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Why Are Veterinarians Fascinated with Pets FECES

February 19, 2018 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 7:56 pm

PET TALK

Why Are Veterinarians Fascinated with Pets FECES

BY DR. NORETTE UNDERWOOD

 

Whether your veterinarian calls it a “fecal sample” or “stool specimen”, pet owners often wonder why their animal doctors have such a fascination with poop.  As it turns out, checking your pets’ feces just might keep the people in your family from getting seriously sick.

 

Why does your veterinarian have such an interest in your pet’s stool?

 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) state that 3,000 to 4,000 human serum samples are sent to their labs every year with a presumptive diagnosis of toxocariasis, or, infection with roundworms or hookworms.   What is known is that 36% of dogs across the country and 52% in the southeastern states carry worms.  Many pet owners are unaware that their furry family members are capable of harboring these parasites.

 

Pets can come into contact with these parasites in the yard, in potting soil, at the dog park or even on our hands or feet after we come inside from working in the garden or after taking a walk.  The larva and eggs of these parasites are simply abundant in many places.

 

Most people understand that veterinarians are checking fecals as a means to find intestinal parasites, more commonly known as “worms”. The veterinarian is not looking for whole adult parasites.  They are looking for microscopic eggs and protozoans that may inhabit your pet.

 

First, the feces are mixed with a sugar or salt solution.  Breaking up the stool allows any infective eggs to enter the solution.

After about 10 minutes, the suspension is then allowed to sit with a microscope coverslip placed on top.  The eggs and most parasites will float to the top and adhere to the coverslip.   A veterinary assistant can then take this sample and review it under a microscope.  Any positive specimens are discussed with the veterinarian and an appropriate deworming medication can be prescribed.

 

This process may not sound appetizing to most readers, but these tests are an important part of a veterinarian’s dedication to your pets, but also to public health as a whole.  The CDC, the Companion Animal Parasite Council and the American Animal Hospital Association all recommend regular fecal testing for all pets.

 

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Dr. Norette L. Underwood is the veterinarian at Trumann Animal Clinic. You may contact her with questions at catdoc56@gmail.com

 



Help Doc, My Pet is dragging its rear on the floor!

February 12, 2018 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 9:08 pm

Pet Talk

By Dr. Norette L. Underwood

 

Help Doc, My Pet is dragging its rear on the floor!

 

Does your cat or dog drag their booty on the floor or rug? We call this “Boot Scootin.” Owners wonder, “What causes my pet to do that?”

 

Your pet has two opening on each side of their rectum. If you pretend their rectum is a clock they are located at 4 and 8 o’clock.  These openings come from anal glands.  Anal glands are 2 small glands (also called anal sacs) located inside the anal opening of all dogs and cats. These glands normally release a small amount of a foul-smelling liquid every time your pet goes to the bathroom.  This liquid gives each pet its individual scent. This is why pets always smell each other’s rear.

 

What causes anal gland problems?

Whenever the anal glands become blocked, over-filled, or inflamed it causes discomfort for your pet and can lead to further problems. Common reason why your pet may be experiencing anal gland problems include soft or loose stools, digestive issues, allergies, infection, obesity, poor anatomy or a combination of these things.

 

What are the signs of anal gland problems?

 

The most common sign seen is scooting their rear on the floor or carpet.  They also may lick excessively, strain to defecate, release a sudden foul odor, show pain or discomfort of the hind end, or bleeding or swelling near the anal area.  Some pets may chew the top of their tail or tuck their tail between their legs.  In cats signs may include defecating outside the litter box.

 

When should I be concerned?

If your pet is experiencing any signs of anal gland problems, you should consult with your veterinarian immediately.  Anal gland problems left untreated can develop into further problems including an infection or abscess. It could also be early signs of some form of cancer.  If the glands are just full your veterinarian will empty them and help you develop a plan to keep them irritation free.

 

What can be done to prevent anal gland problems?

There is a new product that can be sprinkled on your pet’s food or given as a treat.  It is important to feed your pet a consistent high-quality diet free from excessive fillers.  Keeping your pet at their ideal weight will help.  Your veterinarian can help resolve any underlying causes of your pet’s anal gland problems such as allergies or digestive issues.  In some severe cases, the anal glands may need to be surgically removed.

 

If you have problems with your pet and anal glands you may contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood of Best Friends Vet Mobile Service or Trumann Animal Clinic at catdoc56@gmail.com or 870-483-6275.



What’s Wrong With My Cat’s Mouth?

February 6, 2018 | Filed under: Uncategorized — Trumann Staff @ 5:20 pm

Pet Talk

By Dr. Norette L. Underwood

What’s Wrong With My Cat’s Mouth?

 

 

Many cat owners look at the grace, athleticism and beauty of their pets and think that they have the “perfect” animal.  Unfortunately, many of these same cats will have a very “imperfect” mouth, due to a serious and very painful condition that causes teeth to resorb, dissolve and even break!   Here’s what we know about Tooth Resorption in cats.

 

Ask any cat owner about how they care for their feline’s teeth and most will reply that “he eats dry food” or, more commonly “I really don’t clean her teeth”.  While most veterinarians will acknowledge that brushing a cat’s teeth is a challenge for many owners, they will stress the importance of routine oral assessment of your cat’s mouth.  These exams help find preventable problems and even some very concerning issues.  One of those concerns we are seeing more frequently is called Feline Tooth Resorption.

 

Tooth Resorption, or “TR” as it is commonly called, is a condition seen in a growing percentage of cats over the age of six years. The same strange condition is also seen in dogs and in people, but it is not nearly as common.

 

In the past, this disease has been called “neck lesions”, “cervical line lesions” and even the cumbersome “Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions (FORLs)”.  Whatever the name, we know that this condition is seen in cats who often appear normal.  The process will continue to develop, causing extreme pain because of the exposure of the root canal.  This can even lead to behavior changes and lack of normal appetite.

 

 

Clinically, most cats will appear normal, but observant owners may note that their cat prefers to chew food on just one side or that the cat stops grooming.  They may “toss” dry food into the back of their mouth.   As TR progresses, some pets will even develop sullen or aggressive attitudes, as if they are mad at the world!

 

Eventually, your veterinarian may point out how some of your cat’s cheek teeth are showing lines of inflamed, fleshy material right near the base of the tooth.  At this point, the erosion has exposed the tooth to the bacteria of the mouth and this is when affected cats become extremely painful.  Even under a general anesthetic, a slight touch of these teeth will cause a cat to “chatter” their jaw, indicating very serious pain!

 

Dental x-rays are the only way to diagnose TR.  When the radiographs are taken, if TR is present, your veterinarian can see changes in the density of the roots and crowns of the teeth.  All teeth can be affected, but the major “signal” tooth is the first one in the lower jaw.  Some teeth can be partially affected, while others may have completely dissolved away leaving a “ghost image”.

 

Unfortunately, there is no effective treatment that can save the pet’s teeth.  A normal cleaning and polishing will not work! A tooth that is showing any signs of resorption needs to be extracted.  Some cats will need full mouth extractions.  All cats with a known history of TR should be x-rayed every six months to a year. It is likely other teeth are affected and they must be monitored.

 

The good news in all of this is that once your veterinarian knows about the disease, several things can be done to keep your cat comfortable.  Experience has shown that cats who were once not eating well or even aggressive will often have a positive behavior change in just a matter of weeks.  It is surprising how the removal of these painful teeth can often bring back your affectionate feline friend.

 

Owners are often unaware that their pets are experiencing such discomfort.  But, regular visits to your veterinarian can help identify the issue and start work that will make your cat feel better.  Contact your veterinarian to have a comprehensive oral examination for your pet, including dental x-rays and regular dental cleanings.

 

 

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If you have questions about your cat’s mouth contact Dr. Underwood of the Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at catdoc56@gmail.com