Newsletter The veterinarians and staff at the Animal Hospital of Sayreville are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

Current Newsletter Topics

Dental Care for Your Cat

If you have ever had a cavity or dental work done, you know it can be uncomfortable and inconvenient. For humans, caring for our teeth is something we do almost automatically. But since cats are unable to brush their own teeth and, like humans, do not have a natural, built-in way to keep teeth clean, it falls on you to maintain your cat's dental health. The best way to ensure the overall dental health of your cat is to establish a timetable for regular dental check-ups with your veterinarian. Veterinary research indicates that dental disease, in its various forms, is the number one health issue in feline medicine. About 70 percent of cats over age 3 have some kind of dental problem. Fortunately for your cat, dental disease is preventable.

Once your cat has his adult teeth, dental exams should be done regularly. Toothaches and dental problems can be extremely painful and may cause your cat to stop eating or show symptoms of illness. Waiting until this point can often create undue stress and discomfort for your kitty. Untreated dental problems can also lead to larger systemic problems in your cat due to oral bacteria entering the blood stream and damaging the kidneys, heart and liver.

Dental problems can include:

• Plaque

• Tartar Build-up

• Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions (FORLs) - the feline cavity counterpart

• Lost or Broken Teeth

• Gingivitis

• Stomatitis

• Oral Cancer

Since cats very rarely get cavities, they are much more prone to gum disease and excessive tartar build-up. Food particles and bacteria collect along the gum line and if ignored, form plaque. When plaque builds up and is not removed promptly, your cat's saliva combines with the plaque to form tartar. Irritating to the gums, the tartar causes an inflammation called gingivitis. Can you see the progression? The two most common dental diseases, gingivitis and periodontitis, can be prevented through the regular removal of plaque. Unfortunately for most cats, while gingivitis is reversible, late stage periodontal disease is not and can cause further dental problems that most cats find painful. If diagnosed and treated by your veterinarian, it can be slowed or stopped.

Symptoms of dental disease may include:

• Decreased appetite or complete loss of appetite

• Drooling

• Bad breath

• Weight loss

• Yellow, brown or black teeth

• Swollen, red or bleeding gums

• Blood in the saliva

• Receding gums

• Missing or broken teeth

How to Pill Your Dog

So, the veterinarian has sent you and your not-so-well dog home with a bottle of pills and some instructions.

Don't worry. Giving pills to your dog is just a matter of know-how and plenty of praise. Here are the steps to follow. Note: Giving a pill to your dog is not the same as giving a pill to your cat.

Pilling a Dog

  1. Gently take hold of the head from above, placing your thumb and fingers on either side of the muzzle. Squeeze firmly in and up just behind the canine teeth ("fangs"). The dog's mouth should open.
  2. Use your free hand to hold on to the pill while lowering the animal's jaw. With the mouth open wide, place the pill as far back on the tongue as possible, pushing it even farther with your index finger.
  3. Gently close and hold the muzzle while your dog swallows. You can encourage this by stroking the underside of the throat downward.
  4. Finally, give your dog lots of praise and reinforcement each time he swallows a pill.

Here are additional helpful tips for pilling your dog:

The more quickly you perform the above steps, the better.

Film-coated pills are best. They go down more easily and don't dissolve as quickly, which is important if it takes you more than one try.

If you can't get the pill down, try disguising it in something your dog loves (example: peanut butter or cream cheese).

Check with your veterinarian, because some medication should not be given with food.

Understanding Your Cat and Its Hunting Behavior

One aspect of cats' behavior which some owners find difficult to accept is hunting, especially when the cat insists on bringing prey home. Hunting is a very strong instinct in cats and the techniques can be while watching young kittens at play. As the kittens grow older, the skills are finely honed through further play and by watching the mother and mimicking her when she hunts.

Hunting is entirely natural for cats and takes place even when they are well fed at home. They enjoy the hunt, stalking patiently and carefully, moving forward and freezing with single minded concentration until they are close enough to pounce. If the cat returns with its kill and presents it to you, the reason is possibly because you should congratulate them on their hunting prowess. There is really no point in trying to punish your cat for hunting. Doing so will only cause them confusion as it's a deep-rooted behavior. Playing catching games with your cat by using toys may help to relieve some of the urge to hunt.

One solution is to put a bell on its collar so that the birds and other likely victims can hear her coming. If you do this, make sure that the collar has an elasticated section so that your cat can escape if it gets caught up on some object. It is important to worm your cat regularly, particularly if they're a hunter. Consult your veterinary hospital for more advice on de-worming.

VIDEO - What Are Heartworms?

Why are heartworms a threat to your dog? This short video explains.

New Year's Resolution: Ending Pet Obesity

Should old acquaintance be forgot... Hanging onto the friends and memories of the year past isn't a bad thing, but hanging on to old troubles may be. Pet obesity is still believed to be on the rise in the U.S. as 2016 comes to an end. It seems well-intentioned pet owners can’t kick the habit of viewing their chubby pets as adorable rather than at-risk for serious health issues.

A Troubling Trend

An American Animal Hospital Association task force found that for 2014 obesity rates for both dogs and cats had risen from the previous year. They now estimate 16.7 percent of dogs and 27.4 percent of cats are clinically obese. In all, the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) estimates 53 percent of dogs and 58 percent of cats are overweight.

Although those numbers don't speak for 2015, it seems the weight problem has not been resolved.

"The 'fat gap' continues to challenge pet owners," said APOP founder Dr. Ernie Ward. "Pet owners think their obese dog or cat is a normal weight, making confronting obesity difficult. No one wants to think their pet is overweight, and overcoming denial is our first battle."

Even with waistlines, diets, and exercise regimens a central focus for a variety of American industries, the obesity rate for humans increased 3 percent from 2011-2012 to 2013-2014. It makes sense that pets' nutritional needs aren't being met when 40 percent of the population is overweight.

With Excess Weight Comes Health Risks

With an increasing trend toward pets being obese rather than just overweight, specialists are concerned. Obesity brings with it a higher risk for Type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure and even certain forms of cancer.

"It is critical pet owners understand an overweight dog or cat is not a healthy pet," said Dr. Julie Churchill, a veterinary nutritionist at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine.

For recommendations on proper nutrition, serving size and exercise requirements, contact your veterinarian.

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