Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hot Spots and Allergies


Julee is sad, she is suffering from itchy feet! Here is some helpful information from a good internet source on hot spots and allergies. 

ALWAYS check with your vet to see what is best for your special friend. Just because it is on the internet, does not mean it will work for your furry family. 

What Are Hot Spots? Hot spots, also known as acute moist dermatitis, are red, moist, hot and irritated lesions that are typically found on a dog’s head, hip or chest area. Hot spots often grow at an alarming rate within a short period of time because dogs tend to lick, chew and scratch the affected areas, further irritating the skin. Hot spots can become quite painful.
Why Do Hot Spots Occur? 
Anything that irritates the skin and causes a dog to scratch or lick himself can start a hot spot. Hot spots can be caused by allergic reactions, insect, mite or flea bites, poor grooming, underlying ear or skin infections and constant licking and chewing prompted by stress or boredom.

When Is it Time to See the Vet? 
You should visit your vet for an exam as soon as you notice any abnormality in your pet’s skin, or if your pet begins to excessively scratch, lick and/or bite areas on his fur.
How Are Hot Spots Treated? 
First, your vet will attempt to determine the cause of hot spots. Whether it is a flea allergy, an anal gland infection or stress, the underlying issue needs to be taken care of. Treatment may also include the following:
  • Shaving of the hair surrounding the lesion, which allows air and medication to reach the wound
  • Cleansing the hot spot with a non-irritating solution
  • Antibiotics and painkillers
  • Medication to prevent and treat parasites
  • E-collar or other means to prevent self-trauma as the area heals
  • Balanced diet to help maintain healthy skin and coat
  • Dietary supplement containing essential fatty acids
  • Corticosteroids or antihistamines to control itching
  • Hypoallergenic diet for food allergies
How Can I Help Prevent Hot Spots? 
The following tips may aid in the prevention of hot spots:
  • Make sure your dog is groomed on a regular basis.
  • You may also want to keep your pet’s hair clipped short, especially during warmer months.
  • Follow a strict flea control program as recommended by your veterinarian.
  • Maintain as stress-free an environment for your pet as possible.
  • To keep boredom and stress at bay, make sure your dog gets adequate exercise and opportunities for play and interaction with his human family and, if he enjoys it, with other dogs.
How Can I Make My Dog Feel More Comfortable? 
Your veterinarian will best be able to prescribe the care and medications needed to make your dog more comfortable and allow the hot spots to heal. He or she may also recommend the use of an Elizabethan collar around your dog's neck to keep her from biting and licking the lesions. Such a collar should not be used as a sole means of treatment, since the skin lesions will continue to be painful if left untreated.

What Are Allergies?
Just like people, dogs can show allergic symptoms when their immune systems begin to recognize certain everyday substances—or allergens— as dangerous. Even though these allergens are common in most environments and harmless to most animals, a dog with allergies will have an extreme reaction to them. Allergens can be problematic when inhaled, ingested or contact a dog’s skin. As his body tries to rid itself of these substances, a variety of skin, digestive and respiratory symptoms may appear.
What Are the General Symptoms of Allergies in Dogs?
  • Itchy, red, moist or scabbed skin
  • Increased scratching
  • Itchy, runny eyes
  • Itchy back or base of tail (most commonly flea allergy)
  • Itchy ears and ear infections
  • Sneezing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Snoring caused by an inflamed throat
  • Paw chewing/swollen paws
  • Constant licking
Allergic dogs may also suffer from secondary bacterial or yeast skin infections, which may cause hair loss, scabs or crusts on the skin.

What Substances Can Dogs Be Allergic To?
A few common allergens include:
  • Tree, grass and weed pollens
  • Mold spores
  • Dust and house dust mites
  • Dander
  • Feathers
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Food ingredients (e.g. beef, chicken, pork, corn, wheat or soy)
  • Prescription drugs
  • Fleas and flea-control products (The bite of a single flea can trigger intense itchiness for two to three weeks!)
  • Perfumes
  • Cleaning products
  • Fabrics
  • Insecticidal shampoo
  • Rubber and plastic materials
Can Dogs Be Allergic to Food?
Yes, but it often takes some detective work to find out what substance is causing the allergic reaction. Dogs with a food allergy will commonly have itchy skin, breathing difficulties or gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea and vomiting, and an elimination diet will most probably be used to determine what food he is allergic to. If your dog is specifically allergic to chicken, for example, you should avoid feeding him any products containing chicken protein or fat.
Please note that food allergies may show up in dogs at any age.
What Should I Do If I Think My Dog Has Allergies?
Visit your veterinarian. After taking a complete history and conducting a physical examination, he or she may be able to determine the source of your dog’s allergic reaction. If not, your vet will most probably recommend skin or blood tests, or a special elimination diet, to find out what's causing the allergic reaction.
How Are Dog Allergies Diagnosed?
If your dog’s itchy, red or irritated skin persists beyond initial treatment by a veterinarian, allergy testing, most often performed by a veterinary dermatologist, is likely warranted. The diagnostic test of choice is an intradermal skin test similar to the one performed on humans.
The only way to diagnose a food allergy is to feed your dog a prescription or hydrolyzed protein diet exclusively for 12 weeks. The importance of not feeding your dog anything but the diet cannot be emphasized enough—that means no treats, table food or flavored medication. This diet will be free of potential allergy-causing ingredients and will ideally have ingredients your dog has never been exposed to. He’ll remain on the diet until his symptoms go away, at which time you’ll begin to reintroduce old foods to see which ones might be causing the allergic reaction.
Please note, many dogs diagnosed with a food allergy will require home-cooked meals—but this must be done in conjunction with your veterinarian, as it requires careful food balancing.
How Can Dog Allergies Be Treated?
The best way to treat allergies is to remove the offending allergens from the environment.
  • Prevention is the best treatment for allergies caused by fleas. Start a flea control program for all of your pets before the season starts. Remember, outdoor pets can carry fleas inside to indoor pets. See your veterinarian for advice about the best flea control products for your dog and the environment.
  • If dust is the problem, clean your pet's bedding once a week and vacuum at least twice weekly—this includes rugs, curtains and any other materials that gather dust.
  • Weekly bathing may help relieve itching and remove environmental allergens and pollens from your dog’s skin. Discuss with your vet what prescription shampoos are best, as frequent bathing with the wrong product can dry out skin.
  • If you suspect your dog has a food allergy, she’ll need to be put on an exclusive prescription or hydrolyzed protein diet. Once the allergy is determined, your vet will recommend specific foods or a home-cooked diet.
Are There Allergy Medications for Dogs?
Since certain substances cannot be removed from the environment, your vet may recommend medications to control the allergic reaction:
  • In the case of airborne allergens, your dog may benefit from allergy injections. These will help your pet develop resistance to the offending agent, instead of just masking the itch.
  • Antihistamines such as Benadryl can be used, but may only benefit a small percentage of dogs with allergies. Ask your vet first.
  • Fatty acid supplements might help relieve your dog’s itchy skin. There are also shampoos that may help prevent skin infection, which occurs commonly in dogs with allergies. Sprays containing oatmeal, aloe and other natural products are also available.
  • An immune modulating drug may also be helpful.
  • There are several flea-prevention products that can be applied monthly to your dog’s skin.
  • If the problem is severe, you may have to resort to cortisone to control the allergy. However these drugs are strong and should be used with caution and only under the guidance of your veterinarian.
http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/hot-spots





Sunday, July 20, 2014

BOWL-A-RAMA Saturday August 9, 2014

BOWL-A-RAMA
GOAL
$10,000
 
AMOUNT RAISED
$2,280
 
Make Your Donation Today
 
Please go to http://www.azgrc.org/  for more information!
and DONATE TODAY


DATE:
Saturday
August 9, 2014
TIME:
9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
LOCATION:
AMF Scottsdale Lanes
7300 E. Thomas Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome

Hi All, this is Welsie here. I am taking a break enjoying the cool mornings and thought I would share a few important words from Dr Nancy Kay. If you follow Facebook, you will remember I had a bulging eye and Arizona Golden Retriever Connection saved me and fixed my eye. Eye Care for Animals fixed my eye and now I have a great new home and family. Hope you enjoy the article. 





Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS) by Nancy Kay, DVM

http://www.speakingforspot.com/Images/SFSBlog_SARDS.jpg
Muffin- the inspiration for Muffin’s Halo
Over the years I’ve developed a top ten list of my most despised diseases. Those that make it to this list tend to be diseases that are untreatable, leaving me helpless to help my patient. Such is the case with Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (aka, SARDS). In addition to being untreatable, the cause of SARDS is unknown. (Note to reader: the less that is known about a disease, the longer the name of that disease.)
What we do know about SARDS
SARDS is a disease of middle age, and approximately 60% of affected dogs are females. Any breed is susceptible, but Dachshunds, Miniature Schnauzers, Pugs, Brittany Spaniels, Malteses, Bichon Frises, and mixed-breed dogs are particularly predisposed.
SARDS affects the retinas which receive visual input and then transport this information to the brain via the optic nerve. In dogs with SARDS, the photoreceptors (rods and cones) and possibly the nerve fiber layer within the thin-layered retinas undergo degenerative changes. The end result is complete blindness. These changes are microscopic in nature- one cannot detect them by performing a basic eye exam. The diagnosis of SARDS is made based on the patient’s history, the presence of partial to complete blindness in both eyes, normal appearing retinas, and characteristic changes on an electroretinogram (ERG). The ERG is a test used to evaluate photoreceptor function and is performed by veterinarians who are specialists in ophthalmology.
It’s been theorized that SARDS is an autoimmune disease in which a misbehaving immune system attacks the body’s own normal cells. Dogs with SARDS who have received immunosuppressive therapy (the treatment of choice for autoimmune diseases) have not demonstrated any clear improvement in overall outcome compared to untreated dogs.
Symptoms
All dogs with SARDS develop complete and permanent blindness over a rapid course, typically days to weeks. Stumbling, difficulty navigating at night, and failure to track treats are the most commonly reported early symptoms of visual impairment.
During the weeks to months preceding their blindness, most SARDS-affected dogs also experience marked increases in appetite and/or thirst with subsequent weight gain and changes in urinary behavior. Testing for hormonal imbalances (diabetes mellitus, Cushing’s Disease) that classically cause these symptoms is commonly pursued and typically comes up empty. Savvy veterinarians consider the possibility of SARDS before loss of vision becomes apparent. In most cases, it is not until vision wanes that the diagnosis of SARDS becomes suspect.
Long-term outcomes for affected dogs and their human companions
When a dog develops SARDS, a significant period of adjustment is required for everyone involved. Imagine living with a newly blind dog who is begging for food, drinking incessantly, and urinating copious amounts (all that water has to go somewhere).
A study of long-term outcomes in dogs with SARDS surveyed 100 people living with SARDS-affected dogs. In addition to blindness, most of the dogs were reported to have increased thirst, urine output, and appetite along with weight gain. Increased appetite was the only one of these symptoms reported to increase over the course of one year following the SARDS diagnosis.
In this study, 22 of the 100 dogs received some sort of treatment (corticosteroids, nutritional supplements, melatonin, and/or doxycycline) for their blindness. None experienced improved vision in response to therapy.
Eighty-seven percent of the dogs were reported to have moderate to excellent navigation skills within their home environments, and 81% had moderate to excellent navigation skills within their yard environments. Of the people surveyed, 48% reported making special provisions for their dogs such as the use of baby gates, fencing, and ramps, carpeting pathways to important locations, and auditory clues or scents to signify certain locations.
Thirty-seven percent of respondents reported that the relationship with their dog actually improved after the SARDS diagnosis. The authors of the study theorized that the increased time and involvement necessary to care for a blind dog may have been responsible for enhancing the human-animal connection. Only 17% reported that the relationship with their dog worsened.
Seventy-six percent of respondents ranked the quality of their dog’s life to be moderate to excellent. Only nine dogs were reported to have a poor quality of life. Of the 100 people surveyed, 95 indicated that they would discourage euthanasia if advising others caring for dogs with SARDS.One must bear in mind that those who chose to euthanize when SARDS was diagnosed were not surveyed.
This study provides truly uplifting results. While adaptation to a dog’s loss of vision usually proceeds smoothly, when one factors in the other SARDS symptoms that accompany the blindness, the challenge to maintain quality of life for everyone involved increases significantly. Dogs and the people who love them can be amazingly adaptive creatures!
Muffin’s Halo
The photo accompanying this article is of Muffin, a Poodle with cataracts. The halo apparatus he is wearing was designed by his clever companion, Silvie as a means to allow Muffin to explore his environment without bumping his face into things. While I have no direct experience with Muffin’s Halo (I just learned of this product a couple of weeks ago), the concept is intriguing to me. My impression is that this device would significantly boost a blind dog’s confidence level, particularly one who is newly blind. If you have used this product, I would value your feedback.
Have you ever cared for a blind dog? How was the quality of your lives impacted?
If you would like to respond publicly, please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com/blog/?p=4457.
Sending you and your four-legged family members best wishes for abundant good health,
Dr. Nancy Kay
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Author of Your Dog's Best Health: A Dozen Reasonable Things to Expect From Your Vet
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook



Saturday, July 12, 2014

Bob home alone with my sisters

We have been left at home. I knew something was up when I saw the suitcase. Mom waits until the last minute to bring out the suitcase and then I start acting up.

I hate the suitcase because that means she is going away. Moms are not allowed to leave and not take us.
Since there are three of us now, it is hard to all go together in the car, and I do not like traveling anyway, but still moms should not leave.

Mom takes good care of us even though she is not here. Aunty Connie stays with us. Connie has been here since I have been here. She loves dogs and sometimes she has her grandson visit. He loves all of us and knows how to be with dogs. But I still get my pouty face on when I see the suitcase and I go and get in my dog cave and look sad.
There are special things mom does for us when she is gone to keep us safe and let Connie know what to do in case of emergency.


  • list of phone numbers of important dog people like my vet. They have all my records.
  • list of family friends that could help take care of me in case of an emergency
  • list of any medications we may take
  • list of what I eat and when
  • list of treats I can have
  • paper that says Connie can take me to the vet and they can treat me until they reach mom
  • she also leaves a list of what to do with me when there are thunderstorms
  • list of all the ways to reach mom
  • mom makes special treats for us. she made fruit popsicles this time
I guess it is okay if mom leaves sometimes. I really do not like crowds anyway. I get too nervous.
I do have my Golden Calendar and am pawing off the days until her return. 
Bob

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Common Benign Skin Tumors




Sebaceous Adenomas by Nancy Kay, DVM


Photo Credit: Sumner Fowler
http://www.speakingforspot.com/Images/SFSBlogSF_sebadenoma.jpg
One cannot discuss lumps and bumps in dogs without talking about sebaceous adenomas. These are, far and away, the most common benign skin tumors in dogs. Most dogs will develop at least a couple of them by the time they are senior citizens.
Sebaceous glands are microscopic structures found just beneath the skin surface. They secrete an oily substance called sebum that is transported to the skin surface via microscopic ducts. Adenomas can arise from the gland or the duct, and can develop anywhere on a dog’s body.
Sebaceous adenomas tend to be small, no more than ¼ to ½ of an inch in size. They may appear round or they can have a wart-like appearance. These benign growths occur primarily in middle-aged and older dogs. Any breed can develop sebaceous adenomas, but certain breeds are particularly predisposed: English Cocker Spaniels, Cocker Spaniels, Samoyeds, Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, West Highland White Terriers, Cairn Terriers, Dachshunds, Miniature Poodles, Toy Poodles, Shih Tzus, Basset Hounds, Beagles, and Kerry Blue Terriers.
Because of their benign nature, the vast majority of sebaceous adenomas require no treatment whatsoever. Just about as soon as two or three are surgically removed, two or three more will develop. Surgically chasing sebaceous adenomas accomplishes nothing more than turning a dog into a patchwork quilt. There are some exceptions to the general rule of leaving sebaceous adenomas alone, and they are as follows:
- Surgical removal is warranted for those sebaceous adenomas that recurrently bleed or become infected because of self-trauma (the dog bites or chews at them), or because they get in the way of the groomer’s clippers.
- Some sebaceous adenomas secrete oodles of sebum creating the constant appearance of an oil slick on the dog’s hair coat. The grease rubs off on hands, furniture, clothing, and anything else the dog contacts. No fun!
- Some sebaceous adenomas are pretty darned unsightly, looking like warty little aliens poking through the hair coat. Although this is not bothersome for the dog, it can pose a significant psychological issue for the person living with that dog.
- If a mass believed to be a sebaceous adenoma is growing or changing in appearance, it is important to ask your veterinarian to have another look. What was thought to be a benign adenoma may be its less common cancerous cousin, a sebaceous carcinoma.
Does your dog have any sebaceous adenomas?
If you would like to respond publicly, please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com/blog/?p=4442.
Best wishes to you and your four-legged family members for abundant good health,
Dr. Nancy Kay
Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot and Your Dog's Best Health.   There you will also find "Advocacy Aids"- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet's health. Speaking for Spot and Your Dog's Best Health are available atwww.speakingforspot.comAmazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July Calendar Page

SALLY & SOPHIE

Rescued        March 2012



Sally and Sophie were dropped off together at the local shelter.  There was no history about the dogs.  It was assumed they were litter-mates.  What was obvious was how much they needed each other.
Like most animal rescues, Arizona Golden Retriever Connection will make every attempt to keep a bonded pair together.  That is not always easy because finding available fosters for not one, but two grown dogs is quite a challenge.  It becomes even more of a challenge when summer vacations begin, and the two dogs needing a place to stay are somewhat mischievous!  In one vacation foster home, Sally and Sophie got bored and tore up an entire mattress pad.  Of course they had a great time, but didn’t endear themselves to their foster dad!  At another vacation foster home, the girls decided some decorative flowers would look better scattered across the yard than in the planter on the patio.  In yet another home, they pestered the foster family’s resident dog.  It took “a village” of six wonderful and very patient vacation fosters to get through the summer, but Sally and Sophie managed to stay together.  
In August 2012, five months after their rescue, Sally and Sophie found their forever home with retired couple Nancy and Stan.  It seemed that Sally and Sophie, and Stan and Nancy knew they were all meant to be together.   Even though the girls can sometimes be a handful, their parents take it all in stride.  Love for each other makes all the difference! 
In a note to AZGRC, the girls’ mom wrote “Sally and Sophie have been the greatest joy to us, since adopting them.  They are so much fun to be around and have such great personalities!  They have settled in like two peas in a pod!  We just love them and are so glad that we adopted them!  They follow my husband around like his shadow, which he loves.  They have brought the laughter back into this house and a smile on my husband’s face.  He missed our other two Golden's so much!  Now he has two more girls to talk to.  Before we began looking for a dog, I even asked God to help us find a dog that was suited to us and He did!  He found us not one, but two dogs!


For more information on adoption or fostering, please check out our website. www.azgrc.org    

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Pet Safety for Fourth of July



Hi, my name is Bobbie and I want to share some memories of 4th of July. As you can see by the picture above, I use to party in the bathtub. It was the place I go when anxious and upset. All that loud shooting and fireworks bother my sensitive ears. I also do not like cameras, flashing lights or ceiling fans, but that is another story.  It took me awhile, but I have finally trained my mom to help me during these trying times. Thunder shirts (http://www.thundershirt.com/) are really soothing. She also keeps me inside and the curtains closed. Sometimes she turns up the volume on the TV or radio. I get to sit in her lap and get extra hugs. My sisters, Julee and Welsie do not care about the noise. Silly girls!
Some other things you can do are:

·        Keep all your pets inside and make sure the doors and windows are closed.
·        All your furry friends should be micro-chipped and have the collar with ID on.
·        This might be a good time for a frosty treat or a kong treat to keep them        occupied…or even better a new toy!
·        You may check with your vet if these things do not work and there may be medication to help calm your furry friend during this time.

  • Keep an updated photo of your dog. 
 These are also good ideas for the Arizona monsoon season….lightning and thunder can also be very troubling. Remember stay safe and beg for Frosty Paws!!