Archive for January, 2011

Saturday Blog Hop

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

Happy Weekend All!  I have been watching Two Little Cavaliers and their friends do the Saturday Blog Hop for a while and have been trying to figure it out.  I joined Dr. V’s Blog Hop when she suggested we all post our favorite blog posts of 2010, and that was fun.

The Saturday Blog Hop looks like a wonderful way to meet other pet lovers.  I thought I had met all of the Pet-Loving Awesomes out there, but apparently I have not yet found The End of The Internet.

So if you are visiting Riley and James from the Saturday Blog Hop, thank you for stopping by!  Nice to meet you!  And if you are already a friend of Riley and James, thank you too.  I think you are all great.

My favorite posts often contain pictures of Pets Being Cute, so I thought that would be a fun theme for today.  Here are the Finch pets…

Ebony Dog and Max the Cat

Noodle the Poodle

Joy the Puppy

Piggy the Guinea Pig

Long Live Your Pet

Princess the Gerbil

Fuzzy and Wuzzy Rats

OK, so Fuzzy and Wuzzy are not part of our current herd, but they JUST passed away, and I am not ready to take them out of the lineup yet.  That’s Wuzzy in the background and Fuzzy in the foreground, from July 2010.  Weren’t they gorgeous??  And so sweet too.  They are Hairless Dumbo Rex rats.

Nice to meet you all!  I will spend THIS week coming to see your pet blogs!

Shawn Finch, DVM

Finch93 on twitter : )

Coming Soon to Riley and James…

Monday, January 10, 2011 “Pet Blogger’s Challenge” from Edie of “Will My Dog Hate Me?” and Amy of “Go Pet Friendly” (both of whom are awesome and have been mentioned here before!)  I’m in – these group projects are fun!


I (Still) Love to be Boring

Friday, January 7th, 2011

My first Riley and James post was entitled I Love to be Boring.  (I realize what a dork I am, but I still think that is hilarious.)  My point then (and now) is that I love my pets and my patients and would love nothing more than boring, nothing-to-report wellness exams time after time.

Truth-be-told, I love your pets too, and the pets I read about and the pets I hear about…I even love the pets in medical journal case studies:  “The cat presented with this super awesome disgusting lesion and the following history…”  “Oh no!” I yell and flip to the conclusion.  My family no longer jumps when I yell at my journals, and pats me sympathetically on the shoulder when I cry over them.

I LOVE treating very cool cases.  But do you know what would be even cooler than treating very cool cases?  If horrendous medical issues were so rare, we only read about them in journals!  And do you know what would be even cooler than that??  If horrendous medical issues were so super rare, that we only read about them in history books!

You laugh, but have you ever seen a dog accidently given “blue eye” by a vaccination?  Me neither!  Have you ever seen a dog with distemper?  Me neither!  A cat with rabies or plague?  Me neither!  Ok, those cases are still out there, but they are far less common than they used to be.  With continually advancing medical and surgical care, increased awareness of pet welfare, husbandry and behavior issues, we are approaching boring, and I love it.

Can we fix everything with appropriate husbandry and medical care?  Of course not!  Accidents and illnesses and aging will always be with us.  Life can be unfairly random, and sadly, every pet’s story ultimately ends the same way.  Still, we have to work with what we’ve got, and start from where we are.

I have decided to dedicate this year on Riley and James to The Pursuit of Boring.  Of course it will take more than a year, and of course we can only approach Boring, we can never actually reach it, but maybe, just maybe, someday we can say to our friends:

“Your cat is thirty and healthy?  That’s nice.  *yawn*  Well, I’m heading down to take my dog in for his wellness exam.  They never find anything!  Then I have to stop by the shelter.  They have a dog in that needs help, first one of the decade.” 

It could happen.

A Very Boring Nutritional Case Study

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

…and thank goodness!  Because, as you know, Ebony is MY dog.  I was trying to write a dramatic nutritional case study, but by their very nature, nutritional case studies ARE boring

Problems take months or years to develop and resolve, and (here is the upside of boring) dog and cat nutrition is SO excellent these days, that we do not have most of the dramatic health issues we had in the past.

So read this if you are having trouble sleeping…otherwise, just be thankful we have such excellent nutritional choices for our pets, and that problems like nutritional hyperparathyroidism and feline taurine-deficient dilated cardiomyopathy are so rare anymore, that we usually only get to read about them in medical journals!

Nutritional Case Study

Ebony:  nine-year-old 70 lbs. spayed female Labrador Retriever mix

Ebony presented as a four-month-old puppy, thin (body condition score two) and healthy.  She ran and walked regularly and was fed Science Diet Puppy at one cup per ten pounds per day divided into three meals. At six months of age, she was switched from three meals a day to two meals a day.  At one year of age, Ebony was transitioned to Science Diet Adult, and her daily amount of food was decreased to one cup of food per twenty pounds, due to her decreased rate of growth.  At about this time, her body condition score increased from two (thin) to three (normal).

At three years of age, Ebony decreased her exercise from running and leash walks to leash walks only.  Her diet remained the same.  Over a period of several months, her body condition score increased from three (normal) to four (overweight).  Hypothyroidism, a common contributor to excess weight gain in dogs, was ruled out with blood work. She was switched to Science Diet Light and returned to a body condition score of three.

At seven years of age, Ebony was switched to Science Diet Senior.  Between lower fat and higher fiber in the senior diet and some age related muscle atrophy, Ebony, now age nine, has remained at a body condition score of two (thin) for the past two years.

She has recently developed osteoarthritis diagnosed by clinical signs, physical examination and hip radiographs taken under anesthesia.  She has done well on non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (Rimadyl, carprofen).  Her diet has not been changed, as she is at an ideal weight (body condition score two, thin) and an adequate nutritional level.

Pets have advantages over humans in reaching and maintaining nutritional goals.  Willpower is a much smaller consideration.  The caretaker has control over the amount and type of food a pet eats, as well as his or her exercise schedule.  It is often easier to be objective about someone else’s nutritional and health needs than our own.

Another advantage pets have over humans is the widespread availability of complete balanced nutrition in a single food source.  No similar product to dog food or cat food exists for humans.  Only a few decades ago, very serious nutrition-related diseases were commonly seen in pets that are rare today. The range of available pet foods continues to be expanded and improved by veterinary nutritionists and other professionals in many excellent organizations working to promote health and longevity in our dogs and cats and even pocket pets, birds and exotic pets.

Though nutrition cases today are inherently less dramatic and slower to develop and resolve than other veterinary cases, nutrition and body condition scores are central to the health and longevity of our pets.


Happy Heartworm Disease Free Year!

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

I should say something profound, on this, the first day of 2011.

Maybe this is SO simple that it is REALLY, REALLY profound.

One of my goals this year is to remind everyone to give their pets their heartworm preventative every month.  (We give the dogs and Max theirs on the first, so that is when reminders will go out!  I am willing to give you personalized reminders on a different day if you prefer…and a hug*, for being as heartworm obsessed as me!)

Today, Joy the Puppy, Ebony Dog and Noodle the Poodle got their oral Wormshield (ivermectin, like Heartgard).  Several excellent oral monthly preventatives are available, as are topical preventatives.  Your pet may also be on the twice a year injectable preventative, Proheart.  Next month, I will post a list of available preventatives, if it would be helpful.  If your veterinarian prescribed it, it is good!

Next month, Joy the Puppy is switching to Proheart.

Max the Cat is on the monthly topical heartworm preventative Revolution.

We have no ferrets, but if we did, they would be on the oral heartworm preventative Heartgard, mostly because it is the only one labelled for ferrets, but also because it is an excellent product.

This post is sort of spur of the moment, as in, I jumped up from dinner and said “Oh yeah, it’s the first!” and Abby and I got the pets their meds.  Next month, I will cover heartworm disease more comprehesivly with links and pictures – NOT of a heart with worms floating out of its valves – that is so gross, and so last millinium! I will also cover whatever aspects of heartworm disease that you would like to hear, so let me know!

These days, it seems most pet owners are very well educated about heartworm disease – If there is a barrier to care, it is convenience of medicating. So we will talk about the monthly preventatives and a bit about Proheart, the once every six month medication, and join hands* and thank God that heartworm disease is preventable and that the preventative medication is no longer only available in ONCE EVERY SINGLE DAY form!

*If you prefer, we can leave hugs and hand holding out of all future medical discussions.  I just thought it would be nice.