How Hot is Too Hot For Your Dog?

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Dogs can suffer burns to their paws on days most people wouldn’t consider searingly hot.

If the outside temperature is a pleasant 77F (25C), there’s little wind and humidity is low, asphalt and tarmac can reach a staggering 125F (52C).

This can rise to 143F (62C) when the mercury hits 87F (31C).

It’s worth bearing in mind that an egg can fry in five minutes at 131F (55C) while skin destruction can occur in just one minute at 125 (52C).

The reason pavements get so hot is they soak up heat all day and then retain that heat.

Temperature of Surfaces at 2pm

Surface temperatures and their respective surfaces at 2pm.

Studies have shown that some surfaces retain heat far better than others.

In one university experiment, the temperature of six different surfaces was taken at two points in the day on two separate summer’s days.

The results showed that artificial grass came out hottest in all four trials, followed by the material that’s used to make running tracks and then asphalt.

All three surfaces measured upwards 122F at 2pm on both days. This temperature could severely burn a dog’s paws within a matter of minutes.

Brick and concrete came next in the surface temperature league table followed by natural grass. While sand wasn’t included in this experiment, it can get exceedingly hot too.

The fact natural grass was the coolest of the six suggests that owners should choose it to walk their dogs on hot summer’s days (although our strong advice is to exercise dogs before 8am and after 8pm when temperatures are no longer as high).

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How to protect paws on hot pavements:

- Follow the seven-second rule and check the surface for heat before you leave the house

- Keep to natural grass

- Walk early in the morning or late in the evening when surfaces are cooler

-Consider a pair of dog booties to help avoid burning paws


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Glaucoma in Dogs: Causes, Signs & Treatment

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Disease of the Optic Nerve in Dogs

Glaucoma is a condition in which pressure is placed on the eye, causing inadequate fluid drainage in the eye. If the condition becomes chronic or persists without treatment, it will eventually cause permanent damage to the optic nerve, resulting in blindness.

Glaucoma is common in certain dog breeds that are genetically predisposed, such as samoyeds, cocker Spaniels, poodles, chow chows, and Siberians. Unfortunately, 40% of dogs affected by glaucoma will become blind in the affected eye within the first year, regardless of medical or surgical treatment.


Symptoms and Types of Glaucoma

There are two main types of glaucoma: primary and secondary. Symptoms for sudden primary disease, due to the eye's inability to drain through the filtration angles of the eye, are as follows:

  • High pressure within the eye

  • Blinking of the eye

  • The eyeball may recede back into the head

  • Redness of the blood vessels in the whites of eyes

  • Cloudy appearance at front of the eye

  • Dilated pupil – or pupil does not respond to light

  • Vision loss


Long-term, advanced disease:

  • Enlargement of the eyeball (buphthalmos)

  • Obvious loss of vision

  • Advanced degeneration within the eye


Symptoms for secondary glaucoma, or glaucoma due to secondary eye infection(s), include:

  • High pressure within the eye

  • Redness of the blood vessels in the whites of eyes

  • Cloudy appearance at front of the eye

  • Inflammatory debris visible in the front of the eye

  • Possible constriction of the pupil

  • Possible sticking of the iris to either the cornea or the lens

  • Possible that the edge of the iris circularly sticks to the lens


In addition, there may be:

  • Headaches, with head pressing to relieve feelings of pressure in head

  • Loss of appetite

  • Change in attitude, less desire to play or interact


Causes

High pressure in the eye occurs when the normal outflow of fluid in the eye is impaired due to a primary eye disease such as the improper development of the eye's filtration angles, or secondary to other eye diseases such as primary lens luxation (slipping of the lens in the eye), inflammation of the tissues of the eye, eye tumor(s), or blood collection in the front of the eye from injury. In dogs, secondary glaucoma is more common than primary glaucoma.

Diagnosis 

You will need to give a thorough history of your dog's health, onset of symptoms, as far as you have been able to tell, and possible incidents that might have preceded this condition, such as injuries to the eye (even those which you consider minor). During the physical examination, your veterinarian will test the pressure within your dog's  eyes using a tonometer on the surface of the eye. If the disease began suddenly, your veterinarian will refer your dog to a veterinary ophthalmologist for a detailed examination of both eyes, including evaluation of the filtration angles by gonioscopy -- measuring the anterior of the eye. Pressure within the eye can measure as high as 45 to 65 mmHg, making this a very painful condition.

Electroretinography will be also performed by the veterinary ophthalmologist to determine if the eye will remain blind despite treatment. In secondary diseases, X-rays and an ultrasound may show abnormalities within the eye.

Often both eyes are affected, but not always. In cases where only one eye is affected, steps will be taken to protect the unaffected eye from developing a diseased condition.


Treatment

It is helpful to think of treating glaucoma like a major medical emergency. The faster and earlier you address the problem, the least likely your pet is to suffer maximum, sustained damages. The top three goals are to reduce pain, drain excess fluid, and reduce how much aqueous humor the eye produces.

Most treatments are geared toward pain management to help ward off the headaches associated with glaucoma, and in delaying or preventing the disease from happening in the second eye. Your vet may recommend performing a gonioscopy to determine your best shot at saving the remaining eye.

Reduce aqueous humor fluid.

Some treatment options seek to decrease the amount of fluid the eye produces, since draining the eye and keeping it drained can be tough, if not impossible in animals. There are pills and eye drops used for these purposes, and although they are helpful, they aren’t that great as a long-term option, and are ineffective in an emergency. The medications are most useful as a Band-Aid method until surgery of the affected eye is possible. This combination of treatment methods is usually the pet owner’s best chance at saving their dog’s vision.

Reduce stress.

As with humans, stress can be very detrimental to a dog’s health. The immune system cannot do its job and the body cannot fight off oxidative damage if stress levels are high.

Avoid treating a blind eye.

Medical treatment of an eye that’s already blind is not recommended. There’s no point in paying for expensive drugs and therapies to try to recover sight that is impossible to recover. In some cases, it might just be best to remove the blind eye entirely in order to mitigate pain and discomfort. It’s cheaper than the cost of medications and ongoing visits with the vet for eye exams.


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What is Retinal Detachment?

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The retina is the light-sensitive tissue that lines the inner surface of the eye. When it becomes detached from the tissue supporting it, a very serious situation exists. It is extremely important to get your pet to the veterinarian immediately if you suspect they are having vision problems.


There are several factors that can cause this disorder.

Some of the most common factors include:

  • Injuries to the face or eye

  • Diabetes

  • Tumors

  • Infections

  • Kidney disease

  • High blood pressure (especially in cats)

  • Hyperthyroidism (in cats)

  • Sickle-cell anemia

  • Poisoning

  • Cataracts or cataract surgery

  • Genetics

  • Poor blood clotting

Symptoms

The most serious symptom of a retinal detachment is reduced vision or, in some instances, blindness. The severity of your pet’s ability to see is directly related to the seriousness of how detached her retina is, or if it impacts both eyes. Other symptoms include dilated pupils (when the eye shows no response to changes in light), discoloration of the white of the eye, or leaking of the eye and clumsiness due to your pet’s inability to see well.

Diagnosis

Your veterinarian will perform a complete history and physical examination, including a thorough ophthalmic examination. They may also refer you to a veterinary ophthalmologist for additional evaluation. In addition to providing a thorough examination of your pet, your veterinarian may recommend tests to identify the underlying cause.

These tests may include:

  • Chemistry tests to evaluate kidney, liver, and pancreatic function, as well as sugar levels

  • A complete blood count to screen for infection, inflammation, anemia, and other blood-related conditions

  • Electrolyte tests to ensure your pet isn’t suffering from an electrolyte imbalance

  • Screening tests to rule out infectious disease

  • Cultures, PCR testing, and other specialized tests, which can identify if specific parasites or diseases could be the cause

  • X-rays of the chest and abdomen to look for abnormalities

  • A fecal test to rule out fecal parasites

  • A thyroid test to determine if the thyroid gland is producing too little (in dogs) or too much (in cats) thyroid hormone.

  • Blood pressure measurement

Treatment

It is important to begin treatment as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the eye or permanent blindness. Treatment can include medications and/or surgery. It will depend on the underlying cause of the detachment, the severity of the condition, and your pet’s overall health.

Prevention

While you may not be able to prevent retinal detachment, by being a diligent pet owner and carefully checking your furry friend regularly for anything out of place, you will help catch problems in their earliest stages!

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.


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Lyme Disease? A Pet Owner's Guide

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What is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease (Lyme borreliosis) is an illness that affects both animals and humans (zoonotic disease) and is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Transmitted through tick bites, the disease can be difficult to detect and can cause serious and recurring health problems. Therefore, it is best to prevent infection by taking appropriate measures to prevent tick bites and, for dogs, possibly vaccinating against the disease.

The bacterium that causes Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi) is carried and transmitted primarily by the tiny black-legged tick known as the deer tick. Deer ticks are found in forests or grassy, wooded, marshy areas near rivers, lakes or oceans. People or animals may be bitten by deer ticks during outdoor activities such as hiking or camping, or even while spending time in their back yards.

Named after numerous cases were identified in Lyme, Conn., in 1975, the disease has since been reported in humans and animals across the United States and around the world. Within the U.S., it appears primarily in specific areas including the southern New England states; eastern Mid-Atlantic states; the upper Midwest, particularly Wisconsin and Minnesota; and on the West Coast, particularly northern California. The CDC maintains a map detailing confirmed cases of Lyme disease throughout the years.

How to prevent Lyme disease

The best way to protect your pets from Lyme disease is to take preventive measures to reduce the chance of contracting the disease. Even during the last weeks of summer, it's important to remember that pets and people are at greater risk of being infected with Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases such as anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

People with pets should:

  • Use reliable tick-preventive products. Speak with your veterinarian about what tick preventive product is right for your pet.

  • Work with your veterinarian to decide whether to vaccinate your dog against Lyme disease. Your veterinarian’s advice may depend on where you live, your pet's lifestyle and overall health, and other factors.

  • When possible, avoid areas where ticks might be found. These include tall grasses, marshes, and wooded areas.

  • Check for ticks on both yourself and your animals once indoors.

  • Clear shrubbery/bushes next to homes.

  • Keep lawns well maintained.

As noted above, there are preventive Lyme disease vaccines available for dogs, but they aren't necessarily recommended for every dog. Consult your veterinarian to see if the vaccination makes sense for your pets. If your veterinarian does recommend that your dog be vaccinated against Lyme disease, the typical protocol will involve an initial vaccination followed by a booster 2-4 weeks later and annual boosters after that.

Symptoms and treatment of Lyme disease in pets

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Pets infected with Lyme disease may not show any signs for 2-5 months. After that time, typical symptoms include:FeverLoss of appetiteLamenessJoint swellingDecreased activity

Recurrent lameness also is possible, and the involved extremity may be tender. Inflammation of the joint can last from days to weeks and may migrate from one extremity to another.

Horses with Lyme disease can develop lameness, joint pain, neurologic disease, eye problems, and dermatitis.

Symptomatically, Lyme disease can be difficult to distinguish from anaplasmosis because the signs of the diseases are very similar, and they occur in essentially the same areas of the country. Lyme disease is diagnosed through a blood test that shows whether an animal has been exposed to the bacterium.

Antibiotics usually provide effective treatment for Lyme disease. However, it’s important to follow your veterinarian’s advice regarding follow-up care after your pet has been diagnosed with and treated for Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is not communicable from one animal to another, except through tick bites. However, if you have more than one pet and one is diagnosed with Lyme disease, your veterinarian might recommend testing for any other pets who may have been exposed to ticks at the same time. In fact, because people and their pets often can be found together outdoors as well as indoors, a Lyme disease diagnosis in any family member – whether human or non-human – should serve as a flag that all family members might consult their physicians and veterinarians, who can advise about further evaluation or testing.

For more information about Lyme disease in people, The American Academy of Pediatrics has more information.


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What are the medical causes of a smelly dog?

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Dogs may smell due to underlying skin oils that accumulate in their fur, typically these oils need to be washed every few months (depending on how fast the oil accumulates, how much your dog swims, how long the hair is, etc.). If you find yourself noticing a smell more frequently, note that there may be an underlying medical cause for the stink including:

  • Otitis

  • Dental disease

  • Allergies

  • Metabolic disease causing ulcers in the mouth

  • Poisons causing ulcers in the mouth

  • Cancer

  • Excessive seborrhea

Otitis


Ear infections can be due to yeast or bacteria, and often may be due to the breed confirmation of the ear (e.g., long floppy ears like Cocker Spaniels), or due to underlying food allergies or atopy (e.g., hay fever). If your dog has chronic ear infections, check with your veterinarian for an underlying cause.


Dental Disease


If you’re not brushing your dog’s teeth at least once a week, please do. That’s because tartar can harden into rock hard plaque, resulting in inflammation to the gums and secondary infection. This can cause severe halitosis (i.e., bad breath), among other serious issues.


Allergies


As previously mentioned, certain types of allergies (like food allergies or inhaled allergies) can result in itching, excessive grooming, and secondary skin infections which can cause a foul, yeasty smell of your dog’s skin.


Metabolic Disease


Underlying metabolic problems like kidney failure or rarely, liver failure, can result in ulcers developing in the mouth. This can cause drooling, not eating, and severe halitosis. Also, certain endocrine diseases like diabetes mellitus can result in complications when untreated leading to fat breakdown (diabetes ketoacidosis) and an unusual sweet “acetone” smell to your pet’s breath.


Poisons and Burns


Certain poisons such as corrosive or caustic substances, or biting into an electrical cord - can cause severe burns or ulcers of the mouth. This can also cause drooling, not eating and severe halitosis.


Cancer


Cancer anywhere in the body can become infected and ulcerated, resulting in a necrotic smell. This can occur in the mouth, in the ears, in the skin or anywhere. When in doubt, if you notice any lumps or bumps, seek immediate veterinary attention!


Excessive Seborrhea


Certain breeds such as miniature Schnauzers are more predisposed to excessively oily skin, resulting in a unique smell and greasy feel when touched. This can be treated with certain shampoos and topical medications.


When in doubt, if you notice that your dog is starting to smell, start with a bath. But if it’s persistent, talk to your veterinarian about this unusual – potentially medical – stink!


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Don't forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for more recipes, articles, and clinic updates delivered to your inbox (here). Or, you can keep up to date by liking and following our Facebook page (here). We also have additional helpful articles under our tips category (here).