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.
June 04, 2014
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),
- 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?
We also have some excellent articles on our pet community and health center, The Water Bowl: Summer Brings Increased Risk of Fleas Summer Heat Stroke Danger for Dogs Summer Shave-Down Myth Ten Swimming Safety Tips for Dogs Top Three Summer Lawn Hazards for Dogs 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
May 21, 2014
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:
- 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)
- In addition, how do you get an overweight cat or dog on a fitness regime without hurting and optimize success
- How do you exercise indoor cats? If you keep them lean, do you really need to exercise them?
- 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.
- 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)
- 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
May is Pet Fitness Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: the benefits of exercising your pet
Podcast: keeping your pet fit and healthy
Other posts by Dr Patrick Mahaney