FIVE VETERINARY PRODUCTS TO WATCH IN THE NEW YEAR
Every year, I go to as many veterinary conferences as I can. I have always loved to learn and I need to stay on the cutting edge for my work in the media.
Last year, several veterinary products caught my attention. They'll be worth watching as they roll into veterinary practices this year. In random order:
-- Zeuterin: A few years ago, I made the decision to return to practice. I missed it, so now I see pets and their people at two north Idaho veterinary hospitals whenever I can.
Recently, I was able to participate in the staff training for a product that will revolutionize the way we neuter dogs. Zeuterin is a U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved non-surgical product injected directly into the testicles. It's fast, it's easy on everyone and it has already proven its value in neutering overpopulations of dogs in third-world countries and in the abandoned area around the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. (ArkSciences.com)
-- Kerdog by SophiaDog: I first saw this product last summer at the American Veterinary Medical Association's annual conference. It had quite the buzz on the trade-show floor, and with good reason. It's a wheeled cart for dogs that does more than support an animal undergoing rehabilitation. The product has pedals for the rear paws that teach the animal to use his legs while strengthening the muscles. Eventually, the pedals are removed and the dog walks with support from the cart, and then on his own. (SophiaDog.com)
-- OraStrip Quick Check: Your veterinarian can tell in minutes if your dog has periodontal disease with OraStrip Quick Check, a diagnostic strip that tests a pet's saliva and color when active disease is present. Treatment options can then be explored in time to reduce the suffering caused by this painful and harmful condition. (Orastrip.com)
-- IDEXX VetConnect Plus: I love my tablet computer, and I love seeing all the ways we're starting to use these in veterinary medicine. With this system from IDEXX, my patient's laboratory reports show an easy-to-read interactive format and can be viewed on a desktop, laptop or tablet. They're all in one place, and I can use my tablet to go over the Cloud-based results with the pet's owner. The company says more than 3,000 veterinary practices in the United States are already using the system since it was launched last July. (IDEXX.com/vetconnectplus)
-- Royal Canin Veterinary Diets' CALM: With proven links between illness and behavior problems to the increased levels of stress caused by anxiety, there's a need for food to soothe anxious pets. New from Royal Canin Veterinary Diets is CALM, the first product of its kind, available through veterinarians. CALM includes three proven ingredients to relieve stress and anxiety without the use of medication. (Royalcanin.us/calm)
These are the five products that really caught my attention last year, but I easily could have listed a couple dozen more. Changes and innovations are a constant in medicine, which is yet another reason to work with your veterinarian to stay on top of pet care breakthroughs. Your pet will benefit, and so will you.
Abscess requires taking
cat to the veterinarian
Q: My cat got into a fight again and now he has an infection. I just can't afford another trip to the vet. What can I do at home? -- via Facebook
A: You need to take your cat to the veterinarian, since cat bites can be very serious indeed. After this issue is resolved, you can save money through prevention -- and that means keeping your cat inside. Why? Because this common feline health problem is often the result of a puncture wound, specifically a bite from another cat during a fight over territory or mates.
Nearly every free-roaming cat needs to see a veterinarian from time to time to have an abscess treated -- and by "treated," I mean surgically opened, flushed clean of debris, and sometimes temporarily held open by drains to let the wound heal with the help of time and some strong antibiotics.
A cat's mouth is a nasty mix of bacteria, and once that bacteria gets punched into another cat's body, the result will probably be an abscess. Think about it -- bacteria being injected with two bacteria-laden hypodermic needles (the cat's fang teeth) into a perfect incubator (another cat's 101-plus-degree body). The only possible outcome is infection.
The bacteria in a cat's mouth is also why even relatively minor cat bites can become serious medical issues for humans, leading to hospitalization in some cases. Anytime you're bitten or scratched by an animal, you should wash the area immediately with soap and water and have the wound checked out by your doctor. -- Dr. Marty Becker
Do you have a pet question? Send it to email@example.com or visit Facebook.com/DrMartyBecker.
Landmark study looks
at dogs' health for life
-- A landmark study of a popular breed of dog is expected to produce information that will likely help set medical research priority in pets and people. The Golden Retriever Lifetime Study was developed by the Morris Animal Foundation, the Flint Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University and the Golden Retriever Club of America, will track the health status of goldens as they age and the environment in which they live. This includes everything from food and exercise to exposure to pesticides to the water they drink. The study will also collect data on cancers, diabetes, arthritis and epilepsy, among other health issues common in pets and people both. Golden retrievers under the age of 2 are being sought, with more information available at caninelifetimehealth.org.
-- Search-and-rescue dogs don't need to be worrying about their jobs. Researchers at the University of Dortmund in Germany are working to determine reliable scent markers to help find people who are lost or caught in collapsed buildings after a disaster. The study identified 12 chemical compounds that could be identified by a machine for the purpose of finding someone. That's a long way from having a machine that works with the speed, agility and highly developed scenting ability of a dog under difficult and ever-changing conditions in the field.
-- Keeping dogs and cats continues to be very popular, according to the findings of the American Veterinarian Medical Association in its newly released "U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook." The survey of 50,000 households puts the number of cats in the United States at 74.1 million and the number of dogs at 70 million -- both figures down slightly from the last survey five years ago. The most dramatic drop has been in the number of horses, down 2.4 million in the same period to 4.8 million in 2012. -- Gina Spadafori
ABOUT PET CONNECTION
Pet Connection is produced by a team of pet care experts headed by "Good Morning America" and "The Dr. Oz Show" veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker and award-winning journalist Gina Spadafori. The two are affiliated with Vetstreet.com and also the authors of many best-selling pet care books. Dr. Becker can also be found at Facebook.com/DrMartyBecker or on Twitter at DrMartyBecker.