Please join us at the Howl-o-ween dog walk and costume contest (dogs not required) today, October 22nd at 4 pm, Phelps Grove Park, 950 East Bennett. Individual entry fees for $15.00 and Family entry fees for $25.00 will benefit the Kiwanis Club of Downtown Springfield, serving the children of our community though projects with Delaware Elementary special needs students, the Kitchen’s Family Nurturing Center, Boys and Girls Clubs, Salvation Army and construction of a universal play center for special needs kids and adults.
We will have pleasant stroll around the park with fun and games for the children. Hot dogs and cider will be served with Halloween gift bags to each person and prizes for the best participant costumes and prizes for the best pet costumes.
Seeing a beloved pet scratch often leads many owners think their pets have fleas. When trips to the veterinarian and doses of flea products fail to resolve the itchiness, it is time to think about environmental allergies, or ATOPY.
Just like people, our pets can suffer from allergies and sensitivities to particles in the air. Many times, pollen, certain grasses and trees or even dust mites can trigger this reaction in pets.
Unlike people though, our pets rarely sneeze and show signs similar to “hay fever”. Instead, our pets are itchy and they will do anything to relieve that sensation. Some pets scratch constantly, others lick and chew at certain spots, like their feet and still others might rub against carpets and furniture. This behavior, and the consistent noises and thumps produced, is often too much for many pet owners. Sadly, some pets are relinquished to shelters or rescues due to a condition that is actually manageable.
Whenever your pet is itchy, it is important to remember that external parasites or even food allergies can cause very similar symptoms. Your veterinarian must help you distinguish between flea bite allergies, food allergies or atopy.
According to Dr. Kimberly Coyner, a board certified veterinary dermatologist with the Dermatology Clinic for Animals in Las Vegas, about 10% of dogs suffer from atopy and some cats can develop this condition as well. Many pets will start showing signs as early as six months of age and most will occur before the animal is five years old.
Beyond the itchiness (known medically as pruritus), pets might also show recurrent skin and ear infections or seem to be obsessed with licking their paws. These symptoms most commonly occur in warm weather for pets with pollen or dust allergies, but can also occur year round in some cases.
Diagnostic tests for atopy try to determine what allergens are causing your pet’s problems. Blood tests are often convenient since they can be done by most veterinarians, but Dr. Coyner cautions that this method has drawbacks. Skin testing (similar to scratch testing in people) is the gold standard for determining what is causing your pets allergies and is more accurate than blood tests.
While not simple, atopy can be managed with baths, medications, managing the environment and sometimes with immunotherapy. You’ll need good communication with your veterinarian and maybe a veterinary dermatologist!
First, for pets that suffer seasonal allergies, being prepared ahead of time is key. Some mildly suffering pets can benefit from daily cool water rinses and a fragrance free shampoo one to two times weekly. Clipping longhaired pets decreases the allergen load and makes bathing easier.
Pollen counts in the home can be reduced by asking family and visitors to remove their shoes at the door. Routine vacuuming of areas that the pets frequent and washing of pet bedding in mild, fragrance free detergents can also limit the allergen exposure inside.
Some pet owners opt for antihistamines to help provide relief, but experts caution that they are only effective in 30-40% of dogs. Other owners insist that “steroid shots” or pills are the answer. However steroids simply decrease the symptoms and do not solve the problem – and they are not without secondary side effects.
Ideally, all pets with atopy would undergo skin testing and then start an allergen specific immunotherapy, guided by a veterinary dermatologist. By slowly exposing the pet to increasing quantities of the allergen, this immunotherapy can actually “desensitize” the pet and, over time, help reduce the severity of the symptoms. Dr. Coyner says that 70-75% of allergic pets respond to this treatment and it takes several months to become effective, so it is not a certain cure or a “quick-fix”. More
Dental care in pets is necessary to provide optimal health and quality of life. Poor dental hygiene leads to diseases of the oral cavity, and if left untreated, are often painful and can contribute to other local or systemic diseases.
Dental care of dogs and cats is one of the most commonly overlooked areas of pet health care. Approximately 80% of all dogs and cats have periodontal disease by the time they are only two years old. Dental disease affects much more than fresh breath. It frequently leads to more serious health problems such as liver, kidney and heart disease. That’s why we’re not just treating dental disease, but taking new steps to prevent it. A major step in this process is encouraging our owners to participate in their pet’s oral health at home.
Periodontal disease in pets is the same as it is in people. It’s a sneaky and insidious process that begins when bacteria in the mouth attach to the teeth and produce a film called “plaque”. When the bacteria die, they are calcified into “calculus” commonly known as tartar which makes a rough surface for even more bacteria to stick to. In the beginning, plaque is soft and can easily be removed by brushing or chewing on appropriate toys or treats. But if left to spread, plaque leads to gum inflammation (called “gingivitis”) and infection. Eventually, the infection spreads to the tooth root and even the jaw bone itself – causing pain and tooth loss.
Examining a dog or cat’s mouth can be compared to opening a Christmas present. Inspecting the outside of the box may give you a hunch about the contents, but until you completely unwrap it, you’ll never really know what’s inside. In the same way peeling away the wrapping paper and packing material brings a present into the light of day, our new dental radiology equipment allows us the opportunity to look beyond the obvious and better examine teeth and their supporting structures below the gum line – exposing hidden, and often undiagnosed, problems.
The American Animal Hospital Association has devised guidelines for veterinarians in order to highlight the need for more professional oral hygiene care for pets. The organization stressed the necessity of going beyond the traditional “scraping the surface” of routine dental cleanings, known as “prophies”. We are encouraged to teach owners the importance of good oral hygiene when puppies and kittens are only a few months old in order to begin a lifetime of healthy benefits.
Research proves that unchecked dental disease can be the root of other problems. In a 2009 study at Purdue’s School of Veterinary Medicine, researchers have discovered significant associations between the severity of periodontal disease and the risk of cardiovascular-related conditions, such as endocarditis and cardiomyopathy.
A recent roundtable discussion between veterinary dental experts shed even more light on the impact that good preventative dentistry plays in a pet’s life. They strongly recommend daily dental care for pets and twice yearly mouth exams beginning when puppies and kittens are two months old. And while that schedule may seem too complicated for some pet owners, dental specialists, veterinary supply companies have developed products that will help pet busy owners put some bite into home dental care for their pets.
A recent development that goes beyond good veterinary and at-home care, is the actual prevention of plaque using a barrier sealant gel. This is applied by the veterinarian and continued at home by the pet owner. Called OraVet®, this system is the first method used by veterinarians to create a physical barrier that reduces bacterial plaque adhesion above and under the gum lines. It is applied at home only once a week after the initial hospital application. More
The ever growing pet product market ranges from fashion to fun, exercise to IQ puzzles, gourmet pet foods and treats….and everything in between.
These products are available on-line pet specialty sites, at pet boutiques and superstores… even the neighborhood groomer is likely to have a pet product line tempting you.
In considering which new products to purchase, it’s important to evaluate what your pet will enjoy, if the product provides healthy fun activity and the value to your pocketbook. Here’s a look at some innovative products by major categories. And remember this is a very abbreviated list!
EXERCISE AND PLAY products are dually beneficial. Look for pet-engaging toys with healthful options such as the following products:
1) The Hydro Freeze® family of toys. This toy product group provides hours of dog-chewing, fetching fun while simultaneously hydrating the dog. The award winning HydroBone® is now being joined by their new HydroBall® and HydroSaucer®.
2) If your pet needs more exercise than you have time, check out the DogTread® treadmill. It provides great fitness at home, and there will be no more traipsing out in the rain, snow, or mud with Fido!
3) Let your pet go wild with the Bubble Buddy®! This bubble blower, specially designed for dogs, uses SCENTED bubbles…like chicken or bacon! Just sit back…blow the bubbler…and let the dog exercise while chasing those tasty bubbles!
4) For those tough pups, try Kong’s Wubba…specially designed for durability and keeping your pup entertained!
BOREDOM or BEHAVIOR ISSUES can be positively handled if you have the right product.
5) The ThunderShirt® has a calming effect on the pet’s nervous system and has proven successful for that anxious canine, especially during summer storms.
6) Felines are not forgotten either when it comes to good therapeutic products! Cats that suffer from cabin fever, can safely enjoy the outdoors in their Kritter Kondo®. This easy-to- set up enclosure gives the cat a fun way to enjoy the outdoors in a safe environment.
7) A great indoor cat product is the eco-friendly cathouse system®. These cardboard kitty play houses are foldable, stackable and changeable and they provide hours of play fun for indoor cats.
NUTRITION AND FEEDING PRODUCTS. You can even find innovation on the pet food aisle!
8) Award winning and very popular KONG® continues to introduce new toys for dogs and cats. Their new KONG Wobbler® dispenses food while providing entertainment too. And now KONG® has come out with KONG Stuffin’®- a pepperoni-paste filler for the KONG toys!
9) New pet food diets are released almost every week. We strongly advise everyone to consult with your veterinarian to find the right food for your pet!
10) Veterinarians know the importance of fresh water…so much so that a veterinarian invented the fresh-flowing Drinkwell Water Fountain® system for cats and dogs.
11) And grooming has never been easier with products like FURminator®, the ultimate pet shedder too.
TRAVEL & SAFETY PRODUCTS. Today more folks are traveling with their pets, and there are many great travel and safety products available. There’s everything from GPS collars for tracking that wayward pet to cute pet themed totes, safety belts, and of course—haute couture for the pet traveler. Fun travel products are sure to add charm to Fido’s adventures.
With so many new and great pet products in the marketplace, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. Key things to look for include: Award winning designations, American- made, Eco-friendly, and of course veterinarian endorsed products. Other important factors to consider when selecting the right products are your pet’s age, agility, and interests.
With a little research on-line or through your veterinarian, you’re sure to become an educated pet product consumer…and a real hero to your pet too! More