• Tuesday, October 14, 2014 11:28 AM | Administrator Administrator (Administrator)

    From AAHA NewStat August 2014

    Editor's note: This article was contributed by the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP).

    Feline house-soiling is one of the most common reasons why pet owners abandon or relinquish their cats. Unfortunately, these cats frequently end up in shelters where they are euthanized. The good news is that there are ways to prevent, manage, or resolve feline house-soiling behaviors. The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) has just released a brochure, “Feline House-Soiling: Useful Information for Cat Owners,” which describes the causes, treatment, management, and prevention of house-soiling. Cat owner education is the key to resolving house-soiling behaviors.

    The AAFP’s brochure emphasizes that cats do not urinate or defecate outside their litter box due to spite or anger towards the owner, but because it’s physical, social, or medical needs are not being met. The brochure gives cat owners practical tips and information on: 

    • Four basic causes of house-soiling – Medical causes and problems, feline idiopathic cystitis, marking behaviors, and environmental and social factors.
    • Designing the optimal litter box – Number of litter boxes, location and placement of boxes, size of box, type of litter, and management of the box.
    • Removing marking triggers – Spay or neuter, restrict potential threats of other cats, and clean thoroughly and frequently.  
    • Meeting the environmental and social needs of the cat.

    It also reminds cat owners to contact their veterinary practice immediately if their cat is exhibiting house-soiling behavior.   

    “If you are experiencing feline house-soiling with your cat, please contact your veterinary practice. You should work with your veterinarian to identify the causative factors for the house-soiling behavior and effectively address those factors to cease or markedly decrease the unwanted behavior,” advises Hazel Carney, DVM, DABVP (Canine and Feline). 

    “Cat owners should be educated about the basic causes and ways to prevent or manage house-soiling behaviors. This brochure is a complete and comprehensive tool with the purpose to educate thus decreasing the number of cats being abandoned or relinquished due to these behaviors, and allowing more cats to live long, happy lives in their current households,” said Heather O’Steen, executive director of the AAFP.

    The AAFP would like to thank Ceva Animal Health for their sponsorship of this brochure and their commitment to help the veterinary community enhance the lives of cats.

    About the American Association of Feline Practitioners

    The American Association of Feline Practitioners improves the health and welfare of cats by supporting high standards of practice, continuing education and scientific investigation.

  • Tuesday, October 14, 2014 11:24 AM | Administrator Administrator (Administrator)

    From AAHA NewStat August 2014

    Just as American veterinarians have struggled with clients who are quick to consult "Dr. Google" before their own veterinarians, their British counterparts are dealing with many clients who flock to readily available online advice.

    The British Veterinary Association (BVA) surveyed 1,208 veterinarians - 689 of whom work with companion animals - to solicit their opinions about the impact of clients ranking Google higher than their veterinarians. A hefty 98 percent of survey respondents said they believe their clients change their behavior based on online research.

    Some respondents said they think that clients who consult Dr. Google before visiting a veterinarian are more likely to self-diagnose and treat pets, and that animals pay the price because their owners unnecessarily delay seeking professional veterinary care. 

    According to the BVA, one veterinarian related the story of a client who refused surgery for her dog "only to come back with the dog minutes later in a blind panic because the Internet had agreed with my advice." The same veterinarian lamented that some clients seem to think that a quick Google search is equal to a veterinary degree.

    The survey results align with 2011 Banfield Veterinary Care Usage Study findings revealing that 39 percent of pet owners in the United States turn to the Internet before contacting their veterinarians.

    Additional statistics uncovered by the BVA survey include:

    • 81 percent of respondents said they had clients who bring their pets in later than is advisable. Respondents pointed to financial issues, lack of understanding, and attempts to self-diagnose and treat pets as possible reasons.
    • 39 percent of veterinarians said clients' online research was unhelpful, 53 percent said it was equally helpful and unhelpful, and 6 percent found it more helpful than not.

    "It worries me to hear that so many people are relying on guesswork or unverified Internet sources for health advice for their pets," said Robin Hargreaves, BVSc, MRCVS, president of the British Veterinary Association. "While there is some useful information about pet behavior and health available online, particularly from the established animal charities, the best source of information for animal health concerns will always be your vet who knows your pet."

  • Tuesday, October 14, 2014 11:20 AM | Administrator Administrator (Administrator)

    From AAHA NewStat June 2014

    Veterinary hospitals and other animal care facilities in California may soon have more options available to them in the event an animal is abandoned while in their care.

    The ASPCA has successfully navigated Assembly Bill 1810 through both houses of the California Legislature, where it was passed unanimously, and on to the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown. According to the ASPCA, the legislation would remove the current state mandate requiring animal care facilities to euthanize any abandoned animals if a new home is not found within 24 days.

    Assembly Bill 1810 also would enable animal care facilities to transfer abandoned animals to local shelters, which is currently prohibited by California law.

    "Abandonment should not be a death sentence for animals," said Kevin O'Neill, senior state director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Western region. "Dogs and cats at spay/neuter clinics, veterinary offices, or any of California's many other care facilities should not face certain death simply because their owner fails to pick them up. It is imperative that we do all we can to ensure positive outcomes for these animals, and AB 1810 will do just that. We thank Governor Brown to take quick action on this bill to protect California's animals."

    According to Assembly Bill 1810, an animal can be considered abandoned if it is left at an animal care facility for at least 14 days without anyone coming to claim it. After 14 days, the person in custody of the animal must spend no fewer than 10 days trying to place the animal in another home, or turn the animal over to a public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or nonprofit animal rescue group - provided that the shelter or rescue group has been contacted and has agreed to take the animal.

    If the person in custody of the abandoned animal is unable to find a new home for it or turn it over to an appropriate animal welfare group, they can legally have the animal euthanized. And if the animal care facility has a veterinarian, the veterinarian can euthanize the animal provided they have adhered to the 24-day rule.

    The bill also specifies that an abandoned animal may not be used for scientific purposes or any other type of experimentation.

  • Saturday, February 08, 2014 3:25 PM | Administrator Administrator (Administrator)
    The board of directors of the American College of Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia (ACVAA) announced this week its support of the new American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) standard requiring general anesthesia with intubation for all dental procedures.

    ACVAA joins the American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC) in supporting the new AAHA standard.

    AAHA’s new mandatory dental standard went into effect Nov. 1. Hospitals scheduled for an accreditation evaluation on or after that date are required to use general anesthesia with intubation for all dental procedures in order to pass their evaluation.

    In a letter addressed to AAHA President Kate Knutson, DVM, and sent to veterinary trade publications, the ACVAA expressed its support of the AAHA standard.

    “The board of directors of the ACVAA sees some important issues related to [Professional Outpatient Preventive Dentistry] that we feel require our strong objection,” wrote Lesley J. Smith, DVM, DACVAA, chair of the ACVAA board of directors. “Specifically, we question the ethics of performing dental work in conscious patients due to the associated restraint methods and lack of analgesia. We therefore ask whether the benefits of POPD would, in fact, outweigh the risk of general anesthesia.”

    The ACVAA board of directors encouraged veterinarians concerned with anesthetizing patients during dental work to engage assistance of a Diplomate of the ACVAA.

    The statement from the board of directors comes as a response to a recent article published in the October 2013 edition of Veterinary Practice News (VPN). The VPN article analyzed whether Professional Outpatient Preventive Dentistry (POPD) can be done effectively in fully awake cats and dogs. The article included viewpoints from both opponents and proponents of POPD, concluding that anesthesia-free POPD is a better approach to good dental health for cats and dogs.

    AAHA’s 2013 Dental Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats state that cleaning a companion animal’s teeth without general anesthesia is considered unacceptable and below the standard of care.

    The AAHA standard has come under fire from supporters of non-anesthetic dentistry, including companies that provide anesthesia-free dental services such as Pet Dental Services and Animal Dental Care.

  • Saturday, February 08, 2014 3:21 PM | Administrator Administrator (Administrator)

    The legalization of medical marijuana spreading across the country has also led to a spike in marijuana ingestion accidents for the nation's pets, according to

    Pet Poison Hotline, which services the U.S. and Canada, has observed a 200-percent jump in reported incidents of marijuana poisoning over the past five years, reported. 

    Karl Jandrey, DVM, assistant clinical professor at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, said he has personally observed an increase in poisonings. According to Jandrey, the animal hospital at UC Davis went from treating four pot poisoning patients in 2010 to 27 over the past year.

    "There's been an increase as marijuana becomes more acceptable in public and less of an underworld thing," Jandrey said. 

    Jandrey's observation is seemingly supported by a 2012 study published in the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care linking the growing number of medical marijuana cardholders to the number of poisoned dogs, reported. According to the study, two Colorado hospitals saw a fourfold increase in poisoning incidents over six years.

    San Francisco veterinarian Lori Green, DVM, who said her clinic treats up to three dogs a week for marijuana toxicity symptoms, warned pet owners to watch what they leave within reach of any nearby pets.

    "Be aware that it might not be your animal but someone else's," Green said. "They will eat anything you leave out."

  • Saturday, February 08, 2014 3:15 PM | Administrator Administrator (Administrator)
    The Pet Nutrition Alliance is bringing nutrition tools to the veterinary professional with the launch of a new go-to website for credible pet nutrition resources.

    The new website, the first of its kind go-to resource for credible pet nutrition information, was revealed Jan. 19 at the North American Veterinary Community (NAVC) conference in Orlando, Fla.

    Veterinary professionals know that proper nutrition plays a crucial role in keeping a pet happy and healthy. Good nutrition enhances pets’ quality – and quantity – of life by helping prevent diet-associated diseases, as well as helping pets respond to disease and injury. The Pet Nutrition Alliance seeks to promote the importance of nutrition by equipping veterinary health care teams with the information they need to tackle nutrition in their practices, and to ensure every pet receives a nutritional assessment at every veterinary visit.

    The newly launched website offers a collection of tools for veterinary professionals to use in their practices and in educating clients. Resources include:

    • Online educational training on weight loss programs
    • Web conference on pet foods
    • “Healthy Weight Protocol” diagnostic tool
    • Feline and canine assessment forms
    • Physical exam checklists
    • Feeding guides and charts
    • Body and muscle condition score charts
    • Educational nutrition pamphlets for pet owners
    • Step-by-step instructions on reporting pet food complaints
    • Weight translator tool
    • Printable client information sheets
    • Articles on communicating with clients about weight and nutrition

    “With obesity and weight-related diseases on the rise, education about proper nutrition for optimal pet health is more important now than ever before,” said Kate Knutson, DVM, chair of the Alliance. “Veterinary health care teams need tangible tools they can use to meet this challenge head-on. Our vision in launching these resources is to bring a variety of credible, vetted nutrition tools to veterinary professionals so that they can better address nutrition in their practices.”

    Veterinary professionals can access the Pet Nutrition Alliance website to take advantage of the nutrition resources available.

  • Saturday, February 08, 2014 3:09 PM | Administrator Administrator (Administrator)

    Veterinarians contemplating extra-label or off-label drug use in animals sometimes encounter gray areas or tough-to-answer questions.

    To help veterinarians remain confident that they are staying within the rules, the FDA has published a comprehensive guide titled "The Ins and Outs of Extra-Label Drug Use in Animals: A Resource for Veterinarians."

    According to the FDA, the resource will help veterinarians to accurately define extra-label use, gain insight into the legalities surrounding extra-label use, and learn how to meet the FDA requirements that govern extra-label drug use on animals.

    The article includes links to several additional resources and focuses on five key points from theAnimal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act (AMDUCA), which veterinarians must observe in order to prescribe approved human and animal drugs for extra-label uses in animals. According to the FDA, these key points are:

    • Valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship
    • General conditions for extra-label drug use
    • Conditions for extra-label drug use in food-producing animals
    • Compounding
    • Drugs prohibited from extra-label uses in animals

    In addition to the above points covered in the FDA article, the agency also recommends that veterinarians who work with food animals become familiar with the 2012 guidance document titled "The Judicious Use of Medically Important Antimicrobial Drugs in Food-Producing Animals."  

  • Saturday, February 08, 2014 3:06 PM | Administrator Administrator (Administrator)

    new mobile phone app from the American Red Cross not only helps pet owners find emergency veterinary care, it directs them exclusively toward AAHA-accredited hospitals to ensure their pets end up in expert hands.

    According to Michael Cavanaugh, DVM, DABVP, CEO of AAHA, the American Red Cross's decision for the app to feature AAHA hospitals benefits both pets and their owners.

    "We know from our research that 90 percent of pet owners will seek an accredited hospital once they understand that not all animal hospitals are accredited," said Michael Cavanaugh, DVM, DABVP, CEO of AAHA. "The AAHA-Accredited Hospital Locator makes it very easy for pet owners who value the bond they have with their pets to find expert veterinary care at accredited hospitals. The practice teams at AAHA-accredited practices are ready and willing to provide the best in veterinary care to pets and strive for the best customer care for the pet owners."

    Pet First Aid app features

    The Pet First Aid app provides pet owners with life-saving advice and resources before, during, and after veterinary emergencies. In an emergency situation, the app advises pet owners to take their pet to a veterinarian for emergency care. It also enables owners to search by hospital name and the user's current location to quickly locate veterinary assistance.

    Other valuable app features for pet owners and emergency workers include:

    • Programmable veterinary contact number easily accessed throughout the app
    • Early warning sign checker for preventive care
    • First aid steps for more than 25 common pet situations
    • Instructions for emergency procedures including size-specific CPR
    • Resources to help owners identify common toxins
    • Educational quizzes about a variety of emergency pet health topics such as CPR, bleeding, and bite wounds
    • Profile-building feature where pet owners can include pet's medications, notes about medical history, and veterinarian contact information 

    Jen Leary, founder of Red Paw Emergency Relief Team based in Philadelphia, Penn., said the app has already come in handy several times during their efforts.

    "We have used the app several times since it has come out," Leary said. "We use it primarily on-scene when we are in the counties and need to find an emergency vet hospital close by or if an animal is at a foster and we need to find a vet in the area."

    The app is available for both iPhone and Android for 99 cents.

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