That Doggone Diabetes!

Diabetes is a condition brought on when an organ in the body, the pancreas, does not produce insulin. The concern here is that in order for the pet to metabolize sugar from their meals, they need insulin to help convert the sugars into a useful substance that the body can then absorb and utilize for energy. When this happens, the blood becomes overwhelmed with glucose (our energy supply), but without the insulin to make the glucose useful,  the body thinks it is starving – going into panic mode – and begins breaking down fats, stored starches, and proteins to feed all of the hungry cells. Now, while starches and proteins can be broken down in glucose for energy, fat breaks down into ketones. Detection of ketones on lab work show that there has been a large amount of fat breakdown, but a very serious complication, diabetic ketoacidosis, can occur as well from prolonged unregulated diabetes.

Pet-Diabetes-Signs-Web450x450Common signs you might start to notice in your pet and warrant a trip to see us would be excessive thirst, excessive urination, increased appetite, and weight loss.  Blood work helps us in diagnosing the condition by showing high glucose elevations in the blood and sometimes glucose being present in the urine, too. Glucose numbers can be falsely elevated in a stressed pet when they come to see us, so taking a thorough history and running blood work as well as urine helps us to accurately identify the condition vs. a pet that is just ready to go home from their vet visit!

Causes

  • Age. While diabetes can occur at any age, it mostly occurs in middle-aged to senior dogs. Most dogs that develop it are age 5 or older when diagnosed.
  • Gender. Un-spayed female dogs are twice as likely as male dogs to have diabetes.
  • Chronic or repeated pancreatitis. Chronic or repeated pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) can eventually cause extensive damage to that organ, resulting in diabetes.
  • Obesity. Obesity contributes to insulin resistance and is a risk factor for pancreatitis, which can lead to diabetes.
  • Steroid medications. These can cause diabetes when used long-term.
  • Cushing’s disease. With Cushing’s disease, the body overproduces steroids internally, so this condition also can cause diabetes.
  • Other health conditions. Some autoimmune disorders and viral diseases are also thought to possibly trigger diabetes.
  • Genetics. Diabetes can occur in any breed or mixed-breed, and it seems genetics can play a role in either increased or reduced risk. A 2003 study found that overall mixed-breeds are no less prone to diabetes than are purebreds. Among purebreds, breeds vary in susceptibility, some with very low risk and others with higher risk. Some that may be at higher risk include miniature Poodles, Bichon Frises, Pugs, Dachshunds, Miniature Schnauzers, Puli, Samoyeds, Keeshonds, Australian Terriers, Fox Terriers, Cairn Terriers, and Beagles.

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Types of Diabetes
Type I: Insulin dependent diabetes. A majority of the time, this is the type that of diabetes that dogs get – the pancreas stops producing the insulin so we must supplement the body with insulin to aid in proper metabolism of sugars.

Type II: Non-Insulin dependent diabetes. This is the type of diabetes that most cats will get. The pancreas produces some insulin but not enough to effectively metabolize the sugars, so we supplement with insulin and sometimes there is the potential that the pancreas in a cat can improve its insulin-secreting abilities and lead to remission.
Good glucose control and proper diet are beneficial – this can lead to a resolve in diabetes for some lucky cats, but unfortunately our canine companions are in it for the long haul with this being a maintained disease for the rest of their life. Ideally, cats should be fed a low carbohydrate, high protein diet, and dogs should be fed high fiber diets. Seeing as this could be tricky to formulate, we have diets specifically designed for diabetic pets that they can be switched to.

Treatment
At home care is usually the way we treat diabetes, teaching you how to administer thevesulin tiny amount of medication under your pet’s skin (subcutaneously) twice daily after a full meal. On occasion, a newly diagnosed pet that is doing poorly might spend some time with us while we get them regulated, but a majority of the time they get to go home the same day to start on their new routine.

We send you home with the selected insulin, syringes, and diabetic diet. You will need to feed a full meal every 12 hours and then administer the prescribed dose of insulin immediately after they have eaten. It is very important to set a schedule and stick to it!

IdealBloodGlucose_cat_lgRoutinely, a newly diagnosed pet will most likely need a few glucose curves to identify the dosage that they need to be on to effectively regulate their diabetes. This is done by having them stay with us for the day so we can take glucose measurements every 2 hours to see how they are utilizing their insulin. This is called a “curve” because if the insulin is working properly, the results will make a curve when graphed.

Once we get to a dose that is appropriate for your pet, we then monitor every 3-6 months with another curve and urinalysis to make sure we are staying on track and maintaining an accurate treatment for them. Of course, if there is a change in symptoms we see them right then and repeat testing when the problem occurs (feeling ill, losing weight, increase or loss of appetite, drinking/urinating excessively, disoriented/groggy).

by: Kaitie Barczak

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It’s not Science Fiction!

laser1Cold Laser Therapy (also know as Low-Level Laser Therapy, or LLLT)  use lower wavelengths of light to help reduce inflammation and promote healing with some wounds and chronic conditions.

What does that mean, how does this work?

Photomiomodulation – “A form of light therapy that utilizes non-ionizing forms of light sources, including laser, LEDs, and broadband light, in the visible and infrared spectrum.” This type of light is able to penetrate the skin further than a regular light. This light will cause photo-stimulation of the light reactive receptors of the body called chromophores. When stimulated, these chromophores accelerate the body’s defenses to repair and heal naturally. This is similar to how a plant absorbs sunlight and converts it into usable energy, so the plant can grow.

laser2Since 1967, there have been over 2500 clinical studies about the benefits of laser therapy published worldwide. Many of these studies are double-blinded, placebo-controlled and have proven that laser therapy increases collagen production, enhances nerve regeneration, increases vasodilation, reduces inflammation, increases cell metabolism, increases pain threshold, reduces edema, increases tissue and bone repair, increases lymphatic response, and increases cell membrane potential.

In 2015, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and the Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) released the new Pain Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats. These guidelines recommend that laser therapy should be part of a multimodal pain management plan for all dogs and cats as laser therapy has been proven to dramatically reduce edema, pain, self mutilation, and acute inflammation in pets.

Cold Laser Therapy can be used to treat the following:

  • Cuts/Bites20180602_085038 (1)
  • Infections
  • Sprains/Strains/Fractures
  • Inflammation
  • Post Surgical Healing
  • Tooth Extraction Pain Relief
  • Wounds
  • Arhtritis
  • Degenerative Joint Disease
  • Feline Acne
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Lick Granulomas

At TLC Animal Hospital, we use the Microlight ML830®. This is a handheld, battery-operated device that emits a beam of light that travels in a straight line for a 33 second interval. Therapy is very passive, does not require any pulses or shocks, and does not emit any heat. It is simply just a beam of light, so the patient feels no discomfort. Each area is treated several times and a full treatment usually lasts several minutes.

20180630_131327When you come in for your pet’s appointment, we’ll have a quiet area set up for your pet so they can relax while being treated. We have yoga mats, soft blankets, and smaller beds available to use. We also ensure that your pet, the technician, and anyone else present in the room has the proper eye protection in place before we begin administering the Cold Laser therapy. We have special goggles (or “doggles” for the pets) that are worn while the laser is in use.

This handheld laser allows us to do both full body treatments in the case of arthritis patients or focus on small, more specific areas. As mentioned previously, the Cold Laser can help reduce inflammation and promotes healing, so this can help with pain relief as well. It is reported that 75-80% of pets being treated are able to notice an immediate improvement of their condition. Our geriatric patients will benefit greatly because it helps a great deal with arthritis. We can also use the Cold Laser with our surgeries to help them have a faster recovery.

Our doctors have set up different packages for our Cold Laser therapy. Depending on what we are using the laser for, the packages are much more cost friendly to you instead of paying for each session individually. If your veterinarian thinks that Cold Laser therapy would be good for your pet, we will get you set up with the best package for you and your wallet.

The list of benefits and ways the laser can help is endless. However, just like with any other treatment, it may not work for every patient. Things like coat length, amount of fatty tissue, and even the color of your pet’s skin can prevent the light from reaching the target area. The more the laser has to go through, the less effective it will be. We are more than happy to discuss this and other options to be sure we find the one that is the best for your pet.

Written By: Tara Sansing, Candace Ivey, & Amber Commins

Don’t take my claws, I need those!

Up until I had started working at TLC Animal Hospital, I didn’t know much about declawing & what all it entails. I had no idea that declawing was basically removing the last joint on their paws. I had no idea that it changes the way your cat’s body bears its weight. I thought it was just something that people did to their cats if they didn’t go outside.

tiggerI remember our oldest cat, Tigger, getting declawed. She had came home with these bright orange bandages on her legs & we had to use this weird paper litter. My parents had decided to get her declawed because she was tearing up my mom’s legs, they were worried about her hurting my brother & I, plus she was also incredibly feisty whenever we took her to the vet. I remember her getting loose in PetsMart once because she attacked one of the technicians in the back & escaped. We used to joke that Tigger had a tally in her carrier for how many people she had injured at the vet. She healed just fine & made up for the lack of claws with increased slapping power.

nissanBy the time we got our second cat, Nissan, we knew more about declawing & we didn’t want to put her through that. However, she started tearing up furniture even with more than enough proper things to scratch on. Tigger, being the queen that she was, would pick on Nissan, & we didn’t want Tigger to get hurt since she didn’t have claws. I remember having a lot of issues with her when she was recovering. There were issues with her bandages & we were not sent home with any medications for pain. I remember her being very scared when she came home & she spent most of her recovery time hiding in my room. She ended up healing just fine, but eventually part of her claws grew back on her front paws & she would still scratch at the furniture some.

weezeWhen we got our third cat, Weasley, he would play so rough with the other two that, again, we didn’t want them to get hurt by his claws. He played rough with us as well & I vividly remember him attacking my leg once & leaving part of a claw in my knee. My brother & I were the main ones that took care of Weasley’s vet visits when he was a kitten, & we were never told about nail caps, trimming, or anything. There was no question about it when we asked for him to be declawed when we got him neutered.Main_Graphic_Claws

Declawing is a major procedure & it’s going to take time not only for your cat to heal properly, but to also adjust to life without that last digit on their toes. Younger cats heal from this much faster, but this can be extremely difficult for older cats, especially if they’re overweight. It takes a cat 10-14 days to heal from this surgery. They need to be confined in a small space during this time. They should not run, jump, pounce, or play during this time. The more time they spend on their paws while healing, the longer it’s going to take for them to fully heal. You also risk the chance of sutures coming out, or being ripped out, along with infection if your cat is not properly confined. You have to use paper litter while your cat’s paws are healing as well. Using regular litter can lead to dust or other small particles getting into the surgery sites causing irritation, discomfort, & possible infection.

What should I do & what are my alternatives?

With so many alternatives available, declawing should never be your first choice. Below is a list of the alternatives & general information about them. If you’re concerned about your cat’s nails or are considering declawing, please take the time to read through these options & give them a chance first.

postScratching Posts: Scratching is a natural thing for cats, so having appropriate places for them to do so is important. Every cat, regardless of the status of their claws, should have somewhere to scratch. There are a variety of scratching posts made from different materials. Cardboard, rope, carpet, & so on. My cats prefer the rope kind. Depending on the material, these can help file down their nails some. Don’t worry if you don’t have space for a huge cat tower. There are so many different shapes & sizes to choose from that you should have no problem finding one that perfect for your house & your cat.

clippersTrimming: Regular trimming of your cat’s nails greatly reduces the likelihood of your cat damaging your furniture. If you have a new kitten, start working with their paws early on. This will help them get used to having their paws messed with & help cut down on them wanting to fight against having their nails trimmed. Be sure to use proper tools as well. Human nail clippers should not be used for this. I, personally, prefer the nail clippers that look like small scissors. There are spring loaded ones, but they can get stuck sometimes if you don’t use enough pressure when clipping.188774-300x300-claw-clipping-diagram

It can be scary trimming your cat’s nails at first, trust me, I know. I never wanted to even try because I was scared that I was going to make them bleed. Be sure to just trim the tips of the nails. It’s usually easy to see how far you can go back without hitting the quick. Doing this on a regular basis can help the quick go back as well, allowing you to keep the nails shorter overall. At TLC Animal Hospital, we are more than happy to show you how to properly trim your cat’s nails. We do this with all adoption exams for cats & dogs, but we’re happy to show anyone that wants to learn.

nailcapsNail Caps: These are both adorable & functional! They come in a variety of sizes & colors so you should have no problem with finding the right ones for your cat. Trimming the nails first is ideal, this will help the nail cap last longer. Apply the glue to the inside of the cap, extend the claw & then place the cap on the claw. When properly applied, nail caps can last up to two weeks.

tapeDeterrent Sprays & Tapes: There are sprays that you can use on the items that you do not want your cat to scratch on. These leave behind a scent that is unpleasant to cats & discourages them from going back. These can be scents like cinnamon & other herbs, so they’re not off-putting to humans. The tapes are very sticky & can be used as a temporary barrier for your furniture to help prevent scratching. Usually, cats will not mess with something sticky once they realize how it feels. As always, make sure that you have something nearby that is appropriate for your cat to scratch on when using these products. However, these are not guaranteed to work with all cats. Cats are weird, some could care less about smells & other could care less about getting into something messy.

feFeliScratch: This is a newer product that helps encourage appropriate scratching behavior. If this had been available when we were dealing with Nissan’s scratching, we definitely would’ve done this instead of declawing. Use FeliScratch on the posts that you want your cat to scratch on & apply it in vertical lines. It has a temporary blue dye to attract your cat’s attention to it. It also contains synthetic pheromones to draw them to it & catnip to keep them coming back. We highly recommend using this anytime you have a new cat or kitten to help them learn early on what they can & can’t scratch on in their new environment. Don’t worry, you can use this to help “older” cats as well – they don’t have to be new to the house & it’s never too late for them to learn.

feliscratch

27459547_10154877923105666_4246769826786111965_nCurrently, my boyfriend & I have three cats (Marcello, Ravio, & Gnocchi). We’re able to trim their nails just fine. While they aren’t overjoyed when it’s time to do so, they let me do it. If you had told me when I was little that I’d have cats with claws & be able to trim them, I would’ve laughed.

Now, with the way Tigger was, there’s no way on Earth we would’ve been able to trim her nails (you could pet her head, neck, & chin, but anywhere else you were going to loose finger). Maybe not Weasley either (he’s a bit of a nut), but I know for a fact that we could have trimmed Nissan’s nails with no problem at all. If only someone had pointed it out to us sooner.

This is why we focus so much on educating our clients on the different options available. Things have come a long way over the years as far as veterinary care & options for your pets goes. If you’re considering declawing your cat, please talk to your veterinarian first. Working together with your veterinarian & their staff, they can help you find what works best for you, your cat, & your furniture.

To learn more about FeliScratch & other alternatives, please visit savethecouches.com.

By: Ashley Elliott

VetSource – What’s that?

cat_fluffy_box_66380_1920x1200-700x437We all know that life can be chaotic at times. How often do you find yourself looking online to order something simply because you do not have the time to go to the store in person? There’s almost an online store for everything you could ever need nowadays. The same goes for your pet’s food, treats, toys, & even their prescriptions.

There are numerous places that you can order your pet’s supplies online, 1800PetMeds, chewy.com, even Amazon! While this is great & more than convenient, things get a little murky when it comes to prescription drugs, preventatives, & diets.

Given the growing impact that online pharmacies have had, it is our duty as your pet’s veterinarians to offer a safe place for you to order your pet’s prescriptions through. That’s where VetSource comes in.

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What is VetSource?

VetSource is the only industry-approved home delivery provider for your pet’s medications, foods, & other products. Their items come directly from the manufacturers, so you know exactly where your products have come from. While this may not be important for something like clothes or shoes that you’ve ordered online, it is absolutely crucial when it comes to prescriptions.

“Out of almost 12,000 websites that NABP (National Association of Boards of Pharmacy) reviewed, more than 95% of them operate out of compliance with pharmacy laws and practice standards that protect the public health.”
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When ordering from other places, the manufacturer cannot guarantee the authenticity of the product, that it was stored or handled properly, etc. So if there ends up being an issue with the product, the manufacturer isn’t able to help unless it was purchased through an authorized retailer. You’re then at the mercy of that site’s customer service department. This goes for human medications as well, not just pet products.

More options = Better medicine

While the safety of your pets is the primary reason we’ve decided to have a VetSource pharmacy, the wide array of available products was a close second. In clinic, we’re limited to what we can physically carry. If we decided to carry every brand of heartworm prevention there was, there would be no room for anything else in the clinic! But with VetSource, we’re able to offer medications, diets, preventatives, & other products that we would not be able to offer to you otherwise. We are also able to offer a wider variety of sizes on some products. Overall, this allows us to practice the best medicine that we can for your beloved pets.

All orders that contain a prescription item comes to us to approve before VetSource will ship it. This is to ensure that all of the information is correct: The product, size, quantity,  dosing instructions, & so on. This allows for us to approve a set number of refills for the item as well. Once we’ve approved it on our end, VetSource gets the green light to charge your card & ship out your items! You’re not charged until your item ships.

7820ae20aa9718218479f4e71147f410But wait, there’s more!

VetSource is able to offer discounts directly from the manufacturers. You can still receive rebates on your purchases on flea & heartworm prevention. There are even some discounts available on auto-shipped orders.

That’s right! You’re able to set up your pet’s prescriptions on an auto-shipping schedule. You place the order, select how often you would like for it to be shipped to your house, & that’s it! The product will ship out automatically for the amount of refills that it’s been approved for.

VetSource also offers a “Remind Me” program with your pet’s monthly preventatives. They will ship out a single dose of the preventative the same day of every month. This will come to you the same time every month & help as an added reminder to give the preventative. These have free shipping as well! You’re more than welcome to purchase full boxes if you would like, but this is a wonderful tool for those that need just a little extra help with remembering to give the product.

Most orders ship for free as well! Free shipping is offered on all diets, auto-ship orders, & on orders over $49.

Oh no – We’ve changed my dog’s food & I just placed an order!

That’s ok! Contact the VetSource customer service & they’ll be more than happy to help you out. They can help you change the product & also credit you back for anything that may have already been shipped out. Same goes for if your pet refuses to eat the food that was ordered. All Purina, Royal Canin, & Hill’s Science Diet foods have a 100% palatability  guarantee. If your pet, for whatever reason, declines to eat the food, you can get your money back. You don’t even have to go through the hassle of shipping the food back. You can either donate it to a shelter or dispose of it.

unleashed-paws-get-carded miniature-dachshund-in-a-mail-boxWhat if I don’t want to make an account?

No problem! We can process the order for you in clinic or over the phone. We can do a one-time order or set up auto-shipping for you. VetSource is designed to be an convenient as possible for our clients. However you want to do it, we can do it.

Does this mean I can’t purchase my pet’s ___________ from you anymore?

Not necessarily. However, this is the case with some products. Some products, such as Galliprant and Sileo Gel, are too expensive for us to carry in clinic. In some cases, VetSource is able to offer these products for less than we could.

We are working on downsizing the amount of food that we have on hand. So please be sure to call the clinic to check our stock before running out of food. The plan is to eventually only have the smaller bags of dry food & some cases of cans in clinic. Larger bags will eventually be discontinued in clinic & only available online for home delivery. This will allow for more room to have more options in clinic for your pet to try before ordering it online.

sBut not to worry! We make sure that any product that we decide to stop carrying in clinic is available through VetSource first! We also do our best to inform everyone about the decision ahead of time as well.

We’re very excited about this & we hope that you are, too! We want to offer the most for you & your pets. Check out our store & take a look around! You can also visit VetSource’s website for more information. If you have any questions or concerns, we’re happy to help!

By: Ashley Elliott

Pancreatitis – Are the table scraps worth it?

toxic-dog-foods-listWe all love our fur-children, and we want to spoil them. Sometimes, spoiling them goes beyond buying toys off of the shelves at your local pet stores. Pet owners often like to feed their pets table scraps, or sometimes even a whole meal from their favorite fast-food restaurant.

What may seem harmless to us could potentially be harmful towards your dog or cat. The digestive tract of a dog/cat is very delicate, and it’s always mindful to keep Fido on a nutritional diet and keeping him or her close to their ideal weight, just to make sure that obesity isn’t a factor.

Feeding your baby anything that is high in fat can result in a condition called pancreatitis, which is inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is a part of the endocrine and digestive system, which is integral for the digestion of foods, producing the enzymes that digest food, and producing insulin. When pancreatitis occurs, the flow d5101e3ef0974dc42e0c973427db21deof enzymes that goes straight into the digestive tract can become disrupted, forcing those enzymes out of the pancreas and into the abdominal area, resulting in the digestive enzymes breaking down fat and proteins in other organs, as well as the pancreas. During this process, the body begins to digest itself. Due to the proximity to the pancreas, the kidney and liver can also be affected when this condition unfolds, and the abdomen will become inflamed and possibly infected as well. If bleeding occurs in the pancreas, shock and even death can follow.

Some other risk factors include obesity, hypothyroidism or any other endocrine diseases, severe blunt trauma, and there may even be, in some cases, a genetic predisposition.

Mild cases of pancreatitis usually have a good prognosis, while it’s the more severe cases have a more guarded prognosis due to the potential for systematic complications. The best defense an owner can take against this condition from developing is to be on the look-out for the warning signs, such as repeated vomiting, pain or distention in the abdominal area, loss of appetite, dehydration, weakness/lethargy and having a fever. If any of these symptoms develop, take your pet to your local veterinarian.

The good news is that pancreatitis can be treated! A thorough physical exam and diagnostic testing can be done to confirm whether your pet has pancreatitis or not. Treatment usually consists of hospitalizing your pet for nursing care, a strict bland or low-fat diet, IV fluids to combat dehydration, and medications to help with any pain, vomiting, and/or diarrhea that may occur.

Prevention is always the key! Owner vigilance is required, especially around holidays and other festive occasions. Be watchful of anyone trying to slip your dog some buttery cookies, or a fatty piece of ham! This is definitely one way to prevent your fur child from developing pancreatitis. It is always important to maintain a well-balanced diet containing everything that your furry companion needs. Feeding a diet that is high in fat should be limited long term, as well as diets that are high in protein. The same goes for treats.

trail-running-w-dogKeeping your pet as close to his or her ideal weight as possible and avoidance of drugs that could possibly increase inflammation can help reduce your pet’s risk of pancreatitis. Making sure your pet isn’t overweight, and if he or she is, a reduction in said weight, and proper ongoing weight management can also be helpful.

Just keep your beloved pet on a nutritional diet, exercise as much as possible (it’s good for both the pet and the owner), and be mindful of what you feed to your furry family member.

By: Tiffany Bowmer