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Alarming Symptoms In Aging Cats

James R. Speiser, DVM, DABVP, CCRT
October 16, 2015

Common Causes Of Anemia In Pets Unfortunately we all experience changes in our body as we age, and for cats, there’s no exception. But cats are notorious for masking symptoms of disease, so it’s important to take action if you suspect something may be a little off, rather than waiting to see if it gets better on its own.

Common health issues we see in older cats include kidney disease, cancer, diabetes, and hyperthyroidism. Here are some symptoms to look out for:
  1. Kidney disease. You’ll find that cats with kidney disease drink more water, or urinate more than usual. You also might notice weight loss, bad breath, or ulcers in the mouth in extreme cases. Kidney disease can be treated with dietary change and medications. Some cats will require intravenous fluid therapy in the hospital for a few days, followed by fluids given...


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What Are Common Causes Of Anemia In Pets?

James R. Speiser, DVM, DABVP, CCRT
October 9, 2015

Common Causes Of Anemia In Pets Anemia is the condition of not having enough red blood cells. Red blood cells are basically bags of an oxygen carrier called hemoglobin that distributes oxygen to the body.

Anemia is separated into two types. The first type is called regenerative anemia and is a condition where there are less than adequate red blood cells, but the bone marrow is responding by releasing more young red blood cells than normal, so that the anemia is improving. The second type is called non-regenerative anemia where the anemia is not being corrected by the...

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Backyard BBQ Precautions

James R. Speiser, DVM, DABVP, CCRT
August 31, 2015

Backyard BBQ Preparations Summertime might be winding down, but grilling season still runs through the fall, especially with Labor Day and football around the corner! But when you’re entertaining in the backyard with your pets around, you’ll need to take some precaution so we don’t see you in the emergency room! Check out our quick reference list below:
  1. Do not feed pets bones! Splintery poultry bones are the worst, but beef and pork bones break teeth, get stuck in the mouth, esophagus or intestine, and can cause gastrointestinal perforation. Bones of any kind do little good for any pet.
  2. Do not feed chocolate, xylitol, grapes, or raisins – they are all toxic. Xylitol is commonly found in sugar-free gum and more recently in a variety of specialty peanut and nut butters.
  3. Keep the alcohol away from pets, seriously. They can become intoxicated just like your guests, and it won’t be...
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Pet Proofing Your Backyard

James R. Speiser, DVM, DABVP, CCRT
August 14, 2015

Pet Proofing Your Backyard With a little over a month left of summer, you might still find yourself trying to tackle backyard projects complete with building materials, ladders, paints, stains, or gardening supplies. But when these projects include our pets, there might be some consequences that could result in injury or intoxication if you don’t think of your pet’s safety. Here are a few recommendations to help “pet proof” your backyard:

Chemicals. Many common chemicals used in backyard projects such as petroleum distillates (i.e. deck stains and paint thinners) are toxic to pets. Swimming pool chemicals and cleaning agents can be toxic or fatal to pets if ingested, or can cause extreme skin irritation with skin contact. Always make sure that chemicals are in secure containers so they aren’t chewed up or otherwise broken into by pets. You would be surprised to know what some dogs and cats think is tasty! Beware of glues that contain polyurethane, like Gorilla Glue. When pets chew the containers, the moisture in the mouth or stomach causes the polyurethane in the glue to expand dramatically causing suffocation, or stomach rupture. We have done more than a couple of surgeries to remove a perfect cast of the stomach out of Gorilla Glue!...

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Laser Therapy In Pets

James R. Speiser, DVM, DABVP, CCRT
August 7, 2015

Laser Therapy in Pets Laser therapy in veterinary medicine is being used more commonly as a therapeutic aid to many different maladies. There are two types of lasers used in veterinary medicine. There are surgical lasers, which are used as a scalpel to cut tissue, and then there are therapeutic lasers that are used to help tissue heal.

What is a laser? LASER stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Wow! What this means is that a particular type of crystal is bombarded with electricity so that the wavelength of light emitted is all lined up and in sync with each other. One can think of this like a group of soldiers marching in step. Each soldier has to take the same length of step and the legs of the soldiers have to coordinate with each other. So with a laser, depending upon the wavelength emitted and the degree of amplification (boost), the light can be powerful enough to cut tissue, or emit energy into the tissue that can be used to speed healing...

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Why Do Cats and Dogs Eat Grass?

James R. Speiser, DVM, DABVP, CCRT
July 24, 2015

Why Is My Pet Always Itchy Many people ask why their cat or dog goes out and eats grass, only to later vomit. I too often have wondered and have heard the various theories. Here are some of the common explanations and my thoughts on them:

Dogs and cats eat grass because they have a nutritional deficiency. Cats and dogs are carnivores—defined as meat eaters. Wild cats and dogs kill other animals (usually herbivores—defined as vegetable eaters), and eat the meat...

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10 Early Warning Signs Of Cancer In Pets

James R. Speiser, DVM, DABVP, CCRT
June 26, 2015

Why Is My Pet Always Itchy Would you know how to detect cancer in your pet? Early cancer detection is associated with the best outcomes and in many cases a cure. Here are 10 of the most common warnings signs you might want to explore further with your veterinarian:

Lumps & bumps. Not all lumps and bumps on or under the skin are cancerous, but it is something to be concerned with. A needle aspirate or biopsy is a routine procedure to help determine benign from malignant.

Abnormal odors. Cancers can cause foul odors

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Bee Stings & Pet First Aid

James R. Speiser, DVM, DABVP, CCRT
June 19, 2015

Why Is My Pet Always Itchy The warmer months bring out stinging insects that our furry friends can have a bad encounter with. Dogs will occasionally chase and snap at bees and wasps, while cats can find these moving objects interesting enough to paw at, catch, or play with. And then this curiosity results in a sting! When our pets get stung, they might need some home remedy or veterinary care depending on the severity of their reaction.

Here are some things you can watch for and do at home if your pet gets stung by a bee:
  • If your pet has been stung and is in a very anxious state, give them a couple of minutes to calm down before trying to help them. Don’t convert a bee sting on your pet into a hospital visit for yourself by getting bitten!

  • If you see your pet get stung by a bee and can see the stinger, pluck it out with a pair of tweezers. Grasp the stinger as close as possible to the skin and slowly pull to remove it. Do this only if your pet is being cooperative and is not trying to bite.
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Why Does My Pet Scratch All The Time?

James R. Speiser, DVM, DABVP, CCRT
June 12, 2015

Why Is My Pet Always Itchy Cats and dogs can be very hard to live with when they are itchy! Here are some of the most common reasons why they might be scratching:

Allergies
  • Inhalant allergies. Dogs are different than people in that pollens and dusts that are inhaled do not bind to cells in the respiratory tract that release histamine and other inflammatory substances, which causes runny nose, sneezing, and stuffiness. Instead, the substances are absorbed and bind to cells in the skin that release histamine and cause dogs to itch. Helpful treatment includes antihistamines, cyclosporine, short courses of steroids, and allergy shots to desensitize pets.

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Facts On Fleas

James R. Speiser, DVM, DABVP, CCRT
May 29, 2015

Facts On Fleas How much do you know about fleas? You probably won’t believe how quickly (and how much) they reproduce! Here are some interesting facts that might surprise you:
  1. There are 4 stages to the flea life cycle. They include the egg, the larva, the pupa (cocoon), and the adult. Short of fire, or chemicals that would destroy the environment, the only stages that can be assaulted to control fleas are the larva and the adult stages. The egg and the pupa are very resistant to injury.
  2. From egg to adult, the entire flea life cycle can be as little as 14 days.
  3. Fleas bite dogs or cats, and eat blood. A female flea will consume up to 15 times her body weight in blood over her 3-week lifetime. Flea anemia can be fatal due to severe flea infestation...

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When Curious Puppies Get Stuck

James R. Speiser, DVM, DABVP, CCRT
May 22, 2015

When Curious Puppies Get Stuck Dogs and cats have a tendency to stick their heads into places they should not. That perilous attribute of our furry friends has been the source of more than a few interesting stories! I often think of an experience that my wife (also a veterinarian) had early in her career that demonstrates this fact.

It was late on a Friday afternoon in April. Dr. Barnes was working in the treatment area where she was cleaning a patient's ears. Suddenly, there was...

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Tips For Pet Travel

James R. Speiser, DVM, DABVP, CCRT
May 15, 2015

Tips For Pet Travel Some pet owners opt to board their pet when they travel, but others like to take their companions with them! Here are some tips to make travel easier and safe for both you and your pet, particularly dogs:

  1. Give a calming aid. If your pet is an anxious traveler, using a tranquilizer to reduce stress on your dog is helpful, and can also reduce the potential for carsickness. You can get a travel tranquilizer from your veterinarian and it’s best to test its effect prior to travel.

  2. Consider a seat belt. Dog restraint harnesses will protect your furry friend in the unlikely occurrence of an accident. Several varieties are available, and all are effective in preventing injury should an accident occur...
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Is Fido Guzzling An Excessive Amount Of Water? How To Manage Diabetes In Your Pet – The New Way!

James R. Speiser, DVM, DABVP, CCRT
May 8, 2015

Pet Continuous Glucose Monitoring As obesity in our pets continues to rise, so does the prevalence of diabetes. Diabetes is a disease where the pancreas does not secrete enough insulin. Insulin is required for the cells in the body to take in and utilize a sugar called glucose for energy. Without insulin, glucose accumulates in the blood stream and eventually spills out into the urine. Dogs and cats with diabetes often will have a ravenous appetite (while losing weight), drink lots of water, and urinate in large amounts.

Once a diagnosis of diabetes has been made in a pet, they are typically treated with injections of insulin. While insulin injections are easy to administer, regulating a pet’s blood glucose can be challenging. In the past, insulin therapy has been monitored by performing blood sugar curves. This involves collecting a blood sample from the patient every 2 hours for 12-24 hours, resulting in a lot of blood draws! This usually...

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Your Dog Ate What?

James R. Speiser, DVM, DABVP, CCRT
May 1, 2015

Your Dog Ate What? Over 30 years of veterinary practice has taught me one lesson: the creativity of a dog’s appetite has no boundaries. If a dog can swallow it, they will! Here are some true and unique cases that demonstrate this observation:

  1. The $10,000 diamond ring.
    Two newlyweds went to their mother-in-law’s home for Christmas bringing their dog “Pete” as an unwelcome guest. But Pete did not reciprocate disgust for the mother-in-law, and actually enjoyed her company. Early one morning as the mother-in-law was “sharing time” with Pete in her bedroom, her $10,000 diamond ring dropped to the floor. Pete had never seen such a shiny treat before, so he promptly ate it...
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6 Important Facts To Know About Canine Influenza

James R. Speiser, DVM, DABVP, CCRT
April 21, 2015

    6 Important Facts To Know About Canine Influenza
  1. The media reported an epidemic of over 1000 cases of flu in Chicago. There have only been a few (<12) cases of documented flu in the Chicago area, and there were only a handful of fatalities. While some of the non-documented cases may be canine influenza cases, many are not. There are many other diseases, such as common “Kennel Cough” caused by a bacterium called Bordetella that can cause similar symptoms to mild influenza. Even if all 1000 cases were influenza, realizing there are well over 1,000,000 dogs in the Chicago area, the incidence of influenza would be 0.1% which is NOT AN EPIDEMIC! There are far more fatalities from Parvovirus than there are from Canine Influenza!
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Should My Dog Get The Canine Influenza Vaccine?

Alicia Howser, DVM
April 21, 2015

Should My Dog Get The Canine Influenza Vaccine?I am not going to give you a definitive “yes” or “no” answer to this question. You have to decide if it is best for your dog, just like you decide if you should get the flu shot every year yourself. What I am going to do is give you some more information to help you make an informed decision. For starters, let’s address these 3 questions:

  1. Is your dog going to be around a lot of other dogs or in an endemic area? If you take your dog to a setting like a dog show where they will be in close contact with a high volume of dogs, it is worth considering getting the flu vaccine. When dogs are around a lot of other dogs, it increases their chances of coming into contact with one that is shedding the virus. So dogs in shelters or dogs that go to dog shows are at higher risk of being exposed. 20% of dogs that are infected with the virus will not show clinical signs, but they still shed the virus...
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