Tag: stress

Trick or Treat! Help your Pets have a Hazard-Free Halloween!

It’s that spooky time of year again! Witches, ghosts, scary movies, creepy decorations, haunted houses, grave yard tours, & above all, candy! While this is a fun time for people of all ages, don’t forget to make sure that your pets stay safe & don’t get into any trouble.

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Candy, candy, & more candy!

Just as a reminder, chocolate (in all forms) is toxic to both cats & dogs. The artificial sweetener Xylitol can cause problems for your pets as well. Ingestion of these can cause diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, & worse. So be sure to keep the candy bucket, treat bags, & your own personal stash of Halloween candy out of reach from your pets! As always, if you pet does get into something, be sure to contact either the ASPCA Poison Control Center or your local animal emergency clinic.

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Jack-O-Lanterns, Cobwebs, & Wires –  Oh My!

Everyone knows that old saying about curious cats, but this time of year we need to be extra cautious with our spooky decorations. Those cobwebs look excellent, but you might need to move them if you notice your cat trying to eat them. Make sure that any open flames are out of reach from your pets & secured so that they can’t be accidentally knocked over. Keep wires secured as well as some pets may like to chew on them. We don’t want anyone getting shocked, starting a fire, or needing to have surgery to remove cobwebs from your pet’s digestive tract.

Be sure to also keep glow sticks out of reach from your pets. If your pet tries to play with these, they may puncture them & ingest some of the liquid. While most glows ticks are non-toxic, it may have a very bitter taste which may cause your pet to because nauseated.

bantha-pet-costumeSpooky Costumes!

Your pet’s comfort should always be your top priority when it comes to dressing them up. While it may look hilarious, if you know that your pet does not like to wear things, don’t force them to. You wouldn’t go to a party without having tried out your costume first, right? You should always make sure that the costume for your pet fits properly & that they are comfortable with it ahead of time. Costumes should never restrict your pet’s movement & it should never inhibit their ability to see. This can cause them to stress & possibly hurt themselves trying to get out of them. Caution should also be taken with costumes that have things hanging off of them. These could get caught on something or your pet may decide to try to eat it.

Don’t worry – Your pet can still be festive even if they’re not wearing a full costume! Halloween shirts, bandannas, collars, & harnesses are available pretty much everywhere in all shapes & sizes.

f4717c63ac9c0af1866a8cfc9d8b5ab9--halloween-costumes-for-cats-pet-costumesWhy are all of these weird-looking people coming to my house?! I’m outta here!

While Halloween is a fun holiday for everyone, your pet may be stressed or frightened with everything that’s going on. If your pet is a nervous one, be sure to take proper steps to ensure that they also have a Happy Halloween.

If they don’t like the door bell or people coming to the door, sit outside to hand out treats or leave the treat bucket out on your porch. If you have your dog outside with you, make sure that they’re on a leash & have their collar on. Make sure that you have a secured hold on the leash as well.

If your pet has a habit of running off when they’re nervous, make sure that they’re kept secure either in their kennel or in another room to prevent them from running out the door while you’re handing out candy. As we’ve talked about before, there are all sorts of options available to help calm down your nervous pets. If you’re concerned about your pet needing something to help take the edge off, talk to your veterinarian.

You should also make sure that your pets are wearing their collars & have their tags. Yes, even with their costumes! While shelters & clinics can check for microchips, a collar with tags is a quick & easy way for anyone to get a lost pet back home.

Speaking of microchips, this is the perfect time to make sure that your pet’s microchip information is up-to-date! If your pet was microchipped with us at TLC Animal Hospital, visit petlink.net to check the information that is associated with your pet’s chip. Not sure what company the chip is registered through? That’s ok! AAHA (The American Animal Hospital Association) has set up this fantastic website that allows you to search for your pet’s microchip number & it will tell you where to go to from there.iStock-612816962

With these tips in mind, you & your pets should be able to have a worry-free Halloween!

By: Ashley Elliott

Sources:
Halloween Safety Tips from ASPCA
Celebrating Safely with your Pets this Halloween from ASPCA
Universal Pet Microchip Lookup

 

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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

Visiting the Vet doesn’t have to be Scary!

A-scared-dogWe’ve learned a lot about dogs and cats over the last 20 years including a lot about their behaviors. The truth is dogs are not people and cats are not small dogs. They have different preferences and respond differently to stressful situations.  Unfortunately, visiting the veterinarian is frequently considered a very stressful experience for both pets and their owners.

The good news? You don’t have to sacrifice care by skipping out on regular veterinary visits because of stress. There are plenty of ways for you and your pet to stay relaxed during a veterinary visit. As we work on becoming Fear Free Certified, we want to share some of these tips with you!

Fear Free visits start at home!

dogincardangerSocialization is key! Early, positive experiences can build a foundation of trust and help prevent fear from developing. Puppies should be enrolled in training and socialization classes. Dogs should be comfortable riding in the car, visiting new places and meeting new people. A combination of rewards, slowly acclimatizing your pet to car rides and, sometimes, anti-anxiety medications given prior to the veterinary visit can greatly reduce or eliminate anxiety associated with car rides.

Something most clients don’t think about is that it’s ok to come by, even when your pets don’t actually need any kind of care. In fact, we encourage it! We have several patients who stop by for nothing more than some love and a handful of treats. This allows us to bond with our patients and build trust.

Owners can also desensitize their pets to being examined by handling them frequently at home, rubbing their feet, ears and gums.

Pheromone & Supplement Therapy

Like most animals, dogs and cats use a series of scents and pheromones, or “chemical signals”. These pheromone signals are used to mark territory and convey a large range of feelings including anxiety and contentment. There are several products that mimic some of the “feel good” pheromones that animals give off.

feliway-electric-diffuser-48-ml-3Feliway is a synthetic pheromone that mimics the facial pheromone produced when a cat rubs its face on an object to scent mark. Meridian is a synthetic pheromone that mimics the pheromones mother cats produce to reassure kittens. The calming pheromones from both of these products reduce the alarming sense cats can feel during stressful situations and help control those unwanted behaviors that stem from stress including aggression and inappropriate urination.

Adaptil-Diffuser_r7nexxAdaptil for Dogs works in a very similar fashion. Mother dogs communicate with their puppies through natural messages released into the air. These “comforting messages“are called Dog Appeasing Pheromones and they provide a strong signal of security and comfort to dogs of all ages.  Adaptil is available in several different forms: diffusers, collars and spray. In the event that an owner does not have Adaptil at home, we do have bandanas that have been pre-treated with spray in all of our exam rooms. Clients are encouraged to loosely tie one around their dogs’ necks while waiting to be seen.

1431-zylkene-newIn addition to synthetic pheromones, we also carry some supplements that have shown effective relief of stress in both dogs and cats. Zylkene is made with a milk-derived ingredient and it promotes calmness in pets. It often gives pets a calm feeling without causing sedation or drowsiness. Zylkene can be used for specific stress inducing events such as a visit to the vet, boarding, fireworks, thunderstorms and travel. Pets that are fearful may benefit from starting Zylkene one-two days prior to a known stress inducing event. It is also approved for long term, daily use.

Visiting the Clinic

pets-like-vetAll dogs entering the clinic should be on leashes and all cats should arrive in carriers. We try to make sure that all pets are moved into exam rooms quickly but if your pets are especially anxious, ask if you can wait in the car or even outside. In addition, ask our staff for a bandana that has been pre-treated with Adaptil. This can be tied loosely around your dog’s neck and will help him/her to relax some while waiting to be seen.

It is best for your pet to be hungry when he/she comes for his visit to a Fear Free veterinary clinic, since he will have a wide assortment of treats and toys available to reduce anxiety, distract and reward him while waiting, being examined and having treatments done. Pet owners are encouraged to bring their pet’s very favorite treats and toys as well.

In the exam rooms, pets will appreciate a familiar slip-proof surface on the table. Both Feliway and Adaptil are used throughout the clinic in their various forms and are also used in our boarding facility.

Feline Friendly!

adventurecat-yuki-11-of-118-1024x768We get numerous calls every day from pet owners needing to reschedule their cats’ appointments because they are hiding or they can’t get them in their carriers. This is because most cats never see their carrier unless they are going to the vet and they have been conditioned to associate their carrier with scary experiences. Cat owners should find a place in the home where their carrier can be left out. Allow your cats to become familiar with their carrier.  A carrier that opens from the top as well as the front is ideal. Leave the door open so the cat can investigate and leave its scent on the carrier. Put treats and favorite toys in the carrier to encourage exploration. Make sure the bedding is soft, comfortable and stays in place when the cat moves. If the carrier you use is one of his or her favorite safe sleeping spots, your kitty will be much more likely to accept transportation in a vehicle and also will be happier once they reach the hospital.  Clients are encouraged to pick up a Feliway wipe prior to the appointment so that they can wipe their kitty’s carrier at home an hour or so before their appointments.

cat-vetOnce at the clinic, cats are moved quickly into our kitty exclusive exam room. We keep a Feliway Diffuser plugged in at all times to help create a naturally soothing environment for our feline patients and help them feel safer while here. Cats are welcome to explore the exam room and even climb the cat tree. We have plenty of catnip and treats at hand and also keep warm towels on hand for cats to curl up or hide under during their exams.

For kitties that require a little extra stress reduction, we have “Feline Fear Free” kits. These kits include a couple of doses of a tasteless medication that can be sprinkled directly on their food the night before and the morning of their appointments. This medication will help to relax them. In addition, the kits include a Feliway wipe for their carrier.

All cats that drop off for exams or boarding are kept in a separate area, away from dogs, and are given tents or boxes to curl up and hide in.

Sedation is not a last resort

stress dogWe will never struggle with your pet or hold him/her down in an uncomfortable position for any reason. This will only create a cycle of fear and distrust that will become nearly impossible to break. Once a pet is at the clinic, if it is fearful and won’t take a tasty food reward, even if hungry, it’s time to regroup. While a lot of people balk at the idea of sedating their pets, sedation with safe and effective modern drugs is ideal in many situations and is certainly more beneficial to the pets’ mental well being than being wrestled to the table or floor. Some pets may even need sedation for routine examination and that’s ok! Many pets are so psychologically damaged or fearful that they would benefit from sedation before they even leave home. Our doctors can work with you to create a stress reduction plan for your pet that meets their individual needs.

Clients are encouraged to bring their pets by for “happy visits” or desensitization exercises to prepare them for future handling without sedation. Even a very fearful pet can be taught to tolerate procedures with time and effort.

By: Tara Sansing

Making Your Cat’s Visit to the Vet More Feline Friendly

By Ashley Elliott

We all love our cats but taking them to the vet can be stressful for both cats and their owners! Trying to catch our feline friends and then get them into a carrier isn’t always a walk in the park. Here are some tips on how to get your cat to have a more enjoyable experience from the carrier to the clinic.

Getting your cat used to being around their carrier is the first step to reducing stress for both you and your cat when bringing them to the clinic. If the only time your cat sees the carrier is when you’re trying to catch them to take them to the vet, they’re not going to be too happy to see it. But if you keep the carrier out all the times, your cat will get used to it. If you don’t want to leave it out all the time, try getting the carrier out for about a week before your appointment.

Teaching your cat to love their carrier is the second step to make a trip the vet less stressful. This can be achieved by training your cat to associate good things with their carrier. Food is an excellent motivator. Just let your cat associate meals and yummy treats with their carrier. Start by feeding your cat right outside of the carrier. Over the next few days, slowly move the food further into the carrier. You’ll know that your cat is comfortable when they’re eating their food in the carrier without hesitation.

There are calming pheromone sprays, like Feliway, that can help as well. You can spray a towel, blanket, or even the carrier itself. Do this about twenty minutes before you plan on leaving the house.

Since you’re going to the vet, chances are your cat is going to get some vaccines. Towels may be used during the exam to help comfortably restrain your cat. You can train your cat to get used to this at home. You can also train your cat to get used to having their skin handled similar to how you trained them to like their carrier. Associate treats or food with light handling of their skin.

Now that your cat isn’t running away at the sight of carrier, it’s time to go to the vet! If you’re not able to go into an exam room right away, try to keep your cat away from scary situations in the waiting room. There are all sorts of strange smells and sounds in waiting room that could make your cat anxious. Try to keep other animals away from the carrier. Other animals may want to investigate the carrier, but this could upset your cat. You could cover the carrier with a towel to help prevent this.

Once you’re in the room, let your cat get used to their new surroundings. Open the carrier door and let them investigate. Don’t dump your cat out of the carrier or try to pull them out of it. This will just upset your cat and set a bad tone for the rest of your cat’s visit. Most carriers can be disassembled or opened in different ways. You can also use treats or catnip to make your cat feel more comfortable in the room.

Training your cat to love their carrier and helping them get used to being handled will help you and your cat have a more enjoyable, stress free visit to the clinic.

Stress Reduction Through Synthetic Pheromone Therapy

By Erin Fitzpatrick-Wacker

All pets can experience some form of stress throughout their lives. Luckily for cats and dogs, there are some veterinary alternatives available to help ease their stress.

For cats, there are 3 options available: Feliway Diffuser (covers 750 sq. ft. for continuous coverage for one month), Feliway Spray (spray areas for direct coverage 10 minutes before needed), and Meridian Collar (high pheromone concentration that travels with patient and lasts 30 days).

Is your cat scared of unfamiliar situations or sounds, worried during travel, scared or nervous while riding in the car, anxious during grooming or boarding, scared of new furniture or a new home environment, afraid of a new pet in the household or maintaining multi-cat households, damaging or scratching furniture or walls, afraid of meeting new people or new babies, scared during veterinary visits or hospitalization visits, or inappropriately marking areas with urine? If your cat falls into any of these categories, Feliway or Meridian might be a good choice to help adapt to these challenging situations.

Feliway is a synthetic pheromone that mimics the facial pheromone produced when a cat rubs its face on an object to scent mark. Meridian is a synthetic pheromone that mimics the pheromones mother cats produce to reassure kittens. The calming pheromones reduce the alarming sense cats can feel during stressful situations and help control those unwanted behaviors that stem from stress. Your cat doesn’t have to be showing symptoms of stress to enjoy the benefits of stress reduction that these products can offer.

Feliway studies show that it reduces house soiling by 57%. Be sure to contact your veterinarian about improper urine marking, since this could be a sign of something besides stress.

For dogs, there are 3 options avaiable: Adaptil Diffuser (covers 750 sq. ft. for continuous coverage for one month), Adaptil Spray (spray areas for direct coverage 10 minutes before needed), and Adaptil Collar (high pheromone concentration that travels with patient and lasts 30 days).

Is your dog one to hide from loud noises (fireworks), afraid of meeting new people or going to a new place, destructive when left alone, scared or nervous while riding in the car, afraid or noisy during the night, anxious during veterinary visits, unsettled during puppy training classes, anxious during grooming or boarding, scared of a new leash or the crate, or stressed during any new situation? If you dog falls into any of these categories, Adaptil might be a good choice to help adapt to these challenging situations.

Stress can be the main cause of destructive behaviors, fearful behaviors (barking, cowering, biting), or even house soiling. Studies show that it is essential to minimize stress in the first year of puppy growth to optimize their growth and socialization potential.
Adaptil studies show that it reduces excessive barking by 70%, reduces destructive behavior by 86%, reduces house soiling by 67%, and reduces night time troubles for new puppies for 68%.

Sometimes Adaptil, Feliway, and Meridian alone aren’t enough to help ease the stressful situations that life places in our path. If that is the case, contact your veterinarian for alternative and additional choices.