The website Companion Animal Psychology is a great resource for dog and cat owners interested in learning how to better understand their pets.
The site recently published some helpful advice on how to ensure that your dog is as calm as possible during trips to the vet’s office. The tips are based on research published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science, which you can find HERE.
The researchers found that many factors can increase your dog’s stress at the vet, including prior negative experiences, the dog’s individual genetic makeup, and upsetting sights, sounds, smells, etc. at the vet.
Another cause of fear is something called “trigger stacking”—the combination of stressful experiences that can go into a vet visit (being put in a carrier, being restrained, etc.).
Here are just a few recommendations for helping dogs that feel anxiety about going to the vet. Be sure to read the full article for more information!
Avoid feeding before a visit so your dog will be interested in treats given by staff at the vet’s office. Treats are good rewards after unpleasant procedures like vaccinations.
Bring a blanket or toys from home to help comfort your dog.
Stay with your dog during the exam/consultation, and any other procedures if possible.
Get your dog used to car rides, carriers, and routine physical handling before trips to the vet. Nail trimming and ear cleaning at the vet’s office can help accustom your dog to being there.
Very stressed dogs can wait in the car rather than the waiting room. Muzzles and sedation can also be helpful in extreme cases.
Patches, an adorable 9-year-old Dachshund, developed a tumor on the top of her head that grew aggressively until it began to press on her brain and eyes. Veterinarians knew that they needed to remove a large portion of her skull to treat her.
Patches needed a new “skull” to cover the opening at the top of her head. The solution? A 3D printed titanium implant custom made to fit Patches!
Veterinarians performed a 4-hour operation, removing the tumor and attaching the implant to her skull.
While 3D printing technology has been used successfully to create artificial limbs and lower jaws for animals, using it for a skull plate is unusual.
Veterinarians note that a high cost, complicated procedure would be most effectively used in a case like Patches—when a pet cannot survive without the implant.
Click HERE to read an article about Patches, and check out this video documenting her incredible story:
A recent editorial in the American Journal of Public Health has been getting a lot of attention in the news, as it points to a disturbing new trend among drug users.
Researchers at the University of Colorado conducted a survey of veterinarians and discovered a growing concern among vets that their clients are intentionally hurting their pets to obtain prescription painkillers.
Substance abuse experts note that people who suffer from opioid addiction will go to great lengths to obtain drugs, and the use of veterinarians is a little-known part of the problem.
According to the survey of nearly 200 veterinarians, 13% reported that they suspected a client had intentionally hurt a pet to obtain drugs.
45% of the vets said that they knew of either clients or staff members who abused opioids. 12% knew that a staff member was either diverting or using veterinary painkillers.
Concerned veterinary professionals can enroll in an online course about prescription drug abuse and veterinary practice, created by the Colorado School of Public Health. Click HERE for more information.
With the growing popularity of brachycephalic (short-nosed) dog breeds like French Bulldogs and Pugs, veterinarians are increasingly concerned about the health and well-being of these dogs.
Many short-muzzled dogs suffer from a condition called BOAS (brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome). Symptoms include respiratory noise, narrowed nostrils, gastrointestinal problems, sleep apnea, heat intolerance, cyanosis (low oxygen), and collapse.
The British Veterinary Association has recently announced its new #BreedtoBreathe campaign, which seeks to raise awareness about the health problems of brachycephalic breeds.
You can read the BVA’s official policy statement on brachycephalic dogs HERE. In it, they outline their concern about breeding practices (and advertising campaigns) that promote brachycephalic dogs, and provide guidance for vets on how to raise awareness about the health problems of short-muzzled dogs with clients.
The #BreedtoBreathe campaign provides a 10-point plan for veterinarians that emphasizes the need for vets to educate pet owners about the health and quality of life problems faced by many brachycephalic dog breeds.
Interested in learning more about the health issues of brachycephalic dogs and the #BreedtoBreathe campaign? Watch this short video:
Many FACE financial grants for critical veterinary assistance are awarded to owners of dogs with a serious spinal condition called intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). IVDD is a major cause of pain and paralysis in certain dog breeds, especially those with short legs like the Dachshund, French Bulldog, Corgi, Basset Hound, and Pekingese.
In IVDD, the discs in a dog’s spine can degenerate over the course of time or suddenly herniate, depending on the type of IVDD the dog suffers from. IVDD is a painful condition that often requires surgery and physical rehabilitation.
Recently, researchers at the University of California Davis have discovered the genetic mutation responsible for chondrodystrophy, which is a genetic trait that many IVDD-prone breeds share. It’s characterized by changes in bone growth, leading to short long bones (legs) and premature spinal disc calcification and degeneration.
The scientists report that dogs with IVDD are 50 times more likely to have this mutation. The gene identified, the FGF4 retrogene, was found to play a key role in bone development for dogs with chondrodystrophy. FGF abnormalities in humans can lead to conditions like dwarfism.
Identification of this mutation can help control the incidence of IVDD in dogs. The UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory offers two genetics tests for breeders and owners of short-legged breeds prone to IVDD. Breeders can test for IVDD risk in their dogs, identifying those that are carriers of 0, 1, or 2 copies of the gene.