Pet Medical News

Topics

Canned Cat Food extends Cats’ Lives

Pet Product Recalls

Hypothyroidism in Dogs

Excess Iodine Causes Problems in Dogs and Cats

Low-calorie Pet Food Labels Unreliable

Hypertriglyceride levels in Miniature Schnauzers

FeLV and/or FIV Infected Cats

Pet Anxiety — Thunderstorms or Travelling

Canine Hip Dysplasia and Arthritis

Selective Vaccination for Dogs and Cats

Home Cooked Diets for Dogs and Cats

People Food that is Poisonous to Dogs

Cats live shorter lives on dry kibble

Purina has just released research (May 2014) showing that cats fed on dry cat food live an average of 3 years less than cats fed commercial canned cat food: 12 year average life span compared with 15 years. This is a staggering 25% difference just due to food type. Dr Stogdale has long recommended “no dry cat food” or, at least, a maximum of 1/4 cup per cat each day at bedtime. Her own cats eat/drink only watery canned cat food.

Pet Product Recalls

The Humane Society of Canada has a website page “Current Pet Product Recalls and Alerts” that describes the up-to-date information, products and problems affecting pet foods and treats available in Canada.

All pet treats especially jerky or ‘dried’ liver or chicken treats, pig’s ears and dental chews may be a problem. Please read the label to see if they were made in or come from China. If so, DO NOT FEED to your pet. Some of these have been associated with a serious kidney problem called Fanconi Syndrome. Dr Stogdale recommends feeding only treats that are either from Canada or made by one of the reputable pet food companies.

Hypothyroidism in Dogs

Dr Jean Dodds of  Hemopet presented the latest information about Hypothyroidism in dogs at the recent conference of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Conference. In addition to the expected signs of weight gain, decreased activity and thinning hair coat, she discussed the aberrant behaviour that is caused by low thyroid levels. Dogs in the age group from puberty to young adults, especially certain breeds, that show aspects of aggression, seizures, erratic temperament, depression, fearfulness, phobias, anxiety, submissiveness, compulsiveness or irritability may be hypothyroid. There are many other physical and behavioural changes associated with hypothyroidism.

Excess intake of iodine can suppress thyroid function. This includes supplementing with kelp or seaweed.

The most accurate diagnosis of hypothyroidism in the dog is to do a complete thyroid screen, on a single blood sample, that includes: Total T4, Free T4, Total T3, Free T3 and thyroid auto-antibodies. Dr Stogdale sends her samples, with a thorough history, down to Hemopet in California to gain the benefit of Dr Dodds’ interpretation and comments.

Excess Iodine Causes Problems in Dogs and Cats

Excess iodine in your pet’s diet and supplements can cause hypothyroidism in dogs or hyperthyroidism in cats. This information has been confirmed recently and there will be changes in the iodine levels of pet foods. In the meantime, it is wise to avoid any supplements that include kelp or seaweed.

Low-calorie Pet Food Labels Unreliable

People trying to find the right diet to help their pets lose weight don’t have it easy, new research shows. The calorie information on the back of the bag might not be reliable information, according to a study done on 100 commercially available diets by the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. The commercial foods studied had weight management claims.

“There is so much information — and misinformation — about pet foods, it’s understandable that people are confused about what to feed their dogs and cats,” says co-author Lisa Freeman. “To counteract these myths, people are accustomed to turning to the labels on food — but, as this study shows, packaging might not always be a reliable source of information.”

The study is published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Recommended intakes and caloric density vary greatly for both dry and wet foods. Nearly 50% of domesticated animals are overweight or obese. The study concluded that pets would not only lose weight but could actually gain weight by following some of the feeding recommendations on the back of the bags or cans.

The calorie density for canine diets ranged from approximately 200 to 440 kcal per cup for dry, and from 200 to 400 kcal per can. The range for feline diets was similarly broad, as was the recommendations for calorie intake for weight loss and the cost per 100 kcal of food. The bottom line: don`t trust the writing on the pet food bag or can. Feed your pet according to his or her body condition and desired weight loss or gain. Weighing your pet regularly on an accurate scale is the most objective measure.

Hypertriglyceride levels in Miniature Schnauzers

A recent study of nearly 200 Miniature Schnauzers has shown that a third of this breed has blood triglyceride levels above the normal range. The triglyceride levels increase with age. High triglyceride levels can result in recurrent bouts of pancreatitis leading to diabetes mellitus. High levels can also damage the heart, liver and kidneys. (Reference: Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 2007;21:1224-1230.)

Miniature Schnauzers should have their blood triglyceride and cholesterol levels checked at age five and at age eight. A fasting blood sample (no food for at least 12 hours) is collected and sent out to one of our veterinary laboratories for analysis. A high triglyceride level can be reduced without resorting to medications by dietary modification and one or two natural supplements.

FeLV and/or FIV Infected Cats

This information is from papers presented at the June 2007 conference of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine of which Dr Stogdale is a specialist member.

A large study of FIV and/or FeLV infected cats in Germany (17,462 cats tested for FIV and FeLV infection) showed that the risk factors for these viruses are similar: male, older, outside access, and fighting. Most interesting is the finding that compared to non-infected cats, survival time was decreased in FeLV-infected cats (an expected finding), whereas no difference in survival time was found between FIV-infected and healthy cats.

Bites from infected cats are a highly efficient method for transmission for FIV and FeLV due to high levels of virus in the saliva. Overall, 19% of cats with abscesses or bite wounds were found to be positive for FIV and/or FeLV, which is substantially higher than the rate of 3% reported from a recent national survey of veterinary clinics in the US. All cats with cat bite wounds should be tested at the time of treatment and two months later.

That FIV infected cats have a normal life span is unexpected considering that we are not treating these cats with antiviral drugs. However, these cats are cared for and receive veterinary attention, and were probably kept inside or, at least, not fighting once the diagnosis was made. This is great news for the cat shelters who have many wonderful, cuddly, laidback FIV boys. You can adopt one or two or three of these cats knowing that, with care and attention, they will have normally long lives.

Pet Anxiety – Thunderstorms or Travelling

Some of our dogs and cats become extremely anxious either with the onset of our prairie thunderstorms or when they are travelling in a car or when visiting their veterinarian. Previously, we have given some of these pets sedatives. The problem here is that the pet is sleepy but still anxious. When they are anxious or panicking, they are unable to learn anything but especially to learn that this situation is not a problem or a threat to them. There are several options for decreasing this anxiety level, reducing the unpleasant experience to a tolerable or even enjoyable event.

These all need to be given to the pet at the onset of the storm or one hour before travelling:

— Children’s Gravol (an antihistamine) or ginger reduces travel sickness

— Homeopathic remedies for loud noices, travelling or general anxiety

— Rescue Remedy (a Bach Flower Remedy mixture) for mild levels of anxiety

— Rx Alprazolam “Xanax” is a short-acting benzo-diazepam (Valium family).

HomeoPet Anxiety, Travel and TFLN remedies are homeopathic remedies mainly derived from a variety of plants that prompt the body’s own healing mechanisms to return your pet’s body to health. While often effective, they are not harmful and have no side-effects. They are available from health food stores.

Occasionally we prescribe Rx Alprazolam with excellent reports by our astute owners. This medication is effective at reducing anxiety, it is short-acting and has no adverse side-effects. By reducing the anxiety level of your pet in stressful situations, you allow your pet to learn that there is no danger, to relax and to gradually reduce the need for the medication. If you think your pet could benefit from this approach, please phone for an appointment with Dr Stogdale at Aesops Veterinary Care, 204-487-4744.

Canine Hip Dysplasia and Arthritis

Hip dysplasia with the resulting arthritis and hind leg weakness and pain is still far too common in our dogs. However, when a dog (or cat) suddenly becomes lame or sore in the hind legs it is often a stifle/knee ligament tear or rupture that is the problem. Yes, the pet needs to be examined in order to distinguish whether the problem is in the hip or the knee or back or elsewhere.

For those dogs who do have significant hip dysplasia, hip arthritis or laxity with the accompanying hindleg discomfort, weakness and lameness there are a variety of surgerical options available:
— Triple pelvic osteotomy
— Total hip replacement
— Femoral head and neck excision
— Denervation of the coxofemoral joint capsule

The latter procedure is fairly new, moderately successful and much less traumatic than the other procedures. The surgery destroys the nerves that innervate the hip joint capsule. It is these nerves that transmit the pain of the arthritic hip joint. This surgical procedure is straightforward, has a low incidence of problems and does not preclude the other hip surgeries.

In a published report of 117 cases, two months post-operative, 90% of the patients operated showed improvement and 50% were free of clinical signs.

Selective Vaccinations for Dogs and Cats

At Aesops each canine and feline patient has vaccines selected specifically for his/her age, breed, life style, previous vaccination history, health and owner wishes. Dr Stogdale has taken this approach since starting Aesops in 1997, following the protocol advocated by Dr Jean Dodds. Some years ago Dr Dodds complimented Dr Stogdale for standing up to colleagues’ pressure (who wanted to continue vaccinating every pet with every vaccine every year).

When vaccines are required, where possible, Dr Stogdale uses monovalent/single vaccines, killed vaccines, non-adjuvant vaccines especially in cats, and blood titres instead of vaccines in dogs.

As of 2006, Dr Dodd’s vaccination protocol has now being adopted by ALL 27 North American veterinary schools.

Home Cooked Diets for Dogs and Cats

Published Home-Cooked Diets for Dogs and Cats are Commonly Inadequate.

A recent study analyzed 85 home-cooked diets for dogs and cats that are  published in well-respected books. The results are disturbing: Compared to AAFCO recommendations, 55% of the diets contained inadequate amounts of protein; 62% were inadequate in vitamins; 86% were inadequate in various minerals; and 8% were inadequate in essential amino acids. And this is only considering minimal nutritional requirements, not optimal nutrition!

Results such as this publication explain why Dr Stogdale does nutritional consultations for each individual pet. This allows her to consider the dog or cat’s breed, age, size, activity level and any medical conditions present or anticipated. She recommends the appropriate optimal nutrition including supplements for intestinal health, allergy avoidance, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals – all depending on the individual pet.

People Food that is Poisonous to Dogs

And cats too but they usually don’t eat these foods.

  • Chocolate
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Onions
  • Garlic in excess of 1-2 cloves daily
  • Some nuts (e.g. macadamia)
  • Broccoli in large amounts
  • Xylitol-containing chewing gum
  • And most foods that you know you should NOT be eating but do anyway.

Other substances that your dog (or yourself) may eat that cause problems:

  • Potato peelings and green looking potatoes
  • Tomato leaves & stems
  • Rhubarb leaves
  • Hops (used in home brewing)
  • Apple core pips, pear pips
  • Kernels of plums, peaches and apricots
  • Coffee grounds, beans & tea (caffeine)
  • Yeast dough
  • Mouldy/spoiled foods
  • Alcohol
  • Cigarettes, tobacco, cigars

For even more information, please see: Petalia and Pet Education websites.

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