Danger, dandruff ahead!

posted on February 02, 2017 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

Does your pet’s skin mimic the weather outside this time of year with white flakes?  Winter causes many issues for pets and people alike.  One of the more common issues we see in pets during this time of year is dandruff, or dry, flaky, and sometimes itchy skin.

The dry air outside combined with the dry air of heat systems in most houses leads to dandruff, cracking, chapped, and flaking skin.  Harsh chemical ice melt and salt along with extreme temperatures can cause paw pads to develop sores and crack as well.  There are things we can do to help however.

First of all, it should be noted that not all dry, flaky skin issues are caused by “dry skin”.  Ringworm, mites, fleas, allergies, and other skin infections can all cause similar symptoms.  Low thyroid levels, Cushing’s disease, and other autoimmune diseases can also cause changes in haircoat and skin.  A visit to the veterinarian to rule out these things should be considered before implementing any of the below suggestions.  Please call us if you have concerns with your pet’s skin.

One of the first things that can help with dry skin is an omega fatty acid or fish oil supplement.  Omega fatty acids help decrease inflammation in the body, and can decrease the itch from allergies.  They also decrease dryness of skin and dander.  Lastly, they help boost immune function, including that of the skin.

There are some foods that have an increased amount of fatty acids, and they are usually fish based, or have claims of skin and hair benefits on the label.  These foods may also have increased amounts of vitamins A and E, and/or zinc, which are all important antioxidants and skin and immune system factors.

Having a humidifier in the house can sometimes benefit you and your pet as well, but be careful if the humidity is too high as this can cause other health issues.

Bathing may seem like a good thing, but bathing too frequently can actually worsen the issues.  Using an oatmeal shampoo and/or a leave in conditioner can help keep skin moisturized.  Avoid using human shampoos however as the pH is not appropriate for pet’s skin.  If a medicated shampoo has be dispensed for another issue, please discuss with your vet how frequently that should be done and if you can use an oatmeal shampoo or conditioner in conjunction with or instead of the prescribed shampoo.

Wipe feet after walks outside to help remove the salt and other debris.  Booties or a paw protectant cream such as udder balm/bag balm or musher’s secret can be used if cracks develop.

Hopefully together we can keep your pet’s skin healthy this winter season!

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November Nutrition: What food should I feed my pet?

posted on November 02, 2012 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

As November begins, many of us start thinking of our delicious turkey dinner with all the trimmings.  As thoughts of cranberries and stuffing fill our minds, I urge you to think of the meals we give our pets every day.  Here at Heritage Animal Hospital, we offer a variety of prescription diets and wellness diets for all of your pets’ needs.

Our veterinary therapeutic diets include Hill’s®, Purina®, and Royal Canin® products.  They are available for a variety of health issues including weight loss and management, diabetes, kidney disease, gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting or diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, food sensitivities or allergies, liver disease, urinary tract disease, joint disease, and dental disease amongst others.

For our healthy pets, we offer Purina Pro Plan® foods and Solid Gold® foods for all lifestages including puppy/kitten, adult, and senior.  There are a number of reasons we at Heritage Animal Hospital recommend Solid Gold® Foods.  Solid Gold® was one of the first pet food companies in the United States that uses all natural ingredients in their food.  Solid Gold® is a holistic food that uses premium ingredients and none of the foods contain artificial preservatives.

Solid Gold® does include ingredients such as quality protein sources for muscular health, whole grain for fiber, fruits and vegetables for cell health, essential omega fatty acids for skin and hair health, glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health, taurine for heart health, botanical extracts for antioxidants, and probiotics for intestinal tract health. Solid Gold has varieties with different protein levels for different pet needs, as well as gluten free and grain free varieties.

Purina Pro Plan® foods are well-balanced diets that come in formulas for all life stages.  They contain ingredients such as real meat, poultry, or fish for muscle and heart health.  They also contain high levels of antioxidants to help support the immune system, vitamins and minerals to support heart health and bone and teeth strength, prebiotics to support digestive system health and are a highly digestible formula to minimize waste.  In addition, they help maintain a healthy weight through an optimal protein to fat ratio.  Purina Pro Plan also comes in a wide array of varieties, ingredients, tastes, and textures to ensure your pet will like what they are eating.

We understand there is a wide variety of pet foods available on the market today, and many of them are quality foods.  These are just a few that we have found and liked.  If you feed something else, please make sure that somewhere on the bag there is a statement saying the food has been tested or formulated to meet AAFCO standards for your pet’s particular life stage.

Still confused by the choices facing you in the pet food aisle?  Ask us today about the best diet choice for your pet’s needs, life stage, and health status!

Posted in: Nutrition Obesity

Autumn Aches and Pains

posted on October 15, 2012 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

As colder weather sets in, our pets may feel it in their joints too.  According to the Arthritis Foundation 1 in 5 dogs in the United States is estimated to have arthritis.

So what is arthritis?  Arthritis is a chronic, degenerative disease of the joints which occurs when the cartilage of the joint is damaged by trauma or injury, wear and tear, or congenital abnormalities such as hip dysplasia.

Signs that your pet may be suffering from arthritis include:

  • Reluctance to take walks of usual length
  • Decreased interest in play
  • Stiffness, which may disappear as pet “warms up”
  • Difficulty climbing stairs, getting into the vehicle, or jumping on the bed or other furniture
  • Difficulty rising from rest
  • Limping or abnormal gait or posture
  • Licking a single joint
  • Acting withdrawn and spending less time with the family
  • Soreness to touch, which can in some instances lead to aggression
  • Decreased range of motion
  • “Slowing down”

If your pet is exhibiting any of the above signs, they may be suffering from arthritis.  While there is not a cure for arthritis, there are many treatment options aimed at preventing the disease from progressing and minimizing the impact of the changes that have already occurred.  In other words, we want to help keep your pet comfortable and acting like their younger self!

Treatment options may include things such as:

  • Weight reduction
  • Controlled exercise
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate supplements
  • Omega fatty acids
  • Physical therapy
  • Veterinary therapeutic diets
  • Prescription anti-inflammatory and pain medications
  • Joint injections
  • Acupuncture and massage therapy
  • Surgical options

Your pet does not have to live with the pain of arthritis, so give us a call today!

Posted in: Uncategorized