This past week I noticed a trend among our clients. As part of a pet’s annual exam, I always try to examine the mouth (if Fluffy will let me). When I mentioned the grade of tartar found on the pet’s teeth, I was told by multiple clients that their groomer cleans their dog’s teeth. Brushing a dog or cat’s teeth every 6-8 weeks is not enough. If you are going to brush your pet’s teeth, it needs to be done several times a week, if not daily. I feel bad for these clients, because brushing teeth every two months is a waste of money. Please also understand that what your groomer does is not the same as a complete dental performed at our office. A complete dental involves an examination of all tooth and gum surfaces under general anesthesia, a complete cleaning and polishing, and a fluoride treatment.
If you would like suggestions on how to care for your pet’s teeth so you can get the most bang for your buck, please reach out to our staff. We have different types of products (chews, additives, food) to work with every pet and lifestyle.
Ann E. Bastian, V.M.D.
Celebrations this February include Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Day, Ash Wednesday, President’s Day, Chinese New Year (2018 is the Year of the Dog!), Veterinary Dental Health Month, and Spay/Neuter Awareness Month. Obviously, the last two take special precedence for our practice.
This year we are offering 20% off the dental cleaning until the end of March. By 3 years of age, most dogs and cats have some evidence of periodontal disease. The bacteria associated with periodontal disease can spread via the blood stream. This can lead to infections of the liver, kidney, heart, lungs, and trigger diabetes and autoimmune diseases. Signs of dental disease include tartar, bleeding from the mouth, excessive drooling, discomfort when touching the mouth, loose or discolored teeth, loss of appetite, and bad breath. Once we clean your pet’s teeth, there are multiple options to keep the teeth clean. Our staff can review which option would work best for you and your pet.
Spaying and neutering is also an important step in protecting your pet’s health. Cats can have litters 3 times a year with an average of 4 kittens per litter. In 7 years one unspayed female and her offspring can produce 420,000 cats. An unspayed dog and her offspring can produce 99,000 dogs in the same time. Seventy thousand puppies and kittens are born in the United States each day (compared to 10,000 babies a day), and 6-8 million dogs and cats enter the shelters each year. Over half of these animals will not be adopted. Spaying and neutering can help decrease the chance of cancer (ovarian, mammary, uterine, prostate, testicular), fights, wandering, infections, and unwanted litters. It really is in your pet’s best interest to spay or neuter.
As always, helping your pet have the healthiest life is always our top concern!
Ann E. Bastian, V.M.D.
Happy 2018! Although Berks County has been in the deep freeze for the past couple of weeks, they are still out there! What am I talking about? Parasites.
The numbers are in for 2017 with 3.27% of dogs in Berks County having had roundworms (1 in 31). Hookworms are in at 2.87% (1 in 35), whipworms — 1.07% (1 in 94), and giardia — 4.9% (1 in 21). Cats fared no better with 3.29% (1 in 30) having had giardia, 1.12% (1 in 90) had hookworms, and 8.79% (1 in 12) had round worms.
So how do you prevent your family pet from being part of the statistics for 2018? First, check a fecal at your next vet visit. If you can’t get a sample, ask the technician or veterinarian to get a sample so we can test it while you are at the office. That way we can address any issues while you are at Willow Creek. Puppies and kittens should have at least 4 fecals tested in the first year of their lives. This is due to the lifecycle of the parasites. Adult dogs and cats should have 1-2 fecals a year depending on their lifestyles and health.
Kittens and puppies should be dewormed every two weeks until they are put on a broad-spectrum monthly preventative. Adult dogs and cats should be on a year-round broad-spectrum parasite control. The Companion Animal Parasite Council has a great website for guidelines for pet owners about parasites, the risks to people, and how best to protect your family pet. www.petsandparasites.org
Let’s do our best to keep you and your pets as healthy as possible!
Ann E. Bastian, V.M.D.
This is the time of year when people make lists of what they want for the holidays. So, I decided to ask our staff what they wanted from our clients. This is what they came up with:
- Be polite. A please and thank you go a long way.
- Be on time for your appointments. If you are held up, call us and let us know.
- Vaccinate your pets. Vaccines protect against a ton of deadly diseases, are safe, and keep your pet healthy and your family safe.
- Keep up with preventative medication for your pets. Flea, tick, and heartworm preventative can help your pet avoid a lot of nasty diseases.
- Train your pet. Get your cat use to the carrier and being handled. Train your dog to walk nicely on a leash, stand on command, and have their feet, ears, and mouth handled. It is much easier to do a thorough exam on a cooperative animal. You will also appreciate not having to struggle to treat your pet if you need to medicate them.
- Take our recommendations seriously. We only recommend what we truly believe is in the best interest of your pet.
- Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. There is some great advice available on the internet, but there is also some horrible advice on there.
- Ask questions if you don’t understand something.
- Do not give your pet over the counter medicine or human medicine without asking.
- Don’t take our equipment. We need our tools for our next patient.
And of course, we all want you, your family, and critters to have a happy and healthy holiday season. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Ann E. Bastian, V.M.D., Duncan, and Rio
October 15-21, 2017 is National Veterinary Technician Week. This is the week we recognize what a vital role our technicians play in taking care of our patients and clients. Without them, we would not be able to do our jobs.
So, who are these people outside of their jobs? I decided to explore that question. When I asked the technicians what their hobby was, I got a lot of blank stares. Most of the time the initial answer was they didn’t have a hobby outside of their work and spending time with their families (a separate problem that I won’t address here). When I pressed the issue, here were some of the varied answers I got (I promised I wouldn’t list their names).
- Drink wine
- Visiting breweries, watching the TV show Fixer Upper
- Making soap, crocheting, quilting
- Gardening, vacuuming (that is what she said)
- Birding, gardening
- Walking the dogs
- Reading, going to the lake
- Milking cows, spending time with her niece and memau
I must admit, some of the answers surprised me, but the variety of personalities is what makes our team great. From the bottom of my heart, thank you, Ladies, for all you do!
Ann E. Bastian, V.M.D.