Posts in Category: Veterinary Medicine

The One Thing I Hate More Than Euthanizing A Pet

euthanizing a petThere are so many great things about being a veterinarian, but just like any other job, there is a down side.  I hear so many people tell me that they would love to be in the field of veterinary medicine, but they just wouldn’t be able to deal with euthanasia.  Well, in my opinion, that isn’t the worst part of the job.  Discover what Dr. Anna Coffin hates more than euthanizing a pet. Continue…

Pet 911? When do you need a pet emergency clinic?

pet emergency clinic

Knowing when to go to a pet emergency clinic and when to wait can save you a lot of time and money.   Dr. Anna Coffin will outline what pet symptoms need immediate care. [Tweet “Knowing when to go to a pet emergency clinic and when to wait can save you a lot of time and money. “]

Dr. Anna Coffin recommends establishing a relationship with your veterinarian prior to any emergency.  Ask your veterinarian about their after-hour emergency policy and what pet emergency clinic they recommend, just in case you can’t get ahold of your regular vet.  Having a relationship with a veterinarian prior to a pet emergency is helpful because the veterinarian is familiar with your pet.  They know what medications and medical conditions your pet already has.

If you aren’t sure if  it’s a pet emergency, then call your veterinarian and explain your pet’s symptoms.  Many things can be deciphered over the phone and if you have a pet first aid kit, your veterinarian can advise you what to do. 

The following symptoms are things that constitute an emergency:

  • Seizure, fainting or collapse. 
  • Eye injury – no matter how mild. 
  • Vomiting or diarrhea – anything more than two to three times within an hour.
  • Allergic reactions such as swelling around the face or hives (most easily seen on the belly). 
  • Any suspected poisoning including antifreeze, rodent or snail bait or human medication. Cats are especially sensitive to insecticides (such as flea-control medication for dogs) or any petroleum-based product. 
  • Snake or venomous spider bites. 
  • Thermal stress – from being either too cold or too hot – even if the pet seems to have recovered (the internal story could be quite different). 
  • Any wound or laceration that’s open and bleeding or any animal bite.  Lacerations that are 2 inches long will need sutures.
  • Trauma, such as being hit by a car, even if the pet seems fine (again, the situation could be quite different on the inside). 
  • Any respiratory problem – chronic coughing, trouble breathing or near drowning.
  • Straining to urinate or defecate.

Signs of pain include panting, labored breathing, increased body temperature, lethargy, restlessness, crying out, aggression or loss of appetite.

There are several pet emergency clinics in the state of Oklahoma that are fully staffed at all times and are sometimes better equipped to handle certain emergencies. Many times Dr. Anna Coffin will stabilize the patient and then send them to the pet emergency clinic for ongoing care and observation.

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.

Ebola Virus & Dogs: Are they at risk and can they transmit it to humans?

Ebola

The increase of Ebola cases here in the United States has raised much concern about dog’s role in Ebola virus transmission and the risks dogs may pose to humans.  Dr. Anna Coffin will cover the basics of Ebola virus and what little information is known about dogs and the Ebola virus.

People infected with the Ebola virus usually show fever, headache, muscle pain, weakness, vomiting and diarrhea, followed by bloody diarrhea and abdominal pain.  There is currently no cure for this virus, only supportive care such as fluid therapy for dehydration.  Unfortunately, 90 percent of people who test positive for Ebola virus will die.  Recovery can occur but it is very rare.  Here are some Facts about Ebola Virus:

  • Ebola virus is NOT spread through:  casual contact, air, water, food grown or legally purchased in the United States.
  • How do you get Ebola Virus:  direct contact with body fluids (blood, vomit, urine, feces, sweat, spit) from a person infected with the virus, objects, such as needles and medical equipment, contaminate with the virus, direct contact with infected animals (fruit bat or primates)
  • Ebola can only be spread after symptoms begin.  Symptoms can appear from 2-21 days after exposure.  After 21 days, if an exposed person does not develop symptoms, they will not become sick with Ebola.

Most of the information we know about Ebola virus in dogs comes from a large outbreak in Gabon Africa in 2001 where over 400 dogs became exposed to the virus.  This is what we know:

  • 27% of these healthy dogs had serum antibodies against the virus – which means they did contract the Ebola virus.
  • None of the dogs had detectable Ebola virus circulating in their blood stream.
  • There is no evidence that they developed symptoms of the disease.
  • There is no evidence that an infected dog can shed or transmit the Ebola virus.[Tweet “There is no evidence that an infected dog can shed or transmit the Ebola virus.”]

In the United States, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said there are “no reports of pets becoming sick” or “playing a role in transmission of Ebola to humans”.

Because of the lack of information about Ebola virus in dogs, concerns about dogs and Ebola virus cannot be dismissed.  As is common with emerging diseases, there are many gaps in our knowledge – and these gaps can create fear.  The decision to euthanize the dog in Spain that was owned by a Spanish nursing assistant infected with Ebola was made out of hysteria and caused outrage around the world.  Reasonable recommendations must be developed in the event that more pet dogs become exposed to Ebola.

Dr. Rod Hall the Oklahoma State Veterinarian has stated:   “In the event a person in Oklahoma becomes infected with Ebola and that person has a pet,  we will assess the degree of exposure and likely quarantine the pet for 21 days.  The quarantine would be under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian, the pet would be monitored during the quarantine, and it would be tested for the virus before being released from the quarantine.  We have identified potential quarantine sites.  We have no plans to euthanize pets that are exposed to the virus.”

It is important to understand everything is being done to monitor populations of people and all animals for unusual signs.  If your pet is sick or shows any symptoms such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea you should see your veterinarian immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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.

9 behavior changes indicating signs of pain in cats

signs of pain in cats

Cats are masters at disguising when they are sick or hurt.  Do you know the signs of pain in cats?  Dr. Anna Coffin reveals some subtle signs that you might not recognize as signs of pain in cats.

Cats don’t show signs of pain as other species do, which makes it more difficult to recognize and treat.  The best way to identify signs of pain in cats is to look for changes in a cat’s behavior.[Tweet “The best way to identify signs of pain in cats is to look for changes in a cat’s behavior.”]

Changes in normal behaviors associated with signs of pain in cats:

1.  Appetite:  Any change of appetite in a cat is a signal that something is wrong.  Usually with signs of pain in cats you will see a decrease in appetite.

2.  Urination/Defecation:  Vocalization during elimination, increase or decrease volume, changes in ability to get in and out of the litter box, elimination outside the litter box, changes in how stool or urine is passed

3.  Grooming:  Over grooming in one or more areas, not grooming, matted fur

4.  Sleep:  Sleeping more, unable to get comfortable and sleeping less, restless

5.  Activity:  Depending on the problem you may see decreased or increased activity

6.  Vocalization:  Excessive vocalization, not vocalizing for food or treats, increase or decrease in purring

7.  Play:  Decreased

8.  Interactions with people or other pets:  Aggressive to other pets and people, withdrawn or hiding, clingy, more cranky

9.  Gait:  Arthritis is extremely common, but it is rare to see a cat limp so watch for hesitation when a cat jumps up or down and stiffness upon wakening.

Just because a cat doesn’t express pain, doesn’t mean that the cat isn’t  painful.  If you see any of these changes in behavior it may be signs of pain in cats.  If you think your cat is in pain, ask your veterinarian for a prescription of pain medication.  A positive response to the medication is an important part of pain assessment in cats.

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.

Does your pet have skin growths?

skin growths

According to Veterinary Pet Insurance’s Top 10 most common causes of Veterinary visits in 2013, non-cancerous skin growths made number 3 on the list in dogs.  In fact, VPI goes on to say that non-cancerous skin growths were the most expensive condition on the list, costing an average of $342 per pet.

Dr. Anna Coffin says the first step is identifying skin growths on your pet.  Any lump or bump that you find on your pet’s skin is abnormal and should be seen by a Guthrie veterinarian if it persists for more than one week.  Skin growths that change rapidly in size, shape or color should be seen as soon as possible. [Tweet “Skin growths that change rapidly in size, shape or color should be seen as soon as possible. “]

Once our clients have identified skin growths on their pet, there are several things that will occur at our Guthrie veterinary clinic to diagnose the skin growths.  A full comprehensive exam will be performed, checking out every major system on your pet’s body.  While looking at the growth is the reason for your visit, looking at the whole body will help us determine if there are more lesions or if there is lymph node enlargement.  During the visit, it is also important to note where the skin growths are located and its size.  This allows us to determine any change in the skin growths at a later time.

Many veterinarians can make an educated guess on what the skin growths are based on the look and feel of the mass.  However, there are only 2 ways to actually diagnose what it is:

Fine needle aspirate:  This test requires taking a small diameter needle and sticking the mass several times.  The tissue that is obtained within the needle is then blown out onto a slide, stained and viewed under the microscope.  skin growths

  • non-invasive
  • inexpensive
  • test can be performed in the exam room
  • no anesthesia required
  • test results received the same day or next day*
  • can occasionally be inconclusive due to small sample size

*Dr. Anna Coffin and most general practitioners are able to identify the most common types of skin growths, but occasionally they may need to send the slide to the lab for review by a clinical pathologist.

Histopathology:  This is a test performed by on outside laboratory on a larger sample size of the skin growths.  The entire mass can be removed or a biopsy of the mass can be sent to the pathologist for review. 

  • more invasive
  • more expensive
  • needs to be performed in surgery
  • requires anesthesia
  • test results received in 5-7 days

If your pet has a mass, it really is best to have your veterinarian perform one of these test.  Don’t be afraid to ask your veterinarian to do these test because appropriate treatment and improved outcome should be based on a definitive diagnosis.

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.

Three wishes from your Guthrie veterinarian.

three wishes

Can you imagine be granted three wishes… but they had to be wishes that would change things related to your field of work?  Dr. Anna Coffin reveals what she would change in veterinary medicine if she were granted three wishes.

Wish #1:  I wish that finances did not have to play a role in treating pets.

  • Lack of finances can lead to no treatment at all, which increases the pet’s pain and suffering.
  • Lack of finances can lead to sub optimal care  
  • Lack of finances can lead to euthanasia

Most veterinarians are very generous with their time and money when it comes to treating pets, especially strays in need of help.  Guthrie Pet Hospital and its staff is no different.  Our Guthrie veterinary clinic has treated and adopted many pets over the last 17 years.  In fact, our clinic is very active in helping Friends of Guthrie Animals and all their efforts in helping pets in the Logan County area.  But, we must charge appropriately for our services so that we can pay our staff, pay our bills and continue treating not only your pet but those homeless pets in need as well.

Wish #2:  I wish clients would go to their veterinarian for expert advice for pet problems instead of other sources.

Sadly, the internet and breeders are probably the veterinarian’s number one competition when it comes to getting advice.  Veterinarians are the real experts because we have gone to school for 8 years to earn our degree.  We diagnose and treat patients that can’t tell us what is wrong.  Find a veterinarian that you trust and build a relationship with them and they will be available to you when a problem arises. [Tweet “Wish #2: I wish clients would go to their veterinarian for expert advice for pet problems instead of other sources.”]

Many veterinarians, like Dr. Anna Coffin are now branching out into social media and also blogging about pet healthcare, so if you must go onto the internet look for a trusted site for your information. 

Here are a few trusted sites I would recommend: 

Wish #3:  I wish clients would follow their veterinarian’s recommendations.

  • Following recommendations helps prevent diseases.
  • Following recommendations leads to speedy recoveries.
  • Following recommendations leads to decreased behavioral problems.

As a veterinarian, Dr. Coffin makes recommendations to patients because she believes that these recommendations will cause pets to live happier, healthier and longer lives.

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.

What you need to know about caring for cats of all ages

caring for cats

Proper socialization and exposure to new situations is important to prevent fears and anxieties in cats.  Dr. Coffin will discuss developmental periods and tips in caring for cats of all ages.[Tweet “Proper socialization and exposure to new situations is important to prevent fears and anxieties in cats.”]

NEONATAL:  (Birth-2 weeks)  Kitten’s diet is comprised entirely of milk.  They rely on their mother for stimulation to urinate and defecate.  Their eyes open and they begin walking when they are about 14 days old.  They are not able to regulate their own body temperature or groom themselves.  

What you should do when caring for cats in this age group:

  • Provide high quality nutrition for the queen.  Dr. Coffin recommends kitten food as it is higher in protein and calories for a lactating cat.
  • Minimal but gentle handling of the kittens
  • Provide warm and safe environment
  • If mother is not present, rub around the butt with warm, wet towels to stimulate eliminations. 

EARLY SOCIALIZATION:  (3-8 weeks)  Kittens begin to eat solid food and milk consumption slowly stops.  They develop control of their bladder and bowel function and will begin to use a litter box.  Guthrie vets stress that this is the critical period for social learning.  Eye color changes during this time frame and baby teeth begin to erupt.  Kittens are able to regulate their own body temperature and begin to groom themselves.

What you should do when caring for cats in this age group:

  • Provide high quality kitten food and fresh water daily
  • Frequent gentle handling and play with many people including men, women and children.  Expose to other cats, dogs and other species.  Reward appropriate friendly behavior to humans and other animals
  • Provide litter boxes with low sides for easy entry.  Use unscented litter and scoop twice daily.
  • Environmental enrichment:  toys, scratching post, cat towers.  Make the carrier a safe haven by leaving it out in the house with the door open.  Throw toys and treats inside the crate several times daily.  Gently handle face, feet and ears.  Begin training to harness and leash.
  • NEVER use hands and feet to play with kittens.  This teaches your kitten bad habits.  Always use toys.
  • Guthrie vet appointment for 1st set of vaccines.

LATE SOCIALIZATION:  (9-16 weeks)  At this age, kittens are continuing to learn social skills and their social play is at its peak.  They are vigorously exploring the environment and climbing.  Adult teeth begin to emerge and those sharp needle baby teeth are going away.

What you should do when caring for cats in this age group:

  • Continue social education.  Kittens that have not had adequate social experience during early socialization will require an extra effort to acquire good social skills.
  • Will need a larger litter box (smallest box length should be 1.5 times the cat’s body length).
  • Provide vertical space (climbing structures).  Continue with basic training.
  • Guthrie vet appointment for 2nd and 3rd set of vaccines

ADOLESCENCE:  (17 weeks – 1 year) Sexual maturity occurs during this time.  Cats in multi cat households learn their hierarchy.  Spraying may occur, especially if not spayed and neutered.

What you should do when caring for cats in this age group:

  • Start transition to high quality adult food at 6 –8 months of age.  Food puzzles and food toys are a great way to feed your cats.
  • Continue playing and reward friendly behavior
  • Reevaluate litter box size
  • Provide identification such as microchip, collar with tags, especially if the cat goes outside.
  • Guthrie vet appointment for neutering.

 

ADULT:  (1-6 years)  At this age, cat’s metabolic rate slows which can lead to weight gain if diet and exercise is not monitored.  A cat is socially mature at 2-3 years of age.  A cat’s personality is strongly affected by genetics and early social experiences.

What you should do when caring for cats in this age group:

  • Assess weight every 3 months and change feeding and exercise as necessary.
  • Continue to play with and reward friendly behavior
  • Reevaluate litter box size
  • Rotate toys for play, replace beds, litter boxes and other supplies as needed.
  • Guthrie vet appointment annually for vaccines and comprehensive examination.

SENIOR:  (7 years and older) Changes in appetite can occur during this time.  Cats become less active which can lead to less social interaction.

What you should do when caring for cats in this age group:

  • Monitor appetite and water intake
  • Continue social interaction even if lower activity level is needed
  • Extra grooming may be needed
  • Medical problems increase with age and can present as behavior changes.
  • Guthrie vet appointment for comprehensive exam every 6 months and annual vaccines.

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.

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