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Feedback Q&A on Animal Health

by Ron Kurtus

Readers have sent in a total of 362 comments and questions on Animal Health issues. They are listed according to date.

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List of next 10 letters




General What kind of aspirin for my dog? USA
Giving Your Dog Aspirin Giving Benadry; and aspirin to dog Canada
General Where do fish behind a dam come from? South Africa
Resources Resource on Animal Health USA
Giving Your Dog Aspirin Minature shanauze has strained muscle USA
Giving Your Dog Aspirin How long should I give my dog aspirins? USA
Giving dog aspirin Dog has arthritis but Rimadyl made her sick USA
Animal Ages Taking older dog on airplane USA
Giving Your Dog Aspirin Thinks dog has Cushing's Disease USA
General Distressed over death of older dog USA

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First 10 letters

What kind of aspirin for my dog?

Topic: General


May 17, 2014

What kind of aspirin can I get for my dog for his arthritis.he is arott and masstiff mix and weighs 110 lbs

brenda - USA



Plain aspirin that is not coated can be used. For a large dog, you can used regular sized aspirin of 320 mg.

Note that you should always give aspirin with food. And it should not be given in a regular basis. It is best to save it for days of extreme discomfort.

See Giving Your Dog Aspirin for more information.

Note that trimming down the weight of your dog will help relief on joint pain.

Best wishes or a healthy and happy dog.

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Giving Benadry; and aspirin to dog

Topic: Giving Your Dog Aspirin


April 26, 2014

I m giving Benadryl to my pitbull for ichy skin, her weight is 80 lbs. since she has problem walking, cud I give her an aspirin a day?

anna - Canada



I've tried Benadryl to relieve my dog's itching, but it didn't seem to do much. Oatmeal-based dog shampoo is supposed to give relief.

I wouldn't give both Benadryl and aspirin to your dog. There may be a reaction to the combination.

Either medicine should be used when really needed. Giving aspirin every day can cause stomach problems after a while.

Feeding your dog less could help with the walking problems. Extra weight can affect the joints.

Best wishes for good health for your dog.

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Where do fish behind a dam come from?

Topic: General


April 21, 2014

Where is the fish came from couse we found fish even in dams?

Zwelihle - South Africa



Over the years fish swim upstream in a river to find places to eat and breed. Most will stay in a good area. Some fish--like salmon--go upstream to breed and then go back down to where they came from.

Once a dam is built, the fish that are upstream stay there, because they had found a good area. Fish that need to go downstream may die if stopped by a dam.

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Resource on Animal Health

Topic: Resources


January 27, 2014

Hi there,
Just wanted to let you know about another great pet health resource that isn’t on your resources list. It’s a website that has tons of pet health information and tips. Here’s the link if you want to check it out: Hope you find this helpful!

Paige - USA



Thanks for the resource. I added the link to several Animal Health pages.

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Minature shanauze has strained muscle

Topic: Giving Your Dog Aspirin


January 20, 2014

Hello ! i own a minature shanauzer 10 1/2 lbs . she has always been very healthy she is 5 yrs old, and yesterday i notice she is having trouble getting up or jumping to the couch. seems like she has a strain muscle on the back, how she got it i don't know only she is always been very active and today all she do is lay down. what can i give her ? thank you I was told to give her aspirin 325 mg coated but i am thinking thats alot of aspirin pls help.

Juany - USA



I'm sorry to hear that you dog is not feeling well. If it is s strained muscle, rest is probably the best for a few days. Giving aspirin may not be necessary.

Coated aspirins are not recommended for dogs. Also, if you are going to give an aspirin, 325 mg is way too much. You could give 1/2 baby aspirin (40 mg) every 12 hours for a dog of her size. Be sure to give the aspirin with food.

I hope your dog gets better soon.

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How long should I give my dog aspirins?

Topic: Giving Your Dog Aspirin


December 24, 2013

Hi. dog has back problems, inflamed disc vet says. I tried him on low dose coated aspirins and large improvement overnight. With no side effects. how long may i continue with this treatment?? 22 lb ,7 year old


patrick - USA



I'm glad the aspirins improved you dog's condition. You need to make sure you give the aspirins with food. Also, coated aspirins are not the best for a dog. Plain baby aspirins would be better.

Your vet should be able to give an idea of how long to give the aspirins until the inflammation heals. Giving aspirins over a period of time can create the rick of stomach bleeding.

Best wishes on the recovery of your dog.

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Dog has arthritis but Rimadyl made her sick

Topic: Giving dog aspirin


October 5, 2013

I was researching giving my lab aspirin for her arthritis and lucked up and found your website with a lot of good information. She is almost 12yo and the arthritis has really gotten painful for her lately. I cannot afford to take her to the vet is why I was researching aspirin. I will try this and by the way she is approx. 95lbs. A comment about the Rimadyl. Approx. 3yrs ago my lab had HUGE bladder stones (two of them) and had to have them surgically removed. She was given Rimadyl, we gave them to her as prescribed and she threw up, big time. I still have the remainder and thought of trying them, but will not after reviewing this information. Thank you for your article.

Fran - USA



I'm sorry to hear that your dog has painful arthritis. Certainly, if she had a bad reaction from Rimadyl, you shouldn't use it any more.

On bad days, aspirin should help her, as long as it is given with food. Also, reducing her weight could help stress on her joints.

Best wishes on keeping your dog healthy and minimizing her pain.

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Taking older dog on airplane

Topic: Animal Ages


June 16, 2013

Hi! Good Evening! Im having a difficult time deciding how smart is to fly my 11 year old pound puppy! I saved her from the pound 9 years ago and now I am relocating from Puerto Rico to DC. She is a little fat, she has arthritis, she broke her knee 3 years ago even though I never operated she started walking and running almost normally about a year latter. Sometimes she limped a little, but not much, I think she feels that I have to leave and is upset, but she is walking with lots of difficulty. Im researching flying dogs and its a horrible idea! I dont know what to do! My dog doesnt even like it to ride in the car. I have nobody in my family to take her in! I only have at the most 4 hours to prepare her to fly what do I d o. I think she will be needing heavily sedation to be able to stay for up to 4 hours in a moving plain in a cage! Please Im desperate, need to know what to do! She is my old baby and dont want to leave her with strangers that don't know she likes to sleep in the bed. thanks again, Bea

Beatriz - USA



I am sure you would rather bring your dog with you to your new home than to give her up to others. A four hour flight can be distressing on an older dog, but as long as her health is not affected, she probably will be OK. A big concern is making sure she does not get overheated in the cargo area during the flight.

A good list of things to consider is at: How to Fly a Dog Safely in an Airplane's Cargo Section.

For a small dog, Traveling with Your Dog by Airplane gives ideas about using a carrier to take the dog on board.

Also see: How to Travel With My Dog on an Airplane.

I hope this helps you make plans for taking your dog. Best wishes to you in your new location and to your dog's health.

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Thinks dog has Cushing's Disease

Topic: Giving Your Dog Aspirin


June 5, 2013

I read your article on aspirin for dogs. I am not very familiar with your website but I was hoping that you write oer know a lot about animals and pets. My fox terrier turned 11 years old in March. For a while he has been showing a couple of signs of Cushings Disease. He urinates very frequently, has a pot belly, drinks water quickly and is losing his hair. Over the past few weeks he has had days where he slept for several hours straight. Among those syptoms he also licks his lips and fur frequently and is growin pink and black growths all over his body. I was wondering if you think this is Cushings Disease or something else. Also are there less expensive treatments for it than what I have found. My dog is very important to me. Please respond to my message and thank you.

Courtney - USA



Your dog's symptoms seem to look like Cushing's Disease. It is really best if you have your examined by a vet. Often surgery on the dog's adrenal gland or certain medications can control the disease. Your vet should be able to give some good options. Of course, surgery is more expensive than medication, so it is good to know your options.

Best wishes for getting your dog back on the road to good health.

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Distressed over death of older dog

Topic: General


June 3, 2013

Dear Ron,

I've been in great emotional distress over last few days after our ~40 lb, 16.5 - 17 year old Husky-mix dog (Tinker) died last Thursday, & I very much need some helpful communication with a knowledegable person regarding the situation & what happened, in hopes that it will help me with this and to hopefully feel less guilt about decisions and actions taken over course of the week or so in which this all happened.

To start with, her weight had always stayed around 40 lbs which seemed perfect, but she had started having arthritis problems in her hips over past couple years, which also made it difficult for her to walk/stand on our very smooth/rather slick tile. A visit to the vet at that time, giving her about 1 & 1/2 months of the VERY exspensive medicine Previcox (an NSAID, I believe) plus taking her on more frequent, but shorter walks helped to strengthen her. So, we quit the meds after the bottle was empty, and thankfully she started getting along pretty well without it. However, ~ 2 years later, in last several months, she had gradually started having more and more difficulty with stiffness, etc. and began walking a bit crooked (sideways) at times too, especially upon arising until she could get her legs under her. We were both wondering if she'd survive this coming summer, especially with the rather unpleasant hot weather we have here on the south side of Houston, TX, even though her walks were mostly in early mornings. She did fortunately get some nice walks this past winter and spring during the much nicer, cooler weather. For awhile I had been considering, and trying to find,'buffered' aspirin to give her, which was supposed to be the safest as indicated in a home remedy book for pets I have. I finally got some about a month ago in order to try giving her VERY small doses (1/4 tab, 81 mg) about once every 3 days (with evening meal) to start with for a few weeks in order to discern any improvement or problems noted from doing so. It did seem like it might be helping some, especially on her walks... per my husband, but of course, it's hard to tell for certain. However, before increasing frequency or dosage, I wanted to do some on-line research to look for any serious safety concerns/issues which I'd heard can exist, to varying degrees, with all NSAIDS. However, I was scheduled to go out of town for several days in about a week and had MUCH to do in meantime so asked my husband, who spends a lot of time on computer anyway, to do some research on this subject for me. He did this and told me that what he primarily found, based upon a couple different websites that seemed legitimate (i.e. not just here-say), was the possibility for gastric problems, bleeding, ulcers, etc. I was already aware of this, which was the reason for giving 'buffered' only, with meals, and in low doses. I mentioned my greater concern and interest about safety information regarding any possible liver/kidney problems, but he said he saw nothing about that... only gastric-type issues. So, at that I let my guard down some and began thinking it seemed reasonably safe to proceed with 'more frequent' doses but no more than once/day at the very most, and to keep the doses low. I split my next tab a little crooked so decided to cut it into 1/3's instead of 1/4's (which was a little higher dose, 108 mg but still low it seemed) and gave her those over course of next 3 days (Tues - Thurs, May21 - 23) which was the first time I'd given any without skipping at least one day, mostly two, imbetween and never giving more than 1/4 tab (81mg) per day except for those 3 days. Tinker seemed to do just fine after giving them to her. Unfortunately, this was the same week I was scheduled to go out of town on Friday (May 24) for several days and my husband was to stay home and take care of pets. So, that evening, while I was packing to leave, my husband fed the pets but forgot to give any pills (including usual vitamins), so... NO aspirin given that day (Fri), following the 3 days prior of 1/3 tab each evening which she seemed to tolerate well.

I left town that night, and the next evening (Sat, May 25) he divided one Aspirin tab and gave her 1/4 (~81 mg) with her meal. The next evening (Sun, May 26), he's fairly certain he gave her the second 1/4 tab with meal, which was the last (only other) tab he gave her over the course of the 4 days I was gone. That's only (2) 1/4 tabs = 162 mg total he gave her, and the other (2) 1/4 tabs are still in the pill splitter. So, between he and I, she was given a total of 1 and 1/2, 325mg buffered tabs, spread out over a 5-6 day period. I guess it's 'possible' I might've given a 1/4 tab on the prior Monday before starting the (3) 1/3 tabs that Tues, but I don't think so. Most likely I had skipped Monday and possibly even Sunday, but just don't remember that for certain.

While out of town, unbeknownst to me, on Monday ~ 6:30pm, shortly before being fed her evening meal/treat, she threw up some green liquid (similar to color of green peas.. per my husband), who unfortunately didn't think much of it so proceeded to feed her (~7pm) as planned. This fare varied from day to day and that day it was weiners (2 & 1/2 reg) which was really an occasional treat and somewhat high in salt, but given with low-salt mixed greens...but not what I'd have likely fed her after the sudden stomach upset/throw up that had just occured. He said she didn't seem distressed and she ate it (as the other 2 younger dogs did also) but, sometime later (after 11pm), she threw a fair portion of it up and my husband found her beside it (~1:30 pm), trying to get up after slipping, and the other dogs got his attention. It was pretty chunky still, not very well digested he said. The next morning (~ 4pm? he thinks) he found her again, along with the rest of her previous nights meal (thrown up also... now more digested in appearance but not bloody.) After each throw up, she asked to go outside, which she did for a little while, but, as my husband said, never acted as if she was in distress... but then, she rarely did except when struggling to get up after slipping, etc. When she came back inside after the final throw up, he said she drank a fair amount of water... like after a nice walk. She then slept most of day as usual, but in the evening, before he left for several hours, he made broth from a boullion cube (not the best thing in my view) since she'd thrown everything up the night before, but she showed no interest in it. When he returned later, about 10:30pm, he fed the dogs but, once again, she showed no interest in eating. The next morning (Wed.,May 29) he finally called me to ask when I was coming home. That day/evening, I answered, then asked about Tinker and was told of the recent events, and that she was currently just standing in the backyard... staring mostly, which she did sometimes for whatever reasons (seeming a little confused-like at times), but had been doing so for longer than usual he said. I very emphatically told him NOT to give her any more aspirin, which it seems he hadn't since Sunday, or Monday, wasn't exactly sure which... but probably the former. I then told him to buy some chicken legs, boil, debone and add white rice into broth for her. Later that afternoon, while stuck in traffic on way home, I called and he said she had eagerly eaten about a TBLsp of chicken from his fingers.... which sounded hopeful and was now sleeping in his closet... which sounded a bit odd. When I got home, around 7-7:30pm, I did find her in his closet (which was unusual, but near her usual sleep spot on carpet) in an uncomfortable looking position sitting somewhat upright on a messy pile of shoes, facing into the closet with her back legs in a straight-out forward position under her, like she had sorta fallen backwards and couldn't get up. Alarmed, I picked her up, took her outside and tried to stand her up to walk around a bit but she required a lot of support to do so and only reluctantly (and barely) walked. I then took her back inside and laid her on the soft (futon mattress) dog-bed in a comfortable position on her side, then gave her cold water to drink out of my hand and bowl which she raised her head some to do. I then got a syringe and gave her more while she laid there, which she swallowed just fine as I gave it to her. I tried giving her a ball of sticky rice-broth but she showed no real interest. So, I found a can of 'Dog-Sure' I had and gave her some by syringe, plus more water to try to hydrate and coat her stomach (had a lot of milk stuff in it) and to give her a little nutrition hopefully. She seemed reasonably comfortable at that point and continued lying there in that position, and I checked on her periodically, until going to bed. My husband said he had tried putting her there earlier but she wouldn't stay put, and had gone to the front room (a favorite sleep spot) but got in his closet instead, which he removed her from a couple times, but she'd go back so he finally just left her there.

Anyway, next morning there was a small piece of stool that had come out during the night as she continued to lay in same position I had put her in. We took her outside, cleaned her off, stood her up a bit with support... tried to walk her but not effectively as her back legs seemed pretty unresponsive and she just wanted to lie down. We took her back inside and put her on opposite side on dog bed and I gave more cold water and Dog-Sure with syringe. I looked for some records regarding her age, then called the vet to discuss the situation. By that time she was breathing heavier it seemed and I suspected she was somewhat close to dying which I told the vet and she agreed. I discussed options and the possibility of driving her there for expensive tests and/or euthanasia which was about a 15 mile drive in a noisy car without A/C (currently) to be put down on a cold, hard table in a mostly unfamiliar place, as opposed to her own home and soft bed. I asked about other comfort measures (pain meds), and she mentioned a few which, as it turned out, I already had. So, I held her head up and gave her some Turbegesic liquid followed by water, which she seemed to swallow but definitely not as easily as before. I stroked and talked to her and she seemed to relax a little more, although she already seemed rather far away. A couple hours later she died. It all happened very quietly, and she looked and/or 'seemed' fairly comfortable and peaceful; which I can only hope, at the very least, that she was.

However, I've been VERY upset about it all afterwards... feeling that the aspirin we gave her that previous week may have caused her a 'premature' demise somehow... even though we both doubt she'd have lived a lot longer either way. So... I'm really hoping that you might be able to give me some kind of reassuring response about this, especially in regard to the aspirin dose,frequency and short length of time we gave it her. From everything I've seen so far, it seems like very low dosages. Do you agree with that? I had originally intended to do the research (myself) and then speak with the vet about it, especially before increasing the frequency, etc. However, after what my husband read and conveyed to me, I let my guard down since it sounded reasonably safe, especially at low doses, buffered and given with meal. They also had dry food available throughout the day to munch on. I definitely realize now that it would've been best to talk to the vet first, just to be on the safe side but, I sure hadn't expected anything like that to happen, and especially so soon and quickly. It was such bad timing too, with me out of town and not even knowing about it (at all) until the day before she died. I should have just told my husband not to give her any at all while I was gone, so I would at least be there if anything bad or suspicious happened, but he ONLY gave her a total of 1/2 tab. The really hard part is not knowing if it was just suddenly her time to go, or... if we perhaps caused/escalated it with that little bit of aspirin the week before, which... the thought of makes me feel quite awful. I was just wanting to help her be more comfortable and mobile, and the Previcox had been SO expensive (about $90 for a little over one months supply, two years ago, if I recall correctly), plus additional blood test required regularly. I apologize for this being so long...but felt the need to explain the situation as it happened, from beginning to end. Again, any helpful thing you might think of to tell me would be greatly appreciated. Such as, in your view and experience, would the Aspirin dosage we gave her, and short duration of it, seem likely to be dangerous?

I await your reply. Sincerely and appreciatively,

Amanda - USA



A 17 year-old, 40 pound dog is equivalent to a human at age 92. See: Comparison of Dog Ages. Consider yourself fortunate that you dog lived to such an old age.

At that age, various medications and treatments may help the dog somewhat, but often they are short-term. You did what your could to make her comfortable and to try to extend her life, but at some point nothing will really help.

Our 14 year-old Golden Retriever seemed in reasonable health when suddenly she fell over and couldn't up. When she went into convulsions, we knew her time was up. We brought her to the vet to put her down.

It is a very sad thing to lose your beloved pet. However, you did everything you could to keep her comfortable and extend her life. There is no sense trying to second-guess her treatments. Usually nothing will prevent a 17 year-old dog (or 92 year-old human) from passing away.

The best thing is to remember the good times and enjoyment you had with her, as well as the pleasure and warm home you gave her.

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