Aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen not recommended for pets
Q: Are Brood X’s cicadas harmful to my dog?
A: Fortunately, cicadas don’t sting or bite, and they’re not poisonous. Thus, they will not cause any damage from a simple exposure.
If your dog swallowed a single cicada or two, he probably wouldn’t show any symptoms either … unless your dog was unlucky enough to be allergic. The only real problem tends to occur when or if your dog overindulges them and eats them by mouthful. This can create enough irritation in the gastrointestinal tract to cause vomiting and diarrhea ranging from mild to severe. This crispy outer “shell” of the cicada is its exoskeleton. The exoskeleton is made of a polymer called chitin. Chitin is not digestible, so it rubs and scratches the gastrointestinal tract, causing irritation as it passes.
Q: Can I give my dog aspirin or ibuprofen?
A: Generally speaking, you shouldn’t. Aspirin and ibuprofen are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, commonly called NSAIDs. NSAIDs work to prevent pain and inflammation by blocking an enzyme that makes a product called prostaglandins. Some prostaglandins are pain-causing chemicals that we want to suppress, but some prostaglandins are crucial for your dog’s normal function. For example, some prostaglandins protect the stomach lining from the acid that lives in the stomach. And other prostaglandins will protect the kidneys from damage caused by dehydration.
In our veterinary world, we use NSAIDs every day as a powerful tool to prevent pain and inflammation … but we use prescription NSAIDs which are very selective only for the production of pain-causing prostaglandins. Aspirin and Ibuprofen are not selective and can be very dangerous for pets.
Similarly, acetaminophen can also be toxic to dogs and cats. Acetaminophen works very differently from NSAIDs, but it can cause side effects such as liver or kidney damage, gastrointestinal disturbances, or even blood disorders.
Q: My vet told me my dog has an anterior cruciate ligament tear (ACL). Does he need surgery?
A: Surgery is often the best way to repair a torn ACL. In fact, dogs have an LCC (Cranial Cruciate Ligament) and humans have an ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament), but they are certainly very similar in anatomy and function.
CCL is made up of many fibers and acts like a multi-fiber cord that connects the tibia (tibia) to the femur (thigh bone). Because dogs have a slope at the top of their tibia, the femur always tries to slide down that slope behind the tibia. The main job of the CCL is to prevent this from happening by restricting the tibia from moving forward as the femur tries to slide back.
Dogs can quickly tear their CCL when running or performing an athletic movement. We call it a sharp tear in CCL. But dogs can also have a degenerative tear in which the fibers of the “rope” unravel one by one over time. We call these chronic tears. When the “rope” only unraveled to tear some fibers, it is a partial tear, and when all of those fibers tear, it is a complete tear.
The ideal surgical repair depends on the size of the dog. Dogs under 40 to 50 pounds may undergo a type of surgery that replaces the torn CCL with a synthetic CCL implant. This surgery can usually be performed by your vet with great result.
For larger dogs, synthetic CCL implant surgery is not always ideal. Large dogs are at risk of breaking a CCL synthetic implant due to their size. So, larger dogs usually need some type of surgery that changes the anatomy of the knee so that CCL is no longer needed.
In our opinion, this surgery is best performed by a certified veterinary orthopedic surgeon who specializes in this type of surgery. We are fortunate here in Columbus to have some of these surgeons at our disposal. Unfortunately, this type of surgery is more expensive than CCL synthetic implant surgery, but both surgeries have an almost 90% success rate.
So what happens to a dog with a torn CCL if he doesn’t have the surgery? The ends of the torn CCL live in a bath of joint fluid deep in the knee, so they never heal from end to end. This joint fluid is contained in the joint capsule that surrounds the knee. Normally, the joint capsule is very thin, but when the CCL is torn, the joint capsule thickens considerably and squeezes over the knee in an attempt to stabilize an unstable joint.
In addition, small bone spurs, called osteophytes, begin to form. Both will cause a decrease in the range of motion of the knee. All of this leads to long term arthritis which will result in frequent lameness and loss of muscle in the limb.
Drs. Josh and Marya Teders are the owners of the NorthArlington Animal Clinic in Upper Arlington. To ask them a question, email Becky Kover ([email protected]) and put a pet question in the subject line.