FEBRUARY 2015 - FYI FOR PET’S SAKE
A BLOG PUBLISHED BY SYLVANIAVET FOR PET LOVERS EVERYWHERE
Remember to give your pet its monthly preventive medication
SylvaniaVET.com Website Relaunch
We have been hard at work to bring to you a brand new SylvaniaVET.com! We are very exciting to launch our new and improved website, complete with photos from our very own Doggie Daycare dogs! The site is still under some minimal construction, but we just couldn't wait to show you what we've been working on. Take a few moments and browse through the new site, and be sure to check back regularly as we continue to make updates and changes. Coming soon, you can expect to see updated staff photos, highlighted Employee of the Month profiles, information about SylvaniaVET's Gold Level Cat Friendly, and so much more!
Xylitol: The Toxic Sweetener
Last month, a dog was admitted as an emergency for ingesting a potentially toxic amount of xylitol; a sweetener that was used in diet chocolate brownies. Dogs, much like humans, have a sweet tooth and they are easily attracted to eating anything sweet. In this particular case, the amount of chocolate was not an issue, but the amount of xylitol used to provide sweetness was three times the toxic level. Xylitol can cause a precipitous drop in blood sugar and do serious, potentially fatal, damage to the liver. With the help of the poison control center and our Johnny-on-the-spot staff, we were able to get a head start on toxic changes and save the dog's life. Numerous reduced calorie foods contain xylitol and must be avoided. Orbit gum, many low calorie desserts, and some other diabetic foods contain this artificial sweetener that is toxic to your beloved dog.
The Importance of Year-Round Heartworm Preventive
During a recent routine visit, a client made the statement, “I stop heartworm preventive during the winter and restart in April.” On the surface, this appears makes sense as there are no mosquitoes to spread this serious disease during the frigid winter months. However, this is not the safest approach for your pets. Recent studies have shown that there are new strains as well as potential newly resistant heartworms that require at least three months of continuous treatment before your dog is fully protected. That means a dog that was started on preventive in April will not be fully protected until July. Furthermore, all heartworm preventives also protect against internal parasites and year-round dosing helps prevent your dog from having a positive fecal test. The American Heartworm Society strongly recommends year-round dosing of monthly preventive regardless of the geographical location of you and your pet.
Increased Referral Incentives Extended
Our referral incentive program, designed to encourage our loyal and enthusiastic clients (that's you!) to refer your family and friends to SylvaniaVET, was a success! For that reason, we have decided to continue the increased incentives for an additional two months. Our regular "Thank You!" for a referral is a $20 credit on your account AND a $20 discount for the new client on their first visit. However, for the next two months you, the referring client, will receive a $40 account credit - that's double what we regularly offer! In addition, we will award one referring client a $50 gift certificate to Mancy's. Each referral you make earns you a chance to win the gift certificate; there is no limit on the amount of referrals you can make, and thus, the amount of chances you have to win. For your convenience, we have referral cards that you can hand out to friends, family and co-workers. If you would like some referral cards, please ask a member of our front desk staff.
Apoquel Distribution Expected To Increase
Many of our allergic patients have been subjected to the off-and-on availability of the newest and best itch control medication, Apoquel. Zoetis, the manufacturer of Apoquel, has not been able to keep up with demand and, as a result, we have not been able to consistently supply those clients that were already started on Apoquel. Additionally, we could not prescribe Apoquel to any new patients who needed its effective itch relief. We have been told that by mid-April the amount of Apoquel distributed to all practices will be gradually increased. Unfortunately, no one will be able to order an unlimited amount as it will be allocated on a per practice, not per doctor, basis. The allocation is supposed to gradually be increased as the year continues to moves on. We hope that by the intense fall allergy season we will have enough Apoquel to meet needs of our clients and their pets. We will continue to update you as we hear more about Apoquel's distribution.
Holter Monitoring to Begin Next Month
No later than March 1st, we expect to be able to provide Holter monitoring for at-risk dog breeds that develop rate and rhythm disturbances of their heart. Boxers, Great Danes, Dobermans, Irish Wolfhounds and a few other breeds are at risk of developing cardiac disease of the heart muscle. We feel that routine testing of at-risk dogs for cardiomyopathy will enable us to pick up on changes early and start medications that should prolong your dog’s life. Stay tuned for more details about this service that is usually only available at specialty practices in next month’s FYI.
Tramadol Moves to DEA Controlled Substance
Tramadol is a pain control medication that we frequently use as part of our regular dog, and in some cases cat, pain management protocols. Tramadol recently became a DEA controlled substance. As a result we will be monitoring the purchases of Tramadol in pet’s that are taking it for chronic pain. We may also be looking for alternative products that are not monitored by the DEA. This classification of Tramadol, an opioid-like drug, has the potential of being abused by humans. We have no concern about the use of Tramadol for short-term pain management as it has very few side effects and no addiction. It is the diversion of Tramadol prescribed for a pet to human use that causes us to monitor usage more closely.
Unstable Neck Vertebraes in Great Danes
A recently published article concerning unstable neck vertebrae in Great Danes revealed that many asymptomatic Danes may have cervical neck pathology without having clinical signs. One cannot know if this unknown, unseen defect will lead to trouble later in life. The article offered no suggestions about what to do with this newly discovered information, and the problems in the neck region can only be found on MRI. We offer this information so that Great Dane owners, and potential owners, can be aware that instability of neck vertebrae, narrowing of the spinal cord space can exist in normal-appearing dogs. Over the years we have examined and referred Danes for these problems that are collectively called Wobblers Syndrome.
Sciatica-Like Condition Developing in Dogs
Dogs can develop a sciatica-like condition of their lower back, leading to pain, reduced function and loss of urine and fecal control. This condition is more common in males than in females, and can develop as young as seven years of age. The diagnosis is done by taking x-rays of the lumbar spine or advanced imaging with an MRI. Many dogs will respond to medical management but reoccurrence is possible. As a part of medical management, we frequently use therapeutic laser. Surgical laminectomy by a board certified neurosurgeon or orthopedic surgeon will usually lead to marked improvement. Younger dogs with severe pain and clinical signs or those that do not respond well to medical treatment are prime candidates for surgical decompression.
Activity Trackers For Canines
Dr. Bob wears an activity tracker called Jawbone and finds it useful to track how much exercise he gets from just walking around the hospital. Activity trackers are also available for your canine companions. There are several dog-specific trackers currently on the market; FitBark, Voyce, and Whistle devices are priced from $70 – $130. Most veterinarians consider these devices a novelty and do not feel they lend much to the health and well being of dogs. That is, in part, because there is no data available that discusses how to use and interpret the information collected by the activity monitor. How many of us have wondered how far the dog ran when while walked? Or how much activity they got as they scamper all over the place while we stay on the trail? It would be fun to know, but we’re not sure how useful this information is. An organized walk is good for both ends of the leash and should be part of every dog’s daily life. Time is more important than distance so a monitor is really not necessary. If you do, however, get a dog fitness monitor please let us know what you are learning.
Petco Aquires Online Marketer
Petco has acquired online pet product marketer Foster and Smith. This consolidation of big box and online marketing enables Petco to cover all bases in providing pet health care products to consumers with the exception of the most important one; the veterinarian. Non-medical products are not a niche that most vets care to compete with but the sale of medications and supplements should be managed by the veterinarian. The dialog and decisions into what is best for a given pet are critical to the pet’s long term health. Before buying online, it is best to check with us on pricing, safety and efficacy of any potential products. Advertising has convinced many pet owners that online sources are cheaper than SylvaniaVET, and in most cases, this is not true. Additionally, most manufacturers will not stand behind products not bought from the vet, nor will they provide rebates or free doses when bought online.
"DID YOU KNOW…”
Over the next few blogs we will be sharing some fun facts that were recently posted on VIN, the Veterinary Information Network.
- DYK… that giving a dog a single dose of aspirin will result in a GI bleed 100% of the time?*
- DYK… that lilies are highly toxic to cats? Chewing on just a single leaf, plant or stem can cause acute kidney failure.*
- DYK… that dogs have actually evolved to digest starch (carbohydrates)? Their digestive tract is not like wolves so the avoidance of grains is of no value and may be harmful.
- DYK… that collie breeds are sensitive to ivermectin but can still safely take Heartgard? There is a screening test to determine if a collie is susceptible to ivermectin toxicity. Quality breeders screen for the genetic mutation and do not breed dogs that will pass it on.
- DYK… that grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs? That Xylitol is highly toxic to dogs? That Poinsettias are not toxic to pets? And that chocolate is toxic, but it is quality of the chocolate, amount of chocolate and the size of the dog that determines if your dog will show signs of toxicity?
- DYK… that SylvaniaVET is the only area general practice that is staffed with a doctor on-call 24/7, is inspected and certified by AAHA, and is a Gold Standard Cat Friendly Practice?
- DYK… that Corona virus vaccine is not necessary as the virus does not cause a disease in dogs? A different Corona virus causes FIP in cats but vaccines are useless and potentially harmful.
- DYK… that wombat poo is cubed shaped?
- DKY… that you should have one litter box per cat, plus one extra, and that they need to be spread around every level of the house?
- DYK… that dogs can taste sweets but cats cannot?
- DYK… that The Ohio State Buckeyes are the National Champions in 2014 football? Of course you did! GO BUCKS!
That’s enough for now, but we will continue this fun series in future blogs.
*These DYKs were published by another vet and I am not sure we agree with the absolute nature of the first two statements but they still have value.
Ain't Doing Right
ADR, or “Ain’t Doing Right,” is an acronym for the euphemistic statement made when we are uncertain what is making a pet sick. ADR cases can be frustrating as we have a lot of examining, testing and history to gather in order to take an ADR to a diagnosis. Knowing your cats’ and dogs’ normal behavior and habits is a big part of sorting out an ADR case. In cats there are five most common conditions that can lead to the presenting sign of ADR; 1. Oral disease causing pain, reduced appetite and malaise that is not directly associated to aging; 2. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) – an increase in water consumption is the first sign associated with CKD, annual wellness testing is critical to early detection of CKD; 3. Degenerative joint disease (DJD) - in cats over the age of 10 it is thought that 90% have some DJD with the elbows being the most common location; 4. Endocrine disease, specifically hyperthyroid and diabetes mellitus – again, routine wellness testing will enable early diagnosis and treatment, weight control in cats will help prevent diabetes, a low carb diet high in protein and fat is also less likely to cause diabetes, and; 5. Malignant neoplasia in many forms occurs in aged cats – that chronic vomiting cat is in need of a complete workup as it is not likely to be hairballs, even if hair comes up.
Look for new senior wellness programs to be launched at SylvaniaVET for both dogs and cats in 2015.
HAPPY VALENTINES DAYS FROM THE LOVING STAFF AT SYLVANIAVET!