Yearly Archives: 2018

Why does my indoor cat need to see the Vet?

If this question has ever crossed your mind, then you are not alone. It seems obvious, my cat stays inside all day every day, so why do they need to come in for vaccines? The short answer is because disease-causing organisms can live anywhere. Protecting the health and wellness of your feline companion is what we strive for as Veterinary purr-sonel.

 

So, what’s the purpose of a physical exam? Just like us, cats should get a yearly checkup with a doctor to ensure ongoing good health. Your Veterinarian will provide a nose to tail exam including listening to the heart and lungs, checking hydration status, and looking for weight loss or gain which can be indicators of illness. In addition, checkups help to catch and prevent diseases in their early stages when they are most manageable. Cats’ are extremely skilled in hiding their illnesses. Many times, when it becomes obvious to us humans that our cat isn’t feeling well, they have been sick for a good while. Silly, sneaky meows.

 

The term vaccine has come to be a scary word for many people. For our feline friends though, these can truly be lifesaving! Many people are surprised to learn that the rabies vaccine is required by law in most states, including Pennsylvania. This is because rabies is not only a deadly disease with no cure but can be passed onto humans through a bite wound. Through strict vaccination programs here in the United States we are fortunate that rabies incidences continue to decline (CDC). Even strictly indoor only kitties can be exposed. Have you ever had a mouse, bat, racoon, or other small creature somehow find its way into your house? That’s right, these critters can pass onto rabies your pets. In 2017 racoons represented the largest number (50.7%) of positive rabies cases in Pennsylvania (PA Department of Health). In addition, if your feline ever ventures outside, even supervised by their humans, they run the risk of being exposed. Keeping your pet up to date on their rabies vaccine can protect them and you from this deadly disease.

 

In the end it all boils down to the simple fact that regular checkups keep animals (and humans) healthier, happier, and living longer. A yearly physical is a simple and effective way to catch problems early and help prevent illness. Vaccines play a huge role in keeping kitties safe from many diseases, including rabies. For more information or if you have questions please call our office and we can help you understand the best options for your pet. Getting your feline to the Vet may be a hassle, but worth it so your companion can live all nine lives to the fullest.

 

Works Cited
“Pennsylvania Animal Rabies 2017 Report.” Pennsylvania Department of Health, Apr. 2018, www.health.pa.gov/topics/Documents/Programs/Rabies/Annual%20Animal%20Rabies%20Report%202017.pdf.

 

“Rabies.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 22 Apr. 2011, www.cdc.gov/rabies/prevention/animals.html.

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure: Preventative Medicine and Testing in Cats

Preventative and wellness care is an excellent way to make sure your feline friend has a long and healthy life.  It is almost always easier to prevent health problems in pets than it is to treat illnesses later.   Here are some common vaccines, tests, and preventative products that are frequently used to help keep your cat healthy:

Vaccines:

Both indoor and outdoor cats should be kept up to date on vaccines to help prevent a variety of illnesses.  Vaccines work by stimulating your pet’s immune system, helping to protect them against a variety of infectious organisms.  Below are some commonly administered vaccinations in cats:

  • Rabies: This is the most important vaccine in cats. Rabies, which is transmitted through saliva, is universally fatal if infection occurs.   This is a disease that can be spread to all mammals, including humans.  In Pennsylvania, all cats over 12 weeks of age are required to be vaccinated against rabies.  In certain situations, exceptions to this rule may be available for outdoor only cats.   
  • Distemper (also known as FVRCP): This combination vaccine protects against a variety of organisms including feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia (also known as feline distemper). All of these viruses can make cats extremely sick and in some cases can even lead to death.
  • Feline Leukemia Virus (also known as FeLV): The FeLV vaccine protects against a virus that can lead to cancer and immune system disorders in cats. The feline leukemia virus is spread through saliva and nasal secretions between cats in close contact with one another.

A number of other vaccines exist as well.  Your veterinarian will be able to advise you on what vaccines are right for your pet.

Wellness Testing:

Many diseases, illnesses, and disorders in cats can be detected through wellness testing.  Each cat is different, so your veterinarian will recommended a specific testing program for your cat based on a variety of risk factors. If underlying problems or diseases are detected, we are often able to treat the patient before clinical symptoms develop.  Below are some commonly performed tests in cats:

  • Wellness Bloodwork: This test allows us to asses many different parameters in cats, and also gives us an idea of how your pet’s internal organs are functioning. Wellness blood work can be useful in screening for and diagnosing a number of different issues such anemia, infection, liver disease, kidney disease, metabolic disorders, cancers, and autoimmune problems.
  • Feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus testing (FeLV/FIV testing): This combination test is useful for detecting infection by viruses that can lead to a variety of problems including cancer and immune system disorders. FeLV and FIV are not curable and can easily be spread to other cats.
  • Fecal testing: This test allows us to check your cat for a variety of intestinal parasites such as worms and protozoa. These parasites can lead to symptoms such as weight loss, diarrhea, and vomiting. 
  • Urine Testing: In some cases, your cat’s urine can be used to screen for many different diseases, such as diabetes, infections, and kidney issues.

Preventative Products:

Fleas, heartworms, intestinal worms, and ticks can all cause serious illness in cats. For fleas and ticks, a variety of over the counter and prescription products are available. Make sure that any over the counter flea and tick products are specifically designed for cats, since many dog flea and tick preventatives are toxic to cats.  If there is ever any doubt, please consult your veterinarian before using a flea and tick preventative in cats.

Heartworm preventative products are obtained through prescription only.  Most of these cat specific products also help to kill intestinal worms and fleas.

So What Do I Do Now?

The bottom line is that many different vaccines, tests, and products exist to help keep your furry friend healthy.  At your appointment, your veterinarian will be able to guide you towards the proper preventative steps to keep your cat healthy.  Give us a call today to schedule your cat’s exam!

Are You Aware of Pain in Your Pet?

by LVT Amanda Clever

Pet Pain2September has arrived, which means the temperature will rise and fall. Pumpkins, fallen leaves, and hay rides will be all around. The final days of summer are where you and your beloved pet can enjoy the great outdoors. But what if your pet has started to not what to join in the fun. Or is your pet slower to get up or down? What might be happening? Pain in your pet can range from acute to chronic pain from various health issues due to age and activity level. So what are the differences between acute and chronic pain? Let’s explore this further and find out ways to alleviate this pain to have a better sense of awareness of pain in our pets as we celebrate Animal Pain Awareness Month.

First, let’s explore what acute and chronic pain mean. So what are the most common signs of pain in your pet to be aware of? This can vary from each species. Whether it is a dog, cat, small pocket pets, reptiles, or other exotics; it can even be seen in our larger patients/pets like cows and horses. Acute pain is pain that occurs for a short time but can be very severe discomfort that causes distress in your pet. Chronic pain is associated with a particular long-term illness or condition.

So, what are some common signs of pain in your pet? For dogs, it could be difficulty standing or lying down, reluctant to jump up or down on furniture, decreased appetite, and decreased activity. Most of these could be associated with joint pain and aging due to osteoarthritis. Decreased appetite can be associated with mouth pain. This could be due to a fractured tooth, inflamed gums, or infection in many of the teeth or gums where you might not be able to see. If you noticed any of these signs or changes in your pet’s behavior, contact our office and we can investigate the issue to make your dog be its best.

Some might be wondering what are common signs of pain for my cat? Well, for cats, it could be over-grooming or licking excessively a particular area, reluctant to jump up onto surfaces or counters, decreased appetite, and decreased activity. Referred pain can be seen if your cat(s) are licking a particular or over-grooming. Decreased appetite could be due to many illnesses but also could be mouth pain. Osteoarthritis is common in our geriatric cats that can be easily missed if not watching their behavior and activities closely. Again, if you noticed any of these signs or changes in your pet’s behavior, contact our office to set up an appointment and have one of our veterinarians investigate the issue further to get your pet back to its normal, happy self.

Pain can also be seen in our small pocket pets/exotics. Some of the common signs associated with pain in these little ones are chattering, not able to pick up food well, decreased activity, decreased appetite, and in rabbits- not eating cecotropes, or night feces, which includes a lot of their nutritional supplement in their diet to keep the gastrointestinal tract healthy.

I cannot stress it enough, if you notice any of these signs, please contact the office and we can help your pet get back to its normal, happy self. This can be done by a variety of medications, cold laser therapy treatments, or supplements to improve health. So make September a start to always be aware of pain in your animals.

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure: Preventative Medicine and Testing in Dogs

By Scott Pandya, VMD

Wellness vaccines, testing, and preventative products are all important parts of having a healthy pet. It is almost always easier to prevent health problems in pets than it is to treat illnesses later. For this reason, your veterinarian may recommend a variety of preventative health measures to ensure that your furry friend is as healthy as possible. Here are some common vaccines, tests, and products that are frequently used to help keep your dog healthy.

dog with needle 2Vaccines
One of the simplest and most important ways to keep your pet healthy is to keep them up to date on vaccinations. Vaccines work by stimulating your pet’s immune system to help protect against a variety of infectious organisms. Below are some commonly administered vaccinations in dogs:

– Rabies: This is the most important vaccine in dogs. Rabies, which is transmitted through saliva, is universally fatal if infection occurs. This is a disease that can be spread to all mammals, including humans. In Pennsylvania, all dogs over 12 weeks of age are required to be vaccinated against rabies.
– Distemper (also known as DA2PP or DHPP): This combination vaccine protects against a variety of organisms such as the distemper virus, adenovirus type 2, parvo virus, and parainfluenza. All of these viruses, particularly distemper and parvo virus, can make dogs extremely sick and may even lead to death.
– Leptospirosis: The leptospirosis vaccine is very important for protection against a genus of bacteria know as leptospira. This bacterium can lead to a variety of serious problems including kidney and liver failure and can lead to infection in humans as well.
– Lyme: Lyme disease is a very common illness in dogs. This illness is spread by deer ticks, and can lead to a variety of symptoms including joint and kidney problems. The risk of contracting Lyme disease can be greatly reduced in dogs by yearly administration of the Lyme vaccine and proper tick prevention products.
– Bordetella (also known as kennel cough): The bordetella vaccine is useful for reducing the risk of catching common upper respiratory infections in dogs. These upper respiratory infections can often be spread between dogs at parks, kennels, and any other situation in which dogs are in close contact with one another.

A number of other vaccines exist as well. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you on what vaccines are right for your pet.

dog blood2Wellness Testing
Many diseases, illnesses, and disorders in dogs can be detected through wellness testing. To ensure that no underlying problems exist, your veterinarian may recommend a variety of tests. If abnormalities or diseases are detected, we are often able to treat the patient before clinical symptoms develop. Below are some commonly performed tests in dogs:

– Wellness Bloodwork: This test allows us to asses many different parameters in dogs, and also gives us an idea of how your pet’s internal organs are functioning. Wellness bloodwork can be useful in screening for and diagnosing several different issues such as anemia, infection, liver disease, kidney disease, metabolic disorders, cancers, and autoimmune problems.
– Heartworm and tick-borne illness testing: Heartworm is a severe parasitic disease in dogs that is spread through mosquito bites. Heartworm primarily affects the heart, lungs, and circulatory system and can be fatal in some cases if not detected early. Tick-borne illnesses commonly tested for include Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and Ehrlichia. These diseases can make your dog very ill and can lead to symptoms such as fever, joint and kidney disease, and anemia.
– Fecal testing: This test allows us to check your dog for a variety of intestinal parasites such as worms and protozoa. These parasites can lead to symptoms such as weight loss, diarrhea, and vomiting.
– Urine Testing: In some cases, your dog’s urine can be used to screen for many different diseases, such as diabetes, infections, and kidney issues.

Preventative Products
Fleas, ticks, intestinal parasites, and heartworms can all be prevented by placing your dog onto preventative products. Flea and tick preventatives come in a variety of forms such as oral tablets, topical liquids, and collars. Some of these products can only be obtained via prescription, while others can be obtained over the counter. Just be sure to ask your veterinarian’s opinion prior to administering a flea and tick preventative product. Many over the counter and natural formulations are not very effective and, in some cases, can even be harmful.

Heartworm preventative products are obtained through prescription only. Most of these products also help to kill intestinal worms too. Before starting heartworm prevention, your veterinarian may need to perform a heartworm test to assure that your dog is not currently infected.

So What Do I Do Now?
The bottom line is that many different vaccines, tests, and products exist to help keep your furry friend healthy. At your appointment, your veterinarian will be able to provide guidance towards the proper preventative steps to keep your dog healthy!

Stay tuned for part 2 of this blog where we will focus on our feline friends!

Effects That Human Medications

by Elizabeth Charles, Tech Supervisor

pills-1885550_640As Parents, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and family members of young children we always make sure our household items and medications are out of the reach of little hands – BUT, did you ever think about what these items can do to your furry, four-legged loved ones? Although some medications are shared by both humans and animals, most are toxic. Even shared medication in the wrong dose can be toxic.

Some medications that pose a high risk are:

• Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories – Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen
• Acetaminophen
• Diet Pills / Vitamins
• Cold medication
• Antihistamines
• Prescription drugs
• Antidepressants

These medications can make your pet very sick. The signs and symptoms may vary depending on the medication but you may see vomiting, excessive drooling, shaking/seizure activity, diarrhea, hemorrhaging / bloody diarrhea and lethargy. Narcotics, including marijuana can be life-threatening if ingested.

Never give your pet any medication, including over-the-counter medications unless directed by your veterinarian. Keep all medication tightly secured and stored where your pet cannot reach them.

So, now we come to the question of what to do if you think your pet has ingested any of these things. First, DON’T WAIT!! Time is critical for successfully treating an accidental poisoning. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-426-4435 – there may be a consultation fee, but this will be cheaper than the loss of your fur baby). Be prepared to provide your pet’s breed, age, weight, and symptoms. Keep the product container with you to assist in identification so appropriate treatment recommendations can be made.

REMEMBER our babies don’t realize that these things are bad for them, it is up to us to make sure they are safe.

Information for this blog was obtained from the American Veterinary Medical Association. More information can be found at www.avma.org or by calling Shippensburg Animal Hospital at 717-532-5413.

Your Impact on Wildlife

by Amanda, LVT

Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, the great outdoors are just a few steps out your front door. A part of the great outdoors is wildlife. Many of us take for granted that little squirrel in the tree, the birds by the bird feeder at the kitchen window, or that occasional raccoon that landed in your headlights crossing the road at night. We take many of the squirrels, possums, deer, and birds for granted that they will always be there to view. But, many of the native species to PA are endangered or extinct due to a growing population, deforestation, and wildfires.

The week of March 12th is National Wildlife Week, when the National Wildlife Federation dedicates for all ages to take some specific time to devote to seeing how our ecological footprint is impacting the wildlife we are used to seeing daily. To kick-off this week, let’s dive into the various species native to PA that you might find when you enjoy the great outdoors with also a peek into the species that desperately need help to thrive.

Night Heron re-sizedSome of the endangered species in PA include bitterns, shrews, night-herons, flying squirrels, warblers, terns, wrens, upland sandpipers, egrets, and everyone’s favorite, Indiana Bats. One animal you might not have heard of before is the Dickcissel, which is a bird that loves grassy fields and similar to a sparrow. They sing to one another in tones that are similar to its name. They made it on the list due to human populations growing and pushing into their natural habitats.

There are a few species on the threatened list including harriers, bats, Alleghany woodrats, and the long-eared owl. These owls are very secretive and shy which makes observation hard to determine what is causing this species to decline in numbers. The small-footed bat is native to Cumberland and Franklin counties in the small caves but their numbers are declining.

Some of the species in PA that are on the recovery list include the Bald Eagle and the osprey. One special window into the bald eagles and the recovery process is the Hanover Bald Eagle Nest cam. It is a great and safe way of watching the eagles in action without interrupting their natural habitat. You can visit the webcam on Facebook or on the PA Game Commission website.

Why do I bring these endangered species up? Or, maybe you are thinking why it’s important to learn about wildlife conservation? What is my impact on wildlife in PA? One key way to make a difference is to learn what wildlife species are on the lists and to know what their natural habitats entail. Other suggestions from the PGC include the following: contribute, be ethical, monitor for changes in your community, and manage the environment- this could include protecting grassy fields, protecting wetlands and other forest lands.

Take time this week and throughout the year to dig deep into what your impact is on the environment and how that correlates to the wildlife close to your home and work.

National Adopt a Guinea Pig Month

guinea pigsIn 2002 the ASPCA declared the month of March “National Adopt a Rescued Guinea Pig Month”. This was developed because of the overwhelming number of guinea pigs entering shelters. A guinea pig may be the perfect pet for you if you are not quite ready for the commitment of a dog or a cat.

Don’t get me wrong, guinea pigs are a big commitment just like our other household pets. They require a large space to live in and do best when they are around other guinea pigs; so usually adopting a bonded pair is best. According to the Humane Society of the United States, one guinea pig needs a cage that is 30”x36” to comfortably live. It is also strongly recommended that guinea pigs have at least one hour per day of play time outside of their cage in an even larger play area. Guinea pigs love to run around and explore new places! It’s also important to pick a good location to put your guinea pig cage in your house. They are very social animals and love to be around activity. A living room would be the best place for them since this area sees the most traffic from an average family. They are also very vocal (especially when they know it’s time for their veggies), so your bedroom may not be the best place for them to live. It’s also good to remember that guinea pigs are very sensitive to noise, so avoid putting your pig next to the TV. Also, be sure to keep them away from drafty areas, direct sunlight, and other pets in the home.

guineapig2Before adopting a guinea pig, it’s important to understand their dietary needs. A guinea pig’s diet has 4 requirements: fresh hay, fresh water, pellets, and fresh vegetables. As a general rule, guinea pigs should be offered 1/8th of a cup of a good quality pellet every day. They should always, and I mean always, have access to fresh timothy hay. Guinea pigs are hindgut fermenters, which means they digest their food in the latter part of their digestive tract. If a guinea pig stops eating for a long amount of time it can cause what is called “gastro-intestinal stasis”. This means that the stomach is not properly emptying and the movement of food through the intestines drastically slows. This can cause back up of food in the stomach which causes a major medical problem because guinea pigs are not able to vomit the contents up once their stomach fills. Therefore, it’s important to always have hay available to your pigs. Another staple in your pet’s diet will be fresh vegetables. About 1 cup of leafy greens or other veggies (carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers) daily are necessary for your pet’s health. Guinea pigs are not able to produce vitamin C naturally so they must get this important vitamin through external food sources otherwise they may develop a deadly disease called “scurvy”.

Guinea pigs make great pets. I adopted my two guinea pigs, Lenny and Bentley, in 2016. I graduated from the Veterinary Technician program at Wilson College and these two brothers were a part of our Laboratory Animal class. I fell in love with them immediately and decided to adopt them. They spend most of their days lounging in their pig-loo’s, eating vegetables, and popcorning around their play pen. They made a great addition to my family!

Lily Toxicosis: Cat Lovers Beware!

lily-2732763_640It was February 15th of 2015. I walked into work and the hospital was gushing over my head technician’s sparkling engagement ring. The ring was just a little large but absolutely brilliant. Lillian’s eyes glistened with tears as she relayed the beautiful engagement story. This would definitely be a Valentine’s Day she would never forget.

The hospital was especially busy that day – call after call of chocolate ingestion came in. Lilly kept her chocolate toxicity calculator on her that day. When 3 pm rolled around Lillian’s shift was over; she gathered five garbage bags full of chocolate vomitus, commented on the appearance of her new diamond ring covered in activated charcoal, and departed for the dumpster outside and then on to her car.

4:30 that day I received a panicked phone call from Lilly. Her 4 month-old kitten her now-fiancé had given her for Christmas was vomiting and lethargic. She stated that Hobbes did not greet her at the door and was shaking. She was rushing back to the hospital as we spoke.

On presentation, Hobbes was drooling and continued to dry heave. He quickly descended into a state of minimal responsiveness. When Hobbes began to seize I had him placed on a breathing machine to support him while I gathered additional information.

Labs revealed that Hobbes’ kidneys were completely shutting down. I questioned Lilly closely about potential toxic exposure- grapes/raisins, medications, antifreeze, plants- ANYTHING. My team scrambled to administer fluids, medications, and oxygen while we watched Hobbes decompensate. Without an antidote, there was no hope. Lilly’s fiancé arrived within an hour and the two held vigil over Hobbes as we provided life support. The couple recounted everything that had happened within the last 24 hours- trying desperately to determine if anything had been left out- any detail that could hold the key to Hobbes’ mystery diagnosis. Listening to them my ears keyed into one small part of their engagement story. Lilly’s card in her Valentine’s bouquet had said “To the most beautiful Lilly in the world.” Were there actual lilies in Lily’s flower arrangement? Suddenly everything made sense. Hobbes had gotten into the lilies his mom had received for Valentine’s Day.

Lily Toxicosis is a threat to all cats. The Liliaceae family contains more than 160 genera of plants; only the plants belonging to the genera Lilium (true lilies) and Hamerocallis (day lilies) cause kidney failure: Day lily, Asiatic lily, Tiger lily, Easter lily, Stargazer lily, Rubrum lily, and Red, Western, and Wood lilies. It is important to note that some flowers bear the name “lily” but are not true lilies. If you are unsure, do not bring the plant into your cat’s environment.

The toxic principle is unknown. All parts of the plant are toxic (flowers are the most toxic part). Minor exposure (cat brushes by plant and pollen falls onto fur) will cause acute kidney failure within 12-36 hours and death within 3-5 days. Ingestion of the plant can result in death within a few hours. Symptoms may include vomiting, lethargy, anorexia, depression, drooling, stumbling, collapse, seizures, crying, urinary incontinence or complete lack of urination. Signs may seem to improve after onset but then rapidly progress to worsening signs and death within 12-24 hours. Mortality is between 50-100%. Early, aggressive intervention (suspecting ingestion or prompt treatment when clinical signs are first noted) results in a 90% survival rate.

So during this romantic, flower-giving time of year, please make sure your Valentine knows to stay away from lilies if you are a cat lover.

THE END

What? Oh! You want to know what happened to Hobbes? Well, OK. Hobbes’ stomach was pumped and decontaminated. He was placed on peritoneal dialysis and a grocery-list of medications to protect his kidneys, nervous system and gastrointestinal tract. His blood pressure was monitored closely and medications were administered and tweaked as indicated. We allowed Hobbes to slowly wake up after 12 hours of being in a medically-induced coma. We maintained nutrition via a feeding tube for 48 hours. After 72 hours we removed Hobbes from dialysis and removed his urinary catheter. 7 days after presentation Hobbes went home on a special kidney diet and medications. At his two-week recheck, Hobbes’ kidney values were normal. Hobbes was the ring-bearer at his parents’ wedding one year later and continues to thrive today.

Valentine’s Day – Toxic Foods For Pets

valentines-day-2057745_640As Valentine’s Day approaches many yummy candies and foods will find their way into our homes. You know the ones I’m talking about….. they typically come in those adorable little heart-shaped boxes. For us, those wonderful treats are an amazing delight, however, they can also be toxic foods for pets.

Chocolate is probably the most common toxin. It contains methylxanthines which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst, urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, seizures and even death. Darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines. The most dangerous is baking chocolate, it contains the highest amount of the toxin.

Outside of chocolate, there are many other toxic foods that we see around Valentine’s Day. They are grapes and raisins, nuts (macadamia nuts are the worst), and coconut or coconut oil. Lastly, let us not forget about those alcoholic beverages and things with the artificial sweetner Xylitol.

• Grapes and Raisins – cause kidney failure.
• Nuts (including almonds, pecans, and walnuts) – cause vomiting, diarrhea and potentially pancreatitis.
• Macadamia nuts – cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors, and hyperthermia in dogs. They can also cause neurological signs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and can last 12-48 hours.
• Coconut and Coconut Oil – cause stomach upset, loose stools or diarrhea (Coconut Water is high in potassium and should not be given to your pet).
• Alcohol – causes vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death.
• Xylitol – Anything with this sweetener can cause low blood glucose and/or liver failure. Initial signs are vomiting, lethargy, loss of coordination, and seizures. Liver failure can start within a few days.

Let’s give our furry friends a safe, love-filled Valentine’s Day….

There are many other things that are toxic to our furry friends. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions if your little one has ingested a potentially toxic food, plant, or other agent.

Information courtesy of www.aspca.org and Shippensburg Animal Hospital 717-532-5413.

Healthy Teeth Make For Healthy Pets

Poor dental health is one of the most common ailments encountered in dogs and cats, yet we often don’t realize that a bit of bad breath can be more than just a smelly inconvenience. The American Veterinary Dental College estimates that by 3 years of age, most dogs and cats have some evidence of dental health issues. So what exactly is dental disease in pets, and what can we do about it?

What is Dental Disease?

Disease of teeth in dogs
Most cases of dental disease in dogs and cats are caused by plaque and tartar.
Dental disease is a broad term referring to problems with the oral cavity. This includes issues with the teeth, gums, and bony structures of the mouth.

Most cases of dental disease in dogs and cats are caused by substances known as plaque and tartar. Plaque is a substance formed by a mixture of bacteria, saliva, and pieces of food. Over time, plaque can harden and become what is known as tartar. Both substances can lead to tooth issues, infections of the gums, and problems with the surrounding bone of the jaw. In some cases, bacteria from within the plaque and tartar can cause infections in other parts of the body, such as the heart and kidneys.

What are the Symptoms of Dental Disease?
Dental disease can often be subtle in its early stages. Signs such as excessive drooling, difficulty eating, and bad breath are common. Owners may also notice changes in the color of the teeth and gums. In more advanced cases, issues such as lethargy, oral pain, weight loss, and a lack of appetite often occur.

What can be done about Dental Disease?
A variety of steps can be taken to prevent or treat dental disease. Daily teeth brushing in dogs and cats is a great way to prevent the build-up of plaque and tartar; just be sure to use a toothpaste that has been formulated for pets. Specific dental diets, treats, and additives are also often useful to improve dental health.

In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend a full dental assessment under anesthesia. This gives us the opportunity to fully clean off any plaque and tartar while also allowing us to address any other issues that may be present in your pet’s mouth.

Don’t Forget About Our Other Furry (and feathery) Friends!
Although dogs and cats typically receive most of the attention when it comes to dental health, other species often have specific dental needs as well. Small rodents and rabbits often need their teeth trimmed, and horses frequently need their teeth leveled off. Many birds require beak trimmings to ensure appropriate oral health. Even pigs and alpacas occasionally require dental care!

Contact Us!
No two pets are exactly alike, and in most cases coming up with an approach to improve your furry friend’s dental health starts with a visit to your vet. At this visit, an individualized plan tailored to your pet’s dental needs, behavior, and lifestyle can be developed. We are here to help in any way we can!