Author Archives: lakewood

Common Dog Myths

no images were found

My dog’s nose is warm and dry. Does that mean he’s sick?
If your dog has a dry nose it means your dog has a dry nose. Maybe he just woke up or something. But a dry nose has nothing to do with a dog’s health. Focus on the unusual to detect signs of a potential problem. Call your vet if you notice swelling, difficult breathing or if your dog has a runny nose for more than a couple of days.

Brushing a dog’s teeth is silly. Give me a break.
Well actually, your dog will have the last laugh when his breath makes your eyes water. Routinely brushing your dog’s teeth not only freshens breath, it also limits the risk of oral disease and gives you a chance to notice anything unusual happening to teeth and gums. Seriously, don’t brush off brushing. It can make your dog more pleasant to be around and help prevent an array of serious health problems down the road. Ask your veterinarian for help getting started.

no images were found

Frequent baths make dogs smell nice. But can they also cause doggy dandruff?
They sure can. So let’s not cause a dry-skin blizzard. Keep the washings to a minimum and make sure you only use soap that’s made specifically for canines. Human shampoo can irritate a dog’s skin. If you take these steps and still notice flakes when your dog shakes, talk to your veterinarian to make sure you’re providing proper nutrition for a healthy coat.

Do dogs heal themselves by licking their wounds?
Yes, to a certain extent. A small amount of licking can help clean a wound, but excessive licking can actually slow down the healing process. It can even cause further damage to the wound and invite infection. Also consider that licking can turn into a bad habit that’s hard to stop. So if you suspect it’s getting out of hand, focus on re-directing your dog’s tongue to something more tasty.

no images were found

When dogs scarf down grass like it’s fettuccini Alfredo, does that mean they’re sick?
While several theories about animal grass consumption exist, veterinarians have no proven answers. However, research indicates an amazing possibility: Animals may just like to eat grass. So don’t panic if your dog nibbles at the lawn from time to time. If the nibbling turns into a daily feast, talk to your veterinarian.

If you put garlic on your dog’s food, will it help get rid of its worms?
No way. Forget you ever heard this one. Other than giving your dog the impression you’re a gourmet Italian chef, putting garlic on its food won’t do much. Restrict your garlic to your world-famous spaghetti sauce. Your dog will never miss it.

Dental Care and Your Horse

no images were found

Horses with dental problems may show obvious signs, such as pain or irritation, or they may show no noticeable signs at all.  This is because some horses simply adapt to their discomfort.  For this reason, regular dental examinations, at least annually, are essential to your horse’s health. It is important to catch dental problems early.  If a horse starts behaving abnormally, dental problems should be considered as a potential cause.  Waiting too long may increase the difficulty of remedying certain conditions or may even make remedy impossible. Oral exams should be an essential part of an annual physical examination by a veterinarian.  Every dental exam provides the opportunity to perform routine preventative dental maintenance. Mature horses should get a thorough dental exam at least once a year, and horses 2 – 5 years old should be examined twice yearly.

Some indicators of dental problems

  • Loss of feed from mouth while eating, difficulty with chewing, or excessive salivation.
  • Loss of body condition.
  • Large or undigested feed particles (long stems or whole grain) in manure.
  • Head tilting or tossing, bit chewing, tongue lolling, fighting the bit or resisting bridling.
  • Poor performance, such as lugging on the bridle, failing to turn or stop, even bucking.
  • Foul odor from mouth or nostrils, or traces of blood from the mouth.
  • Nasal discharge or swelling of the face, jaw or mouth tissues.

no images were found

Some Definitions of Abnormal Wear Patterns

Hooks–sharp protrusions that develop on teeth when an overbite, underbite or other dental deformity causes an imperfect meeting of the top and bottom arcades. Most common on the upper first cheek tooth and lower last molar.

Ramps–typically premolars with a surface that slopes like a ski jump. Ramps can cut or scrape the tongue or cheek, especially when a horse is bitted.

Step mouth–a cheek teeth row with one molar that has grown unopposed so it juts above the rest of the arcade. A gap in the opposite molar lineup usually initiates the abnormality.

Wave mouth–a severely restricting abnormality that occurs when two or more teeth in an arcade are high, creating a series of ascending and declining grinding surfaces.

Shear mouth–a dental configuration in which the molars’ grinding surfaces are worn at a sharp 60- to 75-degree angle. Normally, the angle is 15 degrees.

Fleas

no images were found

Fleas make pet’s lives miserable, and humans begin to itch just at the thought of them. The adult flea seen on a pet only represents about 5% of the flea population present in the environment. Flea eggs, larvae, and pupae reside in carpeting, rugs, bedding, and grass. Each flea can lay ~50 eggs per day and up to 2000 eggs in its short life causing a rapid increase in the flea population in the environment.

no images were found

Excessive scratching may be the first sign that your pet has an annoying flea problem. It is a good idea to check pets for fleas on a regular basis.  When checking for fleas, look for black specks (flea dirt) on your pet or on its bed or the actual fleas. These are easier to find if a fine tooth comb is brushed through the hair coat, especially on the back and rump area of the pet.

Diseases caused by fleas

  • Flea allergy dermatitis – an allergy to flea bites – specifically the saliva of fleas
  • Anemia – fleas feed on the blood of pets. If there is a large flea infestation the fleas can actually severally deplete the animals blood volume.
  • Tapeworms – fleas are one of the tapeworm hosts and infect pets they bite.
  • Rickettsiosis, Plague, Cat Scratch Disease – bacterial infections.

What to do about fleas

no images were found

Many flea products are available that have varying degrees of efficacy. Some over the counter products can be toxic to your pet, not just the fleas. Products available from your veterinarian are often the safest and effective. Treating your pet is one step in the process. Since flea eggs and larvae are also in the environment treating your house and yard may also be needed in severe flea infestations. Talk with your veterinarian about the best options for you and your pet.

Everyone knows fleas aren’t fun. However, here are some flea facts that will amaze you!

  • Fleas can jump up to 150 times their own length. To put that into perspective, if a human competed in the Olympic long jump with that ability, that athlete would certainly win the gold medal with a gravity-defying 1,000 foot long jump. So they can easily jump onto your pet from the ground, or from another pet.
  • On average, a flea’s lifespan is two to three months. However, pre-emerged fleas (not living on a pet) can survive undisturbed and without a blood meal for more than 100 days.
  • The female flea can lay 2,000 eggs in her lifetime. That means that if all 53 million dogs in the United States each hosted a population of 60 fleas, the U.S. would house more than six trillion flea eggs. Laid end-to-end, those eggs would stretch around the world more than 76 times! It’s important to kill fleas before they get a chance to lay eggs.
  • The female flea consumes 15 times her own body weight in blood daily.
  • A flea can bite 400 times a day. That’s a rate of 4,000 bites a day if your pet has just 10 fleas.

Heartworm Disease and Prevention

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal condition caused by parasitic worms living in the arteries of the lungs and occasionally in the right side of the heart of dogs, cats and other species of mammals, including wolves, foxes, ferrets, sea lions and (in rare instances) humans.

How Heartworm Happens: The Life Cycle

no images were found

First, adult female heartworms release their young, called microfilariae into an animal’s bloodstream. Mosquitoes then become infected with microfilariae after biting an infected animal. During the next 10 to 14 days, the microfilariae mature within the mosquito. After that, the mosquito bites another dog, cat or other susceptible animal, and the infective larvae enter through the bite wound. It takes a little over 6 months for the infective larvae to mature into adult worms. In dogs, the worms may live for up to 7 years. Microfilariae cannot mature into adult heartworms without first passing through a mosquito.

What Are the Signs of Heartworm Disease?

For both dogs and cats, clinical signs of heartworm disease may not be recognized in the early stages, as the number of heartworms in an animal tends to accumulate gradually over a period of months and sometimes years and after repeated mosquito bites. Recently infected dogs may exhibit no signs of the disease, while heavily infected dogs may eventually show clinical signs, including a mild, persistent cough, reluctance to move or exercise, fatigue after only moderate exercise, reduced appetite and weight loss. Cats may exhibit clinical signs that are very non-specific, mimicking many other feline diseases.

How Do You Detect and Prevent Heartworm Disease?

no images were found

Heartworm infection in apparently healthy animals is detected with a simple blood tests.  A heartworm tests uses just a few drops of blood and also tests for lyme disease and ehrlichiosis (another tick borne disease). Heartworm prevention is safe, easy and inexpensive. While treatment for heartworm disease in dogs is possible, it is a complicated and expensive process, taking weeks for infected animals to recover. There is no effective treatment for heartworm disease in cats, so it is imperative that disease prevention measures be taken for cats. There are a variety of options for preventing heartworm infection in both dogs and cats, including monthly tablets and monthly topicals. All of these methods are extremely effective, and when administered properly on a timely schedule, heartworm infection can be completely prevented.

Parasites and Your Pet

no images were found

For many of us the family pet greatly enhances our lives and is an important member of the family. Just as we want to protect our family from infection and diseases, we naturally want to protect the family pet from internal parasites. Pets can harbor zoonotic parasites that can potentially be transmitted to people. Precautions for preventing the spread of zoonotic diseases are necessary and often are deemed more significant when there are young children in the household. Parasitic larvae can migrate within the human body damaging tissues and possibly result in blindness. Many of the  common internal parasites of dogs and cats are transmissible to people. Children are at the greatest risk for acquiring a zoonotic parasite. This certainly is influenced by their penchant for putting anything and everything into their mouths, playing in the dirt, and lack of concern about washing their hands.

What are Intestinal Parasites and Where Does My Pet Get Them?

no images were found

Intestinal parasites are worms that live in the pet’s gastrointestinal tract. Worms cause disease by robbing nutrients from the pet’s digestive system and leave internal wounds where they attach to the intestinal lining. Some major intestinal parasites are: hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, tapeworms, coccidia, and giardia. Most puppies and kittens are born with parasites or acquire them shortly after birth from nursing. If pets are exposed to contaminated areas (places where fecal matter may be or has been) or other pet waste they could ingest eggs or larvae which can develop into adult worms. Unfortunately worm eggs and larvae are in many places in the outdoor environment. All pets are susceptible to infection with internal parasites.

What are Some Symptoms of Intestinal Parasites?

Not all intestinal parasites/worms are visible in your pets stool.  Depending on the worm load of your pet there may be no recognizable signs of infection.  Overwhelming number of worms living in the intestinal tract could cause vomiting, diarrhea, anemia, pot-bellied appearance, coughing, weight loss, and even death. The best way to determine if your pet has internal parasites is to have a fecal exam performed yearly on your pet.

How Do I Protect My Family?

no images were found

  • Regular veterinary examinations and fecal testing for your pet
  • Always wash hands after handling pet or pet toys
  • Avoid contact with pet urine or feces
  • Never eat anything your pet may have licked or had in their mouth
  • Wear gloves when gardening or playing in dirt or sandboxes

Monthly deworming and heartworm preventatives are available and have been proven to be almost 100% effective if administered properly. At a minimum yearly fecal examinations can screen pets and allow for the development of a tailored deworming program.

Why Is A Fecal Exam Recommended? Why Not Just Deworm My Pet?

no images were found

Fecal flotations’ are laboratory tests in which the feces is mixed with a special solution and spun in a centrifuge. The solution causes the eggs to float upward and collect on a microscope slide placed on top of the cylinder. A fecal exams reveals which parasites, if any, that your pet has and the number. This allows for development of an effective deworming program to rid your pet of unwanted internal parasites. Certain parasites require your pet be redewormed two to three months later in order to effectively break the egg-larvae-adult cycle. Routine deworming is only recommended in puppies and kittens since they are often born with internal parasites or acquire them soon after birth.

Common Questions about Laser Therapy

no images were found

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

no images were found

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

no images were found

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.

no images were found

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

no images were found

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

no images were found

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

no images were found

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

no images were found

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

no images were found

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)

    no images were found

  • 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!

no images were found

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.

no images were found

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.

no images were found

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.