Frequently Asked Questions
CANINE INFLUENZA There have been no further outbreaks of canine influenza reported since the spring. We have the influenza vaccine in stock. Dogs must be vaccinated in a series of two PRIOR to exposure for it to be effective.
Stress Free Fear Free Veterinary Visits
We are proud to be actively implementing stress free/fear free protocols at Homosassa Animal & Bird Hospital. From the front door to the back door we try to make your pet's visit to the doctor as positive as possible. There are no loud noises, soft music on the radio, and no strong smells. A strong disinfectant can obliterate your pet's
sense of smell for up to 10 days! None of us use perfumes, and ALL staff members wear appeasing pheromones on their clothing as well as in the exam rooms. Treat rewards are given frequently to dogs and cats to make the examination and vaccination procedures a positive experience. Dr Hall lets the patient take their own time to get acclimated, and no aggressive handling is used. Cats and dogs are boarded in separate areas of the hospital to keep noise at a minimum. www.preventivevet.com
Why are human pharmacies so scary?
Human pharmacists receive NO training in animal medications and how they are different from animal medications, either by mechanism of action, dosing differences, or drug interactions. When filling a prescription the pharmacist has no knowledge of the pet's age or health status, pet's diagnosis or disease state, or current medications. Many pet owners need help with what medications are being used for, and what potential problems or side effects to be aware of. These questions can ONLY be answered by your pet's veterinarian! Many human medications are dosed very differently than in dogs and cats, and many human medications can be toxic to your pet if it is interchanged for something different than what was prescribed.
BIRD CARE BASICS
No bird cockatiel sized or larger should be feed a seed-based diet. Seeds are of poor nutritional value, high in fats, and will cause deficiencies that can greatly shorten your bird's life expectancy. Birds are very social creatures and should have a MINMUM of four hours interactive time with people. A variety of toys and foraging activities will increase your bird's emotional well-being. Cages, food and water dishes should be cleaned AT LEAST once daily. A physical examination by an avian veterinarian should be performed every year. A very basic rule of thumb is; nothing white & processed should be fed. That is: no white flour, salt, sugar or fats. Good bird diets include; Harrison's, LaFeber, Mazuri, and Zoopreem. Many you can find at your local pet store. DO NOT buy foods packed in bulk. ALL FOODS SHOULD BE IN A SEALED & EXPIRATION DATED PACKAGE. Fruits & vegetables should be thoroughly washed before offering. www.lafeber.com/pet-bird/bird-foraging
DO NOT FEED:
chocolate - caffeine & theobromine are toxic with symptoms of hyperactivity, seizures and possibly death.
Alcohol: Goes without saying that liver toxicities will occur.
Avocado: All parts contain persin which is cardiotoxic to birds. Small birds are considered more susceptible, but symptoms have been observed in other species such as ostriches. Death can occur in 1-2 days after ingestion.
Onion & Garlic: Toxicity is well recognized in dogs and cats. Concentrated forms like powders or soup mixes are more potent than raw vegetables. Fatal toxicities have been described in geese fed large amounts of green onions.
Comfry: Can cause liver damage.
Stone fruit pits or apple seeds: All stone fruit pits contain natural cyanide.
Sugar-free candies: The compound Xylitol, a sugar alternative, has reported toxicities with liver damage and dangerously low blood sugar levels.
SHOULD NOT be fed:
Dairy products: Although not technically toxic, bird species cannot digest lactose. Excesses can lead to diarrhea.
Foods high in fat, salt, and sugar: Unhealthy table foods can lead to serious health problems in birds. My general rule is "nothing white or processed". Better choices such as whole grain, salt-free food items are readily available.
Fed with Caution:
Peanuts: Moldy peanuts or other grain products can be contaminated by a fungus (aflatoxin) which can be deadly in even very small amounts.
Plants in the nightshade family: Fruits of these plants are safe to eat, but the plants themselves are toxic. This includes; green tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplant. The leaves of the rhubarb plant, spinach, and asparagus all contain oxalates which can lead to kidney problems. MUSHROOMS: any mushroom safe for human consumption is safe for your bird. Do NOT offer false morels (gyromitra) as they can be fatal, even hen cooked down.
Grit: Grit can aid in digestion in those birds that consume whole seeds like pigeons and doves, but is not necessary for birds tat crack tied hulls like parrots. Some birds will overeat grit when ill, which can lead to a blockage.
WHAT DOES THAT BLOODWORK MEAN?
CBC=COMPLETE BLOOD COUNT
Measures the major blood cells in the body that are involved in hydration, the ability of the body to fight infection, anemia, the body's ability to clot, and the immune system to respond.
RBC are produced in the bone marrow and carry oxygen from the lungs to the body organs. Reticulocytes are immature RBC that indicate the body's bone marrow response to increased demand.
WBC are made up of 5 different components;
lymphocytes are produced in the lymph nodes, help fight infection, and produce antibodies to protect from inflammation and disease.
neutrophils are the primary infection fighters
monocytes are increased in chronic disease
basophils and eosinophils are increased in allergies or parasitic infections
PLATELETS are constantly produced from the bone marrow and are the primary ingredient in clot formation
PCV (packed cell volume) measures the percentage of blood cells to total blood volume and gives a snapshot of anemia
BIOCHEMISTRY PROFILE measures organ function of the body
ALB=albumin is produced by the liver and keeps fluid in the blood vessels. Low ALB is either a loss from the GI tract, kidneys, or reduced production by the liver.
ALP/ALKP=alkaline phosphatase originates from several tissues in the body (liver, bone, and increased cortisol hormone)
ALT=alanine aminotransferase is a sensitive indicator of liver disease but doesn't specify the cause
AST=asparate aminotransferace elevations may indicate liver, heart, or skeletal muscle damages
AMY=AMYLASE (and LIPASE) are produced from the pancreas and GI tract, and aid in fat digestion. Elevations may indict pancreatic disease.
BA= BILE ACIDS are produced in the liver, aid in fat breakdown, and are eliminated in the stool & urine. Elevated BA may indicate liver disease, gall bladder disease, or RBC destruction.
BA is a specific test for liver function, especially in birds and reptiles.
BUN=blood urea nitrogen is produced in the liver and kidneys. BUN is a byproduct of protein digestion. Over 75% of the kidneys must be destroyed before an elevation of BUN occurs. It is of no value in birds.
CALCIUM is produced in the bones, but is influenced by hormonal activity. Increases occur in some cancers, chronic kidney disease, and egg laying in birds. Decreases occur in poor diet or nursing.
CHOLESTEROL is similar as in humans. High cholesterol is much more common in dogs. Increases occur in hormonal birds, high fat diets, and in some predisposed breeds (schnauzers & Amazon parrots)
CORTISOL is a hormone that is measured for Cushing's disease (excess amounts, or Addison's disease (deficient amounts)
CREATININE is produced from waste from muscle tissue and eliminated from the kidneys. Increases are seen in kidney disease.
CK=creatinine kinase is released from muscle tissue damage. Increases are seen after seizures, after capture in birds, and after heart muscle damage.
GLUCOSE is blood sugar and is eliminated in the urine. Increases are from diabetes, or from stress especially in cats. Decreases can be from sepsis or pancreatic cancer.
ELECTROLYTES (NA, CL, K)
NA= sodium is lost in vomiting & diarrhea, kidney disease and Addison's disease
CL-chloride is lost in vomiting and Addison's disease, decreased in dehydration
K =potassium is lost with vomiting, diarrhea, or excess urination. Increased in Addison's disease, urinary obstruction, kidney failure or dehydration. High levels can cause a heart attack.
PHOSPHOROUS originates from the bones and are regulated by the hormone PTH that also regulates calcium. It is increased in chronic kidney disease.
Ca & Phos levels are very important in assessing kidney function in reptiles. Normal levels in reptiles should be calcium to phos at 2:1. These levels are inversed in kidney failure Ca & Phos levels are very important in assessing kidney function in reptiles. Normal levels in reptiles should be calcium to phos at 2:1. These levels are inversed in kidney failure
SDMA is a new, sensitive and specific test for very early kidney disease. Elevations in SDMA can occur with as little as 25% kidney damage
spec CPL is a pancreatic specific enzyme test that provides accurate screening for pancreatic function
TP=total protein is made up of ALB and Globulins. Globulins are antibodies that are increased in immune stimulation or dehydration.
TOTAL BILIRUBIN is produced from the bile duct and liver. Increases occur in damage the to bile duct (obstruction, tumor), liver disease, or RBC destruction.
T4=THYROID HORMONE generally regulates metabolism but affects many systems including the skin, eyes, heart, and blood pressure. Dogs are only low, cats are only high, and humans can be either.
UA=urinalysis gives much information such as bladder or kidney infections, glucose as in diabetes, crystals which can form stones (surgical condition), blood which can be from the kidneys, bladder tumor, or inflammation (cystitis), and if the kidneys are working properly to concentrate urine.
URIC ACID is the primary indicator of kidney health in birds and reptiles. It is the end product of protein breakdown in the exotic patient. Elevations in uric acid are usually late in the disease process.