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Reopening – Phase I

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Starting Monday July 20th, 2020, Animal Health Center will allow 1 person inside the exam room for a pet’s appointment. Curbside is still available if you do not wish to be present in the exam room with the veterinarian and nurse. We ask that you call from the parking lot to let us know you’ve arrived. The nurse will bring you right into 1 of our 2 exam rooms that have a side entrance. Some procedures may still need to be done in our treatment area, which may require us to bring your pet out of the exam room for a portion of the exam.

We will be emailing a few questions prior to your appointment, or you will be asked over the phone at your arrival:

1. Have you experienced any of the following symptoms in the last 48 hours:

Fever or chills
Cough
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Fatigue
Muscle or body aches
Headache
New loss of taste or smell
Sore throat
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
Diarrhea
2.  Have you been in contact with a known positive Covid-19 person in the last 14 days?
3. Have you traveled outside of New Hampshire, Maine, or Vermont in the last 14 days?
If you do not have any symptoms and can answer “no” to the last 2 questions, you will be permitted to enter the exam room with a mask. If you do not have a mask, one can be provided, but we encourage you to bring your own. Masks must be worn in a manner that covers your mouth and nose at all times.
As a lot of our nurses here are parents, we understand that it may not be possible to bring your pet to an appointment alone. We ask that you do not leave your car running unattended with young children or other pets inside. We would be happy to continue to provide curbside service for you in these situations.
Since we will be operating with 2 exam rooms (instead of using all 4 rooms like we did before Covid-19), it may still be necessary to do curbside service for your pet’s exam if the 2 exam rooms are in use for a prolonged period of time. We may also choose to take your pet’s medical history over the phone while you wait in the car before entering the exam room, while the exam rooms are being disinfected. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate through this reopening process.
Clients will exit through the same entrance of the exam room. We will be taking extra measures to thoroughly clean the exam room after each client.
Our lobby will still remain closed to the public at this time. We will continue curbside service for nurse appointments, surgical and medical check ins and pick ups, as well as food and medication pick ups.
For more updates:

Covid-19 Update 3/26/2020

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Thursday March 26th, 2020

Gov. Sununu announced a stay-at-home order to take effect tomorrow, Friday March 26th, 2020 at 11:59pm. We want to let you know, at this point, we are still considered essential and willl be open. We are making every effort possible to follow CDC guidelines, minimize exposure, and flatten the curve.

 

 

 

Effective Tuesday March 17th, 2020 at 1:00pm

With the rising threat of COVID-19, we have had to make some difficult decisions necessary to protect the health of our employees and to protect you as our client while we continue to deliver care to pets in our community. The following new policies are effective immediately.

Update on Hospital Operations:
If you have a compromised immune system or increased risk of coronavirus illness, please reschedule any routine care appointments you have scheduled. During this time we will waive our cancellation fees for same day cancellations. Please still call or email our office if you cannot make it or need to reschedule.

We will remain available for care as always.

ALL pets and owners will wait in their cars, so there is no need to sit in the waiting room. Upon arrival, if you have a cell phone, remain in your vehicle – call our office number to check in.

In the absence of a cell phone, please approach the window nearest the desk. Veterinary staff will come to your car to escort your pet to an exam room and we will ask you all questions over the phone or prior to going inside. Once your pet has been evaluated, you will receive a phone call from the doctor.

If you do not have access to a cell phone or do not have unlimited phone call ability, we will provide a temporary phone for you to use from your car that is to be returned to us upon check out.

If you’re not feeling well and have concerns about your pet, or if you are exhibiting respiratory signs, have a fever, or have traveled to any part of the world experiencing high incidence of outbreaks (China, Italy, South Korea, or Iran) then:Call us to speak to staff/doctor who will determine if your pet needs to be seen.

Curbside Pick-up – Call in product/medication request and pay over the phone. Give us a call when you arrive and we’ll bring the items out to your car. Please give us 24 hours notice prior to coming to pick up any prescriptions or preventatives.

You can easily order products and prescriptions and have it conveniently mailed directly to your house from our online pharmacy.

Another option is to request a refill from us by email ([email protected]) or our FREE mobile app ‘AHC Rochester’ which is available for Apple users here or on Google Play store here

EXISTING SCHEDULED APPOINTMENTS
Scheduled appointments will proceed as planned with the above directives as far as checking in remotely and waiting in the car. To cancel your appointment, please call 603-332-3358. Pet owners can expect to receive a phone call if their appointment needs to be rescheduled.

NEW POLICIES FOR PATIENTS
Effective immediately, no personal items can be left with the pet while in office, including blankets, toys, collars, leashes, etc. Please clean your carrier, leash, and collar as carefully as possible before arrival with an alcohol -based solution.

For the latest Information on COVID-19 visit the CDC, American Veterinary Medical Association, and our local Department of Health and Human Services

603-332-3358

Coronavirus

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Animal Health Center recognizes the widespread outbreak covid-19 virus. Our mantra is “Be Prepared, but not Panicked”. As your trusted family vet, we want you to know we are working hard to minimize disruptions. We are putting preparations in place now, but taking it each day at a time as new information develops.

Animal Health Center recommends that you stay up to date with recommendations of the CDC, World Health Organization, and local health agencies and check for changes and updates often.

Some precautions we are taking include:

Employees are being asked to wash their hands in between patients as usual, and also hourly for added protection

We have stocked up on cleaning supplies and on top of our routine environmental cleaning and disinfection, we have posted a daily schedule that includes wiping down all door handles, credit card machines, signature pads, telephones, keyboards and mouse, and the most common surfaces we touch an extra 3 times a day.

Employees have been asked to stay home if they have a fever, cough, or any signs of upper respiratory issues.

We have added multiple bottles of hand sanitizer through out the hospital, including at the front door, reception desk, and each exam room. We kindly ask that you take a moment to sanitize your hands when you enter the building.

We ask that if you are experiencing any symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath please stay home. We will not penalize you for any canceled appointments due to sickness at this time. We will also be asking any clients that seem to be exhibiting symptoms while in the office to wait in their car or reschedule to a later date. Please understand this is for everyone’s safety.

To date, there is no evidence that companion animals or pets can spread COVID-19 (per CDC guidance). For the latest information about coronavirus and pets, we encourage you to visit the links below:

We have been working with the state vet at the NH State Board of Veterinary Medicine to stay informed of any other precautions we should be taking, if any, regarding pets. We have also been exploring the possibility of telemedicine as a means of avoiding contact with potentially infected people. We are preparing that some of our employees made need time off either for quarantin,e or in the event that schools and daycares close. If this happens and Animal Health Center has to operate on a small crew of employees, we will not be able to accept new patients and may need to keep our schedule open for pets that need immediate attention. We don’t know that it will come to this, and we surely hope that it doesn’t but the safety of our clients and staff are important and we will follow recommendations set forth by the CDC, W.H.O., and local health agencies.

Please follow us on Facebook for any information regarding these updates. You can also reach out to any time with any specific questions by calling us at 603-332-3358.

Thank you for your understanding!

 

Give Your Pet The Gift Of Wellness This Season

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A healthy pet starts with an AHC Wellness Plan!

 

Preventative pet care in the form of exams, vaccines, dental care and specialty diets helps expand your pets’ quality of life. Advances in medicine, nutrition and diagnostics have led to longer life spans for pets just as they have for their owners. Making sure your pet receives the exams and vaccinations they need on a scheduled basis is key to avoiding costly health problems later in life.

That’s what makes our Wellness Plans so great. A simple monthly payment covers your pet’s necessary exams, vaccinations, and even dental cleanings if you wish. The plans are tailored to the health needs of each individual pet. We invite you to take advantage of these services and encourage you to consider one of our convenient, affordable Wellness Plans.

  • Health Exams and Pet Vaccinations
  • Preventative Lab Work
  • Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Prevention
  • Spaying and Neutering


One dose once a year: is your dog’s heart protected?

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine has announced the approval of ProHeart 12 (moxidectin) extended-release injectable suspension for dogs 12 months of age and older for the prevention of heartworm disease caused by Dirofilaria immitis for 12 months. ProHeart 12 is also approved for the treatment of existing larval and adult hookworm infections.

 

 

Heartworm disease is a serious disease that results in severe lung disease, heart failure, other organ damage, and death in pets, mainly dogs, cats, and ferrets. It is caused by a parasitic roundworm called Dirofilaria immitis. The worms are spread through the bite of a mosquito.  While living inside a dog, the worms mature into adults, mate, and produce offspring.  The worms are called “heartworms” because the adults live in the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels of an infected animal.

 

 

In the early stages of the disease, many dogs show few symptoms or no symptoms at all. The longer the infection persists, the more likely symptoms will develop. Active dogs, dogs heavily infected with heartworms, or those with other health problems often show pronounced clinical signs.

Signs of heartworm disease may include a mild persistent cough, reluctance to exercise, fatigue after moderate activity, decreased appetite, and weight loss. As heartworm disease progresses, pets may develop heart failure and the appearance of a swollen belly due to excess fluid in the abdomen. Dogs with large numbers of heartworms can develop a sudden blockages of blood flow within the heart leading to a life-threatening form of cardiovascular collapse. This is called caval syndrome, and is marked by a sudden onset of labored breathing, pale gums, and dark bloody or coffee-colored urine. Without prompt surgical removal of the heartworm blockage, few dogs survive.

Many factors must be considered when assessing your pet’s risk, even if heartworms do not seem to be a problem in your local area. Your community may have a greater incidence of heartworm disease than you realize—or you may unknowingly travel with your pet to an area where heartworms are more common. Heartworm disease is also spreading to new regions of the country each year. Stray and neglected dogs and certain wildlife such as coyotes, wolves, and foxes can be carriers of heartworms. Mosquitoes blown great distances by the wind and the relocation of infected pets to previously uninfected areas also contribute to the spread of heartworm disease (this happened following Hurricane Katrina when 250,000 pets, many of them infected with heartworms, were “adopted” and shipped throughout the country).

The fact is that heartworm disease has been diagnosed in all 50 states, and risk factors are impossible to predict. Multiple variables, from climate variations to the presence of wildlife carriers, cause rates of infections to vary dramatically from year to year—even within communities. And because infected mosquitoes can come inside, both outdoor and indoor pets are at risk.

For that reason, the American Heartworm Society recommends that you “think 12:” (1) get your pet tested every 12 months for heartworm and (2) give your pet heartworm preventive year-round (12 months).

 

 

ProHeart 12 injections will be available by appointment only beginning in September. Your pet must be up-to-date with their annual wellness exam with one of our veterinarians and have a negative heartworm test within the last 12 months. Call 603-332-3358, visit our make an appointment page here, or download our free mobile app “AHC Rochester” to request an appointment!

 

  

Microchips in Pets: Everything You Need to Know

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Microchips Help Pet Owners Get Reunited with Their Pets

Microchips are small devices implanted underneath a pet’s skin to provide unique and reliable identification.

Why should I microchip my pet?

Microchips are the most dependable form of identification for your pet. If lost, your pet’s collar and tags could be removed or damaged, significantly reducing your chances of being reunited. A microchip never gets lost Microchipand can be identified at almost any shelter or veterinary office.  Simple and inexpensive, microchips reunite thousands of pet families every year.

What is the implant process like?

The implant process is simple and causes no more pain or discomfort than a routine vaccine. A long needle is used to place the microchip, which is no larger than a grain of rice, underneath your pet’s skin.

In cats and dogs, the microchip is typically implanted between the shoulder blades. The microchip implant process is not a surgery and requires no anesthesia. In fact, the process is so simple that it can typically be done during your regular veterinary exam.

How does it work?

Pet microchips are not tracking devices. They are radio-frequency identification (RFID) implants that provide permanent ID for your pet.

Because they use RFID technology, microchips do not require a power source like a GPS. When a microchip scanner is passed over the pet, the microchip gets enough power from the scanner to transmit the microchip’s ID number. Since there’s no battery and no moving parts, there’s nothing to keep charged, wear out, or replace. The microchip will last your pet’s lifetime.

Where do I go to get my pet microchipped?

A microchip can be implanted at most primary veterinary offices and animal shelters. Most pet rescue shelters microchip their cats and dogs before they are placed for adoption. If you are unsure whether your pet already has a microchip, bring your pet to a veterinarian or animal shelter to be scanned.

What is the maintenance required for a microchip?

Microchip maintenance is extremely important, but often neglected. Each microchip is registered to a company that maintains your contact information and provides it to the veterinarian. Registration is generally low in cost, and it is typically required once a year unless a lifetime plan is purchased.

Microchip registration is essential to ensure that veterinarians and animal shelters can receive the contact information they need to reunite you with your pet. The microchip device is designed to last a lifetime and never deteriorate in your pet’s body.

What information is stored in a microchip?

A microchip only stores an identification number. If your pet is found, the veterinarian would retrieve the identification number via scan, then use that number to determine which company maintains your microchip in a private online database.

The veterinarian will then contact the microchip company for your contact information and reach out to you immediately. Because the chip does not contain your contact information and address directly, privacy concerns with microchips are basically nonexistent.

Can a microchip be removed? Damaged?

Microchips are tiny, internal and durable, making them nearly impossible to damage or remove. They are designed to last and function during any circumstances.  In very rare cases, severe trauma to the pet can damage the pet’s microchip or your pet’s body may reject the microchip after implanted.

Do microchips really increase the chances of pets returning home after they are lost?

Think it’s a long shot? Think again! Over 58% of microchipped dogs who enter shelters are reunited with their families. Nearly 38% of microchipped cats in the same situation were reunified, too! Those percentages are hundreds (and in the case of cats, thousands) of times greater than for animals without chips.

 

Heartworm Disease is Heartbreaking

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Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets in the United States and many other parts of the world. It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs in the body.

 

The mosquito plays an essential role in the heartworm life cycle. Adult female heartworms living in an infected dog, fox, coyote, or wolf produce microscopic baby worms called microfilaria that circulate in the bloodstream. When a mosquito bites and takes a blood meal from an infected animal, it picks up these baby worms, which develop and mature into “infective stage” larvae over a period of 10 to 14 days. Then, when the infected mosquito bites another dog, cat, or susceptible wild animal, the infective larvae are deposited onto the surface of the animal’s skin and enter the new host through the mosquito’s bite wound. Once inside a new host, it takes approximately 6 months for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms. Once mature, heartworms can live for 5 to 7 years in dogs and up to 2 or 3 years in cats. Because of the longevity of these worms, each mosquito season can lead to an increasing number of worms in an infected pet.

 

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF HEARTWORM DISEASE IN DOGS?

In the early stages of the disease, many dogs show few symptoms or no symptoms at all. The longer the infection persists, the more likely symptoms will develop. Active dogs, dogs heavily infected with heartworms, or those with other health problems often show pronounced clinical signs.

Signs of heartworm disease may include a mild persistent cough, reluctance to exercise, fatigue after moderate activity, decreased appetite, and weight loss. As heartworm disease progresses, pets may develop heart failure and the appearance of a swollen belly due to excess fluid in the abdomen. Dogs with large numbers of heartworms can develop a sudden blockages of blood flow within the heart leading to a life-threatening form of cardiovascular collapse. This is called caval syndrome, and is marked by a sudden onset of labored breathing, pale gums, and dark bloody or coffee-colored urine. Without prompt surgical removal of the heartworm blockage, few dogs survive.

 

HOW SIGNIFICANT IS MY PET’S RISK?

Many factors must be considered, even if heartworms do not seem to be a problem in your local area. Your community may have a greater incidence of heartworm disease than you realize—or you may unknowingly travel with your pet to an area where heartworms are more common. Heartworm disease is also spreading to new regions of the country each year. Stray and neglected dogs and certain wildlife such as coyotes, wolves, and foxes can be carriers of heartworms. Mosquitoes blown great distances by the wind and the relocation of infected pets to previously uninfected areas also contribute to the spread of heartworm disease (this happened following Hurricane Katrina when 250,000 pets, many of them infected with heartworms, were “adopted” and shipped throughout the country).

The fact is that heartworm disease has been diagnosed in all 50 states, and risk factors are impossible to predict. Multiple variables, from climate variations to the presence of wildlife carriers, cause rates of infections to vary dramatically from year to year—even within communities. And because infected mosquitoes can come inside, both outdoor and indoor pets are at risk.

For that reason, the American Heartworm Society recommends that you “think 12:” (1) get your pet tested every 12 months for heartworm and (2) give your pet heartworm preventive 12 months a year.

 

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HEARTWORM TESTING?

Heartworm disease is a serious, progressive disease. The earlier it is detected, the better the chances the pet will recover. There are few, if any, early signs of disease when a dog or cat is infected with heartworms, so detecting their presence with a heartworm test administered by a veterinarian is important. The test requires just a small blood sample from your pet, and it works by detecting the presence of heartworm proteins. Some veterinarians process heartworm tests right in their hospitals while others send the samples to a diagnostic laboratory. In either case, results are obtained quickly. If your pet tests positive, further tests may be ordered.

WHEN SHOULD MY DOG BE TESTED?

All dogs should be tested annually for heartworm infection, and this can usually be done during a routine visit for preventive care. Following are guidelines on testing and timing: Puppies under 7 months of age can be started on heartworm prevention without a heartworm test (it takes at least 6 months for a dog to test positive after it has been infected), but should be tested 6 months after your initial visit, tested again 6 months later and yearly after that to ensure they are heartworm-free. Adult dogs over 7 months of age and previously not on a preventive need to be tested prior to starting heartworm prevention.  They, too, need to be tested 6 months and 12 months later and annually after that. If there has been a lapse in prevention (one or more late or missed doses), dogs should be tested immediately, then tested again six months later and annually after that.

WHAT IF MY DOG TESTS POSITIVE FOR HEARTWORM DISEASE?

Annual testing is necessary, even when dogs are on heartworm prevention year-round, to ensure that the prevention program is working. Heartworm medications are highly effective, but dogs can still become infected. If you miss just one dose of a monthly medication—or give it late—it can leave your dog unprotected. Even if you give the medication as recommended, your dog may spit out or vomit a heartworm pill—or rub off a topical medication. Heartworm preventives are highly effective, but not 100 percent effective. If you don’t get your dog test, you won’t know your dog needs treatment.

HOW CAN I PROTECT MY DOG FROM HEARTWORM DISEASE?

Whether the preventive you choose is given as a pill, a spot-on topical medication or as an injection, all approved heartworm medications work by eliminating the immature (larval) stages of the heartworm parasite. This includes the infective heartworm larvae deposited by the mosquito as well as the following larval stage that develops inside the animal. Unfortunately, in as little as 51 days, immature heartworm larvae can molt into an adult stage, which cannot be effectively eliminated by preventives. Because heartworms must be eliminated before they reach this adult stage, it is extremely important that heartworm preventives be administered strictly on schedule (monthly for oral and topical products and every 6 months for the injectable). Administering prevention late can allow immature larvae to molt into the adult stage, which is poorly prevented.

Diets and Heart Disease in Dogs

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Date Published: 03/05/2019

Can pet diets cause heart problems?

Yes.  Thirty years ago, veterinarians recognized deficiency of an amino acid (taurine) as the most common cause of dilated cardiomyopathy in cats.  Cats are unable to make their own taurine (just like people can’t make their own vitamin C) and must ingest it to stay healthy.  Taurine is plentiful in most animal tissues.  Being carnivores, domestic, feral and wild cats that hunt for their food derive adequate taurine from their diet.  However, some commercial cat foods at that time contained insufficient amounts of taurine causing dilated cardiomyopathy and other health issues.  This discovery resulted in pet food companies adding more taurine to the foods they manufacture. Subsequently, taurine-associated dilated cardiomyopathy in cats has all-but disappeared.  It is occasionally diagnosed when cat owners feed unbalanced diets (e.g., boiled poultry or vegetarian diets).

A few years later, certain breeds of dogs were found to also have dilated cardiomyopathy in association with taurine deficiency.  This was unexpected because dogs, unlike cats, are able to synthesize taurine from other sulfur-containing amino acids in their food.  Investigators suspected that these breeds were unable to synthesize taurine in amounts needed to replace losses. Taurine is typically efficiently recycled in the small intestine, but various dietary factors can affect this process. When supplemented with high doses of taurine, these dogs resolved their cardiomyopathy in many cases.

Since that time, specific categories of diets have been sporadically implicated in heart disease.  One group of Newfoundlands that were fed a commercial lamb-and-rice diet developed taurine deficiency and reversible cardiomyopathy.  Other dogs have also been found to have taurine deficiency when fed similar lamb-and-rice diets.  Occasionally, dogs fed vegan or vegetarian diets have been taurine deficient and suffering heart disease.

Most recently, Golden Retrievers have been identified as having a tauriency associated cardiomyopathy.

 

Is the current diet-associated cardiomyopathy caused by taurine deficiency?

The current evidence suggests that the recent “outbreak” of cardiomyopathy in dogs is likely not primarily related to taurine deficiency.  Blood assays of taurine in many affected dogs show normal taurine concentrations.  The observations suggesting this condition is related to taurine deficiency originate from populations where several of the affected dogs were Golden Retrievers (who are a special case, as described above).  It is hypothesized by some that being taurine deficient makes these dogs more susceptible to whatever is causing the current diet-associated cardiomyopathy. Because of concerns from some veterinary researchers about the methods used to assess taurine status in the studied populations with few or no Golden Retrievers, we cannot completely rule out the role of taurine deficiency at this time in all breeds. Time will tell.

If it’s not taurine, what is the cause?

We don’t know.  The only common link that investigators have observed is “grain-free” diets that use lentils and other legumes (peas) as the “base ingredient.” There are currently many theories, but no definitive answers explaining how these diets cause the cardiomyopathy.

Are all “limited ingredient” or “grain free” diets at fault?

Some dogs are prescribed diets to diagnose and treat allergies (skin or gastrointestinal diseases).  Such diets might include a limited number of uncommon ingredients, such as salmon, kangaroo, potatoes, peas, etc.  At this point, no therapeutic diets, manufactured by the major pet food manufacturers (Hills, Purina, Royal Canin), have been associated with current cases of diet-associated cardiomyopathy.

There is no medical or nutritional indication for “grain free” although some veterinary therapeutic diets recommended to diagnose and treat allergies are also grain free. They are chosen because the ingredients happen to be novel for the specific patient, but they are not used because they lack grains per se. Grain free is simply a marketing category and there is no specific benefit.

 

What should I do if my dog eats a grain-free legume based or other implicated diet?

First, check the ingredient label.  If peas or lentils are the main ingredient (or main carbohydrate source), consider changing to a diet that contains grains.

Second, if you are reluctant to change the diet, consult your veterinarian about having a cardiac ultrasound (echocardiogram) to see if your dog has evidence of cardiomyopathy.  If your dog is found to be affected, even if it’s showing no clinical signs, change the diet to a grain-based commercial diet. Most nutritionists recommend using the WSAVA guidelines for selection of commercial diets.

Third, if you have a dog that is “at risk” for taurine deficiency (American Cocker Spaniel, Golden Retriever, Newfoundland, Dalmatian) and eating an implicated diet, have the blood taurine levels checked. Measure both whole blood and plasma collected at the same time to enable the most accurate interpretation of your dog’s taurine status. If those are low, determine if the dog has cardiomyopathy with a cardiac ultrasound, change the diet, and supplement taurine as directed by your veterinarian.

Your veterinarian might suggest measuring taurine in other breeds as well.  The more data collected, the more likely researchers will be able to resolve whether taurine deficiency plays a primary or secondary role in causing this diet-associated cardiomyopathy.

Your veterinarian or veterinary cardiologist is the one best able to advise you about the most appropriate course of action for your dog.

AAFCO Labels

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is made up of animal control officials from each state and territories, federal agencies (like the FDA) and government representatives from countries like Canada and Costa Rica. Local, state and federal feed regulatory officials have meetings to discuss and develop uniform and equitable laws, regulations and policies. Because AAFCO is not a government agency, it has no regulatory abilities, but AAFCO recommendations have become the foundation for most state laws and regulations for all animal feeds. AAFCO members meet to amend the AAFCO Model Pet Food Regulations to address new information and issues related to pet foods and nutrition.

WHAT IS AN AAFCO STATEMENT?

The “AAFCO statement of nutritional adequacy or purpose” also called a “nutrition claim”  is a statement that indicates the food is complete and balanced for a particular life stage, such as growth, reproduction, adult maintenance or a combination of these, or if the food does not meet the complete and balanced requirements than it is intended for intermittent or supplemental feeding only. Under AAFCO regulations, this statement must be substantiated by the state and the pet food manufacturer.

 

What about cats?

A few cat cases have been reported to the FDA, but the numbers are too small to say anything definitive. This appears to be primarily a dog problem.

What should I feed my pet?

If your pet is on a diet not prescribed by a veterinarian, is a grain free or limited ingredient diet, or does not contain an AAFCO label, please contact us so that we may guide you to getting your pet on an appropriate and nutritionally complete diet.

 

Grain Free FDA Alert

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A recent FDA alert about the possible connection between grain free diets and heart disease has been posted. Of course, pet owners have tons of questions about it. The main concern is that certain categories of dog foods may inadvertently contribute to heart disease by interfering with the body’s utilization of Taurine. Taurine is an amino acid that is vital to heart function. Taurine deficiency is well-documented as a potential cause of heart disease, but it is not the only cause. Nutritional makeup of the main ingredients listed, how dogs process them, and the amount used could be involved.

Some facts that we do know are that there seems to be a correlation between the following foods and heart disease:

  1. Boutique diets (made by small maufacturers)
  2. Exotic ingredients such as rabbit, duck, kangaroo etc..
  3. Foods that are labeled ‘Grain Free’ which tend to have legumes as a main ingredient (peas, lentils, or potatoes)
There are still a lot of things that we don’t know. We do not know why this is happening or if it is just about the ingredient list. It is not proven that the problem is truly grain free.  Does it only look that way because the actual problem is small companies with manufacturing errors? It’s not kibble vs home cooked. Vets see plenty of Taurine deficiency cardiomyopathies from pet owners who are home cooking an imbalanced diet.
We do not want you to panic or believe that the issue is as simple as PEAS ARE BAD. You do not need to immediately dispose of all grain free dog food. It is important to know where you can become educated to gain the knowledge necessary to make an informative decision. Steps we advise include talking to your vet and reading the statement released by the FDA. We recommend feeding a dog or cat food that is AAFCO certified. If your pet doesn’t NEED grain free, consider a diet with grain. Food allergies in pets are typically protein sensitive.
It is also valuable to know what the signs of heart disease are. Symptoms include weakness, shortness of breath, exercise intolerance, and coughing. If your pet is ever experiencing any of these symptoms, you should contact your veterinarian. The FDA is working with board certified veterinary cardiologists and veterinary nutritionists to better understand the clinical presentation of the cases submitted. What is most important is knowledge and love because we know you just want what’s best for you pets.

Thanksgiving Food Dangers

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  • Keep the feast on the table—not under it.  Eating turkey or turkey skin – sometimes even a small amount – can cause a life-threatening condition in pets known as pancreatitis. Fatty foods are hard for animals to digest, and many foods and drinks that are OK for people are poisonous to pets – including alcoholic drinks, macadamia nuts, onions, garlic, raisins and grapes. If you want to share a Thanksgiving treat with your pet, make or buy a treat that is made just for them.
  • No pie or other desserts for your pooch. Chocolate can be harmful for pets, even though many dogs find it tempting and will sniff it out and eat it. The artificial sweetener called xylitol – commonly used in gum and sugar-free baked goods – also can be deadly if consumed by dogs or cats.
  • Yeast dough can cause problems for pets, including painful gas and potentially dangerous bloating.
  • Put the trash away where your pets can’t find it. A turkey carcass sitting out on the carving table, or left in a trash container that is open or easily opened, could be deadly to your family pet. Dispose of turkey carcasses and bones – and anything used to wrap or tie the meat, such as strings, bags and packaging – in a covered, tightly secured trash bag placed in a closed trash container outdoors (or behind a closed, locked door).

 

We will be closed on Thanksgiving Day. Please contact 24/7 Pet Poison Hotline at 855-764-7661 or Contact the Veterinary Emergency Critcal Care & Referral Center in Newington at 603-431-3600