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Summer 2007 Petnews Issue

PETNEWS (Summer 2007)

Knee Injury in Dogs

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Rupture of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament or ACL is the most common debilitating orthopaedic problem encountered in the dog. Until recently surgical techniques available for treating this disease did not provide the necessary support to allow the athletic canines to return to full activity.  In recent years a new surgical technique developed by the late Dr. Barclay Slocum has allowed dogs of all sizes to return to full athletic activity and remain comfortable and sound after ACL injury.  The Tibial Plateau Levelling Osteotomy or TPLO is a complex orthopaedic procedure that is performed by a small number of orthopaedic surgeons. This surgery, widely acknowledged as the “gold standard” for ACL repair in the dog is performed by a limited number of specially trained orthopaedic surgeons.  The surgery involves changing the angle or “levelling” the top of the tibia to eliminate the forces that put strain on the ACL. Our own Dr. Nick Shaw, founder of Shaw Pet Hospitals is now performing this surgery routinely. If your pet needs ACL surgery, consider the TPLO for optimal return to function and for the happiness of your pet!  For further information, Dr. Shaw will be happy to discuss your pets condition and the benefits of TPLO.

Anesthesia. How safe is it for your pet?

At Shaw Pet Hospitals, we offer all our clients and patients the highest level of services available in our practice. We provide your pet with the best possible care and provide you with advice which will allow you to make the best decision for your pet.

Anesthesia for our companion pets, as in human medicine is extremely safe. Anesthetic risk is greatly minimized when a healthy pet is placed under general anesthesia. However, there are some complications that can occur both during and after an anesthetic procedure if your pet is not healthy. And in order to minimize the potential risk associated with general anesthesia, we recommend complete health status assessment of your pet such as pre-anesthetic testing before placing him/her under anesthesia.

During a pre-anesthetic consultation, the doctor will obtain a complete history and perform a detailed physical exam on your pet. The doctor will discuss with you the surgical procedure to be performed, the anesthetic risk and complications and will answer any questions you may have concerning your pets’ condition.

Pre-Anesthetic Blood Testing

This test is recommended even in young animals to give us a complete physiological picture which will help us understand your pet’s overall health and determine if your pet is a good anesthetic candidate. This test will allow us to screen for kidney, thyroid, and liver functions, infectious diseases, anemia, diabetes and certain bleeding disorders.

Intravenous Fluid Therapy

Intravenous catheter placement and fluid therapy help to support the kidneys and cardiovascular system during anesthesia. Animals recover faster when they receive fluids during anesthesia. In addition, an IV catheter that is established before surgery allows for rapid administration of life saving medication should it be required.

Sevoflurane Gas Anesthesia

All our patients receive inhalant general anesthetic agents. Because of its safety, sevoflurane has become a widely accepted agent in human anesthesia and is recommended for veterinary patients. Our hospital uses sevoflurane or isoflurane anesthesia on all patients receiving inhalant agents.

Our doctors and technicians are always upgrading their knowledge to keep abreast of new drugs, improvements in surgical techniques and anesthetic procedures to ensure your pet’s anesthesia is safe and that his or her surgical recovery is as pain free as possible.

Caring For Your Pets’ Teeth

By Dr. Michelle Hansford

Why is periodontal disease the number one illness veterinarians diagnose in pets?


It is caused by bacterial infection of tissues supporting the teeth. This is most commonly associated to risk factors such as malocclusion, poor diet, poor home care, suppressed immune system, lack of professional care and genetic predisposition. Unfortunately for our pets, since their teeth are not routinely checked or seen, the periodontal disease progresses without the owner realizing it. Think of how you take care of your own teeth; you brush twice daily, you floss daily, and you see your dentist every six months to twelve months for a professional cleaning. Our pets need these standards of care as well. Periodontal disease is completely preventable.

Let us dispel some myths about veterinary oral care…

1. Isn’t it normal for pets to have bad breath?

No. Although bad breath can be related to a more serious illness, it is normally indicative of infection along the gum line.

2. My pet doesn’t feel pain like I do: he/ she has higher pain threshold.

Dogs and cats feel pain associated to dental disease the same way and in the same degree as humans. The Compendium on Continuing Education published a series of articles in 1991 indicating that dogs and cats have the same pain thresholds and tolerances as humans. They react and withdraw to the same level of stimulation and they have the same physiologic reactions to pain as humans do. Dogs and cats will continue to eat and play with us despite severe dental infections. It is quite common in our practice for owners to inform us after a dental treatment that their pet’s attitude has improved dramatically.

3. Can my pet have his/her teeth cleaned without anesthetic?

No. For dental cleaning to be therapeutically beneficial, all calculus and plaque must be removed from tooth surface above and below the gum line. Having the patient under general anesthesia will allow us to perform a complete oral exam, clean both the crown of the teeth (the part you can see) and the parts that are below the gum line. It is impossible to clean below the gum line, in between teeth, or on the tongue side of the teeth in a conscious/awake patient. It is also impossible to be able to thoroughly scale and polish the teeth of an awake animal. Scaling involves very sharp instruments which can tear oral tissues if a patient moves and improperly polished teeth will allow plaque to accumulate faster. Another important aspect to consider is that dental cleaning mobilizes a large bacterial population. Anesthetized patients have a cuffed endotracheal tube in place to protect their airway. There is no such equipment used in “standing dentals”, thus enabling bacteria to get into the animal’s lungs that can potentially cause a subsequent infection. These procedures are performed by our trained veterinary technician and veterinarians.

4. How risky is general anesthesia?

Safety starts with preanesthetic blood panels to ensure that your pet is the best anesthetic candidate. This allows us to evaluate internal organs functions and blood cells to detect underlying disease. Our patients are monitored continuously throughout all surgical procedures. The benefits of dental cleaning often far outweigh the risks of general anesthesia. Book pre-operative consultation with one of our veterinarians to go over your pets’ individual needs.

How much does it cost to clean my pet’s teeth?

That is a good question! The cost will depend on the stage of periodontal disease your pet has. Some pets come in to have their teeth cleaned while others have ongoing disease which requires extraction of teeth (sometimes multiple teeth in one sitting). The doctor will go over a specific treatment plan for your pet during your pre-op consult.

Periodontal disease causes pain and serious dental problems later in life. This can lead to systemic illness, such as heart and kidney disease. It is never too late to start brushing your pets’ teeth. It is even more important to take care of our older pets’ teeth. Although it may be a bit more difficult to teach your older pet to accept brushing, most of them do learn to enjoy some extra bonding time with you. Keeping your pet’s mouth healthy is an important step in your pet’s overall good health.

Meet One of the Wonderful Dogs That VPAS Helped This Year

Meet Wink (Now Maggie), the Jack Russell Terrier puppy. When Wink was only 5 weeks old she sustained an injury to her right eye. Poor Wink’s eye was left untreated and by the time she was seen by a veterinarian, at 7 weeks of age, the damage to her eye was so severe that it could not be saved. Wink’s owner was not able to afford the surgery that Wink so urgently needed, so she asked VPAS to care for Wink and to help find her a new home. Luckily the staff of Shaw Pet Hospitals donated their time to perform the surgery to remove Wink’s badly damaged eye. Thank you to all of those who made donations to purchase the supplies to make Wink’s surgery possible. Wink is now almost one year old, and spends her days running around on her farm, playing with other Jack Russell Terriers and her new family.

VPAS UPDATE:

Catherine Clayton

In a place like Victoria, where each of the 100+ veterinary offices performs several spay or neuter surgeries each day, it can be difficult to imagine that there would be much of a problem with stray or unwanted cats. Unfortunately, many of the rural areas of Victoria, and its surrounding communities, are home to hundreds, if not thousands, of stray and feral cats. One such area was brought to the attention of Victoria Pet Adoption Society (VPAS) in early April of 2007 when the folks at a local trailer park contacted VPAS with a plea for help with their overwhelming stray cat population. The trailer park is home to approximately 30-40 stray cats which have been abandoned by their owners. Most of these cats have not been spayed or neutered, and many of the female cats are pregnant.

In an effort to help both the cats and the residents of the park, VPAS and others have begun the "Summer Home" Project. Our goal is to spay and neuter all of the strays in the park and to find appropriate homes for as many as we can. Unfortunately, the cost of spaying and neutering so many animals is very significant and we cannot do it without the support of the public. Therefore, VPAS has started the "Summer Home" Fund to help cover the costs of necessary surgical procedures and care for these cats. Not only do these cats require medical attention but many of the pregnant strays require special care in foster homes while they have their kittens.
Many of the cats removed from the trailer park will be adoptable and will be posted for adoption on our website
http://vpas.wormers.com. Some of the cats have been born outside of proper homes and will be best suited for farm homes; we will be trying to place these cats in appropriate homes as well.  

To find out more about the "Summer Home" Project, or to donate to the "Summer Home" Fund, please contact Catherine at 652-4312 or email vpas@wormers.com. For further information about VPAS and its community projects please visit our website http://vpas.wormers.com regularly.

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