Mt. Hawley Animal Clinic

836 W Pioneer Parkway
Peoria, IL 61615

(309)691-7520

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Dental Health in Pets - 01/18/2018

Dental disease

Periodontal disease is the most common disease in dogs and cats.  Since most pet’s teeth do not get brushed daily, plaque can accumulate quickly on the teeth.  Plaque contains bacteria, which can make its way under the gums and down the root of the tooth leading to periodontal disease.  Toxins released by bacteria cause destruction of the gums and bone surrounding the teeth which leads to oral pain, loose teeth, and bad breath.  In early stages (red, puffy gums) the affected teeth may be saved, but later stages of periodontitis can lead to extraction of teeth.

Clinical signs of periodontitis:
  1. Bad breath
  2. Oral pain
  3. Poor appetite / Dropping food
  4. Lethargy

Prevention

The best way to prevent dental disease is routine dental care at home.  Just like with people, brushing your pet’s teeth is the best way to prevent plaque accumulation.  It can take some time training your pet to be comfortable with brushing his/her teeth.  If your pet is resistant to tooth brushing, start by rubbing around the muzzle and face while rewarding with treats and praise.  After a few days, move on to lifting the lip and rubbing the teeth with a soft rag; again, while rewarding with treats.  Once your pet is comfortable with this, then you can move on to using a tooth brush with an enzymatic tooth paste.  Brush the teeth in a circular motion focusing on the upper canine teeth and upper cheek teeth.

If your pet isn’t amenable to having their teeth brushed, then you can consider specialized treats or water additives that are designed to reduce plaque.  The Veterinary Oral Health Council has a list of treats at their website www.vohc.org that can be used to combat dental disease


In-Clinic Dental Cleaning

Even with the best of care at home, most pets need a periodic cleaning in the clinic.  Dental cleanings for pets are similar to when humans go to the dentist.  One of the main differences, though, is that pets must be anesthetized to perform the cleaning.  This not only keeps the pet safe and allows a thorough cleaning, but also keeps the staff safe from a possible bite wound.

The teeth are first cleared of calculus and plaque using a scaler (typically an ultrasonic scaler).  Then, the teeth are probed along their gum surface to look for any large gingival pockets, which indicates periodontal disease. Dental x-rays may be performed as well.  If any teeth are unhealthy, then these teeth are treated appropriately or if the tooth is too far gone, it is extracted.  The teeth are then polished and fluoride or a sealant is applied to the teeth.

Depending on the amount of home care performed, pets may need in-clinic cleanings every 6 month to 2 years.


February is National Pet Dental Health Month, so in response we are offering 10% off dental cleaning in our clinics.


Cruciate disease - 11/27/2017

What is the cruciate ligament?
Like people, dog's have cruciate ligaments.  These are ligaments in the knee that prevent the thigh and skin bone from moving forward and backward independently of one another.  The one that causes particular problems in the dog is the cranial cruciate ligament.  This ligament spans from the back of the femur (thigh bone) to the front of the tibia (skin bone).


Unlike with people where most cruciate injuries occur during activity (sports in particular), dogs tend to tear their ligament due to chronic, degeneration of the ligament which leads to weakness.  When dogs do tear their ligament, an owner could notice signs ranging from a subtle lameness to holding the hind-limb up completely.

How is a cruciate tear diagnosed?
In most cases, a cruciate tear can be diagnosed with a thorough orthopedic exam of the knee.  In particular, a veterinarian is looking for either the "drawer" sign or tibial thrust. 


Drawer is when the tibia (shin) can be moved forward independently of the femur (thigh)


Thrust is when the ankle is flexed, which then moves the tibia forward
If a pet is particularly anxious, he/she may need to be sedated to fully evaluate the knee.  X-rays of the knee may also be performed, which can show swelling of the knee consistent with injury.  It is rare to perform an MRI to confirm a cruciate tear as many tears can be diagnosed with just the physical exam.

The ligament is torn, what now?
If the ligament is torn, then surgery to explore the joint and then stabalize the knee should be considered. 

Exploration:
Exploration of the knee joint can be done is one of two ways.  The first, less invasive way to explore the knee is through arthroscopy (camera in the knee).  Small incisions are made into the knee joint to allow for a camera and instruments to be inserted.  Once inside, the ligaments and meniscus can be evaluated.  If the cruciate ligament is torn, the remnants of the ligament are typically removed, as they can be a source of inflammation.  The meniscus (cartilage in the knee) is also evaluated because many times a meniscal tear is also found with cruciate tears.  If torn, that section of the menincus may be removed or a release of the meniscus is performed.  The benefits of arthroscopy are that it is less invasive than tradition arthrotomy (opening the knee joint completely) and the camera allows for magnification of the ligaments.  The cons are that not everyone has the equipment to perform this and it adds cost to the procedure.

The other way to explore the knee is to open the joint with a scapel, which is called arthrotomy.  Prior to arthroscopy cameras being available, this was the traditional way to evaluate the knee.  Since a larger incision is needed, it is more invasive.  Similar to athroscopy, the ligaments are evaluated, remnants are removed, and the meniscus is evaluated.  The con of this procedure is it is more invasive, however, no special equipment is needed for it.

Stabilization:
Once the joint has been explored and the ligament is confirmed as torn, the knee must then be stabilized.  Unlike with people where the cruciate ligament is reconstructed using a tendon, in dogs veterinarians stabilize the knee in a different way.  The two most common procedures are either the lateral stabilization technique or the TPLO surgery.  There is a lot of information about these procedures at other websites, but this one from Colorado State does a good job of explaining things.

In some situations surgery may not be an option for a pet, whether it be due to financial restrictions or due to other health problems with the pet.  In these situations, the knee will start to develop arthritis which then can be managed in other ways.


Reuniting with a Lost Pet - 10/19/2017

We see it a lot at our clinic:  A family comes in with a picture of their lost pet and wants us to put up a flier trying to reunite them with their beloved animal.  We are happy to oblige, but unfortunately, many times the owner isn't able to recover their animal.  What can be done to increase the chances of finding their pet?  One word: MICROCHIP.  


 Microchipping pets has been around for a couple of decades, but is becoming more common in each passing year.  There are a number of companies that produce microchips, which is good and bad.  It is good as it gives many options and can keep costs low due to competition, but bad as not all companies use similar frequencies for their chips, so not every scanner will pick up every microchip.

The good news is that there are now scanners that pick up multiple frequencies of chips, so hopefully won't miss a pet who is microchipped.

How do the microchips work?
The chips are about the size of a grain of rice and are implanted under the skin using a needle.  Once implanted, the body will produce scar tissue around the chip that holds it in place.

The chips use RFID technology (radio-frequency), so do not require an internal battery source.  They are powered by the scanner when it is slide a few inches over the chip.  The chip is encoded with a unique number, which the scanner picks up and then can be matched to the owners information.  Using the website http://www.petmicrochiplookup.org/ the number is matched to the microchip company and then the company can be contacted to recover the the owner's information.

The most important thing besides microchipping your pet is making sure that your information is registered to the microchip number and up to date.  If the pet owners information isn't linked to the number encoded in the chip, then the microchip is worthless.  At our clinic, we register the owner's information for them to ensure that this step isn't forgotten.

We use HomeAgain (www.homeagain.com/) microchips at our clinic.  We typically try to implant them during a pet's spay or neuter, since the pet is asleep and won't feel the needle used during implantation.  However, we can also implant the chip when pets are awake, using treats to distract them while the injection takes place.

Once registered, the number is in the system for the life of the pet.  There is no additional charge unless your information changes.  Home Again does offer an annual renewal, which gives access to additional resources including producing fliers if your pet is lost, access to a poison control hotline, and help with transportation back home if your pet is found more than 500 miles away.

Bottom line is that a microchip will give you your best chance at finding your pet if it is lost.


- 04/24/2017

Image result for heartworm disease

Spring Is Here, and It’s Time To Prepare For Heartworm Season



Spring has arrived! The temperatures are rising, the sun is shining, and the mosquitos and ticks have already been spotted hanging around our four-legged friends. You know what that means… time to get your dog tested for Heartworm Disease if their test is not current and get them on their monthly preventative if they are not on a year round prevention plan!

The Heartworm test is a core part of your canine’s annual wellness examination. Heartworm testing is important for the following reasons:

  1. The Heartworm preventative we recommend giving your dog on a monthly basis is most safely administered after we know your dog is negative for heartworm.
  2. If you have your dog tested once a year for Heartworm disease and give them monthly Heartworm preventive purchased from our clinics and your dog STILL gets Heartworm disease, the company that manufacturers the preventative guarantees their product’s efficacy and will cover the very high cost of treatment. 
  3. We run our Heartworm tests in the clinic, it requires just a few drops of blood, and just about 10 minutes to give us a result for your dog.


Image result for heartworm disease


- 03/31/2017

Lily Poisoning in Cats


Lily

Nephrotoxicity


reposted from PetMd

Image result for lilies and catsThere are many different species of plants called “lily”: Easter lily, day lily, Asiatic lily, tiger lily, peace lily, calla lily, and lily of the valley, among others. And though they may be beautiful to look at, a cat could die of kidney failure if he should eat any part of these toxic species and not receive treatment immediately. In fact, as little as two leaves can make your cat sick, and if left untreated, can become fatal in as little as three days.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Image result for lilies and cats 
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting (pieces of plant in the vomitus)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased urination, followed by lack of urination after 1 to 2 days
  • Dehydration

PRIMARY CAUSE


Image result for lilies and catsWhen determining if a lily plant you want or have is toxic, always look at the scientific name of the plant. The scientific name is a two-part name: the “first name,” which is capitalized, is the genus; the “second name” is the species, and it is not capitalized. You may see additional names following the first and second; these are subdivisions of the species and are not important for determining toxicity. The second name is sometimes abbreviated sp. or spp. This means that the actual species has not been identified. Sometimes the first name is abbreviated, usually with just the first letter of the name. This is usually done when there is a list of several species from the same genus.

The lily plants of greatest concern are any from the genus Lilium (Lilium sp.), which includes Easter lilies, tiger lilies, and Asiatic lilies, and any from the genus Hemerocallis (Hemerocallis sp.), which includes day lilies.

IMMEDIATE CARE


  1. If your cat has recently eaten a lily and has not vomited, call your veterinarian to see if you should induce vomiting before bringing her to an animal hospital.
  2. Call the nearest animal hospital or the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-213-6680.
  3. The sooner she gets treatment, the better her chances are for survival. And if you can, bring a piece of the lily plant to the hospital.

VETERINARY CARE

Image result for lilies and cats 
Diagnosis

Finding a chewed-on lily plant or pieces of plant in the vomit allows for a definitive diagnosis. Because the toxic principle in lilies attacks the kidneys, blood and urine tests will be taken to evaluate kidney function.

Treatment

If your cat has only recently ingested the plant material and has still not vomited, your veterinarian will try to induce vomiting. Activated charcoal will be given orally to absorb any toxin that might remain in the gut. The key to survival is high volumes of fluids given intravenously (IV) to try and prevent dehydration and the kidneys shutting down. The fluids will be given for 1 to 2 days, while monitoring your cat's kidneys as well as urine output. Lack of urine production is a sign that the treatment was unsuccessful.

OTHER CAUSES


Image result for lilies and catsCalla or arum lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica) and peace lilies (Spathiphyllum sp.) contain crystals that are extremely irritating to the mouth and digestive tract, causing drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea; however, they do not affect the kidneys.

Lily of the valley (Convalaria majalis) affects the heart, causing irregular heartbeat and low blood pressure, and can progress to seizures or coma.


LIVING AND MANAGEMENT


If treatment is successful, there are no reported long-term consequences. Monitor your cat for changes in his urination habits, especially frequency of urination.

PREVENTION


If at all possible, do not have lilies in your house, not even as cut flowers. If you do have lilies in the house, make sure your cat cannot reach them and inform everyone in your household of the dangers lilies pose to the cat.

Cats are less likely to chew on lilies in your yard, especially if there are more appealing things to chew on, like grass and catnip; however, it is best not to have any lilies in your yard.


Image result for lilies and cats


Mt. Hawley Animal Clinic
836 W Pioneer Parkway
Peoria, IL 61615

Warm hearts for cold noses

(309) 691-7520

Hours:
Mon - Fri 7:30am - 6pm
Sat 7:30 - Noon

 

 Member of American Animal Hospital Association

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