Banfield Releases 2019 State of Pet Health Report

Banfield Pet Hospital’s annual State of Pet Health Report analyzes data from over 2.5 million dogs and half a million cats that are patients at their veterinary offices in the US.

You can check out the full report on the Banfield website, including interactive features like checking on the most common pet health issues in your state, by dog or cat.

What are the most common pet health issues seen at Banfield?

  • Dental calculus (tartar)
  • Overweight
  • Otitis externa (ear infection)
  • Luxating patella
  • Nuclear sclerosis (cloudy eye)

Banfield also reports a significant increase in the diagnosis of osteoarthritis in both dogs and cats.  They note that this increase is primarily due to the growing problem of obesity in our pets, as extra weight puts stress on their joints.

Skin allergies are also commonly seen in the pets brought to Banfield.  The three most common are:

  • Flea allergies
  • Food allergies
  • Environmental allergies

Be sure to keep your pet at a healthy weight and talk to your veterinarian about any health concerns you have about your best friend!

 

 

Tips on Reducing the Stress of Vet Visits for Your Dog

The website Companion Animal Psychology is a great resource for dog and cat owners interested in learning how to better understand their pets.

The site recently published some helpful advice on how to ensure that your dog is as calm as possible during trips to the vet’s office.  The tips are based on research published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science, which you can find HERE.

The researchers found that many factors can increase your dog’s stress at the vet, including prior negative experiences, the dog’s individual genetic makeup, and upsetting sights, sounds, smells, etc. at the vet.

Another cause of fear is something called “trigger stacking”—the combination of stressful experiences that can go into a vet visit (being put in a carrier, being restrained, etc.).

Here are just a few recommendations for helping dogs that feel anxiety about going to the vet.  Be sure to read the full article for more information!

  • Avoid feeding before a visit so your dog will be interested in treats given by staff at the vet’s office.  Treats are good rewards after unpleasant procedures like vaccinations.
  • Bring a blanket or toys from home to help comfort your dog.
  • Stay with your dog during the exam/consultation, and any other procedures if possible.

  • Get your dog used to car rides, carriers, and routine physical handling before trips to the vet.  Nail trimming and ear cleaning at the vet’s office can help accustom your dog to being there.
  • Very stressed dogs can wait in the car rather than the waiting room.  Muzzles and sedation can also be helpful in extreme cases.

 

3D Printing Gives Dachshund Second Chance at Life

Patches, an adorable 9-year-old Dachshund, developed a tumor on the top of her head that grew aggressively until it began to press on her brain and eyes.  Veterinarians knew that they needed to remove a large portion of her skull to treat her.

Patches needed a new “skull” to cover the opening at the top of her head.  The solution?  A 3D printed titanium implant custom made to fit Patches!

Veterinarians performed a 4-hour operation, removing the tumor and attaching the implant to her skull.

While 3D printing technology has been used successfully to create artificial limbs and lower jaws for animals, using it for a skull plate is unusual.

Veterinarians note that a high cost, complicated procedure would be most effectively used in a case like Patches—when a pet cannot survive without the implant.

Click HERE to read an article about Patches, and check out this video documenting her incredible story:

 

Image:  Dr. Michelle Oblak

 

Vets Warn that People are Hurting their Pets to Get Opioids

A recent editorial in the American Journal of Public Health has been getting a lot of attention in the news, as it points to a disturbing new trend among drug users.

Researchers at the University of Colorado conducted a survey of veterinarians and discovered a growing concern among vets that their clients are intentionally hurting their pets to obtain prescription painkillers.

Substance abuse experts note that people who suffer from opioid addiction will go to great lengths to obtain drugs, and the use of veterinarians is a little-known part of the problem.

According to the survey of nearly 200 veterinarians, 13% reported that they suspected a client had intentionally hurt a pet to obtain drugs.

45% of the vets said that they knew of either clients or staff members who abused opioids.  12% knew that a staff member was either diverting or using veterinary painkillers.

Concerned veterinary professionals can enroll in an online course about prescription drug abuse and veterinary practice, created by the Colorado School of Public Health.  Click HERE for more information.

 

British Veterinary Association Launches #BreedtoBreathe Awareness Campaign

With the growing popularity of brachycephalic (short-nosed) dog breeds like French Bulldogs and Pugs, veterinarians are increasingly concerned about the health and well-being of these dogs.

Many short-muzzled dogs suffer from a condition called BOAS (brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome).  Symptoms include respiratory noise, narrowed nostrils, gastrointestinal problems, sleep apnea, heat intolerance, cyanosis (low oxygen), and collapse.

The British Veterinary Association has recently announced its new #BreedtoBreathe campaign, which seeks to raise awareness about the health problems of brachycephalic breeds.

You can read the BVA’s official policy statement on brachycephalic dogs HERE.  In it, they outline their concern about breeding practices (and advertising campaigns) that promote brachycephalic dogs, and provide guidance for vets on how to raise awareness about the health problems of short-muzzled dogs with clients.

The #BreedtoBreathe campaign provides a 10-point plan for veterinarians that emphasizes the need for vets to educate pet owners about the health and quality of life problems faced by many brachycephalic dog breeds.

Interested in learning more about the health issues of brachycephalic dogs and the #BreedtoBreathe campaign?  Watch this short video: