Saturday, September 13, 2014

Does Your Dog Suffer From Luxating Patella?

"Oh my gosh... my dog was fine running around and all of a sudden he was stopped in his tracks and was holding up his leg.  Then just as suddenly he lowers his leg and starts to walk normally again.  What is wrong?" Your dog could be suffering from luxating patella.  

What is it and who can have the condition?
The kneecap moves up and down in a groove and the patella ridges hold the kneecap in place. Luxating patella is when the knee cap easily moves out of position.  Any dog can have luxating patella. It may be caused from having  a very flat patella ridge (genetically predisposed in some breed) or in larger/giant breeds caused by problems with another joint such as the hip (hip dysplasia) or ankle, causing a ergonomic change, thus leading to luxating patella.

Some breeds that are more genetic predisposed:

  • Miniature and toy Poodles
  • Maltese
  • Jack Russell Terriers
  • Yorkies
  • Pomeranians
  • Pekingese
  • Chihuahuas
  • Papillions
  • Boston Terriers

Grades of Luxating Patella
Grade 1
Kneecap pops out intermittently, but can be popped right back in (usually by itself). The pet does not experience pain as a Grade 1

Grade 2
The knee is less stable and pops out of place and doesn't always pop back in automatically.  Manual manipulation is usually required. Pet can begin to have pain.

Grade 3
The kneecap sits outside the groove most of the time, can be positioned back, but will pop right back out.  The pet will be in persistent pain and arthritic changes.

Grade 4
This is the worst-case scenario, the knee cap is outside the groove all the time and will not stay in the groove when popped back in.  The dog will have a hard time walking and will suffer from pain, arthritis and degenerative joint disease. They often will stand knock-knees and toes turned inward.

Treating the Condition
Being proactive is key , no matter how young or old, to prevent surgery ( which carries risks and a difficult recovery) and a diminished quality of life for your dog. 

  • Help your dog maintain a healthy body weight. 
  • Keep your pet moving- It is important to exercise your pet regularly to maintain muscle tone that will help protect the knee joint.
  • Give your dog joint support supplements as soon as the problem is observed. Early start of supplements can help prevent problems later on.  The Joint Support Kit and Canine Comfort Natural Pain Relief  are especially helpful for this condition..
  • Chiropractic and acupuncture treatments may help
  • Feed your dog an anti-inflammatory diet using fresh foods
When to Seek Surgery for Your Pet
If the quality of life of your dog is diminished, pain is constant and the non-surgical options have not helped, surgery should be considered.  Supplements should still be continued after surgery to strengthen the joints and ligaments.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Animal Cruelty Now A Felony In All 50 States

It may be shocking to think it took this long , but on March 14, 2014, South Dakota became the final state to enact a felony provision for animal cruelty.  There is still more that needs to be done and some states are working on it, such as Massachusetts with there PAWS act, or Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety Act, that has passed and awaits the governor's signature.

The PAWS act requires:

  • Stiffening of penalties for animal abuse-increasing the maximum prison sentence to seven years for a first offense, and up to 10 years for a subsequent offense
  • Requiring veterinarians to report suspected mistreatment to the police (vets who don’t report abuse would be reported to the Board of Registration in Veterinary Medicine)
  • Offenders could face fines, which have been increased to $5,000 for a first offense and $10,000 for a subsequent offense.
In other states,  New Jersey passed State Senate. S. 1870  which will require pet shops in the state to provide consumers with certain identifying information regarding the animals they sell, thus cracking down on puppy mills and New York is working on the Consolidated Animal Crimes Bill (A.775b/S.6643) which improves enforcement by placing animal crimes under the penal code vs. under the farming and agriculture statues.

To see what is being done in your state, you can visit the Humane Society website under legislation.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Reverse Sneezing in Dogs

What is wrong with my dog? Why does he have episodes of snorting and gagging? These comments describe what is commonly called "Reverse Sneezing".  Reverse sneezing is when the pet is pulling air rapidly in vs. a regular sneeze when air is pushed out through the nose.  It is not know exactly why these episodes occur, but it thought to be an irritation of the  soft palate, which results in a spasm.  It could be caused from many factors including: eating or drinking, exercise, allergies, post-nasal drip, and irritating chemicals (cleaners, air fresheners, perfumes). 

A reverse sneezing episode can be scary and last for several seconds, and may make the owner think they are choking or having an asthma attack,  but is not usually considered harmful. However, if your pet has frequent episodes, it is a good idea to visit your vet to rule out other causes (collapsing trachea, nasal tumors or polyps, foreign bodies in the nasal passages or mouth). To help halt the episode, try massaging your pet's throat to stop the spasm or covering your pet’s nostrils very briefly. 

If your pet has other signs of allergies (scratching, licking, chewing at the paws, etc), then post-nasal drip may be the culprit.  Using K9 Yeast Defense and Power Probiotic along with AllerEaze can help.   Yeast is often a contributor to skin problems, ear infections and genital licking.  Yeast congregates in moist areas such as the throat and mucous membranes.  Diets high in carbohydrates such as grains and starchy foods can contribute to yeast overgrowth.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

How Attached Are Your To Your Dog?

A Study conducted with coordination between Canisius College, University of Chicago, and University of Pennsylvania, questioned 60 dog owning families, with both parents and children. The purpose of the study was to look at the human-animal attachment.  The participants were asked not only about how attached they felt to their dog, but also their level of responsibility for the pet (feeding, walking, and general care) plus how they rated their pet's behaviors (trainability, aggression, stranger fear, separation problems and attention seeking actions).

What the study found:
  • Perhaps not surprising, those that had the most positive feelings and had the highest level of attachment, were also the ones that provided the most care taking responsibility  for the dog. 
  • They also found that the more well-behaved and social the pet, regardless of gender and age, the owners had more positive feelings. 
  • Adults also tended to feel more attachment to dogs that demonstrated attention-seeking behavior.  This was not true with children that maintain a high level of attachment regardless.
  • The study did not find any difference between male and female owners and their attachment to their dogs
Based of the study "Man's best friend: What does 'Fido's behavior say about the relationship between you and your dog?"  published June 6, 2014 in ScienceDaily.

Friday, September 5, 2014

FDA Issues Warning On Pet Tear Stain Products

Many dogs suffer from tear-staining, which is a condition most often caused by excessive tear production. Certain breeds are more prone to tear-staining, and the tell-tale sign is the reddish-brown streak under their eyes. It is important to know that tear staining is usually a symptom of a problem and should not be overlooked. The issue causing the staining may be an eye problem (structural, inflammation, or infection), but it could also be a symptom of allergies (both food and environmental). If your pet also has bad breath, gas, tummy gurgling, loose stools or vomiting, it most likely is food related. Many people seek over the counter products to help with the tear staining without realizing they are giving their pets a daily dose of antibiotics.  Over time, the excessive use of antibiotics can have serious consequences.  

These concerns led the  U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue a warning on August 29, 2014 to the makers of Angels' Eyes, Angels' Glow, Pets'Spark, Glow Groom and Health Glow because they are misusing an antibiotic. The products contain the antibiotic tylosin tartrate, which has not been approved for use in cats and dogs and has not been reviewed for their safety and effectiveness in treating the conditions associated with tear stains. Here is  a link to the FDA warning

A diet change and holistic products that support the pet's immune system (Argentyn and Power Probiotics) and products to help with allergies (AllerEaze) can offer your pet great relief from their symptoms.  A good starting point is to use the  K9 Yeast Defense calong with the Power Probiotic and Quentans as tear stains are often due to yeast that form from the moisture.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Is Your Cat In Pain?

"The Collagenex 2 has been a miracle for Rocky"   Deborah Albritton

Arthritis in cats was once thought to be uncommon, but it is now estimated over 20% of the cat population suffers from this painful condition.  

What is Arthritis? 
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints caused by the breaking down of the joint's cartilage, resulting in the bones rubbing against each other. 

Who is at Risk for Feline Arthritis?

  • Middle-age and Elderly Cats
  • Cats that are obese
  • Cats that have been injured in the pass
  • Congenital abnormalities- such as hip dysplasia

What are the signs?
Cats are not ones to show pain and it may be difficult to know if your pet is suffering.  The four main areas that the signs will appear are:

  • Reduced Mobility- they will hesitate to jump, run or climb stairs as they normally would. 
  • Reduced Activity-may sleep more, avoid play activities, and hide more frequently
  • Changes in Mood-may be more aggressive, irritable, cry when touched, and become anxious/restless
  • Changes in Hygiene-may not be able to groom themselves, may have trouble using the litter box

How is Arthritis Diagnosed in Cats?
Often it is difficult to diagnosis arthritis by a physical exam, because cats can show signs of being irritable, aggressive, or not wanting to be touched even when arthritis is not present.  The best way to diagnosis arthritis is to x-ray the joints.  Unfortunately, this sometimes require sedation to get the correct position to accurately diagnose, which must weigh into your decision process.

How Can I Help My Cat's Arthritic Condition?
There is no cure for Feline Arthritis, and the goal will be to minimize your cat's pain and keep them healthy. The best approach is usually a combination of diet, supplements, medications, and alternative care. 

  • Diet-A diet balanced to maintain a healthy weight and also rich in fish oil, such as Amazing Omegas
  • Holistic Supplements-Supplements that can help replenish, repair and reduce pain in the cartilage, such as Glucosamine and chondroitin.  Collagenex 2  is a natural chondroitin supplement and has had great results, just read Rocky's story
  • Medications- anti-inflammatory and pain medications prescribed by your veterinarian
  • Alternative Therapies- acupuncture, massage, hydrotherapy can be effective. 
Since there is no cure, ongoing support will be necessary to give your pet a quality of life.  It may be a challenge to give the pills and supplements, but understanding that your pet will be relieved from some of their pain must be kept in mind.

How to Make Your Cat as Comfortable as Possible?
  • Provide a soft bed that has easy access
  • Make sure your cat's litter box, food, and water bowl can be accessed easily.
  • Help with their grooming
  • Encourage play, to help with mobility
  • Consider providing ramps to your cat's favorite "high" spots (so they don't need to claim and jump)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

New California Law Lets You Take Your Dog To Dinner

California Gov. Jerry Brown announced this month that beginning in 2015, your dog may be permitted to eat at restaurants with you on outdoor patios.  This is a great victory for dog lovers!

The new California law states:

  • There must be a separate entrance for the outdoor dining areas 
  • Pets are not allowed on the the seats.
  • They must also be on a leash or in a carrier and completely under the control of the owner 
  • Owners are required to clean up after their pets.

The new California law does not force restaurants to allow dogs, but helps to provide guidelines. It also does not limit the local jurisdictions from implementing their own ban on dogs in restaurants.   For those of us who love to bring our best friend everywhere we go, this is a wonderful new California law!