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Apoquel is Rooney’s Best Friend

Disclaimer: What works for us may not work for you, but I did want to share our experience with Apoquel. I think it’s important to note that I am not a Veterinarian and, therefore, can’t recommend or prescribe Apoquel for any individual dog (Apoquel is not FDA approved to be used for cats). This post was created simply to provide our experience and give pet parents some additional information. Apoquel didn’t sponsor this post. Additionally, all thoughts and experiences are my own.

I don’t know if I have mentioned this already, but allergies in California this year have been fierce! Mostly due to all the rain we had (and needed) this past winter. The only bummer is that when our allergies are bad, so are our dogs allergies.

Therefore, Rooney has been one itchy dog this year. Most years his allergies will peak sometime in the Spring and again in the Fall, but this year Rooney has been constantly fighting allergies. Luckily, these days we have a medication that works well and fast, it’s called Apoquel.

Signs of Allergies

Before I start talking about Apoquel and its benefits, it’s important that you know the signs and symptoms associated with dog allergies. According to Apoquel’s guide, the signs and symptoms of canine allergies include:

  • Excessive Licking, Chewing, Biting or Scratching
  • Excessive Rolling, Rubbing, or Scooting
  • Foot Chewing (Rooney’s number 1 symptom)
  • Hair Loss
  • Ear Infections and Head Shaking
  • Red or Itchy Skin
  • Changes in the skin, including sores, darkened colors, or scabs

If your dog is exhibiting any of the above symptoms, its imperative that you learn what type of allergy your dog has (inhaled, flea, or food). In order to accurately determine what kind of allergies your dog is experiencing, and how you can best help your dog, you will need to work with your veterinarian.

Rooney has inhaled (or environmental) allergies. Apoquel helps control his itching and secondary symptoms associated with his allergies.

Apoquel, A History

Shortly after Apoquel debuted on the market, it went on backorder due to high demand, and according to Veterinary Practice News, “undisclosed production problems”. Before Apoquel was available on the market, and during it’s shortage, there are few other medications available that are somewhat cost effective, and don’t include steroids. While steroids are used to treat severe allergies in the short term, they are tough on the body’s kidney and liver, therefore, I want to avoid giving Rooney steroids as much as possible. We had tried quite a few medications, since Rooney’s allergies arrive every year, and cannot be left untreated or he will develop hotspots. However, once Apoquel was back on the market, we talked to Rooney’s vet and began using it to tame his allergies once again.

What exactly is Apoquel?

APOQUEL is used for the control of itch associated with allergic skin disease and for control of atopic skin disease in dogs at least 1 year of age. APOQUEL significantly reduces itching, and also decreases the associated inflammation, redness or swelling of the skin.

How Does Apoquel work?

Unlike other treatments, APOQUEL targets a key itch signal in the nervous system and has minimal negative impact on the immune system. APOQUEL also allows your veterinarian to continue to diagnose the underlying cause of itch while providing your dog with relief.

Why I Like Apoquel

As Needed. Rooney gets Apoquel once a day as needed to relieve itching due to allergies. I like this type of dosage because Rooney doesn’t need the medication 365 days a year. However, he will need allergy medication several times throughout the year to keep his allergies in control.

Works Fast. Apoquel can start to relieve your pet from itching in 4 hours. I know when I give Rooney his Apoquel he quickly goes from being very itchy to only slightly itchy within a few hours.

Apoquel is mostly cost effective for our budget. It’s not the cheapest allergy medication available, but it is so effective. And because you can give it to your pet on an as needed basis, it helps you save as compared to some other medications.

Work With Your Veterinarian

Do you think that your dog could benefit from a medication like Apoquel? If so, you should discuss this possibility with your veterinarian if your dog is over 1 year of age. Please keep in mind that like all medications, Apoquel can have side effects. I highly recommend doing your research and consulting a veterinarian before starting your pet on any medication.

Would you like us to bring back Medical Mondays (even though it’s Wednesday — I’m trying lol)? I think these posts have provided pet parents with important information over the years. Therefore, I would like to add them back to the blogging rotation (and post more frequently again – sorry friends!). What do you think?

Cold Laser Therapy for Dogs: A Revolution in Arthritis Treatment

There is a new-ish treatment available in veterinary medicine, and it’s called Cold Laser Therapy!

I am very excited to share with your some information about Cold Laser Therapy along with my good friend Carol Bryant from Fidose of Reality. Carol’s dog Dexter has been treated with Cold Laser Therapy, so she will be able to share her Mom perspective on the topic, while I provide you with some general medical information regarding this new and exciting treatment.

What is Cold Laser Therapy?

It’s a type of treatment where “a cold laser uses a beam of light to stimulate damaged cells to produce more energy” (Veterinary General). When the laser stimulates the cells, it improves cellular function, reduces inflammation, and stimulates blood flow. Additionally, Cold Laser Therapy improves the absorption of nutrients by the cells and cellular reproduction. What most pet parents need to understand is that the most common joint damage that our pets experience is due to cellular damage, inflammation, and a lack of healthy cell reproduction. Specifically arthritis, which is defined by PetMD as:

Arthritis is a general term for abnormal changes in a joint. It can arise from joint tissue destruction after an infection, from congenital defects affecting structural architecture, and from stress and trauma to joint surfaces and supporting structures.”

Due to its positive effect on cellular tissue, Cold Laser Therapy can be used to treat the following (Veterinary General):

  • Arthritis or Musculoskeletal diseases
  • Joint injuries or Trauma
  • Post-Surgical incisions
  • Ligament or tendon injuries
  • Fractures
  • Muscle sprains or strains
  • Skin lesions or abrasions
  • Nerve damage

New-ish to Veterinary Medicine

Cold Laser Therapy is new-ish to veterinary medicine. Much of the initial research in the media was published around 2011 from my findings. However, according to Multi Radiance Medical, Cold Laser Therapy gained popularity in the veterinary rehabilitation community in the 1990s. Despite being a new-ish treatment, Cold Laser Therapy has been around in human medicine for quite some time.

“Laser therapy is a very effective modality to speed and direct healing in dogs with painful arthritis, strains and sprains and other injuries or effects of aging. It has been used in humans for a long time and dogs now can reap the benefits, too.” – Dr. Christine Zink Director of the Department of Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

What does this mean for you?

Veterinary Medicine has spent many years determining the effects and applications of Cold Laser Therapy. As the treatment continues to gain popularity in the veterinary field, your pet will have better access to improved technology.

What to Expect

Veterinarians who are trained in rehab therapy will be able to recommend the Cold Laser Therapy to your pet as part of a larger treatment plan.

Your veterinarian may recommend Cold Laser Therapy as a treatment for your pet if they suffer from a joint or ligament injury or condition. The reason that Cold Laser Therapy benefits your pet is that it is non-invasive treatment, with no recovery time. Meaning, there is no anesthesia necessary, and often, you can be with your pet during the treatment (Veterans Memorial Drive Animal Hospital).

Once your veterinarian recommends Cold Laser Therapy for your dog, you and your pet will visit the veterinary hospital for regular visits. While in the hospital, your pet will lie down and the laser will be applied to the targeted area. You may need to visit more frequently in the first few weeks until your dog reaches maintenance (Veterans Memorial Drive Animal Hospital).

Many positive stories surround the use of Cold Laser Therapy in pets. Some pet parents say their pets joints seem brand new! Others see a marked difference in the way their pet walks. Either way, it seems as though many pet parents have had a positive experience with Cold Laser Therapy.

The Skeptics

Of course, with new treatments, there will be skeptics, which is a good thing. In my opinion, the more questions that are being asked, the better the technology and research will become.

  • “Not all cases are successful.” As of 2012, some studies do show that Cold Laser Therapy is not always successful. However, due to the number of parameters and variables that can skew the research, these studies do not indicate that Cold Laser Therapy is ineffective. (Veterinary Practice News)
  • “The lasers only reduce pain, nothing else”. This is false, due to the increased circulation, Cold Laser Therapy can also improve ligament and cartilage function, as well as, decrease inflammation. (Veterinary Practice News)

To learn more about common myths associated with Cold Laser Therapy, I highly recommend reading this article from Veterinary Practice News.

Items of Note:

Based on my research, I wanted to share with pet parents a few quick items of note:

  • Not recommended for pets who have cancer because the treatment can stimulate the blood flow near cancer cells. (ABCNews)
  • There are different classes of lasers. According to Dr. Karen Becker, Class IV lasers, which are the strongest, were approved but the FDA in 2011 and are 50 times more powerful than their Class III predecessor. Additionally, new lasers have adjustable power output so that you can adjust for different types of treatment.
  • Class IV laser therapy treatments are cumulative, meaning each treatment builds on prior treatments and the animal’s condition improves continuously.” – Dr. Karen Becker
  • The treatment can reduce the probability of re-injury (Dr. Karen Becker)

Do you have or know a pet who could benefit from Cold Laser Therapy? If so, share with them this information and check out Carol’s Mom perspective on Cold Laser Therapy.

medicine versus mom

Fighting the Flea and Tick Problem with Only Natural Pet

Disclaimer: This blog post was made possible by Only Natural Pet. I received financial compensation for sharing my opinions about Only Natural Pet and their products. However, My Kid Has Paws only recommends products we believe our readers will value.

Preventing against fleas and ticks is a problem that every pet parent faces. Sometimes the problem is seasonal, but no matter the conditions, prevention should be top of mind for every pet parent. Today, I want to share with you some available options for fighting the ever-present flea and tick problem both for your pet and in your home.

What’s the Big Deal with Fleas and Ticks?

Occasionally when working at the veterinary hospital, I noticed that a few pet parents skipped out on the flea and tick prevention at their pet’s initial veterinary exam. On occasion, they declined due to the expense. Sometimes, they concluded that the prevention was unnecessary because their pet will be mostly inside. Often, pet parents didn’t quite understand the severity of flea and tick problems. It is important, however, to understand that fleas and ticks cause a real threat to your pet’s health.

For example, a tick bite or infestation can lead to Lyme disease, which can be detrimental to the health of your pet. Additionally, fleas can lead to flea bite allergy and dermatitis, which can begin a potentially long list of skin problems.

Health Problems Associated with Ticks (PetMD):

  • toxicosis or hypersensitivity
  • blood loss anemia
  • transmitters of viral or bacterial diseases

Health Problems Associated with Fleas (PetMD):

  • itching
  • hair loss
  • inflammation
  • secondary skin infection

Fighting the Flea and Tick Problem with Only Natural Pet

The reality is that pet parents don’t actually need to know the list of problems associated with fleas and ticks. All anyone needs to know is that they can cause problems for your pet that can be prevented, so let’s talk about prevention!

Is There a Pill for That?

The answer is yes. For a long time, there were only a few options that dominated the flea and tick prevention market. However, these days there are a variety of options that pet parents can choose from:

1) Topical

Topical flea, heartworm, and tick medications are available and are the type of medication most pet parents recognize. Many of these medications will protect your pet from more than one insect intruder. For example, Revolution, a product that I have used on Rooney in the past, prevents against fleas, heartworm, and intestinal parasites.

2) Pill form

Flea and tick medications do come in pill form. We tried one of these products in the past, and they upset Rooney’s stomach, so we discontinued the use of that. The benefit to a pill form or chewable is that your pet doesn’t have to stay dry for 24-48 hours before, and after, application as they do with topical medications. Therefore, these are great alternatives for pets who like to swim.

Additionally, there is no concern regarding kids petting a dog or cat after their the medication has been administered (as is the concern with topical medication).

3) Chewable

Chewables have been common on the market for treating heartworm for quite some time, but are also an option for flea and tick prevention.

What About Collars?

Flea collars are available on the market, and a few have the ability to repel ticks as well. This type of flea and tick repellent is preferred by some pet parents due to their long-lasting effects (up to 8 months).

Are There Any Natural or Holistic Options?

Only Natural Pet, a company that we have worked with before, brought to my attention one of their newest products: EasyDefense Flea & Tick Spray for Dogs and Cats.

Only Natural Pet EasyDefense Spray is a powerful, natural flea & tick repellent for both dogs and cats. Made with NO DEET, pyrethrins, or synthetic pesticides, this flea & tick spray for dogs and cats keeps biting pests off your pet.

In recent years many of the more traditional flea and tick prevention alternatives have been under attack in the market due to some pets having a negative reaction to the chemicals. The active ingredients in the EasyDefense Spray include; geraniol (a natural extract from the geranium plant) and peppermint oil.

The purpose of this specific spray is to provide you with a natural way to fight the good fight against fleas and ticks. That being said, you will need to spray your pet each time they go outside, but the good news is that you can use it to protect your home as well.

If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I want to hear what veterinarians think about a product, especially one that is so essential to the overall health of a pet, before I make any recommendations. So here is Holistic Veterinarian, Dr. Jean Hofve, to provide you with more information on preventing fleas and ticks naturally.

Notice that Dr. Jean Hofve mentions a few things to keep in mind when opting for a natural solution. Pet parents need to be very diligent about protecting all of the pets you have in your home, and your home itself. Basically, if you are going to opt for a more natural solution, it will take more work on your part.

In addition to the diligent use of natural products, and the essential oils they contain, pet parents will need to make sure all the pets in the home are bathed regularly, and the home is cleaned as frequently as possible (PetMD).

Additional Steps

If you are interested in the natural remedies of Only Natural Pet, they offer the EasyDefense Spray as part of a larger natural kit to help protect your pet and home against fleas and ticks. As discussed by Dr. Hofve, the best way to implement a natural solution is to take a comprehensive approach.

What remedies or natural treatments have you tried to prevent fleas and ticks? Are you interested in trying Only Natural Pet EasyDefense Spray? 

You can order online at Only Natural Pet and receive free shipping and save 20% by using the code AFLEA20SF and clicking here.

OR, you can enter our giveaway and receive a $50 Gift card to Only Natural Pet!

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Do You Know Your Pet’s Vitals?

The answer to this question may not seem important now, but at some point most pet parents will need to know their pet’s vitals to be able to monitor their health and know when they need treatment.

Today, Carol from Fidose of Reality and I, are going to share with you some important information about your pet’s vitals so that you can protect your pet’s health, should concerns arise.

Temperature

For both dogs and cats, a normal temperature is between 100 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. (VetStreet)

The most common way that a dog or cat’s temperature is measured by veterinary professionals is using a digital rectal thermometer. Unless it is recommended by a veterinarian, you shouldn’t need to take your dog or cat’s temperature at home. However, if you are instructed to do so by your veterinarian, you can find more information on how to measure your dog’s temperature at home in this VetStreet article.

If you take your pet’s temparture and it is outside of the normal range and you see evidence of diarrhea or bloody stool, contact your veterinarian immediately. 

Heart Rate

Heart rate varies significantly from one pet to the other. According to VetStreet, a dog or cat’s heart rate can vary anywhere from 60 to 140 beats per minute. A faster heart rate will often be found in a small dog, a puppy, or a dog who is not in very good shape. Because I check on Rooney’s heart rate, I know that his tends to be a bit on the faster side.

How to check your dog’s heart rate?

You can check your dog’s heart rate in two ways.

You can feel your pet’s heart rate by gently placing your hands on their chest, or you can feel their heart rate through their femoral artery located in their thigh (see photo).

Respiratory Rate

Respiratory rate is a really important measurement for a pet parent to know. It’s a clear indicator of your dog’s discomfort and can help you determine an emergency if you dog is at risk for overheating.

If your dog is panting frantically and is glassy-eyed, don’t count anything except the minutes it will take you to get to a veterinarian. Your dog is in critical condition from overheating. – VetStreet

A dog who is at rest should breath somewhere between 10 and 35 breaths per minute. If your dog is panting and the symptoms are combined with the description above, you may be in an emergency situation.

Vitals Monitored by Your Vet

Do You Know Your Pet's Vitals?

Photo credit: http://www.vmdtechnology.com

While the top 3 vitals are the most important for you to know as a pet parent, I want to share with you some other important information that is typically monitored at the veterinary hospital. The chart above is an example of how your pet’s vitals might be tracked if they are being hospitalized. To provide some additional transparency for pet parents, let me discuss what a few of these items mean.

Attitude

BAR stands for Bright, Alert and Responsive. This means that your pet entered the hospital looking like they feel okay; tail-wagging, normal energy, and behavior. Another descriptor that could be used here is NDR, which stands for Not Doing Right. This description might be used to describe a pet who seems lethargic, unresponsive, and sick. (PetMD)

MM = Mucous Membranes

Specifically, veterinarians and their technicians are looking at the color of your pet’s mucous membranes. If you want to check your pet’s mucous membranes, all you need to do is gently lift their lip and check their gums. You want to see bright and pink mucous membranes (i.e. gum tissue).

What you don’t want to see are membranes that are grey, white, purple, or tacky.

CRT

While checking your pet’s mucous membranes, your veterinarian or veterinary technician will also check your pet’s CRT, which stands for Capillary Refill Time. The best way I can explain how to measure your pet’s CRT is to gently press on their gums and see how long it takes the color to return (like checking a sunburn). If it takes 2 seconds or less to refill, your pet is within the normal range. However, if it take more than 2 seconds, then it is considered an abnormal CRT which might be indicative of dehydration, lack of blood flow, or lack of oxygen.

Other Metrics

While your pet is in the hospital, it is really important that someone is keeping track of their walks, water and food intake, and urination and defecation. Not only does this type of documentation make sure that every pet in the hospital gets the appropriate care no matter how busy things get, but it also provides your veterinarian with some additional insights regarding your pet’s health.

Knowing When You Can Monitor & When It’s an Emergency

Emergencies happen. As a pet parent, I am a fan of the phrase, “when in doubt, call your veterinarian”. You know your pet best and if you feel like their behavior, disposition, or overall health has changed (i.e. vomiting, diarhhea, increased or decreased urination, water intake, food intake, or defecation), call your veterinarian or emergency veterinarian.

However, at some point in your pet’s life you might need to monitor their vitals and their overall health. You should always do so with the guidance and direction of your veterinarian. That being said, I believe that knowledge is power. Knowing what the parameters of your pet’s health should be will make you that much more informed as a pet parent.

For more important information, and to read Carol’s Mom perspective on this topic, please visit Fidose of Reality.

medicine versus mom

Embark Dog DNA Test – Learning More About Your Dog

Dog DNA Test is a term that is somewhat controversial among veterinary professionals.

Mostly because the early dog DNA tests didn’t provide a lot of information, and lacked accuracy. Similar to pet insurance however, dog DNA testing has evolved in recent years and in a very positive way. One such company that is helping Dog DNA Testing to evolve is Embark.

Embark Dog DNA Test - Learning More About Your Dog

How is Embark different than existing Dog DNA tests?

Embark really sets themselves apart by using a Dog DNA test to provide pet parents with more information than just breed. An Embark dog DNA test provides you with information on Breed, Health, Traits, and Ancestry based on the 200,000+ genetic markers and 160+ genetic diseases they have identified. Each piece of information helps pet parents not only better understand their pet, but also helps them make better decisions regarding their pet’s health.

Embark Goes Above & Beyond

Embark was founded by Ryan and Adam Boyko, two scientists and researchers who spent many years discovering the genetic basis for many dog traits and diseases. Ryan and Adam created a research partnership with Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine and Spencer Wells, a well-known figure in consumer genetics, to create Embark.

Embark is clearly a company that is invested in the well-being of pets and their future. How do I know? They are interested in collecting data that will allow Animal Scientists and Veterinarians to improve dog wellness. As research partners of the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Embark has a fantastic platform to conduct research. They also work with breeders so that the health of dogs in the future can be improved and preserved.

Embark Dog DNA Test - Learning More About Your Dog

So Who Did We Test?

While Rooney’s DNA test would have provided me with excellent information regarding his overall health, I was interested in learning more about what their test could offer someone who had already paid for a DNA test in the past, but was looking for something more. So, I turned to my friend Megan and her Hound Mix, Harrison Ford.

The Results

After receiving Harrison Ford’s DNA results, Megan was delighted to learn that Harrison Ford carried no genetic markers for known diseases, and she was provided with a percentage breakdown of HF’s breed profile.

In addition to Breed and Family Profile, Embark also provides information for every Breed Family identified in your dog’s DNA.

For an Animal Science major, the next offer from Embark was one of my favorites! They used Harrison Ford’s mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosome to identify where his maternal and paternal ancestors were from and how they got there.

Now, if you are interested in learning more about the science behind your dog’s DNA, this is only scratching the surface. Embark provides you with a full advanced analysis and profile of your dog’s DNA as well.

So why is all this information important?

While Embark cleared Harrison Ford for 24 common conditions in his breed mix, Megan can research any extra health conditions associated with Harrison Ford’s breed mix so she can know what to look out for. Meaning, Megan has an opportunity to research diseases and conditions that are typical for Australian Cattle dogs, among other breeds, so that she can keep her eye out for early symptoms and signs.

Not to mention, they have both now contributed to protecting the health and wellness of future generations of pets.

Now, it’s your turn. Do you want to know more about your dog and their genetic health? If so, visit Embark to get your dog DNA test.

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