Fleas are the most common parasite affecting cats and dogs. They love warm, humid conditions and are often attracted to pets by their body heat. Fleas have powerful legs that allow then to jump easily from one animal to another in multi-pet homes or anywhere cats or dogs are in close proximity of each other (ie. boarding facilities, groomers, pet day care). When fleas bite, they inject an irritating saliva into the skin that can cause itching and scratching. Some pets even have a hypersensitivity to the saliva, called Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD), that can lead to raw and sometimes infected skin. Fleas are most commonly seen between the months of April and September, but in some areas of British Columbia, fleas can be present year-round. For advice on how to handle a flea infestation please call us or feel free to drop in.
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The cost of health care for your pet can be high, especially if that care requires hospitalization or surgery. Pet health insurance can help lessen the financial burden of care and allow you to choose the most appropriate treatment for your pet. There are several providers of pet health insurance with many options for coverage.
Some of the important questions to ask when comparing pet health plans are:
- Is preventive care (vaccination, dental care, flea control, etc.) covered?
- What are the limits of coverage per incident and over the pet’s lifetime?
- Is there a deductible and how much is it?
The following companies are just a few of the more commonly used pet health insurance providers:
Purina Care www.purinacare.ca
The White Rock Veterinary Hospital recommends that all pet owners looking for pet health insurance, research providers to find a suitable match for the pet and the owners needs.
When a kitten or puppy is born, its immune system is not yet mature leaving the baby open to possible infection. Fortunately, mothers produce a special milk within the first few days of giving birth called colostrum. Colostrum is rich in all the antibodies that the mother has to offer. As the babies drink this milk, they will be taking in their mother’s immunity. By 16 to 20 weeks of age, maternal antibodies are gone and the baby must continue to build it’s own immune system. Vaccinations provide your puppy or kitten the ability to build up immunity to the common diseases that can harm them. Cats are ideally vaccinated against Feline Leukemia, Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Feline Panleukopenia, Feline Calicivirus and Rabies. Dogs are vaccinated against Canine Distemper, Canine Parvovirus, Infectious Canine Hepatitis, Kennel Cough and Rabies. At the White Rock Veterinary Hospital we recommend vaccinating at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age, with booster vaccinations annually. For more information on canine and feline infectious diseases go to our Client Resources Page.
Deworming your puppy or kitten is another important step to raising a healthy pet. Puppies and kittens have the potential to be born with intestinal parasites and have the ability to pick them up in their environment as well. The most common types of worms seen in dogs and cats are Tape Worms, Roundworms, Hookworms and Whipworms. It is even possible for our furry little friends to transmit their intestinal parasites to humans. A proper deworming protocol is the best way to protect our pets and ourselves from infestation. Puppies and kittens should be dewormed every 2 weeks until 3 months of age, then once a month until 6 months of age. After that, deworming your pet 4 times a year is sufficient but monthly deworming is a gold standard!
February Is Dental Month!
DOG DENTAL FACTS:
Puppies have 28 temporary teeth that erupt at 3-4 weeks of age and 42 permanent teeth that begin to emerge at about 4 months old.
Symptoms of gum disease in dogs include a yellow and brown build-up of tartar along the gum line, inflamed gums and persistent bad breath.
Broken teeth are a common problem, especially among outdoor dogs. According to veterinary dental experts, aggressive chewing on hard objects, such as commercially available cow hooves or bones, is a primary cause of broken teeth in dogs.
CAT DENTAL FACTS:
Kittens have 26 temporary teeth that begin to erupt at about 2-3 weeks of age and 30 permanent teeth that erupt at about 3-4 months old.
Symptoms of periodontal disease in cats include yellow and brown tartar build-up along the gum line, red and inflamed gums, and persistent bad breath.
Resorptive lesions are the most common tooth disease in domestic cats. Studies show that about 28% of domestic cats develop at least one of these painful lesions during their lifetime.
ORAL DISEASE IS THE MOST FREQUENTLY DIAGNOSED HEALTH PROBLEM FOR PETS
An astounding 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by age 3, according to the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS).
Periodontal disease is a common problem in dogs, particularly smaller breeds.
ORAL DISEASE BEGINS WITH A BUILD-UP OF BACTERIA IN THE PET’S MOUTH
Bacteria, combined with saliva and food debris between the tooth and gum, can cause plaque formation that accumulates on the tooth. As bacteria grow in the plaque and as calcium salts are deposited, plaque turns to tartar.
Bacterial plaque is the most important substrate in the development of periodontal disease. The inflammation and destruction that accompanies periodontal disease results from the direct action of bacteria and their by-products on periodontal tissues as well as the indirect activation of the pet’s immune response.
Without proper prevention of therapeutic care, plaque and tartar build-up leads to periodontal disease, which affects the tissues and structures supporting the teeth. Left untreated, periodontal disease can cause oral pain, tooth loss and other problems throughout the pet’s whole body.
Tartar has a contributory role due to its roughened surface, which enhances bacterial attachment that further’s plaque development and irritates gingival tissues.
PERIODONTITIS MAY LEAD TO OTHER HEALTH PROBLEMS
Periodontal disease causes red, swollen and tender gums, receding gums, bleeding, pain and bad breath. If left untreated, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss.
The inflammation and infection associated with periodontal disease may damage other organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys, or lead to other serious health problems.
PET OWNERS SHOULD LOOK FOR WARNING SIGNS OF ORAL DISEASE
Common indications of oral disease include bad breath, a change in eating or chewing habits, pawing at the face or mouth and depression.
If any of these signs are present, the pet should be taken to the veterinarian for a dental exam.
Broken teeth are a common problem especially among outdoor dogs and aggressive chewers.
THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT PET OWNERS CAN REDUCE THE RISK OF ORAL DISEASE BY FOLLOWING THESE RECOMMENDATIONS:
The first step in preventing oral disease is a routine physical examination including a dental exam.
Pet owners should practice a regular dental care regimen at home, which may include brushing the pet’s teeth with specially formulated toothpaste. It is best to start early, but grown dogs and cats can learn to tolerate brushing. Toothpaste for humans is not recommended because it may upset the pet’s stomach.
Schedule regular follow-up care with your family veterinarian and ask about specially formulated foods with benefits in plaque and tartar removal.
Five Steps to a Healthier Pet
1. Watch What Your Pet Eats
Different pets have different needs when it comes to nutrition. That’s why you should work with your veterinary health care team to make the right food choice for your pet. Together you can discover the right type and amount of food for your pet’s lifestage and health condition.
2. Track Your Pet’s Weight
Losing weight can help your pet achieve better health, but only if the weight is lost in a healthy, controlled manner. To make sure your pet is losing weight at a healthy pace, make sure you weigh your pet regularly and use our weight tracking chart to track your pet’s progress.
3. Maintain a Healthy Activity Level
Your pet’s weight managment program isn’t complete without a healthy amount of physical activity. Whether it’s a game of fetch, a walk in the park, or a new toy, make sure your pet is getting the physical activity needed to stay healthy.
4. Visit Your Veterinarian Often
Regular trips to the veterinarian ensure that your pet’s weight management program is going smoothly. Your veterinarian know’s your pet’s ideal weight, how fast your pet should be losing weight and which foods are best for each stage of the weight loss plan.
5. Maintain an Ideal Weight for Life
Your pet’s weight management should be lifelong. Once your pet has attained an ideal weight, switch to a simple weight maintenance plan that consists of regular exercise and proper nutrition.
If you have any questions about weight loss and your pet, feel free to come in for a consult with one of our Veterinary Nutritional Advocates.
T’is the season for holiday hazards. While enjoying the festivities, here’s a few things to keep in mind:
Although very beautiful, a poinsettia’s leaves and its milky sap can cause severe gastrointestinal upset. As well, holly and mistletoe are extremely poisonous.
If you have a tree climbing cat or a large dog with a happy tail, make sure that your Christmas tree is well secured. Tree preservatives, sugar or aspirin added to tree stands should be avoided.
Sharp breakable ornaments, dreidels and aluminum foil should be kept out of reach.
String objects, such as tinsel and ribbon are thin and sharp and can wrap around the intestines or ball up in the stomach.
Electrical cords should be secured and kept out of the way to avoid being chewed on. Lit candles should never be left unattended especially if within kitty’s eye level or puppy’s chew zone.
Holiday feasts should be shared, but not with our pets. Too much fat can cause severe gastrointestinal upset and bones can lodge in the throat, stomach or intestinal tract.
Have a safe and happy holiday season,
From the White Rock Veterinary Hospital!
Santa is coming to the White Rock Veterinary Hospital!
Saturday, December 8, 2012
Call to book your reservation!
Space is Limited!!
Minimum donation $5/picture ordered (CASH ONLY)
All proceeds will be donated to Critter Care Wildlife Society www.crittercarewildlife.org
Due to advances in veterinary medicine, pets are living longer than ever before. However, with this increased lifespan comes an increase in the types of ailments that can afflict senior pets. Upon reaching “the golden years” there are a variety of conditions and diseases that pets can face, including weight and mobility changes, osteoarthritis, kidney, heart and liver disease, tumors and cancers, hormone disorders (ie. diabetes and thyroid imbalance), and many others.
Just as the health care needs of humans change as we age, the same applies to pets. It’s critical for pet owner to work closely with their veterinarian to devise a health plan that is best for their senior pet.
When Does “Senior” Start?
Generally, smaller breeds of dogs live longer than larger breeds. Beyond that, the life span will vary with each individual, and your veterinarian will be able to help you determine what stage of life your furry friend is in. At the White Rock Veterinary Hospital, we consider pets to be seniors at age 7.
Senior Health Exams
Scheduling regular veterinary examinations is one of the most important steps pet owners can take to keep their pets in tip-top shape. When dogs and cats enter the senior years, these health exams are more important than ever. During the senior health exam, your veterinarian will ask you a series of questions regarding any changes in your pet’s activity and behavior. The veterinarian will also conduct a complete examination of all your pet’s body systems, and will recommend laboratory blood work and urine screening. Doing so will allow us to catch and delay the onset or progress of disease and to detect an early indications of organ failure and osteoarthritis.
Laboratory Blood and Urine Testing
When your veterinarian sends a blood and urine sample to the laboratory, a number of tests will be run.
A Complete Blood Count (CBC) measures the number of red and white blood cells and platelets in a given sample. The CBC gives the veterinarian information needed to help diagnose anemia, infections and leukemia. It can also monitor your pets response to certain treatments.
A Blood-Chemistry Panel measures electrolytes, enzymes and chemical elements such as calcium and phosphorous. This information indicates how various organs, such as the kidneys, pancreas and liver, are currently functioning. The results of this test helps the veterinarian formulate an accurate diagnosis, prescribe proper therapy, and monitor the response to treatment.
Your pets thyroid level will also be tested to check for abnormalities common in older pets.
A Urinalysis is the analysis of a urine sample. This is used to detect the presence of specific substances that normally do not appear in urine, such as protein, sugar, white blood cells or blood. A measurement of the concentration of the urine is also helpful in diagnosing diseases. Urinary-tract infections, diabetes, dehydration, kidney problems and many other conditions can be diagnosed by analyzing urine.
Other laboratory tests may also be recommended based on the results of your pets blood and urine screening.
The Effects of Age
Sensory Changes: In your pets senior years you may notice some of their major senses (sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell) dulling. Loss of sensory perception is often a slow, progressive process, that may even escape your notice. Keeping your pet active with play and training is the best remedy for gradual sensory reduction. Pets may also be affected mentally as they age. Just as aging humans begin to forget things and are more susceptible to mental conditions, your aging animal may also begin to confront age-related cognitive and behavior changes.
Physical Changes: Physical changes in your pet are generally easier to spot than sensory changes. As the body wears out, it’s ability to respond to infection or injury is reduced, and the healing process takes longer. It is crucial to consult a veterinarian if you notice a significant change in the behavior or the physical condition of your pet. A very common and frustrating problem with aging pets is inappropriate elimination. As the kidneys wear out, as they do in older pets, and hormone imbalances affect the kidneys your pet may have trouble controlling their bathroom habits.
Many older pets benefit from specially formulated food that is designed with older bodies in mind. Obesity in pets is often the result of reduced exercise and overfeeding and is a risk factor for problems such as heart disease. Because older pets often have different nutritional requirements, these special foods can help keep your pet’s weight under control and reduce consumption of nutrients that are risk factors for the development of diseases, as well as organ- or age-related changes.
Exercise is another aspect of preventive geriatric care for your pet. If pets are cooped up or kept lying down, their bodies will deteriorate much more quickly. Toning down the exercise in an arthritic or debilitated cat or dog is a good idea as well. Keeping your pet active both mentally and physically will keep them sharp.
Signs of a Problem
- sustained, significant increase in water consumption or urination
- sudden weight loss or gain
- significant decrease in appetite or failure to eat for more than two days
- significant increase in appetite
- repeated vomiting
- diarrhea lasting over three days
- difficulty in passing stool or urine
- change in housebreaking
- lameness lasting more than five days or lameness in more than one leg
- noticeable decrease in vision
- open sores or scabs on the skin that persists for more than one week
- foul mouth odor or drooling that lasts more than two days
- increasing size of abdomen
- increasing inactivity or amount of time spent sleeping
- hair loss, especially if accompanied by scratching or if in specific areas (as opposed to generalized)
- excessive panting
- inability to chew dry food
- blood in stool or urine
- sudden collapse or bout of weakness
- a seizure (convulsion)
- persistent coughing or gagging
- breathing heavily or rapidly at rest
Reading a pet food label can often end in confusion – ingredients versus nutritional facts, guaranteed analysis, AAFCO statement. What does it all really mean? A pet food label is a legal document regulated by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and is the primary means of communication between the pet food manufacturers and pet owners. We understand that labels can be confusing, therefore we will try to help you understand.
Ingredients are the vehicles that provide nutrients, while nutrients are food components that support life and are metabolically useful. For example, lamb is an ingredient that provides nutrients such as protein, fatty acids and vitamins. Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight prior to processing (cooking). Ingredients such as chicken, beef or lamb contain more than 50% water. Their high water content makes them weigh more than dry ingredients such as grains, meat/poultry meal, minerals and vitamins, so they are listed first.
The guaranteed analysis is designed to provide consumers with nutrient information about the pet foods they purchase. It indicates minimum or maximum levels of nutrients such as protein, fat and fiber in the product to guide consumers. It is important to remember, however, that the guaranteed analysis is not an indication of the actual nutrient content of the food. For example, a minimum fat guarantee may be 8%, but the product can legally contain 15% fat or more. Likewise, a product with a maximum guarantee of 5% fiber may only contain 1%.
Nutritional Adequacy Statement (AAFCO Statement):
This portion of the label verifies if the food was put through feeding trials to compose the diet or if it was formulated to need nutritional requirements of AAFCO. It also indicates if the food provides complete and balanced nutrition for growing animals, pregnant and nursing mothers, adults,or seniors. In some cases it may say that the product is nutritionally adequate for “all lifestages”. Caution should be exercised when considering foods intened for all lifestages. They likely contain excessive levels of some nutrients necessary for the most demanding lifestage, which is growth – making them inappropriate for adult or senior pets.
Formulation versus Feeding Trial Method:
Formulation method is less expensive and results are determined more quickly as actual feeding or digestibility trials are not required. There is no guarantee of pet acceptance or nutrient bioavailability when utilizing this method.
Feeding trial method is also known as the “gold standard” for determining nutritional adequacy. The manufacturer must perform an AAFCO protocol feeding trial using the food being tested as the sole source of nutrition. Feeding trials are the best way to document how a pet will perform when fed a specific diet.
Manufacturer’s Toll-free Number:
The package label should contain the manufacturer’s name and phone number. We encourage you to call the companies to learn more about their products, including place of manufacturing, actual nutrient content, calories and palatability of your prospective pet food choice.
Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) is a highly contagious retrovirus that suppresses the immune system, leaving the cat vulnerable to other illnesses and infections. Secondary infections are responsible for many of the diseases and symptoms associated with FeLV. This virus is shed in very high quantities in saliva and nasal secretions, and can be found in urine, feces and milk from infected cats. The transmission of FeLV can occur through bite wounds from infected cats, transfer of infected blood, mouth or nose contact with infected saliva or urine, mutual grooming, nose to nose contact with an infected cat, to kittens during pregnancy of an infected cat,or nursing kittens from an infected cat. In the early stages of infection, it is common for the cat to exhibit no signs of disease at all. Over time – weeks, months, or even years – the cat’s health may progressively deteriorate or be characterized by recurrent illness, interspersed with periods of relative health. Common symptoms could include loss of appetite, slow but progressive weight loss followed by severe muscle wasting, poor coat condition, enlarged lymph nodes, persistent fever, pale gums and other mucous membranes, inflammation of the gums and mouth, infections of the skin, urinary bladder and upper respiratory tract, persistent diarrhea, seizures, behavior changes and other neurological disorders, or a variety of eye conditions. The only sure way to protect your cat from Feline Leukemia is to prevent exposure to FeLV-infected cats. Keep your cat indoors, vaccinate uninfected cats against FeLV, and adopt only infection-free cats into households with uninfected cats.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is a highly contagious lentivirus within the same retrovirus family as Feline Leukemia Virus. It is closely related to HIV and much of the information about HIV holds true for FIV. The primary mode of transmission is through deep penetrating bite wounds. It is also possible to be transmitted from an infected mother cat to kitten during gestation, passage through the birth canal or nursing. In the early stages of infection, the virus is carried to near by lymph nodes, where it reproduces. It then spreads to other lymph nodes throughout the body. This stage of infection may pass unnoticed unless the lymph nodes are greatly enlarged. An infected cat’s health may deteriorate progressively of be characterized by recurrent illness interspersed with periods of relative health. Common symptoms could include poor coat condition and persistent fever with a loss of appetite, inflammation of the gums and mouth, chronic or recurrent infections of the skin, urinary bladder and upper respiratory tract, persistent diarrhea, a variety of eye conditions, slow but progressive weight loss followed by severe muscle wasting, various kinds of cancer and blood diseases, and seizures, behavior changes and other neurological disorders. The only sure way to protect your cat from FIV is to prevent them from exposure to potentially FIV infected cats. As cat bites are the main form of transmission, keeping your cat indoors will reduce the possibility of fighting with other cats, therefore reducing the risk of infection.
Your cat should be tested for FeLV or FIV if your cat has had a bite wound, been outside unsupervised for even a brief period of time, been exposed to any other cat whose status is unknown, recently been adopted or has never been tested. Cats can be tested for both FeLV and FIV with one blood test preformed in hospital. To have this test preformed on your cat call to book an appointment.
Early detection of Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus will enable you to manage the disease, maintain the health of your cat, and will also prevent the spread of infection to other cats.