Friday, October 30, 2009

Keep your pets safe this Halloween

Transcript of personal comment from this episode of The Web-DVM:

In my personal comment today, on the eve of Halloween, I wish to educate owners on potential dangers that this holiday can pose to our pets. Beginning with cats, especially darkly colored or black cats, there are historical and deep seeded superstitions among some people regarding black cats' association with bad omens or witchcraft on Halloween. Unfortunately, this premise not uncommonly leads to a few disturbed individuals that take these superstitions seriously to a point that they would do harm to a loose feline, especially if darkly colored. That is why in the days leading up to Halloween, the day itself, and for a few days after, it is recommended that you keep all cats indoors and out of harms way from superstitious loons that would wish to do them harm.

Next, let's talk about candy. This is less a problem with cats, but a very common problem with dogs getting into and feasting one or more stashes of candy. This can lead of course to GI disturbance, including vomiting and diarrhea, but can also lead to more serious consequences.

In the case of mass consumption, dogs typically will not take the time to spit out plastic wrappers, but will instead consume the candy, wrappers and all. If enough wrappers are consumed in a short period of time, they can get jammed up in the gut, and cause life threatening GI obstruction, resolvable only by surgical removal in many cases.

If large quantities of chocolate are consumed, there is a component of chocolate called thiobromine, that is liver toxic in certain concentration in dogs, making ingestion of large quantities of chocolate potentially life threatening.

If you are a pumpkin carver, know that dogs absolutely love the taste of pumpkin pulp, making them usually willing to consume as much as is available to eat. While this is not life threatening, pumpkin has a laxative effect on dogs, with large consumed quantities enough to give your dog a case of gas and diarrhea that could make your whole family's life miserable. I speak from experience on this one, with my wife an I to this day, still reminiscing about our mutt Lulu's pumpkin farts from the Halloween of 2001, when she dined on the guts of three carved pumpkins after getting into the garbage. It was a smell I will never forget, and seemed for go on for day without end!

So enjoy your your Halloween, to be sure, one of the most fun holidays for people and pets of all ages. To keep it safe for your pets, just be certain keep your cats inside, keep all candy out of reach of dogs, and do not leave pumpkin pulp accessible to your dogs.

Friday, October 23, 2009

You get what you pay for - pet health care is no exception

Transcript of personal comment of this episode of The Web-DVM:

In my personal comment today, I want to touch on a recent clearly evident shift in veterinary medicine, where we are finding ourselves increasingly less involved in preventive health care, with the paradigm having moved to where sick patients are representing a much greater percentage of our overall caseload. In a still troubling economic climate, many pet owners have either foregone preventive health care altogether, or have chosen to go to so called discount clinics, where they can get spays, neuters, and vaccines at bargain basement prices.

It is the latter that I want to focus on today, where health care is just like anything else: you usually get what you pay for. With regard to vaccines, inside anonymous sources have indicated that many of these discount clinics do not select their vaccines based on their being the best and safest, but instead coerce the veterinary pharmaceuticals into bidding wars, where the lowest bidder wins their account. As one may expect, the lowest bidder often tends to be a company that has a less than stellar track records with vaccine effectiveness, quality control, and safety.

Regarding spays and neuters, I have been informed by former staff of some of these places, that they save money by using one surgical instrument pack for multiple patients, rather than have a freshly cleaned, sterilized pack for each individual patient. I have been informed that they use outdated and less tolerated anesthetics and stitching materials because they are cheap, do not utilize the best quality and safest pain management medications, or even forgo pain medication altogether.

Finally, because the doctors of these clinics work with such volume, there are reports that some do not take the time to scrub between surgeries, nor cap, mask, or gown for each surgery, opting instead to simply change gloves.

I can clearly sympathize with people wishing to save money wherever they can in these trying economic times, but if you consider your pet a cherished family member as most of our subscribers and viewers do, saving by utilizing discount spay/neuter/vaccine clinics may not be the best place to save a buck.
Reputable full service veterinary clinics do not skimp on anesthetics, suture materials, advanced monitoring equipment, and quality vaccines. We utilize the gold standard pain management protocols and medicines, have a freshly sterilized surgical pack for each individual patient, and scrub, cap, mask, and gown for each surgery.
For me, compromising this standard of care to slash costs in order to get greater volume in my practice is not worth the price that my patients could pay, and the degree to which my conscience would suffer.

So I caution that the next time you may consider using a discount spay/neuter/vaccine clinic, that if it seems to good to be true, it probably is. Good medicine costs more, and for me, good medicine is not negotiable.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Way to go Philadelphia Eagles

From this week's episode of The Web-DVM:

- From cat food recall story, date codes for Premier Edge cat food brands recall:

RAF0501A22X 18lb
RAF0501A2X 6 lb.,
RAH0501A22X 18 lb.
RAH0501A2X 6lb.

- Transcript from personal comment:

In my personal comment today, I just want to say, "Way to go Philadelphia Eagles!" And I do not say that in any football sense of the phrase.

As reported by the, The Philadelphia Eagles are putting their money where their mouth is. Just a few months after catching flack for signing convicted dog felon, Michael Vick, the Eagles are making good on a promise to support animal welfare groups.

Earlier this week, the team unveiled a program called TAWK, which stands for Treating Animals With Kindness. According to the Eagles' TAWK press release, the initiative focuses on public education and awareness to reduce the abuse of animals, promote responsible adoption, encourage spay and neuter and put an end to dog fighting.

TAWK was developed in collaboration with animal welfare experts and will benefit from the reach of the Philadelphia Eagles' brand to advocate for responsible care and treatment of animals in the region and beyond.

Christina Lurie, Eagles Owner and Eagles Youth Partnership President Joe Banner, in conjunction with the heads of various animal welfare groups, together shared the details of the initiative and announced a half million dollar commitment for a grant program to support animal welfare organizations.

The Eagles organization will provide a matching grant of $50,000 each for three initial programs:

-- End Dogfighting Program - Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) will bring their grassroots, preventative method to tackle dogfighting in Philadelphia,

-- Low-cost Spay and Neuter Facility - Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) to support the construction of a low-cost spay and neuter facility in Philadelphia,

-- Mobile Veterinary Clinic - Berks County Humane Society to support their new mobile veterinary clinic that will serve neighborhoods in Reading, Chester and parts of Philadelphia, PA.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Home construction encroachment into wildlife habitats displaces animals and puts people and pets in danger.

Transcript of personal comment from this episode of The Web-DVM:

My personal comment tonight has to do with the abduction of Jessica Simpson's dog by a coyote, an occurrence that is becoming increasingly common in California. In addition to California, we are seeing attacks by wild predators to pets and small children in residential neighborhoods all over the country. Here in my home state of Florida, we regularly hear of attacks from bobcats, wild boars, alligators, and black bears.

Of course when this occurs to a beloved pet or child, our first natural reaction is severe anger and even violence toward the animal that perpetrated an attack. However, when one really thinks about it, is neither rational nor reasonable to blame wild animals for what they instinctively do: seek out prey in order to feed themselves and their young.

As we humans continue to expand into their natural habitats as we extend our settlements building ever further into their hunting territories, we risk paying the consequences.

To continue to build into the natural habitats of our wildlife, however, we do more than just place our pets and children in danger, we displace thousands of wild animals who are often killed as they encroach into what was once their hunting grounds.

To indiscriminately build residential neighborhoods in old forests and/or ever closer to wildlife preserves, places the future human inhabitants and their pets in danger, but also tragically displaces thousands of wildlife species, many of which are not even predators that are dangerous to man or pet.

So we should not aim our vitriol toward the coyotes, bobcats, black bears, or wild boars when these incidents occur. We should instead advocate for common sense home building that provides the housing needs of a growing population, while remaining sensitive to avoiding wildlife rich woods and forests.

Why anyone is building new homes right now is beyond me anyway. With a foreclosure market that has rendered our homes virtually worthless, what is the economical sense in BUlLDING MORE HOMES? Yet it is happening right here in my local jurisdiction with prominent developers currently making a pitch to our town council to build more houses in an area rich in wildlife preserves - a beautiful treasure which brought many of us here in the first place and want to keep it that way!

A little common sense for our safety and regard for our nation's wildlife treasures can go a long way. Stay involved and informed with your local government, and make your voice heard when they choose to build irresponsibly close to or within wildlife areas.