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Please Read This If You Fill Your Pet’s Prescriptions at Retail Pharmacies

Pet Prescription

Story at-a-glance
  • In Oregon, over a third of veterinarians who responded to a recent survey had experience with retail pharmacy errors when filling veterinary prescriptions. The majority of errors involved an online or retail pharmacy changing dosing instructions or the medication itself without contacting the prescribing veterinarian.
  • Some of the errors veterinarians noted involved pharmacists substituting one type of insulin for another, overruling the DVM’s dosing instructions for anti-seizure medication, and a pharmacist who was unaware of the dangers of administering acetaminophen to dogs and cats.
  • The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine offers suggestions for veterinarians to decrease the risk of dispensing errors, which includes avoiding use of abbreviations.
  • The majority of pharmacists who dispense human medications get little to no training in veterinary pharmacy. Pet owners who choose to use online or retail pharmacies should take precautions to insure their pet’s prescriptions are filled accurately and safely.

By Dr. Becker

A few months ago, the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) conducted a survey to evaluate how frequently mistakes are made by retail pharmacies that fill veterinary prescriptions.

Thirty-five percent of Oregon veterinarians who responded to the survey had experience with retail pharmacy prescription errors. Typically, an online or retail pharmacy changed either the dosage or the medication itself without the DVM’s authorization.

Examples of Veterinary Prescription Errors

Seventeen percent of the vets with first-hand knowledge of prescription errors also had patients whose health suffered due to a medication error. Problems the veterinarians cited included:

  • Multiple instances of substitutions of one type of insulin for another to save the client money. The pharmacists assumed the products were interchangeable. One pet suffered diabetic ketoacidosis as a result of this situation, and others received lower dosages than they required to treat their diabetes.
  • Lowered doses of thyroid drugs without consulting the prescribing DVM. Apparently the pharmacists assumed absorption and metabolism of medication in pets is the same as it is in humans.
  • A pharmacist told a pet owner the prescribed dose of anti-seizure medication was too high and recommended she cut it in half. The dog continued to have seizures for several weeks and ultimately had to be euthanized.
  • A pharmacy substituted hydrocodone with acetaminophen for a medication prescribed for coughing in a dog with a collapsed trachea. In another case, a pharmacist advised a customer to give her dog high doses of Tylenol for arthritis pain. High doses of acetaminophen can cause irreversible liver damage in dogs, and there is no safe dosage of this drug for cats.
  • A retail pharmacist dispensed azithromycin instead of the prescribed chemotherapy drug azathioprine. The animal relapsed and had to be euthanized.

Other reported problems included prescriptions dispensed at 10 times the correct dose, pharmacists ignoring prescription instructions reading “No substitution,” and pharmacists scaring pet owners by describing a drug’s side effects on humans, even though those side effects do not occur in animals.

I had one pharmacist insist the dose of thyroid medication I was prescribing was too high, and would not fill the prescription for my client over the weekend, instead suggesting the owner contact us Monday morning to report the error. I had to call the pharmacist and explain that dogs, pound for pound, require a much higher dose of thyroid medication than humans and that indeed, the prescription was correct.

Recommendations for Prescribing Veterinarians

In an effort to reduce veterinary prescription errors, the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) recommends prescribing veterinarians do the following:

  • Avoid using abbreviations. Write out the full drug name and dosing instructions, including the dose, frequency, duration and route of administration.
  • Do not use trailing zeros when writing out a dose, but do use a leading zero. A 5-milligram dose written as 5.0 can be misread as 50 mg. An 0.5 milligram dose written without the leading zero can be misread as 5 mg, which is 10 times the intended dose.
  • When prescribing a human drug for an animal, verbally state (if the script is called in) or write out the entire prescription because some pharmacists are unfamiliar with veterinary abbreviations.
  • Consider using a computerized prescription system to reduce the risk pharmacists might misread handwritten information.

Other States to Evaluate the Problem

Other state veterinary medical associations have conducted or are planning to conduct similar research to determine the extent of the problem in their states.

Glenn Kolb, OVMA Executive Director, thinks veterinarians need to raise awareness among pet owners by telling them, If a pharmacist suggests changing to a different drug or different dosage, please contact me right away.’”

“When a pharmacist counsels clients or makes changes to a prescription beyond the scope of their expertise, they’re in violation of their state practice act,” Kolb says. “We want to make sure that if pharmacists have any questions, they contact the veterinarian.”

What Pet Owners Can Do

The majority of human pharmacists get little to no training in veterinary pharmacy. Only a handful of pharmacy schools even offer a course in the subject. And most pharmacists aren’t knowledgeable about animal physiology.

If you plan to fill your pet’s prescription at a retail pharmacy or online, I recommend you do business only with pharmacies that are run by pharmacists familiar with veterinary prescriptions.

As your pet’s advocate, I also recommend you speak personally with the pharmacist to insure he or she follows proper procedures when filling veterinary prescriptions.

January 12, 2013 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Health, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top 10 Ways to Save Money on Vet Bills

Everyone’s keeping an eye on the budget these days, and one of the most expensive pet expenditures is veterinary care. With just a little preparation and research, however, you can reduce your veterinary costs, from office visits to prescription medications.

1. Schedule an annual exam
Maintaining an annual exam schedule for your dog or cat is important, and this definitely not the place to trim costs. Spending money on an annual exam — and on spay and neuter — may seem like an expenditure but it’s an investment that will save you money down the road.

2. Maintain good dental health
Good dental care can save you hundreds of dollars in cleaning fees. Try to brush your dog’s or cat’s teeth several times per week using a special toothpaste and toothbrush designed for pets.

3. Ask about 3-year immunization schedules
The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), the only organization that accredits animal hospitals throughout the U.S. and Canada, issued guidelines in 2006 about the frequency of immunizations. Whereas your pet once automatically received vaccinations annually, today the veterinary world is looking at longer periods between vaccinations, depending on your pet’s lifestyle. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations for your pet’s “core vaccines” and see if you can extend the time between immunizations. (The frequency of your pet’s rabies vaccines will be mandated by local law, however.)  But make sure you are not over-vaccinating.  Many vets recommend shots that really aren’t needed or required.  Like with children, we are finding out that we are over-vaccinating.

4. Avoid emergency vet visits with preemptive care
Does something just seem “not right” with your dog or cat? Is it a Friday afternoon? Don’t wait until the vet’s office closes for the weekend; run him by for a quick office visit if possible. The price of a routine office visit is far lower than the cost of an emergency vet visit. If you do wind up needing emergency veterinary care, check and see if follow up visits can be made at your regular veterinarian’s office to save money.

5. Feed your pet high quality food or better yet feed them real food  – raw or cook for them
Maintaining a healthy diet is key to good health. Premium dog and cat food containing quality ingredients is an investment in your pet’s health that saves you money down the line. Additionally, your dog does not need to be fed as much high-quality food as he would low-quality food packed with fillers. Less food means savings. Eventually, that premium food can result in lower veterinary bills, too, by keeping your pet closer to his ideal weight and by supplying him with beneficial nutrients.

6. Ask about special discounts
Check and see if your vet offers any special discounts. Whether you’re a senior, a firefighter, a military member, or a full-time student, your vet might have a discount plan for you. Also, if you have multiple dogs and cats, ask if there’s a multiple pet discount.

7. Watch for event-related discounts
Like with human health, there are special months that recognize and draw attention to particular aspects of pet health. Pet Dental Month (February) and Pet Wellness Month (October) are just two times when you might find related specials from your veterinarian.  Some have spay and neuter clinics.

8. Investigate pet insurance early
Pet insurance can be a great way to save on unexpected vet costs but, to lower your monthly premiums, insure your pet as young as possible. Most companies won’t insure a pet with a pre-existing condition and, at most companies, premiums are lower the younger your dog or cat is. At some companies, premium will even lock in at that lower rate. 

9. Ask about matching drug prices
Before your next trip to the veterinarian, spend a few minutes doing online research on reputable online pet pharmacy sites checking the price of heartworm preventative or other medications you know you’ll need. Remember to take into account shipping costs, too. Print the product page and take it to your vet’s office and ask if they can match the online price. 

**Also, there are many natural remedies that can be used in place of meds and chemical treatments which will be cheaper as well as healthier for your pet!**

10. Fill your dog’s prescription at your drugstore
Many pet prescriptions can be filled at your drugstore, saving you money and possibly giving you the option of generic, low-cost equivalents for some drugs. Ask your vet to see if it’s a possibility! 

Items like anti-flea treatments and regular meds can often be purchased online for much lower costs.

By Paris Permenter and John Bigley are the authors of Barkonomics: Tips for Frugal Fidos (Riviera Books). The husband-wife team are the publishers of DogTipper.com and CatTipper.com, sites featuring daily tips, news, giveaways, and product reviews. Paris and John can always be found on Twitter and Facebook, too!

Re-posted at Just One More Pet

June 19, 2011 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Holistic Pet Health, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, pet products, Pet Recipes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Getalife Petrescue: Vaccinations & Plenty of Good TIPS!

Vaccinations & Plenty of Good TIPS!

Vaccinations: What you Need to Know

The most important thing for you to know is that annual revaccination of your pet is unnecessary! This information is based on scientific studies conducted by Dr. Ron Schultz, a very well respected veterinary immunologist. What continues to amaze me, is how few people know about this important information. The studies I am speaking of were done over 10 years ago. This is not new information. The truth is that the majority of veterinary practices continue to not only offer annual revaccination, they insist upon it.

We have become a nation of over-vaccinated and over-medicated people and animals!!! Time to educate ourselves and to use common sense!!

Over vaccination can be hazardous to your pets health. Vaccines have been linked to a number of autoimmune diseases: interstitial nephritis in cats, pancreatitis in both dogs and cats, Addisons, Cushings and thyroid disease. Other diseases that can be triggered or worsened by vaccines are: seizure disorder, allergies and cancer.

To protect your pet:

1. Vaccine selection should be based on risk assessment. There are a variety of vaccines on the market for dogs and cats and not all of them should be given to every pet. The AVMA has set guidelines for the core vaccines (what they feel every animal should have).
a. Core vaccines in dogs are: Distemper, Parvo and Rabies.
b. Core vaccines in Cats are: FVRCP and Rabies
c. Core vaccines in both dogs and cats have been scientifically proven to provide immunity for 3-7 years.

2. 3 year vaccines are readily available for the core vaccines in dogs.

3. Non-adjuvanted vaccines (those that are supposed to be less likely to cause Feline Sarcomas in cats are currently only labeled for 1 year. This does not mean that they don’t provide immunity for a much longer period. It just means that the manufacturer has not done studies to prove duration of immunity.

4. Titer tests are available for both dogs and cats. These tests will show if the pet has antibodies to the diseases tested for which is one indication that the pet remains protected. Titer testing costs more than vaccinating but is the safer alternative.

5. Vaccines are labeled for use in healthy animals only. If your pet is sick with either an acute or chronic illness, he/she should not be vaccinated. This means that animals diagnosed with seizures, cancer, cushings, addisons, thyroid disease, allergies just to name a few should be deemed too sick to vaccinate. As we mentioned above, the fact is they probably don’t need to be revaccinated anyway!
I have to say that this is probably the hill I will chose to die on. Why? My practice consists mainly of the treatment of chronically/terminally ill animals and I continue to see other veterinarians vaccinating these pets prior to their coming to me for treatment.

If you are not my client, I want you to know that as the advocate for your pet’s health, YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE VACCINATIONS, YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO ASK FOR A 3 YEAR VACCINE OR TITER TESTING. Just learn to say NO! Your pet will thank you.
The photo at right is a picture of an injection site sarcoma in a dog, that was taken by my good friend and colleague, Dr. Patricia Jordan, while researching her book, “Mark of the Beast”, on vaccine damage. To see more of her photos, click this link: http://www.jordanmarkofthebeast.com/gallery.htm

Renal Disease in Cats linked to FVRCP Vaccination

I have attached a research study that clearly shows a link between vaccination with FVRCP vaccination and interstitial nephritis in cats. Kidney disease is one of the most common problems facing our feline animal companions and vaccination with a common feline vaccine can cause or worsen that condition. I have been telling my clients about the dangers of over vaccination for years and I am still trying to spread the word that this routine procedure carries risks when done too frequently. Scientific studies are available that clearly show most vaccines given to small animals provide effective immunity for up to 7 years.

Cats already suffering from renal disease should never be vaccinated.
If you know someone who is still vaccinating their cat annually, please share this article and help save a life.

This is a new program for me. If for some reason the attachment is not present and you would like a copy, email me directly at drmarcia@creatingwellbeings.com and I will send you one.

Feline House Soiling: No Easy Solution

One of the most difficult problems I face as a veterinarian is the issue of house soiling. I think this is probably the number one reason that people re-home or euthanise their companions.

I would like to say there is an easy answer to the problem, but I would be lying. House soiling generally requires a multidisciplinary approach.

1. Rule out physical causes of the condition: at minimum I would want to run a urinalysis, a urine culture and an abdominal radiograph. The few tests will rule out: bladder infection, diabetes, crystalluria and bladder stones as the underlying cause. In an older cat, I would want to add a CBC, chem profile and a T4, to rule out renal insufficiency or other metabolic illness and hyperthyroid disease.

2. Address diet: cats fed a dry food diet are much more likely to have crystalluria and associated cystitis. A raw food diet is the most species appropriate diet for all cats. If this is not an option, then a high quality grain free canned would be the second choice. For more information on feeding cats: http://www.felinefuture.com/

3. Address litter box issues: My friend and feline homeopathic vet, Andrea Tasi has addressed this very well, click the link to see the full article: http://kingstreetcats.org/Dr.%20Tasi’s%20General%20Litter%20Box%20Suggestions.pdf

4. Emotional issues: House soiling is often triggered by emotional upset and stress. Try and identify any household stress: personality clashes between cats, new human household members, death of either an animal or human friend, move to a new home, construction. Bach flower remedies and felaway spray and plug ins can be helpful.

5. Boredom: all animals need mental stimulation. Cats in the wild spend a great deal of time hunting. Toys and activities that simulate stalking and capturing prey can be very helpful in alleviating boredom.

6. Treatment: The conventional veterinary treatment if the changes mentioned above fail to help, is the use of sedatives and other psychotropic drugs. Classical homeopathy can also be very effective in treating these animals.

Homeopathy: The Best Treatment Choice for Your Entire Family!

As most of you already know, I consider homeopathy to be the most amazing form of medicine available for the treatment of humans and animals.

Dana Ullman is one of the world’s premier homeopaths and homeopathic educator. Follow this link to listen to him explain how homeopathy works: http://www.youtube.com/user/HomeopathicDana#p/a/u/2/xedLd9djgyg.
Dana’s book “Everybody’s Guide to Homeopathic Medicines”. Is an excellent reference for you to have for treating ACUTE illnesses in your family members. Remember that acute illnesses are those that are naturally self-limiting: the flu, food poisoning, minor injuries, etc. These are quite readily treated at home with a minimum of homeopathic knowledge. However, chronic illnesses such as: allergies, cancer, thyroid disease, etc., should only be treated by an experienced and well trained homeopath. In the near future, I plan to offer a course in homeopathic first aid to help you feel more confident in this treatment modality.

If your pet has an acute illness, remember you can also call me for a phone consultation ($15/5min + 20/5 min case analysis and remedy selection) and I can prescribe for your pet over the phone and hopefully save you a trip to the veterinary emergency room. If I feel that your pet is too sick to be treated without diagnostics or hospital care, I will refer you to a veterinary clinic or emergency room. Avoiding ER visits is also the new wave in human medical care with telemedicine consults becoming more available.

Homeopathy has always offered this service as it is a modality that lends itself easily to phone consultation.

I also recommend that everyone read “Beyond Flat Earth Medicine” http://www.beyondflatearth.com/ which is available as a free online read. It is a fun book that does a great job of explaining homeopathic theory and will really help you become a true advocate for your family’s health.

For More Information!
Visit my website and my blog:
http://www.creatingwellbeings.com
http://www.drmarcia.wordpress.com

Min-Pin LOVE @ GALPR♥

Homeopathy Beyond Flat Earth Medicine, Second Edition

February 12, 2010 Posted by | animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Best Medicine in Canada… Gone to the Dogs~

Innovations (in medicine) like birth control pills, cholesterol medication, robotic limbs, and many other things, would not have happened without the possibility of big profit, said Grace Marie Turner of the Galen Institute.

“I want companies to come up with cures for Parkinson’s, cures for cancer, cures for Alzheimer’s. Unless there is a reward for them to do that, we’re not going to have those new medicines,” she said.

Some of the best, most innovative treatments and most rapidly-delivered care happens through this pursuit of profit. Even in Canada, you’ll find one area where they offer easy access to cutting edge technology.

CT scans and MRIs, hip and knee replacements: available 24 hours a day and without a wait.

“If I see a patient that’s torn a cruciate ligament in that patient’s knee, we can generally have the patient scheduled for within probably a week,” said Canadian Dr. Terri Schiller.

But you have to bark or meow to get that kind of treatment. Schiller is a veterinarian and her practice makes a profit treating cats and dogs.

Vet holding a young kitten

Want a CT scan in Canada? Private veterinary clinics said they can get a dog in the next day. For people, the waiting list is a month.

“Many clients will come here with their pets and as they’re leaving, it’s, ‘Next time, I get sick, I want to come here. I don’t want to go to the regular hospitals,'” said Schiller.

Source:  True Health Is True Wealth – Full Article:  Healthcare:  Does Canada Do It Better?

Posted:  Just One More Pet

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August 2, 2009 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pets, Political Change, Success Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Daily Chart: Pet Theories About Health-Care Spending

Daily Chart: Pet Theories About Health-Care Spending

This chart by Cato’s AEI’s Andrew Biggs has been snaking its way around the blogosphere for the past week:

Pet spending

And it’s gotten approving [update: and skeptical!] chirps from Megan McArdle, Tyler Cowen,Jim Manzi, Arnold Kling and Greg Mankiw and others, a good deal of whom parrot the old line about how this shows that “The reason that we spend more [on healthcare] than our grandparents did is not waste, fraud and abuse, but advances in medical technology and growth in incomes.” If it were waste, fraud and abuse, wouldn’t you see the difference in the animal market?

But let’s not flap about this too much. The chart is hounded by some fatal problems. John Schwenkler gently badgered me into trying to make a new version of this chart that deals with some of them, and I’ve been monkeying around with the data for the past couple of days. But, for reasons I’ll grouse about after the jump, I can’t reproduce a better version of this chart. (Scott Winship and Zubin Jelveh have ferreted out some of the missing data.) What I can do is graph the growth of pet food spending over the same period, and then list some of the reasons why the original chart doesn’t prove much at all. (And cut out the dumb animal puns.)

Pet food

1. This data is drawn from the same source (the Consumer Expenditure Survey) as the original chart. The raw slope of the pet food spending line is actually higher than the raw slope of the veterinary spending line. The normalized slope of the veterinary care line is a bit higher, but both are higher than average economic growth over the same period. Does this mean there is something unique about the two health markets, or something unique about the two animal markets? Or neither? I have no idea.

2. As Schwenkler and Manzi and others have pointed out, the original chart does not have per capita data. But of course we only care about how much is being spent on health care per person or dog. If the population grows quickly, the overall level of spending will grow with it. (Incidentally, this is why I’m having trouble reproducing Biggs’ chart exactly: I can’t find the number of total pets per person in the country between 1984 and 2006. And, to be extra cautious about it, I’d also need to know something about how the population has changed — more ponies or parakeets or whatnot.)

3. Even if the chart made the same point on a per capita basis, I’m not sure why it would be surprising. You don’t really have insurance or adverse selection in the veterinary market. But you do have large information asymmetries (the vets know more), large demand uncertainties (the need for veterinary care springs up uncertainly), large supply constraints, and a whole series of new patent-protected treatments that can lead to market failures.

4. Even if none of the problems in # 3 turn out to exist, I’m not sure why the growth of veterinary spending is a point in favor of conservative theories about the growth of health-care spending. Two of the most commonly cited conservative reasons for the rise in health-care spending are (1) The tax exclusion for employer-sponsored health insurance; and (2) malpractice liability, which is supposed to lead to defensive medicine and higher costs. But neither of those things happen in the veterinary market! If the original chart is correct, then are these things not really problems?

My overwhelming suspicion is that the chart does not tell us much that is useful about the market for medical care. I spoke with Andrew Biggs yesterday, and he very kindly shared his data from the expediture survey (which is not publicly available). He also cautioned against taking any of this too seriously. 700 words and two charts later, I agree.

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July 17, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Reverse Sneezing, Chihuahua Honks or Mechanosensitive Aspiration Reflex

Reverse sneezing:  Mechanosensitive Aspiration Reflex or Paroxysmal Respiration isn’t a sneeze at all and isn’t an illness, but it is a condition that small dog owners should be aware of.

b-and-w-chiIf you have ever been startled by your dog or cat exhibiting snorting, honking and gasping noises you have probably experienced reverse sneezing.  It makes you feel helpless while you watch your canine or feline friend appear to be struggling to breathe, but although alarming, especially to a first time pet owner, it appears and sounds much worse than it is.

There is no reason to panic. Reverse sneezing is not a serious condition andgenerally poses no threat to a dog or cat”s health or longevity. They are not having a seizure, and it also actually has nothing to do with sneezing, but is a spasm caused by an irritation of the soft palate. The soft palate is a soft, fleshy tissue extension off the hard palate, or roof of the mouth. Small dogs in particular can exhibit this behavior and certain breeds may be predisposed to it. It has sent many a distraught owner to the vet in panic.

Reverse Sneeze Videos: 

Reverse Sneeze

Maggie reverse sneezes 

Puggle Preston Reverse Sneezing

Some animals can have this condition for their entire lives, or it may develop as the dog ages. During the spasm, the pet will usually turn their elbows outward and extend their neck while gasping inwards with a distinctive snorting sound. Gently massaging the throat area or pinching their nostrils shut so they must breath through their mouth can help shorten the episode. Sometimes taking the pet outside in the fresh air stops the spasm. Once the attack ceases, all goes back to normal.

(Another technique sometimes used to stop a bout of canine reverse sneezing by behavior specialist Sarah Wilson is to try to get the dog to swallow, touching the back of the tongue if that is safe.  Sounds like it would work with a cat as well.)

It is thought that the pharyngeal spasm can be caused by a number of irritants, including dust and pollen, or household chemicals. Moreover, some dogs can launch an episode after eating, drinking or running around, becoming anxious or excited or while pulling on the leash.

If your pet (more dogs than cats suffer from it) experiences this behavior fairly frequently and the episodes are severe, a trip to the vet is in order to determine other possible causes, which can include viral infections, polyps, excessive soft palate tissue, and nasal mites. However, many cases of reverse sneezing appear to have no identifiable cause.

A small Chihuahua Beagle mix, Cela, was extremely prone to severe middle-of-the-night reverse sneezing episodes when she first came to her terrified then-foster mom (now adoptive mom) sending them both to the vet in alarm. The vet anesthetized Cela and explored the little dog’s sinus cavities as best she could to see if anything was embedded in her sinus passages. Nothing was found, and after a short course of anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics, Cela recovered completely.

In hindsight, it seems quite likely that the time of year, autumn, with its accompanying proliferation of allergens, combined with the stress of being in a new household, may have contributed to Cela’s pronounced reverse sneezing. Since the initial episodes subsided, the little dog has had only one or two minor incidences.

Reverse sneezing appears a lot worse than it is, generally posing no health threats whatsoever. Typically, an episode of reverse sneezing will end soon on its own. Nevertheless, understanding and recognizing the syndrome can go a long way toward helping pet owners and their dogs or cats cope with it. Reverse sneezing should not be confused with Collapsed Trachea, a congenital condition characterized by a frequent cough, a honking rather than a snorting sound, and shortness of breath.

Tracheal collapse is a progressive, chronic, debilitating disease occurring primarily in middle-aged toy-breed dogs.  Pomeranians, Poodles, Yorkshire Terriers, and Chihuahuas are most commonly affected.  The clinical signs of tracheal collapse are a chronic nonproductive cough, exercise intolerance, and varying degrees of dyspnea.  The cough often resembles a “honking-sound.”  Clinical signs are exacerbated by excitement or anxiety and may proceed to collapse and syncope. The dorsal membrane and cartilage rings are both involved in the degenerative process.  The rings become hypoplastic or fibrodystrophic and cannot maintain the normal C-shaped configuration. 

Dogs or cats suffering from a reverse sneeze may stand up, extend their neck, make snorting or honking noises, open their mouth, and appear distressed and frightened. Reverse sneezing is triggered by an irritant or activity that initiates the reflex. For some pets this can occur when they are excited, exercising or eating and drinking too fast. The pressure of a collar on the trachea during leash walking also can set off spasms. And reverse sneezing can be associated with allergies, viruses, pollen, foreign bodies, postnasal drip, perfumes, chemical odors, tumors or infections.

Another common cause of reverse sneezing in dogs is the nasal mite Pneumonyssoides caninum. These small mites live in the nasopharynx of dogs and are a source of constant irritation. The mites are extremely small and difficult to visualize, but easy to treat with routine anti-parasitic dewormers.

Brachycephalic animals, those with short noses, are more prone to reverse sneezing. Reverse sneezing closely resembles asthma, a common cause of respiratory distress in cats. Asthma can be life-threatening and should be ruled out in cats with respiratory signs.

For many dogs and cats reverse sneezing is a one-time or occasional episode that does not require any treatment.  But if the problem repeats itself and becomes a ‘chronic condition’, treatment may be necessary. The first step to treating the spasms is to identify the underlying cause. Antihistamines work well for allergic reactions, while the removal of offensive odors and chemicals will help those animals with sensitivities. If the pet has a nasal discharge or airflow through the nostrils is reduced, then other measures will need to be taken.

Rhinoscopy is the diagnostic tool of choice when examining the nasopharynx. Foreign bodies, nasal tumors or fungal infections can be diagnosed with plain film X-rays of the head.  For severe cases surgery is available.

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May 4, 2009 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The New Breed of Baker

 

 

homemade-dog-breed-cookies

Homemade Dog Breed Cookies

Who doesn’t love a homemade cookie? Nobody, that’s who. Not your mail carrier, not your groomer, not your dog walker, not your dog sitter, not your vet and these people all deserve them too. So we thought it was high time we indulge the people in your pampered pooches’ lives. So dust off your cookie sheets…  Here is a recession-ready gift idea including (including recipes) fresh from your kitchen.

But wait, it gets better: Dog Breed Cookie Cutters! We couldn’t resist them. Positively baker’s bliss, choose from over 80 stainless steel dog breed cutters and other pup-centric shapes like bones, paws, doghouses and fire hydrants that make the baking part seem well, boring. And for those of you who are not bakers or are just time tapped, you can roll out the pre-made cookie dough and get to work with the cutters? We’ve even got a tasty icing recipe to top them off.  Yum!

Here’s what you need:

  • An assortment of doggie cookie cutters.
  • Sugar cookie dough. Make it yourself or purchase pre-made cookie dough.
  • Icing. Find pre-made icing in tubes from Williams-Sonoma or baking supply shops (the tips should be the thinnest you can find) or experienced bakers, whip up Royal Icing and use #2 and #3 tips with your pastry bag.
  • Optional jimmies, colored sugar and other “fur” candy decorations.

Bake Your Cookies
Roll dough to desired thickness and cut into shapes with your cookie cutters. Bake on an ungreased baking sheet at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until the cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges.

Decorate
Once your cookies have cooled, it’s time to decorate. Keep it simple and just outline your dog shapes with a fine line: Touch the tip of the icing tube or pastry bag to the cookie and gently squeeze, raising the tip a bit and outlining the entire edge of the cookie. To seal the seam and make it disappear, dip a paintbrush in some water, dab it on a paper towel to release some water and then gently touch the seam. Allow the outline to dry. Then add your pup’s eyes, nose, a smile and maybe a collar too for color.

Take it up a notch by filling in the outline with frosting and adding decorative “fur.” Use Royal Icing or for easy icing, take a few spoonfuls of pre-made vanilla frosting, microwave it until it’s runny and add a few drops of food color. Then choose to add jimmies or colored sugar decorations before the icing dries.

Allow the icing to dry completely before packaging your cookies to give as a gift or eat them with wild abandon.

The Scoop:

Dog Breed Cookie Cutters
Over 80 breeds, plus other fun shapes, $2 each.
www.thelittlefoxfactory.com

 

And for those of you who would rather pay than bake and play:  Elenis    www.elenis.com

Cookie Decorating Supplies and Tools 
www.kitchengifts.com

Thank you to ArtGirlCookies.com for the photo and your inspiration!.

 

 

NO FAIL SUGAR COOKIES

This recipe is GREAT when using complex cookie cutters.  The dough holds its’ shape and won’t spread during baking.  Make sure you let your oven preheat for at least 1/2 hour before baking these or any other cookies.

6 cups flour 
3 tsp. baking powder 
2 cups butter 
2 cups sugar 
2 eggs 
2 tsp. vanilla extract or desired flavoring (I like almond myself)
1 tsp. salt

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Mix well. Mix dry ingredients and add a little at a time to butter mixture.  Mix until flour is completely incorporated and the dough comes together.             

Chill for 1 to 2 hours (or see Hint below) 

Roll to desired thickness and cut into desired shapes.  Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until just beginning to turn brown around the edges.  This recipe can make up to 5-dozen 3” cookies. 

HINT: Rolling Out Dough Without the Mess — Rather than wait for your cookie dough to chill, take the freshly made dough and place a glob between two sheets of parchment paper.  

 

 

 

Roll it out to the desired thickness then place the dough and paper on a cookie sheet and pop it into the refrigerator.  Continue rolling out your dough between sheets of paper until you have used it all.  By the time you are finished, the first batch will be completely chilled and ready to cut.  Reroll leftover dough and repeat the process!  An added bonus is that you are not adding any additional flour to your cookies.

cookie-on-the-nose1

 

Lick the Bowl

What better way to say “I love you” then homebaked treats. Spoil your pooch with a little fresh-baked love from your kitchen. These peanut butter goodies are fun to make (get out the cookie cutters) and so adorable you’ll want to share them with your other doggie friends.

Peanut Butter Dog Treats

2 tbsp corn oil
1/2 cup peanut butter (make sure you are using organic or non-tainted peanut butter)
1 cup water
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups white flour

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine oil, peanut butter, and water. Add flour 1 cup at a time, then knead into firm dough. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness and cut with small bone shaped cookie cutter. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. For hard and crunchy treats, leave them in the oven for a few hours after baking.  Makes about 3 dozen. 

Photo of Kaweah courtesy of Jennifer Yu. Recipe from http://www.dogaware.com.

 

Dogwise, All Things Dog! 

Monthly Feature: BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS IN DOGS

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March 5, 2009 Posted by | Just One More Pet, On The Lighter Side, Pet Events, Pet Friendship and Love, pet fun, Pet Travel, Pets, Success Stories, Unusual Stories, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Sniffing Out Ear Infections

Ouch… My Ears Hurt!!

ouch-i-have-and-earache

Dogs aren’t known for their sweet fragrance, but if you notice a foul odor — and Fifi hasn’t been rolling in yucky stuff — lift up her ear flaps and sniff. Healthy ears don’t smell bad. However, if you get a whiff of something alarmingly bad, chances are bacteria, mites, or fungi are thriving in your dog’s long and hairy ear canal. Other telltale signs of infection that warrant a vet visit include redness, discharge, extreme warmth, and sensitivity to touch. Your pet may run the side of her head along the floor, too. Don’t attempt to clean sore ears yourself if you are tenative — instead, get a diagnosis and treatment options first instructions from your vet.  (see some natural options below)

Source:  RightAge

Regardless of the cause of your pet’s occasional ear infection, make sure that you clean your pet’s ears on a regular basis. Use a solution of 50% Vinegar (Apple Cider Vinegar is the best) and 50% luke warm or room temperature Water and insert the solution into the ear canal. Gently massage it in and use cotton balls to clean out any debris. (This is also the same cleaning protocol you would want to use when your pet actually has an ear infection prior to administering any type of treatment.)

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR, ALOE VERA GEL, HYDROGEN PEROXIDE /WATER mixture  is great for dog and cat ear aches:  one cup apple cider vinegar, two cups water, 1 tbsp pure aloe vera geland 1/2 tsp hydrogen peroxide.  ( 1 to 3 eyedroppers full in each ear 2 to 3 times a day depending on the size of your dog).

Halo also makes Halo a good Herbal Ear Wash.

For those of you with the regular pet swimmers, mix a solution of 1 cup of Water, 2 cups of Vinegar and 1 tablespoon of Rubbing Alcohol. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and squirt it onto the outside of the ear canal once or twice per week and after every swim. You can also use this solution applied with a cotton ball to clean out the inner part of the ear. The alcohol in the mixture will help to dissolve wax, whereas the vinegar creates an acidic environment that will not allow yeast or bacteria to grow in.

Contributing Comment:  **Do not give Rimadyl to your loving pet. My dog died after just 2 doses. If I had known that the fatality rate was 30%, I never would have given it to him. The vet’s are supposed to tell you this, but they don’t. Look up the drug on the FDA website, its all spelled out. Another reason to look for natural remedies whenever possible.

November 14, 2008 Posted by | Just One More Pet, Pets | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment