Seems like Ace and I, as we keep piling on the years, take turns these days experiencing health problems — from the pesky to the potentially fatal.
Saturday was his turn again.
He woke me up about 5:30 a.m. to be let outside, not all that unusual. But then he declined to come back in. He just wandered about the backyard, stopping here and there, straining to pee, but to no avail.
Once he did come back in, he wanted out again two minutes later, where he again attempted, unsuccessfully, to complete the task.
As I do with my own ailments, I got on the Internet to Google the possibilities — urinary tract infection, stones of some sort, or some other kind of obstruction that was blocking him from doing what he needed to do.
Given it was already 10 a.m. when I called his vet, and that they close at noon on Saturday, I wasn’t too surprised when I was told all slots were filled. But I was promised that a vet would call me back.
When he did, about 30 minutes later, I told him Ace was struggling to pee and that, to my knowledge, he hadn’t been able to all morning. Otherwise, he seemed fairly normal, and not in pain, not even when I pushed and prodded around his abdomen.
The vet — not the one I usually see at the practice — told me that, while I might have to wait around for an opening, I could bring Ace in. And he told me I probably should. If I waited until Monday, and Ace went all that time without peeing, he’d likely be dead by then.
After taking some X-rays, the vet showed me what he said were bladder stones — faint little circles, and some not so little, inside his bladder. He said it would take some testing to determine which kind of stones they were (some are more easily treated than others). The first priority though, was to get that obstruction cleared and that bladder drained, so he suggested a catheter.
I winced at the word. It has only been a few months since I was treated to that process while in the hospital for bypass surgery. Of all the highly intrusive things they did to me (okay, for me) the installation of the catheter remains my most traumatic memory. The mere word gives me shivers.
Why, I wondered then, and still do, would they install this device into a person without knocking him out — good and out — first?
I would not wish it on my worst enemy, much less my best friend.
Ace, his tail tucked between his legs rather than in its normal full and upright position, was ushered to a back room, and I stepped outside to pace and worry. I didn’t exactly “feel his pain,” but I did remember mine.
As soon as I stepped back into the office, only about five minutes later, the vet and a technician came into the waiting room with Ace and said things were flowing again. Ace, thanks to the catheter, had peed, and peed some more, and one little stone came out in the process.
The vet tech took Ace outside and he peed some more. His curled-up tail, which had been in the down position all day, was up — generally a sign that all is right with the world, or at least his world.
While the emergency was over, the ailment remains. Tests of his urine this week will determine whether the stones still inside his bladder are of the struvite variety, which can sometimes be treated with a therapeutic diet, or calcium oxalate stones, which require surgical removal to totally get rid of them.
Whatever the case, I’m sure Ace will handle what’s ahead in a far more classy and stoic manner than I would.
These days, we both grunt a bit now when settling down, or getting up. We’re both a little slower. We both have to shift around a bit to get comfortable, then stretch ourselves out when we get back up again.
But somehow he is better at this aging thing than me. It has been almost three years since he, now 10, surpassed me, now 61, according to most formulas for comparing dog years to human years. Now, as a large dog, he’s aging much more quickly than I am — even though you wouldn’t know it to look at us.
This week’s medical agenda includes the testing of his urine, whatever steps are deemed necessary for him after that, an echocardiogram on me to assess how my heart is working after quintuple bypass surgery, and another visit to my physical therapist for a continuing back and shoulder problem, now being treated by something called “dry needling.”
I’ll spare you the details of that. Suffice to say, for me — and even for my dog — getting old is getting old.
(A special thanks to Brian LeFevre at Winston-Salem’s Ard-Vista Animal Hospital for working Ace into his schedule and getting things flowing again.)
Posted by John Woestendiek May 18th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, aging, animals, bladder stones, care, catheterization, catheters, dog, dogs, getting old, health, human, old dogs, pee, pets, stones, straining to pee, treatment, urine, veterinarian, veterinary
The product comes in a 1.69 oz. package marked with Lot #21935, UPC 0-18214-81291-3. The lot number can be found on the back of the package. The lot in question has an expiration date of 3/22/18.
The recall was announced after Salmonella was found during routine testing by the company, TFH Publications, Inc./Nylabone Products, of Neptune, N.J.
No illnesses have been reported in connection with the problem, the FDA said in a press release.
The recalled Puppy Starter Kits in question were distributed nationwide, to Canada, and through one domestic online mail order facility.
Salmonella can affect animals ingesting the product and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products.
Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, the FDA advises you contact your veterinarian.
Symptoms in humans can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.
Consumers who have purchased packages from the lot should should discontinue use of the product and may return the unused portion to the place of purchase for a full refund.
Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-877-273-7527.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 28th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, company, contaminated, dogs, fda, health, new jersey, nylabone, nylabones, pet, pets, product, puppy starter kit, recall, recalled, safety, salmonella, symptoms, treat, treats
Time was of the essence after a Massachusetts dog consumed three wristwatches — almost in their entirety.
The owners of Mocha said they rushed the dog to MSPCA’s Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston after finding a few remaining pieces of the watches — which had been inside a drawer the dog somehow opened — on the floor.
Mocha was admitted on April 16, the hospital said in a press release, and endured a three-hour endoscopic procedure which allowed the medical team to determine how much material was in her belly — and the best way to remove it.
The team was able to remove some of the leather from Mocha’s stomach using the endoscopy instruments.
As for the rest, they decided to let nature take its course, which nature did.
Over a period of several days, Mocha eliminated another pound of broken leather straps, buckles and various other metal pieces, said Dr. Zachary Crouse.
“We were especially cautious and wanted to avoid surgery—given her history,” he said.
Mocha was admitted to the animal hospital in August of 2014 after swallowing a plastic juice container lid. It obstructed her intestine and had to be surgically removed.
Angell doctors credited the quick thinking of Mocha’s owners, Michele Parkinson and Jeff Courcelle of Salem, who rushed the dog to the animal ER immediately after discovering bits and pieces of the watches on the floor of their home.
“Mocha dodged a bullet for sure and I credit her owners for getting her straight to the hospital,” said Dr. Crouse. “This could easily have turned into a life-threatening situation if they had delayed.”
“We brought her to Angell as soon as my husband saw the broken watch pieces, even though she was showing no symptoms whatsoever,” said Parkinson, who works as a nurse in the hematology department of a major area hospital.
Mocha stayed at the medical center for two days, and returned last Monday for a follow-up exam. An x-ray showed that six small pieces remain inside her, but should pass without surgical intervention.
“One thing’s for sure: we’re going to do everything we can to keep anything remotely ingestible out of her reach,” said Parkinson.
(Photos: Angell Animal Medical Center)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 27th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: angell, angell animal medical center, animals, ate, boston, consumed, doberman, dog, dogs, health, medicine, mocha, mspca, pets, safety, salem, surgery, swallowed, veterinary, watch, watches, wristwatch
Julius, a 10-year-old Maltese, was chewing on a treat when he began to choke inside of his Jersey City home on Easter Sunday.
His owners, Michael and Lindsay Torres, after unsuccessfully trying to dislodge the treat, borrowed their building concierge’s car to rush to Manhattan in hopes of finding a vet’s office that might be open on the holiday.
But traffic on the New Jersey side of the Holland Tunnel was barely moving, and Julius’ tongue was turning blue. As their car crept toward the toll booth they told Port Authority police officer Thomas Feuker about their plight.
“I really need your help. He’s choking. We need to go to an animal hospital,” Lindsay Torres says she told the officer.
Feuker tried to clear the dog’s airway. Unable to do that, he let the couple and their dog into his car and drove them seven miles to an emergency veterinary clinic.
“It definitely made it faster. He knew the easiest way to go and they were actually blocking off some roads (on the route),” she told the New York Daily News. A motorcycle cop from Rutherford, N.J., also joined the emergency motorcade.
A vet was able to clear the treat from the dog’s esophagus, and Julius is back home.
“He’s doing great. He’s eating, he’s drinking, he’s really looking good,” Lindsay Torres said Monday.
She said she was grateful for the officer’s assistance.
“Without him, I don’t know if Julius would be here.”
(Photo: Provided by Lindsay Torres)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 8th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, choking, dog, dogs, emergency, escort, health, jersey city, julius, law enforcement, maltese, new jersey, new york, officer, pets, police, port authority, safety, thomas feuker, treat, veterinary, veterinary clinic
Dog owners in Chicago are being warned to keep their pets away from the city’s dog-friendly parks and beaches to help control the spread of the dog flu, which has killed five dogs in the area and sickened more than 1,000 more.
On Friday, the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control urged pet owners to avoid not just dog parks, but group training activities, doggy day care, groomers, boarding facilities and other environments where dogs congregate or socialize until the outbreak — or epidemic, as some are calling it — subsides.
Signs posted at dog-friendly parks and beaches read:
“The Canine Influenza Virus (the Dog Flu) is causing illness throughout the Chicago area. All unvaccinated dogs may be at risk. Even dogs showing no sign of illness may carry this virus.
“PLEASE ENTER THIS DOG FRIENDLY AREA (DFA) AT YOUR OWN RISK.
“The virus is extremely contagious. Unvaccinated dogs exposed to the Dog Flu are more likely to contract the disease.”
The signs go on to list the symptoms of the dog flu: coughing, lethargy, difficulty breathing, nasal discharge and lack of appetite.
While people can’t catch it from dogs, the dog flu is is extremely contagious between dogs that come into close contact with each other.
Forty states have experienced outbreaks of the dog flu since the virus was discovered in 2004.
Experts say nearly every dog exposed to it will get the virus. About 25 percent of those don’t show signs of the sickness, but can still pass it on to other dogs.
Limiting socialization with other dogs is the best way to fight the illness, said Dr. Cynda Crawford, who helped discover the virus in 2005.
Crawford, with the Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, told Steve Dale’s Pet World, a blog on ChicagoNow.com, that owners often aren’t aware their dogs are ill.
She advises limiting all socialization, including letting your dog be walked by a dog walker who takes dogs out in groups.
While there is a vaccine for dog flu, it is new, expensive, requires multiple shots and, as with the human vaccine, fails to guarantee a dog won’t catch the virus.
Chicago animal control officials said the outbreak could last several more weeks.
(Photo: from ChicagoNow.com)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 7th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, canine influenza, chicago, contact, dog, dog flu, dog friendly, dogs, epidemic, health, limit, outbreak, pets, socialization, symptoms, warning
Before you wipe off that next dog kiss — not that too many ohmidog! readers are the sort that do that — you might want to think about this:
Some of those doggy bacteria that dog-disliking alarmists and hand-wringing medical types are always warning us about might actually be good for you.
As with Greek yogurt and kimchee, some of the microbes lurking in a dog’s gut could have a probiotic effect on the owners’ body, aiding in both digestion and overall health.
Researchers at the University of Arizona are now seeking volunteers to take part in a study to prove just that — and here’s the coolest part: Volunteers, if they want, can keep the shelter dog assigned to them when the study is done.
The “Dogs as Probiotics” study will focus specifically on the effect dogs have on the health of older people — in terms of physical well-being, mental well-being and cognitive functioning.
“We already know that dogs make us happier and in some ways healthier. The main point of this study is to try and understand whether or not there is an actual biological component behind this,” Kim Kelly, a UA doctoral student in medical anthropology, and one of the study’s primary investigators,
told the Arizona Daily Star.
“This has the potential to change the field in terms of how we understand, think about and use microbes to improve our health,” she said.
The study team is recruiting adults over the age of 50 and asking them to live with a dog from the Humane Society of Southern Arizona for three months.
Both the human and canine subjects will undergo tests of an non-invasive sort during the study to determine whether or not the positive microbes in the humans increase, and whether it correlates with improved immune measures in older adults.
Probiotics are often referred as “good” or “helpful” bacteria. They can help keep the intestines healthy, assist in digesting food, and are believed to help the immune system.
Kelly, along with researchers at the University of San Diego and the University of Colorado, will explore whether living with a dog encourages the growth of positive micro organisms in the human gut.
“We essentially want to find out, is a dog acting like yogurt in having a probiotic effect,” she said.
In addition, researchers will monitor participants for any changes in the mental health and emotional well-being.
Once the scientists are done, human participants will have the option of keeping the dog they kept in their home during the study.
We’re guessing that — whether their digestion has improved or not — most of them will.
Who wouldn’t want someone who has been kissing them for three months to hang around?
(Video: Attendees at the SPCA of Maryland’s March for the Animals, 2009, receiving some free probiotics from my dog Ace; photo: Kim Kelly and her cocker spaniel Katie, courtesy of Kim Kelly)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 24th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: ace, animals, bacteria, benefits, cognition, digestion, digestive, dog, dogs, dogs as probiotics, germs, good bacteria, health, health benefits, humane society of southern arizona, kim kelly, kisses, kissing, licking, licks, mental health, microbes, pets, probiotics, study, university of arizona, volunteers
Amid the bashing she’s taking on the Internet for picking her dog up by the tail, there are those coming to the defense of Rebecca Cross, owner of Knopa, the Scottish terrier who won Best in Show at Crufts.
But the explanations those defenders offer, and their justifications for the practice — which has existed for years — are disingenuous, misleading and often a little arrogant.
The only time, in our opinion, that a dog should be picked up by his or her tail is … NEVER!
There may be those in the dog show community, and in the worlds of hunters and breeders, who say that view is naive — that certain breeds can handle it. Then again, they have never been picked up by their tails.
Let’s look at their arguments.
1. The tails of some dog breeds are meant to serve that function. They are born with sturdier tails to provide us humans with handles so we can pull them out when they go into holes. Baloney. Clearly, neither God nor evolution put tails on animals to serve as handles for humans. And if breeders have worked to give certain breeds stronger tails, with that in mind, then they had the wrong thing in mind, which is often the case. Their tinkering with dog breeds to make them cuter, lower maintenance or more useful to humans — all in the name of sales, of course — leads to no good, and to bogus arguments like this one.
2. You shouldn’t do it, but, being highly skilled professionals, it’s OK for us to lift certain small breeds by their tails. Balderdash! Running around in a circle with a dog, and brushing its hair, doesn’t make you a highly skilled professional. Showing a dog doesn’t require a PhD. You’re not a doctor, and if you were you’d know that, the tail being an extension of the spine, it should not be used to hold up even part of a dog’s weight.
3. When a dog is picked up that way, most of the pressure is on the front end of the dog, and the tail is simply used as a guide. Bullshit — pardon our language — but anyone with the slightest understanding of physics can see that, when a dog is picked up this way, the tail is carrying at least some of the dog’s weight. And when the front end is being supported by a hand on his or her throat, rather than his or her chest, that too is problematic.
4. If it hurt them, dogs would yelp and whine. Wrong again! That’s not true of real world dogs, or show dogs — maybe especially show dogs who have accepted the fact that the human showing them is going to do this, just as they have accepted the judges who insist on grasping their packages to check for “conformity.”
5. We’ve always done it that way. We all know that is no defense at all; rather, it’s an excuse used by those who — even when someone is showing them a better way — stubbornly insist on living in the past. And if ever there was a vestige of the past, it’s purebred dog shows.
Those defending the practice offer plenty of what they, at least, see as justification, but little explanation of the reason for picking up a dog this way in the first place.
In that way, the tail lift symbolizes what, at the root, is wrong with dog shows.
And that’s the “appearance above all” mentality behind them.
Judging dogs on their looks — as called for by breed organizations and breed standards — causes suffering and is not in the best interest of the species.
Shows like Crufts and Westminster value “looks over the welfare and health of dogs which can lead to their early death, and that’s not acceptable if we’re really a nation of dog lovers,” RSPCA spokesperson Violet Owens told the BBC.
Although the dog owner’s comments didn’t sound too apologetic — she said she lifted her dog by the tail due to force of habit — Cross did apologize, according to UK Kennel Club Secretary Caroline Kisko.
And just for the record Kisko also said that — no matter what the breed — picking up a dog by its tail is a no-no, at least at Crufts:
“Those showing at Crufts receive clear written guidance on handling their dog, in order to ensure the dog’s welfare, and this guidance makes it clear that dogs should not be handled in this way,” she said.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 13th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, breeds, crufts, dog, dog shows, dogs, handlers, handling, health, improper, judges, kennel club, knopa, pets, picked up, proper, purebreds, rebecca cross, rspca, safety, tail, westminster