ear anatomy nose upDog ear infections can be frustrating and tricky to treat. Here are some tips to getting that painful disease under control as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, there are no over-the-counter ear treatments that treat specific infections. Most of the treatments contain alcohol and acids. These may be effective for mild infections, by acidifying and drying the ears. They also physically clean the ear canals of debris and organisms. But, if these are not effective after 7 days, flushing the ears twice daily, it’s time to see the vet.

1) Ear Cytology It’s important to know what your dog’s ear is infected WITH. Dogs can get yeast infections, bacterial infections (different kinds of bacteria), and combinations of both yeast and bacteria. Because yeast and bacteria need to be treated with completely different medications, it’s very helpful to know which you are dealing with. Also, different kinds of bacteria respond better to different antibiotics, while some types of bacteria are developing resistances to the commonly used.

The only way to know what organisms are present is an ear cytology. It is impossible to determine whether an infection is yeast or bacterial by the odor or characteristics of the discharge! The microscopic characteristics of the organisms guide your veterinarian as to the best first choice of medications.

2) Removing debris from the ear canal is very important to success. If the debris is not removed, you will be putting medication on the surface of the debris and it may never get to the skin surface to kill off the organisms causing the infection. Also, some medications are inactivated in the presence of pus! If your dog has a lot of debris in the ear, you r vet should recommend either an out-patient ear cleaning or a Deep Ear Cleaning under anesthesia.

3) Treatment of the infection. Your veterinarian will make a treatment plan depending on the type of infection, amount of discharge present, amount of inflammation and secondary changes deep in your dog’s ear, and possible underlying causes.

Flushing/ Cleaning– Choice of flush sloution recommended depends on the factors above.

** TIP 1: With your dog sitting or standing, point his nose to the ground while instilling the flush solution.

** TIP 2: Use enough soution to Flush the ear canals. It should sound juicy when you massage the base of the ear canal

** TIP 3: Get it down in there!  Insert the nozzle of the flush down into your pet’s ear as far as it will go. (But don’t make an airtight seal!) You can’t come close enough to the ear drum to hurt it! But, if you don’t get the nozzle down in the ear, you won’t get the flush in deep enough to clean the canals! Remember that the dog’s ear canal is “L” shaped. The medication has to go down from the ear opening to the point of the jaw, then dive in toward the middle of the head.

** TIP 4: Do this Outside! After a good massage, let your dog shake his head! It’s messy! Wipe the excess away with a tissue/ towel.

Medicating- The medication may be a Long-Acting gel, in which case you don’t have to anything at home! Or…

If you are applying medication 1-3 times daily:

** TIP 1: While your dog is sitting down or standing, point his nose toward the ground when you instill the medication. This orients the ear canals to allow the medication to run deep into the canals, rather than right back out.

** TIP 2: Like flushing, insert your medication nozzle all the way into the ear.

** TIP 3: Shaking is inevitable! Stand back!

 4) Treat the Underlying Condition in cases of recurrent, persistent or long term conditions. This may mean some additional testing is needed to determine the underlying condition.

5) Rechecking with your vet is critical! Only your vet can look deep into the canals with an otoscope to tell you whether the infection is cleared up all the way to the ear drum. I know it costs money, but the number 1 cause of “recurrent” or “persistent” ear infections is not getting the infections completely resolved. Don’t get lulled into a false sense of security just because you don’t see any discharge or smell any odor! That infection could be lurking at the bottom of the canal, taking it’s sweet time crawling it’s way back up to the opening!

Approximately 65% of ear infections need treatment for longer than 2 weeks. Sometimes owners need to treat more deeply than they originally were. Sometimes, there is too much debris in the canal for the medication to be effective so the ears need a Deep Cleaning under anesthesia with a scope to visualize that the canals are, indeed, clean to the ear drum. The infection may have broken through the ear drum into the middle ear, requiring special treatment. Sometimes, the infection changes invaders– one organism is killed off, leaving room for a new one to grow (a repeat cytology reveals story). There be a colony of resistant bacteria that require specialized medications (identified by culturing the ear debris). Often, there is an underlying cause for the ear infection in the first place: inhaled allergies, food allergies, hypothyroidism, etc. These must be addressed or the infection won’t resolve or will recur.

The Bottom-Line

 Have an ear cytology done first. Have the ears cleaned according to your vet’s recommendation. You may have to continue using a cleanser at home during treatment. Use the appropriate medication aimed at your pet’s infection. Hold the nose down. Insert the medication bottles fully into the ear– you can’t hurt your pet’s ear canal! Keep the recheck appointments until the infection is gone. Explore possible underlying causes or additional testing if the infection is not clearing up appropriately.


ear infection2Ear infections in dogs are very common,and  often frustrating.
  Owners find them frustrating because they are difficult to treat: frequently instilling medication into your dog’s painful ears hurts your dog, makes him wary of you and that medicine bottle, undermines the bond of love and trust between you.  It makes you feel bad. Treatment can take 1- 3 weeks, depending on the severity of infection.  Recheck appointments at the vet are expensive and time consuming in our busy lives.  If you try to use over-the-counter or internet-recommended “home cures” you almost always have recurrence or persistence.  Ear infections recur or persist even with professional help.  It seems like your vet can’t them under control!

Owners, know that your veterinarian is right there with you!  It’s such a frustrating condition that there are hundreds of lectures/ articles/ web chats about ear infections every year!

To understand why ear infections are such a pain in the (r)ear, you first have to understand what causes ear infections.

Basically, ear infections of the outer ear canal, “otitis externa”,  are caused by an overgrowth of bacteria or yeast, or both, in the ear canal.   Otitis externa is a painful condition.  It is akin to “swimmer’s ear” pain in people.

What conditions allow for the overgrowth of organisms?

1) Water in the ear.  Bathing and Swimming allow water to get in the ear.  This extra moisture allows the normal bacteria and yeast in the ear canal to overgrow.   PREVENTION : Avoid getting water in your dog’s ears during baths.  Place a cotton ball in the ear to absorb any accidental water drops. Use a drying ear flush after every bath.  If your dog swims, flush his ears with a drying agent every day after swimming.  .

ear anatomy nose up

2) Idiopathic.  Many ear infections don’t have an obvious cause.  These are usually treated fairly easily and are not recurrent problems.

 

3) Foreign Bodies.  Grass awns (“foxtails”) and ticks are the most common “foreign bodies”. Treatment involves removing the foreign material and treating the infection. Pretty straight forward.

4) Inappropriate Treatment.  The most common problem with treating dogs is that the medication doesn’t get deep enough into their long, “L”- shaped ear canals to treat the whole ear canal.  Putting a certain number of drops in the ear is almost never going to get the medicine in deep enough.  Some pets make it very difficult because they don’t like the treatments, so we people are hesitant to put the medication nozzles in the ear deeply

tick in ear

.  Sometimes,. we are just afraid.  Be assured that you can almost never damage the ear drum with a medication nozzle designed for dogs!

5) Not treating the infection to completion.  This is a common client- controlled issue.  It is very tempting to ignore the vet’s (expensive) recommendation for a recheck after a ctaatin amount of time on medication-
especially when the ears look good to the naked eye!  But, unbeknowst to the casual observer (without an otoscope to see into the deepest recesses of the ear canal, all the way to the ear drum), the infection could be lingering!  This is why that vet recheck is so critical to treatment success!

6) Treating the surface of the ear goo and not the “bugs” causing the problem.  This is a common error in treating ear infections.  There is a huge amount of discharge produced by the ear infection organisms.  If you are using topical therapy and there is so much debris filling your dog’s ear that the medication is only treating the surface of the discharge and not the organisms on the skin, you won’t get anywhere- no matter how many times you re-visit the vet!  These ears have to be deep cleaned.  This does mean anesthesia and the vet curetting out the discharge, flushing and collecting samples from DEEP in the ear, at the level of the ear drum, to get resolved.

When those infections just aren’t clearing up…This is where things start getting tricky…

7) Resistant Bacterial Infections. There are more strains of bacteria every year that are becoming resistant to the antibiotics that are commonly used. The only way to know if a particular infection is “resistant” is to culture the discharge and let the lab tell you.

8) Yeast or Bacteria Allergies. Dogs can actually become allergic to the yeast or bacteria that overgrow in their ears!  This contributes to extra inflammation (heat, swelling, moisture) in the ear canals, which of course, contributes to More prolific growth of the organisms!  You have to break the allergy cycle to control the growth!

9) Allergies to pollens and other inhaled allergens (anything people can be allergic to!).  Allergies in dogs usually cause skin problems, rather than the eye/ ear/ nose/ throat symptoms that people get.  The skin of the ear is just skin– it’s just dark, warm, moist skin.  Extra nice for bacterial and yeast overgrowth!  Again, the allergies have to be controlled so the conditions contributing to ideal organism overgrowth are removed and the infection can be cured.

10) Food Allergy.  Believe it or not, FOOD allergies can cause recurrent ear infections!  In the same way that inhaled allergies cause skin disease in dogs, so do food allergies.  Again, ears are just specialized skin….!  In fact, (and this is the crazy thing– but true!)  Food allergies may ONLY cause recurrent ear infections!  With no other symptoms!  The best way to test for this is to place the pet on a Hydrolyzed Protein Diet (some dermatologists will use prescription limited  antigen diets or home cooked diets) for 2-3 months.  If the ear infections resolve with treatment as expected, you have your answer!

11) Metabolic Diseases.  Hypothyroidism is the most common metabolic disease to cause recurrent ear infections.  This is a common condition in middle aged to older dogs. It causes immune suppression, allowing abnormal bacterial/ viral/ yeast growth all over the body.  The ears are just a common location.  Hyperadrenocorticism (“Cushing’s Disease”) also causes recurrent or persistent  ear infections through immune suppression.  Your vet can test your dog for these conditions!

It is niether “normal”,healthy, nor nice, for your dog to have ear infections “all the time”.  This is a painful condition that could be screaming, “There’s something else wrong, Dad! I need you to help me!”  If your dog is showing signs of ear infection: pain in the ear, shaking the head or scratching the ear frequently, please have him or her seen by your vet right away!  Treating infections early gives you the best chance for a full recovery and any underlying conditions can be determined sooner rather than later.

 

 

CatBrushingOwnTeethKeeping your pet’s teeth healthy is one of the best ways to keep your pet living longer, happier and healthier!  70% or more of pets over the age of 3 years have dental disease.  For some, it’s just gingivitis and a little plaque, but for many, dental disease has already advance to early or even later stages of periodontal disease.  Check your pet’s mouth at least monthly for redness around the gums, bad breath, or yellow to brown calcified plaque on the teeth.  Don’t forget to check the teeth Waaaay back under the outer corner of the eye—this is where most dental disease occurs!

Prevention is the best medicine!

Tooth Brushing

This is the ideal way to prevent dental disease in dogs and cats.  It does take some training (Blog on training to tooth brushing), but it is soooo worth the effort in the thousands of dollars you will save in professional cleanings and dental treatments once disease sets in!  Use a pet toothpaste.   We like C.E.T brand the best.  It comes in a variety of pet-friendly flavors like chicken, pork and mint (more human friendly, really).  It also has enzymes that work to break down the plaque even after brushing time is over.  It’s also edible—unlike human pastes.  Don’t use human toothpaste in your pet’s mouth!.  Pet toothbrushes are very helpful as well.  Angled bristled brushes are the best for getting to those back teeth and the bristles get the job done.  But, you can start with a finger brush—again bristles work better than the rubber “bristles”, but something is better than nothing!

How To Train Your Dog (or Cat) to Tooth Brushing Video

Dental Diets

Dental diets are known to reduce dental tartar by up to 80% !  They are also impregnated with enzymes that help to break down oral tartar and also help to bind the calcium in the saliva that causes the hard, calcified tartar referred to as “calculus”.  What could be an easier way to help keep your pets mouth clean than simply feed them a diet that helps do the work for us!?!

From Your Vet                                                                                   From the Pet Store

Royal Canine Dental Diet    Rebate coupon                           Eukanuba 3D DentaDefense

Prescription Diet T/D                                                                      Science Diet Oral Care

Purina DH Dental Health

Water Additives

These are somewhat beneficial for pets when you can’t brush.  But be Careful what products you buy.  Their effectiveness has not been clearly demonstrated.  So far, there are no VOHC approved* water additives.  The C.E.T product Aquadent seems to be the most popular among veterinarians

Oral Hygiene gels and liquids.

Again, pick either a CET product, a VOHC certified product* or something recommended by your veterinarian.  These are best applied directly to the teeth with either a brush or a sponge-tipped cosmetic applicator, so they require some cooperation from the pet.  Some products, like CET Oral Hygiene rinse is designed to be squirted into the cheek pouches.  These product essentially minimize inflammation in the mouth by periodically reducing oral bacterial counts.

Dental Chews

   Greenies™ are the best known to be effective, safe (reformulated to be safer than original product), and attractive to dogs.  I usually recommend picking a size larger than recommended on the package to encourage more chewing activity.  These are certainly helpful.  Supervise your pet to ensure he isn’t eating giant pieces, even though they are “edible”.

C.E.T Chews for dogs are enzyme impregnated rawhides that are also a nice chewing option.  Keep to just 2-3 rawhides a week though, to avoid digestive upset.

Cat C.E.T Dental Chews actually require the cat to CHEW, unlike a lot of the other cat “dental” treats that most cats (certainly mine!) swallow whole!  They don’t do any good if the kitty doesn’t chew on them!

Other Recommended Products:

*Look for a “VOHC” (Veterinary Oral Health Council) seal on the product.  These products have actually been tested and proven to reduce tartar accumulation.  Anyone can market a product and there is no regulation as to effectiveness.  But, a VOHC Approval seal gives you confidence that a particular product has been clinically tested to be effective.

 

ferret

  • Feed a low carb, high protein diet. Science Diet M/D and Purina DM formulas are excellent, readily available options.

 

Ferrets are carnivorous, like cats.  As carnivores, they need a very high protein diet and can’t process carbohydrates as well as omnivores (species intended to eat a variety of food sources).  Ferrets’ pancreatic cells  have to produce more insulin than they are intended to in order to process the excess carbohydrates that are provided in many foods.  Over time (just a few years) those hyperactive cells become “hyperplastic”.  This “hyperplasia” progresses to abnormal cancer cell development. Pancreatic tumors (Insulinomas) produce WAY too much insulin, which causes a condition opposite to diabetes: hypOglycemia.

  • SIGNS:

Hypoglycemia in ferrets can cause  lethargy, depression, vomiting, hypersalivation, grinding of the teeth (‘bruxism”), seizures, coma and potentially death.

  • TREATMENT:

   Emergency treatment is Karo syrup rubbed on the gums.  In the hospital, ferrets are treated with IV dextrose and fluids for shock, if needed.

          Surgical removal of the tumor (s) is necessary for cure.   The bad news is that more tumors usually develop over time resulting in recurrence of symptoms.

  • PREVENTION:

  Minimizing the carbs, by feeding a low carbohydrate, high protein diet is the key to prevention!  Prescription foods formulated for diabetic cats are the most readily available diets that fit the bill.  Ask your vet for Science Diet M/D our Purina’s DM formulas.

Before you switch diets on your own, *READ the ingredients!  (even foods MADE for ferrets!):

** Do not feed diets with peas!  They are toxic to ferret kidneys and will cause urinary bladder stones.  **

dog scratchingTreating pets with allergies can be a frustrating, time-consuming, financially draining prospect.  There is no one treatment; there is no cure.  Our goal in treating allergies is to keep patients comfortable using the most affordable, minimally time consuming, treatment combination that will be the most effective in keeping itching to a tolerable level for both the patient and the owners with a minimum of side effects to the patient.

Here are the options we consider:

ð Stay Inside   Staying inside will help those dogs that are allergic to outside pollens.

ð Vacuum and Dust Weekly   This reduces housedust and the house dust mites that invade all of our homes

ð Buy Smaller Bags of Food/ Store in Airtight containers     Many dogs and cats are allergic to storage mites found in grain products.  Buying smaller bags of food will reduce the numbers of storage mites that can reproduce in your pet’s food (which your pet inhales while eating).  Your veterinarian may even recommend a strictly canned diet.

ð Shampoo/ Rinses/ Wipes     Shampooing, cool water rinsing, wiping of the face and paws physically removes dust, dust mites and pollens from your pet’s coat, reducing the amount of allergens inhaled.  Some Shampoos also help reduce the numbers of bacteria and yeast that build-up on inflamed, allergic skin. Your veterinarian will help you choose the best shampoo and conditioner for your pet’s current skin conditions.  As  your pet’s skin conditions change, so might your vet’s shampoo recommendations.  Conditioning rinses can provide prolonged anti-inflammatory relief and anti-itch effects.

Wiping your pet’s face once daily, at night, before bed, can also help reduce inhaled pollens and dust.

Having your pet walk through a foot bath, then drying his feet, especially between the pads, can be beneficial as well.  Your vet may recommend a special foot bath for this purpose.

ð Skin Support Foods     Skin Support Prescription foods are made with a minmal number of allergy- inducing ingredients, are supplemented with anti-inflammatory herbs, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, and contain no preservatives.  These can be very beneficial in animals that have “Atopy”, or inhaled allergies.  Ask your veterinarian if one might be appropriate for your pet .

ð Hydrolyzed Protein Prescription Food     Truly Hypoallergenic foods contain nothing that the body can recognize as a foreign material.  The proteins have been formulated to be so small (hydrolyzed) that they are unrecognizable as foreign material, so the body can not react in an allergic manner to them, yet they are nutritious for the pet.

Only your veterinarian can prescribe truly “hypoallergenic”/ hydrolyzed food for your pet.  This may be very beneficial if there is suspicion that {NAME} is allergic to some component in your pet’s  food (chicken, beef, wheat, soy, preservatives, etc).  Pets going on a Hydrolyzed / Hypoallergenic Food Trial must remain on that food, and ONLY that food (nothing else can pass their lips unless specifically approved by your veterinarian—any little “cheat” defeats 3 weeks of prescription food benefits) for 3 months.  If the allergies are improved, your vet may recommend switching to a “Single Antigen Diet” or staying on the Hypoallergenic Diet long term.

**There are no “hypoallergenic” over-the-counter foods that are appropriate for a diet trial.  At best, over the counter foods, even limited ingredient foods, fall in the category of “skin support foods”**

  ð Omega 3 fatty acids      Omega 3 fatty acids, particularly the “EPA” fraction,  have been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect in skin and other tissues throughout the body when given daily, in high doses, for 30 days and more.  Allergic pets can benefit greatly from the anti-inflammatory effects of high potency omega 3 fatty acids given every day of their lives.  (They will also be receiving beneficial effects to their joints, liver and heart!).

Not all Fatty Acid (or “fish oil”) supplements are created equal.  Every product has a different amount of various omega fatty acids in it, some of which are NOT anti-inflammatory.  Aim to give your pet approximately 20 mg per pound EPA.  If the product you are considering using does not specifically list the amount of EPA in each capusle, don’t buy it.  If you have to give too many capsules to achieve the correct dose, check with your veterinarian.  Vets usually carry prescription qulaity, high potency omega 3 products that are cost effective and easily administered!

ð Antihistamines     There are several classes of antihistamines available for use in dogs.  Just as one antihistamine may work well in one human and not in another, dogs have individual responses to antihistamines as well.  Dogs and cats also require a much larger dosage of antihistamines than humans to control itchy skin conditions.  They also need to be treated at the high dose for a minimum of 5 days, in most cases, to evaluate the effect of the antihistamine as it takes that long to get an effective blood level of antihistamine in a dog.  Giving antihistamines periodically or intermittently is rarely helpful.  Your veterinarian can suggest antihistamines and doses to try.  **Please consult your vet before changing medications or dosages to ensure that you are treating appropriately.

** DO NOT GIVE ANTIHISTAMINES IF YOUR PET HAS HEART DISEASE OR HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE WITHOUT DIRECT SUPERVISION OF YOUR VETERINARIAN**

ð Steroids      Steroids are usually very effective as controlling itch in all but the most severely allergic and food allergic patients.  Short courses of steroids, either by injection or oral treatment may be necessary to prevent a pet from injuring itself due to excessive licking and scratching.  However, steroids have life draining side effects and should not be given long term unless no other alternative is possible.

ð Atopica      Atopica  is a revolutionary treatment for allergies that significantly reduces itching without the debilitative side effects of steroids.  This medication can be given long term, sometimes every other day or only a couple times a week.  This is a good treatment option when the above treatments aren’t working well enough to keep a pet comfortable.

ð Immunotherapy     “Allergy Injections” can be formulated specifically for your pet, based on exactly what * is allergic to, according to blood or skin testing.  Your veterinarian can perform the blood testing.  A Board Certified Dermatologist needs to perform skin testing in order to formulate allergy injections that way.  These injections can be very helpful for patients who must have daily medication to live comfortably or who are not comfortable even with daily medication and special foods.  In some cases, when daily treatments are still needed, pets often get along comfortably with fewer medications or only dietary control, avoiding the cost and detrimental effects of long term more expensive medications.

If  you are frustrated with your pet’s response to treatment, if your pet is not comfortable despite following your veterinarian’s recommendations, or if you are just “done” with all of the special care, please ask us about Immunotherapy.  It may be time! fb logo

Like Us to post your allergy questions!

basset wih rabbit earsWe have been using a new ear infection treatment in dogs (and a couple of cats) in the last 3 months that has made our clients and their pets SOOO Much Happier!  It’s a long-acting lanolin-based ointment applied in the clinic ONE TIME,  by us right in the exam room.  Pet parents don’t have to do anything to the ears at all.   (In fact, they are told NOT to flush/ clean the ears as this will decrease the effectiveness of the treatment!)  A recheck in 2 weeks determines whether the pet needs continued treatment!  The cost of the treatment is about the same as the cost of a bottle of ear drops or ointment.ear infection

  • No more fighting with your dog to get medication in their ears 1- 3 times daily!
  • No need to flush at home!
  •  Avoid the discomfort of topically treating those painful badly infected ears! 

About 50% of patients need another treatment, but that is about the same as when the ears are treated by owners at home.  (Home treatments are frequently not done as often as directed or the medication doesn’t get into ears deeply enough—because the pets struggle and move.  They hate it, owners hate it!)

While the treatment is not less expensive than standard treatment, every one of our clients has been very happy with the treatment:  the same great results with no work on their part! No struggling with their pets at home.  No destruction of the loving trust between pets and their people!

If your pet has an ear infection- new or long-standing, please call us to schedule an exam.  If treating your pet’s ear infection is only as complicated as a couple of car rides, how awesome is that?!?   520-886-1125

A Comprehensive Health Care Plan is critical for your Kitten’s fragile, formative months !

15% Savings On Kitten Vaccinations, Exams, Laboratory Tests, Microchipping, Spay/ Neuter Surgery (If done before 6 months of age)

Physical Examinations at regular intervals, are important to detect disease early in the rapidly growing, maturing Puppy.  Remember that a kitten  ages approximately 14 human years in its first 4 months of life!

Intestinal Parasite Testing (Fecal) ensures that your new kitten isn’t bringing home any parasites that can be dangerous to his own health, the health of other pets in the family or contagious to humans!

Feline Leukemia Testing- Is very important for all new kittens (and cats) to a family.  Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunosuppressive Virus are two of the most devastating viral diseases of cats.  They are both incurable and ultimately fatal infections that are contagious to other cats (in the household or in the neighborhood if infected cats go outside).  Diligent testing and subsequent responsible management of infected cats over the years have signficantly reduced the number of animals infected with this disease.  Knowing whether your new kitten potentially has either of these diseases has a huge bearing on how that kitty’s health is managed throughout her life as well!

Vaccinations are vital to protect a kitten against the worst contagious diseases of kittenhood.  Comprehensive kitten vaccinations provide a good base of immunity upon which immunity is built for the remainder of life. Kittens need vaccinations every 3-4 weeks from 6-8 weeks of age (depending on whether mama cat was vaccinated) through 15 weeks of age for a full first year of protection.

    Rhinotracheitis/ Calicivirus/ Distemper are highly contagoius, sometimes fatal, serious diseases of Kittens.  Vaccination and keeping your kitten Out Of Public Places Until Fully Vaccinated are the safest ways to protect him from these devastating diseases.

    Feline Leukemia vaccination will help protect your new kitten from this disastrous disease.  Even if you have no intention of letting yuor new baby cat outside, leukemia vaccinating is a good idea.  Most cats eventually sneak outside.  And it only takes a simple “hiss and spit” fight with an infected cat (even through a screen!) to give your furry kitty a fatal disease!

     Rabies is a fatal disease that can be transferred to humans.  Several cases of feline rabies are detected in Arizona every year.   Even inside cats can be exposed when rabid bats fly into a home or  the cat sneaks outside and plays with a downed bat or gets into a fight with other wildlife.  Wouldn’t you rather feel safe than worry whether your pet could carry a disease easily transmitted and fatal to your human family and friends?

Spaying and Neutering  Prevents unwanted pregnancies leading to unwanted ethanized pets.  It also helps to protect your pet against certain cancers and infections as well as undesirable behaviors such as urine marking, some dominance aggression (not always and more successful if done before the behavior pattern has been established) and roaming in search of a mate (and crossing streets and getting hit by cars…).   Receive a 15% discount off the price of your kitten’s spay or neuter surgery (including all anesthesia, pre-anesthetic lab testing, IV fluids, and monitoring) if the surgery is done before your kitten is 6 months old!

Microchipping for Permanent Identification will help you get your cat  back home if he or she gets lost.  Everyone thinks that his cat won’t get outside, get lost, stolen or hit by a car.  Yet, the Humane Societies are filled with lost cats.  Even “the best trained or most timidcats can sneak out the door, get out a door unwittingly left open by children or guests, or get confused during a move.    If your kitten has a microchip implanted under its skin ( a minor procedure done during an office visit), its chances of being reunited with you are greatly improved!

  Establishing a solid base for Wellness and Preventive Care for your new Kitteny will result in many more healthy years, with fewer crises.  Let us help you get off to the right start with a discount!

Contact Us today or Call 886-1125 for details on your Kitten’s Wellness Protection Plan!

Foods for “Large breed”, “Small Breed”,specific breeds  formulas– are they worth the bother and expense?

lg breed food“Large Breed” Puppy  formulations-Worth the money!  These diets have been developed to help protect large breed dogs against hip dysplsia and osteoarthritis, which usually develop later in life, but get their beginning in puppyhood.  Hip dysplasia is a complex disease that is in part genetic– nothing you can do about that– environmental (don’t hysterically over-exercise young puppies who are rapidly growing), and nutritional.  It’s important to avoid “over nutrition” in young, rapidly growing puppies.  Your large breed puppy will grow to his full genetic potential with good nutrition.  Over feeding will only make him too chunky and provide too many calories, contributing to an ecessively rapid growth rate.  This causes all kinds of debilitating developmental bone diseases and just makes a genetically predisposed hip dysplasia case worse!  Rolly-poly puppies are cute, but they are more likely to develop health issues than pups that are kept lean.  Large Breed puppy foods are designed to have fewer calories to protect against puppyhood obesity and a better mineral balance to support bone growth without contributing to too rapid a bone growth. (**  Do NOT give large breed puppies extra calcium or other minerals– this contributes to abnormal bone growth without allowing proper supportive muscle development. **)

Large Breed Adult and Senior formulas- Worth the money!  Look for the foods that supplement their formulas with extra omega 3 fatty acids, namely “EPA”, or fish oils.  These are a great idea!  Omega 3 fatty acids derived from fish (not flax seed– dogs can’t metabolize the omega 3s in flax seed oil into a useful product for their dog bodies) are excellent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant supplements– terrific for larger dogs’ joints.  Extra omega 3s Are WORTH Paying for.  Another supplement being offered is Glucosamine and Chondroitin in Large breed dog foods.  Unfortunately, glucosamine and chondroitin are poorly absorbed molecules, unless they are specially processed as in the premium brands (Dasuquin and Cosequin ™ for example).  Providing this high quality glucosamine/ condroitin complex in a serving of dog food would be cost prohibitive for the company to make and even the most affluent dog owners to buy.  So, there simply is not enough glucosamine and chondroitin in dog food to be effective.  If you are paying extra for dog food for the Glucosamine/ Chondroitin supplement, STOP!  It’s NOT Worth Paying for.

“Small  Breed” diets Huge Gimmick!  They are designed to appeal to pet owners, playing on their sympathies that their tiny lap dog needs his food specially processed.  Often, the only thing different between a brand’s regular formula and their “Small breed” formulation is the smaller size of the kibble.  The smaller kibbles are easier for the tiny dogs to eat because they don’t have to chew them.  But, this is actually BAD for their teeth!  Chewing exercise is one of the best things to keep dog teeth in good shape!   Royal Canin ™ is a notable exception to this rule.  They make their small breed foods a little larger than other brands and actually add plaque retardant enzymes to many of their smaller breed formulas because they adress the special health needs of small breeds– namely little dogs’ huge propensity for dental disease (regardless of the foods that they eat). So, if you feel inclined to buy “Small Breed” food for your small breed dog to help him eat, don’t do it!  Choose the regular dog size food instead.  (Some dogs, because of their unique dentition have difficulty chewing, so consult your vet if your dog seems to “choke” on his food often)

rc yorkie foodrc cocker food

 

rc siamese foodBreed specific dog and cat foods- Worth considering!   These formulas target specific health conerns of those breeds.  Royal Canin(tm) is probably the most notable manufacturer.    Most of their rationale is scientifically based and very reasonable.  For example,  their Bulldog formula is designed in a special shape to make it easier for bulldogs to pick up because of their unique jaw structure.  Supplemented fatty acids support their allergy and infection prone skin and arthritits-prone joints.  The formula is even specially designed to reduce flatulence!  Who hasn’t been run out of a room by dog toots?!
Breed specific cat foods are also available:  Siamese food has high protein content to help maintain their preferred lean body  condition and added prebiotics to assist their notoriously sensitive digestive systems.  Persian food has prebiotics for their sensitive GI tracts, hairball remedy to help with that 231 miles of fur, and specially shaped kibble to encourage chewing since these cats are prone to dental disease.  For pets with health concerns common to their breeds, these foods are WORTH the money for otherwise healthy adults!

Vet’s Perspective (my opinion):
  Large Breed puppy formula is a MUST for large breed puppies.  Continue with Large Breed formula for appropriate life stages, barring medical reasons to change.
Small breed foods, with the exception of Royal Canin brand foods are largely not helpful to your dogs dental health.  There is no need to buy special here.  Make your small breed dog chew his food!
Breed specific foods, at least from the Royal Canin line, are based on solid scientific and nutritional research to proactively protect those breeds from diseases common to the breed.  If you prefer prevention of disease over treatment, these can be a very nice diet option!

List of Royal Canin Breed Specific Dog Diets – there might one just for your dog!

 

Find the Product that fits YOUR dog’s needs!     (this is really a cool tool!)

 

List of Royal Canine Breed Diets for CATS

 

 

Find the Product that meets Your Cat’s Needs!

PrescriptionFood displayMy vet is always pushing the food he sells as being better for my pet than the food I’m feeding.   But, I think he’s just trying to make a buck selling me that over priced food!.

Not true.

First of all, veterinarians make very little on the food they sell-  a few bucks a bag, is all- barely enough to pay the staff to inventory it and stack it.  Food takes up a lot ofHills_Logo_RGB space, is an inventory nightmare and produces very little profit!  So, there has to be something else motivating your vet to recommend specific food– your pet’s best nutritional health.

 There is no one better than your vet to make dietary and nutritional recommendations for Your Pet.  Your vet knows your pet better than anyone (except you!). The kid in the pet store making pet food recommendations doesn’t know anything about your pet’s health. They are educated by the pet food companies to emphasize whatever aspect of that food the company thinks will appeal to human purchasing sympathies.  They are educated by the store management to “push” certain foods that are over-stocked in the store’s inventory.  They are brainwashed by pet food companies to sell you food, regardless of the nutritional needs of Your pet.

Besides, why Ever, would you more readily believe the advice of a store employee, who has no formal education in animal nutrition, over the advice of your own calorie control rcveterianrian?  A significant part of your veterinarian’s education was devoted to animal nutrition, how nutrients are tied to metabolic functions, right down to the cellular and molecular level, and the natural feeding habits of animals.  Vets have all your pet’s nutritional needs in one place– their brain.

When a pet has special nutritional needs because of disease (liver failure, kidney disease, diabetes, etc) or nutritional deficits (Zinc-responsive dermatoses, hypothyroidism, etc) or obesity- the most common nutritional disease- your veterinarians recommendations are key to improving the health of your pet!

It’s true that presciption pet foods and veterinary lines of pet foods are more expensive than many over-the-counter foods.  But, they are usually made by companies that Purina Veterinary Diets logo 200 x 87put a lot of money into pet nutrition research and into the quality control of the manufacturing of their foods.  There are far fewer food recalls from the Veterinary food companies than pet foods sold in the grocery store!  Furthermore, your pet probably has a special need prompting your vet to make the diet recommendation.  Your vet likely feels that your pet’s condition or over-all health can be improved by eating the special diet.  That food is just as much as part of the treatment for your pet’s condition as any pill they could give you!  And, if feeding the special diet improves your pet’s quality or length of life, reduces the number of pills you have to buy and the number of vet visits you have to make, isn’t the extra expense of the food worthwhile?  A bag of prevention… is worth numerous trips tot he vet!

Momma cat and kitten sleepingTry to remember that your vet is not trying to make money off you by recommending a diet change.  Realize that they have sifted through all the gimmicks and fads for you, so the recommendations they make are not based on the latest pet food craze (like “vegetarian” and “grain-free”- when did berries become any more “natural” for dogs and cats?).  Their recommendations are based on their thorough knowledge of animal nutrition and its intimate links with your pet’s particular wellness needs.

 

 

I’ve heard Corn is bad for pets.  Is this true?

Less expensive pet foods often contain a lot of corn, used largely as a carbohydrate source, because it is cheap.

Dry foods have more corn /grain than canned foods as these grain products are used to give the food it’s crunchy texture.

 

 Corn is not a very natural food for dogs, who are omnivores, and certainly not for cats, who are carnivores.

Vets have recommended dry food over wet food for decades to improve pet’s dental health (because we don’t let our pets chew on bones because we don’t like having to perform emergency surgery to remove the bones from obstructing their intestines).

The result: more high carb foods have been fed to our pets over the decades.

There has been a huge  rise in diabetes in dogs and cats, largely attributed to the high carbohydrate content of commercially available pet foods.  So there came a great movement away from corn and grains, in general, being deemed the evil contributors to the rise in pet illness (diabetes,and obesity).  Furthermore, as we learned more about food allergies in pets, as in people, we discovered pets develop allergies to their food ingredients:  proteins from any source, whether meat, dairy, grain, fish, or soy.  So, another strike against corn and grains.

  I believe that we feed our dogs and, especially our cats, way too many carbohydrates in general.  That is one of the reasons that I don’t recommend feeding less expensive grocery store foods.  The less expensive it is, the more likely it is to be heavy on carbohydrates, light on protein.  However, some carbohydrates are improtant for metabolism, brain function, athletic energy, etc.  The “bad” thing is the amount of carbs.  So, buy Premium over grocery-store brands that use corn and grain judiciously, as a highly digestible energy and protein source.

 BUT Beware :  A lot of the “grain-free” foods just replace the corn, wheat and barley with high glycemic value carbohydrates such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and carrots in their formulations!  Food ingredients with high glycemic value, as any human diabetic knows, are quickly converted into sugar by the body.  This is even worse than corn and other high fiber, low glycemic grains!

If you are looking for grain- free food, look for diets that get the necessary carbs into their foods with lower-glycemic sources such as peas and berries (even peas have a pretty high gycemic index, balanced only by their high protein content) which is at least better for protecting our pets against the diabetes epidemic.

Another reason humans choose to feed grain- free foods is because they believe that it is more “natural” for the pet.  After all, how many pets would eat corn in the wild?  Well, cats wouldn’t.  But a dog would if it was in the intestines of its prey dinner (cats don’t usually eat the intestines of their prey).  But then, they would also eat the other grains, seed, berries and grasses present, too.  But, potatoes and sweet potatoes  are not a usual food item for most prey animals, so these are certainly even less “natural”!   (How many wild dogs and cats go rooting for potatoes?)

Here’s a List of  “Red zone- High Glycemic Index foods”  Are these in your pet’s food?  Located toward the top of the list, indicating high volume in the overall mix?   

The other big reason for the grain-free craze is our new understanding of food allergies in pets.  Certainly, some  pets can  develop allergies to corn, wheat and other grains.  But, many more pets develop allergies to beef, chicken, soy and  dairy products than to vegetable sources!  So, there is nothing magically hypoallergenic about grain-free or corn-free food, unless that happens to be the (unlikely) ingredient that your pet is allergic to!  You can certainly try a grain free diet to see if your pet’s allergies improve.   If they do improve, great!  If not, you have not ruled out other food allergies.  

Vet’s Perspective (my opinion):
 If you want to see if your pet responds to a grain- free diet, go ahead and try it.  Just realize that there is nothing sacred about the over-all nutritional value in grain free diets.  I have seen  many pets suffer from the number one nutritional disease– obesity– on grain-free diets as on any other food. (Because there is no control on the number of calories that go into pet diets, so many of these “nautral and grain-free” foods are unreasonably high in calories.   So, don’t get taken in by the advertising or the teenager at the pet food store.

There is nothing “dirty” or “bad” about grains and corn in pet food diets as long as they are not used excessively!

“Myth of Fact” :Corn is a poorly digested “filler” that causes allergies

“Myth or Fact: Pet foods should be grain-free
An interesting perspective on grain -free foods…