arms curled as if she were holding something very heavy. The back would be rounded, and the legs strong, bent, and held shoulder’s width apart. Imagine a hoof — a very large hoof — in your lap, as you examine the sole for a tiny dark spot indicating the start of an abscess. Then visualize this hoof belonging to a two thousand pound draft horse who has decided that if you insist on holding his foot, then he can use you in place of his foot and therefore lean one quarter of his weight on your back. Don’t forget to breathe.
 
Granted, “sheep C-section on barn floor” doesn’t really have a good ring to it, but neither does Ardha Chandrasana, which means “half moon pose.” Perhaps “sheep C-section on barn floor” translates into something beautiful sounding in Hindu. If it does, I think I may have just found my marketing angle. In the meantime, I’ll work on perfecting my “cow” pose along with my “lucky cow” pose, provided the dog and cat stay out of the way. 
 


Dr. Anna O'Brien
 
 
Image: Yoga Cow, by fabulousfabs / Flickr
 
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TheOldBroad Yoga 05/07/2015 05:44pm Doesn't sound to me like you need to do yoga in your living room - you get plenty of poses on-the-job! Reply to this comment Report abuse 2
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/aobriendvm/2015/may/new-yoga-positions-veterinarians-32729#comments TheDailyVet Thu, 07 May 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32729 at http://www.petmd.com
Do You Love Your Vet? http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/drjintile/2015/may/do-you-love-your-vet-32728









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 > May 06, 2015 Do You Love Your Vet? by Dr. Joanne Intile








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This is a tough time to be a vet.
 
In September 2014, Dr. Sophia Yin, a vibrant, compassionate, world-renowned veterinarian and veterinary behaviorist, committed suicide at the age of 48. Her death shocked the veterinary community. A remarkable outpouring from within the veterinary profession soon followed to raise awareness of depression, compassion fatigue, and suicide prevention.
 
In March 2015, two veterinary students (one at U.C. Davis and one at Michigan State University) died suddenly within the same week. The loss of these bright and talented individuals far too early in their career paths was the next significant loss experienced among our peers.
 
In early April 2015, we dealt with the backlash of criticism surrounding a veterinarian in Texas who bragged on social media about successfully killing a cat by shooting it with a bow and arrow. Fortunately, most people recognized that the thoughtless, selfish, and reprehensible actions of a single doctor do not reflect the spirit of an entire profession. Not everyone felt this way, unfortunately, and many saw it as an opportunity to express their contempt for the veterinary profession.
 
Soon after, an article was published in the Washington Post entitled “Vets are too expensive, and it’s putting pets at risk.” The writer suggested that doctors take advantage of the emotional aspect of pet care by “jacking up prices” and not offering payment plans, ending with the snarky sentence, “veterinarians shouldn’t take advantage of our devotion to enhance their bottom lines.”
 
A few days ago, I received a copy of DVM360 magazine, a source of current events, news, and product information related to veterinary medicine. A quick glance at the table of contents revealed negative titles such as:
 
            The burden of care: Know the risks to your mental health
            The current state of veterinary job satisfaction
            Burnout, compassion fatigue, depression - What’s the difference?
            Tips and tools to be a happier veterinarian
            3 reasons to start your exit plan today
            Internships: A new tax on veterinarians?
 
And on the morning of writing this article, I happened to randomly respond to a thread on my community’s Facebook page regarding a dog owner inquiring about suggested solutions for dry skin. I read reply after reply of various home remedies, ranging from swearing by switching to a grain-free, gluten-free diet to bathing the dog in Dawn dishwashing soap. I felt compelled to offer a professional opinion.

I simply suggested that the original poster contact their veterinarian, or better yet, consider speaking with a veterinary dermatologist, as they would better be able to discern the cause of the itchy skin, rather than treat just the symptom. My response was rapidly overshadowed by a suggestion to use coconut oil as a cure-all. Granted, I didn’t post my answer as a veterinarian, but I truly don’t think it would have made any difference in how quickly my reply was dismissed.
 
In the midst of all these negative posts, articles, and news snippets, I came across a blog entry written by a veterinarian entitled, “Does anyone out there love their vet?” 
 
The author described each of the same stories I’ve written about above, and how they impacted her specifically with regard to her professional morale. I immediately connected with her message. She ended the piece by asking for a very humble task from those who believe in veterinarians and veterinary medicine.
 
She simply asked her readers to tell her that they loved their vet.
 
Her goal was simple: to eradicate disapproval and hate by having people show an outpouring of support and love and appreciation for those veterinarians they are happy with. The responses to her request were overwhelmingly positive.
 
In the end, my job isn’t about arguing about prices and it’s not about focusing on the sadness. It’s about the moments where I know I’ve made a difference in my patients' lives.
It’s about knowing I’ve helped so many pets live longer and happier lives because of my capabilities.
 
During this tough time in our profession, I hope my colleagues will find the time to think of the owners who are truly appreciative of their work and try to lessen their focus on those who don’t.
 
I want them to think of their successes, and I want to remind them to remember that despite our most valiant efforts, we simply cannot help every patient we see.
 
And I want to emphasize that sometimes it’s okay to turn off the media channels when they are telling you that you’re doing anything less than your best.
 
Our jobs are tough enough as it is. We don’t need to make it tougher by being anything less than gentle on ourselves.
 
 

Dr. Joanne Intile
 
 
Image: Ivonne Wierink / Shutterstock
 
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TheOldBroad Love My Vet! 05/06/2015 06:59pm My vet is amazing! He always goes the extra mile. I like to think it's just me to whom he is so attentive, but I know he treats all his clients like that.

If he's late for an appointment, he always apologizes. I always tell him that I'm just glad it's not my turn to have an emergency and that the time he took with the other client helped with a positive outcome for that critter.

I totally agree with your FaceBook reply to see a vet to find the root cause of the critter's skin problem. Sometimes the home remedies aren't what that particular animal needs and a professional opinion is always good. Reply to this comment Report abuse 2 mharding01 Love my vet 05/08/2015 01:27pm I love my vet,too. She helped my cat survive a brain tumor by sending us to a neurologist who saved his life. Now I have a another cat with a less dramatic problem but also one less amenable to a cure. She understands my financial limits and helps me work within them.

The cost of veterinary care is a problem for me but I don't hold my vet or the profession responsible. Care costs money. I looked at the detailed bill from my cat's brain surgery - every charge made sense to me.

I am sorry vets feel such stress. I appreciate every vet who has treated my cats. I wish human doctors were as compassionate and considerate. Reply to this comment Report abuse 3 erienge A thankless job 05/11/2015 04:47pm I have been fortunate enough to have 8 dogs in my lifetime. I just recently had to put down my 18 year old Aussie, who I dearly adored.
When I adopted my Aussie, she was obese and tested positive for heartworm. I took her into my long time vet, and we took the weight issue first, and the heartworm shortly after. Never was there a discussion about, it's too late for her. You should have had her tested before you adopted her, etc. It was simply help her to her full potential. She was 6 years old when I adopted her. And she lived a very full and rewarding life. I know my life was greatly enriched by her presence. I have heard the naysayers who say heartworm is a made up disease by vets to sell medicine. I have had 2 dogs with heartworm. One didn't make it. I have heard that vaccinations actually make a dog sick, or god forbid give them cancer. Of my 8 dogs, only one did not live past 8 years old. Two of them lived to be 16 and 18 years. I tell you this, only because I don't think any of my beloved pets would have lived as long as they did with out compassion and guidance from our vets. The one dog that died young, my vet came in on Easter Sunday to do emergency surgery on him. Monday morning, he passed. I don't know who cried harder, my vet or me.
Vets have a thankless job from voiceless patients. Talk about having to figure out the puzzle. I look to my pets for approval of the vet. In the words of my recently departed father, if you think you can do better, than have at it. Thank you to all vets. Reply to this comment Report abuse 1
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/drjintile/2015/may/do-you-love-your-vet-32728#comments TheDailyVet Wed, 06 May 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32728 at http://www.petmd.com
Would Your Dog Fit in at the Dog Park? http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/ken-tudor/2015/may/would-your-dog-fit-dog-park-32726









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 > May 05, 2015 Would Your Dog Fit in at the Dog Park? by Dr. Ken Tudor








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I absolutely believe that giving to local charities more directly helps pets than giving to large organizations with bloated bureaucracies and complicated distribution of funds. That is why my homemade dog food business has chosen a local pet adoption group and a local dog park as my official company charities. The helpful effects of my donations are immediate.
 
In the case of my local dog park, I regularly hang around as an informal “Ask the Vet-Anything” source for the pet parents using the park. We are the only dog park in the area, or perhaps anywhere, that offers this type of service to dog owners. My time there shows me that dog parks can be both good and bad for dogs, and dog parents must weigh the benefits against the potential risks.
 
Here is what I have learned:
 
Dog Park Dogs are Healthier
 
Over 90 percent of the dogs that use our park are fit and at their ideal body weight. This is opposed to less than half of my veterinary patients that are ideal weight.
 
Admittedly, about half of our dogs are young and not yet experiencing a slowing metabolism, but exercise is still playing a significant role in their fitness. Between fetching tennis balls and Frisbees, chasing each other, and running to greet every newcomer, dog park dogs are burning far more calories than if they were strolling with their owners (the typical leash walk that burns 0 calories). The owners also report that the exercise makes the dogs more calm at home and decreases separation anxiety.
 
Not all dogs are “dog park dogs”
 
Because dog parks are “off-leash” areas, dogs going to dog parks need to already be well socialized and very obedient to voice command. Dogs that are fearful of other dogs display body language that either invites attack from other dogs or results in attacks on other dogs during group play.
 
Group situations quickly turn to what I call “feeding frenzies” and typically end with injury to dogs and to the owners trying to separate the dogs. In this frenzied state, dogs revert to pure instinct of the primitive brain and are difficult to control and command. I have personally given first-aid to both injured dogs and their owners.
 
This is why I don’t take my dog to dog parks. I rescued her when she was older and she clearly is not comfortable around other dogs or people. Putting her in an uncomfortable social setting only stresses her, and because she is part pit bull it could result in unpredictable behavior and serious consequences. She is not a “dog park dog.”
 
With group play, this frenzied behavior is going to happen even when dogs are closely supervised by their owners. But if all of the dogs are well socialized, I have noticed that the dogs quickly resolve it themselves, with the participants showing the necessary body language to end the pack dynamic and return to normal group play.
 
The bottom line is that a dog park is not the place to socialize a dog. That should be done between the ages of 7-16 weeks of age, the peak time for effective socialization. Puppy classes or play dates with vaccinated and healthy dogs and puppies and constant encounters with strangers in controlled situations are better. And no, dogs do not need to be fully vaccinated before starting a socialization program. These posts should help explain why.
 
 

Dr. Ken Tudor
 
 
Image: Stanimir G.Stoev / Shutterstock
 
 
Related
 
Could You Be Waiting Too Long to Socialize Your Puppy?
 
Puppy Vaccinations Take Back Seat to Socialization
 
No, Your Dog Does Not Have to Be Social
 
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TheOldBroad Local Area 05/05/2015 07:28pm I, too, believe in supporting local animal charities. It's been my understanding that some of the "national" large charities spend far too much on marketing and little on the animals.

Plus, I believe it's good to improve my own "back yard" before trying to set the rest of the world right. Reply to this comment Report abuse 1 erienge Not Dog Park worthy 05/15/2015 04:35pm I have two dogs. One blue Heeler mix and one pure bred Aussie. Both dogs were adopted and both were fairly socialized as puppies. My Heeler was socialized as a working dog. A little differently than a companion dog. Obviously he has a strong instinct to herd, and he was raised to herd cattle and horses. When we go to the dog park, he herds the group of dogs that run. He does what he was trained to do, nip at the heels and get them under control. Most companion type dogs don't get it and sometimes become fearful of him. Almost all non-herding type dog owners especially don't get it and ask me what's wrong with my dog. Nothing! He is acting as he was taught and as his breed characteristics are. But he gets stressed by the environment, herding packs, protecting me and so forth. It is overwhelming for him. So we opt out of dog parks for him. My Aussie, loves it. So, one of us takes the aussie to the dog park, and the other walks the Heeler around the area. I am a firm believer that part of being a responsible dog owner is not putting your dog in a situation where they will fail or worse get hurt or hurt someone. Bottom line, dog park visits stress out my Heeler. And after all, isn't the whole purpose to do something that makes them happy? Reply to this comment Report abuse 1
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How Helpful Is the New Kidney Test in Dogs and Cats? http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/dr-coates/2015/may/how-helpful-new-kidney-test-dogs-and-cats-32725
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When Disaster Strikes, Who Helps the Animals? http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/jvogelsang/2015/may/when-disaster-strikes-who-helps-animals-32721
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You Don't Have to Tip the Vet... But There Are Exceptions http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/aobriendvm/2015/april/you-dont-have-tip-vet-but-there-are-exceptions-32720







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 30, 2015 You Don't Have to Tip the Vet... But There Are Exceptions by Dr. Anna O'Brien








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After a recent visit to a local coffee house (okay, one of many regular, habitual visits), I was reminded by the tip jar on the counter of something that happened to me one spring. On this particular call, I assisted during an extremely tough goat delivery. The medical term for this obstetric problem is fetal-dam disparity, which simply means that the kid was too big and the doe was too small.
 
Although the front feet were coming out normally, the kid’s head was back and twisted to the side such that when I pulled on the legs, the nose would slide under the pelvis instead of through it. I worked for almost an hour trying to rotate the kid and get the head lined up with the front legs through the pelvic canal, to no avail. Finally I was able to slide some baling twine around the head, and with gentle but firm traction, kept the head and legs in alignment and pulled the kid out.
 
Given the amount of time it took to deliver the kid, chances were low that it was still alive, but as I laid it on the ground, I felt a weak heartbeat. However, the baby wasn’t breathing. Having worked way too hard to deliver this kid, I wasn’t about to let it die in my arms. So, after rubbing it vigorously, swinging it upside-down to encourage fluid to drain from its lungs, sticking straw in its nose to stimulate sneezing, administering doxapram (a respiratory stimulant sometimes used in neonates), and still getting no response, with dull, hazy eyes staring back at me, I performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
 
Slowly, after some breaths through its wet and slimy nose and short, quick pumps on its thin and narrow chest, the kid took some labored, open-mouthed gulps for air. After a few more minutes of stimulation, the kid was taking more regular breaths and as I was putting things back in my truck, I could hear the kid vocalizing for its mother; it was going to live.
 
After the owner paid his bill and I was starting to pull down his driveway to head to my next appointment, he handed me a twenty-dollar bill. Confused, since he had just paid his bill in full, I pushed it back at him, but he insisted it was for me.
 
“Oh, I can’t accept this, sir,” I said, trying to hand him back the money. The owner was persistent, reaching his arm into the driver’s side window.
 
“No, take it,” he said. “You’re the first person I’ve ever seen do mouth-to-mouth on an animal.”
 
Every once in a while an owner has attempted to tip me, but until this point I had been able to politely decline. I mean, this is my job. This is what I do. I am touched by an owner’s gratitude, but I always try to decline. However, given that I sometimes receive jars of pickled fish as a thank you, perhaps cold, hard cash is the more desirable of the potential benefits.  
 
 

Dr. Anna O'Brien
 
 
Image: Lee O'Dell / Shutterstock
 
 
Related
 
Birthing Season, Part 2
 
For the Love of Lambs
 
Some of Life's Best Gifts Come in Jars
 
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TheOldBroad Tipping 04/30/2015 05:50pm Plus, it's always good to remember the doctor as well as the staff during the holidays! Reply to this comment Report abuse
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/aobriendvm/2015/april/you-dont-have-tip-vet-but-there-are-exceptions-32720#comments TheDailyVet Thu, 30 Apr 2015 11:00:00 +0000 32720 at http://www.petmd.com
The Hardest Parts About Being a Veterinarian - and the Best Parts http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/drjintile/2015/april/most-difficult-veterinary-lessons-32719









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 29, 2015 The Hardest Parts About Being a Veterinarian - and the Best Parts by Dr. Joanne Intile








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I’ve wanted to be a veterinarian from the time I was a tiny child and could comprehend what it was those amazing doctors did. I’m not unique in this capacity — many of my peers would tell you the same story.
 
Veterinarians are lovers of animals and science, blessed with the ability to heal patients who rarely comprehend our intentions. Most of us have known pretty much since forever that this is what we were born to do.
 
I frequently encounter young people looking for advice on how to succeed in veterinary medicine. I am by no means an expert in career counseling, but with the 10-year anniversary of my graduation from vet school on the horizon, I feel qualified to offer some insight to those of you considering veterinary medicine as your career choice.
 
Here are some of the harder things I’ve learned:
 

Prepare yourself for debt. The cost of education is rising and veterinary schools are no exception. Students are graduating with higher and higher levels of debt, and there’s concern for oversaturation of the market with new doctors unable to secure employment. Starting salaries can be so low the average person’s student loans exceed their income by ratios considered substantial enough to inflict “economic pain”.
 
I recall hearing information alluding to the financial difficulties I would face pursuing veterinary medicine as a career path. I, along with my peers, typically countered those statements with the noblest of intentions, stating I didn’t care about money and vet med was my passion.

 
Unfortunately, student loan officers care little about my passion when it comes to repaying my debt. Not surprisingly, neither does my mortgage lender, my electric company, or the person who owns the gas station where I fill up my car. Reality is the debt matters and can detract from job satisfaction because of the pressure to perform.

 
I’m not suggesting only the wealthy become veterinarians, but you need to consider what incurring hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt will do for your future goals outside of those related to your professional career.


 

Veterinary medicine is extremely hard work. This is true not only in the sense of the academics required to attain admission to school or the brains required to keep you there, but also in the physical demands of the job.
 
Long days spent on your feet, hours spent performing complicated surgeries, wrestling fractious patients, performing exams on floors, enduring bites and scratches — each of these contribute to stress and strain beyond those related to emotion.

 
Depending on where you live, you may need to tolerate a long commute, work overnights; be on call for emergencies, or work at multiple clinics (or all of those things at once.)

 
This is not a 9-5 profession and you won’t be spending a lot of time at your desk. You will be physically challenged each day and the toll can be exhausting. What seems plausible at 25 years of age might be impossible at 50.

 
You can only sustain the lifestyle if you keep yourself physically and mentally healthy.


 

Euthanasia is a part of the job. Many times I meet people who say they wanted to pursue veterinary medicine as their career choice, but couldn’t deal with putting animals to sleep. Even after enduring this conversation so many times in my life, I still find it a strange commentary on my profession. I certainly didn’t become a veterinarian because I enjoy euthanizing animals.
 
Alleviating suffering associated with disease or debilitating conditions is something veterinarians view as an acceptable and necessary “evil”. No veterinarian relishes the idea of killing an animal. However, we know euthanasia is a tremendous responsibility we are entrusted to.

 
You need to view euthanasia as importantly as you do all other aspects of your job and embrace it for its benefits rather than shy away from it because it’s difficult.


 

Not everyone thinks your work is important. Many people love animals. However not everyone “agrees” with the idea of spending money on pets, whether for preventative measures or to treat disease.
 
Many people view veterinary oncology as a depressing, torturous, and unnecessary career path. It may sound harsh, but I’m uninterested in their opinion. I know my work is important to the owners who seek my care and expertise.
 
You need to be prepared for every person you meet who truly treats their pet as their child; there may be dozens who view them as replaceable property. And they will not hesitate to tell you your job has no meaning in their opinion.


 

You will rarely receive praise for your time and effort, but when you do, it can be the best feeling in the world. Again, this isn’t unique to veterinary medicine. Few professions are truly outwardly rewarding on a daily basis. However, when you know deep down that you have helped an animal get well, or prevented them from contracting disease, or even when you relieve their suffering through euthanasia, you are given a sense of purpose. All too often, this needs to come from within, and if you are the type of person who thrives on praise and expressions of gratitude, this isn’t the field for you.

 
Like all professions, veterinary medicine has its fair share of frustrations, grief, and difficulties. There are equally as many astonishing moments guaranteed to leave you speechless and saddened as there are those that will leave you comforted and happy.
 
If you can keep your ideals realistic, thicken your skin a bit, and smile brightly despite the negatives, you’ll be able to endure this career for the long haul.
 
Or, at least for 10 years, as I have.
 
 

Dr. Joanne Intile
 
 
Image: wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock
 
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Myrogue Vets 05/01/2015 01:50pm You paint the ideal picture of a good vet attitude. Unfortunately in France, vets don't care much about the animals they treat, they are far more interested in the wellness of their bank account. It's a shame but this is my experience since living in France. I have had reasons to see three different vets in the course of 13 years and I am not impressed. My last and present dog has a tumor in her right shoulder which is very painful and it appeared suddenly one evening, she then started to limp and we took her to the vet the next day. The vet was far more concerned about us not having an appointment for an emergancy than the pain my dog was in. He also pretty rough handled her which didn't do her any good. Now I have a traumatised dog which is scared of vets. I never had a problem like this in England where I used to live, my dogs where never scared or worried about the visit to the vet, now I have. Reply to this comment Report abuse KarissaGaudry Thanks 05/01/2015 09:35pm Thank you for your wonderful post, yes there are vets who don't care, but just like doctors and anyone else you see you need to research. Before I took my dog to the vet I researched them all in the city I lived in. I looked not only at the price, but the awards given, I looked at the building and met the vets before I chose to take my dog to one. See my dog is like my child, when I was assaulted she tried to save me, at 8 pounds there wasn't much she could do, but she got thrown into a wall and it was to save ME. There is no price on the loyalty you get with a pet. They need you to care for them, now my dog and I are almost inseparable, yes I have issues being away from her longer then 8 hours, however she's helping me with that, when I start to have flashbacks, nightmares, or panic attacks she's always right there in my face making sure I am too distracted to think about anything but her jumping and whining. When I didn't have glasses if we went on a walk she would let me know if someone was walking towards or near me by pointing in the direction of the person and letting out a little bark. I would never replace my dog with anything, and I respect the vets that do their work so well Reply to this comment Report abuse Myrogue 05/02/2015 12:15pm Thank you for responding, I know what it feels like to be violeted, I was violated once but no dog. My dogs are like my children and I deeply care about them. My dog has osteo sarcoma and is far too old to be operated, she is 12 years old. I also disagree with chemotherapy as it does more harm than good. I have experienced this as I had cancer three times. Right now my dog is on painkillers to dull the pain and on powdered olive leaves, ginger root, thyme and an anti cancer root from Algeria and a lot of TLC, which is most important. I don't know whether these work but she is in no pain, eats a little raw meat every day and sleeps. At least twice a day she hase to go out to do her business which is good as it also empties the lymphatic glands. The change in diet to raw meat was necessary as she didn't eat anything else, except cat food occasionally. Dogs have a sort of inner knowledge, they sense what is good for them and what harms them food wise. She hasn't touched any commercial food for over three weeks. Unfortunately there are no holistic vets in France, at least not in our area, Paris is over 300 miles from here and I haven't seen one there either. Dogs are the best companion a person can have, they are your best friend, when you are sad they lend a furry shoulder and they help in their own unique way. If you let them they are always there for you and there is no charge. Reply to this comment Report abuse
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http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/drjintile/2015/april/most-difficult-veterinary-lessons-32719#comments TheDailyVet Wed, 29 Apr 2015 21:31:09 +0000 32719 at http://www.petmd.com