The worst situation in the world

A couple of days ago, the wonderful Dr. Nancy Kay posted a story I hope all parents (human and pet) read about the trend of kids and dogs in pictures getting into potentially scary situations.

If you haven’t read it yet, she punctuated the apprehension she feels seeing pictures like this:

oh god

And this:

oh boy

with a story from her own practice, where a parent disregards her attempts to help her children interact with their dog more safely. And the story ends, after the dog bites one of the children in the face, with Dr. Kay tearfully euthanizing the dog after another home could not be found.

While most of the respondents reacted with sadness about the situation, a good-sized number of commenters took Dr. Kay to task for euthanizing the dog. While she is too gracious (or smart, but I’ve never pretended to be that) to respond to the people who think they know what goes through the mind of a veterinarian in these situations, I feel somewhat compelled- OK, really compelled- to say this:

You have no idea how hard, how awful, how utterly agonizing these situations are, because if you did you would never call her a murderer. And until you’re the one holding the syringe in your hand, I implore you to take a step back and return the discussion to its original context, how we all need to do a better job by working together to prevent these situations in the first place. Because here’s the truth:

That is an utterly impossible situation to be in. Yes, vets have a lot of wiggle room when it comes to “my cat is peeing on the rug” or “my dog has flea allergies” or even “my dog growled at a kid” to say, “I am not comfortable with euthanizing this pet.” But once a pet bites a person, a line has been crossed and everything changes.

The law is stacked against any dog who bites

Once upon a time, a person went to their veterinarian and said, my pet snapped at my neighbor and I don’t know what to do. The veterinarian said, let’s try to work through this with a good behaviorist, or find a rescue who can take this on.

Later on, the dog bit someone. The person who was bitten sued not only the owner but the veterinarian for not suggesting the aggressive dog be put to sleep. And they won. That is the legal precedent we function under, the standard of care to which we are held.

So let me reiterate: if a dog comes to us after biting a person and we do not counsel the owner the dog should be put to sleep (even if the owner never brought it up), we are liable if that dog bites anyone in the future. If a dog with a history of biting a child comes in, the owner requests euthanasia, and you refuse? You are basically agreeing to hand over your license, your livelihood, and your ability to be an effective advocate for anyone should another bite happen. Even if a rescue agrees to take the dog, which despite protests to the contrary is pretty rare. That is not to say I have euthanized every dog who’s ever nipped- far from it- but yes, every time I send them away for behavior work I’m taking a risk that only I can truly assess.

And when you have an extreme case in front of you like Ben? That is a horrible, awful corner to be backed into as a veterinarian. There is no happy solution. You’re either a murderer or someone willing to gamble away their entire career on a really bad bet or someone passing the buck to a shelter employee. It is awful and nausea inducing and likely to cause migraines and the sort of thing we all struggle with and few are brave enough to mention out loud for fear of judgmental types who think they know better questioning our dedication to animals. So you take that weight on yourself, mentally apologize to the dog for the crap hand he has been dealt, and cry. At least that is what I did the one time I was put in the same position.

Solving the problem we all helped create

I don’t want to play advocate Olympics here and saber rattle over who has done the most good for dogs, but if that’s your thing- Dr. Kay, for example, quite literally wrote the book on animal advocacy. And it makes me sick to my core to have people react to her with nastiness because of that unwinnable situation that we have all contributed to.

We contribute when we suggest any situation be handled through specious lawsuits.

We contribute when we throw shade at each other and erode the trust between the public and veterinarians.

We contribute when we roll our eyes at well meaning but ultimately uninformed parents instead of trying, with kindness and care, to change the way we educate new parents about pet safety. With compassion, and consistency. I am sure the people who took the above pictures love their kids and their dogs, as do I: only difference being I have no pictures like this because I understand the risk more than they do and don’t allow that situation to happen in my house.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go continue the conversations I’ve begun about ways to make life easier and safer for parents then get on a plane to South America for a volunteer spay/neuter initiative . Signed, your local animal murderer/advocate (you decide).

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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Is there a topical spray or cream for dogs to ease skin irritation from seasonal allergies?

Question by busyMOMandPT: Is there a topical spray or cream for dogs to ease skin irritation from seasonal allergies?
My 2 yr old springer spaniel has seasonal allergies. Food allergy as been ruled out. He receives monthly cortisone shots and daily benedryl to control but he can still get quite red and irritated on belly and chest at times; and always after a bath. Scratching and licking causes hair loss. Is there any safe topical sprays to use during severe outbreaks?

Best answer:

Answer by Nicole L
Yes, if you check the internet, or go to a retail store you can buy cortisone spray, that should help with the irratation.

What do you think? Answer below!

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Socializing Your Golden Retriever


Socializing your Golden Retriever is very important. As you may already know, all dog breeds behave different in front of strangers, with some dogs choosing to ignore people altogether. They may choose to glance at someone, then go on to pay no attention to him. On the other hand, some dogs are the total opposite and love to meet everyone they can. These types of dogs love attention, and will take any attention they can get.

Some Golden Retrievers are happy with those they have come to know in their own family, or those they have selected to be friends. Others on the other hand, may feel comfortable just around those of the same sex. Most Golden’s like children, although there are a few rare cases in which certain types of Golden Retrievers like adults but not children. This is extremely rare, and is normally due to the way they were bred or raised.

When your puppy is between the ages of 8 weeks and 8 months, socializing him is extremely important. During this time, you should always do everything you can to ensure that your Golden Retriever meets other people. Although he may be shy at first and not have much interaction, he will eventually come around. You will need to be patient with him during these times, as he will need quite a bit of reassurance from you.

Your dog’s parents also contribute to socialization. If the parents of your Golden Retriever were good with people and other dogs, the gene could very well be passed on to your dog. On the other hand, if the parents were shy or aggressive dogs, those genes could be passed on as well. Pups inherit the traits of their parents ,which is why it is very important to make sure that the dogs being bred are compatible with each other – and share a passive temperament.

If your puppy was separated from his mother before he reached the age of seven weeks, he won’t learn many of the social signals taught to him by his mom and his siblings. Golden Retriever pups that are brought to a new home earlier than seven weeks will normally tend to end up nippy or aggressive around people. Although they may be aggressive towards people, they may be shy or fearful around other dogs, as they lack the social skills needed to be themselves.

Sometimes, if a puppy was injured or frightened during his early years, he can end up with a state of trauma. This type of thing leaves a huge scar in the mind of a puppy, making it very hard for him to get past it. Most Golden Retriever pups that have been injured or frightened by an individual never get past it. They may end up fearing humans in general, or being very aggressive towards them when they feel frightened. When you take your puppy home for the first time, you should always make him feel welcomed, and never let anyone or anything harm him.

To better socialize your Golden Retriever, you should always make sure that he gets plenty of interaction with other people and other dogs in his breed. This way, your Golden will learn how to socialize at any early age. When he gets older in life, he will carry these skills with him. Golden Retrievers that are sheltered or not given the proper amount of interaction will turn out shy towards people and other dogs. With your Golden being your companion for life – you should always ensure that he gets the socialization he needs.
Welcome to The Top Dog Blog!

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An Epic Battle: Fluffy Pup vs Fluffy Dandelion [VIDEO]

Who will win?! This intense battle is a close one, as the wary weed seems to hold a strange power over this fluffball of a Keeshond pup! 

 

Fluffy Pup Battles Dandelion

 


The Daily Treat: Animal Planet

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Latest Tick News

Tick count shows increase of 13 percent over previous record
It's a record-breaking year for deer ticks in Rhode Island, according to preliminary results from the University of Rhode Island's Tick Encounter Resource Center. This is the 20th year the center has been sweeping the woods at 60 sites around Rhode Island.
Read more on The Providence Journal

Senator Schumer supports bill to fight tick-borne illnesses
The bill, called the Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Prevention, Education, and Research Act expands research to help medical professionals improve diagnosis and treatment of these conditions. National Monitor, Rina Shah | August 12, 2013 
Read more on natmonitor.com

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Eye And Heart Disease in Dogs


Eye disease is very common with Golden Retrievers. Most Golden’s will generally have hereditary cataracts, which is a common eye problem. At an early age, with affected Golden’s, one type of hereditary cataract will appear. Even though it may not cause interference with the vision of the Golden Retriever, some dogs will progress into total and quite possibly severe loss of vision.

Sometimes, Golden Retrievers can get affected by non hereditary cataracts, although an examination by a board certified veterinarian can determine just how bad the cataracts really are. If cataracts are indeed suspected with a Golden Retriever, then breeding won’t be recommended. Breeding a Golden who has this condition can lead to serious problems, such as passing it on to the pups.

Several families of the Golden Retriever breed have been known to carry genes for CPRA (Central Progressive Retinal Atrophy), which affects the retina, and can result in permanent blindness for Golden’s at a young age. There are other types of eye defects as well, such as retinal dysplasia, which prevents a Golden from breeding.

Trouble with both the eyelid and eyelashes are also a possibility with Golden Retrievers, with some being the result of hereditary factors. The eyelids rotating in or out, or the eyelashes rubbing on or in the eye are both common problems with the breed. Even though surgery can help to fix these types of problems, dogs that are experiencing this type of problem shouldn’t be allowed to breed nor compete in shows under any type of AKC rules.

You should always have your Golden Retriever checked annually for eye disease, as it can develop during any age. When you take your Golden to have him examined for eye disease, you should have a veterinary ophthalmologist do the exam. He has all of the necessary equipment, and the proper training needed to make sure that your dog gets the best examination possible.

Heart disease

SAS (Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis) is the most common and widespread form of heart disease within the entire Golden Retriever species. Before you breed your Golden Retriever, you should always have him examined for heart disease by a certified veterinary cardiologist. If the cardiologist detects a heart murmur, he will recommend additional tests for your dog.

In the event that the results prove negative, it doesn’t necessarily rule heart disease out, as some milder forms may still be present, although undetectable. If a Golden Retriever is diagnosed to have any type of heart disease, he should not breed. Breeding Golden Retrievers who have heart disease can lead to serious and sometimes fatal results. To be on the safe side, you should always have your Golden tested for his disease before you plan on breeding.
Welcome to The Top Dog Blog!

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TRACIE HOTCHNER: HOW LIV-A-LITTLES CAN LITERALLY SAVE YOUR DOG’S LIFE

There is a deadly algae that blooms in ponds and lakes in late summer (right now!) that can actually kill a dog who drinks that water!

This blue green algae can be anywhere and is a serious threat to livestock and to pets. I certainly paid attention when the Vermont Veterinary Medical Association issued a warning in my state about the dangers of cyanobacteria (the proper name for this algae “blue green algae) how it produces a poison that is deadly and has no antidote.

I asked Dr Donna Spector what she could tell folks about this on our radio show THE EXPERT VET and she said blue green algae is found across the country. It blooms on the surface of many types of water and looks cloudy, like foam or scum or forms mats on the water’s surface.

Dr. Donna explained that the poisons produced by cyanobacteria are some of the most powerful natural poisons that are known; while most blue green algae do not produce the toxin, it’s impossible to know which water is deadly. Because there is no known antidote, you cannot take the least chance of having your dog drink this water or lick herself if it gets on her. The signs of poisoning occur within fifteen minutes and survival is rare once a dog shows signs of neurological symptoms like weakness, stumbling, difficulty breathing or seizures.

Prevention is your only defense- which means if you are walking your dog with or without a leash, you absolutely need to have the “Leave it” command well ingrained. My book “The Dog Bible” and any dog trainer will tell you the vital importance of the “Leave it!” command, which gives you the ability to reliably call your dog away from anything she is approaching that you don’t want her near.

And what is the fundamental way that you can teach the “leave it” command and depend upon it? You have to be able to offer your dog something better – more tempting – more appealing – than the thing she is headed for. And that’s where the freeze-dried deliciousness of Halo Liv-a-Littles comes into the picture as your “life savers!” Whenever you leave your house, I recommend putting a little bag of Liv-A-Littles in your pocket, and at the beginning of your outing, ask your dog to “Sit” and give her a Liv-a-Little.

You are “priming the pump” – reminding her that you have something delicious-beyond-compare in your pocket and when you call her – or tell her to wait – or to sit – and most of all to “leave it” – she is going to do that with the happy expectation that she will get a pure protein, super tasty treat as her reward. Halo Liv-a-Littles are the true doggy Life Saver because there’s not really anything more delicious!

Tracie Hotchner is the author of THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is also a renowned pet radio host and producer, having spent 7 years on the Martha Stewart Channel of Sirius/XM with CAT CHAT® and even longer with her award-winning NPR radio show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) that continues to broadcast in the Hamptons and the Berkshires. Her most recent accomplishment is the pet talk radio network she has created on the Internet called The Radio Pet Lady Network.

Halo

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Snoring Dog Sends Baby Into Giggling Fit [VIDEO]

Watch as this darling baby goes into absolulte hysterics when a napping French Bulldog begins snoring! Amazingly, the babies' shrill giggles fails to wake the slumbering pup.

Snoring french bulldog happy baby

 


The Daily Treat: Animal Planet

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What product currently on the market is considered best for a topical pain relief?

Question by Susan W: What product currently on the market is considered best for a topical pain relief?
My mother has back and hip pains that keeps her in tears. She is on pain killers but sometimes she feels like if she rubs icy-hot, bengay or aspercream it takes the edge off and allows her to at least sleep. I was wondering if there are any topical creams out there that work better. I realize that these creams won’t make the pain totally go away, but she needs help .

Best answer:

Answer by Tom
theragesic works quite well for me

Add your own answer in the comments!

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I never understand why people feel like dogs shoul…

I never understand why people feel like dogs should have to put up with more than they would put up with themselves. When my kids start to play inappropriately with my animals (whether it's my "pit bull" type dog that I got from a shelter when she was 8 years old or the cats) I stop my child and ask him if he'd like to be treated that way. I say "would you like someone to get in your face/pick you up/play with your ears/whatever while you're sleeping/eating/whatevering? No? Well, then they probably don't appreciate it either". My dog is about as tolerant as a dog can be (definitely more tolerant than me) but there's no reason why she needs to put up with whatever they feel like doing (they're not malicious, just typical boys). On another note, the thing I ask my kids to do when they have disagreements is to "use their words"…well, dogs can't do that so they have their ways of letting us know when they've had enough. It's not their fault that much of the human population is too ignorant or unwilling to learn their language. I don't know the details of the accident leading to this little boy's tragic death, but it really sounds like it could have been avoided with a little bit more human knowledge, attention and intervention…which is probably true with most dog bite situations…especially the ones involving children.
BAD RAP Blog

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