Dog Routine Problems
It is a good bet almost every dog will need at least one of the procedures during a normal lifetime.
Unusual Swellings Other Than Growths. Abscesses form from splinters, dog bites, gunshot wounds, or any other injury that breaks the skin. One of a host of different bacteria may be the cause but most abscesses are treated by lancing the lesion, draining it, and flushing it with antibacterial material. If extensive, a drain may be necessary for hot compresses.
Cysts are usually smaller than most abscesses and are not usually infected. They are lanced, expressed, and if necessary their linings are removed.
Serum Pockets. After accidents, great pouches of fluid often develop under areas of skin that have been loosened. Sometimes they fill with blood that clots and from which the plasma is absorbed back into circulation. If the injury is serious enough, bacteria may gain access to the pocket. After the skin is shaved, an incision at the lowest part of the pocket is made and the fluid and clots are squeezed out. The area may be flushed with antibacterial solutions and the body is bound to press the skin against the underlying layers to promote rapid healing with or without a drain.
Ear Hematomas. Hematomas are pockets of blood between layers of the skin. The most common location is in the ear. Dogs with ear mites bruise their ears through constant scratching. Dogs shaking their heads bruise the ear flaps on collar hardware. If the ear is not treated, the ear will heal with a gnarled deformity, sometimes called a potato chip ear. Let the veterinarian operate.
One method of surgical treatment of a hematoma in the ear is to facilitate rapid healing without puckering. The drain is moved back and forth to prevent the middle strip from healing and is removed when the sides have healed down.
Lacerations should be cleansed and if the edges have skin without good circulation it must be trimmed away before suturing. It is wise to have open lacerations sutured promptly to prevent infection. The tip of the flap of some, such as a three-corner tear, may have an inadequate blood supply and must be trimmed before suturing. Commonly caused by barbed wire, this kind of tear will retract in a few days, making surgical repair more difficult.
More extensive lacerations usually require drains to prevent hemato-mas and seromas and to permit the drainage of purulent material from infection, which commonly develops.
Lacerations of the edges of the ear tend to become deeper as the dog shakes its head. Healing is often completely prevented, and even after the area has healed, the dog may open the tissue to blood flow by shaking its head incessantly. The bleeding can be greatly reduced by taking a stitch to encircle the blood vessel at the base of the notch. Afresh cut can best be repaired by your veterinarian, who will use an anesthetic and carefully suture layers of the skin of the ear together separately. One stitch through both skin layers and the cartilage is seldom entirely satisfactory, but if the skin is sutured neatly, the cartilage and layers will heal together evenly.
Warts. Simply cutting a wart off results in hemorrhage. To remove one successfully, the skin below the wart must be dissected along with the protruding part. A few drops of local anesthetic under the wart is enough to deaden the area. A single suture bringing the skin together usually results in perfect healing. Regardless of local anesthesia, many dogs are apprehensive and struggle. It is usually best to remove such lesions with general short-acting anesthesia.
Polyps and Papillom.. Little toadstool-like growths on the body or in the mouth or on the lips of a dog may often be removed by simplifying them with a thread at the base with a surgeon’s knot and letting them drop off. However, oral papillomas can be so numerous that much more extensive surgery is required. If there are only a few of these virus-caused oral papillomas, we prefer to do nothing as the dog will develop resistance, usually in four to six weeks, and the growths will disappear without treatment.
Eye Surgery. Most eye surgery, such as cataract removal, demands a high degree of skill and should be done by a specialist if one is available. One lesion that appears serious is quite easily corrected, and that is the prolapse of glandular tissue from the inner corner of the eye. It appears suddenly and is considered by many concerned owners to be a greater emergency than it is. Lubricated the tissue and gently pressed it back under the third eyelid to treat the eye with ointment. More often it will not remain corrected and should be removed surgically. If the condition develops in one eye we can predict it will occur in the other eye one day.
Sometimes foreign objects must be removed from the eye. A light oil such as a few drops of cooking oil in the eye will lubricate it so that the object works toward the inner corner, where it leaves with excess tears. Another minor problem that may appear worst than it is is a swelling, under an eye, that ruptures and drains down the cheek. It wouldn’t appear that the problem is an abscessed tooth root but it usually is. One of the roots of the largest tooth, the fourth premolar, is the problem. After the tooth is extracted the abscess heals.
Two minor maladies require surgery. Left, abscess under the eye, which can be cured by extraction of the infected tooth. Right, inflamed gland of Harder, which can be snipped off.
Dental Surgery. Unlike the human physician, the veterinarian is licensed to perform dentistry among his or her many services.
The most common culprit in dental problems is the buildup of tartar or plaque on the teeth, which causes the receding of the gums by pockets
of infection. Removing the tartar should be done if necessary to save teeth. Different types of food seem to have little effect on tartar buildup. In our kennels, some of the dogs fed a mushy mixture had beautiful healthy teeth and gums all their lives, whereas others had to have the tartar removed every six months. Sound teeth and gums seem to be influenced by heredity.
You may be able to chip or scrape tartar from your pet’s teeth but most dogs require a little anesthesia to reach all the affected areas. If the tartar is soft, a moistened cotton swab dipped in powdered pumice or even baking soda will remove it.
Some teeth become so loose they can be pulled out with your fingers. Many dogs in certain breeds lose most of their teeth before they are two or three years old. It appears to us that many dogs pass through a phase of a few years when, due to gum disease, they lose perhaps half their teeth and live the remainder of their lives with their remaining teeth in good condition. A dangling loose tooth does not require veterinary assistance to be removed you can do it.
In older patients extractions may be difficult as with age the jawbones become dense. Some teeth must be sawed or split before the roots may be removed.
Although it is rare, dogs can have cavities, in our experience always in the first upper molar teeth. Teeth with cavities should be extracted.
Removing Dewclaws. Some dog owners brag about their pet’s extra toes and never have them removed. According to show standards, some breeds of dogs Newfoundlands, St. Bemards, and all the retrievers, for example, need dewclaws, the surplus and often useless toes equivalent to human thumbs. Most owners, even show enthusiasts, have no objection to front dewclaws but think that the rear legs, they tend to detract from the neatness of the dog. Accordingly, they insist that these useless appurtenances be removed. Dewclaws tend to be inherited as Mendelian dominants. It should be remembered that two days of age is the ideal time to remove them. At that age, dewclaws may be snipped off with scissors and cauterized with silver nitrate to control bleeding. Many puppies have been killed by unenlightened amputation taking place when the puppy is two or so weeks old, which results in excessive bleeding.
As a practical matter, it is important to remember this: raw starch is not soluble in cold water but it does dissolve in boiling water. However, about twenty times as much water must be added for the dissolving to take place. Mixed with an equal amount of water, it does not dissolve. Dissolving starch does not materially alter its composition, but when dissolved starch cools it becomes solid. This unimportant change explains why pet food canners like to add some starchy foods to their products before processing. Many of these products are excellent food but are not the solid goodness the buyer might think, since they are at least 70 percent water.
To make starch digestible for some species of dogs and cats it is necessary to crack the granules by cooking. The starch can then be handled quite easily. Rabbits, cavies, and other dogs digest part of the cellulose by enzymes in their bodies and liberate the soluble starch. Because lumps of potatoes were sometimes found in dogs’ stools, it was once commonly believed that dogs couldn’t digest starch. When potatoes, carrots, or any other starch food is cooked and mashed, dogs can utilize it perfectly well.
Baking starch at 400° F changes it to dextrin (not dextrose) gummy, sweetish substance, not unlike sugar, that dissolves easily. Biscuits taste good to dogs because the heat has converted the starch to dextrin. They are sweeter but very little different from starch; they have one more molecule of water (H20).
Starch is found in the dog liver and muscles as glycogen or dog arch. It is soluble in hot or cold water. Animals quickly convert vegetable starch into dog starch, and they are able also to convert protein into glycogen.
Fasting uses up stored glycogen, eating replaces it, and quickly. Within a few hours after a meal of starch there are abundant stores to be found in the liver. As it is circulated for the nourishment of the body, glycogen is converted into blood sugar and glucose. And, as the blood leaves the liver, it may contain as much as 3 percent glucose. Sometimes dog arc fed so much sugar they cannot store it. The excess is found in the urine; allowances for this must be made in tests for diabetes.
Besides the starches, there are several carbohydrates common to most diets.
Milk sugar (lactose) is found in its only natural liquid form in milk. It is not, as a matter of fact, particularly sweet. Lactose is the food of acidophilus bacteria in the intestine. Many very difficult cases of intestinal trouble have been greatly helped by the simple expedient of adding milk to the diet or some food like bread which has considerable milk in its composition. Lactose is easily dissolved by the acid digestive juice. Its action on the bowel is laxative, which explains the effect of skim milk.
Cane sugar is good for dogs but spoils their appetites as candy spoils those of children. It is, of course, usually fed in artificial forms. Honey is composed of cane and fruit sugar. The latter is the sugar sweetest known to taste.
See more: Dog Production of Monsters