Author Archives: Chryssa Rich

Hot Spots on Dogs, Injection Stress

Hi, I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell and I’m a veterinarian at Idaho Veterinarian Hospital. I’m at home today answering questions from Pets Best Facebook page.

The first question comes from Riley the Labrador. “What do you recommend for a dog with hot spots?” Hot spots are areas of dermatitis or infected skin that are usually self-inflicted. They can be related to underlying allergies, so first and foremost you’re going to want to see your veterinarian in case your dog needs to be put on antibiotics or other medications.

In the future, what you can do to prevent the hot spots would be try to find out what’s triggering them, if it’s underlying allergies to food or the environment. Sometimes boredom can play a part, too, so dogs that are crated or confined for a while can be affected. You can try special shampoos. Antihistamines are sometimes helpful. Probably starting with your veterinarian is going to be the best choice for you.

The next one comes from Jennifer. “I have to give my dog two shots a day and she fights so hard. I’ve tried everything I can think of and nothing seems to work.” This is a tough one. Dogs that are diabetic or need allergy shots will sometimes be required to get injections.

The best thing you can probably do is to try and distract them so make it a two-person job. Have somebody feed the dog treats or praise them or pet them while you’re doing the shots behind. Distraction is probably going to be your best option. Also, reward the dog. They know what’s coming, so if they know that there’s going to be a treat afterwards, it may make it a little bit better.

Dogs that receive insulin are usually given shots that have really small needles so pain is pretty negligible. I wonder if your dog may be picking up on your stress from administering the injections as well. If you could try to make it a more relaxed environment and sort of a less stressful time for the pet, they might do a little better.

Chewing Golf Balls, Vaccine Frequency

Hi, I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell and today I am answering some questions on Pets Best Facebook page. This one is from Candy. “Is it okay to let dogs chew on golf balls? My Scottie scars the outside covering and I’m afraid she’s eating some of it, or at least ingesting some chemical. She has food allergies and is on the Z/D Kibble, which keeps her ears infection-free.”

It probably isn’t a good idea. A Scottie is a little dog so the chances of her swallowing the whole thing are pretty unlikely, but if she’s still chewing parts of the plastic off and ingesting it, it’s probably not going to be good for her. Try something like a Nylabone or a Kong, or something that’s made for dogs, to be a little bit safer.

The next one comes from Barbara. “Is it still necessary to do yearly vaccinations or is it being looked into to not have them done quite so frequently?”

This is a great question, and the answer is it depends. Some veterinarians will use vaccinations from a manufacturer that will only guarantee them for one year and that’s where the year deadline comes up. There are manufacturers that will guarantee their vaccines will work for three years. Contact your veterinarian and see if a three-year set of vaccines instead of one-year would be available for you to get.

Shedding Labradoodle and Strange Lump in Dog’s Mouth

Hi, I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell and I’m a veterinarian at Idaho Veterinary Hospital. I’m answering some questions from Pets Best Facebook page today.

This one comes from Marilyn. She writes, “Our Labradoodle is shedding hair by the handful. We were told that they don’t shed. He seems more Lab than Poodle, so I wonder if that’s the problem. He also breathes heavily out of his mouth all the time. He’s 15 months old and breaths like an old man.”

In terms of the shedding, it’s true that Labradoodles can shed less than other dogs, but at the end of the day, he is a Lab/Poodle mix and Labs shed a ton. While you may have been hoping to have a less shedding dog, it’s probably normal for him.

The breathing may or may not be something you want to have checked out by your veterinarian. If he’s panting, it could just be that he’s hot. If it’s when he’s sleeping, pets will absolutely snore so it could be snoring. If this happens after exercise or is something that is concerning you, you should probably contact your veterinarian.

The next one comes from Loriali [SP]. “I have a 10-month-old Miniature Schnauzer and I’ve noticed there’s a bump on the top of his mouth directly behind the two front teeth. Is this normal?” Without seeing it, it’s hard for me to say. There are ridges on the top of the mouth that are normal in dogs but a bump might be abnormal. I would contact your veterinarian and make an appointment.

Elevated Dishes and A Puppy Who Won’t Be Held

Hi, I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell and I’m at home answering some questions from Pets Best Facebook page.

This one comes from Donna. “Do you recommend elevated dog food bowls during feeding?” This is a great question. Bigger breed dogs and taller dogs, like Great Danes and Labradors, may benefit from having their food bowls a little bit higher just to make it easier for them to get to their food and water. There used to be some thought that elevated food bowls would help prevent certain things like bloat, which can be a big deal in bigger dogs like Great Danes. It’s thought now that maybe that doesn’t help as much as we thought it once did, but there still may be some value in raising the food bowls off the floor.

Gastric bloat is a really serious medical condition where the stomach will actually turn on itself and block off the esophagus and therefore it begins to fill with air. This is definitely a veterinary emergency. Generally, it will look like unproductive retching. The dog will want to vomit but nothing will come up. They’ll pace, they’ll seem agitated, and sometimes you’ll even be able to feel that their stomach feels hard.

The next question comes from Sue. “Two weeks ago I adopted a puppy from the Humane Society. She had a vet check and appeared to be healthy. It is her behavior that alarms me. She doesn’t like to be held at all. When we do, she lunges, snaps, bites and growls. This is the only time she does this.” Sue mentions that this is probably a Lab mix puppy.

What I would probably recommend is just not holding her. She clearly doesn’t like to be held. If she’s a Lab mix, she’s likely going to eventually be a size where it wouldn’t be appropriate to hold her anyway. I would just engage in affection with her on the floor, petting her and that type of thing.

There is some concern for me, too, that if she’s developing a habit of biting and growling now and is getting away with it, this could turn into a really big problem when she’s a larger dog. I would recommend getting in touch with a behaviorist and going to some puppy classes now, while she’s still young and a smaller size, to try to discourage her from doing these things.

Older Pet Health – Incontinence and Weight Loss

Hi, I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell and I’m a practicing veterinarian at Idaho Veterinary Hospital. I’m answering questions from Pets Best Facebook page today.

The first question comes from Amy. She asks, “Is there anything that can be done for older dogs that start having accidents during the night? We’ve been letting our dog sleep with us for 11 years and now we keep waking up to accidents. We’re unaware that she needs to be let out because she’s doing this in her sleep.”

This is a great question and there are some things that you can do. There are three things that come to mind that can cause this. First is that older dogs, especially females, can start to lose some of the tone in their urethra. This can cause them, without knowing it, to void their urine while they’re sleeping. There are some drugs that can be taken to help treat and prevent this but you would need to see your veterinarian for it.

In addition to that, urinary tract infections and some things that can sometimes make older dogs drink more water and therefore have more urine in their bladder can possibly cause this. I would say a great place to start would be to take your older pet to the veterinarian, have them look at a urine sample, and they can help you go from there.

The next question comes from Cindy. She says, “What do I do when my older cat is slowly losing weight for no known reason? How much does she have to lose before I get concerned about things like fatty liver? In her case, they ran blood tests and everything was fine. Changing her food is difficult as she free-feeds dry food and the other cat is overweight. Neither cat likes canned food.”

This is really common in old cats. They tend to start to lose some weight. Generally, it’s related to an underlying problem. I can’t comment on the blood work that was done beforehand, but make sure that your older cat is tested for thyroid disease and that a really good screening panel is done.

In older cats, there are three things that come to mind for me as specific diseases that can cause weight loss; an overactive thyroid, diabetes, and kidney disease, although there are other things that can do this, too. Make sure that the blood work that they’re running screens for these diseases. If you’re still unhappy, you can consider going to another veterinarian and getting another opinion, or you can go back to your veterinarian and tell them that your pet is still losing weight and see what tests can be done to make sure they recognize any underlying cause.

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