Is there such a thing as a completely hypo-allergenic dog?

It depends upon your allergy. There are dogs touted as hypoallergenic because they do not shed and have hair far more similar to people. This includes Poodles, Bichons, Labradoodles, and Yorkies. However, there are some people who are so sensitive that they react to dog saliva, etc. Also, keep in mind that dogs who play outside can bring allergens into the house on their coat and highly sensitive owners would need to clean their dog regularly.

Guest VET: Dr. Annie Price of Ormewood Animal

HospitalOrmewood Animal Hospital
749 Moreland Avenue Southeast, Atlanta, GA 30316
(404) 963-5885

My dog is licking his rear end constantly, what is that?

There are few reasons for rear end irritation and licking. The most common is due to fullness of the anal glands located in the wall of the rectum. These are grape sized, shaped like pouches and hold some of the smelliest material on the planet! They have been theorized to be old scent marking glands. When they become full it can be quite uncomfortable for your pet and would require manual removal of the material. This needs to be done by an experienced person because if done wrong it can cause a lot of pain and possibly rupture the gland itself.

Some dogs may have small and empty glands but are still quite irritated because the glands themselves are inflamed which is called anal gland sacculitis. This condition is secondary to an underlying allergy such as food allergy or environmental allergy say to grass or pollens. Intestinal parasites such as tapeworms can cause an itchy butt as well as flea infestation.

Here is an interesting bit of information. It is said that Cavalier King Charles Spaniels will scoot their rear ends as a behavioral issue. They are known to do this when company comes over and they are showing off. Wow.

Does my dog have ear mites?

Unless she is a young puppy or you have had ear mites definitely diagnosed in another pet in the house most likely no. Ear infections are very common in dogs, especially those with big floppy ears such as Labradors or Beagles. These ear infections can be either yeast, cocci bacteria or rod bacteria or a combination of any of the three. It is important for your vet to look at a microscope slide to determine which type of infection is present as the treatment is very different depending on the organism. Chronic ear infections can be indicative of an underlying problem. Many of these are really secondary to an underlying allergy. Others are due to the physical shape and size of the ear canal or even the lack of proper maintenance after a lot of water sport activity. Don’t let these go without help. Chronic ear problems can cause ear drum rupture, inner ear infections, calcification of the ear canal, deafness and definitely a lot of pain and irritation.

Why does my dog lick his feet?

Dr. Annie Price and Olive P.

Q. Why does my dog lick his feet?

A. There can be a number of reasons for this behavior. The most common are due to allergies either to a specific food ingredient such as chicken or beef, an allergen in the environment such as grass or tree pollen, or allergies to something in the house which includes microscopic house mites, house dust, and food mites.

Another cause of foot licking is due to nail bed yeast infection. You may see redness around the nail base or a change in the nail color from clear to streaked with brown. But remember, many of these yeast infections are something secondary to the aforementioned allergies.

Some dogs lick their feet for other reasons such as trauma or a torn toe nail, arthritis in the toes, or even obsessive compulsive (stereotypic) behavior. If you dog constantly licks his feet, it can be a sign of underlying issues.

Contact Information for Dr. Price

Guest VET: Dr. Annie Price of Ormewood Animal Hospital

Ormewood Animal Hospital
749 Moreland Avenue Southeast, Atlanta, GA 30316
(404) 963-5885



Do I really need to give my dog heart worm prevention every month?

Q. Do I really need to give my dog heart worm prevention every month?

A. Yes! Monthly heart worm medication works as a “reach back” treatment. This means that it is treating what your pet (dog and cat) has already been exposed to. It takes 3 consecutive months of treatment to kill any one exposure. That means that if your dog was bitten by a mosquito in October then it takes 1 pill once a month for November, December, and January to kill that infection. This is why your dog needs to take it EVERY month and throughout the year. Also, the medication protects your pet from intestinal parasites which can not only make your pet very sick but is infectious to people. Yuck!

Guest VET: Dr. Annie Price of Ormewood Animal Hospital

Ormewood Animal Hospital
749 Moreland Avenue Southeast, Atlanta, GA 30316
(404) 963-5885



Can I feed my dog scraps or “human food”?

Preferably not. It is a bad habit to get into and will create an annoying begging pup. Remember any extra calories add up! Studies have shown that pudgy dogs live on average 2-3 years LESS than their skinny counterparts. Some fatty foods can cause serious gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, and even pancreatitis. Bones can cause intestinal rupture or get stuck in the esophagus or throat. I will never forget the bone I had to remove from the back of a dog’s mouth that was imbedded behind the jaw. There are foods that are poisonous to pets such as grapes, raisins, chocolate, onions or anything in the onion family, and broccoli. The sugar free sweetener xylitol is extremely poisonous to dogs.

If you absolutely must give your dog a treat, place it in his food bowl (not off your dinner plate) and stick with carrots, apples, and green beans.

Guest VET: Dr. Annie Price of Ormewood Animal Hospital

Ormewood Animal Hospital
749 Moreland Avenue Southeast, Atlanta, GA 30316
(404) 963-5885



Why Does My Dog Eat Poop?

No one knows exactly why dogs consume feces (coprophagia) but there are a few theories.  These include exploratory behavior, creating a balance within intestinal flora, and that the feces just taste good to the pet.  The behavior usually starts in puppyhood, but can become habit forming and continue into adulthood.  To control the behavior, you can try sprinkling meat tenderizer onto the food of the dog whose feces are being consumed.  There are also several over the counter products which claim to stop coprophagia, but they have varied success.  The best method is to simply clean up all feces promptly so your dog doesn’t have a chance to eat them.

Guest VET: Dr. Star Gregory

How Often Should My Dog See the Vet?

-Dr. Star Gregory, DVM – Zutilla Veterinary Housecalls, Inc.
Unfortunately, the answers to these two questions are frequently not the same. Adult dogs need to visit their veterinarian every 6 months, that’s twice a year. Many pet owners believe that once a year is a sufficient time-frame between veterinary visits and it is not. Having your dog see a veterinarian just once a year is the same as you seeing your doctor every seven years! Our pets age faster than we do so we cannot apply the same protocols to them. A lot can change in 12 months. What many people do not know is that a physical exam is one of the most important things you can do to help your pet live a long healthy life. So if it has been more than 6 months since your dog has seen the vet, schedule his or her next appointment today.

My pet is an adult, do I still need to have her vaccinated?

Most people know that puppies and kittens need a series of vaccines, but what about when your pet is an adult? This is becoming a very common concern among pet owners who fear over-vaccinating their pets. While there is no textbook definition for over-vaccinating, some vaccines are labeled for use every three years versus every year to address this issue.

If you are concerned about vaccinating your pet unnecessarily, there is solution; vaccine titers. Your veterinarian can take a blood sample from your pet and have it tested to see if your pet has adequate titers from previous vaccinations to continue to protect them from disease. There is a downside though. Titers are not available for every vaccine, and they are usually much more expensive than the cost of the vaccine. Titers are normally available for Canine Distemper, Rabies, Canine Parvovirus, and Feline Panleukopenia. For other vaccines such as Lyme Disease or Canine Influenza, it is generally agreed that protection does not extend beyond 1 year, or in the case of Bordetella, 6 months.

In summary, if you are concerned about over-vaccination and have some extra money to spend, ask your veterinarian about vaccine titers. With the assistance of your veterinarian, you can keep your pet protected from disease and help your pet live a long healthy life.

Star Gregory, DVM

Zutilla Veterinary Housecalls, Inc.