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Archive for the ‘Pet Health’ Category

When it comes to picking the perfect food for your pet, the choices can seem overwhelming — especially when so many brands claim to be the one and only food you should be feeding your pet. But not all pet foods are the same — and making sense of their labels is nearly impossible without some basic guidelines.

In Part 1 of our series on pet food label claims, we’ll talk about some of the common words you’ll see on pet food labels, and we’ll tell you what they really mean.

Believe it or not, there are rules governing the words that can be used to describe pet food — and those words are linked to the contents of the food.

We’ll look at several imaginary pet food label claims, focusing on meat content.
Pet Food A is “100% chicken”
Pet Food B is “Beef entree”
Pet Food C is “Veal formula”
Pet Food D is “Salmon recipe”
Pet Food E is “Vegetables with lamb”
Pet Food F is “Venison flavor”

So how much meat does each product actually contain?
A: Anything listed as “100%” or “Full”  must be made of at least 95% of the listed ingredient. In this case, the food must be at least 95% chicken.

B/C/D: Anything described as “entree,” “formula,” “recipe,” “dinner,” or “platter” must comprise at least 25% of the listed ingredient. In our examples, beef, veal, and salmon make up at least 25% of the imaginary foods.

E: Anything following the word “with” comprises 3-24% of the food. In our example, lamb may be as little as 3% of that food.

F: Anything listed as “flavor” need only be detectable to a pet as a flavor. Our example does not need to contain a certain percentage of venison; it only needs to taste like venison.

What about words like “holistic,” “premium,” “high quality,” and “human grade”?
There are no legal or standard definitions for those words. Such descriptors are often used as marketing tools to set one company’s food apart from the others. 

However, certain claims, such as “organic” and “natural” are defined and standardized.
Look for the Organic seal on pet food, which indicates the food contains no hormones or pesticides.
Look for the word “natural” which means there have been no chemical alterations of ingredients. (Vitamins are the acceptable exception to this rule.)

Watch for Part II of our series, “How to make sense of pet food label claims.”

 

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At Little Creek Veterinary Clinic, we’re praying that Hurricane Irma stays away, but we advise pet owners to have a plan in place if this storm — or any other — should head our way.

Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian, recommends that pet owners take the following precautions, whether they evacuate, ride out the storm at home, or head for a pet-friendly emergency shelter:

  • Gather your pet’s vaccine records, especially the Rabies certificate; you may need to show this information at shelters or hotels. (If your pet is not current on its vaccines, Contact Us to schedule an appointment today.)
  • Ensure you have at least a two-week supply (or more) of your pet’s most-needed medications. Drug refills can be difficult to come by if veterinary clinics are unable to re-open right away.
  • Pack a first aid kit. Suggested contents can be found in the booklet “Saving The Whole Family,” available at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic for $2.00.
  • Ensure you have adequate food and water for your pet — typically a minimum of two weeks’ worth, if evacuating. If there is time, order extra Prescription Diet food.
  • Be sure your pet can be identified with a microchip ID, ID tag, or tattoo, if it should become separated from you.
  • Gather leashes, collars or harnesses, and pet carriers, to safely transport your pet.
  • Pack a favorite blanket or toy, treats, and food/water dish to give your pet a sense of comfort and familiarity.
  • Continue to treat your pets for fleas and heartworms, as pests can become more problematic after a storm.
  • For dogs: pack a supply of waste bags. For cats: pack a small litter box with litter or paper towels.

For more information, pick up a copy of
“Saving The Whole Family,”
available now, at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

 

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There is a new strain of Canine Influenza making the rounds in the U.S., and with a nation of travelers, it’s a good idea to protect your dog before the flu arrives in town, according to Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian.

H3N2 Flu vaccine now available at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic!

Both strains of Canine Flu (H3N8 and H3N2) are commonly contracted where dogs are grouped together for significant periods of time or have nose-to-nose contact, such as at boarding kennels, grooming parlors, doggie daycare, and dog parks. 

The original H3N8 Canine Flu vaccine has been available for a few years. Now that a vaccine for H3N2 is available, many boarding and grooming facilities are requiring it for their canine customers. In response, Little Creek Veterinary Clinic has begun making the new flu vaccine available for patients.

The H3N2 vaccine is given first as a two-dose series,  three weeks apart. After that, a single yearly booster is all that’s needed to keep your dog protected against H3N2. [Severely lapsed vaccines may require the 2-dose regimen to be repeated.]

Contact Us to schedule an appointment to get your pet protected against the H3N2 Canine Flu today!

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The days are speeding by — just ask anyone of school-age. Autumn will be upon us soon, and your pet may have missed getting its summertime check-up and vaccine boosters.

Of special concern are those pets whose heartworm preventative medication has run out. The height of mosquito season is the wrong time to be without protection, according to Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian. 

Contact Us today by calling 757-583-2619 to schedule your pet’s appointment. We’ll help you get your pet ready for the hectic back-to-school / back-to-back-holidays season.

 

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If you want to carry your pet’s records with you on the go, Pawprint has an app that allows you 24/7 access to your pet’s medical information.

When you download the app, Pawprint* contacts your pet’s veterinarian to request records, then uploads them to your account.

Click to enlarge.

Then you’ll be able to set reminders for vaccine boosters, flea and heartworm treatments, even daily walks.

You can add other people to the account, so your go-to pet-sitter can access your pet’s records if you have to go out of town and your pet needs medical care.

You’ll have proof of your pet’s vaccination, as close as your smartphone — which can come in handy at the groomer’s, dog park, or even the veterinary emergency hospital.

If you are a client of Dr. Donald Miele at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic, you can request that we share your pet’s records with Pawprint, or any other pet record app of your choice.

*Other similar apps may be available. 

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Note: Neither Dr. Miele nor Little Creek Veterinary Clinic or staff warranty or guarantee the service provided by Pawprint, nor are the above-named responsible for any costs incurred or damage to your electronic device as a result of downloading the app.
Always use discretion when downloading any app to your electronic device. Some software can cause harm to your device; some software incurs a fee for usage. Always research an app before you download, as you assume liability for any damage or costs incurred.

 

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When your pet is treated on an outpatient basis (i.e. sent home after the treatment visit), the doctor will often request a progress report before the next examination visit. Determining the next step in your pet’s treatment will be assisted by your observation of your pet at home.

So what should you report about your sick or injured pet, and why is it important?

Let’s break down the possibilities, following outpatient care for illness or injury.

Here is what to look for:

A. Your pet recovers fully / its condition significantly improves and does not relapse.

*In this case, further treatment may not be needed; however, always check with the doctor.
*Do not assume that treatment has ended and do not stop giving your pet its medications just because it appears to feel better.
*Some drugs need to be tapered off, while others – such as antibiotics – should be given for the entire course, to prevent relapse or resistant microbes.
*In the case of chronic illness [diabetes, renal failure, etc.], treatment is ongoing to provide your pet with the best chance of a happy life and reduced symptoms of illness.

B. Your pet’s condition improves somewhat, but without complete recovery.

*Further diagnostics and treatment may be needed to give your pet the best chance at a full recovery, if possible.

C. Your pet’s condition improves and then deteriorates.

*Further diagnostics and treatment are needed.
*Sometimes, medication provides temporary relief, and then signs return after medication is finished.
*The doctor will need to determine if a different course of treatment is appropriate, or whether the pet has a chronic condition, which would require long-term treatment.

D. Your pet shows no sign of improvement or your pet’s condition worsens.

*Further diagnostics and treatment are needed.
*If your pet shows no improvement with any treatment method, it may be an indication that recovery is not possible and humane euthanasia may be elected.

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It is vital to your pet’s health that you report your observations to the doctor or a staff member. If your pet does not recover or show significant lasting improvement, further steps can be taken, which may include referral to a veterinary hospital or appropriate specialist.
Remember, your pet’s doctor sees your pet for a very limited time in the veterinary clinic and has no information on your pet’s behavior or activity at home — where your pet spends the majority of its time — unless you share that information.
Together, we can work toward improving your pet’s health.

 

Questions about your pet’s condition or treatment regimen? If you are our client, please Contact Us. Otherwise, please contact your pet’s veterinarian, as we are unable to provide advice on cases outside of our clinic.

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Last Thursday, we posted an article about aggression in cats, written by a Michigan veterinarian. The post focused on multi-cat households. In today’s post, the focus turns to understanding feline body language and how to respond to an agitated cat.

In the Summer 2017 issue of BluePearl’s Companion, Dr. Jill Sackman, DVM, DACVS, PhD, of BluePearl in Michigan writes,

How Can You Tell When Your Cat is Upset?
“Unfortunately, humans don’t do a great job reading feline body language in order to de-escalate a stressed or aggressive cat. Understanding feline body language can help with avoiding conflict, its escalation and aggression.
“Cats use a combination of visual, olfactory [sense of smell] and audible communication to communicate and to avoid confrontation. Threatening feline body postures include hissing, piloerection [fur standing on end], arching of the back and side presentation. Ear position is also a helpful stress barometer. Cats that are restricted in movement (i.e. cages, transport boxes) may choose to fight when unable to flee. The ability to get away, hide under something or jump up high can influence the expression of the aggressive responses.”

What To Do About An Aggressive Cat?
Try Understanding:
“The most frequent basis for aggression from cats to people revolves around fear, anxiety*, frustration and misdirected predatory behavior. Fearful cats learn that aggressive stances are effective at maintaining distance between them and people, and the behavior can evolve to a preemptive strategy.”

[*See more about anxiety in pets here.]

Try a Time-Out:
“Play-based aggression may arise from predatory play, which is an integral part of feline behavior and learning. Treatment is focused on finding outlets for play and directing the cat toward appropriate activities and toys. Playing with hands should be discouraged.
“Redirected aggression occurs when a cat faces an agitating circumstance and is unable to vent aggression. Stimuli include loud noises, odor of another cat, unfamiliar people or environments, and pain. Agitated cats† should be placed in a darkened room with food, water and litter box and left there with the door closed. If the aggression was directed at another unsuspecting feline, very SLOW reintroduction must be done.
“Punishment is contraindicated [i.e. not recommended] in all cases as this will lead to a worsening of the behavior.”

Dr. Miele notes that picking up or otherwise handling an angry cat can result in injury to the owner or handler. If you cannot safely remove the cat from the room, consider removing all people and other pets from the room, instead.

Dr. Sackman stresses that an aggressive cat should have a medical check-up to look for health problems that may lead to aggressive behavior. She also recommends evaluating the home environment to look for triggering circumstances that can be addressed appropriately.

Note: Your veterinarian is the best source of information on dealing with aggression in cats. An examination and testing may be necessary to discover underlying physical problems that may be at the root of feline aggression. To avoid injury to yourself or others in the household, talk to your pet’s veterinarian, or ask for a referral to an animal behavior specialist.* (*Not available in all areas.)

 

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