Good health starts with good nutrition.
If your dog or cat is diagnosed with an internal medicine disease such as kidney disease, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, or even thyroid disease, your veterinarian may prescribe a special therapeutic diet for them. Many of these will be a therapeutic diet, meaning you will need a prescription from your veterinarian to get it and you won't be able to purchase the food at your local pet store.
Your veterinarian may recommend a premade commercially available therapeutic food, or they may recommend a nutrition consultation for a specific, tailored diet to meet the needs of your pet.
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an essential vitamin absorbed in the guts of mammals. Dogs and cats with gastrointestinal disease such as inflammatory bowel disease or gastrointestinal lymphoma, can have low levels of B12 because their guts are not absorbing the nutrients as they should. It's an important marker for normal gut health.
If your veterinarian suspects GI disease they may check the level of Vitamin B12 in your pets blood. If the levels are low your vet will recommend supplementing to help your pet feel better.
Check out the new page about Vitamin B12 and learn more about what it is, why it's important, and how to increase the Vitamin B12 levels in your pet.
Check out the new page we added about pet's abdomens under our 'Diseases - Gastrointestinal' page. We discuss the difference between bloat, or GDV, abdominal swelling, and distention of the abdomen in dogs and cats.
We hope you take a look around the website as we're working hard on keeping it up to date and creating more pages just for you!
Let us know in the comments if there's something specific you're looking for and it just might be the next thing we work on.
No matter what you call it: Poop, Feces, Stool, Bowel Movement, Number 2, Defecation, Boom-Boom, Turd, or even Trots; it all refers to a very important part of your dog and cat's overall health.
So, what is normal when it comes to your pet's bathroom habits?
It's a common question when you take your dog or cat to the vet: "Is Fluffy having normal bowel movements?" Well, after thinking about it you answer a resounding "Yes!" After all, Fluffy's stools have been normal; normal for her.
We may ask you for a description of the stool. (And don't worry if you take a picture of it to show us. I know it sounds gross to have a picture of poop in your phone, but it really can help us understand what you are seeing!)
The Shapes and Colors of Poop
When discussing a pet's feces, it helps to know what's normal, and what is not. Let's check out the things we look for in good GI health.
There is a lot of hype right now about grain free foods and heart disease in pets. We reached out to Ann, our nutrition and internal medicine small animal VTS author, for her prospective and she gave us the low down.
In July 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a bulletin regarding a potential connection between diet and cases of canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM). Veterinary cardiologists had alerted the FDA of an increase in cases of DCM in breeds not typically genetically prone to this condition (1, 2).
Dilated cardiomyopathy has been genetically linked to a number of breeds of dogs including Great Danes, Boxers, Newfoundland’s, Irish Wolfhounds, St. Bernard’s, and Doberman pinschers. Cardiologists were seeing an increase in non-typically breeds including mix-breed dogs and smaller dogs. (1)
Veterinary cardiologists were recently surveyed about cases of possible diet-associated DCM in dogs examined in the past 2 years. Information was provided for over 240 dogs. For dogs in which the breed was specified:
Getting tablets and capsules into cats can be challenging, but sometimes getting them to pass into the stomach can take even more time than we thought.
Did you know this could cause problems?
In an abstract published by ACVIM, Auburn University did a study to see if using butter helped tablets to pass from the mouth into the stomach of cats.
In the study they used fluoroscopy to monitor a tablet as it passed from the cats mouths to their stomachs. In half of the cats it took over 10 minutes!
However, when a small amount of butter was applied to the tablet it was able to pass easily into the stomach in under 1 minute. The same if a small amount of either butter or Nutrical was applied to the cats nose it helped facilitate licking and the tablets also passed in under a minute.
What does that mean? To prevent medications from sticking in the esophagus possibly causing esophagitis it is important to encourage cats to swallow. **only use butter or Nutrical if it approved by your veterinarian**
What is esophagitis and why should we care about it?
Nothing gets us out of bed faster than the sound of retching in the middle of the night!
But what about those times stuff just flies out of their mouths like in the movie "The Exorcist"? (You know the scene we're talking about: split pea soup!)
We know, it's not our favorite thing to talk about but it's important to know the difference between vomiting and regurgitating.
That Retching Sound
We're launching a new page on the website: Decoding a Pet Food Label
We're super excited to have Ann teach us how to decode a pet food label. These are not as straight forward as you may believe. Definitely a must read for those looking for just the right dog or cat food.
Ann Wortinger is an amazing veterinary technician with her VTS not only in small animal internal medicine, but also in emergency and critical care AND nutrition! Talk about a well rounded tech. We're honored to have her contribute to the website.
Let us know what you think!
Remember when we learned in the pancreas introduction post that the pancreas synthesizes and secretes enzymes to digest the food your pet eats? These enzymes include lipase and amylase. They are sent through the pancreatic ducts (then into the common bile duct) into the duodenum where they work on the food that has been ingested. But what happens if these digestive enzymes cannot make their normal journey?
Occasionally, the pancreas becomes inflamed and swollen. As the pancreas becomes increasingly inflamed, the ducts that connect the pancreas and duodenum become inflamed as well. As this inflammation progresses, the ducts get squeezed down and unable to carry enzymes from the pancreas to the duodenum.
The Pet Health Journal: A 6 Month Journal For Medications, Exams, & Healthy Living was officially published this week!
We're so excited to share this work book with you and hope you get a chance to see it in person. If you live near Ashley or Yvonne, you've probably seen the proof copies because we've been carrying them around everywhere with us the last few weeks!!!
If you'd like a journal of your very own, visit Amazon and grab a copy today! We'll be setting up with additional online retailers in the next week or so, so keep a look out for the Pet Health Journal at your favorite retailer.
We are also making the Pet Health Journal available for wholesale to veterinary clinics and hospitals, so if you think your veterinarian might want to carry it have them send us an email at email@example.com and we'll get them set up.
We want to give a big thank you to everyone who helped get the Pet Health Journal finished.
We hope this journal helps pets and their families live a happier, healthier life together.
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This website is NOT a substitute for veterinary care with a veterinarian. We recommend you follow the advice and treatment plan as prescribed by your veterinarian, and only after discussing anything found on this website with your veterinarian, with their approval, implementing advice found here.
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