Recently, Jessica one of our Veterinary Assistants took a four month course on how to make our clinic a fear free clinic. We are so glad she took this course because not only are we helping our patients, but we are also helping our patient's parents who also get worked up when they come to see us.
What is fear free? Fear free is when we make every effort to reduce any fear, anxiety and stress related to examinations and procedures.
Why is it important to be a fear free clinic? It is important because it addresses the emotional welfare of the veterinary health care team, the patients treated and the people who love them. It also reduces patient's fear, anxiety and stress. It creates a more manageable, cooperative patient and a safer more efficient work environment.
How does a clinic become fear free? To become a fear free clinic, one staff member has to complete the four month course. Once completed, the clinic is certified for three years, after that time, more training is needed.
Since Jessica has completed the course she has been implementing ways to make it easier for those patients who get worked up coming to see us. She has empowered our team to relieve the fear, anxiety and stress of our patients every time they come through our doors regardless of the reason why that patient is seeing us that day.
What are the core values of fear free?
Since becoming a fear free clinic we have had many successful patients come in. One case that sticks out to us, Sophia* first presented in August 2016 at her first puppy exam. She was very nervous around people. She would growl, lunge and bark at everyone in the exam room. She would only allow her mom to place a muzzle on her.
In October 2016 she came back in for a nail trim. A muzzle was placed by her mom. Sophia got very scared and urinated and defecated all over the exam room. At that time it was recommended no further nail trims because she was too fearful.
In March 2018 Sophia came in for her yearly exam and vaccines. With Gabapentin on board, Dr. Jami was able to do an exam. A muzzle was placed by Jessica, before we were not able to do that. Sophia was then given peanut butter on a pretzel stick to keep her mind off the exam. There was no lunging, barking or growling. We were also able to do blood work with little restraint. She was a very happy girl and was wagging her tail. After her exam and the muzzle was taken off, Sophia came up to us and wanted to be petted by everyone.
*Names have been changed
We are happy to be a fear free clinic! Behavior is medicine, fear free is better medicine.
Stephanie, our office manager, recently brought in Stone, a neutered two year old domestic shorthair cat that has been staying at her house for the past two months. He is super friendly, always looking for love and is always running around playing here at the clinic.
When Dr. Jami did her exam, everything looked great, and he received his vaccines. Dr. Jami decided it would be a good idea to take some blood and test for feline FIV/FeLV. When we received the test back, it showed that Stone was negative for Feline Leukemia. However, he was positive for FIV.
What is Feline Immunodeficiency Virus?
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is a virus specific to the cat family. It was first recognized in the mid 1980's and it has been found in cats worldwide. Only 1-5% of cats show evidence of exposure to the virus. In some cats exposure to the virus leads to clinical signs and symptoms that result in deficiency in the immune system.
Being FIV-positive is not the same as having feline AIDS. The FIV test detects antibodies that have been formed in the cat's blood because of infection with the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. "FIV-positive" means that your cat has been infected by the virus, but if it is not showing symptoms it may be years, if ever, before the cat develops the clinical signs referred to as Feline AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome of cats). Just being diagnosed with the FIV virus does not mean your cat has feline AIDS.
Is my family at risk?
Absolutely Not! Although HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus, the cause of AIDS in people) belongs to the same family of viruses as FIV, the two viruses infect different species - HIV infects only humans and FIV infects only cats. The viruses are very specific for the species and there is no risk of cross infection between the immunodeficiency viruses of cats and people.
Other cats in your household may already have been infected and should be tested. Spread between through normal social contact such as grooming is unlikely so the majority of your cats may be FIV-negative when tested.
How do cats get FIV?
Infected cats shed the virus mainly in their saliva. Naturally occurring transmission of an infection occurs when an infected cat that is actively shedding virus into the saliva bites another cat, directly inoculating its saliva through the bite wound. A susceptible cat can also become infected when other bodily fluids, particularly infected blood, enters the body. In this case, the infected blood may enter the cat's body through a bite wound, or the cat may become infected by means of a blood transfusion. Experimentally, the virus may also be transmitted through semen, but it is not clear whether this means transmission is responsible for any naturally occurring cases.
It is not surprising that many FIV-positive cats are known fighters, particularly those with a history of cat bite abscesses. Any cat bitten by a cat with an unknown medical history should be tested for FIV approximately two months after the bite.
The FIV organism is not able to survive for very long outside of living cells. This is another reason that casual infection is uncommon. Kittens may become infected before, at, or soon after birth. In these cases, it is believed that the virus was transmitted across the uterus during pregnancy or through the queen's (mother cat's) milk during nursing. Around a quarter to a third of kittens born to an infected queen are likely to be infected themselves. Normal social interactions, such as grooming, appear to have a very low risk of transmitting FIV.
How is FIV diagnosed?
FIV is diagnosed through blood tests detect antibodies to the virus. If this test is positive it means that the cat has produced antibodies to the virus, and it is likely that your cat has been and still is infected by the virus. False positive and negative results to occur for a variety of reasons. Kittens born to an infected female may receive "maternal antibodies" or antibodies to the virus that pass through the milk, giving a false positive test result. Kittens under four months of age that test positive should be re-tested when they are six months old, by which time any "maternal" antibodies will have disappeared. It can take up to eight weeks for cat to develop antibodies to FIV, so a cat that has been recently infected with this virus may falsely test negative.
If a cat is diagnosed positive on the test, the results should be confirmed by retesting in 8 weeks (for young kittens) or by submitting blood samples for a more definitive "Western blot" or PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test.
Will my cat recover?
As far as we know, once a cat is infected with FIV virus it will remain infected for the rest of its life, though it is not clear if all infected cats will become ill. It may be weeks, months or even years after initial infection with FIV before a cat will develop clinical signs of illness.
What type of disease does FIV cause?
FIV causes disease because it reduces the ability of cat's immune system to respond to other infections. Infections that would normally be overcome and cleared become prolonged, chronic or recurrent. This means that many of the clinical signs associated with FIV are due to other non-healing infections.
Collectively the signs and symptoms seen as consequence of FIV is sometimes called "Feline AIDS" or Acquired Immunodeficiency Disease in cats. Common clinical signs of FIV infection include:
1. Gingivitis/stomatitis- inflammation of the gums and mouth
2. Weight loss
3. Poor appetite
4. Fever - especially fever of unknown origin
5. Inflammation of the membrane around the eyes - chronic conjunctivitis
6. Swollen lymph nodes
7. Vomiting and diarrhea
Most of these signs are non-specific and many diseases can have similar clinical picture. Any cat with persistent or recurrent illness or clinical signs should be tested for FIV, regardless of lifestyle.
Is there any treatment for FIV?
Secondary bacterial infections associated with feline AIDS can be effectively treated with antibiotics. Unfortunately, this is usually only temporary; new infections will continue to occur because of the suppressed immune system.
Should I have my cat euthanized?
Generally this is not necessary until the late stages of disease. Like people with HIV, cats with FIV have a long period where they can appear healthy and show no clinical signs. This period may last for two to five years or perhaps even longer, during which your cat will have a normal, happy life.
How can I help my FIV-positive cat?
You can help you cat by ensuring it has a healthy lifestyle and feeding it a premium diet together with twice-yearly examinations and blood and urine tests to monitor immune stress. Any infections should be treated promptly and aggressively.
The better the general health of the cat, then the longer the asymptomatic (no obvious disease) period tends to be. Keeping an FIV-infected cat indoors is mandatory for the health of the neighborhood cats, as well as reducing the likelihood that your cat will pick up infections from other cats.
Stone is looking for his FUREVER home, with him having FIV, you don't need to worry that you or anyone else in your family will get it. If you have a dog, your dog will not get it. Stone doesn't even mind dogs, big or small, he likes them. Stone just wanted to be loved all the time! Stop in today to meet and play with him!
**Information was found at epethealth.com
Did you know that it is estimated that over 10 million pets are lost or stolen every year in the United States? Or one in three dogs will go missing at some point during their life? What if there was an easy way to find your furry friend?
Microchipping your pet is the best way to ensure that you will find your pet if they get lost or stolen. A microchip is an implantable computer chip that encodes a unique identification number to help reunite you with your pet. It is about the size of a grain of rice, and is implanted with a syringe in between your pet's shoulder blades.
Microchips work by receiving a radio signal from a scanner and transmitting the encoded chip identification number back to the scanner. With the chip identification number in hand, your contact information is only a phone call away.
There are many different microchip companies, the we use at Tender Care is Petlink. It costs $45 dollars for the one time microchip implant. We then have a registration form that needs to be filled out, once the form is filled out and we have your email address, we actually register everything online for you! We will give you a username and password that you use to login and change any information. You will also get a couple of stickers with your pet's microchip number on it for your files. That number will also be stored in our computer system.
The great thing about microchipping your pet is that it will NEVER expire or go away. I feel a lot better knowing that all of my pets are microchipped, just in case they would get lost or run away.
My husband Shawn and I are having a debate regarding spaying our beagle puppy Ollie. He thinks it would be fun to have puppies running around. Working in the veterinary field, you learn a lot about why you should spay/neuter your pets.
After telling Shawn that we would have to wait two ears before she could be bred, that we would need to check her hips to make sure they are okay, and that there are other risks by not spaying her. Not spaying your female dog can lead to breast, ovarian and uterine cancer. The other risk is your dog developing a pyometra which could be fatal.
What is pyometra?
Pyometra is defined as an infection in the uterus. Pyometra is considered a serious and life threatening condition that must be treated quickly and aggressively.
Pyometra is a secondary infection that occurs as a result of hormonal changes in the female's reproductive tract. During estrus ("heat"), white blood cells, which normally protect against infection, are inhibited from entering the uterus. This allows sperm to safely enter the female's reproductive tract without being damaged or destroyed by these immune system cells. Following estrus in the dog, progesterone hormone levels remain elevated up to two months and cause thickening of the lining of the uterus in preparation for pregnancy and fetal development. If pregnancy does not occur for several consecutive estrus cycles, the uterine lining continues to increase in thickness until cysts often form within the tissues. The thickened, cystic lining secrets that create an ideal environment for bacteria to grow in. Additionally, high progesterone levels inhibit the ability of the muscles in the wall of the uterus to contract and expel accumulated fluids of bacteria. The combination of these factors often leads to infection.
How do bacteria get into the uterus?
The cervix is the gateway to the uterus. It remains tightly closed except during estrus, when it relaxes to allow sperm to enter the uterus.
If the cervix is open or relaxed, bacteria that are normally found in the vagina can enter easily. If the uterus is normal, the uterine environment is adverse to bacterial survival; however, when the uterine wall is thickened or cystic, perfect conditions exist for bacterial growth. In addition, when these abnormal conditions exist, the muscles of the uterus cannot contract properly either due to thickening of the uterine wall or the hormone progesterone. This means that bacteria that enter the uterus cannot be expelled.
When does pyometra occur?
Pyometra may occur in any sexually intact young to middle-aged dogs. After many years of estrus cycles without pregnancy, the uterine wall undergoes the changes that promote this disease. Pyometra usually occurs two to eight weeks after the last estrus cycle.
What are the clinical signs of pyometra?
The clinical signs depend on whether o not the cervix remains open. If it is open, pus will drain from the uterus through the vagina to the outside. Pus or an abnormal discharge is often seen on the skin or hair under the tail or on bedding and furniture where the dog has recently laid. Fever, lethargy, anorexia, and depression may or may not be present.
If the cervix is closed, pus that forms is not able to drain to the outside. If collects in the uterus ultimately causing the abdomen to distend. The bacteria releases toxins that are absorbed into the bloodstream. Dogs with closed pyometra become severely ill very rapidly. They are anorectic, very listless and very depressed. Vomiting and diarrhea may also be present.
Toxins released by the bacteria affect the kidney's ability to retain fluid. Increased urine production occurs, and many dogs drink an excess of water to compensate. Increased water consumption may occur in both open - and closed - cervix pyometra.
How is pyometra diagnosed?
Dogs that are examined early in the course of the disease may have a slight vaginal discharge and show no other signs of illness. However, most dogs with pyometra are seen later in the illness. A very ill female dog with a history of recent "heat" that is drinking an increased amount of water should be suspected of having pyometra. This is especially true if there is a vaginal discharge or painful, enlarged abdomen.
Dogs with pyometra usually have a severe elevation of the white blood cell count and often have an elevation of globulins (a type of protein associated with the immune system) in the blood. The specific gravity (concentration) of the urine is generally low due to the toxic effects of the bacteria on the kidneys. However, these changes are non-specific and may be present in any dog with a major bacterial infection.
If the cervix is closed, x-rays of the abdomen will often identify the enlarged uterus. If the cervix is open, there will often be such minimal uterine enlargement that the radiograph will be inconclusive. An ultrasound examination may be helpful in identifying an enlarged uterus and differentiating that from a normal pregnancy. Ultrasound changes that indicate pyometra include increased uterine size, thickened uterine walls and fluid accumulation within the uterus.
How is pyometra treated?
The preferred treatment is to surgically remove the infected uterus and ovaries or perform a spay. Dogs diagnosed in the early stage of the disease are very good surgical candidates. The surgery is somewhat more complicated than a routine spay at this stage. However, most dogs are diagnosed with pyometra when they are quite ill resulting in a more complicated surgical procedure and a longer period of hospitalization. Intravenous fluids are required to stabilize the dog before and after surgery. Antibiotics are usually given for two weeks after surgery.
What happens if I don't treat my dog?
The chance of successful resolution without surgery or prostaglandin treatment is extremely low. If treatment is not performed quickly, the toxic effects from the bacteria will be fatal in many cases. If the cervix is closed, it is possible for the uterus to rupture, spilling the infection into the abdominal cavity. This will also be fatal. Pyometra is a serious medical condition that requires prompt treatment.
After telling Shawn all of the reasons especially this one, I better win this debate. It just makes sense to have Ollie spayed and not have to worry about her getting a pyometra or any type of cancer. I know puppies are cute and fun, but they too are a lot of work, and I would just like to have Ollie happy and healthy.
**Information was found at www.epethealth.com
The holiday season is officially upon us. We have been very spoiled the past couple of weeks due to the nice weather, but it is finally starting to feel like the holiday season.
This past weekend I put up our Christmas tree. I have 3 pets, a dog named Roxie and 2 cats Otis & Mr. Piffles. We didn't have Piff last Christmas but I didn't think it would be different having a Christmas tree up since Otis just lays under it. Boy was I wrong! After I got it decorated beautifully with all the ornaments, tinsel and garland, Piff decided he would climb it, knock it over, play with the ornaments and chew on the tinsel and garland.
With that being said, here are some tips to keep your pet safe and happy during the holiday season
Holiday food to NOT give your pet
1. Chocolate - Chocolate has Theobromine, animals process this slowly, allowing it to build up to toxic levels in their system. A small amount can cause upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting.
2. Grapes/raisins - Even a small amount of grapes/raisins can cause kidney failure, vomiting and diarrhea. Leave the fruit cake for your family!
3. Fatty foods (meat fat) - Giving your pet the fat off of meat can cause pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is inflammation of pancreas. Symptoms include loss of appetite, vomiting, and abdominal pain. In severe cases, pets with pancreatitis need to be hospitalized with IV fluids and medications.
4. Anything with Xylitol - Found in sugar free gum, Xylitol in pets can cause low blood sugar, seizures liver failure and even death.
5. Bones - Bones are a chocking hazard. They can cause blockages in the stomach or intestines, and some can splinter and damage the stomach and intestines. In some cases the only way to remove a bone is to have it surgically removed.
Holiday household items to be aware of
1. Plants - Some plants like Mistletoe and Holly can cause severe gastrointestinal upset like vomiting and diarrhea, breathing problems and in some cases heart failure. Poinsettias can cause vomiting, drooling and diarrhea.
2. Tinsel/garland - When ingested tinsel/garland can easily wrap around the stomach and intestines. Surgery would be the only option to remove it. (Since Piff decided to eat it, all tinsel/garland has been removed from my house)
3. Ornaments - Some ornaments have sharp edges and when chewed and swallowed, it can cause perforations and lacerations.
4. Electrical Cords - Puppies and kittens seem to be infatuated with exposed electrical cords. If chewed on, pets can be shocked, or even burned from the from the exposed wires.
If your pet lives outside, make sure they have somewhere warm to stay when it is cold out. If it is too cold for you, it is too cold for them! Make sure they have plenty of food nd water and are also not anywhere near anti-freeze. Anti-freeze smells sweet and when ingested it can cause serious health problems.
From all of us at Tender Care Animal Hospital, we hope everyone has a safe and wonderful holiday season!!
I cant be made at this face! He is so cute even when he is naughty. :)
It has been another crazy week at Tender Care. We did have an interesting case regarding a four month old Boxer puppy who was gassy, burpy and regurgitating her food. When the puppy came in, she weighed 16.6 pounds. For a four month old puppy she should weigh around 30 pounds. After talking to the owners, Dr. Jami found out that the puppy was on a raw diet. On the diet she was eating she was only getting around 300 calories. Puppies are suppose to get around 1,000 calories!
After discussing with the owner regarding calories, raw diets and what nutrients puppies need, we sent her home with a higher calorie food for a couple days to feed to get some weight on her.
There are may risks to both the pet that is eating the raw diet and the owner who is making the food. There is a chance that your pet and yourself could get Salmonella, E. Coli, Toxoplasmosis & Listeria.
Myths about raw diets*
1. "Their benefits are proven."
No scientific studies have shown benefits of raw food diets. Their appeal is based on word of mouth, testimonials, and perceived benefits. For example, raw food diets may result in a shiny coat and small stools, because they are generally high in fat and digestibility. However, these same properties can be achieved with commercial cooked diets without risks of raw meat diets.
2. "This is what animals eat in the wild."
Wolves in the wild do eat raw meat (in addition to berries, plants etc). However, the average lifespan for a wolf in the wild is only a few years. Therefore, what is nutritionally "optimal" for a wolf is not optimal for our pets who we hope will live long and healthy lives.
3. "Raw food diet ingredients are human grade."
Even meats purchased at the best of stores for people can be infected with bacteria, so purchasing "human grade" meat does not protect against the health risks of uncooked meats (would you eat raw hamburger?). Also, be aware that the term "human grade" has no legal definition for pet food.
4. "Freezing raw diets kills bacteria."
Most of the bacteria found in raw meat diets can easily survive freezing.
5. "As long as bones are raw, they're safe."
Bones, whether raw or cooked, can fracture dogs' and cats' teeth. Bone also can block or tear the esophagus, stomach or intestine. (we just look a bone out of the small intestine of a dog last week!!)
6. "Cooking destroys enzymes needed for digestion."
All the enzymes that dogs and cats (and people) need for digestion are already in the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, additional enzymes from food are not required for digestion. In fact, enzymes are proteins, so any enzymes that are eaten get broken down by the body and have no benefit in the digestion process.
7. "Grains are added to pet foods as fillers."
Corn, oats, rice, barley and other grains are healthy ingredients that contain protein, vitamins, and minerals; they are not added as fillers. There is no benefit of potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas or oatmeal compared to other carbohydrate sources, unless the animal has certain specific health problems.
8. "Dogs and cats have short gastrointestinal tracts so they won't get Salmonella infections."
Dogs' and cats' gastrointestinal tracts are not shorter compared to people when viewed in proportion to their smaller body size. Dogs and cats can become infected with Salmonella and other bacteria found in raw meat diets, just as people can (especially young, old or immunosuppressed individuals).
9. "Most commercial pet foods contain harmful ingredients."
Byproducts are the animal parts that Americans don't typically eat, such as livers, kidneys, or lungs. Byproducts have specific legal definitions for what they can and cannot include. For example, byproducts must be the clean parts of slaughtered animals and cannot include feathers, hair, horns, teeth and hooves. Basically, byproducts are the organs. Note that some pet foods actually list these ingredients (e.g., duck liver, beef lung). but these are really just "byproducts."
10. "If bones or chicken necks are added to raw meat diets, they're nutritionally balanced."
Most homemade (and even some commercial) raw meat diets are extremely deficient in calcium and a variety of other nutrients, even if chicken necks, bones, or egg shells are added. This can be disastrous in any animal but especially in young, growing pets.
If you still believe that a raw diet is the best food for your furry friend, it is best to consult with a veterinary nutritionist so that your pet gets all the nutrients it needs.
*information has found at www.vin.com
It has been a crazy couple of weeks here at Tender Care Animal Hospital. We have had some interesting cases too!
Buddy* an 8 year-old male Poodle came in because his mom said he wasn't feeling well, he couldn't get comfortable, and he started vomiting. On exam, Dr. Jami noted that his abdomen was tender but not tense. After discussing her exam findings, Dr. Jami was told by Buddy's mom that she did give him a ham bone the day before everything started. Dr. Jami decided that it would be best to do blood work and x-ray's to see if there was anything in his intestinal trace. After the x-ray, Dr. Jami went over the results with Buddy's mom and showed her that there was a bone stuck in his small intestines, and needed to have surgery to remove it. Surgery was preformed that night.
After surgery and an over night stay in the hospital, we are glad to say Buddy has made a full recovery at home!
Why not give your dog bones:
Other treat options:
All treats/toys should only be given while your dog is being supervised.
*Name has been changed