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UC Davis study shows grain-free and other “boutique” diets associated with heart disease in dogs by ROBERTA L. MILLSTEIN

May 29, 2019

One of the benefits of living in Davis is having a world-class veterinary research center right down the road, one that produces research like the work highlighted in the article “Dogs Fed Some Popular Diets Could Be at Risk of Heart Disease.”  Yet the more that I learn about this research, the more I realize how resistant people are to the message.

The rough idea is this: researchers have found a relatively recent increase in the number of dogs diagnosed with Taurine-Deficient Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM).  DCM is a disease of the heart muscle that leads to reduced heart pumping function and increased heart size, and it can result in severe consequences such as congestive heart failure or sudden cardiac death.  Researchers are still trying to isolate the exact cause, but it has been associated with grain-free diets, raw diets, and foods that contain exotic ingredients like peas and lentils.  It is not yet known why these foods would lead to low taurine and DCM, but adding taurine (an amino acid) to the dog’s diet does not seem to help.  (More details here).

So, the cautious approach would seem to be to avoid feeding dogs these boutique and grain-free...

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Parasites that Cause Food Poisoning

July 9, 2014

UN Makes a Top 10 List of Parasites That Cause Food Poisoning 

Ever wondered which foodborne parasites cause the most illness? The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) have recently compiled a Top 10 list so public health efforts can be focussed on the bugs with the greatest impact.

pork-tapewormLike foodborne bacteria, foodbrone parasites affect the health of millions of people every year. Health effects include damage muscles and organs, epilepsy, anaphylactic shock and dysentery.  Some parasites can live on in our bodies for decades.

Parasites can be found in meat, poultry and produce. Last year, a cyclospora outbreak linked to fresh. imported produce sickened 631 people in the U.S. But cyclospora didn’t make the Top 10 list. These bugs did. Number 1, Taenia solium, or pork tapeworm, contracted by eating undercooked contaminated pork. Number 2, Echinococcus granulosus , or hydatid worm or dog tapeworm, contracted by eating contaminated fresh produce. Number 3, Echinococcus multilocularis,  a type of tapeworm found  in fresh produce. Number 4, toxoplasma gondii, a protozoa found in pork, beef, and game meat. Number 5,  cryptosporidium spp. a protozoa found in fresh produce, fruit juice and milk. Number 6, entamoeba histolytica a...

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The Oath and what it's like to work in the veterinary business....

August 7, 2013


The Ethics Behind the Veterinary Technician Oath

Veterinary Technology is a noble profession. It not only entails a lengthy and arduous education, but also examinations for credentialing and licensure. Veterinary technology is a profession that involves confidentiality, full trust and cooperation between the veterinary technicians and the veterinary doctor and patient. In order to gain the trust of the public, veterinary technicians need not only undergo a specialized education. Vet techs also need to adhere to strict regulations, which will guide them professionally and guard their conduct. Because of this, an ethical code was formulated, and up to present, is recognized and followed by veterinary technicians.

A code of ethics, also known as professional code of conduct, are set of principles adopted by an institution or profession and often focuses on societal issues such as morality, privacy, and mission, among others. These set of codes are expected to be adhered to by a professional to help him act ethically when faced with difficult decision-making processes. This promotes professional responsibility and provides a clear account on what is correct and just, and what is wrong, depending on the circumstances. It also promotes the welfare of the professionals and respect to...

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RELIEF FOR ITCHY PETS by Donna Solomon, DVM --

June 5, 2013


We all scratch our head or rub our eyes once in a while and think nothing more about it. Most dogs and cats will occasionally lick their feet or rub their face against the carpet and it too, means absolutely nothing. There are some pets, however, that are consumed by this activity to the point that they traumatize their skin till its raw and inflamed. These pets are suffering and need a therapeutic plan of action to help control their itching.

Itchy pets may be suffering from parasites, like fleas and mites, food allergies, autoimmune diseases, skin infections, inhalant allergies or contact dermatitis. The exact etiology for a pet's itchy behavior can be determined by a comprehensive physical examination by a veterinarian along with a good history provided by its pet owner. Regardless of the cause, the following discussion hopefully will be helpful to a pet owner and their itchy pet.

My response to six questions a pet owner may ask about their itchy pet:

  1. What are the symptoms of an allergic pet? A classic allergy patient may have all or some of the following symptoms, which I am going to group into two broad, but not...
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U of PENN is one of nine Pet Trauma Centers in USA

May 8, 2013

PENN Veterinary Hospital Gets Rare Designation
by   -  Senior Reporter- Philadelphia Business Journal


The American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care has designated the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital in West Philadelphia as one of nine veterinary trauma centers in the United States.

The Ryan Vet Hospital is part of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

The facility becomes the only recognized veterinary trauma center within a 100-mile radius of Philadelphia.

The ACVECC’s criteria for trauma centers designation includes having the ability to provide total care — 24 hours a day, seven days a week — for every aspect of management of the small animal trauma patient, from emergency stabilization through definitive medical and surgical care and rehabilitation. In addition, the animal hospital must have board-certified specialists available for consultation seven days per week in the fields of emergency and critical care, surgery, and radiology.

“This new designation creates a standard of care in veterinary medicine that didn’t previously exist and provides pet owners with important information in the event of a trauma-related emergency,” said Dr. Armelle de Laforcade, an emergency and critical-care veterinarian at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine...

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Dental Month should be EVERY MONTH

March 6, 2013



To the Teeth:  Arm your Pet Against Dental Disease
by Natasha Ashton, Co-Found and Chief Marketing Officer, Petplan
Posted: 03/04/2013 3:21 pm

February was Pet Dental Health Month. Sound familiar? By now, you've probably gotten a coupon from your vet offering a discounted dental cleaning, or an email from your favorite pet supplier spotlighting sales on everything from pet toothpaste to specially-formulated dental chews.

If you've relegated these notices to the trash, you're probably not alone. Despite the desire to give our pets the very best, dental hygiene is one of pet parents' most frequently forgotten responsibilities. Perhaps it is because dental care hasn't traditionally been part of our conversations about pet health (I know I grew up without a thought to brushing the family dog's teeth), but what we now know about the health implications of poor oral hygiene is a reality we can no longer ignore.

According to the American Animal Hospital Association, two-thirds of pet guardians do not provide the regular dental care recommended by veterinarians (and only one percent of us are actually brushing our pets' teeth). As a result, a staggering 85 percent of dogs and cats older than three...

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Fat cat persists through plateau, ends year slimmer

December 29, 2012

By Carol Christian | December 27, 2012
Despite some midnight raids on the food pantry, Tiny Tim has probably done better than most of us with his 2012 resolution to take off pounds.

A gray tabby with a personality as big as his back side, Tiny Tim has been working on his diet-and-exercise regimen since New Year's, when he topped 35 pounds.

Now, with loving care and veterinary expertise at Southside Place Animal Hospital, the still-fat cat has made it to 27.6 pounds on the long way down to his goal weight.

"I think in an ideal world, he'd be like a 12-to-14-pound cat," said Dr. Jessica Reyna, one of four veterinarians caring for the big guy who's now a permanent resident at the clinic, where staffers call him Tiny.

Because rapid weight loss can be fatal in cats, Tiny's diet is closely monitored by the dozen clinic staff members.

He's allotted 300 calories a day, divided into two portions.

For the first five or six months of the year, his weight loss was slow but steady until he hit a puzzling plateau.

"We just couldn't get him below the 30-pound mark," Reyna...

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Canine Flu

September 9, 2012

Canine Flu Making Local Inroads .... The highly contagious infection jumped from horses to dogs in 2005.

By  David Powell, August 30, 2012

An outbreak of canine influenza that has been described as nearing "pandemic" status in sections of southern and central Pennsylvania may have started to appear in Montgomery and Chester Counties, an area veterinarian said Thursday.

Dr. Jennifer Fry of Banfield Pet Hospital in Pottstown said she treated a suspected case of the disease about two weeks ago.

"We are definitely seeing cases of it," Fry said. "I had a six-week old puppy that just lay on the exam table, which is not normal. It's similar to our flu. You just don't feel well at all."

The canine influenza virus, which is also known among epidemiologists as H3N8, had been observed in horses for decades but in 2005 was identified as having jumped to dogs, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

WPMT in York and WGAL in Lancaster reported last week that the veterinarians in the Susquehanna Valley region have seen a recent spike in the number of canine influenza cases coming into their offices.

The highly contagious disease, which manifests in dogs as a cough,...

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Lymphoma in Dogs

April 2, 2012

Lymphoma is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in dogs. It is a cancer of lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell and part of the immune system. The immune system is throughout the body, and consequently lymphoma often involves multiple sites throughout the body. The most commonly affected sites are the lymph nodes, liver, spleen and bone marrow, but almost any site in the body can be affected.

Before beginning any therapy, your veterinarian likely will recommend some staging diagnostic tests. The purpose of clinical staging is to determine the extent of the cancer, identify any unrelated diseases that might impact treatment decisions and assess overall health. Staging information guides treatment recommendations, helps to more accurately assess response to therapy and provides useful prognostic information.

The treatment for canine lymphoma typically involves chemotherapy; drugs that circulate throughout the body are most effective. Surgery and radiation therapy play very limited roles in treatment. The chemotherapy drugs are also used to treat non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in people. There are several different published protocols, and deciding which to use will depend on several factors: staging test results, clinician preference, and family-based factors (frequency of visits, length of protocol, cost). Your veterinarian likely...

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6 Facts about Dog Allergies from Victoria Swanson, Dog Trainer

January 30, 2012

FACT #1: There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog.

Yes, while some breeds (as I will soon discuss) are certainly better than other in the allergens department, there is NO such thing as a Hypoallergenic dog. Before you drop thousands of dollars on a dog that a “breeder” is claiming to be hypoallergenic and allergy-free, think twice before writing that check!

FACT #2: It's not the dog's fur you're allergic to.

It isn’t the shedding need to worry, it is the skin dander.

That's why even hairless or very short haired dogs that don't shed fur can still trigger an allergy flare-up. You see, just like humans, all animals shed an enormous amount of skin "dander" or teeny, tiny skin flakes throughout the day. This dander can get on furniture, bedding, clothes and when we pet them, our hands.
While fur a dog sheds is, indeed, coated in skin dander, that fur is just a carrier for the real trouble maker.

FACT #3: Dog allergies can be improved.

There are a number of options for improving dog allergies. I have done:

  • Allergy shots (20 years)
  • Daily (sometimes twice a day) antihistamines
  • Nasal sprays
  • Regular pet grooming and bathing...
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