Kingsbrook Animal Hospital Advocates Acupuncture!

One of the more diverse and debated areas of veterinary medicine is pain management.  Many different choices exist to help pets feel more comfortable. One great non-medication option is acupuncture.

Acupuncture originated in China around 100 BC. Acupuncture is the insertion of extremely tiny needles into certain areas on the body known as acupoints. Each point is located along a meridian, which was originally thought to be a direct line to an individual organ. Acupuncture can be used for pain management, but it has other applications as well. Patients with asthma can benefit from acupuncture treatment, along with patients who have certain neurologic

Dr. Dannis is happy to treat patients in their own homes, as well as here at KAH.

issues.

At Kingsbrook Animal Hospital, we are fortunate to work with Dr. Susan Dannis, a certified veterinary acupuncturist. Dr. Dannis treats several of Kingsbrook’s patients, but she also sees some of our staff’s pets–most recently, she has been treating KAH technician Katie’s kitty Johnny Blaze, and Dr. Lynch’s kitty Cricket.

Katie cuddles Johnny during his acupuncture treatment with Dr. Dannis

Formerly an outdoor-only cat, Katie’s family adopted Johnny Blaze in 2015 and brought him inside. In July of 2016, Johnny slipped out the front door and disappeared for 3 days. He came home limping and bedraggled—everyone’s best guess is that Johnny was hit by a car.  Radiographs revealed a broken pelvis and femur. Katie and all our staff worked hard to get Johnny Blaze better, but he still had some discomfort and loss of nerve function in his hind end.

After Johnny started acupuncture treatments, Katie reports he is doing much better! He doesn’t need as much medication as he did before, and his energy level and attitude are greatly improved. He still needs some help with a few things, but otherwise he is the exact same cat he was before the

Adding a mild electric current to acupuncture (known as electroacupuncture) can provide extra stimulation to key acupoints.

accident!

Cricket is almost 14 years old. During the blizzard in January 2016, Dr. Lynch noticed Cricket was

Cricket’s acupuncture treatment focuses on her lower spine.

very lethargic and having trouble breathing. She and a team of helpers were able to clear the street enough to drive Cricket to CARE! It turns out that Cricket has an uncommon medical condition that affects her heart.  Because Cricket can’t have certain medications, Dr. Lynch’s options were limited when Cricket started showing signs of arthritis. After just one acupuncture treatment, Cricket began grooming herself again, and after several treatments she is back to jumping up on furniture and playing with toys.

Cricket feels so much better after her treatments, she is able to help Dr. Lynch finish some records!

These are just two “tails” of acupuncture’s success. Dr. Dannis treats dogs, cats, even birds! Our veterinarians at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital are always happy to discuss acupuncture as a therapy for pets. Call today to learn more or to schedule a treatment!

Fluffy Bunnies & Fuzzy Chicks: Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s Advice on Easter Pets

It’s easy to tell that Easter is approaching by the amount of advertisements containing cute bunny rabbits and fuzzy little chicks!  Often, parents looking for a first pet are inspired by these ideas, and will surprise children with a baby chick or a bunny in an Easter basket. While both species can be very rewarding pets, there is a lot more to them than meets the eye!

Rabbits can make wonderful pets, but they require more work than a dog or a cat!

Below, Kingsbrook Animal Hospital reveals some facts about rabbit and chicken care.

  1. Rabbits need to be spayed and neutered, just like dogs and cats. Intact male rabbits often

    This bunny is a lop! Lops have very long ears.

    become aggressive, and over 80% of intact female rabbits will develop invasive and fatal reproductive cancers before 5 years of age. Healthy, well-cared-for rabbits will live for 10-12 years!

  2. Bunnies require very specific housing conditions. They need solid-floor housing–wire-bottom cages and shelves can cause a condition known as “bumblefoot,” which is a painful infection and swelling of the feet. Rabbits cannot have wood shavings of any kind, and cages should be in a well-ventilated area to minimize the risk of

    Rabbits, just like cats and dogs, need to be seen by a veterinarian at least once a year.

    respiratory problems.

  3. There are “good” and “bad” veggies when it comes to rabbits.  It is important not to feed sweet or starchy fruits and veggies such as apples, sweet potatoes, or carrots, because they can actually slow down a bunny’s digestive tract and cause life-threatening GI stasis.

    Baby chicks require lots of specialized care until they are old enough to live outdoors.

    Rabbits like romaine, Swiss chard, endive, and red- or green-leaf lettuce. Even more important is a constant supply of fresh timothy hay.

  4. Baby chicks need to be kept inside until they are fully feathered–this can take around 5 months for some breeds. Chicks need a very temperature-controlled environment

    Chickens are birds, which means they will make noise and can be fairly messy!

    (~95 degrees is ideal) which means a heat lamp is a requirement. Also, chicken feces contain salmonella bacteria, so baby chicks need lots of clean-up to keep the bacterial populations to a minimum.

  5. Chickens are birds, which means they can fly (to an extent)! This sounds obvious, but it means that either the chickens will need a very tall fence, at least 7 feet, to prevent escape– or they will

    If a chicken is going to be a good pet, it needs to be handled from a young age.

    require regular wing trims to prevent flight. Keep in mind that if a chicken can’t fly, it can’t escape from a fox or raccoon!

  6. Many city ordnances and homeowners’ associations (HOAs) prevent owning chickens or any “farm” animals.  Be sure to research all laws and by-laws thoroughly!

KAH Invites All To Stay and Be Tutored on Spays and Neuters!

One of the most common procedures done in veterinary clinics around the country (and here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital!) is altering a pet—“spaying” for females, and “neutering” for males. What exactly is involved in these surgeries, and what benefits are there for pets who are surgically altered?

Neutering

  • “Neutering” is the surgical removal of the testicles. In dogs, this is done through a small

    KAH technician Julie poses for a brief selfie with Rusty before getting started with surgery!

    incision in the abdomen, while for cats and for rabbits the veterinarian can perform the surgery by making a tiny incision in the scrotum.

  • Almost 100% of intact male cats AND rabbits will spray urine in the house. They may become aggressive or destructive, and most will escape outdoors to find a female and defend their “territory.” Unless he is being used for breeding purposes, there is very little benefit to leaving a male cat or rabbit intact. Cats and rabbits are usually neutered no later than 6 months old.
  • Dogs, however, are a different story. Large-breed male dogs (those over 50lbs as adults) especially seem to benefit a lot from remaining intact until they are finished growing. For these boys, owners can wait until 1 year of age to neuter.
  • Smaller dogs (or larger boys who start to show signs of marking or aggression) can be neutered as early as 6 months of age.

    Dr. Lynch completes a pre-anesthetic exam and enters her notes. Every surgical patient at KAH is given special care!

 

Spaying

  • A “spay” is when the veterinarian removes a female’s uterus and ovaries. This prevents pregnancy and pyometra, a life-threatening infection of the uterus.
  • Cats and rabbits are spayed before 6 months of age to prevent them from going through a heat cycle. For both species, once a heat cycle starts it won’t end until the pet has mated.
  • Spaying before the first heat cycle prevents mammary cancer. Most intact female cats and rabbits will develop mammary

    KAH technician Sam cuddles her recovering patient after a spay surgery.

    tumors, which are invasive, fast-growing, and almost always fatal. There is no benefit to leaving a female cat or rabbit intact unless she is going to be used for breeding.

  • Larger-breed female dogs may benefit from waiting until 1 year of age to spay. However, most girls go through their first heat cycle between 6-8 months old. Our veterinarians at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital consider each dog on a case-by-case basis and make recommendations accordingly.

Incredible (Pet) Insurance Information From Kingsbrook Animal Hospital

Veterinary medicine is constantly advancing both in scope and in quality, and one newer option many pet owners aren’t familiar with is pet insurance. At Kingsbrook Animal Hospital, this is a topic most often brought up in conversations with new puppy or kitten owners, but animals of all ages can benefit from a pet insurance plan. Below, KAH shares some information on pet insurance to help owners make an informed decision!
1. Pet insurance plans are usually for accident/illness, but many offer additional coverage for wellness care. This can help to cover things like routine vaccinations, annual (or semi-annual) physical exams, and even oral health care such as dental cleanings. Some companies even offer additional riders for breeding dogs or those who are at increased risk of hip dysplasia.
2. Most plans are customizable in cost, where owners can set their own premiums and/or deductibles. A higher deductible amount usually means a lower monthly or quarterly premium, just like with human insurance.
3. Pet insurance covers new problems, but not pre-existing conditions. For example, if a dog has been treated for an ear infection previously and comes in for a new exam because he is shaking his head and scratching at his ears, pet insurance will not cover the new exam or any treatments if the problem this time is another ear infection. This is why Kingsbrook Animal Hospital discusses pet insurance plans with all new pets–if they’re enrolled while they’re young and healthy, there are no pre-existing conditions!
4. Different than human health insurance, with its co-pays and delayed billing, pet insurance reimburses owners once claim forms and invoices have been submitted. Owners still have to pay for exams and treatments out-of-pocket, but once the insurance company processes the claim a check will be mailed for the amount covered.
5. Not all pet insurance is created equal. Kingsbrook Animal Hospital recommends Pets Best insurance (click on the link to learn more), but several other companies such as Trupanion and Embrace have gotten good reviews from our clients too.

KAH patient Swaggy is ready to look into pet insurance! Be sure to research which company has the best plan for each pet before buying!

 
6. Keep in mind that most insurance companies have a “waiting period” after enrollment, usually between 10-30 days. This means that any exams or issues within 10-30 days after applying for coverage will not be picked up by the new insurance.

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s Five Fun Facts About Preventatives

One of the most important things owners can do for their pets is giving or applying preventative medications. These “preventatives” help protect our pets from all sorts of yuckky things. Below is some information on preventatives.

  1. These are some of the parasites that can be avoided with the regular use of preventatives!

    Preventatives cover parasites inside and outside of the bodyFlea and tick preventatives like Nexgard also help prevent tapeworms (which are carried by fleas), and Interceptor also has a basic dewormer included to take care of hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms. We see all 4 types of intestinal parasites here in Frederick! Worst of all, some of these are zoonotic parasites, which means they can be shared with people too.

  2. Cats need preventatives, too!  Feline friends who go outdoors, or who live with dogs with known flea problems, can really benefit from preventatives. Frontline will address the fleas and ticks, but Revolution (another topical medication) also prevents heartworms and certain mites.
  3. Preventatives need to be given monthly in order to do their job. This means once every 30 days! There is no “carryover,” which means once every 2 months isn’t protecting the pet for the second month. Most manufacturers of preventatives will guarantee their products, but ONLY if they are given monthly!
  4. Flea and tick prevention is just as important over the winter as it is during the summer. Ticks in Maryland do not die off in the cold, and in fact are searching harder for a warm furry body to live on. If the winter stays temperate, the fleas don’t die off either, and here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital we have indeed seen pets with fleas over the winter!

    KAH’s own Dr. Cook displays Nexgard, a safe and effective oral flea & tick preventative.

  5. Preventatives cost much less than treatment for parasites. Fourteen years’ worth of heartworm preventatives still cost less than one round of heartworm treatment, and usually dogs need 3 treatments. Unfortunately, heartworm disease in cats is fatal since they can’t tolerate the medication used in dogs. Fleas can take up to 6 months to be completely eradicated from the environment, which means washing all fabrics in the house several times and treating all pets (even indoor-only cats) who live there. 

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s Top 4 Tips on Pet Oral Home Care

One common topic encountered during examinations at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital is caring for pets’ teeth at home.  This can seem like a daunting task, and owners often have questions about where to begin and what options there are for oral home care. The following are KAH’s Top Four Tips on Oral Home Care for pets!

 

  1. Start early—begin handling a puppy or kitten’s mouth as early as possible. Introduce toothpaste and the toothbrush slowly to get pets used to the idea. For older pets, start by letting them lick some toothpaste off a finger and gradually introduce the toothbrush.
  2. Start out slowly with introducing toothpaste and a toothbrush. Even cats can learn to accept brushing!

    Make it positive—offer a favorite treat or even a meal after brushing to build up acceptance and create positive experiences. Dental treats (see #4) are a great option for this!

  3. Brush often—once a day is ideal, but at least 3 times a week will make a difference in the buildup of plaque and tartar. Check out our YouTube channel for a video with a demonstration on how to brush teeth!
  4. Consider nonbrushing options such as Hills t/d or dental treats (Greenies for cats, OraVet

    KAH technician Nora applies OraVet sealant to patient Xanthos’s teeth after his cleaning!

    Chews for dogs) for pets who aren’t as accepting of brushing. There are also dental wipes and water additives. Kingsbrook Animal Hospital recommends using only products endorsed by the VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council), an independent third-party organization that tests all pet dental products on the market.

  5. Choose a professional sealant to be applied after a professional cleaning. KAH offers OraVet and Sanos sealants, which help slow the buildup of plaque and tartar and extend the efficacy of a cleaning. Ask a Kingsbrook veterinarian for more information!

 

The Top 5 Reasons Kingsbrook Animal Hospital Is The Best At Cleaning Teeth

February is National Pet Dental Health month, and many veterinary clinics see an increase in the number of dental cleanings and procedures scheduled.  While virtually every veterinarian offers oral cleanings for their patients, all cleanings are not created equal. The staff at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD is excited to take a few minutes to share with all pet owners the Top 5 reasons that KAH is the best place to have an oral cleaning and evaluation!

1. We check pre-anesthetic bloodwork on all patients before any anesthetic procedure. This alerts the veterinarian to any issues with the patient’s liver, kidneys, hydration status, and oxygen-carrying ability of the blood. All of these factors are important to consider, especially because…

2. Our licensed technicians and veterinarians work together to custom-tailor the anesthesia for each patient. Rather than practice “cookie-cutter” medicine where each patient is treated the same, our staff considers every pet an individual. Certain drugs are included or avoided based on what is best for each particular

KAH technician Nora performs an oral cleaning, using the same instruments a human dentist uses.

patient.

3. All anesthesia patients are monitored 100% of the time by a licensed veterinary technician, who uses state-of-the-art anesthetic monitoring equipment as backup. From the minute a pet is sedated until recovery is complete, he or she is in the company of an experienced and educated professional whose first priority is patient safety.

Nora reviews the dental radiographs taken on her patient. This is vital information that helps the technicians and doctors make decisions about a pet’s oral health.

4. We include full-mouth digital dental x-rays with every cleaning. This important step allows the veterinarian to see above/below the pet’s gumlines at each tooth’s root.  Issues such as tooth root abscesses, retained root tips, and resorptive lesions would not be identified without these x-rays, meaning that in spite of

KAH patient Daisy’s mom proudly displays her OraVet home care kit. This is one of the many options we offer to help with home dental care!

everyone’s best intentions the patient may continue to have problems after a cleaning done without x-rays.

5. After the cleaning, our technicians and veterinarians will work with pet owners to find an oral home care regimen that will work for that patient. This will help extend the time between cleanings and set pets up for better periodontal health for the rest of their lives.

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s Five Fantastic, Fun Ways to Give Back In Frederick!

Many pet owners are kind, caring people who are looking for opportunities to give back to the community. In all of the hustle and bustle of daily life, adding one more thing to the list can seem overwhelming for even the most well-intentioned person. Here, Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD shares the five easiest and best ways to get involved:

 

  1. Sign any 35-lb-or-over dog up as a Blue Ridge Veterinary Blood Bank donor! Donation is

    KAH technician Julie’s own Sullivan proudly displays his blood donor ribbon!

    easy and free, and entitles donor dogs to free annual bloodwork and a guaranteed supply of blood if they ever need a transfusion.

  2. Look into doing therapy with a pet—visit nursing homes, hospitals, etc. Be sure the pet is up-to-date on all vaccines, and check with the facility before bringing any animals for a visit. It’s also possible to certify your pet for therapy.
  3. If Fluffy or Rover isn’t the most social, consider becoming a volunteer. Frederick County Animal Control is always looking for individuals willing to walk and socialize with the animals waiting for their forever families; click here for more information! The Animal Welfare League of Frederick is always looking for helpers, too.
  4. Even KAH’s mascot Moe got in on the Santa Paws photos!

    Visit Kylie & Cricket events—like Santa Paws or Haunted Hospital—to meet new friends and contribute to a worthy cause. Check Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s Facebook page or the Kylie & Cricket website for more event information.

  5. When all else fails, anyone can make a direct donation to the Kylie & Cricket Memorial Fund. For pet owners with a busy schedule who are looking to make a difference, this is a fast and easy way to give back this year! Donations can be made on the Kylie & Cricket Memorial website, or in person at KAH.

 

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital Discusses Declawing

One of the more controversial topics in the pet owner world is declawing cats. Some owners are staunch supporters of this procedure, while others are fierce advocates. What is the big deal about declawing, anyway? Here are a few facts about declawing.

Scratching is a natural behavior for cats–it is how they keep their nails short and is a way for them to mark their territory. With good training, frequent nail trims, and alternative surfaces, most cats will learn to avoid scratching furniture and walls. Some cats, however, are more resistant to this idea or are fixated on a particular spot. These owners may elect to have their cat declawed.

This handsome KAH patient, Gerald, is an indoor/outdoor cat. Cats who go outdoors need their claws for defense!

Declawing, or onchyectomy, removes not only the claw but the entire first bone of each toe; imagine a human hand without all of its fingertips. This is a major surgical procedure, and is very painful for the cat. Generally, cats heal better and have less behavioral issues if the surgery is performed at a younger age–many times the procedure is performed along with a spay or neuter at around 6 months of age.

At Kingsbrook Animal Hospital, we will perform a declawing surgery as a last resort–only after all other measures have failed to curb the behavior. The biggest benefit to performing the surgery here is that

Sweet little Squish listens in as KAH technicians discuss nail trims with her owner. Regular nail trims can help prevent the need for declawing.

we are able to use our surgical laser! The CO2 laser allows the veterinarian to simultaneously cauterize and cut, which makes the declawing less painful for the cat and negates the need for the bandages used after a traditional declaw. Another advantage is that KAH is very invested in pain control for our patients. Our Kingsbrook veterinarians will use multiple types of pain control both before and after the procedure to help keep the cat comfortable.  All of our veterinarians and staff are happy to answer any questions about this procedure.

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s Focus On Food: Tips For Healthy Pet Nutrition

Continuing on Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s theme of New Years’ resolutions, many people vow to eat healthier or go on a diet starting in January.  Healthy eating can extend to our pets, too! There’s a lot of information available on animal nutrition, so it can be challenging to know fact from fiction. Here, KAH will provide our Top 5 Tips on Healthy Pet Nutrition.

 

  1. Most scientists agree that dogs are omnivores, and cats are carnivores. This means that “wild” dogs will eat plants, grains, and meat, while cats will eat almost exclusively (greater than 95%) meat. Be sure pets are getting appropriate levels of protein—too much can be as harmful as too little!
  2. Be sure to use a measuring cup or scoop to accurately measure how much each pet is eating. Make sure each cup is level (like the small scoop) not rounded at the top (like the bigger cup)!

    The type of protein is just as important as the amount. Unlike people, our pets don’t really need “variety” in their diets. To avoid food allergies and picky eaters, feed just one protein (such as chicken or lamb) and stick with it!

  3. Choose a reputable brand of pet food made by a company that staffs certified nutritionists

    KAH technician Julie’s kitty Calvin poses with his food. Science Diet is one of the brands KAH recommends for good pet nutrition!

    and has solid quality control procedures in place. It’s even better if they have a good customer support department that can answer any questions owners may have. Kingsbrook Animal Hospital recommends Royal Canin, Hill’s Science Diet, and Purina ProPlan as excellent choices for any pet’s diet.

  4. Pet food bags usually overestimate the amount an animal should be eating. For example, most cats don’t need more than ½ a cup of dry food in a day. For exact recommendations for a specific pet, consult a veterinarian at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital.
  5. Meal feeding is always a better idea than free feeding. It’s much easier to monitor how much and how well a pet is eating if measured amounts are put down 2-3 times a day. Also, just like for humans, several small meals tend to keep metabolism higher than just one big meal every day.