Vedder Mountain Veterinary Clinic



Recently, like iron filings attracted to a magnet, my attention focused on a very interesting article written by the mother of a young son with food allergies. Dr. Amy Goulart, the writer is a managing veterinarian of a clinic located in Mipitas, California.

In the article Dr. Goulart described her toddler’s elusive health problems, which were eventually attributed to be caused from a variety of food allergies. This diagnosis imposed a restriction of her son’s access to numerous foods containing allergenic ingredients. Very astutely, she then realized that the family’s dog food and treats sometimes contained these ingredients and that although her dog was not food allergic, the close proximity of her toddler to the dog as well as the dog’s food bowl was potentially a source of these substances.

She writes

“My toddler loves the dog. He loves to feed and train the dog. Handling pet food and forgetting to wash his hands, or even letting the dog lick him with food particles in her mouth, and yes, even sneaking a taste from the dog’s food bowl could be enough to cause a reaction”.

She points out that:

Although it is sometimes an easy matter to avoid obvious ingredient concerns such as milk or soy, sometimes it is not so easy. She took as examples milk-based products such as whey or casein that may be found in some dental rawhide chews; dog treats and some pet foods. Two other examples of sources of concern for egg-sensitized and peanut sensitized children are the ingredients albumin, which is egg derived and peanut-based ingredients that may be found in pill wrap-a-round treats.

Dr. Goulart also points out that adding to the complexity of ingredient descriptions, many allergenic substances are currently exempt from a requirement for documentation such as in spices, flavorings and colorings in pet and well as human foods.

( Although not mentioned in her article, I should add another source of concern for shellfish sensitive children which would be oral contact with shellfish exoskeleton based glucosamine products).

As Dr. Goulart points out in her article, until more stringent legislation is put into place to ensure that pet food and treat suppliers clearly define and list all ingredients of their products it is very important for parents of food-sensitized young children to stay informed and vigilant to their potential exposure to these items to protect them from mild to possibly very serious food-related reactions.

( Dr. Amy Goulart's original article was published 
March 8, 2016 
For The VIN News Service).


                                     A GOLDENDOODLE MOMMA WITH A PILE OF PUPS!      By Dr. Leslie Ross   D.V.M. B.Sc.


   A most interesting case last month involved a very sweet two-year-old Goldendoodle called Bailey, who at the time of presentation to us mid-December was nursing twelve young pups. She had been meeting their nursing demands very successfully until a short time before she was brought to us because she had started to experience some painful discomfort nursing and was developing some ominously discolored mammary gland swellings.


    Before I set the stage to describe her medical problem, I would like to first explain some general characteristics of this popular breed for those unfamiliar with this “designer dog”. 


     Goldendoodles are not a recognized breed by Canadian breed standards because they are not purebred dogs although they come from the mating of two kinds of purebred dogs, a poodle (Standard or Miniature and a Golden Retriever).


      They can give one the visual impression of being a rough- and tumble- kids- type dog in “ sweat pants and hanging out mode”, however, they can also look attractively eye-catching when they are professionally groomed. The Goldendoodle’s

coat texture and degree of curliness can vary considerably and it is characteristically less heavily shed from season to season than with many other breed types. Although there can be some exceptions, the commonest Goldendoodle’s personality type is one that is laid back so they generally fit right in with the lifestyle of families with kids. Additionally, they have an athleticism that more than adequately measures up to any needs when occasions of long evening walks and weekend runs are underway.        


   Bailey was presented to us because she was very uncomfortable nursing her twelve pups and most of her mammary glands, especially her back ones, were very hot, painful swollen and scabby. 


  Her problem was an inflammation and infection of her glands called mastitis. This condition may be caused by numerous factors including:  ascending infection up the teat canal, direct trauma to the mammary glands, (such as might occur if a nursing dog is is jumping in or out of an enclosure causing her pendulous glands to be traumatized), from reduced milk release from the breasts, (such as at weaning time), or from direct spread from the blood stream.


  In Baileys case, her condition was very likely associated with a dozen four week old pups hungrily and vigorously clamping onto and pulling at her teats all the while clawing away with sharp little claws at her exposed belly causing her teats to become infected.    


    It was very important to initiate Bailey’s treatments as soon as possible because ulceration of the breasts and even gangrene can occur in severe cases.


  (Spoiler alert: as it turned out, although we were able to avoid surgery on many of her glands by implementing the treatments described below, a single gland did in fact start to develop some ominous indications of gangrene so surgical resection of half this affected gland became necessary later).


    Very shortly after Bailey was brought to us we collected some milk samples from her teats for the lab and started her on medications including one to cause her breasts to shrink, an antibiotic and a medication to help with her pain.   Additionally we applied cold laser therapy to help decrease her pain and facilitate more rapid healing. Bailey was then discharged to the care of her owners that day.


 The owners were advised to keep Bailey away as much as possible from the pups, who were already capable of eating softened dog kibble on their own, to avoid them nursing her much at all.  Additionally, raw cabbage leaf belly wraps were recommended to help reduce her breast tissue swelling and to facilitate healing.


     As mentioned briefly above, only one back gland remained swollen and infected and in fact started to develop an ominous blue appearance so partial resection of this tissue was performed five days after the initial treatments had been started.


     Bailey’s surgery went well and she bounced back very quickly.


       Future breeding are likely to be planned because of Bailey's  sweet temperament and excellent overall health. There is a moderate element of risk involved that she may develop this condition again but the owners may be able to reduce this risk by ensuring that her belly is kept clipped of hair and regularly cleaned and that they keep the nails very short of any future pup families.   


  In closing, I would like to point out how so much of the successful outcome of Bailey’s medical problem was dependent on Bailey’s family members devoting hours of  dedicated attention to  the pups and to her needs at their home between her daily clinic visits. 


                                                                  HE ONLY HAS EYES FOR HER!    By Dr. Leslie Ross D.V.M.  B.Sc                                 

       This month I have chosen to showcase “SPOT”, a gentle little 12 year old Shih Tzu cross as our “Case of the Month”.

       This choice is based not only on our clinic team’s admiration for this fluffy little dog’s personality but additionally, for my personal appreciation of the unfailing compliance of his owner as she has diligently attended to his health needs over many years of his life.


      Another of his characteristics is of particular value to mention. It is one shared universally by all pet owners that are strongly bonded to their pets; sustained eye contact between the two of them.   Eye contact between a pet and his or her owner can communicate emotions more eloquently than can any word or phrase. It is a measure of loyalty and trust.  Very similar is the child to parent bond where again loving eye contact actually causes positive hormonal changes such as the release of oxytocin, the “ feel-good hormone” into their blood streams.   Very aptly, a loving gaze has been dubbed the “Hands Free Cuddle” by some authorities!


            “Spot” was born October 1 2003 and adopted by his present owner when he was five years old.  He came with no documentation of vaccination or medical history from his previous life.


     We were introduced to him on October 26th 2009 when he was presented for a new pet wellness checkup.   At the time he had a soft, fluffy hair coat colored by patches of black and white of various shapes and sizes.  His very large, expressive eyes were his most outstanding feature.  I recorded at the time that he was a calm, very trusting little dog. I can still attest to this same description of his personality to the present day. 


     On his first visit wellness check-up Spot was found to have a significant degree of dental disease including some obviously rotten teeth. He also had a mild ear infection and indications of a low-grade anal gland inflammation. Medications were dispensed for his first two problems and dental procedures were performed a short time later. 


      As time moved on Spot developed a heart condition, kidney disease and high blood pressure. Subsequently, as these conditions have became more progressive, he has required more treatments and medications during his senior years. Many of the required medications needed to be given at specific intervals over various times of the day. Despite her many other family and friend activities his owner is unfailing and dedicated to maintaining his medication schedule over the years. Spot is presently receiving a variety of heart medications, kidney support medications, blood pressure lowering medication, monthly Vitamin B injections, as well as client- administered cartrophen injections for an arthritic back.  As well he is receiving a specialized diet to provide his body with nutrients to support his heart and kidney function and glucosamine treats for his arthritis.   (With the occasional diet drift, “doctor approved” to supplemental appetite kick-starters such as vanilla ice-cream and plain pasta with a pinch of parmesan cheese along with an appetite stimulant medication if his appetite is particularly jaded!).


   Also, his very conscientious mom walks him to our clinic twice weekly for a procedure involving sub-cutaneous administration of warmed lactated Ringers solution to provide additional support to his weakening kidneys. At other times when the need arises he is scheduled for anal sac expressions and eye treatments.


     Even further to these medical commitments, approximately every three months Spot’s blood pressure and intraocular eye pressure values are checked (the latter to check for glaucoma, which is not uncommon in his breed). 


   Spot’s body is changing as he ages and his body functions are slowly declining but his thought processes remain acute.  Similarly, his personality remains one of calmness and dignity seemingly unchanged from the day we first met him many years ago.   Despite having to undergo many diagnostic procedures and treatments over the years he still remains a very calm and trusting little dog. 


      He accepts all as long as he can lock his gaze on his mom close by as if invisible filaments are connecting his large eyes to hers. If she shifts her body position, his eyes shift to accommodate. He trembles but never resists, never demonstrating any needle shyness or resistance as long as his gaze is locked on hers.  It seems to be that in his mind, if it o.k. with her, it is o.k with him  so whatever needs to be done can be  done.  


                                              Lawn Grass and Leaf Salads by Dr. Leslie Ross D.V.M. B.Sc. 


         Lawn grass and plant leaf snacks tantalize many dog and cat palates. Research to date seems to indicate that this is the main reason why pets will frequently seize the opportunity to munch on various types of lawn and field grass, especially if it is fresh and succulent, as is spring grass.  However, some pets will eat grass or plants for reasons other than gustatory for example, because of mild stomach upsets or as a stress-relieving activity from over-excitement or conversely, boredom.  A few pets may munch on grass obsessively due to persistent gastro-intestinal disorders such as gastric hyperacidity, gastric reflux or chronic inflammatory bowel disease.


   Although, recreational grass and plant-leaf eating is not in and of itself harmful there are some elements of risk involved if this kind of snacking is allowed without supervision.    For example, there may be occasions where there are toxic plants in the grazing area, which could possibly be ingested along with a mouthful of grass. Another potential risk might be the ingestion of worm eggs or other parasites such as Giardia from contaminated grass or soil. or the ingestion of chemically treated grass.  A quite common risk for indoor cats is their unintentional access to toxic houseplants. 



   Simple preventive measures to deter overzealous munching when dogs are outdoors include ensuring that the dog is not overly hungry at the time of his outside access, and having him on a leash when traversing tempting greenery.   Appetizing treats can serve well as a distractive influence to keep the dog focused on these rather than on succulent patches of grass.


    Especially for dogs, increasing the fiber content of their daily diet with canned pumpkin or green beans may help blunt the urge to have a “taste of the wild”.    For cats, wild oat grass or oat sprouts may redirect their inclination to munch on tempting plant leaves. 


   For pets that are often outside it is very important to address the risk of parasite-laden grass being consumed. Since this risk is impossible to completely eliminate, regular deworming of pets is highly advised, ideally quarterly.


       Of course, seemingly obsessive grass eating should be a concern to any owner and is definitely a reason to consult with a veterinarian. With this kind of behavior, investigation for more obscure causes is likely to be pursued.  If this becomes an unproductive fishing expedition and all health concerns are eliminated, then supervised grass consumption can be looked at as a relatively harmless pastime for most pets.    






   The product line up for polysporin (bacitracin/polymyxin) includes a wide assortment of creams, ointments, washes, eye and ear drops and sprays. These products are very affordable and are found commonly in a large variety of retail outlets and pharmacies, marketed as over-the counter products.  Polysporin products can be effective when used to treat a variety of mild skin and ear and eye infections.   Although most of these products can be used safely for a limited period of time on dogs there are restrictions including avoiding its use in dogs having chronic or deep infections.

      Used on cats, on the other hand, it can be deadly!  Numerous kinds of polysporin and similar triple antibiotic ointments can cause anaphylactic reactions that can be fatal.  There are numerous documented cases of these reactions leading to kidney failure and heart damage in cats. To be safe, it is best to avoid using any polysporin or related ointments, drops or sprays in cats.


     Similarly, avoid polysporin use in rabbits and ferrets because they can develop serious body organ disturbances if the product is licked off their fur and ingested.

       It is always safest to consult with your veterinarian before pursuing with any home treatments that you may be considering to use on your pet.   What is safe and effective for human use is not necessarily as safe for use on pets.

       Always remember, cats are not small dogs and dogs are not small people! 

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