Posts Tagged: animal clinic
Don’t wait for the telltale signs of bad breath before scheduling dental care for your pet. By the time an unpleasant odor is evident they will be well on the way to serious dental disease.
Gingivitis: Is defined as inflammation of gum tissue caused by a buildup of plaque and tartar. This is the start of dental disease and provides the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. Inflammation, swelling and bleeding gums are the body screaming for dental care before things get worse.
Inflammation: The presence of inflammation and bacteria will cue up your pet’s immune system. With chronic inflammation, the immune response never shuts off which can damage heart, lungs and kidneys.
Gingival Recession: Untreated gingivitis and inflammation damages tissues causing gums to pull away from teeth. This exposes sensitive tooth roots which do not have the same protective enamel as the crown and are more susceptible to damage.
Bone Loss: Once the more vulnerable roots have been exposed, destructive bacteria release toxins which then eat away surrounding bone.
Root Abscess: The combination of inflammation, bacteria, gum recession and bone loss can lead to tooth root abscesses resulting in the loss of affected teeth.
Tooth Loss: As the cascade of damage continues, teeth will begin to wobble. A decrease in appetite, weight loss and general malaise brought on by pain follows.
Oronasal Fistula: Severe dental disease can damage enough bone to create an opening between your pet’s mouth and nasal tract. At this stage, chronic respiratory issues are added to dental pain and disease.
Jaw Fracture: Continued bone loss can lead to fracture of the lower jaw.
Organ damage and Systemic Disease: This is the end game for untreated dental disease. Bacteria and chronic inflammation wreak havoc on the kidneys, liver, heart and overall health robbing your pet of not only quality but quantity of life.
We have all seen owners and/or trainers who have taught their dog, bird, horse, or cat to do amazing things. Birds with huge vocabularies, bike riding dogs, and dancing horses. So how hard should it really be to teach our dog to tolerate a visit to the vet?? If you’re willing to invest a little time, you can train your dog to be a happier patient.
It’s all about practice, practice, practice. The first place your new puppy should visit is the veterinary office. The very first visit should just be to say hello and get some treats. Use the second visit to make sure they are healthy…
Get your puppy used to having his/her feet handled at home. Start by holding a paw then move on to grasping a toenail. Even if you never plan on clipping nails at home, get your pup accustomed to the clipper around their feet. Remember to use lots of treats and praise!
Teach your puppy how to take pills before they actually need to. Have your puppy sit sideways next to you or on your lap if they are small. Place one hand around the top jaw with your thumb and middle finger behind the canines. Use your other thumb and forefinger to gently open the lower jaw. Now just place a small treat or piece of cheese in the mouth on the tongue. Do this a few times and you shouldn’t have any trouble when the time to actually medicate comes along. Today there are even specially made products to hide pills in that most dogs love!
Handle your puppy’s ears, clean the area around their eyes, lift their tail, and run your hands along their abdomen. Desensitizing your pup to handling is one of the kindest things you can do for them.
Teach your dog to stand quietly. Much of a veterinary exam is done with the pet standing. If your dog is accustomed to standing calmly beforehand the stress level will go way down. Again, use treats and gentle praise to let your dog know they are doing the correct thing.
Teach your dog to walk on a leash. If your dog is out of control in the waiting area things will only go downhill in the exam room.
Once your pet is protected by vaccines, schedule a puppy class and/or doggie daycare. A well-socialized dog is a stable dog. No kidding…our happiest patients are campers and Puppy Class alumni.
It’s OK to bring something from home. A toy or blanket works fine and pets find the familiar odor of home calming.
If you‘re nervous your dog will be too. Whatever you feel telegraphs directly to your pet. Some people can’t actually be in the room with their dog and that’s OK. Just don’t let your limitations make things more difficult for your pet.
It’s fall. Besides the changing colors and cooler weather, Kennel Cough is another thing we expect to rear its ugly head every fall.
What is Kennel Cough?
Kennel Cough is the common name for Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC). It is seen in dogs in group situations such as kenneling, grooming, dog shows, dog parks etc. The symptoms include hacking, coughing, sneezing and retching.
So, what causes Kennel Cough then?
CIRDC can be caused by the following bugs:
Virus: Bocavirus, Canine Adenovirus Type 2, Canine Corona Virus, Canine Distemper Virus, Canine Herpes Virus, Canine Influenza Parainfluenza, Pneumovirus and Reovirus.
Bacteria: Bordetella Brochiseptica, Streptococcus Equi, Mycoplasma spp. and secondary bacterial infections.
Anesthesia scares lots of people but in fact is safe and has a long and very cool history. Check it out!
The truth is we have been trying to find ways to ease pain for a really long time but we have not always been very good at it.
Anesthesia for animals didn’t happen as fast as it did for people because it was thought that putting an animal under was painful. So they just restrained them instead. Bad idea.
Opium was a popular drug in early anesthesia because of its numbing properties. It has many properties that make it useful in medicine and is still employed today.
During World War II many Jews escaped from the Nazis through the use of rabbit blood soaked rags with a cocaine top dressing. The dogs noses were numbed which dulled their sense of smell and their brains were addled enough to make them lose focus. Pretty smart and harmless to the dogs.
Spinal blocks were discovered by accident. In 1885 a doctor studying neurological problems accidently injected cocaine into a dog’s spine. The great news came when he saw that the neural block reversed on its own over time. Ask any mother who had an epidural during delivery how great a discovery this was.
The really worst idea for surgical analgesia was a sock to the jaw which made the patient unconscious and a hopefully very rapid surgery. Yes they actually did this
The man who popularized inhalant anesthesia was unable to patent his method and died penniless and bitter
In animals we need to look at age, size and weight, Sex (some boys need more), species (VERY important), Physical health and condition, pre surgical drugs that have been administered and the type of procedure to be performed. An overweight animal has a much greater risk of complications. Yet another reason not to feed table scraps.
Anesthesia free procedures were performed up into the 20th century. Ether was around but was not widely used. Think about how very painful surgery that must have been. Something to remember when someone tries to sell you on the idea of anesthesia free procedures. Dentals are surgical procedures.
In 1733, Rev. Stephan Hales developed invasive blood pressure measurements by introducing glass pipes into the femoral arteries of horses.
Anesthesia also produces amnesia and that’s always a good thing when you’re having surgery.
One of the hardest things we do after surgery is to determine if an animal is in pain or dysphoric. Dysphoria is a state of unease which causes vocalization and restlessness. It can be caused by the surgical drugs we use. Unlike people animals can’t tell us how they are feeling so we monitor our surgical patients closely to minimize any discomfort.
It is possible to have an aware anesthesia where you can’t move but it’s not at all common. Thank goodness!
This is for the redheads out there. You really don’t need more anesthesia. That’s a myth.
We talk a lot about Heartworm infection. We urge to you keep your pet on preventives and to test for evidence of heartworm infection year after year after year. The problem is, what we really need to talk about is Heartworm Disease. It is the shadow in the room that both frightens and motivates us. Continue…
It’s National Kid and Pet Day on April 26th! We thought we should celebrate by sharing some of the wonderful things pets do for all of. If you have had a special pet in your life, please feel free to share your stories and photos on our Facebook page.
They keep us healthy!!
Pets help lower blood pressure, ease loneliness, and get us out and exercising. They increase self-esteem, elevate mood, and reduce stress. They reduce cholesterol, decrease the development of allergies, and extend the lifespan after a heart attack. They are a powerful drug with no side effects.
They bring us joy!
Is there anything better than unconditional love? The whole world may be upset with us but not our dog or cat or bunny. They are always there ready to provide love and the reassurance that at least they still think we are awesome.
They make us laugh!
There is a reason why silly cat and puppy videos are ubiquitous on the internet. They make us laugh. They make us smile. They even make us more human.
They give us a sense of purpose.
We all need something to give us purpose. Pets perform that function in many people’s lives. They teach the young what it means to have responsibility for the wellbeing of another living being. As we age they keep us company and give us purpose.
They are a social magnet!!
They give us common ground and ease the awkwardness of meeting new people. It can be hard to come up with small talk when we are one on but add a pet to the mix and we’re instant chatterboxes. This goes double for children with social anxiety. Animals are the ultimate ice breaker.
They serve and protect.
They guide the blind, help the hearing disabled and predict seizures. They sniff out bombs and drugs and tasty mushrooms. They work as soldiers and peace officers. They love us and protect our home and family. They do it all. Yet all they ask in return is just a small place in our hearts and shelter.
Dispose of antifreeze safely:
Even so-called pet safe antifreeze can be toxic to your pet.
Ethylene Glycol ingestion causes incoordination, disorientation, and lethargy progressing to vomiting, kidney failure, and death.
Treatment must begin as soon as possible. Call your veterinarian. Early intervention and treatment are imperative to a good outcome.
For more information:
As the snow melts do a safety walk through your yard. You never know what may have been dropped or thrown over the fence. This small precaution can keep your pet safe from injury and poisoning.
Spring cleaning products:
Spring clean-up often involves chemicals that can be caustic to the sensitive tissues of the eyes, mouth, and paw pads. Others may be toxic if ingested. Remember to keep cleaning materials and rags safely out of the way.
Fleas and ticks and spiders and bees – Oh My!!!
With spring so come all of Mother Nature’s creeping, crawling, and flying creatures. Make sure your pets are up to date on both flea and tick preventatives.
Sudden swelling of the face and muzzle and/or bumps under the hair can be an indicator of an allergic reaction to bee or spider bites. These can become severe and require treatment by a veterinarian.
Parasites like spring too:
Parasites of all types appear with increasing temperatures. Make sure your pet is current on their intestinal and heartworm tests.
Remember the mosquitos that carry heartworm become active in temperatures as low as 50 degrees. It’s just one pill a month and parasites are so much easier to prevent than treat.
Lyme disease is carried by ticks so small they often go unnoticed. The larger Brown Dog Ticks can spread the disease as well. Lyme disease can cause inflammation of joints, lameness, lethargy, loss of appetite as well as damage to the kidneys and other organs.
Leptospirosis is transmitted through urine and is spread through the water and other warm, moist environments. The disease can cause joint pain, lethargy, loss of appetite, jaundice, vomiting, and other symptoms. Most importantly, Leptospirosis can be shared with you.
Canine Parvovirus is incredibly hardy and able to survive long periods in the environment. Parvovirus causes, lethargy, severe vomiting, bloody diarrhea, rapid dehydration, and if left untreated death.
They are all preventable. VACCINATE.
The doors we open to let spring in also let pets out:
Get your pet microchipped. You will be happy you did because unlike collars, microchips can’t be lost. They have helped reunite many pets and owners over great distances and time.
Spring is gardening time.
Many of the spring bulbs we plant in our gardens are toxic to pets.
The same goes for fertilizers and herbicides. Please use care around children and pets.
For a complete list of Toxic plants go to:
The following is a reprint from a Quad City Times article written by Barb Ickes. Doctor Lauren Hughes of Animal Family Veterinary Care Center also cares for The Niabi Zoo animals. Most of our clients have an active interest in the zoo so we wanted to make sure you all had a chance to read the article.
COAL VALLEY — The zookeepers at Niabi hope to soften the blow.
Death may not be imminent, but it will come. And it is time to prepare.
Several of Niabi Zoo’s residents would be in nursing homes by now if such an option existed. It doesn’t, so the keepers are doing their best to make their seniors comfortable and content as age and nature conspire against them.
Mufasa, a lion born at Niabi, will be 21 years old this year. His life expectancy in the wild would have expired six or seven years ago. His large, keen eyes are fogging with cataracts, and his appetite is waning. He moves more slowly than before, and he shows little interest in going outdoors.
Carnivore keeper Jessica Lench Porter is Mufasa’s primary keeper, but her position requires more than doling out doses of high-protein horse meat and daily medications.
One of the most valuable skills Porter and the other keepers have to offer their geriatric menagerie is knowing them well enough to recognize a natural decline.
For Mufasa and several others, the decline has begun.
‘Mufasa is an icon here’
Niabi’s two female lions, Savanna and Nala, are about half Mufasa’s age.
One has been spayed, and the other is on birth control. Although the nearly 21-year-old male remains capable of fathering their cubs, he lacks the paperwork to prove he would be a good candidate.
“Part of his genetics are unknown,” zoo Director Marc Heinzman said. “We don’t want to accidentally interbreed.”
Mufasa did, in fact, sire two cubs. One had to be put down after it was seriously injured in an enclosure-door malfunction, and the other died of natural causes. It is impossible, zoo officials said, to know whether genetics played a role in the latter fatality. Heinzman said the pregnancy occurred before he was zoo director, and he does not know why it was permitted.
But the point is moot now, anyway.
Mufasa lives separately from the two females that occupy Niabi’s main lion exhibit. He has been bunking for two years with the jaguar and leopards that live in the large cat area. All three lions were moved there in 2012 when work was being done on the lion exhibit. Although Savanna and Nala have been returned to the lion house, he is not going back.
Some controversy has surrounded the decision to keep Mufasa sequestered from the other lions. Members of the public have complained that he should remain with the pride because of lions’ social nature.
But it is best, keepers say, for Mufasa to live out his life right where he is. His eyesight is too poor to hope that he could manage the transition.
“He wouldn’t know his surroundings,” Porter said. “We’re not going to set him up to fail.”
As it is, Mufasa is experiencing enough failures. He has become increasingly stubborn and less motivated by food. His usual daily feeding of nine pounds of raw meat has been reduced to seven pounds, and he often leaves some behind.
All four of his thumb-sized canine teeth are chipped from wear, and the last time he was sedated for a medical procedure, it took him days to recover.
“In the wild, he’d have been kicked out of the pride because of his age,” Porter said. “The best thing we can do is look out for him.”
To give proper care, the keeper continues old training routines that keep Mufasa in a cooperative spirit. With daily reminders of what is expected of him, the old male usually complies when Porter makes her demands.
“If I can get him to stand up, I can see his underside,” she said. “He can present both sides, and he can follow the command to open his mouth, so we can see his teeth.
“But it’s also very important that I know what’s going on with him in other ways. I need to know, for instance, if he’s favoring one side when he chews his food. I need to spot any changes in him.”
Niabi’s house veterinarian, Dr. Lauren Hughes, said the keepers are her “eyes and ears” when she is not on the grounds.
“Because they work with the collection every day, they are able to see sudden changes in normal behavior, which can include a decreased appetite, loss of body condition, or even something as simple as not coming out of their hiding places or dens as frequently,” she said. “Although these changes may all seem subtle, we have actually been able to catch illnesses very early in several animals in the collection due to their keen observations.”
Porter also can spot personality quirks.
In Mufasa’s case, he finds a bellowing territory call to be necessary throughout the day. A once-or-twice-a-day call is sufficient for most male lions, but Mufasa throws back his mane and produces a chest-vibrating series of roars at least once an hour.
The scale that he agreeably steps onto every two weeks shows he is down 38 pounds from his maximum weight of 410.
“He still has good body condition,” Porter said. “He’s giving us no reason to euthanize him. He’s just in that geriatric stage. Mufasa is an icon here. People come just to see him.
“The day will come when he isn’t here. In the meantime, he’s in the only place he’s ever known. He knows what to expect from me, and he is well fed and cared for. I’ve been here for 13 years, and you obviously form an attachment, but you also have to keep a distance.
“Old age comes to wild animals just like it does for people. You accept it.”
Jackson the jaguar
Sometimes, when Porter pushes the big-cat scale into his enclosure, Jackson the jaguar takes off with it. If someone told him the four-foot-long metal scale is not a toy, Jackson wasn’t listening.
Turning 20 this year, the jet-black jag also is well beyond his prime. Big cats in the wild are lucky to survive into their early-to-mid-teens, Porter said.
“At the end of December, tests showed he’s in early kidney failure,” she said. “His appetite also is diminishing. These are things we want people to know. Instead of reacting when we have a death, we want the public to know what’s going on.”
For now, Jackson is holding his own.
“He’s definitely still got it,” Porter said. “He’s still agile. He’s not one to pace. He’s a stalker. He sits there and thinks things through.”
He also has his quirks, including a fascination with his medicine-ball-like toy, which is made of a tightly wound fire hose.
“That’s one of his favorite things,” she said. “He drags it everywhere.”
He also sucks on his tail.
“I’m not alarmed by it, because he’s done it for at least 10 years,” she said. “I have no idea why.
“We can’t convey enough how important it is that we know their behaviors, so they don’t suffer in any way. I think of it this way: If you’re getting older, and your eyesight is going, kidneys failing and appetite diminishing, don’t you want care?
“We have all these bottles with different scents — even some spices and extracts. We hide these things in their enclosures, changing up smells and toys. Mental stimulation is hugely important to the quality of life, and people forget to apply that to animals, too.
“We want the end of their lives to be comfortable.”
Even though their enclosure is small, cotton-top tamarins Eddie and Goose are not easy to spot.
Among the smallest of all primates, the two are similar in size to squirrels. Frequently spending their time side-by-size in their new exhibit in the zoo’s main entrance, they are easily dwarfed by their roommate, a two-toed sloth.
Now in their golden years, the tamarins are empty-nesters.
The life expectancy for tamarins in the wild is 13. Eddie will be 14 this year, and Goose will turn 13.
“They’ve had many babies,” Porter said. “They’ve been here most of their lives.”
The tiny primates are new charges for Porter, who is learning to care for and train the pair.
“I’m not 100 percent confident with primates, so I don’t hand-feed them,” she said as she slipped through a small door and into their enclosure last week. “Training them to go into a crate is important, so they don’t have to be captured.
“Also, with these guys being geriatric, we need them to get on a scale.”
The two, especially Eddie, are showing no signs of letting up on their food motivation.
As Porter entered their enclosure with a plastic cup of mealworms, Eddie made his move. The tamarins have been trained to expect their food after touching a “target.” In their case, the target is a wand-sized stick with a green bulb at one end. When they touch the bulb, Porter blows on a small whistle, and they are permitted to reach in for a mealworm.
In his excitement, Eddie emits frequent bird-like chirps and reaches repeatedly for the target.
“They really like insects,” Porter said. “They’re easy for them to eat, too. We have to cook some of their food to make it easier. We soften the potatoes that are added to their Primate Diet food.”
After spending decades with big cats and Niabi’s now-relocated elephants, Porter said she is enjoying the challenge of learning more about the petite primates.
“You definitely get their personalities,” she said. “They have a very complex vocalization system. They have an ear-piercing alarm call. I was doing an educational tour in this room recently, and I got out one of the snakes. The tamarins screamed their heads off.”
The ongoing training with Eddie and Goose, along with close and frequent observation, make it possible for them to survive several more years. But their continued longevity is not guaranteed.
“If you come one day and enjoy seeing them, and they’re not here on the next visit, you have to understand: They’re getting up there,” Porter said. “We have to face it
From the zoo’s vet
“In regards to the senior animals in our collection: It is a testament to the hard work and care of the zoo staff that their longevity is even an issue, and as frustrating as this may be, it is a great issue to have.
“Due to the high quality of care for these animals, they are well outliving their expected survival rates in the wild. That being said, this presents a new series of challenges similar to those that people face with their domestic pets.
“For example, renal disease is one of the most common diseases of geriatric felines. The same holds true for exotic felines in zoo collections.
“In a domestic setting, we can manage these animals by changing their diets, modifying their care plans to include extra means of hydration like fluids under the skin, and monitoring their blood pressure. In a zoo collection, all of these options are not always possible due to safety reasons with these large, apex predators.
“Their diets are already optimized to the highest protein possible, and there isn’t always an ability to administer fluids or monitor blood pressure without compromising staff safety or using sedatives, which isn’t always the safest option for the animal in question or their underlying illnesses.
In the spirit of giving this holiday season we thought we would remind you why your next pet should come from one of our local shelters.
You know what you are getting.
Unlike a puppy, if you adopt an adult animal, he/she will already have a fully developed personality. In addition, most shelters temperament test their animals before putting them up for adoption so there is little chance of bringing home an unstable animal.
How great is it to get a pet that is already house trained! Even better, if you adopt through an agency that utilizes foster care, your pet may have received some basic obedience training as well. Shelters will generally be willing to help you should problems develop post adoption.
Your new companion wants and appreciates the chance to bond with you.
Shelters are a better option than a puppy mill.
You have no idea about the breeding, or socialization of animals that come from a puppy mill. You may pay a large amount of money for a pet that has spent its entire life in a small kennel with little human contact. When profit is the main motivator, you can be sure that little attention is paid to preventing inherited disorders either
You are saving lives.
You are helping your community. When you adopt from your local humane society the fees you pay help to fund all of their programs. Most shelters also provide community education, patrol for strays and lost pets and ensure animals they adopt out are spayed or neutered.
You will have help finding the right animal for your family.
Yes, you can find a purebred animal.
A surprising number of purebred dogs and cats can be found at your local humane society. Being a purebred does not make them immune from circumstances that can land them in a shelter.
Shelters also have puppies and kittens and ferrets and rabbits and birds .
If you really love having a baby in the house, shelters usually have young animals up for adoption too. They can also be a great place to find your next rabbit, guinea pig or ferret.
Because all shelters are concerned about pet overpopulation, your pet will most likely already be altered. If you adopt an animal that is too young most provide vouchers for later spaying and neutering. That’s one less thing for you to worry about.
Here are links to our local shelters: