Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Dog Ate WHAT??

The dog ate WHAT??

I arrived at work one morning and was told by our receptionist that there was a client on the way with his 5 month old Shepherd. She said they thought had eaten nails that had been laying around in the garage. When they arrived, I told them the best way to visualize what is going on was to take a radiograph (aka x-ray) of the abdomen, since metal objects appear very clearly and densely compared to regular tissue.
      Here is the image I got:

     After the initial shock of learning his wife's engagement ring was in Jake's stomach, I told him we could retrieve it pretty easily. I gave Jake a drug that causes dogs to safely vomit within about 20 seconds. He preceded to vomit up his breakfast - and the diamond studded ring!

    I love this radiograph so much because in all the years of taking x-rays, you never get one that so closely shows the object like this one.  Typically, all you will see a dense object and are unable to make out what it is because of the the angle being off or the inability to show it straight on, but this one was laying perfectly on it's side! A scary beginning made for a very interesting, and happy, ending! 

Written by: Dr. Megan Moser, DVM 
Companion Animal Hospital of Skokie

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

End of Life Care: Making Every Day Count

End of Life Care: Making Every Day Count

Being a veterinarian is often a rewarding job; we get to watch our patients grow and mature, perform preventative care to keep them healthy, and help heal them when they’re sick. However, being a vet also means that I sometimes have the unfortunate task of having to give bad news to pet owners. Whether it is a terminal cancer diagnosis, debilitating arthritis, failing kidneys, or something else, we know that medicine and surgery can sometimes only do so much and that eventually we must decide when it’s time to humanely end our pet’s pain.
When your pet has been diagnosed with a terminal disease, it is a devastating feeling. However, I also see it as an opportunity to truly make the most of your time with your pet. I have had to let three senior pets go over the last few years due to terminal diseases and I’d like to share some insight on what I have learned about making every day count.  

1   1) First, have a thorough talk with your pet’s doctor. Consider asking questions like:
a.      Are they in pain and if so, how will we control it?
b.      Are there any dietary restrictions I should be aware of?
c.      Are there any physical activity restrictions I should be aware of?
d.      What kind of timeline can I expect for this disease progression?
e.      What clinical signs should I be watching for with this disease? What should I do if I see these signs?
Basically, the goal of this conversation is “what can I do at home to keep my pet comfortable and how do I know when they’re no longer comfortable?”

 2) Next, think about what your pet enjoys and go do that thing with them.
a.      Does your dog like swimming? If so, plan a trip to the beach (or an indoor pet pool if weather isn’t cooperating- check local training and boarding facilities for dog friendly pools). 
b.      Does your pet like to ride in the car and go new places? There are many affordable vacation rentals that are pet friendly, so you can plan a road trip with your furry friend.
c.      Does your dog like to eat (I mean, what dog doesn’t?!). Take them to a boutique pet shop to pick out a fun new treat! Some restaurants have outdoor dog-friendly patios, so look into that as well.
d.      Does your pet like meeting new people and animals? Look into local fests that are dog friendly and go check them out with your furry friend.  

    3) Consider a photo shoot with your furry friend. Take lots of pictures of all the good memories you’re making, as you’ll cherish these moments after they’re gone.  One complaint I hear sometimes is that owner’s wish they had more pictures of themselves with their pet, so don’t be afraid to take some selfies with your cat or dog!

4   4) Try to spend a little time every day doing something enjoyable for both of you. Perhaps your dog likes getting out of the house, so taking them for a walk or drive around the block could be fun. Play with toys at home. You don’t always have to do something big; remember, these daily moments are just as important as the big gestures!

 5) Take comfort in doing nothing. Sometimes just relaxing at home with your pet can mean everything to them! Turn off your phone, put on a movie, and just cuddle on the couch and enjoy each other’s company.

  6) Consider a farewell party. Invite the people (and perhaps other pets!) that are close to your pet to come say their goodbyes. Try to make it a celebration of life! Reminisce about your favorite moments with your pets, what you love most about them, and just enjoy being surrounded by people that love your cat or dog as much as you do.

Remember to not push your pet to do anything they are 
uncomfortable with; the goal is to do things that are fun for BOTH of you! While saying good bye to your pet will be one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do, having these memories to look back on will help to ease some of the hurt.

Written By: Dr. Erin Walsh
Companion Animal Hospital Mount Prospect

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Zoonotic Disease: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

A Zoonotic disease, is one that, by definition, is transmissible from animals to humans under natural conditions and can also be an infection or disease that is transmissible between animals and
humans”. This is particularly important as the strength of the human-animal bond continues to grow and develop between ourselves and our companion animals.

Studies have shown that not only do people in the community lack general knowledge about the scope, importance and prevalence of zoonotic disease, but more alarmingly, a survey of physicians themselves, has found a lack adequate knowledge and awareness of zoonotic disease as well as general discomfort in addressing and communicating these public health threats and concerns to their human patients.

In contrast, accredited veterinary schools are required to provide instructional education about zoonotic disease to veterinary students as a requirement of being recognized as an accreditated school.  In particular, courses highlighting the importance of epidemiology, zoonoses, food safety, the complex interrelationship of animals and the environment and the overall contribution of veterinarians to general public health is a curriculum requirement for most, if not all, veterinary students. No such accreditation requirement exists in U.S. medical schools.

So, how does this affect you, the pet owner?
Well, considering over 50% of all US households have one or more pets, the potential risk of contracting a zoonotic disease is a clear and present concern.

What are some examples of Zoonotic Diseases? 
The list is exceedingly long, but here are some of the more well-know examples of zoonotic diseases: HIV, Ebola, Bubonic plague, Rabies, intestinal parasites (giardia, roundworms, tapeworms, etc), ringworm, salmonella, Lyme Disease, influenza, E. Coli, Dirofilariasis (heartworm disease), chlamydia, bartonella, anthrax, leprosy, tuberculosis, West Nile, Zika virus, eastern/western/venezuelan encephildes and the list goes on and on.

So what can you do to lower the risk of contracting a zoonotic disease?
1.      Ensure you are properly handling, storing and cooking all food intended for human   consumption. The importance of this has been highlighted with the recent Raw Food pet   diet trend (not to mention this is NOT a nutritionally complete nor well- balanced   approach to meeting your pet’s nutritional needs).
2.     Good personal hygiene and hand-washing practices.
3.     Ensuring all pets are on monthly, year-round flea, tick and heartworm prevention.     Protecting yourself against insect vectors is also extremely important.
4.     Prompt yard clean up/litter box maintenance practices.
5.     Maintaining your pet’s annual/semi-annual immunizations. Maintaining your immunization status is equally important.

For more information, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Companion Animal Hospital’s friendly and knowledgeable veterinary staff members. Additional reading materials, a complete list of zoonotic diseases and references for this article can also be found at www.cdc.gov.

Written By: Dr. Christine Tuma
Companion Animal Hospital Round Lake

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

What's the deal with worms?

What's the deal with worms?
Picking up your animals' feces is often not a pleasant task, but did you know that there could be friends hiding out within?

This parasite is very common in puppies and kittens, they are infected while in the uterus as well as when they ingest milk. Adult worms look like spaghetti. Symptoms are a potbellied appearance in puppies. This parasite also has the potential to be zoonotic. Visceral larval migrans occurs in humans that accidentally ingest roundworm eggs. The larvae migrate to liver, lungs, brain, and most commonly the eyes.
Animals are infected by ingesting eggs or directly by worm penetrating through skin. These parasites live in the small intestine and feed on blood with teeth and cutting plates. It can be fatal due to loss of blood. Symptoms include bloody stool, pale gums, and anemia but only in cases of heavy infections. This parasite also has the potential to be zoonotic. Cutaneous larval migrans occurs in humans when larvae penetrate feet when walking barefoot typically in grass and sand. The larvae migrate producing winding tracks of inflammation and is very itchy
Can be hard to diagnose because worms do not shed large amount of eggs in feces. This is most common in dogs kept in small lots or on chains. The most common symptom is diarrhea with mucus and blood.
Dogs and cats get tapeworms from fleas and also if the animal hunts rodents. Sometimes the  tapeworm segments (prolgottids) can be seen around the anus and look like rice grains. 
This is a protozoa not a worm that likes to inhabit water. Pets are infected when sniffing or eating cysts or drinking contaminated water. The most common symptom is chronic diarrhea. This is also zoonotic and causes humans to have diarrhea and terrible stomach cramps. 
Annual fecal tests are important to screen our pets to be certain that your pets are not affected by any of these parasites. Even if your pet does not go outside,parasites can be brought into the house on our feet or by other pets. Monthly heartworm prevention will protect dogs from roundworm, hookworm, whipworm, and tapeworm infections depending on the product 

Written By: Dr. Kat Baker
Hyde Park Animal Hospital & Clinic

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Why do cats need dental exams?

Why Do Cats Need Dental Exams?
FORL of the canine tooth in the cat. 

            Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions (FORL’s) account for 20-75% of all dental disease in cats over 4 years old.  Odontoclasts, which originate in the bone marrow, migrate and attach to the external surface of the tooth root (portion of the tooth within the tooth socket) and resorb (i.e. destroy) the root surface.  These cells normally are responsible only for turning over the baby teeth in kittens to make way for the adult teeth.  These cells remain active in later life for reasons we don’t understand.  As time passes the root is completely destroyed, and the crown is left behind.  In the end stage of the disease, the entire tooth is eaten away by the odontoclasts.
FORL’s were once identified as “cavities”.  We now know that this is not correct.  Cavities are caused by bacteria, whereas, FORL’s are not.  In fact, the real cause of FORL’s remains elusive and remains a topic of debate.
Cats with FORL’s have the main clinical sign of “chattering” when eating.  Another sign is that cats with FORL’s will have a tendency to drop their hard food or show a preference for soft food only.  Patients with FORL’s salivate profusely indicating extreme pain.  Your veterinarian will note a missing tooth, or a portion of the tooth crown missing.  In areas where portions of the crown are missing, the gums in the area are usually observed to cover the missing area, and a red spot is noticed on the crown.  Teeth with early FORL’s cannot be detected on gross examination.  This is because the disease starts at the root beneath the gum line.  These “normal” teeth can only be diagnosed with the use of dental radiographs at the time of a dental cleaning.
FORL of a mandibular premolar in the cat.

Only cats with end stage disease can be diagnosed with FORL’s due to the fact that the crown is missing.  The remainder of cats with the disease need to have full mouth dental radiographs taken, to assess the root structure where the disease begins.  This is as important as the dental cleaning itself.
The recommended treatment for cats with this painful disease is to have the affected teeth extracted.  Extraction or crown amputation with intentional root retention, are the only currently accepted methods of therapy. The latter is a procedure where the crown of the affected tooth is removed with a bur; leaving the resorbing roots buried in the bone to continue resorbing to completion. The crown amputation procedure alleviates the clinical signs of disease because the exposed and sensitive portion of the tooth is removed. This procedure however, is limited to affected teeth that have been appropriately radiographed and have severe tooth root resorption.
Talk to your veterinarian today to schedule a dental cleaning treatment that includes full mouth dental radiographs to screen for this painful disease.

Written By: Dr. Nick Juleen
Wolf Merrick Animal Hospital

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Five Tips in Feeding Your Puppy


Feeding a puppy can be challenging with all the different foods available.  Here are five tips that are important when feeding a puppy:

Tip one:  Feed puppy food.  I realize this sounds obvious, but puppy food is designed and formulated for the specific nutrients needs of a puppy.  I will routinely have a pet mom or dad come into my office that was told to feed an adult food to their puppy to slow the growth.  This is not advisable.  A puppy formulated food is best.

Tip Two:  Check the label.  All dog food manufacturers are required to have a feeding statement on the label.  That statement should say one of two things for puppies:  “For all life stages” or “for growth and maintenance” of puppies.  If this is not on the label, do not feed this food to your puppy.

Tip Three:  Feed for your breed.  Large or giant breeds have different nutritional requirements than a small or medium breed of puppy.  Large and giant breeds have higher caloric requirement as well as a calcium to phosphorus ratio than a small to medium breed.  If you feed a large to giant breed puppy a food formulated for a small to medium breed, this can be seriously lacking in the nutritional requirements for your puppy.

Tip Four:  Feed for body condition.  All puppies go through growth phases.  They will “grow out” before they “grow up.”  What we refer to as “puppy fat.”  It is important as you take your puppy into the checkups, we will monitor the growth of your puppy.  If they are growing to quick or not quick enough, we will make recommendations on the amount or type of food for your puppy.

Tip Five:  How much to feed?  First, do not look at the manufacturer’s recommendation.  Generally, they recommend overfeeding.  A good rule of thumb:  One cup per 10 pounds per day divided into 3 portions.  So, a 10 pound puppy should be fed ¼-1/3 cup three times daily.  A 20 lb puppy should be fed ½-2/3 cup three times daily.  Keep in mind, this is a general rule.  We will look at other factors:  energy, body condition, and lifestyle that could affect the amount to feed. 

Written By: Dr. Dan Markwalder
Companion Animal Hospital Partners, LLC