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Feedback Q&A on Animal Health

by Ron Kurtus

Readers have sent in a total of 364 comments and questions on Animal Health issues. They are listed according to date.

You can read them to further your understanding of the subject.

List of next 10 letters




Giving Your Dog Aspirin Thinks dog has Cushing's Disease USA
General Distressed over death of older dog USA
Giving Your Dog Aspirin Did you receive the email? USA
Giving Your Dog Aspirin Dog is panting USA
Giving Your Dog Aspirin Our Lab has arthritis USA
Giving Your Dog Aspirin Dog is 15 and getting arthritis Canada
General Dog ate ham and got sick USA
Giving Your Dog Aspirin Aspirin for large dogs USA
Giving Your Dog Aspirin Does Rimadyl kill dogs? United Kingdom
Giving Your Dog Aspirin I give my dogs infant tylenol USA

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First 10 letters

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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Did you receive the email?

Topic: Giving Your Dog Aspirin


June 3, 2013

I wrote a fairly long letter to this website today, which took me ALL day, so I hope a knowledgeable person will actually read/respond as soon as reasonably possible. However, after sending it, I have not yet gotten an email indicating that it was received, which concerns me. So, I came back to try again with a short 'test' email in hopes that this isn't just some kind of scam to get my email address, etc. I sure hope not after all the effort I went to today to write my letter and related questions. My email above is definitely correct. Thanks and I hope to find that this does work.

Amanda - USA



Yes, I received your long email and just answered it.

I hope my thoughts will help relieve your distress about losing your dog.

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Dog is panting

Topic: Giving Your Dog Aspirin


June 1, 2013

I did all of that u recommended. Thats where I hth ot my info. I want to knownh ow slow is breathing back down...pantting

Rebecca - USA



Aspirin can be used to help relieve pain on a short term basis. If your dog is having breathing problems or is panting too much, you should check with a vet. There may be other problems.

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Our Lab has arthritis

Topic: Giving Your Dog Aspirin


May 26, 2013

our lab has arthritis...i give him 6 baby aspirin every 12 hours when it flares up..( usually due to weather change noticeably)after @ 2 1/2 days the symptoms always completely clear up until the next there a safe maintenance dosage of aspirin i can give him to avoid flare ups without becoming toxic?

estella - USA



Instead of a maintenance dosage, I prefer to think of it as an emergency dosage. Some discomfort is not bad, and you can never completely eliminate it in an older dog (or older person).

You always need to make sure your dog takes the aspirin with food. The biggest problem with aspirin is the possibility of intestinal bleeding. It is also a good idea to check with your vet for advice on dealing with arthritis in an older dog.

Best wishes for good health with your Lab.

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Dog is 15 and getting arthritis

Topic: Giving Your Dog Aspirin


March 19, 2013

Hi. My dog is going on 15 yrs. She is normally healthy but lately she drinks a lot of water and voids a lot more. I suspect she has developed diabetes. She is also showing a lot of signs of arthritic pain. I just don't have the money right now to take her to the vet. Any suggestions on how to make her more comfortable? I'm afraid that baby aspirin will be hard on her kidneys in her state. Thanks for your time, Joanne

Joanne - Canada



At 15 years, she is an old girl. Make sure she is not too heavy, since extra weight aggravates both arthritis and diabetes. Old dogs don't need as much food and can put on extra weight.

Make sure you give her some light exercise every day. A short walk can help warm up her joints, even if it start out painful.

The only time I'd give her aspirin is if she was very uncorrectable, like on a damp, cold day.

Also, give her plenty of love, so you both can enjoy her senior years.

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Dog ate ham and got sick

Topic: General


February 2, 2013

i gave my shizue a small amount of ham ..after he ate it he acts like his belly is hurting ..what can i give him to help...




I guess the ham didn't agree with him. But I am sure he is feeling better by now.

It is good to know that if a dog has an upset stomach, you can give some mild--and easy to digest--food. Rice and some boiled chicken (not fried) is often helpful in settling a dog's stomach.

Best wishes for good health with your Shizue.

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Aspirin for large dogs

Topic: Giving Your Dog Aspirin


October 19, 2012

I was looking at your chart for recommended aspirin dose and noticed it only goes up to 96 lbs. Our dogs are considerably bigger than that (she's 125 and he's 195 - Great Danes). I just wanted to suggest a possible update to the chart.
Thanks for your time.

Mark - USA



Thanks for the feedback. You sure have some big dogs. I'll update the chart to cover larger dogs.

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Does Rimadyl kill dogs?

Topic: Giving Your Dog Aspirin


April 30, 2012

Rimadyl kills dogs! There is plenty of info on various websites substantiating this, including a petition at the website 'Care2petitionsite' to stop the drug company from continuing to market this drug.

This drug has killed at least 3,200 dogs so far. Please take some time to do your own research on the above and hopefully this will convince you to change your remarks on Rimadyl on your website.


Sara - United Kingdom



My article talks about occasionally giving aspirin to a dog for pain relief. I give many warnings about using caution in giving the dog aspirin.

The only thing I say about Rimadyl is "most vets prescribe Rimadyl as a better pain-killer and anti-inflammatory than aspirin." I am not advocating Rimadyl, and it is up to the vet to check for allergic reactions and to properly prescribe the medication.

I certainly do not want dogs to die from taking the wrong medication or from taking too much. However, I would hope that the veterinarian would use proper medical judgment in prescribing Rimadyl or another other pain-relief medication.

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I give my dogs infant tylenol

Topic: Giving Your Dog Aspirin


March 24, 2012

I have always given my dogs infant tylenol because it is liquid form. It has always worked. I have never had any side effects on my animals. I use the mininum dropperful. Is this wrong? I have done this for years. Please let me know. Oh I have found using shark cartilage for arthritis is better than using that chronditin stuff. It is cheaper and highly effective too!

Meri - USA



Some vets recommend liquid infant Tylenol instead of baby aspirin. Regular Tylenol is not readily digested and can be toxic if given too much. With any pain relief medicines, you need to be careful, and the minimum dosage is the best.

Thanks for the info on shark cartilage for arthritis.

Best wishes for good health among your dogs.

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