Thursday, March 25, 2010

Question: Cat Frequently Urinating with Decrease in Urine

Dr. Schaeberle,

My male cat frequently visits the litterbox and I’m noticing a decrease in urine. Should I be concerned?



Hi Danielle,

If your dog or cat is straining to urinate, urinating more frequently or has bloody urine, he or she may have bladder stones. The most common types of stones are struvite, calcium oxalate and urate. Struvite stones often form in patients who have recurrent bladder infections. Calcium oxalate stones are often the result of genetics, certain underlying illnesses or excessive calcium or oxalate in the diet. Urate stones are common in Dalmatians and are the result of a genetic defect in which the breed lacks an enzyme needed to break down uric acid.

Both male and female cats and dogs can form bladder stones; however, in males, the stones may become lodged in the urethra causing an obstruction which can cause serious illness and even death.

How does your veterinarian know your pet has a bladder stone? A urinalysis may show blood or crystals in the urine but stones are typically diagnosed by taking an x-ray of the bladder.

Once the diagnosis has been made, your pet will most likely need surgery to remove the stones. If the pet has struvite stones, a special diet may be used to try to dissolve the stones. Calcium oxalate and urate stones do not dissolve and must be surgically removed.

Once the stones have been removed, we focus on preventing new stones from forming. Your veterinarian may recommend checking periodic urine samples for infections or crystals and perhaps repeating x-rays several times a year. Controlling urine pH and promoting dilute urine can be achieved by using one of several prescription canned diets and encouraging the pet to drink more water. Sometimes medications are also added to control the urine pH. Urate stones are prevented with medication called allopurinol.

Bladder stones can be frustrating and can cause serious complications for your pet. If your pet does develop stones, timely treatment, surgery if needed, and steps to prevent recurrence of stones can help your pet continue to lead a happy, healthy life.

Thomas Schaeberle, VMD

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Question: Dog's ear flap looks like balloon!

Dr. Schaeberle,

I noticed my dog’s ear flap has filled up with fluid like a balloon. Is this a hematoma?



Hi Audrey,

A hematoma of the ear flap is commonly referred to as an aural hematoma. This happens when a blood vessel inside the ear flap is broken, and the ear flap fills with blood. This usually occurs with some form of trauma to the ear, such as excessive head shaking due to an ear canal infection, allergies, or blunt trauma. This condition occurs most commonly in dogs, but can affect cats also.

If this happens to your pet, your veterinarian will want to check for ear canal infections, etc. and correct those first. As for that swollen ear flap, there are multiple options to correct that. One of the most sure ways to correct it is with surgery, which would require anesthesia. The inside of the ear flap is incised, and the blood and clots cleaned out. It is then sutured in a variety of ways to promote both continual drainage and proper healing.

Another option is to lance the hematoma, and place a special drain in it for 2-3 weeks. This procedure does not require anesthesia, but will take longer to drain than in the surgical procedure. This way is generally successful, but I have seen some of these return on occasion.

Some veterinarians will just simply use a syringe to aspirate the blood out, but it usually fills right back up and may need this done several times to get it healed properly. Also, each time a needle is used, infection may be introduced.

But what if you do nothing at all except treat a possible ear canal infection? The body will eventually re-absorb the blood. However, the hematoma may get larger before it gets better, and this may take several months to resolve. This also results in a less cosmetic heal, because the ear flap scars down tight and creates a “cauliflower” ear. Also, this big ear flap can be very uncomfortable to your pet during this long period of treatment.

And last but not least, there is some newer research out there that reports the use of anti-inflammatories such as Prednisone may help too.

So which is best for your pet? That is best determined by your veterinarian. A veterinarian will discuss things with you like severity, age, cosmetics, cost, and risks to come up with the best option for you and your pet.

Thomas Schaeberle, VMD

Friday, March 5, 2010

Question: My dog's breath is horrible

Dear Gregory,

Dental care of dogs and cats is one of the most commonly overlooked areas of pet health care. In fact, a recent AAHA study showed that approximately two-thirds of pet owners do not provide the dental care that is recommended as
essential by veterinarians.

Dental disease doesn’t just affect your pet’s mouth. Unfortunately it can lead to more serious health problems including heart, lung and kidney disease, which makes it all the more important that you provide your pets with proper dental care from the start.

Henry’s doggie breath or Sally’s terrible tuna breath can be indicative of an oral problem. Dental disease causes the mouth to have odor, painful gums and potentially tooth loss. However with routine dental care at home and help from your veterinarian, dental disease can be prevented.

Keep your pet from becoming a victim of dental disease:

Home dental care – As a pet owner you play a pivotal role in helping ensure your pet’s dental health through regular brushing. Taking time to brush your pet’s teeth daily helps remove bacteria from your pet’s mouth. Utilizing dental care products like Hill’s T/D food or CET rawhide chews can prevent the excessive build up of tartar.

A routine dental exam with your veterinarian
— At your pet’s yearly or bi-annual physical, have your veterinarian inspect your pet’s mouth. Ask if there are any signs of dental disease, what stage of disease your pet may be experiencing and what you can do to prevent it from worsening in the future.

Schedule a professional dental cleaning
– Your veterinarian may recommend a dental cleaning under anesthesia. This dental cleaning is more thorough and can get under the gum line to remove tartar. At this time your veterinarian can extract or repair any diseased teeth. Make sure your veterinarian does a preoperative blood screening prior to the dental cleaning. This screening will alert your veterinarian to any potential anesthesia risk.

Watch When Henry met Sally on SVHtube. Go to Make a pledge in the comments section to provide your pet with a happy healthy mouth in 2010.

Thomas Schaeberle, VMD

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