MDR… What?!..

Congratulations! You’ve just adopted a new family member! They are cute, furry and already an important part of your life! Naturally you want them to be as healthy as possible. You’ve been to the vet and you’ve talked about vaccines, microchips and spaying / neutering. But what about the MDR1 gene? Has your dog been tested? If not, you will definitely want to discuss this with the Doctor—especially if your dog is one of the affected herding or hound breeds, as it can cause life-threatening complications.

What is MDR1?

Many herding breed dogs have a genetic predisposition to adverse drug reactions involving over a dozen different drugs. Scientists discovered that these dogs lack a protein (P-Glycoprotein), which is responsible for pumping out many drugs and toxins from the brain, and that affected dogs show signs of toxicity because they are unable to stop drugs from permeating their brains. Researchers have identified that this condition is due to a mutation in the multi-drug resistance gene [MDR1].

In the grand scheme of things, the mutation wouldn’t be a problem at all except for the use of certain therapeutic drugs in veterinary medicine. While these drugs are very beneficial for most dogs, they can be dangerous and even lethal to those with the MDR1 mutation. Affected dogs, when treated with certain common drugs such as Ivermectin and loperamide (Imodium), are unable to pump out these drugs from the brain resulting in poisoning and neurologic symptoms ranging from tremors, anorexia and excess salivation to blindness, coma and even death.

How do I test my dog for the MDR1 Mutation?

Testing for the MDR1 Mutation is simple and non-invasive! All it takes is scheduling time for a technician to draw a blood sample from your dog. The blood can either be sent to Washing State University for testing for the MDR1 Gene or sent to the lab for a full Genetic Health Analysis which identifies both ancestry information and scans for multiple genetic disorders including the MDR1 mutation.

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During January, all Genetic Health Analysis tests are 10% OFF

If you have any questions or would like schedule a time for your dog to come in for testing, contact the clinic at 281-282-9944.

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Discover the Secrets of Your Dog’s DNA

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Have you ever looked at your pup and wondered where they really came from? Are they really part Lab like the shelter predicted? Or are they a German Shepherd mix?

We can help you answer those questions with Royal Canin’s DNA & Genetic Health Analysis!

What makes this test better than a standard breed test?

The test not only identifies your dog’s ancestry information (going back to great-grandparents) but also tests for several inheritable genetic diseases based on their breed composition.

Why is this important?

Genetic testing in dogs enables diagnosis of a disease before the development of its first symptoms. Results of genetic tests are accurate and more reliable than conventional methods for disease detection, especially in case of late onset diseases. DNA tests also enable diagnosis of the disease before reaching mating age, thus allowing prevention of the disease-causing mutation from being transmitted to offspring.

Genetic testing in dogs is the only way of revealing carriers for a disease with an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance. This is the factor that makes DNA tests a valuable weapon in the fight against inherited diseases in dogs, especially since autosomal recessive diseases are the most common.

The Royal Canin DNA Genetic Health Analysis tests for more than 130 genetic mutations including the MDR1 Drug Sensitivity Gene and Cardiac Diseases. Knowing this information about your dog is invaluable and allows us to create a customized health plan that reflects your dog’s individual genetic code and needs.

Dogs can be genetically tested at any age and there is no need for repeated testing which makes genetic tests economically valuable. It should be noted that the test is non-invasive; a simple technician appointment for a blood draw is sufficient for performing a DNA test.

 During December and January, All Genetic Health Tests are 10% OFF!

 For more information or to schedule a time for your pet to come in, please contact the clinic at 281-282-9944.

 

Posted in Dog Breeds, Dogs, Genetic Testing, Medical Conditions, Pets, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Talk Turkey!

Thanksgiving is a time for friends, family and holiday feasts—but also a time for possible distress for our animal companions. The days following Thanksgiving are always busy at the Clinic and our cages are always full of pets that overdid it! Pets (and their owners!) won’t be so thankful when they get an upset tummy and have to visit the vet!

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Check out the following tips for a fulfilling Thanksgiving that your pets can enjoy, too:

Keep the feast on the table—not under it: Eating turkey or turkey skin – sometimes even a small amount – can cause a life-threatening condition in pets known as pancreatitis. Fatty foods are hard for animals to digest, and many foods that are healthy for people are poisonous to pets – including onions, raisins and grapes. Do not give your pet the left over carcass–the bones are brittle and can be problematic for the digestive tract.

No Bread Dough: Don’t spoil your pet’s holiday by giving him access to raw yeast bread dough. When a dog or cat ingests raw bread dough, the yeast continues to convert the sugars in the dough to carbon dioxide gas and alcohol. This can result in bloated drunken pets, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring hospitalization.

Don’t Let Them Eat Cake: If you plan to bake Thanksgiving desserts, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs—they could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning. Many ingredients such as chocolate and raisins are toxic to pets.

A Feast Fit for a King: If you want to share a Thanksgiving treat with your pet, make or buy a treat that is made just for them. Offer them made-for-pets chew bones or a special can of food. Or stuff their usual dinner—perhaps with a few added tidbits of pet friendly foods such as vegetables (try sweet potato or green beans)—inside a food puzzle toy. They’ll be happily occupied for awhile, working hard to extract their dinner from the toy.

Some other Holiday Tips:

Put the trash away!   A turkey carcass sitting out on the carving table, or left in a trash container that is open or easily opened, could be deadly to your family pet. Dispose of turkey carcasses and bones – and anything used to wrap or tie the meat, such as strings, bags and packaging – in a covered, tightly secured trash bag placed in a closed trash.

Be careful with decorative plants. Don’t forget that some flowers and festive plants can be toxic to pets. These include amaryllis, Baby’s Breath, Sweet William, some ferns, hydrangeas and more. The ASPCA offers lists of plants that are toxic to both dogs and cats (http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control) but the safest route is simply to keep your pets away from all plants and table decorations.

Visitors can upset your pets. Some pets are shy or excitable around new people or in crowds, and Thanksgiving often means many visitors at once and higher-than-usual noise and activity levels. If you know your dog or cat is nervous when people visit your home, put him/her in another room or a crate with a favorite toy. This will reduce the emotional stress on your pet and protect your guests from possible injury. If your pet is particularly upset by houseguests, talk to your veterinarian about possible solutions to this common problem.

And remember-  If you have an emergency with your pet on Thanksgiving, please contact one of the Animal Emergency Clinics:  Calder Rd: 281-332-1678 or Edgebrook: 713-941-8460.

 

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Holidays, Medical Conditions, Toxic, Toxic Plants, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Evacuating Safely With Pets

By: Tara Sansing

Hurricane Season is here!  Are you prepared?! Evacuating in an emergency situation can be both chaotic and stressful.With experts anticipating this to be one of the most active storm seasons we have seen in several years, we want to encourage all of our clients to take a few minutes to make sure that they are prepared to travel safely with their pets.

Evacuation Checklist:

Make sure that you have the following items on hand in the event of a mandatory evacuation:

  1. Food and water- Make sure you have a large supply of food and water for you pet, preferably a whole month’s worth.
  2. Two forms of ID for your pet- Tags with current information, displayed on either a halter or collar, along with a microchip are highly recommended. It is also recommended that there is contact information on file at your microchip company for a friend who lives outside the affected area, so if your pet is found, contact can be made quickly even if your cell is out of power or other local disruptions exist.
  3. Pet carrier- Each pet needs his own carrier to keep him safe and secure, especially when traveling in closed quarters with other pets. Crates large enough to fit a litter box and bed are ideal for cats
  4. Medication- Don’t forget your pet’s prescription meds. Medications can sometime be critical to your pet’s health and can be hard to replace. We recommend at least a two-week supply. This includes all anxiety medications or sedatives that your pet might need while traveling.
  5. Vaccination records- In case you need to board your pet or use public transportation during the course of your evacuation, these may come in handy. It would be ideal to scan a basic health certificate and keep it online for easy access.
  6. Pet care basics– This includes the everyday items you’re likely to overlook, like food and water dishes, leashes, litterboxes, chew toys, etc.

Finding a Safe Place to Go

Evacuating with pets can be stressful & chaotic. Make sure you have everything you need!

Evacuating with pets can be stressful & chaotic. Make sure you are prepared!

Make sure that you have a safe place in mind for both you and your pets in the event of a storm. During a crisis, public disaster shelters and hotels may (or may not) allow pets. If possible, call ahead so you know if you must make other arrangements to avoid you and your pet being stranded in the face of an emergency. Please note that the clinic will not be open in the event of a mandatory evacuation and we will not have staff here to care for your pets.

Plan Ahead

Do not wait until the last minute to make sure that you have the supplies that you need for your pets in the event of evacuation. Local stores may run out of carriers or other essential items. Check your medicine cabinets and make sure that you have a reasonable supply of your pets medications so that you are not scrambling to get refills at the last minute. We want to make sure that all of our patients have what they need to evacuate safely.

As disaster approaches, bring all pets into the house so you won’t have to search for them if you need to leave quickly.

If you need any refills of medications, sedatives for travel or a copy of your pet’s vaccination records, contact the clinic at 281-282-9944.

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Derm Defense! Take a “Bite” Out of Allergies!

By: Tara Sansing

Everyone knows someone with hay fever. Airborne pollens, molds, dust particles, etc. are inhaled and soon the sneezing and sniffling begins. What you may not know, is that pets can suffer from allergies too!itchy-dog-overlay

Does your dog constantly lick their paws or shake their heads? Have you noticed them scratching or rubbing on things? Are they losing hair or does their skin look red, thickened or have an odor? Then your dog may be suffering from Atopy or Chronic Itch.

A simple way to think of atopy for pets would be simply saying that the pet inhales an airborne allergen but instead of sneezing and sniffling, the pet gets itchy skin. In fact, the situation is probably far more complex. The allergen is not only inhaled but is in contact with the skin and it is no longer considered accurate to think of atopy as an inhaled allergy. Exactly how we get from particles floating in the air to itching and scratching is not entirely understood but the important issue is that the allergen comes from the air.

Airborne particles (pollen, dander, etc.) are harmless to someone who is not allergic to them. Allergy develops in individuals who are genetically programmed to do so.

There are many types of environmental allergens that surround us and our pets each and every day including flea bites (even just one), pollen and even the dust in our homes. For some dogs these allergens can lead to a skin condition that makes them itchy which leads to scratching, sometimes excessively and can damage the skin. This is unpleasant for your dog and can also be difficult for everyone else in the family.

Some dogs will suffer from seasonal itch but after years of seasonality the itch can start to last longer until finally it is a year round problem. This is true in about 80% of dogs with seasonal allergies. In dogs, seasonal allergies usually start early between the ages of 1 and 3 years.

Breeds predisposed to develop atopy include (but are not limited to): Dalmatian, Golden retriever, West Highland white terrier, Shar Pei, Labrador retriever, Cairn terrier, Lhasa Apso, Shih Tzu, Boxer, and Pug.

In the past, the only way to manage atopy was through medications such as antihistamines and steroids but Hill’s nutritionists and veterinarians have developed a new Prescription Diet® specially formulated to help manage environmental sensitivities in dogs. Derm Defense™ is the first and only nutrition formulated to reduce signs of environmental allergies by disrupting the internal allergy response and creating a barrier against future episodes.

How It Helps:

  • Helps strengthen skin barrier- repelling allergensderm defense
  • Drives healthy skin from within and helps resist secondary infection
  • Formulated to help soothe and nourish skin & coat
  • Helps skin to recover naturally
  • Holistic long-term solution supporting healthy immune system and continuously normalizes the body’s immune response to allergens.
  • The fist defense against future allergy outbreaks

How It Works:

  • Histaguard Complex- a proprietary blend of bioactives and phytonutrients- decreases the release of histamines and cytokine that cause dogs to itch
  • High levels of omega-3 & 6 fatty acids- decrease inflammation
  • Clinically proven antioxidants, including vitamin E
  • No corn, chicken by product meal, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives

Derm Defense has been created to help manage non-food related skin conditions. Like with all of our prescription diets, Derm Defense has a palatability guarantee—this means that if your dog does not like it, you can bring it back for a full refund. Please note that when first starting the diet, it can take anywhere from 6-8 weeks before you see results while the body responds to the diet and the skin restores its protective barrier.

If you would like more information about Derm Defense, contact the clinic at 281-282-9944.

** Purchase any size of Derm Defense or case of cans and receive $10 OFF (while supplies last)  **

 

Posted in Allergies, atopy, Dog Food, Dogs, Fleas, Medical Conditions, Parasites | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Eeeew! Dog Breath!

By: Tara Sansing

Does your pet have bad breath? Bad breath isn’t just unpleasant, it can be unhealthy! That odor might signify a serious health risk, with the potential to damage not only your pet’s teeth and gums but their internal organs as well!

Nearly 85% of dogs and cats over the age of 3 are affected by periodontal disease. In fact, dental disease is one of the most common conditions seen by veterinarians.

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Have you looked in your pet’s mouth recently?

Periodontal disease begins when a combination of plaque, bacteria and food particles collect on the teeth and work their way up under the gum line. If left untreated, it can lead to the destruction of tissue and bone that anchor the teeth in place. Bacteria can also enter the bloodstream, affecting the heart, liver and kidneys.

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Don’t let the fear of anesthesia stop you from getting your pet’s teeth cleaned.

To thoroughly examine your pet’s teeth and gums, properly get rid of nasty plaque and tartar and really clean their pearly whites, they will need to be anesthetized. Though sedating your dog or cat seems scary, it’s not as bad as it sounds—in fact, the procedure has never been safer. Prior to sedation, the doctor will perform blood work that will check your pet’s basic body functions  and help us to determine whether or not your pet is healthy enough for sedation. Throughout the procedure, all pets are monitored closely by both a surgical technician and monitoring equipment.

Much like when we go to the dentist, the technician will scale and polish every tooth. Dental radiographs allow the doctor to see what is going on under the gum line and allows her to determine which teeth are damaged or unhealthy and need to be extracted.

When you think about it, the benefits of dental cleaning outweigh the possible risk of anesthesia. Not only will your pet’s breath smell better but her teeth will be shinier and healthier too! As an added bonus, maintaining healthy teeth and gums will help to protect your pet’s other organs, like the heart and kidneys from the damaging effects of dental disease.

Your pet has had their teeth cleaned, now what?

Imagine what would happen if you didn’t routinely care for your teeth in between professional dental cleanings. Pretty gross… right? Pets need dental care too!

toothbrushWe know how busy life can get and it can be hard to remember to care for your pet’s teeth on a daily basis but fortunately there are a large variety of products on the market today that aim for convenience as well as help prevent plaque and tartar buildup and combat bacteria in the mouth. Just like their owners, all pets should have a regular dental care regimen at home. Using one or a combination of these products on a regular basis will likely greatly reduce the amount of time needed between dental cleanings and will help to prevent periodontal disease.

Some of the many products available that support dental care and that we carry are:

Dental Diets- specially designed kibble promotes chewing/scraping of the teeth to create a brushing effect; special nutrients that break down plaque; high in omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients that help to make it a complete and balanced diet for adult dogs and catsDentahex

DentaHex Chews– specially coated with chlorhexidine (an antibacterial agent) that combats bacteria in the mouth; chewing helps to scrape plaque on the teeth; freshens breath

Enzadent Toothpaste- specially designed to prevent plaque and tartar build up when used on a regular basis; comes in poultry and vanilla mint flavors

DentaClenz – a drinking water additive that combats bacteria in the pet’s mouth as well as in the water bowl; freshens breath and creates a barrier that helps to prevent plaque from adhering to the surface of the tooth.vetone-chlorazinc-rinse-8-oz-23

ChloraZinc Rinse-Antibacterial action and superior plaque prevention in a soothing, refreshing and palatable solution that quickly covers the entire mouth

Using one or a combination of these products on a regular basis will likely greatly reduce the amount of time needed between dental cleanings and will help to prevent periodontal disease.

 

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Canine Influenza

-By Tara Sansing

As many of us have probably already seen via news reports, there have been recent outbreaks of the Canine Influenza Virus in some states. These reports have been leaving many pet owners with more questions rather than answers….

What is the Canine Influenza Virus? & What do these recent outbreaks mean for me and my dog(s)?

Canine Influenza (CIV) was first discovered in 2004 when a pack of greyhounds at a racetrack in Florida became very ill and several dogs died.  What scientists discovered was that these dogs had been racing at horse tracks and that a strain of influenza that had been found in horses for decades had mutated and was now infecting the dogs.

CIV is an upper respiratory virus. The most common symptoms are coughing, fever, nasal discharge, lethargy and lack of appetite. The significance of a CIV infection is that it compromises the normal defense mechanisms of the canine respiratory tract so that secondary bacterial infections, including pneumonia, are common. The mortality rate for the virus and resulting infections is 8%.

How does it spread?  

  • Through direct contact between dogs (licking & nuzzling)
  • Through the air (coughing, sneezing)
  • Via contaminated surfaces (such as a shared toy or when a person picks up the virus on their hands, then pets a dog)

    The Canine Influenza Virus can be spread from dog to dog or via contaminate surfaces.

    The Canine Influenza Virus can be spread from dog to dog or via contaminate surfaces.

Any dogs that walk in the neighborhood, visit with neighbor dogs through the fence, get bathed/groomed, board, go to training classes or play at the dog park are at high risk.  It is important to understand, however, that a dog does not have to come in direct contact with a dog that has the virus. CIV can live in the environment for several days and so any dogs that are in the same area later are also at risk.  CIV can also be brought home by any person that has come into contact with the virus.

Dogs are contagious for 5-7 days prior to showing the first symptoms and it is for this reason that CIV has spread very quickly.  Since those initial reports in 2004, there have been positive cases in 39 states. Because the virus is relatively new, dogs have no natural immunity against the virus—if unvaccinated and exposed, the chances of being infected is close to 100%

As a precaution against outbreak, we are recommending that all dogs be vaccinated for the canine influenza virus. In addition, the vaccine will be required for all boarders, day boarders and baths. Please note that much like the flu vaccine in humans, the vaccine does not guarantee that your dog will not contract the virus but the symptoms will be much less severe and the dog should recover more quickly.  Any dog that has not received the vaccine in the past will need an initial vaccine followed by a booster in 2-4 weeks. The vaccine should continue to be given annually.

If you have any questions, or would like to schedule an appointment to bring your dog(s) in for the vaccine,  please contact the clinic at 281-282-9944.

Posted in Canine Influenza Virus, Dog Flu, Dogs, Medical Conditions, Vaccination | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment