Posts in Diagnosis

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

Future telemedicine for pets.

            

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