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We hope this information is useful.
These short comments are provided by our doctors and staff as a public service for publication in the:
New-Sickle-Arrow of Cross Plains,
One of our missions is to encourage education in our local communities with respect to the care and well being of cats and dogs while helping their owners gain peace of mind as they provide that care.
Over 35% of adult cats in the U.S. are overweight or obese. There are many risk factors for obesity in cats including genetics, gender, neutering, age, activity, food type and method of feeding. Of those risk factors the only ones you can control are activity and feeding. Unless your cat is naturally thin you should regulate how much he eats. Feed a maximum of 23 calories per pound of ideal body weight, per day. For example, a 10 pound cat would be limited to 230 calories per day. Feeding a high protein/low carbohydrate canned food should also be considered. This type of food resembles the feline's naturally carnivorous diet and has additional health benefits.
Is/Are "Ear Mites"
External ear disease, involving the ear flap (or pinna) and/or ear canal is common in both cats and dogs. Typical symptoms involve redness, itching, pain, and variably colored waxy discharge which can range from gray to tan or dark brown, depending on the type of infection. A common misconception is that most ear disease in cats and dogs is caused by ear mites. In fact, in dogs and indoor cats, this is rarely the case. Far more frequently, yeast or bacterial infections are present. These infections can only be diagnosed by looking at a sample of ear discharge under the microscope. Ear mite medications will not help, and will often make the problem worse.
A Rabies Reminder
I read an article about a girl in California who became infected with rabies virus from a feral cat. She is still alive, being one of only two people to survive after developing symptoms of Rabies. Her story reminded me to urge you to talk with your kids about handling wild animals. In Wisconsin, most cases of rabies are transmitted by bats. Your children should be instructed never to approach, pick up, or touch a bat (or other wild animal), and if they ever find one they should tell you about it right away. And of course, please vaccinate your cats and dogs. Because when you tell your pets not to touch a bat, they may not listen!
How much should I feed my pet?
A rough formula to use when calculating your pet's caloric needs is as follows: Multiply your cat or dog's proper weight in pounds by 13.6. Then add 70. For instance, if your cat's ideal weight is 9 pounds, her daily needs are (9 x 13.6) + 70 = 192 calories. Find out how many calories are in a cup of the food you are feeding. Divide the total daily calories by calories per cup and you have the number of cups per day. Puppies and kittens will need 2-3 times more than adults. Inactive pets will need less.
Misconceptions About Change in Appetite
In general, most healthy dogs and cats will have a consistent appetite from day to day. Any change in appetite, whether gradual or sudden, is a cause for concern, especially if accompanied by weight gain or loss. One of the more common misconceptions is that an increase in appetite with weight loss usually indicates having worms. Sometimes this is true, but just as often these symptoms are associated with diabetes or a thyroid condition. Another red flag would be a pet who becomes tired of their usual food, necessitating frequent diet changes to keep them eating. This is never normal and should be looked into.
Kennel cough is a highly contagious respiratory infection of dogs, caused by several strains of virus and bacteria, only some of which your dog can be vaccinated against. It is characterized by uncontrollable fits of hacking, coughing and gagging, or occasionally only sneezing. Symptoms can be dramatic and may appear as if the dog is trying to dislodge something stuck in its throat. Some dogs cough up white foam which may be mistaken for vomit. Onset is usually 2-14 days after being exposed where large numbers of dogs congregate, examples include groomers, kennels, dog parks and obedience classes. Most affected animals remain active with a good appetite. If your dog appears very ill, then the infection may have progressed to pneumonia, or be something other than kennel cough.
With the recent unusual weather pattern in our area, we are seeing an early upsurge in the flea population, which typically doesn't occur until later in the summer. While some individual cats and dogs are allergic and will show noticeable signs of discomfort, others have no symptoms. Still, fleas can transmit tapeworm and bacterial infections to both pets and humans. As with most things, the best treatment is prevention. We recommend monthly application of Frontline Plus to all cats and dogs who may become exposed to fleas, typically those who go outdoors. Once your house becomes infested, eradication is difficult and involves treatment of the premises as well as all pets.
Hypertension in Cats and Dogs
Systemic hypertension (high blood pressure) is common in cats and dogs as they age. This condition is usually secondary to another disease. The most common causes are chronic kidney disease, hyperthyroidism (cats), Cushings disease (dogs) and Diabetes Mellitus. Left untreated it can cause retinal detachment (blindness) and damage to internal organs. Hypertension is treatable. If your pet has one of the above conditions or is over nine years old, consider having his or her blood pressure checked. For more information go to www.VeterinaryPartner.com (high blood pressure).
Feline House Soiling
House soiling is the number one behavior problem of indoor cats causing many to be turned outside, given away or euthanized. It can be caused by a behavior or a medical condition or both and the sooner we address it the better. If your cat is urinating outside of the liter box he or she should be examined and a urine test should be done to rule out medical problems. No matter what the cause, there are treatment options. For more information go to VeterinaryPartner.com (feline house soiling) and then make an appointment!
Euthanasia-When is it time?
Making a decision to euthanize a beloved pet is heart wrenching, and one that we as pet owners are all inevitably faced with and struggle with. I often get asked how do I know when it is time? Consider the following: Does your pet still enjoy his favorite things, is he still interested in spending time with you and are there more good days than bad? Is he eating? Comfortably resting and breathing? If not, call and talk to your veterinarian, who has years of experience and can help you feel more confident that you are making the right choice at the right time. In the end we all want what is best for you and your pet.
Household Medications and Pets
Many common medications that are safe for humans can be deadly to cats and dogs. For example, Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Aleve, and Naproxen can cause stomach ulcers and kidney damage, as can Aspirin in the wrong dosage. Antidepressants, ADHD medications, and Pseudoephedrine (a decongestant found in cough and cold remedies) will elevate blood pressure and heart rate and may cause seizures. Muscle relaxants, diabetic and cancer drugs, even certain topical skin creams may be poisonous.
Some household medications may be used in pets, but only under veterinary supervision. Because each species metabolizes drugs differently, there can be large differences between humans and pets when it comes to the proper dose. Always ask your veterinarian before administering any human medication.
Cats don't get cavities but an astounding 50-75% will suffer from a similar painful condition. It is called Feline Oral Resorptive Lesions (FORL). This is a condition where the tooth begins to degenerate at or below the gum line. Eventually the tooth is destroyed. During the resorptive process, which takes months to years, the tooth is extremely painful and susceptible to fracture. The recommended treatment is extraction of the affected teeth. Because cats try to hide their pain, and signs of FORL can be vague, it often goes unnoticed by owners. Your veterinarian can check for FORL's during a physical exam and propose a treatment plan to help keep your feline friend pain free.
Which bones are safe for dogs?
The short answer is, no bone is entirely safe. Yes, dogs are genetically identical to wolves and chewing raw bones in the wild is part of their natural behavior. Chewing helps clean the teeth, and relieves anxiety, frustration, and boredom. However, bones may also lead to broken teeth, bowel obstruction, and choking. Raw bones carry the risk of salmonella and E. coli, while cooked bones are more prone to splintering. Pork chop and poultry bones are sharp and may cause internal lacerations and bleeding.
Your responsibility as a pet owner involves close supervision if you choose to provide bones as chew toys. Use larger beef bones and discard the bone when it becomes small enough to swallow. Better yet, substitute with safer alternatives: nylon bones, hard rubber toys, or pressed rawhide.
Everything You Didn't Want to Know About Tapeworms
Most everyone knows about tapeworms-those disgusting flat worms that can infect our pets. But did you know that one of the most common types of tapeworm is spread by FLEAS? Diplidium caninum spends its adult life inside of its host and little segments of its tail break off and are released while the host is asleep. The segments look like flat rice grains and can move when fresh. They can be seen clinging to the fur around the pet's backside. After a while they drop off, eggs are released and are eaten by flea larvae where they continue their development. When your pet licks himself and ingests a flea the tapeworm larvae is released and finds a new home in the intestinal tract of your beloved pet. Within 3 weeks the cycle starts over and fresh segments will start showing up.
The moral of this story is to check under the tail every once in a while and let us know if you see anything fishy. Also don't forget the flea control, because controlling fleas will help control these disgusting parasites.
Looking out for our feline friends
As a species, cats are closely related to their wild counterparts and share similar behaviors. For instance, they tend to try to disguise when they are sick much as a wild animal would. I can't tell you how often I have found painful dental lesions, ear disease, even life threatening infections that owners were completely unaware of, on a routine exam. As guardians for these creatures, we must educate ourselves as to subtle signs of illness. Cats that are not well will tend to become less social, and their regular daily habits may change. A decrease in grooming behavior may be all that is noticed. Often, there are no outward signs at all, which makes annual physical examination by a veterinarian especially important for cats
Obesity in Pets... Don't Kill Them With Kindness!
Who doesn't love food? We all do! That is why, when we want to shower our pets with love, we may be tempted to overfeed them.
However, obesity leads to unnecessary suffering for a growing number of animals each year. Chronic discomfort due to arthritis, breathing difficulties, overheating, skin disease and diabetes are among the more common syndromes which result from simply too much food.
Remember, your pet loves you regardless of your feeding practices. Going for a walk, playing with a toy, or just giving an affectionate hug will give both of you pleasure, and be better for your pet's long term health.
Dermatophytosis, more commonly known as ringworm, is actually a fungal infection residing in the skin and hair and affects many species of animals, including humans, cats, dogs, cattle and horses. In people, it tends to form itchy scaly rings, thus its name. The veterinary form is most often seen in cats coming from stressed or overcrowded environments. (Dogs are relatively immune). One typical scenario involves the barn kitten which is rescued and brought indoors. She may have a few irregularly shaped dry, gray, scaly patches on the head and limbs which don't seem to bother her. The infection is contagious to human family members, especially children. If you see lesions like this on your pet, give your veterinarian a call.
Can I get worms from my dog?
This week continues with our discussion of parasites in pets and their potential for transmission to people.
Intestinal worms of cats and dogs - roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms are actually quite easily spread to humans, especially children and those with weakened immune systems. This usually occurs through accidental ingestion of contaminated soil. Once ingested, the immature worms (larvae) usually cause no major issues, but in certain individuals, they migrate through the body to cause damage to liver, lungs, the eye, or even the brain. Some types of larvae can also directly penetrate the skin, causing a localized rash.
For this reason it is important to have your pet wormed regularly, and educate yourself and your children about risks and prevention. For more information, visit www.petsandparasites.org.
Updated Heartworm Prevention Recommendations
Current American Heartworm Society recommendations for dogs have changed recently, and now suggest that monthly heartworm preventatives be administered year round, instead of just during the warmer months. This provides better control of heartworm infection as well as its symptoms.
Despite year round prevention, annual testing continues to be recommended. Heartworm is a very deadly disease for your pet, and preventatives are not 100% effective. In addition, in our area, it is important to test annually for other diseases which dogs may contract from ticks: Lyme, Anaplasma, and Ehrlichia. At Mazomanie Animal Hospital, the same three drops of blood we collect for the heartworm test are used to test for the other 3 diseases, and we get tableside results on all, within 15 minutes.
Year round heartworm administration has other advantages besides better control of heartworm. Preventatives such as Heartgard and Interceptor also provide protection against intestinal parasites, which are always present in the environment.
Additionally, there is no need to schedule a separate appointment in the spring for heartworm testing. With year round prevention, testing may be done at any time of year, and can be conveniently scheduled at the same time as other routine services such as vaccination.
Old Dog Dementia
It is not uncommon for dogs of advanced age to begin to show signs of dementia, or senility. This condition may manifest as inattention to the environment, including people or other animals, and inability to recognize familiar places and people or to respond to a name or to previously learned commands. There may be loss of housetraining, or unexpected aggression, changes in the sleep/wake cycle and uncontrolled or abnormal vocalization.
If your dog is showing these signs, it is important to rule out other medical conditions such as deafness or advanced arthritis as causes. In the case of true dementia, it will typically get worse over time, but there are medications and dietary modifications that may help slow the progression.
Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a microscopic parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. Most people are aware that cats, which contract the parasite through eating prey or raw meat, can spread it to their owners through contact with cat feces. A pregnant woman may pass it to her unborn fetus, causing severe brain and eye disease, or even death, in the infant. Immunocompromised individuals are also at risk.
What is not generally realized is that people are much more likely to become infected with the parasite through eating raw meat and unwashed fruits and vegetables, than from handling cat feces. Unsafe practices include gardening without gloves, eating unwashed produce, and consuming undercooked lamb, pork, deer, or raw goat's milk.
For more information, view Cornell Feline Health Center?s article: http://www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/brochures/toxo.html
I have different ages and types of dogs. Can I feed them all the same food?
Most commercial pet foods are labeled for all life stages, and will provide the minimum nutrient requirements whether feeding a growing puppy, lactating bitch, adult or senior dog. Because these diets provide enough calories and protein for growing dogs, they contain more than an older or inactive pet needs and may lead to obesity. The average commercial diet may also contain too much calcium for large breed puppies, allowing bone growth to occur more rapidly than is healthy.
Not allowing your older or large breed dog to overeat foods formulated for all life stages is one possible solution, or you may choose to feed a diet specifically geared to the life stage of your pet.
Leptospirosis, you, and your pet
Leptospirosis is a serious bacterial infection that can affect the liver, kidneys, brain, lungs, and heart. It can infect humans as well as many wild and domestic animals, including cats and dogs. The bacteria, which are spread through the urine, get into water or soil and survive there for weeks to months. Signs of Leptospirosis in your pet include drinking and urinating large amounts, fever, lethargy, and poor appetite. Most cases are diagnosed between July and December, and younger animals are more severely affected. If caught early, Leptospirosis is treatable with antibiotics, but long lasting kidney damage may result. A vaccination for Leptospirosis is available for dogs and is commonly included in the distemper combination vaccine.
Q. My dog hates having his nails trimmed. Is there anything I can do to make him behave better while getting them trimmed?
The best solution to this problem is to begin practicing nail trimming in puppyhood, but even an adult dog can learn. Work with your dog every day, handling his feet when he is relaxed, and feeding him treats if he gets nervous. Once he tolerates this, start by trimming just the tips off of one or two nails. Be sure to offer praise and treats if he lays quietly for you. If he is wiggly, you may need the help of another person. With firmness and persistence, most dogs will eventually learn to accept the procedure.
Reverse Sneezing (Pharyngeal Gag Reflex)
Reverse sneezing, called that because it sounds a bit like a dog inhaling sneezes, is a disconcerting event in which a dog makes unpleasant respiratory sounds that sound like it is dying -- or will die in the next few minutes.
However it is a simple condition that usually does not need any treatment. It is caused by irritation of the soft palate and throat that results in a spasm. During the spasm, the dog?s neck will extend and the chest will expand as the dog tries harder to inhale through its nose. More often than not, just as suddenly as it starts, the spasm is over.
For more information on this topic, visit www.VeterinaryPartner.com
Ticks... not just another ugly face
Did you know that ticks can transmit at least 10 different diseases to cats and dogs? You know about Lyme Disease but we also see Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichiosis, Babesiosis and Tick Paralysis. Symptoms of these diseases can be vague and difficult to detect or they can be severe and life threatening. We can screen for some of these potentially devastating infections with a quick blood test.
Do what you can to protect your pets from tick transmitted illness. Frontline Plus, used monthly, is still the best flea and tick product available. Have your dogs vaccinated for Lyme disease, and protect yourself in tick infested areas with light colored clothing, long sleeves and pants, and a repellent.
What is a wellness screen?
Early detection of disease is a crucial element of your pet's healthcare. Once a problem has been identified, we can develop treatment plan including recommendations at a point when appropriate care will make the most difference. Many pets appear normal upon physical examination, and their abnormalities would go undetected without a wellness screening, a blood test designed to detect these silent problems. Our staff can perform a simple in-house blood test that can alert us to infection, inflammatory disease, and anemia. Often, a simple diet change is all that's needed to avoid major health problems. Our wellness screen is a simple blood test. We usually have results in 20 to 30 minutes. If you have questions, please talk to a team member.
Why is my dog so itchy?
In our practice we see more dermatologic (skin) problems during the dog days of summer than at any other time of year. Frequent swimming and wet fur can lead to bacterial and yeast infections of the skin and ears. August through first frost is high season for canine allergies. And fleas absolutely love this weather. Chewing and licking that keep both you and your dog awake at night, hair loss, greasy malodorous coat, and rash are all signs that warrant a visit to the vet in order to sort out the specific cause of your pet's discomfort.
Xylitol Poisoning In Dogs
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in sugarless gum and candies. While this ingredient has benefits for us, it can be lethal for your pet, even in small quantities. It takes only one or two sticks of sugarless gum to poison a medium sized dog. Xylitol poisoning causes a sudden drop in blood sugar, resulting in weakness, stupor, coma or seizures. If your dog survives this period, irreversible liver damage can occur. Dogs are very inquisitive and also have a sweet tooth, so be sure to tell your whole family, including the kids: leave xylitol containing products out of your pet's reach.
The following symptoms may indicate the onset of a treatable illness in your aging pet.
These symptoms may come on gradually or suddenly. Early intervention often means more successful treatment.
Love your pet, visit the vet!
Dental Disease in Pets... Not Just a Cosmetic Problem
An astounding 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of oral disease by age 3. Without proper preventive or therapeutic care, plaque and tartar buildup leads to periodontal disease, which affects the tissues and structures supporting the teeth. Red, swollen and tender gums, receding gums, bleeding, pain and bad breath, if left untreated, can lead to tooth and bone loss. The inflammation and infection associated with periodontal disease may also enter the bloodstream and damage other organs such as the heart, liver, kidneys, and lungs. Most dental disease, unfortunately, goes unrecognized by pet owners until it is at an advanced stage. For more information on how you can keep your pet's mouth healthy and comfortable, visit www.petdental.com.
Heatstroke in Dogs... Highest Incidence in Early Summer
Heatstroke in dogs is a medical emergency in which the pet's temperature exceeds 106° F. Since a dog's primary cooling mechanism occurs through panting, anything which interferes with evaporation of saliva from the upper airways can result in elevated body temperatures. Risk factors include dehydration, high environmental humidity, and having a flat or short nosed facial conformation. Signs of heatstroke include excessive panting, drooling, inability to rise, bloody diarrhea and vomit, trembling, seizures, and coma. The gums may be bright red or purple. First aid at home should consist of thoroughly wetting the dog with cool but NOT ice cold water, then getting immediate medical attention, driving with the windows down or an air vent on the dog. Never leave your dog in an overheated vehicle, even with the windows down. Be careful with exercise in hot weather, and never leave a dog chained outside without shade. Be sure your pet has access to water at all times.