PetMeds® Scooting in Dogs and Cats

Filed under Dr. Dym's Vet Blog
I’m often asked by pet owners what to do when their dogs are scooting on the carpet. Usually the best thing to do is to take the pet to the veterinarian, as this usually means that their pet’s anal sacs are likely impacted/blocked and most likely need to be manually expressed. On occasion if the sacs are not expressed, then they can rupture or develop a draining abscess that can be quite painful. Blocked anal sacs can be an indication of not enough exercise or insufficient amounts of fiber in your pet's diet

Normally dogs will release contents of anal sacs when they defecate, however sometimes the anal sacs can become clogged because of lack of exercise or not enough fiber in the diet. Sometimes adding a teaspoon or two of Metamucil or canned pumpkin to the food can help keep the sacs empty.

Many veterinarians or groomers can show guardians how to manually express the sacs at home, which are located at 4 and 8 o’clock if the anal opening is viewed as a clock.   If the sacs are not impacted, sometimes scooting can indicate worms, so with either case a veterinary exam or possible stool check is usually indicated.

PetMeds® Frequent Head Shaking in Dogs

Filed under Dr. Dym's Vet Blog
A common complaint of canine guardians is why does their dog shake their head all of the time.  The most accurate explanation of such a problem usually resides in some sort of underlying allergy. The allergies can be due to inhalant/contact allergies and/or food allergies. If the problem is seasonal, then allergens to molds, grasses, trees, dander, house dust, mites, etc are all possible. If the problem is non-seasonal, then we are usually thinking more of a food allergy. Seasonal allergens to molds, grasses, trees, dander, house dust, mites, etc are all possible causes of allergic reactions which can cause head shaking

Many times pets will develop secondary yeast or bacterial infections of the ear canals, which may appear as red, ulcerated ears with varying amounts of discharge or odor from the ears. Often pets will need prescription antibiotics such as Mometomax or Panalog.  On other occasions, great products like Zymox-Otic HC can help as well.  Since many of these pets have allergies, trials with various anthistamines such as Benadryl or Chlorphenirimine can be tried by an animal guardian to see if they may alleviate some of the head shaking that is so annoying to guardian and pet.

PetMeds® Addressing Canine Incontinence

Filed under Dr. Dym's Vet Blog
One of the more common urinary complaints of older dogs is when animal guardians start discovering puddles of urine where dogs rest or sleep at night. This common problem is often due to a weakness of the nerves around the urethra, which is the outflow tract of the bladder.  When the muscles around the urethra are loose or lax, then urine leakage can occur when a dog is resting or asleep. Older dogs may develop urinary incontinence as a result of muscles loosening around the urethra

While this problem is fairly common in spayed and neutered pets, there are several effective prescription medicines that can help.  For years we used to use low doses of estrogen hormone with a product known as stilbestrol or DES.  However, because of the small risk of hormonal side effects, another drug called phenylpropanolamine or Proin replaced DES as the most common drug of choice in treating incontinent pets.   Most dogs’ urine leaking can be adequately controlled with Proin in my experience, which acts to tighten the muscles around the urethra.

However, it is important to have a full medical evaluation, including urine analysis and possibly blood work to rule out other potential underlying causes and urinary infections first before prescribing medicines for urine leaking. Other holistic products such as HomeoPet Leaks No More can also be tried, but in my experience these other drugs are much less effective in controlling urinary incontinence or leaking in dogs.

PetMeds® Alternative Treatment for Urinary Incontinence in Dogs

Filed under Dr. Dym's Vet Blog
A new and often successful alternative to prescription medications such as Proin or Stilbestrol for the management and control of urinary in dogs is the use of hydraulic urethral occluders. This single surgical procedure involves placing the implant around the initial outflow tract from the bladder known as the urethra. It will likely be a future and viable alternative for dogs who have failed medical management of this frustrating condition and may also help those pets where Proin could cause side effects when used long term. Surgery involving of hydraulic urethral occluders may be a future alternative treatment for incontinent dogs

Unfortunately, these side effects may occur in dogs with high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease or hormonal diseases like Cushing’s disease. Although Proin can be a helpful form of treatment for most dogs, I think veterinarians and animal guardians alike should stay tune for the hopeful future use of this implant, which seems safe and offers long term control of this problem.

PetMeds® Why Pets Chew Wood and Other Furniture

Filed under Dr. Dym's Vet Blog
Could your pet's chewing be caused by boredom? One of the more common questions asked in the veterinary clinic is why a particular dog chews on wood or furniture in the home. While the causes can be many from nutritional to behavioral, it is always important to make sure that dietary factors are ruled out first. Make sure your pet is on a good all natural diet such as Nature’s Variety Instincts or Halo Spot’s Stew to name two.

I usually recommend a good multivitamin such a Vitachews as well as an enzyme and probiotic like NaturVet Enzymes & Probiotics added to meals. Fatty acids are also a good idea such as Super Pure Omega 3. A complete nutritional program not only ensures all nutritional needs are met, but fatty acids can especially help with behavioral anxieties in some pets when used long term. In most cases, pets who chew on wood or furniture are manifesting a form of anxiety, which can often be separation anxiety or boredom.  Working with a veterinarian on behavior modification techniques, and if necessary, calming medications such as prescription Amitriptyline or Clomipramine can sometimes help. In addition, natural remedies such as Be Serene with flower essence or Composure Liquid can also be tried in those cases involving nervous or anxious pets.

PetMeds® Bed Wetting in Dogs and Cats

Filed under Dr. Dym's Vet Blog

One of the more common complaints of pet owners is when their pet starts urinating in the house, on clothing or bedding. This problem is very common in both canine and feline medicine.  If it is a dog, one of the first questions I often ask is whether the pet is urinating where they sleep or lay, which is more of an involuntary urinary incontinence problem. This behavior is fairly common in dogs as they get older, especially in spayed female dogs.

This problem is usually diagnosed by history, physical exam and ruling out infection by urine analysis. While there are many holistic vet products such as HomeoPet Leaks No More, and others, many of these pets need prescription medications such as Proin to help keep the problem under control.

In feline medicine, urinating outside the litter box is a much more complex problem and usually involves a combination of emotional and/or physical factors. Urine analysis is needed to rule out infection or inflammation and/or crystal formation, as well as careful history to see if there are behavioral factors involved in the urinary issue. After performing a thorough exam, history and urine analysis, a cause and treatment plan can usually be undertaken.  If needed, antibiotics can be prescribed, or further testing such as urine culture, X-rays and/or ultrasound should be performed to look at the possibility of urinary tract stones, polyps, or in older pets, tumors. If the workup reveals no medical cause, then behavior modification techniques and products like Comfort Zone for Cats with Feliway can be employed to help solve this frustrating problem in the home.

PetMeds® Excessive Grooming in Cats

Filed under Dr. Dym's Vet Blog
Excessive grooming in cats can be caused by different factors including allergies to inhalants, food or fleas One of the more common skin problems seen in the feline veterinary clinic is when cats pull out their hair. This can manifest as excessive grooming anywhere on the body, but especially the lower back or abdomen and can often lead to extensive areas of hair loss. Sometimes secondary sores and infections can develop, increasing the incidence of vomiting of hairballs. Any cat that has such a problem should have a full skin workup at a vet, including an exam of the hair shafts to see if the hair loss is from self grooming. In addition, the cat should also have a thorough evaluation and skin scrape for external parasites.

Many times this problem is due to a seasonal allergy in cats that come in contact with dander, mold, house dust, grass, etc. While in other cases this can be a manifestation of a food allergy in a cat. In addition to making sure the cat is on a total preventative flea program, I will also instruct clients to try an antihistamine trial. My favorite for cats is Chlorpheniramine which is often dosed at 2 mg twice daily.  It also will sometimes help to add a fatty acid to the diet such as Be Well or Nordic Naturals Cod Liver Oil, which can sometimes help allergic animals when used long term.

I have also found the supplements Vetri-DMG Liquid and Proanthozone helpful in some cats as well. If the problem is year round, than a dietary trial with a natural novel protein diet, preferably one like the Instincts diet, which closely resembles what a cat evolved naturally to eat in the wild.  If none of these suggestions work and/or the condition worsens, then sometimes a cortisone shot is the only treatment that I find works in some of these felines. On occasion we will find what are called psychogenic hair pullers, which is a nervous habit that some cats develop, just like people who twirl their hair or bite their nails. In those cases and once allergies have been ruled out, it’s possible for medications such as Amitriptyline are prescribed by a veterinarian to help.

PetMeds® Reverse Sneezing in Dogs

Filed under Dr. Dym's Vet Blog

One of the more common questions we get from dog owners involves an odd breathing spasm that many dogs will exhibit at some point in their life, where their mouth remains closed and the dog goes through a series of inward snorts, which sounds like the pet is having a throat spasm. These spasms can last for up to a few minutes and can be triggered by various stressors including emotional stress/excitement and environmental allergens. In some cases they can occur during sleep or these spasms will occur spontaneously on their own.

Reverse sneezing can occur spontaneously in all dog breeds

The term for this common condition seen in any breed is known as “reverse sneeze” syndrome of dogs. While we don’t know the cause of this disturbing, yet harmless syndrome, most of the time no treatment is needed, animal guardians can simply rub their pet’s throats to help them come out of this spasm sooner. Other times I have found natural calming agents like Rescue Remedy or Be Serene to be helpful in shortening the episodes. On occasion, for those pets who do it frequently throughout the day, I will sometimes prescribe antihistamines to help if there is any allergic component to what is best described as a dog’s version of post nasal drip.

PetMeds® Stop Dog From Digging

Filed under Dr. Dym's Vet Blog
Prevent holes in your yard by providing a digging space for your dog Many animal guardians often become frustrated with their canine companions who dig deep holes in their yards. While this can be simply a playful or nervous habit of many dogs, digging behavior is normal in wild carnivores, because they often bury their prey in order to protect it from predators, and so they can return later and eat it when others are not around.

Many companion animal dogs will also bury bones given to them in the backyard for likely similar reasons. The simplest solution I have found to this problem in my experience is purchasing a small sand pit or child’s play area full of dirt or sand, which a dog will often move towards in digging, rather than digging holes in the garden or grass. By providing such an area, animal guardians will often protect their yards from unwanted damage and holes.

PetMeds® Why Spayed or Neutered Dogs “Mount”

Filed under Dr. Dym's Vet Blog
To stop mounting behavior, use a water gun or shake a can of coins to distract your pet from continuing this behavior One of the most common questions asked in the clinic is why a spayed or neutered pet still sometimes appears to have sexual desire. This can often appear as mounting of people’s legs, other animals, furniture, or sometimes fluffy toys. And while sex hormones clearly play a role in sexual desire, there are many other factors in surgically sterilized pets that can lead to such behaviors.

There are adrenal and other glandular sources of sex hormones in the body, which can play a role in such behaviors. Also, mounting can often indicate a dominance gesture in dog society, with the mounting dog expressing a dominance behavior by sexually mounting. Finally, I have seen some pets that have had chronic reactions to rabies vaccinations and become more sexually aroused. In fact, in the veterinary texts, one of the symptoms of rabies is actually increased sexual desire. And while pets that start excessively mounting in the months following a rabies vaccination are not actually rabid, they are expressing symptoms of what is actually seen in the natural disease.

The best solution to this common and frustrating behavior is to simply interrupt the behavior with a noxious stimulus such as shaking a coffee can full of coins or spraying the pet with a water pistol during the unwanted behavior, so that the pet couples this stimulus with the behavior and thus learns not to mount inappropriately.