Embrace is moving! Save the date for our open house Sept 15 2010

We're delighted to say that we have outgrown our current office space and we're moving to much spiffier offices a few stops down the highway.

Let's just say that the fun of cramming 21 people into 1,500 sq ft has worn off :)

So, here's our new address:

23625 Commerce Park, Suite 150
Beachwood, OH 44122
 

Our phone numbers all stay the same - 800-511-9172. Yay for internet technology!

Also, we're having an open house on September 15th 4:30pm - 7pm so if you are in the neighborhood, please drop by. Leashed pets are very welcome too.



Guest Post: lens luxation in a Dalmation

Today, we have a guest post from Dr. Rex Riggs, owner of Best Friends Veterinary Hospital in Powell, Ohio. He is a veterinarian, and an Advisory Board member of Embrace Pet Insurance. Dr. Riggs writes about an eye condition he came across recently in his clinic.


Eye conditions are always interesting and you really need to treat them appropriately and not wait. I had an interesting case in the other day when I saw Savannah, a 13 year old Dalmatian that has been coming to see me since she was a cute wiggly puppy, in 1997. She came in for her routine exam, vaccinations and heartworm tests with no complaints from her mom. Each year we do a complete physical exam from the “nose to the toes” on our patients. Hopefully you will see why this is important.

Ophtha2 I start by just watching the dog walk around the room. You can tell a lot by just observing the pet. I noticed that she did not seem to see as well when she was moving to her left. I then took my ophthalmoscope and looked at her eyes. The right eye looked normal but when I looked at the left eye I noticed something was abnormal. I could see kind of a crescent moon look to it. What has happened is that her lens had become dislodged from its normal resting place, behind the pupil, and fallen into the back chamber of her eye.

The lens is used to take the light coming through the cornea, and focus it to the back of the retina where the optic disc sits and then sends the image to the brain. That is how we see. The lens can slip (or luxate) either behind the pupil or in front. When it slips forward there is a high chance that glaucoma will occur. The recommendation for a forward or anterior luxation of the lens is either to try to remove the lens or more commonly remove the entire eye.

The good news for Savannah is that glaucoma is much less common for a lens that luxates backwards. Normally you do not need to surgically treat a backward or posterior luxation. We will check her eye pressures every 1 to 3 months to make sure she is fine but so far, her condition has not had a major impact on her day to day activities.

Related Posts:
July is Eye Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Claim Example: Cherry Eye in Koa, a Bulldog puppy
Cataract surgery claim example: Nala 2 yr old Papillon
Guest post: cherry eye treatment options
Guest Post: lens luxation in a Dalmation  
Other posts by Dr Riggs


Dr_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.



Guest post: cherry eye treatment options

Dr Janet Tobiassen Crosby fills us in on the treatment options for Cherry Eye.


Cherry eye, also known as a prolapse of the gland of the third eyelid (nictitating membrane), is a common eye condition of young (<2 year old) dogs. A prolapse occurs when the small tear-producing gland, located in this third lower lid, everts outward. The result is a bright red lump, probably where this condition got the name "cherry eye." Cherry eye may occur in one eye or both eyes. Some breeds, such as Cocker Spaniels, Shar Peis, Bulldogs, Beagles and Boston Terriers, have a higher incidence of this condition.

It is thought that there is a weakness in the supporting structures of the eyelid, causing the gland to prolapse. The majority of dogs with cherry eye don't seem to notice that there is a problem. Cherry eye may go away on its own, but usually once you see it, it is there to stay, unless surgically corrected. There aren't any medications to 'fix' cherry eye.

Treatment Options for Cherry Eye
In the past, the prolapsed gland was simply removed, often at the time the animal was spayed or neutered. This is not a good solution. Tear production slows as animals age. This small gland is responsible for about 30% or more of the eye's tear production. If the other gland fails or has reduced tear production, this leads to a condition called keratoconjunctiva sicca (KCS), or dry eye. This means mucous and pus-filled painful eyes, more damaged over time.

There are a couple of different surgical techniques to replace the gland. One method tucks the gland in the lid with a suture to hold it in place. The second method is more involved, with the surgeon cutting a flap in the lid, replacing the gland, and closing with several sutures to hold the gland in place. Either way, the goal is to replace the gland permanently and preserve the tear production of that gland.

With successful resolution of this problem, one should be aware of the need to monitor for future KCS, but most dogs go on to lead long healthy lives.


JCrosby+pets_4236 Janet Tobiassen Crosby DVM trained at Oregon State University, Washington State University, and the Animal Medical Center in New York City, Janet graduated with a doctorate in veterinary medicine (DVM) from Oregon State University in 1990. She writes for the About.com Veterinary Medicine site, the VetMed Connect blog and her "for fun" blog, AboutVetMed.com.


What has your experience with Cherry Eye been?

Related Posts:
July is Eye Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Claim Example: Cherry Eye in Koa, a Bulldog puppy
Cataract surgery claim example: Nala 2 yr old Papillon
Guest post: cherry eye treatment options
Guest Post: lens luxation in a Dalmation



Ask Laura: worries about bloat leads to dog food suggestions

In yesterday's post, Ask Laura: worries about bloat in a German Shepherd Dog, we had a question from a German Shepherd Dog breeder about bloat, and in that answer, Dr. Riggs suggested she go for higher quality dog food with fewer fillers to reduce the potential for gas formation that may increase the liklihood of bloat.

As a result, I asked Roxanne Hawn, who writes about veterinary topics and has a dog food blog, to make some suggestions for someone on a budget. Here is her answer:

First of all, Becky, please tell your mom that I am SO sorry to hear about her loss.

Learn More About Bloat

You can find additional and accurate information on bloat from my friends/colleagues – (veterinarian) Janet Tobiassen Crosby and (veterinary technician) Jenna Stregowski through these two links.

Bloat: What you need to know

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (also known as bloat)

In addition, here is a post I wrote on my Dog Food Dish blog about large breed puppy nutrition and bloat risk.

Bloat Prevention

I’m not a veterinarian, but my advice as a worried Dog Mom would be to feed your puppy:

  • Several small meals instead of two big ones
  • Use either a bowl designed to slow down eatingor a food delivery toy (like a Kong, Canine Genius, or Busy Buddy Waggle) so that he eats slower

And, as others have suggested, you don’t want him to run around a bunch right after eating.

Personally, I’ve always put water on my dogs’ food when they eat out of a bowl. I think it slows them down some and ensures they don’t go gulp a bunch of water after eating a bowl of kibble, which I’ve always feared would plump up the food and cause tummy trouble. [note that other sources suggest you do not add water to kibble as this may enhance the chance of bloat - Laura]

 

If you are really concerned, then I’d recommend talking to your veterinarian about whether gastropexy surgery makes sense in your situation. Often they can do this surgery at the same time you have him neutered. Essentially, they tack the stomach to the wall of the chest so that it cannot flip. Here is a link to a post from dog trainer and dog blogger I know whose huge service dog puppy had the gastropexy surgery.

Dog Food Quality

I blogged recently about a terrific online dog food rating tool (available at K9Cuisine.com, which sponsors my Dog Food Dish blog). Basically, you answer about 30 questions about the ingredients in your dog’s food, and it gives you a grade (like in school).

You’ll see that the food I was feeding got an F, which is pretty embarrassing for a girl who writes a dog food blog. It was primarily because the food had corn gluten in it, along with a few other things that lowered our grade. I’ve since switched my two canine pals to a food made by the same company, but the new food gets an A+.

I did a quick online search, and it looks like a bag of the food you have been feeding runs about $35. I was paying about $42 for our F food. The new A+ food is something like $54 for a bag that lasts my two big-ish dogs about a month.

I have to watch my budget as well, and when I talked to Anthony Holloway, CEO of K9Cuisine.com about dog food options, he said: “There are a number of good foods that do not cost a fortune. Some of the Nutri-Source formulas come to mind. You may be able to get them at a local feed store. They score exceptionally well and are some of the least expensive foods in this sector.”

Wishing You the Best

I hope this info and these links help. I wish you and your family (dogs included) the very best.

Roxanne Hawn

Roxanne & Lilly headshot Roxanne Hawn is a freelance writer, who specializes in lifestyle topics, including pets (especially dogs) and veterinary medicine. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Denver Post, Reader’s Digest, Bankrate.com and many other national outlets. She has also written for the pet section of WebMD as well as The Bark, Modern Dog, AKC Family Dog, HealthyPet magazine, Clean Run (a dog agility magazine), Fido Friendly and a slew of other pet-related pubs. In addition to her role as the Dog Food Dish, Roxanne writes a blog about life with her brilliant, but fearful border collie (Lilly) at Champion of My Heart.



Ask Laura: worries about bloat in a German Shepherd Dog

I recently had a question about bloat from a concerned breeder of German Shepherd Dogs.

 

Question:

German Shepherd Dog Kyra My mom's best friend, a 4 1/2 yr old reg. German Shepherd, just died of Gastric Torsion this past Monday. He woke her up at 3:30 am Monday and was gone by 5:30 am. Mom tried to reach a vet, but since we live way out in the country, none were answering their phones. She did not know what to do until it was all over.

What my question is, there seems to be so many different theories, what exactly is the best research showing as to what exactly causes this? I have heard that a certain type of dog food. I have heard that the dog was malnouished in the mother's womb. I have heard that too much exercise after eating. I have heard of table scraps (which she did feed him a steak bone Sunday night, but she has fed him steak bones many times before). The shock of the whole thing is just how quickly he went. She just wants some kind of answer to his death, and since I also have reg. shepherds, I would like to know what not to do.

Answer by Dr Rex Riggs of  Best Friends Veterinary Hospital in Powell, Ohio:

Bloat is thought to be from air actually swallowed and you don't want your dog to run around after eating for 2 hours. Dogs with deep chests are more prone. Bloat is a combo of genetic and enviromental factors. We now will tack the stomach to the body wall of prone breeds when we spay them to prevent bloat in the future.

I do think feeding a better quality food makes a difference. I would choose food with fewer fillers because they can potentially cause gas formation but that is not a proven theory. 

BTW we never recommend bones for dogs, not because of bloat, but because of obstructions.

Dr. Riggs

After reading Dr. Riggs' answer, I asked my friend Roxanne Hawn, who writes a lot about dog foods, for suggestions on food with fewer fillers for those of us on a budget (because aren't we all on a budget these days?) She got right back to me and I'll post her answer tomorrow.

 

Stay tuned...

 

Related Posts:

Claim example: gastric torsion, or bloat, in a standard poodle

Other posts by Dr Riggs


Dr_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.