Question: My 5 month old lab puppy was just biting at a bee outside a few minutes ago. Now his lips and nose are really swollen. Do we need to do something?
Answer: Your pet is experiencing an allergic reaction to a bee sting. Most reactions to stings will cause some amount of facial swelling, but in severe cases the reaction can lead to respiratory distress or difficulty breathing. If you suspect your pet is having a reaction you can give 1mg per pound of Benadryl (25mg for a 25 pound dog) at home. If the Benadryl doesn’t control the swelling, if the swelling is severe, or if your pet is painful or having difficulty breathing, it is time for an emergency trip to your veterinarian. A shot of steroid will quickly stop even a severe reaction. Prompt treatment for allergic reactions is very effective in preventing any serious complications.
Q: Is chocolate really toxic to my dog? My lab ate a Cadbury egg yesterday and nothing happened.
A: Yes, chocolate is harmful for your pet to eat. The compound that makes it toxic is called theobromine. Theobromine is in all chocolate, but varies in amount depending on the type of chocolate. Milk chocolate has some of the least amounts, while baking chocolate and dark chocolate have the highest amounts. Dogs can not metabolize theobromine the same way that humans can.
The level of toxicity depend on the weight of your dog, the amount they eat, and the type of chocolate that they eat. When your pet eats chocolate, it is best to call your veterinarian right away. Calculations can be done to find out if your pet has eaten too much. Even if not at a toxic level, any amount of chocolate can give your pet an upset stomach and can lead to vomiting and diarrhea, and even pancreatitis. If the amount of chocolate is toxic, your pet can have an elevated heart rate and can even start having seizures and can potentially die as a result. Treatment needs to be started immediately for these pets that eat toxic amounts. Treatment can include induction of vomiting, IV fluids, and administration of charcoal to help bind the theobromine and prevent absorption.
Your lab is probably big enough that the amount of theobromine in the Cadbury egg not enough to cause a toxicity problem, but we recommend you continue to monitor for vomiting and diarrhea. It is still best to keep all chocolate out of reach of your pets at all times.
If you’ve ever lost your pet, you know that terrible feeling at the pit of your stomach that you’ll never see them again. Pet parents find themselves running around plastering posters all over the neighborhood to no avail. Micro chipping is the best way to make sure your pet makes their way back home. A microchip is a permanent identification that can be placed in your pets. If your pet gets lost and is taken to an animal shelter or veterinarian, they will scan the microchip to read its unique dog or cat ID code. And the best part, it’s affordable!
It may sound “high-tech,” but dog and cat micro chipping is a simple procedure. A veterinarian simply injects the microchip (which is about the size of a grain of rice,) beneath the surface of your pet’s skin between the shoulder blades. The process only takes a few seconds, and is similar to a routine shot. Bonus: no anesthetic is required! Call your Veterinarian today to discuss getting a micro chip for your furry friend.
I thought I would email you to see if you could give me any suggestions on Bandit, our 4 year old Blue Heeler. Since we have had some nice warmer days recently; we have let bandit be outside running through the fields and playing down by the river. We have noticed that he doesn’t want to swim this season and when we play fetch with him he coughs some and doesn’t want to play as long as he normally does. This really concerns me since it seems like it has happened all of the sudden.
It sounds like Bandit may be having a problem with his heart. These symptoms you list of decreased exercise tolerance and coughing are commonly seen with Heart Disease and Heartworms. Although it seems like this is an acute problem if Bandit has been in the house with you all winter this problem has probably been building, but you are just now noticing it as his exercise level returns to normal.
I believe you should bring Bandit in right away for an examination and testing. We will perform a heartworm test to see if he has heartworms and may do a radiograph of his chest to evaluate his heart as well. Prevention should be given year round without interruption. Your proximity to the river is concerning as Heartworms are contracted through mosquito bites. You do not have to live next to a river to contract heartworms though. A mosquito may carry heartworms at anytime and may live through a winter if they are able to hide in warm areas, especially in urban regions.
If you have left over heartworm prevention from last year please do not start it until we test Bandit as giving prevention to a dog carrying a large burden of heartworms can be fatal to him. Please call us to schedule Bandit’s appointment at your earliest convenience.
Question: My cat is vomiting all the time and losing weight. I think he may have hairballs, what is the best hairball remedy?
Answer: Is your cat’s hacking getting the best of you? There are many hairball remedies on the market. Some of these remedies work great, others not so much. Laxatone is a supplement which can be given to help lubricate the hairball and move it through the intestinal tract. Using Laxatone generously during an actual hairball episode can help to move the obstruction. Often this takes several teaspoons rather than just a small squeeze. Hairball treats are also marketed, often these require too many to be effective. Many cat food companies also make hairball foods which certainly can keep the number of vomiting episodes down in many of our cats.
The part of your question which concerns me is that you mentioned weight loss. Usually cats do not lose weight with hairballs unless significant or severe. I would recommend trying the hairball remedies first, but if it is not helping, bring your cat into your vet for a check-up. Diagnostic testing such as blood work and x-rays are sometimes needed to help find the answer to the vomiting. Diseases such as thyroid disease, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease or food allergies can all cause vomiting in cats and are often accompanied by weight loss. If you cat is eating things around the house- hair bands, string, toys/stuffing, the vomiting could indicate a blockage, either partial or complete, and the cat should be seen immediately.