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.

We also have some great articles on the Water Bowl on exercise and pet fitness:

How do you keep your pet fit?



Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney Talks on Maximizing Your Pet's Overall Health

Dr Patrick and I talk about pet health and we kick things off by going over Dr Patrick's top three things a pet owner can do to maximize her pet’s health.

We also discuss the following questions:

  1. Jenny: perhaps Dr Patrick could give us more information on reverse sneezing? I was at a clinic the other day where a client came in as an emergency because he didn't know what was happening. I know how scary it can be if a client is not familiar with this.
  2. Laura: do we need to worry about our pets’ mental health? We often talk about their physical health but do we need to worry about their mental health as well?
  3. Krystal: which vaccines are necessary for older fully vaccinated pets. She says “I used to get this a lot from clients. There's a lot of controversy on if it's necessary due to fibrosarcomas.”
  4. Darcy: her new cat, Mr. Meow Meow, does not drink water unless she mixes his wet food with water and make it soup. As a result, he actually drinks a lot of water. How does she know if she’s giving him TOO MUCH water? Is that even possible?
  5. Jenny: what do we need to know about anal glands? Too many people "ignore" scooting and don't understand how much of a problem this can become if not cared for.
  6. Laura: how can you tell if your cat isn’t in as good health as he/she should be? Cats don’t often tell us they are sick but there must be some signs that we might not notice as lay people that are important.

Click on the link below to hear the audio:

Laura Bennett Dr Patrick Mahaney Pet Health 2014

Related Posts 
April is Pet Health Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: We Miss the Cats
Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney talks on maximizing your pet's overall health

Other posts by Dr Patrick Mahaney

Dr Patrick MahaneyDr. Mahaney is a veterinarian from the University of Pennsylvania and a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist, having been inspired by his own chronic pain from Intervertebral Disc Disease to provide accupuncture to his veterinary clients. In addition to Dr Mahaney's house call integrative veterinary medicine business, California Pet Acupuncture and Wellness, he sees patients on an in-clinic basis at Veterinary Cancer Group in Culver City, CA. Dr Mahaney writes a veterinary column (Patrick's Blog) forwww.PatrickMahaney.com and contributes to a variety of media, including Perez Hilton's TeddyHilton.com, Fido Friendly, Veterinary Practice News, Healthy Pets and People with Dr Patrick on OutImpactRadio.com, and MSNBC Sunday with Alex Witt and Career Day. His first book, The Uncomfortable Vet, will be available in 2014 through Havenhurst Books



Guest Post: We Miss the Cats

We miss the cats…

Cats are unique in so many ways. Cats are an enigma. Cats appear so independent. They take care of themselves.

Dogs are just out there. What you see is what you get. Dogs are needier then cats. You often know day one when your dog is sick (my wife says dogs are like guys, I don’t see it). Dogs also are more specific in the signs and they show us where they hurt. 

Not cats! Are ya kiddin' me?! Cats are the great pretenders and compensators. This is a survival instinct.  If cats would show illness in the wild, they would be the first to be preyed upon. They will hide an illness until the last minute and they are rarely specific in their ailments, so when they do come in, they come in with what I call “sick cat syndrome”. Cats can really be a diagnostic challenge.

One of the big concerns in veterinary medicine is the decrease in cat visit to vets across the country.  People figure since the cat does not go out, why do they need to go to the vet? What possibly could inside cats get and how do they get sick living their cushy life inside?  Some cats, I know, are a pain in the rear end to get in the carrier to get them to the vet. But if you plan, you can make it a lot easier (here are some tips to help). They work.

Well… I will tell you why your cat needs a yearly exam, whether he gets vaccines or not. It is hard for owners to really gauge when a cat is losing weight. You see them every day. We weigh each animal we see, every time they come in. So what’s the big deal if my cat loses a pound since last year?  Well that is 10% of it’s body weight. It is like the average person losing 15 to 20 pounds.  We always hear a dog’s year is 7 human years. I would say for cat’s it is more like 5 years. A lot can change in 5 years. 

Causes in weight loss can be a myriad of things. Some of the most common are diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and kidney disease. All of these can be treated if caught early. 

One veterinary expert on cat diabetes, Dr Rand, estimates 90% of diabetic cats will not need long-term insulin, if caught early enough. 

Hyperthyroidism, a disease where the thyroid produces too much hormone, can be treated with a medication you rub in the inside of the ear. How easy is that! Kidney disease often can be managed with special foods if caught early. 

Cats are so easy to palpate, or feel.  Palpation of the abdomen by your vet, will easily tell your vet the size and shape of the internal organs, and it anything is there that shouldn’t be there. We often need to do blood work to see what is going inside of your pet as well.

Instead of regular visits, too often, we see cats in advanced stages of disease that treatment will not help; they have hidden their condition too long. Cats will use all of their nine lives before they will show signs of illness.

The take-home I want to impress upon you is your cat really does need to be examined yearly, even if you don’t see anything wrong, because the cat might just be hiding something from you.

Have you booked your annual appointment yet?

Related Posts 
April is Pet Health Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: We Miss the Cats

Other posts by Dr Riggs

 


Dr_RiggsDr. Rex Riggs grew up in Wadsworth, Ohio, near Akron. Dr Riggs is co-owner of Best Friends Veterinary Hospital in Powell, Ohio. He is also on the board of the North Central Region of Canine Companions of Independence, a board member of The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Society and Small Animal Practitioner Advancement Board at The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Riggs lives in Lewis Center, OH with his wife Nancy, their dogs Maggie and Ossa, and cat Franklin. Outside of work, Dr. Riggs is an avid golfer and cyclist, and enjoys travel and photography.



April is Pet Health Month at Embrace Pet Insurance

Even though you might have pet insurance to protect against costs from unexpected health events, the ideal situation is that your pet has no unexpected health events at all. Wouldn't that be nice?

To that effect, we're focusing this month on overall pet health and preventing health events as best we can.

And while we are talking of pet health this month, here are some excellent articles on the Embrace pet health site, The Water Bowl

And here's one final one for some Easter fun with your dog:

What do you do to keep your pet healthy? Is there any one thing you think has the most effect? 

 



Guest Post: Dr Rex Riggs on critical thinking and pet food

Dr GoogleWow, how many dog and cat foods are out there now!  Did you know, in our grocery stores, pet food is the number one grossing item?  It outsells the next 6 items combined!  In 2013, dog and cat owners in the United States, spent $21,000,000 dollars on food. Twenty one million dollars! Dog and cat food is BIG business. So it no wonder that the number of companies making pet food has exploded.  Some of these foods are good, some are heavily marketed with unsubstantiated claims.  Buyer beware.

What do they say about opinions?  Everyone has one.  I hear all the time, “my brother’s girlfriend’s brother worked in the kennel at a vet’s office and he said…..”  Maybe he is right, but you need to check it out yourself.  Do you go to the internet?  Just remember, there is no editor on the internet so anyone can say anything, and will, to sell a product.   Do you ask the people in the pet store? Maybe, but where are they getting their information?  More than likely from the company representative of the foods they are selling. They have a vested interest in having you buy that specific food, often the one with the highest profit margin. 

So where do I think you should turn to?  I would say your vet.  Now, I have heard many times people saying that they were told vets don’t get any training in pet nutrition.  Well don’t tell Dr Tony Buffington at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine that, he might wonder what he has been teaching vet students for so long. 

The fact is, yes we do get taught nutrition in school, and like any other professions, the dedicated doctors keep current through continuing education and reading. Many veterinary colleges have a veterinary nutritionist on staff to answers your questions (http://vet.osu.edu/vmc/nutrition-support).  

I, like most vets, only sell prescription foods in our hospital. So, there is no ulterior motive for us to have your animal on a particular food.  My only motive is to make sure your pet is on the right food for them. 

Be careful of the fads and hype.  In such a crowded arena, everyone is trying to grab a niche.  Some of these fads are based on pseudo-science, only to sell their product. During the last 3 years, the FDA recalls of pet foods has sky rocketed.  Coincidence?  I think not.

So…BE A CRITICAL THINKER.  If it sounds too good to be true or too far out, It just might be.  Go to your veterinary resources available, because… vets are the experts.

Here is an excellent Myth Busters article written by Dr. Freeman, a veterinary nutritionist at Tufts University College of Veterinary Medicine.  It will answer all your questions.

Related Posts
March is Pet Nutrition Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Podcast: Pet Nutrition with Dr Patrick Mahaney
Guest Post: Dr Rex Riggs on critical thinking and pet food


Other posts by Dr Riggs


Dr_RiggsDr. Rex Riggs grew up in Wadsworth, Ohio, near Akron. Dr Riggs is co-owner of Best Friends Veterinary Hospital in Powell, Ohio. He is also on the board of the North Central Region of Canine Companions of Independence, a board member of The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Society and Small Animal Practitioner Advancement Board at The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Riggs lives in Lewis Center, OH with his wife Nancy, their dogs Maggie and Ossa, and cat Franklin. Outside of work, Dr. Riggs is an avid golfer and cyclist, and enjoys travel and photography.