<![CDATA[East Shelbyville Animal Clinic - Pet Health]]>Tue, 06 Mar 2018 17:52:49 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Puppy socialization: Stop fear before it starts]]>Tue, 28 Nov 2017 13:58:33 GMThttp://eastshelbyvilleanimalclinic.com/pet-health/puppy-socialization-stop-fear-before-it-startsPuppy Socialization: Stop Fear Before it Starts13 | Posted: September 9, 2011
By Dr Sophia Yin
Case 1: My Pomeranian puppy, Fluffy, barks at men, especially those wearing hats and beards. It’s embarrassing because I never know when we’ll encounter a man on a walk so I can’t just avoid them. Why is she so rude and what can I do? My neighbor’s dog does the same thing and her dog actually bit someone who was just walking by on the street. I don’t want Fluffy to do that!
Case 2:Our old dog, Rex was afraid of brooms, vacuum cleaners, trashcans, and other loud sounds. We have a new puppy and he’s the same breed. Is there anything we can do to make sure he turns out differently?
Case 3: Spike refuses to walk on wet or frosty grass or to go potty outside when it’s raining, even on the concrete. We don’t understand why he’s so prissy. It’s making it very difficult for us to potty train him.
These cases may sound very different but they all have one factor in common, they are all a result of incomplete socialization.From about 3 weeks to about 3 months of age, puppies are primed for bonding to other animals and individuals, for learning that objects, people, and environments are safe, and for learning what the body cues and signals of others mean. It is their sensitive period for socialization and it is the most important socialization period in a dog’s life. Puppies who do not get adequate socialization during this period tend to be fearful of unfamiliar people, or dogs, or sounds, objects and environments.
Veterinary behaviorists and other trained behavior specialists recommend puppies attend a puppy socialization class and practice regularly, but what types of interactions should puppies actually have? While some owners focus just on exposing puppies to many people and situations, it’s important to actually make sure that the puppy is having a positive experience and learning something good.
The following abridged section from Perfect Puppy in 7 Days: How to Start Your Puppy Off Right provides examples of what to socialize puppies to and how to socialize them starting even before the puppies have been adopted into their final home. By starting early and being consistent owners will provide the best chance that their pup will grow into a happy confident dog. Here are some recommendations.
Provide puppies with positive experiences with unfamiliar people of different sizes, genders, ethnicities.  Invite guests to come interact with the puppies while providing treats and toys to ensure the puppies are having a positive experience. Interacting with only household humans is not enough.

These puppies were nervous at first when they were handled by visitors. They showed their anxiety by trembling when held or refusing to take treats and moving around and playing less when the visitors were around. They were also more fearful of men, a common occurrence with dogs and puppies. By 6 weeks of age, after having several visitors a week, they are now relaxed around most new visitors, including men.It’s important that visitors wear a variety of clothes. My Jack Russell Terrier, Jonesy, randomly barked at people wearing Ugg® boots for a year, and he barked at one of my assistants because he didn’t recognize her when she was wearing this hooded sweater. One of the puppies from the litter pictured here also reacted to this person’s hood or her boots. He barked at her once while jumping back. Then he decided she was safe and approached to get treats.Socialize Puppies to Children.To puppies and dogs who have never seen kids, children can look like little aliens. As puppies mature, children can also start looking more like toys or things they should chase because they scream and run and flail their arms like injured prey. If the breeder does not have or know children whom the puppies can interact with she should at least play sounds of children and babies from a sound CD such as SoundsGood CD (http://www.legacycanine.com). The new family should also be told that the puppy is lacking in this experience and that they should make a special effort to provide good interactions with children.

These puppies have never seen a child, but because they’ve been socialized to so many other things by 7 weeks of age, they immediately accept this child as safe.  The child also knows how feed them treats and this helps them associate her with good experiences.  Because these puppies have already been handled a lot, they let the child pick them up and relax regardless of the position she holds them in.
Socialize Puppies to Other Species.Many puppies will live with cats or other animals at some time during their life or they may see animals of other species. It would be best if they could react calmly instead of barking, lunging or chasing these other animals.

Reward calm behavior when other animals are present: This puppy is learning to sit calmly in the presence of the cat. Not only do we want dogs to feel safe and unafraid around other animals, we also want them to behave calmly. So we should reward calm behavior. This puppy’s entire litter is good with cats—at least those cats in two household settings. The puppies sometimes try to solicit play but are not overly rambunctious when the cats decline by walking away.Train Puppies to Walk on Different Surfaces:Probably everyone knows a dog who’s afraid of walking on metal manhole covers in the street or grates on the sidewalk. Or dogs who won’t step on wet grass to go potty. By exposing puppies to different surfaces when they are young we can greatly decrease the likelihood they will be afraid of walking on a variety of surfaces later in life. This exposure to different surfaces is something that can easily be started by the breeder-especially since the sense of touch is well developed, even at birth.

Walking on metal surfaces: These puppies find yummy treats on this metal surface and readily climb on. With repeated practice they will have no problems standing on a metal scale or metal table at the veterinary hospital.Standing on an exam table: This puppy has no fear of being on the metal examination table at the veterinary hospital. We give him treats to ensure that he has a positive experience. We’re using baby food on a tongue depressor as our treat.
Exposure to water and wet grass: The weather during the first 8 weeks of these puppies’ lives has been warm and dry.As a result, they haven’t had any exposure to rain, cold, or wet grass. The best simulation we have is a little infant pool with water and fake grass. This will help accustom them to the feel so that they don’t grow up to be sissies who can’t go out to potty when the weather is rainy and the yard is wet. You can use wet sod or mud instead.
Exposure to frost or snow: These Corgi puppies live in Alaska so they are receiving exposure to the cold early on. They run on the frost and play in the cold like it’s normal for them, because it is.
Imagine what housetraining would look like if these guys didn’t like going outside in the cold weather!
Introducing Puppies to Other Man-made Objects and Sounds:Most people never appreciate the every-day sounds and sights that might be frightening to a pet or even a person raised in a completely different environment. But once you have a dog who missed out on key environmental experience when young it can be overwhelming to deal with all of the objects they fear.

Dogs must also learn that regular-everyday objects are safe: Jonesy, the Jack Russell Terrier that I adopted at 8 months of age, poses with some of the objects he used to be afraid of but is OK with now. When walking down a typical city street he would bark at or tremble and shy away from about 2-3 objects per block—garbage cans, sidewalk signs, murals of dogs, skateboards, metal pipe sticking out of the wall. The list goes on. He was fearful because he’d been raised in a rural environment.

These are just a handful of the items and situations for which puppies should be socialized. To see the full –unabridged version and find out more about teaching puppies to enjoy being handled and to enjoy toenail trims and other common procedures, read Perfect Puppy in 7 Days: How to Start Your Puppy Off Right.
Also download the free puppy socialization checklist.
What objects/sounds/environments do you wish your dog had been better socialized to as a puppy?  Share your story here!
<![CDATA[pRACTICE A FUN, fEAR FREE VET VISIT]]>Fri, 24 Nov 2017 17:29:26 GMThttp://eastshelbyvilleanimalclinic.com/pet-health/practice-a-fun-fear-free-vet-visitPicture
Anxious pets are more difficult to calm down and treat at the veterinary practice. You can help make veterinary visits more relaxing for your pet-and the team treating your pet-with these easy steps

  • Plan frequent visits. Come to our veterinary clinic just for fun, especially if your pet is fearful. It's best for you to visit during a quiet part of the day. Please call and ask to come by, we would love to play and socialize. This will allow your pet to start associating the clinic with fun things, not always the bad.
  • Meet the team. Our team members would love to meet your pets one on one. We could do small training sessions in the parking lot, lobby and exam rooms. Working your pet through some tricks and playtime can ease their anxieties over time. Rather than being afraid they learn to relax, because all we do is play and give treats. We would start with the receptionist and work all the way up to the Dr's. 
  • Talk to us. We're here to help . Our team looks forward to working with you to create a better visit with your dog or cat. If you need extra help to prepare for a visit, please call us and we can offer guidance to make visits relaxing and fun.

<![CDATA[Hepatic lipidosis in cats]]>Mon, 30 Oct 2017 18:19:03 GMThttp://eastshelbyvilleanimalclinic.com/pet-health/hepatic-lipidosis-in-cats

Hepatic Lipidosis in Cats

Hepatic lipidosis, known commonly as fatty liver, is one of the most common severe feline liver diseases in cats. The liver's main functions include protein synthesis, the production of chemicals necessary for digestion, and the detoxification of the body. The liver also plays an important role in metabolism, the emulsification of fats, the production of coagulation factors (necessary for blood clotting), and in the decomposition of red blood cells. The liver is of such importance to the body, carrying out so many complex functions, that there is no way to compensate for the loss of the liver when it fails.

Normally, when a body is undernourished or starved, the body automatically moves fat from its reserves to the liver to be converted into lipoproteins for energy. Cat's bodies are not designed to convert large stores of fat, so when a cat is in starvation mode, the fat that is released to the liver is not processed efficiently, resulting in a fatty and low functioning liver. As the fat accumulates in the liver it becomes swollen and turns yellow. Because it is not able to process red blood cells efficiently, the yellow pigment that makes up a portion of the red blood cell is released into the bloodstream, causing a yellowing of the eyes. If not treated promptly, hepatic lipidosis can lead to various complications and eventually death.

Cats have high nutritional requirements for proteins, as they are strictly meat eaters, so that a lack of protein or inability to process proteins will quickly develop into malnutrition. Profound lack of appetite and stress are also related to hormonal disturbances, which can also affect fat metabolism and cause fat mobilization from other parts of the body to the liver – with the same results described here. This condition also frequently occurs in conjunction with illness, periods of stress, changes in diet, diabetes, kidney disease, cancer, aggressive weight loss attempts by owners, and being lost (away from home and meals).

Found worldwide, this primarily affects middle-aged cats.


  • Prolonged anorexia – often of several week duration
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Muscle wasting
  • Depression
  • Downward flexion of head and neck
  • Jaundice (e.g., yellowing of eyes)
  • Drooling of saliva
  • Cat may collapse in later stages
  • Other symptoms will be related to concurrent, underlying disease


  • In most cases the exact cause may remain unknown
  • Liver disease
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Inflammation of pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • Kidney disease
  • Other diseases
  • Important risk factors are obesity, stress, a change in living arrangements, getting lost, loss of appetite, and generalized diseases.


You will need to give a thorough history of your cat's health, onset of symptoms, and possible incidents that might have preceded this condition. The history you provide may give your veterinarian clues as to which organs are causing secondary symptoms, and what underlying condition might have led to the diseased liver.

Routine laboratory testing will include a complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis. Blood tests may reveal red blood cells of abnormal size (poikilocytosis), and destruction of red blood cells (hemolysis). There may also be an increase in the enzyme, alkaline phosphatase (ALP), which can be indicative of liver failure. The biochemistry profile may reveal abnormally high levels of liver enzymes and bilirubin levels, and the urinalysis may also reveal high concentration of bilirubin in the urine. Because the liver plays an important role in blood clotting and abnormalities related to blood coagulation may also be evident in affected cats.

Imaging tools include radiographic and ultrasonography studies for examining the abdomen, which may reveal an increase in the size of the liver, as well as to make a detailed evaluation of the liver's architectures and abnormalities. In order to confirm a diagnosis, your veterinarian will need to take a sample of the liver tissue, either through biopsy or needle aspirate, in order to see the liver cells and related abnormalities, including accumulation of fat droplets in these cells – an affirmation of lipidosis.

<![CDATA[October 23rd, 2017]]>Mon, 23 Oct 2017 12:23:05 GMThttp://eastshelbyvilleanimalclinic.com/pet-health/october-23rd-2017​Your Pet's MedicationsWhen your pet has a medical condition, your veterinarian might prescribe one or more medications intended to manage, treat or cure the problem. Although there are some veterinary-specific drugs, many of the drugs used in veterinary medicine are the same as those used in people.Commonly used medication typesThe list below contains the most commonly used types of medications in dogs and cats, but is by no means a complete list of all of the types of medications used in veterinary medicine.

Antibiotics: these are drugs that kill microbes, such as bacteria and yeast, and are used to treat infections. They don’t kill viruses, but they are sometimes prescribed to treat secondary bacterial infections that can occur when an animal is ill from a viral infection. Examples in dogs and cats include penicillin, trimethoprim-sulfa, cephalexin and enrofloxacin.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories: these common drugs reduce swelling, inflammation, pain and lameness. Examples include carprofen, deracoxib, firocoxib, and meloxicam.
Opioid pain relievers: these medications are generally derived from morphine and can be potent pain relievers. Examples include oxycodone, hydromorphone, butorphanol, meperidine and fentanyl. Most of these drugs are controlled substances because of their addictive potential.
Steroids: steroids have many different uses. They can be potent anti-inflammatories and are frequently used to reduce allergic and anaphylactic reactions. They are also used at high doses to suppress the immune system.  Examples include prednisone, prednisolone and dexamethasone.
Antiparasitics: these products are intended to prevent, repel or kill internal or external parasites such as intestinal worms, intestinal protozoans (Giardia, etc.), heartworms, fleas and ticks.
Behavior-modifying drugs and sedatives: these drugs are used to quiet anxious pets or help in reducing anxiety associated with various behavioral issues in pets, prepare pets for anesthesia, and to reduce pet movement during delicate procedures. Examples include diazepam, xylazine, acepromazine and midazolam.
Hormones and other medications used to treat specific conditions: Examples include insulin used for diabetes treatment, methimazole or levothyroxine for abnormal thyroid hormone levels, and heart medications such as atenolol, digoxin, and pimobendan.
Chemotherapeutics: these drugs are used to treat tumors and cancer. Examples include cisplatin, vincristine, doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide.Drug interactionsDrugs act in very different ways, and sometimes these different mechanisms can result in one drug interfering with another drug in some way. In addition, the body’s method of eliminating one drug can affect another medication by changing its rate of elimination from the body.
  • Two drugs might have an additive effect, where the result produced is more than expected. This could be beneficial, but it could also be harmful.
  • One drug might speed up or slow down the body’s metabolism or elimination of another drug, which could result in toxicity, organ damage, or ineffective treatment.
  • One drug might prevent another medication from being effective by interfering with how it acts in the body.
Always tell your veterinarian the medications, including any over-the-counter medications and supplements (including vitamins and any holistic or homeopathic products), that you are giving your pet. Write down how often, how much, and how you give them and share this list with your veterinarian.Side effects and adverse reactionsIn general, medication choices involve weighing the advantages of the medication (stopping infection, reducing pain, etc.) against the potential risks, and taking measures to reduce side effects as much as possible. These preventive measures vary with the medication but can include keeping the drug dose and frequency as low as possible (but still effective); giving the drug for the shortest time needed; and giving the medication on a full or empty stomach.
Weighing the advantages and risks is an important process your veterinarian does, in part because the very mechanisms that make drugs effective for treating conditions can also cause unwanted effects. For example, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reduce the production of prostaglandins, many of which increase inflammation, pain and swelling. However, there are “good” prostaglandins in our bodies (and our pet’s bodies) that actually help protect us; an example is Prostaglandin E, which helps prevent our stomach from developing ulcers. Taking a NSAID reduces pain, swelling and lameness after an injury, but long-term use of NSAIDs can lead to stomach problems because of their effect in reducing Prostaglandin E. In addition, long-term use of NSAIDs can negatively affect prostaglandins in the kidneys, resulting in changes in blood flow within the kidney that can lead to kidney damage. This is why it’s so important to read any information your veterinarian gives you about the product, and to call your veterinarian if you suspect adverse events from any drug your dog or cat is taking.Long-term medicationsSome medications need to be given for prolonged periods of time or perhaps for the rest of your pet’s life. To monitor your pet’s health, make sure that the drug is still working as it should be, and reduce the risk of toxicity or other harmful effects, your pet may need to be tested periodically. This may include blood tests, urine tests, or other tests as determined by your veterinarian, and these tests may be required before your veterinarian will provide a refill or refill prescription. This is particularly important with drugs like insulin and thyroid medications, where over- or underdosing can be life-threatening. A more common example is heartworm medication – your pet should be regularly checked for heartworm infection because giving the preventive to a heartworm-positive pet will not treat the infection and could cause a harmful adverse reaction. Also, local, state and federal laws may require regular rechecks before refills are authorized.What you can do to keep your pet safeWhen the medication is prescribed
  • Let your veterinarian know if your pet has had adverse reactions to any medications.
  • Ask questions so you understand why this medication is being recommended for your pet and what alternatives there are, if any, to this medication.
    •  When and how should this drug be used?
    • What is the purpose of this medication? 
    •  What should I do if I miss a dose?
  • Ask your veterinarian what you should look for as signs of problems, adverse reactions to the medication, or a worsening of your pet’s condition.
    • If you observe any of these signs, contact your veterinarian immediately. Do not discontinue your pet’s medication unless you are instructed to do so by a veterinarian.
  • If you get your pet’s prescription filled at a pharmacy, do not let the pharmacy change the prescription in any way including changing the dose or the drug that was prescribed, without first consulting the veterinarian who prescribed it. Drug dosages in humans can be vastly different from what’s appropriate for a dog or cat. Likewise, there can be large differences between dog and cat prescription needs.
When giving the drug
  • Keep medication bottles out of reach of your pets and children.
  • Do not give your pet any medications, including over-the-counter (OTC) products, without consulting your veterinarian.
    • Some drugs will interact with other drugs, including OTC medications and supplements, so your veterinarian needs to know EVERYTHING you’re giving your pet. 
  • Always follow the label directions. If you have any questions about the medication, ask your veterinarian.
    • Keep the medicines in the containers in which you received them, and store them at the temperature indicated by your veterinarian. Don’t transfer the contents to another bottle or vial.
    • Because pets' medication can be similar or the same as your medications, store them separately to eliminate the error of taking your pet's medication or giving your pet your medication.
    • If your pet is on more than one medication, be very careful to give each medication as prescribed and according to label directions. The dose for the same pet can be very different among drugs, and you don’t want to give your pet too much or too little of its medication because you mixed up the labels.
    • Never use one pet’s medication for another pet unless you are instructed to do so by your veterinarian. Never use your dog’s medication in your cat, because drugs that may be safe in dogs may not be safe in cats.
  • Contact your veterinarian if you miss a dose or if you give too much (overdose) of the drug. If an overdose occurs during a time when your veterinarian’s office is closed, contact an emergency service or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 (a fee may apply).
  • Always finish your pet’s medication unless you are instructed otherwise by your veterinarian.
    • Some medications, such as many steroids, should be tapered in dose and not stopped “cold turkey.” Follow the label and your veterinarian’s directions.
When you no longer need the medication
  • Properly dispose of expired and unused drugs.
  • Even if you think your pet has become ill with the same problem you’ve previously treated with a medication, don’t decide on your own to give your pet the same medicine or leftover medicine because it can be harmful and can delay an accurate diagnosis of your pet’s current problem. Talk to your veterinarian first.
Related articlesOnline Pharmacies
Prescriptions and Pharmacies FAQ
10 "Poison Pills" for Pets
Disposal of Unwanted Medications

<![CDATA[Get the 411 on your pet's medications.]]>Mon, 23 Oct 2017 12:18:46 GMThttp://eastshelbyvilleanimalclinic.com/pet-health/get-the-411-on-your-pets-medications
<![CDATA[This examination is recommended at least annually and sometimes more frequently. Here's what to expect.]]>Fri, 06 Oct 2017 13:20:39 GMThttp://eastshelbyvilleanimalclinic.com/pet-health/this-examination-is-recommended-at-least-annually-and-sometimes-more-frequently-heres-what-to-expect Importance of Wellness ExamsVeterinarians recommend regular wellness exams for the same reason your physician and dentist recommend them – if you can detect a problem in its early stages, it's more likely to be treated and resolved with less expense, less difficulty and better success.
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Vaccinations, heartworm prevention and routine deworming are important components of wellness care and can prevent diseases that are not only life-threatening, but very expensive to treat.
Your veterinarian can recommend a wellness program based on your pet's breed (some breeds are predisposed to certain health problems), age, lifestyle and overall health.
See Also:
​<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/MnuhJ_it4UY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
<![CDATA[Fact: Female dogs are more prone to developing urinary tract infections.]]>Tue, 03 Oct 2017 13:02:57 GMThttp://eastshelbyvilleanimalclinic.com/pet-health/fact-female-dogs-are-more-prone-to-developing-urinary-tract-infectionsDoes Your Dog Have a Urinary Tract Infection? Learn the Symptoms


Have you ever had a bladder infection? Anyone who has is familiar with the aching, urgent feeling of needing to go right now and then only dribbling out a tiny bit of urine. You call your doctor, describe your symptoms, he prescribes antibiotics, and that’s the end of it.
It’s not so easy with dogs. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) and urinary tract stones are common in dogs. Because these conditions can be painful, it's important to know what to watch for in your dog.

Signs of Urinary Tract Problems

When dogs get UTIs, they may strain or have difficulty urinating, it may be painful for them to urinate, and they may have blood in their urine.
Breaking housetraining is another possible sign of a bladder problem. You might not know that there’s blood in your dog's urine unless you see a pinkish stain on the carpet where he had an accident. Or you may notice that when you’re gone, your normally well-behaved dog is peeing near the door and producing a large volume of urine. It helps to be super observant about your dog’s urination habits so you will notice if he seems to be straining or taking longer than normal to urinate.
Take your dog to the veterinarian if you notice the following signs:
  • Frequent urination
  • Breaking housetraining
  • Blood in the urine
  • Dribbling urine
  • Crying out while urinating
  • Straining to urinate
  • Frequently or obsessively licking the genital area
Determining the Cause

To get a diagnosis, your vet will need to analyze a urine sample for the presence of white blood cells, which signal infection, or crystals, which suggest that the dog may have bladder stones. A urinalysis is a start, but culturing the urine — taking a sample and letting bacteria grow — allows us to know for sure if there’s an infection and identify the bacteria causing it. It usually takes a few days to get the results of a urine culture.
Without a culture, your veterinarian can’t know exactly which antibiotic to prescribe or even if one is necessary. Because of the risk of developing antibiotic-resistant bacteria, we don’t like to prescribe antibiotics unless they are absolutely necessary and we know exactly which bacteria to target.
A culture also tells us other things about what might be causing the problem. For instance, it’s a long, hard slog for bacteria to make it all the way up the male urethra. We don’t see as many bladder infections in males because of that, so when they do have one, we know that something more serious may be going on, such as kidney or prostate infection or stones that are affecting the urinary tract.
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<![CDATA[This condition in dogs can often look like pink eye.]]>Fri, 22 Sep 2017 14:13:14 GMThttp://eastshelbyvilleanimalclinic.com/pet-health/this-condition-in-dogs-can-often-look-like-pink-eye​Conjunctivitis in Dogs
OverviewThere are numerous situations that can cause your dog’s eyes to look red and irritated, the most common being conjunctivitis, which is an inflammation of the outermost lining of the eye and/or eyelids.
Conjunctivitis happens when the protective tissue that prevents dirt and debris from getting into your dog’s eyes becomes inflamed. While your pet most likely looks as though he hasn’t slept in weeks, with swollen, red eyes, once conjunctivitis is detected, it can be treated quickly with almost immediate improvement.
There are several common causes of conjunctivitis, including:
Certain diseases, chemicals, molds, foreign materials, smoke and shampoos can also cause conjunctivitis. Sometimes, problems with your dog’s tear production can also cause this issue.
There are many other conditions that may look like conjunctivitis; some of these are easy to fix while others are more serious, requiring extra attention. Consult your veterinarian, who will probe to identify what is troubling your teary-eyed friend.
If you think your dog has conjunctivitis, contact your veterinarian who will most likely perform a complete ophthalmic examination, including a few eye-specific tests to confirm the diagnosis of conjunctivitis and exclude more serious conditions.
Your veterinarian will advise you regarding the best way to care for your best friend’s eye(s). One of the most common treatments is to apply eye drops or ointment to the affected eye. Having your dog sit still while you apply the medication can be a challenge. For helpful tips, see how an expert applies eye drops to a dog.
Because there are so many different causes of conjunctivitis, there is no single preventive method that works for every situation. To help your dog reduce the risk of eye problems, check her eyes daily for any obvious signs of irritation, such as redness or tearing. Most important, contact your veterinarian if you suspect your dog’s eyes look irritated or inflamed!
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
Related symptoms: 

Red Eye
Reviewed by: 
Peter Kintzer DVM, DACVIM
Reviewed on: 
Monday, May 5, 2014
<![CDATA[How to help a blind dog live a full life]]>Thu, 21 Sep 2017 12:12:46 GMThttp://eastshelbyvilleanimalclinic.com/pet-health/how-to-help-a-blind-dog-live-a-full-lifeWhat to Expect When a Dog Goes Blind (And How to Help Him Adapt)
Credit: Kristen Seymour, Vetstreet
Floyd suddenly went blind four years ago, but he is still healthy and happy.Sarah Vaughn’s dog, Floyd, went blind suddenly four years ago. “I was distraught," she says. "I thought this was the end.” Her reaction isn’t unusual. It’s upsetting to see a beloved pet confused, and most owners are entirely unprepared for how many routine activities are affected.
“The day that I completely lost it was when I took him to the vet and he wouldn’t get out of the car because he couldn’t see to jump down,” says Vaughn, who found herself unable to figure out how to get her 90-pound dog out of her vehicle.
But although Floyd was already 10 at the time, he recently celebrated his 14th birthday and is doing rather well. That wouldn’t surprise Jean Stiles, professor of ophthalmology at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine. When a client comes to her with a newly blind pet, reassurance is the first order of the day.
“The first thing I tell them is that the vast majority of dogs will adapt and learn to get around,” she says. “They are still going to be happy, wonderful pets, although they may go through a period of confusion and difficulty.”
Still, it’s a big transition for both dog and owner, so it’s reassuring to know what to do to help your pet, as well as what to expect.
Safety FirstDogs are individuals and react in different ways to losing their sight. But for all of them, there are some things you should do at the start.
“The first thing is to keep the dog safe,” says Caroline Levin, author of Living With Blind Dogs. This may mean blocking off stairs or a swimming pool or putting cushioning around sharp things like the edge of a coffee table.
If your dog is crate trained, take advantage of safe downtime in the crate when you can’t supervise. If not, consider using baby gates to restrict him to a few rooms, or use what’s called an x-pen, which is a freestanding fence you can use to keep the dog in a limited area in the house.
“During this time when everyone’s adjusting, it makes life a little easier,” she says. “Give them a smaller space to map out at first, then extend it.”
Having a way to confine the dog at first can also help if the dog is having housetraining accidents, and it is especially helpful if you have more than one dog — you can separate them at feeding time if the sighted dog is stealing the blind one’s food.
Add Non-visual CuesAs your dog is learning to find his way around, keep to a routine and try not to move furniture. Then, think about where to add tactile clues to identify important locations.
“If you have hardwood floors, put a stair runner at the top of the stairs that’s a cue to them that’s where the stairs start,” Levin says. You can also put bowls on a surface that feels different from the rest of the floor, and even try having a carpet runner or other distinct surface that leads to them.
Tactile cues can also help a dog avoid obstacles. Levin says some owners put down three or four feet of gravel or wood chips along the fence in their yard so the dog can feel the change from grass and knows when to stop. Levin also suggests trying inexpensive scents that you already have in the house, like vanilla extract, on important locations like the bowls and the door where the dog goes outside.
Take advantage of sound as well. It’s important to keep your dog active, and some may become reluctant to take walks, at least at first. Petra Burke of Kindred Spirits Dog Training had an Australian Shepherd, Kona, who went blind at 3 and lived to 13. “I always used noise to guide him,” she says. “I put a bell on my shoe when taking walks, clapped my hands to get his attention and did a lot of talking to him.”
Kona loved playing ball, even after he went blind. As the dog was losing his sight, Burke used a ball with flashing lights, which he could still see at night. “Then when he couldn’t see that any longer, I found balls that made noise as they rolled, and he loved those,” she says. “I would only throw it a couple of feet, but that was enough to make him happy.”
There is equipment you can buy or build that might help, but be sure it’ll work for your particular situation. Ramps and stairs, for instance, can help a dog get in and out of the car or on and off the bed, but Vaughn found that the stairs were too steep and small for her large dog.
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<![CDATA[They aren't always caused by old age.]]>Tue, 19 Sep 2017 13:50:55 GMThttp://eastshelbyvilleanimalclinic.com/pet-health/they-arent-always-caused-by-old-age
Feline CataractsThe lens in a feline eye—like the lens in a human or canine eye—is a small, translucent structure that adjusts its shape as needed to focus incoming light rays on the retina, a light-sensitive tissue that lines the interior surface of the eyeball. When the retina receives light impulses that have passed through the lens, the impulses are instantaneously transmitted to the brain as visual information via the optic nerve, which is attached to the back of the eye. A cataract is a condition in which the lens becomes cloudy or totally opaque. When this happens, incoming light is impeded, if not totally prevented, from passing through the eye to the retina.
In some cases, the affected area of the lens may be tiny, and the resulting impairment in vision will be inconsequential. In other cases, however, the entire lens may be opaque, in which case total blindness will result in an affected eye. Cataracts, moreover, can be either unilateral or bilateral—affecting either one or both eyes.
According to Thomas Kern, DVM, associate professor of ophthalmology at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, some feline cataracts develop as the result of an animal’s inability to metabolize proteins and other body chemicals, or they may in rare cases be a byproduct of such conditions as diabetes or hypertension. And older cats often get them as a natural consequence of the aging process. Other potential causes include traumatic injury that results in a perforated lens and exposure to certain drugs or toxic substances, radiation, or electric shock. In many cases, however, the cause of a cataract is unknown.
The signs of cataract-related failing vision or total loss of vision may be behavioral. A visually impaired cat may, for example, become less agile, bump into familiar furniture, or appear to have difficulty finding its food bowl or litterbox. The cat will seem reluctant to move about in unfamiliar places. And it will be tentative and noticeably cautious about going up and down stairs. “You can make life easier for the cat,” says Dr. Kern, “if you make sure to keep its food bowl and litter box in precisely the same spot at all times.”
But, he adds, the behavioral signs may be too subtle to notice. Thus, he advises, “The owner should routinely check the cat’s eyes. Look for changes in the color of the iris, for example, or see if the eye seems to be cloudy. If you see anything unusual, have the animal examined by a veterinarian.” Early treatment with a variety of medications, he notes, may prevent or delay the onset of cataract-related blindness. In some cases, for example, treatment for high blood pressure or diabetes will be effective in slowing the rate at which a cataract progresses.
In some cases, surgery may be necessary. In such a procedure, the surgeon will use an operating microscope to make small incisions, first in the cornea and then in the lens capsule before inserting an instrument that uses high-frequency sound to disintegrate and remove an affected lens. Following this procedure, an artificial lens is inserted and the incision is sutured shut.
The delicate surgery typically takes about an hour, says Dr. Kern, noting that the procedure is successful in most kittens and mature cats that have qualified as good candidates for lens implantation.