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Taking the ‘Bite’ out of Puppy Teeth

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Like humans, dogs go through a lifetime cycle with 2 sets of teeth. While born with no visible teeth, at approximately 3 weeks of age, their so called “puppy’ (or primary or deciduous) teeth start erupting. This process continues for approximately 3 months when a total of 28 teeth will be visible.

Puppies tend to like chewing. This action is partially a learning tool as they explore and taste their new environment. This behavior tends to increase during the infamous ‘teething’ process. At approximately 3 ½ to 4 months of age, the puppy teeth start to fall out as the underlying permanent /adult teeth erupt. Chewing helps this process and can soothe the gum tissue. During this time, puppy owners may note some blood on chew toys or an occasional tooth ‘crown’. However this top portion of the puppy tooth is often swallowed as the pet eats so may not be found. Providing adequate chew toys during this teething process can help your puppy and may discourage chewing on less desirable items (such as shoes and TV remotes). At about 5-7 months of age, most dogs will have finished teething and their new 42 adult teeth are all in position.

4 more common abnormalities that can occur include: 

1) Absent teeth. Sometimes dogs do not end up developing full sets of puppy or adult teeth. This can occur for a number of reasons and is more common in certain breeds.
2) A deciduous/puppy tooth does not fall out at the designated time. This is called a retained tooth and also happens for a number of different reasons. Unfortunately, this can lead to poor positioning/alignment of the adult teeth needing to come in and creates areas where food and hair entrapment occurs. Most commonly, this involves the upper canine teeth.
3) Tooth fractures can happen to both puppy and adult teeth. Because this potentially exposes the tooth’s pulp cavity where the blood and nerve supply reside, as well as providing an opening for bacteria, this is a concern.
4) A gray discolored tooth which typically signifies a dead or nonviable tooth.

In just the past week, I have seen abnormalities 2-4 (see photos of 3 and 4 below). In discussion with our local veterinary dentists at Companion Animal Dentistry, removal/extraction of the affected teeth was recommended due to the potential for damage and/or infection spreading to the underlying adult tooth and it’s bud where development takes place.

In summary, puppy teeth are sharp, important, and require attention just like their adult counterparts. Remember to start teeth brushing early on your puppies and monitor for any unusual sights. With each puppy visit and adult visit, teeth are one of the body parts we routinely examine to help you maintain ideal oral health and and function. If you have any question or concerns, we are here for you and your pets.

Your Pet’s Diet

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Hello Noah’s Ark friends. I’m writing to you today with information regarding recent news stories about certain pet foods causing heart disease in our animals. I’m sure it’s no secret that there are a lot of options and opinions about pet food circulating out there. And for good reason! We all want to know we’re feeding a diet that will keep our animals healthy and happy for as many years as possible.

In recent years, grain-free, raw, and other novel types of diets have been more widely available. In general, most veterinarians including the Noah’s Ark vets have not recommended these diets because the companies that produce them do not typically have the science and nutrition nor the testing to back up their recipes. On the other hand, we also haven’t actively recommended against them either. We’ve all had patients that we suspect had soft stool or other stomach upset due to these newer style foods that we changed to a traditional diet, but there was nothing we felt was dangerous to the animal.

Unfortunately, in the last few months, new information has come out that these diets may have more serious repercussions. Namely, “boutique”, homemade, and raw diets may be the cause of a serious heart condition called Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) in some animals. This condition is a stretching and enlarging of the heart muscle that can result in congestive heart failure and death.

Some breeds have a known genetic predisposition to DCM such as Dobermans and Great Danes. However, in the last few years, dogs from breeds not genetically predisposed to the condition are being diagnosed with DCM in much higher numbers. So far, the common link found in these cases is the feeding of alternative diets. Veterinary cardiologists and nutritionists strongly suspect these diets are the cause for this rise in DCM although they are not sure why. It has been proposed that it could be lack of a certain ingredient, interaction between ingredients, an unknown substance in the food- so far, we’re just not sure.

Many of you reading this are probably feeding your dogs these diets- don’t feel bad! The good news is that most dogs will not develop heart disease from these foods. Cardiologists suspect genetics play a role in this as well. However, there is no way to determine which dogs will and which dogs will not get DCM. For this reason, we will continue to recommend against grain-free, “boutique”, and raw diets and recommend Hill’s Science Diet, Royal Canin, and Purina ProPlan or Purina One foods for our patients. Science Diet and Royal Canin are probably not surprises, but yes, Purina, too! All of these companies produce high quality, thoroughly tested foods, and they are three of a very small number of companies that study the long-term health of dogs eating their foods through feeding trials.

Below are two links to articles from the veterinary school at Tufts University that explain more about the connection between boutique foods and DCM:

A broken heart: risk of heart disease in boutique or grain-free diets and exotic ingredients

It’s Not Just Grain-Free: An Update on Diet Associated Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Please call us at the clinic (816) 361-6822 to discuss any questions you have, and stay tuned for a future discussion of pet foods and what makes a pet food high quality.

ProHeart

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Hi there, Dr. Kris here. I’d like to introduce you to my dog, Howie (Howard, for short). Contrary to popular belief, he is an English Setter, not a hairy Dalmatian. He’s around nine years old. His hobbies are sleeping. That’s it, just sleeping. On my bed. With his head on my pillow.

I often liken Howie to the proverbial cobbler’s children. Not only does he have no shoes, sometimes his veterinary care can be a bit lax. In my defense, he does not make it easy. He can sniff a pill in anything and will promptly turn tail and run. We’ve tried everything- peanut butter, canned food, cheese, cream cheese, meat- and even if something works the first time, he’ll figure it out the next time. The last time he needed medicine, my husband devised a three-tiered system of dog food wrapped in old salmon skin dipped in chicken fat with the pill in the middle. I’m scared of what the fourth tier will have to be!

The place where I’ve been most deficient is getting his heartworm pill in him each month. He won’t take it like a treat, he sniffs it out of cheese, and trying to pill him with it is a circus. Add to that, two children, a job, and a generally forgetful nature, I’m lucky if Howie gets his heartworm preventative half the time. I feel guilty (every time I miss a dose, I leave him unprotected against heartworms for a month), I feel embarrassed (you know what I do for a living, right?), but those things don’t make it any easier to get it in him.

Knowing how difficult it can be, I know Howie and I can’t be the only ones. For this reason, we decided to start carrying ProHeart6, an injectable heartworm preventative that lasts for six months. And let me tell you, Howie got his injection the first day!

I know many of you are SO GOOD about giving your dogs preventative every month, and my hat is off to you. Keep up the good work- ProHeart is not for you! We still strongly recommend the monthly preventatives, both oral and topical, over ProHeart because they also provide a monthly deworming against intestinal worms. Some intestinal worms are zoonotic which means they can be passed to humans, so that monthly deworming is a great thing for your dog, yourself, and your family.

However, if that is not you, the ProHeart injection is a great option. One injection of ProHeart will give your dog six months of protection against heartworms, and heartworms is a nasty disease! Heartworms can cause heart failure and even death when left untreated, and treatment for heartworms is costly, time-consuming, and can have potential complications. ProHeart does have some limited intestinal worm protection, but due to this limited coverage, it is important to continue bringing in a stool sample every six months to check for these intestinal worms.

So, ProHeart is not the right heartworm preventative for every family, but it’s a great option for those of us that, for whatever reason, have not been able to get heartworm preventatives in our dogs monthly. I feel so much better knowing Howie is covered. I won’t have to hold my breath as his heartworm test is running next year!

If you have any questions about ProHeart, please let us know. We’re excited to have more of our patients covered for heartworms!

For more information on heartworms:

https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4951491

For more information on Roundworms:

https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4951364

Hooks:

https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4951969

Whips:

https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4952061

noah's ark animal clinic

Welcome to Our New Site

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Your pet is your best friend, companion, and (most importantly) your family member. At Noah’s Ark, we provide veterinary medicine that centers around your pet and you as an owner. We strive to offer you and your pet the care necessary to enjoy a long and healthy relationship.