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

October 2018

Full Issue (PDF)

October 2018 - Full Issue PDFSubscribers Only

Features

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 DogSubscribers Only

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...

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...

The Gastrointestinal Symptoms Are Probably Not a Food AllergySubscribers Only

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...

News & Views

Dog-Friendly Fireworks? Yes.

Noise phobia is one of the most difficult problems to treat in dogs, and people with dogs who are afraid of loud noises are reminded of that annually on July 4th and, very often, New Year’s Eve — two holidays that come with booming fireworks displays. Their dogs shake, whine, run for cover, destroy household effects, and, generally cope very poorly with fireworks’ loud bangs. Why shouldn’t they? Dogs have no idea that fireworks are celebratory. For all they know, colorful warriors are invading from the sky and, in the process, hurting their ears, which are much more sensitive to sound than ours.   More...

Progress in Treating Skin Disease

Some dogs suffer from a genetically inherited skin condition called ichthyosis. They are born with the disease, and the skin becomes drier, scalier-looking, and more prone to infections with age. That’s because the skin barrier — the body’s envelope — breaks down and loses its ability to keep out foreign substances. (The disease strikes people, too. Infants who have it usually develop abnormal-looking skin within the first year of life.)   More...

Expert Advice

Dear Doctor: Over-the-Counter Meds as Opposed to Prescription?

We have a shih tzu who has been diagnosed with dry eye in both eyes. Our veterinarian prescribed OPH Optimmune Ophthalmic Ointment, but the results are mixed at best, and at $65 per small tube we find it financially difficult to keep up a daily application routine. We had a suggestion from an ophthalmologist who treats people that we look into over-the-counter eye drops that contain oil, but he said we might have to try several before finding one that was right for our dog.   More...

Dear Doctor: On Whether the Recommended Serving Sizes on Dog Food Labels Account for Treats

I have read in Your Dog as well as in other places that up to 10 percent of a dog’s daily calories can come from treats. With that in mind, when you look at a bag of dog food and see how many cups per day a dog should be fed based on his weight, is the manufacturer taking into account that you might add 10 percent more calories in the form of treats, or is the company calculating 100 percent of a dog’s calorie needs? I’m asking because I’m wondering if I should subtract a little of the kibble recommended so I can add in some goodies each day?   More...