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Dog Deafness & Skin Lesions...

Dog Deafness & Skin Lesions...

Question: Could you recommend a hunting dog breed for people with allergies? — DL

Answer: Try a standard poodle. They were originally bred for water work. Also, they are smart dogs that make good family pets. Your buddies may laugh but if the dog is trimmed right it will look a lot like some of the water spaniels.Another side to the human-dog allergy issue is that I question how serious a cause of allergies dogs are for people. I think that if you are diligent about keeping any dog bathed and clean, hair coat clipped short and brushed out frequently and the sleeping area is cleaned and vacuumed often, you can keep the allergic response of your human to a minimum.

Question: Looking at buying a five-week-old male pudelpointer puppy. He lost two middle toes on his right rear foot due to being pulled off by forceps while being stuck in the birth canal. What complications could I expect and would a boot be beneficial or should I pass on him? — RP

Answer: I tend to be a fixer-upper and I would take the pup, all other things being okay. The most important thing to consider with foot injuries in the dog is whether you can save the central pad on the bottom of the paw. This pad supports the bulk of the weight and transmits a lot of force up the leg when the dog is running.The toe pads do some supporting and aid finite turning but I see them as more of a strong supporting base for the toenails. You might have a problem with splaying of the toes as the dog ages but that could be handled with a supportive wrap or possibly wiring the metatarsals together (orthopedic surgery).

Question: I am engaged to a man who has several pointers and setters. He loves and adores his dogs. I do also. I was reading an article in his recent Gun Dog magazine about pointers being deaf. It mentioned one of them being put down.I had heard Dalmatians born deaf were often put down. That was years ago. I am curious...are Dalmatians, pointers, setters or most breeds put to sleep if they are deaf? I am just learning all I can about these dogs due to the fact they are now a huge part of my life. — CM

Answer: No, they are not all put down. I would hope, however, that they are all eliminated from the gene pool (spayed and neutered). The incidence of deafness is much higher in Dalmations than it is in pointers. I have always thought that the two breeds seem to have some common features that might indicate some shared genetics many years ago.

The common factor may lie with coat color or pigmentation. Predominantly white individuals with blue or marbled eyes are commonly deaf. There is an old axiom in veterinary medicine that white cats with blue eyes are all deaf. I'm not sure how you test for deafness in a cat; certainly you can't call them and expect a response!

If you think about coat color in both Dalmatians and pointers you can certainly see that both breeds tend toward a lot of white in their coats and have a reduced amount of pigmented skin. The deafness is the result of an abnormality in the receptor organ of the inner ear.

I have a client with a deaf pointer that he has trained and used for hunting. He spent a lot of time researching methods of training deaf dogs and I believe he uses an electric collar that vibrates to signal the dog to check in with him.No, they are not all euthanized!

Question: I've been a subscriber for a number of years and have a question about my 2 1/2-year-old Brittany. About 6-8 weeks ago, she started to develop a growth on her lip. At first it was just a small bump, but it has continued to grow, and is now about the size of a pea (see the attached pictures). It doesn't seem to bother her at all, and I haven't seen any additional growths.

She doesn't seem to have any other symptoms; her energy level, appetite, and stools all seem normal. The only other issue I've had recently was a spell about 4-6 weeks ago when she was vomiting after eating. This lasted for a couple weeks but once it started becoming more frequent, I switched dog foods, and she hasn't had a problem since.

I took her to my vet two weeks ago to have her examined. The vet didn't think the growth was anything serious, just something superficial. They recommended laser surgery to remove it. I'm hoping you might be able to provide a second opinion about a few of my questions before I do anything.

What might be causing the growth? The vet seemed to think it was probably a virus.

Are there other treatment options (medication, less expensive surgery, etc.)? Will the growth eventually subside with time?

If the condition is caused by a virus, what is the likelihood that she might relapse and develop new growths after this one is removed? Thanks for any help you can provide! — JG

Answer: If I saw this lesion in my practice I would think of three things and in this order: foreign body, wart, and tumor mass. Of these three, encapsulated foreign bodies are the most common and tumors are the most significant.

Foreign bodies could be almost anything from the environment that might penetrate the skin.

The lesion on the lip of JG's Brittany. Dr. Tom recommends having it removed and biopsied.

Examples are thorns, weed awns, bird shot, slivers of wood and others. Most of these are encapsulated with connective tissue and form a mass in or on the skin. Lead shot encapsulates and remains in the tissue while steel will rust and form a draining tract. If the foreign object forms an abscess it will then open and drain with resolution actually not too serious an issue.

Viral warts appear as rough surfaced papillomas in the mouth and on the lips. They are caused by a virus and can cause the dog problems when eating and licking. Dogs can have from one to many in and around the oral cavity and they are contagious to other dogs. Fortunately this is a self-limiting condition and as the dog's immune system responds to the virus it eliminates the disease and the dog then carries immunity to the virus.

I have seen a number of dogs with warts but over the last several years incidence has gone to near zero. I speculate that this is the result of society requiring that we keep our dogs more closely confined, thereby reducing the transmission rate.

The third condition should be taken more seriously. Skin tumors can be some very benign things or they can be very aggressive. The one that worries me the most in skin of this region is the squamous cell carcinoma. These things can be highly malignant and often spread

to the regional lymph nodes and other organs.

I would get the lesion removed and biopsied so you know what you are dealing with.

Questions may be addressed to me at

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