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Holiday Hazards

Holiday Hazards by Donna Barr

The sights, sounds, and smells of the season are here. Temptation may be everywhere for your pets.

Christmas trees filled with sparkling, breakable ornaments, tinsel, string, ribbon, electrical lights and cords can all harm you dog if ingested. Some glass ornaments break into tiny shards of glass causing a problem if ingested or stepped on.

Mistletoe, especially the berries can be quite toxic to your dogs and cats. Holly and poinsettia plants can cause digestive upsets and irritation of the mouth.

Chocolate can be toxic to your pets. Remember to keep all Holiday treats out of your pets reach. It’s also a good idea to keep your pet on his or her regular diet during the Holiday. Fight the urge to share special treats with your pet during this time.

Be careful with decorations made of food. Marshmellows made into snowmen and held together by tooth picks can cause serious damage if your pet eats them. This time of year we are cooking and baking all kinds of wonderful smelling goodies. Remember to be careful with the garbage.

Salt on our streets, drive ways, and sidewalks can cause damage to your dogs paws. Check them after walks. Boots are a good way to avoid problems.

Antifreeze-ethylene glycol can be particularly tempting to your pet. It has a sweet taste and a few ounces can be fatal.

Remember the Holidays are a busy time of the year. Guests coming and going can cause stress for you and your pet. With all the coming and going make sure you keep an eye on the door and the gates in your yard. The last thing you need is for your pet to escape. Make sure your pets have a safe haven where they can get away for awhile and relax. Maybe the back bedroom, downstairs, upstairs, some place quiet.

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Preventing Your Not So Spring Chicken

Preventing Your Not-So-Spring Chicken from Getting Sprung

By Rodger Barr DVM
Fall 2000

Many of our beloved adopted greyhounds are now approaching their twilight years. These years can be the very best if several simple precautions are taken. First and foremost, try to avoid the pitfall of going on automatic pilot with your reliable, very dependable and always perfect pet.

Over the years, you have worked out your greyhound’s kinks and unacceptable behaviors (as if!). Your special companions can become so predictably perfect that you might tend to let your guard down and fail to see some of the early signs of age-related problems.

Always take note of any behavior changes, no matter how slight they appear. The simplest things can be significant, and if these problems are dealt with early, it may be helpful in cutting off a potential problem at the pass. Such things as more frequent bowel movements, changes in eating habits, an increase in water consumption, a change in your pet's normal energy level, an abrupt alteration in your pet’s normal silhouette, increased urination frequency, attitude changes towards family members or other pets, unusual odors, sleeping more (would you notice?), any new lumps or bumps, new lameness, unwillingness to go up or down stairs -- absolutely anything different may be an early sign of a developing problem. If these problems are addressed and dealt with early, the likelihood of resolution is much greater.

Exercise is something most retired greyhounds appear to really enjoy. This can range from regular walks to hard running. You would think that our revered pets would know what type of physical activity is best for them. Well, I’m here to tell you, they are dogs, the equivalent of young children or worse, THEY DO NOT KNOW WHAT’S BEST FOR THEM. We love the breed for many reasons, and for some of us, their athletic prowess is part of their magic, and we cannot imagine discouraging them from their magnificent oval and figure eight racing in our backyard ruts. That gorgeous double suspension style of running is fascinating to watch – when they’re YOUNG and FIT. When age begins to creep up on a greyhound -- and sometimes you are the last to realize this -- heavy exercise can be the catalyst to disaster. I expect this opinion will be as popular as an increase in the federal income tax rate, but over the years I have seen enough to convince me that CONTROLLED activity is one of the most important adjustments we can make to lengthen the number of quality years we have with our beloved hounds. When we ourselves approach middle age, we voluntarily adjust our activity level or pay the price. The same is true for our greyhounds. Walking instead of running, although less exciting to watch, is just as valuable in maintaining good physical condition for our retired athletes. You rarely see dislocated toes, broken toenails, split webs, broken backs, ruptured discs, injured limbs, or even lacerations caused by a vigorous walk. I can’t say the same for running.

Anything in moderation works for some, but less so with an animal capable of running 48 mph. The bottom line is that most of our dogs just don’t have the physical condition necessary to allow a body to hold up during this kind of physical exertion. Our dogs rely on us to make proper choices for them. They expect us to keep them out of the street, they expect us to feed and water them properly, and as their protectors, we need to control their physical activity. Many will say, “How do I stop my greyhound from running like crazy in the backyard?” I never said it was easy; I said it is critical to prolonging quality life. If you have more than one and they tend to get each other going, you might consider turning them out separately. It may even be necessary for you to go out with them to insure compliance. Lastly, simply resorting to walking on a leash instead of the backyard may be the best option of all.

This is the first installment in a series on health issues and the mature greyhound. In the next issue, I will address dietary adjustments, vitamins, tips on adjusting the level of exercise, as well as suggestions on stretching and massage. Lastly, I will suggest different blood tests and other diagnostics that are useful in catching problems before they can develop a foothold.

So hug your mature pet and appreciate every day, and don’t take life for granted. There are many things we cannot control, so we must strive to manage those things that we can. I can confidently say that you will be pleased with the results.

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Dental Prophylaxis



Prophylaxis- Today your pet had a dental prophylaxis which involved cleaning, polishing and a complete dental exam. Please keep in mind that softened food may need to be fed up to two weeks if there were extractions. Pain medication was used prior to the procedure so despite the possibility of discomfort, it will be minimal with the prescribed medication.

I.V. Fluids- Your pet had an intravenous catheter placed into his or her leg to allow us to administer I.V. fluids throughout the dental procedure. The use of fluids helps to minimize risk, maintain blood pressure, and gives us a quick intravenous route to administer medication if the need arises. Please discourage excessive licking of the shaved area where the catheter had been. We have many suggestions that can help you minimize excessive attention to the area, please feel free to call for assistance. You may also find that your pet may need to urinate more often for a day or so because of these fluids.

Anesthesia- Your pet had anesthesia, you may find that your companion will be sleepier than normal and less able to manage stairs. We recommend you restrict activity until you are convinced that your pet is able to get around satisfactorily. Vomiting can occur as well as a decreased appetite, if this should go on for more than 12 hours, please call.

Extractions- If your pet had extractions today you may see a small amount of bleeding, especially when eating or drinking. We recommend softened food for 7-14 days depending on how many and which teeth were extracted. The softened food can be your pet’s normal dry food mixed with hot water and allowed to sit for at least 20 minutes before serving. It would be best to remove chewing toys and rawhides for the next two weeks as well, if there were extractions. We recommend that you start brushing teeth the day after the dental procedure, just try to avoid those areas where teeth were removed.

Oravet- If you chose the option to apply Oravet, we applied this product to your pet’s teeth as the final step in the dental procedure. This is a product that should be used weekly starting 7 days from today. Do not brush teeth for 24 hours following the application of Oravet. The best time to apply Oravet would be right before bed after brushing.

Doxirobe- An antibiotic compound is used in areas where the gingival tissue (gum tissue) has deep pockets that was formerly filled with plaque, now removed and filled with the Doxirobe. This product helps the gum tissue regain its healthy state and reconnect to the tooth; it remains in place for 10-14 days. Teeth that have Doxirobe applied should not be brushed for at least 10 days.

If at anytime you have any questions whatsoever pertaining to the Dental procedure or anything else, please don’t hesitate to call The Foley Blvd. Animal Hospital at 763-755-3595.

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Dental Care--"Clean As a Hound's Tooth"

Clean as a Hound's Tooth

By Rodger Barr, DVM
Fall 1998

If given the opportunity to alter this ‘nearly perfect’ breed of dog, the greyhound, what would you change? Perhaps you would wish for an abundance of fur on the thighs and chest, and no chance of becoming hypothyroid. Not a bad idea. What else? How about flexible bones that bend, but never break? Now we’re cooking! That would be great at the track as well as in adoptive homes. What would you think about the non-existence of separation anxiety? Just think about all the drool you’d be missing, not to mention other body by-products. All these improvements would be fine and dandy, but if given this rare opportunity, there is only one thing I would change: I would give this fabulous breed a perfect low maintenance set of teeth.

The reality of the situation is quite the opposite. This wonderful breed is eminently prone to a lifetime of dental disease. There are many hypotheses to explain the huge amount of painful, putrid, decaying plaque, which these mouths harbor (not to mention the gingivitis and pyorrhea). Suffice it to say that the combination of limited gnawing and chewing opportunities, combined with a high quality but stew-like diet, lends itself well to plaque formation at a very early age. Once the plaque has a chance to take hold, it can result in gum recession and concomitant gingivitis, infection, and ultimately, the untimely loss of teeth, often a large number of teeth.

Assuming that when your newly adopted family member arrives his or her oral cavity has been properly managed, the burden of care now lies squarely on your shoulders. If either you or your pet is reluctant to brush or be brushed, the inevitable will be halitosis and the need for regular dental prophylaxis, expensive veterinary bills, anesthesia risks, and the loss of non-replaceable teeth. All these are avoidable, but require unwavering commitment and dedication.

There are no shortcuts! Many gimmicks are available. Rawhides have value but can cause gastrointestinal upsets. Bones are good if your dog will chew them, but they can easily break or crack teeth. Milkbones, bones, t/d, etc. are helpful but cannot stand alone to win this battle. There is only one way to maintain a greyhound’s mouth and that is with a minimum of daily brushing. Twice daily is twice as good. Once a week is useless. Twice weekly is half as useless. A commonly used adage by your own dentist states: “Only brush the teeth you want to keep.” This is true for greyhounds also. Everyone has their own style of brushing and their own preference of brushes. It is best to use what you feel the most comfortable with. Make dental care a routine. Do it at the same time every day and DO IT WITHOUT FAIL. This is a very small price to pay for unconditional love, don’t you think?

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