Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC)

Exercise Induced Collapse

Exercise Induced Collapse is caused by a gene in some Labrador Retrievers and is hereditary. 

Labs with the gene will suffer a back-end collapse after and during strenuous exercise.  The good news is that is doesn't get progressively worse with age, if the dog is calmed down and allowed to rest and relax, it will recover completely within minutes to an hour, and dogs with the gene can live normal, happy, healthy lives as long as their owners restrict their activities so a bout doesn't occur.

While it is disturbing to watch your very eager lab doing what they love to do best (retrieve things) and watch their back ends collapse as they try to drag themselves around (they have no clue that something is wrong), once you recognize that your dog may have the gene, and may suffer from EIC, preventing episodes is completely manageable.

It is important that if your dog does suffer a back-end collapse, or appears to be in distress after strenuous play, that you just don't assume it is EIC.  You will want to go to the vet and work with them to determine if it is EIC, or could be the cause of some other problem (such as a slipped disc, neurological issues, or illness).  Once you have received a diagnosis of EIC, work with your vet to determine the best course of action, and best level of exercise to give your pup the exercise they do need to maintain fitness and weight, and also keep them from having an EIC episode.

Article about EIC, how it was found, and what you can do to make your dog's life happy and healthy

DVM360 Article on EIC

Videos of dogs experiencing EIC

University of Minnesota Video

One person's experience with their lab and EIC

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease is an elusive tick-borne illness that is controversial not only in the pet world, but human world.  For years, people have complained of a variety of illnesses, chronic fatigue, joint pain, fevers, rashes, and neurological affects from tick-borne diseases that have been pretty much ignored or even downright scoffed at by the medical profession.

The old-school treatment of a round of antibiotics cures everything hasn't rid those with Lyme issues, despite what the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other governmental agencies claim.  The tests used to detect it are insufficient, constantly inaccurate, and not a good indicator of the disease.

There are good tests for tick-borne diseases OTHER than Lyme, but the Lyme diagnosis continues to elude vets and physicians.  There isn't even consensus on whether Lyme is a disease all its own, or if there are variations of the Lyme disease, or even whether Lyme is a "thing" at all.

I don't have Lyme, none of my dogs have had it (although one did have Ehrlichiosis and was successfully treated with antibiotics, but that isn't Lyme), so I err on the side of those humans and animals that have suffered with the disease and know the pain and suffering it does cause.

What can you do?  If you find a tick on your dog, remove it immediately.  Here is a link to the CDC on how to remove a tick.  How to Remove a Tick.  Save the tick and have it sent in for testing to see if it is infected with Lyme or any other tick-borne disease.

Mark the spot on your dog and keep an eye out for a rash (the "bullseye" rash is NOT an indicator as once believed), lameness, pain, lethargy, lack of appetite.  If your dog isn't acting right, take them to the vet for testing.  Remember, the test isn't accurate, so if you believe that the negative test is wrong, FIGHT for treatment for your dog.  You are your dog's advocate, you speak for them.  Get them the treatment you feel is right.  Do your research (both human and canine treatments should be similar) and talk to your vet about what you think is right for your dog.  Get a second opinion from a specialist if you feel that your vet isn't listening to your concerns.

Working dog resource

PetMD Article on Lyme

Washington State University Article on Lyme

University of Rhode Island Tick identification chart

What's it like to live with Lyme Disease?  Please go read my friend Julie's blog about that very subject, and also learn about the treatments, research, and everything you ever need to know about human Lyme, that may help you if you ever find yourself in that situation, or any of your pets.


Ehrlichia Infection

Canine Babesiosis

Canine Babesiosis

Babesiosis in dogs

DVM360 Article

CAPC Resource




VCA Resource on Anaplasmosis 

Geeky big wordy resource 

Even includes a pronunciation for the big word

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Basic intro to it

More info 

WebMD resource



What is that? 

Geeky everything you wanted to know about it stuff

Merck Resource

West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus:



WebMD Pets: Heartworms Facts and FAQ

American Heartworm Society

Surgical removal of heartworms (video, probably not for squeamish)

Marvistavet Heartworm resources

Video on heartworms

Kennel Cough, Bordatella, Tracheobronchitis

Kennel Cough, Bordatella, Tracheobronchitis (Its all the same thing)

Parvo Virus

Parvo Virus:











Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)

Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)

Granulomatous Meningoencephalomyelitis (GME)

Granulomatous Meningoencephalomyelitis (GME)

Vestibular Disease

Vestibular Disease

Cushings Disease

Cushings Disease (hyperadrenocorticism)

Good Resources

PetsMD Resource on Cushings 

Washington State College of Vet Medicine

FDA on treating Cushings 

Compounding Pharmacy recommendation:
A member of our Facebook page highly recommends the following compounding pharmacy for obtaining lower cost Cushings medications:

Diamondback Drugs

Horner's Syndrome

Horner's Syndrome:

Addison's Disease

Addison's Disease (hypoadrenocorticism)


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Lumps, Bumps, and Moles - Oh My

Everyone has felt them... a bump or lump that wasn't there the last time you ruffled the fluff on your pup.  What is that????  Of course, if you are like everyone else, you immediately fear the worst.

Most lumps and bumps are benign (harmless), but it is a very good practice to give your pups a good feel all over to figure out where these lumps and bumps are, keep an eye on them for changes, growing, or bursting.

You should tell your vet about them at regular health check ups, and also tell them if there are any changes in them when those changes occur.

You should also tell your groomer about them so they don't cut them off accidentally and cause issues and pain.

Here are links to resources to determine whether your pup's lump, bump, or mole is something to be concerned about and be seen immediately.

General lumps and bumps overview with links

Lipoma (fatty tumors) 

Lipoma Marvistavet resource

Sebaceous cyst (great video)

Sebaceous Tumors/Cysts

Strange, scary lumps called viral papillomas or warts (great video and write up)

Adenomas and Lipomas (great video)

Viral Papillomas Marvistavet resource

Mammary Tumors

Lymph Node inflammation

Where the heck are the lymph nodes on my dog... read this

Need a video to find them... then click here

A good list of all of the various lumps and bumps... don't pick the worst and freak out, just go see your vet for a diagnosis, 9 times out of 10... it's just a bump.

Perianal Gland Lump: Lump near the rump?  Don't freak, have it looked at.  Remember, most are benign

More lump near the rump information from Marvistavet

Friday, April 19, 2013

Spine Issues

I can't believe that after going through spine surgery with Sam, that I don't have any spine information up here!  Eeesh!

Ok, I'm going to remedy that with a whole slew of reliable resources to find out about spine issues, how they are diagnosed, treated, etc.

Sam blew out his spine on Christmas day in 2006 simply by jumping up on his back legs and twisting wrong.  I blogged his recovery each day, so if you want to go searching in the archives for that, it's a day by day recovery freaking out fun fest.

If you should ever find yourself in that situation (and seriously, I hope you never do), here are resources to help you along... and feel free to join us on Facebook.  We can freak out together.

First off, a good article from Whole Dog Journal about actually recognizing spine issues.  It's not all about a paralyzed back end, there are tell tale ways to recognize that your dog may be developing arthritis or other ailments of the spine, simply by the way they walk.

Whole Dog Journal "Signs That Your Dog is Suffering From Spinal Problems".

Fibrocartilaginous Embolism (FCE)

Granulomatous Meningoencephalitis GME is actually a central nervous system/ brain disease, but it may present itself as a spine issue.

Urinary Incontinence - Could be a myriad of other issues (including urinary tract infection, bladder, infection, etc.) but once again, it may present itself as a spine issue

Intervertebral Disk Disease  (Hansen Type I Disk Disease and Hansen Type II Disk Disease) Great article on cause, what it is, how its treated, how to care for your dog, etc.  This is also the most common cause of back problems in Dachshunds.

Dodger's List is an excellent resource about Intervertebral Disk Disease, and geared toward Dachshunds, but can be used for all breeds!  Highly recommended!

Lumbrosacral Stenosis

Cervical Stenosis (aka: certival vertebral instability, cervical spondylopathy, or Wobbler Syndrome)

Spondylosis Deformans

Degenenerative Myelopathy

How to care for a dog with Degenerative Myelopathy (video)

Excellent blog that lists a LOAD of good resources for Degenerative Myelopathy

Paralysis resources

Handicapped Pets physical therapy information

Possible causes of sudden paralysis

Assist aids, carts, splints, and oodles and oodles of good information and support groups over at Handicapped Pets

Carts, braces, splints, and good, helpful and caring people over at Eddie's Wheels

Friday, March 01, 2013

Help When Times Are Tough

It's getting tough out there, not only for gimpy owners, but everyone.

We've recently updated our Help Organizations link, and included a great link to the Tripawds and their list of Help Organizations.

Here is a link to a new program that was started by a non-profit with the help of private industry to help ease the burden of people who have fallen on hard times and can't feed their pets.  Food Stamp programs don't allow users to purchase pet food or pet-related items.  Seeing the burden it was putting on pet owners, Pet Food Stamps was born.

Other than seeing a story about them on the news, I don't know anything else about this organization.  Send your questions to them, but if you use it, or know somebody that does, let us know and we'll see if we can't interview them to find out what it's like and how helpful they are.

Click below to find out more information and apply for assistance

Pet Food Stamps

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Conservative Management

What do you do if your dog is NOT a good candidate for surgery and suffers from a debilitating injury?

For some dog owners, they are faced with a very difficult decision.  Do they allow their dog to suffer with the pain of the injury, or put them to sleep?

Back in the "old" days, before technological advances, hip dysplasia was a death sentence.  Then came the various hip replacement surgeries... but once again, what if you dog wasn't a candidate?  Along came carts!

Blown ACL seems to be getting more and more common... ok, so maybe because it has happened to one of my dogs (the $15,500 Bionic Siberian Husky, Sam) I'm a bit hypersensitive to all of you who have wrote asking about the procedure, recovery, and prognosis.

But once again, what happens if for some reason, like epilepsy, or another condition, your dog couldn't have the repair performed.  Having blown out my own knee, I can tell you it is NOT a pleasant thing to walk on, so what are your alternatives?

Back in the "old" days, once again, you might have to make a very difficult decision... but thankfully new devices and help aids are out there to take the life ending decision away.

A friend and fellow blogger has gone through a double ACL tear in one dog, and now one in her Epi dog Gibson.

Conservative Management, in a nutshell, is dealing with something without surgery.  It is also called "Supportive Care".  Finding a way to ease the pain while still giving your Gimpy a pain free life is much easier now with the medical advances in splints, supports, and gadgets that are widely available.

Take a look at the FiveSibes™ blog at the cool brace that Gibson is using from WoundWear

This is not Gibson, just a dog modeling the brace
So, if faced with a painful injury that can't be fixed surgically, look around the Web or come and ask us.  There may be non-surgical ways to make your gimpy comfortable, and have quality of life despite a setback.