Blog Archives

Care For Your Pet – Don’t Surf The Net

This is an article I received from Isis vet.  It discusses getting help when your pet is ill, rather than searching the net for answers for the symptoms or ailments that your pet is exhibiting.  It is a great article and well worth the read:

The World Wide Web has opened up communication opportunities between veterinarians and pet owners.  Convenient hand held devices allow pet owners with Web connections to scan, surf, text and email to their heart’s content at any hour of the day.  Or night.  You might think this is convenient for pet owners, brings fast results for pets, is easier on your budget than office visits, and is a smart use of available resources.  But is it?  Think again.

Emailing and texting veterinarians with questions that are pertinent to a pet can be a good thing when the communications are between you and your own family veterinarian.  When your family veterinarian is involved that means more information is involved:  your pet’s past health history, habits, activity levels, behaviors and several prior lab reports.  More information can provide alternatives, choices and additional treatment measures.

Unfortunately, pet owners are more often using the Internet to find information to identify, heal, or cure their pet’s symptoms.  The symptoms, to those not trained in helping pets maintain their health and wellness, may seem minor.  In fact, owners researching solutions via Internet for their pet’s emergencies, injuries and ailments can instead be compromising their health.

“Responsibly surfing (the Web) is fabulous,” says Nancy Kay, veterinarian and author of Speaking for Spot.  But that “does not take the place of a call or visit to your veterinarian,” she reminds pet owners.

“The American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA) saw veterinary visits decline by 21 percent for dogs and by 30 percent for cats,” says veterinarian W. Ron DeHaven and AMVA executive vice president.

“Get(ting) Dr. Google’s Opinion” is Kay’s perspective of the electronic pet care owners are providing for their beloved pets.  Choosing to use the technology owners keep handy is frequently delaying the necessary treatment an ailing pet requires to relieve discomfort or pain, restore its health, or even save its life.

“The biggest thing I see is an increased rate of euthanasia and much sicker animals than I’ve ever seen, meaning people are waiting longer,” says veterinarian Julie Kittams.

Marty Becker, veterinarian and author of Your Dog:  The Owner’s Manual, calls the phenomenon “Vets vs. Net.”  A good veterinarian can quickly and fairly cheaply address many conditions that make a dog or cat miserable, Becker says.  Owners with an itchy-pawed dog chose to let their pet lick and chew constantly for six years before they checked with a veterinarian.  What they believed to be allergies was a “carpet of yeast and staph in his feet.”  Appropriate medications eliminated the itching within 48 hours.

A comatose dog in Becker’s clinic couldn’t be saved after its owners concluded non-stop vomiting was caused by a minor upset stomach.  The piece of carpeting he’d swallowed without their knowledge became lodged in his intestine, causing a rupture and pus-filled abdomen.  “Sometimes hours or minutes matter,” Becker says.

Don’t delay with technology!  Ask your veterinarian to confirm information you learn via Internet.  Check in quickly with your family veterinarian when your pet’s health changes – you could save your pet’s life.

Sources:

American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA).

Balas, Monique. Sick pets put owners in financial bind.

Becker, Marty, DVM. Your Dog: The owner’s manual.

Kay, Nancy. Speaking for Spot.

Peters, Sharon L. Dr. Google not always best when pets are ill.

Portland Veterinary Medical Association.

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West Nile Virus

Recently, there have been reports in the news regarding an outbreak of this disease, moreso than previous years.

West Nile Virus is a swelling or inflammation of the brain, which can be lethal if not treated.

Mosquitoes are the major carrier of this disease and that is how our pets get the disease – by being bitten by a mosquito that has been infected with the disease.

The good news is that only 1% of those who are infected with it ever get sick, but it is scary to think if our pet is one of the 1% that does get infected.  It is rare, but it does happen.

The symptoms tend to mimic that of meningitis, if any of those kinds of symptoms are observed in your pet, please get them to the vet immediately.

Treatment if your pet does get sick usually involves hospitalization, fluids, observation.

There is a product out there that can be a defense mechanism against bug bites.  BioSpot Defense Spot On will help kill fleas, ticks, larvae, and mosquitoes.

Here is the article with more information.  The link at the bottom of the article is broken, so I provided you with the link above to find the BioSpot Defense.

 

Canine Bloat

Just the other night, a friend called me in a panic, thinking that his dog was dead.  He has a purebred German Shepard, and the dog had finished eating and then soon after, he said his dog went down like a brick.  I told him to call the emergency vet and get there ASAP.

After tests and worry and shock, come to find out, his dog was suffering from Bloat.

I briefly mentioned this disease on a post I did back in November, and now that it has come up again, I wanted to go over it more in depth as it can be a scary situation if not treated immediately.

Bloat is also known as Gastric Dilation-Volvulus, (when too much gas or foam builds up in a dog’s stomach) which causes problems when the stomach can twist 90 or 360 degrees.  This creates a “seal” so that the rest of the digestive system is cut off, where the dog cannot get expel the gas or foam, making the stomach enlarge.  Kind of think of it as a balloon stuck in a small space and it keeps on inflating.  That is the pain that the dog goes through when they are unable to purge what is making their stomach essentially expand.

There isn’t that much that is known in preventing Bloat from happening, other than recognizing the possible signs and being educated as to what Bloat actually is and acting fast when the symptoms appear.

While not much is known in the cause, some factors can be when a dog gulps their water, or gulps their food down too fast.  Getting slow feeding bowls can help, feeding them good, healthy food, and using a good water fountain type dish can help.  Larger breed dogs are more at risk than smaller dogs of developing this.

Major symptoms to watch out for are:

  • Stomach distended
  • Nausea and attempting to vomit without being able to
  • Showing severe discomfort
  • Collapsing
  • Excessive drooling

Please read on to find out more about bloat.  Keep watch on your dog when they are eating and drinking and make sure they are not gulping too much air.  If your dog collapses or shows any of the symptoms above, please call your vet or the emergency vet (keep the number on the refrigerator and programmed into your phone).  Time is of the essence in treating bloat.

 

Parvo Virus

Parvo virus is a virus that affects the cells that line the digestive tract, killing them.  It is a virus that can kill.  We can prevent it if we are diligent pet parents.

Parvo usually affects puppies moreso than dogs.  That does not mean that dogs are safe from getting it.  Adult dogs can carry the virus with them and it is highly contagious. We must be careful not to allow the virus to come in contact with our dogs or puppies.  It can be tracked in on your hands, clothes, shoes, toys, anything that can be left outside.

If your dog or puppy displays any of the following symptoms, it is important to call your vet and get your dog treatment immediately.  Time is of the essence when treating this virus in order for your dog to survive:

  • Depression
  • Severe Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Change in waste odor
  • Lethargy
  • Severe dehydration

Your dog will get 24 hour treatment, beginning with re-hydration treatment.  Antibiotics will also be administered.

Our best defense from this horrible virus is vaccination.  Get your dog vaccinated annually and it will save your dog and yourself a lot of heartache.

For more information on the Parvo Virus, here is an article that is more in depth on this matter.

 

 

Coping and Help with Noise Phobias

Many pets get fearful and even stressed at the sound of a thunderstorm, fireworks or any loud noises.  If a cat or dog is phobic, they tend to run away, they can urinate, defecate, some will vomit (Isis will do this if there are loud trucks outside or a prolonged thunderstorm).  There are many symptoms of noise phobia, learning to treat it and get your pet used to the sound and not associating it with something negative is, at times, extremely difficult.

Noise phobias may not be able to be treated completely.  Some pets are more receptive to treatment, some, it is so ingrained in their psyche that they cannot process the sound any differently than associating it with negative aspects.

Changing the behavior usually comes in the form of medications, environment changes and modifying the behavior.  I am not particularly fond of medication, only for EXTREME cases in any situation.  I think a more natural approach to the other steps works better than medication.

One thing for sure, if your pet is running and hiding from loud sounds, do not pet them and pay extra special attention to them while they are running and hiding.  This only enforces the behavior and your pet will think this is the proper way to act when loud noises are occurring.

To find out how to work with your pet on their noise phobias, here is an article.  Just remember, this will not be fixed overnight, if at all.  In time, the behaviors may diminish some, but in some pets it may never go away completely.  Also, have patience in teaching your pets not to react negatively to loud sounds.  Always ensure your pet is in healthy condition and not ill.  Helping your pet get over phobias may be one of the most rewarding things you and your pet can do, and it can create a bonding experience like nothing else ever could.

Dog Food Recall

Instead of posting my weekly trick post, I just received this recall in my e-mail:

In a press release dated April 6, 2012, Diamond Pet Foods has announced a voluntary recall of its Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal and Rice dry dog food due to possible contamination with Salmonella bacteria.

Lamb Meal and Rice by Diamond Naturals

So far, no illnesses have been reported and no other Diamond-manufactured products appear to be affected.

The product was distributed to customers located in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia.

The company goes on to warn:

Individuals handling dry pet food can become infected with salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with surfaces exposed to this product. Healthy people infected with salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, salmonella can result in more serious ailments including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with salmonella infections may have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, pets may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

What Products Are Affected?

Diamond Naturals Dog Food Recall Product Information

What to Do

You can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

For more information about this recall, consumers should contact Diamond Pet Foods at 800-442-0402.

 

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Heartworm Disease

This disease has been prevalent for a long time and it seems to be getting worse and worse.  For the longest time, it was virtually non existent where I live and now, it seems that more and more dogs here are testing positive for heartworm disease.

The next time you go to your vet, have your dog tested.  Some of the signs and symptoms of this disease are very subtle (inflammation internally, tired, out of breath easily while playing, lethargic,etc), some are not so subtle.  It’s best to get them tested and to be on top of things.  If they have the disease and it is caught early, there are simple treatments and it can be reversed.  If not caught early, the prognosis is usually grim.

Please have a look at this article and get your  dog tested.  It can be the difference between a healthy life and an early death.

 

 

Toxic Food and Plants for Cats and Dogs

We all know that some food and plants are dangerous for dogs and cats, but there are some foods I had no idea, until reading the information about them, that there were even more dangerous and toxic and even deadly plants and food that cats and dogs can easily consume if we are not careful enough to make sure these foods are not available within a counter-surfing reach!

If your dog or cat ends up consuming anything on the list, watch them and see if they exhibit symptoms-usually vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, staggering, sometimes foaming at the mouth are the major symptoms.

Here is a list of toxic food and plants for dogs.

Here is a list of toxic food and plants for cats.

 

Not all the foods on the list are lethal, some, like giving cats dog food instead of cat food can cause a cat to become malnourished, and evidence isn’t conclusive yet as to whether grapes are toxic for cats but they suspect they are because they are toxic to dogs.  Just remember to read the lists and keep the information in the forefront of your mind when your pets are around and you may be cooking something with those foods in it.  Here’s hoping this list helps and your pets stay far away from the danger foods, staying healthy and happy always!