Is Your Dog’s Food Breaking Her Heart? An Inside Look at Grain-Free Diets and Heart Disease

In July 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it was investigating reports of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs eating certain pet foods. Many of these reports included small or medium-size breeds not typically known to develop DCM. If your pet is eating a BEG diet (i.e., a diet that includes boutique, exotic, or grain-free foods), you may want to reconsider your food choice to avoid its potential link to heart disease, and ask your Denver veterinarian for recommendations. What is a BEG diet? A BEG diet has three components: Boutique diets, which are manufactured by small companies that often do not conduct food trials or invest in a board-certified veterinary nutritionist, and may instead opt to fund flashy marketing campaigns to appeal to pet owners Exotic diets, whichare formulated with exotic meats, like kangaroo or squid Grain-free diets, which have exploded in popularity due to extensive marketing and which play on the low-carb diet fads in human nutrition; these diets include potatoes, peas, lentils, and other legumes instead of the commonly used corn and rice These three pet-food types are popular with pet owners due to marketing that plays on the shift in human diets toward healthier, low-carb options. However, animals do not digest food like people and have different nutritional requirements. Your pet’s diet should be based on her specific needs and follow the World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s nutrition guidelines.  What is canine dilated cardiomyopathy? DCM is a genetic condition diagnosed in large- and giant-breed dogs,
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Pet Fireworks Safety in Denver

Fireworks are a 4th of July tradition, but they can also be a major source of fear and anxiety for dogs and cats. The bright flashes, thunderous explosions, and crowds of people are simply too overwhelming for many pets. Additionally, fireworks can be a health hazard if your pet gets too close to them. Before the celebrating commences, review these pet fireworks safety tips from our animal hospital. Make sure your dog and/or cat has up-to-date ID tags Talk to us about having your pet microchipped if they aren’t already, and make sure the contact information entered into the microchip registry is up-to-date Consider behavioral therapy to help your pet become desensitized to loud noises Keep doors and gates secure so your pet doesn’t escape Avoid bringing your pet along to Fourth of July celebrations, parades, and fireworks shows If your pet is used to being crated, consider crating them before a fireworks celebration or party If you’re doing fireworks at home, keep your pet(s) in the house. They could be harmed if they get too close to the fireworks, or they might run off Check your yard for fireworks debris before letting your pet outside If you have any questions for your veterinarian about pet fireworks safety, please contact us at (720) 503-9559.
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Summer Pet Safety

How to Keep Your Pet Out of Trouble During the Summer Here in Colorado in the summertime, what better place is there to be than outdoors? Aside from the beautiful views and warm weather, there’s plenty of nature to enjoy, especially the flowers. However, before you take your dog for a hike in the foothills, consider your likelihood of encountering poisonous plants. Larkspur and lupines are gorgeous violet-hued blooms that sprout in the mountain meadows, and as nice as they are to look at, they’re also extremely poisonous. And the heat might not seem so oppressive now, but how will your dog be holding up in the next one to two hours? Summer brings with it a variety of hazards, for both people and pets. Heat, poisonous plants, parasites, and wildlife abound during this mild season, and it’s your responsibility to ensure your pet’s well-being. Summer Pet Safety Tips Make sure your pet always has access to plenty of shade, fresh, clean water, and shelter from the elements if they’re spending extended periods outside Keep a lookout for the following poisonous plants around your property and along hiking trails: Lupines Larkspur Western water hemlock (rare, but very dangerous) Locoweed Poison ivy, oak, and sumac Autumn crocus Holly Schedule your dog’s walks for the early morning or evening hours when it’s cooler Avoid walking your dog on asphalt or other surfaces Never, ever leave them unattended in a parked vehicle—even with the windows rolled down, the interior of a car can
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How to Properly Handle Stapleton Wildlife

In Stapleton, there is more space dedicated to parks, greens, courtyards, greenways, wildlife refuges, mews, and parkways than there is to residential homes. And, an abundance of green space brings with it an abundance of wildlife, especially during the spring “baby” season. So, what do you do if you’re taking a stroll down the Westerly Creek trail and stumble upon a baby animal? Here are a few tips. PROBLEM: You’ve found a baby bird on the ground. SOLUTION: Begin by trying to determine the baby’s age. Baby birds go through three stages: • Hatchling — About 0-3 days old, a hatchling’s eyes will still be closed, and it might have down on its body. • Nestling — About 3-13 days old, a nestling will have open eyes, but its wing feathers might still be in their protective sheaths, making them look more like tubes than wings. • Fledgling — A fledgling is usually at least 14 days old and is fully feathered. A fledgling will be able to walk, hop, or flutter, but it might still be working on its flying skills. Hatchlings and nestlings are not yet ready to leave the nest, so if you find one on the ground and can see a nest nearby, you should try to pick it up and return it to the nest. It is a myth that mother birds will abandon their young if a human has touched them. Birds do not have a good sense of smell, and they cannot smell
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Top 10 Cat Emergencies

Cats often become reclusive and hide when they are not feeling well, which makes knowing when they need to be seen by your veterinarian a challenge. They have unique signs of emergency conditions that often go unrecognized by owners. Some injuries are obvious, such as a cat with an open wound, while others have more subtle signs that can be equally dangerous if left untreated. Knowing signs of illness is crucial in determining when to seek emergency care for your cat. Below is a list of some of the most common cat emergencies and their signs.   Urethral Obstruction This is a condition in which a cat, usually male, is unable to urinate due to a blockage in the urethra (the tube leading from the urinary bladder to the outside environment). Cats will show a sudden onset of restless behavior, which includes frequent trips in and out of the litter box. They will often attempt to urinate in unusual places such as in a bath tub or on a plastic bag. You may notice a very small stream of urine that contains blood. More often than not, despite a cat’s straining, there may be no urine or even just a drop produced. In later stages of the obstruction, cats may cry loudly, vomit, and become lethargic. You should consider these signs a serious emergency and seek veterinary care immediately. There are reports of cats developing kidney failure and dying within 12 hours after the onset of signs. Expect your cat
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Keep Your Pets Safe This Spring!

Spring has sprung, and with the change of season, our thoughts turn to Easter celebrations, spring cleaning and much-needed home improvement projects. Before you embark on seasonal chores or outdoor revelry, take inventory of potential springtime hazards for your furry friends. Easter Treats and Decorations Keep lilies and candy in check—chocolate goodies are toxic to cats and dogs, and all true lilies can be fatal if ingested by cats. And be mindful, kitties love to nibble on colorful plastic grass, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting and dehydration. Moreover, while live bunnies, chicks and other festive animals are adorable, resist the urge to buy them—these cute babies grow up fast and often require specialized care! Screen Yourself Many pet parents welcome the breezy days of spring by opening their windows. Unfortunately, they also unknowingly put their pets at risk—especially cats, who are apt to jump or fall through unscreened windows. Be sure to install snug and sturdy screens in all of your windows. Buckle Up! While most dogs love to feel the wind on their furry faces, allowing them to ride in the beds of pick-up trucks or stick their heads out of moving-car windows is dangerous. Flying debris and insects can cause inner ear or eye injuries and lung infections, and abrupt stops or turns can cause major injury, or worse! Pets riding in cars should always be secured in a crate or wearing a seatbelt harness designed especially for them. Spring Cleaning Spring cleaning
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Easter Pet Poisons

The veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline receive hundreds of calls this time of year from pet owners and veterinarians concerning cats that have ingested Easter lilies. “Unbeknownst to many pet owners, Easter lilies are highly toxic to cats,” said Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS assistant director at Pet Poison Helpline. “All parts of the Easter lily plant are poisonous – the petals, the leaves, the stem and even the pollen. Cats that ingest as few as one or two leaves, or even a small amount of pollen while grooming their fur, can suffer severe kidney failure.” In most situations, symptoms of poisoning will develop within six to 12 hours of exposure. Early signs include vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy and dehydration. Symptoms worsen as kidney failure develops. Some cats will experience disorientation, staggering and seizures. “There is no effective antidote to counteract lily poisoning, so the sooner you can get your cat to the veterinarian, the better his chances of survival will be,” said Brutlag. “If you see your cat licking or eating any part of an Easter lily, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately. If left untreated, his chances of survival are low.” Treatment includes inducing vomiting, administering drugs like activated charcoal (to bind the poison in the stomach and intestines), intravenous fluid therapy to flush out the kidneys, and monitoring of kidney function through blood testing. The prognosis and the cost – both financially and physically – to the pet owner and cat, are best when treated immediately. There are
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