May 2012


Be sure to give your pet their monthly heartworm and flea medication.

For pets sake is a monthly newsletter concerning animal care, SylvaniaVET and animal welfare issues.

 What’s inside this issue:

1.     Adop-A-Thon!

2.     Does Your Cat Have a Heart Murmur

3.     Where To Find Factual Information Regarding Pet Food

4.     Does Your Puppy or Dog Need Obedience Classes?

5.     The Flea Life Cycle, YUK!

6.     Can Indoor Cats Get Heartworm and Fleas?

7.     All About Food Allergies!

8.     Does Your Pet Have a Microchip?

9.     Esplin Medical

10. An Eventful 2012 for the Esplin Family

11. Omega 3 Fatty Acids

12. Does Your Pet’s Skin Growth Need Surgery?

13. Are Rabies Vaccines Required By Law?

14. What Makes SVH Unique?

15. Dr. Bob’s Favorite Animal Books

16. Paw Hoorah!

17. Should I feed My Cat Canned Food?

18. Medication Manufacturer Warranties

19. Dental Cleaning

20. Are You Interested In Voluenteering?

SUNDAY, MAY 20th FROM 12-3 PM we will hold our next bi-monthly adopt-a-thon in our Canine Learning Center. There will be dogs, cats, puppies and kittens looking for forever homes.  Several area rescues are counting on you to make this adopt-a-thon a success.   For more information call SylvaniaVET at 419-885-4421.

MICHIGAN VETERINARY SPECIALISTS are running a study on cats with heart murmurs.  If we have recently diagnosed your cat with a heart murmurit may qualify for the Snappy study.  You will have to go to Southfield, Michigan to have a cardiac ultrasound and other testing done. There is no cost for any cat that is accepted into the study.  If you are interested in learning more about the Snappy study call MVS at 248-354-6660 and ask to talk with Dr. Sarah Achen or her technician.  In the future when we first hear a heart murmur in a cat we will be suggesting a test called BNP. The test will help determine if the murmur is significant or innocent.

WHERE DOES ONE GET SOLID FACTUAL INFORMATIONconcerning pet food?  The obvious answer would be a veterinarian. All of our doctors have had hours of training as part of their schooling and from attending seminars. Yet we continue to hear comments concerning information that was passed to the client by a breeder, the groomer, pet store employee, food demo person and TV ads.  We are simply astounded with some of the information that is passed our way.  As a blanket statement, it is safe to say, most of what we are told is wrong.  To that end we have a hand out concerning Nutritional Truthsthat are based on fact and not opinion.  We will highlight a few of the points but please feel free to stop in and ask for the handout.

Misinformation: Corn and grains of all kinds are bad for dogs and cause allergies. Corn is an important staple of omnivore diets including dogs and humans.  Corn provides excellent protein, carbohydrates and oils including Omega 3 and 6. Dogs are rarely allergic to corn. Wheat is also an excellent source of nutrients but does have a higher incidence of allergies in food allergic dogs. A small percentage of dogs have food allergies so we would not be concerned about wheat in most dog foods.

Misinformation:  Organic food is better for the dog. This statement is an attempt to meet the niche market of consumers that desire to eat only organically grown foods. Those that have followed this path know that buying organic foods adds cost to your diet.  As it concerns dog food there is no scientific data to back up the claim that organic is healthier for pets. There is no official rule governing labeling of organic pet foods, but they must comply with USDA National Organic Program regulations. Organic is a growing process and does not refer to quality of the raw material.

Misinformation: Human-grade & Holistic type foods make a pet food better.  The regulating organization of pet foods AFFCO does not define these statements and they cannot be used to describe a pet food.

Misinformation:  Meat is the number one ingredient so that makes it superior. This is not on the handout but is important for you to understand.  Raw meat is 70% water; dry food has about 10% moisture.  This means that no dry food can have something that is 70% water as its ingredient. When dog food labels are tabulated the ingredients are listed in their preprocessed form.  Therefore, meat gains the number one position because it has so much water not because it is superior nutritionally.  There is much to reading a dog food label so please rely on our expertise to steer you in the right direction. We recommend pet food that is made by companies that do nutritional research. The four major players in this category are Hills, Iams, Royal Canin and Nestle’-Purina. Of the hundreds of other pet food companies many do not even have a nutritionist or veterinarian on staff.  The bottom line is that a trained veterinarian is the best source of information when you are trying to figure out what to feed your pet.

BASIC OBEDIENCE AND PUPPY DEVELOPMENT CLASSES TAUGHT BY DOUG RITTER are going great!  The next Basic Obedience classes begin Tuesday, May 8th at 6:30pm or Saturday June 9th at 4pm. The next Puppy Development classes Saturday classes are scheduled to begin June 9th at 3pm. You can call the office to sign your puppy or older dog up for class or you can download an application here. There is no dog that will not benefit from attending a Pawsative Training class.

UNDERSTANDING THE FLEA LIFECYCLE IS IMPORTANT TO CONTROLLING PET AND HOUSE INFESTATION.  Fleas have a four state lifecycle just like a butterfly.  Adult fleas lay eggs on the host animal. There are two common type fleas found on pets, the dog flea and the cat flea. These fleas are not species specific and can infest either dog or cat. The most commonly found flea is the cat flea.  The adult flea on the animal sucks blood from the host animal. The waste product of the flea is digested blood; this waste is called “flea dirt”. Flea eggs and flea dirt drop off the host animal and contaminate the environment.  The egg hatches producing a larva that feeds on the flea dirt. The larva spins a pupa (cocoon) which is very tough and resistant to any treatment.  It can survive in the carpet or grass for months. The pupa hatches and produces a pre-adult flea. It waits for a host animal to come along and then jumps on board its meal ticket. Once on the host animal fleas rarely jump off as they must eat every two hours.  If you get fleas in the house you must treat your house or your flea problem will not be resolved.  If your yard is the source of fleas it must be treated.  Fleas do not fly they run and jump.

FLEAS-TICKS-AND HEARTWORMS ARE PARASITES THAT EVERY DOG AND CAT OWNER NEED BE AWARE OF AND CONCERNED ABOUT. Even strictly indoor cats need heartworm protection from April through December.  Research has shown that 30% of heartworm positive cats never go outside.  There is no treatment for heartworm positive cats so prevention is the key.  We recommend Revolution as the best and easiest approach to heartworm prevention in cats. Revolution also provides internal parasite control and limited flea and tick protection.  We have coupons to provide free product when you buy Revolution from us.  If your cat goes outdoors Revolution may not give the level of flea control necessary to prevent flea infestation of the house.  We expect a new feline labeled Comfortis monthly flea control tablet to become available soon. Revolution and Comfortis feline can be used together. Of course Frontline plus can also be used in your outdoor cat for additional flea and tick protection.

Dogs should receive monthly heartworm and flea control protection year round according to the authorities on the Companion Animal Parasite Counsel (CAPC).  Year round monthly heartworm protection with Heartgard Plus or Interceptor has been our recommendation for years. This also helps prevent and treat internal parasites, roundworms, hookworms and whipworms.  The increasing amount of year round flea infestation has lead to the nationwide recommendation of year round flea control.  Given that fleas are the most common intermediate host of dog and cat tapeworms this year round protection helps prevent tapeworms in our pets. Ticks are more seasonal from the beginning of consistently nice spring weather until mid to late August in our area.  Area parks, open fields and wooded areas are primary tick environments. The corridor from Swan Creek Parks to Swanton is locally known as tick alley.  Ticks are capable of transmitting a variety of diseases that include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and several others.  Ticks attach to the host pet and suck blood until they are fully engorged and then drop off. If a fully engorged tick drops off in your house it will set up house and begin to lay eggs. A tick contaminated house is difficult to manage. There are many brand name products to prevent and treat the fleas, tick and heartworm. We have sorted through all the options and have concluded the following products are the best approach to these parasites. The combination of Heartgard Plus and Frontline Plus has been our tried and true recommendation for years. This combination continues to work effectively and safely.  We now recommend you use both products every month throughout the year.   We do not recommend using generic heartworm protection like Iverheart. It is penny wise and pound foolish to accept these products.  There are numerous products being sold on-line and in stores that claim to be the same as Frontline Plus. The only similarity is that the knock off products contains the same active ingredient as Frontline Plus.  What make Frontline Plus so effective, when properly applied to the skin not the hair, is the inactive ingredients that enable it to disperse over the skin and not be washed off with bathing.  Our newest recommendation for flea-tick-heartworm protection is the combination of Trifexis, a once a month heartworm-flea tablet and a six-month duration flea collar, Scalibor.  The ease of administration of both products plus great efficacy makes this combination a great choice. We recommend Trifexis year round. Scalibor is highly effective against ticks and actually repels the tick before it attaches. Scalibor is also somewhat effective against fleas. Scalibor has recently been given a label claim of repelling mosquitoes.  We have rebates or free product coupons for all the products we just discussed.

FOOD ALLERGIES ARE A COMPLICATED AND DIFFICULT DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENTbecause there is no easy, standardized approach. One can suspect that their pet has a food allergy if it has year round itching, repeated ear infections, facial itching and increased number of bowel movements. Many food allergic pets do not respond well to the common antinflammatory medications used to treat an environmental allergy. There is no simple blood or skin test that can diagnose food allergy. The only accepted method for determining food allergy is an elimination diet trial. This diet trial is run for 12 weeks. There are no pet store sold foods that meet the strict standards for an effective elimination diet. Once a diet has been started there can be nothing other than the diet fed for the full 12 weeks. Some dermatologists recommend unique protein diets made from venison, rabbit or kangaroo. The carbohydrate source is also unique and includes peas, potato or oats. Diets that break foods into small amino acid chains are also available. These diets are called hydrolyzed diets. Finally, one can use a homemade diet composed of unique ingredients. One specialist recommends this as the simplest and most accurate way to do a 12 week elimination diet trial. Commonly used ingredients are ostrich, venison, goat, duck, yams, oats or rutabaga. The difficulty of a food trail is compounded if you have multiple pets or young children living at home. Before one undertakes a food trial all the potential causes for failure must be discussed.

WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT ALL PETS BE PERMENANTLY IDENTIFIED WITH A MICROCHIP.We use the first and best designed microchip, HomeAgain. The cost of having a HomeAgain microchip injected in the shoulder blade region of a dog or cat or the breast muscle of a bird is less than $40. The fee includes the microchip, registering the chip with the HomeAgain 24/7 registry and a generous bonus package that includes free use of the ASPCA Poison Control hotline. The poison control consultation alone costs more than the cost of the HomeAgain chip. There are competitive microchip products but HomeAgain is the most widely used with the best access to their hotline. In the last couple months we have scanned dogs that have had a competitive AVID chip and found that it had migrated to another area of the body. To the best of our knowledge we have never had a HomeAgain chip migrate.

ESPLIN MEDICAL, DR. BOB’S SON, TIM’S BUSINESS, HAS UNISEX ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY SCRUBSavailable on-line for purchase. The SylvaniaVET staff is transitioning to wearing the Navy blue scrubs that are as comfortable as pajamas.  The scrubs are 55% bamboo, 25% cotton and 20% polyester making the scrubs the most environmentally friendly scrubs being sold in the world.  There are three colors available, Navy and Ceil blue and Jade green.  Because EM scrubs are 80% natural fiber they clean in cold water, dry at a lower temperature and are naturally antimicrobial and stain resistant. Durability, comfort and environmentally friendly make the scrubs worth buying. Tim’s business also sells Littman stethoscopes at very competitive prices. You can place an order for scrubs or a stethoscope 

DR. BOB’S FAMILY HAS A VERY EVENTFUL 2012. We previously reported the news that Dr. Bob was elected to the Sylvania Schools Alumni Hall of Fame last month.  Dr. Bob and Carol welcomed a new grandson, Brayden, to the family. Brayden is the second child of son Kevin and his wife Angel. Matt Esplin his wife Tia and daughter Ella will be moving into a new house that is being built in a Philly suburb, Harleysville.  Their daughter Tricia’s husband Josh was promoted to regional manager for GAF where previously he was a top producer in sales In the Cleveland market.  Finally, Tim’s business is on the brink of signing a number of contracts to supply his products to the veterinary and human scrub market, the portable oxygen market and the oil and gas industry. 

OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS ARE FINDING MORE USES IN TREATMENT AND HEALTH MAINTAINANCE OF DOGS AND CATS.There is more known about the effect of Omega 3 fatty acids in dog than cats, but these fish oils definitely help both.  There are beneficial responses in animals with atopy, renal disorders, cardiovascular conditions, hyperlipidemia and osteoarthritis. New roles in helping pets deal with cancer, cognitive function, behavior and other conditions are being investigated.  Incidentally, the best Omega 3 is from cod fish oil not plant based like flax seed. There are questions as to whether flax seed omega 3 is absorbed by dogs or cats. We recommend you not buy products that use flax seed and make omega 3 claims. We have a lengthily article for the asking, OMEGA 3’S.

NOT ALL SKIN GROWTHS NEED SURGERY.  Many little bumps that are not serious can be treated with cryotherapy (freezing) procedure that is a quick exam room treatment.  A laser ablation with a local anesthetic can eliminate many skin masses.  Obviously the dog or cat being treated must be cooperative or we will have to use sedation.  A large benign fatty growth can frequently be removed using liposuction. This procedure requires general anesthesia, but is much less invasive.

DOGS IN LUCAS COUNTY MUST HAVE A RABIES VACCINATION.Recently, a Toledo resident had charges filed against him for his dogs not having a current rabies vaccine. He was also charged with letting his Cane Corso dog run loose. For public health reasons it is important that your cat and ferret receive a rabies vaccine.  Regardless of a dogs age, when rabies vaccines are first started the law states that it must be bolstered one year later. Once bolstered the dog’s rabies is then good for three years. We use Purevax™ rabies vaccine for cats. Purevax™ is the safest, purest and least reactive feline rabies vaccine on the market. As of now it is given annually. We do not recommend three year vaccines in cats. Any mammal can get rabies so there are recommendations for vaccinating cattle and horses as well.

WE HAVE MANY NEW CLIENTS SO A REMINDER ABOUT A FEW OF OUR UNIQUE SERVICES SEEMS LIKE A GOOD IDEA.  Our doctors are always available 24/7/365. We always have a doctor on-call who is available for after hour’s emergencies. Our hospital and boarding facility are staffed 24/7. We walk all dogs in the hospital and in boarding at least four times daily at no extra cost. Our boarding guests go outside at bed time just like at home. Our daycare facility is staffed fulltime; the staff plays with and controls all guests.  The floor in doggie daycare is slip resistant which reduces leg and joint injury.  Our staff answers our phones 24/7; we do not use an answering service or voice messages.  Our overnight staffing enables us to admit a pet or send a pet home at anytime. This is very client friendly if you work a non-traditional shift or are leaving town very early.  BEING REGULARLY INSPECTED AND CERTIFIED BY THE AMERICAN ANIMAL HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION (AAHA) should be the most reassuring attribute about SylvaniaVET. Since 1974, we have met the highest standards of the profession. Only two other area practices choose to meet AAHA standards.  The states of Ohio and Michigan do not inspect veterinarians for even minimal health standards.

DR. BOB IS FREQUENTLY ASKED IF HE HAS A FAVORITE BOOK ABOUT ANIMALS. Over the years he has read many animal related books that he could recommend with enthusiasm.  His absolute favorite is The Healing Power of Pets.  Add to the list, Dog is My Co-pilot, For the Love of Dogs, All Creatures Great and Small and My Patients are Under the Bed, you have a collection of very enjoyable and inspiring reading. Finally, add a photo book with short story captions, Old Dogs are the Best Dogs and you have a great stack of reading material.  What are your favorite pet books? Do you have a great personal story about pets you have known? We would love to compile them in an e-book on thewebsite. Send a word document with your 300 word or less story so we can edit and post it to You may attach a picture if you wish.

PLANNED PETHOOD’S PAW HOORAHwas a resounding success last month. The final tally is not in, but we would be surprised if they did not smash last year’s record of money raised, $40,000. A great job was done putting on this very fun evening by Doy Denardo and her dedicated planning committee. SylvaniaVET was a major sponsor in the Meow-Bow-WOW category.  We are proud to help PPI and many other area rescues.  Starting in June we will feature an area rescuewe work with by placing a collection jar at the front desk. Every month the area rescue will change. The money raised will be donated to the rescues SylvaniaVET account.

AN ALL DRY FOOD DIET IS NOT CONSIDERED THE BEST WAY TO FEED YOUR CAT.  Every cat should have a significant amount of canned food as a replacement for dry food. This calorie exchange will help control the cat’s weight and lessen the likelihood of the cat developing diabetes and urethral obstruction.  On average, canned cat food has 30 calories per ounce and one ounce of dry food, about ¼ cup, has about 100 calories.  This fact comes as a surprise to many cat owners who believe just the opposite to be true.  Adult cats can be very set in their ways and it can be difficult to get an adult cat to eat canned food if it has never been a part of their diet. Take your time, limit the access and amount of dry food offered, warming the canned food can help with the transition. Of course starting a kitten on a diet of 50% measured dry food and 50% canned is the best way to start feeding.

BUYING PRODUCTS ON-LINE OR IN BIG BOX STORESis contrary to the stated policies of many veterinary drug companies. That means when you purchase a veterinary product like Trifexis, Comfortis, Frontline Plus and Heartgard Plus from anyone other than a veterinarian you have voided the support the manufacturer of the product provides. Any guarantees or rebates provided by the company do not apply. Products that you purchase outside of a veterinary practice environment have been diverted by veterinarians unethically, thereby, violating the manufacturing company’s policy of not selling to these sources.  We have a letter from Elanco, the maker of Trifexis, stating their policy of only selling through licensed veterinary practices.

JUST BREAKING OFF THE TARTAR ON A PETS TEETH is not very helpful in maintaining a healthy mouth. As a matter of fact it may delay a much needed dental cleaningbecause the mouth doesn’t look as bad without the calculus accumulation. The fact is the tartar does little harm and is just the evidence that gum and probable periodontal disease is actively damaging your pet’s teeth and gums.  It is what is under the gum that is the serious pathogen. Plaque and bacteria set up the process of inflamed gums, bone loss and enamel erosion which cause bad breath, sore mouth and tooth loss. The tartar is like the slag heap outside a strip mine. It is the obvious consequence of the mining operation, not the cause of the hole in the ground.  A groomer, boarding kennel or other pet care giver should never do more than brush your pet’s teeth, if this service is offered. A metal instrument should never be used in a pet’s mouth except by a trained veterinary dental technician or the doctor.

WE ARE ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR OUR VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS. We have three opportunities for kids and adults. Cat cuddlers are a team of a child and their parent that spends time with our blood donor cat colony.  We accept younger children as they are supervised by an accompanying adult. Pet Pals are children from 6thgrade through high school that volunteer two hours a week giving time and attention to the boarding guests and hospital patients. They also help with feeding, folding laundry and other light tasks.  Throughout the year we have pet pals on duty every day, including Saturday and Sunday. During the summer we add have a morning session so that there will be more opportunities for interested kids to participate.  We have an adult volunteer group called Alohas, who meet and greet clients up front and help clients with that have their hands full.  We provide pet pals with a t-shirt and Alohas with a snappy Hawaiian shirt and name tag.

LARA JOSEPH DOES NOT HAVE A COLUMN THIS MONTH.  She has had a busy April with speaking engagements and planning our July 21st avian seminar.  However, we will pass on a few tidbits of useful bird information.  Your bird should bond to you not its reflection; take the mirror out of the cage. Birds need stimulation, just like a dog they like to chew. Buy them chew toys that will keep them stimulated. Birds should not be fed seed only and they should not be feed free choice from a bottomless dish. They will selectively eat the tastier foods which usually are the fattiest.  Birds need regular check ups, just like our dogs, cats and  other furry friends.  Dr. Andrea and Dr. Melanie are our bird experts. You should schedule a wellness visit with them at least once yearly.