Archive for the ‘Pet Health’ Category

Is pet-pilling time the most dreaded time of
your day? Let’s talk about it!

Pills spilling out of blue vial


When a sick or injured pet is non-cooperative at dosing time, it can lead to less-than-ideal outcomes, such as delayed recovery or worsening of a medical problem — not to mention the stress suffered by the pet owner.

 

However, a non-cooperative pet is not the only reason that medications may not be given as prescribed.
Some of the top reasons pet owners may not be giving medications as directed are:

  • forgetfulness / distraction
  • worry of side effects
  • inability to understand instructions
  • inability to administer medicine due to physical limitations
  • inability to administer medicine due to scheduling conflicts
  • inability to administer medicine due to pet’s character
  • the pet’s refusal to accept medication due to size of tablet or objectionable flavor
  • the pet’s apparent improvement before the course of treatment has been completed

It is important to inform the veterinarian that a medication has not been given as instructed, so that you can work as a team to come up with a solution.  

Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic, also advises:

  • Make sure you understand all instructions given to you, including dosage amount, frequency of administration, what to do if you forget to give a dose, whether it’s okay to combine different drugs, and whether to give the medication with food or on an empty stomach.
  • Ask questions about anything you do not understand. If you get home and realize you have a question, call the veterinarian ASAP.
  • Request easy-open (non-childproof) containers when needed.
  • Ask for a typed copy of instructions not already included on the pill container.
  • If you cannot give your pet its medication at all (especially if you fear being bitten), tell the doctor right away, so that any other treatment options can be considered.

Let us know how we can better serve you when we dispense medications.

  • Do you need a large-print version of all instructions?
  • If a choice is available, would you prefer liquid or tablet medications?
  • Would you like a dosing demonstration?
  • Would you like a written timetable to coordinate administering multiple drugs?
  • Would smaller quantities help? It can be budget-friendly.
  • Would you like recommendations on flavorful pill concealers or other tricks to improve the taste of medications?

What are your concerns about administering medications to your pet? Registered clients, please Contact Us.


Bonus Content — We found this pet pilling demo on YouTube: How to Give Your Pet a Pill.


This article was originally posted on July 20, 2012.

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During the holidays, batteries abound, because so many of the gadgets we buy for ourselves and our loved ones run on AA, D-cells, 9-volts, button batteries, and more.

But if those shiny objects look like candy to your dog or cat, you could be in for a shock: batteries can cause painful burns and ulcers inside your pet and may require a special procedure to remove them if they become lodged in your pet’s body.

remote control with batteries

Has the remote become your pet’s new favorite chew toy? That could be a real problem!

Alkaline batteries, which are often used to power common items like toys, electronics, remote controls, and clocks, contain potassium hydroxide, which can destroy delicate tissues and cause ulcers if ingested. Although early signs of damage can appear within 1-2 hours, further damage can occur over the first 24 hours after contact.† This includes injury from a pet chewing the battery, but not necessarily swallowing the pieces.

Disc batteries, which power hearing aids, watches, car key fobs, greeting cards, toys, and more, are very easy for your pet to swallow whole or chew into small pieces. They can also cause burns and possibly become stuck inside your pet’s body.

As a result of chewing or eating batteries, your pet may need Xrays to locate the pieces, bloodwork to determine how his health may be affected, or a special procedure to remove the battery if it is stuck inside your pet’s body.

Along with testing and any special procedures, your pet’s doctor may prescribe pain medication, antibiotics, fluids, and special medications used to treat ulcers.

†Monitoring for further complications following battery ingestion can last as long as 6 weeks, while pets recover at home.

What you might see if your pet chews or swallows a battery:

  • grey, white, or red burns in your pet’s mouth
  • swelling inside the mouth
  • difficulty eating or swallowing food
  • drooling
  • wheezing / noisy breathing / difficulty breathing
  • vomiting
  • lethargy / reluctance to move
  • pain at the mouth or abdomen

What to do if your dog or cat chews or eats a battery:
Call your local veterinary emergency hospital or animal poison control hotline for guidance [see references below], as soon as you become aware that your pet ate or may have eaten or chewed a battery. Since injury can continue to occur for some time after the initial exposure to potassium hydroxide, immediate action is key to a good outcome. In other words — don’t wait!

Prevent battery snacking!
This holiday season — and all year-round — be mindful of the items within your curious or hungry pet’s reach.

Pets that like to dig through the trash can may chew up a greeting card or used battery they find there. Children’s animatronic stuffed animals may look similar to a pet’s chew toy and pose a danger with their batteries and stuffing.

Take an inventory of each room and try to identify the objects within your pet’s reach, that contain batteries of any type or size. You may be surprised!

Even pets that don’t have a history of eating or chewing non-food items may suddenly develop interest in a new object, according to Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian.

Bottom line: Don’t let battery ingestion be a drain on your pet’s health!

Note: This article is not a substitute for medical care. It is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition. If you believe your pet is exhibiting signs of illness or injury, contact your regular veterinarian or veterinary emergency hospital right away.


Keep these numbers handy for emergencies –
Blue Pearl Emergency [hospital] in Virginia Beach 757-499-5463
Pet Poison Helpline 1-855-764-7661 [$59 fee charged to your credit card*]
ASPCA Animal Poison Control 1-888-426-4435 [a fee may be charged to your credit card]

*This fee is current as of the date of this post.


Link: https://www.aspca.org/news/dangers-batteries-and-your-pets-what-you-should-know

 

 

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Cat under Christmas tree with gifts

Make this holiday season healthy and fun for everyone!
Photo by Jenna Hamra via Pexels.

Whether you’re decking the halls or going into hibernation mode, there are things you can do to protect your pet from holiday hazards.

Make your home safe for live-in and visiting pets with these tips and reminders.

Frostbite and snow-removal salt:

Snow and salt should be removed from your pet’s paws immediately. 

Frostbitten skin is red or gray and may slough (peel off.)

Apply warm, moist towels to thaw out frostbitten areas slowly until the skin appears flushed.

Contact your veterinarian as soon as possible for further care.

Snow removal products should be stored out of the reach of pets and small children, as the products’ toxicity varies considerably.

Golden retriever and Chrismas tree

Keep the holidays merry and bright for all your loved ones!
Photo by Leah Kelley via Pexels.

Toxic plants and holiday/winter products:

     Plants and other items associated with the winter and holiday season can be toxic to your pets.  What follows is a general guide.  Please consult your veterinarian, animal poison control, and the manufacturer for specifics.  Remember, the earlier you seek treatment, the better for your pet!

Plants:

  • poinsettia leaves and stems
  • balsam
  • pine
  • cedar
  • fir
  • holly berries and leaves
  • mistletoe, especially berries

Decorations/chemicals/other:

  • angel hair (spun glass)
  • Christmas tree preservatives
  • snow sprays, snow flock
  • tree ornaments
  • super glue
  • styrofoam
  • icicles
  • tinsel
  • crayons, paints
  • fireplace colors/salts
  • plastic model cement
  • bubbling lights (contain methylene chloride)
  • snow scenes (may contain salmonella)
  • aftershave, perfume
  • alcoholic beverages
  • chocolate
  • epoxy adhesives
  • antifreeze

Some of the above items are notable not just for their toxicity, but also for the danger they pose of intestinal blockage or severe irritation to the skin and mucous membranes. 


Keep these numbers handy for emergencies –

Blue Pearl Emergency in Virginia Beach 757-499-5463

Pet Poison Helpline  1-855-764-7661

ASPCA Animal Poison Control  1-888-426-4435


This post was originally published on December 9, 2011.

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…Rabies?

Raccoon at water's edge

This raccoon may be carrying the Rabies virus — a disease which is fatal in people and animals.

Simply put: If your pet is not up-to-date on its Rabies vaccination and is bitten by a wild animal (raccoon, skunk, fox, bat, or feral cat, for example), it may need to be euthanized.

[Virginia’s positive Rabies cases from January – September 2019 includes 138 raccoons, 51 skunks, 31 foxes, 22 cats, and 17 bats.]¹

There is no test for Rabies that can be performed on a live animal.

There is no cure for Rabies.

Rabies kills animals and people.

Protect your pets and your family by vaccinating all your cats and dogs (including the “indoor-only” types).

Contact Us at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic to check your pet’s Rabies vaccination status and to schedule a booster vaccine appointment, if needed.


¹http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/content/uploads/sites/12/2019/10/2019_3rd-Qtr-Positives-1.pdf

Photo credit: D. Gordon E. Robertson, via Wikimedia Commons

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November is Pet Diabetes Month

 

It’s TRUE!

Cats and dogs can develop diabetes. Luckily, treatment is available.

 

What is diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which the body either does not produce enough insulin (Type I) or is unable to effectively use the insulin it does produce (Type II). In either case, serious health disturbances result.

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, necessary for processing blood sugar (glucose). Without insulin, blood sugar passes into the urine, rather than being used by body tissues.

When body tissues are starved for sugar, they begin to break down and no longer function normally, resulting in:

  • cataracts
  • skin sores and infections
  • urinary and respiratory infections
  • pancreatitis
  • neuropathy
  • vomiting and dehydration
  • coma and death

The kidneys, liver, heart, and nervous system can also suffer as a result of diabetes.

Type I diabetes is also known as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) and is often seen in older, overweight female dogs and in cats.

Type II diabetes, also known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) is often seen in cats, but is rare in dogs.

What signs should I look for in my pet?

  • excessive thirst and urination
  • weight loss
  • poor appetite
  • weakness, inactivity
  • vomiting
  • dandruff and unkempt appearance (scruffy coat)
  • muscle wasting
  • plantigrade stance in cats (see photo)
Click to enlarge. Photo by Jennifer Miele.

Click to enlarge. Photo by Jennifer Miele.

What causes diabetes?

  • genetic predisposition
  • viral infection
  • pancreatitis and other diseases
  • hormone-type drugs
  • obesity

Is there a cure?
No, diabetes is not curable, but it can be controlled.

What kind of treatment is available?
Insulin injections and a specialized diet are indicated for Type I diabetes. You will learn how to give your pet its insulin injections at home. You may also need to monitor its blood sugar and urine sugar levels.

Type II diabetic patients may require a specialized diet and feeding schedule, along with blood sugar monitoring.

Nearly all diabetic patients require some amount of exercise, and female patients should be spayed to prevent hormone fluctuations from disturbing blood sugar levels.

Your pet’s veterinarian or vet specialist will recommend a suitable diet to manage glucose levels and weight, such as one that is low calorie, low carbohydrates, low fat, and high fiber, and features appropriate levels of protein and taurine.  

Will pet insurance companies help pay for treatment?
Some of them will, unless your pet’s diabetes is a pre-existing condition — meaning that it was diagnosed before you signed up for pet insurance. The best time to sign up for pet insurance is while your pet is young and healthy.


Note: The information above is a partial explanation of diabetes, its symptoms, and treatment. There are other diabetes-related diseases that are not mentioned here.
This article is not a substitute for medical care. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any condition. If you believe your pet has an illness, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian today.


Resources:
American Veterinary Medical Association
Hill’s Pet Nutrition publication
Instructions for Veterinary Clients
Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary
Saunders Manual of Small Animal Practice
The 5 Minute Veterinary Consult


This post originally appeared on October 10, 2012.

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Cough, Gasp, Blurp – Causes of Vomiting in Dogs and Cats

White and tan English Bulldog on black rug

Did your best friend get sick on the carpet again? Let’s talk about it! [Photo by Pixabay via Pexels]

By Morris Animal Foundation

Who hasn’t woken up in the middle of the night to the sounds of a pet leaving a gift on the carpet/bed/laundry? If you own a dog or cat (or both), chances are you’ve had to clean up something your pet has brought up.

Although many pets experience an occasional episode of vomiting, it also can be a sign of many serious diseases. In addition, regurgitation can be mistaken for vomiting. The two are not synonymous and point toward different underlying problems. It’s important for owners to know the difference, and to know the various causes of vomiting and regurgitation to determine when a trip to the veterinarian is needed and when it isn’t.

The difference between these two activities all boils down to the problem’s anatomic location; esophagus for regurgitation and abdomen for vomiting.

The esophagus is a long tube stretching from the neck through the chest, emptying into the stomach. No digestion takes place in the esophagus, but it’s considered part of the digestive tract. The oral cavity also is part of the digestive system, but most diseases in this area don’t cause either regurgitation or vomiting.

The main business parts of the digestive tract are contained in the abdomen and include the stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, small intestine, large intestine, cecum and anus. Problems in any of these areas can result in vomiting.

Knowing the anatomy helps understand the signs typically seen when problems occur in a specific area of the digestive tract.

Signs of regurgitation include:
*Passive expulsion of material – usually a pet lowers their head and material comes out
*No signs of nausea such as lip smacking or salivation
*Undigested food or other ingested material is common
*Occasionally frothy, foamy material is noted

Signs of vomiting include:
*Retching
*Nausea and salivation
*Contents can range from undigested to partially digested food, to liquid
*Expulsion is active and contents are often propelled with force
*Presence of bile

While taking a video of your pet can be helpful in guiding your veterinarian toward the best diagnostic tests, owners usually can’t respond quickly enough to catch the pet in the moment (while they are trying to get their pet off the carpet) or the owner isn’t present.

Unfortunately, most pet owners just find a pile of something on the floor and don’t witness the event itself. However gross, it’s important to note the characteristics of the material. This includes:

*The color of the material, paying special attention to the presence of red blood, dried blood (which looks like coffee grounds), bile (which is yellow), or brown, foul smelling material
*The presence or absence of food and if it’s digested or undigested
*The presence or absence of foreign material
*The presence or absence of lots of saliva or foam

Before we move on, we need to make a quick detour and talk about esophageal foreign bodies. As many of us know, dogs often don’t chew things 100 times as our grandmothers suggested – they often swallow food, toys and other objects after just a few bites. Occasionally, items are simply too large to pass through the esophagus into the stomach. Dogs with esophageal foreign bodies will salivate a lot, gag, paw at their mouth and retch – they can look a lot like a nauseous dog but their problem is esophageal.

This brings us to one of the most common questions heard by veterinarians and their staff – when is vomiting an emergency and when can a pet owner wait and watch?

As mentioned above, esophageal foreign bodies are an emergency. The vast majority of owners either witness their dog (cats rarely eat something too big!) eat something and then start gagging, or their dog is so clearly distressed they immediately seek veterinary care.

Other times, owners should seek veterinary care, is if there is blood in the vomitus; if a pet is vomiting and seems depressed, lethargic or has stopped eating; if vomiting/gagging/regurgitating is prolonged and severe; or if vomiting is intermittent but lasts longer than one week. A pet that vomits once or twice and seems bright and alert is one the owner can monitor closely.


Registered client? Contact Us with questions about your pet.


Morris Animal Foundation has funded a large list of studies looking for answers to the diverse diseases associated with vomiting in dogs and cats, including viral infections such as parvovirus in both dogs and cats, kidney disease and cancer. But there are still many unanswered questions. We need your help to find better ways to help our dogs and cats have better, healthier lives. Learn more about the scope of the studies we fund as well as our history and commitment to advancing animal health.

Original article can be found here.

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November is National Pet Cancer Awareness Month

Tips From the American Veterinary Medical Association

It’s a sobering reality: Cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs and while it’s not as prominent in cats, it’s often a more aggressive form of cancer.

You can be your pet’s advocate when it comes to treating cancer early on by spotting the telltale signs.

Contact your veterinarian if your dog or cat displays any of these signs of possible cancer. Remember, early detection is critical in the fight against pet cancer.

*Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow.
*S
ores that do not heal.
*Weight loss.
*Loss of appetite.
*Bleeding or discharge from any body opening.
*Offensive odor.
*Difficulty eating or swallowing.
*Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina.
*Persistent lameness or stiffness.
*Difficulty breathing, urinating or defecating.

Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian, adds that cancer in pets can mimic other diseases and disorders, so it’s important to perform tests that can tell the difference.
In Hampton Roads, we refer to oncologists who diagnose and treat cancer in pets.

Contact Us to schedule an appointment for your pet. 

Pet cancer infographic

Double-click to enlarge

Article and infographic courtesy of Nationwide Pet Insurance.

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