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Never Punish Your Pet for This Accident!

Video: Urinary Incontinence in Dogs and Cats

Dr. Karen BeckerBy Dr. Karen Becker – HuffPo

Please note this article addresses involuntary passage of urine only, and isn’t intended to cover other urination-related problems like too-frequent urination or behavioral-related problems like submissive urination.

Involuntary Passage of Urine

Involuntary passage of urine normally occurs while your pet is asleep or resting. When she stands up, you notice urine leakage. It can be just a small wet spot or a good-sized puddle, depending on how much urine is being unintentionally passed.

It’s important to understand your pet isn’t intentionally leaking urine. She has no control over what’s happening. This is not a behavioral problem, it’s a medical problem — so trying to correct or punish your pet is a bad idea on multiple levels.

In fact, many pets become very distressed to realize they are passing urine in places other than a designated potty spot. A housebroken dog or any kitty accustomed to using a litter box will be confused and even ashamed to know they are leaving urine in inappropriate spots.

Causes of Urinary Incontinence

There are a lot of causes for involuntary passage of urine, especially in dogs:

• Central nervous system trauma. If your pet’s brain or spinal cord isn’t signaling correctly to the bladder, this miscommunication can cause urine dribbling.
• Damage to the pudendal nerve. If the pudendal nerve, which works the neck of your pet’s bladder, is impinged, the bladder neck can remain slightly open, allowing urine leakage.
• Disease of the bladder, kidneys or adrenals, Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism and diabetes can all cause dribbling of urine.
• Bladder stones. A dog with a bladder stone will often strain while trying to urinate. If you’ve noticed this behavior with your pet, you need to consider the possibility of bladder stones.
• Birth defects. Birth defects — structural abnormalities existing from birth — can cause incontinence. If your puppy has been difficult or impossible to housetrain, there could be a birth defect present. Some dog breeds have more of these types of from-birth plumbing problems than others.
• Urethral obstruction. Obstruction of the urethra can also cause involuntary passage of urine. A tumor can obstruct urine flow and cause dribbling. So can urethral stones.
• Age-related urinary incontinence. Older pets can develop weak pelvic floors or poor bladder tone which can result in urine dribbling. If your dog has signs of canine senility or dementia, he can also simply forget to signal you when he needs to potty outside. His bladder can overfill, and there can be leakage.
• Feline leukemia. For reasons not well understood, some kitties positive for feline leukemia have urine leakage. If your cat starts dribbling urine, it is more than likely a medical issue requiring veterinary care.

Hormone-Induced Urinary Incontinence

Hands down, the most common reason for involuntary urine leakage, especially in dogs, is hormone-induced urinary incontinence.

After a pet is spayed or neutered, the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone, which are necessary to help close the external urethral sphincter, are no longer available. This often results in urine dribbling.

Hormone-induced urinary incontinence is extremely common in spayed female dogs, and somewhat less common in neutered males. These are typically healthy, vibrant pets that just happen to dribble urine anywhere from multiple times a day to just once or twice a year.

Treatment for Urinary Incontinence

The cause of your pet’s urinary incontinence will dictate what treatment she receives.

If there’s an underlying disease process or structural abnormality causing the problem, and it can be corrected through medical management and/or surgery, that’s obviously the way to go.

If your pet is diagnosed with hormone-induced urinary incontinence, I strongly recommend you consider treating the problem naturally.

I successfully treat cases of hormone-induced urinary incontinence with glandular therapy, as well as natural, biologically appropriate (non-synthetic) hormone replacement therapy and a few excellent herbal remedies.

I also use acupuncture to improve function of the pudendal nerve and control or stimulate sufficient closure of the external urethral sphincter. Chiropractic care can also keep the CNS working properly, aiding in normal bladder and neurologic function.

I urge you to start with natural remedies, because some of the traditional drugs used to treat urinary incontinence are potentially toxic with side effects that can create more problems than they solve.

As always, I recommend you have a holistic vet on your pet’s treatment team.

Dogs with incontinence that can’t be completely resolved can be fitted with dog bloomers or panties with absorbent pads — you can even use human disposable diapers and cut a hole for the tail. Just remember that urine is caustic and should not remain on your pet’s skin for long periods, so if you use diapers, be sure to change them frequently or remove them during times when your pet isn’t apt to be incontinent.

For more by Dr. Karen Becker, click here.

For more on pet health, click here.

Dr. Karen Becker is a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian. You can visit her site at: MercolaHealthyPets.com.

Her goal is to help you create wellness in order to prevent illness in the lives of your pets. This proactive approach seeks to save you and your pet from unnecessary stress and suffering by identifying and removing health obstacles even before disease occurs. Unfortunately, most veterinarians in the United States are trained to be reactive. They wait for symptoms to occur, and often treat those symptoms without addressing the root cause.

By reading Dr. Becker’s information, you’ll learn how to make impactful, consistent lifestyle choices to improve your pet’s quality of life.

July 13, 2014 Posted by | animal behavior, Animal Related Education, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Meowsa! Do our pets go to Heaven?

WND: While millions of people grapple with questions about what really happens when they die, now a brand-new book is probing what might actually happen to people’s beloved pets.

The title of the book asks the timeless question, “Do Our Pets Go to Heaven?” and features biblical analysis of the issue, along with amazing stories of pets that saved people and provided companionship as well as healing.

“I must admit I cannot recount the number of times when, as a pastor of more than two decades and as a public and media personality since, I have been approached by an adult or child – eyes filled with questions – who wanted to ask me very sincerely if I believed their pets would go to heaven,” says Tom Horn, who co-authored the book with Terry James and other contributors.

“It seems to be one of the biggest secrets in Christianity,” Horn continued, “that our Western mindset has made it difficult to discuss what people in other countries as well as theologians down through time believed to be an important and theological question. Most are also usually unaware that the Bible itself has some important things to say about the issue, and that many celebrated theologians and philosophers – past and present – concluded a long time ago based on these Scriptures that our pets most likely will be in heaven.”

Video: Do Our Pets Go To Heaven?

Ironically, the Bible itself doesn’t even say the ultimate reward of saved men and women will be floating on clouds in the sky, but it does indicate Jesus Christ will raise His true believers from the grave, grant them eternal life, return to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and rule with them here on planet Earth.

Yet there are plenty of verses in Scripture indicating the presence of animals in the coming kingdom of God.

The prophet Isaiah is famous for this future glimpse depicting people dwelling with animals, whose aggressive nature will have been reprogrammed and tamed by God in the kingdom:

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:6–9)

Horn writes in a chapter of his book:

Indeed, we find that God values His living artistry so much that He even made some of the angelic beings to reflect the animal’s faces (see Revelation 4:6–8; Ezekiel 10:14). In addition to their artistic value, God loves the company of these creatures to the point that not even a tiny sparrow falls to the ground that He doesn’t account for (Matthew 10:29). Another amazing example of God’s concern for animals comes from the story of Jonah, in which it appears that the people of Nineveh were spared destruction because God wanted to have mercy on their children and animals (see Jonah 4:11)! Of course, to the delight of my wife, Nita, God is an equestrian and has already filled Heaven with lots and lots of horses (Revelation 6:2–8; 19:11; 2 Kings 6:17). His Son, Jesus, will even return someday on one such horse (Revelation 19:11–14).

It is further written in the Bible that:

  • God holds the lives of animals in His hands (Job 12:10).
  • He, Himself, feeds them (Psalms 104:21–30; Matthew 6:26).
  • They were created for His enjoyment (Revelation 4:11).
  • God never forgets about them (Matthew 10:29; Luke 12:6).
  • People who mistreat their pets are judged by Him as “cruel” (Proverbs 12:10).
  • Those who treat their pets kindly are called “righteous” (Proverbs 12:10).

Horn notes the idea of pets in heaven is not some rogue notion among famous Christians, stating, “Billy Graham, C.S. Lewis, Mark Hitchcock, Dr. David Reagan, and hundreds of other clergy and theologians agree that the chances are very good our pets will be in heaven.”

When Graham was once asked by a little girl whose dog had died that week whether her pet would be in heaven, he replied, “If it would make you any happier, then yes, he will be.”

Horn also cites verses in Scripture stating it won’t be just resurrected human beings offering praise to God in the future:

Animals are included with men as those who are commanded to praise the Lord! This was true in the Old Testament in places such as Psalms 148:10–13, where we read:

“Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl: Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth: Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: Let them praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.”

And this amazing fact – that animals praise the Lord – will also be true in the future, as they are seen offering praise unto the Lamb of God extending into eternity in Revelation 5:13:

“And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.”

But the idea that pets go to heaven or have a similar reward to obedient human servants of God is certainly not ubiquitous among faithful believers who study the Bible.

Among them is Philip Shields, a Christian speaker and online host of LightontheRock.org, who stresses there’s a clear distinction in the book of Genesis at the time animals and mankind were created.

“Elohim (God) spoke all things – including animals – into existence,” he explained. “But to mankind only did He breathe His breath into. All humans have a spirit in man, and that spirit goes back to God after our death. But not animals’ spirits.”

He cites Ecclesiastes 3:21, which states: “Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit (breath) of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?”

Shields says, “It is this spirit in man that gives us mind (Job 32:8), enabling there to be an interface with God’s spirit so we can understand godly things, which animals don’t. Animals have their own breath, ruach [in Hebrew], or spirit, but that goes back to the earth. Man is the only one that God did mouth-to-mouth on. That did not happen to hippopotamuses and alligators, or to dogs or cats. I think that’s an important distinction, that they don’t have the breath of God.”

“I’d love to think my beloved Duchess would be resurrected or something, but I don’t think so,” he added.

“And where do you draw the line? Are the bad animals – maneaters, for example – burning in hell? Is every cockroach or mongoose or tarantula up there, too, by the billions and trillions? How about the trillions of ants and mosquitoes? And if not, why not?”

Shields also asks rhetorically, “Did Christ die for animals, too? Can animals sin?”

Anyone searching the Internet for answers about pets going to heaven will find no shortage of posts on the matter.

ClarifyingChristianity.com offers a study on the matter, and agrees animals will be present in God’s coming kingdom. However, it points out “the question is ‘Were these animals new creations or do these animals include reborn earthly creatures?’”

By the end of its treatment, the site says, “The Bible is silent regarding an afterlife for animals. However, we do have one hope. The key passage for this question does not deal with animals directly, but rather God’s promise to those who inherit God’s kingdom – those people who have gotten right with God and will go to heaven themselves. For them, the passage in 1 Corinthians chapter 2 [verse 9] applies:

“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’”

“Obviously, what God has prepared for us is wonderful beyond comprehension. Therefore, love your pets as much as you can while they are here. Those of us who go to heaven will later understand that everything worked out perfectly regarding our pets.”

Related:

Pets and Heaven 

Heaven and Pets

Meredith and Abbey… A Beautiful Soul at the Post Office

Rainbow Bridge

Sometimes “Rainbow Bridge” Prayers Are Answered

Critter for Christmas Gift… Not Best Idea!

Pet owners cut back on gifts… but not for their cuddly dogs and cats

Is Your Pet a Voiceless Victim of the Tanking Economy?

Until One Has Loved an Animal, Part of Their Soul Remains Unawakened’ 

Help Your Dying Pet End Life in a Kind and Gentle Way

Life in a Dog Pack: Old Age

Beck family spends time with Victor – Photos

The Kindest Decision – In Home Euthanasia for Pets

Pet Age

The Nutrient Your Pet Needs More of As They Age: Protein

World’s Oldest Dog Dies At Age 26….Requiescat in pace

The Lottie June Show – WORLD’S OLDEST CHIHUAHUA

How Long Will Your Dog Be with You? It Depends Heavily on This…

Part 2 of Dr. Becker’s Interview with Bestselling Author Ted Kerasote: The Seven Factors that Determine How Long Your Dog Will Live

Pet owners turning to non-traditional

A Natural Herb That Fights Cancer, or Chemotherapy for Your Sick Pet… Which Would You Choose?

Adopt a Senior Pet…

WCBM’s Les Kinsolving’s beautiful tribute to Brendan, Griffen, and all dogs and dog owners

Heaven and Pets

If I Should Die Before My Dog…

Tails of Love

‘Dogs Have The Intelligence of a Human Toddler’

Do Dogs Go To Heaven?

And God Created Dog…

Dogs Know

On the First Day God Created the Dog!

A Dog’s Purpose – Out of the Mouth of Babes

Are Our Pets Spiritual Assignments

GoD and DoG

Dog, truly a gift! 

The Kindest Decision – In Home Euthanasia for Pets

Tribute to Brendon Griffen… 

‘Dogs Have The Intelligence of a Human Toddler’

How Long Will Your Dog Be with You? It Depends Heavily on This…

Books

Canine and Feline Geriatric Oncology: Honoring the Human-Animal Bond (Kindle)

Help Your Dog Fight Cancer: What Every Caretaker Should Know About Canine Cancer, Featuring Bullet’s Survival Story, 2nd Edition

December 3, 2013 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Help Your Dying Pet End Life in a Kind and Gentle Way

Story at-a-glance
  • Dr. Becker interviews Dr. Alice Villalobos, a veterinary oncologist and leader in the field of end-of-life care and pawspice (pet hospice).
  • Dr. Alice, as she is known, realized as a vet student that veterinary oncology was the field she wanted to practice in. She also saw a tremendous need for end-of-life care services for companion animals. When she went into private practice, Dr. Villalobos made the decision to care for each of her patients all the way through their illness to the end of their lives.
  • Dr. Alice created the term “pawspice” to distinguish the goals of hospice care for pets from what happens in human hospice. She also developed the HHHHHMM quality of life scale for pets with cancer that has gone viral.
  • Since the publishing of Dr. Villalobos’s textbook in 2007, the subject of pet hospice and end-of-life care is being covered in an increasing number of veterinary schools. In fact, it is currently the fastest-growing specialty service in veterinary medicine.
  • One of the ways pawspice differs from hospice is the incorporation of palliative medicine, which is geared toward alleviating symptoms that cause anxiety, distress and pain. It involves using standard medicines in different ways to help trigger temporary remission without adverse events in the patient, thereby improving quality of life and happiness for pets at the end of their lives.

Video: Dr. Karen Becker Interviews Dr. Alice Villalobos

Dr. Karen Becker, a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian, interviews Dr. Alice Villalobos regarding veterinary hospice.

    By Dr. Becker

    Today I have a very special guest chatting with me via Skype — Dr. Alice Villalobos. “Dr. Alice,” as she is known, is a University of California-Davis graduate, the director of Pawspice in Hermosa Beach, and she also runs the Animal Oncology Consultation Service in Woodland Hills.

    Dr. Villalobos is a founding member of the Veterinary Cancer Society, the Association for Veterinary Family Practice, and the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care. She’s also the past president of the Society for Veterinary Medical Ethics and founder of the Peter Zippi Memorial Fund for Animals, which has found homes for 14,000 pets since 1977, primarily cats.

    Dr. Villalobos is editor-in-chief for several veterinary-related journals, and she has authored textbooks including Canine and Feline Geriatric Oncology: Honoring the Human-Animal Bond (Kindle). She also writes a column titled The Bond and Beyond for Veterinary Practice News.

    Dr. Villalobos has received the Leo Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year award, the UC Davis Alumni Achievement award for her pioneering role in bringing oncology services to companion animals, and a Distinguished Practitioner of the National Academies of Practice award. She lectures worldwide on veterinary oncology, companion animal quality of life issues, and “pawspice,” or veterinary hospice, which is the topic of our discussion today.

    Dr. Villalobos made the decision when she entered private practice to see her cancer patients through to the end of their lives.

    I asked Dr. Alice, since she has been a veterinarian for many years, how soon into her career she realized there was a huge gap in end-of-life care services for pets.

    She explained that she was still in veterinary school when she decided to practice oncology, and her animal patients had their end-of-life experiences right there at UC Davis. So Dr. Villalobos was able to see the gap in services first-hand while still a vet student.

    When she went into private practice, she made the decision to see her patients all the way through to the end of their lives, unlike what happened back in those days (1970s) in human medicine, when no one wanted to discuss death. This predated the human hospice movement and the concept of helping people die peacefully, without pain.

    Dr. Alice decided to work with her animal patients and their families right through to the very end of the journey. Fortunately, we are able to help pets have a very peaceful passing because society condones euthanasia for animals. Dr. Villalobos made it a point to talk about the subject with each family from the first day she felt euthanasia was inevitable for their pet.

    Next I asked Dr. Villalobos who she sought counsel from originally, since back in the 1970s there weren’t any mentors or role models for treating pets at the end of life. She answered that in the late 1960s and early 1970s at UC Davis, there was a very special pioneer in the field of animal oncology, Dr. Gordon Theilen.

    Dr. Theilen wrote the first two textbooks on veterinary cancer medicine. Dr. Alice considers him a great role model who is filled with compassion. She mentions Leo Bustad as a role model as well. He was also a part of the UC Davis team and was responsible for the term “human-animal bond.”

    Dr. Villalobos noticed that pet owners would come into her practice wanting to keep their dog or cat with them for as long as possible. They didn’t want a replacement. They wanted to get treatments for their pets and when the time came, they wanted to insure their animals were able to pass on in the right way – at home, with the best of care, surrounded by their human family.

    Dr. Alice looked into what was being done with pediatric oncology. She interviewed human patients and asked questions like, “You have this cancer. How does it feel?” Part of the reason for her research was because at vet school, she was taught animals don’t experience pain on the level they actually, in fact, do. Back in those days, rather than being given pain medications, animals were restrained for procedures and prevented from moving after surgery. Fortunately, all that has changed.

    As a member of the International Veterinary Association of Pain Management, Dr. Alice knows that veterinary hospice practitioners must have extensive knowledge and expertise in pain management, because it is one of the biggest problems for cancer patients (both human and animal) at the end of their lives.

    Taking treatment of terminally ill pets and end-of-life care to the next level.

    I asked Dr. Villalobos if, when she first got started, she was met with conflict. Were her colleagues confused? Did they question her? She replied, “Dr. Becker, I’m still pulling the arrows out of my back.” I asked her to expand on the conflicts and confrontations she has encountered.

    Dr. Alice explained that back in the early 1970s, treating a cat with both leukemia and FIP was “almost blasphemy.” People thought, “What is she doing?” But at UC Davis, they treated cats with lymphoma, and the most likely cat to have lymphoma was also positive for the leukemia virus.

    Dr. Theilen was the doctor who isolated the three subtypes of the leukemia virus that ultimately resulted in a vaccine. UC Davis was working extensively with leukemias and lymphomas in felines. In fact, Dr. Niels Pedersen of UC Davis is the person who characterized the FIP virus and discovered the feline immunodeficiency virus.

    Dr. Alice explains she was surrounded by fantastic researchers and a wonderful atmosphere. When she finished vet school, she was actually in the midst of a “mock” residency with Dr. Theilen who wanted to put a veterinary student through a clinical oncology program. So Dr. Villalobos actually began her residency while still a sophomore in vet school, and she continued that work for Dr. Theilen through her next three years of school.

    So in addition to the stigma attached to treating viropositive animals, Dr. Villalobos also had a passion for helping them die well. I asked her what kind of response she received. She answered that most of her colleagues felt they were already doing that – providing animals with a good end of life experience. But as she further explains, it requires a certain expertise. Palliative medicine is a specialty. She expects at some point it will become a specialty in veterinary medicine just as it is in human medicine.

    Dr. Alice goes on to explain that hospice is another area of expertise. She views it as, “The types of psychology that we need to know to help comfort the bewildered, bereft, grieving, and the anticipatory grief that comes through, even suicide. People feel that they can’t go on another day.”

    When a pet dies, veterinary professionals need to be well versed in all these forms of psychotherapy, comfort care and grief counseling. It’s a necessary service, but in a busy practice, when a DVM isn’t accustomed to working with end-of-life care patients and clients, it just doesn’t happen.

    Dr. Alice’s “pawspice” concept and the HHHHHMM quality of life scale.

    End-of-life care hasn’t been taught in vet schools. Students are taught how to euthanize animals, but that’s about it. I do think palliative medicine is coming, though, and certainly pain management is even farther along, thankfully. But putting all those pieces together to offer truly thoughtful, heartfelt support isn’t there yet.

    I asked Dr. Villalobos if she thinks vet school courses are addressing some of these skills today. She replied she believes they are coming along. She says that after her textbook arrived in 2007, vet schools quickly took the book into their libraries, and some of the programs that were developed even taught pawspice.

    Dr. Alice explains she wanted to call pet hospice “pawspice” because the word hospice is actually very confusing for those who want to adapt the concept for veterinary medicine. She says that in human hospice, the arrival of death isn’t slowed down. Patients receive pain management, but what everyone is doing is simply waiting for the patient to die.

    In veterinary medicine, we can apply a quality of life scale to each patient. In fact, a scale that Dr. Villalobos proposed in 2004 went viral. It went everywhere. It’s the HHHHHMM scale. It’s designed to be easy to remember. The five H’s are for:

    … no Hurt
    … good Hydration
    … no Hunger
    … good Hygiene
    Happiness

    Hurt, Hydration, Hunger, Hygiene, and Happiness. These are the five basic areas that pawspice professionals must be able to talk to their clients about.

    The first M is for Mobility. This is extremely important for large pets, for example, Great Danes. If a Great Dane can’t move around on his own, it’s over unless there are some very strong family members who can physically move the dog as often as necessary. In smaller animals, mobility isn’t such a huge factor. On the quality of life scale, they can have a score of 0 all the way up to 10 and still be okay. It’s similar to people in wheelchairs – they can have great quality of life even though they don’t have full mobility.

    The second M is for More good days than bad days. This is something the pet’s family has to focus on. Is this a good day for Buddy? Or is this a bad day? If there are more bad days, say two or three or four in a row and no really good days, it’s time for the family to consider the gift of euthanasia.

    Our pets only think in present time. They exist in the now. Even if you’re five hours late coming home, they are still full of joy and not mad at you. They’re just happy to see you now, because they exist in the now. If they’re suffering now, that’s all they know, and if there are too many times of suffering, frustration builds up.

    Sometimes people don’t understand this. It can be difficult to understand things from a pet’s viewpoint. When there are more bad days than good days, our pets welcome the gift of euthanasia. They don’t need to live for the graduation of a niece or nephew. They’re not looking back with regret and hoping to reconcile with someone before they die. The human hospice philosophy simply doesn’t apply at the end of an animal’s life. They’re here to enjoy the moment. It their quality of life is poor, it’s up to us as their protectors not to make them endure further suffering.

    This is the way Dr. Alice talks to her clients, “You are his protector. Buddy needs you to make the decision to help him, you know, change worlds.” She says Barbara Myers, a pet loss consultant, uses that beautiful phrase, “Let’s help them change worlds.” It’s often comforting to families to use euphemisms like “transitioning,” or “crossing the Rainbow Bridge.” It’s not necessary to use tough words when talking about the death of a beloved companion animal. Families, and especially children, welcome thoughtful, loving words to describe what will be happening to their pet.

    End-of-life care/pet hospice is the fastest-growing specialty in veterinary medicine today.

    Next I asked Dr. Alice about her passion for teaching and consulting other professionals and vet schools about end-of-life care for pets. She explained that she has taught all over the world, and her textbook is translated into Spanish and Portuguese. When she goes to Portugal, Spain, or South America, she’s treated like a celebrity!

    Dr. Villalobos is also well known in the U.S. for being one of the leaders of the pet hospice movement. She says her decision to treat pets with cancer in vet school was pivotal in creating a specialty service for animals in the final stages of life. She says it’s the fastest-growing specialty service in all of veterinary medicine. New veterinarians in particular are really embracing pet hospice.

    Dr. Villalobos says one of the reasons for its popularity is that DVMs can set up an independent practice. They can do house calls. This is especially attractive to young DVMs who may not be able to find a practice they really like, or who work at a practice in which the owners want them to work more hours than they can handle while raising a family. Going the house call route has worked out very nicely for many of these young vets.

    Dr. Stephen Withrow of Colorado State University’s Flint Animal Cancer Center has incorporated hospice and end-of-life care chapters written by Dr. Villalobos in his textbook, and she says his students call her all the time for help. She says CSU has set up a wonderful hospice service, as have a number of other veterinary colleges in the U.S. It’s also a growing movement in Canada, South America and France.

    Helping pet owners give their animals a good quality death.

    Dr. Villalobos is also passionate about using the term “pawspice” for pets to alleviate the confusion and negative impression many people have of hospice services for humans.

    As she explains it, when a pet owner has arrived at those final moments, she or he is often paralyzed with doubt or fear about causing the pet’s passing by making that final decision to euthanize. Dr. Alice sees her job, and the job of all professionals in the specialty, to help comfort those pet owners by letting them know it’s actually a vet’s duty by the oath he or she takes to prevent suffering.

    In my practice, I tell clients that the decision to help their pet transition is, of course, the most difficult decision they may ever make. But I also explain that as their veterinarian, the most important thing I can do is to help their pet die well rather than poorly. I ask them, “Do you want to rip the Band-Aid off really fast, or really slow?” I explain that they will be heartbroken either way, but for their pet’s sake, we can help by offering a good and peaceful transition. A good quality of death.

    Dr. Villalobos believes quality of life/quality of death questions should also apply to humans. She says that if any of you listening or reading here today have a family member or a child with a terminal disease, you should advocate for a quality passing for that person.

    In human medicine, it’s all about what can be done – we can do this, and we can do that, and we can do something else. Even at the end of the road with, say, a cancer that has been resistant to all forms of treatment, someone will come up with yet another treatment that is usually more risky. The patient has an adverse reaction, winds up in the ICU, and has a bad death.

    One of the things I’m so grateful to Dr. Alice for is helping veterinarians understand it’s okay to tell a pet owner, “We’ve pushed this animal far enough.” It’s human nature, especially for optimists like me, to say, “We can try this and this and this” when our patients no longer want to keep going and their bodies are tired. I tell my clients that sometimes the body becomes a cage for the soul, and the body doesn’t work, so they need to think seriously about setting the soul free. Animals can become frustrated or depressed, and there comes a point where we should stop pushing, which actually takes all the pressure off the pet.

    Sometimes we need to give clients permission to say, “You know what? We’re going to stop and we’re going to voluntarily withdraw all treatment.” Instead of trying to cure or change the disease situation, we’re going to switch our focus to helping the animal have a peaceful, good quality death.

    The role of palliative medicine in end-of-life care.

    Dr. Alice has really helped veterinarians understand and be able to talk about dying well versus just euthanasia. There’s a gap between the two. When we have a terminal patient and we know euthanasia is coming, there are things we can do to prepare the family, the pet, and our hearts. Dr. Villalobos has paved the way for veterinarians in this regard and I’m really thankful to her for that.

    She explains that one of the reasons pawspice is different from hospice is that it incorporates palliative medicine, which is a very misunderstood area in human medicine, especially in the U.S. There’s this idea that palliative medicine is “giving up,” but it is not. It is simply taking care of symptoms that cause anxiety, distress and pain. Dr. Villalobos stresses that we use standard medicine inside palliative medicine.

    She says that when a pet patient is diagnosed with a life-limiting cancer, with pawspice what she does is select standard therapy for that patient that will hopefully bring a period of welcome remission. But the therapy isn’t one that will be hard on the animal. It will be something that brings only good days – and few if any bad days. Dr. Alice avoids medications, therapies, treatments and regimens that will result in adverse events for the patient.

    For example, she may use a strong drug, but split it to give in two doses instead of one. The techniques she uses are in her textbook, and many DVMs are adopting them. Dr. Villalobos says it has evolved into something called metronomic therapy, which is a continuous low-dose treatment that reduces the formation of new blood vessels, which all tumors need in order to grow. Sometimes she just tries to control the tumor, maybe slow down the growth a little, while preserving the patient’s level of happiness and quality of life.

    Thank you, Dr. Alice!

    Since not all veterinarians are providing hospice care, I asked Dr. Alice where my Healthy Pets listeners and readers can go to learn more about end-of-life care. She invites everyone to visit her Pawspice website, where you can find lots of information and links to other resources.

    I so appreciate Dr. Villalobos taking the time to speak with me today. I’m grateful for all the work she has done and continues to do for sick and terminally ill animals.

    Related:

    Life in a Dog Pack: Old Age

    Beck family spends time with Victor – Photos

    The Kindest Decision – In Home Euthanasia for Pets

    Pet Age

    The Nutrient Your Pet Needs More of As They Age: Protein

    World’s Oldest Dog Dies At Age 26….Requiescat in pace

    The Lottie June Show – WORLD’S OLDEST CHIHUAHUA

    How Long Will Your Dog Be with You? It Depends Heavily on This…

    Part 2 of Dr. Becker’s Interview with Bestselling Author Ted Kerasote: The Seven Factors that Determine How Long Your Dog Will Live

    Pet owners turning to non-traditional

    A Natural Herb That Fights Cancer, or Chemotherapy for Your Sick Pet… Which Would You Choose?

    ‘Until One Has Loved an Animal, Part of Their Sour Remains Unawakened’

    Adopt a Senior Pet…

    WCBM’s Les Kinsolving’s beautiful tribute to Brendan, Griffen, and all dogs and dog owners

    Heaven and Pets

    If I Should Die Before My Dog…

    Tails of Love

    ‘Dogs Have The Intelligence of a Human Toddler’

    Do Dogs Go To Heaven?

    And God Created Dog…

    Dogs Know

    On the First Day God Created the Dog!

    Meredith and Abbey… A Beautiful Soul at the Post Office

    A Dog’s Purpose – Out of the Mouth of Babes

    And God Created Dog…

    Are Our Pets Spiritual Assignments

    GoD and DoG

    Dog, truly a gift!

    Rainbow Bridge…

    Books

    Canine and Feline Geriatric Oncology: Honoring the Human-Animal Bond (Kindle)

    Help Your Dog Fight Cancer: What Every Caretaker Should Know About Canine Cancer, Featuring Bullet’s Survival Story, 2nd Edition

    August 30, 2013 Posted by | Animal Related Education, Holistic Pet Health, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership, Stop Euthenization | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

    Your Dog’s Tongue Is a Major Indicator of Health – What to Look For

    Story at-a-glance
    • Your dog’s tongue is actually a very important organ, with functions beyond giving sloppy kisses! The tongue is muscled and versatile, and together with the teeth and mouth, comprises what we call the oral cavity.
    • The main jobs of your dog’s tongue are to bring food and water into the mouth and aid in chewing and swallowing; help to regulate body temperature through panting; clean the body; and lick sore spots and wounds on the skin to hasten healing.
    • There are several canine tongue disorders dog owners should be aware of, including inflammation, ulceration, trauma to the tongue, oral papillomatosis (warts), and tumors.
    • Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners use the appearance, color and texture of different areas of the tongue as markers for how well various organ systems within the body are functioning.
    • If you notice that your pet’s tongue is changing shape, color, or texture, or if you notice a new bump or lump, it’s worth discussing your concerns with your veterinarian.

    Video: Dr. Becker Talks About Your Dog’s Tongue

    By Dr. Becker

    Today I’d like to talk about, of all things, your dog’s tongue! It’s a small but very important organ, and since dogs do a lot of panting and licking, it’s also an organ we see a lot of!

    Your dog’s tongue is a long, muscled, versatile organ. It’s attached to the back of the mouth by the basihyoid bone.

    The top of the tongue is covered with five types of tiny mushroom-shaped papillae and pores that lead to taste buds. The rest of the tongue is made up of small bundles of muscle, connective tissue, and fatty tissue. It also contains lots of blood vessels, which is why it bleeds like crazy when it gets a cut. All around the tongue are openings to the salivary glands. Together, the tongue, teeth, and mouth comprise the oral cavity.

    Functions of the Tongue

    The canine tongue has many distinct, complex functions it must perform. That’s probably why it’s fed by five separate sets of nerves that come directly from the brain through small openings in the skull. These are cranial nerves, and they originate from the base of the brain rather than from the spinal cord.

    The main purpose of the tongue is to bring food and water into the mouth and allow your dog to taste what he’s eating and drinking. A dog’s tongue can detect the sensations of salty, sweet, and sour taste. The tip of the tongue gives him the ability to taste and lap water. The tongue also assists with chewing and swallowing.

    Your dog’s tongue helps to regulate body temperature as well. As air passes back and forth over the tongue when a dog pants, it cools down the body. (This is how dogs “sweat.”) The cooling is also enhanced as saliva evaporates from the mouth.

    Your dog uses his tongue to clean himself and lick sore spots on his body, as well as to clean up wounds or irritations on his body. Female dogs use their tongue to groom their puppies and also to stimulate urination and defecation by licking the puppy’s urogenital area.

    Common Canine Tongue Disorders

    A problem with your dog’s tongue can be a primary condition or a condition secondary to another problem in the mouth. Signs of a tongue problem can include a reluctance to eat, abnormal chewing motion, excessive drooling, a bloody discharge or a bad smell coming from the mouth.

    Inflammation of the tongue is called glossitis. It can occur alone or in combination with stomatitis (inflammation of the soft tissues of the mouth), gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), or cheilitis (inflammation of the lips). There are a number of possible causes for inflammation of the tongue and mouth, including foreign body ingestion, exposure to toxic chemicals or plants, bacterial or viral infections, immune-mediated disease, metabolic disease, and nutritional disorders.

    Another tongue disorder is ulceration that occurs as a result of systemic diseases like kidney failure or cancer. Ulcerations also develop in a strange, mysterious disease called eosinophilic stomatitis.

    The tongue is also a potential location for tumor growth. Unfortunately, most tumors of the tongue in dogs are malignant (cancerous). Another type of growth on the tongue of dogs is oral papillomatosis, which is caused by the papilloma virus. These growths are actually teeny tiny warts. They kind of resemble tiny cauliflower heads, and they can appear all over the oral cavity. Fortunately, the condition tends to subside or resolve on its own after several weeks.

    Your dog’s tongue can sustain trauma from burns, cuts, punctures, or bites.

    There’s also a disorder that can develop in a dog’s mouth that may initially appear to involve the tongue. It’s called a ranula. It’s actually a cyst that grows on the underside of the tongue, where the sublingual salivary glands stem from. The cyst causes swelling to the point where the tongue can actually be pushed up towards the roof of the mouth or off to the side. Dogs with this condition may have trouble eating, they may drool excessively, or show signs of a painful mouth.

    Flat, black pigmented areas on your dog’s tongue and gums or inside the lips and mouth are perfectly normal. These dark areas are a result of microscopic melanin granules and are nothing to worry about. Often as a dog ages, these melanin areas tend to grow or change shape.

    What isn’t normal is a dark area that’s not flat, but is raised above the surrounding tissues. If you notice any type of dark, pigmented tissue on your dog’s tongue, lips, or anywhere inside the mouth that looks like a bump or is raised instead of flat, it’s important to have your veterinarian look at it right away. It could be a melanoma.

    About half of all cancers affecting dogs’ tongues actually end up being a type of cancer called squamous cell carcinoma. Other types of tumors that can occur in a dog’s mouth are granular cell tumors and mast cell tumors. The earlier one of these cancers is diagnosed and treated, the better your dog’s chances of recovery. If you notice anything of concern in your dog’s mouth, you should have your vet take a look.

    There’s also a condition called cyanosis in which the tongue and gums turn a blue or purplish color as a result of poorly oxygenated blood. Causes for cyanosis are quite serious and include heart and respiratory diseases.

    If your dog is not a breed with a naturally dark tongue like a Chow Chow, and if you notice that your dog’s mucus membranes anywhere in the mouth or on the lips are turning blue or purple, it’s very important that you have your pet seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

    Your Dog’s Tongue as a Measure of Her Health

    I recommend, as a part of your at-home wellness exam, that you include your dog’s tongue in your observations. Look for ulcers, bruises, or bleeding from the tongue or elsewhere in your dog’s mouth.

    Also check for bumps within the oral cavity. Move your finger under each side of the tongue and push it up a bit, so you can get a good look at the underside of the tongue as well as the roof of the mouth.

    Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners use the tongue as a tool to provide additional information about the body’s well-being in conjunction with a physical exam.

    A healthy tongue is normally pink unless, of course, you have a Chow Chow or another black-tongued breed. The tongue should not be coated, and there shouldn’t be any lumps, bumps, growths or raised areas.

    Tongue colors of pale or white, deep red, blue or purple, and yellow orange can be assessed according to TCM principles:

    • A pale or white tongue may be a sign of a weakened body condition. This tongue color is seen in animals with anemia, leukemia, blood pressure problems, loss of blood, edema (fluid retention), generalized weakness, gastric system malfunction/GI issues, lung weakness, malnutrition, and lethargy.
    • A deep red tongue may indicate hyperactivity of one of the organ systems of the body and may involve a bacterial or viral infection, fever, gall bladder or kidney stagnation, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, cancer, or an accumulation of toxins somewhere in the body.
    • A bluish or purple-tinged tongue can suggest pain or congestion somewhere in the body and may point to a problem with the vascular system, heart disease, circulatory problems, respiratory problems, liver disease, toxicosis, organ stress, hepatitis, or autoimmune issues.
    • A yellow-orange tongue may indicate gastritis and gall bladder or liver malfunction.

    TCM practitioners also evaluate any coating on the tongue. For example, if the coating is thick or pasty, it’s frequently a sign of imbalance in the digestive system, which is the largest immunologic system in your dog’s body. This often occurs when there is a yeast overgrowth in the body, and is commonly seen in pets fed grain-based diets that lack the bioavailable nutrients and enzymes required for healthy GI function.

    TCM practitioners also do sort of a “regional analysis” of the tongue. Different areas of the tongue can point to problems with various organ systems within the body.

    All that to say, if you notice that your pet’s tongue is changing shape, color, or texture, or if you notice a new bump or lump, it’s worth discussing your concerns with a holistic veterinarian.

    August 30, 2013 Posted by | Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Holistic Pet Health, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

    Is Your Short-Muzzled Dog Having Breathing Problems?

    Story at-a-glance
    • A recent study conducted in the UK revealed owners of brachycephalic breeds (dogs with short muzzles) often don’t realize their pet is struggling to breathe.
    • A problem common in these dogs is brachycephalic airway syndrome, which includes a number of upper respiratory problems affecting the nose, mouth and/or throat of pets with “pushed in” faces.
    • “Brachys” have constricted upper jaws, which causes the soft tissue to be crammed within the skull. Symptoms of brachycephalic airway syndrome include noisy or labored breathing, gagging, choking, problems breathing during physical exertion, and overheating.
    • Breathing problems can prevent your dog from enjoying the simplest things in life, like eating, sleeping, play and exercise. In dogs with severe airway obstruction, the struggle to breathe can be continuous. Left untreated, the situation gets progressively worse, as do the symptoms.
    • It’s important for owners of brachycephalic breeds to understand the difference between normal and abnormal breathing sounds in their dog, and to see the vet if they notice any unusual breathing or other signs of respiratory distress.

    By Dr. Becker

    A recent study points to the possibility that owners of brachycephalic breeds (dogs with “pushed in” faces) mistake significant breathing difficulties in their pets for normal respiratory sounds.

    The Royal Veterinary College at the University of London conducted a survey of the owners of 285 dogs who brought their pets to the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals for various reasons during a five-month period.

    Thirty-one of the 285 dogs, including Boston terriers, bulldogs, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, French bulldogs, Pekingese and pugs, had been diagnosed with brachycephalic airway syndrome.

    Brachycephalic airway syndrome describes a number of upper respiratory problems affecting the nose, mouth and throat of dogs (and some cats) as a result of abnormal skull structure.

    What surprised the Royal Veterinary College researchers was the fact that despite the dogs’ owners reporting significant respiratory symptoms, they did not believe their pets had breathing problems.

    Breathing Difficulties Assumed to Be Normal

    Short-muzzled dogs, or “brachys,” have constricted upper jaws, which causes the soft tissue to be compressed within the skull. Many of these dogs develop brachycephalic airway syndrome. Signs of the condition include noisy or labored breathing, gagging, choking, problems breathing with even minor physical exertion, and a tendency to overheat.

    Every owner of a brachy said their dog snored – some even while awake – compared with fewer than two percent of non-brachycephalic dogs. But well over half the owners did not believe their pet had breathing difficulties, even though the majority of dogs had problems during exercise.

    According to researchers, this indicates many owners of pets with brachycephalic airway syndrome don’t realize a problem exists and don’t seek help from a veterinarian. According to Rowena Packer of the Royal Veterinary College and one of the study researchers:

    "Our study clearly shows that owners of brachycephalic dogs often dismiss the signs of this potentially severe breathing disorder as normal and are prepared to tolerate a high degree of respiratory compromise in their pets before seeking help. It may require a particularly acute attack, such as the dog losing consciousness, for owners to perceive a problem."

    Many owners who were surveyed seemed to believe breathing difficulties aren’t really a problem if the dog is short-muzzled. One owner’s comment: “No to breathing problem – other than being a Bulldog.”

    Dr. Charlotte Burn, lead researcher, warns that while short muzzles may be appealing-looking, owners of brachy breeds need to be aware the cute appearance often comes at a serious price to the dog. “Just because a problem is common, that doesn’t make it less of a problem for the individuals who suffer it,” says Burn.

    Helping Your Brachy Breathe Better

    Breathing difficulties can prevent your pet from being able to enjoy the very simplest things dogs naturally love to do, like eating, sleeping, play and exercise.

    Dogs with severe brachycephalic airway syndrome can have almost continuous difficulty getting enough air. It’s not unusual for these dogs to collapse from lack of oxygen.

    Left untreated, the problems tend to progress over time, with worsening symptoms.

    The Royal Veterinary College researchers encourage parents of brachycephalic breeds to learn the difference between normal and abnormal breathing sounds in their dogs, and to make an appointment with a vet if they notice any unusual breathing or other signs of respiratory distress.

    Unfortunately, surgery is often the only option to resolve significant breathing difficulties resulting from brachycephalic airway syndrome. The treatment goal is to surgically remove the tissues or structures causing airway obstruction.

    Things you can do as the owner of a brachy include keeping your dog fit and trim. Overweight and obese dogs have much more serious respiratory difficulties than pets who are kept at an ideal weight.

    Keeping your dog out of hot, humid environments is also important to support normal respiration and prevent overheating.

    And since stress exacerbates virtually every health problem, especially breathing difficulties, keeping your dog’s life as stress-free as possible is also recommended to support your pet’s health and quality of life.

    Related:

    Reverse Sneezing, Chihuahua Honks or Mechanosensitive Aspiration Reflex

    Collar to Keep Track of Dogs’ Temperature is in the Works

    K-9 dies after being left in hot patrol car

    See: Temperatures Are Rising: Be a Dog Defender: Help Save Animals This Summer! Cool Ideas for Hot Dogs – Please be proactive and vocal… you could be saving a life and definitely saving animals of a lot of suffering!!

    August 24, 2012 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Chiweenie, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

    Pennsylvania… Puppy Mill Capital, USA???

    Thanks to “Nightline” for the episode about puppy mills in Pennsylvania.  Watch the video, and think about it before purchasing a puppy in a petstore.  Sadly by “saving” that one pup from the store, you are causing several more to suffer.  This will only stop if we quit shopping and supporting these types of stores!

    Source: Sandi’s  K9  Management

    Posted:  Just One More Pet

    July 10, 2009 Posted by | animal abuse, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rescues, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Abuse, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty, Success Stories, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments