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Dogs + Treatment

  • Many herding breeds (most commonly Collies and Australian Shepherds) have a mutation at the MDR1 gene that makes them more sensitive to the negative effects of certain medications. These drugs include several antiparasitic agents (when given at high doses), the antidiarrheal agent loperamide (Imodium®), and several anticancer drugs. The effects of the mutation vary in severity, depending on whether the dog carries one or two copies of the mutation. There is a cheek swab or a commercially-available test that assesses blood samples for the presence of the MDR1 mutation.

  • Many dogs will instinctively hide their pain as a survival mechanism which in the past, led well-meaning experts to presume that dogs did not feel pain the same way humans do. Although the signs may be subtle, careful observation of a dog’s everyday behaviors will often reveal pain when it is present. These signs may include changes in behavior, mobility, and appetite. Common pain medications include NSAIDs, opioids, and other therapeutics. Your veterinarian will choose the appropriate drugs based on your dog’s specific needs.

  • Penetrating wounds such as sticks, arrows, or gunshots can be life-threatening though the outer appearance of a wound may not seem as severe. Take immediate steps to calm your pet, stabilize any foreign body that is present, and get your pet to your veterinarian. Surgery may be necessary after your pet is stabilized.

  • The definition of a pneumothorax is an accumulation of air outside the lungs, but inside the chest wall. The air outside the lung prevents the lungs from inflating normally, and can lead to lung collapse. There are several variations of pneumothorax.

  • Radiation therapy is the medical use of high dose radiation to destroy cancer cells by damaging the cells’ DNA to interfere with cell replication and kill them. It may be used on its own or in combination with other treatments, such as surgery or chemotherapy, or to reduce the size of very large tumors prior to surgery. There are several radiation protocols used in veterinary medicine. Your veterinary oncologist will choose the therapy most appropriate for your pet’s individual situation.

  • Because of their anti-inflammatory properties, corticosteroids are a valuable class of medications. They are commonly used to treat mild inflammatory conditions and/or to suppress the inflammation associated with an allergic response. When administered in high doses, they act as immunosuppressant drugs meaning they suppress or prevent an immune response. Corticosteroids have both short- and long-term side effects including increased drinking/eating and increased risk of infections. Corticosteroids can be life-saving medications and improve the quality of life for many dogs.

  • Administering supplemental fluids can benefit dogs with a variety of medical conditions. Giving injections is outside the comfort zone for almost anyone outside the medical profession; however, subcutaneous fluid administration is not nearly as difficult as it sounds. Your veterinary healthcare team will provide you with all the equipment that you will need to administer fluids to your dog. They will go through the steps with you in person. Do not use the fluid bag if cloudiness or discoloration develops in the fluids.

  • The main objectives of fracture repair are to promote rapid healing of the fracture and to get the dog using its leg as quickly as possible. In most cases, this involves rebuilding the broken bone and fixing it in that position with metallic implants. Post-operative care includes pain medications, antibiotics, adequate nutrition, exercise restriction, and physiotherapy. Most fractures can be repaired very effectively and in many cases, your dog will resume normal activity.

  • Nebulization and coupage are two techniques used in the treatment of lung disease. Nebulization is a term used to describe the delivery of a fine mist to the lungs. In some cases, this fine mist may consist of saline or water only. Coupage is performed by striking the chest gently but firmly with cupped hands.

  • Therapeutic laser is the application of light energy to areas of the body to stimulate healing. This light–tissue interaction is called photobiomodulation. In the past, therapeutic laser was often referred to as low-level or cold laser (as opposed to a surgical or hot laser).