articles

Dental Disease

Stage 3:

This shows an unhealthy oral cavity with unfavorable bacteria, gum and inner lip ulcerations, receding gums, root exposure, and plaque buildup. Some tooth loss is probable. This condition may be painful.

Stage 4:

This mouth is full of pus, bacteria, and disease. The teeth are falling out and the gums are severely inflamed and infected. The roots are infected and exposed. Tooth loss is eminent. This condition is probably painful.

Handout courtesy of Michelle Guercio, CVT, CVPM, Animal Care Center of Pasco County, New Port Richey, Fla.

Ringworm / Dermatophytosis

Topical Treatment for Infected Pets

Both the above medications work by inhibiting fungal reproduction rather than by directly killing the fungus. This is fine from the pet’s perspective as either medication should be able to clear the fungus without further therapy; however, we also would like to reduce contamination of the environment. This means actually killing the fungus on the pet so that the hairs dropped will not be infectious and killing the fungus on the pet means topical therapy. For many years cats with ringworm lesions were shaved to allow for easier topical treatment. We now know that shaving may be spreading the fungus, thus shaving is not always recommended (depending on the number of cats present in the home and the length of the hair).

Lime Sulfur Dip

Dips are recommended twice a week and can be performed either by the hospital or at home. If you attempt this kind of dipping at home, you should expect: Lime sulfur will stain clothing and jewelry Lime sulfur will cause temporary yellowing of white fur Lime sulfur smells strongly of rotten eggs.

The dip is mixed according the the label and is not rinsed off at the end of the bath. The pet should be towel dried. Shampooing is not necessary.
 

Environmental Treatment

The problem with decontaminating the environment is that very few products are effective. Bleach diluted 1:10 will kill 80% of fungal spores with one application and any surface that can be bleached, should be bleached. Vigorous vacuuming and steam cleaning of carpets will help remove spores and, of course, vacuum bags should be discarded. To reduce environmental contamination, infected cats should be confined to one room until they have cultured negative. The rest of the house can be disinfected during this confinement period. Cultures are done monthly during the course of treatment.

The following specific recommendations for environmental disinfection come from the Dermatology Department at the University of Wisconsin veterinary school. This cleaning protocol should be used on the room where the affected individuals are being housed: The hairs and skin particles from the infected individual literally forms the dust and dirt around the house and are the basis for reinfection. The single most important aspect of environmental disinfection is vacuuming.

Target areas should receive good suction for at least 10 minutes and hard surfaces should be cleaned with a Swiffer or similar product. (Many people like to use an inexpensive vacuum like a Dirt Devil that can simply be thrown out when the ringworm episode is over). Affected animals should be confined to one room. Areas that have been contaminated should be cleaned with soap and water and rinsed with water. This process is performed three times at least three times weekly.

For carpeting, a steam cleaner can be used. The steam is not hot enough to kill ringworm spores but should help clean the dirt and remove the contaminated particles. After the triple cleaning with soap and water, a 1:10 solution of bleach should be used on surfaces which are bleachable. The surface should stay wet for a total of 10 minutes to kill the ringworm spores. Bleach will not kill spores in the presence of dirt so it is important that the surface be properly cleaned before it is bleached.

To determine if an area has been properly decontaminated, the following process can be used: A piece of Swiffer cloth is used on the area to be tested, dusting for 5 minutes or until the Swiffer cloth is dirty. Place the Swiffer cloth in a plastic bag and bring to your vet’s office for culturing.

Once a cat cultures negative and is removed from the contaminated room, decontamination should be achieved in 1 to 3 cleanings.

The ringworm fungus can remain infective in the environment up to 18 months.
 

Identifying Carriers

When there is a pet with ringworm in the home, all other pets should be tested. A carrier of ringworm is one that is infected but not showing lesions (usually this will be the pet that has been on treatment for a while and appears visually to be cured but in fact is still infected) or one that is simply carrying the fungus on its fur in the same way an inanimate object might have fungal spores on its surface. Both types of “carriers” must be identified as they are both capable of spreading the infection.

The MacKenzie Toothbrush Test is the best approach to the pet with no obvious lesions.

According to the University of Wisconsin protocol, these animals should be assumed to be infected and should be dipped in lime sulfur twice a week for three weeks regardless of culture outcome. If the culture is positive on any of these animals, oral medication should be initiated and they should have full body clips (i.e. they should be shaved nearly bald with a #10 clipper blade).
 

Will Ringworm Go Away by Itself?

There have been several studies that showed that this fungal infection should eventually resolve on its own. Typically, this takes 4 months, a long time in a home environment for contamination to be occurring continuously. We recommend treatment for this infection rather than waiting for it to go away.
 

What To Change if the Outbreak Seems to Go on Forever (Like Over 100 Days)

After a couple of months of medication and dipping, the outbreak is generally over. If the outbreak is still going strong, then it is time to look for corners that may have been cut and holes in the program that need patching: If the pet was not shaved, this may be the time to do a full body shave. If one is using visual lesions as the endpoint for treatment, it is important to change to fungal culture as the standard. Dipping is labor intensive and people tend not to do it twice a week as is optimal.

Twice a week dipping should be instituted if there is trouble eradicating the infection. The environment must be properly decontaminated and this includes not just identification but confinement of affected pets. If infected pets are not confined, they will contaminate the environment and keep getting re-infected. Consider whether the pet has a defective immune system. If a second disease is present, it must be controlled if the pet is to recover. Generic itraconazole does not have the same bioavailability as brand name. This means, in short, that it does not work as well. Changing to a brand name may make a big difference. Lastly, it is important to consider that the diagnosis may be wrong if only visualization was used to make the diagnosis. Proper testing as outlined above is crucial to the diagnosis of dermatophytosis

Vomiting and Diarrhea

A 24-hour fast is performed by completely restricting all food and water. At the end of the fast, a water trial is first performed. Give a small amount of water (1/4-1/2 cup, depending on the size of the patient) and then monitor the patient for nausea or vomiting. In one half-hour, repeat with another water trial. If there is no vomiting, a food trial is then performed. Give ¼ – ½ of the normally fed meal portion. We may recommend a bland diet of boiled white meat chicken and rice or provide you with a prescription bland diet). Give two to three small portions of food, and continue to closely monitor for vomiting, lack of appetite, nausea, drooling and lethargy. The goal is to allow the GI tract to rest initially, and then to prevent the pet from gorging on food and water when it is offered after the fast.

If your pet is still vomiting, it is then necessary to follow up with a repeat visit to us for a second physical examination. Radiographs or other blood tests may be necessary at this time.

If at any time your pet becomes weaker, more lethargic, is vomiting profusely, or if blood is seen in the vomit or in the diarrhea, please call us for advice immediately. If any diarrhea problem changes so that the diarrhea looks like pure water or like raspberry jam, this is an emergency and you should check with us immediately so that we can reexamine your pet.

Antioxidants in Older Pets

Diets rich in fruits and vegetables, vitamins E & C, fatty acids DHA and EPA, carnitine and alpha lipoic acid appear to be very beneficial. These can be added as supplements, or purchased as a ready to feed dog food by Hills called canine B/D, this is available through us

A general guideline to total daily dosage in dogs would be…Vit. A 5000 iu as Beta Carotene, Vit. C 250mg, Vit. E 200 iu as alpha tocopherol, Zinc 7.5 mg, Selenium 15 ug, Copper 1 mg, and Manganese 1.5 mg. Cats would require about ¼ of these levels. These work in harmony so it is important that most or all be given. We carry multivitamins that contain these recommended dosages.

The effects of brain ageing can be subtle and often progress slowly. It is important to pay attention to your pet to see the early signs. We have a checklist that we can use to help decide if there is a problem. Diet supplements and medication can help significantly, ask us for more information.

Ticks

How Can my Dog Pick up Ticks?

Ticks wait for host animals from the tips of grasses and shrubs. Ticks are not commonly found in trees. When brushed by a moving animal or person, they quickly let go of the vegetation and climb onto the host. Ticks can only crawl; they cannot fly or jump. Some species of ticks will crawl several feet toward a host. Ticks can be active on winter days if the ground temperatures are above 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7.2 degrees Celsius).
 

What are the Different Types of Ticks?+

There are two groups of ticks, sometimes called the “hard” ticks (Ixodidae) and “soft” ticks (Argasidae). Hard ticks, like the common dog tick, have a hard shield just behind the mouthparts (sometimes incorrectly called the “head”); unfed hard ticks are shaped like a flat seed. Soft ticks do not have the hard shield and they are shaped like a large raisin. Soft ticks prefer to feed on birds or bats and are seldom encountered by dogs or cats.
Although there are at least 15 species of ticks in North America, only a few of these species are likely to be encountered.

They include the:
1. American dog tick
2. Lone star tick
3. Deer or Blacklegged tick
4. Brown dog tick

Other tick species may be encountered in various regions. Your veterinarian will consult with you if you needadditional information of specific species.

1. American Dog Tick:
The American dog tick attacks a wide variety of hosts, including humans and dogs, but rarely infests homes. Adults are chestnut brown with white spots or streaks on their backs. Unfed adults are about 1/8-inch long. Engorged females become slate gray and may expand to a length of 1/2-inch. Larvae and nymphs feed mostly on small rodents, while adults feed on dogs, cattle, other animals and humans. These ticks are widely distributed throughout the North America and are especially prevalent in the southern United States and in coastal and other humid areas. They are attracted by the scent of animals, and humans most often encounter them near roads, paths, trails and recreational areas. Although present the year round, American dog ticks are usually most numerous in the spring.

The female dog tick lays 4000-6500 eggs and then dies. The eggs hatch into seed ticks in about 36-57 days. The unfed larvae crawl in search of a host and can live up to 540 days without food. When they find a small rodent or mammal, the larvae attach and feed for approximately five days. The larvae then drop off the host and molt to the nymphal stage. The nymphs crawl in search of a rodent host, attach to a suitable host, and engorge with blood in 3-11 days. Nymphs can live without food for up to 584 days. That’s over a year-and-a-half!

Adults crawl in search of dogs or large animals for a blood meal. Adults can live for up to two years without food! American dog tick adults and many other species can be found along roads, paths, and trails, on grass, and on other low vegetation in a “waiting position.” As an animal passes by, the tick will grasp it firmly and soon start feeding. The males remain on the host for an indefinite period of time alternately feeding and mating. The females feed, mate, become engorged, and then drop off to lay their eggs.

The American dog tick requires from three months to three years to complete a life cycle. It is typically an outdoor tick and is dependent on climatic and environmental conditions for its eggs to hatch.

2. Lone Star Tick:

Adult lone star ticks are various shades of brown or tan. Females have single silvery-white spots on their backs and males have scattered white spots. Unfed adults are about 1/3-inch long, but after feeding females may be 1/2-inch long. Larvae and nymphs parasitize small wild animals, birds and rodents, while adults feed on larger animals such as dogs and cattle. All three stages of the Lone star tick will bite dogs and humans. These ticks live in wooded and brushy areas and are most numerous in underbrush along creeks and river bottoms and near animal resting places. Lone star ticks are present throughout the year, but peak adult and nymphal populations may occur from March to May. A second nymphal peak may occur again in July or August, while peak larval activity is reached in mid-June or July.

3. Deer or Blacklegged Tick:

All three active stages of the deer or blacklegged tick will feed on a variety of hosts including dogs and people. After the eggs hatch in the spring, the very tiny larvae feed primarily on white-footed mice or other small mammals. The following spring, the larvae molt into pinhead-sized, brown nymphs that will feed on mice, larger warm-blooded animals and people. In the fall, they molt into adults that feed primarily on deer, with the females laying eggs the following spring. Adults are reddish-brown and about 1/8-inch long (or about one-half the size of the more familiar female American dog tick).

These ticks are usually found in wooded areas along trails. The larvae and nymphs are active in the spring and early summer; adults may be active in both the spring and fall. The deer or blacklegged tick can transmit Lyme disease and possibly ehrlichiosis to dogs and humans.

4. Brown Dog Tick:

The brown dog tick (also known as the kennel tick) is found through most of the United States. This tick feeds on dogs, but rarely bites people. Unlike the other species of ticks, its life cycle allows it to survive and develop indoors. The brown dog tick is found primarily in kennels or homes with dogs where it may be found hiding in cracks, behind radiators, under rugs and furniture, and on draperies and walls.

The adult is reddish-brown and about 1/8-inch long, and usually attaches around the ears or between the toes of a dog to feed. After feeding, a female may engorge to ½-inch long. She then drops off the dog and crawls into a hiding place where she may lay as many as 3,000 eggs. This tick is tropical in origin and does not survive long, cold winters outdoors.
 

How Can Ticks be Prevented?


There are many different types of tick preventatives available in the marketplace. Some require less effort on the part of the owner than others. Some products are available over the counter, while others are only available through your veterinarian. There are effective monthly preventatives that are applied to the skin at the back of the neck and represent a convenient method of control for these ectoparasites. Your veterinarian will make specific recommendations to keep your pet parasite free.

What Should I do if I Find a Tick on Me or My Dog?

Use blunt tweezers or disposable gloves to handle the tick. If your fingers must be used, shield

them with a tissue or paper towel. Infectious agents may be contracted through mucous membranes or breaks in the skin simply by handling infected ticks. This is especially important for people who “de-tick” pets because ticks infesting dogs and other domestic animals can carry Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis or other diseases capable of infecting humans.

Grasp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible. This reduces the possibility of the head detaching from the body upon removal.

Pull the tick out straight out with a steady, even pressure. Do not twist or jerk the tick as this may cause the mouthparts to break off and remain in the skin, increasing the chances of infection. Continue applying steady pressure even if the tick does not release immediately. It may take a minute or two of constant, slow pulling to cause the tick to release.

After removing the tick, thoroughly disinfect the bite area and wash your hands with soap and water. Home remedies such as applying petroleum jelly, grease, or a hot match to the rear of the tick are not recommended and do not work. These practices cause the tick to salivate and can actually increase the chance of getting a disease.

After removing the tick, you may wish to preserve it in rubbing alcohol. Be sure to label the container with information about the time and place where the tick bite occurred. This activity will help you to remember details of the incident if the rash or other symptoms associated with Lyme disease appear later. This information will also be of help to a veterinarian or physician diagnosing an illness.

This client information sheet is based on material written by Ernest Ward, DVM.
© Copyright 2005 Lifelearn Inc. Used with permission under license. February 24, 2012

Bringing Home Baby

Plan to spend time with your pets. Let them know they have not been replaced in the household. Pets may fear abandonment or rejection when the focus is switched to the new baby. Plan to take regular walks or have a game of fetch with your dog, or play favorite games with your cat. Give them personal time, just you and them.

Even with these precautions, some pets may never get used to children. Like people, they either accept children or they don’t. If a pet is raised around kids, generally there will be no great behavior problem. If the pet has not seen a “little person” before, you may have to closely supervise the interaction for awhile. Also, if you have a pet that has been teased or mistreated by a child in the past, there will be significant obstacles to overcome.

As your children get older, it is imperative they learn how to respect and treat the family pet. They should know that pets feel pain and get lonely when no one is around – just like people do. Praise your children for gentleness and correct them for rough and unkind behaviors toward your pets. Children should also learn that dogs naturally chase, herd, catch, and fetch. Playfully grabbing a tail or running in the yard may be a dog’s invitation to chase and jump-a very natural response for a dog.

Remember, in many instances, your pets were your “babies” first. They don’t really understand what is happening. Find ways to show them you love them just as much as always. Take quiet walks or hang out in the yard on a cool summer evening. Make meal times special times to be with you. A little bit of affection goes a long way toward making your furry family members happy.

Hospitalized Pet

If your patient is here for hospitalization or intensive care (ICU), you will be called with updates at least once daily, and as changes occur in their condition. The patient will be medicated and monitored throughout the day by our technicians and doctors. In addition, a staff member will be able to provide you with a daily financial update.

Occasionally, a sick patient may require intensive monitoring overnight or after normal hospital hours. In certain unusual situations, this may also be necessary after an elective procedure such as a surgery or dental procedure. As we do not have 24-hour staffing available, we can facilitate transferring your pet to the Capital District Animal Emergency Clinic, which is fully staffed and always open the hours that we are closed. They are a Level 1 emergency and critical care facility. If a transfer is recommended, you will need to pick up your patient at our hospital and transport your pet to CDAEC. This is because the critical care center will need to have you there to expedite admission and meet with the doctor. We will foreword all necessary medical records and be in direct contact with them throughout your pets stay there.

Arthritis Management

Medications:
 

Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

There are numerous non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs developed for use in dogs and cats with osteoarthritis. They are prescription products and because of potential side effects, careful adherence to dosing quantity and frequency must be followed, especially in cats. We recommend screening bloodwork every 6 months for all our patients taking these medications daily. Often the dose of these can be decreased after joint supplements have reached their desired levels in the body (often 6 weeks.) Human medications such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen should never be given to dogs or cats.
 

Other Pain Relievers

Other medications are also available when anti-inflammatory medications are not adequately controlling pain. These medications work in a different way to relieve pain and can be used in conjunction with anti-inflammatory drugs. Some examples are tramadol, amantadine, and hydrocodone.

Supplements:
Joint supplements are not prescription drugs but they can often greatly improve mobility and slow the progression of arthritis.
 

Glucosamine and Chondroitin

Glucosamine and Chondroitin enhance the formation and protection of cartilage and inhibit enzymes in the joint which tend to break down cartilage. They also give the cartilage-forming cells (chondrocytes), the building blocks they need to synthesize new cartilage and to repair the existing damaged cartilage. These products are not painkillers; they work by actually healing the damage that has been done. These products generally take at least six weeks to begin to heal the cartilage and most animals will need to be maintained on these products the rest of their lives to prevent further cartilage breakdown. Because these products are naturally-occurring compounds, they are very safe to use and show very few side effects. There are many different glucosamine/chondroitin products on the market, but they are not all created equal. We have seen the best results and fewest side effects from products that contain pure ingredients that are human grade in quality. Our doctors have seen dramatic results with Cosequin, Dasuquin and NuCat.
 

Polysulfated Glycosaminoglycan (Adequan)

Adequan is a product that is administered in an injection. A series of shots are given over weeks and very often have favorable results. The cost and the inconvenience of weekly injections are a deterrent to some owners, especially since the oral glucosamine products are so effective. This product helps prevent the breakdown of cartilage and may help with the synthesis of new cartilage. It is recommended to use either oral glucosmine/chondroitan or injectable Adequan but not both together.
 

Fatty Acids

Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids(Docosahexaenoic acid/DHA & Eicosapentaenoic acid/EPA) has been shown to improve joint health by decreasing inflammation in the body. Studies also show that omega fatty acids can help prevent senility & brain ageing in dogs and cats.

Bringing Home Baby

Even with these precautions, some pets may never get used to children. Like people, they either accept children or they don’t. If a pet is raised around kids, generally there will be no great behavior problem. If the pet has not seen a “little person” before, you may have to closely supervise the interaction for awhile. Also, if you have a pet that has been teased or mistreated by a child in the past, there will be significant obstacles to overcome.

As your children get older, it is imperative they learn how to respect and treat the family pet. They should know that pets feel pain and get lonely when no one is around – just like people do. Praise your children for gentleness and correct them for rough and unkind behaviors toward your pets. Children should also learn that dogs naturally chase, herd, catch, and fetch. Playfully grabbing a tail or running in the yard may be a dog’s invitation to chase and jump-a very natural response for a dog.

Remember, in many instances, your pets were your “babies” first. They don’t really understand what is happening. Find ways to show them you love them just as much as always. Take quiet walks or hang out in the yard on a cool summer evening. Make meal times special times to be with you. A little bit of affection goes a long way toward making your furry family members happy.

(c) 1997 by the American Animal Hospital Association By Leesa Tenney, CVT

Litter Training Your Rabbit

Rabbits do not bury their excrement the way cats do but instead leave their fecal pellets lying on top of the litter while the urine soaks to the bottom of the box. In addition, rabbits may spend a lot of time in their litter boxes, just lying or sitting in them— this is normal. Rabbits may eat their litter, so the type of litter you provide is important. It is best to avoid clumping litter, pine or cedar shavings, and clay litters with deodorant crystals since consumption of these litters could harm them. Instead use hay, straw, pelleted food, nonclumping unscented cat litter, peat moss, aspen bark, or other nontoxic, nonclumping litters.

Rabbits General Health

Common Health Problems

Gastrointestinal diseases are very common in rabbits. They include hairball impaction (trichobezoars) from too little dietary fiber, foreign body obstruction (plastic, carpet, strings), bacterial diarrheas (antibiotics, stress, poor diet), viral diseases, parasitic diseases (coccidia, tapeworms), cancers, dental disease from overgrown teeth, and fungal toxins from moldy feed. Respiratory diseases include pneumonia and upper respiratory infections (“snuffles”). Urogenital diseases include cancers, uterine infections or uterine torsion, kidney and bladder stones and kidney failure. Red urine may be a sign of blood in the urine or a reflection of natural pigments in the diet. Dermatologic diseases include ear mites, mange mites, cuterebra, urine scald, abcesses and skin infections from poor housing and care.

Avoiding Destructive Chewing

Good Toy, Bad Toy

Get three or four of your puppy’s and one forbidden item, such as a shoe. Put them together on the floor. Get down on the floor with your puppy and direct his attention to the items. If he investigates or plays with one of his toys, play with him and praise him. If he investigates or plays with the forbidden item, abruptly withdraw your attention and praise. If necessary, you may spray the forbidden item with Bitter Apple to discourage him. By practicing this frequently, your puppy will quickly learn what toys he can play with.

This article is copied from:
The Canine Workshop, Niskayuna, NY 12304

Thunderstorm Phobia

Treatment Strategies

Desensitization: Exposing the dog to a noxious stimulus at a low intensity so as not to produce the full phobic response. Over time, as the dog starts to show an ability to cope, the intensity of the stimulus should be increased. Desensitization may work best if the dog only has sensitivity to the sound of thunder by using a CD recording of thunderstorms. Unfortunately, most dogs have multiple triggers as stated above.

Counter-conditioning: This method brings out a response that is both physiologically and behaviorally incompatible with the phobia. For instance, playing with the dogs, or feeding them treats while they are subjected to a low level of the stimulus should allow for them to eventually associate the noise with a positive activity.
Relaxation training: Training the pet to settle and relax in its own comfort area (i.e. their bed) should be a focus of reward based training prior to desensitization exercises in order to ensure that the pet can first be calmed and settled when there is no fear invoking stimulus. Owners are encouraged to perform these activities several times a day so as to provide a safe and secure environment where the pet has a sense of control.

*It is best to begin training during times of the year when exposure to the fear evoking stimuli can be avoided – not thunderstorm season.
Oral medication is unlikely to make a lot of difference to the dog’s anxiety levels once it is significantly distressed. However a low dose of a medication may still be warranted if no other behavior modification exercise is helpful.

Debbie J. Calnon, BVMS, MACVSc (Behavior)
Gary M. Landsberg, DVM, ACVB, ECAWBM

Canine Influenza Virus

There may be an incubation period of 2 – 5 days before clinical signs are noted. Some animals do not show clinical signs but may still be infected and shed the virus. There is no quick, accurate way to diagnose this virus. The virus is spread by aerosolized respiratory secretions; contaminated toys, bowls and cages; and by individuals not using proper biosecurity when working between healthy and sick dogs. The virus is most likely inactivated by routine disinfectants containing quaternary ammonium compounds or solutions containing 10% bleach. Since the virus is highly contagious and most dogs are susceptible to infection, veterinarians; boarding facilities; shelters; and pet stores should use isolation protocols for any dogs with a cough. People should seek the help of their veterinarian for treatment and diagnostics if their dog becomes ill.

Respectfully,

David M. Chico, VMD
Veterinarian
Division of Animal Industry
New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets

Heartworm Prevention Protocol

We now will start testing all dogs once they have reached 7 months of age, regardless of their birth month, and will test them every two years thereafter as long as each of their monthly prevention doses has been properly administered. However, if your pet misses a few doses during the course of the year, our doctors may recommend an additional blood test to assure your pet’s safety.

Remember to use the reminder stickers on your calendars to help you give your pet his or her monthly dosage. Please ask our staff for assistance if you have any questions about the new recommended protocol, and rest assured that we strive, as always, to provide the best care for your four-footed friends.

Puppy-Proofing Your Home

Be careful with craft projects. Needles or pins and other instruments can be very damaging to your pup.

Always keep anti-freeze out of reach and cleaned up. All dogs are attracted to its scent and taste. It is very toxic.

Use pesticides and rodent poisons with caution. These toxins must be kept out of reach or never used; they can be dangerous for your pup.

Avoid using flea collars, flea dips, and other preparations on your pup. Many of the over the counter products are not recommended for puppies. Ask our staff about other safe alternatives.

Keep your puppy away from toxic plants. Rhododendron, Japanese yew, and lily of the valley are some of the common plants found in or around a home. Also, peach pits and cherry pits can be toxic if eaten.

Tartar Control

C.E.T.® Enzymatic Oral Hygiene Chews for Dogs, featuring the exclusive Dual-Enzyme System, are made from select beefhide to combine a natural antiseptic plus an abrasive texture that works with the dog’s chewing action to loosen tartar and provide clinically proven plaque control. Helps clean teeth and freshen breath and has an appealing poultry flavor.

Tasty poultry-flavored chew may be given daily.

Available in petite, medium, large, and extra-large sizes and in 15-count and 30-count bags, depending on size.

Should You Trust Pet Healthcare Web Sites?

How Current is the Information?

Web sites should be reviewed and updated regularly. It’s particularly important that medical information be current and that the most recent update or review date be posted. Even if the information hasn’t changed, it’s helpful to know that the site owners have reviewed it recently to ensure that it’s still valid.
 

How does the Web site choose links?

Reliable Web sites usually have a policy about how they link to other sites. Some medical sites take a conservative approach and don’t link at all. Some link to any site that asks or pays for a link. Others link only to sites that have met certain criteria.
 

How does the Web site manage interactions with users?

There should be a way for you to contact the site owners with problems, feedback, and questions. If the site hosts a chat room or other online discussion areas, it should tell you about the terms of using the service. Is the service moderated? If so, by whom and why? Before you participate, spend some time reading the discussion without joining in.
 

How Does the Website Manage Interaction with Users?

Any e-mail messages should be carefully evaluated. Consider the origin of the message and its purpose. Some companies or organizations use e-mail to advertise products or attract people to their Web sites. The accuracy of health-related information may be influenced by the desire to promote a product or service. It’s important to carefully consider the source of e-mail and other Internet-based information and to discuss the information with your veterinarian.

This form is adapted from information provided by the Cancer Information Service, part of the National Cancer Institute.

Ringworm / Dermatophytosis

Itraconazole

This medication is highly effective in the treatment of ringworm but is available in capsules far too large to be useful to most small animals. This means that a special company must reformulated the medication into a more useful size. Nausea is a potential side effect for this medication but probably the main reason it is passed by in favor of griseofulvin is expense. Itraconazole is also effective in treating many life-threatening fungal infections whereas griseofulvin only treats ringworm.

By increasing the amount of itraconazole in the environment, we may be creating resistance in more dangerous fungi which could become a problem over the years. On the average, cats treated with Itraconazole and nothing else were able to achieve cure two weeks sooner than cats treated with Griseofulvin.
 

Topical Treatment for Infected Pets

Both the above medications work by inhibiting fungal reproduction rather than by directly killing the fungus. This is fine from the pet’s perspective as either medication should be able to clear the fungus without further therapy; however, we also would like to reduce contamination of the environment. This means actually killing the fungus on the pet so that the hairs dropped will not be infectious and killing the fungus on the pet means topical therapy. For many years cats with ringworm lesions were shaved to allow for easier topical treatment. We now know that shaving may be spreading the fungus, thus shaving is not always recommended (depending on the number of cats present in the home and the length of the hair).
 

Lime Sulfur Dip

Dips are recommended twice a week and can be performed either by the hospital or at home. If you attempt this kind of dipping at home, you should expect: Lime sulfur will stain clothing and jewelry Lime sulfur will cause temporary yellowing of white fur Lime sulfur smells strongly of rotten eggs.

The dip is mixed according the the label and is not rinsed off at the end of the bath. The pet should be towel dried. Shampooing is not necessary.
 

Environmental Treatment

The problem with decontaminating the environment is that very few products are effective. Bleach diluted 1:10 will kill 80% of fungal spores with one application and any surface that can be bleached, should be bleached. Vigorous vacuuming and steam cleaning of carpets will help remove spores and, of course, vacuum bags should be discarded. To reduce environmental contamination, infected cats should be confined to one room until they have cultured negative. The rest of the house can be disinfected during this confinement period. Cultures are done monthly during the course of treatment.

The following specific recommendations for environmental disinfection come from the Dermatology Department at the University of Wisconsin veterinary school. This cleaning protocol should be used on the room where the affected individuals are being housed: The hairs and skin particles from the infected individual literally forms the dust and dirt around the house and are the basis for reinfection. The single most important aspect of environmental disinfection is vacuuming. Target areas should receive good suction for at least 10 minutes and hard surfaces should be cleaned with a Swiffer or similar product. (Many people like to use an inexpensive vacuum like a Dirt Devil that can simply be thrown out when the ringworm episode is over). Affected animals should be confined to one room. Areas that have been contaminated should be cleaned with soap and water and rinsed with water. This process is performed three times at least three times weekly. For carpeting, a steam cleaner can be used. The steam is not hot enough to kill ringworm spores but should help clean the dirt and remove the contaminated particles. After the triple cleaning with soap and water, a 1:10 solution of bleach should be used on surfaces which are bleachable. The surface should stay wet for a total of 10 minutes to kill the ringworm spores. Bleach will not kill spores in the presence of dirt so it is important that the surface be properly cleaned before it is bleached.

To determine if an area has been properly decontaminated, the following process can be used: A piece of Swiffer cloth is used on the area to be tested, dusting for 5 minutes or until the Swiffer cloth is dirty. Place the Swiffer cloth in a plastic bag and bring to your vet’s office for culturing.

Once a cat cultures negative and is removed from the contaminated room, decontamination should be achieved in 1 to 3 cleanings.

The ringworm fungus can remain infective in the environment up to 18 months.
 

Identifying Carriers

When there is a pet with ringworm in the home, all other pets should be tested. A carrier of ringworm is one that is infected but not showing lesions (usually this will be the pet that has been on treatment for a while and appears visually to be cured but in fact is still infected) or one that is simply carrying the fungus on its fur in the same way an inanimate object might have fungal spores on its surface. Both types of “carriers” must be identified as they are both capable of spreading the infection.

The MacKenzie Toothbrush Test is the best approach to the pet with no obvious lesions.

According to the University of Wisconsin protocol, these animals should be assumed to be infected and should be dipped in lime sulfur twice a week for three weeks regardless of culture outcome. If the culture is positive on any of these animals, oral medication should be initiated and they should have full body clips (i.e. they should be shaved nearly bald with a #10 clipper blade).
 

Will Ringworm Go Away by Itself?

There have been several studies that showed that this fungal infection should eventually resolve on its own. Typically, this takes 4 months, a long time in a home environment for contamination to be occurring continuously. We recommend treatment for this infection rather than waiting for it to go away.
 

What To Change if the Outbreak Seems to Go on Forever (Like Over 100 Days)

After a couple of months of medication and dipping, the outbreak is generally over. If the outbreak is still going strong, then it is time to look for corners that may have been cut and holes in the program that need patching: If the pet was not shaved, this may be the time to do a full body shave. If one is using visual lesions as the endpoint for treatment, it is important to change to fungal culture as the standard. Dipping is labor intensive and people tend not to do it twice a week as is optimal. Twice a week dipping should be instituted if there is trouble eradicating the infection. The environment must be properly decontaminated and this includes not just identification but confinement of affected pets. If infected pets are not confined, they will contaminate the environment and keep getting re-infected. Consider whether the pet has a defective immune system. If a second disease is present, it must be controlled if the pet is to recover. Generic itraconazole does not have the same bioavailability as brand name. This means, in short, that it does not work as well. Changing to a brand name may make a big difference. Lastly, it is important to consider that the diagnosis may be wrong if only visualization was used to make the diagnosis. Proper testing as outlined above is crucial to the diagnosis of dermatophytosis.

Should You Trust Pet Healthcare Web Sites?

How is the information documented?

In addition to identifying the original source of the material, the site should identify the evidence on which the material is based. Medical facts and figures should include references such as citations of articles in medical journals. Also, opinions or advice should be clearly set apart from evidence-based information (information based on research results).
 

How is information reviewed before it’s posted?

Health-related Web sites should provide information about the medical credentials of the people who prepare or review the material. Veterinarians in the United States are doctors of veterinary medicine (DVMs) or veterinary medicine doctors (VMDs)—the equivalent of an MD in human medicine. Common specialist credentials include DACVIM (internal medicine), DACVS (surgery), and DACVD (dermatology).
 

How Current is the Information?

Web sites should be reviewed and updated regularly. It’s particularly important that medical information be current and that the most recent update or review date be posted. Even if the information hasn’t changed, it’s helpful to know that the site owners have reviewed it recently to ensure that it’s still valid.
 

How does the Web site choose links?

Reliable Web sites usually have a policy about how they link to other sites. Some medical sites take a conservative approach and don’t link at all. Some link to any site that asks or pays for a link. Others link only to sites that have met certain criteria.
 

How does the Web site manage interactions with users?

There should be a way for you to contact the site owners with problems, feedback, and questions. If the site hosts a chat room or other online discussion areas, it should tell you about the terms of using the service. Is the service moderated? If so, by whom and why? Before you participate, spend some time reading the discussion without joining in.
 

How Does the Website Manage Interaction with Users?

Any e-mail messages should be carefully evaluated. Consider the origin of the message and its purpose. Some companies or organizations use e-mail to advertise products or attract people to their Web sites. The accuracy of health-related information may be influenced by the desire to promote a product or service. It’s important to carefully consider the source of e-mail and other Internet-based information and to discuss the information with your veterinarian.

This form is adapted from information provided by the Cancer Information Service, part of the National Cancer Institute.

Rabbit Diet

Fiber is an important component of a rabbit’s diet, stimulating gut motility, digestion, excretion, and helping to balance the gut microflora (important normal bacteria in the gut). Alfalfa pellets are used most commonly as the primary food source. They may vary in protein, fat, and fiber content. In pet rabbits that aren’t used for breeding, research, or meat, the recommended percent of fiber is 16% with a protein content of 18%. Higher fiber can be helpful for rabbits that are obese or have chronic soft stools. Store pellets in cool (60 degrees F) areas protected from vermin, excess moisture and light. Use within six months of purchase. Daily pellet consumption averages about 10 grams per pound of body weight. Primary feeding times are in the early morning and at night. Rabbits may normally eat some of their feces (corprophagy) to replace the gut microfilaria on a regular basis. Probiotics (bacteria supplements much like the healthy bacteria found in yogurt) can be provided for rabbits with diarrhea. A common product used is called Benebac.

Pre-Surgical Checklist

Pain Management:

Like us, animals experience pain. Unlike us, they do not reveal their discomfort due to their evolutionary need to be secretive about disabilities for survival. Invasive procedures such as spaying, neutering, declawing, and orthopedic repairs will result in some degree of discomfort and can therefore add to his or her stress, delaying the healing process.
By following our recommendations for pain management through medication (if indicated), you can help protect your pet from the temporary pain accompanying many surgical procedures.
For the ultimate in pain management, we suggest making an appointment with us for your pet the day before surgery is scheduled. A technician will apply a pain relief patch to the skin that will completely control the pain from surgery for 3-4 days.

Microchip Identification:

Microchips are a permanent, lifelong method of identifying your pet with a device which, unlike tags, cannot be lost. Each microchip has a unique ID number registered with a national data bank. The chip is about the size of a grain of rice and is placed under the skin in the same manner in which a vaccine is given.

If your pet is lost and is taken to any animal shelter anywhere in the country, they will scan over the skin for an ID chip and will then contact you or us to bring your pet home safely.

House Training

House training with a crate

If you followed this easy schedule, you will find house training is as easy has falling in love with a puppy.

Morning. Let’s begin the first thing in the morning, being fully aware that “first thing” may be earlier then you had in mind. Things will get easier as the pup gets older. At the first peep, whine or bark in the morning, open the crate door and immediately carry the smaller pup (attaching the leash as you go) or leash lead the larger one, to the exact spot you want the dog to use. Just stand and let the pup wander about on its leash. This is not a walk, it’s a business trip!

Make up a term that means “potty” to the dog. Some common ones are “Potty”, “Go pee” or the one that makes me feel better on snowy mornings, “hurry-up!”. Once you’ve chosen a word or phrase, everyone in the family should use it. As the puppy piddles, say “g-o-o-d dog”. Follow with more standing on your part and more exploring on the part of pup, but only in that one small area. If you find you’re just staring at each other, move the leash back and forth to get the pup moving again. When the puppy has a bowel movement, give more praise- just an approving “good dog” not a standing ovation- and take the pup back inside.

Using a leash, even inside the fence area or while paper training, has many advantages. You are there to express immediate approval; your dog goes in the place you have chosen; your dog will be at ease to relieve itself on leash away from home. Don’t laugh. “Outside” is a good one-word key you for the dog. Do you want to go outside? emphasizing the keyword. The pup will catch on.

If the pup messes in the crate before waking you, don’t scold. Set the alarm 15 or 20 minutes earlier and be certain the pup relieves itself before going into the crate at night. You may even try changing its feeding schedule and removing the water a little earlier. This should help the pup to make it through the night. Your goal is prevention, not punishment.

As the pup matures, and when you have time, go for a walk right after the dog has eliminated. Or, if you have a fenced yard, the older pup might like to run around on its own for a while. Then its breakfast time for your canine baby.

Place the dogs food dish and water bowl side-by-side in the crate. Allow 15 to 20 minutes for the dog to dine before removing the dish. Remove it when the time is up whether or not the pup has eaten all the food. Now take the pup back outside to that same spot. Maybe this is really why so many dogs are called “spot”. When the pup has eliminated, or, if after five or 10 minutes, it shows no sign of wanting to, play for go for a short walk. Then back to that spot again. It’s extremely important to be right there to say “good dog ‘ as the pup eliminates at least for the first couple of weeks. I never said this would be interesting. It is basic puppy training, however, and will last a lifetime.

Now is a good time for some supervised freedom to explore other parts of the house, but only with supervision. In a working household, this may be the weekend luxury. If you’re occupied, getting family or self ready to meet the day, place the puppy back in its crate with some chew toys to a amuse itself while you finish your own morning rituals.

Daytime. Be sure to monitor your pups activities throughout the day. When the pup sniffs, walks in circles and appears anxious, it’s your cue to head to the “potty spot” with the puppy. The success of housebreaking depends on your quick response to the cue. If puppy is successful again and again, it will soon begin to head for “the spot” when it feels the urge. If you can’t constantly supervise the puppy, put it in the crate when you’re busy. Just don’t let it make a mistake.

If the pup must be left alone, place the crate in a restricted area, such as a kitchen or bathroom with gate across the door, and leave its crate door open. Turn the radio on low, (dogs have super hearing), put some safe toys in the crate and leave just one patch of newspapers on the floor for an emergency. If you put newspapers all over the floor, the pup will decide where to go, which could be just about anywhere. By putting three or four thickness of newspaper in one spot, maybe beside the outside door, you have taken charge.

If you plan to be gone for only a few hours, take the dog outside to eliminate before you leave. Then put the dog in the crate with a small treat and a couple of toys. Latch the crate door, turn the radio on and leave. (Just take off. No speeches!). If you’ll be gone more than two hours, confine the young pup in a restricted area as described above. Older dogs can remain in their crates a little longer, ask us for an opinion on how long your pup can be expected to go without urinating or defecating

When you return, immediately take the puppy out to it’s very own spot.

( If you live in a city, and curb the pup, let’s hope you’ve chosen a “no parking” area for that spot, and remember to carry clean-ups with you!).

Bedtime. The young pup’s last meal should be no later than 8 p.m. followed by a drink of water. Then remove the water bowl. A hour or so before your bedtime, take the pup out for the last time. Put the crate in your bedroom before putting the dog to bed for the night. Then put the puppy in its crate with a toy and plain puppy biscuit.

Your mere presence will be comforting, so don’t fall into the trap of talking to the pup as you’re going to bed, or it will try to stay up to keep you company!. If you go about your business of calling a day, the pup will too. Don’t fall for that old “ticking clock and hot water bottle” routine either. The pup would surely weaned before you got it, so it doesn’t need its mothers heart-beat . All you’ll end up with is a destroyed clock, a hot water bottle full of tiny tooth-pricks and a soaking wet puppy. The important thing is that you’ll be the there to hear the very first sound that signals the first of many trips outside.

When he put your pup in the crate and say “good night”, mean it. No going back to say “good night” later. No response to crying, whining or barking. If you are certain the pup relieved itself before entering the crate. Don’t even punish the prop if fusses. You’re angry shout of “quiet” is (to the pup), a response to its cries. The puppy reasons that any reply is better than non, so it will be encouraged to keep up. Things will get better each night. A well-socialized puppy will very likely be sound asleep long before you turn out your light, and you’ll be the one staying awake to watch your new pride and joy.

By adhering to a consistent schedule, you can housebreak your puppy in only a few days. But don’t rush to brag to your friends. Continue to monitor the pup’s actions for several months. If the pup soils your house, be sure to clean the area immediately with a commercial odor-eliminator or a solution of vinegar and water. If the pup is allowed to mark places in the house, it will return again and again to mark that spot. It could even generalize that marking the house is permissible. Do not punish the dog for house-soiling unless you catch the pup in the act of soiling. Otherwise the dog will not understand the reason for the punishment.
 

Other uses for the Crate

Car travel. The crate physically protects the dog in the car, but it does far more. It restrains the dog in case of a small fender- bender. In the case of the serious accident, the dog will not be thrown into the windshield or out the window. The dog cannot escape from the car to become lost or even killed. The crate also enables anyone coming to your rescue to remove the dog quickly from the scene. This alone could save time needed to assist people.

Two hundred thousand dogs are killed each year from falling, jumping or being thrown from cars and pickup trucks. A crate secured in the back with some form of protection from the weather means you really care.

Traveling bed. If you travel with your dog, it’s crate is invaluable. When you take the crate along, the dog identifies with the security of this little piece of home. You can prevent nights of lost sleep if you take the crate with you to the hotel, the campsite or your friends home.

If you must leave the dog for short outings while you’re on the road, be sure to leave the dog in its den. You will be a welcome guest if your dog displays good manners. The dog that whines, destroys property or soils the facilities is not likely to receive invitations to return.

If air travel is in your plans, the crate will be the vessel that carries your dog to your destination. If your dog is already crate trained, the trip will be less stressful. A calm dog will not need tranquilizers to travel in a crate.

If a friend volunteers to puppy- sit while you’re traveling, the dogs crate can go to the friends house for this stay. Your friend will appreciate the convenience of having the crate at his or her or disposal.

In-home confinement. There are times that the dog is just in the way. If you’re cooking and the dog is under foot, it would be safer in its crate. A dropped pot caused by a in- the- way dog is dangerous to dog and you.

Some friends are just not suited to enjoying your dogs company. Older people and children often better quests when your dog is out of the way. The dog won’t mind spending some time in its special place.

Crate training plays a major role in preventing separation anxiety. The stress of being abandoned can cause dogs to chew through doors, walls and carpets if left alone. A correctly crate-trained dog seldom experiences the panic of being left alone, even though it may occasionally try to change your mind about going to work!

For the injured dog, or the dog that is recovering from surgery, the crate will help the healing process. When we advise you to keep the dog quiet and still, the crate provides the way to comply with the instructions.

Once you have discovered all the fine uses for a dog’s crate , you will develop an even longer list of uses for. I wouldn’t think of owning a dog without having crate for it.

Car Phobia

En Route Distress

By the time you have worked off a few pounds, your dog will be happier getting in the car. This can be reinforced by feeding all his/her meals in the car for the next few weeks. Initially, with the engine off and ultimately with it running, (though do not attempt to drive if your dog has recently eaten, as it may cause it to be sick!)

So, now we have a dog that’s happy about getting in the car, but how can we get it to enjoy traveling? The majority of dogs who are anxious about car travel never get to a point where they refuse to get in one. They will, however, pant anxiously throughout the journey and even salivate copiously, which is a physiological response to anxiety, as is vomiting. What if the vomiting is a physical response to the movement of the car, in the same manner as sea sickness is induced by the movement of a boat? In this case, the nausea is triggered by the movement of fluids in the inner ear. If this is the problem, medication may be required. If you suspect that travel sickness, rather than anxiety, is the difficulty, we will discuss what solutions are available, call us. Once a successful treatment has been found, taking several long journeys in quick succession often works.

If your dog’s distress is caused by anxiety, a different approach is needed. If the condition is severe, you may need our help. Either for anxiety reducing drug support combined with the program of counter conditioning and/or, by referring you to a behavior counselor. If the condition is not severe, you can try and help your pet overcome his/her problem on your own. The objective is to develop a pleasant association with car travel. Aim for short outward journeys that end somewhere your dog enjoys, the park or countryside for example. Homeward journeys can end to a portion of its daily food. It is crucial that the journeys increase in length slowly. This may mean driving your car part of the way and walking the rest on the outward journey, and vice versa on the way home. In time, distances can be increased and, obviously, the more time and effort put in, the quicker the results will be.

Puppy Socialization

Training and Aggression

In the last decade, research has shown that dog aggression is NOT rooted in dominance or “alpha” status, but rather in fear and anxiety, which lead to self-defense behaviors such as growling or biting. Recent studies show that the use of confrontational training techniques can induce fear in dogs and lead to more aggressive behaviors. In fact, 20-41% of owners reported aggression as a response to this type of training. Examples of these confrontational techniques include staring dogs down, striking them, manipulating them forcefully (such as with an “alpha-dog rollover”), or spraying them with water.
In contrast, using non-aversive training methods led to only 2% aggressive response. Examples include training the dog to sit for everything it wants (see above), rewarding the dog for eye contact with you, and food exchange for an item in its mouth instead of forcing it out.
The bottom line is that positive reinforcement techniques are far more effective in training dogs compared to punishment and lead to a happier, more well-adjusted dog and a better bond with you!

For more information on the above topics (and many more including how to correct problems such as potty training issues, separation anxiety, pulling on leash, etc.) please refer to the following website from veterinary behaviorist Dr. Sophia Yin:
www.drsophiayin.com
Click on Resources, then Dog Behavior Issues, then Puppy Training and Socialization or any of the other behavior topics.

Other good websites:

www.abrionline.org
Animal Behavior Resources Institute – videos and information on general training and correcting behavior problems

www.veterinarypartner.com
A great website run by veterinarians with tons of great information about health and behavior problems.

Trainers/ Puppy Classes:

  • Dog’s Best Friend LLC (Jody Diehl) 966-5684 www.dogswithjody.com

  • All Dawgs Training Services 831-9192 www.alldawgstraining.com

  • Albany Obedience Club 767-0097 www.berk.com/aoc

  • Schenectady Dog Training Club 393-6088 www.sdtcdogs.com


Note: These facilities/individuals come highly recommended by our clients. However, The Animal Hospital PC makes not representations or warranties as to their services or qualifications.

Diabetes Mellitus

What is Involved in Treatment?

Consistency is vital to proper management of the diabetic dog. Your dog needs consistent administration of medication, consistent feeding, and a stable, stress-free lifestyle. To best achieve this, it is preferred that your dog live indoors most of the time. Although that is not essential, indoor living removes many uncontrollable variables that can disrupt regulation.

The first step in treatment is to alter your dog’s diet. Diabetes mellitus is known as a “fiber-responsive disease”. Diets high in fiber are preferred because they are generally lower in sugar and slower to be digested. This means that the dog does not have to process a large amount of sugar at one time. Additionally, the fiber may help stimulate insulin secretion in Type II diabetes. Your veterinarian will discuss specific diet recommendations for your pet’s needs.

Your dog’s feeding routine is also important. Some dogs prefer to eat several times per day. This means that food is left in the bowl at all times for free choice feeding. However, this is not the best way to feed a diabetic dog. The preferred way is to feed twice daily, just before each insulin injection. If your dog is currently eating on a free choice basis, it is important to try and make the change. If a two-meals-per-day feeding routine will not work for you, it is still important to find some way to accurately measure the amount of food that is consumed.

The foundation for regulating blood glucose is the administration of insulin by injection. Many people are initially fearful of giving insulin injections. If this is your initial reaction, consider these points:

1. Insulin does not cause pain when it is injected.
2. The injections are made with very tiny needles that your dog hardly feels.

The injections are given just under the skin in areas in which it is almost impossible to cause damage to any vital organ.
Please do not decide not to treat your dog with insulin until we have demonstrated the injection technique. You may be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is and how well your dog tolerates the injections.
 

How is Insulin Provided?

Insulin comes in an airtight bottle that is labeled with the insulin type and the concentration. It is important to make sure you match the insulin concentration with the proper insulin needles. Insulin needles show their measurement in “units per ml”, which must correspond to the concentration of the insulin you are using.

Before using the insulin, mix the contents. Be sure to roll it gently between your hands, not shake it. The reason for this is to prevent foam formation, which will make accurate measuring difficult. Some types of insulin used in dogs have a strong tendency to settle out of suspension. If it is not shaken properly, it will not mix well and dosing will be inaccurate. Therefore, the trick is to shake it vigorously enough to mix it without creating foam. When you have finished mixing the insulin, turn the bottle upside down to see if any white powder adheres to the bottom of the bottle. If so, more mixing is needed.

Insulin is a hormone that will lose its effectiveness if exposed to direct sunlight or high temperatures. It should be kept in the refrigerator, but it should not be frozen. If you have any doubt about your pet’s insulin and how it was stored, it is safer to replacing it instead of risking using ineffective insulin. Insulin is safe as long as it is used as directed, but it should be kept out of the reach of children.
 

How Should I Draw up the Insulin?

Have the needle and syringe, insulin bottle, and dog ready. Then, follow these steps:

1. Remove the cap from the needle, and draw back the plunger to the appropriate dose level.
2. Carefully insert the needle into the insulin bottle.
3. Inject air into the bottle. This prevents a vacuum from forming within the bottle.
4. Withdraw the correct amount of insulin into the syringe.

Before injecting your dog with the insulin, check that there are no air bubbles in the syringe. If you get an air bubble draw twice as much insulin into the syringe as you need. Then withdraw the needle from the insulin bottle and tap the barrel of the syringe with your fingernail to make the air bubble rise to the tip of the syringe. Gently and slowly expel the air bubble by moving the plunger upward.

When this has been done, check that you have the correct amount of insulin in the syringe. The correct dose of insulin can be assured if you measure from the needle end, or “0” on the syringe barrel, to the end of the plunger nearest the needle.
 

How do I inject the Insulin?

The steps to follow for injecting insulin are:

Hold the syringe in your right hand (switch hands if you are left-handed). Have someone hold your dog while you pick up a fold of skin from somewhere along your dog’s back in the “scruff” region with your free hand. Try to pick up a slightly different spot each day.

Quickly push the very sharp, very thin needle through your dog’s skin. This should be easy and painless. However, take care to push the needle through only one layer of skin and not into your finger or through two layers of skin. The latter will result in injecting the insulin onto your dog’s haircoat or onto the floor. The needle should be directed parallel to the backbone or angled slightly downward.

To inject the insulin, place your thumb on the plunger and push it all the way into the syringe barrel. Withdraw the needle from your dog’s skin. Immediately place the needle guard over the needle and discard the needle and syringe. Stroke and praise your dog to reward it for sitting quietly.

Be aware that some communities have strict rules about disposal of medical waste material so don’t throw the needle and syringe into the trash until you know if this is permissible. It is usually preferable to take the used needles and syringes to your veterinary clinic or local pharmacy for disposal.

It is neither necessary nor desirable to swab the skin with alcohol to “sterilize” it. There are four reasons:

1. Due to the nature of the thick hair coat and the type of bacteria that live near the skin of dogs, brief swabbing with alcohol or any other antiseptic is not effective.

2. Because a small amount of alcohol can be carried through the skin by the needle, it may actually carry bacteria with it into the skin.

3. The sting caused by the alcohol can make your dog dislike the injections.

4. If you have accidentally injected the insulin on the surface of the skin, you will not know it. If you do not use alcohol and the skin or hair is wet following an injection, the injection was not done properly.

Although the above procedures may at first seem complicated and somewhat overwhelming, they will very quickly become second nature. Your dog will soon learn that once or twice each day it has to sit still for a few minutes. In most cases, a reward of stroking results in a fully cooperative dog that eventually may not even need to be held.
 

Is Continual or Periodic Monitoring Needed?

It is necessary that your dog’s progress be checked on a regular basis. Monitoring is a joint project on which owners and veterinarians must work together.

Home Monitoring:

Your part in the monitoring process involves monitoring. You need to be constantly aware of your dog’s appetite, weight, water consumption, and urine output. You should be feeding a consistent amount of food each day, which will allow you to be aware of days that your dog does not eat all of it or is unusually hungry after the feeding. You should weigh your dog at least monthly. It is best to use the same scale each time.

You should develop a way to measure water consumption. The average dog should drink no more than 7 1/2 oz. (225 ml) of water per 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of body weight per 24 hours. Since this is highly variable from one dog to another, keeping a record of your dog’s water consumption for a few weeks will allow you to establish what is normal for your dog. Another way to measure water consumption is based on the number of times it drinks each day. When properly regulated, it should drink no more than six times per day. If this is exceeded, you should take steps to make an actual measurement.

Any significant change in your dog’s food intake, weight, water intake, or urine output is an indicator that the diabetes is not well controlled. We should see your dog at that time for blood testing.

Monitoring of Blood Glucose:

There are two blood tests that can be used to monitor your dog, the blood glucose test and the fructosamine test. One of these should be performed every three to four months if your dog seems to be well regulated. Testing should also be done at any time the clinical signs.

Determining the level of glucose in the blood is the most valuable. Timing is important when the blood glucose is determined. Since eating will elevate the blood sugar for several hours, it is best to test the blood at least six hours after eating.

When testing the blood we want to know the highest and lowest glucose readings for the day. The highest blood sugar reading should occur just before an injection of insulin is given. The lowest should occur at the time of peak insulin effect. This is usually five to eight hours after an insulin injection, but it should have been determined during the initial regulation process. Therefore, the proper procedure is as follows:

Feed your dog its normal morning meal and insulin then bring it to the hospital immediately.

Blood samples will be obtained every 2-3 hours to determine the peak insulin effect.

It is possible to test blood sugar at home. If you are interested in home monitoring, we will discuss the options with you.

The alternative test is called a fructosamine test. This test is an average of the blood glucose levels for the last two weeks. It is less influenced by stress and inconsistencies in diet and exercise. For some dogs, this is the preferred test. It does not require fasting and can be performed at any time of the day.
 

Does Hypoglycemia Occur in Dogs?

Hypoglycemia means low blood sugar. If it is below 40 mg/dl, it can be life threatening. Hypoglycemia generally occurs under two conditions:

If the insulin dose is too high. Although most dogs will require the same dose of insulin for long periods of time, it is possible for the dog’s insulin requirements to change. However, the most common causes for change are a reduction in food intake and an increase in exercise or activity. The dog should eat before giving the insulin injection, because once the insulin is administered it can’t be removed from the body. If your dog does not eat, skip that dose of insulin. If only half of the food is eaten just give a half dose of insulin. Always remember that it is better in the short term for the blood sugar to be too high than too low.

If too much insulin is given. This can occur because the insulin was not properly measured in the syringe or because two doses were given. You may forget that you gave it and repeat it, or two people in the family may each give a dose. A chart to record insulin administration will help to prevent the dog being treated twice.

The most likely time that a dog will become hypoglycemic is the time of peak insulin effect (5-8 hours after an insulin injection). When the blood glucose is only mildly low, the dog will act very tired and unresponsive. You may call it and get no response. Within a few hours, the blood glucose will rise, and your dog will return to normal. Since many dogs sleep a lot during the day, this important sign is easily missed. Watch for any subtle signs of hypoglycemia. It is the first sign of impending problems. If you see it, please bring your dog in for blood glucose testing.

If your dog is slow to recover from this period of lethargy, you should give it corn syrup (one tablespoon by mouth). If there is no response within fifteen minutes repeat administration of the corn syrup. If there is still no response, contact your veterinarian immediately for further instructions.

If severe hypoglycemia occurs, a dog may have seizures or lose consciousness. Ultimately, untreated hypoglycemia will lead to coma and death. This is an emergency that can only be reversed with intravenous administration of glucose. If it occurs during office hours, take your dog to the veterinarian’s office immediately. If it occurs at night or on the weekend, call your veterinarian’s emergency phone number for instructions.

This client information sheet is based on material written by Ernest Ward, DVM.
© Copyright 2005 Lifelearn Inc. Used with permission under license. February 24, 2012. Updated September 2, 2012. Glucometer image courtesy of Shutterstock Images LLC and Photodictionary.com

Lyme Disease / Borreliosis

To prevent this disease, we recommend:

Vaccination: following an initial series of 2 vaccines given 3-4 weeks apart, your dog will be given a yearly single booster with his other routine health care.

Frontline Top Spot: apply this acaricide to the back of the neck to kill ticks and fleas in 24 hours; it will last 4-6 weeks. It is very safe and kills the tick before it can then attach to you or your family, (a major consideration). Ticks tend to be most numerous in this area in early spring and late fall. Restrict your dog from playing in brush and thicket areas, or keep brush mowed where your dog plays.

Check your pets after they have been outdoors. Ticks usually attack in the head, neck, and ear region. If you find a tick, remove it with tweezers, pulling back steadily and slowly to get the mouth to release. It is very common to see a scab at that site for 1 to 3 weeks after removing a tick.

Geriatric Care

If your dog or cat has reached the respected middle age of ten, we will offer you the option of having us test your companion as described. For giant dogs, we recommend that the blood profile be tested by the age of seven years. In some cases, we may suggest a thyroid profile as well for dogs and cats at risk for hypo/hyperthyroidism.

Antioxidants in Older Pets

Diets rich in fruits and vegetables, vitamins E & C, fatty acids DHA and EPA, carnitine and alpha lipoic acid appear to be very beneficial. These can be added as supplements, or purchased as a ready to feed dog food by Hills called canine B/D, this is available through us

A general guideline to total daily dosage in dogs would be…Vit. A 5000 iu as Beta Carotene, Vit. C 250mg, Vit. E 200 iu as alpha tocopherol, Zinc 7.5 mg, Selenium 15 ug, Copper 1 mg, and Manganese 1.5 mg. Cats would require about ¼ of these levels. These work in harmony so it is important that most or all be given. We carry multivitamins that contain these recommended dosages.

The effects of brain ageing can be subtle and often progress slowly. It is important to pay attention to your pet to see the early signs. We have a checklist that we can use to help decide if there is a problem. Diet supplements and medication can help significantly, ask us for more information.

Bloodwork Explained

Electrolytes:

Na (sodium) is an electrolyte lost with vomiting, diarrhea, and kidney and Addison’s disease. This test helps indicate hydration status.

K (potassium) is an electrolyte lost with vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive urination. Increased levels may indicate kidney failure, Addison’s disease, dehydration, and urethral obstruction. High levels can lead to cardiac arrest, low levels can cause profound weakness.

CI (chloride) is an electrolyte often lost with vomiting and Addison’s disease. Elevations often indicate dehydration.

Cortisol is a hormone that is measured in tests for Cushing’s disease (the low-dose dexamethasone suppression test) and Addison’s disease (ACTH stimulation test).

LIP (lipase) is a pancreatic enzyme that may indicate pancreatitis or kidney disease.

T4 (thyroxine) is a thyroid hormone. Decreased levels often signal hypothyroidism in dogs, while high levels indicate hyperthyroidism in cats.

Pre-Surgical Checklist

Pain Management:
Like us, animals experience pain. Unlike us, they do not reveal their discomfort due to their evolutionary need to be secretive about disabilities for survival. Invasive procedures such as spaying, neutering, declawing, and orthopedic repairs will result in some degree of discomfort and can therefore add to his or her stress, delaying the healing process. By following our recommendations for pain management through medication (if indicated), you can help protect your pet from the temporary pain accompanying many surgical procedures.

For the ultimate in pain management, we suggest making an appointment with us for your pet the day before surgery is scheduled. A technician will apply a pain relief patch to the skin that will completely control the pain from surgery for 3-4 days.

Microchip Identification:
Microchips are a permanent, lifelong method of identifying your pet with a device which, unlike tags, cannot be lost. Each microchip has a unique ID number registered with a national data bank. The chip is about the size of a grain of rice and is placed under the skin in the same manner in which a vaccine is given.

If your pet is lost and is taken to any animal shelter anywhere in the country, they will scan over the skin for an ID chip and will then contact you or us to bring your pet home safely.

Pre-Surgical Checklist

Pain Management:

Like us, animals experience pain. Unlike us, they do not reveal their discomfort due to their evolutionary need to be secretive about disabilities for survival. Invasive procedures such as spaying, neutering, declawing, and orthopedic repairs will result in some degree of discomfort and can therefore add to his or her stress, delaying the healing process.
By following our recommendations for pain management through medication (if indicated), you can help protect your pet from the temporary pain accompanying many surgical procedures.
For the ultimate in pain management, we suggest making an appointment with us for your pet the day before surgery is scheduled. A technician will apply a pain relief patch to the skin that will completely control the pain from surgery for 3-4 days.

Microchip Identification:

Microchips are a permanent, lifelong method of identifying your pet with a device which, unlike tags, cannot be lost. Each microchip has a unique ID number registered with a national data bank. The chip is about the size of a grain of rice and is placed under the skin in the same manner in which a vaccine is given.

If your pet is lost and is taken to any animal shelter anywhere in the country, they will scan over the skin for an ID chip and will then contact you or us to bring your pet home safely.

Should You Trust Pet Healthcare Web Sites?

How Current is the Information?

Web sites should be reviewed and updated regularly. It’s particularly important that medical information be current and that the most recent update or review date be posted. Even if the information hasn’t changed, it’s helpful to know that the site owners have reviewed it recently to ensure that it’s still valid.
 

How does the Web site choose links?

Reliable Web sites usually have a policy about how they link to other sites. Some medical sites take a conservative approach and don’t link at all. Some link to any site that asks or pays for a link. Others link only to sites that have met certain criteria.
 

How does the Web site manage interactions with users?

There should be a way for you to contact the site owners with problems, feedback, and questions. If the site hosts a chat room or other online discussion areas, it should tell you about the terms of using the service. Is the service moderated? If so, by whom and why? Before you participate, spend some time reading the discussion without joining in.
 

How Does the Website Manage Interaction with Users?

Any e-mail messages should be carefully evaluated. Consider the origin of the message and its purpose. Some companies or organizations use e-mail to advertise products or attract people to their Web sites. The accuracy of health-related information may be influenced by the desire to promote a product or service. It’s important to carefully consider the source of e-mail and other Internet-based information and to discuss the information with your veterinarian.

This form is adapted from information provided by the Cancer Information Service, part of the National Cancer Institute.

Separation Anxiety

When at Home

Interact with your dog only at your initiative and when the dog is relaxed. You may not realize it, but even eye contact can be rewarding to a dog seeking attention. Interact with your dog only when he is quiet.

No matter what you find when you come home remember that your dog could not control himself/herself when you were away. Punishment will not help, and will only increase his anxiety.

Teach your dog to stay calm as you move away; gradually increase distance and time away. Put your coat on or play with your keys at times other than departure.

Certain cues tell your dog that you’re getting ready to leave. When he sees these he begins to panic. This technique will help him to become indifferent to those cues.

Again, show your dog that you like to play with him when he’s calm and relaxed. To encourage independence, avoid constant physical contact with your dog. Encourage him to lie down near you but not in contact with you.

Teach your dog to be alone, little by little. Have him sit or lie down and stay in place as you back away, praising his calm behavior. Gradually increase your distance and time away, to help him become more independent and cope with being alone.

Arthritis Management

Make Daily Activities Less Painful

Going up and down stairs is often difficult for arthritic pets and can make going outside to urinate and defecate very difficult. A ramp will help your dog get in and out of the house or car.

Larger breed dogs can especially benefit from elevating their food and water bowls. Elevated feeders make eating and drinking more comfortable for arthritic pets, particularly if there is stiffness in the neck or back.

Medications:
 

Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

There are numerous non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs developed for use in dogs and cats with osteoarthritis. They are prescription products and because of potential side effects, careful adherence to dosing quantity and frequency must be followed, especially in cats. We recommend screening bloodwork every 6 months for all our patients taking these medications daily. Often the dose of these can be decreased after joint supplements have reached their desired levels in the body (often 6 weeks.)

Human medications such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen should never be given to dogs or cats.
 

Other Pain Relievers

Other medications are also available when anti-inflammatory medications are not adequately controlling pain. These medications work in a different way to relieve pain and can be used in conjunction with anti-inflammatory drugs. Some examples are tramadol, amantadine, and hydrocodone.

Supplements:

Joint supplements are not prescription drugs but they can often greatly improve mobility and slow the progression of arthritis.
 

Glucosamine and Chondroitin

Glucosamine and Chondroitin enhance the formation and protection of cartilage and inhibit enzymes in the joint which tend to break down cartilage. They also give the cartilage-forming cells (chondrocytes), the building blocks they need to synthesize new cartilage and to repair the existing damaged cartilage. These products are not painkillers; they work by actually healing the damage that has been done. These products generally take at least six weeks to begin to heal the cartilage and most animals will need to be maintained on these products the rest of their lives to prevent further cartilage breakdown. Because these products are naturally-occurring compounds, they are very safe to use and show very few side effects. There are many different glucosamine/chondroitin products on the market, but they are not all created equal. We have seen the best results and fewest side effects from products that contain pure ingredients that are human grade in quality. Our doctors have seen dramatic results with Cosequin, Dasuquin and NuCat.
 

Polysulfated Glycosaminoglycan (Adequan)

Adequan is a product that is administered in an injection. A series of shots are given over weeks and very often have favorable results. The cost and the inconvenience of weekly injections are a deterrent to some owners, especially since the oral glucosamine products are so effective. This product helps prevent the breakdown of cartilage and may help with the synthesis of new cartilage. It is recommended to use either oral glucosmine/chondroitan or injectable Adequan but not both together.
 

Fatty Acids

Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids(Docosahexaenoic acid/DHA & Eicosapentaenoic acid/EPA) has been shown to improve joint health by decreasing inflammation in the body. Studies also show that omega fatty acids can help prevent senility & brain ageing in dogs and cats.

Cushing’s Syndrome or Hyperadrenocorticism

What are the Clinical Signs?


Cushings Disease

The most common clinical signs associated with Cushing’s disease are an increase in appetite, water consumption, and urination. Lethargy, or lack of activity, and a poor hair coat are also common. Many of these dogs develop a bloated or “pot-bellied” appearance to their abdomen due to an increase of fat within the abdominal organs and a stretching of the abdominal wall as the organs get heavier. The pot-bellied appearance also develops because the muscles of the abdominal wall become weaker. Panting and increased appetite are other common findings with this disease.
 

How is Cushing’s Disease Diagnosed?

A number of tests are necessary to diagnose and confirm Cushing’s disease. The two most common tests to detect Cushing’s disease are the ACTH Stimulation Test and the Low-Dose Dexamethasone Suppression (LDDS) test. Other tests are needed to determine which form of the disease is present. Endogenous ACTH levels, High-dose Dexamethasone Suppression (HDDS) test, urine cortisol: creatinine ratio, and 17-hydroxyprogesterone response to ACTH administration tests may also be recommended.
An abdominal ultrasound examination can be a valuable part of the testing process. This permits visualization of the adrenal glands and determines their size and the presence of a tumor. Although some of these tests are somewhat expensive, they are necessary to determine the best treatment and prognosis for your pet.
 

What are the Treatment Options?

Iatrogenic Cushing’s Disease:

Treatment of this form requires a discontinuation of the steroid that is being given. This must be done in a controlled manner so that other complications do not occur. Unfortunately, it usually results in a recurrence of the disease that was being treated by the steroid. Because there may have been adverse effects on the adrenal glands, treatment is also needed to correct that problem.

Adrenal Tumor:
Treatment of an adrenal tumor requires major abdominal surgery. Although this is a high risk surgery, if successful and the tumor is not malignant, there is a good chance that the dog will regain normal health. If surgery is not an option, some of these patients can be managed with medication, as discussed below.

Pituitary Tumor:

Treatment of the pituitary-induced form of Cushing’s disease is the most complicated. There are two drugs commonly used: Lysodren and Trilostane. Both medications work on the adrenal glands to decrease the hormone levels being excreted in excess. Blood testing is required to monitor therapy with these medications. Because the pituitary is not being affected by the treatment, it continues to stimulate the adrenal gland. This means that lifelong treatment is necessary.

Although a cure is not achieved with either treatment, control is possible for many years if the tumor is small. If the tumor is large, local effects of the tumor invading surrounding tissues in the brain can be the limiting factor in survival.

This client information sheet is based on material written by Ernest Ward, DVM.
© Copyright 2005 Lifelearn Inc. Used with permission under license. February 24, 2012.

Senior Dog Fitness

Generally, treatment of senior animal weight loss is very similar to recommendations for humans seeking to lose weight. Program steps include:

Limiting the amount of calories consumed,

Feeding two or three small meals (vs. one large meal) daily to increase the amount of energy used to digest food,

Increasing exercise to burn more calories, and

Modifying behavior to prevent regaining the lost weight.

A daily or weekly log of exercise duration and dog weight yields the best results. Selecting a food for your senior dog has been made easier thanks to recent advancements in senior nutrition. Dog foods are now available that have been formulated with fewer calories, and more protein, antioxidants and vitamins to meet the specific nutritional needs of senior dogs.
 

Don’t Forget Exercise

Then begin slowly, by walking your dog on a leash for 10 minutes per day. After a week, increase the daily walks to 15 minutes. Depending on your dog’s condition, you can increase the daily walk length each week until you are up to 30 minutes a day.

And don’t forget, your dog’s exercise program can reap health benefits for you, too!

Bland Diet

The home cooked diet is comprised of 2/3 cooked white rice and 1/3 lean boiled meat. Select the leanest ground beef or boneless, skinless chicken breast and boil it until cooked all the way through. Strain the meat and rinse with warm water. Combine the meat and white rice and store in the refrigerator for up to three days.

We will make specific recommendations for you pet regarding frequency and amount of food per feeding.

Diabetes Mellitus

Why is Insulin so Important?

The role of insulin is much like that of a gatekeeper: in effect, it stands at the surface of body cells and opens the door, allowing glucose to leave the blood stream and pass inside the cells. Glucose is a vital substance that provides much of the energy needed for life, and it must work inside the cells. Without an adequate amount of insulin, glucose is unable to get into the cells. It accumulates in the blood, setting in motion a series of events that can ultimately prove fatal.

Daibetes - Increased Thirst When insulin is deficient, the cells become starved for a source of energy. In response to this, the body starts breaking down stores of fat and protein to use as alternative energy sources. As a consequence, the dog eats more; thus, we have weight loss in a dog with a ravenous appetite. The body tries to eliminate the excess glucose by excreting it in the urine. However, glucose (blood sugar) attracts water resulting in the production of a large amount of urine. To avoid dehydration, the dog drinks more and more water. Thus, we have the four classical signs of diabetes:

1. Weight loss
2. Increased water consumption
3. Increased appetite
4. Increased urination
 

How is Diabetes Mellitus Diagnosed?

The diagnosis of diabetes mellitus is based on three criteria: the four classical clinical signs, the presence of a persistently high level of glucose in the blood stream, and the presence of glucose in the urine.

The normal level of glucose in the blood is 80-120 mg/dl (4.4-6.6 mmol/L). It may rise to 250-300 mg/dl (13.6-16.5 mmol/L) following a meal. However, diabetes is the only common disease that will cause the blood glucose level to rise above 400 mg/dl (22 mmol/L). Some diabetic dogs will have a glucose level as high as 800 mg/dl (44 mmol/L), although most will be in the range of 400-600 mg/dl (22-33 mmol/L).

To keep the body from losing glucose, the kidneys do not allow glucose to be filtered out of the blood stream until an excessive level is reached. This means that dogs with a normal blood glucose level will not have glucose in the urine. Diabetic dogs, however, have excessive amounts of glucose in the blood, so it will be present in the urine.
 

What are the Implications for Me and My Dog?

For the diabetic dog, one reality exists: blood glucose cannot be normalized without treatment. Although the dog can go a day or so without treatment and not have a crisis, treatment should be looked upon as part of the dog’s daily routine. Treatment almost always requires some dietary changes and administration of insulin.

As for you, the owner, there are two implications: financial commitment and personal commitment.
When your dog is well regulated, the maintenance costs are minimal. The special diet, insulin, and syringes are not expensive. However, the financial commitment may be significant during the initial regulation process and if complications arise.

Initially, your dog will be hospitalized for a few days to deal with the immediate crisis and to begin the regulation process. The “immediate crisis” is only great if your dog is so sick that it has quit eating and drinking for several days. Dogs in this state, called ketoacidosis, may require a week or more of hospitalization with quite a bit of laboratory testing. Otherwise, the initial hospitalization may be only for a day or two for basic tests and to begin treatment. At that point, your dog goes home for you to administer medication. At first, return visits are required every three to seven days to monitor progress. It may take a month or more to achieve good regulation.

The financial commitment may again be significant if complications arise. Your veterinarian will work with you to try and achieve consistent regulation, but some dogs are difficult to keep regulated. It is important that you pay close attention to all instructions related to administration of medication, diet, and home monitoring. Another complication that can arise is hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, which can be fatal. This may occur due to inconsistencies in treatment. This will be explained in subsequent paragraphs.

Your personal commitment to treating your dog is very important in maintaining regulation and preventing crises. Most diabetic dogs require insulin injections once or twice daily. They must be fed the same food in the same amount on the same schedule every day. If you are out of town, your dog must receive proper treatment while you are gone. These factors should be considered carefully when your pet has been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus.
 

DiabetesWhat is Involved in Treatment?

Consistency is vital to proper management of the diabetic dog. Your dog needs consistent administration of medication, consistent feeding, and a stable, stress-free lifestyle. To best achieve this, it is preferred that your dog live indoors most of the time. Although that is not essential, indoor living removes many uncontrollable variables that can disrupt regulation.

The first step in treatment is to alter your dog’s diet. Diabetes mellitus is known as a “fiber-responsive disease”. Diets high in fiber are preferred because they are generally lower in sugar and slower to be digested. This means that the dog does not have to process a large amount of sugar at one time. Additionally, the fiber may help stimulate insulin secretion in Type II diabetes. Your veterinarian will discuss specific diet recommendations for your pet’s needs.

Your dog’s feeding routine is also important. Some dogs prefer to eat several times per day. This means that food is left in the bowl at all times for free choice feeding. However, this is not the best way to feed a diabetic dog. The preferred way is to feed twice daily, just before each insulin injection. If your dog is currently eating on a free choice basis, it is important to try and make the change. If a two-meals-per-day feeding routine will not work for you, it is still important to find some way to accurately measure the amount of food that is consumed.

The foundation for regulating blood glucose is the administration of insulin by injection. Many people are initially fearful of giving insulin injections. If this is your initial reaction, consider these points:

1. Insulin does not cause pain when it is injected.
2. The injections are made with very tiny needles that your dog hardly feels.

The injections are given just under the skin in areas in which it is almost impossible to cause damage to any vital organ.
Please do not decide not to treat your dog with insulin until we have demonstrated the injection technique. You may be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is and how well your dog tolerates the injections.
 

How is Insulin Provided?

Insulin comes in an airtight bottle that is labeled with the insulin type and the concentration. It is important to make sure you match the insulin concentration with the proper insulin needles. Insulin needles show their measurement in “units per ml”, which must correspond to the concentration of the insulin you are using.

Before using the insulin, mix the contents. Be sure to roll it gently between your hands, not shake it. The reason for this is to prevent foam formation, which will make accurate measuring difficult. Some types of insulin used in dogs have a strong tendency to settle out of suspension. If it is not shaken properly, it will not mix well and dosing will be inaccurate. Therefore, the trick is to shake it vigorously enough to mix it without creating foam. When you have finished mixing the insulin, turn the bottle upside down to see if any white powder adheres to the bottom of the bottle. If so, more mixing is needed.

Insulin is a hormone that will lose its effectiveness if exposed to direct sunlight or high temperatures. It should be kept in the refrigerator, but it should not be frozen. If you have any doubt about your pet’s insulin and how it was stored, it is safer to replacing it instead of risking using ineffective insulin. Insulin is safe as long as it is used as directed, but it should be kept out of the reach of children.
 

How Should I Draw up the Insulin?

Have the needle and syringe, insulin bottle, and dog ready. Then, follow these steps:

1. Remove the cap from the needle, and draw back the plunger to the appropriate dose level.
2. Carefully insert the needle into the insulin bottle.
3. Inject air into the bottle. This prevents a vacuum from forming within the bottle.
4. Withdraw the correct amount of insulin into the syringe.

Before injecting your dog with the insulin, check that there are no air bubbles in the syringe. If you get an air bubble draw twice as much insulin into the syringe as you need. Then withdraw the needle from the insulin bottle and tap the barrel of the syringe with your fingernail to make the air bubble rise to the tip of the syringe. Gently and slowly expel the air bubble by moving the plunger upward.

When this has been done, check that you have the correct amount of insulin in the syringe. The correct dose of insulin can be assured if you measure from the needle end, or “0” on the syringe barrel, to the end of the plunger nearest the needle.
 

How do I inject the Insulin?

The steps to follow for injecting insulin are:

Hold the syringe in your right hand (switch hands if you are left-handed). Have someone hold your dog while you pick up a fold of skin from somewhere along your dog’s back in the “scruff” region with your free hand. Try to pick up a slightly different spot each day.

Quickly push the very sharp, very thin needle through your dog’s skin. This should be easy and painless. However, take care to push the needle through only one layer of skin and not into your finger or through two layers of skin. The latter will result in injecting the insulin onto your dog’s haircoat or onto the floor. The needle should be directed parallel to the backbone or angled slightly downward.

To inject the insulin, place your thumb on the plunger and push it all the way into the syringe barrel. Withdraw the needle from your dog’s skin. Immediately place the needle guard over the needle and discard the needle and syringe.

Stroke and praise your dog to reward it for sitting quietly.

Be aware that some communities have strict rules about disposal of medical waste material so don’t throw the needle and syringe into the trash until you know if this is permissible. It is usually preferable to take the used needles and syringes to your veterinary clinic or local pharmacy for disposal.

It is neither necessary nor desirable to swab the skin with alcohol to “sterilize” it. There are four reasons:

1. Due to the nature of the thick hair coat and the type of bacteria that live near the skin of dogs, brief swabbing with alcohol or any other antiseptic is not effective.

2. Because a small amount of alcohol can be carried through the skin by the needle, it may actually carry bacteria with it into the skin.

3. The sting caused by the alcohol can make your dog dislike the injections.

4. If you have accidentally injected the insulin on the surface of the skin, you will not know it. If you do not use alcohol and the skin or hair is wet following an injection, the injection was not done properly.

Although the above procedures may at first seem complicated and somewhat overwhelming, they will very quickly become second nature. Your dog will soon learn that once or twice each day it has to sit still for a few minutes. In most cases, a reward of stroking results in a fully cooperative dog that eventually may not even need to be held.
 

Is Continual or Periodic Monitoring Needed?

It is necessary that your dog’s progress be checked on a regular basis. Monitoring is a joint project on which owners and veterinarians must work together.

Home Monitoring:

Your part in the monitoring process involves monitoring. You need to be constantly aware of your dog’s appetite, weight, water consumption, and urine output. You should be feeding a consistent amount of food each day, which will allow you to be aware of days that your dog does not eat all of it or is unusually hungry after the feeding. You should weigh your dog at least monthly. It is best to use the same scale each time.

You should develop a way to measure water consumption. The average dog should drink no more than 7 1/2 oz. (225 ml) of water per 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of body weight per 24 hours. Since this is highly variable from one dog to another, keeping a record of your dog’s water consumption for a few weeks will allow you to establish what is normal for your dog. Another way to measure water consumption is based on the number of times it drinks each day. When properly regulated, it should drink no more than six times per day. If this is exceeded, you should take steps to make an actual measurement.

Any significant change in your dog’s food intake, weight, water intake, or urine output is an indicator that the diabetes is not well controlled. We should see your dog at that time for blood testing.

Monitoring of Blood Glucose:
There are two blood tests that can be used to monitor your dog, the blood glucose test and the fructosamine test. One of these should be performed every three to four months if your dog seems to be well regulated. Testing should also be done at any time the clinical signs.

Determining the level of glucose in the blood is the most valuable. Timing is important when the blood glucose is determined. Since eating will elevate the blood sugar for several hours, it is best to test the blood at least six hours after eating.

When testing the blood we want to know the highest and lowest glucose readings for the day. The highest blood sugar reading should occur just before an injection of insulin is given. The lowest should occur at the time of peak insulin effect. This is usually five to eight hours after an insulin injection, but it should have been determined during the initial regulation process. Therefore, the proper procedure is as follows:

Feed your dog its normal morning meal and insulin then bring it to the hospital immediately.

Blood samples will be obtained every 2-3 hours to determine the peak insulin effect.

It is possible to test blood sugar at home. If you are interested in home monitoring, we will discuss the options with you.

The alternative test is called a fructosamine test. This test is an average of the blood glucose levels for the last two weeks. It is less influenced by stress and inconsistencies in diet and exercise. For some dogs, this is the preferred test. It does not require fasting and can be performed at any time of the day.
 

Does Hypoglycemia Occur in Dogs?

Hypoglycemia means low blood sugar. If it is below 40 mg/dl, it can be life threatening. Hypoglycemia generally occurs under two conditions:
If the insulin dose is too high. Although most dogs will require the same dose of insulin for long periods of time, it is possible for the dog’s insulin requirements to change. However, the most common causes for change are a reduction in food intake and an increase in exercise or activity. The dog should eat before giving the insulin injection, because once the insulin is administered it can’t be removed from the body. If your dog does not eat, skip that dose of insulin. If only half of the food is eaten just give a half dose of insulin. Always remember that it is better in the short term for the blood sugar to be too high than too low.

If too much insulin is given. This can occur because the insulin was not properly measured in the syringe or because two doses were given. You may forget that you gave it and repeat it, or two people in the family may each give a dose. A chart to record insulin administration will help to prevent the dog being treated twice.

The most likely time that a dog will become hypoglycemic is the time of peak insulin effect (5-8 hours after an insulin injection). When the blood glucose is only mildly low, the dog will act very tired and unresponsive. You may call it and get no response. Within a few hours, the blood glucose will rise, and your dog will return to normal. Since many dogs sleep a lot during the day, this important sign is easily missed. Watch for any subtle signs of hypoglycemia. It is the first sign of impending problems. If you see it, please bring your dog in for blood glucose testing.

If your dog is slow to recover from this period of lethargy, you should give it corn syrup (one tablespoon by mouth). If there is no response within fifteen minutes repeat administration of the corn syrup. If there is still no response, contact your veterinarian immediately for further instructions.

If severe hypoglycemia occurs, a dog may have seizures or lose consciousness. Ultimately, untreated hypoglycemia will lead to coma and death. This is an emergency that can only be reversed with intravenous administration of glucose. If it occurs during office hours, take your dog to the veterinarian’s office immediately. If it occurs at night or on the weekend, call your veterinarian’s emergency phone number for instructions.

This client information sheet is based on material written by Ernest Ward, DVM.
© Copyright 2005 Lifelearn Inc. Used with permission under license. February 24, 2012. Updated September 2, 2012. Glucometer image courtesy of Shutterstock Images LLC and Photodictionary.com

Kidney Disease in Older Cats

1. K/D diet (canned or dry), either fed alone or mixed with a canned food your cat accepts– at least try mixing it with a “senior” canned food.

2. Spaghetti with butter or a bland tomato sauce.

3. Macaroni with cheese sprinkled on top.

4. Noodles mashed with a meat-flavored baby food (avoid ones flavored with onion powder which causes red blood cell destruction in some cats).

5. Scrambled eggs or mashed hard boiled eggs, NEVER raw (Salmonella risk)!

6. Cereals, either cooked (oatmeal, cream of wheat), or dry (avoid the “Count Chocula” varieties, but cheerios or corn flakes are fine).

7. Vitamin supplements for proper mineral balance.

The “bottom line” on dietary modification in cats is that a therapeutic diet is of no benefit if your cat hates it and if feeding your kitty becomes an exercise in frustration and distress for both of you. You may decide that you would both prefer a happier, if shorter, relationship at the end of your cat’s life, and that quality of life is more important than longevity with a strained and frustrated existence. No one enjoys watching their hungry cat refuse to eat.

Good luck !

Vomiting and Diarrhea

A 24-hour fast is performed by completely restricting all food and water. At the end of the fast, a water trial is first performed. Give a small amount of water (1/4-1/2 cup, depending on the size of the patient) and then monitor the patient for nausea or vomiting. In one half-hour, repeat with another water trial. If there is no vomiting, a food trial is then performed. Give ¼ – ½ of the normally fed meal portion. We may recommend a bland diet of boiled white meat chicken and rice or provide you with a prescription bland diet). Give two to three small portions of food, and continue to closely monitor for vomiting, lack of appetite, nausea, drooling and lethargy. The goal is to allow the GI tract to rest initially, and then to prevent the pet from gorging on food and water when it is offered after the fast.

If your pet is still vomiting, it is then necessary to follow up with a repeat visit to us for a second physical examination. Radiographs or other blood tests may be necessary at this time.

If at any time your pet becomes weaker, more lethargic, is vomiting profusely, or if blood is seen in the vomit or in the diarrhea, please call us for advice immediately. If any diarrhea problem changes so that the diarrhea looks like pure water or like raspberry jam, this is an emergency and you should check with us immediately so that we can reexamine your pet.

Antioxidants in Older Pets

Diets rich in fruits and vegetables, vitamins E & C, fatty acids DHA and EPA, carnitine and alpha lipoic acid appear to be very beneficial. These can be added as supplements, or purchased as a ready to feed dog food by Hills called canine B/D, this is available through us

A general guideline to total daily dosage in dogs would be…Vit. A 5000 iu as Beta Carotene, Vit. C 250mg, Vit. E 200 iu as alpha tocopherol, Zinc 7.5 mg, Selenium 15 ug, Copper 1 mg, and Manganese 1.5 mg. Cats would require about ¼ of these levels. These work in harmony so it is important that most or all be given. We carry multivitamins that contain these recommended dosages.

The effects of brain ageing can be subtle and often progress slowly. It is important to pay attention to your pet to see the early signs. We have a checklist that we can use to help decide if there is a problem. Diet supplements and medication can help significantly, ask us for more information.

Geriatric Care

If your dog or cat has reached the respected middle age of ten, we will offer you the option of having us test your companion as described. For giant dogs, we recommend that the blood profile be tested by the age of seven years. In some cases, we may suggest a thyroid profile as well for dogs and cats at risk for hypo/hyperthyroidism.

Hospitalized Pet

Occasionally, a sick patient may require intensive monitoring overnight or after normal hospital hours. In certain unusual situations, this may also be necessary after an elective procedure such as a surgery or dental procedure. As we do not have 24-hour staffing available, we can facilitate transferring your pet to the Capital District Animal Emergency Clinic, which is fully staffed and always open the hours that we are closed. They are a Level 1 emergency and critical care facility. If a transfer is recommended, you will need to pick up your patient at our hospital and transport your pet to CDAEC. This is because the critical care center will need to have you there to expedite admission and meet with the doctor. We will foreword all necessary medical records and be in direct contact with them throughout your pets stay there.

Hedgehog Diet

Option 3

3-4 teaspoons commercial insectivore diet

5-6 small mealworms or 1-2 crickets

Fruit/vegetable mixture

Chop together

½ teaspoon diced leafy dark greens (spinach, kale, leaf lettuce)

¼ teaspoon diced carrot

¼ teaspoon diced apple

¼ teaspoon diced banana

¼ teaspoon diced grapes or raisins

Hedgehog General Health

Reproduction

Sexual maturity of the hedgehog is reached around 2 months of age. Males can be distinguished from females by the looking for the prepuce on their lower abdomen. Breeding can occur throughout the year, and the length of pregnancy is 34-37 days. Litter size ranges from 1-7 with an average of 3 pups. Please remember to remove the male prior to delivery of the litter. Cannibalism by the female is common if the female is stressed or disturbed. Spines will develop on the pups within 24 hours, and the eyes will open around 13-16 days after birth. Weaning occurs at approximately 4-6 weeks of age. If hand raising is necessary, kitten or puppy milk replacer formula can be used.
 

Health Concerns

Hedgehogs are susceptible to various health problems and should be brought to your veterinarian if problems arise. Problems may consist of weight loss, anorexia, diarrhea, scaly skin, wounds, lumps, sneezing, or reluctance to move. Parasites are not usually a problem in captive bred hedgehogs, but if you suspect intestinal worms, notify your veterinarian. Vaccinations are generally not performed nor recommended for hedgehogs

First Aid Kit

Supplies:

2 inch rolled gauze

Absorbent gauze 3×3 pads

1 inch and 2 inch cast padding rolls

1 inch and 2 inch white adhesive tape rolls

2 inch self-cling bandage (vetwrap) roll and 4 inch for larger patients

Nonstick bandage in sterile wrapper (telfa pads)

Alcohol preps individually wrapped

Antiseptic wipes individually wrapped

Hydrogen peroxide 3%

Digital rectal fever thermometer and small tube of KY jelly or other lubricant

Sterile saline solution

Tick remover

Tweezers with flat angled tip

Nail trimmer

Eye dropper or 12cc dose syringe (without needle)

Scissors with blunt tips

Tongue depressors

Non-latex disposable gloves

Compact thermal blanket

Leash, carrier or crate

A pillowcase

Medium sized cotton towel

Penlight

Please ask your family veterinarian if there are addition items needed for your pets life style or condition.

Dominance Behavior

Games

If you or anyone in your family wrestles, rough-houses or plays tug of war with your dog, stop! These games encourage dogs to dominate people physically and to use their teeth. In a dog pack or in a litter, these games are more than just playing – they help to establish pack order based on physical strength. Your dog is already probably stronger than you are. Rough, physical games prove that to him. He doesn’t need to be reminded of it!

Find new games for him to play. Hide & seek, fetch, or Frisbee-catching are more appropriate. Make sure you’re the one who starts and ends the game, not the dog. Stop playing before the dog gets bored and is inclined to try to keep the ball or Frisbee.

Where does your dog sleep? Not in your bedroom and especially not on your bed! Your bedroom is a special place – it’s your “den”. An alpha dog thinks he has a right to sleep in your den because he considers himself your equal. In fact, he may have already taken over your bed, refusing to get off when told or growing and snapping when anyone asks him to make room for the humans. Until your dog’s alpha problems are fully under control, the bedroom should be off-limits! The same goes for sleeping on furniture. If you can’t keep him off the couch without a fight, deny him access to the room until his behavior and training has improved.
 

Crate-Training

Dog crates have 1,000 uses and working with an alpha dog is one of them. It’s a great place for your dog to sleep at night, to eat in, and just stay in when he needs to chill out and be reminded that he’s a dog. The crate is your dog’s “den”. Start crate training by feeding him his dinner in his crate. Close the door and let him stay there for an hour afterwards. If he throws a tantrum, ignore him. Don’t let your dog out of his crate until he’s quiet and settled. At bedtime, show him an irresistible goodie, tell him to SIT and when he does, throw the goodie into his crate. When he dives in for the treat, tell him what a good boy he is and close the door.
 

Graduating from Boot Camp: What’s Next?

Just like in the army, boot camp is really just as introduction to a new career and new way of doing things. A tour through boot camp isn’t going to solve your alpha dog’s problems forever. It’s a way to get basic respect from a dog who’s been bullying you without having to resort to physical force.

How long should boot camp last? That depends on the dog. Some will show an improvement right away, others may take much longer. For real tough cookies, natural leaders that need constant reminders of their place in the pack, Alpha Dog Boot Camp will become a way of life. Social climbers may need periodic trips through boot camp if you get lax and accidentally let them climb back up a notch or two in the family pack order. How do you know if you’re making a difference? If boot camp has been successful, your dog should start looking to you for directions and permission. He’ll show an eagerness to please. Watch how your dog approaches and greets you. Does he come to you “standing tall”, with his head and ears held high and erect? It may look impressive and proud but it means he’s still alpha and you still have problems! A dog who accepts humans as superiors will approach you with his head slightly lowered and his ears back or off to the sides. He’ll “shrink” his whole body a little in a show of submission. Watch how he greets all the members in your family. If he displays this submissive posture to some of them, but not others, those are the ones who still need to work on their own alpha posture and methods. They should take him back through another tour of boot camp with support from the rest of the family.
 

Obedience Training

Once your dog has begun to accept this new way of life and his new position in the family, you should take him through an obedience course with a qualified trainer. All dogs need to be trained and alpha dogs need training most of all! You don’t have to wait until he’s through with boot camp to start this training but it’s important that he respects at least one member of the family and is willing to take direction from them.

Obedience class teaches you to train your dog. It teaches you how to be alpha, how to enforce commands and rules, how to get respect and to keep it. All family members who are old enough to understand and control the dog should participate in the class.

Obedience training is a lifelong process. One obedience course does not a trained dog make! Obedience commands need to be practiced and incorporated into your daily life. In a dog pack, the alpha animal uses occasional reminders to reinforce his authority. Certain commands, like DOWN/STAY, are especially effective, nonviolent reminders of a dog’s place in the family pack order and who’s really in charge here.

A well-trained obedient dog is a happy dog and a joy to live with. Dogs want to please and need a job to do. Training gives them the opportunity to do both. A well-trained dog has more freedom. He can go more places and do more things with you because he knows how to behave. A well-trained dog that’s secure in his place within the family pack is comfortable and confident. He knows what’s expected of him. He knows his limits and who his leaders are. He’s free from the responsibility of running the household and making decisions. He’s free to be your loving companion and not your boss. He’s free to be a dog which is what he was born to be and what he always wanted to be in the first place!
 

When You Need Professional Help

If your dog has already injured you or someone else or if you are afraid of your dog, you should consult with a qualified professional dog trainer or behaviorist. Call your veterinarian and they can refer you to a professional.

Bland Diet

The home cooked diet is comprised of 2/3 cooked white rice and 1/3 lean boiled meat. Select the leanest ground beef or boneless, skinless chicken breast and boil it until cooked all the way through. Strain the meat and rinse with warm water. Combine the meat and white rice and store in the refrigerator for up to three days.

We will make specific recommendations for you pet regarding frequency and amount of food per feeding.

Vaccination Protocol

Ideally, your puppy should come for his or her first visit between 6 to 8 weeks of age. At this time, he/she will get a complete examination by the veterinarian and will receive the first in a series of three immunizations against distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis, and parainfluenza (fortunately, these vaccines are combined into one injection). He/she will also receive a bordatella vaccination (against kennel cough—required by most grooming and boarding facilities). We strongly recommend that you bring in a stool sample from each of three consecutive days at this time so that we can determine if your pup has intestinal parasites and treat him/her if necessary before your property becomes infested with parasite eggs. This is particularly important if you have toddlers in your family, since roundworms and hookworms can be transmitted to humans and cause serious health problems. A highly informative “puppy talk” is given by our staff if you feel the need for some pointers on basic training.

The next visit, at 10 weeks of age, is for the second distemper vaccine. The third is at 12 weeks, at which time we vaccinate your pup against rabies (required by law, for licensing, and for interstate travel in many areas). We will offer you the choice of immunizing your pup against lyme disease at this visit, and discuss with you whether your pup may be at risk for contracting this disease which is carried by the deer tick in the northeast, and is particularly prevalent in suburban or wooded areas. The fourth and final puppy visit is at 16 weeks of age: your pup will receive the third distemper vaccine and second lyme booster. At this point, we consider your pup to be properly immunized against the most serious canine diseases, so he/she can join puppy classes and socialize with a more extensive circle of canine fThe final visit in your pup’s first year is for the surgical procedures of ovariohysterectomy (spaying) for females and neutering for males. We highly recommend that you have your pet spayed or neutered since these procedures help to prevent many illnesses and complications as your pet ages. They also help to make your pet less likely to develop undesirable behaviors which will be harder to eliminate if the neutering is done once they are adult. We recommend spaying females before their first heat, at 6-7 months of age, and neutering males between 6-8 months of age, depending on behavior patterns such as sexual activity or aggression. At this time, your pup will receive his first blood test for heartworm disease.

At all visits, we encourage you to ask any questions about physical or behavioral problems you may be having. Behavioral issues in particular should be addressed as soon as problems arise in order to correct undesirable behaviors before they become entrenched.riends.

Constipation in Cats

This flax water will help soften the stools and encourage motility. It is also important to set a regular feeding schedule. Make sure to feed your kitty at the same time each day as this will encourage regularity. If your kitty does not eat all of his or her food at each set meal time, pick up the bowls and wait until the next scheduled feeding time.

Toxoplasmosis

Another way of getting toxoplasmosis is by eating raw or undercooked meats. Cook all meat and poultry thoroughly. Wash or cook homegrown vegetables that may have come in contact with cat feces in the garden. Wash your hands after touching raw meat. Changing the cat litter, or working in gardens that cats have access to.

For more information on toxoplasmosis, write to:
NIAID Information Office, Building 31, Room 7A32 , Bethesda, MD 20205

Urinary Obstruction in Cats

The crystals that are most commonly implicated in blockage are called struvite (triple phosphate) and are formed when the urinary pH is high (alkaline). Struvite crystal formation can be discouraged through the use of prescription diets and by early detection of any abnormality in your cat’s urinary habits. If stones and crystals are observed in your cat’s urine sample, Hill’s S/d diet (promoting the production of acid urine) may be prescribed for 1-2 months, after which your cat may be switched to Hill’s C/d for long-term maintenance. The veterinary prescription diets made by Purina and Eukanuba are acceptable alternatives. The over-the-counter “urinary tract health” diets, while somewhat helpful, are not adequate in these cases.

In addition to dietary management, frequent urinalyses are essential to screen for crystal formation, infections, and pH changes. After a blockage has occurred, we should recheck the urine, possibly including bacterial cultures, at 3 weeks, 2 months, 6 months, and then biannually or annually thereafter.

IF AT ANY TIME YOU ARE UNSURE IF YOUR MALE CAT IS URINATING FREELY OR IF HIS LITTERBOX BEHAVIOR HAS CHANGED, PLEASE CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY! After hours, be sure to contact the Capital District Animal Emergency Clinic at 785-1094—this condition requires immediate attention.

First Aid Kit

Supplies:

2 inch rolled gauze

Absorbent gauze 3×3 pads

1 inch and 2 inch cast padding rolls

1 inch and 2 inch white adhesive tape rolls

2 inch self-cling bandage (vetwrap) roll and 4 inch for larger patients

Nonstick bandage in sterile wrapper (telfa pads)

Alcohol preps individually wrapped

Antiseptic wipes individually wrapped

Hydrogen peroxide 3%

Digital rectal fever thermometer and small tube of KY jelly or other lubricant

Sterile saline solution

Tick remover

Tweezers with flat angled tip

Nail trimmer

Eye dropper or 12cc dose syringe (without needle)

Scissors with blunt tips

Tongue depressors

Non-latex disposable gloves

Compact thermal blanket

Leash, carrier or crate

A pillowcase

Medium sized cotton towel

Penlight

Please ask your family veterinarian if there are addition items needed for your pets life style or condition.

Obesity in Cats

Feed cats individually. If you have more than one cat, consider keeping them in separate rooms during their mealtime. This will prevent the greediest cat from overeating, and ensure that slower cats get fed.

Play fetch. Toss dry food kibbles to your cat, one piece at time, to combine exercise with mealtime.

Avoid fiber overload. Many reduced calorie pet foods include increased levels of fiber that can interfere with a pet’s ability to absorb and digest nutrients. Food with the proper balance of animal-based protein, fat, carbohydrates and moderately fermentable fiber sources, such as beet pulp, is a healthier choice.

Smaller meals, more often. As with people, several smaller meals each day vs. one large serving helps cats burn more calories. This is through meal-induced thermogenesis heat produced by the body during digestion, absorption, metabolism and storage of nutrients actually causes more calories to be used.

Tip the scales. A baby scale works great for keeping track of your cat’s weight, or alternatively you can take your cat in your arms, step on your own scale and then subtract your weight from the total weight shown to find your cat’s weight. Check weight loss progress every two weeks.

Ticks

Other tick species may be encountered in various regions. Your veterinarian will consult with you if you needadditional information of specific species.

1. American Dog Tick:

The American dog tick attacks a wide variety of hosts, including humans and dogs, but rarely infests homes. Adults are chestnut brown with white spots or streaks on their backs. Unfed adults are about 1/8-inch long. Engorged females become slate gray and may expand to a length of 1/2-inch. Larvae and nymphs feed mostly on small rodents, while adults feed on dogs, cattle, other animals and humans. These ticks are widely distributed throughout the North America and are especially prevalent in the southern United States and in coastal and other humid areas. They are attracted by the scent of animals, and humans most often encounter them near roads, paths, trails and recreational areas. Although present the year round, American dog ticks are usually most numerous in the spring.

The female dog tick lays 4000-6500 eggs and then dies. The eggs hatch into seed ticks in about 36-57 days. The unfed larvae crawl in search of a host and can live up to 540 days without food. When they find a small rodent or mammal, the larvae attach and feed for approximately five days. The larvae then drop off the host and molt to the nymphal stage. The nymphs crawl in search of a rodent host, attach to a suitable host, and engorge with blood in 3-11 days. Nymphs can live without food for up to 584 days. That’s over a year-and-a-half!

Adults crawl in search of dogs or large animals for a blood meal. Adults can live for up to two years without food! American dog tick adults and many other species can be found along roads, paths, and trails, on grass, and on other low vegetation in a “waiting position.” As an animal passes by, the tick will grasp it firmly and soon start feeding. The males remain on the host for an indefinite period of time alternately feeding and mating. The females feed, mate, become engorged, and then drop off to lay their eggs.

The American dog tick requires from three months to three years to complete a life cycle. It is typically an outdoor tick and is dependent on climatic and environmental conditions for its eggs to hatch.

2. Lone Star Tick:

Adult lone star ticks are various shades of brown or tan. Females have single silvery-white spots on their backs and males have scattered white spots. Unfed adults are about 1/3-inch long, but after feeding females may be 1/2-inch long. Larvae and nymphs parasitize small wild animals, birds and rodents, while adults feed on larger animals such as dogs and cattle. All three stages of the Lone star tick will bite dogs and humans. These ticks live in wooded and brushy areas and are most numerous in underbrush along creeks and river bottoms and near animal resting places. Lone star ticks are present throughout the year, but peak adult and nymphal populations may occur from March to May. A second nymphal peak may occur again in July or August, while peak larval activity is reached in mid-June or July.

3. Deer or Blacklegged Tick:

All three active stages of the deer or blacklegged tick will feed on a variety of hosts including dogs and people. After the eggs hatch in the spring, the very tiny larvae feed primarily on white-footed mice or other small mammals. The following spring, the larvae molt into pinhead-sized, brown nymphs that will feed on mice, larger warm-blooded animals and people. In the fall, they molt into adults that feed primarily on deer, with the females laying eggs the following spring. Adults are reddish-brown and about 1/8-inch long (or about one-half the size of the more familiar female American dog tick).

These ticks are usually found in wooded areas along trails. The larvae and nymphs are active in the spring and early summer; adults may be active in both the spring and fall. The deer or blacklegged tick can transmit Lyme disease and possibly ehrlichiosis to dogs and humans.

4. Brown Dog Tick:

The brown dog tick (also known as the kennel tick) is found through most of the United States. This tick feeds on dogs, but rarely bites people. Unlike the other species of ticks, its life cycle allows it to survive and develop indoors. The brown dog tick is found primarily in kennels or homes with dogs where it may be found hiding in cracks, behind radiators, under rugs and furniture, and on draperies and walls.

The adult is reddish-brown and about 1/8-inch long, and usually attaches around the ears or between the toes of a dog to feed. After feeding, a female may engorge to ½-inch long. She then drops off the dog and crawls into a hiding place where she may lay as many as 3,000 eggs. This tick is tropical in origin and does not survive long, cold winters outdoors.
 

How Can Ticks be Prevented?

There are many different types of tick preventatives available in the marketplace. Some require less effort on the part of the owner than others. Some products are available over the counter, while others are only available through your veterinarian. There are effective monthly preventatives that are applied to the skin at the back of the neck and represent a convenient method of control for these ectoparasites. Your veterinarian will make specific recommendations to keep your pet parasite free.
 

What Should I do if I Find a Tick on Me or My Dog?

Use blunt tweezers or disposable gloves to handle the tick. If your fingers must be used, shield

them with a tissue or paper towel. Infectious agents may be contracted through mucous membranes or breaks in the skin simply by handling infected ticks. This is especially important for people who “de-tick” pets because ticks infesting dogs and other domestic animals can carry Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis or other diseases capable of infecting humans.

Grasp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible. This reduces the possibility of the head detaching from the body upon removal.

Pull the tick out straight out with a steady, even pressure. Do not twist or jerk the tick as this may cause the mouthparts to break off and remain in the skin, increasing the chances of infection. Continue applying steady pressure even if the tick does not release immediately. It may take a minute or two of constant, slow pulling to cause the tick to release.

After removing the tick, thoroughly disinfect the bite area and wash your hands with soap and water. Home remedies such as applying petroleum jelly, grease, or a hot match to the rear of the tick are not recommended and do not work. These practices cause the tick to salivate and can actually increase the chance of getting a disease.

After removing the tick, you may wish to preserve it in rubbing alcohol. Be sure to label the container with information about the time and place where the tick bite occurred. This activity will help you to remember details of the incident if the rash or other symptoms associated with Lyme disease appear later. This information will also be of help to a veterinarian or physician diagnosing an illness.

This client information sheet is based on material written by Ernest Ward, DVM.
© Copyright 2005 Lifelearn Inc. Used with permission under license. February 24, 2012

Bloodwork Explained

Electrolytes:

Na (sodium) is an electrolyte lost with vomiting, diarrhea, and kidney and Addison’s disease. This test helps indicate hydration status.

K (potassium) is an electrolyte lost with vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive urination. Increased levels may indicate kidney failure, Addison’s disease, dehydration, and urethral obstruction. High levels can lead to cardiac arrest, low levels can cause profound weakness.

CI (chloride) is an electrolyte often lost with vomiting and Addison’s disease. Elevations often indicate dehydration.

Cortisol is a hormone that is measured in tests for Cushing’s disease (the low-dose dexamethasone suppression test) and Addison’s disease (ACTH stimulation test).

LIP (lipase) is a pancreatic enzyme that may indicate pancreatitis or kidney disease.

T4 (thyroxine) is a thyroid hormone. Decreased levels often signal hypothyroidism in dogs, while high levels indicate hyperthyroidism in cats.

First Aid Kit

Supplies:

2 inch rolled gauze

Absorbent gauze 3×3 pads

1 inch and 2 inch cast padding rolls

1 inch and 2 inch white adhesive tape rolls

2 inch self-cling bandage (vetwrap) roll and 4 inch for larger patients

Nonstick bandage in sterile wrapper (telfa pads)

Alcohol preps individually wrapped

Antiseptic wipes individually wrapped

Hydrogen peroxide 3%

Digital rectal fever thermometer and small tube of KY jelly or other lubricant

Sterile saline solution

Tick remover

Tweezers with flat angled tip

Nail trimmer

Eye dropper or 12cc dose syringe (without needle)

Scissors with blunt tips

Tongue depressors

Non-latex disposable gloves

Compact thermal blanket

Leash, carrier or crate

A pillowcase

Medium sized cotton towel

Penlight

Please ask your family veterinarian if there are addition items needed for your pets life style or condition.

Adrenal Disease in Ferrets

How is Adrenal Disease Diagnosed?

Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical examination. If there is an index of suspicion of Adrenal Disease, your veterinarian will recommend a blood test to measure sex hormone levels. An abdominal ultrasound is a beneficial ancillary test. The ultrasound will allow us to determine which adrenal gland is involved.
 

How is Adrenal Disease Treated?

The two options available for treatment are surgical therapy and medical therapy. Medical treatment will not cure adrenal disease but has the potential to reduce clinical signs. Although most ferrets are good surgical candidates, surgical options often come with many risk factors. The choice of therapy will depend on individual cases, owners and their veterinarians.

Ferret Diseases

Adrenal Adenoma or Adenocarcinoma

This cancer is as common as insulinoma and frequently occurs along with it. This is a cancer of the adrenal glands, which are very tiny organs about the size of half a pea, located near the kidney. They produce very potent hormones that control a number of metabolic functions in the body. Ferrets may develop adenoma, which is the benign form of the disease (which means that it does not spread to other organs of the body) or adenocarcinoma, which is the malignant form. They may develop disease in either one or both glands.

Signs are fairly specific and are related to an overproduction of hormones, particularly abdrogens (precursors to the sex hormones…they act in the same manner as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone ). The most common sign seen is a hair loss over a portion or all of the body. The hair loss may come and go over a period of time. In spayed females, the vulva may swell as if they were in heat again. Other signs may include one or any combination of the following: intense itching, dry brittle haircoat, thin skin, red scaly skin, weakened muscles with hind limb or generalized weakness, increase in body odor (as if the pet was not neutered), anemia and lethargy. The diagnosis is based primarily on the signs. However if the diagnosis is in doubt, you veterinarian may recommend submitting a blood sample to a lab for hormone level evaluation.

The treatment of choice is the surgical removal of the affected adrenal gland. Since the disease and insulinoma frequently occur at the same time, insulinomas can also be removed. In cases where adenoma is diagnosed, and in the absence of insulinoma, a drug called Lysodren may be used to chemically destroy the overactive parts of the adrenal. This drug is not effective against adenocarcinoma.
 

Skin Tumors

Skin tumors in older ferrets should be surgically removed as soon as possible because of the possibility that some are malignant and can spread to other areas of the body. The most common type of skin tumor in the ferret is the mast cell tumor which appears as a round raised button-like lesion. They may be quite itchy and often have a crust of dried blood over the top. They are usually benign, but may metastasize to internal organs including the lungs.

Other common skin tumors are adenomas and adenocarcinomas. They are cancers of the skin glands and can occur anywhere. In males they occur frequently at the tip of the prepuce and appear as a bluish colored lump. Adenocarcinomas are highly malignant and should be removed as soon as possible.

Although ferrets in this country are plagued with a variety of illness as they get older, frequent examinations and laboratory testing as needed can greatly improve their chances of survival and prolong their lives in a quality manner. Enjoy your pet, give them love and attention and they will reward you with endless hours of laughter and love.

Special Needs of Older Ferrets

Veterinary Care

More frequent checkups are recommended, which include a thorough physical exam. We recommend that this be done every six months. Ferrets develop disease rapidly; especially cancer, kidney and heart disease, and waiting an entire year between visits could prevent the early detection and management of these diseases.

Starting at three years of age, we prefer some additional laboratory work be done. On a healthy animal, we recommend a complete blood cell count (CBC) and fasting blood glucose as the minimum work-up (a ‘mini’ geriatric). The pet should be fasted 4 to no more than 6 hours prior to the blood tests taken. The routine laboratory work should be done at least once a year.

We may also wish to do additional laboratory work such as a blood chemistry profile and/or an X-ray for additional information, particularly if your pet is exhibiting signs of illness. Sedation may be necessary for the X-ray. We use extremely safe tranquilizers on our ferret patients, this eliminates the stress the pet may feel with these procedures.

After the age of 7, diagnostic testing may have to be done every 6 months along with a semiannual exam. These laboratory workups have been INVALUABLE in detecting many disease early and thus facilitating treatment.

Please keep up with the annual canine distemper vaccination. The older ferrets can contract distemper just as easily as the youngsters can.

Heartworm preventive should also be continued if you’re pet is kept outdoors or is taken outdoors frequently in the spring and summer.

Tartar can be cleaned off the teeth easily when the animal is anesthetized with isoflurane for any reason. This prevents gum and teeth disease.

Unfortunately, neoplasia (cancer) is the most common cause of disease and death in the older American Ferret. We estimate that well over 75% of all ferrets in our area will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime. The only way to combat all forms of cancer is with early detection and appropriate therapy. We must emphasize the EARLY detection is the key, which emphasizes the need for frequent exams and laboratory work.

Feather Picking in Birds

Treatment and Preventing Feather Picking

Hypothyroidism is one common cause of feather picking in caged birds. To evaluate the circulating level of thyroid hormone we will sample a tiny amount of blood from the inside of your bird’s wing. If this level is low, a thyroid medication (supplement) will be prescribed to bring this level back up to normal.

There are no quick or easy solutions for treating non-medical feather picking. If medical causes are ruled out, and boredom (solitary confinement) is therefore regarded as the major cause of feather picking, then you as the bird owner must be prepared to make changes. Increasing the amount of time that you spend with your bird will reduce feather picking tendencies because the bird is kept otherwise engaged.

Sometimes changing the location of the bird’s cage and/or perch is helpful. The suitability of the new location will depend upon the temperament of the bird. For example, a feather-picking African gray (normally shy) might be better off in a more private and secluded area of the house rather than in a heavily trafficked and noisy locale. By contrast, an umbrella cockatoo (docile and affectionate) that lives in isolation might be better off in a very public area of the house. If a feather picker lives in a very small cage, it might be beneficial to provide a larger cage, or a more spacious living environment.

Some feather pickers may not receive adequate rest. Providing these birds with a more quiet and secluded locale and covering the cage at night may be helpful.

Bathing or misting a feather picker on a daily or otherwise regular basis may be beneficial because wetting the feathers encourages normal preening behavior. The hope is that the bird will spend more time conditioning the plumage and less time chewing on the feathers or pulling them out.

Boredom and resultant feather picking may be countered by providing a wide variety of foods. Emphasis should be placed on foods that require some time and effort to eat such as non-shelled walnuts and other nuts, string beans, snow peas, and macaroni and cheese in addition to those representing a variety of colors, shapes, sizes and textures. This will keep the bird stimulated and interested in food and decrease the amount of time spent obsessing about the feathers.

The same can be said when providing toys with which a caged bird can play. The widest variety and assortment possible should be offered. The toys (chains, bells, rawhide and hardwood pieces, mirrors, hard rubber toys) should be durable and appropriate for the size and type of bird being entertained. Toys should stimulate and hold the bird’s interest as much as possible. It is important to provide natural objects that a bird can investigate, chew up, and rip apart. Branches from non-toxic trees with leaves (eucalyptus) and large pine cones can be offered to satisfy these destructive tendencies. Please make sure that the objects are free from insecticide and herbicides. It is also important to provide objects that can fully involve the bird in actual physical exercise (large ropes to climb on, large paper bags, and cardboard boxes with holes). Appliances (radio, cds, television, etc.) that stimulate the bird’s other senses should be considered whenever possible.

Another suggestion that should be given consideration is not clipping the wings of birds that are mutilating their feathers, especially the flight feathers. The rationale for this is that feather-picking birds need no excuse to be destructive to their feathers, and clipping feathers provides one. However, be aware that by not clipping the wings, you must be willing to accept the liabilities of having a fully flighted bird in the home.

Feather picking in caged birds sometimes results from sexual isolation and frustration. When a bird reaches sexual maturity, sex hormone levels will begin to rise and this can change a bird’s behavior. In the wild, these behavioral changes would result in the selection of a mate and the pursuit of courtship and mating behaviors. In captivity providing an appropriate mate is sometimes the answer to feather picking, but not always practical. Reducing sexual stimulation (removing mirrors and masturbatory toys such as toy birds and placing birds of opposite sex that are caged separately out of sound range from each other) may be helpful.

Some cases of severe chronic feather picking may not respond to any kind of treatment. Damage to or destruction of the feather follicles from repeated trauma to the skin may result in permanent feather loss or growth of abnormal feathers. Placing these birds in breeding or avicultural situations may be the most practical alternatives.

Bloodwork Explained

Electrolytes:

Na (sodium) is an electrolyte lost with vomiting, diarrhea, and kidney and Addison’s disease. This test helps indicate hydration status.

K (potassium) is an electrolyte lost with vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive urination. Increased levels may indicate kidney failure, Addison’s disease, dehydration, and urethral obstruction. High levels can lead to cardiac arrest, low levels can cause profound weakness.

CI (chloride) is an electrolyte often lost with vomiting and Addison’s disease. Elevations often indicate dehydration.

Cortisol is a hormone that is measured in tests for Cushing’s disease (the low-dose dexamethasone suppression test) and Addison’s disease (ACTH stimulation test).

LIP (lipase) is a pancreatic enzyme that may indicate pancreatitis or kidney disease.

T4 (thyroxine) is a thyroid hormone. Decreased levels often signal hypothyroidism in dogs, while high levels indicate hyperthyroidism in cats.

Hospitalized Pet

If your patient is here for hospitalization or intensive care (ICU), you will be called with updates at least once daily, and as changes occur in their condition. The patient will be medicated and monitored throughout the day by our technicians and doctors. In addition, a staff member will be able to provide you with a daily financial update.

Occasionally, a sick patient may require intensive monitoring overnight or after normal hospital hours. In certain unusual situations, this may also be necessary after an elective procedure such as a surgery or dental procedure. As we do not have 24-hour staffing available, we can facilitate transferring your pet to the Capital District Animal Emergency Clinic, which is fully staffed and always open the hours that we are closed. They are a Level 1 emergency and critical care facility. If a transfer is recommended, you will need to pick up your patient at our hospital and transport your pet to CDAEC. This is because the critical care center will need to have you there to expedite admission and meet with the doctor. We will foreword all necessary medical records and be in direct contact with them throughout your pets stay there.

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