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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Animal House Calls

Yes, I know, it has been a long while since I've posted. A member of my immediate family became quite ill and had to be hospitalized. His condition is improving, thank you to everyone for your sincere concern.

I hospitalized a sick cat today who was eating one of the foods on the recall list. The cat was NOT azotemic, meaning the cat's kidney values were not elevated. However, she was quite ill and improved dramatically with fluid therapy. There is a possibility that the consumption of this food is entirely coincidental with the cat's illness, though for now, it is likely they are related.

Tonight I will be a guest on CP 24's Animal House Calls with Ann Roehmer. I invite viewers who have questions to feel free to ask them here. Just click on "comment" and ask away. I will do my very best to reply to everyone. The information provided does not replace the advice of a veterinarian after having examined your pet. Please see a vet if your pet is ill.


Greg said...

It was great to see you tonight on CP24. You said a lot of good things, you were great. My 2 girls (dogs, Brittanys) are with your clinic, but you have not seen them...yet (I live just across the street). The Downtown Pet Clinic has been very good to me, especially Alda, who I now consider a friend. I had a major medical event 3 years ago, which almost killed me (I am only a inshape 45 guy), but having gotten through that, now (just for now) I had to go on disability. Alda has been amazing to ensure my girls are looked after, until I can get 'back to it', work, very soon.

I have many questions to ask, but not right now, if that is OK. I would like to fire a few to you later. I am starting to make my own food for the girls, all info is welcome.


(ps: I have my girls, 3 big tanks, a rat ‘Manana’ who loves his digs and now a 7 week buggie, “keet’. Shoot, they could film ‘Animal House in my livingloom!)


Greg. Thanks so much. I really appreciate the positive feedback. It's funny, you mention the Downtown pet clinic, which is on Church. Our hospital is called The Animal Clinic. Is that what you meant?
I look forward to meeting you and your Brittanys!

Kathryn said...

I wonder if you could help. We have a 7 1/2 month old puppy - Springer Spaniel/Poodle cross. A sweet active girl. We have had a number of dogs and never had this problem, particularly at this young age ... she is overweight and despite attempts to correct, continues to gain. She is approximately 26 lbs now. She is active (two hour-long walks a day with runs in offleash park each time plus many hours playing with our older Westie and Lab mix), we have cut back her food on vet's recommendation (from 2/3 cup to 1/2 cup twice per day - Puppy Food by Canine Plus), treats - only very small amount of cooked beef (lean roast beef) given as treat (to all our dogs). We are worried and don't know what we should do next - change food, cut back amount further, look into potential health problem (we have brought her to vet many times to look into this). She was spayed at 6 1/2 mos. Hope you can help.



Thank you for posting. Thyroid illness is possible but VERY VERY unlikely at this age. It doesn't hurt to run a thyroid panel...
However, here's where your likely problem is: despite the excellent level of exercise you are providing for your dog, it's likely that the dog is STILL getting too many calories per day and this is translating in the inability to lose, or even gain, weight.
Here's what you should do: have a vet CALCULATE the number of calories that should be consumed per day. This is calculated on the dog's IDEAL weight (meaning, what should the dog weigh now?).
Then you calculate (quite easily) just how many calories your dog is eating every day, including every single snack that is ingested. You can find this info very easily by calling the consumer # on the bag or on the web.
Try this, and remember, this advice should not preclude a good visit to the vet!
Good luck, Kathryn.

greg said...

Sorry, yes, I ment the Amimal Clinic.

Very quckly, what is your view on giving dogs raw meat and organs (Heart, liver, kidney) are part of their daily diet (the meat kept clean and in the refrigerator...and used before the 'best before' date. Thanks. Greg.

Anonymous said...

My Min. Schnauzer is 2.5 years of age, weight 15.5 lbs. Since early February I've discovered several drops of diluted blood on the puppy pad every now and then. after an annual check up in early march, it was discovered that my dog had a urine pH of 9. Blood work was fine. the urinalysis result showed “traces of microscopic level of crystals” but the vet couldn’t determine what type of bladder stone it was. This result suggested that my pup might have a urinary tract infection secondary to the urolithiasis and my vet prescribed 2 weeks of antibiotic.
3 weeks later, the vet performed another urinalysis and it was determined that the crystals were calcium oxalate and his urine pH was down to 6.something. (fyi, during the antibiolic treatment, no blood were found in the urine)

My dog was then put on hills g/d diet. No treats were allowed (which is the hardest thing as he needs that to do tricks for patients). Traces of blood were again found in his urine (it's a hit and miss, I found that every couple of days – depend on water consumption, and whether he managed to eat some "prohibited food"). However, the vet did not recommend another antibiotic treatment. she suggested that my dog should remain on g/d for 2 months and another urinalysis after. at such time she will decide whether a culture or surgery will be needed.
(I told the vet that I was against the surgery route as the dog is young and he was not showing any physical symptoms of discomfort – He is not lethargic, he eats, he plays all day long,he does #1 & 2s as usual while on walks, no straining. However, he does release small amount of urine when he uses puppy pad at will at the sitter. (If it was not because of the use of puppy pad at the sitter’s, I wouldn’t have detected blood in the urine at all.)

So Doc, my questions are around dietary requirement & longterm maintenance.
1. g/d is for ageing dog. (Restrict fat & reduce sodium) my dog is 2.5 and he is very active. Will he get all his nutrition requirment since he is not getting any supplements thru treats? (as mentioned, before switching to g/d, he was on Sci Diet adult & his urine ph was 9). one and a half year ago, he was on Euk lamb and rice & his urine ph was 5. I’ve asked the vet about a more homeopathic or “natural” dietary option, she admitted that is not her expertise.
2. Before the discovery of the “crystal”, the vet told me it was safe to give my dog treats like greenie, carrots, apples & rollover (I gave my pup a variety of their products - rolls, liver treats, and chicken strips). I also gave my dog some "all natural, no preservative" dog treats found in specialty stores. My dog had been in various training classess so treats to me are “essential”. After discussing with the vet and doing some research of my own, the vet told me now apples, carrots, and the medical veggie treats should be fine. I was wondering if you could offer me some guidance on what type of treats and/or suppliments are safe to recommend for my dog.
3. what should i do to monitor the dog if i want to avoid invasive treatment, if at all possible, down the road?

Any recommendation is much appreciated.


Dear anonymous,

The first thing we need to figure out is what type of stone, if any, is present in the bladder. Remember, microscopic crystals may or may not correlate with the type of stone in the bladder (again, if one is indeed present).
First, you should agree to have his bladder either radiographed or ultrasounded. The recurrence of blood in the urine is reason enough to do this right away. That way, the vet can be sure if there are just crystals in the urine or if a stone is present. Some rare stones may not show up on a plain x-ray and so requires an ultrasound to find.
Also, if there are multiple stones in the bladder and you have a male dog, this increases the risk that your little guy can become obstructed if a stone lodges in the urethra. This is far from rare in male dogs, and is considered an emergency. You don't want this to happen.
Urinary tract infections (actual bacteria in the urine) in male dogs are RARE, but not impossible. A sterile collection of urine should be done and it should be sent for a culture and sensitivity.
Being a Schnauzer, my first guess would be calcium oxalate stones in the bladder, but you should follow up with these recommendations and keep me posted. If your vet finds stones in the bladder, they're likely made of calcium oxalate and unfortunately surgery is the only way to go (a very few number of universities in the states perform lithotripsy - shockwave breakdown of the stones -as well).
As for treats, without knowing what exactly is going on in the bladder I cannot make recommendations on the food or treats.



Just wanted to add that tiny stones MAY be flushed from the bladder in male dogs without surgery.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the quick reply.

yes. On the second urinalysis the vet did determine he had no bacterial infection and that the crystal is calcium oxalate, so chances of dissolving it has been ruled out. During the physical, the vet couldn’t "feel" anything in the abdominal area, so we did talk about using x-ray to help determine if there is in fact presence of bladder stones.

But I was a bit hesitant to the idea, I really don’t feel it’s to my pup’s benefit to put him thru yet another blast of radiation & anesthesia. FYI, my dog also has a habit of skipping in his walk (again, it comes and goes, and that he never skips when he is pulling, running, jumping, or fooling around with other dogs). so back in Oct 06, he took some x-ray to his hind leg & issue with joint/hip problem including patella luxation was ruled out. (The symptom disappeared during the winter months and lately it happens again – who knows it could be arthritis but at this point the vets didn’t think so (he was examined by a team of 3 vets). Back to the bladder problem, his primary vet also advised me that smaller stones might not show up on the x-ray and that on-site ultra sound is not available. (If you can recommend where I can get an ultrasound done… I would consider that)

I don’t have an issue with providing medical treatment to my dog. However, I truly want to avoid unnecessary treatment of any invasive nature (trust me, my dog has received multiple anesthetic and investigative “treatments” for the most insignificant things, the results were often false positive - he is not even 3). If I can do anything to enhance his overall wellness and qualify of life, I would certainly take that route. I am working very closely with the vet thru monitoring his diet and repeat urine tests (every 3 months at this point). I am open to second opinion and I will certainly keep you posted, if that’s ok.

Thanks for the blog. It’s a great service you are offering.


Dear anonymous, I'll be blunt, but I mean it nicely.
The amount of radiation exposure will be very very low. If you had a broken arm, would you tell the MD that you don't want an x-ray? Same thing for the dog: if he still has urinary symptoms, the first thing I'd do is a radiograph. What I'm proposing to you is exactly what I'd do with my own pets. What you're describing as unnecessary, I'm describing as quite necessary. Think about it and get back to me. Remember, I just want to help your dog.
Also, you're describing calcium oxalate CRYSTALS and not stones.

TorontoVet said...


Thanks for the comment, and good question. There are blood tests that look at the amount of antibody against specific diseases, such as distemper, parvo, and rabies. These antibody titers typically correlate with the amount of protection the dog has against these diseases, but the correlation is not 100%. If the dog has high titers, she is likely protected. The cost of these tests is also signficantly higher than simply vaccinating the dog. The risks of re-vaccinating (assuming the dog was already vaccinated) are significantly lower than the risks of not vaccinating the dog at all.
If she were mine, I would consider getting all of her shots updated. Take care!