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Frequently Asked Questions

Here you’ll find some frequently asked questions that we get here at the clinic. By posting them below, we hope to save both time and money, and hopefully share some knowledge along the way!

These are some common, general knowledge questions and answers. Every pet is unique and any pets with certain medical conditions should consult their veterinarian for recommendations. These answers are not to replace a veterinary visit should your pet be ill. If your pet is sick or hurt, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

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Do you have a recommendation for an everyday probiotic?

The probiotics that we have research for providing specific health benefits are, FortiFlora – Purina, the Proviable – Nutrimax Laboratories, the IAMS brand Probiotics. The probiotics are available; The FortiFlora is on Amazon, in hospital, and our online pharmacy. The Proviable is available on our online pharmacy and in-hospital (Amazon not known).

Is it ok to give probiotics every day on a maintenance basis?

Yes, there is not likely to be any adverse issues with continuing probiotics on a daily basis. Research has shown that daily probiotics can have several health benefits. The probiotics that we have research for providing specific health benefits are, Entero by VRS, Fortiflora – Purina, the Proviable – Nutrimax Laboratories, the IAMS brand Probiotics. The probiotics are available; The Fortiflora is on Amazon, in hospital,  and our online pharmacy. The Entero is available through us, and VRS. The Proviable is available on our online pharmacy and in-hospital (Amazon not known). Entero is the most cost-effective for long-term use, and also has the easiest administration- simple powder scoop over the food.

The doctor recommended a renal diet, what kind of diet is that?

It is a prescription diet, there are many varieties out there, and several brands that offer them such as Royal Canin, Hills, and Purina

It is food meant to support the kidneys in order to prolong the progression of chronic kidney disease. It is meant to decrease the protein load on the kidneys, and it has low levels of phosphorus so the kidneys don’t have to work as hard to get rid of it. There are other PRESCRIPTION veterinary diets.

That renal diet that the doctor recommended, my cat didn’t like it, are there any other recommendations that I can pick up over the counter?

You can try different brands of prescription renal diets, which is recommended. There are many brands all with several varieties and flavors available. 

I generally offer people whatever options we have on our shelf to start with and try. 

When introducing new food to a cat, you should always leave the old option remaining next to it. This allows the cat to investigate and try it at their leisure without creating anxiety or inappetence

Keep in mind all the Prescription companies have a product guarantee if your pet won’t eat it. But a lot of cats in later stages of renal disease may not have much of an appetite regardless of what we are feeding them, so it may be a conversation for you and the vet to have.

If you are not wanting to pursue prescription diets, then I would be careful about comparing the protein and phosphorus levels in other foods. Here is a chart to help you.

https://catinfo.org/docs/CatFoodProteinFatCarbPhosphorusChart.pdf

My dog has pancreatitis and the vet recommended a low fat diet, is there a low fat diet I can pick up from the grocery store?

No. Pancreatitis can be a very severe condition that can lead to hospitalization and even death. It is important that we feed an easily digestible, low-residue food made specifically to support the gastrointestinal system, and one we know is low in fat. Hills I/D Low fat and Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Low Fat foods are the two recommended products. For pancreatitis, it can take several weeks for the inflammation to subside, so most often we are feeding I/D or RC Low Fat for 2-4 weeks. When we try to transition back to the normal food, this should be done very slowly, 10-20% at most transition per day, and go backward if symptoms return.

I’m looking for a general ear cleaner, does the doctor recommend anything in particular?

Most ear cleaners are created equal, however, we all have our favorites. For example, Aurocin Plus is a gentle solution that is not oily, smells great, and has an additional ingredient, a ceramide called Phytosphingosine which helps to support the natural skin barrier in the ear, which is super helpful for dogs that are predisposed to ear infections either due to an allergy or breed type. Maintenance ear cleaning should be done weekly and after the ears get wet.  

I give my dog greenies to keep his teeth clean but I was wondering if the doctor recommended anything else?

Our doctors don’t recommend greenies actually. There are a great many products available over the counter similar to Greenies, but none have oversight or research behind them, and we do not see anecdotal or clinical proof of their greatness. They recommend daily teeth brushing in combination with Oravet Chews. Oravet chews are the only product that is truly comparable to toothbrushing, most people alternate brushing and Oravet chews- one per day. Oravet chews actually have both mechanical brushing because of the thick consistency, and also enzymatic cleaning. The same enzymes that are in toothpaste for dogs are present in the center strip, which breaks down bacteria and coats the teeth. If you notice, your dog doesn’t eat it all up right away like the greenies. They’re designed for dogs to chew on them for about a minute, and we actually have a video that can help explain that along with information about how to brush your dog’s teeth. Dental Brushing Video

Are there any foods the doctor recommends for weight loss?

The special diet foods that we have great research on are Royal Canin Satiety Support, and Hill’s Metabolic food. Both companies offer a palatability guarantee so you can purchase a bag and should your pet not eat it, you can always bring it back for a full refund. You can purchase the food from us or you can find it at our online pharmacy. Both also make diet treats!

What is my cat/dog’s ideal weight?

This is a difficult question to answer. But most often we can determine this by looking back at what your pet weighed when they were about a year old, assuming they were not already overweight. This is about the time we spay and neuter, and most dogs tend to gain weight slowly over a period of time, even more so after they are fixed. We can determine your pet’s ideal body weight by using their Body Condition Score, which tells us how far out of range from ideal body condition they are. Ask your veterinarian for more information and a more exact estimate based on their BCS findings.

Why does my dog eat grass?

Dogs will tend to eat grass for various different reasons. While some dog owners and veterinarians do agree that it can be a form of pica (eating things that are abnormal or unusual) other possibilities are diet insufficiencies. However, if your dog is eating a well-balanced diet then it could truly just be a dog’s instinct to eat grass. In some rare cases, dogs tend to eat grass to relieve their upset stomachs but only about 10 percent of dogs that eat grass show signs of prior illness. Truthfully, eating grass is not much of a concern so long as you are feeding your pet a well-balanced diet (our doctors recommend Hill’s, Royal Canin, or Purina Pro Plan) and they aren’t showing any other clinical signs. However, eating grass can lead to the consumption of intestinal parasites that are often found in animal droppings so it is advised to deter your pet from doing so by gently pulling the leash or training your dog on the “leave it” command.

What does the doctor think of raw food?

The AVMA discourages feeding cats and/or dogs any animal-source protein that has not first been subjected to a process of eliminating pathogens because of the risk of illness to cats, dogs, and humans as well.

What does the doctor think about grain-free diets?

There is no overall benefit to feeding a grain-free diet unless your pet actually has a food intolerance to grains. Some grain-free diets have been linked to cardiac or heart issues so it is important that you only feed your pet a grain-free diet if it has been recommended by your veterinarian. 

Which flea and tick preventions do your doctors recommend?

Our doctors mostly recommend oral flea and tick preventions as they have been found to kill fleas and ticks the fastest and more accurately. However, you will need a prescription from your veterinarian in order to get these so if you’re looking for over-the-counter options, then our doctors recommend Frontline, Seresto Collars, or K9 Advantix.

Which heartworm preventions do your doctors recommend?

This is a very tricky question to ask because there is no one-rules-it-all for heartworm prevention. We recommend heartworm prevention that is going to fit your lifestyle the best. Here are a few options that we recommend and their best features. 

Simparica TRIO – This is currently the popular heartworm prevention on the market because it is the first one to offer heartworm, flea, and tick prevention all in one pill making it extremely efficient. It is administered orally once every 30 days.

Heartgard This is a very common one as it has been around the longest and its best perk is that it’s super easy to administer. It’s the only one that has real beef for flavoring and so, therefore, dogs tend to love it. It covers heartworms, roundworms, and hookworms so it offers SOME intestinal parasite protection. It is also administered orally every 30 days. 

ProHeart – This is actually an injection for heartworm prevention that lasts a whole 12 months. This isn’t something you can buy in a store but rather something you’d have to bring him in for. This is great for pet parents that forget to give the pill monthly but it does not cover fleas, ticks, or any intestinal parasites. The link here is not to the online pharmacy but rather to some more information regarding the injection. 

Sentinel Spectrum – This is a great option for those poop-eating dogs! It covers the most intestinal parasites (Hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, and tapeworms) which are transmitted by feces to the mouth, along with heartworms. It also includes an extra barrier of defense against fleas because it does not allow flea eggs to hatch, though it will not kill ADULT fleas which means you’ll still need to put your pet on flea and tick prevention. This is administered orally once every 30 days. 

Tri-Heart – This is like the Heartgard generic. It’s a tablet so not as tasty but it is usually cheaper. It covers heartworms, roundworms, and hookworms also and is administered orally every 30 days.

Trifexis – This prevention covers heartworms, hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, AND fleas. Though, you would still need to give a flea and tick medication because it doesn’t cover ticks which are pretty popular in our area.

My dog has an anal gland problem, is there anything that I can give him for this?

There isn’t anything that is going to take away the issue other than regular anal gland expressions. Some people have found that giving about a tablespoon of canned pumpkin (100% pure pumpkin, NOT THE PIE FILLING) helps to minimize the frequency in expressions which may be easier on you. There is also a product called Gland Ease that works in a similar way. Again, it won’t take the issue away but may reduce how frequently you need to bring your pet in for an anal gland expression.

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