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For pets sake is a monthly newsletter concerning animal care, SylvaniaVET and animal welfare issues.

What’s inside this issue:

1.     Dr. Bob Is Inducted

2.     New Grandbaby!!

3.     One Reason We Are 24/7

4.     Are You Ready For Flea & Tick Season?

5.     How To Train A Puppy in Six Steps!

6.     Does Your Pet Have Seasonal Allergies?

7.     More Allergy Information

8.     Dr. Bob’s New Project

9.     Could Your Pet Benefit From Stem-Cell Treatment?

10. Raw Food Diet

11. Avian Nesting Behaviors

12. A Spayed Cat In Heat?

13. Does Your Pet Have A Microchip?

14. How SVH Makes Anesthesia Safe

15. What is Rhinotracheitis?

ON APRIL 20th DR. BOB WILL BE INDUCTED INTO THE SYLVANIA SCHOOLS DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI HALL OF FAME.He will join his world famous sister, Peggy, who was inducted several years ago. We are all very proud to work with Dr.  Bob and congratulate him on this great honor.  He is being recognized for his long term commitment to the pets and the community of Sylvania.  In his nomination letter, his sister Peggy said his career is a dream come true.  We could not agree more as Dr. Bob has inspired all present and past staff members to concentrate on being the best we can be in whatever we do.  During the day on the 20th, Dr. Bob will speak to classes at Northview High School about how he has coupled community service with growing an active and thriving business.  Peggy, his children, spouses and grand children gathered to celebrate this great honor with Dr. Bob.

WE WOULD LIKE TO CONGRATULATE DR. BOB AND CAROL on the birth of their newest grandchild, Brayden. The son of their son Kevin and his wife Angel, Brayden is the first male Esplin grandchild which means that Dr. Bob’s linage carries on. Brayden was born March 24th and weighed 7 lbs 8 oz and was 19.5 inches long.  Brayden’s nearly 3-year old sister, Alayna, is doing as great job as a big sister.

LAST MONTH THE BLADE PUBLISHED AN ARTICLE ABOUT A DOG THAT ESCAPED FROM AN AREA VETERINARY HOSPITAL.The dog was injured in a dog fight and was left alone overnight. Somehow it was able to escape its kennel and then open a dead bolt lock which let him out to wander the Secor –Sylvania area. Good Samaritans found him and were able to return him to the hospital which wasn’t open but had been alerted by their alarm system.  This situation drives home the point that no animal should ever be left alone in a clinic or boarding kennel without supervision.   We know that our24/7 staffing is a big reason that you entrust the care of your pets to us. It is our understanding that the client did not know that the escaped dog would be alone with bleeding wounds and an IV.  As a side note, it is best to clean and close open wounds as soon as possible as waiting overnight dramatically increases the risk of infection. Every half hour the bacteria population in a wound doubles. This is why when an injury occurs, one of our doctors in available to clean and suture the wound. We recommend you not wait until morning if you pet has a cut that might need stitching.

APRIL BRINGS THE BEGINNING FOR MOSQUITO AND FLEA AND TICK SEASON. It is important that we remind you that all dogs and cats need protection against heartworm. Fleas are becoming a nearly year round problem in our area. Ticks will probably be bad this year because of the mild winter. Also, if you walk in the metro parks the chances of getting ticks increases.  We have more products than ever to discuss when it comes to protecting your dog and cat.  For many years our recommendation for dogs was a monthly dose of Heartgard™ Plus to prevent heartworm. We also recommended Frontline™ Plus for flea and tick prevention. More information regarding new options for flea and tick prevention will follow later in this FYI.

WE RECENTLY CREATED AN OUTLINE FOR OWNERS OF NEW PUPPIES CONCERNING THE BASICS OF HOUSEBREAKING. The outline has been published twice recently in Buzz Magazine and The Sylvania Advantage.  We thought readers of our For Pets Sake FYI would also find it useful.


  1. Feed a high quality dog food at specific meal times. Every time a puppy eats or drinks there is an urge to potty.  A discussion of what constitutes a high quality diet is coming in future issues of the For Pets Sake FYI. Suffice it to say that foods made by companies that do basic nutritional research are your best choices. Worldwide five companies do most of the high quality scientific research. The companies are Hills, Iams, Royal Canin, Nestle’-Purina and Purina. All other products are formulated and made based on government published minimal standards.
  2. Learn how long after eating the puppy needs to go. Some are quick and some take 20 min before the signal to potty occurs. Establish a routine and follow it every time. You must go out with the puppy to the same spot. Reward the event with praise, petting and a treat.   Consistency and persistence are the keys to a pet becoming fully house broken. Do not use papers or wee wee pads as it should never be ok to potty in the house. Going to the same spots means the scent trigger for voiding is there from the last time. If you are going to food reward potty behavior, take it with you. Rewards must come within three seconds of the desired event. Some dogs void in two stages. Don’t rush to get inside as your pup may only be half done.
  3. Use a cage, which is the puppies bedroom, when you are busy, not home, and at night. If the puppy likes its space, it will try to not soil its bed. Follow the outside routine every time you take the puppy out of its kennel. If the puppy cries when placed in the cage do not take it out and reassure it, as that will only reinforce that crying will eventually enable the puppy to get its own way. If there is excessive crying but not a maximum stress effort to get out, then cover the cage and wait it out. Most puppies like the security of their own space.  Dogs are social animals so placing the crate in your bedroom at night will reduce the separation reaction. I do not recommend you allow the puppy in bed with you.  During the day young puppy should not be caged for more than four hours. You must figure out a way to give the puppy relief if it will be left alone more that four hours.
  4. Give no freedom the puppy hasn’t earned. Keep it with you and within reach when it is out of its kennel. Puppies are like toddlers, nothing good happens when they are out of sight and out of mind. Tether them to you if necessary so they can be observed. If this is not possible, use their crate to prevent unwanted behavior. The kennel is not just for potty training. It is to help control curiosity damage that comes from a puppy exploring and experiencing its home.
  5. Pickup on the signals that say I need to go. Circling, sniffing, whining, waking up from a nap are but a few. Hustle outside to turn a potential negative into a positive.This is much easier if you are following step four. Often there is not much time between the signal and the act of going so you must be quick. Puppies do not understand “just a second and I will be ready”.  If the weather is bad, be prepared with shoes, jacket, and umbrella if necessary so you can go out with the puppy. If it is below freezing a jacket for the puppy, if you have time to put it on, is also important.
  6. If you catch the puppy in the act of potty, distract, do not punish. It doesn’t understand it is being punished for location. Punishing for house breaking mistakes has no place in your training regimen. The last time the puppy voided you told it what a great dog it is. A confused dog is one that is likely to not train. Punishment will also damage your relationship and make the dog fearful of you. A fearful dog is much more likely to develop unacceptable behavior traits.


  • Puppies gain control of the urge to go at about 10 weeks of age
  • Reward the positive performance
  • Reward outside, not when you come back in
  • Do not paper or wee wee pad train.
  • With consistent guidance and rewarding positive behavior, most puppies are trained by 4 months of age.
  • Advice about training obedience should come from a veterinarian or a trainer whose philosophy is based on teaching the right behavior. Dominance training, as demonstrated on several popular TV shows, is not considered appropriate.

EARLY SPRING WEATHER HAS OPENED THE DOOR FOR FLEAS, TICKS AND SEASONAL ALLERGIES. A few tidbits of information concerning these troublesome problems seem appropriate and not premature. New medications make the decision of how to treat an adult flea infestation on your pet timely. Our old tried and true product for flea and tick control Frontline™ Plus is still appropriate and effective. One point of emphasis that must be made is that proper application is essential for maximum protection. This is true of all the topical treatments. It is important that all the liquid Frontline™ be placed on the skin and not allowed to run up onto the hair. Only product placed directly on the skin will provide the recommended protection. When used properly, Frontline™ Plus is a great product, but not the only way to deal with fleas and ticks. At this juncture it is important to know that you will see several knock off products claiming to be as effective as Frontline™. It is safe to say that their only similarity is that the knock offs contain the same active ingredient.  The ability of the knock off product to cover the whole animal, be absorbed into the sebaceous oil glands of the hair follicle, and not be easily washed off is yet to be proven.

There are other topical products that are available, but we do not recommend or sell them. For dogs the best and most effective flea and tick topical is Frontline™ Plus.  For cats Frontline™ Plus is very effective, but we lean toward recommending Revolution™ as it is also effective against heartworm.  There is a current discount offer for Revolution; buy six applications get two free.

For those of you not as worried about ticks or that do not like using the topical flea control products, your best choice for flea control only is a once a month pill, Comfortis®.  Trifexis® is a once a month pill that is a combination of Comfortis® and the once a month heartworm preventive Interceptor®. We think this is a great product. Trifexis® is less expensive that using the combination of Heartgard™ Plus or Interceptor® and any of the topical. That is a win: win for you and your pet. If you wish to use Trifexis® and are concerned about ticks you may safely use Frontline™ Plus as well or a very safe and effective tick collar, Scalibor®. We have discount coupons for Heatgard™, Frontline™ and Trifexis®. We will provide them when you purchase the appropriate amount.

A RECENT BLADE COLUMN CONCERNING ALLERGIES OFFERED SOME USEFUL AND SOME INACCURATE INFORMATION. We will try to put the latest knowledge concerning seasonal and food knowledge in this post. Dr. Bob just attended the AAHA conference where he spent several hours in dermatology seminars. What follows are short excerpts of the new information provided.

  1. It was once thought that dog and cat allergies were similar to human hay fever.  By extension it was felt that these animal allergies were triggered by inhaling the allergens. Intuitively this didn’t make a lot of sense to us as the signs of hay fever in people and allergy were so different. That is humans sneeze, cough and have runny eyes. Dogs and cats lick, chew and scratch legs, feet, arm pits, ears and flanks primarily. Additionally, hay fever responds to antihistamines and dog allergies do not respond well to antihistamines.
  2. New research has shown that human eczema and pet allergies are similar conditions. Both are known to be triggered by immune mediators called IGe.  When plotted, human eczema and pet allergies show very similar parts of the body affected. Eczema does not respond well to antihistamines which we know is true of pet allergies. The allergic reaction in both humans and pets is now called atopy.
  3. It is now known that the development of atopy is a contact allergy caused by a defect in the skin barrier. This barrier defect can be generalized with itch sites all over the body or can be localized to small areas of the body.  The outer ear canal is part of the skin so it is affected by atopy. In the early stages the ears may be the first and only site of an allergic reaction.  Recurrent ear infections are frequently associated with underlying allergy.
  4. It used to be felt that a pet had to be more than a year old before it would show itching associated with atopy.  We now know that pets as young as 3-4 months can break with allergies because of inherited barrier defects.
  5. Food allergies are also atopy reactions. The allergen is in the food and can be any ingredient. Proteins are the most likely cause but grains and vegetables can also contain enough protein to trigger a food allergy. Itchy ears, face and increased numbers of bowl movements per day can be signs of food allergy.
  6. Dealing with an allergic pet can be challenging and there are no easy short cuts to proper diagnosis and treatment. A complex skin case needs commitment by both client and doctor to work up the problem and do proper diagnostics. Rechecks and follow up tests to assess progress are essential to management of all difficult skin problems including atopy.
  7. The basic of a skin work up is the history of the clinical signs. Before an exam can even start a review of all previous records and a new history must be completed. Visual exam of the hair and skin is next. Skin scraping and skin cytology are next and must be done on every case. At the extreme of the exact diagnosis is now evident then a skin biopsy is indicated. For prolonged and very severe atopy allergy testing is essential. The goal is to find the offending allergens and then hyposensitize the pet to these allergens. There is no sense in testing if you are not prepared to give your pet the hyposensitizing injections.
  8. The gold standard of allergy testing is intradermal testing. There are blood tests but the results vary so much as to render them nearly useless. We intradermal skin test and only recommend blood tests in very special situations. Many practices do a blood test for food. This is a totally worthless endeavor and a waste of money. The only way to test for food allergy is by using a unique protein elimination diet for 12 weeks.
  9. There are no store foods that can be considered unique protein. Many veterinary unique protein diets also leave something to be desired. If one is going to undertake a food trial with a unique protein diet you must be ready to do three 12 week trials if the first two have not worked. This is necessary because there is no one unique protein diet that is totally reliable. It has been suggested that a home cooked diet using one unique protein and one unique carbohydrate for 12 weeks is the better way to go.
  10. Now a few frequent suggestions that can help control the diet without using medications systemically.
  • Wash your allergic dog regularly to remove allergens from the skin and hair.
  • Clip long haired dogs so there is a large a reservoir of hair to hold allergens.
  • Wear a t-shirt to keep allergens off the skin.
  • Wash the feet every time the pet comes in from the yard.
  • Keep the dog off the freshly mowed yard.
  • Use topical steroid solutions or sprays in cases of localized allergy.
  • Rebuild the barrier with shampoos and sprays designed to do so.
  • Wearing boots or socks will help protect the feet in allergic dogs.
  • Keep the furnace filter clean for inside allergens.
  • Spray your dog with water-humectants spray combinations daily.

We know this has been long, but hope it helps some of you better understand how to help your pet be more comfortable with its allergies.

DR. BOB IS IN THE PROCESS OF DEVELOPING A PROGRAM TO BE AIRED on WYSL.com in the near future. To get it started he did a short interview that will play on the WSYL news programs.  He hopes to make it informative, entertaining and interactive with the on-line listeners. If you have not experienced WSYL we encourage you to do so. They have an inventory of over 4500 songs so there is rarely a repeat during a broadcast. Saturday mornings they have a two hour NASCAR show that is being well received by lovers of car racing.

BETWEEN CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEARS WE DID OUR FIRST STEM-CELL TREATMENT. Sam was severally arthritic and had had many different treatments to help him. At the time he was on joint sparing medications and anti-inflammatory drugs and other medications. Within two weeks of stem cell treatment, Sam was walking better, running on the beach at Hilton Head and climbing stairs. Last month we saw Sam and were really excited by his improvement. He is off all medication. We also did our second treatment on a new dog, Commander. Stem cells were injected into his hips, knees and one elbow. As Commander progresses we will keep you up to date.

THERE ARE THREE PUBLIC HEALTH REASONS THAT FEEDING YOUR PET A RAW FOOD DIET IS A BAD IDEA. Raw meats can contain over 50 different pathogenic organisms including Salmonella, E. coli, Toxoplasmosis and Listeria.  It is amazing how well dogs and cats seem to handle the exposure to these pathogens. Not as many animals get sick as one might expect. Counter tops, food dishes and the refrigerator (by leaking packages) can become contaminated and pass the pathogens to humans. Dishwashing the pets bowls may not be enough to sterilize the dishes as most dishwashers do not get hot enough for long enough. Even if your pet remains healthy, they may contaminate the outside environment when they have a bowel movement. We have said it before, NO veterinary trained nutritionist recommends feeding a raw food diet.


‘Tis the Season, Can You Identify the Nesting Behaviors?

Ah, it’s spring and ‘love’ is in the air for many of the companion parrots and other birds under our care. Some signs that are indicative of nesting or mating behaviors can be molted feathers, increased shredding of papers, turning wooden toys into toothpicks at an increased rate, flying to dark corners or darker rooms in the house, and signs of aggression or an increase in aggression.

Mating and nesting behaviors are natural behaviors for birds. For many of us, our birds are not provided mates. This doesn’t mean the behavior ceases to exist. Often though, many of these nesting behaviors are unknowingly reinforced by us, the care giver. Stroking birds down the back in a petting behavior can reinforce nesting behaviors. Stroking birds under the wings and allowing them to get under the covers can also encourage and reinforce nesting behavior. Providing boxes as toys and phone books to shred could also encourage and cause an increase in nesting and mating behaviors. Do any of these raise an eyebrow?

The bird hormones are on overload in my house also. So, what do I do? I focus even more on making sure the birds are foraging for their food. It gives them somewhere else to direct their attention. I increase their training by playing hide and seek and running to other rooms in the house and having them run or fly after me searching for me. I keep boxes out of their cages at these times. Also, before I get them out of their cages, I close doors to the small dark rooms in the house such as bathrooms and laundry rooms that can serve as invitations to build nests behind the sink or a pile of clothes. For more articles on training, behavior, and enrichment visit my website at larajoseph.com.

A CAT THAT WAS SPAYED AT A LOW COST CLINIC was recently presented because it was showing signs of being in heat. For those of you that have not had the experience of a cat in heat, they are very unpleasant. They scream, roll and stick their rear in the air during their seasonally recurrent cycles. It was necessary to explore the cat so we could remove the ovary that was left.  It could happen to any vet, but if a large enough incision is made and the whole reproductive tract can be visualized it is less likely there will be retained ovary, or in the case of the male a retained testicular tissue.  Click here for more information on spay/neuter procedures.

PREVENTIVE HEALTH CARE SHOULD INCLUDE A MICROCHIP FOR ALL YOUR PETS according to the AAHA-AVMA Partnership for Preventive Pet Healthcare. We couldn’t agree more. To encourage you to have us microchip with HomeAgain® chip, we price the product very reasonably, $36.90. The fee includes everything for the first year.  After the first year, HomeAgain® will offer a continuation of their bonus package at a very economical once a year fee.  You may have a microchip implanted at any visit or you may call and schedule with a tech visit.

WE HAD A FEW READERS THAT PREFERRED WE SEND THE FYI ONLY ONCE MONTHLY. No one commented that receiving small weekly postings was a better idea. Therefore, we will go back to posting the entire FYI the first part of each month.

ANESTHESIA AS SAFE AS POSSIBLE is always our goal. We have talked regularly about the importance of pre-anesthetic testing. Our pre-anesthetic lab work testing is the most thorough program we have seen in NW Ohio. We test multiple chemistries, urine and a blood count on any animal over one year of age. In addition, every case has a pre-anesthetic electrocardiogram.  Once under anesthesia our registered veterinary technicians monitor and record eight parameters once every five minutes.  The eight parameters are ECG, blood pressure, core body temperature, heart rate, oxygen saturation, respiration and most important CO2.  Most practices do much less.  In prolonged or emergency situations we also have the ability to test blood gases and serum lactate.  Our anesthesia as safe as possible or “ASAP” approach to your pet’s anesthesia should be very reassuring.

RHINOTRACHEITIS IS A FELINE CORE DISEASE AND VACCINEand is caused by a Herpes Virus. Many kittens, especially those from shelter or stray environments, will show the initial respiratory signs of fever, sneezing, runny nasal discharge and a painful eye infection. With or without oral antibiotics, the initial infection will run its course.  As in people with Herpes, cold sores or Shingles, the herpes infection can flare up as a result of stress. Often the flare up is in the eyes with swelling and corneal involvement.  Treatment can involve using antiviral eye drops and/or oral medication. It is also important to try to identify the cause of the inciting stress and correct that.  It may be necessary to use anti-anxiety medications as part of the treatment.  Incidentally, cats in a shelter that show excessive signs of stress are 560 percent more likely to develop the primary herpes Rhinotracheitis as non-stress cats.  For more information on SylvaniaVETs’ vaccination protocols click here.

OUR TECH JAMIE IS LOOKING FOR CLIENTS who would like to write an on-line recommendation or make a video testimonial for SylvaniaVET.  We have a great example of a video testimonial from a client that can be viewed here. You may contact Jamie atJamie@sylvaniavet.com if you are interested.



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