The vet’s office: Advances in veterinary medicine
New treatments are available that can help with a variety of animal maladies
By Dr. Beth Engelbert, DVM
Wildwood Animal Hospital and Clinic LLC
Like human medicine, veterinary medicine has made amazing advances in medication, technology, and understanding disease processes. However, sometimes convincing a pet to take those medications can be tricky. Many new products are available to aid treatments, making them easier for both you and your pet.
Topical treatments, known as “spot-ons,” or collars have been used traditionally for the management of fleas and ticks. Collars may not be effective or may have variable coverage depending on the brand. Many collars are toxic if chewed. Spot-on treatments leave a residue and may not be waterproof. While most topicals are not directly toxic, they potentially cause some malaise. A newer chewable treatment is available and has been received well for control of fleas and ticks with few side effects.
Some pets do not take oral medications well, including life saving preventatives for heartworm disease. An injectable has been reissued that lasts six months. Side effects are similar to other injections like vaccines.
Some pets need long-term medications, many of which cause changes to the body. Steroids, like prednisone, are a prime example. Pets with allergies itch so frequently that they cause sores and develop infections. Steroids alleviate the itch and keep the pets happy and itch free. Over time steroids affect the immune system, the liver, and adrenal glands, leading to other illnesses.
A new drug is available that only targets the itch center of the skin. This drug has been very effective with few reactions. Being itch free, pets do not injure themselves and are much happier.
Therapeutic foods have been developed and target many conditions. Bladder inflammation and urine crystals can be big problems in cats. Now there are diets that target underlying stress while easing the inflammation and crystals, making flare-ups less frequent and less severe.
Another diet can help cats and small dogs remain calm and less stressed in general. Diets for weight loss have included high-fiber and low-fat formulations. A few new diets can change the metabolism of a pet or make pets feel fuller for longer, decreasing overeating and begging.
Illnesses such as liver disease or respiratory infections are commonly recognized, but people rarely think of stress and its impact on their pets. Stress can lead to illness or behavior problems. Many behavior problems require training and modifications. There are new tools to help the process. Among them are diffusers that release a pheromone — hormones that react on the sense of smell — that can have calming effects. A new product for cats helps to manage multiple cat households. There are collars that can be fitted on dogs and last a month.
These are just a few examples of the exciting new products available. Contact your veterinarian for more specific information and to discuss if one of these products is right for your pet.
Wildwood Animal Hospital and Clinic LLC is located at 210 Airpark Road in Marshfield and online at wildwoodanimalhospital.net.