Pet Sunburns and Vitamin D

Most people enjoying soaking up a little sun during the summer months and providing our bodies with natural Vitamin D. But what about your dog? Should you be concerned about him getting enough Vitamin D during the winter months or if he spends his days indoors? Could too much sun exposure be harmful to my pet? Here are some interesting facts about sunshine and your dog.

Most people enjoying soaking up a little sun during the summer months and providing our bodies with natural Vitamin D.  But what about your dog?  Should you be concerned about him getting enough Vitamin D during the winter months or if he spends his days indoors? Could too much sun exposure be harmful to my pet? Here are some interesting facts about sunshine and your dog.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D plays a role in keeping our bones and immune systems strong. Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium from the gut and helps to maintain proper calcium and phosphate levels in the bloodstream.  Humans and other non-human primates are able to make Vitamin D if our skin is exposed to the right kinds of ultraviolet light. The form of Vitamin D that our bodies make is called Vitamin D3.  It is the bioactive form of the vitamin.  People who live in northern climates with limited sun during the winter are often urged to take Vitamin D supplements or get exposure through special sun lamps.   But what about dogs and cats?
It turns out that dogs and cats don’t make enough Vitamin D3 through their skin.  This is not due to their hair preventing sun exposure – these pets simply lack the right precursors to make bioavailable Vitamin D3.  Pets must get their Vitamin D3 through food instead. Good sources of Vitamin D3 for your pets include commercially-fortified diets and properly balanced homemade diets.  If your pet is on home-cooked diet, the nutritionist-approved, balanced recipe should provide for your pet’s Vitamin D3 needs.  Foods that naturally contain some Vitamin D include salmon, sardines, egg yolks and cheese.

Sunburn

While sunshine feels nice and warm on your pet’s skin, it can also cause damage.  Light-skinned and hairless portions of your dog’s body are especially susceptible to sun damage. Breeds particularly at risk are Chinese Crested, white German Shepherd Dogs and white Boxers. The tips of the ears, groin, abdomen and area around the muzzle are most susceptible to damage by UV radiation.  Solid white cats are also at risk for sunburn on the tips of their ears.

The symptoms of sunburn include red skin, hair loss and mild crusting. The animal may lick or scratch at the area due to discomfort.  If you suspect that your dog has been sunburned, contact your veterinarian for instructions. Prevention is key when your dog is out in the sun.  Use of a SPF 15 or 20 sunblock on exposed skin is recommended. The FDA has not established SPF values for pets, but most veterinarians recommend using a hypoallergenic infant or child-safe, non-toxic sunscreen.  Products labelled for dogs and cats can also be found online. Be sure that the sunblock does not contain zinc, as these can be harmful if ingested. Do not use Octyl Salicylate products on cats. Re-apply sunscreen every 2-4 hours, especially if the dog is swimming. It is best to avoid playing in the sun during the hottest part of the day, in order to prevent sunburn and overheating.     

Resources

  • Vitamin D Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/
  • How, KL., Hazewinkel, HA., Mol, JA.  Dietary vitamin D dependence of cat and dog due to inadequate cutaneous synthesis of vitamin D. Gen Comp Endocrinol. October 1994;96(1): 12-8.

View the latest World Pet News every week at PetPeoplesPlace.com.

Original Source: http://www.petpeoplesplace.com/resources/news/general/pet-sunburns-vitamin-d.htm

Trifexis

As an American veterinarian living in Europe – I have been intrigued by the concern and internet rumours surrounding the flea and heartworm product called Trifexis® (spinosad – milbemycin oximne).

As an American veterinarian living in Europe – I have been intrigued by the concern and internet rumours surrounding the flea and heartworm product called Trifexis® (spinosad – milbemycin oximne).
I moved to Europe before this product was on the North American market. I have never sold it and I have never prescribed it to a patient. It is not in use in my country because there is no risk of heartworm infection here in Northern Europe. However, heartworm disease is very real for many dogs back home in the USA.  Resistance to common flea and heartworm preventatives is becoming a problem in the Deep South and newer generations of prevention medication, such as Trifexis®, are needed.

A TV news outlet and ABC affiliate in Atlanta, Georgia ran a special about Trifexis® in November 2013. Three puppies from the same litter died within 3 weeks of receiving Trifexis® and it gained media attention. Soon after, other claims that “Trifexis® killed my dog” cropped up on Facebook and other social media. These concerns prompted me to look a little bit closer.  Is Trifexis® really dangerous?  Could dogs be dying from this heartworm preventative?  What does the FDA have to say about this?  Are adverse effects being reported to the FDA and local veterinarians?

I’ve decided to comb through the published studies, Facebook pages, complaints and information from other veterinarians to help you, the consumer, determine the truth.

What is Trifexis®?

Trifexis® is a monthly heartworm, intestinal parasite and flea preventative made by the pharmaceutical company Elanco.  It is made up of two different drugs. One, spinosad, is used for flea control. It has been used safely for many years in a product called Comfortis® in dogs 14 weeks and older. Spinosad is also used in humans as a topical treatment for head lice. Dose tolerance studies showed spinosad to be safe in adult Beagles when dosed 16.5 times the label dose and it was given on a daily basis for 10 consecutive days. (1) The most common side effect, although uncommon, is vomiting – often right after the dose was given.
The second drug in Trifexis® is milbemycin oximne. This is the drug that prevents heartworm infection and controls intestinal parasites (roundworm, hookworm and whipworm). This drug is also found in products such as Interceptor® and Sentinel®.  It has been used in these products for over a decade with few side effects. Tolerance studies showed that Beagles tolerated a one-time dose 200 times higher than the monthly label dose and rough-coated Collies tolerated 10 times the monthly label dose.

Why all the fuss?

I was able to obtain copies of the 3 original autopsy (necropsy) reports from the November 2013 news story.  All 3 puppies died of complications from heart failure and had evidence of heart disease.  One puppy had been diagnosed with heart problems before he died. It is unclear when these problems started.  Three different pathologists in two states examined the bodies. Each one suspected either a genetic problem or early infection of parvovirus, which can cause significant heart damage. None of the pathologists thought that the heart problems and death were linked to Trifexis®. No other adverse effects associated with the heart or cardiovascular system have been reported after use of Trifexis®. 

My own dog had a reaction!

While there is no evidence that Trifexis® killed the puppies, adverse reactions can occur after taking any medicine.  My own dog, an Australian Shepherd, had adverse reactions to the product Sentinel® when he was a puppy.  He would have a single seizure within 6 hours of taking the once-monthly Sentinel®. This type of side effect is fairly unusual but has been reported with Sentinel®, especially in herding breeds. We stopped the Sentinel® and switched to Comfortis® and Heartgard® Plus. He has never had another seizure. Sentinel® contains one of the same ingredients as Trifexis®.  I personally would not put my Aussie on it – but only because he reacted to Sentinel®.  But this would not stop me from using Trifexis® with my other dog, if we were to move back to Mississippi.

Since Aussies are relatives to Collies, they can have reactions to ivermectin (Heartgard®) – we watched our boy very closely when we switched products.  He did fine and we were able to prevent heartworm infection and fleas successfully with two oral products instead of one.

Talk to your veterinarian

Your veterinarian wants nothing but the best of health for your dog.  If you think that your pet has had an adverse reaction to a drug, call your veterinarian immediately.  You also have the power to report reactions to the FDA and the company that made the product. This is not just limited to Trifexis®, but to any prescription or over-the-counter drug.

It is mid-2014 and the rumours about Trifexis® are still going strong.  I’m not convinced that Trifexis® is unsafe but it may not be appropriate for all dogs.  The risk of the documented side effects (vomiting, depression/lethargy, itching, decreased appetite and diarrhea) is low and the risk of contracting heartworms in the Deep South is much, much higher. 

My heart goes out to all who lose a pet – for whatever reason. My final message to you is – don’t believe everything you see on TV or on the internet. Seek out reputable, scientific sources when doing your homework.  Safety studies are done for a reason and correlation does NOT equal causation.  Remember that you and your veterinarian know your dog best and together you can decide what product is best for your fur baby.

Resources for Dog Owners
Questions about Trifexis®?  Talk to Your Veterinarian. American Veterinary Medical Association. https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Pages/TrifexisQuestionsTalk-to-your-veterinarian.aspx
Pathology Review of Three Cases of Suspected Trifexis® Intoxication. Engelhard Consulting, Inc. https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Documents/Vizsla%20Path%20Opinion%20final.pdf
Trifexis®     http://www.trifexis.com/

View the latest World Pet News every week at PetPeoplesPlace.com.

Original Source: http://www.petpeoplesplace.com/resources/news/general/trifexis.htm

Pet First Aid and the ABCs

I encourage all pet owners to be prepared when it comes to responding to emergencies. Most of the time our pets are healthy and happy, but when disaster strikes, it is necessary to know the basics. With a little preparation and know-how your actions can mean the difference between life and death for your cat or dog. Common emergencies encountered at home include fever, trauma (such as hit-by-a-car), and toxin exposure (such as chocolate or poisonous plant ingestion).

I encourage all pet owners to be prepared when it comes to responding to emergencies. Most of the time our pets are healthy and happy, but when disaster strikes, it is necessary to know the basics. With a little preparation and know-how your actions can mean the difference between life and death for your cat or dog. Common emergencies encountered at home include fever, trauma (such as hit-by-a-car), and toxin exposure (such as chocolate or poisonous plant ingestion).

Check out the Situation

When an emergency arises or if you think that your pet might be ill, it is essential to take a deep breath and proceed calmly.  The more calm you are, the better you will be able to think. Also, remember to be safe. In any situation, especially one outdoors, be sure to move yourself and your pet to a safe location before assessing and calling the vet. If your pet is hit by a car, move him or her to a safe distance from the road and take care to not get bitten, using a t-shirt or towel as a ‘stretcher.’

It is important to also figure out what is going on. Key things to note: What happened?  Is your pet suddenly weak or has been feeling ‘off’ for a few days? Any vomiting, diarrhea? Coughing? Toxin exposure? This information, called a ‘history’ is very important to the veterinarian who will treat your pet.

The ABCs

They say that when you learn to read you must start with the ABCs. Emergency First Aid training starts the same way.  In this case, the ABCs stand for Airway, Breathing and Circulation.

A) Airway:

Look inside of the mouth, especially if your pet is drooling heavily or is coughing. Is the airway open or obstructed?  Sometimes chews such as rawhides can get lodged in the back of the throat, causing a choke. Many owners are able to remove the piece of rawhide at home before seeking medical assistance. Always take care to not get bitten!  If you suspect a choke, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

B) Breathing:

Take a deep breath and take a look: Is your pet breathing? How fast or how slowly?

Does the breathing seem normal or labored?

Some helpful data to commit to memory:

    • Normal Respiration (breathing) rate
      • 10-30 breaths per minute is average ‘normal’ for dogs and cats
      • Panting = up to 200 breaths per minute
      • Panting can be a sign of pain or respiratory distress
      • Panting is never normal in cats!

C) Circulation:

Is there a pulse or heartbeat present? The easiest way to check your pet’s heart rate is when they are lying on their right side.  Feel along the ribcage a couple of inches behind the elbow. This is where the heart is closest to the chest wall and if you press down gently with your fingers between the ribs, you can feel a heartbeat. If you are having trouble locating it on your pet, have your veterinarian show you where to check at your next visit.  It is important to note how fast the heart is beating per minute and ask, is the heart rate normal?

    • Normal heart rates
      • Dogs
        • Puppy under 1 year of age: 120-160 beats per minute
        • Adult under 30 pounds: 100-140 beats per minute
        • Greater than 30 pounds: 60-120 beats per minute
      • Cats
        • 140-220 beats per minute

Other good information to have before contacting your veterinarian includes your pet’s rectal temperature.  Pets with a fever or hyperthermia may be extremely lethargic. Fevers are natural processes but can be dangerous if they get too high or remain for too long.  A rectal temperature is necessary on all pets, even though they won’t like it!  Always take care when getting a rectal temperature and employ the help of someone else to prevent bites or scratches. The normal temperature range for dogs and cats is 100-102.5 F (37.7-39.1 C). If your pet’s temperature is below 99 F (37.2 C) or above 104 F (40 C), this is an emergency, please take your pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

Once you have quickly checked your pet’s ABCs, call the veterinarian. It is best to have someone help you during times of crisis, so phone a friend or enlist a family member to help. Having basic knowledge will help you determine what is normal and abnormal and when to act.  Your pet’s health depends on it and a little bit of know-how can go a long way and can potentially save a life.

View the latest World Pet News every week at PetPeoplesPlace.com.

Original Source: http://www.petpeoplesplace.com/resources/news/general/pet-first-aid-abcs.htm

The News on this page are provided by third party for your information only. EMMI is completely a part
from any good or bad statements and links are not in any way associate with EMMI and the Pet Chaplaincy.

The opinions expressed on these page:
News, Phrases and Advice are those of the individual authors and
do not reflect any official policy or statement by Eric Michel Ministries International. The usage is for
entertainment only unless otherwise specify for our members and it will be post in a communique as well,
newsletter and on our websites www.ericmichelministries.org and www.unitarian-chaplain.net
Pet and Animal News
Pet Adoption