Risius Family Veterinary Services https://risiusfamilyvet.com/ Sun, 05 Dec 2021 00:39:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.1.1 Fall 2019 Newsletter https://risiusfamilyvet.com/fall-2019-newsletter/ https://risiusfamilyvet.com/fall-2019-newsletter/#respond Wed, 08 Jan 2020 09:34:32 +0000 https://risiusfamilyvet.com/?p=1996 From the Desk of Tyler Trenkamp, D.V.M. Importance of Necropsies A dead calf is worth nothing, but a dead calf with a diagnosis can be the most valuable animal on the farm (Dr. Mark Hilton, Beef Magazine).” Necropsies (post-mortem exams) help diagnose diseases and nutritional imbalances. If the cause of death [...]

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From the Desk of Tyler Trenkamp, D.V.M.

Importance of Necropsies

A dead calf is worth nothing, but a dead calf with a diagnosis can be the most valuable animal on the farm (Dr. Mark Hilton, Beef Magazine).” Necropsies (post-mortem exams) help diagnose diseases and nutritional imbalances. If the cause of death is uncertain it is beneficial to have a necropsy performed to determine the cause. Different causes of death include: contagious diseases (examples: pneumonia, coccidiosis, crypto), hardware, nutritional, poisoning, or other preventable problems. By diagnosing the cause of death it can determine if a management change is warranted, which drug is best suited for disease, if the current drug is working or if it was an unpreventable death.

All diseases do not present the same every time. For example a feedlot animal with acidosis or enteric disease may actually present with an increased respiratory rate and fever, which could be mistaken for pneumonia.

If the diagnosis is unclear after performing a necropsy tissues can be collected and sent to a diagnostic lab for further testing. Here they can test what bacteria or virus is causing the disease. They can also test for nutritional imbalances or levels of toxins.

For instance we had a case with high death loss of calves at 1 week of age. On necropsy it appeared to be Clostridium Type A, but not conclusive. Feces, intestines, and liver were submitted to the diagnostic lab for further evaluation. The diagnostic lab results were positive for Corona Virus and Selenium toxicity which was the cause of death. These results allowed us to remove Multi-Min from the calf program as the herd had adequate Selenium levels in their feeding program.

We expect abortion in the cow/calf herd to be 1-2%, but when there is an increase in abortions diagnostics should be performed. The best chance at getting a diagnosis is by collecting both the placenta and fetus as soon after it happens to be sent to the diagnostic lab. Calves born early or small are also a concern if they have a high death rate as it can be a nutritional imbalance.

Communication is key for necropsies. Risius Family Veterinary Service needs to be notified as soon as the deceased animal is found, even if it is on the weekend,

before the tissues start to rot or freeze. This gives us the best chance of a diagnosis. By obtaining a diagnosis we can make adjustments in vaccination protocols, management practices, reduce contamination, and hopefully before we get to a tip-of-the-iceberg situation.

A Note from Michael Slattery, D.V.M.

Pregnancy Checking Can Pay the Bills

As we approach the fall and winter seasons, diagnosing pregnancy status in your cow herd can prove to be to a financial gain. Your veterinarians at Risius Family Veterinary Service are able to accurately diagnose pregnancy in a cow or heifer as early as 30 days in to gestation. These early pregnancies are typically diagnosed with an ultrasound. If you are unsure of ultrasound or worried the technology comes at a premium, please understand that we look at a reproduction examination as the same regardless of the implement used and thus the charge for each is the same.

Perhaps more important to our producers than whether their cows

get an ultrasound or just a hand up their cow’s rectums is the savings realized by identifying open cows. Consider the recent Dyersville hay auction prices of good hay costing $120-$180/ton. With an average price of $150/ton, it costs about $2 per day to feed a cow through the winter. It will not take many days of feeding an open cow to offset the cost of pregnancy checking the entire herd.

Early identification of these cows (typically via ultrasound) also has the following benefits:

  • If you still have some pasture left, that valuable resource can go to the cows that are actually carrying a calf.
  • There is a seasonality to cull cow prices, with the late summer/early fall months typically providing the best prices.
  • These higher cull prices also represent a good opportunity to remove any cows with bad eyes/sore feet/bad bags and small calves.

Pregnancy checking cows, especially earlier in gestation, provides a great opportunity for cost savings on the cow-calf operation. If you have further questions about pregnancy checking or would like to schedule an appointment to do so, give us a call!

From the Desk of Collin Post, D.V.M.

Managing Stress during Weaning

As we are getting into late summer and early fall, pastures are showing the signs of all the wear-and-tear from providing for cows and calves for months. This probably has many of you starting to think about weaning your calves. Weaning is one of the most stressful times in a calf ’s life. Not only are we taking them away from their mom, but they are also getting a crash course on how to fend for themselves. This stress leads to a weakened immune system and makes these calves extremely vulnerable to illness. By using a few different strategies around the time of weaning, we can limit the stress and illness on these calves leading to a more profitable and healthier calf crop.

The most ideal weaning protocol is completely dependent on your management style and what you are planning to do with your calves (i.e. are you going to feed them out or are you going to turn around and sell them shortly after weaning?). Ideally these calves would have at least one round of vaccines two weeks prior to weaning. When running them through the chute, we can also place a growth implant, castrate and dehorn, and apply a pour-on and dewormer. Putting calves through the chute itself is stressful, castration and dehorning adds to the stress. However, turning them back with their mom for a few weeks prior to weaning allows them to respond to the vaccines, and get over the stress of being processed. Processing and weaning at the same time packs all of these stressors into one period further suppressing their immune system and setting these calves up for a very rough transition period.

How we wean these calves is also vital. Fence-line weaning (having the cows and calves separated by only a fence) allows for the bond between cow and calf to be broken more slowly. The calves to still see mom, but still forces them to figure out the feed bunk and waterer on their own. With their mom being on the other side of the fence though, that fence better be fairly stout or the whole weaning process can be reversed very quickly…

The overarching goal is to cut down on the number of calves who get sick during weaning, which leads to increased treatment costs and decreased rates of gain. As far as picking the best vaccine protocols for preweaning and weaning, that is where we come in. Make sure to give us as much information as possible when trying to trouble shoot or rework weaning plans. We are always more than happy to help.

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Winter 2019/2020 https://risiusfamilyvet.com/winter-2019-2020-newsletter/ https://risiusfamilyvet.com/winter-2019-2020-newsletter/#respond Fri, 03 Jan 2020 10:48:00 +0000 https://risiusfamilyvet.com/?p=1962 Announcing a new Veterinarian Dr. Kelli Ruther, originally from Clinton, Iowa, attended Iowa State University for her undergraduate studies where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Animal Science. Following graduation, she worked for Nestle Purina PetCare for a couple of years before returning to Iowa State where she graduated from the College of [...]

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Announcing a new Veterinarian

Dr. Kelli Ruther, originally from Clinton, Iowa, attended Iowa State University for her undergraduate studies where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Animal Science. Following graduation, she worked for Nestle Purina PetCare for a couple of years before returning to Iowa State where she graduated from the College of Veterinary Medicine in 2017. Dr. Kelli enjoys working with both large and small animals with special interests in internal medicine, ophthalmology, small animal nutrition, feedlot medicine, small ruminants, and pot-bellied pigs.

Outside of work, Dr. Kelli enjoys spending time with her husband, Ben and their son, Rylan. She also enjoys running, gardening, and helping with their hobby farm.

BVD-PI: A Hidden Problem

What if we were to tell you that there is a silent killer that could be lurking in a “perfectly healthy” calf? This calf could be normal in appearance and performance, but have detrimental effects even in the face of vaccinating for every disease. I’m talking about calves that are persistently infected with Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus – or as it is more commonly referred, BVD-PI.

BVD-PI calves are the result of the dam becoming exposed to the virus before the fetal immune system is developed with the highest risk being in a nonvaccinated or open herd. This is usually before 125 days in gestation. The result is a calf that is born with BVD virus and secretes said virus for the entirety of its life. This calf, if it survives -and some do, will serve as a source of BVD virus for any other cattle in its surroundings. This is a problem to other animals as BVD virus suppresses immunity to those that are exposed to it.

How do you know if it is affecting your herd? And how can I find it and eliminate it? First, testing is fairly simple and straight forward. A small ear notch from an animal of any age submitted to a diagnostic lab can identify whether or not an animal is BVD-PI positive. There are specialized labs all over the country that are able to quickly, accurately, and affordably diagnose the PI status of a sample. Your veterinarians at RFVS can help you with sampling, diagnostic lab selection, and shipping.

Those experiencing lower than expected pregnancy rates, abortions, birth defects, very low birth weights, and overall poor calf health should consider BVD-PI testing the affected calves. In the feedlot setting, a pen that continues to have pneumonia issues with high treatment or death rates should be considered for whole pen testing.

BVD-PI Stats

  • Feedlot pens with a BVD-PI calf experienced a 43% higher treatment rate.
  • Beef calves exposed directly to a BVD-PI calf had a 20% lower average daily gain.
  • Researchers estimate 1% of U.S. born calves are BVD-PI. Approximately half of those die, leaving 0.5% of the calf crop to serve as vectors for the disease.
  • A study of 1900 chronic cattle found a nearly 4% BVD-PI rate.

I’d imagine we’ve created more questions than answers; your veterinarians at RFVS are well equipped to answer those questions. If you are having issues with any of these described situations, take an ear notch and bring it to one of our offices, we will be happy to get the ball rolling to improving your herds health.

Thank You

We don’t say it nearly enough, but we are grateful every day for our amazing clients!

Especially at this time of year when we are all full of love and gratitude we want to say THANK YOU and let you know how much we appreciate your business throughout 2019.

We take your suggestions to heart and want to thank you for your feedback on our producer survey. With that said, we are excited to announce small animal services coming to our Maquoketa Clinic starting January 23rd, 2020. Every Thursday we will be seeing our dog and cat friends in Maquoketa for routine vaccines, wellness, and non urgent ailments.

As calving season approaches and we start to plan for the next breeding season, we would like you to come to us for your Artificial Insemination needs, whether it’s one cow or your entire herd. Let us help you set up your time breeding this spring.

We hope that you all had a happy and healthy holiday season. We look forward to your continued business in 2020.

Year in Review Timeline

2019 has been a year of BIG change around the clinic!

  • January 2019- Happy New Year and Happy Retirement to our founder Dr. Dale Risius.
  • January 30th – The Polar Vortex hits and we take our FIRST EVER snow day.
  • February 4th – Dr. Mike Slattery speaks at the Advanced Calving Clinic in Maquoketa.
  • February 24th – Held a retirement celebration for Dale’s 48 years in Veterinary Medicine.
  • March 9 – Dr. Skye Doerscher and Dr. Collin Post become the newest owners at Risius Family Veterinary Service.
  • March 12th – Bookkeeper Ashlee added Large Animal Manager to her roles in both clinics.
  • May 21st – Dr. Joel and Dr. Abby celebrated 12 years in practice.
  • June 22 – Registered Technician Catlin and her husband Ethan welcomed into their family their daughter Evelyn Pearl.
  • July 12th – Dr Abby’s daughters Amelia, Cleo, Miriam, and Hannah held a lemonade stand to raise money for QC Paws.
  • August 10th – Our beloved Marvin is in a Tractor accident, we are happy to report he is back home and doing GREAT!
  • August 26th – Welcome Technician Lauren to our Eldridge family.
  • September 30th – Welcome Katie Luksetich as our new Practice Manager.
  • October 16th – We celebrated our hard working assistants for tech week.
  • November 6th – Dr. Mike and wife Janell welcomed their son Anson Michael to their family.
  • November 15th – Welcome Dr. Kelli Ruther to our Risius Family.
  • November 29th – Dr. Kim Lehman had her last day with RFVS, she is moving on to new adventures!
  • December 2019 – New Exam rooms in Eldridge and the addition of small animal services in Maquoketa!

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Managing Stress During Weaning https://risiusfamilyvet.com/managing-stress-during-weaning/ https://risiusfamilyvet.com/managing-stress-during-weaning/#respond Sat, 14 Sep 2019 10:03:10 +0000 https://risiusfamilyvet.com/?p=1941 Managing Stress During Weaning (From the desk of Dr. Collin Post) As we are getting into late summer and early fall, pastures are showing the signs of all the wear-and-tear from providing for cows and calves for months. This probably has many of you starting to think about weaning your calves. Weaning is one of [...]

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Managing Stress During Weaning
(From the desk of Dr. Collin Post)

As we are getting into late summer and early fall, pastures are showing the signs of all the wear-and-tear from providing for cows and calves for months. This probably has many of you starting to think about weaning your calves. Weaning is one of the most stressful times in a calf ’s life. Not only are we taking them away from their mom, but they are also getting a crash course on how to fend for themselves. This stress leads to a weakened immune system and makes these calves extremely vulnerable to illness. By using a few different strategies around the time of weaning, we can limit the stress and illness on these calves leading to a more profitable and healthier calf crop.

The most ideal weaning protocol is completely dependent on your management style and what you are planning to do with your calves (i.e. are you going to feed them out or are you going to turn around and sell them shortly after weaning?).

Ideally these calves would have at least one round of vaccines two weeks prior to weaning. When running them through the chute, we can also place a growth implant, castrate and dehorn, and apply a pour-on and dewormer. Putting calves through the chute itself is stressful, castration and dehorning adds to the stress. However, turning them back with their mom for a few weeks prior to weaning allows them to respond to the vaccines, and get over the stress of being processed. Processing and weaning at the same time packs all of these stressors into one period further suppressing their immune system and setting these calves up for a very rough transition period.

How we wean these calves is also vital. Fence-line weaning (having the cows and calves separated by only a fence) allows for the bond between cow and calf to be broken more slowly. The calves to still see mom, but still forces them to figure out the feed bunk and waterer on their own. With their mom being on the other side of the fence though, that fence better be fairly stout or the whole weaning process can be reversed very quickly…

The overarching goal is to cut down on the number of calves who get sick during weaning, which leads to increased treatment costs and decreased rates of gain. As far as picking the best vaccine protocols for pre-weaning and weaning, that is where we come in. Make sure to give us as much information as possible when trying to trouble shoot or rework weaning plans. We are always more than happy to help. Please give us a call today if you need more assistance!

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Pregnancy Checking Can Pay the Bills https://risiusfamilyvet.com/pregnancy-checking-can-pay-the-bills/ https://risiusfamilyvet.com/pregnancy-checking-can-pay-the-bills/#respond Fri, 13 Sep 2019 19:26:50 +0000 https://risiusfamilyvet.com/?p=1927 Pregnancy Checking Can Pay the Bills -- A Note from Dr. Mike Slattery As we approach the fall and winter seasons, diagnosing pregnancy status in your cow herd can prove to be to a financial gain. Your veterinarians at Risius Family Veterinary Service are able to accurately diagnose pregnancy in a cow or heifer as [...]

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Pregnancy Checking Can Pay the Bills
— A Note from Dr. Mike Slattery

As we approach the fall and winter seasons, diagnosing pregnancy status in your cow herd can prove to be to a financial gain. Your veterinarians at Risius Family Veterinary Service are able to accurately diagnose pregnancy in a cow or heifer as early as 30 days in to gestation. These early pregnancies are typically diagnosed with an ultrasound. If you are unsure of ultrasound or worried the technology comes at a premium, please understand that we look at a reproduction examination as the same regardless of the implement used and thus the charge for each is the same.

Perhaps more important to our producers than whether their cows get an ultrasound or just a hand up their cow’s rectums is the savings realized by identifying open cows. Consider the recent Dyersville hay auction prices of good hay costing $120-$180/ton. With an average price of $150/ton, it costs about $2 per day to feed a cow through the winter. It will not take many days of feeding an open cow to offset the cost of pregnancy checking the entire herd.

  1. Early identification of these cows (typically via ultrasound) also has the following benefits:
  2. If you still have some pasture left, that valuable resource can go to the cows that are actually carrying a calf.
  3. There is a seasonality to cull cow prices, with the late summer/early fall months typically providing the best prices.

These higher cull prices also represent a good opportunity to remove any cows with bad eyes/sore feet/ bad bags and small calves.

Pregnancy checking cows, especially earlier in gestation, provides a great opportunity for cost savings on the cow-calf operation.

If you have further questions about pregnancy checking or would like to schedule an appointment to do so, give us a call!

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Importance of Necropsies https://risiusfamilyvet.com/importance-of-necropsies/ https://risiusfamilyvet.com/importance-of-necropsies/#respond Fri, 13 Sep 2019 18:59:26 +0000 https://risiusfamilyvet.com/?p=1922 Importance of Necropsies -- From the Desk of Tyler Trenkamp, D.V.M. “A dead calf is worth nothing, but a dead calf with a diagnosis can be the most valuable animal on the farm (Dr. Mark Hilton, Beef Magazine).” Necropsies (post-mortem exams, the same as autopsies in people) help diagnose diseases and nutritional imbalances. If the [...]

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Importance of Necropsies
— From the Desk of Tyler Trenkamp, D.V.M.

“A dead calf is worth nothing, but a dead calf with a diagnosis can be the most valuable animal on the farm (Dr. Mark Hilton, Beef Magazine).”

Necropsies (post-mortem exams, the same as autopsies in people) help diagnose diseases and nutritional imbalances. If the cause of death is uncertain it is beneficial to have a necropsy performed to determine the cause. Different causes of death include: contagious diseases (examples: pneumonia, coccidiosis, crypto), hardware, nutritional, poisoning, or other preventable problems. By diagnosing the cause of death it can determine if a management change is warranted, which drug is best suited for disease, if the current drug is working or if it was an unpreventable death.

All diseases do not present the same every time. For example a feedlot animal with acidosis or enteric disease may actually present with an increased respiratory rate and fever, which could be mistaken for pneumonia.

If the diagnosis is unclear after performing a necropsy tissues can be collected and sent to a diagnostic lab for further testing. Here they can test what bacteria or virus is causing the disease. They can also test for nutritional imbalances or levels of toxins.

For instance we had a case with high death loss of calves at 1 week of age. On necropsy it appeared to be Clostridium Type A, but not conclusive. Feces, intestines, and liver were submitted to the diagnostic lab for further evaluation. The diagnostic lab results were positive for Corona Virus and Selenium toxicity which was the cause of death. These results allowed us to remove Multi-Min from the calf program as the herd had adequate Selenium levels in their feeding program.

We expect abortion in the cow/calf herd to be 1-2%, but when there is an increase in abortions diagnostics should be performed. The best chance at getting a diagnosis is by collecting both the placenta and fetus as soon after it happens to be sent to the diagnostic lab. Calves born early or small are also a concern if they have a high death rate as it can be a nutritional imbalance.

Communication is key for necropsies. Risius Family Veterinary Service needs to be notified as soon as the deceased animal is found, even if it is on the weekend, before the tissues start to rot or freeze. This gives us the best chance of a diagnosis. By obtaining a diagnosis we can make adjustments in vaccination protocols, management practices, reduce contamination, and hopefully before we get to a tip-of-the-iceberg situation.

Have more questions about necropsies, having one done, or what they mean? Please contact us for further information!

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DCM & BEG Diets https://risiusfamilyvet.com/dcm-beg-diets/ https://risiusfamilyvet.com/dcm-beg-diets/#respond Thu, 04 Jul 2019 10:32:20 +0000 https://risiusfamilyvet.com/?p=1834 Grain-Free Food Causes Heart Failure... Maybe Grain-free pet food is a current pet food fad.  Yes, I said it. It’s a fad, just like bouffant hair, peace signs, and oxygen bars. We've all seen the pet food commercials touting the benefits of grain-free food, and the reasons all dogs should be eating grain-free: By-products are [...]

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Grain-Free Food Causes Heart Failure… Maybe

Grain-free pet food is a current pet food fad.  Yes, I said it. It’s a fad, just like bouffant hair, peace signs, and oxygen bars. We’ve all seen the pet food commercials touting the benefits of grain-free food, and the reasons all dogs should be eating grain-free: By-products are bad, wolves eat a grain-free diet, and all pets have food allergies and need a grain-free food. We’re not here to debunk all of these myths (because all of these are wholly untrue), and we’re not saying that grain-free food is bad. We’re not out to start a debate about what you feed your pets, because we know this can be a passionate topic. However, we do want you to know that grain-free food may come with risk if you choose to feed this to your dog.

For the past many years, veterinary cardiologists have been seeing an alarming increase in the number of dogs with a heart condition called Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM), which in simple terms means that the heart gets big and flabby. It can’t work effectively and leads to heart failure. DCM can be an inherited risk in some dog breeds. Veterinary cardiologists who studied this condition discovered that many of the recent dogs diagnosed with DCM were also being fed grain-free food, “boutique” (food made to be sold in specialty stores or boutiques) food, or exotic-protein foods. These foods have been called BEG foods – Boutique, Exotic, Grain-Free. Cardiologists have found a possible link to the amino acid taurine, but at this time it’s unclear what the exact role taurine plays. Taurine is a necessary amino acid, essential to the heart, eyes, and the brain. What is the link between food & heart failure? The answer is unclear thus far.

Researchers have seen definite linkage between DCM and BEG foods. These foods are typically marketed as “healthier” or “more natural”, and for dogs with allergies.  These foods often have new or exotic proteins as kangaroo, buffalo, or salmon. These foods are often made with alternative starches such as lentils, tapioca, and chickpeas.  Vegan and raw/home-prepared diets have also been implicated.

Why are these foods being fed? Marketing. A few companies making a big stink about a fabricated problem. For the last 10-20 years, pet food companies have been telling us that grain-free is more natural for dogs. They’ve been claiming that most dogs have food allergies. Both of these are completely false. Food allergies are generally rare in pets, and grains provide a wholesome source of essential nutrients for pets. Wild dogs do eat grains! Pet nutrition is a complicated topic, and the manufacture of pet foods can be very tricky. In the manufacture of grain-free or boutique foods, many times corners are cut, and new/rare ingredients aren’t metabolized like manufacturers expect. The biggest thing is that many of these BEG food companies don’t work with veterinary nutritionists, nor do they put their food through rigorous feeding trials and testing. How do they know it’s safe?

For now, we recommend a standard maintenance diet for your pet’s life stage that is NOT grain-free. Royal Canin, Purina, Hill’s, Iams, and Eukanuba are all brands that have been deemed safe. Their food has stood up to the test of time and laboratory testing. If your pet has a medical concern that requires a specialized diet, please consult with your veterinarian; they know more than a pet store employee or a commercial on TV!

If you have concerns about heart disease in your pet (diet concerns, coughing, shortness of breath, decreased exercise tolerance, fainting or collapse), please schedule an appointment with a veterinarian as soon as possible. DCM can only be definitively diagnosed with an echocardiogram, but x-rays can be suggestive of this condition. The best thing you can do right now is get your dog off a grain-free or BEG food!

More information:

https://vetnutrition.tufts.edu/2019/07/dcmupdate/

http://vetnutrition.tufts.edu/2018/06/a-broken-heart-risk-of-heart-disease-in-boutique-or-grain-free-diets-and-exotic-ingredients/

https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/news-events/fda-investigation-potential-link-between-certain-diets-and-canine-dilated-cardiomyopathy

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Do Pets Really Need a Professional Cleaning? https://risiusfamilyvet.com/do-pets-really-need-a-professional-cleaning/ https://risiusfamilyvet.com/do-pets-really-need-a-professional-cleaning/#respond Fri, 08 Feb 2019 22:37:33 +0000 https://www.risiusfamilyvet.com/?p=1599 Does your pet have bad breath? Worried your pet may have dental disease? 80% of pets have dental disease by age 3. Just consider what your teeth would look like if you never went to the dentist. Check this out for more info!

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Do Pets Really Need a Professional Cleaning?

It wasn’t so long ago that professional dental care for pets was NOT the norm. Pet dental exams and lengthy discussions of oral hygiene just didn’t happen! That’s probably why, in general, pet owners consider “doggie breath” normal. Pet owners are often unaware of the painful and devastating effects of dental disease on their pet’s health. Did you realize that by the time a pet is 3 years old, around 80% have some signs of dental disease? What would happen if you never went to the dentist?

Pets are great pretenders! They generally won’t tell you when something hurts, and for this reason, dental disease is a silent menace. Acting healthy is a defense mechanism for pets. But dental disease causes a pet chronic pain. Dental disease can result in significant infection, bone loss around diseased teeth, loss of teeth, and spread of bacteria elsewhere in the body. Loose teeth are not normal! A healthy mouth can add years to your pet’s life.

What is dental disease?Grade 2 Dental Disease

Just like with us humans, bacteria in the mouth promote plaque formation on teeth. Plaque is the beginning stage of dental disease and what we attempt to remove with brushing. Plaque quickly turns it into tartar, which is nearly impossible to brush away. Plaque under the gumline leads to gingivitis (gum inflammation), which then turns into periodontal disease including bone loss and loose teeth.

How would you know?

Dental disease often progresses slowly. Your first clue may be bad breath, or just some light tartar on your pet’s teeth. If dental disease progresses, you may notice:

  • Problems eating (drooling, only eating on one side of the mouth, dropping food)
  • Bleeding, swollen gums – Especially after chewing on a toy
  • Bad breath
  • Any swelling around the face
  • Moving away from touch (especially around the head or mouth)

Regular oral exams by your veterinarian will help you be aware of dental disease.

What do I do?

Dental X-Ray

Dental X-Ray

Schedule an oral exam with your veterinarian. If disease is found, your veterinarian will recommend an anesthetized cleaning & oral exam with dental x-rays. A tooth is much like an iceberg: we see part of the tooth, but a large portion of it remains hidden beneath the gums. Even for a dog with small amounts of tartar, gingivitis indicates that deeper problems may be present. Dental x-rays can show bone loss, diseased tooth roots, and may help to identify unknown problems hiding beneath the gum surface. From there, a treatment plan can be determined and action can be taken. 

 

Untreated periodontal disease can lead to a higher risk for kidney, liver, and heart disease—potentially shortening your pet’s life by as much as 2 years. It’s far safer on your pet to have regular anesthetized cleanings and evaluations to prevent periodontal disease, rather than waiting until disease is severe. If you have any concerns about your pet’s mouth, schedule an exam today! It’s vital to be your pet’s best health advocate.

More information: https://www.avdc.org/periodontaldisease.html
Picture Credit: http://www.cherryridgevets.com/pet-health/pet-dental-care

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Declawing: It’s a Nail Biter https://risiusfamilyvet.com/declawing-nail-biter/ https://risiusfamilyvet.com/declawing-nail-biter/#respond Mon, 06 Nov 2017 14:33:06 +0000 https://www.risiusfamilyvet.com/?p=1258 There is much debate regarding an owner’s decision to declaw their cat.  With all the hype, what is the right decision?  Unfortunately, the answer isn’t so black and white. It is important to educate yourself about what the procedure actually entails.  So, what is a declaw?  A declaw is the amputation of the last bone [...]

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There is much debate regarding an owner’s decision to declaw their cat.  With all the hype, what is the right decision?  Unfortunately, the answer isn’t so black and white.

It is important to educate yourself about what the procedure actually entails.  So, what is a declaw?  A declaw is the amputation of the last bone of a cat’s toe.  Unlike humans, a cat’s nail does not sit on top of their “finger”.  In order for the procedure to have success, the veterinarian has to amputate the tip of the cat’s toes.  This is the equivalent of amputating a person’s fingers down to their first knuckles!  Because the procedure is an amputation, it is not uncommon to see pain, swelling, and even infection.

Why do you want to declaw your cat?

Most of the time, the answers are the same: “My cat is tearing up my furniture”.  Other times, it is because the owner is immunocompromised and the procedure is necessary for the owner’s health and well-being.  No matter what your reasoning is for considering the surgery, your veterinarian will want to have a clear picture so he or she will know how to proceed.

Let’s Talk About Options

What have you tried?  Why didn’t it work?  Scratching and stretching are normal behaviors.  Most cats will continue the motions even after the surgery.  So since you can’t stop it, what can you do to avoid surgery? 

  1. Have scratching posts available. As with other behaviors, this may take some training.  Play with your cat by their scratching posts, and have patience.
  2. Apply vinyl nails. These are easily applied, but do need to be replaced periodically.
  3. Provide plenty of enrichment (toys) and play time. A bored cat can easily become a destructive cat.
  4. Punishment rarely works. If anything, this can cause a lack of trust and other unwanted behaviors. 
  5. Start them off young. It is easier to teach good habits versus correcting bad ones.
  6. More frequent nail trims. This will not do anything to thwart this bad habit, but it will take the edge off.

Declawing is not right for every cat.  Certain factors such as age and weight may increase the risks associated with this surgery.  Outdoor cats and those that spend even limited time outdoors are not candidates for this procedure because it lowers their ability to defend themselves.  Certain counties and states across the nation have banned the procedure.  Although this has yet to affect us at this time, we recommend checking the rules governing your area.

As always, speak to your veterinarian.  Our dedicated doctors and staff are here to answer your questions and help you arrive at the right decision for you and your cat.

For more information please visit www.avma.org.

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Microchipping Made Easy https://risiusfamilyvet.com/microchipping-made-easy/ https://risiusfamilyvet.com/microchipping-made-easy/#respond Tue, 15 Aug 2017 13:19:41 +0000 https://www.risiusfamilyvet.com/?p=1252 Did you know that millions of pets go missing every year? Of those millions, less than 20% of dogs and less that 5% of cats are reunited with their families. The odds of finding a lost pet are greatly increased when the pet has a microchip. So, why don’t more people microchip their pet? In [...]

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Did you know that millions of pets go missing every year? Of those millions, less than 20% of dogs and less that 5% of cats are reunited with their families. The odds of finding a lost pet are greatly increased when the pet has a microchip. So, why don’t more people microchip their pet? In some cases, it is because they aren’t familiar with the process. In this blog, we are going to answer the most frequently asked questions. For even more information, call our clinic to speak with one of our educated staff members.

Q: What is microchipping?
A: A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice. A needle is used to place the chip under the animal’s skin between the shoulder blades. Each chip comes with a unique number that can be read by a scanner. Most veterinary offices and animal shelters have these scanners and are trained to scan every lost pet that comes in.

Q: Does it hurt?
A: We won’t lie to you….it does require a large needle to place a microchip but it only takes an instant to do. Some pets seem totally unfazed by the placement, while others react for a brief moment. Soreness isn’t common, but does happen in a small number of cases. Sometimes, we implant the microchip while the pets is being spayed or neutered, so they don’t feel it at all.

Q: How does it work?
A: Two things must happen in order for the microchip to help reunite a lost pet with its family. The owner must register (and keep their contact information up to date) with the microchip company, and the person or animal shelter that finds your pet must scan the pet for a microchip. Microchips are not GPS or tracking devices. Once the chip is scanned, the clinic or shelter contacts the company that made the chip to get the owner’s information. This is why it is so important that you not only register the microchip, but have accurate contact information on file with the microchip company you have chosen. Did you know that more pets are microchipped than what are registered?

Q: Will it really help get my pet back if they are ever lost?
A: Absolutely! As we mentioned above, lost dogs are reunited with their families less than 20% of the time, but dogs that have a microchip are reunited with their families over 50% of the time! Cats without a microchip are reunited with families less than 5% of the time. Those with microchips were reunited with their families almost 40% of the time. That’s a HUGE difference! Perhaps those numbers would be even higher if all families registered the microchip and kept their information up to date.

Q: Does the microchip replace identification tags?
A: No. Tags are a quick way to identify a pet’s name, the vet clinic that administered the Rabies vaccine, and owner information. Just like with a microchip, the tags need to be current with accurate contact information. Microchips are especially important if a pet loses its tags or sneaks out of the house without its collar.

Q:  I microchipped my pet.  Now what?
A: Register your microchip with the microchip company. As an added benefit at our practice, the cost of registration is included with the price of microchipping and we will send in the registration papers for you! Anytime your contact information changes, make sure to update the company. Although microchips should last a lifetime, we recommend having your pet scanned periodically to ensure that it is functioning properly.

For more information, visit:

https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/FAQs/Pages/Microchipping-of-animals-FAQ.aspx

https://www.aaha.org/pet_owner/pet_health_library/general_health_care/microchipping/default.aspx

 

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Yes…It Stinks, But Don’t Worm Your Way Out of It https://risiusfamilyvet.com/yes-it-stinks/ https://risiusfamilyvet.com/yes-it-stinks/#respond Fri, 07 Apr 2017 20:26:17 +0000 https://www.risiusfamilyvet.com/?p=1216 One of the less glamorous parts of our job is setting up and reading a stool sample.  We realize that pet owners are never thrilled about collecting a sample.  Let us assure you that veterinary personnel are not big fans of handling these samples either!  So why do it?  Is it really that important?  The [...]

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One of the less glamorous parts of our job is setting up and reading a stool sample.  We realize that pet owners are never thrilled about collecting a sample.  Let us assure you that veterinary personnel are not big fans of handling these samples either!  So why do it?  Is it really that important?  The answer to those questions would be a resounding, “YES”.  

What parasites are we looking for?

The most common parasites we see in practice are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, coccidia, and Giardia.  

Roundworms are the most common type found in young puppies.  This parasite infects the small intestine.  Infected animals usually have a pot- bellied appearance and often have poor growth rates.  Roundworms are transferred to the young through the uterus and can also via the mother’s milk.

Hookworms attach themselves to the small intestine and suck blood.  Severe infections can be fatal.  Hookworms are the most pathogenic.  This parasite can be contracted through the mother’s milk, transferred through the uterus, and by having skin contact with contaminated soil (You or your kids can contract hookworms by walking around barefoot outside if your soil is contaminated!).

Whipworms are more common in dogs than cats.  Pets rarely show signs of infection until it becomes severe.  Whipworms live in the first section of the large intestine known as the cecum.  Because they shed few eggs, it may take examining several stool samples before a diagnosis is made.  

Tapeworms are contracted by ingesting a flea that has ingested a tapeworm egg or segment, or by eating rodents and other wildlife that are infested with tapeworms and fleas.  Tapeworms are segmented, and reside in the small intestines.  The segments are what hold the eggs.  These segments, which look like grains of rice, are what the owner usually sees attached to their pet or bedding. Tapeworms are also difficult to detect on a normal stool sample analysis.

Coccidia and Giardia are different than the above mentioned parasites.  These parasites are not worms, but are protozoa.  Coccidia generally doesn’t cause symptoms, can be found incidentally on an analysis, and generally isn’t treated unless found in large numbers or symptoms are reported.  Giardia is less commonly seen, but symptoms (diarrhea and weight loss) are more severe.  Unlike the aforementioned parasites, these two cannot be prevented with some of the monthly heartworm preventatives.  

Why is it important to examine my pet’s stool sample?

All parasites have the ability to cause significant health problems in your pets.  Vomiting and diarrhea, poor growth, weight loss, and even death can occur with severe infections.  Different parasites require a different medication to treat, making it extremely important to know what parasite has infected your pet.  Otherwise, the treatment may not work.  To make matters worse, most of these parasites can cause significant health problems in people!  Roundworms, whipworms, hookworms, and Giardia are zoonotic (can spread from animals to people).

My pet had a positive stool sample.  Now what do I do?

Pets that have a positive reading on a stool sample will require added precautions to prevent reinfection and to protect the owner and family.  Always practice good hygiene when handling feces.  Wear gloves if possible, and practice good hand washing techniques.  Clean up feces immediately.  Limit access of children to pets until the stool yields a negative result.  Wiping the pads of your pets’ feet and anus before they come inside will also help stop re-infestation.  

Different parasites require different courses of treatment.  Your veterinarian will discuss the best treatment options with you.  Follow the medication instructions carefully.  Your veterinarian will want to examine another stool sample at a later designated date to ensure the treatment was successful.  Initial treatments are usually sufficient, but additional treatments are sometimes necessary.  We highly recommend a solid monthly preventative routine.  Most monthly heartworm preventions are effective for eliminating most intestinal parasites.  Flea prevention will reduce the chances of your pet becoming infected with tapeworms.  

Has it been more than 6 months since we’ve tested your pet for intestinal parasites? Call us to check, or bring us a sample!

Your pet’s health will always be our main priority.  Please feel free to contact us with your questions or concerns.    

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For more information please visit:  https://www.capcvet.org/

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