Why Is Your Pet So Itchy?

March 3, 2016

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Itching can be very frustrating for pets as well as their owners. Making things worse, excessive itching can lead to secondary skin infections and ear infections which are also itchy. Some veterinarians are rushed and impatient. They don’t invest the proper amount of time to get successful long lasting outcomes. Many choose the quick fix of antibiotics and steroids. It does nothing to address the root cause. Without formulating a long term plan, owners find themselves frequently going to the vet for their pet’s chronic skin issues.

Some owners assume their pet has a food allergy, and changing their diet will solve the problem. The store sales staff is always ready to change your pet to the latest expensive grain free all natural diet. Changing your pet’s diet to an over the counter diet will NOT help its itching. Food allergies in pets are not common. Food allergies only account for 10 percent of all allergic skin diseases in dogs. If your pet has food allergies, it may have other allergies that aren’t addressed by changing its diet. Most importantly OTC (over the counter) diets are not hypo allergenic. No matter how all natural or grain free the diet is, it’s not hypo allergenic. The diets we use for food allergies are PRESCRIPTION. In order to get those diets for your pet they have to be prescribed by a veterinarian. The reason is that veterinary food companies have higher standards and requirements to insure they only contain the ingredients listed. Numerous studies and recalls have proven that OTC diets can be contaminated with ingredients that are not hypo allergenic.  A true food trial for allergies takes medical supervision, and monitoring. This is why true hypoallergenic diets are prescription.

So why is your pet itching? Unfortunately, as you can see, there is no quick fix. However, there is some basic information that can help. Here in Florida FLEAS are the most common cause of itching and scratching in pets. Unlike other parts of the U.S., we see fleas all year round. Pets that have allergies are usually allergic to fleas. Eliminating fleas from the equation will make your pet more comfortable. To do this, ALL YOUR PETS need to be on high quality flea prevention from your veterinarian. Even cats that are strictly indoors still need flea prevention. Sure, there are many products available OTC, but they are not as effective as prescription products. A lot of them are popular medications that veterinarians stopped carrying several years ago because newer and more effective products have come out. Think about how far your cell phone has come in ten years.

A lot of these OTC products also aren’t shipped properly, stored properly, or even expired. This often happens with prescription products purchased online. The other important component of flea prevention is making sure your house and yard are professionally treated for fleas on a regular basis. Your pet can be on high quality flea prevention, but if the environment isn’t treated you will lose your battle with fleas.

For dogs, Benadryl (diphenyhydramine) can be given for itching. The dose for dogs is 1 mg per pound of body weight every 8-12 hours (ie 25 mg for a 25 lb dog). It’s important that diphenyhydramine is the only active ingredient and NO added decongestants. Benadryl will only help to relieve mild itching, and if there are secondary problems like skin infections, or the itching is severe Benadryl will not work. Benadryl is considered safe for dogs, but you should consult your Veterinarian before giving any medication to your pet.

Other causes of itching in your pet

  • Environmental Allergies (Pollens, Dust Mites, dander, ect)
  • Contact Allergies
  • Food Allergies
  • Flea/Insect Allergies
  • Skin Mites
  • Skin infections (scratching for several days can cause secondary skin infections)
  • Ear infections (scratching for several days can cause secondary ear infections)
  • Endocrine issue

A pet that is itching isn’t always straight forward. That is why it is crucial to consult a Veterinarian that is knowledgeable in dermatology, thorough and will spend the time to get to the underlying cause of your pet’s skin issue. This approach will yield a long term game plan to make your pet more comfortable, instead of just a quick fix.

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Does Your Pet Really Need A Complete Physical Exam?

September 21, 2015

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The following article was written by Dr.Elizabeth Bradt and reprinted with her permission for PetVetJournal.

“Hey, Doc, can you just give my dog a Rabies vaccine without the physical? I know she’s healthy because she is eating, doing her business and taking a walk every day.”

Every veterinarian has fielded this request a zillion times. We are asked why we do physical examinations just before pets go under anesthesia. Why do we do a physical exam on a pet each day it is hospitalized? Why we do a full physical exam when it is obvious the cat is limping on a particular leg or your dog has a football-sized mass hanging off its side. Anyone can see the problem. Why pay for a physical?

 If you are a pet owner who has had little exposure to veterinary medicine, this is a reasonable question. To a veterinarian, who has studied through four years of college and at least four years of veterinary school, the question is ludicrous. Every course that we take and all that we study leads to or stems from the baseline of the physical examination. We study every system of the body in gross anatomy and internal medicine, and relate everything we learn to the physical examination.

Veterinarians are taught to use all our senses in examining an animal. We listen through our stethoscopes to their heart rate and rhythm, as well as listen for the breath sounds and rate and location. We listen to the detailed history the owner gives to get a sense of the animal and what may lead to illness or health.

We use the sense of touch when we palpate all the lymph nodes to make sure they are the normal size, check the thyroid gland and feel for lumps in the skin and in the subcutaneous tissue. We palpate deep in the abdomen to feel for enlarged spleens, abnormally thickened or painful bladders, constipation or gas in the GI tract or pain in different quadrants of the abdomen. We use sight to check their behavior, stance, gait, and mentation and search the skin for parasites and masses. We examine the front of the eye and deep in the eye with magnification to detect cataracts, retinal degeneration and many other eye diseases. We use our sense of smell to detect ketosis of the breath secondary to diabetes and the odor of kidney failure, anal-gland bowel or urinary issues.

Every diagnostic test we perform occurs only after a problem has been found on physical examination.

Hospitals that are certified by the American Animal Hospital Association must comply with more than 60,000 standards to maintain excellence in veterinary medicine. Many of those standards relate to the physical exam.

Each body system, such as mouth and nose, heart and vascular system, musculoskeletal, urogenital, skin, lymph nodes, nervous system, and abdomen, must be checked. Findings must be written down for each body system. Diet and weight must be recorded and reviewed to make sure the pet is on a proper diet. General body condition as far as underweight, normal or obese must be recorded on a numerical scale. An assessment of the animal’s pain score on a numerical scale is now required on every physical exam. If a proper physical examination is not recorded in a pet’s record, a practice can lose its certification.

The reason we do a physical exam is to assess the continuously changing state of your pet’s physiology. Small lumps, heart murmurs, ear infections, incorrect diets, parasites, allergies and a host of other problems that start small can be caught before they turn into larger and more costly issues. Some veterinarians are now advising “twice a year for life” physical exams to stay on top of problems. A dental infection, mass or kidney disease detected at 6 months or a year may be much simpler and less costly to treat than a problem ignored for a couple years .

When your pet is ill with an obvious problem such as toxic ingestion, a seizure or a bite wound, we do a complete physical exam from nose to tail. Veterinarians are trained to avoid being hijacked mentally by the obvious problem by performing a consistent physical exam of each body system before we approach the problem area. If we get caught up in the horrible bite wound that must be cleaned and sutured and don’t complete the physical exam, we might miss a parasite infestation, ear infection or painful dental disease. Because one part of the body affects all the others, the new findings will have an effect on how the obvious problem is treated.

Since your pet has a constantly changing physiology from day to day, we will perform a physical examination just before your pet undergoes anesthesia, even if it was seen two days ago for the problem, to make sure it is safe today to have the procedure performed. For the same reason, sick animals that are hospitalized receive an exam daily.

Physical examinations by a veterinarian are required by AAHA before administering core vaccines such as distemper and rabies to dogs and cats. Your veterinarian will decide if each vaccine is appropriate for your pet’s lifestyle and age, and choose the vaccines that are safest for your pet. If the pet that is mildly sick with enlarged lymph nodes or a fever of unknown origin receives vaccines because these conditions were missed, it may not mount a good immune response to the vaccine. If the immune system is battling a raging infection elsewhere in the body, it will not be able to make new antibodies to the vaccine. Unfortunately, the funds spent on a discounted batch of vaccines without a physical exam at a vaccine clinic may go to waste or, even worse, harm your pet.

A number of people, including some veterinarians and many non-veterinarians, are starting online businesses diagnosing and treating pets without ever laying hands on them. This is a very risky business both for the pet, who may not be diagnosed correctly, and the veterinarian who may be sued for malpractice. In Texas, a veterinarian with an online business went before the 5th Circuit federal court of appeals claiming that he should be able to diagnose and treat over the Internet.  The judge ruled against him, stating:

“The requirement that veterinary care be provided only after the veterinarian has seen the animal is, at a minimum, rational; it is reasonable to conclude that the quality of care will be higher, and the risk of misdiagnosis and improper treatment lower, if the veterinarian physically examines the animal in question before treating it.”

This is the link to the AVMA summary of the case:

http://atwork.avma.org/2015/03/27/federal-court-upholds-physical-exam-requirement/

Dr. Elizabeth Bradt is a 1986 gradute of Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and the owner of All Creatures Veterinary Hospital in Salem, MA.


IS YOUR PET IN PAIN?

March 4, 2015

Pain

Being able to recognize signs of when your pet is in pain is important. Pets, unlike other members of our family, can’t communicate when they are experiencing pain. Dogs and cats tend to be more resilient than people. In most cases they cope with pain and continue with their normal daily activities. It isn’t until the level of pain is high that it becomes obvious.

Just like with people, dogs and cats are individuals. Some dogs are more resilient than others. This individuality isn’t breed specific. I have seen smaller breeds that people would assume to be more “sensitive” exhibit a higher pain tolerance and be more resilient than larger breeds that one would assume is “tough”. Cats are more resilient than dogs, and for this reason it is harder to recognize signs of pain in cats.

Assessing pain in pets can be difficult, sometimes even for a veterinary professional. However, there is a basic formula that you can use to help evaluate your pet at home. The “Three A’s”; Attitude, Activity and Appetite can give you a lot insight into your pet’s health.

Attitude is basically how your pet is acting. Though easier to evaluate in dogs, it can be applied to cats as well. Bright, Alert and Responsive (B.A.R) is a term we use in Veterinary medicine. It means your pet is happy, energetic and displaying its normal behavior. It’s happy to see you, is responsive when you address it, ask it to go on walk or play with a toy. You know your pet best, and you know what is normal for your family member. Once we use “normal” as the baseline, it makes it easier to recognize abnormal behavior. More subdued, quiet or depressed are abnormal behaviors. Not as responsive or energetic. Not eager to go on a walk or play. For some pets, especially cats, hiding or avoiding behavior is seen. Increased anxiety, restlessness, increased deep breathing or panting especially at night. All of which are signs that your pet could be ill or in pain.

Activity can be viewed as the normal activities your pet does in a day or week, and how well or if they are able to accomplish them. The start of your pet’s day is when they awake in the morning. A lot of information can be gained watching your pet “get out of bed in the morning”. Pets sleep more than people, but an increase in the amount of time your pet stays in bed or reluctance to get out of bed in the morning can indicate a problem. How long does it take your pet to physically stand up? Does your pet struggle to stand up? The first few steps getting out of bed are also important. A lot of dogs exhibiting arthritis will show signs, or limp when they first get up. Once they get moving and their joints get lubricated this sign can be missed. Is your pet reluctant to go up stairs, jump on Furniture, or to go on long walks. A lot of information can also be obtained watching your pet “going to the bathroom.” Pets with back and hip can have problems posturing to perform this simple function. Lastly, any change to your pets walking or running, whether it’s as obvious as limp or subtle as “a few missed steps”, is abnormal.

Appetite is a very important tool in monitoring your pet. A decrease in your pets appetite or reluctance to eat or drink are signs that your pet is ill or in pain. Just like activity, a lot of information can be gained from your pet’s mealtime. How interested in eating is your pet? Did it finish all it’s food? Does it appear that your pet is interested in eating, but it doesn’t eat it’s food? Is it avoiding hard food or treats? Does it look like it’s having difficulty chewing? These signs could indicate pain in your pet’s mouth or with it’s teeth. Also pets with neck or back pain will sometimes avoid eating because it hurts to lean down and approach the food dish. It is for these reasons that it’s important to;

  1. Monitor your pets food and water consumption
  2. Take a few minutes to watch them eat
  3. Measure out their food , rather than “topping up” the bowl (esp. for cats)
  4. Train your dog to eat in 30 minutes or less, rather than letting it graze throughout the day. Dogs are meant to eat their food in one sitting. Dogs that are grazers are much more difficult to monitor. This means that you have a better chance of finding signs in your dog if it’s not a grazer.

In our practice, we subscribe to the fact that owners know their pet best. We know that owners are often the first one to recognize subtle signs in their pets who can’t communicate themselves. I have seen first-hand numerous occasions where owners were embarrassed that they were over reacting or being paranoid, when in fact they were right that something was in fact medically wrong with their pet. Other clients thought something was wrong but couldn’t pin point exactly what was wrong and delayed an appointment. The purpose of this article is to help guide owners to recognize signs that something is wrong and catch it early. You can then confidently seek Veterinary care to help insure your pet is well and pain free.


Is Grain Free Food Better For My Pet

April 10, 2014

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“Grain free”, “All Natural”, “Organic”, “Raw”, and “Wild” are all very successful pet food marketing tools. It is easy for pet owners to grasp these words because they sound “healthy”. It is even easier for pet food sales people to use them to pitch the latest and greatest all natural pet food that will ensure your pet lives a long healthy life. But are these foods actually better for your pet?

The people that you come across in the pet store (regardless how upscale, all natural or holistic it is) do not have a degree in animal nutrition. In fact, the majority of these sales people have little or no training in nutrition. When looking for expert advice we want an expert. The information in this article is from veterinary journal articles written by Veterinary Internal Medicine Specialists or Veterinary Nutritionists.

Proven Benefits?

No scientific evidence has yet demonstrated that feeding Grain Free, All Natural, Organic, or Raw diets to healthy pets, compared to conventional diets, are better for your pets. There are no Veterinary Medical Journal articles that have been written that support the benefits of any of these diets for your pet. The real reason these diets became popular is marketing. These diets are a way for smaller, newer food companies to distinguish themselves from larger more established food companies. Pet stores and food companies can use these diets to prey upon human nature and popular belief that “all natural” must be better. Most people strive to eat all natural organic diets, so we want the same for our pets. Common misconceptions about large companies, fillers, by-products, grains, carbohydrates and recalls help make this easy sell regardless of the price.

Ingredients in Commercial Foods (aka byproducts and fillers those “other” food companies use)

Pet foods often contain byproducts (other organ meats and components from animals that people generally do not consume) from human food processing. These included parts actually are nutritious and have benefits to your pets. They may be unappealing to some humans, but are consumed in other cultures. Ironically, all natural salespeople love to compare domestic pets to wild animals when they want to sell their food. However, they then tell you how “unnatural” it is for pets to eat byproducts that they would consume in the wild. (more on this later).  Commercial diets may also contain antioxidant preservatives to prevent nutrient degradation.  Some diets MAY also contain food coloring to make the food more visually appealing to consumers. This coloring, if used, is the same coloring added to human food and is considered safe.  There is a misconception that fillers, such as sawdust or other indigestible or no nutritional value ingredients are in commercial pet foods. Pet foods do contain technically indigestible ingredients, such as fiber, that function as probiotics and promote health of your pet’s colon.

Recalls (another reason to buy our all natural food)

In 2007, several pet foods were found to contain melamine, a toxin that caused kidney failure. This previously unknown toxin was impossible to predict. The industry took action during the recall, and the FDA has improved reporting of suspected toxic or contaminated food ingredients in response. All natural diets are not immune to recalls. One only has to do thorough searches online to see several “all natural” food companies have had recalls of their own. (type: company name in search http://www.fda.gov/default.htm)

How Closely Related to a Wild Animal is Your Pet?

A lot of companies use the marketing philosophy that their diet is similar to what your pet would eat in the wild. This has been a stepping stone for the idea that your pet’s diet should be low in grains or carbohydrates, or even raw. The reality is your pet has been domesticated over the past 10,000 years, during which their diet involved greater consumption of grains. According to a recent study published in Nature dogs are genetically dissimilar to wolves. This study found TEN genes in which domestic dogs digestion has evolved from wolves.  Furthermore, it found that modern dogs thrive on diets rich in starch, compared to carnivorous diets of its ancestor the wolf.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v495/n7441/full/nature11837.html

Raw Diets

One fact that has been proven about raw diets is that they are dangerous not to pets, but to their owners. Look at warnings on the packaging of raw meats that advise strict precautions when preparing them while cooking. All of the labels emphasize scrupulous hygiene like washing your hands, cooking surfaces and utensils. The reason is to avoid exposure to lethal bacteria like salmonella, E. coli and Yersinia. Not only can these bacteria cause your pet to become ill, they can also be passed to you. Furthermore some pets may show no signs of being ill and still pass the bacteria to you. For elderly people, immunocompromised people (such as with Chemotherapy) or young children the consequences could be life threatening. A recent study in the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association; found 20-35 percent of raw poultry and 80 percent of raw food diets tested positive for Salmonella. In addition 30 percent of the stool samples from dogs fed these diets tested positive Salmonella.  It is for these reasons that our practice is adamantly opposed to raw diets. (see links below for more info on AVMA’s stance on raw diets)

Allergies

Another point that all natural food gurus like to address is allergies. They are very quick to tell you (sell you) that your pets diet is solely responsible for your pets skin or digestive problems. They will tell you once you go to all natural diet your pets medical problems will magically disappear. As a veterinarian I will tell you that your pet’s diet is crucial part of its health. Diet is an important part of treating a magnitude of medical conditions. However, here are some medical facts to consider; true food allergy occurs in about 10 percent of the animal population. True corn allergies are even less frequent. Food allergies in pets can be very complicated. For this reason, they are best discussed with a Veterinarian, not someone trying to sell you food.

What is the Best Diet?

There is no “best” diet or best pet food company. However there are companies that are better than others. In addition the more expensive a diet is doesn’t always equate to quality. A lot of the bigger, more traditional commercial food companies employ expert food nutritionists, scientists and Veterinarians to help them develop their food. They also go to great lengths to insure the quality of their food with strict protocols. A lot of these protocols are not used by smaller “all natural” food companies. One thing to look for is that your pet’s food follows The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines. AAFCO is an advisory body that publishes guidelines for each state to adopt with their own feed control laws.  AAFCO does not approve or endorse foods. If a number of animals get sick, then the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gets involved. What your pet diet label should say: Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that “pet food” provides complete and balanced nutrition for____. A lot of all natural food companies will claim that AAFCO trials are “not enough”, yet they offer no additional research of their own and sell the product as “formulated to meet” AAFCO standards. On the other hand a lot of the bigger commercial food companies are doing even more trials than AAFCO requires. So when selecting a food for your pet;

  1. Look at AAFCO statement. “Formulated foods” are manufactured so the ingredients meet specified levels, without testing via feeding trials; interpret with caution. However, the use of feeding trials does not guarantee the food.
  2. Do a search on the food  and on the company on the FDA site, for recalls.
  3. Talk to your Veterinarian.
  4. Be careful what you read on the internet, use sites like the AVMA, AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) or Veterinary schools to get information. Avoid sites that claim to be knowledgeable or well researched but aren’t affiliated with any true experts (actual Veterinarian, Veterinary Internist, or Veterinary Nutritionist). I would NOT qualify a site run by a Dentist that reviews pet food as expert information. (There is a website run by human dentist. A dental degree and online research is not the equivalent to a Veterinarian.)
  5. What is the manufacturer’s reputation as a food maker?  Have you had positive experiences with their products? What objective (not testimonial) information do they provide about their foods to assist evaluation?
  6. Any diet change you do with your pet’s diet, do it gradually to avoid an  “upset stomach”.

Useful Links (Further reading)

Tufts Veterinary School FAQS about pet nutrition:      http://archive.today/hEYBk

American Veterinary Medical Association recall watch:      http://www.avma.org/news/issues/recalls-alerts/pages/default.aspx

Veterinary Nutritional Consult (or to cook for your pet):     www.petdiets.com/Consultation

AVMA policies and FAQs on Raw Diets:    http://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/FAQs/Pages/Raw-Pet-Foods-and-the-AVMA-Policy-FAQ.aspx


Does Your Pet Really Need Anesthesia To Have Its Teeth Cleaned?

October 18, 2011

 

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Pets are not people. Even with the best home care they are going to accumulate a lot more tartar than humans do. They have more bacteria, don’t brush as frequently, and are unable to floss. Tartar can build up on your pet’s teeth and lead to tooth root infections and tooth loss.  The bacteria from your pet’s mouth can enter the blood stream and even lead to infection in other organs.  This is why dental procedures are an important part of your pet’s care.

Animals, unlike people, have to under go anesthesia to have their teeth cleaned and to have dental procedures. A lot of owners are apprehensive about their pet going under anesthesia. It is for this reason that “anesthesia free” are becoming popular. There are even several sprays that are marketed that claim to make tartar disappear with just a daily spray on your pets teeth. Unfortunately, these methods aren’t effective at addressing your pet’s dental health, and in some cases may actually be more dangerous than general anesthesia.

The same principles of anesthesia in the article “No Surgery Is Routine” are applied in our practice for our dental procedures.  When carried out correctly, general anesthesia is better and safer for your pet’s dental procedure than sedation or even being awake.  During a dental procedure your pet’s teeth are “scaled” using a ultrasonic dental instrument just like the one used at a human dentist. This instrument sprays water. When your pet is under anesthesia their airway is protected from water, saliva, dental tartar, and blood by a tube in their trachea (endotracheal tube). This tube delivers oxygen and anesthetic gas while your pet is “asleep” (unconscious). It has an inflatable cuff towards the end of it that protects your pet’s airway by making a snug fit with their trachea. This prevents fluids and tartar from being inhaled into its lungs.

Sedation can be even more dangerous, because their reflex to swallow may be diminished from the sedation. For this reason your pet’s teeth have to be scaled by hand (using a simple instrument to scrape the tartar). If done incorrectly, this can damage the surface of your pet’s teeth. General anesthesia allows us to thoroughly examine your pet’s mouth, teeth and gums. It also allows us to take x rays and perform tooth extractions if needed. The level, or depth, of anesthesia can be adjusted minute to minute with a dial that controls the amount of anesthetic gas your pets receive. Sedation on the other hand, is not as easily controlled.  Your pet is also not receiving high levels of oxygen while under sedation.

Anesthesia free dentistry is where no sedation or anesthesia is given to your pet. A thorough oral exam, extractions, or dental x-rays can NOT be performed. With a pet awake, it is impossible to thoroughly scale the inside and back surfaces of the teeth. There is also a risk of it inhaling a piece of tartar.  The teeth may look ‘cleaner’, but little has been done to professionally address your pet’s teeth. Tartar (along with bacteria) will be left behind, and your pet may still have bad breath.

Lastly, there are dental sprays that have been marketed to remove tartar from your pet’s teeth.  At the present time NO spray or product has been clinically proven (studies done and published in a medical journal) to thoroughly remove large quantities of tartar from your pets teeth.  No spray has been proven to be so effective that it can replace having a dental procedure for your pet.  If this was possible, we would have a spray we could use to replace brushing our teeth and going to the dentist to have our teeth cleaned.


The Truth About Internet Pharmacies

October 13, 2011

 

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How reliable are Internet Pharmacies?
There are major differences between purchasing products from a Veterinary Hospital and Internet Pharmacies. First, is the quality of your pet’s medication.
Novartis Animal Health (Interceptor and Deramaxx) and several other drug manufacturers have filed lawsuits against numerous internet pharmacies for illegally selling unapproved versions of their products or for dispensing medications without a valid prescription. It is important to know that Pet Med Express (a.k.a 1-800 Pet Meds) and other internet pharmacies cannot legally obtain many of these prescription products they sell in the United States. They do not purchase them directly from the manufacturer, as they only sell their product to licensed veterinary hospitals and clinics. These companies are forced to obtain them illegally through unethical veterinarians or through foreign sources. The risk of using a foreign labeled or produced medication is that their safety, efficacy and purity are not under FDA or EPA regulation. Additionally, these products sold over the internet may have been warehoused in unregulated storage facilities for extended periods of time at temperatures not recommended by the manufacturer and could alter the product’s effectiveness. There have also been numerous cases of counterfeit medications. These medications are not only useless, they could even harm your pet. Therefore, any product not purchased directly from a veterinary hospital or clinic is not warrantied by the manufacturer.
In February 2000, the EPA issued a cease and desist order against Pet Med Express after accusing it of selling misbranded products. Companies like Pet Med Express, Savemax and Drs. Foster & Smith have not only been fined for illegal practices, but currently have numerous pending lawsuits against them for pharmacy board violations in various states. These allegations are based on frequent improprieties in filling prescriptions. Therefore, for your pet’s safety and because our hospital strongly advises against purchasing products from these companies.

Medication Guarantees
Drug manufacturers guarantee 100% product satisfaction only on products purchased exclusively through veterinary clinics and hospitals. In addition, manufacturers’ rebates are honored only on purchases made at veterinary clinics. This has numerous implications. It means that should your pet develop an adverse reaction or side effect to one of these medications when treated according to the veterinarian and manufacturers’ recommendations, or should your pet be diagnosed with a disease or parasite that the medication when used as directed should have prevented, patients who have received these medications purchased from a veterinary hospital will find the drug companies stand completely behind its product and often give full financial backing for your pet’s testing and treatment.

We have experienced this support firsthand. If an adverse reaction or infection should occur when the item is received from an internet pharmacy or other unapproved source, the manufacturers will not stand behind the product or help out financially because they cannot guarantee the products authenticity, or how it was handled.

Our practice offers competitive pricing on our products. Our prices, especially when shipping and handling charges are factored in, are often below, the same, or within a few dollars of the internet pharmacy prices. Additionally, by using veterinarian-exclusive manufacturer rebates and special incentive programs that are offered through us, our prices often are sometimes less than popular internet pharmacies.

To read more inforamation regarding online Pharmacies from The FDA http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/ResourcesforYou/AnimalHealthLiteracy/ucm203000.htm


Your Local Shot Clinic

October 13, 2011

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In this economy it is easy to understand that everybody is trying to save money. For this reason, pet vaccination clinics seem to be appearing almost everywhere. A vaccine clinic has a veterinarian give vaccines without a thorough exam and discussion about your pet’s health. They usually set up in a parking lot or local store.  Owners line up with their pets, and they get their pet’s vaccines like an assembly line.  Vaccine clinics provide little actual health care for your pet.

At our veterinary practice, vaccines are not the main priority of the annual exam.  Just like in human medicine our focus is preventive care. This means having a discussion with the veterinarian about your pet.  Simple things; like drinking or urinating excessively, being lethargic, weight loss, or reluctance to exercise can indicate an underlying medical problem. Most importantly, a thorough comprehensive physical exam needs to be performed. If needed, other laboratory tests can be performed.  Our job is to practice medicine that keeps your pet healthy, and finding medical problems early.  In addition, sometimes simple advice or lifestyle changes can go a long way in insuring your pet has a long healthy life. Having a healthy pet, and preventative medicine can also prevent future medical problems and expenses.

None of this is accomplished at a vaccine clinic. There is no time for a discussion with the veterinarian about your pet’s health.  Getting established at a practice is also a good idea so that we are familiar with your pet’s weight and medical history. In the rare instance your pet has a vaccine reaction or complication will the parking lot vet be there to help you?

You wouldn’t stand in line in a parking lot to see a fly by doctor for a few minutes for your medical care.  Your pet is an important member of your family, they deserve proper yearly medical care at a veterinary practice.