Thank you for playing along with this blogger’s shenanigans! I hope you had fun with it. The first place winner was Cheryl Bryant from Mount Vernon, Iowa, the only respondent (out of more almost 100) who had a perfect score. Many of you would have achieved the same had it not been for that doggone tricky tapeworm question! I chose the other two winners by drawing names out of a hat, and they are (drum roll, please), Shirley Struble from Ann Arbor, Michigan and Shelli Pawlu from Pierz, Minnesota. Cheryl, Shirley, and Shelli will all receive a signed copy of Speaking for Spot or Your Dog’s Best Health.
Now for the answers and explanations you’ve been waiting for. If you happened to miss the questions, check out last week’s blog post before reading the answers below.
The best way to diagnose bladder stones is an ultrasound examination of the abdomen.
The best way to diagnose bladder stones is with ultrasound, a super-safe noninvasive way to view all of the structures within the abdominal cavity. Only really large stones can be found via palpation, and, because of their mineral composition, certain types of stones go undetected by X-rays. Ultrasound is far more reliable. Yes, exploratory surgery is a sure-fire way to diagnose bladder stones, but why perform such an invasive procedure when ultrasound is available?
Once a dog or cat is an adult, core vaccinations (the vaccines recommended for every dog or cat) should be given once every three years.
If you’ve read my books or my blog, this was probably an easy one for you to answer. Disease protection provided by core vaccines (distemper, parvovirus) in adult animals lasts a minimum of three years. It simply does not make sense to administer them more frequently. All vaccines have the potential for adverse reactions. Why on earth expose your dog or cat to such risk when there is no benefit to be gained? The exception here is rabies- your local government gets to dictate the frequency of administration of this vaccine.
An alternative to revaccinating adult dogs for canine distemper and parvovirus is vaccine serology, aka “titer testing.” For more information about this I encourage you to read the chapter called, “The Vaccination Conundrum” in Speaking for Spot.
Unfortunately, not all veterinarians are on the bandwagon when it comes to current vaccination protocols. What should you do if your vet insists on annual vaccinations? Time to find yourself a more progressive veterinarian!
Tapeworms can cause itchiness around the anus.
As a child I remember hearing that tapeworms could rob the body of nutrition. In veterinary school I learned that this is simply old wives’ tales. The two major issues caused by tapeworms are an itchy anus for the animal (worm segments exit the animal’s body by migrating through the anus) and a major “gross out” experience for the unlucky individual who happens to observe this trans-anal migration. Worst-case scenario, a super large volume of tapeworms within an animal’s gut can cause gastrointestinal symptoms, but this is the exception rather than the rule.
Food allergies can cause itchy skin, diarrhea, and ear infections.
Yup, food allergies can cause all kinds of symptoms for dogs and cats- from itchy skin to ear infections to vomiting and diarrhea. The best way to know if this is the cause of your pet’s problems is to talk with your veterinarian about a hypoallergenic food trial. Your dog or cat will be restricted to a limited-ingredient diet for 6-8 weeks while you and your vet observe whether or not the symptoms improve.
Hip dysplasia is something a dog is born with.
The normal hip joint consists of a ball (the head of the femur) that is deeply seated within a round socket (the acetabulum). Hip dysplasia refers to a defectively developed hip joint- something that the pup is born with- in which the head of the femur is not deeply seated within the acetabulum. The result is instability of the hip joint. Over time, the body reacts to this instability by remodeling the joint, the end result of which is arthritis. Hip dysplasia is the underlying abnormality, and arthritis is the secondary consequence.
Kennel cough is caused by bacterial organisms and viruses, and is the common name for infectious tracheobronchitis.
Kennel cough is an umbrella term used to describe inflammation of the respiratory tract caused by a variety of airborne, contagious, infectious microorganisms. Keep in mind that the Bordetella vaccination protects against only one microorganism capable of causing kennel cough.
A veterinary specialist is an individual who has completed advanced training and has become certified in a particular area of veterinary medicine.
From a legal point of view, the term “specialist” is reserved only for those docs who have completed advanced residency training (beyond veterinary school) in a particular field of veterinary medicine. In addition, the specialist must have authored publications and passed some insanely rigorous exams, the culmination of which is referred to as “board certification.” Many specialists do indeed have “special” personalities, but this is not a requirement.
Did you learn something new? Would you welcome more “Are You Smarter Than a Vet Student” in the future?
Lastly, I would like to send out greetings to all of you mamas out there. I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day!
Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Author of Your Dog’s Best Health: A Dozen Reasonable Things to Expect From Your Vet
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
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Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health are available at www.speakingforspot.com, Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.