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The Remedy-Your Connection to the Country Vet
In This Issue
bullet Feature article: Pet cancer prevention tips
bullet Miracle Pet: “Fresnel” McCann
bullet Article: Top tick tips
bullet Article: Turn up the heat on winter’s aches and pains
bullet Article: Online pet prescriptions
bullet Tails & Tidbits: A “petpourri” of news
bullet Valuable Resource: Our veterinary health “Pet Library”
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January 2012
Issue 2

The Country Vet
Where Western Medicine
Meets Eastern Hands

Dear Pet Lover,

We sincerely wish you and your pets a happy, healthy 2012. In this issue of The Remedy you’ll find a new section, “Tails & Tidbits,” that features quick-hitting pet information. Be sure to also read the feature article Pet cancer prevention tips to learn about our March cancer screening special and how you can reduce the chance your pet will get cancer. This issue also includes tips for tackling ticks and details about a discounted screening test for tick-transmitted diseases.

feature article
Pet cancer prevention tips

Like death and taxes, cancer elicits fear and dread in people. The same reaction occurs when we learn our beloved pets may have cancer. It’s no wonder: Cancer is the leading natural cause of death in cats and dogs.

Cat getting ultrasound
An ultrasound can help determine if your pet has cancer. During March, pet owners can save over $100 on an abdominal ultrasound. Contact The Country Vet for more details about this special promotion.
Fortunately, pet cancer research, prevention and treatment have dramatically improved over the past decade. In addition, there are simple things you can do to minimize the chance your pet gets cancer:

Limit exposure to toxins. Avoid using garden pesticides and herbicides in areas your pet is exposed to, and discontinue flea products during winter. Use flea products only when needed. It’s also unnecessary to administer Heartgard® during winter—unless you live in an area with a high incidence of heartworm disease.*

Feed high-quality food. Only buy pet food made by a reputable company, and read the ingredient label to insure the pet food is made with human-grade ingredients and contains no by-products and preservatives. Contact The Country Vet for a list of recommended diets.

Avoid over-vaccination. Instead of vaccinating your pet annually, get a vaccine titer test. A titer test of your pet’s blood measures your pet’s immune defense level. If the test reveals your pet’s immunity is acceptable, defer annual vaccines for another year.
Start your pets on a regimen of immune-boosting and anti-cancer supplements to reduce cancer risk. Immune-boosting supplements include Onco Support, IP6 and Astragalus. Curcumin is an anti-cancer supplement. These supplements can be purchased over the counter. Contact The Country Vet for more information.

For pets over age 8, the following diagnostic procedures help detect whether your pet has cancer:

Blood screening test. A blood test is a comprehensive way to check your pet’s internal organ functions. Elevated liver enzymes or anemia are some signs that can indicate cancer.

Abdominal ultrasound. This non-invasive procedure creates a picture of your pet’s liver, spleen, lymph nodes, kidneys and bladder that is used to detect cancerous changes.

Needle biopsies. If you discover lumps on your pet’s body, a needle biopsy can determine if the lumps are cancerous. The biopsy can be done during a routine appointment without sedation.
If your pet is over age 8, take advantage of our March ultrasound special. For $96 plus an exam and daycare fee, The Country Vet will perform an ultrasound of your pet’s abdomen. You save over $100 off the regular price. For more information about our March ultrasound special or to book an appointment, contact The Country Vet at 415-897-8380, or email us and we will respond within one to two business days.

Upcoming issues of The Remedy will highlight pet diseases that commonly lead to cancer and available treatment options.

* Contact your vet before discontinuing Heartgard®.

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Miracle Pet
by Dr. Jim Codington, DVM (aka “Dr. Jim”)

“Fresnel” McCann enjoys dog parks, walks, and roughhousing with his younger “sister,” “Lily.” But, life hasn’t always been idyllic for the nearly 90-pound black lab mix. Fresnel’s overcome some “ruff” challenges the past 11 years.

Fresnel and sister LilyHis life got off to a bumpy start on Highway 99 near Fresno.

After seeing another driver toss a box and a carcass out of a truck, a good samaritan pulled over to investigate. The box contained Fresnel and his eight siblings. The carcass was the puppies’ mother. Fortunately, the puppies survived and the person who abandoned them and shot their mother was arrested.

When he was four months old, “Fresno” was adopted from Second Chance Rescue by Robert and Kandi McCann. The McCanns renamed Fresno “Fresnel”—a type of lens on lighting equipment.

Seven years later, right before Christmas, Fresnel encountered a second roadblock.

After discovering odd lumps under the skin on Fresnel’s right flank, the McCanns brought him in for an exam. A needle biopsy revealed Fresnel had cancer throughout the connective tissues of his skin and muscles.

After cancer surgery, Fresnel began chemotherapy treatment. When new cancer masses appeared one month after surgery, I started Fresnel on Chinese herbs. His appetite and energy quickly improved.

Fresnel and sister Lily

“Within 48 hours of starting Chinese herbs, Fresnel started regaining energy. My husband and I knew for sure he was feeling better when Fresnel jumped on our bed and got frisky with Lily,” chuckles Fresnel’s owner Kandi McCann. Pictured, from left, are Lily and Fresnel (aka “Fres”).
By March 2008, Fresnel’s cancer masses were gone but he was too sick to continue chemotherapy. After discontinuing chemotherapy, I had Fresnel continue on the Chinese herbs and began acupuncture treatments—which he tolerated well.

Between March 2008 and late 2010, Fresnel experienced reoccurrences of cancerous masses in his connective tissues. But, he continued to thrive due to the Chinese herbs and monthly acupuncture treatments.

In January 2011, an X-ray showed Fresnel had developed cancerous lesions on his chest. Despite this finding, Fresnel is doing well on Chinese herbs, the anti-cancer supplement Onco Support and intermittent acupuncture treatments.

January 3 of this year marked four years since Fresnel’s cancer diagnosis. He’s happy, has a healthy appetite and remarkable energy for an 11-year-old dog who has cancer.

The past three years, Fresnel’s walked with Kandi in the annual Relay for Life event. And, through Bark for Life, Fresnel and Kandi raise awareness about canine cancer. Fresnel continues to defy the odds with the help of Chinese herbs and acupuncture—and the devoted love of the McCanns.

Read more Miracle Pet stories

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tick tips
Top tick tips

True or false: Dogs get more ticks during summer than winter. If you answered “True,” don’t get ticked off. Most people assume ticks are more problematic during summer because people and pets spend more time outdoors during warm weather.

At The Country Vet we’ve found the opposite is true. When cold, wet weather sets in, there’s a noticeable spike in tick-infestation. While you can’t completely eliminate your dog’s exposure to ticks, there are things you can do to reduce tick infestation and the chance your dog will get a tick-transmitted disease.

Tick prevention pointers

Avoid tick-prone areas. Ticks favor heavy brush and grass. Stick to well-cleared trails and walkways when walking or hiking with your dog.

Examine your dog. To transmit disease, ticks usually have to be attached and feeding on your dog for 12-24 hours. When you return from a hike, check your dog for ticks. Removing the tick as soon as possible eliminates the risk of a tick-transmitted disease.

Focus on the head and neck. The majority of ticks are found on a dog’s head and neck because a sensor in the tick’s antenna is attracted to high levels of carbon dioxide. Since dogs inhale and exhale carbon dioxide, ticks gravitate toward your dog’s head and neck.
Tick and De-ticker instrument with border collie

Deer are the host species for the deer tick, Ixodes scapularis. Deer ticks are the most common carriers of tick-transmitted diseases including Lyme and Ehrlichia/Anaplasma. During March and April, The Country Vet is offering a 25 percent discount on blood screening tests that detect whether your pet has a tick-transmitted disease.

Tick removal
Use gentle, even pressure and slowly remove the tick. The Country Vet carries a great De-Ticker® device that costs less than $7.

If you break off the tick’s head, there’s no need to dig it out. Simply dab Neosporin® on the spot you removed the tick from.

After removing the tick from your dog, wash your hands because humans also can contract tick-transmitted disease. Keep a watchful eye on the spot where you removed the tick. Dogs who have a nasty reaction to tick bites may develop a red, crater-like lesion—a sign they may have a tick-related disease. Schedule an exam with your vet right away.

Tick prevention products
Ticks are the B-52 bombers of the insect world. They’re incredibly resistant—even more than mosquitos and fleas. To keep these persistent pests from latching on to your dog, The Country Vet recommends the Preventic® collar which lasts 3-4 months. Frontline® recently introduced Certifect™ for dogs that’s purported to be more effective on ticks and also provides flea protection. Call the Country Vet for more details.

Tick screening special
If your dog exhibits abnormal behavior after being in a tick-infested area, call your vet immediately. Signs your dog may have a tick-transmitted disease, which may occur within two to 14 days, include:

Painful joints
Ulcerated, inflamed skin lesions
High fever
Bruising of the gums
Enlarged lymph nodes
If The Country Vet suspects your pet has a tick-transmitted disease, we’ll perform a blood screening test that detects four tick-transmitted diseases including Lyme and Ehrlichia/Anaplasma.

During March and April, The Country Vet is offering a 25 percent discount on blood screening tests for tick-transmitted diseases. If you think your dog has a tick-transmitted disease, call our office to schedule a blood screening test.

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elderly pets – winter
Turn up the heat on winter’s aches and pains

winter help-cat and dog

When winter blows in so does increased pain and discomfort for people with degenerative arthritis and joint stiffness. The same is true for pets. Like humans, elderly pets—especially those with arthritis—are more susceptible to the ravages of damp, cold weather.
Make your arthritic pet more comfortable during winter with these tips:

Provide appropriate bedding. Bare floors and cement are an inappropriate “bed” for pets. Provide your pet a quality-constructed, comfortable bed to snuggle in.

Turn up the heat. A heating pad set to low and safely placed with your pet’s bedding provides healing warmth. While the risk of your pet suffering burns from a heating pad is extremely low, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions. Herb-filled bags that can be heated up in a microwave also are effective. These bags typically provide warmth up to two hours.

Warm up meals. Foods that generate heat do a better job heating your pet internally. Oatmeal, chicken, lamb-based foods, sweet potatoes, squash and pumpkin are warming foods you can add to your pet’s dry food. If you add warming food to your pet’s meal, decrease an equal amount of the dry food. Also, warming up your pet’s cold food to room temperature is helpful for older pets who struggle with temperature changes because it takes more energy for their bodies to warm up cold food.

Get moving. During winter people and pets exercise less—which aggravates joint pain and stiffness. Make sure your pet moves throughout the day. If your pet has limited mobility, help them stretch and gently massage their legs and back.

Administer anti-inflammatories. The anti-inflammatory supplements Glucosamine with MSM and Omega 3 can help ease pets’ arthritic pain. If you intermittently add an anti-inflammatory to your pet’s diet and increase the dosage to daily during winter, The Country Vet recommends adding the supplement SAM-e to protect your pet’s liver. Chinese herbs also help many arthritic pets. Contact your vet for more information.

If anti-inflammatories don’t decrease your pet’s discomfort, your vet can prescribe Tramadol—a safe, non-narcotic pain medication that can be used in conjunction with anti-inflammatories.

Consider cold laser therapy. If your pet continues to experience pain despite your best efforts, The Country Vet highly recommends cold laser therapy. Pets love this effective, non-invasive treatment that decreases joint pain and discomfort. The Country Vet also offers chiropractic care and acupuncture.
For questions about the information in this article, contact The Country Vet.

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Online pet prescriptions
Six questions to ask before purchasing pet prescriptions online

dog with pills

Purchasing prescription drugs through online pet pharmacies may seem like a great tactic to save money and a trip to the vet. However, there are hidden dangers and costs to be aware of before clicking “Place order.” Review the following questions if you’re considering buying pet prescriptions on the virtual highway:

Is the product counterfeit?

In 2010 the Food and Drug Administration published a consumer update about the risks of purchasing pet prescriptions from online pharmacies. Some companies have been caught selling counterfeit products. In addition, there are documented cases of familiar “warehouse stores” selling counterfeit Frontline® Plus. When you buy from a local veterinarian the prescription is real and it’s safe.

Where did the online pharmacy obtain the product?

Many online pharmacies buy inventory from disreputable third parties. If there’s a problem with the online prescription the manufacturer will not stand by it or offer a guarantee. Online pharmacies purchase from third parties because many reputable manufacturers refuse to sell to them. Therefore, they resort to purchasing products in unscrupulous ways. Pet prescriptions you buy from your veterinarian are obtained directly from the manufacturer or a trusted vendor.

Has the product been properly stored and handled?

To maintain quality and potency, all drugs must be stored and handled according to the manufacturer’s specifications. When purchasing pet prescriptions online you can’t be sure how the product was stored and what conditions it was exposed to during shipping. This isn’t a concern when you buy from local veterinarians who buy smaller quantities from trusted sources and appropriately store them.

If there’s a problem or I have questions can I talk with a licensed pharmacist?

If your pet has an adverse reaction to a drug or something seems amiss with the prescription, The Country Vet is available to answer questions and we stand behind our prescriptions. Drug manufacturers also guarantee drugs they sell us. Not all online pharmacies can be counted on for assistance when you have questions or concerns.

Is the online product less expensive than buying it from my local veterinarian?

Not always. Many products The Country Vet carries—such as Heartgard®, Comfortis® and Rimadyl®—are often comparably priced to most online pharmacies. Before shopping online, call The Country Vet about pricing. We may be able to save you money on your pet’s prescription.

What impact does buying pet prescriptions online have on consumers?

Consider this: When your physician prescribes medication you have to make a separate trip to the pharmacy to purchase it—where you may encounter long lines and poor service. Veterinarians can dispense pet prescriptions on site—saving you time and money.

To remain competitive, The Country Vet has reduced the cost of many common pet products and prescriptions. However, we’ll be unable to continue offering these items unless clients continue purchasing them from us. We can’t compete with large corporations.

If pet owners increasingly buy prescriptions from online pharmacies, the long-term impact is veterinarians will operate like physicians: They’ll write a pet prescription and the client will have to buy the medication elsewhere. Is potentially saving a dollar or two worth the inconvenience of a separate trip to a pharmacy or, even worse, delaying treating your pet while you wait for your pet’s medication to arrive in the mail?

For questions about the information in this article, contact The Country Vet.

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Tails and Tidbits
Theo in sink
A SINKing feeling
In an attempt to avoid his shots, “Theo” Garzoli unsuccessfully hides his nearly 20-pound body in our exam room sink.


The common artificial sweetener Xylitol can be deadly to dogs? As few as two sticks of sugar-free gum containing Xylitol, or any sugar-free item containing Xylitol, can be fatal to a small dog. Call your vet immediately if you suspect your dog has ingested Xylitol.

A kindle isn’t just for reading?
A pack of kittens is also called a kindle, while a pack of adult cats is called a clowder.

A 15-year-old cat spends, on average, 10 years
of its life sleeping?

Online veterinary health library
Visit our website to use our TRUSTED “Pet Library”

Did you know over 50 percent of veterinarian pet medical information you read online is inaccurate? The next time you need reliable, accurate pet medical information, please consider using our free Pet Library. Our “Pet Library” (Officially known as “VIN” – Veterinary Information Network) is the world’s largest online resource of pet medical information.

Write Us! We’d love to hear what you think of The Remedy. Please email us feedback and suggestions for future article topics. Thank you.

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