Dogs

WHAT DOG FOODS DO YOU RECOMMEND?

Buying food for your dog can be confusing. To help our clients narrow the choices, we have compiled a list of our top ten recommended foods. There are certainly good diets that have not made it to our list, so if you have any questions about a specific food, feel free to ask us. This list was updated in January 2013:

Nutro, Royal Canin, Eukanuba, Avoderm, California Naturals, Pinnacle, Hill’s Nature’s Best, Hill’s Ideal Balance, Iams Premium Protection Plus, Purina One, Purina ProPlan, and Active Care Healthy Joints.

WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN A HEALTHY DOG FOOD?

  • Look for a food designed for your dog’s life stage, ie. Puppy, large breed, adult, senior.
  • Avoid “all life stages” diets as these often have excessive nutrients that are not adequately metabolized.
  • Look for foods that have an AAFCO label, preferably a feeding trial. Look for this statement, “Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that (name of product) provides complete and balanced nutrition.” There is a lesser certification, which is better than no certification that states, “(Name of product) is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles.”
  • Diets should contain no more than two protein sources, and the same two protein sources should be used when a diet changes is made. If your pet develops a sensitivity to food in the future, this will make it easier to find a protein source to which your pet has never been exposed.
  • Avoid sugar, artificial colors, BHA or BHT, ethoxyquin or “middlings.”
  • Use a company that has a board certified veterinary nutritionist on staff (DACVN).

WHAT IS THE VACCINATION SCHEDULE FOR DOGS?

  • Distemper/Parvovirus: 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age, then every three years.
  • Rabies: 16 weeks of age, one year later, then every three years.
  • Bordetella: Annually in dogs being boarded and groomed. Please note, some boarding facilities require Bordetella vaccination every six months. Be sure to understand your boarding facility’s requirements to avoid last minute frustration.
  • Canine Influenza Virus: Annually in dogs being boarded and groomed. Initial series of two vaccinations 2-4 weeks apart.
  • Leptospirosis Vaccine: Annual vaccination.  This is a bacterial (spirochete) disease spread in the urine of wildlife and can affect urban dogs as well as those visiting the mountains.  . Initial series of two vaccinations 2-4 weeks apart.

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WHAT ARE COMMON CANINE CONDITIONS THAT I SHOULD BE AWARE OF?

Dental Disease

Dental disease is one of the most common problems facing dogs. Up to 80% of adult dogs have some form of dental disease, which in turn can seed infections throughout the body. Dental disease is associated with a bad mouth odor, brown to black staining on the teeth, and red gums. Since dental disease can be a cause of severe pain, it is highly recommended that dogs received annual wellness examinations to have their teeth evaluated. When dental disease is present, a thorough dental cleaning, polishing, and dental radiographs are needed. Remember, bad breath is not normal. 

Kidney Disease

Especially in dogs over nine years of age we can see kidney disease. At home you may notice that your dog drinks more and needs to go outside to urinate more often. She may have a decreased appetite, and weight loss is common. This disease holds a much better prognosis if it is diagnosed and treated early, often with a special diet. Simple blood tests and a urinalysis will reveal kidney problems.

Hypothyroidism

If dogs have a thyroid problem, their thyroid glands tend to be under active instead of hyperactive (as in cats). Signs of low thyroid function may include any of the following: decreased energy, snoring, a poor hair coat or hair loss, weight gain, the desire to be around heat and to avoid cold, and when advanced we can see breathing and walking problems. A blood test will reveal your dog’s thyroid level, and then we can assess if this level is normal for your dog or if it represents an illness. Treatment is typically administration of an oral medication once or twice a day.

Cancer

Unfortunately, cancer is relatively common in dogs. There is a much higher incidence of cancer in older dogs, although it is often diagnosed in dogs under two years of age. Many cancers can be cured with surgery, some with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and some need a combination of treatments. Common sites for cancer in dogs include skin, lymph nodes, bones, and spleen. If you find a new lump or bump on your pet, sampling of the growth can often be done in our office to help determine if the growth is a benign fatty deposit versus something that requires further treatment. Annual exams (and bi-annual exams for seniors) along with routine lab work are important. Our veterinarians are trained to check for abnormally sized organs (liver, spleen, lymph node) as part of their physical examination. Radiographs and ultrasound is also available for clients that would like to pursue more in depth health screenings for their pets.

Heart Disease

Dogs can suffer from many heart conditions, the most common of which is called mitral regurgitation. This occurs especially in small breed, older dogs, and is due to a valve in the left side of the heart that no longer forms a seal when the heart contracts. The resultant turbulent blood flow produces a murmur which can be heard when a stethoscope is placed on the chest. The treatment for this condition depends on how advanced the secondary heart changes are, which can be assessed with an ultrasound and radiographs. There are many other heart problems that occur in dogs, which can be properly diagnosed by an ultrasound with a cardiologist. If one of our doctors hears an abnormal heart sound during an exam, she will help talk to you about options and the next steps you may take to identify the cause of the abnormal sound and determine if treatment is recommended.

Diabetes

Dogs also suffer from diabetes. Owners usually present their pets with a history of drinking excessively and urinating a lot. These dogs vary from having no appetite to being very hungry. Again, a simple blood test and a urinalysis will enable a diagnosis. Treatment in dogs requires insulin shots administered by owners, which most dogs tolerate very well.

Obesity

Up to 40% of all dogs are overweight or obese. Being overweight increases your dog’s chances of developing diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and more. We can help to determine your dog’s optimal weight, and if they are above this weight, we can help design a nutritional regimen for an effective weight loss program. For more information on weight management, here are some good online resources: www.petobesityprevention.com, Purina’s body condition score chart for dogs. 

Arthritis

Canine arthritis, also known as osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease, is characterized by pain and inflammation in a dog’s joints. Arthritis is caused by the breaking down of smooth cartilage that covers and protects the bones that form a joint. Once the bones are exposed, painful wear and tear can occur.

Dogs who have canine arthritis may:

  • Walk stiffly
  • Limp or favor certain limbs
  • Show stiffness or discomfort when getting up from a lying-down position
  • Display lameness in certain limbs
  • Appear to have stiff, swollen or sore joints
  • Seem to experience pain when touched in certain areas
  • Seem to find certain positions uncomfortable or painful
  • Suffer loss of flexibility in their joints
  • Be hesitant to jump, run or climb stairs

Allergies

Just like people, dogs can show allergic symptoms when their immune systems begin to recognize certain everyday substances—or allergens— as dangerous. Even though these allergens are common in most environments and harmless to most animals, a dog with allergies will have an extreme reaction to them. Allergens can be problematic when inhaled, ingested or contact a dog’s skin. As the body tries to rid itself of these substances, a variety of skin, digestive and respiratory symptoms may appear.

  • Itchy, red, moist or scabbed skin
  • Increased scratching
  • Itchy, runny eyes
  • Itchy back or base of tail (most commonly flea allergy)
  • Itchy ears and ear infections
  • Sneezing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Snoring caused by an inflamed throat
  • Paw chewing/swollen paws
  • Constant licking

WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON ANESTHESIA-FREE DENTISTRY OR NON-PROFESSIONAL DENTAL SCALING?

Our opinion on this “service” aligns with the America Veterinary Dental College’s position that NPDS is inappropriate for a variety of reasons and actually does more harm that no treatment at all. The only safe way to do a thorough dental examination and provide therapeutically beneficial dental treatment is with the animal under a surgical plane of general anesthesia with a properly fitted, cuffed endotracheal tube in place. You can read more here:

ACVD

AAHA

Cats

WHAT CAT FOODS DO YOU RECOMMEND?

Buying food for your cat can be confusing. To help our clients narrow the choices, we have compiled a list of our top ten recommended foods. There are certainly good diets that have not made it to our list, so if you have any questions about a specific food, feel free to ask us. This list was updated in January 2013:

Nutro, Royal Canin, Eukanuba, Avoderm, California Naturals, Pinnacle, Hill’s Nature’s Best, Hill’s Ideal Balance, Iams Premium Protection Plus, Purina One and Purina ProPlan.

WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN A HEALTHY CAT FOOD?

  • Look for a food designed for your cat’s life stage, ie. Kitten, adult, senior.
  • Avoid “all life stages” diets as these often have excessive nutrients that are not adequately metabolized.
  • Look for foods that have an AAFCO label, preferably a feeding trial. Look for this statement, “Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that (name of product) provides complete and balanced nutrition.” There is a lesser certification, which is better than no certification that states, “(Name of product) is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles.”
  • Diets should contain no more than two protein sources, and the same two protein sources should be used when a diet changes is made. If your pet develops a sensitivity to food in the future, this will make it easier to find a protein source to which your pet has never been exposed.
  • Avoid sugar, artificial colors, BHA or BHT, ethoxyquin or “middlings.”
  • Use a company that has a board certified veterinary nutritionist on staff (DACVN).

WHAT IS THE VACCINATION SCHEDULE FOR CATS?

The vaccines commonly available are those that protect against rabies, feline leukemia virus, and feline “distemper” (a combination of upper respiratory diseases.

FVRCP AKA Feline Distemper: Given at 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age, one year later, then every three years.

  • Rabies: 16 weeks of age, one year later, then every three years.
  • Leukemia: Given at 9 weeks of age or older, then every other year to cats who are exposed to other cats.  (i.e. pets that go outside).  Initial series of 2 vaccines required.  FIV/FeLV testing strongly recommended prior to vaccination.

 

NO OTHER VACCINES ARE RECOMMENDED FOR CATS.

WHAT ARE COMMON FELINE CONDITIONS THAT I SHOULD BE AWARE OF?

Dental Disease

Infection of the teeth and gums affects more than 80 percent of all adult cats. Poor oral health can decrease your cat’s life expectancy. In addition, loose teeth, swollen gums, and cervical neck lesions, also known as resorptive lesions, hurt! Dental scaling and polishing under anesthesia, with full mouth radiographs to help identify disease hiding under the gums is used to treat and fight periodontal disease in cats.

 

Obesity

An estimated 40% of all cats are overweight or obese. The average cat weighs only eight to ten pounds and needs around 200 calories per day. Being overweight increases your cat’s chances of developing diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and more. We will calculate your cat’s optimal weight and design a nutritional regimen to suit your cat’s lifestyle. For more information on weight management, here are some good online resources:  www.petobesityprevention.com,http://indoorpet.osu.edu/cats/, Purina’s body condition score chart for cats.

 

Diabetes

Cats frequently develop diabetes. Signs include drinking more water and urinating more often, losing weight, a dull hair coat, and unusual gait and vomiting. We use blood and urine tests that detect high “blood sugar” or glucose levels to diagnose diabetes. In most cases, treatment may involve dietary management +/- insulin injections. Left untreated, diabetes progresses quickly and often causes irreversible organ damage that can be life threatening.

 

Hyperthyroidism

This condition, caused by an overactive thyroid gland, is increasing in North America and can only be diagnosed through blood tests. Hyperthyroidism often causes irreversible heart, liver, and kidney damage, so early detection is critical. Cats that lose weight despite a normal to increased appetite, experience chronic vomiting or diarrhea, have increased thirst and/ or urination, experience difficulty breathing, or have a dry, dull hair coat should be tested for thyroid disease. Several safe and effective treatments are available.

 

Kidney Disease

This disease is one of the leading causes of death in cats. If it’s detected early through blood and urine tests, we often can prolong life expectancy and maintain a high quality of life. Treatment varies from dietary changes to home fluid therapy.

 

Cancer

Cats get many of the same cancers as humans, and frequent physical exams and diagnostic tests help detect cancer before it’s too late for treatment. Many cancers can be cured with surgery, some with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and some need a combination of treatments. Common sites for cancer in cats include skin, lymph nodes, liver, and spleen. Annual exams (and bi-annual exams for seniors) along with routine lab work are important. Our veterinarians are trained to check for abnormally sized organs as part of their physical examination. Radiographs and ultrasound is also available for clients that would like to pursue more in depth health screenings for their pets.

 

Heart Disease

Cats can develop several types of heart disease. Unlike dogs, cats do not always get a murmur, or abnormal heart sound detectable on physical exam, to indicate they have heart disease. Signs include may include any of the following: difficulty breathing, coughing, vomiting, or weight loss. Physical exams, heart and lung radiographs, and EKGs help detect heart disease early. There is also a heart enzyme test (cardiopet pro BNP) that can help detect some types of heart disease. Your veterinarian can help determine which tests are appropriate for your pet. An echocardiogram, or an ultrasound of the heart as performed by a veterinary cardiologist is the gold standard for identifying heart disease. Depending on the disease, there may be medications available that can be given to slow the progression of heart disease and improve a cat’s quality of life.

CAN I CARE FOR MY CAT’S TEETH AT HOME?

Information on home dental care options as well as what is involved in veterinary treatment while under anesthesia can be found at: www.vohc.org and www.oralatp.com.

WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON ANESTHESIA-FREE DENTISTRY OR NON-PROFESSIONAL DENTAL SCALING?

Our opinion on this “service” aligns with the America Veterinary Dental College’s position that NPDS is inappropriate for a variety of reasons and actually does more harm that no treatment at all. The only safe way to do a thorough dental examination and provide therapeutically beneficial dental treatment is with the animal under a surgical plane of general anesthesia with a properly fitted, cuffed endotracheal tube in place. You can read more here:

ACVD Anesthesia

AAHA Anesthesia

DO YOU DECLAW CATS?

Tender Touch Animal Hospital believes that a responsible pet owner will provide for the physical, behavioral, and psychological needs of a pet for its lifetime. We further believe that although there may be some natural characteristics and behaviors of some pet animals that can be disruptive, inconvenient, or even destructive, a responsible pet owner will adjust to these natural characteristics and behaviors and will socialize and train his or her pet so as to maintain a comfortable relationship that is beneficial to the pet and the pet owner. The claws of a domestic cat serve a very useful purpose for the animal.

 

Tender Touch Animal Hospital believes that a declawed cat has been deprived of its normal defense mechanism and is left without protection. Declawing operations for non-medical purposes are performed solely for the convenience of the pet owner. In addition, the surgical procedure of declawing a cat is not a minor procedure. The cat experiences pain in the recovery and healing period following surgery, and complications related to the surgery are not rare. Consequently, Tender Touch Animal Hospital does not condone the declawing of cats for non-medical reasons.

 

Therefore, Tender Touch Animal Hospital will:

 

  1. Seek to educate the general public about the issue of declawing;

 

  1. Refuse to adopt a “clawed” cat to any person who intends to have the animal declawed;

 

  1. Refuse to perform declawing surgeries in its hospitals for non-medical reasons; and

 

  1. Consult with and offer suggestions to cat owners who are experiencing problems with cats that have become destructive with their claws.

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  • I wanted to tell you guys thank you for always caring so much about my cats. And for recommending I give my little girl fish oil to help her dry skin. She's always had dry skin problems on her belly and after two months of fish oil on her food she is as smooth and soft as can be! I highly recommend for all Colorado animals! Thanks again!—Stephanie M.
  • I would never go anywhere else. These people are amazing and make you feel so comfortable. And they love their job cause you can tell when they handle your babies.—Edmond M.
  • Our 9 week old puppy got into something right before we brought her home. We were either at Tender Touch or talking on the phone with their amazing doctors every day for two weeks. She is a happy and healthy 8 mo. old thanks to everyone at TTAH. I highly highly recommend them!—Janie G.
  • Love, Love, Love Tender Touch. They saved my Maine Coon Cat, Smuckers, life after she was attacked by a dog. They are very good and I would always recommend them!—Thomas S.