Great example of using your Embrace Wellness Rewards benefits

Lyger at the lake Over at the Embrace Pet Community blog, Lea recently posted about going online to save some money for her flea and tick preventative medication for Lyger.

It was so easy to squeeze out the most benefit from her wellness budget by shopping online (muchos dollares saved there) and by using the Embrace wellness plan (spreads the cost out over the year and saved $21!).

I like this bit best though :) :

And, since I use Embrace's Wellness Rewards program, to cover Lyger's checkups, vaccines, and preventative meds (even meds bought online) I'll be reimbursed $200 for today's costs!

Check out the rest here: Saving money on flea and tick medication

Corns on a greyhound's toe: Dr Riggs discusses

Here's an interesting question that came in to my post on toe amputation surgery:

Sheldon's question:

My retired racing Greyhound, now 11+ years old has had terrible corns for the past six years. There is one corn on the left front, one on the left rear and one on the front right. All are on the third toe. Several years ago he had surgery on the front toe to cut out the corn. The corn came back. He has had the corns hulled several times but they always come back. I've used duct tape, hydrating, paw wax and filing the corn. All it seems to do is remove the hard callous. The corn always comes back. The left rear corn is the smallest (on the surface) but causes him the most trouble. He can barely walk and when he does it is with a limp and for a limited distance. I would really like to give him some comfort in his old age and am thinking of either having the left rear corn surgically removed, again or, having the third toe amputated. If he has the toe amputated, should the amputation go back as far as possible and, will it put undue pressure on his other toes on the left foot or even the right foot?

Answer from Dr. Riggs:

Corns or keratomas are common in Greyhounds. There are two schools of thoughts about how they get them. One theory is from trauma from sand or other foreign material from the track. The other is thought to occur from a papilloma virus, similar to one that can cause warts in dogs. They have isolated some papilloma viruses from these but not all, so we don't know if there is a cause and effect.

Regardless of the cause, the treatment is to to core these out surgically. There are various methods, from using a biopsy punch to using a dental elevator or scalpel. The problem with these is up to 40% can reoccur. The key is deep surgical removal to get the entire corn.

As far as amputation of the toe, that is used as last resort, but dogs compensate very well normally when a single toe is removed. Usually the toe is removed at the level of the next joint.

Ask your vet about what is appropriate. He/she will be able to help you determine the best treatment for your dog. Every case is different.

Related Posts:
other posts by Dr Riggs
Toe Amputations for Cats and Dogs
Ask Laura: the impact of toe amputation surgery
Ask Laura: dog weight bearing toe amputation appropriate or not?  
Ask Laura: infected ingrown toe nail on cat  
Ask Laura: to amputate or not to amputate the cat's toe, that is the question
Corns on a greyhound's toe: Dr Riggs discusses

Riggs Dr. Rex Riggs grew up in Wadsworth, Ohio, near Akron. Dr Riggs is co-owner of Best Friends Veterinary Hospital in Powell, Ohio. He is also on the board of the North Central Region of Canine Companions of Independence, a board member of The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Society and Small Animal Practitioner Advancement Board at The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Riggs lives in Lewis Center with his wife Nancy, their two dogs Boo and Maggie, and two cats Franklin and Speeder. Outside of work, Dr. Riggs is an avid golfer and enjoys travel and photography.

Blood clot in cat: Q&Amp;A with Dr. Carleton

Late last year, there were a series of questions posed by Sharon, whose cat Henry had just died of a saddle thrombus unexpectedly. I thought the information was useful and interesting enough to separate it out in it's own post so that no-one misses it.

Question from Sharon:

0122082133 My beloved cat Henry died unexpectedly 9/21/09. I woke up to his loud cries and leapt to his side. Within a minute he was gone. I think back to a month ago when one morning Henry couldn't stand up and his back right leg was weak. I took him to the vet that morning and he got better within a day. The vet did an x ray of his leg and only saw what looked like a touch of arthritis in his knee. He gave me some pain medicine and we went home. Henry got better immediately. Now I wonder if he actually had a mild attack of ATE, which was followed by a total clot that ended his sweet life. Does anyone have an idea?

Answer from Dr Carleton:

Sharon, I think you are right - partial clot (saddle thrombus) that resolved on its own the first time and then a clot that caused a heart attack, which is why it was so quick. I am so sorry for you Sharon,

Sincerely, Heather...

Question from Sharon:

0426081226a Thank you for answering. I took him immediately to the vet for an x-ray on his leg the day he had trouble walking. If a clot had already resolved, is it fair to say that it wouldn't have shown up? Also, would a vet know to look further because the symptoms were so sudden? With this disease, would it have helped Henry if we had put him on aspirin or blood thinners, or is the disease a time bomb regardless? I'm not out to blame the vet, just to understand this malady and to know what to look for since I have other cats. Many thanks.

Answer from Dr. Carleton:

Sharon, A clot will never show up on X-ray. The only way you know it is there is by 1) decreased blood pressure in that leg (measured with a doppler and cuff), 2) a cold extremity and discolored pad and 3) clinical signs that range from limping to dragging the leg depending on whether the clot is a partial or complete one. If the clot is affecting both sides, the cat is basically paralyzed in the hind end and is extremely painful.

As anti-coagulant therapy, even with treatment, a cat with a saddle thrombus' median survival time is 2 months to a max of 2 years (uncommon) because of the tendency for them to throw more clots. Sometimes a clot can be so bad that you have to amputate the leg in order to save the cat. However, I hesitate to do this because the long-term survival is poor and it doesn't really seem fair to the cat or owner. Heather

When I'd asked Sharon if I could share her questions, she wrote to me the following: 

Dear Laura. That would be great. Here are two photos of sweet Henry. He came to my house as a stray in 2003 and passed away on 9/21/2009. The vet estimated his age was 12 years or so. Thanks. Sharon

P.S. When I took him to the vet three weeks before he passed away, he was limping badly, but then it went away almost immediately. The vet who looked at him specialized in orthopedics, so I think that was part of the reason they may have overlooked the underlying condition.

Have you had something similar happen to your cat?

Related Posts:
Saddle Thrombus in cats
Causes and signs of saddle thrombus in cats
Cardiomyopathy in cats related to saddle thrombosis
Memories of Dave
Blood clot in cat: Q&Amp;A with Dr. Carleton

Stents used in treating collapsing trachea in dogs

We recently had a comment on a previous post about the stents used in repairing tracheal collapse (Repairing a tracheal collapse in dogs) so I asked Dr Jeff Solomon of Infiniti Medical about these stents and what they are used for and this was his response.

There seems to be a bit of confusion here regarding tracheal stents…  There are two very different types of stents used to tracheal collapse. 

Tracheal rings The plastic type referred to above are more commonly known as “tracheal rings”.  These are secured to the trachea by means of an open surgical procedure that exposes the cervical trachea (the portion of the trachea in the neck).  An experienced surgeon performs this procedure. A potential complication is laryngeal paralysis due to the proximity of the recurrent laryngeal nerve to the portion of the trachea that is exposed.  Because of the need to expose the trachea, this treatment is limited to collapse of the cervical trachea and cannot be performed for collapse that extends into the trachea after it enters the chest (thoracic trachea).  Since this is an open surgical procedure, it can be risky in dogs with severe respiratory or concomitant cardiac disease.

Stent_trachea The second type of stent is made of a shape memory alloy (metal) called nitinol.  These stents are similar to the ones used in humans with the exception that they have been specifically engineered to treat tracheal collapse in dogs.  These stents work by providing additional support from within the trachea.  Therefore surgery is not necessary.  Instead, the stents are loaded onto a delivery system that is advanced into the trachea under x-ray or bronochoscopic visualization.  Once the stent is in the correct location, it is deployed and the delivery system is removed.  The entire procedure can be performed in a matter of minutes.  Because the stent is placed from inside, the region of the trachea inside the chest can be treated in addition to the cervical region.  Because this is a minimally invasive procedure, it can be performed on animals with advanced disease more easily and complications related to the procedure are less common.  There is no surgery required and therefore an internist or surgeon can perform this procedure.  Although these stents are more expensive than the simple plastic ones, their ease of use and simplicity may reduce the overall cost of care.  The development of this simple and elegant procedure has dramatically expanded the availability of treatment options for dogs suffering from tracheal collapse.

Thank you to Dr Solomon for clearing that up. If you have other questions about tracheal stents or the non-invasive procedures, let me know and I'll have him post some more information.

Related Posts:
Collapsing Trachea in a dog
Repairing a tracheal collapse in dogs
Treating tracheal collapse in dogs - Dr Chick Weisse
Non-invasive veterinary surgery
Stents used in treating collapsing trachea in dogs

The Fresh Air Fund needs host families with pets

The Fresh Air fund asked me to let you know they are in need of host families with pets for this summer -that could be you!

Host families are volunteers like you who open their hearts and homes to children from NY City to give a fresh air experience to disadvantaged children from the inner-city. Some of these kids have never experienced the joy of pets in the home :(

The time commitment is just for a couple of weeks in the summer and makes such a big inpact on young lives to see a life they can only imagine from tv. Amazingly, more than 65% of all Fresh Air children are reinvited to stay with their host family, year after year.

Just a thought to consider as the summer approaches.