Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Winter Pounds

Winter is truly upon us!  That means warm cozy fires, lots of good holiday food and treats, and lots of time spent indoors.  What about Fido?  Will you still be taking him for his daily walks or runs when it's 20 degrees outside?  Some of us enjoy the cold weather along with our dogs, but what about those who just don't fancy these cold winter months?  What about fluffy, when you have to practically drag her off of your couch to get her to go outside to potty in the snow?

The truth for most pet owners during these long winter months is that our pets' daily routines become more sedentary.  So what does this mean?  Well, generally we tend to see a drastic increase in our pet's weight during these months.  So how do we avoid this without suffering in the cold, icy weather?  It's simple- it's time to decrease Fido's food intake to make up for the lack of calories burned.  Too much time spent indoors during these months shouldn't be a reason to allow our pets' body conditions to worsen especially those of our senior pets.  For them, winter is tough enough on those old bones without the added weight put on during the winter, as this makes it all the more difficult to lose it again in the spring.  Decreasing the amount of food given or switching to a low calorie diet during these harder months will help keep your pet fit and trim.

On the other end of the spectrum are those who have dogs that live outside during the winter.  The opposite is true for them.  They need more calories to keep warm, as well as all of the other assumed resources such as a DRY, wind-proof shelter and lots of fresh water.  Switching to a puppy food that's higher in calories or feeding a bit more each meal time will help keep your pet warmer without burning the basic amount of calories needed to sustain good body condition.  It's vital to remember that with every season and change in lifestyle, our pet's nutritional needs change.  So keep your pet fit and healthy even during the winter and remember to readjust come spring!

Stephanie Severson, CVT

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

The Doctors and Staff of Belle City Veterinary Hospital
wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


glitter graphics
Friendster Glitter Graphics
Glitter Graphics

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Stick to Real Food, Kitty

I used to work at a Cat Clinic, so I've seen a lot of cute Christmas cards showing cats drinking from a saucer of milk and kittens rolling around with balls of yarn. They are all adorable! As a technician, I still see these as cute, but I also know that feeding milk to adult cats can cause stomach upset. Playing with yarn (or string or dental floss or tinsel) leads to eating yarn which leads to intestinal obstruction which leads to exploratory surgery. How do we find safe toys for our cats?

First, we want to discourage our cats from chewing on anything inappropriate, most particularly plants, as many household plants can be poisonous for cats. Cayenne pepper,'bitter apple' spray from the pet store, or lemon extract can be spread on surfaces to discourage kittens. If you sew, you should know that we often see cats (even adult cats) who have swallowed needles and thread. Offer appropriate toys so your cats can find something better for playtime.

Cat toys with feathers or sparklies on the end of a string are some of the best toys for cats to play with under supervision. They stimulate natural predatory play and provide exercise for even the fattest lap cat. Even these toys, though, are best used only when supervised. Fun toys often end up in pieces after a very short time, and some of those pieces can need to be surgically removed from your cat. We once had a client arrive home to see her kitten tangled up in a springy toy hanging from a door. Luckily, her kitten was O.K., but that toy came right down. If you keep a fun toy hidden until playtime, it seems new and exciting every time! Last but not least, actively playing with your cat strengthens your bond.

Kelley Wagner, CVT

Monday, December 20, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ready to Adopt a Sweet Little Furball?

So you want to get a new puppy or kitten?  Sure, who doesn't?  Have you done your research?

When you choose a new family member, it is important that you sit down and define your lifestyle.  Active families are suited for active dogs.  Quiet and reserved families are suited for less active dogs.  What about size?  Do you have a big enough house and yard for a larger breed dog such as a Saint Bernard, or do you have an apartment suited for a smaller breed like a dachshund?  Breed research is the key to deciding which breed of dog would best be suited for your family.

With kittens, most of us adopt from a shelter or a private home.  If this is the case, how active is the kitten when you view it?  Does it appear unhealthy?  Is it sneezing, eating, etc?  Even sick puppies and kittens need a home, but are you prepared to provide the proper care that kitten or puppy will need once you adopt or purchase it?

If you do not wish to adopt a dog in need from a rescue organization or a shelter and want a specific breed, please be aware of that breeds health predisposition and insist on health certifications of the parents in the form of OFA/PennHip/CERF certificates.  The same recommendations apply for pure bred cats-research the breed.  Certain cat breeds are known to be reclusive; others can be very social.  Some breeds, such as Maine Coons, have friendlier and calmer tendencies, while some Abyssinian's may be extremely vocal and flighty.  Conducting your research before acquiring a dog or cat can help to ensure that this new family member remains a family member in good standing for its lifetime. 

We look forward to meeting your new cat or dog soon!

Stephanie Severson, CVT

Monday, December 13, 2010

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Here, Kitty Kitty...



We have come across some concerning statistics. 
As many as 50% of all cats are never seen for annual exams. 
Many cats are hiding early asymptomatic problems that
may be easily detected on examination. 
 This simple step can catch a problem before it becomes severe,
and lead to a  healthier life for your kitty. 
 If you are one of our loyal doggie clients
and you have a kitty cat at home,
please bring him in to see us!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Winter Tips~~ Part IV

Welcome to our final installment of the winter tips!  This weeks tips deal with paws and skin health....

PAW CARE

*  Provide boots when playing/walking in cold weather.
    (frequently lifting of paws and whining= uncomfortably cold paws).

*  Monitor for formation of ice balls between he pads and toes-especially for dogs with long fur.  Ice ball   formation is painful, and dogs may whine, chew at paws, and stop walking.

*  The application of Vaseline (petroleum jelly) may be helpful in preventing ice ball formation.

*  WIPE PAWS after being outdoors to remove snow, ice, and salt from pads.

*  De-icing salt used on sidewalks and roads can be very irritating to paws.


Winter's Decrease in Humidity Brings Dry Skin.

*  Bathe only when needed, and thoroughly dry your pets before they go outside.

*  Add moisturizing oils to the bath water.

*  Provide Omega Fatty Acid supplementation.

We hope that you have found these tips helpful and wish you and your furry family members a safe winter season!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Everybody Loves a Little T.L.C.

We've been reading new studies about the role of stress on the health of our cats.  External stress may contribute to feline idiopathic cystitis which often leads to urinating out of the box.  A cat-friendly home may be even more important than ever.

What makes a house a cat-friendly home?  Sometimes it's not other cats.  We all love all of our cats.  Some of our cats might not be so fond of each other.  We like to think our cats see each other like brothers or sisters.  I've come to think of it as more like a roommate situation.  In the college dorm lottery, you got who you got.  Hopefully, it was a life-time kindred spirit.  If not, well, at least you only had to tolerate each other for a year.  Since our cats are together for a lifetime, we need to help them cohabitate in peace.
                                                            

Cats practice a sort of 'zoning defense' when it comes to resources.  This is why two cats who can crowd up cheek-to-cheek on your warm lap in the wintertime will avoid each other at all other times.  Warm laps, food, litter boxes, high perches, and safe sleeping spots are all important resources for our cats.  Why do we recommend a litter box on every level of the house?  So that one cat can't restrict access by lurking around a corner to pounce or by casually sitting on the top basement step and blocking access to the all important litter box area.  This is sort of like a grade-school bully leaning up against the bathroom door.  Either you hold it or you find somewhere else to go.  If you have more than one litter box area, a less confident cat can use a different litter box rather than look for a 'safer' area (like the quiet, out-of-the-way dining room).

If one cat (perhaps a young, active whippersnapper) spends a lot of time harassing an older housemate, we can enrich both of their lives in a few simple ways.  The young cat is brimming with energy and looking for anything and everything that can be a toy.  While an older housemate who runs away, hides under the table and hisses is very entertaining, we can come up with better toys.  Kong toys are virtually indestructible and can be filled with bits of kibble so a cat has to work for his treats.  Rotating toys is always a great idea.  If twenty toys are always out, they're boring.  If a toy goes away for  few days and then reappears, it's new and exciting!  If he starts crouching and wriggling in anticipation of a good pounce on you or another cat, give him a squirt with a water pistol and toss a small toy to redirect his energy.

As for the older cat(s), make sure he/she has a safe area that the younger cat thinks is boring.  This area should have access to food, water, a litter, box and good sleeping spots.  The simple addition of some blankets or beds on high spots can make everyone happy.  A cat tree with multiple perches can help several cats hang out in close proximity.  Last but not least, consider a breakaway collar with a bell for a younger cat.  The 'ding-a-ling' approaching lets everyone know to get out of the way!

Is you house a cat-friendly home?  E-mail us a picture for our web-page at http://www.bellecityvet.com/

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday Funny

We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!

Raising Duncan Classics


Happy Monday!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Winter Tips~~Part III

14a/365 I Didn't Do It
Here are a few more winter weather tips for you and your furry family members.

**KEEP CATS INDOORS
Outdoor cats can easily freeze or become lost, injured or killed.  Cats will also sleep under hoods of cars next to the warm motor.  This often leads to severe injury or death from the fan blades or belt when the motor is started.


**If you live near a body of water (lake, pond, etc.), REMEMBER that thin ice is just as hazardous for pets as for people.


**NEVER leave your pet alone in a vehicle or unattended outdoors during cold weather.


**Provide indoor pets with a warm bed and plenty of blankets AWAY from drafts and insulated from the cold floor.

Stay tuned next weekend for our final segment of Ten Winter Weather Tips for Pets!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Christmas Is Coming, And New Year's Eve Is Too!

Which of these tips will help you avoid emergency visits this holiday season?


  1. Watch that Candy!!  Even a small amount of chocolate can be dangerous, especially for a toy breed dog.
  2. Watch your cats around the Christmas tinsel and decorations.  We don't want to have to give Fluffy exploratory surgery for Christmas.
  3. As much as we like to share the joy, please keep 'people food' to yourselves.  The rich holiday foods can cause pancreatitis for our loyal friends.
  4. Watch kids and dogs during holiday parties.  For a nervous dog, the excitement of a party added to the unpredictability of children could lead to an accidental bite.
  5. Puppies and kittens LOVE to chew.  Don't let them chew on your holiday lights!! (If you spread a thin layer of cayenne pepper over the cord, this will discourage chewing).
  6. Holiday drinks are a 'no no' for pets.  Dont' let Rufus clean out glasses half full of alcohol.
We wish you a happy and safe holiday season!

Stephanie Severson, CVT

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Winter Tips~ Part ll

This week's winter tips are going to talk a little bit about your outdoor pets and those pets with shorter hair coats.

OUTDOOR PETS

These pets are more at risk for developing frostbite injuries and hypothermia. 
*Provide dry shelter with plenty of DRY straw, shavings or blankets.

*Make sure their shelter opening is positioned away from prevailing winds.

*Check and change bedding frequently---Remember, outdoor pets drag a lot of moisture into their shelter from snow, ice, rain and mud.  Wet bedding= inability to keep warm and can lead to hypothermia.

*Keep the water source from freezing---Replenish it frequently or provide a heated bucket/bowl.

*Increase caloric intake---Remember that extra calories are expended in trying to keep warm.


PETS WITH SHORT HAIR COATS

(Greyhounds, Dobermans, Boston Terriers, Chihuahuas, etc.)  These dogs are especially vulnerable to cold temperatures and should wear sweaters/coats when going outside.

*Avoid prolonged outdoor winter activities with these breeds.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Something I Ate...

The American dream: a roof, three squares, a car, and scraps for the dog.  Sounds ideal, right-- but what does it mean for our pets?  More is definitely not better.  One in twenty dogs (one if fifty cats) seen at clinics in 2010 may have some degree of pancreatitis.

The pancreas produces protein and fat digesting enzymes at each meal.  Inflammation (pancreatitis) occurs with trauma, cancer, chemical ingestion, hyper stimulation (high fat, high protein foods), and other diseases.  Symptoms range from minor belly aches to shock.  Severe cases can be deadly.

Many pets get pancreatitis as a result of scrap feeding.  Our pets' efficient systems were never designed to eat the high fat, salt and protein levels in human foods.  Temers, Schnauzers, and many small breeds are especially susceptible, but any dog or cat can be affected.

Good news:  the risk can be greatly reduced by feeding formulated diets instead of scraps.  Avoid the steak trimmings or slab of bacon.  Instead, truly reward your pet by putting their health first.  Ask your veterinarian today about balanced nutrition and what it means for your loved ones.

This article honors Zelda, a four-year-old Schnauzer whose belly ache battles and hospital stays ended when she gave up scraps.  Good girl!

~~Lisa Hatfield, DVM

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Does Your Cat Need Some TLC?

The other day, we had a client say, "You never realize how bad your pet was feeling until they're feeling good again."  When we're sick, we need Tender Loving Care, and we let everyone know about it.  How can our pets tell us?  Here's the first problem:  They don't tell us.  They always try to hide their problems because instinct tells them to do so.  When we would seek out T.L.C., our pets will hide.  We have to look for subtle signs.  Is Fluffy hiding?  Does she seek out warm spots?  Is she taking longer to greet you when you get home?  Does she growl when you touch certain spots?  Does she suddenly seem to have lost five pounds overnight?  Is she drinking more water? Is she asking to go out all the time.  Has the litter box been particularly wet lately?

When we talk to you about your pets, we hear some key words with a sick animal.  If your dog or cat is hiding, lethargic, or just generally 'off' his normal behavior, we'd love to see him.  Pets (especially cats) will hide their problems until there's not much we can do to help.  Please don't let them wait too long.

~~Kelley Wagner, CVT

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Colder Weather Is Coming....


I hope you've been enjoying the beautiful weather we have had this week!  Since I know it can't last forever, I thought now would be a good time to begin a five week Saturday morning series of winter weather tips to keep our furry family members safe. 

1.  PREVENT accidental antifreeze ingestion
     (antifreeze = ethylene glycol = lethal poison = rapid kidney failure = death)

     *AVOID pet's exposure
     *Store antifreeze out of reach
     *Clean up spills immediately
     *Repair any vehicle leaks immediately
     *Use new antifreeze products containing propylene glycol (relatively non-toxic)

2.   Puppies often cannot tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs and may be more difficult to potty-train during the winter.  If it's snowy make sure you have a shoveled potty area so it's more comfortable for shorter legs.  Remember, don't give up, consistency is key.

Look next Saturday for some more tips to help your keep your pets more comfortable this winter!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Weighty Topic

The topic of today's discourse is the most important of health problems, OBESITY!  I'm not just talking about the 10 or 20% of the animals I examine, but approximately 50% or dogs and 70% of cats!!!  In the following lines, I will discuss why you should be concerned if Felix or Fido is carrying around a few extra pounds and what steps you can take to turn this situation around.

Many things contribute to obesity, but the most common of these is TOO MUCH FOOD.  A fourteen pound poodle does not require a 2000 calorie-a-day diet.  Treats and people food run up the calorie count in a hurry.  (Just because it's called a doggy bag, doesn't mean the contents must go to the doggy.)  Now, I'm not suggesting that you should not reward or treat your pet, but do so in moderation.  A philosophy I try to instill in my own pets is that a treat is not special because  a juicy bit of steak is in the offering, but because the treat comes directly from my hand and is not just in the food bowl.  In fact, my hound dog's treats are simply pieces of his own kibble, and he's always thrilled to receive them.

Now let's take a serious look at the number of calories required to get your pet through a typical day.  The day starts with a journey into the great outdoors first thing in the a.m. to do his or her "duty", followed by a trek to the food bowl, then that ever demanding nap, then perhaps a turn around the block or a few laps in the back yard to fetch the ball, followed by a nap, then another meal, more bathroom duties, followed by bedtime.  Not a terribly demanding schedule.  I realize not all pets are this sedentary, but very few are out herding livestock or hunting for a living either.  The most demanding activity in most cats' lives is following the sun beam around the house for an ever more cozy nap.

Not all pets are overweight due to overeating; there may be a disease process at work in middle aged and older pets that result in easier weight gain.  For instance, a common disorder among dogs in hypothyroidism.  Since the thyroid hormone in effect regulates the body's metabolic rate, dysfunction of the gland usually results in increased body weight.  As pets age, they often become arthritic in one or more joints.  This leads to a reluctance to exercise. 

So what if your pet is a bit chunky?  After all, he's not training for the  Olympics or a beauty pageant, right?  Well we all know that obesity is not a healthy situation for people, and the same is true for our four-legged friends.  Obesity contributes to and exacerbates arthritis: common sense dictates that a weak or degenerated joint is only going to suffer further from supporting excessive weight.  Conditions affecting the heart, lungs and trachea can be caused or seriously complicated by obesity.  Excessive body weight may contribute to certain hormonal abnormalities such as diabetes, and it certainly makes their management more difficult.  Most alarming is the fact that obese pets live 20-30% shorter lives than thin pets.  Due to decreased activity and increased incidence of disease, they also live less satisfying lives.  Sure, they love to eat and get treats and rewards, but do them and yourself a favor:  don't kill them with kindness.

If you feel your pet may be overweight, consult your veterinarian.  A thorough examination should be conducted prior to starting a weight reduction program.  A disorder may be uncovered that should be managed prior to weight loss.  Your pet's doctor will also be able to help you plan an effective strategy based on your animal's specific situation.  This strategy will undoubtedly include a regular meal schedule (I recommend two a day), measured meals, periodic weigh ins, and in many instances, retraining yourself and your pet to a healthy system of treats and rewards.  In the end, the mechanics of any weight reduction program revolve around decreased caloric intake and increased caloric use.  There are two ways to decrease caloric intake: less of what your pet already eats or a similar volume of food with less calories.  I think we all know how to increase caloric usage.  Yes, exercise.  Who knows?  Whipping Rover into shape may also get you into shape as well.

~~Brian Ray, DVM

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Holiday Planning

    
 Are you making your holiday plans?  As you shop for the food, clean the guest room, and decorate the house, we know you won’t forget to plan for the furry members of your family.  Our patients’ temperaments range from the shy and retiring to the hyper and ‘talkative’.  Here are a few tips to help make the holidays a pleasant emotionally experience for all pet personalities.

 First of all, remember that all your holiday preparations may already be a bit unsettling because they’re in that nerve-wracking category known as change.  Not only are you busy and excited, but this behavior suggests even more excitement to come.  If your pet seems to get more nervous as the holidays approach, it may be better to help him/her avoid the excitement altogether.  Think about preparing a quiet room for Fluffy with food, water and, if needed, a litter box.  (Your master bedroom is often ideal location because no one strange will be in there and – bonus – you’ll be there at night.)  This is where crate training can really help.  Puppy can curl up with his favorite stuffed Kong and ignore all the holiday excitement in the rest of the house.

     If your furry companion trends more toward the social, excitable attention-hound, that’s great, but it may be even more important to keep an eye in his or her general direction.  When lots of different people (especially kids) provide lots of unpredictable attention and excitement and touching, it can be easy for Fido to get a little over-stimulated and accidentally scratch or possibly even bite someone.  It’s great for Fido to visit with everyone.  Just make sure you have a place where he can run off some energy and calm down before life gets a little out of control.

~~Kelley Wagner, CVT

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Season's Eatings

As we approach the holiday season, which some of the staff here at Belle City call the eating season, we will be doing a series of posts regarding pet safety during the holidays.  For now, while we are tasting our kids Halloween candy, and are beginning to envision a large turkey meal in the not so distant future, I thought I'd share a few quick facts that I just read in Veterinary Practice News.

One oatmeal cookie for a dog =  One hamburger for a human

1 oz. of cheese for a cat = Four chocolate bars for a human

One potato chip for a cat =  Half a hamburger for humans
**estimates from Hills Pet Nutrition

Now that really put's treat intake in perspective!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Congratulations!


On Saturday, one of our head technicians Stephanie was married.  We wish her and her new husband Rodney a lifetime of happiness!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The King of Toys

I have found that using a Kong toy can be an invaluable training tool for any dog, especially puppies. 
When you leave and tell your dog to go to her kennel, she will readily go running for the kennel if she knows she will get a treat.  I take a Kong, place a few treats inside and cover the hole with peanut butter.  This will give your puppy plenty of time to chew at it while you quietly leave the house. 

If you place a peanut butter-filled Kong in the freezer ahead of time you always have one ready, and the peanut butter is harder, so it takes more time to lick out.  Now, because peanut butter can have a lot of calories, sometimes we have to look for alternatives.  You can try low-fat peanut butter, or even better a mixture of low-fat tuna and low-fat cream cheese.  They mix together well, cover the hole of the Kong completely, and freeze nicely. 

As for treats to stuff inside the Kong, almost anything will work, but don't overdo it.  I find freeze-dried liver treats to be popular at my house.  If you're worried about calories, low-salt rice cakes break up nicely, and dogs love them!

If you've never used one, they are virtually indestructible and we carry a veterinary labeled variety that you can purchase.  Stay tuned for future training and treat ideas for your Kong!

~~~Todd Whitney, DVM

Monday, October 25, 2010

And May I Introduce...

 We all know first impressions are very important.  For cats, this is especially true.  When we bring home a new cat, we hope that our resident cat will see the new cat as a wonderful new playmate.  Rather cats seem to approach this as, "Who is that, and why is he playing with all of my stuff?!"

A lot of people introduce cats in a very simple way:"Marge" walks in with the new cat in her arms.  She says "Fluffy, this is your new brother, Max.  Max, this is fluffy.  I know you'll be best friends."  Marge then sets Max down on the floor in front of Fluffy.  Sometimes, you get lucky, and this works.  The two cats approach slowly with their ears perked up. They sniff noses then rub cheeks.  They're both OK with the new change, and they'll probably get on pretty well.  Unfortunately we cannot always rely on luck.  If, when the cats first see each other, one or both cats hiss, growl, crouch, run away or approach in a confrontational manner you probably want to slow down and control their interaction.    You might want to try one or more of these suggestions:
  • Set up a separate room for your new cat with his own  food, water, and litter box.  Try to make this an out-of-the-way room so that you don't interrupt your resident cat's routine.  Your new cat won't see this as a jail cell, but as more of a safe room.  He'll have a small space to explore before tackling your whole house [and other cat(s)]
  • When you introduce the new 'roommate', bring the new cat out in a cat carrier.  This way, the new cat knows he's safe, and the resident cat knows the new one is controlled.  Leave the new guy in the cat carrier for 15-30 minutes at a time, and then take him back to his safe room.
  • If you start to see signs of aggression or fear, give your new cat a 10 minute 'time out' in his safe room.  Even something as simple as staring at the other cat with your tail twitching can be an aggressive signal for another cat.
  • Always reward both cats for calm behavior.  If the cats are in the same room without watching each other or staring (curled up ignoring each other is a GOOD thing...), give them positive reinforcement.  This can be verbal praise, petting or a food treat.  This teaches your cat that good things happen when the other guy's around.
Above all:  Be Patient.  It may be weeks or even years before cats will coexist peacefully.  Hopefully, though, if you put some time in at the beginning, your cats will never want to be apart.

~~~Kelly Wagner, CVT

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Stinky Solution


                                                  Image as seen on Lion King fan art website

As we enter hunting season, we thought some of you may need a helpful home remedy for those pooches who come nose to nose with Pepe Le Pew!

This Skunk Odor Removal Recipe is exerpted from the Pet Emergency Care Guide by the Wisconsin Veterinary Referral Center

Action:
Put on goggles or other eye protection.
In a bucket, mix:
   *1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide
   *1/4 cup baking soda
   *1 tsp. of hand-safe dishwashing liquid

Stir ingredients briefly.  The solution will fizz as the hydrogen peroxide decomposes and releases bubbles of oxygen. Have a friend hold the smelly pet in a washtub while you scrub in the solution with a soft brush.  Rinse the pet with tap water.  (you may need to repeat the treatment on your friend ;)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ouch!

Ouch!  Arthritis hurts!  Have you felt the change in weather?  Just like us, some of our pets have the same flare ups.  So, what can be done?  The focus of this post is pharmacological management of pain.  You got it, drugs!  Whether genetics let you down, you're paying the price for a box-a-day Beggin'Strips habit, or that old injury won't leave you alone, the time will come for more proactive management.  Don't get me wrong, the whole answer doesn't come in pill form.  Things like weight loss or physical therapy can be incredibly helpful.  We are fortunate though to have a variety of safe and effective medications to help pets suffering from chronic pain problems, the most common of which is arthritis.

The mainstay of chronic pain management is the N.S.A.I.D. (Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug).  Human products (not to be given to pets!) we are familiar with in this class of drugs are Advil, Aleve, Viox, etc.  The common products we use for pets are Rimadyl, Previcox and Metacam.  They work by relieving inflammation in the diseased tissues by blocking enzymes in the inflammatory cycle.  These drugs can safely be used, daily, on a chronic basis in otherwise healthy patients.  Since many arthritic patients are older, they do need to be monitored for underlying or emerging organ problems.  Once a normal base line is established, they should have a blood panel drawn every six months.

When N.S.A.I.D.s alone are no longer effective, the patient may have a problem called spinal cord windup.  This means that, despite pain control, pain signals are still being sent to the brain like a reflex that won't stop.  There is a daily medication that helps to deal with this problems. 

If you think your pet is exhibiting signs of pain (see below), come in and see us.  Remember, many other modalities are of equal or greater value in managing chronic arthritis.  Ultimately, though, drugs will be beneficial and necessary to maintain a high quality of life for your pet.

Here are five of the most common signs of an arthritic dog:
  1. My dog is having problems getting up and down and is reluctant to climb stairs.
  2. My dog isn't as active anymore, and she seems stiff or limps after exercise or after getting up from a nap.
  3. My dog's legs have gotten skinnier, and he shakes or shivers a lot now.
  4. My dog cries whenever someone pets his rear area, and he walks with an arch.
  5. My dog is now 7 plus years old and suddenly is snapping at us and the kids.
Do any of these apply to your dog?  Maybe we should see him/her for an exam and some blood work.

~~~Brian C. Ray, DVM

A New Kind of Newsletter

 Years ago we started a quarterly newsletter.  It was a lot of fun to put together, but about a year ago I began looking for a greener option that would still get our personal touch out to our clients.  We’ve made some amazing updates to our website….go and check it out if you haven’t!

This little space is our next big step!  I began blogging myself a year and a half ago.  I love it and can’t wait to share with all of you the amazing things that our staff does! They have many wonderful tips to help your furry family members live a long and full life.

 Since blogs are live, you will get to grow with us!  We will post often and there will be input from all of the same great contributors that you’ve grown accustomed to, so you won’t just be listening to me blather on! :)  I’m looking forward to the journey! ~~~Amy Ray