Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What NOT to give (pet owners) this holiday season

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Dear Readers, Listeners, and Viewers 

The winter holiday season is a great time to give pet enthusiasts a little something special to pamper their beloved pets...but, there are some things you really should steer clear of purchasing stated furry companions, otherwise risk injury, illness, or worse.  I know I may have missed the boat with some of you Black Friday and Cyber Monday crowd, but tonight, I will highlight Dr. Roger's top ten list of pet holiday gift no-nos this holiday season.
In addition, we have 2 listener/viewer e-mail comments to address this evening.  If you wish to e-mail your questions/comments to be addressed on the air, you may do so any time at  We are also taking live calls, so feel free to call me during the broadcast if you are a live listener/viewer.
Thanks as always, for caring about what I have to say! :)
Roger Welton, DVM

Dr. Roger Welton is the President and chief veterinarian at Maybeck Animal Hospital in West Melbourne Florida, as well as CEO of the veterinary advice and health management website

Post Script

You will note that I did not include talking points in this archive, as I really prefer you watch or listen to this particular episode.  However, I will include my Number 1 WRONG gift to give pet owners or ANYBODY for that matter, since the majority of it got cut off from the video at the end (but not he podcast):


Folks, this is the reason that we see a spike in shelter turn ins this time of year, because people are given pets as gifts that they did not want, are ill prepared for, or simply cannot accomodate.  A pet is not a piece of property to be traded, bartered, passed around, or is a living, emotional being that derseves better than to be handed a life a neglect, hardship, or even euthanasia only because some jackass thought it would be cute or fun to bestow it as a gift.

Sorry the last couple of minutes got cut off from teh video...I did not realize I went beyond my 30 minute video limit. :-( 


Wednesday, November 14, 2012


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Listen to internet radio with Roger Welton DVM on Blog Talk Radio

Dear Listeners, Viewers and Readers:

 In case you are curious about the title of tonight's episode, please allow me to elaborate.  The definition of Cornphobia (my definition, that is, as you will not find it in Websters Dictionary or Wikipedia) is:
The general fear among certain pet owners that the feeding of corn as an integral component to most pet foods is the root of most diseases in dogs and cats.  This assertion in most cases comes, not from a veterinarian, but from correspondence with groomers, breeders, and "homeopathic" gurus either in person or, most commonly, through internet forums.  This notion often takes precedence in the minds of affected pet owners to the opinion of licensed veterinarians, even in circumstances where disease specific nutrition is medically necessary to maintain the health and quality of life of a patient, and stated prescription diet is shunned or even dismissed because it contains corn.
You may note that my definition carries a bit of a facetious tone to it because, as you may have guessed my position as a doctor is that, for the lion’s share of pets, cornphobia has no medical relevance and is often engaged in to the detriment of the patient.  This detriment is clearly evident when aforementioned disease specific nutrition is ignored over corn based ingredients, but also from a general standpoint when owners would be willing to choose any diet out there simply because of its lack of corn, not taking into account that the nutrient breakdown may not be species appropriate, and that such diets often do not come with the AFCO, a certification attainable only for diets that meet the minimum standards of pet nutrition and all claims have been substantiated by actual feeding trials. 
This all stated, however, it would be wrong to completely dismiss cornphobia, as most urban myths/legends have some root in reality.  As such, I will discuss how cornphobia likely originated, how it so effectively permeated pet owner culture, and how this all realistically pertains to you pets.  So please tune in and feel free to offer your comments/concerns by e-mail or live call in (listener/viewer e-mail address is
Thanks as always, for caring about what I have to say. J
Roger Welton, DVM  

Episode talking points:

1)    There is a growing number of pet owners that feel corn is not good for dogs and cats to eat as a nutrient source that is present in most pet foods. 

2.)    Many pet owners go so far as to link the root of many major diseases in dogs and cats, to the feeding of pet food with corn ingredients.

3.)    Many pet owners will go so far as to dismiss disease specific nutrition because a prescription disease specific diet may have corn in its ingredients.

4.)    The truth is that corn is a very valuable and inexpensive source of nutrients, such as amino acids, beta carotene, B complex vitamins, fiber, and carbohydrates.

5.)    We will be celebrating an upcoming holiday commemorating Native Americans coming to the aid of sick and starving European settlers, by offering them the means to grow and harvest corn, a crop that was the staple of Native American nutrition and a key to their health and ability to feed their people. 

6.)    Bonafide corn allergies do exist in dogs and cats, but they are rare, with corn rating higher than 25 on most food allergy statistics. 

7.)    Many of the corn free diets are not properly nutrient balanced for species and life stages.

8.)    Many corn free diets do not have the AAFCO seal of approval, an organization that provides its seal only by a diet meeting minimum standards of pet nutrition and evidence of label claims being substantiated by actual feeding trials.    

Dr. Roger Welton is the President and chief veterinarian at Maybeck Animal Hospital in West Melbourne Florida, as well as CEO of the veterinary advice and health management website

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Don't let your pets suffer from pancreatitis

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Dear Listeners, Viewers, and Readers:

Every holiday season brings with it, unique inherent dangers for our pets.  Tonight, I will be talking about one such danger, a potentially deadly disease known as pancreatitis.

While this is not an uncommon disease to encounter in veterinary practice, the veterinary profession sees a significant spike in these cases every holiday season.

Tune in this evening to find out why this is the case, and what steps you can take to prevent your pets from becoming afflicted with pancreatitis, not only this holiday season, but at any time in their lives.

We also have one e-mail question to address this evening, and let's not forget that in our new live format, we are also taking live calls.  Please direct all e-mail comments/questions to  

Thanks for all your support and for caring about what I have to say! :)


Roger Welton, DVM

Episode talking points:

1) Each year during the holidays, veterinarians will see many more cases of vomiting dogs than normal. These pets are often suffering from a potentially fatal disease called pancreatitis.

2) Pancreatitis is a painful condition caused by inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is an organ responsible for providing digestive enzymes as well as insulin in our pets.

3) Typically, the digestive enzymes produced by the pancreas are stored in an inactive form that is released into the intestines. Once outside of the pancreas, the enzymes are activated and begin the process of breaking down proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

4) For reasons that are not understood, occasionally the enzymes are triggered early and start damaging the pancreas and surrounding tissues. Veterinarians recognize that this can appear suddenly (acute pancreatitis) or develop slowly over time (chronic pancreatitis).

5) The two things to remember about acute pancreatitis are that it commonly occurs around the holidays and that it is VERY painful for the pet. This disease is more often seen in dogs than in cats.

6) Pet lovers often want to share some of the holiday dinner with their four legged friends, but it is believed that the fatty nature of the foods prompts the disease.

7) Pets with pancreatitis will seem to act “off” and then proceed to a painful abdomen. Diarrhea often develops and the hallmark symptom is vomiting.

8) Cats are more often afflicted with chronic pancreatitis. This is a result of long-standing inflammation and leads to irreversible damage.

9) Pets that are obese or who recently consumed a high fat meal are at highest risk for pancreatitis. Many of these pets have eaten greasy turkey, ham trimmings or even the holiday gravy.

10) Pancreatitis can also develop concurrently with other diseases like Cushing’s disease or diabetes or can occur due to some drugs, toxins or bacterial/viral infections.

11) Without treatment, pets may become dehydrated and suffer life-threatening heart arrhythmias or blood clotting issues.

12) Although there is no clear cut sign or test for pancreatitis, veterinarians may perform blood tests and x-rays in order to rule out other problems. Obstruction of the GI tract and kidney or liver disease are possible alternative causes for the clinical signs.

13) Sadly, there is no direct treatment for pancreatitis. The mainstay of treatment is to control pain and other symptoms. The pancreas can heal itself, but it is important that the affected pet avoid any food or water by mouth for several days.

14) Hospitalization is indicated along with IV fluids and other medications. Proper pain control is vital.

15) Some pets seem to get recurring bouts of pancreatitis. This could be due to a predisposition to eating the wrong things, genetic factors or even other concurrent diseases.

16) Pet owners should avoid the temptation to feed the pet from the table, especially leftover turkey or ham. Also, be aware of any changes in your pet’s stance or eating behavior. These could be early signs of pancreatitis.

17) Call your veterinarian immediately if any of these symptoms are noted…it could save your pet’s life!

Dr. Roger Welton is the President and chief veterinarian at Maybeck Animal Hospital in West Melbourne Florida, as well as CEO of the veterinary advice and health management website