LUV My dogs: veterinary

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Showing posts with label veterinary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label veterinary. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Are Human Pain Meds Safe for Dogs?

Are Human Pain Meds Safe for Dogs?
  As dog owners, naturally, when our pets appear to be suffering, we want to do anything and everything in our power to help. In the case of aspirin and ibuprofen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (or NSAIDs) for humans may be easily attainable and ready to hand, but they are almost universally toxic to dogs. There are veterinarian-approved and prescribed NSAIDs specifically formulated for dogs - always consult with a veterinary health care professional before attempting to treat your dog at home. 
  
Analgesics are drugs used to relieve pain. There are many classes of painkillers. Demerol, morphine, codeine, and other narcotics are subject to federal regulation and cannot be purchased without a prescription.
  Buffered or enteric-coated aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is an over-the-counter analgesic that is reasonably safe for a short time for home veterinary care in the recommended dosage for dogs. Buffered or enteric-coated aspirin is much safer than regular aspirin because it is less likely to cause stomach and duodenal ulcers.
  
Is Aspirin Effective?
Aspirin is one of the most common medicines used for relieving pain in dogs. However, enteric coated aspirin is safer than the usual aspirin. Aspirin can be given to dogs in case of a musculoskeletal injury, bleeding or clotting. Dosage of aspirin clearly depends on the body weight of the dog. 5 to 10 mg of aspirin per pound is sufficient. Repeat the dose after every 12 hours. However, it should not be used if the dog is pregnant.


Can you give a dog ibuprofen?
  When it comes to ibuprofen for dogs, all of the same terms and conditions for over-the-counter NSAIDs like aspirin apply. While buffered aspirin and buffered baby aspirin may be given to dogs - only with great care, and preferably after a veterinary consultation - ibuprofen has an even narrower margin of safety. In point of fact, ibuprofen for dogs is even worse and more dangerous than aspirin, and should be avoided at all costs. The same issues caused by aspirin can be caused by ibuprofen, including stomach ulcers and kidney failure. If a possible side effect of a medication is death, it's probably not worth the risk when there are canine-specific NSAIDs that your vet can prescribe.

Symptoms of accidental aspirin or ibuprofen ingestion
  What if the circumstances are different? What if you didn't give aspirin or ibuprofen to your dog, but have come home to find your bottle of Motrin or Advil open on the floor? How do you spot accidental ingestion of these NSAIDs? Since the primary ill-effects dogs suffer from these medications are related to digestion and filtration, the symptoms of poisoning are reliably related to those systems. Things to look out for if you suspect your dog has gotten hold of human pain meds include vomiting. If the dog has enough aspirin or ibuprofen in its system, that vomit may contain blood, as may the dog's feces, which may express itself as bloody diarrhea.
  Seemingly innocuous symptoms include lack or loss of appetite, which can lead to fatigue and lethargy. In large enough amounts or given enough time, the dog may experience abdominal pain, which can lead the dog to hunch over or struggle to find a comfortable resting position. The dog may also seem confused or disoriented. In more advanced cases, a dog who has ingested aspirin or ibuprofen not meant for them can have seizures and even lapse into a coma. Basically, it's bad news all the way around.

What is Glucosamine?
  Glucosamine is a herbal medication that gives immediate relief from pain to dogs. It is also effective in humans. These can be easily found in drug stores. You can also get it from your veterinarian. Taking it from a veterinarian would be a better idea since he/she will know the safest brand to take.

Use of Acetaminophen as a Pain Reliever for Dogs
  Always consult with your veterinarian before giving your dog acetaminophen. The medication is easy to overuse if you don't know the exact safe dosage. Overuse of this pain killer can cause liver and kidney damage.
  If your veterinarian does advise you to use acetaminophen over drugs approved for use in dogs, the dosage should never be more than 10 milligrams per pound. In addition, you'll never give more than two or three doses per day or serious side effects could occur.

What is Tramadol?
  Tramadol is an analgesic. These can be given in place of NSAIDs or along with them. Tramadol do not have side effects to the extent of NSAIDs or aspirin. They are great for chronic pain in both dogs and humans. Tramadol are given to arthritis patients also. The dosage should be limited to what is prescribed by the veterinarian. Overdose can lead to damage to the liver, nervous system or kidney.
What is Adequan?
  Adequan is meant to heal the pain caused by joint injuries and arthritis. They are also known to repair the areas of problems. It does not have any side effects and can be given to dogs safely. However, you will need the assistance of a specialist, since this medicine can only be given through injections.

Are Narcotics Safe?
  Narcotics are considered as an unpleasant aspect. However, it is one of the best pain relievers known. If narcotics are given in a controlled manner and under expert supervision, they can be the best way you can help your dog escape the pain. Narcotics is usually used in serious health conditions, post-surgical conditions, to fight cancer, or to treat large amount of pain. Some of the examples of narcotics that veterinarian are allowed to use are Fentanyl Patches, Amantadine, and Neurontin etcetera.

Is your dog in pain? Consult a vet!
  Can you give a dog aspirin? Technically yes, but only under certain conditions and doses.   Can you give a dog ibuprofen? Best not. The rule of thumb to follow is that if it's human pain medication, think twice before offering it to your dog, even with the purest motives and the best of intentions. After you think twice, put the bottle of ibuprofen or aspirin back in the medicine cabinet. If you cannot get to a vet, then at least give one a call - in the long run, it's possible you'll spare your dog further and completely unnecessary pain.
  If you have dogs, especially if they have free reign of the house, make certain that all human medications are safely and securely bottled. Then see to it that your cache of aspirin, ibuprofen, and all your other medications for that matter, are stored in cabinets, boxes, cupboards, or other home-storage facilities well out of reach. As we all know, dogs can get into mischief around the house; knock the wrong thing over, or the wrong thing open, and trouble can follow.

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Monday, April 28, 2014

What Is The Best Dog Food?

What Is The Best Dog Food?
  Every day veterinarians are asked that question by dog owners. It's a sincere question because most dog owners want to feed the very best to their furry friends. Good health begins with proper nutrition, regardless of price or convenience of acquisition.
  Deciding on the type of dog food you provide is one of the most important decisions you will ever make for your puppy or older dog. Dog food nutrition directly influences every aspect of your dog's life. Things like how puppies grow, their behavior habits, health, overall well-being and appearance are all closely connected to the nutrition we provide - it's a big responsibility.
  With all the recent publicity and concern with the dog food recall of 2008 the spotlight has been aimed fairly and squarely at the big commercial dog food companies. Us dog lovers are finally becoming more aware and educated about providing wholesome, nutritionally balanced meals for our dogs. So where do we start in our search to find the best dog food? What are our options, and who can we trust or even believe?
  Choosing the best dog food can be an overwhelming decision - but why does it have to be so hard? I know from personal experience it can be difficult to see through all of the conflicting views, hype, marketing tactics and secrecy surrounding the dog food industry. After years of experimenting with different dog foods and lots of research I have reached an unfortunate conclusion. I feel that the vast majority of the big commercial dog food companies are far more focussed on extracting the money from our pockets rather than the health and wellbeing of our precious dogs.
  So when I set out to determine the best dog food available my main focus was always the health, vitality and longevity of my dogs - I want my dogs to thrive. I hope this article will help you to determine the very best puppy food for your dogs and make your feeding decision clearer.
  A wholesome well balanced dog food diet promotes: Healthy skin and coat, strong well developed bones, bright clear eyes, firmer stools (and less of them), well defined muscle tone, quality of life and longevity, healthy teeth and gums, fewer trips to your Vet, no bad odor, fewer digestive problems, energy, vitality, fewer behavior problems and over-all health.

What Are The Choices - What Should We Feed Our Dogs?
1. Commercial Dog Food: This includes the packaged foods you find at your local supermarket, pet store or veterinarian. Commercial dog food is available in dry, semi dry and wet (canned).
  • Royal Canin offers dry foods formulated for specific dog breeds. This can be helpful if your breed has unique health problems. For boxers, Royal Canin includes ingredients to protect heart function. 
  • Eukanuba offers a meals with added nutrients, such as glucosamine and Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, to protect larger dogs' joints. 
  • Avoderm Natural- This oven-baked food is formulated for dogs with sensitive stomachs. 
  • Pinnacle Holistic- This dry food is made with trout and sweet potatoes, eliminating common allergens such as corn, wheat and soy. 
  • Innova- With ingredients such as herring oil, pumpkin and carrots, Innova embraces the concept of holistic food for pets.
  • Solid Gold has been manufacturing holistic pet food for more than 30 years. Bison and salmon are the main ingredients in this food for large-breed puppies. 
  • Wellness - This dry food is made with ingredients fit for human consumption and additives to help avoid common health problems among dogs. Probiotics also are added to aid in digestion. 
  • Blue Buffalo - This premium food for dogs includes Omega 6 fatty acids and glucosamine for joint health. 
  • Science Diet offers dogs meals with real meat instead of relying on byproducts as its main ingredient. This food is available in chicken and brown rice and lamb and brown rice. 
  • Canidae includes human-grade meats and reduces fillers to help your dog shed unnecessary pounds. 
2. Raw Dog Food
  The raw dog food diet is the growth sector within the dog food marketplace. This category includes the raw food you source and prepare yourself or the pre-made and packaged products.


  Raw dog food is a fairly broad term as there are many variations on this feeding method. The common thread with raw food enthusiasts is that they believe feeding raw is the most natural way to feed a dog. Raw foodies believe that this is the way dogs have successfully evolved and that eating a raw diet is the way nature intended dogs to get their nutrition. The raw food diet is said to replicate how a dog would eat in the wild. 

  Some raw food proponents love to give big meaty bones and others won't. The same applies with fruit and vegetables - some people say that vegetable matter is a natural part of a wild dogs diet, gathered from the stomach of their prey.
   Another benefit of feeding raw is healthy teeth and gums and well developed jaws, neck and shoulder muscles (from all the chewing).
  On the other hand detractors of feeding raw focus on the danger of foodborne illness through the threat of bacteria like salmonella and E. coli. Some also say that it is difficult to feed a nutritionally balanced meal the raw way.

3. Homemade Dog Food
  With all the recent news about the dog food recall and associated concerns with commercial dog foods, the homemade dog food option has really come to the fore.
 Preparing your dog's meals from scratch has many benefits, including the complete control of all meals served. You know exactly what goes into every meal (and where it was sourced) and you also know that it has been prepared in a clean environment.
  The homemade dog food option also comes with the added responsibility of formulating nutritionally balanced meals (proteins, vitamins etc.) and meeting the calorie requirements for your individual dog. If you arm yourself with some good dog food recipes and get into a routine this process is not all that difficult to maintain.
  Typical homemade dog meals include big meaty stews, healthy soups, pies, vegetables and maybe some raw bones every now and then.

In conclusion...  look at the ingredient list and a meat such as chicken should be listed as the first ingredient. Look at the guaranteed analysis to see that the protein level is at 30 percent or more. The fat content should be at 18 percent or more. And if there is a rather wide spectrum of ingredients such as omega fatty acids and vitamin E, that's good, too. There should be NO FOOD COLORING!



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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Spotting the signs of pregnancy

Spotting the signs of pregnancy
  Unlike humans, detecting pregnancy in a dog is not as practical as urinating on a stick or confirming a blood test. A veterinarian may be able to diagnose a pregnant dog within a month or so of conception by a physical examination or by x-ray or ultrasound around six weeks gestation, but since the gestation period of a dog is about nine weeks, this offers little to the anxious breeder.
  Gestation is the period from conception to birth. It averages 63 days from the day of ovulation (the normal range is 56 to 66 days). Note that the day of ovulation is not always the same as the day of breeding.
  There are some outward symptoms a pregnant dog may exhibit, but they generally do not surface until about four or five weeks. The most obvious symptom is weight gain, although a dog may not gain any significant weight until a week or two before birth if there are only one or two puppies. Another obvious sign is enlarged mammary glands, which most pregnant dogs will display between five and seven weeks.
  Other signs a dog may be pregnant are behavioral symptoms. Initially, you may notice a decrease in appetite. Dogs may become restless and interact less with their people and may prefer seclusion. They often make natural attempts at “nesting,” evidence by the shredding of paper or digging at blankets and bedding in the last week or so of the pregnancy. The dog can also become irritable, with minor personality changes in the last two to three weeks.
  It can be difficult to tell whether a dog is pregnant until the last few weeks of her nine-week gestation, when her belly's increase in size is hard to miss. The most surefire way to find out is by taking her to a vet, but being aware of physical and behavioral changes that may take place is also useful. 
  To understand dog pregnancy, you should first get a general comprehension of how her body works. Your dog will experience a heat cycle before she is able to get pregnant. Veterinarians suggest that you do not breed her during her first heat period unless it happens after she is 1 year old. Any earlier would stunt the growth of your young female.
  Most dogs go into heat 2 times a year, but it is common to skip one on occasion. While in heat she will be able to breed with more than the one male. She will be in heat for 3 weeks and her cycle will arrive every 6-9 months.
  The first thing you will recognize when your dog goes into heat is a swollen vulva and bloody discharge. Eggs are not released yet in this phase of her heat cycle. Male dogs will be chemically drawn to her more than ever before. She still will not show a major interest in them, until this 6-11 day stage comes to an end.
  In the second stage of heat she is actually fertile. Her posture will transform to a stance that invites procreation. Her bleeding will change from light pink to a golden sand color. Her vulva will remain swollen but is softer than before. The most common duration for this stage is 5-9 days but has been known to go on for nearly 20 days for different dogs. Once this stage is finished she will no longer be inviting male attention.


Signs of pregnancy
  • A slight mucoid vulval discharge may occur around one month after mating.
  • The teats will become more prominent, pinker and erect, due to an increase in the blood supply around the base of the nipples. This should appear between 25 and 30 days after mating.
  • Body weight will increase from around day 35 onwards and may increase to 50% over normal.
  • The abdomen will enlarge and this should be noticeable from around day 40, although first-time mums and bitches carrying few puppies may not show as much of a change.
  • Mammary gland enlargement is noticeable around day 40 and some bitches may express a serous fluid from the teats from this time.
  • Behaviour may also change, such as displaying slight depression as well as a drop in appetite, but as these signs can also indicate a problem, consult your vet if they occur.
  • Many dogs’ appetite will increase in the second half of pregnancy.
  • Closer to the delivery date, your bitch will probably start to express her nesting instincts, scratching at the floor or in her bed, and displaying signs of increasing restlessness.
On average, you should be able to tell whether or not your bitch is pregnant at around one month after mating.

Veterinary procedures
  If you do suspect that your dog is pregnant, you'll need to see your vet for confirmation.
  • The most commonly used method is ultrasound. This can be used after 20 days (no earlier), and foetal heartbeats can be identified at 22 days, but predicting the number of puppies can be challenging. Ultrasound examinations are comfortable because they are not invasive and very reliable in experienced hands.
  • Feeling the abdomen from about 30 days can be accurate if performed by an experienced vet, but this may be difficult if the dog is nervous or slightly overweight. If pregnant, the vet will feel a thickening of the uterus and ‘bumps’ within. The method isn't infallible, however, especially if there is just one pup in the womb or if the pregnancy is not as advanced as first thought.
  • From approximately 21-25 days endocrine tests detect relaxin, a hormone exclusively produced by pregnant dogs.
  • An x-ray will pick up the skeletons of the puppies from around 45 days. It should also be accurate in determining how many there are. However, most vets prefer not to use this method, as there is a possibility that early exposure of the foetus to x-rays can cause problems. This risk is minimal after 45 days, although sedating the bitch to obtain the image may be more of a problem.

Dog Pregnancy - Giving Birth
  Take her temperature periodically. It is normally 101-102 degrees Fahrenheit. Once you see it drop into the 97-99 degrees range, and notice it has been the same consistently for 2 readings taken 12 hours apart, this is when you can be sure the delivery will happen within the next 24 hours.
  Her labor will go through 3 clear stages. The third stage is repeated with the birth of each puppy:

Stage One: She will appear restless and have anxiety. She will often separate herself from any attention. No food will interest her, not even her favorite treats. Take her out to go to the bathroom because it may be her last chance before delivery.

Stage Two: Her contractions will have begun. A green sac of fluid will protrude from her vulva. The puppies will start to appear either headfirst or rear first. Both are normal positions for dogs to be born in. Do not be alarmed to see them quiet and listless directly after birth. Leave her alone to stand or pace, as she needs to. The mother's instincts will cause her to open the sac, and lick the pups to clean them. She will sever the umbilical cord herself, but sometime you may interject if the natural process takes too long. The sac should always be removed immediately if it remained unbroken during the delivery. You may clean the puppies by rubbing them gently with a fresh cloth. Keep rubbing to stimulate their circulation. The mother's tongue or your rubs are what gets them to start squirming and crying.
  If the mother struggles with a puppy that becomes lodged then you can try to assist the birth by grasping the puppy with a clean clothe. Firmly exert steady traction but do not jerk or pull suddenly. If you have any questions then call your vet right away.

Stage Three: Her resting period will last a few hours as her mild contractions fade away. If she delivered two pups closer together than her comfort level allowed, then her contractions will take longer to end.

When There Is An Emergency
  A vet should always be called:
  • If a puppy is lodged and unable to be removed.
  • If your dog's labor occurs for 2 hours with no delivery.
  • If there is a 4 hour window since the last pup was born and before more are delivered.
  • If the delivery of pups doesn't commence after she showed the normal greenish-black discharge in the beginning of the birthing process.
  • If her pregnancy has past 65 days.
  • If she experiences any uncontrollable tremors, vomiting, or panting.
After The Puppies Arrive - Post-Natal Care

  You can periodically examine the mother's nipples to make sure they are not infected, and even palpate them with a warm damp cloth to clean the area. Clip any puppies' nails that can irritate her skin.
  She will pass soft stool for a few days due to the natural change in her new eating habit and from the residue she consumed while cleaning her pups.
  Do not be alarmed if she eats her pup's feces in the beginning. That is a common thing for new mothers to do and will generally not hurt her. She will still have some remaining vaginal discharge with passing blood clots for a week. Any longer is not normal and should be addressed.
  The new mother will take care of the puppies after birth so there is very little you need to do to assist them. She may even act territorial or aggressive initially. This behavior will slow down over time. They will start nursing 2-4 hours after birth. Never place a heating pad down for the puppies, but do realize that the low floor can be 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the room. The puppies need a comfortable room temperature. Their eyes open at 10-14 days old. Their first visit to the vet is at 3 weeks for routine de-worming and a health exam. They need to be weaned at 3-4 weeks of age.
  During the weaning process, cut their milk intake down gradually by substituting the remainder of their diet with watered down puppy food and milk replacer. It is good if they start taking solid food, but if you are still having difficulty then never deprive the puppy of the mother's milk until he is able to eat solids for however long it takes.
  Make sure to keep the puppies' bed area clean daily. Watch their feeding habits and weight gain to know which puppies need extra nutrients. Never feed human milk. Milk replacer is the only nutritional boost you should feed a small puppy. One or two runts in a litter are common. You may give them a separate feeding time to have an equal chance of achieving a full diet. Always rid their area of fleas because a flea infestation could drain the little pups of blood at a dangerous rate.

  Once they reach 6-8 weeks old then they are at the age to be adopted out.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

How to Choose a Vet

How to Choose a Vet
   Whether you’re a new pet owner or have owned several pets for years, it’s a good idea to select a veterinarian before you actually need one. This way, you’ll be working with someone who you feel comfortable with and seems to have a good rapport with your pet rather than a vet who is simply nearby, open, or listed first in the Yellow Pages.
  The best solution is to find a good vet in advance before you need one, to make sure that you feel happy that they will provide the best care for your particular pet.
  To find the right vet requires the same patience and diligence that you would devote to finding any other kind of professional — a pediatrician, dentist, real estate agent, or plumber. 
  The letters following a vets name, D.V.M. or V.M.D. mean that they successfully graduated with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.  The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has a council on education which sets the accreditation standards for the colleges offering such programs in the U.S.  Before they can practice medicine, a prospective vet must also pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam (NAVLE).  The state of Ohio does not require veterinarians pass any further state specific exams prior to practicing.  

1.Compile a list of veterinarians in your area. 
  Check the yellow pages in your local phone book. This will give you a place to start and organize the contenders so that you can efficiently begin researching them. The best advertisement is through word of mouth, ask your friends and neighbors who own pets on which vets they trust. Not only can they guide you in who you should go to, but they can be a valuable resource in who not to go to as well. If you frequent a dog park or have one close by, chat with some of the other pet owners for advice. You'll gain a lot of useful information and guidance. If you're planning to move or have recently moved and in need to look for a new vet, you can ask your current vet if they can refer a clinic or a specific veterinarian in your new area.

2. Utilize your resources. 
  Gather as much information as possible. You can obtain data by asking neighbors, friends or other pet enthusiasts and a bevy of other ways as well. Ask your local Humane Society or peruse the flyers they may have on their bulletin board. Some pet supply stores will offer an information booth or board to assist patrons who have such queries. Research vets on the Internet by logging on to pet related chat rooms or websites. Look for articles regarding any local veterinarians or clinics, positive or negative. Professional directories such as American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) inspect offices and offer information regarding their status.

3.Visit the clinics/offices personally and ask to speak with a vet and take a tour of the facilities. 
  Ask to view where the animals are kept overnight for procedures that would require an extended stay. If possible, speak with a few of the clients in the waiting room to assess their satisfaction. The offices should be clean, well lit, and up to date with the latest in veterinary medicine advances. The staff should be courteous, knowledgeable, and handle animals with care. The vets should be kind, patient, and of course accredited. Don't simply assume that they have had the required schooling and other advanced education, ask for details or proof. Arm yourself with a list of questions to ask and don't be afraid to voice your concerns and opinions. A good vet won't try to bully you into doing something you have reservations about, or belittle you for asking what may seem like simple questions. Look for someone who you feel truly has a love for animals and will develop a personal relationship with you and your pet. They should possess a gentle touch and a soothing demeanor. This will help put your understandably, nervous pup more at ease.

4. The vet should offer either emergency care or have an emergency clinic that they work with, should you encounter a problem after regular office hours.
  All procedures and policies are to be explained to you up front and in detail, as are fees and payment information. They should inform you of what services they do and do not provide, and be able to refer you to a specialist if one is required. They should be able to provide you with literature about a number of things, from flea and tick prevention to proper nutrition to training.


5. Above all, trust your instincts.
   If something appears sketchy or makes you uncomfortable, speak up. Your dogs can't tell you that someone is being too rough with them by means of anything but a yelp, and many times dogs will cry even when the vet is being as gentle as possible. It's up to you to keep your eyes open and be alert for these things for your pet. You are never contractually obligated to revisit a vet or clinic should you feel uncomfortable with him/her or the services. If you've encountered any problems, start looking for another alternative.

  If your pet especially doesn't like a certain vet, but doesn't mind others, follow your pet's instincts.


List of questions to ask the vet:
  • Opening times, important if you need to have flexible access to your vet, for instance evenings and weekends.
  • Fees – find out their standard consultation fees, also their fees for standard treatments such as vaccinations, worm and flea treatments etc.
  • Emergencies – what are the arrangements for out of hours emergency care for your pet, for instance do they do home visits?
  • Alternative medicine – find out what their attitude is towards alternative and complementary treatments for your pet.
   Never be afraid to ask a vet anything. If you feel afraid to ask them something to do with your pet and it's well-being, this obviously isn't the right vet for you

  Your veterinarian will be the most important person in providing your dog with proper care, second only to you the owner. He or she should be someone you feel comfortable talking to, capable of leaving your animal in his/her care, and with whom you would develop a long-standing relationship. In a manner of speaking, the vet you choose should become a part of your dog's family. By thoroughly investigating the potential vets and coming to a well-informed decision, you can rest assured that it will save both you and your pet stress in the future.


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