Posts Tagged ‘obesity’

Admit it: your cat has an awesome life. And now that you’ve added food puzzles and the perfect scratching post, your cat’s life is darn near perfect.

But is it possible to improve upon perfection? Your cat says, “Yes!”

Here are 4 more ways you can improve your cat’s life today:

  1. Multiple litterboxes. This is especially important when living with several cats or other pets in the house. Cats often won’t cross a “barrier” created by another cat or pet blocking the litterbox. Having extra litterboxes in different areas of the house (including on each floor of a multi-level home) gives your cats choices and helps prevent accidents.
  2. A safe space. Cats like to hide out and nap in private spots, without worry of being harassed by pets or people. Popular hiding spots include an empty box, dark closet, beneath furniture, and high up on cabinets. If your cat doesn’t have a hiding spot, try to provide one, such as a covered cat bed.
  3. Play time. Cats are natural hunters, so look for toys they can “chase.” Pick up some cat-safe toys that require your involvement, and get silly with your cat.  Bonus: Play time helps your cat bond with you and burn calories.
  4. Calming pheromones. Cats can feel more relaxed and less territorial when they are exposed to pheromones (chemical signals) just like the ones they secrete from glands in their face (which they love to rub on you and everything in their environment.) Try Feliway plug-ins to send a chemical message to your cat that says, “Relax.”

It’s your cat’s home — you’re just living in it!

Tips for this blog post are based on advice by feline care expert Dr. Ilona Rodan, via dvm360 Magazine.

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Seasonal Weight Gain For Pets Is Serious Business

Most of us are familiar with the holiday tendency to add a few extra pounds. But where people have the option to go to the gym, pets do not.

Consider these steps you can take to help your pet shed those holiday pounds:
Feed your pet a balanced pet food diet.
Do not give your dog or cat table treats. He might not like it at first, but this is the only way to maintain a healthy weight. This is tough love, and your pet will benefit from a nutritionally balanced diet.

[What’s the big deal about obesity and your pet’s health? Find out here!]


Step up the exercise.
Longer walks or play times will be good exercise for both of you. If you live in a cold climate, there might be an indoor facility that will let you walk your dog.

Try changing to a premium dietary low fat/high fiber pet food.
When switching, it’s important to change the food gradually. Provide your pet’s daily food portion as 75% of the old food and 25% of the new formula on the first day. For day two, try a 50-50 ratio. Then, proceed to a 25-75 split. On day four, go to 100 percent of the new low-fat food. Seek your veterinarian’s advice if you are unsure about which brand of pet food to buy.

Instead of treats for praise, try play.
Treats add up fast, so when your pet is good, play or pull out a new toy instead of rewarding with food.

Set a deadline for your pet reaching a certain target weight.
That will keep you motivated and focused, and might help you lose some of your holiday weight, too!

This article appeared on Nationwide Pet Insurance’s blog here.

Bonus Content

Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic, uses the following formula for safe weight loss for your pet:
Cat………………..1/4 lb per week
Small dog………1/2 lb per week
Medium dog…..1 lb per week
Large dog……….1 1/2 lbs per week

Wondering what your pet’s target weight should be? Contact Us and we’ll work with you to set a goal! (Offer open to clients of Little Creek Veterinary Clinic [Norfolk, VA] only).

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About Nationwide pet insurance
With more than 700,000 insured pets, Nationwide is the first and largest pet health insurance provider in the United States. Nationwide pet health insurance 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. Underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (CA), Columbus, OH, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2017); National Casualty Company (all other states), Columbus, OH, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2017). Agency of Record: DVM Insurance Agency. 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 our previous post, we reviewed Ten Warning Signs of Cancer in Dogs and Cats, as reported by the Morris Animal Foundation (MAF). MAF is a leader in funding research that improves animals’ lives. Cancer is a chief health concern.

   Eleven million dogs and cats are diagnosed with cancer each year. The number is staggering — but there are things pet owners can do to help prevent cancer in their pets.

   Today, we share Morris Animal Foundation’s list of 12 things you can do to reduce your pet’s risk of developing cancer.

CLICK HERE to download the list for easy reading.

 

CLICK HERE to download the list for easy reading.

 

   To learn more about the Morris Animal Foundation, the good work they do, and how you can be a part of the movement toward better animal health, visit their website:  www.morrisanimalfoundation.org

 

Disclaimer: Information on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure your pet. Information provided on this site does not take the place of a valid client-patient-doctor relationship, nor does it constitute such a relationship. Your pet’s veterinarian is the best source of information regarding your pet’s health. Your pet may require an examination and testing by a licensed veterinarian in order to provide proper diagnosis and treatment. Neither Dr. Miele nor Little Creek Veterinary Clinic or its staff is responsible for outcomes based on information available on this site. Every pet’s condition is unique and requires the direct care and oversight of its own veterinarian.

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Feeding time at the zoo

  Is it time for a change?

There are a number of good reasons you might change the food your pet is eating, including:

  • Pet enters a new stage of life, such as going from puppy/kitten to adult to senior
  • Pet develops a food allergy
  • Pet requires a prescription diet to manage health issues, such as obesity or liver disease
  • Pet refuses to eat its regular food
  • Pet could benefit from a higher-quality food than the one it currently eats

Before changing your pet’s diet, consult with your veterinarian.
In the case of prescription diets, your pet may need to be
on a strictly measured amount, rather than free-choice feeding.

The key to making the switch is to gradually introduce the new food, in order to reduce the possibility of digestive upset. 

This is the trick to introduce a new food to your pet:

Days 1 and 2: Feed 3 parts old food and 1 part new food*

Days 3 and 4: Feed 2 parts old food and 2 parts new food (i.e. half and half)

Days 5 and 6: Feed 1 part old food and 3 parts new food

Day 7: Feed only the new food

*Be sure to calculate how much of each food to give, so that you are not overfeeding.

If your pet experiences loose stools during the transition, your veterinarian may recommend adding probiotics to the diet.

Est. 1973

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Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Every year, around Turkey Time (that’s Thanksgiving and Christmas), pets are rushed to the emergency room with a sudden onset of illness after sharing the family meal.

So what’s wrong with all those animals?

The answer: acute pancreatitis.

[How do you say that word? Try this: pan-cree-uh-tie-tis.]

The pancreas is a V-shaped abdominal organ that produces digestive enzymes and insulin. (Insulin regulates blood sugar. A lack, or insufficient quantity, of insulin results in diabetes.) 

Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, in which the organ essentially digests itself via the enzymes it produces.

What causes acute pancreatitis?
Common causes are:

  • high-fat diets (long-term)
  • singular high-fat meal (like meat trimmings)
  • obesity
  • infection
  • blockage of the pancreatic duct
  • abdominal injury or surgery
  • hyperstimulation by certain drugs and venom

Because of the high fat content of many holiday feasts, pets that are fed from the table are at serious risk of becoming gravely ill. In some cases, pancreatitis will be fatal.

Feed your pet its own food prior to mealtime, to make it less likely to beg.
Move your pets to a separate area of the house during mealtime and after-dinner cleanup, if you or your guests are tempted to share food with Fluffy and Fang.
Let your guests know that your pets are on a strict diet and cannot have table food. If you want to – blame the vet! We’re always happy to play wet blanket when it comes to giving pets unnecessary – and even harmful – treats.

Symptoms of pancreatitis
Watch for:

  • abdominal pain
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • fever
  • weakness
  • depression
  • collapse from shock

How do you know if a pet is experiencing abdominal pain?
Look for these signs:

  • restlessness
  • panting
  • trembling
  • hunched-up posture
  • “praying” posture
  • resting on cool surfaces
  • vocal or physical response to touch (on the belly)

Which types of dogs or cats are most at risk of pancreatitis?
Normally, in this type of article, I list the age span, breeds, and gender of dog or cat most commonly affected by the disorder. I am not going to do that in this post for one specific reason: I do not wish to give any pet owner the impression that his or her pet is “safe” from pancreatitis and can join in the family meal. We just don’t recommend it for any pet.

Take Action
If you believe your cat or dog may have pancreatitis (even at a non-holiday time of year), take him to the nearest Veterinary Emergency Hospital. Immediate intervention in a critical care setting will give your pet the best chance at recovery.

Remember: some cases of pancreatitis can be deadly, so prevention and early intervention are key to your pet’s good health.

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Resources for this article include:
Instructions for Veterinary Clients
Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary
Saunders Manual of Small Animal Practice
The 5 Minute Veterinary Consult
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This article was originally posted on Nov. 12, 2012 and Nov. 20, 2014.

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Can cats and dogs develop diabetes?

The answer is – YES. Cats and dogs can develop diabetes. Luckily, treatment is available.

Diabetes 010

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.

As for diet, low carbohydrate, low fat, high fiber, high protein diets work best. Your pet’s veterinarian or vet specialist will recommend a suitable diet to manage glucose levels and weight. Hill’s Pet Nutrition has formulated m/d, r/d, and w/d to address various issues concerning diabetic dogs and cats.

Will pet insurance help me manage the cost of treatment?
Yes.*  In fact Veterinary Pet Insurance reported in 2010 that its fifth most common health claim for cats was diabetes. In 2011, diabetes dropped to number six on the list, but still represented a large number of claims.
*Important: if your pet is diagnosed with diabetes before you sign up for pet insurance, it is considered a pre-existing condition and may not be covered. Pet health insurance is best started when your pet is young and healthy.

Note: The information above is a partial explanation of diabetes, its symptoms, and treatment. There are other types of diabetes 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.

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

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This post originally appeared on October 10, 2012.

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Diabetes blog

November is Pet Diabetes Month. Cats and dogs can develop this disease of the pancreas that affects many other body functions.

Take this quiz to find out whether your pet is at risk of developing diabetes.

On Thursday, we’ll learn more about diabetes, its symptoms, and treatments.

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