This little guy evidently did something to antagonize his adult buddy in the home. Apparently, the big guy bit down on his head - ouch. He didn't crack it like an egg, but close. His owners found him with a severe nose-bleed, a few puncture wounds, and the top of his head puffing in and out when he breathes. Here's a link to the video.
I had hoped it was just a puncture to his sinuses, but his nasal bones were broken and caved in, as well. Every time he breathed, air was puffing under the skin. We also found that the muscle and periosteal membrane (that covers the bone, usually), were stripped away from the top of his skull. There were big blood clots over both eye sockets, as well as in his nasal passages. You don't want to see that picture.
We cleaned things out, and put him back together (pretty much - there were a few things we had to toss out). He looks pretty "Frankenstein-ish" in the post-op picture, and you can see there's a lot of swelling still present. Even though this doesn't look so great, this morning he was up, and willing to eat and drink. Hooray! We sent him home on antibiotics and more pain medicine, and I think his prognosis is pretty good.
You can see in this video that he is feeling much better, even though he doesn't look so great.
At this holiday time of year, we think about giving and receiving gifts, and about helping those in need. Kennett’s Humane Officer, Tena Petix, has been going above the call of duty in helping the animals in her care. Dr. Mobley and Dr. Brigance and the whole team at Kennett Veterinary Clinic are helping her help again this year with “The Pet Angel Tree”.
During the month of December, you can bring a donation for the shelter animals to Kennett Veterinary Clinic at 1704 Saint Francis Street on the west end of Kennett. Donations can be monetary, food, treats, towels, blankets, or pet-toys. When you bring in a donation, your name will go up on the The Pet Angel Tree, and you will receive a $5.00 credit toward your own pet’s next examination at Kennett Veterinary Clinic.
For the last four Decembers, clients responded by donating generously. We’d love to see even more this year.
I was a little surprised to find my last post about our animal control situation printed in the Daily Dunklin Democrat newspaper as a letter to the editor. I'm not upset, just surprised, as they didn't talk to me about it, and I didn't send it to them. Of course, anything on the internet is fair game, so no worries.
There were two reasons I didn't send it to the newspaper. The first is that I figure people who read my blog are at least half-way interested in what I have to say, whereas the general public may not be.
The second is that I thought my discussion was too long to be printed as a letter to the editor. Since the whole point of the discussion was trying to be balanced, I really didn't want things cut out willy-nilly.
The post was printed in its entirety, without any editorial changes (at least I think so; I might have missed a typo). I'm pretty sure it took up more space than the original coverage of the city council meeting. Slow news day, I guess.
Some surprises are okay.
You may be aware that there are some upsets and disagreements over the handling of our city’s animal control department. This is a complex issue, and I fear that it is being oversimplified in a polarizing way. When people of good will seem to be at odds, there is usually some failure to communicate.
It is a mistaken idea to portray this as a contest between people who love animals and want to find homes for them, versus people who hate them and want to kill them. Or you might say that it’s a contest between having a “shelter” that finds homes for the unwanted pets, versus an “impoundment facility” that holds them briefly before destroying them. It’s a great deal more complicated than that, and we need to take a more comprehensive look at the situation in order to make the best decision as to how to handle it.
Mayor Crafton makes some valid points when he notes that the purpose of the city’s animal control department is to provide a city service. Roaming stray animals are a hazard to public health and to the much-loved pets of the law-abiding public. He is correct in saying that protecting our citizens is the primary purpose for having an animal control department. If the city’s impoundment facility is full, then there is no place to put newly captured strays, and the department is limited in its ability to function. This is not only inconvenient to our citizens, but dangerous to them as well.
While he states that the city of Kennett is not a humane society (true), I think he would agree that caring for the animals in city custody must be done as humanely as possible. I think he would also agree that it would be preferable to find homes for the impounded animals rather than destroying them. In the recent city council meeting, his statements seem to indicate that he feels the best solution is lots of empty cages at the facility, and that this is best handled by an inflexible ordinance: after seven days impoundment, destroying the animal is mandatory. Is this the best solution? I think there may be a better one.
In contrast, we have the status quo. Officer Tena Petix has done some amazing things. While hundreds of animals are impounded yearly, very few have to be destroyed. She finds homes for them unless they are medically unsalvageable or so dangerously aggressive that they are not adoptable.
Not only are pets adopted locally, she has leveraged social media and contacts with other shelters and rescue organizations throughout the country. It is not uncommon for her to move out ten pets at a time, up to thirty or more sometimes.
Again, through leveraging social media, pet-lovers locally and across the country have supported this with enough donations so that all the food and supplies for running the shelter are provided with no cost to the city. The expense of transporting the animals to other organizations also is at no cost to the city. Needed medical treatment of the animals is paid for. The city’s expenses in the animal control department are now limited to personnel salary, building utilities and major maintenance.
Although Officer Petix and quite a number of volunteers put in many extra hours each week, there is no additional compensation from the city.
Unfortunately, the process of moving these animals out can take more than a few days to achieve, and the “shelter” can get completely filled up. Most folks are very happy that hundreds of animals are finding homes instead of being destroyed. On the other hand, we also want immediate control of the stray dog that is turning over our garbage, or frightening our children. That is a real concern.
One thing I am sure we do not want is the kind of public relations debacle that occurred some years ago when every animal in custody was euthanized on the same day and every media outlet within 100 miles was crucifying us. Another thing that I don’t want is to see our city government ridiculed in a media circus, being reduced to being portrayed as “a contest of wills between the mayor and the dogcatcher”. We are better than that. The Mayor is better than that. The Animal Control Officer is better than that.
It seems like a bad idea to trade in a widely praised and popular program that is entirely self-supporting and good for the city. Especially since what we get in return is increased costs of operation (costs of animal care, euthanasia and disposal, plus no more donations from pet-lovers) and plenty of hard feelings and bad publicity.
We don’t wish to destroy sheltered animals simply because the shelter is too full to accept newly captured strays. Yet, if those strays are not dealt with, they themselves are no less victims of neglect because they continue to run loose.
I have worked full time in the Central Missouri Humane Society when I was a student. We adopted out five pets almost every day. Unfortunately, we took in ten pets every day. Something has to give. You cannot fill the shelter to double its capacity and just keep putting more animals in. It is unsanitary, dangerous, and inhumane. You also cannot ignore the continued need to deal with newly presented animals.
I would suggest that a more flexible solution be adopted. The ordinance as now written actually has the intent that the animals must not be destroyed before seven days, giving the owners ample opportunity to reclaim them. Its intent was never to require their destruction after seven days.
Under the present operating system, finding homes for hundreds of animals each year (instead of destroying them) actually saves money for the city, and is great public relations. There is no reason to scrap this popular effort. Mandating across-the-board euthanasia after seven days is a lose-lose situation. It could also possibly open the city to liability should a bite-victim surface and the biting animal be unavailable for testing or the full ten-day quarantine.
However, when the shelter is too full to provide care for newly captured strays, it is no good to neglect those loose strays, letting them suffer, not to mention creating problems for community. We don’t want to sacrifice the animals we already have in custody, but in this case we are pretty close to deciding that the new animals get sacrificed. We aren’t actively euthanizing them, but we are sure not caring for them.
When I worked in a shelter, and we got over-crowded, we had to euthanize some of the animals when we couldn’t find homes for them. We selected the animals not only on the basis of how long they had been in residence (“First in, first out”), but also on their likelihood of being adopted. An abandoned gun-shy hunting dog with a skin condition just didn’t have the same prospects as a little purebred house-dog. The more adoptable animal got to stay longer, as we felt that would be one less euthanasia.
I would suggest that the present adoption and rescue program be continued as is. However, the public health mission of the Animal Control Department is its reason for being, and should be carried out.
In the event of a prolonged period when the shelter is too full to accommodate the impounding of new strays, the Animal Control Officer would have to select animals for euthanasia. This would allow for discretionary judgment in the matter. One would first be sure that the impoundment period had been completed, and then make a selection from among the least adoptable animals.
If the shelter is not over-full, and the public health mission of the Animal Control Department can be fulfilled, there is no reason to have an inflexible mandate for the euthanasia of healthy animals. It increases costs of operation, is inhumane, and is terrible public relations for our city.
Eating non-food items is a big problem in pets. It happens so often that I am amazed at how seldom I have to do surgery to remedy the situation. Frequently the animal vomits up the item. Sometimes it passes all the way through.
In September, we were all set to do surgery for an intestinal blockage on a young Saint Bernard. She had eaten very little food for the past 3 weeks, and had lost 25 percent of her body weight. I could feel a mass in her abdomen. The night before her operation, she passed a pair of underpants she had eaten weeks earlier. Her recovery was uneventful after that.
The most dangerous are items that lodge in mid-intestine, as they are more likely to perforate the bowel, and that is bad news.
Items that sit in the stomach can cause intermittent problems depending on where they lodge. That's what happened to this little gal (pictured in recovery, post-op). She had been having problems for 5 days. At night, she vomited and felt terrible. The next morning, she seemed fine, ate, drank, kept it down.
On Friday evening, she vomited up some pieces of plastic flower she had consumed at some unknown time. "She just chews on everything!" I couldn't help thinking that maybe we need to "pick up everything off the floor".
Taking an X-ray to look for foreign objects is usually unrewarding, as most of them are not dense enough to be seen. This is certainly true for plastic. However, sometimes you can see a flat piece of plastic if you catch it edge-on. This makes it very thick, as far as the X-ray is concerned, and that's what we see here. At left is a close-up view of the top picture. There is a white line that is lying flat over the exit valve from the stomach, like a closed door. Stuff can't pass through, so the dog vomits and feels bad.
The next morning, she feels fine. The new X-ray (on the right) now shows the white line in a different position. The foreign object has moved, and the "door is open". We can't tell what the object is, but we know something is in there.
Unfortunately, the plastic leaf that was the "door" had become embedded in the exit, and we could not grasp it through the scope. She wound up having to have surgery after all.
Most folks have heard of "toe-nail fungus" or "athlete's foot" or ringworm. These are fungus infections of the skin, and they don't go deep into the body. They are very unlikely to affect any internal organs, or make you sick. You just get funky-looking itchy places.
Systemic fungus infections are very dangerous indeed. In our area, the two most common are Histoplasmosis and Blastomycosis. We are in an endemic area for both (meaning that the fungus is widespread and it's been here for a long time, and it's not going away).
The fungal spores live a very long time in the soil, and it's not really possible to get rid of them. A specialist once told me that you would have to soak your yard six inches deep with formaldehyde. Even supposing you were willing and able to do this, it would kill everything in your yard, plus it would be illegal. The stuff is dangerous. The Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency would be all over you. So, that's not happening.
Fortunately, the spores rarely grow into the lifestage of the fungus that is infectious. We're not sure what stimulates the Blastomyces fungus. We just know that it thrives in swampy soil. For us, that means anyplace you could drive to in an hour. I've seen cases even from high, well-drained sandy areas in southeast Missouri. Still swampy enough, apparently.
Histoplasma spores are fertilized by bird manure. Beware of starling roosts, chicken houses, and so forth. If your yard looks like this car, be careful. If you have to clean up such a place, be sure to wear a respirator so you don't inhale any of the dust.
I have been told by public health authorities that most people in my area have had enough exposure to this that you can find they have some immunity if you blood-test them. It may not be enough to overcome massive exposure, though. Wear that respirator.
Even though the Histoplasma fungus is extremely common in our soil, I rarely see cases of it -- less than half a dozen in over 30 years. Blastomycosis, on the other hand, we see several times each year.
Both germs can affect lungs, lymph nodes, skin, intestinal tract, even the bones and eyeballs. Really, the fungus can go about anywhere inthe body. We suspect a systemic fungus when an infection doesn't respond to antibiotics, as we would expect a bacterial infection to do.
There are certain patterns that develop on the chest X-ray that are more common with a fungus-caused pneumonia than with bacteria or viruses.
Sometimes you can find the organism in pus if you have an open sore place on the skin. On the left, you see Blastomyces,which looks pretty big next to these white blood cells around it. It's the double-walled, budding yeast.
In this little kitten's case, we were able to find it when we drew some cells out of a swollen lymph node. Our sample looked a lot like the pictue. More frequently, you cannot find the organism, so you want to test for it.
In years past (and sometimes now), we sent out blood samples. Unfortunately, these often give false negative tests in the early course of the disease. Now there is a test for the fungus antigens (microscopic pieces of the fungus itself) that uses urine specimens. Surprisingly, this is more sensitive and more accurate as a general rule. We send them to MiraVista Labs.
Our patient started out with the swollen nose, and little sore nodules on her eyelids. At first, antibiotics seemed to help, then things got worse, and the lymph nodes began to swell. We suspected systemic fungus and knew we had something suspicious in those cells from the lymph node. Treatment with itraconazole was started right away, and we soon had confirmation of Histoplasmosis from the University of Missouri Clinical Pathology laboratory.
This patient has no history of exposure to the bird manure, and she tested negative for the immunosuppressive diseases we see in cats (Feline Leukemia virus and Feline Immunodeficiency virus). She was very small for her age, however, so her body defenses may not be all they should be. So far, she seems to be responding well to treatment.
Even with the right medicine, it takes two months or more of treatment to eliminate the infection. With a two-pound kitten like this, that's not so bad. With an 80-pound Labrador, it is VERY expensive.
It is also possible to become re-infected down the line, so these are really bad diseases. When they get into the eye, that eye is usually lost. If a testicle is affected, surgical removal is indicated. Bad stuff.
Fortunately, though the micro-organism is very common in our soil, the infections are rare. They are best treated as early as possible when they do occur. If your pet has a persistent infection that doesn't seem to be responding to antibiotics, it's time to consider the possibility of a systemic fungus.
Well, I wish I had known this a long time ago. I tried to reply to someone's question yesterday and could NOT get it to show up.
Comments are moderated, which means that I get an email to approve them before they are published. If they have any general interest, I publish them, and reply when appropriate. I usually answer two to four questions each day.
What I didn't learn until today is that the hosting site has a bunch of filters that flag stuff as spam for reasons that are not entirely clear to me. It's great that they stop me from having to deal with Viagra ads and cheap real estate deals. Unfortunately, I just learned that they are blocking a lot of significant questions that I would be happy to help with. I found this when the spam filter was blocking my own reply.
When I published my own to the blog, I published some more, but now I can't find them to answer them. If you sent a question recently, please feel free to re-send it.
SO, I apologize for the unanswered questions. I'll be checking the spam comments folder from now on.
I don't usually put these things in the form of a post, but the comments don't seem to be working as they should on the Aural Hematoma post, so I am re-posting this lady's question, along with my answer.
Hello Doc-- I'm contacting you regarding my 7 year old golden retriever mix with very floppy ears. He is absolutely my fur baby and having him in pain of any sort breaks my heart. He recently suffered an awful aural hematoma.
After multiple attempts to eliminate other possibilities I believe he is allergic to grass which causes some redness and itching in his ears as well as his lower belly. I treat this with antibiotic cream, hypoallergenic hydro-cortisone spray with aloe vera, and Dynavite in his daily diet, which seems to help a lot. However, he continues to shake his head excessively and scratch quite a bit, resulting in this hematoma.
Unable to afford the very expensive surgery I consulted multiple online sites similar to yours(though I'd easily say yours is the best so far) on which multiple other pet parents encouraged the use of arnica gel as a homeopathic treatment for aural hematomas. I used this for about a week and a half with no result. Very stressed, I was advised by family of a local vet who would perform what was quickly appearing to be the necessary surgery for just $85. With some reservation I opted to seek out this veterinarian.
He did in fact perform the surgery for the price indicated, but his bedside manner was not great. I was never even given the opportunity to speak with him. He simply performed the procedure and sent me home with a large drainage hole in my dogs ear, un-bandaged and bleeding freely, with nyastatin cream as the only additional treatment and instructions to return in two weeks to have the stitches taken out.
I have no way of knowing if he performed the procedure correctly or not. My pet does act as if he feels significantly better. He has returned to his normal exercise and eating levels, but is drinking a lot more water than he used to. His ear is slightly swollen and has been so since the day of the procedure. It is warm but not hot to the touch.
My biggest concern is he continues to shake his head vigorously. It is obvious to me that his ear is itching still and when I catch him he will let me scratch it lightly which helps keep him from shaking. After reading through several posts here I'm worried he may have an infection, and even more so that when we take the stitches out his hematoma will simply fill back up due to the continuous head-shaking. I just don't know what to do. Please advise.
My advice can only be general, as I have not seen your dog.
Personally, I like to send home antibiotics when I have an open draining wound, like an aural hematoma surgery. This doctor may have had different experiences with these surgeries, and has seen your dog, while I have not.
It is good that the dog is feeling better now. That's a plus.
The discomfort may be post-surgical, and additional pain control medicine may be needed. It is also possible that your dog does have an ear canal infection. Did you ask the doctor about this? Are you supposed to put the ointment down into the ear canal?
Ear canal infections need to be thoroughly cleaned of debris before treatment with medicines. Medicine cannot penetrate waxy gunk. This may require sedation or even general anesthesia. The doctor may have done this prior to performing the surgery.
Often the ear canal is swollen and painful, and treatment with oral cortisone is needed to open things up, even before cleaning can be accomplished. Reducing the inflammation also makes the dog feel better, but it is just the first step (though an IMPORTANT first step).
Dogs with chronic recurring ear infections usually have an underlying problem, most frequently allergy. Environmental allergies will usually require some type of systemic cortisone treatment.
Food allergies are more complicated to deal with. Here's an old post on them:
If you do not have confidence in your doctor, then find one that you do have confidence in. These can be complicated cases and can't really be treated "long distance".
I adopted my dog from a shelter 2 years ago. She was estimated to be 1 year old at the time. She is a mix of Chihuahua and Terrier. She weighs approx. 11 pounds and is 12 inches tall. She tested positive for heartworms but I elected to adopt her anyway.
I had her treated with Immiticide. She was then put on Heartguard and am giving it to her monthly per my Vets instructions. After 2 years she is still testing positive for heartworms (adults) but has been negative for the babies for over a year. The vet has said that she has not previously seen a dog still testing positive for adult heartworms after two years.
The vet has discussed two choices: 1) Second round of treatment of Immiticide, or 2) Continue giving the Heartguard monthly and hope that the adult worms present will die. The vet was not clear on what was the better alternative.
I ask, “What would you do if it were your dog?" and the response was "I guess I would treat it with the Immiticide", but she wasn’t overly convincing.
Overall, Sadie is in good health. She is not experiencing any symptoms consistent with advanced heartworm disease. I am not certain I want to subject Sadie to this procedure unless it is the better alternative. I have read your web pages on this topic and appreciate your thoroughness. I would be interested in your opinion in this matter.
Generally speaking, the best person to advise you is the doctor who is seeing your dog.
That being said, there are two scenarios that come to mind.
First, we have to remember that the Heartgard (and other monthly preventives) work to kill the lifestage of the parasite that exists from mosquito bite up to about five or six weeks afterward.
Second, it takes around six months from the time of the mosquito bite for the adult worms to be developed in the heart. It is only at this stage that they can be detected with the blood test. This is also the stage when the Immiticide works.
SO, there is roughly a four-month window where the parasites have matured past the point where the monthly preventive can kill them, but they haven't reached the point where they can be detected with a blood test, or killed with Immiticide.
If your dog was treated with Immiticide in October, for instance, and started on Heartgard at that time, baby heartworms acquired in June, July, August and September will go ahead and mature, and be showing up in the next spring's blood test. They are too mature for the preventive, and not mature enough for the Immiticide to get them.
The Immiticide may have killed all the adult worms present at time of treatment, but it didn't keep the partially mature ones from growing up. Thus you have a positive blood test again, even though you were faithful with your preventive.
The other scenario is the dog where the worms just don't all die with the treatment. Some dogs (rare) will never get a totally clean blood test.
My bias would generally be to re-treat with Immiticide in early spring (April is not too late, and don't stop your preventive medicine). Any previous parasite exposure will then be in the life-cycle stage where they can be killed.
In the case of a dog who had already undergone Immiticide treatment, and started on monthly preventive right away, we would expect very few worms to be present, and we would expect a good result from the treatment.
I hope this is helpful to you.