Tag Archives: pet health

Sick as a Dog: Can You Catch a Cold From Your Pet?

The simple answer to this question is yes, but it is extremely rare.

If you and your cat or dog are both sick at the same time, you may think you caught a cold from your pet, or vice versa. Some symptoms are certainly similar. An Upper Respiratory Infection (URI), usually referred to in humans as the common cold, is caused by any number of different viruses. However, the viruses that cause cold-like symptoms in humans, dogs, and cats rarely jump from one species to another.

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Pet Nutritional Supplements: Necessary or Needless?

Many Americans take a multivitamin to supplement their diet, fish oil for heart health, or a joint supplement to quell arthritis pains. This habit of utilizing supplements to support overall health and well-being has crossed over into the world of pet products as well.

As you peruse pet-related blogs, online animal care communities, and the aisles of the pet store you may start to wonder whether you need to or should jump on the bandwagon. Are pet nutritional supplements necessary? Are they safe? How do you choose? Your friends at West Park Animal Hospital have the scoop!

What’s in a Supplement?

A supplement is something that completes or enhances something else (in this case, your pet’s diet). With nearly one-third of dog owners and one-fifth of cat owners purchasing one for their pet, it is important to understand why and how you might choose one.

Some pet nutritional supplements are more common than others. A few of the more commonly administered include:

Glucosamine/chondroitin — These ingredients are typically used to support overall joint health and ameliorate the effects of arthritis.

Fish oil — The long chain fatty acids in fish oil supplements have been shown to have some anti-inflammatory effects that may be helpful in the treatment of heart, skin, kidney, and joint disease when delivered in the correct doses.

Turmeric — Touted for its anti-inflammatory effects for arthritis patients and cancer-controlling properties, this herb has begun to make an appearance in the veterinary world.

Probiotics — Helping to support a healthy digestive tract can be important to overall health and immune function. Supplementing the gut with healthy bacteria has some obvious benefits

Hairball remediesSome cats routinely regurgitate hairballs, and many feline caretakers reach for these supplements designed to help hair pass more easily through the digestive tract.

When selecting nutritional supplements, it’s important to know the potential side effects of what you’re buying.Your pet depends on you in order to receive the best care possible.

Purchasing human fish oil capsules containing toxic Xylitol, not being aware of the fact that glucosamine can alter blood sugar metabolism, or being oblivious to turmeric’s anticoagulant properties can potentially cause great harm. Populating your pet’s gut with less-than helpful human bacteria doesn’t really reap any benefits, and trying to fix your cat’s inflammatory bowel disease with petroleum based hairball products could delay a proper diagnosis.

The Bottom Line About Pet Nutritional Supplements

Safety, efficacy, and quality control are huge concerns when it comes to pet nutritional supplements. Because they are not subject to the same FDA regulations as veterinary drugs, it can be difficult to know if what you are purchasing is pure.

This also means that just about any one can write just about anything about them. It can be next to impossible to sort fact from fiction.

As veterinarians and scientists, we stand behind evidence-based medicine and make our supplement recommendations based on what research is available to us. It is important to “first do no harm”, and we must recognize that supplements can have many different effects on the body.

When administering supplements to your pet, it is important to work with our veterinary team in order to select one. Our expertise can help with:

  • Deciding what, if any, supplements may be helpful for your pet
  • Arriving at correct and efficacious dose
  • Selecting a product with good quality control practices
  • Navigating any potential interactions with other medications or conflicts with existing health problems
  • Troubleshooting potential side effects
  • Avoiding possible toxicities

For some animals pet nutritional supplements can bring benefits to overall health. It is important, however, to assess their need and choose one in concert with animal health professionals.

If you have questions about supplements for your pet, call us today so that we can discuss the matter further. Adding supplements can have positive effects on your pet’s health, but only if done correctly and safely.

Inherit A Ferret: Important Tips For Optimal Ferret Health

WestPark_iStock_000009062618_LargeWhile there are most definitely scores of ferret lovers out there, adopting one is isn’t always a family’s first choice. Sadly, a prejudice reigns over numerous benefits of ferret ownership, but we are seeing increasing acceptance of these intelligent, furry companions.

If you’ve been wondering what ferrets are like, and how you might be able to support ferret health, we offer the following broad strokes.

What Is A Ferret?

Contrary to popular belief, ferrets are not kin to rodents; rather, ferrets are small, furry carnivorous mammals, Continue reading

Why Undiagnosed Pet Allergies Can Create Problems for Your Pet

WestPark_iStock_000021258496_Large (1)Have you noticed your best friend begin to scratch a lot more as the weather gets warmer? Increased or excessive itching can sometimes indicate an allergic response in pets, rather than the typical sneeze we might expect. Pet seasonal allergies can affect both cats and dogs and can wreak havoc on pets’ immune systems when left untreated. Continue reading

Corneal Ulcers in Pets: A Common Condition

WestPark_iStock_000019089342_LargePerhaps the most frequent eye problem that we see in our pet patients is the corneal ulcer. Pets with this problem often squint the eye, have tearing, or maybe even redness and swelling. These eye ulcers can be extremely painful and vary in severity from no big deal to an emergency situation.

Because corneal ulcers in pets can be so serious, it is very important that pet owners be able to recognize signs of a problem and know what to expect when they occur. Read on to learn all you need to know about eye ulcers in pets. Continue reading

Pet Dental Health: Why it Matters

WestPark - Leon_iStock_000031982520_Large (1)It’s easy to underestimate the importance of a pet’s dental hygiene – that is until a problem pops up. Sadly, that doggie breath that you’ve come to know and love is usually the first indication that something is amiss with your pet’s oral health, and could signal a dangerous, not to mention costly, disease.

A vast majority of pets have some form of dental disease, but we can change those statistics with a little elbow grease and dedication. Together, let’s change the fate of your pet’s future and add dental care to the list of health requirements.

Pet Dental Health – The Missing Link

It makes sense that an infection in the mouth can affect other parts of the body, such as the heart, kidneys, and liver. The link between oral health and certain medical conditions like diabetes and cancer undoubtedly gets our attention and we spend considerable time examining the teeth, gums, and mouths of our furry friends.

Dental disease is the most common disease we see and treat. Any of the following symptoms should be treated expeditiously:

  • Foul breath (halitosis)
  • Drooling
  • Broken or worn teeth
  • Bleeding from mouth
  • Loss of appetite or eating difficulty
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Discolored teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Swollen mouth, gums, or jaws
  • Inflamed gums
  • Pain while eating
  • Behavioral changes

Following your pet’s wellness exam, we may recommend a specific cleaning schedule, at-home dental care routine, or special treatment. Digital x-rays give us enormous insight into your pet’s present dental health and help us see exactly what your pet needs.

A Cause For Concern?

Of course, it can be frightening for pets and their owners to undergo anesthesia for a dental cleaning or procedure. True, anesthesia is not without risk and we take that seriously before administering it. Through blood work, we will be able to ascertain how strong your pet is and what level of anesthesia will be necessary.

The benefits related to a dental cleaning or procedure far outweigh the risk of anesthesia and we will work with you and your pet closely to make sure he or she remains safe at all times.

Brushing Routine

Dedicated care at home is another vital piece of your pet’s dental care puzzle. Daily brushing is highly recommended to help prevent plaque and tartar build-up, bad breath, and oral infections.

By investing in your pet’s dental health now, you are actively reducing the risk of decay leading to heart, kidney, and liver disease. We will advise you on the best ways to brush your pet’s teeth and, if you meet resistance, don’t give up! Your pet needs you to follow through and keep trying. Check out these informative links to support brushing your cat’s or dog’s teeth.

Why Pet Dental Care Counts

The field of pet dentistry is growing by leaps and bounds and all that we know now can only benefit pets. The combination of keeping up with regular wellness visits paired with adopting preventative dental care practices at home will extend your pet’s precious life.

Keeping your pet happier and pain-free is what it’s all about and we are here to answer any questions, or schedule your pet’s dental examination.

Walking the Dog! Celebrating National Walk Your Dog Month

Family and dog on country walk in winterThe middle of winter may seem like strange timing to honor the importance of getting outside to walk your pet, especially here in Ohio. Temperatures in January don’t often inch far above freezing, and pets and their owners struggle to cope with cabin fever. Indeed, who really wants to get all bundled up right now to traipse through ice and snow? Continue reading

The Importance of Pet Nutrition and the Perils of Pet Obesity

iStock_000020587236_LargeNutrition and fitness are areas that many people are fixated on in relation to their personal health and well-being. American pet owners, however, are not very good at translating this priority to their pets. Over half of the nation’s pets are considered overweight, and this is simply not good for our animals.

Understanding why pet nutrition is so important, and what the dangers of having an overweight pet, are can help us to make managing our pets’ weight a bigger priority. Continue reading