Posts by Dr. Lelan Olsen
How to Choose the Right Flea and Tick Medicine for Your Dog
With the weather being nice, people and pets are tired about being cooped up inside. They are starting to enjoy the fresh air, the calm breezes in their face and the warmth of the sun. But whether it is a walk in the park, a weekend camping along the lake or even lounging around your front yard, fleas and ticks could be waiting to latch onto your pet and hitch a ride. So because of this, application of a flea and tick control or collar is essential to prevent them from infesting your home.
There are many factors to consider when choosing the optimal product. One must decide if they want a collar, topical or chewable tablet. Each one has their pro’s and con’s about them. The collars and topical products such as Frontline or Advantage have been around a lot longer and may be less expensive to buy, but we have seen breaks in protection because the fleas and ticks have gained resistance or the product has not been used properly. Some of those products are approved by the EPA so they might not be safe to use on your pet. Recently new products such as Nexguard or Bravecto have been developed that are taken orally. Because they are newer products, the fleas and ticks have not developed a resistance to them. Also since they are ingested, they are approved by the FDA to assure their safety to the pet.
There are several oral products available like Simperica Trio that will also control other parasites, along with fleas and ticks. So they may be more expensive but be more convenient in the long run.
The best thing to do is to have a conversation with your vet about what is best for your pet, as well as what works for you financially. We are happy to have a conversation about any concerns you have. Prevention is key, so make sure to protect your furry companion this summer. Contact our offices today!
Cat Safety Tips: How to Protect Your Furry Companion
Many of us have those 4-legged feline friends that love to hunt and no amount of domestication has changed their inherent desire to patrol their domain in the hunt for prey. We have all seen the look of pure joy on our cat’s faces when they watch birds and small rodents from the window. And because cats are naturally curious, they love to explore. That is why some people allow their cats to spend considerable time outdoors. The downside it that the outdoors has many dangers that can linger and it is our job as responsible owners to keep them safe.
While most experts would recommend that the best thing to do would be keeping them indoors, you can allow them to get some fresh air in a relative safe environment away from predators that would prey on your cat and making sure that they are protected when they go outside.
Some owners may try to leash train their cat. This is one of the easiest means of monitoring where your cat goes because you get to go along for the walk. Cat’s generally dislike harnesses, so they will need to be made accustom to using them first. This may entail having the harness on inside and provide positive reinforcement with treats. Supervised outdoor time is a great way to bond with your cat and give her the mental stimulation that her wild instincts crave.
Whether you allow her to roam free or keep her as close as possible, it is important for the cat to either have a microchip or some other form of identification on your pet. If you use a collar, a safety collar with an elastic panel will allow your pet to break free if it gets caught.
To allow cats to have the ability to go outside, some owners make a catio that keep predators out and their pet in. This can serve as an outdoor playground within the vicinity of your home. You can feel safe knowing where it is and that she is not running out into the street or being picked up by predator birds or other mammls.
If your cat goes outdoors, it is at risk to the diseases and parasites that the outdoor feral cats have. So it is important to have your pet’s vaccines updated and kept on flea and tick control.
Your back yard can be dangerous to your pet if you have planted some toxic plants for landscaping. Plants like lillies may look nice in your back yard, but they can be toxic to your pet. It is important to make sure that anything potentially toxic and dangerous be picked up and secured. I would also recommend not having mouse poisons available because not only would the poison be toxic, eating a dead mouse that has succumbed to the poison may be also lethal to the cat.
It is important to have a regular dinner time. That way when the cat’s return for it evening meal, they will be able to be locked up for the evening. This will protect her from the nightly predators and allow her to go on daily patrol the next morning.
For any more questions on cats, or any other furry companion, contact our offices today!
Electric Fences for Dogs: Good Idea or Bad Idea?
When you get a new dog, you will need to mull several questions in your head. One question that should be addressed is if this dog is going to be an outside or inside dog. If you determine that the dog is going to be outside, then maybe you will need to address the fence issue in your yard. Robert Frost once said “Good fences make good neighbors.”
Fences confine the dog from being a neighborhood nuisance, but there are other issues at hand. Fences appropriately confine your dog and keep your dogs safe from mishaps while roaming. They are less likely to get hit by vehicles, have decreased exposure to contagious diseases and less likely to get stolen.
Fences can be expensive and some home owner’s associations may have ordinances on what type of fences you can use, but one option is an invisible fence. The invisible fence is actually a buried wire that is installed around your yard that emits a signal that is picked up by a collar that is worn by your dog. As your dog approaches the boundary line, the collar gives a warning beep, followed by a shockif the dog continues to move closer. Ideally the dog learns where the boundary line is after a few unpleasant experiences and therefore stays in the yard.
There are some advantages to installing invisible fences over traditional fences. These include:
- Invisible electric fences are often less costly.
- Invisible fence works on most any terrain and can cover acres of land for large exercise areas for dogs
- The invisible fence is invisible, so it doesn’t block scenic views. People can move around outdoors and not need to open and close gates.
- Electric fences can be installed more quickly than conventional enclosures.
- Dogs with a tendency to climb over, dig under, or chew through fences may be better contained with an electric fence
- Pet owners often forget to close a gate, so invisible fences reduce the chance of escape
- Intruders may be deterred by the presence of a dog in the yard since they aren’t likely to realize the dog may not actually be able to reach them.
There are also some disadvantages with the invisible fences. These include:
- There is a training period where the owner and dog walk the perimeter to learn where the fence is.
- The fences do not protect them from hazzards that enter the yard.
- Most electric fences include and audible warning prior to the electric impulse and dogs learn quickly to respect the “beep” to avoid the shock. When the dog ignores the warning signal, an electric stimulus is discharged which startles the dog.
- Sometimes the power supply is interrupted by a cut wire or dead battery in the collar and escape is possible.
- The dog may breach the invisible when he is chasing or is frightened by something.
If you have any questions about making sure your pet is safe, please don’t hesitate to contact our office today!
National Pet Theft Awareness Day
Our pets are very important to us and we rely on them for comfort and support every day. So it is devastating and hard to believe that a pet would be stolen. Every year about 2 million pets go missing with only about 10 percent returned home. These figures have alarmingly risen about 37 percent since 2007. So in honor of National Pet Theft Awareness Day which is being celebrated on February 14, I am going to blog about why they are stolen and how to reduce the possibility of your pet being dog- or cat- napped.
There are quite a few reasons why someone may steal a pet. According to PetFBI, these are the most common:
- Pet Flipping: Popular breeds of dogs can be “resold” online or in the paper.
- Reward: Some pets are stolen in hopes the owner will offer a reward, which the thief will then claim
- Puppy Mills: Pets that have not been spayed or nuetered may be turned over to backyard breeders or puppy mills
- Dog Fighting Rings: Small dogs and cats have been stolen to be used as “bait” for dog-fight training. The large breed dogs are often used as dog fighting candidates.
- Neighbors: If pets have been known as “nuisances” neighbors have been known to take animals and dump them in other locales.
- Relatives: Sadly, many pet thefts come from family members who are upset with you like in a divorce or family dispute
- Good Intentions: Not all pet-nappings are maliscious. A good-hearted person may believe that they are helping your pet if they feel that the pet is being neglected in some way. This is why you never leave your pet tied up in your yard, keeping them outside only, or have a pet that has signs of being neglected.
There are steps that owners can take to prevent their pets from being stolen. First and foremost, HAVE YOUR PET MICROCHIPPED and make sure that their records are updated. Remember that the microchip is only as good as the registration, so make sure that they are microchipped. In addition, you can:
- Your pets should not be allowed to run free outdoors unattended and make sure that your pets are always wearing a collar and identification.
- Spay and neuter your pets
- Don’t tie up your dog outside of a restaurant or store and never leave your pet in a car.
- Keep dog doors and fence gates locked when you are not at home.
- Have updated photos of your pet with emphasis on special markings
- Install cameras. Indoor and outdoor camera networks are ideal for keeping your pet safe.
Nothing is scarier or upsetting to come home and find your pet missing. It is of most importance to act quickly as every minute matters when you are looking for your pet, whether they have escaped from your yard or have been dog-napped.
If you believe that they have been stolen, immediately report it to the police. This provides a record that is documented and can be used for further action. It is important to canvas the area on foot every day. Creating a “Lost Pet” poster and placing throughtout the community helps others watch for your pet in cars, on the street or at neighbors. Post a lost pet report through your microchip company and your animal control. Avoid posting a reward is being offered.
If you have any other questions about microchipping or keeping your pet safe, do not hesitate to contact our office today.
New Puppy Checklist: Everything You Need Before Welcoming Your New Furry Friend into Your Life
Bringing a new puppy into your home is an exciting time but requires some preparation for your home. Puppies require a lot of attention and care, so this checklist will be beneficial if you are unsure where to start with the basics for your new puppy.
Some companies have created puppy starter kits. For example, this box made by Chewy has a set of toys, treats, and potty-training materials to help you with your new puppy. All top-rated items, new puppy owners are sure to appreciate it. It also makes a great gift. It can be found here.
Beyond toys, treats, and potty-training materials, puppies need food and water bowls. There are a lot of different options, but one that is slightly lifted is easier for your puppy to eat from. If you get one with walls, it is more likely your floor will stay cleaner.
Also necessary is a bed for your pet. An elevated bed is good for keeping your dog lifted and is helpful for teaching different cues. Other more traditional options are great too, especially as your pups are growing quickly.
Some owners choose to crate their puppies, and there are a lot of options but must be replaced as dogs grow. Crates help dogs have a safe place, especially as they adjust to a new space and lifestyle.
Also important for your new puppy is a leash. There are many kinds of leashes, with different uses. It will most likely be trial and error to find what works for you and your puppy, so be prepared for a trial period.
Puppies require hygiene efforts. This includes toothbrushes, toothpaste, nail clippers, brushes, and bathing supplies. Providing exposure to these items while young makes it less scary for adult dogs and easier for their owners.
Lastly, a collar is a great way to express your and your pet’s personality. Be prepared for your new pup with a collar and tag to provide some protection and peace of mind.
The last step for a new puppy is establishing an appointment with your veterinarian to get started on vaccinations and discuss your new dog’s life! Feel free to contact Dr. Olsen of Olsen Veterinary Clinic at 618-656-5868 to set up an appointment or discuss any questions!
2022 Pet Gift Guide
Don’t leave your pet out of the holiday fun! Furry friends like to open gifts too! Here are a few options to show your four-legged pal some love.
The Pupsicle is a great opportunity to give your dog a new treat experience. You freeze your dog’s favorite food in the mold, then when it is time for a treat, you put the frozen treat in the Pupsicle. When they’re done, you’re able to open the ball, wash it, and repeat! Find it here.
You can liven up your cat’s drinking experience with a cat fountain. Some cats enjoy moving water more than still, and a plastic cat fountain such as this one here circulates water for cats to drink.
Say you want to get a gift for your favorite pet owner in your life. The company West and Willow makes custom pet portraits that any pet owner will be sure to love. You can find them linked here.
Social media has allowed several pets to become Tik Tok famous. Pets have been trained to use buttons programmed with specific words to communicate with their owners. You can find a starter kit here to try your pet’s hand at internet fame.
For cats that love to play but whose owners don’t love obnoxiously bright-colored toys laying around the house, these handmade cat toys from an Etsy seller are stylish and aesthetically pleasing. They are environmentally friendly as well, made from leftover upholstery fabric. These toys are filled with grounds of a plant called silvervine which is like catnip. If your cat doesn’t really like regular catnip, silvervine is a great alternative. Find these toys here.
Whether you are looking for a gift for your furry friend or a close pet-lover, these gifts are sure to please all. Feel free to contact Dr. Olsen at Olsen Veterinary Clinic at 618-656-5868 with any questions!
Dr. Olsen’s Breed Spotlight: The Tibetan Mastiff
The Tibetan Mastiff is a large-size Tibetan dog breed. It has a medium to long double coat and is found in many colors. These can be solid black, black and tan, various shades of red (from pale gold to deep red), and bluish gray. Sometimes, they can have white markings around their neck, chest, and legs.
The term mastiff goes back to when the Europeans first went to Tibet. They used the term to refer to nearly all large dog breeds in the West. Early Western visitors misnamed several of its breeds through this process. For example, the Tibetan terrier is not a terrier, and the Tibetan spaniel is not a spaniel.
In the early 20th century, the Prince of Wales, George, introduced a pair of Tibetan Mastiffs to the United Kingdom, which caused the breed to become prevalent enough in England to be shown at the Crystal Palace show in 1906. Since 1980, the breed has been gaining in popularity worldwide.
The Tibetan Mastiff is a primitive breed and retains the general hardiness that would be required of them to survive in the harsh environment of Tibet, Ladakh, and other high-altitude Himalayan regions. Because of this, they tend to have strong instinctive behavior, including canine pack behaviors. These help the breed survive in harsh environments. It has maintained many of the same biological processes as wolfs and other animals.
The dog has a long, double coat whose length depends ultimately on the climate. Uniquely, the Tibetan Mastiff lacks the unpleasant big-dog smell that affects many other large dog breeds. Their coat can shed dirt and odors on its own. Many of the dogs shed somewhat throughout the year, but there is generally one great molt in late Winter or early Spring.
Tibetan Mastiffs have a life expectancy of around 10-16 years, but this span can vary. Generally, the breed has fewer genetic health problems than many other breeds. However, cases can be found of hypothyroidism, entropion, ectropion, distichiasis, skin problems, etc. As with most large breeds, some will suffer from elbow or hip dysplasia.
Hypothyroidism is common in Tibetan Mastiffs, along with many other large “northern” breeds. They should be tested periodically throughout their lives using a complete thyroid panel. However, because the standard thyroid levels were established using domestic dog breeds, test results must be considered in the context of what is “normal” for the breed, not what is standard for all breeds. Many Tibetan Mastiffs will have “low” thyroid values, but no clinical symptoms. Vets and owners differ on the relative merits of medicating dogs that test “low” but are completely asymptomatic.
The Tibetan Mastiff is sure to be a large lovable friend for any owner. Feel free to contact Dr. Olsen at Olsen Veterinary Clinic with any questions at 618-656-5868.
Tips and Tricks For Grooming Your Pet
Part of taking care of your pet is regular grooming efforts to keep their coat healthy and your pet comfortable. These tips will help you stay on top of their grooming and keep your pet happy and healthy.
First, be sure to regularly brush your pet’s coat to prevent matting. Especially with long-haired animals. Your pet needs regular brushing regardless of the breed to keep its coat shiny and healthy. The amount of brushing depends on coat length and texture. Longhaired breeds will need more frequent brushing of at least once a week if not every other day. Short-haired breeds like greyhounds or Labradors may need a good brushing only every other week. Matting can cause pain for your pet. This will lead to licking or biting, causing skin irritation which can then lead to skin infections. Be sure to brush your pet regularly to keep their coat healthy.
Second, many pet owners choose to have a groomer take care of their pet’s hair care. That said, if you proceed carefully, you can trim overgrown hair around your pet’s eyes or pays in between professional grooming appointments. Trimming the hair around your pet’s eyes can prevent overgrown hair from blocking its vision and rubbing against and damaging its eyes. When trimming, make sure your pet is calm and lying down, preferably. Move slowly and calmly and use extra caution with scissors. Make sure to reward their calmness with a treat after they are finished.
Third, trimming your pet’s nails will keep them from experiencing discomfort from overly long nails. There are many different tools to do so, and you may have some trial and error until you find what works best. There are plenty of resources found online for guidance on your specific pet and how to trim its nails.
When grooming your pet, be sure to check their ears for ear infections. Ear infections can be painful, so if you notice any inflammation, odd smells, shaking or scratching, discharge, or pain upon touch. If you notice any of these signs during your regular grooming, take your pet to the vet for a checkup.
Grooming your pet is part of their regular care of them such as feeding them and providing them with exercise. With these tips, you can be more prepared for helping your pet take care of itself. Of course, with any questions, feel free to contact Dr. Olsen at Olsen Veterinary Clinic at 618-656-5868.
Tips for Finding a Missing Pet
A missing furry friend can cause a lot of stress for you and your family. When your pet is missing, it is important to act fast. Don’t waste time waiting for your pet to come home. The sooner you begin to look for your pet, the better the odds are of you finding them.
Start your search in your neighborhood or the area the pet was lost. Be sure to let your neighbors know that your pet is missing and ask them to keep an eye out for them.
Thoroughly search the area. Call your pet’s name and check any places where they could have become trapped, such as basements, garages, or under vehicles. A lost pet will often hide during the day, so be sure to go out again at night with a flashlight and call for them if you don’t have luck during the day.
Check with your local shelters daily. Do not just call; visit the shelters to look for your pet. Many animals are difficult to describe over the phone, and only you really know what your pet looks like.
Call all animal control agencies in your town and surrounding areas. Animal control officers work through the police department and pick up stray animals. Call them or check their shelters at least every two days.
Other community resources include local neighborhood groups on apps like Nextdoor or Facebook. Ask your friends and neighbors to share photos of your pet notifying their network that your pet is missing. You can also put up physical lost pet signs in your neighborhood, post offices, libraries, pet supply stores, veterinary offices, and grocery stores. Be sure to inform your veterinarian and groomer that your pet is lost in case they receive a call.
Lastly, there are online services like lostmydoggie.com and lostmykitty.com that after you fill out the information about the pet, will notify shelters, rescues, and vets in the area automatically, providing them with the information you supplied.
A lost pet is a scary time. However, a lost pet with a microchip and a pet ID tag is a lot more likely to find its way back home. A microchip is a permanent pet ID tag that allows for veterinarians and shelters to identify who owns that pet, even if the pet ID tag is missing.
If you have lost your pet, found a pet, or have any questions at all, feel free to call Dr. Olsen of Olsen Veterinary Clinic at 618-656-5868.
CBD For Your Dog: What You Need To Know
CBD can work wonders for dogs in oils or dog treats. CBD can provide the same benefits for dogs as medical marijuana for humans who experience seizures, extreme pain, anxiety, and cancer. CBD is not what you may traditionally view as weed. CBD is not psychoactive, unlike its more famous counterpart, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). CBD is one of over 80 different chemical compounds called “cannabinoids” derived from the marijuana plant. Instead, CBD shares important metabolic pathways with a class of drugs called NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen and Rimadyl. These pathways control many processes in the body, from inflammatory responses to blood clotting. Never give dogs straight marijuana or any product containing THC, the primary psychoactive component of marijuana. However, CBD-based products can substantially improve your dog’s quality of life when used in conjunction with other therapies.
CBD can help with many ailments your dog may experience such as pain management, arthritis, anxiety, seizures, and even cancer. Because CBD shares the same metabolic pathways as anti-inflammatory drugs, it can help with inflammatory conditions. Anything that ends in “-itis” is an inflammatory condition. This includes osteoarthritis (arthritis for short). 25% of dogs will be diagnosed with arthritis in their lifetime. By some estimates, as many as 60% of dogs exhibit some degree of the disease. CBD can provide relief for dogs that may be experiencing pain.
With any treatment, there are potential risks. Overall, CBD itself seems to be incredibly safe for both dogs and cats. However, it has been found that when given at the recommended doses, CBD does cause an elevation in an important liver value on bloodwork called alkaline phosphatase (ALP). It is too early in its research to see if the elevation in this liver value has any medical significance. It could signify that CBD causes irritation or damage to the liver. Alternatively, it could be an artificial finding in which the drug interferes with the way the lab measures the liver value. It is simply too early to know for sure. There are anecdotal reports of dogs becoming somewhat sleepy or sedate if they receive a large dose of CBD, but these effects resolve independently with time. Moreover, CBD doesn’t appear to have any drug interactions when given to a dog on an anti-inflammatory drug like Rimadyl. However, there is a theoretical risk of drug interaction, as with any other medication, so it is essential to consult with your veterinarian before treating your dog with CBD.
CBD can be administered in topical treatments; however, it is most often administered orally to dogs. The correct dosage is imperative. Studies on using CBD for dogs with arthritis or seizures generally use a dose between 2-8 mg/kg, with most papers erring on the lower side of that estimate. This is about 1-2 milligrams per pound of body weight, twice daily. This dosage has been found to be safe and effective for use with arthritis and seizures. Additional research is needed to evaluate the differences in CBD dosages for other conditions.
CBD can provide benefits for your dog that may be experiencing pain or anxiety. However, the correct dosage is imperative. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Dr. Olsen at Olsen Veterinary Clinic at 618-656-5868.