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

March 2017

Full Issue (PDF)

March 2017 - Full Issue PDFSubscribers Only

Features

Why Are Foods Sold By Prescription So Much More Expensive Than Dog Food in Stores?

Sometimes a dog has a condition for which a veterinarian will recommend a specific diet. Maybe the dog has a tendency to develop bladder stones, or suffers from kidney disease, or is allergic to certain ingredients commonly found in pet food and therefore needs special kibble, and the doctor advises that a particular food can mitigate symptoms or even help slow the course of the disease.   More...

Dog Products Go Green

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), dog owners spend an average of $1,314 on items for their small dog, $1,580 for a medium-size dog, and $1,843 for a large one — in the first year alone! Multiply that by the estimated 70 to 80 million pet dogs in the United States, and it adds up to quite a lot of stuff — toys, beds, and other pleasure- and comfort-giving paraphernalia. That means a lot of wear and tear on the planet through the use of materials and manufacturing processes that leave a large ecological footprint.   More...

Tending to Fatty TumorsSubscribers Only

Even if it’s not a lipoma but, rather, a cancerous mass, that’s no reason to panic. Many cancerous tumors can be safely removed without ever invading healthy tissue or spreading to vital organs in other parts of the body.   More...

Fido, Can you Get the Light, Please?Subscribers Only

Claudia Fugazza’s dog Siria would get thirsty after Dr. Fugazza went to bed for the night. So the dog did the logical thing. She turned on the faucet in the bathroom and took a drink from the tap. At first Dr. Fugazza thought she left leaving the water running by accident. But then, to satisfy her hunch, she snuck in on Siria one evening and quietly spied as the dog pressed her nose on the faucet until water came out and she quenched her thirst. That’s what led Dr. Fugazza, a professor of ethology (animal behavior) at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, to begin her research on dogs’ social learning — their ability to remember things we do and engage in those same actions later on. In the February issue of Your Dog, we wrote about her proof that dogs can memorize our actions — like touching an umbrella or going over to a traffic cone — up to an hour after their owners had demonstrated the behaviors for them!   More...

How to Take Better Pictures of Your Dog — and Your Dog with Kids in the Same FrameSubscribers Only

Photojournalist Jann Tenenbaum used to train her camera lens on subjects with names like Queen Elizabeth, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Bruce Springsteen, Pope John Paul II, and hockey great Wayne Gretzky. Her pictures appeared in publications ranging from The New York Times to USA Today. Then a friend of hers was on the way to Los Angeles one morning when her plane was rammed into the World Trade Center during the 9/11 attacks. With no one left to care for her friend’s dog, a golden retriever named Naboo, Ms. Tenenbaum adopted him, photographed him as a way of dealing with her grief, and never looked back. Today she takes pictures only of subjects with names like Trixie, Lucky, Queenie, and Duke. Really good pictures.   More...

News & Views

Capturing that Kodak Moment

Some photographers of dogs are born great. Others have great photographers thrust across the street from them. It was my luck to have moved across the street from Michael Weymouth, one of the most highly successful and sought after commercial photographers around. That’s how I got this great photo of my son, John, and our first dog, Ellie, when John was two.   More...

Expert Advice

Dear Doctor - Grinding away with her teeth

My 18-month-old Catahoula/terrier mix seems to have a need to grind away at hard things with her teeth. I know she swallows small pieces of hard plastic (my solar lights), cement (yard ornaments), terra cotta flower pots — the list goes on. She doesn’t seem to be frustrated with her life. She gets two good walks per day, frequent visits to the dog park, and lots of time to run in our fenced-in yard. I supply her with many chew toys, but it’s the hard stuff she wants. This is a sweet, cooperative dog. Could this be some kind of vitamin deficiency?   More...

Dear Doctor - How could she not have noticed the kidney disease?

Since my dog is already 11, her veterinarian wanted to do some routine blood work to clear her for the anesthesia she was going to need for her yearly dental cleaning. The doctor gave her the green light for the anesthesia but said the blood test indicated that she might have chronic kidney failure. This has since been confirmed with an analysis of her urine in addition to imaging of her kidneys. The vet says she could potentially live for several more years but that she must begin treatment right away. How could I have missed this?   More...