Posts from January, 2014

How to train your dog

How to train your dog

January is National Train Your Dog Month.  Many people want a quick and easy answer on how to train your dog.  Here are a few things to consider.

Getting a dog is a major commitment.  If you have a dog, you should invest some time in training your dog.  Training your dog will bond you with your dog, decrease the chance of behavior problems down the road and help make him part of the family.  Training, just like many other things in life takes lots a practice.  Practice makes perfect!

Start early!  A puppy can start learning as early as 8 weeks of age.  In fact, socialization to other people, dogs, and places is an important part of your puppies’ development.  Puppy obedience classes help train your dog to feel safe with introduction to different people and places.  Dogs not socialized at the proper time will become fearful which can lead to unwanted behavior such as barking, growling and even biting.     Treat and train

Stay positive!  The best way to train your dog is by positively reinforcing desired behaviors and ignoring unwanted behaviors.  Food, petting, toys and praise are all items that can be used for positive reinforcement.  Find out what drives your dog and use it!  I recommend using a Learn to Earn program where nothing in life is free.  Using clickers or items like the treat and train can help speed the time it takes to train your dog.

Seek professional help!  I highly recommend you take your dog to a certified obedience trainer, preferably in a class setting.  It’s important to do your research, get references and make sure they use positive reinforcement instead of negative reinforcement when training.  I prefer the class setting as this helps socialize your dog to other dogs and it also allows you to train your dog with distractions.  Seeking professional help is so important.  You may not be  aware of what you are doing and inadvertently train your dog undesirable behaviors instead of desirable ones.

If you have an Ask Dr. Anna question you would like answered, please post them in the comments. Stay up to date on all the latest by subscribing to my blog.  Also “like” me on Facebook.

Dr. Anna was born and raised in Guthrie, Oklahoma. As a teenager, Dr. Anna found her beloved pet dead on the side of the road left to die without any help. That was the moment she decided to become a vet and vowed to help other people and their pets. After a few years of practicing in New Hampshire, Dr. Anna became homesick and decided to return to Guthrie to be with her parents and five other siblings. Family and friends are a major part of our lives which is why we treat our clients at Guthrie Pet Hospital as family.  Dr. Anna and her husband do not have children but are very proud pet parents and therefore, treat every four legged friend as part of the family. 

Wordless Wednesday… What’s your diagnosis #4

This dog has a firm swelling above his left eye.  The swelling has been present for several days and is getting larger.   The picture to the right is the microscopic view of fluid that was removed from the mass.

What’s your diagnosis and treatment plan?

I will post the answer in the comment section later in the week so be sure to come back to see if you were correct!

If you have an Ask Dr. Anna question you would like answered, please post them in the comments. Stay up to date on all the latest by subscribing to my blog.  Also “like” me on Facebook.

Keep Your Eye Out For These 5 Warning Signs Of Glaucoma

glaucoma

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month.  Are you aware that dogs can get glaucoma?  Watch for these 5 warning signs and save your dog’s eyesight!

Glaucoma is an increase in pressure within the eye that affects vision. Healthy eyes produce and remove fluid from the eye to maintain normal pressure. Glaucoma occurs when this process is disturbed. Congenital or primary glaucoma is rare in dogs. Cocker spaniels, Bassett hounds, Chows, Shar-Peis and Boston terriers are the top five breed predisposed to primary glaucoma. Secondary glaucoma occurs when some disease process disrupts the normal flow of fluid within the eye. Cataracts, lens luxation, and blood in the eye are just a few of the diseases that can cause secondary glaucoma.

Glaucoma is a very painful condition and is considered a medical emergency. 

Signs of glaucoma include:

1.  Squinting the eye closed
2.  Excessive tearing
3.   Swollen eye
4.  Vision loss
5.  Cloudy cornea

Diagnosis is made by testing the intraocular pressure of your dog’s eye. Most veterinarians will refer you to a veterinary ophthalmologist for a definitive diagnosis of glaucoma. If secondary glaucoma is diagnosed early and managed properly, vision may be preserved.

Canine glaucoma can be treated medically or surgically depending on the underlying cause. The goal of therapy is to preserve or regain vision by maintaining normal eye pressure. Canine glaucoma can be difficult to manage and unfortunately, some chronic end stage cases require removal of the eye to alleviate pain and further medical problems. Forty percent of dogs with glaucoma become blind within the first year of treatment. Fortunately, blind dogs adapt quickly to their environment and can live normal lives.

 

Meet the pack! Olivia

Meet the Pack

Meet Olivia!  As you can tell she is one of a kind and she is our only “lap” dog.

In the fall of 2011, someone brought this frightened, cute little dog into the clinic.  She was so scared and I just couldn’t stand leaving her at the clinic alone and afraid.  So I had the grand idea of taking her home to play with my pack for the weekend.  Meet the pack

She immediately fit right in.  In fact, she brought Jade out of her shell and taught her how to play and that’s all it took to become part of our pack.  Olivia loves attention and likes to sit on laps.  She is scared of everything.  Sometimes I think she is afraid of her own shadow!  She has an extreme noise and thunderstorm phobia.  But with medication and a Thundershirt we all survive.

I would love to hear from you, so please share your comments and questions.  If you have an Ask Dr. Anna question you would like answered, please post them in the comments. Stay up to date on all the latest by subscribing to my blog.  Also “like” me on Facebook.

Dr. Anna was born and raised in Guthrie, Oklahoma. As a teenager, Dr. Anna found her beloved pet dead on the side of the road left to die without any help. That was the moment she decided to become a vet and vowed to help other people and their pets. After a few years of practicing in New Hampshire, Dr. Anna became homesick and decided to return to Guthrie to be with her parents and five other siblings. Family and friends are a major part of our lives which is why we treat our clients at Guthrie Pet Hospital as family.  Dr. Anna and her husband do not have children but are very proud pet parents and therefore, treat every four legged friend as part of the family.    

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Thyroid disease and how it affects your dog

Thyroid disease

January is National Thyroid Awareness Month.  Did you know that dogs and cats develop thyroid disease?   Dogs commonly develop hypothyroid disease which is due to an under active thyroid gland. 

Hypothyroidism is a common condition in dogs but is rare in cats. The thyroid gland helps regulate the body’s metabolism. In hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland is not producing enough hormones, causing a wide variety of symptoms.  Thyroid disease is more common in larger breed dogs between the ages of 4-10 years of age. Doberman Pinschers, Golden Retrievers and Cocker Spaniels are predisposed to developing this problem.

Common symptoms of thyroid disease in dogs  includes lethargy, hair loss, obesity, cold intolerance, low heart rate and high cholesterol. There are several different blood tests that are used to diagnose hypothyroidism. However, it is important to note that other health issues and some medication can cause some of these tests to be lower than normal. Because of this some dogs are misdiagnosed and placed on supplementation when this is not needed. Most veterinarians will perform a screening test. If your dog’s thyroid is functioning normally this test will be in normal limits; however, if this test is low then a more specific test is required to verify if your dog’s thyroid function is low.   A thyroid panel can also be performed which gives your veterinary both of these results and more.Thyroid disease

Treatment for dogs with thyroid disease is very simple and inexpensive. They will require daily supplementation with synthetic hormones for the rest of their life. I recommend rechecking thyroid levels a month after starting supplementation and at least once a year to see if the medication needs to be adjusted.

Read more about thyroid disease in cats.

If you have an Ask Dr. Anna question you would like answered, please post them in the comments. Stay up to date on all the latest by subscribing to my blog.  Also “like” me on Facebook.

Dr. Anna was born and raised in Guthrie, Oklahoma. As a teenager, Dr. Anna found her beloved pet dead on the side of the road left to die without any help. That was the moment she decided to become a vet and vowed to help other people and their pets. After a few years of practicing in New Hampshire, Dr. Anna became homesick and decided to return to Guthrie to be with her parents and five other siblings. Family and friends are a major part of our lives which is why we treat our clients at Guthrie Pet Hospital as family.  Dr. Anna and her husband do not have children but are very proud pet parents and therefore, treat every four legged friend as part of the family. 

Wordless Wednesday… A few words of wisdom from my pack to yours!

Dharma and Silvie sleeping

Get plenty of rest!

Olivia drinking water

Eat healthy and drink lots of water!

Bella with bouncy bouncy

Play often!

Jade Q-Tip

A Q-Tip a day keeps the doctor away!

Jade lotion

Lotion makes your skin soft!

Dharma stuck

If you get stuck, don’t give up.  Try again!

Scooter

And most of all, stay safe!

Staff Happy New Year

Looking forward to serving you and your fur babies for many years to come!

If you have an Ask Dr. Anna question you would like answered, please post them in the comments. Stay up to date on all the latest by subscribing to my blog.  Also “like” me on Facebook.

Discover the highs and lows of thyroid disease.

Thyroid, hyperthyroid

January is National Thyroid Awareness Month.  Did you know that dogs and cats develop thyroid disease?  Older cats commonly develop hyperthyroid disease which is due to an over active thyroid gland.  Dogs commonly develop hypothyroid disease which is due to an under active thyroid gland.

This week I will discuss hyperthyroid disease in cats and next week I will discuss hypothyroid disease in dogs. 

The thyroid gland is a paired endocrine (produces hormones) organ that is located in the neck. The thyroid secretes hormones that help regulate the body’s metabolism. Hyperthyroidism occurs when this gland is secreting too much of these hormones causing the body’s metabolism is increased. Pure breed cats, especially Siamese and Himalayans, are more likely to develop this condition.  Hyperthyroid disease is common in cats over 10 years of age, so senior blood work screening for this disease is important.

The hallmark sign seen with hyperthyroidism is weight loss despite a ferocious appetite. Other symptoms include increased heart rate, hyperactivity, vomiting, and diarrhea. If the disease progresses without proper treatment cats will develop secondary heart and kidney problems. Diagnosis is made from blood work, physical exam and symptoms. A normal thyroid gland cannot be felt with a finger while an overactive gland can be easily felt.

There are multiple treatment options available, all with pros and cons. thyroid, hyperthyroid

1.  Oral medication:  Pro:  The medication is relatively inexpensive.  Con:  Medication requires daily pilling for the rest of the cat’s life.  It can take several weeks before any response to treatment is noticed. A small percentage of cats can develop skin reactions or liver disease and then the medication must be discontinued.  Blood work should be done every six months to monitor for liver disease which increases the cost of this treatment.

2.  Surgery:  Pro:  The enlarged thyroid gland can be surgically removed.  Once the affect thyroid gland is removed the cat will immediately improve.  Con: This is an expensive procedure.  Since this is a paired gland, the other side is left to continue functioning as normal; however, that gland can develop the same problem and need to be removed at a later date.

3.  Radioactive iodine:  This procedure involves injecting radioactive iodine intravenously which causes the overactive cells to die.   Pro:  This treatment has a  98% cure rate with low chance of reoccurrence.  Con:  This is the most expensive treatment for thyroid disease.  The cat has to stay isolated in the hospital for about one week because it is radioactive.  This procedure is usually not performed by your veterinarian and must be referred to a specialty clinic.thyroid, hyperthyroid

4.  Diet:  Science Diet has developed a diet called y/d that has proven effective in treatment of some cats with hyperthyroid disease.   Pro:  This is the easiest of all treatments and probably the cheapest.  Con:  If the cat eats any other diet, treat or food the diet will not effectively treat this thyroid disease.  This treatment usually doesn’t work well for individuals that have multiple cats in the household.

It is very important to detect hyperthyroid disease early before heart and kidney disease develop because some cats with these problems are not candidates for surgery or radioactive iodine treatment.  These cats are managed with medication or diet.

If you have an Ask Dr. Anna question you would like answered, please post them in the comments. Stay up to date on all the latest by subscribing to my blog.  Also “like” me on Facebook.

Dr. Anna was born and raised in Guthrie, Oklahoma. As a teenager, Dr. Anna found her beloved pet dead on the side of the road left to die without any help. That was the moment she decided to become a vet and vowed to help other people and their pets. After a few years of practicing in New Hampshire, Dr. Anna became homesick and decided to return to Guthrie to be with her parents and five other siblings. Family and friends are a major part of our lives which is why we treat our clients at Guthrie Pet Hospital as family.  Dr. Anna and her husband do not have children but are very proud pet parents and therefore, treat every four legged friend as part of the family. 

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