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Ask the Veterinarian
Putting Dog Down and other Questions for the Vet

Q. Hello. I had my cat euthenized on Friday because he had cancer. I keep worrying that since we buried him so quickly after being put to sleep that maybe he wasn't really dead, or maybe he would start breathing again. I even dreamed about it last night, now I worry even more.

Do you think it is possible for that to happen? If it did, would he be able to survive in a little box underground for 5 days? Please answer ASAP, I just keep thinking of him down there feeling trapped and trying to get out. Thanks

A. In cases of euthanasia the dose that is drawn up is an overdose of what should be given to a normal healthy animal. In those animals that are sick with other diseases the actual amount needed is probably even less.

The chance that you cat did not receive enough to put him to sleep is very low and I would not worry if I were you.

Take comfort in the fact that you did the right thing for your pet in his time of need.

Q.Help, my 10-month-old Chihuahua has been throwing up and has had diarrhea for almost a week now. She refuses to eat and starting yesterday she started having pure bloody bowel movements. It appears that she strains and that only blood and blood clots come out.

Please help me; I do not know what to do. I fear she will not make it until Monday when the vet office is open. What do I do, please help me. Thank you for your time.

A. Seek vet attention immediately if you have not already. Your dog could have a life threatening disease and should be examined and the appropriate tests run.

She may have a severe case of colitis or an infectious or parasitic disease that is making her ill.

See you veterinarian immediately even if you have to go to an emergency clinic. Check your local phonebook.

Q. I own an almost two-year-old purebred German shepherd dog. Frieda injured her left hind leg, apparently from her exuberant running in the California desert. Her limp would get better quickly and she would be fine. About six weeks ago, Frieda re-injured the same leg.

I rested her but still noticed her limp. On 5/14, I took her to our veterinarian who palpated her while I held her. Frieda is stoic and registered no pain from all the probing and stretching. Our veterinarian gave her an anti-inflammatory shot and recommended more rest. One week later I decided to have Frieda x-rayed under anesthesia, just to make certain that she had not torn her cranial or anterior cruciate ligament. Her x-rays (hips, knees and back) were then sent to a board certified radiologist.

His report: Soft tissue swelling of the left stifle, with mild degenerative remodeling. Right stifle within normal limits. Mild coxofemerol subluxation, with mild degenerative remodeling along the femoral necks and cranial acetabular remodeling. Conclusion: Effusion and/or capsular thickening with mild osteoarthrosis (DJD) of the left stifle. Rule out ligamentous or meniscal injury. Mild hip dysplasia, with early DJD of the coxofemoral joints.

Our veterinarian has recommended that we continue resting Frieda. If we see no improvement, then she suggests anti-inflammatory pills for a short time. If we still see no improvement, then she recommends arthroscopic surgery to determine if Frieda's knee ligaments have been ruptured.

The thing is this, Doctor. Unless you're looking really hard, Frieda has no noticeable limp or lameness. She enjoys stalking and chasing our other Shepherd, a two-year-old male. I have so curtailed Frieda's activity, and now I question if I should continue for any great length of time.

Frieda comes from the best stock. Her father was the top Czech border patrol dog and her mother, also a Czech, is considered a hard, civil female. Both were certified 0/0 hips. Frieda weighs 75#, so obesity is not an issue.

I'm confused why my veterinarian would even suggest surgery when the radiologist specialist said that no knee injury was visible. I also looked at the x-rays and could barely notice the "effusion" of her left knee. The "capsule" on her left kneecap was about half the size of my smallest fingernail.

Of course, I only want what is best for my dog, yet I don't want Frieda on needless medications or facing unnecessary surgery. Right now, the only outward sign of any knee problem is the "popping" noise I hear when she jumps on and off our bed. Both of my dogs take additional MSM and GlycoFlex, besides their vitamins and trace minerals.

A. Sorry to hear about the hips but unfortunately there is never any guarantee when purchasing a puppy that the hips will turn out normally.

When breeding dogs all hip certification really tells you is that there is a reduced chance of the offspring developing hip problems, it is not perfect but it is the best method of eliminating the disease by proper selection of parents with excellent hips.

In regards to your dogs knee, no one will ever tell you that there is ligament injury based on a radiograph because it is not a diagnosis seen on radiographs you just see the signs of ligamentous injury, joint swelling and signs of arthritis.

Based on the history of your dog, a cruciate injury is most likely because of the radiographic changes present.

Your veterinarian is being proactive in the assessment of your pet. He has offered the most minimally invasive surgical technique available to confirm the diagnosis without opening the joint. Once the diagnosis is confirmed then proper treatment can be offered.

In your dogs case she may have a partial tear, which with time will progress to a full tear. The popping noise is a concern as this could indicate meniscal injury as well which will also progress with time.

The lameness will come and go most likely with time and things such as exercise and getting up in the morning will exacerbate the lameness.

I would consult a board certified surgeon for your surgical options in your area. Good Luck

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Veterinarain Gregory Herndon DVM



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