Tips to traveling with your pet

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Now is the time when people are traveling a lot more due to summer break and time off! If you want your family pet to be included in your travel plans, here are a few tips for a successful trip.

Firstly, know where you are going and what regulations that specific destination state/country has for importing animals. If you are planning to take your pet on an international trip some countries require specific tests that may take some time to get back-so give yourself that time and get your plans started as early as possible. Another thing to know, is that for most international locations, an accredited veterinarian has to examine and write the health certificate. So, finding a hospital who has an accredited veterinarian is important. Here at Clinton Vet, Dr. Santelli is accredited. Also, not a lot of people know this, but some states even require certain vaccines/preventatives before a pet can travel to that location. These health certificates state that your pet is healthy enough to travel, up to date on vaccines and will not carry diseases into another area.

Secondly, if you are flying with your pet, contact the airline you are flying with and make sure you have everything in place for your pet. They may require extra fees or a specific regulated carrier for your pet to be in if they are flying with you in cabin. They also have certain weight restrictions for animals in cabin so make sure you are aware of that weight regulation. Make sure any carrier or container your pet travels in, is clearly marked with your information and your pets information. This will help prevent any mistakes or lost pets. Also, making sure your animal has an updated ID tag/collar will help as well. If you are driving with your pet, make sure to make frequent stops to allow your animals relief and time to get out and walk around.  For our feline friends, sometimes having a medium dog crate with enough space for blankets, a small litter box and some food/water allows your cat to have the space they need and reduces anxiety. This leads us to the third tip, how to help the anxious pet when traveling.

Anxiety. We all know sometimes traveling with our pets can cause them great anxiety. Which is why knowing and anticipating this stress allows you to plan accordingly. There are things such as calming treats, pheromone or stress sprays/collars and thunder shirts which are all great components to help combat stress. Also, if you know a long trip in the car is coming up, taking your pet on small frequent trips can help de-sensitize them to the car rides. But in the end, if all that isn’t enough, you can talk to your veterinarian about mild sedatives or other medications that may help your pet. Each animal is different so not every sedative or medication would work for every animal, which is why having that exam and conversation with your veterinarian is important. Overall, we are trying to make sure your trip with your pet is as safe and comfortable as possible!

A link is provided for you to browse through if you have any more questions about pet travel: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel

Plane and car safety tips for animals: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/travel-safety-tips

Yearly 4DX: Why is this important?

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Since last month was heartworm awareness month and as we continue to head into warmer months, let us discuss what a 4Dx test is! What things does it test for? What happens if your dog tests positive for something on the test? All good questions, lets dive in!If you have a dog, then you may have noticed that when you come with him/her for their annual exam, we take them into the treatment room to get some blood. This blood is used to run a test called a 4Dx. This is a snap test used in veterinary medicine to provide a screening process for six diseases. What is neat about this test, is that it can run in 8 minutes—and provides fast, reliable results. It tests for heartworm disease which can be spread via mosquitos and tick-borne pathognes; Lyme, Anaplasma platys, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Ehrlichia ewingi and Ehrlichia canis.

Heartworm disease can be spread by mosquitoes and we do see it up here in the Northeast.  Dogs on heartworm medication can still get infected if they are not on the correct dose or not getting it every month all year round. Which is why testing yearly for heartworm is so very important. Heartworm is treatable and preventable, but it is a very serious disease that can be fatal. We want to make sure we are checking yearly that your dog is negative for this disease!

All the tick borne diseases listed above can have similar symptoms. We can see lethargy, fever, loss of appetite, lameness and joint inflammation but sometimes we are not seeing any symptoms at all. Which is why the test is very important because these diseases can cause issues internally as well. Ehrlichia and Anaplasma can affect the white blood cells and platelets–so we may want to do additional testing like a CBC (blood test) to monitor those levels.  Lyme can seriously impact the kidneys which can cause damage to that organ. The most common and effective treatment for this tick borne diseases is to treat with an oral antibiotic-doxycycline.

The 4Dx test should be done annually because this allows us to catch any positive results and start treatment right away. These vector borne diseases can be dangerous if left untreated!

Yearly, proactive testing is very important even if there is not outward signs of disease. This leads to early detection and thus early treatment and this is the overall goal of preventive care!

National Pet ID Week!

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This up-coming week is National Pet ID week. Let’s kick it off with a quick run through of ways you can make sure your pet can be identified and returned, if ever lost. This is important because the American Humane Association estimates over 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen in the U.S. every year. One in three pets will become lost at some point during their life.

 Firstly, what is a microchip? A microchip is the size of a grain of rice, it goes beneath your pet’s skin. This is a permanent ID that can never be removed!

 Most pets who are adopted from shelters or rescues and even some pets from breeders may already come micro-chipped. If they are not, it’s a safe and easy procedure–and a one time deal. At Clinton Vet we offer micro-chipping when spaying or neutering, but it can be done even in the exam room with no anesthesia. Once the chip is implanted, it lasts for your pets lifetime and with one scan that unique ID number is revealed and can be used to look up your personal information. It’s important to keep your information up-to-date so you can be contacted if your pet is lost. The first step is implanting the chip, but it’s up to the owners in registering and keeping that information up-to-date on a yearly basis or in the event of a change of address or new phone numbers.  Sometimes pets run away or lose their collars with the tags on them, having a microchip provides a permanent ID that cannot be removed or lost.

 It’s not just dogs who can be implanted with a microchip. Cats can also be micro-chipped. In one recent study it showed that “the return to owner rate is 20 times higher” when your cat has a microchip. Your kitty family members will thank you when they are returned to their home if they ever find themselves lost.

 Keeping a collar with identification on your pet is means of initial identification. There are tons of cool, neat collar ID tags. One of my favorites right now is the tiny Connecticut license tag, but of course there are tons of unique, individualized ones you can choose from. In addition to personalized tags, the rabies tag which goes home after each rabies vaccination, is a valuable identification source as well. Make sure you keep and put this tag onto your dogs collar after your visit to the veterinarian for your rabies vaccine.

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https://www.mypetdmv.com/

 Let’s recap, having your pet micro-chipped is important and allows your family friend to be returned to you if ever lost, found and then scanned! Also, keeping a collar on your pet whenever outside is important for initial identification. So, let’s go forth and rest comfortably knowing if ever lost our pets will be returned home with the aid of microchips and identification tags. Call today to schedule your appointment to have your pet micro-chipped!

Preventive care case studies

Two case studies that illustrate why preventive care and annual exams are so important!

This week at the office we saw two cases that illustrate perfectly why preventive care and regular vet visits are so important.

thumbs_2-seniorsitOn Friday, we saw a 10-year-old Beagle (Molly) for her annual exam and vaccines. Molly’s owners are very proactive and come in every year for her exam and do regular bloodwork on her. This year Molly’s bloodwork changed and one of her liver values was very high, nearly 10 times normal, and 10 times what it was last year on the same blood test. This indicated to us that there was a change going on within the liver that we needed to investigate.

 There are many reasons for elevated liver values in older dogs. In Molly’s case, she had no obvious symptoms, she was eating, drinking and acting normally at home. Her owners decided to pursue an abdominal ultrasound and we were able to determine the cause of her elevated liver enzymes. On ultrasound Molly had numerous stones within her gallbladder and lots of calcification in her bile ducts. This condition can progress and become critical if left untreated. We were able to start her on medication that will help dissolve the stones and prevent them from causing congestion and disease in her liver which can be fatal if untreated.

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The next case is that of a 9-year-old, male, indoor only cat (Lucky). Lucky had been to the vet before, but 2 years prior. He came in for a checkup and his owner pointed out a small lump on his neck. The mass was the size of a pencil eraser and looked like a small skin tag. We were able to take a sample of the mass and determine that it was a mast cell tumor which is a type of cancer. These masses should always be removed since they tend to become more aggressive the longer they are present and the bigger they become. Mast cell tumors are one of the most common types of tumors that we see. Although they are cancer, if they are caught early and completely removed the prognosis is usually good.

Lucky had surgery this week and we actually found 2 additional masses and removed those as well. Lucky likely had his life significantly prolonged because his owner brought him in for a routine exam where we were able to diagnose and treat his tumor. Wellness exams are particularly important for cats and can save lives.

Wellness exams don’t always uncover a problem, but they are a great opportunity to discuss any questions or concerns about your pet’s health. Routine screening tests and exams allow us to closely monitor your pet’s health and provide the best care possible. We offer several new wellness panels to encourage owners with younger pets to start screening early in life so that as changes occur we can follow up and hopefully prevent any negative health effects.

We would like to make case studies a regular part of our blog. Are you interested in reading about more interesting cases that we see? Let us know!

Clinton Veteinary Hospital’s guide to managing arthritis in older pets

Arthritis in aging pets & How to help your pet age gracefully

When is a pet considered a senior?

The general rule of thumb is that any dog over 7 is considered a senior, and any dog over 10 is considered geriatric. For cats, similar ages apply, but many consider cats over 10 to be a senior and cats over 13 to be geriatric. Check out this helpful chart to determine your pet’s age equivalent in people years. (Click on the image for larger version)

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What are some of the things to look out for in older pets?

Older pets may require veterinary visits every 6 months as opposed to once a year. Older pets can have changes in their mentation, their joints or organ health. More frequent blood work might be recommended to help track changes in a pet’s health at this age. A thorough orthopedic exam can help determine if older pets are experiencing pain.

What are the signs of arthritis in dogs and cats?

Many people assume that a pet will cry or yelp if in pain. In older pets with arthritis we more often see changes in behavior or routines as a manifestation of arthritis. For example, when a cat or dog has hip or knee pain they may be less likely to jump on or off the furniture, or they may hesitate to go up and down stairs. Some people report that their pets avoid walking on certain surfaces where they may slip or that they no longer can get into the car or go on long walks like they used to. Some pets experience weight gain, lethargy and decreased activity levels. These are all possible symptoms when a pet has arthritis. If your pet is exhibiting behavior changes or has stopped doing the things that they used to do check in with your veterinarian. There are many things you can do to help them remain comfortable.CL86239

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What can I do to help treat my dog or cat’s arthritis?

An examination by your veterinarian is always helpful. They can help to determine where the source of pain might be and come up with a plan to help treat it. For some pets NSAIDS or non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs can help manage the pain. These medication are made specifically for pets and can be prescribed by your veterinarian. (Caution- Please do not give any human medications to your pet! Medications like ibuprofen and Tylenol are extremely toxic to dogs and cats)

You can also provide joint support for your older pet with supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin or fish oils. These supplements work best when given before a pet is experiencing symptoms of arthritis so consider using them earlier in life when they will be of the most benefit. Some of Clinton Veterinary Hospitals favorites include dasuquin for dogs and cosequin for cats. We also like Welactin for a good source of omega 3’s.

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Keeping your pet active is also important. Short, more frequent walks are ideal for older pets to keep them mobile. Swimming is a great activity for those who like it.

If you have questions about any of the information or think your pet might have arthritis give us a call. At Clinton Veterinary Hospital we are always happy to come up with a plan that will suit you and your pet’s individual needs!

860-669-5721

Bloat, GDV and Gastropexy surgery at Clinton Veterinary Hospital

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Bloat, GDV and gastropexy surgery in dogs at Clinton Veterinary Hospital, Clinton, CT

What is Bloat?

Bloat, also referred to, as GDV is a problem seen most commonly in large, deep chested dogs. Bloat occurs when the stomach fills with air and sometimes twists on itself. Bloat is life threatening and if symptoms are not recognized very quickly the condition can be fatal.

What are the symptoms?

  • Retching or non-productive vomiting
  • Distension of the abdomen (very enlarged or full looking belly)
  • Stretching or restlessness due to discomfort or pain
  • Drooling or panting
  • Pale gums

What are the risk factors for bloat?

  • Any breed has the potential to bloat but the breeds with the highest risk are- Great Danes, Weimaraners, St. Bernards, Irish setters, Gordon setters, Doberman Pinschers, Standard Poodles and German Shepherds. Dogs with a deep chest have the highest risk of bloat or GDV.
  • Meal frequency is also a risk factor. Dogs who eat only one meal a day are at increased risk of bloating
  • Speed of eating. Dogs who eat very quickly are at increased risk of bloat. The same goes for water consumption. Drinking too much too quickly increases the risk of bloat.
  • Genetics are also a factor. Dogs who are related to a dog who has previously had bloat are at increased risk of developing the condition.
  • Risk of bloat increases with age. Older dogs are at a higher risk.

How is it diagnosed?

Figure 1 GDV radiograph

Bloat is most commonly diagnosed by taking an x-ray of the abdomen. Bloat has a common appearance on x-ray. A physical exam of a dog that is bloated can also reveal a very tense and enlarged abdomen, an increased heart rate, poor pulses and pale gums.

How is it treated?

Bloat requires emergency surgery to correct. Generally patients who are suffering from bloat must be stabilized before going to surgery. Stabilization involves IV fluid therapy and decompression of the stomach. To decompress the stomach a tube is often passed to relieve some of the gas that causing the stomach to enlarge. Once in surgery the stomach is untwisted and a gastropexy is performed to prevent the stomach from rotating or twisting. The gastropexy involves tacking or suturing the stomach to the body wall to prevent it from twisting.

Can it be prevented?

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  • For the breeds at highest risk we recommend a gastropexy at the time of spay or neuter. Gastropexy surgery involves tacking the stomach wall to the abdominal wall so that the stomach cannot twist. This surgery is the best way to prevent bloat, particularly for those breeds at high risk.
  • Feeding multiple meals a day rather than one large meal will decrease the risk of bloat.
  • Using a slow feeder, or a bowl with rocks or balls in it to slow your dog down while eating will also help prevent this condition.
  • Limiting vigorous exercise after a meal will also help decrease the risk of bloat.

 

Do you have a large breed dog? Are you concerned about GDV or bloat? Call us today to inquire about gastropexy surgery. 860-669-5721

Free dental consults at Clinton Veterinary Hospital in Clinton, CT 860-669-5721

 

Dog and cat dental health

Dog and cat dental health begins with regular checkups!

February is dental month at Clinton Veterinary Hospital. We offer discounts on all dental services during February to highlight the importance of maintaining your pet’s oral health. Dogs and cats should both have their teeth examined annually. Dental cleanings should be scheduled as necessary based on this exam. Some pets may just need a dental cleaning to prevent further tartar from accumulating, while others may need teeth that have become infected or painful removed. We are happy to consult and advise you on what the best dental care plan is for your pet.

Optimal healthcare for your pets starts with routine dental care and cleanings. We are offering 10% off of all dental care services during the month of February. Dental services include routine cleanings as well as more advanced periodontal surgery and extractions.

Poor dental health can lead to inflammation, pain and infection in your pet’s mouth. Many times dental disease goes un-noticed until there is a large problem. Some of the most common veterinary dental problems we see include tartar, inflammation, cracked or broken teeth and tooth root abscesses. Yearly dental and oral exams can help detect these problems early and prevent painful situations for your pet.

Some of the most common signs of dental disease in pets are:

  • Bad Breath
  • Increased drooling
  • Facial Swelling
  • A change in eating behavior or decreased appetite
  • Redness or inflammation along the gum line

We offer complimentary dental exams prior to any procedures and are happy to answer questions about your pet’s oral health. We recommend yearly physical exams for both cats and dogs. During this exam your pet’s teeth will be examined for any of the above problems. Many dental issues can be prevented by regular cleanings.

Do you have questions about what a dental cleaning entails? Do you think your pet needs to have their teeth cleaned? Contact us today to schedule your pet’s dental  consult or cleaning for 2017!

For information on recommended food and dental treats click here: Dog and Cat dental treats

For helpful information and videos on how to brush your pet’s teeth click here: How to brush your pet’s teeth

 

 

 

Our favorite pet toys and treats at Clinton Veterinary Hospital in Clinton, CT

 December 15th, 2016

These are a few of our favorite things! We asked our staff to pick one thing that their pets could not live without. Here are their answers. We hope this blog might help provide some inspiration for holiday gifts for pet lovers and their owners.

(Full disclosure- we are not supported by, nor have we received any products from any of the companies listed below)

Dr. Santelli and Baya
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Dr. Santelli says that Baya’s favorite toy is her lamb chop squeaky toy. It is the only plush toy that she won’t destroy. For dogs who like to play tug of war or like squeakers this toy is perfect!

Where to find: Chewy.com carries a similar version of this toy which can be found here for under $5. lamb chop toy

Meg and Sophie

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Sophie cannot live without her tennis balls! She would be lost without them. Tennis balls are her favorite toy and Sophie is happiest when surrounded by them.

Where to find- If you’re looking for a budget friendly tip most local tennis clubs will give you their “dead” or used tennis balls. This is a great way to stock up on toys for tennis ball loving canines.

Tiara, Hazel and Sophia

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Tiara’s cats are obsessed with catnip! They don’t have a particular favorite brand, they love it all. These two ladies will drool and roll around for hours when given a cat nip toy. Here are a few that we think are pretty cute:

 organic catnip tin

rainbow catnip toy

Dr. Price, Hemingway, Pip, Fergal, Gwen and Jojo

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My dogs absolutely love the Earth Animal No Hide Chews. We discovered them at our favorite dog store- The Mutt Hut on Block Island. They are a great alternative to rawhide and they keep even my aggressive chewers entertained for hours. Plus- Earth Animal is a CT company and the products are all organic and made in the USA. You can find Earth Animal products on amazon here:

Earth Animal No Hide chews

Shana and Maui

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Maui Wowie can’t live without her “Petrie” toy. Named after the dinosaur from The land before time- Maui just loves this toy! This is a good choice for smaller dogs or dogs who prefer to play with softer squeaky toys. A similar toy can be found here: Maui’s favorite toy

Alex, Ferdinand and Juno

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Alex says her dog’s favorite treat are greenies! Greenies are a great dental chew and are good for decreasing tartar on dog’s teeth. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes for all dogs and you can even find them with added ingredients for joint support. For a selection of different types of greenies check out amazon.com or Chewy.com.

Dr. Ciok and Harold, Kumar, Ghenghis, Crackle and Kevin

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This feline crew can’t live without their temptation treats. Each night before bed they anxiously await treat time. Crackle’s personal favorite flavor is catnip and cheddar, but these guys will eat them all. Temptations treats can be found at almost every grocery store in the pet food aisle. Find the catnip and cheddar flavor here: catnip and cheddar temptations

Laura and Dooney

FullSizeRender-2Donney Loves her Kong Wobbler. She gets her treats in this interactive toy. The kong wobbler is great for older dogs like Dooney who need a little extra activity and stimulation. These toys are great for increasing activity and encouraging older or overweight pets to move around. Want one? You can find it here: Kong Wobbler

Judeth, Walter and Charles

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Judeth says her pups can’t live without the lake. These guys love their lunchtime dips in the local watering holes. Spending time outdoors with your pets doesn’t cost a thing. So why not grab a friend, grab a leash and take your pet for a walk. Enjoy the beautiful shoreline community that we live in. There are so many great places to see.

We wish you all a peaceful, healthy and happy Holiday Season!