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Posts Tagged ‘vet’

Hot Spots-A Dog’s Worst Friend

In Health Tips on May 23, 2013 at 12:24 pm

dogWith all of the fluctuations in Wisconsin’s weather I want to talk about a common infection, Hot Spots! A hot spot is basically a warm, painful, swollen patch of skin which the hair has become moist and the dead hair has becomes trapped. This usually happens is dog breed with long hair, Golden’s, Newfoundland’s, Great Pyrenees.

Treatment:

Hot spots can be extremely painful to the touch. Many pets won’t let you anywhere near the area. Because of this it makes it very hard to treat at home. Many dogs need sedation to take care of the issue.

The first step is to clip away all the hair around the area, the area needs to breath! Then cleanse the area with dilute betadine or chlorehex solutions and allow the area to dry.

The final step is to treat the area with an antibacterial steroid cream or powder.

If your dog is likely to scratch at the area use an e-collar to prevent this. Sometimes a corticosteroid will be given to prevent itching.

Prevention:

If your longhaired dog enjoys baths or swimming makes sure s/he is fully dried afterwards. This will help prevent the dead hair to become moist and trapped causing the infection!

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Animal Gun Shot Wounds

In Health Tips on May 3, 2013 at 5:01 pm

If your pet was shot by a gun, no matter the location, you are going to want to get him/her to the vet a.s.a.p. But before getting into the car there are a few things to do.

If you can, try and see if your pet is still breathing and has a pulse. If not begin CPR. Start by giving your pet 5-10 breaths by closing their mouth and breathing into their nose. You should see their chest rise. If there is no pulse, being compressions to the chest. Your pet can be laid on their side and you can give compressions on the side of the chest. Rotate between breaths and compressions.

If you have a second person, have them try to apply pressure to the wound. If you are in the middle of a field use as clean of a shirt or piece of material you have. Either apply pressure with your hands or wrap it around.

Next, get into your car and get to the vet. If you can, try and call to give them a heads up, this way they can be prepared!

At the vet let them know everything you have done. Most likely they are going to ask if you would like CPR preformed and then take your pet away from you into their emergency room. I know you will want to go with, but it truly is best if you stay in the waiting room. While you wait clean yourself up a bit. Someone will come back to update you and get information about what it going on as soon as they can.

This is a very real problem. Many hunting dogs will accidentally be shot when out and about in the field. Just be prepared to take action! What questions do you have?

Here is a video to learn more about performing CPR on pets. 

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Poisonous Plants for Cats

In Health Tips on April 25, 2013 at 10:58 am

Plants can cause a number of different symptoms and problems for your cat. There are hundreds of plants that are labeled ‘toxic’ or ‘poisonous’ to cats. Are you familiar with common household plants that are bad for your cat?

photo (2) copyPersonally every time I bring a new plant into my apartment I immediately go onto the ASPCA toxic plant website and do a little research. For example I was given an orchid. I assumed it was toxic and would cause problems for my cat. After looking up orchids, I found that they in fact are not toxic. After finding this out I no longer had any worries.

Since most people aren’t as crazy about cats and plants as I am, I thought creating a top 10 household plants which are toxic list. Here they are:

  1. Asparagus fern- the toxic substance is Sapogenins. This plant causes allergic dermatitis. If your cat eats the berries, this could result in vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
  2. Corn Plant- the toxic substance is Saponins. This plant causes vomiting, depression, anorexia, hypersalivation, dilated pupils, and sometimes blood in the vomit.
  3. Dieffenbachia- the toxic substances include insoluble calcium oxalates and proteolytic enzymes. The plant causes oral irritation, burning of the mouth, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.
  4. Elephant ear- the toxic substance is the insoluble calcium oxalate. This plant causes oral irritation and burning of the mouth, excessive drooling, vomiting and difficulty swallowing.
  5. Lilies- the toxic substance is currently unknown, but eating this plant can lead to kidney failure for your cat.
  6. Cyclamen- the toxic substance is terpenoid saponins. This plant can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal heart rhythms, seizures, and even death.
  7. Heartleaf philodendron- the toxic substance is the insoluble calcium oxalates. This plant can cause oral irritation with burning of the mouth
  8. Jade leaf- the toxic substance is unknown, but this plant can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
  9. Aloe plant- the toxic substance is Saponins. This plant can cause vomiting, diarrhea, depression, anorexia, tremors, and change in urine color.
  10. Hydrangea- the toxic substance is Cyanogenic glycoside. This plant can cause vomiting, depression, diarrhea with gastrointestinal issues.

You might be thinking this is a list of very common household plants, that’s because it is. Just be aware of the plants you have in your home and whether or not your cat likes to eat those plants.

Incase you are feeling a little sad about all of these plants which are bad for your cat, here are 10 plants that are not toxic for your cat:

  1. Blue Echeveria
  2. Bamboo
  3. Areca (Golden Palm)
  4. Burro’s Tail (Lamb’s Tail)
  5. Christmas Cactus
  6. Cliff Brake (Button Fern)
  7. Hens and Chickens
  8. Pearl Plant
  9. Pony Tail Palm
  10. Orchid

Have you looked up the plants you have in your home?

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What Not to Feed Your Cat

In Health Tips on April 19, 2013 at 6:52 am

Like every animal out there, there are foods that are toxic to cats. Some worse than others. Since you own a cat why not keep a list of foods not to give your cat around? This is something that could save your cat from a possible trip to the vet. Here is a list of foods I suggest avoiding:

  1. photo (1) copyOnion, Chives, and Garlic– any type of onion product breaks down red blood cells in your cat which can lead to anemia. Chives and garlic can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
  2. Grapes and Raisins– these can cause kidney failure even at a small amount. Signs include vomiting and hyperactivity.
  3. Chocolate– the toxic substance in chocolate is theobromine, which is in every kind of chocolate. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is. Signs of toxicity include: abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures, and even death.
  4. Candy and Gum– the toxic substance in candy, gum, toothpaste (human), and diet foods is xylitol. This substance causes an increase in insulin, which then causes a drop in your cats blood sugar. Initial signs include: vomiting, lethargy, and loss of coordination. Seizures and liver failure can occur within a few days.
  5. Raw Eggs, Meat, and Fish– first off all of these could cause food poisoning such as salmonella. Raw eggs contain avidin in the whites which block the absorption of B vitamins. This then can cause skin issues. In raw fish there is an enzyme, which destroys thiamine. A lack of thiamine can cause neurological issues.
  6. Milk and other Dairy Products– a little milk here and there is fine, but too much can cause digestive issues such as diarrhea.
  7. Caffeine– Caffeine is a toxic substance, which is in many drinks such as coffee and tea. Caffeine can cause increased heart rate, restlessness, heart palpitations, muscle tremors, and bleeding.
  8. Mushrooms– some mushrooms contain toxins, which affects multiple systems of the body. The toxins can lead to shock and even death.
  9. Alcohol– hopefully many owners know not to give their cat alcohol. Very small amount of alcohol can have detrimental effects on your cats liver and brain and could lead to a coma or death.
  10. Fat Trimmings and Bones– fat can cause gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea. The bones could cause a foreign body or even cut the intestines.
  11. Dog Food– a few pieces here and there won’t hurt, but a steady diet of dog food does not have the necessary nutrients cats need. This could lead to severe malnourishment.

As you can see there are many human foods which can cause different issues for your cat. There are a few foods that are ok to give your cat. These include: cooked boneless beef or chicken and rice. Though these foods are ok for your cat to eat, make sure they are getting cat food so they are getting the nutrients they need!

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Cats and Strings

In Health Tips on April 8, 2013 at 10:50 am

As a cat owner you are very well aware how much your feline friend LOVES to play with strings, hair ties, dental floss, yarn, basically anything that is long and moves in the wind! Many cat toys consist of a thin piece of wood or plastic with a toy attached to the end by some sort of string material. Cats love these. But, have you ever thought about what happens when your cat accidentally eats that string?

photo (3) copyWhy String is Bad:

When a cat ingests a string-like material it causes what’s called a linear foreign body. Usually what tends to happen is one end of the string is in the small intestines while the other end is still in the mouth. The string is taking over a good portion of the gastrointestinal system.

When you notice this is a problem is when you see the string in your cat’s mouth or coming out the other end. The first instinct for many cat owners is to pull it. DON’T! This is where it gets tricky. If you pull the string out, it could saw away at parts of the GI system and possibly rupture the intestines. This could lead to a very sick cat.

What to do:

Take your cat to the vet, as soon as you can. Try and determine exactly what your cat ate. Was it part of a toy? Yarn? Whatever the material is, bring what you can with to the vet so they can determine how long the material might be. Your vet may want to scope the esophagus and stomach prior to any surgery to get a good feeling of how far the string goes.

Your vet will have to surgically remove the string if it extends past the stomach into the intestines. If the string only extends through the esophagus your vet may feel comfortable scoping out the material—a non-surgical procedure.

Whichever way it goes, something needs to be done. String is a material that does not just pass because cats tend to eat more than a few inches.

Prevention:

If you have toys containing string-like material, remember to put those toys out of reach when you’re not around. If you keep yarn, sewing material, or anything else in the ‘string’ category make sure your cat does not have access to it. Cats are curious animals. If it looks fun and they can play with it, they might chew on it. When this happens cats sometimes ingest it.

Just keep sting away from your pet. What are things your cat enjoys to play with? Ever see them chew on it? Be careful and remember to never pull a string from your cat!

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My Pet Vomited, Now What?

In Health Tips on April 2, 2013 at 11:43 am

So your animal began vomiting and now you aren’t sure what to do. This is a very common problem pet owners have. Cats and dogs vomit for a number of different reasons. They could have something as simple as a hairball to something more life threatening as a gastric tumor.

The question is, what do you do next?

Here are the steps I recommend taking when you realize your pet just threw up.IMG_0039 (2)

  1. After the first time they vomit take away all food. Keep water available.
  2. If your pet vomits again, even with food taken away, remove water as well for 6-8 hours. If your pet has not vomited again move to step 4.
  3. If your pet continues to vomit without consuming anything, this is a good time to see your vet. Or, if your pet begins to produce blood in their vomit.
  4. If your pet has not vomited within the 6-8 hours after taking away water, offer a small amount of water. This means 3-4 licks.
  5. If your pet keeps the water down over the next 2 hours, try a little more water. At this point if they are able to keep water down, continue to offer small amounts of water every 2-4 hours.
  6. If your pet has made it 24 hours without vomiting and not consuming any food, only water, offer about ¼ of their normal meal.
  7. After 6-8 hours pass without any vomiting offer ½ of their normal meal.
  8. At this point you are free to go back to their normal routine. Free choice water and hopefully scheduled feeding times.

Does this seem like a tedious procedure to follow, maybe, but think about all the times you have vomited. Many of those times it is a simple bug that just needs to work its way out of your system.

Here are times your should call the vet right away: 

  • When there is blood in the vomit
  • When your pet has vomited >8 times in an hour
  • When your pet began vomiting after consuming something unusual
  • If your animal has a health problem

These are just a few tips to name a few. If your pet continues to vomit talk with your vet. Some treatment options can include dietary changes, antiemetic’s (medication to control vomiting), antibiotics (medication for a bacterial ulcer), corticosteroids (to treat inflammatory bowel disease), surgery (if your animal has a tumor causing them to vomit), or other medical treatments.

As you can see there are many reasons your cat or dog continues to vomit. This is why your veterinarian is around. They can help determine the cause and figure out the best step to take in order to alleviate the issue.

What have you tried when your animal has vomited?

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What to do When your Pet gets a Cut

In Health Tips on April 1, 2013 at 1:24 pm

One type of emergency seen in a variety of ways is when an owner brings their dog or cat in for a cut. This can be a true emergency or one you feel you have wasted your time and money. The reason this emergency can be so tricky, is because unless the cut is huge and bleeding, you might not even know one is there. Most cats and dogs have enough hair to cover the cut making it hard to see it. And as an owner you try to examine the cut to see how bad it is and your animal won’t let you look. photo (2) copy

This is when it gets tricky. You see blood, but you can’t see how bad it is. This is when as an owner you choose one of three routes:

  1. Go to the vet right away
  2. Wait and go to the vet when you can get in
  3. Just wait and see how it goes

Figuring out which option to choose is crucial for your pet.

Option 1:

Going to the vet right away, whether that means paying extra or even going out of your way to see an emergency vet is truly the safest option among the three. You may not know how bad the cut truly is. If it is a puncture wound, meaning there is a tiny hole, but it could be very deep. If this is the case these cuts can become a huge factor for infection. When looking at it, it seems small, like it won’t be an issue. But when it is explored a vet can find out how deep it truly is.

The hard thing about going to the vet is if the cut is superficial and does not break the skin into the tissue and muscle then you are wasting your time. There is really no need to start antibiotics or sedate your pet to clean it out.

Option 2:

Many times waiting a night before going to your primary vet the next day does not cause a ton of problems. But if you wait too long an infection might become a huge problem. Also, animals clean themselves. So, when an animal has a cut, they lick it excessively. This can make the cut larger and also cause an infection.

If you do wait, try to place a t-shirt or shorts on the animal depending on where the cut is. Also, place an e-collar on your animal to prevent licking. Try to not wait longer then 24 hours. If the cut gets too old and needs to be sutured, the skin might start to die making it difficult to fix.

Option 3:

Not going to the vet at all can be a problem if the cut is deep. As said before, pets will excessively lick the cut causing it to get larger and creating an infection if the cut is deep. If the cut needs to by surgically repaired and you do not see a vet, this cut may not heal properly on its own. This of course is a major problem.

What to do:

If you are strapped for cash to spend at the vet here is what I recommend doing. First off, do not cut the hair around the wound with scissors. I have seen many wounds become twice as worse because owners tried to clean it up themselves. You can clean it up, just please never use scissors. If you have an electric razor you can try to use it, but many pets do not like the sound of it, and if your not careful you could give them razor burn or make things worse.

To be safe, I recommend just taking a clean washcloth, gauze, or paper towel and wetting down the area and carefully pushing the hair out-of-the-way. Then, if your animal will let you, examine the cut. If it looks like a scratch that does not break the skin, I would not go to the vet. Just apply some antibacterial ointment to the area to relieve the itching and pain. Then, place an e-collar on your pet or a t-shirt or shorts to try to prevent your animal from licking.

If the cut seems to be deep, breaking the skin, or a puncture wound get an appointment with your vet within 24 hours. The wound needs to be flushed out and cleaned up. And, starting antibiotics is a necessary step. Until you can get into the vet, rinse the area as best as you can with water or an antiseptic and apply antibiotic ointment.

If the cut is bleeding profusely and your animal is clearly in pain, head to the vet right away. If you wait, your animal is going to be very uncomfortable.

Has your pet had a cut before? What did you?

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Itching and Scratching, What Gives?

In Health Tips on March 19, 2013 at 9:38 am

One of the most frustrating problems in veterinary medicine is the question many pet owners ask, “Why does my animal itch so much?”

Causes:

photo-6The reason this can be such a tricky problem, to find the true cause of the itch, you may have to run test after test. Itching and scratching can be caused by a number of different factors that are difficult to find. Some include:

  • Fleas
  • Mites
  • Allergies from the environment
  • Contact allergies
  • Food allergies
  • Fungal infection
  • Skin infection

Controlling the Itch

There are a few different therapies you can try before going to the vet, these include:

  • Shampoos– pet stores sell a number of different medicated shampoos that can temporarily relieve your pet’s itch. Follow directions on the bottle.
  • Topical products– there are a number of different anti-itch products that pet stores sell. These include ointments, lotions, or moisturizers. Just be sure to follow directions.
  • Medications– antihistamines and corticosteroids can help your pet from itching. Talk with your vet for the best option and dosage.
  • Supplements– some supplements such as fish oil and fatty acids can help temporarily relieve the itch.

If these therapies don’t help completely, I would suggest visiting your vet.

Finding the Problem:

When you bring your dog or cat into the vet because of itching, I would first suggest looking for fleas. If you find fleas or flea dirt, it can be a somewhat easy fix. By eliminating the fleas on your pet and in your home, your pet can hopefully become itch free.

Second, your vet can do a simple skin scraping or pull hair to look for mites. This is a quick and easy fix with the right medications.

Third, I would suggest running cultures to check for fungal infections and skin infections. As well as blood work to check for underlying problems. These tests take time to get the result. You have to wait for the “infection” to grow. But, if and once there is growth on the culture plate, your vet can submit the growth to a lab to get results that show exactly which antibiotic or medication can clear the infection. This can be timely and costly, but if it is an infection, it is the best way to cure it.

Lastly, run an allergen panel. This is pretty costly and many times allergens are not the problem. This test is nice because it can tell you if your pet is allergic to grains, pollens, or anything else and you can make changes based on the results.

The reason I suggest finding the itchy problem in this order, is to save you time and money. An itchy animal is a pain for you and your pet. It’s uncomfortable. Does your pet itch? Have you tried any of these therapies or have other suggestions?

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Rat Poison the Toxicity that Haunts

In Health Tips on March 4, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Poison_Labels_by_brainwreckI can’t even count the number of dog’s I’ve seen come in because they ate mouse poison. We all hopefully know that mouse poison is toxic to pets. I mean, how do you think it works on killing mice? It contains a substance called an anticoagulant. This causes the mouse to lose the function to clot blood. When a dog or cats eats it, they also lose that function.

The hard part about this, is when an animal eats the poison, we usually don’t see it. The problem with not physically catching your pet in the act means you have no idea they have been poisoned. Symptoms usually don’t start until a week after ingestion. At this point, treatment is difficult and expensive. Many pets don’t make it.


Symptoms:

Many owners catch that their pet isn’t right because they start bleeding somewhere. Commonly the animal will get nosebleeds, urinate blood, have blood in their feces, bruise easily, vomit blood, or even ooze blood from their gums. The animal tends to be weak due to lack of blood volume, and is probably accumulating blood somewhere inside the body.

Treatment:

If you are lucky enough to catch your pet eating mouse poison, of any kind, make him/her vomit right away! By keeping fresh hydrogen peroxide around the house, this can be a quick and easy step. Give your dog about 1 Tbls for every 15 pounds. You can either put it straight in your pet’s mouth or mix it with bread or peanut butter. To be honest, if your pet ate mouse poisoning, this shouldn’t be too difficult of a task, your pet clearly will eat anything! If your pet doesn’t vomit within 15 minute’s, give another dosing of the hydrogen peroxide.

Be sure to get your animal into the vet right away so they can start treating with vitamin K.

Now, if you don’t catch your pet eating poison, but you do see signs of bleeding, get to a vet right away. Your vet will run a variety of blood tests to determine the severity. Your pet will receive blood products to return the blood loss. Your pet will also receive vitamin K to return the clotting factors. Your pet likely will stay at the vet anywhere from days to weeks depending on how bad the toxicity is.

Prevent:

Now, I get why you would have mouse poison around the house. Mice can cause a lot of damage, and a lot of people are afraid of them. But having this toxic substance around the house, even in place where you think your dog can’t get to, is not always safe. Pets are tricky. They will work and work at something until they get it. You probably already know this. The best bet to prevent a poisoning from happening is to keep all blocks, pellets, etc. of the mouse poisoning out of your home, garage, and any other place your animals goes. There are other options to kill mice. Try the old fashion traps. The good thing is if your pet triggers a trap, there is a small likelihood they are going to get trapped in it!

Have you had a pet eat mouse poison? Have you even thought about the dangers of keeping it around? On a side note, keeping the pet poison helplines number on hand is always a great resource when you’re in a time crunch 1-800-213-6680.

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Twisted Stomach: Not Just for Cows

In Health Tips on February 25, 2013 at 8:11 pm


ImageHave you ever come home to your dog looking a bit off? Your dog seems lethargic, anxious, possibly trying to vomit, and looks a little larger around the stomach. If this has happened to you then you probably already know the importance of bloat.

Dog’s have a tendency to become bloated after eating or drinking too much, or if they are active after eating or drinking. A bloated animal is referred to as a GDV—

gastric dilatation volvulus—if the stomach flips. If the stomach becomes distended with air or fluid than flips over, this is a true emergency! When the stomach flips, there’s no way to release the fluid and gas that has accumulated. These animals require surgery, and fast!

If the stomach is only distended with air and fluid, and not flipped, your pet should still be seem by a veterinarian because you can’t tell without an x-ray the severity of the situation. What the vet will look for is what’s referred to as the “double bubble.” This is where two gas-filled sections of the stomach appear. This is how vets know the pet has a GDV versus a gas-distended stomach.

So, if it is a GDV surgery is the only cure. The vet will go in and release the gas and suture the stomach against the animal’s body wall to prevent any further flipping. If the dog doesn’t have the double bubble we still need to get the air out. Generally a tube is placed down the dog’s throat and into the stomach to release the air. This is a very safe and effective procedure.

After surgery or releasing of the air, food and water should be restricted for at least 24-36 hours. Dogs should also be under veterinary care during that time to watch for further problems.

Now, I take care of a variety of dog breeds. Deep-chested dogs like your greyhounds, great danes, labs, goldens, shepherds, collies, etc. are one’s to be careful of. Another breed many don’t think of are dachshunds. To prevent something like this from happening here are a few things you can do:

  • Feed your pet 30 minutes before or after exercise
  • Do not allow water 30 minutes before and after meals
  • Never let your pet drink a full bowl of water at one time
  • Feed multiple meals versus once a day
  • Make sure your pets food is put in a safe location

There are times when your running late, or your dog gets into a large amount of food, this happens. But doing your best to prevent bloat can save you a trip to the emergency room and a couple thousand dollars. Share your pet’s stories with me! Has your pet ever bloated?

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