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Spring Newsletter 2019

Spring Newsletter 2019

Dietary Intolerance in your pet

                Often our pets have acute vomiting and diarrhea signs.  The causes of acute stomach upset are often easier to diagnose and usually once the cause of the disease is treated the GI upset resolves.  Causes of chronic GI disease can be much more difficult to diagnose but vomiting and/or diarrhea no matter when it occurs or for how long is abnormal.  For example, if you state your dog gets diarrhea 2x a month, it is abnormal, or if you state your cat vomits 2x a month, it is abnormal.  Sometimes the causes of GI disease are easily diagnosed and treated.  Examples of easier to diagnose gastrointestinal diseases include pets feed people food or pets with intestinal parasites. But it can be much harder to diagnose gastrointestinal disease, such as pets with dietary intolerance.  Both dogs and cats can be allergic or intolerant to the foods they are eating.  These pets may also have itchy skin and/or ears or may lick at their arms and feet more frequently than normal.  For the purpose of this discussion we are going to discuss dietary intolerance not food allergy. 

                Dietary intolerance can occur when animals are fed proteins that their body doesn’t digest well or when the food they are fed has a mixture of proteins (many types of proteins in one type of food).  In many of these pets, in which parasites and intestinal bacterial overgrowth have been ruled out, we will recommend diet trials.  We will often ask our clients to feed their pet a single protein, single carbohydrate diet.  Dr. Steele asked Erica to research pet foods that can be bought over-the-counter (OTC) for this type of diet.  Erica spent 5 days reading the ingredients in 45 different pet foods and was only able to find one feline diet that met the criteria.  That diet was a chicken and green pea-based diet made by the Merrick pet food company.  Many diets would be named something like this:  Limited ingredient turkey and green pea.  But when the ingredient label was read, it would not only have turkey and green pea but also chicken by products and brown rice; therefore, this was actually a 2 protein and 2 carbohydrate diet. 

                We were attempting to find any OTC foods that are comparable to the novel protein diets we carry.  The answer is unequivocally, NO, OTC foods are nothing like our foods.  Not only do Hills and Purina prescription diets get their “base” products from reputable sources insuring the nutrient contents are stable, they also clean their facilities between each batch of food to make sure that small particles of protein or carbohydrate from previous batches of food are not mixed into the current batch.  This type of cleaning is not performed in pet food manufacturing plants where OTC foods are made. Hills and Purina also have separate processing plants that make their novel protein diets.  As you can imagine, this care and concern is not inexpensive; therefore, it is expected that these foods are more expensive.  If these foods weren’t available, clients would have to cook their pet’s food, and few have time for that!

                If Dr. Steele or Dr. Cotter recommend that your pet be placed on one of these diets, we have already done the research for you.  You will not be able to find an OTC food that will work.  Many times these diets will be part of the treatment plan to treat your pets chronic vomiting and diarrhea. 

Behavioral Consults

Erica, the head licensed veterinary technician at Caring Animal Hospital has an interest in animal behavior.  She is Fear Free Certified and continues to pursue her interest through behavior centered continuing education classes.  She also has experience in training as she has previously provided puppy socialization classes.  Erica is interested in completing training to become certified as a behaviorist termed, Behavior Specialty Certification.  This certification is for Licensed Veterinary Technicians only.  Technicians certified in behavior must demonstrate superior knowledge in scientifically – and humanely – based techniques of behavior health, problem prevention, training, management, and behavior modification.

We do offer behavior consultation at Caring Animal Hospital.  Dr. Steele, Dr. Cotter, and Erica work hand in hand to assess your pet’s behavior issues and develop a plan to modify your pet’s behavior.  This process can only start if an owner lets us know they have observed concerning behavior in their pet.  Erica then emails an extensive questionnaire for the owner to fill out and return.  Once Erica receives the full report, we schedule the owner and patient for a consultation appointment.

Before your appointment Erica, in conjunction with the doctors, research potential problem areas.  They then begin to create a customized plan for your pet, which can include medication, all-natural supplements, and/or activities and tasks to work on at home (behavior modification).  The Behavior Consultation appointment is one hour long and includes a physical exam. During this appointment a medical plan is developed to contend with any possible medical reasons for the unwanted behavior and a behavior plan is developed to modify the unwanted behavior.

Behavior modification takes time & patience, but Erica stays in touch with you to be sure the plan is working.  She offers support with training material and additional recommendations.  We sometimes schedule Behavior Follow-Up appointments to adjust medications or training based on need.  All the recommendations are humane and in the best interest of the human-animal bond.  The results are amazing for those who are determined enough to stick with it!

Behaviors that can be managed include:  inappropriate elimination, aggression, separation anxiety, destruction of property, food aggression, over excitement, noise phobia, and more.  Call us today to get started down the road to better behaved pets!

Have a Heart

According to 2015 data from the Companion Animal Parasite Council, one in 78 dogs that were tested in the U.S. were positive for heartworm disease. That was 115,016 dogs. Not a single state is immune to heartworm risk. The frustrating part is that heartworm disease is entirely preventable through year-round preventive medication. While there are treatment options, infection is very difficult to treat—and very expensive. Treatment can cost 15 times more than that of a year’s worth of heartworm preventive. Wouldn’t you rather keep your pet safe than take the risk? Talk to us during your appointment to go over the infection risk in our state and county. We’ll also decide on the heartworm preventive that’s best for your pet’s lifestyle.

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