Category Archives: Pharmacy Blog

Steroid Responsive Meningitis in beagles

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Beagles are prone to a condition called steroid responsive meningitis

The ’80s were truly an interesting decade full of great music and strange hair. Musicians of the ’80s had their own particular sound, and that decade is probably responsible for more “one hit wonders” than any other time period in history. Not only were the 1980s great for music but some of my favorite books were also written during that time: The Color Purple introduced us to the struggles of “Celie” and the book Watchmen describes superheroes who suffer with what they consider human weaknesses. Another one of my favorite books from that time period is called Ender’s Game which is about a highly intelligent boy (Andrew “Ender” Wiggins) growing up at a time when children are recruited to fight off an alien race. What actually made me think about the 1980s and beagles this week was being told that the beautiful Vanessa P., our Content and Inbound Marketing Director, not only has two beagles but one of them she actually named “Ender.”

To people who  love beagles, the ’80s were extremely important for veterinary medicine because research identified a syndrome called Steroid Responsive Meningitis (SRM) also known as Beagle Pain Syndrome (BPS). This condition, although first discovered while researching beagles, can also occur in several other breeds. Most of the cases occur in dogs under a year old but it can occur in later years, and both sexes seem equally susceptible. Inflammation of the vessels in the central nervous system causes what appears to be neck pain, weakness, a hunched over back, cervical pain, fever, and changes in appetite. Read More »

More pumpkin for my dog, please!

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Plain canned pumpkin can help with diarrhea and constipation

I was having one of my all-time favorite desserts a few weeks ago, a pumpkin pie, and was convincing myself that a second slice would be fine since pumpkin has many health benefits for our four-legged friends. It was easy to convince myself to eat that extra piece of dessert using all the positives while leaving out all the negatives. For one, the pumpkin pie I was eating was full of sugar and other ingredients added to increase the flavor that plain pumpkin does not contain. Unsweetened canned pumpkin or pumpkin that is freshly cooked has many great health benefits for our pets, most importantly in the area of digestion and intestinal well-being. Read More »

What to feed a dog with a digestive upset

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What to feed a dog with an upset stomach

This past weekend a friend and I decided to fly to North Carolina for a photographic journey driving along the famous Blue Ridge Parkway. The trip was absolutely amazing in every way–great company, photography, spectacular mountains, beautiful gardens right off the famous Blue Ridge Parkway, and some of the most beautiful State parks made this short trip one of the best weekends ever. Since I left my dog Duke with my responsible cousin Peter, I spent the weekend enjoying the trip and the company rather than worrying. Peter had pets of his own and when he volunteered to watch Duke, I quickly accepted.

Monday was a workday for me and I followed my usual routine of walking Duke, giving him breakfast, and a half hour later I walked him again. This Monday was different, however, and as soon as I walked into the house that afternoon I realized by the smell of the place that Duke had done something that he had never done before in the fours years that I’ve had him. Turning the corner into the living room I noticed a trail of diarrhea from the living room all the way into the bedroom. This was not what I wanted to see after a long day at work. I cleaned up, gave Duke his dinner, and got on the computer to wind down a bit before bed. That night my sleep was interrupted at least four times by Duke asking to go outside to relieve himself. Read More »

Understanding and preventing aggression between pets

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pygmy goat butts pig

Lately on my days off I’ve been lost in the world of photography which provides me a sanctuary of peace, relaxation, and fun. Last week I went with my friend Abby to the farm of my cousin Nicole. We were on a mission to capture some great photographs of the farm and of the farm animals. After four hours with the horses, pigs, and goats, as we were walking back to the car, I noticed that Abby was quite distraught. Apparently she became upset when she noticed a defenseless pig being chased around by some goats that occupied the same pen. “Every time he gets up to walk around they attacked him and pushed him back down–how can he live like that?” Abby asked with a cracking voice and tears welling in her eyes. Even though Abby has two cats that sometimes fight, there was something about this particular situation that she found very disturbing. With that, we turned the car around and drove back to the farm. However before we got the chance to speak with anyone there, we noticed that the pig and the goats were already separated. We were then told that the enclosure that the pig was in was not his permanent home but was simply a temporary test which had obviously failed big time.

Back in the car we began discussing reasons that animals fight and ways to prevent them from fighting. This week I decided to put some of the ideas that we came up with here in the blog. Read More »

Fire ants–putting our pets in danger

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Fire ants can cause an allergic reaction in your pet

This past weekend I faced a small enemy that caused me a great deal of pain and aggravation. As I knelt down on what appeared to be a sandy clearing and began to photograph a spider, I felt as if my knee was being stabbed by small needles. I quickly got up and realized that I had just been attacked by fire ants that were defending their home from an unwelcome knee. At first the pain was localized but within a minute or so I began getting dizzy and my vision became blurry. After about another 10 minutes, most of my body surface was covered with a raised rash and I began to swell. My hands felt like balloons holding on to the steering wheel as I made my way to the emergency clinic that luckily was just minutes away down the road. “You’re wheezing and you got here just in time” the doctor said as he injected me with the lifesaving epinephrine and dexamethasone. Read More »

The step-by-step approach to treating fleas

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Take a step-by-step approach to control a flea infestation

As I stepped outside and felt the warm moist Florida air, I was immediately taken back to this time last year when I went to Puerto Rico to visit my friend Miguel. Miguel has always asked me to visit but between my work and other local responsibilities I kept pushing and delaying. As soon as he picked me up he immediately wanted to rush home and tell me all the plans he had for each day. “First things first” said Miguel, “I know that you’re a pet lover and that you work at 1800PetMeds, so let me show you my new puppy.” As soon as he opened his front door, a beautiful golden Labrador retriever greeted me with the gentlest “kiss” and with eyes that spoke without words. Before I could get comfortable, Miguel introduced me to “Bear” and told me to pack some clothes for a day of hiking. Miguel explained that he was rushing because he had a trip planned for us to go hiking in the famous tropical rain forest called El Yunque. Read More »

Your pet’s medication and the “therapeutic window”

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Some medications have a narrow therapeutic window

Back when I was in school, one of my teachers wanted to explain something called “therapeutic window” to the class. My teacher explained that you could draw a graph and put one line above and call it “toxic dose above” and another line under the first line called “ineffective dose below.” The distance between those two lines is the level that any drug needs to be in to be safe and effective and is called the “therapeutic window.” This distance is different, depending upon the specific medication, essentially making some drugs safer than others in terms of dosing errors such as giving an inadvertent extra dose, or an accidental overdose by the pet. Read More »

Helping pet parents and pet allergy sufferers coexist

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Pet owners and allergy sufferers can peacefully coexist

My brother came over last weekend and right away he started complaining that my cats were causing him to cough, and scratch his skin. For some reason this past year he developed an allergy to my cats and this has made planning family functions quite difficult. Even a simple cup of coffee and a chat now is not possible unless we meet at the local Starbucks.

At first I took it personally; I knew that my brother wasn’t a big fan of cats and I somehow felt that he was hatching some sort of plan to get me to see how much trouble my cats were. After he came over the last time however, I had no doubt that the rash I was seeing was real and he even began having a runny nose and other clear allergy symptoms. Sure, I know that some people have pet allergies but why did it have to be my own brother? As I sat there feeling bad I started wondering, can pets can be allergic to people? After thinking about it for a while, I decided to put my experiences and thoughts on paper so hopefully I can rid myself of resentments and maybe even help another person who may be facing a similar problem.

Here are some basic ground rules for pet owners and their house guests: Read More »

Kennel cough, a condition of our times

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Kennel cough is transmitted from dog to dog

Maybe my memory is mistaken, but it seems as though the changes that have occurred over the past forty years have been not just technological in nature. It seems that somehow people themselves have changed in very contradictory ways. For example, when I compare the athletes playing in the 70s and 80s to today, the John McEnroes and Walter Paytons for example, I notice that today’s athletes seem to be at a whole different level. Not to take anything away from the heroes of the past who were phenomenal in their day, the athletes of today seem almost “bionic” in strength and speed compared to the athletes of a generation ago.

Now when we go to the opposite side of the spectrum and discuss illnesses, it seems that for some reason illnesses have gotten worse and scarier than past years. I never heard of the “old timers” sitting around discussing cancer when I was a child the way people do today. Illnesses that were never heard of before seem to be surfacing and causing much pain and suffering. Fibromyalgia was an illness I had never heard of, even when I was in pharmacy school in the early ‘90s, but now it’s a condition almost everyone has heard of. It seems to me that more people have back pain, myalgia, cancer, colitis, and a number of other illnesses than a generation ago. Read More »

Dealing with your dog’s dry, itchy skin

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dry itchy skin in dogs can have several causes

The phrase “having thick skin” to describe someone who can take a lot of abuse and still be forgiving or even somewhat happy must not have been coined by a person who knows anything about dogs. A dog’s skin only contains one layer compared to a human’s skin that has three different layers. Yet, with only that one layer, most dogs can keep a positive attitude as they withstand quite a bit of abuse, neglect, mistreatment and more. The fact that a dog will generally accept an apology from his or her owner no matter who the owner is or what they have done certainly makes me want to re-evaluate that saying.

Because dog skin is a single layer, it is extremely sensitive to a variety of conditions. Some of these can be treated and the condition relieved or cured, while other conditions are caused by something that cannot be cured but only managed. In those cases, managing the condition day-by-day or week-by-week does sometimes allow the dog to be as symptom-free and as comfortable as possible. Read More »