Signup for The Your Dog Flash

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

October 2017

Full Issue (PDF)

Download the Full October 2017 Issue PDFSubscribers Only

Features

On Whether Being a Therapy Dog is Safe for Your Pet — and for the Patients She VisitsSubscribers Only

But a new Tufts study led by veterinary nutritionist Deborah Linder, DVM, MS, DACVN, and colleagues just published in the American Journal of Infection Control provides evidence that those visited by therapy dogs — especially the elderly and those with compromised immune systems — are put at risk by a lack of rules about a therapy dog’s vaccination status and other health parameters. Likewise, lax rules potentially compromise dogs’ safety.   More...

On Whether Being a Therapy Dog is Safe for Your Pet — and for the Patients She VisitsSubscribers Only

But a new Tufts study led by veterinary nutritionist Deborah Linder, DVM, MS, DACVN, and colleagues just published in the American Journal of Infection Control provides evidence that those visited by therapy dogs — especially the elderly and those with compromised immune systems — are put at risk by a lack of rules about a therapy dog’s vaccination status and other health parameters. Likewise, lax rules potentially compromise dogs’ safety.   More...

You Have to Check Not Just Weight But Also Muscle Mass

You know you should be assessing your dog’s body condition score to make sure she’s not too heavy by looking at her from above so you can easily see and then feel her waist and an abdominal tuck. You should also be able to feel her ribs very easily when you lightly run your fingers over her sides. But the body condition score assesses only your dog’s fat stores. What about her muscle condition score? Your dog can be just the right weight, or even overweight, yet have too little muscle.   More...

Does Antibiotic Use in Dogs End Up Backfiring, Diminishing the Drugs’ Ability to Kill Harmful Bacteria?Subscribers Only

Since antibiotics came into common medical practice in the late 1940s, they have eradicated countless bacterial infections that used to routinely kill people long before they reached old age. They are indeed wonder drugs. But today, antibiotic resistance — a weakening of these drugs’ power to do away with harmful bacteria and eliminate sometimes deadly infections — is more and more becoming a threat not only to human health but also the health of our pets.   More...

Ticket to RideSubscribers Only

After the two broke up, Ms. Brodsky moved from Albuquerque to Portland, Oregon, to be closer to her daughter and grandchildren. The wrinkle in the relocation was that she needed to find a rental situation that would allow her to keep her two dogs, mixed breeds Violet and Sen. Fortunately, that seemed to get smoothed out because she scoped out a landlady who was willing to take in all three of them. But then the landlady decided she didn’t want a housemate after all, and while scrambling to find new accommodations for herself, Ms. Brodsky realized that finding another place that would allow two dogs was going to be too difficult.   More...

Is the Intensity of the Grief Normal?

“Platitudes don’t work,” says veterinarian Alicia Karas, referring to the need for feelings to be acknowledged that brings bereaved callers to the Tufts University Pet Loss Hotline. It’s understandable that people use them, she comments. “More often than not, they really don’t know how to respond to grief because there are few things you can say that won’t end up sounding wrong. But uttering phrases like, ‘he had a good life’ or ‘he’s out of pain’ or ‘he’s is in a better place’ falls short of the mark because the person is so severely missing the companionship shared with their dog.”   More...

News & Views

The Cycle of Life

Tom Hughes, who lives with his wife, Penni, in the big yellow house with the wraparound porch at the top of our street, had a motto: “One wife, one child [Katie], one dog.” That dog was Daisy, a smallish (and somewhat cranky, if you ask me) chocolate Lab with whom Tom was completely besotted. He always said that when Daisy went, that was going to be it because no other dog could compare.   More...

Expert Advice

Dear Doctor: October 2017

Our small cockapoo Bailey always sleeps on the bed with us. And he always ends up on my pillow, curled around my head with breaths from his little nose going right into my ear. Curiously, in the middle of the night, I almost always wake to find him furiously licking my face, especially my eye sockets and scalp. Once he did it so long and hard that he scratched my cornea. If I have a nick from shaving, he will literally lick it until the scab is gone. These episodes can last as long as 30 minutes. Is he grooming me as his master and trying to please me? Whatever the reason, it’s so cute that I never cut him off. It’s good to be loved. He’s a great dog and tends to my every emotional need. I should note that he doesn’t ever do this to my wife. What’s going on here?   More...