THE SHOCKING DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE COST OF PREVENTING PARASITES AND TREATING THEM.

 

Heartworm/Flea Prevention

 

DOG #1:  10 pound Dachshund:

Heartgard up to 25#  12 DOSES $79.54  
Frontline up to 22#  6 + 2 free $127.54  
Discount   -$25.00  
Rebate   -$12.00  
+/- Heartworm Test     $47.51
Total cost  

$184.58

$269.09

Trifexis 10.1–20#  12 doses $224.84  
Rebate   -$25.00  
+/- Heartworm test     $47.51
Total Cost

 

$215.58

$288.09

Heartworm Treatment

Initial examination   $49.76  
Pretreatment Laboratory   $115.74  
Pretreatment Radiographs   $178.29  
Pretreatment Medications   $29.39  
Immiticide Treatment   $107.39  
Post Heartworm test   $47.51  
Hospitalization 3 days   $128.97  
+/-  Pretreatment ECG     $173.43
Total cost  

$659.11

$832.54

Intestinal Parasite Treatment

Intestinal Parasite Screen   $31.52  
Panacur 1 gram  (Rounds, Whips, Hooks) 2 treatments $22.48  
Cestex  ( Tapeworms)   $36.92  
Post Parasite Screen   $31.52  
Mycodex Premise Spray  fleas present $36.92  
Total Cost

 

$143.70

 

DOG #2: 50# Golden:

 

 

Heartgard 26-50#  12 DOSES $102.58  
Frontline 45-88#  6 + 2 free $127.54  
Discount   -$25.00  
Rebate   -$12.00  
+/- Heartworm Test     $47.51
Total cost  

$206.27

$290.78

Trifexis 40.1-60#  12 doses $237.08  
Rebate   -$25.00  
+/- Heartworm test     $47.51
Total Cost  

$228.68

$301.19

Heartworm Treatment

Initial examination   $49.76  
Pretreatment Laboratory   $115.74  
Pretreatment Radiographs   $178.29  
Pretreatment Medications   $38.77  
Immiticide Treatment   $658.07  
Post Heartworm test   $47.51  
Hospitalization 3 days   $128.97  
+/-  Pretreatment ECG     $173.43
Total cost

 

$1,219.83

$1,393.26

 

Intestinal Parasite Treatment

Intestinal Parasite Screen   $31.52  
Panacur 1 gram  (Rounds, Whips, Hooks) 2 treatments $22.48  
Panacur 4 gram  (Rounds, Whips, Hooks) 2 treatments $47.82  
Cestex  ( Tapeworms)   $36.92  
Post Parasite Screen   $31.52  
Mycodex Premise Spray  fleas present $36.92  
Total Cost

 

$233.24

 

DOG #3: 90# Great Pyrenees:

 

Heartgard 50-100#  12 DOSES $123.10  
Frontline 45-88#  6 + 2 free $127.54  
Discount   -$25.00  
Rebate   -$12.00  
+/- Heartworm Test     $47.51
Total cost

 

$231.19

$315.70

Trifexis 60.1-120#  12 doses $245.36  
Rebate   -$25.00  
+/- Heartworm test     $47.51
Total Cost

 

$237.54

$310.05

Heartworm Treatment

Initial examination   $49.76  
Pretreatment Laboratory   $115.74  
Pretreatment Radiographs   $178.29  
Pretreatment Medications   $58.75  
Immiticide Treatment   $1,116.97  
Post Heartworm test   $47.51  
Hospitalization 3 days   $128.97  
+/-  Pretreatment ECG     $173.43
Total cost  

$1,700.10

$1,873.53

Intestinal Parasite Treatment

Intestinal Parasite Screen   $31.52  
Panacur 1 gram  (Rounds, Whips, Hooks) 2 treatments $63.04  
Panacur 4 gram  (Rounds, Whips, Hooks) 2 treatments $90.64  
Cestex  ( Tapeworms)   $36.92  
Post Parasite Screen   $31.52  
Mycodex Premise Spray  fleas present $36.92  
Total Cost  

$313.16

 

 

Summary

 

Prevention

Treat Heartworm

Treat Intestinal Worms

10# Dog

$215.58-$288.09

$659.11-$832.54

$143.70

50# Dog

$206.27-$290.78

$1219.83-1393.26

$233,24

90# Dog

$231.19-$315.70

$1700.10-$1873.53

$313.16

 

The real question is why would you not

prevent???????

 

Taking the Pain Out of Pain Management

 

We have already established that pain is, well, a pain! Webster’s defines pain as: localized physical suffering associated with bodily disorder and a basic bodily sensation induced by a noxious stimulus received by naked nerve endings…  That’s painful to even read!

If you read our last blog you know how important it is to control pain.  Left untreated, pain negatively affects the wellbeing, health and longevity of our pets. The question is how can we help once we know our pets are suffering .

  • Drugs:  Drugs are generally the first line of defense in pain management.  We use anesthetics, analgesics, muscle relaxants, steroids and even antidepressants to treat pain. Local anesthetics are also used to treat site specific pain or as nerve blocks in dental and surgical procedures.

 

  • Nutraceuticals:  Cosequin/Dasuquin:  The ingredients in these drugs work together to maintain the structure of joint cartilage while slowing the enzymes that break it down. They work well. Just make sure you use products that have verified ingredients and molecular weight.  There are many on the market and they are not all equal in ingredients or effectiveness.

 

  • Chiropractic: Chiropractic can help increase an animal’s range of motion, help alleviate back and joint pain, optimize neurologic function and help reduce the need for long term drug treatments. Improved function and decreased pain will all help to provide an overall higher quality of life. Improved neurological function may also lead to improved function of other organs and systems.

 

  • Acupuncture:  Acupuncture is used for many reasons but pain management is one it’s moist important applications.  It is believed to have a healing affect through the stimulation of specific points on the body. By inserting a needle in these points acupuncture stimulate nerves, increases circulation, relieves muscle spasms and causes the release of endorphins that ease pain. It has been used in people for over 4,000 years but is relatively new to veterinary medicine.

 

  • Massage:  The CVMA defines Medical massage as a practice “that targets conditions based on a veterinarian’s diagnosis; it involves specific techniques with the goal of producing measurable responses from the patient. Medical Massage for Animals brings a scientific perspective to massage therapy for dogs, inspired by the core connections of structure and function. It takes into consideration underlying medical conditions, with the goal of optimizing patient wellness, safety, and comfort by incorporating insights from osteopathic manipulative therapy and acupuncture.”

 

  • Cold Laser:  Cold laser is a non-cutting laser which works by stimulating cells and increasing blood circulation. At the correct wavelength, pain signals are reduced, nerve sensitivity decreases and endorphins released. Cold Laser is used in wound healing, ulcers, burns, wounds, cruciate ligament injury, sprain, strain, shoulder lameness, arthritis, elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, lick granuloma, head shaking, back pain, back injury, disc disease.

 

  • Heat/Cold Therapy:  Heat and cold therapy has been around forever.  Cold is effective in reducing swelling and inflammation and heat improves circulation. Both are readily or available, free and they work. 

 

  • Lifestyle Changes:  Sometimes it’s the little things that help.  Changes as simple as changing to a therapeutic bed, decreasing food intake for weight loss, ramps, non-slip flooring and other modifications can increase quality of life for older, painful pets. 
  •  

Benefits of Pet Ownership

 

Puppy is sleeping on the couch and shedding hair with each snore.  Kitty just knocked over the potted plant for the third time this month.  Then there’s the vet bills, the food, the groomer.  Geez!   After all, what has Fido or Kitty done for you lately?  We like to think that we are the hero in our animal/human relationships but the truth is animals give back plenty.  Want some reminders of why we benefit from pet ownership?  Read on.

  • Pets make our children healthier.   
    • The Journal of Pediatrics found that kids with pets are less likely to develop eczema. 
    • Another study found that infants with pets developed fewer respiratory infections.
    • Multiple studies have found that Infants with pets also develop fewer allergies.
  • Pets make our children happier.
    • Pets provide unconditional love and help build self esteem and reduce loneliness.
    • Pets can provide a bridge for shy children to interact with others.  They give them something to talk about with other children and make it easier for peers to approach them.
  • Pets help us get out and exercise.
    • The American Journal of Public Health tells us that both children and adults with dogs spend more time in physical activity.
  • Pets help us live better and longer.
    • Multiple studies have shown that pet owners make fewer doctor visits, have lower blood pressure and are less depressed than no pet owners.
    • Pet ownership provides companionship and comfort to seniors.  It also encourages mobility and improves overall mood in the elderly.
  • Pets can be trained to help in amazing ways.
    • Dogs can sniff out, bombs and cancers. They can detect illegal drugs and let us know when we have low blood sugar.  Dogs can be taught to alert us to an impending seizure, and they can help guide the blind.  They will pick up a pencil for the paralyzed, hear a doorbell for the deaf or help locate a lost child.  Dogs will search a collapsed building or a snow slide.  They will provide company for our children and protection for home.  They entertain, comfort, protect, guide, carry, pull, swim or whatever else we ask of them.  Our pets improve our lives over and over in so many ways and most of the time we don’t even realize it.  In return we give care, love and shelter. Is it a fair trade?  Definitely!     

 

Taking the Mystery Out of Pilling Your Pet

 

A while back there was a particularly funny e-mail circulating about pilling a cat.  What made us laugh was the rather large kernel of truth within the humor.  Who hasn’t experienced the frustrations of trying to get a pill inside your pet first hand…only to have it end up on the floor or wall.  This is a rerun of an earlier post but we could all use the refresher.

The easiest and most time honored way to give a pill remains hiding it in something else If you can get your pet to take a pill this way and he/she is not on any food restriction this is still the best method.  One of our favorites at Animal Family is Pill Pockets made by Greenies.  They are a meat flavored soft treat that molds around the pill.  A large number of both dogs and cats will happily take their medications in a Pill Pocket.  Other choices are peanut butter, cheese, yogurt and canned food.  Just make sure your pet doesn’t spit the medication out.

If your pet either won’t eat a hidden pill or eats around it, you may have to do it the old fashioned way.  Even then, it is possible to make the process easier.

  • Make sure your pet is in a safe area.  For dogs we recommend either having their butt in a corner where they can’t back away.  Small dogs and cats should be placed on a counter or other raised surface.
  • Stand to the side of your pet.  Cats and small dogs should be placed in the crook of your elbow.  Don’t approach your pet from the front. 
  • Coating the pill with butter will give it a slippery and yummy tasting coating.
  • Tilt your pets head back.  For large dogs you may just place your fingers behind the canines and pull upward.  A gentle squeeze at the corner of the jaws works best for smaller pets.
  • Once their mouth is open you will need to get the pill far back in the mouthThis is the scary part for most owners so we recommend that you use a pet piller.  This can literally take the bite out of pilling.
  • In one smooth motion, place the piller so the tip is at the back of the mouth and depress the plunger to release the medication.
  • Leaving the head tilted backwards, immediately close your pet’s mouth and blow into their nose.  Return the head to a normal position and gently rub the throat until you see swallowing…  Be careful not to get in your pet’s face.  Make sure you are above and to the side or back of the pet’s mouth when you blow.  If your pet is aggressive…don’t get close to his/her face.
  • Make sure your pet has swallowed before releasing him/herLook for swallowing or licking of the lips.

What happens if your pet is like the cat in the funny e-mail?  If you absolutely can’t get pills down your pet there is another option…Compounding.  Most medications can be compounded into taste tabs, liquid suspensions or topical gels.  It may involve some additional cost but can be a life saver with a non-cooperative animal.  Be sure to ask your veterinarian especially is your pet is on maintenance medications

Remember, if you don’t feel confident, please don’t attempt this without help from your veterinarian.

Marijauna Toxicity in Pets

 

The following is a reprint from Promed which is part of International Society for Infectious Diseases.  With increased accetance of medical marijuana, it is important that owners  understand that  it can have a profoundly different affect on their pets than it does on them.

The popularity of medical marijuana in Colorado has had an unintended

side effect .  Dogs are getting stoned, sometimes with deadly results.

Some people firmly believe that if medical marijuana helps people, it

also helps their pets, but that’s not always the case. Marijuana can

be harmful and sometimes toxic for dogs.   New research shows that with

medical marijuana, the number of dogs getting sick from pot is

spiking.

Animals exposed to marijuana demonstrate neurological signs including

depression or alternating depression and excitement, falling

over/incoordination, hallucinations with barking or agitation,

seizures or coma and death. About a third of exposed animals will

demonstrate gastrointestinal signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, dry

mouth, or drooling. The body temperature can be high or low, rapid

breathing with a heart rate that may be too rapid or too slow, dilated

pupils, and they may leak urine. These clinical signs can develop

within minutes up to 3 hours after exposure. The drug may be

eliminated quickly (over several hours), but can be absorbed into fat

making signs last for up to 3-4 days.

“They basically have lost a lot of their fine motor control, they have

a wide-based stance and they are not sure on their feet,” said Dr.

Debbie Van Pelt of VRCC, the Veterinary Specialty and Emergency

Hospital in Englewood. Vets say they used to see dogs high on

marijuana just a few times a year. Now pet owners bring in doped-up

dogs as many as 5 times a week.

“There are huge spikes in the frequency of marijuana ingestion in

places where it’s become legal,” Van Pelt said. Colorado is one of

those places.

This is a serious situation for your animal. It is not funny, it is

actually cruel and can be fatal. If a human chooses to get stoned, or

high or use the product for medicinal value, that is the human being’s

choice. Dogs and cats do not think that way and do not understand what

is happening. Dogs are more often intoxicated or at least more often

brought to the veterinarian.

Most of the time veterinarians say dogs get the medical marijuana by

eating their owners food products that are laced with marijuana that

were left out in the open. More and more dispensaries sell those kinds

of products.

“I just want dogs, kids to be safe. It needs to be treated like any

other drug. If you came home with a prescription of vicodin from your

doctor you wouldn’t just leave it sitting there,” veterinarian Dr.

Stacy Meola said.

Meola is a veterinarian at a Wheat Ridge clinic. She coordinated a

5-year study that shows the number of dogs sickened by marijuana has

quadrupled in Colorado since medical marijuana was legalized. Most

dogs survive, but not all.

“Two dogs, however, got into baked goods with medical grade marijuana

butter in it, which presumably seems to be more toxic to the dogs, so

we did have 2 deaths,” Meola said.

That’s the exception. Most of the time the dogs will end up showing

signs such as staggering, acting lethargic, vomiting, and being overly

sensitive to sound and light. Sometimes they fall into a coma. It’s

the doggie equivalent of a “bad trip.” After treatment most are back

to normal within 24 hours.

While many dog owners think it’s funny to get their dogs stoned and

have posted videos of their stoned dogs, Colorado veterinarians say

there’s nothing funny about dogs on dope.

  This is a serious situation for your animal. It is not funny, it is

actually cruel and can be fatal. If a human chooses to get stoned, or

high or use the product for medicinal value, that is the human being’s

choice. Dogs and cats do not think that way and do not understand what

is happening. Dogs are more often intoxicated or at least more often

brought to the veterinarian.

“We need people to realize it is potentially toxic and potentially

fatal to their pets,” Van Pelt said.

Veterinarians say frequently when the sick dogs come in, their owners

are reluctant to admit medical marijuana might have been the cause.

They say if that’s a possible factor, tell the vet right away and they

can more quickly treat the dog.

It is important to get your pet treated as the clinical signs can be

Life-threatening and pets can and die from this substance.

Beware the Perils of Fall

Wow!  We are already well into August.  As hard as it is to believe, fall is on the way. The cooler temperatures and beautiful foliage remind us that we need to start preparing for the coming winter.  But beware; fall can also bring new hazards for our pets. Check our list below to make certain your faithful friend doesn’t fall prey to one of the many hazards of autumn.

  • Rodenticides: Cooler weather usually sends mice looking for a warm place to spend the winter.  If you battle infestation of these pests with rodenticides make sure they are placed where your pet can’t reach them.  If you even suspect accidental ingestion, call your vet right away.  These products are deadly to more than just mice.
  • Antifreeze: We are all familiar with the fall ritual of adding antifreeze to the car radiator.  This sweet and tasty product is deadly to pets and children.  Keep it far away from both.  While you’re at it, call or write the manufacturer and ask for noxious flavoring to be added to antifreeze.
  • Black Widow and Brown Recluse Spiders: Be careful not to bring these poisonous spiders in with your fall fire wood.  They both like to hide away in wood piles and other undisturbed places.  Neither is aggressive but could bite if frightened.
  • Fall Berries: Make sure to find out which berry producing plants in your yard are pet and child safe.  Just because birds eat them doesn’t make them OK for your pet.  Check out Poisonous Plants of the Midwest for more information.
  • Lawn Chemicals: If you like to fertilize your lawn in the fall please make sure to follow directions on how long to keep your pet off the grass after application. Many lawn chemicals can be a hazard to both pets and their people.
  • Halloween: Halloween is a dangerous time for pets.  All the strange goblins roaming your neighborhood can be scary.  This is also a time when pranks can get out of hand and loose pets injured.  Keep them safely locked indoors.  This goes double if you own a black cat.  Finally, keep your pet safe from the treats your little ghoulies bring home.  Chocolate and Xylitol sweetened treats are toxic to pets.
  • Thanksgiving: Ah, the fatty treats and turkey bones of Thanksgiving keep veterinary offices humming through the holiday. Don’t let a bad case of pancreatitis be your memory of this year’s Thanksgiving holiday.
  • Fleas: YES!  This is the worst time of year for these nasty critters!  Don’t stop using protection just because the nights are cooler.
  • Arthritis: Cooler weather is hard on old bones and joints.  Keep an eye on your pet.  They may require medication changes or chiropractic care as the temperatures drop.

How to Help Your Dog Cope with Scary Noises

 

We are well into the season of thunder storms and fireworks.  If you have a dog that is afraid of loud noises their fear can take much of the fun out of summer.  An anxious dog may cower, salivate, pace, hide, howl or even destroy furniture during storms. Finding ways to calm them can be difficult.

Fear is a normal response. It is what keeps us from being run over by a car or falling off a cliff.  In those cases fear acts as an adaptive response that aids in survival.  However, if fear keeps us from performing everyday tasks it is not normal. 

No one really knows for certain why some dogs become fearful and others do not.  Some breeds appear to be more prone to developing   phobias.  In other cases a past traumatic event may be linked to specific noises and act as a fear inducing stimuli.

What are some of the things you can do to help your dog cope with fearful situations?

1)    First, determine if your dog is afraid of the sounds or if there are other factors that comes into play.  Dogs with storm phobias may be reacting to stimuli such as the flashing lightning, static in the air, rainfall or the wind.

  • Try placing your dog a room without windows. Does this reduce anxiety?
  • Now try placing foam earplugs or cotton in your dog’s ears . If this seems to help the problem is more likely noise related.

 2)    Find a safe place for your dog.

  • Where does your dog gravitate when frightened?  Make sure that area is accessible during a storm or scary event.  It could be the basement, bathroom or under the bed. Do not put your dog in a crate unless that is their safe place.  Otherwise they could be injured trying to escape.

 3)    Try adding in white noise.  This could be music or even the television as long as it helps distract and/or cover up other scary sounds. Do not make it so loud that it becomes yet another source of anxiety for your pet.

4)    Try a thunder shirt.  These are wraps that are similar to a swaddling wrap that is used on infants. Your dog has complete freedom of movement but the pressure provides relief and comfort..

5)    Distract your dog with something pleasurable.  That may be  a favorite toy or activity.  In cases of mild anxiety this may provide relief.

6)    Dog Appeasement Pheromone (DAP) is a product that is believed to reduce anxiety.  It is available as a spray or diffuser. Some owners swear by these products.

7)    The ASPCA has great information on desensitizing and counter conditioning.  Be careful and work with a behavioral specialist  because if desensitizing is done incorrectly, you can actually make your dog worse.

8)    Medications that control anxiety can be used along with other methods to increase success.  Consult your veterinarian about these and all medications.

9)    Never punish your dog for being fearful.  That will only compound the problem.

 10)    Don’t over reassure your dog either.  Telling them over and over what a poor baby they are may actually reinforce their fearful behavior.

11)  Finally, make certain that you are calm.  If you’re afraid of storms and loud noises you can’t be much help to your pet.

Animal Family Introduces Box Turtles

 

We have a variety of educational pets at Animal Family Veterinary Care Center.  Miracle, our turtle was hatched in 1999.  That makes her young by Box Turtle standards.  They can live up to 75 years or more.  It may surprise you to learn that turtles have very distinct personalities.   Miracle is very social and loves interacting with people.  Even though Miracle is quite social, many box turtles are not.  Fortunately, Box turtles rarely bite and then it’s only when they mistake a finger for food.

Box turtles get their name from the hinged portion of their shell.  It allows them to pull their legs and head into their shell and close the doors.   This is how they try to protect themselves from predators. Unfortunately, it’s not fool proof.  Crafty birds have learned to drop the turtles from on high to break shells and dogs and raccoons can chew through them.

Box turtles are terrestrial or land based.  That means they spend the bulk of their time on dry land but are usually never too far from a pond.  Pet turtles like a swimming area too.   Unfortunately they aren’t very good at keeping their water clean so it will require daily changing.

Box turtles enjoy a variety of food.  To stay healthy they need a mix of meat, fruits and veggies.  Our Miracle is quite fond of earthworms.  She also likes dog food and meal worms.  We mix in a large variety of greens and fruits as well.  You can buy a commercial turtle food but it should never be the sole source of any turtle’s diet.

Miracle’s home is a glass terrarium that is appointed with rocks, water and cob bedding. Bark or alfalfa pellets may also be used.  Never use sand or cat litter. A minimum size of 36” X 12” is recommended.  

 Heating is a very important part of maintaining a pet turtle’s health.  The ideal is around 85 to 88 degrees F.  Place a heat lamp in one area of the enclosure so your turtle is able to get away from the heat source when they want. Too much heat can be just as deadly as not enough.  Floor heaters and heat rocks are also available but make certain to use them properly. 

Turtles can develop a variety of health problems   Beaks and nails can become overgrown due to lack of foraging and other activities which would wear them down naturally in the wild. Metabolic bone disease and soft shells can develop from either under feeding or a lack of variety in diet.  Remember, a turtle that is fed properly will never develop this problem. Shell rot is another health issue with turtles.  It is caused when bacteria gets between the shell layers either because of damage to the shell or wet, unsanitary conditions.  Turtles can also have internal parasites just like other pets so be sure to have a stool check.  Upper respiratory infections are also common.  They may present with nasal discharge, puffy eyes or both. With severe respiratory distress a turtle may extend its neck and gape.  Obviously any respiratory problems require a visit to the vet as well as a close look at your husbandry. Finally, wounds can occur on the face and legs of your turtle.  If these become infected they will require a trip to the Vet. 

Do turtles carry salmonella?  Yes, some do but not all. Either way, you can greatly minimize your risk by following CDC guidelines.

  • The kitchen sink is for people.  Don’t wash turtle dishes or turtles in it.
  • Clean and disinfect your turtles enclosure regularly
  • Wash your hands after handling your pet
  • No kissing turtles or touching them to your face.
  • Quarantine any new turtles for 6 weeks
  • and, yes, you can have your vet test to see if your turtle is carrying salmonella.

Please visit the CDC site for more complete guidelines.

Hopefully this has wetted your appetite to learn more about turtles.  Remember if you have any more questions, call us or check out our website.

 

Veterinarians Guide to Hedgehogs

We recently added a new pet to our educational animals at the Animal Family.  “Gnomeo” is an African Pygmy Hedgehog.  In spite of his prickly nature, he is not related to porcupines.  Even though Hedgehogs spines are quite sharp, unlike porcupines, their spines do not shed and will not become lodged in the skin. If frightened, a hedgehog will defend itself by rolling into a tiny, prickly ball.  In the wild, they are generally solitary in nature.  They seem to prefer solitude in captivity as well. Although Hedgehogs can be handled with bare hands, gloves are recommended.

As a pet, Hedgehogs are a small, reasonably clean, relatively odor free and non-aggressive. They will vocalize through quiet snorting, whistling or huffing sounds.     If handled on a routine basis from a young age most will become quite friendly.  It is easy to see why we are seeing more of them in practice

The average pet hedgehog can be expected to live from 3-8 years. In captivity Hedgehogs are nocturnal but will emerge during the day. They hibernate in the wild but this is not necessary in captivity and will not occur as long as temperatures are maintained at 75 to 80 F.

Hedgehogs have some unique qualities. They have a unique protein which inhibits the activity of snake venom.  This allows them to attack and eat snakes in the wild. Another unusual hedgehog trait is “anointing”.  If a hedgehog is exposed to a strong smelling substance, they will produce large amounts of saliva which they use to coat their spines.  Nobody knows why they do this but if you find your hedgehog covered in the cat’s fishy food, don’t become alarmed.

Hedgehogs require smooth walled, enclosure with a minimum floor space of 2’ X2’.  They can climb so make any enclosure tall enough so that the animal can’t reach the top with its front feet.  Do not put your Hedgehog in a wire enclosure. Regular cleaning is important if you wish to keep your pet healthy.  Newspaper, about 3” in depth, either shredded or pelleted makes good bedding. Corn cob or alfalfa pellets can also be used.   Do not use any bedding that clumps or any aromatic wood product such as cedar or pine.  Give your hedgehog has a place to hide that is not much larger than he is and easy to disinfect. Plants or rocks can be added as well but should be non toxic and easy to clean.  Provide a shallow pan of water for bathing as well as a sipper bottle. Make sure your hedgehog understands how to drink from his bottle.

Hedgehogs require regular exercise. Either a commercial exercise ball that is suitable for Guinea Pigs or an exercise wheel will work.  If you choose to let your Hedgehog run loose, be careful of carpets and other cloth material which can get caught up in feet as well as anal/genital areas causing injury.

Your hedgehog can be maintained on either low calorie dog or cat food or commercial hedgehog diet (2 -3 Tsp /day).  Make sure to add in small amounts of fruits, veggies (1 tsp) and insects (1 tsp).  Do not feed nuts and grains or milk. Like so many of our exotic pets, low calcium is always a concern as is obesity.  Clean and refill food and water on a daily basis. To prevent your Hedgehog from becoming overweight make sure to check its weight frequently.

Like all exotics, Hedgehogs will mask illness.  Therefore it is important for you to remain vigilant. In general, Hedgehogs are prone to dental disease including oral cancers, Ringworm, obesity and overgrown nails. They can also acquire Leptospirosis, Rabies and Distemper like virus although there are no vaccines available at this time. Mites are the most common external parasite we see in Hedgehogs.  A regular health check with a fecal examination is important to maintaining your hedgehog’s health. 

This is not meant to be an all inclusive guide to Hedgehogs.  We do hope it has answered some questions for you.  Feel free to ask us questions and to come in and meet Mr. Gnomeo.

Why We Love What We Do!

We really do understand that sometimes you wonder what motivates the people who care for your pets.  Is it just a business?  Do they really care as much as they appear to?  What really goes on behind the scenes?

The truth is that although we wish we could help every animal regardless of the circumstances.  Sometimes we can’t.  It is frustrating for us too.  So, instead, we try to work with rescue organizations, shelters and others. Of course, we do try to do our best by all our clients and to us…they often, really do become family.

But…sometimes, a case comes along where we can do something really  special.  That is what makes the story of the “Faceless Kitten” aka Jax, important to Animal Family. 

Jax came in terribly injured but we didn’t have to put him to sleep.   Doctor Rob donated his time and medical skills, the clinic donated the supplies, the technicians and assistants fostered and provided care while he recovered and Lacey welcomed him into her family.

Faris, one of our technicians, made the video that comprises our blog this week. It can be a little graphic because Jax had a severe injury but he healed perfectly so the ending is wonderful.

Are we blowing our own horn?  Yeah…a little but mostly, we just wanted to share one of our happier stories with some of our favorite people.

 

Just click on the link below to see the story of the Faceless Kitten.

The Incredible Story Of The Faceless Kitten At Animal Family Veterinary Care Center

The Faceless Kitten