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Itch (Pruritus) Management

The Following action steps are prescribed to assist you in the management and control of your pet’s allergy symptoms:

1) First goal is to identify and remove, if possible, any offending allergens or irritants. For example, if your pet is allergic to fleas the long term solution is avoidance of fleas. If your pet is allergic to foods and/or treats the longer term solution is avoidance of those items. Multiple allergy problems are common and there is a “thresh hold phenomenon” wherein a synergistic effect occurs wherein a synergistic effect occurs when more than one allergy problem exists. Unfortunately, it is likely, with time, that your allergic pet will acquire additional allergy issues in the future.
2) Your “first line of defense” in managing pruritus (itchiness) includes the following steps:

A) ANTIHISTAMINES (E.G. Benadryl, Tavist, Chlorpheniramine, etc.)

Antihistamines (AH) are generally safe, the most common side effect being sleepiness, lethargy. In order to be effective, they must be given consistently—they typically do not work as well if you use them to “chase” the itchiness. Pets vary in their response to AH use, and different AH work differently in each pet. Work to find which one and what dose is most effective for your pet.

B) OMEGA FATTY ACIDS (E.G. Allerderm Efa Caps, Efa-Z Plus Liquid, etc.)

Omega Fatty Acids (OFA) are very helpful in controlling your pet’s itchiness. Again, they must be given consistently over a period of time in order to realize any benefit; in fact, it may take several days of consistent therapy to see a difference. Double the dose for the first week or two (dividing into morning and evening portions) and then gradually work back to indicated label dose.


Depending upon the nature and extent of your pet’s skin problems there are a variety of shampoos and conditioners available that will greatly aid in controlling your pet’s itchiness. These can be repeated as needed to provide relief; always be sure to rinse well and follow directions for application of leave-on-conditioner rinses. Use cool water to help calm the skin down; warm water can aggravate angry skin. In fact, cool water soaks alone can be helpful when itchiness seems to be getting out of control.

3) Corticosteroids (e.g. Prednisone , Temaril-P, etc.), if used, should only be used as a supplement to the steps above, working for a minimal, effective, alternate –day-dose that will control the itchiness. Potential side effects include increased thirst, increased urine production, increased appetite and weight gain, etc. These side effects can be minimized by working for minimum dose, in concert with “first lien of defense” medications.

4) Immunotherapy is an aid for controlling and managing the pet that has atopy (inhalant allergic dermatitis). Testing can be completed to identify those allergens to which your pet has become sensitized. A vaccine can be produced, accordingly, that will desensitize your pet to the identified allergens. Historically, a 65-85% improvement can be realized with immunotherapy; there will still be a likely need for “first line of defense” therapy during those times of the year when offending allergens are present.

5) Often, because of ecology changes on the surface of your pets skin, secondary bacterial and/or fungal infections occur; these must be manages, as well, in order to alleviate you’re your pets itchiness. In fact, the secondary infections may be a cause of much of the itchiness so, as the infection resolves, a decrease in itchiness will take place. NOTE: Secondary skin infections will continue to be a reoccurring problem as long as the offending allergy issues persist. Ultimate resolution of the secondary infections necessitates treatment and resolution, if possible, of the underlying allergies.

NOTE: These steps are enlisted to aid in the control and management of your pet’s pruritus. They will not affect a cure; per se. Current technology does not afford a final cure (i.e. ultimate resolution) of your pet’s allergy condition. There is, however, much that can be done to keep your pet comfortable and relatively symptom free. Please feel free to call our office if you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s condition (407-1300).

Osteoarthritis, DJD

The following general recommendations are prescribed for management of osteoarthritis (OA) and degenerative joint disease (DJD) in your pet:

1) Confirmatory radiography to establish diagnosis. Other test may be required, as well, to rule out other overlapping problems (e.g. CT scan, myelography)

2) Maintain lean body conformation; lean is keen! It is especially important to reduce the burden of excessive weight on compromised joints. Maintaining appropriate weight will also help minimize development of future joint problems.

3) Provide soft, dry bedding; supplementing with heat in cooler months will also help provide relief.

4) Keeping your pet moving is very important but we do not want to aggravate joint problems with inappropriate activity. Regular, daily, non-concussive, low impact exercise is advised. (e.g. leash walking, swimming).

5) Chondroprotectives (neutroceuticals with joint friendly supplements) will help promote joint good cartilage vitality (e.g. Glycoflex). These can be maintained indefinitely without any adverse reactions anticipated.

6) NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are very helpful for overcoming the pain and inflammation of OA, DJD. Never give an NSAID without seeking counsel, as some products are extremely harsh on your pet’s GI tract. Never give any prescribed NSAID if any GI tract problems are noted (e.g. vomiting, diarrhea, in appetence, etc.) Lab evaluations should be completed prior to initiating NSAID therapy (to establish base-line values) and periodically thereafter to make sure there are no complications with their use.

7) Joint Mobility diets (e.g. J/D) are very helpful as they are also fortifies with joint friendly products to aid in maintaining healthy joints.

First Aid Kit

These items are a must need when owner animals, these items will provide you with simple care until you are able to get to a veterinarian

  • Sterile Saline Solution
  • Benadryl Liquid (Dose at 1mg/LB)
  • Bandage Material (Gauze and Vet wrap)
  • Bandage Scissors/Wire Cutters
  • Thermometer (For rectal use only)
  • Gloves
  • Cornstarch/Flour (Use to stop bleeding)
  • Hydrogen Peroxide (Not for wound care, for inducing vomiting) (Kills good cells along with bad)
  • Baking Soda
  • Alcohol
  • Dawn Dish Soap
  • Triple Antibiotic Ointment
  • Important Numbers and Contact Information (Veterinarians in the area, emergency vet and poison helpline)
  • Sock (Can be used to wrap wound as well.

Frequent Emergencies


  • Keep your pet away from any objects (including furniture) that might hurt it. Do not try to restrain the pet.
  • Time the seizure (they usually last 2-3 minutes).
  • After the seizure has stopped, keep your pet as warm and quiet as possible and contact your veterinarian.


  • Gently lay your pet on a flat surface for support.
  • While transporting your injured pet to a veterinarian, use a stretcher (you can use a board or other firm surface as a stretcher, or use a throw rug or blanket as a sling). If possible, secure the pet to the stretcher (make sure you don’t put pressure on the injured area or the animal’s chest) for transport—this may be as simple as wrapping a blanket around them.
  • You can attempt to set the fracture with a homemade splint, but remember that a badly-placed splint may cause more harm than good. If in doubt, it is always best to leave the bandaging and splinting to a veterinarian.

Bleeding (external)

  • Press a clean, thick gauze pad over the wound, and keep pressure over the wound with your hand until the blood starts clotting. This will often take several minutes for the clot to be strong enough to stop the bleeding. Instead of checking it every few seconds to see if it has clotted, hold pressure on it for a minimum of 3 minutes and then check it.
  • If bleeding is severe and on the legs, apply a tourniquet (using an elastic band or gauze) between the wound and the body, and apply a bandage and pressure over the wound. Loosen the tourniquet for 20 seconds every 15-20 minutes. Severe bleeding can quickly be life-threatening—get your animal to a veterinarian immediately if this occurs.

Bleeding (internal)

  • Symptoms: bleeding from nose, mouth, rectum, coughing up blood, blood in urine, pale gums, and collapse, weak and rapid pulse.
  • Keep animal as warm and quiet as possible and transport immediately to a veterinarian.



  • Muzzle the animal.
  • Flush burn immediately with large quantities of water.


  • Muzzle the animal.
  • Quickly apply ice water compress to burned area


Summertime is a great time to enjoy the outdoors with pets – and as long as pet owners take precautions to prevent overheating.

“The main reason hot weather is an issue for pets is because they are not able to cool off as efficiently.

Heat stroke is very serious. Symptoms include extreme panting, salivating, staggering, vomiting and diarrhea. As it becomes fatal, your pet will become comatose and their temperature will range from 104- 110°F.

The main issues that arise from overheating in summer heat are dehydration, heat stroke and sunburn. Symptoms of dehydration include the gums of the mouth feeling tacky to touch and/or the skin may become slow to return to its natural position when pulled up.

  • Never leave your pet in the car on warm days. The temperature inside a car can rise very quickly to dangerous levels, even on milder days. Pets can succumb to heatstroke very easily and must be treated very quickly to give them the best chance of survival.
  • If you cannot immediately get your pet to a veterinarian, move it to a shaded area and out of direct sunlight.
  • Place a cool or cold, wet towel around its neck and head (do not cover your pet’s eyes, nose or mouth).
  • Remove the towel, wring it out, and rewet it and rewrap it every few minutes as you cool the animal.
  • Pour or use a hose to keep water running over the animal’s body (especially the abdomen and between the hind legs), and use your hands to massage its legs and sweep the water away as it absorbs the body heat.
  • Transport the pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible.


  • Symptoms: weak pulse, shallow breathing, nervousness, dazed eyes.
  • Usually follows severe injury or extreme fright.
  • Keep animal restrained, warm and quiet.
  • If animal is unconscious, keep head level with rest of body.
  • Transport the pet immediately to a veterinarian.


  • Symptoms: difficulty breathing, excessive pawing at the mouth, choking sounds when breathing or coughing, blue-tinged lips/tongue.
  • Use caution – a choking pet is more likely to bite in its panic.
  • If the pet can still breathe, keep it calm and get it to a veterinarian.
  • Look into the pet’s mouth to see if a foreign object is visible. If you see an object, gently try to remove it with pliers or tweezers, but be careful not to push the object further down the throat. Don’t spend a lot of time trying to remove it if it’s not easy to reach—don’t delay, and get your pet to a veterinarian immediately.
  • If you can’t remove the object or your pet collapses, place both hands on the side of your pet’s rib cage and apply firm quick pressure, or lay your pet on its side and strike the rib cage firmly with the palm of your hand 3-4 times. The idea behind this is to sharply push air out of their lungs and push the object out from behind. Keep repeating this until the object is dislodged or until you arrive at the veterinarian’s office.

What to do if your pet is not breathing

  • If possible, have another person call the veterinarian while you help your pet.
  • Check to see if your pet is unconscious.
  • Open your pet’s airway by gently grasping its tongue and pulling it forward (out of the mouth) until it is flat. Check the animal’s throat to see if there are any foreign objects blocking the airway above on
  • Perform rescue breathing by closing your pet’s mouth (hold it closed with your hand) and breathing with your mouth directly into its nose until you see the animal’s chest expand. Once the chest expands, continue the rescue breathing once every 4 or 5 seconds.

What to do if your pet has no heartbeat

  • Do not begin chest compressions until you’ve secured an airway and started rescue breathing gently lay your pet on its right side on a firm surface. The heart is located in the lower half of the chest on the left side, just behind the elbow of the front left leg. Place one hand underneath the pet’s chest for support and place the other hand over the heart.
  • For dogs, press down gently on your pet’s heart about one inch for medium-sized dogs; press harder for larger animals and with less force for smaller animals.
  • To massage the hearts of cats and other tiny pets, cradle your hand around the animal’s chest so your thumb is on the left side of the chest and your fingers are on the right side of the chest, and compress the chest by squeezing it between your thumb and fingers.
  • Press down 80-120 times per minute for larger animals and 100-150 times per minute for smaller ones.
  • Don’t perform rescue breathing and chest compressions at the same exact time; alternate the chest compressions with the rescue breaths, or work as a team with another person so one person performs chest compressions for 4-5 seconds and stops long enough to allow the other person to give one rescue breath.
  • Continue until you can hear a heartbeat and your pet is breathing regularly, or you have arrived at the veterinary clinic and they can take over the resuscitation attempts.

Common Poisons

Below is a link of all the common poisons

If concerned about possible poision ingested

Call 1-800-213-6680

Boat/Water Safety

Water Safety

So we all know how much fun it is to be on this wonderful Lake enjoying the summer with family, friends and of course our four legged friend as well. If you follow some simple precautions, Lake Murray can be a great place for you and your pets activities.

Parental guidance or PG is the most important thing you can remember about pet water safety. Always supervise your pet near any body of water and be prepared to intervene if he/she gets into trouble.

If it’s Not Safe for People, It’s Not Safe for Pets

Always obey warning signs such as “Do Not Swim,” “Beach Closed,” or “Thin Ice.” Such warnings represent as much danger for your pet as for you.

Make Sure Your Dog Can Swim First

Not all dogs are natural swimmers. Those breeds with short legs, dense body conditions, and/or absent or cropped tails often find it difficult to stay afloat. Dogs with flat noses have a harder time breathing when in the water. Older dogs and those that are overweight may tire easily. Some dogs are even afraid of the water. Introduce your dog to water gradually in a controlled situation until you know he/she can swim.

Make Sure the Water is Clean

Lakes, ponds and rivers may contain chemical contaminants, algae and bacteria or other microorganisms that can threaten your pet’s health through skin exposure or ingestion. Avoid any water that is discolored or smells bad, or is known to receive runoff from industry, farm activity or municipal sewage.

Consider the Temperature

Cold water can quickly lower your pet’s body temperature and lead to hypothermia. If it is too cold for you, it is too cold for your pet. Also remember, extreme summer heat can lead to heat stroke for your pet.

Keep Fresh Drinking Water Available

Pool water contains chlorine and other chemicals that can cause gastrointestinal upset if consumed in large quantities. Natural bodies of water can contain chemical poisons and infectious organisms. Encourage your pet to drink from your fresh water supply and he/she will be less likely to drink water that may be harmful.

Consider Your Pet’s Health Conditions

Dogs that are prone to skin and ear infections should not be exposed to frequent swimming since chronic moisture can encourage such infections. While swimming is excellent exercise for the arthritic pet, don’t let him/her overdo it or he/she will be in pain afterward.

Life Vests

Your pet should wear a life vest when in any body of water that is too deep for him/her to walk on the bottom. Any circumstance where it is advisable for a person to wear a life vest is one where your pet should wear it as well. Be sure it is sized and designed for a proper fit.

First Aid Kit

Sharp objects such as stones, sea shells, fishhooks, glass or metal can lie unseen beneath the water, and cut your pet’s feet and legs. Keep a first aid kit on hand with a disinfectant such as iodine, an antibiotic ointment for superficial wounds, and sterile bandage material. Deep wounds should receive immediate medical attention.

Pool Safety

Chemicals in properly balanced pool water are generally safe for pets, although drinking a large amount of the water can cause gastrointestinal upset. Lead your pet to the stairs or steps and show him how to get out of the water. Once you know he/she is a comfortable swimmer, “startle” him into the water to be sure he/she can find his/her way out in an emergency situation.

Ocean Safety

A properly fitted life vest is particularly important because pets can be pulled under by strong tides and undercurrents. Be aware of jellyfish and other sea animals that might be harmful for your pet, and observe all warnings regarding the presence of dangerous wildlife or dangerous water conditions.

Boating Safety

Your pet may look cute perched on the bow of your boat, but dogs can fall off as easily as they fall out of pickup trucks! Make sure he/she is wearing a life vest, and is secured by a leash or crate when the boat is moving. This will prevent drowning or injury by the boat propellers.

End with a Good Bath

After a day of swimming, bathe your pet with a mild shampoo to remove chlorine, sea salt and any other potential contaminants. Use an ear cleaner to rinse and dry the ears, and flush his/her eyes with sterile saline solution to prevent irritation.

Talk to Your Veterinarian

Your veterinarian is an excellent source of advice about your particular pet and any special considerations for his/her safety during water recreation. He/she can advise you regarding eye, ear and skin care, as well as vaccinations to protect against certain water-borne diseases.

Sleep Well!

Don’t be surprised if your pet is unusually tired after a day in the sun and the water. If your pet doesn’t swim often, he/she may seem stiff and sore, and your pet’s tail may appear “broken” the next day. Don’t worry—a little muscle soreness is to be expected after unaccustomed exercise. You may be feeling it too!