hope everyone's holiday season was enjoyable. We will be back to our
regular Monday-Saturday schedule again now that the holidays have passed.
Fortunately, this winter has not been as wet as last year's. Despite
the ;more normal climate, many of our patients are exhibiting problems
attributable to being indoors with the heaters on. You may have
noticed your pet's coat becoming more dry than usual over the past couple
of months. One reason this can occur is the decrease in humidity in
the household when the heater is running. Yes, it cat be pouring
rain outside and below normal humidity inside! Symptoms you might
observer are increased itching, flakes, or increased dander. A few
steps can help lessen the impact. For dogs: bathe your dog as little
as needed to keep its coat clean using a hypoallergenic shampoo and
moisturizing rinse ( Allergroom followed by Humilac works
well) and brush your dog's hair often to remove dead hair and dander.
Do not use baby shampoo since the pH is even more different from dog skin
pH than adult shampoo is. Finally, make sure to provide proper
nutrition. Your pet needs high quality food providing adequate
energy for the winter. We are now carrying foods designed to help
with chronic skin problems. Ask about them next time you are in.
For cats, don't bathe the cat unless necessary to remove grease, oil, or
dirt ( cats usually do this pretty well themselves), comb and/or brush
your cat frequently to remove loose hair and dander, and use a pet
conditioning rinse (like Humilac) when you do find it necessary to
bathe your cat. Do not use oils or lotions designed for people,
these tend to gum up the cat's hair. Feed good quality cat food with
plenty of energy for their winter needs. If you find your pet is
scratching excessively, or making visible bald spots or sores, do not
blame that on just dry skin. There are many causes of skin disease
in both cats and dogs. If the problem is this severe, call and set
up an appointment for us to examine the pet.
As veterinarians, we understand the uniqueness of the
human-animal bond. As a result, when we observe published evidence
highlighting the benefits of this relationship, we love to spread the good
According to Love and Survival: The Scientific Basis
for the Healing Power of Intimacy (Harper Collins, 1998), the author,
Dean Ornish, MD, cites several studies that illustrate the tremendous
power of the bond between humans and their pets.
* Dog ownership benefits heart patients more than human
companionship. Researchers found dog ownership decreased such
cardiovascular reactivity as blood pressure more than a friend's presence
because people are perceived as judgemental.
* Pet ownership increases heart attack survival.
When researchers studied men and women who suffered heart attacks and
irregular heartbeats, 1 of 87 dog owners died compared with 19 of 282
people who did not own dogs.
* Pet ownership increases survival after hospitalization
for heart problems. Another study of patients hospitalized with
heart attacks or chest pain found that after one year only 6 percent of
pet owners died compared with 28 percent of patients without pets.
Such studies validate veterinarians' belief in the power
of the human-animal bond. In summary, Dr. Ornish writes, "Love
promotes survival, Anything that takes you outside yourself promotes
healing - in profound ways that can be measured independently of such
other known factors as diet and exercise." Remember a healthy
pet means a happy owner!
Pets require regular dental health checkups and
cleanings just as we do. Studies reveal that:
60 percent of all pets over age three need immediate
Without proper and routine dental care, pets may
develop periodontal disease (gum disease) that may cause them to lose
some or all of their teeth.
Some bacteria found in the mouth of pets suffering
from periodontal disease can be transferreded to the liver, kidneys or
heart resulting in complications of these vital organs.
40 percent of cats requiring dental care have painful
cavities below the gum line.
If early tartar formation is arrested and prevented- and
if proper prophylactic teeth cleaning and home care is maintained- your
pet will enjoy a healthier and happier life. It's that simple! So
please call our office if you have any questions or need to schedule a
It was not many years ago that the American Veterinary
Medical Association (AVMA) started actively promoting dental procedures
for our pets. As veterinarians, we routinely saw the medical
consequences of poor dental health, but our initial enthusiasm was met
with some skepticism on the part of pet owners. Even Johnny Carson
(..you remember him?) used to occasionally joke about pet dentistry in his
nightly monologues. Thanks mainly to continuing client education in
mediums like this newsletter, many pet owners began to realize that pet
dentistry and gum disease are not joking matters. Today, pet owners
in the United States rank dental problems among their top pet health
concerns! Specifically, dental problems were ranked third in the top three
health conditions affecting dogs and second in those affecting cats.
Although we can all take great pride in the advances
made in the education of pet owners about the need for dental procedures,
it is not time to rest on our laurels. To those clients whose pets
have undergone a dental procedure, please remember that, just like human
dientstry, a pet's teeth must be cleaned routinely. Please look for
our reminders. to those clients whose pets have not yet undergone a
dental procedure, we strongly encourage you to schedule an appointment as
soon as possible. A dental procedure will have a major and immediate
impact on your pet's quality of life.
As succesful as we have been in reaching the majority of
our clients concerning pet dental health, we won't feel totally successful
until all of our canine and feline patients are reaping the benefits of a
routine dental procedure. If you would like more information on pet
dentistry, have a particular question concerning your pet, or would like
to schedule an appointment, please call us today - we're here to help you
and your pet!
Many of our cats spend their entire life indoors.
Although this means that they are less likely to encounter other disease -
contaminated cats (i.e. -FeLV, FIP, etc.) It also means that they don't
get enough calorie-burning exercise. Not surprisingly, we are often
asked to treat ailments caused by the cat's obese condition. A
recent study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical
Association illustrates some of obesity's effects on a cat's health.
Obese cats are:
4.9 times more likely to be lame
3.9 times more likely to develop diabetes mellitus
2.3 times more likely to develop a nonallergic skin
Please call our office if you believe your cat is
overweight. Together, we can develop a diet and a routine that will help
your cat to lose weight, keep the weight off, and enjoy a better quality
We have seen the cases: the poodle that
wanders the house and gets "lost" in corners, the terrier
that ignores his owner when his name is called - but isn't deaf, the
previously well trained schnauzer who has started leaving accidents in the
house - right after he comes inside. These dogs are showing typical
behaviors associated with a disorder called canine Cognitive Dysfunction
Syndrome, or CDS.
A 1998 market reasearch study indicated
that 48 percent of dogs 8 years of age and older exhibited at least one
clinical sign associated with CDS. Another study, revealed that 62
percent of 11 to 16 year old dogs scored positively for one or more
behavioral categories indicative of CDS.
The first step in diagnosing CDS is
recognition of the signs, frequently observed by the pet's owner.
Next the veterinarian may conduct a thorough behavioral and medical
history, followed by a complete physical and neurological examination.
These can be supplemented, as appropriate, with diagnostic lab tests to
identify other unrelated medical conditions that may be contributing to
Please remember that some of the signs of
CDS are also indicators of various other medical problems. If you
see Fido behaving a little differently, don't just assume he's becoming
senile. The behavior you're observing could be the result of a
treatable condition, so please allow us the opportunity to make a proper
Feline Leukemia (FeLV), a complex of diseases causxed by
the feline leukemia virus, is the number one disease killer of cats in the
U.S. today. The virus, which is contracted from an infected cat,
enters a cat's body through the eyes, nose, and mouth. From there it
travels through the blood stream, infecting tissues and organs.
The symptoms of infection include: weight loss, poor
hair coat, loss of appetite, anemia, diarrhea, reproductive disorder,
weakness, enlarged glands, fever, inflamation of gums,persistent bacterial
The disease is spread when a cat comes into contact with
an infected cat. The virus is shed in the saliva, urine and feces.
Licking, biting, and sharing food and water bowls and litter boxes are the
most likely ways the virus is transmitted from one cat to another.
There is a vaccination to protect your cat that is
convenient, safe and effective. Kittens can begin receiving
protection at about nine weeks of age. an annual booster continues
Please call our office if you have any additional
questions about Feline Leukemia. Remember to call our office
immediately when you recieve a reminder about your cat's FeLV booster