Posts Tagged ‘dogs’

Happy Hide Under the Bed Day!

Monday, July 1st, 2013

I love almost everything about Independence Day.


Almost.  I literally tear up every time I see, read about or hear about how rattled dogs become at this time of  year.


Some of it is straight out nervousness or fear – Dogs in general are very sensitive to sound and in general love routine.  This holiday is VERY loud and in Omaha follows an already loud storm season filled with pressure changes to which dogs are also very sensitive.  The loudness of fireworks is also unpredictable and random – which adds to the scariness for dogs.


Thank you Omaha for making the terrifying portion of the celebration legally longer than one day.  Think of the dogs when you pass legislation!!


Cats too become frightened – and much of this might apply to them, so take what you need and apply it to your poor scaredy cat too.  However, cats have been practicing all year for this time – if you have set up your home to be cat friendly – and I know you have – each cat has at least one high perch and one low hiding place to which to retreat if need be.


So that is noise fear.  Annoying, but manageable, yes?


Some dogs have noise phobia.  This is different.  Or maybe not.  It is more extreme.  It is the difference between someone preferring not to be around crowds or high in the air or ___ and a full blown shutting down crowd or height or ___ phobia.


Some dogs are not affected at all by the loud noises of storms and fireworks.  If that is your dog, now is the time to be thankful!  Some dogs – maybe most – are on a scale between unaffected and phobic – somewhat fearful of the noises associated with the holiday.


For those of you with dogs who ARE fearful this time of year, remember…

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You cannot ignore or scold your dog out of a phobia or use a phobic state as a training time or reason a dog out of a full on panic…You CAN and SHOULD love and comfort your dog through a hard time.

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You cannot start training, Thundershirts, music and medications on July 1 and expect them to be 100% effective…You CAN and SHOULD do all of these things anyways – at least the ones that seem to help.

Use the upcoming year to learn as much as you can so that next year storm season and Independence Day will at the worst be tolerable, and at best be boring or even enjoyable for you and your dogs.

You may already KNOW all the things, and it is just as good as it is going to be for  your dog.  Think how hard it would be if he or she did NOT have you!  You are doing a good job, and being near you and having you help them through firework season IS comforting.

Do not feel bad if you have not spent the past two months preparing for this week!  Dogs with phobias are often completely normal between episodes.  Often dogs with noise phobias have no panic attacks between July and July, thank goodness.

Here are some things that I hope will help NOW.  Feel free to add to the list!

Anti-anxiety medication – Call your vet and ask if this may be helpful for your pet.



DAP Spray – a calming pheromone spray for dogs – similar to Feliway for cats

Rescue Remedy

Calming music – I love Through a Dog’s Ear – Here is a free download from their website!

A quiet, safe, maybe dark place – a kennel, a small room, a comforting and familiar rug

Above all, keep your dog INSIDE or on a leash – July 4 is the number one day of the year for losing dogs.

Doggy ear muffs – Oh yeah, someone makes them.



More comfort


Puzzles, Kongs, toys

Here are links to things I have written before…with links to things OTHER PEOPLE have written before!

Scared on the Fourth of July

Getting Through the Fireworks

You know, there is nothing new under the sun…except when there is.  What I have learned this year that I did not know before is that using the month or two BEFORE you need a Thundershirt to work with your dog to associate it with happy times – called “coupling” – will make it tons more likely to be helpful, especially long term.  Thank you for that information Dr. Stokes!  I promise to remember that next May!

Thank you so much to friends Alicia Weiland and Janelle Van Riesen for letting me use these pictures of your beautiful pups!

Happy Fourth Everyone!  Let me know how all your brave and hoping-to-be-brave pets do!

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Fuzzy and Wuzzy Rats never struggled with phobias. They were not so much brave as oblivious to anything that was not edible or a toy.






Happy Heartworm Free September!

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

If you give your pets their heartworm preventative medication on the first, it’s the first!  And, as a friend pointed out, if you do not…it is still the first. :)

Happy September!

Recent Heartworm Related News:

Immiticide, the ONLY approved heartworm disease treatment, is once again unavailable, and Merial does not know when it will be available again.

Read more here:

Treating Heartworm Disease – Another Immiticide Shortage

In response to the Immiticide unavailability, American Heartworm Society published recommendations for veterinarians who have heartworm positive patients waiting for treatment.

Read more here:

Guidance for Heartworm Disease Management During the Adulticide Unavailability

Pfizer modified their recommendations for ProHeart use.  Included in the updates is provision for dogs with allergic dermatitis to receive ProHeart injections.  The recommendation has been changed to “Use with caution in dogs with allergic disease.”

Read more here:

ProHeart 6

We are waiting on confirmation that Revolution for Kittens and Puppies (and they should add, dogs) under five pounds pleases Ernie Dog.

Read more here:

A Story of Ernie Dog

In Finch Family news…

We have decided to switch Joy the Puppy back to Wormshield (oral monthly ivermectin) from ProHeart (injectable twice a year moxidectin) because of her allergic dermatitis (food allergies, recently diagnosed).  I do not think ProHeart made her worse by any means, but I would rather have her on a medication without the known risk of complicating allergic dermatitis!

We have switched Max the Cat’s Revolution application to the 15th, which coincides with Joy and Noodle’s flea and tick topical medication application.  That is neither here nor there, but I did not want you to think poor Max is off of the heartworm preventative checklist.  May it never be!

Today’s Checklist:

Noodle the Poodle – Wormshield tablet

Joy the Puppy – Wormshield tablet

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The Dogs of Summit County

Friday, June 17th, 2011

We have been on a family vacation in Summit County Colorado for the past week. We are heading home Saturday. *sniff*

SO not ready to leave our Nelson family. Some are in Ohio and the rest of us are in Omaha. Even so, I still wish we all had more time like we have had this past week to just BE together. *sigh*

We do miss Omaha and our friends and the rest of our family! Here is the list of the dogs who have graciously stepped in for Joy the Puppy and Noodle the Poodle and Max the Cat to make our week full of amazing and beautiful pets. Thank you awesome doggies!

♥ Tiny Poodle in a backpack ♥ Long-legged Dachshund mix ♥ Boxer mix ♥ Boston Terrier ♥ Schnauzer ♥ 2 German Shepherd mixes ♥ Wheaton Terrier puppy named Myro with a dandelion necklace and headband (three way tie with Charlie Boy and Olive Girl for THE cutest thing I have seen all week!) ♥ English Bulldog who was in such great shape he almost looked like an American Bulldog – crazy! ♥ “Normal” English Bulldog ♥ 5 Golden Retriever mixes ♥ 9 Golden Retrievers including a Golden Retriever puppy *sigh* :) ♥ Lab Boxer mix who looked like my Raisin-in-law and came right up on our deck to say “hi” ♥ 2 Miniature Poodles ♥ Schnoodle ♥ Chow-Chow in a Breckenridge shop ♥ Chow-Chow out and about ♥ Australian Shepherd in a Breckenridge shop ♥ 2 Australian Shepherds out and about ♥ 2 Australian Herding dogs ♥ Weimaraner ♥ Pomeranian ♥ Fox Terrier ♥ Chihuahua X Pomeranian ♥ Lhasa Apso mix ♥ Doberman Puppy ♥ 2 Boxers ♥ Lilly the super-cute Chihuahua X Terrier with a “Caution – I Bite” harness in For Pet’s Sake Thrift Shop in Breckenridge ♥ Long Haired Chihuahua ♥ Standard Poodle ♥ Pug ♥ 3 Small Mutts ♥ 1 Medium Mutt ♥ 1 Big Mutt ♥ 2 German Shepherds ♥ 2 Old English Sheepdogs ♥ 1 Husky in a Breckenridge store ♥ 5 Huskies out and about ♥ Pomeranian mix ♥ Bichon Frise ♥ 3 Yellow Labs ♥ Yellow Lab mix ♥ 2 Border Collie mixes ♥ Greyhound ♥ Swiss Mountain Dog ♥ Yellow Husky mix ♥ 5 Black Labs ♥ Black lab mix who did not look anything like Ebony but reminded me of her so much she made me cry ♥ Chocolate Doberman mix ♥ Bishon mix ♥ 2 Pit Bulls ♥ 2 Chocolate Labs ♥ 2 Collies ♥ Dalmatian ♥ Short Haired Chihuahua ♥


Myro the Wheaton Pup



Lilly the Chihuahua X Terrier

Good Dogs!

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

Guess how much we learned about behavior and training in veterinary school?  The best explanation I have heard for what is taught in vet school is this:  “Four years is much too short to learn EVERYTHING.  Vet school is for learning how to THINK like a vet.”  So true.  Still…

The answer is…NOTHING!  Maybe these days, with all of the great behavior medication and knowledge on how mental and emotional health are linked to physical health, behavior is better covered in vet school.  Everything I know is from trial and error, reading and…you guys.  (Thank you so much!  I don’t need to be a genius, I just surround myself with them!)

So we have always had great dogs, but we have never had very well trained dogs.  Here is what I know for sure:

Positive reinforcement

(reinforcing the desired behavior, ignoring the undesired behavior)

is ALWAYS best.

And, um, that was going to be a list, but really, that is all I know.

The Doorbell Song

This week we have buckled down on the barking-at-the-door training.  When my wonderful Aunt asked me for help with her pup’s barking, I realized that I am a lame barking training resource.  Joy and Noodle are the worst door barkers there ever were.  So I told my Aunt what I knew (but have not practiced well!) and set out to train our barkers.

When the doorbell rings or people walk by or New Mailman delivers the mail (their three biggest barking triggers) I thank them for warning me after the first bark, ask them to come to me and sit  then give them a cat treat.  That is all I have done, and it has worked like a charm!

The real test will be SUMMER, when kids are in and out of the front door constantly.  I will let you know how well my novice training holds up!

Trainers, behaviorists, dog owners who are more successful in training than I, what have you done to teach your dogs not to bark incessantly?  And next up on the Finch dog training…teaching Joy and Noodle not to jump on friends when they come over!  I would love your suggestions!

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Happy Heartworm-Free April!

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Wouldn’t that be something?  If we went through this entire month and NOBODY was diagnosed with heartworm disease??  We just saw another case of heartworm disease very recently…So sad.  I know I have been on an “I hate cancer” kick lately, but as always, I am on my “I hate heartworm” kick too.  (I have quite a few kicks…)  Heartworm disease is 100% preventable, and though treatable (treatable in dogs – not so much cats and ferrets), prevention is so much less expensive and easier on the dogs’ systems.I promised to be more upbeat here at Riley and James as soon as possible!  So here goes…

Today’s monthly heartworm post is on how heartworm preventative medications work!

Science…medicine…the wonders of canine physiology…heartworm examined not as a pet stealer or dog damager, but more clinically, as a very cool (disgusting) mortal, intricate parasite.  How exciting is that??  Well, I think it is exciting…

The Medicine

All heartworm preventative medications currently on the market are a form of macrocyclic lactones, medications derived from bacteria in the Streptomyces genus.  They do not prevent heartworm infection in the strictest sense, they prevent heartworm disease – they kill the larvae (L3 and L4, “baby heartworms”) before they can mature into adult worms.(Interesting side note!  Until the late 1980’s, only daily medications were available because they were only powerful enough to kill the “L3” stage, which lasts only two or three days.)Macrocyclic lactones are neurotoxins to the heartworm larvae (L3 and L4), paralyzing their mouthparts and causing them to starve to death.  The medication needs to be repeated monthly because they kill all of the parasites that are in the pet’s system that have infected him or her in the last thirty days.  The picture that came to mind when I was trying to make it understandable was one of a rainstorm.  Bear with me…Heartworm preventatives are not umbrellas – they are windshield wipers.  Your dog is continually at risk of being bitten by a mosquito that is carrying heartworm larvae (L3) – the mosquito would be the cloud and the heartworm larvae would be the raindrop…if clouds were buzzy and annoying and raindrops were potentially fatal.

The Worm

We think of heartworm preventatives as protecting our pets against heartworm disease, and they do.  But they do it more as a windshield wiper (that sweeps every thirty days) than an umbrella that is a constant barrier to infection.  Our pets are at risk of being infected by heartworm larvae – but are protected from heartworm disease that is caused by adult heartworms in the pulmonary vessels and heart.

The Disease

I think the disease should be called subcutaneous-tissue-then-pulmonary-arteries-and-if-it-is-a-really-heavy-infestation-even-right-heart-and-vena-cava-worms, but it is not.  Heartworm is too cute of a name for such a horrid disease.

That’s All I’ve Got.

If that helps you understand the pathogenesis of heartworm disease, awesome.  It helps me to be disciplined when giving heartworm preventative medication to my pets to think of it as a “windshield wiper” stopping heartworm larvae that may have already started their unholy travels to the very heart of my pets, rather than a barrier or “umbrella” that I can just put up when it is sunny and warm and just right for a heartworm attack.  If it just grosses you out, and you like being grossed out, that is good too, I suppose!

Coming Soon…More Awesome Heartworm Information of Some Sort

Let me know what other heartworm related topics you would like to cover.  Ideas…heartworm disease in cats and ferrets, treating heartworm disease, I would love a guest post from someone who has had a pet with heartworm disease, or worked in a rescue organization and dealt with heartworm disease, or any guest post with a heartworm-related story!  Let me know if you have topic ideas or would like to write a guest post here!

Today’s To Do List:
Noodle the Poodle – Wormshield tablet
Max the Cat – topical Revolution
(Joy the Puppy is on injectable Proheart 6.)

Coming Next Month…

How do injectable sustained release heartworm prevenative medications (Proheart 6 and Proheart 12) work?

Previous Happy Heartworm Free Month Posts…

January 2011

February 2011

March 2011

American Heartworm Society Website

Isn’t this FUN?


The more that you read,The more things you will know.The more that you learn,The more places you’ll go.

-Dr. Seuss

Overcoming Team Conflict

Friday, February 25th, 2011

I love this article for two reasons, neither of which have to do with content – it was inspired by a walk I took with two of my Very Favorite Women in the Whole Wide World, Jodi and Lu (and a few of our favorite kids and dogs), and it was my first article in print.

Grown-ups (left to right):  Lu and me, Jodi is taking the picture!

Dogs (clockwise from left):  Oscar, Ebony, Taco, Noodle, Max)

I had a disclaimer in the original article draft about how this was about team conflict, not dog behavior – and it is.  I spend my days with dogs but am not a trainer or behaviorist!  So I try to keep the interpretation to a minimum and just use it as an example of a group interacting in a healthy way!

Overcoming Team Conflict

Shawn Finch, DVM

I am about to anthropomorphize, but go with me on this.  Is there a simpler word for ascribing human traits to nonhumans to explain a concept?

A few months ago, my two friends and I took our three kids and five dogs for a walk together.  Some of these dogs were friends, some were housemates and some had never met, but all five had never been in the same place at the same time, and all had strong and distinct personalities.

My dogs are Ebony the Labrador mix and Noodle the Poodle.  Ebony is fine with any dog.  Noodle is afraid of many dogs and will growl if he feels threatened.

Jodi brought Taco, the huge Belgian Malinois, an incredible dog who has phobia issues like Noodle’s.

Lu had Oscar, the kind Greyhound-Lab, and Max, the Pit Bull, who is as strong and bullheaded as he is sweet.

We took them on a two-mile walk around the neighborhood.  We lat the dogs play together afterwards while the people visited.  They interacted as if they had been friends since puppyhood.

Let’s talk about how this relates to team conflict.  Here is where anthropomorphism comes in.  We are not, of course, the same species, but I think we can learn much from our dog friends.

I believe the key to the dogs getting along well is that they were all traveling in the same direction with a common goal and strong leadership.  For the first hour of their first group gathering, they were walking together in a straight line.  They were sniffing the same poles.  They were crossing the same streets.  They all love walks and believe very strongly in them.  They did not have the time or lack of focus to worry about any differences that may have distracted them from their goal of walking.

There are several significant factors that could cause or heighten conflict within a veterinary team (or group of dogs on a walk), such as personality differences, varying temperaments, unique preferences and a variety of goals and priorities outside our careers (or walk).  I believe that trying to negate or minimize these differences is not a healthy or effective way to avoid conflict.

Rather, minimizing conflict comes down to getting all of us moving in the same direction and involved in a common goal.  Our overarching goal is to protect and restore the health of pets.

If we can focus on that, we should be able to do what it takes to work with each other, our clients and patients to achieve it.  Our differences can then become assets, instead of distractions.

With strong leadership, we can then come together and lead associates through the day-to-day achievement of our goals.  Gently lead your associates on a path you know is best for them and for the team as a whole.

Oh!  I thought of another word for anthropomorphism:  fable.  But this is a true story, really it is.

This was first published in Banfield – Achieving Success in Practice and Life, September/October 2009.

The Year in Review – Veterinary Medicine in 2010

Monday, February 21st, 2011

This was meant to be a summary of veterinary medicine in 2010 in 500ish words – ha!  I picked some highlights.  What would you have added??  If I talked about my personal year as a veterinarian, that would have been a completely different article.  This was very fun to write.

The Year in Review – Veterinary Medicine in 2010

Shawn Finch, DVM

Stem cell therapy has become fairly common, the melanoma vaccine is being used in dogs with great success, Proheart returned to the veterinary market, we were all affected by the melarsomine shortage, the balance tipped from a majority of male veterinarians to a majority of female veterinarians…2010 has been quite a year to be a veterinarian!

This year has seen exponential growth in veterinary internet involvement.  We started out dealing with the internet “defensively,” trying to undo problems created by false information.  We quickly learned to proactively add our voices as reliable authorities on animal health issues.  We have had to deal with client feedback in a more public way than ever. As disconcerting as that has been, we have handled it with the prompt attention and grace that we always have.

The increase in online interactions between pet parents and veterinarians has raised many ethical issues.  We can put all sorts of medical information onto the internet, but we still cannot diagnose or treat without a valid patient-client-doctor relationship firmly in place.  We have the ability to post patient pictures and cases onto the internet in full view of the world almost instantaneously.  We have shown tremendous restraint in doing that only when we have permission from our team leadership and clients.  Clients know that in this age of instant information, they can still trust us completely with their privacy and that of their pets.

Many of our veterinary journals have become accessible online.  As much as I have enjoyed the internet explosion and accompanying learning curve, I still request paper copies of my favorite journals.  I will probably be among the last of us to give that up.  Just admitting that makes me want to plant a tree.

We have always advocated humane breeding practices.  As restrictions on high-volume puppy sellers have tightened in the United States, international puppy sources have become more popular.  Our next battle may be assuring that the puppies imported into our country are shipped humanely and legally and enter the country free of contagious and zoonotic diseases.

A second report on veterinarians and suicide was published in England earlier this year.  The authors’ first report revealed that we are much more likely to commit suicide than people in the general population.  Their second report explored the reasons this may be true.  Everyone is an individual, and the sample size was relatively small, so we are not doomed.  Do keep a caring eye on your colleagues though and take good care of yourself.

Finally, the United States Congress recently proclaimed 2011 “World Veterinary Year” in honor of the 250th anniversary of our profession.  The resolution was introduced by the two veterinarians serving in Congress and passed with support from veterinarians across the country.  2010 was quite a year to be a veterinarian.  I am excited for what is to come, next year and beyond.

This was first published at The Wagging Tail for Veterinary Professionals on December 28, 2010 as “A Great Year for Veterinary Medicine.”

Happy Heartworm-Free February!

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011


If you give your pets heartworm preventative medication on the first…it’s the first!

Heartworm Preventative Medication

The following is a list of prescription medications available in varying combinations and permutations from your veterinarian.  (If you see any I missed, let me know and I will add them!)  Getting the weight-based dose and species correct is super important AND your veterinarian has your pet’s medical history which could impact which preventative is ideal.  So please get your veterinarian’s input in choosing which medication is best for your pet!

The brand names are listed first, with the active ingredient against heartworm disease in parenthesis.  Many of these medications also protect against other parasites.  I can add that information too if you would like!  You really only need to know which meds YOUR pet is on, but isn’t veterinary information FUN??


Heartgard Plus (ivermectin) – monthly oral medication

Iverhart Max (ivermectin) – monthly oral medication

Tri-heart Plus (ivermectin) – monthly oral medication

Wormshield (ivermectin) – monthly oral medication

Interceptor (milbemycin) – monthly oral medication

Sentinel (milbemycin) – monthly oral medication

Trifexis (milbemycin) – monthly oral medication – new!

Advantage Multi (moxidectin) – monthly topical medication

Revolution (selamectin) – monthly topical medication

Proheart 6 (moxidectin) – sustained release injectable medication, given every six months (a form given every twelve months, Proheart 12, is available in Australia and parts of Asia)


Heartgard (ivermectin) – monthly oral medication

Interceptor (milbemycin) – monthly oral medication

Advantage Multi (moxidectin) – monthly topical medication

Revolution (selamectin) – monthly topical medication


Heartgard (ivermectin) – monthly oral medication

My checklist for today:

Ebony Dog – Wormshield tablet

Noodle the Poodle – Wormshield tablet

Joy the Puppy – Proheart injection

Max the Cat – topical Revolution

Princess the Gerbil – no prophylaxis needed*

*Since Princess is not susceptible to heartworm disease, she, Max and Joy get snacks since Ebony and Noodle get oral medication so as not to feel left out, which they would all argue is MORE important than having a heartworm-free household.

Potentially Helpful Links…

#barkoutloud Heartworm Discussion Notes

Heartworm Disease on Riley and James

(This one was written when I treated the dogs seasonally and poor Max the Cat not at all – now I treat everyone year-round!)

Heartworm Disease and Omaha Pets – Wuzzy Chronicles

American Heartworm Society Website

Coming Soon to The Riley and James Heartworm Series!

March 2011…Safety of heartworm preventative medication – Is it safe to give my Collie heartworm preventative medication?  Why is Joy the Puppy getting Proheart but not the old dogs?  Are some pets developing heartworm preventative medication resistance?  Are there valid drug-free options for preventing heartworm disease?  If you have other questions or concerns, let me know, and we will address those too!

(Do not wait until next month’s post if you need to know the answers to these questions now – ask me or ask your local vet – do not worry about spoiling the surprise!)

April 2011…How do these medications work?

May, June, July…I have not planned that far ahead!  What do YOU want to know about heartworm disease??  THAT is what we will talk about!

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.