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Dr. Bob's All Creatures Site

509 Benicia Road, Vallejo, California, USA 707-642-4405

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Winter 1999 Newsletter

 

 

 

News From

All Creatures Veterinary Hospital

       We hope everyone's holiday season was enjoyable. We will be back to our regular Monday-Saturday schedule again now that the holidays have passed.  Fortunately, this winter has not been as wet as last year's.  Despite the ;more normal climate, many of our patients are exhibiting problems attributable to being indoors with the heaters on.  You may have noticed your pet's coat becoming more dry than usual over the past couple of months.  One reason this can occur is the decrease in humidity in the household when the heater is running.  Yes, it cat be pouring rain outside and below normal humidity inside!  Symptoms you might observer are increased itching, flakes, or increased dander.  A few steps can help lessen the impact.  For dogs: bathe your dog as little as needed to keep its coat clean using a hypoallergenic shampoo and moisturizing rinse ( Allergroom followed by Humilac works well) and brush your dog's hair often to remove dead hair and dander.  Do not use baby shampoo since the pH is even more different from dog skin pH than adult shampoo is.  Finally, make sure to provide proper nutrition.  Your pet needs high quality food providing adequate energy for the winter.  We are now carrying foods designed to help with chronic skin problems.  Ask about them next time you are in.  For cats, don't bathe the cat unless necessary to remove grease, oil, or dirt ( cats usually do this pretty well themselves), comb and/or brush your cat frequently to remove loose hair and dander, and use a pet conditioning rinse (like Humilac) when you do find it necessary to bathe your cat.  Do not use oils or lotions designed for people, these tend to gum up the cat's hair.  Feed good quality cat food with plenty of energy for their winter needs.  If you find your pet is scratching excessively, or making visible bald spots or sores, do not blame that on just dry skin.  There are many causes of skin disease in both cats and dogs.  If the problem is this severe, call and set up an appointment for us to examine the pet.

Pet Ownership Brings Proven Health Benefits to Humans

As veterinarians, we understand the uniqueness of the human-animal bond. As a result, when we observe published evidence highlighting the benefits of this relationship, we love to spread the good news.

According to Love and Survival: The Scientific Basis for the Healing Power of Intimacy (Harper Collins, 1998), the author, Dean Ornish, MD, cites several studies that illustrate the tremendous power of the bond between humans and their pets.

* Dog ownership benefits heart patients more than human companionship.  Researchers found dog ownership decreased such cardiovascular reactivity as blood pressure more than a friend's presence because people are perceived as judgemental.

* Pet ownership increases heart attack survival.  When researchers studied men and women who suffered heart attacks and irregular heartbeats, 1 of 87 dog owners died compared with 19 of 282 people who did not own dogs.

* Pet ownership increases survival after hospitalization for heart problems.  Another study of patients hospitalized with heart attacks or chest pain found that after one year only 6 percent of pet owners died compared with 28 percent of patients without pets.

Such studies validate veterinarians' belief in the power of the human-animal bond.  In summary, Dr. Ornish writes, "Love promotes survival, Anything that takes you outside yourself promotes healing - in profound ways that can be measured independently of such other known factors as diet and exercise."  Remember a healthy pet means a happy owner!

The Facts You Need To Know About Pet Dentistry!

Pets require regular dental health checkups and cleanings just as we do.  Studies reveal that:

  • 60 percent of all pets over age three need immediate dental care!
  • Without proper and routine dental care, pets may develop periodontal disease (gum disease) that may cause them to lose some or all of their teeth.
  • Some bacteria found in the mouth of pets suffering from periodontal disease can be transferreded to the liver, kidneys or heart resulting in complications of these vital organs.
  • 40 percent of cats requiring dental care have painful cavities below the gum line.

If early tartar formation is arrested and prevented- and if proper prophylactic teeth cleaning and home care is maintained- your pet will enjoy a healthier and happier life.  It's that simple! So please call our office if you have any questions or need to schedule a dental appointment.

Pet Dentistry: A Veterinary Success Story?

It was not many years ago that the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) started actively promoting dental procedures for our pets.  As veterinarians, we routinely saw the medical consequences of poor dental health, but our initial enthusiasm was met with some skepticism on the part of pet owners.  Even Johnny Carson (..you remember him?) used to occasionally joke about pet dentistry in his nightly monologues.  Thanks mainly to continuing client education in mediums like this newsletter, many pet owners began to realize that pet dentistry and gum disease are not joking matters.  Today, pet owners in the United States rank dental problems among their top pet health concerns! Specifically, dental problems were ranked third in the top three health conditions affecting dogs and second in those affecting cats.

Although we can all take great pride in the advances made in the education of pet owners about the need for dental procedures, it is not time to rest on our laurels.  To those clients whose pets have undergone a dental procedure, please remember that, just like human dientstry, a pet's teeth must be cleaned routinely.  Please look for our reminders.  to those clients whose pets have not yet undergone a dental procedure, we strongly encourage you to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.  A dental procedure will have a major and immediate impact on your pet's quality of life.

As succesful as we have been in reaching the majority of our clients concerning pet dental health, we won't feel totally successful until all of our canine and feline patients are reaping the benefits of a routine dental procedure.  If you would like more information on pet dentistry, have a particular question concerning your pet, or would like to schedule an appointment, please call us today - we're here to help you and your pet!

 

Cat Corner:

Obese Cats Risk Disease

Many of our cats spend their entire life indoors.  Although this means that they are less likely to encounter other disease - contaminated cats (i.e. -FeLV, FIP, etc.) It also means that they don't get enough calorie-burning exercise.  Not surprisingly, we are often asked to treat ailments caused by the cat's obese condition.  A recent study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association illustrates some of obesity's effects on a cat's health.  Obese cats are:

  • 4.9 times more likely to be lame
  • 3.9 times more likely to develop diabetes mellitus
  • 2.3 times more likely to develop a nonallergic skin condition.

Please call our office if you believe your cat is overweight. Together, we can develop a diet and a routine that will help your cat to lose weight, keep the weight off, and enjoy a better quality of life.

 

What is "Old Dog Syndrome?"

We have seen the cases: the poodle that wanders the house and gets "lost" in corners,  the terrier that ignores his owner when his name is called - but isn't deaf, the previously well trained schnauzer who has started leaving accidents in the house - right after he comes inside.  These dogs are showing typical behaviors associated with a disorder called canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, or CDS.

A 1998 market reasearch study indicated that 48 percent of dogs 8 years of age and older exhibited at least one clinical sign associated with CDS.  Another study, revealed that 62 percent of 11 to 16 year old dogs scored positively for one or more behavioral categories indicative of CDS.

The first step in diagnosing CDS is recognition of the signs, frequently observed by the pet's owner.  Next the veterinarian may conduct a thorough behavioral and medical history, followed by a complete physical and neurological examination.  These can be supplemented, as appropriate, with diagnostic lab tests to identify other unrelated medical conditions that may be contributing to clinical signs.

Please remember that some of the signs of CDS are also indicators of various other medical problems.  If you see Fido behaving a little differently, don't just assume he's becoming senile.  The behavior you're observing could be the result of a treatable condition, so please allow us the opportunity to make a proper diagnosis.

 

Signs of CDS

     Disorientation

  • Wanders aimlesly
  • Appears lost or confused in the house or yard
  • Gets "stuck" in corners or behind furniture
  • Stares into space or at walls
  • Has difficulty finding the door
  • Does not recognise familiar people
  • Does not respond to verbal cues or name
  • Appears to forget reason for going outdoors.

    Abnormal Sleep/wake patterns

  • Sleeps more in a 24-hour day
  • Sleeps less during the night
  • Decrease in activity
  • Increase in wandering or pacing

     Loss of House Training

  • Urinates/defecates indoors
  • Signals lets go outside

     Decreased or Altered Response to family Members

  • Solicits attention less
  • No longer stands for petting (walks away)
  • Less enthusiastic greeting
  • No longer greets owners
Feline Leukemia Kills More Cats Than Any Other Disease

Feline Leukemia (FeLV), a complex of diseases causxed by the feline leukemia virus, is the number one disease killer of cats in the U.S. today.  The virus, which is contracted from an infected cat, enters a cat's body through the eyes, nose, and mouth.  From there it travels through the blood stream, infecting tissues and organs.

The symptoms of infection include: weight loss, poor hair coat, loss of appetite, anemia, diarrhea, reproductive disorder, weakness, enlarged glands, fever, inflamation of gums,persistent bacterial infections.

The disease is spread when a cat comes into contact with an infected cat.  The virus is shed in the saliva, urine and feces.  Licking, biting, and sharing food and water bowls and litter boxes are the most likely ways the virus is transmitted from one cat to another. 

There is a vaccination to protect your cat that is convenient, safe and effective.  Kittens can begin receiving protection at about nine weeks of age.  an annual booster continues this protection.

Please call our office if you have any additional questions about Feline Leukemia.  Remember to call our office immediately when you recieve a reminder about your cat's FeLV booster vaccination.