July 16, 2014
Today’s podcast topic is pet safety, which can cover a multitude of areas. Safety in the home, safety interacting with other people and dogs, safety in different environments.
The questions Dr Patrick Mahaney and I tackle are:
- Recently a friend told me that it was OK to leave his dog in the car if it was in the shade with the windows down a crack. Can you give us some facts on internal/external temperatures of a car so show that’s just not going to help
- Can you talk about the Yellow Dog Project? It’s big out in Colorado
- Any suggestions on important first aid type items to keep on hand for your pets? [link mentioned http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/pet_first_aid_kit.html] Can you do the Heimlich Maneuver on your dog?
- Where’s an official place to get alerted about pet food recalls? Often the press releases are put out late Friday afternoon and I might miss an important one (fda site) [link mentioned www.thetruthaboutpetfood.com]
- I have big dogs so don’t crate them in the car. What do you suggest for car safety while traveling? [link mentioned
The most frequent accident claim we see at Embrace is swallowing of a foreign object. Can you go over how to prevent and what to do if your dog or cat swallows something he/she shouldn’t
- What guidelines do you suggest for dog chew toys to stay safe?
Click on the link below to hear the audio: Related Posts July is Pet Safety Month at Embrace Guest Post: dog walking safety by Dr Rex Riggs Podcast: considering pet safety by Dr Patrick Mahaney Other posts by Dr Patrick Mahaney
Podcast: Laura Bennett & Dr Patrick Mahaney Pet Safety 2014
July 07, 2014
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!
The same thought for safety should be on your mind for you and your dog. There is a plethora of reflective dog accessories out there. A reflective leash is a great thing to have. It moves as you walk and therefore really catches the attention of drivers. My favorite tool is a small “blinky” light that can be attached to the collar. A flashing red or white light is the most effective way to tell people you are there. You can find these inexpensive lights at your local bike shop and some pet stores. They are great!
One item I think people often forget is to put something on the “rear bumper” of your dog. I recommend the reflective pant leg wrap people who commute to work on their bike use, to keep their pant legs out of their chain. These work great and most dog don’t mind them.You may need to modify them, but it easily done with some self-adhesive Velcro and scissors. Perhaps even a reflective vest for your dog; just make sure it is made of a breathable fabric.
Remember your dog thinks you are wonderful and will do anything for or with you for as long as you want to do it, even on hot and/or humid days so please be aware of the potential for your dog overheating. The dog tongue is a radiator of sorts, and is the only way a dog can cool itself. When temperatures get in the 80 to 90s, panting becomes pretty inefficient. So pay attention to the amount of panting your dog does and if he looks thirsty, he is. Another thing I learned from cycling, if you wait to drink when you are thirsty, you already are dehydrated. So make sure you dog stays well hydrated.
Make sure you also pay attention to the dog’s feet. If you can walk on grass instead of asphalt, do it. Remember we have shoes on. Our dogs don’t. Asphalt and concrete are very abrasive and can wear pads down. Again, remember, you are the king or queen of the universe to your dog and they will not stop until you do. I had a client training for a marathon and ran on a bike path. Her dog would go a short distance with her. One day she noticed her dog, a lab, limping after a run and notice some bloody foot prints. Being a loyal lab, he had completely worn off the pads on all 4 paws. I just want you to know, this person was a very conscientious dog owner and didn’t go a distance that any one of us would not have gone, so just be aware.
So enjoy the summer and get outside, but pay attention to your dog's safety and comfort. Don't let your daily stroll turn into a visit to the veterinary emergency room.
Related Posts July is Pet Safety Month at Embrace Guest Post: dog walking safety by Dr Rex Riggs Podcast: considering pet safety by Dr Patrick Mahaney Other posts by Dr Riggs
July 01, 2014
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.
In the meantime, here are some excellent articles in the Embrace Water Bowl on various aspect of safety. Is there one topic in particular you would like to learn about?
Dangers of Rawhide Finding Your Missing Pet Five Home Pet Care Remedies to Avoid Inducing Vomiting: Rules and Risks Insect Stings and Bites Moving with Pets Overheating in Dogs Rodent Poison Dangers to Pets
Related Posts July is Pet Safety Month at Embrace Guest Post: dog walking safety by Dr Rex Riggs Podcast: considering pet safety by Dr Patrick Mahaney
June 11, 2014
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Carrie: how do you feel about holistic flea/tick/heartworm preventions?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Click on the link below to hear the audio: Related Posts June is Summer Dangers Month at Embrace Pet Insurance Guest Post: what do generic drugs, ticks, and bats have in common? Podcast: summer dangers and your pets Other posts by Dr Patrick Mahaney
Podcast: Laura Bennett & Dr Patrick Mahaney Summer Dangers 2014
June 09, 2014
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.
Ticks, Ticks….they are everywhere!
How did they live through this winter? Who knows but they did. We are seeing more ticks this year than ever. I was in Montana in April fly fishing. Montana, like most parts of the nation, had the worst winter in memory. It was 20 below for 3 weeks and the ticks survived very nicely. In fact, they are now are everywhere. It's definitely time to be diligent against tick-borne diseases.
For our animals it is easy to prevent ticks with products like Frontline and a new oral treat like medication like Nexgard. They are very efficient. We are now recommending them year round on our patients.
I wish it was that easy for us human beings. The Lyme disease tick is now in Ohio, where I live. You cannot see this tick; it's called “the moving freckle” because of its minuscule size. If you take a dime and look at the word “Dime”, the Lyme disease tick is ½ the size of the “D”. In people, the most common sign of a bite from a Lyme disease tick is a red target lesion on your skin. If you see this this, go get antibiotics. It is easy to treat it at this point, but if you wait it is much harder to treat.
The mosquitoes are going to be bad this year….
White-Nose Syndrome has killed over 6 million bats since 2006. The cause is a fungus called Pseudogymnoascus destructans, which kills nearly 100 percent of the bats it infects. The fungus grows on the noses, wings and ears of bats during winter hibernation, giving them a white, fuzzy appearance. It invades the deep skin tissues and causes extensive damage. Related Posts June is Summer Dangers Month at Embrace Pet Insurance Guest Post: what do generic drugs, ticks, and bats have in common? Podcast: summer dangers and your pets Other posts by Dr Riggs
Bats have such a bad Hollywood image, but they are great creatures and an important part of our ecosystem in their ability to eat bugs, especially mosquitoes. A single bat eats up to 1000 mosquitoes in a single hour and it is not uncommon for some of the bats to live 40 years.
So let’s think about that. One thousand mosquitoes per hour times 8 hours a day, times, say, 5 months a year times 40 years. That would be 48 million mosquitoes that one bat would eat in a lifetime! That is a lot of bad bugs.
So what does that mean to us? Beside all the hassle of dealing with mosquitoes while sitting outside at dusk, it means a lot more disease transmission for both humans and animal. Mosquito-borne diseases have killed more people through history than any other disease. In fact the mosquito-transmitted diseases outnumber all the other fatal diseases combined. For all the dog and cat owners, the biggest threat is heartworm disease. So keep them on those heartworm meds. The alternative is not pretty.