Quarterly Prints

Volume 3 – Issue 1

What’s New at Claws & Paws

We are happy to let everyone know we have Ruth Lindsey, DVM and two new technicians who have joined our team. Dr. Lindsey graduated from Texas A&M Vet School in May of 2013. Dr. Lindsey’s outside interests include Radiology, Ophthalmology, and Preventative Medicine.

Beth Stoned joined our team in November 2013. She decided to become a veterinary technician and went to school at PIMA Medical Institute for veterinary technology. She completed a full year of classroom studies followed by an eight-week externship at a local veterinary hospital.

Beth’s experience goes back to 2000, mostly in specialty surgery such as orthopedics and soft tissue surgery (which is her favorite), but she also enjoys general practice.

Kelsie LaSharr also joined us in November of 2013. Previously, Kelsie spent two years as a Veterinary Assistant in Glendale, Arizona where she learned technical and receptionist skills. She is very excited to be at Claws & Paws in a small animal environment.

Hypoglycemia in Puppies

By Sarah Mooty

Hypoglycemia is defined as below-normal levels of sugar in the blood. Hypoglycemia is a syndrome that, if left untreated, causes detrimental symptoms such as seizures, confusion, lethargy, coma, brain swelling and even death. Luckily, hypoglycemia is easily prevented.

Hypoglycemia occurs primarily in toy breeds between 6 and 12 weeks of age. However, any puppy under 10 pounds and less than 4-5 months old is at risk. This high risk factor is due to the fact that these little guys do not have adequate sugar and energy reserves within the liver. Prolonged or repeated hypoglycemic attacks in toy breed puppies can cause brain damage.

To help prevent hypoglycemia occurrences, first the pet owner must understand the elements that trigger these puppies to have a sudden decrease in glucose. The most common cause of acute hypoglycemia is missing a meal. Smaller puppies should be fed 4-5 meals daily for multiple boosts of energy. Other causes of hypoglycemia include becoming exhausted from too much play, having an upset stomach, or when a puppy is stressed by shipping. These events place an added strain on the energy reserves. The veterinarian may also recommend a nutritional supplement, such as Nutri-Cal, to give in between meals or in times of high stress to prevent hypoglycemia from happening.

If a puppy begins to experience symptoms of hypoglycemia it is highly recommended that he is brought to the closest veterinary clinic immediately. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include but are limited to stupor (which is staring into space), lethargy, weakness, muscle tremors, seizures, and/or coma. On the way to the veterinarian, it is acceptable, if the puppy is awake and able to swallow, to give the Nutri-Cal supplement orally to the puppy. If the owner does not have any Nutri-cal at home, a small amount of Karo syrup or another brand of syrup can be rubbed along the puppy’s gum line. At the veterinary clinic the puppy will have his glucose tested, possibly be given an intravenous dextrose solution and monitored for brain swelling.

Puppies with frequent attacks should undergo veterinary testing to rule out an underlying problem, such as liver shunt (which occurs when the blood flow to and through the liver is compromised), infection, or an enzyme or hormone deficiency.

With the owner following the proper preventive measures, their puppy should live a happy and playful life.

Specialing a Sight Hound

By Gerry Thornton

I have been showing dogs for over 15 years, starting with Rottweilers and later dabbling in Toy and Sporting breeds. I then moved to scent and sight Hounds, where I have come to find my true passion.

Many years ago I became fascinated with Salukis. When I was first asked to show one for Ms. Marinell McCowen, I was thrilled and immediately fell in love with the breed. I was intrigued by their “cat-like” nature. It was not long after this that I found myself owning one; or should I say “being” owned by one. Marinell and my first Saluki took me down a thrilling and fulfilling path in the dog show world that I could never have imagined. With Marinell’s guidance as my mentor along with my hard work and dedication, I have been able to achieve many pleasures and satisfactions with Salukis.

I quickly found out how smart sight hounds are. My first girl slowly but surely talked me into sharing my couch, chair and soon my bed with her. I also found out that sight hounds are not as easy to show as some other breeds. They sometimes have a mind of their own: one day showing like a million bucks and the next day showing like they have never been on a leash before. Sometimes it seems like every day I go into the ring is a new adventure, because you can never be 100% sure what they will want to do that particular day.

It takes a special, delicate hand to show the sight hounds because they are a breed that takes things to heart and do not respond at all to force or loud commands. So, if you think you can reprimand them like you would a Rottweiler, you are in for a surprise. It could very well take weeks before they show for you again. I have learned that you just go with the flow and if they decide to show today, Great! If not, then I just hope for a better day tomorrow. I try to always make the show ring fun for them by having a favorite toy or treat, so we both enjoy the experience. If I have a particular problem, I try to work through it by practicing with them more and always use positive reinforcements. This approach has worked well for me over the years.

A good diet and exercise are extremely important for any show dog. A well-conditioned dog is a beautiful one. I have done everything from daily road work to using a tread mill at home to swimming multiple days a week to help keep my show dogs in the best possible condition.

A sight hound that is in optimum condition, can also participate in lure coursing events. The lure coursing events let the dog’s natural instincts take over. Sight hounds instinctively have a strong desire to “chase”. Lure coursing gives them the opportunity to chase a lure. In this the lure (a plastic bag) takes the place of what would be an escaping animal. All of this “chasing” is for the sheer pleasure it gives them. The criteria looked for in lure coursing includes: enthusiasm, agility, speed and endurance. These traits are all enhanced by proper conditioning and training.

It is not an easy task but I believe conditioning is the key to having a winning “special”. In dog show terms, a special is a champion dog that is being campaigned to be a top dog in their breed or even their group or even top show dog. I have “specialed” Salukis over the past 6 years or so and have had them in the Top 10 for years. It takes commitment on the part of the owner, the handler, and the dog. I have also been breeding Salukis for several years and have had three litters with multiple Champions and a National Specialty Best Puppy In Show winner!

This past year I began a new adventure with another Sight Hound breed: a Whippet. I have had the pleasure of showing a Top Ten Whippet this last year and into this year. Many of the showing and conditioning characteristics are the same even though they are different breeds. With both the Saluki and the Whippets being both Sight Hounds, they have many similarities in showing.

I consider myself blessed for having these dogs in my life, the pleasure of showing them every weekend, not to mention some of the WONDERFUL people I have met while showing them in various dog shows across the United States. I have had the good fortune and pleasure of showing some terrific dogs for some equally terrific owners.

Knowing When it is Time to Let Go

By Wendy Hoppens & Michelle Sloyan

The most uncomfortable, unfair, and unjust decision a pet owner has to make is the choice of euthanasia. This act calls for a great deal of thought on the part of the pet owner because they are the ones that must decide whether or not their sweet baby may need this humane action. Although it may seem cruel, it is quite the opposite when employed from a rational point of view. We must remember that it takes more love and compassion for our four-legged family member to make the decision to put an end to their suffering rather than prolonging it for our own selfish, yet heartfelt and correctly placed emotional sentiments.

There are unfortunately multiple conditions that may cause a pet’s quality of life to deteriorate. The chronic conditions that pets may develop with age include, but are not limited to: blindness, cancer, renal disease, deafness, osteoarthritis, obesity, cardiovascular issues, and/or diabetes. Many of these illnesses may be successfully managed for a great length of time with the correct medications, prescription diets, outpatient therapies, and even surgeries when warranted. If we are able to effectively meet an ailing or chronically ill pet’s needs, then we are able to sleep at night knowing that our efforts of maintaining a comfortable life are justified. However, it is when the medications, prescription diets, etc. begin to be ineffective that we arrive at a point of examining the pet’s quality of life.

How may one measure if it is time to let their pet go? The gentlest answer lies within an assessment of your baby’s quality of life. A quality of life analysis must answer these seven metrics:

HURT – Is pain control adequate for the pet, or does the dog or cat still show signs of discomfort even with properly dispensed medications?

HUNGER – Does he or she eat on their own, or is hand-feeding a necessity? Have more drastic measures come into play such as a feeding tube?

HYDRATION – Is the pet drinking on its own? Have subcutaneous (under the skin) fluids become a necessary method of hydration? Is the baby to the point where IV fluids and hospitalization is occurring?

HYGIENE – Can the baby be brushed, bathed, and generally kept clean? Can he or she move away from urine and/or bowel movement accidents? Is there an odor emitting from a skin growth that has outgrown its blood supply? Are bedsores an issue?

HAPPINESS – Is there mental stimulation and expressions of joy from your baby? Dogs communicate with their eyes and tail wags. If your baby is still interacting with family members and the environment through these two channels, then signs of happiness are present.

MOBILITY – If the dog or cat is unable to move on their own, a mobility device may be considered if the owner deems it to be practical. This allows the baby to stay active, move around with the family, and avoid depression.

MORE GOOD DAYS THAN BAD – If there are too many bad days in a row, or the pet seems to be shut off from the world, there is a quality of life issue. Bad days include only enjoying meal time or potentially having nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, labored breathing, frustration, depression, pain/discomfort without relief, and/or seizures.

If a pet owner notices any one or more of these seven signs, we recommend consulting with a veterinarian healthcare team member. They are there to provide information and help the owner decide whether their baby has a good quality of life. The assessment of the quality of life may or may not lead to the humane decision of euthanasia. The veterinarian healthcare team member may also provide information on after-care.

Whether the pet is maintaining a good quality of life or experiencing many of the seven indicators discussed above, the humane decision pet owners face is without a doubt one of the most difficult decisions we face as loving, compassionate pet owners. For more information please click here.

Each doctor on staff is willing to take time to discuss all of your options when it comes to making the tough decisions. Please contact us to schedule an appointment where you can discuss this difficult time with one of our doctors.

Why do we recommend bringing a cat in a carrier to the vet?

By Crystal Smith

When coming to the veterinarian hospital, some cat owners like to carry their cat in their arms or bring the baby wrapped in a towel. This is not always a good idea. No matter how well behaved a cat is, there are situations that may arise that are potentially hazardous to our felines.

Imagine walking into a vet’s office with “Fluffy”, a cat being held in his owner’s arms and not in a pet carrier. There are several dogs already in the waiting room. Some are calm. Some of them appear to be more agitated, especially when the cat comes through the doors. One of the dogs, “Buster,” immediately begins pulling away from the owner trying to get to Fluffy. Another dog, “Izzy,” is also pulling on her leash and escapes from her owner’s grasp. Now, we have Buster still trying to pull away from his owner and Izzy chasing Fluffy who jumped out of her owner’s arms as soon as the dogs started heading her way. So, Fluffy is running around the clinic with Izzy chasing her. Thankfully, the staff is able to pull Izzy back and hand her leash to her owner. However, another pet owner has entered the clinic and while the owner was carrying her pet in, Fluffy escapes out of the open clinic doors.

When cats are brought into a vet’s office without being in a carrier, it puts the cat, the owner, other pets and their owners, and the staff at risk of being hurt. Owners, pets, and/or staff members might get scratched; the pets get into a fight, or even escape out a door. All of these potentially dangerous situations can be easily prevented if the cat is brought in to the office in a pet carrier.

Another benefit for having a carrier for your pet is for traveling purposes. Imagine driving to the vet’s office and the cat gets spooked and jumps on top of the driver’s head? This could cause a car accident. Or maybe the cat is usually a calm kitty at home, but gets agitated during the drive and scratches up the upholstery in the back seat of the car. A pet carrier would have prevented either of these situations, among many others, from happening.

For the safety of ALL pets, as well as everyone in the vet’s office, we recommend bringing all felines, in a pet carrier, to the veterinarian’s hospital.

Pearland Christmas Parade 2013

Once again we had a great time participating in the Pearland Christmas Parade held last December 7, 2013. Our “Rockin Elvis” was a big hit and “Clawd” enjoyed meeting all of you. We look forward to next year next year! To see more photos of our float in the 2013 Pearland Christmas Parade click here.

Holiday Safety Tips and Dangers for Our Pets

The holidays are a wonderful time for family, friends, and yes, our four-footed family members. Each holiday brings with it a variety of potential dangers for our pets. Whether it is food, decorations, cold weather, or loud noises, we can decrease the potential hazards just by being aware of them and planning accordingly. To read more, click here.