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.

Foaling Tips for Horse Owners-Article One: Equine Gestation

Hello horse owners with upcoming foals or those thinking about breeding! This will be a three-article piece that will cover gestation, the foaling process, and what to do once the foal is born. Our hope is that this will help educate you and get you excited for your mare’s upcoming parturition. A new article will be posted each week, so be sure to continue checking our website for more information!

Article 1: Gestation

Gestation Information: 

Equine gestation should last from 335 to 342 days. The length of gestation can vary based on season (may carry up to 10 days longer in the winter or early spring). This is a normal phenomenon and usually does not cause any problems for the mare or foal. On the other hand, fescue exposure can also result in longer gestation periods, but this is not desirable. It is a disease condition that can cause issues for both the mare and foal. An endotoxin that lives within the fescue plant can increase gestation length to 360 days causing the foal to be abnormally large when born. Unfortunately, this endotoxin can also cause the mare not to have milk once she foals. This is especially concerning because the “first milk” or colostrum is the milk that gives the newborn foal antibodies to protect it from diseases in the environment. Without those antibiodies, foals are at high risk of becoming extremely ill within the first few days of being born. Several things can be done to prevent this condition including keeping the mare off of fescue for the last trimester of pregnancy and administration of domperidone to the gestating and lactating mare (begin ten to fifteen days prior to foaling and continue after foaling).

60 day pregnancy per ultrasound - click image to enlargePregnancy diagnosis:

Pregnancy diagnosis can be confirmed via rectal ultrasound as early as fourteen days into gestation. Often veterinarians like to check this early to confirm the pregnancy and check for twins. Twinning in horses is fairly rare, and it is even rarer for a twin pregnancy to result in the birth of two live foals.

 

Nutrition:

Nutritional requirements during pregnancy are very similar to adult maintenance for the first 8 months. Pregnant mares should be kept at a body condition score of 6-7/9. Following the first 8 months, energy and protein requirements begin to increase. This is because the majority of fetal growth takes place during the last trimester. Increasing calorie intake the last trimester is also important because the mare needs to be in a positive energy balance going into foaling. Lactation is very taxing on a mare’s body due to it’s a high demand for energy. Mares need to be fed appropriately to maintain body condition when going into the period where they will be feeding their foals. Mares in the last trimester should be fed high quality forage and grain in order to meet their metabolic demands. Feeding alfalfa hay and a quality grain formulated for pregnant mares can also increase the protein of the diet.

 

Vaccination:

Mares should be vaccinated with their annual vaccines (Rabies, EWT, WNV) prior to breeding season. Do not vaccinate during first 90 days of pregnancy. Most modified live vaccines are not used in pregnant mares (They can cause abortions.). By vaccinating during the last month of gestation, colostral antibodies can be passed to the foal.

Vaccine Schedule:

  • Vaccinate for rhinopneumonitis (EHV1) at 5th, 7th, and 9th months of gestation
  • EHV1 of Herpes virus can cause abortion in mares and rhinopneumonitis in foals and growing horses. So, this is an important vaccine for all brood mares to receive prior to being bred.
  • Vaccinate for EWT, influenza, WNV at 10th month of gestation
  • ± Botulism – to protect foal – for mare’s first foal vaccinate at 8th, 9th, and 10th month of pregnancy, do at 10th month on subsequent pregnancies
  • ± Rotavirus – 8th, 9th, 10th month of pregnancy
  • Rotavirus is the most common cause of infectious diarrhea in foals.
  • ± PHF – for dam – usually April and August

 

Deworming:

Regular deworming throughout the pregnancy is important. Most horses stay on their normal deworming program (dewormed based on fecal egg counts or consistent deworming every several months). It is important to confirm that the dewormer you give can be used on pregnant mares. Most ivermectin products are for administration during pregnancy, but you should always check the label to be sure.

 

Ultrasound fetal check-ups:

Fetal viability can be assessed via transrectal ultrasound throughout gestation. On ultrasound the veterinarian can see fetal movement, count fetal heart rate and assess the health of the uterus and placenta. Once the fetus gets too big to be viewed via ultrasound, your vet can rectally palpate and feel fetal movement.

 

Work:

Mares can be exercised during gestation, and often, fit mares have an easier time with the birthing process. Normal work (similar to what work you were doing before the mare was bred) can be continued up until about the 7th-8th month of gestation. After that light riding is still possible until about a month before foaling. It is important not to over-work or over-heat pregnant mares, but some exercise is beneficial.

 

Housing:

Mares should be moved to the area where they will foal about 4-6 weeks before her due date. This not only lets her get familiar with the area, but also exposes her to the environment the foal will come into, letting her develop antibodies to pass to the foal in her colostrum. The area where the mare foals should be clean and dry.

 

Summary:

We hope you enjoyed the first article in our series on foaling. Now you and your mare are ready for the pregnancy! Check back next week for more information on the foaling process. If you have any questions, please give our office a call at 540-788-6094. One of our large animal veterinarians would be happy to give you a call back and discuss your questions with you.

Health Focus Months

Health Focus Months at Catlett Animal Hospital

Catlett Animal Hospital works hard to highlight important pet health concerns year round. Join us in these special focus months to learn more and receive special promotions and discounts in these important areas of pet wellness!

A list of our planned Health Focus Months for 2017 may be found below. Please realize this is a tentative list, and may be updated or changed throughout the year. Feel free to call us if you would like more information or further details throughout the year!

January
Feline Health Month
Cats need regular care and vaccinations just as much as dogs do, but many don’t come to the vet as often as they should. Get 10% off feline tests and vaccinations this month. Get 15% off the same for NEW feline patients!

February
Dental Health
10% discounts on all dental procedures including complete oral health and cancer screening exams, ultrasonic tartar removal, and tooth extractions. Free pre-dental mouth assessments are available to determine if your pet would benefit from a dental procedure. Dental health goody bags with free samples provided after every dental procedure.

March
Lyme Disease and Lyme Vaccination
Our region of the country is a high-risk area for Lyme disease! Get your dog better protected against Lyme disease and receive a discount on the booster as well as a free gift. (while supplies last)

April
Parasite Testing and Prevention
Parasites want to feed on your pets from the inside (worms) and out (fleas and ticks). 10% off stool sample testing and heartworm testing, as well as many discounts and rebates on all of our parasite prevention products.

May
Wellness Bloodwork Screening
Discounts on comprehensive wellness blood and urine screening packages will allow you and your doctor to get crucial baseline information for your pet and allow for early detection of serious diseases.

June
Anxiety Management
Fireworks and thunderstorms can make our pets especially anxious in the summer which is why we are featuring anxiety management options this month.

July
Pain-Free Movement
Summertime should be full of fun activities for all pets. This month we focus on ways to protect and support joints and to relieve pain from injuries or arthritis.

August
Summer Break!

September

No theme month!

October
Dental Health
10% discounts on all dental procedures including complete oral health and cancer screening exams, ultrasonic tartar removal, and tooth extractions. Free pre-dental mouth assessments are available to determine if your pet would benefit from a dental procedure. Dental health goody bags with free samples provided after every dental procedure.

November
Microchip Identification
Collars get lost or stolen, but a microchip will always be there to help reunite you and your pet. Discount on microchip implantation.

December
Half-Off Treats
Let us help you and Santa out for holiday gift giving with awesome specials on pet treats!

 

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!

 

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