PODCAST – Ick! A Tick! –with Dr. Dave Cloutier from Veazie Veterinary Clinic

IF YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT TICKS – DO NOT MISS THIS SHOW.

13JUN15-Ick A Tick 400x400Every year Kate and Don always talk with Dr. Cloutier about fleas, worms and ticks. This year we’re talking all about ticks because it’s such a hot topic with our clients at Green Acres. Dr. Cloutier discusses; ticks and when we’re most likely to see them, micro environments/habitats where ticks often thrive (some places are much worse than others), how ticks get on us and our pets, how to control tick habitat in our yards, how to keep our dogs away from ticks when hiking, how to check your pet for ticks, how to safely remove ticks, what products should we use to help keep ticks away and which should we avoid, how do we balance effectiveness with safety, how do we choose a product when we have both dogs and cats in our home (some products for dogs are fatal for cats!), and the importance of talking to your vet about any flea and tick products you use with your pet.

Ick! A Tick! –with Dr. Dave Cloutier from Veazie Veterinary Clinic <Click to Listen>

This show first aired on The Woof Meow Show on The Voice of Maine on Saturday June 13th on 103.9FM, 101.3FM and 1450AM. It and other shows are available for download at the Apple iTunes store, at our podcast host; http://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com and at our website www.woofmeowshow.com.

©2015, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Summer Pet Care Tips

This post was last updated on 11JUN17.

<To listen to our most recent podcast on this topic, click here>

Summer 1200x797As summer approaches, not only do the temperatures rise, but we also tend to spend more time outside enjoying the beautiful weather.  With the warm weather come some potential dangers and several things that need to be considered if we are to keep our pets safe and healthy. With a few simple precautions, summer can be a time of great fun for both you and your pets. So simply, take the time to plan ahead and have a great summer!

The Heat & Sun

Our pets, especially the young, elderly and overweight, are at increased risk for dehydration and heat stroke as the temperatures increase; both can be life threatening. Signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke include:

  • rapid breathing
  • heavy panting
  • excessive salivation
  • fatigue
  • unsteadiness and staggering
  • muscle tremors
  • glazed eyes
  • a fast pulse

Signs of even more dangerous heat stroke include:

  • high body temperature
  • vomiting & diarrhea
  • a deep red or purple tongue and gums
  • collapse

If you observe these symptoms in your pet you need to immediately get your pet out of the heat and you need to contact a veterinarian. You can use cool water (not cold!) to cool down your pet, as you transport them to your veterinarian. Do NOT place an overheated pet in cold water. Misting them with cool water and placing wet towels on their neck, chest and limbs will aid in cooling during transport. Offer them ice chips but do NOT force them to drink.

If your pet experiences heat related distress, they need to be seen by your veterinarian, even if they seem to be okay, to rule out any unseen damage.

Things you can do to prevent heat related injuries are:

  • If you leave a pet in the car you need to check on them every few minutes – No Exceptions!When the temperature outside is 80 degrees, the temperature inside your car will reach 100 degrees in 15 minutes, and 120 degrees in 30 minutes, even with the windows open half-way. This can be fatal!
  • Once the outside temperature reaches 70, if your pet doesn’t need to go with you, the best place for them is probably at home.
  • Do not rely on the vehicle’s air conditioning, or if you do, you must continue to check on your pet every few minutes to ensure that the vehicle and AC are still running.
  • Make sure your pet always has access to fresh cool water, and if outside, shade. Be aware that not all dogs will move into the shade when they need to, so if they are outside you need to check on them on a regular basis.
  • Keep your pet well groomed, and if they have a long or dense coat and undercoat make sure you keep it mat free. Your pet’s guard hair, or outer coat, actually acts as an insulator which keeps them cool in the summer and warm in the winter. We generally do not recommend shaving down an animal with a double coat unless there is a medical reason or the coat has become too severely matted.
  • If the sun can get to your pet’s skin, you will need to apply sunscreen on a regular basis or keep them out of the sun, to avoid sunburn.
  • Brachycephalic pets (those with short noses like Pugs and Persians) often have a more difficult time breathing in hot, humid weather because of their squashed noses, and are even more susceptible to heat related problems.
  • When you go for walks or enjoy other outdoor activities with your pets, make sure you bring along enough fresh cool water for them. Also, it helps to plan these activities for early morning or late evening when the temperatures are a bit cooler.
  • Make sure you pet does not overly exert themselves. Exercise is important, but too much activity when it’s hot and humid contributes to dehydration and can result in heat stroke. Like some people, not all pets know when to stop and rest.
  • Avoid walking your pet on asphalt. Asphalt absorbs heat and can become hot enough to burn the pads on your pets feet.
  • To keep ourselves cool, we often to keep windows open during the summer months. Make sure screens are secure so that your pet cannot escape or accidentally fall out of a window.

Water Safety

The summer months also bring more opportunities to play in the water for both people and pets. While it brings much joy, water also is a source of concern. Some things to consider:

  • Many dogs enjoy swimming, but some dogs don’t swim well and even the best swimmers can get tired. Life jackets for dogs can save lives.
  • If you have a pool, your dog needs to be supervised whenever they have access to the pool. You should take the time to train them how to safely enter and exit the pool from the shallow end.
  • Salt water can damage a dog’s coat, so after any ocean dips take the time to hose them down with fresh water.
  • Don’t let your pet stay wet! For some dogs, staying wet can lead to skin irritations, otherwise known as “hot spots.” These can be a source of discomfort and infection for your pet.

Bug Bites, Parasites and Pollen

Insects also enjoy the nice weather and if they are a pest to us they may be a pest to your dog and cat as well.

  • Black Flies, Maine’s own special nemesis, seem to love to feast on the tender underbellies of both dogs and cats. While some pets are oblivious, some react the same way we do, itching, scratching, and the equivalent of pet cursing. There are several insect repellents that are safe to use on pets that will help keep black fly and mosquito bites to a minimum. We sell and prefer Cedarcide Original, Cedarcide TickShield Extra Strength, and U-Tick-Me-Off. Before using an insect repellent for humans on your pet, read the label. Many products for humans, even kids, may not be safe for pets.
  • During the summer months our pets are at risk of getting heartworm from a mosquito bite. This parasitic worm is more of a threat to dogs, but even in cats it can be fatal. Discuss heartworm testing and prevention with your pet’s veterinarian at their annual exam.
  • Fleas become more of a problem in the summer months, particularly towards the end of summer. These small insects like to live, feed and breed on our pets. Feeding involves a bite to get a blood meal which causes the classic itch response we see in many pets. Some pets are more allergic to flea bites and just a couple of fleas can make their lives miserable; severe infestations can even cause anemia. The most effective and safest flea preventative products will be available from your veterinarian. These products are safe when used properly. Unfortunately, they are often unintentionally misused causing serious illness and even death in some pets. Talk to your veterinarian so you can make the best choice.
  • Ticks are becoming more and more of a problem in Maine. Because they can carry Lyme disease, as well as other tick-borne diseases, you should talk to your veterinarian about preventative products if your pet is likely to be in areas where they may pick up ticks. Just like with flea products, your veterinarian will be able to help you pick the best option for your pet. If you are looking for a product to use in your home, or yard, or on your dog as a repellent, check out Cedarcide Original and Cedarcide TickShield Extra Strength.
  • While rare, pets can have an allergic reaction to being stung by bees, wasps and the like. This can be more serious for brachycephalic pets because their breathing is already less than optimal. If you suspect such a reaction you need to get your pet to a veterinarian immediately.
  • Tree and grass pollens make my eyes water, nose run, and if the lawn has just been mowed, I itch all over. Some pets can also experience seasonal allergies. In addition to the aforementioned, another common manifestation of seasonal allergies is the continual licking and chewing of feet. If you see these symptoms, talk to your veterinarian and they can assist you in finding relief for your dog.

Outdoor Chemicals

Lawn fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, insecticides, rodenticides and all sorts or other “…cides” are used routinely in our environment to kill something we don’t like. These poisons can all be toxic to our pets and since our animals can’t read little lawn signs or product labels, we need to watch out for them. Read product labels and keep your pet away from areas where these products are used. Remember – our pets aren’t wearing gloves or shoes but run around naked and then clean themselves by licking, increasing their exposure to these products.

While we usually think of mulch as pretty innocuous, cocoa mulch can be deadly if ingested and has an appetizing scent to some animals.

Holiday Gatherings

Summer is also a time for family gatherings, celebrations, and vacations. Depending on your pet’s temperament, these can range from good times to scary events. These simple rules will help you keep your pet safe during the festivities.

  • Put your dog in his crate with a bone or favorite chew toy, at least during the most hectic times – when guests are arriving and leaving as well as when meals are being prepared and served. Make sure your guests know that they are to leave your pet alone in this situation.
  • Assign one adult to be in charge of each of the dogs, to watch for signs of stress and to protect the dog from unwanted attention from children. At the same time, assign one adult to supervise each baby or toddler, with no other tasks assigned to them. Make sure that ALL interactions between pets and children are supervised by an adult.
  • Not every dog likes every person – ALWAYS let your dog decide if they want to meet someone new.
  • If you are quite certain your pet will not enjoy the increased activity due to the event, or if you will be more relaxed knowing your pet is in a safe, pleasant environment, consider boarding your pet the day and night of the event.
  • Fireworks, with their loud booms and bright flashes of light can be very frightening to pets. If they’re right in your backyard or your neighbor’s backyard they can be not only be frightening but can pose a danger to our pets. Keep your pets inside during any personal firework activity. If you go someplace to see the fireworks I would advise you to leave your pet at home in a safe quiet location. They’ll be glad you did.

Vacations & Traveling with Your Pet

  • If you travel with your pet, even just to camp, make sure they are wearing ID tags or have been micro-chipped.
  • Take your pet’s shot records with you as well as contact information for your regular veterinarian. If you are more than an hour’s drive from your veterinarian, make sure you have phone numbers of other veterinarians in the area where you are staying.
  • If you go hiking or camping with your pet, plan ahead. Make sure you have sufficient water and snacks for both of you, a first aid kit, as well as poop bags. Have your dog on a leash – it’s the law in Maine and is intended to keep your pet and others safe. If your dog is frightened by something and runs off, you might not get him back. Lastly, have a plan in mind for getting your dog to safety if they become sick or injured on the hike. If you are alone, weigh 115lbs and your dog weighs 120lbs, could you carry them to safety 5 miles away?

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (http://www.words-woofs-meows.com)

Canine Behavior – Dogs, Summer and Behavioral Issueshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/06/01/canine-behavior-dogs-summer-and-behavioral-issues/

Traveling – Do you take the dog along or leave him with someone?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/11/traveling-do-you-take-the-dog-along-or-leave-him-with-someone/

Pet Care Services – Please Be Cautious When Choosing Who Cares For Your Petshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/11/pet-care-services-please-be-cautious-when-choosing-who-cares-for-your-pets/

Pets, Who Cares for Them When You Are Away?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/09/01/pets-who-cares-for-them-when-you-are-away/

Ticks! & New Products to Keep Them Awayhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/05/28/ticks-new-products-to-keep-them-away/

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show (http://www.woofmeowshow.com)

Summer and Hot Weather Pet Care Tips 2017http://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow-2017_06_10-Seasonal_Pet_Tips_Summer_and_Hot_Weather.mp3

Summer and Hot Weather Pet Care Tips 2016http://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow2016-06-18-Summer_Seasonal_Pet_Tips.mp3

Summer and Hot Weather Pet Care Tips 2015http://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow-2015-06-06-Summer_Hot_Weather_Pet_Care_Tips-2015.mp3

Summer and Hot Weather Pet Care Tips 2014http://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow-2014-06-14-Summer_Hot_Weather_Pet_Tips.mp3

Summer and Hot Weather Pet Care Tips 2013http://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow-2013-06-08-Summer_and_Hot_Weather_Tips.mp3

Pet Tip – Summer Heat and Pets in Carshttp://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/Pets-Cars-Summer.mp3

Pet Tip – Pets and Summer Heat, Water, Shade, Asphalt & Exercisehttp://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/Cool_Water-Shade-Asphalt_and_Exercise.mp3

Pet Tip – Summer Heat – Exercise and Windowshttp://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/Heat_and_Exercise.mp3

Pet Tip – Summer Heat and Groominghttp://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/Heat_and_Grooming.mp3

Pet Tip – Summer Water Safety for Petshttp://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/Water_Safety.mp3

Pet Tip – Summer Family Gatheringshttp://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/Pet_Tip-2014-05-18-2014-05-24-Summer_Family_Gatherings.mp3

Pet Tip – Get Ready for the 4th of Julyhttp://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/Pet_Tip-2014-06-29-2014-07-05-4th_of_July.mp3

Pet Tip – Pets and the 4th of Julyhttp://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/Pet_Tip-2015-06-28-4th_of_July.mp3

©2015, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Canine Behavior – Dogs, Summer and Behavioral Issues

<A version of this article was published in the June 2015 issue of the Down East Dog News>

I know, I promised this column would continue my series on pet-friendly pet care, focusing on fear-free visits to the veterinarian. I’m still researching that topic so instead I’ve decided to talk about dogs, summer and behavioral issues that often crop up this time of year.

Getting A New Puppy

Tikken on Don's Lap
Tikken on Don’s Lap

Summer is often a great time to add a puppy to the family. I know I find dealing with housetraining and those frequent trips outside much more enjoyable in the summer than the dead of winter. Additionally, due to vacation time and little or no school activities, a family often has more time to socialize, train and play with a new puppy in the summer.

Socializing and habituating your puppy to many different people and different types of people, different places and things is extremely important if you want a well-adjusted adult dog. This is often easier to accomplish in the summer due to better weather, increased free time and the fact that more people are out and about. A puppy’s critical socialization period goes from 8 weeks to 16 weeks of age. If you choose to get a puppy in the summer you want to make sure you will be at home and available to actively socialize your pup during this period. In other words, it would be a bad time to take a vacation.

Socialization is not difficult but should be actively planned so that you are making sure it is a positive experience for your puppy. For example, exposure to lots of new people in a controlled setting is good; taking your puppy to a parade, street festival, or large family gathering would likely be overwhelming and would not be a good idea. For more information on socialization, checkout the article entitled Socialization & Habituation at our website (greenacreskennel.com) in the articles section under the category dog behavior and training.

Another important lesson for a puppy to learn any time of the year is how to be alone. Dogs are social animals and most enjoy regular, predictable social contact. If that social contact is not available it can result in separation anxiety. This is often more likely to be a problem for puppies that join families during the summer as family members are home during more hours during the summer months than they may be at other times of the year. From day one you need to be leaving your puppy alone for some period of time every day. For tips on that, check out my article titled Alone Training at our website (greenacreskennel.com) in the articles section under the category dog behavior and training.

A puppy headstart class is one of the most important training classes for any new dog, no matter how many dogs you have had in the past. Summer time is a great time to enroll your puppy in their first class.  The best time to start is when your puppy is 8 to 10 weeks of age.

Getting A New Dog

Summer can also be a good time to get a new adult dog simply because you will

Muppy's First Day with Us
Muppy’s First Day with Us

have more time to help your new family member to settle in to your home and your family’s routine. Just like with a puppy, you may need to do some preliminary housetraining and you will also want to make sure you teach this new dog how to be alone as well; especially if your family routine will change at the end of the summer.

All dogs benefit from training classes, even older dogs. Often dogs end up at a shelter or rescue because they have had little or no training. If you get a dog during the summer, try to schedule your vacation around their training classes so you don’t miss classes because you will be away.

Training classes are often outdoors in the summer, weather permitting, which gets you an opportunity to work more on outside types of behaviors like walking nicely on leash and coming when called.

Not all rescue dogs will be ready for a training class when you first bring them home. If you have a dog that is rather unsettled or anxious around people and/or other dogs, a group training class could be counter-productive. Two years ago when we adopted Muppy, in May, my wife and I elected to not start here in a group class until fall, after she become more acclimated to the busy hub-bub of our lives. However, if you defer starting a class until fall I would not wait until then to talk to a professional trainer to get some tips on helping your dog settle in.

Family Gatherings

Family and Dog at Beachcanstockphoto5015887Summer is a time for friends and family get-togethers, whether it is for holidays like the Fourth of July, events like family reunions or weddings or just because. Depending on your pet’s temperament, these can range from good times to scary events. These simple rules will help you keep your pet safe during the festivities.

  • Put your dog in his crate with a bone or favorite chew toy, at least during the most hectic times – when guests are arriving and leaving as well as when meals are being prepared and served. Make sure your guests know that they are to leave your pet alone in this situation.
  • Assign one adult to be in charge of each of the dogs, to watch for signs of stress and to protect the dog from unwanted attention from children. At the same time, assign one adult to supervise each baby or toddler, with no other tasks assigned to them. Make sure that ALL interactions between pets and children are supervised by an adult.
  • Not every dog likes every person – ALWAYS let your dog decide if they want to meet someone new.
  • If you are quite certain your pet will not enjoy the increased activity due to the event, or if you will be more relaxed knowing your pet is in a safe, pleasant environment, consider boarding your pet the day and night of the event.

Fireworks and the Fourth of July

Fireworks, with their loud booms and bright flashes of light can be very frightening to pets. If they’re right in your backyard or your neighbor’s backyard they can be not only be frightening but can pose a danger to our pets. Keep your pets inside during any personal firework activity. If you go someplace to see the fireworks I would advise you to leave your pet at home in a safe quiet location. They’ll be glad you did.

Last year I received more phone calls and emails from people concerned about their pet’s reaction to fireworks than ever before. I suspect most would prefer the legislature repeal the law that made the sale of fireworks legal or that municipalities would take a more vigorous approach to enacting ordinances regulating their use and then aggressively enforcing those laws. If the use of fireworks is irritating you and your pets call your selectmen and complain – even if it’s midnight or 1AM.

 

Next month I’ll wrap up this series with a discussion of what veterinary clinics are doing to make your pet’s visit to the vet fear-free.

______________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop (greenacreskennel.com) in Bangor. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). He produces and co- hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show heard on The Pulse AM620 WZON and streamed at http://www.wzonradio.com/ every Saturday at 9 AM. A list of upcoming shows and podcasts of past shows can be found at www.woofmeowshow.com. Don also writes about pets at his blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com.

©2015, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Help! – My Dog’s Been Skunked! (Phew!!!)

skunk-canstockphoto3735380If your dog has had an altercation with a skunk, the first thing you need to do is to check for injuries. Make sure there are no bites or scratches. If there is any possibility of the latter, get your dog to your veterinarian immediately. Skunks can carry rabies, and you want to make sure your dog and you are safe.

If the skunk has just turned your happy dog into an anti-air freshener, your next step is to clean them up. We strongly encourage you to avoid trying tomato juice. In our experience all this will do is make more of a mess and give your dogs coat a pinkish tint. While there are several specialty products made for removing skunk odor, we have found that the following home products do the best job. It is what we use when you bring your dog to us to be “de-skunked.”

In an open container, mix the following:

  • 1 quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/4 cup of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of a liquid dish detergent, such as Dawn

(This amount of mixture will handle a dog the size of a beagle)

Wet your dog with water.

  • Work the solution into the dog’s coat with a bath puff and let it set for a bit.
  • Rinse the dog’s coat with water.
  • You may need to repeat if the skunk odor is still strong.

 

You may want to use a conditioner, formulated for a dog’s skin and coat, to restore the proper moisture to the coat and skin. When done, dispose of any remaining solution. DO NOT PUT THIS SOLUTION IN A BOTTLE!!! Once mixed, the hydrogen peroxide and baking soda is no longer stable.

<Click here if you wish to print the a reminder for future use>

©2015, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Podcast – Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine for Pets with Dr. Michael Munzer from All Creatures Acupuncture Mobile Holistic Veterinary Therapies

<Updated 22APR17>

< Click to Listen to Podcast>

In this episode of The Woof Meow Show from March 28th, 2015 Kate and Don talk with Dr. Munzer about traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture and how it can be an excellent complementary therapy for pain management, skin issues, seizure disorders and many other issues.

< Click to Listen to Podcast>

To Contact Dr. Munzer

All Creatures Acupuncture
Dr. Michael Munzer
77 Main St, Bucksport, ME 04416

(207) 956-0564

http://www.allcreaturesholistic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/allcreaturesholistic/

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (http://www.words-woofs-meows.com)

A Chiropractic Adjustment and Acupuncture Treatment for Muppyhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/12/07/complementary-medicine-a-chiropractic-adjustment-and-acupuncture-treatment-for-muppy/

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show (http://www.woofmeowshow.com)

Holistic Approaches to Chronic Disease – GI Issues and Cancer with Dr. Michael Munzer from All Creatures Acupuncturehttp:/www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/03/25/podcast-holistic-approaches-to-chronic-disease-gi-issues-and-cancer-with-dr-michael-munzer-from-all-creatures-acupuncture

Holistic and Complementary Wellness for Pets – Veterinary Acupuncture and Chiropractic for Pets with Dr. Michael Munzer – All Creatures Acupuncture – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/10/09/podcast-holistic-and-complementary-wellness-for-pets-veterinary-acupuncture-and-chiropractic-for-pets-with-dr-michael-munzer-all-creatures-acupuncture/

Meet Dr. Michael Munzer from All Creatures Acupuncture Mobile Holistic Veterinary Therapieshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/04/04/podcast-meet-dr-michael-munzer-from-all-creatures-acupuncture-mobile-holistic-veterinary-therapies/

©28MAR15, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
<Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Podcast – Meet Dr. Michael Munzer from All Creatures Acupuncture Mobile Holistic Veterinary Therapies

<Updated 22APR17>

< Click to Listen to Podcast>

In this episode of The Woof Meow Show from April 4th, 2015 Kate and Don talk with Dr. Munzer about how and why he became a veterinarian and his current practice based out of Bucksport.

< Click to Listen to Podcast>

 

To Contact Dr. Munzer

All Creatures Acupuncture
Dr. Michael Munzer
77 Main St, Bucksport, ME 04416

(207) 956-0564

http://www.allcreaturesholistic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/allcreaturesholistic/

 

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (http://www.words-woofs-meows.com)

A Chiropractic Adjustment and Acupuncture Treatment for Muppyhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/12/07/complementary-medicine-a-chiropractic-adjustment-and-acupuncture-treatment-for-muppy/

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show (http://www.woofmeowshow.com)

Holistic Approaches to Chronic Disease – GI Issues and Cancer with Dr. Michael Munzer from All Creatures Acupuncturehttp:/www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/03/25/podcast-holistic-approaches-to-chronic-disease-gi-issues-and-cancer-with-dr-michael-munzer-from-all-creatures-acupuncture

Holistic and Complementary Wellness for Pets – Veterinary Acupuncture and Chiropractic for Pets with Dr. Michael Munzer – All Creatures Acupuncture – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/10/09/podcast-holistic-and-complementary-wellness-for-pets-veterinary-acupuncture-and-chiropractic-for-pets-with-dr-michael-munzer-all-creatures-acupuncture/

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine for Pets with Dr. Michael Munzer from All Creatures Acupuncture Mobile Holistic Veterinary Therapieshttp://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow-2015-03-28-Acupuncture_Traditional_Chinese_Medicine_Pets_Dr_Michael_Munzer.mp3

 

©04APR15, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
<Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Pet Health & Wellness – What Is Canine Cough?

Canine cough or kennel cough is actually a lay term for Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC). There are many bacteria and viruses which can cause this illness. The most prevalent of the bacteria that cause this illness is Bordetella bronchiseptica. This illness involves an inflammation of a dog’s trachea and upper bronchii and is similar to bronchitis in a human. The passage of air over the inflamed tissues can be very irritating which causes the dog to cough.

Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex is highly contagious to other dogs. It can be transmitted through the air from one dog to the next or by contact with contaminated objects such as a common water dish at the dog park or in Pug in mask-canstockphoto2476742front of a dog-friendly store. Sitting next to an infected dog at a vaccination clinic is all it may take to catch canine cough. It’s basically transmitted the same ways as the “common cold” is transferred from one person to another. Just like people that work with the public, or like school children, the more dogs your dog associates with, especially those that are unvaccinated, the greater the opportunity to contract canine cough. That’s why the canine cough vaccine is often recommended for dogs that; frequent the dog park, attend daycare, are boarded or groomed, are in a training class, go to dog shows or dog sport events, visit the veterinarian frequently, or are just around lots of other dogs. Most boarding kennels, daycares and training classes require guests to be vaccinated for CIRDC.

The most typical symptom of canine cough is a persistent dry cough that almost sounds as if your dog is “honking” like a goose. When we adopted our dog Shed from the Dane County Humane Society many, many years ago, she started showing the symptoms of canine cough in a few days. I remember waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of a flock of geese “honking” under the bed. Most of the time your dog will appear healthy except for the cough. They’ll eat normally and will still be active. They may gag and produce white foamy phlegm. Exercise and pressure from their collar against their trachea (from pulling on leash) may cause a bout of coughing.

If your dog is coughing repeatedly it’s a good idea to take them to the veterinarian. While canine cough often resolves on its own, there are several other infections, as well as cardiac issues, that cause coughing, which can be fatal if not treated. Pneumonia can result as a secondary infection to canine cough. Typical treatments for canine cough include a cough suppressant, and possibly antibiotics as secondary infections can occur from canine cough. It is also essential that you keep your dog away from other dogs while they have canine cough so that they do not spread the disease.

There are different types of vaccines for canine cough/CIRDC; however, because there are so many infectious agents that can cause the disease, a dog can be vaccinated and still get the disease. The vaccines do often reduce the severity of the disease. Vaccines can be injectable or given orally or intranasal. Dr. Ronald Schultz (Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathobiological Sciences at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison) recommends that dogs that will be around other dogs be vaccinated annually with the intranasal vaccine which immunizes against Bordetella. Since the normal path of infection for these diseases is via the respiratory system, Dr. Schultz feels the intranasal approach, which immunizes via the respiratory system, is the most effective way to administer this vaccine.

Pet Nutrition – How Much Fat Is In Your Pet’s Food?

Overweight Cat
Overweight Cat

Pet obesity, with both cats and dogs, is a serious problem and one that dramatically affects the health and quality of our pets’ lives, as well as their longevity. Since we control what our pets eat, we can help them stay fit. One way we can do that is by paying attention to the fat content of the food they eat.

The first step in understanding the fat content of your pet’s food is to learn some basic rules of thumb; a gram of protein contains four calories whereas a gram of fat contains nine calories, over twice the number of calories for the same weight. When you look at the label of a can of cat food, and you see 10% protein and 5% fat, you logically think it has twice as much protein. However, from a caloric perspective you are getting 45 calories from fat versus 40 calories from protein. With that food, your pet would be getting over half of their calories from fat. That is simply too much fat!

Now you might think, yes but the canned food I purchase is labeled 95% meat so it must be equivalent to the 95% lean ground beef I buy for myself at the supermarket. Take another look. That can of 95% meat food may be only 6% protein and a whopping11% fat which means that 75% of the calories are coming from fat! Now who would buy that?

The following table illustrates the differences between 3 canned cat formulas. Remember, the %fat should ideally be much less than the %protein.

Weruva Green Eggs & Chicken Wellness Chicken Formula Blue Buffalo Chicken Entrée in Gravy
Protein (min) 10% Protein (min) 10% Protein (min) 9%
Fat (min) 1.6% Fat (min) 5% Fat (min) 4%
Fiber (max) 0.5% Fiber (max) 1% Fiber (max) 1.5%
Moisture (max) 85% Moisture (max) 78% Moisture (max) 82%
Ash (max) 1.2% Ash (max) 1.95% Ash (max) Not Available

 

©2015, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Complementary Medicine – Tikken – Vaccines, Aggression & Homeopathy

This article is part of a larger article, Trends in Training – The Evolution of a Pet Care Professional, which describes my development as a professional dog trainer and our involvement with holistic veterinary medicine. You can find the entire article at: http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2008/04/19/professional-development-trends-in-training-the-evolution-of-a-pet-care-professional/

Tikken for ad 242x300In April of 2000, our Golden retriever Tikken went to her veterinarian for her annual examination and received a two-year rabies booster. At the time, Maine law required a rabies vaccination every two years even though the vaccine was labeled as effective for three years.

It was in July of 2000, when my sweet, cuddly Golden Retriever suddenly, and without warning or provocation, transformed from Tikken to Cujo, just like Dr. Jekyll turned into Mr. Hyde. One moment all of our dogs were lying calmly on the floor as my wife Paula watched television. Suddenly Tikken just exploded and within seconds she had ravaged Crystal, our Pekinese, causing the loss of Crystal’s left eye.

While we had seen a few small signs of “irritability” in Tikken over the past couple of months, the apparently unprovoked nature of this attack, and its severity, led us straight to our veterinarian for a thorough check-up, including a complete thyroid panel and behavioral assessment. Her thyroid was abnormal, but not in a manner which suggested the need for medical treatment. However, based on the advice of the veterinarian, we started Tikken on a course of Clomipramine. We also began a strict management protocol with the dogs. Unless we were present Tikken was separated from all but one of our older dogs, Shed. Tikken and Shed had bonded closely when Tikken was a puppy, she was always very respectful of Shed, and they were similar in size.

We noticed increasingly anxious behaviors by Tikken. Now she became overly excited at mealtime, and became enraptured by any shadows or moving lights. These behaviors became so obsessive that I could not even distract her with fresh meat when she got caught up in a shadow or flickering light.

Seeing no improvement in Tikken’s behavior, our veterinarian recommended a consultation with Dr. Dodman at the behavioral clinic at Tufts University. They recommended we put Tikken on a higher dose of Clomipramine, establish and maintain a dominance hierarchy, manage her environment, and institute a Nothing In Life Is Free (NILIF) program. We were already managing and doing NILIF and I had concerns about the validity of the hierarchal approach, so we were really hoping for the Clomipramine to work. What we ended up with was a dog that was so doped up that she seldom moved. She still became excited at mealtime and got caught up with shadows and light. She just moved slower. To us she seemed to have lost her will to do anything but lie around.

We were very concerned about Tikken’s quality of life, and with no changes after

Tikken under the duvet
Tikken under the duvet

six months of the higher dose of Clomipramine, we contacted Dr. Patricia McConnell, a behaviorist we had previously worked with when we were in Wisconsin, for another opinion. After reviewing Tikken’s history, Trish advised us that she had not had much success with dogs exhibiting Tikken’s issues using behavior modification, drugs or a combination of both. She did however indicate she had heard of some successes when treating with homeopathy. We immediately made an appointment with our homeopathic veterinarian, Dr. Judy Herman at the Animal Wellness Center in Augusta.

Dr. Herman diagnosed Tikken with rabies miasm. A miasm is when the body/mind/emotions of an individual manifest signs of the disease without actually having the disease. Tikken was given a homeopathic remedy at the conclusion of the consultation and within eight weeks she was weaned off Clomipramine entirely. We were soon seeing dramatic improvements in her symptoms. Tikken was treated two other times with the same homeopathic remedy over the next few months. We still managed the dogs closely, but Tikken eventually became reintegrated with the rest of the pets in the household. Homeopathy gave us our sweet, cuddly Golden back.

Working the Kong 400x671Since Dr. Herman felt that Tikken’s issues were the result of a reaction to her rabies vaccine we evaluated our vaccination protocols with all of the dogs. We have been doing titer tests in lieu of vaccinations since that time, with the exception of the rabies vaccine. Tikken did receive two subsequent rabies vaccines under the guidance of Dr. Herman, followed by treatment homeopathically. When she developed a second immune mediated disorder (pigmentary uveitis) in 2004, we decided to stop any further rabies vaccines, and she now has a medical exemption which still allows her to be licensed.

Paula and I both started to read more about vaccines and become further educated about alternatives. We made the decision to allow our clients to also do titer tests in lieu of vaccines, as long as the tests were done under the direction of a veterinarian.

Paula and I felt so strongly about the vaccine issue that in April of 2002 I wrote

Tikken and Batman at window
Tikken and Batman at window

Rethinking Annual Vaccinations for the Green Acres newsletter. In this article I disclosed that as early as 1992 veterinary textbooks were questioning annual vaccinations (Current Veterinary Therapy, volume XI, pp202-206: “A practice that was started many years ago and that lacks scientific validity or verification is annual revaccination. Almost without exception there is no immunological requirement for annual revaccination. Immunity to viruses persists for years in the life of the animal.”Dr. Ronald Schultz, Veterinary Immunologist. In this article, I suggested that minimally clients talk with their veterinarian and ask if titer tests were an option. Needless to say, several veterinarians in our service area were not too happy with me, but I still believe I did the right thing. I felt somewhat vindicated a year later when the American Animal Hospital Association published their new vaccination guidelines which started a move away from annual vaccination.

UPDATED – March 2013

We were very fortunate that Tikken overcame her rabies miasm and remained with us until she crossed the crossed the Rainbow Bridge on February 7th, 2013 at the age of 16 years and 27 days. It was several months after her treatment with homeopathy before we fully reintegrated Tikken with the rest of our pets; however, she lived the remainder of her life in complete harmony with them and even became buddies with Batman, a rescued cat that joined our family. Tikken did require ongoing treatment for her pigmentary uveitis and eventually also required treatment for hypothyroidism for the rest of her life. We are convinced that homeopathy, tittering instead of regular vaccination, and a raw diet contributed to Tikken’s long life.

Paula, Tikken, Don & Batman - 2012
Paula, Tikken, Don & Batman – 2012

©2015, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Animal Welfare – Assessing Pets’ Welfare Using Brambell’s Five Freedoms

(This article was first published in the Fall 2014 issue of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers Chronicle of the Dog  – [Click for a PDF of this article])

As trainers and behavior consultants, it is essential for us to consider whether or not a pet’s basic needs are being met if we are to offer our clients the best possible training and behavioral advice. This becomes even more important when facilitating the treatment of “problem behaviors,” as these often manifest when a pet’s welfare is compromised or when basic needs are not being met consistently. Brambell’s Five Freedoms are a very useful set of guidelines for assessing a pet’s welfare and developing a corresponding training, behavior modification, and management plan.

Brambell’s Five Freedoms originated in the United Kingdom as a result of Parliament creating a committee to assess the welfare of livestock raised in factory farms. In December of 1965, the Report of the Technical Committee to Enquire into the Welfare of Animals Kept Under Intensive Livestock Husbandry Systems, the Brambell Report, December 1965 (HMSO London, ISBN 0 10 850286 4) was published. The report identified what are known as the five freedoms that a farm animal should have: “to stand up, lie down, turn around, and groom themselves and stretch their limbs.” The British government then established the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, which later became the Farm Animal Welfare Council, to further define these freedoms to what we know today as: Freedom from Hunger and Thirst, Freedom from Discomfort, Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease, Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour, and Freedom from Fear and Distress.1,2

While originally intended for farm animals, the freedoms can be applied to any animal that is kept by humans. During my training in the Bach Practitioner program in the U.K., we discussed how Brambell’s Five Freedoms applied to dogs, cats, cattle, horses, rabbits, hogs, ducks, and a variety of other species. It is imperative that we have adequate knowledge of a species’ husbandry requirements and natural behaviors in order to appropriately assess whether their freedoms are being restricted. Even when we do have adequate knowledge, we may find that the freedoms sometimes conflict with what are considered best practices. Likewise, they may be inconsistent with what may be necessary to protect a pet or others. Not everything is black and white, and considering the freedoms over the years has brought me many answers, but also many questions for which I have no definitive answer. I invite you to consider some of the questions that have occurred to me and contemplate how you would address them within Brambell’s Five Freedoms.

  1. Ensure the animal is free from hunger, thirst, and malnutrition.

This sounds relatively simple, right? Provide animals with food and water and the need is met, but…

  • Does the type of food matter? Cats are true carnivores and most dogs, if left to their own devices, would eat a diet with very few carbohydrates. However, the average dog and cat are fed a diet that is probably at a minimum composed of 40% carbohydrates. Both dogs and cats would usually be eating fresh food, yet most pet food is highly processed. Feeding a pet as naturally as possible is not inexpensive. Is it better to have one pet and to feed him really well, or is it better to have multiple pets for social interaction? What about pets on prescription diets? They may need it for disease purposes, but is it optimal nutrition? Which takes precedence?
  • Many pets in the U.S. are obese, clearly due to overfeeding, improper diet, and lack of exercise. How does an animal’s obesity affect its welfare?
  • Does the source of water matter? Cats often depend on getting the majority of their hydration from eating live prey, yet few cats have that opportunity in today’s world. Would they drink more and have fewer urinary issues if they had ready access to fresh meat and running water? If you don’t drink from your tap, should the animals?
  1. Ensure the animal is free from discomfort.

Originally this freedom focused on shelter, and seemed relatively straightforward: make sure animals always have adequate shelter from temperature and weather extremes. However, there is much more to comfort than hot versus cold and dry versus damp.

  • Animals need down time. Does the pet have a quiet, comfortable resting place where he can be undisturbed and where he will feel safe? Is the pet’s environment free from things that may cause harm and discomfort?
  • Many people have multiple pets. Does each pet have adequate space, or are there too many animals for the amount of space available? Do the pets get along and enjoy each other, or is there constant conflict? Are there sufficient resources for all of the animals?
  • Breed also affects what an animal needs to be comfortable. Pets with long coats often cannot groom themselves adequately, and their hair can become tangled and matted, causing them discomfort. This becomes an even bigger problem if the pet is obese and as he ages. Are your clients making sure that their pets are adequately and properly groomed?
  1. Ensure your pet is free from pain, injury, and disease.

Regular and as-needed veterinary care goes a long way toward meeting this freedom, but breeding also plays a huge role, as well as how we respond when a dog is injured or ill. Mental disease needs to be considered along with physical disease.

  • Working dogs and dogs who compete in dog sports can experience injuries that cause pain. Is just using painkillers enough, or do we need to consider removing the dog from the activity causing the pain? Physical therapy for pets is still a relatively new treatment modality. Should it be a routine part of care for a working or competitive dog?
  • Breeding has resulted in some pets who essentially have physical impairments that can affect their ability to breathe, to move, and even to give birth naturally. How much should these animals be put through in an effort to correct their conditions? How do we help our clients separate their emotions from those of their pet? How do we handle it when it is one of our own pets?
  • Many purebred pets are susceptible to one or more genetic disorders, as well as physical conformations that often cause impairments. Are breeders doing everything that should be done to eliminate these disorders and create healthier pets? When clients are considering what type of pet to get, should we steer them away from certain breeds that have physical impairments or are prone to genetic disorders? How do we educate without being judgmental?
  • Animals can experience mental disease and disorders (anxieties, phobias, dementia, etc.) just like humans. How do we reconcile that the treatments of these disorders are often not considered as important as physical disorders? Is it appropriate to breed a dog for behavioral traits that might be an asset for a dog who works or competes, but might negatively affect that dog’s ability to thrive as a companion dog? How do we best counsel clients who wish to keep their dog involved in activities that have great potential to exacerbate behavioral issues?
  1. Ensure your pet is free to express normal behaviors.

The ability to express normal behaviors is often problematic, because many normal behaviors are the behaviors that people dislike the most (e.g., cats hunting and killing birds and dogs sniffing people’s crotches, to name two).

  • Do your clients’ pets have an adequate and safe space in which to run and express normal behaviors, both indoors and outdoors? Are they provided with an opportunity to do so on a regular basis? Cats are all too often neglected here. Are they getting ample chase games?
  • Is the environment in which the animals live suitably enriched so that it stimulates their minds? Do they search for their food or is it just dropped in a bowl?
  • Do the pets have sufficient interaction with family members to establish a bond and to provide emotional enrichment?
  • Are there opportunities to interact with suitable members of their own species, if they choose to do so, in a manner that is rewarding for all parties?
  • Humans use dogs for a variety of jobs. Is it ethical to put dogs in working situations where they are not allowed to express many normal behaviors for most of their lives?
  • There are a number of breeds that humans choose to physically alter by docking their tails or cropping their ears. Tails and ears are both tools that dogs use to communicate with one another. Do physical alterations impair a dog’s ability to express normal behaviors and to communicate?
  1. Ensure your pet is free from fear and distress.

I truly believe that no psychologically healthy human would ever intentionally cause their pet fear or distress. However, a lack of knowledge — or incorrect knowledge — about animal behavior often is a cause of fear and distress in our canine and feline companions.

  • Early socialization and habituation is key to freedom from fear and distress, as is ongoing socialization and enrichment throughout a dog’s life. What can we do to make clients, breeders, shelters, rescues, and veterinarians realize the importance of socialization and habituation? What can we do to help our clients to be successful in socializing their puppies gracefully and gradually without overwhelming them?
  • Cats have an even earlier socialization period than a dog (two to five weeks). How do we make sure that breeders and shelters are aware of this and taking steps to accomplish this? Should we be discouraging clients from adopting kittens that have not been properly socialized at this age? What about the feral population? Is it just kinder to leave them be?
  • Additionally, many animals have a more fearful baseline, either due to genetics, prior history, or a combination of both, and with the best of intentions, well-meaning pet owners throw the animals into situations that involve flooding to re-socialize them. How do we decide when enough is enough? At what point does management become preferable to continued trials of desensitization and counter-conditioning?
  • Dog bites, especially of children, are a significant problem, and are often caused by a dog who is afraid or is otherwise under stress. In some cases the child is the direct cause of that fear. How do we convince the dog-owning public and the non-dog-owning public of the importance of learning basic canine body language so that many of these bites can be prevented?
  • A lack of adequate physical and mental stimulation can cause a pet to be distressed. How do we help clients understand and find the time to ensure that their pets get appropriate amounts of stimulation and exercise?
  • On the flip side, too much stimulation and exercise can also be detrimental, causing a state of chronic stress. Many dogs will not do well in a daycare setting, playing all day or going for a five-mile run every morning. How do we educate our clients and others in the industry that too much activity can be as detrimental as not enough activity? How do we help clients to find the balance for their pet between too much and not enough?
  • While both the domestic dog and domestic cat are considered to be social animals, some are more social than others. Feral dogs and cats choose which bonds to form; in most households, humans choose which pets live together. How do we get clients to understand that pets who do “okay” together may not be thriving, and may be living under stress? Is that fair to either pet? Should one be rehomed, or would that be worse? If so, how do we counsel clients about which one should stay?
  • Communication and understanding are the cornerstones of good relations. How do we get the dog-owning public to understand that learning dog body language and training their dogs with reward-based training is key to ensuring that their dogs do not live in fear and distress?
  • Stress comes in two varieties: distress (scary things, trauma) and eustress (excitement). Whether distress or eustress, what happens to the body physiologically is very similar, and being in a state of frequent eustress or distress can have negative impacts on health. How do we get people to understand that, while occasional, moderate distress and eustress is in fact essential to life (and unavoidable), high or frequent doses can be extremely detrimental? How do we help them balance and manage their pets’ lives to avoid long-term, high levels of stress? If going to the vet is causing extreme stress, yet is necessary for freedom from disease and pain, how do we respond? Which carries more weight?
  • As trainers we may choose to put our own dogs into situations where they serve as a decoy dog while we evaluate a client’s dog-aggressive dog. Even though we take great effort to prevent physical and emotional harm to our dogs, the latter is not always easy to measure at the time. Is it ethical to place our dogs in this situation?
  • Working with dogs, and observing others working with dogs, is an essential part of how we learn to become better trainers. Is it fair to bring out a dog who is experiencing fear and distress and to use him in a demonstration in front of a group? Can we come up with a better way for us to learn, without causing dogs even more distress?

There are not necessarily any straightforward answers to satisfying Brambell’s Five Freedoms for all animals in all situations. As with any treatment or training plan, all factors need to be considered and weighed. I encourage you to spend some time thinking about the freedoms and how they apply to the animals in your life, the global ethical questions they bring, and also learning how you can use them to help your clients and their pets.

 

Footnotes

1 Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs-Farm Animal Welfare Committee-Five Freedoms: http://www.defra.gov.uk/fawc/about/five-freedoms/

2 “Press Statement”. Farm Animal Welfare Council. 1979-12-05: http://www.fawc.org.uk/pdf/fivefreedoms1979.pdf

 

©2015, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>