Category: Dog Food

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

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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

The Lowdown on Food Allergies & Diets

1Is your pet having ongoing skin or gastro intestinal issues with unknown causes? Have you exhausted all the other causes such as infection, parasites, or anatomy issues? Is your pet’s Veterinarian now recommending a food trial? If so, below is the lowdown on food allergies, what exactly a food trial is, how to properly execute a food trial, and what food options there are.

 What is a food allergy?

A food allergy is an immune system reaction that occurs after eating a certain food. Ingredients in pet food may be combined or changed into substances recognized by the immune system as foreign invaders to be attacked. The target of this attack include the gastrointestinal (GI) tract or other organ systems, but in dogs and cats it is the skin that most often suffers the most. The classical signs of food allergies in pets can be itchy lesions on the face, limbs, anal area, and ears. Some other symptoms are ongoing diarrhea and/or vomiting. Symptoms start when the pet is less than 6 months old or starts when the pet is older then 5-6 years old. Food allergies can develop even if a pet has been eating the same food for years with no issues. It takes time for them to develop the allergy. Symptoms do not happen seasonally like with airborne allergens, they are always present.  It is also noted that corticosteroids do not help with most food allergy issues.

The pet food companies have done a great job of advertising “grain free” diets, but unfortunately the pet usually is having a reaction to both the protein and/or carbohydrate in the diet. Grains are not bad for our pets. There is no simple test to see exactly what is causing the reaction. To solve the problem the culprit must be removed from the pet’s world. This is why we do food trials.

What is a food trial?

Before beginning a food trial we want to make sure all other possible culprits have been ruled out (parasites, infections, anatomy issues). If there is any secondary skin infection from the lesions, they must be cleared before starting the trial.

A food trial is when a hypoallergenic diet is fed for a period of time deemed by your Veterinarian. If the symptoms resolve, you then switch the pet back to its original food for 2 weeks to see if the symptoms return. If we see relapse, it is recommended to return to the food trial diet and staying on the food indefinitely.

There are no other ways to diagnose a food allergy. Blood tests are not helpful. Blood tests can detect antibodies against certain food proteins but this does not mean that the pet has an allergy. It could just mean the pet has eaten that type of protein before.

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What is involved in a food trial?

Food trials are VERY strict in order to see accurate results and everyone in the household must be on board with the instructions. This means the pet shouldn’t have any other protein sources besides the test protein. This includes rawhides, flavored chew toys, flavored chewable medications including heartworm/flea preventions, flavored vitamins, and all treats. Chewable medications will need to be switched to non flavored tablets/capsules and chewable heartworm/flea preventions may need to be switched to a topical brand.

As stated above, the pet is put on a hypoallergenic diet for at least 3 months. No other food/treats can be fed. If symptoms resolve then the pet is put back on their original diet for 2 weeks. If symptoms resume then we can diagnose a food allergy. The pet can then return to the hypoallergenic diet indefinitely. Some owners opt to not go back to the original diet because they do not want their pet to go through the horrible symptoms again. They will just continue the food trial diet indefinitely.

A food trial is very easy in that all you have to do is feed the hypoallergenic diet, but owners tend to find it hard to not feed other treats. Owners will state that the food trial failed, but in reality they were not being as strict as needed.

What are current food trial options?

There are three different types of diets that can be used in a food trial: a novel protein, hydrolyzed protein, or a home cooked diet.

Novel proteins are most commonly used in food trials. They are diets that contain a single protein source and single carbohydrate source. The most important part of choosing a novel protein, is that it has to be one that the pet has never come in contact with before. For example if you choose a venison and sweet potato diet, the pet must not have eaten either one of these protein/carbohydrates in any other food (treats, dry food, canned, etc). It takes years for a pet to become allergic to a food source, so the pet should not be allergic to something new. Pet food companies are starting to make a huge variety of flavors of food/treats, so it can be very hard to find a diet for the pet if the owner tends to feed a variety of different flavored food/treats.

Examples of novel protein diets include venison and potato, fish and potato, egg and rice, duck and pea, and even kangaroo. Several of these diets have been released to the public markets, so it is very important to choose ingredients for the trial that is not found in the pet’s regular diet. Public markets tend to sell these novel protein food for a lot less then Veterinary prescription diets, but they cannot guarantee that there are no additional proteins mixed in. Contamination easily happens because the machines are not thoroughly cleaned with each new batch of food made. Veterinary prescription diets can guarantee that the product does not contain any contaminants. The the machines are thoroughly cleaned/disinfected between batches of food. Most Veterinary prescribed diets have a 100 percent guarantee. This means that if the pet does not like the food, it can be returned for a refund.

Hydrolyzed proteins are diets that contain the smallest amount of molecules of a protein so that the body cannot detect them.  Basically, the immune system is tricked into no longer recognizing the protein so it does not trigger a reaction. The downside of hydrolyzed protein diets is that it is not as palatable as it would be with the protein in its original form. Examples of hydrolyzed protein diets include Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d, Purina HA HypoAllergenic Canine Formula, Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Hypoallergenic. These diets also have a 100 percent guarantee. If the pet does not like the food, then it can be returned for a refund.

Home cooked diets are rarely used in food trial diets. It can be very inconvenient for the owner to have to cook the pets every meal and important vitamins/minerals are easily left out of the diet. If an owner wants to pursue a home cooked diet a nutritionist should be involved so that they can make a balanced diet for the pet. Recipes for appropriate diets can be purchased through BalanceIt, rpetdiets.com, or by any nutritionist listed at the American College of Veterinary Nutrition web site.

So how do you find out exactly what protein/carbohydrate the pet is allergic to?

2The process to find out what exact protein/carbohydrate a pet is allergic to is not a simple task but it can be done. It can be a very lengthy process. To do this, you add a single/pure protein source (such as cooked chicken, tofu, wheat flour or any other single food) to the test diet with each meal. If the pet begins to show allergic symptoms within two weeks, then that protein source causes an allergic reaction. You must return to the test diet until the allergic symptoms stops and then you can try another pure protein source. If no symptoms show after two weeks of feeding a test protein, then the pet is not allergic to that protein.

What if a diet is unsuccessful?

To determine if a diet was truly unsuccessful we need to make sure the owner was 100 percent compliant (meaning they only fed the test food), parasites are under control, infections are under control, and that the food trial was done for long enough time. If all those boxes are checked, then it is strongly suggestive that an inhalant allergy is the culprit. If this is the case, biopsies by dermatologist is recommended.

By: Jamie McAfee

Sources:
Brooks, Wendy C. “Food Allergies.” Veterinary Partner, 2001,      http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=652

H, Heidi. “Royal Canin Veterinary Diet® Canine Selected Protein Adult PR Dry Dog Food.” Canine Selected Protein Adult PR Dry Dog Food | Royal Canin Veterinary Diet, 10 Aug. 2015,  http://www.royalcanin.com/products/royal-canin-veterinary-diet-canine-selected-protein-adult-pr-dry-dog-food/1396

“Allergy – Food Allergy in Dogs.” vca_corporate, vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/allergy-food-allergy-in-dogs

Clinical Nutrition Team. “What Every Pet Owner Should Know about Food Allergies.” Clinical Nutrition Service at Cummings School, 30 Jan. 2017, vetnutrition.tufts.edu/2017/01/food-allergies

https://www.hillspet.com

Wellness for All Ages

“Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” -Anatole France

Senior Wellness

At TLC, we recognize that no two animals are the same. We respect their individuality and their

individual needs throughout all stages of their lives. Unfortunately, aging is a fact of life and can take its toll on the body. That’s why we specialize in senior wellness and care. We monitor senior pets closely for age related changes so that we can address developing medical conditions as soon as possible.

We work with you to create and customize a care plan for your pets as they age so that they can remain happy and comfortable in their later years and so that you can spend as many years with them as possible.

Some of the services that we offer and recommend for our senior patients include:

Extensive Bi-Annual Examinations

Pets age at seven times the rate of humans. It is for this reason that we recommend bi-annual examinations for all of our senior patients. The Doctor will check your pet from nose to toes looking for any physical changes that need to be addressed or monitored. This includes monitoring their weight, listening to the heart and lungs, checking their eyes and ears, palpating their abdomen and checking the joints for stiffness or discomfort.

Bloodwork & Urinalysis

While a physical examination is vital to your pet’s healthcare, there are several conditions that simply cannot be diagnosed by just looking, listening, and touching. Chemistry and hematology blood tests and urinalysis provide a detailed look at your pet’s health from the inside.

Radiographs

As pets age they experience many changes internally such as changes in their organs and joints. Radiographs give us a better picture of what is happening inside the body and allow us to address and monitor these changes. All radiographs are reviewed by board certified radiologists who can help identify and diagnose these changes and make additional recommendations for care.

Blood Pressures

Just like humans, dogs and cats can also suffer from high blood pressure, especially as they get older. Hypertension in pets is often caused by some other underlying disease and thus is a very important wellness screening tool. All senior pets should have a screening blood pressure with every exam.

Ocular Pressures

Glaucoma is a serious condition where the pressure of the eye becomes elevated. It can be extremely painful for dogs and cats and can cause irreversible, rapid blindness. It may not be obvious to pet owners when they eye is only mildly affected so it is recommended that screening pressures be performed twice a year. Medications, when administered regularly, can help to lower eye pressure and slow down vision loss.

Schirmer Tear Tests

As dogs age, they frequently develop a condition called KCS or dry eye. Many breeds such as Shih-Tzus, Pugs and Boston Terriers are pre-disposed to this condition. It can be painful and lead to other damages to the eyes if left untreated. Schirmer Tear Tests allow us to monitor the eyes’ ability to produce tears. Medications can be prescribed if needed to ensure that your pets’ eyes stay properly lubricated.

Laser Therapy

Our Class III Therapeutic Cold Laser is specifically designed to treat pain and inflammation due to arthritis. Low level laser light has both anti-inflammatory and immunostimulate effects. Following a laser session approximately 75-80% of clients that have patients being treated notice improvement in their condition.

Medication Therapy

There are many pet-safe medications available to relieve arthritic discomfort and pain. These medications have been tested for long term use in pets. We can recommend and prescribe these medications based on your pets’ personalized wellness plan.

Geriatric Boarding

As pets age, many require care beyond basic boarding. That’s why we offer Geriatric Boarding for our senior patients. This service is available for pets that are physically restricted and/or have medical conditions that make it difficult for them to stay at general boarding facilities. Our team is specially trained to deliver exceptional care to senior pets including monitoring them closely while here and administering their medications. All senior boarders are walked every hour and we provide hygienic baths as needed to make sure that they remain clean and comfortable.  You can have confidence that your pets’ are receiving the care that they need while you are away.

In addition to beds and mats, we also provide Pet Cots for our boarders. Unlike regular bedding which has been known to clump and become uneven, Pet Cots evenly distribute a pet’s weight and relieve stress on the joints. The raised design protects pets from excessive cold, heat & moisture and yet is low enough to the ground to allow older pets to climb step easily on and off the cot.

Products
In addition to providing senior specific services, we carry a variety of products that address age related changes including:

  • Purina Neuro-Care, a diet designed to promote healthy brain activity and joints in aging dogs
  • Hills J/D, high levels of glucosamine and fatty acids promote healthy joints
  • Therapeutic Diets for medical conditions such as renal disease
  • Planet Dog “Old Soul” Balls  Senior dogs are only as old as the wag of their tail. The Old Soul Ball is designed to address the issues dogs experience as they grow older and wiser: reduced vision and snout strength, weakened jaw muscles, and brittle teeth. High contrast colors make the Old Soul Ball easy to spot, and the extra mint makes it easier to sniff out. The material is given extra pliability to offer a satisfying chew that’s easy on the gums and snout

By: Tara Sansing

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)  **