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

August 2018

Full Issue (PDF)

August 2018 - Full Issue PDFSubscribers Only

Features

When a Big Dog Attacks a Little Dog

Julie Kembel’s 14-pound dog Abby is a scrappy little thing. The poodle-Cavalier King Charles spaniel-golden retriever mix loves to chase squirrels (that she never catches) and is happy to run off by herself and then come back to Ms. Kembel or her husband, Bob, once she has had her fill of predatory excitement. But not if there’s a big dog around.   More...

Are Some Dogs Autistic?Subscribers Only

Emotional remove, repetitive (sometimes self-injurious) behaviors, unexplained and often aggressive outbursts, trance-like staring. These are some of the hallmarks of autism, a disorder currently identified in one in 59 children, according to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.   More...

When to Issue a “Do Not Resuscitate” OrderSubscribers Only

With all the television dramas centered around hospitals, it’s hard not to pick up some medical lingo. Many Americans know, for instance, that “Code Blue” means a patient has gone into cardiac arrest. The only chance for the patient recovering is CPR — cardiopulmonary resuscitation performed with the crash cart and paddles.   More...

Making Sure Your Dog Puts Her Best Foot Forward — LiterallySubscribers Only

A number of the surgeries I perform involve removing tumors from dogs’ feet,” says John Berg, DVM, a soft tissue surgeon at the Tufts Cummings School and the editor-in-chief of Your Dog. Likewise, veterinary dermatologists often say that the feet are among the main areas where dogs are affected by allergies. Lots of diseases strike the foot pads also: liver disease, some autoimmune diseases, even an illness that hinders blood flow to the foot. Another way of putting it: a dog’s feet can carry a heavy load.   More...

Three Possible Reasons a Dog Won’t Stop Panting In the CarSubscribers Only

Frances Fineberg of Oviedo, Florida, is worried for her two-year-old golden retriever, Amos, and for good reason. He hates going in the car, but the Fineberg family is about to take him on a vacation that involves an 8-hour road trip. They can’t board him while they are away because he is a service dog. Ms. Fineberg believes it’s not the heat of the car that’s causing the problem.   More...

News & Views

For Dogs Used in Research, a New Leash on Life

It’s a particularly fraught conundrum. On one hand, using dogs in laboratory research has led to improved cancer treatments, the discovery of insulin, the development of the pacemaker, more effective pharmaceuticals, and the heart-lung machine used in open-heart surgery — advances that in many cases have helped dogs themselves as well as people. On the other hand, the sturm and drang has intensified between the 44 percent of Americans who live with dogs as pets and the researchers who depend on them to improve health. No matter how much medical good lab dogs do, more and more people see their dogs as family members and do not like the idea of their pets’ species mates having to live in cages and be subjected to possibly dangerous, toxic, and sometimes painful treatments — even for the noble cause of medicine. Perhaps that’s part of the reason that in 1979, some 211,000 dogs were used in biomedical research and in 2016, 61,000. (For perspective, more than 3 million dogs enter shelters each year, according to the ASPCA.)   More...

When Do Puppies Look Their Cutest?

Wolves are raised by their mothers and fathers until they are two years old. Not so, dogs. Their mothers are done with them at weaning, around the time a puppy is about 8 weeks of age. Perhaps that’s why there’s such a high mortality rate among pups not living as pets; more than 80 percent of dogs die in their first year of life without human care. But not to worry — there appears to be an across-species evolutionary process at work that helps helpless, newly motherless puppies get adopted into human homes. It involves a young dog’s peak adorableness.   More...

Expert Advice

Big Dog Little Dog

My town has a Facebook page where people go to post announcements or ask questions. When I said on it that I was writing an article on what to do if a big dog attacks a little dog and asked if anyone had stories to share, the responses started flying. A particularly dramatic one came from Todd Alvey, whose 40-pound mixed breed was attacked by two dogs who “must have weighed 100 pounds each,” he says.   More...

Dear Doctor: Do Littermates Recognize Each Other After Being Separated?

Can littermates recognize their “siblings” that they haven’t seen in a long time? My dog and his four littermates are all from Tennessee but ended up in New England and were adopted out to different families by the time they were 12 weeks old. Now they are five, and three of us owners got together for a meet-up recently. We thought the dogs would be ecstatic to see each other again, but while they certainly had a good time horsing around together, they did not appear to have an affinity for each other that was any greater than their affinity for other dogs they have come to know and get along with. At the same time, I have read about littermates so thrilled to see each other again after having been separated for a long time that you’d think they were on one of those TV shows where adoptees try to find their birth families. What’s the answer?   More...

Dear Doctor: To Use An Ultrasonic Training Aid, or Not?

I have two Scottish Terriers, 4 months apart in age and both under 1½ years old. The male Scotty wants to chase cars that make loud noises, whether he is in the back yard or when we are walking. He also goes into a barking or snapping frenzy when approached by any dog on a leash. I have tried a training aid that emits ultrasound when he pulls on the leash or a button is pushed, but it does not faze him. Any suggestions, please?! I am hesitant to take them walking, which is a shame because they both love to walk.   More...