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My Older Dog Reeks: Why Your Older Dog Smells

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Has your older canine companion become more odiferous in his golden years? Most dogs don’t exactly smell like roses one hundred percent of the time; after all, it’s their natural instinct to roll around in something smelly to mask their own scent. But if your dog stinks even after a bath, it’s time to sniff out the culprit of your dog’s pugent aroma.

At Eastside Veterinary Associates, we love helping your pets feel their very best. A thorough senior wellness exam can give us a deeper understanding of your dog’s overall health and reveal the causes of your dog’s distinct odors. 

Common Causes of Stinky Senior Dogs

If your dog stinks no matter what you do, a medical condition could be to blame. 

  1. Kidney disease in dogs occurs when kidney function becomes compromised. Your dog’s kidneys eliminate toxins in his bloodstream, so when they’re not working properly, these toxins build up and cause your dog’s breath to smell foul.
  2. Dogs diagnosed with diabetes can have breath that smells sugary sweet, or they can have breath that’s reminiscent of nail polish remover. 
  3. Dental or periodontal disease is a common condition in older pets. When tartar and plaque builds up in your dog’s mouth, it can lead to tooth decay, bacteria overgrowth, swollen gums, and, of course, halitosis. Brushing your dog’s teeth at home and scheduling regular dental exams can help. 
  4. Urinary Incontinence: Your older dog may experience loss of bladder control, which can cause urine to dribble onto his fur when he’s walking or even when he’s at rest. Incontinence can also lead to full-blown accidents. Frequent bathing can help control odor. 
  5. Arthritis and other health conditions can make it difficult for your dog to properly groom himself, which can cause his fur and skin to smell funky over time. Weekly shampooing or visits with a professional groomer can help. 
  6. Impacted anal glands are also common in older dogs. Your dog uses his anal glands for marking his territory, but when the oils become impacted in these glands, they emit a foul odor.
  7. If your dog’s flatulence can clear a room, it’s likely because his digestive system has grown more sensitive as he has aged. Talk with us about dietary adjustments that can help. 
  8. Infections: Allergies and dermatitis can lead to foul-smelling skin infections. Plus, ear infections and urinary tract infections can cause foul odors. 

Getting to the Root of the Odor

A medical assessment with a full physical examination plus bloodwork can help us diagnose any underlying medical condition or infection that could be causing your dog’s foul smell. Please contact us right away if you notice a foul odor coming from your canine or anytime you have questions about caring for your pet.

When Your Main Squeeze Needs Anal Gland Expression

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When Your Main Squeeze Needs Anal Gland Expression

Anal gland expression might not be the topic of choice in most social circles, but it is a very common issue in pets. Perhaps bringing the smelly, funky issue into the light could help prevent scores of cats and dogs from living through the discomfort of impacted or infected anal glands. That’s where we come in!

Get Ready For This

The anal glands are essentialy scent glands. Located exactly where you think they are (at the 8 and 4 position on either side of the anus, just below the skin), these glands help animals mark territory with a dark, strong-smelling fluid. During defecation, the stool puts pressure on the anal glands causing them to squeeze out the liquid along with the waste. This is naturally-occuring anal gland expression.

Potential Problems

Unfortunately, the sacs that hold the fluid don’t always empty, or the fluid becomes too solid to pass. This is known as impaction, and can become a hotbed for bacteria. This issue starts as minor discomfort but can quickly develop into full-blown infection if the pressure isn’t relieved.

Some animals may experience problems related to the anal glands more than others. Other factors can include obesity, skin infections, allergies, incontinence, skin mites, and hypothyroidism. We can work with you and your pet to get to the bottom of any underlying causes of frequent impaction issues.

Getting Involved

Owners of dogs that scoot their bums on the carpet or upholstery know that anal gland expression is imminent. Pets may also start to lick their rectum more than usual. Other signs include straining or crying when defecating, swelling around the rectum, and blood in the waste. These signs indicate that a pet needs help as soon as possible.

An anal gland infection must be cleaned out and treated with an antibiotic and pain medication. Left alone, a pet could face a ruptured abscess that requires emergency surgery and drainage.

Anal Gland Expression

The basics of anal gland expression involve manually placing pressure on the glands with a gloved finger inserted into the recturm. This process requires gentle handling until the gland is fully emptied. Expressing anal glands internally is usually performed by a veterinary team member whereas groomers usually apply pressure externally.

Frequent or unnecessary attention to this area can actually result in painful inflammation, scarring, and narrowing of the duct. In other words, if your pet isn’t experiencing problems related to their anal glands, don’t go there.

Part of the Puzzle

Anal gland expression may or may not be something you ever have to deal with. But we can assure you, the more you know about it the better. At Eastside Veterinary Associates, our doctors are experts at distinguishing anal gland issues from other problems, and advising of a treatment plan to help your pet.

If you notice symptoms of anal gland issues , please  call to schedule an appointment with our doctors at:

  • Kirkland: 425-882-7788
  • Newcastle / Renton: 425-276-4100

Our team is always happy to help you at Eastside Veterinary Associates.

Why Your Cat Needs to Knead

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Why Your Cat Needs to Knead

If you’re a cat lover, you’ve no doubt noticed your cat meticulously kneading the surface beneath her, whether it’s your bed, blanket, or lap. This adorable feline behavior is also known as “making biscuits,” and her eyes may glaze over in an expression of pure contentment while she’s doing it! 

At Eastside Veterinary Associates, we love helping your feline companions live their best, healthiest, lives. If you’re wondering what all the kneading is about, we’ve got some insights to help you understand this delightfully quirky cat behavior.

What’s All the Kneading About?

False claws for cats. The cat lies on the bed with bright false claws

From companion pets to pumas, kneading is an instinctive behavior seen in virtually every cat species. A definitive answer as to why they knead isn’t confirmed, but plenty of theories abound, including: 

  • It’s leftover behavior from nursing: Kittens knead their mother’s tummies to stimulate milk production, so when your cat displays this behavior, she’s likely recalling fond memories of bonding with her mother. 
  • She’s putting her pleasure on full display: Your cat may knead your lap to show her deep affection for you—drawing parallels between you as her primary caregiver and the birth mother who nursed her.
  • She’s marking her turf: Cats often communicate through scent, and her little paws are releasing her own personal scent markers as she kneads, sending a signal to other pets that your lap is hers!
  • She’s making a comfy bed: If you’ve ever wondered, “Why does my cat knead blankets?,” one explanation is that your cat’s wild ancestors had to knead tall weeds and grasses to make a spot for snoozing, and this behavior may have carried over into domesticated cats.
  • She’s caring for her claws: As your cat’s claws grow, she needs to shed the outer layers, and the process of repeatedly kneading may facilitate this.  

Accommodating Excessive Kneading in Cats

Kneading is natural, and positively adorable, but sometimes it comes with collateral damage in the form of torn blankets, furniture, and your clothes. Scolding is never the answer, but here are a few pointers to help make all that biscuit making more manageable:

  • Keep your cat’s nails trimmed or capped (ask us for a demonstration!).
  • Create a designated, thick blanket that she’s allowed to knead to her heart’s content. Spray it with a pheromone-based product to make it especially attractive to her.
  • If she starts to knead your legs or the sofa, redirect her attention with treats or a toy, and then offer her the opportunity to knead her designated blanket.
  • Keep her entertained with plenty of indoor enrichment so she’s ready to settle in sooner at naptime.

We’re Here for All Your Cat Needs

Keep your cat healthy and happy so she can make biscuits well into her golden years! Schedule a comprehensive wellness exam, and let us know if we can answer any other questions you have about your feline’s fascinating behavior.

veterinarian cleaning dogs teeth

3 Facts About Pet Dental Care Every Pet Owner Should Know

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Pet’s teeth and gums need just as much love and attention as our’s do, but oral health is an often overlooked facet of dog or cat ownership. Dog and cat dental care is an essential element of overall pet wellness, however, and your friends at Eastside Veterinary Associates want to make it easier than ever to give it to them. Here are some facts about the importance of pet dental care so you can be sure you can keep their teeth and gums in top shape:

 

  1. Dental Disease Is More Common than You Think

Most cats and dogs will have some form of periodontal disease by the age of 3, which means you have to start thinking about caring for teeth and gums early in their lives. Dental disease can manifest in many different ways, including:

  • Visible yellow or brown buildup on the teeth
  • Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Excessive drooling
  • Changes in eating or chewing habits
  • Pawing at the face
  • Loose teeth
  • Depression

 

If you notice any of the above in your dog or cat, you should schedule a dental appointment with your veterinarian. 

  1. Anesthesia Is Essential for Proper Dental Cleanings

Cat and dog teeth cleaning without anesthesia can be dangerous and not effective. Veterinarians use anesthesia when cleaning your pet’s teeth to ensure that your pets do not feel undue stress during the procedure. Anesthesia also allows them to thoroughly clean the teeth and gums, which will help prevent future issues with tartar and periodontal disease.

 

  1. Pet Dental Care Is a Team Effort

Although professional dental cleanings are hugely important, they alone are not enough to completely ward off all forms of periodontal disease. If you want to give your pets the best defense against infections in the mouth, you have to do your part at home, too. Talk to your veterinarian about the best kind of home toothpaste and brush to use for your cats and dogs to keep their teeth and gums healthy.

Eastside Veterinary Associates are here to help you get the pet dental care your pet needs. From routine cleanings to surgery, our dedicated team will always do our best for your pets. We are proud to partner up with you for your pet’s health.

cat holding up paw

Frito Feet: Why Do My Pet’s Paws Smell Like Corn Chips?

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Have you ever caught a whiff of corn chips when you are close to your dog’s paws? If so, you might wonder if you are imagining things. Chances are, you’re not! If you’ve ever noticed your pup’s feet are smelling like fritos, you’re not alone. This occurrence can be quite common, and is nothing to be concerned about.  

Dogs produce a variety of smells—some good, some bad, and some that remind you of corn chips! The team at Eastside Veterinary Associates is here to explain the phenomenon of frito feet, and why your dog’s paws may smell like corn chips. 

Funky and Frequent: Bacteria on the Feet 

Generally, the interesting smells that come from your dog’s feet should be nothing to worry about. The smells happen because a variety of bacteria and fungi come into contact with your pet’s paws on a daily basis. This is normal, because your pet’s feet touch all the microbes and various substances they encounter on the ground. The bacteria and fungi that remain on your pet’s paws and skin are responsible for the variety of smells that might tickle your nose. To make matters even more funky, dogs who lick their paws often can add even more bacteria to the equation. 

The bacteria responsible for the yeasty, popcorn, or frito smells are known as Proteus or Pseudomonas. The odor can also come from the build up of sweat between your dog’s paw pads, toes, and fur. Things can get extra smelly when the balance between good and bad bacteria is off, or when other problems are thrown into the mix.

dog with frito feet

dog with frito feet

No Longer Corn Chips 

If the smell becomes overwhelming, hard to ignore, or takes a turn for the worse, it could indicate a bigger issue. Contact your veterinarian if your pet’s paws display any of the following issues: 

  • Odor, redness, or scaling 
  • A cut or abrasion that produces odor or puss  
  • An object lodged between the paw pad and the foot or toes
  • Inflammation on the feet or paw pad
  • Toenail infections 

The above can be symptoms of bacteria or fungi overgrowth, an infection, skin dryness, or more. Have your veterinarian team look at your pet’s paws to determine the cause of the odors,  and to come up with a treatment plan so your pet can get back to having happy feet. 

Keep Em’ Clean 

The best way to avoid funky feet odors on your pet is to maintain a regular hygiene routine. Wash your pet’s paws after hikes or long outdoor walks through various terrain, and inspect them frequently for bug bites, cuts, or irritation. Pamper your pooch with cooling paw wipes or balm to keep them clean and moisturized after outdoor time. You can also consider investing in some dog booties to help protect your pet’s paws from the elements and outdoor bacteria.

Pay attention to your pet’s licking habits, and check out their paws if they seem to be licking or chewing them more than normal. 

If you have any concerns about your pet’s paws or overall wellness, the team at Eastside Veterinary Associates can help! Give us a call at our Kirkland location at (425) 822-7788 or our Newcastle / Renton location at (425) 276-4100 to speak with our friendly and helpful team.

Preparing your dog for a new baby

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First off, congratulations! What an exciting time preparing for a new baby in your expanding home. Many owners worry about what their fur babies will think of their new human babies. Will they become anxious? Be jealous? Become fearful or aggressive? We can never predict how your dog will react, but there are many ways to prepare.

Start preparing early. Training should start WAY before you bring your new baby home. There are 3 main things that will be changing in your dogs’ life:

  • The “stuff”: Start setting up the nursery and baby stuff early. Have your dog used to the nursery being gated off. Set up family room toys, cribs, high chairs, etc so your dog is used to the extra furniture before the baby arrives.
  • The noise: Babies are loud! It may sound silly but play short clips of babies crying and talking to start exposing your dog to the noise. For noise sensitive dogs, start counter-conditioning by tossing them a treat when the baby cries. Reward the dog when they are calm and relaxed during the noise.
  • The time: Your fur baby will not longer be the center of your universe. Practice hanging out in the nursery, with your dog receiving a chew toy or special treat while you are preoccupied. This will help create a positive association while you are in the nursery, and also train your dog to entertain themselves while you are away. If your dog sleeps with you, have them sleep in their crate a few nights a week. Frozen stuffed Kong toys and Busy Buddy toys are great tools to keep your dog occupied.

Also step up your general training. Make sure your dog does not jump onto people, quickly goes into their crate when instructed, sits on command, etc.

Bite awareness. Any dog can bite with the right stimulus. Never leave your baby or toddler alone with your dog, no matter how trustworthy. Over 800,000 people are treated for dog bites per year, and over half of those are children, mostly under the age of 7. Bites are more likely to the face. 75% of kids bitten are familiar with the dog (i.e. family or friend’s dog).

Your dogs’ history. Has your dog been around babies or children before? How did they respond? How does your dog do with change? How does your dog react when disturbed while sleeping? If your dog has shown aggression or anxiety in the past, crate training, training with a basket muzzle, and creating safe stations for your dog with gated off areas or tethered areas are important for bite prevention. Also, do not hesitate to work with a veterinary trainer/behaviorist if your dog has aggressive triggers.

The first day. Have Mom greet the dog first when arriving home without the baby in hand. Once calm, have Dad or another adult come in with the baby. Do not force an interaction between your new baby and dog. Allow your dog to come up and sniff if they desire or be curious from afar. If your dog starts to become agitated, too excited, or aggressive, toss some treats or a toy toward them but away from the baby.  Your dog may need breaks with short supervised times of interaction at first.

Resources:

www.Familypaws.com

http://www.americanhumane.org/publication/pet-meets-baby/

Good luck, and as always, lets us know how we can help!

Dr. Coil

Indoor cats want to play too!

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It’s spring!

Finally time when most of us want to venture outside again. Tempting to our indoor kitties too!

Life’s not safe out there for our feline friends with the threats of cars and predators.  Keeping cats indoors helps keep them safe.

Outdoor though life is full adventures that cats seek. Cats love to play, climb and hunt!  Transferring some of the outdoor fun indoors will help keep your feline friend mentally and physically stimulated. This will help keep them healthy and avoid medical issues like obesity and inappropriate urination that afflicts many bored, overweight, indoor cats

Check out the Ohio state feline enrichment program at https://indoorpet.osu.edu/cats for some great ideas on how to enrich your kitties home environment.

Dr. Stacy Chartrand

Lost and Found

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Eastside Veterinary Associates and Renton Animal Control have been working together this past year to care for stray and neglected animals found in the City of Renton. We provide a warm bed, meal and veterinary care for all the pets that come in. It’s been great to establish a relationship with the caring Animal Control Officers and local humane society/rescues where the pets go to if their owners are not found. After creating this new relationship, a few pet ownership reminders have been brought to light:

  • Make sure your pet has a ID tag on and is microchipped to give your pet the best chance to be reunited with you. Bonus points if your pet has a license as they get a free ride home!

Unfortunately, many stray pets get loose in situations that can happen to all of us, like a recent storm creating a hole in your fenced yard. Or your dog getting scared by thunder, fireworks, or Halloween,  and running out the door. Life happens! You never think your pet will get loose, but it happens to many of us including me! If your pet isn’t microchipped yet, don’t wait!

  • Fleas, fleas and more fleas! The vast majority of these pets come in with flea infestations. Fleas are very prevalent in our area, even in December. Flea control is soooo important year-round. And don’t forget that fleas transmit tapeworms. Yuk!
  • All pets deserve TLC. Some of these animals have been neglected and are very scared when they come to us. It’s amazing what a good meal, treats, and extra petting can do to have a scared animal feel at home.
  • The image of a big scary animal pound is not reality. The Animal Control Officers truly care about helping these animals. They will come in just to check on the pets and ask how they are doing!

Microchipping your pet takes a matter of minutes and we register them for you with your current address and phone number, making it very easy! If you are a City of Renton resident, free microchipping is available for your pet(s), thanks to a private donor. No appointment is needed. You can bring your pet(s) in Monday-Friday from 11:30am-12:00pm to receive a free microchip! Please show your driver’s license with a Renton address for proof of residency. Please call us at (425) 276-4100 with any questions.

Dr. Rebecca Coil

Can your dog or cat get the flu?

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YES! Dogs and cats can get the canine flu, but not from you if you happen to have the flu. Although transmission is not occuring between human and dog, the canine flu can transmit easily between dogs.

Dog Flu Spreads Easier When They’re Social

  • Direct contact: when dogs kiss, lick or nuzzle each other
  • Through the air: from a cough or sneeze
  • Contaminated objects: doggie bowls, toys, doorknobs or clothing
  • Human touch: hands of pet owners or people helping to care for your dog.

The best way to prevent the canine flu is to vaccinate for it! We carry the canine influenza vaccine that contains BOTH strains of the flu virus H3N2 and H3N8.

You can determine your dog’s risk by answering this short risk quiz.

If you dog is at risk, please give our office a call to schedule an appointment for the Flu vaccine series to be started.

Dr. Judy Hung

 

Featured patient: Taz

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Taz is one of our inspiring rock star patients! He has gone through a tremendous amount of veterinary care for only being 5 years old. Taz had back surgery and was hospitalized for an Addison’s crisis both this past year.

Taz was rescued by his loving owners, Jaimi and Brian from another veterinary hospital a few years ago. Taz was overall a healthy, spunky little dog! Earlier this year, Taz develop a limp on one of his back legs. He lives with other larger dogs, so not much was initially thought of his limping. Then very quickly, Taz was unable to move his legs at all by the end of the day. Upon veterinary evaluation, Taz was suspected to have a ruptured disc in his back. There was so much inflammation around his spinal cord that he was unable to move or feel his back legs. He was taken to Seattle Veterinary Specialists for a consultation with a Neurologist. An MRI was performed and confirmed that Taz had a ruptured disc compressing his spinal cord. He was quickly taken to surgery where a hemilaminectomy was performed. In this back surgery, part of the vertebrae is removed to take out the ruptured disc material. Taz recovered from his surgery after months of physical rehabilitation and nursing care at home. He is able to move and feel his legs now, but isn’t quite able to walk without assistance. Taz kept trying to walk and developed sores in his back legs from scooting around on the floor. We helped Taz get fitted for a customized wheelchair made by a local company, K9 Carts. Taz is so happy to be fast and mobile again!

Taz was also diagnosed with Addison’s disease this year. This is a metabolic disease where the adrenal glands, a small gland located near the kidneys, is unable to produce proper hormones that the body needs. As a result, dogs with Addison’s disease develop abnormal levels of important electrolytes. They also do not have enough cortisol or stress hormone to respond to normal daily stresses. Taz developed vomiting, diarrhea and severe lethargy. He was hospitalized at Seattle Veterinary Specialists where emergency treatment was provided and further blood testing diagnosed him with Addison’s. Taz started treatment for this disease and was doing fine for several months until he had an Addison’s crisis. Taz’s electrolytes were severely out of range where is developed an abnormal heart rhythm, gastric ulcers, low blood sugar and was in a very critical state. The emergency team at Seattle Veterinary Specialists was able to stabilize Taz. The Internal Medicine team developed a plan for Taz long term to keep his Addison’s disease regulated. We help manage Taz’s Addison’s with regular exams, bloodwork monitoring, and by giving him a monthly injection to regulate his hormones. Taz has been doing great!

Taz inspires our veterinary team. Despite a difficult year for him and his family, Taz’s spirits have not been diminished and his family is Taz’s constant cheerleaders. He demonstrates the advanced veterinary care that can be performed in our furry family members. Needless to say, veterinary care like Taz’s can be overwhelming! We are here to help with the day-to-day care. With our medical boarding, we can help care for patients that need a variety of nursing care. It has been a pleasure to see Taz improve and to remind us to never give up!

Watch a video of Taz cruising around in his wheelchair on our Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/eastsidevetnewcastle

– Dr. Rebecca Coil