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Latest health and behavior news and advice from the veterinarians at Tufts University.

November 2018

Full Issue (PDF)

November 2018 - Full Issue PDFSubscribers Only

Features

The Right Way to Perform CPR On Your Pet

Even the most loving dog owner probably wouldn’t list mouth-to-snout as the preferred way of expressing affection for his pet. But what if it could save the life of a companion animal who has stopped breathing?   More...

Is the Dog Being Territorial?Subscribers Only

Steve Wojnar of Newton Centre, Massachusetts, is concerned that his five-year-old goldendoodle, 95-pound Angus, “has become steadily more territorial about space he seems to consider his. He has never been particularly dog-social,” Mr. Wojnar says, “although he was never aggressive before and just chose to basically ignore other dogs. Over the past several months, however, he has started growling and barking at dogs who walk past our house. Most disturbing, he has been growling and barking at dogs who walk by when we have him out at our local pub, where he is allowed to sit or lie near or under the sidewalk tables. He has even taken to getting up (or trying to — my hand is always on his collar) and moving toward passing dogs, growling and barking all the while.   More...

“Sit,” “Down,” “Leave It,” “Come”Subscribers Only

You’re really good at cooing over your new puppy, loving her up, giving her delicious treats, and in general showing her that life in your household is going to be wonderful. But within a day or two of your new dog’s arriving at your home, you should also be engaging in training. It’s not a punishment. When a dog and a person are new to each other, the motivation to communicate is quite high, so that’s a good time to start teaching her your cues for desirable behavior. Furthermore, when she gets it right, which will begin to happen quite quickly, she will feel a great sense of accomplishment — and so will you — and that will strengthen the bond between the two of you.   More...

Running (or Biking) With the DogsSubscribers Only

All too few dogs engage in enough physical activity, which not only contributes to the epidemic of unhealthful excess weight in an estimated two in five of our canine companions but also leads to behavioral issues. Problems like whining, panting, barking, and aggression could be ameliorated with regular aerobic activity that gets the heart rate up and excess energy out. Some veterinary experts even put vigorous physical activity in front of training, diet, and other measures as a mood stabilizer and overall calming influence — no surprise to people habituated to using a good workout to lift their spirits and “get the venom out.”   More...

Is it Cancer or a Problem with a Neck Gland?

Eleven-year-old bichon frise Cooper was feeling, well, not quite himself — a bit lethargic. His “mom,” Cherylann Hanrahan of Norwalk, Connecticut, was worried that it was her fault. A while back, she had started putting 1/4 teaspoon of crushed eggshells into his food on the advice of someone who told her it would improve his diet’s nutritional quality. Then, when she took him to the vet to see what was wrong with him, he had high blood calcium — 16 milligrams per tenth of a liter of blood as opposed to a healthy 9-to-11.7 milligrams. That made her concerned that she had put some kind of awful chain of events into motion. Egg shells are high in calcium, and the vet said that high calcium in the blood sometimes means cancer.   More...

News & Views

Diagnosing Liver Disease in Dogs Just Got Easier

To date, diagnosing liver disease in a dog has meant performing an expensive and invasive biopsy. Thus, it often has not been found until late in the game, making treatment more involved and lowering the chances of survival. But a new finding at the Royal School of Veterinary Studies in Scotland’s University of Edinburgh is about to change all that.   More...

Marijuana Poisoning in Dogs on the RiseSubscribers Only

As more states legalize medical marijuana (31 as we went to press) along with recreational pot (nine so far), more dogs are getting sick from it. They scarf down a discarded joint while out on a romp, for example, or snatch some unguarded marijuana-laced food off the kitchen counter. The Animal Poison Control Center says marijuana-related calls to its Pet Poison Hotline (855-764-7601) have increased 448 percent over the last six years. The ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435) has also seen a significant increase in calls about pets poisoned with marijuana. Ninety percent of the calls have been about dogs, who are much more adventurous eaters than cats.   More...

Coming to a College Campus Near You: A Therapy Dog

Dogs have been a fixture on college campus for years as team mascots. But more and more, they are being brought to live at institutions of higher learning to relieve students’ often considerable stress. The University of South Carolina, for instance, has recently adopted therapy puppy Indy. Once her training is complete, she will hold office hours at the school’s Student Health Services. The University of California also has a campus facility dog — Beau, a black goldendoodle who spends time ratcheting down students’ anxiety at the campus’s health center.   More...

Expert Advice

Guarding His Turf

When fluffy-man Franklin was young, he would scream at our mail carrier, Pat, each time he came up the walk toward the house, which, of course, was almost every single day. Frank would rip the mail out of Pat’s hand as he put it through the slot, shredding bills, ads, wedding invitations — you name it. Today, 10 years later, there has been some mellowing — on Pat’s part. He knows Franklin’s schtick and is happy to throw him a biscuit if we happen to meet up during a walk.   More...

Dear Doctor: Tipping Point

What I would really like to know is how my 10-year-old mixed breed got a huge tumor both on and in his spine that showed no symptoms until he became suddenly paralyzed three weeks ago and had to be rushed to the emergency room, where he ended up having to be put to sleep?   More...

Dear Doctor: A Whiff of Toxicity?

I read that parts of the rose of Sharon are poisonous to dogs. I have several in my dog yard. Is this true? What parts? He chews on stems and once brought a flower in to enjoy.   More...