Is your pet using the litterbox or asking to go out more than usual? There are a few key illness's we look to in the instance of Polydipsia or increased urination as it is most commonly called.
This is always our clients first thought when it comes to increased urination and it definitely deserves a spot on the list but often Diabetes is associated with a number of other changes so a whole health examination and blood panel need to be performed. Diabetes causes a spike in drinking, often eating and urinating. This is all in response to a high blood sugar levels.
When kidneys become damaged from either age related changes or a toxic event the kidneys have a hard time concentrating the urine and pets urinate large amounts frequently. Advanced kidney disease is often associated with other symptoms such as weight loss and even anorexia or loss of appetite. This disease process also requires a blood and urine panel to be completed for appropriate staging and diagnosis.
There are a few metabolic diseases such as cushings disease and even hyperthyroid that can cause a change in both drinking and peeing habits. These diseases can be associated with other symptoms such as hair loss and ravenous appetites respectively.
Urinary Tract Infections
By far this is the most commonly seen reason for increased urination. Most pets show an increased frequency but not an increased volume of urine production when afflicted with a urinary tract infection. To properly diagnose a urinary tract infection your vet will either collect or ask you to collect a fresh urine sample for diagnostics.
Most commonly seen in young puppies the brain does not send an appropriate signal to the body to stop drinking simply put. This leads to puppies (most often) that drink and drink and then pee and pee. As you can imagine this makes house training difficult. To diagnose this your vet needs a good history as well as a urine and possibly blood panel completed. This problem often will correct itself with some behavioural therapy. If noted in a young animal it is always important to rule out all other causes before this is considered a diagnostic option.
So what do I do about all this pee?
Simply visit your local veterinarian and provide them a detailed history and follow their lead. The history you present is like a trail of crumbs leading to an appropriate diagnosis and the lab work is like a sign on the road.
One of our staff recently started a food trial for their cat and didn't realise just how much prep there is involved. Here are some great tips on things to do when starting a food trial
1. Get your new food home
Your vet probably has a recommendation for food for your pet, this recommendation comes from years of schooling and personal experience. Plan to feed this diet and nothing else (unless suggested by your vet) for an average of 6 weeks.
2. Ask about treats
Some feeding trials have a specific kind of treat that can be given with it some do not. If your diet does not have a treat option many pets will accept single kibbles as treats during the day.
3. Get a new scoop
Everyone has a trusty measuring cup or scoop they use to dish up their pets, ask your veterinary clinic for a new scoop or cup or clean your old one thoroughly.
4. Clean your storage container
Never put new food in a container that has had another food in it if you do transfer your food to a container.
5. Clean the bowls
Scrub those bowls to start fresh.
6. Set a start day and keep a journal
Journalling during a feeding trial or anytime before a vet visit can be incredibly helpful. It will tell your veterinary team so much information. Journal if there is a mistake in the feeding trial and grade how your pet is doing before and after. This also gives us a new start date if looking for a strict __ week program.
6 symptoms to look for in aging pets.
Is your pet aging well physically but you think they may be having some cognitive dysfunction? Check out the six points below and if your pet is suffering because of any of them contact your veterinary team to see if they can offer some solutions.
Does your dog stare blankly at walls, floors or out into space? Do they get stuck or have difficulty getting around objects in your home. Does your dog no longer recognize familiar people?
Interactions with people and/or pets altered.
Does your dog have a decreased intrest in petting? Spending more time alone or away from family members? Does your dog seem more clingy or fearful?
Sleep/Wake Cycles Altered
Is your dog restless or waking at night? Does your pet vocalize at night? Has your pet been sleeping alot more during the day?
House Soiling, Learning and Memory
Is your dog no longer signalling to go out? Is your dog having decreased ability to respond to learned commands like name, tricks, ect? Are you having a hard time getting your dogs attention or are they seeming increasingly distracted?
Has your dog no longer been playing with their favorite toys? Have they been less interested in exploration of areas or decreased interest in playing with family members? Are they showing repetitive behaviors like licking, circling or chewing?
Has your pet experienced increased anxiety when seperated from you? Do they seem more fearful or reactive to auditory stimuli? Do they have increased fear of going new places or even going outside?
What to do if you answered yes to some of these questions...
There are a few options out there for dogs at this point in time with Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome. It is said that if your pet is 12 -14 yrs old there is a 23% chance they will have CDS and that number increases with age to 41% of pets greater than 14 years old. So don't feel alone we are here to help your pet age gracefully so you can enjoy the golden years of their lives.
The mainpoints of Calming Care by Purina
How do you give it?
Every box includes 30 individually packaged packets. Every day simply sprinkle the powder packet on your dogs food.
When does it start working?
You should give the packets for six weeks to see full efficacy but some dogs show progress before the six week timeline. In the case of one of our patients improvement was seen in about three weeks.
My dog would spend its days staring out the window waiting for my return and barking at everything that passed by. Since starting calming care she spends her days playing with the other dogs instead of waiting for my return. She now seems happier in general which makes me happier too. Now we have started our old dog on it too to see if we can reduce his stress level from living with big dogs that he's not a huge fan of.
What is Taurine?
Taurine is an essential amino acid that is important in the metabolism of fats and is linked to healthy heart function in both cats and dogs. In feline diets taurine is supplemented however canine diets do not require supplementation. In most cases taurine levels were not an issue until the introduction of exotic protein sourced grain free diets. Taurine is found commonly in chicken and beef and not in things commonly found in boutique foods such as pork, potatoes and legumes and many more.
What is DCM?
Dilated Cardiomyopathy is a heart disease that affects the dogs heart muscle. Simply put the weakening of the heart muscle leads to an enlarged heart, this dilation of the chambers of the heart lead to increased effort being required to pass blood through the heart. This can lead to leakage and results in a buildup of fluids in fluids in the chest and abdomen. This is congestive heart failure. It is often not reversible.
What are the symptoms of DCM?
When a cat or dog presents with any heart disease the symptoms can vary and can come and go. The most common symptoms are a cough, lethargy, difficulty breathing and even collapse. If you notice any of these symptoms you should always consult your veterinarian for further work up. This may include checking of taurine levels in the blood however this is not always low in dogs that have presented for DCM on boutique dog foods.
What should I look for to prevent this problem?
First and foremost check your diets AAFCO statement. If it does not read "This diet has been tested to meet the need of _________ (life stage)...." you should ask the company if they have tested any of their diets. If the statement reads "This food has been formulated to meet the needs of _______" this means that simply put the food has not been put through any actual testing, it was simply formulated to meet the maximum and minimum numbers of a select few items such as protien, fat, moisture as outlined by AAFCO. Anyone can start a pet food company, many times there is little to no veterinary involvement leading to a product that is not nutritionally sound and results in problems we are now encountering with these exotic grain free diets.
What do I need to do if feeding a diet like this?
If changing foods is not an option you need to begin Taurine supplementation. Taurine is needed at a dose of 50 mg per kilogram per day. If you need help calculating this please contact us via email, Facebook or phone. Changing foods would be our first recommendation and we will happily help you pick out an alternative food.
Why do you recommend the diets you do?
Simply put we stand behind diet companies that complete research. The 3 main companies that we support are Hills, Purina, and Royal Canin. These companies have put millions back into nutritional research and in turn have gained our trust. When looking at these diets the AAFCO statement most often reads " Purina DH dental health has been tested to meet the needs of adult dogs" for example. Sometimes their statements will read "formulated to meet the needs" but only if the formula is very similar to another product that has already been tested. How do we know this? We asked and through complete transparency they have told us this. This is true often for pet store varieties of the above mentioned companies product. Unfortunately companies like Acana, Blue Buffalo, Kirkland do not have massive research centers dedicated to the furthering of pet nutrition and health.
Where do I go if I have more questions?
Talk to your veterinary team. We are trained to have your pets best interest in mind and take additional education yearly often in nutrition. We have access to your pets medical history as well. Every pet is unique and so are their nutritional needs, speak to your veterinary team today. Often pet store staff may make recommendations but keep in mind the training they have? Ask them what their credentials are to make a recommendation for your pet, some have additional training, some do not. Keep this in mind when getting information for your pets nutritional needs. When in doubt ask more questions of the people selling the food and the company selling the food. We have a great guide of questions to ask a pet food company available to anyone who is further interested. Contact us at email@example.com to get a copy of the questionnaire.
Corn along with some other plant based ingredients are "filler" that shouldn't be included in a pet's diet because it is poorly digested and can cause allergies.
The Facts - Corn is an excellent source of many nutrients
- "Fillers" may be defined as ingredients with little or no nutritional value. Based on this description corn is not a filler
-Corn provides a good source of carbohydrates, protein and essential fatty acids for dogs and cats
-Corn is found in many forms, all of which can contribute to nutritious diets. Corn gluten meal contains 60-70% protein and is an excellent souce of essential fatty acids. Whole corn or corn meal provides highly digestible carbohydrates as an energy source.
-Corn is a good source of Linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid required by both dogs and cats.
-It also contains an abundant amounts of antioxidants, such as vitamin E and beta-carotene.
The Facts - Corn gluten meal is highly digestible
-Corn gluten meal is easy to digest, making its nutrients readily available to your pet.
-Corn gluten meal contains many essential amino acids, so when it is properly combined with other protein sources, it can contribute to highly digestible and nutritious diets.
The Facts - Corn is not a common allergen
-Dogs and cats can develop allergies to any protein. It is estimated that only 10% of allergic skin conditions are caused by food, they are more often suspected to be caused by the environment.
-Corn does not appear on the list of most common food allergies in dogs and cats.
-The most common food allergies in dogs are beef, dairy, wheat, followed by lamb, egg, chicken and soy.
-The most common food allergies in cats are beef, dairy and fish.
The Facts - Corn is a high quality ingredient
-The quality of corn in pet foods can vary greatly
-There are five grades of corn quality according to the USDA; grades 1 and 2 are traditionally used in human food products.
-For example; Purina's standard for corn is grade 1 or 2
Nutrients vs. Ingredients
Remember it is not always about the ingredient it is about the nutrients that ingredient has to offer. Corn has a great amount of nutrient value and can be a great addition if a good grade has been used. Corn is valuable when paired with other nutrient dense ingredients.
Here are some frequently asked questions about pets and pot.
What methods are pets able to become intoxicated?
The most common method of intoxication seen in clinic is ingestion. However pets can become "high" from inhalation of second hand smoke. Ingestion can be everything from a single joint to scarfing down laced food products or oils in your home.
How does marijuana affect pets?
First off the drug enters the body via inhalation or ingestion and it binds with a specific neuro receptor in the brain, this alters normal neurotransmitter function. THC interacts with neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine, dopamin, serotonin and acetylcholine. After absorption THC may be stored in fatty tissues as it is very lipid soluble. This means it can be stored in the liver, brain, and kidneys before finally being eliminated from the body. THC is mostly metabolized in the liver (65-90%) and excreted via feces and the kidneys acccount for 10-35% of elimination. In order for effects to no longer be seen they need to excrete the drug via these two organ systems.
How much is too much?
Though this drug is said to have a high safety margin in people, not all pets or even people follow a simple and predictable pattern of intoxication. A small amount may effect the largest dog, however his sibling a small breed dog with similar exposure may show no symptoms or signs. Luckily, Marijuana intoxication is seldom fatal. THC values range a great deal depending on the product you are indulging in. Medical grade high THC ingestion is considered the most serious, and until recent introductions of such products into the market THC fatalities were extremely rare. In closing there is no magic number where we can say a pet will require hospitalization, it is on a case by case basis dependent on your pets symptoms.
What are the signs of marijuana intoxication?
Most of the symptoms of intoxication are what we call neurological. Pets loose their balance and coordination. The list of symptoms is long and includes hyperactivity, disorientation, vocalization, lethargy, drop in heart rate and/or body temperature and respiratory depression. Thankfully these are often short lived but can make your pet quite uncomfortable and even put their lives at risk in the case or respiratory depression.
How is marijuana injestion diagnosed?
The first thing to know about a appropriate diagnosis is to be honest with your veterinary team. If you think your pet may have gotten into your "stash", tell us. We are not here to judge or call any authorities. We can use urine drug screening tests but the results are quite unreliable making a physical examination and an accurate history the best tools in diagnosing THC intoxication.
How do you treat THC intoxication in pets?
The first thing we often do in the case of any toxin if ingested recently enough is to get it out of the system by inducing vomiting and giving a stomach protectant and something to prevent further absorption. This only works if you have caught the pet in the act of shortly thereafter. In the case of many pets the ingestion has happened and the symptoms have already begun to present themselves meaning we have missed our window of prophylactic treatment and we move to activated charcoal to prevent further absorption and supportive care. Supportive care includes a variety of medications and care to manage heart rate, control anxiety, prevent dehydration, and maintain organ function. Each and every pet is different and will have a different response to the drug and in turn require different levels of care.
How many cases of THC toxicity are there on average?
Personally here at AMCS we see an average of 1 every few months. These are often after hours calls making the visit more expensive unfortunately. The pet poison helpline has reported a 200% increase in marijuana toxicity cases and we can also appreciate a spike in them as well.
Enter this years photo calendar contest here:
1. "The FDA-approved drugs in this class are Bravecto, Credelio, Nexgard and Simparica. These products are approved for the treatment and prevention of flea infestations, and the treatment and control of tick infestations" - In clinic we use and will continue to offer Bravecto and Simparica and in the past have offered Nexgard, all without complication.
2. "Veterinarians should use their specialized training to review their patients’ medical histories and determine, in consultation with pet owners, whether a product in the isoxazoline class is appropriate for the pet" - Every pet is different and requires different considerations when using any medication, an increased awareness of this side effect is the goal of the FDA in order to better protect pets.
3. “working with Canadian manufacturers of drugs belonging to the isoxazoline class to include new labelling information that neurological adverse events have been reported in animals receiving this class of drug." - These drugs have been used for a number of years already, the goal of the FDA is the improve labeling to include this noted adverse effect.
4. "The FDA considers products in the isoxazoline class to be safe and effective for dogs and cats but is providing this information so that pet owners and veterinarians can take it into consideration when choosing flea and tick products for their pets." - The bottom line here is that the FDA still considers these products safe for use in pets and therefore are simply changing labeling vs. removing product from the market.
For more information visit https://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/ResourcesforYou/AnimalHealthLiteracy/ucm620940.htm
Ever wonder why exactly we use anesthesia for dental cleanings? Well here we are today to share some great information. With all the hype surrounding anesthesia free dentals we need everyone to understand that some pets are not good candidates and that anesthesia is important for a complete and thorough cleaning for your pets teeth. Here are 5 reasons we believe that
1. Plaque lives below the gumline
Sub gingival plaque is a real threat to your pets oral health. A majority of the tooth lies below the gum-line and this is the plaque that will break down tissues further progress dental disease. Plaque by definition is a film of bacteria and sugars. Plaque is the main cause of dental disease. Cleaning pets teeth includes cleaning both above and below the gum-line. Unfortunately anesthesia free dentals only attack the plaque above the gum-line leaving much room for improvement. This means that every anesthesia free dental is leaving plaque behind unfortunately.
2. Training is key
Dentistry is best left to the professionals. Would you rather have someone cleaning your pets teeth that has hundreds of hours of training and experience of just 4 hours of class time to be able to be certified to clean your pets teeth free of anesthesia. I expect my dentist to be trained, expect the same from your pets care providers.
3. Polish to keep plaque away
Anesthesia free dentals include a scaling with a rough instrument removing large and small debris from the surface of the tooth. Even the most experienced teeth cleaning technicians and doctors will polish to remove the rough surface in order to prevent further build up quicker that what would have been a potential before the procedure. To date there has been no polishing included in anesthesia free procedures because pets wont tolerate it.
4. X ray vision isn't standard
Unfortunately pets can't tell us when it hurts so we have to use diagnostic tools such as oral radio-graphs to get to the root of any dental troubles. When practicing anesthesia free dentals problems can be easily missed by even the most experienced anesthesia free dental provider. This is why we complete full mouth radio-graphs with all of our dental procedures.
5. Comfort is key
Your pet needs to be comfortable and anesthesia can help with that. Anesthesia free dentals require your pet to lay on their back with a stranger for an extended period of time. Some pets may be okay with this but many are not. Dentals completed in clinic are much more suited for the masses as pets are completely anesthetised for the entire procedure following your pets intial exam and sedation.
These are just a few of the reasons we do not support anesthetic free dentals. Ever wonder what we do for your pet when they stay with us for a dental? Stay tuned for a day in the life posts.