Category: Dog

Glutamine

Glutamine or L-glutamine as it is also known, is a vital amino acid. Glutamine helps the body to form proteins that help maintain your pet’s immune system.

Glutamine performs several major functions, particularly in animals that are suffering from disease or stress, therefore, it is important that glutamine levels are maintained to enable the body to fight off infection.

Would my pet benefit from a Glutamine supplement?

Glutamine is naturally sourced from a high number of dairy products such as meat and eggs. This natural source of glutamine is sufficient for healthy pets and they do not need supplementation. However, supplementation is recommended for pets with the following conditions:

  • Chronic bowel disorders
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Parvoviral enteritis
  • Cancer
  • Stress
  • Trauma

Is Glutamine safe?

Glutamine, as one of the body’s main amino acids, is a safe supplement when taken at recommended dosages. However, high dosages of glutamine pose a risk to pets with epilepsy. If your pet is taking anti-convulsant medications to treat epilepsy, glutamine should only be used under veterinary supervision.

Feline Acne

Feline acne usually occurs under the chin or around the mouth. The acne is caused by the overproduction of keratin which is a protein found in the skin;, this excess keratin causes the cats hair follicles to become blocked which results in comedones (blackheads). If the comedones become infected it can lead to acne spots similar to human acne.

What causes feline acne?

The main causes of feline acne include:

  • Hyperactive sebaceous glands
  • Poor hygiene
  • Stress
  • Secondary to fungal infection
  • Reaction to medicines
  • Demodicosis

How is feline acne treated?

A benzoyl peroxide facial preparation or, in some cases, antiseborrheic shampoo is used to cleanse the affected area and clean out the hair follicles. Oral antibiotics may be used to treat severe or chronic cases.

Microalbuminuria to Detect Early Renal Disease (ERD)

What is Microalbuminuria?

Microalbuminuria is used to detect the presence of albumin in urine. Albumin is a very important protein in the bloodstream but not usually found in the urine of healthy cats or dogs. Until recently the diagnostic methods of renal disease could only detect renal disease at a stage where kidney function was depleted by 75%. Now with more sensitive tests, vets can detect the smallest quantities of albumin in the urine which can indicate that there may be possibility of future kidney complications.

The complications associated with Microalbuminuria

There are a number of conditions that can damage the kidneys which results in small quantities of albumin in the urine – these conditions include:

  • Dental disease
  • Chronic skin disease
  • Bowel disease
  • Feline leukemia virus
  • Ehrlichia infection
  • Heart worm and Lyme disease

The result of a positive test

Even if the Microalbuminuria test is positive it does not mean your pet has progressive renal disease, however it is a good early warning sign and through management and control of the underlying issues the problem can be resolved. Unfortunately, however for some cats and dogs the problem persists and Microalbuminuria increases over time. In these cases your vet should monitor the pets health and Microalbuminuria levels regularly.

Diazepam

Diazepam is a medication prescribed to treat anxiety, stimulate the appetite and control fits. This drug is a benzodiazepine, this type of drug can result in dependence and your pet could become addicted to it.

Dosage

If you miss a dose ensure it is given as soon as possible, however, if it is almost time for the next dose then skip the missed dose and continue as normal. Do not administer two doses together.

I have heard that this drug can have side effects, how will this affect my pet?

All medicines have potential side effects but this does not mean your pet has a high risk of experiencing them. Possible side effects may include anxiety, drowsiness or unco-ordination. If you notice anything unusual contact your vet immediately.

Possible drug interactions

Ensure your vet is aware of any other medication you are giving your pet. Drug interaction is not uncommon when two differing medications are prescribed.

Pheromones

Why has my pet been prescribed pheromone medication?

Pheromones are social scents secreted by animals, the scents send a message to other animals and act as a means of communication. Natural Pheromones are secreted in anal glands, urine and facial skin.

Artificial pheromones are prescribed to help improve anti-social behavior. The artificial pheromones help reduce stress and increase the animals feeling of security during stressful periods such as fireworks or bringing a new pet or child home.

 

Potential side effects

All medicines have potential side effects but this does not mean your pet has a high risk of experiencing them. If you experience anything unusual contact your local veterinary surgery.

Abdominal Distension

Abdominal distension is often caused through obesity in dogs but this is not the only cause.  Sometimes Cushing’s Syndrome (hyperadrenocorticism) can cause redistribution of fat into the abdomen and Hypothyroidism (lack of the thyroid hormone) can cause enlargement of the abdomen; both of these causes are more common in dogs than cats.

 

Abdominal distension in cats and dogs can also be caused by the following problems:

  • Fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity
  • Liver disease
  • Cardiac disease
  • Abdominal tumours
  • Feline coronavirus disease (only in cats)
  • Internal bleeding/leakage of urine due to a trauma in the body

 

How is abdominal distension identified?

Your vet at Wellpets will begin by carrying out a thorough physical examination and lookat the history of your cat or dog.  Blood and urine tests will also be taken to give an indication of how the liver and kidneys are working – the results of these tests will help to provide a diagnosis.

 

Will my pet need anymore tests?

This will depend on the test results.  If the general tests throw back further problems, more extensive blood tests may need to be carried out to determine exactly what is wrong.  Furthermore, if there are problems with organs such as the liver and kidneys then we will need to look at the serum bile acid levels or if the abdominal distension is due to a build up of fluid then we may need to perform fine needle aspiration to sample the fluid.  In general, any further tests will be dependent on the results of the initial tests.

 

Convulsions, (also known as fits or seizures)

What is a convulsion?

A convulsion is not just one form of reaction. In a dog a convulsion can take many forms, from loss of consciousness to incontinence, you dog may also show signs of mental and behavioural changes or contraction of the body muscles.  A convulsion can be caused by epilepsy, toxins, trauma and tumours in the brain or spinal cord.

 

What happens during a convulsion?

Usually there are signs before a convulsion takes on its most obvious form and convulsions tend to take three phases:

Phase 1 – The dog may show unusual signs of discomfort or nervousness, this can last from seconds to hours.

Phase 2 – This is the actual convulsion and can last between a few seconds and about five minutes.  The dog can experience any or all of the signs mentioned above and if this stage goes on longer than five or ten minutes then it is considered to be an emergency situation.

Phase 3 – This is the recovery period after the fit, the signs here can include disorientation, blindness, restlessness and general discomfort.

Can my dog die?

This is very rare but could happen if a dog is allowed to convulse for more than a few minutes without intervention, if the convulsions become very serious then this is known as epilepticus, and a vet should be contacted immediately if this situation arises.  Please be aware that while this can be frightening to watch, the dog is not considered to be in pain during a convulsion.

 

What should I do while the seizure is progressing?

  1. Time the length of each phase so you know how serious the convulsion might be, and can tell your vet if necessary.
  2. Make sure that the dog Is on the ground away from any dangerous items so he can’t fall off anything or hurt himself further.
  3. Turn off any lights and close the curtains as light can affect a convulsion.
  4. Call your vet if at all concerned.

 

Can anything be done to prevent further fits?

Drugs can be provided over a period of one to two weeks to prevent fits, if successful the dosage is decreased over a period of time – the time it takes to do this is dependent on the severity of the original convulsions and the dosage provided to the dog.  Nevertheless, it is very important that you don’t just immediately stop giving your dog the drugs completely as this can make the convulsions worse.

Coping with Pet Loss

The death of a pet is always very upsetting and an event many of us have experienced. Unfortunately pets do not live as long as humans and although we are aware of this fact, saying goodbye to a pet can be one of the hardest situations to deal with. People cope with the stages of mourning differently and you can never predict how difficult it will be. Although they may come in a slightly different order you can expect to feel the following emotional stages:

Shock – This is the initial stage of bereavement, the reaction of shock is very common when you first hear that a wellloved companion has passed away.

Anger – After the initial shock you can start to feel angry at yourself, feeling that maybe you didn’t do enough or did something wrong which will also bring with it feelings of guilt. It’s helpful to seek advice from your vet at this stage, he can address your concerns and help you to understand that although it’s natural to feel guilty, your pets death will mean they are no longer suffering or in pain.

Depression – This is very common and the longest part of grieving. The first concerns are for the practical implication relating to the loss of your companion, you may also worry you neglected other commitments whilst caring for your pet. Some will also feel a sense of isolation and feel unable to express their feelings. Overall depression brings with it a sense of confusion and a lack of concentration for normal daily tasks. Your appetite may also change and you may experience insomnia (inability to sleep).

No one can predict how long any of the above stages will last, however, you will come to a point of acceptance where you feel you can talk more openly about your loss. You will begin to see you are now viewing the situation more objectively and that open communication is very beneficial in relieving the feeling of sadness and depression. However, if after some time you feel you are not coping with your loss it is advisable to speak to your doctor who may recommend counselling hich can be very beneficial in helping you to express you emotions and accept your loss.

Antibodies

Antibodies or immunoglobulins, as they are sometimes known, are large proteins that circulate in blood. The antibodies are used by the immune system to identify and neutralise foreign bodies such as bacteria, toxins and viruses. Antibodies can react with these foreign bodies and render them harmless, however, the number of antibodies gradually reduces with time so the length of successful immunity can depend on the type of infection.  It is, therefore, beneficial to measure the level of immunity.

 

How do you measure levels of immunity?

When you remove the red and white blood cells and substances such as fibrinogen from blood you are left with serum, with this serum you can determine the antibody titre, this is the highest dilution of serum that reacts to any particular antigen, a highly diluted serum that still reacts to the antigen means there are a high number of antibodies present.

It is important to understand that antibodies are only produced when the body has come into contact with foreign bodies and these weaken over time, therefore if you find a reaction to a high dilution the animal has a strong immune system.

 

Diagnosing disease with antibody titres

Antibody titres are often used to diagnose infectious disease such as distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus. They are also used to measure whether vaccinations have created an acceptable level of immunity.

 

 

The Treatment of Ulcers in the Stomach or Intestine

When your pet is diagnosed with an ulcer in the stomach or intestine they may be prescribed one of many different medicines used to treat this condition. The medicine prescribed will depend on the treatment required – some create a barrier over the ulcer which ensures the ulcer is protected from stomach acid, others work by stopping the secretion of gastric acid, whilst others neutralise the gastric acid.

 

How to administer ulcer treatment

  • Before administering treatment please ensure you read the label thoroughly. Treatment must be given as instructed by your veterinary surgeon.
  • If the medicine is in a liquid form, ensure you carefully measure the correct dosage.
  • Ulcer medication must be taken on an empty stomach, 1 hour before your pet eats.
  • It is beneficial to give ulcer medication at the same time(s) every day.
  • Never give your pet more medication than your Wellpets veterinary surgeon has prescribed.
  • Never discontinue your pet’s medication without consulting your veterinary surgeon first. Please ensure repeat prescriptions are delivered to the Wellpets branch in time to ensure there are no missed doses.
  • After handling the medication wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  • In the event of accidentally swallowing seek medical advice immediately – retain packaging and show to your physician.

 

How should this medicine be stored?

It is important that this medicine is kept out of children’s reach. Medicines must be stored in a cool, dry place at room temperature. Keep away from direct sunlight and heat. This medicine should not be stored in a bathroom, near a sink or anywhere damp – this is because the medicine has the potential to break down if exposed to heat or moisture elements.

 

Potential side effects

Side effects are rare but ulcer treatment has been reported to cause constipation. If you notice anything abnormal please contact your local Wellpets veterinary surgery.

 

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