That’s right everybody dental month is back ! If your pet comes in for a dental cleaning during the month of February you will receive a $35 discount off the cost of the dental cleaning, and a dental kit (values at around $10). Spots are limited so please give us a call if you would like to make an appointment. Here is a sample of a before and after picture from one of our dental cleaning.
There’s been some recent changes in thinking regarding the best diet for cats. Many of us have free fed our cats dry food their whole lives. But in looking at what cats eat in the wild versus dry food, there’s a huge difference. Cats are carnivores, so they need a lot of protein in their diet (as long as they have normal kidneys). The typical diet of cats is mice and other rodents and birds. But since we don’t have “mouse in a can” diets, we can mimic this by feeding canned food.
When I was in vet school, we learned dry was best — lower in calories and those crunchies can help the teeth! But now many veterinary specialists are thinking the high carbohydrate content of dry food is why we’re seeing obese kitties and a lot of diabetes, chronic vomiting kitties, and other maladies, including bad teeth!
I have seen cats lose weight easily just from changing from dry to canned. It’s kind of like the Atkins diet for cats or the “Catkins diet”: low carbs with moderate to high protein and fat. This type of diet will help preserve muscle mass (which burns calories at rest), keeps them satisfied longer so they don’t feel the need to “graze” all day, seems to stop a lot of the chronic yakking up of food that we often see, and can lead to less urinary issues because they get more water in their diet when they eat canned.
Any type of high quality canned cat food should be good for the average cat, because any canned food has less carbs than any dry food available. Whenever we eat carbohydrates, we release insulin to help bring the sugar into our cells. A little insulin is fine, but a lot of insulin release can lower the blood sugar level so the cat feels hungry soon afterwards, and they consume more dry food over the course of the day. Insulin is a fat-storing hormone so if we lower the blood insulin, there’s less rebound hunger, less weight gain, and there’s growing evidence that it results in a lower incidence of chronic inflammatory diseases, like diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease.
If your cat is having some of these issues, give us a call and we can talk about possible diet changes.
Why is Decon Bad For My Pet?
To explain why Decon is bad for pets, we must first understand how the body stops bleeding. When a blood vessel (similar to a pipe) breaks, the body tries to repair this break first with cells called platelets. The platelets are similar to a band-aid. They adhere to the broken portion of the blood vessel within 5 minutes and temporarily seal the break. However the platelets need special proteins called clotting factors to permanently seal the break. Some of these clotting factors require vitamin K to adhere to the platelets, and thus permanently stop the bleeding.
Decon and other so called “anticoagulant rodenticides” work by lowering the levels of vitamin k in the body to levels so low, that a permanent seal can not be formed on broken blood vessels. Most pets who ingest decon do not show signs of being sick for a few days until their body’s vitamin k reserves are exhausted. Some signs the pet may then show are bruising of the skin, external bleeding (such as from the nose or blood in the urine), or internal bleeding (which may cause difficulty breathing or the pet may just be “acting more tired”).
If a pet is known to have ingested decon, timely treatment is crucial. If we can treat a pet before the vitamin k reserves are exhausted (ideally within the first day), treatment is very effective. Early treatment consists of usually inducing vomiting to remove any residual toxin, and then placing the pet on an oral prescription form of vitamin k (vitamin k1). The over the counter form of vitamin k is vitamin k3, and unfortunately this form is not readily absorbed when taken orally, and thus is not an appropriate treatment for decon ingestion.
If a pet has already exhausted their vitamin k reserves and is showing signs of bleeding, treatment is more complicated. Vitamin k1 can take up to 24hrs to start working, so in the pets who are already bleeding, the only way to quickly stop the bleeding is to give them the specialized proteins we discussed above called clotting factors. These are given intravenously with plasma. The plasma buys us time for the oral vitamin k1 to kick in.
In conclusion, if your pet has ingested decon, the sooner you can get your pet in for treatment, the better. Even though your pet may look fine, the vitamin k reserves are slowly becoming diminished. Once the vitamin k reserves are depleted and your pet starts showing signs of bleeding, treatment becomes much more expensive, and the prognosis worsens.
How Often Does My Pet Need Bloodwork Done?
As veterinarians, there are many times in a pet’s life that blood work is needed. The first time blood work is usually performed on an animal is when they have their spay or neuter surgery. We perform blood work at this time to make certain there are no underlying issues that may affect their ability to safely undergo anesthesia.
If you pet becomes ill, many times we will advise you to check blood work. This is to allow us to better find the underlying cause of the change in your pet. Many times the blood work will better allow us to direct treatment by identifying specific issues that need to be addressed either with medication, surgery, or supportive care.
If your pet has been diagnosed with a chronic illness, many times monitoring blood work will need to be performed. Dogs diagnosed with diabetes, Cushing’s disease, Addison’s disease, seizures, and hypothyroidism will need several visits that include blood work during the diagnosis of theses diseases and in starting them on the appropriate medications. Once these pets are on appropriate doses of their medications, they will only need blood work a few times a year to make sure they continue to be well regulated. Your vet will let you know the best schedule for your pet. Cats diagnosed with diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and kidney disease will need several initial visits during the diagnosis and starting of their medications. Once stabilized on their specific medications and treatments, blood work will only need to be performed a few times yearly for monitoring. Your vet will let you know the schedule that is best for your pet.
Healthy adult dogs and cats need and annual exam by their vet. At that time, a physical exam and history of events from the past year will be obtained. After discussing the physical exam findings with you, your vet will determine if your pet will need any blood work to further monitor their well-being.
Geriatric pets should have a biannual exam, and they should have blood work performed annually or biannually. This is allowing us to stay abreast of changes in our aging pets, and give appropriate treatments to maintain their comfort in the golden years. Many of our older patients are also on chronic NSAIDS for arthritis, and they need biannual blood work to monitor the kidney and liver function.
Bob Baker, DVM
Everyone that has a pet dog or cat knows that they shed hair. While this is most often not a problem for the pet, it can be a problem for owners for the aesthetic displeasure of having a “hairy home” or even more serious for those with pet allergies.
Truth be know, most people that are allergic to pets are mostly allergic to the dander, or shed skin proteins rather than the hair itself. Techniques used to minimize shedding problems are helpful though to people with pet allergies.
There are some dogs and cat breeds that are considered “low shedders.” There are some dogs that shed smaller amounts of hair continuously like people (yes we shed too!), and certainly we’ve all experienced the seasonal “blowing of coat” where there is fur flying everywhere. There are also the cats and dogs that develop hair mats, big thick clumps of fur that can grow to enormous proportions.
So how can I manage my pet’s shedding? Well first of all, there is no magic cure for shedding. There is no spray or food additive that will stop this naturally occurring condition. But here is a straightforward plan that will make your world a less hairy place.
Why is my Dog Afraid of Thunder and/or Fireworks?
By: John Crumley, DVM
Adverse reactions to thunderstorms and fireworks are understandable since dogs don’t understand the origins of the noises. Loud and foreign noises from overhead are difficult to orient to and can cause panic and anxiety. While many dogs get accustomed to storms, others may become even more sensitive, resulting in additional fear with each exposure. The degree of anxiety is based on a dog’s perception of a threat. When a dog’s response to thunderstorms is extreme, it is considered a phobia.
Dogs may show a variety of anxiety signs during or before a thunderstorm: panting, trembling, hiding, pacing, vocalizing, being destructive, and attempts to escape. Many dogs are found lost after a storm and/or fireworks because they are scared and escaped from a yard or a kennel.
Dogs may try to hide during a thunderstorm or firework display. This is understandably a normal response. If your dog seems agitated or restless, you may be able to assist by securing a safe haven and help him/her relax during storms. This safe location should be readily available, especially when no one is home. You can try to limit exposure to the overwhelming and fear-evoking elements of a storm or fireworks by closing doors and windows. White noise or music can block out the sounds as well. You can also redirect your dog with obedience exercises and other fun activities (agility or food puzzle toys).
Recordings of thunderstorm sounds may be played and you can associate them with pleasant outcomes. Programs such as Sounds Scary® offer gradual and positive exposure to noises in a non-threatening manner; this method is known as desensitization/counter conditioning. Rehearsing a safe haven routine or redirection strategies while listening to recordings of storm noises will prepare your dog for more imposing threats. Try not to show your own anxiety during storms to avoid making your dog’s anxiety worse. If your dog’s anxiety is minimal and recovery is quick, it may be appropriate for you to ignore the anxious behavior and allow a natural adaptation to storms or fireworks (habituation). Ignoring severe anxiety or extreme displays is not a good idea and may be confusing and could even make the anxiety worse. If the anxiety persists, seems extreme or your pet is at risk for self injury, medications should be considered.
Dogs with severe anxiety may benefit from long-term management with anxiolytic medications plus rapidly-acting anxiolytics that may be given immediately prior to or even during an event. Dogs with a more mild anxiety may require only the rapidly-acting anxiolytics given immediately prior an event.
The FDA has issued a recall of the Natura Pet Products which includes California Natural Dog and Cat food for Salmonella contamination. If you are feeding these diets please check
out this link. If you are feeding these diets and your pet starts to act lethargic, has diarrhea, vomiting, fever, or abdominal pains please give us a call.
Hey guys, did you know that more pets get lost from their families during the summer months then any other time during the year? To help reunite pets with their families, Baring is doing it’s annual Microchip-a-thon. From now until July 4th the microchip is only $36 (which includes the registration, and a year of the extra benefits). Below is the story of Buddy an indoor outdoor kitty that was missing for 3 months…..
In the spring of 2007, an under nourished 7-8 month old stray cat made his presence known from a distance with a meager series of cries. Over time we gained his confidence and provided a short period of petting and rubbing. Then off he went. The next morning we saw him still around the house. We fed the starving creature and he could not get enough food that day.
We discussed our next plan and vowed that if he remained at the house we would adopt. And here begins the 5 year saga of Buddy, our loved companion. He literally captured our hearts very shortly after ‘adopting us’! He was not a cat of great need for ‘cuddly’ compassion but more so just a tag along buddy (hence his name) who was curious of everything we did. He bonded with us from the start and us with him. He was small and our thought was that he may have been the ‘runt’ of the litter. We nursed him back to health and he became a very healthy and happy cat. Over the course of these years he provided us with much laughter and joy. That’s not to say there weren’t times of great distress and adjustments needed by all of us, but he also began to mellow slowly as time went on.
Through the bad times and good times, Buddy was always there waiting to be brushed, fed and loved. He truly was part of our family and gave us such pleasure. He became our 50-50 cat as we referred to him, half the time outside and always indoors every night.
Late in 2012 our son passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. With the turmoil that ensued, Buddy began to spend more and more time away from the house…..he knew something was not right. Plans were made to relocate soon after and when the day came we boarded Buddy while we completed our move, also understanding the task we faced with Buddy adapting to a new environment.
On January 2, 2013 we picked up Buddy from the vet after a week of boarding. Futile attempts were made to allow him to adjust. He was extremely unhappy and escaped that same afternoon. Our hearts were broken. In the ensuing days, weeks and months we searched all available resources for Buddy always looking everywhere we went. We were miserable with the loss of our son and our Buddy too. We resigned to the fact that he had joined our son and tried to make peace with that.
Then on a calm day, April 1, 2013, we received a call that will forever live in our minds. Nearly three months after he went missing, someone brought Buddy into the local animal services. He was healthy and was about to be put up for adoption when he was scanned for a microchip. During his last vet visit for a wellness check in 2012 we had the microchip installed and registered Buddy with HomeAgain. Our son had tried for years to get us to do that. Thank God we did; it was a gift from our son. It was what brought Buddy back to us. We call it a miracle!
Buddy was found 8 miles from our new home and less than 4 miles from his familiar territory of our last home. He was born and raised in that area and was heading back to his home!