Welcome To Dr. Pinney's Pet Blog
Dr. Pinney's Pet Blog offers a glimpse into the dynamic and ever-changing world of veterinary medicine and pet health care.
In addition, our pet blog offers money saving advice and tips for the frugal pet owner in all of us!
|Tuesday, May 07, 2013|
|Another Potential Health Hazard To Pets|
|Tuesday, May 07, 2013 01:01|
A few years back, the EPA changed the rules for manufacturers of mouse and rat poisons in an attempt to improve in-home safety and reduce the chances of accidental poisoning in children, pets, and non-targeted wildlife. They've prohibited the use of certain long-acting anti-coagulants (chemicals that inhibit blood clotting) in products designed for in-home use and have required manufacturers to employ redesigned, safer bait stations to deliver the poison.
In response to the guidelines, many companies have since switched the active ingredient in their products to bromethalin, which is a neurotoxin that can lead to seizures and death within 24 hours after consumption. And this is bad news for pets.
Unlike the anticoagulant products, bromethalin has no known antidote. Severity of reaction is dose-dependent, so smaller pets and cats are at greatest risk. But if a large amount is consumed by a pet of any size, death will usually result.
The take-away: Check the labels of any rodent control products you buy and be sure you know what the active ingredient is.
|Wednesday, May 01, 2013|
|Cold Therapy and Cold Packs|
|By Dr. P|
|Wednesday, May 01, 2013 07:11|
Cold therapy is an excellent tool to help alleviate pain and inflammation associated with an acute musculoskeletal injury in pets. In order to achieve maximum benefit, it needs to be performed within 72 hours of the injury.
When performed 10 minutes every 8 to 12 hours for the for the first 72 hours, cold therapy temporarily reduces blood flow to the injured area, which in turn reduces the initial amount of swelling and moderates the immune response.
Gel packs work great for this purpose and they are readily available from any pharmacy or big box store . When using one, never put it directly on the skin, as this can cause frostbite. Instead, cover it with a thin, wet layer of fabric (i.e. the thickness of a washcloth) to protect the skin while at the same time maximizing the temperature exchange. Avoid using thick blankets or towels as coverings, as these will prevent the cold temperature from reaching the deeper tissues and thereby negate your efforts.
Obviously, if you suspect a fracture or a dislocation, or if the swelling, pain, or lameness persist beyond 72 hours, see your vet right away.
|Sunday, Apr 07, 2013|
|By Dr. P|
|Sunday, Apr 07, 2013 12:25|
How many times have you heard it from pet food salespersons and other pet food "experts": This food is "grain-free"....By saying that, are they implying that it is healthier for the pet or that it will help with the pet's allergies or gastrointestinal problems?
I'm not sure, but I'd like to see the science to back up those claims. Contrary to popular belief, grain-free diets cannot be considered "hypoallergenic" unless the main protein source (the meat portion) contained in the diet is hypoallergenic.
There's no denying that corn, wheat, and soy have caused allergies in a few pets, but these cases are the exceptions rather than the rule. Fact is, gluten allergies and other grain allergies are just not common in dogs and cats like they are in people.
Some leading veterinary nutrition experts believe that this "grain" myth may have been propagated on purpose to help smaller pet food companies compete with the big boys in a highly competitive marketplace.
Makes sense to me. It's a fact that many of these grain-free diets are priced quite high, and the companies do their best to convince consumers that price equates to quality. You need to be careful with that assessment, as it's not always the case!
Quality does not determine allergenicity of a food. The ingredients do. If you are allergic to peanuts, it's not the quality of the peanuts that causes the reaction, it's the peanuts themselves.
If you are looking for a hypoallergenic food to feed your pet, find one with a novel protein source like venison, duck, rabbit, or bison. Most of these are paired with carb sources like sweet potatoes, rice, or peas, making them excellent choices to feed. And not all of these foods are super-expensive either!
Finally, remember that your pet will need to be fed his/her new diet a minimum of 3 months before you'll really know that food was to blame for your pet's allergies.
|Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013|
|Don't Get Busted!|
|Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013 12:15|
Remember, whenever you take a pet across state lines in your car, you'll need a health certificate or certificate of veterinary inspection to stay out of trouble in case you are stopped by the police for an unrelated violation, especially in a non-metro area. The fine can be as much as $1000!
I come from a small town and know that traffic tickets are a big source of revenue, so I have no doubt our small town police would gladly scribble out a ticket for such a violation. No doubt most state troopers would do so as well. So don't give them the chance. Make sure to get that health certificate within 10 days of your departure.
|Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013|
|Flea and Tick Products|
|Tuesday, Feb 19, 2013 05:30|
In case you haven't noticed, topical flea and tick products are proliferating like flies at the city dump. And these include new ones available only from your vet.
Almost all claim to be the latest and greatest, and that may be so when it comes to flea control. But not so fast on tick control. In fact, almost all of the new ones contain permethrin for tick control. Sound familiar?
This is the same stuff we used decades ago to control ticks and is also the same stuff that kills so many small dogs and cats through improper (dog) or accidental (cat) use. In other words, not much margin of safety in smaller pets.
I don't know about you, but I've got a problem with a product calling itself the latest and greatest while using the same toxic ingredients used in products developed 30 years ago. Not only that, when applied as a spot-on to a pet's back, people (especially children) can be easily exposed to permethrin through contact, and that isn't good.
Now, understand that there hasn't been a fantastic breakthrough in tick control in a long time. The most recent breakthrough was fipronil (the ingredient found in Frontline) and that was over 15 years ago. It still works pretty good against ticks, but fleas are becoming resistant to it as well as to the ingredient found in Advantage (which by the way, does nothing for ticks unless combined with permethrin).
Of all the new topical flea and tick products out there, I like the new one from the Frontline people. It's called Tritak and it contains fipronil (for the ticks) plus a new killing ingredient for fleas, so it remains effective against both fleas and ticks WITHOUT resorting to permethrin. The disadvantage: It's fairly expensive and is available only through veterinarians (by the way, you may find it online, but that Tritak is not manufactured in the US..probably in India or China).
So if a pet store or your vet is pushing a new flea and tick product on you, ask if it contains permethrin. If it does, it's best to politely decline.
|Wednesday, Feb 06, 2013|
|Time To Save Some Money|
|By Dr. P|
|Wednesday, Feb 06, 2013 06:04|
Is your dog or cat due for a teeth cleaning? Keep in mind that February is Pet Dental Health Month across the country and many veterinarians are offering professional teeth cleanings at DEEP discounts.
Call your vet to see if he/she is participating; if not, call around to get best pricing (remember: no need to feel guilty about doing that!). Just make sure the price you are quoted is all-inclusive (including potential tooth extraction fees). Also, make sure your pet has all vaccinations, etc. up-to-date before you go so you are not charged extra for these.
Keeping those teeth clean is vital to your pet's health and well-being. So take advantage of Pet Dental Health Month. Book an appointment early, as most clinics only do dentals one or two days per week, so appointment slots usually fill up quickly!
|Monday, Jan 28, 2013|
|Using Pedialyte in Pets|
|By Dr. P|
|Monday, Jan 28, 2013 10:31|
Pedialyte is a great electrolyte replacement drink that can be used to help rehydrate dogs and cats that suffer from minor bouts of gastrointestinal illness. It's much better than using Gatorade or Powerade, which provide more sugar than they do electrolytes. There are, however, two downsides to using Pedialyte: 1) It's expensive, and 2) it tastes nasty.
That said, here are two tips to overcome these negatives. For starters, purchase the generic version of Pedialyte instead of the name-brand product. You'll get the same benefits for half the cost. Generic equivalents are available at most grocery stores and drug stores. And secondly, try the Mango flavor of whichever brand you buy. It's been my experience that most pets like this flavor and will take it without much struggle.
|Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013|
|Another Drug Shortage?|
|By Dr. P|
|Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013 12:30|
Veterinarians have recently learned of several new drug shortages to expect in 2013. One will involve doxycycline, an antibiotic commonly used to treat tough infections and to prepare dogs for heartworm treatment. Other drugs that are expected to be unavailable or in short supply include prednisone and prednisolone.
When I heard that, the first thing out of my mouth was, "Are you kidding me??" These two steroid antiinflammatories have been used as the mainstay drugs to treat skin allergies and autoimmune diseases in pets for over 40 years, and now they're going to be in short supply. What's going on??
No explanations have been offered. But I have my suspicions. Drug shortages in human medicine have been happening for years, especially among cheap generic drugs. With generics are not available, the only other options are to purchase the more expensive trade name drugs. Hmm...I can already hear champagne corks popping in Big Pharma board rooms across the country.
I'm afraid that drug shortages, like rising gas prices, are here to stay. But when those shortages place a pet's quality of life in jeopardy, I take it personally (as should you). So in the coming new year, be patient with your veterinarian if you find your pet has been prescribed an expensive drug in lieu of a cheaper one.
It's not his/her fault.
|Monday, Nov 26, 2012|
|Holiday Hazards 2012|
|Monday, Nov 26, 2012 10:31|
Thanksgiving Day has come and gone and if you're like me, you downloaded your Christmas music to your IPod yesterday. It's also time to plan for a safe holiday season for your pet. Here are a few "holiday hazards" to remember:
Desiccant Gel Packs - those little white or tan bags found in shoeboxes, electronics, packaged foods, etc. can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and even intestinal blockages if eaten.
Christmas Tree Preservative - the sugar in these liquid preservatives added to Christmas tree stands make them appealing to inquisitive pets. Again, ingestion usually leads to gastrointestinal upset, which can turn severe if bacteria or mold has contaminated the stuff .
Christmas Trees - Tree needles seem to be especially attractive to cats, who will swallow those bad boys and spend the next 2 hours hurling due to the abrasive action on the stomach lining. Sharp needles can also puncture the back of the throat, causing abscesses. Finally, if a Christmas tree falls over on a pet, bad stuff usually results.
Poinsettias and other holiday plants (holly, mistletoe, lilies) - Actually, contrary to popular belief, poinsettias aren't really toxic to pets; however, they can cause mild gastrointestinal upset . Unfortunately, the same can't be said for other common holiday foliage. The others mentioned can be extremely toxic to pets if eaten and will surely warrant an expensive trip to the animal ER. As a result, keep them well out of reach. Lilies are especially deadly.
Other hazards - Other common hazards include chocolate, Christmas light cords, egg nog (alcohol), bread and cookie dough, ribbon (and tinsels and string, etc), batteries, and potpourris.
So this holiday season, take the time to hazard-proof your holiday home and make frequent inspections over the weeks leading up to Christmas and New Years to make sure it stays that way. Then you can spend your hard-earned money on gifts and not on trips to your local animal emergency clinic.
|Monday, Nov 19, 2012|
|What Are They Thinking??|
|By Dr. P|
|Monday, Nov 19, 2012 08:56|
Ever heard of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD)? It happens to be one of the most contagious and potentially damaging (economically-speaking) infectious viral diseases that can affect food animals (cattle, pigs, sheep) today. The disease is highly contagious, easily spread through aerosols, through contact with contaminated farming equipment, vehicles, clothing or feed, and by domestic and wild predators
Infected animals run high fevers and develop blisters inside the mouth and on the feet. These eventually rupture and cause lameness and loss of appetite. As you can imagine, a cow that stops moving and eating is in all sorts of trouble. Our economy would be in trouble as well. It could take a $20 Billion hit in terms of loss of exports, decreased consumer demand, and loss of well-established valuable genetic lines due to mandatory culling of herds if a FMD outbreak were to occur.
The last major outbreak we ever experienced in the US was back in 1929. But that could change...
Currently, the only FMD virus on US soil is safely tucked away at the USDA's Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Plum Island Animal Disease Center, which is located off the coast of Long Island, NY. It is on this secluded island that scientists conduct research on FMD and other highly contagious animal diseases.
But the "powers that be" decided that the Plum Island facility is now too small and outdated, so they have been busy constructing a new research facility, called the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), scheduled to open in 2015. Unfortunately, they've located it in the heart of agricultural America - Manhattan, Kansas.
Why they are moving FMD research to the mainland is baffling. Years ago, the FMD virus accidentally escaped from the Plum Island research facility and infected livestock housed in open pens on the island. But guess what? It never got off the island. Why? Because IT'S AN ISLAND!
And what about Hurricane Sandy? She did her best, but she couldn't damage the Plum Island facility enough to effect a similar release. That's not to say that a massive tornado like the one that hit Joplin, Missouri couldn't do the job. But fortunately, tornados are rare off the coast of New York...oh, wait... the new facility won't be off the coast of New York. It will be situated smack dab in the heartland of America, better known as Tornado Alley (and by the way, not too far from Joplin)!
In my opinion, the risk is just too great. If you agree, drop a note to your U.S. Senators and let them know of your displeasure. I don't know about you, but I'm sure as heck don't want to see another economic meltdown hit this country anytime soon!