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

May 2018

Full Issue (PDF)

May 2018 - Full Issue PDFSubscribers Only

Features

Beyond a Big Backyard

Watch just a few episodes of House Hunters on HGTV, and you’ll start hearing a particular refrain repeated by the show’s narrator from one episode to the next: “On the couple’s ‘must-have’ list, a big back yard for Max” [or Bella, or Trixie]. That’s right. Along with a double vanity in the master bathroom ensuite, open-concept living with no wall between kitchen and family room, and “proximity to downtown,” young couples spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on their first home together are making clear that adequate space for the dog to play outdoors is a non-negotiable. In fact, one in three pet-owning clients will refuse to make an offer on a house because it is not ideal for their animal, according to real estate agents responding to a survey by the National Association of Realtors.   More...

Considering Digestive Enzyme SupplementsSubscribers Only

Walk into any large pet food store and you’ll find no shortage of products called digestive enzyme supplements that are touted with claims like the ones above, which were taken directly from packages retailing anywhere from $11.00 to $17.99 for a 30-day supply. These products tend to be shelved right near the probiotics (and are sometimes bundled together with them in the same products), along with supplements that claim they’ll resolve anal gland issues and prevent scooting.   More...

You Want to Run a What?Subscribers Only

Chances are you’re part of the other 94 percent, meaning the 94 percent who don’t have health insurance for their dog even though it’s so highly recommended. So when the veterinary bills start piling up, your credit card balance can get ugly.   More...

What a CBC Printout Looks LikeSubscribers Only

Here is a CBC for a recent patient of Tufts Cummings School veterinarian Elizabeth Rozanski, DVM — a two-year-old Labrador retriever named Harry. Normally, she says, the CBC is a starting place for figuring out what’s wrong. It tells the doctor what tests have to be ordered next as clues to the problem unfold. For this particular dog, there are a lot of abnormal numbers, making it seem like a diagnosis might get complicated. But in this case, Dr. Rozanski comments, the extremely high white blood cell count (as seen on the first line of numbers), along with the fact that on a blood smear almost all the normal white blood cells were replaced with blasts —immature, uncharacterized cells — led straight to the diagnosis of leukemia. Low red blood cell count also supported the diagnosis of leukemia. Leukemias are always in the bone marrow, decreasing the production of red cells as well as platelets.   More...

Keeping Your Pet Cool Through the Dog Days of SummerSubscribers Only

Dogs might not sport flip flops to get from the hot sand to the ocean waves or to get across the blacktop of a steaming parking lot. But there is summer footwear for their tender soles as well as our own. There are also a number of other items meant to keep dogs safe and comfortable in the summer sun, many of them mimicking products we use to protect ourselves. Here are five of the most important ones.   More...

News & Views

Biting the Hand that Quakes

As a dog owner, you’ve no doubt observed that people who are nervous around dogs are the ones who often bring out their aggressive tendencies. It makes sense: nervous people beget nervous canines who act out by trying to work through their jitters via aggression. Now research makes the point empirically.   More...

Dog as Wingman

Guys in search of a relationship, forget spending grueling hours at the gym in an attempt to make your body more buff and therefore more attractive to women. Just get a dog. Research published in the journal Anthrozoos: a multidisciplinary journal of the interactions of people and animals, found that men with a dog have an easier time getting a woman’s phone number.   More...

Expert Advice

Left in the "Suggestion" Box…

“In your last issue, your Preview for the following month referred to some articles that weren’t in the next newsletter. Please either describe what’s coming in the next issue or change the title from a “Preview” of the coming month’s material to “Coming in Future Issues.” I sometimes look forward all month to an article, and then it doesn’t appear. Please don’t throw away my goodwill and commitment to an otherwise great newsletter.”   More...

Dear Doctor: The Lipoma is now as Big as a Football

Q My 11-year-old golden retriever has lipomas all over, as many of that breed have, but one on the inner rear thigh has gotten quite large. My vet has told me to leave it alone because surgery to remove it would be problematic with potential infections and possible involvement of the muscle. The dog has had it for a year or more, and although it has not limited his mobility and doesn’t seem to bother…   More...

Dear Doctor: The Dog has started relieving himself in the House

My 13-year-old Labrador, Bear, has been a faithful companion all the way through. He is on three different medications for arthritis, and we need to boost him into the back of our Suburban (he refuses to use a ramp), but he is still doing okay. The one problem is that for about the last 10 months now, he will frequently get up from lying down and head for the door, pooping all the way. It doesn’t happen every day, but it happens often enough. Bear weighs about 110 pounds. Our local vet has no clue as to the cause but has recommended Neutricks, a drug for dementia, as a potential solution. I have also been advised to try acupuncture and cold laser therapy. Bear is the best dog we have ever had, and I feel I owe him the opportunity to solve this problem before taking that final step. Do you have any advice for resolving this issue?   More...