5 Frequently Asked Questions At The Hospital

1. Does my indoor cat need vaccines?

Cat looking out window

It seems counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? If my cat does not go outside and does not encounter disease, then why does he need vaccines every year? Here are a half-dozen good reasons your veterinarian wants to keep your cat up-to-date on vaccines. If you are unsure if your cat is up-to-date on vaccines, contact your veterinarian today to find out.

  1. Your cat could accidentally get outdoors. They are curious about that big exciting world outside their windows and will not hesitate to go exploring. It only takes a few hours outside for an indoor cat to come in contact with a stray cat or wild animal carrying disease.
  2. If your cat ends up at a shelter, he or she could be exposed to sick cats. We all hope that this never happens, but as mentioned before, cats can and do escape from their home. If your cat is found but does not have any identity, such as a collar or microchip, the next stop is the local animal shelter. The stress of being taken to the shelter along with crowded shelter conditions can make cats more susceptible to disease.
  3. You cat may have a lifestyle change. When you bring that adorable kitten home, you are most likely expecting to have him or her for life. However, sometimes life brings changes beyond our control, such as divorce, death in the family, or a move, which can all affect your cat’s lifestyle. There are numerous cats that start out as indoor kittens but later become outdoor cats.
  4. Stress can cause latent disease to flare-up. Cats are often exposed to the feline herpes virus early on in life, especially if they come from a shelter or contracted the disease in-utero. Cats without up-to-date vaccinations can more easily contract respiratory infections or other disease that can cause latent or dormant disease to flare up in an already sick cat.
  5. Viruses such as Calicivirus and Feline Herpesvirus can be spread by inanimate objects.  A “fomite” is any inanimate object that can carry an infectious organism.  Grooming supplies and even shoes and clothing can act as a fomite bringing disease into your home.

 

2. How can I help my pet’s dental health at home?

You have noticed recently that Buddy’s breath is less than fresh and you are wondering how to help him? Maybe you have noticed that Buddy does not like to chew on toys or dry kibble that he used to love? Depending on the stage of Buddy’s dental disease, there are some good home care remedies that help to keep tartar and gingivitis at bay.

Close up photo of face of Labrador     

      A. Teeth Brushing: If your pet allows it, brushing their teeth daily with a pet toothpaste (NOT human toothpaste) is the gold-standard for treating dental disease.  It’s more work but definitely helps the most.

Brushing a Yellow Labrador Retriever's teeth

      B. Dental diet: We recommend Hill’s Science Diet T/D dental diet. The T/D diet is a complete, balanced diet that can be fed on a             daily basis and has been proven to clinically reduce dental disease. The T/D diet can be fed as treats as well, but less frequent             use decreases the positive results.  T/D is available at Dupont Veterinary Clinic.

T/D dog food for dental health

      C. Chew Products:  OraVet Oral Chews (by the makers of Heartgard and Nexgard) are daily oral chews that reduce both halitosisand tartar accumulation.  CET Rawhide Chews are rawhide treats coated with enzymes to help inhibit plaque and tartar.  Blue Buffalo Dental Bones are another simple option to help reduce tartar.  All are available at our hospital.

      D.  Food Additives: We recommend Clenz-a-dent Food Additive as another easy aid in slowing down plaque and tartar accumulation.

4 Stages of Periodontal Disease

Here is an image displaying the 4 stages of dental disease. Make an appointment with your veterinarian at Dupont Veterinary Clinic to determine if your pet needs a professional cleaning and polishing. Some pets, especially those in stages 3 and 4, can start to lose teeth if your veterinarian does not step in to help your pet.

 

  3. Is my pet overweight?

Pug standing on scale

Obesity in pets is on a steady incline in the United States. Overweight pets are at a much higher risk for developing arthritis, orthopedic disease, cancer, diabetes, and other illnesses. It is important to first determine if your pet is overweight and then determine what his or her ideal weight would be. Click on the following link to be directed to a resource that will walk you through these steps. This article will show you a body fat index risk chart to determine how overweight your pet truly is, then on the second page it will determine what your pet’s ideal weight should be. Feel free to stop by Dupont Veterinary Clinic at any time to put your pet on the scale for a more accurate weight, especially while they are losing weight. There are diseases, such as hypothyroidism, that can lead to weight loss because of a decreased metabolism. If you are concerned about your pet’s weight, contact your veterinarian to have them help you develop a diet plan or recommend a diet for your pet and look for any illness that may be preventing your pet from losing weight.

 

4. What food should I be feeding my pet?

Boston Terrier puppy eating

There are numerous foods on the store shelves and it can be overwhelming when trying to select the appropriate one for your pet. For puppies, make sure to get a food that is labeled for puppies as this provides better overall nutrition for their growing bodies. If you have a large or giant breed puppy, make sure to get a large breed puppy food because this helps provide better nutrition for their large, rapidly growing joints. Hill’s Science Diet has a great large breed puppy, toy breed puppy, or even puppy food (for those puppies of average size) for those youngsters at home. If your pet is between the ages of 1 to 7 and does not have any other dietary restrictions, we recommend selecting a diet labeled for adult dogs. If your pet is 8 years or older, we recommend a senior diet because this type of diet provides less calories for our less active pets as well as added nutrients to support joint health. We do not recommend selecting a diet that is listed for “all life stages” (this label is often listed on the back of the label) as this type of diet provides the same nutrients and calories that would be appropriate for a lactating mother or puppy as it would for a less active senior pet! Just like humans, pets have different nutritional needs at different stages of their life and we need to change their diets accordingly. If you are unsure of the food that you are feeding your pet, feel free to bring the food bag into your vet to have them give you a better nutritional assessment.

 

5. How do I remove a tick from my pet?

Pulling tick off of dog with tweezers

With the warm weather upon us we are seeing an increasing number of ticks on our pets. Here is a link to a short video that can help walk you through safe removal of a tick from your pet and signs and symptoms to look out for after the tick is removed. If you are concerned about removing a tick from your pet, you can schedule an appointment with the technicians at Dupont Veterinary Clinic to have them help you remove the tick. It is important, especially if you are noticing ticks on your pet, to put your pet on a tick preventative. If you are not sure if the monthly preventative your pet is on works against ticks, call your veterinarian to have them help you pick out the best product for your pet.

By Ashley Dawes, DVM

When Your Veterinarian Says "The Back"

Reception Area at Dupont Vet Clinic Fort Wayne

You arrive at Dupont Veterinary Clinic nervous about how your appointment is going to go, because your pet has been vomiting all night and has been unusually tired at home. You know it is important to see your veterinarian, but you are worried about your pet’s anxiety level since he or she is not a big fan of visiting the vet. Your pet’s constant whining and pacing in the waiting area is adding to your increasing level of stress.

You are put at ease when you are greeted by our friendly and enthusiastic receptionist who knows your pet by name. The recognition and the familiarity comforts you some and you start to feel a little bit better.

 

Reception Desk at Dupont Vet Clinic Fort Wayne

You are escorted back to an exam room by a veterinary technician that asks a series of questions about your pet and the reason for your visit. You answer the questions to the best of your knowledge, but are anxiously watching your pet’s mounting level of tension.

The veterinarian enters the room in a few minutes and performs a full “head-to-tail” physical exam and discusses your pet’s clinical signs with you. The doctor recommends lab work and radiographs (x-rays) to help determine the cause of your pet’s clinical signs.

The doctor is starting to help ease your anxiety when they mention that they are going to take your pet to “the back” or to “the treatment” area to run these additional tests. Your heart sinks as you relapse back to your anxious state.

“What does the doctor mean by “the back”?,” you anxiously wonder. “Is my pet going to be alright on his own?”

The majority of pet owners have heard the phrase, “the back,” during one of their visits. We are providing full disclosure to our clients to help them understand why this part of the exam is necessary.

Here is a photo of our actual treatment area, where there are three extra exam tables with surgical lights (better light than in the exam room), water, extra supplies for blood draws, bandaging, diagnostics, etc. There are more technicians here to help your doctor run blood tests, take care of your pet, and even to help with x-rays. The treatment area allows the staff to work together as a team to tend to your pet much more efficiently. The treatment area is often a busy place, but it can also be quickly converted into one of the quietest rooms for those extra nervous pets. With better lighting, bigger exam tables, and more staff to help your doctor, this is why the treatment area can be superior to the exam room when helping treat your pet.

 

Treatment Room at Dupont Vet Clinic Fort Wayne

 

Some pets are actually calmer away from their owners, which makes it easier to perform a thorough physical exam, draw blood, or provide the treatment that they need. This allows the veterinarian and veterinary technicians to accomplish tasks more efficiently and safely, while reducing stress for your pets.

If your pet needs to come to “the back” for x-rays this is another room off of our treatment area (far back right in the treatment area photo) that is quieter and darker for the highest quality x-rays. Here is a photo of our x-ray area where your pet will be escorted.

 

X-ray Room at Dupont Vet Clinic Fort Wayne

In our treatment area we also have a full lab, where we can run the majority of your pet’s diagnostics, such as in-house lab work or cytology (to look at ear infections, masses/growths, skin infections, etc.). Here is a photo of our lab area (back right of the treatment area photo) where your veterinarian and veterinary technicians will be busy running your pet’s diagnostics to more efficiently and effectively diagnose your pet.

 

Back Lab at Dupont Vet Clinic

We at Dupont Veterinary Clinic hope that by providing full disclosure and visuals of our treatment area, owner’s minds will be put at ease when their pets need to be escorted out of the exam room for further treatment or diagnostics. We aim to provide the highest quality of care for your pets as we know they are an important part of your family… and ours!

 

puppy-exam.001

By Ashley Dawes, DVM

February Is Dental Month!

2 dogs sitting with toothbrush in mouth

February is dental health month, which means it’s time for your pet to open wide for a dental examination!  Just like in people, if plaque and tartar build up and are left untreated it can progress to painful periodontal disease.

Dupont Veterinary Clinic offers a discount for dental exams during the month of February to honor dental health month. Be sure to schedule your pet a dental exam soon because spaces do fill up quickly!

 

Signs of oral and dental disease in pets

  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth or teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar
  • Your pet avoiding having his or her mouth touched
  • Drooling or dropping food from the mouth
  • Loss of appetite or loss of weight
  • This combination can be due to many different diseases and it is important to have an examination by a veterinarian right away.

 

Performing a feline dental procedure

Here are five tips on how to keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy:

  1. Bad Breath

If you cannot stand your pet’s breath, do not ignore it! Bad breath in pets is a warning sign for periodontal disease. The tartar and bacteria that build up cause this foul odor and it is important to remove the bacteria sooner rather than later. The bacteria eat away at the gum line and work their way into the blood stream, showering your pet’s body with a lot of bacteria! Here is a before and after image of a pet with significant tartar and periodontal disease (notice the red and inflamed gum line at the base of the teeth on the before image).

Before and after photo of dog's teeth

  1. Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

It may be difficult at first to start this routine, but with enough patience and tasty treats, you can gradually train your pet to accept the tooth brush and pet toothpaste. Start by letting your pet smell the toothbrush and the toothpaste, then gradually work your way to brushing for 30 seconds on each side of the mouth at least every other day.

Caution: Human toothpaste is not safe for pets! Be sure to use a pet approved product.

Demonstrating brushing teeth

  1. Consider Dental Toys, Treats, and Food

There are treats, toys, and food specifically designed to promote oral health; however, they are not as effective as brushing your pet’s teeth. Be sure to look for the Seal of Acceptance from the Veterinary Oral Health Council to make sure that the product meets the standards for effective plaque and tartar control.

Logo of VOHC - Veterinary Oral Health Council

Stop in to see your veterinarian at Dupont Veterinary Clinic to ask them about the prescription diet specifically designed to promote oral health.

Dog with toothbrush in mouth and T/D food

  1. Dental Exam

Pets need to have their teeth and gums checked regularly by a veterinarian, just like humans do. A cursory exam can be performed by your vet without sedation, but for a complete dental evaluation your pet will have to be placed under anesthesia. During the dental exam the veterinarian will check the head and neck for any abnormalities, look for any broken or cracked teeth, stage your pet’s dental disease (the severity of tartar, gum disease, redness and inflammation), and look for any other abnormalities in the oral cavity, such as cancerous lumps or bumps.

Photos and diagram of periodontal disease

  1. Don’t let Anesthesia Stop you From Getting a Dental Cleaning

Technician performing dental prophy

In order to perform a thorough examination of your pet’s teeth and gums, remove the plaque and tartar, and really clean your pet’s pearly whites, anesthesia is required. Placing your pet under anesthesia sounds scary, but in fact, the procedure has never been safer or more comfortable for your pet. Before the anesthesia even begins, we perform pre-screening blood tests to ensure that your pet is healthy enough for the procedure. There are numerous benefits of dental cleaning that outweigh the risks of anesthesia.

We at Dupont Veterinary Clinic will keep you informed throughout the procedure. There will be a meeting at the time of drop off with a veterinary technician; after the bloodwork is performed, if any health conditions are encountered, you will be contacted prior to anesthesia.  After your pet’s teeth are examined and cleaned you will again be contacted when your dog or cat has recovered from anesthesia.

We at Dupont Veterinary Clinic aim to provide the best possible care for your pet, which includes regular dental examination and cleaning. Contact your veterinarian with any questions regarding dental cleaning and to schedule your pet’s dental exam today!

By Ashley Dawes, DVM

 

Patient Spotlight – Ringo’s New Drumsticks!

Ringo is a Labrador with a new hip replacement 

 

Meet Ringo, a five-year-old happy-go-lucky Labrador Retriever. Ringo, like a lot of large breed dogs, was born with abnormal hips or a condition called Hip Dysplasia. Hip dysplasia worsens during the rapid growth phase of puppies and refers to the poor fit of the “ball and socket” nature of the hip. Ringo, like other dogs with hip dysplasia, did not have a ball and socket that fit together smoothly. Instead the socket (acetabulum) is flattened and the ball is not held tightly in place, which allows for more movement or slipping in the hip joint. Over time all of the movement in the hip joint results in the development of painful arthritis.

 

           X-Ray of Normal Hip  Normal Hip

X-Ray of dog with hips dysplasia  Early Hip Dysplasia

Ringo went to see Dr. Steve Harry at Dupont Veterinary Clinic for lameness and pain in his hips. Ringo’s hip dysplasia was treated over a prolonged period of time; however, his arthritis and pain continued to worsen. Dr. Harry along with Ringo’s owners decided to refer him to a specialist where he would be evaluated for a total hip replacement. In July of this year Ringo was considered a candidate and was approved for a total hip replacement. Ringo stayed over night at the specialty hospital and underwent the procedure the following day.

 

X-ray of a dog with severe hip dysplasia

Ringo’s Before Surgery X-ray

During the procedure the “socket” (or acetabulum) of the hip is deepened and replaced with a prosthetic socket and a prosthetic “ball” is inserted in order to replace the existing hip joint. The goal of the surgery is to give Ringo a pain-free, normal functioning hip. Even though Ringo has hip dysplasia affecting both the left and right hip joint only the right side was given a total hip replacement. Eighty percent of patients with arthritis in both hips only require surgery on one side in order for them to live a comfortable life. The decision of which hip to replace is dependent on which hip is more painful or has a greater limit in mobility.

 

X-ray of a dog's pelvis after a hip replacement

Close-Up X-ray of a hip replacement

Ringo’s After Surgery X-rays

Ringo is doing exceedingly well after his surgery! He is living a much more comfortable and happy life at home with his brother, Wyatt, where they are back to their normal antics.  Check out his progress in this video!!

“Ringo” Enjoying Life After His Hip Replacement

If you are concerned about your pet possibly having hip dysplasia or believe they may be a candidate for a total hip replacement, contact your veterinarian at Dupont Veterinary Clinic for more information.  We at Dupont Veterinary Clinic strive to provide clients with the best health care at the forefront of veterinary medicine.

If you are interested in learning more about the total hip replacement surgery, click the following link to watch an animated overview of the technique.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTLhcLxT-0o

By Dr. Ashley Dawes

Patient Spotlight – Ringo’s New Drumsticks!

Ringo is a Labrador with a new hip replacement 

 

Meet Ringo, a five-year-old happy-go-lucky Labrador Retriever. Ringo, like a lot of large breed dogs, was born with abnormal hips or a condition called Hip Dysplasia. Hip dysplasia worsens during the rapid growth phase of puppies and refers to the poor fit of the “ball and socket” nature of the hip. Ringo, like other dogs with hip dysplasia, did not have a ball and socket that fit together smoothly. Instead the socket (acetabulum) is flattened and the ball is not held tightly in place, which allows for more movement or slipping in the hip joint. Over time all of the movement in the hip joint results in the development of painful arthritis.

 

           X-Ray of Normal Hip  Normal Hip

X-Ray of dog with hips dysplasia  Early Hip Dysplasia

Ringo went to see Dr. Steve Harry at Dupont Veterinary Clinic for lameness and pain in his hips. Ringo’s hip dysplasia was treated over a prolonged period of time; however, his arthritis and pain continued to worsen. Dr. Harry along with Ringo’s owners decided to refer him to a specialist where he would be evaluated for a total hip replacement. In July of this year Ringo was considered a candidate and was approved for a total hip replacement. Ringo stayed over night at the specialty hospital and underwent the procedure the following day.

 

X-ray of a dog with severe hip dysplasia

Ringo’s Before Surgery X-ray

During the procedure the “socket” (or acetabulum) of the hip is deepened and replaced with a prosthetic socket and a prosthetic “ball” is inserted in order to replace the existing hip joint. The goal of the surgery is to give Ringo a pain-free, normal functioning hip. Even though Ringo has hip dysplasia affecting both the left and right hip joint only the right side was given a total hip replacement. Eighty percent of patients with arthritis in both hips only require surgery on one side in order for them to live a comfortable life. The decision of which hip to replace is dependent on which hip is more painful or has a greater limit in mobility.

 

X-ray of a dog's pelvis after a hip replacement

Close-Up X-ray of a hip replacement

Ringo’s After Surgery X-rays

Ringo is doing exceedingly well after his surgery! He is living a much more comfortable and happy life at home with his brother, Wyatt, where they are back to their normal antics.  Check out his progress in this video!!

“Ringo” Enjoying Life After His Hip Replacement

If you are concerned about your pet possibly having hip dysplasia or believe they may be a candidate for a total hip replacement, contact your veterinarian at Dupont Veterinary Clinic for more information.  We at Dupont Veterinary Clinic strive to provide clients with the best health care at the forefront of veterinary medicine.

If you are interested in learning more about the total hip replacement surgery, click the following link to watch an animated overview of the technique.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTLhcLxT-0o

By Dr. Ashley Dawes

Halloween Horrors

Kitten wearing black Halloween hat

For a lot of people Halloween can be a fun and spooky time of year, but for pets it can be an absolute nightmare! We at Dupont Veterinary Clinic would like to recommend some precautions this Halloween with the following ten pet safety tips.

  1. No tricks or treats!

Halloween candy can be very enticing for pets, but can be severely toxic if ingested. Chocolate contains a compound called Theobromine as well as caffeine, which are both very toxic to pets. Chocolate toxicity can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, tremors, rapid breathing, and increased heart rate. The dark or baking chocolates are the worst kinds of chocolate, as they contain higher amount of these chemical compounds. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is found in candy that can be very toxic, even in small amounts. Xylitol can cause a sudden decrease in blood sugar, which can lead to staggering and seizures in pets.

White dog with nose in dish full of candy

  1. Keep Halloween pumpkins and decorative corn out of reach

Halloween and fall decorations are relatively non-toxic, but might seem like a tasty snack to pets. If ingested in large quantities these decorations can cause stomach upset or intestinal blockage.

Pug puppy chewing on gourd

  1. Keep lit candles in pumpkins away from pets

Pumpkins are very festive, but curious pets can burn themselves on lit candles or knock them over causing a fire.

Chihuahua standing with a carved pumpkin with Chihuahua face

  1. Keep decorations with wires or cords away from pets

Wires and electrical cords from Halloween lights or decorations can cause cuts, burns, or even life threatening electrical shock if chewed on by curious pets.

2 Lab puppies sitting on top of pumpkins

  1. Have a dress rehearsal before the big night

Try on pet costumes before Halloween to see how they react to wearing clothing and to make sure it fits comfortably. Some pets dislike costumes and for those, festive bandanas usually work well. Be sure that the costume does not restrict your pet’s movement, hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark, or meow.

Black and white cat laying and wearing black mask

  1. Keep nervous pets in a quiet room

Some pets become very nervous with the constant ringing of the doorbell and excited chatter from trick-or-treaters outside. For these pets it is best to keep them inside a quiet room in the house to rest until the festivities are over.

Puppy wearing Pooh shirt holding "Hunny" jar

  1. Make sure pets have proper identification

When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, it is easy for pets to escape and become lost. Be sure your pet is wearing a collar and tags and/or a microchip (with updated information!) so if they should escape they have a better chance of being returned to you.

  1. Do not leave pets outside, especially black cats

Halloween pranksters have been known to tease, injure, steal, or otherwise harm pets. While this act is inexcusable, it is very preventable by the owners. Black cats are especially at risk for cruelty-related incidents. Many shelters do not adopt out black cats during the month of October as a safety precaution.

Black kitten sitting with pumpkins

  1. Keep glow sticks and glow jewelry away from pets

Although the product inside of glow sticks or jewelry is not likely toxic, it tastes terrible and can cause excessive salivation and odd behavior. Stomach upset can occur if they are ingested by pets, especially in large amounts.

  1. Familiar people can be frightening

Costumes and masks change how people look and smell to a pet, so even familiar people can become frightening. Even if you are just having a few friends over for a Halloween party, keep your pets away from the festivities in their safe room.

5 dogs dressed as ghosts holding plastic pumpkins in mouths

By Dr. Ashley Dawes