Author Archives: lakewood

Have A Happy Thanksgiving With Your Pet

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We hope you have a happy holiday season with your pets! ‘Tis the season for friends, family and holiday feasts—but also for possible distress for our animal companions. Everyone wants to make sure their pets feel included in the holiday along with everyone else. However pets won’t be so thankful if they munch on undercooked turkey or a pet-unfriendly floral arrangement, or if they stumble upon an unattended alcoholic drink. Eating to many treats or table scraps can make your pet seriously ill as well.

Talkin’ Turkey
If you decide to feed your pet a little nibble of turkey, make sure it’s boneless and well-cooked. Don’t offer them raw or undercooked turkey, which may contain salmonella bacteria.

Sage Advice
Sage can make your Thanksgiving stuffing taste delicious, but it and many other herbs contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression to pets if eaten in large quantities. Cats are especially sensitive to the effects of certain essential oils.

No Bread Dough
Don’t spoil your pet’s holiday by giving them raw bread dough. When raw bread dough is ingested, an animal’s body heat causes the dough to rise in the stomach. As it expands, the pet may experience vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring surgery.

Don’t Let Them Eat Cake
If you’re baking up Thanksgiving cakes, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs—they could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.

Too Much of a Good Thing
A few small boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato or even a lick of pumpkin pie shouldn’t pose a problem. However, don’t allow your pets to overindulge, as they could wind up with a case of stomach upset, diarrhea or even worse—an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis. In fact, it’s best keep pets on their regular diets during the holidays.

A Feast Fit for a Kong
While the humans are chowing down, give your cat and dog their own little feast. Offer them Nylabones or made-for-pet chew bones. Or stuff their usual dinner—perhaps with a few added tidbits of turkey, vegetables (try sweet potato or green beans) and dribbles of gravy—inside a Kong toy. They’ll be happily occupied for awhile, working hard to extract their dinner from the toy.

* Information courtesy of the ASPCA Website: http://www.aspca.org

Vaccines and Your Horse

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A “standard” vaccination program for all horses does not exist. The American Association of Equine Practitioners has developed a list of Core or recommended vaccines for each horse. Other vaccines are administered on a case by case basis depending on the risk of exposure to theses diseases.

Core Vaccines

  • Tetanus – an often fatal disease caused by a potent neurotoxin  from the anaerobic, spore-forming bacterium, Clostridium tetani.
  • Eastern/Western Equine Encephalitisa neurologic disease caused by a virus which can be transmitted by mosquitoes. Typically 90% of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) cases die from the disease.
  • Rabiesan infrequently encountered neurologic disease of horses.  While the incidence of rabies in horses is low, the disease is fatal and has considerable public health significance.
  • West Nile VirusA neurologic disease of horses typically spread from one infected animal to another by biting flies or mosquitos. Horses represent 96.9% of all non-human mammalian cases of WNV disease.

Non-Core Vaccines

Equine Influenza (Flu), Rhinopneumonitis (Rhino), Strangles, Potomac Horse Fever, Botulism

There are risks with vaccination and each individual situation requires evaluation based on the following criteria:

  • Risk of disease (anticipated exposure, environmental factors, geographic factors, age, breed, use, and sex of the horse)

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  • Consequences of the disease
  • Anticipated effectiveness of the selected product(s)
  • Potential for adverse reactions to a vaccine(s)
  • Cost of immunization (time, labor and vaccine costs) vs. potential cost of disease (time out of competition; impact of movement restrictions imposed in order to control  an outbreak of contagious disease; labor and medication if, or when, horses develop clinical disease and require treatment, or loss of life.)

A good vaccination program is always recommended, however, it is important to realize that:

  • Vaccination alone, in the absence of good management practices directed at infection control, is not sufficient for the prevention of infectious disease.
  • Vaccination serves to minimize the risks of infection but cannot prevent disease in all circumstances.
  • The primary series of vaccines and booster doses should be appropriately administered prior to likely exposure.
  • Each horse in a population is not protected to an equal degree nor for an equal duration following vaccination.
  • Protection is not immediately afforded the patient after administration of a vaccine that is designed to induce active immunity. In most instances, a  priming series of multiple doses of a vaccine must be administered initially for that vaccine to induce protective active immunity.
  • All horses in a herd should be vaccinated at intervals based on the professional opinion of the attending veterinarian

February is National Pet Dental Health Month

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It is National Pet Dental Health Month, but your pet’s dental health should be addressed every day of the year, not just in February. If your pet has bad breath, that odor might signify a serious health risk with the potential to damage not only your pet’s teeth and gums but the internal organs as well.

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It is estimated that by the age of two, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some form of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums. These infections have been linked to diabetes, heart problems, blood clots, kidney disease, and other life threatening disorders. The best way to prevent periodontal disease is by having a regular dental regime for your pet coupled with regular oral exams by your veterinarian. Unfortunately once a large amount of tarter has developed on a pets teeth, a routine dental cleaning is often necessary. Once the tarter has been removed and the teeth cleaned and polished it is important to start an at home program to help prevent tarter and gingivitis from reoccurring.

At home dental care for your pet

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  • Brushing your pets teeth is still considered the best way to prevent dental disease. Special pet toothpaste should always be used to brush your pets teeth as human toothpaste has to high a fluoride content if your pet swallows it. If your pet has not had its teeth brushed before, it may require some time to teach your pet to allow you to brush their teeth.
  • Special dental diets are available to help prevent tarter buildup. Many of these diets have enzymes that work against tarter and are a larger, coarser nugget of food which works similar to a toothbrush on the tooth when chewed.
  • Special dental chews are available to help prevent tarter buildup. Enzymes in these chews work against tarter buildup .
  • There are also water additives and dental gels which aid in the prevention of tarter.

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Bring your pet in for a dental examination and we can help you decided the best oral health regime for you and your pet. Sometimes a combination of different oral health products will work the best for your pet.

Dental tips for your Dog

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With rare exceptions, puppies are born without teeth. The first teeth to erupt are the incisors, at 2 to 3 weeks of age. Next are the canines and premolars. The last premolar erupts at about 8 to 12 weeks of age. As a rule, the teeth of larger breeds erupt sooner than those of smaller breeds. The average puppy has 28 deciduous (temporary or baby) teeth. The deciduous teeth remain for only three to seven months.  Starting at about 3 months the first permanent teeth start to come in. By 7 to 8 months of age, a puppy should have all the adult teeth.

We all know bad breath—also known as halitosis—when we smell it. Bad breath is the result of a build-up of odor-producing bacteria in your dog’s mouth, lungs or gut. Persistent bad breath can indicate that your dog needs better dental care or that something is wrong in his gastrointestinal tract, liver or kidneys. In all cases, halitosis is a red flag that should be investigated. Most often, bad breath is caused by dental or gum disease, and certain dogs—particularly small ones—are especially prone to plaque and tartar. However, persistent bad breath can also indicate larger medical problems in the mouth, respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract or organs.

Taking these steps will make brushing a lot easier for the both of you:

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  • First get your dog used to the idea of having the teeth brushed. Massage the lips with your finger in a circular motion for 30 to 60 seconds once or twice a day for a few weeks. Then move on to the teeth and gums.
  • When your pet seems comfortable with just having your fingers massaging the teeth and gums, put a little bit of dog-formulated toothpaste on the lips to get them used to the taste.
  • Next, introduce a toothbrush designed especially for dogs-it should be smaller than a human toothbrush and have softer bristles. Toothbrushes that you can wear over your finger are also available and allow you to give a nice massage to your dog’s gums.
  • Finally, apply the toothpaste to the teeth for a gentle brushing.
  • A veterinary exam beforehand may be helpful to find out if your dog’s gums are inflamed. If your dog has mild gingivitis, brushing too hard can hurt the gums.

Ask us about a specially formulated dry food, treats, or dental chews that can slow down the formation of plaque and tartar.

Common Questions about Laser Therapy

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Lakewood is pleased to offer a new treatment option for your pets. While laser therapy sounds like an ultra modern treatment, the beneficial effects of laser light on tissue were first recognized almost forty years ago. With recent advances in technology it is possible to have this exciting modality available and affordable for your pet. Laser therapy is a noninvasive alternative therapy and conjunctive therapy for many issues pets present with today.

How long does the treatment take?

Treatment protocols are unique to each patient and condition. Therefore, treatments will vary in time, complexity and cost. For some chronic patients, multiple joints will be treated during one laser treatment session. When appropriate, laser therapy can be used as a complementary adjunct to other treatment plans.

What can be treated with laser therapy?

If your pet is feeling pain, has inflammation, or a wound, the laser is a sterile, pain-free, surgery-free, drug-free treatment.  The laser is used to treat a variety of injuries, wounds, fractures, neurological conditions, numerous dermatological problems, and pain. Whether your pet is rehabilitating from trauma or injury, healing from wounds, or simply aging, the laser has been shown to provide relief and speed healing.

What’s involved with treating my pet?

The laser light is delivered through a non-invasive handpiece to treat the affected area. Your pet will feel a gentle and soothing warmth. As the laser is administered, many pets will relax, much like you would experiencing a good massage. The almost immediate relief of pain will allow your pet to be comfortable and any anxiety that your pet initially experienced will dissipate.

How does it work?

The Companion therapy laser system sends photons, or packets of light energy, deep into tissue without damaging it. These photons are absorbed within the mitochondria of the cells and induce a chemical change called “photo-bio-modulation”.   This light energy then inspires production of ATP in the cell.  ATP is the fuel, or energy, cells need for repair and rejuvenation.  Impaired or injured cells do not make this fuel at an optimal rate.  Increased ATP production leads to healthier cells, healthier tissue, and healthier animals.

Are there any side effects?

There are no known side effects with this treatment.

What can I expect at home?

You might see a change in activity when your pet comes home. For some it might be increased activity and others may be more relaxed. This is due to the pain relief and reduction in inflammation.

Heats and Pregnancy in Dogs

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Puppies are so cute and full of energy when they are little. Often the question is asked about whether a male or female dog makes a better pet? Ultimately that question is answered by personal preference. Regardless it is recommended that pets be spayed or neutered at 5-6 months of age to help reduce their risk of developing cancerous conditions, reproductive infections or diseases, and unplanned litters of puppies.

Breeding the female dog

Most dogs come into heat for the first time between 6 and 12 months of age. It is recommended to not breed a dog until around 2 years of age so she can finish growing and be evaluated for developmental problems. It is especially important in dog breeds known to be predisposed to hip dysplasia that the hips be x-rayed and evaluated prior to breeding the dog.  The hips can be certified and graded using two different methods to assess for hip dysplasia.

The first thing you will recognize when your dog goes into heat is a swollen vulva and bloody discharge. Somewhere between days 6-11 of the heat cycle the female will become more interested in the male and actually become fertile. While in heat a dog can be breed by more than the one male. She will be in heat for ~3 weeks and her cycle will arrive every 6-9 months.

Gestation (pregnancy) a brief overview

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Gestation is the period when the young are developing in the mother’s uterus. Gestation is normally 63 days, but puppies may be delivered between 58 and 68 days. There are no practical blood or urine tests available to confirm pregnancy in the dog. Pregnancy diagnosis is typically confirmed using ultrasound or x-rays. There are few noticable changes until after the 5th week of pregnancy. Some mammary development may begin as early as day 35 of gestation, but typically is seen within the last week before delivery. Some behaviour changes can be normal, especially in the last few weeks of gestation. A whelping box that is big enough for the mother to sleep in comfortably and leave room for puppies should be provided for the mother to nest in prior to delivery. Blankets and papers should be provided for her to shred and make a nest out of.

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Good nutrition is essential for healthy puppies and mothers. During the first 4 weeks of pregnancy nutritional needs change little for your dog. However during the last 5 weeks it is recommended to feed several small meals each day and an increased amount of food may be necessary to meet the energy demands for the mother. Fresh water should always be available. Dietary supplements should be used only as recommended by the patients veterinarian.

Moderate exercise is best for the pregnant dog. Neither forced rest or strenuous exercise is a good idea. Short periods of gentle play and short walks are good.

Special Needs of the Senior Cat

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Just as people are living longer than they did in the past, cats are living longer too. In fact, the percentage of cats over six years of age has nearly doubled in just over a decade, and there is every reason to expect that the “graying” cat population will continue to grow. Aging is a natural process. Although many complex physical changes accompany advancing years, age in and of itself is not a disease. Even though many conditions that affect older cats are not correctable, they can often be controlled. The key to making sure your senior cat has the healthiest and highest quality of life possible is to recognize and reduce factors that may be health risks, detect disease as early as possible, correct or delay the progression of disease, and improve or maintain the health of the body’s systems.

How can I help keep my senior cat healthy?
Close observation is one of the most important tools you have to help keep your senior cat healthy. You may wish to perform a mini-physical examination on a weekly basis. Ask your veterinarian to show you how to do it and what to look for. You will find it easier if you just make the examination an extension of the way you normally interact with your cat. For example, while you are rubbing your cat’s head or scratching its chin, gently raise the upper lips with your thumb or forefinger so you can examine the teeth and gums. In the same way, you can lift the ear flaps and examine the ear canals. While you are stroking your cat’s fur, you can check for abnormal lumps or bumps, and evaluate the health of the skin and coat.

Daily Brushing

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Daily brushing or combing removes loose hairs, preventing them from being swallowed and forming hair balls. Brushing also stimulates blood circulation and sebaceous gland secretions, resulting in a healthier skin and coat. Older cats may not use scratching posts as frequently as they did when they were younger; therefore, nails should be checked weekly and trimmed if necessary.

Proper Nutrition

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Many cats tend towards obesity as they age. If your cat is overweight, you should ask your veterinarian to help you modify the diet so that a normal body condition can be restored. Other cats actually become too thin as they get older, apparently as part of the normal aging process. But progressive weight loss can also be caused by serious medical problems such as kidney failure, cancer, diabetes mellitus, inflammatory bowel disease, liver disease, hyperthyroidism, or some other condition. Subtle changes in weight are often the first sign of disease; ideally you should weigh your cat every month on a scale sensitive enough to detect such small changes. Keep a record of the weight, and notify your veterinarian of any significant changes. To ensure proper nutrition, select a nutritionally balanced and complete diet for your cat’s stage of life.

Cats are experts at hiding illness, and elderly cats are no exception. It is common for a cat to have a serious medical problem, yet not show any sign of it until the condition is quite advanced. Since most diseases can be managed more successfully when detected and treated early in their course, it is important for owners of senior cats to carefully monitor their behavior and health.

Parasites and Your Horse

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Internal parasites, or worms, are silent thieves and killers. They can cause extensive internal damage without you even realizing your animals are heavily infected. The effects of internal parasites on a horse range from a dull haircoat and unthriftiness to colic and death. Internal parasites lower the horse’s resistance to infection, rob the horse of valuable nutrients , and in some cases, cause permanent damage to the internal organs. The lifecycle of most internal parasites involves eggs, larvae (immature worms), and adults (mature worms). Eggs or larvae are deposited onto the ground in the manure of an infected horse. They are swallowed while the horse is grazing, and the larvae mature into adults within the horse’s digestive tract (stomach or intestines). With some species of parasite, the larvae migrate out of the intestine, into other tissues or organs, before returning to the intestine and maturing into egg-laying adults.

FECAL EGG COUNTS

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One of the most useful tools in a parasite control program is the fecal egg count—microscopic examination of fresh manure for parasite eggs. This test allows the veterinarian to determine which parasites are present and whether the infection is light, moderate, or heavy. This information is important in developing a deworming program for your horse or farm, and in monitoring the effectiveness of the program. It is important to note that a negative fecal examination does not mean the horse is free of internal parasites. Some types of parasites produce eggs only intermittently. Larvae do not produce eggs at all, and may be present in large numbers in a horse with a fecal egg count of zero. And tapeworm eggs may be missed with routine fecal egg count techniques. The results are most useful when several horses on a farm are tested on the same day. This information gives the veterinarian and farm manager a good idea of the level of parasitism on the property.

DESIGNING A DEWORMING PROGRAM

There is no single deworming program that suits all horses and all situations. The ideal program for your horse(s) depends on the type, number and ages of the horses on your farm, pasture management and your geographic location. It is best to have your regular veterinarian help you devise an appropriate deworming program for your horse or farm.

A COMPLETE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM

Chemical control using dewormers is just one part of a complete parasite control plan. As parasites are primarily transferred through manure, good management is essential:

  • Keep the number of horses per acre to a minimum to prevent overgrazing and reduce pasture contamination with parasite eggs and larvae
  • Pick up and dispose of manure regularly (at least twice a week, even in dirt or sand yards)

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  • Do not spread manure on fields to be grazed by horses; instead, compost it in a pile away from the pasture
  • Mow and harrow pastures periodically to break up manure piles and expose parasite larvae to the elements (larvae can survive freezing, but they cannot tolerate extreme heat and drying for very long)
  • Consider rotating pastures by allowing sheep or cattle to graze them, thereby interrupting the life cycles of equine parasites
  • Keep foals and weanlings separate from yearlings and older horses to minimize the foals’ exposure to ascarids and other parasites
  • Use a feeder for hay and grain rather than feeding on the ground
  • Remove bot eggs regularly from the horse’s haircoat (flea combs work well in some instances)
  • Consult your veterinarian to set up an effective deworming program for your horse(s) and monitor its effectiveness.

Dental tips for your Cat!

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Go nose-to-nose with your sleeping cat and give them a loving sniff. If it’s not sweet kitty breath that you know and love, but a stench that makes you wince, something may not be right. A healthy cat’s breath should not be offensive.

Many Different Causes
Bad breath, in fact, may indicate conditions from periodontal, kidney, respiratory or liver disease to diabetes, skin disease (involving tissue around the lips) or oral trauma. By far, the most common problem associated with bad breath is periodontal disease. Just think how your breath would smell if you didn’t brush your teeth for a week, months or even years.

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Without good dental care, this preventable disease is likely to cause pain, tooth loss, and infection that, in some cases, can spread to other organs. Without tooth brushing, a film called plaque adheres to the teeth. Over time, this film thickens and hardens, attracting even more plaque. The gums will swell with gingivitis, eventually leading to tissue and bone loss. Early stages of periodontal disease can be remedied with professional teeth cleaning, which would give your cat a fresh start, but plaque will build up again within days.

To prevent most cases of bad breath, brush your cat’s teeth – ideally, every day – using tooth gel for felines. Link the brushing to a treat, such as drinking water from a dripping faucet or a favorite canned food. Just before the treat, you can apply a tiny amount of the gel onto a finger and gently apply it to the cat’s teeth.

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Most cats will forgive your foolish human behavior to savor their desired food or beverage. Repeat this procedure every day for the first week to establish the new routine. Then, apply the gel a little further back in the mouth, but still without stressing the cat. Once the cat is tolerant of the gel on the finger prior to receiving the cherished item, try the same routine with the gel on the brush rather than the finger. Because cats hate having their mouths forcefully opened, simply stretch back the lips without opening the mouth. Don’t bother the tongue side of the teeth or focus too much on the motion. You simply want to disrupt the plaque buildup at the margin between the tooth and the gumline. The younger your cat, the easier it will be to brush the teeth. Never use toothpaste for humans because some of its components can upset a cat’s stomach. And never force the issue; it’s not worth putting yourself at risk.

Not all cases of bad breath  indicate a health problem. Food smells that are repulsive to you – but gusty to your cat – can be harmless. Your cat’s breath may be pretty pungent after chowing down some smoked oysters or canned tuna. Nevertheless, consistent bad breath should be checked by a veterinarian.  Your cat may need a professional tooth cleaning, an antibiotic to clear up an infection, or other medication for a serious disorder that could jeopardize your cat’s health, such as kidney or liver disease. Dental diets and tarter control treats are available for cats to assist in preventing the buildup of tarter.

Winterizing Your Senior Equine

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Owners of older horses might find that it is becoming harder and harder for their horse to maintain their weight in the winter. Although this condition can have many causes, inadequate nutrition and poor teeth are probably the most common. In general, as horses become aged, they require foodstuffs that are calorie-rich, easily chewed and digested, and contain additional vitamins. Below are a few tips to help you and your senior horse make it through the winter easier.

  • Shelter from the Storm If your older horse is going to be fully or partially turned out this winter, one of the most important things for them to have outside is shelter . This can mean just a tree line to break the wind, or a run-in shed for those that live outside year-round.Providing shelter can decrease the caloric needs of your horse for maintaining body warmth.
  • Blanketing While many older horses that live outside will have an adequate coat to keep them warm, a waterproof layer is also important. Blankets are available in varying weights to help your horse conserve heat and energy.  Check at least once a day to make sure the blanket is securely in place. Blankets should be removed regularly to check for rub spots and skin issues. The blanket doesn’t necessarily have to be thick or heavy, but it should be waterproof and breathable.
  • Check Your Horse’s Smile Before the winter season hits, have a professional examine your senior horse’s teeth. Older horses sometimes cannot properly masticate (chew) their food. When the food is not utilized in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, the calories are wasted.
  • Body Condition Score As the temperature drops, horses burn more calories. A good pasture might be enough to keep a horse at a consistent weight, but it is good to know how to supplement their diet. Use a body condition score chart weekly to assess your horse. A score between five and six is ideal. A winter coat can hide weight loss. Begin a monthly check by running your hands over your horse. If the ribs become more prominent than normal, adjust the ration accordingly.
  • Keep Food Off of the Ground

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    If possible, feed your horse’s hay above ground and away from the fence line. If you feed your horse hay every day in the same place where they walk and are competing for food, the hay can get mixed in with the soil. When it warms up again, that can start rotting and is the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. The best way to avoid this is to feed above the ground, if that is not possible rotate the areas where you feed hay.
  • Monitor Water Intake and Manure Output In order to monitor how a horse’s health changes in the winter, it is important to have a good baseline of their usual routine in fair weather. Know how much water your horse drinks and what their average manure output is. In the winter, geriatric horses may have a decrease in manure output and water intake. Adding a bran mash to their diet can help encourage drinking and keep their system regular.