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Blog: JoAnna Lou
Signs of Canine Cancer
One in three dogs will be affected by cancer
I still remember when I first heard that cancer affects one in three dogs. I was at an agility trial fundraiser for canine cancer research and the organizers asked anyone touched by the disease to raise their hand. Almost everyone had their hand up. It's a scary statistic that hit home recently. Three of my friends have lost dogs to cancer in the last month. The disease has become so...
Blog: Guest Posts
Vet Care Nightmare
Why we spent $6,500 this month … and counting
For the month of August, my husband and I have spent $6,500 on veterinary care for two of our four dogs. What I find particularly maddening is how we have done everything possible to ensure our dogs stay healthy, and yet, do we really know if it made a difference? I naively thought that by giving my dogs the best of everything—a raw diet, vitamins, supplements, holistic treats, mentally...
Blog: Guest Posts
Big Dog, Big Heartworm
Foster volunteer chronicles her pup’s heartworm treatment
For the past month, I’ve been following a blog about a nine-year-old foster dog named Mila, who is undergoing heartworm treatment. It’s written by Jean, who fosters dogs for Big Hearts Big Dog Rescue in Western New York. Mila is the third heartworm-positive pup to come into Jean’s care. I’ve never really appreciated the challenges or devastation heartworm, and I’ve never known a dog treated...
Wellness: Health Care
Oncept delivers cancer-fighting DNA
A vet’s perspective
Skin lumps can be tricky. we stick them with a needle, suck up some cells, smear the sample on a slide and take a peek down a microscope, but sometimes we still can’t make a diagnosis. This leaves us with the option of surgery on a lump of unknown provenance and the dilemma of how wide an excision to make. If the culprit is benign, the surgery need not be radical. But what if the lump is...
Wellness: Health Care
Veterinarian's Pet Peeves
What not to do at the vet’s office.
Most dog guardians love their vets and, for the most part, the feeling is mutual. After all, we’re working together for a common goal: good health and happiness for our best friends. Most vets accentuate the positive. Dr. Susan Wagner, a veterinary neurologist and author of “Through a Dog’s Ear,” praises the thoughtful generosity of her human clients. “The good ones will even take out...
Dog Culture: DogPatch
Foreign Bodies
Tasty, disgusting, edible or not— everything’s fair game for curious critters
Foreign bodies combine mystery, intrigue, incredulity and guilt to make for a fascinating and fickle assortment of surgical diseases. There seems to be no limit to what our pets will try to cram into their mouths; size, shape, texture and taste often playing little or no part in an oral obsession that for many owners can become a difficult and costly vice to curb. So why do our dogs, cats and...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
A Lucky Pup Gets Four New Legs [Video]
New prosthetics give dogs a normal life
Dogs are amazing creatures who are able to live in the moment and adapt to anything that comes their way. I've met dogs missing one or two legs who barely seem to notice that they are different from the other pups. We definitely have a lot to learn from the canine mindset! Recently a Red Heeler named Naki'o became the first dog to be fitted with a complete set of bionic legs. The prosthetics...
Wellness: Healthy Living
Pain Patches
What are they and when are they used?
For dogs with short or long-term pain, pain patches can provide a real benefit, including avoiding the need to repeatedly give medication to a reluctant patient! The patch was developed for humans and delivers fentanyl, a narcotic or morphine-like drug. Veterinarians prescribe these patches as an “extralabel” pain medication. This means that the patch can be used safely by the veterinary...
Wellness: Health Care
Unforeseen Outcome
Observation, touch and intuition make up a diagnostic trifecta
Ordinarily, I’ll take serendipity over failure to make a difficult diagnosis every time. The trouble is, in my world, not every diagnosis is desirable, and serendipitous isn’t always the same as positive. I’ll call him Murphy: a rambunctious two-year-old Golden Retriever who bounced into my examination room, all billowing feathers, Hollywood smile and a nose searching for a friendly hand. “So...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Studying Kids and Pet Allergies
Exposure to dogs can be beneficial for developing immune systems
I don’t currently have kids, but one of my fears is that my future children may become allergic to my dogs. Fortunately, a new study found that having pets in the house could potentially lessen the risk of developing allergies. The study, led by Ganesa Wegienka, MS, PhD, of the Department of Public Health Sciences at Henry Ford Hospital, set out to answer one of the most popular questions...

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