The El Nino rains with their winds of 1993 blew in the type of mosquito that spreads heartworm among pets. The first cases were seen around irrigated communities like Green Valley (pecans) and Marana. Not only do we have the appropriate mosquitoes, but we have pets from all areas of the US that come here as snow birds, and many of these harbor the worms.
Archive for the ‘Common to Cats and Dogs’ Category
An 8 yr old male neutered lab named Marner owned by Ricky and Marlene presented for numerous large round patches of bloody erosions on his skin, constantly scratched at them, and was covered in huge dandruff flakes some an inch in diam. He was being fed generic dog food from a big box membership store. Diagnosis was Zinc Deficiency and a diet change to Science Diet cured him in 2 weeks.
In general, Wiseman Animal Hospital Doctors recommend the following rule of thumb for selecting a diet. If you have never heard of it, if you can only buy it in one store in town, or on line, if you only found out about it on the internet, if it is trendy, do not feed it. Buy something that you have heard of your whole life. Purina, Science Diet, Alpo, Kibbles and Bits, Iams and so forth.
Bring your dog or cat to our clinic during the month of March and receive $200 off a dental cleaning. Please call our office for more details.
Taking your dog or cat with you may add enjoyment to your trip. It is important to keep your pet’s health and safety in mind when traveling, so check with your veterinarian well in advance of your departure date. If you are flying, notify the airline at least two weeks before you travel. Familiarize yourself with the airlines pet requirements so that you can avoid any last minute complications. Here are some tips for travel with your pet:
Make sure that your pet is current on all vaccinations. Some destinations require specific vaccinations. Your veterinarian can help you find out which vaccinations are necessary.
Have your dog checked for heart worms and institute heart worm preventative medication if you are traveling to a heart worm endemic area.
Obtain a health certificate from your veterinarian before traveling. Health certificates are valid for thirty days for ground travel and ten days for air travel. It may be necessary to visit a veterinarian at your destination for a health certificate for your return trip. Your veterinarian would be happy to recommend a veterinarian at most US destinations.
Travel with your pet in a kennel. Kennels which satisfy airline requirements are convenient and inexpensive. Traveling in a kennel is safer for your pet and for you.
Familiarize your pet with the kennel and car travel before you travel. Begin with short trips.
Remember that your pet needs breaks as much as you do.
Make sure that your pet has identification tags attached to a snug fitting collar or harness.
Special tips for airline travel:
Take direct flights and avoid connections and layovers. This eliminates missed baggage connections and the chance that your pet will be left in extreme weather.
Remember that health certificates are only good for ten days when traveling via the airlines.
Airlines may allow a pet to travel within an approved carrier in the luggage storage area beneath the seat in the cabin. Be sure to notify the airline that your pet will be traveling with you as restrictions often apply. Obviously, only small pets qualify for this type of travel.
Do not feed your pet six hours before the flight. Allow your pet to drink water up until the time of the flight. Give your pet fresh water as soon as you arrive at your destination.
Airlines have specific kennel requirements. Check with the airline to ensure that your kennel meets their requirements. Kennels must have a water receptacle attached to the door that can be filled without opening the cage. The kennel must have specific feeding and identification labels permanently attached.
Baggage limitations apply to pets. Check your tickets for limitations. Remember to speak with an airline representative well before you travel.
Be aware that air travel may pose a risk for certain breeds of dogs and for pets with pre-existing medical problems. Be sure to discuss your travel plans with your veterinarian.
Other useful advice:
Arrange ahead of time for lodging that allows pets.
Make sure that your pet wears a collar with attached identification tags at all times.
If you leave your pet unattended in lodging rooms, make sure that there is no opportunity for escape.
Leave your pet in its kennel or in the bathroom. Notify the house keeping staff that your pet is in the room. Use the do not disturb sign.
If your pet gets lost, notify the local animal control authorities as soon as possible.
Tips for international travelers:
Many countries have very stringent animal import requirements including extended quarantines. Familiarize yourself with these requirements well before you travel.
Most countries require that a copy of your pets health certificate be forwarded to them by the US federal veterinarian.
Health certificates are only valid from point to point. If you plan to travel to more than one foreign country, be aware that a new health certificate is necessary for each leg of your journey. This necessitates that you visit a veterinarian at each destination as it is not possiblefor your veterinarian at home to write the numerous health certificates required for each leg of your trip.
Remember, advanced planning is vital to make your trip an enjoyable experience for both you and your pet. Make arrangements for your pet well in advance, especially if you are traveling by air or to foreign countries. Your veterinarian is a good source for information and advice.
The Holiday Season is here. While our celebrations bring us much happiness and joy, our pets may be exposed to health hazards not present the rest of the year. Holiday feasts are part of both Thanksgiving and Christmas tradition. While you are sitting in front of the turkey and potatoes, remember that dogs and cats should not eat people food. The following are some of the hazards that your holiday meal pose to your pets:
Bones, especially poultry bones, pose a threat to your pet. All bones splinter. These splinters may become lodged in or perforate the bowel, resulting in the need for expensive surgical intervention. Even if bones do not become lodged, they cause irritation to the digestive tract which may lead to vomiting and diarrhea.
Fatty foods, such as turkey skin or roast trimmings often cause problems just as severe. Snacks high in fat can cause the common GI upset resulting in vomiting in diarrhea. In some cases, a much more severe condition, inflammation of the pancreas, occurs. This inflammation, called Pancreatitis, can be life threatening. Symptoms include abdominal pain, vomiting diarrhea, depression and refusal of food and water. Often, pets obtain these unhealthy treats from the garbage or from unknowing guests. Remember to dispose of unwanted left overs in such a way that your pet can not get to them. Remind guests that your pets do not eat people food.
Chocolate in moderate to large quantities is poisonous to dogs. If your pet sneaks such a snack, call the veterinarian.
Poisonous plants , not usually available to your pets are around during the holidays. Poinsettias and Mistletoe are the most common. Keep these plants out of reach of your pets. Call the veterinarian if your pet chews on or consumes any holiday plants.
Cats and tinsel don’t mix. Cats that play with and consume tinsel or thread are asking for severe GI problems that most often require surgical correction. If your cat plays with tinsel, consider eliminating tinsel from your tree or restrict your cat’s access to the tree.
If you feel that your pet needs a special holiday treat, we suggest a tasty can of pet food or some pet treat.
Maintaining the health of your pet’s teeth is one of the most important things that you can do to increase the comfort and length of your pet’s life. Not only is dental disease painful for your pet, but there are bacteria in the calculus (tartar) that will make their way into the bloodstream and can end up in just about any organ. This can cause heart problems, kidney disease, liver disease and lung infections! By preventing these problems, your pet health care costs in later years will be reduced, and your pet will be much better company with no bad breath.
How often your pet will need a dental cleaning is dependent upon many factors, including breed, individual dentition, diet, and home dental care.
Dental cleaning in animals requires the use of anesthesia. Prior to putting any pet under anesthesia, we run bloodwork to check the function of various organs. This lets us know if your pet will need special care due to an increased risk of problems. Our anesthetics are chosen with your pet’s utmost safety in mind and are dictated by their physical exam and laboratory findings.
Once your pet is under anesthesia, an ultrasonic scaler is used to remove the calculus both above and below the gum line. All teeth are checked for diseased roots, and unhealthy teeth may be extracted at this time. The teeth are then polished to make them smooth and more resistant to calculus buildup. Antiseptic flushing is important after polishing to get rid of bacteria both above and below the gum-line. Finally, a fluoride coating is applied to the teeth. Antibiotics are always given due to the release of bacteria that live in the tartar. Aftercare by the pet owner is very important. This includes a routine of tooth brushing and possibly a special diet.
Regular care of your pet’s teeth can increase their lifespan by several years!
Caring for your senior pet means more than treating problems as they arise. By knowing about some of the common diseases of older pets, and understanding the importance of early detection, you and your pet can enjoy a longer, healthier relationship.
Cats and dogs age faster than humans. The old adage of one dog (or cat) year equals seven human years is a close estimate, but it may vary from this depending on breed and size of dog (large dogs age faster). Because pets are unable to tell us when something is wrong, it is necessary to pay very close attention to their behavior. We also highly recommend veterinary exams twice a year, and yearly screening tests in older animals. These tests allow us to discover problems early on and begin treatment right away. This can improve the quality of life for your pet, as well as extending life expectancy.
Common problems of older animals:
Dental disease-infection of the teeth and gums can decrease a petâ€™s life expectancy by several years. This painful problem can allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream and go to the heart, liver or kidneys. Tooth brushing and professional cleanings help prevent this.
Obesity – this problem increases the chances of developing diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and more. We can design a weight loss program that is safe and effective.
Kidney disease – this is one of the leading causes of death in older cats. Early detection allows us to put the pet on a special diet, and home fluid therapy may be given if needed.
Heart disease – A common problem in older dogs. Early detection (using physical exam, xrays and ecg) allows us to put the pet on medication and a special diet to prolong its life.
Thyroid problems – Dogs tend to get hypothyroid, while cats can become hyperthyroid. Either condition is detectable on bloodwork, and both are treatable.
Lumps and bumps-older pets often have benign fatty tumors called lipomas. These lumps, however, can look just like other types of skin tumors that are cancerous, and only looking at the cells under a microscope will tell the difference.
These are just a few of the problems that may affect older pets. This is why we recommend that all pets 9 years of age and older (5years and over in large breed dogs) have veterinary exams twice a year, screening bloodwork and urinalysis once a year, and xrays every other year. It is our goal at Wiseman Animal Hospital to do all we can to keep your senior pet happy and healthy.
SENIOR CARE CHECKLIST
If you checked yes to any of these signs, your pet may need special care. Talk to your veterinarian.
Difficulty climbing stairs ____ ____
Difficulty jumping up ____ ____
Increased stiffness or limping ____ ____
Loss of housetraining: house soiling ____ ____
Changes in litter box habits/
Inappropriate elimination (cats) ____ ____
Increased thirst ____ ____
Increased urination ____ ____
Changes in activity level ____ ____
Excessive panting or changes in breathing patterns ____ ____
Circling/repetitive movements ____ ____
Confusion or disorientation ____ ____
Excessive barking/meowing ____ ____
Less interaction with family members/hiding ____ ____
Decreased responsiveness ____ ____
Tremors or shaking ____ ____
Skin and haircoat changes ____ ____
Excessive scratching ____ ____
Changes in sleeping patterns/location ____ ____
Less enthusiastic greeting or behavior ____ ____
Altered appetite ____ ____
Weight change ____ ____
Summertime Pet Tips
Pets always need plenty of fresh water. This is especially true in the hot summer months. A 100-lb. dog, being non-active in a cool room needs about one and a half liters of water per day. The same dog, this time active and outside on a 100-degree day, will consume up to ten times more water.
Water should be fresh every day and be kept in an accessible place out of the sun. Cool water is much more palatable and your pet is less likely to become dehydrated if there is cool water available.
Make sure that there is shade available for your pet throughout the day. Temperatures on the ground (at dog level) can be much higher than the air temperature.
Feed and exercise your pet in the morning or the evening when it is cool.
The summer months are the heart of the flea and tick season. If your pet has fleas or ticks, it is important to take steps to eradicate these pests. Remember that it is necessary to treat your yard and house as well. Your veterinarian can help formulate a plan to eliminate these pests.
Never leave your pet in a car even if the windows are left open. Temperatures inside a car can reach lethal levels in a very short time. Also, it is the law.
If you suspect that your pet is suffering from heat stroke or shock, call your veterinarian. Cooling a pet with high body temperatures is important but should be done in a controlled fashion. Your veterinarian is prepared to give the proper instructions and at times, hospitalization is necessary.
Summertime is grass awn time. These awns, sometimes called “Fox Tails”, can become imbedded under pet’s skin or inside the ear canal, leading to draining tracts, abscesses, otitis externa and even hearing loss. If your pet is excessively shaking its head or scratching at its ears, contact your veterinarian.
Something else to watch out for:
Foxtails are grass seeds that have an appearance similar to wheat. They are especially prevalent in summers following wet winters. As the grass awns become dry and brown, their attachment to the grass stem loosens. When an animal brushes against the grass, the awns become lodged in the animal’s hair coat and work themselves deeper as time passes. These awns can actually pierce the skin and pass into the body. More commonly, the awns become lodged in ear canals, vulvar folds and between the toes. This leads to pain, infection, hearing loss and other problems. Foxtail grass awns must usually be removed under anesthesia to ensure that the entire awn is retrieved. An antibiotic injection is given to the animal and antibiotics are sent home for longer-term therapy.
Spiders, bees, wasps, scorpions and centipedes are capable of delivering a painful or poisonous bite or sting. The good news is that most of these bites and stings lead to local swelling and pain without long term consequences. The exception is the Brown Recluse spider. This rare spider delivers a painful bite that leads to progressive tissue death. Ingestion of many of these spiders and insects can lead to rapid onset of severe diarrhea and vomiting. If you feel that your pet has been involved with these unsavory creatures, a trip to the veterinary hospital is in order. Treatment usually involves an injection and antihistamines. More severe cases may involve hospitalization or even surgical removal of dead tissue in the case of the Brown Recluse bite.
Colorado River toads are large toads seen only during late summer corresponding with our monsoons. These toads have glands within their skin, which produce a toxin that is released when the toad is disturbed. The toxin does no harm on skin but it does lead to some severe problems when contacting oral mucosa or if the toad is ingested. The most common sign of toad toxicity is severe profuse salivation. First aid involves flushing out the animal’s mouth with a hose or faucet. In most cases this is all the treatment necessary. If there is any chance that your pet has ingested any part of the toad an emergency trip to the veterinary hospital is in order. A good rule of thumb: The presence of a dead toad or continued strange behavior from your pet after rinsing the mouth warrants a trip to the veterinary hospital. Treatment is usually supportive in nature, as there is no anti-toxin.
Gila Monsters are poisonous lizards found around the Tucson area. Their saliva is toxic and their bite is forceful and prolonged. The pet is treated symptomatically with IV fluids and antibiotics. Treatment may be long term and include blood tests to gauge effectiveness of the treatment.
If you suspect that your pet has been bitten or stung, the safest bet is to call the veterinary hospital and ask advice. These emergencies are usually easily treated and recovery is rapid. Without treatment, some bites may prove fatal.
Fleas and ticks are the two most common external parasites of dogs and cats. Fleas and ticks survive by feeding on the blood of dogs, cats and sometimes people. Flea and tick feeding bites lead to several problems for your pet and for you, including constant itching (pruritis), hair loss (alopecia), hypersensitivity (allergic reaction), and infection and disease transmission.
In order to treat and control flea and tick problems, we must understand the life cycles of these pests.
Flea Life Cycle: The adult flea spends almost all of its life on your dog or cat. The adult lays small eggs which are not sticky and fall off of your dog or cat as soon as they are deposited so they wind up in the places where your dog or cat spends most of it’s time. Eggs generally hatch in about three weeks into larvae. Larvae are geophillic (burrow downward) and photophobic (hate light). This means that they go down, burrow deep into carpet and upholstery or burrow beneath leaves and detritus in the yard. Larvae are the most numerous stage of the flea life cycle but you will probably not see them. Larvae develop into pupae and pupae develop into the adult, which jumps onto your dog, cat or onto you if there is no animal available. And the entire life cycle can occur in three to four weeks. One female flea can lead to 200,000 fleas in as little as 60 days.
Tick Life Cycle: A six-legged tick larvae feeds on the dog or cat for a few days then drops off. At this point, a molt occurs to the eight-legged nymphal stage. The nymph climbs onto the dog or and feeds for about a week at which point it drops off for the second molt into the adult male or female tick. The adult climbs back onto the dog or cat, mates and begins to feed. The adult female feeds for one to three weeks, becomes engorged and drops to the ground (floor) where she lays 2,000 to 4,000 eggs. These eggs hatch into tick larvae, which re-infect your pet. The entire cycle requires two to three months.
In the past, controlling fleas and ticks has been difficult. New products are available which make external parasite control manageable as long as we take into account the life cycles of these pests.
Flea and Tick Control:
Step 1: Treat the pet’s environment. It is very important to kill fleas and ticks where they live when not on your pet. The best way to do this is to hire a professional exterminator. Be sure to explain that you have a flea or tick problem and that you have pets.
Step 2: Kill fleas and ticks that are on your pet. There are several excellent products available for this purpose. Heavy infestations on dogs can be managed with Frontline Spray. Light infestations on dogs and cats may be killed using Frontline Top Spot. Infestations in cats may also be managed with Defend Just-For-Cats Flea & Tick Foam.
Step 3: Prevent re-infection of your pet. This is the area of flea and tick control that has progressed the furthest in recent years. Treatment with Frontline Top Spot kills and repels ticks for one month and kills and repels fleas for up to three months. Frontline Top Spot is simple to apply and can be used on dogs as young as ten weeks of age and cats as young as twelve weeks of age.
Step 4: Interrupt the reproduction cycle of fleas. Program is a once per month treatment for dogs and cats as young as six weeks of age. Program causes fleas to lay sterile eggs.
It is very important to kill fleas and ticks at all of their life stages and to prevent re-infection of your pet. This will maximize the comfort of your pet and minimize cost of treatment and control. When used as directed, flea and tick control products are safe and effective at preventing re-infestation of your pet.
A few myths about fleas and ticks:
Fleas and ticks are only summer time problems. This is not true. While it does get cool enough in Tucson to decrease flea and tick activity, it does not get cold enough to kill them. In addition, fleas and ticks are very happy indoors during the winter months.
Flea collars are all that you need to control fleas and ticks. This is false. Most flea and tick collars do not work well. In addition, allergic reactions to these collars are common.
Feeding your pet garlic will prevent flea and tick infestations. This is not true. Fleas and ticks will bite without regard to diet of the host.
A few fleas or ticks won’t hurt my pet. This is not always true. Severe hypersensitivity (allergic) reactions may develop after a mild infestation. Fleas transmit tapeworms to dogs and cats. Ticks transmit many diseases including canine ehrlichiosis (tick fever).
Purchasing the best diet for your pet is a confusing and difficult task. We want optimal nutrition and we want to stay within our budget. Every pet food claims to be the best and there are about a thousand brands available! Yikes!!! Which pet food should you choose?
The first and most important rule is You Get What You Pay For. The second rule is that the more that you know, the better choice you can make.
There are four major types of commercially available pet foods. These include:
- Private Label
- “Popular brands” marketed in grocery and feed stores
- “Premium brands” marketed in veterinary clinics and pet stores
Generic food manufacturers use the least expensive ingredients, and may or may not:
- be formulated to feed and meet the animal’s needs
- have detrimental effects of nutrient excesses or toxic substances that may be present
- be considered the digestibility and variability of the nutrients in the ingredients that they use
- conduct feeding trials to substantiate their claims
- provide adequate quality control
Private label pet foods are usually marketed by chain stores under their house brand name. These pet foods are produced by pet food manufacturers (often the same ones that produce generic feeds) on a least-cost basis according to the specifications of the marketing company. There is often little concern for nutrient content and consistency of the product. These pet foods are labeled “Distributed by ______” or “Manufactured for ______” rather than “Manufactured by _______”.
Popular brands of pet foods are most often “variable formula diets”. The ingredients used vary depending upon availability and cost. These diets usually emphasize the palatability of their diets over optimal nutrition. There is usually greater quality control of these diets when compared to generic and private label diets.
The Premium Diets are the cream of the crop. Their diets are produced from fixed ingredient lists (ingredients do not vary depending upon their cost). In addition digestibility and consistency of nutrient levels of ingredients are excellent from bag to bag, month to month.
So how do you choose? Read the label! There are a few tricks though. All pet food labels must have the following:
- the product name
- the net weight
- the guaranteed analysis containing at least the minimum amounts of crude protein and fat and the maximum amounts of moisture and crude fiber
- a list of ingredients in descending order of predominance by weight
- the name and address of the manufacturer, packer or distributer, and
- a statement of the nutritional adequacy or purpose of the product.
Lets look at what each of these things really means.
The guaranteed analysis does not guarantee that the product contains the amount listed: it only guarantees the tolerances the manufacturer claims the product meets. This is not a good way to choose between brands of pet food.
The list of ingredients may be helpful, although it has some shortcomings that limit its usefulness in choosing pet foods. The ingredients are supposed to be listed in descending order by weight. Since it is most often impossible to determine the presence or absence of an ingredient, this regulation is unenforceable. In addition, remember that if Chicken By-Product Meal is listed first, followed by corn meal, ground corn and flaked corn, there is more corn than chicken! It is also important to know that the ingredients list does not attest to the quality of the ingredients.
The statement of nutritional adequacy or purpose of the product is your best tool in comparing better quality dog foods. Since January 1, 1984, regulations have required the labels of all pet foods (except those clearly labeled as a snack or treat, or those intended for use by or under the supervision or direction of a veterinarian) contain a statement indicating that the product is nutritionally adequate or complete for specific life stages of the pet intended to be fed. Unfortunately, none of the claims need to be proven by feeding trials and, therefore, the claim does not insure nutritional adequacy or quality unless it states that the diet has passed feeding tests according to protocols approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). An alternative statement which state that the diet is “formulated to meet the national levels established by the AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles” indicates that the diet has not been tested in feeding trials and, therefore, there is no guarantee that the diet is nutritionally adequate or consistent. A diet of shoe leather, motor oil, vitamins and minerals will analyze to meet the AAFCO nutritional guide lines but obviously would not be a good diet for a dog or cat.
A word about life stages: Diets that claim (through AAFCO feeding trials) to be adequate for all life stages are adequate diets for puppies, lactating and gestating mothers and any other dog. It may be too rich for the average spayed or middle-aged pet. Feeds should be used according to their labeled purpose, which is found within the statement of nutritional adequacy or purpose.
Finally, no matter how great the diet, if it sits around in the bag for too long, it looses its palatability and nutrition. Freshness does count!! If the bag of food has been sitting in a warehouse or on the shelf, you are not getting what you paid for. Wiseman Animal Hospital carries the entire Science Diet line of dog food. If you are not completely satisfied with your food purchase, just bring back the unused portion and we will give you a refund or credit your Wiseman Animal Hospital account.
Ask your veterinarian to analyze your pet food label for you. Just bring your pet food sack or can with you for your next appointment! We are happy to recommend a diet for your pet.