Monitoring Blood Sugar Levels in Dogs

Diabetes mellitus is a relatively common disease in dogs.  Determining the correct dose of insulin, monitoring a dog’s response to therapy, and adjusting that dose accordingly can be a difficult and time-consuming endeavor.  Recently, a team of researchers at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria, showed that a commercially available glucose monitoring system that is used in human diabetic patients can also be used in dogs.

The biggest benefit of this system is that a dog can undergo monitoring in their home environment where its appetite, stress levels, and exercise routines can remain unchanged.  All three of these factors can influence diabetic regulation.  The study, which was published in Veterinary Record, showed that even dogs that were believed to be well-regulated were not being treated optimally.

Using the GlucoDay continuous glucose level monitoring system may eventually prove to be a big step forward in the treatment of diabetic dogs. In the meantime, using a hand held glucose monitor for dogs and cats is still the best way to check a diabetic pet’s blood sugar levels at home.

How to Safely Switch your Dog’s Pain Medication

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) are a cornerstone in the treatment of canine pain. They can be used in cases of acute injury (i.e. trauma or post-operatively) and also for chronic conditions like osteoarthritis.  Many different prescription NSAIDs have been developed specifically for dogs.  These pet medications are much more effective and safer for canine use than are over-the-counter human medications like aspirin.

With so many choices, owners often wonder which NSAID is best for their dog. There is no one right answer to this question.  Some dogs respond better to one product versus another, but there is no way to determine which is best without trying several.  If your veterinarian prescribes a particular type of NSAID and your dog does well on it, there is no reason to make a change.  However, if you are not pleased with your dog’s response to one brand, you should try one or two more before coming to the conclusion that NSAIDs won’t work for your dog.

However, switching between types of canine NSAIDs can be dangerous when done incorrectly. To lower the risk of unwanted side-effects like gastrointestinal ulcers, the first drug needs to be eliminated from the body before the second drug is introduced.  This process can take around five days to be complete, so you should wait at least this long after stopping one type of NSAID before starting another and watch your dog closely for signs of gastrointestinal distress like vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite when starting the new drug.

If your dog requires pain-relief during the five day wash-out period, your veterinarian can prescribe an analgesic that is not an NSAID, like Tramadol.

Purchasing Pet Medications Online

It is human nature to search out the least expensive and simplest way to make a purchase.  That’s why internet shopping has become so popular, right? Purchasing discount pet meds online is a fantastic way for pet owners to save money.  But the old saying “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is” certainly can apply.  Let’s see how.

Some common pet medications are available without a prescription.  This is true for popular brands of flea and tick control, most nutritional supplements, dental care options, some forms of arthritis relief, and more.  In these cases, owners can purchase directly from the pharmacy without first contacting their veterinarian.  However, you should always tell your vet about any medication, prescription or not, that your pet is taking.

Prescription medications are another story.  Because of potential dangers to pet or human health if these medications are used incorrectly, a veterinarian must be involved BEFORE they are dispensed.  Common prescription pet medications include antibiotics, heartworm preventatives, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories.  If you ever run across an online pet pharmacy that offers to sell you a prescription medication without a prescription, run!  This is not a reputable company, and they are very likely cutting other corners that could endanger your pet’s health.

Obtaining a prescription and having it forwarded to an online pet pharmacy may seem inconvenient, but it is a simple way to make sure that your pet is getting the care and high quality medications that he or she deserves. Many online pet pharmacies, like VetDepot, make it easy for you to get the medication you need by contacting your veterinarian via fax, phone or email to obtain a prescription for your order. If your veterinarian chooses to provide you with the written prescription required for your order, you can fax, mail or scan and email your prescription to the pharmacy to fill your order. If you ever have any questions or require assistance, a reputable online pet pharmacy will have helpful customer support staff to help you.

 

New Survey Shows How Far Owners Will Go for Their Pets

A new survey done by the Kroger Company shows that about one in ten dog or cat owners would be willing to spend more than $3,000 on medical procedures if it meant that their pet’s life could be saved, and some pet owners would spend even more.  The majority of those polled (61%) said they would be willing to spend between $100 and $1,000 under the same circumstances.

The survey also asked owners what they fear most with regards to their pet’s well-being.  The top responses were:

Dogs

1. Cancer (27%)

2. Hip/Knee/Leg Injury (17%)

3. Getting hit by a car (16%)

Cats

1. Kidney Disease (19%)

2.) Cancer (17%)

3.) Injuries sustained in fights with other animals (10%)

Owners were also polled about their interest in pet insurance, which can cover accidents, illnesses, routine care and pet medications.  61% of dog owners and 48% of cat owners said they would consider purchasing pet insurance if it costs under $20 a month, and at least half of pet owners said they would be interested in adding their pets to their own health insurance plans if such a thing were possible.

What is Catnip?

Have you ever tried giving your cat catnip?  If so, what was their response? Statistics show that about 50% of cats seem to be affected by catnip and the behavior that results varies widely between individuals.

Here is some background.  Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is a perennial herb that is a member of the mint family. The chemical compound in the plant that attracts and affects cats is called nepetalactone, which is found in the plant’s leaves and stems.  When a cat sniffs nepetalactone, it can act as a stimulant. However, nepetalactone acts as a sedative if eaten.  Cats will frequently rub against or chew on catnip to bruise the leaves and stems, which then release more nepetalactone.

Catnip is safe for cats and cat toys infused with catnip like the Kong Wubba Cat Mouse can be a lot of fun for your feline friend, so why not give it a try?