Category: Preventative Health (page 2 of 12)

Pets and Ibuprofen Don’t Mix

Otis ibuprofen toxicityThe following is a true story (used with permission) of how easily accessible medications, like ibuprofen, can be harmful to your pet.

Meet Otis.  His story is one that challenges the old adage about curiosity and cats, but he is a curious dog.  Don’t worry, he’s fine now; but he almost wasn’t.  While his person was sleeping one day, Otis took the opportunity to sample some medications that were accidentally within his reach.  Nobody knows his motivation but it’s a good thing his family noticed.  The culprit in this case was ibuprofen.  Yes, many people’s favorite, useful, pain relieving medication really is bad for your pets.

The first sign of trouble was the medication actually being found.  The liquid filled capsules were strewn about on the floor and with no one home other than Otis and his person, it was easy to figure out who the chew marks belonged to.  At this point, many people might be thinking “okay, no big deal.”  And then the vomiting started, which is the first sign of a toxicity issue.  Otis couldn’t hold anything down and the more he threw up, the worse his dehydration got.

otis-blood-resultsBecause ibuprofen toxicity can actually cause kidney failure along with the intestinal upset, his owner brought him to me to check some blood tests and what we found was consistent with ibuprofen ingestion as his kidney values were mildly elevated above normal.  Otis was admitted to the hospital and we started him on intravenous fluids to essentially help dilute the drug in his blood stream and preserve blood flow and pressure supplying the kidneys.  Without this treatment, Otis would surely become more ill.  In addition to the IV fluids, I started him on some medications to help gastrointestinal tract due to the ulcerations that can develop.

During his first couple of days, Otis started to show improvement.  He was happy, eating well, and most importantly – not vomiting!  But when we checked his kidney values, they had gotten slightly worse.  After talking with his family and agreeing that he was clinically stable, we felt it was best that he stay on his IV fluids for a couple more days.  Checking Otis’ kidney values daily for the next few days we noted that they returned to normal with the additional treatment.  After five days in hospital, Otis finally got to go home!

Otis taught us all a valuable lesson; one that he was fortunate to recover from.  While he got into ibuprofen accidentally, many people will try to self medicate their pets with over the counter medications that may not be safe.  This can inadvertently lead to permanent damage, or worse.  Please, for the safety of your pets, don’t rely on Dr. Google or your neighbor to prescribe something for your pets if they become ill; talk to your veterinarian.  Has your pet ever gotten into over the counter medications??

Otis ibuprofen going home

Otis got to go home!

Disclaimer: All blog posts may contain opinions which are my own and may not reflect those of any current or former employers.

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Adding a New Pet – 5 Things You Should Know

Adding a New Pet to the Home

Something funny happened last week.  In talking with a client after finishing her pet’s exam, we got to talking about my family of pets…currently numbered at 2 dogs, 3 cats, 2 horses, and 1 rat.  She asked if we were starting a farm and if we were planning on adding another pet to the house.  I told her not now but boy was I wrong!  That night on my deck, I saw the domestic rabbit that had been loose in our yard or the neighbor’s for the past 2 weeks.  We suspected this bunny had gotten loose or dumped and had been trying to catch it.  Long story short, we caught this scared rabbit and took her (yes, we checked!) into our home for the night.  We had checked with our neighbors and the Kingston Community Lost Pets forum but nobody has yet to claim her as their own.  Even after the first hour of her being in my home, my wife was convinced that we should add her to our family.

adding a new petHenrietta is the third animal to join our family in 7 months after Sherman the rat and Rudy, our younger dog.  Not surprisingly, adding all these pets wasn’t an easy transition for the people or the pets.  There are pitfalls that can occur and other aspects that need to be considered when deciding to bring a new pet into the family.

How will the pets get along (if there are others)?

I think this is probably a larger issue for the already established residents in the home.  They have a routine and a new pet might mess that up.  Cats & dogs may become destructive eating furniture, soiling in the house, or act out of sorts (changes in appetite, less social behavior).  When we adopted Rudy, we had some concerns over whether or not Rudy was going to eat our cat Louie.  As he was a rescue dog, we didn’t know how he would be with cats and those kitties are fast!!  So naturally, Rudy took chase.  Fortunately, we did not experience any other issues.  I suggest a slow introduction of the pets.  New cats can be kept in the bathroom for a few days to allow scents to be traded but it’s also good to monitor for any signs of infectious disease.  New dogs can be kept on leash and sit with you.  It’s helpful to have one person per dog for introductions so that fights can be avoided.  For dogs, consider meeting at a neutral site so that you can minimize territorial issues.  It’s best to not leave pets alone with the new pet as you won’t be able to monitor or control any scuffles that take place.

adding a new pet

True meets Floyd

How will your new pet fit in to the routine?

Even if your pet is the first pet at home, there are some challenges that can be faced; maybe even more so if they are older or from a rescue situation.  Younger pets may experience some separation anxiety when you leave home.  Others will find their way into your bed instead of their own.  Rescue pets may have some habits that you find endearing but others that are frustrating to home life.  Crate training is highly recommended to give your new pet a safe place to stay when you’re not home and a place of their own.  This ensures they have a space where they can have time away from the other pets.  It’s important to spend time with a new pet in order to bond but it’s just as important to let them have some alone time to establish independence.  This is key time to re-bond with your other pets so they do not feel forgotten.  Feeding time can be another issue.  Are your current pet(s) meal fed or free fed?  Free feeding can not only lead to obesity but in an environment with multiple pets can lead to potential fights or food aggression if they feel resources are limited.  For this reason (and many others), I always recommend meal feeding in separate locations.

Who is caring for the new pet?

cat litter memeIf you live on your own, this is a no-brainer.  It’s when you have a family involved that things get more complicated.  Are your kids begging for a pet?  But are they truly old enough and are they going to be the ones responsible for walking or cleaning the litterbox?  Setting guidelines before you add a new pet is important as no matter what happens, that animal is dependent on others for it’s care.  Deciding on socialization or training classes is also important to help avoid unwanted behaviors.  Back to the feeding point; let’s make sure that multiple people aren’t feeding pets and over doing it…your pets most likely won’t admit they’ve already had dinner!

Are costs being considered?

Admit it…aside from giving a cute animal a loving home, you want to spoil them.  Aside from the typical care costs of food, collar, or litterbox, there are toys, beds, treats, etc.  Another aspect when considering care is preparing for veterinary costs.  For kittens & puppies, this can include their initial vaccine series and spaying/neutering.  For senior pets, this might involve semi-annual exams, wellness blood tests, or special needs medications.  It’s also important to prepare for emergencies.  Animals eat strange things.  Sometimes they fight with each other and sometimes injuries happen during playtime.  Nobody wants accidents to happen but they do.  I implore you, be ready to care for your pets and if this will be immensely difficult financially then consider waiting until the time is better.

What about non-traditional pets?

Guida, 24 years old and retired in Florida

Guida, 24 years old

For some people, cats and dogs just don’t do it.  Many other types of animals have become pets over the years including snakes, various lizards, birds, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, and rats to name a few.  All of these animals are quite different not just in appearance but also in terms of body systems and the care required to keep them healthy.  Many of these exotic pets who present to the veterinary clinic have problems that can be avoided with proper husbandry or care.  Too often, these pets are bought or adopted without proper research beforehand with regards to diet, housing, and environmental enrichment.

It’s a big commitment to expand your family.  Take some time to prepare beforehand and it can make life that much better for everyone involved.  Are you growing your pet family soon?  Do you have anything to add from past experience?  Let us know in the comments!

Disclaimer:  All blog posts may contain opinions which do not reflect those of my current or any former employers.

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Weight Management – A Pet Owner’s Perspective

Guest Post by Kelly Harding

 

I recently posted about my visit to Royal Canin Canada where I spoke to a group of veterinarians about how I felt as a pet owner being told I had an obese pet, how I reacted and what I did about it.  My post did not go into detail or answer any of the below questions, I only wrote about my experience on this day.  Dr. Ryan Llera asked if I would discuss in detail what it was I told the vets attending the weight management session, in the hopes it would help others understand what I did, what I didn’t do, and why.

Why I didn’t take my vet’s recommendation the first time I was confronted with Edie needing to lose weight?

before side view

Edie before losing weight

I was aware that Edie was getting larger, bigger, yes, fatter.  But when it was suggested “the first time” that I should switch her food to a product that would address her weight, her constant hunger and begging for food I hesitated.  I believed I could manage it on my own and thought I could continue to give her the same food, the food that I still had almost a full bag of at home, but just give her less.  I also felt that if Edie was still hungry I could just supplement her with carrots and green beans.  And largely, I couldn’t see how changing to a different food, a food that I now had to purchase from my vet’s office, would make any difference

What made me change my mind?

Edie’s begging and constant demanding of food!!  Not entirely, but it was a large part because she always seemed hungry.  She seemed frustrated by my restrictions on her food and I also became desperate as she began to scratch furniture and dig up carpets until she got food.  There just never seemed to be enough green bean or carrots to satisfy her!  The final straw was that Edie’s weight continued to climb.

What didn’t work for Edie’s weight loss?

I couldn’t keep up and thought I could manage Edie’s weight loss on my own but it wasn’t as easy as I thought.

weight management in progress

Before, during, & after the journey

What did work for Edie’s weight loss?

Well, if you’ve seen recent photos of Edie, you know that we’ve since succeeded in getting her weight to a healthy level.  Ultimately, I took my vet’s advice.  I switched Edie to a prescribed food (Royal Canin Satiety Support) that addressed her weight issues and her need to feel satisfied.  Aside from the food change, learning how much was the right amount to feed Edie (weighing and measuring food portions properly) was key.  And of course, taking Edie in to my vet’s office for regular weigh-ins so that she could be monitored.

How did Edie’s vet support me and make me feel comfortable with the decisions that I made along the way?

Although my vet had mentioned Edie’s weight on a couple of occasions, she never made me feel bad for not doing it earlier.  I was embarrassed enough about Edie’s weight but my veterinarian never did anything to embarass me further.  While most people focus on the numbers on the scale, my vet never overwhelmed me with the big picture (need to lose 10 or 12lbs).  We boiled it down to taking small steps, each weigh-in at a time.  I was welcomed and encouraged to drop in to have Edie weighed anytime.  Each loss was a success, no matter how small!  Veterinarians assess each patient and give them a Body Condition Score (BCS) so the numbers are often just a measurable goal but as weight loss happens, the endpoint of an ideal BCS could change.

Things that helped me along the way and my tips for you:

  • Ask your vet for a weight chart print out.  My vet was able to print out a chart that documented Edie’s weight starting with her very first vet visit.  Seeing the weight climb to its highest was an eye opener; seeing it reduce to a healthier weight was encouraging
  • Have your vet teach you how to do a body condition score on your pet.  There may be a time when you think your pet has lost enough weight, but learning to “feel” your pet’s body helps to understand
  • Pictures!  Take lots and lots of pictures of your pet!  I can’t stress this enough!  When you’re with your pet day in and day out you can’t always see what your pet “really” looks like.  Take photos from all angles.  Take photos from above to see if your pet has a waist.  Compare the photos over time and if you are like me, you will be surprised, shocked and amazed by the changes along the way.
successful weight management

Edie at a healthy weight!

I finally started to notice a difference in Edie’s attitude and hunger issues within a month of being on Satiety Support.  The begging, the scratching of furniture, the digging up of carpets subsided.  Edie became more content and of course that made me happier and encouraged. The Satiety Support was working just as my vet said and Edie lost 1.3kg/2.86lbs in the first 4 months!  We were on our way.  Today, Edie is a healthier, happier dog, weighing in at 9.3kg.

Have you ever been told by your vet your pet needs to lose weight?  What did you do about it?

 

Kelly Harding is the human at the end of Edie the Pug’s leash.  She is better known as “Edie’s Humom” and is the voice behind Edie the Pug.  Kelly acts as typist for Edie the Pug on her blog and social media outlets – Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

All opinions about Edie, her weight loss journey and how it affected Edie’s health are my own personal experience.  Edie has been on Royal Canin products since she was a puppy and continues to be on Royal Canin Satiety Support Small Dog dry and  Satiety wet.  Edie is an Ambassador to Royal Canin Canada, but this in no way influences my opinions of the product.  Edie is, and always has, monitored by her veterinarian to ensure her health, her healthy weight loss and maintenance.

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