Metacam for Longterm Relief of Pain

Our Westie is nearly 17 years old and suffers from a range of discomforts including toothache to arthritis. Our vet prescribed Metacam as a longterm solution. We used it before for a specific injury but never as a maintenance program. The other day we had, what we thought, was a setback in his pain meds, but turned out to be an unrelated issue. The point of this is that I called our vet and ask if our boy could have become resistant to Metacam and need a changed to another drug. We were advised that Metacam doesn’t lose its effectiveness over time unlike hydrocodone, et al. If you’re in a similar situation with your aging pet be sure to ask your vet about Metacam. It has literally change our boys life.

Thanks,

Steve Walker

Rescue Pet Supply

What is Corn Gluten Meal?

Corn gluten meal has been in the news lately. To help avoid confusion for those concerned with gluten in your pet’s diet, Corn gluten meal (CGM) is a byproduct of corn (maize) processing that has historically been used as an animal feed. It can also be used as an organic herbicide.

The word gluten here is inexact; there is no true gluten in corn, but simply corn proteins. The expression “corn gluten” is colloquial jargon that describes corn proteins that are neither gliadinnor glutenin. Only wheatbarley, and rye contain true gluten, which is formed by the interaction of gliadin and glutenin proteins.

Courtesy of Wikipedia.org

10 Common Poison Pills for Pets (Beware!)

About one-quarter of all phone calls to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) are about human medications. Your pet can easily ingest dropped pills or may be given harmful human medications by an unknowing owner, resulting in illness, or even death, of your pet.

The APCC provided us with the 10 most common human medication complaints they receive. Here they are, in order based on the number of complaints:

  1. Ibuprofen – Ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) is the most common human medication ingested by pets. Many brands have a sweet outer coating that makes it appealing to pets (think “M&M,” but a potentially deadly one). Ibuprofen can cause stomach ulcers and kidney failure.
  2. Tramadol – Tramadol (Ultram®) is a pain reliever. Your veterinarian may prescribe it for your pet, but only at a dose that’s appropriate for your pet – never give your medication to your pet without first consulting your veterinarian! Too much tramadol can cause sedation or agitation, wobbliness, disorientation, vomiting, tremors and possibly seizures.
  3. Alprazolam – Alprazolam (Xanax®) is prescribed as an anti-anxiety medication and a sleep-aid. Most pets that ingest alprazolam can become sleepy and wobbly; however a few will become very agitated instead. These pills are commonly ingested by pets as people put them out on the nightstand so they remember to take them. Large doses of alprazolam can drop the blood pressure and could cause weakness or collapse.
  4. Adderall® – Adderall® is a combination of four different amphetamines and is used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children. This medication doesn’t have the same effect in pets as it does in people; it acts as a stimulant in our pets and causes elevated heart rate and body temperature, along with hyperactivity, tremors and seizures.
  5. Zolpidem – Zolpidem (Ambien®) is a sleep-aid for people. Pets commonly eat pills left on the bedside table. Zolpidem may make cats wobbly and sleepy, but most pets become very agitated and develop elevated heart rates.
  6. Clonazepam – Clonazepam (Klonopin®) is used as an anticonvulsant and anti-anxiety medication. It is sometimes also prescribed as a sleep-aid. When animals ingest clonazepam they can become sleep and wobbly. Too much clonazepam can lower the blood pressure, leading to weakness or collapse.
  7. Acetaminophen – Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) is a very common pain killer found in most households. Cats are extremely sensitive to acetaminophen, but dogs can be affected too. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage. It can also cause damage to your pet’s red blood cells so that the cells are unable to carry oxygen – like your body, your pet’s body needs oxygen to survive.
  8. Naproxen – Naproxen (Aleve®, Naprosyn®) is an over-the-counter pain reliever. Dogs and cats are very sensitive to naproxen and even small amounts can cause stomach ulcers and kidney failure.
  9. Duloxetine – Duloxetine (Cymbalta®) is prescribed as an antidepressant and anti-anxiety agent. When ingested by pets it can cause agitation, vocalization, tremors and seizures.
  10. Venlafaxine – Venlafaxine (Effexor®) is an antidepressant. For some unknown reason, cats love to eat the capsules. Ingestion can cause agitation, vocalization, tremors and seizures.

As you can tell from this list, a medication that does one thing for people does not necessarily do the same for our pets. And although this may be the list of the medications about which the APCC receives the largest numbers of complaints, remember that any human medication could pose a risk to your pets – not just these 10.

You can keep your pets safe by following simple common sense guidelines:

  • Always keep human medications away from pets unless you are specifically instructed by a veterinarian to give the medication;
  • Do not leave pills sitting on counter or any place a pet can get to them;
  • Do not leave pill bottles within reach of pets (You’ll be surprised how fast your dog can chew through a pill bottle.);
  • If you’re taking medications out of the bottle and you drop any of it, pick it up immediately so you know your pet won’t be able to eat it;
  • Always contact your veterinarian if your pet has ingested any medication not prescribed for them;
  • Never give your medication (or any medications prescribed for a two-legged family member) to your pet without first consulting a veterinarian.

American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)

M. H. Archer, DVM
Loveland Veterinary House Call

Rory Walker – Rest in Peace

Rory Walker
2001 – 2016

Rory Walker

Rory, our beloved Westie, went peacefully yesterday. He finally lost the battle with heart and lung disease. He was such a pitiful thing when we met him twelve years ago, but he grew into a great personality and a real comedian. He lost much of that over the past year as his health began failing, but was still the sweetest little boy ever.

Five Common Myths About Heartworm Disease in Pets

It’s that time of year again when we tend to think and talk about heartworm disease with our clients.  There is always misconception and confusion around this topic so let’s dig in.  Heartworm is a parasite that lives in the heart and blood stream.  Heartworm disease is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito.  Once the mosquito bites and the larva is in the dog’s bloodstream it takes it approximately 6 months to go through is various life stages to become an adult in the right chambers of the heart.  Imagine angel hair pasta inside your heart.  That makes it difficult for your heart to work over time and will eventually cause heart failure and other related diseases.  The hard thing is that sometimes heartworm infections don’t cause any symptoms other than sudden death.  The symptoms will sometimes show up before this happens thankfully and coughing is usually the first sign.  You may or may not see signs of fatigue, exercise intolerance, or collapse.

Myth #1:  Clients are always telling me that their dog does not have heartworm because they don’t see it in the stool, well you shouldn’t.  It does not live there; it is not an intestinal parasite, it is a blood parasite.

Myth #2:  The next thing clients tell me is that their dog does not live outside so it’s not at risk, wrong!  I hope your dog is going outside at least to go to the bathroom and hopefully for walks.  Also mosquitos do come inside our houses so all animals are at risk.  Indoor cats actually have a higher incidence of heartworm infections.

Myth #3:  My dog only needs to be on heartworm prevention for 6 months – well maybe, it depends on where you live but for the most part (and definitely in Colorado) they need to be on prevention all year round.  With our volatile weather all over the country nowadays it is possible for a mosquito to bite and infect your animal in those 6 months that you think you are safe because it’s “cold” out.  A random fact that I recently learned was that one mosquito can bite your pet 80 times in a single evening.

Myth #4:  My dog does not need to be tested yearly – yes they do and it is important for a number of reasons.  Just like all parasite medications, there are heartworms that have developed a resistance to the prevention.  If your dog is the unlucky dog to get one of these infections, we need to know about it so it can be addressed.  Your dog could have vomited up the medication without you knowing it and was not covered for a month.  User error also comes into play – a large amount of people forget to give it and may skip a month or two so that naturally makes them vulnerable.

Myth #5:  Cats do not get heartworm disease – false.  Cats do get heartworm disease just not as easily as dogs because they are not a normal host.  When cat’s get the disease from a mosquito it is hard to know because they may not show any signs.  They usually do not have as large of a worm burden as dogs and may only have 1 worm in their heart.  The test for cats is not as straight forward as it is for dogs because of this.

So the moral of the story – make sure your pet is on heartworm prevention all year round and test each year too.  This will save you much headache and money because treating a heartworm infection is expensive, has risk, and takes time and many tests to get rid of.  This is a very simplified explanation of heartworm disease so as always, consult your veterinarian with any questions or concerns you may have for your specific pet.

M. H. Archer, DVM
Loveland Veterinary House Call