This page serves as a forum for us to provide answers to general questions posed by our clients and friends. The answers provided are for informational and educational purposes only, and are supplements to, not a substitute for, the judgment of a licensed veterinarian. Any serious questions regarding your pet’s health or behavior should be addressed individually by telephone or through an office visit. Questions for the FAQs page can be submitted by surface mail or email. Our email address is WBAH@comcast.net. Personal responses to individual questions should NOT be expected. We will post answers to selected questions as often as possible. No personal, identifying information will be included in our responses. In depth discussions on a number of other topics can be found on the Client Handouts page.
Our veterinary hospital is proudly located in White Bear Lake, Minnesota; serving the communities of White Bear Lake, Hugo, Forest Lake, Mahtomedi, Birchwood Village, Willernie, Grant, Stillwater, Lake Elmo, Oakdale, Maplewood, Gem Lake, North St. Paul, St. Paul, Vadnais Heights, North Oaks, Arden Hills, Shoreview, Lino Lakes, Roseville and beyond! We thank you for choosing our veterinary hospital and invite you to read below for more information!
Our veterinary hospital recommends that pet vaccinations be considered on an individual basis according to your specific pet and advice from a licensed veterinarian. We do not recommend all vaccines for all pets. However, we strongly encourage all pets to be vaccinated for the “core” diseases. Optional vaccinations should be considered based on your pet’s lifestyle. The core vaccines include Distemper, Adenovirus Type 2, Coronavirus, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza, Leptospira, and Rabies for dogs, as well as Distemper, Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Rabies for cats. Many of these diseases can be passed from infected animals to your pet indirectly through contaminated shoes, clothing, water or food bowl, your hands, or the air.
In addition, our veterinarians and staff strongly believe that it is very important that all pets be vaccinated for Rabies even though most pets are at extremely low risk of infection. Pets can unexpectedly escape and become infected or Rabies infected animals (skunks, bats, raccoons) may gain entrance to your home unexpectedly. All dogs are required by law to be vaccinated for Rabies and many communities require that cats be vaccinated for Rabies as well. You should check with your individual community regarding cat Rabies vaccination requirements. Vaccinating your pet for Rabies also provides peace of mind. In the unfortunate event that your pet bites someone, it is much less stressful for you and the bite victim if your pet has been previously vaccinated for Rabies. Unvaccinated pets have had to be euthanized and tested for Rabies to satisfy bite victims or their families. For additional information, please see the Client Handouts page, A Healthy Start for Your New Kitten and A Healthy Start for Your New Puppy.
If you have additional questions, feel free to contact our animal clinic directly!
Hip dysplasia is the malformation and degeneration of the coxofemoral or hip joint(s). The coxofemoral joint is a ball-and-socket type of connection between the head of the femur (ball) and the acetabulum (socket).
Hip dysplasia is a developmental defect that is affected by a number of genetic and environmental factors. Diagnosis is based on the pet’s history, physical examination findings, and radiographs. You can refer to the x-rays below for examples of both normal and dysplastic dog hips.
Treatment options include management of the degenerative joint disease (for an in depth discussion, see the Client Handouts page, Degenerative Joint Disease and Your Pet) and surgery. Surgical options commonly recommended by our veterinarians and staff include the following:
Each surgical procedure comes with its own risks and benefits. Not every patient is a good candidate for every surgical procedure so proper patient selection is critical. Be sure to discuss all available options with your veterinarian in order to decide which treatment option is best for you and your pet. Please remember, pets known to have hip dysplasia should never be bred.
The following radiographs (x-rays) were taken with the dog in the standard position known as VD or ventrodorsal. The dog is laying on its back and its head is at the top of the radiograph. The dog’s left side is on the right side of the radiograph and the dog’s right side is on the left side of the radiograph.
Spaying (ovariohysterectomy) of female dogs and cats is best done at about six months of age, before the first heat cycle.
Spaying will likely lengthen the life of your pet, since she will not develop Pyometritis, a potentially life-threatening uterine infection not uncommon in unspayed, middle-aged or older dogs and cats. Treatment for Pyometritis requires surgery at a time when she is quite ill. The spayed pet is also less likely to develop mammary (breast) tumors, which often develop as she gets older, especially if she has several litters.
Neutering (orchectomy) or castration of a male dog or cat is an operation which may be performed by a veterinarian at six months of age or older. After he has the operation your pet will make an even better companion. He will express his vitality in play, often quitting some of his male behavior traits found to be embarrassing or unwanted.
A neutered pet is less likely to roam thereby decreasing his chance of being hurt or killed and less apt to damaging a neighbor’s personal property. Neutering will also eliminate the possibility of your pet’s developing testicular cancer and benign prostatic enlargement (dogs only) in their older years.
A neutered cat will not undergo anxiety and stress, accompanied by aggressiveness and howling when in the presence of a female cat in heat. He will stay home more frequently, exhibiting less desire to roam. If neutering is completed when the cat is young, he may not acquire the bad habit of spraying or urine marking.
For additional questions, you can always consult with our veterinarians directly, or visit our animal hospital to speak with us about your pet.
This is undoubtedly one of the most difficult questions we face as pet owners and as veterinarians. Every case is different. The determination of an individual pet’s quality of life is complex and is best determined by those who know him/her best.
Issues to consider include:
1) whether or not your pet is in pain (pain in pets can be difficult to determine but signs may include abnormal vocalization, restlessness, increased heart and respiratory rates, dilated pupils, muscle tremors and changes in appetite and/or sleeping patterns),
2) whether or not he/she is able to get around relatively independently to eat, drink, urinate, defecate,
3) does he/she seem happy (does your pet wag its tail, greet you at the door, enjoy his/her treats, want to play).
We strongly recommend that you discuss your individual situation with a veterinarian before making any determinations regarding euthanasia so that you are fully aware of your diagnostic and treatment options.
The following online article (click here) may me helpful in making decisions regarding your pet’s quality of life and
end of life decisions.
To help evaluate your pet’s quality of life, the Quality of Life Scale is reprinted below. It allows owners to quantify their pet’s quality of life based on several different criteria.
Using a scale of 0 to 10 (0 = Unacceptable, 10 = Excellent), patients can be evaluated for their quality of life.
Total: A total of greater than 35 points is acceptable quality of life for pets.
Adapted from Canine and Feline Geriatric Oncology: Honoring the Human-Animal Bond, Villalobos A, Kaplan L, Hoboken, NJ, Wiley-Blackwell, 2007 and Decision-Making Issues with Euthanasia, Villalobos A, Ethics in Practice, NAVC Clinician’s Brief, May 2008, pp 23-24.
In the event that you decide to euthanize your pet, the following Pet Loss and Grief Resources may be helpful. This list was originally compiled by Twin City Tails magazine.
24 hours a day 800-946-4646* *Enter PIN# 140-7211, then your phone number. Your call will be returned promptly.
The short answer is YES.
The long answer is…
Heartworm disease is caused by the blood parasite Dirofiliaria immitis. An
immature form of the parasite is transmitted by female mosquitoes from an
infected animal to an uninfected animal. Both dogs and cats can be affected.
Heartworm disease is endemic in our area, meaning that there are enough
unprotected infected dogs to continually maintain the disease. Since
heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes, any dog or cat exposed to mosquitoes
is at risk of contracting the disease.
Therefore even “indoor” pets are at risk of heartworm disease since
mosquitoes can enter our homes and since most dogs and some cats go outside
to urinate, defecate, play, walk, etc. Current heartworm tests for dogs
indicate whether or nor a dog was exposed six months or longer ago.
Therefore, we recommend first testing dogs when they are between eight and
nine months of age AND if they were born during heartworm season. If one of
these requirements is not met the pet should be put on heartworm prevention
and tested at an appropriate time.
We recommend that all dogs be tested regularly for heartworm disease. There
is now an in-house test for heartworm disease in cats, however, we are not
recommending it on a regular, screening basis. The frequency of the
recommended testing depends on which preventative you chose to use.
For more information, check out the website for The American Heartworm
The two heartworm prevention products we offer are Heartgard Plus and
Revolution. ProHeart6, a third heartworm prevention option, was recalled due
to reports of possible adverse reactions. ProHeart 6 has recently been
reintroduced to the market, but we do not currently carry it in our clinic.
See FAQs Number 18 for more information.
The specifics of the three products are summarized in the table below, where
D = dogs and C = cats:
|Product||Heartgard Plus||proHeart 6||Revolution|
|Used in which species?||Dogs only||Dogs only||Dogs and Cats|
|Means of administration||chewable tablet (at home)||injection (in clinic)||topical (at home)|
|Frequency of administration||monthly||every 6 months||monthly|
|Period of administration||8 months (May – December)||year round||8 months (May – December)|
|Frequency of testing||annually||first and second years, then every other year||annually|
|Age at which can first be given||6 weeks for puppies and kittens||6 months for puppies only, not recommend for kittens||6 weeks for puppies and kittens|
|Safe for pregnant or lactating animals?||yes||yes||yes|
|Other parasites affected||hookworms, roundworms||hookworms||D: sarcoptic mange mites, fleas, ear mites, American dog tick C: fleas,
ear mites, hookworms, roundworms
|Safe for Collies and other Ivermectin-sensitive breeds?||yes||yes||yes|
|Safe for heartworm positive dogs?||probably, but not labeled for such use||probably, but not recommended||probably, but not recommended|
Feline inappropriate elimination (urination and/or defecation) can be very frustrating for owners and veterinarians.
There are many possible reasons for a cat not to use its litter box, including medical problems, behavioral problems, or some combination of the two.
The first step in diagnosing the problem is to bring your cat to your veterinarian for a complete history and a thorough physical examination. At that time we will likely want to collect urine for analysis, and possibly bacterial culture. We may also want to collect blood for analysis and/or take radiographs (x-rays).
Specific recommendations will depend on the individual case. Problems of feline elimination disorders, while frustrating, can often be solved with patience, persistence, and dedication both on the part of the owner and the veterinarian.
Don’t give up.
Our pets age at varying rates depending on a number of factors including species (cat versus dog) and size. The information summarized in the table below is based on data provided by IDEXX Laboratories and Fred L. Metzger, DVM, DABVP.
Anal sacs are a pair of sacs located between the internal and external anal sphincter muscles on either side of the anus in carnivores. The walls of the sacs are lined with numerous glands. The nature of these glands varies somewhat between dogs and cats.
The secretions from the glands are malodorous, usually grey to brown, liquid to granular to pasty in consistency, and are normally expelled in small quantities with each defecation. The secretions likely serve as a form of territorial marking or individual identification.
Problems which can arise with anal sacs include impaction, ductal blockage, infection, abscess formation, and rupture.
Unfortunately, there are malignant tumors which can affect the anal sacs as well. Signs of anal sac problems include “scooting” on the floor or ground, rubbing or licking of the anal area, rear end sensitivity, and changes in the gait or lameness (primarily seen in cats).
Visual and manual inspection of the anal sacs will usually reveal the problem. If necessary the anal sacs’ contents can be emptied by either external or internal manual expression.
Most groomers will only perform external expression. If a pet has severe or repeated episodes of anal sac problems surgical removal of the sacs is curative. A thorough history and physical examination is the best place to start if you have concerns that your pet may be experiencing problems with his/her anal sacs.
We strongly believe that preanesthetic blood work is important no matter what the age of
your pet. Our four main reasons for recommending preanesthetic blood work are:
Provide the pet’s owner with peace of mind by reducing medical/anesthetic risk and
ensuring the health and safety of the pet. Reduce anesthetic risk by identifying potential
problems which might require a change in anesthetic protocol. Provide a baseline of
information to compare against in the future. Detect diseases earlier, before the pet is
showing more obvious clinical signs of disease.
Obviously there is no way to guarantee a safe anesthetic procedure, but preanesthetic
blood work (combined with a thorough history, physical examination, and other diagnostic
tests as indicated) provides a great deal of information regarding your pet’s ability to
tolerate anesthesia, to breakdown and excrete the anesthetic drug(s), and to form normal
blood clots. Depending on the individual case, additional tests (blood, urine),
radiographs (x-rays), electrocardiogram (ECG), or other diagnostic procedures may be
recommended prior to your pet’s anesthetic procedure. Exactly what type of blood work we
recommend prior to anesthesia depends on the age of your pet.
For Juvenile and Adult pets we recommend a Select Preanesthetic Profile. For Senior and
Geriatric pets we recommend a Complete Preanesthetic Profile. See the answer to
FAQs Number 7 to see how old your pet is in human years. The individual
tests and their significance are summarized below.
Select Preanesthetic Profile
|An enzyme specific to liver cells||
Increased ALT may indicate liver disease or injury or the presence of
An enzyme produced by the cells lining the gall bladder and the bile ducts and by
Increased ALP may indicate liver, bile duct, bone or hormonal disease or
may be associated with normal growth in young animals or the presence of certain
Blood Urea Nitrogen
A by-product of red blood cell metabolism produced by the liver and excreted by
Increased BUN may indicate dehydration, kidney disease, urinary tract
obstruction, a recent meal or gastrointestinal bleeding.
Decreased BUN may indicate liver disease, excessive drinking and urination,
anorexia or a low-protein diet.
A by-product of muscle metabolism produced by the liver and excreted by the
Increased Crea may indicate kidney disease or urinary tract obstruction or
feeding cooked meat.
Decreased Crea may indicate severe loss of muscle mass.
A simple sugar (monosaccharide) used as a major source of energy, stored in the
liver as glycogen
Increased Glu may indicate hormonal disease, stress (especially in cats), a
recent meal or the presence of certain drugs.
Decreased Glu may indicate insulin overdose, overexertion, liver disease,
infection, cancer, severe infection or starvation.
A combined measurement of a number of different proteins, including Albumin
Increased TP may indicate dehydration, infection, immune-mediated disease
Decreased TP may indicate liver, kidney, gastrointestinal or parasitic
disease, hemorrhage or inadequate protein intake.
Chemicals that carry either a positive or negative charge and are involved in the
electrical balance of all cells in the body
Changes in electrolytes are often associated with hydration status, medications or
conditions affecting the gastrointestinal, hormonal or urinary systems.
Packed Cell Volume
|The percentage of the blood that is made up of red blood cells||
Increased PCV may indicate dehydration.
Decreased PCV indicates anemia.
Complete Preanesthetic Profile
|An important protein molecule produced by the liver||
Increased Alb may indicate dehydration.
Decreased Alb may indicate liver, kidney, gastrointestinal, or parasitic
disease, hemorrhage or inadequate protein intake.
|A digestive enzyme produced by the pancreas and excreted by the kidneys||Increased Amy may indicate kidney, pancreatic or intestinal disease.|
A mineral important in proper formation and function of the heart, muscles, bones,
teeth, nerves and blood clots
Increased Ca may indicate kidney or parathyroid disease, cancer or
Decreased Ca may indicate low Albumin, kidney or parathyroid disease, post-
partum complications or toxicity.
A steroid alcohol found in animal fats and oils, bile, blood, brain tissue, milk,
nerves, liver, kidneys and adrenal glands
Increased Chol may be spontaneous or diet related or may indicate liver,
kidney or hormonal disease.
Decreased Chol may indicate intestinal or liver disease, cancer or severe
|An essential dietary mineral important to bone and cell metabolism||
Increased Phos may indicate a young growing animal, kidney, hormonal, bone,
or muscle disease or toxicity.
Decreased Phos may indicate intestinal or kidney disease.
A metabolic by-product of hemoglobin and a component of bile that is secreted by
the liver into the gastrointestinal tract
Increased TBili may indicate liver, bile duct, or pancreatic disease or red
blood cell destruction.
Owner’s frequently travel with their pet dogs and cats. Whether the trip is
local, interstate, or international will determine what you need to do ahead
of time. Regardless of the trip your pet should be current on all relevant
vaccinations and parasite prevention. Contact your veterinarian to see what
your pet might need. You should be sure to have documentation of your pet’s
vaccinations especially your signed Rabies vaccination certificate. For
additional recommendations, see the list below:
For interstate and international travel a completed United States Department
of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS)
Certificate of Health Examination For Small Animals (Form 7001) must be
completed by an accredited veterinarian within 10 days of transport. These
certificates are valid for 30 days. If your pet is transported again after
the initial 30 days you will need to complete a new Certificate of Health
If you are transporting your pet by air, train, bus, or ship be sure to
contact your carrier several weeks in advance and find out what their
specific requirements are. These requirements vary and are subject to change.
Some pets find travel to be a stressful or even nauseating experience. If
this sounds like your pet, contact your veterinarian to discuss possible
If your pet requires special food or medications make sure you have enough
for your trip or take written prescriptions with you.
We strongly recommend permanently identifying your pet with a HomeAgain
microchip just in case your pet is lost or stolen. Make sure that your pet is
wearing a sturdy, safe collar with identifying information and Rabies tag.
Update: The FDA has recently warned pet owners against purchasing their pet’s medications online. The FDA Consumer Health Information Sheet can be found by clicking here.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warnings to pet owners regarding purchasing their pets’ medications online. To review the FDA’s information, follow the links below:
Our summarized response to clients questions regarding purchasing their pets’ medications online is summarized in the following PDF:ALERT! A more detailed discussion of the online pharmacy issue is provided below.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) encourages member veterinarians to honor their clients’ requests to prescribe rather than dispense a drug when a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) exists and the veterinarian has determined that the drug is medically necessary. However, before you have your pet’s prescription filled by a mail order or internet pharmacy, you should ask yourself and the pharmacy several questions:
Ultimately: is your peace of mind and your pet’s health worth the relatively small savings?
If you chose to have your pet’s prescriptions filled by an internet or mail order pharmacy you need to realize that you are interrupting the valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR). This makes it more difficult to monitor for possible drug interactions or to recommend periodic blood tests (for example, heartworm tests and checking liver and kidney values).
By purchasing your pet’s prescription products from us, your local veterinarian, you should also realize that our profit = your profit.
By spending your money locally through the purchase of products from us allows us to be there when you and your pet need us, to hire and train staff, to purchase and maintain equipment, and to maintain our facility. Our primary goal is service. Their primary goal is profit. Loss of prescription medication income may at some point necessitate raising prices in order for your local veterinary clinic to remain profitable.
In the end we hope you will realize that the relatively small amount of money you might save by purchasing your pet’s prescription medication through mail order or internet pharmacies is just not worth it.
Lawn burn or brown spots in the lawn are common complaints among dog and occasionally cat owners. They typically seem to be due to the pet’s urine, but the feces can also create dead spots in the lawn.
Much misinformation exists as to the nature of these spots as well as the best way to deal with them.
Many have speculated that the problem is due to the pH (acid/base) of the urine and claim that female urine causes more problems than male urine because it is more acidic or different in some other way.
The truth is that lawn burn is caused by the high levels of nitrogen in dog urine and feces. The nitrogen is a normal by-product of both dog and cat metabolism. In limited amounts the nitrogen acts as a lawn fertilizer resulting in lush growth at the edges of the brown spots. In greater amounts nitrogen kills the grass causing the brown spots.
There is no significant difference in the composition of male and female dog urine. The urine from female dogs causes more a problem than male urine because females tend to urinate a large volume in a single location. Males on the other hand tend to urinate smaller amounts in a number of locations.
There are a number of commercial products available as well as home recipes that are intended to aid in the prevention of brown spots in the lawn. The ingredients vary widely. The problems with these products and concoctions are that they likely won’t work and that they may change the pet’s urine in unexpected ways and cause a medical problem where one does not currently exist. Dog and cat urine is what it is for very specific reasons. By subtly altering the pH, mineral content, or other factors you may be predisposing your pet to urinary tract infections, crystals, or stones.
We recommend the following:
This is an issue commonly encountered by cat owners.
The first thing to do is determine whether this is truly a vomiting problem or a regurgitation problem. Vomiting is defined as the forcible ejection of stomach contents through the mouth and is usually accompanied by signs of nausea and abdominal contractions.
Regurgitation is defined as the involuntary backward flowing of undigested food usually from the esophagus and often seems to take the pet by surprise. Both vomiting and regurgitation can be caused by a number of different conditions, some of which can be very serious. It is very important that you and your veterinarian rule-out these potentially serious underlying causes. Assuming that the cat is healthy in every other way, and the problem is truly regurgitation, it may be more of a behavioral problem than a medical problem.
Often cats will eat like there is no tomorrow, going through binge-purge cycles where they eat a great deal of food very quickly and then soon after they regurgitate the undigested food onto the floor. The key to solving this problem is to slow down the cat’s eating behavior.
We recommend that you try one or more of the following suggestions:
In the last several years off leash dog parks have become very popular ways to exercise pets that are normally restricted to fenced backyards and leashed on sidewalks. Off leash dog parks provide an excellent opportunity to exercise your dog, but you should keep several things in mind:
|Bloomington Dog Park||111th Street, between Nesbitt and Hampshire Avenues||952.563.8892||daily dawn to 10 pm|
|Burnsville Alimagnet Dog Park Permit Required||1200 Alimagnet Parkway (off County Road 11)||952.895.4500 http://www.alimagnetdogpark.org||daily 5 am to 10 pm|
|Minneapolis Permit Required||612.673.5310||daily 6 am to 10 pm|
|Columbia Park||St. Anthony Parkway off Central Avenue (across from the Training Center)|
|Franklin Terrace||925 Franklin Terrace (Franklin Terrace and 30th Avenue South)|
|Lake of the Isles||2845 East Lake of the Isles Parkway (Lake of the Isles Parkway and West 28th Street)|
|Minnehaha Park||5399 South Minnehaha Park Drive (Minnehaha Avenue and East 54th Street)|
|Plymouth Egan Park *NOT FENCED*||17105 County Road 47 (South side of County Road 47, two blocks west of Dunkirk Lane)||763.509.5000|
|Maplewood||Battle Creek (near Lower Afton and McKnight Road)|
|Roseville||Woodview (off Larpenteur Avenue, just east of Dale Street)|
|Shoreview||Rice Creek (just south of County Road J on Lexington Avenue)|
|Rosemount Schwartz Pond||13787 Dodd Boulevard County Road 42 (north on Highway 3 to Dodd Boulevard on the left)||651.322.6000|
|St. Paul ArlArk -Arlington/ Arkwright Off-Leash Dog Park||on the corners of Arlington Avenue and Arkwright Street||sunrise to 9 pm|
|Three Rivers Park District Permit Required||763.559.9000||daily 5 am to sunset|
|Osseo Elm Creek Park Preserve||13351 Elm Creek Road (between Champlin, Dayton, and Maple Grove)||763.424.5511|
|Prior Lake Cleary Lake Regional Park||near Prior Lake on Scott County Road 77||952.447.2171|
|Rockford Lake Sarah Regional Park||763.559.9000|
|Rogers Crow-Hassan Park Reserve||west of Rogers on Sylvan Lake Road, off of County Road 203||763.424.5511|
If an animal’s life is in immediate danger, call 911. In Minneapolis, call the Animal Humane Society Cruelty Investigator at 763.489.2235. In St. Paul, call the Humane Society for Companion Animals Cruelty Investigator at 651.645.7387 ext. 13. Outside of these areas, call the Minnesota Federated Humane Society at 877.826.4625 or http://www.fpage.com/dsmith/mn_shame.htm
Sub Q (SQ) fluids is an abbreviation for subcutaneous fluids. Subcutaneous means under the skin.
SQ fluids usually consist of either sterile Lactated Ringer’s solution or sterile 0.9% Sodium Chloride solution. The purpose of giving SQ fluids is to replace fluids that a pet has lost due to a combination of insufficient fluid intake, illness (vomiting, diarrhea, excessive urination), and normal fluid loss.
The benefits of SQ fluid administration are that SQ fluids are quick and convenient to administer, they do not require hospitalization of the patient, they can be done on an outpatient basis, and the owner can be taught how to perform the procedure at home.
However, SQ fluids are not as efficient or as aggressive as intravenous fluids as a means of rehydrating an animal.
For step-by-step instructions on giving SQ fluids to your pet, see Administration of Subcutaneous Fluids at Home on the Client Handouts page. As always, follow your veterinarian’s instructions carefully and call your veterinary clinic if you have any questions.
Surprisingly enough, this is not all that unusual of a situation. The problem in identifying
male versus female kittens arises for a number of reasons, including: the small size of kittens’
genitals, poorly developed scrotums in the young, immature males, and the failure to recognize
that male cats have a prepuce and penis that point backwards rather than forwards as many people
are used to seeing in dogs, horses, cows, etc.
Refer to the photographs below for the primary means of distinguishing between male and female
cats and kittens. In both photographs the cats are facing away from the viewer with their tails
at the top of the picture and the rear legs at the bottom of the picture.
What does this recall mean: On September 3, 2004, Fort Dodge Animal Health announced that it would voluntarily comply with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine’s request to temporarily cease production of and recall ProHeart 6. ProHeart 6 is an injectable heartworm preventative that is administered to dogs by licensed veterinarians every 6 months.
The FDA has raised questions regarding the safety and effectiveness of ProHeart 6 and has formed an independent Advisory Panel to review the data.
Adverse reactions which have been suspected of being related to the administration of ProHeart 6 include allergic reactions, liver disease, heart disease, immune-mediated disease, bleeding abnormalities, cancer, and death. Fort Dodge has compiled data which they believe firmly support their claims of safety.
The efficacy rate (effectiveness) of ProHeart 6 has been solidly documented at 99.997%.
According to Fort Dodge, one the biggest problems with this issue is that “potential adverse events reported to the FDA are unfiltered, meaning all reported potential events are submitted without regard to cause and effect. Cases subsequently determined not to be related to the product remain in the overall reporting numbers, and are used to draw medical conclusions that dramatically overstate the incidence of various conditions.”
Fort Dodge firmly believes that the rate of adverse reactions are well within expected limits. For example, based on unfiltered reports with some reference to blood disorders or immune-mediated signs, the incidence rate for ProHeart 6 is 0.0025 percent or one in approximately 31,000 doses. Research by Bronson (Am J Vet Res, Vol 43, No. 11, p. 2057-2059, 1982) reported that one percent of all deaths in dogs were due to hemolytic anemia (destruction of red blood cells by the body’s own immune system). Even using the unfiltered reporting numbers, ProHeart 6 is well below the baseline of disease for the U.S. canine population.
Many of the issues regarding ProHeart 6 arose as a result of reports in the media and on the internet. Unfortunately the internet is full of reports that are often incorrect, anecdotal, overly emotional, unsubstantiated, and/or full of opinion and conjecture presented as fact. Clients must be very careful when reviewing internet reports.
If you have other specific questions regarding ProHeart 6, we encourage you to speak to your veterinarian – there is no better source of information for you and your pet. Please do not rely on the internet, friends, or word of mouth when it comes to this important issue. For more detailed information from the manufacturer, go to www.proheart6.com and/or www.proheart6dvm.com.
How does the recall affect my dog who has received ProHeart 6 in the past: At this time we are not administering any additional doses of ProHeart 6 to dogs until further notice. Those dogs that have received ProHeart 6 in the past will need to switch to a different form of heartworm prevention (see below). If you have concerns that your dog may be experiencing an adverse reaction as a result of ProHeart 6 administration you should contact your veterinarian or you may call Fort Dodge Professional Services department at 1-800-533-8536.
What I should do for future heartworm prevention: Because your dog will not be receiving ProHeart 6 until further notice, you will need to switch to a different form of heartworm prevention. You should start this preventative six months after your dog’s last ProHeart 6 injection. Other heartworm prevention options are summarized in FAQs number 5 and should be discussed with your veterinarian.
Update: ProHeart 6 has recently been relaunched in the United States, however, we do not currently carry the product in our clinic.
Consider trying Krebaum’s Formula to get rid of skunk smell from pets or other objects.
Wash and rinse thoroughly. Repeat if necessary. Keep out of eyes, nose, and mouth.
REMEMBER, skunks are the main reservoir of rabies in Minnesota. It is illegal to own, acquire, purchase, import, export, give, sell or barter a skunk in Minnesota.
Canine influenza (dog flu) is a newly emerging respiratory disease of dogs. It has been diagnosed in several states with recent outbreaks in Detroit Lakes, MN, Chicago, IL and Madison, WI. No confirmed cases of canine influenza have been reported in the Twin Cities to date. For more information from the University of Minnesota, click here. For even more information from the American Veterinary Medical Association, click here.
Teeth can be discolored for a number of different reasons, including staining, disease, trauma, drugs, or chewing on metal. Of course, to accurately determine the exact cause for discoloration of a particular tooth, a full examination by a qualified veterinarian is required. That being said, the following descriptions may be helpful.
Dental staining is usually DARK ORANGE or BROWN in color and does not appear to rise above the surface of the enamel. Dental staining can sometimes be removed with proper dental scaling, but too much scaling to remove stain may damage the underlying tooth. Daily brushing of the teeth with a pet appropriate toothbrush and toothpaste is the best way to prevent dental staining.
Dental tartar or calculus is usually a YELLOW material consisting of calcium phosphate and calcium carbonate, food particles, bacteria, and other organic matter that is deposited on the teeth by saliva. Initially the tartar may appear as a thin film on the teeth. If allowed to progress the tartar eventually will appear as a thick, hard covering over the dental enamel. Pet’s with significant tartar accumulation will likely have bad breath (halitosis) and are more likely to develop oral pain, gingivitis (inflammation of the gum tissue), tooth root infections, and loose teeth. Daily brushing is the best way to avoid tartar accumulation. Once tartar has accumulated on the teeth it is best removed by professional veterinary dental scaling and polishing. DO NOT hand scale your pet’s teeth at home with metal scaling tools as this will scratch the underlying enamel. Scratched enamel is a rough surface that allows tartar and bacteria to more easily attach to the tooth.
In the case of trauma, a healthy tooth may suffer blunt impact causing internal hemorrhage or bleeding. As a result the tooth turns PINK in color. A PURPLE tooth is dying due to increased pressure within the pulp cavity. A GRAY or BROWNtooth is likely a dead tooth. Early intervention is the best option to save a traumatized tooth. Left untreated the damaged tooth may become infected or loose resulting in oral pain, swelling or redness of the associated gum tissue, and/or a reluctance to eat or drink. Depending on the condition of the individual tooth treatment options include no treatment (monitor), antibiotics and steroids, root canal, or extraction.
Tetracycline and related antibiotics have long been documented to cause teeth to turn YELLOW, LIGHT BROWN or GRAY when given to young animals. This class of antibiotics should be avoided in young animals until all of the adult teeth have completely erupted.
A tooth with SILVER discoloration usually indicates that the animal has been chewing on some metallic surface, usually the galvanized metal of kennels or crates. It would be wise to determine the exact cause of the animal’s chewing in an effort to avoid broken teeth and/or unnecessary stress on the part of pet.
This is a great question. Teaching our children how to interact with dogs, especially ones they don’t know, is extremely important for the child’s safety. Rather than reinventing the wheel, we recommend you visit the American Kennel Club web pages that cover a wide variety of important topics covering responsible dog ownership and safety around dogs. The pages includes a number of helpful activity sheets, educational kits, games and a coloring book.
There are 28 colleges of veterinary medicine offering DVM degrees in 26 of the 50 United States. There are also a number of other veterinary schools around the world. All of the U.S. veterinary schools and many of the other schools are listed below. For two different lists of colleges of veterinary medicine and their contact information, click here and here.
United States (28)
Other International (13)
The job description of a veterinarian can vary widely depending on what branch of veterinary medicine they pursue. While a large percentage of veterinarians work with pets in exclusively small animal practices, there is a wide variety of career opportunities available to individuals with degrees in veterinary medicine. Many of these career fields are summarized below. For more information, click here.
Areas of Veterinary Specialization
The duties of a small animal private practice veterinarian include, but are not necessarily limited to:
A typical day for a veterinarian at WBAH:
Salary Overview and Statistics
The exact salary a veterinarian will earn will depend a number of factors including the number of years of experience, their specific field, whether they are a generalist or a specialist, what part of the country they work in, whether they work in an urban, metropolitan or rural area and whether they are an associate or a partner/owner.
AVMA* New Graduates’ Average Starting Salaries (2008):
Salary Statistics from the BLS/OES** (May 2009):
Top Earning Industries from the BLS/OES** (May 2009):
* American Veterinary Medical Association
** Bureau of Labor Statistics/Occupational Employment Statistics for information on salaries, top states, top cities, etc.
Pet insurance is a great option to help offset the cost of providing veterinary care for your pet and is based on a reimbursement system. After you pay for veterinary services, you submit your claim to your insurance company and they reimburse you according to the specifics of your policy. The cost of the policy will vary by company, coverage desired, deductible and other factors. Links to the most popular pet insurance companies are listed below.
|TheBestPetInsurance.Com – learn the facts about pet insurance, determine if a pet insurance policy is necessary||www.thebestpetinsurance.com/|
|Online Reviews of pet insurance companies and policies||http://petinsurancereview.com/|
|A Vet’s Guide to Pet Insurance||http://www.pet-insurance-university.com/|
|Your Pet Insurance Guide – a pet insurance blog||http://www.petinsuranceguideus.com/|
|Purina Care – Pet Health Insurance||www.purinacare.com|
|Veterinary Pet Insurance – Pet health insurance||www.petinsurance.com/vca|
|ASPCA Pet Health Insurance||www.aspcapetinsurance.com/info|
|Pets Best – Pet health insurance||www.petsbest.com|
|Pet First Healthcare – Pet Health Insurance||www.petfirsthealthcare.com|
|Trupanion – Medical Insurance For Your Pet||www.trupanionpetinsurance.com|
|Companion Pet Insurance||www.companionpets.com…|
Heartgard Plus, our preferred parasite preventative, protects against heartworms, roundworms and hookworms.
Heartworms are blood parasites that are transmitted by infected mosquitoes.
Roundworms and hookworms are intestinal parasites that are transmitted through the soil from infected stool.
Most pets have no significant reaction to their vaccinations. However, some pets will experience some or all of the following mild side effects (usually starting within hours of vaccination and typically lasting no longer than a few days): 1) discomfort and local swelling at the vaccination site, 2) mild fever, 3) diminished appetite and activity, 4) sneezing or other respiratory signs (following an intranasal vaccine). If these side effects last for more than a few days, please contact us. A small, firm swelling under the skin may develop at the site of a recent vaccination and should disappear in a couple of weeks. If it persists for more than three months or grows in size, please contact us.
More serious but rare side effects, such as severe allergic reactions, may occur within minutes to hours after vaccination. Signs include vomiting, diarrhea, itchy skin, difficulty breathing and collapse. These allergic reactions can be life-threatening and are medical emergencies. Contact us or the Animal Emergency and Referral Center in Oakdale (651-501-3766) immediately, as your pet may require medical treatment.
SOURCE: American Veterinary Medical Association.
Please keep your pet quiet for 3 to 4 days after surgery. No running, jumping or playing. Take him/her outside only for necessities. It is normal for some pets to act sleepy for the first 2 to 3 days after anesthesia. Please keep your pet clean and dry until the incision is healed. You may feed your pet his/her normal diet after surgery. Some animals will have a decreased appetite for 1 to 3 days after surgery.
If your pet’s skin was closed with sutures or staples, they will need to be removed in 10 to 14 days. There is no charge for suture/staple removal. Please call to schedule an appointment.
Monitor the incision for excessive swelling, redness, discharge, bleeding or pain and call us if you suspect a problem. If the incision seems swollen, you can apply a warm compress to the area for 10 minutes, three times a day. Call us if the swelling persists.
Most pets leave their incisions alone, however, some will lick or chew at the incision. Please discourage your pet from licking or chewing. Putting a t-shirt on your pet to cover a chest or abdominal incision can help dissuade them from licking. Clean socks can be used to cover incisions on the legs. Occasionally, an animal will need to wear an Elizabethan collar around their neck to prevent self-inflicted trauma. We have these collars available at the clinic.
Your pet may have been intubated during surgery, meaning a tube was placed down the throat to help him/her breathe during surgery. A mild cough due to throat irritation can occur for a few days after surgery.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call us at 651-777-1393. If you have an after hours emergency, you can call the Animal Emergency and Referral Center in Oakdale at 651-501-3766.
If your pet has a bandage, splint or cast it is very important to keep the bandage clean and dry. Check the bandage twice daily for odor, redness or swelling and call if any of these occur. Also call us if your pet chews on or removes the bandage. When your pet needs to go outside on a damp or rainy day, cover the bandage with a small plastic cover to keep the bandage dry (NO RUBBER BANDS!). Remove the plastic once inside again.
There are several companies that provide dog breed determination based on DNA analysis. These companies are able to identify breed-specific genetic markers for dozens of different breeds of dogs. The number of breeds that can be identified varies by company. Two different sample options are currently available: cheek swabs and blood. The cheek swab kits can be ordered on line by pet owner’s and submitted directly to the company for analysis. The blood samples are typically collected by veterinary clinics to be submitted. The cheek swabs are usually less expensive than the blood samples. Determining your dog’s breed or breeds can be fun, but it can also be useful because many breeds of dogs are predisposed to a wide variety of medical conditions. Costs for the tests generally run between $60 and $150.
A nice discussion of dog DNA breed analysis can be found by clicking here.
Links to a few companies to consider are listed below.
The following information was provided by the Animal Emergency and Referral Service of Minnesota (AERC):
Clients often want to know what is safe and what is not safe for dogs to chew on. Our board-certified veterinary dentist, Dr. Brine, has tips for what you can teach your clients about chew toys.
It’s a good idea to…
It’s not a good idea to…