Vitamin E and Selenium for Your Horse

Vitamin E and Selenium are involved in many systems within the body. Selenium is a mineral which is important for wound healing, stress tolerance, fetal development, healthy hair coat, and detoxification of drugs and other chemicals. In addition, selenium is critical for proper wound healing and muscle function, as well as preventing infection.

Vitamin E is a natural antioxidant and signs of vitamin E deficiency can be similar to those seen with selenium deficiency. There are several muscular and neurologic diseases which can result from a lack of vitamin E including Equine Motor Neuron Disease (EMND).

The soil in this region of the United States are deficient in Selenium, so forages grown in this area are also generally deficient and as a result equine diets should be supplemented. On the other hand, vitamin E is abundant in green growing pastures but the content diminishes with maturation and especially with harvesting for hay. Since we are unable to graze year-round, this vitamin should also be supplemented in the diet.

Horses who have increased time stalled or in a dry lot are especially prone to low levels of vitamin E and Selenium. Since these nutrients protect the muscle cells from damage and aid in healing, the higher and more intense the exercise program, the greater the requirements. Decreased fertility, neurologic signs, hind-end lameness, lethargy, or delayed healing are some of the many reasons we may recommend checking vitamin E and selenium levels, which can easily be done via a blood sample.

For example, we had a case of a broodmare that was having trouble getting in foal. She was kept on a dry lot and all forages she received were grown on sandy soil. She was in decent body condition and was strictly being used as a broodmare.

Vitamin E Level: 0.67 ug/ml
(Normal: 2-4 ug/ml)
(Performance Horse: 3-4 ug/ml)

Selenium: 136 ng/ml
(Normal: 120-180 ng/ml)
(Performance Horse: 170-180 ng/ml)

We have included this example to show how important all vitamins and minerals are in the diet. Often people hear about some particular mineral or vitamin and they just concentrate on that one element. We must remember that the diet needs to be balanced for everything. Many of the minerals and vitamins work very closely together and feeding one in excess can cause an extreme deficiency in another. If you have any questions or concerns about your horse’s diet, we would be happy to discuss in more detail!

Our Gallant Geldings and the Importance of Sheath Cleaning

If you have geldings and get dental work done on them regularly you will be used to this familiar question from your veterinarian: “Would you like his sheath cleaned today?”. While many owners have geldings that are patient enough to have their sheaths cleaned without any sedation, it can be difficult to clean and get a good look without assistance. Having your horse’s sheath cleaned and examined by your veterinarian annually will not only make your horse more comfortable, it can also allow the veterinarians to see potential issues early on before they become a much bigger problem.

As veterinarians, one of the most important reasons we advocate for annual sheath cleaning is to inspect the penis and sheath to look for cancerous lesions. Squamous Cell Carcinoma is the second most common equine tumor, and the penis and sheath are common areas for this type of cancer to be found. Older geldings and/or those with unpigmented genitalia, such as Appaloosas and Paints, are more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma. Current research also indicates that excessive accumulation of smegma can also predispose to the development of cancerous lesions. Annual sheath cleanings performed by your veterinarian allows them to both A) Remove the buildup of potentially harmful smegma and B) Thoroughly inspect the sheath while your horse is relaxed and sedated. If your veterinarian does find a worrisome lesion, they can work with you on the best plan for your horse to ensure the tumor does not grow or spread. In general, squamous cell carcinomas are locally aggressive but slow to spread to other organs, meaning the sooner your veterinarian can find and treat the growth, the better the prognosis is for your horse.

Another reason to have your gelding’s sheath cleaned annually is to remove the “bean”; an accumulation of smegma in the urethral fossa at the end of the penis. For some horses this accumulation is small and not an issue, but in others it can be the size of a marble or larger, and become painful for your gelding and/or make it difficult for them to urinate. Many horses will be resentful of having the bean removed without proper restraint and sedation, which is another excellent reason to have it done by your veterinarian. Even after sheath cleaning and bean removal, some horses may begin to accumulate smegma as soon as a week post-cleaning. This is normal in a lot of horses, and a low level of smegma is helpful in that it acts as a lubricant and protective covering for the penis. The purpose of the cleaning and bean removal is to get rid of any excess that could cause an issue.

We love our geldings and want to make sure that they’re happy and healthy. Having your gelding’s sheath cleaned and looked over annually by your veterinarian is an important way to ensure that they are both comfortable and free from any potentially cancerous lesions. If you have any questions or notice anything on your horse’s sheath between annual cleanings, be sure to contact your veterinarian to discuss your concerns early-on before anything has time to progress.

(Written by Dr. Deanna Scheller while she was a 4th year ambulatory rotation student with us from the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. Thanks Dr. Deanna!)

LVC introduces a new procedure… Artificial Insemination and Embryo Transfer In Sheep and Goats

The advanced reproduction team at Lodi Veterinary Care is excited to announce Laparoscopic Artificial Insemination (AI) and Embryo Transfer (ET) procedures in sheep and goats.

The laparoscopic AI procedure requires the animal to be lightly sedated, given a local block at the site of the abdominal incisions, and then tipped in a special cart to allow access to the organs. Because this is a sterile procedure, sheep and goat AI/ET are done in our surgical suite at our Lodi location. Patients must be held off feed and water for 24 hours before surgery.

Why choose AI or ET? Getting an animal bred through an artificial procedure eliminates the need to have a buck or ram on the farm. It also expands your choice of the genetic donor pool by utilizing frozen semen which can be shipped nationwide. Unlike pasture breeding, AI also allows for accurate breeding dates which lead to anticipated delivery dates.

As with any reproductive program, the general health of the herd or flock greatly influences the success rate. Therefore, good nutrition, parasite management, and a detailed vaccination program are essential.

Contact us for more information regarding sheep and goat AI/ET services.

What You Need to Know Before Taking Your Pig to the Fair

Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) and Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv) are common diseases present in pig populations. PRRS is a viral respiratory and reproductive disease which causes abortions and infertility in adult sows. PEDv is a virus which causes diarrhea in all ages of pigs but is more severe in young piglets, often times leading to death.  In an effort to reduce exposure to PRRS and PEDv, Wisconsin has recently changed the rules regarding the transportation of porcine. All pigs(with a few exceptions below) are required to be tested before moving within or in/out of Wisconsin. Below are some frequently asked questions…

What pigs have to be tested?
Any swine moving into or within Wisconsin must be tested within 90 days of movement (swine moving to slaughter or to one exhibition prior to slaughter are exempt).

What happens when I go to an in state show?
The herd of origin must test negative for PRRS/SECD within 90 days of any swine’s movement to the exhibition or show. This allows swine from jackpot shows to have one test early in the spring to travel to a number of shows throughout the season.

What happens when I go to an out of state show?
If swine originate from Wisconsin and return to Wisconsin after an exhibition or show in another state, the exhibitor must notify DATCP of the movement before returning to Wisconsin. DATCP will quarantine the swine, herd of origin, or both until a herd plan is
developed and approved.

How do I test?
● A simple way to test is the “cotton rope” test which can be done by the swine owner under the direction of an accredited veterinarian.
● Cotton rope kits are available at Lodi Veterinary Care free of charge.
● Instructions for how to collect an oral sample using the rope test are
included with the kit. Please read the instructions carefully.

● Test samples can also be collected via blood serum and swab by a
● Regardless of who collects the sample, an accredited veterinarian
must submit the sample.

How much does it cost to test for PRRS and PEDv?
● Cotton rope test kit is free of charge
● Submission fee: ~$15
● PCR testing for PRRSv and PEDv: ~$65
● Health Certificate per exhibition: ~$50 (plus call charge)

*Fees may vary based on the number of animals going to an exhibition and is at the discretion of your veterinarian.

When should I test for PRRS/PEDv?
We recommend testing at least two weeks prior to your first exhibition to allow for the return of test results and to develop a herd plan if the results are positive.

What is a herd plan?
● A herd plan is a program developed with your veterinarian and
approved by DATCP to help bring your herd back to negative status
and reduce the spread of the disease.
● A herd plan is required if any pigs test positive for either PRRS/PEDv
or if the pigs were imported into Wisconsin without a negative test
within 90 days of being imported.

Details regarding what must be done for your herd plan can be discussed with your veterinarian at the time of a positive test result for PRRS or PEDv.

For more information please go to

Heartworm disease is on the rise in our area – keep your pets protected!

At Lodi Veterinary Care, we have seen at sharp increase in heartworm positive cases over the past year. We previously averaged 1-2 dog heartworm positive cases over this time, however, over the past six months, we have averaged 1-2 cases per month. This is scary!!

Heartworm disease is a deadly disease transmitted by mosquitoes. The increase in heartworm cases likely has several causes:

  • More dogs traveling throughout the country, particularly to and from heartworm endemic areas, such as the southern United States.
  • Changes in weather and environment, leading to an increase in the mosquito population
  • Decreased dogs receiving monthly heartworm prevention

It is important to be aware that heartworm positive dogs pose a risk to ALL dogs in our area. Because heartworm disease is transmitted from dog to dog via mosquito, the more heartworm positive dogs we have in our area the more heartworm carrying mosquitoes we have – increasing heartworm exposure for ALL dogs.

Heartworm disease is a difficult, risky, and costly disease to treat. There are often no outward signs of the disease until it is in the advanced stages. For these reasons, prevention and early detection are critical.

We advise Interceptor Plus year round for heartworm and intestinal parasite prevention. If you choose to give heartworm prevention seasonally, it must be given May 1st – December 1st.

For more resources regarding heartworm disease, check out the American Heartworm Society website.

Are grain-free diets harmful to your dog?

The FDA is currently researching a potential link between grain free dog food and development of heart disease. Grain-free food may lack taurine, an essential ingredient for your dog’s heart health.

Grain-free dog foods are high in carbohydrates, such as peas, lentils, chickpeas and potatoes. These ingredients may lack taurine or provide taurine in a way that is not available for the body to use. Low levels of taurine make dogs prone to dilated cardiomyopathy, a heart condition in which the heart muscle becomes stretched and unable to beat or contract effectively.

Grain-free food has gained popularity in recent years due to trends in the human world. It is important to remember that dogs are omnivores, meaning their body needs a little bit of everything. Protein, carbohydrates, grains, fats, vitamins, and minerals are all needed to maintain a healthy diet for your dog.

The most common reason dog owners choose grain free diets is because of concern for food allergies. However, the protein sources, mainly chicken and beef, are the most common cause of food allergies. Of the small percentage of dogs that have food allergies, only 0.9% of those dogs have true grain sensitivity.

In light of the current FDA investigation, we recommend the following for our patients:

  • We do not recommend any dog under one year of age be on a grain-free diet.
  • Dogs currently on grain-free diets that do not have a diagnosed grain allergy should transition to high quality, well-balanced diet that is NOT grain free.
  • Dogs with a diagnosed grain allergy should be transitioned to a grain-free brand food with the AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officials) statement and consider blood testing for taurine levels.

Click here for more information regarding the FDA’s current investigation.

We all want what is best for our beloved pets and to keep their hearts healthy! If you have any questions or concerns regarding your pet’s diet please contact us.

Managing Calf Scours

Scours, or diarrhea, is a common illness of young calves and one of the leading causes of mortality prior to weaning.  Affected calves may suffer from decreased appetite, weakness, and eventual death from dehydration or electrolyte imbalances. Fortunately, scours can often be prevented with good management practices, including proper nutrition, hygiene, and a vaccination program recommended by your veterinarian. For calves that are already sick, early and appropriate treatment is the best way to ensure recovery.

The most important factor in preventing calf death from scours is hydration. Calves should always be given access to clean fresh water. Scouring calves should be offered a balanced oral electrolyte solution either free choice or as a separate feeding from their normal milk or milk replacer. Calves that maintain their appetites will often recover in three to five days without further treatment.

Calves that refuse to drink for two or more consecutive feedings may need to be given oral electrolytes via an esophageal tube feeder. Feeding milk with a tube feeder is not recommended, as it may cause harmful digestive upsets. If calves are too weak to stand or suckle, IV fluids or a plasma transfusion may be necessary. This will likely require veterinary assistance.

The decision to treat a scouring calf with antibiotics is dependent on the severity and symptoms of the disease. Many of the common causes of scours (viruses, parasites, and nutritional changes) will not respond to antibiotic treatments, and most calves recover without treatment after a few days. Reserve antibiotics for calves that have fevers higher than 103° F or show other signs of illness (depression, refusal to eat, coughing, etc.). Consult with your veterinarian to choose the best antibiotic for your animals.

The contagious truth about ringworm – let’s keep it out of our county fairs!

What is Ringworm?
Ringworm is a common fungal infection of livestock that is caused by several different organisms called dermatophytes. The most common type to affect cattle is called Trichophyton verrucosum.

How is ringworm transmitted?
The organisms that cause ringworm are very hardy and persist in the environment for long periods of time, even after there is no direct animal contact. They can survive in bedding, soil, and on inanimate objects (posts/halters/neck straps) for many months. Because of this, ringworm is extremely contagious and minimal contact with the organism can infect animals and humans.

Why is Ringworm a concern at local and county fairs?
Ringworm is considered a zoonotic disease. This means that it is contagious between animal species as well as to people who come in contact with it. While farmers and ranchers may be familiar with ringworm and avoid touching the lesions, visitors of the fairs are an unsuspecting population. We have a duty to keep the general public free from this disease while also attempting to not spread it to other animals visiting the fair.

Where are ringworm lesions located and what do they look like?
Lesions frequently occur around the eyes, ears, muzzle, neck and trunk of animals. They are typically round/oval areas of crusted skin combined with hair loss. Occasionally, the lesions may have a raised look to them due to oozing and may have a secondary bacterial skin infection underlying the crust.

How long is ringworm contagious?
Ringworm lesions can persist for weeks to many months. During the entire time that the lesions are visible, they are considered contagious. At all stages of the ringworm disease process, small hair follicles are present (including underneath the crusted lesions). The old age saying that states, “If there’s hair growing through, it’s not contagious” is simply false. This is because on visual inspection it is impossible to determine if thin hair growth is due to hair falling out or hair growing back in. Tests have shown that animals recovering from ringworm with spotty hair growth will still culture positive for organisms that cause ringworm. Only animals without visually detectable lesions are considered no longer contagious.

If some lesions are healed but other spots are still present, is my animal still contagious?
Yes. Due to the prolonged disease process, individual ringworm lesions can be at different stages of healing depending on when the area was exposed to ringworm. Lesions can also heal at different rates, depending on the level of exposure. Another factor that affects healing rates is whether or not the animal has developed a secondary bacterial skin infection, which can slow the ringworm healing process.

How do I treat ringworm?
Ringworm is often self-limiting, meaning it will go away on its own without any treatment. However, if ringworm is present on an animal that is destined to attend a fair or show, treatment will need to be initiated immediately. As mentioned earlier, ringworm can persist for weeks to many months even with treatment. Therefore, it is not a disease that can be cleared up quickly in just the week prior to the fair. Consult with your herd veterinarian for strategies and treatment options.

A Different Breed of Pinkeye Emerges… Is a Different Breed of Vaccine the Answer?

What is pinkeye?
Pinkeye is a very painful and bothersome disease of cattle that has changed greatly in recent years. Traditional pinkeye (Moraxella bovis) is a summertime, pasture-based problem, easily treated with antibiotics. Modern pinkeye (Moraxella bovoculi ) is more of a year-round disease,
common in both indoor and outdoor cattle pens. It is difficult to prevent and more difficult to treat with antibiotics. Mycoplasma bovoculi is a less common bacterium but is also a type of pinkeye.

What causes pinkeye?
Pinkeye is caused by a bacterial infection of the tissues of the eye. Irritants such as sunlight, flies, dust, wind, thistles, tall grass and trauma can all contribute to the development of pinkeye.  Flies can spread the bacteria from cow to cow while a weakened immune system will also allow the infection to take hold.

What are the symptoms of pinkeye?
Common symptoms include a more pronounced reddish or pink discoloration to the pink part of the eye, while the clear part of the eye turns whitish-grey. Because it is painful, the cow will hold the eye partially closed, and extra tearing will stain the side of the face.

How is pinkeye treated?
Your veterinarian can prescribe antibiotics or a medicated spray specifically designed to treat pinkeye. In some cases a patch or suture is necessary to treat the infection.

How is pinkeye prevented?
Fly control with insecticidals such as ear tags, pour-ons, and back-rubbers can be helpful in controlling traditional pinkeye. Feed ingredients, weed control, and pasture maintenance can also help.

Is there a vaccine for pinkeye?
The bacteria that cause pinkeye have great strain variations. To be effective, the strains in your vaccine need to compatible to those affecting your cows. Because of this, commercially available vaccines can have limited efficacy. Lodi Veterinary Care has developed an autogenous vaccine that contains local strains of the pinkeye bacteria cultured from cattle in your area which makes it effective in preventing pinkeye. Talk to a Lodi Veterinary Care veterinarian for more information.

Feline Diabetes Mellitus

Feline Diabetes MellitusDiabetes mellitus is a common problem in cats. Caring for a diabetic animal requires some effort, but most pets remain happy and comfortable. Successful patient management requires a team effort between you and our veterinary care team.

What is diabetes mellitus?

Diabetes mellitus is a disease caused by a deficiency of (or lack of response to) insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas. The cells of the body require blood sugar (glucose) for food and they depend on the bloodstream to bring glucose to them. The cells cannot, however, absorb and utilize glucose without insulin. Insulin is necessary for the movement of glucose from the blood into the cells of the body.

What are the signs of diabetes?

Excessive thirst, frequent urination, increased hunger, sudden weight loss and weakness are seen in cats with diabetes. Without insulin, glucose remains in the bloodstream and eventually passes into the urine. This causes increased urination, which then leads to an increase in thirst. Hunger increases because the body cannot use the glucose in the blood, which results in the body destroying muscle and fat to use as energy sources. If left untreated, this disease sets off a series of events which results in weight loss, major organ system failure, and eventually coma and death.

Why is my cat diabetic?

Feline diabetes is a complex disease, and most likely genetic and environmental factors both play a role. Many cats with diabetes have a history of chronic pancreatitis, or a disease which affects the body’s response to insulin. We do know that obesity is commonly associated with feline diabetes, along with the use of certain medications, such as steroids.

Is there a cure for diabetes?

Although there is currently no cure for cats with diabetes, some cats undergo remission a few months after diagnosis. This means that the diabetes goes away temporarily, and the cat is once again able to control his or her blood glucose levels. There is evidence to suggest that remission is most likely if the diabetes is treated effectively when first diagnosed.

How is diabetes treated?

Treatment generally requires an injection of insulin under the skin twice daily. Successful treatment also involves a high protein, low carbohydrate diet, generally Hill’s m/d or Purina DM.

What does the insulin do?

Insulin moves glucose from the blood into the cells. Glucose is an essential fuel for most of the tissues in the body, and without insulin, cell metabolism is severely compromised. Providing insulin in the form of an injection allows your cat to be able to utilize its glucose and maintain relatively normal glucose levels.

How do I give insulin?

Our veterinary team will show you exactly how to give insulin injections, but it’s really very simple. The insulin dose it pulled up into a special syringe, and injected under the skin. It is often easiest to inject between the shoulder blades or along the neck.

Do the insulin injections hurt?

Insulin syringes have very small needles, and most cats do not notice the injection. It is often easiest to administer the injection while your cat is distracted with food, a treat, or a toy. Most people are surprised at how easy insulin injections are to give.

How do I dispose of my used supply of needles and syringes?

Used needles and syringes need to be properly disposed of for both your safety and ours. You will be required to purchase a “SHARPS” container for a fee. This fee covers the container purchase, plus the proper disposal of the used/full container.

We will not accept used needles and syringes that are stored in containers other than the approved “SHARPS” container. Once the “SHARPS” container is full, simply return it to our office. We will dispose of it and you can purchase a replacement container.

What follow-up is involved with treating diabetes in cats?

In the non-diabetic cat, adequate amounts of insulin are produced continually (or as needed) by the pancreas to maintain normal blood sugar levels. When we give insulin injections, we administer a fixed amount at one time and that insulin is slowly released over several hours. A blood glucose curve is needed to determine how fast the injected insulin gets into the bloodstream and how long it lasts. Based on these results, we can determine if the correct type of insulin is being used and if the dose needs to be adjusted. Blood glucose curves are needed periodically to insure that the proper amount of insulin is being used. Blood glucose curves are performed by obtaining a blood glucose level every 2-4 hours over a 12 hour period. Generally, if your cat’s blood glucose is elevated throughout the curve, their insulin dose needs to be increased. If your cat’s blood glucose level is too low throughout or at any point during the curve, the insulin dose needs to be decreased.

What are the possible complications associated with treating my cat with insulin?

The most serious complication involved in treatment of diabetes is administration of too much insulin, which can trigger a dramatic drop in blood sugar leading to weakness, nausea, incoordination, seizures, and even death. Immediate feeding of a sugary food (honey, syrup, etc.) usually helps reverse this reaction. Other difficulties encountered generally revolve around finding the correct amount, timing and type of insulin given. While this is not often the case, “problem diabetics” do exist and have a higher incidence of concurrent disease such as lower urinary tract infections, kidney disease and liver disease.

Can I monitor my cat’s blood sugar (glucose) at home?

Learning to measure your cat’s glucose levels is very worthwhile. Firstly, information collected at home is a reflection of what’s happening day to day in your cat’s normal living environment. Cats in particular can become very stressed in the clinic, and their blood sugar levels can become markedly increased. Home glucose monitoring would allow you to be able to perform your cat’s glucose curves at home. Our veterinary team can use the values you obtain at home to adjust insulin therapy more appropriately and accurately. Secondly, if your cat seems unwell, you can quickly determine if blood sugar levels are dangerously high or low. It is very important to always consult our veterinary team prior to making any insulin adjustments.

The thought of glucose home monitoring may seem overwhelming at first, but it is an option to consider and can be started at any time during your cat’s diabetic treatment. Our veterinary team would be happy to demonstrate proper and easy blood sampling techniques and provide a home glucose monitoring kit.

What are the costs associated with treating my diabetic cat?

The major costs associated with treatment of diabetes include insulin, syringes and the cost of the glucose curves to regulate insulin requirements. We can give you more accurate estimation of treatment cost at your consultation appointment.

Our veterinary care team has reviewed the following websites on feline diabetes and find them to be an accurate source of valuable information.

Making the decision to care for your cat with diabetes is a big commitment, but many owners of diabetic cats have found treatment to be a very rewarding and enriching experience. There is a lot to learn and it is important to be patient with yourself and your cat during the learning process. Diabetes is a serious disease, but it can usually be well-controlled, enabling your pet to lead a happy and comfortable life.

Laryngeal Paralysis

The larynx (or voice box) is a structure located in the throat that helps direct air into the lungs and food into the esophagus. Its function is important in preventing food/water from entering the lower airways when swallowing. The larynx opening and closing is controlled by two small flaps called the arytenoids – these arytenoids close when we swallow food/water and open when we take a breath.

Laryngeal paralysis is when the nerves to one or both of the arytenoids become weakened or stop working entirely. This results in one or both of the flaps controlling the larynx to become paralyzed causing them to become slack. This causes louder raspy noise while breathing caused by the slackened arytenoids vibrating as air flows past them. Because of this weakening dogs can inadvertently swallow food or water into the lower airways resulting in coughing or even pneumonia.

The exact cause of laryngeal paralysis is yet unknown. It has been found that dogs with hypothyroidism are more prone to laryngeal paralysis. One study suggests that laryngeal paralysis may be part of a more widespread nerve degeneration; often times dogs with laryngeal paralysis also have weakness in the hind limbs.

Diagnosis of laryngeal paralysis is made by observation of the movement of the arytenoids as deep breaths are taken. This type of exam requires sedation. If one or both of the arytenoids appear slack the diagnosis is made. Occasionally chest x rays and bloodwork are also needed to better understand the situation.

Treatment of laryngeal paralysis is a surgical procedure called a laryngeal tie back or lateralization surgery. This surgery involves placing sutures to help reposition one of the arytenoids to open the airway. Unfortunately this surgery can present risks. Approximately 30% of dogs receiving this surgery will experience a complication called aspiration pneumonia in which food or water is swallowed into the lungs causing infection. Acute respiratory distress is another common complication of the surgery in which a patient will have difficulty breathing and may require an emergency tracheostomy to be placed (this is when a small hole is cut into the trachea below the surgery site to place a breathing tube).

Laryngeal Paralysis

If laryngeal paralysis is not treated the risk of respiratory crisis can occur. If a dog with laryngeal paralysis gets excited or is exposed to warm temperatures, they will begin to pant. Panting will cause the slackened arytenoids to hit each other repeatedly resulting in potentially life threatening swelling of the throat that could result in overheating, lack of oxygen to the brain, and/or death.

Helpful tips for dogs with laryngeal paralysis:

  • Avoid stress to prevent excess panting
  • Keep pet in a temperature controlled, cool environment avoiding extreme heat
  • Use a harness instead of a collar to reduce pressure on the neck
  • Ask your veterinarian if anti-inflammatory or anti-anxiety medications could be helpful
  • Pursue surgical correction in a timely fashion to reduce risk of respiratory crisis

Vestibular Disease

The vestibular system is a combination of sensing receptors in the middle ear which help us determine our orientation and movement. These receptors then send signals via nerves to parts of the brain that help us maintain balance and coordinate our movements. If any part of this intricate system is disrupted it can result in “vestibular disease”.

Symptoms of vestibular disease include: head tilt, ataxia or uncoordinated movements, walking in circles, falling over, motion sickness or nausea, and nystagmus (rapid eye movements side to side or rotational).

Causes of Vestibular Disease

  • Middle ear infections can affect the vestibular organs which reside in the ear. Diagnosis can occasionally be made by external ear exam and microscopic evaluation of debris, but may require x rays of the bulla (bones of the inner ear). Treatment will involve topical and/or oral antibiotics. In severe cases, anesthesia for a deep ear flush may be warranted.
  • Brain lesions such as cancer, bleeding or blood clots in or around the brain can be an important but less likely cause of vestibular symptoms. Diagnosis of this would require referral for CT scan or MRI.
  • Idiopathic or “old dog vestibular disease” is the most common cause. Idiopathic disease has no known cause, but it occurs acutely and resolves quickly. Often dogs with this form will be back to normal in 7-14 days. Treatment involves treating for motion sickness and nausea. Physical therapy can also be helpful in assisting in recovery.

Transitional Cell Carcinoma (TCC)

Transitional Cell Carcinoma (TCC) is a cancer of the urinary bladder. Transitional cells are the cells that line the bladder wall, TCC is a cancer that arises from these cells. The exact cause is unknown, however, an increased risk of this cancer is found in certain breeds of dogs. Shetland sheepdogs, West highland terriers, Scottish terriers and Beagles are breeds predisposed to TCC.

Symptoms include:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Straining to urinate
  • Frequent or unexplained bladder infections

Transitional Cell Carcinoma (TCC)

The diagnosis of TCC is often made after ruling out more common causes of the above list of symptoms (such as bladder stones, infections or other benign causes of blood in the urine and straining to urinate). Several diagnostic tests will be needed to confirm the diagnosis of TCC.

  • Urinalysis – will reveal blood and sometimes abnormal cancer cells can be seen.
  • Urine culture – allows for infection secondary to the tumors to be treated with appropriate antibiotics.
  • Radiographs – rules out stones in the bladder
  • Ultrasound – will show abnormal masses in the bladder wall, but can also show us crystals, stones or polyps in the bladder
  • Cystoscopy – A tiny flexible camera that can be inserted like a catheter through the urethra into the bladder to help visualize and biopsy bladder masses
  • Catheterization – in some cases a urinary catheter can be placed in male dogs that helps collect a small sample of cells for cytology
  • Cytology — evaluation of cells by a pathologist


  • Chemotherapy – available through veterinary oncologists.
  • Surgical removal – possible only if mass is in a location favorable for surgery.
  • Conservative/palliative care – piroxicam is an oral medication often used due to its anti-inflammatory properties and possible anti-tumor activity.

Your veterinarian will help formulate a diagnosis and treatment plan best suited for your pet’s needs.

Keratoconjucntivitis Sicca (KCS)

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca, otherwise known as KCS or Dry Eye is a condition in which tear production is abnormally low.

Symptoms may include one or more of the following:

  • Dry appearance to the eye
  • Increased thick ocular discharge
  • Conjunctivitis – red/inflamed eyes
  • Corneal edema (hazy white appearance to outer eye)
  • Corneal pigmentation (brown discoloration to the outer eye)

Corneal ulcers or damage to outer eye can occur secondary to KCS

Diagnosis is made by performing a test to measure tear production called a Schirmer Tear Test.  A fluorescein stain may be performed to help rule out corneal damage or ulceration secondary to KCS.

Treatment of KCS is life long and involves using a combination of therapies to help stimulate natural tear production, provide lubrication to the eye and control secondary bacterial infections.  The most common medication used is an ophthalmic ointment called Optimmune (or other cyclosporine eye medications) – this treatment can stimulate tear production as well as decrease inflammation.    Prognosis is good for patients with KCS, however treatment is lifelong.

Flea Control Guide

Flea Control Guide

How to Look for Fleas on Your Pet

Examine your pet’s coat carefully. Using a fine-toothed comb (flea comb), look for adult fleas, or for specks that look like pepper (flea dirt). The most common areas to find fleas/flea dirt are the groin, armpits, tailhead, and the neck area. Transfer the black specks onto a white paper towel, and moisten it with water. If the specks leave a red stain, these are definatley flea droppings.

Flea Allergy Dermatitis

Many dogs and cats are allergic to flea saliva, and even a few bites cause these pets to be intensely ithcy. For these pets, flea prevention is critical. The skin irritation associated with flea bites can be treated with anti-inflammatories, and skin infections can be controlled with antibiotics.

Successful Flea Control

An effective flea control program requires treatment of all:

  • Pets in the household
  • Stages of fleas
  • Areas of the environment

It is very important to use a flea control product that controls the larva and egg stages, as these stages comprise 95% of the flea population. Look for house treatments that contain insect growth regulators (IGRs) for effective control of all stages. Adult fleas spend a majority of their lives on a dog or cat, and are easily killed with an effective adulticide product.

Fleas complete their life cycles best in carpet/upholstry fibers, cracks or crevices on the floor, and in shady areas of yards. Concentrate control efforts in these areas. Prevention is easier and less costly than treating a flea infestation.

A. Treat the pet.

Adult fleas that are living on the pet must be killed.  Effective products will not only treat an active infestation, they will prevent future infestations. It is recommended to use monthly.

These products include:

  • Simparica – once monthly oral tablet for dogs only
  • Comfortis – once monthly oral tablet for dogs and cats
  • Parastar Plus – topical for dogs only
  • Easy Spot – topical for cats only
  • Revolution – topical

For pets with a significant amounts of flea dirt, we recommend administering product, waiting two (2) days, then bathe with an aloe/oatmeal shampoo. It is not recommended to use medicated shampoos or flea shampoos in conjunction with other products. These shampoos will strip, or remove, the topical products.

B. Treat the house/outdoor environment.

Remember that only 5% of the flea populations are adult fleas on the pet. The remaining 95% of the population are eggs, larvae, and pupae living in carpet and upholstery.

The recommended home treatment is a product called Knockout Spray (with IGR). One (1) can treats approximately 1200 – 1500 square feet.

  1. Vacuum all carpets, upholstered furniture, baseboards, and under furniture. Discard vacuum cleaner bag immediately.
  2. Mop floors with warm, soapy water.
  3. Change all linens, blankets, and replace (or wash in hot water) pet bedding.
  1. Follow the directions on the can. All pets and humans must be out of the treated areas as directed on the can.
  2. Spray all carpeted areas and upholstery with the house treatment spray. Be sure to treat under furniture, and to treat all rooms in the house.
  3. If you pet spends a lot of time outside or in a kennel, these areas must be treated for fleas as well. Concentrate on shady, protected areas, and dog houses. Treat the areas according to label directions.
Follow-up treatment:

Repeating home treatment is very important. Fleas in the pupal stage are protected by the cocoon, therefore retreat in two (2) weeks to kill fleas that emerge.

C. Prevention

If your pet is exposed to other animals or are outside, they may become infested with fleas repeatedly. Consistent use of monthly preventatives is advised yearround to keep your pet protected from re-infestation.

  • Simparica (dogs only):  Give once monthly for control of fleas and ticks in dogs.  Simparica has the advantage of being unaffected by swimming and bathing.  Also, no residue on skin like other topical products.
  • Parastar Plus (dogs only): Apply topically once a month for control of fleas and ticks in dogs. Water resistant
  • Easy Spot (cats only): Apply topically once a month for flea and tick control in cats.
  • Revolution: This product prevents heartworm disease, ear mites, sarcoptic mange, roundworms and hookworms, as well as fleas and ticks.

Equine Euthanasia and What Comes Next

Making the decision to euthanize an equine companion is never easy. Even if the time may be right for our horse, it may not feel like the right time for us to be saying goodbye to our friend. The end of a beloved horse’s life can be a very difficult time. Not only are we faced with the loss of a companion, but decisions must be made regarding care of the body.

Beginning in late spring of 2018, most livestock removal and rendering services in our area began no longer accepting horses euthanized with the drug that had previously been used. The reason for this is to increase the safety of animal feed products, but as a result our livestock removal options have changed and may continue to do so as new regulations evolve. Please check with our office about current changes if you have any questions or concerns.

Some disposal options currently available include:

Burial: If you own land, you may want to have your horse buried on your property. To do so, you should research the laws for your location. Some counties prohibit burial, or if they allow it, there may be specifications about the depth and size of the hole, its location in relation to water sources, and how the body should be handled. Please look up local ordinances prior to burial. (Cost: $0-300)

Landfill: Horses may be taken to a local landfill (certain landfills only). This requires a special trailer and winching system for loading and unloading the body. Each landfill has its own regulations and limits on size and number of horse(s), and drop off times and days. Please call ahead. (Cost varies by weight)

Cremation: You can arrange to have your horse cremated with or without the cremains returned to you. There are two companies that service our area: Midwest Cremation Service and Brier Hill Livestock Removal. Both companies provide a pick-up service that will take your horse’s body directly to the crematorium.

Brier Hill Livestock Removal
($395-500 for group cremation or additional for individual cremation with ashes returned)

Midwest Cremation Service:

Livestock Removal: This used to be the most utilized option until laws about chemical euthanasia changed in May 2018. At the present time these services will only pick up if your horse is euthanized by gunshot or captive bolt or died of natural causes. Gunshot and captive bolt euthanasias are approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association as an acceptable route of euthanasia. These services do occasionally offer Saturday pickup.

Marshall Stock Removal

Granite Stock Removal

The doctors and staff at Lodi Veterinary Care understand how difficult the loss of an equine companion can be. We are available to discuss any questions, emotions, or concerns that you may have so please feel free to contact us. Here you will find a wealth of support and a group of concerned, loving individuals who understand the depth of the human-animal bond.

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