It’s the stuff of which nightmares are made. Your best pal, Ringo, the greatest dog in the world, so clever, so cute, looks up, tail wagging with a self-satisfied expression, and then you notice—he’s snacking on cat droppings stolen from their litter or other droppings from outside! Oh no! That’s disgusting! How could you!? You’re remembering the last time he licked your face… than start to feel queasy.
It’s gross but true: Many dogs enjoy eating poop. Their own, other dogs’, cats’, they’re not really picky. Whether it’s because the waste retains some of the smells of undigested matter that is appealing, or whether it’s a reaction to boredom is less important than breaking your dog of this undesirable habit, known as coprophagia.
The biggest health issue associated with coprophagia is the potential continued transmission of parasites. If your dog eats another’s stool, parasites contained within it can be ingested, and take up residence. If your dog eats his own stool, he can be re-infected with parasites you are working to get rid of. And yes, if your dog eats parasite-infected stool and then licks your face, he can potentially transmit these parasites to you! Ew.
Here are some methods you can utilize to help break your pooch of this nasty little habit:
First, be sure you’re feeding your dog a quality dog food. This will help insure the highest level of digestible content, leaving little if any undigested food matter in the feces. Also, dividing the daily intake into several smaller meals can help keep your dog more satisfied throughout the day and less interested in “snacking.” Consider vitamin and mineral supplementation, which may increase levels sufficient to dissuade your dog from this nasty noshing. Next, spend time with your dog engaged in an activity. Exercise and playtime will help keep him focused on enjoyable pastimes and less likely to forage out of boredom.
Of course, keep temptation to a minimum. That means clear the yard of waste, and have yummy treats available when you play together in that space. Your dog will start to associate the yard with something even tastier than feces. If your dog lusts after the cat’s litter box, move the litter to a place where the cat, but not the dog, has access to. Or, opt for a covered litter box to prevent trespassing.
If your dog remains undeterred, there are a few additives on the market designed to “ruin” the flavor of your dog’s waste. Some people have found that sprinkling a hot spice, like cayenne pepper, hot salsa, or wasabi on the stool discourages dogs from sampling. Make sure your dog doesn’t have any allergies to these things beforehand, if possible.
When walking your dog in public areas, keep a firm grip on his leash and give a sharp tug and vocal, “NO!” when you see him pulling with interest toward a foreign mound. Distract him with an alternative treat but never punish him for his weakness since it may reinforce the behavior or result in other undesirable issues.
If your dog is “hooked” and unyielding in his appetite, talk to your SouthCare Animal Medical Center vet at your appointment, or on Airvet – our virtual exam experience. See what else you can try that’s safe and effective. There are supplements we can provide that are tasteless for your pet, but can make feces taste less desirable. Dogs are never too old to learn new tricks or better habits!
In most cases, by neutralizing your dog’s desire for and access to these forbidden delicacies, you will eventually be able to curb if not cure him of his dirty little secret and once again enjoy those happy kisses!
COVID-19 General Information:
Coronaviruses belong to the family Coronaviridae. Alpha- and beta-coronaviruses usually infect mammals, while gamma and delta coronaviruses usually infect birds and fish. Canine coronavirus, which can cause mild diarrhea and feline coronavirus, which can cause feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), are both alpha-coronaviruses. These coronaviruses are not associated with the current coronavirus outbreak. Until the appearance of SARS-Cov-2, which belongs to the beta-coronaviruses, there were only six known coronaviruses capable of infecting humans and causing respiratory disease, including the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus SARS-CoV (identified in 2002/2003) and
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus MERS-CoV (identified in 2012). SARS-Cov-2 is genetically more related to SARS-CoV than MERS-CoV, but both are beta-coronaviruses with their origins in bats. While it is not known whether COVID-19 will behave the same way as SARS and MERS, the information from both of these earlier coronaviruses can inform recommendations concerning COVID-19.
In the last few weeks, rapid progress had been made in the identification of viral etiology, isolation of infectious virus and the development of diagnostic tools. However, there are still many important questions that remain to be answered.
The most up-to-date information and advice on human infection can be found on the following
The most up-to-date information related to animal health can be found on the following website:
UPDATED AS OF MARCH 7TH, 2020
In response to this outbreak, the World Small Animal Veterinary Association [WSAVA] Scientific and One Health Committees have prepared the following list of frequently asked questions in collaboration with One Health interested individuals around the globe. We are aware of issues related to pet abandonment in China and hope that this information will be of use to veterinarians around the world in dealing with the concerns of their clients.
- Can COVID-19 infect pets?
Currently there is no evidence that companion animals can be infected with or spread COVID-19.
This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.
- Should I avoid contact with pets or other animals if I am sick with COVID-19?
The CDC recommends the following: “You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while
you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been
reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people
sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus.
When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If
you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or
licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash
your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask.” Please check for new
updates on CDC’s website.
- If my pet has been in contact with someone who is sick from COVID-19, can it spread the disease
to other people?
While we do not yet know for sure, there is no evidence that companion animals can be infected
with or spread SARS-Cov-2. We also do not know if they could get sick from this new coronavirus.
Additionally, there is currently no evidence that companion animals could be a source of infection to
people. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.
- What should I do if my pet develops an unexplained illness and was around a person with
documented COVID-19 infection?
We don’t yet know if companion animals can get infected by SARS-Cov-2 or sick with COVID-19. If
your pet develops an unexplained illness and has been exposed to a person infected with COVID-19,
talk to the public health official working with the person infected with COVID-19. If your area has a
public health veterinarian, the public health official will consult with them or another appropriate
official. If the state public health veterinarian, or other public health official, advises you to take your
pet to a veterinary clinic, call your veterinary clinic before you go to let them know that you are
bringing a sick pet that has been exposed to a person infected with COVID-19. This will allow the
clinic time to prepare an isolation area. Do not take the animal to a veterinary clinic unless you are
instructed to do so by a public health official.
- What are the concerns regarding pets that have been in contact with people infected with this
While COVID-19 seems to have emerged from an animal source, it is now spreading from person-to person. Person-to-person spread is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people. Learn what is known about the spread of newly emerged coronaviruses. Importantly, there is no evidence that companion animals including pets such as dogs and cats, can become infected with COVID-19.
Although there is no evidence that pets play a role in the epidemiology of COVID-19, strict hand hygiene shouldbe maintained by the entire clinicalteamthroughout the veterinary interaction,especially if dealing with an animal that has been in contact with an infected person.
- What should be done with pets in areas where the virus is active?
Currently there is no evidence that pets can be infected with this new coronavirus. Although there
have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, until we know more,
pet owners should avoid contact with animals they are unfamiliar with and always wash their hands
before and after they interact with animals. If owners are sick with COVID-19, they should avoid
contact with animals in their household, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and
sharing food. If they need to care for their pet or be around animals while they are sick, they should
wash their hands before and after they interact with them and wear a facemask.
This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.
- Should veterinarians start to vaccinate dogs against canine coronavirus because of the risk of
The canine coronavirus vaccines available in some global markets are intended to protect against
enteric coronavirus infection and are NOT licensed for protection against respiratory infections.
Veterinarians should NOT use such vaccines in the face of the current outbreak thinking that there
may be some form of cross-protection against COVID-19. There is absolutely no evidence that
vaccinating dogs with commercially available vaccines will provide cross-protection against the
infection by COVID-19, since the enteric and respiratory viruses are distinctly different variants of
coronavirus. No vaccines are currently available in any market for respiratory coronavirus infection
in the dog. [Information from the WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group].
- What is the WSAVA’s response to reports that a dog has been ‘infected’ with COVID-19 in Hong
Reports from Hong Kong on February 28 indicated that the pet dog of an infected patient had tested “weakly positive”to COVID-19 after routine testing. On March 5, the Hong Kong SAR Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) reported that nasal, oral, rectal and fecal samples from the dog have been tested. On February 26 and 28, oral and nasal swabs were positive, while on March 2,only nasal swabs showed positive results. The rectal and fecal samples tested negative on all three occasions. Testing at both the government veterinary laboratory (AFCD) and the WHO accredited diagnostic human CoV laboratory at Hong Kong University (HKU) detected a low viral load in the nasal and oral swabs. Both laboratories used the real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method and the results indicate that there was a small quantity of COVID-19 viral RNA in the samples. It does not, however, indicate whether the samples contain intact virus particles which are infectious, or just fragments of the RNA, which are not contagious.
The dog, which is showing no relevant clinical signs, was removed from the household, which was the possible source of contamination on 26 February. Retesting was performed after the dog was put under quarantine to determine whether the dog was in fact infected orwhether its mouth and nose were being contaminated with COVID-19 virus from the household.
The AFCD’s document states that the “weak positive” result from the nasal sample taken 5 days after the dog was removed from the possible source of contamination suggests that the dog has a low-level of infection and it is likely to be a case of human-to-animal transmission. However, there is still no evidence at this time that mammalian pet animals including dogs and cats can be a source of infection to other animals or humans.
WSAVA urges pet owners in areas where there are known human cases of COVID-19 to continue to follow the information in its Advisory, including washing their hands when interacting with their pets and, if sick, wearing face masks around them.The situation is rapidly evolving, and information will be updated as it becomes available.
We will update our Guidance as further information becomes available.
Note: WSAVA recognizes that not all recommendations will apply to all areas or all regions at all
times, depending on the epidemiological risk and risk mitigation in the area. WSAVA encourages
veterinarians to keep in close contact with, and follow the directions of, their local veterinary
If you are worried about the health of you pet please contact us: 509-448-4480, or Click to schedule an appointment.
Cancer in Pets
Lumps, bumps, growths, and swellings are signs indicative of health issues that could be potentially life-threatening. As our pets continue to live longer lives, it is imperative that any symptom of a tumor be examined by a veterinarian.
TUMORS: TWO BASIC CATEGORIES
• Not generally life-threatening
• Slow growing
• Do not spread to other parts of the body
• Do not invade neighboring tissue
• Cured by surgery if the entire tumor is able to be removed
• Generally always considered life-threatening
• Damage healthy cells
• Grow in an unrestricted way
• Invade neighboring tissue
• Spread to other parts of the body and establish growth in other areas after entering the lymphatic or circulatory system
• Result of environmental factors or hereditary/genetic sources
• Appropriate treatment dependent on the health of the animal and the size, location, and stage of the tumor
Veterinarians are able to detect a large number of cancers through a physical examination of the animal. Detection can occur through:
• Visual identification:
-Cancers that appear as growths or sores on or beneath the skin
• Inspection and palpation:
-Cancers under the skin
Example: Testicular or mammary gland cancers
• Hands-on examination:
-Swelling or lameness may indicate a cancer of the bone
Cancers that are found inside the body, such as in the spleen and liver, often show clinical signs before they are detected.
Common symptoms include:
• Weight loss
• Gastrointestinal bleeding
PHYSICAL EXAMINATION RECOMMENDATIONS
Companion animals are living longer today. Good food and living conditions plus increased and better opportunities for health care, are all indicative of our desire to have our pets live a good, long life. Since most cancers are discovered in middle-aged and senior dogs, clients need to remain vigilant with their veterinary visits if they want to detect a cancer in its earliest stage. One recommendation is that healthy animals seven years and older be given at least one yearly examination.
Pet parents need to know that the annual physical examinations provide baselines and screening information that could reveal the start of a change in the health of their pet. Early detection could improve the prognosis and prolong the animal’s life expectancy.
Yearly checkups may include:
• Physical examination
• Complete blood count
• Blood chemistries
• Parasite check
• Liver and kidney function tests
• Thyroid levels
• Chest x-ray
• Early renal disease health screen
During the time between the yearly examinations, it is a good idea for clients to be aware of the warning signs of cancer. Any of the following symptoms indicate a need to schedule an appointment with the veterinarian.
• Lumps that do not go away, or ones that grow in size
• Abnormal odors
• Wounds that do not heal
• Abnormal discharges, such as blood, pus, diarrhea, vomiting
• Sudden weight loss
• Change in appetite
• Breathing difficulties
• Changes in urinary or bowel habits
The warning signs do not always mean to expect a diagnosis of cancer; but if they do, clients who know to be watchful, observant, and to contact their veterinarian right away, may help to save their pet’s life.
If you’re concerned about the health of your pet, or it’s been a while since their last exam – CALL US to schedule an appointment. SouthCare: 509-448-4480 OR Click Here to Request an Exam
Four Steps to Help Fido’s Anxiety
No matter how much we love our dog, leaving the house and the dog home alone is a part of life as a pet owner. For some dogs, this can cause anxiety and stress, resulting in mild to severe separation anxiety. Some breeds are more prone to it, and life changes, like a move to a new house or the loss of an important person, can cause it. It’s important to remember some of the symptoms of separation anxiety are similar to other behavioral conditions, such as a dog that is not fully house-trained. If you suspect your dog is suffering from anxiety, monitor and record his behavior patterns to discuss them with your veterinarian.
How Can I Help My Dog?
Separation anxiety can be hard on you as the pet owner too. If you have concern over your dog’s behaviors that may include urinating or defecating, excessive barking and howling, trying to escape or being destructive while you are away, try these four steps to help with the dog’s separation anxiety.
- Take a walk- The physical stimulation will help tire the dog out and you will leave him in a quiet, resting mode. If you can’t take a walk, playing together or working on training before you leave will help mentally exhaust your dog before you depart.
- Don’t make it a big deal- Don’t pet your dog, talk to him or make eye contact when you leave — or even when you first return home. This helps him learn time apart is just business as usual.
- Start small- Leave the dog alone for five minutes, then extend the time to 20 minutes, then to one hour. Continue to increase your time away until you’re able to leave for a full eight hours without problems occurring. Use treats and praise as positive reinforcement when your dog responds well.
- Stay calm- The dog can sense your concerned and guilty feelings as you’re getting ready to leave. When you’re calm and confident and project the energy that everything will be okay, the dog’s anxiousness will decrease.
Is Your Dog Still Suffering?
If these steps don’t help your dog’s separation anxiety, ask your veterinarian to consider medical problems that may be contributing to the behaviors, such as incontinence or a medication that causes frequent urination. If behavior problems persist, a certified applied animal behaviorist or certified professional dog trainer may be able to help the dog with more complex counter-conditioning or desensitization.
Antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications can be prescribed too, but for best results, these drugs should be used along with a training plan to help the dog learn how to handle being left alone. Consider leaving your dog with a friend or family member, taking him to a doggie daycare or even taking your dog to work with you, if you can, while you help your dog cope with anxiety in the short term.
Will Crate Training Help Separation Anxiety?
Some dogs respond well to crate training because they learn their crate is a safe place to go. But for others, it can cause added stress and anxiety. Owners can observe the dog when he’s left in the crate while you are home. If he is panting heavily, trying to escape or persistently barking/howling, you may consider confining your dog to one room behind a baby gate instead. Leaving busy toys for distraction, or clothes you’ve recently worn as a scent cue can help your dog too.
Treatment can be a gradual process. As you work with your dog through the separation anxiety, it’s important to remember you should not scold or punish your dog. Anxious behaviors are a distress response, and not a result of disobedience. If you punish him, he may become more upset and the problem could worsen.
Does your pet suffer from Separation Anxiety, and you feel like you’ve tried everything?
Schedule a Behavior Consultation appointment with our very own Dr. Annika Benedetto! She loves helping families with pets that have challenges. Dr. Benedetto can asses your pet and their environment to provide your family with a training protocol aimed to reduce stress for the whole household.
Is your dog pawing at its eye? Does it have a green discharge? Is your cat’s eye bulging?
Sometimes, it’s difficult to determine when a condition is serious enough to take your pet to the veterinarian.
However, when it comes to eyes, even minor symptoms can be signals of serious eye disease.
EXAMINE YOUR PET FOR WARNING SIGNS OF EYE PROBLEMS
Whenever a pet shows any signs of discomfort near or observable changes to their eyes, the animal needs to be examined. Look for warning indications in your dog:
#1. Does Your Pet Have Eye Pain?
Squinting or closing the eye
Tenderness to the touchProtruding nictitating membrane
Behavioral changes, for example:
Loss of appetite
Pawing or rubbing at the eye.
#2. Have Your Pet’s Eyes Changed in Appearance?
Noticeable differences in the animal’s eyes may indicate a problem.
Physical changes in:
Your cat or dog may be experiencing a problem caused by an inner eye disease. Signs of these diseases are indicated by changes in eye pressure and an abnormal firmness or swelling of the eyeball. These symptoms could be related to diseases such as:
Are they equal in size?
When light is shined directly into the eye, do they contract?
Are they dilated?
Thick green or yellow
Is there any indication of pain?
Loss of clarity or transparency, with the cornea appearing:
Is there any sign of associated pain?
#3. Is the Surface of Your Pet’s Eyeball Smooth?
When examining the surface of the eyeball, you probably will not be able to look at the eye beneath the skin and eyelids and may need to take your dor or cat to a veterinarian immediately. When examining the surface of the eyeball, the veterinarian will look for indications of:
#4. Do Your Pet’s Eyes Appear Unusually Sunken or Bulgy?
This is an examination that is usually and more safely conducted by your veterinarian. Please do not attempt to assess your pet’s eyes, as the eye and surrounding tissue is quite delicate.
The veterinarian may begin this examination by closing the pet’s eyelids and gently pressing on the surface of the eye. This helps them determine if there is a difference between the feel of the eyes; for example, if one feels harder or softer than the other. Additionally, this will provide information to let them know if the eye is tender to the touch as the animal will react with a show of pain. Knowing there is pain may help to point to the cause of the problem.
If the animal’s eye is bulging, it may be the start of an abscess, hematoma, or tumor. This part of the examination will also check for:
Swelling of the face around the eye
Tenderness to the globe when lightly pressed with a finger
Signs the animal has difficulty opening and closing their mouth
Evidence of a head injury.
#5. Is Your Pet Losing Vision?
Similar to a vision test for humans, when checking a dog or cat for vision loss, one eye will be covered while the other is not. Move as if you are going to touch the uncovered eye, and if the animal can see, it will blink as the finger gets closer to its eye.
TAKE YOUR PET TO YOUR VETERINARIAN
If your pet is experiencing any of the above symptoms, get it to your veterinarian right away. The basic steps of an eye examination help the veterinarian uncover initial information. Based upon these findings, the veterinarian will be able to identify the next step to take toward determining a final diagnosis of the your pet’s eye condition.
Call us or CLICK HERE to schedule your pet’s eye exam.
The ear canal is the tubular portion of the outer ear that carries sound to the tympanic membrane (eardrum). The most common disorder of the ear canal is otitis externa. Routine (at home) examination and cleaning of your dogs’ ear canal is essential for its overall health, especially if it is a breed predisposed to inflammation of the ear canal.
There may come a time when a more thorough exam will be needed by your veterinarian. If your dog is shaking his head frequently, scratching his ears, if you notice redness and/or swelling of the skin of the ear flap or the outer portion of the canal or if there is an odor or discharge, these all suggest that a visit to your dog’s doctor is in order.
We will cover some of these diagnostic exams and the results they may return. The tests will be used to eliminate possible causes of the symptoms you have noticed, and they will be used by your veterinarian to identify if there underlying issues which have led to these symptoms. Unless all the causes of the inflammation are identified and treated, the condition may continue, return or even become worse.
After a thorough history is taken, the initial exam is done with an otoscope. Depending on the pain associated with your dog’s condition, sedation may be needed in order to ensure a thorough examination. This visual examination will help to identify impacted debris, foreign objects, parasites and even ruptured ear drums. While performing this exam, the discharge noted can hint at the type of underlying infection which may be present. A light, moist cerumen [a fancy word for earwax] may indicate yeast or staphylococcal infections. Yeast will also produce a sweet biscuit-like aroma, while many bacterial will give a metallic one. A green, black, tarry or mucoid discharge may suggest a Pseudomonas infection. Still other bacterial produce a creamy, yellow discharge.
During the otoscopic exam, samples are taken of both the debris and/or discharge present to aid in the identification of infection-causing organisms. A simple smear of the ear canal may present a quick diagnosis of bacterial or yeast infections as well as parasites. Examination of this sample is the single most important technique in assessing the involvement of pathogens in the ear. One type of organism commonly found in otitis externa conditions are bacteria. Small numbers of various bacteria are present in normal ears. During the early stages of inflammation in the ear canal, the normal ear secretions increase, which is limited in its external movement by breed predispositions. Cocker Spaniels are one example of a breed whose ear canal anatomy causes a buildup of these secretions during early otitis externa.
The overgrowth of these common bacteria is of even greater challenge to the treatment prescribed because many of these bacteria are resistant to a wide range of antibacterial agents. If microscopic examination of the discharge in the ear canal suggests a bacterial infection, your veterinarian may also suggest susceptibility testing in order to determine the proper antimicrobial for treatment. This is especially true if the issue is recurring frequently.
Yeast is also a normal part of the micro-flora of the ear canal. Just like bacteria, under certain circumstances it may increase in number which can trigger inflammation. Unlike bacterial infections, it typically is not necessary to identify the species of yeast nor to undertake susceptibility testing.
While treating either of these types of infections (bacteria or yeast) with the appropriate medications, it is also suggested your veterinarian test your dog for any underlying potential causes of a suppressed immune system which may have led to the overgrowth of the normal yeast in the ear canal. However, a swim in the lake can also case some of these issues as the ear canal may not fully dry out leading to an environment that can encourage bacterial or yeast overgrowth.
Finally, the sample collected during the exam may show the common parasite, ear mites. These are identified on direct examination under a microscope and are treated with anti-parasitic drugs which also contain an antibacterial because many of these parasite infections also have a secondary bacterial infection.
In order to make the diagnosed treatments more effective, your veterinarian will do a thorough cleaning of the ear canals. Many times a follow up exam in 5-7 days will be needed to assess the progress of the treatment. During this time you should avoid any home remedies or cleaning solutions. Many of these can actually cause the ear canal to increase in swelling due to irritation from the product (particularly vinegar based solutions). Any treatment prescribed should be continued until the infection is completely eliminated by a follow up otoscopic exam and swab testing. For most cases the follow up exams and re-testing will take up to 28 days to insure total elimination. For severe cases it may take months to resolve and there are conditions which may require indefinite treatments.
Whether your dog has an initial ear infection, diagnosed by your veterinarian and treated with prescribed medication or requires additional testing for underlying endocrine challenges, the first best diagnosis will still be the close observation, routine examination and cleaning of your dog’s ears at home by you, the owner.
What do you do when your dog suddenly becomes paralyzed? You search for the tick!
Lola came in this morning tetraparetic, which means shes couldn’t move any of her legs. After locating and removing a tick Lola could walk again 6 hours later!
Drs. Coulson and Benoit explain more about tick paralysis in this video below:
A few weeks later we had yet ANOTHER tick paralysis patient! Here’s more information from Dr. Patterson.
Learn more about ticks here:
Did you know that approximately 80% of adult dogs and 70% of adult cats have some form of oral disease? Dental problems are among the top three pet owner concerns in dogs and cats. There are many misconceptions about how to provide good oral care to your pets. Here is a list of the most common myths that people believe about their pets dental health.
1. White teeth equal a healthy mouth
Not necessarily. The health of the gums is more important than the color of the teeth. Red swollen gums are a sign that INFECTION is lurking below the gumline. This infection can lead to bad breath, tooth loss, and heart, liver and kidney disease in pets. The best way to ensure that every pet has a healthy mouth is to perform a regular oral examination and professional tooth cleaning procedure on at least an annual basis.
2. Bad breath is normal in pets
Not true. Bad breath is an indicator of an infected mouth. The odor is often caused by the by-products of the bacteria in the mouth that form plaque and lead to dental disease. If the pet has halitosis it is time for thorough dental exam and cleaning procedure.
3. Anesthesia is scary so non-anesthetic dental cleaning is the way to go
Yes, there is always a risk when an animal is anesthetized, however a thorough pre-op examination and blood work along with individualized anesthetic protocols and monitoring puts the pet at lesser risk during anesthesia. An anesthesia-free dental cleaning provides no benefit to the pet’s oral health. Scaling or scraping the teeth with an instrument only makes a tooth whiter in appearance. Think of the tooth an iceberg, we only see about 1/3 of the tooth with the remaining 2/3 below the gumline. The bacteria below the gumline quickly become pathologic and begin to destroy the tissues surrounding the tooth. It is not possible to eliminate bacteria beneath the gumline where damage is done.
See more: Pet periodontal disease
4. Tooth brushing is too hard and my pet hates it and it really doesn’t help anyway
While not all pets are willing to accept tooth brushing it is the gold standard for good oral care. It does take time to train the pet to accept tooth brushing. Make sure to have a detailed demonstration for the pet owner such as this: Start slow with your finger and some pet toothpaste. Hold the muzzle with one hand and gently insert your finger between the cheek and the teeth and “brush” the teeth. Reward the pet with his favorite treat, praise or game when he accepts the brushing! You may need to do this every day for a week to ensure your pet learns that it’s ok! Once the pet accepts your finger then begin using toothbrush, but introduce it slowly over several days. You only need to brush the outside of the teeth. Pets keep the inside of the teeth very clean on their own. Only brush the teeth you want to keep! 😉
- Watch this video for SouthCare’s tutorial on “How to Brush Your Pet’s Teeth”
- If your pet isn’t a fan of brushing – you can opt for the next best thing. Oral Cleansing Wipes, may be better tolerated by your pet. Watch this tutorial from SouthCare to learn more!
5. Feeding a hard kibble will keep my pets teeth clean
False – most dogs and cats actually swallow their kibble whole therefore getting no dental benefit. Even if the pet chews the kibble, the kibble is too hard and breaks apart when the tooth hits it and offers no benefit. There are dental diets that are specifically designed to solve this problem. The kibble is larger, softer and is comprised a fiber matrix that allows the tooth to penetrate the kibble, thus wiping the plaque off the tooth.
6. Bones, chew toys and tennis balls will help keep his teeth clean
While your dog will love you for the bone, his teeth may not. The dogs jaw does not shift side to side like a humans therefore when they chow down on a bone they often fracture the carnassial teeth. These fractured teeth hurt and can lead to infections and abscess if left untreated. A good rule of thumb when choosing a chew toy is if you can’t easily bend it with your hands or if you wouldn’t want to be hit in the knee with it, don’t give it to your pet. Wild dogs and wolves often have multiple fractures in their mouths due to chewing on bones.
Playing fetch with a tennis ball is a great way to bond with your pet but put the ball away when done. The rough surface of the tennis ball can lead to abrasion, wearing away the enamel or surface of the teeth over time. Dogs who constantly chew on tennis balls often have severely worn teeth that can lead to a very painful tooth.
7. Dogs and cats don’t feel pain!
Our pets can’t tell us about the pain they feel and they often want us to be happy so they mask the pain. An infected mouth or a fractured tooth hurt and require treatment. Pets need to eat to stay alive so they will often figure out a way to do so that causes the least amount of pain. Ask the client if they have noticed their pet dropping food or only chewing on one side of the mouth, if they have there may be a problem.
8. I don’t see the mouth so it doesn’t bother me if it’s not pretty
Pets with dental disease have an INFECTION! Would you leave an infected ear untreated or a sore toe untreated? This infection is in the oral cavity and every time that animal chews bacteria is being released into the bloodstream. The bacteria can have a detrimental effect on the heart, liver and kidney. There are even new studies linking joint issues to the oral cavity.
9. Oral disease is an inevitable part of aging
False – If a pet receives good oral home care and routine professional cleanings they are much less likely to develop dental disease as they age. Studies have shown that good oral care can add an average of 2 years to the life of your pet. Just as age is not a disease, dental disease does not have to be an issue in aging pets.
10. How can I know if a dental product will actually work for my pet?
The Veterinary Oral Health Council gives dental products a seal of approval for either plaque reduction or tartar reduction. The VOHC exists to recognize products that meet pre-set standards of plaque and calculus (tartar) retardation in dogs and cats. Products that are awarded the VOHC Seal of Acceptance have been proven to work based on scientific studies and protocols. VOHC.org
Mary L. Berg, BS, RVT, RLATG, VTS (Dentistry)
Beyond the Crown Veterinary Education
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Some of you may have already asked yourself this question, or maybe even wondered if acupuncture is a valid treatment option. I mean, it’s a little out there, right? Does it actually help? Hopefully the following post will help answer some of these questions, and give you the information you need to decide if acupuncture would fit into your pet’s already established treatment regimen.
Veterinary acupuncture has likely been around for the same amount of time as human acupuncture, which is over 1000 years! In the US, veterinary acupuncture has been practiced for several decades. There is more than one school of thought regarding how acupuncture points are chosen. Dr. Patterson was trained in the neurophysiology based method, which means the points are chosen based on the physical issues present e.g. nerve dysfunction, arthritic pain, gastrointestinal issues, etc.
As with human acupuncture, our goals with veterinary acupuncture are to decrease pain, & increase mobility and comfort in our patients. We use it to treat pain from arthritis or soft tissue injuries, and to help increase nerve function in animals that may have spinal cord diseases or neuropathies. It can also be used to treat certain kidney or digestive disorders, or in conjunction with laser therapy to help with wound healing.
Does it seem impossible to perform acupuncture on a cat or dog (or any other animal for that matter!)? After all, they would probably rather be anywhere else than an exam room getting poked with needles! Luckily those pesky needles are quite small, about the size of a human hair, and flexible, therefore many patients barely register them. We also offer our patients snacks like baby food, peanut butter, and other yummy treats to keep them occupied while the needles are being placed and stimulated. We also try to have our sessions in a non-clinical area, one that is comfortable for both the patient and owner.
Acupuncture is a treatment modality that works best when administered routinely. For example, an ideal acupuncture treatment regimen might look something like this: you and your pet come in for an initial evaluation and discussion about your main concerns and goals. This includes an appointment with the veterinarian, who will do a physical exam on your pet and determine how acupuncture may benefit your pet; the first session will also take place. Then, we schedule weekly sessions for at least 3 weeks. By that time, we will be able to determine how your pet is responding to the treatment.
As with any treatment, human or veterinary, each individual patient will respond, well, individually. While most patients are quite happy and cooperative during the acupuncture sessions, there are those who are too worried or uncomfortable to allow the treatment to occur. In that case, we will discuss other treatment options that best fit with your pet’s current status.
Acupuncture could be a wonderful adjunct to your pet’s already established treatment routine. Please feel free to call and chat with Dr. Patterson if you have any questions!
For more information, check out the links below!
The holiday season is, once again, upon us. Family members may come from all corners of the globe to celebrate with us. Fido may also enjoy this time – not only are there extra pats on the head to go around, but there may be extra bits of dropped food too! We all want to snuggle on the couch with our pets. At times it might be safer for our pets to be entertained with snacks that keep them busy instead of under your feet in the kitchen.
If you would like to include your pet in the festivities, there are safe and healthy ways to do it. A favorite trick of ours is to stuff a rubber pet toy with treats and let your critters lick it out. Kongs along with West Paw Toppl, Qwizl and Tux toys are great options. We do offer these toys in our clinic, if you would like to check them out. If your pets are skilled at treat extraction from the toys you can pop them in the freezer to harden the goodies. This way your pet will have to try extra hard (and will take a bit longer) to get the treat.
What stuff should you stuff with? A classic favorite is peanut butter, pay close attention to make sure that your brand does not contain xylitol which is toxic to pets. For cat toys, tuna is extra stinky and tasty for them. If your pet is on a specialized prescription diet, a wet version of this food could be used. Both cats and dogs will appreciate meat flavored baby foods too! During the holiday season people are treated with extra special home-made foods. Why shouldn’t your pets be treated to the same delights?
Here’s a list of holiday recipes for our furry family members:
Pumpkin Pie Smoothies
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
½ cup pumpkin puree
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, pumpkin puree and applesauce until mixed thoroughly. Spoon into your favorite dog toy and wrap in cling wrap. Place in the freezer for roughly 4 hours, or until frozen solid. When ready, remove the cling wrap and let your pet enjoy!
Roasted Turkey & Cranberry Stuffing
6 oz roasted boneless turkey
½ cup chopped carrot
½ cup quinoa flour
1/8 cup dried cranberries (this can be optional for our feline friends)
Blend turkey, carrot, quinoa flour and cranberries in a food processor. Roll the doughy mixture into 1-2-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes and allow to cool. Place your stuffing balls into your pets’ toy. Depending on the size of your toy, you can seal up the opening with a glaze of peanut butter to make sure your balls don’t roll right out.
Sweet Potato Cookies
1 large cooked sweet potato
½ cup quinoa flour
½ tablespoon vegetable oil
In a medium bowl, mix banana, sweet potato and vegetable oil until well blended. Mix in quinoa flour until well blended. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool completely and serve in a toy or give as is.
Thanksgiving / Holiday leftovers!
Great options include:
Things to avoid:
Xylitol – sugar substitute
Foods high in fat – bacon, etc.
Simply combine all the tiny bits of leftovers and stuff them into your pets’ toy. Wrap in cling wrap and freeze. Unwrap and serve to your pets that need a bit of distraction during the bustling holiday season.
The best part about these recipes, they only take minutes to prepare! A spoiled pet and no food waste make for a happy holiday season!