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The best in health, wellness, and positive training from America’s leading dog experts

ER & Surgery

Blood Transfusions for Dogs

Denise Mankin, DVM, was on duty late one night in a Des Moines, Iowa, emergency veterinary clinic when Yeller, a Labrador Retriever, was rushed in sporting a fresh wound to his back. Yeller had been shot after escaping from his rural home. After stabilizing Yeller with IV fluids, antibiotics, and pain medications, Mankin opened up the dog's abdomen to find blood filling his abdominal cavity. A bullet had perforated Yeller's small intestine in five different locations, and two of the sites were hemorrhaging profusely. Within moments, his blood pressure plummeted. As Mankin worked desperately to tie off the blood supply to his damaged bowel, Yeller went into cardiac arrest. Cardiac drugs restored Yeller's heart beat, and donor blood, having been warmed for transfusion, was pumped into him.

Bone Marrow Transplants Offer a Promising Treatment for Canine Lymphoma

Exciting news regarding bone marrow transplants for dogs with lymphoma has recently emerged. North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Raleigh is the first university in the world to open a canine clinical bone marrow transplant (BMT) unit. Dr. Steven Suter, assistant professor of veterinary oncology at NCSU, is about to perform his 30th transplant, all done over the past two years. Lymphoma, also called lymphosarcoma, is one of the most common cancers to occur in dogs. While it used to be considered a disease of middle-aged and older dogs, those demographics have changed in the past 5 to 10 years, with more and more young dogs being diagnosed. Golden Retrievers have a particularly high risk for this type of cancer.
dog cone alternatives

Comfortable Dog Cone Alternatives

Are the classic plastic cones really all that bad? It depends on which dog you ask. Some dogs seem to accept the weight of the heavy plastic, the restricted visibility imposed by the opaque material, the need for increased clearances around the house, and even being gouged by the thick plastic tabs that are supposed to be belted by the dog's collar at the base of the cone. Today there are a number of alternatives to the classic Elizabethan collars to prevent a dog from licking a wound, aggravating a hot spot, tearing out his surgical stitches, or removing a bandage. The alternatives offer a dog greater comfort, better mobility, and improved visibility.

Don’t Villify Surgery

We received the following long – but very informative – letter from Evelyn Orenbuch, DVM, the vice president of the American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians. It helps further our readers’ education about their options for treating canine CCL injuries.
ligament injuries in dogs

Alternatives to Surgery for Ligament Injuries in Dogs

Dogs go lame for all kinds of reasons. Arthritis, Lyme disease, paw injuries, muscle sprains, bee stings, interdigital dermatitis, and dislocated kneecaps can make any dog limp. But when an active dog suddenly can't put weight on a hind leg, the most common diagnosis – for more than a million American dogs every year – is a torn cruciate ligament. In 2003, according to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the cost of treating those injuries exceeded $1.32 billion, and the price tag keeps rising. The most common prescription for canine knee injuries is surgery. Unfortunately, operations don't always work and some patients, because of age or other conditions, are not good candidates. In recent years a nonsurgical approach called conservative management" has helped thousands of dogs recover from ligament injuries

The Benefits of Rehabilitation Therapy for Dogs

About a decade ago, my then-young Bouvier, Jolie, had surgery to repair a herniated disc. From reading Whole Dog Journal, I was vaguely aware that veterinary physical therapy or rehabilitation existed; these specialties were mentioned in Recovery From a Fetch Injury" in the August 1999 issue

Post-Operation Acupressure for Dysplastic Dogs

After consulting with three veterinary surgeons, it was decided that the best course of action for my dysplastic dog was a triple pelvic osteotomy (TPO), where the hip is reformed to create a socket. This procedure was considered experimental 10 years ago when Oak was much in need of it. Today, it is a common surgery for hip dysplasia.

Tail Docking and Ear Cropping Can Be Dangerous

Cosmetic surgery for dogs, including docking tails and cropping ears, is increasingly controversial. Even the usually conservative American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has stated that the procedures are not medically indicated nor of benefit to the patient. These procedures cause pain and distress

How to Keep a Dog Calm After Surgery

and then waits for Tater to offer an approximation of "dead." (Above) Once Tater offers "dead

Post-Surgical Procedure Protective Collars or “Coneheads”

The lampshade, satellite dish, or cone – no matter what you call it, it is hard not to alternately laugh and feel sorry for any dog wearing one. Often used after surgical procedures, these cone-shaped collars are designed to keep dogs from licking sutures or wounds, potentially opening the wounds or tearing the stitches. They are also used to keep a dog with an injury or surgical site on his head from scratching it with his paws.

What You Should Know Before Your Dog Receives Anesthesia

Advances in anesthesiology have made this life-saving medical tool safer than ever. Prior to administering an anesthetic and performing an elective surgical procedure, a veterinarian will examine your dog completely to determine if she is in general good health. Usually, the veterinarian will draw blood before the day of surgery, especially if the patient is an older dog, or one whose health is compromised by injury or illness. The doctor will check the blood count for signs of anemia or a high white blood cell count that may indicate the dog has an infection.

Regaining What Was Almost Lost

first discovered Petey at their local humane society shelter in 1990. Scheduled for euthanasia the next day

Latest Blog

Digital Memories Can Hurt – But Time Heals

There’s every chance that you, like me, get regularly smacked in the face by a Facebook “memory" of your beloved heart dog who passed some time ago. It’s just as likely to make you smile as bring tears to your eyes.