Category Archives: Medical Advice

Aston Veterinary Hospital : Pet Blog: Signs of Pet Dental Disease

What are the signs of dental disease? As all pet owners know, our pet’s health is very important. What most pet owners don’t know is that dental health can greatly affect a pet’s overall health. Periodontal disease can result in gingivitis, missing or loose teeth and oral pain. Furthermore, the bacteria that contributes to dental disease can circulate in the bloodstream and cause microscopic damage to the heart, liver and kidneys, according to the Veterinary Oral Health Council® (VOHC).

Some common signs of dental disease are:
• Bad breath
• Broken/missing teeth
• Discolored teeth or tartar build up
• Abnormal chewing
• Excessive drooling
• Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
• Tenderness or bleeding around the mouth
• Shying away from the mouth being touched

Your pet’s teeth should be looked at by your veterinarian at least once a year. The most effective way you can help with your pet’s oral health at home is brushing his/her teeth. The brushing action, whether applied with a tooth brush or a soft medical gauze, disrupts the bacterial biofilm that leads to gum disease and tooth decay.

You can purchase pet tooth brushes and pet tooth pastes (do not use tooth paste meant for humans) at your local pet store or your veterinarian. Dental treats approved by the VOHC® can also be helpful for pets in good body weight. You can find a list of approved treats here: https://www.vohc.org/all_accepted_products.html

If you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s oral health, or you would like tips on how to brush your pet’s teeth, call us at (610) 494-5800.

Aston Veterinary Hospital : Pet Blog: National Pet Diabetes Month

November is National Pet Diabetes Month. Are your pets at risk? The likelihood of your cat or dog developing diabetes is anywhere between 1 in 100 and 1 in 500 and experts say those numbers are increasing. Diabetes mellitus, the clinical name for “sugar diabetes,” is a disease that affects glucose in your pet’s blood and is caused by a shortage of insulin or when the body can’t process insulin properly. Diabetes in dogs is usually type 1 while diabetes in cats is usually type 2 but can progress to type 1.

The food that your pet eats is broken down into small components that the body can use. One of the components, carbohydrates, is converted into sugar or glucose. If there is too little insulin or the insulin cannot be processed correctly, then the glucose is not able to enter the cells and provide energy. Because the cells cannot absorb glucose, a diabetic pet may always want to eat but still look malnourished.

If your pet exhibits the following symptoms, he or she may have diabetes:
-Excessive drinking or urination,
-increased appetite (early stages) or loss of appetite (late stages),
-weight loss,
-lethargy or weakness, and
-vomiting or other intestinal problems.

If your pet has these symptoms then let us or your veterinarian know so we can get started on creating a plan for your and your pet. Although diabetes is not curable, it can be managed with daily insulin injections and changes in diet (and exercise for dogs). Oral medications have shown to be not particularly helpful. Successful management of your pet’s diabetes means that he or she can live a happy and healthy life. Making sure that your pet is eating a proper diet, gets regular exercise, and maintains a healthy weight can be a big help in preventing diabetes.

For more information about pet diabetes, visit https://www.petdiabetesmonth.com.

Valentine’s Day Safety for Pets

Valentine’s Day is a great time to show your pets how much you love them, but be careful, may Valentine’s Day treats can contain hidden dangers to your pets.

For example, many chocolates contain the sweetener Xylitol. While Xylitol is safe for people, even small amounts can cause significant health problems for pets. Our recomemndation: you and your human loved ones should eat all of the Valentine’s Day chocolate yourselves!

Causes of Pet Periodontal Disease

Pet periodontal disease starts when bacteria form plaque on the teeth. Within days, minerals in the saliva bond with plaque to form tartar, a hard substance that adheres to the teeth. The bacteria work their way under the gums and cause gingivitis, which is an inflammation of the gums. These bacteria can then travel in the bloodstream to infect the heart, kidneys and liver.

Veterinary Blog | Aston Veterinary Hospital: National Pet Dental Health Month

Don’t turn your nose to Fido’s or Fluffy’s bad breath! That odor might signify a serious health risk, with the potential to damage not only your pet’s teeth and gums but its internal organs as well.

To address the significance of oral health care for pets, the AVMA and several veterinary groups are sponsoring National Pet Dental Health Month in February.

Starting in February we will be sharing information about how you can identify pet dental health problems and how you can proactively minimize the risk of them occurring. Stay tuned!

Virbac issues expanded recall for Iverhart Plus Flavored Chewables

While we don’t carry this product, we think it is very important to share this information in case anyone bought this product somewhere else.

Virbac has expanded its voluntary recall of Iverhart Plus Flavored Chewables following its initial recall notice in April 2013.

According to PetMD, additional specific lots of the heartworm preventive are being recalled because they might not fully protect dogs in the upper third of each weight range.

PetMD cited a letter distributed by Virbac saying that 14 lots of Iverhart Plus Flavored Chewables were below Ivermectin potency levels prior to their expiration. Another 17 lots are being recalled out of caution even though they remain within specification.

Virbac directs consumers who have questions about the recall to contact Virbac Technical Services at 1-800-338-3659, ext. 3052.

Please help us share this information.

To read more of the details, go to: https://www.aahanet.org/blog/NewStat/post/2013/08/22/925558/Virbac-issues-expanded-recall-for-Iverhart-Plus-Flavored-Chewables.aspx

Celebrate National Check the Microchip day in Delco!

Tomorrow, August 15th, is National Check the Chip day. The American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Animal Hospital Association have joined together to celebrate pets with microchips and to promote microchipping of pets that do not have them. Microchips are very small identification devices (slightly larger than a grain of rice) that contain vital information about your pet and you, the owner. It is permanently implanted under the skin, between the shoulder blades of dogs and cats and can be “read” through the skin by a microchip scanner. The scanner reveals a number which can be looked up in a database of owner’s names, phone numbers, addresses and other emergency contact information.

Microchips are crucial in helping lost animals find their way home. Most recently, microchips played a huge role in finding homes of dogs and cats affected by the tornadoes in Oklahoma. When lost or stray pets were presented to the local humane societies, doctors and staff scanned the animals and were able to look up owners’ information linked to the microchip number. Thousands of pets were reunited with their families.

For more information on microchips and registration, click on the following link: https://www.avma.org/Events/pethealth/Pages/Check-the-Chip-Day.aspx

Top 10 Most Common Dog Poisons

Last year, there were more than 100,000 cases of pet poisoning in the U.S (cats and dogs). Many of these were caused by substances you probably have in your home, substances that may seem perfectly harmless to you. But just because something is safe for people doesn’t mean it won’t hurt beloved pets.

  • Dog poison No. 1: Humane medications. Drugs that might be beneficial, or even life-saving, for people can have the opposite effect in pets. And it doesn’t always take a large dose to do major damage.
    Some of the most common and harmful medications that poison dogs include:

    • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, which can cause stomach and intestinal ulcers or kidney failure.
    • Anti-depressants, which may cause vomiting and, in more serious instances, serotonin syndrome – a dangerous condition that raises temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, and may cause seizures.
    • Isoniazid, a tuberculosis drug, is difficult for dogs to process. Even one tablet can cause problems in a small dog. Signs of poisoning include seizures and coma.
  • Dog poison No. 2: Incorrect use of Flea and tick products. You may think you’re doing your dog a favor when you apply products marketed to fight fleas and ticks, but thousands of animals are unintentionally poisoned by these products every year. Problems can occur if dogs accidentally ingest these products or if small dogs receive excessive amounts. If you have any specific question, please don’t hesitate to call.
  • Dog poison No. 3: People food. Your canine companion may look so cute as he sits there begging for a bite of your chocolate cake or a chip covered in guacamole, but not giving him what he wants could save his life. Animals have different metabolisms than people. Some foods and beverages that are perfectly safe for people can be dangerous, and sometimes fatal, for dogs.
    • Chocolate. Though not harmful to people, chocolate products contain substances called methylxanthines that can cause vomiting in small doses, and death if ingested in larger quantities. Darker chocolate contains more of these dangerous substances than do white or milk chocolate. The amount of chocolate that could result in death depends on the type of chocolate and the size of the dog. For smaller breeds, just half an ounce of baking chocolate can be fatal, while a larger dog might survive eating 4 to 8 ounces. Coffee and caffeine have similarly dangerous chemicals.
    • Alcohol. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning in animals are similar to those in people, and may include vomiting, breathing problems, coma and, in severe cases, death.
    • Avocado. You might think of them as healthy, but avocadoes have a substance called persin that can act as a dog poison, causing vomiting and diarrhea.
    • Macadamia nuts. Dogs may suffer from a series of symptoms, including weakness, overheating, and vomiting, after consumption of macadamia nuts.
    • Grapes and raisins. Experts aren’t sure why, but these fruits can induce kidney failure in dogs. Even a small number may cause problems in some dogs.
    • Xylitol. This sweetener is found in many products, including sugar-free gum and candy. It causes a rapid drop in blood sugar, resulting in weakness and seizures. Liver failure also has been reported in some dogs.
  • Dog poison No. 4: Rat and mouse poison. Rodenticides, if ingested by dogs, can cause severe problems. The symptoms depend on the nature of the poison, and signs may not start for several days after consumption. In some instances, the dog may have eaten the poisoned rodent, and not been directly exposed to the toxin.
  • Dog poison No. 5: Pet medications. Just as we can be sickened or killed by medications intended to help us, cases of pet poisoning by veterinary drugs are not uncommon. Some of the more commonly reported problem medications include painkillers and de-wormers.
  • Dog poison No. 6: Household plants. They may be pretty, but plants aren’t necessarily pet friendly. Some of the more toxic plants to dogs include:
    • Azaleas and rhododendrons. These pretty flowering plants contain toxins that may cause vomiting, diarrhea, coma, and potentially even death.
    • Tulips and daffodils. The bulbs of these plants may cause serious stomach problems, convulsions, and damage to the heart.
    • Sago palms. Eating just a few seeds may be enough to cause vomiting, seizures, and liver failure.
  • Dog poison No. 7: Chemical hazards. Not surprisingly, chemicals contained in antifreeze, paint thinner, and chemicals for pools can act as dog poison. The pet poisoning symptoms they may produce include stomach upset, depression, and chemical burns.
  • Dog poison No. 8: Household cleaners. Just as cleaners like bleach can poison people, they are also a leading cause of pet poisoning, resulting in stomach and respiratory tract problems.
  • Dog poison No. 9: Heavy metals. Lead, which may be in paint, linoleum, and batteries, can be poisonous if eaten by your dog, causing gastrointestinal and neurological problems. Zinc poisoning may occur in dogs that swallow pennies, producing symptoms of weakness from severe anemia.
  • Dog poison No. 10: Fertilizer. Products for your lawn and garden may be poisonous to pets that ingest them.