February is National Pet Dental Health Month.  Here at State Street Animal Hospital, PC we take this opportunity to educate our clients more about the importance of their pets oral health and care.

Why do we worry about the teeth?

  • Dental disease hurts: so it affects our pet’s quality of life, and ability to chew properly.
  • Infected teeth and gums stink—literally.
  • The offensive odor, called halitosis, is unpleasant to be around.
  • Infected teeth and gums are a source of infection for the rest of the body, particularly the heart valves and kidneys.


How can we prevent dental disease?

Brushing your pet’s teeth is the best way to clean them.  It is important that you use only pet toothpaste and introduce your cat or dog to the process slowly.

Other methods of cleaning teeth, while not as complete, can also help.  Special diets such as Hills prescription T/D or Science Diets Healthy Advantage Oral brand clean the teeth with each meal.  Some dental treats, such as CET Veggie Dents for dogs and Greenies Feline Dental Treats are also effective.  If you want a complete listing of chews and treats that we recommend, please visit vohc.org. (When giving chew treats you should monitor your pet to make sure they do not try to swallow large pieces, which can cause gastrointestinal problems).

How do we treat dental disease?

A good thorough dental cleaning includes tooth evaluation, scaling, gingival probing and polishing. In some cases surgical extraction of teeth are necessary depending on the health of the tooth which will be evaluated by the Doctor.

For more information on your pet’s dental health needs call us to schedule an appointment.

Ho, Ho, Ho and mistletoe, the holly and the ivy, the time has come to cook the cake and decorate the halls. In the dark cold days of winter the holidays bring us color and delight, and some avoidable risks. Let’s look at a few:

  1. Holiday greens: Many of our favorite evergreens can cause problems if consumed. Mistletoe is the most toxic. Poinsettias contain a sap, which causes irritation in the mouth and throat causing drooling and stomach upset. Most other greens can upset the stomach.
  2. Tinsel, ribbons and popcorn strings: Cats love to play with strings, but eating them can be lethal. Any string-like material can get lodged in the intestinal tract and cause severe problems requiring surgery. Popcorn strings are particularly tempting to dogs so keep them out of pet areas.
  3. Food presents: Dogs and Cats have a sense of smell that is 40-100 times more sensitive than ours. They can smell that wrapped up box of chocolate, or that basket of cheese and sausage despite the cellophane. These treats can cause vomiting, diarrhea and other problems. Keep food presents out of dog and cat reach.
  4. Garbage: Don’t forget that after the presents are unwrapped, the ribbons are lying around, and the turkey is eaten, the bones and grease are in the pans and garbage. Dogs are notorious for getting into the garbage cans. Cats can jump up on the counter. So lastly, watch for the leftovers when the excitement of Christmas morning is over.
  5. We’re here for you! If an emergency should arise, we’re here for you. Please don’t hesitate to call if you suspect any problems with your pet!

Have a wonderful, and safe Holiday.
From your Friends at State Street Animal Hospital PC

Fireworks, picnics and other Fourth of July traditions can be great fun for people; but all of the festivities can be frightening and even dangerous for animals. Noisy fireworks and other celebrations can startle animals and cause them to run away; holiday foods can be unhealthy; summer heat and travel can be dangerous; and potentially dangerous debris can end up lying on the ground where pets can eat or play with it.

Whether or not you’re planning your own Independence Day celebration, it’s important to take precautions to keep your pets safe both during and after the July 4th festivities.

Make sure your pets – cats and dogs alike – have identification with up to date information. If your pets aren’t already micro chipped, talk with your veterinarian about microchipping. This simple procedure can greatly improve your chances of getting your pets back if they become lost.

Remember that too much sun and heat (and humidity!) can be dangerous to pets. Keep them inside when it’s extremely hot/humid; make sure they have access to shady spots and plenty of water when outdoors; don’t leave them outside for extended periods in hot weather; and know the signs that your pet may be overheating.  Never leave your pet in the car when it’s warm outside. Vehicle interiors heat up much faster than the air around them, and even a short time in a locked car can be dangerous to pets.

We at State Street Animal Hospital hope you have a great Independence Day with your friends, family, and pets!!

What do we want from a flea collar?

  • Effectiveness: If the collar doesn’t really control the problem, why wear it?  Over the counter flea collars tended to be a weak weapon in the battle against fleas and ticks. The new Seresto collar by Bayer is different.  The Seresto collars have the same medication found in the spot-on product Advantage, but the medication is released at a lower constant level.  It also has a second component to prevent ticks from staying on or biting your pet.  The collar is effective for 8 months (5 months if your pet swims or is bathed frequently).
  • Safety: The medications in the Seresto collars are released at a very low constant rate, which gives us protection without heavy doses.  These medications affect the flea and tick nervous system with minimal ability to influence the cat, dog or human system.  This makes them very safe for us and very effective against the flea and tick.  Even if the collar is licked or chewed on it has minimal risk: if a dog ate the collar we would be more worried about physical blockage than drug exposure.  The collar also has a physical safety feature that allows it to come loose from the pet if it is caught on a branch or fence so the pet won’t hang himself.  One final plus, the collar has optional reflectors that can be attached to increase pet visibility at night.

Collars are a good option for some pets that tolerate wearing a collar and are outdoors a lot. There are many good options available at your Veterinary office.  At State Street Animal Hospital we are happy to discuss your pet’s risks and help you choose the best way to protect them from parasite pests.

Should our dogs be taking vitamins as they age? Healthy pets who are eating pre-made food, meaning dry kibble or wet food, with a label on the bag that says the food meets AAFCO standards, do not require vitamins as their diets are pre-balanced with the essential amino acids and vitamins.  However, as pets do age, they may benefit from other supportive products including joint supplements and skin supplements.  Pets with underlying health issues such as allergies may benefit from other dietary supplements as well.

How do I know what’s a good food and what isn’t?

Great question!  There are several considerations for picking out an appropriate food for your pet.  Let’s break it down into pieces:

Ingredient quality – What are the first three ingredients?  Do they include by-products?

AAFCO statement – AAFCO, the Association of American Feed Control Officials, puts a label or statement on foods that have passed their testing to be considered balanced for essential nutrients.

Does the food meet your pet’s health needs? For example, there are diets available that are specially formulated for pets with diseases such as urinary, kidney, or thyroid disease.  Additionally, some foods contain additional supplements that may decrease signs associated with arthritis or skin disease.

What is your pet’s lifestyle?  Some diets are specially formulated to be higher in carbohydrate, fat, and protein levels to supplement increased activity levels.  Dogs who are candidates for these diets include working dogs and sled dogs.  The average dog who is active for 1-2 hours per day does not usually require the extra calories.

We put our dog Abbey on a grain and chicken free diet, which seemed to help with her allergies. Now I am seeing that grain free diets may possibly be leading to heart disease. Now I’m not sure what we should feed her????

Recent investigations have found a possible correlation between grain-free diets and heart disease in dogs.  Currently, there is little evidence that grain actually causes allergy symptoms.  Often by switching dogs to a grain-free diet, the overall ingredient quality of the diet is improved and this contributes to better health.  As new research is released, we are committed to keeping clients updated.  In the meantime, we don’t generally recommend grain free diets.  For pets who are stable on a grain free diet, we recommend supplementing taurine (the amino acid that contributes to heart disease), available in pill supplements, and more frequent wellness checks (for example every 6 months) with chest x-rays when possible to detect heart disease as early as possible.

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