Be sure to check out our articles sections for important information on Dry Skin and itchy pets, feeding your pet bird, arthritis in your dog, and other important issues.
Dental Write UP
One of the easiest to check and most overlooked aspects of keeping your pet healthy, is a healthy mouth. If you haven't done so recently (and don't feel bad if you haven't, most people don't), pick up a lip and look at your pet's back teeth in a well lit area. Large chunks of brown tartar, red, eroding gums, and bad breath are all easily recognizable signs of an unhealthy mouth.
Most people seems to think, that bad teeth is a problem that is limited to the mouth. Unfortunately, this just isn't true. Bad teeth frequently cause liver trouble, kidney trouble, and heart trouble in animals. I have cured a number of heart mummers in dogs and kidney problems in cats simple by cleaning their teeth and treating with antibiotics. More importantly, bad teeth cause pain in animals the same as they do for people. Dogs and cats are much more tolerant of mouth pain, then we humans. Just because your animal is eating, doesn't mean that everything is O.K. If you notice signs of bad teeth, this is also an indication that your pet is in pain.
Dog Days of Summer Write Up
As summer comes to a close, many families are thinking about vacations, kids returning to school, and how to get the most out of the last few warm weeks. Unfortunately, many people forget that their pets could use a little extra attention as well.
Rabbits and dogs (especially overweight rabbits and dogs) are susceptible to heat stroke. If you are going to leave these animals outside make sure they have plenty of water and shade. Never leave your pet in a car, since the heat can rapidly become life threatening. Most flea problems have already taken root by the end of August as well. Be sure to protect your pets from fleas and ticks by using Frontline Plus or Advantix topically. For dogs, Trifexis is a newer pill that protects your pet from heartworm, fleas, and many intestinal parasites with a once per month pill. Protection against fleas and kennel cough is especially important if you are going to boarding your dog.
The bottom line is that protecting your pet during the "dog days" of summer is actually pretty simple. Protect your animal against parasites (using Frontline and/or Trifexis), make sure your pet is up to date on their vaccinations, and make sure your fuzzy friends have plenty of shade and water. We encourage anyone with questions or concerns to call us at 570-455-2580, e-mail us at [email protected], or visit www.whvh.com and fill out the Get In Touch box.
This year has been one of the worse flea years that we ever seen! Flea infestations started in March, and have been getting progressively worse for the last 6 months. Late September and October are traditionally the worst months for fleas, so be ready!
Contrary to popular belief, adult fleas do not live on your pets. They spent about 10% of their time on animals and the other 90% of the time in the environment (your nice, warm and cozy house). If you use a shampoo to kill 100% of the adult fleas on your pets, you have only taken care of 10% of your adult flea problem. To make matters even worse, each adult flea lays up to 100 flea eggs. If you use sprays to kill 100% of the adult fleas on your pets and in the house, you have only taken care of 1-2% of your total flea problem.
Remember that when it comes to fleas, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. At the West Hazleton Veterinary Hospital, we recommend using a good spot-on such as Frontline Plus (not one of the copy cat products), or a systemic preventative such as Trifexis, before the fleas invade. If you already have a flea problem, please contacts us, at 570-455-2580, for a complimentary telephone consult on the steps necessary to get rid of fleas.
Telephone Consult, To stop fleas you must protect both your animals and the house.
Flea Protection for all animals. Frontline Plus (egg control) for cats, Frontline Plus or Trifexis for dogs. Advantage, Revolution, and varies other also work against adult fleas, but few incorporate the egg control necessitating treating the house
If this is a minor flea problem, continuous protection on the animals will treat the house as well as the fleas need to take a blood meal to lay eggs
Treat the house. KnockOut spray is similar to what professional use. The product must kill both the fleas and flea eggs. To break the insect life cycle.
Egg -> Larvae -> Pupa -> Adult
Nothing kills the Pupa, so in severe cases, the owner will have to retreat the house in 2-3 weeks when the pupa hatch
The Magic Shot
When I was a boy, I used to love taking sick animals to the vet. Regardless of the problem, species, or breed, the veterinarian would examine the animal, give it a shot, send us home with pills, and more often then not, the animal would get better! At seven years of age, I honestly believed that that shot and those pills were magic cure all's. The veterinarian was even better then Santa Claus, because you could get their magic cure whenever you need them just by going to their office.
Boy, was I disappointed when we learned that that shot was penicillin and the pills were antibiotics. The "magic cure" really only worked against infections. Today, some people still believe, as I once did, that a veterinarian can diagnosis any condition just by "looking at" the animal and treat any condition with a "magic" shot and some pills.
Simply put, we know a lot more and have better medications today, then veterinarians did 40 years ago. Being able to get CBC and chem screen results in the office in less then one hour, is a diagnostic tool that simply wasn't available to any vet 40 years ago. This has made us much better at treating just about any sick animal.
What is Pet Wellness?
In the "Old Days," when a dog's average life span was 7-10 years and a cat was considered ancient at 13 years, nobody was all that concerned about Pet Wellness. Now-a-days, however, some dogs can live for 15+ happy years, and a cat isn't "really old" until their 20th birthday. These remarkably increased life spans are due to Pet Wellness.
The first part of Pet Wellness is diet. Just by feeding the right amount of a high quality pet food, you can add years to your pet's life.
Equally important, is the veterinarians ability to spot problems before they become life threatening. An annual check up lets your veterinarian check for external signs of illness. Skin problems, loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss, teeth problems, and increased thirst or urination are just a few of the things that a good veterinarian will discover during a comprehensive exam.
It is also a great help to be able to spot liver problems, kidney problems, diabetes, anemia, etc., before there are any external signs of illness. Our odds of helping an animal are, therefore, greatly increased with regular blood screens. At the West Hazleton Veterinary Hospital, we offer a Wellness Program that includes everything necessary to keep your pet as health as possible for as long as possible with a good discount. Call 570-455-2580 for more details.
There is a fairly common belief that all veterinarians perform surgery in the exact same way, using the exact same anesthetics, and therefore all surgeries are "high risk" procedures. In truth, there is an impressive array of anesthetics and surgical techniques used on animals now-a-days. An inexpensive spay performed at a rescue, is not the same procedure performed at most good quality veterinary hospitals. The rule that "you get what you pay for," is especially true when it comes to anesthesia and surgery.
At the West Hazleton Veterinary Hospital, we take surgery very seriously. We insist on presurgical blood tests to make sure that the animals are healthy enough for anesthesia. We use only short acting or reversible injectable anesthetics. Except for very short procedures that require only mild anesthesia, we entubate our patients so that we can breath for them if they don't breath on their own. While the animal is asleep, we monitor their ECG, blood oxygen level, and respiratory rate, to make sure the patient is not getting into trouble. While it is impossible to make anesthesia 100% safe, our goal is to make it as safe as possible for all of our patients.
Arthritis in Dogs
By Kenneth P. Trippett VMD, MS
West Hazleton Veterinary Hospital
As the weather get cooler, a common problems faced by many dogs is arthritis. Unfortunately, many owners simply assume that nothing that can be done and either let the dog suffer, or worse, euthanize their pets unnecessarily. In the last 5 years, there have been major advances in the area of helping arthritic pets.
The first problem is recognizing arthritis. The three most common presenting complaints are as follows:
- Pain in the hips or knees leading to decrease activity
- Difficulty standing after sleeping especially if the floor is slippery or cold
- Trouble going up stairs, or jumping up onto beds or couches
Once you realized that your pet is suffering with arthritis, you should seek your veterinarian'€™s advice on treatment. Usually, the treatment falls into one of two categories. The first form of treatment is anti-inflammatories. One of the safest anti-inflammatories is aspirin. If you treat your dog with aspirin, you must use only buffered aspirin. You must not give your dog ibuprofen or acetaminophen (Tylenol). As a rule, you would give one regular strength buffered aspirin for every 60 pounds of dog or one baby aspirin for every 14 pounds of dog. If your dog'€™s arthritis is more severe, your veterinarian will probably recommend a stronger drug such as Deramaxx or Metacam. You should always follow your veterinarian'€™s advice on these matters. You must never give any of these drugs to cats. Aspirin, Tylenol, and ibuprofen can all kill a cat with a single dose.
The second category of medicine used to treat arthritis is joint supplements. Joint supplements are considered homeopathic treatments and therefore some veterinarians will not discuss them. A joint supplement is a protein, vitamin, and mineral supplement that will help your dog make more joint fluid. Joint fluid is like oil for the joints. The more joint fluid your dog makes, the more comfortable the pet will become. Joint supplements come in many forms. The two essential ingredients that you should look for are glucosamine and chondritan sulfate. They often contain Vitamin C or other antioxidants as well. MSM is another helpful ingredient to look for. Joint supplements are very safe and help 70-80% of the animals that use them. They have the added benefit of actually slowing the arthritic changes in the effected joints. I recommend them for all of my arthritic patients.
Unfortunately, many of the less expensive over-the-counter supplements do not seem to work well for our canine patients. This is the result of poor bioavailability (i.e. most the supplement is not digested or absorbed proper). Be sure to discuss this alternative with your veterinarian.
By Kenneth P. Trippett VMD, MS
West Hazleton Veterinary Hospital
Typical signs exhibited by both dogs and cats suffering with dry skin are as follows:
- Red spots
- Problem tends to get worse in late fall
- Problem gets worse with low humidity
As the weather gets cooler and the heaters come on, the humidity in your house drops. This leads to dry skin in many of my patients. Approximately one half of my patients who come in itching and scratching are suffering from dry skin. One must also rule out allergies and fleas. I recommend having your itchy pet checked by your veterinarian to rule out other causes of dry itchy skin.
You should treat your pets dry skin, regardless of the cause. There are two effective treatments. The first treatment is using a good moisturizing shampoo. You should shampoo the pet once per week. Lather the animal, leave the shampoo on for 10 minutes, then rinse off. You must be very careful when choosing a pet shampoo. Many medicated shampoos are made to smell good and cover up orders, rather then help your pet. Flea and Tick shampoos are relatively harsh and therefore a poor choice for pets with dry skin. You must pick a shampoo that is both 'moisturizing' and 'hypoallergenic'.
Many pets are difficult to bath. I always warn cat owners that a pair of metal gloves is a necessity for bathing most cats. Many dogs are too big or too unruly to bath. Other dogs just take too long to dry. For these animals, I commonly recommend a good skin supplement. A good skin supplement should contain Vitamin A & E, zinc, and the omega fatty acids (OFAs). There are three forms for these skin supplements. The first is a liquid you can add to the animal'€™s food. This is usually the best choice for animals who get canned food on a daily basis. The second is gel or liquid capsules and the third is beef or liver flavored treats. The best way to help the animals skin long term is to switch to a better quality dog food. Supermarket shoppers should consider IAMS or Purina One for sensitive skin. Even better choices include Hills Science Diet and Proplan. Better quality foods not only help the skin, but can also solve many other common digestive and weight problems as well as add years to your pets life.
Lastly, many dogs and some cats will also respond well to antihistamines. Benedryl (diphenhydramine) is commonly available in both liquid and tablet form. To see if these could help your pet and for proper dosing instructions, you should contact your regular veterinarian.
Proper Diet for Psitticine Birds
By Kenneth P. Trippett VMD, MS
West Hazleton Veterinary Hospital
Diet is the most common problem that I encounter with my avian patients. Most people believe that the staple food for all birds should be seeds. This is not true. Seeds are relatively high in fat and low in protein, vitamins, and minerals. As a rule, the larger the psitticine bird, the fewer seeds the bird should eat. Parakeets, being one of the smaller psitticine birds, can eat up to 50% seeds. Cockateil can eat upto 35% seeds and the larger parrots such as African Greys and McCaws should get no more then 20% seeds. Fixing your pet birds diet can have a profound effect on its life span. Parakeets are a good example. Their average life span on seed diets is 6-7 years. Switching that same parakeet to a good diet early in it life, increases its average life span to approximately 15 years.
The best single food source for most birds are pelleted foods. These foods are similar to dry dog food in that everything the bird needs nutritionally, is contained in each pellet. There are many varieties of pellet foods. I my experience, most birds do best with pellets that have different shapes and colors. These foods usually have a fruity smell and are very attractive to the birds. If you have a bird that has been eating nothing except seeds, you might have better luck with small brown pellets.
Another alternative is to feed the bird a large variety of people food. Vegetables, fruits, meats, and cereals are all necessary parts of a bird'€™s diet. I usually recommend that while you are making yourself a meal, you set a little of each item aside for your pet. It is very important to supplement these foods with a good vitamin and mineral supplement.
It can be very difficult to get a bird that has been eating mostly seeds, to eat pelleted foods or people food. The best food choice in this situation is Nutriberries. These are balls that look like seeds, so that they are attractive to birds, and contain vitamin, mineral, and protein supplement seeds. Unlike most supplemented seed diets, the supplement is rolled into the balls along with the seeds, peanut hearts, whole egg, etc. Thus, you can be sure that if the bird eats these Nutriberries, the bird is getting the necessary supplements. The main reason I like Nutriberries, is that most birds will eat them both readily and willingly. I always inform my clients that Nutriberries should be used as an intermediate food. Your goal is to get the bird to eat pellets but this can take months.
Most birds on seed diets are very thin. Feel for your pet birds keel bone down the middle of the chest. In an ideal weight bird, you should feel muscle even with the top of that bone. If your bird is under weight, the bone will feel like a butter knife jutting up under the skin. Switching your bird to a better diet can be very rewarding. Make a point of weighing you pet bird now and again in 2 months. Most bird put on 5-20% of their body weight in muscle in the first 2 months.