Sunday, October 31, 2010

Of Brothers and Sisters...and Doggy "Sniff Test"!

Just back from the clinic...Yup! Sunday fun!
Had 2 spay/neuters scheduled today; Koala and Bella, brother and sister. Reason that brought them on the surgery table? They made a baby together!
Oh Yes! Even if there might be a faint natural inhibition to inbreeding, the pheromones released by a female in heat is overwhelming and siblings do copulate with each other. While from a human perspective, it is morally repulsive to think of a brother and a sister having a baby together, the reason why nature does not favour this is different. Inbreeding (breeding amongst related individuals) brings out recessive weaknesses and pathologies and does not carry any variation in the species. Thus, inbred animals often have unusual characteristics but also express otherwise suppressed genes (recessive ones). A good example here in Mauritius are the specimens of blond/white Alsatians...these are all inbred animals; products of incestuous matings. Many of the Pedigree dogs are the products of a long line of inbreeding to obtain the desired morphology of the dog; shorter snouts for Boxers and Pugs; lower Hip Placement in the Alsatians; specific coat colour for Dalmations etc...and the list of genetic problems for these Pedigree dogs is long too!
So back to Koala and Bella...two cute Bichons; my advice to owners having animals related to each other in the same household - Please do not wait for them to copulate and have offsprings to think of spaying/neutering. This can be done from the age of 5-6 months.
Hah! Whilst waiting for the patients to recover from anaesthesia, owner asked me how, in nature, inbreeding is prevented. Well, the answer lies in the famous "sniff test" Loool! Whether dogs know each other or not; when they meet up, they often sniff each other's butt. We tend to think of it as them saying "Hello! Wassup!" but in fact the animals are seeking vital personal info from that area. Dogs possess anal glands that secrete an "aroma" rich in information about themselves. That, coupled with the fantastic olfactory capabilities of dogs,allows in single whiff the "sniffer"to  be informed about the sex, health status, temperament and how genetically related he/she is to him. So family members should recognise themselves by the similar smells they carry and this is supposed to inhibit any further sexual arousal.
Next time you see two dogs sniffing each other's rear you will remember me now! Hahaha!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Noopy the Capricious one

Background History: Noopy is a 6 yr old Bichon that was brought with bilateral paresis of both hind limbs last week. Seems to have sustained some trauma in the lumbo-sacral (lower back) region.
Noopy stays very calm on the exam table but when at home, he totally freaks out and refuses to be handled by the owner, snarling and threatening to bite etc...End result, owner has to bring animal every 2 days for medication and physiotherapy. Mr Noopy was brought in for a full physical exam under anaesthesia, just to rule out any concurrent abdominal pathology. Upon auscultation, a loud (Grade 5) Heart Murmur was detected!
I am always amazed how owners react when told that their pet has a Heart Murmur...they all panic and ask if the animal is going to die etc...Heart Murmurs are turbulence noises from the blood exiting/entering the heart or from within the heart; they can be physiological, positional (animal lying down v/s standing) or congenital (due to a defect in the heart of its valves). Animals can live a whole full and exciting life with a Heart Murmur...only thing is: they will be somewhat intolerant to intense physical effort and may need some special attention as they grow older.
Finally, nothing abnormal was palpated in the abdomen of Noopy and a new strategy was devised to speed up  his treatment. We decided that Mr Noopy will get a daily immersion in a bucket of warm water; the heat will bring more blood to the lower back area and speed up tissue repair and the animal will try to move its legs to "make the effort" too on his own...and I must admit, his hind quarters needed some cleaning too!
A side note about "spoilt-rotten" little doggies who eventually become the dominant of the pack...they make veeeery bad  outpatients! Usually, the owners never succeed in following up with medications etc!
Ok...doggy will be back on tuesday...hopefully with some positive attitude and walking...

There is a start to everything...

Okay Folks!
Today I finally crossed that bridge and created this blog...
Why? Hmmm...I always thought that the cases I see nearly everyday at my clinic or at PAWS would benefit others if the info was shared.
Well here am I, starting an online "journal"!
Enjoy...and hope that benefits at least one animal!