Independence Day brings may fun things – BBQ’s, swimming, get-togethers, and fireworks. Who doesn’t like huge balls of fire that light up the sky with fun colors and shapes and make loud noises!
Unfortunately, a lot of animals don’t think that is as fun as most people do. But why?
There are 4 main reasons why animals don’t like fireworks:
How can we help these poor animals survive these frightening times?
In the case of dogs or cats it may be as simple as keeping them indoors with a radio or TV turned on to soften the jarring noises. If they are comfortable and have plenty of good treats and things to do, relocate them to the basement. However, sometimes this isn’t enough. If your pet is scared by fireworks, ask a veterinarian for help. There are medications and techniques to help dogs and cats during this anxious time.
Be sure to have a collar and ID tag on your pets in case they run away. All pets, even those who are indoors all the time, may become so frightened during fireworks displays that they may take desperate measures to escape the noise, including breaking through windows or screens. Microchipping them is a great idea as well since this is a permanent ID under their skin that they can’t lose. Be sure that the microchip is registered to with your current contact information, though!
Independence Day isn’t free from other dangers as well…
Another reason to keep your pets away from the often-noisy celebrations of summer is heat. Be sure to protect your pet from heat stroke. Never leave your pet in a parked car even if the day doesn’t seem that warm. The temperature outside may be 72 degrees, but the temperature inside a closed vehicle can rocket to a fatal 116 degrees in less than an hour. Dogs who have a short nose (brachycephalic breeds) are much more susceptible to heat so be sure to keep them as cool as possible. Don’t leave them outside for long and give your pets plenty of water.
The Fourth of July can be a fun time, but be sure to keep these tips in mind while planning your summer festivities so you and your pet can have a great Fourth!
With all of the craziness that 2020 has brought to your life, let me take a minute to remind you of the routine pet care that we cannot let lapse. The routine care I am talking about is the annual heartworm test and prevention!
The weather is warming up and bugs are out! Soon, we will be seeing pesky mosquitoes which can spread Heartworm disease.
While the thought of this can be scary- we have very easy ways to make sure your pet stays safe. The American Heartworm Society recommends annual testing to ensure a negative start. The heartworm test is easy- three drops of blood and we have answers back in as little as eight minutes. The nice added bonus with a heartworm test- we do not only look for heartworm disease, but we also get three additional tick disease screenings at the same time.
Once we get a negative result- prevention can be instituted. These prevention’s are very effective in keeping pets free of disease. There are monthly chewable tablets or topical liquids which can prevent heartworm but also deworm for intestinal parasites.
Some of you are great and remember these monthly doses like clockwork- but let’s be honest—there are others like me that forget! We now have an injectable product that we give in the clinic and one dose provides a full twelve months of heartworm prevention! This means- you have to do NOTHING at home to prevent heartworm disease for a full twelve months! Either of these methods (monthly vs annual) are great and effective ways to keep you pet protected.
Did you know that dogs and cats are “technically” considered seniors after the age of eight years old? In giant breed dogs- it is even earlier often after six years of age. Since pets are living much longer, we see many animals experience one or more of these age related issues in their golden years.
As people age, our vision and hearing worsen; the same goes for senior pets. We do see vision changes manifest themselves as hesitancy to use the stairs in the dark, hugging the wall when walking up a dark hallway, reluctance to go outside unless the light is on etc. If vision is present but limited- using nightlights or outside lighting can help to minimize the hesitancy as much as possible and provide the best vision possible. Some pets do lose their vision completely. This can happen for a number of reasons from cataracts and glaucoma to retinal degeneration/detachment. If vision issues occur, an exam is needed to determine the cause and treat the underlying issues. While blindness sounds very scary to us, dogs and cats often do extremely well even unable to see. They are able to rely on their sense of touch, sound and smell to navigate their familiar environment with minimal problems.
Hearing issues can also happen as pets age. Just like people, the tiny bones and fibers within the ear needed for hearing tend to wear down with time. Hearing loss is often a gradual change, but if it appears suddenly, an exam is needed to look into that ear canal for further problems such as ear infections. With gradual hearing loss, some animals can hear certain pitches but not all. Trying different whistles of different pitches, clapping vs yelling their name, banging pots and pans are all different ways that you can get their attention when they may not be able to hear clearly. ALWAYS, keep any pet on leash when hearing loss is suspected as they may wander away and not be able to hear you calling.
Does your dog have “doggy breath”? Dental disease often happens as pets age. They accumulate more tartar on their teeth, losing the pearly whites that were present during their earlier days. The brown tartar on their teeth is comprised of bacteria- creating smell and risk. A dog or cat that has tartar on their teeth is at a greater risk for heart disease and kidney disease as they are constantly being exposed to bacteria. A dental cleaning is highly recommended to minimize their risks of further disease. As long as they are otherwise healthy, a senior pet is not at any more risk of anesthesia than any other patient. We recommend doing bloodwork prior to the procedure to make sure there are no unforeseen diseases affecting the main organs that process the anesthesia such as the liver and kidneys.
One of the most common problems seen in senior pets is arthritis. In a retrospective study, radiologists reviewed x-rays taken of pets, both dogs and cats, over the age of 9 years of age. These x-rays were taken for different reasons, often not limping. On these films, over 80% of the aged population has signs on x-ray of arthritis. Arthritic changes that are seen in the home often include limping, stiffness upon rising from a long rest period, missing a jump or “double” jumping to make the same height of a jump. These are all signs that there are changes occurring within one or more joints. There are both supplements and medications which can be used for comfort of the joints. We can decide together the best course of action to get your pet comfortable.
Another way to minimize arthritis is the appropriate diet and weight management. Keeping a senior pet of a normal body weight decreases the pressure and pain of each joint be that the elbows, spine, hips or knees. Senior formulas are lower in calories than adult and puppy. Senior diets or specialized weight formulas often have glucosamine and other additives to decrease joint inflammation. Senior food is also specially formulated to have the correct balance of fat, calories and protein. Older patients often have a decrease in kidney function which limits their ability to process dietary protein. Keeping a lower level of dietary protein is one way to protect the kidneys from further damage.
To discuss any of the above issues or other concerns you may have about your senior pet, give us a call and schedule your beloved pet’s exam today.
As a people who love and live with dogs, unfortunately dog bites are something many people experience at some point in their lives. Over 50% of the victims of dog bites are children. Often children are bitten by dogs due to circumstances that could have been prevented with a little training. Any dog can bite under the right circumstances, especially when frightened. Teaching children the following tips can help to decrease their chances of being involved in a dog bite:
For additional dog bite related resources, visit AVMA.org
Dr. Leah Thies
How many times have you thought about skipping your yearly trip to the vet? Our cat never goes outside or our dog seems perfectly fine. I don’t need to take them in- right? Wrong. Having your pet examined annually is a crucial part of keeping your pet living comfortably for as long as we can.
The owner, doctor and technician’s conversations about things at home can lend clues to a potential body part that needs closer examination. Is there a limp, a lump, a change in odor, itching/scratching, lethargy, changes in appetite or water consumption? Even before the exam begins- has there been a change in weight? All of these questions provide pieces to the puzzle that we are putting together during the appointment.
Exams are done systematically on all body parts. Early diagnosis of all problems can result in a more easily treatable condition. Infections of the ears can come on quickly and be severe, or may start slowly and not show any sign of irritation. We can help get pets comfortable far more rapidly if treated early in the course of disease.
Dental disease, fractured teeth, or items stuck in the mouth have all been found on routine exams. Seeking treatment for early stage dental disease can preserve teeth before the disease worsens further and extractions are needed. Dental disease also predisposes the body to unwanted bacteria in the bloodstream that can set animals up for heart and kidney disease.
Heart changes are sometimes very difficult to diagnose by just visibly looking at a pet. A history and physical examination with a stethoscope will be able to pick up on changes to the heart before the animal is showing distress.
Lumps and bumps, skin disease and parasites such as fleas and ticks are found each and every day in the exam room on a pet of an unsuspecting owner. We can again take corrective measures to get your friend feeling like themselves in no time!
Senior pets often need blood work to look for potential changes to an organ's function. This can guide dietary decisions or even medication decisions that allow you’re pet to live as long and comfortably as possible.
As you can see, the above reasons are all important reasons to schedule your annual (or more often) exam. The sooner we catch a potential problem, the faster we can address and make changes to keep your friend happy and healthy!
If you've ever lost your pet, you know that terrible feeling at the pit of your stomach that you'll never see them again. Microchipping is the best way to make sure your pet makes their way back home.
If your pet is already microchipped is it up to date? Have you moved, do you have a new phone number? August 15th is National Check the Chip Day. Please review our commonly asked questions on Microchipping your pet and if you have not had your pet Microchipped, call today to schedule! Take advantage of our Microchip special during the week of August 13-17th, for $34.99 (HomeAgain Microchip registration and enrollment included)
Not sure where your pet’s chip is registered?
Visit the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool at petmicrochiplookup.org.
To update your pet’s registration, you’ll need your pet’s microchip number.
If you haven’t already created an account with the manufacturer, you’ll need to do that as well so you can access the registration in the future to update the information. Make sure all of the information, particularly your phone number(s) and address, is correct.
Can I track where my pet goes if they are microchipped?
No, the microchip is not a tracking device. Only your veterinarian or a location with a universal scanner can scan your pet’s microchip.
Learn more about what a Microchip is and how it can be the best way to make sure your pet makes their way back home.
What is a Microchip?
A microchip is a permanent identification that can be placed just under the skin of your pet. If your pet gets lost and is taken to an animal shelter or veterinarian, they will scan the microchip to read its unique dog or cat ID code. Each ID code is unique to their owner's name, address and contact information so you can easily be contacted when the pet is found. The best part, is it's affordable!
How is it implanted?
It may sound "high-tech," but dog and cat microchipping is a simple procedure. A veterinarian simply injects the microchip (which is about the size of a grain of rice) beneath the surface of your pet's skin between the shoulder blades. The process only takes a few seconds and is similar to a routine shot. Bonus: No anesthetic is required!
Cancer does not discriminate between the species that it invades; dogs and cats are just as much at risk for developing cancers as people. Maggie, an eight year old Labrador retriever, was one of our patients to be diagnosed with a high grade Mast Cell tumor. Because of the aggressive nature of her tumor, she was seen by the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine surgical team for surgery to remove as much of her tumor tissue as possible. At that time, it was recommended that Maggie undergo a three month course of chemotherapy for the best chances at remission. Chemotherapy in people often makes them tired, nauseous, possibly lose hair or weight, as well as a whole host of other unpleasant side effects. Luckily for our pets, they do not often have these side effects. Most dogs and cats never lose large patches of hair and with the new anti-nausea medications vomiting is quite rare.
The type of chemotherapy that Maggie was to undergo required a half day stay at the hospital once a week for four weeks, and then every other week for four additional treatments. Maggie’s trips to us involved spending the morning getting her blood drawn, rechecking the previous incision sites and lymph nodes for any changes as well as getting lots of pets and love from doctors and staff. During her stays, she received an anti-nausea medication which helped Maggie not get sick from any of her treatments! With each visit, Maggie had an intravenous catheter placed into her front leg and received her chemotherapy right in our exam room with all of us gathered around on a large fluffy blanket. She always sat so nicely, typically cuddling in and resting her head on Katie’s leg. She knew that following the treatment there would be more treats and pets.
Maggie received all of her treatments on Fridays. When Maggie had progressed through her treatments and moved to every other week, she still wanted to come weekly for her visit. The owner stated that the days Maggie did not need to come, she sat ready and waiting to go! Maggie was able to finish her chemotherapy treatments the first part of June, 2018. She has had her six week follow-up at which time there was no evidence of disease! Maggie is currently in remission and hopefully will be for a very long time.
Is your dog scared or resistant to getting into the car? Talk to us about your pup’s most recent road trip experience. There may be an easy solution to getting you and your pup on the road.
Whether you're at home or away, your life would not be complete without your dog and your dog feels the same way about you. That’s why it’s so hard to leave a dog behind at home or at a kennel. It’s really sad when the only thing preventing you from taking a trip together is something as common as your dog getting carsick.
As many as 1 in 5 dogs suffer from canine motion sickness. Sometimes the vomiting may discourage dog owners like you from taking their dogs on trips or to receive necessary grooming, training or even medical care.
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