Why is my dog losing hair on his sides?

Here’s another benign skin problem that can really freak an owner out. Recurrent flank alopecia, also called seasonal or cyclic flank alopecia, is exactly what it sounds. Let’s break it down: Recurrent/cyclic – it comes and goes…..and comes back Flank – the sides of the dog’s belly, behind the ribs Alopecia – fancy word for […]

3 things to never put in your pet’s ears

I am frequently asked to look at a pet’s ear because the owner noticed a discharge. Sometimes they will proudly say “…so I cleaned it with ______!” Often I find myself cringing. First, don’t clean it before the vet sees it – it’s like tampering with evidence (here’s my article on the importance of ear […]

Ear infections need to be diagnosed before we treat them

Ear infections can be one of the most frustrating conditions to treat! If your senior pet has never had an ear infection, they probably never will. Other pets, particularly dogs, have a constant, lifelong battle with ear infections. Some dogs it’s just one ear, but always that same ear! What gives? These dogs that seem to […]

Your pet needs fish oil – now what? How to buy the right one.

The more our field learns about fish oil and omega fatty acids, the more we veterinarians have been recommending them. There’s a good chance your pet, or a pet you know, has been recommended to be on fish oil. It’s great for problem skin (big time!), arthritis, kidney disease, heart disease, and even can help […]

Keys to food trial success

  Your veterinarian might have suggested a food trial for a couple reasons. If your dog has chronic ear infections and/or an itchy rear end, an allergy to food is top of the suspect list. If your cat has itchy spots, pulls out her hair, or has scabby areas, it could be her food she’s […]

Coconut oil – glorious or gimmick?

Coconut oil has gotten some pretty incredible claims associated with it lately. Kinda like New Year’s Eve – supposed to be magic, but in reality, not all that great, and rather overpriced. It will not treat your dog’s parvo. It will not cure your cat’s cancer. It is not a substitute for medical care. Want […]

Anal glands – AKA the licking/scooting solution

Anal glands! Dogs have them. Cats have them. Humans, thank God, don’t have them. Some dogs have a lifetime of trouble with them, and need them expressed (emptied out) often. Other dogs act like they don’t even have them. What gives? First off, a little anatomy. Anal glands produce a stinky, almost fishy smelling fluid, […]

Flea season’s over, right?

The nights are finally getting colder. Soon we’ll get a frost, and all the fleas will be dead, right? Sorry, but it’s not that easy. (If it were, I wouldn’t write an article about it!) The height of flea season is now. Fall. Not June, but October. Surprised? Most people are! Most people associate the […]

Stop the itch!

Midwest living is great – unless you’re a dog or cat with environmental allergies! Those of us with itchy pets know how frustrating it can be to constantly manage the symptoms, with only varying levels of success. Understanding the concept of “symptom threshold” can make this constant struggle a little better.  Most allergic pets are […]

What’s up with hot spots?

Tis the season for dogs to get hot spots! What are they exactly? The medical diagnosis is “moist pyoderma.” This loosely translates into “gooey, seriously infected skin”. Gross. And itchy. And painful. People often think hot spots are related to hot weather. While they do seem to occur more in summer, it isn’t the temperature […]

Mange mites 101

When you hear “mange” you think “gross!” Well yeah, mites crawling all over your pet is a pretty gross thought, but I see a few cases a year, and we’ve all lived to tell. Often the owner is surprised when I tell them the diagnosis, and they think it relates to a lack of cleanliness. […]