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

Features

Extending a Dog’s Life with a Pacemaker

“He might not live through the night” wasn’t what Susan and Marty Gavin were expecting to hear. Yes, their 13-year-old cocker spaniel, Henry, had fallen over when he came up the stairs earlier that evening. But “we thought the emergency room vet would say ‘epilepsy’ or some sort of brain seizure,” Henry’s “dad,” Dr. Gavin, says. “He fell on his side and was moving his limbs.” More

Finding the Right Dog Without Inadvertently Supporting the Puppy Mill Industry

You have your heart set on a certain breed — and you want it to be a puppy — so you go on the Internet to track down the dog of your dreams. And you find her — she’s absolutely adorable, just seven weeks old, available (but you better act fast), and, better still, comes from an organization that has the words “Humane Society” in its name. In other words, the dog you want is even a rescue animal; you’re getting exactly what you desire and saving a life in the bargain. The only hitch is that she lives 1,000 miles south and has to be shipped north. No sweat. The rescuing organization will transport the dog for you; you can pick her up near your home from a group where the dog will be dropped off. Is it a good idea? More

When a Little Dog Attacks a Big Dog

In response to our lead article on big dog-little dog attacks in the August issue, which stated that “it is never your fault if a larger dog attacks your littler one,” Janette Hankins of Maynardville, Tennessee, wrote, “I very seldom comment but feel that I must jump in. One day we were walking our two Great Danes. Both were on leash. A small dog ran out from his yard, crossed the street, and attacked one of our dogs. Our Dane was bitten badly enough that he subsequently needed veterinary care, but he did nothing — until the small dog turned on my husband and began to attack him. (He, too, then required medical attention.) That is when our dog picked up the little dog in his mouth and tossed the dog away. We rushed both dogs to the vet, and she stitched up our dog without any issues. The little dog died later that night. More

Shedding Concerns

Some dogs are big shedders, and sometimes they shed even more than usual. No owner relishes constantly sweeping up a home full of dog hair “tumbleweed,” but many are also worried it’s a sign of ill health when the shedding ramps up out of nowhere; they raise the issue with us frequently. Is it the sign of a problem? More

The Gastrointestinal Symptoms Are Probably Not a Food Allergy

While people who suffer from allergies frequently get runny noses, watery eyes, sneezing, and congestion, dogs with allergies often itch. And that itchiness is sometimes accompanied by gastrointestinal symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea. Thus, owners assume their pet has a food allergy. They switch from diet to diet in an attempt to weed out the offending substance that’s causing the nasty symptoms, trying grain-free, soy-free, and other types of foods but not really seeing any improvement in their dog’s symptoms. Why is that? More