New Treatment for Canine Epilepsy

Epilepsy, a condition of recurring seizures for which a cause most frequently cannot be found, is the most common neurological disorder seen in dogs. It affects an estimated one in 20 of them. In the past, veterinarians often prescribed unapproved phenobarbital tablets from the human drug marketplace to help control seizures. But the Food and Drug Administration has just conditionally approved phenobarbital for our canine pets. The drug manufacturer has five years to be granted full approval by moving evidence for the drug’s effectiveness and safety from “expected” to fully “demonstrated.”

New to the “Top 10 Toxins” List for Dogs: Recreational Drugs

For the very first time, recreational drugs have made the ASPCA’s top 10 list of toxins for dogs and other pets. This includes not only marijuana-based products but also hallucinogenic mushrooms and cocaine, although marijuana makes up the lion’s share.

When Will It Be Your Dog’s Turn in the Emergency Room?

Something’s terribly wrong with your dog, and you take her to the off-hours emergency clinic. But how long will you sit there before she gets seen?

Canine Vaccine Hesitancy Can Put Your Dog — and You — at Serious Risk

In developing countries where vaccination against rabies is not readily available for dogs, thousands of people die of rabies every year because the disease can be transmitted from canines to humans. In the U.S., only a handful of people contract rabies from their dogs each year. But that could change.

Veterinary Chiropractic Goes Mainstream

“There’s a patient I’m seeing right now, an 8-pound Chihuahua who has horrible neck pain,” says Alicia Karas, DVM, “but in one session I can turn him from a hunched, tense mess to a head-up, tail-wagging dog. He just unfolds. When you see an animal transform from miserable and quivering to relaxed and happy, it means everything. I can give a dog pain medication,” she says, “but imagine being able to do that with your hands.”

Is It Okay to Give Your Dog Aspirin for Pain?

Because aspirin is available over the counter, a number of Your Dog readers have given it to their pets to relieve pain from such conditions as arthritis, gum disease, and post-surgical healing. On its face, such a decision makes sense. A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID, aspirin can reduce inflammation and can prove quite beneficial in relieving the inflammatory pain of arthritis or another disease. But it can also come with some serious side effects: GI ulceration and bleeding, vomiting, and sometimes out-and-out perforation of the gastrointestinal tract, which is frequently fatal. (Because of its potential to cause bleeding, aspirin has fallen out of favor for treating arthritis pain in people; other NSAIDs have been taking its place.)

Why Is Your Dog Coughing?

Many dogs sometimes eat or drink so fast that food or water ends up going down the wrong “pipe,” and they make coughing or gagging sounds to try to expel it. But then there’s the chronic cough — the one that won’t go away. What is that about? There are a number of possible reasons. Here are the most common ones and what they sound like.

When You’re Afraid of Needles But Your Dog Requires Daily Injections

Three main reasons for giving injections at home — and how even the squeamish can get used to administering them.When a veterinarian tells a client that their dog requires regular injections, some people start out by saying, “I can’t do that; I can’t deal with needles,” reports Tufts veterinarian Armelle de Laforcade, DVM. But, she says, “people who think they couldn’t go near a needle, once they try it, realize it’s not that bad.”

Another Worry for Short-Nosed Dogs: Sleep Apnea

Short-nosed (brachycephalic) dogs often have lifelong breathing problems because their pushed-in nasal cavities are too compromised for proper respiration. Now a new study says that a short snout predisposes a dog to sleep apnea, a condition of many interruptions in sleep throughout the night that are so brief they go unnoticed but can result in extreme daytime fatigue. People with sleep apnea are not only more tired than others, they are more disposed to a variety of illnesses that include high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. The same may be true for dogs.

Wildfires and Your Dog’s Breathing

The smoke from wildfires coming south from Canada this year affected people’s breathing across much of the northern tier of the country. Dogs have it worse than people because they can’t wear masks to keep out toxic particulates. At least one major veterinary hospital saw an uptick in cases of breathing difficulties among dogs affected by the smoky air. Exposure can cause irritation to the throat, nose, and eyes and even coughing and gagging.

Low Thyroid Hormone Levels Don’t Always Signify Thyroid Disease

Signs of canine hypothyroidism — too little of certain thyroid hormones — often come on subtly and slowly, progressing over years, and therefore can be easy to miss or misattribute to advancing age. These signs often include poor coat quality, lethargy, mental dullness, exercise intolerance, and weight gain. If this constellation of symptoms describes your dog, it’s worth discussing whether an evaluation for hypothyroidism is in order, as treatment is available.

Does Your Dog Have Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

Your dog has intermittent bouts of diarrhea and vomiting and alternates between straining to defecate and having a sudden urge to defecate. Additionally, she is experiencing abdominal discomfort (rumbly tummy and flatulence) and a concomitant loss of appetite. Does she have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or irritable bowel disease (IBD)?