A boy, his dog and their adventures on the dock.

Written by Logan Eure

Logan and Bella show off the spoils of all their hard work!

Logan and Bella show off the spoils of all their hard work!

VetriScience Laboratories has been sponsoring dockdogs teams for the last 8 years. This year the VetriScience sponsorship program through DockDogs grew to 20 teams! If you are unfamiliar with dockdogs, you may be missing out on one of the most exciting dog activities out there! We asked Logan Eure, one of our GlycoFlex sponsored youth handlers to tell us in his own words about his adventures as a dockdogs competitor. Check out his story below and you too will see why, we are so proud to have Logan jumping for #TeamGlycoFlex.

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Is Your Dog an Athlete? Read this Story!

Taho Dock DogsTaho is an athlete and a necessary member of Team Dalton, a DockDogs team well acquainted with VetriScience. When we heard that he had experienced an injury, we wanted to find out more and share his healing process with you. We spoke with Taho’s owner Jen through email to get a better picture of what Taho is experiencing, and how you can take steps to ensure your dog heals quickly in the face of an unexpected injury.

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Ah, the Smell of Wet Dogs in the Springtime!

By Tracy Mackey-Burlingame

It’s Dockdogs season here in the Rockies and Team Splashdown can’t wait for our first event of the year! It’s been a long, cold winter and we are ready for some splashing fun in the sun! As I hauled out the trusty dog’s sport-equipment tote from the dark corner of the garage for its annual overhaul, I started thinking back to our years of competing and how much our dogs and this crazy sport have changed our lives.

team splashdown dock dogs

We adopted our dogs Harley and Kasey back in 2003 and 2004. We were first-time dog owners and really didn’t know much about anything except that we had to feed them, scoop a lot of poop and vacuum a lot of fur.

But we learned.

I joined a few online dog forums (yes, forums are those things we did way back in the stone age before Facebook and Twitter) and asked questions and shared my experiences and pictures (lots and LOTS of pictures) only other dog people would appreciate.

 

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ACL Tears in Your Dog: Why They’re Common and What Not to Do

ACL tear dogThe ACL is the Anterior Cruciate Ligament, often called the Cranial Cruciate Ligament, or CCL, in veterinary medicine.

A tear of this ligament is by far the most common orthopedic injury in dogs, and while it’s relatively easy to fix with the correct diagnosis and therapy, the best way to deal with a torn ACL in your pup is to avoid it in the first place.

So what are some common causes of ACL tears?

We can often point to underlying causes, rather than acute injuries as the offender in ACL tears. One cause, obesity, is a rampant medical issue that adds extra stress to the joints. Dogs also experience constant flex on their knees, as they are always bent, causing the ACL to bear a constant load.

Another possible underlying causes: genetics.

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Tails from the Road:

How a Standard Lunch and Learn Brought Sunnier Days to Jill and Souldger

Smiling Pitbull copyIn September of 2013, Jill Krist’s dog Souldger was struggling with his movements. Jill, a vet tech at Dublin Vet in Ohio, says her 12 year old Pit Bull had become nonambulatory.

At the time, Vonda, a VetriScience representative, had been conducting lunch and learn sessions at Jill’s clinic twice per week. She had become familiar with Souldger’s plight during one of these teaching sessions and wanted to offer Jill one of our products that she really believed in.

So Vonda offered a sample of our new Mobility Flex formula, which contains DevCor and Perna, two well known joint support ingredients. That was Monday.

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Dog Swimming Tips

By Karin Krisher

dog swimming tipsGive it to your customers straight: Just because your dog looks like he’s having a great time swimming doesn’t mean there aren’t persistent hazards. We don’t want to scare your clients, but we do want to make them aware of dog swimming tips and concerns so that their pups stay healthy and you stay sane.

Here are three summer swimming locations, their hazards, and how your clients can address them:

1) The Lake.

Here in land-locked Burlington, Vt., we know all about lake swimming. We teach our dogs to hop in the water when they’re just babies, and our kids often learn the doggy paddle right alongside our pets. The waterfront area in Burlington is dog friendly to the max, with families bringing all breeds and ages down to cool off in the summer. But this year, things haven’t gone as planned, and lake swimming was banned at several points in the season.

Cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, took over the area. Blue-green algae colonize and essentially spread. They aren’t always poisonous, but the warning stands. If you don’t have the same municipal warning that Burlington had, here’s one way to tell if a lake, stream or river is clear: if blue-green algae is abundant, you’ll notice a “pea soup” or blue-green color on the surface of the water. The real issue here is that you can’t tell if algae is benign with just a glance. If your town or campsite doesn’t test water regularly and stringently, it’s definitely best to avoid the lake should you suspect the algae.

Give your clients these dog swimming tips: avoid any area that appears to have algae. After swimming, look out for signs of poisoning. (Not all toxins are the same—some cause liver issues, others neurological issues, but there are general signs of both).

  • Diarrhea
  • Not eating
  • Black-tarry stool
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Pale gums
  • Jaundice (yellow) gums
  • Shock
  • Vomiting

(petmd)

2) The swimming pool.

Aside from the obvious hazards, like children playing in or near the pool and the very fact of a tight, closed space that might be difficult for older dogs to get in and out of, what deterrents to the dog crowd could a pool possibly offer? Hosing a dog off and supervising him or her so that s/he doesn’t swallow too much water should cover any issues you have with pool chlorine content. (Still, considering Derma-Strength to support health and hydration of their skin and coats can’t hurt.)

But other hazards come up, and they’re similar to pool hazards humans experience. Senior dogs and puppies will usually require supervision. It’s always beneficial to spend some time training a dog to swim if you plan for it to spend time around a pool. And finally, there’s never a downside to a cute, dog-sized life vest.

3) The ocean.

The ocean is a scary place to swim when you’re a dog. There are no true boundaries, and you’re probably not quite sure where your dog’s personal boundaries lie, either. To help your clients keep their dogs safe at the ocean, tell them of the dangers and clinical signs of salt poisoning. Dogs will always drink ocean water if they aren’t provided with clean, fresh water, especially after a day in the sun. For this reason, hydration is of the utmost importance. Properly supervising a pup in the waves
can go a long way; don’t allow them to wander off, as they likely won’t be able to negotiate an undertow.

In every swimming scenario, it’s important to pay attention. And it can never hurt to let your clients know about a doggy CPR course nearby!

Have you ever seen a patient who had a watery mishap and could have used some of these dog swimming tips? Tell us the story in a comment!

 

Composure for your July 4th

By Karin Krisher

Whether you’re a veterinarian or one of our loyal pet-owning fans (or both), you’ve likely come to recognize the temper flare that arrives every year around this time.

Fear is a scary thing. It can turn even the most tranquil cats into frenzied felines, the most peaceful dogs into cantankerous canines, and the most docile horses into edgy equine. If you’re one of the thousands of people who’ve seen dogs, cats and horses make a run for it at the crack of thunder or the sudden burst of a celebratory fireworks display, you know that this can turn your holiday (and theirs) into a literal cat and mouse game that doesn’t always have a simple solution—or a winner.

Keep Your Composure

As we sidle up to July in the familiar fashion, there’s a lot to celebrate: The heat, the family gatherings, the sunshine—and of course, our nation’s Independence Day. But while others pass the potato salad after a cool dip in the pool, pet owners are gearing up for the tirade of anxious behavior (and possible stampedes) that can be caused by the stress of a loud surprise or the parade crowd waving flags. This Fourth of July also brings us a full moon, so we’re in for double trouble.

If your companion animal (or any that you know!) experiences stress at this time of year, don’t panic. This type of behavior (running, crying, sleeping, aggressive attitude, etc.) is a normal fear response. Before the fireworks and barbecue season begins, think about your pets’ behavior during times of increased stress.

Do they tend to run away? Sleep all day? Urinate in places that you would rather they just didn’t? Whatever your pets’ reactions, respond to them appropriately. For example, if your dog tends to get restless when you have visitors, try to tucker him out with a Frisbee game in the park before the guests arrive. If your cat cowers beneath the couch when the fireworks begin, consider taking him to a friend’s place so he’s out of earshot.

Most importantly, if you have any fear of your animal exiting the scene without warning, be sure she or he has either a microchip or classic proper identification that contains clear, legible contact information.

Finally, consider supplemental support. Vetri-Science Laboratories’ Composure chews are incredibly popular this time of year, and with good reason. They’re delicious (so while you’re enjoying blueberry pie your pup won’t feel left out) and they provide calming support for pets exposed to environmental stress. We also offer this supplement in a paste for horses, a liquid, and in a human version, so you too can keep your cool.

If your dog is alongside you on the blanket while you revel in the glow of the park at night, take a moment to think about his needs. And then make a move. We can all agree that everyone deserves to celebrate summer in peace.

Has your pet, or a pet you’ve treated before, ever lost it a little bit? How did you respond? Tell us your story in a comment!

NASC Conference Attendee Tells It Like It Was

By Karin Krisher

On Tuesday, I dragged myself to the airport at 4:30 a.m., when even the sun hadn’t NASCopened his eyes. Just because I used the word dragged doesn’t qualify this as a complaint—anytime you’re traveling to California, you feel pretty happy. I strapped my bright turquoise and pink duffel across my chest and slept my way through security. The plane taxied for too long, it seemed, and finally, at 5:30, juiced it down the runway.

I, as the copywriter for Vetri-Science, was off to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the National Animal Supplement Council by attending the NASC annual conference in San Diego. Vetri-Science Brand Manager Sara Phillips and Animal Division New Product Development Manager Chelsea Tomat were by my side, ready for a sunny (and educational) experience.

Let me be clear: celebrate is the right word, but that celebration included training and a whole lot of learning—in just two days. While other attendees are still reveling in the glow of receiving FoodScience Corporation’s second NASC visibility award, I’m back at my desk, plugging away. But the 48 hours I spent in San Diego were packed with information, and that’s a great thing for our customers and yours.

We hopped off our second, five-hour flight at 10:30 Pacific Time Tuesday, ready to make moves. After exploring the city and getting situated, we attended trainings all day Wednesday, which were heavily focused on labeling, adverse event reporting and social media guidelines. The main goal was to share the value of the many tools created to uphold NASC ideals, and to learn how to use them.

Given that we do our best to always stay in compliance, and we guarantee truth in labeling, this information may seem old hat to a lot of Vetri-Science employees. But for me, hearing it from the mouth of NASC President Bill Bookout solidified any knowledge I already had.

The Industry Need for NASC

The supplement industry (and animal health industry in general) truly is fueled by the motivation of its leaders to constantly cooperate while simultaneously competing. What is good for one company is good for all of us (in a business sense), and what is good for animals is also good for all of us (in a personal sense).

I was often struck by the powerful words of the featured speakers, who discussed their commitment to animal health and cited that as the reason for the development of the National Animal Supplement Council in 2002.

What more can anyone ask for in an industry than a true personal commitment that reverberates amongst all industry members, trickles down to even their entry-level employees, and permeates the hearts of their customers, resulting in, well, results? The trainings and speakers confirmed what I have known for a long time—this industry matters because this industry actually cares. And when your motivation is in the right place, so are your products.

Capping off my Wednesday evening with a lighthearted presentation from keynote speaker Bill Lawrence was both relaxing and surprisingly educational. Bill trained the horse performers in War Horse, as well as Racing Stripes and the Denzel Washington film Unstoppable. For 19 months, he worked 90 hours a week on War Horse. The behind the scenes information was astonishing—watching the final product and understanding all of the effort behind it was a beautiful experience.

We often get emotionally involved with animals’ stories without truly understanding the effort the humans and animals involved have actually put forth to share them—all in the name of art. Hearing Bill discuss how stunts are regulated by humane treatment officials, and just how committed the directors are to the animals’ health, was both revealing and reassuring.

Where older films used trip wires, we now train horses that enjoy kneeling to fall and stand. Where older films would catch a horse in a tangled mess, we now train several horses to be wrapped lightly in paper that resembles wire for just moments—and then edit the film to appear fluid. These concepts were new to me, and, in keeping with the theme of NASC, proved the animal industry’s actual commitment to animal health and wellbeing.

My flight back on Thursday afternoon found me surrounded by five screaming babies, but I was unfazed. After a two-day reminder of what humane treatment really means, and how to bring it to the rest of the world, I was feeling calm, cool and collected. But mostly, I was feeling empathetic—and above all, proud.

Keeping Pets Healthy: Why Aren’t People Taking Their Animals to the Vet?

By Karin Krisher

Here are the facts: Vets are seeing pets two to three days sicker than in the past. Progressive diseases, like cancers, are caught less often when pets don’t have regular check-ups. And internet pharmacies, high costs of keeping pets healthy and low perceived values are driving veterinary practices into the ground.

Here’s why this pattern is wrong, and how vets can step in.keeping pets healthy

Vets should continually drive the point home—preventative care is not only necessary for keeping pets healthy, it’s more cost efficient and less stressful, too. Regular check-ups save everyone a scare later.

For the vet, it feels like there isn’t a lot of room for change. Lowering costs is a surefire way to encourage more visits, but the numbers might not put you in the clear. Perhaps, then, the most important thing a veterinarian can do is to change other aspects of the practice: monitor the numbers closely, sit down when you are speaking to a client to make him or her feel that s/he has spent a significant amount of time with you (creating a higher perceived value) and encourage regular check-ups regardless of vaccine schedules.

Keeping Pets Healthy the Simple Way

Perhaps an analogy will help your customers understand: Your cat skipping the vet for two years can be likened to you skipping the doctor for two decades.

For pet owners, we can’t state this more emphatically. It doesn’t make sense to ignore pet care for any of these reasons: money, time or effort (cats hate the vet!). All three will be greater the longer you wait to bring your pet to the vet. Another reason pet owners avoid the vet is because they think it’s unnecessary. With the advent of online medical resources and pharmacies, many owners diagnose their pets at home, treating them according to the Wikipedia article’s instructions.

The Internet is a wonderful medium for obtaining all relevant information, and that information should be brought to your vet visit, too—but no one on the Internet knows your cat, or your dog, or you. The inherent problem with self-diagnoses is that they depend on general, impersonal information to address a specific, personal problem. Knowing your vet, and giving your vet the opportunity to get to know your pet well enough to treat him or her according to his/her biochemical individuality, is a much more intelligent choice for keeping pets healthy than is blindly honing in on a problem based on one or two symptoms.

Pet owners: There are a million reasons for your pet to still see the vet regularly.

Veterinarians: There are a million reasons your customers aren’t coming to see you regularly. Change that today with an open discussion about the very real value of your practice and the meaning of expertise.

Have you made changes in your practice to encourage people to visit? Tell us about them in a comment!

Talk to Your Customers About Pet Rehabilitation

By Karin Krisher

In May 2010, the American Board of Veterinary Specialties granted the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation recognition as a veterinary specialty organization. The lead-up to this Pet Rehabilitationdecision was marked by growing support for pet rehabilitation centers, especially those that focused on recovery after sports injuries or related surgeries.

Decades in the making, the field of veterinary rehabilitation has emerged nearly uncontested. As it continues to evolve from a niche service into a more accessible and highly sought after treatment, it’s easy to see why animal rehabilitation is on the up and up.

Vetri-Science partners are no strangers to this type of alternative/supplemental treatment, and all over the country, we’re encountering vets and practices that are branching off from tradition, viewing animal health in a whole new light. One such practice features three rehabilitation clinics in Pennsylvania and is a member of the AARV, or the American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians, a registered non-profit.

The Palmyra, Silver Springs and Colonial Park Animal Clinics and the Central Pennsylvania Veterinary Rehabilitation and Imaging Center are all part of Central PA Animal Clinics, which work to rehab animals with various conditions, or even those with no obvious rehab need that may benefit from physical therapy.

Like the Central PA Clinics, Carolina Animal Rehab and Exercise Center offers modalities and services that focus exclusively on physical therapy. These include chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage, thermal, whirlpool and swim therapy, land treadmills, and ultrasounds.

The Referral for Pet Rehabilitation

More and more, veterinary medicine is headed the way of human medical care, as practices are separated into distinct specialties and “referral practices” continue to emerge en masse. As many referral clinics now include rehabilitation services, the process of referral, and the benefit for you and your clients, is important to understand.

Pet RehabilitationAs Bernard E. Rollin outlines in Veterinary Medical Ethics, “The relationship between a referral and a general practice is, at root, a symbiotic one. The referral practice benefits from cases first seen by general practitioners, cases calling for expertise and skill beyond what is expected in a general practitioner; the referring veterinarian benefits from having a ready source of expertise for such cases.”

To some pet owners, a referral that points them to these types of alternatives might come as a surprise. The traditional standpoint on medicine doesn’t extend far past diagnosis and cure—but discussing these options with your patients might be the wake up call their pets need.

Talk to your customers about pet rehabilitation before performing a surgery. Let them know that recovery for animals is just like recovery for humans—it takes time, but there are things we can do to help it along.

Have you ever referred a patient to a pet rehabilitation clinic? What was the outcome? Tell us in a comment!