RABIES Don’t be Complacent

 

RABIES!   We are not joking, it is HERE!

Truthfully, it has been here all along. Nothing has changed, except that we’ve become more aware of it. We love Bats, they are an important part of our ecosystem and I love that they eat Mosquitoes.         BUT, a certain percentage of Bats do have Rabies. 10% of Bats that are tested, are positive for Rabies.     That does NOT mean that 10% of the Bat population has Rabies, it means that 10% of the Bats THAT ARE TESTED are positive. (usually no one would test a Bat unless something seemed unusual, for example = Bats are not usually out in the day and if someone found a sickly one on the ground they might carefully catch it and have it tested)

 

 

We had first hand experience with a Rabid Cat recently.  It was an indoor and outdoor cat that we believe came into contact with a Rabid bat. When they tested it for Rabies, they were able to identify that it had a strain of Rabies that is found in Bats. (There are other strains found in Foxes, Raccoons, etc – that would be new to our area).

The sad part is that this cat had to be euthanized. The owner had a second cat from the same household and had the difficult choice of either putting that cat into isolation for an extended time or euthanasia. Due to limited resources, the owner had to have the second cat euthanized.

 

 

The owner brought the first cat to us because it was just acting abnormal. In our exam, it was evident that the cat had neurological abnormalities. We hospitalized it for lab work and further monitoring. Unfortunately, the cat bit one of our technicians. It wasn’t a typical grouchy/ reactive bite. This cat went from being fairly calm to suddenly very aggressively attacking and tenaciously hanging on with it’s fangs and all 4 claws. It was genuinely scary! Because our technician was bitten, and because the cat had never been vaccinated for Rabies – – we had to report the bite, have our technician get Rabies post-exposure prophylaxis injections, euthanize the cat, and have the cat tested for Rabies.

Cat’s testing positive for Rabies are very rare in Oregon, so we thought that the testing was just a formality. But the lab got back to us quickly and alerted us that the test was positive. We were very glad that our technician had received Rabies post-exposure prophylaxis injections. One other team member and the owner of the cat had questionable scratches, so to be on the safe side, they went through Rabies post-exposure prophylaxis injections too.

 

 

Fortunately, all the humans involved have fully recovered. Sadly, the two cats had to be euthanized. We are relaying this event because we are adamant that your pet have its Rabies vaccine updated. It is very sad to see the pet’s have to go through illness and end up euthanized, but there is also a very real and very scary risk to humans as well.

Again, we cherish that Bats are an important part of our ecosystem – but a certain percentage do have Rabies. Once those Bats are affected by Rabies, they become neurologic and sickly – becoming easy prey for roaming cats or dogs.  Cats especially cannot resist a mouse sized creature moving around on the ground and any cat “worth its weight” is going to attack (or play) with that bat. At that point, they can contract Rabies. Best to prevent Rabies in your Cat (or Dog), by vaccinating. The vaccines are not ‘benign’, there is always a chance of reaction, etc – but it is rare. Protecting your pet by keeping their Rabies vaccine up to date is a priority.

Dental and Surgery Check-In Procedures

We do many dental cleanings and surgical procedures that require anesthesia. This article is written to help you (as the pet owner) have a better understanding about the whole process. We want you to feel comfortable with our procedures. The following simply goes through our steps so that you know what to expect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1) Hold your pet off of food as of 9 PM the night before; water is fine.

 

2) Come in between 7:30 and 8:00 AM on the day of the scheduled procedure.

 

3) When you come in, a technician will go over a checklist with you. It is an important step because we are making sure of what you want done. In some instances we are doing a dental, removing a growth, and placing a microchip. We simply want to make sure we are “on the same page” and have the same expectations.

 

4) During the checklist procedure we will also go over an estimate of the cost for the procedure. Payment for the procedure is required at pickup.

 

5) We will also get some phone numbers with which we can reach you. These are important in case we need to contact you, usually just to ask a question or give an update.

 

6) During the checklist procedure we will also go over a series of questions;

  • Do you want us to perform pre-anesthetic bloodwork?  Or have you already had it done recently?  Pets over 7 are required to have bloodwork as a safety precaution prior to anesthesia. In pets under 7 we recommend bloodwork, but don’t require it.
  • Has your cat previously been tested for Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus? If not, we recommend doing that as well.
  • Has your pet ever had seizures? If so, we need to know in order to appropriately modify the anesthetics used.
  • Is your pet on any medications? Again, if so, we need to know so that we can modify the anesthetics used.
  • Do you want a microchip placed? This can actually be done at any time, but is most convenient while a pet is anesthetized.

 

6) The final thing on our check-in procedure is your signature giving your consent for us to perform the procedure, acknowledging that you understand risk factors with the procedure and the potential for complications.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the initial check in procedure we will set up a comfy spot for your pet. If we are performing pre-anesthetic bloodwork, that is done first. Then we will give a sedative to help them relax and smooth the transition into general anesthesia. Once we are ready, we will administer a short acting injectable anesthesia, and once their level of anesthesia is appropriate, we will intubate your pet and maintain them on inhalant anesthesia. During the procedure they will have anesthetic monitors on them as well as be monitored by a technician. Typically, the doctor will call you around lunch time to give you an update.

 

After the procedure is done a technician continues to monitor them until they are extubated and stable. The pet then stays with us until we feel they are stable and alert enough to go home.

 

The typical procedure when you come to pick up your pet is that you’ll come in and let the receptionist know you are ready to pick up your pet; they will assist you in settling your bill and then a technician will talk you through some go-home instructions.

 

Pets are often groggy after they go home. They may also feel disoriented and need reassurance. In some cases they are painful; we will send pain medication home with you and that can be administered as needed.

Please don’t hesitate to ask us questions. We want to communicate and educate as much as possible.

Salmon Poison

Salmon Poisoning
Salmon Poisoning can be a life-threatening disease to dogs, coyotes, and foxes. The classic symptoms are enlarged lymph nodes, fever, diarrhea, and vomiting. However, they do not always follow this classic pattern and cases are sometimes tricky. The disease is diagnosed by visualizing fluke eggs in a stool sample. In some cases, the stool is so watery that even getting a stool sample is difficult and the diagnostic procedure can be prone to false negatives. Having a history of the dog having eaten raw salmon or trout within the last 1-2 weeks also helps make the diagnosis.
The disease process is interesting because the fish itself doesn’t cause the disease. There is a parasite within the fish known as a fluke (specifically Nanophyetus salmincola), BUT the fluke itself also doesn’t cause the disease, rather bacteria (Neorickettsia helminthoeca) within the fluke THAT CAUSE the DISEASE. Once the larval flukes reach the dog’s intestinal tract, they embed in the dog’s duodenal mucosa, and release the rickettsiae. The rickettsial organisms then spread through the bloodstream to the liver, lungs, brain, and lymphoid tissue.
If it is caught at a reasonable stage it can be treated. Most cases require hospitalization, intravenous fluid support, and intravenous antibiotics. Dogs that survive salmon poisoning will be immune to re-infection with the same strain. However, infection with an alternate strain can occur because there is no cross-protection.

Toxic Algae Advisories: Dexter Reservoir!!

Toxic Algae Advisories: Dexter Reservoir, Willow Creek Reservoir

Health advisories for toxic algae levels have been issued for the following bodies of water in Oregon:

  • Dexter Reservoir, located 20 miles southeast of Eugene on Oregon Highway 58 in Lane County7.3.13
  • Willow Creek Reservoir, located just east of the town of Heppner in Morrow County 6.18.13
  • Lost Creek Lake, located 30 miles northeast of Medford on the Rogue River in Jackson CountyLIFTED 7.5.13

Be on the lookout for waters that look suspicious, foamy, scummy, thick like paint, pea-green, blue-green, or brownish red. Only a fraction of Oregon’s water bodies are monitored, so when in doubt, stay out!

Children and pets are particularly susceptible to this toxin

Exposure to toxins can produce symptoms of numbness, tingling and dizziness that can lead to difficulty breathing or heart problems and require immediate medical attention. Symptoms of skin irritation, weakness, diarrhea, nausea, cramps, and fainting should also receive medical attention if they persist or worsen. Children and pets are particularly susceptible.

Swallowing or inhaling water droplets should be avoided, as well as skin contact with water by humans or animals. Drinking water from these bodies of water is especially dangerous. Oregon Public Health officials advise campers and other visitors that toxins cannot be removed by boiling, filtering or treating the water with camping-style filters.

Oregon Public Health recommends that people who choose to eat fish from waters where algae blooms are present should remove all fat, skin and organs before cooking since toxins are more likely to collect in these tissues. Additionally, public health officials advise that people should not eat crayfish or freshwater shellfish harvested from these bodies of water while this advisory is in effect.

A hazard for dogs

Dogs have become very sick and even died after swimming in and swallowing water affected by toxic algae. If you find thick, brightly colored foam or scum at a lake, pond, or river, don’t let your pet drink or swim in the water.

If your dog goes into the water:

  • Don’t let your pet lick its fur
  • Wash your pet with clean water as soon as possible
  • If your dog has symptoms such as drooling, weakness, vomiting, staggering, or convulsions after being in bloom-affected water, call your veterinarian immediately.

Blue-Green Algae: Hazard for Dogs

Blue-green algae toxin poisoning, also known as cyanobacterial poisoning, is an acute, sometimes fatal condition caused by the ingestion of water containing high concentrations of cyanobacteria.

In Oregon, dogs have become very sick-and some have died-after swimming in and swallowing water affected by toxic algae.

Poisonings are most likely to occur during warm, sunny weather when algae blooms are more intense and dense surface scums are present. If you find thick, brightly colored foam or scum at a lake, pond, or river, don’t let your pet drink or swim in the water.

Symptoms

Children and pets are particularly susceptible to blue-green algae. Exposure to blue-green algae can result in:

  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Skin irritation
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea, nausea, and cramps
  • Fainting
  • Heart problems

If Your Dog Does Go in the Water

  • Don’t let your pet lick its fur.
  • Wash your pet with clean water as soon as possible.
  • If your dog shows symptoms such as drooling, weakness, vomiting, staggering, or convulsions after being in bloom-affected water, call your veterinarian immediately. Acute, life-threatening symptoms from cyanobacterial toxins often develop rapidly. Death can occur within 4 to 24 hours after exposure.

Treatment

Treatment is primarily supportive in nature. Your veterinarian may administer activated charcoal slurries to absorb the cyanobacterial toxins from the gastrointestinal tract. Because the toxins are excreted rapidly from the body within a few days, animals that survive the initial tissue damage have a good chance for recovery.

Reporting Illness

Pet owners are encouraged to report suspected toxic algae illness in their dogs to Oregon DHS at (971) 673-0440. Illness reports are an important tool for public health to assess the severity of environmental problems.

Know Before You Go

Oregon’s Harmful Algae Bloom Surveillance program provides updates to the public regarding bodies of water that are experiencing blue-green algae blooms. We (OVMA) also post advisories on this Web site and our social networking feeds: Twitter and Facebook.

 

(Article from Oregon Veterinary Medical Association website)

 

 

 

 

Dog Park Related Conditions

As the weather improves, many people take there dogs to the dog park more often. DVM Magazine ran an article recently noting the most common maladies that occur associated with dog-park visits. Sprains and soft tissue injuries are the most common conditions. Not hard to imagine the dogs joyously running with reckless abandon and either running into something or straining themselves. Lacerations and bite wounds are second – also not hard to imagine that some people don’t realize their dog may not be appropriate for the dog park (and it ends up biting another dog). Hyperthermia, parasite infection, infectious disease are also on the list.

There are some general rules worth following to reduce illness and injury.

  • Obey posted park rules
  • Pay attention to your dog at all times. BE aware of other pets too.
  • Make sure the dog is up to date on vaccines and has a valid license.
  • Keep collar on dog
  • On very warm days, avoid pard during peak temperature hours
  • Look for sign of overheating (profuse panting, bright red tongue, thich drooling, lack of coordination).

 

They did a study of the top 10 cities for Dog Parks. I’m proud to say that Portland was rated #1 with 5.7 dog parks per 100,000 residents. San Francisco was a worthy 4th with 3.3 dog parks per 100,000 residents.  Though they didn’t include communities the size of Springfield/ Eugene, I’d like to think we are doing quite well too!

Heat Exhaustion!


Be a Cool Owner: Don’t Let Your Dog Overheat

By: PetPlace
Veterinarians

 

Working up a good sweat in the hot summer months may be good for you, but it can lead
to heat stroke in your dog and kill him in a matter of minutes. Heat stroke is a dangerous condition that takes the lives of many animals every year. Your dog’s normal body temperature is 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. If it rises to 105 or 106 degrees, the dog is at risk for developing heat exhaustion. If the body temperature rises to 107 degrees, your dog has entered the dangerous zone of heat stroke. With heat stroke, irreversible damage and death can occur.

Here are some cold summer facts: The temperature in a parked car can reach 160
degrees in a matter of minutes, even with partially opened windows. And any dog
exercising on a hot, humid day, even with plenty of water, can become
overheated. Overheating often leads to heat stroke. As a pet owner, you should
know the dangers of overheating and what to do to prevent it. You should also
know the signs of heat stroke and what to do if your dog exhibits those signs.

When humans overheat we are able to sweat in order to cool down. However, your
dog cannot sweat as easily; he must rely on panting to cool down. Dogs breathe
in through the nose and out through the mouth, directing the air over the
mucous membranes of the tongue, throat and trachea to facilitate cooling by
evaporation of fluid. Your dog also dissipates heat by dilation of the blood
vessels in the surface of the skin in the face, ears and feet. When these
mechanisms are overwhelmed, hyperthermia and heat stroke usually develop.

Dogs who have a thick coat, heart and lung problems or a short muzzle are at
greater risk for heat stroke. Others at risk include

  • Puppies
    up to 6 months of age
  • Large dogs over 7 years
    of age and small dogs over 14 years
  • Overweight dogs
  • Dogs who are overexerted
  • Ill dogs or those on
    medication
  • Brachycephalic dogs
    (short, wide heads) like pugs, English bulldogs and Boston terriers
  • Dogs with cardiovascular
    disease and/or poor circulation

 

What To Watch For

If your dog is overheating, he will appear sluggish and unresponsive. He may
appear disorientated. The gums, tongue and conjunctiva of the eyes may be
bright red and he will probably be panting hard. He may even start vomiting.
Eventually he will collapse, seizure and may go into a coma.

If your dog exhibits any of these signs, treat it as an emergency and call your
veterinarian immediately. On the way to your veterinary hospital, you can cool
your pet with wet towels, spray with cool water from a hose or by providing ice
chips for your dog to chew (providing he is conscious).

Veterinary Care

Heat related illness is typically diagnosed based on physical exam findings and
a recent history that could result in overheating. Your veterinarian may
perform various blood tests to assess the extent of vital organ dysfunction
caused by overheating.

Intensity of treatment depends upon the cause and severity of the heat illness.

  • Mildly increased
    temperature (less than 105°F) may only require rest, a fan to increase air
    circulation, fresh water to drink and careful observation.
  • Markedly increased
    temperature (greater than 106°F) must be treated more aggressively. Cooling can
    be promoted externally by immersion in cool water or internally by
    administering a cool water enema.
  • Underlying aggravating
    conditions, such as upper airway obstructive diseases, heart disease, lung
    disease and dehydration may be treated with appropriate medications,
    supplemental oxygen or fluid therapy.

Home Care

Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency. Check your dog’s temperature
rectally if you suspect heat stroke. If it is over 105°F, remove your
dog from the heat source immediately and call your veterinarian.

Meanwhile, place a cool, wet towel over your dog or place him in a cool bath.
Do not use ice because it may cause skin injury. Spraying with water from a
garden hose also works well.

 

This article is from petplace.com

4th of July Pet Safety Tips

Article Compliments of Oregon Veterinary Medical Association

 

Fourth of July Safety for Pets

4th of July celebrations might be a lot of fun for people, but they can be downright scary for our animals, especially cats, dogs and horses. The sights, sounds and commotion of Independence Day can confuse animals and make them nervous, which can cause them to run away or place themselves in harmful situations.

Keep your animals safe with these tips

Thinkstock

To help keep your animals from becoming overly stressed this 4th of July, consider the following tips:

  • Do not take your pets to fireworks displays.
  • Keep pets indoors and away from crowds so that they feel more protected. Due to the noise, dogs may try to dig out of yards, so keeping them inside is a good choice.
  • Animals that are already crate trained may feel safest in their crate.
  • A fan or other “white noise” can help mask the sound of fireworks.
  • Consider boarding your animals in a safe place that is farther away from the holiday action. If you plan to travel during this time, boarding your animal might be a better option than leaving it at home.
  • Early behavior training can desensitize your animal to holiday commotion. It is important to teach your puppy (ideally) or dog how to handle loud noises through positive conditioning. Do not punish your dog for being scared by thunderstorms or fireworks.
  • Your veterinarian may choose to prescribe a sedative for your animal if it tends to become easily spooked by the fireworks. Remember that your animal must be seen by a veterinarian in order to receive any prescribed medications.
  • The 4th of July is also a good time to make sure that your pet is wearing an ID collar and is microchipped.
  • Keep pets away from fireworks, matches, lighter fluid, as well as the food and drinks (including alcohol) that may accompany 4th of July celebrations.
  • If you have horses, be sure to keep them indoors and away from the sound of fireworks.

If your pet does become lost

  • Check the neighborhood (or area where the pet became lost), as pets have been known to be found close to home even several days later.
  • Put up signs with your pet’s photo and your phone number. It is recommended to use only your first name and not include your home phone number on the notice. A cell phone number is preferrable, as it cannot easily be traced to your home address via online searches.
  • If your pet is microchipped (and we recommend that it should be), contact your microchip registration company. Once notified, they may activate a lost pet recovery network and/or place your lost pet on a “hot sheet” or on their social media networks.
  • Contact your veterinarian. If your pet is wearing a collar with rabies tag (also recommended), the number can be traced to your veterinarian and then back to you if the pet is found or taken to a shelter.
  • Contact animal control, shelters and humane organizations in your area. If possible, visit them daily to see if your pet has been brought in. July 5th is usually a very busy day at these agencies.
  • Place a lost pet ad in your local newspaper and/or online, such as on Facebook or Craigslist.
  • Check the paper and online sources daily for “found pet” ads.

If you have any concerns or questions about helping your animal stay calm and safe during the 4th of July holiday, please talk to your veterinarian.

 

Published: March 11, 2009;    Updated: June 18, 2013

Filed Under: Safety, Seasonal Issues, Companion Animals, Equine, Cats, Dogs

Author: Oregon Veterinary Medical Association

 

Pet Food Recalls – Natura Pet Products possibly contaminated with Salmonella. Click to see more

Article compliments of Oregon Veterinary Medical Association

Natura Pet Products Recalls Innova, Evo, California Natural, Healthwise, Karma and Mother Nature Dry Foods and Treats Due to Salmonella

Customer Service: (800) 224-6123

Web Site: www.NaturaPet.com

Natura Pet Products is voluntarily recalling specific lots of dry pet food and treats because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely,Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

These products were packaged in a single production facility. During routine FDA testing, a single lot tested positive for the presence of Salmonella. There have been no reports of pet or human illness associated with this product. In an abundance of caution, Natura is voluntarily recalling all products with expiration dates prior to June 10, 20

The affected products are sold in bags through veterinary clinics, select pet specialty retailers, and online in the United States and Canada. No canned wet food is affected by this announcement.

The affected products are:

BRAND LOT CODE/UPC/SIZES; EXPIRATION
Innova Dry dog and cat food and biscuits/bars/treats All Lot Codes, All UPC’s, All package sizes All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014
EVO dry dog, cat and ferret food and biscuits/bars/treats All Lot Codes, All UPC’s, All package sizes All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014
California Natural dry dog and cat foods and biscuits/bars/treats All Lot Codes, All UPC’s, All package sizes All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014
Healthwise dry dog and cat foods All Lot Codes, All UPC’s, All package sizes All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014
Karma dry dog foods All Lot Codes, All UPC’s, All package sizes All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014
Mother Nature biscuits/bars/treats All Lot Codes, All UPC’s, All package sizes All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014

Consumers who have purchased the specific dry pet foods listed should discard them.

For further information or a product replacement or refund call Natura toll-free at 800-224-6123. (Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM CST)

 

 

Published: June 18, 2013;    Updated: June 18, 2013

Filed Under: Recalls Warnings

Author: Oregon Veterinary Medical Association

 

Dental Month

veterinarian Eugene OregonFebruary and March are traditionally Dental month - which went very well, so for the second year in a row we’ve decided to do it again in MAY.

What is Dental Month?     Well, it is a time period in which we try to increase awareness of pet’s dental needs AND WE OFFER 10% OFF! 10 % off the whole dental package. It also includes 10% off additional dental related procedures (if needed), such as extractions, dental radiographs, etc.

I should explain that we offer dental packages based on pet size. The packages include a number of things; hospitalization, intravenous catheter, fluids, anesthesia, anesthesia monitoring equipment, dental evaluation, dental cleaning with ultrasonic scaler, and dental polish.  These costs are easy to define and easy to provide.

Cats                                  $205

Dogs up to 20 lbs       $205

Dogs 21-50  lbs          $240

Dogs 51-75 lbs           $260

Dogs 76 and up          $280

 

 

Many pets have advanced dental disease that requires further time and effort to treat. We will do our best to give estimates ahead of time, but often it is hard to predict accurately what will be needed ahead of time.  Some extractions can be challenging and time consuming. In some cases dental radiographs and nerve blocks are necessary. These things affect cost as well but are harder to define and provide in a broad article. We can give estimates on an individual basis as part of your next exam, though.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We do require that your pet have had an exam within the year before it is brought in for a dental. Examinations and face to face contact are important for mutual understanding and making sure your pet is healthy prior to any anesthetic procedure. We also offer pre-anesthetic bloodwork for pets under 7 years old and require it for pets over 7 years old.

 

 

Please visit our other featured articles discussing 1) dental disease in detail and 2) what to expect on the day of the procedure. After the procedure we will send home a tooth brushing kit and some instructions. Ask us if you have any questions on dental products. Look for the VOHS seal on products (Veterinary Oral Health Council) ensuring quality.

 

 

Special diet that holds together and scrapes teeth as the pet chews

 

 

 

 

 

Mouth wash with enzymes that degrade plaque

 

 

 

 

 

Treats that also hold together and scrape teeth as they chew

 

 

 

 

 

The above at home products are good, but nowhere near as effective as brushing.

Grain Free Diets! Are They Worthwhile!

 

Grain Free Pet Food Diets! Are they good?

In veterinary medicine, nutrition can play a key role in a pet’s overall health. We use a number of diet types to help us achieve good health depending on what the pet’s underlying problem is. Two common ailments that we address with diet are: Food Allergy Dermatitis and Digestive Upset. In this article I hope to touch on the strategies for treating these two conditions through nutrition, and tie in what role grain free diets play. Grain Free Diets are marketed aggressively, but their value is ambiguous. There may truly be value in them, but some skepticism is warranted.

 

 

For Food Allergy Dermatitis the strategy is first to diagnose if the pet truly has a Food Allergy. How we do this is by putting them on a very specific/ hypoallergenic diet for 6 plus weeks, with no treats, no anything – just the specific hypoallergenic diet. If their skin condition improves then we have evidence that there is an underlying Food Allergy Dermatitis.

The diet itself is a single novel protein source and a single novel carbohydrate source. By ‘novel‘ we mean using sources that are uncommon which the pet is unlikely to have ever been exposed to. Since the body has never been exposed to these sources, it is unlikely to have developed an allergy to it. We have a number of commercial hypoallergenic diets that we sell, the most common is Duck and Potato. The Duck is a protein source that most dogs have never been exposed to and Potato is a carbohydrate source that most dogs have never been exposed to. Some pet stores carry similar products and in some cases they are reasonably good, however the diets we carry have very specific ingredients that are never substituted and the machines that they are processed on are committed to only that line of food so that there can be no cross contamination.

 

 

For Digestive Upset we use a couple of different strategies : hypoallergenic, bland, high fiber, and (possibly) grain free. The hypoallergenic diet is just like above, a single novel protein source and a single novel carbohydrate source. We have the pet fed this as an exclusive dietary trial hoping to see improvement in the digestive problem.

Bland food is another strategy we use for digestive upset. With this diet we are not trying to provide a hypoallergenic food – we are merely feeding food that is very easy for the gastrointestinal system to digest. We are not worried about the protein and carbohydrate sources, just whether the ingredients are easy to digest. Chicken and rice are commonly used, but diets commonly have corn, beef, etc in them too.

Hi Fiber food can be beneficial for certain digestive diseases. Again, in this circumstance, we are less concerned about the protein and carbohydrate sources and more concerned about the fiber level and how digestible the fiber is.

 

Now then, where do Grain Free Diets fit into all of this?

Gluten free diets have become a very useful tool for treating human problems. Some people have true  Celiac Disease and their gastrointestinal system reacts badly to gluten, so they cannot have it. Some people have sensitivities to gluten and their gastrointestinal system simply functions better without it. In our little group here at Q Street Animal Hospital we have 4 out of 11 that are on gluten free diets. It is a genuine dietary issue for humans, so it is reasonable to think that it is a dietary issue for our pets. Do pet’s benefit from gluten free diets??? = The ‘verdict is still out’. There is not widely accepted information to support this. I believe many pet foods are loosely associating ‘grain free’ with ‘gluten free’, and they genuinely are similar in many respects. SO, there may truly be benefits from using a grain free diet in pets. Some pet’s may digest it easier and have improved overall conditions. BUT, it’s a bit vague.

  1. CLEARLY, ‘grain free’ diets are not hypoallergenic diets (because they do not use single novel carbohydrate and protein sources)
  2. NOT so clearly, are they bland and easy to digest?  They vary, and that is not their focus.
  3. NOT so clearly, are they high in digestible fiber?  They vary, and that is not their focus.
  4. Vaguely – some individual patients may genuinely benefit from a grain free diet, especially when we consider how much (somewhat similar) gluten free diets help people.

 

There can genuinely be some value in Grain Free Diets, but it is a little vague. The value in it is more borrowed from the value that gluten free diets provide for people. More than anything it is a marketing tool. Many people have embraced the idea of Grain Free Diets and I don’t want to discourage them, but I do want them to seek solid information and to be skeptical!

PS – I have not specifically addressed cats! In general terms all the same things apply, but their diets are much more hotly debated and rightfully so = they are true carnivores (eat meat) whereas dogs are omnivores (eat lots of stuff). Maybe we can do a whole article on that some time in the future.