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.  

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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?

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Podcast: keeping your pet fit and healthy

Dr Patrick Mahaney and I discuss the whys and wherefors of pet fitness, which goes to show, just when you know it all, there's more.

In our podcast, we answer these questions:
  1. What tips do you have for running with your dog? Frequency, distance, and what to take with you. How doyou know if you are going too far for your dog (apart from the obvious refusal to go any further)
  2. In addition, how do you get an overweight cat or dog on a fitness regime without hurting and optimize success
  3. How do you exercise indoor cats? If you keep them lean, do you really need to exercise them?
  4. While you might run or walk vigorously with your larger dogs, what about exercising smaller dogs. I don’t often see Yorkies or Chihuahuas walking on a leash.
  5. What do you think of services like Whistle (an on-collar device that measures your dog’s activities, giving you a new perspective on day-to-day behavior and long-term health trends)
  6. Are there fitness supplements you can get for more active dogs such as agility or dock dogs?

Click on the link below to hear the audio:
Podcast: Laura Bennett & Dr Patrick Mahaney Pet Fitness 2014

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Guest Post: the benefits of exercising your pets

Exercise is so important, not only in our lives, but also our pets. We have an obligation to make our pets' lives as happy as they can be and exercise is a big part of that. It is fun for you and your pets and allows time for you to enjoy each other’s company. Did you know exercise can actually increase your pet’s life by up to 30% and can decrease the incidence of orthopedic problems by a third!

Exercise keeps your dog trim, and helps to maintain muscle tone and actually helps build strong bones (sounds like Wonder Bread!) If our life consisted of a continuous nap, interrupted twice daily to chow down, we also would be a blob. Everyone needs to burn off at least as many calories as we take in or we will gain weight. It ain’t rocket science folks! Get up and make your pets move.

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May is Pet Fitness Month at Embrace Pet Insurance

Hazel doing dogaSee this picture? It is my favorite pet exercise picture from Embrace - Hazel doing her doga with us Embracers struggling to keep up.

All fun aside, it is important to keep your dog or cat fit as part of their overall health regime - just like us humans. Now that doesn't mean you have to take your dog out running  or start walking your cat on a leash, although those are fun activities. Regular active playing, making your pet work for his/her food, and fun toys also count.

This month, we are focusing pet fitness at Embrace.

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