Archive for the ‘Pet Care’ Category
**NOTE** I’m fairly certain that I will get a lot of backlash for this post from other veterinary professionals, however I feel there needs to be a pro-anesthesia free dental cleaning post from a veterinary professional, since most seem to hate this form of dentistry. So here it is, take it or leave it, hate it or love it. Feel free to comment if you please. Also, although I mention the pet dental group, Houndstooth, I’m doing it of my own accord- They have been working at my hospital for the last 3 years, and we have never had any issue with the work they have done or the techniques they use. I am referring to them because they are the only pet dental group I have met who’s techniques make sense to me. I am not receiving any compensation for mentioning them in this post.**
I’m probably one of the few people that work in a practice that offers non-anesthetic (also called anesthesia free) dental cleaning. Although I was very skeptical at first, after watching the dental hygienists do their thing I feel it’s an amazing form of dental care.
Some of the things I’ve read on other blogs and veterinary websites have said things like that it puts a band aid on an existing problem, you can’t do x-rays so you have no idea if there’s severe dental disease, it does nothing to help a pets mouth, blah blah blah. Even though Dental Month has come and gone for the year, I feel I need to clear the air on what has turned into a very controversial topic by discussing the rights and wrongs of non-anesthetic dental cleaning.
First and foremost, this type of dental cleaning is NOT meant for pets with severe dental disease! Pet teeth are graded from 0-4, 0 being perfect and 4 being a rancid, rotting sewer of a mouth. Non-anesthetic is meant for pets who have a grade 2 or less, mild/moderate tartar, and no cracked or fractured teeth. Most pets who have a grade 3 or 4 have pockets in their teeth and/or need extractions, and definitely require dental x-rays. These are all problems that can not be addressed without anesthesia. If anyone tells you that any of this can be done without anesthesia then they are lying to you.
That being said, we have done non anesthetic cleanings on pets with grade 3-4 dental grades. I know, you’re probably like what gives?! I just told you it shouldn’t be done! And it shouldn’t, however there are situations where a pet is not an anesthesia candidate, whether it be because of disease, age, or a client just not wanting to take the risk of anesthesia. This is what we’ve begun calling a salvage situation, where basically we clean up the mouth the best we can to make the pet more comfortable. Combining this method with a pulse therapy of antibiotics seems to help these cases tremendously. What is pulse therapy you ask? Pulse therapy means that you go on a course of antibiotics at around the same time every month. This is done to keep the bacteria levels in the mouth at bay so the mouth doesn’t turn into a rotting sewer again.
Is this situation ideal? No, of course not- the ideal situation is putting a pet under general anesthesia, performing dental x-rays, extractions, and a full on dental cleaning. But for the pet who is not an anesthesia candidate (or the anti-anesthesia pet owner), this is the best situation to make the pet as comfortable as possible. All other options are discussed between the doctor and the client prior to coming to the decision to use anesthesia free dental cleaning on a pet with grade 3 or 4 dental disease.
We also are not the ones doing the cleaning. We enlist the expertise of a group of women called Houndstooth, who specialize in anesthesia free dental cleaning. They are all certified veterinary dental technicians, and trained in all areas of pet dental health. They clean, scale, and polish the teeth, and clean below the gumline, and discuss a variety of home care techniques with our clients.
If they find anything such as cracks, fractures, pockets, or other signs that a general anesthesia dentistry or X-rays are needed, they alert the attending veterinarian and don’t continue with the cleaning without the owners consent. The reasoning behind this is because if the pet needs to be put under anesthesia to have a tooth removed, why use their money on anesthesia free cleaning? Most owners elect to have the anesthesia procedure done when they are told it is needed, however there are others who elect to still go through with the anesthesia free procedure. In this case, we make sure that the client is aware of the importance of fixing the dental problem as soon as possible, and we document that the owner was notified that additional dental work is needed in the future.
The women of Houndstooth are not only trained in pet dental care, but pet behavior and psychology as well. Like I said previously, I was extremely skeptical of this non-anesthetic dental cleaning stuff. However, the first time they came to our clinic to show us what they did to see if we would want to work with them, I was stunned. These women are seriously, I kid you not, pet whispers. The craziest dogs and the meanest cats have been handled by them without much trouble, and there is never any form of forceful restraint involved- just their calming voice and a gentle touch. You have to see to believe, but they really are masters at what they do.
Non-anesthetic dental cleaning is a wonderful thing when done properly. If a groomer, pet sitter, trainer, or anyone other then a veterinary dental professional says they can clean (or more commonly, they say they can “scrape”) your pets teeth, do not let them! They could do so much more harm then good- if a pet bites down on the instrument they could fracture the teeth, and the act of “scraping” tartar off the teeth if you don’t know what you’re doing could remove the enamel, causing much more harm down the road. Teeth cleaning is something that should only be done by trained professionals. The women of Houndstooth do nothing but teeth, all day all the time. They know what they are doing, they are using the correct tools dental tools, and they can recognize severe dental issues that need to be addressed by a veterinarian. These are all things that your groomer or pet sitter couldn’t do. Please, if you decide to go anesthesia free/non-anesthetic, do your research and make sure you are choosing a reputable veterinary dental technician to do so. You’ll be saving you, and your pet, a lot of time, money, and pain if you do so.
OK, so today we had an absolutely awesome lecture at work on client education. Our lab, Idexx, spoke with us about their new client educaiotn site called Pet Health Network, and it links to not only a ton of information on pet health, but to tons of videos.So today, I’m going to share the video on how to trim your cats nails! I had planned on making a picture tutorial for you all using my own pets, but this is so much better then anything I could ever make. Hope you all enjoy!
Oh Dog! It's Sunday, so it must be time for Dear DeDe! That's ME!
So Jen was cleaning up around here yesterday and was sweeping in the laundry nook. Not much hair, she thought, but then she moved the dryer and guess what she found? A TON of hair, along with all sorts of stuff batted underneath by the cats.
Ah, the holidays…time for fun, family, food, good cheer….and for Fido to jump on the table and eat a whole tray of antipasti salad, then have to be admitted to the hospital for 2-3 days after being diagnosed with a bout of pancreatitis from all that fatty food! (true story, I swear). No one wants this to happen to them, so I’ve compiled a list of things to watch out for to keep your pets safe this season. In the event that anything happens, make sure you have your veterinarians number, the name/address/phone number of the local 24/7 emergency clinic, and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-4 ANI-HELP, website www.apcc.aspca.org). in a convenient location. If you suspect that your pet has ingested something poisonous, seek medical attention immediately.
O Christmas Tree
Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water—which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset—from spilling. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he imbibe. Or better yet, opt for a real looking fake tree instead of the real thing- not only will you not have to worry about stagnant water, but you’re doing your part to save the environment too!
Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth.
Pets are often exposed to liquid potpourri by direct ingestion from simmer pots or spills, or by rubbing against leaky bottles or simmer pots containing the potpourri, or from spilling the containers upon themselves. Oral exposures result following grooming. Exposure of pets to some types of liquid potpourris can result in severe oral, dermal, and ocular damage. Dry potpourri generally doesn’t cause those issues, but there may be problems due to foreign body and (possibly) toxic plant ingestion.
Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching “toy” that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel. Another enticing hazard? The ribbon we use to wrap our gifts. It may look cute to see our little kitty friends batting it around, but ingesting it can cause the same problems that tinsel can cause.
Looking to stuff your pet’s stockings? Choose gifts that are safe.
- Dogs have been known to tear their toys apart and swallowing the pieces, which can then become lodged in the esophagus, stomach or intestines. Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible.
- Long, stringy things are a feline’s dream, but the most risky toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery. Surprise kitty with a new ball that’s too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or the interactive cat dancer—and tons of play sessions together.
No Feasting for the Furries
By now you know not to feed your pets chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol, but do you know the lengths to which an enterprising fur kid will go to chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.
Holiday Food Items That Could Cause Problems For Your Pet
- Alcoholic beverages
- Chocolate (baker’s, semi-sweet, milk chocolate)
- Coffee (grounds, beans, chocolate covered espresso beans)
- Moldy or spoiled foods
- Onions, onion powder
- Fatty foods
- Yeast dough
The toxicity of chocolate depends on the amount and type of chocolate ingested:
|Source||Potential Toxic Dose (44lb dog)|
The amount of theobromine in white chocolate or chocolate flavored dog treats is usually negligible. As with any poisoning, call your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary hospital immediately if you suspect your pet may have ingested chocolate. Have the product label information available when you call your veterinarian. There are national and regional poison control hotlines for animals. In general, the treatment of poisonings is most effective if begun soon after eating the poison, before large amounts are absorbed into the blood.
Careful with Cocktails
If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.
- Lilies that may be found in holiday flower arrangements could be deadly to your cat. Many types of lily, such as Tiger, Asian, Japanese Show, Easter, Stargazer, and the Casa Blanca, can cause kidney failure in cats.
- Poinsettias are generally over-rated in toxicity. If ingested, poinsettias can be irritating to the mouth and stomach, and may cause mild vomiting or nausea.
- Mistletoe has the potential to cause cardiovascular problems. However, mistletoe ingestion usually only causes gastrointestinal upset.
- Holly ingestion could cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and lethargy.
That Holiday Glow
Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the candle out!
A Room of Their Own
Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to—complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle. Shy pups and cats might want to hide out under a piece of furniture, in their carrying case or in a separate room away from the hubbub.
Keep all prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs out of the reach of your pets, preferably in closed cabinets. Pain killers, cold medicines, anti-cancer, drugs, antidepressants, vitamins, and diet pills are common examples of human medication that could be potentially lethal even in small dosages. One regular-strength ibuprofen tablet (200mg) can be fatal if ingested by dogs or cats. Remind holiday guests to store their medications safely as well.
During the holidays, many veterinary clinics have limited office hours. In some cases, pet owners try to medicate their animals without their veterinarian’s advice. Never give your animal any medications unless under the directions of veterinarian. Many medications that are used safely in humans can be deadly when used inappropriately. Less than one regular strength acetaminophen tablet (325mg) can be dangerous to a cat weighing 7lbs.
New Year’s Noise
As you count down to the new year, please keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti can get lodged in a cat’s intestines, if ingested, perhaps necessitating surgery. Noisy poppers can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears.
OTHER WINTER HAZARDS
- Antifreeze has a pleasant taste. Unfortunately, very small amounts can be lethal. As little as one teaspoon of antifreeze can be deadly to a cat; less than four teaspoons can be dangerous to a 10-pound dog. Thoroughly clean up any spills, store antifreeze in tightly closed containers and store in secured cabinets. Automotive products such as gasoline, oil and antifreeze should be stored in areas that are inaccessible to your pets. Propylene glycol is a safer form of antifreeze. Low Tox™ brand antifreeze contains propylene glycol and is recommended to use in pet households.
- If you think your pet has consumed antifreeze, contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-4-ANI-HELP) right away!
- Liquid potpourris are popular household fragrances commonly used during the holiday season. Pets are often exposed to liquid potpourri by direct ingestion from simmer pots or spills, or by rubbing against leaky bottles or simmer pots containing the potpourri, or from spilling the containers upon themselves. Oral exposures result following grooming. Exposure of pets to some types of liquid potpourris can result in severe oral, dermal and ocular damage.
- Ice melting products can be irritating to skin and mouth. Depending on the actual ingredient of the ice melt and the quantity, signs of ingestion would include excessive drooling, depression, vomiting or even electrolyte imbalances.
- Rat and mouse killers are used more commonly during colder weather. When using rat and mouse bait, place the products in areas that are inaccessible to your companion animals.
Don’t want to neglect your four legged pals during the holidays? Stay tuned for my next post on healthy, home made holiday pet treats!