Author Archives: Dr. Marc Edward

What if My Pet is Allergic to Anesthetic?

Hi. My name is Dr. Mark and I’m filming for Pets Best Insurance, answering some Facebook questions for you guys at Broadway Veterinary Hospital in Boise, Idaho.

This question comes from Vera. She asks: “If your pet is allergic to anesthetic, what other options are there if a surgical procedure is needed?”

Vera, that’s a good question because a lot of people have concerns about using anesthetic. The reality is, most of the advanced surgical procedures require anesthetic to humanely be performed. There’s really no substitute to really knock out that pain sensation and have them knowing what’s going on.

But to elaborate on that just a little bit, anesthetic reactions in and of themselves are typically fairly rare. It would be even more rare for an animal to have a reaction to every anesthetic agent out there.

So, if your pet had an unfavorable reaction to a particular class of anesthetics, it would be good to talk to the veterinarian who’s going to perform the surgery, let him know what the anesthetic agent is that you’re concerned about, and a different protocol can usually be devised that doesn’t include that anesthetic agent, and therefore maybe give you a more favorable outcome.

If an animal has a particular condition that would predispose them to having anesthetic complications, for example, a heart problem, again, there’s enough technology with these anesthetic agents right now that we can devise plans that make things as safe as possible for your pet.

If you have any other questions, post them to the Pets Best Insurance Facebook page, and we’ll see if we can answer them for you.

Top 3 Bizarre Pet Poisons

The Colorado River Toad is toxic to pets.As a veterinarian, I find that most people are aware of the common toxic substances that we see. Antifreeze, chocolate, onions and grapes are well known to cause health problems in our pets. Unfortunately, animals don’t limit themselves to eating just the obvious poisons. Here are 3 lesser-known toxic substances that can prove problematic for our furry companions.

1) Toad Poisoning

The two species of toads that cause poisoning in the United States are the Bufo alvarius (Colorado river toad, pictured here) and Bufo marinus (Cane toad). The Colorado river toad is found primarily in the southwestern United States, while the cane toad is found mostly in southern Texas, Florida, and Hawaii. Both toads contain poisonous glands that create problems after being ingested (but exposure can occur through wounds as well). Symptoms can include salivation, nausea, vomiting, blindness, seizures, heart problems and death. Some studies report that mortality is near 100% in untreated dogs and can occur within 30-60 minutes after exposure. If you suspect your dog has been exposed to one of these toads, it is imperative to seek veterinary care immediately.Read More…

Top 5 Diseases You Can Catch from Your Dog

Top diseases you can catch from your dog.A disease that is transmissible from animal to human is known as a zoonotic disease. As a veterinarian, it is not only my responsibility to properly diagnose pets, but also to inform pet owners about potential diseases they can catch from their dogs. Below is some information about some of the more common zoonotic diseases that I have diagnosed in dogs.

If you suspect you and/or your pet have been exposed to any of the following, seek medical attention right away.

1) Toxocariasis: This disease is caused by a common parasite in animals, the roundworm. Anyone is susceptible to contracting this disease, but we find that children and people who accidentally eat dirt are at higher risk. Animals that have roundworms will shed the toxocara eggs in their feces, and when infected dirt is ingested with these eggs, people can contract the disease. In animals, toxocariasis can cause organ damage, respiratory disease and eye problems including visual deficiencies amongst other symptoms.

Toxocariasis can be prevented with good hygiene and a regular deworming program, set up by your veterinarian, for your pet. In humans, toxocariasis will generally resolve itself because the larvae can’t mature in a human host.Read More…

The 6 Moods Your Dog Communicates

This pet insurance dog wants you to know how he's feeling.

Dr. Marc, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine blogs for pet insurance provider, Pets Best.

Just like people, dogs can communicate with each other and their environment. Unlike people, dogs do this largely without a ‘verbal’ language, but rather utilize body language. Even though many dogs have unique behavior characteristics that are individualized, certain body language is generally consistent with most canines. Understanding these cues can help you interpret how your dog may be feeling.

1) Playful, Frisky
This language says: “I want to play”, or that previous roughhousing was not construed as threatening. The body position will often resemble a ramp, with the head and torso are near the ground, and the back end is in the air. The tail is usually up and waging. Ears will be up and attentive, the mouth may be open.

2) Relaxed
Dogs in this state are generally at ease. They do not feel threatened by nearby activities. Dogs in a relaxed state are generally not directly engaged with others. These animals are usually approachable. Most of the time, the ears will be up without any forward press, the tails are down (not tucked), and their stance is loose with weight evenly distributed.

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3) Alert, Engaged 

In the alert phase, dogs are usually investigating something of interest or determining a course of further action regarding an environmental stimulant. Tails are usually stretched out horizontally, and often straight back, but not puffed. Ears are perked and placed forward. The mouth is usually closed. They may give signs of gathering sensory information such as smelling the air, twitching or rotating the ears, or tracking something visually.

4) Dominant (aggressive)
Dominant aggressive animals vary from fearful aggressive animals in that they are full of confidence. These animals will attack if their dominance is challenged. The tail is usually stiff, raised, and puffed out. The body is usually shifted forward (more weight on front legs). These dogs may be growling with lips snarled and teeth exposed. Often their hackles are raised, especially near the neck.

5) Fearful (possibly aggressive)
Animals will generally cope with fear in one of two ways. The first is fearful aggressive, the second is fearful submissive. In the fearful aggressive animal, fear is the predominant feeling, though they may attack if the sense of danger exceeds their threshold. These dogs will have their bodies lowered and their tails tucked. The ears are usually back and tucked against the head. Their hackles may also be raised.

6) Fearful (submissive)
These animals are also in a state of fear or stress, however, it is unlikely these animals will attack unless their body language changes. These animals can vary from general worry to submission. In early phases, the ears are back against the head and the hackles are down. The tail is down, but not necessarily tucked. They may wag their tail briefly in its down position. The body is generally in a lowered position. During a greater sense of fear these animals may become submissive. In this state, dogs will often roll on their back, may urinate, and have their tails tucked. Most animals in all states of submissive fear will try to avoid making direct eye contact.

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Why’s My Pet Doing That?!

A dog with dog insurance sticks out his tongue.

Is your dog or cat doing something and you aren’t really sure why? At Pets Best Insurance, we want to help you interpret some of the behaviors you may be seeing from your pet. So by popular request, here are some of the most sought-after answers to questions you may have about your dog or cat. Please keep in mind that we will list only the most common answers for each question. If you need further clarification, be sure to ask your vet!

Q: Why is My Dog Shaking?
A: Shaking usually indicates one of the following: cold temperature, fear or anxiety, discomfort and pain, or even possibly a medical illness. A doctor should see animals that shake for extended periods of time.

Q: Dogs Rule and Cats drool… But Why Does my Cat Drool?
A: Cats will often drool if they ingest something that tastes unpleasant (or are given certain medications). They can also drool as a result of nausea or intestinal disease, dental problems, oral infections, tumors and neurologic disease. I’ve seen cats drool when they become excited or receive attention as well.

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