Has Your Dog Been Skunked?

Skunks can be found roaming in backyards this time of year, and if you have a curious dog, he or she may become a skunk’s latest victim. Many dog owners have experienced living with a skunked dog, and the aftermath can be quite unpleasant. Many over the counter products such as Skunk-Off brand rinses and shampoos can be quite affective at removing the odor. If your dog gets sprayed and you find yourself empty-handed, however, this at home remedy can be used in place:

16 oz of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide
¼ c of Baking Soda
1 t of liquid soap (Dawn dish soap is recommended)

Mix ingredients together and apply with a cloth while wearing latex or rubber gloves. Let the solution stand for 5 – 10 minutes, then rinse the dog well with warm water and towel dry thoroughly. The odor should be gone!

If your dog has been sprayed in his or her eyes, it’s important to seek veterinary attention. Temporary blindness and infection can occur if the dog goes untreated.

Canine Stomach BloaT: What to do if it Happens to Your Dog

Gastric dilatation/volvulus (GDV) is a serious life-threatening condition that develops very quickly.  Without quick intervention, most dogs are lost once they develop this problem.

The cause is not well understood. Large deep-chested breeds (Great Danes, Mastiffs, Fox Hounds, others) are more commonly affected, but the problem can occur in any breed, even small dogs.  The presence of food in the stomach with extreme activity after eating seems to put a dog at risk, so a likely scenario would be a large dog playing hard right after eating.

Dilatation describes a stomach that is distended or enlarged, and the dilatation part of the problem occurs first (“bloat”).  A stomach dilated with either food or gas behaves differently in the abdomen and is more likely to twist, which is the volvulus part of the equation.  Imagine holding a sock by each end.  Enlarge the heel portion to get the dilatation.  The twisting motion can then occur by flipping the dangling middle around in a circle.  Twisting can also occur by exchanging the position of your right and left hands.  Some cases will have both types of twists at the same time.  As the twisting occurs, blood flow is kinked off.  At this point the stomach can’t empty itself but continues to seep fluid into it’s lumen, and gas increases.  These stomachs become extremely large and press on the heart and lungs through the diaphragm, leading to decreased heart function and shock.  The blood supply to the spleen is closely related to that of the stomach and the spleen becomes quickly compromised.  Oftentimes a splenectomy is required at surgery in addition to the correction of the stomach displacement.

Owners will see a variety of signs, including depression, drooling, vomiting or attempts to vomit, defecation and straining to defecate.  Some dogs will stand with forelimbs positioned far forward and their belly low to the ground.  A quickly enlarging abdomen is sometimes seen, an ominous sign.  Many owners report a foreboding sense of something wrong as the only initial sign noted.  This is truly a condition when minutes count, and these dogs must be assessed quickly.

Diagnosis is by x-ray.  If only dilatation is present, passage of a stomach tube and removal of gas may correct the condition.  If not, surgery is the only option, and must be done quickly.  Post-operative monitoring is very important.  As the stomach is untwisted, sequestered electrolytes and toxins are released to be absorbed into the system, and these patients are prone to cardiac arrhythmia.  As a result, many of these patients must be managed at a referral center with 24 hour care for a day or two.

Prevention involves slowing food intake and preventing extreme exercise immediately after eating.  Some believe that elevating the food bowl may help prevent the disorder, while others now believe that may predispose your dog to the problem. Gastropexy involves surgically anchoring the stomach to prevent twisting.  This is easily done during a spay but requires an involved surgery otherwise.  Gastropexy prevents the twisting part of the problem but not the dilatation (“bloat”).  Again, the mechanism of GDV is poorly understood.  Some cases defy explanation as to why they occur.

Heartworm Prevention

Most pet owners are aware that dogs contract heartworms after being bitten by an infected mosquito.  There is no other way for your dog to contract heartworms.  When there is a foot or two of snow on the ground, Ohio isn’t exactly overrun with mosquitoes.  So why is it important to keep your dog on prevention all year?

Heartworm prevention isn’t actually a literal preventative.  Instead, it works by killing heartworms in your pet’s tissues in the microfilaria stage.  If your pet has microfilaria in his/her system, heartworms will develop unless the preventative is given.  Also, preventatives such as Interceptor and Heartgard Plus do not remain in your pet’s body for an entire month but only for a matter of days.  It should be dosed once a month because it takes more than a month for microfilaria to develop enough to migrate from the tissues.

Due to the seasonal variations in this area that we seem to experience each year, warm whether can occur at any time.  This unpredictability can lead to lingering mosquito populations and a risk of infection to your dog if he or she is not on heartworm preventative year round.  Uninterrupted protection will guard your dog when we have a bout of warm weather or if you and your pet travel to a warmer client.

Heartworm preventatives don’t just treat heartworms but also cover some intestinal parasitic diseases like hookworm, roundworm, and whipworm infestations.  These parasite eggs can withstand extreme temperatures and can be present all year.  Additionally, roundworms and hookworms are considered zoonotic diseases, meaning they can be transmitted to pet owners and their children.

Lastly, it’s good to keep your dog on prevention every year in order to stay in the habit of giving your dog the medication each month.  The cost to prevent heartworm disease is minute, $40-78 a year depending on the size of your pet, when compared to treating an infected dog which can run several hundred dollars.  Preventatives are safe but treatment can be dangerous, so remember to give your pet his/her tablet each month!

Chocolate Toxicity

When your dog eats chocolate, several types of complications are possible. Chocolate is made from the cacao bean, and contains high levels of methylxanthine alkaloids. These compounds can cause acute (think fast-acting) stomach, nervous system, and cardiac problems. Affected animals show signs in 2-4 hours and can quickly develop vomiting and diarrhea, and seem very agitated or energized. Seizures can result. Theobromine is one of the compounds responsible and has effects similar to the caffeine many of us crave first thing in the morning.

In general, dark chocolate creates more of a problem than milk chocolate. Read the
percentage of cacao content on various packages in the grocer’s baking aisle to understand why—the darker the chocolate, the higher the content of the bean. That said, the increased fat content of milk chocolate can cause a particularly nasty stomach or pancreatic upset sometimes. And your dog knows there are goodies under the tree or in that heart-shaped box at Valentine’s Day, even if they’re wrapped. Always keep chocolates out of paw’s reach.

Take accidental chocolate ingestion seriously. Our dogs are much smaller than us but ingest large amounts quickly. Depending on the amount ingested and the size of your dog, chocolate can even cause death.

Online Pharmacies: Buyer Beware

When it can feel like you’re being bombarded with advertisements for online veterinary pharmacies, you may begin to wonder, “Are the prices really better than my own vet?”  “Would it be easier to have my pet’s prescription mailed to me rather than having to pick it up?”  As with most things in life, online pharmacies aren’t always as great as they may seem.

FDA regulators have documented multiple unscrupulous practices related to the sale of unapproved and counterfeit pet drugs.  They have also found online pharmacies dispensing prescription drugs without a prescription and selling expired drugs.  The Center for Veterinary Medicine  is mostly concerned about the purchase of NSAIDs such as Deramaxx and Metacam and heartworm preventatives without involvement by veterinarians, as the unsupervised use of these medications can not only be dangerous but fatal.

In addition to the potential dangers, the prices offered by online pharmacies are not always the best.  In fact, most times we have received prescription requests from such websites, our prices have been markedly lower.  We are also happy to mail medications to any of our established clients if they prefer.    

Source:  DVM Newsmagazine


Ticks are big news in the state of Ohio. Ticks carry many diseases including Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichiosis, but Lyme disease is causing a great deal of concern lately. Although the state was not considered a Lyme disease endemic state in past years, that is changing. In 2011 the Ohio Department of Health reported an increase in the black legged tick population that is more than 60 times higher than in 2010. Coshocton County is now considered endemic for Lyme disease. With this species of tick being the primary carrier of the disease, it is expected there will be a sharp increase in Lyme disease cases.

If your dog becomes infected, symptoms appear anywhere from 1 week to 2-5 months after the tick has attached. These symptoms may include increased drinking/urination, loss of appetite, swollen lymph nodes, fever, and/or lameness. If you feel your pet may be infected, diagnosis can be done with a simple in house blood test (the annual heartworm test now checks for Lyme disease), and treatment is not only safe, but relatively effective. If your dog is left untreated long term, however, the disease becomes more difficult to cure completely, with chronic arthritis and chronic kidney disease being possible outcomes. Not all dogs that test positive go on to develop clinical disease.

There are ways to prevent Lyme disease in your dog. First, there is a highly affective annual vaccine available. Second, it is important to have your pet on a monthly tick prevention product. Different products are available for varying situations of exposure. Some research indicates a tick must be attached for about 24 hours to transmit disease. Third, check your pets over regularly for any ticks and detach any found as soon as possible. By taking these simple precautions, your dog can be protected from Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases.

Sources: Ohio Department of Health, lyme-disease-info.com