Archive for the ‘Pets’ Category

Keep Your Pets Safe This 4th of July

June 30, 2010

You will find some great articles and advice for keeping your pets safe over the July 4th holiday weekend.

http://vetmedicine.about.com/cs/diseasesall/a/petsfireworks.htm

http://www.marinhumanesociety.org/Press/InNews/tomfireworks2.html

http://blog.fetchthepaper.com/2007/06/4th-of-july-saf.html

Now, here’s wishing you and your four-legged best friend a most enjoyable and safe summer!

Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association 2009 Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, 2009 Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, 2009 Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life

Website: http://www.speakingforspot.com
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook    

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, or your favorite online book seller.

Medical Alert for Those Caring for a Diabetic Dog or Cat

November 7, 2009

If your four-legged family member is diabetic and the insulin product you are administering is Vetsulin®, please pay close attention.  The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine is alerting veterinarians that problems with this product are being reported. Apparently, as Vetsulin® sits in storage, the crystalline zinc crystal component (which is supposed to comprise 70% of the solution; the remaining 30% is the insulin) can increase above 70%.  This leads to a slower onset of action of the insulin and, potentially a longer duration of action both of which can result in unpredictable fluctuations in blood glucose values (values that are too high or too low). 

The manufacturer of Vetsulin®, Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health is unable to assure the FDA that each batch of their product is stable.  This company, along with the FDA have requested that veterinarians closely monitor their patients receiving Vetsulin®.  

There is absolutely no need to panic.  However, if your dog or cat is receiving this product, I strongly encourage you to discuss the following with your veterinarian: 

  1. Symptoms to be watching for that might indicate your pet’s blood glucose value is too high or too low
  2. Monitoring of blood glucose values
  3. Whether or not your pet should be transitioned to a different brand of insulin 

At the time of this writing, this problem has not been addressed on the Internet/Schering-Plough Web site (www.vetsulin.com) but I expect information will soon be forthcoming.  

For more information about Vetsulin® concerns visit www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/NewsEvents/CVMUpdates/ucm188752.htm.

Wishing you and your four-legged family members good health,

Dr. Nancy Kay
Specialist, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine 

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, or your favorite online book seller. 

Join our email list – http://speakingforspot.com/joinemaillist.html

Look for us on Twitter – http://twitter.com/speakingforspot

Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Listen to Dr. Kay’s interview – A Veterinarian Advises “How to Speak for Spot” on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross

Will Your Pet’s Microchip Bring Him Home?

November 3, 2009

Other than hanging identification tags on collars, I’ve always thought (and advised my clients) that microchipping our dogs and cats is the best way to ensure that we will be reunited should circumstances separate us. As it turns out, microchipping is not nearly so foolproof as I’ve believed- not because the chips are defective, but rather, because of human error.  Have a look at what I just read in the November 1st edition of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA)

“A limitation of the microchip registry system is than many pet owners do not register microchips in their names according to ‘Characterization of animals with microchips entering animal shelters’ (see JAVMA, July 15, 2009).  In that study, shelters contacted microchip registries regarding 1,943 animals but found registrations for only 58.1 percent.  The registries were unable to find any information on the owner or on the person who implanted the microchip for 9.8 percent of the animals. Among other recommendations, the study’s authors suggested that veterinarians and shelter personnel should not only register pet microchips at the time of implantation, but also remind the pets’ owners to update information in the registry. 

Jason Merrihew, American Animal Hospital Association spokesman said, educating pet owners is a key step to improve microchipping as a form of pet identification. ‘Every time that they change their address or change phone numbers, then they need to update that microchip information,’ Merrihew said.” 

So what does all this mean? Here’s the bottom line in terms of achieving the intended purpose of your pet’s identification microchip: At the time your dog or cat is microchipped, be sure to complete the registration materials and have them processed with the appropriate microchip registry.  Be sure your veterinarian (or whoever it is that implants the microchip) does the same.  Additionally, update that registry whenever your contact data (telephone number, address) changes.  I haven’t moved or changed my phone number (or my name!) in well over a decade, so my pets and I are in good shape.  How about you and yours? Will your lost dog or cat be able to find you again?  If you know your contact information is not current, or you are unsure, pick up the phone or go online today.  It could make all the difference. 

Wishing you and your four-legged family members good health,

Dr. Nancy Kay
Specialist, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine 

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, or your favorite online book seller. 

Join our email list – http://speakingforspot.com/joinemaillist.html

Look for us on Twitter – http://twitter.com/speakingforspot

Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Listen to Dr. Kay’s interview – A Veterinarian Advises “How to Speak for Spot” on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross

Tipper’s Trials and Tribulations

October 21, 2009
Tipper and Jacob

Tipper and Jacob

Tipper came to live with us just over a month ago.  We don’t know what he was called during his former life in Louisiana.  Like so many other dogs, Hurricane Katrina forced Tipper to adapt to a new name, unfamiliar humans, and an unknown environment (while undergoing treatment for heartworm disease).  Tipper is the definition of adaptable, and he came through all this change with flying colors and a big ‘ole smile on his face.  He’s a big beefy mutt- likely the result of a Doberman and Shepherd rendezvous.  His tail is jet-black with a white tip (thus the name Tipper) and never quits wagging.  My son Jacob, then an undergrad at Colorado State University, signed up to adopt a Katrina rescue dog.  He was paired with Tipper (a match made in heaven) and the two have been inseparable, up until now that is.

Jacob graduated in May with a Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife biology and minors in Spanish and conservation (can you sense a mama bragging here).  He is now off in Guatemala studying jaguars.  He figured he could trust his two parents, both veterinarians, to take care of his dog.  So now Tipper has become part of our canine trio enjoying the life of a country dog. In addition to goats, and horses (and horse manure), and deer, and cats, and foxes, and wild turkeys, Tip’s experienced some unexpected mishaps during his short stay with “grandma” and “grandpa”.  

Week one:  It’s foxtail season here in California, and one of these annoying plant awns landed deep in Tipper’s ear canal resulting in furious head shaking. Using an otoscope and a special type of instrument called an “alligator forceps” I fished the foxtail out of his ear canal. Tipper and his eardrum were immediately relieved. Problem solved. 

Week two:  Over the course of a few hours, Tipper vomited six times and his face swelled to the point of his eyes being closed.  Poor boy must have ingested or been stung or bitten by an insect or spider resulting in a severe allergic reaction.  Some antihistamine and TLC were administered and, within 24 hours, Tip was good as new.  Problem solved. 

Week three (at dusk):  Tipper came scampering into the house with his eyes at half-mast and reeking of “Eau de Skunk.”  Clearly, the little black and white critter took good aim and hit poor Tipper right between the eyes.  Fortunately, Nellie and Quinn, his two partners in crime managed to avoid the skunk- they’ve learned from past mistakes.  Tipper received eye ointment and his first California baths.  Problem solved (although he still smells a bit skunky). 

Week four:  One minute the dogs were ripping around the horse pasture, the next minute Tipper was three-legged lame.  Manipulation of his affected leg revealed a torn ligament in his knee. Tip’s going to need to have surgery followed by a couple of months of rehabilitation therapy.  Problem will be solved. 

I hate to think what week five holds in store……………

Wishing you and your four-legged family members good health,

Dr. Nancy Kay
Specialist, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine 

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, or your favorite online book seller. 

Join our email list – http://speakingforspot.com/joinemaillist.html

Look for us on Twitter – http://twitter.com/speakingforspot

Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Listen to Dr. Kay’s interview – A Veterinarian Advises “How to Speak for Spot” on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross –

Givin’ it Up For Spot

August 9, 2009

A recent issue of the journal called Tobacco Control reported that approximately 28 percent of cigarette smokers would try to quit if they knew that secondhand smoke might endanger their pets.  Among the authors of this article is the late Ronald Davis, MD, who championed the One Health Initiative when he was president of the American Medical Association. (One Health Initiative is a movement to forge co-equal, all-inclusive collaborations between physicians, veterinarians, and other scientific-health related disciplines.)

The researchers conducted an online survey of 3,293 adults who lived with pets.  Approximately 21 percent were smokers and 27 percent lived with a smoker.  When informed of the dangers of secondhand smoke to their pets, a percentage of respondents indicated that, not only would they try to quit, they would try to convince other smokers in the household to quit smoking indoors or quit smoking altogether. The researchers concluded that educational campaigns about the dangers of secondhand smoke exposure to pets would convince some people to quit smoking, or at least make their homes smoke free. 

This is great news, from both the human-health and the pet-health perspectives. We know that cigarette smoke can cause bronchitis in dogs and asthma in cats.  Additionally, just as in people, cigarette smoke can cause cancer.  Whenever I examine a cat or dog with symptoms referable to asthma or bronchitis, I always ask if anyone in the household is a smoker.  Sometimes I don’t even have to ask the question because my patient’s hair coat reeks of cigarette smoke!

Do any of your friends or relatives smoke around their four-legged family members?  If so, talk to them about the dangers of second hand smoke.  The data from Tobacco Control suggests that approximately 28 percent of them will change their habits based on your conversation!  Please let me hear from you after you’ve had a chance to conduct your own research.

Now, here’s wishing you and your four-legged best friend a most enjoyable and safe summer! 

Dr. Nancy Kay
Specialist, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine 

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, or your favorite online book seller. 

Join our email list – http://speakingforspot.com/joinemaillist.html

Look for us on Twitter – http://twitter.com/speakingforspot

Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Listen to Dr. Kay’s interview – A Veterinarian Advises “How to Speak for Spot” on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross –

Skunked

July 28, 2009

You’d think Nellie and Quinn would learn from their prior lapses in judgment.  No such luck!  My continually curious canines played with a skunk last night just before bedtime.  They came running into the house accompanied by that uniquely pungent smell that made me cringe, knowing that my sleep would be postponed by extensive bath time. 

It’s a good thing I had a recipe handy found in the latest issue of BARK Magazine (www.thebark.com).  When I asked editor-in-chief Claudia Kawczynska about the efficacy of this concoction, she told me she had plenty of firsthand positive experience using it on her own mischievous mutt, Lola.  By the way, if you are not familiar with BARK I strongly encourage you to take a look.  This magazine is filled with incredibly useful, sophisticated, and humorous material.  The July/August issue was no exception and it included the following: 

Getting Rid of the Skunk Funk 

You’ll Need

– A clean plastic bucket in which to mix the ingredients

– One quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide (Usually sold in pint bottles, so you’ll need two; use of other strengths is not recommended.)

– 1/4 cup baking soda (Do not use washing soda, which is much stronger and will burn your dog’s skin.)

– One to two teaspoons of liquid detergent (Softsoap and Ivory liquid are preferred.) 

How to Use It

Apply to dry dog, working well into the fur.  Let stand for about five minutes, then rinse with tepid water; repeat if necessary.  Do not store this mixture, it loses its effectiveness and more importantly, it releases oxygen gas and the container could explode.  It may bleach the dog’s hair (but better that than the smell!).  And remember, the sooner you deal with the skunking, the better, as, over time, the smell sets and is harder to eliminate. 

Now, here’s wishing you and your four-legged best friend a most enjoyable and safe summer! 

Dr. Nancy Kay

Specialist, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine 

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, or your favorite online book seller. 

Look for us on Twitter – http://twitter.com/speakingforspot

Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Listen to Dr. Kay’s interview – A Veterinarian Advises “How to Speak for Spot” on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross

Dogs, the Opiate of the Masses

July 13, 2009

 I facilitate a Client Support Group at my veterinary hospital.  We meet regularly to provide support for those struggling emotionally with the illness or loss of a beloved four-legged family member.  The last session had most of us in tears.  Some in attendance just listened; others bared their souls, talking about feelings of heartache, guilt, emptiness, and loneliness.  The mood was somber and supportive. 

Two darling dogs, Hannah and Coco had accompanied their moms to this particular session.  Throughout the evening, these mischievous girls let us know in no uncertain terms that they were interested in meeting each other. At the end of our meeting we turned Hannah and Coco loose and watched them run, spin, pounce, posture and play.  It was unadulterated exuberance and delightful mayhem!  During this brief doggie romp, I looked around the room and was tickled to see huge grins on the faces of everyone in the room. It was as though everyone had received a drug that transformed expressions of pain and sadness into undeniable joy.  The change in the room was stunning and profound, and provided, for me a unique feeling I shall never forget.  While in the midst of this magical moment, the thought that swirled through my mind is the title of this blog, “Dogs, the opiate of the masses.” 

Wishing you and your four-legged family members good health, 

Dr. Nancy Kay
Specialist, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine 

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, or your favorite online book seller. 

Look for us on Twitter – http://twitter.com/speakingforspot

Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Listen to Dr. Kay’s interview – A Veterinarian Advises “How to Speak for Spot” on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross

Keep Your Pets Safe This 4th of July

July 6, 2009

You will find some great articles and advice for keeping your pets safe over the July 4th holiday weekend.

http://vetmedicine.about.com/cs/diseasesall/a/petsfireworks.htm

http://www.marinhumanesociety.org/Press/InNews/tomfireworks2.html

http://blog.fetchthepaper.com/2007/06/4th-of-july-saf.html

Now, here’s wishing you and your four-legged best friend a most enjoyable and safe summer!

Dr. Nancy Kay

Specialist, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, or your favorite online book seller.

Look for us on Twitter – http://twitter.com/speakingforspot

Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Listen to Dr. Kay’s interview – A Veterinarian Advises “How to Speak for Spot” on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross –

The Winners – Speaking for Spot Be Kind to Animals Week Contest

May 8, 2009

I suspect that every week is a “Be Kind to Animals Week” in your household.  Nonetheless, the official “Be Kind to Animals Week” started this year on May third.  In honor of this special time, I held a contest via my website (www.speakingforspot.com) asking my readers to submit their favorite canine health tips.  I received dozens, put them all in a hat, and drew out two winners.  Tonya and Carolyn are the winners.  Not only will they receive an autographed copy of Speaking for Spot, I told them I would make their canine health tips “famous” by publishing them in my blog!  Thanks to all who participated.

Here is what Tonya had to say:  “With hot weather approaching and family dogs that want no part of swimming or the hose we have found a perfect solution.  We built our dogs a sand pit in a shady area.  We moisten the sand with water and the Boxers enjoy lying in the coolness.  In addition, our Danish/Swedish Farmdog loves to dig and has learned that the sand pit is his special digging spot.  At the end of the day, a quick squirt of the hose puts all the sand back in the pit, levels it and makes ready for the next day’s warm weather.  Any sand in the dogs’ coats dries quickly and drops off before entering the house.

Here is Carolyn’s health tip:  “it really pays off to spend a few minutes daily grooming your dog and teaching him/her to enjoy this time. I also brush teeth and do stretching exercises with my older dog.   Besides looking good and feeling good, the benefits are many: you can find any lumps or minor injuries and treat them before they grow worse, you can deal with fleas and ticks before they become established,you can brush out mats in long-haired dogs before they get out of control. Most important, you strengthen the bond between you and your dog and spend ‘quality time’ together.”

Dr. Nancy Kay

Specialist, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. SPEAKING FOR SPOT is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, or your favorite online book seller.

Look for us on Twitter – http://twitter.com/speakingforspot

A Veterinarian Advises “How to Speak for Spot” on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross – http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?story Id=102105836

BObama

April 15, 2009

It’s official! The Obama family has adopted a pup named Bo. Every journalist, commentator, and blogger will be looking for a unique angle on this fabulous story. Some will extol the virtues of Portugese Water Dogs compared to other breeds. Others will write about reputable breeders versus puppy mills, mutts versus purebreds, positive versus negative reinforcement training techniques, and even which pair of White House slippers will be the first to fall prey to puppy shenanigans.

Here’s what’s important to me about the “BObama story.” Although they may not know it yet, by saying, “yes” to a family dog, Michelle and Barack Obama will be providing their daughters with a gift of a lifetime! As the mother of three children who grew up with dogs, and as a veterinarian who has enjoyed countless wonderful stories of kids and their dogs, I predict the following for the First Family:

-Bo will be a “keeper of secrets” for Malia and Sasha when they are not sure anyone else can be trusted.

-The girls will turn to Bo for unconditional approval when they are feeling judged by the world around them.

-Bo will be allowed in the girls’ bedrooms when their need for privacy precludes all others from entering.

-During the “turbulent teens,” Bo will be the soft fluffy shoulder of choice for Malia and Sasha to cry on.

-When Mom and Dad are deemed to be utterly embarrassing, Bo will remain in Malia’s and Sasha’s good graces.

-When the girls leave home for college they will miss their mom and dad, but they will pine for Bo.

The President and First Lady are bound to be in store for some “Bo headaches” such as accidental puddles, over exuberance with White House visitors, and the creation of fringe on unfringed area rugs. Such nuisances will pale in comparison with the incredible reward of observing the giving and receiving of unconditional love in one of its purest forms- that which defines the relationship between a child and a dog.

Dr. Nancy Kay
Specialist, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. SPEAKING FOR SPOT is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, or your favorite online book seller.

Look for us on Twitter – http://twitter.com/speakingforspot

A Veterinarian Advises “How to Speak for Spot” on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross – http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=102105836