Monday, July 6, 2015

POSTED: Tuesday, June 23, 2015, 3:28 PM
Filed Under: Pet360

I have noticed in my 32 years of veterinary practice that large breed dogs, especially German Shepherds, have larger and more frequent watery stools and digestive problems with commercial dog food. Owners and their veterinarians often observe the same problem. As it turns out there are anatomical and physiological reasons for this: The digestive tract of large dogs functions differently than smaller dogs, creating this problem.

Veterinary researchers from France presented their findings during a lecture I attended at the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Symposium in Indianapolis, Indiana recently.

What are These Digestive Differences?

  • The weight of the intestines in large dogs is only 3 percent of their body weight compared to 7 percent in smaller breeds. This means there is less intestinal area for digestion and absorption of the nutrients in the diet.
  • The time that food spends in the colon is longer for large breed dogs. That means that the colon bacteria have longer to ferment food products. This increases by-products that promote more water in the colon, causing more watery, frequent stools.
  • What Are the Solutions to These Digestive Differences?

  • More non-fermentable fiber in the diet. The guaranteed analysis on the label of dog food lists the total crude fiber, which really is not an indication of the fiber in the diet. Fiber can be divided into two major types. The first is indigestible or digestible fiber. As their names imply, indigestible fiber adds bulk to the diet and stool and passes with the stool. Digestible fiber can be used by the cells of the colon lining and are divided into two classes, fermentable fiber and non-fermentable fiber.
  • Bacteria in the colon use fermentable fiber as food to produce fats and lactic acid, which causes the intestinal contents to react like a sponge and draw water into the colon. By decreasing the amount of fermentable fiber in the diet, there is less water in the colon and large dogs have a more firm, formed stool.

    POSTED: Tuesday, June 23, 2015, 3:28 PM
    Filed Under: Pet360

    Boulder Dog Food Company, L.L.C., recalled ten 3-ounce-bags of Chicken Sprinkles dog treats due to  a positive test for Salmonella contamination

    This recall is limited to Chicken Sprinkles treats with a best by date of 05/04/16, lot number 998 and a UPC Code of 899883001231. The product is in a clear plastic bag, and the UPC Code is located in the lower right hand corner of the product label on the front of the bag.  The best by date and lot lumber are on a label on the reverse side of the bag.

    The recall is a result of a routine sampling program by the Colorado Department of Agriculture which revealed a positive test for Salmonella in one package of Chicken Sprinkles.

    POSTED: Tuesday, June 23, 2015, 3:28 PM
    Filed Under: Pet360

    Tara the Cat Recognized for Courage in the Face of Danger

    It’s never a surprise when a dog wins the award for pet hero of the year; dogs are well known for jumping into action in times of crisis and saving their owners from injury, or even death. Cats…  not so much. While canine history has hundreds of dogs to represent bravery and heroism, cats have only a handful.

    So when the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Los Angeles announced their choice from the nominations for the most heroic dog of 2014, it came as a big surprise that the title was awarded to a cat.

    POSTED: Thursday, June 18, 2015, 4:29 PM
    Filed Under: Pet360

    I love mutts. I love purebreds. I love dogs in general, and I think it’s important to understand just how poorly the lines have been drawn between the two. They are more alike than different.

    All dogs, from teensy teacup Chihuahuas to towering Great Danes, belong to the same species, Canis lupis familiaris, and they can all interbreed (has someone ever bred a Chihuahua stud to a Great Dane bitch? Send me a picture if you’ve seen one). A breed of dog has a consistent set of characteristics of appearance and behavior, as defined by a breed club. It is not a scientific designation.

    But even these esteemed purebred lines may have once been mutts themselves: Golden retrievers, for example, were originally obtained by crossing spaniel and retriever breeds. Breed the winner of Westminster to the winner of the National Dog show and what do you get? Unless they were the same breed, you get a very expensive mutt.

    POSTED: Thursday, June 18, 2015, 4:28 PM
    Filed Under: Pet360

    We’ve all been there.

    Staring in anticipation at the sharp and shiny needle, poised above our arm, ready to pierce tender skin and withdraw a sample of our blood for some purpose related to our well being.

    Bloodwork is a fairly diagnostic test prescribed by doctors. It’s performed to ensure we’re as healthy on the inside as we appear on the outside, or to monitor previously diagnosed medical conditions. The same is true for companion animals, and veterinarians utilize the same tests that are used in people to help us better assess our patients' physical status.

    POSTED: Thursday, June 11, 2015, 5:28 PM
    Filed Under: Pet360

    A recent study published in the online journal PLoS ONE shows how important vitamin D is, especially to sick cats. As the authors explain: “vitamin D metabolism is altered in dogs and cats with a wide range of infectious, inflammatory and neoplastic conditions,” and “low serum 25(OH)D [a metabolite of vitamin D] concentrations have also been linked to all-cause mortality in the general human population.”

    Investigating the role of serum 25(OH)D concentrations and all-cause mortality in cats would be of interest to veterinarians since it is presently difficult to accurately predict mortality in hospitalised, ill cats. The identification of clinical measures which were predictive of mortality would be extremely helpful in providing much needed prognostic information to owners of ill cats. 

    Ninety-nine cats were included in the study. The researchers were able to gather a lot of data from the cats’ medical records, residual blood samples, and follow-up conversations with the cats’ owners and referring veterinarians, including the cats’ 25(OH)D concentrations and whether or not the cats were alive 30 days after their initial presentation. They found that cats with 25(OH)D concentrations in the lowest third of the observed range had an increased risk of dying. Blood potassium levels and a reduced appetite were the only other indicators that could be used to predict a cat’s chance of surviving.

    POSTED: Tuesday, June 9, 2015, 3:28 PM
    Filed Under: Pet360

    Did you know that 1/3 of domestic violence victims delay leaving an abusive relationship due to concern for their pets? Data also shows that 25% of victims return to an abusive relationship to protect the pets retained by the abusive partner.

    I feel extremely naïve to have only recently learned that pet ownership or abuse of a pet could be effectively used by one individual to continue a harmful or abusive relationship with another individual. An article in the latest Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association discusses some of the problems faced by victims and pets of abuse and highlights federal legislation that might help abuse victims.  

    The depth of the suffering form abusive situations is not over even if a victim escapes it. This is summed up by the article’s quote from Maya Carless, the executive director of Animals and Society Institute.

    POSTED: Tuesday, June 9, 2015, 3:28 PM
    Filed Under: Pet360

    Did you know that dogs have six eyelids — three for each eye? Many owners don’t, at least until something goes wrong with one of the third eyelids that are normally hidden from view.

    First a little anatomy. We are all familiar with a dog’s upper and lower eyelids that function very much like ours. The third eyelids, or nictitating membranes, as they are also called, normally lie underneath the lower lids. When they close and cover the eyes, owners often mistakenly think that their dog’s eyes are rolling back in their head.

    Third eyelids serves as an extra layer of eye protection for dogs who, at least in the past, spent a lot of time running through brush and grass and digging in the dirt, which can lead to debris in the eyes and wounds to the cornea. Third eyelids sweep dirt and other material off of the surface of the eyes and keep the eyes moist. They also harbor a lot of tissue associated with the immune system and help heal any eye wounds or infections that do develop. When a dog has an injury to the eye, the third eyelid will often be raised to cover it. In these cases, I think of the third eyelid as a natural Band-Aid to the eye.

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