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)  **

 

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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.

 

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.

Therapeutic Laser Therapy

-By Erin Fitzpatrick-Wacker

Microlight ML830
Microlight ML830

Many clinics have started a non-evasive therapy with cold lasers for a variety of medical conditions. 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. The device is so low energy that it is known as a cold laser. It it non-harmful and uses photo-stimulation of the light reactive receptors of the body called chromophores, because the laser light is able to penetrate deeper than regular light. When stimulated, these chromophores accelerate the body’s defenses to repair and heal naturally. It has been proven through 30 years of FDA studies to increase collagen production, enhance nerve regeneration, increase vasodilation, reduce inflammation, increase cell metabolism, increase pain threshold, reduce edema, increase tissue and bone repair, increase lymphatic response, and increase cell membrane potential. Conditions approved for treatment include: acute shoulder lameness, bursitis, chronic renal failure, cruciate strain, cystitis, lipoma, alopecia, hot spots, lick granuloma, ligament repair, lumbar pain, otitis externa, operative incision treatment, pain management, post ear crop surgery, post cruciate repair, post declaw, pyoderma, sinusitis, tendonitis, ulcerations, and wounds. It is reported that 75-80% of pets being treated are able to notice an immediate improvement of their condition.

Laser therapy has been proven to reduce inflammation associated with acute and chronic conditions.
Laser therapy has been proven to reduce inflammation associated with acute and chronic conditions.

At TLC Animal Hospital, we often use therapeutic laser therapy for control of severe osteoarthritis, to help ease their pain through reduction of inflammation and increase their pain threshold. We also use it for recovering surgery patients to reduce swelling, inflammation, and promote faster healing by increasing the blood flow at the incision sites. Therapy is very passive, does not require any pulses or shocks, and does not emit any heat, just a beam of light, so the patient feels no discomfort. In general, the longer the condition has persisted, the more sessions are required for a noted response to be seen. Sessions for osteoarthritis are offered at our clinic daily, usually last about 30 minutes to an hour, and are administered by a certified technician. Each session is tailored to the particular need of the animal receiving the therapy.

Feel free to speak with the receptionists today to schedule your appointment.

For more information, visit: http://myml830.com

Holiday Hazards

The holidays are a joyous occasion, and often people include pets in festivities. Unfortunately, the holidays can often create hazardous situations for pets and the number pet poison cases increases this time of year. To keep your pet safe, Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) Toxicology Section Head Tam Garland, DVM, PhD, suggests keeping an eye on the following:Santa Dog

 Lethal food combinations: Maintaining a pet on their normal food is always a good idea. Some foods, such as chocolate, may be poisonous to the pet. Feeding scraps may encourage inappropriate behavior such as begging. Changes in diet, such as table scraps can cause diarrhea or vomiting and thus make a holiday celebration less pleasant for all concerned.

Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, both of which can be toxic to pets; vomiting, diarrhea, heart problems and death can occur if ingested. If your pet should get into chocolates, please call your veterinarian or a veterinary emergency hospital as soon as possible. Be prepared to tell them what your pet weighs, and how much of what type of chocolate the pet ingested.

Baking chocolates and dark chocolates are more dangerous than white chocolate. Some pets can ingest a small amount of chocolate and be fine, other pets may develop vomiting, diarrhea, nervousness, hyperactivity, bloat and possibly death. Chocolates of any kind should not be given to pets. This includes things like chocolate chip cookies, chocolate covered peppermint patties, and other holiday foods and treats.

Caffeine is found in many soft drinks and special holiday drinks, such as sweetened chocolate or coffee. These should not be given to pets.

Fruit Cakes may contain rum or other alcohol. Alcohol poisoning is very dangerous to pets, causing a drop in body temperature, blood sugar and blood pressure. Rising bread dough can cause obstruction if ingested. The yeast can also result in alcohol poisoning in pets. Please keep bread dough, fruit cakes, rum raisin cookies and holiday treats of this sort well out of reach of pets. Reminding guests to refrain from sharing human food with your pets is always acceptable.

Food products used in ornaments: Homemade ornaments, especially those made of play dough-type material or other salt-based products or food, can be extremely toxic to pets. The salt or play dough ornaments appeal to pets as a tasty treat because of the salt. However, an ingestion of a salt-based ornament can cause an animal’s death. Animals ingesting these types of ornaments need to be treated by a veterinarian for salt poisoning.

Pets do not often take a bite out of glass ornaments but it has been known to occur. Pets can step on and break glass ornaments as well. Cuts to the mouth or pads of the foot may be painful and need a veterinarian’s attention to remove the glass and close the wound depending upon the severity of the cut.

Holiday Hazards: Candles should not be placed where a pet could knock them over. Remember, cats often jump up and knock items off of a shelf or mantle, especially if it is in a location they are accustomed to occupying. A dancing flame can be interesting to felines who have been known to swipe at the flame. Burns may occur but fires may be a bigger danger in the home.

Plants: Poinsettia plants and Christmas cactus are often considered the must-havekitten Christmas plants of the season and can cause adverse reactions in pets. Animals that ingest these plants may experience gastric distress, such as vomiting and diarrhea. Generally this is self-limiting. The pet will often overcome this irritation within 24-48 hours. Provide small amounts of water but offer no food until the vomiting has stopped; this may help settle the stomach. It is always wise to consult your veterinarian anytime your pet has an upset stomach.

Tinsel decorating a Christmas tree or wreath is shiny, lightweight and moves very easily, enticing playful cats. Ingested tinsel can lodge or anchor in the stomach, inhibiting passage through the intestines. It can also wrap around the base of the tongue and cause serious injury and impede the ability to eat or drink. Tinsel can actually cut tissue as the intestines contract. Yarn can behave in a similar fashion. Both tinsel and yarn represent special hazards to felines.

Holiday Perfumes: Holidays are often filled with guests and the desire to perfume the home. Liquid potpourris may be the choice for the perfume but can contain essential oils and cationic detergents which if consumed can cause chemical burns to the mouth, difficulty breathing, tremors and fever. Dogs may be affected but are not quite as sensitive to these chemicals as cats. Potpourris, whether liquid or dry, should be kept well out of the reach of pets.

Watch for any signs of distress or changes in your pet’s behavior during this holiday season. An owner’s awareness of possibly harmful decorations and foods is the most effective way to reduce pet toxicity over the holiday. Following these simple guidelines will help make the holidays fun and safe for you and your pet(s)!