Is Anxiety Ruining Your Pet’s Summer?

This month’s Health Focus is Freedom From Anxiety!

Summer brings celebrations that often feature fireworks, explosions, and gunshots, but these things are frequently scary for our pets, who don’t understand the loud noises and bright flashes. Even if the fireworks don’t start weeks early in your neighborhood, Mother Nature is usually ready to deliver light shows of her own featuring lightning, thunder, and barometric pressure changes. Car rides or kennel boarding for summer trips can top it all off to make this a scary time of year for many pets.

Fortunately, there are a wide variety of things that can be done to help your pets be at their best and most comfortable. See below for some of the things we’re recommending this summer.

Team Up – Consult With A Vet

Our veterinarians are here to help with behavior, training, and phobias as well as your pet’s other health concerns. Set up a consult to discuss your pet’s particular fears, triggers, or problem behaviors and what can be done to help. Sometimes there is training that can help calm fears or manage frightening situations, other times there may be medications that can make things better or easier. Did you know there’s a great anti-nausea medication for pets that can calm queasy stomachs and turn that reluctant car rider into an eager copilot? Or a jacket that can help provide a snug “hug” for a pet and may make thunderstorms easier even without ANY additional medications? Our vets are here to help your pets’ well being in all ways, including their sense of comfort in stressful situations.

vetteamconsults

Pheromones – Pill-Free Relief

Pheromones are chemicals processed through a pet’s olfactory system (the same system that processes smell, such an important sense to our dogs and cats!) that can have a direct calming effect on the brain without the use of oral medications. Specific products for both dogs and cats are available, and replicate chemicals that have a calming effect on the brain. For dogs, Adaptil® products are available as collars that can be put on in the morning if the weather is calling for thunderstorms so they can work gently throughout the day. Feliway® products for cats are available in a room spritz or even set-it-and-forget-it plug-in diffusers that are especially helpful for times when you’re having house guests, or that week around the 4th of July when there are stray fireworks going off in the neighborhood.adaptilfeliway

Nutraceuticals – Calm By Nature

There are some great non-prescription products out there that can be helpful as well. Some proteins and amino acids have been studied to support our pets’ sense of calm and healthy brain chemical balance. For example, the product Zylkene® makes use of a protein from milk, and Solliquin Chews use the amino acid L-Theanine from green tea and other botanical extracts to promote balanced behavior and relaxation. While we recommend you check in with our doctors before starting on any supplement for your pet, these products are over the counter and do not require a prescription. Consider adding them to your routine to help your furry family members to be more comfortable.zylkenesolliquin

This June we are offering 50% off the Behavior Consult exam with the veterinarians, and 10% off anxiety and calming aids, including all the products mentioned above! Help you and your pets have a great summer, and call us with any questions or to schedule a consult!

 

Caring For Your Pet’s Teeth At Home

This is the third article in our series of dental health articles, and arrives just in time for February, which is National Pet Dental Health Month!

In case you haven’t heard, our February Dental Health Month special is 10% off all dental procedures (see our article on the “COHAT” and what this includes!) as well as FREE dental goody bags for pets after their procedure. Read on for more information about what to do with the great home care samples you’ll find in that goody bag!

Home Dental Care – The Most Important Part of Your Pet’s Dental Health!

What would your breath smell like if you NEVER brushed your teeth? Like your dog’s breath, maybe? Our pets’ mouths have bacteria and plaque just like our mouths (and often theirs have more, especially depending on what your dog likes to chew…).

There are many things that you can do at home to support your pet’s dental health, to reduce buildup of plaque and tartar, and to prevent periodontal disease. None of these options require advanced or special skills, and any or all of them could make a difference for your pet. Your bottom line could benefit as well, as home care may be able to reduce the frequency of professional dental cleanings for some pets, and often, can prevent expensive tooth extractions or restorations later.

Brushing – The Gold Standard

Dog owner brushing an Australian Shepherd puppys teeth. Educational showing the proper method of handeling the puppy.

Brushing your cat or dog’s teeth is the absolute best way to prevent tartar and gum disease.

Ideally, we would brush our pets’ teeth daily, but the truth is even occasional brushing can still make a difference. The brushing action is the best way to remove the bacterial film that builds up on the surfaces of teeth, which would otherwise develop into plaque and eventually dentaltoothpastetartar. Pet-safe toothpastes in flavors like poultry, seafood, malt and vanilla-mint are available to help make the process more enjoyable for your pet, and may contribute a little to cleaning the teeth as well. You should not use human toothpastes with pets, as they frequently end up swallowing a good deal of toothpaste in the process.

Brush options vary from traditional pet bristle brushes to smaller rubber finger brushes. Human baby toothbrushes with SOFT bristles can be used as well, and sometimes work well for cat mouths or very small dogs. Experiment to find what is most comfortable for you and your pet!dentalbrushes

Introducing your pet to brushing could be a whole article itself, but the basic principles are: start young if you can, start with only brief sessions and work up, and make the experience fun and rewarding for your pet! Almost any pet can learn to have their teeth brushed and all will benefit from this special care you give them!

Here is a great video about dental disease that gives specific demonstrations of brushing and introducing your dog or cat to brushing!

Dental Chews, Treats, & Toys

dentalchewsThe chewing action dogs (and some cats!) enjoy can help them keep their teeth clean by physically rubbing off the bacterial film on the teeth, just like brushing can do. Some dental chews and treats may also contain other ingredients to help combat bacterial buildup. Brushing helps us address all the surfaces of the teeth – it has an advantage over products that clean the teeth by the chewing action because pets may chew using some areas of their mouth preferentially. They may be cleaning only those areas. Still, some cleaning of the teeth is better than none. Therefore, products that clean the teeth as the animal chews are still useful.

Dental chews and treats vary in how effective they may be – there is no regulation to prevent a company from claiming their product is good for teeth even if they have never tested it. Treats that have received the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal have standards for their product with trials and are an excellent products with which to start. Other treats may also be effective, but one rule of thumb is if your pet is not actually chewing on the treat, they are likely not getting a lot of benefit from it!

Water Additives, Rinses, & Sprays

dentalrinsesWater additives and rinses are used to try to decrease bacteria in the mouth of our pets. Water additives like Oratene or AquaDent are put in the pets’ drinking water in small amounts, and act as a safe-to-swallow “mouthwash” each time the pet drinks. Oral rinses like DentaHex can dentallebaiiibe squirted over the pets’ teeth daily to help kill bacteria in the mouth.

Leba-III is a spray we offer that helps to promote a healthy bacterial balance in the mouth – it can be spritzed in the mouth twice daily to help keep teeth healthy.

Food – The Other Daily Dental Care Option!

td foodYou make an important health decision for your dog or cat every day – what to put in the food bowl! We carry not one but TWO food options that are clinically proven to help cats and dogs maintain healthy mouths. Both Hill’s t/d diet and Purina DH have the VOHC seal and are available for long term feeding that daily helps remove plaque and bacteria. They are suitable for almost every pet, and can be fed lifelong. They may be an especially good idea to start early in pets prone to dental disease.

Both foods use special kibble technology to help clean the teeth as the pet crunches their daily meal. These work best after a thorough cleaning, as they prevent buildup on clean teeth, but both are beneficial in ALL pets to slow down plaque and tartar accumulation.

YOU Can Do It – And We’re Here to Help!

brushcatteethThese are all wonderful ways for you to take an active role in protecting your pet’s health! Dental disease is such a common condition, and with just a little effort on the home front, pet parents can make a BIG difference in their pet’s oral health!

Please contact us with any questions about getting started with home dental care for your pet! Our doctors and staff would love to help find the right match for you and your pet.

Holiday Safety! Xylitol, Salt Dough, Poinsettias, oh my?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! As you’re celebrating, are you aware of what you can do to keep your pets safe and happy, along with all the other family members?

 

Here’s a list of some great overview articles on important winter and holiday safety for pets!

 

Additionally, here are some specific things we’d like to feature for you this year in our efforts to keep your pets safe and healthy!

Xylitol

There has been an increase in products that use the artificial sweetener xylitol, which can be incredibly toxic to dogs. (and real bad for cats too!) Even tiny amounts can cause poisoning, especially in small dogs. For something like sugar-free gums, depending on the xylitol content of the particular product, we are talking 3-4 pieces of gum in a small or medium sized dog! More peanut butters and diet foods are being made with this, so make sure to check the label before you “treat” your pets to any special holiday snacks!

This link has a large list of xylitol containing products!

Salt Dough Toxicity

Salt dough toxicity has also been in the news recently, and while this is an infrequently reported home poisoning risk, salt dough Christmas ornaments are certainly popular and prevalent! The amount of salt in these homemade doughs can cause severe toxicity, neurologic issues, and even death in some cases. If your dog or cat is an “unpicky” eater, and eats things he or she shouldn’t, make sure that these decorations are kept up high!

Poinsettias – good news!

This falls in the category of good news! Poinsettias are one of the most commonly cited holiday hazards, and while your pets certainly shouldn’t go around chomping on them, the good news is that they are much less dangerous than other things on our watch list. Chewing a poinsettia is likely to result in some mouth and stomach irritation, but usually doesn’t cause lasting damage for your pet. All the same, it’s best to avoid letting your pets chew on these living decorations.

All of us here at Catlett Animal Hospital hope you have a very happy and safe holiday season 2015-2016!

Winter Lice In Cattle

Winter Lice In Cattlecattle_lice&eggs_ncsu copy

It’s winter (despite our unseasonably warm weather right now!) and it’s time to consider another important but often overlooked part of cattle management. While we spend lots of time focusing on nutrition during this time, when there is little to no grass, and preparing for calving season, we should also take one other tiny pest into consideration: lice. Winter is the perfect time for lice infestations in both mature and young cattle. While lice can be present on cattle year round, their numbers greatly increase during the winter.

Types of Lice & How to Find Them

Both biting and sucking lice can be found on cattle, and can be detrimental to our herds. Lice spend their whole life cycle – egg, nymph, and adult – on the host, and normally all three stages are present at one time. Clinical signs suggesting a lice infestation include frequent scratching or rubbing on fences, posts, and other structures, and hair loss. Lice can be visualized on cattle by parting the hair and looking around the neck, brisket, tail head and between the rear legs. Lice on cattle can cause stress and decrease weight gain, so control is important.Linognathus-cattle

Treatment

A systemic pour-on or injectable insecticide (an ivermectin product) is often the most common method for treatment of lice in cattle. Late October through January is often the recommended time for treating lice. All cattle in the herd should be treated at this time. Timing of treatment may be more important if your pour-on contains a grubicide. Typically medications containing a grubicide should not be administered between November 1 and January 1 due to the potential reaction of grub larvae in the spinal column to cause paralysis to cattle. Sometimes two treatments for lice may be needed throughout the winter months.

Help increase the comfort and health of your cattle in the cool months by treating for lice!

Call our Large Animal Veterinarians at 540-788-6094 with any questions about parasites or care for your livestock!

 

Fall Lambing Season!

Fall Lambing Season

The temperatures are getting cooler, the days getting shorter, and the leaves are starting to change color. It’s almost time for lambing season, right? Say what? That’s right; fall lambing season is just around the corner!

Why do we fall lamb?

Some producers choose to lamb in the fall in order to reach a different final market than traditional lambing crops. Often fall born lambs are worth more because the supply is much decreased when they are marketed. Some fall born lambs will go on to be show lambs for early summer shows and some will be marketed for spring holidays like Easter.

What is special about fall lambing?unnamed

It is very difficult to get sheep bred in the spring to lamb in the fall. Sheep are actually seasonal breeders who normally only cycle when the days are short (in the fall). In traditionally managed flocks, sheep are often bred in the fall to lamb in the spring.

How do we get ewes to breed out of their normal breeding season?

In order to get sheep to breed out of season, we have to select for white-faced ewes who are naturally more likely to breed in the fall, alter natural light, or administer exogenous hormones to get them cycling. In addition to hormones, producers should increase the nutritional plane of the ewes to encourage cycling and fertility. This involves feeding a high energy feed like corn at 1-2lbs/head/day. The out of season breeding protocols are similar to cattle estrous synchronization protocols and include use of a sheep CIDR, PMSG and prostaglandin. One common protocol involves administration of PMSG and a 14 day CIDR, and then giving a shot of Lutalyse when the CIDR is pulled. Rams can go in with the flock 2 days later.

What should we do to prepare the ram?

Like the ewes, rams need an increase in energy intake in order to be fertile. Feed should be increased for rams about 8 weeks before they are expected to breed. Shearing the rams to keep them cooler and keeping a fan on them will also increase fertility out of season. Finally, it is important to note that rams will not be able to cover as many ewes out of season as during the normal breeding season. Rams should be expected to breed 5-10 ewes during out of season breeding.

Overall, it does take some extra work to have fall lambs, but the baby lambs jumping through fall leaves make it worth it!

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