fbpx

Vet Talk – Free Vet Advice

Welcome to Twin Trees Vet Talk!

Have a quick question? Want to run something by us? Or just need our two cents? This is your chance!

Enter your questions below, and each week we will select a handful of questions to answer. Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for the latest uploads!

Q: My dog is acting drunk.

In this video we discuss what to do if your dog is experiencing neurologic signs, such as loss of balance, wobbliness and acting drunk. There is a long list of many different diseases and medical problems that can cause these types of neurologic signs. The most common reason we see young, otherwise healthy pets being brought into the emergency room for these symptoms is intoxications. Where we live, the most common intoxication is recreational drug intoxication. The most common recreational drug dogs test positive for is marijuana/THC, but we do see urine drug tests positive for other drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, amphetamine, opioids/fentanyl and MDMA). However, there are many different toxins that can cause neurologic signs, including antifreeze/engine coolant (a deadly toxin that requires immediate intervention), certain essential oils (even a small amount of tea tree oil applied to the skin of a dog or cat can be lethal), rodent/insect poisons, and medications. There are also many other medical problems that can cause neurologic signs (including meningitis, strokes, brain tumors, and problems with other organ systems like the heart). It is always best to see your vet (or an emergency vet clinic) right away if you are noticing neurologic signs. Sometimes, referral to a neurology specialist may be needed. Remember to keep all drugs, poisons, toxins and medications out of reach of pets and children.

Helpful Resources:
-ASPCA Animal Poison Control: Hotline: (888) 426-4435 https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control

-Dogs on Drugs (From Marijuana to Cocaine): https://twintreesvet.com/2016/11/06/dogs-on-drugs/

-Antifreeze Poisoning- The Green Puddle Beneath Your Car https://twintreesvet.com/2016/11/10/antifreeze-poisoning/

-OTC (Over-The-Counter) Medications: https://twintreesvet.com/2019/07/18/otc-over-the-counter-medications/

Q: My dog ate rat poison! What should I do?

In this video we discuss what to do if your pet ingests rat or mouse poison (rodenticide). We also discuss the environmental impact of rodenticide, and its harmful effects on wildlife. Finally, we include resources on who to call if your pet has been poisoned, how to induce vomiting at home in dogs using hydrogen peroxide, and the recommendations from the BCSPCA on humane rodent control (traps).

Further reading:

Q: What are your best tips for pet owners?

This is an excerpt from our Facebook Vet Talk Live on March 29, when someone asked: Do you have any tips for pet owners? Here are the 3 best pieces of advice from the emergency vet that could save your pet’s life:

1) DON’T WAIT TOO LONG TO GET HELP! If you wait too long, it could be too late. This is especially true for concerns such as laboured breathing, pale gums and weakness. You know your pet best, so if you are worried or concerned, “when in doubt, check it out!”

2) PREVENT THE PREVENTABLE. Learn as much as possible about dangers that face your pet, such as household poisons, seemingly harmless objects (such as toys, clothing, garbage and rocks), other animals, and vehicles. Pets are like toddlers and they need a responsible adult/babysitter to protect them from danger. Puppies and kittens need to start their vaccines at 8 WEEKS (and they need boosters too!) to protect them from deadly diseases.

3) BE PREPARED FOR THE WORST CASE SCENARIO. Have a plan in place, know your nearest emergency clinic, have the ASPCA phone number on speed dial. Know basic first aid training and CPR. But MOST IMPORTANTLY, BE FINANCIALLY PREPARED. The cost of medical treatment in an emergency, and the owners’ ability to pay for it, is probably the most important factor that determines whether a pet will receive the medical care it needs. The best way to protect yourself is to have good medical insurance for your pet. Do your research.

**REMEMBER**: WE ARE ALL ON THE SAME TEAM, with the best interest of the patient as everyone’s first priority. Let your vet do what he/she does best, and don’t try to grab the steering wheel and obstruct your vet from doing his/her job. We are all in the same car, we are all headed to the same place, but only one of us has the driver’s license (meaning, only the vet has the medical training and background to “drive the car”). Please remember to spay/ neuter your pet, and to donate to your local animal shelter- they really need your help!

Additional Resources:

-ASPCA Animal Poison Control: Hotline: (888) 426-4435 https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control

-PREVENTIVE HEALTH IN PUPPIES https://twintreesvet.com/2019/09/12/preventive-health-in-puppies/ -Meet “Oliver” https://snoopandlove.org/2019/11/06/meet-oliver/

-IS PET INSURANCE WORTH IT? https://twintreesvet.com/2015/12/11/pet-insurance-worth/

-MEDICAL INSURANCE SAVES LIVES: https://twintreesvet.com/2019/09/12/medical-insurance-saves-lives/

-THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE GETTING A PET: https://twintreesvet.com/2019/09/14/things-to-consid%e2%80%a6re-getting-a-pet/

Q: What is a ventilator for?

In this video we discuss how to make the difficult decision of when it is time to say goodbye to a pet. We discuss the process of euthanasia, and provide some simple tools that you can use to help make the process less confusing.

This is an excerpt from our Vet Talk Live on March 29, when someone asked: what are the blue things on the wall behind you? The blue bags are called ambu bags. We use them to breathe for patients that are not getting enough oxygen and cannot breathe sufficiently for themselves. Ambu bags are a type of hand-operated mechanical ventilator, and are temporary until we can get the patient to a larger, more sophisticated veterinary hospital where they have expensive ventilator machines and critical care specialists. Ventilator patients are in critical condition. It takes a tremendous amount of resources and a dedicated team to care for a ventilator patient. There are many reasons a patient could need mechanical ventilation, but the condition has to be so severe that the patient is at risk of dying due to inadequate respiration. Causes can include severe problems with the lungs (pneumonia, pulmonary edema, COPD), neurologic problems (intoxications, spinal cord injury, muscle paralysis), problems with the heart and cardiovascular system, post-arrest (CPR) and many more. Patients that need mechanical ventilation are usually in a life-or-death situation already. Many patients will not make it off the ventilator. We also tell a heroic story of a vet who saves a dog at the animal shelter using hand-operated mechanical ventilation. Please remember to spay/ neuter your pet, and to donate to your local animal shelter- they really need your help!

Q: I think my dog has laboured breathing.

In this video we discuss what to do if you think your pet is having laboured breathing, or breathing that is heavier or noisier than usual. Laboured breathing is considered an emergency, and could be life-threatening. It is best to have this concern evaluated immediately by a veterinarian. If you think your pet is experiencing laboured breathing, take your pet to the nearest emergency clinic. Call them on the way and let them know you are coming. Tell them what your concerns are and how much your pet weighs so that they can prepare for you. It is better to be on the safe side and have it checked out right away, than to wait until it is too late.

Q: Help! My dog ate a tampon!

In this video we discuss what to do if your dog ingests feminine hygeine products (like tampons) from the garbage. We discuss the risks these items pose to dogs, like intestinal obstruction that can require surgery. We discuss how to induce vomiting in dogs at home using hydrogen peroxide, and provide other tips to ensure that your pet receives medical care in a timely manner, before it is too late. We also discuss the environmental impact of disposable feminine, and the similar danger these products pose to wildlife.

Additional links:

Q: My dog has a rash.

In this video we discuss rashes. The golden rule is that you can never be 100% sure what a rash is based on its appearance. There are many different causes of a rash (some are less serious, some are more serious), and so your veterinarian may need to run some diagnostic tests to get a better understanding of what is causing the rash. Hives are a common rash that result from an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions can be mild or severe and life-threatening (anaphylactic shock), so it is best to see your vet right away. If you are in the woods or camping, the first line of treatment for an allergic reaction is to give regular Benadryl (Diphenhydramine HCl) at a dose of 1 mg per pound orally every 8 hours. Depression, vomiting, weakness, shaking, and laboured breathing are all signs of a more severe reaction (anaphylactic shock), which is an emergency. Another common rash is pyoderma (caused by bacterial infection of the skin). If you are far from a vet, you can gently cleanse the area 2-3 times per day using chlorhexidine gluconate (the 2% or 4% solution), which can be purchased at the pharmacy. If you have any concerns about your pet (vomiting, weakness, depression, poor appetite, discomfort, itchiness), it is best to see your veterinarian right away.

Q: My dog ate part of a tennis ball. What do I do?

In this video we discuss what to do if your dog ingests part of a tennis ball or other gastrointestinal foreign body (GIFB) (like rocks, corn cobs, peach pits, hair elastics, toys, socks, etc.). We discuss the risks these items pose to dogs, like intestinal obstruction that can require surgery. We discuss when a procedure to the remove the object (like endoscopy or surgery) might be needed. We discuss how to induce vomiting in dogs at home using hydrogen peroxide, and provide other tips to ensure that your pet receives medical care in a timely manner, before it is too late.

Q: Can I give my dog aspirin?

In this video we discuss the risks of giving over-the-counter pain medications like aspirin, ibrupofen and naproxen (aleve) to dogs and whether or not it is safe. We also provide other tips on how to keep your pet safe from poisonings and intoxications in the home.

Important Contacts:
Resources:

Q: My dog is 15 years old. How do I know when it’s time to say goodbye?

In this video we discuss how to make the difficult decision of when it is time to say goodbye to a pet. We discuss the process of euthanasia, and provide some simple tools that you can use to help make the process less confusing.

Pet Loss Resources:

Q: My cat has ascites. I have spent $2K on tests with no answer. Can I perform therapeutic abdominocentesis at home?

In this video we discuss what ascites is, and the list the many different underlying medical problems (like heart failure, cancer, and low protein levels) that can cause ascites. We discuss the  diagnostic tests that are needed to investigate the undelrying cause, and what therapeutic abdominocentesis involves. We also discuss what to do if you notice that your pet has a distended abdomen (this could be an emergency), and provide other tips to ensure that your pet receives medical care in a timely manner, before it is too late.

Q: My dog is having puppies. I think they are stuck. She has been crying all night. What should I do?

In this video we discuss what to do if your pregnant pet is experiencing complications like pain or bleeding during labour and delivery. We also discuss what it means to be a responsible pet breeder, and some important things to keep in mind before breeding pets. We also discuss the responsibilities and medical costs required of pet ownership, and recommend that pet owners become informed of and prepared for these obligations prior to getting a pet.

Resources:

Pet Statistics (ASPCA):

Canadian Animal Shelter Statistics (Humane Canada):

Pet Medical Insurance Saves Lives

Where to find a purebred or mixed breed rescue pet:

CVMA Position Statement on Responsible Pet Breeding:

  • https://www.canadianveterinarians.net/documents/dog-breeding

AVMA Passes Policy on Responsible Pet Breeding:

A Code of Practice for Canadian Kennel Operations https://www.canadianveterinarians.net/documents/Code-of-Practice-for-Canadian-Kennel-Operations

AKC Guide to Responsible Pet Breeding

Guidelines for Responsible Pet Ownership https://www.avma.org/policies/guidelines-responsible-pet-ownership RESPONSIBILITIES OF OWNERSHIP https://www.canadianveterinarians.net/responsibilities-of-ownership

PREVENTIVE HEALTH IN PUPPIES

Meet “Oliver” 

Q: My dog ate a bowl of grapes. What should I do?

In this video we discuss grape and raisin toxicity, and what to do if your pet ingests grapes, raisins or raisin bread. We discuss how to induce vomiting in dogs at home using hydrogen peroxide, and provide other tips to ensure that your pet receives medical care in a timely manner, before it is too late.

Important Contacts:
  • ASPCA Animal Poison Control: Hotline: (888) 426-4435
Additional link:

Q: My dog has a lump. I am worried it is cancer. What should I do?

In this video we discuss what to do if you notice your dog or cat has a lump. We discuss that there are many different causes of lumps (from insect bites and cysts to cancer), and we explain that it is important to obtain a biopsy of the lump (like an FNA or fine needle aspirate) to understand what it is. We talk about what cancer is, and how it can spread (or metastasize) to other parts of the body if too much time elapses before it is diagnosed. We also provide other tips to ensure that your pet receives medical care in a timely manner, before it is too late.

Q: My cat has a broken tooth but anesthesia scares me. What should I do?

In this video we discuss the various factors to consider when an older pet is facing dental surgery. We discuss the risks of general anesthesia in geriatric pets, and how to minimize these risks by ensuring that your pet is otherwise healthy and a good anesthetic candidate. We also discuss the responsibilities and medical costs required of pet ownership, and recommend that this pet owners become informed of and prepared for these obligations prior to getting a pet.

Q: My vet says my dog needs surgery on her leg. I am not convinced that is the problem. What do I do?

In this video we discuss what to do if you don’t agree with what your vet says, when to get a second opinion, and when you should get a referral to a specialist. We discuss how important it is to be your pet’s advocate.

Additional link:

Q: We put some flea medication on our cat and we think it is making her sick. What do I do?

In this video we discuss topical flea medication toxicity, and the importance of following the label instructions on medications. We also discuss some other toxins in the home (like tea tree oil) and how to learn about other household dangers and toxins.

Important Contact:
Additional link:

Q: Why are vets greedy?

In this video we discuss the ethical topic of greed in the veterinary profession, as well as other issues, including pet owners not being informed about the cost of medical care, and the value of having good medical insurance.

Resources:
  • Ted Talk: Philip Zimbardo “The Psychology of Evil” on Youtube
  • Pet Medical Insurance Saves Lives
  • CVMA: Understanding Veterinary Fees in Canada: https://www.canadianveterinarians.net/news-events/news/veterinary-fees-canada
  • AVMA Policy on Pet Medical Insurance: https://www.avma.org/KB/Policies/Pages/Pet-Health-Insurance.aspx
  • Ted Talk: Philip Zimbardo “The Psychology of Evil” on Youtube
  • Pet Medical Insurance Saves Lives https://twintreesvet.com/2019/09/12/medical-insurance-saves-lives/
  • TWO TIPS FROM THE EMERGENCY VET THAT COULD SAVE YOUR PET’S LIFE https://twintreesvet.com/2018/04/03/two-tips-from-the-emergency-vet-that-could-save-your-pets-life/
  • IS PET INSURANCE WORTH IT? https://twintreesvet.com/2015/12/11/pet-insurance-worth/
  • CVMA: Understanding Veterinary Fees in Canada:  https://www.canadianveterinarians.net/news-events/news/veterinary-fees-canada
  • AVMA Policy on Pet Medical Insurance: https://www.avma.org/KB/Policies/Pages/Pet-Health-Insurance.aspx
  • Pet costs – why do vets charge so much? https://www.telegraph.co.uk/pets/news-features/pet-costs-do-vets-charge-much/
  • Understanding Veterinary Fees & Health Insurance. https://www.albertaanimalhealthsource.ca/content/understanding-veterinary-fees-health-insurance
  • The burden your veterinarian is carrying, https://www.cnn.com/2017/08/22/opinions/vet-debt-opinion-stokol/index.html
  • Two Tips From The Emergency Vet That Could Save Your Pet’s Life: Are you prepared for a pet emergency? Most Americans are not. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/14/are-you-prepared-for-a-pet-emergency-most-americans-are-not.html
  • How do you measure burnout among veterinarians? https://criticalcarevet.ca/measure-burnout-among-veterinarians/
  • Make Veterinarians Great Again (MVGA) https://criticalcarevet.ca/make-veterinarians-great-mvga/
  • Burnout and health promotion in veterinary medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3711171/
  • IS LOVING ANIMALS ENOUGH TO BE A VETERINARIAN? https://iwanttobeaveterinarian.org/is-loving-animals-enough-to-be-a-veterinarian/
  • HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO ATTEND VETERINARY SCHOOL? https://iwanttobeaveterinarian.org/how-much-does-it-cost-to-attend-veterinary-school/
  • 8 Things You Should Know Before Becoming a Veterinarian https://www.sgu.edu/blog/veterinary/things-to-know-before-becoming-a-veterinarian/
  • Veterinarians Face Unique Issues That Make Suicide One of the Profession’s Big Worries https://time.com/5670965/veterinarian-suicide-help/
  • Veterinarians Face Disproportionately High Suicide Rates, Study Says. https://time.com/5485552/veterinarians-suicide/
  • Workplace stress, mental health, and burnout of veterinarians in Australia. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22008127
  • Suicidal behaviour and psychosocial problems in veterinary surgeons: a systematic review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21181111

Please note that selected questions will be posted on our youtube channel so we can share the information with other pet owners who might have the same question.

This is a non-emergency vet consultation service that is free to the public although donations are welcome. All donations go to the Snoop and Love Community Foundation, which supports initiatives that help animals in our community.

This mailbox is only checked about once /week, so if you have an urgent medical concern or emergency please contact your nearest vet clinic.