All About Albon

Albon (sulfadimethoxine) is a sulfa drug – a type of antibiotic that has been around for a very long time.  But, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t still an incredibly powerful and useful tool in veterinary medicine.  Albon can be used to treat infections throughout the body caused by a wide variety of susceptible microorganisms.

When you hear the term “antibiotic,” you probably think of medications that treat bacterial infections.  While Albon and its relatives can certainly do this, they are also effective against a particular type of parasite called CoccidiaCoccidia infect the gastrointestinal tract, usually causing diarrhea in puppies, kittens, and other young animals.

When using Albon, veterinarians typically prescribe an initial “loading dose” that is twice that of subsequent doses.  This allows the drug to quickly reach therapeutic levels in the body.  A pet’s condition should noticeably improve within 48-72 hours of beginning treatment.  If this does not occur, contact your veterinarian.  Make sure to give your pet all of the doses of Albon that were prescribed, even if he or she seems completely back to normal.  Treatment should continue for at least 48 hours after all symptoms have resolved.

Albon comes in both pill and liquid form available from vetdepot.com, which makes accurately dosing animals of all sizes easy.

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.

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.

The Danger of Transporting Pets

Bringing a new dog or cat into your home is a time of discovery and joy; that is unless the discovery centers on pet illness.

In the past, most pets were obtained from local sources (i.e. nearby shelters or breeders) and therefore tended to only have diseases that were common to the area.  These days, however, some breeders will send their puppies or kittens hundreds or thousands of miles to their new owners or to pet shops.  Animals in shelters may also have traveled great distances.  This is especially true in parts of the country, like the Northeast, that have managed to gain better control of the animal over-population problem.  Animals are now often transported from facilities that are overflowing to those that have available space in another part of the country.

While this is obviously beneficial for the animals that would otherwise have been euthanized, it can occasionally present some problems for their new owners.  If your new pet becomes sick, it is now quite possible that the illness may be something that your local veterinarian does not see on a regular basis.

So, what can owners do to protect their new pets?  Try to find out your pet’s travel history and pass it along to your veterinarian.  This information can be a life-saver by helping your vet determine whether any screening tests should be run. Background info is also extremely helpful in producing a quick diagnosis so that the appropriate treatment and pet medications can be administered in the unfortunate event that your pet does fall ill.