Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Lumps and Bumps on Dogs

Lumps and Bumps on Dogs

Few things in life are as scary as finding a lump on your dog.  Immediately your mind will jump to worst case scenario and the “C” word will inevitably creep into your thoughts.  So if you do find a lump, try to stay calm, and call your veterinarian to make an appointment to have it investigated.

Before you get to the office it is helpful to document the location and size of the lump.  It may be helpful to draw a circle on the fur with a sharpie marker or shave off the hair where the lump is.  It is amazing how many lumps cannot be found once the owner is in the office.  Documenting the size with a ruler can be very helpful for your veterinarian when it comes time to decide whether or not the lump should be removed.

Once at the office the doctor will likely ask you how long the lump has been there and then examine your dog to look for other lumps on their body.  A next step is to perform a needle aspirate of the lump that the doctor will look at under the microscope to try to determine what the lump is and how they should proceed with treatment.  If the doctor cannot accurately determine what the lump is they will either make a recommendation to send the slide to a pathologist (a doctor that evaluates cells and tissues microscopically all the time) or they may recommend having the mass removed and sent in for testing.

There are so many different types of lumps that dogs can get – most of them are benign, but some of them are malignant.  Approaching each lump with care and caution will help to keep your dog healthy and cancer free.

article written by:
Dr. Lorene Rockwell
Formerly of Wolf Merrick Animal Hospital
Kenosha, WI

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Correct Diet is Important!

Before joining Wolf Merrick Animal Hospital, I was presented with an unexpected case of a female Bichon that had started seizing several minutes prior to arriving at the hospital.  The limited information we were able to obtain was that the female had recently given birth to puppies and was in the process of nursing.  A quick blood test confirmed my suspicion - low calcium, known more commonly in lactating cows as “milk fever.”  After carefully supplementing the Bichon’s calcium while monitoring her heart rhythm, she was looking right as rain.  In follow-up discussion with her owner, I learned that she was still on an adult maintenance diet!  This was not the appropriate diet for a female who was nursing puppies.  I was reminded of this case while reading a recent veterinary journal article about a survey of just over 2,000 dog breeders.  It found nearly 17% of them were using an incorrect commercial diet for their pregnant females and 9% an incorrect commercial diet for their puppies.  That doesn’t include those who were feeding unbalanced home-made diets.  Of the breeders surveyed, only 50% had consulted with a veterinarian about diet selection.

As a pet owner, when it comes to pet foods and pet treats, the most important group to be familiar with is the Association of Animal Feed Control Officials – a.k.a. AAFCO (petfood.aafco.org).  While it is up to each state to enforce rules and regulations for pet food labeling and production, it is the AAFCO’s responsibility to make those rules and set minimum standards.  Did you know that there are limitations on what ingredients can be included in pet foods and treats?  Despite some marketing campaigns’ attempts to claim that “other dog foods” put unwholesome or unfit ingredients in their diet(s), this is simply untrue as long as the food meets “AAFCO Guidelines” and states such on its nutrition label.  Of course, if a pet food or treat does not list “AAFCO tested” or “meets AAFCO guidelines” on its nutrition label, it is probably something you want to avoid. 

As many pet owners have experienced, your pet has different needs at different stages of his or her life.  In general, these stages can be simplified into two groups: maintenance ‘adult’ diets and puppy/pregnancy diets.  Growing puppies are putting extra energy and nutrients towards developing bigger muscles, bigger bones…bigger everything!  As a result, they require a diet that is proportionally higher in energy content, mineral content and other nutrients.  Pregnant and nursing females have nutritional requirements similar to puppies – after all, the nutrients they pass on to those growing puppies need to come from somewhere!  Whether you’re intentionally breeding or had an unexpected pregnancy, it is important to keep a pregnant or lactating female on a “gestation,” “puppy” or “all life stages” diet.  You can then use the same diet for the puppies when it comes time to wean them!  Without an appropriate diet, you may find yourself with growth abnormalities or a female unexpectedly having seizures. 

When in doubt, don’t make the mistake that 50% of the surveyed breeders made – consult a veterinarian.  If you are aiming to use a non-commercial diet, such as a home-made diet, consult a veterinary nutritionist or a PhD in animal nutrition. 

-- A veterinary nutritionist service we often recommend is BalanceIt (balanceit.com), which is based out of the University of California-Davis -- 

article written by:
Dr. Erich Roush
Wolf Merrick Animal Hospital
Kenosha, WI

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Human Food That Can Be Harmful for Pets

Surprising Things That Your Pet Can't Eat 

We all know that dogs can't eat chocolate, but did you know that there's actually a longgggg list of human food that pets can't eat? Check out the table below to read more foods that pets can't eat! 

Human Food That Can Be Harmful for Pets
  • Acai Berry
  • Alcohol (beer, wine, liquor, etc.)
  • Anise
  • Apple stems, leaves, and seeds
  • Avocado
  • Bones
  • Broccoli in large quantities (more than               10% of diet)
  • Chives
  • Chocolate (any form including powdered)
  • Citrus oil, stems, leaves, peels, and seeds
  • Coconut oil
  • Coffee (in any form including decaffeinated)
  • Corn cobs
  • Doughs made with yeast (bread dough, etc.)
  • Fatty foods (including grease, oil, or fat trimmings)
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Hops
  • Human vitamins containing iron
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Mace
  • Moldy food
  • Mustard seed
  • Nutmeg
  • Onion
  • Paprika
  • Persimmons
  • Pits of fruits such as apricot, cherry, peach, and plum/prune
  • Pomegranate
  • Potato (when immature or “green”)
  • Raisins
  • Raw/undercooked meat, eggs, and fish
  • Rhubarb leaves
  • Salt in excess quantities
  • Scallions
  • Shallots
  • Soft drinks/sodas with caffeine
  • Spinach
  • Teas with caffeine (including “decaffeinated”)
  • Tobacco (cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, etc.)
  • Tomato leaves and stems
  • Tumeric
  • Walnuts
  • Wild mushrooms (just as for people)
  • Xylitol (an artificial sweetener often found in but not limited to chewing gum, candy, and ice cream)
  • Yeast

If your pet consumes any of the listed foods, make sure to contact us right away. 

Amanda Schnitker, DVM