Bulldog loses a toe

rocky-faceRocky, a nine-year-old Bulldog, developed a large mass on one of his toes.

It grew to a point that it was difficult to remove and close the skin without sacrificing a toe. In addition, we needed to remove enough tissue around the tumor to “get it all.” I amputated the mass along with the toe at Barton Heights Veterinary Hospital.

About a week later, the biopsy came back… benign! The mass was a nevus – a rather unusual diagnosis in a pet. Rocky recovered very well and was soon walking normally.

Losing a toe may sound terrible, but dogs adjust very nicely!

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Happy Halloween!

I hope all my clients, patients, and all you animal lovers have a safe and happy Halloween!

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Long-suffering Cocker Spaniel gets surgical relief

pepperPepper had a long history of ongoing and recurring ear infections. By the time I met Pepper, a nine-year-old Cocker, he had “end stage otitis.”

This means the ear canal was a stinky, painful, rock-hard mess.

Be glad I can’t share the smell with you!

Every conceivable treatment was tried, and in the end conservative options failed. The only good solution to help Pepper was a procedure called TECA, or Total Ear Canal Ablation.

Pepper’s owners felt that his left ear was worse, so I performed a left ear TECA at Berks Animal Emergency & Referral Center.

I removed the the entire diseased and infected ear canal. The ear flap stays of course!

After 3 weeks, the surgery site healed very nicely and Pepper was doing great. Now he is ready for a TECA on the right side!

Surgery is a great option for dogs with repeated ear infections. Cocker Spaniels in particular have trouble with infections and can be helped by surgery.

 

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End stage otitis.

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The ear canal after removal.

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The left ear incision healed, and Pepper was ready for surgery on this right ear.

Jack Russell’s surgery is just a symptom of a larger problem

MaxA 10 year-old Jack Russell, Max, wasn’t feeling well.

He’d eaten a red rubber toy, and while he vomited a small piece of it up, X-rays and continued vomiting suggested there was more foreign material in the stomach and the small intestine.

Sure enough, we found 2 more foreign bodies in the belly. One piece was in the stomach, which we opened up. The other one was literally stuck at the end of small intestine, right before the appendix.

But that wasn’t it. Because of his age, I suspected that Max had an underlying condition that compelled him to eat things he shouldn’t. We expect puppies to get into things they shouldn’t, which is why puppy-proofing a house is so important! On the other hand, seniors like Max and dogs who are past puppy-hood should know better.

We took biopsies of the stomach and the intestine at Berks Animal Emergency & Referral Center. Sure enough, a week later the biopsies revealed Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), a condition similar to IBS in people.

Toys are not always as safe as manufacturers claim! Young dogs eat stuff because they are young and… not always so smart (good thing they’re cute).

However, older pets should know better. They often eat foreign bodies because of IBD, which should be treated.

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The foreign bodies we removed from Max.

The Fourth Revolution: Fear Free veterinary care for pets

labrador retriever puppyI recently attended a seminar with my wonderful colleague Dr. Marty Becker, the founder of the Fear Free™ movement in veterinary care.

He made an interesting observation, which I thought I should share with my pet-loving readers. He observed there have been four major revolutions in the veterinary world over the past few decades:

Revolution 1: Feline Medicine

There was a time cats lived in the yard or the barn, and weren’t really considered pets. As they moved into the house and became family pets, vets had to come up with anesthesia, medications, and vaccines that were appropriate and safe for cats.

Revolution 2: Dental Care

When vets realized that pets had teeth that needed care, we started recommending brushing their teeth and performing dental cleaning. Specialized veterinary dentists soon appeared, and we were able to offer very advanced care.

Revolution 3: Pain Management

It’s embarrassing, but there was a time when we didn’t understand that pets could feel pain. A whole new world soon emerged. Pain medications started to be included with every surgery. Now, I can’t even conceive doing surgery without multiple pain medications before, during, and after surgery.

Revolution 4: Fear Free Practice

Fear Free is a movement that affects every step of pet care: the car ride, the waiting room, the exam room, around surgery… everything. But here is the interesting observation Dr. Becker made: Feline medicine only affects cats. Dental care mostly affects pets above a certain age. Pain medications only affect pets in pain.

But Fear Free affects every single cat and dog – which makes it all the more important to embrace for vets and pet owners alike.

To learn more about Fear Free:

Reducing Your Cat’s Fear of the Veterinarian

Reducing Your Dog’s Fear of the Veterinarian