Internet Challenges for Veterinarians: Everyone is a Doctor Thanks to Google

 

Internet searches

The internet is an amazing world of unending information. You can shop at home for just about anything from the comfort of your couch. Need a recipe? Just search online and you will find several, complete with reviews and feedback on how to make it even better. When we are faced with ANYTHING that we need more information about, we turn to the internet which is accessible on our phones, tablets, computers, and even watches. This information highway is an awesome resource tool that, of course, can have its drawbacks as well.

Paging Dr. Google

One of the challenges of modern veterinary medicine is the daily competition with Dr. Google. Here is a perfect example. Butch the bulldog is presented for an exam to evaluate his smelly infected ears and skin. His owner, Mrs. Smith, is frustrated because the remedies that the internet suggested were not working. She has tried EVERYTHING from homemade sprays to natural diet supplements and topical oils, but the ears and skin still smell terrible. What can she do now?
“Well, Mrs. Smith, why don’t we culture the ears and then place Butch on a round of antibiotics and medicated ointment . We can recheck in a couple of weeks to determine if he is improving and if Butch will need any further treatment”
“No, the bulldog club said that I should not waste my money on that. What other natural organic treatments can I try? Maybe it’s a grain allergy. The Healthy Dog Society said that if I put my dog on this raw diet of A, B, and C his skin and health issues will go away. Let me go home and research this and I will get back to you.”

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A Rehabilitation Tale: The Amazing Journey of Daphne

rehabilitation therapyAn Invitation for Rehabilitation

A few months ago, I extended an invitation to our local practices to take advantage of our rehabilitation therapy program as a professional courtesy if anyone in the field had a need. Out of the many invitations that I sent out, only there was only one response-Daphne. Yay! Here was an opportunity to “give back” a little to the awesome veterinary community that we are a part of.

Daphne- The Orthopedic Challenge

Daphne was a tiny 7 pound dog with an amazing collection of orthopedic issues for her 7 years. Congenital elbow luxations, surgically repaired but with significant arthritic changes that limited joint movement, healed broken toes on the right front foot, arthritis in multiple joints (front and hind legs), and hip dysplasia just to name the big issues. Daphne currently had a chronic lameness issue with her right front leg and her mom was interested in seeing if rehab therapy would be helpful in managing her symptoms.

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Understanding Pancreatitis in Dogs: What it Really Means to Your Dog’s Health

 

Pancreatitis is a Commonly Diagnosed Ailment in Dogs

Do we really know what this disease pancreatitis is and what it means to our pet’s health? It has been my experience that most owners don’t have a true understanding of the disease process and how it can effect their dog long term. The best place to start is to review the pancreas and it’s role in the body. This little organ hides behind the stomach and is responsible for both digestion and producing insulin.

 

So what is Pancreatitis?Canine obesity and pancreatitis

In a nutshell, the digestive enzymes that are supposed to be released into the small intestine are turned on early, while they are still in the pancreas. This means that these activated enzymes start digesting and breaking down the pancreas itself. As a result there is severe inflammation (where we get the “itis”) and pain. This disease does effect both dogs and cats but with different triggers and treatment protocols. For the sake of this article, I will continue discussing the canine necrotizing pancreatitis and leave pancreatitisthe feline pancreatitis for another day. Cats really are special- same disease name but completely different medical management.

Symptoms of Pancreatitis Include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Anorexia (not eating)
  • Fever
  • Painful belly- arched back, tense abdomen, can’t get comfortable
  • Lethargy- just laying around, not interested in usual activities

One of the Big Triggers of Pancreatitis in the Dog is Diet !!!!

Fatty foods (both table food and high fat dog food) play a large role in causing this disease. High fat diets and dietary indiscretion (getting into the trash, yummy decaying treats in the field, or other food that they shouldn’t eat) is the leading culprit of pancreatitis in our hospital patients.
Holiday gatherings where there is rich food and lots of people willing to slip the dog a festive treat usually equals a recipe for a perfect post-celebration pancreatitis flair. The next few days after a holiday are usually the busiest in our hospital with vomiting dogs and hospitalized cases.  Continue…