40°Scattered Clouds

by ARLnow.com — November 22, 2016 at 9:00 am 0

Rosslyn in the fall (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Dogs Die in Seven Corners Fire — Two dogs perished in a Sunday morning house fire in the Seven Corners area, although three dogs and four people were able to make it out of the burning home okay. Arlington County firefighters responded to the scene, assisting Fairfax County units in battling the blaze. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Water Main Break in Fairlington — Parts of north Fairlington had low or no water pressure for most of the day Monday due to a water main break. [Twitter]

Remembering Obama’s Local Bookstore Visit — Even four years later, not a day goes by when One More Page Books owner Eileen McGervey doesn’t hear from someone about the time in 2012 when President Obama visited her store on Small Business Saturday. She recounted how it happened recently on a local public radio show. [WAMU]

Carpool Still Hanging On — Once believed to be closing this fall to make way for a redevelopment, popular Ballston bar Carpool is now likely to remain open through March 2017, co-owner Mark Handwerger tells ARLnow.com. The Washington Business Journal reported last month that the redevelopment has hit a bit of a snag.

Yorktown Senior Joins Chamber — Mark Yates, Jr., a senior at Yorktown High School and the founder of a lawn care business, has joined the Arlington Chamber of Commerce as a member after participating in the Chamber’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy. [Arlington Chamber]

Jonathan Kinney Honored — Prominent local attorney Jonathan Kinney was honored by the Arlington Community Foundation earlier this month, in front of a record luncheon crowd of nearly 400. Despite his low-key demeanor, Kinney, a land use and estate planning attorney, was described as “Arlington’s most indispensable citizen.” [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — November 17, 2016 at 2:30 pm 0

Healthy Paws

Editor’s Note: Healthy Paws is a column sponsored and written by the owners of Clarendon Animal Care, a full-service, general practice veterinary clinic. The clinic is located 3000 10th Street N., Suite B. and can be reached at 703-997-9776.

Sometimes it’s hard to say that our fur-kids really are not human. Many of us love them and treat them like they are. While we could argue behavioral and psychological reason for and against that perspective, one thing that is pretty straight forward is drug metabolism…

Dogs and cats are not small humans and cats are not small dogs. Each species has very different abilities to metabolize certain drugs and as such, there are some human medications that should NEVER be given to our pets, some that can under direct supervision of a veterinarian, and some that are fine to use but may require a different doses for our pets than humans.

NEVER:

Tylenol (acetaminophen), in cats: Causes a life-threatening inability to deliver oxygen to tissues.

Pepto Bismol in cats and dogs: Contains aspirin in a form that is not useful for treating any condition and often causes GI bleeding.

Breath Fresheners in dogs and cats: Some human breath fresheners can contain xylitol, which has the potential to cause the blood sugar to drop dangerously low (hypoglycemia), causing loss of motor control or even seizures; and even liver failure.

Ibuprofen in dogs and cats: Very easy to overdose and can cause symptoms ranging from upset stomach, gastrointestinal bleeding, kidney failure and acute neurologic symptoms.

Pseudophedrine and phenylephrine in dogs and cats: Can cause gastrointestinal symptoms, agitation and heart rhythm disturbances.

ONLY UNDER VETERINARY DIRECTION & SUPERVISION:

Aspirin in dogs and cats: If given at high enough doses to help with inflammation, aspirin almost always causes gastrointestinal bleeding. There are far better and far safer medications to help with inflammation (arthritis and pain). We can use it safely in very low doses to reduce platelet activity and clotting in certain disease situations that predispose clotting.

Immodium AD in dogs: While not toxic to most dogs, some dogs may carry a genetic mutation that makes the more sensitive to the effects of this drug and can lead to seizures and even coma.

GenTeal Eye Lubricant: This is a useful artificial tear supplement when your dog has been accurately diagnosed with Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (AKA “Dry Eye”). Eye issues can quickly go awry, so always have a veterinarian exam before trying to treat at home.

Tylenol in dogs: The dose range is pretty narrow and it’s definitely not a first-line pain medication in dogs. We tend to use it more with severe pain, and in combination with codeine. Overdosing can cause severe liver disease and so should only be used exactly as directed and prescribed by your veterinarian.

Antihistamines in dogs and cats: Claritin (loratidine), and Zyrtec (cetirizine) can be used to reduce itching. Claritin and Zyrtec tend to be better for general allergies in our dogs, but they do not cause drowsiness in dogs and cats they way they do in humans, so don’t try these as a sedative. Talk to your veterinarian about dosing. **Be sure NOT to use an antihistamine that contains Pseudophedrine – such as Zyrtec-D or Claritin-D**

SAFE TO USE (though we still recommend consulting with your veterinarian before starting these medications):

Pepcid AC (famotidine) in dogs and cats: Pepcid and other antacids such as Zantac (ranitidine) or Prilosec (omperazole) are safe for pets and used for many different diseases (such as gastroenteritis, kidney failure and liver failure). Check with your veterinarian for dosing.

Antihistamines: Benadryl (diphenhydramine) tends to be better for acute allergic reactions (such as bug bites and contact allergies that cause hives) and may cause mild drowsiness. It doesn’t do nearly as good a job for general allergies as some of the newer antihistamines. The dose is 1mg per pound of body weight every 8-12 hours for allergic reactions (so a 25lb dog would get 25mg every 8-12 hours). If the symptoms are not improving within 24 hours of starting Benadryl or if the allergic reaction is getting worse in spite of using Benadryl — your pet needs to be seen by a veterinarian!

Meclizine in dogs: This is a motion sickness medication, similar to Dramamine, that can be helpful for reducing car sickness and doesn’t cause much drowsiness. The dose is 12.5mg-25mg per dog given 1-2 hours before a car ride.

Topical ointments with a numbing cream: In most cases, a topical Bacitracin ointment is likely okay to use, but when they are supplemented with a pain numbing cream, such as hydrocortisone or tetracaine, these can be toxic if ingested.  Most dogs and cats tend to lick ointments immediately after application and we often recommend the use of an e-collar (i.e. the cone of shame) when using topical medications.

Additional resources on toxic and non-toxic household items, plants and medications can be found at ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control’s website: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control

by ARLnow.com — November 2, 2016 at 11:15 am 0

Sign at Shirlington dog park

There’s a new sign at the Shirlington dog park that states what should have been obvious: that riding a bike or a scooter through an area where dogs are running around off leash is a bad idea.

“It’s been an ongoing issue that we hope the sign will rectify,” said Arlington County Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish. “We’ve noticed that people are riding bikes and scooters down the paved trail in Shirlington dog park. The off leash dogs get excited and chase, creating an unsafe environment for both man and beast.”

“As there are loads of trails in Arlington for bikes, we are asking people not to bring their bikes and scooters into the park to reduce the risk to park-goers,” Kalish added. “This… is an example of our ongoing work with the community to make Arlington parks fun and safe for all.”

The sign asks that anyone who spots a violation of the rules call Arlington’s park rangers at 703-525-0618.

by ARLnow.com — October 28, 2016 at 11:15 am 0

Lost Dog "Gibbs" posterUpdated on 10/29/16 — Gibbs has been found. Monica writes:

“We are happy to report that Gibbs has been returned to us!

Gibbs had been wandering around for a few hours early Sunday morning, and then happened upon a woman that thought he was a stray, and he hopped in her car. She went to the Petco on S. Van Dorn that Sunday to buy him food, a leash, etc. When she told the employee she found a dog, they took down her information and gave her the Arlington animal shelter info. They also asked to see pictures of Gibbs.

When the same employee (Josh!) went to work today and saw Gibbs on the flyer we dropped off yesterday, he recognized him and called the woman and told her to call us… All the stars aligned! He is skinny and tired, but he is happily sleeping under his favorite Redskins blanket.”

Earlier: A Clarendon couple just got the bad news that their beloved dog had run away — while on their honeymoon in Belize.

Now the couple is getting the word out about their Chihuahua mix, Gibbs, hoping that a Good Samaritan in the Shirlington or Fairlington area might have found him and brought him in.

They’re also offering a reward.

Here’s what Monica had to say about what happened:

Hello! I am a 10 year resident of clarendon and lifetime resident of NoVa… and my rescue dog is a 6 year resident of Clarendon. He was rescued from Lucky Dog Animal Rescue in 2010. He is a frequent visitor of the Clarendon Dog Park.

Unfortunately, last Sunday 10/23, my dog, Gibbs, (named for Joe Gibbs of Redskins fame) decided to make a break for it while at his dog sitters house while we were out of the country in Belize on our honeymoon. We found out about his great escape on Wednesday 10/26 right before we had to leave our resort (and therefore had no wifi connection in the jungle in Belize).

Our wonderful dog sitter hired a dog tracker at Pure Gold Pet Trackers, who followed our dogs trail to the 7-Eleven at 2815 S. Wakefield Street in Arlington (Shirlington area). The trail suddenly stopped, so they believe a Good Samaritan picked him up. He is extremely friendly with people and dogs, so we believe he isn’t still on his own. He would have convinced someone to bring him in based on his charm and good looks.

He did not have his collar on when he went missing, so we are afraid the good samaritan is not aware that he has a good home!

Posters that Monica is sending out say that Gibbs is “friendly but frightened — do not chase!” The posters also note that Gibbs had no collar but is microchipped.

Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call 571-224-3241 or 703-629-1970.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — October 5, 2016 at 2:15 pm 0

Stitch — a 3-year-old, neutered, 6-pound Chihuahua — doesn’t know why his people gave him up at an animal shelter last spring, but he does know that he’s ready to weave himself into the heart and life of the right new owner.

Stitch is hoping for someone who is retired, works from home or is a homebody.

This handsome boy has the classic Chihuahua look (adorable), personality (charming) and bladder (tiny!). He’s lovable and devoted, courageous and comical. Stitch is the lap dog you’ve always wanted and will make sure you’re never alone at home, shadowing you from room to room and sleeping sweetly in your lap, perhaps after his favorite activity: the daily walk!

Stitch is all dog, and all terrier (tenacious and bold!) He wants to make sure you know he’s not a doll and he’s not a child — in fact, he would like to be the #1 little dude, and the only pet, in a child-free home. He’d really love it if you took him to class to learn more manners and maybe some tricks, too.

Stitch is a very healthy boy, current on vaccines, monthly heartworm and flea/tick preventatives. He even had a full dental cleaning in August. His foster mom has had him long enough to give you all the details about handsome Stitch — no surprises and lots of great dog-owner tips.

Contact her at [email protected] or view his profile at http://lostdogrescue.org/stitch-3/.

The preceding was was sponsored post.

by ARLnow.com — September 21, 2016 at 10:45 am 0

Pill-laden meatball found in Bluemont Park (screen capture via Fox 5)

The suspicious meatballs found by a dog owner in Bluemont Park have been tested and all the tests for harmful substances came back negative, the Animal Welfare League of Arlington says.

“The lab tested for anticoagulants (which would cause massive internal bleeding) and organic chemicals including pesticides, therapeutic and illicit drugs, euthanasia agents and environmental contaminants,” said AWLA’s Susan Sherman. “All tests were negative.”

A dog owner found the meatballs along Four Mile Run earlier this month and took to an email listserv to warn fellow residents of a possible poisoning attempt. She said her dog ate at least one of the meatballs; she immediately took the dog to a vet to induce vomiting.

AWLA says it is still trying to figure out why the meatballs were placed along the stream. The organization is urging dog owners to stay vigilant.

“We still don’t know how the meat patties got there or what the intention was,” Sherman said. “We will be posting information on our website and on Facebook advising residents to keep their dogs on leash and to be aware of their environment to avoid a dog ingesting any unknown substance. If anyone finds something suspicious like the meat patties, call animal control at 703-931-9241.”

by ARLnow.com — September 19, 2016 at 9:45 am 0

Full moon as seen from Arlington (Flickr pool photo by Angela Pan)

Tourism Spending Record in Arlington — Visitors to Arlington spent about $3.1 billion in 2015, a new record. That’s up 3 percent compared to 2014. The tourism spending generated $86 million in county tax revenue and $115 million in state tax revenue. [Arlington County]

New ART 92 Schedule Starts Today — A more frequent ART 92 bus schedule starts today, with buses running every 15 minutes during peak times. ART 92 runs from Crystal City to Long Bridge Park to the Pentagon. [Arlington Transit]

Cesar Millan in Crystal City — ‘Dog Whisperer’ star Cesar Millan was spotted walking the streets of Crystal City on Sunday. Millan was in town filming a new show, Cesar Millan’s Dog Nation, which will air on the Nat Geo Wild channel. [Patch, Twitter]

Arlington ’40 Under 40′ Honorees — The Leadership Center for Excellence has announced this year’s Arlington “40 Under 40” honorees. The 40 Under 40 luncheon will be held Dec. 2. [InsideNova]

Photos from Weekend Events — Pleasant late-summer temperatures helped drive big turnouts at Clarendon Day and Pups and Pilsners this weekend. Meanwhile, ARLnow’s Fall Beer Mega Tasting Event at Arrowine drew a (relatively) big crowd as well.

Flickr pool photo by Angela Pan

by ARLnow.com — September 13, 2016 at 9:00 am 0

Demolition at Ballston Common Mall (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Cemetery to Start Screening Visitors — Arlington National Cemetery will begin security screening of visitors and random inspection of vehicles in November. Visitors, particularly those in large groups, are being advised to allow extra time to go through screening. [Dept. of Defense]

Police: Dog Walker Stole from Residents — A dog walker who served clients in Arlington has been charged with stealing from them. Police say 34-year-old Margarita Denison and an accomplice stole valuables from watches to jewelry to baseball cards from homes in Arlington and Fairfax. Denison worked for the dog walking service Time for a Walk, which said it runs background checks and checks references but will be tightening security. [NBC Washington]

NPS Recommends Trail Projects in Arlington — Among the 18 regional trail-related projects recommended by a new National Park Service study are two in Arlington: connecting the Roosevelt Bridge path to the Mt. Vernon Trail, and improving safety at the so-called Intersection of Doom in Rosslyn. [Greater Greater Washington]

ACPD Lauded for Crisis Intervention — A father whose son spit and cursed at police as he was taken into custody in Arlington has written an op-ed to praise the Arlington County Police Department for its crisis intervention training. The father called police after his neurologically-disabled son got drunk and left the house. Officers could have hurt the son and threw him in jail, but instead used the minimum amount of force necessary and took him to a hospital, the man said. [Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by ARLnow.com — September 8, 2016 at 3:45 pm 0

Ben RoethlisbergerPittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is helping to buy protective vests for Arlington’s hard-working police dogs.

Roethlisberger’s foundation will be distributing a grant to Arlington County Police in order to purchase ballistic vests for the department’s seven K-9s. Roethlisberger and the Steelers will be playing the Washington Redskins on Monday.

“During the 2016 NFL season, The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation will be distributing grants to K-9 units of police and fire departments in the cities and surrounding communities of each regular season away game for the Steelers,” said the quarterback’s website. “The Foundation will also distribute several grants to the Pittsburgh area. Ben invited police and fire departments across the country to submit proposals detailing their needs.”

“Our K-9s are integral members of the Arlington County Police Department, both in the field and from a community outreach perspective,” ACPD Chief Jay Farr said in a statement. “We are grateful to receive this grant so we can provide our K-9s with ballistic vests as an added layer of protection to keep them safe.”

Last season the Roethlisberger Foundation made more than $170,000 in grants to K-9 units across the country. Roethlisberger has pledged $1,000 to the foundation for every touchdown he throws this season and is seeking additional donations from fans.

by ARLnow.com — September 6, 2016 at 7:00 pm 0

Pill-laden meatball found in Bluemont Park (screen capture via Fox 5)Are several pill-laden meatballs found along a local stream an attempt to poison dogs? That’s what the Animal Welfare League of Arlington is trying to determine.

On Thursday, a local mother wrote to a local email listserv to warn about meatballs her dog scarfed up along Four Mile Run in Bluemont Park. The meatballs, she said, contained what her vet thought was rat poison. (The vet was able to quickly induce vomiting and the dog is expected to be okay.)

The story quickly made its way around other local listservs and attracted the attention of Fox 5, which interviewed the dog owner.

“For me, it’s a sick psychopath or something like that,” Natascha Weber told Fox 5’s Lauren DeMarco. “I have no idea why somebody would do something like that.”

AWLA is testing the meatballs, the organization’s COO, Susan Sherman, told ARLnow.com Friday.

“We received a call [Thursday] afternoon from a resident who thinks her dog may have ingested poisoned meat while they were walking in Bluemont Park at the intersection of Four Mile Run trail, near the stream,” Sherman said. “The dog owner gathered some of the meat and kept it refrigerated. We are picking up the sample now and will send it to a lab for testing.”

A similar incident was reported last year, after a resident found sausages stuffed with caffeine pills along a residential street near Lee Highway.

As of Tuesday morning, Sherman said the testing was still in progress and it will likely be a week before we know what exactly was in the meat.

The original listserv email is below.

My daughter and I were walking our dogs today at Four Mile Run/Bluemont Park in Arlington, because we like the paths next to the stream. On our way back to the car, the dogs were wading in the water and when they got out, Yoko found something to eat. I wasn’t able to pull her away fast enough so she ate a good amount. I took a closer look and discovered more than 10 poison baits right next to the stream on and between the rocks (raw ground beef meatballs, mixed with all kind of pills, pellets and grain). Obviously we got her back to our car as fast as possible and went to the animal hospital straight away.

The vet made her vomit and since it was only 15-20 minutes between eating the stuff and the treatment in the hospital, she was confident, that she got everything out of Yoko’s stomach. The vet is 99% sure that it’s rat poison. We reported everything to Animal Control/Animal Welfare in Arlington, got back to Bluemont Park and collected the rest of the toxic baits…

I am absolutely shocked about this incident and hope that Yoko will recover completely. And of course I hope that no other dog was harmed by this crime of a maniac. So please (!!!) watch out when you are walking your dog(s) in that area but I guess, that can happen everywhere.

If you have an idea what else we could do (besides reporting it to Animal Control), I’d appreciate any advice. I know it’s unlikely to find this criminal but I am ready to do everything to increase the chances.

by ARLnow.com — August 8, 2016 at 8:55 am 0

Out for a walk on the W&OD Trail along Four Mile Run Drive (Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley)

More on Randolph Principal Controversy — Some Randolph Elementary parents are still upset that the school’s well-liked principal has been removed with little explanation and demoted to assistant principal at Abingdon Elementary. [Washington Post]

Aerial View of Arlington — Arlington County has created a video of aerial footage of Arlington, shot during a recent ride on the U.S. Park Police Eagle 1 helicopter. [Facebook]

‘Dog Days of Summer’ Donations — Rosslyn eatery Bistro 360 is donating 25 percent of sales from a special “Dog Days of Summer” menu to the Animal Welfare League of Arlington and Homeward Trails Animal Rescue. [Facebook]

Late Civic Activist Celebrated — The Nauck community will hold a special celebration of the life of the late civic activist John Robinson this coming Saturday. Robinson, who died in 2010, fought against racism, against injustice and for education, and was the publisher of the Green Valley News for more than 40 years. [InsideNova]

Suspicious Package at Ballston MetroUpdated at 9:15 a.m. — Metro Transit Police investigated a suspicious package at an elevator entrance to the Ballston Metro station this morning. The entrance was blocked off with police tape for a period of time.

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — August 1, 2016 at 2:45 pm 0

Local Woof logo

The Local Woof is a column that’s sponsored and written by the staff of Woofs! Dog Training Center. Woofs! has full-service dog training, boarding, and daycare facilities, near Shirlington and Ballston.

I’ve been having a lot of conversations with people about their dogs getting into trouble. Not little trouble like chewing up a shoe or stealing a sandwich. That’s easy stuff.  I’m talking about big trouble. Like biting the neighbor’s dog while on a walk or biting a friend who is over for a visit.

The thing that most of these incidents had in common is a very high level of anxiety and arousal that precipitated the bites. So how does anxiety and arousal affect our dogs and what can we do about it?

We all know what anxiety feels like. It can range from uncomfortable to debilitating. If you have an anxious dog, you probably already know it. Just like in people, there is a spectrum of doggie personalities. Some dog are more anxious than others and some dogs aren’t bothered by anything. Anxious dogs tend to hate thunder storms and fireworks. Perhaps they are wary of strangers or other dogs. But just like in people, anxiety can cause to dogs to react out of proportion to the threat or environmental change they are experiencing.

Arousal is similar. Arousal is simply a state of excitement. The excitement can be good or bad, but in either case it is usually accompanied by a spike in adrenalin. Dogs who are wrestling or running in a dog park are aroused. Dog who are riding in a crowded elevator might be aroused. Dog who are on leash and see each other across the street might become aroused. They might be happy to see each other and want to play or they might want to fight. In either case, the dogs are in a state of arousal.

What owners need to know is that anxiety and arousal both have the effect of shortening a dog’s fuse. A dog who is normally tolerant of being pet is more likely to bite when anxious or aroused.  Your normally easy going dog might be on edge if you have guests at the house for a week.

The first thing to do is to recognize that your dog is anxious or aroused. The second thing to do is to provide your dog with the ability to either get away from the things that are causing anxiety, or time to calm down from a state of arousal. 

One of the best tools is to teach your dog to take a break.  I am a big fan of crate training for this reason. Crate training is most often used to help house train very young pups and to keep them out of trouble.   But crating is often a left behind tool as dogs become adults. Properly maintained crate training can be extraordinarily helpful in these situations. . A marrow bone in a crate in an upstairs bedroom is often much appreciated by the over whelmed dog.  It provides a space to get away from whatever is stressing them out and time to calm down.  Older dogs who were crated as puppies can be introduced to crating again in a positive manner if needed, or perhaps they don’t even need a crate, just a quiet place to settle down.

On leash arousal control exercises are another great tool to add to your toolbox. These take time and commitment but can be well worth the effort in the long run. 

The bottom line is keep an eye on your pup. They can’t easily tell us when they need a break so it is up to us to be their advocate and make sure we are not placing them in situations that they can’t handle. Every dog is different and even man’s best friend needs some dogs some personal time.

by Jackie Friedman — July 14, 2016 at 3:45 pm 0

A store in Courthouse hosted some special four-legged guests Wednesday afternoon.

Members of the Arlington County Police Department K9 unit — both dogs and handlers — stopped by Olive Oil Boom (2016 Wilson Blvd) to accept a donation from the store. The shop, which specializes in olive oils and vinegars, raised money to purchase two K9 medical kits.

“I found out from one of the officers that they don’t have medical kits for their dogs if they go on scene or have any kind of medical issues, said Olive Oil Boom owner Judith Westfall. “Because of that, we decided to just start collecting donations for the K9 medical kits.”

The equipment in the medical kits are “meant [to be used] in case of a traumatic injury or heat stroke,” said ACPD Sgt. Bryan Morrison.

One medical kit will be used on site for training and one will be taken out into the field. The kits will allow officers to treat the dogs quickly and get them to an emergency vet.

“There is so much stuff in there and it’s a great benefit to our unit because they are a bit expensive and we are not afforded the opportunity to buy these. For somebody to donate them to us, it’s really great,” said Morrison.

by ARLnow.com — June 30, 2016 at 2:00 pm 0

Healthy Paws

Editor’s Note: Healthy Paws is a column sponsored and written by the owners of Clarendon Animal Care, a full-service, general practice veterinary clinic. The clinic is located 3000 10th Street N., Suite B. and can be reached at 703-997-9776.

As we head into the D.C. area’s hot and humid summer we often start to diagnose ear infections more frequently. To understand a little bit about these, looking at the anatomy of the ear of the dog and cat can be very helpful:

We break the ear down to three basic regions:

  • External ear (horizontal/vertical ear canals)
  • Middle ear (within the tympanic bulla)
  • Inner ear (where the hearing organs are located)

Ear infections can thus be broken down into external ear, middle ear (more like what a human gets when they get an ear infection), and rarely inner ear infections. The incriminating bugs for these infections can range from yeast, bacteria or mites… and they are all treated differently.  This is why your veterinarian will typically take a swab from the ear and examine it under the microscope — they are trying to identify what organism(s) and in what numbers are present.  In some cases of bacterial otitis, a culture and sensitivity is needed to find out what specific type of bacteria is present and to help guide antibiotic selection.

The real kicker with ear infections is that there is almost always an underlying cause — meaning the organisms we find in those ears are rarely the primary problem (the exception would be mites). To keep the infections from coming back and to facilitate clearing of the infection, the underlying problem should be looked for and addressed (or at least a management strategy put in place).

Predisposing factors for ear infections include:

  • Allergies (environmental, fleas or food)
  • Anatomy (certain breeds have anatomical characteristics that cause complete occlusion of the canal when even mild inflammation is present)
  • High humidity/heat, swimming, retained water in the ear canal
  • Trauma to the ear canal (e.g.: overly aggressive cleaning or inappropriate hair plucking)
  • Polyps
  • Tumors
  • Foreign objects
  • Medical conditions (diseases that compromise or alter immune-system function)

Otits Externa (inflammation/infection of the external ear canal) is the most common presentation of an ear infection in both dogs and cats. These can crop up as a new (acute) infection, a recurrent infection or a chronic (never fully cleared) infection.  

Management of Otits Externa involves treating the infectious component as well as addressing the underlying factors as well. Ear cleaning is often a mainstay of managing both the infectious component as well as helping managing some underlying factors (such as allergies and anatomical predispositions or to dry the canal following a swim). Because we find that a lot of folks were never taught how to correctly clean their pet’s ears – we’ve put together a video!

When ear infections are appropriately identified and addressed, we can often prevent or minimize recurrences – though for some pets this means a chronic/maintenance strategy is put in place. In cases where an pet has had severe chronic inflammation & infection of the external ear canal, scarring/fibrosis and mineralization of the ear canal may occur – making medical management far more difficult (and sometimes impossible). In many of these cases surgical removal of the external ear canal is indicated to provide lasting relief to the patient – this is called a total ear canal ablation or TECA.

Otits Media (inflammation/infection of the middle ear) often goes hand in hand with chronic bacterial Otitis Externa and the ear drum in these cases if often ruptured or severely thickened/abnormal. In some cases, we need to manage pain/infection/inflammation before we can even see the eardrum – and in these cases follow up/rechecks are very important so that we can really evaluate what is going on down in that canal.

In addition to causing recurrent symptoms of the external ear canal, these middle ear infections can actually cause neurologic symptoms (generally problems with balance), or pain opening the mouth. Otitis media often requires systemic medications, but in many cases anesthetic procedures to thoroughly evaluate, obtain biopsies and/or cultures and clean out the middle ear may be needed to get them to clear and heal. In some cases, aggressive surgical procedures to open the tympanic bulla (bulla osteotomy +/- TECA) may be indicated.

So what are the takeaways from this?

  1. It’s important to determine if your pet’s ear infection is caused by yeast, bacteria or mites so that component can be treated correctly.
  2. It’s really important to identify predisposing or underlying factors so that they can be addressed or chronically managed.
  3. It’s important to look at your pet’s ear drum to assess its health. If the middle ear gets involved topical medications alone rarely work (and sometimes we need to initiate treatment to even get a look at that ear drum).
  4. Work with your veterinarian to come up with a chronic management plan to help prevent/reduce recurrences, and if you have any questions about the plan — ask your veterinarian!

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — June 20, 2016 at 2:35 pm 0

Local Woof logo

The Local Woof is a column that’s sponsored and written by the staff of Woofs! Dog Training Center. Woofs! has full-service dog training, boarding, and daycare facilities, near Shirlington and Ballston.

As school comes to a close for the year it’s time for summer vacations. Where to go? What to do? And who is going to take care of the dog?

If you can’t take your dog with you, the next best option is to have a family member or friend stay at your house. A familiar environment will help your pup cope with the stress of you being away. But sometimes that isn’t possible and you need to find a boarding facility.

The best boarding option is a facility that your dog attends regularly. Facilities that offer daycare and boarding often work well. The daycare option allows your dog to become familiar with the staff and the other dogs that attend regularly. For them it’s like a home away from home. Dogs who attend daycare regularly at WOOFS! are happy and healthy during boarding as well.

If your dog is stressed in the presence of other dogs they might do better in a traditional boarding environment where they do not interact with other dogs all day. Every dog is different, and luckily there are many options available in the area. In-home petsitting is a great option for dogs who don’t board well.

But for many dogs, boarding is stressful no matter what you do. Some dogs become incredibly anxious or depressed. Prolonged stress often leads to associated illnesses including gastrointestinal problems, weight loss and upper respiratory infections. Be sure to talk to your boarding provider and find out how your dog copes while you are away. If your dog does experience excessive amount of distress it might be time to find an alternative form of care.

So how can you help your stressed out dog survive a week away from home? First, be sure to book your petsitter as far ahead as possible. This gives you time to set up meetings and test runs with the caregiver so that your dog can become comfortable with them and the environment. Or, take the time to get your dog used to staying at a particular facility. Obviously, this is going to require paying for services that you don’t necessarily need, but it will more than pay for itself when your dog has an easier time while you away. It might even avoid the cost of a post vacation vet visit.

If all of this preparation is still not enough, talk to your vet. Just like in people, there are anti-anxiety medications that might help.

If you are getting a new puppy this summer, start getting them used to being away from you right away. Send your puppy to a friends for an occasional weekend even if you don’t need to travel. This is an important part of their socialization experiences and should happen two or three times before your pup is 6 months old. This will certainly help get them used to being away from you and make your future vacations away less stressful for everyone.

Happy Summer!

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