Thursday, March 27, 2008

Spay/Neuter Laws

Los Angeles passed what is being called one of the most strict spay/neuter laws in the country.

The city will require everyone without a specific exemption to spay/neuter their pet by 4 months of age or face fines. And, of course, a bunch of people who don't think you should even own a pet (ie. Humane Society of The US) showed up to praise the law. I'm not against spay/neuter programs per se, but laws like this only punish the law abiding citizen. As far as I can tell, they only fine you if you register the dog for a tag. That means people who chose to forgo the legal route of registering their "pets" will continue to avoid detection.

We can also agree to disagree, but spay/neuter is only part of the solution. Without education, this will be nothing more than a way for LA to collect taxes. It's my experience that lack of education and just plain laziness cause more animals to be put to sleep than all the other causes combined. People will feed a cat for years off the back porch, but still call it a "stray" when it comes to getting the cat vaccinated. People will not take a dog to the shelter because they are afraid it will be put to sleep, but will let the dog get run over by a car, get eating by a bigger dog, or let it starve to death by leaving it on the side of the road.

I'm tired of putting animals to sleep. I've worked at high volume, municipal shelters and I've done more than I care to remember. (Know those gray laundry buckets on wheels you see at a hotel? I've seen them filled, dumped and filled again.)But you have to be realistic. Watch the news at night. Look at the way people treat each other. Do you think some law is going to make them treat their "pets" any better?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Healthy Horse Website

Here's a great website to learn more about taking care of your horse:

Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Dilated Cardiomyopathy is a disease where the heart muscle progressively becomes weaker. In about 17% of large breed dogs, blood levels of taurine is low. Taurine is an amino acid that is not thought to be essential is dogs. Other studies have demonstrated low taurine and carnitine in dogs with DCM. Some of the dogs with low levels of these two nutrients showed improvement in cardiac function with supplementation. This is good news for dogs with a progressive, debilitating disease.

Dog Wheelchair

USAToday did an article on wheelchairs for dogs who are paralyzed. These are are great option for certain dogs: those that are calm enough to handle one. Anyway, here's a site if you are interested.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Doesn't Seem Right

Here's the story of a veterinarian who needs a vacation, and why I really believe some lawsuits would help our profession:

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Why Does My Dog Vomit?

Before you call my receptionist and complain that she only tells you the dog or cat needs to be seen, I'd like to give you a list of the most common reasons a dog or cat will vomit:

Dietary Indiscretion or Intolerance
Includes road kill, hairballs and Gorilla Glue

Drug Related Problems
Includes side effects and the dog getting into your "medication"

Includes that house plant you kept from college

Motion Sickness
With the way you drive, is it a surprise?

Metabolic or Infectious Disease
Diabetes, Kidney failure

Disorders of the Gastrointestinal Tract
Parasites, Parvo Virus

Abdominal Disorders
Pancreatitis, Liver Disease

Now which one would you like my receptionist to guess your pet has?

Why Dogs Eat Grass....Maybe

A case study of a dog that was a chronic grass eater was published recently. The authors told the story of a dog that ate grass and subsequently vomited for 7 years. They ran all the usual tests and even conducted a food trial and endoscopy to help find this dogs problem. In the end they increased the dogs fiber intake. The vomiting and grass eating stopped and had not returned at 13 months. While not a scientific study, it raises the question that maybe some dogs eat grass because they are not getting enough fiber in their diet.

This lead me to two conclusions:

First, each patient is an individual. While some dogs may do very well on one type of dog food, others pay actually be harmed by it. This is why when you go to the vet's office they want to run tests. If we start treating every dog the same, we will injure a lot of dogs.

Second, there is still so much we don't know. Chasing down these cases is what makes medicine so much fun.

A high fiber diet responsive case in a poodle dog with long-term plant eating behavior. Kang B-T, Jung D-I, Yoo, J-H, et al. J VET MED SCI 69:779-782, 2007.