Guest Post: dog walking safety by Dr Rex Riggs

Yea it is summer!  Wow, was that the worse winter you can remember?  Well, now we all are doing as much as possible outside as we can, and that includes doing a lot of those things with our dogs. Taking a walk with a dog is one of the best therapies I know to wind down after a hard day at work. The serene evening hours, to me, is the best time to take a stroll. But….be aware, danger may be right around the corner.

Many of us live in areas that have no sidewalks, so we often use the streets. I am an avid cyclist, so I know all too well, of the dangers on the road. People really don’t pay that much attention while they are driving. You need to be visible, even in daylight and almost to the obnoxious extreme, to make sure people know you are there. I have 2 lights in the front, two in the back on my bike and I dress head to toe in dayglow green cycling gear (sorry for the mental image!). You can definitely see me!

Read more

July is Pet Safety Month at Embrace

From the number of accident claims we process at Embrace, you'd think all our own pets were perfectly safe and never have anything bad happen to them. Things like accidental ingestion of underwear, puncture wounds, torn cruciate ligaments, allergic reactions, lacerations, animal bite wounds, and so on - the list goes on.

Well, accidents happen to all pets, even ours. You can't keep them wrapped in bubble wrap their whole lives (besides, some of them might chew on it). And as it happens, the list of accidents above actually happened to some of the pets of people who work at Embrace - yes, they happen to us too.

Safety is all about educating oneself and managing the risk in your pets life. Whether it be securing your home pool to prevent drowning or taking a pet first aid course, there's a lot you can do and a lot to talk about this month.

Read more

Podcast: summer dangers and your pets

Dr Patrick and I talk today about summer health dangers. Things like heat stroke, water safety, parasites, pesticides and so on. I know that many of you have warmer weather all year round but even still, there are issues your pet faces in the summer months more than others. 

Here are the questions we discuss in our podcast:

  1. Chrissy: What are the signs of pet heat stroke? I think this one is extremely important because many pet parents do not realize how easily this can happen (myself included prior to working at the vet). One of our clients took their sheltie on a 5k walk on a hot summer day and it almost died. 
  2. Karen: My dog plays in the tall grass and woods and will occasionally pick up a tick. I do use Frontline on all of my pets but is there anything else I can use to help repel fleas/ticks? Is it ok to use a collar like Seresto with the Frontline? Do you have any suggestions for additional protection? I do have cats in the house and I know some canine treatments are toxic to cats.
  3. Carrie: how do you feel about holistic flea/tick/heartworm preventions?
  4. Jenna: any help with lawn weed and feed stuff? I have little clovers and other weeds popping up everywhere but Lou thinks he's a cow or a goat or something. He eats so much of it, I'm afraid to try anything for it.
  5. Karin: any specific tips on water safety? I recently read about a case of dry drowning and thought that perhaps you could share more about that.
  6. Josh: Any advice on dogs that get frightened by booming fireworks? Even being inside and the noise being muffled, he hears them and starts shaking.
  7. Karin: one last one – what about toads. Are they really that bad?

Dr Patrick also mentions the Pet Poison Helpline's page on toads, which is here.

Read more

Guest Post: what do generic drugs, ticks, and bats have in common?

They are all on Dr Rex Riggs' mind as he ponders what's going on in his veterinary world this summer.

Name Brand medications vs. Generics-Sometimes there is a difference…

To be certified a "generic" by the Food and Drug Administration, a drug has to have the same "active ingredient" as its brand name equivalent. The generic has to have an efficiency rate plus or minus 20% of the effectiveness of the name brand. This is very important point. If you get one batch of generics that is 20% below the name brand’s effectiveness and you refill it with a batch that is 20% more effective than the brand name, that is a 40% difference.  

For antibiotics, the variance does not make a big difference.  For NSAIDS (like Rimadyl and Metacam), thyroid medications (Soloxine), antidepressants, or any other drug that has a narrow therapeutic or safety range, it can make a huge difference.  

In addition, generics are not required to use the same binders as the name brand. It is the binders that are responsible for how the body absorbs the active ingredient; therefore, generics might be absorbed differently in the body (gel caps compared to pills, for instance), which affects efficacy. 

For these reasons, we do not like using generics in place of Rimadyl, Metacam or Soloxine at our hospital. Something to ask about at your next vet visit if you are seeing varying results in your pet's response to these generic medications.  

Read more

June is Summer Dangers Month at Embrace Pet Insurance

While I was thinking about this article while out running the other day, a fox ran crossed my path towards a nearby homestead farm, and I thought, yup, that's definitely a summer danger that doesn't come up much in the standard internet articles (those poor chickens!) 

Another summer danger that might not come to mind is a pack of marauding urban stray dogs. I've faced that awful experience one hot August night in Cleveland suburb, something I'll never forget.

There are, of course, dangers that are top of mind:
  • sunburn (those pink ears and noses get burnt just like our skin does) 
  • pets in cars/heat stroke/dehydration (can happen in just a few minutes) 
  • snake bites
  • yard treatments (insecticide/fertilizers/herbicide),
  • heartworm/ticks
  • boating/pools/water (including dry drowning),
  • bee and other insect stings (while painful, at worst can cause an extreme allergic reaction)

This month, we'll be talking about these issues that can affect the health of your dogs and cats in unexpected ways.

Have you experienced any of these conditions? Any others to share?

Read more

Get an Embrace Pet Insurance Quote