Happy New Year!

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Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Pet Owners

1- Keep pets current on vaccinations and medications. We recommended exams at least every 6 months but if you have concerns, please call immediately.

2- Have more playtime.Play fetch and tug of war more with your dogs or use a feather toy to play with your cats.

3- Keep a routine. For new puppies and dogs, take them out often. Teach them how to get into their kennel. Hang a bell on the door they go to go outside and teach them to ring it. Teach dogs to sit before you put food in their bowl.

Dachshund puppy

4- Kick bad habits. If  you dog begs for food while you eat, teach him to stay on his pillow or give him a toy or dog treat to eat.

5- Slim down your pet. Measure food out according to the weight recommended by the vet. Cut down on treats.

6- Teach a trick. Teach your pet to shake or sit and wait until you release them to get up.

7- Make a new friend. If your pet is friendly, schedule walks or dog park play dates with friends’ dogs.

8- Spend time outside. Take your dog for walks or let him play in the backyard more.

9- Reduce clutter. Throw away old, broken and worn out toys.

10- Give back. Consider fostering pets. Donating items to local shelters and rescue groups.

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Happy New Year from The Veterinarians of Heritage Vet- Joe, Julie, Stephanie and Jessica

Toenail Trimming

Allowing the toenails to grow excessively can cause the following problems

  • Foot deformities
  • Nail bed infections
  • Pain when walking
  • Injury to pet — such as scratching the eye
  • Scratching the owner and the house

QUALITY TOENAIL CUTTERS:

Don’t make the mistake of buying cheap toenail trimmers. The steel in the blades of cheap cutters is not strong enough to cut toenails smooth, but rather “crushes” the nails, which can be very harmful to the interior parts of the toenail.

 

 BLEEDING:

 Cutting the toenails too short will result in bleeding. Although it looks like a lot of blood, it really is not. It is impossible for a pet to “bleed to death” from a toenail trimmed too short. Commercial preparations are available to stop the bleeding. A simple home remedy is to push the bleeding nail down into a bar of soap.  The soap will pack up into the nail putting pressure to stop the bleeding.

TOENAIL CAUTERY: 

The “quick” grows out as the toenail grows longer. Keeping the toenails cut short allows normal walking pressure to keep the “quick” short.  If the toenails are not kept trimmed, the “quick” will grow out so far that the toenails cannot be trimmed back properly without making them bleed.  In cases where this has happened, we recommend a toenail cautery procedure. This procedure involves sedating the pet to prevent pain so the toenails can be cut back to proper length.  After they are trimmed to proper length, the “quick” is cauterized to stop bleeding and seal the “quick” to prevent infection. Sometimes oral antibiotics are dispensed if nail bed infections were discovered at the time of the procedure. It is important after the procedure to keep the feet clean and dry for the next 7-10 days until healing occurs.

To watch our video of how to trim nails, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCjOZmNdrVA&feature=youtu.be

-From the Veterinarians of Heritage Veterinary Hospital (Drs. Joe, Julie, Stephanie and Jessica)

Caring for Senior Cats

Senior Cat Recommendations:

  • Keep vaccinations current.
  • Brush frequently to keep hair coat from matting.
  • Clip toenails as needed to prevent overgrowth.
  • Keep fresh water available at all times and monitor consumption.
  • Monitor urine output by measuring wet litter.
  • Keep other pets from preventing this senior pet from eating or drinking.
  • Keep indoors.
  • Weigh on the same scale and record results at least every 2 month.
  • Lameness that lasts more than 3 days, or lameness in more than one leg.
  • Increasing inactivity especially increases in sleeping.
  • Hair loss, especially if accompanied by scratching or if in specific areas of the body.

Optimum health care can add years to the life of your pet as well as substantially decrease your cost of treating medical problems associated with aging. We would make the following recommendations:

Comprehensive Physical Examinations:

Since pets age 5-7 times faster than humans, it can be estimated that one physical examination for a pet is equivalent to one exam every 5-7 years in humans. The exam should include a very detailed medical history along with a “nose to tail” physical examination. In later years, a comprehensive physical examination should be performed every 6-12 months depending on any specific medical problems discovered in your pet. This screening should include an ECG screening and glaucoma screening.

Laboratory Screening For Disease:

Many medical problems can be diagnosed through the use of laboratory diagnostic testing long before clinical signs of disease become evident. Specific recommendations for your pet may include:

  • Internal Parasite Examination
  • Heartworm Testing
  • Feline Leukemia/Feline AIDS Testing
  • Urinalysis
  • Complete Blood Counts
  • Blood Chemistry Screening
  • Thyroid Screening

Nutrition:

Feed the highest quality cat food you can afford. Read labels carefully. Ideal diets for senior pets would have less sodium and fat, and more fiber than regular adult foods. Higher quality and premium foods are more digestible and result in less stool volume. Constipation is a common and uncomfortable problem in older cats. The fiber content is very important—and supplements may be needed as well. Do not constantly switch brands of food. Older cats are more prone to dietary upset from too much variety in the foods they eat. If a specific medical condition is diagnosed, a specific prescription diet may be best for your pet. Vitamin supplements help keep the skin healthy and may enhance the pet’s immune system. Fatty acid supplements may be useful for skin problems, arthritis, & inflammatory bowel disease. Do not feed table scraps or snacks unless formulated for the senior pet. New pet treats are now available from the clinic that is very palatable as well as healthy for your pet. CAUTION: Be sure your older cat does not have to compete for food with other pets. You may need to feed older animals separately to ensure they are receiving their fair share.

Present the pet for examination if you observe any of the following:

  • Sustained, significant increase in water consumption. (More than 1.5 cups/day for the average cat)
  • Sustained, significant increase in wet litter.
  • Weight loss
  • Significant decrease in appetite or failure to eat for more than 2 consecutive days.
  • Significant increase in appetite.
  • Repeated vomiting.
  • Diarrhea that lasts over 3 days.
  • Difficulty in passing stool or urine or prolonged sitting in the litter box.
  • Change in litter box habits, especially if inappropriate urination or defecation occurs.
  • Lameness that lasts more than 3 days, or lameness in more than one leg.
  • Noticeable decrease in vision, especially if sudden in onset or pupils that do not constrict in bright light.
  • Masses, ulcerations (open sores), or multiple scabs on the skin that persists more than 1 week.
  • Foul mouth odor or drooling that lasts more than 2 days.
  • Increased size of the abdomen.
  • Increasing inactivity especially increases in sleeping.
  • Hair loss, especially if accompanied by scratching or if in specific areas of the body.
  • Reluctance or inability to chew dry food.

From the Veterinarians of Heritage Veterinary Hospital (Drs. Joe, Julie, Jessica, and Stephanie)

Pet Food

PROPER NUTRITION: Proper nutrition maximizes the body’s potential to perform at its best, as well as fight off disease.

THINK QUALITY: With pet foods, you get what you pay for. Cheap pet foods use cheap ingredients, have poor quality control, are not well digested, and may have excesses or deficiencies in vital nutrients can cause harm.When analyzed by independent laboratories, cheap foods frequently do not have the level of nutrition stated on the label. Choosing a well-known brand is the best insurance of proper nutrition.

PETS DO NOT NEED VARIETY: Your pet will do best if you pick one complete food that is appropriate for their age and activity level, and stick with it. Changes in brands of food often causes digestive upsets, such as vomiting and/or diarrhea. Pets also tend to become finicky eaters when fed a varied diet, causing problems for their owners later on. Any time you do switch brands of food, it should be done gradually by mixing the two diets together for a few days slowly decreasing the old diet with the new diet.

DRY FOOD IS BEST FOR TEETH & GUMS: The only difference in a canned food is that it contains more water, which does enhance the flavor and smell. When you buy a canned food, you are buying 80% water. It is ok to supplement the dry food with a little canned food, as long as you pick a good one and don’t overdo it. A secret: warming the food in a microwave or wetting the dry food with hot water releases the outer coating of the food which generates a lot more flavor. Most foods are sprayed with an outer chicken coating during processing. Dry food is also a lot more economical to feed.

FEED A FOOD DESIGNED FOR YOUR PET’S LIFE STAGE: Puppies and kittens should be fed foods labeled for young, growing pets. Adult pets should be fed a food that is properly balanced for maintenance of health rather than for growing. Foods designed for young growing pets can easily cause obesity in the mature or senior pet. Free-Choice Feeding is discouraged because of the tendency toward obesity.

WHAT ABOUT PREMIUM FOODS? Premium foods contain superior nutrition over grocery store brands. They are extensively tested and meet rigid standards with no ingredient substitutes. The finest pet foods are formulated with controlled levels of key nutrients like fat, protein, phosphorus, and magnesium to help reduce the risk of such problems as obesity and kidney disease. Better foods may cost more per bag, but the superior nutrition and better digestibility of these foods means you feed less per day, you clean up less stool later, and your veterinary bill for nutritionally-related diseases will be reduced.

WHAT ABOUT TREATS? Many over-the-counter treats are full of salt and other bad stuff! We recommend Prescription Diet t/d as a treat because it is nutritionally balanced and will help keep the teeth clean. C.E.T. Chews are available at the clinic and incorporate enzymes into the rawhide that chemically help keep the teeth clean.

The Veterinarians of Heritage Veterinary Hospital (Drs. Joe, Julie, Stephanie and Jessica)

Choosing a Pet

During the holidays, people often consider giving a pet as a gift. Choosing a pet carries responsibility along with pleasure. This means that you should take the time to become aware of what being a pet owner means.

Ask yourself some questions about any pet you are considering:

How much space do I have for an animal?  How much money will it cost me food/Vet/toys, etc.?

What’s your real purpose in choosing a pet?  Companionship? Protection?

How much time do you have to devote?  Do you travel for business? Who will take care of him/her when I am gone?

Do I have older/younger/grumpy/shy pets already that would not appreciate a new member of the pack?

Whatever you do, it’s important to do everything possible to make sure you wind up enjoying the results of your decision. In some cases, you can wind up disappointed or in a terrible fix if the decision you make turns out to be wrong.

For example, a longhaired cat that requires lots of daily brushing may be hard to fit into your hectic day-to-day schedule. Or a dog that turns destructive or isn’t housebroken can be even more disastrous if you live alone in a small apartment and work long hours. Or do you have small children? Some pets can be moody and irritable around youngsters.Or a child can unintentionally hurt some small breeds by squeezing them too hard.

Once you’ve decided what kind of pet you want, check the potential pet (cat or dog) for the following points:

  • Bright alert and active
  • Not depressed and lethargic
  • Clean, shiny hair coat and healthy-looking skin
  • Good flesh on body not too skinny and ribs sticking out
  • NO Nasal discharge or coughing
  • No vomiting or diarrhea

If you’re selecting a cat or dog from a litter, ask to see the entire litter and the mother. The most active and curious are the ones that make the best pets. One that growls or resists your handling is not a good prospect.  Don’t let sympathy sway your judgement.

Rescue groups and local shelters are a great place to start your search for a new pet. Visit www.animalaid.org, www.okwestierescue.com  and  www.pet-adopt.org.

Also, remember veterinarians make good, friendly advisors. We’ll be glad to help you make the best possible decision In fact, if you buy a pet, ask to bring the pet in for a complete check-up before buying.

The Veterinarians of Heritage Veterinary Hospital (Dr. Joe, Stephanie, Jessica, and Julie) 918-627-8575

Old Man Winter

Every year at this time it’s a good idea to check over the following tips and reminders so your pets will enjoy the fall and winter seasons.

 1)      Antifreeze:  Antifreeze can be lethal. Some contain ethylene glycol, which is sweet tasting to your pet but will shut down renal function and lead to kidney failure.  Always clean up any spills in the garage or driveway and dilute and wash with lots of water.  If your pet licks some or you suspect he has, contact your veterinarian immediately!

2)      Car Engines: As the weather turns cooler, cats like to sleep near a warm car engine, curling up on or under the hood.  Make sure you always know the location of your cat and honk your horn before starting the car.

3)      Sweets: Holiday candy is as bad for your pet.  Stomach aches, vomiting and diarrhea are the milder side effects, while an over-indulgence in chocolate can prove to be fatal. Chocolate poisoning is caused by theobromine, a caffeine chemical substance found naturally in chocolate. Keep all chocolate well away from curious pets!

 4)      Frostbite:Frostbite is the number one winter pet hazard. Cats should stay indoors and owners should shorten dog exercise walks when the temperature falls.

5)      Rock Salt: Rock salt used to melt snow and ice can cause irritation to paw pads. Rub a bit of baby oil and sprinkle some baby powder on the pads before going outside. Clean pads before coming back inside.

6)      Adequate Shelter: If your pet must be outside at all, make sure you provide adequate shelter. A doghouse should be no more than three times the size of the dog. Cedar shavings make the best bedding. Avoid blankets & straw, they harbor fleas.   I possible point the door opening to the south to decrease wind and increase sunshine’s heat.

7)      Dandruff: With the dry winter air, dandruff becomes a problem. Keeping your pet brushed will help remedy this condition. We have the proper skin moisturizer and omega 3 fatty acid oil capsules to prevent dryness from winter heating.

8)      Toenails: Without hard surfaces to act as a natural file, dog’s toenails are longer in the winter.  Regular clipping is the solution.

9)      Diet: Just like people, pets burn more calories in the winter. Your veterinarian can help determine if your pet’s diet is adequate and balanced.

10)  Dehydration:  Make sure your pet’s water stays unfrozen.  It’s better to use a porcelain pottery bowl, not metal, to prevent tongues from sticking.

11)   Christmas Tree: Make sure your Christmas or Chanukah tree is well secured. If you have a tree-climbing cat or large dog, anchor the top of the tree to a wall using strong cord or rope.                                          

12)  Pine Needles:  Check around holiday trees frequently.  Ingested pine needles can puncture the pet’s intestines.

13)  Ornaments: Sharp or breakable tree ornaments, yarns and ribbons, angel hair and icicles should be kept out of Fido and Fluffy’s reach. Hang them high on the tree and make sure your packages are securely wrapped.

14)  Holiday Plants: Holly, mistletoe, and poinsettia are extremely poisonous when eaten. You can enjoy their beauty by placing them well out of reach of curious pets.

15)  Electric Cords: Puppies and kittens like to chew on everything. Watch closely and reprimand and scare them if they attempt to play/chew on it.  Keep cords out of reach!

The Veterinarians of Heritage Veterinary Hospital (Drs Joe, Stephanie, Jessicia, and Julie) 918-627-8575