The Expert Vet™

Dr. Donna Spector, a board-certified veterinary Internal Medicine Specialist, is Tracie’s co-host, educating pet parents as well as other veterinarians and vet technicians with explanations of common medical conditions in dogs and cats as well as chronic, complicated or unusual medical conditions.


Skin Problems, Flaking Skin, Hair Loss

#5072: Dr. Donna discusses skin problems, in particular the questions from a listener about her Yorkie who has flaking skin and hair loss — and is scratching so much the health of his skin is compromised.

Detecting Kidney Disease Early

#7058: Dr. Donna talks about a ground-breaking new test to identify early kidney disease in cats, the SDMA marker.

Bladder Stones and Infections in Dogs

#5077: Dogs and bladder stones: Dr. Donna Spector fills you in on everything you need to know. Bladder stones and infections go hand-in-hand. Bladder infections are common in dogs — especially overweight females — and the condition does require antibiotics. This is a condition where it is recommended to manipulate the pH of the dog’s urine with diet — and Dr. Donna uses the homemade diet recipes and supplements from BalanceIT to achieve this for some of her patients.

Urinary Crystals in Cats

#5076: Urinary Crystals in Cats: a real problem or not? Dr. Donna explains that urinary crystals are the biggest health issue in cats — and caused by stress factors like a multi-cat household, a dog in the home, a lack of environmental enrichment, a diet of dry food, and a cat being overweight and sedentary (which can be the effect of the previous two stress factors!). What do urinary crystals actually mean for a cats health? Are they a problem that must be dealt with aggressively? Are special diets needed? The bigger disease here is called idiopathic cystitis (or FUS or FIC or Pandora syndrome…lots of names) which is when cats show up at the vet because they are straining to urinate. Dr. Donna explains, “Vets often want to point a finger at ‘a culprit,’ with crystals often being the easy out. But crystals themselves are NOT the main issue. Moisture in the diet from feeding species-appropriate meat-based wet food provides the fluids they need. As they told us in vet school, ‘Dilution is the solution to the pollution.’”

Diets for Cancer Patients

#5075: Can a change in diet help a dog who is being treated for cancer? Dr. Donna talks about diets for cancer patients and what sorts of foods to include. She recommends BalanceIT as a supplement and the high quality human grade ingredients in raw dehydrated meals like The Honest Kitchen.

Deadly Potential of C-DIFF Bacteria

5074: C-DIFF and the prevalence of these bacteria throughout our bodies and our pets’ bodies — but once on antibiotics, the C DIFF can take over and be deadly. Probiotics do not restore the good intestinal bacteria but amazingly, “fecal transplants” (poop enemas) can completely cure the problem!

All About Vestibular Disease

#5071: An animal with vestibular disease (the vestibular system keeps us upright and walking straight) will have a head tilt, eye roll, will vocalize and/or be unable to get up. It all looks terrible but is actually common and not something to worry about because it will all resolve over time.

Is Broccoli Toxic to Dogs?

#5073: Tracie asks Dr. Donna: “Is broccoli toxic?” because she feeds handfuls of frozen broccoli to her dogs every day as a snack! Turns out there is more than one answer to this peculiar question — a “yes” and a “no!”

Abuse of Antibiotics for Urinary Tract Disease

#5070: Are you “abusing” antibiotics? After this show you may know more than your vet about over-use and mis-use of antibiotics for urinary tract disease. Bacteria seen in the yearly urine culture does NOT require treatment! Use a non-confrontational approach to questioning or addressing your vet’s treatment choice and suggest that s/he look at the International Society of Companion Animal Infectious Disease site for the most up-to-date information.

Can Dogs Give Kids Strep Throat?

#5069: Can your dog can give your kids strep throat? No! Strep throat does spread between people, even healthy ones who can be carriers, but pediatricians mistakenly tell parents the family dog is how their child got strep throat. The strep present in dogs’ throats is a different strain from the human one and doesn’t sicken the dogs themselves.