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24/Oct/2018

It’s important to make sure that you get the right recovery set-up for your cat at home. It’s hard for your cat, too, you know? If you’re a cat owner, then you don’t have a lot to worry about. Most felines would probably only need neutering and spaying for their surgery. But, sometimes, you get unlucky, and your pets need surgery for health complications. In fact, the most common surgeries that are being done on felines other than the spaying and neutering are removal of skin mass and various lumps.

Regardless of what kind of surgery your cat gets, it’s important to prepare a post-op environment for her fast recovery. In this article, we will explore some of the ways that you can take care of your pet after surgery. We will list down some of the ways that you can restrict the movement of your cat for better recovery. We will list down some of the ways that coping with a recovering pet would be less stressful on your part.

  1. Talk to your vet

You should make sure that you understand all the instructions from your doctor. Any pre-surgical requirements from your doctor should be followed. Some of these requirements include restriction on food and taking them away from the felines before surgery. You should also ask your doctor for what the recovery would be like. Setting your expectations straight would lessen your stress.

You should also ask your doctor if you need to put your pet in the vet hospital first. Most of the doctors today send the felines home, but some of them would ask that the cats stay for the night first. You should also not forget to ask your vet about how to give the medication to the cats. Let the vet indicate the date, the times and other important information on how to give the antibiotics to your cat. You should put that list on a piece of paper for easier recall. You should remind yourself of that when you get home. Don’t ever forget that.

  1. Financial Plan

Never underestimate the costs of your vet. They could be a lot. You could get a sticker shock for the amount you’re about to pay for the post-surgery needs. Arrange a good plan with your vet, so you don’t get surprised of the bill. Before you get surgery, you can also ask your vet about the entire total cost. It’s advantageous if you have an insurance for your pet.

  1. Quiet Place

Provide a safe and quiet place for your cat. Your cat may still be a bit nauseated after the surgery. Putting your feline in a room that won’t wake it up will be healthy and increase its recovery rate. Don’t give the entire house for her to enjoy. She may hit its stitches and ruin it. It would also help to put a blanket over your pet. Putting the cat litter near to where she sleeps would also be a help.

  1. Keeping an eye on stitches

You should be able to watch over your feline all the time. Make sure that you don’t let her touch the incision. Find a way that your cat won’t chew out the stitches. Although licking is a good way to heal naturally, you should call the cat out if the scratching proves to be too much. If you think that the scratching is too abrasive for the stitches, you may need to put an Elizabethan collar, which is also known as the Dunce Cone.

Summary and Conclusion

With this article, you learned some of the easy ways that you could promote faster healing for your pet after surgery. We hope you found great value in the article! Should you have any questions, just call us at UVC – 203 957-3375.


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24/Oct/2018

Are you worried that your dog won’t be able to recover that well? Are you hesitant to get your dog into surgery because your dog might not be able to recover? You’re not alone. Many dog owners face the same dread. They fear the first day of the operation, and they dread the days that will follow for complete recovery. In this article, we will attempt to list down some of the tips and ways to help your dog recover after a long operation. Let’s start.

  1. Consider the basics

The first set of recovery tips you should learn would involve following the instructions the vet told you. Help the dog follow them. You should watch out for ways when they deviate from it. The list that your vet will tell you might be long. Make sure you remember all of them. You should watch out for your puppy’s attempt to play and ruin the surgery. If you see your dog chewing wallpaper and it’s not allowed, make sure you call the dog out.

  1. Put the puppy in a crate

Isolating your dog from constant movement from the other dogs would help. Building a crate for your dog could help them recover quickly.

  1. Do Obedience Commands

Try to make sure you master the basic commands. When you say “Sit” and “Look” to your dog, that means they’re less likely to tear the stitches in their surgery.

  1. Dog-safe areas

Build areas that are safe for dogs to run to. An excellent way to protect the dogs from ruining their stitches is by creating a dog pen. Building stair gates could also help.

  1. Poop on Leash

You should also learn how to teach your pup how to poop on a leash. That’s one right way to secure the surgery stitches. Remember that all the time. This is important mainly if your dog’s surgery was orthopedic.

  1. Schedule it right

When your dog’s surgery is before a party, you’re in trouble. Your dog won’t be able to enjoy it. You won’t be able to enjoy the party! What you need is a peaceful, quiet place when your dog is recuperating. Put the dog in a silent place during recovery, and having a party after surgery would just make it worse.

  1. Painkillers

    If you’re worried that your dog feels too much pain, ask the doctor for painkillers. It would be of great help for the dogs. Just remember that your pup would be feeling miserable after the painkiller’s effect fades. Expect for a sudden behavior change.

  2. You should also consider getting intradermal sutures.

    The good thing about this type of stitches is because it’s under the surface. If you do it like this, you’d have no sutures that could get your dog to unstitch. No more worries about sutures being chewed.

  3. Consider the Elizabethan Collar

    Your dog’s teeth could be filled with dirt and germs. Getting them away from the stitches would be a great way to recuperate. When you put the Elizabethan Collar on your dog, you protect it from further infection on your stitches.

  4. Neck Braces.

    You can also improve the recovery of your pup if you use neck braces. It will also be an excellent alternative to use an inflatable neck brace if you don’t like to see your dog walking around with a giant collar. It’s also best to use this inflatable braces to prevent the dog from licking their sutures.

 

Summary and Conclusion

In this article, you learned some of the common diseases that dogs have. We hope that you can use this guide when you get your dog to a complete health check-up.


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24/Oct/2018

If you notice your pooch constantly scratching at his ears, whining and shaking his head on a frequent basis, that his ears are red and swollen or that pus is emanating from one or both of them, he may have an ear infection. Ear infections are extremely common in canines and just as they are when we experience them, they are uncomfortable. Unfortunately, if your pooch is prone to infections, he is likely to get them all the time and from just about any sort of trigger, including bacteria, yeast and mites. Fortunately, treating an infection in a dog is relatively straightforward, and there are ways to prevent future occurrences. At the United Veterinary Center, our doctors want to help you get your pet’s infections under control. While we do this partially through careful diagnosis and treatment, we also educate dog owners so that they can plan an active part in their pet’s health too.

If your canine is susceptible to infections, this post is designed to tell you everything you need to know about dog ear infections, including the different types of infections, symptoms to look out for, possible causes and treatment.

Common Types of Ear Infections in Dogs

Dogs can develop three types of conditions of the ears: otitis externa, media and internal. Each of these is fairly common in all canines but are especially common in dogs with floppy ears such as Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels. However, 20 percent of all dogs, across all breeds, are plagued by infections.

Otitis externa means that the inflammation lies on the outside, in the lining of the external portion of the canal. When you, your child or your pet experiences pain in the ear, it is most likely due to otitis externa. Most problems start out as otitis externa but if not treated, it can travel to the inner and middle portions of the canal, causing otitis media and interna. If allowed to progress this far, it could result in deafness, facial paralysis or vestibular disease. To prevent any of these conditions befalling your precious pooch, it is imperative that you have him examined and treated at the first signs of otitis externa.

Signs Your Dog Has an Infection

Signs of an ear infection are relatively obvious and hard to miss. They can include:

  • Scratching on or around the ear
  • Redness or swelling
  • Crusts or scabs as a result of aggressive and continuous scratching
  • Hair loss around the area
  • Rubbing his head on the carpet, your leg or pieces of furniture
  • A bad smell
  • Pus or discharge
  • Brown, yellow or bloody discharge
  • Constant head shaking or drastic head tilt
  • Loss of balance
  • Weird eye movements (disorientation)
  • Walking in circles
  • Hearing loss

Hopefully you’re able to informally diagnose an ear condition by the first few signs, such as scratching, scabbing and pus, but if you do not, your pet will continue to demonstrate signs that gradually worsen as the infection does.

Possible Causes of Ear Infections

There are usually triggers for infections, as most don’t just arise out of nowhere. Some possible and common causes for your dog’s condition could be any one of the following, or even a combination of a few of these:

Lifestyle

How you raise your dog, what you allow him to do and what you feed him all play a role in his overall health. For instance, if you let your dog go swimming or splash around in the tub, he could have water trapped in his canal on a constant basis, which could result in the canine equivalent of “swimmer’s ear.” If you feed your dog human foods and neglect a more natural diet of raw meats and vegetables, he may not be receiving the nutrients he needs to fight off infections, thereby making him more susceptible to certain problems and conditions. If you let your pup trollop through the woods after you while you’re on a walk or go foraging through brush, he could get foxtails in there that you may not notice until they have already wreaked havoc.

Diet

Diet goes hand in hand with lifestyle but we feel it deserves its own point. Canines need a diet full of protein and natural veggies, and one that is limited in carbohydrates. If the food you feed your furry friend contains a lot of carbs, it could contribute to yeast infections or trigger a food allergy you’re unaware of.

Allergies

If you have hay fever, you likely know all about the tingling sensation you get in your ears right before your allergies come on full force. Dogs react in much the same way when they’re struck by an allergy attack. However, in order to resolve your dog’s problems if allergies are the cause, you will need to get to the root of his allergies first.

Anatomic

Your dog’s ears themselves may be the very source of his problems. If your pooch has floppy ears, it is up to you to clean them regularly to eliminate buildup, discharge or yeast growth.

Excessive Cleaning

On the other hand, if you clean your dog’s ears too much you may accidentally prevent the growth of good bacteria. Wax is meant to protect your dog, and a little goes along ways towards keeping out the bad stuff. Additionally, overusing cleaning substances, no matter how natural, can result in irritation and actually aggregate an existing condition. As with most things in life, moderation is key.

Foreign Bodies

Mites are a common parasite infection and type of mange that normally attacks dogs. Like louse, mites are extremely contagious and commonly affect the young. They itch terribly, causing young canines to scratch excessively at their heads until they bleed. You can usually rule out (or diagnose) mites by simply inspecting your dog’s ears. If he has mites, you’ll notice little black bumps in the ear and along the outer edges.

Other Causes

Other chronic conditions such as hypothyroidism or auto-immune disease can result in ear infections in dogs as well. If this is the case with your pooch, be prepared to deal with a lifelong battle, as it’s difficult to eradicate entirely problems that stem from chronic disorders.

Your pet may also have a hematoma, which is a pool of blood between the cartilage of the ear flap and the skin.

Diagnosing Canine Ear Infections

A veterinarian can usually tell right away if a dog suffers from an infection, and via a quick examination of their canal and drum. In fact, you are probably familiar with the procedure and tools required of it, as vets use the same magnifying cone on dogs as doctors do on humans. However, whereas you’re likely to sit still while your doctor probes your ear, your pooch is not. The vet may request to have your dog sedated so she can get a thorough look at your dog’s canal and drum. If necessary, they will take a sample of the discharge to determine whether bacteria, yeast or parasites is the cause of your pet’s pain. Most vets have to send their samples out to a lab but because we have a lab here at the United Veterinary Center, we can run it over and have the results back on the same day.

Treating a Dog’s Infection

Depending on the cause of your dog’s condition, treatment may vary. Your vet may prescribe a topical ointment if she determines that the infection is still outside the ear and caused by something external, like mites or foxtails. However, if the cause has to do with allergies, diet, lifestyle or some other chronic condition, your vet may recommend systematic antibiotics to kill the source of the infection for good. As with people antibiotics, it is imperative that your dog receives the recommended dose each day in order for his antibiotics to do their job.

There are natural remedies you can try out on your pooch such as cleaning your pup’s ear with apple cider vinegar and then squirting a mixture of the vinegar with water into your dog’s canal. Mullein is a plant with antibacterial properties that supposedly works great for infections, as is oregano oil, calendula and coconut oil. However, there is no scientific backing behind any of these home remedies, just hearsay. If you want to swiftly and effectively resolve your pet’s issues, it is best to seek the medical help of a trained veterinarian.

Preventing Dog Ear Infections

In order to prevent canine ear aches you need to know what is causing them. Sometimes prevention is as simple as wiping down your dog’s ears after he gets a bath or goes swimming, while in other cases it’s a bit more complicated, such as identifying food allergies and eliminating those foods from his diets. A trained vet can help you identify the cause of your dog’s chronic infections and devise a way to get rid of them once and for all.

If your pooch suffers from chronic ear aches, know that he is not alone. However, just because dogs are susceptible to infections doesn’t mean your pooch should have to live with them. If you notice any of the signs of a problem—scratching, redness, swelling, pus or any of the others—schedule an appointment with the United Veterinary Center to get to the root of your dog’s issues and to get him on the path to optimal health today.


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24/Oct/2018

For some people, a glass of milk is a glass of milk, but for others, it’s hours of agonizing pain and diarrhea. For some, eggs are eggs, wheat is wheat, and peanuts are peanuts, but for countless others, those products are something much more sinister. Every person reacts differently to foods, but those differences don’t just stop at us bipeds. Animals experience food allergies too, and just like a person who is allergic to peanuts can swell up when the nut is near, so can your pooch or your kitten or even your horse.

Just recently, The Messerli Research Institute released a paper that highlights the similarities in human and animal allergy symptoms and triggers of adverse food reactions. The paper condenses all the information ever recorded about animal allergies into one, easy(ier) to digest paper.

According to the study, animals that are allergic to milk may experience the same upset stomach that we humans do; pets that eat something that doesn’t agree with their system may suffer from an itchy palate, swelling of the face or even a severe asthma attack; and those with more severe intolerances, such as peanut allergies, may go into anaphylactic shock if they are even near the substance. For these reasons, it is so important that we as pet owners and caretakers understand how animals are affected by certain foods and what we can do to eliminate triggers from their diets entirely. That is what this article aims to do: educate you on pet food allergies, triggers, symptoms, treatment and prevention and prevention.

 

Does Your Pet Have an Allergy or an Intolerance?

First and foremost, it is important that you understand the differences between an allergy and intolerance. Let’s use lactose intolerance as an example… Most people who are lactose intolerant will exhibit signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, gas or painful bowels after drinking milk, eating cheese or consuming dairy of any kind. However, people who are allergic to dairy will suffer from a different type of reaction such as itching, skin problems or even difficulty breathing. Allergies can be life threatening, while intolerances are merely uncomfortable. That is why it is so important that you understand the differences between the two, as if your pet has an allergy, you need to know to what so that you can prevent their consumption of it and have the necessary tools on hand to help him if he does consume a trigger food.

 

Common Food Triggers

Just like there are known trigger foods in the human diet, there are known trigger foods in a pet’s diet too. Some of the more common products to cause allergies include dairy products, beef, chicken, lamb, fish, eggs, corn, soy and wheat. If this list sounds eerily similar to the ingredients in your dog’s food, that is because it is. Unfortunately, many reactions are triggered by the most basic of foods, which is what makes food allergies so scary and difficult to control. Additionally, while some proteins are slightly more antigenic than others, the prevalence in animal meals—and therefore, the rate of exposure—is likely linked to the rate of incidences.

 

Symptoms to Look Out For

Again, many of the symptoms that your pet will experience when they consume a snack they’re allergic to are similar to the symptoms that you may exhibit. The most common symptom of a food allergy is the less severe itching. Your dog or cat may paw intensely at their face or scratch at their feet, ears, forelegs, armpits and the area around their anus. In larger animals that cannot scratch themselves, or even in your cat or dog, look for chronic and recurrent symptoms such as hair loss, hot spots, skin infections and ear infections. Dairy allergies especially present themselves in recurrent ear infections.

There is some evidence that suggests that dogs with food allergies have particularly active bowels. Whereas it’s normal for a dog to relieve his bowels one to two times a day, dogs with food allergies average around three or more bowel movements a day.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to discern a food allergy from a topical allergies or atopy based on the aforementioned symptoms alone. This is why it is so important that if you do notice any of the above signs, you look for additional symptoms, such as wheezing, ear infections or yeast infections. Normally, an animal that is allergic to a particular meal will demonstrate more than one sign.

Diagnosing a Food Allergy in Pets

Diagnosing a food allergy in pets is fairly straightforward; however, because many other health issues present themselves in similar symptoms, it can be easy to confuse a food allergy with something else. For this reason, it is important to eliminate all other possibilities before giving an official diagnosis. For instance, if your pet has multiple fleabites, we would treat those before declaring he’s allergic to beef. If your cat has symptoms of an intestinal parasite, we would screen for that before determining that she is allergic to milk. The last thing we want to do is make a misdiagnosis, as that could lead to additional complications down the road. Only once all other probable causes have been ruled out will we begin to run allergy tests.

 

Food Trial Basics

A food trial consists of feeding your dog, cat or other pet a very restricted diet for 12 weeks and observing them carefully. Typically, a veterinarian would recommend a diet that consists of protein and carbohydrates that your pet has never eaten before, such as venison, potatoes, bison or rabbit. The proteins and carbs are broken down into such molecular sized pieces that even if your pet were allergic, he or she would not demonstrate an allergic reaction. These diets are often called “limited antigen” or “hydrolyzed protein” diets. If you want to ensure that your pet does not get anything beyond the novel proteins and carbs, you can always make their food at home. It’s important to keep in mind that while your pet is on this restricted diet, he or she does not consume anything else—no treats, no flavored medication, no bully sticks or chicken treats. They can only have the special meals and water and that is it. Studies suggest that your pet will respond to their new diet within 21 days at a minimum and 12 weeks on the very outside. If your pet shows a marked improvement on this new diet, your vet will recommend switching him back to his original diet. If his symptoms flare back up, a food allergy is confirmed. If your pet doesn’t show an improvement on the new diet after 12 weeks but a food allergy is still suspected, your vet will recommend a second trial using a new protein source.

 

What About Blood Tests?

While many people swear by blood tests, there is no evidence suggesting that they actually work for the diagnosis of food allergies. While skin testing and blood testing works for atopy, the only true way to diagnose a food allergy is via a food trial. For some pets, it could take several trials before the vet comes to an accurate diagnosis. While this can be frustrating for both you and your pet, it is necessary if you hope to eliminate the cause of your pet’s discomfort and put them on a diet to which they’ll respond positively.

 

Treating Pet Food Allergies

Like with human allergies, the only real way to treat a food allergy in animals is to help them avoid consuming the trigger food. While short-term relief may be gained through the use of antihistamines and steroids, relying on those as a long-term solution is unrealistic and ineffective. Not only is it unfair to your pet to have to consume medication in order to eat, relying on drugs long-term can reduce the effectiveness of those drugs as your pet’s system becomes used to, and therefore immune to, them. If your pet needed steroids for a more serious health condition later on down the road, the steroids would be unable to help them because of over and unnecessary use.

The best thing you can do for your pet is to make sure he or she does not consume the trigger food. This may mean making meals yourself, especially if the trigger food is found in nearly every cat/dog/horse snack on the market. However, if you do plan on making your pet’s meals, keep in mind that you still need to include an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals. The diet you do plan to feed your pet should be approved by a veterinary nutritionist.

Gene therapy can be another way for allergy treatment taken into consideration.

 

Consult the Caring Veterinary Team at the United Veterinary Center

If you suspect that you pet is allergic to a particular food, don’t wait until their reactions become severe and reach out to our trained veterinary team at the United Veterinary Center today for an official diagnosis. Though it may take time, patience and effort on yours and your pet’s parts to come to a final diagnosis, it will be well worth it when your pet is able to eat comfortably without suffering from any painful or dangerous side effects.


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24/Oct/2018

You and your pet may have more in common that you think. No, we’re not talking about your mutual love for ice-cream, long walks on the beach and backrubs. Rather, we are talking about something more innate, like your health. According to Science Daily, humans are not the only mammals to suffer from food intolerance and allergies. According to a condensed paper produced by the University of Veterinary Medicine, your dog, cat and even horse are susceptible to developing allergies, as they too produce immunoglobulin E, the antibodies that attack antigens, such as bacteria, viruses, and allergens. They are also responsible for Type I allergy symptoms, according to the paper’s lead author, Isabella Pali-Scholl.

Type I allergies most commonly present themselves in immediately-occurring and well-known symptoms such as hay fever, asthma and anaphylactic shock. Additionally, Type I allergies are responsible for food intolerance. The paper goes on to explain how food intolerance is extremely similar in humans and animals; however, in dogs, cats and horses, food allergies commonly start as skin reactions and then proceed to irritate the gastrointestinal tract.

Moreover, there is an overlap among the triggers of immune response to certain foods and ingredients. For instance, both pets and humans suffer severe allergic reactions to milk proteins, soy, peanuts, wheat, fish, eggs, meat and other common trigger foods.

This research wasn’t done to show humans that we have a lot more in common with our furry friends than we originally thought (though, now you can bond with your dog over your shared intolerance of all things dairy). Rather, the research was done to help us better understand animal allergies and to find a course of treatment that can help us ease the pain and discomfort they undoubtedly feel when those allergies kick in. One method that scientists introduced to cure food allergies and asthma is gene therapy.

 

Gene Therapy “Turns Off” Immune Responses

Imagine if you suffered from peanut allergies your whole life, or an intolerance to cheese, milk and all other dairy, or any other food allergy or intolerance that made it difficult for you to eat out or enjoy fine dining. But what if one day somebody told you that if you underwent a single, non-invasive treatment, you could stop living in fear of the trigger food and actually enjoy it? Would you do it? Of course you would!

Gene therapy is the cure that can do the impossible.

With a single treatment, your veterinarian can essentially “turn off” the immune response that causes an allergic reaction in your pets. The cure isn’t just a temporary fix, however, but can provide life-long protection from severe allergic reactions, including asthma. Such a discovery is huge!

The problem (up until recently, that is) is that asthma and allergy cells, known as T-cells, have immunities of their own. While they’re busy protecting you by keeping at bay allergens, they have their own protections in place that fight most allergy “cures.” This memory immunity makes those cells resistant to allergy treatments, which is why there has been no long-term fix for allergy sufferers.

Animals, those lucky furry creatures, can now undergo gene therapy to desensitize those gene cells and essentially “wipe” the memory of T-cells. Scientists hope to be able to apply this therapy to humans in the near future, allowing people who suffer from bee, peanut, shell fish and any other severe allergies to enjoy once off-limits foods once and for all. Though we’re not quite there yet, the leaps scientists have made in just a few short years is very promising indeed.

 

Work With United Veterinary Center’s Lab

If you want to help your pet overcome their food allergies and intolerances once and for all, head on over to out lab to see how we can help you help them. At the United Veterinary Center, we offer gene therapy for all pets, including cats, dogs, horses and any other mammals that happen to suffer from allergies. Call to schedule a consultation with your pet’s vet today!


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