Itchy Itchy Scratchy Scratchy – Can you get my Backey?

We all hate allergy season sneezing watery eyes and headaches. Luckily there are medications that relieve us from these symptoms, but did you know that your dogs can get allergies too? Dogs can experience skin luhf,allergies due to the pollen and other substances in the air. Dogs can also experience a chronic inflammatory skin condition called atopic dermatitis that could need lifelong management; in fact 10% of dogs have some kind of atopic dermatitis. Whether it is seasonal allergies or a chronic condition, dogs’ instinct will have them licking, scratching, and chewing at their skin to relieve the itch. This can cause hair loss and major irritation to the skin which can result in skin infections. But don’t worry – relief is just a short drive to your neighborhood veterinarian clinic!

There are medications similar to humans’ Claritin and Zyrtec, that are given orally on a daily basis. But what if those don’t help or your dog doesn’t like to take pills? Another option? Cytopoint, an injection that can relieve itch for 4-8 weeks. Cytopoint is a protein based (not chemical) medication that works similar to the cytodog’s immune system. When the “itching” signal is sent by your dog’s body to the brain it causes the reaction to start scratching or chewing. Cytopoint intercepts that signal to prevent your pet from scratching and allowing their skin to heal working similar to antibodies in their immune system. Because Cytopoint is not a chemical medication dogs’ bodies are able to break it down naturally. Meaning it does not get eliminated through the liver and kidney so no harm can be done to your pets’ organs. This makes it safe for dogs of all ages and can be used alongside other medications your pup may be taking.

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If you and your veterinarian decide Cytopoint injections are the best option for your furry friend, they can began feeling relief within 1 day and damaged skin can begin to heal within 7 days. After the first injection your vet may want to see your dog in 4 weeks to see the progress of the Cytopoint after which the two of you can discuss how often your dog may need an injection. The idea is to extend the time between shots and get your dog longer relief.  Your veterinarian will help you recognize signs that it is time for your pup to get their next injection. Another helpful tool is the itch tracker located on the Cytopoint website (https://www.cytopoint4dogs.com/resources.aspx), this chart can help you determine when it is time to bring your pet in for the next injection.

If you think your dog has allergies or an atopic dermatitis, set up an appointment with your veterinarian and ask about using Cytopoint. Start the journey to a longer itch free lifestyle because both you and your dog deserve relief from allergies!

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By: Deanna Smith

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You had one job Thyroid, one job!

1What is Hypothyroid Disease?

Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid is not functioning properly and there is a deficiency of the thyroid hormone. It is considered one of the most common hormone imbalances in dogs.

What causes Hypothyroid Disease?

Thyroid deficiency can be caused by immune-mediated destruction of the thyroid gland, by natural atrophy of the gland, by dietary iodine deficiency, or as a congenital problem. Some breeds that can be predisposed to this disease are:
Golden Retrievers, Dobermans, Irish Setters, Schnauzers, Cocker Spaniels, and Dachshunds. This does not mean that only those breeds can get it, it is possible for any breed to develop hypothyroidism.

What are the signs of Hypothyroid Disease?

Some signs you could see are: weight gain with no diet change, “rat tail” (loss of hair on tail), dry hair/skin, cold intolerant, recurrent skin infections, lethargy, and reproduction problems. The pet could have all or maybe just one symptom. Annual labwork is important for early detection.

How do we diagnose Hypothyroid Disease?

To check thyroid levels, we have to send blood from the pet to the lab. This test is called a Total T4, which is usually included in all well health screening labwork. If the Total T4 comes back low, then it could indicate hypothyroidism. If the thyroid levels come back low we do more investigating before diagnosing hypothyroidism, because some other factors could cause low Total T4. For example, some other disease or medications can cause low Total T4. If no other factors could cause it, we add on a different blood thyroid testing at the lab to confirm low levels. This test is called a Free T4. The Total T4 testing can be falsely lowered because of other non-thyroidal disease and drugs, and Free T4 levels are less subject to be falsely lowered. Thyroid ultasonography and biopsy can also be performed for diagnosing, but owner’s rarely do these diagnostics for the pet.

How do you treat Hypothyroid Disease?

Once the pet has been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, then they will need to large_thyrotabssbe on a LIFE LONG supplement to replace the hormone. The pet will need to take a medication twice daily for the first 4-8 weeks, then more blood will need to be taken to check the T4 levels again. We do this so that we know the pet is on the right dose for them. If the levels come back too low or even too high we can easily change the dose so that it is perfect for them. Any symptoms should start to resolve with the correct dosing, and the pet should become their happy self again. Once the pet is regulated we check labwork every year to be safe (or earlier if the pet starts having issues).

We have to check the levels frequently because of two main reasons. The first is that we are not giving enough of the supplement, which causes all the symptoms to still be present and ongoing low thyroid levels can start to disrupt other organ functions. The second is that we can start to cause the opposite of hypothyroid disease, hyperthyroid disease. Hyperthyroid disease is increased thyroid hormone.4

Prognosis

Once a pet has been diagnosed with Hypothyroid Disease and is regulated properly with a daily supplement, they can live happy healthy lives.

 

By: Jamie McAfee

Sources
https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&sterm=hypothyroid%20disease&species=All

Common Diseases of Companion Animals, By Alleice Summers

http://for-dogs-sake.org/hypothyroidism/

The “Kissing Bug” Disease

Chagas disease is an infection with a parasitic protozoa called Trypanosoma cruzi. An insect that carries the protozoa in called a triatomine bug, commonly found in our area.

chagas
The triatomine bug is nocturnal and comes out at night to feast on the blood out of their sleeping victims, which includes humans and animals both. The bug typically feeds around the eyes or mouth (hence the name, the “kissing bug”). At the time of feeding, the bug defecates on the skin, releasing the parasite in its feces. The feces enters the skin through the bite or through mucous membranes.

Chagas can be life-threatening if left untreated, but treatment for Chagas is most effective in the early stages of the disease. Symptoms include fever and swelling where the bite took place. If left untreated, the infection can lead to complications with the heart, esophagus, and colon. Contact your health provider if you think you might infected or at risk.Tcruzi_thin_giemsa5_zoom

Alternate ways of infection:

  • Congenital transmission (pregnant mother to baby)
  • Blood transfusion/Organ transplantation
  • Accidental lab exposure
  • Consumption of uncooked food or drinks contaminated with feces from infected bugs

Three-Triatoma-TX-smWho is at risk:

  • People living in substandard housing
  • Animals living in/People who have animals living in collective animal housing (henhouse, stables)

Prevention:

  • Do NOT touch the bug with bare, uncovered hands
  • Any surfaces that come into contact with the bug can be disinfected with bleach or other common household disinfectants
  • Insecticides can be used in the house and yard to target these bugs
  • Screening blood donations for the disease

More information can be found online at:
http://www.kissingbug.tamu.edu/found-a-bug
http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/chagas

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By: Madison Cole

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

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