Hope Animal Medical Center has once again been named a Southeastern Guide Dogs Veterinarian Partner.
Hope Animal Medical Center is proud to continue our partnership with Southeastern Guide Dogs. We provide these wonderful service dogs with our quality service. If you have any questions please feel free to call us at 706-546-7879. Find out more information on Southeastern Guide Dogs at www.guidedogs.org.
The Importance of Nutrition
Balanced nutrition is an essential part of an active, healthy lifestyle. Your pet needs plenty of fresh water and should be fed good quality food in amounts sufficient to meet energy and caloric requirements. Inadequate or excess intake of nutrients can be equally harmful. The food your pet eats plays an important role in his or her overall health and well-being.
The Difference Between Dogs and Cats
Dogs are omnivores, which means they can eat a variety of foods to meet their energy requirements. Completely balanced vegetarian diets can be fed to dogs without fear of causing any nutritional deficiency. However, cats have always been carnivores. Cats have some unique nutritional needs that a strictly vegetarian diet cannot satisfy. These include: Arachidonic Acid (an essential fatty acid, which is not found in plant sources), Taurine (an amino acid that cats cannot synthesize in adequate amounts), Vitamin A, and Niacin. In addition to these dietary peculiarities, your cat requires a high amount of protein in his diet, about 12 percent in comparison to 4 percent for adult dogs. Unlike you, your cat does very well on a high-fat diet. Fat gives him needed energy, assists the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (Vitamins A and E), and adds taste.
Memorize Our List of Foods to Avoid
Our experts at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center urge you to avoid feeding the following foods to your pet: alcoholic beverages, avocado, chocolate, coffee, fatty foods, grapes and raisins, macadamia nuts, moldy or spoiled foods, onion and onion powder, salt, yeast dough, garlic, and products sweetened with xylitol.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is an organization that publishes regulations for nutritional adequacy of “complete and balanced” dog and cat foods. Your pet’s food should conform to minimal AAFCO standards.
These nutritional adequacy standards are defined by two nutrient profiles based upon a pet’s stage of life:
1. Adult maintenance, and
2. Growth and reproduction. Pet foods rated for “growth and reproduction” are designed for puppies/kittens and pregnant or lactating females. Every pet food label must contain a statement and validation of nutritional adequacy.
AAFCO regulations allow two basic methods for pet food manufacturers to substantiate claims:
1. Formulation Method — Requires the manufacturer to formulate the food to meet the AAFCO nutrient profiles for dogs and cats. This method is less time consuming and less expensive because feeding trials with pets are not required, only a calculation of the nutrient levels.
An example of an AAFCO statement using the formulation method would be: "Brand ABC Cat Food is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by AAFCO Cat Food Profiles for maintenance of adult cats."
2. Feeding Trial Method — Requires the manufacturer perform an AAFCO-protocol feeding trial using the food as the sole source of nutrition. This is the Gold Standard or preferred method, and it documents the pets' performance when fed the food.
An example of an AAFCO statement using the feeding trial method would be: "Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that Brand X Dog Food provides complete and balanced nutrition for maintenance of adult dogs." (From hillspet.com)
An animal’s energy needs are based on its body weight. The daily caloric requirements for an individual animal depend on its physiological state, such as adult maintenance, growth, pregnancy, or lactation. Other determining factors include the animal’s activity and temperament, environmental temperature, and the diet’s digestibility. Less active dogs and cats require considerably fewer calories per day. On any feeding program animals should be weighed at frequent intervals to evaluate appropriateness of measurements and for adjusting caloric intake. Determining energy requirements for cats is easier than dogs because body size of cats varies little.
Pet food labels recommend feeding amounts in a range of cups given at certain ages for a puppy/kitten, maturing to a given weight range for adult pets. This range of cups can vary greatly, and can be quite confusing. It is most important to judge how much to feed by an additional evaluation of the pet’s appearance. The desired condition varies with certain breeds – some tend to be more solid, others more trim. Just remember: Lean pets live longer, healthier lives than those who are overweight.
Body Condition Scoring
Veterinarians typically use a measurement called a body condition score to assess whether a pet is underweight, overweight, or just right (healthy). Your veterinarian can use this scale to show you the proper way to assess your pet’s weight. If you’re unsure what your pet’s optimum weight should be, perform this simple test: Place your hands on your pet’s rib cage with your thumbs on the back.
Your pet is a healthy weight if: 1. You can easily feel its ribs, 2. It has a tucked abdomen and no sagging fat deposits, and 3. You can see its waist from above.
Your pet is overweight if: 1. You can feel fat between the skin and ribs or you have difficulty feeling its ribs, 2. It has a large abdomen that hangs down, and you can grab a handful of fat, and 3. It has a broad, flat back and no visible waist.
Battle the Bulge
“As more Americans confront their own weight issues, furry housemates increasingly struggle alongside them. Data from 2011 indicates that the problem is reaching epidemic proportions, with more than half of U.S. dogs and cats now overweight or obese. “ [From WSJ.com (Wall Street Journal)] Many owners view an overweight pet as simply a cosmetic issue. They do not understand the health risks involved with excess weight. Diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, osteoarthritis, liver disease and skin issues are more common in obese animals. Overweight pets also face increased risk during anesthesia and surgery. Studies have revealed that obese dogs have a shorter lifespan than their normal weight counterparts.
What’s the best way to tip the scales in your pet’s favor? Gradually decrease her food intake while increasing her activity level. You can switch to a reduced calorie food or make a cutback in the portion size of her regular food. We recommend a gradual reduction of 10 to 25 percent for cats, and 25 to 33 percent for dogs – but it’s always a good idea to check with your pet’s veterinarian first. Avoid treats that are high in fat and calories, such as cheese, hot dogs, and peanut butter. Raw vegetables and some fruits make excellent low-calorie treats, as do air-popped popcorn, and ice cubes. With careful dietary management and oversight by your veterinarian, changes in diet and lifestyle can lead to a much more productive life. There are prescription diet formulations available from your veterinarian that can make dieting easy for you and your pet. Not enough exercise and too much food will cause any animal to gain weight – especially pets, who rely on you to regulate nutrition and activity levels.
Not only will daily exercise keep your pet physically fit and mentally healthy, it helps channel aggressive and destructive behaviors. Regular activity also burns up calories and increases muscle mass and cardiovascular strength. When it comes to canines, individual exercise needs vary based on breed, sex, age and level of health, but a couple of walks around the block every day is probably not enough – especially if your pooch is an adolescent or a member of the sporting, herding, hound or terrier breeds. And if your cat has fallen into bad exercise habits (i.e. sure, she can run – to her food dish!), you will have to engage her in supervised fun and games. Lots of cats love chasing after laser pointers or crinkle-noise-making toys. Always start slow, though, and limit beginning sessions to five minutes or so.
We proudly carry Hill’s Veterinary Prescription Diets and Royal Canin Veterinary Diets here at Hope Animal Medical Center. Hill’s Prescription Diet pet foods are specially formulated to help manage pets with health problems. Backed by extensive clinical studies, Hill’s offers the most reliable and trusted range of therapeutic pet foods. Hill’s manufacturing facilities follow strict sourcing and production processes to ensure premium wellness and therapeutic pet nutrition. Advanced technology allows for efficient handling, blending and processing, resulting in safe, highly nutritious and palatable pet foods. Royal Canin was created in 1967 by a veterinarian, Dr. Jean Cathary, with a focus on developing preventive and therapeutic nutrition for companion animals. Royal Canin also has strict criteria for quality of raw materials during each stage of food production and food safety. Royal Canin was one of the first pet food manufacturers to become ISO-certified, a designation that means they meet international standards for their manufacturing process. All Hill’s and Royal Canin pet foods come with a 100% Guarantee for quality, consistency, and taste.
We offer a wide variety of dog and cat foods that can help specific issues from preventive health (e.g. oral/dental, digestive, and skin health), to chronic disease management (e.g. arthritis, kidney and urinary tract disease, diabetes, and heart disease). We even have a new diet for dogs with anxiety (Royal Canin CALM). Come visit us at Hope Animal Medical Center, call us at 706-546-7879, or visit our website at www.hopeamc.com for more information.
Dr. Jenifer Hope Gustafson
Dr. Sherri Turick
Dr. Angela Dodd
Dr. Lisa Stacy
Help Your Pet(s) Have a Fabulous Fourth
As the holiday approaches, take some time out to consider the safety and comfort of your pet(s). While the Fourth of July is a time for fireworks and celebration, for many pets and their owners it can be a nightmare. As many pet lovers know, fireworks and thunderstorms can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety for some animals. Fear of loud noises such as fireworks, thunder, and gunshots is called noise phobia. Nervous behaviors include: shaking, trembling, whimpering, panting, excessive drooling, howling, barking, refusing to eat, trying to hide or get into/out of the house/fence/or other enclosure, losing control of bladder or bowels or experiencing stress diarrhea. Your anxious pet cannot control its reactions in these situations. Fortunately, many therapies are available to help with this condition. Behavior modification techniques alone work well for some pets, while others may need medications or other supplemental therapies in addition to behavior modification to stay safe and not injure themselves trying to “escape” the noise. As always, the staff at Hope Animal Medical Center is happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding noise phobias in your pet.
Here are a few safety tips regarding fireworks and other noises:
Approximately 17 million dogs and cats are turned over to animal shelters per year. Only 1 in 10 animals successfully find a home. The suffering and sorrow associated with pet overpopulation is overwhelming. The tragedy is that much of it could be eliminated by simple operations. Spaying and neutering surgeries are performed under general anesthesia and are helpful in many ways. By spaying and neutering pets, people can help lower the numbers of unwanted and homeless dogs and cats. By helping to keep the pet population in check, you increase the chances of adoption for already homeless animals.
Spaying your Female Pet
A spay, or ovariohysterectomy, refers to the sterilization of a female pet, and involves the surgical removal of the uterus and both ovaries. This surgery requires your pet to be placed under general anesthesia. The most common reason to perform a spay is to prevent estrus (heat cycles) and unwanted offspring. Other reasons include prevention of mammary tumors or hereditary/congenital defects, prevention and treatment of pyometra (infection of the uterus), neoplasia (cancer of the ovaries, uterus, or vagina), or other disease processes (such as uterine torsion, uterine prolapse, vaginal prolapse, and control of some endocrine abnormalities like diabetes and epilepsy and dermatoses like generalized demodex).
Special Information Regarding Mammary Tumors In Dogs & Cats
Approximately 50% of mammary tumors are malignant (cancerous), and approximately 50% are benign (non-cancerous).
Any breed is susceptible, however there is an increased predisposition in Poodles,Cocker Spaniels, Dachshunds, Terriers, and German Shepherd dogs.
The development of mammary tumors in the dog is clearly hormone dependent.
The risk for malignant tumors in dogs spayed prior to the 1st estrus (before their 1st heat cycle) is 0.05%.
The risk for malignant tumors in dogs spayed after the 1st estrus (between their 1st and 2nd heat cycles) is 8%.
HOWEVER, the risk for malignant tumors in dogs spayed after the 2nd estrus (after their 2nd heat cycle) rises to 26%.
Later spaying does NOT reduce the risk for malignant tumors, while the risk for benign tumors seems reduced by ovariectomy even at a later age. Spaying your dog eliminates the risk of uterine and ovarian cancers, as well as eliminates the risk of pyometra (infection of the uterus). THEREFORE, IT IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED TO SPAY YOUR DOG BEFORE ITS FIRST ESTRUS CYCLE FOR THE MOST HEALTH BENEFITS. SPAYING YOUR PET EARLY IN LIFE HAS PROVEN TO HAVE THE MOST HEALTH BENEFIT IN REDUCING THE RISK FOR MALIGNANT TUMORS.
Approximately 90% of mammary tumors in cats are malignant.
Any breed is susceptible, however there is an increased incidence in Siamese and domestic short-haired cats.
Hormonal influences seem to be involved in the development of mammary tumors in the cat. A study found that cats spayed (ovariectomized) at 6 months of age had an approximately 7-fold REDUCED risk of mammary cancer compared to intact cats. More recent studies have also been able to show that spayed cats have a 40% to 60% lower risk of developing mammary cancer than intact cats.
THEREFORE, IT IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED TO SPAY YOUR CAT.
Neutering Your Male Pet
Neutering should be considered if you are keeping any male dog or cat as a pet. A neuter, or castration, refers to the sterilization of a male pet, and involves the surgical removal of both testicles. This surgery requires your pet to be placed under general anesthesia. Neutering, or castration, reduces overpopulation by inhibiting male fertility and decreases male aggressiveness, roaming, and undesirable urination behavior. It helps prevent prostatic diseases, perianal adenomas, and perineal hernias. Other indications for castration include congenital abnormalities, testicular or epididymal abnormalities, scrotal neoplasia (cancer), trauma or abscesses, hernias, epilepsy control, and control of endocrine abnormalities. Neutering helps to eliminate the risk of testicular cancers and torsion, and helps to decrease the risk of prostatic disease.
Preoperative and Postoperative Care
Here at Hope Animal Medical Center, we recommend spaying and neutering your pet at 4 to 6 months of age for the most health and behavior benefits. We will advise you to withhold food and water from your pet the night before surgery is scheduled in order to decrease the risk of nausea and/or vomiting during or after surgery. Preoperatively, we perform pre-anesthetic bloodwork to screen for any pre-existing abnormalities that may cause complications during surgery. If all bloodwork results are normal, then we proceed with surgery. We offer a complimentary overnight stay for all of our spay and neuter patients; however, most of our patients are able to go home the same night after surgery. Postoperatively, the veterinarian and veterinary technician will review instructions and advice that should be followed to ensure a safe and healthy recovery of your pet. Once a pet has fully recovered, you can feel confident that you have helped your companion to live a longer, happier, healthier life while not contributing to the overpopulation of animals.
Please call us at 706-546-7879 if you are interested in having your pet spayed or neutered. During the month of June 2012, we are offering a 20% discount off all our spay and neuter surgeries.
April is Heartworm Awareness Month
Heartworms are transmitted to dogs and cats by mosquitoes. Heartworm disease develops when a dog or cat is bitten by a mosquito carrying microscopic heartworm larvae (juvenile worms) of a parasite called Dirofilaria immitis. As a mosquito feeds, these larvae are deposited on the pet’s skin and quickly penetrate the skin to begin their migration into the pet’s bloodstream. The larvae migrate through the bloodstream and tissues, eventually reaching the heart and lungs. Adult heartworms can grow 10 to 12 inches in length and make their home in the right side of the heart and pulmonary (lung) arteries, often causing lung disease and heart failure.
Heartworm disease is a major health problem for dogs living in the United States and throughout the temperate and tropical regions of the world. Once thought to be only a disease of dogs and other wild canids (foxes, wolves, and coyotes), recent studies indicate that heartworm infection in cats is more common then ever believed. Without the protection of a heartworm preventive, your pet couldget heartworm disease – a potentially deadly illness of the heart and lungs. While there is treatment available for dogs that get infected with heartworms, treatment can be expensive, difficult and can lead to serious side effects. However, there is no approved treatment for feline heartworm infection. Therefore, heartworm prevention given to your pet once monthly year-round is strongly advised to protect your pet from contracting this potentially fatal disease.
The good news is that heartworm disease is essentially 100% preventable! Various heartworm preventives are available, including monthly oral and topical formulations. Heartworm preventives are effective when given properly and on a timely schedule. All heartworm preventive medications work by killing heartworm larvae acquired during the previous month and do not continue to protect pets from future infection. This is why it is important to administer heartworm preventives to your pet once every month year-round. All approved heartworm preventives are highly effective, safe, easy to use, relatively inexpensive, and often provide treatment for additional parasites. Please remember, it is your responsibility to faithfully maintain the preventive program you have selected in consultation with your veterinarian. The best way to eliminate the risk of heartworm infection in your pet is to institute a year-round prevention program. Prevention is always more safe and affordable than treating dogs with adult heartworm infections.
Clinical signs of heartworm disease in dogs and cats can vary. Recently infected dogs may show no signs of the disease. Some common signs of heartworm infection in dogs include coughing, difficulty breathing, exercise intolerance, decreased appetite, weight loss and lethargy. Left untreated, heartworm disease may be fatal to your dog as it can cause “caval syndrome”, a sudden obstruction of blood flow through the heart and lungs, or development of heart failure. Signs of heartworm disease in cats range tremendously, from mild and subtle in appearance to severe and life threatening. Symptoms of feline Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease (HARD) can mimic many common diseases of cats such as hairballs, asthma, or pneumonia. Signs of disease may include loss of appetite, sluggishness, intermittent vomiting (not associated with eating), coughing, wheezing, and respiratory distress. The presence of just one heartworm may result in permanent damage – or even death – to a cat or kitten. In fact, sudden death may be the first and only sign of heartworm infection in some cats.
Detecting heartworm disease in both dogs and cats involve simple blood tests; however, heartworm disease in dogs and cats do have some differences. Numerous blood tests are available for detecting heartworm infections in dogs, and your veterinarian will perform the test most appropriate for your dog. Tests cannot consistently detect infection until heartworms are at least six to seven months old. Moreover, tests are unable to detect infections if only male worms are present or if there are only one or two female worms. All dogs more than six months of age should be tested for heartworm infection before starting a preventive program. Annual heartworm testing is recommended for monitoring the success of any heartworm prevention program in dogs. If your dog tests positive for heartworm disease, then your veterinarian will need to perform a thorough physical examination, blood tests (e.g. a CBC and chemistry profile), and radiographs to assess your dog’s level of risk and stage of disease. To reduce complications, your veterinarian will educate you in great detail before beginning treatment. While the heartworm medication melarsomine dihydrochloride (Immiticide) is extremely effective in eliminating adult worms, some dogs will not be completely cleared with a single course of treatment. Testing is recommended six months after treatment to ensure all heartworms were killed. If tests are positive, additional adulticidal treatment may be indicated.
For the feline population, two blood tests are currently available to assist in diagnosing heartworms in cats. Unfortunately, test results do not always produce clear answers, even with professional interpretation. Positive tests indicate heartworms were present, but do not necessarily mean the pet is still infected. Moreover, since tests cannot diagnose very early infection or those infections cause by only one or two worms, negative test results are not always accurate. Even when heartworm disease is highly suspected, confirming a diagnosis through testing in the cat can be difficult. Multiple blood tests along with chest x-rays and ultrasound imaging of the heart and lungs are often needed to make a diagnosis. Since no safe treatment exists for the elimination of heartworms in cats, the best option is the routine use of heartworm preventives to inhibit development of infection.
All dogs are at risk for heartworm disease no matter where they live. Cats are at risk wherever dogs are at risk. The prevalence of heartworm disease has increased steadily since it was first identified. It now affects dogs in all 50 states. Even indoor cats can get heartworm disease. Some people think that indoor cats are safe from heartworm disease, but mosquitoes can get indoors, and cats can get out. Please visit the website of the American Heartworm Society (www.heartwormsociety.org) for more in-depth information regarding prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heartworm disease.
We strongly recommend heartworm preventives for your pet once monthly year-round. Here at Hope Animal Medical Center, we carry a variety of products that can help you and your pet. Below is a brief explanation of the different products we have available.
Heartgard = Ivermectin/Pyrantel pamoate, oral heartworm prevention plus intestinal parasite control (hookworms and roundworms), lasts 1 month
Trifexis = Spinosad/Milbemycin Oxime, oral flea control plus heartworm prevention, intestinal parasite control (hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms), lasts 1 month (DOGS ONLY)
Iverhart Plus = Ivermectin/Pyrantel pamoate, oral heartworm prevention plus intestinal parasite control (hookworms and roundworms), lasts 1 month (DOGS ONLY)
Revolution = Selamectin, topical flea/tick control plus heartworm prevention, lasts 1 month
Advantage Multi = Imidacloprid/Moxidectin, topical flea control plus heartworm prevention, intestinal parasite control (hookworms and roundworms), and earmite treatment/prevention, lasts 1 month
Revolution = Selamectin, topical flea control plus heartworm prevention, intestinal parasite control (hookworms and roundworms), and earmite treatment/prevention, lasts 1 month.
Heartgard = Ivermectin, oral heartworm prevention plus hookworm intestinal parasite control, lasts 1 month
Spring has sprung!
We all want to wish you a Happy March! With the warmer weather, we officially mark the beginning of flea and tick season. Fleas and ticks are external parasites that affect dogs, cats and humans too. The harmful effects of fleas and ticks can include more than just itchiness and discomfort. In fact, both fleas and ticks can carry serious diseases that are dangerous to both owner and pet. Thankfully, today there are a variety of products available through veterinarians that can help ensure protection from these pesky parasites.
In addition to itchiness, or pruritus, fleas can cause numerous health problems in our pets. Fleas are small, brown, wingless insects that bite the skin and feed on blood. Because they feed on blood, flea infestations can lead to anemia. When a flea bites a pet, it injects small amounts of saliva into the skin that works to prevent blood clotting and allows it to better siphon blood. Some pets are allergic to the flea saliva, which can cause severe skin reactions, known as flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) or flea bite hypersensitivity. Fleas can also carry tapeworm larvae, which a pet can ingest and become infected with tapeworms and then pass through its feces (often looks like “pieces of rice”). Plus, fleas can carry the organism Bartonella henselae , one of the causes of “cat-scratch disease (CSD)” in humans.
Ticks are another blood-sucking parasite of the arachnid family related to mites and spiders. Ticks are most commonly found on the ears or in between the toes, but they can be found anywhere on the body. Ticks can be harmful in small or large numbers, as they can transmit serious diseases to both animals and humans. Tick-borne diseases include: Ehrlichia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Lyme disease. Erhlichia can cause anemia, low platelet counts, bleeding, fever, lethargy, neurologic disease and multiple leg arthritis. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever can cause fever, neurologic disease, breathing difficulty, bleeding disorders and anemia. Lyme disease, caused by the organism Borrelia burgdorferi , is transmitted by the deer tick and can cause multiple leg arthritis, weight loss, lack of appetite, lethargy and fever. Ticks can also cause localized inflammatory lesions of the skin, and occasionally, a syndrome called tick-bite paralysis: weakness or paralysis associated with a toxin the tick secretes as it feeds.
Signs of Infestation
Often times pet owners will find fleas or ticks on their pets; however, some pets with flea allergy dermatitis/flea bite hypersensitivity may just be itchy, but no fleas are visible. Finding an adult flea is just the “tip of the iceberg” as the flea has other life-cycle stages that are more numerous and often times too small to see easily. Fleas lay eggs that fall off the pet into the surrounding environment. These eggs hatch into larval-stage fleas then form a pupa before maturing into an adult flea. Other signs of flea infestation are finding pepper-like debris (flea feces) in the pet’s fur, pruritus (itching/scratching/over-grooming), and irritated skin. Flea infestations can lead to secondary skin infections as well. Another indicator of a flea or tick problem is if pet owners find a tick or small bites on themselves.
Flea and Tick Preventives
Fortunately, there are a variety of flea and tick preventives available through your veterinarian. These products are safe and effective, and come in either topical or oral formulations. It is crucial that products designed for dogs should never be used for cats and vice-versa. The use of over-the-counter products is not recommended as they can have harsher ingredients and harmful side effects, especially if used incorrectly. Harmful side effects can include: allergic reactions, muscle tremors, seizures, and in severe cases, death for a pet. We have a variety of products here at Hope Animal Medical Center that can help you and your pet. We recommend using flea/tick control products once monthly year-round as insects are a year-round problem here in the south. Below is a brief explanation of the different products available.
Capstar = Nitenpyram, oral flea control, kills fleas quickly,lasts 1 day only
Comfortis = Spinosad, oral flea control, lasts 1 month (DOGS ONLY)
Advantage = Imidacloprid, topical flea control, lasts 1 month
K9Advantix = Imidacloprid/Permethrin, topical flea/tick control, lasts 1 month (DOGS ONLY)
Frontline = Fipronil/S-Methoprene, topical flea/tick control, lasts 1 month
Preventic Collar = Amitraz, tick collar, lasts 3 months (DOGSONLY)
Trifexis = Spinosad/Milbemycin Oxime, oral flea control plus heartworm prevention, intestinal parasite control, lasts 1 month (DOGS ONLY)
Sentinel = Lufenuron/Milbemycin Oxime, oral flea sterilizer plus heartworm prevention, intestinal parasite control, lasts 1 month (DOGS ONLY)
Revolution = Selamectin, topical flea/tick control plus heartworm prevention, lasts 1 month
Capstar = Nitenpyram, oral flea control, kills fleas quickly,lasts 1 day only
Advantage = Imidacloprid, topical flea control, lasts 1 month
Advantage Multi = Imidacloprid/Moxidectin, topical flea control plus heartworm prevention, intestinal parasite control, and ear mite treatment/prevention, lasts 1 month
Frontline = Fipronil, topical flea/tick control, lasts 1 month
Revolution = Selamectin, topical flea control plus heartworm prevention, intestinal parasite control, and earmite treatment/prevention, lasts 1 month.
Please call for more information or visit our clinic’s website at www.HopeAMC.com.
Hope Animal Medical Center Named to the Bulldog 100: Fastest Growing Bulldog Businesses Class of 2012
Hope Animal Medical Center Named to the
Bulldog 100: Fastest Growing Bulldog Businesses
Class of 2012
January 24, 2012
Athens, Ga. – Hope Animal Medical Center, based in Athens, was honored on January 21, when the UGA Alumni Association announced the rankings of the 2012 Bulldog 100: Fastest Growing Bulldog Businesses at a celebration in Atlanta.
Hope Animal Medical Center helmed by UGA graduates Dr. Jenifer Hope Gustafson and Dr. Angela Dodd, ranks as this year’s 76th fastest growing Bulldog business. The firm specializes in Veterinary Medicine.
“At Hope Animal Medical Center, we work extremely hard to provide Exceptional Care for Exceptional Pets.” said Gustafson.
The Atlanta CPA firm, Gifford Hillegass and Ingwersen, LLP has annually partnered with the UGA Alumni Association since the inception of the program three years ago to verify the information that was submitted by each nominated company. GH&I then ranked the companies based on compounded annual growth rate.
Nominations were collected between January and June 2011. To be considered for the program, an organization must have been in business for at least five years, had revenues of $100,000 or more for the calendar year 2008, and be owned or operated by a former UGA student who owns at least 50% of company or be the CEO, President or Managing Partner. The program recognizes the fastest-growing businesses regardless of size by focusing on a three-year growth rate average.
Nearly 800 nominations were submitted for this year’s program. The class of 2012 includes companies ranging in all sizes and services, from athletics equipment producers to web design and internet marketing firms. Several different areas of the country are represented, including companies from Connecticut, Nebraska, and New Mexico.
UGA alumni and friends celebrated the 2012 Bulldog 100 honorees at a special event held at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis on January 21, 2012. The evening began with a reception, followed by dinner and the awards ceremony. Keynote speaker, Deborah Norville, anchor of “Inside Edition” and 1979 UGA graduate, led attendees to the highlight of the evening—the release of the final rankings and countdown of the 2012 Bulldog 100.
“The UGA Alumni Association is thrilled to honor our graduates who demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to excellence that bring honor to their alma mater,” said Deborah Dietzler, executive director of the UGA Alumni Association. “We are proud of the accomplishments of these alumni, whose achievements during the Great Recession are noteworthy indeed.”
Nominations for the 2013 Bulldog program will open January 30. The full listing and rankings of the 2012 honorees and photos of the celebration can be found at www.alumni.uga.edu/b100.
With the holidays rapidly approaching, family and friends are making plans to gather together for the festivities. For some pet parents, a trip is no fun if the four-legged members of the family can’t come along. But traveling can be highly stressful, both for you and your animal companions. With thoughtful preparation, you can ensure a safe and comfortable trip for everyone.
Top 10 Tips For Safe Car Travel With Your Pet Planning a road trip? Traveling with a pet involves more than just loading the animal in the back seat and motoring off, especially if you will be driving long distances or plan to be away for a long time. The ASPCA offers the following tips to help you prepare for a safe and smooth car trip:
1. Keep your pets safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier. There are a variety of wire mesh, hard plastic and soft-sided carriers available. Please make sure to always secure the crate so it won’t slide or shift in the event of a quick stop. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s large enough for your pet to sit, lie down, stand up and turn around in. It is a great idea to get your pet used to the carrier in the comfort of your own home well before your planned trip. There are also specialized seat belt/harness apparatuses available for dogs traveling by car.
2. Get your pet geared up for a long trip by taking him on a series of short drives first, gradually lengthening the time spent in the car. This way you can find out if your pet has any anxiety issues associated with car rides, or any motion sickness. If either of these issues are a problem, please discuss them with your veterinarian.
3. Your pet’s travel-feeding schedule should start with a light meal three to four hours prior to departure. Don’t feed your furry friend in a moving vehicle, even if it is a long drive. If you need to stop for refueling breaks, then you should offer your dog a break as well, by walking him/her on a leash in a safe area, and offering a small amount of water.
4. Never leave your animal alone in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked automobile can become a furnace in no time, and heatstroke can develop. In cold weather, a car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death. Designate someone in your travel party to stay with the animal while others rotate bathroom breaks if needed.
5. What is in your pet’s traveling kit? In addition to travel papers, food, bowls, a leash, a waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication and a pet first-aid kit, pack a favorite toy or pillow to give your pet a sense of familiarity and comfort.
6. Make sure your pet has a microchip for identification and wears a collar with a tag imprinted with your home address/phone number, as well as a temporary travel tag with your cell phone, destination phone number and any other relevant contact information. Canines should wear flat collars (never choke collars), please.
7. Don’t allow your pet to ride with his/her head outside of the window. This can subject your pet to inner ear damage and lung infections, and he/she could be injured by flying objects. Please keep him/her in the back seat in his/her crate, or with a harness attached to a seat buckle as previously described.
8. Traveling across state lines? Bring along your pet’s rabies vaccination record, as some states require this proof at certain interstate crossings. While this generally isn’t a problem, it is better to be prepared ahead of time should you have to show proof, or if your pet has an unfriendly encounter.
9. When it come to water, we say BYOB. Opt for bottled water or tap water stored in plastic jugs or water bottles. Drinking water from an area that your pet is not used to could result in GI upset for your pet (e.g. vomiting or diarrhea).
10. If you travel frequently with your pet, you may want to invest in rubberized floor liners and waterproof seat covers, available at auto product retailers.
Top 10 Tips For Safe Air Travel With Your Pet Planning a flight? The ASPCA urges pet owners to think twice about flying their pets on commercial airlines, especially if they plan on checking them in as cargo. Unless your pet is small enough to fit under your seat in a carrier and you can bring him/her in the cabin, the ASPCA recommends pet owners to not fly their animal. If pet owners have already committed to transporting their pets on commercial airlines, the ASPCA is offering the following top ten tips for safe air travel with your pet:
1. Make an appointment with your pet’s veterinarian for an examination, and make sure all vaccinations are current. Obtain a health certificate from your veterinarian dated within 10 days of departure. For travel outside of the continental United States, additional planning and health care requirements are often necessary. Contact the foreign office of the country you are traveling to and the USDA for more information.
2. Make sure your pet has a microchip for identification and is wearing a collar and ID tag with your phone numbers. The collar should also include destination information in case your pet escapes. Flat collars are best for dogs (no choke collars, please). Breakaway collars are best for cats.
3. Book a direct flight whenever possible. This will decrease the chances that your pet is left on the tarmac during extreme weather conditions or mishandled by baggage personnel.
4. Purchase a USDA-approved shipping crate that is large enough for your pet to sit, stand up, and turn around in comfortably. Shipping crates can be purchased from many pet supply stores and airlines.
5. Write the words “Live Animal” in letters at least one inch tall on top of and on at least one side of the crate. Use arrows to prominently indicate the upright position of the crate. On the top of the crate, write the name, address and telephone number of your pet’s destination point. Also, indicate whether you will be accompanying your pet or if someone else is picking him/her up. Make sure that the door is securely closed, but not locked, so that airline personnel can open it in case of an emergency. Line the bottom of the crate with some type of bedding – shredded paper, newspaper, or towels – to absorb any accidents.
6. Affix a current photograph of your pet to the top of the crate for identification purposes. Should your pet escape from the carrier, this could be a lifesaver. You should also carry a photograph of your pet.
7. The night before your flight/trip, make sure you’ve frozen a small dish or tray of water for your pet. This way, it cannot spill during loading, and will melt by the time your pet is thirsty. Tape a small pouch, preferably cloth, of dried food outside the crate. Airline personnel will be able to feed your pet in case he gets hungry on long-distance flights or a layover.
8. Tranquilizing your pet is not usually recommended, as it could hamper his breathing and delay his reflexes in case of an emergency. Always check with your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns.
9. Tell every airline employee you encounter, on the ground and in the air, that you are traveling with a pet in the cargo hold. This way, they’ll be ready if any additional considerations or attention is needed.
10. If the plane is delayed, or if you have any concerns about the welfare of your pet, insist that airline personnel check the animal whenever feasible. In certain situations, removing the animal from the cargo hold and deplaning may be warranted.
If you are planning on traveling with your pet, and need to schedule an appointment for an examination, or to discuss any concerns you may have about traveling, please call us at 706-546-7879. Our friendly staff would be happy to assist you, as we all wish you a safe and happy holiday season.
If you are planning to travel, but need to find accommodations for your pet, we offer boarding here in a temperature-controlled, secure and well-staffed facility. Please let us know how we can help you. We greatly appreciate you and love all of your pets as if they were our own.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a chronic condition in which a deficiency of the hormone Insulin impairs the body’s ability to metabolize sugar. It is one of the most common endocrine (hormonal) diseases of cats and dogs. There are two types of diabetes mellitus: Type I DM occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin; therefore insulin injections are required to control the disease. Dogs nearly always (99%) have the type I variety while approximately 50 to 70% of cats are diagnosed. Type II DM occurs when the pancreas produces enough insulin but something interferes with its ability to be utilized by the body. Type II DM is less common and is identified in approximately 30% of cats. It is treated with dietary management, weight control, and oral drugs.
Diabetes mellitus usually affects middle-aged to older cats and dogs. It is most common in female dogs and neutered male cats. Juvenile-onset diabetes may occur in cats and dogs less than 1 year of age. Any breed of cat or dog can be affected. Dog breeds at increased risk include: Australian terriers, Samoyeds, Schnauzers (miniature and standard), Bichon frises, Cairn terriers, Keeshonds, Spitzes, Fox terriers, and Poodles (miniature and standard). Risk factors for diabetes mellitus include: obesity, recurring or previous pancreatitis, Cushing’s disease, and drugs such as glucocorticoids and progestagens that antagonize insulin.
In order to understand the problems involved in diabetes mellitus it is necessary to understand something of the normal body’s metabolism. The cells of the body require sugar (glucose) as food and they depend on the bloodstream to bring glucose to them. They cannot, however, absorb and utilize glucose unless a hormone, Insulin, is present. Insulin is produced by the pancreas.
Glucose comes from the diet. When an animal goes without food, the body must break down fat, stored starches, and protein to supply calories for the hungry cells. Proteins and starches may be converted into glucose. Fat, however, requires different processing which can lead to the production of ketones rather than glucose. Ketones may be detected in the urine of starving animals as massive fat mobilization is required for ketone formation.
In the diabetic animal, there isn’t enough insulin. The cells cannot receive glucose from the blood because there is no insulin to permit it to be absorbed and utilized. The body is unable to detect the glucose present in the blood and is fooled into thinking starvation is occurring. Protein, starch, and fat breakdown occur as in starvation. Yet, all along there has been plenty of glucose in the blood; in fact, by now, there is a large excess of glucose in the blood as all resources have been mobilized. The normal kidney is able to prevent glucose loss in urine. In the diabetic animal, there is so much glucose in the blood that the kidney is overwhelmed and glucose spills into the urine and is lost. In severe cases, ketones are also found in the urine, a more complicated diabetic emergency, known as Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA). Glucose is able to draw water with it into the urine. This leads to excess urine production and excess thirst to keep up with the fluid loss in excess urine production.
Clinical Signs/What to Watch For:
*Another common issue with diabetes mellitus is urinary tract infection. All the sugar in the urine makes the bladder an excellent incubator for bacteria. Antibiotics are often necessary to clear up any infections and some future monitoring is advised to help detect them.
Veterinary care should include diagnostic tests to determine the underlying cause of any clinical signs you are seeing in your pet. Your veterinarian will ask questions about your pet’s medical history and perform a thorough physical exam. Routine bloodwork can help screen for any metabolic disease, and also help diagnose diabetes. A CBC (complete blood count) and Chemistry panel (serum biochemical analysis) can determine the blood glucose concentration and exclude other potential causes of the same symptoms. A urinalysis is also done to check for glucose and any evidence of a urinary tract infection. Other diagnostic tests, such as abdominal radiographs (x-rays) or abdominal ultrasound (US) may be done if complications or concurrent diseases, like pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), are suspected.
Most dogs and cats will require twice daily injections of insulin to control their blood glucose. These injections are given under the skin using a small needle. Most dogs and cats become readily accustomed to the treatments. Your veterinarian’s office will train you thoroughly in the proper use of insulin and subcutaneous injection techniques. Proper weight management, and regular exercise, in combination with therapeutic diets can aid in the control of diabetes. Ovariohysterectomy (spaying) is indicated in female diabetic animals to reduce the effects of estrogen on diabetes and insulin.
Complications such as urinary tract infections may require additional medications, but certain drugs (e.g. steroids like prednisone) should be avoided in diabetic patients. Prepare for frequent adjustments to therapy early in the course of treatment. Veterinarians prefer to start with a low dose of insulin initially and adjust upwards slowly to avoid overdosing. Your veterinarian may recommend hospitalization to measure the blood glucose every few hours (this is known as a glucose curve). Insulin overdose may cause low blood glucose (hypoglycemia), potentially resulting in disorientation, weakness, or seizures (convulsions, tremors). If you notice any of these symptoms in an otherwise responsive cat or dog, offer food immediately. If the cat or dog is unconscious, Karo syrup can be applied to the gums. In either case, call your veterinarian as soon as possible.
While there is no way known to prevent type I diabetes mellitus, proper weight management can reduce the likelihood of your dog or cat developing type II diabetes (which is the most common).
Please call us at 706-546-7879 if you are interested in having your pet screened for diabetes. You can also visit our website at www.hopeamc.com for more information. We here at Hope Animal Medical Center hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Do you have questions about dental care for your dog?
Here are some common questions asked about pet dental health:
Q: I’ve heard dental problems are common in dogs. How will I know if my dog has a dental problem?
A: Dental disease is the most common disease in dogs. About 70% of dogs over the age of 3 are affected with dental disease. Check for redness or bleeding at the gum line, as well as tartar accumulation on the teeth. Also look out for signs of discomfort or foul smelling breath. If any of these symptoms are noticed, contact your veterinarian for a dental check-up.
Q: What is tartar and why is it so bad?
A: Bacteria naturally inhabit yours and your pet’s mouths. If allowed, it will breed on the surface of teeth to form an invisible layer of plaque. Plaque accumulation will eventually mineralize and thicken around the base of the tooth at the gum line and become visible tartar. Tartar begins to irritate the gums, causing inflammation known as gingivitis. If not removed, this process will continue and gums will become even more inflamed, leading to infection known as periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a serious condition which can lead to gum recession and eventually loss of teeth. Infections from periodontal disease can spread to other parts of the mouth, as well as internal organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys.
Q: What can I expect when I bring my dog in for a dental exam and cleaning?
A: A dental exam will include examination of the mouth, teeth, and gums, as well as a full physical examination to rule out any underlying health issues. If it is determined your pet would benefit from having tartar and plaque removed, your veterinarian will perform a dental cleansing and polishing. Plaque and tartar can only be removed by those specially trained and is performed under anesthesia. Blood work is needed to determine adequate liver and kidney function to ensure that anesthesia can be given safely during a dental cleaning. It may also be determined that your dog be started on antibiotics prior to a dental cleaning. During the cleaning, careful attention is made to remove the tartar above and below the gum line. Gum recession can occur when tartar accumulates below the gum line. If a diseased or loose tooth is found, an extraction may be necessary. Fluoride applications may be given to strengthen tooth enamel, along with antibiotics given to treat any bacterial infection. In addition, polishing the teeth creates a smooth surface which deters bacteria from accumulating. Polishing is an important part of preventative care because plaque and tartar naturally begin to form on teeth in as little as 6 hours after a dental cleaning.
Q: What about special dental diets and treats?
A: Special dental diets can play a role in reducing the accumulation of plaque and tartar formation. There are veterinarian approved diets that have tartar reducing ingredients or have larger kibble which are textured to aid in plaque removal. In addition, there are also special canine chew toys and treats that have tartar controlling ingredients. Many products such as oral rinses and water additives are also available that cut down on bacteria or have plaque reducing enzymes. Your veterinarian can give you specific dietary and dental aid recommendations that will help guide you in your pet’s dental health program. Daily brushings are the best form of tartar prevention in between dental cleanings.
Q: How do I go about brushing my dog’s teeth?
A: As important as the cleaning and polishing is to remove hardened deposits on the teeth, the prevention of plaque build-up is just as important. A dental program should include daily brushings using a veterinarian approved toothpaste and toothbrush. This helps maintain good oral hygiene and prevent build-up of disease causing plaque and tartar. Be sure to choose toothpaste made for dogs, which comes in a variety of canine-friendly flavors. Human toothpaste should NEVER be given to your dog, as it may contain harmful ingredients.
When it comes to your dog's dental health, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Schedule your dog's dental evaluation today!