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Dog with diarrhea? How to deal with your dog’s loose bowels

Dog with diarrhea? How to deal with your dog’s loose bowels

December 17, 2018 Posted by Dogs, Pet Health 0 thoughts on “Dog with diarrhea? How to deal with your dog’s loose bowels”

Dog with diarrhea? How to deal with your dog’s loose bowels

The following is a guest post from veterinary nurse Ellen Herrlin.

Diarrhea is very common in dogs, but it can be a difficult time for both of you. Not only does the dog experience discomfort and anxiety, but the pet owner also suffers when the dog has to repeatedly relief itself, even at night. In this post I’m offering advice on how to navigate the situation.

Diarrhea

The correct term is gastroenteritis, which is the inflammation of the stomach and intestines. It often occurs suddenly (acute gastroenteritis), usually with vomiting. It is considered a chronic condition if the dog has had diarrhea for more than two weeks and some dogs have recurring problems that can be difficult to get under control. Simple cases can be quickly resolved with basic treatment at home. Puppies or older dogs suffer a little harder, and you should also act a bit faster in summer when heat waves can also complicate matters. Already losing fluids, your pet can become even more dehydrated due to the summer heat.

Cause of diarrhea

The causes of a dog’s diarrhea can be very many and it isn’t unusual not to discover what started it. However, some of the most common causes are:

  • – Sudden change of food
  • – Parasites
  • – Medicine
  • – Virus
  • – Bacteria
  • – Stress
  • – Intake of something inappropriate
  • – Allergy
  • – Pancreatitis (pancreatitis)

Treatment

If the dog suddenly comes down with diarrhea, but is otherwise in good health and still has a good appetite, try the following treatment at home before turning to professional care.

Gastroenteritis Diet

In a healthy and otherwise happy dog, you can give their stomach a break from food for 12-24 hours, but always allow them access to water. Then, small portions of feed specifically designed for gastroenteritis are introduced, gradually increasing in size and frequency. When the diarrhea has faded away you can return to the normal feeding pattern and portion sizes for one week. After that introduce a gradual feed transfer to move your dog from the special feed to their regular diet. Mix a small amount of the special diet with a small amount of their normal food. After a week increase the amount of their normal food in the mixture until your furry friend is 100% back on their usual diet.

Gastroenteritis feed is good for the stomach as it contains all the nutrition that a dog needs without overworking the gastrointestinal tract. The feed comes as both dry and wet food. Wet food is usually more popular with dogs and it also contains liquid. If your dog eats only dry food, it can be soaked, if your dog will accept it.

You can also make your own gastrointestinal diet for your dog by bringing together boiled cod (or other white fish) or chicken and overcooked rice. Cook the cod and rice for an extended time so the ingredients become indistinguishable. You can offer the remaining liquid to your dog if he or she doesn’t like to drink plain water. If you do not want to give your dog rice you can just skip it.

Liquid

One of the risks of diarrhea is dehydration as fluid loss occurs through diarrhea (and possibly vomiting). It is not uncommon for a dog to avoid drinking as usual as the balance has been broken. If you are worried about dehydration, always contact your veterinarian. To encourage your dog to drink, you can offer the water left over from cooked rice (as described above). Soak their food in the water or feed them water by directly squirting it into their mouth with a syringe (do this only if the dog accepts it and swallows the water). Alternatively there are fluid replacements. There exist special nutritional and liquid supplement for animals that contain the correct balance of salts, electrolytes and sugar. Some also taste of chicken, which often makes a dog drink the liquid on its own.

If the dog drinks a little, but you are uncertain that they have drunk enough to avoid dehydration, you should plan about 0.5 litres of water per kilogram of body weight as the absolute minimum requirement. Bear in mind the time of year and anticipate that excessive heat, as well as the diarrhea and vomiting, will necessitate increased fluids.

Probiotics

With diarrhea the surface of the intestines is irritated. You can help your dog to recover by providing good gastrointestinal bacteria, probiotics, which may accelerate the recovery of the intestines. In addition to containing good bowel bacteria, they should also bind and calm the intestinal mucosa.

Bear in mind that while much research has been conducted into probiotics, there is no hard evidence that it helps with diarrhea. However, many have found that it is a good dietary supplement to aid recovery from diarrhea. Bowel normalisers may also help and can be purchased from the veterinarian or at the pharmacy.

Potato flour?

Potato flour is an old idea that is not recommended by veterinarians. Certainly, it can help to make the dog’s stool firmer, but it doesn’t treat the gastrointestinal tract. Potato flour is not as gentle as the special gastroenteritis diet and can further inflame the intestine, and aggravate the actual problem.

Potato flour does not address the cause of the diarrhea and does not help to treat the gastrointestinal tract. Usually the diarrhea returns as soon as the potato flour has been passed, but the original problem has been aggravated in the process.

Seek professional veterinary care if…

1. Your 6 month old puppy is suffering from diarrhea

2. Your elderly dog is suffering from diarrhea

3. Your dog’s quality of life has been affected

4. Your dog does not accept any liquid or vomits all liquids

5. Your dog is losing significant amounts of fluid

6. The diarrhea contains blood (hemorrhagic gastroenteritis)

7. The dog has eaten something toxic or that they cannot tolerate

8. Home treatments have yielded no improvements after 3 days

9. Your dog refuses food, or continues to eat whilst having diarrhea, but is in worsening condition

10. As well as having any of the above issues, your dog has a different body temperature (below 38 ° C or above 39 ° C)

Ellen is a veterinary nurse who also runs a fantastic blog which is full of great advice for pet owners. You can find it here: http://nursedolittle.se/. If you like what you read don’t forget to share this article and subscribe for more!

How to tell if your dog, or cat, is pale?

How to tell if your dog, or cat, is pale?

December 3, 2018 Posted by Cats, Diagnosis, Dogs, Pet Health 0 thoughts on “How to tell if your dog, or cat, is pale?”

How to tell if your dog, or cat, is pale?

The following is a guest post from veterinary nurse Ellen Herrlin.

We can easily tell when a person may be ill because their skin looks a little paler than usual. For obvious reasons we can’t apply the same basic logic to our furry dogs and cats. Or can we? Actually, we can. All we have to do is look at the mucous membranes to check that blood circulation is good throughout the body. If this is the case it will be shown by a nice pink color, not pale or dark red. The normal color is that of pink salmon. As a pet owner, it’s good to know how to check the mucous membranes, and know how they look when healthy so you can notice any abnormalities.

How to check your pet’s mucous membranes

The most common way is to do this is to lift the lip and look at the color. It is best to look high up or on the underside of the lip so that you will not be misled by an inflamed gum due to poor dental health. As you can see above, the membrane is smooth and pink throughout.

It’s important to remember that some animals have pigmented gums, as you can see in the image of Harry below. This means that the gums can be black, or dark, but this is completely harmless and quite normal. For Harry, however, it is possible to see a sufficiently large area of ​​mucous membrane to determine that it is normal color. Some toxins result in a black edge to the gum, so it may be helpful to know if the animal has pigmentation on the gum in general to detect any abnormalities.

In some cases, you may not see the mucosa in your pet’s mouth. Your dog, or cat, may have very many pigments, or is a being a little difficult, making you afraid for your fingers. In this case you can look at the mucous membrane inside the lower eyelid.

Pale mucous membranes

If the mucous membranes are pale, they often look almost white/gray. This may indicate poor circulation or internal bleeding.

Red/Dark red mucous membranes

It may also be helpful to know how the animal usually looks in the mouth and how the colour usually presents when the patient is feeling well. It is then easier to see when the color of the mucous membrane begins to deviate and go cross over from pink salmon to the red/dark red tone. This may indicate stress and severe infection.

CRT – Capillary Refill Time

Capillary refill refers to the time it takes for the capillaries to regain circulation after pressure. It can be very helpful to stimulate the pet’s blood circulation, and it is very easy to check. Push your finger against your pet’s gum so that the color disappears. Count how long it takes for the area to regain its colour. You can time it to see how long it takes for the colour to reappear, but the most important thing is to know if it takes more than 3 seconds. In this case, the circulation is affected and you should contact your vet.

Ellen is a veterinary nurse who also runs a fantastic blog which is full of great advice for pet owners. You can find it here: http://nursedolittle.se/. If you like what you read don’t forget to share this article and subscribe for more!

Cushing’s isn’t only for people. Your dog is also at risk! Part 3

Cushing’s isn’t only for people. Your dog is also at risk! Part 3

November 19, 2018 Posted by Cushing's Syndrome, Diagnosis, Dogs, Pet Health, water intake 0 thoughts on “Cushing’s isn’t only for people. Your dog is also at risk! Part 3”

Cushing’s isn’t only for people. Your dog is also at risk! Part 3

This is part 3 of our in-depth look at Cushing’s Syndrome, a condition that affects many dogs around the world and is caused by an excess of cortisol in the system. For an explanation of what Cushing’s Syndrome actually is and how the condition can affect your dog you should check out part 1 of this series, published a couple of weeks ago.

Last week we talked about the various steps and tests your vet may use to diagnose Cushing’s. If you suspect that your dog has Cushing’s be sure to read the post to learn about the diagnostic process. This week we’re keen to talk about life after diagnosis, the treatments that are available and what kind of life your dog can enjoy.

The Outlook For Dogs with Cushing’s

Having Cushing’s isn’t ideal, but it isn’t the end of the world either.

Medication

Most dogs with Cushing’s syndrome are recommended lifelong medical treatment with Trilostan. It can take time to find the correct dose, which can vary greatly between dogs.

If you suspect your dog has Cushing’s, or if he/she has already been diagnosed with it, you need to be aware that your vet will need to take blood samples regularly to monitor the effect of the medication and avoid any side effects.

Pro Tip! It is common practice to perform an ACTH stimulation test to control the dose. However, studies have shown that measuring cortisol levels before administering the Trilostan, or three hours thereafter, are potentially better monitoring methods than the ACTH stimulation tests.

Too high a dose of the medicine may cause symptoms like:

  • – vomiting/diarrhea
  • – fatigue
  • – nausea
  • – decreased appetite

If you notice any of these symptoms during treatment, consult your veterinarian immediately.
It may indicate that the dose is too high and there is a risk that your dog might end up in an “Addison crisis” if it’s ignored.

Surgery

If the tumor is located in one of the adrenal glands, it may be removed surgically, however, this is an advanced surgery that carries a high risk of complications.

If the tumor is found in the pituitary gland, surgery may be considered if the tumor is pressing on the brain and causing problems. Operations for this type of condition are currently carried out only in the Netherlands. After surgery, medication will still be required throughout the life of your dog, and there will remain a risk of relapse.

Too high a dose of the medicine may cause symptoms like:

  • – vomiting/diarrhea
  • – fatigue
  • – nausea
  • – decreased appetite

If you notice any of these symptoms during treatment, consult your veterinarian immediately.
It may indicate that the dose is too high and there is a risk that your dog might end up in an “Addison crisis” if it’s ignored.

Iatrogenic Cushing’s

Iatrogenic Cushing’s syndrome, caused by medication containing cortisone, usually resolves itself when the cortisone is discontinued.

What if I just ignore it?

If you love your pet this is not advised. If Cushing’s syndrome goes untreated it will gradually cause more severe symptoms, seriously affecting your dog’s quality of life in the process.

Available medical treatment will improve your dog’s symptoms, and with the correct dose the dog can go on to have a good quality of life. If the tumor is malignant, it can unfortunately spread to other organs to shorten the dog’s life.

Don’t forget to share this blog post with anyone you think will benefit from it. We publish a new blog post each week so follow us on social media for our updates and you’ll know as soon as a new one is available.

Until next time…

I’m a veterinarian with almost 10 years experience in small animal practice. I’m originally from Sweden but moved to Copenhagen to fulfill my dream of becoming a vet. I’ve been working in Denmark, United Kingdom and back home in Sweden. Animals, especially dogs, has always been a big part of my life. Being a vet and helping animals and their owners, feels more like a privilege than a job.
Alvin, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel follows me anywhere I go.

Caroline Edvinsson

DVM, GPCertSAM, CEO @ TERST
Cushing’s isn’t only for people. Your dog is also at risk! Part 2

Cushing’s isn’t only for people. Your dog is also at risk! Part 2

November 13, 2018 Posted by Cushing's Syndrome, Dogs, Pet Health, water intake 0 thoughts on “Cushing’s isn’t only for people. Your dog is also at risk! Part 2”

Cushing’s isn’t only for people. Your dog is also at risk! Part 2

Our blog post last week began discussing Cushing’s Syndrome and how it isn’t just for people as it can also affect dogs. If you missed it last week you can find the blog post here where we went over the symptoms of Cushing’s, how it affects dogs and how the condition comes about in the first place.

Do you suspect Cushing’s?

If after reading through our list of symptoms you suspect your pet has Cushing’s syndrome, it would be handy to comb through your pet’s disease history, as well as any clinical examinations, for any clues. Blood and urine samples will also give you and your vet more information and help to shed light.

Blood tests will highlight changes such as:

  • – increased levels of the liver enzyme alkaline phosphatase (ALP)
  • – increased white blood cells
  • – platelets
  • – blood sugar
  • – cholesterol

 

These would all indicate excessive cortisol levels. A urine sample will reveal further data which may indicate Cushing’s. There also exist some tests specifically designed to confirm the diagnosis of Cushing’s. These include:

  • – examining the urine cortisol/creatinine ratio
  • – the low dose dexamethasone suppression test
  • – the high dose dexamethasone suppression test
  • – the ACTH stimulation test

Some of these tests takes several hours to complete, so your dog will need to remain at your vet’s through the day. It is also common practice to perform an ultrasound to check the liver and adrenal glands.

If you know someone whose dog is affected by Cushing’s be sure to share this blog post with them. The 3rd part of our discussion of Cushing’s Syndrome will follow next week.

Just follow us on social media for our updates on when the next part has been posted. We’re very active there and it would be great to connect with you!

I’m a veterinarian with almost 10 years experience in small animal practice. I’m originally from Sweden but moved to Copenhagen to fulfill my dream of becoming a vet. I’ve been working in Denmark, United Kingdom and back home in Sweden. Animals, especially dogs, has always been a big part of my life. Being a vet and helping animals and their owners, feels more like a privilege than a job.
Alvin, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel follows me anywhere I go.

Caroline Edvinsson

DVM, GPCertSAM, CEO @ TERST
Cushing’s isn’t only for people. Your dog is also at risk!

Cushing’s isn’t only for people. Your dog is also at risk!

November 5, 2018 Posted by Cushing's Syndrome, Dogs, Pet Health, water intake 0 thoughts on “Cushing’s isn’t only for people. Your dog is also at risk!”

Cushing’s isn’t only for people. Your dog is also at risk!

Cushing’s Syndrome (commonly known as Cushing’s) is a condition that afflicts people all over the world, but did you know that it can also affect our beloved dogs? In humans Cushing’s is characterised by symptoms including acute weight gain of the trunk and face. In this article we’re going to explain what causes Cushing’s Syndrome, the symptoms and how it can affect your dog.

What is Cushing’s Syndrome?

In dogs this commonly diagnosed endocrine condition results in high levels of cortisol from the adrenal glands. One of the things that cortisol does is it regulates the blood sugar level, electrolytes, fat metabolism and the immune system.

When your dog’s body needs cortisol, the pituitary gland sends out the adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) which encourages the adrenal gland to produce cortisol. Once enough cortisol has been produced the pituitary gland stops sending out ACTH.

If your dog is suffering from Cushing’s it means that their adrenal gland is constantly producing cortisol, whether or not there is enough.

If your dog is suffering from Cushing’s it means that their adrenal gland is constantly producing cortisol…

3 Causes of Cushing’s

There are 3 different causes of Cushing’s in dogs:

  • – Tumor in the pituitary gland
  • – Tumor in the adrenal gland
  • – Medication containing cortisone

 

The most common cause of Cushing’s is a tumour in the pituitary gland. The tumor is usually benign, but it can lead to overproduction of ACTH which, in turn, leads to an overproduction of cortisol. Another possible cause is a tumor in one of the adrenal glands, but this is less common.

Pro Tip! Occasionally, Cushing’s can be caused by medication containing cortisone, this form of Cushing’s is called Iatrogenic Cushing’s syndrome.

What are the symptoms?

If you’re concerned about what you should be looking out for, the symptoms can vary from dog to dog and tend to appear gradually. However, you may often observe the following symptoms:

  • – Excessive water consumption (polydipsia)
  • – Excessive urination (polyuria)
  • – Excessive appetite (polyphagia)
  • – Excessive panting
  • – Exercise intolerance
  • – A large or tensioned abdomen “pot belly”
  • – Loss of muscle mass
  • – Skin and coat changes
  • – Susceptibility to infections

 

In our next blog post we will take a deeper look at Cushing’s. Specifically we’ll be looking at the different tests that can be performed to help diagnose Cushing’s. If your dog, or one you know, has Cushing’s you’ll also be interested to read, in our next blog post, our detailed account of the types of treatments that are available to enrich your dog’s quality of life.

So, follow us on social media for updates when the next blog post is published.

I’m a veterinarian with almost 10 years experience in small animal practice. I’m originally from Sweden but moved to Copenhagen to fulfill my dream of becoming a vet. I’ve been working in Denmark, United Kingdom and back home in Sweden. Animals, especially dogs, has always been a big part of my life. Being a vet and helping animals and their owners, feels more like a privilege than a job.
Alvin, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel follows me anywhere I go.

Caroline Edvinsson

DVM, GPCertSAM, CEO @ TERST
Do’s and Don'ts When Clipping Your Cat’s Claws

Do’s and Don’ts When Clipping Your Cat’s Claws

October 29, 2018 Posted by Cats, Grooming 0 thoughts on “Do’s and Don’ts When Clipping Your Cat’s Claws”

 Do’s and Don’ts When Clipping Your Cat’s Claws 

The following is a guest post from veterinary nurse Ellen Herrlin.

A few weeks ago I contributed a blog post on clipping dog nails. Today I’m discussing how to do the same for cats, which can be far less obedient than dogs. For the demonstration here I’m using Harry, our own house cat.

This frisky feline is Harry.
As you can see, he's a little anxious and it takes him a while to settle down.

Cats’ claws perform important functions, especially those of outdoor cats. The claws allow cats to climb and hunt, natural elements in an outdoor cat’s life. Therefore, I do not recommend cutting the claws on your outdoor cat. However, I do recommend keeping them trimmed on a regular basis. Bear in mind that a damaged claw can be painful and upsetting to your cat.

Older cats tend to use their claws less and less, so it is important to make sure they’re kept trimmed. Claws don’t stop growing and unfortunately it is common to see cats whose claws have grown too much. This can be extremely painful for the cat. It is our job as pet owners to make sure that it never gets so bad.

The pulp

Like dogs, cats have a tissue inside the claw that contains blood vessels and nerve endings.  This tissue is called the pulp and, in transparent claws, it looks like a pink strip.

Where cats are concerned the pulp is quite far back and is not as easy to hit when trimming claws as they are with dogs. But if you do hit the pulp it will hurt your cat, so it is good to know its approximate location.

Before you begin

It’s good to get cats used to having their claws trimmed from early age. You will need to do this regularly to keep them neat and tidy. The positive is that this is quite a straightforward task as long as your cat is fairly amenable.

Claw Scissor

Before starting, make sure you have a small, smooth and sharp claw-scissor. If you are worried about damaging the pulp and causing bleeding, you can invest in a product called “Blood Stop” which helps blood to clot rapidly. Without this it may take some time to stop bleeding if you cut the pulp, so let’s try to avoid this!

Clipping

Some cats submit voluntarily to having their claws clipped while others are a little more difficult. One tip is to start clipping the cat’s claws while it is sleeping. Squeeze the paws and be quick, but calm, with the claw scissors.

It can be easier to do this while the cat is relaxing in on the lap or in the knee. Practice often by squeezing and feeling the paws. Remember to keep calm all the time so you don’t disturb the cat.

To access the claws, lightly push your fingers under/behind the paddles.

When both you and your cat are calm it’s time to start. Lightly and methodically cut one claw at a time. If you can see the pulp, it will be quite fast and easy. If the cat’s claws are darker in colour you can use a flashlight to locate the pulp so you don’t hit it. Don’t worry so much about the narrow, pointed part of the claw as it does not contain any pulp.

You and your cat need to be calm so it does not result in a stressful situation for either of you.

For some cats it’s a good idea to get them a treat so they’re get in a good mood. Then they pay less attention to what you are doing and focus on the tasty treat.

Pretty soon you’ll be trimming your cat’s claws, making your cat comfortable and happy, and making you feel very pleased with yourself.

Ellen is a veterinary nurse who also runs a fantastic blog which is full of great advice for pet owners. You can find it here: http://nursedolittle.se/. If you like what you read don’t forget to share this article and subscribe for more!

Cats Need Kidneys! Part 2

Cats Need Kidneys! Part 2

October 15, 2018 Posted by Cats, Chronic Kidney Disease 0 thoughts on “Cats Need Kidneys! Part 2”

Cats Need Kidneys! Part 2

In our last blog post we began discussing Chronic Kidney Disease and how it can affect your cat. We also covered the symptoms you should be looking out for. This time we’re going to discuss what you should do if you suspect your cat is suffering from CKD and how you can help your cat’s quality of life if it is confirmed.

If you suspect your cat has CKD

Your vet should begin with a clinical examination so they can, amongst other things:

  • – Assess your cat’s level of dehydration.
  • – Perform an oral examination and assess the colour of the gums.
  • – Feel the abdomen to assess the size and structure of the kidneys and signs of constipation.
  • – Perform an ocular (retinal) examination.
  • – Take your cat’s blood pressure. This is particularly important and should be done when your cat is relatively relaxed, at the beginning of the consultation.

Pro Tip 1! It’s good practice for your vet to use IRIS. The International Renal Interest Society (IRIS), is a staging system for CKD in cats and dogs. The system is intended to facilitate communication between vets (and vets to owners) about the diagnosis, treatment and outcome of CKD. It accurately assesses the severity of your cat’s CKD by measuring the following:

  • – creatinine levels in the blood
  • – blood pressure
  • – the amount of protein lost in the urine

The blood concentrations of other components, such as BUN, electrolytes (sodium, potassium), phosphorus, calcium, red blood cells, and proteins are also important to evaluate when CKD is suspected.

An examination of a sterile urine sample (often taken directly with a needle through the abdominal wall into the bladder, usually the cats do not react at all and it is considered safe) is also important to assess the ability to concentrate urine, pH, presence of protein, blood cells and bacteria. It is also important to examine the urine to rule out the possibility of a urinary tract infection.

Diagnostic imaging tools such as radiographs and abdominal ultrasound can also be useful in the evaluation of CKD.

Provide your cat with plenty of free access to water, even if your cat drinks a lot!

Quality of life with CKD

When a cat has developed CKD, there is unfortunately no cure for the disease. But there are many treatment options that can prolong and improve the quality of life.

Remember to always provide your cat with plenty of free access to water, even if your cat drinks a lot! Cats shouldn’t be without food for long, so if your pet refuses the new diet don’t persist! It’s better to just give your cat the old diet if that is what will make them happy.

Pro Tip 2! Studies show that therapeutic kidney diets that are low in protein, phosphorus and sodium content, but high in vitamins, fibre and antioxidants may prolong life and improve the quality of life for cats with CKD.

With both wet and dry food options it’s up to the cat to decide what they prefer. If you’re changing your cat’s diet it is a good idea to gradually introduce the new menu to make your furry friend more accepting, and also avoid any bad reactions to the sudden change. Anti-nausea and appetite stimulating medications are available to help your pet feel better.

There also exist medications for controlling hypertension, decreasing urinary protein loss, supplement potassium and bind phosphorus. Cats with CKD may produce less erythropoietin in the kidneys, which leads to anemia, and there is some evidence that replacement therapy can increase red blood cell counts. In some severe cases, blood transfusions may be necessary to restore normal red blood cell concentration.

More advanced therapy, such as hemodialysis (removal of toxic waste products from the bloodstream) and kidney transplants, are available in certain countries.

Studies suggest that the earlier CKD is diagnosed, and treatment is initiated, the better the outcome. So keep an eye on the symptoms we mentioned in our previous blog post, Cats Need Kidneys Part 1, and track your cat’s drinking habits to keep an eye on their health.

I’m a veterinarian with almost 10 years experience in small animal practice. I’m originally from Sweden but moved to Copenhagen to fulfil my dream of becoming a vet. I’ve worked in Denmark and the United Kingdom, and now I am back home in Sweden. Animals, especially dogs, have always been a big part of my life. Being a vet and helping animals, and their owners, feels more like a privilege than a job.
Alvin, my beloved Cavalier King Charles Spaniel follows me anywhere I go.

Caroline Edvinsson

DVM, GPCertSAM, CEO @ TERST
Handy nail clipping tips… for your dog

Handy nail clipping tips… for your dog

October 8, 2018 Posted by Dogs, Grooming 0 thoughts on “Handy nail clipping tips… for your dog”

Handy nail clipping tips… for your dog

The following is a guest post from veterinary nurse Ellen Herrlin.

Many owners think that clipping dog’s nails is an unpleasant and difficult task. Dogs can become stressed, difficult to handle and may even bite to get away. So here are some tips to show how easy it can be with some exercise, patience and good treats.

Bosse is my dog whom I have had since he was 9 weeks of age. He is now 15 months old. From the age of 9 weeks I have offered him treats as I clip his claws on a table. If he tried to get up, from his position laid on the table, I was determined that Bosse would remain still and calm. For this I reward him with warm sounds of praise and also offer him treats as soon as he relaxes. Before letting him get up I’m sure to stroke him all over his body and speak warmly to him. This teaches the dog that it pays to relax on the table and that no harm will happen. Although the clipping may seem unpleasant to the dog, it can be a pleasant experience for the dog.

Since then, I have taught him an appropriate command that instructs him to lay down on his side. When he understood it, I increased the time he would remain and then I introduced management while he remained. It certainly requires a lot of time and a lot of effort, but it is SO worth it! It’s also useful in many situations, such as seeing the vet.

Cutting the pulp can happen, and if it does the important thing is to not get upset.

The pulp

Inside the claw there is blood-rich tissue that also contains nerve endings. This tissue is called the pulp and appears as a pink strip in transparent claws. If your dog has black claws you can use a flashlight to see where the pulp is, that way you can determine how much claw you can cut before you get started. The claw covering the pulp is made of the same material as our nails – Keratin. It is not painful to trim the claws, but if you hit the pulp it may hurt and bleed. Of course you should avoid this, but if you do hit the pulp it’s definitely not the end of the world.

Owners often tell me how they once hit the pulp and then couldn’t ever cut the claws on their dog again. What often happens is that owners see the blood trickling and hears their dog whining in discomfort. Subsequently, the dog senses the owner’s anxiety and this in turn aggravates the situation and confirms to the dog that this was an unpleasant experience that it does not want to go through again.

Cutting the pulp can happen, and if it does the important thing is to not get upset. If possible, pretend that nothing has happened and reward your dog when it relaxes. Don’t give it any treats if it is stressed and anxious.

Feel and squeeze the paws and maybe try to cut one more claw before releasing the dog. If the dog has already forgot the pain of the pulp, you can continue with the rest of the claws before releasing the dog.

Trimming the nails

Ensure you have sharp, proper claw scissors on hand, as well as the all-important treats, in the place where you intend to trim your dog’s nails. Once you have your dog in place, get it to lie down or sit if it prefers that. Get help, if you need it, to keep your dog in place and then it is time to start. If you’re afraid that you’ll hit the pulp and that it will start bleeding, you can buy something called Blood Stoppers at the pet store or at your vet’s. It comes in either a powder or spray form and can be applied to the bleeding pulp to help the blood to clot.

After that, just take one claw at a time and cut only what’s needed. Also be sure to only cut a bit at a time, not all at once. Don’t forget to occasionally reward your dog and speak warmly and calmly with it.

The claws on the hind legs wear naturally when the dog is running and they are usually shorter, which is good to keep in mind so you do not cut too much. If you have a very active dog then maybe they do not have to be cut at all.

When you’re done, you’ll be pleased with yourself and proud of how well-behaved your dog will have been! Remember to reward your dog while it is still down and patch and massage all over its body before you release it.

I hope you learned something new and I hope that these tips will give you a little more confidence for the next trim. Keep calm and be patient and you’ll soon be pleased and proud of the results.

Ellen is a veterinary nurse who also runs a fantastic blog which is full of great advice for pet owners. You can find it here: http://nursedolittle.se/. If you like what you read don’t forget to share this article and subscribe for more!

Read our blog post: Cats Need Kidneys! Part 1

Cats Need Kidneys!

October 8, 2018 Posted by Cats 0 thoughts on “Cats Need Kidneys!”

Cats Need Kidneys! Part 1

Continuing our series of blog posts covering the different conditions that our beloved furry friends face during the course of their lives, this week we are discussing Chronic kidney disease.

CKD? What’s that?

Your cat’s kidneys are vital organs which perform many different functions, but one of the most important is to filter waste products from the blood and excrete it via the urine. In some cases the kidneys’ ability to excrete these waste products is reduced and this leads to a toxic build-up of waste in the blood over time. This condition is known as Chronic kidney disease (CKD).

CKD is more common in older cats but is a condition that can afflict cats no matter their age. The underlying cause is not always immediately obvious, even to your vet, but the following are just a few examples of what can contribute to its development:

  • – previous acute kidney injury
  • – specific infections
  • – tumors
  • – hereditary diseases

When it comes to hereditary diseases there are some breeds that are particularly predisposed to them:

  • – Persian
  • – Abyssinian
  • – Siamese
  • – Ragdoll
  • – Burmese
  • – Russian Blue
  • – Maine Coon

 

Acute kidney injury can be caused by intoxication and this is a lot more common in outdoor cats. Many of us, especially during winter, will have bottles of motor fluids sitting around, in or outside of the house. Believe it or not, cats are attracted to these and find the sweet taste of antifreeze (Ethylene glycol) particularly tasty. However, even a tiny amount is potentially lethal, so it’s important to keep the bottles well sealed and out of the reach of your pets.

If you suspect that your cat has been in contact with antifreeze you need to take them to the vet immediately!

If you suspect that your cat has been in contact with antifreeze you need to take them to the vet immediately!

What are the symptoms?

As the kidneys become unable to filter the waste as effectively as they should, the rising level of waste will cause your cat to feel unwell. Often this will result in your cat drinking and urinating more than normal because of the kidneys inability to concentrate the urine.

There are, of course, other effects that you should look out for that may indicate that the kidney disease is getting worse. These include:

  • – having a decreased appetite
  • – experiencing weight loss
  • – vomiting and experiencing diarrhea
  • – very rarely, ceasing to produce urine altogether

Hypertension is a complication that can cause damage to the brain, eyes and heart. Your vet will examine the eyes and measure the blood pressure, often with the Doppler method, to diagnose hypertension.

Chronic kidney disease can also lead to anemia (reduced concentration of red blood cells in the blood) and this will make your cat’s gums appear pale pink, and in severe cases white, so this is another way for you to track your pet’s health at home. Bad breath and ulcers are something else to look out for.

Additionally cats with CKD can easily become constipated, so it is important that your cat always has access to water and wet food is recommended.

Remember that the sooner you spot the signs the sooner your vet can confirm the diagnosis and your cat can have the help it needs. In our next blog post we’ll discuss what to do if you suspect your cat is suffering from CKD, and how it can affect your pet’s quality of life, so check in with us again next Monday!

I’m a veterinarian with almost 10 years experience in small animal practice. I’m originally from Sweden but moved to Copenhagen to fulfill my dream of becoming a vet. I’ve been working in Denmark, United Kingdom and back home in Sweden. Animals, especially dogs, has always been a big part of my life. Being a vet and helping animals and their owners, feels more like a privilege than a job.
Alvin, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel follows me anywhere I go.

Caroline Edvinsson

DVM, GPCertSAM, CEO @ TERST

Hyperthyroidism. Don’t ignore the signs!

October 3, 2018 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Hyperthyroidism. Don’t ignore the signs!”

Hyperthyroidism. Don’t ignore the signs!

If you have a cat you must be aware of how common thyroid issues are with them. Hyperthyroidism is a disease that is most common in middle-aged and older cats.

It’s the increased production of thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) from the thyroid gland that causes the increase. The thyroid gland, located on your cat’s neck, controls the metabolism. Hyperthyroidism is, in most cases, caused by a benign tumor called adenoma, but the reason why the disease occurs is not yet fully understood.

A cat with hyperthyroidism can exhibit the following symptoms:
– increased thirst
– increased urination
– increased appetite
– weight loss
– a greasy coat
– diarrhea
– vomiting
– behavioral changes – depression, hyperactivity and/or aggression

If your cat is experiencing these you should see your vet who should take a detailed history before continuing with a clinical examination of your cat. Before beginning the clinical examination, a blood pressure measurement is recommended. It’s important to palpate the neck area because sometimes the thyroid gland can be enlarged. On heart auscultation, cats often have an increased heart rate and sometimes a heart murmur.

Hyperthyroidism is diagnosed by measuring the amount of thyroid hormone (T4) in the blood. Given the age of the patient, the blood sample, together with a urinalysis, should also be screened for other diseases to get an overall picture of your cat’s health.

Hyperthyroidism can hide a kidney disease, so it is important to recheck the kidney values after treatment is started.

Pro Tip! It is normal to see increased liver enzymes in cats with hyperthyroidism, but they often level out when treatment is instituted. Hyperthyroidism can hide a kidney disease, so it is important to recheck the kidney values after treatment is started.

There are several different treatment methods for hyperthyroidism.

Tablets

First of all, there is a tablet treatment that causes the production of thyroid hormones to decrease. The tablets are given once to twice a day for the rest of the cat’s life. Your vet should take regular blood samples to check that the dose is still appropriate, and also to screen for kidney disease and possible side effects. Side effects of the tablets may include decreased appetite, vomiting/diarrhea, itching or bone marrow suppression.

Surgery

Surgery is a long-term or permanent treatment option where the thyroid glands are removed. However, your cat would need to undergo a general anaesthetic. There is also the risk of damage to the parathyroid glands which lie close to the thyroid gland and help the body to maintain the blood calcium levels.

Radioactive Iodine Therapy

However, the treatment of choice, for cats with hyperthyroidism, is radioactive iodine therapy. Radioactive iodine is injected and quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. The iodine is taken up by the thyroid gland and destroys the abnormal thyroid tissue without damaging the surrounding tissues or the parathyroid glands. The side effects are few but initially you can notice a temporary voice change and some difficulty swallowing. The treatment requires special personnel and equipment with the majority of cats treated with radioactive iodine returning to normal hormone levels within one to two weeks of treatment.

Iodine Free Food

Yet another treatment option is to give your cat iodine free food. Iodine helps to form the hormone so feeding your cat iodine free food will help to naturally reduce the thyroid hormone. If you feed your cat this particular diet it shouldn’t eat anything else, not even treats. As with the tablets, regular blood samples are a good idea to measure your cat’s response to the treatment.

I hope you’ve found this helpful and feel free to share with anyone you know who has a cat. Spotting the signs early on can make a huge difference to the quality of life of your favourite feline friends.

I’m a veterinarian with almost 10 years experience in small animal practice. I’m originally from Sweden but moved to Copenhagen to fulfill my dream of becoming a vet. I’ve been working in Denmark, United Kingdom and back home in Sweden. Animals, especially dogs, has always been a big part of my life. Being a vet and helping animals and their owners, feels more like a privilege than a job.
Alvin, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel follows me anywhere I go.

Caroline Edvinsson

DVM, GPCertSAM, CEO @ TERST

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