Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Q: Does AAHA really matter?

Dr. Schaeberle,

I’m new to the area, what should I look for in a veterinary hospital? You’re AAHA accredited, does that matter?



Dear Michael,

I feel that the York area has been blessed with many excellent small animal (dogs and cats) veterinarians over the years. When I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, I elected to accept a job at Leader Heights Animal Hospital working with two excellent veterinarians, doctors Moist and Reckleffs. After a few years of gaining real world experience, I eventually founded the Shiloh Veterinary Hospital in 1979, focusing on the needs of dogs and cats.

As with most businesses however, a veterinary practice must find a market niche and then excel with that selection. I always felt it was important for my practice to have a high standard of care. When the Shiloh Veterinary Hospital became accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) in 1987, our standard of care became realized. Veterinary practices that accept the challenge of accreditation are evaluated on stringent quality standards that encompass all aspects of pet care - ranging from patient care and pain management to team training and medical records. Through accreditation, we gained external validation that our practice and our team operates at the highest standards.

It allowed our clients to gain peace of mind, because they know an AAHA-accredited practice is a team that they can trust to provide the very best care for their beloved pets. I am very proud of our staff, we have 5 certified veterinary technicians and 7 veterinarians. We also have a great team of receptionists, veterinary assistants and kennel staff that keeps our hospital running as smoothly as possible.

There are only 4 small animal hospitals in the York Area accredited by the AAHA. The Shiloh Veterinary Hospital in Dover, Shiloh Veterinary Hospital East in Manchester and Patton Veterinary Hospital in Red Lion.

When looking for a veterinarian remember the value in quality of care, availability and needs of your pet.

To learn more about AAHA or the value in high quality care, please go to our website: www.myshilohvet.com.

Thomas Schaeberle, VMD

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Q: Bleeding Nail life threatening?

Dr. Schaeberle,

Can my dog “Sam” bleed to death if I cut his toenails too short?



Dear April,

The short answer to your question is: No. It is true that there is a vein in each toenail, and if cut too short, it will bleed like crazy, but Sam will not bleed to death. Any one who has ever trimmed a pet’s nails will tell you they occasionally accidentally trim one too short and make it bleed, even veterinarians and groomers. What I like to do before I start is make sure I have some styptic powder (a powder used to stop the bleeding that is sold at all pet shops) open and ready to go BEFORE I begin clipping. That way if I do nick one, I’m not frantically looking all over the place for it. I can then readily get some of the powder and apply it immediately to the bleeding nail. If you don’t have styptic powder, corn starch or even baby powder may work, but styptic powder is the best.

Not all dogs need their nails trimmed, but most do at some time or another. A pet’s activity and environment may dictate the frequency of the trims. The best time to get started on trimming your pet’s nails is when they are puppies or kittens. Get them used to it early, and they’re usually comfortable with it throughout their lives. And it always helps to pour on the praise and hugs while you’re doing it. Offering treats throughout the process can help a lot, too.

There are multiple instruments that can be used for nail trimming. There are three main types with many variations of each: the guillotine, scissor, and grinder. One is really not any better than the others, it’s more of a personal preference for the user, and most importantly for the pet. You may even need to try multiple devices before you find the right fit for you and Sam.

Many dogs don’t like to have their nails trimmed at all. You do have a few choices. One is to take them to your veterinarian, or a groomer. Some pet shops offer this service, too. Another is to start all over from the beginning and just trim a little at a time, one nail a day with lots of praise and treats until you’re both comfortable. As a last resort, some dogs need to be sedated by your veterinarian and their nails trimmed while they’re asleep.

The key is to start young and do it often and hopefully that will lead to a happy and carefree nail trimming.

FYI…did you know that only primates have nails? Dogs and cats technically have claws.

Thomas Schaeberle, VMD

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Q: Professional Teeth cleaning every year?

Dr. Schaeberle,

My neighbor has her dog’s teeth cleaned every year. Is it really necessary to get it done that often?



Dear Matt,

Some dogs and cats do need to get their teeth cleaned yearly. Others don’t need it that often, and I’ve even seen some that have great teeth their entire lives and never need to have them cleaned. You need to make that decision with your
veterinarian at your pet’s annual wellness exam.

There are many advantages to getting your pet’s teeth cleaned frequently. One of the most important is that you can add one to three years to your pet’s life expectancy, and wouldn’t we all love to have our pets with us for as long as we can! Another more obvious reason is to help control bad breath or halitosis. A lot of times that smell is coming from an infection in the mouth, known as gingivitis or periodontitis. Antibiotics, teeth cleaning and sometimes extractions will help clear that up.

Getting your pet’s teeth cleaned and polished regularly will also help prevent advanced gingivitis and periodontitis that can become very painful to your pet. It is not at all uncommon for my clients to report back to me after a dental cleaning and extraction of infected teeth that their pet is more playful and active and eating better.

I know it costs a few extra dollars to get their teeth cleaned often, but it will also save you a lot of money in the long run. Once the teeth start decaying, and your veterinarian has to take x-rays and extract those infected teeth, the cost can really escalate.

My advice would not be complete if I did not emphasize the importance of brushing your pet’s teeth multiple times a week (daily if possible), too. You can all stop laughing now, but I think you realize how important this is. And yes, I know that some pets – ok, a lot of pets – won’t let you do it. But the more you keep trying, the better the chance they may eventually let you do it. Getting them started as puppies and kittens is always the best way. Ask your veterinarian or one of their nurses how to brush your pet’s teeth.

By having your pet’s teeth cleaned regularly, you help them live longer, prevent a lot of pain and discomfort, and save yourself a lot of money while you’re at it. Just imagine if you never brushed your teeth and didn’t go to the dentist for several years!

Talk to your vet about this at your next visit. Your pet will love you longer for it.

Thomas Schaeberle, VMD

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Q: Activities for Indoor Cats?

Dr. Schaeberle,

My indoor cat seems to be bored and tries to get outside. What can I do to keep him happy to stay inside where it’s safer for him?



Keeping cats indoors is the safest way to avoid many types of injuries, illnesses and parasites as well as ensuring they don’t get lost or stolen. However, many cats living totally indoors without an enriched environment will become bored, stressed and overweight, severely compromising their physical and mental well-being. Fortunately, there are some easy, inexpensive ways to enrich your cats’ lives while keeping them safer as inside cats.

Much of a cat’s normal behavior stems from the fact that their ancestors were hunters who needed their keen senses and physical prowess to obtain food and avoid danger. Today’s domestic pet cat has retained many of the hunting instincts as well as the need to feel safe.

Hunting behaviors, such as stalking, chasing and pouncing, can be seen in the way cats play. Playing with toys that simulate prey is very stimulating for many cats. Dr. Tony Buffington of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, suggests going one step further and identifying your cat’s prey preference. The site states that most cats prefer to hunt a specific type of animal, such as birds, mice or insects. Feathers or feathered toys on a string or wand can simulate birds if you move them through the air. Small stuffed toys can resemble rodents, and are especially interesting to cats if you make them move. Playing with laser lights, a string with a knot tied at the end, or pieces of dry food rolled across the floor can be similar to chasing bugs. Try all three types of toys separately for a few days in a row to determine your cat’s preference.

Feeding cats from interactive food-dispensing toys instead of from a bowl is another way to satisfy your cat’s need to hunt. It’s a good idea to purchase a variety of food toys and alternate them each day. Hiding food and treats in your house for cats to sniff out is also a fun game for many cats.

Have you ever considered training your cat to do tricks? Cats respond well to food treats and can learn even faster with clicker training. Training with positive reinforcement methods is a great way to stimulate your cat’s mind and increase your bond.

If you want to give your cat a chance to be outside safely, you may consider purchasing a comfortable harness and taking your cat outside on a leash. To provide a little more freedom outside, there are fences made specifically to allow cats to enjoy the outdoors without a chance to escape.

Providing a variety of comfortable elevated resting places is another way to satisfy your cat’s needs. Cats often prefer to rest in high places where they are less vulnerable to disturbance or potential danger. They also enjoy having elevated perches from which to observe household activities as well as look out windows. You can provide your cat with hours of enjoyment by planting butterfly-attracting flowers outside a window and feeding birds near another.

Learning more about normal cat behavior is a great way to understand their needs and provide a healthy, happy indoor home for them. For more ideas, I recommend visiting our website, go to Training Classes and then click on Cat Tips.

Thomas Schaeberle, VMD

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