Pet Health Tips

To understand how many of the holistic methods of healing are able to encourage an individual to heal themselves or regain a state of well being you first must understand that we (and our pets) are more than physical bodies inhabiting space.

There is also an emotional/mental aspect, an energy body and a spiritual body. It is through our 5 senses of taste, hearing, smell, sight and touch that we know we are here physically. But, it is our life force energy that gives our body movement, our emotional/mental self that gives us desire and our spiritual self that gives us purpose and meaning.

We are born with a certain blueprint encoded on our genetic DNA, but we are also born with illness patterns that are the basis for each new generation’s core health. To this core is added each new insult to our vital health, whether it be exposure to bacteria or viruses (naturally or by vaccine injection); excess heat, cold, wind, damp or dryness; injury or surgery; or toxins in our food, water or environment. In other words, the multitude of things that can happen to us all! Each of these insults adds another layer to our core. When we are young we have more energy, more vitality. When we have this strength we are able to handle a lot of insults and rebound from them without permanent impact on our health. As we age, we are not able to do this as efficiently and our bodies start to break down. The area of our body that has a problem is that area that inherently is our “weak spot” or has sustained a great deal of insult or injury. When we are not able to heal ourselves we get stuck in illness symptoms. These symptoms are our body’s attempts at healing. These symptoms are usually regarded as unpleasant and the conventional medicine way of dealing with them is to suppress them and get rid of them as soon as possible. Unfortunately, this suppresses our vital force from ridding our body of the current insult, so the problem is driven to a deeper level. The body is marvelous in resurfacing this buried illness and will do its best to bring it out and get rid of it. If our surface symptoms are suppressed strongly enough or often enough, the disease will then manifest on a deeper level. We may think they are gone, but they have really only moved to a new location! Traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture work by helping restore a healthy balance to the energy pathways of the body. This helps the body to work in as efficient a way as possible. Acupuncture therapy can be done with finger pressure, with small beads or tacks, solid needles, injection of liquids (aquapuncture), electrical impulses (electroacupuncture), or by insertion of gold or silver-plated beads or wires into acupuncture points. I have found neural therapy aquapuncture (B-12, lidocaine and saline injections) to be the most successful treatment for my patients with arthritis (as happens with hip dysplasia or spinal spondylosis). Homeopathy helps individuals heal themselves by influencing the energy body’s interface with the physical body. Through the patient’s symptoms, responses to the insults that life has thrown out, basic personality traits and clinical history the homeopathic physician is able to formalize a “picture” of that patient. This homeopathic “portrait” is then correlated with the most appropriate remedy for that individual at that point in time. This allows the body to heal itself by exteriorizing and resolving illness. Single homeopathic remedies are all that is needed in acute problems but for those individuals with chronic disease it takes well chosen remedies given at the correct strength and time intervals to bring one to a state of good health and well-being.

Topics to Discuss During Puppy Visits

  • Housetraining
  • Leash and collar selection
  • Destructive chewing prevention
  • Socialization and proper play
  • Obedience classes
  • Deference techniques
  • Playing with ears, teeth and feet
  • Grooming advice for ears, teeth and nails
  • Spaying/Neutering
  • Identification techniques such as microchipping

Click here for printable version

Topics Discussed During Kitten Visits

  • Litter box training
  • Nail care
  • Destructive clawing prevention
  • Spaying/Neutering
  • Proper play – both self play and interactive play
  • Dental care
  • Grooming
  • Identification techniques such as microchipping

Click here for printable version

Ancylostomiasis (Hookworm Infection)

General Information

Hookworms are relatively common parasites of dogs, cats and other animals. Adult worms live in the small intestine and their eggs pass out with the stool. Diagnosis is by identifying the eggs during microscopic examination of the stool. Animals become infected with hookworms by eating the infective eggs or larvae, penetration of the skin or footpads by larvae, or transmission of the larvae from the mother while the fetus is still in the uterus. The time from consumption of infective larvae to the appearance of eggs in the stool is 15 to 26 days. Hookworms are one of the most serious intestinal parasites as they feed on the blood of their host animal and can cause severe anemia. In young, weak or malnourished animals hookworms can cause sudden collapse and death. Older, more resistant animals may suffer a slow, progressive, wasting disease. Weight loss, diarrhea and tarry or bloody stools frequently occur in animals with hookworms.

Public Health Significance Hookworm larvae can penetrate human skin and cause a skin disorder known as cutaneous larval migrans or creeping eruption. This infection is not common but anyone who develops a skin rash after being in contact with a pet with hookworms should consult a physician.

Important Points in Treatment Treatment consists of eliminating the worms and correcting any anemia and malnutrition. Hospital treatment may be required in severe infections.

Medication: Medication must be given as directed. Call the doctor if you cannot give the medication as directed. Diet: Follow the instructions checked. _____ Feed the normal diet. _____ A special diet is necessary. Feed: ______________________________________________________________________ Sanitation: Good sanitation is essential. Promptly remove all stools from the area where your pet is confined. Control measures: Regular microscopic stool examinations are the best means of early detection of hookworm problems. Your pet’s stool should be checked every _____ months. Products are available for treating contaminated dog pens, runs and tie-out areas. Discuss this with the doctor If your pet is kept in a confined area. In addition, heartworm preventative medications that also prevent hookworms and roundworms offer the surest method of hookworm control.

Notify the Doctor if Any of the Following Occur

  • Your pet is weak or depressed.
  • Your pet is reluctant to eat, has diarrhea or vomits.
  • Your pet has dark or bloody stools.

Click here for printable version

Trichuriasis Vulpis (Whipworm Infection)

General Information The whipworm (Trichuriasis Vulpis) is a small, thin worm that lives in the large intestine and cecum of dogs. The cecum is a blind pouch located between the small and large intestine; it resembles the human appendix. Dogs are infected by ingesting contaminated food and water.

The whipworm gets its name from its body shape. Its body is very delicate and tail tapers into a narrow whip-like structure. It is difficult to see in the stool because of its very small size.

Whipworms can cause diarrhea, bloody feces and poor general health. Massive rectal bleeding occasionally occurs. Diagnosis is by microscopic examination of the feces. Sometimes several samples must be examined before the worm eggs are found. It takes about 3 to 4 months after infection until eggs are passed in an infected pet’s stool.

Important Points in Treatment

  • Effective Medication can cure your pet of whipworms. However, good hygiene is required to prevent reinfection. Stools should be properly disposed of daily.
  • Make sure you give all medication as directed.
  • Keeping your pet on Interceptor for heartworm prevention will help prevent re-infection.
  • It is important to have a fecal test repeated after treatment to make sure treatment was successful.

Control Whipworms can live in the soil for years and be resistant to heat, sunlight and freezing. There are no effective ways of killing the whipworm eggs in the soil.

Zoonotic Potential Although rare, humans can be infected with Trichuriasis Vulpis, but are usually infected with Trichurasis Trichiura. Care should be taken when cleaning – including wearing gloves and hand washing.

Notify the Doctor if Any of the Following Occur

  1. Your pet continues to have diarrhea.
  2. Your pet’s hair coat is dull.
  3. Your pet loses weight despite a good appetite.

Click here for printable version

Ascariasis (Roundworm Infection)

General Information Roundworms (Ascarids) are the most common intestinal parasite of dogs and cats. Pets become infected by swallowing roundworm eggs or larvae (immature worms) found in contaminated soil or feces or by infected rodents, birds and certain insects. Puppies and kittens are commonly infected by the mother while still in the uterus. Swallowed larvae travel through the body to the intestine, where they develop into mature worms. There, adult females deposit eggs, which pass with the stool and develop into infective larvae.

Diagnosis is by identifying the eggs during microscopic examination of a stool sample.

Public Health Significance Human infection with roundworm larvae (not adults) is possible but does not occur frequently if good hygiene is practiced because eating contaminated stool or soil is necessary for infection. Children should be taught the importance of cleanliness when playing with animals, especially litters of puppies or kittens. The best insurance against human infection is keeping your pet free from roundworms by regular stool examination and treatment if necessary.

Important Points in Treatment

  1. Medication: For successful treatment, medication must be given as directed. Call the doctor if you cannot give the prescribed medication. In some cases, hospital treatment is desirable.
  2. A stool sample should be checked __________ days after the last treatment to ensure that all the worms have been eliminated.

Control Measures

  1. Stool samples should be examined microscopically at regular intervals. The doctor will advise you regarding the correct times to do this.
  1. The stool should be checked for worms before a female pet is bred. Stool samples from puppies and kittens should be tested at or before weaning.
  1. Good sanitation is essential. Remove stools promptly from the area where your pet is confined.
  1. Eggs can remain infective in soil for years, so contaminated ground becomes a source of re-infection. This is especially true of dog pens, runs or areas where your pet may be tied. Control measures for these areas include:
    • Turning the soil over to a depth of 8 to 12 inches after your pet is free of worms.
    • Replacing dirt runs with concrete, which seems to be the most effective control procedure.
    • Removing stools daily.
    • Moving your pet to a new, uncontaminated area.

Click here for printable version

Coccidiosis

General Information Coccidiosis is a parasitic disease of the intestinal tract caused by microscopic organisms called Coccidia, a protozoon similar to an amoeba. The disease spreads from one animal to another by contact with infected feces. It is most severe in young or weak animals and often causes bloody diarrhea. The disease is not a threat to people.

Important Points in Treatment

  • Sanitation: Clean all bedding, housing and food pans. Remove all feces twice daily for _____ days.
  • Isolation: Keep your pet away from other animals for _____ days/weeks.
  • Diet: Follow the instructions checked.

_____ Feed normal diet. _____ Feed a special diet as follows: _____________________________ ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________

  • Medication: To be effective, medication must be given as directed. Call the doctor if you cannot give the medication.
  • A repeat fecal test needs to be performed to assure successful treatment. Please bring in a fresh fecal sample in _____ days/weeks.

Notify the Doctor if any of the Following Occur

    • Your pet’s condition seems to worsen or new signs develop.

Your pet refuses to eat or develops uncontrollable diarrhea.

 

EAR CLEANING TIPS

Before you begin, gather your supplies. Keep in mind that this can get messy, it is advisable not to clean your pet’s ears next to your best furniture or while wearing your nicest outfit. You will need: Olive or Almond Oil* Ear Cleaner* Cotton Balls or a Wash cloth Cotton Swabs – use to clean the small crevices of the ear flap only. Ear Medication –  if prescribed by your veterinarian

To remove wax and debris: Step 1        To soften and remove the wax, first fill the ear canal(s) with Olive or Almond oil, massage the ear base(s), then allow your pet to shake its head. Step 2        Fill the ear canal(s) with ear cleaner. Massage ear base(s) gently, this will further loosen debris and wax. Let your pet shake its head. Step 3        Repeat step two twice more. Step 4        Use the cotton balls or a wash cloth to wipe away debris from the opening of the ear. Step 5        Use the cotton swabs to clean debris from the small crevices of the ear flap. DO NOT insert the cotton swab into the ear canal(s). If your pet resists having the ear cleaner poured directly into the ear canal you can also soak a cotton ball in ear cleaner, place it in the opening of the ear canal, squeeze the liquid into the ear canal(s) then massage the base of the ear. (Make sure that the cotton ball is large enough not to become stuck in your pet’s ear.)

  • If your veterinarian has prescribed ear medication for your pet wait fifteen minutes after cleaning and then apply as directed.

For routine cleansing (no debris evident):

  • Fill ear canal(s) with ear cleaner.
  • Gently massage ear base(s) then allow your pet to shake its head.
  • Clean outer ear area with cotton balls or a wash cloth.

We recommend that this be done one to two times weekly and after bathing or swimming.

* Some pets respond better if the oil or cleaner is gently heated by placing the bottle in warm water for five minutes before use.

 

Fleas – Destruction and Prevention

The Life Cycle and Habits of the Flea or Know Thyne Enemy In order to prevent fleas, or eliminate fleas that are already present, it is helpful to know a bit about their life cycle and habits.

The flea life cycle consists of four stages of varying lengths: the egg, the larvae, the pupa (or cocoon) and the adult flea.

The eggs are a little smaller than a grain of sand and hatch in 1.5 to 6 days depending on the temperature and humidity. They can be deposited anywhere your pet goes but are most concentrated in your pet’s bedding and favorite hangout spots.

The larvae are what hatch out of the flea eggs; they also like to hang out where your pet does with the added preference for places that are dark and slightly damp as low humidity is detrimental to their survival. They feed primarily on the feces of the adult fleas or “flea dirt.” The larval stage lasts from 6 to 36 days depending on conditions.

The next stage is what makes it so difficult to get rid of fleas – the pupa or cocoon stage. While the flea completes its development in 7 to 10 days it can remain dormant in its cocoon for YEARS. (Eek!) They hatch when the temperature and humidity are hospitable and/or when they feel the vibrations of a passing host.

(Here’s something else really terrifying and gross – the adult fleas, the ones you see, account for only 1% of the flea population.)

Destruction To get rid of fleas you must treat both your pets and the environment. And when we say pets we mean all of the pets, even the cat that never goes outside can ‘catch’ fleas from the dog that does. Also keep in mind that it is possible for you to bring fleas in to your home on your clothing so your indoor cat can get them that way as well.

Use a good topical flea prevention (Advantage, Frontline, Revolution – NOT something from Wal-Mart!) to treat your pets and something like Fleabusters to treat the inside and outside of your house.

Vacuum all carpeted areas and throw out the bags – the vibrations from the vacuum will cause those fleas in the pupa stage to emerge. It’s not a bad idea to use a powder or other pesticide inside the vacuum bag. Wash in very hot water, or throw out, your pet’s bedding.

Prevention

So, now that you’ve gotten rid of the fleas you certainly don’t want them coming back, right? Fortunately preventing them is (somewhat) easier than getting rid of them. Regular use of a good topical flea preventative as mentioned above on all of your pets along with periodic treatment of your yard and home should keep the little buggers at bay.

Good Luck!

Click here for printable version

Food Storage Mites* Tyrophagus Putrescentia

Storage mites, related to house dust mites, are microscopic mites that cannot be seen by the naked eye that primarily live in and feed on dry grains and dry feed stuffs including dog and cat food.

One of the storage mites, Tyrophagas putrescentiae, the mold mite, is very common but usually go unnoticed except when it becomes abundant – such as in situations where there is moisture or high humidity (*1). Since even dried foods have some moisture (typically 10%) they are susceptible to mold and provide an optimum breeding ground for storage mites. Infestations have been found in cheese, flour, grain, seeds, bulbs, straw, wallpaper, furniture, dried fruits and cereals (*2). Pets (and people) are exposed to mite body parts and excrement by consuming food containing them, absorbing them through the skin and inhalation (*3), and exposure can lead to sensitization. Although it’s impossible to totally eliminate storage mites from the environment steps can be taken to inhibit their multiplication and thereby minimize your pet’s exposure to mite allergens. The following suggestions should prove useful in controlling storage mite populations:

  • Avoid storage of pet food in garages, sheds or basements and store pet food in airtight containers.
  • Do not use old or outdated pet food. Check food for dust, mold or odors and remove questionable food from the house and discard immediately.
  • Wash food containers frequently in detergent and HOT (130 F) water. Dry completely before refilling with food.
  • Dispose of pet food bags immediately outside of the house.
  • Do not stockpile foods. Purchase only what is needed for 30 days at a time.
  • Avoid keeping fruit and other foods that can mold on the counter.
  • Check food bags for tears or holes prior to purchase.
  • Avoid low quality pet foods with a high degree of particulate debris at the bottom of the bag.

(*1) Welcome to Florida!

(*2) There is no where to hide.

(*3) Only everything you need to do to live.

Click here for printable version

Giardiasis General Information Giardiasis is an intestinal disease of people, dogs, cats and other animals. It is caused by a microorganism called Giardia (a protozoa), which is swallowed when contaminated stool, food or water is consumed. Infected individuals pass the infective cysts in their stool and the cycle begins again. Because the parasite is protected by an outer shell, it can survive outside the body and in the environment for long periods of time (i.e., months). Diagnosis may be difficult; therefore, repeated microscopic examinations of multiple stool samples, and in some cases more specific tests, are often needed to find the cysts.

Symptoms Symptoms of giardiasis normally begin 1 to 2 weeks (average 7 days) after becoming infected. Giardia infection can cause a variety of intestinal signs or symptoms, which include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Gas or flatulence
  • Greasy stools that tend to float
  • Stomach or abdominal cramps
  • Upset stomach or nausea

These symptoms may lead to weight loss and dehydration. Some pets and people with Giardia infection have no symptoms at all.

Public Health Significance During the past 2 decades, Giardia infection has become recognized as a common cause of waterborne disease in humans in the United States. Giardia can be found worldwide and within every region of the United States. Giardia can be picked up from surfaces (such as bathroom fixtures, changing tables, diaper pails, or toys) contaminated with feces from an infected person or animal, drinking contaminated water, eating uncooked food that is contaminated and swimming in contaminated water.

Good personal hygiene should be practiced in homes where giardiasis has been diagnosed in a pet. Your pet’s stool should be cleaned up and properly disposed of. Children should not be allowed to handle the stool or play in areas of known contamination.

Important Points in Treatment

  1. Laboratory tests are often required to evaluate the patient’s response during and after treatment.
  2. Sun exposure and drying help eliminate Giardia from your yard.
  3. Medication: Give all medicate as directed. Call the doctor if you cannot give the medication.
  4. It may take several treatments and even different medications to clear the infection.

Notify the Doctor if Any of the Following Occur

    • Your pet’s diarrhea persists.
    • Your pet’s general health worsens.

Click here for printable version

Gingivitis

General Information Gingivitis refers to inflammation of the gum. The causes may include bacterial and viral infections and foreign material such as hair, food and plant material as well as irritating substances. The most common cause is accumulation of dental plaque. Plaque consists of oral bacteria and debris. Plaque eventually darkens with additional food substances and from the deposition of minerals from saliva, forming the hard substance known as dental tartar or calculus. The surface of tartar can be roughened, which makes it easier for additional tartar to adhere to the tooth. Blood, serum and cellular debris from irritated gum tissue also darkens the tartar. The darker the tartar, generally the longer it has been present.

Gingivitis is a progressive disease, and the early stages (slight reddening of the gum margin) are difficult to see. As the disease progresses inflammation intensifies, soreness increases, gums may bleed easily, ulcers may develop and the breath worsens. Ulcers may also appear on the gums, and untreated gingivitis leads to more serious dental diseases and eventual loss of teeth.

The normal groove around the base of the teeth, called the sulcus, is up to 3mm deep, and it provides an excellent pocket for plaque to collect. Bacteria in the plaque cause soreness, swelling and reddening of the gum line. This allows bacteria to invade the delicate structures that house the tooth root(s). After this occurs, a more damaging and often permanent disease (periodontitis) begins.

In some cases we may refer you to a veterinary dentist to address complicated extractions, root canals and/or radiographs.

Important Points in Treatment

  1. Treatment begins with a thorough teeth cleaning. Antibiotics may be required before and/or after treatment. A general anesthetic is required.
  2. Daily cleaning with a soft bristle nylon brush aimed at the base of the tooth and a special animal tooth paste is still the best preventive measure.
  3. Diet: Follow the instructions checked.

_____ Feed the normal diet. _____ Suggestions for a change of diet: _______________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

Notify the Doctor if Any of the Following Occur

You are unable to administer the prescribed medications. Your pet’s bad breath returns or persists, the gums bleed or your pet refuses to eat.

Click here for printable version

Home Dental Care

General Information Plaque or tartar development is the most common cause of dental disease in pets. Periodontal disease has been estimated to affect 90% of dogs and cats over two years of age, and it essentially starts with accumulation of dental plaque. Studies have shown that regularly brushing your pet’s teeth is the most efficient way to prevent accumulation of plaque.

Train your pet to have its mouth handled before introducing the toothbrush. Wrap nylon, gauze or a wash cloth around your finger and gently wipe the gums. Make it rewarding and fun for your pet but be cautious, as even a familiar pet may bite!

Cleaning applicators: Any soft-bristled nylon toothbrush can be used. Your veterinarian can provide special brushes or you can use the human kind. If the gums are infected, you may use cotton swabs soaked with medicated dental preparations. You can wrap gauze around your finger and use it to wipe the gums and teeth. In cases of a severely infected mouth, you may want to change toothbrushes at least weekly to prevent re-infection of your pet’s mouth. As an alternative, after using and rinsing the brush off with hot water, soak it in a mixture of  chorine solution prepared by adding 2 drops of household liquid bleach to one cup of warm water. Soak the brush for at least one minute, then allow it to air dry until the next dental session.

Brushing action should be directed at the gum line at the base of the teeth. Be gentle and offer a treat or praise at the end of the session. Once daily brushing is adequate and you only need to brush the outside of the teeth, not the inside.

Dentifrices: Do not use baking soda or salt to brush your pet’s teeth. Your pet will swallow them and the added sodium can be harmful, especially if your pet has an existing cardiovascular condition. Several animal dental preparations are available through your veterinarian. These will help you do the best job with the least effort. Some of these include CET, Petzlife oral care gel, Maxiguard Gel, Nolvadent and Biotene solution.

If your pet already has tartar accumulated on its teeth, an initial dental cleaning is often essential before starting a routine, home dental cleaning program.

If you are unable to clean your pet’s teeth, the following chewing items will help reduce plaque: Nylafloss and Nylabone.

Both home and regular professional care are required for the most successful dental program.

Click here for printable version

HOW TO COLLECT URINE FROM YOUR DOG AT HOME

You will need: A clean, dry container for urine collection (soup ladles work great!) A clean, dry container with a water tight lid for transporting urine* A leash Your dog

Generally it’s fairly simple to collect urine from a dog. You will need a container in which to collect the urine, preferably one with a large opening and/or a handle. It’s easiest to collect urine from your dog while he/she is walking on leash and cannot get too far ahead. When your dog squats, or lifts its leg to urinate, position the container underneath to catch it. Then transfer the urine from the collection container to one with a leak proof lid.

Get the urine to us within one hour. If you can’t get it to us in that amount of time, place it in the refrigerator. You must get it to us within 24 hours for us to process it.

*Urine cup or Gladware© container or something else you don’t ever want to use again

Click here for printable version

HOW TO COLLECT URINE FROM YOUR CAT AT HOME

Cat Box/ Garbage Bag Technique

  1. Put your cat in the bathroom.
  2. Remove all rugs and towels.
  3. Take a litter box with litter and place it inside a garbage bag. Do this as if you were going to throw the litter and box away. The cat will be able to feel the litter but urinate on the plastic.
  4. When the cat urinates on the bag, collect it with the syringe provided and place in the urine cup.

 

Nosorb Method

  1. Put your cat in the bathroom.
  2. Remove all rugs and towels.
  3. Fill a clean litter box or other receptacle (aluminum roasting pans work very well!) with the nosorb litter. The cat will use it just like normal litter only it won’t absorb the urine.
  4. When the cat urinates in the box, collect it with the syringe provided and place in the urine cup.

Get the urine to us within one hour. If you can’t get it to us in that amount of time, place it in the refrigerator. You must get it to us within 24 hours for us to process it.

Click here for printable version

How to Tell if Your Cat is in Pain

Cats often disguise the fact they are in pain. That may be because in the wild, cats that appear sick or injured are vulnerable to predators. Cat pain can be caused by such things as arthritis, dental problems, urinary tract infections, bone disease and cancer. Pain is also common following a surgical procedure. You are in the best position to look for the subtle changes in behavior that may indicate your cat is suffering. It’s important to stay alert, because the sooner your cat’s pain is diagnosed and treated, the sooner he or she can heal and resume a normal, happy life. If your cat exhibits one or more of these behaviors and you suspect it may be due to pain, notify your veterinarian immediately.

DAILY HABITS: • Withdraws from social interaction • Decreased appetite • Changes in sleeping or drinking • Fails to use the litter box • Urinates frequently • Won’t groom or grooms less, looks unkempt • Sleeps more FACIAL EXPRESSION: • Grimaces, furrowed brow, vacant stare • Glazed, wide-eyed or looks sleepy • Enlarged pupils • Flattened ears • Pants when at rest ACTIVITY LEVEL: • Restless • Reluctant to move • Has difficulty getting up from a laying position • Repetitively gets up and lies down • Trembles or shakes • Limps • Can’t leap as high • Seeks more affection • Avoids being petted or handled • Hides POSTURE: • Generally lays with feet underneath • Arches back or tucks in abdomen SELF-MUTILATION: • Licking • Biting • Scratching a particular part of its body SELF-PROTECTION: • Protects a part of its body • Doesn’t put weight on a limb • Doesn’t want to be held or picked up AGGRESSIVE: especially a previously friendly cat • Acts out of character • Growls, hisses, bites • Pins ears back VOCALIZING: • Meowing • Purring • Hissing • Growling

Don’t Treat Your Cat’s Pain by Yourself NEVER administer pain medications to a pet without consulting your veterinarian. Many human pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, are poisonous to and can be fatal to cats. Different types of pain require different types of treatment. After diagnosing the problem, your veterinarian will explain the benefits, risks and costs associated with each option. That way, you and your veterinarian can choose the treatment plan that best meets the needs or you and your cat. Whenever you have a question or concern about your cat’s health, please call us!

Healthy, Happy Pets are Our Business!

Click here for printable version

How to Tell if Your Dog is in Pain

Dogs feel pain for many of the same reasons as humans: infections, dental problems, arthritis, bone disease and cancer. They also feel discomfort following surgical procedures. Unfortunately, unlike humans, they are unable to speak to us about when and where they hurt. You are in the best position to look for the subtle changes in behavior that may indicate your pet is suffering. It’s important to stay alert to these signs, because the sooner your dog’s pain is diagnosed and treated, the sooner he or she can heal and resume a normal, happy life. If your dog shows one or more of these behaviors and you suspect it may be due to pain, notify your veterinarian immediate.

ACTIVITY LEVEL: • Restless • Reluctant to move • Difficulty getting up from a laying position • Repetitively gets up and lays down • Trembling, circling or lying very still • Seeks more affection than usual FACIAL EXPRESSION: • Grimaces, vacant stare • Glazed, wide-eyed or looks sleepy • Enlarged pupils • Flattened ears • Pants excessively when at rest GROOMING: • Coat lacks normal shine • Hair stands up in places AGGRESSIVE: Especially a previously friendly dog • Acts out of character • Growls, bites • Pins ears back • A normally aggressive dog may act quite, docile POSTURE: • Hunched, with hind quarters raised and front end down on the ground • Lays on its side VOCALIZING: • Whining • Howling • Whimpering • Yelping • Groaning • Grunting SELF-MUTILATION: • Licking • Biting • Scratching a particular part of its body DAILY HABITS: • Decreased appetite • Withdraws from social interaction • Changes in sleeping or drinking • Lapses in housetraining • Sleeps more SELF-PROTECTION: • Protects a body part • Doesn’t put weight on a limb • Limps • Doesn’t want to be held or picked up • Hides

Don’t Treat Your Dog’s Pain by Yourself Never administer pain medication to a pet without consulting your veterinarian. After diagnosing the problem, your veterinarian will explain the benefits, risks and costs associated with various treatment options. That way, you and your veterinarian can choose the approach that best meets the needs of you and your dog.

If Your Veterinarian Prescribes a Pain Medication:

DO • Follow your veterinarian’s instructions. • Watch for possible side effects, including:

Vomiting Diarrhea Blood in stools (the stool appears black, tarry, like it contains coffee grounds) Change in drinking or urinating Change in behavior, such as depression, restlessness or appetite loss Yellowing of gums, skin or whites of eyes Changes in skin (redness, scabs or scratching) • Stop medicating immediately if your dog shows any of these symptoms and call your veterinarian at once. • Keep the drug(s) safely out of reach of your pets and children DON’T • Change the dosage or frequency unless directed by your veterinarian • Give any other drug to your dog while it is taking the pain medication without first talking to your veterinarian • Hesitate to call your veterinarian if you ever have questions or concerns Healthy, Happy Pets are Our Business!

Click here for printable version

Puppies Remember, young puppies also have young immune systems and are susceptible to contagious diseases, do your best to keep them away from a lot of exposure until their immune system gets older and more effective. This means limited trips to the park or walks in the neighborhood. It is important to socialize your puppy but do not expose her/him to dogs or places that might be highly contagious. Puppies over eight weeks of age should receive the combination Distemper/Hepatitis/Parvo (DHP) vaccination three to four weeks apart until fifteen to sixteen weeks of age. The rabies* vaccination can be given as early as twelve weeks old but I prefer to vaccinate between four to six months of age. (The county requires that it be given by four months of age+  ) The first rabies vaccination given is a one year vaccine. Adult dogs One year after the last puppy DHP vaccine your dog should receive a 3 year DHP vaccination. Then one month, or more, later a three year rabies vaccine can be given. Dogs older than one year, who are up to date on their vaccinations, can receive a DHP vaccine every three years or we can run titers (blood antibody levels) to determine his/her immunity and vaccinate as needed. We can discuss, and decide together, the pros and cons of both options. A Rabies vaccination will need to be given every three years unless it is demonstrated that your pet has a serious illness directly related to vaccination(s) at which point a one year medical exemption can be issued. Both Hillsborough and Pasco counties allow medical exemptions for county licenses. An antibody titer can be run done to determine the level of protection but this test is not recognized by the county in lieu of vaccination. Other Vaccines I generally do not recommend the bordatella (kennel cough) vaccination unless your pet is going to be at a facility that requires it (boarding kennel, groomers, show circuit or training facility). (There is a homeopathic nosode that may give a temporary level of protection.) I recommend the K9 Influenza, Corona virus, Leptospirosis, and Lyme vaccinations ONLY for an animal that will be at high risk of exposure. We can discuss your pet’s risk factors and make this decision together.  I do not, at this point, suggest the Giardia or Ringworm vaccines. Other important info I do suggest physical exams, heartworm tests and fecal tests be done on a yearly basis and that heartworm prevention be given on a monthly basis. I recommend the monthly preventatives Heartgard Plus, Interceptor or Advantage Multi. I do not trust Revolution to protect against intestinal parasites nor do I trust the homeopathic heartworm nosode to protect against heartworm infection.

Remember, the best protection is a HEALTHY IMMUNE SYSTEM and minimal exposure to viruses, either via vaccines or by natural exposure. High quality nutrition, toxin free air and water, exercise and a loving home environment are essential components of a healthy life.

*Homeopathic Lyssin 30C is given to any patient receiving a rabies vaccine to ‘protect’ them from the potential harm that homeopathic theory believes the rabies vaccine can cause.  (Or constitutional homeopathic treatment can be started after vaccines are stopped.) + Remember, because rabies is a potential threat to human health, and therefore can be a legal issue, we need to follow acceptable protocol as closely as possible.

 
Kittens Remember, young kittens also have young immune systems and are susceptible to contagious diseases. Do your best to keep them away from a lot of exposure until their immune system gets older and more effective. This means limited trips to visit kitty friends. It is important to socialize your kitten but do not expose him/her to cats or places that might be highly contagious. Kittens over 8 weeks of age are given a FVRCP vaccination (feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia; i.e. the ‘distemper’ shot). This vaccination is then repeated every 3 to 4 weeks; the last vaccination should be when the kitten is 15 to 16 weeks of age. Kittens can be given a one year rabies* vaccination at 3 months of age, but I prefer to wait until they are at least 4 months old. The county requires that the rabies vaccination be given by four months old+.   This first rabies vaccination is a one year vaccine. I prefer for rabies and FVRCP vaccinations to be given separately, at least one month apart. Unless your kitten will be at risk I do not recommend the vaccines for chlamydia (a respiratory virus), feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), feline leukemia (Feleuk) or feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). We can discuss your kitten’s risk factors and make a decision together. Cats One year after the kitten vaccines your cat should receive the 3 year FVRCP vaccine, then  a three year rabies* vaccine one month or more after. I then suggest the FVRCP vaccination be given at age 4 and at most every 3 years. Antibody levels (titers) can be done to determine when your cat would benefit from a booster. In totally inside cats with no exposure potential booster FVRCP vaccinations may be given more infrequently. The protection against the respiratory aspect seems to decrease in three to four years. The rabies vaccination should be given every 3 years+. For those individuals who have shown adverse reactions to vaccines a medical exemption can be issued. An antibody titer can be done to determine the level of protection against rabies but this test is not recognized by the county in lieu of vaccination. I do suggest physical exams and fecal tests be done on a yearly basis. For outside cats, a Feleuk/FIV/heartworm test should be part of their annual assessment. Heartworm prevention Although it isn’t widely publicized, cats need heartworm prevention, even indoor cats. There are several options available and we can discuss which one meets your needs ±. Remember, the best protection is a HEALTHY IMMUNE SYSTEM.  High quality nutrition, toxin free air and water, exercise and a loving home environment are essential components of a healthy life. *Homeopathic Lyssin 30c is given to any patient receiving a rabies vaccine to ‘protect’ the pet from the potential harm that homeopathic theory believes that rabies vaccine can cause. Constitutional homeopathic treatment can be started after vaccines are stopped. +Remember, because rabies is a potential threat to human health, and therefore can be a legal issue, we need to follow acceptable protocol as closely as possible. ±Due to their higher metabolic rate the dosage of heartworm prevention for cats is different than that of dogs so if you have both cats and dogs it’s not recommended that they share heartworm prevention.

 

Click here for printable version