Author Archives: Chryssa Rich

Human Glucosamine for Dogs and TPLO Failure

Hello, my name is Dr. Fiona Caldwell and I’m a practicing veterinarian at Idaho Veterinary Hospital. Today I want to answer some Facebook questions at home for you

The first question I have is, “Can I give my dog human glucosamine?” This is a great question. Glucosamine is a supplement that’s meant to help with arthritis conditions in dogs. The dog-formulated and people-formulated glucosamines are basically the same, so the answer is yes, you can, but it’s important that you contact your veterinarian to know what dose is appropriate for your dog before you just purchase it over-the-counter.

The next question is, “Can a TPLO fail after the bone has healed?” A TPLO is a specific type of surgery that’s meant to correct a cruciate tear in a dog’s knee, just like an ACL tear in a person.

TPLOs typically have a pretty good success rate. After the bone is healed, there’s probably less incidence of failure versus when the bone is actually healing and the dog is a little bit more vulnerable at that time. But if your dog is acting differently after the surgery or starting to favor the leg, it could be a cause for concern and you should contact your veterinarian.

If you have a question for me, head to the Pets Best Facebook page and post your questions there.

Dog Skin Conditions and Reverse Sneezing

Hi, I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell and I’m a practicing veterinarian at Idaho Veterinary Hospital. Today I’d like to take a chance to answer some questions from our Facebook page.

The first question is, “My dog has dark brown staining on the insides of her legs that’s been there since I adopted her. Now there’s a small dark patch developing in the middle of her belly. The skin is discolored and the fur has a strange texture. She doesn’t lick it and the area is never damp. She isn’t in pain and it doesn’t itch. What could be causing it?”

This is a great question. It’s really a common change on skin and fur of dogs and it’s generally related to moisture on the skin. Places that this can accumulate are between the toes, in facial folds, in the center of the belly where there’s a kind of belly button. The moisture, just normal moisture from your dog’s skin, can create an environment that a very non- harmful yeast organism, a fungal organism, can actually live there.

It’s cosmetic and it usually doesn’t cause a problem. If it’s itchy or if it’s bothering your dog, it could be related to something else and you might want to bring it up with your veterinarian.

This question says, “My Chihuahua reverse sneezes frequently. I know it’s not a cause for too much concern but it sure sounds awful when she’s doing it. What causes this and is there anything I can do to help her?” This is great question. If you’ve never heard a reverse sneeze, the first time you do it sure does look terrifying. The majority of the time it’s not related to any sort of problem. It doesn’t mean your dog is gasping for air and it’s not an asthma attack.

There are a couple of things that can sometimes predispose dogs to it. One is size, so smaller breed dogs tend to do it more than bigger dogs. Occasionally it can be caused by allergies, so you may find that in the spring or in the fall when there’s a lot of pollens, your pet might do this more frequently. In certain areas of the nation, nasal mites can actually cause this. Another common cause of reverse sneezing is excitement, so oftentimes feeding a treat or a meal can predispose them to having these attacks.

If this is happening suddenly and your pet has never done it before, you might want to contact your veterinarian.

Dogs Who Eat Poop, Mast Cell Tumor Info

Hi. My name is Dr. Fiona Caldwell and I’m a veterinarian at Idaho Veterinary Hospital. Today I’m at home answering some of the questions posted on our Facebook page.

“How do I get my Chiweenie to stop eating poop?”

First of all, for those of you who don’t know what a “Chiweenie” is, it’s a cross between a Dachshund and a Chihuahua. This is actually a really common problem, especially in puppies and younger dogs, and it can be really disconcerting and kind of gross.

The first thing you’re going to want to do is really make sure you’re feeding appropriate food. A good quality dog food is really important. You’re going to want to make sure your pet is dewormed pretty regularly because this is one way that internal parasites can be spread.

You can try negative reinforcement and tell them “no” when they do this. Be sure to keep your yard really, really clean as well, so it’s less of a temptation. There are also some prescribed medications that can help deter pets from this nasty habit. Contact your veterinarian for more information.

The second question is, “Where are mast cell tumors found? Are they found internally as well as externally?”

The mast cell tumor is a specific type of cancer that dogs can get. It really can be a devastating cancer. Typically, it’s found on the skin, and that means anywhere. It can be on the limbs, the torso, or the head.

Generally, mast cell tumors first present on the skin but they can spread internally to lungs and lymph nodes and other organs. If you find a mass or a tumor on your dog’s skin that has you concerned, contact your veterinarian.

A Little Secret About Pomeranian Tulah

Hi, I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell and I’m a practicing veterinarian at Idaho Veterinary Hospital.

If you have been watching my videos, you have seen that Tulah is my model. I wanted to point out that Tulah has a handicap. She only has three legs, but she doesn’t mind. She is missing the hind leg. She was hit by a car, and a Good Samaritan brought her to me and nobody claimed her. She does great on her three legs.

You may have a situation with your own dog where something needs to be removed; a leg, an eye, or even just teeth. Sometimes we get really worried about how our dogs are going to do with that type of procedure.

Dogs are really resilient and typically they’ll do great, especially with something that’s cosmetic. Most dogs will surprise you by how well they adapt.

Does my dog need supplements?

Hi, I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell and I’m a practicing veterinarian at Idaho Veterinary Hospital.

Pets Best Insurance has been soliciting questions on Facebook from fans and I’d like to answer one today. We’ve got a question, “Are pet supplements okay to give my dog? I’ve been thinking about putting my dog on supplements but I’m unsure which are best or if they’re even necessary.”

In my opinion, if you’re using a high-quality dog food, it should be complete with all the vitamins and nutrients essential for a healthy dog. Supplementing some healthy animals with vitamins can actually cause a problem. For example, in large breed growing puppies, excessive calcium can cause some orthopedic issues. In addition, some of the homeopathic or herbal remedies often haven’t been very well researched in dogs. Therefore, in my opinion, it’s probably best to stay away from them.

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