Wellness: The Importance of Preventative Care

Poodle mix at VetI am always reminded of this difference between animals and humans when I take dental radiographs. We can see only what is above the gum line, but most dental disease happens under the gums. I can’t believe how a tail-wagging dog will come in as if nothing is wrong, but then we take radiographs and we can see tooth root abscesses. Now, anyone who has had a root canal will remember that excruciating and unbearable pain prior to the procedure. That pain was due to a tooth root abscess, the same thing that seemingly had no effect on that dog. It does though, just as much as us, but they handle it better.

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Podcast: Pet Poisoning Risks

A few months back there was quite the scare about feeding dogs peanut butter. It wasn’t actually the peanut butter, but the artificial sweetener, Xylitol, found in some peanut butters that was making pets sick.

Occasionally there are new hazards like this introduced to our pets, so we wanted to take a few minutes to talk with Dr. Patrick Mahaney about some of the latest trends in pet poisoning and toxicity.

Dr. Patrick will talk a bit more about the Xylitol risks, as well as other common household items that may pose a threat for your pet. Some of them might surprise you.

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Wellness Gone Wild

Back in the day, old school Embracer philosophy was that insurance was for “unexpected things,” the big stuff. Broken legs, swallowed tennis balls, cancer, diabetes, and so on... But, after a few years, we started noticing a trend. Pet parents wanted to “use” their insurance, for little stuff - shots, flea and tick meds, even dental cleanings. More like their own human insurance, they wanted to go to the doctor for a yearly checkup and feel that their insurance was paying off. So, we started the Wellness Rewards program, just to cover routine wellness care at 100% up to your yearly limit.

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Welcome to Wellness Month

Commands for the Vet's OfficeLast week when waiting at my vet’s office to check out, I observed the receptionist in her natural environment, ringing me out, checking another client in, juggling two phone calls on hold, and talking to a service repairman, all at the same time. It was the perfect reminder of what everyone in the vet offices knows all too well: everyone and their brother is scrambling to get their pet caught up on shots, flea and tick prevention, and so on. While the vets have the patient in the exam room, it’s the perfect time to discuss the need for a dental cleaning and so on. Wellness season, like the DC cherry trees,  is in full bloom.

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The Trending Pet Poison Risks You'll Want to Know About

In years past, most pet parents just worried about letting their pets get into chocolate or the Easter lilies. Those issues are still a concern, but in our changing world the risks are becoming a bit more diversified. Let’s talk a bit about the trends in toxicity over the past few years.

Prescription Drugs

The CDC estimates 48.7% of people have used at least one prescription drug in the past 30 days. That makes for a lot of pill vials that look like a tasty treat to dogs. Make sure you keep them high and away from your animals, because prescription toxicity is one of the most common cause of poisoning we see in the clinics. It’s not as easy as keeping them out of reach. Cat owners know that if you leave a vial of the counter or table your cat will gleefully bat it off and watch if fall because…..well, just because. Then your dog will be glad to “dispose” of it for you, especially since “child safe caps” rarely translates to “retriever proof bottles.” For whatever reason, a dog will pull a prescription bottle out of a purse or off a counter and chew through it. The most common drug toxicities I see are antidepressants, blood pressure meds, and pain meds. And remember, just because a little is safe for you, does not mean it is safe for your pet. For example, a single Tylenol can kill a cat, and ibuprofen can cause gastric ulcers and renal failure in dogs and cats. If you animal swallows any medication, get them to your vet immediately. If we can get the pet in before much is absorbed, it can make a big difference.

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