Top

Dogs

Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails?

Cartoon: Ever have one of those days when you feel like you're chasing your own tail

Dogs are playful.  Yes, it is possible your dog is literally chasing their tail.  They might be keeping themselves entertained.

Learning about their bodies.  Just like infants, puppies are becoming aware of their bodies.

Rewarded behavior.  If you laugh at, or scold, your dog when they chase their tail, they take this as an opportunity get attention.

Breed specific.  Believe it or not, some breeds are more prone to “whirl!”  German Shepherds and Terriers are more likely to find amusement in their tails.

Medical concerns.  Although it’s usually entertaining to watch your pup chasing their tail, there are times when this behavior requires medical intervention.  A few concerns include:

  • Fleas and/or intestinal parasites
  • Impacted anal glands
  • Arthritis
  • Senior dogs who have not had this type of quirk might be presenting cognitive disorders

Please call us or schedule an appointment on-line if you have any concerns.


How to Achieve a Stress Free & Enjoyable 4th of July

 

The season of noise is upon us.  This can be a stressful time for many dogs and cats.  For those pets who are anxious and scared by the excessive noise and explosions, we often prescribe anti-anxiety medications and/or sedatives. These pet medications can be very helpful as a part of your overall strategy to reduce the anxiety that these stressful events can have on you and your household.

The key components to successful stress prevention for your pet are to plan ahead and if using medication, to start administering well before there is any stimulus that may cause fear and anxiety. Once your pet hears the noise and becomes fearful or anxious, it greatly reduces the effectiveness of the medication and/or stress relieving efforts.

 We recommend that you start using sedatives or anti-anxiety medication at 1/2 dosing at least 2-4 days before you expect fireworks to start. On the day you expect noise in your neighborhood, you should start giving the full dose early in the day, well before it begins.

When starting any new medication of this type, we recommend that you do a "trial run" before the event to see how your pet responds. These medications often have a large safety margin that can be adjusted if needed in order to ensure efficacy and success.  

This year, July 4th falls on Wednesday so it is very likely that there will be excessive noise beginning the weekend before the holiday and realistically it will continue all week through the following weekend. If this is likely to be the case in your neighborhood, please remember to put in your request for medication well in advance so we can be certain it is in stock and so that it can proactively administered. 

If you are saw a great response and are happy with the medication you have used in the past, please call request a refill online or over the phone.  Please note that your pet must be current on their Wellness Exam for the clinic to prescribe medication. If treating your pet for anxiety is new or you would like to try an alternative medication that may be more effective and please call us and we can discuss options.

Historically, we have prescribed sedatives like Acepromazine for many dogs.  This medication is often effective, but it does cause sedation and does not specifically relieve stress.  For the past few years, we have prescribed Trazodone more commonly because it has anti-anxiety and sedative effects. 

Last year we started carrying Sileo which is the only FDA approved medication specifically for the treatment of noise aversion in dogs. This medication is unique since it calms without sedating. It can be used by itself or in combination with other medications based on your doctor’s recommendations.  This medication can be used for any noise issues including fireworks, thunder, construction, etc.

We also have options available for cats. Most commonly prescribed is Gabapentin. It is used to help calm fearful kitties during times such as fireworks, thunder, travel in cars or even just trips to the vet. Gabapentin can be used in both cats and dogs.

In addition to prescription medications, we carry a natural, lactose free supplement derived from casein, a milk protein. The product is Zylkene. It can be given orally or sprinkled with food and is given once a day. Zylkene is safe for use in both cats and dogs.

To aid in a successful, untroubled home, here are a few other suggestions you can try to help prevent noise induced fear and stress:

If possible, travel to a quieter area away from your home for the July 4th holiday.

If staying at home, try to create a safe place for your dog or cat to be during the fireworks. They tend to feel safest in enclosed, den like areas. Some pets find a closet, bathroom or kennel to hide in when they are frightened. If you know where your pet’s “safe spot” is, get it ready so it is accessible and comfortable for them. Ideally, you can work with your pet prior to any stress to make this a safe place where they get treats and enjoy being.

Having other noise in the house to help mask the sudden explosions can also be helpful. Some people have the volume of music and television turned up loud to help drown out the loud noises. If possible, having the windows closed and the shades or curtains closed can help create a quieter, safer environment.

We want to help you and your pet have as stress-free and enjoyable July 4th holiday as possible. Please feel free to call with any questions or requests.

 Thank you for allowing us to care for your furry family.

Best,

Diane Boudreau, Client Services.

Timothy R Kraabel, DVM, DABVP (Canine/Feline Practice)

Vice President American Board of Veterinary Practitioners

Helping you understand what your pet's surgery day might be like

Our Wednesday Surgery Team explains what a typical surgery day looks like.

Dr. Coleman and Gwen in our surgery suite.

Dr. Coleman and Gwen in our surgery suite.

It is often an emotional and scary thing to leave your pet with us for the day. We want to share with you what our typical day looks like and who cares for your pet. Dr. Kraabel and Sarah work in surgery on Wednesdays along with Dr. Coleman and her assistant Jess.  Kelsey, Gwen and Lindsay are our talented Licensed Veterinary Technicians in surgery on Wednesdays.  As has been blogged before, Gwen is also a Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner.

Surgery days can consist of a wide range of procedures, from spay and neuters to dental cleanings and dental surgeries, growth removals and exploratory surgeries. Admission appointments typically occur in the morning.  Surgery days are notoriously unpredictable.  Procedures can take hours longer than anticipated and time set backs are common.  Dr. Kraabel’s career long attempts to tame these realities have been unsuccessful.  

The receptionist, who has scheduled the appointment, compiled an estimate for the owner and put all the paperwork together, leads owner and patient to an exam room.  Diane, Celine, and Kristen commonly help you on our surgery morning.

Kelsey or Lindsay typically perform the bulk of Wednesday admissions and go over any questions or concerns about the planned procedures. Once all the paperwork is completed and the owner has said their “See you soon”, patients go for a ride in the elevator and head upstairs.  We let them push the elevator buttons.

Sarah and Jess holding Hendrix and Chico after their procedures

Sarah and Jess holding Hendrix and Chico after their procedures

Upstairs, Sarah, Jess, or the technicians record the temperature and weight and set up a kennel for them. As intimidating as this process can be for our patients we take pride in doing our best to console the patient with calming touch, tone, and words of comfort. Cuddling is common. Each kennel is covered with a soft towel or blanket where the patient waits for the procedure, sometimes more patiently than others.  They often receive calming medication at this point, even if their procedure is later in the day.  For our extra worried cats, we place hide away boxes in with them and a towel on the front of the kennel. They need to have a safe and private place to retreat. We also use calming pheromones like Feliway for cats and Adaptil for dogs to help calm their mood.

Each patient receives a pre-surgical exam from the doctor where they look at gum color and listen to the heart. The technician or assistant draws blood, if the patient needs preoperative blood work. Blood work makes sure their kidneys and liver are working normally. The anesthetic machine and monitors are prepared and set up and materials are collated for the planned procedure. A combination of sedative and pain medication are given into the patient’s muscle.  Typically, the assistant gives the patient a big hug or wraps them in a towel for restraint and sedative is injected into the thigh or muscles alongside the spine. Then, we wait for our patient to relax and fall asleep.

Once they are sleepy, their technician places an intravenous catheter. It is always important to have venous access while a patient is under anesthesia. Intravenous anesthesia is given until they are completely asleep to allow the placement of an endotracheal tube. Gas anesthetic and oxygen are turned on and intravenous fluids are started.

Dr. Kraabel shows Lindsay a tooth that needs to be removed.

Dr. Kraabel shows Lindsay a tooth that needs to be removed.

At this point, they are prepared for their surgery and the procedure then takes place. As we said, it may vary greatly how long a patient is under anesthesia but there is not a time limit. The patient’s vital signs are monitored closely throughout surgery by one of the technicians who stays with the patient throughout their procedure. Once the surgery is complete, the support staff will sit with the patient, vigilantly monitoring vital signs until they are able to sit up and swallow. Technicians also focus on pain management and administer post-operative pain medication as needed. At times, internal temperatures may drop during surgery.  The assistants and technicians wrap the patients in warm blankets often cradling and cuddling with them creating a comfortable and smooth recovery period. While the assistant aids in recovery, the doctor records the surgical notes and the technician finishes up filling post-op medications and discharge instructions. 

This is when we will call and let the patient's people know that everything went fine.

Performing surgical procedures is complicated with an intricate collaboration of talented and empathetic caregivers. Each team member is part of the puzzle and has a role in making sure every patient receives the best standard of care and comfort. Be consoled in knowing that when you leave your pet with us, we strive to treat them as our own. 

 

Sarah Kwon, BS, DVM candidate class of 2021

Timothy R Kraabel, DVM, DABVP (Canine/Feline Practice); Vice President, American Board of Veterinary Practitioners