Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

Prescription Safety: What You Need to Protect Your Pet

What’s our prescription for your pet’s health? Staying up-to-date and aware of your pet’s health needs. We know your pet’s health is your number-one priority, but sometimes pet parents can be become busy or misread a symptom and make a decision that isn’t safe for their pets. When it comes to pet prescriptions there are some common mistakes we see pet parents make when faced with a sick companion animal.

The 3 Most Common Pet Medication Mistakes

When your pet feels under the weather, you probably jump into action, but are you effectively treating your pet? Here are the most common missteps pet parents make which can result in greater risk for their pets.
 

1. Self-diagnosing a pet using the internet

 
While resources like WebMD for Pets or PetMD are often veterinary-approved and written  resources, it's important to not jump to conclusions. Only a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine can truly diagnose your individual pet. These resources are a good place to start, and then continue with the conversation with a veterinarian who knows your pet's medical background.
 

2. Treating a pet without consulting a vet

 
There are some great over-the-counter and holistic treatments for some pet ailments. But using these without consulting a veterinarian can be dangerous or life-threatening. Often OTC medicines have lower doses of the active ingredients found in prescription medicines, making them less effective in smaller doses, but dangerous when a pet receives multiple doses or is exposed to the active ingredients long-term.
 
If you have questions about OTC treatments or a holistic method, please make an appointment to discuss it with us, first. We’re happy to advise you on what’s best for your pet’s unique health needs.
 

3. Using expired medicines, an expired prescription, or a prescription written for another pet

 
  • Expired medicines are dangerous because their ingredients degrade over time. 
  • Expired prescriptions can be less effective or dangerous for pets because as your pet ages, she may gain weight or her health status may change. Each prescription we write takes into account your pet’s most current health needs.
  • Using a prescription not prescribed for your pet is extremely dangerous. When deciding the best treatment for your pet we take into account your pet’s age, weight, breed, individual health history, and specific health needs. Using a prescription not tailored to a pet can result in severe health complications and even death.

Why You Should Always Fill Your Pet’s Rx from Veterinarian or Veterinarian Approved Online Store

We understand that when your pet is sick, you want them to feel better as quickly as possible, but it’s never worth the risk to use a medicine not prescribed for your pet or buy prescription medicines from a pharmacy or website that isn’t certified. 
 
Consulting with us takes the guesswork out of treating your pet and will give you peace of mind. We stay up-to-date with the latest studies in pet health, and we have decades of experience so we can tailor your pet’s treatment to his or her needs.

Other Considerations When It Comes to Your Pet’s Medicine
 
Veterinarians and veterinary approved pharmacies take precautions to store and ship prescription medicines in safe conditions. Maintaining shelf-stable conditions includes ensuring the medicine is kept at the proper temperature and verifying that packaging remains intact so medicine isn’t exposed to the elements and doesn’t break down or spoil.
 
As your veterinarian, we know your pet's medical history, and are happy to answer any questions you may have about your pet’s prescription.
 

We Care About Your Pet’s Health
 
We want your pet to live a long, happy, healthy life. From anxiety medications, to flea and tick prevention, we can find the best methods to treat your pet.
 
Let’s work together to keep your cat purring, your dog’s tail wagging, and your rabbit snuggle-ready. No symptom is too small to ask about - we can answer your questions about OTC and prescription medicines and help you keep your pet comfortable for years to come. 
 
If it’s time for a prescription refill or your pet’s annual exam, give us a call at 651.770.3250 or make an appointment using our pet portal
 
 
 Image credit: Anchiy | iStock | Getty Images Plus

Protecting your Pet’s Heart: What You Need to Know About Pet Heart Disease

We love our pets with all of our hearts, and they love us back equally. As a pet parent, you want to do everything you can to protect your best friend, and we want to help you do just that. We believe the first step in protecting pets is educating their parents, which is why we want you to know the facts when it comes to your pet’s heart health.
 
Did you know that heart disease in pets is almost as common as heart disease in humans? That’s right - pets, large and small, can develop heart complications and heart disease. From Great Danes to Chihuahuas, tabbies to Siamese cats, ferrets to rabbits, all creatures are at risk of developing heart problems.
 
The first question every pet parent wants to know: is heart disease fatal? The heartbreaking answer is yes, when left untreated for too long. Once a pet reaches the point of congestive heart failure, there is no cure or treatment.
 
Before you panic, keep reading to learn what you need to know to protect your pet from suffering the complications associated with heart disease.

Heart Disease and Dogs

 
Heart disease is a pretty common problem for our canine companions. Ultimately, about 10% of dogs experience heart disease.  Unlike the heart problems people face, the range of heart diseases and risk factors for dogs differs greatly.

The Most Prevalent Canine Heart Disease: Valvular Disease
 
Valvular disease may seem like a mouthful to say, but it’s pretty straightforward in its effect. 75% of dog heart disease we see is heart valve-related. 

What is Valvular Disease?
 
If you recall your middle school years and learning about how the human heart functions, you already have a good idea of how your dog’s heart operates:
 
Blood flows into the chambers, and the heart uses valves to stop the blood for a moment to re-oxygenate the blood before the thump and beat of the muscles pushes the blood out and around the body. The heart’s valves also keep the blood flowing in the right direction. 
 
Valvular failure occurs when these valves wear and change in shape. The seal they form isn’t as tight as it needs to be, and a tiny bit of blood leaks in the wrong direction with each pump. 
 
Over time, the heart has to compensate for the lack of efficiency by enlarging to push enough blood through the body. Eventually, the heart cannot keep up: the muscles wear out, the walls of the heart become thin and stretched, and the heart fails.

What Dogs Are At Higher Risk for Valvular Disease?
 
This disease is most frequently seen in the smallest dog breeds. It can be found in medium and large dogs, as well, but is much more prevalent in small dogs.

Other Deadly Heart Diseases in Dogs
One fact that will always be disappointing to us is that the second most common heart disease affecting dogs is completely preventable. Heartworm disease accounts for 13% of cases of canine heart disease. All it takes is a simple appointment and a prescription for heartworm prevention to ensure your dog is protected against this one.
 
Other canine heart diseases include myocardial disease and dilated cardiomyopathy. Dilated cardiomyopathy primarily affects large breed dogs. 

How Are Grain-Free Dog Diets Related to Heart Disease?
One question that keeps popping up from dog owners is: Why do I keep reading in the news that grain-free diets are linked to heart disease? As of right now, there is no conclusive evidence that a grain-free diet causes heart problems for dogs but there has been an increase in heart complications in low-risk dogs that eat strict grain-free diets, so the FDA is studying the issue.  Given the FDA concern, our doctors no longer recommend feeding a grain free diet unless specifically recommended for a health reason.
 
If you are worried about your dog’s diet, we can answer any questions you may have.

Heart Disease and Cats

 
Nine lives or not, you want to keep your cat’s heart in optimal condition! Like dogs, about 10% of cats will develop heart disease.
 
The causes of cat heart disease can vary. Some cats are born with malformations in their heart valves while others develop heart irregularities over the course of their lives. Like dogs, cat heart valves can wear out over time. They can also experience heart murmurs along with tears in their heart valves, walls, and arteries.  While it is not endemic to felines, cats can also contract heartworms.  
 
When left undiagnosed and untreated, heart disease will result in heart failure which is fatal for cats as well.

Heart Disease and Other Pets

 
As you’re probably aware, we see all types of companion animals: from birds to hedgehogs, turtles, and ferrets! We believe all animals deserve protection and the best care. We tailor our exams to make sure all pets’ hearts are in good health. Heart health is imperative to your pet’s longevity. If you have an exotic pet, we have the expertise needed for their special hearts, too!

Symptoms and Warnings of Pet Heart Disease

 
The key to treating heart disease before it transitions to heart failure is an early diagnosis. Unfortunately, the first stages of pet heart disease are often symptom-less. As the heart slowly enlarges, it is able to supply enough oxygen to the body; it’s not until the heart can no longer compensate that symptoms appear.
 
As heart disease progresses, pets then begin to show signs such as trouble catching their breath, weight loss, lethargy, coughing, and bloating. When these signs appear, it’s often too late.
 
Annual exams are the best way to catch heart complications early on. We can listen to your pet’s heart and explore deeper if needed. 
 
If it’s time to check your pet’s heart health or set up an annual exam, give us a call at 651.770.3250 or use our appointment portal to request your pet's visit to see us.
 
 
 Image credit: humonia | iStock | Getty Images Plus

8 Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe During Summer Heat

Summer: the kids are out of school, the ice creams trucks chime as they drift through our neighborhoods, and our beloved pets are excited to enjoy some summertime adventures. While we can’t wait to hear about all the expeditions you emBARK upon, we also want to share some unbeatable tips to help you and your pet beat the heat this summer!

1. Save Your Walks and Exercise for Mornings and Evenings

One easy way to keep your cat or dog safe in the summer heat is to keep them indoors during the hottest times of the day. Walking your dog when the sun is still low or ready to set will help you sweat less and keep your dog cool as she burns off her extra energy. Be especially mindful of our flat-nosed pup friends, i.e. pugs, bulldogs. They can sometimes struggle to breathe in the heat. 

2. Watch for Signs of Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke

In many ways, dogs are like kids: they never say “no” to a treat, they are always up for an adventure, and they never seem to tire out when they’re having fun. The last one is especially true and one reason we end up treating many dogs during the summer for heatstroke and heat exhaustion. 
 
When your dog is having fun, she doesn’t know to slow down as she gets too hot, which makes watching for signs of overheating even more important.
 
Heatstroke can do permanent damage and even be fatal.

Signs of Heatstroke (in Dogs and Cats)
 
  • Pale or bright red gums
  • A vividly red tongue
  • Fast panting that doesn’t slow down
  • Trouble breathing
  • Lethargy or reluctance to play
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle tremors and shaking
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizure
  • Stumbling or falling over
  • Lack of urination
  • Confusion
  • Coma
If you think your dog is experiencing heatstroke, you will want to dowse her in cool or room temperature water (not freezing cold water--this will send her into shock). Then call us and bring her in immediately. 

3. Provide Plenty of Fresh Water for Your Pets
 
If your dog or cat is planning on lounging in the backyard or on the patio, make sure she has access to clean, fresh, cool water. Keeping hydrated during summer will help your pet better manage the heat.
 
Did you know that dogs and cats pant to cool off? Panting leads to water evaporating off their tongues which cools them off. They also lie on cool surfaces to transfer their heat away from their bodies.
 
If you’re planning a long walk or hike, bring bottled water. While it’s a blast for dogs to splash in the lake, you don’t want your dog to drink too much lake water. 

4. Don’t Let Your Pup or Cat Burn Their Precious Paws
 
Dogs’ and cats’ toes are especially vulnerable since they don’t have fur to protect them from hot surfaces. To protect your pets’ paws, always check the temperature of the pavement or walking surface before letting them walk on it.
 
If a surface is too hot for you to leave your hand on for more than a few seconds, it’s unsafe for your pet to walk on.
 
Pay careful attention to asphalt and false grass. These can reach temperatures of 160-degrees!

5. Create a Shady Oasis in Your Yard
 
Want to invest in a baby pool just for your dog? Great! Whether you’re ready to install a wading pool for your pup, or not, at least provide plenty of shade for them to relax in.
 
Dogs and cats enjoy the mental stimulation of the backyard and a shady refuge will help keep the sun off them. You can even use a beach umbrella!

6. Make Your Dog a Pup-cicle
 
Create frozen treats to help your dog cool off after long walks. Frozen peanut butter (xylitol-free, of course!) or frozen yogurt work really well. Add some blueberries to make them extra delectable.
 
For obvious reasons, we don’t have any appetizing cat popsicle recipes. ; )

7. Protect Your Pet from Sunburn
 
If you are worried about your dog getting sunburned, you can use a pet safe zinc-free sunblock on her nose and thin areas of fur. Zinc-free sunblocks are usually the best. 

8. Never, Ever Leave Your Pet in the Car
 
Temperatures can quickly escalate to over 110 degrees in your car - and this is just at temperatures are 70 degrees outside. Higher temperatures can quickly soar to 135+ degrees. Cracking windows simply is not sufficient enough to protect your pet. Please leave them at home - they'll be cooler, AND safer.
 
We hope you create some unbeatable memories with your best friend this summer!
 
 
 
Image credit: vvvita | iStock | Getty Images Plus

After-Hours Emergencies

After Hours Veterinary Care
1014 Dale Street North
St. Paul, MN 55117
(Inside Como Park Animal Hospital just north of downtown St. Paul)
24-hour care for multiple species
651-487-3255

Animal Emergency & Referral Center of MN
1163 Helmo Avenue N
Oakdale, MN 55128
651-501-3766

 

Animal Emergency & Referral Center of MN
1542 7th St. W.
St. Paul, MN 55012
(located 2 blocks east of 35E)
651-293-1800