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Welcome to the News Nibble section of our website! In this section our Technicians will provide important information about your pets health! Please let us know if there is a topic you would like to see on here!

Understanding the Veterinary Feed Directive

As of January 1 st , 2017, the FDA has implemented new policies and rules that will impact a number of products used in food-producing animals. The Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) was established by the FDA to promote the responsible use of antibiotics in these animals. This change is intended to reduce overuse and misuse of antimicrobials which can contribute to the development antimicrobial resistance, a risk to humans as well as animal health. This change only applies to antimicrobials that are important in human medicine. These new policies will require a VFD for all medically important (those important in human health) antibiotics administered in feed, and a veterinary prescription for all medically important antibiotics used in water. A Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) is similar to a veterinary prescription that producers can obtain from their veterinarian and use to administer antibiotics in feed in accordance with the FDA-approved directions for use. These products such as Aureomycin, Chlormax, Lincomix, and many others have previously been available for purchase over the counter. However, as of January 1 st these products and many others will require a VFD from a licensed veterinarian. A VFD can only be obtained by a licensed veterinarian after a veterinarian-client- patient relationship is formed. These new regulations and policies are not only effective for our food-producing animals, but also apply to any livestock that may be considered a pet. These policies include the following species: cattle, pigs, chickens, turkeys, goats, sheep, pot-bellied pigs, deer, honey bees and backyard poultry. If you have any questions regarding the VFD, please give our hospital a call.

Equine Vaccines

Spring in is the air and for those of us with horses we know that means spring conditioning and the start of the show season. But it also means the beginning of mosquito season. Mosquitos often carry many illnesses that can easily be transferred to our horses. These illnesses can be fatal so most horses owners routinely have their horses vaccinated in the spring before the mosquito season starts up. This is also a good time to discuss deworming protocols, and dental care with your veterinarian. Not all equine disease are carried by mosquitoes. Even those horses that never leave home still need to be vaccinated annually to ensure they are protected. If you have any questions please feel free to contact our offices!


Heartworm Disease
Heartworm Disease is transmitted by mosquitoes. As the mosquito feeds off the dog, the larvae are deposited on the skin. Heartworm larvae quickly penetrate the skin and begin their migration into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, they migrate to the right side of the heart and the pulmonary arteries. There they continue to mature, and can eventually reach 10-12 inches in length. Even though Heartworm Disease is easily prevented it continues to be a major health problem for dogs in the US.

Unfortunately, some dogs can be infected for many years before developing symptoms. As the heartworms continue to cause damage to the heart and lungs, the dog may begin to cough, become lethargic, have a decreased appetite, and start losing weight. As blood flow through the damaged heart and lungs continues to decrease, the dog can develop congestive heart failure.                                                                        

A large number of heartworms can lead to a sudden obstruction of blood flow to the heart and lungs causing cardiovascular collapse. This is called Caval Syndrome and is life threatening. Symptoms include sudden onset of labored breathing, pale gums, dark-red or coffee colored urine and, the inability to move. Without prompt surgical removal of the heartworm blockage, few dogs suffering from Caval Syndrome survive.

Luckily there are several tests available to diagnose Heartworm Disease. These tests do require   a small blood sample, but we typically have results in 10 minutes. Once we have a negative result, Heartworm prevention is a quick and easy part of any dog’s health program.  We offer two options for heartworm preventatives. The first option is a chewable treat that most dogs seem to enjoy; the other option is a topical application. Both are given once a month. Heartworm preventatives work retroactively to eliminate any microfilaria (immature heartworms) acquired since the last dose, and are quickly eliminated from the body. Most heartworm preventatives also prevent intestinal parasite infestations. All dogs over 6 months of age should be tested for Heartworm Disease, and started on a preventative right away. Heartworm prevention should be used year-round. However, if you stop during the winter months, we recommend that you retest before beginning prevention in the spring. Dogs that are on year round prevention should be tested for Heartworm Disease every 2 years. As with most medical conditions, heartworm prevention is safer and more affordable than heartworm treatment.

While Heartworm disease is treatable, it does require a serious commitment from the owner. First the dog’s overall heath will be assessed with a complete physical exam, diagnostic lab work, and chest x-rays. Once we know if there are any underlying medical conditions, and the severity of the heartworm disease, we can outline the best treatment plan for the dog. Treatment includes antibiotics, hospitalization to monitor for Immiticide reactions, and activity restrictions.

As you can see, Heartworm infestations are easy to prevent.  However, should your pet be diagnosed with Heartworm Disease, there are treatment options available, and should be discussed with your veterinarian. 

Top 10 Poisons for Dogs
     1. Chocolate
     2. Mouse and Rat Poisons
     3. Vitamins and Minerals
     4. NSAIDS
     5. Cardiac Medications (e.g., Calcium channel blockers, beta-blockers, etc.)
     6. Insect Bait Stations
     7. Cold and Allergy Medications (e.g., pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine, etc.)
     8. Antidepressants (e.g. Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors)
     9. Xylitol
    10. Acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol)

If your dog gets into any of these products, please call us right away at (308) 234-2617

Top 10 Poisons for Cats

  1. Topical spot-on insecticides
  2. Household Cleaners
  3. Antidepressants
  4. Lilies
  5. Insoluble Oxalate Plants (e.g., Dieffenbachia, Philodendron, etc.)
  6. Human and Veterinary NSAIDs
  7. Cold and Flu Medication (e.g., Tylenol)
  8. Glow Sticks
  9. ADD/ADHD Medications/Amphetamines
  10. Mouse and Rat Poison

If your cats get in to any of these products, please call us right away at (308)234-2617


New Mouse Poison Concerns
There is a new danger to our companion animals about which pet owners are unaware. According to an article in DVM 360, the regulation concerning rat and mouse poisons have recently changed from using anti-coagulants to a new chemical called bromethalin. This change was due to the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2008 decision to prohibit the use of second generation, or long acting, anti-coagulants in residential settings. In accordance with this decision, most rodenticide manufacturers changed to Bromethalin for residential use in 2011.

Bromethalin is a neurotoxin that affects the brain and liver, causing electrolyte imbalances and edema of the central nervous system. The rapid onset of bromethalin poisoning leaves little time to waste. According to Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS, a diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology, “The symptoms come faster and it is harder to treat.” With traditional rodenticide and anti-coagulants, veterinarians had 3 to 5 days to initiate treatment, but with Bromethalin, clinical signs associated with CNS edema may be seen within 2 to 24 hours. Once the animal begins exhibiting symptoms of Bromethalin toxicity, successful treatment becomes more difficult and expensive. The symptoms of Bromethalin toxicity include depression, abnormal behavior, ataxia, seizures and even coma.  Due to the fact that there is no antidote to Bromethalin toxicity, decontamination is the most important intervention. If you suspect Bromethalin exposure, contact your family veterinarian immediately. If the ingestion has occurred within the last 10 to 15 minutes, you should induce vomiting, then transport your pet to your veterinarian, where they will be monitored closely for symptoms of Bromethalin toxicity. Treatment typically involves a few days of hospitalization as well.  As usual, cats are more sensitive to the drug than dogs, but both can be affected.

There are a few manufacturers that are refusing to comply with the regulations due to the risk associated with using a drug for which there is no known antidote.  Many companies and veterinarians are urging the EPA to change the standards to decrease the risk of using this chemical.

Pet Insurance

Here is a topic that everyone will find helpful! Pet insurance is a rapidly growing field. There are quite a few companies that have been in business for years providing insurance and piece of mind for pet owners everywhere! Any google search will provide you a wealth of pet insurance information but how do you know which companies or policies are right for you and your pet? By carefully looking at what you would like to get out of a pet insurance policy you can decide if you want to go with a insurance company that offers a policy covering wellness and vaccines visits or one that only offers coverage in the event of a major illness or injury. When evaluating any pet insurance policy please think about things like prescription food, alternative therapies, such as acupuncture and chiropractics, advanced therapies and diagnostics, such as MRIs and CT Scans, as well as the day to day lifestyle of your pet. Please keep in mind that the majority of pet insurance companies do not cover pre-existing condition or diseases that are preventable by vaccinations.  So, when you get your new pet please consider starting a insurance policy on them so that in the unfortunate event that they have a major medical concern you can focus on getting the best medical care for your companion, instead of worrying about the financial side of things.

There are several pet insurance companies but here are the top 9 according to leading veterinary news outlets.

Trupanion

Petplan

Healthy Pet Insurance

Embrace Pet Insurance

Pets Best

Nationwide Pet Insurance (Formerly VPI)

24Petwatch

ASPCA Pet Insurance

Pet First

Pet Partners

Thunderstorm Phobias

For some of our dogs and cats, a thunderstorm can be a highly traumatic event. Dogs and cats with thunderstorm phobia can engage in a variety of behaviors including:

Hiding under beds or furniture, or in closets, bathrooms, etc. (typically small enclosed spaces)

Intense vocialization

Pacing

Drooling

Sweaty Paws

Trembling

Destructive behavior located at exit points – gnawing at window sills or ripping drapes, chewing door frames, etc.

Attempts to escape the house (breaking through windows)

Aggression

Dogs tend to be affected by thunderstorm phobias more than cats. But, cats with thunderstorm anxiety tend to hide in a safe place until the storm passes. Dogs and cats may have anxiety that worsens as they get older. So, your pet that used to be just fine in storms may now be showing some anxiety.

What to do if your pet has thunderstorm phobias or anxiety. The first step is to consult with your veterinarian to ensure that it truly is the storm that is causing the symptoms you are seeing and not an underlying medical condition. Once any medical conditions are ruled out there are quite a few options for helping your pet with anxiety. Depending on the severity of the anxiety there are a variety of options. You and your veterinarian will discuss these options to find the correct one for you. They may include things like behavior modification to help your pet remain calm during the storm, natural remedies to help them with the anxiety or some sedation or anti-anxiety medications to use during storms to keep them comfortable. In many cases your veterinarian may use a combination of treatments.

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