Archive for the ‘Infomative lists’ Category

Ask the vet: What is the deal with Pet Dental Care?

February 25th, 2011

dog dental cleaning, ask a vet, online vet, pet dental careHaving the conversation with pet owners that are dubious that their pets need dental care is a repetitive part but essential part of being a veterinarian.  It is true that periodontal disease is by far the most common disease I see in dogs or cats older than a mere two or three years of age, and while more and more pet owners are recognizing that they pets can get toothaches like they can, there are still a large number of pet owners that ignore the fact that pets need dental care too.

Bad dog breath is not normal. It usually signals periodontal disease, which leads to tooth decay, oral abscesses, bleeding gums, tooth loss, and systemic infections that affect the kidneys, liver, and heart. And that doesn’t even mention the pain associated with periodontal disease.

So how often should you brush your pet’s teeth? Daily. This is one of those do as I say and not as I do. I am guilty of not brushing our pet’s teeth daily. I understand how difficult it is, and am not passing judgment. But if you strive for daily and perhaps reach every other day, I can vouch in the difference it will make.

Luckily, most general practice vets are trained in dental cleanings. While the procedure does require anesthesia as we are poking in the backs of their mouths with tickly instruments and headlamps, it is not a reason to shy away from the procedure. I would seek out a vet that includes pre-anesthetic blood-work (including both a complete blood cell count and a serum biochemistry panel) as part of the package deal. If your veterinarian has the blood work itemized separately and as an option, they really don’t have your pet’s best interest at heart and it is a red flag warning that they are willing to cut corners and risk your pet’s health.

After getting a clean and squeaky smile to move forward with, you can ask a vet to demonstrate how to effectively brush your pet’s teeth. It may take some practice (okay, guaranteed it will), but give it time. Also, make sure to use a toothpaste specifically for dogs or cats. Since they don’t rinse and spit, if they swallow our toothpaste it can be dangerous for them.

We are nearing the end of Pet Dental Month. How many times have you brushed your dog or cat’s teeth this month? Make the last few days count if you’ve forgotten! What are your best tips for fellow pet owners?

Dr. Laci


Dr. Laci Nash Schaible, DVM

Flea Allergy Dermatitis

February 4th, 2011

itchy dog, flea allergy dermatitis, flea allergies in dogs

It can be one of the most frustrating conditions for dogs and cats, as well as their owners: itchy skin. With the background sounds of continuous licks, chews, scratches, and the associated collar jewelry jingling, you know your pet is more than uncomfortable.

Flea allergy dermatitis can be just as frustrating to vets, as many pet owners have a difficult time believe their pet has fleas or this condition. In actuality, when a pet is affected by flea allergy dermatitis (or flea bite allergy, as it is often referred to as), your dog or cat doesn’t even have to have fleas to be affected.

So what is it then? Flea allergy dermatitis arises from a negative immune response to flea saliva resulting in subsequent skin lesions and intense itchiness. In dogs, it is most common in dogs that are at least 3-years old, and rarely less than 6 months old. It can be a seasonal disease, but as some homes have indoor fleas present, it is often continuous problem.

With many dogs now visiting dog parks, pet stores, or even pet-friendly restaurants, it is virtually impossible to avoid fleas. Even if your pooch came from the most reputable breeder and remains in pristine condition, it is not a negative indicator of the care you provide your pet if your vet suspects your dog or cat suffers from flea allergy dermatitis.

Clinical signs of flea allergy dermatitis in dogs include moderate to severe itchiness, papules (small red bumps), overall redness, self-trauma from biting and scratching, hair loss, scratched or wounded skin, increase in skin pigmentation, and dandruff. The base of the tail, over the back, the backs of the thighs, and the front legs are common locations to see signs in dogs. In cats, head and neck itching, red lesions on the abdomen, small bumps and scabs, and symmetric alopecia may be seen. Fleas or flea dirt (black tiny specks in the fur that are actually flea feces and become red upon wetting with a water drop) may or may not be seen.

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Tips for Stopping the Cat Claws without Removing Them

January 5th, 2011

Help!  Cats in Curtains 101

ask a vet, online vet, normal cat behavior
“Look how high I can climb!”

If a new kitten or adopted adult cat made their way into your home and heart this holiday season, hopefully they are being well-behaved and keeping their claws out of your sofa.

Still, cats will be cats, and curtains, pant legs, and tablecloths may prove too tempting for kitty to resist if you don’t take measures to discourage this behavior.

Cats scratch for many reasons. Other than sharpening their claws, it is a way to mark their territory, stretch, and greet each other.

While these are perfectly normal cat behaviors, they may not fit well with your new sofa, especially since cats usually return to the same place to scratch.

Lucky for all involved, there are several easy and inexpensive tricks of the trade that well hopefully help Tigger’s claws elsewhere.

For the new additions to your home:

sick cat, cat symptoms, inappropriate cat urination
What? It’s only natural for me to scratch.

Place 2 to 3 scratching posts in your cat’s favorite playing and sleeping spots. Yes, but two or three. They are much cheaper than replacing your window treatments. I would even recommend different kind of posts to experiment with. Cats are picky creatures; accept it and do as they please. It’ll be worth the purrs and snuggles.

How to get them to scratch?
For kittens and adults that have just arrived, it is important to remember that cats are independent creatures, especially when they are just getting to know you. Hand-forcing their paws to scratch on scratching posts is a waste of time.

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The Top Ten Pet Owner Mistakes to consider for New Year’s Resolutions

January 1st, 2011

24/7 vet, ask a vet, vet second opinion

10. Purchasing a pet out of spontaneity. Think the puppy in the window is adorable and irresistible? How much work can they really be? Think again. Learn where your puppy came from, and be educate yourself about what you are committing to when you bring your pet into your home.

9. Skimping on obedience training. I am a veterinarian and not a trainer and am not about to begin recommending a training program for you, but it is absolutely crucial that your pet is trained. Think the biting puppy is cute and harmless now? Wait until the 65 lb dog bites your child or a stranger in the face.

dog mass, bump on dog, find a vet, good veterinarian8. Not getting a second vet opinion. Your vet wants to watch that mass on your dog’s belly or listen as the persistent cough progresses into pneumonia? All vets aren’t created equally, and some just plain don’t listen. Find one that does. Read signs that you have a good veterinarian and things not to do at the vet.

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2010 Animal News in Review

December 31st, 2010

ask a vet, online vet, 24/7 vet

11.  More than 200 million gallons of oil flowed into the Gulf of Mexico.  The unwitting victims were the thousands of animals living in the region, including wildlife, fish, and even pets.

ask a vet, get vet advice

10. Sea world trainer dies in killer whale attack

9. More money is given to animal charities than child charities in the USA. ???

8.  Mia is euthanized and returns to life. On the positive side of this horrific and inexcusable incident, lazy vets get a beat down. Read the rest of this entry »

Do you know how to winterize your pets?

December 16th, 2010

How to Keep your Pet Safe & Healthy this Cool Season of the Year

ask a vet, ask the vet, dog health problems

1. Proper shelter and bedding. For the outdoor pets, make sure that they have adequate shelter, such as a dog house with appropriate bedding to shield the cold. Proper bedding is help support pets with arthritis. For the indoor pooches, while many dogs enjoy sleeping on cool tile in the summer, make sure your pet has a comfortable place to sleep this winter—if they aren’t taking up half your bed, that is.

2. If you decide to bring your pets into the garage, make sure they don’t have access to dangerous substances. Anti-freeze and rodenticide poisonings all increase during the winter as pet owners allow their pets into garages without realizing the dangers their pets are exposed to.

cat health issues, what is toxic to dogs, how to winterize your pets3. Bang the car hood! Cats are known to climb into car engines to stay warm. I have unfortunately lost more than one feline patient brought in to the ER after the car engine was started. Please bang on the hood, honk the horn, AND locate your feline before you crank the ignition.

4. On a lighter note, be sure to make sure your petite and less furry pets are appropriately clothed. While certain breeds of dogs are fully equipped with their coats to blaze a winter blizzard, our petite chihuahuas are certainly not.

dog health symptoms, ask a vet, ask a vet online

Suited for the cold vs. suited for a cozy dog bed by the fire

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Veterinary Approved Holiday Sweets & Treats

November 26th, 2010

what is okay to feel your pet dog at dinner table ask a vet what to feed my dogI’m assuming most everyone shared at least part of their Thanksgiving meal with their beloved pets yesterday, and perhaps you are still sharing those leftovers today. As long as you follow some basic principles (not too much, no bones they could choke on, nothing too fatty that could upset their stomach, etc.) this can get my veterinary stamp of approval.

One area though that I really encourage you not to share with your pooch is the dessert tray. Everyone now knows that chocolate is bad for dogs, but cheesecake, pumpkin pie, and mincemeat are no nos as well.

Here are some safe ways you can indulge your pet’s sweet tooth! Minimal cooking required.

Yogurt is a great source of protein and calcium. Mixing in a little with your dogs meal makes for a special meal. Even betterwhat is safe to feed my dog? Slice a banana and add to the mix and you’ve got a doggy dessert Dr. Laci would fight you for.  Plain (non-sweet yogurts) are best, as extra sugar or artificial sweeteners can be dangerous or even toxic to pets.

Fruits! Perfect as a small quick treat, fruits are packed full of vitamins and antioxidants. Which fruits? Blueberries, bananas, slicked apples, raspberries, the list goes on, but make sure it does NOT include GRAPES or RAISINS! Make sure you don’t forget that many holiday breads have raisins.

dog nutrition, ask a vet, what is good to feed my catIn honor of supporting Dwight Schrute and all the real beet farmers out there, beets! Messy, yes, but packed full of nutritional power–folate, manganese, potassium, and flavonoids. There are really few negatives to adding a small amount of beets–raw, baked, grilled, boiled–to your pet’s bowl. Unless you feed them on carpet. Read the rest of this entry »

Thanksgiving Tips to Keep Your Pets Healthy and Safe

November 24th, 2010

ask a vet how to keep your pet safe on thanksgiving pet tips from a vetEveryone is looking forward to the big holiday tomorrow and I personally can’t wait to stuff my face with homemade eats and treats. But the last thing you want with a belly full is a sick pet and a late night visit to the emergency vet. Keep this tips in mind, and savor the holiday the safe way.

1. Beware of the bones! In a day and age where feeding raw and whole bones is a bit of controversy, I would be going against the oath I took to not warn pet owners–brittle bones can get lodged in pets throats or intestines. Beware!

don't give your pets alcohol2. No alcohol for FIDO! We humans love yeast for its many fantastic uses beer, wine, the strength to make it though an uncomfortable family dinner, but encourage your pooch not to indulge. Even yeast from bread dough can cause intoxication and severe side effects, including death. Read funny reminders on why booze is bad for dogs. Don’t share that fruit punch!

3. Sweets. Only in moderation. Pets really aren’t meant to consume vast quantities of sugar. Make sure Fido doesn’t have access or can’t sneak into the desserts, and of course, keep them away from the chocolate!

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Winners Announced For Blogathon 2010

November 23rd, 2010

Congratulations to the following Blogathon readers.  All non-judged entries were chosen via excel’s random number generator.  Here are the winners:

Holiday Gift Toy Basket (a red version of these toys):  Sarah B

VetLIVE Donated This Toy to Raise money for National Mill Dog Rescue

Squeak Ball, Rope Toy, and Plush Lamb Squeaky Toy:  Melinda Smith

VetLIVE Donated This Toy Package

A signed copy of A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron: Stacy Palos, Jana Rade

A dog's purpose, ask a vet

12 Month Subscription to Fido Friendly Magazine Courtesy of Carol Bryant of Fido Friendly: Tom C,  Shawn Finch, DVM,  Clare Seat

Fido Friendly Magazine, Ask a vet

Thanksgiving Holiday Dog Toy Platter:  Sheila F

Ask a vet Dog toys thanksgiving

Break-Fast Dog Food Bowl to Slow Eating: Kate Smith

Break Fast Bowl GDV, Bloat, ask the vet

Duck Squeaky With Massage Shampoo Brush: Karen Gonyea

Duck Squeaky Toy and Shampoo Brush

AND… The Grand Prize Goes To: Erika Lindgren

Ask a vet grand prize blogathon 2010

Congratulations Everybody.  And, this was for a fantastic cause.  Through BlogPaws 2010, Dr. Laci and Dr. Jed were able to raise $484.53!   This money will be transferred to National Mill Dog Rescue!  Thanks to the following donors:

Sarah Bendorf
Carol Bryant
Jenny Stephens
Kathleen Broderick
Betty Nash
Sarah Bendorf
Rebecca Thompson
Pamela King
Brock Weatherup
Jeanie Hammond
LeAnne Vaughn
Joel Heflin
Impact studios
Karen Heck
Edie Jarolim
Judith K Nelson
Ericka Jennings

Thanks again for your donations and support!

Dr. Laci and Dr. Jed

 Online Vets Dr. Laci and Dr. Jed Schaible

Tear-Staining Debunked

November 22nd, 2010

What, Why, and To Treat or Not

tear stained westieThe undeniable brown streaks drive pet owners everywhere crazy across the globe, and there is no denying it is one of the most common questions I answer as a veterinarian.

Many times tear-staining is normal and not of concern, other than making the dog appear “less cute” to their owner. Is this cause for treatment if there is no medical cause?

“Doc, what can I do about these tear stains?  They’re so ugly!”

Tear-staining refers to the browning of hairs near the middle corner of the eye. We see tear-staining most often in white and light-colored dogs.

Tear-staining occurs when a chemical called porphyrin, a breakdown product of blood in the tears, interacts with the light and is oxidized. This causes a brownish stain of the hair at the inner aspect of the eye.

Most often, this is nothing more than a cosmetic problem. When there is a real medical problem involved, it often leads to excess tears, and excessive tear-staining. Medical problems that would cause excessive tearing (epiphora) include having a foreign object in the eye, having a scratch or lesion on the eyeball itself, having a hair growing inward towards the eye, and irritating it for instance.

Tear-staining is most often normal and not of concern, other than making the dog appear “less cute” to their owner. Is this cause for treatment if there is no medical cause?  Absolutely not. You may have heard of them: Angel eyes, Tear Stain Away, Pet Spark, the over the counter medications aimed to treat tear-staining are a dime a dozen, and they contain an antibiotic tylosan in them. Read the rest of this entry »