Stray dogs are dogs that are running loose, without an owner, or homeless. Strays can be large or small. Any dog can be a stray. Most strays are pets that have gotten out of their houses or yards. Often, stray dogs are lost or abandoned (homeless) and they have no one to care for them. Strays are usually hungry, thirsty, lonely, and sometimes hurt.

Now you know why stray dogs are a hazard. Don’t stop to play with a homeless dog, because you could get hurt. Here’s what you should do if you are approached by a stray dog:

If you are standing:

-Be a tree. Stand still like a tree.tree

-Hold your arms close to your side or fold them across your chest, and don’t move.

-Look down at your roots (feet). You are making your body into the shape of a tree.

-Don’t run away and especially don’t move your arms.

-Let the dog sniff you if he wants.

-Don’t stare at the dog’s eyes.

-When the dog goes away, you may back up slowly so you can still watch him.

If you are lying down, or have been knocked down by a dog:

-Act like a stone or log.

-Cover your face and head with your arms, keep your legs together, and if you can, pull your knees up.log

-You are making your body into the shape of a big ball or flat log.

-Don’t get up and don’t move until the dog has gone away.

Never run way from a dog. If you run, the dog will chase you. If you stand still, he will probably sniff you, and then go away.

After the dog has gone, tell an adult right away so they can call the animal control office of your local police department. Try to remember if the dog had a collar or tag and what the dog looked like. You will be helping the dog get off the streets into a safe place.

dog bite

May 17-23, 2015 is Dog Bite Prevention week.  Many dog bites can be prevented with the right guidance and information. 
Follow these seven simple rules to help prevent dog bites and possible accidents.

  1. Don’t bother dogs who are eating.

When dogs eat, they are not thinking about anything else. If you get too close to the dog while he is eating, he may think you are trying to take his food.

What to do:      Let your dog eat his food by himself. Stay a good distance away until he is finished and has moved away from his bowls.

 

  1. Don’t bother dogs who are sleeping.

When dogs are sleeping and you wake them up by touching them, they can become surprised or scared and try to bite. Don’t ever climb over a sleeping dog.

What to do:      To wake up a dog, stand far enough away and call the dog’s name. And if you do not know the dog, do not wake him up. Just leave him alone.

 

  1. Don’t bother dogs who are protecting their territory.

Dogs feel a need to protect their territory. A dog’s territory can be many places: his yard, his home, his car, his crate, his doghouse or near his toys. If you do not know the dog, just stay away. Don’t ever stick your fingers into a crate, a car window or through a fence. Don’t bother a dog who is chewing on a bone or playing with a toy alone.

What to do:      Stay away from dogs that are in fenced yards. If a dog is in a crate, wait until the owner lets the pet out before you pet the dog. Stand back from cars if there is a pet in the window. If a dog is playing with a toy, wait until he brings you the toy.

 

  1. Don’t bother dogs who are old or do not feel well.

Dogs that are old may not hear or see very well. They can be easily surprised if they do not see or hear you coming. Old dogs also have body aches and pains that may make them grouchier than they used to be.

What to do:      Be gentle with older pets and don’t surprise them. Let him come to you when he wants attention.

 

  1. Don’t bother dogs by teasing them.

To understand how a dog feels when being teased, imagine being teased by someone at school. Teasing can become frustrating and make you angry. The same thing can happen to a dog that is teased. But he can also become angry and bite you. Dogs can also get upset if their hair, ears or tail is pulled. Please, don’t tease!

What to do:      Treat dogs with respect and kindness. Pet and brush them with a gentle hand. Talk in a normal voice. Give your dog enough room so he doesn’t feel crowded.

 

  1. Don’t bother dogs by getting too close to their face.

Dogs usually don’t like you in their face. It bothers most dogs. It’s best never to do that. A dog can bite you very easily when your face is so close. Don’t walk right up to a dog suddenly.

What to do:      Let other people’s dogs approach you. Get permission to pet the dog. Stand still. Let the dog sniff

your closed fist before petting him. Even your own dog needs space and privacy. Keep your face away from the

dog’s mouth and face area.

 

  1. Don’t bother dogs by hugging them or crowding them.

Most dogs are not happy when they are crowded. Try not to touch a dog unless there is no one else touching him. One person at a time is a good rule. Don’t climb over dogs or sit on them. And never touch someone else’s dog unless you have permission from your parents and from the owner of the dog.

What to do:      Ask for permission to pet the dog. If someone is already petting the dog, wait until they are finished. For your own dog, make it a rule that only one person at a time can pet him. Stay out of corners and under tables.

 

 

This blog is dedicated to all of our beloved patients we have lost through the years.  Each pet leaves an imprint on our hearts we carry with us forever.

Whenever we lose a patient (or one of our own pets), from age, illness or injury, it reminds us all that our time with our beloved pets is precious and short.  But that does not limit the bond we develop with our furry companions.  This bond is what makes our interactions with animals rich and rewarding, but also what makes the grief process so complicated.

After your pet has died or been lost, it is natural and normal to feel grief and sorrow. The amount of time a person grieves for the loss of their pet may be very different for different people. Although grief is an internal and private response, there are certain stages of grief that most people experience, and not everyone experiences them all or in the same order.

The stages of grief include denial, anger, guilt, depression, acceptance, and resolution. Denial – an unwillingness to accept the fact that your pet has died or that death is unavoidable – may begin when you first learn the seriousness of your animal’s illness or injuries. Often, the more sudden the death, the more difficult the loss is to accept and the stronger the denial.

Anger and guilt often follow denial. Your anger may be directed toward people you normally love and respect, including your family, friends or your veterinarian. People coping with death will often say things that they do not really mean, unintentionally hurting those whom they do not mean to hurt. You may feel guilty or blame others for not recognizing the illness earlier, for not doing something sooner, for not being able to afford other types of or further treatment, or for being careless and allowing the animal to be injured.

Depression is a common experience after the death of a special pet. The tears flow, there are knots in your stomach, and you feel drained of all your energy. Day-to-day tasks can seem impossible to perform and you may feel isolated and alone. Many depressed people will avoid the company of friends and family. It might be hard to get out of bed in the morning, especially if your morning routine involved caring for your pet’s needs. Sometimes you may even wonder if you can go on without your pet. The answer is yes, but there are times when special assistance may be helpful in dealing with your loss. Do not feel guilty or weak for seeking professional assistance to help you cope with the grief you feel.

Eventually, you will come to terms with your feelings. You begin to accept your pet’s death. Resolution has occurred when you can remember your pet and your time with them without feeling the intense grief and emotional pain you previously felt. Acceptance and resolution are normal and do not mean that you no longer feel a sense of loss, just that you have come to terms with the fact that your pet has died. Even when you have reached resolution and acceptance, feelings of anger, denial, guilt, and depression may reappear. If this does happen, these feelings will usually be less intense, and with time they will be replaced with fond memories.

Although everyone experiences the stages of grief, grieving is always a very personal process. Some people take longer than others to come to terms with denial, anger, guilt, and depression, and each loss is different. If you understand that these are normal reactions, you will be better prepared to cope with your feelings and to help others face theirs. Family and friends should be reassured that sorrow and grief are normal and natural responses to death.

Just as everyone may grieve differently, people may choose to honor their pet’s life in a number of ways. One person may prefer a memorial service or funeral for their pet, while another may prefer a symbol of remembrance, such as a paw print cast in plaster or stone or a lock of hair. Whatever you choose to honor your pet and your life together is as personal as your grieving process.

Allow yourself time to grieve and heal, and be thankful that your life was made that much better by sharing it with your beloved pet.

Everyone has read on the internet and seen on the news information about the recent CIV outbreak in Chicago.  From the ISVMA:

Chicago CIV Outbreak-Caution When Traveling with Dogs
Over roughly a two week period, March 16-26, almost 80% of the samples tested for positive for Canine Influenza in the Chicago and Chicago suburbs area were positive. This resulted in 34 positive cases, according to a recent Merck press release to the veterinary community. This a highly contagious virus, with symptoms which can mimic other, more benign respiratory infections.

CIV is not a new disease. CIV has been documented in 40 states since reporting began in 2004.
Per Ronald Schultz, PhD from University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Veterinary Medicine Department of Pathobiological Sciences, “In general, any dog that is in a closed room with other dogs for at least 6 hours or more can be considered at risk.” The source of the current outbreak has not been revealed but due to the high travel period of this outbreak, it may spread to other vicinities.

Dr. Cynda Crawford, from Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, Gainesville, who helped to discover the canine influenza virus 11 years ago said the virus will naturally dissipate from the area in time. However, that natural process isn’t happening overnight because nearly all dogs exposed are being exposed for the first time; there is no built-in immunity to the novel virus. While nearly every exposed dog will get the virus, about 2o to 25 percent don’t actually get sick.

Signs of CIV include (can present like kennel cough but with fever and runny nose):

  • A dry hacking cough
  • Coughing up a white, foamy phlegm
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Runny nose
  • Rapid breathing
  • Fever

If you have traveled to the recent area of outbreak and suspect your pet may have been exposed, the current ISVMA recommendation is for a 3 week home quarantine period.

If any dogs become ill with signs of Canine Influenza AND they have been to an area of outbreak (Chicago), dog owners are strongly encouraged to advise the local veterinarians that their dog may have been exposed to the virus.

If you have any further questions or concerns, we have posted links to RELIABLE websites to get information on the vaccine and disease. You can also contact your pet’s veterinarian for information.

CIV Overview from Merck

http://www.isvma.org/

CIV Vaccine Information from Merck

Merck’s Dog Influenza Website

 

We have all heard about the class action suit against Purina and their product Beneful. This is not a FDA recall, but rather a lawsuit against Purina.  We have been getting numerous calls regarding foods, what to feed and what products this effects.  The core of the dispute is over an ingredient, propylene glycol and also the possible presence of mycotoxins, a mold that is a result of fungal infections in crops.  Let’s help break these two issues down to help give our clients a better understanding of it all.  PLEASE NOTE:  This post is not based on any Hawthorne protocol, nor is it meant to be an endorsement of a brand(s), a bashing of a brand(s) but rather basic information.  We HIGHLY encourage owners to READ labels, investigate non-nutrient ingredients added to foods (both human and animal!) and do your research on REPUTABLE websites (we used the CDC, FDA and Kansas State University).    

Propylene glycol is a semi-controversial additive used to help preserve the moisture content in some commercial dog foods & treats, human foods and even human cosmetics.   Per the CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry:  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified propylene glycol as an additive that is “generally recognized as safe” for use in food. It is used to absorb extra water and maintain moisture in certain medicines, cosmetics, or food products. It is a solvent for food colors and flavors, and in the paint and plastics industries.  Propylene glycol is also used as moisturizer in cosmetic products and as a dispersant in fragrances.

CDC’s ATSDR Site

Propylene glycol (we refer to as PG from here out) is also an ingredient found in newer antifreeze products, but do not confuse it with its “cousin” ethylene glycol, a toxic chemical substance found in plastics, fabrics and antifreeze (it’s what gives antifreeze it’s “sweet” taste that appeals to animals).  PG is labeled as less toxic than EG, but still can be toxic in high levels.  It has been proven to cause a serious type of blood disease in some animals — Heinz body anemia — PG has been banned by the FDA for use in cat food.

Now for the other issue.  Mycotoxins can appear in the food chain as a result of fungal infection of crops, either by being eaten directly by humans or by being used as livestock feed. Mycotoxins greatly resist decomposition or being broken down in digestion, so they remain in the food chain in meat and dairy products. Even temperature treatments, such as cooking and freezing, do not destroy some mycotoxins.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has regulated and enforced limits on concentrations of mycotoxins in foods and feed industries since 1985. It is through various compliance programs that the FDA monitors these industries to guarantee that mycotoxins are kept at a practical level. These compliance programs sample food products including peanuts and peanut products, tree nuts, corn and corn products, cottonseed, and milk.

So what does this all mean for you?  I know I wouldn’t want to use/consume something the FDA classifies as “generally recognized as safe” but I also am more organic in my products and foods. This blogger did some research at a local grocery store and not only did we find propylene glycol in other pet products besides Beneful, but in two of the top selling cake brands on the market!

pup pillbury kibble bits carry out

BC cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

In our filter of the internet on this hot topic (and boy, are there A LOT of comments/blogs/posts), we read one blog post comparing the toxicity of PG from humans to animals as that of chocolate.  They stated, “Chocolate can be safely consumed by humans but the theobromine is toxic to dogs.”  Makes possible sense, but as with everything, do your research and remember, you don’t get haute cuisine at fast food prices.

Mycotoxins, well we are still a bit confused ourselves.  This is a complex and complicated subject.  It sounds like this is a toxic occurrence that can appear in even human food, with the same illnesses and potentially deadly results, so we leave the additional information to the experts. (The KSU paper was an interesting read to this blogger)

FDA sites on mycotoxins

Kansas State University info on mycotoxins in food and food supply

Recently, the question to vaccinate or not has been a hot button topic in both human and in animal medicine. We get questions all the time about whether or not owners should vaccinate, what are the risks, and what other options are there for pets.  It is a great conversation to have with your veterinarian (not Dr. Google) so that you can get informed medical advice.  Some pets do have vaccine reactions, some pets cannot have vaccines due to other medical concerns but you need to talk to your vet about your pet’s specific risks and whether vaccinating or not vaccinating could further effect your pet’s health.

So why vaccinate? Aren’t these disease eradicated like many of the human diseases? Well, no. In Illinois in 2014, there were 40 positive cases of animal rabies in bats.  Madison County has reported at least one positive case (upwards of 5 in some years) in a wildlife animal every year since 2007. http://www.idph.state.il.us/health/infect/reportdis/rabies.htm

Distemper is another disease we are seeing more of even in urban areas.  In 2013, the Missouri Wildlife Hotline reported distemper cases in cities including: Chesterfield, Wildwood, Clarkson Valley, Ballwin, Ellisville, Kirkwood, and Fenton/High Ridge.  99% of the cases were raccoon related, but they had reports of distemper foxes and coyotes as well.
http://www.wildlifehotline.com/distemper-cases-continue/

In 2012, a pet store in Chicago area had a distemper outbreak reporting 4 confirmed cases and 3 cases in puppies with distemper symptoms but no confirmed diagnosis because either the puppy died or they are awaiting test results.
http://www.humanesociety.org/news/press_releases/2012/01/puppies_infected_with_1192012.html

The key is to have an open conversation with your trained veterinarian about your concerns, get your questions answered and to create a vaccine schedule that is right for your pet.
This was a recent press release from the American Veterinarian Medical Association.

AVMA: Anti-vaccination movement a risk to pet health

The anti-vaccination movement not only threatens human health—as shown in the recent U.S. measles outbreak—but, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), it could also have devastating effects for our pets if that ideology gains a foothold in veterinary medicine.

Vaccination is the primary reason the United States has eliminated the domestic dog variant of rabies, and why deadly diseases like distemper, parvovirus, and panleukopenia have become much less common in U.S. pets. This trend could easily be reversed, however, by the same circumstances that are allowing measles to spread in the United States.

“Unvaccinated pets are not only at risk themselves, but pose a threat to other animals, including young pets that have not yet received their full series of vaccines and thus are not fully protected, or those individuals that can’t be vaccinated due to preexisting health issues,” said Dr. Ted Cohn, AVMA president. “Vaccinating your pets helps to keep them safe from serious preventable diseases, while also protecting the health and well-being of these vulnerable populations.”

Today, there are a variety of vaccines available for use by veterinarians. They work by stimulating protective immune responses in pets and preparing them to fight future infections from disease-causing agents. They can lessen the severity of future diseases, and certain vaccines can prevent infection altogether. In some cases, such as with rabies, vaccinating pets can also protect humans from disease.

Like any medication or medical procedure, vaccinations do carry some risk. Such adverse responses can vary from mild to severe, but most of these vaccine responses—such as fever, sluggishness and reduced appetite–are rare, mild and resolve quickly. For the vast majority of pets, the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks.

Pet owners can work with their veterinarians to tailor a vaccination program that fits the needs of each specific pet. While there are certain core vaccines recommended for all dogs and cats, and some that may be required by law, there are other vaccines that may or may not be necessary due to the pet’s age, health, and lifestyle.

We get this question a lot: When should we euthanize a pet? How will we know it’s the right time?

This can be an incredibly difficult question for both the owner and the veterinarian, and is often a very tough decision to make. Sometimes, euthanasia is obviously the best thing to do for your pet. At other times, however, it can be less clear. An open discussion with your veterinarian, including an honest evaluation of your pet’s quality of life (see below), should help you make the decision. Although it’s never an easy decision to make, perhaps the kindest thing you can do for a pet that is extremely ill or so severely injured that it will never be able to resume a life of good quality is to have your veterinarian induce its death quietly and humanely through humane euthanasia.

One way to determine if your aging pet is still enjoying life and can remain with us a little longer is by using a “Quality of Life” scale to determine if the animal’s basic needs are being met. This scale can be very helpful for the veterinarian and pet owner when deciding what is best for your pet. In this scale, pets are scored on a scale of 1 through 10 in each category, with 10 being the highest score for quality of life. Again, only an honest evaluation of each category will help with the decision.

Quality of Life Assessment:

Is your pet comfortable? This includes breathing ability.

Is your pet eating enough? Does your pet require human food, hand feeding, or a feeding tube?

Is your pet adequately hydrated? It is our job to assess this for you; several disease processes can dehydrate our patients.

Does your pet keep him/herself clean? This is an especially important assessment in cats; they should groom themselves.

Does your pet express joy? Interest in daily activity? Does he/she respond appropriately to changes in the environment?

Is your pet excited when you get home?

Does your pet ever act bored? Lonely? Anxious? Fearful?

Does your pet ever stare off into space, or into a corner? This can sometimes be an indication of cognitive dysfunction.

Can your pet stand and lie down without assistance? Does he/she want to play/go for walks? Any stumbling/seizures?

Overall, do the GOOD days outnumber the BAD days?
While this assessment can help in the decision-making process, it is also important to consider not only what is in the best interest of your pet’s welfare but also what is best for you and your family. For example, if your pet has an injury or disease that requires more care than you and your family can provide to make sure it has a good quality of life, euthanasia may be the right decision.

Our doctors and staff completely understand the bond you have with your pet and can examine and evaluate your pet’s condition, explain treatment options along with any risks and estimated chances for recovery, and discuss possible outcomes including any potential disabilities, special needs or long-term problems. Because we cannot make the euthanasia decision for you, it is very important that you fully understand your pet’s condition while you consider your options. If there is any part of the diagnosis or the possible effects on your pet’s future that are unclear or confusing to you, don’t hesitate to ask questions that will help you understand.

Euthanasia is accomplished for pets by injection of a death-inducing drug. We often also administer a tranquilizer first to relax your pet. Following injection of the euthanasia drug, your pet will immediately become deeply and irreversibly unconscious as the drug stops brain and heart function; death follows quickly and painlessly. Your pet may move his/her legs or head, release bodily fluids or breathe deeply several times after the drug is given, but these are natural reflexes and do not mean that your pet is in pain or is suffering.

A decision concerning euthanasia may be one of the most difficult decisions you will ever make for your pet. Although it is a personal decision, it doesn’t need to be a solitary one. Our doctors and staff will talk with you and provide you with the information and support you need and deserve throughout the entire process.

Happy New Year!  We can’t believe another year has come and gone.  Time flies when you enjoy what you do and our staff love helping care for your beloved pets.

We are planning for a very exciting 2015 at Hawthorne.  We have many new services and changes that will give our clients more options for the care of their pets.

Our hours are changing at many of our satellite locations to give clients additional appointment times.  From expanded Saturday hours, walk-in hours and added evening appointments, it will be easier to get your pet the care they need at a time convenient for you.

We are adding to our list of medical services, too.  Arthroscopic and laparoscopic procedures have been added to our surgery options.  Acupuncture, platelet rich plasma treatments, laser therapy, and even rehab services are all part of the comprehensive care we can provide at Hawthorne.  At our Glen Carbon location, we have also expanded our routine surgery and dental procedures hours to include Sundays. (Click on the links below to learn more about these new procedures)

Arthroscopic Surgery    Laparoscopic Surgery    Acupuncture   Platelet Rich Plasma    Therapy Laser Treatment

Throughout the years, many things have changed but our core values and mission have remained the same from day one, to take exceptional care of pets.  We strive to continually improve our medical knowledge to meet and exceed our clients’ expectations and the needs of their pets.  After all, we have pets too.  We know how important their health is, and we are committed to providing the same quality of service that we would expect for our own pets.

Thank you for your trust in us and your continued business.  We wish you a happy and healthy 2015!

Sincerely-

The Doctors and Staff at Hawthorne Animal Hospital, Countryside Pet Clinic and Adair Gardens Pet Hospital

Glen Carbon 618.288.3971
Troy 618.667.4900
Belleville 618.235.2744
Greenville 618.664.4420
Vandalia 618.283.9290

It’s that time of year again.  Over indulgence can lead to upset tummies and pancreatitis in pets (and humans, too!).  So what is pancreatitis?  What are the symptoms and treatments?

The Normal Pancreas and What it Does

Your pet eats food, chews it up into slurry, and swallows it. It travels down the esophagus to the stomach where it is ground up further and enzymes from the stomach are added to begin the breakdown of dietary nutrients. This is digestion. When the food particles in the stomach are small enough, they are propelled into the small intestine for further digestive treatment so that nutrient absorption can occur.

The small intestine has three segments: the duodenum that connects to the stomach; the jejunum; and the ileum. The jejunum and ileum are mostly involved in nutrient absorption. The duodenum, being so close to the stomach, is a site for further digestion of fats and proteins.

There are two ducts that enter the duodenum near where the stomach contents enter. One duct is called the bile duct, which is stored in the gall bladder. The bile serves to neutralize acid that the stomach produced, to emulsify (or dissolve) dietary fats for absorption later in the tract, and also to excrete certain toxins. The other duct is the pancreatic duct, which squirts in more digestive enzymes so as to break down starches and continue the breakdown of protein. Cats have a slightly different anatomy than the dog regarding the pancreas, liver, gall bladder, and small intestine; however, the functional purpose is the same.

The pancreas is a pale pink glandular organ that nestles cozily just under the stomach and along the duodenum. As a glandular organ, the pancreas is all about secretion and it has two main jobs: the first job is the secretion of digestive enzymes to help us break down the food we eat, the second job is the secretion of insulin and glucagon (to regulate sugar metabolism).

Pancreatitis is Inflammation of the Pancreas

In pancreatitis, inflammation disrupts the health and normal function of the pancreas. Digestive enzymes that are normally safely stored in the pancreas are released prematurely, and begin digesting the pancreas itself. This is a metabolic catastrophe. The remaining, healthy pancreatic tissue becomes further inflamed, and tissue damage quickly involves the adjacent liver. Toxins released from this course of tissue destruction are released into the blood stream and can cause a body-wide inflammatory response. If the pancreas is affected so as to disrupt its ability to produce insulin, diabetes mellitus can result; this consequence can be permanent.

What Causes Pancreatitis

Unfortunately, we often do not find the specific cause for pancreatitis in our canine patients. Here are the most common events we see that can cause pancreatitis:

Dietary Indiscretion One of the most common reasons for pancreatitis in dogs is the ingestion of a new, rich food source, most of the time human food. Eating a fatty, protein-rich snack, even if it is a small amount, can result in acute over-stimulation of pancreatic digestive tissue, causing inflammation.

Trauma Blunt trauma (hit-by-car, dog fight, etc.), prior bouts of pancreatitis, as well as manipulation from abdominal surgery, can cause inflammation of the pancreas.

Metabolic Disease, Cancer Tumors involving or adjacent to the pancreas can cause pancreatitis, as can a variety of common non-pancreatic illnesses. This is a very long list; the moral of the story: for various reasons, essentially ANY disease can indirectly result in pancreatitis.

Clinical Signs of Pancreatitis

The classic signs in dogs are anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, painful abdomen, and fever.

Making the Diagnosis

  1. Blood Testing Our veterinarians will perform a general health screen not only to diagnose pancreatitis when there is a suspicion for it, but also to rule out additional disease processes. The specific enzymes/tests used to diagnose pancreatitis in dogs are amylase, lipase, and cPLI (fPLI in feline patients). In the cat, similar tests are performed to reveal pancreatitis.
  2. Radiographs Abdominal x-rays can show a widening of the angle of the duodenum against the stomach, which indicates a swelling of the pancreas. The pancreas leaks fluid when it is inflamed; this can also be seen on radiographs. The main goal of radiology in potential pancreatitis cases is to ensure that there is not a gastrointestinal obstruction, which can present in a very similary manner. An obstruction is a surgical emergency, and is critical to rule out prior to beginning treatment. Radiographs may or may not be performed, depending on the clinical history, physical exam findings, and blood work findings.
  3. Ultrasound Abdominal ultrasound detects 68% of pancreatitis cases and provides the opportunity to image other organs and even easily collect fluid from the belly if needed. Since pancreatitis can be accompanied by a tumor in the abdomen, ultrasound provides the opportunity to detect such complicating factors. Our Glen Carbon office is equipped with ultrasound technology.
  4. Surgical Abdominal Exploratory In patients with chronic gastrointestinal upset, abdominal surgery is a definitive way to inspect the pancreas as well as the other major abdominal organs for defects. Additionally, surgery provides a way to sample abnormal tissue for testing, to achieve a specific diagnosis. At our Glen Carbon location, laparoscopic surgery can be performed to minimize anesthetic time, incision length, and complications.

Treatment of Pancreatitis

The passage of food through the duodenum is a strong stimulus to the pancreas. In the treatment of canine pancreatitis, we do not want any stimulation of the pancreas; we want the pancreas to rest. This means instituting a bland diet that is readily digestible.

Intravenous fluids are given to prevent dehydration, flush out pancreatic toxins, and in some cases to provide nutrition. This means that your pet will need to be hospitalized for 48-72 hours. Outpatient care can be provided if finances or availability or 24 care demand so; however, dehydration and relapse of clinical signs are common complications. Fluid therapy is an essential component of pancreatitis treatment.

Pancreatitis is a painful condition, and pain management is not only humane but is critical in achieving complete recovery. Untreated pain affects the immune system and increases mortality. Injectable pain medications, topical products, and even continuous drips can be used effectively to control pain.

Additional medication to control nausea is also commonly used.

Antibiotics are often used because even though pancreatitis is not a bacterial disease, bacterial invasion from diseased intestinal tissue is a common occurrence.

A low fat diet, such as one of the major prescription high fiber diets, is used to minimize pancreatic stimulation. Since there is potential for the pancreas to always have a chronic smoldering bit of inflammation, long-term use of a low fat prescription diet is likely to be recommended.

With the diagnostics, capabilities, and caring team at any of our Hawthorne locations, you can feel confident that your pet would be in good hands should pancreatitis develop!

Cold Weather Pet Safety

You’re probably already aware of the risks posed by warm weather and leaving pets in hot cars, but did you know that cold weather also poses serious threats to your pets’ health?

Here are some tips to keep your pets safe during cold weather:

Winter wellness: Has your pet had his/her preventive care exam (wellness exam) yet?  Cold weather may worsen some medical conditions, especially arthritis. Your pet should be examined by your veterinarian at least once a year, and it’s as good a time as any to get him/her checked out to make sure (s)he is ready and as healthy as possible to withstand the cold weather.

Know the limits:  Just like people, pets’ cold tolerance can vary from pet to pet based on their coat, body fat stores, activity level, breed, and health. Be aware of your pet’s tolerance for cold weather, and respond accordingly. You will probably need to shorten your dog’s walks in very cold weather to protect you both from weather-associated health risks. Arthritic and elderly pets may have more difficulty walking on snow and ice and may be more prone to slipping and falling. Long-haired or thick-coated dogs tend to be more cold-tolerant, but are still at risk in cold weather. Short-haired pets feel the cold faster because they have less protection, and short-legged pets may become cold faster because their bellies and bodies are more likely to come into contact with snow-covered ground. Pets with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or hormonal imbalances (such as Cushing’s disease) may have a harder time regulating their body temperature, and may be more susceptible to problems from temperature extremes. The same goes for very young and very old pets. Please call us if you need help determining your pet’s temperature limits.

Provide choices: Just like you, pets prefer comfortable sleeping places and may change their location based on their need for more or less warmth. Give them some safe options to allow them to vary their sleeping place to adjust to their needs.

Stay inside. Cats and dogs should be kept inside during cold weather. It’s a common belief that dogs and cats are resistant than people to cold weather because of their fur, but it’s untrue. Like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia and should be kept inside. Longer-haired and thick-coated dog breeds, such as huskies and other dogs bred for colder climates, are more tolerant of cold weather; but no pet should be left outside for long periods of time in below-freezing weather.

Make some noise: A warm vehicle engine can be an appealing heat source for outdoor and feral cats, but it’s deadly. Check underneath your car, bang on the hood, and honk the horn before starting the engine to encourage feline hitchhikers to abandon their roost under the hood.

Check the paws: Check your dog’s paws frequently for signs of cold-weather injury or damage, such as cracked paw pads or bleeding. During a walk, a sudden lameness may be due to an injury or may be due to ice accumulation between his/her toes. You may be able to reduce the chance of ice accumulation by clipping the hair between your dog’s toes. Our staff offers this service if you do not feel comfortable trimming your pet’s feet.

Play dress-up: If your dog has a short coat or seems bothered by the cold weather, consider a sweater or dog coat. Have several on hand, so you can use a dry sweater or coat each time your dog goes outside. Wet sweaters or coats can actually make your dog colder. Some pet owners also use booties to protect their dog’s feet; if you choose to use them, make sure they fit properly. There are a wide variety of clothing options available nowadays. Each of our staff members have success and failure stories they can share with you to help you find the best options for your pet.

Wipe down: During walks, your dog’s feet, legs and belly may pick up de-icer, antifreeze, or other chemicals that could be toxic. When you get back inside, wipe down (or wash) your pet’s feet, legs and belly to remove these chemicals and reduce the risk that your dog will be poisoned after (s)he licks them off of his/her feet or fur. Consider using pet-safe deicers on your property to protect your pets and the others in your neighborhood.

Collar and chip: Many pets become lost in winter because snow and ice can hide recognizable scents that might normally help your pet find his/her way back home. Make sure your pet has a well-fitting collar with up-to-date identification and contact information. A microchip is a more permanent means of identification, but it’s critical that you keep the registration information up to date with the microchip company.

Stay home: Hot cars are a known threat to pets, but cold cars also pose significant risk to your pet’s health. You’re already familiar with how a car can rapidly cool down in cold weather; it becomes like a refrigerator, and can rapidly chill your pet. Pets that are young, old, ill, or thin are particularly susceptible to cold environments and should never be left in cold cars. Limit car travel to only that which is necessary, and don’t leave your pet unattended in the vehicle.

Prevent poisoning: Clean up any antifreeze spills quickly, as even small amounts of antifreeze can be deadly. Make sure your pets don’t have access to medication bottles, household chemicals, potentially toxic foods such as onions, xylitol (a sugar substitute) and chocolate.

Protect family: Odds are your pet will be spending more time inside during the winter, so it’s a good time to make sure your house is properly pet-proofed. Use space heaters with caution around pets, because they can burn or they can be knocked over, potentially starting a fire. Check your furnace before the cold weather sets in to make sure it’s working efficiently, and install carbon monoxide detectors to keep your entire family safe from harm. If you have a pet bird, make sure its cage is away from drafts.

Avoid ice: When walking your dog, stay away from frozen ponds, lakes and other water. You don’t know if the ice will support your dog’s weight, and if your dog breaks through the ice it could be deadly. And if this happens and you instinctively try to save your dog, both of your lives could be in jeopardy.

Provide shelter: We don’t recommend keeping any pet outside for long periods of time, but if you are unable to keep your dog inside during cold weather, provide him/her with a warm, solid shelter against wind. Make sure that they have unlimited access to fresh, non-frozen water (by changing the water frequently or using a pet-safe, heated water bowl). The floor of the shelter should be off of the ground (to minimize heat loss into the ground) and the bedding should be thick, dry and changed regularly to provide a warm, dry environment. The door to the shelter should be positioned away from prevailing winds. Space heaters and heat lamps should be avoided because of the risk of burns or fire. Heated pet mats should also be used with caution because they are still capable of causing burns.

Recognize problems: If your pet is whining, shivering, seems anxious, slows down or stops moving, seems weak, or starts looking for warm places to burrow, get them back inside quickly because they are showing signs of hypothermia. Frostbite is harder to detect, and may not be fully recognized until a few days after the damage is done. If you suspect your pet has hypothermia or frostbite, call our office right away!

Be prepared: Cold weather also brings the risks of severe winter weather, blizzards and power outages. Prepare a disaster/emergency kit, and include your pet in your plans. Have enough food, water and medicine (including any prescription medications as well as heartworm and flea/tick preventives) on hand to get through at least 5 days.

Feed well: Keep your pet at a healthy weight throughout the winter. Some pet owners feel that a little extra weight gives their pet some extra protection from cold, but the health risks associated with that extra weight don’t make it worth doing. Watch your pet’s body condition and keep them in the healthy range. Outdoor pets will require more calories in the winter to generate enough body heat and energy to keep them warm – talk to us about your pet’s nutritional needs during cold weather.