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Pet Care News From Your Veterinarian ®

FALL 2013 | Volum e 10, No. 4

Checkup Checklist Key questions to ask your veterinarian

5 Wounds that Won’t Wait Know when to seek immediate care

Essential Dental Care for Your Pets Plan Ahead for Unexpected Weather

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FALL 2013 | VOL. 10, No 4

Picture-Perfect Pets Pet Care News From Your Veterinarian

IN THIS ISSUE Essential Dental Care 2  Brush up on new dental guidelines to keep pets healthy.





Midway Animal Hospital Seminole, Fla.

South Orlando Animal Hospital Orlando, Fla.

Checkup Checklist 4 Make the most of your time with your veterinarian. Wounds that Won’t Wait 8 Some wounds require immediate treatment.

Tavares Animal Hospital Tavares, Fla.

Midway Animal Hospital Seminole, Fla.

Be Prepared! 11 Keep your pets healthy and ready year-round for unexpected weather.

Toby, Annabelle, Frankie

Collingswood Animal Hospital Port Charlotte, Fla.

14 Pet Tales Tips for helping your pets recover after surgery and more.


Okeechobee Veterinary Hospital Okeechobee, Fla.

Email your best shot and the name and location of your veterinary hospital to To be published, images should be at least 3 inches at 300 dpi. We’ll publish as many as we can. Pet Quarterly® is an educational resource provided by your veterinary hospital. Comments are welcome at ©Copyright 2013. All rights reserved. Pet Quarterly® magazine does not make any representations as to opinions or facts as presented. Reproduction of contents in any form is prohibited without prior written permission of the publisher.

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Pet Quarterly | Fall 2013 1

Your veterinarian will use OraStrip® as a part of your dog's dental exam. When the strip is placed along the dog's gum line, it will turn a color based on the level of periodontal disease in the pet’s mouth.

Best Dental Care for Your Pets Brush up on these new dental guidelines and ask your veterinarian how you can help with care at home. By Jan Bellows, DVM, Diplomate, American Veterinary Dental College and Diplomate, American Board of Veterinary Practitioners

Key Points Dogs and cats need to have their teeth examined at least every six months. Your veterinarian can rub a diagnostic strip along the pet’s gum line to help determine whether your dog or cat has periodontal disease. Anesthesia must be used to clean and evaluate dog and cat’s teeth properly. Full mouth X-rays are essential with each professional oral hygiene visit.

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“Mommy, Max’s breath smells!” Similar laments are commonly heard in dog- and cat-owning households around the country. What’s going on, and how is the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) helping Max with his bad breath? Max’s breath smells bad because he never brushed his teeth and now suffers from periodontal disease. Just think, if you didn’t brush your teeth for six months or more, how bad would your breath smell? Same with Max. Over the months (and years), gum disease developed in his mouth, leading to the smell, loose teeth and discomfort.

New Dental Guidelines The American Animal Hospital Association, an organization dedicated to promoting the best in cat and dog health, is on the case to help remedy Max’s bad breath and to help other pets like Max. In 2004, AAHA brought dental experts (board-certified veterinary dentists, technicians and animal-hospital administrators) from around

Dental Health the country to its headquarters in Colorado to create The AAHA Dental Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats. The AAHA guidelines set forth proven recommendations for equipment, education resources and techniques for veterinarians to provide quality dental care for dogs and cats. Early in 2013, AAHA called the group of dental experts together again to update these guidelines. The 2013 AAHA Dental Guidelines for Dogs and Cats is full of information for Max’s veterinarian and assistants to use when caring for his hurting teeth and bad breath.

Spotting Trouble Areas Max’s mom brought him to his veterinarian for a checkup that included one of the new AAHA recommendations—rubbing a diagnostic test strip in the mouth to visually confirm periodontal disease. Out of an extreme grade of 5, Max scored 4—he had a severe periodontal problem. His last teeth cleaning was five years prior when he was neutered. At the time, the veterinarian recommended daily tooth brushing, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. Over the years, Max’s periodontal disease festered, causing deep periodontal pockets that bled when examined with a probe. This is similar to a human seeing blood after tooth brushing—an alert to a problem. Max’s veterinarian suggested a full dental exam. After the appropriate tests to evaluate Max’s organ functions, the dog was placed under general anesthesia for a close examination of each tooth (dogs have 42 teeth, cats have 30). Humans do not need general anesthesia for most dental care—why do dogs and cats? Pets need to be immobilized to allow the animal-care assistant to clean, probe, X-ray the teeth and to give the veterinarian time to evaluate each tooth for evidence of disease and to care for any problems

uncovered. Unfortunately, dogs and cats cannot point to a tooth that is bothering them. The pet’s veterinarian has to examine each tooth, and this cannot be done without anesthesia.

No Bones About It After Max’s teeth were cleaned and examined, his veterinarian took X-rays of the dog’s mouth. The X-rays showed he had four teeth that needed to be extracted— two due to advanced periodontal disease and two teeth that had fractured because no one ever told his pet parents it was not wise to feed dogs bones (although Max loved them). Unfortunately, the bones broke his teeth and exposed the nerves—not even root canal therapy could save them. Max recovered from the extractions and now is one lucky dog, out of pain. His pet parents have read through The 2013 AAHA Dental Guidelines for Dogs and Cats (www. or use this short link to quickly find the guidelines:, and now they understand that to keep Max’s mouth smelling like roses, they need to: 1. Attack the plaque that daily accumulates on his teeth, using Veterinary Oral Health Council– accepted products ( accepted_products.htm) 2. Take him to see his veterinarian at least twice yearly for a dental checkup. Regular dental care for your pet is much more than cosmetic. It can help prevent periodontal disease. This is the most common disease affecting dogs and cats, and if left untreated, periodontal disease can progress and potentially damage your pet’s internal organs. Fortunately, you can help keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy and pain free. n

Fight Plaque! Brushing your pets’ teeth will help prevent periodontal disease. Other products may help too. Visit accepted_products.htm for a full list of products that will help you keep your pet’s teeth and gums clean and healthy.

Chew and Clean Greenies® Canine Dental Chews clean dogs’ teeth by fighting plaque and tartar buildup, freshening breath and maintaining healthier teeth and gums.

Lap it Up When added daily to pets’ drinking water or applied to teeth and gums with a topical gel applicator, Dog::Essential and Cat::Essential healthymouth™ plaque water additive safely cleans teeth and gums, reducing the plaque and oral bacteria that lead to dental disease and halitosis.

Dr. Jan Bellows, one of the authors of the new AAHA dental guidelines, specializes in veterinary dentistry. Pet Quarterly | Fall 2013 3

General Wellness

Checkup Checklist Make the most of your time with your veterinarian. Here are must-ask questions for your pet’s next exam. By Mary Scoviak


Pets have little trouble letting their human families know what they want when they’re hungry or want to go outside. But they need their owners to speak for them when it comes to planning for optimal lifelong health. Your dog’s or cat’s semiannual or annual exam is the perfect opportunity to start that conversation with your veterinarian. What do you need to know about caring for your pet? Here are some key questions veterinary experts would ask if they were on the other side of the exam table.

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1. How much food does my pet need? More than half of dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. As in humans, obesity isn’t just a cosmetic problem. It can lead to or worsen conditions from heart disease to osteoarthritis and cancer. “I wish every pet owner would measure food in terms of an 8-ounce cup, so that portion sizes stay the same,” says Dr. Wendy Hauser, who recently transitioned from her small-animal practice to veterinary business consulting.

If you can’t feel your dog’s ribs or see its waistline, ask your veterinarian about a diet plan. Limit treats— break small biscuits into multiple pieces or offer low-calorie treats.

2. What’s the best dog food? “There has been an explosion of new pet foods on the market,” says Dr. Dee Ann Dugger, senior clinician, emergency medicine, BluePearl Veterinary Partners, Tampa, Fla. And they’re not all created equal. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AFFCO) has established the nutritional standards for complete and balanced pet foods. “Reputable brands will have AFFCO statements on the bag or can showing that their diet meets the requirement for a specific life stage [puppy, adult, senior, etc.],” says Dugger. “Some of the most popular veterinary-prescribed foods come from companies like Hill’s and Royal Canin, which also do extensive feeding trials.” Also look for products developed by veterinary nutritionists.

3. Should I buy pet insurance? Unexpected injuries or surgeries can be expensive, so the consensus is “yes.” Most policies do not cover pre-existing conditions, so it’s best to buy the policy when your pet is young. Veterinarian Peter Beaumont, MBA, MRCVS, chairman of the veterinary advisory board of pet insurance provider Trupanion (www., recommends asking whether the insurer charges a level premium that won’t go up after inception beyond annual increases reflecting raises in the costs of veterinary medicine; whether the company has limits on coverage per illness, per annum or per lifetime; and what percentage of the actual veterinary bill will be paid. >>

Key Points Do your homework Before the exam, write down your questions and bring in information about your pet’s food and feeding schedule, any noticeable differences in the animal’s physical condition or behavior and a rundown of travel plans or changes such as plans to add a new pet. Consider genetic testing The more you and your veterinarian know about your pet’s breed or mix of breeds, the better to tailor its healthcare plan and to stay ahead of breed-specific diseases. Visit for information on pet DNA testing. Ask for help in creating optimal nutrition for your pet Obesity in pets is reaching epidemic proportions in the United States and can lead to serious health problems for your furry family member. Check out pet insurance plans Visit to get comparative information on various pet insurance plans.

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General Wellness

4. What else should I be doing to keep my pet healthy? Schedule yearly examinations with your veterinarian and semiannual exams for senior pets (over age seven.) Follow your veterinarian’s suggestions for routine tests (bloodwork, fecal tests, X-rays) to spot diseases before they become serious. Exercise your pet appropriately. But don’t rush it, says Hauser. Puppies should take short walks until their growth plates close— about 9 months for small breeds and 24 months for giant breeds. Make exercise interactive: Have dogs play with balls or fooddispensing puzzle toys or use a fishing-pole toy to make cats jump. Cat trees can keep your felines active, while an agility/obedience class might make your canine companion into a sports superstar. Check out for exercise suggestions.

5. What vaccinations and preventive treatments does my pet really need? Dugger says standard vaccinations include those that protect pets from diseases such as rabies, parvovirus, calicivirus, and feline leukemia. “Other vaccines, such as those for Lyme, Leptospirosis and canine

influenza, may be recommended based on geographical location and prevalence of the disease in your area,” she says. (For more on lifestyle-related vaccines, check out “Best Shots” in our Spring 2012 issue). Many of the newer vaccines are only given every three years, although some states still legally require yearly rabies vaccines.

Did You Know? An estimated 80 percent of adult dogs (over the age of three) have periodontal disease. Brushing your pet’s teeth daily or applying anti-plaque medication may be the first lines of defense, but they’re not always the most practical. Dr. Brett Beckman, a specialist in veterinary dentistry, says water additives (such as Healthy Mouth’s Daily Dental Care) approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) “offer an easy and effective approach to plaque control.” For more information, visit VOHC at

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Dugger also recommends talking with your veterinarian about treatment options to combat fleas, heartworms and intestinal parasites. Annual blood work is key for older dogs to help with early detection of chronic and acute health threats.

6. Why should my pet have a dental exam? “A dog’s teeth can have clean crowns, but that doesn’t mean the underlying tissue is normal,” says Dr. Brett Beckman, a veterinary dental specialist with practices in Georgia and Florida. He suggests that all pets should have full-mouth, dental radiographs under anesthesia and a thorough oral evaluation at 12 to 24 months of age. (Smaller breeds at 12 months and larger breeds generally no later than 24 months.) As for “dog breath”? It’s never normal. “Any offensive odor is produced by bacteria that cause periodontal disease. If there is odor, there is disease under the gum line,” Beckman says. “At this point, chewing while eating will send bacteria into the blood stream that may affect the body systemically, namely the kidneys, liver, lungs and heart.”

FAQs for Adopted Pets Most adopted pets come to their new families with health records that cover medical treatments/procedures done while the pets were in a shelter or foster care and some general “best guess” information on age and breed. Generally, that leaves their owners with more questions than answers. Your pet’s first visit to the veterinarian can help fill in the blanks. Here are some key questions to ask, recommended by the Montgomery County Humane Society, Rockville, Md.: n Are there signs of abuse or neglect? n Are there indicators of negative or aggressive behavior? n Is the breed and age information on the medical records accurate? n How can I help my pet adjust to its new forever home?

Keep Asking Owners of puppies will have specific questions about housebreaking, socializing and feeding needs for a growing dog, while the families of senior pets may be interested in the advantages of laser treatments for arthritis, acupuncture and tips for healthier aging. Households with multiple pets might come to their veterinarian with concerns about competition at feeding time or walking two or more dogs. “Every time you visit your veterinarian, you have a chance to learn more about what’s best for your pet,” says Dugger. n Mary Scoviak is a Cincinnati-based writer and editor.

Trip Advisor Before you open the car door or head for the airport, ask your veterinarian these questions: n What

special treatment or vaccines will my pet need based on our destination?

n What

predators might be in the area?

n What

vaccines do I need if my dog will be swimming?

n What

health certificates do I need for my pet at the airport?

n Should

I sedate my pet before air travel?

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Parasite Control/Dermatology

5 wounds that Won’t


From dog bites to electrical burns, some wounds are more severe than they appear and require rapid treatment. By Laci Schaible, DVM

I Key Points Some seemingly minor or superficial wounds on a pet can quickly become much more serious. Seek veterinary care right away for bite wounds, electric burns, eye wounds, aural (ear) hematomas and paw-pad injuries. Have these wounds and injuries evaluated ASAP to improve your pet’s prognosis, decrease the extent of diagnostics and treatments required, and shorten the amount of time before your pet returns to full health.

8 Fall 2013 | Pet Quarterly

If another dog or cat bites your pet, you may be tempted to see if your pet heals on its own. “Wait and see” is not a good choice for many wounds that will likely become much more severe without prompt veterinary attention. Assessing whether a wound warrants an urgent veterinary visit is one of the challenges every pet parent faces. While many mild skin scrapes will heal on their own, other types of wounds require immediate veterinary care. For all wounds requiring surgical repair of the skin or stitches, there is a period known by veterinarians as the “golden period” to have the wound surgically corrected to give your pet the best chance of healing without complications and with the greatest ease. This “golden period” only lasts six hours or less. Here’s a look at five types of wounds that are more severe than they appear. When armed with the correct information, you can prevent these insidious wounds from advancing and causing serious or even irreversible problems to your pet’s health.

1. Bite wounds A veterinarian should examine all bite wounds ASAP. Dog and cat teeth can quickly create hidden damage to the tissue layers beneath your pet’s skin, yet only leave a small hole on the skin’s surface. Your veterinarian must explore them surgically. Veterinarians can evaluate how deep the

wound extends and check whether there is internal damage to organs or tissues. When a bite wound occurs, pathogens from the mouth of the animal that bit your pet are immediately at work under the skin, causing infection that can progress if treatment is delayed. The sooner your veterinarian is able to examine a bite wound and start your pet on antibiotics, the better. Do not attempt home care for a bite wound without having a veterinarian examine and treat it. A bite wound that is ignored is already infected, even if it doesn’t appear so to you.

2. Aural (ear) hematomas An ear hematoma is an atypical pooling of blood that causes swelling of the pet’s earflap. This is most often caused by an ear infection that leads the pet to shake or scratch at its ear, damaging small blood vessels in the process and causing a collection of blood that doesn’t drain properly. Aural hematomas are rarely an emergency. But waiting to treat this common ear injury decreases the chance that it will heal easily and increases the likelihood that an accompanying ear infection will progress as well. Your veterinarian may recommend a prompt surgery to help the tissue heal; this decreases both the creation of scar tissue and the likelihood of recurrence.

Did You Know? Eye injuries that are deep or have a penetrating wound may need to be rechecked every 24 to 48 hours for several days after their initial exam and treatment. A very close and watchful veterinary eye and treatment are needed to help prevent pets with this type of injury from losing their vision.

3. Electrical burns These are usually the result of a pet biting into an electrical cord. You may see pale yellow, tan or gray burns on your pet’s lips and tongue (where the pet bit the cord), but it is crucial to realize that the pet’s entire body has received an electrical shock. If you see your pet bite an electrical cord, do not touch the pet or try to pull the cord from its mouth, >>

Prevent Dog Bites Do not allow your dog to roam freely. Keep your dog on a leash when outdoors, especially in a park. The majority of dog-bite wounds that veterinarians treat occur in dog parks. Even if your dog is well behaved and gentle, you have no way of knowing the temperament of other dogs.

Pet Quarterly | Fall 2013 9

Parasite Control/Dermatology as you may be shocked as well. If it can be done safely, immediately pull the plug from the outlet. Seek immediate veterinary care after any electrical burn, even if your pet seems fine. The lungs filling with fluid (called pulmonary edema) is a dangerous delayed side effect of electrical injury, because pet parents can’t see this happening until it may be too late. Heart arrhythmias may also go unnoticed. Obvious dangers may also occur, such as vomiting, seizures and loss of consciousness. If your pet bites an electrical cord, you should have your pet examined (and often observed for a period of time) by your veterinarian.

4. Eye wounds Eye wounds may appear rapidly, and there is often more to these wounds than meets the, well … eye. Pet parents often do not know the origin of eye injuries, but common causes are debris in the eye (think head out a car window or running through thick brush), fight injuries and contributing eye infections. Pets with eye injuries may exhibit: n sudden pawing at the eye n excessive squinting and tearing n a swollen, inflamed or even protruding eye n blood in the eye n an abnormal pupil n cloudiness of the eye. A series of eye diagnostics and a thorough ophthalmic exam are necessary to treat each unique eye injury. Acting quickly when you note a change to your pet’s eye will likely result in a shorter duration of treatment and more favorable prognosis. Left untreated, eye injuries may rapidly progress. For example, a simple abrasion on the eye’s outer surface, known as the cornea, can “melt” into the underlying layers. For eye injuries, waiting it out may mean an injury that initially carried a good prognosis progressing into vision loss or even loss of an eye.

5. Paw pad injuries If your pet has injured its paw pads, you may notice your dog or cat relentlessly licking its paws

Dispelling Old Myths Ever hear that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s? This is not true. Both dog and cat mouths are loaded with diseasecausing bacteria.

and limping, but you may not be able to find an obvious cause. Only a proper veterinary exam and clipping of the fur in this region can ensure that nothing serious lies beneath, such as a foreign object that has become embedded in the pet’s paw or even a tumor. Paw-pad injuries need proper treatment to heal. For starters, paw pads are a very dirty part of the pet’s body, and wounds must be kept clean to heal properly. In addition, keeping pressure off the affected paw is important to encourage wound healing. Carrying the entire weight of the pet, paw-pad injuries endure more stress than injuries elsewhere. Paw pads spread when weight is borne on them, causing the pad tissue to stretch. If pawpad wounds are not sutured and properly bandaged to keep weight off of the tissue, weight bearing will spread the tissue and delay healing. If your pet exhibits any of these five types of wounds, don’t wait it out. Seek expert veterinary care right away to give your pet the best chance for healing and a speedy recovery. n Dr. Laci Schaible is a small-animal veterinarian and veterinary author.

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Pet Safety

Vaccinations—check. Microchips— check. How to keep your pets healthy and ready year-round for unexpected weather.

Be Prepared! By James Randolph, DVM


Superstorm Sandy in New England. A mile-wide tornado in Oklahoma. Wildfires scorch the western United States. Hurricane Katrina set records for storm surge and damage costs. It seems like every time we turn on the news, natural disasters are more frequent and more severe. Every incident gives us another reason to plan ahead for our families’ safety, and that includes the four-legged members of our families. Here’s how to be ready.

Keep current Preparation starts with the basics. Make sure vaccinations are current according to your veterinarian’s recommendations. Your veterinarian should examine your pet at least once a year (twice a year for senior pets). Knowing that your pet is healthy and less likely to fall ill during an evacuation gives you one less thing to worry about.

Know boarding facility requirements If you have to evacuate, have you checked on the requirements of a boarding facility near your evacuation location? Call ahead to verify their guidelines. For example, as canine influenza spreads across the United States, more kennels are making flu vaccination a requirement. >>

Key Points: Have a Plan Disaster preparedness starts with the basics: annual examinations, vaccinations, and tests for heartworms and intestinal parasites. Have a written evacuation plan, including all medications you and your pet will need. Know where your pet will stay during an evacuation and keep current on the facility’s vaccine requirements. Have a current copy of your pet’s medical record and/or vaccination certificate as part of your disaster preparedness kit. If your pet is not microchipped, have that done right away.

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Pet Safety

Stash a supply of medications If evacuation is a possibility during disaster season in your area, ensure that your emergency duffle bag has at least a 30-day supply of your pet’s medications. That includes heartworm preventive, arthritis or other pain medicine, heart murmur medicine, prescription diets and eye drops for glaucoma. These are just some examples of medicines you don’t want to find yourself without during an evacuation. Monthly, or at least every three months, administer medication from the emergency supply, replenishing with fresh refills from your veterinarian. Consider this scenario. Your pet takes a daily medication for Cushing’s disease. You gave the last dose the day the evacuation was ordered. You call a veterinarian in the town you evacuated to, but the front-desk staff explains it is a prescription medication controlled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Therefore, the local veterinarian will need to examine your pet to establish that

the medication will be safe for your dog. “Gee,” you say, “I sure wish I had gotten that refill last week when the hurricane first moved into the Gulf of Mexico.”

Microchip your pet Is your pet microchipped? Why not? You might say, “Oh, he never leaves my side, no matter what.” In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina’s attack on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where our practice is, families looked for thousands of dogs and cats that had became misplaced in the melee. A microchipped pet can quickly be identified and returned to its owner. Your veterinarian can inject the tiny device in seconds, after which you register your contact information with the manufacturer’s database. Then, in any developed country in the world, your pet can be scanned, identified and returned to you. After Katrina, many unclaimed pets were shipped to other parts of the country, where generous families adopted them. A pair of lawsuits ensued after original owners traced their beloved pets to new homes, and the new owners refused to relinquish the pets. Microchips would have prevented all this heartache. Separation from your pet could also happen during evacuation. Frightened pets may slip out of their collars or break leashes on bathroom breaks at roadside parks. Miles from home, no one will know whose pet it is without a microchip.

Keep a copy of medical records Scanning a pet for a microchip takes seconds, and will identify the pet as yours.

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Always keep an updated copy of your pet’s medical record with the valuable papers you

take with you when you evacuate. Obtain one at each examination visit, along with a vaccination certificate generated by your veterinarian. Valuable information in the medical record will include vaccination history and the date and result of heartworm and stool tests. You will have your pet’s complete medical history, even if your veterinarian’s office is closed by the disaster.

Keep up with preventive care Routine preventive care can cost as little as $250 per year, including monthly heartworm preventive. Plan ahead so that those funds are set aside. I serve on the Mississippi Animal Disaster Relief Fund committee, which currently is reviewing funding requests related to the tornado that hit Hattiesburg, Miss., in February 2013. Recurring themes of the cases reviewed for disaster assistance are that routine preventive care had not been maintained prior to the tornado strike, and that medical records were not available. It is a standard health practice to not house unvaccinated animals with vaccinated ones. Thus, when families lost their homes and their pets were presented for emergency boarding, vaccinations had to be updated prior to admitting these new patients into a veterinarian’s boarding facility. By planning ahead, you can skip such potential hassles and expenses in the event of a weather emergency near you, and keep your pets as safe as possible. n Dr. James Randolph is a small-animal veterinarian. He is a charter member of the Mississippi Animal Disaster Relief Fund committee, formed in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina to help protect animal health and welfare during and after natural disasters.

Pet Emergency Supplies and Traveling Kits Keep an Evac-Pack and supplies handy for your pets, recommends the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Here’s a checklist of supplies. n 3-7

days’ worth of canned (pop-top) or dry food. Be sure to rotate every two months.

n Disposable n Litter

or paper toweling

n Disposable n Pet

litter trays (aluminum roasting pans are perfect) n Liquid

dish soap and disinfectant

garbage bags for clean-up

feeding dishes

n Extra

collars, harnesses and leashes

n Photocopies

of medical records and a waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires (Remember, food and medications need to be rotated out of your emergency kit—otherwise they may go bad or become useless.)

n B  ottled

water, at least 7 days’ worth for each person and pet (store in a cool, dry place and replace every two months)

n A

traveling bag, crate or sturdy carrier, ideally one for each pet

n Flashlight n Blanket

(for scooping up a fearful pet)

n Recent

photos of your pets (in case you are separated and need to make “Lost” posters)

n Especially

for cats: Pillowcase or EvacSak, toys, scoopable litter

n Especially

for dogs: Extra leash, toys and chew toys, 1 week’s worth of cage liner Source: ASPCA

Pet Quarterly | Fall 2013 13

Pet Tales

November Is Pet Diabetes Awareness Month Pet Tales by Laci Schaible, DVM

Diabetes is on the rise among pets. Prevalence of diabetes mellitus in dogs, for example, has doubled in the past five years, according to Banfield’s State of Pet Health 2013 Report. While diabetes in dogs and cats can decrease their lifespan if the disease goes undetected or causes complications, sophisticated advances in veterinary care today allow for regulation and treatment of the disease in our furry friends. With proper veterinary care, most dogs and cats with diabetes will live happy and active lives once their disease is well regulated. Recognizing the disease early is key.

Is your pet at risk for this disease? If you notice any of these signs, discuss them with your veterinarian. Testing will begin with blood work and a urine test.

Clinical signs in dogs:

Quick Fact An estimated 42 percent of dogs and 40 percent of cats with diabetes are overweight. Source: Banfield’s State of Pet Health 2012 Report

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n Increased

drinking and urination (may begin to have accidents despite always being housetrained) n Lethargy n Vomiting n Weight loss n Change in appetite (increase or decrease) n Most often affects female unspayed dogs

Clinical signs in cats: n Increased

drinking and urination (may urinate outside box) n Lethargy n Poor hair coat n Weight loss n Strong appetite n Most often affects overweight neutered male cats

Treatment and monitoring: Treatment depends on how far the disease has progressed but may involve dietary modification and insulin administration. Diabetes mellitus does require close monitoring, as blood sugar that is too low or too high can be dangerous and even life-threatening.

Pet Tales

Get Well Soon!

Tips for Recovery after Surgery After a pet’s surgery, your veterinarian will outline your pet’s post-operative instructions. When those instructions include keeping your athletic and hyper dog quiet and restrict activity, you may be tempted to mutter, “Yeah right.” Although it’s easier said than done, keeping a pet calm after surgery is crucial to its recovery. Here are some tips to help achieve this seemingly impossible task. 1. If possible, schedule the surgery so you can be at home for several days with your pet. 2. Confine cats to a small space without shelves or ledges for them to jump onto. Jumping to high levels places stress on abdominal incisions. Try a small tent or dog crate.

3. Provide dogs with a chew toy or an engaging toy such as a Kong filled with peanut butter. 4. G  room your pet. Even if your dog or cat isn’t the biggest fan of grooming, it will likely take its mind off its incisions and give it something else to focus on temporarily. 5. S tairs are usually off-limits. If you are unable to carry your pet up and down the stairs, talk to your veterinarian to see if it will be necessary to have someone provide an extra set of hands.

6. Provide thick bedding where your pet will be staying. In the cat box, replace cat litter with shredded newspaper to keep small litter pieces and dust out of any healing incisions. 7. Provide new toys and rotate them out multiple times daily for the most active and easily bored patients. 8. If you can’t control your hyper pet, please bring it back to the clinic for an extended stay. You won’t be the first or the last pet parent to resort to this.

n Incisional swelling: A small amount of incisional swelling is unavoidable due to the tissue handling and manipulation that occurs with surgery. Most of the swelling will be apparent several hours after surgery, around the time you pick up your pet. If the swelling continues, contact your veterinarian. n Incisional discharge: A small amount of oozing may happen at the incision site, but there should be no measurable drainage. If you think more than a half-teaspoon of liquid has seeped from your pet’s incision, this is reason to notify your veterinarian. Other reasons include more than a few drops of blood or discharge that is any color other than clear orange-pink (this is serous discharge, which flushes away dead

cells and bacteria as the body’s natural way to help heal the wound.) n Wound dehiscence: This is a surgical complication that occurs when the wound ruptures along the sutures. Depending on the size of the dehiscence, this can be quite serious. n Hematoma: This is a collection of blood outside the blood vessels. Most hematomas require little intervention beyond icing the swelling and will take one to two weeks to resolve. Make sure to learn the side effects your veterinarian expects after your pet’s anesthesia. If you notice a change in your pet that your veterinarian did not mention—even one that is not limited to the incision, such as vomiting or pale-colored gums— contact your veterinarian right away.

Pets on the Mend Keeping your pet quiet after surgery truly is important despite how inconvenient it is and how slowly the days drag on. You should always follow your own veterinarian’s advice above all, but here is some general information about common post-operative complications that could be prevented by successfully limiting your pet’s activity after surgery.

Pet Quarterly | Fall 2013 15

Pet Tales

Did You Know?

Ask the Veterinarian I was told not to give my dog human food this holiday season because it may cause pancreatitis. Can you explain what this means? The pancreas is an abdominal organ that produces digestive enzymes and hormones such as insulin. When the pancreas becomes inflamed, the disorder is called pancreatitis. We don’t fully understand what causes pancreatitis, but dogs often develop it after eating a rich, fatty meal. This makes feeding fatty treats to your dog dangerous. The disease typically causes a range of symptoms: nausea, vomiting, fever, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Pancreatitis can be mild or severe. Unfortunately, diagnosis is not straightforward, and the routine tests such as basic blood work, X-rays and ultrasound may leave your veterinarian scratching his or her head. Consequently, your veterinarian may suspect pancreatitis solely upon clinical signs and medical history. A blood test for pancreatitis that is more accurate (called a canine pancreatic lipase) may require submission to an outside lab. Treatment varies depending on the severity of the disease, but involves resting the pancreas from its role in digestion by withholding all oral fluids and food while IV fluids and antibiotics support the pet. Hospitalization for several days is typically needed for all except the mildest cases. Mild cases of pancreatitis have a good prognosis, but many dogs will have to follow a low-fat diet after recovering. This makes even the mildest case of pancreatitis surely not worth the short pleasure of a tasty holiday treat, as it often means a lifetime of low-fat food.

Most dogs have diabetes mellitus type 1, otherwise known as “insulin dependent diabetes,” similar to juvenile humans that develop the disease. Most cats and adult humans have diabetes mellitus type 2, sometimes called “sugar diabetes,” which develops with insulin resistance.

C H E WA B L E S CAUTION: Federal (U.S.A.) law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian. INDICATIONS: For use in dogs to prevent canine heartworm disease by eliminating the tissue stage of heartworm larvae (Dirofilaria immitis) for a month (30 days) after infection and for the treatment and control of ascarids (Toxocara canis, Toxascaris leonina) and hookworms (Ancylostoma caninum, Uncinaria stenocephala, Ancylostoma braziliense). DOSAGE: HEARTGARD® Plus (ivermectin/pyrantel) Chewables should be administered orally at monthly intervals at the recommended minimum dose level of 6 mcg of ivermectin per kilogram (2.72 mcg/lb) and 5 mg of pyrantel (as pamoate salt) per kg (2.27 mg/lb) of body weight. The recommended dosing schedule for prevention of canine heartworm disease and for the treatment and control of ascarids and hookworms is as follows:

Dog Chewables Ivermectin Weight Per Month Content

Up to 25 26 - 50 51 - 100

1 1 1

68 mcg 136 mcg 272 mcg

Pyrantel Content

Color Coding 0n Foil-Backing and Carton

57 mg 114 mg 227 mg

Blue Green Brown

HEARTGARD Plus is recommended for dogs 6 weeks of age and older. For dogs over 100 lb use the appropriate combination of these chewables. ADMINISTRATION: Remove only one chewable at a time from the foil-backed blister card. Return the card with the remaining chewables to its box to protect the product from light. Because most dogs find HEARTGARD Plus palatable, the product can be offered to the dog by hand. Alternatively, it may be added intact to a small amount of dog food.The chewable should be administered in a manner that encourages the dog to chew, rather than to swallow without chewing. Chewables may be broken into pieces and fed to dogs that normally swallow treats whole. Care should be taken that the dog consumes the complete dose, and treated animals should be observed for a few minutes after administration to ensure that part of the dose is not lost or rejected. If it is suspected that any of the dose has been lost, redosing is recommended. HEARTGARD Plus should be given at monthly intervals during the period of the year when mosquitoes (vectors), potentially carrying infective heartworm larvae, are active. The initial dose must be given within a month (30 days) after the dog’s first exposure to mosquitoes. The final dose must be given within a month (30 days) after the dog’s last exposure to mosquitoes. When replacing another heartworm preventive product in a heartworm disease prevention program, the first dose of HEARTGARD Plus must be given within a month (30 days) of the last dose of the former medication. If the interval between doses exceeds a month (30 days), the efficacy of ivermectin can be reduced. Therefore, for optimal performance, the chewable must be given once a month on or about the same day of the month. If treatment is delayed, whether by a few days or many, immediate treatment with HEARTGARD Plus and resumption of the recommended dosing regimen will minimize the opportunity for the development of adult heartworms. Monthly treatment with HEARTGARD Plus also provides effective treatment and control of ascarids (T. canis, T. leonina) and hookworms (A. caninum, U. stenocephala, A. braziliense). Clients should be advised of measures to be taken to prevent reinfection with intestinal parasites. EFFICACY: HEARTGARD Plus Chewables, given orally using the recommended dose and regimen, are effective against the tissue larval stage of D.immitis for a month (30 days) after infection and, as a result, prevent the development of the adult stage. HEARTGARD Plus Chewables are also effective against canine ascarids (T. canis, T. leonina) and hookworms (A. caninum, U. stenocephala, A. braziliense).

ACCEPTABILITY: In acceptability and field trials, HEARTGARD Plus Chewables were shown to be an acceptable oral dosage form that was consumed at first offering by the majority of dogs. PRECAUTIONS: All dogs should be tested for existing heartworm infection before starting treatment with HEARTGARD Plus which is not effective against adult D. immitis. Infected dogs must be treated to remove adult heartworms and microfilariae before initiating a program with HEARTGARD Plus. While some microfilariae may be killed by the ivermectin in HEARTGARD Plus at the recommended dose level, HEARTGARD Plus is not effective for microfilariae clearance. A mild hypersensitivitytype reaction, presumably due to dead or dying microfilariae and particularly involving a transient diarrhea, has been observed in clinical trials with ivermectin alone after treatment of some dogs that have circulating microfilariae. Keep this and all drugs out of the reach of children. In case of ingestion by humans, clients should be advised to contact a physician immediately. Physicians may contact a Poison Control Center for advice concerning cases of ingestion by humans. Store at controlled room temperature of 68°F - 77°F (20°C - 25°C). Excursions between 59°F - 86°F (15°C - 30°C) are permitted. Protect product from light. ADVERSE REACTIONS: In clinical field trials with HEARTGARD Plus, vomiting or diarrhea within 24 hours of dosing was rarely observed (1.1% of administered doses). The following adverse reactions have been reported following the use of HEARTGARD: Depression/lethargy, vomiting, anorexia, diarrhea, mydriasis, ataxia, staggering, convulsions and hypersalivation. SAFETY: HEARTGARD Plus has been shown to be bioequivalent to HEARTGARD, with respect to the bioavailability of ivermectin. The dose regimens of HEARTGARD Plus and HEARTGARD are the same with regard to ivermectin (6 mcg/kg). Studies with ivermectin indicate that certain dogs of the Collie breed are more sensitive to the effects of ivermectin administered at elevated dose levels (more than 16 times the target use level) than dogs of other breeds. At elevated doses, sensitive dogs showed adverse reactions which included mydriasis, depression, ataxia, tremors, drooling, paresis, recumbency, excitability, stupor, coma and death. HEARTGARD demonstrated no signs of toxicity at 10 times the recommended dose (60 mcg/kg) in sensitive Collies. Results of these trials and bioequivalency studies, support the safety of HEARTGARD products in dogs, including Collies, when used as recommended. HEARTGARD Plus has shown a wide margin of safety at the recommended dose level in dogs, including pregnant or breeding bitches, stud dogs and puppies aged 6 or more weeks. In clinical trials, many commonly used flea collars, dips, shampoos, anthelmintics, antibiotics, vaccines and steroid preparations have been administered with HEARTGARD Plus in a heartworm disease prevention program. In one trial, where some pups had parvovirus, there was a marginal reduction in efficacy against intestinal nematodes, possibly due to a change in intestinal transit time. HOW SUPPLIED: HEARTGARD Plus is available in three dosage strengths (see DOSAGE section) for dogs of different weights. Each strength comes in convenient cartons of 6 and 12 chewables. For customer service, please contact Merial at 1-888-637-4251. 1 Of

dogs showing a preference in three studies conducted by independent investigators, dogs preferred HEARTGARD® (ivermectin) Chewables over INTERCEPTOR® (milbemycin oxime) FlavorTabs® by a margin of 37 to 1; data on file at Merial.

®HEARTGARD and the Dog & Hand logo are registered trademarks of Merial. ®INTERCEPTOR is a registered trademark of the Novartis Corporation. ®FLAVOR TABS is a registered trademark of Novartis AG. ©2010 Merial Limited, Duluth, GA. All rights reserved. HGD10CNPETQTRAD.

16 Fall 2013 | Pet Quarterly



Ask your veterinarian about HEARTGARD® Plus (ivermectin/pyrantel) today!

®HEARTGARD and the Dog & Hand logo are registered trademarks of Merial. ©2012 Merial Limited, Duluth, GA. All rights reserved. HGD11TRCVCCOVER.

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What makes FRONTLINE® Plus complete? It annihilates the flea life cycle by killing fleas as adults, eggs, and larvae. Ticks, too. FRONTLINE Plus also keeps killing for 30 days. Satisfaction guaranteed. That’s why it’s the #1 choice of vets for their pets*— and yours.† *Data on file at Merial. † Vet-dispensed; MDI Data. ®FRONTLINE is a registered trademark of Merial. ©2011 Merial Limited, Duluth, GA. All rights reserved. FLE11CNPRINTAD.

Pet Quartlery - Fall 2013  

Pet Parents' source for all things pet health and veterinary medicine

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