STROKES IN DOGS AND CATS

By W. Jean Dodds, DVM on March 24, 2019

With the untimely passing of actor Luke Perry, awareness of strokes came into the spotlight. Can dogs and cats have strokes? Yes; they can. Here’s what you need to know.

Types

Just like humans, dogs and cats can have one of two types of stroke: ischemic or hemmorhagic.

Ischemic
Ischemic strokes are caused by a blood clot, called a thrombus, which forms inside one of the brain’s arteries. The clot then blocks blood flow to a part of the brain. However, unlike humans, its typically only involve the smaller blood vessels in pets.

An embolism is a small blood clot (or piece of atherosclerotic plaque debris in people) that develops elsewhere in the body and then travels through the bloodstream to one of the blood vessels in the brain.

Hemorrhagic Stroke
There are two types of hemorrhagic strokes: intracerebral and subarachnoid.

An intracerebral hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel inside the brain bursts and leaks blood into the surrounding brain tissue.

Subarachnoid strokes are typically caused by an aneurysm, which refers to a weakening of an artery wall that creates a bulge, or distention, of the artery. This type of stroke involves bleeding in the area between the brain and the tissue covering the brain, known as the subarachnoid space.

Signs

The symptoms or signs of strokes are similar in dogs and cats. They are rare and usually occur in geriatric pets.

Cats

·         Abnormal eye movements

·         Altered mental status

·         Circling

·         Head pressing

·         Head tilt

·         Muscle spasms

·         Not using the legs normally

·         Seizures

·         Unequal pupil sizes

·         Unsteadiness when walking

·         Weakness

Dogs

·         Abnormal behavior

·         Abnormal eye movements

·         Abnormal eye positioning

·         Blindness

·         Falling to one side

·         Head tilt

·         Inability to walk or walking with an uncoordinated gait

·         Loss of consciousness

Causes

Cats

·         Brain tumors

·         Cancer

·         Diabetes

·         Heart disease

·         High blood pressure

·         Hyperthyroidism

·         Kidney disease

·         Liver disease

·         Lung disease

·         Vestibular disease

Dogs

·         Bleeding disorders

·         Cancer

·         Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism)

·         Diabetes

·         Heart disease

·         High blood pressure

·         High and prolonged doses of steroids like prednisone

·         Hypothyroidism, severe

·         Kidney disease

·         Vestibular disease

Prevention

A stroke is usually caused by an underlying disease. The best preventative measure is to monitor the pet periodically in order to diagnose the disease before a stroke can occur. Disease diagnosis involves twice yearly check-ups in geriatrics and annually in younger pets , which includes routine blood, endocrine and urinalysis screening.

What to Do in the Event of a Stroke

If you think your companion dog or cat has suffered from a stroke, please take him or her to a veterinarian as soon as possible. As well, we recommend that you always keep the phone number and address of your area emergency veterinarian on hand for all pet related emergencies.

 

Arthritic Pets

Arthritis in Pets

By Dr. Karen Becker and comments by Diane Weinmann

Like humans, pets can and do develop osteoarthritis (OA), also known as degenerative joint disease (DJD). About 20 percent of dogs and cats of all ages suffer some degree of OA, including 1 in 4 dogs in the U.S.1,2 The risk increases with age, just as it does in humans. In fact, one study showed that more than 90 percent of kitties over the age of 10 have arthritis in at least one joint.3

Inflammation Is a Primary Source of Pain in Arthritic Pets

OA is a chronic inflammatory joint disease that causes pain, soreness, stiffness, swelling and lameness in pets. One of the most important ways we help dogs and cats with arthritis is managing their pain. As veterinary pain specialist Dr. Robin Downing explains it:

 “… [U]nmanaged (or undermanaged) pain leads us down a dark rabbit hole in which pain moves from a minor nuisance, to decreased quality of life, to unbearable suffering, and it can ultimately result in physical pathology that leads to death. In other words, it’s not an exaggeration to state that pain kills.”4

Inflammation is one of the pain-causing factors in arthritic pets, so decreasing it is of paramount importance in keeping your dog or cat comfortable and mobile. In addition, inflammation increases the risk for many other serious diseases, including insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart and respiratory disease, cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) disease, kidney disease and decreased life expectancy.

Another disease associated with inflammation is cancer. Inflammation kills the cells of the body. It also surrounds cells with toxic inflammatory byproducts that inhibit the flow of oxygen, nutrients and waste products between cells and blood. This creates an environment in which abnormal cells proliferate.

Excess Fat Is a Primary Source of Inflammation

Unfortunately, most pets with arthritis are already, or become overweight, in part because they can no longer move around comfortably.

“The white fat that accumulates in overweight and obese patients secretes inflammatory and proinflammatory hormones that can enhance and amplify the chronic pain experience,” writes Downing. “For this reason, normalizing body composition — decreasing both the pet’s weight and the size of its fat compartment — is a critical component of any multimodal pain management strategy.”5

Downing makes the point that simply cutting back on the amount of food your pet eats isn’t enough, because while body mass will decrease, the fat compartment will remain (in proportion to the smaller body size). “In other words, a large marshmallow will simply become a smaller marshmallow,” she explains, which is why it’s necessary to feed a diet that allows the body to burn fat selectively for energy.

Veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward, founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), calls excess fat an “adipokine storm” inside your dog’s or cat’s body:

“Adipokines are signal proteins produced by fat tissue,” says Ward. “Leptin, adiponectin and interleukin-6 (IL-6) are examples. We know adipokines cause or contribute to hundreds of harmful inflammatory processes throughout the body. Think of every fat cell as a little factory pumping out hundreds of potentially toxic compounds. Multiply that by millions or billions in an obese pet. The real danger of excess fat isn’t the fat; it’s the inflammation the fat causes.”6

Ward firmly believes inflammation is the biggest threat pets face today. Scientific evidence of the damage excessive inflammation causes to the body continues to mount.

I agree, and I think toxic fat combined with a toxic environment (lawn chemicals, flame retardants/PBDEs, vaccines, and flea and tick pesticides, to name just a few) plus malnutrition, courtesy of the processed pet food industry, is a 100 percent guarantee pets will suffer from at least one degenerative condition such as arthritis in their lifetime.

 

Processed Pet Food Is a Primary Source of Obesity in Dogs and Cats

Most integrative veterinarians, including me, believe processed diets are by far the biggest contributor to pet obesity. Most processed pet food isn’t biologically appropriate and contains exactly the types of ingredients that promote weight gain and inflammation in the body.

It’s also true that today’s dogs and cats are overfed and under-exercised, however, the first thing I scrutinize with any overweight patient is the type of food he’s eating. I look for things like the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio in the diet. Food high in omega-6 essential fatty acids and low in omega-3s (which is the case with most processed pet diets) is associated with inflammatory conditions.

Commercial pet food is also typically high in pro-inflammatory carbohydrates, including processed, high glycemic grains and starchy vegetables like potatoes or legumes, which contain lectins. If a pet is fed any dry food it’s a red flag, because all kibble contains some form of starch — it can’t be manufactured without it.

Arthritic Pets (and All Pets) Should Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

All dogs and cats, especially those with inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, should be fed a moisture-rich, nutritionally balanced, species-appropriate diet that is naturally anti-inflammatory, consisting of real, whole foods, preferably raw, organic and non-GMO. It should include:

High-quality protein, including muscle meat, organs and bone (protein coming from animal sources should make up more than 80 percent of a cat’s diet)
Low to moderate levels of animal fat (depending on your pet’s activity level)
High levels of EPA and DHA (omega-3 essential fatty acids)
A few fresh cut, fibrous vegetables, pureed
No grains or starches
A whole food vitamin/mineral supplement that meets the additional E, zinc, iron, copper, manganese and vitamin D deficiencies often found in homemade diets OR enough of these hard-to-source foods in whole food forms, daily
Beneficial additions such as probiotics, digestive enzymes and super green foods

Along with a nutritionally balanced, species-appropriate diet, it’s important to practice portion control at every meal. For most pets, this means a carefully measured morning and evening meal. And don’t forget to factor in any calories from treats. You also need to know exactly how many calories your dog or cat should be eating per day. Use these calorie calculators to determine how many calories your pet should take in to lose weight or maintain his or her current weight.

Natural Supplements to Manage the Inflammation and Pain of Arthritis

Chondroprotective agents (CPAs) protect the joints and slow the rate of cartilage degeneration, and include glucosamine sulfate, collagen, MSM, eggshell membrane, perna mussel (green-lipped clam), Adequan and cetyl myristoleate.

Natural substances that can reduce or eliminate the need for painkillers in the early stages of arthritis include a high-quality omega-3 supplement (krill oil), ubiquinol, turmeric (or curcumin), supergreen foods (spirulina, astaxanthin), natural anti-inflammatory formulas (such as proteolytic enzymes and SOD), homeopathic remedies (Rhus tox, Bryonia and Arnica, for example), and Esterified Fatty Acid Complex (EFAC).

I have found CBD oil to be a very safe, long-term management strategy for chronic pain, and there are also Ayurvedic and Chinese herbs and nutraceuticals that can be very beneficial, depending on the animal’s specific symptoms.

Additional Beneficial Treatment Modalities for Arthritic Pets

Laser therapy Maintenance chiropractic
Assisi loop Underwater treadmill
Massage Acupuncture
Daily stretching

 

Dr. Becker recommends bringing your arthritic pet for a wellness checkup with your integrative veterinarian at least twice a year to review the status of her health, and to check the range of motion in her joints, the muscle mass she’s either gaining or losing, and to make adjustments to her protocol as necessary to ensure her quality of life is optimal.

Diane also recommends essential oils like Dr. Shelton’s New Mobility along with routine energy healing using healing touch for animals or reiki.  Diane has many clients that schedule weekly healing touch for animal distance sessions.   She has a cat client that she has been healing for years now and he is 21 years old!  Yeah energy healing!!!!

 

Aging Pet Needs Your Attentive Care

By Dr. Becker

 

Have you noticed that your once laid-back, happy-go-lucky pooch has become anxious, crabby or noticeably more aggressive? Changes in behavior and personality are not unheard of in dogs, especially as they get older.

Unfortunately, some owners may give up on their long-time pets rather than attempting to understand the underlying reasons for the personality changes and taking steps to address them.

In one study published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 65 percent of owners who relinquished their dog to a shelter reported a behavioral reason — most often aggression — behind the decision.1

Surrendered dogs also tended to be significantly older, which suggests that in some cases a lingering behavioral issue combined with age may have triggered the family’s breaking point.

You can prevent this from happening in your own family by first understanding some common reasons why a “good” dog may suddenly turn “mean.”

Be Aware of Changes as Your Dog Ages

Chronic pain, cognitive impairment, changes in vision, sense of smell and hearing and metabolic problems all become more common as your dog gets up in years, and each may contribute to crankiness and aggression.

Your dog may startle more easily, which could lead to seemingly unprovoked aggression. If your dog feels more vulnerable or weak, he may act aggressive out of fear or may nip at anyone who touches him in a painful area.

If your dog was at all prone to anxiety as a pup, such as struggling with separation anxiety or noise phobias, he’s likely to become even more anxious with age.

This, in turn, may result in increased irritability and fear, which may result in aggression toward strangers or unfamiliar pets. Your dog may also have less tolerance for being touched and may act aggressively if you try to restrain him.

Other medical issues, including changes in mobility and hormones, may also lead to increased aggression. In addition, dogs of all ages may be affected by changes in your household (such as the addition of a new baby or pet) and may act out of sorts until he’s given time to adjust.

Cognitive Decline May Also Result in Aggression

Changes in your dog’s brain function may also occur with age. Dogs suffering from cognitive decline or dementia may desire less interaction with other pets and even their owners. If pressed to play or interact, some dogs may become agitated, distressed or even aggressive in order to stop the interaction.

A dog with dementia may become easily disoriented or startled, which can also lead to formerly uncharacteristic aggression. Even if your senior dog is generally healthy, don’t startle him awake — if you must wake him up, try blowing on him gently, as it will be far less stressful.

Personality changes, increased irritability and less patience are more the rule rather than the exception in aging pets and this may be further heightened by cognitive decline.

Seeking Professional Help Is a Must

If your dog has become unpredictably aggressive and you’re at the point where you’re fearful of having him around strangers or even your own children, there’s still hope.

A professional trainer or behavior expert may be able to modify your pet’s behavior and give you practical solutions as well so your pet can stay in your home.

For instance, Dr. Ilana Reisner, a veterinary specialist in animal behavior and spokesman for the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), advises parents to avoid leaving children in a room with a dog who has a history of biting, unless two adults are also present (one of whom keeps a close eye on the dog at all times).2

Dr. Reisner also suggests seeking the help of an animal behavior specialist who can visit your home environment and work with all family members to come up with a solution.

Calming herbs and acupuncture can also be helpful when used in conjunction with behavior modification. There are several excellent cognitive-supportive nutraceuticals that may also be of benefit to aging dogs.

Changes You Can Make to Support Good Behavior in Your Aging Dog

While unprovoked aggression is best tended to with professional help, there are many DIY solutions you can try out if your dog has simply become crabbier, more anxious, irritable or easily startled with age.

For starters, respect his boundaries. If he seems to no longer enjoy being rubbed on his belly, don’t force it. And if he growls, avoid punishing him for it. Instead, recognize that your dog is giving you a warning or telling you he needs to be removed from the situation.

Stop doing whatever is making your dog uncomfortable and/or move him to a location where he feels safe again.

In addition, if you know loud noises make your pet anxious, try to avoid them in your home and certainly take extra precautions during thunderstorms, the Fourth of July or large gatherings in your home.

A dog that used to be social during family parties and events may now exclude himself. Some older dogs may be safer kept in a separate room with a chew toy during social events.

You may, for instance, create a cozy space for your dog in a quiet room, with softly playing music or white noise, to protect your dog from undue stress.

In addition, you should seek regular preventive veterinary care for your dog. Your pet should be seen at least once a year for a regular check-up in conjunction with organ function testing, which helps identify degenerative changes before organ failure occurs.

However, if he is older or has a chronic health condition, a check-up with a proactive, functional medicine vet every six months is wise. It’s during these exams proactive vets measure muscle mass, range of motion, cognitive health and early changes in vision and other senses that can be best addressed when identified early on.

Your veterinarian can help you determine any painful areas in your pet and, if your pet is suffering from chronic or acute pain, provide natural options for relief. This alone may dramatically change your pet’s behavior for the better. It’s important to keep in mind that if your pet suddenly has a change in personality or behavior, there’s virtually always an underlying reason why. Once you figure out what it is, there are often steps that can be taken to improve it.

Like humans, dogs may become crankier with advancing age. Rather than assuming there’s no hope, recognize that this means they’re depending on your attentive care more than ever and address the situation as soon as minor changes in behavior are noted.

 

Common Reasons Your Dog Might be Limping and When to See a Vet

Common Reasons Your Dog Might be Limping and When to See a Vet

Veterinarian Reviewed by Dr. Janice Huntingford, DVM on August 12, 2018
Posted in Dog Injury by PetWellbeing

Limping is never a good sign, and it may be easy to feel worried or distressed when signs of limping begin to show in your beloved companion dog. While a veterinarian visit is most likely inevitable, you may want or need more information before making the decision to take your dog in for medical attention. The more you know about your dog’s limping, the easier the veterinarian’s job will be in order to start the process of diagnosis and treatment.

Recognizing a limp and taking action

It is important to know what to watch for when you see limping in your dog. Most of the time limping is due to an internal injury, but when you first notice limping it will behoove you to check for things like tics, barbs, or other external causes to the leg and/or foot. Once you have ruled out any sort of external injury, you can focus on what may be happening on the inside.

Your dog will most likely be shifting their weight unnaturally or spending an inordinate amount of time laying down. Your dog may even change their eating habits, eating less or losing interest in things that once brought them joy. These are all signs that something is wrong.

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Sudden limping

Sudden limping in dogs is almost exclusively caused by trauma, including breaks or tears of muscle tissue.

Dogs are an active species, often jumping, running and rolling around. Trauma can easily occur when dogs participate in any of these types of activities. Just like humans, the spectrum of trauma injuries is quite wide, including but not limited to breaks, sprains, strains, dislocations, fractures, back injuries, and muscle tears.

Some may be easier to spot, for example a broken bone that shows an unnatural angle in your dog’s leg. Most of these injuries require medical attention and some even require periods of recovery in the form of physical therapy.

Gradual limping

Regardless of the age of your dog, if you notice gradual limping that gets worse over time, this could be a sign of some sort of degeneration of bone or muscle strength. Although it is more common in older dogs, arthritis, spinal degeneration and disease or infection can all be causes of limping in dogs. Disease and infection are harder to diagnose and treat, and may require x-rays or other more in-depth medical procedures.

There are some dog-specific medications that your veterinarian may be able to prescribe your pooch for any pain they may experience due to arthritis especially. Natural supplements for bone and joint health may also prove to be beneficial to your dog’s daily health.

Home remedies

Cold compresses can help lower a dog’s pain in some cases and could be a good idea. If, however, you administer a cold compress for a period longer than 24 hours with no signs of relief, switch to a hot compress and plan on taking your dog in to the vet.

Under no circumstances should you administer over-the-counter human medications to your dog without the supervision or advice of a veterinarian specialist, as this could result in severe side-effects that could harm the well-being of your furry friend.

Never exercise a limping dog

There is never a case where exercise will improve the limping of your dog. Be sure to let them sleep, rest and simply lie down when you notice a limp. If your dog is small enough, you can even carry them instead of having them walk around, which is great for when they need to relieve themselves, eat, drink or move positions.

This may be easier or harder depending on the age of your dog as well as size. If you have a puppy that has a limp, the puppy may be more brazen in its attempts to play instead of rest. Try confining your puppy to an enclosed space as much as possible to prevent further injury, at least until there are signs of improvement.

When to see a vet

The unfortunate part about knowing when to take your dog to the veterinarian is that dogs cannot tell you what hurts or how much it hurts. This leaves their humans guessing pain level and balancing that against both costs of a vet visit, as well as the well-being of their companion.

Here’s the thing—you know your dog best, and if your dog is in pain, it’s best to simply get them to someone who can diagnose and treat the injury, whether it be sudden or gradual onset. A vet will be able to qualify your pet’s pain and provide solutions that get them back on the road to a full recovery.

 

Mistakes Which Can Make Your Dog Depressed

Mistakes Which Can Make Your Dog Depressed

By Dr. Karen Shaw Becker and comments by Diane Weinmann

Science hasn’t figured out yet whether dogs suffer from depression in the same way people do. They certainly experience mood and behavior changes, but those changes are usually temporary and traceable to a recent event in the dog’s life. For example, perhaps the kiddos just headed back to school after a summer spent swimming and playing with their dog, and she misses having them around. Or maybe you’ve just added a puppy to the family and your older dog is feeling left out.

Dogs who suffer the loss of a family member (human or pet) often go through a grieving period. And of course many dogs abandoned at shelters suffer a period of sadness and uncertainty.  Grief relief in the form of a custom made bach flower essence can help the transition period of loss.  Contact Diane at Dianefortheloveofanimals@yahoo.com for a custom treatment bottle to deal with grief for yourself or your pet.

The problem with diagnosing clinical depression (which is different from short-lived episodes of depressed behavior) is that even in humans, there’s no biological test to identify the condition. Medical doctors take note of symptoms and what the patient tells them about their feelings to arrive at a diagnosis.

Many people who cannot talk and hear pets must rely on their powers of observation to determine if a canine companion is feeling down in the dumps. Generally speaking, when a vet or veterinary behaviorist or animal communicator describes a patient as depressed, the dog is displaying a change in normal behavior.

6 Reasons Dogs Get Depressed

1. She’s dealing with an undiagnosed medical problem

If your dog’s behavior changes, even if you suspect you know why, it’s always a good idea to check in with your veterinarian. Many changes in behavior symptomatic of depression, including lack of appetite, potty accidents in the house, sleeping more than usual, reluctance to exercise and sudden aggressive behavior in a dog who has never shown aggression, can also be signs of any number of underlying medical conditions.

2. He’s feeling ignored

A healthy dog who is feeling depressed may lose interest in eating or playing, become destructive, have accidents in the house or stop running to greet you when you come through the door. Like a sleepy, sluggish dog, a depressed pooch often just needs more quality time with his human.

Get into the habit of spending an uninterrupted hour with your dog each day engaging in physical pursuits, grooming rituals, training exercises and good old tummy rubs. It will lighten both your moods!

3. She’s not getting enough exercise

Sadly, some dogs become socially inhibited when they aren’t getting enough exercise and playtime. This can take the form of a decrease in interaction with other family members, or choosing to isolate themselves in their crate or another room. If your normally happy dog suddenly isn’t, consider the possibility that she needs more exercise.

Most dogs need much more physical activity than their owners realize. Your dog should be getting an absolute minimum of 20 minutes of sustained heart-thumping exercise three times a week. Thirty minutes is better than 20, and six or seven days a week is better than three.

Minimum exercise requirements prevent muscle atrophy, but don’t necessarily build muscle mass, strengthen tendons and ligaments, hone balance and proprioception, or enhance cardiovascular fitness, which is why more is always better. If you can provide your dog daily walks as well as additional daily training sessions to meet your other exercise goals, even better!

4. He’s suffered the loss of a human family member or pet

It’s not unusual for dogs to grieve the loss of a person or animal friend they are bonded with. According to the late Dr. Sophia Yin, a veterinarian and applied animal behavior specialist, dogs feel the same basic emotions humans do, including grief, fear, anger, happiness, sadness and even possessiveness.

When a dog is mourning a loss, depression is common. Signs of depression in dogs mimic those in people — sleeping more than normal, moving more slowly, eating less and showing a limited interest in playing.

If your dog seems depressed at the loss of a person or animal he was close to, engage him in activities he enjoys, such as a walk, a game of fetch or a trip to the dog park. It’s really a matter of distracting him with things he enjoys until sufficient time has passed and he’s no longer looking around every corner for the one who is now absent from his life.

And it’s best not to expect a quick fix. It can take from a few weeks to a few months before your dog’s depressed mood begins to lift.  Again as mentioned above,  a custom Bach Flower essences treatment bottle can help your pet deal with their grief holistically.

5. Her favorite human is depressed

Your dog is very observant of your emotional state, which she can detect by observing the tone of your voice, your body language and other subtle clues, including your pheromones (how you smell). The way you move, speak and behave all send subtle signals to your dog that indicate your mood.

For example, when you’re in a situation that’s stressful to your dog, such as at your veterinarian’s office, she’ll look to you to help her calm down. If, however, you seem tense and nervous, she’ll likely become even more anxious. Your dog is extremely intuitive; so if you’re feeling blue, don’t be surprised if she seems depressed as well.

6. He’s being subjected to punitive behavior training

Dogs who are punished for undesirable behavior instead of being rewarded for positive behavior may stop interacting with their owners in an attempt to avoid punishment. They adopt a depressive state of mind called “learned helplessness” because they feel powerless to avoid negative situations.

I can’t stress strongly enough the importance of positive reinforcement behavior training, not only to help your dog become a good canine citizen, but also to preserve and protect the close and priceless bond you share with him.

5 Tips for Helping a Depressed Dog

1. Keep daily routines as consistent as possible. Pets do best when they know what to expect from one day to the next. Try to keep mealtimes, exercise, walks, playtime, grooming, bedtime and other daily activities on a consistent schedule. Exercise is a powerful tool to help increase your pooch’s endorphins, or “feel good” hormones. Lots of walks (with plenty of opportunities to sniff) can be a powerful mood enhancer.

2. Keep your dog’s diet and mealtimes the same and spice up what’s on the menu. It’s important to continue to offer him the same food he’s used to, at the same time each day, but if you find your dog isn’t interested in eating much, consider offering a yummy knucklebone for dessert, or make a tasty treat for training time that he hasn’t had before.

Store what he doesn’t eat in the fridge, and offer it to him again at his next regularly scheduled mealtime. Use his hunger to help him get his appetite back by resisting the urge to entice him with unhealthy food toppers.

3. Be careful not to inadvertently reward your dog’s depression. It’s only natural to want to comfort your sad pet, but unfortunately, giving attention to a dog who is displaying an undesirable behavior can reinforce the behavior. Obviously the last thing you want to do is reward a lack of appetite, inactivity or other types of depressed behavior in your dog. Instead, you want to help her over the hump.

A better idea is to try to distract her with healthy, fun activities that provide opportunities for positive behavior reinforcement. This can be a walk, short training sessions, a game of fetch, nose work or offering her a food puzzle toy or recreational bone.

4. Give it time. Your dog’s depression may take a few days or even weeks to blow over, but eventually most pets return to their normal lively selves. If at any point you feel your pet is suffering unnecessarily or there is something more going on than a case of the blues, I recommend discussing the situation with your vet or a veterinary behaviorist.

5. Use natural remedies, if needed. There are some excellent homeopathic and Bach flower remedies that can be easily administered to your depressed dog until you see an emotional shift for the better. Some of my favorites include homeopathic Ignatia, several Bach flower remedies including Mustard and Honeysuckle, and Green Hope Farm Grief and Loss.  Custom treatment bottles for your unique situation can be obtained from Diane Weinmann at Dianefortheloveofanimals@yahoo.com.

 

The EYES have it!

by Joshua Corn

Is Your Dog or Cat’s Vision Deteriorating? Most Likely YES!

It’s often said that eyes are the window to the soul, and your pet’s eyes are certainly no exception.

Maintaining healthy vision is vital for the well-being of dogs and cats as they age. Our pets use their eyes to communicate with us, and to navigate the world around them.

Did you know that your pet relies on their eyes to communicate with you? That’s right, the results of a new study found that dogs especially rely on establishing eye contact with you in order to communicate.[4]

Vision Loss Is Your Pet’s Worst Enemy, Too

Dogs and cats, like us humans, experience eye changes as they age, such as retinal and lens functional decline, hardening and clouding of the lens, and accumulated oxidative damage due to environmental factors (like UV radiation from the sun).[1,2]

Along with the many external factors that can speed up deterioration, genetics play a large role in your pet’s eye health, too. And unfortunately, many breeds have predispositions to certain eye conditions (more on that later).[3]

So if you want to take one big step toward helping your beloved furry friend stay healthy and active for years to come, then please don’t ignore the problem of vision loss.

So it’s critical you take special care of your pet’s eyes over the years and look out for any signs of trouble. As a loving pet owner, be sure to watch out for these symptoms:[3]

Signs Your Pet’s Eye Health is in Danger

  •  Squinting
  •  Eye drainage
  •  Rubbing of eyes
  •  Swelling around eyes
  •  Visible third eyelid
  •  Reduced playfulness
  •  Change in eye color
  •  Cloudy eyes
  •  Unequal pupil size
  • Eye redness

These all-too-prevalent signs can be indicators of…

Common Eye Problems in Aging Pets

Any changes in your pet’s eyes, or behaviors that signify ocular irritations, need to be examined as soon as possible, because they can indicate a severe underlying problem.

Widespread vision ailments in pets include:

Retinal Issues: A leading cause of abrupt vision loss in dogs, retinal problems plague thousands of dogs per year.[5,6] These alarming issues typically go unnoticed by pet owners due to their slow development — it can take months for visual lesions or warnings of vision deterioration to become apparent. And then, blindness can suddenly ensue. Retinal problems have infected many different breeds (including felines), and are more common in middle-aged dogs.[7]

Increased Eye Pressure: This common issue is marked by an increase in pressure in the eye leading to blindness, and it can be highly painful for your dog or cat. Certain dog breeds are innately predisposed to the problem including Cocker Spaniels, Beagles and Jack Russell Terriers, but an increase in eye pressure can also result from inflammation, trauma, tumors, oxidative stress and more. Unfortunately, in most cases, it can go undetected until it’s too late.[7,8]

Lens Issues: Classified as opacities of the lens, these can decrease vision, cause inflammation in the eye, and even result in blindness.[9] Lens issues are common in dogs, and many breeds are genetically predisposed to them including Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, Golden and Labrador Retrievers, Huskies and terriers. Additional causes of these problems include blood sugar imbalances, trauma and inflammation.[7,10]

Dry Eye: This all-too-common health issue is the result of inadequate tear production. It is prevalent in various dog breeds including Cocker Spaniels, Bulldogs, Shih Tzus, Schnauzers and West Highland White Terriers (“Westies”). When left untreated, prolonged eye dryness can severely disrupt the cornea and ultimately result in impaired eyesight.[7]

With the alarming abundance of hidden vision traumas in pets, it’s important to remember that it’s never too early to start caring for your pet’s eye health.