Friday, September 23, 2011

Kidney Issues - A Review

Its strange how sometimes things will come in groups.  A friend or someone on the mail list will ask a question about some obscure illness, and the next thing I know I have other people coming out of the woodwork asking or going through the same thing.

I like to take these clusters and refresh the blog to cover whatever topic happens to be "trending" and this month it seems to be kidney issues.  While typically an "old dog" issue, I wanted everyone to know that kidney issues aren't solely a price of old age, and can be sort of a ticking time bomb that takes you by surprise. 

Sometimes hereditary, sometimes caused by your pup eating something bad, or catching an illness, its good to know its signs so you can catch it early and start treatment.  I know a good amount of you out there have adopted dogs from rescues and shelters and have absolutely NO IDEA of your beloved pup's lineage, so there's no way of knowing if kidney issues run in the family or not.  Its also possible that a perfectly good lineage may throw out a kidney issue, so its very important to know what to look for.
Because of that, I want everyone to read up on kidney issues!

First off, start at Holly's House blog.  Khady Lynn is young (3-years old) from a reputable breeder with no real history of kidney issues, and yet she's been at the hospital receiving kidney therapy to stop and hopefully reverse an as yet unknown cause to kidney malfunction.  The symptoms were as benign as "lack of appetite" but her owner knew something was up and took her to the vet to find out what was going on. 

I wanted to throw in there for all people that free feed their pups and have more than one dog, you may want to rethink that setup for this reason:  Lack of appetite is generally a very tell-all symptom of something not being right.  If you have more than one dog and leave food out all the time, you can never really gauge who is eating what, and how much.  It may delay you noticing that one dog is off their feed.

I cannot say this enough times:  If you think something is wrong, have it checked out.  If your vet thinks you are over-protective and doesn't run the tests you want, insist on the tests or find another vet!  You never want to be in the position of "I wish I had..."  Better safe than sorry, better get it early than wait.  You know your pups better than the vet and if something is wrong, YOU KNOW IT.

So, visit the kidney resource page.

Read one pup's journey through kidney failure

On the Kidney resource page, there is an excellent support group of people who are going through, have gone through, and know what its like caring for a pup in renal failure.  I highly recommend them.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Spleen Issues

Recently a member of the gimpydog mail list had a question regarding cancer of the spleen and what were the prognosis and treatments.

The following links will provide you with reputable information about masses in the spleen and other spleen issues to help you learn more about the condition and treatment.

Splenic Masses in dogs

Tumors of the Spleen in Dogs

Splenomegaly and Splenic Torsion: Tucker's Story

Video of Splenic Tumor Ultrasound Diagnosis from Tripawds

Visceral Hemangiosarcoma in dogs (specifically spleen)

Splenic Diseases

ACVS resource for Splenic Masses

Canine Cancer Awareness Org Vicsceral Hemangiosarcoma page

Canine Cancer Awareness Org support groups

Support groups are a fantastic way to not only learn about diseases that may affect your dog, but will also provide you with first hand experience with what you are also going through, and sympathetic members who can help you through the process.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

4th of July Pet Safety

The 4th of July is right around the corner, and while you may be excited about the gallantry and excitement of fireworks display, your pet doesn't have that same feeling.

The 4th of July is one of the busiest times for animal shelters, taking in dogs that have escaped their yards, homes, and leashes when scared by fireworks.

In my home, I have two dogs that totally freak out over fireworks (and one with thunder as well).  Meeshka pants, paces, claws, pees on the carpet, and generally goes nuts if one of us aren't around to be with.  During one rather active 4th of July in our neighborhood (it sounded like a war, despite the fact that most fireworks are illegal in the state of Maryland), Meeshka clawed up the carpet trying to get into a closed bedroom door.

If you know that any of your pets are afraid of fireworks, here are some common sense tips, and tricks that have worked with us:

1.) NEVER take your pet to a fireworks display.  If your dog is totally oblivious to fireworks, then viewing them from afar is just fine, but don't bring your dog to a display where they are shooting them off close to the crowd.  The proximity of the explosions, sparks, embers, and spent materials are hazardous to your dog.  Even seasoned dogs may have a reaction to the noise, sound, and smell, so make sure they are securely leashed.

2.) Don't let your dog in a yard, even if it is securely fenced.  If panicked, your dog may try to climb the fence or break through the fence and hurt itself.  Additionally, if your neighbors are shooting off fireworks, if material from the rockets falls into your yard, that debris is dangerous if still hot, and toxic if eaten.

3.) Walk your dog before the fireworks starts.  Sometimes dogs will refuse to go outside when the fun begins and will void in your house.  A nice long walk will also wear them out a bit so their exhaustion may help with their anxiety.

4.) Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags that have up to date contact information.  In case they do get lose, you'll want the finder to be able to contact you easily and quickly.

If you know that your dog is afraid of fireworks, here are some tricks to help ease their anxiety.

1.) If your dog has severe anxiety about fireworks, visit your vet and see if they can't prescribe a sedative that you can give prior to the fireworks.

2.) If your dog has some anxiety, there are several over-the-counter anti-anxiety supplements you can give (check with your vet if your dog has a medical condition or is on medication to make sure the supplements do not interfere or cause an adverse reaction) that may take the edge off.

3.) Create a "safe room" in your house.  During peak fireworks time, we have a downstairs room that is fairly sheltered from the outside noises.  We turn on every piece of noise making equipment there is, from computers playing loud music to tv blaring to help drown out the explosions.  We also provide a "denning" places for them to go that are dark and secure, such as under a covered coffee table, or under my computer desk.

4.) You can try putting a shirt on them.  Sometimes that helps, sometimes it doesn't.  Before you spend money on one of those expensive "thunder shirts" for your dog, see if a tight fitting t-shirt calms them down during anxiety times.  If it doesn't work, don't waste your money buying the "real thing" from vendors.

5.) Try to be comforting, but don't encourage their behavior.  Its a tough line to toe, but you don't want encourage their behavior.  Try to act like nothing is going on, and by all means DO NOT punish them or seclude them away from you, it will only make matters worse for them and maybe make the behavior worse.

Make sure that you have a plan BEFORE the fireworks show starts, and keep your dog safe and happy during this holiday season.  For more tips on fireworks, parties, and general summer-time safety tips for pets, visit the ASPCA site or Google "4th of July pet safety tips" for other informative resources.

Stay safe out there!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Canine Stroke

Recently a friend Facebooked that her dog had a stroke and was looking for information.  Sometimes vestibular disease can be mistaken for stroke, so check out the vestibular disease section as well (in the links to the right)

Here is some reputable information regarding strokes in dogs:

From the Daily Puppy - Canine Stroke Symptoms and other resources

Dogs 101 - Understanding Stroke

Video of seizure stroke from ehow (you'll have to suffer through a commercial first, but worth it)

Another  video from a vet explaining stroke (suffer through the commercial, its worth it)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Note From the President Of Eddie's Wheels

Hi – I just discovered your blog and wanted to add information about what Eddie’s Wheels is doing to help dogs with missing or deformed front legs.

We make the only two-wheeled front wheel cart that allows animals to sit, sniff and play in their carts.   Our design supports animals under the chest and ribcage  with a breathable mesh harness that can be adjusted to conform to the shape of the animal’s body.

I’d like to invite you to visit our website,  and click on front wheel carts.  There you’ll find several videos of dogs in their front wheel carts.

Since we also live with four disabled dogs ourselves, we are aware of the challenges involving adjustment, training and physical issues that impact a pet’s ability to use a cart well.

Our customer service team is well versed in these issues.

Leslie Grinnell
Pres. Eddie’’s Wheels

We, at gimpydogs, don't take donations, we don't accept products or payment for anything we post, and all of our information is provided for free to whoever needs it.  We just want to be a one-stop place where people with "special" dogs can go to find good, reliable, and accurate information without being sold a bill of goods or snake oil.  We'll post anything reputable and reliable that helps the gimpy dogs in this world.

Friday, February 04, 2011

The Passing of a Great Man

It is with a heavy heart that I report the passing of a kind and wonderful man, Dr. Thomas E. Sooy.

Dr. Sooy was Sam's orthopedic surgeon.  He performed a total hip replacement and a Fascial Graft/Lateral Suture Stabilization (LSS) procedure on Sam's left knee when he blew his ACL.  Dr. Sooy also provided us with a free consultation when we adopted Loki, who was born with a severely deformed foot, and advised us to let him be the puppy he was and not pursue painful surgical reconstruction.  Loki continues to run like the wind despite his deformity, and lives a pain free and happy life, as does our Sam.

In 1988, Dr. Sooy founded and operated Maryland Veterinary Surgical Services in Catonsville, Maryland and cared for a lot of animals despite battling Hodgin's Lymphoma.  You would never guess from his patience, and caring that he was even sick.  He cared for his patients like they were his own pets, and even provided pro bono surgical services to the Whippet Rescue group, a breed he owned and loved.

I, personally, recommended him to all of my pet friends and even to rescues and to the readers of Gimpy Dogs, and heard nothing back but the best from those I sent to him. 

In July 2010 he retired and sold his practice to Dr. Honor A. Walesby, DVM.  In October he was in Seattle to receive a bone marrow stem cell transplant and died of complications following that procedure.

It was always comforting to know that he would be there in case one of our pups hurt themselves, or knowing that I could send a pup in need to him for care.  He will be missed.

gimpy dogs

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Physical Therapy Resources

During Sam's spine surgery recovery, we found that swim therapy helped him develop back his atrophied muscles without putting a strain on his back and limbs.  Swim therapy is also great for low impact exercise for older dogs, for taking off some pounds on an overweight dog, and just for a good, fun cardio workout.

I have to admit, Sam HATED swimming.  Apparently some huskies don't swim well, and Sam was terrified of the bubbles in the swimming pool, so he'd swim in a circle and try to escape as much as possible.  He did LOVE the rinse off, blow dry and rough towel time after his swim, and when we'd take him to the pool, he'd try to make a dash for the rinse off room, hoping he could do that instead of swimming.

Here are a list of resources to help you find physical therapy and swim therapy for your gimpy dog, if you should ever need it.   

NOTE: Please work with your vet to ensure that swim or any other type of therapy is suitable to your dog's recovery.

Land of Pure Gold Foundation list of physical therapy and rehab assistance in the US and Canada

International Association of Animal Massage & Bodywork/ Association of Canine Water Therapy

In Maryland, we highly recommend VOSM for all things orthopedic and physical therapy, they are the BEST and Sam approves of them highly!

The Canine Rehabilitation Center (good links)