The Greenwood Veterinary Clinic

Dr. Matthew Singer, VMD 806 West Center St. Greenwood, Ar 72936 (479) 996-4127


Feeding Raw Food to your Pets, Better think twice!!

Feeding pets raw meat diets ‘may cause severe illness’

When it comes to our pets, we want to feed them the best. Some dog and cat owners believe raw meat, rather than commercial pet food, is healthiest for their animals. But a new study published in the Journal of American Veterinary Medicine suggests this may not be the case.

The study’s research team, led by Dr. Lisa Freeman of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in Massachusetts, notes that many animal enthusiasts claim raw meat-based diets (RMBDs) are a more natural diet for cats and dogs.

However, both the American Animal Hospital Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association have suggested that pet food containing raw and undercooked meats could lead to food-borne illness for pets and humans who come into contact with them.

“Pet nutrition decisions are often made from the heart and with the best intentions, but it’s essential to look at what the evidence tells us about the benefits and safety of a certain diet,” explains Dr. Freeman.

With this in mind, the research team set out to compare people’s perceptions of RMBDs with existing research that analyzed these diets.

RMBDs may ‘lack nutritional balance and cause illness’

The researchers say that many cat and dog owners believe that RMBDs provide the animals with all the nutrition they require.

Dog and raw meat
Too bad to eat? Researchers say feeding cats or dogs raw meat diets may cause them to become severely ill, as studies have shown the meats are likely to contain pathogens, such as E. coli or Salmonella.

However, when looking at research that assessed this issue, the investigators came across at least two studies showing that RMBDs provide either too little nutrition or too much. They note this was more heavily linked to home-prepared RMBDs, but commercial RMBDs were also at risk.

However, three studies did provide some evidence that dogs and cats are able to digest RMBDs better. But they note that it is unclear whether this would provide any health benefits for the animals.

When analyzing research assessing food safety concerns with regards to RMBDs, the researchers found evidence that contamination from various pathogens, including Salmonella, E. coli and Clostridium, occurred more from RMBDs, compared with commercial pet foods.

They refer to an example of one study, which found Salmonella in up to 48% of RMBDs, while another study found that out of 10 home-prepared raw chicken-based diets tested, eight were contaminated with the bacteria.

The investigators say they also came across some studies showing that these pathogens can cause severe sickness and even death in some animals.

Aside from pathogens, the researchers say that if home-prepared RMBDs contain bones, this could cause health issues for pets – from fractured teeth to blockages or tears in the gastrointestinal tract.

Commenting on the analysis, Dr. Freeman notes that existing research on RMBDs shows that the “risks outweigh any minimal benefits.”

She adds:

“We advise pet owners to talk with their veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist boarded by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition about nutrition for their pets, and anyone considering including raw meat in a pet’s diet to review the scientific evidence.”

In other animal-related news, Medical News Today recently reported on a study suggesting that having dogs in the house may protect against allergies, such as asthma.


AVMA Newa

AVMA salutes U.S. Senate for unanimously passing veterinary medicine mobility bill

Monday 13 January 2014 – 2am PST


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AVMA salutes U.S. Senate for unanimously passing veterinary medicine mobility bill
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In a move that brings Congress one step closer to allowing veterinarians the complete ability to provide care to their animal patients beyond their clinics, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) praised the U.S. Senate for its passage of the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act (S. 1171). Sponsored by Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) and Angus King (I-Maine), this commonsense legislation will give veterinarians who treat their patients on the farm, in the wild, at a client’s home or in any other mobile setting, the ability to bring and use controlled substances to provide pain management, anesthesia or euthanasia.

“The Senate’s action proves that our nation’s leaders are listening to the veterinary profession and are diligently working to ensure that animals in all settings continue to receive the best quality care,” said Dr. Clark Fobian, president of the AVMA. “To be a veterinarian, you must be willing to go to your patients when they cannot come to you, and this means being able to bring all of the vital medications you need in your medical bag. We are pleased that the Senate has taken action to fix a loophole in federal regulation, which has concerned veterinarians over the past few years, and urge the U.S. House to swiftly follow suit.”

“The passage of the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act today is a step in the right direction for the licensed practitioners who help ensure public safety and care for animals in Kansas and across the country,” Sen. Moran said. “By legalizing the transportation and dispensation of controlled substances, this legislation makes certain veterinarians are equipped with the tools they need and is particularly important for practitioners who work in rural areas, conduct research or respond to emergency situations.”

“I am very pleased the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act passed the Senate,” Sen. King said. “Working in a rural state like Maine often requires veterinarians to travel long distances in order to provide care to animals on farms, in homes and at shelters. This bill will grant properly licensed veterinarians the right to carry and administer controlled substances, including important medications, allowing them to do their jobs.”

Since November 2009, the Drug Enforcement Administration has informed the veterinary profession that the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) does not permit registrants to take controlled substances beyond their registered locations, such as a clinic or home in a veterinarian’s case. This narrow interpretation of the law is problematic for those veterinarians who care for animals in a variety of settings and also for those who live on a state border, therefore providing care in two states, but only having registered in one state. The DEA has indicated in the past that without a statutory change to the law, some veterinarians may be practicing outside the confines of the law.

AVMA’s Governmental Relations Division has been actively engaged with Capitol Hill staff to amend the CSA and has embarked in a year-long advocacy campaign to educate the public and the profession about how this regulation directly impacts veterinarians’ ability to protect the health and welfare of our nation’s animals.

AVMA’s members have sent more than 24,000 letters to Congress this year in support of the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act, and the bill has the support of more than 130 veterinary medical and other organizations. The House version of the bill (H.R. 1528) has more than 140 cosponsors and is endorsed by the House Veterinary Medicine Caucus, led by veterinarians Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) and Ted Yoho (R-Fla.).


Circovirus in Dogs FAQ

 Circovirus in Dogs FAQ

November 22, 2013 Listen to the Podcast!

Update November 22, 2013: There has been a media report about the possiblity of cats being infected with this virus. We have contacted the Michigan authorities with a request for more information.

Canine circovirus infections have been documented in dogs with vomiting and diarrhea. The distribution of the virus in the U.S. is not yet known, but dogs infected with circovirus have been reported in California and circovirus may be associated with recent illness and death of dogs in Ohio.

Listen to our podcast (Sept 23) about the Ohio investigation.
Guidance for veterinarians
Q: What are circoviruses?
A: Circoviruses are small viruses that have been known to infect pigs and birds. They are also known to survive well in the environment once shed from affected animals.  Porcine circoviruses are very common throughout the world. Porcine circovirus 2 can cause postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome in 2-4 month old piglets, resulting in weight loss, poor growth and high death rates. Although porcine circoviruses were first identified more than 30 years ago, there is still much unknown about the viruses. Circovirus can also infect birds, causing beak and feather disease in psittacine birds (such as parrots, parakeets, budgies and cockatiels), infectious anemia in chickens, and deadly infections in pigeons, canaries and finches.
Q: What is canine circovirus/dog circovirus?
A: The circovirus identified in dogs shares more similarity to porcine circovirus than to the avian circovirus, but it is not the same as porcine circovirus. This canine circovirus was first reported in June 2012 as part of a genetic screening of canine samples for new viruses (Kapoor et al 2012).  Circovirus was detected in 2.9% of canine sera collected for routine serological testing.  In April 2013, a similar virus was detected in a California dog that presented to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine for worsening vomiting (containing blood) and diarrhea. PCR tests on dogs with and without clinical disease indicate a prevalence rate of between 2.9-11.3%.  The data suggest that this new virus, either alone or as a co-infection with other pathogens (disease-causing organisms, such as bacteria and viruses), might contribute to dog illness and deaths. However, the authors also reported that circovirus was identified in the stool of 14 out of 204 healthy dogs, suggesting that infection with circovirus does not always result in illness.
There is still much to learn about this newly identified virus, including its role in disease.
Q: Are the dogs in Ohio infected with circovirus?
A: No. Circovirus was suggested as a possible cause of illness and death of dogs in several parts of Ohio in late August/early September 2013, but it is no longer being considered as the primary cause of the illnesses.  Circovirus was detected in the stool of one ill dog in Ohio, which is the first time the virus has been identified in Ohio, but this does not mean that circovirus has been confirmed as the cause of any of the recent illnesses. The Ohio Department of Agriculture continues to investigate the illnesses, and this will take time.
Q: Are the dogs in Michigan infected with circovirus?

A: As of October 3, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has been investigating illnesses similar to those observed in Ohio. The investigation will take time, and at this time they are not confirming that circovirus is involved.

Q: How are dogs being infected with circovirus?
A: The route of infection is still unknown, but the basic principles of viral spreading suggest that direct contact with an infected dog or its vomit or diarrhea would present a higher risk of infection. However, many viruses can be spread from animal to animal through the use of shared bedding and equipment or through human contact with an infected animal prior to handling of an uninfected animal.  In pigs, circovirus is spread through the manure and through contact with respiratory secretions.
Although some of the dogs showing clinical disease were recently boarded or at doggie daycare facilities, this should not be taken as an indication that this virus is only spread at boarding kennels or that boarding your dog or taking it to daycare will result in infection. Any parent who has taken their child to daycare knows that a high concentration of children in an area can increase the spread of colds and other illnesses; the same thing can happen when dogs are gathered in an area.
Q: Are there other diseases that are similar to circovirus infection?
A: There are many potential causes of vomiting and diarrhea, so the presence of these signs does not mean your dog is infected with circovirus. For example, vomiting and diarrhea can also result from infection with canine parvovirus, canine enteric coronavirus, Salmonella bacteria, canine distemper virus, Campylobacter bacteria, Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin A gene bacteria, and Cryptosporidium and Giardia species (both of which are single-celled parasites). Even a simple “dietary indiscretion,” such as getting into the garbage or overeating rich foods or treats, can result in vomiting and diarrhea. Not all of these problems are life-threatening, and many cases of diarrhea and vomiting resolve with simple treatment.
If your dog is showing signs of illness, contact your veterinarian to get the correct diagnosis (including any necessary laboratory testing). Even if it turns out to be something minor, you can have peace of mind knowing that your dog’s health is not threatened.
Q: What should pet owners do?
A: If your dog is vomiting or has diarrhea, contact your veterinarian. Dogs with diarrhea and vomiting could have a range of diseases, some of which can be life-threatening unless diagnosed and treated early. Prompt treatment of vomiting and diarrhea, regardless of the cause, gives your dog a better chance of a quick recovery and can also cost you less in the long run – delaying veterinary care can mean that your veterinarian has to treat a dog that’s much more sick than he/she would have been if seen earlier, and that costs more. In the small number of cases so far, prompt veterinary treatment was critical to a good outcome for that dog.
Although we still have a lot to learn about this circovirus, there’s no cause for panic.  We know that dogs infected with circovirus don’t always become ill, but we don’t know how much of the virus they may shed in their stool or how much risk these dogs present as sources of infection for other dogs. Theoretically, it’s possible, and that’s one of many reasons why it’s so important that you pick up after your own dog and avoid contact with stool from other dogs when possible.
Simple, common sense measures are in order, including the avoidance of contact with ill animals (and if your dog is ill, avoid contact with other dogs until your dog has fully recovered) and cleaning up after your pet passes stool. A healthy pet is more likely to have a fully functional immune system to fight infections, so keeping your pet healthy with good preventive care is also important.
Q: Is there a vaccine for circovirus?
A: Not at this time. This is a very recent development, and it takes years to develop vaccines and get approval for use in pets.

Q: What should kennels and doggy daycare facilities do?
A: Follow good hygiene and sanitation measures, as you should always do: don’t allow ill dogs to mix with others; clean and disinfect areas where ill animals have been, and regularly clean and disinfect all dog areas; and monitor dogs for signs of illness, and immediately report any signs of illness to the dog’s owner.
Q: If my dog has circovirus, can I become infected?
A: There is no evidence to date that this virus can be transmitted to you from your dog.


2013 Holiday Hours

HOLIDAY HOURS

Wednesday, November 27th 7:30-1pm
Thanksgiving Day – CLOSED
Friday, November 29th 7:30-1pm
Saturday, November 30th – CLOSED

City Wide Holiday Open House
Sunday, December 8th 1-5pm
Come see Santa!

Tuesday, December 24th 7:30-1pm
Christmas Day – CLOSED
Saturday, December 28th – CLOSED

Tuesday, December 31st — 730-1pm
New Years Day — CLOSED

{Please contact the Fort Smith Animal Emergency Clinic if you are in need of immediate care for your pet. They can be reached at 479.649.3100 — We wish you a Happy New Year & will see you on January 2nd, 2014!}

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