Friday, April 25, 2008

dog health compendium

With all our training and testing over the last few months, I have been picking ticks off the boys like crazy... big ones, little ones, red ones, blue ones... (sorry, got Seussed for a second). And so in looking for any good resources about ticks, Lyme, and general canine health, here are a few things I've found recently.

This picture is from our recent hunt test weekend. I am really impressed with my Nikon D40x's 'Sports' program setting. Anything that can keep up with a vizsla at speed is pretty darn impressive. (Thanks, Dan, for the recommendation.)

1) Janeen + Mark at SmartDogs have a few suggestions for how to best monitor your dog's health and how to do a good basic physical exam.

2) Kim at ForestKing has put up a couple of posts on dealing with Kyler's recurrent groin injury and Cedar's funky cancerous toe (which is hopefully now all taken care of).

3) For those of you trying to help a nervous dog deal with its anxieties around loud noises, I'd also suggest checking out Pesto's Rehabilitation Blog.

4) Patty Khuly at DoLittler has a few home remedies to absolutely avoid and some thoughts on heartworm prevention.

5) Dan + Margaret's devious puppy, Sandia, had a run in with a box of raisins -- and here are some thoughts on dealing with toxicity.

6) Pat the Terrierman has just started recycling a few seasonally appropriate posts including a primer on the American Dog Tick, and arguably what the best form of Lyme disease prevention would be if we were willing. However, his most recent post is a response to someone disagreeing with him -- and summarizes most of his previous posts while still linking to them. In short, it might just be better to monitor your dogs' health and invest in some doxycycline.


Kim said...

In regards to the Lyme stuff. I do personally agree with testing a symptomatic dog for Lyme. I don't believe in using antibiotics randomly, as this creates resitance, and we all know that is becoming a big problem. I have seen several dogs in kidney failure due to Lyme disease, that if caught earlier, probably could have been saved. (lyme related kidney failure is horrible, they usually don't survive)
I do not believe in vaccinating for Lyme. My dogs are not vaccinated for it, and I live in a endemic area. My dogs are Lyme negative...I rarely use Frontline. Vizslas are great for finding ticks on, they usually stick out!

Andrew Campbell said...

Kim: thanks for your edumacated response: a question though: is, as Pat suggests, a 3-day regimen of doxycycline for a symptomatic Lyme dog (to verify the acquisition of Lyme) really going to build up resistance?

Put another way, if Lyme tests are so unreliable (and so dogs that aren't infected with Lyme being diagnosed with Lyme), surely their 5-wk treatment with doxycycline for a disease they may not have is more likely to build antibiotic resistance?

Incidentally, we use Advantix -- it just seems to stick around longer and does seem to repel ticks. I am less worried about Lyme, but more worried about the other blood-borne diseases like erlichiosis and anaplasmosis.


Makin & Tessa (Lael and Neil) said...

Thanks for these great posts and links. I missed Pat's lyme posts but found it informative. Tessa has been tested and at one point had a high count which we treated with doxy. We followed with another test where counts were down so apparently the doxy did its job. Makin, over a year ago, was diagnosed with Rocky Mountain Spotted fever and was treated as well. She appeared to be getting stiff which is why we followed up. I myself have also had a bout with lyme and was on doxy for 8 weeks to kick it. I had actually felt lethargic and did not have the typical "bulls eye" but a different type of rash. Was it lyme, who knows!

We worry a lot about ticks and blood borne disease. Yes we do the testing and use Advantix but through a lot of reading and thoughts of others things can get rather confusing. As with all medically realted concerns it is best to do your research and be as educated as possible. I know we struggle with it and I can only imagine how overwhelming it can be for someone who does not do so.

Again thanks for the information. It is great to get more perspectives and thoughts.

In response to one of your posts we will be going to the VCCNE fun day. It is always a great time and we enjoy seeing all of the V's and their people. Its always nice to see Wendy and Chris as well. Hopefully we will see you there!

Kim said...

I have never heard that Lyme tests were not accurate. The typical snap test done in the office is actually pretty accurate. The sensitivity and specificity range from 96-100%, depending on which disease you are looking at. Check out (
for more details)
What people need to know is that a positive doesn't always mean an active infection, just exposure to Lyme. There is now a test out there called the C6 used to determine the level of Lyme in the dogs body. If it is high, then treatment is necessary, with or without symptoms. If it is low, then no treatment is necessary.
I don't use Advantix myself, as it makes dogs very itchy and I have seen it cause seizures in one patient. With V's and their seizure history, too risky for me. Plus I hate to put nasty chemicals on them unless I have to. (which is why I use Frontline occasionally) I do, however, have many friends that use it with no issues...
Lyme is avery controversial topic in the veterinary field. You can talk to 12 different people and get 12 different responses...
Gotcha thinkin' huh?

Rocket said...

.... as always you have great posts of interest! Thanks for the links. Sometimes I don't have time to read right away so I just favorite them for a lazy evening of scrolling through.

We use Advantix on Rocket and it doesn't seem to bother him at all. We used Frontline last year and the ticks seemed to still stick to him. I've also been reading that a Burt's Bees natural insect repellent with natural oils works great for mosquitos. Haven't found a place that carries it yet but when I try it I'll write up a post.

Thanks for all the great linkage and insite.

Shawn K. Wayment, DVM said...

Andrew...I found BDD from a photo of yours with the hat...I had to have one of those hats. So, I joined up! I love your blog, and I visit it often to keep up! I'll work on mine some more! Keep up the great work!


Andrew Campbell said...


I'm sure folks would appreciate any insights you have as a DVM into Lyme prevention and treatment. But you probably don't get those damn ticks up in the high country!

Now that's funny -- trying to get in on BDD because of my hat! (For the uninitiated, BDD is Bird Dogs & Doubles which is a private bulletin board dedicated to... you get it!)

Thanks to everyone else, too, volunteering their thoughts and experience.


Dan & Margaret said...

tiny point: I recommended the D40. The "X" was your idea. We'll be ordering our D300 this week.

Burts Bees products are carried in many health food stores, and of course Whole Payche...uh, Foods.

When I use a flea and tick preventative at all, I will only use Frontline. If German humans use it on themselves for head lice, then it's good enough for my dogs. ;-) A Vet-friend, and deerhound breeder once told me she considered frontline and propofal to be the greatest inventions in veterinary medicine.

Andrew Campbell said...

Dan: oh you're right, of course. But I already made the public admission that I was probably dumb for buying more megapixels. And while I definitely haven't figured out most of what it can do, the 'Sports' setting is pretty darn impressive.

A D300: life must be good.

As for Frontline, two observations:
a) I just don't think that Germans have tried Advantix yet;
b) Germans love David Hasselhof.

I rest my case.


Dan & Margaret said...

"I just don't think that Germans have tried Advantix yet;
b) Germans love David Hasselhof."

Ahem. Vas is mein name?