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Ask a veterinarian.

Postby wellbutrin on Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:09 pm

git at me

A SMALL DISCLAIMER:

A lot of questions are hard to answer without me actually examining your little buddy or running any tests so I will try my best to go as in depth as possible. A lot of problems (like with Tommy's cats that I'm about to answer) can be very complex and difficult to solve and I might say "Get it checked out" or "I can't be sure without seeing it, but here's what it could be" or "Here's what you should do next to save money and time blah blah". Just try to keep that in mind that I can't give homerun answers to every question.

Also, to get the most out of this, it will help a ton to give me the ages/breed/sex of all critters involved because these parameters can make the answers vary dramatically!
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Re: Ask a veterinarian.

Postby 154 on Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:24 pm

Hey, great thread!

I've heard conflicting information about giving dogs heartworm medication during freezing winter months. Do you recommend it? Revolution get's expensive for 2 dogs!
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Re: Ask a veterinarian.

Postby Tommy on Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:36 pm

Our two cats are itchy. They tend to scratch until they bleed and/or fur is gone. For the female it's her ears. For the male it's his cheek/chin. No signs of mites. They were litter mates if that matters. Diet doesn't seem to affect it and the majority of their life they've been on a grain-free diet. Right now they are on a rabbit/pea formula for their protein.

Do you think it's humidity related, i.e. too dry in our apartment? Why is it local to their heads?

Female is also reverse sneezy. We give her an antihistamine when she gets bad.
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Re: Ask a veterinarian.

Postby dabrasha on Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:37 pm

Do vets get sued? Do you carry malpractice insurance?
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Re: Ask a veterinarian.

Postby wellbutrin on Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:43 pm

154,

Unfortunately, it's a pretty good idea to have them on HW preventative year round. It's mainly because the incubation period from mosquito bite to full blown adult worms in the heart is about 6 months. So if one of your pups gets bitten on the last day of mosquito season you might not get any clinical signs until winter is almost over. The reason Revolution is so expensive is because it's not only a heartworm preventative but also an ectoparasiticide so it gets fleas/ticks/mites etc, not to mention it's a name-brand. Don't get me wrong, it's a great product but I usually recommend it for cats because for dogs it is often cost prohibitive. To cut costs in the winter you could grab some generic heartworm pills (ie Tri-Heart). It'll be a ton cheaper and as long as you aren't traveling to warmer climates in the winter it's not a huge deal to not have a flea/tick preventative in an area with a real winter. Be sure to get them on a topical parasiticide as soon as it starts to warm up again though!

Hope this helps.
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Re: Ask a veterinarian.

Postby wellbutrin on Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:49 pm

.
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Re: Ask a veterinarian.

Postby Marsupialized on Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:53 pm

Our cat is also itchy. Old fat cat, 13 years old. Chartreux. Around her eyes and forehead. Shes scratch the fur away. No sign of mites or fleas or anything. They are indoor cats, both. She'll itch all the fur away then appears what will look like a pimple in the spot, maybe. Red bump. Took it to the expensive vet, they did not know what it was and gave us expensive ointment that did nothing. Still itching, have changed foods, shampooed her with all sorts of shampoos, sprayed all sorts of sprays and still itching.
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Re: Ask a veterinarian.

Postby John W. on Wed Sep 28, 2011 2:01 pm

Hey there - thanks for starting this thread!

We have a 4-year-old female miniature Dachshund (named Fig). She jumps up and down a lot, jumps on and off the couch, ottoman, bed all the time. We do an okay job of keeping her weight down, but will all this jumping fuck up her spine when she's an old girl?
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Re: Ask a veterinarian.

Postby wellbutrin on Wed Sep 28, 2011 2:04 pm

Tommy wrote:Our two cats are itchy. They tend to scratch until they bleed and/or fur is gone. For the female it's her ears. For the male it's his cheek/chin. No signs of mites. They were litter mates if that matters. Diet doesn't seem to affect it and the majority of their life they've been on a grain-free diet. Right now they are on a rabbit/pea formula for their protein.

Do you think it's humidity related, i.e. too dry in our apartment? Why is it local to their heads?

Female is also reverse sneezy. We give her an antihistamine when she gets bad.


Without seeing or knowing anything about them, this sounds like mites or fleas. How old are they? How long has it been going on? Have they been seen for this yet or had any tests run? You can't actually diagnose mites without a skin scrape, they are invisible to the naked eye. If it was just the male I would say possibly feline acne but if they are both equally itchy it is most likely infectious. It's highly doubtful the humidity is causing this problem. They both could have allergies to food, the environment or even each other but it's less likely than fleas or mites considering. You can check for fleas by looking at the affected areas or at the base of the tail for little brown/black/red specks of blood which are "flea dirt" or basically flea poop that is digested blood. Of course, you can also see the fleas themselves they are about the 1/4 to 1/2 the size of a grain of rice. These things are often localized to one part of the body for reasons mostly unknown, but it could be because it's one of the easiest areas to scratch or that the skin is just more sensitive. As far as the reverse sneezing, it is much rarer in cats than dogs. It is usually idiopathic (no known specific cause) and not treated.
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Re: Ask a veterinarian.

Postby wellbutrin on Wed Sep 28, 2011 2:05 pm

dabrasha wrote:Do vets get sued? Do you carry malpractice insurance?


Yes vets do get sued, and yes we have malpractice insurance.
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Re: Ask a veterinarian.

Postby Bonham lives! on Wed Sep 28, 2011 2:08 pm

i sue veterinarians for a living. exclusively. carry on!
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Re: Ask a veterinarian.

Postby wellbutrin on Wed Sep 28, 2011 2:20 pm

Marsupialized wrote:Our cat is also itchy. Old fat cat, 13 years old. Chartreux. Around her eyes and forehead. Shes scratch the fur away. No sign of mites or fleas or anything. They are indoor cats, both. She'll itch all the fur away then appears what will look like a pimple in the spot, maybe. Red bump. Took it to the expensive vet, they did not know what it was and gave us expensive ointment that did nothing. Still itching, have changed foods, shampooed her with all sorts of shampoos, sprayed all sorts of sprays and still itching.


If it's just Chartreux and not your other cat at all, it's unlikely to be a parasite, so I would focus my work-up on allergies. In this arena, if it's not fleas it has to be either food or an environmental pathogen (dust etc.) Food allergy often manifests itself with diarrhea or paw itching as well. Assuming this is environmental or feline acne, topical treatment is certainly part of the protocol but there are also medications such as Depo-medrol injections that I often use to control these types of problems. It's basically a single steroid injection that can control allergic symptoms for anywhere from a 1-6 weeks. I have seen it work wonders. There is also the possibility that you are dealing with psychogenic alopecia, which is a diagnosis of exclusion (everything else ruled out) and is treated with behavior modifying drugs (it amitriptyline, clomipramine) to good effect. Shampoos and sprays are often good supplemental support but rarely are a cure by themselves.

Bottom line: itchy cats are an expensive pain in the ass to treat.
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Re: Ask a veterinarian.

Postby Model Citizen on Wed Sep 28, 2011 2:24 pm

Thanks for starting this thread, I'll be sure to keep it bookmarked next time my accident prone staffy does something else to injure himself.
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Re: Ask a veterinarian.

Postby wellbutrin on Wed Sep 28, 2011 2:27 pm

John W. wrote:Hey there - thanks for starting this thread!

We have a 4-year-old female miniature Dachshund (named Fig). She jumps up and down a lot, jumps on and off the couch, ottoman, bed all the time. We do an okay job of keeping her weight down, but will all this jumping fuck up her spine when she's an old girl?


While Dachshunds are the most common breed to get intervertebral disk disease (IVDD), it's not productive to try and prevent it by keeping activity down. Obviously, don't be dropping her from waist height or putting her on the top of the fridge and letting her find her own way down but any NORMAL activity she does is fine in my opinion. Very often when these dogs present, the owner has NO clue what set it off because they weren't playing rough or running around at all. Weight control is an excellent idea in these guys so kudos for that. If she ever does become ataxic (drunken walking) or goes down in the hind limbs bring her in IMMEDIATELY because prognosis is very correlated with how fast these dogs get surgery after their disk goes.
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Re: Ask a veterinarian.

Postby Tommy on Wed Sep 28, 2011 2:59 pm

Thanks for the input.

wellbutrin wrote:Without seeing or knowing anything about them, this sounds like mites or fleas. How old are they?


They are 2 years old. Inside cats. American shorthairs, possibly Bombay (as they are black with odd voices and dog like mannerisms). The male has had some acne on his chin before, but the scratching seems to happen at what I'd call the jaw/neck area.

wellbutrin wrote:How long has it been going on?


About a year off and on.

wellbutrin wrote:Have they been seen for this yet or had any tests run?


Yep, inconclusive. No expensive tests have been run.

wellbutrin wrote:You can check for fleas by looking at the affected areas or at the base of the tail for little brown/black/red specks of blood which are "flea dirt"


No flea dirt. In addition, her ears are also clean inside and out.
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Re: Ask a veterinarian.

Postby John W. on Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:09 pm

wellbutrin wrote:If she ever does become ataxic (drunken walking) or goes down in the hind limbs bring her in IMMEDIATELY because prognosis is very correlated with how fast these dogs get surgery after their disk goes.


You're the best! Thank you!!
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Re: Ask a veterinarian.

Postby El Protoolio on Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:17 pm

Great thread. What an excellent way to contribute to this community, a community that includes many, many pet owners.
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Re: Ask a veterinarian.

Postby wellbutrin on Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:11 pm

Tommy,

If they have had their skin scraped and it was negative, I would probably treat them with Revolution anyway (skin scrapes are not the end-all be-all of sensitive tests), try an allergy medication or two and possibly even a skin biopsy. If all of this yielded no answers I would start thinking about a psychological cause. Though unlikely in two cats, I've seen weirder things.
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Re: Ask a veterinarian.

Postby Boombats on Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:19 pm

Why did my fucking dog have to get cancer and die :(
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Re: Ask a veterinarian.

Postby fedaykin13 on Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:44 pm

El Protoolio wrote:Great thread. What an excellent way to contribute to this community, a community that includes many, many pet owners.



Well said.

Minor thing.
My do has this spot on about her elbow of her front leg where fur doesn't grow
it doesn't seem to bother her when i touch it, pinch it or squeeze it.

She's had it since i got her (about 4-5 months ago) She is 2.5-3 years old, they weren't sure (she is a rescue)

It doesn't appear that she scratches at it or created it herself.

Someone suggested it may just be the way has been laying down for years.

Any thoughts?

What a wonderful contribution man.
Thanks
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