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Archive for the ‘Pet Health’ Category

Today’s guest post is by Dr. Heather Brookshire, a veterinary ophthalmologist at Animal Vision Center of Virginia.

Keep An Eye Out for Cataracts
By Dr. Heather Brookshire

Do your pet’s eyes appear cloudy? Is she misjudging distances or bumping into objects? These are common signs of cataracts, and it may be time to have your loved one’s eyes checked. A cataract is an opacity that appears within the lens of the eye, causing it to lose transparency and resulting in impaired vision. Most cataracts in dogs form due to genetics, but it can also result from systemic disease (diabetes mellitus); inflammation within the eye (uveitis); trauma; advanced age; or toxic or nutritional causes. It can progress slowly or rapidly, depending on the underlying cause, age and breed of your dog. The only true form of cataract treatment is to remove the cataract with surgery, and we have successfully treated many cases at Animal Vision Center of Virginia.

If you suspect your dog has cataracts, the first step is to schedule a wellness eye exam to have the eyes evaluated. If she is a suitable candidate for surgery, a functional testing of the retina will follow, along with an ocular ultrasound to determine if surgery will restore her vision. The success rate for cataract surgery in dogs is quite high, with greater than 90 percent of cases undergoing a successful procedure and having improved vision following surgery.

*************************************************
Reprinted with permission.This article is not intended to diagnose
or treat any medical condition and is not a substitute for
an examination by your pet’s veterinarian.

Your pet’s eyes are delicate organs. If you have a concern about your pet’s eyes, 
Contact Us
 to schedule an appointment with our veterinarian.

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Happy New Year 2018!
We hope your year is off to a happy and healthy start.

Speaking of happy and healthy, you may have resolved to keep your pets on their special prescription diets, flea control, and heartworm preventative year-round, so they can have an awesome 2018, too.

If so, we’ve got good news: several pet supply manufacturers have jumped in to load us up on coupons and rebate forms for some of your favorite pet products, available at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

Keep in mind that these coupons and rebates are valid only for products purchased in our office and must be accompanied by our original receipt and the manufacturer’s original rebate form, which we will provide you. (Photocopies will not be accepted.)

Please note the expiration date, if any, on each form. Rebates and coupons that have expired cannot be honored, so don’t delay — restock your pet’s pantry and medicine cabinet soon!

Contact Us for details and offer expiration dates.

Check out the offers below, for the pet food, flea control,
or heartworm preventative that you use:

$10 coupon for Hill’s Prescription Diet Derm Defense, available at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.
Click to enlarge. Sample only; not valid for redemption.

 

$15 rebate for Hill’s Prescription Diet; limit one per customer. Available at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic. Click to enlarge.

 

Hill’s Prescription Diet 5-4-3-2 coupons. Available at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic. Click to enlarge. Sample only; not valid for redemption.

 

Seresto 8-month Flea & Tick collar $15 rebate. Available at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic. Click to enlarge.

 

Sentinel heartworm/intestinal worm/flea control rebates. Available at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic. Click to enlarge.

 

Heartgard 12-dose/$12 rebate offer, available at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

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Now that Thanksgiving is over, and you’ve finished eating

—  wait — 

you have finished eating, haven’t you?

Good.

We’re going to do some veterinary math.

The picture below illustrates a gaggle of Roundworms.

noodles 1

Roundworms. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic (VA).

How many worms make a gaggle?

Noodles 2

Roundworms. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic (VA).

In this case, seven.

If you feel sick after seeing these pictures,
imagine how your pet would feel if these worms were in its intestines.

The good news:
Roundworms are preventable with a monthly dose of
heartworm / intestinal worm medication,
like HeartGard Plus or Sentinel.

Contact Us to be sure your pet is protected.

 

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Whether you have a dog that chases cars, jumps up to greet people, or chews on inappropriate objects, pet training consultant Mikkel Becker has dog training videos to help.

Choose from over 20 dog training videos to address your pet’s concerns on Mikkel Becker’s YouTube channel.

According to Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian, dogs feel more secure when they know their boundaries and what is expected of them (just like children!) Working breed and sporting breed dogs, especially, build confidence through mastering tasks and skills, but any dog can be trained. A confident dog is a happy dog. Help your pet fit in with the family through basic dog training techniques. 

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Veterinary Wellness Exams Lower Overall Pet Costs According to Nationwide Data

One of the costliest aspects of being a pet owner is providing proper veterinary care when medical issues arise. A great way to take a bite out of veterinary expenses without shortchanging your pet’s health is to provide preventive care with annual comprehensive wellness examinations. To show the potential savings that wellness care can provide, Nationwide, the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance, recently sorted through its database of more than 600,000 insured pets to determine cost savings associated with the most common preventive dog and cat conditions. Following is a cost analysis of the five most common ailments that can be avoided through preventive veterinary care:

Dental Diseases:

Examples: Tooth infection or cavity; periodontal disease.

Average cost per pet to treat: $391

Average cost per pet to prevent: $180

Prevention tips: Routine dental care, such as brushing your pet’s teeth, can result in improved overall health. The most effective preventive treatment for dental disease is having your pet’s teeth cleaned by a veterinary professional. This annual cleaning will remove plaque buildup and tartar before it leads to more serious oral issues, such as tooth decay and periodontal disease. It’s recommended that pets have their teeth checked by a veterinarian every six to 12 months.

 

External Parasites:

Examples: Lyme disease transmitted by ticks; and allergic dermatitis caused by fleas.

Average cost per pet to treat: $244

Average cost per pet to prevent: $121

Prevention tips: Use preventive flea and tick medications as recommended by your veterinarian. Keep your pet and home environment free of fleas and ticks. Thoroughly check your pets after outdoor activities and contact your veterinarian if fleas and ticks are spotted.

 

Internal Parasites:

Examples: Heartworms, roundworms, tapeworms and Giardia.

Average cost per pet to treat: $207

Average cost per pet to prevent: $35

Prevention tips: Annual fecal exams and preventive medications, can greatly reduce the chance of a parasitic infestation. Keep your pet and your home environment free of fleas. Clean up your pet’s feces immediately, and eliminate exposure to the feces of other animals when your pet ventures outside your home. 

 

Infectious Diseases:

Examples: Parvovirus, Lyme disease and feline leukemia virus.

Average cost per pet to treat: $841

Average cost per dog to prevent using core vaccines: $94

Average cost per cat to prevent using core vaccines: $81

Prevention tips: Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent contraction of common canine and feline infectious diseases. A vaccination protocol recommended by your veterinarian may include additional vaccines based on your pet’s exposure risk (e.g. outside cat, area with high prevalence of ticks, etc.). 

 

Reproductive Organ Diseases:

Examples: Pyometra (infection of uterus), prostatitis (infection or inflammation of prostate gland) and ovarian neoplasia.

Average cost per pet to treat: $609

Average cost per pet to prevent: $323

Prevention tips: Spay (removal of the ovaries and uterus of a female pet) or neuter (removal of the testicles of a male pet) your pet, as recommended by your veterinarian.

 

Respiratory Infections:

Examples: Tracheobronchitis or kennel cough; feline upper respiratory virus

Average cost per pet to treat: $190

Average cost per dog to prevent: $24

Average cost per cat to prevent: $21

Prevention tips: The Bordatella vaccination as recommended by your veterinarian.

“Seeking a veterinarian’s recommendation for wellness care not only saves pet owners money, but also helps prevent our pets from unnecessary, painful ailments,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and Chief Veterinary Officer for Nationwide. “The cornerstone of good veterinary care has always been catching diseases early. I strongly recommend that pet owners schedule routine wellness examinations with their local veterinarian. Being proactive is in your pet’s best interest.”

Nationwide’s newest and most popular pet health insurance plan, Whole Pet with Wellness®, is the only pet insurance plan in the United States that includes wellness care in its base plan, with coverage for procedures such as spay/neuter, vaccinations, dental cleanings, flea/tick medications, heartworm medication and prescription pet food.*

*Whole Pet with Wellness will cover 90% of eligible veterinary expenses after the annual deductible is met. To learn more about pet health insurance plans and coverage, go to www.petinsurance.com

About Nationwide pet insurance

With more than 600,000 insured pets, pet insurance from Nationwide is the first and largest pet health insurance provider in the United States. Since 1982, Nationwide has helped provide pet owners with peace of mind and is committed to being the trusted choice of America’s pet lovers.

Nationwide plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Insurance plans are offered and administered by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company in California and DVM Insurance Agency in all other states. Underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (CA), Brea, CA, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2016); National Casualty Company (all other states), Columbus, OH, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2016). Pet owners can find Nationwide pet insurance on Facebook or follow on Twitter. For more information about Nationwide pet insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit petinsurance.com.

 

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In How to make sense of pet food label claims, Part 1, we listed common terms used to describe the contents of a food, such as “dinner,” “premium,” “organic,” and more, and revealed the meaning behind those words. Today, we’ll present a buffet of terms.

“All Life Stages” — If a pet food has this claim on the label, skip it. Pets have different nutritional needs in different life stages (growth, growth & lactation, adulthood, senior status). Your pet’s food should specifically reflect your pet’s nutrient needs at each stage of her life.

Bone meal contains high levels of magnesium and phosphorus. These minerals are hard on the kidneys and they are not a good source of calcium. Avoid giving your pet a food containing bone meal.

By-products
Many people are concerned about by-products in pet food. The definition of a by-product is, essentially: Something produced in the making of something else.

For example, glucosamine (which many people and their pets take for joint support) is a by-product.

In pet food, nutritionally dense organ meat is a by-product, and it is good for your pet. In other words, just because an ingredient is considered a by-product, does not necessarily mean it is unhealthy to feed your pet.

Did You Know?
Every part of a chicken can be used in pet food,
including beaks and feet!

Fixed formula: does your pet’s food qualify?
A fixed formula pet food is one in which the ingredients do not change.

When pet food manufacturers change the ingredients in a bag or can of food, they have up to six months to change the label to reflect the new ingredients. One work-around is to constantly change the ingredients, so the label never technically has to be updated. Thus, your pet may do well on Mrs. Bea’s Lovely Coat* Chicken and Rice for the first bag, but get sick on the second bag because the food now contains beef and barley — yet the food label hasn’t changed!
*Fictionalized brand.

So how do you know if a brand uses a fixed formula? Two ways:
1. If the diet is therapeutic, such as Hill’s Prescription Diet or Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets. These are foods specially designed to treat certain medical conditions. In order to be effective, their ingredient lists and guaranteed analysis minimums and maximums remain steady.
2. If the food is a commercial brand, call the company and ask. (Hill’s Science Diet foods use a fixed formula.) 

Light or Lite -designated foods are designed for weight loss. If your pet needs to lose weight, avoid “Weight Control” or “Weight Management” diets, since those are weight maintenance diets, not weight loss diets. To be sure your pet is on a lower-calorie food, look for the word “Light” or “Lite” on the label. Because these foods cannot be tested in AAFCO trials, they adhere to calorie maximums for both dry and canned foods:
Dry dog food……….3100 kcal/kg maximum

Canned dog food….900 kcal/kg maximum
Dry cat food………..3250 kcal/kg maximum
Canned cat food….950 kcal/kg maximum

Did You Know?
Weight loss diets cannot be AAFCO-tested,
since it is not permissible for animals
to lose weight during feeding trials.

 

Moisture level in a food is indicated by the type of food your pet eats.
Dry food is maximum 12% moisture, 88% dry matter.
Semi-moist food is maximum 33% moisture, 67% dry matter.
Canned or wet food is maximum 78% moisture, 22% dry matter.
So, as moisture increases, the water content is replacing meat and other ingredients.

 

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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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