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Where’s Waldo? was great fun to read with our kids, and as a kid; but when your pet becomes Waldo, and the search area is far larger than a book page, the fun runs out! As the weather gets warmer and our days are getting longer, our pets are spending more and more time outside. This extended outdoor play invites a greater chance that your pet may become lost! Is your pet identification up to par?
Just like Waldo had his trademark black rimmed glasses and red and white striped shirt and hat, our pets need identification to be found if they become lost.
Having your pet wear a collar with identification on it at all times is your first line of defense should your pet become lost.
Microchips offer a simple and permanent form of identification for your pet, should their collar slip off or break during their elopement.
Keep your pet’s safe with both collars and microchips for the greatest protection should your pet become lost. Finding Waldo in a timely fashion becomes exponentially easier with proper identification and accurate owner contact information!
Check to make sure your pet’s microchip information is up to date or register your chip here!
Many of you have heard about heartworm disease. If you have dog, you know that we collect a blood sample once a year to make sure your dog doesn’t have the disease, but how much do you really know about heartworm disease? Do you know how it’s spread? How we treat it? What can happen to your pet if it’s not treated? Did you know cats can get heartworm disease too?!
April is Heartworm Awareness Month, so I wanted to take a few minutes to tell you more about the disease and how easy is it to prevent a potentially fatal disease.
The heartworm is a parasite that lives in the heart and surrounding vessels of our pets. It is spread by mosquitoes, so we typically see this disease more in the southern states, but as people are traveling more and taking their pets with them, we are seeing more heartworm disease in this area. Coyotes, wolves, and fox can also become infected, meaning there may be a large reservoir of heartworm disease in our own backyard. It only takes one mosquito to bite those animals and then bite one or our pets for them to become infected. An animal infected with this parasite may not show any clinical signs for some time, so people may think their animal is ok and in reality, these worms are already causing damage to their heart and blood vessels. Animals with progressed heartworm disease may show signs of congestive heart failure (cough, exercise intolerance, lethargy) or more severe signs such as sudden collapse or even death. We recommend annual testing to make sure we catch this disease in the early stages, before you pet has any long-term damage to his/her heart or lungs.
Check out this short video to learn about heartworm disease:
If a dog tests positive for heartworm disease, there is a treatment, but based on the level of disease, the treatment can be very hard on the dog and is very expensive for the owner. Diagnosis, treatment and follow-up can cost owners over $1000 based on the size of your dog and level of disease at time of diagnosis. Cats are harder to diagnose, and there is no treatment at this time for cats.
The good news is, heartworm disease is completely preventable! There are many once-a-month preventatives that you can give your dog or cat to prevent this fatal disease. These come as both an oral or topical application. You can talk to your vet about which type of prevention is best for your pet and lifestyle.
For more information:
“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day. “-John Grogan
In honor of #NationalLoveYourPetDay we want to share some helpful suggestions to enhance your human and animal bond with your pet. Pets are an incredible gift to us; they truly love us more than they love themselves. As owners, we need to figure out that preferred way our pets want to receive love. Every pets definition of affection is different, find out what makes your pet’s little heart tick with joy!
Dogs tend to be very expressive and will let you know if they enjoy something or not, with their body language. Take cues from their ear position, tail movement, and eyes especially, to see if they are enjoying your affection. Be on the lookout for signs of stress and back off if your pet seems unsure of your touch or affection.
Taking time daily to spend quality time with your pup is a great way to build confidence and trust with your furry friend.
Cats can be a little more selective with their preferred ways to show affection. They will certainly let you know if you have crossed their boundaries. Be sure to tune into what makes your feline friend purr with joy!
Making sure that your pets receive the care they need is the ultimate way to show your affection toward them. Routine veterinary care doesn’t have to be scary, ask what your vet can do to make your pet’s visit stress free!
February is Pet Dental Health Month
Regular Dental Cleanings are suggested for ongoing oral care for your pets, but at home care can prolong the time between these cleanings and keep your pet healthy and happy. For any Dental procedure scheduled during the month of February here at Telford Veterinary Hospital, clients will receive 15% off! Give us a call to schedule today! Check out a tour of our dental suite and procedures here.
The gold standard for canine and feline plaque control is twice daily brushing. That being said, not every pet or every owner is willing or able to see this through. To help you make this the most beneficial for everyone involved consider these tips. Start with a healthy, pain free mouth. Young pets are a great place to start. By 6 months of age all of the adult teeth are in and brushing can begin. For adult animals consult with your veterinary team before beginning any treatment program. Undiagnosed or painful dental disease conditions can lead to pain for the animal and a bad experience with brushing. Dental disease may need to be cared for first, and then a protocol can begin at home. Choose a proper toothbrush and toothpaste. Toothbrushes come in different sizes for different sized pets. We will be glad to help you select the one that will work best for you. Flavored pet toothpastes serve two purposes. If the pet enjoys the toothpaste it makes brushing easier. Also be sure to use a toothpaste that is enzymatic. This allows the product to adhere to the teeth and continue working even after you are done brushing.
To brush, place the toothbrush bristles at 45-degree angle where the teeth and gums meet. The goal is for the bristles to reach under the gumline to clean the space around each tooth where infection and gingivitis begin. A circular motion is the goal but back-and-forth will work too. Ideally, ten back-and-forth motions – covering 3-4 teeth at a time – should be completed before moving to the next location. The area along the outside of the upper teeth is the most critical.
Myth: Feeding a pet a dry kibble diet is better for the teeth than feeding them a canned diet!
Truth: Most dry pet foods crumble without much resistance so there is little or no abrasive action on the teeth.
Dental diets either use products to bind with the plaque to aid removal, or are formulated to not crumble easily so plaque can be scraped away from the teeth during chewing. Ideally, a dental diet should be fed as the main calorie source. Many dental diets are higher in calorie than regular dry food diets so you would normally feed a smaller amount of a dental diet. Sometimes, we recommend mixing a dental diet with a regular diet, especially in our weight conscious pets. Keep in mind that research has shown a measurable, but declining, benefit when the dental diet is reduced to 75%, 50%, or 25% of the total calorie intake. Try Hill’s T/D diets.
In making a formal diet recommendation we take into consideration your pet’s overall health status and any disease specific needs, kidney disease and feeding a kidney diet, liver disease and feeding a liver diet, etc. We also consider your pet’s eating style, meals or free fed, and your pet’s body condition score and weight.
This is the gold standard for the inhibition of plaque in human dentistry. It is effective against most oral bacteria, most fungi, and even some viruses. To be effective, chlorhexidine must be in contact with the oral surfaces for at least 2 minutes. Once there it persists in the mouth for up to 12 hours at antiseptic levels. This product is incorporated into several veterinary treatments and preventives for oral disease. Rinses: Try CET Oral Hygiene Rinse Treats: Try CET Hextra Chews
Fluoride in human dentistry is used primarily to reduce the formation of cavities, which is not an issue in veterinary medicine. However, we do apply a fluoride treatment at the end of a dental cleaning to help control plaque, strengthen the enamel of the teeth and to desensitize the teeth. Although fluoride does have some antibacterial properties, it is not as effective as chlorhexidine. Also, since fluoride is not considered safe to ingest, it is not used as a home care component for pets.
This nutraceutical (nutritional supplement) has been shown to improve the gingival/oral health in people with known heart conditions. Although there are no veterinary studies to confirm this effect in the mouths’ of pets, we do recognize the medical health benefits of CoenzymeQ10 in supporting the health of animals with heart disease.
The Veterinary Oral Health Council (www.vohc.org) has a list of additional over the counter products that have been approved for controlling tartar and plaque build-up. We also recommend use of the CET product line (http://www.virbacvet.com/cet/) because of their tartar and plaque control combined with their antibacterial properties. Not all tartar preventing products have the ability to prevent or kill bacteria as well, so consider this when choosing the best products for your pet.
These products contain chlorhexidine and safe levels of xylitol, that your pet is able to consume. When added to regular drinking water, the antibacterial properties help to prevent oral disease. While this is a safe product for your pet, if large quantities are ingested, please contact your veterinarian. Try CET Aquadent.
Plaque Prevention Gel
A plaque barrier gel that is applied at every dental cleaning along the gumline. It may also be incorporated on a weekly basis at home to create a barrier between the tooth and the gingiva to prevent tartar build up. Try Oravet
As part of a comprehensive dental care plan, antibiotics can be used to reduce gingivitis and periodontitis both during and after dental evaluations and cleanings. Occasionally, for some pets with heart disease or where dental cleanings are not an option, pulse therapy with antibiotics may be recommended. This consists of regular, dental-specific antibiotics being administered every 3 months, year round, usually for life. Certainly not as effective as an actual cleaning, this therapy may be the only realistic option for some pets and their owners.
For severe oral infections, oral surgery, fractured teeth, and some oral growths, pain medications are often incorporated to aid in patient comfort and to speed the healing process. Most prescription pain medications have the added benefit of reducing inflammation and swelling as well. This means faster healing and faster return to normal for you pet.
Follow up Appointments
As part of your ongoing prevention and treatment plan, your veterinarian and the veterinary team will recommend a dental evaluation plan tailored to your pet’s oral health and needs as outlined above. Below are the guidelines we recommend for scheduling dental health evaluations.
Healthy Mouth: _____ 6 months _____12 months
Gingivitis: _____ 6 months
Periodontitis: _____ 3 months _____ 6 months
Advanced Periodontitis: _____ monthly evaluations initially
If you are curious where your pet stands on their dental health, call us today to schedule a Free Dental Checkup with one of our Technicians. We will then recommend the best course of action for your pet. You can find all of the products mentioned above here.
How Animals Perceive the World: Non-Verbal Signaling
Karen L. Overall, MA, VMD, PhD, DACVB, ABS Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist
The uniting feature that connects all social vertebrates is the extent to which they signal non-verbally. Communication involving ritualized displays or graded signals is used to confirm or reject information received from others in social interactions, to indicate species, sex, and sexual receptivity, to signal about issues pertaining to status, and to otherwise negotiate all social interactions. As such, communication can involve such instantaneous behaviors as tactile and visual displays. These are relatively “short-distance” signals. Vocal communication is also instantaneous, but may reach over longer distances. Verbal communication is only one variety of vocal communication, and both of these may pale when the full story of olfactory communication is written. Certainly, olfactory and pheromonal signals provide information that can be assessed over distances and across time.
When assessing any communicatory structure it is important to realize that signaling involves a set of rules that will be shaped by the evolutionary history of the species. The story of canine domestication is the story of work and work-related tasks. The story of feline domestication is the story of rodent and vector borne diseases and their prevention. These 2 divergent paths to domestic life-styles have been shaped by, and in turn have continued to shape factors like reproductive schedules, fecundity, age at first reproduction, age at sexual and social maturity, composition of family or group units, and social interactions within these units. To understand such behaviors it is critical to understand the component signals as they are used to communicate with con-specifics. The following table provides an introduction to this topic:
|howling||elicit social contact|
anxiety situations (social contact = reassure)
|tail and ears up; forefoot in front of other||alert, ready to participate|
absence of threat
absence of challenge (not the same as deference for confident, high-ranking dogs)
|belly presented||deference – if neck, back, and other solicitation bues given|
disengagement – if inguinal area and, or chest covered may become aggressive if pursued
relaxation – if flaccid
|tail tucked when belly presented||fear/submission|
|tail tucked when belly presented with urination||profound fear/submission|
|piloerection||arousal associated with anxiety, fear, agression|
|piloerection restricted to neck or tail region||confident dog|
|rigid stance, stiff torso musculature||confidence and intent to interact (may not be aggressive)|
|tail above horizon||confident|
|tail below horizon||less confident|
|tail wag||willingness to interact|
|tail tip wag; stiff||confident|
|neck erect or arched||confident|
|ears vertically dropped||deference|
|snarl/growl with only incisors and canines apparent||confident|
|snarl/growl with all teeth and back of throat apparent||defensively aggressive|
|licking lips, flicking tongue||appeasement|
anxious (and solicitation of reassurance; derived from et-epimeletic)
solicitation of attention
deference (off balance)
|paws out, front end down, rump up, tail wagging||body bow, invitation to play|
|mounting or pressing on back shoulders of another dog||challenge|
|licking at corner of another dog’s (or person’s) mouth||et-epimeletic|
|blowing out lips/cheeks||anticipation (positive or negative)|
anxiety (if very fast)
|popping or snapping of upper and lower jaws (bill pops)||capitulation, intention to comply as a last resort|
As always, if you ever have concerns about your pet’s behavior, contact your Veterinarian for guidance.