Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tips before boarding your pets

If you, like many pet owners, will be boarding your dog during the holidays, now is the time to plan for your pet's healthy, happy stay. Whether boarding your pet at BRVC or elsewhere, create a dog-boarding checklist to avoid last-minute hassles and worries about your pet's health. Here are some tips from Dr. Frank Utchen of BRVC:

The Before-boarding Checklis
Take these precautions before you board your pup:

Update vaccinations "Make sure all vaccinations are current at least a week to 10 days before boarding your dog," says Dr. Utchen.

Check requirements Call the boarding facility to inquire what its vaccination requirements are. Bring proof of the vaccinations with you when you arrive at the facility.

Visit your veterinarian Even if a facility doesn't require a veterinarian's clearance, it's a good idea to schedule a checkup for your dog within 30 days of its stay, especially if your dog has chronic ailments or is elderly.

Double-check medication supplies Ensure medication supplies are adequate for the stay and bring the prescription in its original container. "It's extremely important that if for any reason your dog has a reaction, or another dog ingests the medication, the staff knows exactly what the prescription is as well as the dosage amount," says Utchen.

Keep up with flea prevention Almost every facility will require you to treat your dog with a monthly flea preventive. Schedule a treatment just before your dog checks in to the kennel.

Questions to Ask
Steer clear of boarding facilities that don't offer direct, fully explained answers to all your questions. Here's what to know:

Can your dog eat its usual food? Dogs may have touchy digestive systems, says Dr. Utchen. Your dog will likely fare better if it can follow its usual diet, so when possible, carefully label its food before boarding.

What treats are given?
A facility might serve your dog its usual food but offer unfamiliar treats.

How will the facility handle health issues? Ask if the kennel has a relationship with a veterinarian or if veterinary technicians are on staff. At Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care the veterinary staff are always available to monitor or care for any pet who begins showing signs of illness.

Share the Right Information
Your dog is more likely to enjoy a safe, healthy stay if you also keep the boarding facility well informed. Let the kennel know the following:

Special needs If your dog is prone to anxiety, aggression or other issues, let the kennel know well in advance. Booking early can ensure that your dog receives the right boarding space, says Utchen.

Your contact info Share your emergency contact number, along with a local number for someone not traveling with you. Provide contact information for your pet's veterinarian.

Any allergies Provide a list of your dog's potential allergens along with its other known health information.

Your Dog
If your dog hasn't boarded in a while, Utchen recommends a half day or so of doggie day care in the facility. Reintroducing your pup to the facility will ease stresses during the actual boarding stay.

As you're shopping, packing and otherwise planning for your own holiday trip, following this checklist may seem like a daunting task. But keep in mind why you're taking these steps: "It's about the safety and health of your dog," says Utchen.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bloat update

We had an unfortunate case last week of a shepherd-mix who was discovered at home after having died from "bloat". This is a condition, almost exclusively of large breed dogs, where the stomach twists around on itself, for no clearly understood reason, and becomes progressively more distended with gas. Once sufficient gas has accumulated in the stomach it can no longer untwist, and without emergency surgery at that point the stomach continues to distend with more trapped gas and the situation is invariably fatal. The only proven way to prevent this problem is with a relatively minor surgical procedure called a Gastropexy, where the stomach is fixed in place so it cannot rotate. For the past 7 years we have been performing this procedure laparoscopically. Dogs can have this procedure performed on an outpatient basis. You can read a more complete discussion of this condition here:     http://webvets.com/PDF/Canine%20Bloat.pdf

Thanksgiving Pet Tips by Dr. Kristel Weaver

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it is all about the food.  Of course getting together with family and watching football are also highlights.  I have compiled a few tips to keep your dogs and cats healthy this Thanksgiving.
  • Avoid giving your pets rich fatty foods.  Dogs and cats are at risk of getting pancreatitis or gastroenteritis from eating turkey fat or buttered mashed potatoes.
  • Avoid giving turkey bones to your pet as they can lead to choking, splintering, or an intestinal obstruction.  The risks far outweigh the benefits.
  • Be sure to get any baking strings right into the trash.  If eaten, they could cause a linear foreign body which means surgery and an extensive recovery time.
  • Avoid feeding raw turkey meat or parts.  Any raw meat, and especially poultry, carries the risk of salmonella poisoning, abdominal cramping, and severe diarrhea.
  • And as a reminder, dogs cannot have onions, grapes/raisins, or chocolate any time of the year.
For some extra tips to help train your dog during a holiday celebration check out the following article from our Pet Health Library: www.webvets.com/PDF/Dog%20Training%20Tips%20at%20Thanksgiving.pdf 

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with tasty food, close family, and plenty of couch time!

Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care's holiday hours are the following:
  • Wednesday, November 24th      7 a.m. - 10 p.m. 
  • Thursday, November 25th          CLOSED
  • Friday, November 26th              7 a.m. - 10 p.m.
  • Saturday, November 27th          8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Sunday, November 28th            8 a.m. - 8p.m.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Lawn edging hazards for dogs

This report was just released, and points out the importance of evaluating the safety of your yard with respect to your pets--

Study looks at risk of landscape edging for the first time

Injuries in children due to metal landscape edging (metal strips half-buried in the ground to edge lawns) have been previously documented. A 2001 study showed that over a two-year period, 126 children were admitted to the Children’s Hospital in Denver for lacerations caused by metal lawn edging, mostly to the feet and knees.
This dog sustained tendon injuries (left) from contact with metal landscape edging. The injuries had to be surgically repaired with mesh (right). (Photo courtesy of CSU VTH)
But what about the risk to pets? The danger of metal landscape edging to animals has not been documented until now. A new study shows that the sharp-edged landscaping tool also poses a risk of injury to dogs.

Amanda Duffy, DVM, MS, DACVECC, led the study while at Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH). Her team looked at the frequency and severity of limb injuries in dogs resulting from contact with metal edging.

Over a 10 year period, the VTH admitted 60 dogs that fit the conditions for the study. These 60 dogs accounted for nearly one-third of all paw injuries at the VTH’s emergency service, according to the study.

"Most dogs were young, large breed dogs," the study says. "All 60 dogs suffered traumatic pedal lacerations when contacting metal landscape edging, the majority of which occurred on the forelimbs."

Duffy said that during her four years of working in Colorado, she treated many dogs that had been injured by metal edging, although she did not treat any of the dogs in the study.

"When I moved to Colorado from the Boston area, I was surprised to see so many injuries related to lawn edging," Duffy said. "Since it had never been reported, I thought it was important to write a paper to increase public awareness of the issue."

Duffy said she was surprised to learn how severe the injuries from edging can be. In some cases the injuries were life-threatening, she said.

Of the 60 dogs in the study, 85 percent of them needed surgery, and 18 percent required extensive surgical repair of skin, subcutaneous tissue, and muscle, tendon, or fascia.

"I think the most important thing to be taken away from this study is that lawn edging injury does occur frequently and can cause significant damage to pets, with a significant expense," she said. "I think that all lawn edging should be covered or that it should not be made from metal, in order to prevent these types of injuries, which occur in children, too."

The study, "Canine pedal injury resulting from metal landscape edging," was published in the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care.