Monthly Archives: April 2014

Happy Tails! – DIXIE LYNN (pka Mona Lisa)

I want to say thank you to K-9 Angels Rescue for all that you did to save me and my babies.  I will miss my foster family but I now have a forever home.  I am so grateful to Miss Mary for allowing me to hitch a ride from Texas to Alabama where I was introduced to this really big guy who had a nice big truck and warm cozy blanket for my ride back to his house in Auburn.  I am now in a forever home with a big sister who I share a bed with, we run and play and I am learning how to go for walks on a leash (my mom carries me when I get tired or scared).
My new family loves me so much they got me a new dog bed and all kind of new toys however I prefer the bed and toy that my sister Harley has.  I have been told that we are moving to the beach this summer and I will grow old living in paradise taking long walks on the beach and enjoying the warm sunshine.Doggie kisses,
Dixie Lynn (formerly Mona Lisa)

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Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There!


In the world of human medicine it’s estimated that 80% of the maladies that prompt physician visits would completely resolve on their own with simple “benign neglect.”  In other words, time is all that is needed for a cure.  Does this mean that 80% of people are jumping the gun by scheduling a doctor visit?  Not at all, because the physician is the one trained to discriminate which 20 percent or so need more than “watchful waiting.”

I suspect that the percentages mentioned above may be comparable in the world of veterinary medicine.  Nonetheless, many vets are intent on prescribing, and many of their clients are intent on receiving unnecessary medication for situations in which watchful waiting would suffice.  There seems to be a desire to give an injection and/or send home some pills, perhaps to placate the prevailing perception that clients who leave empty-handed will feel under-served.

A classic example of this “gotta do something” philosophy is the dog or cat presented for a couple days’ worth of diarrhea.  The patient is completely normal otherwise, and a stool sample check is negative for parasites.  In this situation it would be absolutely appropriate to recommend a bland diet, some watchful waiting, and a follow-up phone call or email with a progress report in two to three days.  Instead, the client is often sent home with instruction to treat the diarrhea with prescribed medication(s), more often than not, an antibiotic.  Please know that cases of canine or feline diarrhea caused by bacterial infection (salmonella, campylobacter, clostridium) are rare at best!

Guess what the number one side effect of most antibiotics happens to be? Diarrhea! (Can you sense that I am cringing as I type this?)  Antibiotics are capable of disrupting normal bacterial populations within the intestinal tract which can then turn a simple case of self-resolving diarrhea into an ongoing nightmare.  Antibiotics are not unique.  Each and every drug a veterinarian can prescribe has the potential to cause adverse side effects.  Giving medication when watchful waiting is all that is necessary defies logic as well as the important, universal, medical mantra that states, “First do no harm.”

If my clients absolutely, positively can’t stand the thought of doing nothing, I keep them busy doing something that has zero potential to negatively impact my patient.  In the case of diarrhea, this can include preparing a homemade diet, keeping a written log of bowel movements, walking the dog six times daily to observe stool samples, or disinfecting the litter box twice daily.  Heck, I’ve even had clients who measure and weigh their pet’s bowel movements – their idea, not mine!

This blog post is my way of encouraging you to be okay with watchful waiting (aka, benign neglect) when this is what the situation calls for.  Understand the logic behind any medication your veterinarian prescribes, and avoid pressuring your vet to prescribe “something” for the sake of helping you feel more secure and comfortable.  Time is a wonderful cure-all for many maladies.

Have you or your pet ever had a medical issue that benefited from watchful waiting?

If you would like to respond publicly, please visit

Best wishes,

Nancy Kay, DVM

Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Author of Your Dog’s Best Health: A Dozen Reasonable Things to Expect From Your Vet
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award

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Happy Tails! – TOBY (pka Phineas)


Toby been with us for almost 11 months!   Cannot believe it’s almost a year.   He was so skinny when we got him, but we fattened him up too much so he had to go on a diet around Christmas.   Now he’s just right.   He has had a few health issues, but we took care of each one as they came along and in the process found a great vet.

He loves to go running with my daughter (I love the protection he gives her).  He’s finally calm enough to sleep with her.   No more crate at night.
He is also mixed with another breed that does not have the long “wings” of hair under tail, body and legs, which is soooo nice.   The shorter hair is easier to brush and keep clean.

He’s wonderful and we love him to pieces!



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Happy Tails! – SMILEY

We have had Smiley for several months and simply love him!!   He loves his 2 brothers but especially his brother Beau, a rescued Cavalier King Charles.   They run around the house, play and nap together!   When you see one, you see the other!

When Smiley first came to us he was a little scared, especially of men.   Well, he’s a Daddy’s boy now!   In his lap and the first one to greet him when he gets home!

 Thank you K-9 Angels Rescue for saving Smiley and blessing us with him!

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Happy Tails! – BELLA (pka JJ)

We consider ourselves the luckiest people in the world for getting a chance to have Bella (pka JJ) in our lives.   She is an absolute joy.   She is smart, sweet, and beautiful!!   We love her so much; she is our heart.
Bella and her Yorkie brother Teddy were instant BFF’s!   Just watching them frolic, play, and go on walks together (her favorite thing!) makes us smile.  Bella and Teddy are total stars at Doggy Day Camp.  Everyone loves them!!
Bella is such a lady!  She always crosses her front paws when she lays down.  It is super cute.  We call her our “Princess” Bella!
She is so well mannered.  People are just shocked when they learn she is a rescue dog.  We ask ourselves every day how someone could ever have given her up!!  I will never understand, but we are so grateful that K-9 Angels found her.
Bella is a living example that there are so many wonderful dogs out there in need of homes.   Thank you K-9 Angels Rescue for the chance to Volunteer, Foster (yes, Bella was our foster failure), and Support such a wonderful organization!   We cannot express enough how much Bella has enriched our lives.  Thank you for letting me adopt this beautiful girl.  We will spend the rest of our lives making sure she knows she is loved!


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Parvovirus: This Can Kill Your Dog in Less Than 72 Hours

Canine Parvovirus

If you’re a dog owner, you probably know that canine parvovirus is a very serious disease seen primarily in unvaccinated puppies and immunocompromised dogs.  It is highly contagious and can be fatal.  A parvo infection causes hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, which is characterized by vomiting and bloody diarrhea.

The disease is easily transmittable from one dog to another through contact with infected feces.  It can also be spread by direct dog-to-dog contact, and contact with contaminated environments or people.  Parvo can infect kennels, food and water bowls, collars and leashes, and the hands and clothing of people who handle sick dogs.  The virus is highly environmentally stable and can remain infectious in soil for at least a year.

Test Now Available to Detect New Parvo Strain 2c

As with most diseases, the sooner a case of parvo is identified, the better the dog’s chances for recovery.  In fact, survival can depend on how quickly and accurately the virus is diagnosed.

According to Richard Oberst, professor of diagnostic medicine and director of the Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory in the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, many tests currently available can’t detect the newer strains of parvovirus 2c, which has lead to false negative results in infected dogs.

The 2c strain is a newer, emerging strain of canine parvovirus that was first detected in Italy in 2000, and has also been reported in Asia, South America, and Western Europe.  It was first reported in the U.S. in 2006, and is now considered the most common strain of the disease. Parvovirus strain 2b is also prevalent in this country; the 2 and 2a strains are very rarely seen.

Fortunately, a new diagnostic test developed by researchers at KSU’s Diagnostic Laboratory can now identify the 2c strain of parvo.  It’s a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test that detects all strains simultaneously and points to which strain or strains might be causing the infection.

Veterinarians can send samples for testing to:

Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
1800 Denison Ave.
Manhattan, KS 66506

Samples should be shipped in the same manner as all other diagnostic specimens.  For more information, DVMs can contact the laboratory at 866-512-5650 or visit

Symptoms and Treatment of a Parvovirus Infection

Parvo causes similar symptoms in all infected puppies and dogs, including vomiting, severe and often bloody diarrhea, lethargy, fever, and loss of appetite.  In dogs infected with the virus, dehydration is a constant concern and can occur very quickly as a result of the vomiting and diarrhea.  This is especially dangerous in very young puppies.

Most deaths from parvo occur within 48 to 72 hours after the onset of symptoms, which is why it’s critical that you take your dog to a veterinarian or emergency animal hospital immediately if he shows any signs of the infection.

There is no specific anti-viral therapy for parvovirus 2c (or any of the other strains).  Treatment of an infected dog consists of immediate delivery of supportive care, including replacing fluids and electrolytes, controlling vomiting and diarrhea, and preventing secondary infections.  Since the disease is so contagious, affected dogs should be isolated to minimize spread of infection.

The goal of treatment of parvovirus involves supporting your dog’s organs and body systems until her immune response can conquer the infection.  There are some homeopathic and herbal remedies that can be useful in treating the symptoms of parvo.  I recommend you work with a holistic veterinarian to determine what natural therapies are advisable for your sick pet, and consider hospitalization until your dog is stable.

Protecting Your Dog from Parvo Through Proper Vaccination

I think you’ll agree that the best way to treat a parvo infection is to prevent it from happening in the first place.  The parvovirus is nothing to fool around with.  It is very much alive and thriving in our environment, and it frequently ends the lives of dogs who become infected.

Over-vaccination is an ongoing problem in the veterinary community, but in my professional opinion, providing baseline protection (two puppy vaccines) against parvo provides your pet with lifetime immunity – and provides you with peace of mind.

The protocol I follow in vaccinating puppies against parvo (the vaccine protects against all strains) is a parvo/distemper shot before 11 weeks of age (ideally at 9 weeks), and a booster at about 14 weeks.  I then titer between 2 to 4 weeks after the second shot to insure the puppy was not only vaccinated, but immunized.  This is a core vaccine protocol that provides the basic minimum number of vaccines to protect against life threatening illnesses, without over vaccinating.

Since the job of vaccines is to stimulate antibody production, if a puppy is exposed to parvo (or another virus for which he’s been vaccinated), he has some level of circulating protection.  Vaccines stimulate antibody production, but it takes 10 to 14 days after the vaccination for adequate protection to occur.

A small percentage of dogs known as “non-responders” will not develop immunity and will remain susceptible to parvo for a lifetime.  This is very important information for dog owners to have, which is another reason I titer after the second round of shots.

In addition, some puppies retain a level of immunity from their mother’s milk that interferes with the effectiveness of vaccines.  Titering gives us the information we need to be confident the pup has been immunized effectively, or if he hasn’t, to determine why, and what further action should be taken.

I also always provide a homeopathic detox agent for newly vaccinated animals.

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Happy Tails! – FOSTER (pka Wyatt)

Wyatt aka Foster has definitely found his forever home!

City dog during week and farm on weekends.

That’s doggie heaven!

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