Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney on Winter Dangers

It was rather a chilly 8 degrees here this morning in sunny Cleveland so it made me think of my podcast with Dr Mahaney on winter dangers. Here are the questions we discuss: 

Carrie: pancreatitis is common during the holidays due to dietary indiscretions; eating holiday decorations; stranger fear if a pet is anxious. Any other holiday dangers to watch out for?

Adrienne: How about the hidden dangers pets may encounter in a snow-covered landscape - whether at home or out hiking on a trail or in the woods. And how can you tell if your pet may be getting too cold when they are outside.

Jessica: what can you do to protect paws of dogs that refuse to wear boots?

Jessica: I have a "winter" emergency kit in my car for myself....what items should be standard for a canine kit?

Chrissy: can Dr Patrick reiterate the danger of antifreeze? It takes such a small amount to be fatal.

In his answer, Dr Mahaney mentions Musher's Secret,  a dense, paw barrier made of natural wax.

Click on the link below to hear the podcast.

Laura Bennett & Dr Patrick Mahaney winter dangers 2013

Related Posts
December is Winter Danger Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: Have a Safe and Happy Holidays from Dr Rex Riggs
Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney on Winter Dangers

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: Have a Safe and Happy Holidays from Dr Rex Riggs

Happy Holidays to everyone! It is a great time of the year that gives us an opportunity to spend cherished time with our family and friends. Enjoy the season.

Holidays can also be fun times for our pets, with all the new people around to spoil them with all the attention. But, as always (isn’t there always a but), there are also things we need to remind our guests. They can love our pets all they want with petting, but please don’t share the Christmas treats.

Max from the GrinchRemember Max, the Grinch’s dog, did not eat any of the “roast beast “or “the who pudding” and he had a great Christmas. In contrast, who could forget what happened to the lovable dog “Snot”, at the Griswold’s house. He drank the tree water and then enjoyed the Christmas trash. He then deposited his “present” under the dining room table. Not a jolly event.

Remember, even small amounts of our foods can cause a lot of troubles for our pets. They are a lot smaller then us. Spending the holiday hours at an emergency clinic is not a festive time.

Christmas-Vacation-Fried-CatReferencing again the classic “Christmas Vacation”, who can forget what happened to Grandma's poor cat, Fluffy, when he chewed the Christmas lights. Not a good smell. More often when animals chew cords, the shock will lead to a condition called non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema. This is when fluid floods the lungs and will make the pet unable to breath. Obviously an emergency situation.

One of my youthful Christmas memories is of me and my twin brother tossing handfuls of tinsel on the Christmas tree, the final touch to the decorations. Yea, I know you were supposed to lay individual stands on the branches, but we had our own technique…just saying.

TinselcatIt was pretty, but you rarely see tinsel nowadays because cats loved to gobble it down and boy did it cause obstructions. Similarly wrapping ribbon can be a vet’s Christmas nightmare, especially the type that you can curl with your scissors. Kitties love anything linear. The bad thing with stringy things is that it catches up in the intestinal tract and when the intestines try to move it down the tract, the intestines get accordioned and requires surgery. This why I hate the old pictures with cats playing with a ball of yarn. I spent Christmas Eve night, 20 years ago, removing 56 inches of ribbon from Frosty the cat. Frosty and I were not happy spending the night together.

We all know chocolate is dangerous for are pets. The better the chocolate, the more of the toxic ingredient, theobromine. Theobromine is a stimulant like NoDoz and can lead to seizures. So keep the Godiva in a safe place.

Finally, please don’t get pets as a Christmas present. I know we all have seen all the Hallmark commercials with the kids opening the “moving box” and then a happy puppy jumps out. I know it sounds like a perfect Christmas. What could be better! Well ….we don’t live in the world of Hallmark. Believe me, puppyhood is a trying time. It is a lot of work and the holiday season and winter is the worse time to puppy train. Please don’t be tempted; if it seems like a good idea, at Christmas, it will be a much better idea at a later less chaotic time of the year.

I would like to wish everyone a great holiday season. Enjoy yourselves and enjoy the time with your loved ones. Please, try to put away your differences. Relax, enjoy and cherish the moment. Life is short.

Happy Holidays!

Related Posts
December is Winter Danger Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: Have a Safe and Happy Holidays from Dr Rex Riggs
Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney on Winter Dangers


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.



December is Winter Danger Month at Embrace Pet Insurance

As we get more news of winter storms causing havoc across the US (even in usually wonderfully warm Phoenix of all places!), we tackle the topic of winter dangers around this time of year. Not just the colder weather but also the holiday decorations, rich food, and overall busy-ness that can cause anxiety in our pets.

I would like to highlight some handy articles we have in The Water Bowl, the Embrace informational website on pet health and care:

Holiday Fare You Should NOT Feed Your Pet

Ten Doggy Exercise Tips for Avoiding the Winter Bulge

Holiday Pet Safety Reminders

Dogs and Cold Weather: How Cold is Too Cold?

There are many more articles on these seasonal topics and more over at The Water Bowl.

And finally, it's that time of year for gifts - for your pets and for your pet loving friends and family. Here are some great pet gift guides for your holiday shopping.

Holiday Pet Gift Hot List 2013: Stocking Stuffers to Splurges

Holiday Gift Guide for Pet Loving People 2013

Trending Pet-themed Kid’s Gifts for 2013

If you can't find something in those lists, you either have it all or have friends that do! What do you recommend as a good holiday gift for your friends or pets?

Related Posts
December is Winter Danger Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: Have a Safe and Happy Holidays from Dr Rex Riggs
Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney on Winter Dangers

 

 



When it’s time...to Remove a Pet from your Pet Insurance Policy

When I read this post that Embracer Lea wrote, I had a heavy heart and a tear in my eye. I've known Lyger as long as I've known Lea and he's been a wonderful part of Embrace's history.

It's hard to think you would ever drop your pet insurance policy for your older dog. What do you think about Lea's decision below?


Back in 2006 when I started with Embrace as one of just two employees, we weren’t even selling policies yet--just getting ready to.  But when the big day rolled around come October, we all jumped up and celebrated, then set to selling each other our very first insurance policies. Lyger, then just a six year old nutball who would sneak into the board meetings of our office neighbors, was among the first to be “embraced”.  We set him up with the “$5,000 max/$200 deductible/80% reimbursed” plan.

Flash forward a few years and his policy looks quite different.  Until he hit his “tweens” he’d been mostly healthy, with the exception of some arthritis so I reduced his coverage to a more catastrophic $500 deductible and 90% reimbursement option.  And that policy continued to serve us well, reimbursing for his mast cell tumor removal in 2012 and acupuncture in 2012.  Then his renewal rolled around last week, a happy reminder of how many years we’ve been selling policies, but also a reminder of how frail Lyger’s become, and how much the cost of insurance goes up with the advanced age.

During his last vet visit the doctor and I discussed his overall quality of life and noted that his arthritis and a large benign tumor were starting to take their toll on him.  I realized that the cancer surgery he had last year had been very hard on him, a trauma that he hasn’t fully recovered from.  While that’s bought him an extra year, it’s not the sort of procedure I’d put him through again. 

Realizing that Lyger’s $500 deductible wouldn’t serve much use in a situation where we had switched to pallative care, I took a look at the cost benefit of our coverage. Ultimately, Lyger’s insurance reached about $55 per month for a catastrophic plan that wasn’t paying for any of his home pain medications. (I’d opted out of the prescription drug coverage, and stand by my decision to do so...but that’s a post for another day.)  I consulted with my long-time colleagues about my decision, but ultimately took Lyger off of our Embrace plan.

So, now it feels very final.  No going back. No coverage “just in case”, because we’ve sadly hit that point at which  the next major step will be euthanasia.  And honestly, making the decision to jump off of the policy was difficult, but I have come to a resting point at which I no longer need to “make good use” of our policy.  In the insurance industry, we talk about avoiding “financial euthanasia”, or putting an animal to rest because the care is unaffordable.  But, we’re now at a polar opposite...I’ll no longer feel like I should proceed with treatment, just because I can.  It’s almost like I’ve made an internal agreement with myself. No more extreme measures, just respite care.

And I’m ok with it.  For now. Until that hard day comes.  In the meantime, I’ll opt to spend the savings I would have spent on premium on a few trips to his favorite ice cream stand.

A few notes from your Embrace agent about adding/removing pets:

  • Pets can be removed from the policy at anytime, though age guidelines may apply for pets being added to a policy. 
  • Pre-existing conditions may also apply if adding or re-adding a pet to your policy.
  • Coverage changes can be made, but any increase to your coverage will result in pre-existing conditions being reset.
  • Euthanasia is covered by your Embrace plan so long as the decision is brought about due to a covered condition. Cremation and burial costs are not included at this time.
  • When a pet is removed, for any reason, the coverage ceases and the policyholder is issued a refund for the remaining portion of premium paid.

Lyger celebrating a dog birthday in the office Lyger celebrating a dog birthday in the office



Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney on pet cancer

Continuing on the topic of pet cancer this month, Dr Patrick Mahaney and I talk about the ins and outs of cancer in dogs and cats. Some of the questions we cover are:

  1. Do you think cancer is becoming more prevalent in pets, or do we just know more? If you feel it may be becoming more prevalent, besides genetics, do you think there are any specific environmental factors that contribute to this?
  2. What is the prognosis with cancer in cats and dogs? Can you cure cancer or are you just delaying the inevitable?
  3. What about early detection? What are the signs and what regular diagnostics should we be doing?
  4. What does he think of new product such as apocaps, which supposedly stimulate apoptosis which targets cancer cells?
  5. What other new or newer cancer treatments there are?
  6. Which dogs are more prone to cancer than others? How can cancer be hereditary?

Click on the link below for the podcast.

Laura Bennett & Dr Patrick Mahaney cancer 2013

 

Related Posts
November is Cancer Awareness Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: Cancer Sucks, For Pets as well as Humans 
Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney on pet cancer

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 atVeterinary 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

 





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