Pain Relief for Cats

Cats are physiologically different than dogs.  Because of this, they are more prone to developing potentially life threatening side-effects from the most common class of pain relievers used in dogs –NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories). This makes keeping cats comfortable in the face of both acute (i.e. post-surgical or traumatic injury) and chronic (i.e. osteoarthritis) pain challenging.

When cats are hospitalized, veterinarians have a wide range of options to choose from regarding pain medication. But once a cat is scheduled to go home, the choices become more limited.  Below are a few of the more commonly used pain relievers for cats commonly available from retailers like http://www.vetdepot.com.  Many are also good options for dogs.

  • Buprenorphine – good  for acute and chronic pain but can get expensive with long-term use
  • Tramadol  – good  for acute and chronic pain
  • gabapentin – good for chronic pain
  • amantadine – good for chronic pain
  • Joint Supplements – good for chronic pain associated with osteoarthritis and possibly some other conditions
  • Metacam (meloxicam) – this is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory that has been used in cats, but repeated use increases the risk of side effects.  It may still be an option for some individuals.

If you think your pet is in pain, talk to your veterinarian and ask if any of the aforementioned pet medications might be appropriate.

 

Top Ten Reasons to Vaccinate your Pet

Vaccination has become a hot topic in human and veterinary medicine these days. Choosing which diseases to vaccinate against should be an informed decision owners make with the advice of their veterinarian. Your pet’s health, lifestyle and geographic region may affect which vaccinations are deemed necessary. However, there are many good reasons in favor of vaccinating your pet:

1.)   It’s the Law: It’s mandatory to have your pet vaccinated against rabies in every U.S. state. Even pets kept indoors can potentially be exposed if they get out unexpectedly or an uninvited animal gets in the house (i.e. bats).

2.)   Your Health: Several diseases can be transmitted from pets to humans such as Rabies and Leptospirosis. Vaccinating your pet helps reduce the risk of human infection and is especially necessary if there are young, elderly or immuno-compromised members in your household.

3.)   Boarding and Doggy Daycare: If you ever plan on boarding your dog or dropping them off at doggy daycare, they must have an updated Bordatella vaccination. This vaccine protects against kennel cough, which is highly contagious among dogs. Although kennel cough is usually mild, it can sometimes lead to severe pneumonia.

4.)   Risk of Lyme Disease: Lyme disease is an insidious disease spread by ticks. Lyme disease can cause low blood platelet count, joint disease and pain.

5.)   Risk of Leptospirosis: Bacterial organisms in wildlife cause Leptospirosis, which can lead to liver and kidney failure. This disease can be prevented with regular vaccination.

6.)   Risk of the Deadly Parvovirus: Parvovirus is a severe, life-threatening infection that causes bloody diarrhea and vomiting to the point of shock and even death. Parvo is extremely contagious and puppies are most at risk. This awful infection is almost 100% preventable with vaccination.

7.)   Risk of Distemper: Distemper can cause severe neurological, dermatologic and respiratory disease. Most Dogs that contract distemper are euthanized due to the progressive nature of the disease. Distemper can be prevented with vaccination.

8.)   Risk of Contracting Hepatitis:  This virus can cause severe liver disease and is nearly 100% preventable with appropriate vaccinations.

9.)   Risk of Rabies:  Contraction of this disease nearly always results in death due to euthanasia or neurological problems in animals and people.  This disease is preventable with vaccination.

10.)  Vaccinating can Save Money: Most veterinary vaccinations are relatively inexpensive. Vaccinations are definitely substantially less expensive than the cost of treatment for the diseases they protect against.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Many dangerous diseases seen in dogs and cats are completely preventable with the right vaccinations. Vaccinating gives pet owners peace of mind and helps pets lead safe and healthy lives.

 

 

Is Pet Insurance Right for You?

More owners are looking into and purchasing health insurance for their pets.  Choices range from very inexpensive policies that provide some financial help when dealing with an unforeseen illness or accident to more comprehensive plans that cover preventative care and have high coverage limits.  Of course these latter policies also have higher premiums, but with a little research most pet owners can find a pet insurance plan is a good fit for them.

Here are a few things to remember when considering health insurance for your pet:

  • No policy covers all your veterinary expenses.  You will still need to have savings and/or credit available to cover deductibles, copays, and costs that exceed or are excluded from your policy.  Primarily think of insurance as a way to help deal with unexpected expenses.  Routine purchases like vaccines, heartworm prevention and flea and tick control can be budgeted for and purchased from online retailers such as vetdepot.com.
  • Know what you are buying.  All policies have exclusions, so check the fine print.
  • Preexisting conditions will not be covered, so if your dog or cat has already been diagnosed with a disease, the cost of treating it (pet medication refills, rechecks, etc.) will come out of your pocket.  Consider getting insurance when your pet is young to avoid the pitfalls associated with preexisting conditions.

Tips on Saving Big Bucks on your Furry Little Friend

Responsible pet ownership requires an investment that lasts the lifetime of your pet. In this regard, owning a pet is similar to caring for a child. There are many ongoing costs associated with caring for your dog or cat, but there are easy things you can do to help keep some of these costs down.

Shop Around for Vets: When you’re choosing a vet, call several local veterinary offices and ask them the cost for a routine exam. Often, vets will use this price as a base price for all other procedures. Vets who charge less for a routine exam tend to have lower prices overall. Don’t wait for an emergency to choose your veterinarian; you will be more stressed in emergency situations and may not be as concerned with cutting costs.

Compare Prices Online for your Pet’s Medications: If you buy your flea preventatives and other pet medications at your veterinarian’s office, you are likely being charged a mark-up of over 100% of the wholesale price. Shopping online for your pet’s medication can lead to huge savings, plus the added convenience of receiving your pet’s medications delivered to your door. When you’re comparing prices online, you can often save money by ordering more doses in one time. Make sure you order discount pet medications only from secure sites based in the US that are certified by either LegitScript or Vet-VIPPS like vetdepot.

Don’t Let Fido Eat You out of House and Home: No matter what, your furry friend is always going to want to eat! The biggest ongoing cost pet owners pay is food. Many pet foods labeled as “Premium” or other special diets cost more than double what other pet foods cost. Be aware that there is no legal standard pet foods must meet to be labeled as “Premium”, but any food that is labeled “complete & balanced” or “total nutrition” meets the minimum legal standard required for pet foods. Unless your pet has a medical condition requiring a special diet, you probably don’t need to spend extra on pricey foods that may offer no extra benefit to your pet’s health.

Invest in Preventative Care: You’ve probably heard the old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Keeping up with your pet’s routine exams and vaccinations can prevent a wide variety of serious and costly health problems. Clean choppers also make a big difference in your pet’s health. Brushing your dog or cat’s teeth and feeding them dental treats can help prevent periodontal disease, a common cause of kidney and lung problems. Finally, make sure your pet maintains a healthy weight. Have plenty of playtime and don’t overfeed your furball. Obesity can cause diabetes and arthritis, among other expensive problems. Remember, a healthy pet is a happy pet, and a healthy pet costs you less!

What Should be in your Pet’s First Aid Kit

We take care of our pets. We shower with them love and affection. We try to keep them safe no matter what, but sometimes accidents happen. Trips to the vet and pet emergencies can become quite expensive. However, with a properly stocked pet first aid kit, you’ll be more prepared to handle some emergencies at home. You can buy a complete pet first aid kit, or if you like, you can also mix and match and create your own.

Bandages: With all that fur, it’s a little tricky to try and stick a normal Band-Aid on your pet. That’s why it’s best to have gauze and bandages specifically designed for use with pets.

Latex-free gloves, hydrogen peroxide, and tweezers: Gloves will protect both you and your pets. Gloves will reduce the risk of spreading infection. Hydrogen Peroxide is useful as a disinfectant and in some cases to induce vomiting in dogs.

There are some great tweezers out there designed for use on pets. Some of them even have magnifying glasses on them so you can better see what’s stuck in your pet’s paw. They can make spotting and removing those pesky ticks a lot easier. However sometimes tweezers should not be used on ticks, so I suggest you read ASPCA’s guide to effective tick removal.

Digital thermometer: Instant ear thermometers can work, but according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), they recommend a rectal reading.

Benadryl: Benadryl is an over the counter antihistamine that’s handy in situations involving allergic reactions such as bug bites or bee stings.

Towels: Keep a stash of towels and a blanket with your first aid kit. They can be used to stop bleeding or cover a wound. Wrapping an injured pet in the blanket can make carrying it easier.

Emergency phone numbers: You should definitely have your vet’s number on hand. Another useful number is the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, 1-866-426-4435. If your pet has swallowed or eaten something potentially dangerous, they can advise you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Plus the ASPCA website has articles and information about common household products that are toxic to pets.

These are just a few things you should consider having in your pet first aid kit. Also there are several handy reference guides for dogs and cats that can help bring you up to speed on emergency care for your pets. While we never wish anything bad to happen to our pets, sometimes accidents happen. Being prepared can make handling a pet emergency a little more bearable.