Tag: feline

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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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

Ew! What is that in my dog’s stool?!

Oh no! It looks like your pet may have some kind of intestinal parasite!

parasites2Intestinal parasites are parasites that live inside a host’s gastrointestinal tract. Some feed off of the nutrients that the host ingests while others ingest the host’s blood. Whatever their food of choice may be, they can cause numerous issues for the host.

Examples of common intestinal parasites:
-Roundworms
-Whipworms
-Hookworms
-Tapeworms
Giardia
-Coccidia

While some parasites are large enough to see with the naked eye, this is not the case for all of them. For example, tape worms break apart and are usually passed as segments which can look like small grains of rice in your pet’s stool. Round worms resemble noodles or string. Others are much, much smaller and you may not physically see them in your pet’s stool. These parasites can cause all sorts of issues for your pet.

Symptoms include:
-Vomiting
-Weight loss
-Diarrhea
-Distended abdomen
-Scooting
-Occasionally coughing
-Anemia

How do cats and dogs get intestinal parasites?
Parasites are usually transmitted when an animal inadvertently ingests parasite eggs or spores in contaminated soil, water, feces or food. In the case of tapeworms, they can also be transmitted when a dog eats an infected flea. Puppies and kittens, on the other hand, usually get intestinal parasites from their mother. Transmission can occur in uterus or from nursing.
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Many intestinal parasites are zoonotic, meaning that they can also infect humans. Simply practicing good hygiene is usually enough to prevent this from happening. You should always remove your pet’s stool from the yard and be sure to thoroughly wash your hands afterwards. The same goes for your cat’s litter box. Wearing shoes while outside can help protect you against hookworms.

Diagnosing and Treatment:
But don’t worry – these pesky parasites are easily treated! There are many types of dewormers available. Some parasites can be seen in the stool, such as tapeworm segments or roundworms. Others are much, much smaller and harder to detect. Here at TLC Animal Hospital, we send your pet’s stool to an outside lab for thorough testing to identify which parasites are present to ensure that the correct dewormer is used to treat any and all parasites that your pet may have. Some dewormers require a second dose that is given a few weeks later to ensure that all of the parasites are gone. Depending on the parasite, repeat testing of your pet’s stool may be needed as well once treatment is done.

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Prevention:
10765_001_xxlWhile there is, unfortunately, no way to 100% prevent against intestinal parasites, there are steps that you can take that will drastically reduce the chance of your pet becoming infected. Most monthly heartworm preventatives also contain a broad spectrum dewormer. This helps get rid of any eggs or larvae that your pet may have picked up during the previous month. Picking up after your pet helps reduce the chance of any eggs or larvae from getting into the soil.

The best way to prevent against tapeworms is to use a monthly flea preventative. Having your yard treated by an exterminator for fleas will also help. The less fleas there are in the environment, the less of a chance your pet has of eating an infected flea. As we’ve written about before, every pet should be on a monthly flea preventative, even if they are strictly indoors. Read more about the flea preventatives that we offer in our previous post to help you decide which preventative is the best for your pet’s lifestyle.

puppy_kitten_careIf your pet is not already on monthly parasite preventatives, take them to your veterinarian to discuss how you can protect your pets and family from intestinal parasites.

Remember that the best way to protect your pets against parasites is to keep them on parasite preventatives and have their stool checked at least once a year. If you have any questions or concerns, you should always contact your veterinarian. They are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

By: Pigeon Tyler and Ashley Elliott

TLC – Where Dentals are More than just a Cleaning!

UntitledWhen you drop you beloved pet at TLC for a dental cleaning, they receive the best personal care possible. We only schedule 2 dentals on a surgery day so that we can focus on each individual pet and give then the time we need to make sure they leave with a nice, clean, healthy mouth. We pride ourselves on quality not quantity.

When they arrive at the clinic for their cleaning, they are given a premed that helps them relax. Once that takes effect, we put in their catheters and draw blood. Normally, the blood work is done prior to the dental cleaning, but we are able to do it the same day if needed. The blood work tells us that all organ systems are functioning properly and you pet is in good shape to be placed under anesthesia.

UntitledsWe then give them an induction medication and place them under gas anesthetic. We then use an ultrasonic tool that uses vibrations and water to scale the tarter from the tooth and then a different probe is used to get under the gum line. We use a stain on the teeth to make sure we are getting all the tartar off, even the small pieces that are hard to see.

We have dental radiography to help give us a complete picture of your pet’s mouth. This allows us to see what is going on inside the teeth and aids in telling us if the teeth should be removed. If extractions are needed, you pet receives a pain injection and sometimes a nerve block. Dr. Richardson will then remove the infected, diseased teeth with precision and care. We have a synthetic bone graft particulate that helps fill the hole the tooth left. She will then suture the area with dissolvable suture.

PerioDisease1AThroughout this whole procedure, the surgery technician is monitoring heart rate, oxygen level, temperature, blood pressure, ECG and gum color. Your pet is kept on a heating pad and we have warm towels close by. The technician monitors the whole time as well as staying with your pet until they are extubated and awake. Their recovery is in a nice warm cage with blankets and warm towels. When they are awake and able to walk, then we release them.

Patients will go home with pain medications when they have extractions. The surgery technician will go over all aftercare instructions with you when you pick up your pet. You’ll be given a copy of these instructions to take home as well. These instructions also have the contact information for the local VCA Animal Emergency Clinics, just in case something happens and we are closed. Our staff will follow up with you the next day as well to check on your pet.

Each pet receives the individual attention they deserve. When you schedule 10 or more dentals in a day, it becomes more like an assembly line and your pet is one of many instead of an individual with specific needs. At TLC, we know your pet and we love and care for them like they were our own.

By: Candace Ivey

The Benefits of Water Fountains for Cats

cat3We’ve all seen cats drinking in weird places. No, not your local dive bar – I’m talking the kitchen sink, the bathtub, that dripping faucet in the bathroom, or even the toilet.

Instinctively, our feline friends are hard wired to prefer running water over standing water simply because all of today’s domestic cats are descended from the same ancestor: the African wildcat. In the wild, standing water wasn’t as fresh and posed more risk of sickness than running water did. These practices passed on from generation to generation and are still seen today in our pets at home. Regardless of the reason why cats prefer running water, getting adequate water intake is important for your cat’s overall health, and to maintain a healthy urinary tract.

catCats are designed to get their necessary water from the prey they eat. Many pet guardians feed their cats dry food which has water content of about 10%, compared to approximately 70-80% in most canned food. Cats that eat a dry kibble diet rather than wet food will drink more water to compensate, but still run the risk of becoming dehydrated. Anything you can do to encourage your cat to drink more water will help. Cats that are only given standing water often drink far too little and this may result in disorders of the urinary tract, including bladder stones or chronic feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) and as a result, any existing small urinary crystals aren’t completely flushed out and can develop into gravel and then larger stones (so-called struvite stones, for example).

cat2In severe cases, a urinary stone can completely obstruct the urethra, which means that urine – and hence the body’s toxic wastes – can no longer be eliminated from the body and backs up into the kidneys. This blockage is life-threatening. An increased intake of water helps prevent urinary tract disease because the urine contains a lower concentration of the mineral substances that can cause these disorders. And a larger volume of urine makes the cat empty his or her bladder more frequently, which in turn means that the minerals responsible for forming urinary stones spend less time inside the body and the body’s own toxic substances are successfully eliminated in the urine.

A drinking fountain re-circulates and filters the water, making it fresher-tasting and encouraging your cat to drink more. It also adds movement which attracts the cat’s eye as well as an appeasing sound that entices them to investigate, play, and ultimately drink from them. Because the water in a drinking fountain goes through a charcoal filter to remove odors and impurities, it is healthier for your cat than stale water that has been standing and collecting debris. Also, a pet water fountain will provide the running water that your cat prefers without the wastefulness of leaving your tap running continuously.

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by: Kaitie Barczak