Category Archives: dog care

Beware of riding escalators with your dog!

The San Francisco SPCA has issued a warning for all dog owners:  exercise caution when taking your dog with you on an escalator.

EscalatorThe SPCA’s two hospitals regularly receive emergency visits by dogs injured on escalators.  The majority of cases are small breed dogs who are riding on escalators at BART stations (the rapid transit/commuter services in the San Francisco area) or at shopping malls.

However, any size dog can be injured on an escalator.

Injuries are usually to the paws, often requiring toes to be amputated.

Prevention is easy:

  • Use stairs or elevators (lifts) as opposed to escalators
  • Fit your dog with protective booties
  • Carry your dog when using an escalator

The benefits of being dog-friendly (Christchurch take note)

Here’s more research that backs up my position on dogs and the Christchurch rebuild.  Hopefully the CCDU and CERA will take note…

A study from the University of Liverpool has recommended investing in dog owner education and facilities as a strategy to target physical inactivity and problems such as obesity in both people and their pets.

The research team reviewed scientific papers published since 1990 (31 studies from the UK, USA, Australia and Japan) and found that access to dog-friendly walking environments and better education about dogs’ physical needs could all motivate people to get out and take more exercise with their pets.

An exercised dog is a healthy one, less likely to be obese, and who is less likely to develop behavioural problems like aggression and excessive barking. 

Among the most common findings of all studies was that dog owners have a varied understanding of how much exercise their dog needs. This affected how much they took their dog for a walk; something that could be addressed with education programs.

People without access to high quality local areas that support dog walking, for example parks where dogs are allowed off-leash and poo-disposal facilities are provided, were less likely to walk with their dog and missed out on the associated health benefits.

There are a large number of reasons why people do or don’t walk their dog and it is worth considering how we can address this when designing strategies for reducing obesity, or when planning urban areas and public open space. Not being able to let their dog off the leash is a particular put-off,” said Dr Carri Westgarth, co-author of the study.

Study authors Dr Carri Westgarth and Dr Hayley Christian take an off-lead walk (photo courtesy of University of Liverpool)

Study authors Dr Carri Westgarth and Dr Hayley Christian take an off-lead walk (photo courtesy of University of Liverpool)

The study also found that some people are worried about their dogs’ behaviour and may be less likely to take it out to the park – potentially out of embarrassment or worry about how it might act – but lack of walks may also be causing this bad behaviour, due to boredom, frustration or lack of socialisation.”

When I submitted to the CCDU in November 2012, I made the point that by having greater accessibility, owners have more opportunity to take dogs out – and that increases opportunity not only for exercise but also socialisation.   We want good ownership to be more visible in our communities – thus making it the norm.  Poor ownership would also be more visible – and subject to peer pressure combined with enforcement approaches.

Let’s have a dog-friendly central city with walking accessibility from one end to the other!

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Source:  University of Liverpool media release

 

Treating canine cancer with nanotechnology

An 11-year-old Labradoodle named Grayton  is the first patient at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in a new clinical trial that is testing the use of gold nanoparticles and a targeted laser treatment for solid tumors in dogs and cats.

Grayton is suffering from a return of nasal adenocarcinoma, a cancer of the nasal passages that typically has a short life expectancy.  (Grayton’s tumor was originally treated with high dose radiation which extended his life by three years.)

Dr. Shawna Klahn, assistant professor of oncology in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, performs a checkup on Grayton four weeks after his experimental cancer treatment involving gold nanoparticles and a targeted laser therapy. (photo courtesy of Virginia Tech News)

Dr. Shawna Klahn, assistant professor of oncology in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, performs a checkup on Grayton four weeks after his experimental cancer treatment involving gold nanoparticles and a targeted laser therapy. (photo courtesy of Virginia Tech News)

“This (nanotechnology) treatment involves two phases,” Dr. Nick Dervisis, assistant professor of oncology in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, said. “First, we infuse the patient with the gold nanoparticles. Although the nanoparticles distribute throughout the body, they tend to concentrate around blood vessels associated with tumors. Within 36 hours, they have cleared the bloodstream except for tumors. The gold nanoparticles are small enough to circulate freely in the bloodstream and become temporarily captured within the incomplete blood vessel walls common in solid tumors. Then, we use a non-ablative laser on the patient.”

Dervisis explained that a non-ablative laser is not strong enough to harm the skin or normal tissue, but “it does cause the remaining nanoparticles to absorb the laser energy and convert it into heat so that they damage the tumor cells.”

Like all clinical trials, the study involves many unknowns, including the treatment’s usefulness and effectiveness. One month after the AuroLase treatment, the nosebleeds that initially brought Grayton back to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital had stopped and Grayton has no other side effects.

Grayton’s owners report that he recently enjoyed the family’s summer vacation at the beach.

Grayton may be the first companion animal in the study at the veterinary college, but he certainly won’t be the last. Dervisis is continuing to enroll patients in the study and is seeking dogs and cats of a certain size with solid tumors who have not recently received radiation therapy or chemotherapy. For more information about the trial and eligibility requirements, owners should visit the Veterinary Clinical Research Office website.

Source:  Media release, Virginia Tech News

Immunotherapy hope

There is a form of cancer treatment called immunotherapy, where antibodies inhibit tumor growth.  Until now, such therapy wasn’t available for dogs.  A research team at Messerli Research Institute of the Vetmeduni Vienna, the Medical University of Vienna and the University of Vienna have now developed antibodies to treat cancer in dogs.

The newly developed antibody brings hope for dogs. (Photo by:  Michael Bernkopf / Vetmeduni Vienna)

The newly developed antibody brings hope for dogs. (Photo by: Michael Bernkopf / Vetmeduni Vienna)

Since cancer cells bear very specific antigens on the surface, the corresponding antibodies bind to these molecules and inhibit tumor growth.  A destructive signal sent by the antibody to the inside of the cancer cell initiates its death. In a second mechanism, the immune system of the patient also destroys the “marked” tumor in a more efficient way.

Josef Singer and Judith Fazekas, both lead authors of the study, discovered that a receptor frequently found on human tumor cells (epidermal growth factor receptor or EGFR) is nearly 100 percent identical with the EGF receptor in dogs. In human medicine EGFR is frequently used as the target of cancer immunotherapy because many cancer cells bear this receptor on their surface. The so-called anti-EGFR antibody binds to cancer cells and thus triggers the destruction of the cells. “Due to the high similarity of the receptor in humans and dogs, this type of therapy should work well in dogs too,” the scientists say. The binding site of the antibody to EGFR in man and dogs differs only in respect of four amino acids.

The head of the study, Professor Erika Jensen-Jarolim, explains as follows: “We expect dogs to tolerate these anti-cancer antibodies well. This will be investigated in clinical studies in the future and is expected to greatly improve the treatment as well as the diagnosis of cancer in dogs.”

The newly developed antibody provides an additional benefit for dogs. As in human medicine, antibodies can be coupled with signal molecules. When the antibody binds to a cancer cell in the organism, the coupled antibody – in this case a radioactive isotope – can be rendered visible and is thus able to show where tumors and even metastases are located. When the selected isotope also contributes to the decay of cancer cells, the approach is known as “theranostics” (therapy and diagnostics).

In veterinary medicine, immunotherapy will be employed for the treatment of mammary ridge cancer (milk line cancer) in dogs. It may also be used as part of a combination therapy.

The team have published their study results in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.

Source: Vetmeduni Vienna media release

Fairy dog mother?

I have found that most ‘dog people’ I meet support various charities that show their love of dogs. I am no exception. Today, however, I stumbled across a special charity that would allow me to become a Fairy Dog Mother.

They are Fairy DogParents, a non-profit in the state of Massachusetts.  The founder’s dog, Ladybug, was the inspiration behind the initiative.  Ladybug was already a senior dog when she was adopted from a shelter and her adoptive family considered themselves lucky that they could afford Ladybug’s medications for kidney disease, dementia and other ailments.  When Ladybug had to be put to sleep, her owner asked that the vet’s office re-distribute Ladybug’s un-used medication to someone who could use it.

Ladybug, in whose memory Fairy DogParents was founded

Ladybug, in whose memory Fairy DogParents was founded

And from there, the idea grew.  There are many dogs who are surrendered to shelters because of economics.  Their families simply can’t afford their care, particularly as they age or develop special health conditions.

Fairy DogParents has a simple application process for owners in need.  They serve Massachusetts residents only but hope to expand.  As with most non-profits, they are always in need of donations of goods, money and time.  Want to be a Fairy Dog Mother?  Follow the link below:

Fairy Dog Parent

Dog ACL Injuries – Know Your Options

DoggyMom.com:

ACL injuries – know your options – this is a great message for anyone whose dog has been diagnosed with a cruciate ligament injury.

In my canine massage and rehab practice, I work with dogs from the acute injury stage through to rehabilitation.  Many owners would prefer not to have surgery, for a variety of reasons including concerns about the costs and post-surgery care responsibilities.  Low level laser therapy, massage, acupressure, nutrition and weight control, plus other techniques like targeted exercise programs and braces can effectively be used to support dogs with cruciate injuries.  In some cases, surgery is definitely required and rehab is important.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Originally posted on allmycaninecompanions:

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Lately, perhaps because the weather is warm, I’ve encountered a lot of people during our walks asking me about Alex’s brace, and I am more than happy to stop for a couple of minutes and chat with them.  Do you know what I found surprising?  Every single pet parent that asked me about Alex’s brace told me the same thing, “I thought that the only option for an ACL injury was surgery,” to what I responded, “No, that is not the only option”.  By the way, I do not get any monetary compensation from WoundWear Inc., what I like to do is talk about the products I buy for Alex and Bella and give you my poin of view, a consumer’s point of view. 

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Here are some of the questions I’ve been asked:

What is your dog wearing?  Is it a brace?  Is she injured?  Alex is wearing a brace…

View original 292 more words

Treating enlarged prostate (BPH) in dogs

Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, is the medical term for an enlarged prostate.   The condition affects older, entire dogs and humans.

The most common clinical sign of BPH in dogs is bloody fluid dripping from the penis not associated with urination. In severe cases it can obstruct the colon and result in constipation.

A new method to treat dogs with BPH is pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF).  PEMF is a noninvasive method that generates both an electrical and magnetic field and is used in orthopedics, neurology, and urology.  Because PEMF has been reported to have an anti-inflammatory effect with increased healing and blood circulation, a research team decided to apply the technology to improve blood flow to the prostate and reduce the size of the gland.

The study used a Magcell® Vetri device from Physiomed Elektromedizin AG, Germany.

The study used a Magcell® Vetri device from Physiomed Elektromedizin AG, Germany

The research study involved 20 dogs with BPH. They received treatment with PEMF for 5 minutes, twice a day for three weeks. The device was simply held over the skin where the prostate is located.

The results were pretty amazing.   After 3 weeks, the average reduction of the prostate was 57%.   There was no interference with semen quality, testosterone levels or libido.   There was also a progressive reduction in resistance of blood flow in the dorsal branch of the prostatic artery, as seen with Doppler scanning.

Source:  Raffaella Leoci, Giulio Aiudi, Fabio Silvestre, Elaine Lissner, Giovanni Michele Lacalandra (2014). “Effect of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy on prostate volume and vascularity in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia: A pilot study in a canine model.” The Prostate. June 9, 2014. (Available online)