Posts Tagged ‘Hill’s Pet Nutrition’

October is National Pet Wellness Month.

Something to chew on:

“Infection associated with periodontal disease can be responsible for bad breath, and bacteria can enter a pet’s blood stream and spread to vital organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys.” 
– Hill’s Pet Nutrition

Sometimes our lives get so hectic that important tasks are forgotten. September begins a cycle for many people of school / work / holiday chaos that doesn’t seem to end until January. Unfortunately, our pets can get lost in the shuffle.

Maybe you forgot to apply the spot-on flea control or, more seriously, forgot to give the heartworm preventative.

Perhaps it’s been a while since you’ve taken your pet to the groomers.

And when was the last time you were able to devote an hour to playtime with your cat or taking your dog for an extra-long walk?

That’s why having a Pet Wellness Plan in place is so important: it keeps our pets top-of-mind and makes it easier to remember tasks like giving medication or going to the vet to update a Rabies shot.

At its most basic, a Pet Wellness Plan consists of three things:

  1. Twice a year examinations
  2. Protective vaccinations
  3. Pet health insurance

But we’ve expanded the list this month to include:

       4.  Microchipping
       5.  Spay/neuter
       6.  Internal parasite control
       7.  External parasite control

Today, we’ll add this:

       8.  Dental care

Remember the statement from Hill’s Pet Nutrition at the beginning of this post? Your pet’s mouth is the gateway to his general physical health. Problems that begin in the mouth, such as plaque buildup and inflamed gums, can lead to more serious problems affecting vital organs.

February is Dental Health Month, but oral care is a year-round task. So why not get started today?

Links round-up

Tips for brushing your pet’s teeth
Tooth root abscess
VetzLife Oral Care Gel
Oxyfresh Oral Hygiene Solution

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“Mikey,” a 9-year-old Labrador, refuses to go down the short set of steps to the yard. Instead, he stays inside and urinates and defecates near the back door. 

“Jester,” a 14-year-old Siamese cat, no longer runs to the kitchen at the sound of the can opener. He sleeps during the day and spends most nights howling outside his owner’s bedroom door.

“Ginny,” a 12-year-old Cocker Spaniel, spends hours staring at the wall and has no interest in retrieving her favorite toy.

What do these three senior pets have in common? They may be suffering the usual effects of aging: arthritis for “Mikey,” hearing loss for “Jester,” and blindness for “Ginny” — or they may all have Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome.

Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) is the result of degenerative brain aging that leads to lost or reduced memory, ability to learn, attention span, and understanding. For comparison, CDS is thought to be similar to Alzheimer’s Disease.

What are the signs? Typical behavior in pets with Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome are divided into categories labeled DISH.

  • Disorientation: the pet wanders, seems lost or confused and may not recognize familiar people; doesn’t respond to his name; he may get “stuck” in corners or behind furniture; he may stare into space or at walls
  • Interaction changes: the pet may walk away while being petted, doesn’t greet her owners, and seems aloof or detached
  • Sleep and activity changes: the pet may sleep more during the day, but stay awake at night, and no longer wants to play; he may wander or pace and have less purposeful activity
  • Housesoiling: the pet doesn’t signal the need to go out and has accidents in the house

    Is he lost in thought – or just lost?

What’s next? The veterinarian will check your pet for other medical issues that may be related to aging, such as arthritis, loss of vision or hearing, incontinence, or a disease process (kidney disease or diabetes, for example.) Some symptoms may be the result of medications that the pet is taking. Changes in the pet’s environment can also cause behavioral problems. Of course, a pet can have age-related problems at the same time he is experiencing the effects of brain aging.

Is there a cure for Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome? There is no cure, but nutritional and medical intervention can slow the progression of the disorder and return some cognitive function.

What are the options? Treatment may consist of a diet change. For instance, Hill’s Pet Nutrition has formulated its b/d Diet to address brain aging through the use of antioxidants that protect brain cells from destructive free radicals.

Another option is Anipryl, a prescription drug that enhances dopamine production, allowing brain cells to better communicate with each other. Anipryl is not right for every dog, though, and certain endocrine function tests must be performed first, to determine suitability. Also, Anipryl is not recommended to treat aggression in dogs.

For cats, mental stimulation can help with cognitive function. Keep your cat busy climbing, exploring, searching for treats, and using its natural hunting instincts.

Where do I start? If you suspect your pet has Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, schedule a physical exam for her. Keep a journal of the pet’s behavior leading up to the visit. Contact us and ask to receive a Behavior History Form to help track your pet’s activity. Bring the form with you to your pet’s appointment.

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Resources:
“Brain Health and Behavioral Changes in Dogs,” a Hill’s Pet Nutrition publication;
Anipryl brochure, a Pfizer Animal Health publication;
“Senior Pet Care and Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome,” by David Merrick and Dr. Gary Landsberg

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     For our Hill’s Prescription Diet customers: we have a new supply of free measuring cups (for dry food) and can caps. Ask for either one on your next visit to pick up your pet’s food.

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     Mr. Christopher Page stopped by the clinic today to introduce himself and his business, Fibrenew. Fibrenew experts repair and restore leather, plastic and vinyl. If your pet has torn holes in your favorite leather sofa, call 757-905-0873 and ask Chris what he can do for you.

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     I had the pleasure of spending Easter Sunday afternoon strolling through First Landing State Park, on what I call an “animal scavenger hunt.” There are certain animals I always expect to see when I go there, and my efforts were rewarded with the sight of skinks, woodpeckers, snails, butterflies, dragonflies, a myriad of nature-loving dogs, and one sneaky snake.

     Exiting the park (which is sporting a new trail center and bathrooms that are mercifully bug-free), I noticed this sign indicating how to distinguish between venomous and non-venomous snakes.

     Here’s my favorite part of the sign – and evidence that proofreading is a lost art form:

     That’s right, folks:  Keep Clam and Carry On. Enjoy your week!  ~~  Jen

 

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Welcome to National Pet Dental Health Month!

A healthy mouth = a healthy pet. 

     “By the age of three, more than half of all cats and dogs are beginning to show signs of a dental problem.” – Hill’s Pet Nutrition

What is periodontal disease?
     It is a disease affecting the tissues that support the teeth and can lead to destruction of the tooth root, gums, and jaw.

What are the precursors to periodontal disease?

  • Plaque – a colorless film containing bacteria
  • Tartar – hardened plaque along the gumline
  • Gingivitis – inflammation of the gums, leading to gum disease and tooth loss

     “Infection associated with periodontal disease can be responsible for bad breath, and bacteria can enter a pet’s blood stream and spread to vital organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys.”  – Hill’s Pet Nutrition

What are contributing factors to periodontal disease?

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Breed – especially among breeds of dogs and cats with small, crowded mouths
  • Age

What signs should I look for at home?

  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding gums
  • Drooling
  • Tooth loss
  • Tartar buildup
  • Pain when eating
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Change of eating habits
  • Subdued behavior

What can I do about it?

  • Schedule your pet to get a dental exam and teeth cleaning from the veterinarian. Some pets may need the services of a veterinary dental specialist. Pets sometimes need root canals, just like people!
  • Clean your pet’s teeth after its meals, using a pet-specific toothpaste or liquid dentifrice.
  • Add Oxyfresh Pet Oral Hygiene Solution to your pet’s drinking water.
  • Feed Prescription Diet t/d to healthy adult pets. Hill’s t/d food is designed to scrub your pet’s teeth as he chews.

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     Information for this article adapted from “Oral Health:  Caring for your pet” by Hill’s Pet Nutrition. Copies of the pamphlet are available at our office.

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What is liver disease?

     The liver is an important organ with many functions, including the digestion and conversion of nutrients, the removal of toxic substances from the blood and the storage of vitamins and minerals.  Liver disease results in inflammation, known as hepatitis.  If untreated, this can lead to loss of function as healthy liver cells are replaced by scar tissue.  Diseases elsewhere in the body can also affect the liver’s function.

What causes liver disease?

  • Age:  Several diseases, including liver dysfunction, are common in geriatric pets.
  • Breed:  Certain breeds, such as Dobermans, Rottweilers, Yorkies, Cocker Spaniels, and Siamese cats, are more likely to be born with or are prone to develop particular liver problems.
  • Obesity:  Cats that are severely overweight may be more likely to develop liver disease.
  • Medications and chemicals:  Medications containing acetaminophen can damage the liver in cats and dogs.
  • Bacterial and viral infections
  • Congenital abnormality

What are common signs of liver disease?

  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Jaundice
  • Increased thirst
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Changes in behavior
  • Excessive drooling

Why does the vet recommend Hill’s Prescription Diet l/d?

     Hill’s Pet Nutrition knows that the liver is designed to repair and regenerate itself, but it needs the proper nutrition* to support the process.

     Hill’s has specially formulated its l/d diet to support liver function while reducing the liver’s overall workload and allowing this complicated organ a chance to heal.  Prescription diet l/d also includes vitamins C and E to help protect delicate liver cells from more damage.

*Liver conditions may also require surgical intervention and drug treatments.  Some pets may be placed under the care of a veterinary internal medicine specialist.  Diagnostic testing is necessary to determine the type of disease or physical abnormality present and the extent of damage to the liver, which will aid in the creation of a treatment plan.  Hill’s Prescription diet l/d is one facet of the treatment plan.

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Information taken from Hill’s Pet Nutrition pamphlet “Liver Conditions,” available at our office.

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Hill's will no longer accept "Free Product" coupons

     Hill’s Pet Nutrition has announced that, due to fraud involving counterfeit coupons, it will no longer reimburse Free Product coupons for Science Diet and Prescription Diet (as illustrated above.)  Because of this, we can no longer accept these coupons, either.  Both legitimate and counterfeit coupons are included in Hill’s decision.

     Consumers who have questions about the change may contact Hill’s Consumer Affairs Department at 1-800-445-5777.

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