Hi there Alex. We live in Wanganui Ave, Herne Bay and are a bit concerned about the change in the timbre of our 13 year old Min Pin's (Miniature Doberman Pinscher) bark. He is otherwise well although has a couple of fatty lumps, and the beginnings of cloudy cataracts can be seen in certain light when you look into the centre of his pupils. Our biggest worry is that his bark seems to be higher pitched than it used to be. He is fed once daily on biscuits and meat and is on Vivitonin for brain function, fish oil capsules for his skin and joints and a multivitamin tablet. My partner and I are very concerned about him and anything you could tell us would be will be much appreciated. Sue B.
Hi Sue, I think this is something which definitely requires an examination at our clinic. Initially we can listen to his airways, feel glandular structures in his throat including lymph nodes, salivary glands and thyroid organs. We would check his temperature, and perform an open mouth examination of the upper throat and tonsils. Often throat problems do require deeper visualisation, necessitating a sedation or light anaesthetic which allows us to extend a light source/scope further down the throat to see the epiglottis, vocal folds and upper trachea. We also have throat radiography at our disposal.
This could be an infectious problem affecting the larynx or tonsils requiring antibiotics or a lodged foreign body like a grass blade which can loop around the soft palate. Other congenitally linked causes would include a partially collapsing trachea (common in most toy breed dogs) or partial laryngeal paralysis both of which require visualisation by ourselves for diagnosis and are treatable with surgical tie-back. Let’s kick things off smartly with a thorough exam, kind regards, Dr Alex Melrose. VetCare Grey Lynn. 408 Great North Rd. 09 3613500. www.vetcare.net.nz. firstname.lastname@example.org .
Hi Alex. I have recently adopted an adult cat from the SPCA and think she is going blind. She only has one eye due to the other being amputated when she was a kitten. “Winks” adapted really well to our home but her eye is cloudy now and it seems like see can’t see at all. When she gets a fright I have noticed she runs into things a lot more. I am worried because I don’t want to let her outside because she might not find her way home or run onto the road and get hit. The SPCA said she will adapt to one eye but I’m not sure she will be able to see properly again with the changes in her “good” eye. If you have any ideas I would love to hear from you. Daniel.
Hi Daniel & “Winks”. I agree with the SPCA that cats do cope fantastically well with one eye. They can get a bit more easily frightened by things approaching on that side and will occasionally bump into things or misjudge a leap. Their quality of life is however excellent.
The recent deterioration in Winks’ vision is a big concern to me. Any time an eye shows clouding, whiteness, squinting, pain or discharge other than tears, you must rapidly seek veterinary attention, even if that happens to be “after-hours”.
With your cats history this is obviously even more crucial, not having a “back-up eye” so to speak. Once an eye has received trauma, especially into its cornea (the clear front surface), the eye can totally collapse and be irreparable within days if not hours. Bacteria will enter a corneal wound, often from a cat or stick scratch and can rapidly liquefy the tissue, literally eating through the outer layers of the eyeball until the eye ruptures, possibly to be lost forever.
Foreign bodies caught in the eye, such as splinters can also migrate through and cause collapse. At the clinic here we can use fluorescent dyes and ophthalmoscope lighting to assess the damage and ensuing risks. Treatment, depending on severity, can range from topical antibiotics and steroids dropped onto the eye surface, to drugs taken orally to reduce pressure in the globe, right through to surgical patching of the eyeball with a flap of nearby tissue.
Never delay examination and treatment of eye conditions, seek immediate veterinary help.
Hi Alex, just wanted to touch base as when I saw the vet this morning she talked about Roger, my Yorkshire Terriers cataracts and whether he needs surgery or should have surgery. Given his health history of diabetes I am very keen to get an understanding of whether or not this is worth doing for him, what the positives and minuses of it might be and how much it is likely to cost.
I am concerned about benefits outweighing the costs for him. Also, with his diabetes how long is his life expectancy now? And how long would improved eyesight last given his diabetes? If I wanted to have a consultation with the specialist what sort of cost am I looking at? If you could give me your thoughts I'd really appreciate it. Thanks Alex, Best Regards, Lisa.
Hi Lisa & Roger. As you are aware, cataracts are unfortunately a common symptom of diabetes in people and in pets, as the damaging levels of blood sugars are carried to the very sensitive and precisely aligned lens tissue within the eye. There are no health negatives to cataract surgery, recovery being very fast and complications very rare. Costs for the operation are around $1500 per eye. Many people choose to just do one eye as our pets do so well with clear vision in one side, and surprisingly have minimal detrimental issues with depth perception.
The entire lens is emulsified and then removed through as tiny incision in the globe making the improvement in eyesight permanent. Peter Collinson is a fantastic eye specialist available here in Auckland for just such skilled surgery and on initial examination (around $120) he checks how well the surgery would work in each individual animal by testing retinal function at the rear of the globe.
Obviously if the cataract presence was part of a more widespread eye disorder then the surgery may not go ahead. I hope this has been helpful, and I hope Peter can help with Roger, who with good management of his condition should be able to go on and live for many years as with the majority of our diabetic pet patients.
I have a wee question for you regarding cherry eye. We bought a French bulldog ten days ago and three days after we had him his cherry eye popped up. We have read everything on the internet (probably the worst thing we could do!), telling us that it’s a genetical weakness, and all we were told by his breeder was they could fix it with surgery, but I’m not sure what the procedure is.
We have read that even after surgery it can keep popping up again and requiring more surgery each time. We don’t want to remove the gland totally and have to put eye drops in his eye everyday for the rest of his life (kill me now!).
We have all become attached to him and would hate to see him go. I know that there is no guarantee but I just want to get your opinion on the likely success rate of the pocket stitch surgery? And which option do you think is best? Hope you are well, Cherie, Biarritz.
Wow, this has put you guys in a difficult position. Basically right at the start i.e. day one, we can often lubricate the gland and pop it back in, however it is still prone to reoccur. (One of my nurses has a Neapolitan Mastiff that does it temporarily sometimes).
You are right re genetics and the breeder should offer to take him back with a full refund, full stop, to be a responsible breeder. However I also understand you guys are already getting super attached. Do not have the gland removed. KCS "dry eye" for life causes big problems with tons of life-long hassles.
The gland needs to be replaced back into a conjunctival pocket by an experienced surgeon. Cherry eye can occasionally reoccur despite all best efforts. Hard call guys, you could get another one, and then it may have other issues.
Awesome breed, I almost got one but Karla wanted a griffon ... and so the Prince of darkness was born.
My suggestion is keep him, but breeder refunds cost of purchase and you use that to pay for operation. Some clients have organised this kind of deal which seems fair, especially if the breeder interested in keeping a good name. Best wishes, Alex Melrose.
Conjunctivitis in Cats
Hi Virginia, this “weepy eye” syndrome is a really common problem with young cats. Cats have a number of viral organisms which can get into the conjunctival tissue around their eyes at a young age, often while still with their queen.
The main culprits are Herpesvirus, Calicivirus and Chlamydia. The severity and frequency of these infections usually diminishes as the cat gets older and its immune system stronger. In your case it sounds like just excessive tears are present, but there can be significant pus and mucus from badly infected eyes.
The tissue around the eyeball (conjunctiva) is usually more red and swollen and the third eyelid (that cats have and we don’t) may be sliding across from its normal position at the inner corner of the eye. The eyeball itself can become cloudy and painful and the cat will often squint.
Typically bouts of infection are intermittent, much like cold-sores in people, with outbreaks triggered by episodes of stress or contact with irritants like dust, pollens and sunlight. Virginia, you mention that your young cat has been tested for these “cat flu” organisms and found clear.
I would need to know more about the testing to be confident about that. These tests are notoriously difficult, equivocal and expensive. Just this month a combined PCR test for all three of these nasties has become available in N.Z. which has improved accuracy and costs about $200.
While its great to know for sure what infection your cat has, it doesn’t often alter the treatment much as all the topical antiviral drugs available here in N.Z. are pretty ineffective. Cats may need antibiotics when the discharge becomes yellow or green or if they are lethargic and inappetant.
Non steroidal anti-inflammatories can be useful to combat pain, swelling and clouding and in severe cases surgery can be required to repair ulcers to the cornea where these infections have eaten away the surface of the eye. For mild cases such as yours I would stick with some natural treatments and use steam decongestants to clear the nasal passages if these get blocked.
This is really important as when cats loose their sense of smell their appetite plummets, dehydration can occur and loss of ability to fight off these viruses follows. I would use some artificial tear drops to lubricate and flush the eye, and try Lysine from your health-food shop to boost the cat’s antiviral fighting ability.
Dog's Bark Goes Missing
Hi there Alex. We live in Wanganui Ave, Herne Bay and are a bit concerned about the change in the timbre of our 13 year old Min Pin's (Miniature Doberman Pinscher) bark. He is otherwise well although has a couple of fatty lumps, and the beginnings of cloudy cataracts can be seen in certain light when you look into the centre of his pupils.
Our biggest worry is that his bark seems to be higher pitched than it used to be. He is fed once daily on biscuits and meat and is on Vivitonin for brain function, fish oil capsules for his skin and joints and a multivitamin tablet.
My partner and I are very concerned about him and anything you could tell us would be will be much appreciated. Sue B.
Hi Sue, I think this is something which definitely requires an examination at our clinic. Initially we can listen to his airways, feel glandular structures in his throat including lymph nodes, salivary glands and thyroid organs.
We would check his temperature, and perform an open mouth examination of the upper throat and tonsils. Often throat problems do require deeper visualisation, necessitating a sedation or light anaesthetic which allows us to extend a light source/scope further down the throat to see the epiglottis, vocal folds and upper trachea.
We also have throat radiography at our disposal. This could be an infectious problem affecting the larynx or tonsils requiring antibiotics or a lodged foreign body like a grass blade which can loop around the soft palate.
Other congenitally linked causes would include a partially collapsing trachea (common in most toy breed dogs) or partial laryngeal paralysis both of which require visualisation by ourselves for diagnosis and are treatable with surgical tie-back. Let’s kick things off smartly with a thorough exam, kind regards, Dr Alex Melrose.
Dental Advice Dental disease is a common health problem in dogs and cats. It can lead to bad breath; swollen, bleeding gums; loose teeth; salivation; mouth rubbing; difficulty eating; and even more severe problems.
In severe cases, periodontal disease may be associated with the spread of infection to other parts of the body, including the heart and kidneys.You can avoid these problems by regularly visiting your veterinarian for professional exams and cleanings and by caring for your pet’s teeth at home. At your pet’s dental appointment, your vet will first examine its mouth and teeth for problems such as plaque, calculus, or gingivitis; broken or missing teeth; discolored teeth; masses; or periodontal disease.
If necessary our veterinarian can then schedule to anesthetize your pet to examine its mouth more thoroughly and to clean its teeth. The in-depth exam may reveal that your pet needs treatment such as tooth extraction or special therapy for advanced gum disease. Dental X-rays may also be needed to find problems that can’t be seen by visual examination. Finally, after examining and cleaning your pet’s teeth, your veterinarian will polish them and may apply fluoride.
Brushing your pet’s teeth can go a long way toward preventing dental disease. Some pets resist brushing, but most eventually accept it, especially if you start a brushing routine when your pet is young. Aim at brushing your pet’s teeth at least twice a week. Choose a pet toothpaste your pet likes. Several brands and flavors Such as Malt or Chicken are available to help coax your pet into a brushing regimen. Place a small amount of flavored pet toothpaste on your finger, and offer it to your pet daily for several days as a treat. This will condition your pet to view brushing as fun and rewarding.
Once your pet accepts toothpaste use your index finger to simulate the brushing motion of a toothbrush, while praising the pet. After a week introduce a soft-bristled pet toothbrush. Make small circular strokes at the gum line. Start at the back teeth and work forward and around to the other side, concentrate on the outside surface of the teeth. Toys, treats, rawhide chews, and specially formulated foods are available to help keep your pet’s teeth clean. Use these in addition to brushing your pet’s teeth. Most of these toys and foods have a mild abrasive action to help wipe away the thin layer of protein that builds up on teeth. Others are treated with enzymes to help reduce bacteria.
When buying treats or foods, look for the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal of approval. www.vohc.org. Follow-up exams are important to monitor home care and to detect signs of dental disease. Keep in mind that if home dental care is not provided, then professional cleanings may be needed more often. And if your pet is having difficulty accepting home care, contact your veterinarian so you can work together to find an agreeable solution. Remember, by taking care of your pet’s teeth and gums, you’re helping care for its overall health. ¦
Dear Sonia, I trust your wounds are healing well. Obviously Barney shouldn’t be nipping you like that, but if he has significant pain in his mouth then dogs can understandably behave out of character.
Normally I would encourage all pet owners to regularly examine their pet’s mouth so you were trying to do the right thing, starting this daily when they are young puppies is smart move. There are a few tell – tale signs of dental disease you can spot.
Brown concretions of tartar can line the teeth especially on the back molars so make sure you pull the gums back to check these rear teeth. Inflamed, red, swollen gums may be visible and the gum-line can extend down to hide cavities. These may bleed when touched and animals will jerk their head back or their lower jaw may shudder.
Teeth may be visibly loose or have fractured tips or slabs missing of the side, this is typically seen in dogs chewing stones. Some teeth can be ground down very flat to expose a central dark pulp cavity, again common in chewers and geriatrics. Often the mouth smells terrible, especially if food or bits of grass, stick or bone are jammed between teeth.
Dental disease can really drag an animal’s health down. In Barney’s case it could be causing significant pain, restricting his ability to eat, altering his demeanor and showering his internal organs with bacteria carried along in his blood stream. I think you should definitely bring Barney in to see us.
Don’t risk getting bitten again, we can get safely examine his mouth with a mix of sedatives and experience, and then let you know what treatment he requires. He may need tooth extractions and to have remaining teeth de-scaled and polished with our state of the art dental machine.
Just like when you’re at the dentist, only he won’t feel a thing while he is having a nice peaceful dream about fields of sausages. When he returns home he is likely to need pain killers and antibiotic treatment and will later benefit from special teeth cleaning biscuits, chews and tooth brushing once weekly when he is feeling better.
Let’s get stuck into Barneys mouth and like many other owners have happily reported back to us, you will probably notice a subtle but clear improvement in his quality of life.