Dear Pet Owners: Stop saying your pet doesn’t hurt!

If I had a nickel for every time a person said, “Oh, my dog isn’t hurting, I can tell because he doesn’t cry” I would have a nice little nest egg by now. It makes me nuts, because it’s not true, and pets suffer for it.

Maybe people will take it better from this older, distinguished-looking actor in a lab coat.

Maybe people will take it better from this older, distinguished-looking actor in a lab coat.

Have you ever been sore, or had a headache, or tweaked your knee? Did you cry every time you moved? Probably not. Acute pain, the type you get when you stub your toe on the doorjamb or slice your finger cutting lemons, is sharp enough that you might cry out “Oh !@$ @$ !# that hurts!” And the people around you react with sympathy and bandaids.

But chronic pain, that dull, throbbing, always-there ache of osteoarthritis or bulging discs, doesn’t usually manifest with vocalizations. If you’ve ever spent time walking around a senior citizen center, you’ll notice two things:

  • they walk very slowly, probably because many of them are nursing sore bodies;
  • they don’t spend a lot of time screaming.

So what does pain look like?

The descriptors people most commonly give for a pet in pain are not ‘loud’ but this: tired, mopey, crabby, tired, ‘old’, cranky, fine.

Dogs with rotting teeth are in pain. They may not yelp when they eat, but they sure do eat less, or eat slowly. Most people don’t even notice this until after the problem is fixed, when all of a sudden their pet has a voracious appetite.

Cats with arthritis in their spine are in pain. They may not yelp when they walk around, but they move gingerly. When their pain is treated, they start jumping back on counters again.

 

pets manifest pain through behavior, not noise. Some pets don’t manifest it at all.

The rule of thumb for pain management specialists is Assume Pain, meaning, if a pet is likely to have a painful condition, go ahead and treat for it even if they aren’t obviously in pain.

If you’re a veterinary professional, stop making pain medications optional for painful procedures. That implies pain control isn’t just as vital as every other aspect of your medical management.

Dogs in pain do not act like an Excedrin commercial

Dogs in pain do not act like an Excedrin commercial

The safety issue: Which is worse? Pain meds or pain itself?

Now that we are all in agreement that painful conditions are often underdiagnosed, we come to the next problem: many people are under the mistaken belief that most pain medications are so dangerous it’s better not to try them at all. Veterinary NSAIDs, the most commonly prescribed class of pain medications, are also the most indicted as a Bad Thing.

Yes, NSAIDs can have side effects. All drugs do. Some of them are severe. It is incumbent on veterinarians to ensure owners are aware of that potential and educate owners as to safe administration. They are not an appropriate choice for all pets. However, this can be mitigated:

  •  If owners are aware of the potential side effects and discontinue the medication if any symptoms arise, the chances of long term problems are usually minimal. In my own experience, the vast majority of patients have an excellent experience with NSAIDs* when given as directed. Most of the adverse events are related to people who either wait too long to report side effects, give more than the prescribed dosage, or refuse the recommended monitoring. In other words, most are avoidable.
  • There are other drugs out there besides NSAIDs. Tramadol, gabapentin, Adequan, just to name a few. We can also use adjunct treatments like acupuncture, laser, and physical therapy. The more combining of medications you do across categories, the less you need of any one and the better the overall pain control. This is called multimodal pain management, and it’s the best way to deal with chronic pain.
  • Those cheaper, OTC remedies you read about on the internet (aspirin, Advil, Tylenol)- you know, the ‘good old days’ approach- are not only less effective, but more dangerous. The worst pain medication reactions I’ve treated have all been to OTC human meds. And a reminder: one teeny Tylenol will kill your cat.
  • When it comes to the pain of joint disease, the best treatment/prevention is free: keep your pet at a healthy weight.

Educated owners make good decisions. We all want that.

Pain can be managed, even in very senior and frail patients. And yes, even in cats. We just need to acknowledge that it’s there first. Don’t wait for your pet to tell you- he can’t talk, but we can see it nonetheless.

*This message has not been brought to you by a sponsored shill.

 

Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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SuperBrode is back- but now he’s BIONIC!

Our hero SuperBrode has been enjoying the relative peace and quiet of Muttropolis, lounging in semi-retirement.

However, evil was afoot! The Malevolent Mast Cell Maniac was on the loose, wreaking havoc on SuperBrode and the good citizens of Muttropolis!

When we last left our hero, he was recovering from their last vicious battle…

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SuperBrode survived, but it cost him dearly. Or should I say….D’Early?

Nonetheless, he was well on the road to recovery-

betterboy

aloha1

Something seemed….different. Without his Super Fluffy Ears of Wonder working in concert, he felt a little deflated. Or just cold, maybe. So he put his sidekick Tenacious V to work on a Super Secret Project. He thought it was just a hat, but she had other ideas.

PicMonkey Collage

When he put it on, his Super Senses were heightened! Treats were falling from the sky!

aloha3

And even crazier than that, his Bionic Ear seemed to lend certain…powers.

aloha4

Can it be? Does his Hawaiian ear actually bring to others the spirit of…

aloha

He certainly seems to be spreading sunshine wherever he goes.

Tenacious V has built a prototype hat with interchangeable Bionic Ears. Who knows what the future will bring for Bionic Brode?

aloha5

Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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DR. NICHOLAS DODMAN: FELINE NON-RECOGNITION AGGRESSION

101118_4177_dodman154.jpgI have already addressed inter-cat territorial aggression and feline redirected aggression in earlier blogs. Another type of aggression that cats can express is referred to as non-recognition aggression.

What happens in non-recognition aggression (so-called) is that a cat returning from a veterinarian’s office is attacked by another resident cat with whom it was formerly friendly. No one knows what the trigger for non-recognition aggression is, though it has been suggested that it is something odd about the appearance or smell of the returning cat — who may be mistakenly perceived as foreign by the incumbent.

One of the first cases I saw involved a cat who was savagely attacked by its housemate when it was brought home after being sedated and then bathed at the local vet’s office.

As soon as the carrier was opened on returning home, the stay-at-home cat launched itself at its housemate in a fierce attack. The man of the house tried to break up the fight but became subjected to ferocious redirected aggression as the cat turned its ire on to him!

The man fled upstairs and locked himself in the bathroom for his own protection as the cat threw itself at the door practically rattling the hinges and remained dangerous for hours. Eventually things settled down and the man, very cautiously, came downstairs.

The two cats were isolated from each other and were successfully reintroduced a few days later.

The bottom line is that if you have a cat that has, in the past, attacked another cat returning from the vet’s office, you must expect it to happen again and take necessary measures to prevent future catastrophes’.

Prevention of this troubling condition is better than cure, as this condition does tend to recur with each veterinary visit.

Click here to read the complete article.

Halo

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BOGO Sale on Our Black Cat Bracelet!

Around our house, black cats are pretty popular! Our cats Inca and Lucky are big buddies with both Tiki… …and Irie… Monday marks Black Cat Appreciation Day, a time to recognize the…



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DogTipper

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Friday Funny: Handling Stress

Great advice as you start your weekend! Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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Light pole nearly kills a man in San Francisco — dogs get blamed.

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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Ask Me Anything TOMORROW on reddit! (Plus reddit primer)

If you know and love reddit already, here’s the short short version:

Tomorrow (8/11/15) I will be on Reddit doing an AMA from 2-5 PST (5-8 EST) on /r/books. I’d love for you to join me!

If you don’t know reddit, you might need a more involved primer:

What is reddit?

Reddit is a website where people talk about, well, just about everything. Some people talk about football. Some people talk about cars. Others talk about knitting, politics, cat videos, just about anything under the sun.

As a massive catchall, it can understandably be very confusing to navigate. To help organize things, reddit is organized into topical categories, called subreddits. Some of them include:

I point this out because reddit sometimes usually is getting attention for bad things really annoying people do, and that scares some people off. Those people are on reddit as well, but if you stick to the subreddits where there are decent people talking about things you enjoy, you can avoid the purulent underbelly of gangrenous misogyny that makes some people nervous to check the site out.

What is an AMA?

One of Reddit’s claims to fame is their “Ask Me Anything” posts, where people from all walks of life go on to discuss their work, or experiences, or latest projects. Sometimes it’s an airplane pilot talking about their job. Sometimes it’s Woody Harrelson, or perhaps Elizabeth Warren. Sometimes it’s some guy who lost a leg in a tragic crocodile incident.

In the books subreddit, they limit their AMAs to authors, and this is what I’ll be doing tomorrow.

books

 

This is an opportunity for anyone to ask me about the book, the writing process, my dog’s cancer, veterinary medicine, what type of wine I prefer, my shoe size, literally anything. (That doesn’t mean I have to answer, if anyone was wondering whether I would answer what my weight is. No.)

For an example of a typical author AMA, here’s one from Robin Hobbs just a few days ago.

How do I participate?

Step One. Create a reddit account. It’s free.

Step Two. Come on to reddit.com/r/books between 2-6 PM PST Tuesday and find the thread (I’ll link it here too.)

Now here is how you do things on reddit. Let’s use this example of a post discussing an adorable baby bunny photo:

11_day_old_baby_bunny-

 

  1. The post at the top is the topic everyone is discussing. Here it is a baby bunny; on Tuesday mine will be a description of the book. My username there, selected many years ago, is dogrelish. Get it? Because I relish dogs :)
  2. The box underneath is where you add your comment/question. After you do that, hit “save” to submit the question. (ie Hey Dr V, do you still own the Jimmy Poos? etc)
  3. If someone else has a comment you want to respond to, you do so by clicking “reply”
  4. See those little up/down arrows? Reddit thrives on these. Clicking the “up” arrow means more people will see my thread. Clicking the “down” arrow buries it further down in the bowels of the internet. Use the arrows. :) They help!

Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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Thank you so much for this!!!!

Thank you so much for this!!!!
BAD RAP Blog

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Fall Wardrobe Staple: Jeans

Best Jeans for Fall // Bubby and Bean

I think we can all agree that when it comes to autumn wardrobe staples, a great pair of jeans is queen (or king). Whether you’re heading back to school or just looking to spruce up your closet, if you shop for just one new piece of clothing this fall, go for the jeans. Trust me on this. No matter where you live or what you do or how you choose to dress, it’s this classic denim pant that will make your look. Jeans can be paired with virtually everything, can be dressed up or down, and are infinitely more comfortable than the majority of other types of pants I’ve owned. Jeans win you guys. Period.

Clearly I’ve had jeans on the brain, so I decided to round up some of my current favorites style – for both women and men – as seen above. I focused on two specific jean collections: Denim X (super soft and never loses its shape)  for the girls and Flex Denim (just enough stretch for increased comfort and flexibility) for the dudes. All of these styles can be found at American Eagle Outfitters, which happens to be a long time favorite of mine for stylish casual wear. I’m especially loving the Denim X Hi-Rise Jegging (#2) and the Denim X Boho Artist Flare series (not pictured, but check them out because they’re rad) for myself. And I think my guy would look dashingly handsome in a pair of the Original Straight Core Flex Jeans (#9).

Who else is on team jean for fall? Which jeans above are your favorites?

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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DOG SAVES CAT “BROTHER” TANGLED IN FENCE

dogsavescat-lgWhen Pete and Sharon Adney’s cat Jess went missing, they were frantic. They searched for eight long weeks, going door-to-door and posting signs. Their hope was beginning to fade when one day, their dog Millie discovered the cat tangled in a barbed wire fence.

According to Caters News, Pete and Millie were out for a walk one day near their home in Birmingham, England, when Millie began barking and whining frantically. Pete, who couldn’t see anything strange, tried to move the dog along but she wouldn’t budge as she stared intensely at something Pete couldn’t see.

“Millie was going mad barking at the wall, she must have known it was Jess. When I peered through, I saw Jess’s skinny body wrapped in barbed wire,” Pete told Caters.

Pete was able to get through the bushes to reach Jess and free her from the fence. She still had part of the barbed wire stuck in her so the Adneys rushed her to their veterinarian for emergency surgery.

Click here to read the complete story.

Halo

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