Meet Frank. He is a 5 year old male, neutered Great Dane who recently came to our hospital as an Emergency Bloat, often called GDV (Gastric Dilatation Volvulus). Frank had immediate emergency surgery to de-rotate his twisted stomach and in spite of a guarded prognosis, he is recovered and thriving post-surgery. We wanted to describe to you the causes of this life threatening problem so you don’t have to go through a similar surgery with your pet. Even though this problem is most common in large, deep chested dogs, it can occur in any size and any breed. We strongly recommend having the stomach surgically “tied down” during a spay or neuter procedure to prevent the “twisted stomach”, Surgical tie-down won’t prevent the “bloat” but it does prevent the deadly “twist”.
The definite cause is still unknown but the most common history is a large breed dog that eats or drinks rapidly and then exercises. In recent studies, stress was found to be a contributing factor to GDV. Sometimes the condition progresses no further than simple dilatation (bloat) but in other instances the huge, gas-filled stomach twists upon itself so that both entrance and exit (cardia and pylorus) are occluded.
We know that large, deep chested breeds are more prone to GDV. These include Great Danes, Saint Bernards, Weimaraners, Irish Setters, Gordon Setters, Standard Poodles, Basset Hounds, Doberman Pinschers, and Old English Sheepdogs. Most commonly the condition occurs two to three hours after eating a large meal.
This is always a true emergency and assistance must be sought immediately. It is critical that the pressure on the stomach wall and internal organs is reduced as soon as possible. Our veterinarian may first attempt to pass a stomach tube. If this is not possible due to twisting of the stomach, a large bore needle may be passed through the skin into the stomach to relieve the pressure in the stomach. Treatment for shock should begin immediately by administering intravenous fluids and other medications.
Once your pet has been stabilized, the stomach must be returned to its proper position. This involves major abdominal surgery and time is critical.
The primary goal of surgery is to return the stomach to its normal position, remove any dead or dying stomach tissues and help prevent future GDV. Our veterinarian will discuss the technique or combination of techniques best for your pet’s condition.
Survival rate depends upon how long your pet has had GDV, the degree of shock, the severity of the condition, cardiac problems, stomach wall necrosis, length of surgery, etc. Even in relatively uncomplicated cases there is a mortality rate of 15-20% for GDV.
This is one of our favorite patients “Midnight” (name has been changed to protect the innocent). He’s a black cat who lives inside and outside. We worry about him at Halloween for a variety of reasons. BUT, the good news is that HE HAS A MICROCHIP which will protect him if he gets lost or picked up by strangers. When he goes outside there are a large number of dangers that we worry about. Because he is a black cat, we worry because he might be picked up and “abused physically” by cruel pranksters, bad people who think it’s cute to torture animals. We advised his pet parents to keep him indoors during the holidays.
KEEP PETS AWAY FROM LIT PUMPKINS. Candles can singe their noses and light fur on fire. This also goes for artificial lights such as electric votives and glow sticks. Pets love to chew on things they’re not supposed to, and cats in particular seem to love these items. Over the past year, 70 percent of Pet Poison Hotline’s calls relating to glow sticks and jewelry involved cats. In addition to the choking hazard, the contents of glow sticks can cause pain and irritation in the mouth. Keep an eye out for mouth pain, as well as profuse drooling and foaming at the mouth.
DON’T FEED CANDY OF ANY SORT TO ANIMALS: Chocolate is especially dangerous, more poisonous to pets than any other candy. Chocolate contains methylxanthines, chemicals similar to caffeine that can quickly sicken dogs. In general, the darker the chocolate, the more poisonous it is. And Candy Wrappers are dangerous. It’s hard enough for a human to stop at just one piece of candy, so imagine how difficult it is for a pet. Large ingestions of sugary, high-fat candy can lead to pancreatitis, which may not show up for two to four days after the pet ingests the candy. Pets that have ingested candy may show signs such as decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, and even kidney failure or organ damage.
RAISINS ARE DANGEROUS because very small amounts of raisins (or grapes) can cause kidney failure in dogs and cats. Some dogs develop idiosyncratic reactions at any dose—in other words, ingesting any amount can cause serious damage. Pets that have ingested raisins may show signs like vomiting, nausea, decreased appetite, abdominal pain, and severe kidney failure.
ARE COSTUMES A GOOD IDEA? Your clients may love the costume, but does your pet? Some costumes can cause discomfort in pets, and any metallic beads, snaps, or other small pieces (particularly those made of zinc or lead) can result in serious poisoning if ingested. Finally, don’t ever dye or apply coloring to a pet’s fur, even if the dye is labeled non-toxic to humans. If clients dress their pets in costumes, teach them to make sure it doesn’t impair the pets’ vision, movement, or air intake.
DON’T MIX YOUR PET WITH TRICK/TREATERS AT THE FRONT DOOR. Cats and dogs can frighten children and vice versa. Doorbells are ringing, children are screaming and other noises will spook your pets. Place them in a quiet area away from the excitement and noise of costumed goblins at your front door. This will also prevent your pet escaping when the front door is opened repeatedly.
Does your pet hate going to the vet? Do they start shaking as soon as you get the car keys?
Have they had such bad experiences in the past that you try to find every excuse not to go for those very necessary vaccinations and health care needs?
This is Rachel. Her owner loves her and says she is just a fantastic dog-an absolute gift and blessing to their family. She will lay still and allow toddlers to pull and crawl on her, is super enthusiastic when her human walks in the door and is the type who will sit by your side when you’re sad.
However, Rachel had a painful experience at the vet when she was young (severely tore a nail, needed surgery and associated the vet with the pain). After that experience she had extreme anxiety whenever her Mom took her to the vet. She’d cry whine and “put on the brakes” when it was time to go back to an exam room.
She was normally a very friendly dog to anyone else but became very aggressive at her vet visits (growling, snapping, and refusing to even enter the building) and would normally need to be muzzled.
So, Rachel’s Mom heard about the GENTLE HANDLING techniques at JEFFERSON ANIMALHOSPITAL FERN CREEK. Our staff has received extensive training in techniques to help pets like Rachel enjoy their visits and not be fearful (yes, FEAR is the main reason for aggressive behavior in pets).
So Rachel’s Mom Found out about the LOW STRESS/FEAR FREE techniques at our Fern Creek Hospital. She called to speak with one of our trained staff and explained Rachel’s fears and made an appointment. HOWEVER, Rachel wouldn’t even come in the door so the staff asked Rachel’s Mom to just sit outside on our bench and she did this for several visits. This is called DESENSITIZATION. For example: If Your pet has car anxiety, you can have them just sit in the car, then start the engine, then take short trips, then longer trips and they will eventually see that there is no need to be fearful.
The other FEAR FREE tip is to constantly give treats to make all these experiences positive. We have patients now who come in our door, jump on the scale and wait for their treat. We have conditioned them to receive a reward to come in the door, get on the scale, get on the exam table, receive their vaccines and allow blood collection for lab tests. POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT is the key to reducing FEAR and STRESS.
Rachel now enjoys her visits to our hospital. For the first time since she was a small puppy, she recently had a vet visit and she never growled, snapped, cried or whined. Rachel allowed our vet to take her paw, rub her belly, take her blood sample and happily took favorite treats of peanut butter and Cheese-its from the Doctor and the staff.
All of this progress is HUGE! Rachel never allowed the doctor or staff to come near her much less take food or blood samples. Rachel’s Mom is thrilled to know that Rachel’s medical needs will now be met without being afraid.
Monday May 3rd, Derby week, Jefferson Animal Hospitals partnered with the Louisville Bats (Louisville, KY Triple-A baseball team - Cincinnati Reds affiliate), participating in Dog Day at the Park, at Louisville Slugger Field, for a game night where fans were encouraged to bring their furry counterparts to the ball-park to enjoy an evening of baseball along with other dogs and dog-lovers alike. With over 100 dogs in attendance, participating Jefferson staff, including Shelley Stringer and Kristin French-Marzian, engaged with countless doggy game-goers/owners; distributing information regarding hospital services, Jefferson Animal Hospitals rope-frisbees, and popular multi-design/colored dog cloth-bandannas. With mild spring weather and a high fan/dog-owner turn-out, the event and our presence was a crowd-pleasing success. Special thanks to our other participating staff member, Brendi ----. The next two Dog Day in the Park dates are June 14th and August 23rd.
If youll be flying or driving to visit family this summer and traveling with your dogs or cats, what do you need to know in terms of rules and regulations of traveling with pets?
This a really great question. Planning ahead is the key to a smooth trip when traveling with pets. Traveling by car in the Continental US does not require any special permits but going across the border into Canada or Mexico does have specific Health Certificate requirements. Also, the rules when flying with your pet will depend on the airline and the destination. Flights within the US usually only require a simple Health Certificate signed by your veterinarian but check with your airlines for their specific requirements. If you are traveling abroad, each country has their own requirements and some have specific tests or quarantine periods. Advance preparation can take as long as 6 months in some cases. Health Certificates are different for each country and you need to start early, like 4-6 weeks ahead of your flight or even longer. Start with the USDA Office at www.aphis.usda.gov and check our web site on Health Certificate information: http://jeffersonanimalhospitals.com/24hr-veterinary-care/health-certificates-for-travel.php. The key is to start early to make sure you have all the requirements lined up. Call us when you need help. Do NOT wait until the last minute to find out what your airline or state/county at destination requires.
School Starts, seasons change....but what about our pets?
Q. With school beginning, our family will start to leave our one year old puppy alone at home for an extended part of each weekday; do you have any recommendations for the best way to limit separation anxiety?
A. Separation anxiety is a big problem when pets are left alone. This results in vocalization (attempts to call the departing figure back), hyperactivity, hyperventilating, salivating, shedding, destructive behavior, and elimination problems. They can also quit eating and become depressed. Gradually acclimating your puppy to being alone is the best preventative. Start with just a few moments of separation, gradually working up to 60-90 minutes. Eventually leave your puppy 3-4 hours and then the entire workday. Keeping your pet occupied with toys (Kong balls work well), leaving the TV on and games will prevent boredom. Until then, hire a pet sitter, take your puppy to a friends or boarding kennel, or consider taking him/her to work with you.
Check our Womens Today Family Fall issue for the rest of Dr. Ks recommendations.
Todays Woman Magazine has a special edition featuring Mans Best Friend and Jefferson Animal Hospital for their August 2015 issue. Pick up a copy today and let us know what other topics youd like to read about. Were very proud of all our staff and their wonderful efforts to keep you informed about your pets health care needs.
We have been open 24 hours since 1980 (thats 35 years and counting) just so you always have help when youre worried about your Best Friend. Call us anytime you have a question. Our staff is highly trained to answer your questions and if we dont know the answer, we can work with you to find the right resources. Helping your pet is a team effort between you, our doctors and our staff. Were in this together.
Its September and, the temperatures are climbing into the 90s, and your pet has gotten out of the yard and is loose in the neighborhood. What are your main fears?
Heat stroke, theres no access to water
Dog fight , bite wounds or worse
Being hit by a car
Getting lost and we cant find him
Eating something weight and needing surgery to remove a foreign body
Does your pet have a microchip? Thats the first thing you need to prevent problems if your pet gets lost.
Once youre found your wayward child, make sure he cools down with some water, but not too cold and not too much at one time.
Then make an appointment with your vet to check him out for wounds or a pain in his belly that might indicate hes eating the wrong stuff. Weve done hundreds of Exploratories in our many years of practice: golf balls, underwear, pantyhose, corn cobs, towels, needles,legos, pacifiers and string are just a few of the items weve removed. One client poured gravy on the driveway and by the time their dog ate the gravy mixed with the gravel, surgery was ncessary to empty out the stomach and intestines. What a mess that was.
Prevention is much easier by keeping toys and other objects picked up in the yard and around the house.article content.