Category Archives: Dogs

Golden Retrievers Needed For a Study

Bernville Veterinary Clinic is pleased to announce our participation in the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study sponsored by Morris Animal Foundation. The study, which will follow 3000 goldens throughout their lives, is a groundbreaking project designed to learn more about risk factors for cancer and other problems that affect the breed, and to determine how to better prevent, diagnose and treat these diseases. You’ll benefit many ways: the study pays for your dog’s annual blood, urine and fecal tests; you’ll learn preliminary findings before the final study report is published; and you’ll gain the satisfaction of helping to improve the health of golden retrievers. If your purebred golden retriever is under two years of age, you may be eligible to participate. Visit www.CanineLifetimeHealth.org to learn more, and then call 610-488-0166 to make an appointment with Dr. Lee Pickett.

The Most Common Tick in Berks County: The American Dog Tick

Hosts : The immature stages are frequently found on small rodents such as meadow mice. The adults are frequently found on dogs (hence the name) and can be recognized by the distinctive white markings on their back. The American dog tick may become greatly engorged, achieving the size of a grape. In addition to man, the other hosts are cat, cattle, donkey, hog, horse, mule, sheep, coyote, deer, fox, wolf, wildcat, badger, opossum, rabbit raccoon, rat, skunk, squirrel, weasel and ground hog. Diseases : American dog ticks are the major carrier of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which is less common than Lyme disease, but a potentially more serious illness. This tick has also been known to transmit tularemia, and to cause tick paralysis.

10 Most Common Dog Poisons

Last year, there were more than 100,000 cases of pet poisoning in the U.S (cats and dogs). Many of these were caused by substances you probably have in your home, substances that may seem perfectly harmless to you. But just because something is safe for people doesn’t mean it won’t hurt beloved pets.
  • Dog poison No. 1: Humane medications. Drugs that might be beneficial, or even life-saving, for people can have the opposite effect in pets. And it doesn’t always take a large dose to do major damage. Some of the most common and harmful medications that poison dogs include:
    • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, which can cause stomach and intestinal ulcers or kidney failure.
    • Anti-depressants, which may cause vomiting and, in more serious instances, serotonin syndrome – a dangerous condition that raises temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, and may cause seizures.
    • Isoniazid, a tuberculosis drug, is difficult for dogs to process. Even one tablet can cause problems in a small dog. Signs of poisoning include seizures and coma.
  • Dog poison No. 2: Incorrect use of Flea and tick products. You may think you’re doing your dog a favor when you apply products marketed to fight fleas and ticks, but thousands of animals are unintentionally poisoned by these products every year. Problems can occur if dogs accidentally ingest these products or if small dogs receive excessive amounts. If you have any specific question, please don’t hesitate to call.
  • Dog poison No. 3: People food. Your canine companion may look so cute as he sits there begging for a bite of your chocolate cake or a chip covered in guacamole, but not giving him what he wants could save his life. Animals have different metabolisms than people. Some foods and beverages that are perfectly safe for people can be dangerous, and sometimes fatal, for dogs. ◾Chocolate. Though not harmful to people, chocolate products contain substances called methylxanthines that can cause vomiting in small doses, and death if ingested in larger quantities. Darker chocolate contains more of these dangerous substances than do white or milk chocolate. The amount of chocolate that could result in death depends on the type of chocolate and the size of the dog. For smaller breeds, just half an ounce of baking chocolate can be fatal, while a larger dog might survive eating 4 to 8 ounces. Coffee and caffeine have similarly dangerous chemicals.
    • Alcohol. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning in animals are similar to those in people, and may include vomiting, breathing problems, coma and, in severe cases, death.
    • Avocado. You might think of them as healthy, but avocadoes have a substance called persin that can act as a dog poison, causing vomiting and diarrhea.
    • Macadamia nuts. Dogs may suffer from a series of symptoms, including weakness, overheating, and vomiting, after consumption of macadamia nuts.
    • Grapes and raisins. Experts aren’t sure why, but these fruits can induce kidney failure in dogs. Even a small number may cause problems in some dogs.
    • Xylitol. This sweetener is found in many products, including sugar-free gum and candy. It causes a rapid drop in blood sugar, resulting in weakness and seizures. Liver failure also has been reported in some dogs.
  • Dog poison No. 4: Rat and mouse poison. Rodenticides, if ingested by dogs, can cause severe problems. The symptoms depend on the nature of the poison, and signs may not start for several days after consumption. In some instances, the dog may have eaten the poisoned rodent, and not been directly exposed to the toxin.
  • Dog poison No. 5: Pet medications. Just as we can be sickened or killed by medications intended to help us, cases of pet poisoning by veterinary drugs are not uncommon. Some of the more commonly reported problem medications include painkillers and de-wormers.
  • Dog poison No. 6: Household plants. They may be pretty, but plants aren’t necessarily pet friendly. Some of the more toxic plants to dogs include: ◾Azaleas and rhododendrons. These pretty flowering plants contain toxins that may cause vomiting, diarrhea, coma, and potentially even death.
    • Tulips and daffodils. The bulbs of these plants may cause serious stomach problems, convulsions, and damage to the heart.
    • Sago palms. Eating just a few seeds may be enough to cause vomiting, seizures, and liver failure.
  • Dog poison No. 7: Chemical hazards. Not surprisingly, chemicals contained in antifreeze, paint thinner, and chemicals for pools can act as dog poison. The pet poisoning symptoms they may produce include stomach upset, depression, and chemical burns.
  • Dog poison No. 8: Household cleaners. Just as cleaners like bleach can poison people, they are also a leading cause of pet poisoning, resulting in stomach and respiratory tract problems.
  • Dog poison No. 9: Heavy metals. Lead, which may be in paint, linoleum, and batteries, can be poisonous if eaten by your dog, causing gastrointestinal and neurological problems. Zinc poisoning may occur in dogs that swallow pennies, producing symptoms of weakness from severe anemia.
  • Dog poison No. 10: Fertilizer. Products for your lawn and garden may be poisonous to pets that ingest them.

Why Do Dogs Sometimes Have Really Bad Breath?

Bad dog breath is caused by the accumulation of bacteria in your dog’s system. The locations of this bacterial build-up can range from the mouth to the lungs to parts of the digestive system. For the most part bad breath in dogs can be attributed to gun disease which is caused by a build-up of tartar and plaque around the dog’s teeth and gum line. Chronic bad breath in dogs can indicate a more serious dental or internal problem and should be checked out as soon as possible. It can also be an indication of larger medical problems in the respiratory and digestive system if it continues despite better dental care. Long story short, BRUSH YOUR DOG’S TEETH EVERY DAY!

Pet Halloween Alert: The Danger of Xylitol Sweetener

Xylitol toxicity in dogs Does your dog have a sweet tooth? Does he drool at the thought of sharing that deliciously sweet snack with you? Now there is one more reason to keep the sweets all to yourself. The sweetener xylitol is toxic to dogs. It has been known to cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in dogs for years, but recently it has been discovered that it can cause acute liver disease and a coagulopathy (inability to clot the blood). A study found that 0.5g/kg or more of ingested xylitol can cause liver failure. What does this mean in the real world? One piece of sugar free gum with xylitol has around 0.3g of xylitol in it. Some gums can have as much as 1g of xylitol per piece. If you bake with the xylitol powder one cup has 190g of xylitol. If a recipe calls for 1 cups of xylitol to make 24 cup cakes, it will only take 2 cupcakes to cause acute liver disease in a 50lb dog. What are the signs of xylitol toxicity? Vomiting is usually the first sign of toxicity and then in 30-60 minutes hypoglycemia can occur. The signs of hypoglycemia can be lethargy, ataxia (stumbling around), collapse, and seizure. In cases where gum with xylitol was ingested the hypoglycemia may be delayed for up to 12 hours. In severe over doses some dogs do not display the signs of hypoglycemia prior to the onset of liver failure. Instead lethargy and vomiting occurred 9-72 hours after exposure. They developed petechia (small spots of bleeding on the skin and mucus membranes like gums), echymosis (larger spots of bleeding seen on the skin and mucus membranes), and gastric hemorrhage (bleeding in the stomach). What can you do if your dog does ingest xylitol? Immediately bring him into us and let us know which items contained xylitol. Remember how much you pet consumed (always estimate on the high side because it is always better to be overly cautious when it comes to the health and wellbeing of your faithful friend). The moral of the story is to keep the sweets up and away from your furry friend. Xylitol may help you watch your waist line, but it can be deadly to your furry friend.

Pet Halloween Safety Tip # 1

No tricks, no treats: That bowl of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Scruffy and Fluffy. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems. If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call us ASAP!  

This Week is Deaf Dog Awareness Week

In 1996, members of the Deaf Dogs E-Mail List, founded by Canadian and future board member, Lindsay Patten, rallied twice to raise the funds needed to fly deaf dogs to loving homes and away from certain death. This inspired the list members to propose that a not-for-profit organization be founded “to speak on behalf of and assist in the betterment of life for deaf dogs everywhere.” The Deaf Dog Education Action Fund (DDEAF) is the result of an idea that was long past due. To learn more about the The Deaf Dog Education Action Fund (DDEAF), go to: www.deafdogs.org