All Posts tagged Springfield Missouri Veterinarian

Online Pet Pharmacies – Saving Money or Risk to Your Pets?

With record numbers of families enjoying the benefits of pet ownership and online shopping, it should come as no surprise that the amount of money spent on our pets is huge.  Experts are forecasting that pet owners will spend more than $50 billion dollars annually.  A significant percentage of those expenses include veterinary care and prescription medications.  So, is it any wonder that buying your prescription medications online may also look like a good deal?

At first glance, online pet pharmacies would seem to be a great option.  The promise of lower prices and having the medication shipped to your door is a big selling point for busy, budget conscious people.  But, there are some pitfalls when relying on Internet based sources for your pet’s medication needs.

First, they all say you can “save a trip to the vet”.  Unfortunately, this is only partially true.  In order to prescribe and dispense medication to your pet, most states require that there is a valid veterinarian-client-pet relationship or VCPR.  This is usually defined as a veterinarian having examined your pet within the last 12 months.  If the VCPR does not exist, medication cannot be dispensed.

Some websites will offer to sell the drugs without a prescription. This is not only illegal but not in the best interest of your pet!  Websites that sell without needing prescriptions are most often based outside of North America, where pharmacy and drug laws may not be as strict.

The requirement for this professional relationship insures that you and your veterinarian have good, up to date facts about your pet’s health. Plus the medical records and history for your pet are all in one place.  The veterinary staff also knows your whole pet family and can help prevent problems when there are multiple pets present in the household.

Since pets are unique individuals, some may have unexpected reactions to certain drugs and some medications can even be deadly if given incorrectly.  Others may need a special formulation for ease of administration.  The online pharmacies will not know this information and this could be a problem if your pet is on several medications or has secondary conditions.

If a life-threatening emergency happens with a medication, your veterinarian is only a phone call away.  Some online pharmacies only allow contact through email and this will not help you if your pet needs assistance immediately!

Finally, despite many good businesses online, there will always be a few who are looking for a quick buck at your expense.  Avoid sites that offer dramatically lower prices than competing sites or your veterinarian.  Likewise, if you have ordered medication online, check the drug to make sure it looks similar to what you have given before.  If it looks different in any way, do not give it to your pet.

Illegal "Bootleg" product manufactured for Australia was purchased by a client from major online retailer.

The FDA is so concerned about this, it is now warning pet owners to be aware of shady online companies.  The National Board of Pharmacies has instituted the  e-Advertiser Approval Program to help you find properly licensed and compliant online pet pharmacies.  Only Eighteen companies nationwide have earned the right to display the e-Advertiser seal of approval, including Deerfield Veterinary Hospital.

Check with your veterinarian about online pharmacies.  Many veterinary hospitals now offer their very own store on their websites.   Often prices are competitive, and they are the same medications you purchase at the hospital.  Orders can ship directly from the hospital to your door, or you can choose to pick them up at the hospital without the hassle of waiting in line.

In addition, you will know who you are talking to in case of any problems or concerns.  Honest and open communication with your veterinarian about cost concerns will prevent misunderstandings about money and help you do what’s best for your pet.

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The Down & Dirty on the Flea Battle

The most common type of flea in the U.S. is the Ctenocephalides felis…or the Cat Flea.  Despite its name, this species will feed from cats, dogs and even humans.  These wingless insects attack both people and pets and feed by drawing blood from their host.

While most people relate to the irritation of flea bites, fleas can transmit more serious diseases.  Flea allergy dermatitis is certainly the most common problem associated with fleas, but they can also transmit Bubonic Plague, tapeworms and Feline Infectious Anemia.

The challenge of winning the flea battle lies in understanding the flea’s life stages, then attacking all levels of the life cycle.

A single female flea can lay 20-50 eggs at a time, creating over 2000 fleas in her life span of three months.  With just 25 adult female fleas that equates to more than a quarter of a million fleas in only 30 days!

The non-sticky eggs fall off the pet, ending up in your carpeting, pet bedding or furniture upholstery. Outdoor environments such as leaf litter, lawn or mulch in moist and shady areas are also ideal environments for egg incubation.

Flea eggs hatch after 1-10 days (depending on the temperature and level of humidity) into larvae. These larvae feed off flea feces and debris, then molts three times in a 5-25 day period before spinning a cocoon (pupae).  The flea pupae then hatch in as few as 5-9 days to the fully formed adult….OR they can remain dormant for up to five months.

Adult fleas comprise only about 5% of the entire flea population. The remaining 95% consists of eggs, larvae and cocoons in the pet’s environment. It’s easy to see how the flea can quickly invade and even overrun your home.

Expert “Flea Guru”, Dr. Michael Dryden recommends a combination of products and procedures. The very important first step is a visit to your veterinarian. “You can beat the fleas, but you have to purchase the right products.” Flea products obtained from a veterinarian have been proven effective through rigorous testing. Topically applied products like Frontline, Advantage & Revolution have worked well in the battle against the flea as has the orally administered pills, Capstar, Comfortis and Trifexis.  With the rapid life cycle of the flea, the product must have a kill ratio of 90-95% to be considered effective. Anything less will not do the job completely.

Dr. Dryden continues “That’s not the case for (generally less expensive) over-the- counter products.  Natural and organic doesn’t necessarily mean safe. I’m all for green and saving the planet. But I am also all for using a product which is proven safe for my pets.”

Shampoos and collars are less effective and in some cases can even cause harm to your pet.  For example, the wrong dose of your dog’s flea product can have devastating and even life-threatening results if given to your cat.  It may sound silly, but the EPA estimates that this mistake happens thousands of times every year!

Once the flea does appear, Dr. Dryden promotes a 3-part plan.  The first step:  eradicate the existing fleas on your pet.  Proper product usage is very important and, remember, one dose won’t eliminate all the different stages.

Flea spray labelSecondly, it’s necessary to ensure that you have rid the premises of the fleas.  Use products that contain Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs) to kill flea eggs and larvae.  Your outdoor environment may need to be professionally treated. You need to regularly clean the indoor areas frequented by your pets.

Treat ALL dogs and cats….not just the affected pet.  And all pets should be treated for at least three to six months to ensure total elimination.  .

Thirdly, prevent new infestations with lifelong flea control.  Using a veterinarian recommended flea product will kill all levels of the flea infestation. If the flea can’t reproduce, it will become extinct. However, if even one cycle of flea prevention is missed, the battle will continue.

Knowing how to combat fleas is really more than half the battle.  And although they are hardy little critters, we do have safe effective products to fight these bugs.  Ask your veterinarian for product recommendations and advice.

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New Georgia study examines causes of death in dogs



Researchers , from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine studied dogs from 1984 to 2004 in an investigation into age-, size-, and breed-related causes of death(J Vet Intern Med 2011;25(2):187-198). It included 20 years of records from 27 veterinary schools’ and  teaching hospitals.  Author Dr. Kate E. Creevy, an assistant professor at Georgia’s veterinary college, looked at records of more than 74,556 dogs of 82 breeds.

Results indicated that young dogs (2 years or younger) died most commonly of trauma, congenital (inherited), and infectious diseases. Older dogs, died overwhelmingly of cancer and the frequency of cancer peaked in the group that included 10-year-old dogs and then declined with the oldest age group.

Focusing on conditions by weight, large breed dogs died more commonly of musculoskeletal and gastrointestinal causes, whereas small dogs died more commonly of endocrine causes. Cancer was a cause of death more frequently in large-breed dogs. Dogs of small breeds had an increased risk of death associated with metabolic diseases like diabetes and adrenal disorders.

In analyzing specific breeds, researchers found generally unsurprising results, such as Dachshunds having a high percentage of deaths attributable to neurologic disease and Golden Retrievers having the highest percentage of deaths from cancer. Respiratory disease was the most common cause of death in Bulldogs, and Chihuahuas and Maltese died largely of cardiovascular diseases.

In specific breeds, researchers found Dachshunds having a high percentage of deaths attributable to neurologic disease and Golden Retrievers having the highest percentage of deaths from cancer. Respiratory disease was the most common cause of death in Bulldogs, and Chihuahuas and Maltese died of cardiovascular diseases.

Golden Retrievers and Boxers died of cancer more commonly than any other disease and at rates higher than those of most other breeds and the Bouvier des Flandres was the breed with the second highest rate of cancer-related deaths, ranking ahead of the Boxer.

Finally, although cancer generally was the most common process resulting in death in the study there were a few breeds less likely to die of the disease, including several toy breeds—Chihuahua, Pekingese, Pomeranian, and Toy Poodle—and the Australian Heeler and the Treeing Walker Coonhound.

Summarized by Ned Caldwell from article by Malinda Larkin JAVMA News June 1, 2011

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