Summer2003 PetNews Issue
PETNEWS is the official newsletter of Shaw Pet Hospitals. This is issued quarterly to all our clients at no charge. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions please send them to us by email at email@example.com or by fax at (250) 6524338 and we will be glad to answer them.
PETS SUMMER SAFETY
It’s the time of the year to start planning travel, camping, hiking, barbeques or even just walk in the beach. And to enjoy the sun and the great outdoor with your pets, here are common problems and accidents that you may encounter and ways to prevent them and how to deal with them when they happen.
Pets left in the car on a hot day. Even if the window is cracked open, temperature inside a parked car can climb up higher on a hot day. Add humidity to the heat, and you also increase the risk. Brachycephalic (those with really short noses like Pugs or Boxers) breeds and dogs with cardiac problems are especially susceptible to heat-related problems since dogs cool themselves by panting which can stress the respiratory and circulatory system. Cooling ability is compromised in double-coated dogs, overweight pets and darkly pigmented pets. Pets on outdoor tethers are also at risk if they become tangled and cannot reach shade or water. Rabbits in outdoor hutches should be carefully monitored and their housing moved when necessary.
Signs of heatstroke include rapid
breathing, increased heart rate, dry mucous membranes, depression, increased
body temperature, collapse, pale mucous membranes,
vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures. Heatstroke is a medical emergency! If you suspect heatstroke,
move the dog to a shaded area, soak the coat in cool water, apply ice packs
under the legs and transport immediately to you r veterinarian. It is possible to cause the
temperature to drop abnormally low, so if you are a distance away - and if
possible - monitor the temperature on the way.
r veterinarian. It is possible to cause the temperature to drop abnormally low, so if you are a distance away - and if possible - monitor the temperature on the way.
Sunburns and Thermal burns
Although they do
not sunburn as easily as people, dogs can suffer from sunburn. Most often, dogs
sustain a superficial partial thickness burn. At worst, sunburns may result in
deep partial thickness burns. Full thickness burns are rare. Light-colored or
hairless dogs are more at risk than other types of canines. For dogs at risk,
apply sunscreen before spending time outdoors. As in humans, it is suspected
that repeated sunburns may result in permanent skin damage and even possible
For dogs at risk, apply sunscreen (with SPF 15 or higher and without PABA) before spending time outdoors. As in humans, it is suspected that repeated sunburns may result in permanent skin damage and even possible skin cancer. If you suspect your pet has sunburn, veterinary care is recommended.
Fleas, Ticks and other pests
Fleas and ticks can be a year-round problem but summer is the best time for existing parasite population to increase and for uninfested pets to be exposed to them. And if you find fleas in your pets, chances are that there are hundreds of them in various stages of growth in your pet’s bedding, carpet and furniture. Fleas cause allergic dermatitis and are intermediate hosts for tapeworms. Tick-borne diseases include Lyme disease (bacterial infection that can also be transmitted to humans by tick bites) and Rocky Mountain spotted fever (also represents the most important rickettsial disease in humans).
Various fleas and ticks products/medications are available in veterinary clinics. Lyme vaccines are also available and are recommended especially for dogs traveling east. Consult your veterinarian for safe and effective use of any of these products for your pets.
Heartworm infection is a result of Dirofilaria
immitis infection and is transmitted to dogs by mosquitoes. Recent findings
show that it is also becoming a problem in cats. It is a common problem in many
areas of the world particularly in tropical and subtropical regions. Cases of
human dirofilariasis have been reported indicating a modest zoonotic potential,
but the risk increases with the number of untreated canine infections. Systemic
heartworm preventatives for cats and dogs are recommended especially for pets
traveling in areas where there are reported cases of heartworm.
Plant fertilizers, organophosphates (which are used extensively as pesticides for home and garden) and other chemicals should be properly kept to prevent access by curious pets. Most of these chemicals vary in toxicity depending on type and concentration. Many mixtures of plant fertilizers primarily cause gastric irritation, but others may be high in iron or other minerals that can cause anemia or other problems. Pesticides poisoning on the other hand whether by ingestion, inhalation or skin absorption can cause neurologic signs, respiratory depression and death in some cases.
Lawn and car-care
harmful chemicals are also common household poisons that your curious pets will
most likely sample. Ethylene glycol (i.e. antifreeze) toxicosis can also be a
problem in the summer as well. Pets should be kept in safe, enclosed areas when
poisonous products are used and family members should be reminded not to let
Water and Food Supply
Availability of fresh and cool drinking water is important with the heat and physical exertion that comes with summer. Pet’s water requirements increase with the ambient temperature and their level of activity. Water bowls should be cleaned daily and water should not be left standing for long outside where they can become breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other insects. Remember to bring enough water supply for your pets on long trips, your 80-lb Labrador retriever water requirement is much greater than your 8-lb Yorkshire terrier therefore, plan accordingly.
for pets in the summer months may decrease, particularly in severe summer
weather. A marked or prolonged decrease in appetite is cause for concern.
Exercise: Timing and Quantity
Consider your pet’s exercise tolerance, it’s overall physical condition and it’s readiness for certain events. Exercise your pet during the cooler hours of the day and not during peak sun exposure to avoid heat stress. Pets can overexert themselves too which may cause muscle sprains and strains as well as more serious cardiac and pulmonary problems.
Traveling with Pets
To make your summer travel with your pet enjoyable and memorable, it is best to plan ahead and be aware of the principles of seasonal safety. Check your pets vaccination status with your veterinarian and make sure they are up to date especially when you are traveling across international borders. Health certificates issued by your veterinarian are required by most commercial carriers and by foreign governments. Pets should also be safely restrained in carriers when riding in cars or trucks.
Understanding Dental Disease
By Michelle Krasnicki R.A.H.T.
What if there were a disease out there that affected 80% of the dog and cat population, caused chronic discomfort and threatened major organ systems? What if this disease could be prevented or at least controlled? Wouldn’t you want to know how to help?
The disease I’m referring to is periodontal or dental disease. This article aims to help you understand how dental disease develops, how to recognize it and steps to take to control it.
Pet owners do not always take advantage of the dental services and expertise offered by their veterinary clinic. Many clinics invest a good deal of money in dental equipment and the continuing education of staff that perform tasks involved in a dental care program. Pets should have an annual oral exam to assess the current health of their teeth and surrounding tissues from which a dental prophylaxis (or cleaning) may then be recommended. This includes many of the same procedures you receive when you visit your dentist such as; a thorough cleaning to remove plaque/tartar both above and below the gum line, charting any problems, polishing, a fluoride application and sealing for a smooth finish and to discourage plaque accumulation and even the ability to radiograph the teeth with a dental x-ray unit to confirm the health/viability of tooth roots.
How does dental disease start? It all begins with the buildup of bacteria in the animals mouth causing an accumulation of plaque which over time hardens into tartar, if this is not removed, pockets begin to form between the teeth and gum line destroying tissue and supporting tooth structures. Here bacteria and toxins enter and travel through the blood stream setting up infections in highly vascular organs such as the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys! This is the same process that occurs in humans; the only difference is that we can brush our teeth! If left unchecked this disease will certainly decrease your pets’ quality of life and longevity.
What can you do to help prevent all this? Start with daily home care, you’ll need: a toothbrush designed for pets or a small soft bristled human toothbrush, some enzymatic pet toothpaste (never use the human kind) and a bit of patience. You may need to first start with wiping the teeth and massaging the gums with some gauze around your finger to help the animal become accustomed to this new idea. The next step would be replacing the gauze with a toothbrush soaked in warm water and a pea sized amount of toothpaste. Place the bristles at a 45-degree angle and move the brush in a circular motion trying to get in between the teeth as well. You can even reward your pet with treats specially formulated to reduce tartar accumulation!
Proactive care includes periodic check-ups followed with preventive care. So open up and have a look! Are the teeth discolored or chipped, do the gums bleed, is the breath bad? Let your veterinarian recommend a course of action, your pet will thank you for it!
Did you know…………
-regular dental prophylaxis and assessment can help extend the life of your pet!
-retained deciduous (or baby teeth) can cause abnormal positioning of the permanent teeth!
-the crown (which is the part of the tooth you see) is only 1/2-1/3rd of the actual tooth length!
-the tooth’s enamel is the hardest substance in the body and cannot be regenerated if damaged!
-animals other than dogs and cats have oral health problems too, horses need to have their teeth floated (filed down to remove sharp edges) and small furries need their teeth checked for incisor overgrowth!
1. Mayer, Michelle: Dentistry Basics. Veterinary Technician Journal Vol 23 No 2 pg 80-84, 2002.
2. Faber, Terrie: Small Animal Dentistry. Small Animal Dentistry Olds College pg 1-23, 2000.
3. Animal Dentistry-Gum disease: How bad are your pet’s gums? Available at www.dentalreference.com; accessed June 2003.
Victoria Pet Adoption Society
By M. Gavar
The Victoria Pet Adoption Society is a nonprofit organization established and initiated by Shaw Pet Hospitals with the goals of providing health care, temporary shelter and finding good homes for these animals. Animals, mostly cats and dogs that some owners are no longer able to keep and take care of are brought in to our clinic. Abandoned and unwanted kittens are also brought here where we perform routine physical exam making sure that these animals are free of any diseases. Initial or booster vaccinations and deworming are routinely done as well as spays or neuters for intact animals. All of these services are provided to these animals by VPAS through our clinic at our own cost.
Just recently, VPAS joined a donation program through Tru-Value Food Store in Brentwood Bay. For every purchase at Tru-Value, you can ask the sales staff to donate 1% of your purchase to our Pet adoption program. These animals surely appreciate anything you can do to help them find good homes. Your donations go a long way.
Thank you from the Victoria Pet Adoption Society.
Part II: The Nitty-Gritty, or How To Diet A Cat
By Dr. Shelly Murray
“You know what a diet is? It’s ‘DIE’ with a ‘T’ !!” - Garfield.
Before going any further, it is important to make sure your cat is fat before dieting them. There is a very important difference between abdominal enlargement and being fat – if there is any doubt at all it is essential to let us check the cat first! The following advice is only suitable for overweight but otherwise perfectly healthy adult cats. It is NOT suitable for youngsters or for geriatric cats, and is definitely not suitable for cats who are ill for any reason at all. YOU MUST REFER TO A VETERINARIAN IF THERE IS ANY DOUBT AT ALL ABOUT THE SUITABLILITY OF A WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAM FOR YOUR CAT. We cannot be responsible for inappropriate calorie restriction in unsuitable candidates.
The Big Secret
With cats who really cannot be converted to meal
feeding,, who eat free-choice dry kibble, one option is to measure the food
eaten per 24 hours. Simple to do: weigh the food you put into the bowl, then
weigh the food remaining after 24 hours. The missing food has gone into the
cat. You need the family to cooperate on this one, no cheating!
With cats who really cannot be converted to meal feeding,, who eat free-choice dry kibble, one option is to measure the food eaten per 24 hours. Simple to do: weigh the food you put into the bowl, then weigh the food remaining after 24 hours. The missing food has gone into the cat. You need the family to cooperate on this one, no cheating!
Okay, we now know how much the cat wants to eat in any 24 hour period. Are you ready for the hard bit? The cheapest, easiest, simplest, most reliable method of dieting a cat is.. (drumroll please) to reduce the overall daily food intake by about 1/5th to ¼ .
For example, Kitty (a 3.7 kg cat who should have weighed 3.2 kg) voluntarily ate 35 grams of Hills Science Diet Maintenance, twice daily. I reduced her food to 30 grams twice daily. The weight loss was very slow but it was steady, it took maybe 6 months for her to get down to an ideal weight.
We do not want cats losing weight too fast – it is very bad for them – so you need to weigh your cat before you begin, then reweigh him or her in 2 weeks at the latest. If you are not sure if the weight loss in this time is good or bad then ask us! It is a good idea to have weigh-ins at least once a month after this, unless a vet recommends something slightly different.
Ask your vet for a target weight: they may say suggest a certain weight loss over a certain time frame, but are likely to recommend reassessment after this. I personally find giving a target weight hard, and prefer to judge by how the cat actually looks and feels!
But what about those Prescription Diets?
Prescription diets are a very useful tool, they can help us when we are struggling with a weight-loss regime. They are ‘prescription only’ though, really – this means that your cat should have been placed on one of these special diets by a veterinarian after they have decided it is the most suitable treatment for your fat cat. These are calorie - restricted foodstuffs, which are not going to be suitable for everyone – be aware that giving a prescription diet without vet advice could cause problems for your pet. If in doubt, ask!
What treats are allowed?
All things in moderation. If Kitty was used to getting six “Rascals’ Rewards” when she came in at curfew time, then we reduced this to only one or two, as this was a high-calorie treat. Imagine eating six Mars Bars: see what I mean? We talked about this back in Part I, section 5 (even vets give their cats treats)…
Every cat is an individual, and there are some difficult aspects to dieting a cat. As a consequence a general ‘troubleshooting’ paragraph may not be very helpful. Ask your vet for help, support and advice when you are having difficulty. We have come across all the ‘usual’ problems dieting, and should have practical suggestions. We will do our very best to figure out the ‘unusual’ problems and to work at solutions for you!
You Are Not Alone!
Welcome: New Doctors
By M. Gavar
The doctors and staff of Shaw Pet Hospitals welcome the new veterinarians who recently joined our practice.
Dr. Mouhssin Azagrar graduated from the school of veterinary medicine of Rabat, Morocco in December 1997 after he completed his two and a half years of senior clinical rotations in France. He then attended the University of Minnesota, St. Paul as an international exchange trainee for his 18 months of further training. Eight months of his 18 months training was completed at Pittsfield Veterinary Clinic, a mixed animal practice in central New York with special emphasis on Equine Reproduction and Dairy Production Medicine. He then attended Laurel Stone Veterinary Hospital in January 2000, a small animal and exotics practice in Virginia, and later assigned as a solo veterinarian at Laurel Stone's satellite practice, Madison Heights Animal Hospital, a mixed animal practice in Virginia. Dr. Azagrar joined our practice this month after getting his certificate of qualification to practice in the Province of British Columbia. He is a dedicated road biker and a fan of Lance Armstrong. He also enjoys gardening and cooking especially Moroccan and French cuisine. Back home in Morocco, Dr. Azagrar has 2 dogs (Swing and Aleck), a guinea pig (Rody), a turtle and parakeets.
Another new addition to our team of veterinarians is Dr. Lisa Welland who was born and raised in Port Clyde, Nova Scotia. She graduated from the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island. Immediately after finishing her DVM degree, Dr. Welland decided to join our practice and moved here in Victoria with her three year old Siamese cat named Reuben. Reuben may be spoiled and rotten and always demands total attention from Dr. Welland when she gets home from work but for sure is adorable in his own little way. Our young and energetic doctor enjoys sea kayaking, curling, playing golf, jogging and horseback riding. She also likes to travel and is into culinary adventures.
Cryptococcal Infection Incidence in Vancouver Island
The Central Laboratory for Veterinarians (CVL) has recently reported the increased incidence of Cryptoccocal infection in Vancouver island. This substantial increase in cases that occurred over the last 3 months has alarmed veterinarians of CVL. They have advised practicing veterinarians in the island to consider this in the list of differential diagnosis particularly for animals presented with neurologic and respiratory signs and subcutaneous masses (particularly those around head and neck area) after possible exposure to the agent.
Cryptococcosis is a fungal infection cause by Cryptococcus neoformans which is found in many geographic regions. Infection is acquired from inhalation of soilborne organisms especially in pigeon droppings. The organism is a budding yeast and can infect various species of animals. Humans can also get infected but is not transmitted from animals to humans. There were in fact human cases reported in the island since 2001. Signs may involve respiratory and neurologic in most animals like cats, dogs (nasal disease is rare in dogs) and ferrets.
From January to April 2003, there have been 23 cases of cryptococcal infection diagnosed through Central Laboratory. This is close to the number of total cases that Central Lab reported to the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) in 2001 and that are identified in the 37 cases reported from 2000-2001. The disease was diagnosed in cats, dogs and ferrets in the following locations; Victoria area:6, Duncan: 3, Nanaimo: 3, Parksville/Qualicum: 5, Courtnay/Comox: 4 and 2 in Gulf Islands.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PUPPY SOCIALIZATION
By Violette Michaud
It is exciting having a new pup in your home, but there is a lot of stress on them (and you) in the beginning...new home, new noises, new people, possibly other family pets. The first thing you want to do is let your new family member settle into your home. Find a quiet spot to set up the new bed or kennel, and be sure to help them find the food and water dishes.
Once the pup is settled in you can begin your socializing! The most critical time to socialize your new family member is from 8-16 weeks so don't wait too long. During this time period you want to introduce your new pup to your friends, family, other animals, car rides, children, furniture, mailboxes, the vacuum, the garden hose and on the list goes.
It is very exciting having a new family member in the house but if you don't socialize them correctly it can be a disaster waiting to happen. The following are some general guidelines for beginning the socialization:
- only "train" for short periods of time (eg: 5 minutes) but do so many times through out the day
- remember to reward the good behaviour with treats and affection; using a treat that is easily broken up or given in small pieces is best, otherwise your pup will not eat the regular diet that you are feeding
- only have adults do the training in the beginning, as young children may encourage "bad" behaviours such as playing tug-o-war with their clothing...the pup will not know yet that they are doing anything wrong
- DO NOT keep working if you or your pup is tired or frustrated. Take a much needed break and come back to it later
- start getting the pup used to travelling in the car, start with very short trips and gradually increase the distances...if you can only go half a block before the pup starts to become sick or very anxious then only travel half a block; but do so frequently and gradually increase the distance every day
- eventually go to the park, shopping malls, to the veterinary office... anywhere that your pup can meet new people, and be introduced to everyday sounds and objects...by introducing your pup to all these things on a regular basis you will find that your pup is more tolerant of new people, places and things
- remember that if your pup is going with you in the car do not feed or give water too close to the departure time, this may increase the likelihood of the pup becoming sick.
- when introducing your pup to other animals be sure that the pets are all up to date on vaccines and are healthy, we don't want to expose your new pup to things that he or she may not yet be fully vaccinated for!
Remember that although your pup may be very intelligent, he or she may not pick-up on EVERYTHING right away. Introducing your new puppy to everyday things can be very scary for him or her so go slow, be consistent and don't give up!
Good Luck and remember having a 4-legged family member is a big responsibility but it can be fun!
“SUMMER ITCH IN HORSES”
Summer itch or most commonly known as sweet itch is a hypersensitivity reaction associated with Culicoides spp. (sandfly or midge) bites causing pruritis (itch) and alopecia (hair loss) in horses throughout the world. There are a variety of Culicoides spp. that tend to be more of a problem in the summer months, except in the tropics, where they are active throughout the year. Culicoides is very small and can pass through conventional mosquito netting. They are most active in the dawn and dusk. The midges breed in aquatic habitats, decaying vegetation, manure or water troughs.
Mature horses are more commonly affected and the likely affected areas are the dorsal midline and ears, mane and tail are most commonly involved. Pruritus is a characteristic feature of Culicoides hypersensitivity. Horses will often rub their manes and bases of their tails resulting to hair becoming sparse in these areas. Small papules may be seen in the early stages of the condition and with the progression of the hypersensitivity, crusting, scaling, skin thickening, hair loss and damage to the skin may be quite widespread , particularly over the dorsum although there are some species of culicoides that prefer to feed on the ventral surface.
Consult one of our Veterinarians as soon as the problem becomes evident. A thorough clinical examination will be needed to rule out other possible causes of itching e.g. Lice and Ringworm.
Your Vet may be able to use drugs (e.g. corticosteroids or antihistamines) to control the problem, but good insect control is ESSENTIAL.
1. Stable the horse from 4.00pm until 8.00 am.
2. Use rugs and hoods to provide some protection.
3. Apply sponge on fly repellants often twice daily application may be required.
4. Use a very fine fly screen over the stable door.
5. Increase airflow by using a fan in the stable.
6. Consider moving the horse away from wooded and wet area
HIGH MOISTURE FEEDS FOR HORSES
(Haylage, Silage and High-Moisture Grains)
by M. Gavar
Ensiling is a process of storing plant-source and high-moisture feed preserved by encouraging primary fermentation to a sufficient level of acidic acid in a silo under anaerobic condition. With ensiling, a plant’s maximum feed value is obtained by the animal because the plants can be harvested when they are at their greatest feeding value, and there is minimal loss of the feed and its nutrients during harvesting, storage, and feeding. Ensiling maintains the feeding value of protein, carbohydrate, carotene, and many vitamins better than any other practical method of animal feed preservation. However, since ensiled feed is not sun-cured, it is low in vitamin D content. The silo may be an upright column, a trench in the ground, a bunker, a stack or anything into which the high moisture feed can be packed sufficiently tight to prevent air from getting to all but the exposed surface of the feed.
About any type of plant-source feed may be ensiled, including corn, sorghum, legumes, grasses, cereal grains, sunflowers, by-pro ducts, and mixture of different feeds. Those most commonly ensiled are alfalfa and corn. Ensiled plants containing grain, particularly corn and grain sorgum, are referred to as silage; ensiled legumes and grasses are referred to as haylage and ensiled grain is referred to as high-moisture grain.
Under anaerobic conditions, molds, yeast and aerobic bacteria die while anaerobic microorganisms present in the feed ferment its soluble carbohydrates, producing lactic and volatile fatty acids, just as occurs in the rumen and horse’ cecum and colon. As the acids are produced, the resulting acidification of the feed inhibits microbial growth, stopping fermentation and, in grain, killing the seed embryo. This process requires several weeks, after which as long as anaerobic conditions are maintained, the feed is well preserved for many years. If too much air gets to the ensiled feed, as occurs if the feed does not contain the proper moisture content or is not packed sufficiently, and when it is removed from the silo, yeast, mold and bacteria grow and excess heat is produced, resulting in spoilage and heat damage.
“Horsehage”, a procedure for vacuum packing high-moisture forage in sealed heavy plastic was developed in England and introduced to North America to assist in producing a good-quality haylage for horses. In one study, it was found to result in a palatable haylage with a slightly improved digestibility of all nutrients except neutral detergent fiber. However, perforation of the plastic allowing entry of air and some spoilage did occur in a small percentage of the bags. When used, every bale should be closely inspected and, if the plastic bag has been punctured, or if the fluid in that bag should not be fed.
Good silage, haylage or high-moisture ensiled grain have a clean, pleasant acid odor, poor or spoiled feed has a foul or objectionable odor. They have a pleasing, not bitter or sharp taste, and a pH of 3.5 to 5.0. There is no visible mold, and they are not mushy or slimy. They are uniform in moisture and color. Generally, good quality silage or haylage is green or brownish. Tobacco-brown, dark brown, caramelized or charred-appearing and smelling ensiled feed indicates that excessive heat occurred during fermentation; a black color indicates it is rotten.
Poor silage, haylage or high-moisture ensiled grain should not be fed. At best, they are poorly palatable, with decreased feeding value. At worst, they contain mold or bacterial toxins that if consumed may result in harmful effects and death. Botulism, resulting in sudden death, has been reported in horses eating big bale haylage. Good silage, haylage or high-moisture ensiled grains are excellent feeds for horses. They are highly nutritious and palatable, although some horses are reluctant to eat ensiled feeds until they become accustomed to it.It is recommended that ensiled feed dry matter not constitute over one-half of forage fed-horses.
Equine Clinical Nutrition, Feeding and Care. By Lon D. Lewis
On the Lighter Side:
Three dogs-a Great Dane, a Scottie and a Chihuahua-were sitting in a bar, knocking back a few, when a beautiful French poodle walked in.
“Okay boys,” she said seductively. “I’ll make a very happy dog out of the one who can come up with the best proposition using the words cheese and liver.”
The Great Dane thought a moment, then declared, “I don’t like cheese, but I sure like liver, and I like you too!” He panted and wagged his tail, but the lady just looked away.
The Scottie immediately followed with,”I like cheese, and I like liver, and I like you!” He wagged his tail expectantly but she ignored him.
Then the Chihuahua growled, “Liver alone! Cheese with me!”
They left together.
Source: Reader’s Digest, October 2002.