Pet Health

Not Long Till the Heat is On

posted April 7th, 2010 by
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Story by Kristi Eaton

The temperature is rising outside and that can only mean one thing: Tulsa’s sweaty, humid summers are right around the corner.

When the temps are just right, spring and summers months in Tulsa can be a great time to spend outdoor time with your four-legged friend, but when thermometer reaches 90 plus degrees, it’s important to remember some basic guidelines for keeping Fido healthy in the heat.

  • Keep water handy. Dogs, like humans, can become dehydrated if they do not retain enough fluid. Make sure you have plenty of cl ean, cool water on hand for your canine.
  • Stay close to shade. Make sure there is some shade nearby, whether its under a tree or under an outdoor gazebo, there should be shade close by to take cover under to cool down quickly.
  • Visit the veterinarian. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends owners take their pets to the vet for a spring or early summer check-up to get tested for heartworm.
  • Know the warning signs of overheating. Warning signs for overheating in a dog include excessive panting, drooling and increased heart rate. Also, be on the lookout for difficulty breathing, stupor and even collapsing. According to ASPCA, animals with flat faces, like a pug, are more susceptible to heat stroke because they are not able to pant as effectively.


posted March 12th, 2010 by
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For dog owners finding their pet suffering from hygromas, hypermobility of joints, arthritis or other elbow problems, adjustable DogLeggs are a possible solution.
A Doglegg is a protective padding for dogs with sore elbows. They are made for dogs of all sizes, form tiny Chihuahuas to large Golden Retrievers.
In addition to the ailments listed above, the product also helps dogs with the following problems:
-Down dogs to prevent decubitus ulcers, and for the prevention of pressure wounds
-Dogs with hip dysplasia to protect the elbows
-Elbow dysplasia
-Post surgical coverage
-Amputees – on both the stump and unaffected limb
-Older dogs to help with pressure
-Neurologic dogs – to provide proprioception to the limbs
-Lick Granuloma
-Dogs whose legs have “pendulous (hanging)” calluses, that need to be “encapsulated” in the DogLeggs requiring a unique fit.  The adjustable DogLeggs come in black only and cost $107.50. A prescription is not necessary. As for the dogs level of comfort, the makers behind DogLeggs say that, in their experience, even the pickiest dog is comfortable wearing the product.



The following insurance companies cover the cost of the DogLegg:
AKC Pet Healthcare Place
Embrace Pet Insurance
Pet First Healthcare
Pets Best Insurance
Pet Plan Pet Insurance
Pethealth Inc.
VPI Pet Insurance

- Kristi Eaton


Laser Therapy for Your Pet

posted March 3rd, 2010 by
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A local veterinarian is bringing laser therapy from humans to animals in an effort to treat injured and arthritic pets.  Keith Bailey of Southwest Veterinary Hospital first started using the therapy, which uses light to stimulate healthy cells to grow within the compromised area and stop dying cells from dying, in November 2009. Since then, he said he has used the technique to treat dozens of animals, specifically cats and dogs, with a variety of ailments like osteoarthritis, ligament injuries and degenerative conditions.

“It’s long been known light is beneficial on tissues and cells,” Bailey said.
In 2002, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the therapy in humans, and in 2009 Bailey was asked to spearhead a study on dogs and cats.
“It’s a very exciting technology,” he said.
Bailey noted that the animals don’t feel anything from the laser.
“All they know is they’re being loved on for a few minutes. The pain from the condition being treated subsides immediately,” he said.
Bailey will typically see a patient a few times, and the treatment will last anywhere from one minute to six to eight minutes, depending on the ailment. Each session with laser therapy costs $35.
There are no adverse side effects, Bailey said, but noted that the eyes can be damaged if the laser is shown directly into the eye.

-Kristi Eaton

Dr. Wade Spradley, 2010 Oklahoma Equine Veterinarian of the Year

posted February 23rd, 2010 by
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          Dr. Wade Spradley of Legacy Equine Medical & Surgical Centre of Glenpool has recently been awarded the prestigious 2010 Oklahoma Equine Veterinarian of the Year at the 95th Annual Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association Convention held in January in Oklahoma City.

               The Oklahoma Equine Veterinarian of the Year is the highest award given by the OVMA. It symbolizes a career of achievement and dedication to the profession, Oklahoma citizens, and their horses. Candidates are nominated by their peers, and then selected from the nominees by past recipients of the award.  To qualify for this award the recipient must be an Oklahoma licensed Veterinarian, must have been an active OVMA member for the ten years immediately preceding nomination, must be recognized as an outstanding veterinarian by his or her colleagues in the veterinary community, and should also be a contributor to his or her community.

In addition, the award is given in recognition of an accumulation of accomplishments to veterinary medicine over a period of several years, a single outstanding identifiable contribution to veterinary medicine within the preceding five years, outstanding expertise within a specific branch of veterinary medicine as recognized by his or her peers, and/or an outstanding contribution to society outside the field of veterinary medicine.

          Born in Cameron, Oklahoma, Dr. Wade Spradley attended Oklahoma State University and received his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1985.  Dr. Spradley’s vast experience comes from working for several different practitioners all across the southern United States.  He has practiced in Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, at two different thoroughbred racetracks, and a lameness practice in Houston, TX. 

Dr. Spradley returned to Oklahoma in 1995 and is now a practitioner and founding co-owner of Legacy Equine Medical and Surgical Centre in Glenpool, Oklahoma.

          Dr. Spradley is an active member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, American Veterinary Medical Association, Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association, and International Society of Equine Locomotor Pathology, an organization of equine veterinarians who practice the highest standard of equine sports medicine and diagnostic imaging through advanced education and certification programs. 

Dr. Spradley performs in depth and complicated lameness exams and uses the latest in lameness treatment technology.  He is also certified in equine embryo transfer.

          Dr. Spradley is a founding co-owner of Legacy Equine Centre, a state-of-the-art, exclusively equine hospital located on 23 acres south of Tulsa in northeastern Oklahoma.  The equine hospital offers the highest quality medical and surgical services to horses of all ages, sizes, and types to fulfill the healthcare needs of your horse.  Advanced lameness and prepurchase exams, diagnostic imaging using digital radiographs and ultrasound, shockwave, and the latest stem cell and platelet rich plasma therapy include a few of the sports medicine services.  Gastroscopy and upper airway endoscopy are also performed routinely.  The intensive care unit encompasses all types of medical cases and includes neonatal capabilities.  Embryo transfer and other reproductive services are also offered.  The hospital’s ambulatory service is available to improve convenience by making farm calls to your location.  Legacy Equine Centre also offers a complete surgical service including orthopedic, arthroscopic, upper respiratory, emergency, and laser surgery. 


Interpreting Food Labels

posted January 15th, 2010 by
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By Dr. Sean Delany, DVM

Few decisions have as great and lasting effect on your dog’s health as how and what you feed every day. But with the vast array of weight control and diet pet products on store shelves today, it can be very confusing finding the right food to fit your best friend’s needs.

Understanding the labels on pet food products can further complicate things with terminology such as “lite,” “reduced calorie,” and “low fat.” To most consumers these probably sound similar, but foods associated with these terms are designed to accomplish different goals in your companion’s health.

Initially deciphering pet food packaging can appear complex, but knowing how to read the labels on pet foods is an important part of responsible pet parenting and will aid you in quickly choosing more healthful options for your furry friend.

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) specifically defines the terms “lite,” “reduced calorie” and “low fat” for pet foods. According to AAFCO, the terms “lite” and “low fat” have specific
“numbers” associated with them. A “lite,” “light,” or “low calorie” pet food must not exceed a certain number of calories per kilogram (Cal/ kg). For dry dog food, a “lite” product cannot have more than 3,100 Cal/ kg. These foods are often a good choice when weight management is a concern.

Similarly, pet food labeled as “low fat” or “lean” cannot exceed a certain percent of crude fat. Crude fat is essentially the regulatory term for dietary fat. For dry dog food, the product cannot have more than 9% crude fat. These products are good when dogs are sensitive to dietary fat levels. Many pets with an adverse reaction to food have gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea that can be made worse with higher levels of dietary fat. Also, some canines believed to have an adverse reaction to food due to an allergy, may actually suffer from fat intolerance and thus benefit from a lower fat option.

On the other hand, terms like “reduced calorie” or “less calories” are relative terms and do not have specific cutoffs associated with them.
These terms mean that the pet food is lower in calories than some other specifically named product.

“Reduced calorie” foods are kept more similar to the product of comparison. The “less” or “reduced” food does not have to have as great a decrease in fat content as “lean” or “low” foods. “Reduced calorie” foods also do not need to have a large amount of water or fiber added to it as would be necessary to meet the “lite” definition. These foods can be a good option for pets that do well on the comparable food but might be a little prone to overeating. However, caution should be used with these foods as they may still have many more calories than a true “lite” or “low calorie” food.

Finally there are a growing number of foods that focus on higher levels of protein and fat for weight maintenance or even weight loss rather than the traditional approach of decreasing the amount of calories in a serving. These foods are believed to induce satiety not by increasing the volume fed, but by lowering carbohydrate intake.

Pet guardians need to continually educate themselves about the pet food industry in general and more specifically about the ingredients and nutritional information found on pet food packaging to ensure they are buying a quality pet food that will meet the nutritional requirements of their particular pet.

Your dog food selection criteria may be many, but primary consideration should be given to how the food performs in your particular pet. Luckily, there are several natural indicators that can help you know if the food is working successfully in your pet, such as your companion’s willingness to eat the food, her coat’s appearance, her maintenance of an ideal body condition, and the consistency of her feces.

Since diet is so important to your dog’s overall health, it’s critical that you take advantage of the resources available to you. For example, many pet food manufacturers include body condition charts online and on every bag to provide the insight you need on your pet’s current body condition.

If a change is needed in your pet’s diet, make sure to do it gradually, since pets are very sensitive to sudden changes in an eating routine. Before you switch your canine to another food, it is recommended you talk with your veterinarian. Whatever diet you pick for your dog, make sure you choose carefully and make the most of her dining experience.

Sean Delaney, DVM, MS, Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition, is a board-certified veterinary nutritionist and Chief Nutrition Officer of Natura Pet Products, manufacturer of EVO, California Natural, Innova, Karma, HealthWise, and Mother Nature natural pet foods and treats.

Overweight Canines

posted January 15th, 2010 by
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By Kristi Eaton

A recent study shows that almost half of dogs are overweight or obese, and local veterinarians say it’s the owners that need to take control if they want to keep Fido around for years to come.

Earlier this year, a study conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention revealed that more than 44 percent of dogs are overweight or obese – a 1 percent increase from the previous year. That calculates to about 7.2 million obese and 26 million overweight dogs in the U.S.

“Pet obesity continues to emerge as a leading cause of preventable disease and death in dogs and cats,” said Veterinarian Ernie Ward, lead researcher and founder of the association. “Our pets are in real danger of not living as long as previous generations and developing serious and costly diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, and other largely avoidable conditions.” In some cases, said Mark Appelbaum, a veterinarian at Sheridan Road Veterinary Clinic in Tulsa, a dog carrying too much weight can develop bone and joint disease or heart disease. Unlike cats, overweight or obese dogs don’t usually develop diabetes, although it can happen, he said. The weight and possible resulting diseases play a role in lifespan. Research has shown that dogs with a healthy weight can live two years longer than slightly overweight canines. Too much weight can be attributed to hormone imbalances, at which point the vet will be able to help, Appelbaum said.

But in most cases it is a simple case of calories in vs. calories out, or too many calories consumed and not enough exercise to expend calories. He said it’s a matter of owners keeping track of what and how much their canines are eating.

“A dog will eat whatever you feed it,” he said. “If you feed it right, it will eat the proper stuff because it can’t go get its own food.” Like humans, Appelbaum said overeating and too little exercise can start at a young age.

“Just like with a kid, it starts at a young age and is hard to overcome,” the vet said. When dealing with an overweight pet, the owner must look at him or herself, Appelbaum explained. “They’re (the owners) going to have to look at a change in the diet, a more weight friendly, calorie controlled diet,” he said, adding that table scraps and treats are the biggest food culprits.

Appelbaum used an example of a 10 pound dog to explain his assertion. A 10 pound dog, he said, needs to consume about 200 calories per day to maintain weight. If that dog eats half a piece of toast and some eggs from the owner’s plate, that’s about 250 calories. Then, he added, the canine will consume his regular dog food. On top of that, most owners give their four-legged friend a treat every time he goes outside or does something good. If every treat contains about 25 calories and they get a four a day, that’s another 100 calories.

To combat the overeating, Appelbaum recommends eliminating giving treats when your dog goes outside or does something good. However, if that’s not possible, he said a treat should be broken into five or six pieces and only one piece given at a time.

Paul DeMars, a veterinarian at OSU’s small animal clinic, also believes people play a major role in the battle of the bulge. “When we look at the amount of food we take in, many times someone will look at a little tiny piece of cheese and say, ‘You know, for me this is not many calories.’ But if they look at the same amount of calories for their 10 pound poodle, that little piece of cheese that seemed so innocent may be the equivalent of feeding us two and a half cheeseburgers. It looks so tiny to us on our plate and what we eat in a day, but when you look at the size comparisons and the metabolic differences, you’d be amazed at how many calories they’re actually adding to that small little animal with the treat off their plate.” Exercise is the other important component for a dog to live a healthy life.

The basis guidelines for dogs, DeMars said, is at least 20 minutes of consistent exercise each day, but many pets do not get that.

“I think some people say my dog spends a lot of time outdoors, but if you actually videotaped the animal, you’d actually see the dog spends a lot of time sleeping, rather than actually moving. Like our doctors tells us, get up and do something physical for about 20 minutes a day…a walk around the block, in the park, something physical with the owner,” he said. Moreover, just because a dog is small it doesn’t mean exercise isn’t important.

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention study, small-breed dogs, like Dachshunds, Chihuahuas and Yorkshire Terriers, have more trouble with their weight than larger breeds, such as Labrador Retrievers or Golden Retrievers, due to a lack of exercise. Older pets are also more susceptible to being overweight, according to the study, which said that 52 percent of overweight or obese dogs are over the age of 7 years.

To combat the excess weight, De Mars said owners should take their canine to the vet every year and ask the necessary questions.

“Is this the right food? Is this what he should be fed? Are we feeding the right amount? Let the veterinarian help guide them in that process.” The vet can then determine the animal’s body composition score, DeMars explained. The veterinarians assess the canine’s body composition by examining the dog, palpating its ribs, lumbar area, tail and head. The results are then compared to the breed standard. If a dog is obese, it will have an excess body weight of approximately 10 to 15 percent. In the nine-point scoring system, dogs which have a body condition score greater than seven are considered to be obese.
Appelbaum said that, in addition to normal diet and exercise, there are different prescription diet foods. Purina and Science Diet, for example, each have one. Appetite suppressant medications are also available and can be prescribed by a vet.

“It helps by making the dogs feel fuller faster, so they don’t eat as much and, therefore, they tend to lose weight pretty well,” Appelbaum said.