Telford Veterinary Hospital

78 Souderton Hatfield Pike
Souderton, PA 18960

(215)721-6989

www.telfordvet.com


Beat the Heat - 06/21/2018

The weather is getting warmer and the days are getting longer which can only mean one thing, summer is almost here! As you begin making your summer plans consider planning some fun new activities to try with your favorite furry friend.dog_hiking_mountains

 

Go For a Hike

There are so many great hiking trail just waiting for you to check them out, so why not leash up your pup and head out for a hike! Bonus: it’s great exercise and a fun way for you to bond together. Check out https://bit.ly/2trv2p9 for some great tips on hiking with your dog.

Check out a Dog Park

Most cities and towns have a dog park nearby, find out where your local one is and plan a visit this summer. Dog parks can be a great place for both you and your dog to make some new friends, but check out this article on dog park etiquette and safety before you go.

Browse a Local Farmers Market

Your local farmers market can be a great way to meet some of your local farmers and other vendors, as well as stock up on locally grown produce. This can also be a great place to walk around with your dog to socialize them with other people and dogs, as an added bonus sometimes there are vendors selling homemade dog treats, toys, etc.

Participate in a 5k

Throughout the summer many charities hold 5k fundraisers, this can be a great way to help you and your dog get in shape while helping a good cause. Find a cause you believe in, sign up, and start training. You can even decide if you want to run it or walk it. For added fun get a friend and their dog to join you!

Make your own Doggy Ice Cream

Ice cream is a favorite summer treat for humans, and there are many ways to make it dog friendly. Check out one of these recipes and give your dog a new favorite summer treat!

Visit a Dog Beach

Some beaches are dog friendly, so find one close to you, pick a day, and plan a beach trip with your pup! Read here about how to safely take your dog to the beach.dog_beach_waves

Try a Dog Sport

The summer can be a great time to try out a dog sport or take an obedience class with your dog, especially since it’s warmer which makes it easier to practice outside. Lookup where your closest dog gym is and sign up to try a class today. Bonus tip: try to pick a sport you think both you and your dog will enjoy.

Set a Running or Walking Goal

Since the weather is nicer in the summer, try setting a daily or weekly walking goal. Track your progress using the Wooftrax app and they will donate to an animal rescue you choose based on the distance you walk. Your pet and the rescue will thank you!dog_pawprints_beach

There are so many fun activities to try in the summer with your dog. What are your favorite summer activities to do with your dog and what new things will you try this summer? Share with us in the comments below!

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Pet Firework Phobia: A Not So Happy 4th of July Experience - 06/20/2018

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The 4th of July holiday is a great time to gather with friends and family, and it usually ends with fireworks in the backyard or a large fireworks display in your hometown.  While they’re fun for humans, the loud, unexpected sounds of fireworks can cause anxiety in your pets. This stress can manifest itself as destructive or harmful behaviors that can push owners over the edge.  Before July 4th rolls around, learn more about why pets get scared, and how you can help them, through behavior modification and veterinary medicine intervention.

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Why Does My Pet Have a Phobia of Loud Noises?

Usually phobias start as a result of either prolonged exposure or a single traumatic experience with loud noises.

Some dogs, especially long-haired ones, can start to become statically charged during thunderstorms.  These dogs can feel small electrical shocks from the static, so they often try to find places, like bathrooms and tile, that can provide grounding.

Studies have shown that about 93% of dogs with noise phobias are affected by thunderstorms, fireworks and other loud noises.  It has also been shown that herding breeds may be more affected by noise phobias than other breeds.

What can I do to calm my pet?

Like all behavioral problems it is important to address these phobias early on in their development or it will become worse.  We recommend working with your veterinarian to help tailor a behavior modification and treatment plan specific to your pet to get the best results.

The “old school” way of managing these types of phobias was either to ignore the dog and let them “deal with it” or to drug the dog heavily enough to not know it was happening.  The problem with those approaches is that we did nothing to help the dogs’ overall fear and anxiety that are at the source of the phobia itself.  Today we have better treatment options that can help both the dogs’ anxiety and ways to modify their behavior to help them better cope with these phobias.

  • Talking to your pet in a low soothing voiceand comforting them while they are scared is encouraged
  • Create a safe space that your pet can hide in if they want
    • Closets, bathrooms or other small spaces are common hideouts
    • Keep these areas well lit to dampen flashes of light
  • Play soothing classical music in their safe space
  • To reduce static charges try wiping your pet’s coat with a dryer sheet
    • Rubber matting in the bathroom can also help with grounding
  • If your pet seeks your lap, consider a compression shirt like the Thundershirt to help keep them calm. It works like swaddling a baby to soothe and calm your pet
  • A calming supplement may work well for your pet
    • Supplements suggested by your vet are a great place to start
    • A calming pheromone like Adaptil or Feliway can help ease stress
    • A pheromone plug-in offers continuous comfort in their safe space
  • Early intervention through positive reinforcement is a great option
    • Offer high value treats or toys to distract your pet during the event
    • Create positive experiences before a phobia develops or evolves
  • For severe cases, medical intervention and anti-anxiety medications prescribed by your veterinarian may be your best course of action

Common Questions We Hear:

Q: Any all-natural calming products that are recommended?

A: There are numerous products on the market now that claim to have calming effects.  The ones we recommend have been shown with studies to reduce anxiety and stress.  Some of these would be Composure Pro, Zyklene, and Solliquin.  Not every dog will respond to these medications and is important to always check with your vet first to ensure it is safe for your dog to take.

Q: Are there any ways to prevent these phobias?

A: That is a tough question because each dog is different.  It is important to start early before the dog starts to have negative associations with loud noises.  This can be as simple as feeding your dog/puppy or giving them special treats, like stuffed kongs or bones, that they can have during thunderstorms and fireworks.  This can help to build a positive association and help them become desensitized to loud noises.

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Q: Can cats be affected?
A: Great question!  While the focus of this talk was on dogs it is important to acknowledge that cats can also be affected by loud noises.  Similar behavioral modification techniques and treatment protocols can also help cats affected by noise phobias.


Before You Go: What Your Pet Sitter Needs From You - 05/23/2018

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As vacation season quickly approaches, pet sitters everywhere will be hard at work caring for pets whos families travel without them. Boarding facilities can be a great option; but some pets prefer to stay in their own homes while their family is away. When this is the case, you as the owner should think about creating an instruction manual on how to care for your pet to familiarize your sitter to your pet’s daily routine.

Take a peek at the following, to ensure you have included everything your pet sitter might need to know in order to take the best care of your pet!

Food

Make sure your pet has enough food to last the entire time you will be away, plus a few days extra (this is especially important if your pet eats prescription food that needs to be ordered in advance). As you write out your instruction manual, include how much to feed your pet at each meal, and what time(s) to feed them. Also include the brand and formula of the food, in case your pet sitter should need to pick up more. Are there any other special instructions at feeding time? This might include adding water to the food, having them sit before giving them their food, feeding in a specific room of the house, etc.

Water

Fresh water is a must for all pets! Be sure to include any special instructions or restrictions regarding their hydration needs! Also note where you keep the dish and if you use specific water (filtered, tap, bottled, etc). Do you pick their water up a few hours before bedtime to prevent accidents? If so, include that in this section too.

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Bathroom

Include how many times you would like your pet let outside each day or how often you would like their litter box cleaned. Do they have a command to go to the bathroom such as “go potty” “do your business” or “get busy,” or do they simply go outside and go on their own?

Medications

Make sure you have enough of your pet’s medication on hand before you leave for your trip, including a couple days extra, just in case. Leave a complete list of any medications  your pet takes including: doses, times given, and any special instructions. Also explain any specific ways you administer the medications such as wrapping it in cheese or in a pill pocket, mix it in wet or dry food, etc. If your sitter isn’t comfortable administering medication, a boarding facility with experience in this area may be a better option for your pet’s health.

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Exercise

Exercise needs vary between breeds and species. If you have a dog, they will  most likely need some form of exercise while you are away. It will be very helpful to your pet sitter if you detail what you would prefer this to look like. Would you like your dog walked each day? If so, how far? Is there any special equipment or any specific instructions you want them to know/use when walking your pet? Make sure your sitter is comfortable with your pet’s exercise plan.

Treats

We love to spoil our pets! It’s great to give special treats, but be sure to let your sitter know the boundaries with this one! Include any food/treat allergies your pets sitter should be aware of. Does your pet like to work to get treats out of toys when they are home alone? Do they get a treat when they come in from going to the bathroom or at bedtime? We all like to overindulge a little bit on vacation; make sure your sitter doesn’t allow your pet too much indulgence!

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Emergency Contacts

Include your primary veterinarian’s name, address, and phone number in case your pet should need veterinary care. Also include the name, address, and phone number of your local emergency vet, should your pet have an emergency after your primary vet is closed. Another important contact to include is the name and phone number of a family member or friend who could care for your pet, should your pet sitter have an emergency come up and need a backup.

Miscellaneous

Is there anything extra you want your pet sitter to know? Should your pet be kept in a crate or a single room when no one is there? Are there any special commands you want them to use? Does your pet have a thunderstorm or firework phobia? Does your pet frequently have accidents in the house? Are cleaning products and other pet products easily accessible? Be sure to include these important instructions so your pet sitter is prepared! And of course, enjoy your vacation!

 


Allergies: When The Great Outdoors…and Indoors…Attack! - 05/17/2018

What is an allergy?

An allergy is a state of over-reactivity or hypersensitivity of the immune system of a pet to a particular substance called an ‘allergen’. Most allergens are proteins. The allergen protein may be of insect, plant or animal origin. Initial exposure of the dog, or more likely multiple exposures, to the allergen may over-sensitize the immune system, such that a subsequent exposure to the same or related allergen causes an over-reaction. This means that the immune response, which normally protects the dog against infection and disease, can be harmful. The actual immune reactions involved in allergies are quite complex. Most reactions involve an antibody in the blood called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). In an allergic reaction the allergen protein molecules combine with IgE antibody molecules and attach to a type of cell called mast cells, found in many tissues. When these cells are attached to the allergen, they break up and release potent chemicals such as histamines, which cause local inflammation. This inflammation causes the various signs associated with an allergic reaction.

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What are the symptoms of allergies in dogs?

The most common symptom associated with allergies is itching of the skin, either localized (one area) or generalized (all over the body). Another group of symptoms involves the respiratory system with coughing, sneezing, and/or wheezing. Sometimes, there may be runny discharge from eyes or nose. The third manifestation involves the digestive system, and the dog may vomit or have diarrhea.

How common are allergies in dogs?

Unfortunately allergies are quite common in dogs of all breeds and backgrounds.

Are allergies inherited?

Some allergies are inherited. The inherited trait is known as Atopy (see What is Inhalant Allergy or Atopy below).

What are the common allergy-causing substances (allergens)?

A very large number of substances can act as allergens. Most are proteins of insect, plant or animal origin, but small chemical molecules known as haptens can also cause allergy. Examples of common allergens are pollens, mold spores, dust mites, shed skin cells, insect proteins such as flea saliva, and some medications.

What are the different types of allergy?

There are several ways of classifying allergies. Some examples of classifications include: the precipitating allergen (Flea Allergy); the route the allergen takes into the body (Inhalant Allergy, Skin Contact Allergy, Food Allergy); the immune reaction timing (Immediate Hypersensitivity, also called Anaphylaxis or Shock; and Delayed Hypersensitivity); the type of immune reaction (Types I to IV Hypersensitivity); or by outcome (Allergic Dermatitis or Allergic Eczema; Allergic Bronchitis). There are also inherited forms of allergy (Atopy).

What is Contact Allergy?

Contact allergy is the least common type of allergy in dogs. It results from direct contact to allergens contained in flea collars or bedding, such as pyrethrins or wool. If the dog is allergic to these substances, there will be skin irritation and itching at the points of contact. Removal of the allergen (once it can be identified) solves the problem.

What is Flea Allergy and how is it treated?

Flea allergy is the exaggerated inflammatory response to a flea bite. Flea saliva is the allergen. It is a common allergy of dogs, although only a minority of dogs becomes allergic. Most dogs experience minor irritation from flea bites. But the flea allergic dog will react to a single bite with severe local itching. It will bite and scratch itself and may remove large amounts of hair. Secondary bacterial infection may occur in the broken skin. The area most commonly involved is over the rump in the tail base region.

Because one flea can be a problem for the allergic dog, strict flea control is essential. This is difficult considering the life-cycle of fleas, but there are means for instituting an intensive flea elimination program in the house (see Fleas). Your veterinarian can give you tips on protecting your dog from fleas. When strict flea control is not possible or in cases of severe itching, corticosteroids (steroids) can be used, under careful veterinary guidance, to block the allergic reaction and give relief. If secondary bacterial infection is present, appropriate antibiotics will be prescribed.

What is Inhalant Allergy (Atopy) and how is it treated?

Although allergic rhinitis and bronchitis might be regarded as the result of inhaled allergens, the term “Inhalant Allergy” in the dog is used as a synonym for Atopy. The main causative inhaled allergens are tree pollens (cedar, ash, oak, etc.), grass pollens, weed pollens (ragweed, etc.), molds, mildew, and house dust mites. Many of these allergies occur seasonally, such as ragweed, cedar, and grass pollens. However, others such as molds, mildew, and house dust mites are year-round. When humans inhale these allergens, the allergy manifests mainly with respiratory signs – runny eyes, runny nose, and sneezing (“hay fever”). But in dogs the result is itchy skin (pruritis). So the condition is also called “Inhalant Allergic Dermatitis”. The dog may rub its face, lick its feet and scratch the axillae (underarms).

Most dogs that have inhalant allergy start showing signs between one and three years of age. Affected dogs will often react to several allergens. If the offending allergens can be identified, by intradermal skin tests or IgE allergy tests, the dog should be protected from exposure to them as much as possible. But this is difficult and recurrent bouts are likely. These allergies can be treated but a permanent cure is not usually possible.

Treatment depends largely on the length of the dog’s allergy season. It involves three approaches:

Anti-inflammatory. Treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs such as corticosteroids, sometimes given with antihistamines, will quickly block the allergic reaction in most cases. Fatty acid supplementation of the diet can improve the response to steroids and antihistamines in some cases.

Shampoo therapy. Frequent bathing with a hypoallergenic shampoo can be soothing and helpful. The bathing may also rinse out allergens in the coat that could be absorbed through the skin.

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Hyposensitization. The third major form of allergy treatment is hyposensitization with specific antigen injections or “allergy shots”. Once the specific sources of allergy are identified, very small amounts of the antigen are injected weekly. This repeated dosing has the objective of reprogramming or desensitizing the immune system. Results are sometimes good but success is variable.

Immunotherapy. Allergen specific immunotherapy has been considered the “gold standard” for more than 40 years. “Allergen specific” means that, depending on the results from allergy testing, an allergy serum for desensitization/hyposensitization can be created for each individual patient. The allergens are combined at an optimal concentration and then administered at incremental amounts and strengths. The allergen combination is administered at a gradual taper in frequency of administration (for example, every other day, then weekly, then every other week, and then monthly).

 

What is Food Allergy and how is it treated?

Food allergy can develop to almost any protein or carbohydrate component of food. It most commonly develops in response to the protein component of the food or a particular food origin; beef, pork, chicken, or turkey are commonly associated with food allergies. Food allergy can become apparent at almost any age.

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Food allergy may produce any of the clinical signs previously discussed including itching, digestive disorders, and respiratory distress. Food allergy may occur with other allergies, such as atopy, but food allergy does not respond well to corticosteroids. Treatment requires identifying the offending component(s) of the diet and eliminating them. Testing for specific food allergies requires test feeding with a special hypoallergenic diet. Because it takes at least eight weeks for all other food products to be removed from the body, the dog must eat the special diet exclusively for 8-12 weeks. If a positive response occurs, your veterinarian will advise you on how to proceed. It must be emphasized that if the diet is not fed exclusively, it will not be a valid test. All table food, treats or vitamins must be discontinued during the testing period. There may be problems with certain types of chewable tablets such as heartworm preventative. Your veterinarian will discuss this with you.

Caution:

The manifestations of allergies can be confused with other disorders, or concurrent with them. Therefore, do not attempt to diagnose your dog without professional assistance. Be prepared for your pet to receive a full diagnostic work up by your veterinarian. If an allergy is diagnosed and identified, the whole family must follow your veterinarian’s advice very closely if success in controlling the problem is to be achieved.


Exciting Additions at TVH - 05/02/2018

We are very excited to welcome Dr. Loeffler back to the hospital staff as an associate veterinarian!

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She first worked for Telford Veterinary Hospital in 2006 while working through veterinary school.  She received her undergraduate degree from King’s College in 2006 and graduated veterinary school at Kansas State University, College of Veterinary Medicine in 2010.  She has a deep interest in behavioral medicine and is a certified “Fear Free” veterinarian.  Dr. Loeffler loves German Shepherds and currently has five dogs, three pure bred German Shepherds named “Ivy”, “Storm” and “Phoenix”, a Leonberger named “Theo” and shepherd mix named “Roxy”.  When not seeing clients, she enjoys competing with her dogs in the sport of nose work (a sport based upon drug detection in K9 officers) and working with Roxy Therapy Dogs providing comfort to children dealing with a variety of health, emotional and educational struggles both in the classroom and courtroom.

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The addition of Dr. Loeffler brings exciting new opportunities to our clients interested in behavioral modification for their pet. She brings extensive clinical knowledge and practical application skills in conjunction with her “Fear Free” approach to help modify unwanted behavior. She will begin seeing clients May 12, 2018. Please join us in extending her a warm welcome back!

In addition to Dr. Loeffler joining the practice this May; we are excited to announce a new supportive treatment option has arrived at the hospital! In April we began trialing Laser Light Therapy for a variety of patient cases, and we are thrilled at the results!

What is Laser Therapy?

Laser therapy offers a surgery-free, drug-free, noninvasive alternative treatment that can reduce pain, reduce inflammation and speed healing.

How Does Laser Therapy Work?

Our Class IV laser uses a beam of light to deeply penetrate tissue and induce a biological response in the cells called “photobiomodulation” to treat the affected area. Treatments typically take minutes and your pet will only feel a soothing warmth during treatment.

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It Sounds Expensive…

Treatment plans are unique to each case, therefore, treatment will vary in time, cost and complexity. Our Veterinarians will determine the course of treatment during your pet’s office visit, you can prepay the entire series of treatments and schedule them the same day! In comparison to invasive surgery or ongoing medication costs, laser therapy costs are minimal and could be a great treatment plan for your pet!

What Are Some Conditions That Improve With Laser Therapy?

  • Post Surgical Wound Care
  • Cuts/Bites/Infections
  • Allergic Dermatitis
  • Degenerative Joint Disease
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Feline Acne
  • Ear Infections/Otitis
  • Geriatric Care
  • And Many More…

Schedule an appointment today to find out more about how Laser Therapy could improve the life of your canine or feline companion!

Learn More about our Laser Therapy System here.