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Itchy Dogs: Allergy Management

Did you know that animals can have allergies too? They can – and with the arrival of summer, we’ve seen a surge in allergic dogs. Most commonly, dogs have environmental allergies, also known as atopic dermatitis or atopy. Food allergies and flea allergy dermatitis can also occur.

Lyme Disease Awareness Month

 

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. What is Lyme disease? Is my dog at risk? Am I doing everything I can be doing to prevent this disease? We hope this article will answer your questions about Lyme disease in dogs.

Hormonal Management in Pet Birds

It’s springtime – well, at least it should be! Birds are singing and building their nests for the year. Just like our wild birds, the changing daylight and other signals can trigger our pet birds to believe it is the breeding season.

Spring: Is Your Pet Protected?

The sun is out, the snow is melting, and everyone is excited to be outside enjoying springtime. But is your dog or cat adequately protected from the dangers that lurk outside?

National Train Your Dog Month

Written by Sabrina Reed, CVT, Fear-Free Certified, Director of Behavioral Services

Materials courtesy of Family Paws Parent Education: https://www.familypaws.com

Last month, we celebrated National Train Your Dog Month. Sabrina Reed, CVT, our Director of Behavioral Services, has prepared a few tips and resources for you.

Dogs and Children

Training your dog is important. In addition to teaching your dog basic manners, training allows you to create a happy, healthy bond between you and your dog. Keep in mind that this bond may not always come as easily between dogs and young children. Normal child behavior can be scary, overwhelming, or confusing to some dogs. Kate Anders, CPDT-KSA, CBCC, CDBC, of Pretty Good Dog, specializes in the child-dog dynamics and helping families thrive with both children and dogs in the household. She also teaches the Dogs and Storks workshop monthly to help expecting and adopting families with dogs prepare for life with a baby.

National Walk Your Dog Month

Written by Samantha Folger, CVT, Director of Nutritional Services

Now that the holiday season has come and gone, Minnesotans are looking out the window wondering when that ice will melt and longing for the warm days of spring. While some of our furry family members would prefer to skip the winter months by snuggling under the blankets, it's important to still try to encourage walking and exercise, even in these months

Whoever decided that National Walk Your Dog Month should be in January must not have lived in Minnesota. There are a few more challenges with walking your pet in the winter, but it very beneficial for your pet’s health and mental stimulation. It can help in maintaining a healthy weight, encouraging weight loss, decreasing destructive behavior, and strengthening the bond you have with your dog.

Feline Hyperthyroidism

Written by Jessica Lewis, DVM and Jennifer Blair, DVM, CVA, CVFT

Hyperthyroidism is a multisystemic disorder resulting from the excessive production and secretion of thyroid hormones by the thyroid gland. This is almost always the result of an intrinsic disorder of the thyroid gland itself, either hyperplasia (increased number of thyroid hormone-producing cells), benign tumors (adenomas) or less commonly, malignant tumors (carcinomas) of the thyroid gland. Approximately 20% of cats will only have 1 lobe affected, whereas the other 70-80% have bilateral involvement. Occasionally, animals will have ectopic thyroid tissue in the lower neck or chest that is causing the signs of hyperthyroidism. We have yet to uncover what stimulates this excessive growth or tumor formation within the thyroid gland, but both environment and diet have been implicated.

Anesthesia For Your Pet

Written by Dr. Kevin Roeser

At St Francis Animal & Bird Hospital, we use anesthesia nearly every day during routine and emergency surgeries, dental procedures, and other potentially painful procedures. The goals of anesthesia are fairly universal. We aim for a patient who is unconscious, immobile, and unaware of discomfort, but also for a patient who is breathing well and maintaining normal cardiovascular function, one who is maintaining an appropriate body temperature, and ultimately a patient who will recover swiftly but calmly at the end of the anesthetic episode. Though most veterinary practices perform anesthesia, not all anesthetic episodes are created equal. Our staff goes the extra mile to ensure the safest and most effective anesthetic practices.

Happy Halloween: Beware of Chocolate Toxicity

Most people enjoy chocolate, and not surprisingly, most pets do too! Unfortunately, chocolate can be toxic to pets and can lead to severe clinical signs including vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, hyperactivity, tremors, seizures, ataxia (‘drunkenness’), increased heart rate, heart arrhythmias, increased blood pressure, increased body temperature, difficulty breathing, and even death.

The toxic compounds in chocolate are methylxanthines – this includes both theobromine and caffeine. These compounds inhibit cellular receptors, stimulate the central nervous system, and enhance cardiac and skeletal muscle contractility. In addition, the high fat content in chocolate leads to local gastrointestinal irritation (vomiting and diarrhea), and in severe cases, a serious disease called pancreatitis. Clinical signs occur within 12 hours, but most pets will begin exhibiting signs within 1-4 hours of ingestion.

Animal Pain Awareness Month

Jennifer Blair, DVM, CVA, CVFT

Animals experience pain and discomfort just as people do. While it is obvious that a pet who is limping is experiencing pain, often the signs of pain are much more subtle. These signs may include restlessness; gait changes or shifting weight; decreased mobility, activity or play; panting or rapid breathing; difficulty getting up or down; difficulty with stairs; inability to jump; vocalization; behavior changes (aggression, clinginess, attention-seeking, hiding, withdrawal from the family); decreased appetite; excessive licking, chewing or mutilation of a particular area of their body; lack of grooming; change in body posture (hunched, not curled up when sleeping, stiff, neck stretched out); or a change in housetraining or litter box habits. Many of these signs are incorrectly attributed to ‘old age’.

Chronic pain may be due to osteoarthritis, cancer pain, or pain associated with any of the internal organs. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of chronic pain. Managing chronic pain requires a multimodal approach. A multimodal approach uses a combination of medications, supplements, nutrition and other therapies together to achieve pain control while reducing risks of potential adverse effects. Considerations may include the type or source of pain, efficacy of therapy, concurrent medical conditions, safety, route of administration, frequency of administration, cost and the ability to administer the therapy and/or travel for care. We work with you to develop the best treatment plan for you and your loved one.

Feline Inappropriate Urination

Kevin Roeser, DVM and Jennifer Blair, DVM

Inappropriate urination or house soiling can be a challenging issue for cats, their owners, and veterinarians alike. For many cats, the underlying cause of this behavior is multi-faceted, making management more challenging. However, with patience and consistent behavioral modification, most owners can successfully manage this issue long term.

Cats that are exhibiting inappropriate urination should initially have a complete physical examination performed by a veterinarian followed by specific diagnostics that help to exclude an underlying medical cause for the behavior. Recommended diagnostics may include a) a complete urinalysis and culture to rule out infectious or inflammatory causes; b) radiographs (x-rays) +/- an ultrasound to identify stones, masses, or structural abnormalities; and c) baseline blood work to rule out concurrent or underlying diseases.