A few weeks ago, one of the bosses got a new puppy. Of course, they had to give him a job, no nepotism here (heavy on the sarcasm). So, he’s been assigned to me as my intern. Being the upstanding employee that I am, I enthusiastically accepted the task. I know now this was a big mistake.
He’s extremely green, must be right out of school. It’s obvious he has no qualifications and is not going to work out in this business. His lack of work ethic is obvious. I have even caught him napping on the job. No excuse for this behavior. I’m even required to escort him to the restroom. It’s embarrassing.
He has a poor attitude and doesn’t hide it. He is vocal about his dislike for the job and this office. I caught him crying at his desk. He talks back to our bosses and the other employees. Not very mature or respectful. I wouldn’t stand for that if I was management.
You all know I take my job seriously and keep my toys…. I mean tools in proper working order. This guy has been stealing my tools and not putting them back where they go. He’s even broken a few of them and not had them fixed. And the tools he brings to work he won’t even share. Same goes for my lunch and snacks. He’s a greedy little bugger.
I must nip this in the bud and set this young whippersnapper straight. So that’s just what I did. I laid into him, or on him. He struggled a bit at first, but finally gave in. Perhaps it was my excellent mentorship, or maybe the lack of oxygen. He might just come around. Time will tell.
During the dog days of summer, the temperatures can be uncomfortable for two legged and four legged friends alike. While humans have multiple ways to cool off it can be harder for dogs. Canines do not have the ability to sweat throughout their body to cool down. Panting is their best way of regulating temperature. Heat stroke or heat exhaustion are both terms used for hyperthermia or elevated body temperature.
The symptoms can vary widely depending on how high the body temperature is and the patient’s other concurrent health issues. Symptoms may include:
Elevated respiratory rate and/or panting
Rapid heart rate
Gums may be dry, sticky, dark red in color, with possible bruising.
Shaking, shivering or muscle tremors
A rectal temperature provides most accurate reading. A dog’s normal temperature ranges between 100 to 103°F. A thorough history and questions regarding the pet’s recent environmental situation can help determine if the high body temperature is due to fever brought on by infection or other internal causes vs hyperthermia from external sources. Critical temperatures of 107-109 °F or above can lead to organ failure and death.
Dogs are not able to sweat over their entire body like humans. They have a small number of sweat glands in their foot pads. Applying alcohol or cool water to their foot pads can help reduce temperature due to evaporation. Utilize cool wash clothes on the pet’s head, stomach, groin, and armpits. Do not use cold water or ice packs. Cold restricts blood flow to the skin. The goal is to cool the blood and circulate it back through the body. Also, a drastic temperature drop can cause shock. Change the wash clothes frequently. Providing airflow, such as a fan, across their body will aid in evaporation. It is important to take their temperature frequently. A rectal temperature is the most accurate. Stop cooling when it reaches 103 or they may go into hypothermia.
In severe cases, hospitalization may be required for supportive care such as IV fluids and oxygen therapy. Medications can be given to control seizures. Your veterinarian may want to run blood work to assess the damage to the organs as prolonged hyperthermia can cause organ failure.
Patients who have suffered from hyperthermia are at greater risk for heat stroke due to damage to the thermoregulatory center. These patients should be carefully monitored in situations that could cause hyperthermia.
Hyperthermia is a condition that can be easily prevented by following reasonable standards of pet care.
When possible, keep pet indoors in air conditioning.
Provide adequate shade (with ventilation) if pets need to be left outside.
Always have water available.
Never leave pets in vehicles; temperatures rise quickly.
Exercise in morning or evening when outdoor temperatures are cooler.
Patients with heart disease, obesity, or Brachycephalic breeds are at greater risk.
If your pet is exhibiting symptoms of hyperthermia, record their body temperature and take action to reduce it if elevated. Contact your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary service for further instruction.
All the sudden your dog stops being able to wag his tail. It is droopy and just hangs limp. He sits funny, maybe to the side, as to not put pressure on it. There are many names for this including rudder tail, limber tail, swimmer’s tail, or broken wag. The technical term for this condition is acute caudal myopathy. Although this can happen to any breed, but it is most common in working or hunting breeds such as Retrievers, Points, Setters, and Hounds.
This condition often occurs at the start of hunting season or in the early spring. The muscles in the tail are sprained or strained from overuse without proper conditioning. Dogs use their tail like a rudder to steer and maintain balance while swimming. The cold water in spring and fall may also play a role. During hunting, working, or playing the dog may wag their tail excessively. Dogs who are crated for long periods of time can also develop this condition. Dogs may not show symptoms immediately, but possibly the next morning after rest. Much like a human’s muscles are sore the next day after exercise. The pain can be substantial enough to make the dog not want to eat and act lethargic.
Symptoms may include:
Tail is painful to touch
Completely or partially limp tail
Inability to wag tail
Licking or chewing at tail
A tentative finding can be made based on the patient’s recent history, but a full physical exam will help confirm the diagnosis. Your veterinarian may need to rule out other issues such as a fracture, back injury, anal gland issues, or prostate disease. Radiographs may be helpful in excluding other issues.
Patients will recover with rest and anti-inflammatory pain medication. More severe cases may require prescription muscle relaxers. Ice or hot packs may also be recommended. This may take a few days to a week depending on the severity of the injury and if the patient complies with resting. It is a difficult request to ask a happy dog not to try and wag its tail.
Since overuse of the muscles is the cause, simply taking it easy will help prevent this issue. Instead of allowing the dog to jump into an activity full bore, introduce it slowly. Condition them with short amounts of exercise, training, or swimming to build up their endurance and stamina. Allow ample time to rest in between. For hunting dogs, start preparing them well before the season, or keep them conditioned throughout the year. Don’t expect your dog to go from couch potato to field champion in one day.