You Have Questions, We Have Answers: Veterinarian Style

It’s the weekend or an evening and you have a question about your dog’s health that is just begging an answer right now. You can’t get ahold of me – I am not answering your Facebook or Google+ messages in the last minute or so since you posted and you are getting worried something has happened to me or my family, but worse yet your question is not being answered!

What to do?

You are in luck! There are websites out there with veterinarians that are ready to answer your question!

Granted they may not have my wit and personality but some may. Also you may not receive the integrative or holistic touch that you really want, but when you are desperate for an answer, the vets on these websites are more than qualified to help you out in deciding if your question about your dog’s health can wait for my reply or if you need to get help sooner.

Just Answer Veterinarians (http://www.justanswer.com/sip/veterinary) is a cool site that has experts from many different fields including in this case veterinarians. Most of the time there is a veterinarian actually online and will answer your question in real time. The cost is $14-$38 depending on Urgency and Level of Detail Required and you have to be 100% satisfied.

Ask A Vet (https://askavet.com/) claims we’ve got America’s Best Veterinarians ready to answer your pet’s health, nutritional and behavioral questions. How can they say that? Well their vets are board certified in their area of expertise, which means they went to even more schooling than your typical vet and they have really focused on a specific area of veterinary medicine. They have sat for boards just like a medical doctor would that has board certification – certifications in cardiology (heart), oncology (cancer), neurology (nerves), etc.It is a flat fee of $18 and 5% of that goes to charity. Again there is a 100% money back guarantee.

VetLive (http://www.vetlive.com/) run by Drs Jed and Laci Schaible is a 24hour chat service of a hand selected group of veterinarians chosen by Dr Jed and Dr Laci. Most of the time though you will be dealing with the owners of the site. The price depends on time of day, demand and if a vet has to be woken out of bed to answer your question. From $17-$50 and $35-$70 for second opinions that would include detailed information from the previous vet visit.

Pawbly (http://www.pawbly.com/) is free! I figured I would tell you the best part of this website right away. It does not mean that the value is any less than the paid sites. Pawbly is advice and assistance for everything pet 24 hours a day from reliable, local experts. Pawbly allows you to find or seek out experts based on their responses to your questions, their location, or their availability. Several veterinarians including my internet friends and colleague Dr Krista Magnifico and Jana Rade are verified Pawbly Advisors. 

With these choices you can find a veterinarian to answer your questions anytime. So the next time you can not get ahold of me then please try one of the above websites. Writing this article has given me an inspiration of doing a something similar with an integrative more holistic approach…hmmmm.

The 10 Best Dog Health Websites

When looking for a good dog health website you could just type into Google “dog health” and I am sure you will get 1 if not all 4 of these websites on the first page – doghealth.com, petmd.com, pets.webmd.com, and, of course, wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog_Health, but although these sites have a lot of information, they are certainly not the “best” dog health websites out there. I am not even sure if there is a true 10 best dog health websites as it would be subjective and full of opinion.

For me, the “best” dog health websites are the ones that I HAVE to go to every morning to see if they have posted any new articles on their blog. Yes I know I have a blog here and of course it goes without saying that this is one of the 10 best dog health websites on the Internet today (I’m writing the article what else would I say), but since I am writing the article I am going to omit Dogkinetics.com from the list because I don’t read it everyday (I don’t even post to it everyday).

Every morning when I click on my browser I have a bunch of tabs open up to all the websites that I visit frequently. You know like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. One of those tabs is a website called feedly.com and on that page is a list of blogs that I want to check up on and see what they are writing about that day. In my opinion, this is the heartbeat of the topic of dog health. It is what I want to read to keep abreast of everything. The following is the list of those websites – THE 10 Best Dog Health Websites

The Biggies
These three websites are the heavy hitters in the dog health topic. They post several articles a day and have very large followings and some very prominent veterinarians and other professionals writing articles. If any web/blog managers read this post I would be happy to do a guest post for any of these –

Vet Street (http://www.vetstreet.com/) – Dr Marty Becker, the vet from Good Morning America, writes here, but he is not the only big name that writes here just probably the most well known. Other big names are Dr Nancy Kay from Speaking for Spot, Dr Narda Robinson a nationally known authority on scientifically based alternative medicine, Dr Patty Kuhly a well known blogging vet, Dr Andy Roark who is well known for his contributions to veterinary business and management and several other veterinarians that are respected in their field.

Pet Place (http://www.petplace.com/) – With articles titled such as Why Do Dogs Drool? and Yes Dogs Eat Glue and crazy pictorials such as Tongues Out!, how can you not like this website?

Mercola’s Healthy Pets with Dr Karen Becker (http://healthypets.mercola.com/) – My friend, colleague, and co-conspirator with many clients, Dr Becker provides the information for this website. What can I say, I decided to become a father of 4 and play soccer with them and she decided to really make a difference for pets and became voted one of the 10 best veterinarians in the Chicago area. She caught the attention of Dr Mercola and the rest is history. There is at least one new post everyday and has a more holistic natural approach to veterinary medicine.

The Lonely Veterinarians
These next 5 websites are blogs written by a single veterinarian and their life, trials, tribulations and of course the good times of being a veterinarian.

Speaking for Spot (http://speakingforspot.com/blog/) – Dr Nancy Kay’s, author of Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health and contributor to Vet Street, personal blog. Dr Nancy has won many accolades and awards including the Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog.

Diary of a Real Life Veterinarian (http://kmdvm.blogspot.com/) – Blog of Dr Krista Magnifico advisor at Pawbly.com another excellent dog health website. I love Dr Krista’s stories and I especially like her post on Living and losing the last moments with your terminal dog.

Dr Patrick Mahaney (http://www.patrickmahaney.com/) – Fellow veterinary acupuncturist and veterinarian to the stars, Dr Patrick’s blog is full of information. If you have any questions on Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA) you can read his dog’s, Cardiff, blog (http://www.patrickmahaney.com/cardiff-blog/) who has suffered from IMHA

Shawn M. Finch DVM (http://rileyandjames.com/) – Dr Shawn has her life on this blog – veterinary stories, books read, and little life tidbits. The 24 Books to Change Your Life series was an excellent read.

Elliot Garber The Uncommon Veterinarian (http://www.elliottgarber.com/) – Do you want an interesting read for veterinary medicine? Dr Elliot’s blog is the one to read then. He is an author and a skilled writer and in this blog writes and does podcasts with some of the more interesting career choices that veterinarians have made. Hey Dr Elliot, I’m a veterinarian that has chosen to do only chiropractic and acupuncture on horses and dogs – is that interesting enough? If you read his blog, you will find out that NO its not interesting enough! Oh and if you want to be a veterinarian, he takes you step by step to reach your goal.

The Non-Veterinarians
You may have read or heard me say that I do not think pet insurance is worth the money. Instead, if you open a savings account for your pet and have the dedication to place the monthly premiums in it that you normally would give the insurance company, you would be much better off. So you may be surprised that one of the blogs I read everyday is owned by a pet insurance company! Yeah you read that right, besides it being a good blog and has good information on pet health I realize that many people (OK most people) do not have the dedication to put money into a savings account for their pet so if you must buy pet health insurance this is one of two companies I would recommend, Embrace (the blog I read) and Trupanion.

Embrace Pet Insurance Blog (http://blog.embracepetinsurance.com/) – Laura Bennett co-founder of Embrace is not a veterinarian but rather a mathematician, but she is very good at writing about dog health. It helps that she also has guest posts from veterinarians, including my Internet friend and colleague Dr Patrick Mahaney. Laura and Dr Patrick do a podcast together as well. Laura is doing the dog health topic a good service as well as providing good pet insurance.

Last but most definitely not least –
Dawg Business (http://dawgbusiness.blogspot.com/) – Jana Rade has become a friend because of her blog and my interest in it or maybe because of her great questions. She is just like a favorite client (the type of client that most vets dread that I thrive on) a dog owner that questions, EVERYTHING! Her blog is dedicated to her late Rottweiler Jasmine and their story together. Jasmine was a sickly dog and had a multitude of problems which provided Dawg Business with a wide variety of topics to cover in dog health. Jana has certainly made an impact in the dog health topic and has befriended many veterinarians and has numerous guest posts because of these friendships – you might even find a couple by a good looking vet there. I’ll help you out here’s his latest post there – Alternative Treatments For Discoid Lupus Erythematosus (DLE) in Dogs

You can be sure that every morning I am clicking on my feedly.com page and checking to see if any of these blogs have posted something new. I love to write and as with most writers, I also love to read and these blogs is what I love to read.

Cancer Canine Awareness: Pet Trust – the dogs singing video

Cancer can affect all living creatures. 25% of dogs die of a cancer related illness. If you didn’t know this Pet Trust wants you to know.

Pet Trust is a Canadian charitable fund, based out of Toronto, dedicated to enhancing the health and well-being of dogs and cats. Pet Trust created the “Keep Cancer on a Leash” campaign to raise awareness of animal cancer. Monies donated to the campaign also go for the treatment of dogs and cats with cancer at the Ontario Veterinary College Mona Campbell Animal Cancer Centre at the University of Guelph.

If you haven’t seen the video “We Could Be Heros” from Pet Trust here it is –

The cool thing about this video is that you can put your own dog in the video. Click on the link on Pet Trust’s website that says “Put Your Pet In The Video” – upload up to 3 photos and your email address and your video link will be sent to you.

Do not forget to donate! In fact go right now to Pet Trust’s Keep Cancer on a Leash website and donate what you can.

Canine Rehabilitation: Kenny’s story

Canine Rehabiliatation, similar to human Physical Therapy, is becoming more prevalent. Just as in people there are modalities such as laser, electrical stimulation and specific exercises to help dogs recover from injuries and surgeries. More expansive facilities even have swimming pools and underwater treadmills.

If your dog has a severe injury that if you had the same type of injury that you believe you would have to have physical therapy to recover, then yes your dog can have canine rehab to help it recover. To find a veterinarian in your area that has had training in Canine Rehab go to - http://www.caninerehabinstitute.com/Find_A_Therapist.html

kenny

This past week a great story from The Huffinton Post tells a tale of one lucky Doberman benefiting from the power of the Internet and the power of Canine Rehab after an unlucky event occurred at a rescue facility paralyzing him. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/08/paralyzed-doberman_n_4235835.html

Here’s the video – what an awesome story.

Kenny – A Paralyzed Doberman Learns To Walk Again – PLEASE SHARE

Mobile and tablet users- click here to watch: https://vimeo.com/78767578 Visit http://www.twohandsfourpaws.com to find out more about Kenny’s story. and visi…

Does Your Fat Dog Needs to Lose weight?

Simple answer to helping your dog lose weight, just as in humans – less calories and more exercise. There is one more component for some dogs, and for some people for that matter; it’s not HOW MUCH you eat that is as important as WHAT you eat! 

For people avoiding whites such as sugar, flour (wheat/gluten) and milk (dairy) will go a long way in helping you to lose weight. For some dogs it is similar – avoiding grains (corn, wheat, oats, barley, rice) will help reduce inflammation and allow a dog to lose weight.

Pet Obesity discussed by Kelly Lewis of barkTV. (fat dog health)

Pet Obesity discussed by Kelly Lewis of barkTV. (fat dog health, lose weight loss). Kelly is a mobile groomer from Raleigh (apex) NC.

Is Your Dog Too Fat? How to Get a Slimmer PetHealth News and

Helping Murphy lose weight required better eating habits and also some daily exercise, which, of course, is part of a healthy dog’s life. Every morning, Murphy and I walk for 15-20 minutes and another 30-45 minutes in the 

Maintaining the ideal weight for your Dog | GoSouthOnline

If a dog shows signs of being overweight consulting a veterinarian is crucial in adopting a weight loss programme supported by the right health nutrition. Veterinary practices are geared to monitor controlled weight loss in dogs 

Urinary Incontinence: A weak bladder sphincter problem

thpeeing_dogA dog that has a wet bed in the morning, a dog that dribbles urine throughout the day, a dog that seems to just stand up and then pee uncontrollably, or a dog that is licking itself continuously can all have the problem of urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence is a weakening of the sphincter that controls the emptying of the bladder, most commonly affecting females.

There is a lot to urinary incontinence and there is quite a bit that we do not fully understand about it but I am going to go over the most common issues and keep it simple. The first issue to contend with if you have a dog with a leaky bladder is be sure your pup does not have a urinary tract infection because this an cause inflammation in the entire urinary tract including the sphincter and your dog just is not going to be able to control itself. The best course of action when you first notice a leaking problem is to bring your dog to the vet for evaluation for blood tests and a urinalysis. If your dog has kidney issues, hormonal issues, or a urinary tract infection the cause of the leaking is secondary and treating the primary problem of the underlying disease should resolve the leaking issue.

Now if your dog does not have any illness found then it is most likely that yes your dog has a weakened bladder sphincter causing the urinary incontinence. To keep it simple there is two major reasons why your dog has a weakened muscle – neurologic or hormonal. If the nerve pathways are not optimal then your dog leaks because there is no or low nerve stimulation to the muscle. If the dog has been neutered, more likely if it has been neutered early in life, there has been a lack of hormones, which weakens the muscles in and around the genital area and specifically the bladder sphincter.

Traditional medicine typically uses two different types of drugs to correct this problem and there is a new surgical treatment available in some cases. The first drug is actually hormone replacement therapy using diethylstilbestrol (DES) in female dogs. It is used at low doses to try and avoid the side effects of the drug. Holistic practitioners have long been concerned with the use of this drug and its potential long term effects on the hormonal system and its possibility of causing certain types of cancer.  The other drug commonly used for urinary incontinence and this is used in female and male dogs is phenylpropanolamine (PPA). This drug is used to help stimulate the nervous system and increase tone in the bladder sphincter. This drug has many side effects although most are manageable or minor that they go unnoticed. It can have more side effects with drug interactions of commonly used drugs such as NSAIDs, some tick preventatives, and other drugs. It can cause anxiety in pets because it does stimulate a fight or flight response due to its effect on the nervous system. It also causes an increase in blood pressure for the first few weeks of using the drug so dogs with heart conditions should avoid using PPA. Many times vets will use both drugs together if they are not getting a response from either one and have some success with their use together, which usually indicates multiple system problems with urinary incontinence.

Alternative treatments focus on the same simple principles of either nervous system malfunction or hormonal system malfunction. The most common treatments I use are chiropractic, acupuncture, Chinese herbs and food supplements.

Chiropractic treatments usually focus on subluxations (joint dysfunction) at the Lumbosacral joint and/or the SI joints. Adjustments usually are needed at L6, L7, and Sacrum. I have had great success over the years with just chiropractic alone most of my patients will have to have return visits monthly to every other month to maintain urinary control.

Most of the time I will also place the pet on a nutritional supplement such as Symplex M (males) or Symplex F (females) from Standard Process. These are formulated from compounds extracted from glandulars. There are other products, which are direct glandular products that some holistic vets use instead of DES to lessen the risks associated with DES.

Many times I see immediate results using the chiropractic and the Standard Process supplements but if I see no results within 2-4 weeks then I will suggest adding acupuncture and/or Chinese herbs to see if we can stimulate the bladder sphincter to function better. Most chronic urinary incontinence is a Qi deficiency in Traditional Chinese Medicine and more specifically a Kidney Qi Deficiency so I choose points to help strengthen Qi. In western medical acupuncture terms, we try to stimulate the nervous system for the reproductive area of the body, similar points are used in both types of acupuncture. Common points used are BL22, BL23, BL26, ST36 and CV1

If all else fails there is a surgical treatment that is being tried. It is fairly new to use in dogs and has some success. Under anesthesia collagen is injected around the urethral opening causing a mechanical blockage, which then allows the dog to hold its urine easier. Some of these dogs still need to take PPA and many of them have to have the procedure repeated. Definitely not a first line of correction but when it means the life vs death because of urine leakage it is worth trying to find a vet to do the procedure.

There is a lot we do not understand about urinary incontinence. We do not know the true cause and why some treatments work for some dogs and not for others, but there are many treatments and hopefully if you have a dog with urinary incontinence, you can find one that works for your dog.

Controlling your dog’s allergies: The EDVS Approach

Your dog is keeping you up all night scratching. In fact, your dog scratches all the time, its skin is red and raw and may have hair loss and lesions. Your dog could have allergies. The most common symptoms owners bring their dog into the vet suspecting allergies is itching and chronic skin infections. However did you know that there are other signs of allergies such as red paws, chronic ear infections, chronic loose stool, and even vomiting? All of these problems are very frustrating for the owner and also frustrating for the veterinarian to attempt to treat. Conventional veterinary care has a difficult time managing this disease and many veterinarians are just as frustrated with treatment as the owners of the allergic dog. So what can we do? In this series of posts I am going to explain how I manage dog allergies using an approach called EDVS.

First, every owner that has a dog that suffers from allergies needs to know that allergies is a disease that can be controlled and managed but most likely will not ever be cured. To control the disease, you need to support and balance the immune system and focus on the (E)nivronment, (D)iet, (V)accinations, and (S)upplements. Once explained to you it will make sense to use the EDVS approach and how you can live with your dog and your dog can have a good quality of life living with you for many years.

Basically, an allergy is a hypersensitive immune system. Unfortunately the immune system is one of the most misunderstood systems of the dog’s body. Although it is studied extensively and many components are well understood the actual cause and effect of how it actually all works is elusive. The immune system is a well trained and amazing war machine capable of identifying numerous foreign invaders, however it can make mistakes, especially when it is hypersensitive. If we could figure out exactly how the dog’s immune system makes mistakes we could easily prevent allergies. The mistakes that the immune system makes is on identifying foreign invaders. When the immune system is hypersensitive it can misidentify a substance as foreign and attack it. Most commonly the body misinterprets proteins and synthetic chemicals that are chemically structured similar to proteins.

When the dog’s immune system finds a virus or bacteria and identifies it as such, it goes into attack mode using lymphocytes and other white blood cells to kill it and remove it from the body. Viruses and bacteria are essentially protein molecules and dna molecules that the body understands and the system of attack is usually quite effective in removing these proteins and abnormal dna molecules from the body. When the body misidentifies a different protein or chemical substance as an invader and attacks it using the same defense mechanisms it is unable to clear it. The immune system becomes confused especially if the dog continues to be exposed to the substance. The dog’s immune system attacks even harder and with more ferocity, continuing to try and exterminate the substance that it can not destroy; which explains why over time the dog’s allergies are worse and worse. It explains why every year the dog’s allergies are worse than the previous. Using immunoglobulins, mast cells, basophils and other white blood cells, the weapons of the dog’s immune system, the immune system continues to fight creating havoc by releasing histamine and destroying surrounding normal cells in its attempts to clear the allergen it sees as a foreign invader. The symptoms of allergies, red inflamed skin, inflamed ears,  diarrhea, vomiting, etc is caused by this destruction and histamine release. Many dogs have chronic ear infections and skin infections because the body is so busy trying to destroy the allergen that it is not able to take care of other bacteria and yeast.

Conventional veterinary treatment seeks to decrease the immune response and help the symptoms using corticosteroids such as prednisone and antibiotics. The problem is that this only provides temporary relief and does not address the underlying issue of the hypersensitive immune system. However, even holistic medicine can not cure the issues of a hypersensitive immune system it can only manage the problem and that is by managing (E)nivronment, (D)iet, (V)accinations, and (S)upplements. More to come in future posts.

Golden Retriever Lifetime Study

Golden retrievers have some of the friendliest, most lovable dispositions out of any dog breed. Many owners consider their golden retrievers to be important members of the family who provide everything from companionship and entertainment to boundless love and selfless devotion.

Through its Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, the Morris Animal Foundation has come up with a wonderful opportunity for golden retriever owners who are at least 18 years of age and living in the United States to give back to the pets who give us so much. Cancer is the leading cause of death in all dogs older than age two, and it sadly kills over half of all golden retrievers. The Golden Retriever Lifetime Study hopes to drastically lower these numbers and improve the health of golden retrievers everywhere by studying them, as the study’s name suggest, over the course of a dog’s lifetime.

Participation is limited to golden retrievers that are healthy, less than 2 years old at the time of application and that have a three-generation pedigree, and it extends throughout the life of your dog. If you participate, you are responsible for selecting a veterinarian, completing an online questionnaire about your dog’s habits and temperament and annually visiting the veterinarian for exams and sample collections.

While participating is certainly a long-term commitment, the study’s findings have the potential to be incredibly valuable in improving the health of future golden retrievers. Participating will allow researchers to help identify how certain factors such as genetics and diet could affect a golden retriever’s risk of getting cancer and other major health disorders, and can assist researchers in developing more effective methods of dealing with cancer diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

The study is an easy, minimally invasive and inexpensive way to give back to future generations of golden retrievers in a big way. If this seems like an opportunity that you or any other golden retriever-owners you know may be interested in, visit the Morris Animal Foundation online to learn more about the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study and get started on the registration process. Sign up today and help make the world a better, healthier place for your golden retriever!

Alternatives to NSAIDs: Rimadyl, Previcox, Metacam, Deramaxx, etc

I am asked almost daily about alternatives to using NonSteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) like Rimadyl, Previcox, Metacam, Deramaxx. People are afraid to use these drugs because of their possible side effects. The most common side effects include digestive upset (vomiting/diarrhea), stomach ulcers, and liver disease. One of the worst possible side effects is death caused by these drugs. Never thought death could be a side effect of a medicine that was supposed to help your dog feel better but it can happen…luckily VERY RARELY!

This article is not to bash NSAIDs because, to be honest, it still is one of my most prescribed drugs. Why? Because they work! Dogs with acute injuries may require a controlling of inflammation and so for a short duration will need to be on an anti-inflammatory. These products work well and on most occasions are safe for short term use. A dog at the end of its life may have aches and pains that prevent it from having a good quality of life, a daily NSAID may be just the answer to provide that quality of life.

Even if your dog has to take one of these products there are some other products that can be of assistance in reducing the side effects. A couple of products S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) and Milk Thistle have been known to help prevent the liver toxicity of NSAIDs. Aloe Vera can help reduce the chance of ulcers with NSAIDs.

However there are alternatives to NSAIDs that do not have the side effects -

Herbals and Nutraceuticals – Many of my older patients are already taking some form of nutraceutical for joint health in the form of glucosamine and /or chondroitin sulfate. There are other products which can help with inflammation similar to that of NSAIDs such Boswelia, Curcumin (Tumeric), Bromelain, and Devil’s Claw are the most common. Using plant enzymes an hour before or after a meal so that they are absorbed and not used to digest that meal have an anti-inflammatory effect. Even Omega 3s and 6s found in fish oil and krill oil have a good anti-inflammatory effect. I usually have a dog start on products such as these before going to an NSAID they may not be as potent as an NSAID but they also do not have the side effects either.

Acupuncture - This is a favorite of mine and helps many dogs with pain. It is a little time consuming and can be more expensive but it does help. Using acupuncture and Chinese Herbals together can really help out a dog so that it does not need NSAIDs or even my severely painful dogs that acupuncture and herbals can get them off steroids and Tramadol!

Pulsed Electromagnetic Therapy (PEMF) – This is a machine that uses an electric current to make a magnetic field which increases the blood circulation and reduces the inflammation of the area of the body that has inflammation. It works great for animals that have a specific area of inflammation that needs to be treated. It also has little to no side effects. I am starting to use a small portable take home PEMF device from Assisi for a variety of patients, especially for the pets that can not tolerate acupuncture.

Laser Therapy – Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) is the use of light emitted by a laser machine to effect tissue. It increases circulation, reduces inflammation and produces an anti-inflammatory effect. It is painless so it really works well for the dogs that are painful and can not tolerate acupuncture. It does take several treatments and would require a couple trips to the veterinarian each week for a few weeks, depending on what is being treated. It works well for muscle pain and inflammation from arthritis and works exceptionally well on wounds.

From herbals and nutraceuticals to historically used acupuncture to the latest and greatest Laser therapy or PEMF or to even just using NSAIDs with some supportive help of other products, the answer to your dogs pain can be found. There are many alternatives to NSAIDs you just need to know they are available and use the one that works best for you and your pet.

Neutering Your Dog – 3 Problems with Neutering Early

With the push from the Humane Society, rescues and dog shelters to neuter as early as possible it may not be politically correct and seems even anti-overpopulation to suggest that we are not doing our dogs right by neutering them, especially when we neuter them early. However with concern for each dog as an individual and taking into account what early neutering does to a dog’s long term health, I will suggest that neutering must be done after a dog is finished growing. There are many problems with early neutering but 3 really stick out as significant health issues that owners should be aware of before they decide to neuter their dogs before their growth plates have closed.

A study from veterinarians at University of California-Davis gives support to being concerned about early neutering.

Golden retriever study suggests neutering affects dog health :: UC 

http://news.ucdavis.eduWed, 13 Feb 2013 22:00:00 GMT

Neutering, and the age at which a dog is neutered, may affect the animal’s risk for developing certain cancers and joint diseases, according to a new study of golden retrievers by a team of.

 

Problem #1 – Increased orthopedic injuries – the growth plates need to have optimal hormonal balance to close properly. Obviously neutering causes an imbalance in the hormonal system by removing a major hormone contributing organ, so the growth plates do not close and allows the long bones of the legs to grow longer. On average dogs that are neutered early will grow longer and taller. Growing longer and taller changes the biomechanics and movement of the dog and places extra stress on tendons, ligaments and muscles. This may explain the increased incidence of cruciate ruptures in dogs that are neutered early.

Problem #2 – Increased arthritis – the changes in biomechanics and stress on the tendons, ligaments and muscles will also increase stress on the action of the dogs joints thus increasing the incidence of joint osteoarthritis. Another contributing factor could also be the average increased weight in neutered dogs placing increased stress on joints as well. The UC-Davis study found an increased incidence of hip dysplasia in male dogs neutered before a year of age doubled that of the of dogs neutered after a year of age and non-neutered dogs.

Problem #3 – Increased incidence of certain cancers – Cancer is difficult because there are so many contributing factors but hormones play a large part. Dogs that are neutered late have higher incidences of mammary tumors, mast cell tumors and hemangiosarcoma in females. However early neutering has increased incidence of osteosarcomas and lymphosarcoma. These incidences are greater than in non neutered dogs.

You are your dog’s advocate but you are also responsible for your dog and if you choose not to neuter your dog or to wait to neuter your dog. It is your responsibility to keep him/her safeguarded against accidental breedings and contributing to the overpopulation problem. With research and information becoming more apparent that early neutering is not ideal for the health of your dog, it is important to be proactive in the health of your dog and choose the time of neutering your pet wisely.