What are Coccidia?

coccidiosis

What is coccidiosis?

Coccidiosis is an intestinal tract infection caused by one-celled organisms (protozoa) called coccidia. Coccidia are sub-classified into a number of genera, and each genus has a number of species.

“At least six different genera of coccidia can infect dogs.”

At least six different genera of coccidia can infect dogs. These microscopic parasites spend part of their life cycle in the lining cells of the intestine. Most infections are not associated with any detectable clinical signs. These  infections are called sub-clinical infections. The species Isospora canis  causes most clinical infections in dogs. Cryptosporidium parvum is another coccidian parasite that may cause diarrhea in some puppies.

 

canine coccidiosis   2009 Coccidia

How did my dog become infected with coccidia?

An infected dog passes oocysts (immature coccidia) in the feces. These oocysts are very resistant to a wide variety of environmental conditions and can survive for some time on the ground. Under the right conditions of temperature and humidity, these oocysts “sporulate” or become infective. If a susceptible dog ingests the sporulated oocysts, the oocysts will release  “sporozoites” that invade the intestinal lining cells and set up a cycle of infection in neighboring cells. Dogs may also be indirectly infected by eating a mouse that is infected with coccidia.

What kinds of problems are caused by coccidiosis?

Most dogs that are infected with coccidia do not have diarrhea or other clinical signs. When the coccidial oocysts are found in the stool of a dog without diarrhea, they are generally considered a transient, insignificant finding.

“In puppies and debilitated adult dogs, coccidiosis may cause severe, watery diarrhea, dehydration, abdominal distress, and vomiting.”

However, in puppies and debilitated adult dogs, coccidiosis may cause severe, watery diarrhea, dehydration, abdominal distress, and vomiting. In severe  cases, death may occur.

How is coccidiosis diagnosed?

Coccidiosis is diagnosed by performing a microscopic examination of a stool sample. Since the oocysts are much smaller than the eggs of intestinal worms, a careful fecal evaluation must be made. Infection with some of the less common coccidial parasites is diagnosed with a blood test.

How is the coccidial infection treated?

The most common drug used to eliminate coccidia is a sulfa-type
antibiotic. It is usually given for ten to fourteen days. In severe infections, it may be necessary to repeat the treatment. Other drugs may be required if diarrhea and dehydration occur. If the sulfa-type drug is not effective, other treatments are available. Re-infection of susceptible dogs is common so environmental disinfection is important. The use of diluted chlorine bleach [one cup (250 ml) of bleach mixed in one gallon (3.8 L) of water] is effective if the surfaces and premises
can be safely treated with it.

Are the coccidial parasites of my dog infectious to humans?coccidiosis Coccidia

“The most common coccidia found in dogs do not have any affect on humans.”

The most common coccidia found in dogs do not have any affect on humans. However, less common types of coccidia are potentially  infectious to humans. One parasite, called Cryptosporidium, may be carried by dogs or cats and may be transmitted to people. This parasite has also been found in the public water supply of some major cites. It poses a health risk for immunosuppressed humans such as AIDS patients, those taking immune suppressing drugs, cancer patients, or the
elderly.

Good hygiene and proper disposal of dog feces are important
in minimizing risk of transmission of all canine parasites to humans, or to other animals.

This client information sheet is based on material written by: Ernest Ward, DVM© Copyright 2009 Lifelearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.

What are Tapeworms?

tapewormTapeworms are flat intestinal worms that are made up of many small segments, each about ¼ – ½” (3-5 mm) long. Unlike roundworms that live freely in the intestinal tract, tapeworms attach to the wall of the small intestine using hook-like mouthparts.

Tapeworms belong to the cestode family of intestinal worms. The most common tapeworm of dogs and cats is Dipylidium caninum.
The adult worms may reach up to 8 inches (20 cm) in length. The
individual segments begin to develop starting behind the head and move down the tapeworm as they gradually mature, finally being shed at the opposite end, either singly or in short chains. These segments, called proglottids, are passed in the feces when an infected dog defecates. They are about 1/8″ (3 mm) long and look like grains of rice or cucumber seeds.
Occasionally they can be seen moving on the hairs around the anus or on the surface of freshly passed feces. As the tapeworm segment dries, it becomes a golden color and eventually breaks open, releasing the fertilized eggs into the environment.

Unlike roundworms, dogs cannot become infected by eating fertilized tapeworm eggs.

Tapeworms must first pass through an intermediate host (a flea) before they can infect a dog.

tapeworm infection 2 TapewormsHow do dogs get tapeworms?

When the infected eggs are released into the environment, they have
to be swallowed by immature flea larvae in the environment. Once inside
the larval flea, the tapeworm egg continues to develop as the flea
matures into an adult flea. During grooming or in response to a flea
bite, a dog can ingest the tapeworm infected flea and complete the life
cycle.

Are tapeworms dangerous for my dog?

Tapeworms do not normally cause serious health problems in dogs. Occasionally dogs will drag their bottoms on the ground, a behavior known as scooting, in order to allay this irritation. Note that scooting can also occur for other reasons such as impacted anal sacs.

 

In puppies, heavy tapeworm infestation can be more serious. Lack of growth, anemia and intestinal blockages can occur. Occasionally, the head of the tapeworm or scolex detaches from the intestinal wall; the entire adult tapeworm will then be passed in the feces or vomited up.

How is a diagnosis made?

Clinical diagnosis is usually made by observing the white mobile tapeworm segments in the feces or crawling around the anus. They often look like grains of rice.

Tapeworm segments are only passed intermittently and therefore are often not diagnosed on routine fecal examination. If you find any segments, white or golden color, bring them to your veterinarian for a definitive diagnosis.

What is the treatment?

With today’s drugs, treatment is simple and effective. The parasiticide may be given either in the form of tablets or by injection. It causes the parasite to dissolve in the intestines so you normally will not see tapeworms passed in the stool. These drugs are very safe and should not cause any side effects.

 

Is there anything else I should do?tapeworm infection Tapeworms

“Flea control is critical in the management and prevention of tapeworm infection.”

Flea control is critical in the management and prevention of tapeworm
infection. Flea control involves treating the dog and the environment
.Your veterinarian can recommend a safe and effective flea control for
your pet. If your dog lives in a flea-infested environment,
re-infection with tapeworms may occur in as little as two weeks. Since
tapeworm medication is so effective, recurrent tapeworm infections are
almost always due to re-infection from fleas and not failure of the
product.

Can I get tapeworms from my dog?

You cannot get tapeworms directly from your dog. Dipylidium caninum,
the most common canine tapeworm, depends on the flea as the
intermediate host. A person must swallow an infected flea to become
infected. A few cases of tapeworm infection have been reported in
children. Vigorous flea control will also eliminate any risk of children
becoming infected.

Although Dipylidium species are the most common tapeworms in dogs, other cestodes are also important in certain areas.

Taenia species – These are tapeworms that are acquired by eating prey or waste containing the infective larval
stage. These are much larger tapeworms, often up to one yard (one meter) in length. Intermediate hosts include rodents, rabbits, hares and sheep. The intermediate stages develop hydatid cysts in various organs in the intermediate host. There are effective medications that will eliminate Taenia infections in dogs. If your dog eats prey such as rodents or rabbits, re-infection can occur with passage of tapeworm segments in 6-8 weeks.

Echinococcus species – These are very small tapeworms, consisting of only three or four segments, and are usually
less than 3/8″ (1 cm) in length. Intermediate hosts can be sheep, horses and occasionally man. In humans the disease is called
hydatidosis, hydatid disease, or hydatid cyst disease, and results in cysts being formed in the liver. The disease is very rare in the United States, but has been reported in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. Humans are infected by eating contaminated meat or by accidentally ingesting eggs that have originated from the feces of dogs, coyotes or foxes harboring the adult tapeworm. Fortunately, de-worming preparations, particularly those containing praziquantel, are effective for eliminating this cestode from infected dogs.

Prevention of cestode tapeworm infection involves avoidance of uncooked or partially cooked meat or meat by-products.

This client information sheet is based on material written by: Ernest Ward, DVM
© Copyright 2009 Lifelearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.

Tips on Bathing Your Cat

Most cats keep themselves clean and rarely need baths, but in cases of flea infestation or, perhaps, he got into mischief and got himself dirty, then your cat will need to be bathed.

 

The first step before even attempting the bath would be to trim your cat’s nails to reduce the chance of getting scratched.

Also, be sure to choose a shampoo that is safe for your cat. Some shampoos may contain insecticides that can be toxic to cats.

The Aloe and Oatmeal shampoo is safe to use on cats and also helps to relieve itching and condition their coat and skin.

Another tip that I like to use is a mesh cat bathing bag or the mesh bag you may use for laundering your delicate unmentionables. This can be transformed into a cat bathing bag buy using a shoe lace and threading it around the opening. Then place your cat in the bag and with his head sticking out of the bag, pull the shoe string and tie the bag closed. You can then shampoo and rinse the through the mesh and cat’s tend to tolerate the bathing very well.
You can also put a cake rack or dish rack in the bottom of the sink. This helps to keep the cat out of the water and give him something to dig his claws around instead of your arm.NEW! The Cat Bath Sack - Small (1-15 lbs)
When bathing the cat, use a cup to pour the water over the cat rather than the sprayer. You can use one hand to scruff the cat behind the neck to maintain control and the other to gently pour the water. Start at the head and gently pour the warm water down the back of the head and on the rest of the body. Do not submerge the cat’s head or pour the water over his face. Once you have wet the cat, then apply the shampoo and work it into a lather. Follow the directions on the bottle to see how long to leave it on the cat before rinsing it off. Now you are ready for the rinse cycle. Again start at the head and work your way down until all of the suds are rinsed off. Gently squeeze the remainder of the water out of the fur and wrap your cat in a towel to dry. Some cats will tolerate the hair dryer but be sure to use the low heat and low air setting and go slowly.

Flea Products – Are OTC Products Really Safe and Effective?

Thirty years ago, as I first stepped out as a veterinary practitioner, fleas and the products to kill them were practically our bread and butter. These first products consisted mainly of  organophosphates and carbamates,  similar to the same ingredients that made up the nerve gases of World War I. These products had to be applied frequently to kill the fleas and were also toxic to both humans and pets, yet the fleas evolved and still managed to survive these products over time.

Over the years, new products were developed that were less toxic to humans and pets and still killed the fleas and prevented egg hatch outs. Many of  flea products that were effective were only available through your veterinarian. This insured that the flea products were used correctly in order to prevent accidental over-dosage or applying the products meant for dogs onto a cat.

With the development of the World Wide Web, many of the flea products became available to purchase on the internet and skipped the advice and counseling of your veterinarian. There were some toxicities that occurred because of incorrect applications and several of the products have been recalled. But because the lucrative market of flea and tick products topped $1 billion, many companies expanded into the flea and tick market in order to get their piece of the pie.

Several companies began to make “generic” products that were supposed to contain the same ingredients as the original. One such product contained the ingredient fipronil, the active compound found  in Frontline®, that veterinarians have used for years.  Merial had to sue them for patent infringement and won their suit this month forcing the company to withdraw their generic product and remove them from the shelves. But, many other “generic” products as well as counterfeit products still exist.

How does this affect you and your pet?

Can you count on the product you purchase to be safe and effective?

What exactly is a generic medication and how is it different from the original?

Whenever a new product is developed, the company must undergo rigorous testing, drug trials and sometimes strict FDA guidelines in order to get the product approved. These companies apply for a patent so they can have exclusive rights to the formulation in order to cover their research and development costs. When the patent expires, other companies can then manufacture and market their own product with out having to do the trials and testing, thus they can sell the product for less than the original products.  Other companies ignore our patent laws all together, making their own product in a foreign country and counterfeiting the product, packaging and logos, making it look the same as the original product. These products can enter the market without having been tested and may not be as safe or effective as the original product.

The generic products will utilize the same active ingredients as the original, but they often are not exactly the same product. Also, the inert ingredients (inactive ingredients) may be different.  In the case of many of the flea medications, it is the inert ingredients that help spread the product over the body of the pet, or allow the product to adhere to the pet which will make the product more effective, longer lasting and less likely to be washed off during swimming or bathing.  The FDA only requires that the generic manufacturers prove that their product exhibits bio-equivalence to the original product.

In the past, some “generic” drugs contained contaminants or products that actually proved harmful. One case that I can recall was L- Tryptophan, a product used by many as a sleep aid in the late 1980’s. In an attempt to manufacture the main ingredient faster, one company altered the manufacturing of the amino acid and the contaminate caused serious side effects of those people that had consumed it.

With the topical flea and tick products, many of the products are parasiticides and are regulated by the EPA rather than the FDA.  In this case, you can purchase the product without a prescription, but many of the companies choose to sell their products with the label “under veterinary supervision” in order for their products to be administered correctly by the consumer. A lot of the generic manufactures ignore  this and their copycat products end up on the shelves of large stores and internet pharmacies across the country. I regularly treat pets that have been treated with the OTC products that have experienced serious side effects, especially when a dog product was applied to a cat. Also, many skin conditions, itching and hair loss may not be caused just by the fleas, but can be caused by skin infections, mites, allergies and other factors. Only an examination and sometimes diagnostic tests can fully determine the cause of your pet’s skin conditions. As stated before, the product may  not have the same effectiveness as the original product and some products, such as the flea collar, are totally worthless.

In order to combat the counterfeit products that have been showing up in the internet companies, many veterinarians have added their own on-line pharmacies. The products in these pharmacies are purchased directly through the manufacturer and not third parties so that we know the products are genuine and they are also backed by the manufacturer with a guarantee. Our on-line pharmacy is located in the Pet Portal. The pet portal is also synced with your pet’s medical records so that we know what products your pet is on and you can also check your pet’s medical records and know when their next vaccinations are due.

Many of the more effective flea products are now combined with the heartworm prevention making it easier to administer to your pet. Revolution and Advantage-multi were topical products that were applied to the skin and are very effective. However, the medication often left a sticky residue on the hair coat, or didn’t get all the way to the skin for complete effectiveness. Trifexis is the newest product to be introduced and it is a chewable tablet that controls fleas, prevents heatworms and protects against the intestinal parasites; roundworms, hookworms and whipworms.  Trifexis starts killing fleas in 30 minutes and keeps working to prevent flea infestations all month long. Because fleas, heatworms and intestinal parasites are major problems here in Houston, I routinely recommend for my client to use both the flea and heatworm medication every month all year long, in order to prevent flea infestations in the home and to prevent heartworm disease. Since the Trifexis is a chewable tablet, you don’t have to worry about it being washed off or leaving a dirty streak down the back of your dog. Trifexis is now available in the Pet Portal area.  I have even switched my own dog to this medication.

Information on Trifexis can be found at Trifexis.com

Each pet has unique problems and your veterinarian can help you choose the product that is best for your pet.  Many products can have an adverse affect on your pet, especially if a heartworm prevention is given to a pet that is already harboring heartworms. A heartworm test is performed on dogs every year to insure that the pet has not been infected by the heartworms and parasite tests (fecal examinations) are routinely done as well to detect other parasites that may have been picked up by your pet, many of which can also affect humans as well.

I hope this helps you the next time you choose a product for your pet or even yourself. Many of the “generic” products available are really not exactly the same and may not work in the same manner or be as effective at the original product. Your veterinarian and their team are here to help you when it comes to choosing the safest and most effective flea medications for your pet.

7 Steps To Prevent Accidental Poisoning In Dogs

Every year people lose a beloved dog to some kind of accidental poisoning. In most cases that poisoning could be prevented if the pet owner used reasonable care with certain products around the home.

Various medications made for people have resulted in dog illness and death.

Medications such as:

  • NSAIDS ( i.e. advil, motrin),
  • Acetaminophen ( i.e.Tylenol)
  • Antidepressants
  • ADD/ADHD medications ( i.e.Ritalin, concerta,)
  • Benzodiazepines (xanax,ambien)
  • Birth control
  • ACE inhibators (i.e. zestril or Altace,)
  • Beta blocker (i.e. Teprol, coreg)
  • Thyroid hormones
  • Cholesterol lowering agents, are just some of the many medications that can harm your dog.

While these are the most common medications that vets see in dog poisoning cases, any human medication may prove deadly to your dog.

Following these 7 steps to keep your medications out of your dogs reach and prevent accidental poisoning will result in less worry for you and a safer, healthier life for your dog.

  1. Always keep medications tightly closed and high up out of the reach of your dog. Even the best behaved dog likes to explore and finding that plastic medicine bottle may well look like a chew toy to him.
  2. Never medicate your dog with a human medication unless specifically advised by your Veterinarian and then only use the recommended dose and only for the condition it is prescribed. If in doubt contact your vet and double check.
  3. Don’t assume because a medication is safe for a child it is safe for your dog. Pets metabolize medications far differently than humans and something that may be mild and harmless for a child may be deadly to your pet.
  4. Don’t leave loose pills of any kind in a zip lock bag. The pills showing through the bag are an invitation to your dog to explore and zip locks are easy to rip open. Again keep medications in safe containers and out of your dogs reach. Encourage guests in your home to also keep their medications high up or locked in their suitcases.
  5. If you store your medications in a weekly pill container,make sure that this container as well as the medicine bottles are out of your dogs reach.
  6. Never store medications for your pet along side your medications. Having a separate place for your pet’s medications will prevent any accidental mix up.
  7. Always hang your purse up even if you aren’t carrying medications it is a great habit and dogs can get sick from cosmetics as well so it is better to be safe than sorry.

By keeping all medications out of your pets reach you can help keep your beloved dog safe and reduce the risk of accidental poisoning greatly. If your pet does ingest any human medication either over
the counter or prescription, please call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison helpline immediately.

The Helpline’s 24 hour number is (888) 426-4435.

Keeping the helpline number posted prominently near the phone may save your dogs life in an emergency.

Download your free Pet Poison Guide from the ASPCA

Brushing your Cat’s Teeth

Tooth Brushing
Brush a cats teeth? This may seem like a daunting task, but your cat can gradually learn to accept daily dental care at home. The key is to start slowly and make the experience as pleasant as possible. Place a small amount of the liquid from a can of water-packed tuna on your finger and allow him to lick it off. Repeat, this time holding his mouth closed and stroking the outside surfaces of his teeth lightly.

Eventually, over a period of one or more weeks, you can substitute a piece of gauze, a finger toothbrush, or a small, soft toothbrush instead of your finger. Remember, unless your veterinarian directs you otherwise, you only need to clean the outside tooth surfaces. This reduces the chance of a painful bite! Once your cat comfortably accepts the brushing process, you can introduce toothpastes designed for pets in place of the tuna water.

The most important aspect of tooth brushing is the mechanical action, but toothpastes can add helpful ingredients like fluoride, enzymes that help break down plaque, and antiseptics that prevent bacterial growth. They are flavored to please your cats palate too. Never use toothpaste designed for people the ingredients may irritate your cats mouth and cause an upset stomach.

Plaque begins to develop within hours after brushing. Within about three days, plaque is converted into tartar. Therefore, daily brushing is recommended. Less frequent brushing is still beneficial, but may allow the gradual development of periodontitis. A daily brushing routine not only keeps your pets mouth healthy but also keeps his breath smelling fresh.

Feral Cats – Living on the Edge of Society

Creeping through the back alleys and vacant lots, millions of stray and feral cats live on the edges of  our cities and suburbs. Fearful of humans, these “wild” cats are blamed for everything from killing off songbirds to attacking the sea otters. So, what is the truth behind these feral felines and why are some humans so determined to help them ans save their lives?

More than 80 million pampered felines share our homes and cat lovers are abundant across our country. But, those cats living outdoors have few admirers and live in constant danger of imminent death, usually at our hands!
There is no way to know for certain, by some experts estimate that the feral cat population in North America may equal or even exceed that of the “owned’ cat population. Feral cats are not socialized to humans and avoid contact with people whenever possible. In contrast, “stray” cats are often those cats that have left a home or have been abandoned by their owners. These strays may have been socialized to humans at one time and will often approach people and may even allow petting.  All cats, feral, stray and owned cats that simply roam the neighborhood are all members of the domestic species, Felis catus.

Traditionally, feral and stray cats are trapped whenever possible and then are taken to local animal shelters. Once at a shelter, if they are socialized to humans and have a calm disposition, some cats may be adopted out. However, the vast majority of these feral cats may be harboring diseases, such as Feline Leukemia, or they are totally wild and cannot be adopted out. These cats will often face death by lethal injection and may be euthanized. According to an organization for feral cats known as Alley Cat Allies (www.alleycat.org) nearly 70% of the cats that arrive at shelters are euthanized making euthanasia the number one documented cause of death in felines in the United States.

Alley Cat Allies formed their organization in 1990 hoping to stop the killing of millions of cats. One of their founders, Becky Robinson, recalls walking in an alleyway and seeing a whole colony of “tuxedo cats”.  Observing the alley cats interacting with one another gave her insight into the social lives of these “wild” animals and prompted her to work towards their preservation. Since that memorable night, Becky and her volunteers have introduced the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) concept to the United States. Originally conceived in England, these TNR programs have helped to improve the health of many feral cats through vaccinations and sterilization and are working towards reducing the size of the feral cat colonies.

Simply put,  the TNR uses volunteers to capture the feral cats in humane cage traps. These wild cats are then transported to participating veterinarians who anesthetize, neuter and vaccinate the animals. To help identify the cats that have been sterilized so that they do not have to be trapped again, a notch is cut in the cat’s ear. The notched ear is easier to see from a distance than a tattoo on their belly. Once they have recovered from the surgery, the cats are taken back to their original capture location and allowed to re-join their home colony. Caretakers will then monitor the overall health of the colony and conduct a population census while providing feeding stations for the cats.

The TNR programs do have their critics. Bird watchers are concerned about the impact of feral cats on songbird populations and other wildlife. Neighbors living near feral cat colonies worry about cats urinating and defecating in their gardens. While public health officials are concerned about zoonotic diseases, such as toxoplasmosis, plague and rabies. These colonies also seem to have a higher incidence of Feline Leukemia, and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus that can cross over to “owned” cats that may be outside. The website TNR Reality Check (www.tnrrealitycheck.com) states that there is little evidence that TNR programs help control the feral cat population.

Ms. Robinson disagrees with their findings and points to several recent scientific articles that demonstrate TNR is a valid means for controlling and even reducing the size of a feral cat colony. Furthermore, she also questions the validity of claims by such groups as the American Bird Conservancy that feral cats are the biggest threat to songbird survival.
Cat owners may also be contributing to the controversial issue. Many of the cats in these feral colonies are abandoned by their owner and are left to fend for themselves in these colonies. Some cat owners are hesitant to take their cats to animal shelters and may feel less guilty about leaving the cat alone outside if they know the colony of feral cats has a caretaker that is feeding the cats. However, this is unfair to the people attempting to care for the colony and exposes your defenseless cat to the dangers of the outdoor world.
With the economy tightening, many people are given the tough choice concerning their pet cats, especially if they are forced to move and cannot afford the pet deposit of the new apartment or rental house. If your personal circumstances changes and you simply cannot continue to keep your cat, do not simply leave your cat to the mercy of the outdoor elements to fend for himself. Contact your local humane group or city shelter and request their assistance to help find your feline friend a new home.

Dealing with the sheer quantity of millions of feral and stray cats in this country alone will be a controversial topic for many years. But, as Becky says, “cats have lived on the outskirts of our society for almost 10,000 years. This is a fact we shouldn’t try to change.”
To learn more about the work of feral cat organizations across the country, feel free to visit www.alleycat.org

Tips for Trimming your Pet’s Nails

Nail care is a vital part of your pet’s total health care. Because nails continuously grow and are not necessarily worn down as they could if they have been going for walks, in that case it is up to you to help in keeping them at a more comfortable length. Whenever nails are too long, this affects the manner a dog walks which may lead to inflammation of the joints later on in life. Additionally longer nails could possibly get snagged as well as torn, or on occasion curl back into the toe pad and may also cause an infection. Trimming nails is not that upsetting if you have the correct gear and have taught your dog to let you hold the paw.

The nail has a “quick” which houses the veins and nerves of the nail.The quick is easier to see in white nails. By trimming small amounts at any given time and trimming with the plane of the bottom part of the toe pad (horizontally rather than vertically) you can keep from cutting the nail to short as to make it bleed.

Here are a few additional guidelines to successfully cut your pet’s nails:

small nail trimmers

1. Get started while your pet is still a puppy or kitten by gradually holding their feet. Start by making a sport of it and examining the nails, chances are they will allow you to cut them when they grow older.

2. Decide a nail trimmer for the size and age of your pet. I will sometimes use a human toe nail trimmer for young pet’s nails since it can easily get to the tiny points a tad easier and they are generally sharper. As your kitten or puppy grows older, I may then switch nail trimmers to the scissor action style of trimmer as an alternative to the guillotine trimmer. I find that these stay sharper longer and are easier to use. The guillotine type some times catches the nails and doesn’t necessarily make a clean cut. Your veterinarian will help you choose a proper trimmer.

large dog nail trimmers

large dog nail trimmers

3. When you are trimming your pet’s nails, by no means undertake it when your pet is sitting in your lap. Enlist someone to aid you and set them on the counter or lid of the washer or dryer. You may wrap them with a bath towel to assist holding them even better. If your pet begins to fight, just try holding the paw until he calms. In the event you let go of the foot when your pet begins to protest, you are just encouraging the poor behavior and will make the next nail trim episode even more difficult. (Go back to number 1)

styptic power

Styptic Powder

4. Be well prepared. Have available styptic pencils like silver nitrate or Kwik stop powder. Be aware that the silver nitrate on the end of the sticks will stain counters and your skin in the event you get it on you. The styptic powders are better for beginners.

5. If your pet has light colored nails, you are able to see the pink portion of the quick. If your pet has darker nails, trim only a little at a time. I like to carefully press on the toe and extend the nail out. I then draw an imaginary line level with the bottom of the toe pad and extend it out across the nail. I then trim the nail at this imaginary line so that the nail is now level with the floor when the pet is standing.

6. You can use an emery board to smooth the rough edges.

pedipaws

Pedipaws

7. Pedipaws or similar rotor drill sanders are helpful to smooth rough edges and to trim just a small amount of nail. If the nail is very long whatsoever, then it can take you forever to get it trimmed. You might use the drill to keep the nail shorter or for smoothing the nail after you have used the clippers. Your pet will also need to be taught not to be terrified of the motor, so it is advisable to proceed gradually while you each figure out how to control the drill.

With a little practice and a lot of patience, you may soon be trimming your pet’s nails with confidence. If all else fails, your veterinarian or groomer are there to help.

Watch for Weight Changes in Your Pet

It is not unusual for one of my clients to be utterly surprised when they discover that their dog or cat’s weight has topped the scale either up or down. Why didn’t they notice the change? It’s because it often happens slowly and gradually, day by day, right before their eyes.

A rise in weight may be as a result obvious. Just too many treats in but not adequate physical exercise. Although you may believe that you are practicing good portion control, over eating may easily occur. A cup of food to one person just isn’t adequate for the next. So they really offer a tad bit more. You merely give `a’ treat, while the next overly generous family member gives two or three. Additional calories add up very quickly. Are you aware that a one pound weight gain for a Chihuahua is just like a one hundred and twenty five pound woman gaining thirty one pounds?

There are also many fewer evident explanations for an expansion in your pet’s waist-line. Hormonal problems for instance an underactive thyroid,( hypothyroidism) or an overactive adrenal gland causing hyperadrenocorticisim,( Cushing’s disease), can impact metabolic rate. Neutering likewise has metabolic repercussions. Studies have revealed that when a pet undergoes a castration or an ovariohysterectomy (spay), the rate at which they expend energy is decreased by nearly a third A neutered pet still incurs much more beneficial effects than the unfavorable so I remain a solid proponent of these procedures.

Advancing age can also be responsible for your four-legged friend packing on the pounds. As we age many of us start to drop lean body mass. Muscle demands significant amounts of energy levels in order to work properly. Less muscle usually means less requirement for calories. Don’t be misled into feeding your pet the same quantity you did when it was younger and toted the same weight. Its energy needs have scaled downwards.

An increase in weight can create significant health threats to your pet. An pet might have breathing difficulties, a compromised immune system, be at elevated danger with regard to anesthesia, grapple with skin disorders, and experience with pain from overburdened joints or spinal disc disease. Research has demonstrated that fat pets age faster and have a reduced quality of life.

Weight reduction can be equally as significant. You might believe that your cat has discovered the fountain of youth. It is consuming more, running around like a kitten and is losing weight. Actually, your feline might be a victim of an overactive thyroid. If left without treatment ,, high blood pressure, sudden blindness and cardiac problems may manifest.

Problems such as diabetes mellitus, digestive problems, liver malfunction, cancer and even dental disease may cause a pet to suddenly lose weight and condition.

How could you tell if your furry friend is fit? While your pet is standing, you ought to notice an indentation after it’s ribcage. Position your hand on the side of its chest and with light pressure, you should be able to feel the ribcage. If you are pinching an inch, your pal is obese. In the event the ribs are very overly notable, your pet may be under weight. Which diet and just how much is correct for your pet’s phase of life? Your veterinarian is best proficient expert to help with making these kinds of determinations with your assistance. However requirements can change. Make a twice yearly wellness assessment for your pet. This very simple deed can improve the probabilities that your dog or cat will grow older successfully.

Pets Can Get Cancer

Cancer of the Liver

Cancer in the Liver

Pets are living longer now and like their humans, our pets are also getting diseases that are also common in our elderly. Cancer can also affect our pets. Some cancers, such as some forms of leukemia in cats, are caused by a virus, the Feline Leukemia virus. Some cancers may have a genetic or inheritable factor. Boxers tend to have a higher rate of cancer than other breeds of dogs and Golden Retrievers have a higher rate of lymphosarcomas. Some cancers may be due to our environment, insecticides or toxins.Caring for the Older Dog
As a pet owner, you may do the very best with your pet by providing the best food, nutritional supplements, preventative care such as heartworm prevention, vaccinations and wellness care, but still, your beloved pet can develop cancer. No one or no pet is immune to the probability, but diligent care and wellness exams can detect some cancers early when they are still treatable. One of the best preventatives is spaying and neutering your pet. In the female, each heat cycle releases the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which then activates the mammary glands. This in turn increases the risk of developing mammary cancer or breast cancer with each heat cycle. The current recommendation is to spay your pet before their first heat cycle or before 6 months of age which will reduce the risk of developing breast cancer to less than .05%. In the male, neutering reduces the hormones and can eliminate the risk of testicular cancer and reduce the risk of prostate and perianal cancers that can develop from the release of testosterone.

Semi-annual physical exams are recommended for pets over 7 years old. Small changes that may be overlooked by you can sometimes be found by your veterinarian. Small lumps and bumps that you may discover on your pet should be brought to your veterinarian’s attention. A simple needle aspirate of the lump can sometimes tell if it is a benign (harmless) tumor, or something more that warrants further investigation. Tumors in your pet’s mouth can also occur and your vet will often examine the mouth during the exam.

wellness_dog_geriatric-3Annual blood exams can give a baseline and any change in the blood work from year to year can help identify problems earlier. In some cases, I have had blood work in normal limits and have only found the cancer with radiographs (x-rays) or ultra-sound. Purchasing pet insurance will help defray the costs of diagnostics as your pet ages and can also cover surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy if your pet should develop cancer.

Cance Metastasis to the Lungs

Cancer Metastasis to the Lungs

Because pet insurance will not cover pre-existing problems, it is best to buy the insurance before your pet develops a problem. Some cancers when caught early are curable and many others can be put in remission and extend the life of your pet. Unlike human chemotherapy, pet chemotherapy is aimed at extending their life and making them comfortable, so many of the unpleasant side effects, such as nausea, vomiting and hair loss are avoided.
Supplements containing anti-oxidants may help reduce cancer risks by freeing the body of the free-radicals that occur. Sam-e is another supplement that aids the liver and glucosamine and chondroitin help with joint health. No firm data has established if these supplements truly reduce developing cancer but they do not harm your pet either. Golden Years vitamins are designed for older pets and make an excellent supplement.
Develop a wellness plan with your veterinarian as your pet ages. Some pets can live as long as twenty years of age with a little help from you and your veterinarian.