Simply put, Zoonotic (zoe-o-NOT-ick) Diseases are infections that can be passed from pet to person. As veterinary professionals, we feel obligated to inform all pet owners that their families can contract certain diseases from their companion animals. Read more
With your pet spending more time indoors because of the snow and ice and with the holidays coming up, there are a few common household items that pose a threat to your pet’s health. Keep these things in mind to help everyone have a merry season:
De-icing Salts that are used for melting snow and ice can cause irritation to your pet’s paws and are poisonous if ingested. Wash and dry paws as soon as your dog or cat come in from outdoors. You can also opt to by Fido some stylish Velcro booties or make Fluffy an indoor kitty.
Household Plants can also be toxic to your pet. Over 700 plants have been identified as potentially poisonous, including, azalea, philodendron, mistletoe, and lilies. Visit the Humane Society’s website for a detailed list.
Holiday Decorations can pose electric shock and burns, as well as choking hazards. Keep your cat or dog in an undecorated area while you are away from home. Unplug any decorative lights when your pet will be unsupervised.
Chocolate is poisonous to dogs, cats, and ferrets. If your pet ingests chocolate, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Leftovers & Unusual Foods can be hazardous to your pets. Chicken Bones can shatter and choke your fluffy friend. Large bones can cause intestinal blockage and may require surgery for removal. Overindulging your pet with fatty foods like gravy can cause stomach upset and even pancreatitis. Other foods to keep away from pets include, onions and onion powder, yeast dough, coffee grounds and beans, grapes, alcoholic beverages, salt, tomatoes, potatoes, rhubarb leaves and stems, and macadamia nuts. Avocados can also be toxic to rabbits, mice, and birds.
Fumes from non-stick cooking surfaces and self-cleaning ovens can be toxic to birds. Be cautious when using any kind of spray around birds.
— Janni Kimble, RiverWoods Pet Hospital
The leaves are beginning to turn colors, there’s a chill in the air — Fall is finally here! So turn up the heater, gather everyone around the fireplace, and enjoy the season. But please keep these autumn pet hazards in mind . . .
Fallen Fruit: Apples, apricots, plums and other fruits have pits or seeds that can cause intestinal irritation or blockage. If eaten, rotting fruit can also cause gastroenteritis.
Anti-freeze: Anti-freeze is often used in our vehicles. Please keep it out of your pet’s reach. Even a tablespoon of this green liquid can cause kidney failure. Its sweet taste can be awfully tempting to your furry companion. If your pet has ingested anti-freeze, please contact your veterinarian immediately for emergency treatment.
Rodenticides: Rat/Mouse poison can be poisonous to your cat or dog too! Rodenticides are very palatable and can be very appealing to the fuzzy critters we actually want in our homes. Please keep these poisons out of reach of your pets. If ingestion does occur, contact your veterinarian immediately. It’s also helpful to bring the poison package with you so the amount that was ingested and the ingredients of the poison can be determined.
Mouse Traps: Sticky mousetraps may seem harmless to your pets, but they can cause injury to paws, tails and those cute little faces.
Cold Weather: Dropping temperatures can be just as dangerous and soaring temps. Most pets are not suited for extended periods of cold weather. If you do leave your pet outdoors in the cold make sure they have shelter, insulation such as straw or blankets to trap body heat, and access to fresh water (check often to make sure it’s not frozen). Don’t use space heaters or electric blankets, they can be hazardous!
Arthritis: The colder weather is harder on our joints, and your pet’s joints too! With our warm summers and colder winters, arthritis can be more seasonal. If you notice your pet moving a little slower, limping, or whimpering when he moves, make an appointment with your veterinarian to help make him more comfortable.
Allergies: Blooming weeds and dust can cause your pet to excessively chew, bite and scratch. Watery eyes, coughing, sneezing, hives and rashes are also common symptoms of allergies. As we turn our heaters on, dust and dry air can also cause skin and upper respiratory irritation. Please consult a veterinarian if your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms.
Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal condition of parasitic worms living in the arteries of an animal’s lungs or the right side of its heart. Heartworm disease has been reported in all 50 states. It is particularly endemic in the southern regions of the United States.
How it Begins
An adult female heartworm releases her offspring, or microfilariae, into the bloodstream of an infected animal. When a mosquito bites the infected animal, the microfilariae enter the mosquito. The larval stage of the heartworm is achieved while inside the mosquito. When the mosquito bites another animal, the larvae are transferred to the animal. The larval stage lasts just over six months. Adult heartworms can live within an animal for up to 7 years.
Dogs can be infected with heartworms for years before exhibiting any symptoms. Heavily infected dogs may show clinical signs including, persistent cough, reluctance to move or exercise, fatigue and weight loss.
Cats are not as often infected in the U.S. Symptoms of heartworm disease in cats are similar to many other feline diseases and include rapid breathing, difficulty breathing, vomiting, weight loss and lethargy.
A simple blood test can detect an adult female heartworm’s antigen. Other tests can detect microfilariae. Heartworms can also be detected upon ultrasound or radiograph of an infected animal’s heart and lungs.
Treatment of Heartworm Disease in dogs is dangerous and costly and can take weeks of treatment to be effective. There is no effective treatment for heartworm disease in cats.
Heartworm prevention is safe, easy and inexpensive. Our Veterinarians recommend a monthly oral preventative called Tri-Heart Plus. This chewable treat disrupts the lifecycle of the heartworm, preventing it from ever reaching its adult form. It also includes a de-wormer to keep your pet free from hookworm and roundworm.
Our veterinarians recommend year-round lifelong heartworm prevention. At the very least, your dog should be on a heartworm preventative during the danger months of May through October. A heartworm test is recommended prior to using a preventative in animals that are older than six months and those that are not on a year-round preventative program.
Certain intestinal parasites like hookworm and roundworm are zoonotic diseases, diseases that can be passed from pet to human. People at risk for zoonotic diseases include individuals with weakened or undeveloped immune systems. This includes very young children, pregnant women, those with certain medical problems, the elderly, and animal healthcare workers. It is our responsibility to our clients to discuss zoonotic diseases. We recommend a monthly heartworm preventative for dogs to prevent the spread of disease to your family. For cats, we recommend regular treatment with a wide-spectrum de-wormer.
—Janni Kimble, RiverWoods Pet Hospital
Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissue surrounding the teeth. There are several progressive stages of the disease. Periodontal disease is caused by a bacterial film called plaque. The bacteria attach to the teeth. When the bacteria die they can be calcified by calcium in the saliva, forming a hard, rough material called tartar or calculus. Initially, plaque is soft and can be dislodged by brushing or chewing hard food or toys. As it turns into plaque, professional cleaning is necessary to remove it, especially below the gum line. If left unchecked, the plaque and calculus can spread and lead to gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums that causes them to become red and swollen and to easily bleed. In the final stage of periodontal disease, the infection destroys the tissues surrounding the tooth and the bony socket that holds the tooth erodes, leaving the tooth loose. This can be very painful for your pet. However, periodontal disease can easily be prevented with professional and at-home care.
Our veterinarians recommend yearly oral examinations and dental cleanings. Our dental cleanings include general anesthesia and ultrasonic scaling and polishing of the teeth. Because your pet will undergo general anesthesia, bloodwork and urine analysis might be recommended. The veterinarian might also recommend therapies such as IV Fluids and special anesthetics for your pet. Following the dental cleaning, extractions, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory pain medication may be recommended for your pet depending on the condition of your pet’s oral health.
At home care consists of regular brushing, dental chews and treats and sometimes even a prescription diet or a special treatment you can add to your pet’s drinking water. Your veterinarian can specially tailor an oral health regimen for your pet.
Dental disease is also linked to heart, kidney and lung disease, as well as bladder infections. So keeping your pet’s teeth healthy can help keep their entire body healthy!
— Janni Kimble, RiverWoods Pet Hospital
As a licensed and practicing veterinarian, Dr. Dobson has been prescribing pet health products for her patients for over 26 years. In 2010, Dr. Dobson developed her very own private label nutraceutical pet products.
“Some of the products that come across my desk are of high quality, some are not. It is for this reason that I have decided to take the best components of these products and create a product line of my own: Kooba Pet Products.” ~ Dr. Yoeny Calas-Dobson, DVM
These products are high quality and manufactured within the U.S. Kooba Pet Products were designed with her patients’ needs as well as her clients’ pocket books in mind. By providing private label products, RiverWoods Pet Hospital can help you purchase high quality products at lower prices.
The Kooba Pet Products that are currently in production include:
Dr. Rx Joint Support DS 60 Count contains Glucosamine, MSM, and Sodium Chondroitin Sulfate as a preventative supplement to support joint health in dogs.
Dr. Rx Joint Flex Soft Chews 120 Count contains Glucosamine, Perna Canaliculus, MSM, Creatine and Vitamins C & E for therapeutic use in dogs for joint degradation and inflammation. This formula promotes joint repair and mobility.
Dr. Rx Joint Flex Granules 240 gm contains Glucosamine, Perna Cananliculus, MSM, Creatine and Vitamins C & E for therapeutic use in cats for joint degradation and inflammation. This formula is combined with a synergistic blend of antioxidants and Omega-3 Fatty Acids to promote joint function and flexibility and strengthen joint cartilage.
Dr. Rx Omega-3 Support Capsules 60 Count (Sm/Med & Med/Lg) provides a concentrated source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in free form for optimal bioavailability and is recommended to help support the immune system and joint health, and also promote healthy skin and coat
Dr. Rx Aloe & Oatmeal Shampoo (17 oz) is a gentle, soothing and hypoallergenic shampoo that provides relief from itchy, scaling and sensitive skin in cats, dogs and horses. It also contains emollients to restore natural moisture to the skin, a blend of botanical extracts, coconut oil, almond oil and a blend of coat and skin conditioners.
Dr. Rx Aloe & Oatmeal Conditioner (17 oz) contains a unique combination of natural soothing agents, moisturizers and vitamins. Chamomile extract and coconut oil also provide soothing and moisturizing properties.
With the beautiful Utah summer weather comes the unbearable heat! Please remember to keep your pet cool during those blistering hot summer days.
While it’s easy for us to cool off at the lake or the pool and to change into cooler clothing, our fuzzy and feathered friends might not fare so well. Here are some tips to keeping your buddy cool:
CATS, DOGS & RABBITS:
1. Keep Water Accessible
Ideally, this means that you should keep the bowl full and change it often throughout the day to keep it cool. Placing it in a shaded area can also help keep it from being too warm. Watch out for those playful pups, they tend to dirty the water by splashing it with their paws!
2. Provide Shade
Preferably, the shaded area should also come with a breeze. Keep in mind that as the sun changes position in the sky, the shaded area might also change positions throughout the day.
3. NEVER leave your pet in the car
Even with the window rolled halfway down, a car’s interior can reach unbearable temperatures VERY quickly during those cloudless sunny days. If you’ve got some errands to run, it’s best to leave your pet at home in an air-conditioned or shaded environment!
4. Do not go for Long Walks or Jogging in the Heat of the Day
Exercise with your dog during the early morning or late evening when outdoor temperatures are cooler. Also, remember to bring along water for both you and your jogging companion.
All of the above rules apply, and here are just a few more ideas for our feathered friends:
1. Mist often
Add just one drop of original Listerine (gold colored) to a 1 Liter Spray bottle of tap water and mist your bird(s) every 30 to 60 minutes depending on the warmth of the day.
2. Keep indoor birds away from AC Vents
While we run the air conditioner to make the interior of our homes more comfortable, we shouldn’t forget that cool air blown directly on a bird can be bad news! Keep your bird cages away from vents (same in winter when you’re turning the heat on).
3. Keep indoor birds away from Windows
While natural light is the very best thing for birds (they need 12-14 hours of UVA & UVB light daily), windows can create very warm pockets of air around them when direct sunlight shines through. Move your bird cages away from windows that get direct light. Just a few inches from the wall can make a huge difference!
RECOGNIZING HEAT STROKE:
Heat stroke can be identified by high body temperature (between 104-110F degrees), dark or bright red tongue or gums, panting, listlessness, staggering, stupor, seizures, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, coma, and death.
If you suspect heat stroke in your pet, contact your veterinarian immediately. Offer your pet ice cubes and use cool water to cool your pet (not cold water because it can constrict blood vessels and impede cooling) until you can consult your veterinarian. Do not cool your pet below 103F degrees as it can make your pet hypothermic.
If your pet’s temperature returns to normal, do not assume that they are okay. Hyperthermia can cause liver, kidney, and brain damage and an evaluation and blood tests by a veterinarian can determine if your pet is internally healthy.
Friends in the Animal Biz: Pet Massage Therapy by Animal Massage Practitioner, Kim Novotny
s limited range of motion); stretching and grounding strokes.
Hi Dr. Dobson
We have three indoor house cats. We brought them all in for shots and a checkup in January this year. We’re having problems with Khan – our new baby.
Khan is about 8 months old now. He was fixed when he was about 4 months old. Khan chases Perl (our very plump, lazy, Siamese mix) almost constantly. Perl has peed on our couch 3 times since we adopted Khan (over a 4 month period of time). Is there a way for us to stop Khan from chasing Perl? I’m sure she will quit peeing on the couch if he leaves her alone – she has never done this before. We were hoping it would get better as he grew up a little, but he is still very dominant with Perl (and Alpha too, but he doesn’t care).
They are all eating Blue Buffalo Indoor cat food and appear to be healthy – clear eyes and shiny fur – and nutty.
Any suggestions would be most helpful.
It sounds like Kahn is having some behavioral issues and is bullying your other cats. This is not uncommon in young, very active kittens. The concern is the underlying reason for this behavior. It is recommended by our veterinarian to call and schedule and appointment where she can futher consult with you. At this time, Dr. Dobson will be able to give you suggestions and discuss with you potential reasons he may be doing this.
On a secondary note, It was also be appropriate to bring Perl for a wellness exam. Inappropriate urination can be due to stress, but there may also be some urinary infections.
Please call to schedule an appointment at your convenience at (801)224-2233.
RiverWoods Pet Hospital Staff
I just got a new kitten from a friend who’s cat had kittens. I was wondering how important it was that my kitten had vaccinations. Does that protect me or my cat? How much would vaccinations be?
Congratulations on your new kitten! In answer to your question, it is very important that your kitten is vaccinated. Viruses that your kitten could carry that we vaccinate are species specific. However, if your kitten is going to be exposed to the outdoors or any other animals it is crucial to protect your pet.
Your kitten should be vaccinated starting at 6-8 weeks of age. Kittens are not protected until they have had three sets as part of their kitten series. We start with the feline distemper also known as FVRCP.
Please call for pricing and schedule an appointment at your convenience. (801) 224-2233