Page 1

The East County Observer • DECEMBER 2011


COVER STORY: A New You: How to craft — and keep — a successful New Year’s resolution. / 6-7


Health Matters


cutting edge

Smooth as Silk

Making a Difference


Dr. John Dunne, of Erasers Body Enhancement Center in Lakewood Ranch, is one of a handful of doctors across the country that has begun treating patients with Xeomin.




By Jen Blanco | Associate Editor

LAKEWOOD RANCH — For years, Botox has been the standard aesthetic toxin for helping to eliminate wrinkles. But in July, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new product, which is similar to Botox but will be available at a cheaper cost per unit. Xeomin, produced by Merz, is the latest toxin designed to help eliminate lines and wrinkles. The product won’t be marketed and released nationally until March 2012, but a handful of physicians, including Dr. John Dunne, medical director for Erasers Body Enhancement Center in Lakewood Ranch, were given the product and began using it on patients beginning in early November. Dunne, who has practiced medicine in Bradenton for more than 30 years and trained in laser techniques for blood vessels, was chosen to distribute the product early because of his extensive use of Botox and other Merz products. “Everybody’s been happy so far,” Dunne says. Xeomin can be used in similar cases as Botox, including eliminating lines on the forehead, frown lines, crow’s feet and upper-lip lines. It also can be used to raise eyebrows, alleviate a stiff neck and more, Dunne Jen Blanco says. Dr. John Dunne, of Erasers Body Enhancement However, those patients with Center in Lakewood Ranch, is one of a handful of neurological problems such as doctors across the country that has begun treating patients with Xeomin. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, among others, are discouraged from using the product. within two to three days; however, some “It can make it worse,” Dunne says. patients may continue to notice changes Xeomin also is administered in the for up to three weeks. same fashion as Botox as injections On average, Xeomin lasts anywhere targeted at the problem area. from three to six months. “It’s a very quick procedure,” Dunne “It’s a good product,” Dunne says. “It says. “Xeomin interferes with the nerve has good safety margins and has been impulses in the muscles, eliminating approved by the FDA. So far all of my many of the lines that you get from those patients have been happy.” muscles such as the frown area.” Dunne was trained in Boston in laser But while the two products are used techniques for blood vessels. In 1989, he for similar procedures, Xeomin is only $9 became the first physician in the area to a unit compared to Botox, which ranges use this method of vascular treatment. He from $10.50 to $14 a unit. A single frown has been providing Lyra Laser treatments procedure can require as many as 24 for eight years and KTP Laser treatments units, which translates to a $120 savings. for more than 15 years. “In this economy, even a dollar Contact Jen Blanco at jblanco@ difference means a lot when you start

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It is always discouraging to see cavities in the mouth of young children. If you can see them, cavities may already be deep into the tooth. Not all cavities are visible; some hide between the teeth. Flossing was designed so that we could clean the contacts of our teeth. It helps prevent those tricky cavities that can only be seen on X-Rays or once they are big enough to start hurting. It also helps prevent gum inflammation by reducing the plaque and tartar that forms inside the gum line pockets. Flossing requires skills that can be improved with practice. Oral health education is our specialty. Maribel Santos-Cordero, DMD Board Certified Pediatric Dentist ......... 7315 Merchant Ct Sarasota, FL 34240 Tel. 941-907-7762 70247

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talking about 24 units,” Dunne says. In addition to its lower cost, Xeomin also is a more pure than Botox, meaning there aren’t as many proteins attached to it. The problem physicians have seen with Botox is some patients eventually become immune to the toxin; and, as a result, it will no longer work for them. Once the procedure is complete, patients will begin to see maximum effects

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Health Matters


Health Briefs n Manatee Memorial

installs charging stations Manatee Memorial Hospital installed in November the first electric car charging stations in Bradenton. The two stations are located on the ground floor of the parking garage in the southwest corner near the parking garage elevator. The units are covered from the weather, and the public will have access 24 hours daily. The hospital received the DOEprovided equipment through Ken Stokes at EcoTechnologies Inc., an authorized Coulomb/NovaChange partner, and the leading local energy integrator. Doyle Electric also partnered with the hospital, handling the installation of the units. For information on Coulomb’s ChargePoint network, call 1-888-758-4389.

n Kobernick Anchin,

SMH form partnership Sarasota Memorial Health Care System and the Kobernick Anchin retirement community recently partnered to offer a new anticoagulation clinic on the Kobernick Anchin campus, 1951 N. Honore Ave., Sarasota. The Sarasota Memorial Anticoagulation Clinic at Kobernick Anchin is an outpatient medical specialty clinic that will help patients manage their anticoagulation medications, such as Warfarin sodium, Coumadin, and Jantoven, and increase the amount of time their blood tests remain in the appropriate range. Normally, patients who are on anticoagulant medication must travel to see a physician weekly to have their blood drawn and results are not immediate. Now, many area residents will find it easier and less stressful to go to the clinic at Kobernick Anchin instead.

“Kobernick representatives approached Sarasota Memorial with a proposal to open a clinic in their facility, and we were both honored and excited to pursue this joint venture as it will help enhance health-care services in the community,” said David Patterson, executive director of Sarasota Memorial’s Heart and Vascular Services. The clinic’s comprehensive one-on-one approach will include:

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• Regular assessment of INR values, medication and lifestyle changes and evaluation of patient needs • Lab testing (simple finger-stick technology) • Immediate results • Advanced medical assessments and interventions • Ongoing education and support Patients at any level of anticoagulation therapy are welcome, but they must have a referral and visit their managing physician at least once a year. Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance cover some or all of the provided services. People who are uninsured or experiencing financial difficulties may be eligible for free or discounted care. Appointments are required. Call 917-8889.

n Sarasota Urgent Care

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Lakewood Ranch-based Sarasota Urgent Care recently received the Certified Urgent Care designation, which distinguishes it as a true urgent care center. The clinic provides patients with walkin, extended-hour medical attention with licensed providers for a large scope of medical conditions and has met all of the Urgent Care Association of America’s established criteria. Sarasota Urgent Care is located at 6272 Lake Osprey Drive, Lakewood Ranch. Hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. For more, visit

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Join us for a seminar on 3D mammography by Dr. Jeffrey Wasserman of Lakewood Ranch Medical Center and learn about this advanced screening tool. For the first time, breast tomosynthesis allows physicians to examine the breast one layer at a time for more accurate results. Benefits of 3D Mammography • Fewer false positives • Less exposure to radiation • Detection of very small cancers To learn more about this exciting technology, join us at Dr. Wasserman’s seminar on Tuesday, December 13, at 5 p.m., in conference room 1 at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center. Reserve your space today by calling Direct DoctorsSM Plus at 941-708-8100.

Physicians are on the medical staff of Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, but, with limited exceptions,are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of Lakewood Ranch Medical Center. The hospital shall not be liable for actions or treatments provided by physicians. Facebook is a registered trademark of Facebook, Inc.

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Health Matters


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perfect gift for your son or daughter is enough to make anyone’s heart sink, but In just the last two weeks, the East for some, it can be a source of additional County has transformed into a winter stress. wonderland, as residents have been Rather than searching for alternatives busy stringing lights, trimming trees and within their means, some individuals put decorating their lawns. so much pressure to find the perfect gift Yes, the holiday season is officially that it can lead to arguments among loved upon us. But what many deem as the ones and disappointment. most wonderful time of year can have “People want to have a happy holiday a detrimental effect and buy gifts, but when the money’s not on the health and there it can be (stressful),” Smolen says. well-being of some “When people dwell on their problems individuals. and complain then everything gets worse. The holiday season Preoccupation and dwelling tends to bring is a time to celebrate on a depressed attitude.” and to show those In addition to the economy, painful around you how much memories and the thought of not having you care. But for some, a loved one around to share in the holiday the additional stress of season are enough to dampen anyone’s trying to find the perfect Dr. Jamie Smolen spirits. While the holidays are typically gift or not having a a joyous time, for some, the holidays loved one around to share in the holiday are a constant reminder of a painful or season is too much to bear. uncomfortable situation. And as the added stress and pressure of And for those who are feeling a little the holiday season begin to add up, some depressed, the painful memories, individuals find themselves falling into a rather than the joyful ones, jump to the state of depression. forefront. “Depression is (a result) of the “If a person’s a little depressed, then multitude of stresses that people cope they’ll remember the bad memories with, such as the economy and arguments rather than the good memories, which that may arise, and unfortunately, yes, only makes them more depressed,” the number of cases (increase) over the Smolen says. “If a holiday reminds them holidays,” East County psychiatrist Dr. of something in the past that was painful Jamie Smolen says. or uncomfortable, then the holiday just seems to bring it up. Stressors “People who are depressed dread In recent years, the economy has been having to go to a party or buy gift,” he one of the most common causes of says. “People who are prone to depression depression during the holiday season. … the holidays are sad for them. It’s (no The thought of not being able to buy the longer) the happiest time of the year.”


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There are several ways to combat holiday depression. One of the most important ways to snap out of a depressed state is by showing gratitude and love. If an individual thinks grateful thoughts, then he or she feel better, Smolen says. Gratitude, coupled with the love of family and friends, can be instrumental in helping an individual start to feel better. “Each time someone thinks a grateful thought, he or she will feel a little better,” Smolen says. “That, along with family — that’s where the love comes in. … When you start to add that up, it begins to feel good enough.” Hugging and smiling are two more ways to cope with depression. Research shows a vast majority of the population deprives itself of daily hugs, Smolen says. However, it’s when people hug one another that they tend to feel the most grateful and appreciative. Smiling also has a positive effect on a person’s well-being. Even if one doesn’t have a specific reason to smile, just the act of smiling alone is enough to make a person feel better. “Smiling releases serotonin and dopamine, the feel-good chemicals of the brain or the neurotransmitters,” Smolen says. “Smiles are kind of contagious. If someone smiles at you, you tend to smile back.” Smiles also trigger laughter, which makes it difficult to stay depressed. “It’s hard to be depressed, sad and gloomy when you’re smiling and laughing,” Smolen says. “The majority of adults stop being playful. The more serious you are the more prone you are to unhappiness.” Finally, it’s important to serve or give to others during the holiday season. However, that doesn’t mean one should go out and spend his or her life savings on extravagant purchases. Rather, one should give within their means, whatever that may be, and in return he or she will receive feel better about himself or herself and his or her situation.

Health Matters



Welcome SnoWbirdS!

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Below are five steps that can help you beat the holiday blues.

THe docTor iS in!

1. Hugs. Research shows that too many people deprive themselves of daily hugs. The more hugs people receive, the better they will feel. 2. Smiling and Laughing. Smiling triggers serotonin and dopamine, the feelgood chemicals of the brain. 3. Giving. People who give receive the best feelings in return. 4. “I love you.” Saying and hearing those three words can help stave off depressing thoughts. 5. Attitude is Everything. The ability to understand from where your depressing thoughts stem will help you realize they also are temporary.

After the holidays

More often than not, someone who has fallen into a depressed state because of the holidays will typically revert back once the holiday season is over. However, for those who find themselves having trouble sleeping, who are constantly tired, who have little interest in doing the activities that once brought them joy or who feel bad about themselves and have trouble concentrating more than half of the week or nearly every day may suffer from clinical depression. In those instances, individuals should seek counseling or therapy. “There are more cases of clinical depression during the holidays than any other time of the year,” Smolen says. “If you’re clinically depressed you need help. The percentage of depressed individuals is rising. There are far more depressed people now than ever before. Depression is a medical condition, but it’s treatable and it’s curable.” Contact Jen Blanco at jblanco@

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Health Matters


cover story

A New You: A Guide to a Successful Ne As the new year begins, our East County professionals have chimed in to help you meet your heath, financial, fitness and other goals for 2012. By Pam Eubanks | News Editor

Marc Simms


1. Write down your

goals. 2. Develop steps to accomplish your goals by setting smaller, short-term goals to get to longer-term ones. 3. Focus on “What,” rather than “Why.” Ask, “What can I do differently to achieve my goal?” rather than “Why didn’t I reach my goal?” 4. Don’t assume. Instead, be proactive with communication. 5. Be adaptable. Be willing and ready to refocus your goal, if needed.

As East County businessman Marc Simms settled down with a cup of coffee at a table in Starbucks, he pulled out a faded piece of paper. It’s date: Sometime in 1997. On it, Simms’ goals for what was then the next 10 years are scribbled in black ink: Start a sales consulting company. Live near an ocean or large body of water. Have a house with a pool. The list continued. Today, nearly all those goals have been accomplished, but not without much effort. “Setting the goal is basic,” says Simms, who now owns RPM Business Advisors, a sales and management-performance company. “The hard part is committing to it. It has to be written down and it has to be in front of you at all times. Then, you can work on changing your habits to achieve the goal.” The goal, Simms says, should be specific, measurable, adaptable, realistic and timely — or SMART. If your goal is to increase your income from $45,000 annually to more than $100,000, you can’t expect to do the same thing and achieve different results, Simms says. Instead, you must determine what needs to change to make your

FITNESS TIPS 1. Warm up your muscles

properly before exercising to avoid injury. Jumping jacks and similar exercises that increase blood flow to the muscles are appropriate. 2. Find a workout buddy to offer accountability and motivation. 3. Start slowly. Exercise two to three times a week for 20-30 minutes, at first, to prevent overtraining and burnout. 4. Strengthen your core muscles through yoga, goal a reality, whether completing more training or something else. As we prepare to turn our calendars to 2012, East County experts in health, wealth and fitness are ready to help you find success in the new year.


As Fitness Together owners Nick and Nicole Clark headed in to 2011, the East County trainers knew they wanted to tackle a new fitness goal — one that was, frankly, a little bit overwhelming. They each wanted to complete an Ironman triathlon.

Nicole Clark planks and other exercises.

5. Have a goal in mind to work

toward. — Courtesy of Nicole Clark, Fitness Together

And so, the couple began its training, one day at a time. Nick completed his 140.6-mile race in August, while Nicole finished hers mid-November. “It was the hardest, most painful experience, but the most amazing at the same time,” Nicole says. Although fitness resolutions are among the most common, they also are among the hardest to keep. Gym memberships typically spike at the turn of the calendar and then plummet within months. However, with proper planning and execution, Nicole says fitness goals can be achievable.

To start, setting shorter-term goals to reach long-term goals is a must, she says. Hiring a professional trainer to devise a training program and provide accountability, even if for just a month or two, is a good way to launch into fitness goals. Individuals also could choose to train with a friend or family member to make exercise more fun while also providing accountability. For individuals who are new to exercise, it is especially important to start slow. Exercise, at first, should be done two to three times weekly for 20 to 30 minutes. After that, you can increase by 10% every two weeks or so, Nicole says. Nicole says it is important to build your core muscles — the muscle group between your sternum and pelvis — before doing any type of exercise, whether running or weight lifting. Exercises such as planks, yoga and sit-ups will strengthen your core muscles. “That’s the foundation of every movement,” she says. “You are only as strong as your core.”


Dietician Barbara Bingham, of Kaizen Total Wellness, knows there will be times she’s out on the road for appointments and needs something to eat. But instead of pulling into the

drive-thru at keeps a jar o her car. Hav ensure she’s even when s “You have going to set support me As East C start the new more health Bingham su having your index, chole measureme will help you accomplish “How do made any im know your s says. “Peop by eating M doesn’t imp With num individuals s small dietar toward eatin lean protein and less sug Initial cha as reducing drinks you c lettuce and hamburger to wheat bre Bingham sa “The main resolutions are too amb Bingham sa pounds too Bingham what you ea

now at Lakewood Ranch Medical Group Sheryl Okuhara, DO Internal Medicine Dr. Okuhara specializes in internal medicine for adult patients. She is now scheduling new patients.

8340 Lakewood Ranch Blvd, Suite 140 • Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202 Phone 941-782-2800 • Fax 941-782-2513


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Health Matters


OB/GYN ew Year’s Resolution Women’s Centre of Lakewood Ranch , LLC

Dedicated to a Lifetime of Women’s Health

Dietician Barbara Bingham and Nutritionist Annette Schuchert


1. Use a smaller dinner plate

to help control portion size 2. Eat the highest fiber foods on your plate first — vegetables, beans, wild rice, etc. 3. Drink eight ounces of water, green tea or diet club soda just before your meal you more mindful of what you are consuming. In fact, in a 30-day study, individuals who wrote down their food intake every day lost 50% more weight, she says. If you only like to eat meat and potatoes, venture out to try new things and also re-think how to use vegetables at mealtime. “Discover the vegetables you do like and find creative ways to use them,” Bingham says.

4. Do not eat while sitting

in front of the TV or while reading. 5. Slow down. Count 25 chews per bit to foster the habit of eating more slowly. — Courtesy of Barbara Bingham, Kaizen Total Wellness Bingham says anyone wishing to lose weight should start the day with breakfast that includes protein, whether a fruit smoothie with protein powder, scrambled eggs or a protein bar. Additionally, try to eat a small snack every two to three hours to make sure your blood sugar levels stable. Feeling light-headed or even just having

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t McDonald’s, Bingham of roasted almonds in ving the snack helps s eating healthily — she’s on the go. e to think, ‘How am I t up my environment to e?’” Bingham says. County residents w year looking to eat hily or lose weight, uggests to start first by r weight, body mass esterol and other ents taken. The results, u better gauge how to your health goals. you know if you’ve mprovement if you don’t standards?” Bingham ple could lose 10 pounds M&Ms every day, but that prove your health.” mbers in hand, should begin to make ry changes, working ng more whole grains, ns, fruits and vegetables gary, quick-energy foods. anges can be as simple g the number of soft consume daily, adding tomatoes to your or switching from white ead for sandwiches, ays. n reason New Year’s fail is because they bitious at the onset,” ays. “Seventy-five o lose is too daunting.” says writing down at every day will make

Continued on page 9

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Shelly and Mark Gutowski, owners of Boutique Out East Salon & Spa, are excited about giving customers the opportunity to use acoustic resonance technology during their facial treatments.

Sound Investment An East County spa now offers acoustic resonance therapy to its facial customers. The technology has shown to reduce stress and aid in sleep, among other health benefits.

Serving You For 22 Years in the Same Area

By Pam Eubanks | News Editor

(941) 359-3337


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Saturday, January 14, 2012

SYMPOSIUM / 9 aM - 1 PM FREE COMMUNITY EDUCaTION Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall • Sarasota, FL 8 am Doors open 8-11 am Community Information Tables 10:45 am Documentary Film Screening “Halfway Home”, a Paul Freedman Film

Dr. Charles Hoge, former director of Walter Reed Research Institute; SSG Tommy Rieman, U.S. Army and National Guard, Silver Star and Purple Heart Recipient; Patrick Kennedy, former congressman, the author and lead sponsor of the Mental Health Parity & Addiction Equity Act of 2008 and Paul Freedman, film director of the documentary Halfway Home; and other honored military guests and veterans

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LAKEWOOD RANCH — One East County salon is hoping a $10,000 investment resonates with their clients. Boutique Out East Salon & Spa owners Mark and Shelly Gutowski recently unveiled a facial treatment bed that features acoustic resonance technology, providing an opportunity for what has been deemed as “sound healing.” As the sound of soothing music fills the facial treatment room, the heated ART bed actually picks up on the high and low frequencies in the music and vibrates the bed accordingly, thus creating a wholebody relaxation experience. Boutique Out East clients getting facial treatments can lie in the bed while enjoying their facial treatments. “You’re not only hearing the music, but you are feeling the acoustic sound resonance,” Mark Gutowski says, noting the bed has a 4-inch thick memory foam mattress. “It is the only one of its kind in the state of Florida. “We don’t charge a fee to lie in this bed (like many other salons),” he says. “This (bed) is used to enhance the facial experience.” Vibrations — which can be felt from head to toe — intensify as the volume of the music increases, and also as the body relaxes and is better able to feel the sensation, Mark Gutowski says. So Sound Solutions, the Colorado-based manufacturer that custom-built the bed for the Gutowskis, states acoustic resonance

technology provides health benefits, including relaxation and pain reduction. It also promotes the technology’s ability to help individuals with insomnia and chronic fatigue, autism, attention deficit disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and more. In 2001, NASA-funded scientists even used a similar technology — a vibrating plate on which individuals could stand — to combat bone density loss in astronauts sent on long-term space missions. Astronauts were experiencing significant bone and muscle atrophy, despite vigorous exercise regimens using devices that used springs, elastic and harnesses to mimic body weight and provide resistance. Mark Gutowski says he believes the ART bed’s greatest advantage is reducing stress, which, overall, allows the body to better ward off illness and to heal more quickly. The Gutowskis are the first to admit that after a long or stressful day at work, lying on the ART bed for a few minutes proves to be a near-instant stress reliever. Boutique Out East esthetician Michelle Salem agreed, noting most of many of her customers have started falling asleep during their facials since getting the bed. “Facials are relaxing, but it’s not typical for people to fall asleep,” she says. “It’s truly that stage 1 sleep (they are going into).” Boutique Out East Salon & Spa’s ART bed arrived in early November. For more information, visit www. Contact Pam Eubanks at peubanks@

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Continued from page 7 a gnawing feeling in your stomach are indicators your body’s insulin levels are off and you need food. Selecting snacks that metabolize slowly, such as apple slices with peanut butter or whole-grain crackers and cheese, are good choices. Drinking plenty of water also is essential for weight loss. Bingham again suggests documenting how much water you are consuming, because often it is less than you believe. Soft drinks and coffee, for example, do not count toward your water consumption goals. And finally, adding more fiber to your diet — 25-30 grams per day in total — is essential to losing weight. Individuals adding fiber to their diets should do so slowly and also be careful to drink plenty of water to ensure the body handles the change well.


Kris Flammang, financial adviser with LPF Financial Advisors, says the key to good financial health starts with knowing how much you have to spend and having a plan of action for your financial future. “Most people feel guilt about spending money because they don’t know (what they have),” Flammang says. So, families first should start with a basic budget of must-pay expenses compared to their incomes. If you are just barely breaking even, in particular, separate out your committed expenses, such as your mortgage payments and food, and discretionary items, such as cable and cell phones. Then, you should begin to save for both unexpected and planned future expenses. Flammang says families should work hard to build a “war chest,” or essentially a stash of money for when emergencies — such as the loss of a job — arises. Families should start by putting aside two to six months of living expenses. The amount should cover must-pay bills such as mortgage and car payments and food and utilities. For retirees, a solid figure hovers around $12,000. “People who have had (that savings) set

Health Matters


Independent as you Want, assIstance as you need It

FINANCE TIPS 1. Create a

budget based on your income, separating mandatory and discretionary expenses. Kris Flammang 2. Use a program such as Quicken, or other moneytracking software, to help you better track spending. 3. Save 10% to 20% of your income. 4. Save up two to six months of expenses to handle future job loss or other emergencies. 5. Pay off debts as quickly as possible. — Courtesy of Kris Flammang, LPF Financial Advisors

You can be as independent as you care to be. Live on your own schedule, pursue the things that interest you, and do what feels comfortable to you at The Windsor. For many, The Windsor represents the peace of mind that comes from being in control of your life. And should you need them, The Windsor offers a menu of services available to assist you, whether it be medication assistance, specialized diets, or other daily living needs. Your unique plan provides the most individual personal services in a most cost effective manner. As your needs or wants change, your flexible combination of services changes with you.

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aside in 2008 weathered the (economic) storm better,” Flammang says. Typically, households should strive to save 10% to 20% of their income every paycheck, Flammang says. Utilizing 401K plans or direct deposits to IRA accounts also are great ways to work toward goals consistently. To better accomplish their savings goal, families also should eliminate consumer debt, such as credit card and car payments. “(Eliminate) stuff where you take on the debt and it has no chance of appreciating in value,” Flammang says, noting he recommends canceling all but one credit card. Flammang also advocates the practice of giving generously and purposefully, whether to a church, charity or other organization. The idea, he says, is to help shift your mindset from consumption to one that cares for a cause. Doing so, he says, hopefully also will prevent overspending, as well. Contact Pam Eubanks at peubanks@


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critter corner

Making sense of your pets’ senses Understanding how your pets’ senses differ from humans can help you better discern when something is wrong.

Eric E. Calderon M.D., FACC, FSCAI

Our pets perceive the world around us in much the same way we do. They have the same five senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. Pet owners may seek veterinary care when one or more of these senses become either over- or understimulated. For example, your pet may start to bump into the coffee table or doorway with a sudden or gradual onset of vision loss. He or she may DR. HOWARD act lethargic or have an SMALL altered sleep cycle with a condition affecting the hearing. An altered touch perception may manifest itself as a cry or yelp when picked up or petted. It is important to recognize what are normal senses for your pet so when there is a problem, proper care can be administered.

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The typical domestic dog has 20/75 vision, which is comparable to the typical 90-year-old human. While different from humans, dogs are far from blind. Stemming from their days when survival was the name of the game, a dog’s

ability to see movement in dim light is magnificent. Because of the biological makeup of a dog’s eye, their ability to see color is vastly different from us because their retinas have fewer cones, which detect color, but more rods which detect light, than humans. This means that dogs can distinguish color, usually in the blue and violet ranges, but their true ability lies in their skill to see well when light levels are low. The breed and, therefore, the anatomic makeup also plays a role in your pets sense of vision. For example, a greyhound, with its long nose and closely set eyes, sees the world differently from a pug that has a short face and wide-set eyes. It would be abnormal to expect a pug to put a mark on a rabbit unless it was right under its nose. Loss of vision is commonly caused by hereditary or acquired diseases. For example, a hereditary condition called progressive retinal atrophy causes gradual blindness and is seen primarily in young to middle-age poodles. Acquired diseases such as diabetes can lead to cataract related blindness. Tick-borne infections also can cause vision loss. It’s important to understand that if your dog becomes blind, don’t despair. This is not a reason to euthanize your pet. It will rely on its other senses to compensate.



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The next sense is hearing. Although hearing skills differ between the breeds, in general, dogs can perceive sounds twice as high as humans and can hear a sound clearly 10 times farther away than a human. This is especially interesting to remember when your dog seems not to hear a thing you say. You may then start thinking of either hereditary or acquired causes for hearing loss. Hereditary hearing loss is seen commonly in Dalmatian dogs and in cats with white coats and blue eyes. If you suspect that your pet may be deaf, a test called a Brainstem Evoked Auditory Response, or BAER can be performed. This is a type of a hearing test usually performed in young pets to try to eliminate the deaf pets from the breeding stock, but can be performed at any age. It’s a painless test and does not require anesthesia. Acquired causes for hearing loss may include ear infections, drug toxicity from chronic application of ear medications, noise trauma and presbycusis (age-related hearing loss). Always approach a deaf pet slowly so it is not startled. Use the other sense, touch, to let it know that you are near.

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procedure to age related conditions like arthritis. There are now state-of-the-art painmanagement modalities for your pet.

Smell and taste

The last two senses are smell and taste. Animals generally can catch a whiff of something 100 times less concentrated than what we can smell. To put this in more understandable terms, while humans can smell bread baking, a dog can smell a week-old crumb left under the refrigerator. From a clinical perspective, pets often are victims of their own design. They eat and sniff things such as dirt and other pets’ rear ends, for example, which puts them at higher risk for infections and illness. One the other hand, scientists have used pets keen sense of smell in a positive way by using them to detect skin cancer in people. Dr. Howard Small is an East County veterinarian at The Animal Hospital at Lakewood Ranch, 10930 S.R. 70 E. For more, call 751-0101.

Our Focus Is on You Comprehensive eye & vision care for the entire family. At Lakewood Family Eye Care, we take pride in maintaining a friendly, compassionate team whose goal it is to make every visit a personal and stress-free experience. We strive to provide you and your family with the best care in a consistent, professional manner to achieve your total satisfaction. Comprehensive Eye Exams | Children’s Vision | Treatment of Eye Disease | Dry Eye Management Glaucoma Care | Full Service Optical | Contact


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The third sense, touch, is an important sense for the pet owner to understand. When this sense is at its extreme, your pet can feel pain. Animals do feel pain in the same way that we do. What is different is how they react to the pain. It’s a survival instinct to hide their pain from a prey animal, so a pet in pain may hide or sleep perhaps under the bed. Obvious pain signals may include vocalizing, panting, or abnormal posturing. Pain in your pet may be caused by any number of stimuli from a surgical

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