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

February 2020

Full Issue (PDF)

February 2020 - Full Issue PDFSubscribers Only

Features

Even Mild Punishment Has a Negative Impact

You consider yourself a loving dog owner who would never hit your pet or otherwise cause harm. But did you know that even mild forms of punishment you might inflict regularly without thinking could damage your dog’s psyche and create behavioral issues?   More...

Illuminating Your Dog for Better Nighttime Walking, PlayingSubscribers Only

If late-night and perhaps pre-dawn walks with your dog are part of your routine, you might consider using LED collars, leashes, and toys to brighten things up. Colorfully lit dog-walking gear will make you and your pet more visible to passing motorists and to each other. At the same time, they’ll help illuminate your path as well as make waste clean-up easier in the dark.   More...

Can Dogs Live Longer? Enter Your Pet in a Study to Find OutSubscribers Only

In the largest study to date on aging in dogs, researchers will follow tens of thousands of dogs for 10 years to gather critical information on whether canine life expectancy can be improved. They will also examine whether dogs’ overall quality of life can be maintained over a longer geriatric stretch. Which dogs will participate? Perhaps yours.   More...

Why It’s Important to Switch to a New Food Gradually

Your dog has to go on a weight management diet, or a prescribed diet to cut down on the risk for kidney stones, or a special diet for heart or kidney disease. You might think that because so many dogs will scarf up any food in sight, all you have to do is stop feeding the food he has been eating and start feeding the new one. That does work in some cases, but much of the time, a more gradual transition is necessary to avoid the unpleasant symptoms of gastrointestinal upset — gurgling, excess gas, diarrhea, vomiting, and constipation. How gradual?   More...

Recognizing and Treating Dry EyeSubscribers Only

Has your dog been squinting more than usual? Is at least one of his eyes red? And is there some mucous discharge from one or both eyes — not the grey, jelly-like ooze that you can easily wipe away but something thicker and perhaps more yellowish as well as harder to remove? If so, get your dog to the veterinarian. There’s a reasonable chance he is not producing enough tears and has a condition called dry eye, known in medical circles as kerato-conjunctivitis sicca. It’s a fairly common illness among dogs that can lead to impaired vision if not diagnosed and treated.   More...

Minimally Invasive Surgery Revolutionizes Veterinary Care

Imagine if the time came that your dog needed an operation, and her recovery took a few hours instead of a few days in the hospital. It would result in her going through a lot less pain and could also mean less cost, since a stay in a veterinary hospital can easily run hundreds of dollars a day.   More...

News & Views

Animal Cruelty Now a Federal Felony

In the present climate of divided party politics, one thing agreed upon by every single member of both the Senate and the House of Representatives is that animal cruelty is unacceptable. A unanimous vote by both legislative bodies has passed a bill called the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, or PACT. Violators convicted of an animal cruelty felony will face up to 7 years in prison.   More...

The Shelter May Not Look Perfect, But…

Shelters don’t always seem the perfect picture of animal care. Some cages may be dirty and food bowls, empty. But looks can be deceiving. Before you write off a shelter as bad for the animals it cares for and therefore not fit to house an animal you would want to adopt (or not fit for your charitable efforts), consider these points.   More...

Dear Doctor: The seizures are increasing

My cock-a-poo beagle mix Lila started having seizures a little before she turned 3. My vet put her on phenobarbital and that helped, but the seizures are now starting to occur more frequently. Should I go back to the doctor to increase the dosage?   More...