Monthly Archives

October 2018

Breathe Easy, Your Pug Can Too

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If you are a dog lover, chances are you are also a pug lover. There is something about their snorting, gurgling, high energy demeanor that just makes them irresistible. Unfortunately, they are one of nine breeds that are prone to Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome (BAS), a series of factors that cause chronic partial blockage of the airway. The other eight breeds include: Boston Terriers, English and French Bulldogs, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Shar-peis, English Mastiffs, Shih Tzus and Pekingese. But do not fret, there are steps you can take to help them lead more comfortable lives.

What is BAS? 

Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome encompasses several factors that inhibit free flow of air through the nose and trachea. These include stenotic nares, hypoplastic trachea, everted laryngeal saccule, and elongated soft palate.

Stenotic Nares:

This is referring to the decreased size of the nostril. In some cases, the nostrils collapse inward during inhalation, not allowing adequate air into the airway.

Hypoplastic Trachea:

With this condition, the trachea (windpipe) is narrowed due to abnormal growth of the cartilaginous rings within the trachea.

Everted Laryngeal Saccule:

When tissue from the airway directly before the vocal cords gets sucked into the trachea and partially inhibits airflow.

Elongated Soft Palate:

The epiglottis is a flap that blocks off the airway while swallowing. Normally, the soft palate ends just before the epiglottis. But with this condition, the soft palate extends past the epiglottis and partially blocks the airway.


Luckily, surgical procedures exist to correct the conditions above. If you are getting your brachycephalic baby spayed/neutered, this is a great time to think about said procedures if they have been diagnosed with any of the conditions above. These surgeries are almost always referred out to veterinary surgeons, however it is always good to ask your regular veterinarian for their advice.

For the correction of stenotic nares, there are a few different options cosmetically. Most involve the resection of the outer portion of the nostril. Elongated soft palate and everted laryngeal saccules can also be surgically corrected by shortening soft palate and removing saccules.  The recovery time for these procedures is typically 1-2 weeks. You can also help your pet at home by keeping exercise and stress levels down in higher temperatures and keeping them at a healthy weight. Both heat and obesity worsen symptoms.


Pictures citations

Stenotic nares

Elongated soft palate

Everted laryngeal saccules

Hypoplastic trachea

Yummy in my Tummy…Xylitol, the PARTY POOPER

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With Halloween and Holidays approaching candies and treats are going to be popping up more frequently and sometimes left out for more than little human hands to grab.  Pets are pretty good at sniffing out things they shouldn’t necessarily have! With the human health craze these days xylitol has been a sugar substitute in more and more products.  If dogs ingest this, it can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar and liver damage that can be life threatening. Something as innocent as a few pieces of sugar free gum left out on the counter could land your pup in the hospital.

Xylitol is commonly found in many household products including the following:

Click here for a detailed list of products containing xylitol:

Symptoms of Xylitol poisoning may include:

  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Depression
  • Walking drunk
  • Acute collapse
  • Vomiting
  • Trembling or tremoring
  • Seizures
  • Yellowed gums or skin
  • Black-tarry stool
  • Diarrhea
  • Bruising
  • Abnormal mentation

If your dog does get into something sugar-free, always check the ingredient list. Note that other sound-a-likes like sorbitol, maltitol, and erythritol are not poisonous to dogs. Likewise, other sugar-free products such as stevia, saccharin, sucralose, aspartame, etc. are also not poisonous to dogs.

When in doubt, if you think your dog got into xylitol, contact your veterinarian or a Pet Poison Helpline (855-886-7965  right away for life-saving care. They can help calculate and determine whether or not the amount of xylitol ingested was poisonous or not. Always try to keep these products or foods out of reach of your pets.  The sooner you recognize the problem and seek veterinary attention, the less expensive and less dangerous it is to your pet!

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.

The best things don’t always come in big packages

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The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention will conduct the 11th Annual National Pet Obesity Awareness Day on Wednesday, October 10, 2018.

How do owners know if their pet is overweight? We start with what is called a body condition score.  It’s like what a body mass index is for people.

First, you should be able to easily feel – and count – your dog’s or cat’s ribs when you lightly run your fingers across the side. Next, when you look down on your pet from above, you should see an hourglass figure or an indentation near the midsection. If your pet looks like a tube from above, it’s overweight.

Finally, when you observe your pet from the side when standing, you should see a slight tuck or upward slope of the tummy.

We then look into what your pet is eating and what the makeup of that food is.  Are the calories appropriate? And what are the protein, fat and fiber amounts? Just like with humans, being overweight can cause medical problems for our furry friends. They can develop diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, kidney disease and even some types of cancer.Asking the question “Is my pet overweight?” at your next veterinarian visit is an excellent way to help prevent those diseases.

Gunny is a 4-year-old Retriever, that, because of circumstances beyond his control, had to move from South Carolina to Colorado.

Before weight loss. 


At that time in March he weighed 98 pounds and had a body condition score of 7.5/9, which is very unhealthy. Gunny was about 25 % overweight. His new owner, Dr. Kelly Gaffney looked at the food and the treats he was getting and determined he was getting a lot more calories than he needed and not enough protein.  She came up with a plan to feed a different food which allowed Gunny to actually eat more food and still lose weight.

Now 6 months later, he weighs 82 pounds and looks forward to playing Frisbee!                                     

After weight loss.