My Dog, Oskee!

My Dog, Oskee!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Light Behind "Laser Therapy!"


The Light Behind "Laser Therapy!"

As modern medicine advances, humans and pets a like are benefiting from these advances. We do not just turn to medicines to heal ailments anymore. There are different types of physical therapy, hydrotherapy, acupuncture and laser therapy to heal these ailments faster and fortunately for my patients, these different modes of therapy are also being used in veterinary medicine to help our pets feel more comfortable and live longer, healthier lives. 

In the veterinary world there has been a lot of talk lately about "laser therapy," and there have been MAJOR advances in "laser therapy" in recent years. Laser Therapy can be used for a multitude of reasons from chronic ear infections, to severe dental disease, to helping a surgery patient heal. 

Now, when I talk about "laser therapy" I am not talking about the kind Dr. Evil wanted to destroy the world with. This laser is considered a cold laser because it does not make the tissue being treated hot, a.k.a. it does not cut or explode things. What it does do, is use wave lengths of light to increase
the metabolism of cells, in turn accelerating healing and decreasing inflammation and pain. Research has shown amazing results when using the laser for healing. 

Our doctors and staff are so excited to now offer "laser therapy" to our patients! Each session is done in our office and only takes a few minutes! Sometimes patients just need one session for acute injuries like superficial wounds or after surgery, while other patients need repeat treatments for chronic conditions. 


Oliver is being treated for Chronic inflammation in the mouth. He will have 6 sessions lasting only a few minutes over the course of 3 weeks

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Truth Behind the Tooth

The Truth Behind the Tooth!

Did you know? Practicing proper oral health as a part of your pet's routine health plan can, on average, add up to 2-4 years onto their life! That is 14-28 years in dogs years!!!!!

Dental disease, or periodontal disease,  is one of, if not the most common disease we see in our furry friends. It is estimated that by the time your pet reaches the age of 3 years old they have some form of periodontal disease. For most owners it can be difficult to know if your pet is suffering from periodontal disease. The first sign owners usually notice is halitosis, or bad breath. It is often a common misconception that pets normally have bad breath. This is not the case. If you do notice your pets breath becoming unbearable, there is a good chance that they are suffering from periodontal disease. The foul smell comes from bacteria that becomes trapped under to gum line.

Periodontal disease is classified into 4 stages. 

Stage 1 - Gingivitis
As the bacteria starts to multiply, the gums start to become inflamed and swollen (a.k.a. gingivitis) and we get the beginning of plaque build up. We are now at stage 1 periodontal disease. Treatment is key at this stage because you can actually reverse the disease at this point. Treatment involves brushing teeth at home, providing your dog with dental chews and of course, prophylactic cleanings with dental x-rays at your veterinarian's office. If no treatment is provided, the periodontal disease with advance to stage 2.

Stage 2 - Early Periodontitis
At stage 2 the bacteria continues to increase causing the entire gum to become inflamed. The mouth is becoming painful and the toxins released from the bacteria give off a foul odor. Plaque and tarter continue to build up and the ligament attaching the tooth to the underlying bone starts to loosen. If your pet is at a stage 2 there is a good chance they will need a few surgical extractions. Surgical extractions increase the price of a prophylactic cleaning immensely. This is because oral surgery is involve which is much more technically challenging. 

Stage 3 - Moderate Periodontitis
By stage 3 owners are definitely able to smell an odor from their dogs mouth. The gums are now cherry red and extremely irritated to the point they may bleed. Subtle changes can be seen in behavior and eating habits as well. Most people perceive this as their pet "just aging" when in reality it is the periodontal disease that is painful, making it more difficult to eat. The bacteria start to form pockets under the gum line leading to tooth root abscesses. Some teeth are becoming mobile. At this point, several teeth have significant bone changes on dental x-rays which means they need to be surgically extracted. Periodontal disease at this point is often irreversible. 

Stage 4 - Advanced Periodontitis 
As if Stage 1,2 and 3 weren't bad enough, stage 4 gets even worse. There is a large amount of calculus over the teeth and you can start to see a white discharge coming from the gum line indicating a tooth abscess. The bacteria and toxins they release have started to eat away at the bone and the ligament attaching the tooth to the bone is virtually gone. Many of the the teeth have become wiggly and loose. This is most evident on the molars and premolars in the back of the mouth. Pain increases and you may even notice your dog acting tender when eating hard kibble. At stage 4 the periodontal disease does not just affect the mouth but the bacteria now has an easy route to the kidneys, liver and heart causing systemic disease. Unfortunately, a full mouth extraction is the treatment of choice at this point. It is the best way to clear the mouth of infection. 


Here are some helpful tips to help prevent severe periodontal disease...

*It is never too late to start brushing! Make sure tooth paste is made especially for pets. 

*Use dental chews to help prevent build up. But make sure you follow the BBD rule...all chews must be bendable, breakable and/or dentable. Hard bones such as raw hides, antlers and animal bones can actually be more damaging to the teeth instead of protecting them!

*If they don't already do so, ask your veterinarian to exam your pet's teeth at every visit and let you know what stage of dental disease they have. 

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Here is an example of brushing your pet's teeth with a finger brush!


Below is a link to Best Friends Animal Hospital and Greehaven Animal Clinic to watch a short video to give you an overview of what occurs during a dental procedure!
Link to Best Friends Animal Hospital
http://bestfriendsanimalhospital.vet/lincoln-animal-hospital/dog-cat-dental-care.php

Link to Greehaven Animal Clinic
http://www.greenhavenanimalclinic.com/san-jose-il-animal-hospital/dog-cat-dental-care.php




Keep Smiling and thanks for reading!

Doc E

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Pet Diet Debacle

The diet Debacle!

There is a large amount of information out there on what is the best diet for our pet's and what we should stay away from. Hopefully through this post I can give you few tips

1.) Now, I know this first statement is not what pet owners want to hear (including myself) but feeding your pet people food is the number one diet mistake owners can make in my opinion. Just like the american population, about 50% of our pet population is overweight or obese. Most of our pets are much small than humans and proportionally need a different diet. Feeding them people food can not only cause them to pack on the pounds but can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, pancreatitis and dental disease. Keeping pets in a healthy weight range will keep their joints feeling better longer, it will be easier for them to breath and decrease other health risks. Quality dog and cat foods are formulated to be well rounded. When feeding quality pets foods there is no need to supplement your pet with human foods and it is important to follow feeding recommendations on the bag. If you have questions on how much your pet should be eating please consult with your veterinarian. 

2.) Prescription Vs. Over the Counter pet foods. As a veterinarian I see prescription diets helping pets in a variety of ways, from preventing urinary stones to keeping liver and kidney values in the normal range. The prescription diets we carry are from reputable food companies that have a long history in the pet food sector, spend millions of dollars on research and follow strict guidelines when sourcing their ingredients and formulating their diets. There is not one company I choose over the other but rather I pick the food that I think will best help a pet with the problem they are having. While I do like prescription diets, pets with no issues can do well on an over the counter product. However, and this is REALLY important to remember, talk with your veterinarian on what over the counter food they would recommend for your pet!!! Many of the over the counter pet foods companies do not follow the same guidelines. Their ingredient sources are not always regulated and their diets are not always as balanced as what label portrays. Some of the companies make good marketing claims about their foods but when those foods are actually analyzed in a lab the label is often wrong or misleading. I encourage pet owners to talk with their veterinarian about the food you are feeding and if they have any recommendations for your pet.  

3.) There are commercials on TV, food ads and internet posts on how grains are bad to feed to our pets. In reality this is NOT true! Grains can be an important part of a pets diet and can provide good sources of protein, beneficial fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Dogs who are truly allergic to grains such as barley, oats, corn and wheat make up a very small percentage of the dogs that actually suffer from allergies. I do not like to eliminate grains from a pet's diet unless I know for sure it is detrimental to their health. 

4.) By product  and chicken meal does not equal low quality pet foods. By products, such as chicken by products, refer to the internal organs such as liver and kidney. These organs provide key amino acids and vital nutrients in a pet's diet. While byproducts may not sound appetizing to humans, they play a huge role in formulating a balanced diet for a pet. Chicken meal just means the water is removed. This provides a more concentrated source of protein which is healthy for your pet. 

5.)   When a pet food package says "all natural," "organic," "holistic," or even "human grade," it does not mean it is a quality pet food. These terms are, for the most part, marketing gimmicks. They are using pleasing words and fancy labels to try and trick you into thinking that the food is of good quality. 


The following links are to our clinic's website where you can listen to a video which has a good explanation about pet food.


To Greenhaven's Website
http://www.greenhavenanimalclinic.com/san-jose-il-animal-hospital/dog-cat-wellness-care.php

To Best Friends' website
http://bestfriendsanimalhospital.vet/lincoln-animal-hospital/pet-prescription-diet.php

I hope this clears some of the misconceptions up. Again if you ahve any questions please contact your veterinarian

Thanks again,
Doc E

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Turkey Time!!

Gobble Gobble!!!

November can be such a pretty time of year and is the kick off to the season of good food and family fun. It can also be a time where we see an increase in emergencies with our furry little friends. Most of the time an emergency arises when the pet eats something they are not use to or should be eating. The following are some tips on how to keep your furry family member out of the ER this holiday season.

Number 1: Make No Bones About It!!
Weather you have ham, beef or the all famous Thanksgiving Trukey for dinner, meat bones can cause serious illness to your pet. These bones, raw or cooked, can splinter and cause damage to the stomach and intestines. Make sure all bones are secured in the treat where your pet cannot get into them!
Number 2: Pet's Are Not for Stuffing!
While they will give you those cute puppy dog eyes, stay away from feeding your pet food they are not use to. Too many fatty, unfamiliar, seasoned foods can cause many illnesses in your pet like pancreatitis, gastritis and/or enteritis. The illnesses can cause your pet to experience vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite and they can become dehydrated. These illnesses are painful and can be fatal.
Number 3: Fudge, Cakes, and Pies...Oh My!
Many desserts during the holidays are made with ingredients that may be toxic to your pet. These ingredients can include Chocolate and raisins. Be sure to keep all desserts out of reach from your pet.
Number 4: The nose will get the best of them!
Speaking from experience, be sure to keep the trash secured and closed away from your pet. Even if they are not usually dumpster divers, the yummy smells and new foods can draw them into the trash., not only making a mess in the middle of dinner but also exposing them to those unwanted foods described above! (believe me, I've been there!)   
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!
Doc E

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Cats, Claws and Controversy!

Traditionally,an onychectomy, or declawing  has been a standard among feline owners wanting to keep their kitties inside. It is thought by a lot of our feline pet parents that declawing is just something you do, like spaying or vaccinating. However, in the veterinary and animal welfare world there is much more controversy than some might know. There are groups and even countries that are strongly against declawing and even have laws against such a practice. Myself and my colleagues try to follow the guidelines set forth by the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) as close as we can. Below are the links to each website for information. 

For the AVMA go to
https://www.avma.org/KB/Policies/Pages/Declawing-of-Domestic-Cats.aspx

For the AAFP go to
http://www.catvets.com/public/PDFs/PositionStatements/Declawing.pdf

Pro declawers usually do so to avoid the destruction of furniture or carpet. There also may be medical reasons, like the owner is immuno-compromised or older and cat scratches could cause wounds and infections they may have difficulty healing from. Other owners are not fully aware of the procedure and the complications and healing time that goes along with it. 

People who are against declawing say that cats are born with claws so they should keep them. Technically the surgery is not difficult to perform but complications can occur with declawing. When declawing you actually remove the first bone of each digit. Its like cutting off the tip of your finger. There are several different techniques used and different veterinarians prefer different techniques. Personally, I like to declaw by disarticulating the bones using a laser. The surgical laser helps to prevent severe bleeding. I then use tissue glue to close the incision and bandage the feet. Bandages are removed the next day. All declaw cats are sent home wearing an e-collar and a special litter called Yesterday's News that will not stick to their feet. Recovery from declawing can take weeks to months. Cats put most of their weight on their paw pads. When declawing it can be difficult to avoid cutting the paw pads which can cause your cat pain for months! Infection is also a concern when declawing along with bleeding and prolonged incision healing. If you are considering declawing you should talk with your veterinarian about which method they are going to use and what complications you should expect. 

Some ways to avoid declawing are by training your cat the use a scratching post. I would have a tall vertical and horizontal scratching post available for your cat to use. If making one yourself try to avoid materials that are already in your house. For example do not use extra carpet you have laying around that is the same carpet in your living room. Using treats and cat nip on and around the scratching posts can be helpful in training your cat to use them. If your cat is clawing at furniture or the carpet you must be careful when disciplining them. Cats will associate the discipline with you and not the unwanted behavior. They will learn to avoid you when sitting on the couch or scratching the carpet but it will not actually fix the behavior. They will even learn to scratch only when you are not around. 




An example of a cat post that has different heights of vertical posts and horizontal posts.











There are also silicone nail covers (see picture below) that can be glued over you cat's nails. I have seen these used rarely, not because they are ineffective but because of maintenance. They must be reapplied almost monthly as they do wear off, but they sure do look cute! ;-) 












Some animal behaviorist have started recommending Feliway to prevent cats from scratching in unwanted places. Feliway is a pheromone that can be sprayed on furniture. The idea behind this is that cats will not mark, or want to scratch where previous cats have been.  Cats will smell the pheromone (Feliway) and ideally would not want to scratch in that area. I have not personally used Feliway in that way but I can see the logic behind it and would be willing to try this method.


















This article is meant to educate cat owners on the surgical procedure of declawing, why there is controversy and ways you can avoid declawing. At Greenhaven Animal Clinic and Best Friends Animal Hospital we do declaw but we do try and have these conversations with owners as well. When I have an owner come in with a kitten I try to educate them on both sides of declawing. Scratching for cats is a natural behavior and they instinctively will try to sharpen their claws. I try to work with owners and help them find ways around declawing. This procedure, like any surgery, is painful and will cause your kitty discomfort. With that said, I personally, would never want a cat to be relinquished or worse, euthanized, just because it has claws. Sometimes declawing is necessary and sometimes it is not. You need to have these conversations with you veterinarian to know what is best for your furry family member and you. 

If you have any questions or further concerns please do not hesitate to ask!

Thanks for reading!
Doc E

Click here to visit Greenhaven's
and Best Friend's Website!

Monday, October 26, 2015

My two kids!

Kaleb at the pumpkin patch. The cat, Smokey, kept his interest way more than the big, Orange pumpkins!

Interupting Oskee's nap!

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Whats, Whens, and Whys of Wellness Vaccines and Preventions of all Kinds

I would say that the majority of my appointments in a day are spent with healthy pets for wellness exams, vaccines and talking about how to prevent nasty diseases.  Knock on wood, its stays this way. I mean, I am happy to be here for our furry friends during a health crisis but I would prefer all of my patients to be healthy all of the time!!

Because this is such a big part of our practice I thought it would be nice to explain our wellness plans and why we vaccinate and prevent the things we do. Wellness visits can encompass quite a lot but almost always include an exam and vaccines. During an exam the doctor will check your pet over from the tip of their nose to the tip of their tail. Even just looking at the pet will provide us with a lot of information on how your pet is doing. We count the physical exam as the most important part of our wellness visit. As my professor once said, "if you don't look, you wont find it."

Also during your visit, your pet may be due for vaccines and a heartworm check. Heartworm checks are done yearly. The check requires just a little bit of blood drawn by one of our certified veterinary technicians or vet assistants. The test takes 8 minutes to run. Most of the time we have those results before the exam is even done. The particular heartworm test we run not only checks for heartworms but also scans your pet for three tick born diseases, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma and Lyme disease. (Stay tooned for a future blog about heartworm disease.) If the test is positive we will go over the proper treatment depending on the disease. If negative, your pet will go home with heartworm, flea and tick prevention to keep them safe from the parasites and the diseases they carry.

There are a fair number of diseases we can vaccinate for and it can be confusing to know which ones your pet needs and which ones they do not need. Our core vaccines, meaning the vaccines every pet should receive, are what we call rabies, distemper, lepto and lyme. The distemper vaccine can be combined with the lepto vaccine or the two can be on their own. The distemper vaccine not only protects your pet from the distemper virus but also protects against parvovirus, parainfluenza virus, and adenovirus.

As puppies, patients get a series of 3 boosters of the distemper vaccine, ideally starting between 6 and 8 weeks of age. Before 6 weeks of age puppies cannot mount the proper immune response to the vaccine and after 8 weeks of age you risk the puppy being expose to the diseases we are trying to vaccinate against. Their boosters are given about 3-4 weeks apart. The lyme vaccine is given twice as puppies usually with their 2nd and 3rd distemper vaccine and rabies is given around 16 weeks of age. Vaccines are then boostered yearly once the puppies series is done.
This is an example of one of our Vaccines.

Heartworm, flea and tick prevention is started at their first puppy visit and is given monthly there after. At 6 months of age we can run a heartworm test for the first time and if negative, an injectable heartworm prevention can be given every 6 months.

Nexgard is used to prevent fleas and ticks. It looks and tastes like a treat!!

Proheart is a 6 month injection given to protect your pet from heartworm disease!


Some of the elective vaccines owners can choose for their pet are bordatella and canine influenza. Most boarding and grooming facilities will require dogs to be vaccinated for bordatella. Canine influenza is not one of our core vaccines but there was an outbreak of this disease in Chicago earlier this year. If you are interested in this vaccine or suspect that your pet may be at risk please feel free to discuss this with us or your veterinarian.

Our goal for preventative wellness is to prevent rather than treat illnesses. It is so important for pets to have regular 6 month exams and a good vaccine history. One successful example of this is parvo virus. Puppies and adult dogs vaccinated for parvovirus are much more protected and almost never become ill from this nasty virus. So many times I have seen puppies and dogs suffer from parvo which is so easily prevented with vaccines given properly.

I hope this gives you some insight into your furry friend's health!

Thanks for reading!
Doc E