Blog Archives

Is My Dog Sick?

Here is an article I received from the veterinarian.  Hope it will help those when deciding to bring their dog to the vet:

Identifying the signs of sickness in a dog can be challenging, even for the most vigilant pet owners. Since a sick dog is unable to verbally communicate what hurts, pet owners must pay close attention to identify the signs of illness. Subtle changes in behavior or appetite may be symptomatic of an underlying health problem. While dogs cannot verbally tell us when they are sick, they use physical symptoms and behavior changes to communicate.

Determining when a trip to the doctor is warranted can be challenging. One of the most common symptoms of illness is vomiting or diarrhea. Dogs, however, may vomit on occasion without actually being ill. Eating food too quickly or drinking water too fast can cause vomiting, although the dog will feel much better afterwards. So how can a vigilant pet owner tell when a dog actually needs veterinary care?  Profuse vomiting, bloody vomiting, lethargy or anorexia concurrent with vomiting all require immediate medical intervention.  Vomiting or diarrhea for more than 24 hours is a sign that a pet needs veterinary care. Vomiting or diarrhea for an extended period may be symptomatic of many things, including pancreatitis, infections, ingestion of foreign material,  accidental poisoning, or parasites, all of which require urgent veterinary care.

Dog owners should also be alert for signs of lethargy. If a normally active dog suddenly loses interest in playing fetch or no longer runs across the room, this may be a sign of illness. A long run at the park may cause exhaustion, but if a pet owner cannot identify a specific cause, then contact a veterinarian. Lethargy can be symptomatic of hundreds of disorders, one example is  heart disease, which requires veterinary care. Pet owners should also look for a change in exercise tolerance and unexplained weakness. A loss in consciousness, difficulty breathing, bleeding, or seizures always requires immediate emergency care for all animals.

Pet owners should also be on the lookout for the following symptoms: poor appetite, lameness, weakness, frequent urination, excessive scratching or licking, nasal discharge, constipation, an unusual bump, or excessive thirst. If these symptoms occur for more than two days, pet owners should contact their veterinarian.

In general, it is better to be proactive about veterinary care than to wait. In the wild, animals instinctively mask symptoms of illness so they will not appear weak to predators or be shunned by their own kind. Consequently, a dog will instinctively try to hide any health problems. Prompt care thanks to a vigilant pet owner can make a big difference for a dog’s health.  If you question whether a visit to the doctor is needed, please call and discuss it with your veterinarian.


American Animal Hospital Association, “Urinary Tract Infections.” 2013.


Is Your Dog Sick?
If your dog exhibits the following symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately:

•    In distress with Vomiting or diarrhea
•    Swollen abdomen
•    Labored breathing
•    Collapse, loss of consciousness or seizures
•    Bleeding
•    Symptoms of acute pain, such as crying out, whining or whimpering
If your dog exhibits these symptoms for more than 2 days, contact your pet’s doctor
•    Lethargy or general weakness
•    Excessive thirst
•    Frequent or inappropriate urination (e.g., wetting the bed, or accidents in the house)
•     Frequent panting

When in doubt, talk to your veterinarian.


Dog Food Alert – Great Life Withholds Specific Buffalo Recipe Dog Foods

Great Life is withholding certain Buffalo recipe dog foods due to a suspicious odor, please read this release for more information:

pril 30, 2013 – Great Life Performance Pet Products has written a letter to its distributors requesting they withhold certain products from sale to consumers.

According to the company, the action is being taken because some packages are “not reaching full expiration date” as suggested by the presence of an unexplained odor.

The affected dog food products include:

  • Great Life Grain Free Buffalo
  • Dr. E’s Grain Free Buffalo

In its letter, Great Life assures distributors recent lab tests have found their Grain Free Buffalo products “free of Salmonella, E. coli, toxins, micro-toxins, etc.”.

Our Opinion

Although Great Life is investigating the cause of the problem, it’s important to note the company has not yet technically classified its action “a recall”.

However, it’s always possible some of the affected product may have already made its way to end users.

Since the company has not yet determined the actual cause of the odor, we feel compelled to make consumers aware of the situation and suggest they monitor the developing story closely.

What to Do?

You can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to

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Dog Treat Recall – Nature’s Deli Chicken Jerky Treats

Here is an e-mail I received regarding this recall and I am sharing it with you.  This is an expansion to the October 2012 recall of this brand:

December 6, 2012 – The Food and Drug Administration is warning pet owners and caretakers not to feed their animals certain lots of Nature’s Deli Chicken Jerky Dog Treats because they may be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria.

Photo Image of Nature's Deli Chicken Jerky Dog TreatsThe affected products include packages with a lot code of BESTBY061913DEN.

Today’s FDA warning is an expansion of the recall posted by The Dog Food Advisor in early October.

The treats are made and distributed in the U. S. by Kasel Associates Industries Inc. and were sold at Costco stores in the Denver, Colorado area.

Although Kasel has declined to perform a voluntary recall at this time, Costco is working with FDA and has removed all of the affected products from its shelves.

The company will also contact customers who may have purchased the product to provide additional instructions.

What’s Being Recalled?

The product is sold in 3 pound packages labeled as Nature’s Deli Chicken Jerky Dog Treats. The package also includes a digital photo of a dog on the front panel and transparent sections to view the product within.

The lot code can be found on the reverse side of the package in the transparent section following the phrase “All American Dog.”

Why the Product Is Being Recalled

In September 2012, a retail sample of a Kasel dog treat product was tested by the Colorado Department of Agriculture and found to be positive for Salmonella.

An FDA follow-up inspection at the firm found certain finished dog treat products and 34 out of 72 environmental samples positive for Salmonella.

On October 2, 2012, the company recalled one lot of its Nature’s Deli Chicken Jerky Dog Treats. However that recall did not extend to the lot code covered by this warning.

In November 2012, a retail sample of Nature’s Deli Chicken Jerky Dog Treats taken by the Colorado Department of Agriculture tested positive for Salmonella.

These treats are manufactured in the United States and are not associated with FDA’s investigation in reports of illnesses in dogs associated with consumption of chicken jerky treats.

FDA has not received any reports of illnesses associated with these treats.

According to the FDA…

Pets with Salmonella infections may become lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Some pets may experience only a decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain.

Infected, but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed any of the affected product or is experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.

As with humans, dogs who are elderly, very young or have impaired immune systems are more vulnerable to Salmonella infection.

What to Do

Consumers should dispose of these products in ways that people and animals, including wild animals, cannot access them, such as placing them in a securely lidded garbage can.

You can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to

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Dog Treat Recall – Priority Total Pet Care Dog Treats

I just received this in my e-mail and wanted to pass it along to you:


November 20, 2012 – Carolina Prime Pet, Inc. has announced it is voluntarily recalling certain lots of its Priority Total Pet Care All Natural Bullstrips dog treats because they may be contaminated with Salmonella.

The event was reported by the US FDA in a news release dated November 20, 2012.

According to the company, there have been no reported illnesses related to these products.

The affected products were sold in Safeway Stores in Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington DC and Wyoming.

The recalled products were also sold at Vons, Pavilions and Pak ‘N Save stores in California; Randalls and Tom Thumb stores in Texas; Genuardi’s stores in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and Dominick’s stores in Illinois.

They were distributed from about the first of September until the present.

What Products Are Being Recalled?

The recall event includes Priority Total Pet Care All Natural Bullstrips in the 5-count package and carrying the UPC 0-21130-42080-3 with the following lot codes:

  • Lot Code: 20082712 S 3195
  • Lot Code: 20090312 S3195

The UPC is located on the back label of each package. And the lot Code can be found on a sticker on the back of each bag of the 5 count product.

According to the FDA bulletin…

This lot of product has yielded a positive test for Salmonella when tested by the Colorado Dept. of Agriculture. Carolina Prime Pet is not aware of any reported cases of illness related to this product.

In addition, the FDA warns…

Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever.

Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms.

Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain.

Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

What to Do?

Customers who purchased the recalled dog treats should stop feeding the products immediately and return items to the purchase location for replacement, refund, or discard.

No other products are included in this recall.

You can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to

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Delivered to You by Email

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Antioxidants and Your Pet’s Health & An Announcement

Here is an article Sasha’s vet shared with me on the importance of antioxidants and your dog’s health:

The Pluses of Antioxidants in Pet Food


The science behind pet nutrition continues to make major advances. One such example of this is the use of antioxidants in pet food. Antioxidants are playing a key role in preventing certain diseases and lengthening the life of our pets.


Health Benefits of Antioxidants

Aside from preserving pet food, antioxidants offer a host of potential health benefits to your pets. Does your pet suffer from allergies, skin problems, immune disorders, or general problems associated with aging? Antioxidants may help. They work by reducing the cellular damage done by free radicals due to the effects of oxidation. If left unchecked, this damage continues in a chain reaction destroying both unhealthy and healthy cells.

Antioxidants have been shown to provide a health boost to animals of all ages. In young animals, they promote immune system activity before vaccination has been implemented. And in older dogs and cats, antioxidants help to slow down cellular damage to the brain and organs — providing a longer, healthier life.

Common Sources of Antioxidants

Common antioxidants used in pet foods include vitamins A, C, E, zinc, Beta-carotene and lycopene. Each has a specific role in promoting good health. For instance, vitamin E optimizes the immune system’s T-cell activation. This helps your pet maintain healthy membrane tissue and retards cellular aging. Beta-carotene, meanwhile, increases antibody levels in the blood. This helps your pet fight off illnesses and infections. Once B-carotene is converted into vitamin A, it can also improve eyesight and skin and coat health.

There are also antioxidants-rich foods that can be used as ingredients in your pet’s food. These include such things as whole grains, apples, berries, carrots and broccoli.

Choosing the Best Pet Food

If you want your pet food to have antioxidants, scan the ingredients list on the pet food bag or can. Pet food manufacturers are required to list antioxidants and their common names. You may want to consult with your veterinarian or veterinary nutritionist too. They should have suggestions as to which antioxidants benefit your pet the most.



My Announcement:

I have been doing this blog for over a year now and I never imagined it would snowball into several projects I will be doing in the real world and online. I will continue to update this blog when I receive dog or cat food or other recalls on toys, bowls, etc.  I will also share articles I receive from Sasha and Isis’ ‘respective vets. I will also post Recipe Friday and Product Reviews.  I just may not post 5 days per week like I have been, but check back often.  I will continue to update this blog as much as possible and as time allows!



This is a disease that affects dogs and other animals, causing liver and kidney issues.  The scariest part of this disease is that it can be transferred from animals to humans.  Sasha’s vet sent me this article and I am passing it on to you:

Leptospirosis is a re-emerging disease. This bacterial disease most commonly causes liver and kidney problems in dogs, but can also cause lung, pancreas, and eye symptoms.  It is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be transferred from animals to people, in fact, it is the most common zoonotic disease in the world.  Drinking contaminated water is a common mode of transmission for humans and animals.  It is present in the urine of infected animals, so bodies of water, food (for instance, if rodents have access), soil, or even the beach (California sea lions carry leptospirosis) can easily be contaminated.

Decades ago, veterinarians routinely vaccinated for this disease in a combination vaccine with distemper, hepatitis, and parvo, until problems with the Lepto part of the vaccine developed.  The older vaccine protected against only two types of Lepto, the immunity lasted only about six months, and it was the Lepto portion of the vaccine that was most likely to cause an allergic reaction.  More recently, when it became apparent that the disease was becoming more prevalent, a new and better vaccine was developed.  The newer vaccines protect against four different types of lepto, the immunity lasts for a year, and allergic reactions are not likely.

Many veterinarians are now recommending that dogs be vaccinated for Leptospirosis if they are at risk due to their lifestyle.  So dogs that go on hikes, go to the beach, go to lakes, streams or rivers, or have access to wildlife should be vaccinated.  If you have a rodent problem at your house, you should have your dog vaccinated.  Discuss your dog’s risk with your veterinarian.  There are even some urban areas that have a problem with Lepto.

The first year your dog is vaccinated, it will receive a set of two vaccines, given three weeks apart.  The vaccine is given annually there after.   Ask your veterinarian if you have any questions.

Important Facts

1. There are many different types of Lepto organisms.
2. The current vaccines protect against four of them.
3. It is a disease of dogs, some livestock species, and people.
4. Ask your veterinarian if your dogs are at risk.

Dogs and Chocolate Poisoning

With Halloween just over, most of us will have some candy left over, or our children have trick-or-treated and got some great loot!  I know we like to share our food and sometimes even candy with our furry friends, sharing chocolate can be toxic and even worse, deadly for our dogs.

The scary thing is, it doesn’t take much to poison a dog, just 0.7 ounces per pound of body weight of milk chocolate, 0.3 ounces per pound of body weight of semi-sweet chocolate and baking chocolate is the worst at 0.1 ounces per pound of body weight is enough to do serious damage.

Some of the symptoms of chocolate poisoning are:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • increased body temperature
  • rapid breathing
  • muscle rigidity
  • seizures

If you suspect your dog is suffering from this, do not delay, call your emergency vet and get there immediately.

It is important to note that there is NO antidote to chocolate toxicity.

For more information, please see this article.

Dogs and Grooming – Not Just For Appearance Sake

We all love to see our dog’s coat soft and shiny, but grooming is also very important in keeping your dog healthy.  My vet shared this article with me and I thought I would pass it on:

Frequently brushing your dog removes dirt and helps distribute skin oils, creating a shiny coat.  Proper grooming also allows the pet owner to see the condition of the dog’s skin and to notice the early stages of flea or tick infestations and skin infection irritations.


If your pet has a long or thick coat, a daily grooming session is ideal. A dog with less hair can often be groomed weekly. However, the more frequently you groom, the quicker and easier it is for both you and your pet.


Proper dog grooming includes more than simply passing a brush over the pet’s coat, however. Regular care of the ears, eyes, teeth and nails can prevent serious health issues later on.


A good grooming session includes:


  • Going over the dog thoroughly with a brush or comb that reaches the skin.  A dog with a short coat may require the gentle touch of a rubber comb, while a dog with a thick undercoat will need a slicker brush. It is important that the brush or comb reach the skin to bring loose hair and dirt to the surface.
  • Repeating the process with a finishing tool. This may be a natural-bristle brush, a cloth or your hand. The goal is to remove the loose hair and dirt that the first brush brought to the surface and to distribute the natural oils in the skin.
  • Checking the dog’s ears. If you notice dirt or buildup in the ears, dampen a cotton ball with mineral oil or hydrogen peroxide and wipe the ears gently. Don’t stick your finger or a cotton swab into the ear canal. If you are concerned about debris farther back in the ear, ask your veterinarian to clean the dog’s ears. Healthy ears should be pale, cool and free of odor.
  • Wiping the area around the eye gently, from the inner corner out, with a damp cotton ball. If your dog has long facial hair, talk to your vet or groomer about trimming it. This can prevent scratches to the cornea from rogue hairs curling or falling into the eye.
  • Keeping his teeth clean. Daily brushing is ideal, but even a twice-weekly schedule will help maintain oral health. Brush the teeth with a regular toothbrush, one specifically designed for dogs. Use one of the many toothpastes available for dogs. It is unlikely that your pup will spit the toothpaste out, and human toothpaste can lead to an upset stomach.
  • Trimming the nails regularly. Spend plenty of time getting your dog accustomed to having his feet and legs handled, and the trimming will go much easier. Guillotine-style nail clippers are simple to use. Hold the foot gently and position the clipper so that you will cut the nail just below the point where the curve of the nail begins. A simple snip, and you are ready to move onto the next nail. If you cut the nail too short, it is possible to reach the quick, a small vein that carries blood to the nail. Have a styptic stick handy to stop the bleeding if you hit the quick.



Dog Food Recall – Dogsbutter Peanut Butter For Dogs Recalled

My Saturday column will have to wait.  I got this in my e-mail today and wanted to share:

September 24, 2012 – Sunland, Inc. has announced the voluntary recall of some of its human food products has now been expanded to include a pet food product, Dogsbutter RUC with Flax PB, due to possible contamination with Salmonella.

The event was reported by the FDA in a news release dated September 24, 2012.

Based upon the FDA bulletin, the recall appears to include the 16 ounce jars of Dogsbutter RUC with Flax PB.

The recalled product has a Best-If-Used-By date of between May 1, 2013 and September 24, 2013. This information is stamped on the side of the jar’s label just below the lid.

What Caused the Recall?

According to the FDA bulletin…

The voluntary recall was initiated after learning that between June 11, 2012 and September 2, 2012, twenty-nine people reported Salmonella Bredeney PFGE matching illnesses in approximately 18 states, including Washington, California, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut, New Jersey and Maryland, according to a report issued on September 22, 2012 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

What to Do?

Consumers are urged to discard the recalled product immediately. They are also invited to contact the company at 866-837-1018 for information on the recall.

In addition, a consumer services representative is available Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM MT at 575-356-6638.

You can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to

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Canine Juvenile Orthopedic Diseases

My new columns for Saturday’s postings are not ready just yet, so I figured I would share another great article sent to me by Sasha’s vet:

Puppies are happy and full of energy, running, wrestling, and playing so much that we often wish we had that much energy! But when that puppy is not happy, when it is lethargic and limping, then a visit to the veterinarian is in order.  There are several orthopedic diseases that affect young dogs.

Osteochondrosis (OCD) is one of the more common juvenile orthopedic disorders.  This is a problem that has an unknown cause but results in a disturbance of an area of cartilage and the underlying bone.  This may cause limping, or it may progress to the point where the puppy is non weight bearing if the chip of cartilage and bone breaks off and starts floating around in the joint.  Shoulders are the most commonly affected joint  (75% of cases), but it can also affect the elbow, knee, or hock.  This is a disease of large breed, older puppies.  Males are twice as likely to be affected than females.  Surgery is usually required.

Panosteitis is another common orthopedic disorder of puppies.  This also has an unknown cause, but here the problem is edema inside of the long bones where the bone marrow lies.  A hallmark of this disease is called shifting leg lameness, because different legs can be affected at different times.  The puppy may be limping on the right front leg this month, then two months later be limping on the left rear leg.  Older, large breed puppies are affected, but here males are four times more likely to be affected than females.  Treatment is pain control and anti-inflammatory medications.  The good news is there are no long term adverse effects of this disease, and eventually the disease just disappears.

Legg-Perthes disease is another orthopedic disease of older puppies, but this time small breeds are more likely to be affected, and females and males are equally affected.  For an unknown reason, there is a disruption of blood flow to the head of the femur (thigh bone) which causes the death of some bone cells.  When x-rays are taken, this bone in the hip looks like it is dissolving.  These bony changes cause pain, and the treatment is a very successful surgery called a femoral head ostectomy (FHO).  This removes the whole femoral head and the dog creates a false hip joint.

Elbow dysplasia is becoming more common.  This is a syndrome of large breed, older puppies. There are actually a number of problems that can occur in the elbow, and any one or a combination can lead to the arthritis that we call elbow dysplasia.  OCD as we discussed before can occur in the elbow.  Ununited anconeal process (UAP) and fragmented medial coronoid process (FCP) are other developmental problems.  All these disorders require surgery or a debilitating arthritis is likely to occur.

Hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD) is a very rare disease of large breed puppies, usually two to eight months of age.  The puppy will be lethargic, painful, and may have a fever.  The ends of the affected long bones will have a characteristic pattern on an x-ray.  These puppies may recover fully, may recover but with some deformities, or may die from the disease.

There are a number of other, less frequently seen, diseases that can cause limping in puppies: Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, meningitis, and immune- mediated polyarthritis.  But undoubtedly, the most common cause of lameness in puppies is, of course, trauma, as puppies can be wild and crazy!