dog_hip_arthritis_640Glucosamine and Chondroitin are commonly given to people and pets for treatment of arthritis/ osteoarthritis.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin are building blocks of cartilage and joint fluid.

MYTH:  The cheaper products in the grocery/ drug/ vitamin stores are just as good as the expensive stuff my vet recommended at half the price.

While some supplements for pets and people are the same, and it may be  OK to purchase the less expensive brands (double check with your vet to make sure that the human product is, in fact, equivalent), Glucosamine and Chondroitin products are not all created equal.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin are both very large molecules that are not readily absorbed by the intestinal tract.  The result is, that not much of the supplement gets into the bloodstream to get to the joints.  Special manufacturing processes can make these molecules more absorbable.  Naturally, that special processing costs money, making the “good quality”, readily absorbed, products more expensive to purchase.  So, the less expensive the product, likely the less well it is absorbed.  That means, more of that cheaper Glucosamine/ Chondroitin supplement will end up eliminated in the feces, rather than helping your pet’s stiff joints.

Even the best Glucosamine/ Chondroitin product is not very well absorbed, so dogs need to take large doses to be worthwhile at all.  15- 20 mg/ lb is recommended.  Human products often require treating your pet with many tablets a day to get even an adequate dose.  The premium veterinary products are going to be high potency, minimizing the number of tablets you have to give.  (As an added bonus, the veterinary products come in yummy flavored treats that pets usually love!)


nutramax logo

Most veterinarians agree that the “gold standard” brand of Glucosamine/ Chondroitin supplements are made by the      Nutramax ® company.  They have been the ground-breakers in the special manufacturing process needed to make your pet’s                    supplements maximally absorbed.

With careful spending on everyone’s mind, it’s tempting to buy the cheapest products.  But, in this case, the cheaper product could just mean that more of your dollars are ending up in the backyard.

There has been a dramatic increase in cats diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus in recent years.  Popular veterinary medical belief attributes this epidemic in diabetes to two factors:

1)  The massive over-dose of carbohydrates that we feed our cats in the form of commercial foods and

2) The subsequent increase in feline obesity.

      Cats are carnivores.  Their teeth are designed to tear meat, not grind grain.  Their gastrointestinal tracts don’t supply a lot of sugar- digesting enzymes.  They have more fat digesting enzymes.  Their pancreatic insulin-sereting cells can’t keep up with metabolizing excessive carbohydrate/ sugar loads.

All these facts tell us that cats should eat a high protein, low carb diet.  In fact, science has now demonstrated what cats have known for millennia:  mice are the perfect cat food! Protein, fat and carbs all in the right proportion!  Yumm!  Since we humans don’t want the fuss and mess of feeding our cats live mice (and most cats wouldn’t eat pre-killed mice), we are forced to try to feed them a suitable artificial diet.  So, we have devised prepared dry and canned foods full of carbohydrates (because they are a cheap source of calories and provide a good binder for dry foods).  These foods are easy to eat quickly and are often provided all day long, “free choice”.

Furthermore, more of our cats are kept in safe indoor environments which limit their activity and  encourage boredom eating, contributing to obesity.   Cats tend to store fat intra-abdominally.  This fat is the most hormonally active fat, being the biggest contributor to insulin resistance.

The result is, that our domestication and interest in economizing on their food sources has put them at risk for a debilitating and problematic disease– Diabetes.

 To protect your cat from Diabetes

Preventing Diabetes in cats is much easier than treating.  Treatment involves strict adherence to a special diet, usually twice daily insulin injections that have to be given without fail, every day at the same time, tying you to your home and cat rather inflexibly.  Diabetes in cats tends to be complicated by other coexistant metabolic diseases such as pancreatitis, cholangiohepatitis and inflammatory bowel disease.  Most of these patients end up on numerous medications to balance all these conditions to maintain a kitty’s active lifestyle.  It’s an overwhelming condition, requiring the most dedicated of owners for proper care.  If you are like most cat owners who like cats because they usually DON’T require a lot of our care, except petting, feeding and litter box cleaning, you just don’t want to go down the Diabetic Road with your kitty.

Prevent Obesity.  Regardless of the food you provide, feeding limited quantities in 2-3 meals daily will help keep your cat trim and will protect him from diabetes.  Vigorous exercise, whether in a safe, enclosed outdoor arena (because most of us find vet trips to repair injuries from predators and cars quite inconvenient and entirely unconducive to a long kitty lifespan) or through several exhausting (for the cat, not you!) play period indoors will help keep your cat more mentally alert as well as fight the creeping calories.

  • Feed a “Kitty Atkins” diet.  High protein and low carb diets are the best for cats.  These are not readily available over the counter yet, so ask your veterinarian for a recommendation.  Special concerns are whether your kitty has renal disease or other medical conditions that may preclude this kind of diet.  But, most healthy adult cats will benefit from a higher protein diet than most over the counter diets.
  • Feed more wet food (than we have in the past).  Wet food, by its nature, usually has lower carbohydrates than dry food.  But still feed a high quality brand.  There are even canned “kitty atkins” formulations available through your vet.  Some over-the-counter foods are better than others.  “Fancy Feast”, by Purina, actually has one of the lowest carbohydrate contents on the market.

Vet’s Perspective (my opinion):
In my practice, I emphasize weight control.  I recommend Royal Canintm Neutered Male formula, specifically designed to be lower in calories from carbs and higher in protein than over-the-counter foods (it is also urinary tract protetcive) for my overweight middle aged cats–male and female.   (** Obese Middle-aged Male Orange Tabby cats are 30% more likely to get diabetes than any other cat!**)  For cats that stay overweight, I offer clients an annual Fructosamine test as part of their wellness testing.  This test reflects the average blood glucose level over the last 3 weeks.  It can be an early indicator of diabetes.

Signs of Diabetes to watch for:

 * Decreased social interaction with humans or other pets

* Decreased grooming, rough coat.

* Increased, sometimes ravenous appetite

* Increased water drinking or water-seeking behavior (drinking out of water glasses, the sink, shower).

* Weight loss, especially in the face of ravenous appetite.

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One of the saddest things that we see in our veterinary clinic on a weekly basis is the old pet who hasn’t been brought in to the vet, usually in years,  to be euthananized because it is “too sick” to be fixed any more.  Many of these pets are emaciated, dehydrated, no longer walking, some have bed sores from laying on hard surfaces for most of the day and night or soiled by their own eliminations.  The saddest cases are these– the ones that we know have been debilitated for a long time, yet their owners didn’t seek veterinary help.

Some of those owners couldn’t afford veterinary care.  Some just thought they couldn’t, but never even called.  Some of those owners were too busy with their human lives and didn’t notice until the pet finally collapsed, unable to move.  Some owners just didn’t want to spend the money, feeling the pet wasn’t worth the investment because “she was already so old”.  (Why invest a lot of money in a pet that is just going to die in a year or two of something else?)  But, most of the people who come in to us in these situations either didn’t recognize the signs of illness (usually in the case of cats), or figured that their pet had something incurable and so what was the sense coming to the vet?

There are so many things that we can do to mprove the lives of senior pets today!  Medical advances over the last decade have given us new understandings of the types of diseases of aging pets and their metabolic processes.  We have cool new medications that help us give heart failure patients 2 or more years of good quality life!  With modern prescription diets and nutritional supplements, we are able to give years to cats in renal failure– cats that 10 years ago would have been debilitated and needing euthanasia in 6 months! 

Newer diagnostic modalities and advances in the old stand-bys are the key to letting us treat these diseases of old age by letting us identify them earlier on.  Early detection is critical to successfully treating medical conditions of old age.  All the best medication in the world can’t fix a sick pet past a certain point.  And, sure, a lot of these diseases are incurable and progressive.  But, we have a choice in whether we want to let the disease progress rapidly, “naturally”, shortening the pet’s life and diminishing her quality of life, or choosing to proactively protect the health that remains, slowing the progression of the disease and enhancing the pet’s quality of life to the end.

There is always an end.  But, each pet parent has to decide how they will help their pet get there.

We encourage everyone with older pets to take the brave plunge.  Take your older pet in to your vet at least once yearly (twice is really better as the aging body changes so rapidly).  Let your vet collect blood and urine samples to screen for the common diseases of old age.  If something is uncovered, talk to your vet about treatment options that fit within your budget and lifestyle.

Caring for a pet through his senior years is a responsibility and a promise that we all comit to when we adopt an animal.  Your veterinarian and their staff understand that responsibility can be financially, phycially, or emotinally unmanageable for some pet owners.  If that’s the case, that’s OK, too.  Be honest with your veterinary staff about your abilities so they can help you give your pet the best quality life you can.  And, be honest to your pet.  When you can no longer help him have a good quality animal life- having fun, eating, able to get around to care for necessary functions– it’s time to let him go.  Consider euthanasia before he is suffering.

After a lifetime of unconditional love, despite our forcing them to live within our human social constraints, in the artificial environments that we put them in (apartments, forced cohabitation with other animals they despise, eating on weird schedules, doing silly tricks) our pets desesrve that from us.

 

Obesity is an epidemic in cats, as it is humans. And, just like humans, cats suffer several special health risks.

 Obese cats (those with a body condition score of 4/5 or 5/5) have a 40% increased chance of developing Diabetes than their thinner counterparts.

 Obese cats have a 37% increased chance of developing Feline Inflammatory Cystitis than normal cats.

 Obese cats are more likely to develop debilitating arthritis than normal cats.

Obese cats frequently develop chronic pancreatitis which can become fatal

 Cats tend to develop a lot of abdomen and intra thoracic (in the chest) fat as opposed to subcutaneous fat. (They are the “apple-shaped bodies” of the animal world).  The unique risks associated with intra-abdomenal and intra-thoracic fat (called “Visceral fat”) have recently been studied in both humans and animals.  This complex disease process is called ” Metabolic Syndrome”.

FAT MAKES YOU HUNGRY, SO YOU GET MORE FAT-  Visceral abdominal fat secretes a chemical that turns off a cat’s satiety center in his brain. This prevents the brain from recognizing signals from the stomach that it is full. The cat never knows when it is full; he may act hungry all the time, even though he is gaining weight! Of course, this only makes his obesity problem worse.

 FAT CAUSES INFLAMMATION-  Visceral abdominal fat secretes inflammatory mediators. These chemicals make the cat more prone to inflammatory diseases such as Feline Inflammatory Cystitis (painful bladder disease), Osteoarthritis, Feline Stomatits (painful gum inflammation)  and Feline Asthma (life-threatening)!  Weight reduction can be the best thing you do to improve your cat’s bladder disease! Who knew?!?

 FAT CAUSES DIABETES MELLITUS-  Visceral abdominal fat secretes a chemical called Resistin which makes cells Insulin Resistant—this is what causes Diabetes Mellitus in obese cats.

 FAT BEGETS MORE FAT AND MORE INSULIN RESISTANCE-  Visceral abdominal fat also releases factors that cause the adrenal glands to secrete more corticosteroid than is normal. Excessive corticosteroids cause increased deposition of visceral fat (a viscious cycle!) AND cause insulin resistance (a double whammy to developing Diabetes!)

 To virtually prevent Diabetes, to reduce incidence and severity of painful Stomatitis and Cystitis and life-threatening Asthma, Overweight cats should lose weight.

 If your cat is overweight

  • Please ask your Veterinarian or Veterinary Technician how to help your cat lose weight
  • Have your cat’s Fructosamine checked once or twice a year to check for pre-diabeties

 Watch for signs of disease related to Obesity:

  • Excessive drinking/ urination/ weight loss
  • Lethargy or decreased social interaction
  • Urinating in inappropriate locations
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Bad Breath and Difficulty eating
  • Difficulty Jumping up

Fear of Thunderstorms is a very common problem with dogs in Arizona; especially during the monsoon season and during fireworks displays.

 DESENSITIZATION:

You can help by desensitizing your dog to the noises of thunderstorms, by playing rain and storm CD’s and videos in your home during non-storm season. Start playing your CD’s with volume very low while playing with your dog. Play “fetch” or lay on the floor and rub his/ her tummy—anything that is distracting or relaxing for your pet. Gradually increase the volume of your CD as your dog gains confidence and is able to ignore the noises. As he becomes ore relaxed with the storm noises, you can begin to decrease the level of attention you are giving him (so that he doesn’t expect you to give him 100% of your attention every time there is a storm!).

 IGNORE THE INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR:

Giving your dog attention when he is afraid is very tempting. Unfortunately, it only promotes codependent behavior. Instead, try the next tip to teach your dog that he can function appropriately and receive your positive attention for the ne appropriate behaviors when a storm is brewing.

 DISTRACTION:

You can also distract your dog during storms by playing games, doing Obedience drills, or giving him a long-lasting food treat such as a “Twist and Treat” filled with a smear of lite cream cheese or cheese whiz. Again, the objective is to distract him from the environment. If you train your dog to play “fetch” every time a storm threatens, before long, he’ll be forcasting theweather by bringing you his ball!

 D.A.P- DOG APPEASING PHEROMONE:

DAP is a synthetic doggy happiness hormone that mimics the hormones given off by mother dogs during the early weeks of life. Exposure to this pheromone helps dogs relax In scientific studies, dogs displayed fewer “nervous” behaviors when they were exposed to anxiety provoking stimuli than did dogs who were not! Plug a diffuser into the socket near where your pet rests dueing the day. Perhaps one in his safety zone. Aerosolized DAP is available to spray directly in the environment during sudden onset of anxiety or whenever our dog is demonstrating sudden onset of anxious behaviors (for whatever reason– not just storms! Great for separation anxiety, too!). You can also spray DAP on your dog’s bandana!

 SAFETY ZONE:

During times when you are not home, and a storm may come, be sure that your dog has a “safe” place to go to get away from the elements. You may have to provide a dark room or closet for him to hide in. As strange as this sounds, having a small dark place to hide goes a long way toward relieving your pet’s anxiety. Outdoor dogs will probably need access to the house or garage via a doggy door.

 GENTLE LEADER COLLAR:

If your dog is already trained to the Gentle Leader, place the collar on at the first signs of anxiety. The sensation of Mama Dog being near (as she “scruffs” the dog’s neck with the neck loop of the collar) can reduce many anxieties. If your dog is not already trained to a collar, start now! It’s a help with many behavior issues as well as Thunderstorm Phobias!

THUNDERSHIRTS:

These tight fitting body wraps help many pets feel more secure. They are available on line at Amazon.com

 NUTRACEUTICALS:

There are several “natural” remedies that you can try. The only one that we have seen help consistently is “Anxitane”. This is available through Cimarron Animal Hospital or Amazon.com

 MEDICATIONS:

If these measures do not help and your dog is unable to sit down during a storm or threatens to hurt himself or destroy your property, there are medications that can help.

 Tranquilizers (like Acepromazine) cause sedation but behaviorists agree that, while the pet appears less anxious, he is still scared, just unable to demonstrate it because he is too sleepy. If your pet is able to rest quietly or sleep through the storm, a tranquilizer may be fine to help him cope with the anxiety. However, if he still remains awake and looks scared, even though he may not be moving much, an anti-anxiety drug may bea more humane choice.

 Clomipramine

Clomicalm“is often a good drug with good safety that can be started a few weeks BEFORE storm season. It is given on a daily basis, so that the pet is calmer, even in the middle of the day, when our storms usually threaten, but we are not there to give them medication. For sudden anxiety, we can administer a panicolytic drug such as Alprazolam. this drug will cause some sedation, but mostly will help the dog with an overall sense of well-being. It takes about 1/2 hour to start taking effect and lasts for 4- 8 hours. Once your dog is more relaxed, work on those Obedience exercises or playing a game or giving a treat toy. The medication can help more anxious dogs LEARN that thunderstorms aren’t actually dangerous to them.

 Call Your veterinarian to help you decide which treatment would be best for your dog.

Different pets lead different lifestyles.  They live in different parts of the country, exposed to different parasites, at risk for different diseases.  They interact with other animals differently- some live with cattle and sheep, others got to dog parks, groomers, boarding kennels, others stay strictly at home.  Some breeds of dogs or cats are at risk for different medical conditions because of their genetics or the shape or size of their bodies.

Shouldn’t your pet receive medical recommendations based on his particular needs?  Why should he be subjected to the same vaccinations as pets who live on the farm in the Midwestern United States when the risk of diseases there is different from here, in our dry, desert environment? 

Cimarron Animal Hospital’s staff and Doctors make recommendations based on Your Pet’s individual health needs.  We do not believe in recommending “cookbook” tests, treatments, preventives, or vaccinations.

VACCINATIONS   Not every pet needs every vaccination every year!  Cimarron customizes vaccination schedules for each patient based on lifestyle and a risk assessment.  We help our Pet Parents decide which ones their pet really needs- and how often.  Vaccination clinics and Discount clinics won’t do that.  Pets who go to vaccination clinics and corporate vet practices with “cookbook” recommendations are getting over vaccinated.

“WORMING”   Most pets in southern Arizona don’t get intestinal parasites, so they don’t all need to get intestinal “worming” medicine routinely.  We recommend that dogs and outdoor cats have a stool/ fecal sample checked once a year or if there is a diarrhea problem.  Then we treat any parasites we find.  Since there are about 6 different common intestinal parasites of dogs and cats, and no single medication that treats them all, it is silly to give 1 medication, call it a “wormer” and think that a pet is safe.  This is especially true in Tucson where the most common parasites aren’t even the worm variety and won’t be cured with common “wormers”.

AGE SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS   As pets age, their bodies are at risk for different disease conditions that can be treated.  Early intervention is aimed at preventing life-threatening health crises and extending the length and quality of a pet’s life.  Adult Wellness blood screening for middle aged dogs and cats, Senior blood and urine sampling for older pets, arthritis and cardiac screening for older pets with suspicious symptoms or breed specific risk are examples of the special considerations given to our patients.

BREED SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS   Some breeds are prone to certain medical conditions.  At Cimarron, we will educate Pet Parents about those risks and offer screening tests or preventives when they are available.  For instance, basset hounds are prone to glaucoma.  It’s best that they have a glaucoma test at least once a year and any time they have red eyes once they hit young adulthood.  Boxers are prone to silent cardiomyopathy.  Experts recommend a screening EKG test once a year or any time the pet experiences fatigue.  Tests like these are often simple to do during an annual physical exam and go a long way toward early intervention and longer happier pet lives!

 PHYSICAL EXAMS  Every dog and cat should be examined by a veterinarian at least once a year to maintain optimal health.  Veterinarians look at body parts not often examined by owners.  They listen to hearts, look down ears to the ear drums, look at retinas, palpate for masses in abdomens and check joints for subtle signs of pain.  These are things that most owners can’t or don’t do.  Many pets have conditions that their people weren’t even aware of because dogs and cats (especially cats!) tend to hide their diseases until they are in dire straits! 

HEALTH CONSULTATIONS   Part of every Comprehensive Physical Exam.  This is your opportunity to ask your veterinarian how you can keep your pet happier and healthier for longer!  Your vet may discuss with you lifestyle adjustments, exercise changes, diet suggestions and nutritional supplements that could help your particular pet lead a healthier life.  This is also your chance to learn about new, cutting edge treatments, technologies and health opportunities that may benefit your pet.  Our objective is to educate our Pet Parents so they can make the best decisions for both their pets and their families. 

Cimarron Animal Hospital believes in protecting the health of each patient as an individual with

Individualized Medical Plans and recommendations because each pet is unique.  No pet is “just an animal” to us!

 

 

 

                Discount vaccination clinics and the vaccination clinics run at pet stores are attractive because of the low prices on their vaccinations..  But they leave owners with a false sense of security that their pet is “healthy” just because it received vaccinations.  And, pets leave with undiagnosed illnesses, at risk for getting sick and the same painful conditions that they went in with.

Good health is not All about the vaccinations.  It’s not even Mostly about the vaccinations!

  Sure, vaccinations are important to preventing infectious diseases. They have been critical to reducing the numbers of really bad diseases that once plagued our pets like parvovirus, feline leukemia, rabies and distemper.  Unfortunately, they do nothing to protect pets against lifestyle associated diseases like ear and dental infections, metabolic diseases or diseases associated with aging, such as arthritis or thyroid disease.  These non-infectious causes of disease make up the majority of diseases seen in pets today (thanks to everyone giving the vaccinations!).  These are also the diseases most likely to cause pain and wear-and-tear on the body that will shorten pets’ lives.

The only way to have your pet assessed for the presence of or the risk of acquiring the most commonly seen non-infectious diseases is to have a veterinarian perform a Comprehensive exam on your pet once a year (or every 6 months in the case of older pets, whose health changes more rapidly).

You just aren’t going to get this at a pet store vaccination clinic or at a discount vaccination clinic.   They don’t have the time or the resources for a through exam and consultation with you.  Many pet parents come to me with a pet problem and tell me that there pet “just got an exam” at the Discount Clinic a couple of months ago so they don’t understand how I can be telling them that their pet has a long-standing problem now.  When we try to get records on that “exam”, all we get, at best, is a Temperature, Pulse and Respiration and the name of vaccines given.  That’s all they record- even if they do a cursory, superficial gander at the pet before vaccinations.

 If your pet’s exam does not include the use of an otoscope and ophthalmoscope to look INTO ears and eyes, respectively, your pet’s exam in not thorough.  Without looking IN the ears, not just AT the ears, a veterinarian cannot diagnose deep ear infections.  Without looking INTO the eyes, retinal disease, hypertension, and optic neuritis will not be identified for early intervention before blindness occurs.  If the vet doesn’t manipulate the joints, they have not checked them. If the vet doesn’t spend more than 20 seconds listening to the heart WHILE feeling the pulses in the back leg,  your pet’s cardiovascular system has not been thoroughly examined.   If the vet does not discuss your pet’s weight, lifestyle, exercise routine, diet, etc with you, you are missing out on a terrific opportunity to learn how to keep you pet in top form and minimize disease.

The vaccinations given at clinics, furthermore, are determined most often by either what the pet owner says they want or what the company says needs to be given to every pet.  There is rarely any consultation with the Pet Parent about the pet’s lifestyle risks to determine which vaccines are most important.  So, sometimes pets are under vaccinated, because pet owners lose track of when their pet received what last.  Some times they are over vaccinated because they don’t need what the company “cookbook” says every pet should have.  Any Full Service Veterinary Staff worth their salt is going to ask you, every time you visit, about your pet’s lifestyle, any changes, and help you make up-to-date, safe and necessary vaccination choices for your pet.

Preventive health options, other than vaccines,  are available for pets to help them live longer and be more active with their families.  Discount vaccinations clinics are not able to take the time to explain about new products and services available to pets to help them live better.   Your Full Service Veterinary staff makes the time to teach interested pet parents about the products/ services that are available that will benefit each pet, while helping pet parents sort out the gimmicks!

 It’s true that you will pay more for vaccinations at a full service veterinary clinic.  But, that’s because you are going to get Full Service, not the rush job.    

Even if you decide to save the extra $10.00- $20.00 on vaccinations and get them done at a clinic, please try to save up that little extra  to still take your pet in to his or her Full Service Veterinarian for a Comprehensive Physical Exam and Health Consultation at least once a year to protect your pet’s health! 

 

 

Wellness lab screening is a way for your veterinarian to check your pet on the inside.  The objective of running wellness lab tests is to identify changes in health early- before your pet develops a health crisis that may be painful , life threatening or expensive to treat.   With early detection, many conditions can be treated and cured.  Some age-related or degenerative diseases may not be cured, but can be slowed down by proactive lifestyle management.  Sometimes those lifestyle changes are fairly simple– diet change, exercise change, or nutritional supplementation. 

Adult Wellness Screen

We recommend an “Adult Wellness Screen” annually for our pet patients from 4-8 years of age.  This short blood screen looks briefly at liver enzymes, kidney values and a complete blood count, looking for evidence of disease or infection.

Senior Screen

Older pets, ususally 9 years and older, should have a more comprehensive screening once a year.  We recommend a Senior Screen, which includes 25 organ chemistry values, complete blood count, thyroid screen, pancreas screen, and urinalysis.  Many older pet patients have urinary tract infections, liver disease, kidney disease, pancreatitis, and hidden infections.  And they aren’t showing any outward signs!  Because animals are so good at hiding their illnesses, owners often even think their pets are “just fine, attributing subtle signs of illness  to “just getting old”. 

Heartworm Testing

We also recommend Heartworm Testing once yearly.  Even though there is not a lot of Heartworm disease in Arizona, there are more and more cases every year.  Heartworm disease is usually fatal and treating it can be fatal, so Preventive medication, taken once a month, is highly recommended.  Whether your pet is getting preventive or not, testing your pet once yearly will help identify infection early, making treatment less dangerous.

 Fecal Sample should be tested at least once yearly for any pet that goes outside.

Hip Dysplasia Screening

Large breed dogs are more likely to develop hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis, so we also offer radiographic hip dysplasia screening.

Breed Specific Screening

Some breeds of dogs and cats have special health risks that should be screened for on a regular basis. Dog Breed Disease risks are listed here.  If your dog is listed here, ask your vet about screening for common diseases.

Proactive Wellness screening allows early detection of disease allowing you and your veterinarian to restore your pet to health and happiness as soon as possible so can live a long happy life together.

                If you ask me, the Best Nutritional Supplement you can give your pets (and probably yourself, but you’d have to ask your own doctor) is Omega 3 Fatty Acids!  In particular, high potency Eicosapentanoic Acid (EPA).

EPA at 15- 18 mg / lb of body weight daily has been shown to be anti-inflammatory.  It is primarily  used to help treat skin allergies and arthritis in pets.  But, is also being recommended, by general practitioners as well as specialists, as part of the standard treatment regimen for internal organ diseases as well!

Only the fish oil sources of omega 3 fatty acids are absorbed and utilized by pets.  Flaxseed, often used by humans as an omega 3 source, won’t work in pets they lack the enzymes necessary to convert the omega 3s in the flaxseed to EPA.

“Fish Oil” sold over the counter is not all the same, either.  Read your labels to be sure that your purchase indicates exactly how much EPA is in each capsule.  You can’t go by the total milligrams (mg) on the label.   For example, “1000mg of fish oil” could have any amount of EPA, DHA and omega 6 fatty acids (which are pro-inflammatory and not recommended for patients with inflammatory conditions—they get enough of that in their every day diets). Nutraceuticals and supplements are not overseen by the FDA, so they don’t have to report the exact contents of each capsule.  Even when they do, the label claims are not always exact.   So, look for the big brand names in supplements for the most trustworthy sources.  Also, look for a product that says it is “Microdistilled”.  This is a process that removes the mercury from the fish oil.

More potent, Less Fishy, Microdistilled, Highly Absorbed- Top of the Line Brand for pets!

It’s not always easy to find a high potency product on the grocery store shelf.  If you are treating a large dog, you may have to feed 4-6 fish oil capsules a day.  This may become expensive, cause the dog to smell like a fish, or may cause diarrhea.  In which case, consult your veterinarian as there are a couple of great products available through veterinary distributors that are more potent and less “fishy”.  https://dvmfreeform.com/

Remember that you are treating with a nutraceutical—a natural substance being used as medication.  It takes approximately 3-4 weeks for the body to replace the pro-inflammatory omega 6 fatty acids in the body’s cell walls with anti-inflammatory omega 3s.  So, the Omega 3s have to be fed continuously and for a long period of time (for life, I you ask me!)  to give a benefit.  Your pet will probably appreciate some faster-acting prescription medication, at least for the short term, or maybe in addition to the omega 3 supplement long term, to achieve maximum comfort and health, so consult your veterinarian about your pet’s conditions to give your pet the best treatment.

Side benefit to giving your dog high potency EPA:  you will also be giving high levels of DHA, another omega3 fatty acid that has been demonstrated to be particularly beneficial in helping with the treatment of heart disease and age-related cognitive dysfunction (“senility” ) in pets as well as people!

In Summary:

High Potency (15- 18 mg/lb) Omega 3 EPA is anti-inflammatory

 Helpful in treating

Arthritis Skin Allergies
Liver Disease Kidney Disease
Inflammatory Bowel Disease Heart Disease
Pancreatitis Hyperlipidemia/ High Cholesterol
Orthopedic Injuies like  Cruciate ligament rupture Intervertebral Disc Disease (chronic)

Use only Microdistilled fish oil sources– more expensive, but safer!

Read the label for contents, so you can tell how much EPA you are giving

Give for a prolonged period of time for maximum benefit.  The benefit is subtle, so you won’t see huge changes quickly like you might with prescription medication

Consult with your veterinarian about your pet’s condition to see if there is anything else that should be done to give your pet maximum relief from his symptoms so he can live the longest, happiest life with you!

Lower urinary tract, or bladder,  disesae is very common in cats. 

Signs of bladder disease in cats include:

Frequent trips to the litter box

Vocalizing while in the litter box

Urinating around the house outside of the box

Urinating in sinks, showers, bathtubs

Excessive grooming around the “privates”

Decreased appetite

Hiding

Vocalizing when picked up

There are several cuases of Bladder Disease in cats:

  • Urinary Tract Obstruction .   Crystals can form in the urinary bladder that can accumulate in the tip of the urethra, particularly in the narrow urethra at the tip of the male cat’s penis, preventing urination.  This is LIFE THREATENING!  Any cat that is showing signs of urinary distress and is not urinating at least small drops of urine needs to be taken to a veterinarian immediately!  Urinary Tract Obstruction is first treated by your vet by relieving the obstruction.  Cats with this condition are usually in a state of metabolic shock and will require hospitalization and IV fluid therapy for at least 24 hours.  Then your veterinarian will make recommendations for home care to try to prevent the obstruction from recurring.  These may include very strict diet changes and medications.  This condition is most common in young to middle aged male cats.  Although female cats can also develop urinary crystals that require treatment, they don’t get urinary obstructions as often because their anatomy allows the passage of crystals more readily.  Learn More in this Video
  • Urinary Tract Infection.  This is the first thing most people assume their cat is suffering from when they see signs of urinary distress.  But, this is actually the LEAST common cause of lower urinary tract disease.  Actual bladder Infection is most common in cats over the age of 10.  Cats that are under the age of 10 are NOT likely to have infection.  But, your veteirnarian still needs to check for it whenever a cat shows signs of urinary pain as infections are actually the easiest cause of urinary tract pain to treat.
  • Inflammatory Cystitis (also called “Stress Cystitis”, “Interstitial Cystitis”, “Sterile Cystitis”, “Feline Urologic Syndrome”).  This is the cause of 80% of Lower Urinary Tract Disease in cats.  It is a condition of inflammation in the bladder that can be just as painful as bladder stones or bladder crystals or infection without any infection being present.  This condition is triggered, in part, by the “high stress” nature of the cat’s nervous sytem wiring.  Any stress, phsychological or physical, can be manifested by bladder inflammation.  This inflammation is often severe enough to cause bleeding in the bladder that is seen by owners as bloody urine, often somewhere around the house rather than in the litter box.  This condition is often intermittent.  A cat may show only mild signs of discomfort thatseem to go away on its own.  But don’t let your cat be in pain hoping that it will just “go away”.  It might, but it will be back unless you get help and take action to minimize recurrences.  The sooner you get kitty some help, the less painful she will be, the less cat urine you will have to clean up around the house (the honest-to-goodness reason this disease is so annoying to most owners), the healthier your kitty will be.  There is no single treatment for Inflammatory Cystitis, so it can be a frustrating condition to deal with. 

        Here are some recommendations for Home Care and Prevention of Inflammatory Cystitis in Cats:

  • Treat the Pain with medication from your veterinarian.   Otherwise, the pain just causes more stress which leads to more inflammation and more pain.  (DO NOT GIVE CATS HUMAN PAIN MEDICATION (TYLENOL, ASPIRIN, IBUPROFEN OR OTHER ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES OR PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS– THEY CAN BE DEADLY TO CATS!)
  • Increasing water intake is KEY to treatment.  Provide a running pet water fountain, kept clean and fresh.  Offer several fresh sources of water around the house daily.  Feed more canned food than dry (there is a trade off with oral health here, so discuss the relative aadvantages with your vet).  Add a teaspoon of chicken or beef broth or tuna juice to a quarter cup of water once of twice daily as an extra water “treat”.
  • Cosequin for cats helps some cats by suppporting the mucus layer that lines and protects the bladder from inflammatory factors in the urine
  • Feed a Low Carbohydrate diet.  Carbohydrates are pro-inflammatory in cats.  One of the target organs in cats for inflammatory mediators is the Urinary Bladder. 
  • Maintain a Lean Body Weight Fat cells actively release inflammatory factors into the blood stream all the time.  Since the urinary bladder is target organ of inflammatory factors, obesity contributes to urinary bladder inflammation/ cystitis.  Obese cats are significantly more likely to develop painful baldder disease than lean cats.  If your cat is overweight, work with your veterinarian to help your kitty lose weight to minimize the chance of recurrences.
  • Identify and remove psychological stressors for your cat:  is there intercat aggression?  Changes in the household routine?  Stranger cats outside?  Construction in the neighborhood?  Discuss this with your vet or seek a veterinarian who does Behavior Modification Therapy.  If you the physical signs of illness in cats was subtle, the signs of pshychological stress in cats can be even more difficult to identify without the help of someone trained in the “finer” aspects of cat psychology.
  • Psychoactive medications or supplements may be needed to help your kitty “tune down” his nervous system.  Your veterinarian can help you determine if this would be a good option and which might work best for your individual kitty.
  • Feliway- “happy kitty pheromones” from wall diffusers placed strategically around the home can significantly decrease anxiety in cats.  Read More                     
  • Role of Stress in Cat Cystitis video is a MUST SEE for owners whose cats suffer from cystitis pain.

Any cat showing signs of urinary disease should be seen right away.  Keep in mind that cats don’t show signs of pain (weakness) until they can’t cope any more.  So, if you are noticing it, you can be sure kitty is a lot more uncomfortable than you imagine!  Your vet will diagnose the cause of the urinary pain and guide you toward the right choices to treat your kitty best!