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

November 2017

Full Issue (PDF)

November 2017 - Full Issue PDFSubscribers Only

Features

Getting to the Bottom of PicaSubscribers Only

Say “pica,” and many people will think of a nutritional deficiency, as in eating a non-food item to get enough of a mineral or vitamin that’s missing from the diet. But pica in people is characterized almost exclusively as a psychological disorder rather than a nutritional one, especially in industrialized countries like the United States; it’s extremely rare that a person will crave something that isn’t food to satisfy a nutritional need.   More...

A Member of the Wedding?Subscribers Only

“10 Ways to Include Your Dog in the Wedding,” was the way one headline read in a recent issue of a bridal magazine. Tip number 2 in the article: “Dress your furry friend up in a tuxedo and/or cuffs to serve as a handsome ring bearer.” The suggestion was accompanied by a photo of a little boy in his own tux pulling on a nattily dressed dog’s white collar. The dog did not look particularly happy.   More...

Why Little Dogs Live LongerSubscribers Only

Why is it that between species, the larger the mammal, the longer it lives (elephants go to about age 60, horses till 25 or 30, dogs up to a range of between 10 to 13, and mice to 2), but within any given species, larger animals die sooner? (A Great Dane might make it to age 8, while some Chihuahuas live to 18.)   More...

The Right Amount of Fiber in Your Dog’s DietSubscribers Only

Since we’re in the middle of fall, let’s start this discussion about fiber with pumpkins. Dog owners, as well as veterinarians, often add pumpkin to pets’ diets to increase the food’s fiber content, according to the head of the Clinical Nutrition Service at the Tufts Cummings School, Lisa Freeman, DVM, PhD, DACVN. She hears it all the time, she writes on Tufts’s Petfoodology site (vetnutrition.tufts.edu/petfoodology). Most commonly, they report to her that they add anywhere from a quarter teaspoon to two tablespoons of pumpkin to their dog’s chow. What does that amount of fiber do?   More...

Funny, You Don’t Look Poodlish

Many of the responses were way off the mark. One dog thought to be mainly golden retriever by 40 percent of the respondents turned out to be equal parts golden retriever, American Eskimo dog, Nova Scotia duck-tolling retriever, and Rottweiler. Another, called a border collie by almost half the people asked, was actually a mix of English springer spaniel and German wire-haired pointer with other breeds thrown in for good measure in smaller genetic doses.   More...

News & Views

When It Comes to Breeds, Looks Can Be Incredibly Deceiving

Are you sitting down? It turns out that Franklin, who came to us from a border collie rescue league at the age of 12 weeks and who we have been calling a border collie for the last nine years, doesn’t have a drop of border collie in him. Nope. We had his DNA analyzed for kicks, and it turns out he’s 25 percent golden retriever and 25 percent American Eskimo dog. He’s also 12.5 percent Labrador retriever, 12.5 percent Shetland sheepdog, and 12.5 percent a combination of so many other breeds that the analyzers could only determine a number of breed groups: terrier, hound, and sporting, for instance. What the—?   More...

Expert Advice

Dear DoctorSubscribers Only

I have recently heard about a deadly canine disease called Alabama Rot. My understanding is that it’s spreading. I’m kind of freaking out because I live with my dogs very near Alabama in the Florida panhandle. Can you tell me how I can make sure my pets avoid this illness?   More...