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DOGS THAT DIG, VITAMIN D TOXICITY, AND ONLINE DRUGS....

Posted Oct 17 2010 12:00am
Well, apparently, having a dog roll in something "yucky" doesn't upset a pet owner as much as having the dog eat feces...coprophagia, as discussed a few weeks ago.  Helpful Buckeye did, however,  receive several e-mails about different "yucky" things dogs had rolled in...a decaying turkey carcass, mildewed/decomposing leaves, and a pile of old rags that had been used to clean up after a septic tank clean out.  Most of you still felt that coprophagia takes the cake..."figuratively" speaking.  We'll deal with one more habit this week that most dog owners don't like very much...although, we'll let you determine if it's really a "nasty" habit.

Helpful Buckeye finished the 4th leg of his Quadathlon of Northern Arizona this past week, with a long hike in the Grand Canyon.  More on that later in this issue....



Not as many respondents said that their dogs ever rolled in something "yucky"...only about 66% have enjoyed that fun.  On the question of how many cats is too many, 75% of you said that 6-10 was too many and the rest were divided between "even one" and 2-5.  Helpful Buckeye suspects that confirmed dog lovers were responsible for the "even one" responses.  Be sure to answer this week's poll questions in the column to the left.

CURRENT NEWS OF INTEREST

1) The ASPCA has posted this warning about purchasing drugs for your pets online
Although it may be tempting and convenient to order your pet’s medications online, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning to pet parents about unregulated online pharmacies that sell expired or counterfeit drugs without a prescription. According to the FDA, foreign and domestic web pharmacies may ask pet parents to fill out an online form and then falsely claim that a veterinarian will evaluate the pet’s condition to prescribe the appropriate treatment.
To read the rest of the details in this warning, go to: http://www.aspca.org/news/national/10-08-10.html#2
2) The American Animal Hospital Association has released this information from the CDC about human death from rabies: http://www.aahanet.org/trendstoday/VetNewsArticle.aspx?key=8d867d62-71c4-4166-ae04-fba3fb789ae8
Even though not very many people in the USA die from rabies, it's important to understand the ramifications of this horrible disease and why it is so imperative to have your pets vaccinated against rabies.
DISEASES, AILMENTS, AND MEDICAL CONDITIONS

The notice in last week's issue of Questions On Dogs and Cats that warned of Vitamin D toxicity from a brand of pet food warrants more information about this serious disease process.
What Is Hypercalcemia?
Hypercalcemia (higher than normal amount of calcium in the blood) is a serious electrolyte abnormality caused by excessive exposure to or ingestion of vitamin D. Symptoms of vitamin D toxicosis, which can affect multiple organ functions, usually occur within 24 to 72 hours of ingestion and include loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst and urination, depression and weakness. Initially, clinical signs may be vague and nonspecific.

Excessive amounts of vitamin D in an animal’s bloodstream can increase calcium and phosphorus levels within 12 to 24 hours after initial exposure and persist for days and weeks. As calcium and phosphorus levels rise, they can affect the kidneys as well as the heart, gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system. Acute kidney failure, coma and death can occur in severe or untreated cases.

What Is the Treatment for Hypercalcemia?

Treatment goals include lowering serum calcium and phosphorous levels and managing accompanying kidney failure, and may require aggressive supportive care for days or weeks. The ASPCA recommends the following treatment guidelines for treating hypercalcemia in animals
• Stabilize the animal first—control seizures if present—before implementing specific treatment.
• Monitor serum calcium, phosphorus, and kidney values. A complete blood analysis is recommended especially in very young or elderly animals or animals with preexisting health problems.
• Run fluids to the affected animal at twice the maintenance rate, until calcium drops to baseline levels. High doses of diuretics (medicines to increase the volume of urine produced) may be needed for several days.
• Feed animals a low calcium diet during the course of treatment.
• Continue to monitor the animal for long-term health problems associated with organ calcification.

Diagnosis will be based on history of exposure to high levels of vitamin D, presence of higher than normal levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood, kidney failure and high levels of vitamin D in the food. Incriminated food samples for vitamin D analysis should be properly labeled and kept refrigerated until they are sent to a laboratory for analysis. A complete necropsy (animal autopsy) should be requested if an animal dies of suspected vitamin D toxicosis.

NON-MEDICAL CONCERNS 

Anyone who has had a dog that liked to dig holes in the yard will tell you it is no fun trying to not only fill all the holes but also to attempt to break the dog of the habit. 

From PawNation.com comes this advice
Meet Mary Burch, American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Director and Paw Nation's expert columnist addressing your questions on animal behavior. Dr. Burch is one of fewer than 50 Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists based in the United States. She is the author of 10 books, including the new official book on the AKC Canine Good Citizen Program, "Citizen Canine: 10 Essential Skills Every Well-Mannered Dog Should Know."


Dear Mary,

Could you tell me why dogs dig and how I can keep my pooch from ripping my flower bed apart? Thanks!

Dogs can make a minefield out of your yard for a number of reasons:

They're Bored: Left alone in a backyard, some dogs dig as an outlet for frustration. Digging provides something to do when an active, intelligent dog is bored out of his mind. Confined dogs will also often dig to get under a fence. There's a big wide world out there and the dog wants to see it.

It's In Their Genes: Some breeds -- terriers in particular -- are go-to-ground dogs who dig to find moles, lizards, mice, bugs, and any other critters in the hunt of the day. So they are doing what they feel genetically compelled to do.

To Cool Off: Dogs who are outside in the heat will dig to expose cool earth that they can lay on to lower their body temperatures.

For Storing Treasure: Dogs who like bones often bury them for safekeeping and to dig up later.

If you better understand why your dog has this habit, you will have more ideas about how to handle it. For example, the best thing you can do for a bored dog is provide mental stimulation through daily play and training sessions. The AKC Canine Good Citizen Program is a great place to start training all dogs and owners.  This program is described at: http://www.akc.org/events/cgc/program.cfm

You can also manage your own frustration -- and focus your dog's desire to dig -- by designing a digging pit in your yard so there is a designated place for your dog to tear into. If you bury bones there for him to sniff out, it will help your dog learn that this place is an approved digging area.

Finally, in warm weather, bring your dog inside so that he doesn't have to handle the heat on his own. If you don't want to give your dog access to your whole house while you're gone, a designated climate controlled area with water and toys will be much appreciated by the canine member of your family.

GENERAL INTEREST

1) In last week's issue, Helpful Buckeye offered a quiz about unusual breeds of dogs.  This week, you can find out how much you really know about cat breeds, their markings, etc,...courtesy of the Cat Fanciers Association.  To take the quiz, go to:  http://www.pawnation.com/2010/09/16/cat-breed-quiz-test-your-knowledge/

2) Several weeks ago, we ran the first part of a developing story about Billy Ma and his journey to find the proper service dog.  Billy's quest took him from Ohio to Georgia and he now has a "new friend".  Read Part 2 of Billy's story and watch the short video of Billy and Polar: http://www.pawnation.com/2010/10/11/canine-assistants-billy-ma-gets-to-know-dog/

3) Shelter pets with special needs are frequently available for adoption.  "Special needs" designation would include a medical problem, a physical disability, or possibly a behavioral consideration.  Here is an interesting account of a special needs cat that was adopted from an ASPCA shelter: http://www.aspca.org/news/national/10-15-10.html#3

4) Another type of service dog that is becoming more useful is the dog that is trained to sniff out low blood sugar in a diabetic human.  This is pretty fascinating when you consider these dogs can tell that a person's blood sugar is getting lower BEFORE a blood test can detect it.  From the USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/yourlife/pets/dogs/2010-10-14-diabetesdogs14_ST_N.htm

5) The University of Georgia unveiled their new mascot, UGA VIII, another English Bulldog, this week for their homecoming.  The new UGA must have been a big help to the team because they crushed Vanderbilt.  Check out UGA VIII at: http://ncaafootball.fanhouse.com/2010/10/14/five-step-drop-show-us-the-hairy-dog/?icid=main%7Chtmlws-main-w%7Cdl4%7Csec3_lnk2%7C178045

6) Since Halloween is just around the corner, you might enjoy learning about some of the myths that have developed involving black dogs and cats.  Here are 2 informative sites:   http://www.blogger.com/post-edit.g?blogID=16663019142577616&postID=2303407551149763482   and
http://www.petside.com/the-sidewalk/black-cat-myths.php

SPORTS NEWS
Geez, what a disappointment for Buckeye fans yesterday!  Ohio State got taken to the woodshed by Wisconsin in an impressive win for the Badgers.  I still don't know if Wisconsin is that good or if Ohio State just wasn't properly prepared for being #1...I suspect it might be a little of both.  Anyway, what had been a season of high hopes has suddenly been diminished a lot.  The National Championship and the Heisman Trophy will both end up on some campus other than the one in Columbus.  The only proper way to end this discussion is to let Willie have the last word: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsTAUs_h_uY&feature=fvw

The Pittsburgh Steelers got their #1 QB back today, after his suspension by the NFL.  In addition to finding out how the team responds to his return, it will be interesting to see how the fans in Pittsburgh react.  The Steelers easily defeated the Browns, as expected.

PERSONAL STUFF 

Helpful Buckeye completed the 4th leg of his Quadathlon of Northern Arizona this week by making the hike down Bright Angel Trail to Plateau Point in the Grand Canyon and back up to the South Rim.  This hike is 13 miles, round-trip, and includes a descent of 5000 ft. as well as a climb back up those same 5000 ft.  It was a perfect day for the hike and Helpful Buckeye cut 2 hours off his best time for this hike.  Desperado had a couple of celebrations for me, one that afternoon on the rim of the Canyon and a surprise breakfast party the next morning, which included 6 of our favorite friends.  Quadathlon season is over for this year.  What awaits for next year is still...in the future.  Helpful Buckeye has a few things in mind that would qualify.

Helpful Buckeye did have a conversation with a guy on the trail who was limping a bit.  I asked him if he was OK and he said that he was doing great.  I asked him about the limp and he said it would have been a lot worse without the big dose of Vitamin I he took regularly.  He responded to my quizzical look with, "Ibuprofen"....

~~The goal of this blog is to provide general information and advice to help you be a better pet owner and to have a more rewarding relationship with your pet. This blog does not intend to replace the professional one-on-one care your pet receives from a practicing veterinarian. When in doubt about your pet's health, always visit a veterinarian.~~








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