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Newsletter

The veterinarians and staff at the Shawnee Animal Clinic are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

Current Newsletter Topics

Beware of Counterfeit Pest Products for Dogs and Cats

Pet owners shopping for Frontline, Advantage and other flea control products for their pets should be on the lookout for counterfeit versions of those products appearing on retailers' shelves. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, these products are packaged in cartons designed to look like legitimate versions of Advantage and Frontline but are not approved by the EPA. These counterfeit products may be missing instruction leaflets required by U.S. law. The packages also may not feature required child-resistant packaging and the applicators may not be the appropriate size dosage for the animal indicated on the package. Using such products could put your pet at risk, as the counterfeit products may contain too much or too little dosage of the active ingredients of the pesticide or different ingredients all together, according to the EPA.

Pet owners should beware of counterfeit versions of Frontline and Advantage

The products affected are:

  • Frontline Top Spot for Cats
  • Frontline Top Spot for Dogs
  • Frontline Plus for Cats
  • Frontline Plus for Dogs
  • Advantage 10 for Dogs
  • Advantage 20 for Dogs
  • Advantage 55 for Dogs
  • Advantage 100 for Dogs
  • Advantage 9 for Cats
  • Advantage 18 for Cats

The packages for the legitimate and counterfeit versions of each product look similar, so you must open the packages and examine the contents inside to determine legitimacy. Legitimate Frontline products will meet the following criteria:

Example of a legal Frontline applicator package
  • The lot number on the carton and the lot number on the applicator package or individual applicators will match.
  • The instruction leaflet is included and provides safety information, U.S. telephone numbers and storage and disposal instructions.
  • The applicator package is child resistant, and directions for opening the applicator package include an illustration that looks like the applicator package.
  • The applicator package has a notch between each individual applicator package. Text on the package is in English only.
  • Each individual applicator has a label that includes the name of the manufacturer (Merial); the EPA registration number; the contents measured in fluid ounces (not metric measurement); a list of active ingredients, and the statements "Caution", "Keep out of reach of children" and "See full label for additional directions" in English.
  • The applicator label for dog products includes the size of the dog in pounds.
Example of a legal Advantage applicator package

For Advantage products, the following criteria can be used to determine legitimacy:

  • All applicator tubes will feature directions printed in English. Any applicator with instructions in another language is counterfeit.
  • Applicator tubes will include the EPA registration number, word "WARNING" and a child-safety statement.
  • Also on the tube is a reference to referring to the main label of the product for directions, as well as the name of the manufacturer (Bayer).
  • Legitimate products will feature an active ingredient statement that matches the statement on the retail carton. Counterfeit products may feature different statements.

It is important to note that the EPA also considers versions of the drug sold in foreign countries but imported into the United States to be counterfeit as well. Products purchased in foreign countries may not have the same safety warnings or child-resistant packaging as products approved for sale in America, and the dosages and ingredients may be different. If you have purchased counterfeit products, the EPA recommends you dispose of the product according to local solid waste guidelines. You should also notify the staff of the retail outlet you purchased the product from as well as the EPA regional office in your state. Click here for more information about these counterfeit products.

VIDEO: What's Wrong With My Cat's Mouth?

Many cat owners look at the grace, athleticism and beauty of their pets and think that they have the “perfect” animal. Unfortunately, many of these same cats will have a very “imperfect” mouth, due to a serious and very painful condition that causes teeth to resorb, dissolve and even break! Here’s what we know about Tooth Resorption in cats.


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Endoscopy

Endoscopy means "looking inside" and refers to looking inside the body for medical purposes. The instrument used for this procedure is called an endoscope.

Endoscopy is a minimally invasive diagnostic medical procedure commonly used to evaluate the interior surfaces of an organ by inserting a small tube into the body. Through the endoscope, the observer is able to see lesions of organs and other internal medical conditions.

In veterinary medicine, endoscopy is commonly used as a diagnostic procedure, for tissue and organ biopsies, to remove foreign objects (particularly in the stomach) or get an inside view of a particular part of your pet's body. Even though anesthesia is required to keep your pet still during the endoscopic procedure, the amount of anesthesia and recovery time is greatly reduced. Literally meaning "to look within," endoscopy is often indicated when routine blood and urine tests, radiographs and ultrasound do not give the complete diagnostic picture.

The endoscope is composed of a long tube (flexible or rigid), a light source, camera and viewing eyepiece. In addition to the fiber optic light source, there are two channels within in the tube. One channel is for passing forceps, snares or biopsy instruments, allowing for the removal of foreign objects, collection of biopsy samples and removal of small polyps or tumors. Air or water can be passed through the other channel for better viewing of the tissue or organ.

Flexible Endoscope

Photograph of Endoscope equipment

One can distinguish:

  • the endoscope itself consisting of either a rigid or flexible tube.
  • a light delivery system to illuminate the organ or object under inspection. The light source is normally outside the body and the light is typically directed via a fiber optic system.
  • a lens system transmitting the image to the viewer from the fiberscope.
  • an additional channel to allow entry of medical instruments to biopsy or to facilitate tissue and other operations.
Magnified Endoscope Tip

Illustrations show magnification of endoscope's tip with biopsy equipment.

Magnified Endoscope Tip With Retrieval Piece

The benefits of endoscopy include shortened anesthetic time, decreased inflammation, less physiologic stress and discomfort and an earlier return to normal function. The endoscope is used to help diagnose and treat a variety of gastrointestinal and respiratory disorders. Depending on the symptoms, it is used to look at the inner lining of the throat, stomach, intestine, colon or at the respiratory passages (nose, throat and lungs). Even though general anesthesia is required for an endoscopic procedure, it is still considered much less invasive than traditional surgery, due to the relatively short procedure length and low occurrence of complications.

Pet Owners Want New Federal Regulations for Pet Air Travel

A petition posted to Change.org is calling for new federal regulations for pet air travel. The regulations would hold airlines accountable for injuries or deaths that occur as a result of mishandling, and would put into place an “independent third party” to conduct autopsies and investigations. Currently, investigations into pet deaths while traveling are handled by the airline.

The petition was started by Michael Jarboes, whose 2-year-old mastiff BamBam died on a flight from Miami to San Francisco. Jarobes says, even though airline personnel assured him his pet would be safe. Jarobes observed his pet’s crate on the tarmac during a layover in Houston. Upon arriving in San Francisco, BamBam was found dead, and his veterinarian said the cause was heatstroke. The airline, however, said the cause of death was inconclusive. “You run the same risk of losing your pet as you do your luggage,” said Jarobes. “It’s Russian roulette.”

Decoding Dog DNA May Help Cure Heart Disease
DNA studies of boxers may help cure disease

Researchers have long thought that the mapping of human genes and chromosomes holds the key to curing diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease. This research is taking a surprising and sudden leap forward thanks to recent DNA studies of man’s best friend--specifically, the Boxer. It seems that dogs are teaching us some new tricks.

With human populations, there is great variance in genetic material from one individual to another. Mapping of human genes has been a painstaking and difficult process partly because of these great variations. Dogs, however, are surprisingly similar within certain breeds. For example, all yellow labs look very much alike, with few differences in facial structure, fur color or eye color. This fact makes the mapping of genes less complex in dog breeds.

Genetic studies of boxers may help cure heart disease

A team of researchers at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Mass., completed the genetic mapping of one breed, the Boxer, in 2005. By looking at the limited areas of genetic variation in Boxers, researchers have been able to isolate the areas of the chromosome where certain defects reside. For example, this chromosome is responsible for diabetes, this one for obesity.

The Boxer held great promise in this research for advances in human medicine, not only because its genome was mapped first. These popular pets are known for being high-spirited, playful, energetic and strong. But one vulnerability caught the attention of researchers: Boxers are susceptible to a fatal heart disease called cardiomyopathy. This is one of the many diseases shared by humans.

Researchers started looking at the chromosomes of one group of Boxers who had developed cardiomyopathy and comparing them to the chromosomes of a healthy group. When comparing each chromosome of a sick Boxer with the corresponding chromosome of a healthy Boxer, researchers found that most points of comparison were identical. They worked steadily down the genetic map from Chromosome 1. When they came to Chromosome 17, however, they suddenly found a huge number of variations in the Boxers with cardiomyopathy. Using this information, researchers have isolated the genetic mutation responsible for this disease.

Now, with the mutation's identity and location known, the research team hopes to locate the corresponding gene in humans. This means that one day, there will likely be a way of genetically curing this fatal disease. Because of the relative simplicity of the Boxer’s DNA, scientists were able to bypass a huge body of painstaking research on the human genome. Without dogs, this process could have taken decades. It’s one more reason to call them man’s best friend.



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VIDEO: Golden Retrievers May Hold the Answers in Canine Cancer

How do genetics, diet and environment influence the incidence of cancer and other diseases in our pets? To answer that question, Morris Animal Foundation created the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, the most groundbreaking observational study ever undertaken to improve canine health. Learn more in the video below!


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Halloween Tips, Treats and Tricks for Pets

When witches, ghosts and ghouls take to the streets in search of treats this Halloween, they'll have some furry friends by their side. According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, about 7.4 million households celebrating Halloween plan to outfit their pet in a festive Halloween costume this year. Devils and pumpkins are the top choices for pet costumes, with witches, princesses and angels rounding out the list.

One in ten households will dress their dogs up for Halloween this year.

If you plan on letting your pet don a devilish disguise, there are a few safety tips to keep in mind. First, make sure your pet wants to wear a costume! While some animals may not mind being outfitted with a pumpkin suit, others may experience extreme discomfort and stress while in costume. Try putting the costume on your pet in advance of the big night to make sure he or she is comfortable with it. And while your pet is out trick or treating, don't forget about the pets that may be coming to your house - keep a few dog treats by the door to hand out to any four-legged companions accompanying trick-or-treaters.

Whether your pet is dressed like a pumpkin or a dinosaur, make sure the costume allows for easy movement and is not restrictive or confining; however, also be on guard for costumes that drag on the ground. These costumes can get caught in doors or snag on other objects. If your pet's costume includes a mask, modify the eye holes so they are big enough to accommodate your pet's peripheral vision. A pet that can't see may experience increased stress and could become aggressive as a result.

Make sure your pet's costume allows for easy movement.

When the trick-or-treating is over and the treats are ready to be had, be sure to keep chocolate away from your dog. Any amount of chocolate is harmful to your pet, so keep the treats out of their paws, no matter how much they beg. Those cellophane and foil wrappers left behind after the treats are gone are also a potential health hazard for your pet. The wrappers can be caught in your pet's digestive track and cause illness, severe discomfort - and even death - if the problem is left untreated.

There are some other pet safety tips to keep in mind this Halloween:

Jack o'lanterns and lit candles may look spooky, but they can pose problems for your pet. Rambunctious pets can knock lit pumpkins over and start fires, and wagging tails can easily get burned by open flames. Keep lit pumpkins and candles up on a high shelf to avoid accidents.

If you're hosting a Halloween party, keep your pet in a separate room, away from all the hustle and bustle. Too many strangers in odd costumes may cause your pet stress. This will also prevent your pet from sneaking out through an open door and darting out into the night.

Keep your pet indoors during the days and nights around Halloween. Pranksters and vandals have teased, injured, stolen and, in rare cases, killed pets on Halloween. Keeping your pet inside will keep them from becoming a target.

Spooky!

Halloween can be a fun time for you and your pet. Following the above safety tips will make sure the only scares you experience are all in good fun.

Ebola and Dogs: Cause For Concern?

As the deadly Ebola virus continues to spread from West Africa to other parts of the world, including the United States, questions about its transmission between humans and animals have been raised.

Ebola, which causes a fever, headache muscle pain, weakness, vomiting and eventually dysentery, is fatal 90% of the time. With a third person testing positive for the disease in the United States, many fear that the disease will continue to spread.

According to the World Health Organization, Ebola is often transmitted to people from wild animals including gruit bats, chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines. Human-to-human transmission occurs through contact with infected bodily fluids.



Because of its connection to wild animals, some worry about Ebola spreading to and from an infected person’s pets. In Spain, a dog was euthanized after its owner tested positive for Ebola, leading many to wonder about the transmission of Ebola between humans and dogs. Unfortunately, existing evidence suggests that euthanizing the dog was unnecessary.

According to an article from the Veterinary News Network, most of what is known about dogs and Ebola comes from an outbreak in 2001, where over 400 dogs in the African nation of Gabon had exposure to the virus. Many of these dogs developed antibodies, demonstrating that they contracted the disease.

But the dogs showed no symptoms of Ebola, and there are still no known instances of humans catching the disease from dogs. One possible explanation is that dogs are “dead end hosts,” meaning they can contract the virus but cannot spread it to humans. However, more research is necessary before this can be determined.

The World Health Organization says that there is no evidence that domestic animals play an active role in the transmission of Ebola to humans, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention says there are no reports of pets becoming sick or playing a role in transmission of Ebola to humans.

If your pet is vomiting, has diarrhea or a fever, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. There are other diseases that have similar symptoms and require immediate attention.

For more information about Ebola, visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/transmission/qas-pets.html.

Selecting and Caring for Pet Birds

Selecting a Pet Bird

Why do you want to own a bird?

There is no correct answer to this question, but it is one you should fully examine before you purchase a bird. Often a pet bird is the answer for apartment dwellers, people desiring animal companionship with minimal time or money investment, or individuals wanting an affectionate, intelligent pet. However, a bird should never be purchased on impulse. You should approach the task of purchasing a bird already aware of the characteristics of the species of bird you are interested in, the average price of that type of bird in your region and with some knowledge of how to evaluate the health and breed characteristics of the bird you are considering. This requires a bit of research and asking round before you are ready to buy, but the investment of your time saves you much grief at a later date.

Macaw

The beautiful macaws and cockatoos are not for the neophyte! Most first-time bird owners are happier with finches, canaries, budgerigars ("parakeets") or cockatiels.

Zebra Finch

Birds can be purchased from a variety of sources, such as pet shops, breeders, private dealers, or individuals. If you are buying a bird for the first time, it is almost essential that you purchase your bird from someone who is in the bird breeding and/or selling business. These individuals usually have a reputation to protect. Ask around and find out who in your area is known to deal honestly and fairly with buyers.

Many stores today, especially those specializing in birds, have been operated by bird fanciers who have turned their hobby into a business. These individuals usually know and care about their birds. They have in stock items required for basic care and maintenance of birds, such as play toys, cages, bird feed and general health supplies. Sales personnel generally offer you more information than you ever thought necessary to get you started, so leave yourself plenty of time to shop!

Health should be a primary consideration when you are choosing a bird. Pay close attention to the health of all birds you look at. A free bird, if it is sick, is not worth the long-term monetary and emotional costs. To keep it simple, a sick bird looks sick and a healthy bird looks bright, alert, active and in good feather.

The following clues are important when considering the health of a bird:

  • A sick bird may sit with its feathers puffed up, its eyes may be dull or even closed.
  • The nostrils of a sick bird may be clogged or somewhat occluded. An additional clue is to check the feathers above the nostrils. If they appear wet or matted, then the bird has a nasal discharge.
  • A bird that appears to have breathing problems is often sick.
  • If the feathers around the bird's vent or hindquarters are soiled or matted, this indicates diarrhea.
  • The bird may be listless or inactive.
  • The seed cup may appear not to have been touched, indicating that the bird is off-feed.
  • Be on the lookout for bald spots where feathers should be.
  • Pay careful attention to the following:
    -swellings or sores on the feet or toes
    -a protruding breastbone
    -white crusts on the beak

When you are selecting your bird, you must consider its temperment. An intelligent bird with a good disposition is essential for everyone's benefit. Most birds that are for sale seem to be in a temporarily stressed condition. Do not expect too much at first, but do become aware of how different birds approach you as you make your choice. Intuition and experience are the most reliable guides someone can have in selecting a bird.

When you finally choose your bird, consider the following before money changes hands.

  • If there is a problem, would you be able to locate the seller next?
  • Is there a health certificate that allows for returns or exchanges within a reasonable period of time?
  • Can the seller verify the bird's age and birthplace? (While this may always be possible, most reputable sellers have this information available. If not, learn how to judge the age of the bird species you want to buy.)
  • Will you receive a written bill-of-sale?
  • The purchase of a bird should always be contingent upon the bird being examined by a veterinarian within a few days of purchase. You should be allowed to return the animal and receive a full refund if it is not in sound health.
  • The bill-of-sale should include the purchase price, the guarantee, the return policy, the bird's band number (if known) and a full description of the bird (i.e. color, sex—if known, genus and species).
VIDEO: Snakes and Lizards and Hedgehogs... Oh My!

With more than 11 million reptiles and 18 million small mammals in our homes, these pets have gained in popularity in recent years. Their small size, uniqueness, and easy maintenance have made them very trendy. There are, however, a few things to be aware of before bringing one of these exotics into your home. Watch this video to learn more.


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VIDEO: Modern Horse Care
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