Helpful Buckeye would like to welcome all of our new readers to Questions On Dogs and Cats. You have either been referred here by a friend or by another blog or web site that made a mention of our blog site. To help you navigate your way through our blog, here are a few suggestions:
OK, now that we've taken care of that, it's time to get into our weekly swing and talk about dog and cat stuff! The polling question last week produced an interesting result. It seems that most of our readers have NOT ever had a dog be diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia. In a way, that's actually good news for those readers. There may be several reasons for this result, the most likely being that public awareness of the disease has reduced its rate of incidence. The other very likely reason is that the dog-owning public has gradually shifted its preference from pure breeds of dogs to the mixed breeds so popular from adoption groups. Be sure to answer this week's polling question in the left column.
CURRENT NEWS OF INTEREST
Signs of Hip Dysplasia
The signs of Hip Dysplasia are similar to those seen with other causes of arthritis in the hip. Dogs often walk or run with an altered gait. They may resist movements that require full extension or flexion of the rear legs. Many times, they run with a “bunny hopping” gait, in other words, they push off with both rear legs at the same time rather than alternating them. They will show stiffness and pain in the rear legs after exercise or first thing in the morning. They may also have difficulty climbing stairs. In milder cases dogs will warm-up out of the stiffness with movement and exercise. Some dogs will limp and many will become less willing to participate in normal daily activities. Many owners of older dogs will attribute the changes to normal aging rather than to a specific disease process. As the condition progresses, most dogs will lose muscle tone and may even need assistance in getting up.
How Is Hip Dysplasia Diagnosed?
By comparing the X-ray on the left with that on the right, you can easily see the difference in the structures of the hip joints. The right one is deeply and cleanly seated, while the left one shows and a much shallower joint. At this point, our readers have learned enough about hip dysplasia in dogs to fully appreciate this video of a veterinary surgery specialist explaining what he looks for in making the diagnosis: http://www.5min.com/Video/How-to-Recognize-Hip-Dysplasia-in-Dogs-112892918 Also, take the time to watch this video which provides a well-illustrated review of everything we've covered up to this point: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTwi8TRs6z8
Treatment for Hip Dysplasia
Any treatment for hip dysplasia will not involve an attempt at achieving a cure, due to the probable genetic involvement. Rather, a treatment plan will be directed at relieving the discomfort or pain resulting from the degenerative, arthritic condition of one or both hip joints. Treatments are both medical and surgical. Mild cases or nonsurgical candidates (due to health or owner constraints) may benefit from weight reduction, restriction of exercise on hard surfaces, controlled physical therapy to strengthen and maintain muscle tone, anti-inflammatory drugs ( aspirin, corticosteroids, NSAIDs), and possibly joint fluid modifiers. Surgical options include a wide array of corrective procedures that range from fairly simple to quite complex. Your veterinarian may suggest a combination of medical and surgical treatments as the best solution for your dog. Medical and surgical treatments will be discussed in further detail in next week's issue, along with information on the prognosis of those treatments, and some ideas for prevention of Hip Dysplasia.
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1) Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) is the nation's oldest and largest health insurance provider for pets. VPI receives more than a million claims each year. While most of these claims are for common pet conditions or routine care, every now and then a claim comes by that reminds us all just how unexpected pet accidents can be. Each month, VPI employees select and nominate one interesting claim in search of the most unusual claim of the year. All claims considered for the award are for pets that have made full recoveries and received insurance reimbursement for eligible expenses. In September 2009 VPI will ask the public to vote for the year’s most unusual claim from among these monthly nominees. The top pick will receive VPI's first annual Hambone Award and designation as the most unusual claim of the year. The Hambone Award is named in honor of a VPI-insured dog that got stuck in a refrigerator and ate an entire Thanksgiving ham while waiting for someone to find him. The dog was eventually found, with a licked-clean ham bone and a mild case of hypothermia. Go to VPI's web site for a sometimes funny summary of the monthly winners for this year: http://www.petinsurance.com/healthzone/HamboneAward.aspx As you can see, the April 2009 nominee is from right here in Flagstaff and was written about in our local paper.
2) Many of you sent in comments and e-mails about the skate-boarding Bulldog last week. Like all of you, Helpful Buckeye was impressed with his ability on the board. However, Ken, the Cowpoke in Flagstaff, sent in this video depicting another dog that takes this talent to a whole new level. Use your speakers and enjoy: http://www.allstarsanimals.com/videos.htm scroll down and click on the video of "Extreme Pete"....Impressed?
3) Helpful Buckeye has presented numerous stories of Service Dogs that provide a valuable service to their owners or to people of certain needs. But, what happens when that Service Dog is also a little different than other dogs? Among Tami Skinner's three Shelties, it's easy to pick out the youngest. He's not just the smallest or the one knocked down by his brothers as they're playing catch in her backyard, but 3-year-old Dare has a more obvious distinction. He only has two legs. A front paw and a back paw which are both located on his right side. "People ask me all the time how does he walk?" said Skinner. " He just walks. He just goes because nobody's told him he can't." Go to: http://www.9news.com/news/local/article.aspx?storyid=118438&catid=346 for the whole story of how Dare copes with his own unusual situation, then click on "Play Video" to see how he provides inspiration to some less fortunate people. This might not leave you with a dry eye!
This story was covered by KUSA in Denver, CO.
4) OK, Helpful Buckeye knows that most of you probably pooh-pooh the appeal of horoscopes and may even chide your friends who do read them. Well, now you can read the horoscope for your pets! The people at Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) have put together a comprehensive set of horoscope readings for each month of the year and how they apply to your pets: http://www.petinsurance.com/Healthzone/pet-horoscopes.aspx If any of our readers start to follow these horoscopes for their pet, please let us know how accurate they are.
5) Our last video of the week is quite entertaining and was sent in by Charee, the wife of Helpful Buckeye's former partner. Sit back and enjoy these thieving animals: http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&VideoID=59931280 Oh, remember to protect your popcorn, potato chips, or whatever you're snacking on...also, your bikini tops!
The LA Dodgers have won 6 out of 9 games on their current road trip, which is pretty impressive. They have the best record in the Major Leagues at the All-Star break. When the regular season resumes play on Thursday, we'll have to see how our General Manager plans to handle our need for another quality starting pitcher.
Today is the birthday of Henry David Thoreau, born in 1817, and famous for his book, Walden. He left us this quote about cats: "A kitten is so flexible that she is almost double; the hind parts are equivalent to another kitten with which the forepart plays. She does not discover that her tail belongs to her until you tread on it." Makes sense to me!
The picture that accompanies Helpful Buckeye's profile this week was taken a few weeks ago near Albuquerque, NM.
~~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.~~