Archive : July

How to Desensitize Your Pet to the Vet

By Carol McCarthy

If there is one experience that all pet parents have witnessed or been party to, it is that of a frightened animal having a hard time coping at a veterinary office.

The cause of a pet’s anxiety at the vet is not always clear, but pet parents can take steps to “desensitize” their pet, according to Victoria Schade, a dog trainer, speaker, and author.

Helping your pet stay calm will make vet visits more pleasant—and productive—for all involved.

Causes of Fear and Anxiety During Vet Visits

Fear of the unknown is a big cause of stress for pets during a vet visit, particularly for cats, says Dr. Cathy Lund of City Kitty, a feline-only veterinary practice in Providence, Rhode Island. “Cats are the ultimate control freaks of the animal kingdom. They want everything familiar,” she says. “The cat carrier, the car, the different smells at the office—these all stress them out.”

The nature of vet visits can also stress out your pet, Schade says. “An exam can be uncomfortable. It’s a unique way of being handled. Plus, it’s not something that happens frequently, so it is going to be met with a little trepidation.”

Unfortunately, neither your pet’s breed nor home environment can predict which animal will be anxious, Schade explains. “Within a household, you can have one dog who is relaxed and one who is a challenge, even with the exact same circumstances.”

Another factor that can cause anxiety is the memory of a negative experience. Science has shown that people have a “negativity bias”—that is, we remember unpleasant events more vividly than pleasant ones. “Therefore, animals who have been traumatized by an experience at the vet are more likely to react badly at future visits,” Schade says.

Know When Your Pet Is Stressed

When cats are stressed, they will hiss, growl, flatten themselves out, or try to scratch or bite, Lund says. “It’s defensive behavior—cat language for, ‘Back off, sucker.’”

Dogs, on the other hand, can exhibit a variety of behaviors. “Some shut down, shrinking away, with ears and head down,” Schade describes. “Others snarl, bite, or try to get away in really dramatic displays of fearfulness.”

Get Your Pet Used to Handling

Schade and Lund both agree that making your animal comfortable requires time, patience, and a little bit of homework.

Start by getting your pet used to body handling at home. Clean their ears, clip their nails, brush their teeth, touch them near the tail or stomach. That way, the vet’s exam won’t feel completely foreign.

You can also leave the pet carrier out at home so the animal can explore it, and maybe even lie down in it. “That way, you are not suddenly bringing it up from the basement and sticking them in it at exam time,” Lund advises.

Stop by the Vet for a ‘Social Visit’  

After you talk to your vet about your plan, stop by just to have the staff pet your animal and give him a treat. “This is important, with kittens in particular,” Lund says. “We want to teach them that changes in scenery are OK, that changes in the environment are not stressful.”

If that goes well, you can take it a step further the next time. Bring your pet into the exam room and have the tech or veterinarian interact with your pet in a non-clinical manner, like gentle petting that might transition into a brief paw touch or ear stroke, Schade explains.

If your pet has had a bad experience at the vet, you will need to slow the process way down. “Break it down into tiny steps,” Schade says. “Maybe the vet tech just comes to the door of the exam room. Keep a little distance so the dog remains calm. Each time, you bridge that gap.”  

Create a Stress-Free Environment at the Vet  

Ask about scheduling your vet visit during less busy times to minimize wait time or the stress of a room full of unfamiliar animals, sounds, and smells.

Lund and Schade suggest being casual and matter of fact, speaking calmly and quietly. Dogs in particular key into how their people feel, so your anxiety will feed theirs, Schade points out.

Take along familiar items from home, a toy or towel your animal uses, and let him lie or stand on the towel at the vet, Lund suggests. If the animal is relaxed enough, have the vet give him a treat. Ask staff to speak quietly, dim the lights, if possible, and not make sudden moves.

“Don’t drag your animal out of the carrier or be rough with the leash,” Lund adds. “If your pet is very scared, dismantle the carrier so the vet can examine him while he stays put. The biggest thing is recognizing that this is all fear and to just minimize the fear.”

Take the Edge Off Before a Vet Visit

A particularly stressed-out animal can benefit from anti-anxiety medications; or with felines, a little catnip can take the edge off before a vet visit. But, there is a caveat. In an emergency, you won’t have time to medicate your pet, so the fear and anxiety will be on full display, Schade notes.

“A better strategy is to help your pet overcome his fear and anxiety of a visit to the vet,” she says. “Working through handling anxiety at the vet office takes commitment, but the resulting calm behavior will make life easier for both your pet and your practitioner.”

Are Hydrangeas Poisonous to Cats and Dogs?

Hydrangeas are plants with broad, flat leaves and large flowers that come in a variety of colors, like pink, red, purple, blue and white. While undoubtedly beautiful, are hydrangeas poisonous to dogs and cats?

Technically, the answer is yes, but before you panic and toss your beautifully potted hydrangea bush in the trash or clear them out of your garden, there are a few things you should know.

Find out how hydrangeas can affect dogs and cats and what you will need to do if your pet decides to nibble on one.

What Makes Hydrangeas Poisonous to Pets?

According to the Pet Poison Hotline, the leaves, flowers and buds of the hydrangea plant contain a chemical known as amygdalin.

Amygdalin is a cyanogenic glycoside found in many plants. In its natural form, amygdalin is not toxic; however, when it is metabolized by the body (whether it be human, dog or cat), it produces cyanide, which can be toxic to mammals. All parts of the hydrangea plant contain amygdalin, but the highest concentrations are believed to be in flowers and young leaves.

Hydrangea poisoning is dose-dependent. That means that your pet must eat a certain amount of the plant in order to show signs of poisoning. Smaller pets are at a higher risk of poisoning simply because they have to consume less than larger pets do to become sick.

The good news is that hydrangea poisoning in dogs and cats is rare, because a very large amount of hydrangea has to be consumed for pets to manifest symptoms. Since symptoms are usually mild, cases often go unreported.

Symptoms of Hydrangea Poisoning in Pets

The most common symptoms associated with hydrangea poisoning are related to the gastrointestinal tract. Dogs or cats that consume enough hydrangea leaves, flowers and/or buds can suffer from vomiting and diarrhea. In severe cases, hydrangea poisoning can cause lethargy, depression and confusion.

What to Do If Your Pet Has Hydrangea Poisoning

Signs of hydrangea poisoning occur within about 30 minutes after ingestion. If you notice any of the above symptoms after your pet has been playing near or sniffing a hydrangea bush, call or take your pet to your veterinarian immediately.

Bring a sample of the plant with you, including leaves and flowers, so your veterinarian can properly ID the plant. Your veterinarian will ask you some questions and perform a physical exam. Since poisoning can mimic other conditions, your veterinarian may also run some tests to rule out other problems. Tests may include bloodwork and a urine test to make sure your pet’s organ function is normal, as well as x-rays to rule out other causes of digestive problems.

Follow all your veterinarian’s recommendations to get your pet back to good health.

Treatment of Hydrangea Poisoning in Pets

Treatment of hydrangea poisoning depends on several factors, including the severity of the symptoms and the size, age and overall health of your pet.

Timing of ingestion of the hydrangea may also influence treatment. If it was within 30 minutes, your veterinarian may recommend inducing vomiting to remove the poisonous plant from your pet’s system.

In severe cases, treatment can include hospitalization for monitoring as well as intravenous fluid therapy to flush out toxins, correct dehydration from diarrhea and/or vomiting, and provide support for your pet.

Treatment for gastrointestinal issues, including medication and a bland diet, may also be prescribed. Once the vomiting and diarrhea have run their course and the toxin has been eliminated from your pet’s system, prognosis is excellent.

If your pet has ingested any part of a hydrangea bush, the sooner your pet receives medical attention, the better the prognosis is and the higher the chance of a full recovery.

The best way to prevent hydrangea poisoning is to avoid keeping the plant where your pet can access it. If you choose to have hydrangeas, keep the plants at a height that your pet can’t reach and be sure to remove any leaves or flowers that fall off the plant. If you have cats, cover the plants with netting to prevent access, or move the plant to a room that’s off limits for your cat.

Pet-Safe Alternatives to Hydrangeas

If you want a pet-safe alternative to hydrangeas, consider the following list:



Tiger orchid


Burro’s tail

African violets



Fern (Boston fern, rabbits foot fern)

Black haw

Camellia (common or mountain)

Pansy orchid

Snapdragons (common or withered)



By: Dr. Sarah Wooten

Featured Image:

< img src=";base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7">< img src="2083/sarah-wooten-dvm.jpg">


Sarah Wooten, DVM


Dr. Sarah Wooten graduated from UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 2002. A member of the American Society of Veterinary Journalists,…

American Bulldog

American Bulldogs have served a variety of jobs over the centuries: guard dogs, cattle chasers, farm dogs, and hunting partners. Though the breed has been in the United States since the 17th century, the American Bulldog started to become more popular in the late 1980s, according to the American Bulldog Association (ABA). 

This medium-large, muscular breed can reach up to 25 inches tall and weigh between 60 and 100 pounds. American Bulldogs and American Bulldog mixes are generally brave and loyal animals that require dedicated training and regular activity. 

Caring for an American Bulldog

American Bulldogs are loyal, intelligent, and active dogs who require focused training and plenty of exercise. They love to spend their days playing tug-of-war, running agility courses, and going on long walks with their pet parents. With proper care and attention, they can be an excellent addition to your home.    

These dogs have short, mostly white coats that can have a few different-colored markings—it’s not uncommon to find a white and brindle American Bulldog or a white and black American Bulldog. No matter their color, this breed doesn’t shed a lot. But their skin care requires careful attention. 

American Bulldog Health Issues

The average American Bulldog lifespan is 10–12 years. Like most dogs, there are some common health issues associated with the breed—especially with their skin. 

Elbow and Hip Dysplasia 

According to the ABA, American Bulldogs, like many other larger dog breeds, can be prone to elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia. These conditions are where those joints don’t fit together properly. This can cause pain and, if left untreated, arthritis. Responsible breeders of American Bulldogs will screen their dogs for this genetic condition.   

Itchy Skin   

Although it’s rare, American Bulldog puppies can also be prone to a skin condition called ichthyosis, which causes the skin to flake and become itchy, according to the ABA. The disease is a genetic mutation that prevents the outer layer of skin from developing properly and can range from moderate to severe. American Bulldogs with mild cases of ichthyosis require more frequent bathing, while dogs with severe cases need to be bathed and oiled every day.  

As with hip and elbow dysplasia, responsible American Bulldog breeders will test their pups for ichthyosis.

The average American Bulldog lifespan is 10–12 years. Like most dogs, there are some common health issues associated with the breed—especially with their skin. 


American Bulldogs can have allergies caused by an overactive immune system, according to the ABA. Signs that your dog has allergies include:  

Itchy skin and scratching 

Fur loss 


Red skin 

Recurring skin infections 

If you notice any of these signs in your American Bulldog, contact your veterinarian for guidance.  

What To Feed an American Bulldog  

A healthy American Bulldog will be well-padded, with little fat and with no ribs showing. To maintain a muscular build, the breed needs food that’s rich in protein, with limited carbohydrates.

Feeding your American Bulldog a diet formulated for large-breed dogs as both a puppy and an adult is recommended for optimal growth and wellness.  

How To Feed an American Bulldog

American Bulldog puppies are typically fed three times each day. It’s important to consult with your veterinarian as you create your puppy feeding schedule, finding the right balance between meeting their nutritional needs while also warding off digestive problems or obesity. 

As American Bulldog puppies mature, feeding them two meals a day is recommended. Pet parents should look for options approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) when choosing food.

How Much Should You Feed an American Bulldog?

The amount of food pet parents provide daily depends on their individual dog’s needs and lifestyle. The bag of AAFCO-approved dog food will give you guidance on portions based on your dog’s weight, but it’s also a good idea to ask your veterinarian. 

Nutritional Tips for American Bulldogs   

 Avoid feeding your dog table scraps, which may be dangerous to their health. Treats should make up only 10% of your dog’s calorie intake and never replace a diet.    

Dogs fed a complete and balanced commercial food diet should not need any nutritional supplements unless recommended by a veterinarian. That’s why it’s so important to pick a food that’s catered to your American Bulldog’s life stage. 

Behavior and Training Tips for American Bulldogs

American Bulldog Personality and Temperament  

American Bulldogs are generally outgoing and friendly, according to the ABA. Because they are so loyal to their family, they can be useful watch dogs that bark to alert you when anything is amiss. A well-trained and socialized American Bulldog will typically get along with other pets and with young children.  

American Bulldog Behavior

American Bulldogs can be watchful over their family and, as with every other dog breed, early training and socialization is vital. They are large, active dogs who need to be kept busy physically and mentally. Playtime and long walks are important for American Bulldogs—though they also enjoy a good afternoon nap.   

A well-trained and socialized American Bulldog will typically get along with other pets and with young children. 

American Bulldog Training   

American Bulldogs are a large, active breed that require dedicated training. Luckily, they are a smart breed that’s eager to please. They can pick up training cues quickly, especially when training sessions are done consistently and with positive reinforcement.  

Fun Activities for American Bulldogs



Dock diving 

Lure coursing 




American Bulldog Grooming Guide

American Bulldogs require a moderate level of grooming and care. While their short coat is easier to maintain than long-haired dogs, their wrinkles and skin need lots of attention. 

Skin Care   

Like most dogs, American Bulldogs should be bathed when they are dirty or smelly. But the American Bulldog’s wrinkles require special attention—it’s important to keep them clean from dirt and any other crud that might build up, or skin infections can occur. Pet parents might also need to wipe down their facial folds throughout the day to remove lingering dog food crumbs. 

Coat Care   

American Bulldogs have a short, low-maintenance coat, and pet parents can brush them weekly to catch any loose hairs. This routine keeps their coat looking healthy—and they will love the attention. Grooming time is also a great chance to check for cuts, flea bites, or other problems.  

Eye Care

American Bulldogs typically don’t require any special eye care. Some dogs, especially white American Bulldogs, can get brown discoloration around their eyes from tearing. Gentle cleaning with an eye cleaning solution can help minimize these tear stains. 

Ear Care 

Bulldogs can be susceptible to ear wax buildup, so it’s important to clean your dog’s ears once a week using a doggy ear cleanser.  

Considerations for Pet Parents   

Before bringing home an American Bulldog puppy, it’s important to consider your lifestyle. Are you a jogger or do you like to go on long weekend hikes? An American Bulldog can fit right in. These dogs won’t do well in a low-energy home without outlets for their physical energy.  

American Bulldog FAQs

How long do American Bulldogs live?  

The average American Bulldog lifespan is 10–12 years.  

Is an American Bulldog a good family dog? 

With proper training and exercise, the American Bulldog can be a great addition to your family. Breed experts recommend early and consistent socialization and obedience training for this intelligent and energetic breed. American Bulldogs bond strongly with their family, according to the American Bulldog Rescue.

Is an American Bulldog a Pit Bull?  

Sort of! According to the Animal Humane Society, the American Pit Bull Terrier isn’t truly a dog breed—the term refers to a group of breeds, including American Bulldogs, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and various mixes between these breeds.  

How much does an American Bulldog cost? 

Purebred American Bulldogs can cost more than $1,000, though you can also find American Bulldogs (and puppies!) in shelters and rescues. 

Featured Image: iStock/Yuliya Golland

< img src=";base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7">< img src="28379/ec24c610-e942-46ff-b9c8-8f28d50204ee.jpeg">


Elise Schmelzer

Elise Schmelzer is a journalist based in Denver, Colorado, where she lives with her two cats, Slurpy and Rosie. She writes on a variety…

Front Leg Injury in Dogs

Brachial Plexus Avulsion in Dogs

Dogs can experience a forelimb issue (sometimes referred to as brachial plexus avulsion) when they are hurt from jumping, have been in a road accident, had a traumatic fall, or have been caught in or on something. The possibility of spinal cord injury, or other severe damage, requires that an examination and assessment be made by a veterinarian. Prompt medical attention is advised.

The condition or disease described in this medical article can affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn more about how this disease affects cats, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.

Symptoms and Types

Dogs that are experiencing this condition will often exhibit muscular weakness, absence of pain perception, loss of shoulder movement, and the inability to put weight on their paws.


The most common cause of a foreleg injury is often a road accident, a serious fall, or if the dog gets a foot caught in or on something while jumping.


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or a computer tomography (CT) scan may be used to examine the dog’s body for internal lesions. The veterinarian will look for injuries to the spinal cord, or for any associated neurological issues.


Treatment will be based on the severity of the injury. Bandaging the foreleg and protecting it from further injury is the most common response. Anti-inflammatory drugs are commonly given to decrease swelling. Amputation is sometimes required for injuries that cannot be repaired or under circumstances where the injury is life threatening.

Living and Management

Clinical monitoring of the dog following treatment is recommended so that improvements to the injured site can be assessed. One of the most common suggestions is for the dog to be confined so that it will not further complicate the injury. Protective swaddling, or binding, is also recommended for keeping the limb in place. Physical therapy may be prescribed for regaining muscle strength during rehabilitation. It is important to observe the dog’s behavior following treatment as there is a potential for infection if the dog rubs its paws repeatedly on the ground. Also, it is important to deter the dog from mutilating itself in an attempt to stop the pain and associated healing sensations. Most cases will resolve within a few months of the initial prognosis and treatment.


There are currently no preventative measures for this medical issue.

Eye Displacement in Dogs

Proptosis in Dogs

Proptosis is a medical condition which causes a dog’s eye to move forward. This typically noticeable (and unseemly) medical condition is frequently associated with head trauma, and often threatens the dog’s vision. Therefore, immediate veterinary examination and treatment is vital to restoring or saving the dog’s eyesight.

Proptosis affects both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn how this condition affects cats, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.

Symptoms and Types

The most common symptom is an eyeball which protrudes significantly more than normal. Other possible signs include:

Abnormal pupil, dilated or restricted in sizeUlcer on the cornea of the eyeInflammation in the eyeInner eye hemorrhageRupture in the globe of the eyeShock


The most common cause is an injury to the head or face. The force, in fact, does not have to be severe to cause the eye to displace. In rare cases, eye tumors or other serious infections can cause the eye to move out of place.


The two most common diagnoses for this condition include:

Bupthalmia – When the globe of the eye has become enlarged. The eyelids are still properly positioned, but the eyelid cannot cover the eye.Exophthalmia – When the globe of the eye has been displaced forward, causing it to protrude from the normal eye socket location.



Treatment generally involves putting the eye back into position. This is typically done under sedation to ensure the dog remains stable. Afterwards, antibiotics are often administered to prevent infection until the sutures are removed. If a severe injury makes it impossible to save the eye, removing it completely to avoid any further complications is recommended.

Some common signs once the eye has been repositioned can include:

BlindnessDilated pupilsDecreased ability to produce tearsDecrease sensitivity of the cornea

Living and Management

In most cases, the dog’s eye can be saved. Although, proper wound care is necessary until the sutures, if any were used after replacing the eye, are removed.


Unfortunately, there are currently no known preventative measures for this medical condition.

Collapse During Exercise in Labrador Retrievers

Exercise Induced Weakness and Collapse in Labrador Retrievers

Labrador retrievers are one of the more active dog breeds. Part of having a Lab in your family is to become accustomed to having a high energy dog that plays and exercises a lot. Most dogs will slow down or stop when they are tired and will have no problems, but some revel so much in activity that they will exercise until they become weak and collapse from exhaustion. This is called exercise induced collapse in Labrador retrievers. Problems usually occur during periods of intense activity or excitement. At other times, these dogs seem completely normal.

Symptoms are first seen in young dogs between five months of age and three years of age. The disease does not seem to affect one gender more than the other. Labs bred to be field trial dogs may be more likely to have the problem, and Labs that are easily excited are more likely to have the problem. Collapse is most likely to occur when the temperature and humidity are high, and during activities like upland bird hunting, repetitive retrieving, long, hard running, and intense play, but any very intense activity can lead to collapse.

Symptoms and Types

Signs begin after five to twenty minutes of extreme exercise, excitement, or stress. They include:

Not walking or running normally (rocking gait)Weak back legsDragging the back legs while runningStanding with the feet too far apart (wide-based stance)Picking the feet up too far while walking or running (hypermetria)Falling over while runningUnable to move the head and all four legs after exerciseStiff front legs while collapsedMost dogs are alertNo pain while collapsedHigh body temperatureOccasionally, confusionRarely, seizures and deathNo symptoms between times of collapseRecovery usually within five to twenty five minutes


An inherited problem in Labrador retrievers that is an autosomal recessive trait. Dogs that carry two copies of the gene (homozygotes) are at substantial risk of showing clinical signs. Dogs that carry one copy of the gene (heterozygotes) are carriers and can pass the gene to their puppies. However, they are not likely to show symptoms of exercise induced collapse.


A genetic test is available to identify the gene that causes exercise induced collapse in Labrador retrievers. If your veterinarian suspects this disease, the genetic test may be recommended to confirm the diagnosis.

Other testing your veterinarian may want to perform includes a complete blood count and biochemical profile. These will confirm that your dog’s internal organs are working properly. Your dog’s thyroid hormone level may also be checked to make sure it is normal. Other blood tests can be analyzed to see if other muscle diseases might be causing your dog to collapse. To make sure that your dog is not suffering from a heart problem that comes and goes, your veterinarian may want your dog to wear a special monitor for a day or two to track normal heart rhythm. These tests are typically normal in Labs with exercise induced collapse.


Most dogs with exercise induced collapse can be treated by avoiding the activities which cause it to collapse. Of course, exercise cannot be entirely avoided, so when your dog does exercise, all activity should be stopped at the first sign of weakness. Give your dog water to drink by mouth or spray it with cool water to help bring down the body temperature.

If changing your dog’s activities is not possible or is not helping, there are other things which might help. Some dogs have fewer episodes of collapse when their diet is changed and they gain a small amount of weight. If the dog is not neutered, neutering may help.

There are some medications that might helpful as well. Your veterinarian can help you to decide if one is right for your dog. Though medications will not help all dogs, in many dogs, medications may just decrease the number of episodes a dog has or minimize the severity of the episodes.

Living and Management

Being observant of your dog’s condition is the most practical ongoing treatment and prevention. When your dog shows symptoms of exhaustion and imminent collapse, it is important to stop all activity and cool your dog down. If your dog can be treated simply by changing its activity level, you may need to do this for the rest of its life. If your dog has been prescribed medication to help with its symptoms, you will need to return to your veterinarian for regular follow-up visits to make sure that the medicine is not hurting any of your dog’s internal organs. Make sure to follow all of the instructions you are given with the medication carefully, making changes only after consulting with your veterinarian. Usually, the number of episodes that your pet has will decrease with age.


It is important to avoid activities that will cause your dog to become weak to the point of collapse. Dogs that have been diagnosed with exercise induced collapse should not be used for breeding, as this is a hereditary condition.

Mouth Cancer (Amelobastoma) in Dogs

Ameloblastoma in Dogs

Ameloblastoma, previously known as adamantinoma, is an uncommon neoplasm that affects the tooth structures in dogs. In most cases the mass is found to be benign in nature, but a rare, highly invasive malignant form is also recognized in some dogs. It may be present at any place within the dental arcade. As with many cancers, ameloblastoma mainly affects middle-aged or older dogs.

Symptoms and Types

Ameloblastoma is usually benign in nature and remains well localized. You may notice a firm and smooth mass covering the gingival space. The presence of a mass is usually enough to convince an owner to visit a veterinarian.


The exact cause is still unknown.


You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health and onset of symptoms. Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination on your dog, with a detailed examination of the oral cavity, including the tumor mass. A complete blood profile will also be conducted, including a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, and a urinalysis. In most cases the laboratory test results are within normal ranges and no abnormality related to this neoplasm is noticed. X-ray images of the skull will be helpful in estimating the penetration of the neoplasm within the bone structures. A computed tomography (CT) scan will give more refined results and will help in planning the treatment for your dog. Often a deep tissue biopsy will be conducted so that a sample of deeply penetrated neoplasm tissue can be examined. In this way your veterinarian can determine if the neoplasm is benign or malignant in nature.


As with most benign neoplasm, surgical excision remains the treatment of choice for ameloblastoma. After a determination has been made of the size, location, and extent of penetration, your veterinarian will schedule a surgery to remove the entire mass. During surgery some margins of normal tissue are also removed to ensure complete excision of neoplasm. Alternatively, in some patients only radiation therapy is sufficient to completely resolve the problem, while in other patients both surgical excision and radiation therapy may be needed for a complete cure.

Living and Management

Most patients will regain normal health without any complications after surgical treatment. Follow your veterinarian’s guidelines after the initial care, including special diet recommendations, until your dog is fully recovered and has begun eating normally again. After treatment with surgery or radiation therapy, your veterinarian will schedule follow-up visits every three months for complete evaluation and progress checks. At each visit, your veterinarian will ensure that there is no re-growth of tumor.

How to Help Dogs With Arthritis

Arthritis in dogs is a condition that causes joint pain, and one that will afflict most dogs as they age.

Watching your best friend get older is never fun, but there are some things you can do around your home and in collaboration with your veterinarian to help dogs with arthritis manage their pain and improve their joint health.

Here are some tips for relieving your dog’s joint pain and reducing inflammation.

Modify Your Home to Accommodate Dogs With Arthritis

Making a few basic modifications to your home can help alleviate your dog’s pain and anxiety.

Nonslip Rugs

Dogs with arthritis and joint pain may have a fear of walking on slippery surfaces like hardwood or tile because they have limited mobility and they expect to feel pain if they fall.

Using nonslip mats, rugs, and carpets on slippery floors can help your dog get around the house more without the fear of slipping. Placing nonslip rugs at the base and the top of staircases, and near couches and beds, will help decrease dog joint pain by lowering the impact on their joints.

Orthopedic Dog Beds

Comfortable dog beds that are low to the ground and have orthopedic support will ease your dog’s joint pain and allow them to get back up without struggling.

Make sure that your pet’s favorite spots to rest and sit have thick bedding with nonslip mats to prevent injury or pain when they try to stand up.

Blocked-Off Stairways

Stairs should be blocked off with a pet gate to ensure your dog’s safety when they’re not under your direct supervision.

Dog-Lift Harness

Considering purchasing a sling, or dog-lift harness, to assist with mobility around the house. This type of harness can help ensure proper and safe movement through certain areas for pets severely affected by hip, knee, shoulder, and elbow arthritis.

Ask Your Vet About Joint Supplements and Medications

Using a multimodal approach—combinations of different types of medications and joint supplements—to treat arthritis in dogs is the best way to ensure quality of life and successful treatment.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) play a major role in controlling dog joint pain and inflammation. Prescription medications such Galliprant, Carprofen, and Meloxicam are the safest options for controlling pain and inflammation compared to over-the-counter, non-veterinary products.

You may see the full results after three months of daily use. Speak with your veterinarian about which product and dosage is right for your pet.

Adequan Injections

Adequan, an FDA-approved series of injections performed by your veterinarian, has shown to help with inflammation and to increase joint lubrication.

Joint Supplements and Diets

Oral supplements that contain methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), glucosamine hydrochloride, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids—eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)—and chondroitin sulfate are known for supporting dog joint health.

Quality products formulated specifically for dog joint health include Nutramax Dasuquin, Hill’s Prescription Diet j/d dry dog food, Hill’s Prescription Diet j/d wet dog food, Bayer’s Free Form, and Nutramax Welactin, among many others.

Many oral supplements can have significant side effects, wreaking havoc on the gastrointestinal tract of our canine friends, so you should consult with your veterinarian before adding them to your dog’s diet.

Dog Breeds That Can Benefit From Joint Supplements as Puppies

In breeds that have the potential for joint disease, it is recommended to start joint supplements as early as 8 weeks of age. These breeds are most commonly at risk for joint issues: 

Hip and knee: Any toy to giant breed dog can be affected, but these are the most common: 

Toy breeds: Miniature Poodles, Boston Terriers, Chihuahuas, Pugs (knee), and Yorkshire Terriers

Medium to large breeds: American Staffordshire Terrier, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Boxers, American Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, German Shepherds, Mastiffs 

Giant breeds: Great Danes, St. Bernards 

Elbow (tends to be breed-specific): English Bulldogs, Welsh Corgis, Dachshunds, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers

Shoulder (tends to be breed-specific): Labradors and Golden Retrievers

Consider Secondary Therapies

These treatments can be used in conjunction with primary treatments to help relieve dog joint pain.


Acupuncture is the insertion of thin needles into the skin at certain points of the body. There is clinical evidence that acupuncture, in combination with a multimodal therapy approach to arthritis, reduces chronic dog joint pain.

Speak with your veterinarian to determine if acupuncture is a good option for your pet.

Managing Your Dog’s Weight

Weight management is a critical component of relieving dog joint pain. Obesity contributes to increased pressure on the joints, which leads to pain and discomfort. Controlling your dog’s weight can help ease their pain as they age. Speak with your veterinarian about the ideal weight for your pet and long-term weight management.

Moderate Exercise and Physical Therapy

Physical therapy, massage, and daily exercise can be very beneficial to dogs with arthritis.

Consider daily exercise in moderation: Start with short walks, up to 10 or 15 minutes, three to four times per day. Following the same routine every day without high-impact activities (such as ball chasing, running, or jumping) is key to giving your dog some exercise without increasing stress or pain.

Speak with your veterinarian about consulting a certified small animal physical rehabilitation practitioner. They can lead your dog through therapeutic exercises like passive stretching, range of motion exercises, controlled walking with obstacles, and using underwater treadmills.

Featured Image:

< img src=";base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7">< img src="24059/TT_0.jpg">


Tiffany Tupler, DVM, CBCC-KA


Dr. Tiffany Tupler is a graduate from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine with a certificate in shelter medicine and…

Miscarriage in Dogs

Spontaneous Abortion and Pregnancy Loss in Dogs

There are several methods for performing a safe abortion for a dog, as well as instances in which the pregnancy could spontaneously abort or miscarry. It is important to note that dogs can experience spontaneous abortions and lost pregnancies for a variety of medical reasons.

If a dog owner is considering aborting an unwanted pregnancy, seeking professional medical advice and assistance is recommended, so that a full risk and side effect evaluation can be done. In the event that the pregnancy is lost or spontaneously aborted, your pet should be evaluated and monitored, as there are several possible medical conditions that could be the cause.The condition or disease described in this medical article can affect both dogs and cats.

If you would like to learn more about how this disease affects cats, please visit this page in the petMD health library.

Symptoms and Types 

If your dog has experienced a miscarriage, the most common thing you may notice is abnormal vaginal bleeding; in some cases an expelled fetus may be found. The most common cause of a spontaneous abortion is fetal death due to a hormonal imbalance.

In the case of a planned abortion, bleeding is the most common symptom following the procedure. You will need to closely monitor your dog so that any side effects or health related issues can be responded to quickly.


Some types of the most common causes of spontaneous abortions in dogs are:

B. Canis – This bacterium is extremely widespread among kenneled dogs, as it can be easily transmitted. This disease causes both stillbirths and conception failures. It is usually characterized by a prolonged vaginal discharge and can occasionally be accompanied by such complications as arthritis (spondylitis) and inflammation of the eye (uveitis). Also, it is common for dogs to have bacteria in the bloodstream (bacteremia) for up to 18 months after the spontaneous abortion. Mycotic Abortion – This fungus most commonly causes excessive bleeding in the uterus and can lead to an aborted fetus.Fetal Death – If the dog has a hormonal imbalance it can lead to the fetus’ death, either causing a stillbirth or a spontaneous abortion.Neospora Caninum – This is a parasite generally found in dogs. It can be transmitted if the dog ingests contaminated water, food, feces or infected animal flesh.


Standard blood tests can be used to detect the presence of parasites or B. Canis. If the pregnancy loss is due to another reason, an abnormal amount of discharge will be noticeable. A veterinarian can use an ultrasound to detect a viable pregnancy, or to look for anything remaining in the dog’s uterus following a miscarriage or termination. This is because the dog’s uterus will occasionally be unable to expel all the pregnancy matter effectively on its own (e.g., placental tissue), leading to infection or internal hemorrhaging.

[ pagebreak]


For dogs that have experienced a spontaneous abortion due to bacteria or a parasite, a veterinarian will diagnose the condition and offer a variety of options for medical treatment. In addition, the dog should be carefully monitored for signs of a more serious medical condition.

Living and Management

Following a miscarriage, there can be a great deal of discomfort and/or some vaginal bleeding or abnormal discharge. Many cases exist where some long-term bacterial issues arise. Pet owners should carefully observe the behavior of their dog to ensure no serious problems develop as a result.

How to Handle Aggression Between Dogs (Inter-Dog Aggressive Behavior)

Interdog Aggression in Dogs

Inter-dog aggression, or aggressive behavior between dogs, occurs when a dog is overly aggressive toward dogs in the same household or unfamiliar dogs. This behavior is often considered normal, but some dogs can become excessively aggressive due to many factors.

Inter-dog aggression occurs much more frequently in non-neutered male dogs. Common signs usually start appearing when the dog reaches puberty (between six and nine months old) or becomes socially mature at 18 to 36 months. Generally, inter-dog aggression is more of a problem between dogs of the same gender.

Symptoms and Types of Aggression in Dogs

The most common symptoms of inter-dog aggression include growling, biting, lip lifting, snapping, and lunging toward another dog. These behaviors may be accompanied by fearful or submissive body postures and expressions such as crouching, tucking the tail under, licking the lips, and backing away.

Typically, before a severe inter-dog aggression incident in the same household occurs, more discreet signs of social control will become noticeable. One tactic a dog may use is staring and blocking the other dog’s entrance into a room. A specific condition sometimes triggers the aggression, even though the dogs normally get along well.

Causes of Aggression in Dogs

The causes of this condition vary. A dog may have become overly aggressive because of its past experiences, including abuse and neglect. For example, it may not have socialized with other dogs as a puppy, or it may have had a traumatic encounter with another dog. Dogs rescued from dog fighting operations also tend to exhibit inter-dog aggression more frequently. 

An owner’s behavior may also influence a manifestation of the condition (e.g., if an owner shows compassion for a weaker dog by punishing the more dominant dog). Other reasons for aggression are fear, wanting to protect territory and social status, or a painful medical condition. 

Diagnosing Aggression in Dogs

There is no official procedure to diagnose inter-dog aggression. Some symptoms are very similar to canine “play” behavior and excited, non-aggressive arousal. Biochemistry, urine analysis, and other laboratory tests usually yield unremarkable results. But if any abnormalities are identified, they may help the veterinarian find an underlying cause for the aggression. 

If a neurological condition is suspected, advanced imaging, like CT or MRI scans, may be necessary to determine whether it is a central nervous system (CNS) disease, or to rule out other underlying neurological conditions.

How to Handle Dog Aggression

There is no real cure for inter-dog aggression. Instead, treatment is heavily focused on controlling the problem. Owners must learn how to avoid situations that encourage aggressive behavior in the dog, and to break up fights quickly and safely when they occur. In situations where aggressive behavior is more likely to occur (e.g., walks in the park), the dog must be kept away from potential victims and be under constant control. The owner may also want to train the dog to feel comfortable wearing a protective head halter and basket muzzle.

Training for Aggressive Dogs

Behavioral modification plays a crucial role in the treatment of aggression in dogs. Utilizing licensed, professional veterinary trainers is absolutely necessary. The aggressive dog is slowly conditioned to not fear or react to other dogs through a variety of positive reinforcement training techniques.

Unfortunately, some owners cannot control, train, or avoid situations of dog aggression. In these cases, options include re-homing the dog to a situation that better fits their personality. Some dogs may be deemed unsafe to be around other animals, as well as humans. In these cases, humane euthanasia may be the best way to assure everyone’s safety and well-being.

There is no specific licensed medication used to treat inter-dog aggression. However, there are many behavioral medications that can help treat anxiety or hyperexcitability, such as Prozac, Xanax, trazodone, acepromazine, and gabapentin. Some of these drugs are used on a daily basis, while others are only used for situational events.

Successful treatment of inter-dog aggression is usually measured by the decrease in severity or frequency of incidents. In addition, the treatment recommendations need to be implemented over the entire life of the dog. Even if aggressive incidents are completely eliminated for a period of time, relapses may occur if the owner does not strictly adhere to the recommendations at all times. Owners with aggressive dogs need to work closely with veterinary behaviorists and veterinarians to meet treatment goals. It takes a lot of time and patience, but many dogs are capable of controlling inter-dog aggression and leading normal, happy lives.