Pet Health

Can My Dog Eat That?

posted August 7th, 2015 by
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an infographic from the folks at Woofs Upon A Walk in Toronto http://woofsuponawalk.com/

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Did My Dog Just Cough?

posted August 2nd, 2015 by
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By NANCY GALLIMORE WERHANE, CPDT-KA

I just survived my first, and hopefully only, major cold of this winter season. It was a beauty. Cough, congestion, stuffy nose, laryngitis-the works. I did receive a good deal of sympathy for it, but nobody panicked. Nobody rushed me to the hospital. Now, give any one of those symptoms to a dog and stand back. Let a sweet-faced canine issue one wheeze and panic ensues. I am not making light of this phenomenon as I am as guilty as the rest of the dog moms and dads in this world.

So what is it that makes it so much worse when a dog comes down with a bug? Well, I think the first issue is that our dogs have a really hard time describing their symptoms and telling us where it hurts. That makes us all feel just a bit helpless because, well, our dogs depend on us to make everything ok. Then there’s the fear that if you ignore something now, it may well later-say midnight on any major holiday-turn into something that inspires a costly-though-we-wouldnever put-a-price-on-love trip to the emergency vet. And finally there are those darn puppy eyes. There is nothing more pitiful than seeing your normally bouncy, happy friend feeling anything less than bouncy and happy.

One of the most common ailments to strike our canine counterparts is often referred to as kennel cough. That name likely came about many years ago before our dogs had active social lives. Back when I was a kid, there were no dog parks or dog daycares (or cell phones or laptop computers, but that’s an entirely different story). If you did attend a group training class, it might be in the open air of the Fairgrounds parking lot and the dogs were not allowed to mingle.

Truth be told, the family dog rarely left home and if it did, it was probably for a trip to the vet, the groomer, or a stay at a boarding kennel. Since a boarding kennel was one of the few places where dogs came together, it was one of the primary places where dogs were exposed to germs. This is where most believe the name “kennel cough” was born.

Kennel cough, or today’s more “p.c.” term, canine cough, is most often characterized by a deep throated cough, which many dog owners describe as sounding as though the dog has something stuck in its throat. In print it looks something like this: Cough, cough, cough-hack. And the hack can include the expulsion of a foamy mucous. Words can paint such a pretty picture! The far harder to spell term your veterinarian will use is canine tracheitis or infectious tracheobronchitis. According to Dr. Lauren Johnson, of Southern Hills Veterinary Hospital in Tulsa, canine cough is a general term used to characterize a highly contagious cough that can be caused by one or several etiologic agents and can either be bacterial or viral.

Simply put, there isn’t just one cause for canine cough. Kennel cough, canine cough, infectious tracheobronchitis-whatever you decide to call it, the name is really an umbrella term used to cover a number of possible infectious agents.

Because today’s active canine has quite the social life compared to their ancestors from decades past -yes, even those distant 90s-exposure to other dogs and therefore challenges to the immune system happen on a far more regular basis. Dogs have play dates. They go to training schools, they visit dog daycare for group play and they go to the dog park. They play, they romp and they swap spit. There’s no way around it.

Just like kids going to school, germs go right along with them. Ask any teacher as a new semester of classes start up each fall and they’ll tell you they just brace for the new round of runny noses and sneezes to come. It’s basically inevitable. The price of socialization- which trainers and veterinarians will tell you is invaluable to the long term well-being of your dog-is possible exposure to disease. Of course this is why we vaccinate. We protect our dogs from contracting a lot of scary stuff. Parvovirus, distemper, rabies and other potentially devastating diseases are easily prevented with a proper series of vaccinations.

So for our social dogs there is the Bordetella vaccine, the one that stops canine cough. Problem solved, right? Well, yes and no. Go ahead, heave a collective sigh. The term Bordetella is derived from the name of a bacterium, Bordetella bronchiseptica, a chief causative agent in most cases of canine cough. “If you give your dog the Bordetella vaccine, either through nasal drops or injection, it will be protected from the particular strains in the vaccine itself, but not necessarily from all contagious coughs in general,” explains Dr. Johnson. “There are several things we don’t vaccinate for routinely that can cause the same contagious cough symptoms.”

“In addition, there are several variations of the Bordetella strains. Vaccines cannot include every strain. They can only contain the most common strains. Think about it like our flu vaccine. Some people receive this vaccine and still get sick.” So here’s how it goes, the infected dog sheds infectious bacteria and/or viruses in respiratory secretions. These secretions are then transmitted through the air via a cough or sneeze, or they are transmitted directly to another dog through nose-to-nose or mouthto mouth contact.

The tricky part for pet care professionals and owners alike is that a dog can have canine cough, but not yet be coughing or can even remain asymptomatic all together. That means a dog can come to the dog park, for example, play and act completely normal, but another dog may catch a bug from that dog and actually develop full symptoms.
So yes, your dog can be fully vaccinated and healthy as a horse, but still contract canine cough. Is this cause for panic? Should Fido live in a bubble? Well, of course not.

Take logical precautions. Do get the Bordetella vaccine. Even if it doesn’t totally protect your dog, it can help boost your dog’s immunity and hopefully lessen symptoms and duration of the infection if your dog does become ill.

If you plan to board your dog or take it to daycare, check the place out. You want to see plenty of space where there is good air circulation. You want to see that it is clean and you should feel free to ask about cleaning and disinfecting protocols.

Still, with all the precautions in the world, a dog can still catch canine cough at any facility where it comes in close proximity with other dogs. This includes a visit to your veterinarian, a walk through the animal supply store and a spa day at the groomer. It is not just limited to kennels.

So what do you do if your dog does give a little cough? According to Dr. Johnson, you should first isolate the affected dog from other dogs. That means no walks, no trips to the groomer, no training class, no daycare or dog park play. A mild case of canine cough will often go away on its own within seven to 10 days.

Does your dog need to see the veterinarian? It is never wrong to play it safe by seeking a professional opinion. You may first want to see if your dog is running a temperature. This can be easily accomplished through the use of a rectal thermometer and a little petroleum jelly. Yes, you really can do this. A normal temperature for a dog should range between 100.5 to 102.5 degrees.

If your pet’s coughing is excessive, accompanied by a fever, loss of appetite or any nasal discharge, you should call your veterinarian right away to have your dog assessed and to determine the proper course of treatment.
Antibiotics are not always necessary in the treatment of canine cough, just as they are not generally used in treating a mild cold in humans. “If the patient is a healthy dog with a mild cough, it is possible to forgo antibiotics and just treat with supportive care such as cough suppressants or possibly a steroid to reduce inflammation,” advises Dr. Johnson.
“However, if the patient is extremely young with a naive immune system, elderly, sickly or at risk of the infection progressing into pneumonia, then antibiotics may be necessary.”

“Mild cases of classic kennel cough are most often self-limiting. However, owners are often frustrated by the coughing, which can escalate at night and frequently disrupts everyone’s sleep, so at a very minimum we try to relieve symptoms.” Dr. Johnson further counsels that ideally, the affected dog should stay quarantined at home for up to 10 days beyond that last cough to prevent spreading the infection to other dogs. The good news is that in healthy dogs with uncompromised immune systems, it appears that regular socialization helps to build natural immunity to many of the common strains of canine cough. Yes, interaction with other dogs is still a good thing.

At the end of the day, if your dog develops a little cough, but is otherwise healthy and normal, it should come through the ordeal just fine. Perhaps we, the doting humans involved, should take two aspirin and then call the veterinarian in the morning.

Nancy Gallimore Werhane is a certified professional dog trainer, co-owner of Pooches dog care facility, Dalmatian fancier and rescue group coordinator.

Plump Pets

posted March 1st, 2015 by
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Plump Pets

 

By Kiley Roberson

 

It’s not just a people problem; many of our pets are packing on the pounds too. Just over half of all cats and dogs in U.S. households are either overweight or obese, according to a survey from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.

And just like in people, extra weight means extra health problems associated with it.

“Excess weight predisposes pets to a variety of illnesses,” explains Dr. Scott Floyd, DVM at Midtown Vets in Oklahoma City. “Diabetes, intervertebral disk rupture, arthritis, collapsing trachea, heart-associated illness and fatty liver syndrome, to name a few.”

Dr. Floyd says he treats at least two to three obese pets every week, and not surprisingly, treats are part of the problem. He says over-treating, free-feeding and lack of exercise are the major contributing factors to pet obesity. We’re all living such busy lives, that a long walk with Fido or tossing around a ball of yarn with Fluffy just isn’t a top priority. As we do less and less, so do our pets, and before you know it the scale is going up.

It might seem like an extra pound or two on our four-legged companions isn’t so terrible. But that little bit can be a significant percentage of a pet’s total weight. For example, a Yorkie who tips the scales at “just” 12 pounds is equivalent to a 5-foot- 4-inch woman who weighs 218 pounds.

Some pet owners ignore the health hazards associated with overweight pets, focusing on how cute their plump kitty or roly-poly puppy looks. But overfeeding a fat cat or dog is loving it to death basically. That’s because overweight and obese pets also have much shorter life spans.

“Preventing obesity will contribute to a much higher quality of life for your pet       and could certainly lead to a longer life,” says Dr. Mark Shackelford, DVM at 15th Street Veterinary Group in Tulsa. “Your pet will  be happier, healthier and much more energetic.”

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention says inactive pets are more likely to become depressed or anxious—habits most pet owners associate with behavioral problems. That’s because a sedentary life-style leads to an alteration  in the three major brain chemicals responsible for mood, and that can create emotional issues. Aerobic activity for as little as 20 to 30 minutes a day balances norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin levels, resulting in a better, more stable mood. Also, well-exercised pets won’t be quite as wired indoors, so they’ll be less prone to chewing, barking and other troublesome behaviors.

How can you know if your pet is overweight? You may not be able to tell by appearance alone, since pets can appear to be in good shape even when they aren’t.

“The standard that applies to most animals is that the owner should be able to count the ribs with their fingers, but not be able to see the ribs under the skin,” explains Dr. Shackelford. “At the appropriate weight, pets should only have a thin layer of fat over their ribs and show an hourglass shape from above. If you have a long-haired pet, it may be best to do this when your dog is wet. If you’re in doubt, you can always ask your vet.”

If your pup is a little plumper than you thought, don’t panic, but do take action. “Restricting food is the first step in fighting obesity,” says Dr. Shackelford. “Feeding a recommended amount of pet food with a minimum of treats usually will help with weight loss. Some dogs and cats, due to genetic makeup causing difficulty in dieting, will have a special weight loss diet prescribed for them, and exercise is very important. Exercise will help burn calories and will also help change the metabolism  to help burn calories more efficiently.”

Exercising dogs is usually simple, but what about cats? You can try  toys that engage them or scattering their food around in small portions through-out the house so they have to hunt for it and, in turn, get more exercise.

PAWSitively “Collaring” Cancer in Pets to Find a Cure

posted February 16th, 2015 by
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You never forget the loss of a pet. For the Benbaset brothers, the death of their dog inspired them to try to find a cure for cancer in pets and the formation of their own non-profit, PAWSitively Curing Cancer, Inc.

The Benbasat boys have made a stand against the disease that brought suffering to the two-legged and four-legged members of their family. Brothers Josh and Bryce, now 15 and 12, decided that they’d had enough after the dreaded disease claimed the life of their dog, Sashi, five years ago. Having a grandmother who is a breast and lung cancer survivor made the brothers aware of the disease’s power to cause pain within a family. So the boys decided that it was time to think pink for pets.

The brothers did their research and what they learned about the prevalence of cancer among pets was an eye-opener: 50% of pets over the age of ten develop cancer. “Cancer is the number one disease-related killer of dogs and cats,” notes Josh Benbasat. With the memory of Sashi in mind, the brothers knew that other pet owners would want to do whatever they could to protect the pets they love. But they couldn’t find any organization whose mission focused on pets and cancer. That’s when they formed PAWSitively Curing Cancer, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds for pet cancer research.

“The goal of PAWSitively Curing Cancer is to raise funds from caring businesses and families to find a cure for this deadly disease affecting the dogs and cats who add so much joy to our lives.”

But the boys recognized that finding a cure needs more than money. It needs partners. They first reached out to the president of Trimline Manufacturing. The company president—also known as Dad—Steve Benbasat became the founding corporate sponsor for PAWSitively Curing Cancer. Seeing how committed they were to this goal, he decided to teach his boys how to start a business. “Everything from filing the paperwork to dealing with the application to the IRS.”

The Benbaset picked the right mentor, from both a business and a veterinary perspective. The Trimline soft collar is designed with compassion in mind, effectively replacing annoying hard plastic collars so that pets recovering from surgery can recuperate in complete comfort.   The soft collars are machine washable, durable, water repellant, and affordable.  Made in the United States, the collars are available in six sizes to accommodate all dogs and cats. The newly designed collars are trimmed in pink to raise cancer awareness and include a special label encouraging donations to PAWSitively Curing Cancer. A portion of the profits from the sale of every collar is donated to benefit pet cancer research.

Once they had their dad on board, the search for partners continued. They enlisted the University Of Florida College Of Veterinary Medicine and pledged that every dollar donated goes directly to the College of Veterinary Medicine. Dean James W. Lloyd endorsed his school’s connection to PAWSitively Curing Cancer. “We are proud to partner with PAWSitively Curing Cancer as the recipient of this vital funding. It will be a valued asset to continuing our cancer research program.”

About PAWSitively Curing Cancer, Inc.

The 501(c) (3) non-profit organization is dedicated to raising funds for pet cancer research. One hundred percent of all donations and corporate sponsorships goes to the University Of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine’s pet cancer research programs. Started by the Benbaset brothers after losing their pet dog to cancer, the mission of the organization is to fund cancer research so that pet owners can be spared the pain of losing pets to the deadly disease. You can learn more at www.cureforpets.org.

About Trimline Manufacturing Co. Inc.

Trimline manufactures a soft and flexible collar for dogs and cats experiencing injury, surgery and trauma-restraint conditions. The collars are manufactured in the U.S. from a specially designed washable, non-toxic, non-allergenic and water-repellant fabric. A percentage of the money from each collar sold benefits pet cancer research. Learn more at www.trimlineinc.com.

 

Contact:

Steve Benbaset

[email protected]

954-374-8637

PAWSitively “Collaring” Cancer in Pets to Find a Cure

posted February 16th, 2015 by
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Collar

You never forget the loss of a pet. For the Benbaset brothers, the death of their dog inspired them to try to find a cure for cancer in pets and the formation of their own non-profit, PAWSitively Curing Cancer, Inc.

The Benbasat boys have made a stand against the disease that brought suffering to the two-legged and four-legged members of their family. Brothers Josh and Bryce, now 15 and 12, decided that they’d had enough after the dreaded disease claimed the life of their dog, Sashi, five years ago. Having a grandmother who is a breast and lung cancer survivor made the brothers aware of the disease’s power to cause pain within a family. So the boys decided that it was time to think pink for pets.

The brothers did their research and what they learned about the prevalence of cancer among pets was an eye-opener: 50% of pets over the age of ten develop cancer. “Cancer is the number one disease-related killer of dogs and cats,” notes Josh Benbasat. With the memory of Sashi in mind, the brothers knew that other pet owners would want to do whatever they could to protect the pets they love. But they couldn’t find any organization whose mission focused on pets and cancer. That’s when they formed PAWSitively Curing Cancer, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds for pet cancer research.

“The goal of PAWSitively Curing Cancer is to raise funds from caring businesses and families to find a cure for this deadly disease affecting the dogs and cats who add so much joy to our lives.”

But the boys recognized that finding a cure needs more than money. It needs partners. They first reached out to the president of Trimline Manufacturing. The company president—also known as Dad—Steve Benbasat became the founding corporate sponsor for PAWSitively Curing Cancer. Seeing how committed they were to this goal, he decided to teach his boys how to start a business. “Everything from filing the paperwork to dealing with the application to the IRS.”

The Benbaset picked the right mentor, from both a business and a veterinary perspective. The Trimline soft collar is designed with compassion in mind, effectively replacing annoying hard plastic collars so that pets recovering from surgery can recuperate in complete comfort.   The soft collars are machine washable, durable, water repellant, and affordable.  Made in the United States, the collars are available in six sizes to accommodate all dogs and cats. The newly designed collars are trimmed in pink to raise cancer awareness and include a special label encouraging donations to PAWSitively Curing Cancer. A portion of the profits from the sale of every collar is donated to benefit pet cancer research.

Once they had their dad on board, the search for partners continued. They enlisted the University Of Florida College Of Veterinary Medicine and pledged that every dollar donated goes directly to the College of Veterinary Medicine. Dean James W. Lloyd endorsed his school’s connection to PAWSitively Curing Cancer. “We are proud to partner with PAWSitively Curing Cancer as the recipient of this vital funding. It will be a valued asset to continuing our cancer research program.”

About PAWSitively Curing Cancer, Inc.

The 501(c) (3) non-profit organization is dedicated to raising funds for pet cancer research. One hundred percent of all donations and corporate sponsorships goes to the University Of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine’s pet cancer research programs. Started by the Benbaset brothers after losing their pet dog to cancer, the mission of the organization is to fund cancer research so that pet owners can be spared the pain of losing pets to the deadly disease. You can learn more at www.cureforpets.org.

About Trimline Manufacturing Co. Inc.

Trimline manufactures a soft and flexible collar for dogs and cats experiencing injury, surgery and trauma-restraint conditions. The collars are manufactured in the U.S. from a specially designed washable, non-toxic, non-allergenic and water-repellant fabric. A percentage of the money from each collar sold benefits pet cancer research. Learn more at www.trimlineinc.com.

 

Contact:

Steve Benbaset

[email protected]

954-374-8637

Ask The Doc

posted February 15th, 2015 by
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Ask the Doc

Ask The Doc

Dr. Leonardo Baez / Midtown Vets / OKC

 

Q: You’ve always heard the expression, “walking in circles before lying down.”  Well, I rescued a mutt, and she walks in circles for about 10 minutes before she settles down. It drives me absolutely nuts. Is there anything I can do to stop this?

 

A: Pets can circle before they lie down as a ritual to get comfortable; however, excessive circling could be a sign of a bigger problem. The problems to consider are associated with the nervous system such as obsessive compulsive disorder, cognitive dysfunction or some types of growths in the nervous system.

At Midtown Vets, our clients are encouraged to make an appointment if any-thing is concerning, has changed or has slowly worsened. If they are just getting comfy you may consider some different types of bedding that encourage them to plop down and go to sleep.

 

Q: I’ve seen people shave their dogs due to the summer heat, and my dog   has a very thick coat. Is it really OK to shave them?

 

A: Controversy exists amongst veterinarians on the topic of shaving dogs in the heat. It seems pretty intuitive that if you shave the coat, the pet should stay cooler. However, there are no studies on this topic. If shaved, it is important to not cut too short because of the potential for sun burn.

Nordic breeds (Siberian Huskies, Malamutes, etc.) may not grow their coats back properly. The best way to protect your pet from heat-related illness is to provide fresh, cool water and shade. In breeds such as the English Bulldog or Pug (short-faced breeds), it is important to keep them indoors when the humidity and temperatures rise.

Keep in mind that humidity is just as important as temperature. If your pet does show signs of overheating (uncontrolled panting, extremely red mucous membranes, or collapse), you should find an open veterinary clinic, douse the pet with water and take them in. In some cases, the pets require sedation, oxygen and more extensive cooling measures such as intravenous fluids.

 

Q: I have a friend who only gives her pets heartworm prevention during the summer. Aren’t we supposed to give it year-round here in Oklahoma?

 

A: Heartworms are worms that live in a dog or cat’s heart and should not be mistaken for intestinal worms.  Heartworms are spread by mosquitos and can cause significant disease and, in some cases, can be fatal.  Dogs with heartworms can exhibit excess tiredness, sometimes coughing or a pot-bellied appearance. Cats will show signs of asthma such as coughing or wheezing.

If there are no mosquitos to spread the disease, then prevention is not necessary such as in locations like Arizona. However, in Oklahoma given the variability of our climate, it is recommended that heartworm prevention be given year-round. At Midtown Vets, in most canine cases we recommended a product that provides six months of heartworm protection with a single injection. For kitties we recommend a monthly topical year-round. Keep in mind that yearly heart-worm screening tests are recommended for all dogs, and if not on heartworm prevention, testing is recommended every six months.

For more information, please visit www.heartwormsociety.org.

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