OTC Meds and Your Pet - May 2016

  Who among us hasn't reached into the medicine cabinet for a "simple" fix- such as Tylenol or ibuprofen-- when we have an ache or pain? That is a first-stop for most of us. However, did you know that taking that same step for your pet can very easily be deadly?

  Common over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin, Tylenol, ibuprophen (Advil,Motrin) and Aleve are often lethal to our cats and dogs even in small doses. Sometimes, well-intended pet parents take the line of logic that "my cat/dog weighs about the same amount as my child, so I will give a child's dose." Doing so, however, is not any safer.

  Cats and dogs metabolize many drugs very differently than do their human family members, making these drugs dangerous toxins rather than safe home remedies for therm. Even a low dose of Tylenol will irreversibly damage a cat's liver and red blood cells and typically lead to death. And even seemingly modest doeses of pain medications such as ibuprohen and Aleve given to a dog can cause irreversible kidney injury/failure and dangerous perforating ulcers of the digestive tract.

   So, think before you dose! If your pet acts under the weather or seems painful, call our office for friendly advice on how to proceed. We can offer some safe homecare tips and remedies and are happy to examine your pet if that is indicated. We understand the desire to try to avoid a doctor visit, but please never assume that any OTC medication will be safe for your pet just because it is fine for you. The consequences can literally be deadly.

Let us know if you have questions. We are here to help your pet!
During the winter, wherever temperatures drop below freezing (32°F / 0°C), a pet’s prolonged exposure to freezing temps reduces blood flow to critically low levels in certain areas of the body, especially the extremities such as the feet, ears and tail. (Ear tips are especially vulnerable.)
While choosing the ideal food for your pet may seem overwhelming, start with these tips. Your veterinarian is an excellent resource for determining which way to go.
While your cat may be exhibiting signs that we often associate with a cold or the flu in people, (e.g. lethargy, sneezing, coughing, seeking warmth, stiffness), it is very important not to disregard these signs as “just a cold” or “just the flu”. There are many other conditions, some very serious, that can cause these signs.
New Years is often a time for reflection and setting new goals, and one of the most common resolutions is to lose weight … that is for people. How do you know if your pet needs to shed a few pounds also?
STOP right there! Although aspirin and many other drugs of the same class of pharmaceuticals can be relatively harmless to people, they can have serious side effects in dogs and cats. For example, Acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol®) is TOXIC to cats in relatively small quantities! Ibuprofen (e.g. Advil®) is not well tolerated in pets and can easily cause stomach ulcers.
The annual physical examination is the first and often most important measure to preventing serious disease. It starts with taking a ‘history’, the all-important dialogue between owner and veterinarian. This gives you an opportunity to share your concerns and ask any question you may have about your pet’s care. Although it may seem like the value of a veterinary visit is in the “shots” that that your pet receives, the physical examination represents equal or greater value.
During the festive season, we can not get enough of all the good things that come with this time of year. Poinsettias and chocolate are two of these good things, but are they really so good when it comes to our pets?
Frostbitten skin may turn reddish, white, or gray, and it may be scaly or sloughing. Ears, tails, and feet are the most commonly affected areas on animals.
There are many communities across North America (and the world) that are faced with large numbers of undomesticated cats “on the streets”. To prevent population growth of these colonies of cats, some communities in conjunction with local veterinarians have set up trap-neuter-release (TNR) programs to trap feral cats, spay or neuter them, and then return them to their colony. Population control is achieved because there is felt to be minimal migration between different cat colonies, so rendering all cats sterile in a colony will eventually lead to a humane method of population control.
Astute followers of dog laws probably know that Hawaii already has a law against driving with your dog on your lap, and that Arizona, Connecticut, Maine and some Canadian provinces have distracted driver laws that can include suspect behaviors, such as having a dog on your lap.
A recent story in The Atlantic was a bit scary for most cat owners. It was entitled How Your Cat is Making You Crazy. It is not about feline behavior problems, but rather a profile of one scientist's view that Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite of cats that can also infect most warm blooded animals including people, can cause a host of mental health problems.
Obesity in our pets is as great a concern as in humans, and specialty clinics are starting to pop up to address this animal health dilemma. Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, a very well respected veterinary college and teaching hospital, is the latest to open a clinic that focuses specifically on overweight conditions and obesity in pets and will be employing three board certified veterinary nutritionists.
That there was a dog on the mission to kill Osama bin Laden is nothing surprising. Cairo, the Navy Seal canine, was considered. The qualities we admire in our pets-loyalty, a willingness to please, agility, bravery-are perhaps even more pronounced in a war dog. The bond between dog and handler isn't one of mere love: it's life and death. Dogs drafted into service spend months training, and in terms of monetary value alone are worth tens of thousands of dollars. They jump from airplanes, enter dangerous buildings (equipped with cameras!), alert soldiers to danger, and sniff out IEDs.
We are lucky in North America! The incidence of many infectious and parasitic diseases is much less than other areas of the world. However, take heed and be on the alert as new diseases emerge and old ones re-emerge all the time: Who had heard of Lyme disease or parvovirus 40 years ago?
It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's your cat, and unlike Supercat she's not soaring. She has just taken a leap out of your 6th story window, perhaps still brimming with her cat confidence telling her that it's just like jumping off of the dresser.
Tick season is upon us again. Or at least, it is now in full swing, as ticks have been found on dogs even in northern areas in the winter. Along with these ticks come conversations about what is or isn’t effective in keeping them off of our pets. Add the fact that every few years a new tick-borne disease seems to emerge—it’s not just about Lyme disease anymore— and the concern about keeping them away rises proportionately.
We all know the feeling. You get home from a tough day at work: you’re tired, you’re stressed, you’re preoccupied with the day’s events. But then, you open your door, and there’s the dog, wagging at 1000 RPM. There's your cat rubbing against your leg and purring. That “ahhhh” is from the proven benefits of pet ownership: your blood pressure drops, your levels of stress hormones decrease, and your sense of well-being increases.
Some cases of kidney disease in cats may have a viral origin. Scientists in Hong Kong have recently discovered a virus that may be one of the causes of kidney disease in cats.
From Wichita, KS, comes a story of many brave firefighters, one scared owner, and a terrified dog.
In February 2012, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Centre for Veterinary Medicine held a Webinar entitled, "Advice to Dog Owners Whose Pets Take NSAIDs."
To keep your companion animals healthy, you should take them to your veterinarian at least once per year for a routine examination, often called a wellness exam. Since animals age at a much faster rate than humans, this would be equivalent to a physical examination by your personal physician every four to eight years.
When you are given a prescription by your doctor, or your veterinarian prescribes medication for your pet, you are usually given a specific quantity of medication along with instructions on its proper use, and directions to take the medication until it is all gone. However, veterinarians, physicians and pharmacists know that it is common for people to stop taking or giving a medication once the symptoms go away. In other words, when you receive a prescription, you only use part of the capsules, pills or liquid and have some left over. So, what should you do with any leftover medication, and how long will it keep?
Lately we have been seeing more and more commercials on television and in print about lifestyle nutrition, including an emphasis on different diets for different ages of pets. It is relatively easy to determine when a dog or cat becomes an adult versus a kitten or puppy, but the shift from adult to senior is less clear, particularly when it comes to dogs.
February is National Pet Dental Health Month. The purpose of Pet Dental Health Month is to raise the awareness that pets need dental care. The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that more than 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have oral disease by the time they are 3 years old.
Hairballs are an inevitable part of life for many cats. For some cats, hairballs may only be a problem during the shedding seasons of spring and fall. For others, especially long haired cats or cats with fine silky hair, hairballs are a constant irritant.
Arthritis is a complex condition involving inflammation of one or more joints. There are many causes of arthritis in pets, but the most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis (or bony arthritis), which is also known as degenerative joint disease.
During the cold winter months in much of the country, people often develop the winter blues due to cabin fever. It is also common for pets to get cabin fever, and they may develop behavior problems as a result of boredom or frustration.