Here's a little something from the Pet info section! Did you know we have dozens of topics, each with their own write up, on the info page? Check it out HERE
This month's focus is on arthritis! It's not just for the old. While the natural wear and tear of joints over time plays a role, remember that younger pets suffer too. This is particularly the case if they injured a joint previously or had an abnormal joint to start with. There are many things you can do as an owner to help your pet continue to live an active, happy, pain free life despite this condition. Depending on the level of arthritis, you may require one, or all, of the below recommendations for the rest of your pet's life.
If you want to learn more about what osteoarthritis is and how we diagnose it, check out this link to Veterinary Partners.com website!
1. Weight control.
If your pet is already trim, then keeping them that way is vital. Any extra weight being carried across an arthritic joint makes it more painful, and speeds along the development of more arthritis. If your pet is overweight, please talk to the veterinary team about organizing a plan for controlled weight loss (and check out the section HERE). With cats in particular, be very cautious about dieting; done wrong, it can be harmful. Your vet is the best resource for creating a weight loss plan that works for you and your pet.
2. Regular, consistent exercise
Unused joints stiffen up. Overused joints ache the next day. Find the level your pet is comfortable at. Aim for more frequent, shorter bouts of exercise, and maintain it daily.
Using supplements may relieve some of the pain associated with arthritis. It can even reduce the amount of medications required to maintain an already painful condition, leading to less impact on the body as a whole. Quality-controlled products from reputable sellers provide peace of mind that the label is accurate and the product consistent. There are no commercially available diets that contain adequate amounts of supplements to be affective in arthritis cases. There are several prescription diets that do, including Royal Canin Mobility or Hill's j/d.
Glucosamine alone has little effect; its success is improved by being mixed with chondroitin. Additional remedies, such as Devil's Claw, also reduce the pain of arthritis. Because Devil's Claw works faster than most supplements (having some effect within 2 weeks, instead of 6 weeks such as glucosamine and chondroitin alone), we recommend Flexadin supplements.
Omega 3 fatty acids (aka fish oils) are more potent the more specific they are. We are looking for 66 mg/kg dose of EPA or DHA fatty acids. If the bottle doesn't show the breakdown of the fatty acids, find one that does. It was found that liquids are 1/3 more effective than capsules. These take weeks to months to show benefits, so don’t give up too early. That said, they do not work for every patient; studies show anywhere from 50% to 75% of cases respond, even at correct doses.
Other supplements that have been found to help include Green-lipped mussels, CBD, and turmeric, but remember that no one controls quality of supplements and little is known about dosing. Please discuss any product with your vet; they will be able to advise you about amounts and risks.
Cartrophen Vet (sodium pentosan polysulfate) is an injectable treatment for arthritis that promotes healing of joints and reduces inflammation. It is given as a subcutaneous (under the skin) injection once weekly for 4 weeks, then monthly. Often owners can learn to do them on their own at home, although we're also happy to help those who are more shy of needles! See this LINK for more information.
4. Alternative therapies
Although we cannot offer it at Sooke Veterinary Hospital, please know that referral is available for chiropractic or acupuncture treatments. Not every 'practitioner' of these alternative therapies are made equal, and some are not even legal. We would be happy to guide you.
5. Pain medications
We often have to use medications for pain relief periodically or chronically. Common medications include NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories), Gabapentin, or opioids. We aim to reach the lowest effective dose but please remember: do not increase the amount or frequency of medications without consulting us. We are more likely to add other modalities than increase the dose of a given medication because of dangerous side effects.
Our goal at Sooke Veterinary Hospital is to help you and your pet live together for many long, comfortable years. Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions!
Dental disease is prevalent in dogs and cats. Unfortunately, we can't expect them to clean their teeth themselves! Here are some options for slowing down the progression of dental disease and gingivitis! Don't wait for there to be tartar (brown or yellow discolouration)! By then, the disease is established and you cannot remove tartar without scaling the teeth. We want to promote oral health early as a preventative.
However, even if the best oral hygiene routine, plaque, tartar, and gingivitis will build up over time, just like in people. And, just like in people, removal of the stubborn hard tartar (including the hidden disease under the gumline) requires the work of the dentist. In our pets' case, that means their veterinarian.
Please DO NOT brush your pet's teeth if they have pain, bleeding of the gums, masses in the mouth, or broken teeth. This will cause more pain and make them dislike the procedure. If there is something going on in the mouth, please have the veterinarian check it and help guide treatment BEFORE you try to brush.
Six ways to delay the onset of dental disease:
By FAR the best option for the teeth is brushing. Ideally, you would brush your pet's teeth daily, although even a few times a week will help. Setting a schedule will help you remember to do it!
The best time to start is when they are young but have their adult teeth. The second best time is whenever you have the time and inclination to do it!
Check out this LINK to our 'HOW TO BRUSH YOUR PETS TEETH' and get those toothbrushes out!
Also, here are some links to investigate
Veterinary Partners (Why brushing is important)
Veterinary Partners (Q&A about dental prevention)
Video "How to Brush your Dogs Teeth"
Video "1 minute training" WebMD Pet
#2 Dental wipes
A second option very similar to brushing but not quite as good is dental wipes. These are small pads that have an enzyme or cleanser in them. Wiping the teeth daily reduces plaque and freshens breath, without the need for toothpaste. It's a good option for those pets who can't quite tolerate a toothbrush, but don't mind someone's finger in their mouth!
#3 Dental diets
If brushing isn't possible, then a daily regime of oral health is still needed. There are some diets designed to act as a toothbrush and remove plaque before it establishes into tartar. Diets such as Hills t/d or Royal Canin's Dental have larger kibbles that encourage chewing. While their exact mode of action differs, they work to reduce the plaque in the mouth by at least 25% and, like all good oral hygiene, feeding your pet usually is daily occurrence, so you're getting some oral health daily!
#4 Dental chews
These take many forms. Some are enzymatic rawhide chews. Some are shaped to encourage chewing or to reach the corners of the dog (or cats!) mouth. Overall, their function is similar to dental diets; they work to reduce plaque through chewing or enzymatic action. Be warned! Not all chews are made equal! Look for the VOHC logo to know it has been tested and reduces plaque by 25%. Watch out for products that quote old papers and make claims to reduce plaque without evidence!
If you pet tends to simply crush a chew and swallow it whole, these are NOT for you! They need to be chewed to be effective, and we don't want any choking. Pets should be supervised when chewing.
#5 Plaque off/Clenzadent
We were a little ahead of the game with this one; our clinic knew about Plaque Off before it had VOHC. Now that it does, it's found in pet stores and clinics. This is a kelp powder used on the food daily that changes the composition of the saliva and softens plaque to be more readily rubbed over by normal chewing actions. We know it works, but not for everyone. Many times, we find tartar is softer (and easier to remove) on pets who use it, but it is a bit variable on response.
#6 Water additives
Some people like the water additives. These are essentially a safe mouthwash for your pets that is added to water dishes so every drink in a quick rinse to cleans the mouth. Please ensure you have regular water available as some pets don't like the taste and may avoid it. They need to be changed out daily as well, making them best suited for small dogs or cats! An example is Healthy Mouth. Find more info HERE.
As always, we're happy to guide you to the option that suits your pet best! We just want to see those pearly whites looking their best!
Do you have a favourite dental prevention regime?
It's official; we're on break from August 1st to the 8th. We'll be back at 8am August 9th to serve you and your pet. In the meantime, If your pet requires emergency care outside of regular hours, please call the Central Victoria Veterinary Hospital OR WAVES (in Langford). Both provide emergency after-hours care. Click on the names to be taken to their websites.
See you soon!
We had the amazing Sooke Fire Department out to do training with our staff over the staff meeting this morning! The wind cooperated for the most part (we only got blasted back wth the powder a few times). Turns out we have a great place to practice real-life use of the fire extinguishers; our parking lot!
We learned a few tricks to using the extinguishers and other fire-safety tips.
Stay safe out there!
HEATSTROKE IN PETS
What is heatstroke?
Heatstroke occurs when your pet’s body temperature rises above the normal range of 38.3-39.2 degrees. Dogs and cats have few sweat glands and cannot cool off by sweating like humans, so they overheat more easily. Pets mainly cool off by panting, as moisture evaporation from the oral cavity helps lower body temperature. Heatstroke most commonly occurs when pets are left outside on hot days, but also can develop if:
What are signs of heatstroke in pets?
Which animals are at greatest risk?
Any pet can develop heatstroke but the following are more predisposed:
What should I do if my pet shows heatstroke signs?
Ways to prevent heatstroke
Consider the possibility of heatstroke any time the temperature is above 27C or humidity is high, and take these precautions to keep your pet cool:
Enjoy the summer safely!
Now that BC has entered STEP 3 COVID level, we're slowly migrating to a communicable disease prevention plan! For now:
• Please avoid crowding; wait for an opening in reception before coming in.
• We request you wear a masks indoors unless you are fully vaccinated or cannot for other reasons. We are doing the same.
• For appointments, call us when you arrive to check in so we can direct you. We request one person per animal to reduce crowding
• For food or medication pick up, please call us to have your products brought out to the LOWER DOOR to your left (follow the side of the building down the stairs and under the extension).
• DO NOT ENTER IF YOU ARE SICK.
We need to keep our staff healthy to serve you and your pet. Please send a proxy, reschedule, or utilize our curbside option if you are not feeling well.
We are still offering curbside service as many people have found it helpful, but are now welcoming people in with their pets into our ventilated exam rooms. We look forward to seeing you all in person!
We are immensely grateful to all our clients for their incredible patience as we navigate these uncharted waters. While some measure will remain, such as curbside being offered, the barriers in reception, in-exam check-out convenience, and the pre-visit medical history forms for your pets, we're excited to be able to visit and see our clients again!
A large part of our job as veterinarians is to help educate owners. While we're there for the hard times, you are there for your pet the other 364 days of the year! We want to equip our owners with the best information so they can make great decisions for their pets. Thus, we have decided to create this blog page to share useful information with our clients on a monthly basis.
In addition to an excuse to see fun pictures of staff pets, check back regularly to learn a bit about care of your pet and things happening in the veterinary world! Stay tuned for information on diet choices, weight control, arthritis, chronic vomiting cats and so much more!
And let us know what you'd like to hear about! Send us a message on Facebook, or drop a hint when you're next at the office or chatting with reception on the phone. We'd love to share our knowledge to ensure your pet gets the very best of care, year round!