We here at Poop’d Out were so lucky to be able to interview Dr. Taylor Sobchuk from the Edson Veterinary Clinic about three of the most common appointments the clinic sees on a regular basis here in Edson! We’re so grateful to Dr. Sobchuk for taking the time to tell us a little bit about the most common appointments they see, what causes these issues, and what you can do to prevent them from happening to your pet in the first place.

The three most common appointments are….

  1. Ear infections
  2. Chronic lameness in a hind leg
  3. Smelly breath

 

Let’s get to the good stuff, shall we?

1)    Ear Infections

Q: What do you typically hear from the owner regarding the symptoms they say their pet is experiencing?

A: We typically hear the following issues are happening:

    • His ear becomes smelly
    • He’s scratching or shaking his head
    • There’s a lot of debris in the ear
    • The ear is red or pink

Q: What’s the diagnosis?

A: The diagnosis is Otitis Externa due to bacteria or yeast, which is commonly known as an ear infection. There is a normal amount of flora in the ear canal. Due to the small hairs located in the ears, moisture can get trapped in the ear canal. This moisture allows bacteria or yeast to grow. If left unchecked, the balanced flora in the ear can get disturbed and cause overgrowth of certain bacteria or yeast. This will cause a build-up of debris which will fill the ear, causing it to get irritated and red.

Q: How do you determine that’s what’s happening?

A: We use cytology to determine if bacteria or yeast is the cause. Cytology is the study of cells. We’ll take a swab and study it under a microscope to determine what’s going on to make sure we treat it correctly.

Q: What are the next steps?

A: We’ll give your pet appropriate medicines that are used to calm the inflammation and clear the infection.

Q: What are some preventative steps?

A: For dogs with a lot of hair in their ears, make sure you’re plucking their ears regularly. Every 4-8 weeks, you should also clean ears with a gentle solution specifically for dog ears. Monitor your dog’s ears, giving them a good scratch while checking out the canals for any abnormal issues.  

 

Sometimes, if your dog is chewing at his feet, this could be an indication of an ear infection. Also, sometimes food allergies can be misdiagnosed for an ear infection. If your dog is continually having ear infection problems, it might be a good idea to get him checked for allergies.

 

2)    Chronic lameness in a hind leg

Q: What do you typically hear from the owner regarding symptoms to come to this diagnosis?

A: We typically hear the following issues are happening:

    • The dog seems to progressively get lame
    • Lameness when he first gets up, but it seems to resolve as the day goes on
    • Mild lameness that doesn’t seem to be getting better

Q: What’s the diagnosis?

A: The diagnosis with Partial or Full Cranial Cruciate tear or chronic lameness. There are 2 cruciate ligaments in the knee that stabilize the femur on the tibia during weight-bearing activities. Due to injury or aging and wear on the ligaments, a tear can occur that causes the knee to be unstable. This causes damage to the cartilage and severe osteoarthritis.

Q: How do you determine that’s what’s happening?

A: The dog is lame during walking. He will typically hold his leg up or toe touch when standing. He will not sit square and kicks affected leg out in order to sit on his good leg.

Q: What are the next steps?

A: Typically, these cases will require either surgery or rehabilitation, or both to correct.

Q: What are some preventative steps?

A: Most cases of dogs in this condition are overweight or they are middle-aged to older dogs.  Many also have genetics passed down that cause them to have a straight stifle (knee). The best prevention is to keep your dog at a healthy weight with regular exercise. I also recommend starting joint supplements when your dog is around 4-5 years old to help maintain joint health which includes the health of the ligaments.

(Hint: If you’re struggling to get your dog out for more exercise while you’re away at work, Poop’d Out is here! Click here to see our dog walking services)

 

3)    Smelly breath

Q: What do you typically hear from the owner regarding symptoms to come to this diagnosis?

A: We typically hear the following issues are happening:

    • Foul odour to the dog’s breath
    • A tooth is loose or discoloured
    • Sometimes there’s a swelling under the eye that is tender

Q: What’s the diagnosis?

A: The diagnosis is Periodontal Disease. Over time, calcium or tartar develops on your dog’s teeth. Bacteria within that tartar breaks down the enamel and dentin of the teeth causing disease and death to the teeth. This is often seen in small breeds or older dogs.

Q: How do you determine that’s what’s happening?

A: We’ll give an oral exam to your dog to determine the full scope of dental procedures that need to be done, but keep in mind that these procedures can cost anywhere from $800-$2000.

Q: What are the next steps?

A: In these cases, dogs require dental procedures such as dental radiographs, a scale and polish, and/or dental blocks to allow tooth extraction. These procedures require full anesthetic to allow the tartar and debris to be removed properly and, unlike humans, pets don’t tolerate this well, so prevention is key!

Q: What are some preventative steps?

A: There are many ways to prevent dental problems for your pet! Here are a few:

    • Get your dog chewing throughout his life. Rubber toys like kongs encourage chewing, which can prevent tartar buildup and maintain gum health. They are also good to occupy your dog when you’re busy or when you’re wanting to watch your favourite show.
    • Dental diets given as a treat or balanced diets that are specifically designed to help remove tartar from teeth are a great idea.
    • Don’t allow your pet to chew something that you wouldn’t hit your own knee cap with. If it is too hard, it could cause a tooth fracture.
    • Yearly wellness examinations allow vets to note any developing issues and monitor their progression to determine when intervention is necessary.

 

Thank you to Dr. Taylor Sobchuk and the rest of the amazing staff at the Edson Veterinary Clinic for keeping the pets in Edson happy and healthy! We hope your pet is happy and healthy, but should something ever come up, make sure you head over to Edson Veterinary Clinic to make sure your pet gets the best care available in Edson!

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