Pet Care Awareness
Shedding is natural and there’s no way to eliminate it. But, there is a better way than constantly vacuuming and scrubbing hair off your floor, furniture, clothing and car seats.
FURminator deShedding Tools can help you reduce the amount of loose hair in your house by up to 90%! That means less time spent cleaning and more time to spend enjoying your pet.
Here are a few great tips for maintaining a professionally groomed look:
- FURminator’s Long Hair and Short Hair deShedding edges make choosing the right tool for your pet easier than ever. Plus, FURminator® now has a deShedding tool for every pet size, so you can get the very best results every time.
- While weekly deShedding is fine for short hair pets, medium to long hair pets may need to be deShedded a few minutes each day to prevent mats, tangles and dirt.
- If your pet does have mats and tangles, it’s best to brush your pet to remove them before using the deShedding tool. Using the tool on matted or tangled fur can bend or break the teeth.
- Keep your deShedding sessions fun and positive. Remember, you can always take a break and continue the session later if necessary.
- When you groom, brush or deShed your pet, check for any changes in your pet’s skin and coat. Talk to your professional groomer or see your veterinarian if you notice anything unusual.
- While shaving may seem like a good fix for your dog’s shedding, it can change the texture of the coat, interrupt the natural shedding cycle and impair your dog’s ability to regulate body temperature. FURminatordeShedding Tools provide a healthier solution to shedding management.
- The condition of your pet’s coat is directly affected by his diet. Feeding your pet advanced nutritional food has many benefits for improved overall health, like a shinier coat, strong muscles and healthy teeth and bones.
Comprehensive Horse Health Begins One Cell at a Time.
Platinum Performance® Equine Wellness Formula is a comprehensive foundation formula for all horses. Platinum addresses equine health at the cellular level, providing a special blend of more than 55 ingredients that supports the fundamental health of each of your horse’s 12 trillion cells. Healthy cells mean a healthy horse. That’s the Platinum difference.
Each serving, stated above, equals 1 scoop of Platinum Performance® Equine Wellness Formula. Our recommendation is 2 scoops a day for an adult horse.
Anywhere in the country, it’s always possible for fleas, ticks and other dangerous vectors to infect your dog. It only takes one bite to potentially spread disease. That’s why you only need the fast-cating, long-lasting, broad-spectrum protection of Vectra 3D®
Kills through contact; parasites don’t have to bite to die
Begins reducing flea feeding in 5 minutes; kills fleas in 6 hours.
Broad Spectrum Protection
Repels and kills fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, biting and sand flies, lice and mites (excluding mange mites).
A repelled vector does not attach or bite your dog; therefore repellent action may reduce the risk of vectors spreading disease to your dog.
Kills adult fleas and prevents the development of all immature stages of fleas: eggs, larvae and pupae.
Remains effective after bathing and swimming.
Protects for 1 month.
Protection for puppies as young as 7 weeks of age.
Patented applicator makes it super easy to use.
DO NOT USE VECTRA3D® ON CATS
For more information visit www.vectrapet.com
EHV-1 Outbreak and Quarantine Information February 28, 2013 Revised information is italicized A horse participating in the Horse Shows in the Sun (HITS) horse show in Ocala was referred to the University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine after showing clinical neurological signs on February 20th. The horse subsequently tested positive for the Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1), wild-type strain. Currently, the horse is in stable condition and continues to be treated at the University of Florida. There are no additional suspected or confirmed cases of the neurological form of the disease at this time. Five additional horses that are linked to the HITS Show in Ocala have tested positive for EHV-1 wild type. One is located at Redfield Farm in Ocala, four are located at Miles Away Farm in Loxahatchee, Florida. One horse not believed to be linked with any of the HITS-associated quarantined premises has also been positive for EHV-1. This horse is located at Tequestrian Farm in Wellington, Florida. None of the six new positive horses have exhibited neurological signs at this time. While the additional positive horses were detected after leaving the Showgrounds, they resided in Tent 3 and Tent 6 in proximity to Tent 7 which housed the index case. With evidence of more widespread exposure, the HITS Showgrounds have been placed under quarantine. The Division of Animal Industry is continuing their disease investigation and developing protocols for surveillance and quarantine release measures. An Incident Command Team comprised of state and federal personnel is being mobilized to implement appropriate control measures. The FEI tent at Wellington Showgrounds was released from quarantine on Thursday, February 28, 2013 after test results for the horses tested on that premises were negative. Quarantined Farms/Premises** HITS Showgrounds, Ocala – Entire facility Up Country Farm/Synergy Farm, Ocala Montera Farm, Ocala Flutterby Farm, Ocala Foxwood Farms, Pinellas Park Black Forest Farm, St. Augustine Littlewood Farm, Wellington Brookmore Farm, Oviedo Kings Ridge Farm, Reddick • Tequestrian Farm, Wellington • Redfield Farm, Ocala • Miles Away Farm, Loxahatchee **The quarantines listed above do not necessarily encompass the entire premises. None Premises Released from Quarantine FEI tent at Wellington Showgrounds – February 28, 2013 Recommendations for horses that have shown at HITS since February 5, 2013 include close monitoring of animals, reporting of fevers greater than 101.5 and strict bio-security measures for at least 21 days after departure from HITS.
Additional movement requirements or restrictions have not been imposed by Florida or any other states at this time. We are advising horse owners and trainers to contact the venue of destination for any additional requirements prior to travel.
We are asking all those in the equine community to practice prudent bio-security on their farm and to report any suspected cases of EHV-1. For reporting, you may call 850-410-0900 Monday through Friday 8:00am-5:00pm and 1-800-342-5869 after hours and weekends. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services with continue to work with HITS management, trainers, and veterinarians to ensure proper safeguards are taken to prevent further spread of the disease. Frequent informational updates will be provided, so please continue to visit this Website regularly (http://www.freshfromflorida.com/ai/). Additional Resources: More information on the Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) can be found at the following Websites: American Association of Equine Practitioners, http://www.aaep.org/health_articles.php?category=Equine+Herpesvirus+%28EHV%29 Gluck Equine Research Center, University of Kentucky, http://www.ca.uky.edu/gluck/BiblioEHV1.asp University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine, http://extension.vetmed.ufl.edu/files/2012/02/EHV-June-2011.pdf Bio-security information, to help reduce the risk of spread contagious and infectious diseases can be found at the following Websites,
American Association of Equine Practitioners, http://www.aaep.org/pdfs/control_guidelines/Biosecurity_instructions%201.pdf United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA, APHIS), http://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/animal_health/content/printable_version/HorseBioSecurity_final.pdf
Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy has been proven effective in returning dogs to full function.
Does the dog bear full weight on the leg or does the dog limp?
Does the dog go into a full sit or sit crooked?
Does the knee of the affected leg the same size or small than the other?
Is there swelling to the inside of the knee?
Was the dog sore in the past and then improve with rest or did the dog become sore and stay sore?
When it comes to choosing the right knee injury or knee ligament tear surgery for dogs, many pet owners often times get confused. Currently, one of the most common surgery performed for canine ACL (CCL) injury dog is the TPLO or Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy.
When a dog tears its ACL, every time the dogs goes to stand or put weight on the leg, the femur slides/rubs on the back of the tibia. This rubbing causes pain and inflammation, which is very uncomfortable. This is why most dogs with a torn ACL will not even put any weight on the leg, or if they do, they will just toe touch the leg to the ground.
The true beauty of the surgery is that it completely alters the dynamics of the knee. Once the bone is cut and rotated the tibial plateau, where the femur and the tibia communicate, no longer can slide backwards. The knee is immediately stabilized. By doing so, this eliminates the need for the ACL ligament entirely and returns stability to the joint immediately. Once the knee is stabilized, the dogs will begin to use the limb again. As a result of the surgery correcting this issue immediately, this is the reason why dogs that undergo the procedure begin to use their leg so quickly after treatment.
Remember first that the main problem when a dog tears its ACL ligament is that when the dog goes to put their weight on the leg, the femur slides off the back side of the tibia, an area called the tibial plateau slope. The main philosophy behind the TPLO is to change the angle of this tibial plateau slope. By rotating the top part of the tibia, the once problematic tibial slope is now rotated so that it is flat; therefore the sliding action can no longer occur when the dog bears weight.
Internal parasites, or worms, are silent thieves and killers. They can cause extensive internal damage without you even realizing your animals are heavily infected. The effects of internal parasites on a horse range from a dull haircoat and unthriftiness to colic and death. Internal parasites lower the horse’s resistance to infection, rob the horse of valuable nutrients , and in some cases, cause permanent damage to the internal organs.
In terms of management priorities, establishing an effective parasite control program is probably second only to supplying the horse with clean, plentiful water and high-quality feed. It’s that important!
TYPES OF INTERNAL PARASITES
There are more than 150 species of internal parasites that can infect horses. The most common and troublesome are the following:
•Large strongyles (bloodworms or redworms) •Small strongyles •Roundworms (ascarids) •Tapeworms •Lungworms •Pinworms •Bots •Threadworms Probably the most important, in terms of health risk, are the first four: large and small strongyles, roundworms and tapeworms.
The lifecycle of most internal parasites involves eggs, larvae (immature worms), and adults (mature worms). Eggs or larvae are deposited onto the ground in the manure of an infected horse. They are swallowed while the horse is grazing, and the larvae mature into adults within the horse’s digestive tract (stomach or intestines). With some species of parasite, the larvae migrate out of the intestine, into other tissues or organs, before returning to the intestine and maturing into egg-laying adults.
Large strongyles, as larvae, penetrate the lining of the bowel and migrate along the blood vessels that supply the intestines. Even small numbers of these larvae can cause extensive damage and possibly death.
Infection with large strongyles can cause unthriftiness, weight loss, poor growth in young horses, anemia (low numbers of red blood cells) and colic. In most cases, colic caused by these parasites is relatively mild, but severe infections can result in loss of blood supply to a portion of the intestine, leading to severe and potentially fatal colic. Fortunately, large strongyles can be effectively controlled by most available dewormers for horses.
Small strongyles have become a group of major importance. Unlike the large strongyles, small strongyle larvae do not penetrate the intestinal wall or migrate through the tissues. Instead, they burrow into the lining of the intestine and remain dormant, or “encysted” (enclosed in a cyst-like structure), for several months before completing their life cycle. During this time, the larvae are resistant to most dewormers.
Small strongyle larvae can cause severe damage to the lining of the intestine, especially when large numbers of larvae emerge from the encysted stage all at once. Adult small strongyle females are very prolific and their eggs comprise over 95 percent of those found in fecal egg counts of horses. Colic and diarrhea are common in heavily infected horses. These parasites also cause weight loss, slowed growth in young horses, poor coat condition and lethargy or lack of energy. While lighter infections are not obvious, it is common for a horse’s general health and performance to improve after treatment for these parasites.
The early and late larval stages (before and after they burrow into the lining of the intestine) and the adult parasites are susceptible to several dewormers. But currently there are only two types of dewormer that are effective against the encysted larval stage—the stage that causes the most damage. Strategic use of these products is called larvicidal therapy, as it is targeted at the encysted larvae. Ask your veterinarian which products are currently most effective.
Roundworms, or ascarids, are most often a problem in young horses (especially foals, weanlings and yearlings). Adult roundworms are several inches long and almost the width of a pencil; in large numbers they can cause blockage (or impaction) of the intestine. In addition, roundworm larvae migrate through the internal organs until they reach the lungs. They are then coughed up and swallowed back into the digestive tract to complete their life cycle. Large infections can lead to damage to the liver or lungs due to migration of these larval forms. Expectant mares should be dewormed 30 days before foaling and/or at foaling to reduce the new foal’s exposure to these parasites.
Roundworm infection in young horses can cause coughing, poor body condition and growth, rough coat, pot belly and colic. Colic is most likely in older foals (over 3 months of age) that are heavily parasitized with roundworms when dewormed for the first time. By this stage, the roundworms can have matured into adults that could cause an impaction. In this situation, it is a good idea to have your veterinarian deworm the foal or recommend a deworming plan for the foal. Resistance to many of the dewormers has become a big problem in controlling ascarid infections in foals over the past 8 years.
Until recently, tapeworms weren’t considered to be a significant problem in horses. We now know that tapeworms can cause colic, ranging from mild cramping to severe colic that requires surgical treatment. The tapeworm life cycle involves a tiny pasture mite as an intermediate host, and horses are at a risk of developing tapeworm infection when they eat this mite in the grass, hay or grain.
Until recently, no equine dewormer was approved for use against tapeworms. Praziquantel has been demonstrated to be highly effective against tapeworms. Several pharmaceutical companies have developed combination products that offer a complete antiparasitic spectrum of activity. Horses should be dewormed for tapeworms annually. Consult your veterinarian for advice on the best product to use for your situation.
Other Internal Parasites
Lungworms cause chronic coughing in horses, ponies, and mules. Donkeys are the natural host of this parasite, so typically they don’t show any obvious signs of infection.
Pinworms lay their eggs on the skin around the horse’s anus. The irritation they cause makes the horse repeatedly rub its tail.
Threadworms are mostly a problem in young foals, in which they can cause diarrhea.
Bots don’t usually cause major health problems, although they can damage the lining of the stomach where they attach. Since ivermectin has become such an easy deworming medication to obtain, bots are rarely found in properly dewormed horses. They may also cause small areas of ulceration in the mouth, where the larvae burrow into the tissues for a time after the eggs are taken into the mouth.
SIGNS OF PARASITISM
Contrary to popular belief, horses can have potentially dangerous numbers of internal parasites while still appearing to be relatively healthy. But in some individuals, especially young horses, parasites can take a visible toll. Common signs of parasitism include the following:
•Dull, rough haircoat •Lethargy (decreased energy) or depression •Decreased stamina •Unthriftiness or loss of condition •Slowed growth in young horses •Pot belly (especially in young horses) •Colic •Diarrhea FECAL EGG COUNTS
One of the most useful tools in a parasite control program is the fecal egg count—microscopic examination of fresh manure for parasite eggs. This simple test allows the veterinarian to determine which parasites are present and whether the infection is light, moderate, or heavy. This information is important in developing a deworming program for your horse or farm, and in monitoring the effectiveness of the program.
Fecal egg count involves collecting two or three fresh manure balls from the horse to be tested and sending the manure sample to a veterinary laboratory. Results are expressed as eggs per gram (epg) of manure. A fecal egg count of less than 200 epg suggests a light parasite load. Horses with high fecal egg counts of 500-1000 epg suggest the interval between deworming is too long.
It is important to note that a negative fecal examination does not mean the horse is free of internal parasites. Some types of parasites produce eggs only intermittently. Larvae do not produce eggs at all, and may be present in large numbers in a horse with a fecal egg count of zero. And tapeworm eggs may be missed with routine fecal egg count techniques. The results are most useful when several horses on a farm are tested on the same day. This information gives the veterinarian and farm manager a good idea of the level of parasitism on the property.
There are several different dewormers, or anthelmintics, currently available. Most are broad-spectrum, meaning that they are effective against several different types of parasites. It is generally best to use a broad-spectrum dewormer as the basis of your deworming program. If a specific problem is identified, such as tapeworms or encysted small strongyles, a more specific dewormer can be used.
No deworming product is 100 percent effective in ridding every horse of all internal parasites. However, it is not necessary for a product to kill every worm in order to improve the horse’s health, minimize the risk of serious disease, improve feed efficiency, and reduce pasture contamination with parasite eggs and larvae.
Daily dewormers can be worthwhile in grazing horses. With these products, a small quantity of dewormer is fed to the horse each day, usually in a small amount of feed. They effectively prevent new infections by larvae picked up during grazing. But they may not resolve existing infections and they do not kill bots, so they should not be relied upon as the sole method of parasite control. Since the use of the level of drug given each day only prevents infection, it is important to remove existing infections with an effective purge dewormer prior to beginning daily treatment.
The various deworming compounds each have benefits and weaknesses against different parasites as well as a defined period of time for which they are effective. It is a good idea to have your veterinarian help you determine the best deworming interval for your horse. Fecal egg counts can be very useful in this regard, as well as in evaluating the effectiveness of the product you are using.
Methods of Administration
There are three main ways of administering dewormers:
•Oral paste syringe •Feed additive (powder, liquid, or pellets) •Nasogastric (stomach) tube All three methods are effective, provided the proper dose is given at the right time, and the horse receives the full dose. The dose must be calculated based on the horse’s body weight. Weight tapes are an accurate enough way of estimating a horse’s body weight for this purpose.
Deworming pastes and feed additives are convenient and easy to administer. However, some horses find them unpalatable and spit them out or refuse to eat them. So be sure that all of the dose you’ve given is actually consumed by the horse.
Tube deworming is a highly effective means of ensuring that the horse receives the proper dose because the dewormer is delivered directly into the horse’s stomach. However, with the range of dewormers now available, it is seldom necessary for a veterinarian to deworm a horse by this method.
DESIGNING A DEWORMING PROGRAM
There are two basic types of deworming programs:
•Continuous— feeding a daily dewormer year-round or throughout the grazing season •Strategic— deworming only at certain times of the year or when fecal egg counts rise Combination programs can also be used. For example, continuous deworming can be supplemented with strategic deworming for bots.
There is no single deworming program that suits all horses and all situations. The ideal program for your horse(s) depends on the type, number and ages of the horses on your farm, pasture management and your geographic location. It is best to have your regular veterinarian help you devise an appropriate deworming program for your horse or farm.
Having your veterinarian perform fecal egg counts to determine the amount of egg shedding that your horse has is important. This information will help ensure that the dewormers that are being used are effective and also help determine the frequency of deworming necessary to keep your horse healthy. The outlay of time and money will be well worth it.
A COMPLETE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
Chemical control using dewormers is just one part of a complete parasite control plan. As parasites are primarily transferred through manure, good management is essential:
•Keep the number of horses per acre to a minimum to prevent overgrazing and reduce pasture contamination with parasite eggs and larvae •Pick up and dispose of manure regularly (at least twice a week, even in dirt or sand yards) •Do not spread manure on fields to be grazed by horses; instead, compost it in a pile away from the pasture •Mow and harrow pastures periodically to break up manure piles and expose parasite larvae to the elements (larvae can survive freezing, but they cannot tolerate extreme heat and drying for very long) •Consider rotating pastures by allowing sheep or cattle to graze them, thereby interrupting the life cycles of equine parasites •Keep foals and weanlings separate from yearlings and older horses to minimize the foals’ exposure to ascarids and other parasites •Use a feeder for hay and grain rather than feeding on the ground •Remove bot eggs regularly from the horse’s haircoat (flea combs work well in some instances)
Ever had the experience where your beloved pet races up to see you in an excited frenzy trying to be as close to you as possible? The only thingmaking this situation awkward is the extremely bad odor that is coming from your pet’s mouth. A common misunderstanding is that our pets have bad breath because of the things they eat or the other behaviors (licking etc.) they display. Our pets are never going to have minty fresh breath, but their breath should certainly never be offensive. Bad breath or “halitosis” is caused by a number of different things, but most commonly it is due to the buildup of plaque and tartar along the teeth and gum line. The buildup of these materials is not only causing bad breath but it is also causing periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is the number one medical problem in our pets over the age of 7, and left untreated, leads to tooth decay and recession of the gum line. In severe cases, bacteria harboring in the gingival tissue, can enter the blood stream and be a source of infection in the heart or kidneys. As the periodontal disease progresses so does the amount of discomfort in our pet’s mouths. Most of us can relate to the pain that is associated with a broken or infected tooth. Our pets feel the same pain, the problem is they don’ have a way to let us know they are hurting. I can remember numerous times when owners would come back into our practice a week after their pet had dental work to let us know how amazed they were at the difference in their pet’s attitude and demeanor.
There are certain things that predispose our pets to getting dental disease. Small breed dogs and dogs that have flat faces (brachycephalic) are way more prone to getting periodontal disease. The main reasons are that their teeth are crowded in their mouth and as a general rule they live longer than the large or giant breed dogs. This gives them more of an opportunity to have advanced periodontal disease. Small breed dogs are also not known as being great chewers, so they don’t have the natural mechanical breakdown of plaque and tartar. Large breed dogs can certainly develop periodontal disease and are more prone to fractured teeth because most of these dogs love to chew on, things….. often times things they are not suppose to be chewing on but that is a topic for another day. Soft food diets are also a concern in developing periodontal disease. Hard foods must be chewed and the process of chewing the hard kibble acts like a tooth pick to break down the tartar and plaque. As our pets get older the need for dental care increases. This makes sense because with each passing year there is more and more build-up of plaque and tartar on our animals teeth. Any pet that is over 7 years of age, is considered to be at a greater risk for periodontal disease.
As we have briefly discussed above, it can be challenging to know the extent of our pets dental issues. The number one sign is bad breath, but that may only be the beginning. Animals that have severe periodontal disease may drool more than normal, paw at their face, or simply stop eating. We have had several cases in our hospital of pets that stopped eating all together or would only eat soft foods. When they were brought in for evaluation, we found either severe periodontal disease or fractured teeth. These cases are however the extreme, as 95% of the dental cleanings performed in our hospital are on animals that have mild to moderate periodontal disease. A good oral exam performed by your veterinarian is the best way to assess your pet’s oral health. Regular exams allow problems to be identified early on and hopefully treated with much less stress/pain to the patient and cost to you the owner.
The old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is absolutely right. Preventing periodontal disease starts at home. We have already discussed feeding a hard kibble as part of your pet’s diet. There are numerous dental treats on the market that are designed to help with the mechanical breakdown of plaque and tartar. Other options include in home mouth rinses and dental chews that contain chlorhexidine to fight the bacteria that produce the tartar. The best in home prevention is still “simply” brushing your dog’s teeth. I put simply in quotation marks because for any of us that have tried this, it can be a challenge. It is always best to start when your pets are young. They become familiar to the process and do not resist. I can honestly say that in our practice the owners who brush their dog’s teeth 2 to 3 times per week, their dogs have significantly less periodontal disease. Your pets will need to have a dental cleaning by a veterinarian at some point in their life. The process is very similar to human dental cleaning. Veterinarians use an ultrasonic scaler to remove the plaque and tartar above and below the gum line and then the teeth are polished and treated with fluoride. The average patient has their teeth cleaned once every two years after the age of 7. The bottom line is that our pets need to have their teeth checked on a routine basis so that you and your veterinarian can stay on top of your pets dental needs.
Ryan Royse DVM
Argyle Veterinary Hospital
Argyle, TX 76262
The summer heat wave is finally here. Now that the rain has stopped, environmental allergens are blooming, and you may be noticing a change in your dogs
Behavior. Have you noticed an increase in head shaking, ear scratching, foot chewing, or possibly hot spots on their skin? These could be due to seasonal allergies which are becoming a fast problem this time of year.
Unlike people, who sneeze, cough, and have runny, itchy eyes, dogs manifest their allergies through their skin by scratching and ear infections. Dogs can be allergic to fleas, food, and environmental allergens such as grasses and pollens.
You may be noticing a bad smell from the ears; allergies can cause ear infections. Yeast and bacteria thrive in dark places. Risk factors such as floppy ears, ear canals overgrown with hair, and swimming can predispose dogs to ear infections and exacerbate clinical symptoms. Proper grooming and after- swimming ear care is very important to reduce the risk of infection. Ears need to be flushed with a cleanser that has a drying-agent, to dry any water that may have been retained in the external ear canal. This precaution is also good for after baths or any activity involved with water. Most of the cleansers that come from a veterinary hospital change the pH in the ear to make it harder for yeast and bacteria to grow. Infected ears are usually red, swollen, have a strong odor, and may have discharge that comes back after they have been
The skin can also become puritic (itchy) with allergies, and you may notice them scratching even if no fleas are present. Chewing on feet is another symptom of Allergies. Excessive licking, chewing, and scratching can lead to secondary skin infection, which may need to be treated with antibiotics, antihistamines, and possibly medicated shampoos. Once a skin infection starts, it can spread over all of the skin very quickly and become painful and expensive to treat. Noticing problems like these early is key to fast relief and less expense. Hot spots are another problem that can result from licking and chewing. This is a moist dermatitis that can start the size of a ping pong ball and go to the size of a ping pong paddle in no time. This is a very painful skin infection and may require sedation to clean properly.
Allergy season can be a frustrating time of year. Your veterinarian can help you determine if your pet is suffering from allergies and how best to treat your pet.
Please call Argyle Veterinary Hospital at (940)464-3231 if you have any questions about allergies or anything else that we can help you with.
Obesity in Pets
One of the fastest growing problems in Veterinary Medicine is obesity in pets. As owner’s lives have become busier; the time allotment for pets has decreased. Fortunately, there are now ways to help combat this problem and still allow owners to keep up with their normal lives.
First and foremost, diet and exercise are the best ways to help a pet lose weight. However, nobody has time to exercise their dogs three hours a day like they need. There are some low calorie/high fiber food options that restrict the caloric intake, but do not make the dog/cat think they are on a diet. I recommend Purina OM (overweight management) to help reduce the calories and aid in weight loss. Purina has developed a feeding schedule that takes into consideration the pet’s weight and body condition score. A body condition score is a body sizing chart based on a 1-9 scale with 4-5 being the ideal size. The daily feeding guide recommends how much to feed and also suggests how many treats can be fed. It includes a treat suggestion page for the owner to use. The program works on a monthly weigh-in cycle that allows the owner to adjust the food amount each month until the ideal weight is reached and then the maintenance amount of food can be established. Throughout this process exercise is recommended to aid in the weight loss.
If weight loss is not accomplished with diet and exercise, there are other avenues to pursue, so do not lose hope. Obesity can also be a sign of other underlying diseases such as hypothyroidism or hypoadrenocorticism (Cushing’s disease). To determine if your pet has any of these diseases, blood work is needed for diagnosis. Once blood work has been performed and your pet has been diagnosed, appropriate medication will be prescribed. Over time, the weight should decrease with help of diet and exercise.
Having tried diet and exercise and determined that your pet does not have any underlying disease for obesity, there is a new product on the market that could help. This new product, Slentrol, helps reduce the pet’s appetite, therefore helping the pet lose weight. It works by blocking the food uptake mechanism; therefore the dogs think they are full. In order to work successfully, the owner needs to retrain themselves on how to correctly feed and exercise the pets. This drug does not have lasting effects, therefore, (here it is again) diet and exercise are very important in maintaining the pet’s new physique. Unfortunately, this drug is only available for dogs.
By keeping your pet fit and trim, they will live a longer, happier life. Many diseases such as diabetes and secondary hip pain may be prevented by keeping your pet at a healthy weight.
If you have any questions, please ask your veterinarian and find out which weight loss program will benefit your pet the most.
Tips to determine if your pet is overweight:
1) Cannot feel ribs
2) Body looks like tube with no waist, no hour-glass figure (top view)
3) Heavy fat deposits over hips and by tail base
4) “pudgy abdomen” (side view)
Argyle Veterinary Hospital
Nicole Koenigsknecht, DVM
Thyroid gland does not produce enough hormone
The thyroid glands play an important role in the normal metabolism of all body cells. Hypothyroidism is the most common hormonal disorder of dogs and typically affects dogs between 4 to 10 years of age. Common signs of this illness include:
- Lethargy, reluctance to play or go on walks
- Tires easily after exercise
- Not as bright and alert or aware of surroundings as before
- Weight gain
- Heat seeking behavior – tends to seek sunlight, next to the refrigerator or heating vents to lie because these areas are warm
- Intestinal problems that may come and go such as diarrhea or vomiting
- Skin problems including hair loss that is symmetrical on both sides of your pet, dull dry coat, increased pigment to the skin, bacterial skin infections are also more common
- Some pets with hypothyroidism also have a slower than normal heart rate
Treatment involves daily thyroid hormone supplementation.
Thyroid gland produces too much hormone
The thyroid glands play an important role in the normal metabolism of all body cells. Hyperthyroidism is the most common hormonal disorder of cats and typically affects cats over 8 years of age. Common signs in cats include:
- Voracious appetite
- Weight Loss
- Heart murmurs due to cardiomyopathy
- Rough hair coat
Various treatment options exist including medications and surgery depending on the needs of the individual patient.