What Your Dog Wants For the Holidays

I can’t help you decide what to get your wife, your mother, your son, or your best friend, but I can help you with what to get for your dog. I know how much you were all worried about what to get Fido, so I figured I would step up and help with a couple of ideas. My goal as a veterinarian is to allow you to have a long, happy, and healthy relationship with your pet, and these ideas will help you achieve that goal.

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  1. Flea and tick prevention!! Let’s be honest, fleas make your pet feel miserable, and nobody likes the idea of fleas in your carpet and bed. We have safe and effective products that can help keep your dog feeling good all year long. I personally like Bravecto and Nexgard for my own dogs currently. There are other safe and effective products as well, but I like the ease of these two oral chews (and most dogs seem to actually enjoy these chews). Bravecto keeps dogs free of fleas and ticks for 3 months per dose, and Nexgard keeps them free of fleas and ticks for one month per dose. They have also been found to treat Sarcoptes and Demodex mites, so you can feel comfortable knowing that you are protecting your dog from numerous parasites. A good portion of my day as a veterinarian is treating flea related skin disease, so this would be a great gift for your furry canine companion this year!!
  1. Heartworm and intestinal parasite prevention!! There is nothing quite like the panicked phone call from an owner who just noticed worms in the dog’s stool. I agree that heartworm disease is not common in Livermore, CA, but there are cases in Northern California every year. Intestinal parasites are incredibly common, and something that we treat on almost a daily basis. Heartworm disease is simple to prevent, and complicated to treat. We have safe and effective products to keep your dogs safe from heartworm disease, and free from hookworm and roundworm infestations. Heartgard Plus comes in a tasty monthly chewable treat, and your dog will thank you for keeping him/her safe from nasty parasites.

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  1. Get those teeth cleaned!! Let’s be honest, bad breath ruins cuddle time with your dog. Your dog wants to be able to cuddle with you more for the holidays, and its not going to happen if you need to leave the room every time Fido opens his mouth. Dental disease is honestly painful and uncomfortable, and will not get better until it is treated. This year give Fido the gift of cuddle time. Let’s get that mouth smelling fresh and clean again!

 

  1. Everyone’s favorite healthy stocking stuffers!! I get it, it’s hard to jump for joy when you open that bottle of multivitamins, but your dog is less judgmental than your teenage son. Fully digestible CET and Oravet dental chews can be used as a frequent treat to help keep Fido’s teeth clean. He won’t know these are special dental treats, and he will just think you are being an awesome dog parent. A new toothbrush is also a great idea. Daily/weekly brushing is the key to keeping your dog’s teeth clean. I know it’s a hassle, but it is cheap and effective, so give it a try!

 

  1. Toys and Puzzles!! We love Kong toys as we have big dogs that destroy everything you give them in about 20 seconds. The Kong toys are fairly durable, and can be great for keeping dogs mentally stimulated when you hide treats and snacks inside. Puzzle feeders are a great way to keep your dog mentally stimulated, while also preventing her from setting a new world record in dog food consumption time. There are plenty of other toy options as well, but the Kongs and puzzle feeding toys are some of our favorites.

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  1. Get your dog a gym membership!! Ok, maybe don’t go crazy and bring your dog to the gym, but let Fido know that this year you are dedicating more time to being active. Get outside and go for a weekly hike, dedicate 20 minutes each day to being active with your dog, or just get outside and spend some time together. I know everyone is busy, but it is good for dogs and humans alike to get outside and be active. As it is getting dark early these days it is a good idea to get reflective collars, leashes, or dog vests to make sure that you and Fido are being safe together while enjoying the outdoors. The best gifts don’t always cost money, so no matter your holiday budget this gift is well within reach.

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So, I hope this has eased your holiday anxiety a bit, and you now have a plan for your favorite pooch (sorry I was of no help with what to get your mother-in-law). Stay tuned for what to get your cat, but to be honest cats are a bit more judgmental, and I am going to make the other doctor figure out what you can buy for them 🙂 Happy holidays to you all, and please let Ohana Animal Hospital know if you need help with any of the above gifts for your canine friend.

 

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The New Age of Reptile Medicine and Surgery Is Here

The future of reptile medicine and surgery is here, and it’s exciting! Reptile medicine and surgery is complex and interesting, and the general body of knowledge is growing at lightning speed. At Ohana Animal Hospital we are routinely performing blood work, performing ultrasounds, obtaining x-rays, collecting samples for viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic evaluation, anesthetizing and performing surgery, and amazingly, we only rarely send home Baytril! I don’t mean to say that Baytril is an inappropriate antibiotic for certain cases, but we can do so much more now, and it is time we all expected more for our reptilian companions. I admit that we are by no means perfect, and we cannot fix every case that walks through the door, but with owners having an open mind and a desire to provide the best care possible, we are doing amazing things (as are many of our incredible colleagues).

I have recently seen a large number of cases of reptilian respiratory infections, and that really got me thinking how far we have come in this field. I remember when I started out early in my career thinking respiratory infections were simple, and even boring (oh, how little I knew)! The snake would come in with some oral and nasal discharge, and it would go home with some antibiotics. Some of them got better, some of them didn’t, and that was just how it was. Working through snake respiratory infections today can be a significant process because we know so much more about the various, and NUMEROUS, causes. We now understand that many respiratory infections are multifactorial in nature, and are commonly the result of suboptimal husbandry conditions (yes, that client handout you fill out before the appointment is really that important), viral, bacterial, fungal, parasitic infections, trauma, foreign bodies, inhalation of toxic fumes, and even cancer. One of those things will respond well to an antibiotic, and the others will not. I am amazed at how many of my early patients actually did well actually!!

We know about more diseases than ever before, and we are slowly developing a larger body of evidence-based medicine to base our therapies. We know that fewer bearded dragons die during treatment for Nannizziopsis guarroi (previously called CANV or Yellow Fungus Disease) if they are treated with voriconazole than itraconazole. We now know that the elusive inclusion body disease virus is not a retrovirus like was once suspected, but it is actually an arenavirus, and we can adjust our diagnostic testing to better evaluate our patients. We know that adenovirus is common in bearded dragons, cryptosporidiosis is common in leopard geckos, vitamin a deficiencies are common in insectivores not fed a balanced diet, nidovirus is common in green tree pythons, mycoplasma is a common cause of tortoise respiratory disease, and so many other things. We learn about new diseases every year, and this allows us to offer so much more to you and your reptile companion in terms of therapy.

We routinely perform complicated surgeries on reptilian patients. I have performed intestinal resection and anastomoses surgery (surgically removing a portion of intestine and sewing clean edges of the intestine back together), foreign body removals, eye removals, bladder stone removals, repaired traumatic wounds to the skull, amputations of limbs, spay surgeries, and biopsies of skin abnormalities just to name a few things. These patients are routinely placed under general anesthesia, ventilated to ensure they are breathing and oxygenating appropriately, have intravenous or intraosseous catheters placed to provide fluid and medication, are closely monitored while under anesthesia, and recover uneventfully. I remember when every reptile patient was given the same anesthetic cocktail, the recoveries were long and inconsistent, and I didn’t even think that an intravenous catheter was possible. Every patient now gets their own specialized anesthetic plan, we have numerous reversal drugs to help our patients wake faster, we have access to effective pain medications, and my bearded dragon patient gets the same level of anesthetic care and monitoring as a dog or a cat. This is cool stuff, and is something that I personally take great pride in.

I understand that it is not practical for everyone to perform blood work, a tracheal wash with culture and sensitivity testing, viral PCR evaluation, lung biopsy with histopathological evaluation, endoscopic airway evaluation, CT scan, etc. I want you to know that this is all possible now though. If you are on your third round of Baytril with your snake for a “respiratory infection” it may be time to look a little deeper. The new age of reptile medicine and surgery is here, and the future looks bright!

Contact us today to schedule an appointment!