Deerfield Blog

Fear Free – Pet Grooming & Animal Hospital Visits

Fear Free – Pet Grooming & Animal Hospital Visits

Pet Grooming & Animal Hospital – Fear is a behavior in all of us that is a hardwired response caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat.  Unfortunately, being afraid or fearful of a veterinary examination or procedure has become the new “normal” or something most pet owners come to expect. 

Pet Grooming & Animal Hospital

Pet Grooming & Animal Hospital

In a recent study by Bayer Veterinary Healthcare 26% of dog owners and 38% of cat owners said that just thinking about going to the vet was stressful.

Any time your pet feels threatened, real or imagined, changes occur immediately within his or her body to prepare for that hardwired response call fight or flight.  Your pet’s nervous system releases a variety of stress hormones that have profound effects on different systems in the body.  Acute or sudden stress may result in fatigue, hypertension, gastrointestinal distress, immune dysfunction and impaired disease resistance.  Chronic stress can even lead to structural and functional changes in the brain, and, when extreme conditions persist, permanent damage can result.  In addition, when your pet is under stress, the memories of any events occurring during that time will be very powerful, and how your pet is handled during veterinary visits may have long-standing consequences for our future ability to handle him or her.

We may not change your pet’s behavior during their next veterinary visit but our team with your help will be watching your pet for subtle signs of fear or anxiety.  Anything we do to relieve the stress of the visit will pay off in future visits being less difficult for your pet. Remember that frequent, distressing experiences can negatively impact an animal’s overall health and well-being.   Also, by continuing with a procedure when an animal is showing signs of anxiety, we are teaching the animal that its normal means of communication is meaningless.  If we identify signs of fear, especially during elective procedures, we may reschedule your pet’s visit when it is less stressed.  Future visits could include giving medications to decrease anxiety or training sessions that make your next visit more productive and even fun!
4 Simple Steps to a Fear Free Pet Grooming & Animal Hospital Visit at Deerfield Veterinary Hospital

  1. Plan frequent visits to our veterinary practice just for fun, especially if your pet is fearful.  It’s best for you to visit during a quiet part of the day, such as mid-afternoons.   Call our practice and check to see if it’s a good, relaxing time so your pet enjoys a calm experience and the veterinary team can focus on you and your pet.
  2. Meet our caring team.  You can stop by to greet our receptionist, who can serve up a tasty treat for your pet. Our highly trained veterinary team can even perform a training session in an exam room to create fun, friendly associations with the practice.
  3. Keep it fun. Plan your practice visits in low-stress situations before your pet needs care by visiting our parking lot, lobby and exam room so they’re familiar places. Use play and trick training  to make the experience full of pleasurable activities. Your pet will learn to associate good things with the veterinary hospital. Rather than being afraid, they learn to relax.
  4. Talk to us.   We’re here to help. Our veterinary team looks forward to working with you to create a better visit with your dog or cat. If you need extra help to prepare for a visit, please call us and we can offer guidance to make visits relaxing and fun.

Download the Pet Grooming & Animal Hospital Infographic – click here

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Good Tidings

petpics

Frosted windowpanes, candles gleaming inside, painted candy canes on the tree… The holidays are a time to eat, decorate and celebrate. However remember those same treats and trimmings can be potentially dangerous to our pets.

Sweets and chocolates can be poisonous. Chocolate contains theobromine –a potent cardiac stimulant. The highest doses of theobromine are found in unsweetened baking chocolate. Fortunately, milk chocolate has been “diluted” with sugars, creams and milk and contains much less theobromine. Milk chocolate ingestion can result in vomiting and diarrhea; it usually does not cause toxicosis unless a large amount is ingested. However, seizures and a dangerously elevated heart rate can easily occur when a 10 lb dog or cat ingests as little as ¼ ounce of baking chocolate. Xylitol containing sugar free chewing gum and candy can be hazardous. Xylitol ingestion can result in a sudden drop in blood sugar, resulting in depression, loss of coordination and seizures. There may also be a link between xylitol ingestion and liver failure. There was a 140 % increase in reports of xylitol poisoning from 2004 to 2005 at the Animal Poison Control Center.
Uncooked, yeast dough can cause alcohol poisoning in your pet. Alcohol is a breakdown byproduct of yeast and sugar fermentation. Rising dough can also bloat in your pet’s stomach causing severe abdominal pain. Many cases will require surgical removal of the dough and hospitalized supportive care.

Grapes and raisins when ingested can cause kidney failure in certain animals. Veterinarians don’t yet understand the causative agent or the exact mechanism of the kidney injury nor the exact amount ingested needed to result in kidney damage. Not all animals that ingest grapes or raisins become affected, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Take grapes and raisins off of your pet’s menu.

Holiday leftovers are often fatty, rich foods that can cause vomiting, diarrhea and lead to inflammation of the pancreas. Pancreatitis is a serious disease that usually requires extensive hospitalization. Never feed your pet left over bones. Bones can lodge in the roof of the mouth, esophagus, stomach and the intestinal tract. Smaller poultry bones can splinter and lacerate the gastrointestinal mucosa similar to glass shards.

Mistletoe and Holly berries are especially dangerous plants. Be sure to keep these out of reach of pets and children. Don’t forget that your cat can be a sneaky climber and reach unthinkable heights when drawn to a new plant. Use artificial substitutes of both of these instead. Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias are not toxic. Their leaves and branches can be very irritating to mucous membranes and thus may cause excessive salivation and vomiting but not toxicosis. Christmas tree tinsel, ornaments and needles can pose choking hazards. Ribbon and tinsel can cut the intestines and cause the loops to accordion onto themselves resulting in emergency surgery. Consider anchoring the Christmas tree to prevent curious cats from toppling the tree as they climb to the top. Remember most pets will help themselves to the Christmas tree water so don’t use additives or preservatives in the water.

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Kennel Cough

kennelcough

 

What is Kennel Cough?
Bordetella Bronchiseptica virus is a mild self-limiting upper respiratory infection that involves the trachea and bronchi of dogs of any age. It causes coughing that is commonly described as a “honking goose sound”, sneezing and nasal discharge. Severe cases may have a sore throat thus causing inappetence.
How does my dog get kennel cough?
It is an airborne pathogen that enters the nasal and oral passageways and reacts in the pharyngeal region. It is rapidly spread in kennels, hospitals, pet stores, grooming facilities and dog parks. Anywhere there is close confinement of many dogs.
How can I protect my dog from kennel cough?
There are vaccines against bordetella bronchiseptica. There are 3 different kinds: intra-nasal, oral and injectable. Depending on your dog’s age, immune status, previous vaccine history and availability of vaccines denotes which vaccine is chosen for your dog. Any dog showing symptoms of kennel cough should not be vaccinated until they are recovered. The vaccine immunity lasts for 1 year but some kennels may require it more frequently.
I think my dog has kennel cough, what should I do?
Call the veterinarian and schedule an appointment for the dog to be evaluated. Since kennel cough can be confused with many other respiratory illnesses, it is important for the heart and lungs to be auscultated and a thorough exam to be performed.
My dog has been vaccinated against kennel cough so he can’t get it, right?
Unfortunately no vaccine is 100% protective. It is still possible for your dog to contract kennel cough. Luckily the severity and duration of the disease is much less than if no vaccine was on board. There are also many other respiratory illness that mimic kennel cough that have no vaccine. Your dog can still get those. If you think your dog has a respiratory illness then contact your veterinarian.

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Healthy Pets & Healthy Teeth Go Paw in Paw

February was National Pet Dental Health Month, but your furry friend’s oral health should be a priority all year long! According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 70% of cats and 80% of dogs have oral disease by 3 years of age.

Springfield MO veterinarian Dr. Denise Roche provides pet dental care at Deerfield.

Merle Waggard here knows smart puppies start brushing early to guard against dental disease.

Dr. Denise Roche, a Springfield, Mo veterinarian, and the Deerfield staff want to remind you good oral hygiene is crucial for the overall health of your lovable four-legged companion. In fact, periodontal infections in dogs or cats cause far worse than bad breath. Such infections can spread harmful bacteria to the heart, liver, and kidneys. To avoid those life-threatening consequences, pet owners can take precautions against two especially common issues that will eventually leave pets at risk for dental disease: gingivitis and periodontitis.

Gingivitis in dogs and cats occurs when plaque along the gum causes inflammation. Without regular cleaning, the teeth and gums develop a thin film of protein—from food, saliva, and dead cells—that leads to bacterial plaque build-up. Left untreated, gingivitis will escalate to periodontitis, an irreversible but controllable infection. Periodontitis develops when deposits of calcium salts react with bacterial plaque, forming a hard brown or yellow tartar, which leads to inflammation, infection of the deeper tissues, bleeding gums, and eventual tooth loss if not treated by your veterinarian.

How Do I Know if My Pet Has Dental Disease?

Let’s hope your pet’s teeth and gums are tip-top. Better yet, let’s help you guard against the dreaded dental disease. This handy checklist should make it nice and easy to knowledgeably check your pet’s teeth at least once a week:

  • Bad breath is bad news for more than just your own nose, especially if it returns within one or two months of a professional cleaning.
  • Broken or discolored teeth should sound the alarm.
  • Red or swollen gums is a sure sign of irritation.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for bleeding in your pal’s dishes or on chew toys.
  • Lumps or bumps in or around the mouth, especially swelling on one side, are cause for concern.
  • Listen for chattering jaws when eating.

Changes in feeding and chewing behavior can also indicate a problem. If your pet turns away from food, paws at the mouth, drools excessively, or resists having its teeth brushed, it’s time to see your Deerfield vet.

How Is Dental Disease Treated?

A professional cleaning can help reverse, or stop the progression of, oral disease. Should your pet require gingival surgery or tooth extractions, we’ll perform the procedure during the dental cleaning to avoid multiple uses of anesthetics. Feline or canine tooth extraction is not fun for you nor your pet, but sometimes it’s the best option for avoiding further damage from periodontal disease.

How Can I Protect My Pet from Dental Disease?

Proactive care, including regular preventive cleanings and good hygiene at home, can help prevent oral disease in your dog or cat.

Pet Dental Care at Deerfield

Your Deerfield vet can remove bacteria that attack your pet’s gum line. General anesthesia is required for both dog and cat dental cleanings, and safety precautions include pre-surgical blood work on older pets as well as monitoring EKGs and oxygen levels. After polishing your friend’s teeth, we’ll walk you through all you need to know for excellent at-home care.

Pet Dental Care at Home

Good oral hygiene at home is as important for your cat or dog as it is for you, and it begins with a consistent brushing routine. You can remove harmful plaque by brushing your pet’s teeth either daily or every other day. Here’s how:

  • First of all, be both gentle and persistent. Chances are you know from experience that brushing your pet’s teeth can prove challenging, but your patient determination is an act of love.
  • Never use human toothpaste on animals, as it can upset your pet’s stomach. Your Deerfield vet can help you choose a toothpaste your pet will enjoy—yes, actually enjoy. A good pet toothpaste is non-foaming and comes in flavors that are appealing to dogs and cats. Introduce the toothpaste by using it as a treat, placing it on your finger as a reward.
  • Ask us about toothbrushes designed especially for dogs and cats. Once your furry friend accepts brushing movements with your finger, switch to a small, soft-bristled toothbrush. Pointing the bristles at about a 45-degree angle to your pet’s teeth, use small circular strokes and focus on the outside of the teeth.

If your pet resists the at-home dental cleaning at any point, never outmuscle it to force the brushing. The animal may not recognize your concern and could instinctively bite due to fear of the toothbrush. You may also use a soft, clean piece of gauze. If your pet is unable to accept toothbrushing, which does happen sometimes, your Deerfield vet can recommend effective toys, treats, chews, and pet foods that aid your dental cleaning efforts at home. Another option is to choose gels, rinses, or sprays that promote oral health in both cats and dogs.

Tartar removers should always bear the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal of approval, so you can be confident they’re safe for your pet. Visit the VOHC website for a list of approved products like the popular Greenie chew. Finally, ask your Deerfield veterinarian about nutritional options we recommend to promote healthy teeth, such as Hills Prescription Diet T/D.

National Pet Dental Health Month makes February a busy time at Deerfield Veterinary Hospital, and it was great to see so many pets for their dental checkups. Now that the month has past, we want to remind pet owners to keep that loving attention to dental care going strong throughout the year. With consistent hygiene at home and regular cleanings, your pet will enjoy clean teeth and better overall health for years to come!

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Safe & Happy Holidays for Your Pets: Tips from a Concerned Veterinarian in Springfield, MO

To help protect your loyal companions, let’s revisit safety tips on common risks that arise for pets during the holiday season.

A favorite of our veterinary hospital in Springfield, MO, Keira loved snow.

Many dogs love to play in the snow, like Keira here,
but even the biggest, wooliest pets are at risk when left outside unsupervised.


 
Chances are your beloved pets land right near the top of your 2014 Reasons to be Thankful list. We know our staff’s pets leave us all endlessly thankful. With a total of 11 dogs, nine cats, two fish, and one rabbit (among our many families, of course!), we have a bunch of cuddle buddies to keep us grateful. Along with all the smiles, pets come with a heap of responsibilities. That’s especially important to remember during the revelry and hustle and bustle of the holidays.

So you can give your pets the gift of Safe & Happy Holidays, we’ve put together the following set of useful pet safety tips.

Pet Stress

All those family get-togethers in November and December can, at times, be downright overwhelming for people — and humans at least know when and why our daily routines will be tossed aside. Just imagine the stress pets feel with all that chaos invading their homes without warning! To help your dogs or cats cope, designate a cozy, peaceful place they can escape to for some much-needed quiet time. Keep that spot stocked with food, water, and their favorite toys. We also recommend spending snuggle time together there in advance, so your pet knows the safe zone is a reward, not a punishment.

As your trusted veterinarian in Springfield, MO, we have one last important Pet Stress tip for you: Remember to join your buddy for a quick visit to the safe zone when you need it! Sneaking away to pet your pet for a few minutes will trigger endorphins for you both, helping your pet relax and helping you find your inner happy place. We find that helps people remember how thankful they are to be hosting the big family dinner.

People Food

Special treats are terrific rewards for pets, and we’re all for including every member of the family in the feasting — if done safely. It’s easy to indulge your pleading pet without risking harm or even death. Simply reserve the people food for people and stock up on safe yet tasty treats for the four-legged folk.

“Yeah, but what’s the big harm in sharing leftovers with pets?,” you ask. The risks are very real. Older pets are at particular risk with any uninformed guests around. Conditions like diabetes and chronic kidney disease in dogs and cats require crucial diet restrictions that many people don’t know about. If your pet has similar health issues, be sure to let guests know it’s just plain dangerous to share people food.

Here are just a few foods, as listed on the American Humane Association (AHA) website, that pose a threat to animals if not disposed of properly:

  • Chocolate can be deadly; it can also damage the heart as well as the central nervous system and urinary system. Like Dr. Ned warned last year, don’t forget pets can easily sniff out and unwrap gifts of chocolate, so keep those and other edible gifts put away.
  • Bones can cause deadly damage by tearing your pet’s intestines.
  • Onions from turkey stuffing can cause anemia in dogs.
  • Grapes can cause kidney failure.

Cocktails, beer, and wine are dangerous for pets too, so be mindful to keep an eye on your glass when sipping a drink.

All That Glitters

Among those who celebrate Christmas, who doesn’t enjoy the shimmer and sparkle of a beautifully adorned tree? Not many. You know who really finds your Christmas tree irresistible? The cat and the dog. With all that shiny tinsel and the glittery ornaments, not to mention the pretty ribbons on gifts, the towering tree is downright taunting your pets. And they may very well retaliate if you’re not watching. It may seem like such a scene would be comical to see, like in the classic Christmas Vacation flick. In the real world, though, the outcome can be far from funny if a pet tangles with the tree or other decorations.

Here are a few important precautions — again, as noted on the AHA site—to take when decorating:

  • Keep pets away from the tree water, which is often full of bacteria and/or poisons from preservatives used on the tree.
  • Ensure the tree is stable, so it won’t fall if a pet jumps on it.
  • Place any tinsel, ribbon, or breakable ornaments toward the top of the tree or on tall shelves, so pets can’t reach the would-be “toys” and risk swallowing them. Many pets have choked on these decorations or have needed surgery to remove obstructions once swallowed.
  • Sweep, sweep, sweep those pine needles and any leaves from other holiday plants. Curious pets don’t know that pine needles and many leaves are full of toxins.

 

Oh, The Weather Outside is Frightful

Of course you love your pets too much to ever leave them out in the cold on purpose. But with all the shopping, cooking, gift wrapping, visiting, peacekeeping, and general preparing you have to do this time of year, the ol’ short-term memory can be taxed to capacity. That can lead to absent-minded accidents that put your pets at risk. To take proactive steps against that, you can use handy little tricks that remind you to check on your pet before leaving the house. Here are two tricks we suggest: Keep your keys next to a picture of your pet or leave a note on the door you regularly exit. Those reminders are simple but effective.

For additional tips on keeping your pets safe during the holidays, brush up on Dr. Ned’s 2013 Holiday Safety Tips, which still hold true. If your pet should fall victim to any risks that arise during the holidays, immediately contact your veterinarian or call the Animal Poison Control Center at 888.426.4435.

Finally, on behalf of everyone at Deerfield Veterinary Hospital, here’s wishing you and yours love, laughter, and lots of snuggle time throughout the season.

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