<?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

November is National Pet Diabetes Month

November is National Pet Diabetes Month, but with more than 50 percent of the nation’s cats and dogs overweight or obese, raising awareness of the common endocrine disease has been extended to pets – rather than just their human caretakers. It is estimated that one in every 200 cats may be affected by diabetes, being the most common endocrine condition found in felines. The numbers for dogs are similar and only expected to increase.

Diabetes results when a pet’s body doesn’t produce enough insulin (Type I DM) or doesn’t process it properly (Type II DM). When your pet eats, carbohydrates found in his or her food are converted into simple sugars, one of which is glucose. Glucose is then absorbed into the bloodstream through the intestines and travels to cells throughout the body. Inside cells, insulin typically helps turn the glucose into fuel. However, when there isn’t enough insulin, glucose can’t even enter the cells to be converted into energy and instead just builds up in the bloodstream.

Symptoms of Diabetes in Cats and Dogs:

• Lethargy
• Excessive thirst
• Frequent urination
• Always hungry, yet maintains or loses weight
• Thinning, dry and dull coats in cats
• Cloudy eyes in dogs

National Pet Diabetes Month

At-risk pets include:

• Those with genetic predispositions
• Those with other insulin-related disorders
• Those who are obese and/or physically inactive
• Dogs who are between 4- to 14-years-old
• Unspayed/intact female dogs are twice as likely to suffer from diabetes
• Dog breeds with greater risk for development: Cocker spaniels, dachshunds, Doberman Pinschers, German shepherds, golden retrievers, Labradors, Pomeranians, terriers and Toy Poodles

Although diabetes can’t be cured, it can be managed so that symptoms are reduced or eliminated entirely. Your veterinarian will decide which treatment options are best for your pet. Often, changes in diet and lifestyle, combined with or without daily insulin injections, can help your pet live a happy, healthy, active life.

If you’ve noticed any of the above symptoms in your pet and suspect he or she may have diabetes, contact your veterinarian today. Veterinarians are the only professionals who can accurately diagnose your pet and provide proper health management. Diabetes can affect a pet differently over time, even if your pet has experienced a long period of stability. The sooner your pet is diagnosed, the better, and the less likely you'll incur the cost of an expensive emergency visit for diabetic complications.

Celebrate Thanksgiving Safely with Your Pets

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to gather with family and friends and indulge in delicious holiday treats. You can be sure that if your cat or dog is around for the festivities, they'll want to share some of the goodies, too. But no matter how much your pets purr, plead, whine or whimper, owners should remember that holiday treats that are tasty for people can be potentially harmful for pets.

Thanksgiving foods may look tasty to your pet, but they could be harmful.

The typical Thanksgiving spread is flush with a variety of foods, from savory fare like turkey and stuffing to sweet foods like yams and cream pies. Your pet's diet is much blander and boring, and for good reason—foods with lots of fat, dairy and spices can cause vomiting and diarrhea in pets. For this reason, it's best to avoid letting Rover dine on the usual turkey day leftovers. If you must give your pet some holiday foods, stick to dishes like boiled potatoes or rice, which will not upset your pet's stomach.

Some holiday foods, however, can cause much more than an upset stomach in your pet. Garlic and onions are members of the allium family and, if eaten in large quantities, can cause hemolytic anemia, a blood disorder that causes red blood cells to burst. Raisins and grapes are also toxic to pets and have been linked to kidney failure.

Chocolate is one of the most dangerous foods that pets can eat—it's also one of the most prevalent holiday foods. Whether chocolate is found in cookies, cakes, truffles or baking squares, any amount can be dangerous. Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, both methylxanthines that can cause stimulation of the nervous system, increased heart rate and tremors. Signs of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, hyperactivity and increased thirst, urination and heart rate.

Chocolate is dangerous for pets

Other sweet treats, like gum and hard candies, can also make your pet ill. Sugar-free candies and gum are made with xylitol, a sugar substitute that can cause a drop in blood sugar, depression, loss of coordination and seizures in your pet. Xylitol is also linked to liver failure in dogs. Be sure to keep all candies, chocolate and other sweets out of your pet's reach. If you believe your pet may have ingested chocolate or candy, call your veterinarian immediately.

You may also be tempted to give your dog a leftover turkey bone or two once the table is cleared. However, poultry bones are small and easily breakable and can easily shatter and get caught in your pet's throat. These bones can cause damage to your pet's throat or lead to choking.

Holidays can also be as stressful for your pet as they are for you. Large gatherings of unfamiliar people may cause your dog or cat unnecessary stress and worry. If your pet does not interact well with strangers, keeping him or her in a separate room during the festivities may help keep your pet relaxed and worry-free.

During holiday gatherings, it's a good idea to keep your veterinarian's phone number handy. If your pet does get a hold of some Thanksgiving food and experiences mild vomiting or diarrhea, you can help settle their stomach by withholding food for a few hours then feeding small amounts of boiled rice and cooked hamburger. If the symptoms persist, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Help Your Pet Be Healthy with Preventive Care

Please remember that regular wellness care not only saves money over the course of your pet's life, it also helps ensure his or her life will be long, happy and healthy. Some excellent reasons to maintain a regular preventative care schedule for your pet include:

• Wellness exams are not only about vaccines, but include a full examination of mouth, ears, eyes, skin, respiratory system, heart, lymph nodes, abdomen, joints and muscles, along with an evaluation of organ function, changes to your pet's weight, habits, activity level, and blood work—as well as a chance for us to answer any questions you might have.

• Routine exams help us develop a baseline for your pet, making it easier to assess any changes that take place from one visit to the next. Declines in health may not be as obvious to you because you see your pet every day, but with regularly updated records, we can recognize differences and take steps if needed.

• Early signs of illness can be detected before they become serious—signs that can only be identified by a veterinarian during a comprehensive exam.

• Dogs and cats can hide illnesses and pain, and in the absence of other obvious symptoms, could be struggling without your knowledge.

• Senior pets have evolving health issues as they age, and routine wellness exams will give you an opportunity to manage your pets aging and understand any lifestyle changes that may be needed.

• Dental issues in your dog or cat can affect his or her body more than you may imagine. Advanced stages of dental decay can cause heart, liver and kidney disease due to the bacteria entering the blood stream.

• Even indoor cats need preventive care. Problems ranging from ear infections to cancer can still occur and need early detection only regular examinations can provide. An indoor cat can still come in contact with a rabid bat or a mosquito carrying heartworm.

• There are physical and emotional costs associated with illness, not just for your pet, but for you and your family. Illness can be time-consuming, messy, worrisome and stressful—all of which impact your household and the way your pet interacts with family members. A stressful car ride and wellness exam once or twice a year pales in comparison.

Pet Diagnostics: The Benefits of Endoscopy

Endoscopy is a minimally invasive diagnostic medical procedure commonly used to evaluate the interior surfaces of an organ by inserting a small tube into the body. Through the endoscope, the observer is able to see lesions of organs and other internal medical conditions. Endoscopy means "looking inside."

In veterinary medicine, endoscopy is commonly used as a diagnostic procedure, for tissue and organ biopsies, to remove foreign objects (particularly in the stomach) or get an inside view of a particular part of your pet's body. Even though anesthesia is required to keep your pet still during the endoscopic procedure, the amount of anesthesia and recovery time is greatly reduced. Literally meaning "to look within," endoscopy is often indicated when routine blood and urine tests, radiographs and ultrasound do not give the complete diagnostic picture.

The endoscope is composed of a long tube (flexible or rigid), a light source, camera and viewing eyepiece. In addition to the fiber optic light source, there are two channels within in the tube. One channel is for passing forceps, snares or biopsy instruments, allowing for the removal of foreign objects, collection of biopsy samples and removal of small polyps or tumors. Air or water can be passed through the other channel for better viewing of the tissue or organ.

One can distinguish:

• The endoscope itself, consisting of either a rigid or flexible tube

• A light delivery system to illuminate the organ or object under inspection

• A lens system transmitting the image to the viewer from the fiberscope

• An additional channel to allow entry of medical instruments to biopsy or to facilitate tissue and other operations

The benefits of endoscopy include shortened anesthetic time, decreased inflammation, less physiologic stress and discomfort and an earlier return to normal function. The endoscope is used to help diagnose and treat a variety of gastrointestinal and respiratory disorders. Depending on the symptoms, it is used to look at the inner lining of the throat, stomach, intestine, colon or at the respiratory passages (nose, throat and lungs). Even though general anesthesia is required for an endoscopic procedure, it is still considered much less invasive than traditional surgery, due to the relatively short procedure length and low occurrence of complications.

Stuck in the Middle: Divorce and Pets

Children and pets both thrive and depend on intact families. However, divorce takes that sense of stability and security and throws it to the wind leaving children and pets anxious as to what the future holds. In the best case, both parents are able to come together and create a reasonable shared custody arrangement. In the worst case, a court must do this for them.

Divorce's Effect on Pets

Both dogs and cats are sensitive enough to understand when their human companions are under stress. They can sense discord and see the beginnings of one parent beginning to leave the home. Since your pet relies on you so much for their own sense of well-being, yelling and fighting and impending change can cause your pet quite a bit of anxiety. This anxiety can also lead to behavioral issues such as soiling, barking or howling and in some cases destructive actions.

If you are fighting with a spouse or in the midst of separating, it is important to understand that just as you shouldn't fight and yell in front of kids, you shouldn't do these things in front of your pets.

Additionally, as change and separation begins, make sure to keep consistent routines with your pets. Feed them at the same time each day and take them on regular and well known walks. Since they likely have a deep bond with your kids, maintain that relationship. It's good for both your pet and kids.

After separation or divorce you should understand that dogs, especially older dogs have a difficult time handling new routines and surroundings. It is important to take steps to ease your pets, when possible, into new circumstances. It may also be a good idea to talk with your veterinarian about some form of behavior counseling to help you make the best decisions for your pet.

Divorce, Pets and the Law

For kids the effect of divorce and the criteria used to establish custody are relatively well known. However, the effect of family separation and criteria to determine custody of pets are not nearly as well understood or clear cut in the law.

Pets occupy a rather uncomfortable place in divorce law. Pet owners love their pets and have deep and loving bond with them, but unlike children, a pet is merely a possession in the eyes of most state laws; sort of a four-footed, furry and friendly flat-screen TV. This is changing in some areas, and there are instances of shared custody arrangements and issuance of visitation rights, but a judge is not obligated to make these considerations.

Most judges decide pet custody based on a few criteria:

• Have the couple's children bonded with the pet and which parent has child custody?

• Is the pet the property of one person prior to the divorce?

• Who is in the best position to provide care for the pet?

• And generally speaking, what is in the best interest of the pet?

As noted above, in the best case, the parents will have arranged a shared custody agreement for the kids and have included the pets so that they remain with the children. If child custody is held by one parent, then it should be agreed the pets should reside there as well, with allowances for visitation. However, in many cases custody of pets can become a contentious issue. In this case, the following should help you maintain custody of your pet:

• If you owned the pet prior to marriage, you will need to be able to show this to the court.

• Tell your lawyer how important custody of your pet is to you so it can be a priority.

• If you have custody of the children, a court is very likely to award you the pets as well.

• Communicate and negotiate with your ex. Perhaps there is an arrangement that could be made.

• Were you the primary caretaker of the pet? If so, make sure you can demonstrate that to the court by asking your veterinarian to be a character witness as well as friends and family. Also include evidence that you paid the vet bills and provided care such as grooming services and etc.

• Try to show that the pet is best off in your home because you are physically and financially able to take care of it.