Tag Archive: Dr. Ben Davidson

What is Bloat?

Bloat; The Mother of All Emergencies

By: John Crumley DSC_0303-001

I want to take this opportunity to let you know of a severe, life-threatening syndrome that affects large breed dogs and a recent advance in preventative surgery for the condition.

Since your pet is a large breed dog, you may have heard of gastric dilatation volvulus complex, also referred to as “bloat” or “GDV.” This syndrome occurs in certain breeds, specifically large “deep-chested” breeds. The stomach dilates with gas and food and then begins an abnormal rotation (illustrated on the illustration-dog-bloat-500ximage to the left). This can happen very rapidly, often in hours, and if untreated results in obstruction of the stomach and death. Treatment consists of aggressive fluid therapy and prompt surgical correction. The success of treatment ranges from 60 to 80%, thus unfortunately, some of the patients die despite our best efforts. Cost of the procedure, excluding the obvious emotional cost, can range from $1,500 to $5,000.

Although this syndrome is not encountered every day in predisposed breeds, the severity of the condition has incited us to explore the latest surgical techniques to both correct and prevent it.

In the past the surgical procedure to prevent this syndrome (gastropexy) had to be performed with a more traditional surgical approach with a recovery time of 7 to 10 days and a 6 to 12 inch abdominal incision. Our hospital has invested in laparoscopic equipment and advanced surgical training for our doctors to enable us to perform surgeries such as this with minimal incision size and recovery time for the patient. We often recommend preforming this procedure during the time of great_dane_stock_7_by_sigarnistock-d3hwnnjthe spay or neuter. The surgery for the gastropexy can now be performed with two small incisions (less than 1 inch in many cases) with a recovery time of 2 to 4 days. If you have any questions on whether your pet would benefit from a preventative surgery please call us and speak with Dr. Baker, Dr Davidson, or me about the details of this surgery.

Hiking Hazards

Hiking Hazards, How to Keep You and You’re Pet Safe.

By: Dr. Ben Davidson

If you are anything like me, you love exploring this wonderful wilderness that surrounds us.  If you’reBen and Tater reading this, you must love taking your faithful four-legged companion with you.  There are a few things you can do to make the hiking experience much safer and more enjoyable for everyone.  Most importantly is controlling the severe elements that we experience on our treks.  In our area, these include the heat and the dry climate.  Our pets tend to walk at least 50% further than we do, running ahead, circling back, and chasing that chipmunk off the trail.  Between the extra exercise and their hair coat, they get a whole lot hotter than we do.  Try to hike in shaded areas, with water around to cool off in. Try to leave early enough to avoid the hottest part of our day, the afternoon.  Make sure you bring plenty of water and a good drinking bowl for them.  Even if it’s a cool day, they hike-with-dog-1need plenty of water.

Hopefully accidents and injuries won’t be a problem, and a few careful steps can prevent a lot of them, but just in case, a few simple additions to your first aid kit are a good idea.  The most common injury we see is pad wear, or blisters on the bottom of their feet.  Just like us, if their little feet aren’t accustomed to long walks, they can get very sore, or crack and blister.  Try to get your pet back into good shape before you take off on that long walk.  Also, wet feet are more prone to injury, so if you are hiking up to some beautiful alpine lake, make sure you plan on letting your pup dry out before heading back down.   It’s hard to prevent little nicks and cuts from them running through the bushes and jumping rocks, but if it is possible to avoid those situations, it’s probably a good idea.  Exercising a little caution and moderation, especially early in the season can also prevent injuries such as muscular and ligament strains, sprains and tears.  Like I said, some basic first aid may be necessary for some of the unavoidable problems.  A pair of tweezers for cactus, foxtails, or other thorns is useful.  Superglue or Pet_First_Aid_Kitany commercially available tissue adhesive can quickly repair a small cut on the fly. Saline eye flush (not a medicated Visine type product) is helpful in case they get something in their eye.  There are some really nice pet first aid kits available at the pet stores or at the large sporting good and outdoor stores.

Finally, just know where you are hiking. Do a little research into what toxins and wildlife you might encounter. If you’re headed off to the east, or just locally, you need to be aware of 45796878.GreatBasinRattlesnake07_05_05rattlesnakes. Up in the mountains it’s not as much of a threat, but still, if you hear that suspicious rattle, get Fido back to you and walk on bye carefully. Flea, tick, and absolutely heartworm prevention is important when out in the elements.  There are certainly other predators out there, and although these incidents are incredibly rare, it’s important to keep an eye out. If you are a horticulturalist and without question know the difference between toxic and safe plants, you are in a great place to go hiking. For the rest of us, don’t let your pets eat plants out there. They may be unsafe both in toxins and also by causing GI upset or obstructions.

Everybody have a great hiking season!

Lumps and Bumps. When Is It Time To Get Them Checked Out.100_1925

By: Ben Davidson, DVM

We all know, have known, or will soon know a dog or cat that has had a lump or bump that we can feel on or just beneath its skin.  The unfortunate truth is that these growth and lesions are incredibly common in small animal medicine.  Fortunately, however, many of these lumps are benign and non-cancerous, but getting it looked at and checked out is the only way to know for sure.  These lumps can be cysts, abscesses, scar tissue, benign growths, or yes, cancerous tumors.  There is not a great algorithm or set of criteria for when a growth is safe of when it could be dangerous.  Fast growing, very inflamed looking lesions tend to be worse, but we always worry about that sleeping giant that may not fit those generalizations.  At your visit, your veterinarian will look at it, feel it for consistency, location, and attachment, and will likely recommend pulling some cells Doctor Looking Through a Microscopeout of it to evaluate under the microscope by us or by a board certified pathologist.

The question bigger than when to get it checked out, is when or if to get it removed?  In our opinion there are four reasons to have a growth removed: 1) It is known to be aggressive and thus will cause problems either locally or systemically without intervention.  Better to get these off early, when they are small.  2) If its size and location will make surgery down the road more difficult on your pet.  Even benign growths do continue to grow and if they get too big they can cause problems or pain and surgery will only be harder on everybody later on.  3) If it is open and/or bleeding.  A growth like this is painful and prone to infection.  Ruptured growths are unlikely to heal without removal and surgery.  4) If the growth is upsetting or troublesome to either your pet, or to you.  If your pet is licking, chewing, or scratching at the lesion, or it is causing trouble with certain movements, it is upsetting to them.  If you don’t like the look of the lesion, or you don’t like feeling it when you are petting your furry friend, then get it out of there.

Together, we can determine the best course of action for your pets specific problem.  It may be surgery, medication, or cat with cone perhaps even no treatment at all, but we need to know what the exact problem is before we know how to make it go away.  If your pet has any of these lumps and bumps that have not been checked out, we strongly recommend contacting us for an evaluation so we can make sure to not let that little bump become a bigger mountain.

Dr. Ben Davidson

Dr. Ben Davidson grew up in the San Diego area, but always escaped to the mountains for vacation, so ending up here was a foregone conclusion. He earned his bachelors and veterinary degree from UC Davis. After finishing he completed an internship in emergency/ critical care, medicine and neurology at Washington State University. His professional interests include emergency/  critical care and internal medicine. Dr. Davidson became a partner in the practice in 2011.