Dental Health Month is Here

We made it to February. This is a short month and before you know it the spring flowers will be in bloom! The days are longer and the sun is getting closer to the earth to heat it up! Bring it on!

Looking back at the blogs from the last 6 ½ years I have discussed dental health month 4 different times. Of course, the blogs were about different teeth concerns but it still emphasizes the importance of dental health. I still counsel people regularly about what items to avoid their dogs chewing on. The blog from January 2018 talks about the common issues we see with pet’s teeth that are chewing on bones and antlers. If these are common items you offer your dogs, I would look at this blog:

Read the Post: No Bones About It (January, 2018)

Was your New Year’s resolution to start brushing your pet’s teeth? It is a great time to start during Dental Health month. The February 2020 blog goes through a step-by-step process to introduce this new procedure to your pet. I always encourage people with kittens and puppies to get them accustomed to brushing while they are still young. This is always the best time to start all routine care programs such as cleaning ears, clipping nails, giving bathes, brushing teeth, combing hair, etc. This blog also has a nice video from a client who brushes her dog’s teeth. What a difference this has made in their oral health.

Read the Post: February is Dental Health Month (February, 2020)

Ever wonder how a dog’s teeth are cleaned. Certainly, they will not just lie there and let us clean the teeth. They do need anesthesia and are required to be still during the entire procedure. We do the dental scaling, cleaning, and polishing in the morning so our patients can go home in the afternoon. This blog talked about the equipment needed to clean teeth. Extractions are necessary if we have extensive damage to the gums or roots present. It makes no sense to keep teeth that are no longer viable for chewing. The reports indicate most dogs and cats have some dental decay by 3 years of age. Check out this blog from a year ago.

Read the Post: February is Dental Health Month (February, 2022)

Imagine what your teeth would look like if you did not brush daily. Our pets are no different. This is one daily task that can make a huge difference in the oral health of our pets. The Pet Industry wants you to believe that chewing a dog biscuit or piece of rawhide is all that is needed to keep their teeth clean. I hope you realize that only by brushing are you going to impact their long-term oral health. Go ahead and FLIP THE LIP of your pet! If you do not see pearly whites flashing back at you….It is time to set up a dental procedure to protect your furry friends oral health.

Why is “Pet Selection” Still Important?

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Welcome to 2023 and all this year has to offer for new beginnings. We are excited to be here to assist our customers and their furry friends during this year and beyond. Dr Jim and myself will be celebrating 35 years since receiving our Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degrees. The clinic will be celebrating 40 years of business this year. Dr Jim has been here for 35 of those years. Stephanie celebrated 20 years as an employee and myself, 15 years in 2022. We all feel a connection to this business but more importantly to the clients that we serve and their critters. Whether they are big and cannot come in the building or small and we need a gram scale to weigh them, they all are important to us.

I recognized last year, that I have now come full circle with my time here at Winterset Veterinary Center (WVC). What I mean by that is, I am now helping my clients(friends) say goodbye to those bounding puppies and snuggling kittens I first got to know back 15 years ago when I began working at WVC. This is a first for me. Most of my career I have moved around enough that I never got to this stage at my previous locations. It is heart wrenching but also fulfilling to be here through all the stages of our pet’s lives. Both Dr Jim and myself know that helping a pet pass from this life to the next is as important as other needed therapies.

I have been doing blogs for 6 ½ years now and realized that there are many topics that I covered early on that I should revisit in 2023. I am looking at which ones have been googled most often and plan to adjust or add to the original blog. One topic that is near and dear to my heart is pet selection. I feel the blog is still relevant and needs very little adjustments. I know there are more online tests that can be taken to help someone select the best pet or if it is a dog you are wanting, there are tests to help you select the right breed.

Reach out to your veterinarian and ask for their help in assisting with pet selection. The years of training not only in higher education but also practice will serve you well in finding the perfect pet for its forever home. Many factors are used to help someone decide if they should get a rescue pet or a new pet. How much time do you have each week to spend with your pet? Are you home regularly to feed, water, and exercise? Do you have allergies against pet dander and hair? Are you willing to commit to this pet for the next 15-20 years if it is a dog or cat? How much money do you intend to spend to purchase the pet and care for it each year? These are some of the questions that are important to consider when selecting a pet. The online tests cover these and other questions to help guide you in the selection process. Please feel free to reach out to Dr. Jim or myself if ever you need help in this process. Daily we see decisions that were made quickly without thinking through the long-term scenario. Once the pet is home it can be difficult to return so do your homework first! Thanks for reading my blogs and let’s make 2023 the best year yet for caring for our furry friends who make our life complete just by being here.

Click on the link and read all about the importance of pet selection.

At Last — The Microscope

Can you believe it is December? We have passed through another year with blogs. I have written about the different equipment used here to help us do our day to day business. For my final blog of 2022 I will talk about the microscope.  This microscope was in veterinary school with Dr. Jim (I have mine at home on a shelf).  This is the one piece of equipment a veterinary student must purchase to start at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Yes, this scope would be over 35 years old now. It is still a very important piece of equipment and with ongoing maintenance can last for many more years. 

On a daily basis we use the microscope for analyzing stool samples looking for intestinal parasites. Once found we can then offer recommendations on what medications would be suitable for treatment. Often people buy over the counter dewormers, but never know if their pets had parasites or not. Plus, not all dewormers are successful for treatment of the different species of internal parasites.

We use the microscope to look for mites and lice after swabbing ears or scraping skin. The mites are quite detailed after looking at them under magnification. I often will bring the scope into the exam room to show clients what external parasites look like. Some are fascinated others…not so much.

Dr. Jim is using the scope to analyze bovine sperm in this photo. After he does the semen collection and the physical exam on the bull, he then places the specimen of semen under the scope to look at movement, shape, numbers, etc., of the sperm. The bull breeding soundness exam is critical to a cattleman’s herd. The news that a bull did not pass the exam is disappointing. Worse yet is a whole herd of heifers or cows that are open because someone neglected to do the bull’s breeding exam. No pregnancies, means a rancher just fed his cows/heifers for a full year with no profits. That would be hard to swallow but it has happened. A good breeding soundness exam can prevent this.

We use the microscope to look at urine sediment to help us determine cause of abnormal urination. We use the microscope to evaluate a blood smear. Laboratory results include many different tests to help put the puzzle together on why or what may be causing a pets health concerns. These are all screening tests to direct us in a manner that will help the patient get home as quickly as possible. That is where the pet and the owner want them to be.

Fine needle aspirate samples are evaluated under the microscope for certain cell types. A biopsy is by far a better form of diagnosis but sometimes we get lucky and will find cells that indicate cause of the health concerns. When these are found, we can begin formulating treatment while offering up a smaller biopsy if needed to verify our diagnosis. In some situations, time is important and so evaluation here at the clinic is important. Starting treatment as soon as possible would not be an option if we could not get the results on the same day.

We have also used the microscope to magnify ticks and fleas for identification. The different types of vectors can mean different diseases that we need to be concerned about. Ticks especially come in multiple shapes and sizes. Identification helps eliminate diseases, like Lyme disease, if it is not a deer tick.

As you can see this microscope has served us well over its lifetime. We would be lost without it and if this one ever breaks down… I still have mine on a shelf at home! We are so grateful for your business and confidence in our team at Winterset Veterinary Center.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our clients and their critters.

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