Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Lumps and Bumps

Hello all!  I am going to take a break from spreading holiday cheer and talk a little bit about lumps and bumps.  No not the lumps and bumps that are appearing on my hips from all these delicious dog treats I am getting this Christmas.  I am talking about the lumps and bumps that don't go away with a few extra runs around the block.  If you find a lump on your furry friend sometimes it's hard to know what to do about it!  So here are some things to think about...

Small lumps and bumps found on your pet may seem insignificant, and sometimes they are, but in many cases they can become quite large and troublesome.  We often are asked the question, if it’s just small, why would we need to biopsy (sample) or remove it?

Some lumps are totally benign.  Examples of benign masses are cysts or warts that remain only a few millimeters or a centimeter and never become a problem.  We don’t need to worry about them spreading to other areas of the body.  Some of these lumps on certain breeds, like Cocker Spaniels or Poodles have a distinctive appearance and we can be confident enough based on their appearance to tell pet owners that they are very unlikely to ever be an issue.

Then there are the benign lumps that don’t necessarily pose a health risk as far as spread to distant areas of the body, but can become quite large and cumbersome over time.  A few examples would be lipomas (fatty masses) or soft tissue sarcomas.  These can start out just a few centimeters but grow to 15cm or larger.  If they are found in areas like a leg or near the face they can interfere with vision or movement.

The lumps that are the most concerning are ones that grow quickly, bleed, are irritating for the pet or appear in an unwell animal.

So why would we want to sample a mass first?  Why not just take it off?  It all boils down to knowing what we are dealing with before surgery.  Some masses can be removed easily with small “margins.”  This means that we only need to take a half centimeter of normal looking skin around the mass to remove the whole thing and our pets go home with small incisions.  Some other masses however, like soft tissue sarcomas require several centimeters of “normal” looking tissue to prevent them from coming back.  This can be a problem if it’s a large mass in an area where there is not a lot of extra normal skin, like the face or a paw.  In these cases sometimes follow up treatments like radiation therapy are required to get rid of the little bits of mass that didn’t get removed at surgery. 

The bottom line is that small lumps are much more easily removed.  Smaller lumps require a smaller incision which means an easier recovery from surgery for our patients.  We also have more anesthetic concerns in older patients.  The 2cm mass in a 5 year old dog is a lot less risky to remove than the now 12 cm bleeding mass in a 13 year old dog that has to be removed because it’s getting in the way.  Just some food for thought!

And speaking of dinner is calling.  I'll try to make my next post a more festive one! 

Happy Holidays friends!!

xoxo Bailey

Friday, 23 October 2015

Urinary problems

Some of you may think that I am running out of topics to blog about since I have resorted to talk about pee.  On the contrary, the vets at my clinic went to a whole lecture on the stuff earlier this week.  Who would have thought you could talk about such a thing for hours?  While eating supper.  Anyways, the topic was "urological emergencies."  So basically emergencies of the urinary tract.  Something I don't really think about on a daily basis, I take for granted that I go out and do my buisness in the morning without pain or discomfort, little did I realized how lucky I am.  The speaker was an emergency specialist from the Ontario Veterinary College and she talked (among other things) about blocked cats.  Blocked?  That sounds horrible.  This can happen to dogs too but more often to cats, when they just can't pee, usually because small stone or some crystals are stuck in their urethra (the tube that connects the bladder to the outside world).  I know what it feels like when I am just waiting for my mom at the end of the day to hurry up and take me outside and I am dancing around and crossing my little back legs to hold it in.  Imagine how it would feel to not be able to go?  Well apparently there are some simple things we can do to help prevent cats and dogs from suffering from this awful situation!  There are some foods that can help stones and crystals from forming in the first place!  There is a new one for cats that is a weight loss food and a urinary food all in one!  Trouble is overweight cats are more likely to develop urinary problems so Hill's Pet Nutrition decided to combine their Metabolic weight loss diet and their Multicare urinary diet into one - how smart is that?

Here is a picture:

No pictures of me today, I'm afraid.  I took the day off so I am home catching up on my blog and trying to decide what I am going to be for Halloween!  Stay tuned!

xoxo Bailey

Friday, 2 October 2015

New food !

This may be a surprise to some of you given my slim girl-ish figure but I actually love food.  I would be what one would call a self proclaimed foodie.  I mean I have quite discerning taste, and I make a point of keeping my sniffer on the ground to find new and delicious treats.  So you can imagine my excitement when Royal Canin launched their new food with different "aromatic profiles".  What could sound more delicious!  I currently enjoy their Gastro line because my mommy seems to think I have a sensitive tummy.  I guess I should admit that the odd thing I pick up off the ground doesn't exactly sit right.

Then I found out the food is especially for animals with kidney problems.  For real?  I was salivating at the thought of all these new flavours and now I can't be the one to enjoy it.  My mommy says this should make me happy, because it means I have a pair of kidneys working in tip top shape, I suppose I must just live viacariously through my dog and cat friends whose kidneys are suffering from a little wear and tear.

So what does "aromatic profiles" mean?  There are two new dry foods and three new canned foods for both dogs and cats.  And the kibbles even have different shapes just in case certain pets prefer one shape over another.  But they all have very different smells - hence "aromatic profiles."  Ever feel nauseous then get turned off a certain food?  Such is life for our poor friends with kidney disease.  Sometimes they feel nauseous and then they get turned off their special kidney diets.  And what could be worse?  The kidney diets are the most important tool our doctors have for managing thier disease!  This way if a food aversion develops, there are other foods now available that smell totally different.

So here I am checking out the information about the new diets, and a close up of what they look like.  If any of you have new questions about the new foods I am now up to speed so just give a ring and Michelle will put me on the line.

Toodles - 


Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Now it all makes sense!

In an effort to be more involved here at the clinic, I took it upon myself to do a little research.  I am always amazed when a pet comes in for surgery how complicated it all looks!  I mean there is just so much that goes on!   First a sedative, then hooked up to an IV fluid line, then snuggled up with cozy oat bags, then two doctors hovering around as they give anesthetic drugs, then a whirlwind of activity as the tube to secure the airway goes in, then the machine gets hooked up then all the lines and monitors go on....I am exhausted just writing this.  I've seen it so many times and never stopped to ask...why?

Well I opened up a few books and asked a few questions and now I know, so I thought I'd share.  There are a lot of things that can happen under a general anesthetic.  Most are common and can be easily corrected or treated if somebody picks them up early.  But you have to be there, watching, listening, and knowing what you are looking for!  That's why all the docs here like to get involoved.  Just to have two sets of ears and eyes.  That way they can react quickly!  And the IV line helps them do that too.  I like to think of it as the "life line".  It's connected right to the blood system so if they need to give a drug in an emergency situation they don't have to fumble around (not that they would anyways!) and they can give it quickly.  It's even helpful in not so emergency situations.  If the doctors think the pet is painful or if they want to give a drug to speed up the heart rate so we can all breathe a little easier it just happens that much faster.  Things change quickly under a general anesthetic and all the monitors and lines that connect to the big machine that looks like a computer screen called a c-a-r-d-e-l-l help us all pick up on changes so we can act promptly.  So why do we need to monitor all this stuff?  Here is a brief summary - 

1.  Blood pressure - a little cuff that goes around the food (so cute right?  Just like for people!) - - decreases in blood pressure happen all the time under anesthetic!  If we don't look we don't ever know but this can be really bad for important organs like kidneys, liver and heart.  Luckily that trusted IV fluid line just gets a workout and delivers more fluid for 15-20 minutes and that's usually all it takes to make things right again.

2.  Pulse ox - this measures amount of oxygen in the blood.  Super important for normal organ function!  Instead of going on the finger like in people it goes on the tongue in cats and dogs.  A little wierd I think but it works!

3.  Capnograph - This measures carbon dioxide that is breathed in and out.  Cool thing about this number is it proves it's not good enough just to count breaths.  The capnograph makes sure they are good deep breaths and actually clearning carbon dioxide from the body.  If carbon dioxide gets too high it can depress heart function - scary!  

4.  Heart rate and breathing rate - help assess proper depth of anesthetic.

5.  EKG - heart rhythm.  Yes it looks like a human EKG it's so cool!  There are common (not so scary and easily corrected with medication) rhythm changes and uncommon ones that are a little scarier but don't worry the doctors have protocols on how to deal with them taped to the wall.  I can't stress enough the importance of being prepared.

6.  Body temperature - seems simple right?  But really important.  Cold pets don't clear drugs very well from their bodies, feel pain more and recover more slowly from anesthetic.  Not exactly what we want.  The Cardell machine measures core body temperature, a small probe is placed down the throat to measure the temperature on the inside of the body right near the heart.  

So there you have it.  Now I know.  If only I could be of more help during all these surgeries, but I guess I'll have to settle for staying out of the way so nobody trips on my tail and keeping my fuzz out of the sterile surgery room.  Now after all this learning I need a crunchy cookie and a long nap.  It's tough keeping up with the going's on here.  I thought you all might like to see a picture of me in "study mode."  I think it suits me!

xoxo Bailey

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Follow Your Gut....Literally

I have been neglecting some of my usual duties at the clinic because I had my own health scare!  Some of you have been asking about me which is so sweet, thank you for all your concern and well wishes.  At first I didn't think much of it, I had spent a lovely few days in the country but I may have picked a few things off the ground that I shouldn't have.  It can be hard to tell, even for this discerning nose what's good to eat and what isn't.  Some things I have down:  red pepper - ok.  Goose poop - not ok.  Cucumber - fine.  Mushroom from the grass outside -no!  Dog biscuit - no problem.  Fertilizer - definitely not!  How is a poodle to keep all of this straight?  

Anyways, a few days later my little poodle tummy was not right, I was up at night throwing up and just didn't have the energy to meet all my friends with my usual tail wag.  Now I don't know if any of you know this, but I do have a sensitive tummy.  Sometimes when I eat things that I am not supposed to it rocks the boat, so to speak.  So at first I (and my family) didn't think much of it.  I got my usual injection of Cerenia (the stomach settling needle) and some Gastro Low Fat diet (the doggy equivalent to soda crackers).  But a day or two later I still wasn't feeling well.  And you know something, my mummy knew it was something different this time.  So she didn't waste any time letting the doctors at the clinic here know that I needed some extra care and TLC this time.  They went ahead and checked a bloodwork profile.  When the results came back we were all shocked.  My liver enzymes were seven times normal!  The doctors think that my liver was angry and working hard at detoxifying something I got into.  Boy did I ever feel bad, in more ways than one.  They sure did know how to look after me though.  I got some IV fluids and some pain medicine.  I was also given some medications to help support my liver, and some antibiotics.  

My mummy slept downstairs with me and would get up in the middle of the night and restart my fluid pump when it stopped and beeped obnoxiously.  Needless to say, the next few days were a blur.  But in the end it was all worth it.  After a week, my liver enzymes returned to normal, but I continued taking the antibiotics and liver support for a few weeks, just to be on the safe side.  What a terrible scare.  It really did make me think though, now that I have a new lease on life.  Hence the title of my post:  follow your gut.  My mummy knew something was not right with me and didn't take the risk on waiting.  

Here is a picture of me when I was hooked up to my IV drip.  If I look a little dazed it was because of that pain medication! 

You'll all be please to know I am back to my usual antics now.  I got in trouble for stealing a piece of chicken off the floor today.  So I guess chicken with creamy sauce goes on the "no" list.  Rats.

Hope you are all well.

Hugs -  

Friday, 17 April 2015

Spring at last!

Sorry I've been out of touch, I've been out enjoying this lovely spring weather!!  I have been playing in the country with my cousin Ozzy.  It was so great to run outside and feel the wind under my ears.  Believe it or not, I can outrun Ozzy any day, he may tell you differently but he tends to stretch the truth.  Anyways, we had a lovely weekend outdoors and exploring all the "goodies" that were buried under the snow all winter.  Unfortuantely my mommy wouldn't let me sample any of them.  Geesh.  On that note, I also got my first dose of flea and tick medication - yum!  FINALLY someone thought of us dogs and made one yummy chewy treat to keep fleas and ticks away for a whole month.  So I can run through the long grass and leaf litter where they love to hide without worry.  Oh and I have a sensitive stomach and it didn't bother me one little bit.  Here is a picture of Ozzy and I, my mommy was quite insistent that we sit still while she took this picture.  I was NOT pleased about this, but I must admit in retrospect I am glad she took the picture.

And you can see below that my trip really tuckered me out.  By the time my mommy took the second picture I couldn't even lift my head.  I slept like a log, dreamed of red peppers and cucumber and now I am ready for my next adventure!

Bye for now!! xoxo Bailey

Friday, 20 February 2015

Nothing gets by me

I've not been at work this week as my family is away skiing.  I am enjoying some fun time in the country (even though it's -23 degrees today!)  Talk about freezing your paws off!  But I didn't fancy having skis strapped to my little feet and flying down the hill at mach speed.  I am all about having fun but that just sounds ridiculous!  So I have a little more time on my hands this week.  I was perusing the Mountain Animal Hospital Facebook page (because I do like to keep a watch on what is going on while I am not there) and what did I see???  LADY sleeping in my bed!  So now I know what's been going on while I haven't been there!  Great.  Now my bed is going to smell funny and just won't feel the same when I get back.  I hope you had a nice day, Lady, sheesh, the things a poodle has to put up with.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Happy Birthday

Here I am wishing my favorite veterinary technician, Kathryn, a very happy birthday!  There were lots of goodies from Cake and Loaf here to celebrate but no one would give me any!  Can you believe it.  They must have felt bad though, because after I pouted a little they did give me a few dog cookies.  Happy Birthday Kathryn! 

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

The "Skunk Bug"

You know that expression "it's a dog's life?"  Well whoever coined that term obviously didn't know about vaccine day.  Ugg, this morning I overheard mommy asking one of the doctors if she could give me one of my needles.  What?  Did anybody bother to ask me about this?  I need time to prepare myself, you can't just spring this on me cold turkey!  When I was a wee pup I got very sore after one of my vaccines so now I get this "special" needle first to make me feel better after.  Actually it does help.  Now I am just a little sleepy after the vaccine so I guess it's worth the extra little prick.  So yes, I guess I have to admit that these people know what they are doing.  This vaccine that I am getting today protects me against this disease called l-e-p-t-o-s-p-i-r-o-s-i-s.  I know.  Why do they have to give these bugs such long names?  I just call it the skunk bug.  I hear the doctors telling other pet's families that we could pick it up if we come too close to raccoon or skunk pee.  I mean it's not something that I intentionally try to do (gross! - what kind of poodle do you think I am?) but sometimes when I am running around in the grand outdoors I don't want to have to worry about where those little skunkys have decided to piddle.  The scary thing too is that if I get this skunk bug I could pass it onto my human family too!  So look at me, being all self-sacrificing now and going through all of this to help my family.  I will most definitely need extra red peppers tonight (they are my favorite!)  

Oh and to top it all off my mommy tried to make we walk to the post box after my needle today!  Sheesh....She quickly realized her error and carried me most of the way.

So here is what I got today:

And here I am!  Sleeping it off....

Well wish me well tonight, I will be home snuggled up in my little bed and hopefully back at work tomorrow bright eyed and bushy tailed!

xoxo Bailey

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Bad Hair Day?

So not only did I wake up to "freeze your tail off" weather this morning, but I was informed that it was hair cut day!  A day I admit I do not love.  Really, sometimes I think being clean is a little overrated.  Well I obeyed like the good dog I am and braved the cold to make it to the groomers on time.  After a few hours and a lot of fussing I was made presentable.   When I arrived back at the clinic to my surprise I got a ton of oohs and aahs and lots of cuddles.  They really know how to win me over here! In the end, I have to say that maybe beauty is worth the effort.  What do you think?
P.S.  Thanks Daisy!