Dogs with Bad Breath – Is it Normal?

Halitosis in Dogs

Halitosis is the medical term used to describe an offensive odor that comes from the mouth, producing bad breath. A number of causes may be responsible for this condition, notably periodontal disease, a disease resulting from bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria is also associated with plaque and cavities.

Small animal breeds and brachycephalic breeds (characterized by their short-nosed, flat-faced features; e.g., the Pug, Boston Terrier, Pekingese) are the most prone to periodontal and other mouth diseases, in large part because their teeth are close together.

Symptoms and Types

In most cases, there are no other symptoms aside from a bad odor emanating from the mouth. If the cause of the odor is a disease of the mouth, other symptoms may become apparent, including pawing at the mouth, inability to eat (anorexia), loose teeth, and excessive drooling, which may or may not have traces of blood.


A variety of conditions may lead to halitosis, including metabolic disorders such as diabetes mellitus (commonly known as sugar diabetes); respiratory problems such as inflammation of the nose or nasal passages (rhinitis); inflammation of the sinuses (sinusitis); and gastrointestinal problems, such as enlargement of the esophageal tube, the main channel that leads from the throat to the stomach.

Other possible causes of halitosis might be traced to a trauma, like that of an electric cord injury. Viral, bacterial or fungal infections can cause foul odors to emit from within the body, and dietary problems can play a role in the emission of odor as well. For example, if your dog has been eating offensive foods, or is exhibiting a behavior called coprophagia, where it is eating feces, your dog will have correlating foul breath.

Further possibilities are pharyngitis, an inflammation of the throat or pharynx, and tonsillitis, an inflammation of the tonsils. The presence of cancer, or the presence of foreign bodies may also result in disease of the mouth and accompanying bad breath. But, the most notable cause of halitosis is a disease of the mouth such as periodontal disease, which is due to plaque bacteria buildup.


Diagnostic procedures to evaluate periodontal disease as the most likely cause of halitosis include X-rays of the inside of the mouth, and an examination of the mouth for characteristics such as tooth mobility and sulfide concentrations.


Once the specific cause of halitosis is known, various therapies may be used to address the problem. In some cases, multiple causes may be to blame. For example, your dog may have periodontal disease along with having a foreign object present in the mouth. Treatment for the condition is dependent upon the cause(s).

If periodontal disease is to blame, treatment will include cleaning and polishing the teeth, or extraction of teeth that have greater than 50 percent loss of the supporting bone and gum tissues around them. Some medications may help to reduce odor, and help to control the bacteria that infect the gums and other oral tissues, causing bad breath.

Living and Management

You will need to continue to remain observant of your dog’s symptoms. It is important to consistently provide proper professional dental care to your dog, as well as to supplement this with at home tooth care. Daily tooth brushing can help prevent the plaque buildup that leads to related halitosis. You will also need to prevent your dog from eating bad-smelling foods, such as garbage. Cleaning the yard frequently will also avoid incidences of coprophagia.

From Petmd

Why is Your Cat Vomiting?

Sudden Onset of Vomiting in Cats

Cats will commonly vomit from time to time, often because they might have eaten something that upset their stomachs, or simply because they have sensitive digestive systems. However, the condition becomes acute when the vomiting does not stop and when there is nothing left in the cat’s stomach to throw up except bile. It is important you take your pet to a veterinarian in these cases.

While vomiting may have a simple, straightforward cause, it may be an indicator of something far more serious. It is also problematic because it can have a wide range of causes, and determining the correct one may be complicated.

Symptoms of Sudden and Severe Vomiting

Some of the more common symptoms include:

  • Weakness
  • Non-stop vomiting
  • Pain and distress
  • Bright blood in the stool or vomit (hematemesis)
  • Evidence of dark blood in the vomit or stool (melena)

Causes of Sudden and Severe Vomiting

Some possible risk factors include:

  • Tumors
  • Heat stroke
  • Liver disease
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Changes in the diet
  • Dietary indiscretion
  • Gobbling food/eating too fast
  • Allergic reaction to a particular food
  • Food intolerance (beware of feeding an animal “people” food)
  • Adrenal gland disease
  • Dislocation of the stomach
  • Intestinal parasites (worms)
  • Obstruction in the esophagus
  • Metabolic disorders such as kidney disease

Diagnosis of Sudden and Severe Vomiting

If possible take a sample of your cat’s vomit to the veterinarian. The veterinarian will then take the cat’s temperature and examine its abdomen. If it turns out to be no more than a passing incident, the veterinarian may ask you to limit the cat’s diet to clear fluids and to collect stool samples over that period, as the underlying cause may be passed along in the stool. Occasionally, the cat’s body may use vomiting to clear the intestines of toxins. If the vomit contains excessive amounts of mucus, an inflamed intestine may be the cause. Undigested food in the vomit can be due to food poisoning, anxiety, or simply overeating. Bile, on the other hand, indicates an inflammatory bowel disease or pancreatitis.

If bright red blood is found in the vomit, the stomach could be ulcerated. However, if the blood is brown and looks like coffee grounds, the problem may be in the intestine. Strong digestive odors, meanwhile, are usually observed when there is an intestinal obstruction. If the obstruction is suspected in the cat’s esophagus, the veterinarian will conduct an oral exam. Enlarged tonsils are a good indicator of such an obstruction.

Treatment for Sudden and Severe Vomiting

  Treatment is dependent on the underlying cause of the vomiting; some of the veterinarian’s possible suggestions include:

  • Dietary changes
  • Medication to control the vomiting (e.g., cimetidine, anti-emetic)
  • Antibiotics, in the case of bacterial ulcers
  • Corticosteroids to treat inflammatory bowel disease
  • Surgery, in the case of tumor-caused vomiting
  • Special medications for treating chemotherapy induced vomiting

Always follow the recommended treatment plan from your veterinarian. Do not experiment with medications or food. Pay close attention to your cat and if it does not improve, return to your veterinarian for a follow-up evaluation.

From Pet MD

Transitioning your cat to a new food: How to do it right!

There are lots of reasons you may desire or even need to change your cat’s food. Your cat may have developed a medical problem for which a special diet is recommended. You may not be able to obtain the food your cat has been eating any longer. Or you may simply want to change your cat to a higher quality food.

Whatever the reason for the change, transitioning a cat to a new food must be done carefully. If your cat is not particularly finicky and will eat anything, you should consider yourself lucky. If that’s the case, the transition will be relatively simple.

Importance of Gradually Changing Your Cat’s Food

If possible, your cat should be transitioned slowly from one food to another. Sudden changes in your cat’s diet can cause gastrointestinal upset and may result in diarrhea, vomiting, and even a reduced appetite for your cat.

Ideally, you should plan on taking at least a week to transition your cat from one food to another. If your cat is not finicky, start by adding a small amount of the new food in with old food. Gradually increase the amount of the new food and decrease the old food by a similar amount each day. Be sure your cat is eating the food. If the transition goes smoothly, you should be feeding only the new food at the end of a week.

Never try to starve your cat into eating a new diet. Cats that do not eat regularly can develop hepatic lipidosis, a health condition that can become life-threatening. If your cat goes longer than 24 hours without ingesting any food, you should be concerned. Cats that are eating an insufficient amount of food may take longer to become ill but can still develop hepatic lipidosis within a few days.

If your cat is finicky and refuses to accept the new food, you’ll need to start by feeding scheduled meals rather than feeding your cat free-choice. You should plan on feeding your cat a meal two to three times daily and removing any uneaten food after 20-30 minutes. Start this process while still feeding the old diet.

Once your cat is eating meals on a schedule, try mixing a small quantity of the new food in with old. Do not offer your cat more in one meal than he would normally eat in the 20-30 minutes during which the food is offered. Hopefully, your cat will be hungry enough to accept the new mixture. If successful, continue to increase the quantity of new food while simultaneously decreasing the quantity of the old food each day.

Go slow with the transition. This process may take much longer than a week, depending on your individual cat. If you go too fast (i.e., giving more new food and less old food), your cat may refuse the new mixture. If you need to feed the same mixture of foods without change for several consecutive days before increasing the quantity of the new food, do so.

Transitioning from Dry to Wet Cat Food

Transitioning a cat from a dry food to a wet food can be especially problematic. The taste and texture of the two types of food are quite different and many cats will find their new food quite strange. There are some tricks you can try to make the transition easier and the food more palatable. Try sprinkling the kibbles on top of the wet food until your cat is used to the smell of the wet food underneath. Then you can try mixing the dry food into the wet food. You can also try grinding some of the dry food into a powder and mixing it into the wet food to add flavor and make the food more palatable.

For cats that need to be transitioned from dry food to wet food quickly due to medical issues, adding a small quantity of Fortiflora, a probiotic, to the wet food can help improve the palatability. Warming the wet food to near body temperature can also help improve the palatability.

Watch your cat’s weight carefully during any food transition. If your cat loses weight or refuses to eat during the transition, consult your veterinarian for advice.

From PetMD

Just in time for fireworks – new Calm Coats!

If you read our blog, you know that fireworks are no friend of your dog! (see this great article about stress and fireworks).  Dog anxiety is a surprisingly common problem and includes issues like fear of thunder, fireworks, separation, travel, crating, problem barking and much more. Millions of dogs in the United States suffer from anxiety severe enough that their owners are seeking help. Similar to swaddling a newborn baby, gently wrapping a dog in a Calm Coat has a peaceful effect that is beneficial for both you and your dog. The AKC’s patent pending design gently hugs your dog, much like hugging a child.

And we’ve just gotten the Calm Coat at our stores.  It’s so easy to use and snugs your dog in a gentle, reassuring grip.  Come in before the Fourth (we’re closed that day!) and ask a Barkery associate about it!

Natural Feline Dental Care

Brushing and a supportive, natural diet play huge roles in keeping your cat’s teeth and gums healthy.

Typically, without daily brushing, bacteria begin to grow on the teeth, usually near the gums. This turns into plaque, which begins to harden into brownish tartar (or calculus). Carbohydrates offer the bacteria that normally live in the mouth a ready food supply, causing them to increase more quickly.

“If a cat’s mouth doesn’t smell like roses, there’s a reason,” says Jan Bellows, DVM, American Veterinary Dental College diplomate, of All Pets Dental Clinic in Weston, Fla., a board-certified veterinary dentist since 1988. “Bad breath is caused by bacteria that collects under the gum line because cats can’t brush their own teeth. Plus, the semi-soft diet that many cats eat also collects under the gums.”

Plaque and tartar throw off the balance of healthy bacteria in the mouth and inflame the gums, leading to tissue erosion and tooth decay. All this diseased matter circulates throughout the cat’s system and causes other health problems, especially in the kidneys, liver, heart, brain and joints.

Signs of serious tooth trouble include bad breath, pawing at the mouth, swollen, red or bleeding gums, and broken, loose or brown-stained teeth.

To prevent this, Bellows advises brushing daily using toothpaste formulated for pets. Many dental products also are available, including chews, wipes, drops and mouthwashes. The most effective are those that cause friction or abrasion on the teeth and have proven anti-plaque ingredients.

“Dental wipes are excellent,” Bellows says. “Mouthwashes and water additives might help reduce plaque, but dental wipes work better because you’re actually rubbing the teeth.”

For a flossing effect, some holistic proponents advocate feeding soft, raw bones (chicken necks) or rare, tough chunks of meat (stew beef) twice weekly. However, raw or rare meat might contain dangerous pathogens, such as E. coli or salmonella, and some bones, particularly cooked ones, could splinter, causing intestinal damage. Use care when purchasing and feeding raw meat and bones. Safe alternatives include natural dental chews and fibrous treats.

Choose Natural Chews
Even though rawhides are generally sold for dogs, some cats chew on small rawhide chips, which provide a scrubbing action on their teeth. Gnawing an effective dental chew regularly can improve your cat’s tooth and gum health. Natural chews should include high-quality (preferably human-grade) ingredients with no sugar, salt, chemicals or artificial colors, flavorings or preservatives. Also watch for extra fat or calories meant to add palatability — even in some rawhides.

Look for treats with abrasive or fibrous textures to scrape teeth and, ideally, ingredients to prevent plaque and tartar build-up. However, they aren’t always natural, so if natural is what you want, you’ll need to investigate ingredients.

You can always ask a Barkery staff member for assistance!

Source: Cat Channel

Take Heatstroke Seriously this Summer

This Single Seasonal Indiscretion Can Mean Death in Minutes for Your Pet

By Dr. Becker from Mercola 

Just as temperatures will climb over the next few months, so will the risk of overheating in pets. And inevitably, far too many precious dogs and even a few cats will succumb to heatstroke this summer. Most cases of pets dying from heat exposure are not reported, but estimates are that several hundred dogs suffer this slow, agonizing fate every year.

A pet’s death from heatstroke is an entirely preventable event – a fact that often creates unbearable grief and guilt in guardians who’ve lost a beloved companion in this manner. But the good news is that by following a few simple guidelines for caring for your furry charge during hot weather, you can keep your pet safe and in good health all summer long.

Learn to Recognize the Symptoms of Overheating

Heatstroke is caused by a dangerous elevation in an animal’s body temperature. While it most often occurs in dogs left in cars during the summer months, it can also happen in late spring and the first weeks of summer if a pet is exposed to high temperatures before he or she has acclimated to the heat.

On an 85°F day it takes only 10 minutes for the interior of a parked car to climb to 102°F. In a half hour, it can reach 120°F. And leaving windows partially open doesn’t drop the temperature inside the vehicle.

Symptoms of overheating include:

Heavy panting or rapid breathing Elevated body temperature
Excessive thirst Weakness and collapse
Glazed eyes Increased pulse and heartbeat
Vomiting, bloody diarrhea Seizures
Bright or dark red tongue and gums Excessive drooling
Staggering, stumbling Unconsciousness

In addition to hot vehicles, other contributors to pet overheating include humid conditions, lack of drinking water, obesity, and overexertion. Some pets are at higher risk for heat-related illness than others, including brachycephalic breeds(dogs and cats with flat faces and short noses), older pets, puppies and kittens, animals that are ill or have a chronic health condition, pets not used to warm weather, and any pet left outside in hot weather.

How Overheating Becomes Life-Threatening

Heatstroke is the inevitable result once a cat’s rectal temperature reaches or exceeds 105°F, and a dog’s reaches or exceeds 109°F. The cells of the animal’s body start to rapidly die off. The brain swells, causing seizures. Lack of blood flow to the GI tract causes ulcers. Dehydration leads to irreversible kidney damage. And all these catastrophic events take place within a matter of minutes.

In the early stages of overheating, it can be difficult to assess your pet’s condition, especially since it’s normal for dogs to pant when they’re warm or exerting themselves. I recommend you ask your veterinarian to show you how to take your pet’s temperature rectally, and invest in a digital thermometer that is designated for pet use only.

It’s extremely important for pet owners to take every precaution to prevent overheating, because by the time an animal is showing signs of heatstroke, it’s often too late to save him.

How to Prevent Your Pet from Overheating

Provide plenty of fresh clean drinking water at all times. If your pet will be outside for any length of time in warm weather, she should have access to complete shade. Dogs can be encouraged to play in the sprinkler, or can be gently hosed down with cool water to prevent overheating.

While I typically do not recommend shaving your pet, if yours has a long coat, spends time outdoors during hot weather, and doesn’t object to a shorter coat, consider giving her a summer cut. Just take care not to go any shorter than an inch, because her coat provides protection from sunburn.

Exercise your dog early in the morning or after sunset, during the coolest parts of the day. Don’t overdo exercise or play sessions, regardless of the time of day. And if it gets to be 90°F, your pet should be indoors where it’s cool.

Don’t walk or exercise your pet on hot pavement. Not only can it burn his paws, but the heat rising from concrete or asphalt can quickly overheat an animal that lives close to the ground.

And finally, never under any circumstances leave your pet alone in a parked car on a warm day. Leave her at home where she can remain cool, hydrated, and safe. Leaving a pet unattended in a vehicle in extreme heat or cold is a criminal act in several states and municipalities. Most statutes have rescue provisions that allow certain individuals – for example police officers, firefighters, animal control officers, store employees — to do whatever is necessary to rescue an animal trapped in a vehicle in extreme temperatures.

If You Think Your Pet Is Overheated…

If you think your pet (or any pet) is experiencing heatstroke, you must take immediate action. Move the animal to a cool area, preferably with air conditioning. At a minimum you should get him out of direct sunlight and to a shady spot.

If your pet is able to stand, or is at least conscious, offer him small amounts of water to drink and take his temperature rectally if possible. If the temp is 104°F or lower, continue to offer small drinks of water. Take care not to give a large amount of water all at once, which can cause vomiting that leads to dehydration. When your pet seems more comfortable, call your veterinarian for instructions on what to do next.

If your pet is unable to stand without assistance, is unresponsive, or is having seizures, first check for breathing and a heartbeat. At the same time, someone should call the closest veterinary hospital to let them know you’re on your way with your pet.

Immediately start cooling your pet down by soaking her body with cool (not cold) water, using a hose, wet towels, or any other available source of cool water. Concentrate the water on her head, neck and the areas underneath her front and back legs. If possible, try to pour some water over her tongue, but don’t let it run into her throat as it could get into the lungs. Never put water into the mouth of a pet that can’t swallow on her own.

Put a fan on your pet if possible, as it will speed up the cooling process. Take her temperature if you can. After a few minutes, recheck her temp. If it’s at or below 104°F, stop the cooling process to prevent blood clotting or a too-low body temperature. Get your pet to a veterinary clinic immediately, even if she seems to be recovering.

Top 10 Cat Conditions

Cats are experts at hiding illness and injury – that’s why it’s important to pay attention to small signs that something may be wrong. On the other hand, sometimes symptoms are present but we are baffled as to what is actually wrong. Cats may have nine lives, but you want to make sure kitty hangs on to all of them for as long as she can. No matter how much love and care you give your furry companion, things happen. But by knowing how to recognize the most common conditions affecting cats, you may just be able to save your pet’s life.

 Here are the top 10 most common conditions in felines – from Pet 360

10. Hyperthyroidism The most likely cause of hyperthyroidism is a benign tumor on the thyroid gland, which will cause the gland to secrete too much of the hormone. Take your cat to the vet if it starts drinking and peeing a lot, shows aggressive and jittery behavior, suddenly seems hyperactive, vomits and/or loses weight while eating more than usual.

Treatment depends on other medical conditions but can range from using drugs to regulate the overactive gland, surgical removal of the gland, and even radioactive treatment to destroy the tumor and diseased thyroid tissue.

9. Upper Respiratory Virus If your kitty is sneezing, sniffling, coughing, has runny eyes or nose, seems congested and has mouth and nose ulcers, chances are it has an upper respiratory virus. The two main forms of the virus are the feline herpesvirus and calicivirus. Once at the vet’s office, the cat may receive nose drops, eye ointments and antibacterial medication, especially if it has a secondary infection.

8. Ear Infection Ear infections in cats have many causes. These might include mites, bacteria, fungi, diabetes, allergies and reactions to medication; some breeds are also more susceptible to ear infections than others. So it’s definitely a good idea to have your kitty checked if it’s showing symptoms such as ear discharge, head shaking, swollen ear flaps, stinky ears and ultra sensitivity to ears being touched. Treatment, of course, depends on the cause, but will include eardrops, ear cleaning, ear and oral medications and in severe cases, surgery.

7. Colitis/Constipation Colitis is a fancy word for inflammation of the large intestine. While the most obvious sign of colitis is diarrhea, sometimes it will hurt the cat to poop. Thus, in trying to hold it in, the cat may develop constipation.

There are many causes of colitis, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, allergies and parasites, among other diseases. Signs include straining to poop, lack of appetite, dehydration and vomiting. Your vet will test for the underlying cause and treat it accordingly. This may include a more fiber-rich diet, de-worming, antibiotics, laxatives and/or fluids.

6. Diabetes Like humans, cats suffer from diabetes, too, though this is usually seen in older, overweight cats. Symptoms include increased thirst and peeing, peeing outside the litter box, lethargy and depression.

While causes of feline diabetes are not really known, there is a link with diabetes and being overweight. Treatment, therefore, includes daily health monitoring, diet changes, exercise, and depending on the cat’s needs, either daily oral medications or injections.

senior-cat-thinkstock-463675029-335sm37145. Skin Allergies Kitties, like you, are known to suffer from allergies, although their allergies show on the skin. If your cat scratches, or chews on its skin a lot, has a rash or loses hair in patches, a trip to the vet is a good idea.

Causes of skin allergies vary from reactions to food, fleas, pollens, mites, and even mold and mildew. Treatments may include allergy shots, diet changes, medication and antihistamines.

4. Intestinal Inflammation/Diarrhea Diarrhea is a sure sign of an intestinal inflammation. It affects either the cat’s small or large intestine and may due to a variety of factors, including diet changes, eating contraband foodstuffs, allergies, bacteria overgrowth, worms and even kidney disease.

Symptoms include diarrhea, lack of appetite and vomiting. A visit to your vet will sort out the cause, and treatment may include hydration therapy, a bland diet, dietary changes and anti-diarrhea medications.

3. Renal Failure This is a serious condition, which is common in older cats. While the underlying causes are not yet understood, recent research suggests a link with distemper vaccinations and long-term dry food diets. Make sure you request blood tests on your regular wellness checkups, since symptoms often don’t show up until 75 percent of the kidney tissue is damaged.

The main symptom is excessive thirst and peeing, but the cat may also show signs of drooling, jaw-clicking, and ammonia-scented breath. While it’s not curable, renal failure (when not severe) can be managed through diet, drugs and hydration therapy. Kidney transplants and dialysis can also be used.

2. Stomach Upsets (Gastritis) An inflammation of the cat’s stomach lining is simply referred to as gastritis. This condition may be mild or severe, but regardless of its type, make sure you bring your cat to visit the vet if it doesn’t show improvement in a day or two, or if the symptoms are severe.

Gastritis has many causes, from eating spoiled food to eating too fast to allergies or bacterial infections. If your cat is vomiting, belching, has a lack of appetite or bloodstained poop or diarrhea, a visit to the vet will help straighten things out. Treatments depend on the cause, but generally include medication, fluid therapy and even antibiotics.

1. Lower Urinary Tract Disease Coming in at No. 1, lower urinary tract disease can turn very quickly into a life-threatening illness for your cat, especially if there’s a blockage caused by crystals, stones or plugs. When total blockage occurs, death can occur within 72 hours if left untreated.

Therefore, whisk your cat off to the vet or emergency center ASAP if you see any of the following signs: peeing outside of the litter box, straining, blood in urine, crying out while attempting to pee, not being able to pee, excessive licking of genitals, not eating or drinking, yowling while moving and lethargy. These signs will generally occur regardless if the urinary tract disease is due to stones, infection or urethral plugs. Treatment includes catheterizing to drain the bladder, medication to dissolve stones or blockages, and in recurring cases, surgery.

Can Spaying or Neutering Your Dog Cause Cancer?

We receive many questions about the timeline and safety of spaying and neutering dogs. Thankfully, Dr. Becker from Mercola addresses these inquiries in a recent article that covers a study, titled “Evaluation of the risk and age of onset of cancer and behavioral disorders in gonadectomized Vizslas,” was conducted by a team of researchers with support from the Vizsla Club of America Welfare Foundation. It was published in the February 1, 2014 issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. The findings are below.

The Vizsla study involved 2,505 dogs, and reported these results:

  • Dogs neutered or spayed at any age were at significantly increased risk for developing mast cell cancer, lymphoma, all other cancers, all cancers combined, and fear of storms, compared with intact dogs.
  • Females spayed at 12 months or younger, and both genders neutered or spayed at over 12 months had significantly increased odds of developing hemangiosarcoma, compared with intact dogs.
  • Dogs of both genders neutered or spayed at 6 months or younger had significantly increased odds of developing a behavioral disorder, including separation anxiety, noise phobia, timidity, excitability, submissive urination, aggression, hyperactivity, and/or fear biting. When it came to thunderstorm phobia, all neutered or spayed Vizslas were at greater risk than intact Vizslas, regardless of age at neutering.
  • The younger the age at neutering, the earlier the age at diagnosis with mast cell cancer, cancers other than mast cell, hemangiosarcoma, lymphoma, all cancers combined, a behavioral disorder, or fear of storms.
  • Compared to intact dogs, neutered and spayed dogs had a 3.5 times higher risk of developing mast cell cancer, regardless of what age they were neutered.
  • Spayed females had nine times higher incidence of hemangiosarcoma compared to intact females, regardless of when spaying was performed, however, no difference in incidence of this type of cancer was found for neutered vs. intact males.
  • Neutered and spayed dogs had 4.3 times higher incidence of lymphoma (lymphosarcoma), regardless of age at time of neutering.
  • Neutered and spayed dogs had five times higher incidence of other types of cancer, regardless of age of neutering.
  • Spayed females had 6.5 times higher incidence of all cancers combined compared to intact females, and neutered males had 3.6 times higher incidence than intact males.

Vizsla Researchers Conclude More Studies Are Needed on the Biological Effects of Spaying and Neutering, and Also on Methods of Sterilization That Do Not Involve Removal of the Gonads.

The Vizsla researchers concluded that:

“Additional studies are needed on the biological effects of removing gonadal hormones and on methods to render dogs infertile that do not involve gonadectomy. Veterinarians should discuss the benefits and possible adverse effects of gonadectomy with clients, giving consideration to the breed of dog, the owner’s circumstances, and the anticipated use of the dog.”

(The full Vizsla study can be downloaded here.)

Dr. Becker responds, “I absolutely agree with the researchers’ conclusion that studies are needed on alternative methods of sterilizing dogs that do not involve removing the gonads. As I explained in an earlier video, over the years I’ve changed my view on spaying and neutering dogs, based not just on research like Vizsla study, but also on the health challenges faced by so many of my canine patients after I spayed or neutered them. These were primarily irreversible metabolic diseases that appeared within a few years of a dog’s surgery.

My current approach is far removed from the view I held in my early days as a vet, when I felt it was my duty and obligation to spay and neuter every dog at a young age. Nowadays, I work with each individual pet owner to make decisions that will provide the most health benefits for the dog.

Whenever possible, I prefer to leave dogs intact. However, this approach requires a highly responsible pet guardian who is fully committed to and capable of preventing the dog from mating (unless the owner is a responsible breeder and that’s the goal).

My second choice is to sterilize without desexing. This means performing a procedure that will prevent pregnancy while sparing the testes or ovaries so that they continue to produce hormones essential for the dog’s health and well-being. This typically involves a vasectomy for male dogs, and either a tubal ligation or modified spay for females. The modified spay removes the uterus while preserving the hormone-producing ovaries.

The cases in which I opt for a full spay or neuter usually involve an older dog who has developed a condition that is best resolved by the surgery, for example, pyometra (a uterine disease in female dogs), or moderate to severe benign prostatic hyperplasia (an enlarged prostate in male dogs) that is impeding urination and/or causing the animal discomfort. Generally speaking, mature intact dogs have had the benefit of a lifetime of sex hormone production, so the endocrine imbalances we see with spayed or neutered puppies don’t occur when dogs are desexed in their later years.”

Don’t Risk Your Pet’s Life with China Pet Food Products

There has been much confusion surrounding the deaths of over 4,800 reports of pet illnesses which may be related to consumption of the jerky treats.Most of the reports involve jerky products sourced from China. The majority of the complaints involve dogs, but cats also have been affected. The reports involve more than 5,600 dogs, 24 cats, three people and include more than 1,000 canine deaths.

The FDA has been gathering information from pet owners and conducting several tests, including post-mortem examinations. Thus far there has been little to indicate one specific source of the illness’/deaths’, but there have been some findings of both melamine and the antiviral drug amantadine, but not in all cases.

The FDA will continue their studies throughout the year until a more clear understanding of the situation is made known. For more information from the FDA and questions, please click here to read more.

In the meantime, large pet food suppliers have pulled Chinese jerky treats, the main culprit, from their shelves. At the Barkery, we do not and have not sold China made pet foods for several years, and we will continue this promise to our customers. Your pet’s health and safety are our number one concern. 

Please, pay close attention to the labels on your pets’ food packaging. We urge you to be smart and not serve your pet any China made food products, period.


When Vaccinations are not Safe

Deva Khalsa, VMD, shares cautionary information with Animal Wellness Magazine regarding instances when giving vaccinations to canines is not safe.

BRANDON, an Australian Shepherd, was brought to me after he went into a coma following a vaccination. He had been in the intensive care unit for about a week and was now up, but was awfully shaky on his legs and not sure about life at all. Acupuncture and holistic treatments helped him a great deal, but some of the brain damage he suffered could not be repaired. He was never a normal dog again after that.

If you’ve ever wondered how to protect your own dog from infectious disease without subjecting him to potentially dangerous vaccinations, it’s most likely you’ve already done so. If he had a vaccine for distemper and parvo after six months of age, he will most likely be protected for the rest of his life from these diseases. Dogs just don’t need that many vaccinations to acquire full immune protection.

A Tide of Change

Conscientious veterinarians are speaking out more and more about what can happen to dogs that are over-vaccinated. There’s even a term for it – vaccinosis – commonly defined as the acute symptoms that can occur right after a vaccine. Like Brandon, many dogs have severe reactions that may debilitate them for life – or even kill them.

Many veterinarians are even more worried about the growing incidence of chronic diseases resulting from vaccination. I think you’ll agree with me that too many dogs are developing allergies, cancer, irritable bowel disease, ear infections, liver and kidney problems, autoimmune diseases, compromised immune systems and glandular changes. In my opinion, you can credit over-vaccination for the rise in these illnesses. There is no scientific documentation to back up the label claims for yearly vaccinations; at the same time, research unequivocally shows that these same vaccines subject a dog to the risk of many diseases.

In short, once a puppy has had his initial vaccines, annual shots are not necessary and are even detrimental. You can easily check to see if your dog remains protected from infectious disease through a simple blood titer test. I did titer tests frequently at my own practice two decades ago, and found that all dogs were showing protection. Excellent long term research has backed up my clinical experience. Veterinarians now know it’s important to minimize the potential for chronic long term medical problems from vaccinations. The new mantra for vaccinations is “less is more”.

When vaccines should not be given
Aside from what we’ve already discussed, there are several specific situations and conditions in which you should not vaccinate your dog, or at the very least, take extra precautions.

1. Take care with puppy shots

Vaccinating puppies too early and too often actually prevents vaccines from having the desired effect. First of all, maternal antibodies in the mother’s milk identify the vaccines as infectious agents and destroy them before a four- to nine-weekold nursing puppy can benefit. Additionally, vaccinations too closely spaced interfere with a puppy’s immune system response because immune components from the earlier vaccine nullify the following one. To prevent nullification, the ideal interval between the first vaccine and the next booster shot should be three to four weeks.

2. Don’t vaccinate when dogs are stressed

If you have adopted a puppy, keep him at home for a week or more before you rush to the veterinarian to get vaccines. If you want to follow the minimal vaccine protocol mentioned in the in the sidebar (right), you can get the little fellow examined as soon as you like, but wait on the vaccines. Get him on a good diet and healthy supplements. As well, if you are moving to a new home or taking your dog on a plane, be careful not to vaccinate during these stressful periods.

3. Know that certain medications suppress the immune system

Steroids such as prednisolone, prednisone and dexamethasone significantly suppress the immune system. If your dog has recently been on steroids, the vaccine won’t work. Just a short bout of steroids can reduce immune function over 75%! Also note that a relatively new drug called Atopica is now being used for dogs who don’t respond to steroids; it also dangerously suppresses the immune system, so you should never vaccinate a dog that is taking this drug.

4. No vaccines for dogs with cancer or other serious illness

I do not recommend that a dog diagnosed with cancer of any kind – even if the cancer has been removed – be vaccinated at all. Dogs with liver or kidney problems, immune dysfunction problems, infections, and many other chronic diseases should also not be vaccinated. Although the rabies vaccine is required by law in most regions, the AVMA has recently released new guidelines that permit your veterinarian to write a note to the city stating your dog is ill and will not be given a rabies vaccine at this time.

5. Avoid vaccines near pregnancy

Responsible breeders should know that the vaccination of pregnant moms can result in birth defects or abortions along with a slew of vaccinosis problems in the pups later in life.

The times are changing as far as vaccines go. Literature and research discussing the adverse effects and chronic disease that vaccines cause has been available to veterinarians for almost 20 years, and research advocating reduced vaccination schedules has been around even longer. Unfortunately, many mainstream vets have not paid attention. That means you’re the one who has to make educated decisions for your dog. Fortunately, many preeminent veterinarians and researchers, such as Dr. Jean Dodds, Dr. Schultz and Dr. Jordan have made it their mission to get the word out. I take my hat off to them.