Where are Your Drugs??? Cats, Dogs, and Human Medications

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By: Dr. Rex Riggs

The CDC estimates 48.5 % percent of persons used at least one prescription drug in the past 30 days, 21.7% have used 3 or more prescription drugs in the past month, and 10.6% 5 or more.  That’s a lot of drugs around the house.  Guess who in your house thinks those look like a treat? By far the most common toxicity cases come about because we humans are careless about our prescription drugs. More than 60% of our pets’ poisonings are caused by human drugs. We see so many cats and dogs come in because of ingesting humans medications, either unintentional or, often times, because the owner gave it to them. Just because a medication is good for you does not mean it is okay for your pet.

Pharmacokinetics is defined by the Meridian Dictionary, as “the characteristic interactions of a drug and the body in terms of its absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion.” Dogs are not small humans, and cats are not small dogs. All three species have such different pharmacokinetics. Many times our pets are sensitive to very small doses of our drugs.

A great example is Tylenol. If a cat eats ½ of a Tylenol, or a small amount of the children’s liquid, he could be dead in 12 hours if not treated. Treatment of Tylenol toxicity in a cat is not a guarantee. Cats are not able to metabolize the medication and, as a result, the cat’s red blood cells are not able to carry enough oxygen. These cats come into the hospital with blue mucous membranes due to the lack of oxygen in the blood. In dogs, Tylenol can result in liver failure. NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen will cause duodenal ulcers and kidney failure in dogs and cats. Aspirin causes stomach ulcers. It is very important to use only pain medications that your vet dispenses.

 

Antidepressants are very prevalent in human medicine. Animals can be very sensitive to these as well. The most common antidepressants are serotonin uptake inhibitors. They increase a neurotransmitter in the brain called serotonin. Too much serotonin can cause an animal to have what is called Serotonin syndrome, which can cause increased heart rate and even seizures. Heart medications, especially blood pressure meds, can be a real problem if ingested by your pet. I could go on and on. Just be careful about how you store your prescriptions and never give you pets any of your medication. Just because it is safe for you, doesn’t mean it’s safe for your pets – even in minute doses.

Another note of caution: Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is found in many products. When ingested by dogs and cats, it can cause severe low blood sugar and liver failure. Most toxicity results from artificially sweetened gum and candies, but xylitol can also be an ingredient in some OTC medications, so always read the ingredient list on all products.

pet and vet pharmacy for prescriptions for your cat or dog near Columbus, OhioA bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in April 2011, H.R. 1406, the Fairness to Pet Owners Act of 2011, would require veterinarians to give pet owners a written prescription and to notify them that they may fill prescriptions at the vet’s office or at an off-site pharmacy. The introduction of this bill concerns both vets and pharmacists alike. As was mentioned before, the pharmacokinetics of animals and humans are vastly different. Pharmacists do not have any training in veterinary pharmacology and don’t want that responsibility. That is why veterinary medication is intended to be sold at your vet’s office. We know the pharmokinetics of animals and know how to prescribe the correct medications and dose. The passage of this bill would likely increase the incidence of toxicity due to human pharmaceuticals. This bill would only benefit the big retailers, or internet companies who see it as another way to increase revenue without thinking, or even caring, about the consequences for your pet. Fortunately, at this point, the bill appears to have “died” in the House.

 

 


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Central Ohio Under Vaccinated Cats Listen Up!

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By: Cathy Latimer, DVM

A conversation I had with a client last week got me thinking. He was relaying to me an encounter that he had with Rabies. His dog had gotten into a fight with a raccoon that was later found to be positive for the virus. When consulting with his veterinarian at the time and describing to her how he washed the raccoon slobber off of his dog, he was startled by his veterinarian’s response. She said, “I’m not worried about your dog. Your dog is vaccinated. I am worried about you!” The slobber he exposed himself to on his dog may have been loaded with Rabies virus. Then he shared the rather painful and lengthy post-exposure treatment his Doctor put him through. The details included shots in the arm and rear. Many, many shots and LOTS of pain.

That story reminded me of Rabies near misses among my own circle of friends and family. My daughter was in band for years and the band camp was closed one summer due to a rabid bat find. She had mentioned the big cabin had bats flying in and out and we thought it was pretty cool! Another close friend (and veterinarian) had to take her family through a less traumatic post-exposure treatment after a bat got into their Upper Arlington home. They never did figure out how it got inside. Powell, Ohio has had bats test positive for Rabies. I don’t want to pick on bats, they are a super valuable part of the ecosystem. We also have risks from other wildlife that frequent our neighborhoods in Powell, Dublin, Worthington, Lewis Center, Upper Arlington, Columbus, Delaware, and throughout Central Ohio, such as skunks, raccoons, coyotes, and foxes.

Ohio State Law Requires Cats to be Vaccinated for RabiesA trend in recent years is for cats to see the veterinarian LESS often, even as cat ownership is at an all-time high (just visit the internet to confirm this love of cats). There are a lot of reasons given for why cats don’t see the vet. Some common ones heard are: the cat doesn’t like to come, they put up a fuss, it’s stressful (for all parties involved!) There is the perception that a cat is protected from Rabies exposure as long as it is doesn’t go outside and all dogs living in the house are vaccinated. Wrong.

So what would happen if an unvaccinated cat caught a rabid bat that got into the house? The legal recommendation may shock you, so be sure your kids are not reading this. Immediate euthanasia is option one. Option 2 is six months of strict isolation (only essential human exposure). See this paragraph from the Ohio Administrative Code 3701-3-29:
Dogs, cats, ferrets not currently vaccinated against the rabies virus or when vaccination cannot be verified shall be humanely killed; or if sufficient justification for preserving the animal exists, the dog, cat, ferret shall be quarantined in strict isolation under an order issued by the health commissioner of the health district in which the bite was inflicted. Isolation in this context refers to confinement in an enclosure that precludes direct contact with people and other animals. In all cases, said quarantine shall be under the supervision of the health commissioner and shall be at the expense of the owner or harborer. Any signs of illness in the dog, cat, or ferret must be reported immediately to the health commissioner. The quarantine period shall be for not less than six months. The dog, cat, or ferret shall be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine upon entry into quarantine and/or one month before the end of the quarantine period required by this paragraph.

If your cat or someone you know has a cat that is currently overdue for vaccines, please educate them on the risks. This is serious stuff. A call to our staff can help with strategies to reduce the stress associated with car rides and carriers. Once in our office the staff will do everything they can to make the visit calm. Hey- all this goes for dogs too- but it is currently cats who seem to be flying under the radar when it comes to needed veterinary care.


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Interesting Case Alert! Dog Surgery, Fractured Jaw

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By: Debbie Heidrich, DVM

Mulligan is a nine year old lab mix that was adopted from the shelter as a young adult.  The only thing the veterinarians at Best Friends Veterinary Hospital can assume is that prior to finding his “furever” home , he had some sort of trauma to his head.  This trauma most likely fractured his lower jaw on the left side.  The shelter must have realized that Mulligan was a true family dog, so they decided to do all they  could to save him and find him a family to love.  This included repair of his fracture.  What could only have been donated equipment, the shelter vet put a metal plate and several screws into the jaw fracture to stabilize it.  The most likely scenario is that Mulligan was adopted during his recovery period.  We believe his follow-up care was lost during his adoption.

When we saw Mulligan, it was years later.  His jaw fracture remained stable, however, the metal plate and screws were completely exposed.  Mulligan was quite painful on examination of that area, but he was always in good spirits.  It was recommended that the plate be removed, although we wanted to remain aware that there may be no living bone under the plate.  It was realized that the only thing between Mulligan’s lip and bone was the metal plate.  This set up the potential for severe bone loss and infection.

The owner scheduled him for surgery and we prepared ourselves for the worst.  Mulligan was placed under anesthesia and x-rays were taken of his jaw.  Much to our surprise (and delight), Mulligan’s bone appeared to be healthy!  The plate was carefully removed using a handheld screwdriver.  His bone was flushed with an antiseptic solution and appeared to be an intact, healthy bone.  His gingiva was released from underlying tissue and sutured over the bone.  We did have to pull two teeth that seemed to be affected by the plate placement, but the remainder of his mouth looked great!

He recovered uneventfully and at last check was doing great!  This is one of those times where we (and Mulligan’s family) were so happy that the shelter saw a dog’s potential and did all they could to save him! Happy Tails!! Columbus, Ohio 9 year old lab mix after surgery for broken jaw at Best FriendsVet Hospital of PowellRemoval of metal plate used to stabilize jaw of injured lab at the Columbus, Ohio dog and cat veterinarians office in PowellPulling teeth of dog to release underlying tissue in surgery at Columbus, Ohio Best Friends Veterinary Hospital in Powell


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Why does my cat vomit after eating? THE SCARF & BARF KITTY

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by Jennifer Coate, DVM

Why does my cat vomit after eating?  I hear this question all the time from my clients.  Often vomiting cats are sick.  However, sometimes the cat is healthy, but the owner still frequently finds piles of vomited food around the house.  These are the cats that I am discussing today.

Whenever a cat is vomiting, they should always be evaluated by a veterinarian.  Your vet will take a thorough history and do a physical exam to look for abnormalities such as weight loss, dehydration, fever, or changes in how the organs feel in your cat’s belly.  There are many serious illnesses that can cause a cat to vomit, so they will likely run tests to look for these diseases and may suggest different foods.

So what about the cat that checks out completely normal, but still chronically vomits undigested kibble soon after eating?  I affectionately refer to these cats that binge and then purge as “Scarf & Barf” kitties.  I find that many of these cats are simply eating faster than their body can handle.  They will gobble the food, often barely chewing.  (Cat owners often notice that the vomited kibble looks not only undigested, but unchewed)  Then within a few minutes, they will vomit or regurgitate most of that meal.  You may see the pile of kibble laying on the floor—or worse, step in it during the middle of the night.  Yuck!

Now that you have determined that your cat is not ill, how do you fix them?  I find that the best way to stop the annoying vomit is to slow down how fast they eat.  How do you do this you ask?  Well that’s where you have to get creative.  When trying any of these ideas, be sure that your cat is still eating well—cats can be very finicky and I have seen cats starve themselves when the owner has switched up the feeding arrangements.

Option #1 is to feed the kitty very small frequent meals.  Most of us enjoy the convenience of simply plopping food into the dish twice a day and going on our merry way.  If you have the time, try feeding the normal amount of food for the day divided into several small meals. 

Option # 2 is to give them obstacles to eat around.  You can do this by putting a large rock or golf ball into the food dish.  Having said that, NEVER add obstacles to the bowl if there is a dog in the house that steals the cat food—you will simply have a dog with golf ball in its stomach that now needs surgery.  And make sure that the rock is so big that the cat can’t swallow it—try golf ball sized or larger.  Also, some cats are sly enough to simply swat the golf ball out of the dish & proceed to binge as usual.  Thankfully, the pet supply marketing guru’s have caught wind of the Scarf and Barf epidemic and they now sell food dishes with raised areas to acts as permanent obstacles.  That would probably be your safest bet.

Option # 3 is to spread out the food so that the kitty cannot take big mouthfuls and must eat only a few pieces of kibble at a time.  Ditch the bowl and spread the food out onto a plate or, even better, a cake pan (the raised sides will keep the cat from pushing the food off the sides and onto your floor).  If your cat eats canned food, smash the food into the plate in several areas.

Option #4 is to really make the cat work for the food by feeding through food dispensing toys.  There are all types of these on the market these days– everything from balls that drop one kibble at a time as your cat bats it around to food dishes shaped like a maze.  These typically work best for young active playful kitties.   Be sure that your kitty is eventually eating all of the meal –lots of kitties are just too lazy to work for their meal or simply don’t figure out how to use the toy and we don’t want them to get ill from starvation.

If these things aren’t helping, it is always a good idea to talk to your vet.  Good luck!  Hopefully your carpet will thank me. 


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Beware the Mushrooms!

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by Andrea Mykrantz, CVT
 

Mushrooms are currently running rampant in our yards. Reason being, the best time for them to grow is after a dry spell, followed by a lot of rain and very humid temperatures. Doesn’t that sound familiar to all Central Ohioans?!! The fungi grow very quickly and it’s important to scout your yard each morning before letting your dogs out for their morning potty trip. Many dogs find mushrooms irresistible and gobble them up without a second thought. Though, I don’t know many dogs that offer a second thought on any subject, much less any thoughts when eating stuff. I believe the dog’s motto is: Eat it first, ask questions later. Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

Some mushrooms are edible but others can cause problems and unless you are a mycologist why take a chance trying to choose which ones are safe? Probably the most toxic mushroom that grows in these parts is the Amanita bisporigera also known as the Destroying Angel. It is a plain white, conspicuous looking mushroom and can be easily confused with a Meadow Mushroom, which is edible. However, should you or your dog consume this mushroom symptoms of toxicosis can begin in as few as five hours. Symptoms include vomiting, cramping, diarrhea, delirium and convulsions and as little as half of a mushroom cap can cause death if the patient is not treated quickly enough. Kidney and liver failure quickly follows the initial symptoms and death occurs within just a few days. This is why it is so important to seek medical attention right away if you suspect your dog may have eaten any mushrooms.

Image obtained from Wikipedia

Destroying Angel
Image obtained from Wikipedia

Please be vigilant and if you think your pet has eaten any mushrooms please seek medical help right away! If your veterinarian is not open don’t wait, go to your nearest Emergency Veterinarian for treatment. It’s better to be safe than sorry!


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Lyme Disease, an emerging concern for Ohio

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by Andrea Mykrantz, CVT

Photography credit: Glen Needham

For years, we Ohioans have not had to worry about contracting Lyme disease as long as we stayed in-state. As with everything, times are changing and Ohio is now home to the Deer Tick, or more commonly known as the Blacklegged Tick. The BLT (Blacklegged Tick) is the only tick that transmits Lyme disease to us and our pets.

Fun Facts: Between 1989 and 2009, fewer than 50 BLTs were identified in Ohio. In 2010 alone, that number climbed to more than 70 and just last year, the total identified was more than 180; plus more than 1,800 were discovered attached to deer heads in 25 different counties. This brings concern to many of us for our own safety as well as our pets. (Columbus Dispatch 4/1/2012, Dave Golowenski)

Of course a first line of defense should be a reliable tick prevention product purchased from your veterinarian. At Best Friends we recommend either Frontline Plus or TriTak for flea and tick control. In Ohio the worst months for ticks are typically late March through July. However, it is important to note that the BLT is active all year round. Those of us who like to hike or camp with our dogs should take special care to avoid tall grasses and wooded areas. If this is not possible be sure to examine yourself and your dog closely and remove any ticks as soon as you find them. A tick needs to remain attached for between 12 and 48 hours (depending of the tick) to be able to transmit disease. Unfortunately, the BLT is much smaller than the typical ???dog tick??? we are used to seeing. To add even more concern to the mix, the nymph stage of the BLT is so small it will probably go completely undiscovered and if your dog is not properly protected and the nymph is allowed to feed it is likely your dog will become infected with Lyme disease.

Female_Dog_Tick_Deer_Tick_Comp, credit Glen Needham

Photo: the largest tick is your typical American dog tick, the three smaller ticks are all Blacklegged ticks; the largest is a female, the medium sized one is a male and the very tiny, transparent tick is a nymph. I’m sure you can appreciate how difficult this stage in particular would be to locate on a furry pet!

 

 

 

 

If you find that your dog seems to be a magnet for ticks despite monthly prevention the next item to consider is the Lyme Disease Vaccination. The initial vaccine can be administered at any time (as long as your dog is 9 weeks or older) and needs to be boostered two to four weeks later. Annual boosters are recommended for as long as the threat of ticks remains. For our ???at risk??? patients our last recommendation is annual testing for tick borne disease. Despite reliable tick prevention products and proper vaccination, sometimes disease can break through our defenses. If your dog is at risk for any tick borne diseases, including Lyme disease, we would recommend upgrading your yearly heartworm test to a 4DX test. This test not only looks for the presence of heartworm disease but it also checks for the presence of the three main tick borne diseases seen in Ohio; Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis and Erlichiosis. When caught early these diseases are all generally easy to treat and carry a good outcome with full recovery from symptoms. If left untreated Lyme disease can result in debilitating disease, which is why we are about prevention and early detection!

As always we encourage your questions and aim for the best health for your pets. If you have any questions do not hesitate to call the office (614) 889-7387 and speak to any of our knowledgeable Veterinary Technicians.

Ohio-Tick-Spot-ID photo credit Glen Needham

 


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Pet Food Recall Concerns

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By Rex Riggs, DVM

It seems every day we hear about yet another recalled pet food. Why is this happening you ask? I really feel there are a number of reasons but here are the few that I think contribute the most. The first one is actually a good reason. The pet food manufacturing plants are under scrutiny. They are being inspected more thoroughly, not only for our pets, but for better public health. The vast majority of the recalls involve the high protein low grain diets. Many of the recalls have been due to salmonella contamination from poor hygienic practices. Other recalls have been due to unbalanced diets that result in toxicities. So what is the Foodbiggest reason we are seeing more problems? Money.?? Clear and simple. The pet food industry is a multi-billion dollar business, with everyone getting their niche in the market. They use whatever is needed, even false science and words with undefined meanings to promote their often over priced products. ???Organic???, ???holistic??? and ???natural??? have no definition in pet foods. Therefore, these terms can be used to describe anything. The current ???big fad???, a term I am sure will offend some people, is the high protein low grain diets. There is no scientific basis to support these diets, just unsubstantiated claims. One theory as to how these diets came to be is due to the increase of gluten intolerance diagnosed in humans. Dogs or cats rarely have allergies to grains; the vast majority of allergies are due to proteins! The disappointment is that these diets are marketed to people who are concerned about what they are feeding their pets, and they are being misinformed unintentionally or intentionally. The sales force who are selling these products in your local pet store, are giving recommendations they often feel are best, they are good people , but they too are misinformed and repeating the company line. I have always been a critical thinker and I look into claims before I buy.

Here are some questions you should ask about a pet food company before you buy.
Is there a veterinary nutritionist on staff? Does the company archive its ingredients? This is done so they have a way to test ingredients if a problem arises. Does the company do AAFCO feeding trials on any of their foods? This is not a federal requirement but one that good companies do feeding trials to insure quality control. Where are the diets made? Many of these pet food companies don???t have their own plants and farm the manufacturing out to other companies who make many of the foods on the shelves. Iams, Science Diet, Purina and Royal Canin all make their own dry diets and can answer yes to all the above questions. We as Veterinarians do not get any kick back from the companies as the pet stores would have you believe. We only sell prescription foods, so we have no conflict of interest.

DSCN0124

Ultimately, what I am saying is make sure you get the facts. Look to internet sites that are university based. The internet has no editor so….people can and will say anything. You do not need to spend in excess of $50 or more on your pet???s maintenance food and you shouldn???t. Be that critical thinker and ask questions and demand documentation of their claims. I want the same thing for your pet that you do??? a happy, long and healthy life.


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Spring Begins in Columbus, Ohio on March 20th, Time to Think About Pet Allergies in Your Cat or Dog

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With warming weather trends in Columbus and Central Ohio just around the corner, budding trees, blossoming grass, blooming flowers, house dust, molds and other allergens can lead to allergies (atopic dermatitis) in your dog or cat.

Inhaled particles including pollen, dust, and mold can impact your cat or dog similar to how hay fever or other allergens may affect you. However while humans have cough, sneeze, runny nose, and sore throat, Columbus Ohio veterinarians that care about the alergies that impact your cat or dogpets often display their symptoms through licking, scratching, and biting themselves attempting to relieve their irritated skin.

In addition to the rashes, skin eruptions, and general discomfort suffered by the pet, this consistent licking, scratching, and biting can lead to hair loss in the affected areas, as well as more severe problems such as infections due to the sores it creates.

Depending on the severity of your dog or cats allergies (atopy), some methods of treatment may include medicated shampoos, oral medicines, immunotherapy, antihistamines, or steroids. No matter what the season, if you suspect that your dog or cat may have allergies, the veterinarians at Best Friends Vet Hospital are here to help. Fill out our contact form or call our office at (614) 889-7387 today!


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Homemade Dog Treats

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By Andrea Mykrantz, CVT

As many of you know there is concern surrounding several different brands of chicken jerky treats manufactured in China. Add to that the concern of so many recent recalls on various dog treats for potential salmonella contamination and you may find yourself wondering what treats are actually safe for me to feed my dog? Well, I found myself wondering the same thing and decided to start making some of my own dog treats.

Walk into any pet store around town and they will recommend bully sticks and antlers as the number one thing you should give to your pet. I know we have talked on this topic before but I really cannot stress enough the dangers of these products. A.) They are not food grade items; therefore, they are not inspected by the USDA or approved by AAFCO or governed by any organization to maintain any type of standards. Within the past few months alone, there have been recalls on pig product treats distributed by Target and Safeway Stores. B.) They just aren???t safe to give your dog. I compare giving my dog a deer antler, to handing a kid a dirty, broken glass full of juice to drink. Sure, if the kid is careful they can most likely drink the juice from the glass without an issue and if they???re lucky the dirt won???t be of any concern. Give your dog an antler to chew on and 9 times out of 10 they won???t have an issue, but is that 10th time worth the trip to the vet to extract the broken tooth or perform the foreign body removal surgery for the too big pieces that broke off and were swallowed?

Let???s talk about chicken jerky. Many dogs and cats have been affected by these imported jerky treats and no one really knows the causative agent making the pets ill. The FDA can???t issue a recall notice without a definitive reason for the recall. I???ve read that there are concerns with a particular type of plant (Jatropha) being used to make glycerin for these treats. The plant may contain toxic by-products; although conventional impurity tests being used may not be able to detect these toxic substances. So until better testing becomes available or another reason is discovered it is likely that these products will continue to be available and continue to make our pets ill or worse. What can you do to prevent your chicken jerky loving pet from becoming ill? Make your own! ??It???s is easy and way less messy to use during a training session than refrigerated pieces of roasted chicken. A basic recipe for chicken jerky can be found at this website www.dogtreatkitchen.com . I have found many fun recipes and some excellent general information about storing treats, places to purchase bone shaped cookie cutters, etc. If you don???t own a dehydrator try this:

Chicken Jerky Dog Treats (http://www.dogtreatkitchen.com/chicken-jerky-dog-treats.html )

Ingredients:

  • Chicken Breast Fillets

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 200?? F
  2. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  3. Rinse off chicken breast and remove any fat.
  4. Slice the chicken with the grain. This will help make the jerky even chewier for your dog. The slices should be very thin, about 1/8″ to 1/4″ thickness.
  5. Place the strips on the baking sheet.
  6. Bake for approximately 2 hours (see note below).
  7. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack until completely cool.
  8. Cut strips into bite sized pieces.

Storing: These homemade dog treats may not last long enough to be stored because they are so good. But, just in case they do, store them in the refrigerator for 3 weeks. Freeze any remainder for up to 8 months. Be sure to read our tips on storing homemade dog treats for more information.

Alternately, you can use a food dehydrator to make chicken jerky. You should first heat the chicken to 165o F to kill any bacteria before continuing with the dehydration process.

Another treat recipe I discovered on Dog Treat Kitchen???s website is this:

Winter Squash Dog Muffins( http://www.dogtreatkitchen.com/dog-muffin-recipe.html )

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups winter squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp corn oil
  • 1/2 cup milk

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375?? F
  2. Whisk together the oats, flour, cinnamon and ginger.
  3. Peel the squash and cut into 1 inch cubes.
  4. Place squash in a microwave safe bowl and add 1/8 cup of water.
  5. Microwave on high at one minute intervals until tender. After each minute, stir and test the softness of the squash.
  6. Once the squash is tender, drain the excess liquid.
  7. Place the squash, egg, oil and milk into a blender.
  8. Blend into a smooth puree, stirring when needed to keep the mixture moving.
  9. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the squash mixture.
  10. Stir together until combined.
  11. Spray a mini muffin pan with non stick cooking spray with flour.
  12. Using a tablespoon sized cookie scooper, scoop generous amounts into each muffin cup.
  13. Bake for 15 minutes.
  14. Turn off the oven and let the muffins cool.

Storing – This dog muffin recipe will keep in the fridge for about two weeks. You can freeze them for later enjoyment for up to 6 months. To decorate, let them thaw, or come to room temperature first.

Yield – Using a mini muffin pan, you’ll yield 24 little muffins.

Finally, one last dog treat recipe I thought looked fun for the holidays was this:

Dog Candy Canes (http://www.dogtreatkitchen.com/free-dog-treat-recipes.html )

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup nonfat powdered milk
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp red food coloring (see tips)
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint oil flavoring (optional)
  • 1 large egg (for an egg wash)

Additional flour for kneading

Instructions:

  1. Whisk together the flour, powdered milk and baking powder.
  2. In a small bowl, pour the warm water over the chicken bouillon, stir until dissolved.
  3. Whisk the eggs into the chicken water.
  4. Form a well in the dry ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients.
  5. Stir until thoroughly combined.
  6. Knead the dough for about two minutes.
  7. Add more flour until the dough is no longer sticky.
  8. Separate the dough in half.
  9. Form a well in one of the balls of dough.
  10. Add the food coloring and peppermint flavoring.
  11. Wearing food safe gloves, knead the coloring and flavoring throughout the dough.
  12. Cool the dough in the refrigerator for 2 hours or in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  13. Preheat the oven to 350?? F
  14. Divide each ball of dough into tablespoon sized balls.
  15. Gently roll each ball into a “worm” shape, letting the dough rest when needed. Each strip should be about 5 inches long.
  16. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
  17. Twist one plain strip with a red strip, and curl the end to shape a candy cane.
  18. Place on the baking sheet.
  19. Whisk the extra egg in a small bowl.
  20. Using a pastry brush, thoroughly coat each candy cane with the egg wash.
  21. Bake for 10 minutes.
  22. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Storing – Our free dog treat recipes do not contain preservatives, so they will need to be refrigerated. These dog candy canes will keep fresh for two or more weeks in the refrigerator. They also freeze beautifully. Keep them in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Yield – If you roll out 5 inch strips of dough, and twist them together, you should yield at least 20 sugar free dog treats.

If your dog or cat has special nutritional requirements you should always check with your veterinarian before offering certain treats. These recipes are meant to be fed to normal healthy animals. Also, remember to count the extra calories and adjust your dog???s diet accordingly. Treats are fun but we don???t want to cause your pet to gain extra pounds unnecessarily. Finally, there are plenty of safe treats still available over the counter. If baking for your pet is not for you just pay attention to the packaging and stick with made in the USA products that meet AFFCO standards. Above all else, have fun!

Special thanks to www.dogtreatkitchen.com for allowing me to share their recipes and associated pictures!

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Pet Insurance 101: What You Need To Know to Protect your Pet

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By Sara Radak, Community Engagement Coordinator, Embrace Pet Insurance

 

???Pet insurance?! What???s that????

Is that you???re response to the title of this post? Don???t worry. You???re not alone. ??However, we hope you???ll read on to learn how pet insurance can benefit you and your pets!

 

What is pet insurance?

Every year more than 1 in 3 pets falls ill or is injured. No one wants to have to choose between their pet???s health and their bank account. Pet insurance is health insurance to help you pay for your pet???s care in the event of a costly accident or illness. With pet insurance, you never have to choose between an expensive treatment and your pet???s life.

What does pet insurance cover?

There are lots of pet insurance plans available but they vary a great deal. There are differences in what they cover, what they exclude, what they cost, their level of customer service, and how they pay claims. While budget is always a factor, don???t just pick a plan because it???s the cheapest. You get what you pay for!

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Pet insurance plans can cover:

  • Treatment for accidents, illnesses and diseases
  • Treatment for allergies
  • Cancer and chemotherapy
  • Surgery, hospitalization and nursing care
  • Laboratory and diagnostic tests including X-rays and MRI scans
  • Medications

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Some pet insurance plans, including Embrace, also cover:

  • Genetic/hereditary conditions
  • Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, hydrotherapy, holistic and homeopathic medicine
  • Chronic and recurring conditions that last more than one policy period, such as allergies, diabetes and hyperthyroidism
  • Routine wellness care can also be covered as part of our Wellness Rewards program

 

What doesn???t pet insurance cover?

Pet insurance plans usually will not pay for:

  • Pre-existing conditions ??? conditions that your pet had, was diagnosed with, or showed signs of before enrolling or during the waiting period
  • Cosmetic, elective or preventative procedures such as de-worming, tail docking, ear cropping, and declawing (except where medically necessary)
  • Veterinary costs related to pregnancy, breeding or whelping
  • Orthodontic or endodontic procedures such as root canals or crowns
  • Behavioral problems
  • Prescription diet food

 

So, how much does it cost?

The cost of pet insurance varies based on a few factors ??? the pet???s species, breed, age, sex and location. On average you can expect to pay around $30 per month for dogs and $20 per month for cats. Adding on a wellness plan typically costs a little more. You shouldn???t compare pet insurance plans based on price alone. In general, plans that cost more also cover more and reimburse you more when you claim.

Pet Insurance companies also may offer discounts for things like:

  • Enrolling multiple pets
  • Paying annually for your policy instead of monthly
  • Being full-time in the military
  • Enrolling a service pet (like a guide dog for the sight impaired)
  • Enrolling through your company or veterinarian with a discount code

 

Claim Examples

Embrace Pet Insurance is proud of to insure many clients from Best Friends Veterinary Hospital and we???ve seen quite a few client claims come in.?? Here are just 2:

1.???????????? Date of Service:?? 1/25/12?????????????????????????? Treated for: Tibial Fracture

Pet: Miles, 3 month old Tabby cat embraced by Philip W. of Dublin, OH

Claim Amount: $1,564.96?? ???????????????????? Embrace Reimbursed: 1,091.97

Miles??? Policy: ??$200 deductible, 80% reimbursement, $5,000 annual limit – $21.40/month

 

 

2.???????????? Date of Service: 7/21/12???????????????????????????? Treated for: Lethargy and gastroenteritis

Pet: Bella, 2 year old mixed breed dog embraced by Lynne M. of Powell, OH

Claim Amount: $ 1,371.69?????????????????????? Embrace Reimbursed:?? $1,056.78

Bella???s Policy: $200 deductible, 80% reimbursement, $10,000 annual limit – $34.21/month

 

The most important thing you want to remember is that pet insurance is something you can???t get when you need it the most. Planning ahead and doing your homework on pet insurance now are essential to getting the best, most comprehensive coverage for your pet before something happens. To get a quote for your pet, contact Embrace Pet Insurance by visiting our website or calling in to chat with one of our friendly Customer Care Reps at 800-511-9172.


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