Hyperthermia

Hyperthermia

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.

Symptoms

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.
  • Not urinating
  • Shaking, shivering or muscle tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Disoriented/Ataxic
  • Seizures

Diagnosis

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.

Treatment

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.

Prevention

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.

Acute Caudal Myopathy: Limber Tail

Acute Caudal Myopathy: Limber Tail

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.

Symptoms

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
  • Whining/whimpering
  • Licking or chewing at tail
  • Lethargy

Diagnosis

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.

Treatment

Carprofen is a commonly used NSAID for dogs

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.

Prevention

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.

Supplements

Supplements

Supplements, vitamins, & herbs; we hear a lot about their benefits in human medicine, but are they necessary or safe for our pets? In general, feeding a quality commercial pet food should supply your pet with all the required nutrients for general health. Different age groups, specific breeds, or pets with medical conditions may require different nutrients.

Glucosamine & Chondroitin

Glucosamine and chondroitin are naturally occurring compounds that are often paired together in joint supplements. They are commonly recommended for elderly, arthritic, or patients with joint injuries. These supplements are a chondroprotectant, which means they help to alleviate joint pain by boosting repair of damaged cartilage, helping to retain fluid to lubricate the joint, and protect against cartilage break down. These supplements often work behind the scenes and results are usually not seen immediately after starting these supplements; they need time to build up in the patient’s system and take effect. Sometimes owners will notice more of an effect when they stop these.

Glucosamine and chondroitin can be found in many forms. These supplements are sold over the counter and can be found in tablets, capsules, and powder form. It is often included in senior pet foods and foods marketed for joint health (Hill’s Science Diet j/d®, Purina Veterinary Diet Joint Mobility®, Royal Canin Advance Mobility Support®). Prescription treats made with Glucosamine and chondroitin are also available. Make sure the supplements have been FDA approved, otherwise the ingredients, dosage, etc. may not be reliable.

Fatty Acids

Not all fats are bad. Essential fatty acids are found naturally in a balanced diet. Pets that lack adequate fatty acids can have dry, dull hair coat and skin. Adding Omega-3 is commonly recommended to improve skin and coat health. Fatty acids can also improve heart health by reducing inflammation in the body that can damage blood vessels and lead to heart disease. Studies also suggest it may help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and may also help with arthritis.

Fatty acids can be found in certain oils, flax seed, chia, and safflower. Studies suggest that pets may have difficulty converting these into the correct form to provide the most benefit. Cold water fish, algae, and krill oil have been shown to already contain the correct form that does not need converting. Therefore, the source of the fatty acid is important when choosing a product. Supplements are commonly found in either liquid or capsule form.

Excessive amounts of fatty acids can cause undesirable side effects such as gastrointestinal upset or blood clotting issues. Avoid these supplements within two weeks of any surgical procedure. Pet owners may not appreciate the fishy breath and “fish burps” that often accompany the use of these supplements. Most products require refrigeration or can become rancid, and the efficacy can be affected by exposure to light, heat, or oxygen. Be sure to read the labels regarding storage and expiration.

Note: Fatty Acid supplements may need to be discontinued before surgical procedures.

Probiotics

I could write an entire blog on probiotics, but in summary probiotics can be beneficial to most patients. The benefits range from aiding in digestion and GI health to supporting a healthy immune system. Probiotics can be found in many forms; including powder, capsules, tablets, liquids, pastes, and in treats or food. Powders have been found to be most effective. Attention to bacterial strains, ingredients and dosages are important no matter which product is used. Probiotics tend to work best when they are given to the species they are formulated for. For example, human probiotics work best for humans, canine probiotics work best for canines, and feline probiotics work best for felines.

Fiber

For patients with gastrointestinal issues, adding more fiber to their diet may improve symptoms. Fiber aids in regulating bowel movements, which can benefit pets experiencing either diarrhea or constipation. Canned pumpkin is an inexpensive and palatable addition to a pet’s diet to increase fiber. Make sure to use canned pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling, which has ingredients that may cause gastrointestinal upset.

The anal glands are normally expressed with a solid bowel movement. Patients with loose stools or altered anatomy near the rectum may have issues expressing their anal glands naturally. By adding fiber to their diet, the stools become firmer and more regular, aiding in expressing the glands regularly. Products such as Glandex®, No Scoot®, and Express Ease® are marketed for patients with chronic anal gland issues. Fiber is a main ingredient in these products.

Overweight patients will also benefit from added fiber. Eating more fiber allows them to reduce caloric intake but still feel full. Studies show that diabetics who consume a high fiber diet experience less fluctuation in blood sugar levels. Weight loss and diabetic diets (Hill’s Science Diet prescription w/d® and r/d®, Purina Veterinary Diets Overweight Management® and Diatetic Management®, Royal Canin Satiety Support®) are formulated with increased fiber and fewer calories.

Antioxidants & Vitamins

The benefit of adding antioxidants and vitamins to a pet’s diet is debated. Some evidence supports the possibility that they counteract the effects of aging, such as cognitive dysfunction. For example, vitamins C and E may reduce inflammation and help aging dogs with memory problems. A patient may be diagnosed with a vitamin deficiency or disease that would be slowed by the addition of a supplement. In these cases, the supplements should be prescribed by a veterinarian and monitored closely.

Herbal Medicine

Ancient civilizations have been using herbal medicine to treat ailments for centuries. Many of the same herbal blends are still used today. There are many different ingredients with multiple benefits such as controlling urine leakage, aiding in blood clotting, and even slowing the progression of cancer. These supplements should be prescribed and closely monitored by your veterinarian. It is important to obtain them from a trusted source since the ingredients, dosage, etc. can widely vary. Counterfeit products are also a risk when ordering online.

Too Much of a Good Thing?

You may have heard the phrase “Too much of a good thing ain’t a good thing.” This rings true for supplements. For example, too much calcium can cause skeletal problems. Excess vitamin A can harm blood vessels and cause dehydration and joint pain. Too much vitamin D can prompt a dog to stop eating, effect bones, and cause muscle atrophy. Though studies have been done on the short-term benefits of supplements, they often don’t examine the long-term effects. As veterinary medicine advances, more knowledge of the effects of supplements will evolve.

Each individual patient is unique. Always consult your veterinarian before starting any supplements and report any side effects. Please bring any supplements along to appointments so they can be documented in the patient’s medical history.

Anal Glands

Anal Glands

A very common subject of phone calls received at veterinary clinics is a pet that is “scooting”. A common misconception is that it has worms, but often the cause is anal glands that need expressing. Most people are not even aware that pets have anal glands and what they do.

Purpose & Location

Photo Credit: Hill’s Atlas of Clinical Anatomy

Anal glands are small sacs located just inside the rectum with ducts that exit at the anus. Also called the “scent glands”, they produce a foul-smelling, yellow to brown colored, liquid substance used for marking. The contents are excreted with the pressure of a normal, firm bowel movement. Most pets do not have issues expressing the material on their own. However, due to loose stools, allergies, diet, or differing anatomy, some patients need help expressing the glands. Anal glands can become impacted, infected, and can abscess. Also, leaks can occur when pets are either very relaxed or scared/startled.

Symptoms

Some symptoms are very noticeable, while others are more subtle. Pet’s may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Scooting
  • Excessive licking at rear end
  • Foul odor
  • Sudden need to sit down
  • Lethargic
  • Not eating

Treatment

The glands will need to be expressed manually if the patient cannot express them naturally. Though this can be done from the outside, it is much more successful to express them internally. It is highly recommended that a veterinary professional express them, but with proper training and patient cooperation a client can do them at home. If any abnormalities are noticed, please seek veterinary care.

Abscessed anal glands may need oral antibiotics, and in severe cases may need to be infused with liquid antibiotics. Most patients will need to be sedated for this procedure. Tumors can also develop in or around the anal glands, which is a good reason to have them expressed by a veterinary professional.

Prevention

There are multiple products on the market that claim to alleviate anal gland issues. The key ingredient in all of them is fiber. Fiber helps to keeps pet’s gastrointestinal system regular, which helps to naturally express the glands. A low-cost home remedy would be to add a small amount of canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) to your pet’s diet.

For patients with known anal glands issues, expressing them regularly can prevent them from becoming impacted and abscessing. All patients are different, but it is common to need expressing monthly. If your pet is having anal gland issues, give us a call at 444-5797 to schedule an appointment.

First Aid Items

First Aid Items

April is National Pet First Aid Awareness Month. We have created a list of items to keep at home or in your field first aid kit.

Bandage Materials

Having the correct materials and knowing how to use them can make a big difference in wound management. A pressure wrap can help to control or minimize bleeding. Bandaging can be helpful in protecting a wound from contamination as well as from the patient licking it. Bandages should be removed if they become too tight or swelling is observed, or if they become dirty or wet.

A non-adhesive pad (such as a Telfa pad) should be placed over the wound itself, then a stretch bandage (Example: Vetrap®) material can be used to keep it in place. When bandaging an extremity, start at the bottom and work your way up to avoid constriction. A tape can be used to reinforce the ends. When actual bandage materials are unavailable, items such as lady’s maxi pads and a little duct tape may suffice in an emergency.

Thermometer

A dog and cat’s normal rectal temperature is about 99-103 degrees Fahrenheit. An increased temp is hyperthermia and decreased is hypothermia. Warming or cooling of the patient should start immediately if able. The patient’s temperature can be helpful information when calling your veterinarian and can aid in diagnosis.

Pain Medication

Aspirin is an over-the-counter medication that can be given to dogs that have a sprain/strain or are sore after hunting. Call your veterinarian for dosing. Long term use of Aspirin may cause stomach upset or ulcers. Never use Aspirin in conjunction with steroids (Prednisone) or other pain meds. Aspirin should not be given to cats. Prescription anti-inflammatory medications, such as Vetprofen/Carprofen or Rimadyl, are more effective but must be prescribed by your veterinarian.

NEVER give pets Ibuprofen (Advil®), Acetaminophen (Tylenol®), or Naproxen (Aleve®).

Benadryl

Benadryl® (Diphenhydramine) is an over-the-counter antihistamine frequently used for symptoms related to allergies including hives, facial swelling, rashes, etc. It is usually found in 25 mg tablet or capsule form at most pharmacies, but for dogs under 12 pounds, the children’s liquid may be easier to dose. Contact your veterinarian for dosing.

Nail Trimmer & Styptic Powder

Having your own nail trimmer at home can come in handy for broken nails. Styptic powder (Kwik Stop®) is a product that helps stop bleeding when nails are clipped too short. Baby powder, corn starch, or baking flour can be used in place of styptic powder but are less effective. Styptic powder should not be used on large or deep wounds.

Hemostat

A hemostat is a practical tool to include in a first aid kit. It can aid in removing porcupine quills, slivers, weed seeds, etc. In a pinch, a needle-nose plier can stand in for a hemostat. Hemostats can be purchased in the fishing department or at any bait & tackle store.

Helpful tip: Do not cut porcupine quills off before removing. Pull the quills straight out with slow, steady pressure.

Bandage Scissors

A pair of bandage or athletic scissors can make removing bandages much easier. Different from regular scissors, they have a protective edge that shields the patient from the sharp blades of the scissors. They can also be used in case a collar or hunting vest gets caught and needs to be cut off. 

Eye Flush

An ophthalmic saline solution can be used to flush debris out of eyes. This can be useful to remove weed seeds, pollen, and other eye irritants. With any eye injury, a veterinarian should examine the eye promptly for corneal scratches or stuck foreign material. Do not use Visine® or any other contact solution.

Muzzle

Even the nicest pets may bite when they are fearful or painful. A properly fitting muzzle helps protect you from getting bit, but please still use caution and firm restraint. Muzzles are also helpful in distracting your pet while performing procedures.

E-collar vs Clothing

A pet can do more harm than good when licking or chewing at a wound, abrasion, lump, etc. Protecting the affected area from the pet can be just as important as protecting it from the elements. Having an E-collar available can be a great advantage. In place of an E-collar, a T-shirt can be worn by your pet to prevent it from licking or scratching a wound on its chest or abdomen. A sock or booty on the foot can prevent the pet from using that paw to scratch with or prevent them from getting to a wound on the foot.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide has multiple uses. It can be used to rinse debris out of a wound, though it can be irritating. Peroxide can be used orally to induce vomiting if your pet ingests a toxin or foreign body. Consult your veterinarian promptly if your pet has ingested a toxin or foreign body. Peroxide is also an ingredient in the home remedy for a “skunk bath” (peroxide, baking soda, dish soap).

Betadine/Iodine

A dilute Betadine or Iodine solution is useful when cleaning and flushing out wounds. It has antibacterial properties and is less irritating than peroxide.

Alcohol

Dogs do not sweat from their body like we do; they only sweat through their paw pads. Isopropyl or rubbing alcohol can be applied to the pet’s paws when overheated. As it evaporates, the alcohol pulls heat away from the body, mimicking the effects of sweating.

Electric Clippers

Carefully trimming the hair around injuries can help you assess how extensive it is. Letting air reach certain wounds can allow them to heal quicker. Trimming matted fur can prevent a hidden infection underneath. Please do not use scissors to trim mats.

Your pet’s annual physical is a great time to discuss with your veterinarian which items would be more important for your pet.  If you have any questions on specific products, please bring them along to your appointment. Give us a call at (218)444-5797 to schedule an appointment.

Over-the-Counter Flea & Tick

Over-the-Counter Flea & Tick

There are so many different flea & tick products on the market currently with a wide variety of active ingredients. Some would assume that if they are marketed for pets, they would be safe for all pets. This is not necessarily true. Cats are much more sensitive than dogs and can have severe reactions to canine flea & tick products. Patients with chronic medical conditions, such as seizures, can also respond differently to medications.

Store Brand vs Prescription

We carry Bravecto, Credelio, & Seresto for dogs.

There are numerous benefits of using prescription flea & tick prevention from your veterinarian. Most prescription medications are more effective than over-the-counter treatments. Your pet’s veterinarian can recommend the right product based on their lifestyle and medical conditions. When you purchase through your veterinarian, the product is recorded in your pet’s medical records. Having accurate record of what was administered and when is valuable since most companies offer guarantees on their products. Also, drug companies often offer better rebates when buying through a veterinarian.

Unfortunately, when buying products through untrusted online sources, consumers risk receiving counterfeit products. The counterfeit products have little to none of the desired effect, which can leave your pet exposed to serious diseases. When shopping online, be sure to purchase only from trusted sources and inspect the product closely upon arrival.

We carry Revolution Plus & Seresto for cats.

Cats

Topical medications & collars are popular amongst flea & tick products. Some contain Permethrins, Organophosphates, or Amitraz as the active ingredient. All of these are extremely toxic to cats. Any medication containing permethrins should never be applied to cats. Also, cats should be kept away from dogs who have been treated for at least 72 hours to avoid accidental contact. Exposure can affect a cat’s nervous system and cause severe illness.

Symptoms include:

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tremors, shaking, or twitching
  • Ataxic- uncoordinated, acting “drunk”
  • Hypersensitive to touch
  • If left untreated, can results in death

Correct Dosing & Route of Administration

When used inappropriately, any medication can be toxic to the patient. Most products are dosed based on the patient’s weight. Pets who inadvertently ingest a topical medication or collar can become extremely ill. Toxicity can affect the nervous system, gastrointestinal system, and/or cardiac function with symptoms including:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Lethargy
  • Ataxic- uncoordinated, acting “drunk”
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Slow heart rate
  • Low or high blood pressure

Natural Remedies

Some prefer a more natural approach to flea & tick prevention. Although not nearly as effective, holistic remedies can work for pets with minimal exposure. There are products available that have peppermint, lemongrass, cedarwood, and other essential oils as their main ingredient which claim to repel mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks. Please be aware that some oils, for example Tea Tree Oil, can also be toxic to pets. Read more about toxic oils on our blog “Essential Oils & Diffusers”.

Key Points

Here is a list of key points to take away from this blog.

  • Never use dog products on cats.
  • Use products only as directed on the label.
  • Monitor your pets after use.
  • Report any adverse reactions to the company.
  • Use the appropriate dose for your pet’s weight.
  • Consult a veterinarian before product use in pets with chronic medical conditions.
  • Most prescription medications are more effective than over-the-counter treatments.
  • If your pet is having a reaction to a flea & tick medication:
    • If the product is a collar, remove it immediately.
    • Have the packaging available.
    • Call the Pet Poison Helpline at (800) 213-6680.