Dear Friends,

In this issue you will find:

Melting Snow

Preanesthetic Lab Work

Swimmer's Tail

Melting snow

We sure have had some warm weather recently. Much warmer than normal for February. The result, lots of stuff that has been buried in the snow is being uncovered.

While curiosity may have killed the cat, a dog's unhealthy appetite sure can cause problems (and even death). Most dogs are extremely opportunistic when it comes to things that might be food. Even gross, disgusting, rotting things like dead animals seem tasty to them.

The problems come in the forms of “food” poisoning, vomiting, diarrhea, pain, poisoning, shock and foreign body obstruction.

Please check your dog's area to make sure that nothing dangerous is present. This small amount of prevention can prevent very serious problems.

Preanesthetic lab work

When you bring your pet to us for an anesthetic procedure, we always speak with you about preanesthetic lab work. Why do we do this? Because we want your pet to go home safely.

The goal of checking the preanesthetic labs is to detect problems that are not apparent during a physical examination. The 2 organs we are most concerned about are the liver and the kidneys. These organs remove the majority of the anesthetic medications from the body. If there is a problem with these organs, medications are not cleared as well and more complications are likely. Additionally, some medications we use can cause additional problems for the organs if they are not working properly.

The lab work helps us know if we need to do things like run IV fluids longer than we usually would to help support the kidneys. Or if we need to alter the anesthetic plan to avoid certain medications. Or if we need to postpone the procedure in order to further evaluate a problem.

The preanesthetic labs are recommended for all patients undergoing anesthesia. However, this further evaluation becomes increasingly important when a patient hits about 6 years of age. At 6 years old, studies show the likelihood of identifying problems increases significantly and continues to increase as the patient ages. With this in mind, we require labs before anesthesia in older patients.

As always, a doctor evaluates each pet individually prior to anesthesia. Risk factors are evaluated and specific labs to run are determined. The majority of patients will get what we call a Prep Profile. This is a mini-chemistry profile that evaluates the main liver and kidney values. In some patients we will require other labs like a full chemistry profile, CBC, thyroid hormone level and/or urinalysis. Occasionally, the doctor will require even further evaluation with X-rays, echocardiogram, ultrasound and specific send out labs.

Remember, our primary goal is to get your pet home safely. The preanesthetic lab evaluation helps us accomplish this goal by minimizing risks of anesthesia.

Swimmer's Tail

You've been out to the lake with your dog having fun playing his favorite game, fetch in the water. He was at it for quite a while. When he finished he seemed fine. Late that evening you notice that he is acting a little uncomfortable.

The next morning this is even worse. Now he is crying, walking around and sitting abnormally. You run your hand along his back. When you get to his rump he cries and tries to bite you. Because of his pain you take him to the veterinary clinic. The veterinarian diagnoses swimmer's tail.

This problem goes by several names. These include: swimmer's tail, limp tail, limber tail, caudal myositis, tail sprain, coccygeal myositis, cold tail, rudder tail, caudal neuritis, and flaccid tail.

Most of the time patients present with a painful and/or swollen and limp tail. Starting at the base or up to about 4 inches out the tail droops limply. This often occurs the day after some heavy exercise. The exercise can be hunting, swimming or just playing. Sometimes it is after a bath or quick dip in cold water. There is some evidence that the incidence increases after exposure to cold water. However, swimming is not necessary for this condition to develop.

Studies are suggesting that the real problem is swelling of the muscles in the tail near the base. These muscles have a small diameter and are in a relatively narrow sheath. When they swell, they become compressed in the muscle sheath, painful and unable to work properly.

Some of these dogs are extremely painful. The good news is that this is usually a self limiting problem that resolves in a few days to weeks. Treatment is symptomatic and supportive with pain control and anti-inflammatory medications.


If you have not already done so, please download the Free VitusVet App on your phone and/or computer and register for this Free service.

Through the VitusVet App, you can see your pet's medical records 24/7 and at the click of a button allow any emergency or referral veterinarian to see those records. With your account you can view the records and X-rays from Bobtown Pet Clinic and our recommended emergency hospital AERC of Minnesota.

The service integrates with practice management software and uploads new information throughout the day. Please note that client access to records is delayed by about 24 hours to allow for finalizing the record. Veterinarians have access to the records within 3 hours.

Remember that even if you go to an emergency hospital and have not yet downloaded the VitusVet app, you can do it there and grant permission for them to see your pet's records.