Newsletter

<?php echo HOSPNAME ?> The veterinarians and staff at the Yucca Veterinary Medical Center are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

Current Newsletter Topics

Proof is in the Poo: Your Pet's DNA

A good apartment is not always easy to find. Maybe it costs too much or the rent is too high. Or maybe the restrictions on pets make it impossible for you to move in. What about the requirement of submitting your dog’s DNA upon move-in? Now there’s a requirement you probably haven’t encountered before. But why? Because your dog’s DNA may be just the clue needed.

At an apartment complex in Lebanon, N.H., all residents with a pet must submit a sample of its DNA. The property manager then uses this information to find who is failing to clean up after their pets. After spotting – or stepping in – the evidence, a swab is sent to a lab to match it up with its owner. Lebanon isn’t alone in its quest to crack down on pet owners who don't clean up after their pets. In fact, the lab reports servicing over two dozen apartments around the country with similar concerns. But the tracing comes at a price, with the “PooPrints” system costing $30 for the swabbing kit, $10 for the sample vials and $50 to analyze.

We knew DNA testing had prompted a whole new wave in criminal prosecutions, but we probably didn’t imagine Spot as the culprit. Well, here it is folks. The proof is in the poo.

Pet Dental Health: Periodontitis And Its Risks

Periodontal disease is classified under two categories; gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the more mild form of periodontal disease. With effective and timely teeth cleaning, gingivitis can be completely reversed.


Early Periodontitis

Early Periodontitis

Periodontitis is a condition that may be controlled but not cured. It is often seen in pets that are over five years old. Most animals with periodontitis have bad breath, tooth mobility and bleeding gums. Severe inflammation of the gums, gum recession, alveolar bone loss (the bone that supports the tooth is "eaten away") and pustular discharge are common signs of periodontitis.

Moderate-Advanced Periodontitis

Moderate-Advanced Periodontitis

Periodontitis is more serious than gingivitis and involves the loss of tooth support with permanent damage. At best, lesions of periodontitis are only partially reversible. Special (oral) surgical procedures are necessary in order to limit the progression of periodontitis.

Advanced Periodontitis

Advanced Periodontitis

Advanced Periodontitis

Advanced Periodontitis

Proper home dental care, along with regular veterinary dental checkups, will reduce the risk of periodontitis in your pets.

Training Your Dog - 5 Basic Commands

Training provides benefits to dogs of every age and breed, and to their owners. While getting your dog to recognize and react to your verbal commands requires time, patience, and more than a few treats, the result will be a responsible, responsive, well-adjusted dog.

A good place to begin is with an obedience class. Start at a young age to accustom your dog to learning. Obedience classes also help form a bond between owner and dog and gets the dog used to socializing with other dogs and other people. For these reasons, they are strongly recommended for any new dog owner.

The first thing to remember is to keep a positive attitude. Your dog should associate training with fun and enthusiasm, and should be rewarded whenever he does something right. Reprimands will be needed when he ignores you or does something wrong, but these should be limited to an intense stare and a gruff, low-pitched "No!" Never hit your dog; this will just make him mistrust you and will make training and control even harder. Try to follow a reprimand with some affection to make your dog know he is still a welcome part of your family.

But while reprimands may be necessary as the exception, rewards should be the rule. Treats can play an important part in training. These can be specially made snacks, or they can just be individual pieces of your dog's regular food. In the early stages, they should be offered with every correct action, in addition to verbal and physical praise. As your dog gets better at obeying commands, you should use the treats less and less often and rely more on encouragement and petting.

Never give a treat without a trick. There should be no free rides for dogs when it comes to treats. Always make your dog obey some kind of command before rewarding him with a treat.

There are five basic obedience commands you should start teaching your dog as soon as possible: heel, sit, down, stay and come. In order to be a good dog citizen, he should learn these commands.

Heel:

It's the dog's job to listen for commands. Once your puppy is used to his or her leash, you can introduce the command, "Heel." Start by standing still with your dog on a leash. Reel the dog in until his right shoulder is even with your left leg. When he is in the "sit" position, give him lots of praise. Start walking by stepping forward with your left foot saying "heel." If your dog lunges, give a quick snap on the leash and reel him back to you. Praise him when he is once again in the correct position. Repeat this practice, gradually allowing the dog to move further away each time. Once the dog has learned to respond to heel, start moving into turns.

Another technique for teaching your dog to heel begins the same way as the first. However, if you dog lunges ahead, call his name and say, "Heel," and make an abrupt U-turn to the right. He will find himself behind you and hurry back to your side.

Sit:

Sit

Teaching your puppy to sit can keep him out of a world of trouble and do wonderful things for your relationship. By about eight weeks of age, he's ready to learn this basic command. Start by getting your puppy's attention, then using his name and the command, "Max, sit." Help him into position by pulling up on the leash while pressing down on his rump. Alternatively, you can move a piece of food from in front of his face to directly over his head while pressing on his rear, then rewarding him with the food and praise. Once sitting, praise him verbally or give him a little treat. Repeat the exercise often to reinforce the training.

"Sit" is an excellent command to teach a puppy for praise. Once it's established in his mind that sitting is the sure way to receive praise, you will never have to worry about your puppy jumping on you or other people for attention.

Down:

Down

This command logically follows "sit." It's best to teach this from the heel position with the dog seated. From the "sit" position, say the "down" command and guide your dog's nose down with your hand or a toy or, better yet, some food. Bring the food from the nose straight down to the floor, then away from the dog. Your dog will naturally follow it. Praise and reward him when he is in the correct position. When your dog stays down and you can walk around him, you are ready for the "long down."

Stay:

This is a slightly more difficult skill for a dog to master. While on his leash, have your dog sit. Then, holding the leash up over his head, say "stay" and begin circling. Correct any attempt to follow you by pulling up on the leash and returning him to the sitting position. Reward him when he has stayed in place for a short period of time. Gradually increase the distance you move away and the amount of time required to receive a reward. You will also want to associate the verbal command with holding out your hand palm outwards, the traditional "stop" command.

This command may take your dog some time to master. Don't get frustrated, just keep practicing.

Come:

Come

This basic training command should be started from the first day you bring your puppy home. As with all the basic commands, you should announce your intention by calling his name first, followed by the one word command, i.e., "Max, come!" Offer encouragement by making the invitation as inviting as possible. As your dog walks toward you, say "Good boy! You want the dog coming into you happy and quickly. Avoid using excited tones or praise until your dog reaches you so that he understands that he must reach you to get rewarded. If he doesn't come immediately, give a tug on his leash, then guide him to you. When he approaches, raise your body, guiding him gently into a sit position in front of you. Make eye contact. Praise a bit but not too much (no playing here).

Pet Identification - It's A Must!

Some form of identification is necessary for your pet. Of the millions of dogs and cats euthanized each year, many are lost pets whose owners cannot be found. Animal shelters or rescue organizations cannot hold pets for an extended period of time. If an owner is not found, the animal gets adopted out (luckily) or eventually euthanized.

Pet identification is a must!

Pet identification is a must!

There are several forms of pet identification - collar tags, tattoos and, more recently, implanted microchips. All are excellent forms of identification; however, which is the best?

The best form of pet identification is a combination of collar-tag and either tattoo or microchip. Even though tattoos and microchips are permanent forms of identification, they are not readily noticeable by the average person. If a lost pet has a collar with a name tag (bearing the owner's name, address and phone number), he or she can easily be returned to the owner.

Collars and Tags

Sturdy dog collar

Sturdy Dog Collar

These are a necessity. Collars (with information tags) are a quick way of identifying the animal's owner. Along with the owner's information, the ID tag should have the name, address and phone number of the pet's veterinarian. Attached to the collar, the ID tag should also be accompanied by the dog's license/rabies tag.

Tattoos

Tattoos have been used to identify dogs and cats for many years. The tattoo consists of numbers and letters usually found on the groin or upper rear leg. The number is registered with the National Dog Registry, or if the dog is a pure bred, with the American Kennel Club.

The chief problem with a tattoo is that it does not provide immediate identification when the dog is found. Most people do not look for a tattoo, and if they do see one, they do not know what to do. Another problem with tattoos is that many become illegible as the animal ages.

Microchip Identification

Microchips are rapidly becoming a very popular method for identifying pets. Once the microchip is inserted, the pet is identified for life. Microchips are safe, unalterable and permanent identification for pets.

The microchip is a tiny computer chip or transponder about the size of a grain of rice. The chip is inserted under the skin between the shoulder blades of a cat or dog, in much the same way that a vaccine is administered. The microchip is coded with a unique 10-digit code. Each microchip that is inserted contains a unique code, specific to the individual pet.

When a pet is found, a scanner is passed over its body. If a microchip is present, the scanner registers the unique 10-digit code. This 10-digit code is maintained in a database with information regarding the pet.

Veterinarian scanning for a microchip.

Vet scanning for a microchip.

Your pet needs to have identification 24 hours a day. For immediate identification, there is absolutely no substitute for a collar with appropriate tags. Along with the collar and tags, a permanent form of identification is highly recommended. It appears as though the microchip is gradually replacing the tattoo as the preferred method for permanent pet identification.

Tick Prevention

Tick, Tick, Tick: For Tick-Borne Infections and Unprotected Pets, it's Only a Matter of Time

Last week, while lavishing my dog with some behind-the-ear scratches after a walk together in the woods, I found a tick on her leg. This was alarming for a couple of reasons. Not much larger than a freckle, the critter nearly escaped my notice. Even when I did see it, I almost dismissed it as a speck of dirt or a bit of lint—after all, it had been six months since I had needed to be vigilant. Then I remembered: It's spring, the weather is getting warmer, and here come the ticks—especially the tiny, easily-overlooked deer ticks that carry Lyme disease.

And there are even more reasons to be concerned. According to an article in Veterinary Practice News, tick populations are increasing and are poised to reach unprecedented levels in 2013, due to a number of factors including warmer winters, decreased insecticide usage, and the white-tailed deer population, which has swelled as a result of successful conservation efforts. White-tailed deer are ticks' primary mode of travel and the main reason they are so widespread, although other migratory animals such as birds and coyotes transport ticks as well.

Aside from Lyme disease, ticks can carry almost a dozen human and animal diseases, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, and Cytauxzoon felis, a deadly organism that afflicts domestic cats.


Treatment a necessity, not an option

When it comes to illnesses, prevention is generally the least costly and least stressful option, and tick-borne infections are no exception.  Given the emerging statistics about tick population growth and disease, prevention protocols should be considered a standard, not optional, part of pet care—as important as semi-annual wellness exams, vaccinations, and even fresh water and food.

Talk to your veterinarian about tick-borne diseases that are specific to your area and about implementing an effective protection plan. Options include:

  • Lyme disease vaccine
  • Veterinarian-recommended tick and flea preventive products
  • A long-lasting insecticide yard spray that will kill both tick eggs and larvae

Regardless of the method, or combination of methods, you choose, it is a good idea to always thoroughly check your dog after being outside, especially in woodsy, grassy, or brushy areas. If a tick is attached to your dog's skin, remove it carefully with tweezers, and wash the affected bite area and your hands with soap and water afterward.