Posts from March, 2015

Stomatitis in cats

Stomatitis in cats

Stomatitis is widespread inflammation throughout the oral cavity.  Stomatitis can affect the tongue, gums, the inner surface of the lips and the roof of the mouth.  While stomatitis in cats is an uncommon condition, it is very serious and painful.

The cause of stomatitis in cats is unknown.  It is thought to occur due to an inappropriate immune response to bacteria in the mouth.  Several studies have shown that a high percentage of cats are chronic carriers of feline Calicivirus. 

Clinical Signs of stomatitis in cats:

  • pain
  • weight loss
  • excessive salivation
  • reluctance to yawn
  • failure to groom
  • difficulty eating
  • bad breath

Stomatitis in cats is so painful that many cats will jump and cry out in pain when they yawn or open their mouth to eat.[Tweet “Stomatitis in cats is so painful that many cats will jump and cry out in pain”]

Diagnosis of stomatitis in cats is typically based on physical exam; however, biopsy of the affected tissue is the only way to know.  Testing for feline Calicivirus will help confirm the diagnosis of stomatitis in cats.  In a recent online survey of veterinarians, 20% of cats with stomatitis were positive Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. 

Treatment for stomatitis in cats:

  • Extraction of all the teeth.  While this sounds extreme, this treatment has proven to be 80-85% effective in the improvement of clinical signs in affected cats.  It’s important to confirm complete extraction of the teeth, including the roots, with radiographs. 
  • Immunosuppressive drugs.  Cyclosporine and steroids are the two main drugs that can be used to treat stomatitis in cats.  Cyclosporine is expensive and because it suppresses the immune system can make cats more susceptible to other infection.  While steroids are inexpensive, long-term use of these drugs can lead to increased risk for diabetes.  Treatment with steroid injection usually becomes less effective over time.
  • Good oral hygiene and frequent dental cleanings can improve cats with mild stomatitis

Oral antibiotics have proven ineffective in treating stomatitis in cats, because there is not a single antibiotic that can kill all bacterial species in the mouth. 

If you have an Ask Dr. Anna question you would like answered, please post them in the comment section. 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.

My dog is at risk for heart disease. Now what?

heart disease

The early signs of heart disease can look similar to other conditions.  Early diagnosis makes heart disease easier to manage.  Dr. Anna Coffin will describe what needs to be done in order to distinguish heart disease from other problems.

To identify if your dog is at risk and showing signs of heart disease, please read:  Do you know the signs of heart disease?  If your dog is over 7 years of age, a high-risk breed or if you have seen 2 or more of the signs of heart disease, call and schedule an appointment right away to talk to your veterinarian about heart disease and heart failure.

What happens during a heart exam?

1.  History:  Your veterinarian will need to know the age, breed and previous medical history of your dog.  Your veterinarian will also need to know the following:

  • Changes in attitude, behavior, and activity level
  • Changes in breathing
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Sleeping habits
  • Previous evidence of heart disease
  • Previous treatment history
  • List of medications your dog is currently taking

2.  Physical exam:   Your veterinarian will perform a comprehensive physical exam.  For heart disease, your veterinarian will evaluate:heart disease

  • Weight and body condition
  • Respiratory rate
  • Heart rate
  • Pulse
  • Abdominal shape
  • Lung sounds

3.  Listening to your dog’s heart and lungs:  Your veterinarian will use a stethoscope to determine if a heart murmur is present.  A murmur occurs when there is abnormal blood flow through the heart valves.  This is an early indication of valve disease.  An abnormal heart rate and rhythm can also help determine if heart disease is present.  Abnormal lung sound can be an indication of heart failure.

4.  X-rays:  X-rays can help your veterinarian evaluate the size and shape of the heart and detect if fluid is building up in the lungs.

5.  Additional tests: 

  • Blood testing for markers of heart disease
  • Blood pressure
  • EKG
  • Heart ultrasound:  Your veterinarian may refer you to a veterinary cardiologist for this procedure.  A heart ultrasound will determine the cause of the heart murmur and evaluate if the heart muscle is healthy.

Your veterinarian will recommend a treatment protocol if your dog is diagnosed with heart failure.  Your dog’s treatment will vary depending on your dog’s type and stage of their heart disease.  There is no cure for heart failure, but with the help of your veterinarian, early diagnosis and treatment can prolong and improve your dog’s life.

Call not to schedule a heart exam.  Dr. Anna Coffin may be able to help detect heart disease and give you advice on how you can help your dog.

If you have an Ask Dr. Anna question you would like answered, please post them in the comment section. 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.

Create a routine so your Overweight pets can be a #PerfectWeight.

overweight pets

With over 50% of pets being overweight, it’s time to get off the couch and get into action.  Overweight pets need a routine schedule to get to their perfect weight.  Dr. Anna Coffin has some tips and tools that can help you and your pet get those extra pounds off.

This post is sponsored by Hill’s. Dr. Anna is being compensated for helping spread the word about Hill’s® Science Diet® Perfect Weight 10 Week Turnaround, but Dr. Anna only shares information she feels is relevant to her readers. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.

Did you know that 5 extra pounds on a small breed dog or cat is equivalent to 30 pounds on a person?  Just a few extra pounds can drastically affect your overweight pet’s well being and longevity.  Overweight pets need to have a routine schedule for feeding, exercise, training and even love. [Tweet “5 extra pounds on a small breed dog or cat is equivalent to 30 pounds on a person? “] overweight petsAn important part of weight loss is choosing the proper diet.  Overweight pets on Hill’s® Science Diet® Perfect Weight have had great success, with 70% of cats and dogs losing weight within 10 weeks.  Hill’s Science Diet Perfect Weight is available for dogs and cats.  Since small and toy breed dogs make up 40% of the dog population, Hills Science Diet has even formulated a diet specifically for small and toy breeds. 

         overweight petsoverweight pets                   Photos courtesy of HIll’s

The Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Formulas are available at your local veterinary clinic, favorite pet specialty store or onlineRead How to get your pet to the #PerfectWeight in 10 weeks for more information on how to tell if your pet is overweight and tips on how to help overweight pets.

Hill’s is so dedicated to helping overweight pets, that they have provided a calendar to help you keep track of your pet’s weight loss. 

overweight pets

Experts say that individuals who write down their plans and goals are more likely to succeed at those goals.  Here are some tips from Dr. Anna Coffin on how to use this calendar to create a routine for your overweight pets:

  1. Download the calendar.
  2. Talk with your veterinarian about your pet’s perfect weight and write it on this calendar. 
  3. Weigh your pet the same day every week and keep track of it on the weekly weight tracker.
  4. Write the date that you begin your weight loss journey
  5. Pick 2 days out of the week and write down an activity that you will do with your pet.  Need some ideas for dog or cat exercise?
  6. Pick 2 days out of the week and write down obedience training that you will work on with your pet
  7. Pick 1 day out of the week and write down a special activity that shows your overweight pets that you love them.
  8. Repeat steps 4-6 for all 10 weeks and start your pet on it’s journey to a perfect weight!overweight pets

This isn’t a fad diet or a race, so remember to take it slow. Refer to your 10 Week Turnaround Calendar in order to remind yourself where you are in the process and that each step is an important one.   Join the 10 Week Turnaround Challenge so your overweight pets can be a perfect weight!

If you have an Ask Dr. Anna question you would like answered, please post them in the comment section. 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.

Do you know the signs of heart disease in dogs?

March is Heart Health Month.  Are you aware of the signs of heart disease in dogs?  Dr. Anna Coffin wants to raise awareness of heart disease so that dogs can live longer more active lives.

Signs of heart disease are more likely to increase as a dog ages.  While 5% of dogs are born with congenital heart disease, most dogs develop heart disease as they age and this risk increases drastically with age.

signs of heart disease

Signs of heart disease:

  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Change in breathing pattern
  • Behavior changes
  • Decreased activity
  • Lack of energy/tires easily
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Restlessness – especially at night
  • Change in appetite

2 common types of heart disease:

Heart valve disease:  The valves thicken and become uneven, so the valve can’t form a perfect seal.  This causes blood to “leak” back in the wrong direction.  This backward flow of blood creates an abnormal heart sound called a heart murmur, which can be detected by your veterinarian.  Most common is small breed dogssigns of heart disease

  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Boston Terrier
  • Chihuahua
  • Fox Terrier
  • Miniature Pinscher
  • Poodle
  • Pekingese
  • Pomeranian
  • Whippet

Heart muscle disease:  The heart enlarges which causes the heart muscles to stretch.  This causes the heart muscle to become thin and weak.  In its weakened state, the heart is unable to pump blood out of the heart normally.  This is usually seen in large breed dogs.signs of heart disease

  • Great Dane
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Afghan Hound
  • Boxer
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Dalmatian
  • Irish Wolfhound
  • Newfoundland
  • Saint Bernard
  • Scottish Deerhound

If your dog has signs of heart disease, it’s important to schedule regular veterinary visits to monitor for disease progression.  Heart disease can progress into heart failure over time.  Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs.  Early diagnosis and treatment of heart failure is vital to prolong your dog’s life. [Tweet “Early diagnosis and treatment of heart failure is vital to prolong your dog’s life. “]

If your dog is over 7 years of age, a high-risk breed or if you have seen 2 or more of the signs of heart disease, call and schedule an appointment right away to talk to us about heart disease and heart failure.

If you have an Ask Dr. Anna question you would like answered, please post them in the comment section. 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.

Free Pet Diabetes Screening in March

diabetes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Guthrie Pet Hospital Urges Pet Diabetes Screening.  Dogs and cats diagnosed in March receive free pet diabetes management kits.

Cat and dog owners who answer “yes” to any of these questions should know that their pets could be suffering from pet diabetes, a serious disease that affects pets just as it does people.

  •  Is your cat hungry all the time—but losing weight?
  • Is your dog constantly emptying his water bowl, then wanting to be let outside?
  • Has either your dog or cat developed a poor hair coat or a lack of energy?

While diabetic pets can live long, active lives, they must be diagnosed and treated as early as possible. To help make this possible, Guthrie Pet Hospital is offering pets FREE SCREENING until March 31, 2015.

If the pet is diagnosed during the month of March, owners can also get their dog or cat off to the right start with a free diabetes management kit from the Diabetes Pet Care Alliance™. The kit includes a glucose monitoring system from Abbott, a free bag of therapeutic cat or dog food (diabetic pets require a specialized diet) from Purina Veterinary Diets® and a free vial of insulin from Merck Animal Health.

diabetes

“Because the symptoms caused by diabetes in pets are also associated with a number of other disorders, including thyroid, kidney and pancreatic disease, it is important to screen pets that show symptoms such as increased eating and drinking, increased urination, lethargy and poor coat condition,” says Dr. Anna Coffin of Guthrie Pet Hospital, adding that a pet diabetes diagnosis must be confirmed with a physical examination and blood and urine tests.

Meanwhile, untreated pet diabetes can progress and cause the pet to become seriously ill.  Complications associated with diabetes include blindness in dogs and weakness in the rear limbs of cats.  [Tweet “untreated diabetes can progress and cause the pet to become seriously ill. “]

Just as in people, diabetes in pets is caused by a lack of insulin and affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels. Diabetes mellitus affects an estimated one in 250 cats and one in 500 dogs* with incidence on the rise. Unfortunately diabetes in pets tends to be under-diagnosed, especially in cats.

“When diabetes in a cat or dog is diagnosed before it has seriously affected the heath of a pet, there is much a veterinarian can do to help pets live a long and active life,” says Dr. Anna Coffin. “With the right diet, medication and monitoring, the outlook is very hopeful.”

* Feline diabetes mellitus in the UK: The prevalence within an insured cat population and a questionnaire-based putative risk factor analysis. McCann TM, Simpson KE, Shaw DJ, et al. J Feline Med Surg 9:289-299, 2007. 2. Canine diabetes mellitus; can old dogs teach us new tricks? Catchpole B, Ristic JM, Fleeman LM,Davison LJ. Diabetologia 48:1948-1956, 2005. AT2-2118

 

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