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What is stem cell therapy?
Stem cells are the body’s repair cells. They have the ability to divide and differentiate into many different types of cells based on where they are needed throughout the body. Stem cells can divide and turn into tissues such as skin, fat, muscle, bone, cartilage, and nerve to name a few. They even possess the ability to replicate into organs such as the heart, liver, intestines, pancreas, etc.
What are the different types of stem cells?
There are two basic types of stem cells; embryonic and somatic (adult).
Embryonic stem cells are found in the placenta and embryo. These cells are called totipotent, which means they have the ability to reproduce into any mature cell type. While embryonic stem cells offer the greatest potential in healing, there are obviously moral and ethical concerns in harvesting these cells.
The second type of stem cell is the adult stem cell. These stem cells are called multipotent, which means they can differentiate into closely related cell lines, but they are not capable of creating a complete organ. Adult stem cells are found in the bone marrow, adipose tissue (fat), skin, liver, blood vessels, and neurons. Contrary to embryonic stem cells, there are no moral or ethical concerns in harvesting these cells, activating them, and reintroducing them back to the patient in areas where healing and regeneration is needed.
So why do we take the cells from adipose (fat) tissue?
Adult stem cells are highly concentrated in the fat tissue. There are 50 to 1,000 times more stem cells in the fat than the bone marrow. At this concentration, it is no longer necessary to culture the stem cells to acquire the necessary cell numbers to make a healing impact. The procedure to extract fat from the patient is much quicker and less invasive than a spay. The stem cells are contained within a pool of cells in the fat termed the Stromal Vascular Fraction (SVF). The SVF may impart anti-inflammatory effects, add bioactive peptides, and contribute to reformation and architectural organization. These are benefits lost once stem cells are cultured.
So what can we do with the stem cells?
Adult stem cells are capable of dividing into many different cell types. With this capability, we can use them as a treatment for joint injuries, ligament and tendon damage, and fractured bones. Research and clinical trials currently support the use of stem cells in these conditions. Ongoing research is targeting other areas of the body for treatment and the preliminary results are very encouraging.
Which dogs are good candidates for Stem Cell Treatments?
- Dogs that have not responded well to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Dogs that cannot tolerate non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Dogs that are likely to need long-term medications for pain.
- Dogs that are not good candidates for orthopedic surgery due to age or health concerns.
- Dogs that have early arthritis.
- Dogs that have multiple joints afflicted with arthritis.
So what makes MediVet America’s technology superior?
With our patented LED technology and by incorporating Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) – the same treatment used by many sports professionals, MediVet America is able to acquire the most living stem cells of any company currently offering this technology. If your beloved pet is going to have to endure the surgical procedure, we want to make sure they are going to get the most out of it! MediVet America also offers Cryobanking, where you can store extra cells from the procedure for future use.
So how will the procedure work?
The day of the procedure, the veterinarian will anesthetize your pet. They will surgically remove a couple tablespoons of fat. This is a quick and simple procedure that is generally easier than performing a spay. They will then process the fat to remove the stem cells. Processing generally takes a couple of hours. After the stem cells have been collected, your pet will generally be sedated and the stem cells will be administered into the affected joints and/or into the bloodstream. It is important that you do not feed your pet the night before the procedure.
When will I see results?
There are no guarantees as each pet is different. Nationwide, 95% of procedures for osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia have shown clinical improvement. Some owners report seeing a difference in as little as a week, while others do not see and change for a month or two. If your pet is going to show improvement, we expect that it will occur within the first 90 days following treatment. Really bad arthritis may require multiple injections, so banking your extra cells is always a good idea.
Is this procedure safe?
As with any procedure that involves anesthesia, there is always a risk. However, the stem cells are coming from your pet and are being re-administered back to your pet. There is no risk of an allergic reaction. Rarely there might be a mild immune reaction in the injected joint that should subside within a day or two.
Approximately 85-95% of all dogs and cats two years old or older have periodontal disease. The first sign of which is halitosis (bad breath)! Periodontal disease is the major cause of tooth loss in pets as well as a major factor in infections of the liver, heart, lung, and even the brain. Gum disease is painful. Red gums indicate inflammation and hurts. Dogs and cats have the same nerve supply to teeth & gums as humans and hurt just as much when infection is present.
Periodontal disease and tooth loss is totally preventable in many cases and controllable in the rest with regular dental cleanings as often as needed (usually annually but sometimes more often) and daily home care.
Proper home dental care is important because plaque begins to accumulate within 24-48 hours after eating and begins to mineralize into calculus and tartar. As this infection builds up the bacteria spread under the gumline where the real damage occurs as the gum begins to separate from the tooth as the disease progresses.
Please call us with any questions- 918-627-8575
-The Veterinarians of Heritage Veterinary Hospital Drs. Joe, Julie, Stephanie and Jessica
February is National Pet Dental Month!
Receive 10% off of your pet?s dental cleaning in February!
Every FEBRUARY is Dental Health Month at Heritage Veterinary Hospital.
Your pet?s teeth are very important to their overall health. If we noted during your visit the need for your pet to have a dental cleaning and polishing then keep reading!
Dental disease is the most common disease in dogs and cats. Over 68% of all pets over the age of three have some form of periodontal or dental disease, making it by far the most common canine disease.
*Pets need to have their teeth cleaned? Can?t I just brush his teeth?
-Brushing your pet?s teeth is a great way to prevent dental disease. However, when a pet has signs of dental disease such as red or inflammed gums, bad breath, tartar, or even loose teeth, your pet needs a dental.
*Yuck! My pet?s teeth look like the dog in the picture below, maybe even worse! What should I do?
-No worries. Your pet?s tartar can be removed with a professional scaling and polishing under anesthesia. Your pet?s teeth will then be polished and fluoride will be applied. Some pets may also need to have tooth extractions and/or antibiotics.
*I have an older pet. Is it ok to have her under anesthesia?
-Your pet will have an exam by one of our doctors prior to their dental. Your pet will also have blood work performed to check cell counts and internal organs. If any concerns are noted, one of the doctors will call you. Your pet will be monitored throughout the procedure and until he or she goes home.
*My pet has a healthy smile again! Now what?
-You will pick-up your pet in the afternoon and be greeted by your pet?s fresh breath! We will give you instructions on how to brush your pet?s teeth. Do not use human dentifrice or toothpaste. You can begin giving special canine toys as well as feeding the newer dental diets and dental treats to help reduce tartar build up.
Please call us at 918-627-8575 to make an appointment. We perform dentals Monday-Friday mornings. Drop-offs start at 7:30a.m. We look forward to seeing you soon.
Joe Landers, DVM , Julie Merrick-Landers DVM , Stephanie Bradley, DVM, Jessica Zink, DVM
P.S. Want more info? Visit our website at www.gtvets.com to see a short dental care video.
Top 10 New Year?s Resolutions for Pet Owners
1- Keep pets current on vaccinations and medications. We recommended exams at least every 6 months but if you have concerns, please call immediately.
2- Have more playtime.Play fetch and tug of war more with your dogs or use a feather toy to play with your cats.
3- Keep a routine. For new puppies and dogs, take them out often. Teach them how to get into their kennel. Hang a bell on the door they go to go outside and teach them to ring it. Teach dogs to sit before you put food in their bowl.
4- Kick bad habits. If you dog begs for food while you eat, teach him to stay on his pillow or give him a toy or dog treat to eat.
5- Slim down your pet. Measure food out according to the weight recommended by the vet. Cut down on treats.
6- Teach a trick. Teach your pet to shake or sit and wait until you release them to get up.
7- Make a new friend. If your pet is friendly, schedule walks or dog park play dates with friends? dogs.
8- Spend time outside. Take your dog for walks or let him play in the backyard more.
9- Reduce clutter. Throw away old, broken and worn out toys.
10- Give back. Consider fostering pets. Donating items to local shelters and rescue groups.
Happy New Year from The Veterinarians of Heritage Vet- Joe, Julie, Stephanie and Jessica
Allowing the toenails to grow excessively can cause the following problems
- Foot deformities
- Nail bed infections
- Pain when walking
- Injury to pet ? such as scratching the eye
- Scratching the owner and the house
QUALITY TOENAIL CUTTERS:
Don?t make the mistake of buying cheap toenail trimmers. The steel in the blades of cheap cutters is not strong enough to cut toenails smooth, but rather ?crushes? the nails, which can be very harmful to the interior parts of the toenail.
Cutting the toenails too short will result in bleeding. Although it looks like a lot of blood, it really is not. It is impossible for a pet to ?bleed to death? from a toenail trimmed too short. Commercial preparations are available to stop the bleeding. A simple home remedy is to push the bleeding nail down into a bar of soap. The soap will pack up into the nail putting pressure to stop the bleeding.
The ?quick? grows out as the toenail grows longer. Keeping the toenails cut short allows normal walking pressure to keep the ?quick? short. If the toenails are not kept trimmed, the ?quick? will grow out so far that the toenails cannot be trimmed back properly without making them bleed. In cases where this has happened, we recommend a toenail cautery procedure. This procedure involves sedating the pet to prevent pain so the toenails can be cut back to proper length. After they are trimmed to proper length, the ?quick? is cauterized to stop bleeding and seal the ?quick? to prevent infection. Sometimes oral antibiotics are dispensed if nail bed infections were discovered at the time of the procedure. It is important after the procedure to keep the feet clean and dry for the next 7-10 days until healing occurs.
To watch our video of how to trim nails, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCjOZmNdrVA&feature=youtu.be
-From the Veterinarians of Heritage Veterinary Hospital (Drs. Joe, Julie, Stephanie and Jessica)
Senior Cat Recommendations:
- Keep vaccinations current.
- Brush frequently to keep hair coat from matting.
- Clip toenails as needed to prevent overgrowth.
- Keep fresh water available at all times and monitor consumption.
- Monitor urine output by measuring wet litter.
- Keep other pets from preventing this senior pet from eating or drinking.
- Keep indoors.
- Weigh on the same scale and record results at least every 2 month.
- Lameness that lasts more than 3 days, or lameness in more than one leg.
- Increasing inactivity especially increases in sleeping.
- Hair loss, especially if accompanied by scratching or if in specific areas of the body.
Optimum health care can add years to the life of your pet as well as substantially decrease your cost of treating medical problems associated with aging. We would make the following recommendations:
Comprehensive Physical Examinations:
Since pets age 5-7 times faster than humans, it can be estimated that one physical examination for a pet is equivalent to one exam every 5-7 years in humans. The exam should include a very detailed medical history along with a ?nose to tail? physical examination. In later years, a comprehensive physical examination should be performed every 6-12 months depending on any specific medical problems discovered in your pet. This screening should include an ECG screening and glaucoma screening.
Laboratory Screening For Disease:
Many medical problems can be diagnosed through the use of laboratory diagnostic testing long before clinical signs of disease become evident. Specific recommendations for your pet may include:
- Internal Parasite Examination
- Heartworm Testing
- Feline Leukemia/Feline AIDS Testing
- Complete Blood Counts
- Blood Chemistry Screening
- Thyroid Screening
Feed the highest quality cat food you can afford. Read labels carefully. Ideal diets for senior pets would have less sodium and fat, and more fiber than regular adult foods. Higher quality and premium foods are more digestible and result in less stool volume. Constipation is a common and uncomfortable problem in older cats. The fiber content is very important?and supplements may be needed as well. Do not constantly switch brands of food. Older cats are more prone to dietary upset from too much variety in the foods they eat. If a specific medical condition is diagnosed, a specific prescription diet may be best for your pet. Vitamin supplements help keep the skin healthy and may enhance the pet?s immune system. Fatty acid supplements may be useful for skin problems, arthritis, & inflammatory bowel disease. Do not feed table scraps or snacks unless formulated for the senior pet. New pet treats are now available from the clinic that is very palatable as well as healthy for your pet. CAUTION: Be sure your older cat does not have to compete for food with other pets. You may need to feed older animals separately to ensure they are receiving their fair share.
Present the pet for examination if you observe any of the following:
- Sustained, significant increase in water consumption. (More than 1.5 cups/day for the average cat)
- Sustained, significant increase in wet litter.
- Weight loss
- Significant decrease in appetite or failure to eat for more than 2 consecutive days.
- Significant increase in appetite.
- Repeated vomiting.
- Diarrhea that lasts over 3 days.
- Difficulty in passing stool or urine or prolonged sitting in the litter box.
- Change in litter box habits, especially if inappropriate urination or defecation occurs.
- Lameness that lasts more than 3 days, or lameness in more than one leg.
- Noticeable decrease in vision, especially if sudden in onset or pupils that do not constrict in bright light.
- Masses, ulcerations (open sores), or multiple scabs on the skin that persists more than 1 week.
- Foul mouth odor or drooling that lasts more than 2 days.
- Increased size of the abdomen.
- Increasing inactivity especially increases in sleeping.
- Hair loss, especially if accompanied by scratching or if in specific areas of the body.
- Reluctance or inability to chew dry food.
-From the Veterinarians of Heritage Veterinary Hospital (Drs. Joe, Julie, Jessica, and Stephanie)
PROPER NUTRITION: Proper nutrition maximizes the body?s potential to perform at its best, as well as fight off disease.
THINK QUALITY: With pet foods, you get what you pay for. Cheap pet foods use cheap ingredients, have poor quality control, are not well digested, and may have excesses or deficiencies in vital nutrients can cause harm.When analyzed by independent laboratories, cheap foods frequently do not have the level of nutrition stated on the label. Choosing a well-known brand is the best insurance of proper nutrition.
PETS DO NOT NEED VARIETY: Your pet will do best if you pick one complete food that is appropriate for their age and activity level, and stick with it. Changes in brands of food often causes digestive upsets, such as vomiting and/or diarrhea. Pets also tend to become finicky eaters when fed a varied diet, causing problems for their owners later on. Any time you do switch brands of food, it should be done gradually by mixing the two diets together for a few days slowly decreasing the old diet with the new diet.
DRY FOOD IS BEST FOR TEETH & GUMS: The only difference in a canned food is that it contains more water, which does enhance the flavor and smell. When you buy a canned food, you are buying 80% water. It is ok to supplement the dry food with a little canned food, as long as you pick a good one and don?t overdo it. A secret: warming the food in a microwave or wetting the dry food with hot water releases the outer coating of the food which generates a lot more flavor. Most foods are sprayed with an outer chicken coating during processing. Dry food is also a lot more economical to feed.
FEED A FOOD DESIGNED FOR YOUR PET?S LIFE STAGE: Puppies and kittens should be fed foods labeled for young, growing pets. Adult pets should be fed a food that is properly balanced for maintenance of health rather than for growing. Foods designed for young growing pets can easily cause obesity in the mature or senior pet. Free-Choice Feeding is discouraged because of the tendency toward obesity.
WHAT ABOUT PREMIUM FOODS? Premium foods contain superior nutrition over grocery store brands. They are extensively tested and meet rigid standards with no ingredient substitutes. The finest pet foods are formulated with controlled levels of key nutrients like fat, protein, phosphorus, and magnesium to help reduce the risk of such problems as obesity and kidney disease. Better foods may cost more per bag, but the superior nutrition and better digestibility of these foods means you feed less per day, you clean up less stool later, and your veterinary bill for nutritionally-related diseases will be reduced.
WHAT ABOUT TREATS? Many over-the-counter treats are full of salt and other bad stuff! We recommend Prescription Diet t/d as a treat because it is nutritionally balanced and will help keep the teeth clean. C.E.T. Chews are available at the clinic and incorporate enzymes into the rawhide that chemically help keep the teeth clean.
-The Veterinarians of Heritage Veterinary Hospital (Drs. Joe, Julie, Stephanie and Jessica)
During the holidays, people often consider giving a pet as a gift. Choosing a pet carries responsibility along with pleasure. This means that you should take the time to become aware of what being a pet owner means.
Ask yourself some questions about any pet you are considering:
How much space do I have for an animal? How much money will it cost me food/Vet/toys, etc.?
What?s your real purpose in choosing a pet? Companionship? Protection?
How much time do you have to devote? Do you travel for business? Who will take care of him/her when I am gone?
Do I have older/younger/grumpy/shy pets already that would not appreciate a new member of the pack?
Whatever you do, it?s important to do everything possible to make sure you wind up enjoying the results of your decision. In some cases, you can wind up disappointed or in a terrible fix if the decision you make turns out to be wrong.
For example, a longhaired cat that requires lots of daily brushing may be hard to fit into your hectic day-to-day schedule. Or a dog that turns destructive or isn?t housebroken can be even more disastrous if you live alone in a small apartment and work long hours. Or do you have small children? Some pets can be moody and irritable around youngsters.Or a child can unintentionally hurt some small breeds by squeezing them too hard.
Once you?ve decided what kind of pet you want, check the potential pet (cat or dog) for the following points:
- Bright alert and active
- Not depressed and lethargic
- Clean, shiny hair coat and healthy-looking skin
- Good flesh on body not too skinny and ribs sticking out
- NO Nasal discharge or coughing
- No vomiting or diarrhea
If you?re selecting a cat or dog from a litter, ask to see the entire litter and the mother. The most active and curious are the ones that make the best pets. One that growls or resists your handling is not a good prospect. Don?t let sympathy sway your judgement.
Rescue groups and local shelters are a great place to start your search for a new pet. Visit www.animalaid.org, www.okwestierescue.com and www.pet-adopt.org.
Also, remember veterinarians make good, friendly advisors. We?ll be glad to help you make the best possible decision In fact, if you buy a pet, ask to bring the pet in for a complete check-up before buying.
-The Veterinarians of Heritage Veterinary Hospital (Dr. Joe, Stephanie, Jessica, and Julie) 918-627-8575
Every year at this time it?s a good idea to check over the following tips and reminders so your pets will enjoy the fall and winter seasons.
1) Antifreeze: Antifreeze can be lethal. Some contain ethylene glycol, which is sweet tasting to your pet but will shut down renal function and lead to kidney failure. Always clean up any spills in the garage or driveway and dilute and wash with lots of water. If your pet licks some or you suspect he has, contact your veterinarian immediately!
2) Car Engines: As the weather turns cooler, cats like to sleep near a warm car engine, curling up on or under the hood. Make sure you always know the location of your cat and honk your horn before starting the car.
3) Sweets: Holiday candy is as bad for your pet. Stomach aches, vomiting and diarrhea are the milder side effects, while an over-indulgence in chocolate can prove to be fatal. Chocolate poisoning is caused by theobromine, a caffeine chemical substance found naturally in chocolate. Keep all chocolate well away from curious pets!
4) Frostbite:Frostbite is the number one winter pet hazard. Cats should stay indoors and owners should shorten dog exercise walks when the temperature falls.
5) Rock Salt: Rock salt used to melt snow and ice can cause irritation to paw pads. Rub a bit of baby oil and sprinkle some baby powder on the pads before going outside. Clean pads before coming back inside.
6) Adequate Shelter: If your pet must be outside at all, make sure you provide adequate shelter. A doghouse should be no more than three times the size of the dog. Cedar shavings make the best bedding. Avoid blankets & straw, they harbor fleas. I possible point the door opening to the south to decrease wind and increase sunshine?s heat.
7) Dandruff: With the dry winter air, dandruff becomes a problem. Keeping your pet brushed will help remedy this condition. We have the proper skin moisturizer and omega 3 fatty acid oil capsules to prevent dryness from winter heating.
8) Toenails: Without hard surfaces to act as a natural file, dog?s toenails are longer in the winter. Regular clipping is the solution.
9) Diet: Just like people, pets burn more calories in the winter. Your veterinarian can help determine if your pet?s diet is adequate and balanced.
10) Dehydration: Make sure your pet?s water stays unfrozen. It?s better to use a porcelain pottery bowl, not metal, to prevent tongues from sticking.
11) Christmas Tree: Make sure your Christmas or Chanukah tree is well secured. If you have a tree-climbing cat or large dog, anchor the top of the tree to a wall using strong cord or rope.
12) Pine Needles: Check around holiday trees frequently. Ingested pine needles can puncture the pet?s intestines.
13) Ornaments: Sharp or breakable tree ornaments, yarns and ribbons, angel hair and icicles should be kept out of Fido and Fluffy?s reach. Hang them high on the tree and make sure your packages are securely wrapped.
14) Holiday Plants: Holly, mistletoe, and poinsettia are extremely poisonous when eaten. You can enjoy their beauty by placing them well out of reach of curious pets.
15) Electric Cords: Puppies and kittens like to chew on everything. Watch closely and reprimand and scare them if they attempt to play/chew on it. Keep cords out of reach!
-The Veterinarians of Heritage Veterinary Hospital (Drs Joe, Stephanie, Jessicia, and Julie) 918-627-8575
Oklahoma is currently experiencing a higher than normal number of confirmed positive rabid animal cases, including seven rabid dog cases this year, as well as a number of horses, cattle, goats, a fox and 30+ cases of rabies in skunks.
Rabies is a viral disease of mammals that causes encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and is nearly 100% fatal once the virus enters the brain. It is spread primarily through the bite of an infected animal. The virus advances slowly via the nervous system from the site of the bite to the brain of the bite victim. Less common routes of exposure include the exposure of cuts in the skin or mucus membranes of the eyes, nose, or mouth to saliva, brain, or spinal fluid of an infected animal. Rabies cannot be spread through scratching or contact with blood, urine, vomit, feces, etc. of an infected animal.
Because of the slow advance of the virus in a bite victim, there is usually time to stop infection by a series of vaccinations. The Oklahoma State Department of Health has excellent website-based information at the site www.ok.gov. Search this site under the topic ?Rabies? to learn more. The following information is from that website:
After any animal bite:
1) Wash all bite wounds immediately with soap and water, and continue washing for at least ten minutes.
2) Contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Animal bite wounds contain bacteria, so a tetanus booster and/or antibiotics may be needed.
3) If possible, safely catch or restrain the animal. Your local animal control or sheriff may be of assistance. Or, if the animal has an owner, get information about the animal?s history of rabies vaccination and contact information about the owner.
4) Call the local county health department sanitarian to report animal bites. The sanitarian will help confirm the animal?s condition and rabies vaccine status.
5) If a rodent or rabbit caused the bite, these are very low risk and rabies post-exposure vaccination (of the bite victim) is usually not recommended.
-If the biting animal was a dog, cat or ferret (not owned by the victim and not currently vaccinated by a licensed veterinarian), the animal should be quarantined with a licensed veterinarian for ten days.
-Dogs, cats and ferrets (not owned by the bite victim and currently vaccinated by a licensed veterinarian) may be allowed to be quarantined by the animal owner.
-If the biting dog, cat or ferret dies or is euthanized during the ten-day quarantine, it should be tested for rabies.
6) If the dog, cat or ferret remains healthy after ten days, it was not infectious with rabies at the time the bite occurred.
7) If another species of animal caused the bite, the local county health department sanitarian should be contacted.
More information is available at the Oklahoma State Department of Health website. Of particular interest may be subjects such as: What to do if you pet is bitten by another animal?; What if the bite is on the face, neck or head?
What about bats? Bites from a bat may be unnoticed, as the bat?s teeth are extremely small. Your local health department sanitarian can guide you in determining your rabies risk from an encounter with a bat.
The best protection is vaccination of our pets and livestock. Oklahoma state law requires that all dogs, cats and ferrets be immunized against rabies by or under the supervision of a veterinarian by the age of four months. It is also recommended that horses and other valuable livestock be vaccinated against rabies.
Only rabies vaccines given by a licensed veterinarian are recognized by the health department.
Please call your veterinarian to schedule your pet?s immunizations.
Feel free to email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at
-The Veterinarians from Heritage Veterinary Hospital
Dog parks can be great fun and provide valuable exercise for our canine companions both large and small. Tulsa is lucky to have two: http://www.cityoftulsa.org/culture--recreation/tulsa-parks.aspx (Biscuit Acres and Joe Station). When going to the dog park always obey all the rules: http://www.cityoftulsa.org/media/82867/dogparkrules.doc . I would like to take a minute to talk about a few of the most common problems we see related to the dog parks.
The most common is sprains and strains. My suggestion is to work up the amount of time your dog runs off lead. This is especially true for overweight, older, or out of shape canines. Just like us humans being a week-end warrior can be hard on their bodies. Having a long retractable leash for the early part of any visit can be a good idea until he/she calms down from the initial excitement. It also gives you an opportunity to scope out the situation and make sure there are no other dogs that will cause yours to run off too much. The key is to know your dog and how much he/she can do and put them back on the lead and restrict before they overdo it. Your Veterinarian can help you decide at their annual physical how good a shape your dog is in. As well as how much running they should be doing. When in doubt take a time out!
Another big problem are laceration and bite wounds. Watch your dog at all times. Again keeping on leash until you feel comfortable with the other dogs and the other owners is a good idea. Some dogs may be protective of their owner and bite. Not all dogs (nor people) get along so see how your dog reacts to the others as well as other dogs reactions to you. Most dogs are social and most owners that go have good control of their dogs. Be careful with treats because some dogs are food aggressive. Toys (balls) can also cause aggressive behavior so watch for any excessive possessiveness or aggression with those items. Take it slow when approaching any other dogs. Do not bring a puppy younger than 4 months or so. Instead enroll in a puppy class where the dogs are the same maturity and learn good social behavior.
Some other problems especially this summer are insect bites and heat strokes. If you suspect an insect sting call your Veterinarian. It is good to carry some Benadryl in your first aid kit. Remember dogs are wearing a fur coat and do not sweat so this heat is really extra hot for them. Make sure to avoid the hottest part of the day (10 am to 4 pm) for those that are the most prone to overheating (older dogs). Carry plenty of water (for both of you all). Make sure to take breaks and put back on leash in the shade. Look for signs of hyperthermia such as profuse rapid panting, bright red tongue, thick drooling saliva, incoordination, or unresponsiveness. If so call your Veterinarian immediately.
Less common complaints are parasites, kennel cough, parvo, and other communicable disease. Avoid any dog with diarrhea or vomiting as well as any areas where they have defecated. Avoid other dogs that are coughing or have a nasal discharge. Keep your dog on a monthly heart worm preventive which prevents heartworms and internal parasites. A good flea and tick preventive is also a very wise idea. Your Veterinarian can help guide you as to vaccines and products to protect your dog.
I hope everyone is having a great summer and having lots of fun!!!!!!!!!
Tick, Tick, Tick, Ticks!!!
True or false fleas and ticks are almost the same? False! As one of my veterinary parasitology teachers used to say a cat is not a small dog like a flea is not a small tick. Ticks actually are an arachnid which are more closely related to spiders and fleas are an insect which are more related to butterflies. With that said and with the amount of rain we have received so far it is going to be a great year for bugs in general.
I want to mainly focus on ticks because last year was dry and so the ticks were not too bad. But since almost all ticks are acquired from the outdoors there will be an increased risk to us and our pets. There are several species of ticks (Brown Dog Tick, Lone Star Tick, American Dog Tick, Black Legged Ticks for example) that are active at different times of year which makes the exposure months from April to November with peaks in June and July. Also the increase in the deer population in America has helped the tick population boom and reproduce at very high rates. Lastly, with only one exception ticks do not spend their whole life on their host. They instead feed then drop off, molt (grow and develop), then reattach and suck some blood!
What to do? First and foremost most tick borne diseases are transmitted after the tick has attached for about 24 hours. So close examination and physically removing the ticks with tweezers is the most important thing to do after being in a wooded or rural area.
Secondly use a tick preventative product on your dog. Assess your risk of (fleas and) ticks and then pick the most appropriate product. There are collars that can be worn and generally will last longer than a month but many do not kill fleas and care must be taken that they are not ingested by the dog (generally more a concern with adolescents). We have found that in most cases the product that is the most effective against both fleas and ticks and is the most economical is Advantix II. Go to: http://www.petparents.com/show.aspx/k9-advantix-pooch-protest .
Third make your yard less attractive to ticks. Pick up debris and brush around the edge of your lawn. Create a barrier of gravel or wood chips between lawn and wooded areas. Stack wood neatly and remove old furniture or clutter where mice might live that ticks feed on. Mow frequently, rake leaves, clear tall grasses, and maintain shrubs and bushes. Discourage deer. Use pesticide at and beyond your perimeter (I.E. Bayer Advanced Home Pest Control).
For more information visit our web site: www.gtvets.com or click on a link below:
We hope everyone has great summer with lots of fun outdoors and it is as tick free as possible.
Severe weather storm preparedness and our pets
Well it is spring time again in Oklahoma and that of course means severe weather. Most everyone should have a "tornado plan" for these spring storms as a tornado can form very quickly. Of course with the advances in weather radars the forecasts are very good and we can get a very good idea of the likelihood of severe weather but having an advance plan in place for you and your pets will help in the event of an emergency to keep everyone safe. I have been using the 2 News Weather app :http://www.kjrh.com/dpp/news/local_news/tracking-storms-and-severe-weather-with-radar-and-app-from-kjrh-channel-2-works-for-you , for my phone and absolutely love it! Thanks Dan, George, Taft,and Andy!
First and foremost have a safe place that can accommodate all 4 legged and 2 legged creatures. In the safe room keep pet carriers to place animals in. This may be especially important for cats that tend to run and hide and may be difficult to keep in one spot during a time of stress and excitement. There should be one carrier per pet and avoid "doubling up" as some animals that are normally easy-going may become aggressive under stress and hurt their friend. These carriers should be marked with your name, cell phone number, and address in permanent ink in case you get separated. The carriers should have some bedding (I.E.: old towels) as well. Also while I am thinking of pet identification it is a good idea to have each pet microchipped as well as a metal tag with your number (we engrave the back of our rabies tags at Heritage Vet Hospital with the owner?s number). Unfortunately, many of the animals recovered during the last tornado disasters could not be identified and they never reunited with their owner.
Further, make sure you have a flash light, battery operated radio, first aid kit, and plenty of water for everyone. Some other items to consider would be dog/cat treats, canned food (and can opener, bowls, and spoon), chew bones and dog/cat toys in case you have to be in the safe place for several hours. Also pack a leash and harness, in case your dog needs to go out to eliminate (they should NOT be allowed to run free outside and need to go back to the safe room ASAP). Important pet medications (I.E.: storm pills, insulin, heart meds, etc.) should also be kept with the storm supplies. Again if it is a long night a litter box, scoop, and litter would be greatly appreciated by our feline friends! Other things to consider are good shoes for you in case you have to leave and walk across broken glass and heavy blankets to cover up if the house is hit to try to protect from flying debris.
Hopefully everyone will have a safe spring and no severe weather will effect us. BUT just in case it is always good to have a plan and supplies ready! Another good link for more storm information is channel 2?s weather page: http://www.kjrh.com/subindex/weather.
Allergies getting your pet down?
First of all, if you have a pet with allergic skin disease, please know that we feel your pain and understand how miserable it can make your pet and your family. Constant scratching is a huge source of discomfort and frankly, as an owner of an allergy dog myself, makes everyone in the vicinity of an itchy pet crazy. Late nights with your pet constantly scratching, licking and break dancing on the carpet are the perfect recipe for grumpy mornings.
Allergies are one of the most common complaints we see as veterinarians in this part of the country. There have been some days when itchy dogs and cats are literally the only cases I see all day. Some of the most important considerations with allergies are that the majority are environmental or food related and that THERE IS NO CURE. Luckily, there are many options available to keep your pet comfortable. Before we go into a few treatment options, lets discuss the basics of allergic skin disease.
Allergies (also known as atopy or atopic dermatitis) usually develop in early adulthood around 1-2 years old and are the body's inappropriate immune response to normal environmental substances. Nearly anything can become a source of itchiness or "pruritus" to your pet if they have atopy. Pollens from weeds, grasses and trees are common sources of allergies but so are molds, dust and dust mites within the home and even insects. Our pets don't typically respond to seasonal allergies the way we do. The classic "Hay Fever" signs with sneezing, runny noses and eyes can occur to some degree but are not the prominent manifestation of this disease. Allergens come in contact with your pet's skin and a cascade of immune-mediated events occur which leads to progressively increased itchiness as well as skin and ear infections. Unfortunately, without allergy testing it is very difficult to determine the actual source of your pet's allergies.
Atopy is often further complicated by food allergies, otherwise known as ARF or adverse food reaction. In most cases, food allergies will develop after many years of being on the same food and then suddenly your pet develops chronic ear infections or very itchy skin that is, in many cases, unresponsive to medical therapy. To further confuse matters, most dogs with ARF also have atopy. The only way to diagnose a food allergy is with a feeding trial. Let me repeat that. The ONLY way to diagnose food allergies is with a feeding trial. There are blood tests available which will include a panel on common food allergens but these are not reliable in determining the true source of a food allergy. To quickly break this down, the most common source of sensitivity to a component of the food is in relation to the protein source first and the carbohydrate source second. Be very careful if you buy "grain-free" or "novel protein" over-the-counter foods to treat a presumptive food allergy as these will usually still include beef or chicken as the top ingredient which are the most common offenders for pets with ARF. Your veterinarian can go over a feeding trial and the recommended diets for the best response to therapy.
Well, what do we do about allergies? The best way to quickly squash the inflammation is with a short course of oral corticosteroids. Don't fear steroids! In most cases, when the skin is on fire, the ears are filled with goo and the toes are constantly wet from licking, steroids are the only option to get it quickly managed. BUT, we don't want to jump to steroids as the only treatment option as they come with their own set of negative side effects. Anyone experienced the suddenly incontinent dog while on prednisone? Steroids will often make your pet drink a lot more water than normal and that water needs to go somewhere:) Luckily, with a low enough dose of prednisone or another oral steroid that tapers over time, this and other frustrating side effects (like an increased appetite) will subside over the course of therapy. BUT, we need to decrease the dependency on steroids and the best way to do that is by initiating antihistamine therapy.
Antihistamines like Benadryl and Claritin are not great at decreasing symptoms when there is an acute flare up but the hope is that you can keep your pet maintained on them instead of steroids to prevent major flares in the future. I have mentioned a few of the most common ones but there are many available if one seems to not work as well or stops working as well as it used to. Call us and we can get you a more complete list and dosing information.
Another easy option to reduce exposure to outside substances is to wipe your pet down with hypoallergenic baby wipes when they come in from outdoors. Focus on the feet, legs, chest and belly or any area that routinely comes in contact with the grass. By removing the allergens topically, you decrease the exposure time and may reduce the severity of symptoms.
When antihistamines lose their effectiveness and steroids become the only option, there are other therapies to explore. Cyclosporine is a medication that tends to be a little expensive at first but is usually as effective as steroids and with fewer side effects. Thankfully it is tapered or decreased to the most effective dose which greatly impacts the cost.
The best possible treatment for atopy is hyposensitization therapy. Diagnostics similar to intradermal skin testing that you receive at your dermatologist's office are performed by a veterinary dermatologist on your pet. Once the specific allergies have been determined, these substances are combined and given to your pet in small doses which gradually lessen the allergic symptoms. I'm sure many of you are wondering about the cost of this option and while it is not cheap, when you consider all of the money most clients typically spend on repeated office visits and steroid medications with little to no lasting effectiveness, the money spent on that visit becomes minimal in comparison.
One particularly simple way to lessen an acute flare of allergies is to always keep your pet on flea and tick prevention. Flea bites can cause an intense inflammatory response, especially in pets with atopy or any allergic skin condition.
It may not have seemed brief but I truly have only scratched the surface of allergic skin diseases. For any additional information, please feel free to call Heritage and speak with one of the doctors or make an appointment for your pet to be seen.
Thanks for reading!
Dr. Jessica Zink
Heart Disease in Dogs and Cats
Heart disease affects as many as 60% of our older canine patients and although it is very hard to know the extent of heart disease in cats, it is estimated to be present in up to 15% of them. The reason it is so hard to get a more accurate statistic in cats is that it often goes undiagnosed. Heart disease is also estimated to affect about 15% of young dogs.
Unfortunately heart disease can be very difficult to diagnose in both dogs and cats. They can not tell us when they are feeling bad or lethargic or if they are having any unusual pains in their chest. That is why this disease is often undetectable until they are showing signs of heart failure, at which point treating is less beneficial because the disease is not reversible.
There are some breeds that are more prone to heart disease. These include but are not limited to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chihuahua, Poodle, Dachshund, Doberman pinscher, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Weimaraner, and Boxers.
Although it is quite complex, heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump out the amount of blood it is receiving, therefore supplying inadequate amounts of oxygenated blood to the body. The problem can be attributed to valves that become leaky, allowing blood to flow through the heart in the wrong direction, or because the muscle itself becomes weak and stretched over time. The end result is the same however with fluid "leaking" from vessels into the lungs or abdomen, depending on which side of the heart is affected. This buildup of fluid causes obvious symptoms of difficulty breathing (if fluid is accumulating in the lungs) or abdominal distension (if fluid is accumulating in the abdomen). Other symptoms that may or may not be present early in the disease process include exercise intolerance, reluctance to play, and general lethargy. Many times, signs of heart disease are so mild that the owner doesn't even realize there is a problem. It is easy to attribute "slowing down" to old age. Your veterinarian may detect a heart murmur or abnormal rhythm during your pet's physical exam and discuss further diagnostics with you.
Once heart disease is suspected your veterinarian will probably recommend chest radiographs to determine if the heart is enlarged and if there are any changes present in the lungs. This may help stage the heart disease somewhat and help the doctor determine a treatment protocol and prognosis. There are more extensive diagnostics such as an electrocardiogram or echocardiogram that may be indicated as well. These things may have to be done multiple times through the course of the disease to monitor progression and response to treatment.
The goal of treatment is to help the heart function more efficiently. Medications are available to allow the heart to contract more strongly thereby pushing more blood out and through the body. Diuretics may be needed as fluid starts to accumulate in the lungs or abdomen.
There are also congenital heart anomalies that can occur in puppies and kittens. Examples include Patent Ductus Arteriosis (PDA), Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) and Pulmonic Stenosis, just to name a few. Many of these can be corrected surgically by a board certified veterinary surgeon.
Cats too can be affected by heart disease. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a condition that occurs most often in young cats. They may often be asymptomatic until it is very end stage. At this point they may have acute respiratory distress or sometimes they pass away suddenly without warning.
Routine visits to your veterinarian will give your pet the best chance at detecting this disease and starting a treatment protocol before they are symptomatic. Frequent monitoring will ensure that they are responding well to treatment and have the best quality life possible.
Thanks for reading!
Dr. Stephanie Bradley
Hey everyone! Just thought we would give you a couple of pointers about limping in pets.
Pain when walking or ?lameness? is a very common ailment seen at our hospital. There can be many different causes of lameness in your pet and there are many different considerations that your veterinarian will use when determining the underlying cause. In many cases, the species (canine or feline) and specific breed are significant factors when investigating the type of lameness we see in your pet. Many of you are familiar with diseases like hip dysplasia and luxating patellas and the breed of dog in which these diseases are seen are pretty consistent. To keep things simple, I will break down some of the most commonly seen issues that pertain to lameness.
In many cases, the degree of lameness is a good clue as to the severity of the injury. Anytime your pet is unable to use a limb at all or you can clearly see an odd angle or in some severe cases, a dangling limb, these can all be indications of a fracture or dislocation and your pet should be taken to the vet right away.
If you have a pet that suddenly started limping on a front or back leg while running or playing always look for sharp objects wedged in the foot pads first and if not seen, a sprain or strain may be the culprit. Sprains and strains are commonly seen in both growing dogs and adults. Its always a good idea to try and rest your pet if you see them start to limp abruptly. Take them out on a leash for potty breaks and keep the activity to a minimum while in the house if possible. If your pet is crate trained, keep them in their crate if they start to get too rambunctious. If the issue does not resolve in a day or two, call your veterinarian and schedule an exam.
For larger breed puppy owners, hip dysplasia is a biggie when considering causes of lameness but there are also other diseases like elbow dysplasias, osteochondrosis, joint luxations and nutritional imbalances to keep in mind. If the lameness is in the back end, radiographs or xrays should be taken to assess for hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is a fancy term for hip joints that are malformed which eventually leads to arthritis and loss of function. This disease is most commonly seen in German shepherds, St. Bernards, Labrador and Golden Retrievers and Rottweilers but can also be seen less commonly in cats such as Maine Coons.
Elbow dysplasia is a collective term for 3 major diseases that can be seen in the elbow of some large breed puppies and is one of the most common causes of limping in the front limbs. Your veterinarian will need to take xrays to determine if these diseases are present and they usually require surgery to correct.
Osteochondrosis dissicans is a disease of cartilage formation and will cause limping in both the front and hind limbs depending on where the lesion is located. This can be difficult to diagnose as cartilage is not readily seen on radiographs but is a cause of persistent lameness and should be evaluated. In many cases, this issue will require surgery to remove the diseased flap of cartilage causing the problem.
As far as nutritional imbalances are concerned, as long as you are feeding a good quality large breed puppy formula, these issues should not arise providing there is no outside supplementation.
Lameness in adult dogs can be the direct result of the above mentioned disorders but can be from other causes as well. Cranial or anterior cruciate ligament rupture (CCLR or ACLR) is the same disease you hear about in professional atheletes with an ACL tear. Our pets can also develop this disease and unfortunately it eventually affects both back limbs. This disease occurs as a result of instability within the knee joint (stifle) which leads to arthritis and eventually a weakened cruciate ligament. The weakened ligament tears or partially tears when playing or running around doing normal things. This is a pretty straight forward diagnosis and nearly always requires surgery to lessen pain and to preserve function in the limb.
Luxating patellas is another common disease that we see mostly in our smaller patients such as Yorkies, Maltese, Poodles, etc. This disease occurs when the kneecap (patella) moves abnormally toward the inner or outer knee and can cause significant arthritis and pain. The patella can even become ?locked? in that abnormal position over time which permanently changes the normal conformation of the limb and prevents normal function. This condition is correctable surgically if caught early.
This is just a brief overview of the most common causes of limping that we see in the hospital. I could go on forever about each of these topics and others relating to lameness but for the sake of keeping this relatively painless, we?ll stop here and if any of you have any additional questions please feel free to call us anytime.
Thanks for reading!
Dr. Jessica Zink
"Cats are NOT small dogs" was the first sentence on the first day of feline medicine lectures by my professors in Veterinary school. And how true this has proved to be over the years. There are lots of similarities but some of the most notable differences of cats from the canines is behavior. So as more cats are living together indoors it is more important to be aware of their living conditions and to improve their health and welfare by making sure their needs are met in the environment.
There are several areas that can be of concern to our cats that are often not obvious to us but can become behavioral problems exhibited by unacceptable actions (i.e. urinating outside the litter box). One of the most important areas is access to the three basic resources (food, water, and litter box). These should be located in quiet area (not next to washing machine), semi private area (low foot traffic area), and in multiple sites (especially in multi-cat household where one member "guards and teases" others at the resource for "fun or spite"). A key point with "litter box etiquette" is to always have the same number of litter boxes as the number of cats in the household "plus 1". For instance, if you have 3 cats there should be 4 or more litter boxes available in the home.
Another important area to consider is structures for the cats within the environment. This includes scratching posts, places to climb, perch, rest and hide. There are several commercially made "cat condos" which most cats like and we encourage clients to start kittens early so they know it's "theirs". Some cats like to explore so owners could also hide toys for them to search for.
Social contact (with the owner as well as other cats in the household) is a very important area as well. Cats are nomadic by nature and do not form packs or groups in the wild. So when put indoors some have a harder time adjusting to this closeness. Therefore each one should be observed and if necessary be separated for a while if need be. A lot of cats enjoy alone time too. If they are being a bully then a time-out in a spare bedroom is good to give the others a break. Remember just because you love them does not mean they will like each other (very few people would let their ex-spouse rent a room from them no matter how cordial their relationship).
One area that will be different for every cat is their human interaction. Most cats will play games (feather on a stick, laser pointer light chasing, small fake mice, etc). Some prefer the petting or grooming (brushing) interaction. Our job is to see what they enjoy the most and to avoid interactions that may stress them (i.e.: chasing the cat). For those of you that have kitties that tend to bite when being petted, keep in mind that to many cats petting should be on their terms. Most cats will not object to petting that stays around the head and neck region. When you go beyond that "magic line" between the neck and shoulders, some cats will consider that too much and give you a little warning nip. That will be your cue that this particular cat prefers a "less is more" approach to contact.
Also consider audio, visual and olfactory areas too. These are things like a radio or television playing while the owner is away. Access to a window or fish tank can be very beneficial as well. Cats often will like catnip or pheromones which are commercially available.
Lastly, it is a good idea to rotate toys on a regular basis (weekly) to provide some novelty.
Last week we saw an older German Shepherd that had an extremely large tumor in its abdomen. After speaking with the owner and gathering a history, it seemed that this tumor had been growing for the past 2-3 months. There were a few very subtle signs that he noticed in retrospect, however he didn?t recognize the seriousness of these seemingly minor changes. Many times animals can have serious disease and unfortunately we don?t realize until it?s too late. It is an animals instinct to show no signs of weakness, even in our domesticated pets. It is that reason, coupled with the fact that they can not tell us when they feel bad, that many things get overlooked. There are some little things that we can look for in our older pets however to help us recognize and diagnose diseases earlier in the process and hopefully help them live a longer life. Fortunately for our patient mentioned earlier, we were able to successfully remove the mass and he has recovered amazingly well. Below, I will outline some of the things that could indicate an underlying disease and some things that should not be ignored.
1.) Excessive water consumption (polydypsia) and excessive urination ? I think this is probably the most common clinical sign owners describe to us in older animals, especially cats. While some animals may consume a lot of water just because they really like it, others may begin to drink more as they get older because of an underlying disease. Things such as hyperthyroidism in cats and kidney disease are a very common cause of this. Other common causes are diabetes and hyperadrenocorticism (Cushings disease). There are other less common things including some cancers that can cause this as well. If you notice that you are filling that water bowl more frequently, cleaning large amounts of urine from the litter box, or letting your dog out to urinate more often, then possibly you should have your veterinarian check over your pet.
2.) Change in eating habits (lack of appetite or a ravenous appetite) ? While people like a lot of variety in their diet, animals do not really seem to care if they eat the same food day in and day out for years at a time. When I hear that an older dog or cat has suddenly lost interest in their food then I get a little concerned. Many times owner will tell me that their pet didn?t seem to like their food anymore so they switched types and then they ate it ok for a few weeks then lost interest in that one as well. A lot of times this is a very non-specific indicator that something else is going on. We would have to dig a little deeper to determine the cause. All that being said, I will say that occasionally I run across a little dog or cat that is just extremely picky and really does like a little variety. These animals have usually been like that their whole life but it is when an animal suddenly develops this pickiness that it is a concern. On the other side of the coin is the animal that can?t seem to eat enough. This also can lead us to suspect certain endocrine diseases.
3.) Sudden weight loss ? this usually goes along with the change in eating habits. If your pet is not eating great and you notice weight loss then you should definitely take it in to see the doctor. Just because your pet is older it should not lose a significant amount of weight quickly. If your animal has lost 10% of its body weight in just a few months, that is significant. Just because your pet is older doesn?t mean it should lose weight. Now, of course as an animal ages it will very gradually lose weight and muscle but we are concerned when this happens fairly quickly. Some diseases, such as diabetes and hyperthyroidism, can cause weight loss even though they seem to have a ravenous appetite.
4.) Change in body shape ? Sometimes although the scales may indicate that your pet weighs the same it may look ?different?. The belly may be bigger and rounder or you may be able to see the spine better than you ever have before. Muscle atrophy can cause them to look much thinner. Sometimes this happens in the muscles of the back causing the spinal column to be more prominent and easily seen and sometimes this happens on the head and face. This is something else that can happen slowly as patients age, but shouldn?t be ignored if it comes on quickly. Some disease processes can cause a pot belly appearance and that may be one of the only clinical signs you notice. The german shepherd I mentioned earlier with the abdominal mass had a ?bloated? looking abdomen. The owner said some days the abdomen looked bloated but other days it looked ok. If something seems to get better but comes back again it is best to check it out.
5.) A lesion on the skin that doesn?t seem to be getting better ? I often see pets that have a red or ulcerated area on the skin that the owners thought was just a scrape and have been treating topically with neosporin or something similar. Sometimes it will get better and reappear and sometimes it just doesn?t heal up like it should. These things should be looked at because sometimes there are skin tumors that can be difficult to distinguish from a ?hot spot?. If your doctor determines that it is a mass or if they suspect it could be a malignant tumor, it is always best to have these things taken care of sooner than later.
6.) Sudden change in behavior ? Any change in behavior is an important sign. If your animal has always been very active and suddenly doesn?t feel like running after the ball, going on walks or joining the family as it usually does then maybe it is because something just isn?t right.
These are just a few things that may help you pick up on a problem a little sooner. No one knows your pet like you do and if you feel like something just isn?t quite right then trust your gut and if nothing else call your veterinarian to seek some guidance. As our pets become geriatric, which can be as early as 7-8 years old in large breed dogs, it is a great idea to have an exam at least once a year. We also recommend yearly blood work which includes a CBC, chemistry profile and thyroid level. Many times the blood comes back completely normal which is excellent. However, sometimes this blood work picks up some abnormalities before your pet even exhibits any clinical signs of illness. Early detection can be the difference between a happy pet and a very sick pet sometimes.
Please feel free to call any of us at Heritage Veterinary Hospital if you have any concerns about your pet!
Dr. Stephanie Bradley
January 5, 2012
Filed under Uncategorized
Tags: aggression, baby, bite, cat, crate, dog, food, growl, kids, safe
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Everyone always told me ?just wait until you have kids. . . your dog will take the backseat and won?t get near as much attention as she gets now?. It?s not that I didn?t believe that human children would require more attention and obviously there is a different kind of love for a human over an animal, but my dog was truly my baby. I have noticed, as a veterinarian, once our ?regulars? have babies we don?t see them as often as we did before. Still, I just didn?t see that happening to me and my dog. I was going to be different and give my little Lexi the same amount of attention as she was used to getting. I could snuggle with a dog and a baby at the same time!
I got Lexi as a gift from my family about 8 years ago after I graduated from Veterinary School, several months before my husband, Kyle and I got married. She is a Cavalier King Charles spaniel and was about the cutest puppy in the world! I treated her like my child. My friends actually liked to tease me for this very reason. She went everywhere with me. I took her to training classes and taught her every trick I could think of. She had a necklace and dressed up occasionally, especially on OSU game days. She had an OSU t-shirt she wore to show her support for our cowboys. She is very smart and I?m pretty sure she can understand a lot of what I say to her. She was my little shadow and there was a permanent place on the couch next to me.
You may have noticed that I am talking a lot in past tense here, not because Lexi has died but because I now have 3 children. Luke and Logan are my 2 year old twins and Leighton is my 6 month old baby girl.
My twins were born in October 2009. It started out not too bad (for Lexi that is). I think she was a little curious at first about these two loud, crying babies. That probably quickly changed from curiosity to annoyance as her sleep was interrupted nightly. Since she sleeps in my bed, she was disturbed each time I had to get up and tend to the babies. But, her life was truly ruined (in her eyes) as these babies (not just one but two) became mobile and started crawling around, grabbing fists full of long ear and tail hair. At first she was able to escape to the safety of the couch, but it wasn?t long before they were pulling up and able to reach her even there.
So, this brings me to a more serious note of protecting your babies and your pets from each other. I get this question a lot as a veterinarian. ?How should I introduce my dog to my new baby?? First of all, NEVER trust any animal 100%. Even the nicest dog or cat in the world is still an animal. If annoyed enough or pushed to their limit by hair pulling and toy stealing they may act instinctively and their only defense mechanism is growling or sometimes nipping or even biting. I consider Lexi one of those super nice dogs. There have been a few times though that one of my boys has grabbed some hair and before I could get to her to help her she has turned around and sort of nipped at them. She was not trying to bite them but merely trying to get loose and stop the painful attack on her ear. When introducing your pet for the first time to your new little bundle, make sure you are in a calm, quiet, familiar environment. If you are really concerned that your dog may be too hyper or react badly you can have it on a leash so you have better control. Also, make sure to never leave your baby unattended with your pet. Have a crate or a gated off area where your dog can go to get some peace and escape from your child if needed. There were many times when my twins first discovered how fun it could be to chase my dog and cat that I had to take the animals to my room for a break from the kids. When it comes to feeding your pets, keep their food in a place the kids can?t get to. This is for your pets, and for your sanity as well. Kids love to play in the water bowl and eat the dog food. I have had to dig some dog food from my son?s mouth on more than one occasion. He has probably eaten more dog food than I?d like to admit. More importantly, many dogs are very food aggressive or protective over their food and their treats and toys. This seems to be when most accidents and injuries occur to children.
Cats are a little easier because they tend to be pretty good at staying up and out of the way. My cat actually thinks it is fun to tease the kids and get just close enough to where they think they can get her, and then she runs away. There have been a few times that she was too slow and got dragged a little ways by the tail. She didn?t come back to play for awhile after that one. With cats, you will need to make sure that the litter box is in a place where the kids can?t get to it. The food and water can be put up where the kids can?t reach it, but the cat can hopefully jump up easily enough to eat and drink. Personally, my biggest concern with my cat and my babies was that she might snuggle them to death. She is a super sweet kitty and loves to lay right by your side. I was afraid that she might jump in their crib at night to snuggle and the babies wouldn?t be able to move, causing them to suffocate. Luckily, this wasn?t an issue but they do make netting to put over cribs for this very reason if needed.
You all know your furry babies better than anyone else and many of you may have absolutely no concerns about how they will react when you bring a new baby home. Some, however aren?t so lucky and have problems with the transition. There are even a few who are never able to make it work out. We are always here to answer any of your questions and to help counsel you through difficult times or decisions you may have to make.
As far as Lexi goes, she is still my little 4 legged baby but does not, unfortunately, get the attention she once did. I feel guilty sometimes when I see her laying off to the side watching, while I play with the kids. I try to give her extra attention in the evening once the boys are in bed, but even that is hard since I now have a 6 month old that would like some one-on-one time without her brothers around. Not to mention that once everyone else is asleep is the only time that the laundry gets done, toys get picked up and other house cleaning gets taken care of. Life is not all bad for her. She still gets to go on walks, still comes to work with me everyday and she gets a lot more treats now. The boys have found out that it is fun to share their food with Lexi and they drop a ton on the floor. I?d say mealtime is Lexi?s favorite time of day now. I know that as the kids get older she will have some fun little playmates!
Happy New Year!!
Dr. Stephanie Bradley
December 22, 2011
Filed under Uncategorized
Tags: caffeine, chocolate, christmas, diarrhea, dog, Hershey, m&m's, seizures, theobromine, toxin, vomiting
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Christmas is a wonderful, fun time of the year?. until your dog eats an entire stocking full of Hershey kisses, Tootsie Rolls, M&M?s, Peanut Butter cups and then finishes up with your box of Russell Stovers?s mixed chocolate assortment and a few Lindor Truffles just for good measure. Now, you are at the emergency veterinary hospital, Christmas just got a little more expensive and you are definitely not enjoying the holidays anymore! At this point, you are just hoping that your dog survives this Christmas and lives to see another.
Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, both of which are toxic to dogs and cats. There are varying amounts of these toxic ingredients in different types of chocolate. Baking chocolate and dark chocolate have a much higher concentration than milk chocolate and white chocolate.
If you are lucky, your dog will feel nauseated from eating all this chocolate and throw up. The messy chocolatey vomit will definitely not be pleasant to clean up, but at least most of the chocolate will be out of your dogs system. If you weren?t this lucky then definitely call your veterinarian first. Many times our sneaky little pets gobble up all these goodies when we aren?t home and its hard to tell how much time has elapsed since it was initially ingested. Usually, our first bit of advice is to induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide. Then, depending on size of the dog, amount that we think was eaten, clinical signs, and time elapsed we may have to see your pet for hospitalization and observation.
Clinical signs that may be observed with chocolate toxicity include nausea, vomiting, panting, weakness, ataxia (a neurological condition where they appear to be drunk when they walk), diarrhea, hyper-excitement, muscle tremors, and seizures. It can also cause hyperthermia, an increased, rapid heart rate, and cardiac arrhythmias. Chocolate can even cause death due to prolonged cardiac arrhythmias and respiratory failure several days later.
Treatment is aimed at 1.) decreasing further absorption by inducing vomiting and possibly administering a compound called activated charcoal to help adsorb some of the toxins. 2.) increasing the excretion of the toxins. This is done by administering fluids to increase blood flow through the body and kidneys. 3.) providing symptomatic relief. We can give drugs to calm muscle tremors and rigidity and stop seizures. There are medications to calm nausea and vomiting. We also have medications to slow the heart or correct cardiac arrhythmias.
Fortunately most cases of chocolate toxicity end happily and do not require extensive hospitalization. However, it has the potential to be very serious and even deadly so be aware of this tasty toxin and take the precautions necessary to keep your pets safe during the holidays!
Merry Christmas from everyone here at Heritage Veterinary Hospital!
The inevitable finally happened over the weekend. Buster was outside, I was standing at the back door watching him. He started walking very near the pool. I called his name?he looked in my direction?his foot slipped?into the pool he went! I?ve always wondered what my plan would be in this particular situation. I?ve gone through the scenario multiple times in my head. Some involved grabbing the pool skimmer and scooping him up and out of the pool. Some involved a glorious swan dive and powerful butterfly stroke that eventually resulted in his dramatic rescue.
It wasn?t so graceful as all that.
My husband compared my immediate rush into the pool to a crazed ?spider monkey?. Let me tell you, a foray into the Polar Bear Club was not on my Christmas list this year. That was some VERY. COLD. WATER!! Luckily, Buster was saved quickly and hopefully has learned not to follow the sound of flowing water in the backyard?
At this point, its probably pretty obvious that he has not regained much vision but I?m happy to report, his glaucoma is successfully managed. It was going so well in fact, his opthalmalogist and I attempted to try to wean him down on his glaucoma meds. ?Attempted? is the key word. Unfortunately, he was not quite ready and his pressure started to creep up again so it was quickly determined that we had to go back to his old med schedule. (I was REALLY hoping to decrease the frequency of meds as he is currently on 7 different ones and they must be given at least 5 minutes apart 3 times a day). Oh well, thank goodness for small favors right?
Thanks so much to everyone that has been following Buster?s harrowing adventures. Your kind words and prayers have been very much appreciated this holiday season. I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Jessica Zink, DVM
Buster Man snoozing in the break room
Hello all! It has been a bit of a rollercoaster over the course the week. Buster?s pressure has flucuated a great deal and despite 3 emergency efforts to reduce it which were only briefly successful, I think we have finally achieved a good, steady pressure level. Unfortunately, this may be more optimism than is really appropriate as the pressure has only been reliably down for around 24 hours. Nevertheless, I?m going to maintain this positive outlook because he has been unable to maintain a decent pressure for even this amount of time.
The details of this week are pretty scary and pretty remarkable at the same time. The emergency procedures I am referring to involve giving a medication called Mannitol which is typically used in head trauma cases to remove excess pressure on the brain. This medication is a concentrated salt solution and causes fluid to shift away from normal tissues quickly and by itself comes with its own amount of risk. For this reason it is typically reserved for the most critical of cases and unfortunately Buster fit that criteria. He had Mannitol on Tuesday m0rning and his pressure was reduced a great deal pretty quickly but went back up by the next day so had to be repeated. Unfortunately, the second time the pressure was only reduced for a few hours and went right back up into the mid 60 range. As a reminder, normal intraocular pressure should be under 20 and humans have described pressures in the 40-60 range as the most excrutiating migraine pain they have ever experienced. At that point, I became extremely worried and so with the help of his opthalmalogist, Buster was anesthetized and fluid was physically removed from the front chamber of his eye using a small syringe. This is not a commonly performed procedure but with a pressure as high as Buster?s was and without the ability to administer more Mannitol safely, it was our only remaining option to hopefully preserve vision in that eye. After having gone through all that, poor Buster again had very high pressures the following day. At that point, the opthalmalogist and I discussed the last and final option to preserve the eye. Cryotherapy was his recommendation.
Cryotherapy is a procedure that freezes portions of the structures that produce fluid (the ciliary bodies) in the front portion of the eye. This procedure has many potential complications. It nearly always causes a great deal of inflammation within the eye (uveitis) which by itself can cause many problems that may have future consequences on the ability to retain vision. Another set of potential issues is if too much of the ciliary body is damaged, the eye is unable to keep filled and retain its shape and if too little is damaged, there is still too much fluid being produced and the glaucoma is not resolved. The good news is that approximately 70-75% of animals will have function following this surgery despite the potential for complications. I was still very nervous as it would involve yet another round of anesthesia for Buster and given his previous poor luck, I was concerned that Buster may again be in that 25-30% range. I made plans to leave the office early to make a trip out to the surgeon?s office and then, miraculously, something happened. Buster?s pressure started dropping. Neither myself nor Buster?s ophthalmologist are quite sure as to what may have changed to drop his pressure after previous efforts had failed but after arriving at his office, Buster?s pressure was still just under 10 so we decided to postpone the surgery. I am happy to report that his pressure this morning was 11 and seems to be holding. I am still unsure as to whether he will retain his ability to see as his pupil has been very constricted this entire time which prevents vision and I have also been unable to assess the health of his retina, but at least the excruciating pain has passed and that is something to celebrate. I will keep updating as things progress but for now, I will just enjoy his happier attitude and hope for the best.
Jessica Zink, DVM
I had a question on TV the other day and I thought I would ?reanswer? it here and expand just a little. The viewer asked about Cushing?s disease and medications. The technical term is hyperadrenocorticism and although there are different causes, all result in excessive production of steroid.
The signs may include excessive thirst, excessive urination, increased appetite, sagging abdomen, panting, hair loss (or failure to regrow), darkening of skin, muscle weakness, weight gain, and lethargy. There are other signs that your Veterinarian could recognize and point out as well. Like other endocrinological diseases, Cushing?s can be managed with medication depending on the cause. If the cause is from the pituitary gland (master gland of the body in the brain) then usually Mitotane (Lysodren) or Trilostane (Vetoryl) are good choices. If the cause is from a tumor of the adrenal gland itself (located near the kidneys in the abdomen) then either Mitotane or surgery is indicated. Generally speaking most causes are from the pituitary gland and have a very good chance of a favorable response with medication. On the other hand, if the cause is a tumor in the adrenal gland then the prognosis is much worse (cancer). There are several blood tests your veterinarian can use to diagnose this disease.If anyone notices several of the above signs, make an appointment for your dog to have a physical exam by your Veterinarian. The signs are actually not always specific to Cushing?s disease and your Veterinarian will discuss other possibilities and tests to consider.
Hey all! AA Patrick reminded me why it is so important to keep track of your pet?s weight. So I wanted to take a minute and discuss weight loss in pets.
Weight loss is considered significant when it exceeds a 10% loss in a short time or 15% over a longer time without a decrease in food normally offered. Weight loss may be associated with a normal, increased, or decreased appetite. Your pet?s food intake amount is helpful in determining a possible cause if he or she is getting thin. Other important signs to note are muscle wasting, energy level, water consumption, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, and mentation. Sometimes the cause is as simple as a miscalculation of the amount of food but more often it points to disease. There are many possibilities such as intestinal disorders (i.e. inflammatory bowel disease, parasites), endocrine (i.e. diabetes, hyperthyroidism), metabolic (i.e. heart, kidney, or liver failure), and nervous system (i.e. stroke, nerve degeneration of jaw muscles). As well as many many others which is why if weight loss is suspected, a physical exam by your Veterinarian is the best starting place. The first step is on his or her scale!
Thank you to every one who supports Animal Aid and helps dogs like Patrick.