Archives: Dr. Mych

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Preparing Las Vegas For Canine Influenza

Dr. Mychajlonka

By: Kurt Mychajlonka, D.V.M.

With the continuing dog flu outbreak in multiple states, dog owners are concerned about what they can do to mitigate the risk posed to their pets. To date, over two thousand dogs have become sick with the highly contagious Canine Influenza virus and at least six have died.

Currently there are two known strains of canine influenza, also known as The Dog Flu, which have now been identified in the United States. The original influenza virus identified in 2004 and was typed as H3N8. Dogs involved the most recent outbreak were originally thought to have H3N8, but testing identified a new subtype, H3N2.

Strains of canine influenza often cause a loss of appetite, fever, coughing, nasal discharge, lethargy. About 50-80% of infected dogs have symptoms of mild kennel cough, this includes sneezing, a runny nose, eye discharge, and a cough-like sound made by some dogs, especially small ones, which is called a reverse sneeze. What’s more worrisome is that some dogs who are exposed to the virus never actually develop symptoms but can still infect others.

The typical recovery period for dogs is like a mild form of kennel cough; between 10 to 30 days after symptoms develop. Dogs with an acute form rapidly fall ill within 4 – 6 hours and have fevers which run between 104 to 106 degrees. Currently, there isn’t any evidence that canine influenza is contagious to humans. However, the H3N2 form could potentially be transmitted to cats.

If you suspect your dog of having canine influenza, make sure to remove them from any dog related activities. Isolation is the only way to make sure the virus isn’t spread to other pets. Mild cases are treated with cough suppressants, rest, and supportive care. If a secondary bacterial infection is suspected, antibiotics are used to mitigate the contamination. However, severe cases may require hospitalization, IV fluids, and oxygen support.

Just this year, the dog influenza virus was spotted in California for the first time. Pet owners in Las Vegas can have the “it doesn’t happen here” mentality. Sometimes we get ahead of ourselves and think we live in a bubble void of infectious diseases for our pets. Unfortunately, all it takes is one dog infected with canine influenza to bring the virus to an area. It is not a case of if there will be an outbreak of canine influenza in Las Vegas, but when.

The good news is that now there is now a vaccine for both H3N8 & H3N2 strains of canine influenza. This immunization should be considered for dogs who visit dog shows, grooming salons, boarding facilities, doggie day care, or those that participate in group dog activities. It is also recommended for dogs who are considered ‘at risk’. These include puppies, aging dogs, and those who are known to have a weak resilience to infections.

Outbreaks of dog flu occur when the virus infects naïve dogs. A naïve dog is one who hasn’t ever been exposed to the virus, or that hasn’t been vaccinated against virus. By vaccinating more dogs in our area for canine influenza, we can in essence “protect the herd”.

There are a few other common sense tips to prevent your dog from acquiring dog flu, these include: washing your hands after petting or contacting other dogs, avoiding contact with unknown dogs, and avoiding shared water bowls or items in public areas.

There is always some inherent risk of infectious disease in any group dog activity. By participating in these activities you offer your dog the benefits of physical exercise, mental stimulation, confidence, and decrease their boredom as well as their destructive behaviors. Therefore, there is little basis for limiting your dog’s activities unless an outbreak is reported in your area.

Vaccination for canine influenza doesn’t prevent dogs from becoming infected, but rather decreases the severity and duration of illness. The immunization also causes an infected dog to shed less virus that could infect other dogs.

Starting in January 2017 at Craig Road Animal Hospital we will start recommending that dogs are who are boarding are vaccinated for both strains of canine influenza. On June 1st, 2017, it will become mandatory for all boarding dogs to be vaccinated for both strains for the protection of all boarding pets as well as our patients. If you have any questions or concerns, please consult your veterinarian.

Dec 15, 2016 0 720 Views

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“Why does my dog eat poop?!?”

Kurt Mychajlonka, DVM

Veterinarian Kurt Mychajlonka D.V.M. [Dr.Mych] of Craig Road Animal Hospital in North West Las Vegas identifies the causes why a dog might eat his own feces, aka coprophagia, and shares some helpful tips on how to nix the dirty habit.

By Kurt Mychajlonka, DVM

Yes, dogs eat poop, no matter how horrified the owner may be. But eating poop-technically known as coprophagia-is actually a common canine behavior.

When puppies are first born, mother dogs clean their puppies and ingest their feces and urine in the process. And yes, cat mothers do the same thing. Newborn pups are pretty helpless in the beginning-they can’t see, they can’t walk. The nest would get unsanitary very quickly if the mother were to allow the waste to accumulate. It is only when the puppies start eating solid food and are able to leave the nest to relieve themselves, that mom doesn’t have to worry about those little snacks left around.

“Thanks for the clean-up, mom!”

Although this behavior is recognized as natural canine behavior, it shouldn’t be ignored and may require medical attention or behavior modification.
In the instance of indoor accidents, dogs may develop a connection between punishment and presence of fecal material. Dogs may ingest their own feces so they won’t get into trouble. This is why it is important to not use negative reinforcement when housebreaking.

Boredom can be another reason for dogs to eat feces. A busy dog doesn’t have time to be bored, so increase your dog’s daily exercise through walks, playing ball, or practicing obedience commands or tricks. Give your dog a Kong filled with frozen peanut butter, or their favorite treat, to keep your dog entertained and distracted.

Another strategy to combat coprophagia is to change to a different variety of dog food. Your veterinarian may recommend a prescription or hypoallergenic diet to address underlying digestive problems. Ask your veterinarian about your individual dog’s health and diet recommendations. Always mix the new food in with the old to gradually change it over a period of 7 to 10 days.

Coprophagia can be caused by a multitude of medical and behavioral symptoms.

Another tool to break the stool eating habits are food additives like CoproBan, a roast beef flavored soft chew which is fed along with a meal and has the effect of making the stool taste undesirable. Yes, as if stool didn’t already sound undesirable tasting enough!

If none of the above works, there may be a medical problem going on with your pet. Intestinal parasites can cause dogs to eat waste due to changes in their stool. Provide a fresh fecal sample to your veterinarian to screen for any parasites. Underfeeding, a poor quality diet, or going too long between meals, may contribute to coprophagia. Your veterinarian can help evaluate your dog’s weight, provide a dietary recommendation, and provide an individualized feeding schedule that best suits your dog’s needs.

Constant outdoor supervision combined with positive reinforcement training is another method to help kick your dog of this particular habit. You’ll need a collar or head halter for the dog, a leash, and some small treats that they favor. If your dog is easy to handle, just a collar will suffice. A head halter is used for dogs more motivated to ingest feces as it will give you more control of the dog’s mouth than a collar alone. Always use the leash when taking your dog out to use the potty. The moment your pet’s waste hits the ground, call the dog over to you while keeping the treats out of sight. As soon as your dog reaches you, praise them and give them the treat. Then back away, call them again, and give them another treat. Repeat this process three to four times and the dog will have completely forgotten about his poop.

Make sure to clean stool up immediately, but only when your dog isn’t around. The best way to combat the desire to eat poop is to not have it near them. Not only is it unhealthy for your dog to eat waste, it isn’t sanitary to have feces lying around for you either. It is important to start intervention as soon as you notice your dog eating his own waste. The less time the habit gets to develop the easier it will fade. As with many behavior problems, supervision is key. Do not leave your dog unsupervised in the backyard- you cannot prevent what you aren’t witnessing!

If you encounter your dog in the act of snacking on feces, resist the temptation to yell and chase him about. Yelling and chasing may serve as reinforcement of this “game” in the future. The better strategy is to distract your dog with a squeaky toy or running in the opposite direction- either game is more fun and will distract your dog from the fecal treat nearby.

So don’t feel too bad when you notice your dog treating themselves to their own or someone else’s poop as a snack. You’re not alone, and neither are they.

Nov 13, 2015 0 2027 Views

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My Dog has Osteoarthritis – Now What? Part Two

Osteoarthritis is a common problem in dogs. Dr. Mychajlonka, also known as Dr. Mych – a veterinarian at Las Vegas’s own Craig Road Animal Hospital, in this second in an on going series of posts, discusses nutraceuticals and their use in the treatment this debilitating disease. Part one of this series on Osteoarthritis can be found here.

Dr. Mychajlonka

By Kurt Mychajlonka, DVM

3: What are Nutraceuticals, and how can they help?

Nutraceuticals is term combining the words “nutrition” and “pharmaceutical” and refers to a food, or food product, that provides health and medical benefits including the prevention of disease. Omega 3 fatty acid “EPA diets,” Glucosamine and condroitin sulphate suppliments, Avocado soybean unsaponifiables, and Manganese Ascorbate. Are all examples of nutraceuticals that may be recommended as separate supplements to be used in combination with other medications / treatments. For example, your veterinarian may want your dog to be fed Hill’s Metabolic diet to encourage weight loss, but then add a Glucosamine and condroitin sulphate supplement that also includes Avocado soybean unsaponifiables to help treat the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Not all nutraceuticals are created equal!

4: There are so many Nutraceuticals for osteoarthritis, including ones sold at my local supermarket – which ones are right for my dog?

Veterinarians use a system called ACCLAIM (see below) to evaluate drugs, but nutraceuticals in particular. You can use it also! There are always lower cost nutraceuticals, but they not all created equally.

A = A name you recognize? Products manufactured by an established company that provides educational materials is preferable to equivalent products manufactured by a new, unknown, company.
C = Clinic Experience Companies that support clinical research and have their products in clinical trials for safety, efficacy, or bioavailability that are published in peer reviewed journals are more likely to have a quality product.
C = Contents All ingredients should be clearly indicated on the product label.
L = Label Claims Label claims that are too good to be true probably are. Products with realistic label claims based on results of scientific studies, rather than testimonials, are more likely to be reputable.
A = Administration recommendations Dosing instructions should be accurate and easy to follow.
I = Identification of Lot A lot identification number or some other tracking system indicates that a pre and / or post market surveillance system exists to ensure product quality. In addition, companies that have instituted good manufacturing practices and other quality control techniques (such as tamper resistant packaging) provides evidence of a long-term investment in their product and company.
M = Manufacturer Information Basic company information should be clearly stated on the label. Preferably, this should include a website and / or details for contacting customer support.

Oct 28, 2014 0 1833 Views

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My Dog has Osteoarthritis – Now What? Part One

Osteoarthritis is a common problem in dogs. Dr. Mychajlonka, also known as Dr. Mych – a veterinarian at Las Vegas’s own Craig Road Animal Hospital, in the first of a series of posts, discusses what options are available to pet owners to treat this debilitating disease.

Dr. Mychajlonka

By Kurt Mychajlonka, DVM

Your dog has been diagnosed with osteoarthritis – welcome to a large club.
Osteoarthritis is prevalent is 1 in 5 dogs over 1 year of age. The good news that there are a lot of medications, treatments, and products to help.
Your vet will undoubtedly use a multimodal approach – which essentially means they will use multiple types of medications and treatments to help increase your pet’s mobility and decrease their pain. You can always ask your vet specific questions about your pet’s treatment but below, and the following posts, you will find answers to some of the most common questions about treating osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis, also know as degenerative joint disease, is a collection of painful symptoms revolving around the degradation of the joints which can significantly impact your pet’s ability to move about and level of activity.

1: Why does my pet need blood work to treat a joint disease?
One of the main types of medications to help treat the pain associated with osteoarthritis are NSAIDS.
Like most medications, NSAIDS can have side effects. Gastro intestinal upset and liver damage are the more serious side effects that your vet will be worried about. A baseline set of blood work will tell your veterinarian if your pet has any issues before treatment starts.
Your vet will then want to recheck the blood work periodically (typically at 3 weeks and then at 9 months) to ensure that problems are developing.
Testing may include any or all of the following, depending on your pet’s medical history; CBC, chemistry, urinalysis, and thyroid.

2: Why does my pet need to lose weight?
The single most effective thing to improve a dog’s quality of life when they are overweight, and have osteoarthritis, is to lose weight. Osteoarthritis is a disease of the joints, and being overweight puts additional strain and pressure on those joints.
Your veterinarian will use a computer modeling program to tell you how much your dog is overweight. Pets that are greater than 10% overweight can use a specific weight loss food such as Hill’s Metabolic diet.
Pets that are less than 10% overweight can use a High EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) diet such as Hill’s J/D which is specially formulated for treating dogs with Osteoarthritis. Please ensure that you follow your veterinarian’s instructions for how much to feed of a specific food.

Oct 22, 2014 0 2737 Views

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What to Know About Neutering…

Getting your pet neutered can be a daunting prospect. Dr. Mychajlonka, also known as Dr. Mych – a veterinarian at Las Vegas’s own Craig Road Animal Hospital, in a follow up to his previous post on spaying your pet, discusses what the various terms and options mean, what the impact on cost these options can have, and how to choose what is best for your pet.

Dr. Mychajlonka

By Kurt Mychajlonka, DVM

Male cats and dogs should have their reproductive abilities removed if they are not going to be bred. The correct term for this is neutering. Neutering, like spaying in female pets, can have significant health and behavioral benefits in addition to also helping to prevent the unexpected arrival of kittens, or puppies, which can add to the homeless pet problem.

For most neuters, the procedure consists of removing the testicles from the scrotum. In cats, this is particularly simple which is why cat neuters tend to be lower in price than cat spays or dog neuters.

Dr. Mych performing a laproscopic proceedure.

Cryptorchid

There is a condition called Cryptorchid which can complicate neutering a pet. Cryptorchid is a congenital defect that means that one or both of the testacies has not descended into the scrotum. This can complicate the neutering surgery and can have health implications for the pet if the pet is not neutered. Testicles can become cancerous if they are exposed to the constant additional heat inside the body. Therefore, even though cryptorchid procedures can be more expensive, it is important to go ahead with the procedure for the long term health of your dog or cat.

With some cryptorchid dogs and cats, the testicle(s) have descended most of the way and have “got stuck” in the inguinal canal. Each case is different, but usually with one or two testicles stuck in the inguinal canal the veterinary surgeon can remove them in a similar manner to a conventional neuter. This may take slightly longer so most veterinarians do charge an additional fee.

However, with some cryptorchid pets the un-descended testicle(s) are in the abdomen. Traditionally, this has meant a long, complicated, and expensive exploratory surgery, with a large incision, and with the veterinarian looking throughout the abdomen for the rouge testicle. With laparoscopy there is an alternative. The procedure is similar to a lap spay, with the veterinary surgeon making two mini incisions and then using a video camera to look for the testicle in the abdomen. Because of the smaller incisions associated with laparoscopic procedures there is less post operative pain than with an exploratory which requires a large incision the length of the abdomen. This in turn leads to a faster recovery time. There is also less need for restricting activities. Because of the additional equipment and people required for a laparoscopic procedure, they tend to be more expensive than lower cost options; however, with cryptorchid procedures they can actually be lower in price due to better visualization and not having to close a very large incision.

There are, of course, other things to think about when neutering your pet – regardless of whether your dog or cat is cryptorchid or not. Most veterinary practices will offer different options, some of which will be included and some which are not, and therefore it is important when making comparisons to make sure you are complaining like for like. All anesthetic procedures have some inherent risk – most of the items below are about minimizing these risks.

Preoperative Blood Work

Just like with humans, blood tests are a great way of giving a general snapshot of the health of your dog or cat before any procedure. This becomes particularly important when your pet is over five years of age as that is when problems with the liver and kidneys can appear but have no external symptoms. Liver and kidney function are important because those organs metabolize the anesthesia used in most procedures for dogs and cats. In order to keep a low cost option for owners we offer preoperative blood work as an optional extra depending on the age and medical history of your pet.

 I.V. Catheter

An intravenous catheter allows fluids to given to a patient during the procedure – keeping their blood pressure up and keeping the patient hydrated. Additionally, an I.V. Catheter gives the doctor direct access to a vein to give an intravenous injection in an emergency. At Craig Road Animal Hospital we feel that this is so important that we do not have an I.V. Catheter as an optional extra but included in the price of every surgery – including low cost spays and neuters.

Pain Control

Injections and tablets to go home, after a neuter, are all about controlling the amount of discomfort your pet experiences post-op (after the operation). Even with laparoscopic procedures there is a certain amount of post operative discomfort so some kind of control is always recommended. At Craig Road, we do not feel that pain control is optional and so it is included in the cost of neutering.

Micro Chipping

A pet microchip is a small device that is implanted under the skin that is embedded with a unique number. When this number is registered with your contact information it provides an easy way for veterinarians and rescue organizations to reunite lost dogs and cats with their owners. Microchips can be implanted while your pet is awake with just a small amount of discomfort; however, when your pet is being spayed or neutered is a great time to do it as your pet will feel nothing.

For many people spaying or neuter their pet is the first veterinary surgical procedure they have ever been involved with, if indeed not the first surgical procedure period! It can be confusing and scary – our job is to answer your questions and give you all the information to make an informed choice about what is right for you and your pet. If you are concerned that your pet might be cryptorchid, or if you have any other questions about spaying or neutering your dog or cat please feel free to ask any of our staff next time you are at Craig Road Animal Hospital, give us a call or email, or post in the comments below.

Jul 5, 2013 2 4534 Views

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What to Know About Spaying…

Getting your pet spayed can be a daunting prospect.  Dr. Mychajlonka, also known as Dr. Mych – a veterinarian at Las Vegas’s own Craig Road Animal Hospital, discusses what the various terms and options mean, what the impact on cost these options can have, and how to choose what is best for your pet.

Dr. Mychajlonka

By Kurt Mychajlonka, DVM

Female cats and dogs should have their reproductive abilities removed if they are not going to be bred. The correct term for this is spaying. Spaying can have significant health benefits for your pet in addition to also preventing the unexpected arrival of kittens, or puppies, which can add to the homeless pet problem.

There are effectively two types of spaying: traditional and laparoscopic.

With a traditional spay the uterus and the ovaries are removed through an incision in the abdomen. Because of the size of the incision, this is a great time to repair an umbilical hernia if your dog or cat has one. An umbilical hernia is a small lump of fatty tissue where the umbilical cord attached to the pet in the womb.

With a laparoscopic spay, sometimes known as a lap spay, only the ovaries are removed and the procedure only requires two mini incisions. The smaller incisions associated with a lap spay cause less post operative pain than with a traditional spay and that leads to a faster recovery time. There is also less need for restricting activities which makes lap spaying great for very active dogs. Because of the additional equipment and people required for a laparoscopic procedure, lap spays tend to be more expensive than lower cost options. At Craig Road Animal Hospital we try to keep the procedure competitively low cost for a spay as possible.

Dr. Mychajlonka performing a Lap Spay.

Of course, whether for traditional spaying or for a lap spay, Craig Road will be only too happy to see you and your pet. In addition to the choice between traditional spaying and laparoscopic spaying there are other options that most veterinary practices will offer and need to be thought about. All anesthetic procedures have some inherent risk – most of the items below are about minimizing these risks.

Preoperative Blood Work

Just like with humans, blood tests are a great way of giving a general snapshot of the health of your dog or cat before any procedure. This becomes particularly important when your pet is over five years of age as that is when problems with the liver and kidneys can appear but have no external symptoms. Liver and kidney function are important because those organs metabolize the anesthesia used in most procedures for dogs and cats. In order to keep a low cost option for owners we offer preoperative blood work as an optional extra depending on the age and medical history of your pet.

 I.V. Catheter

An intravenous catheter allows fluids to given to a patient during the procedure – keeping their blood pressure up and keeping the patient hydrated. Additionally, an I.V. Catheter gives the doctor direct access to a vein to give an intravenous injection in an emergency.  At Craig Road Animal Hospital we feel that this is so important that we do not have an I.V. Catheter as an optional extra but included in the price of every surgery – including low cost spays and neuters.

Pain Control

Injections and tablets to go home, after a spay, are all about controlling the amount of discomfort your pet experiences post-op (after the operation). Even with laparoscopic procedures there is a certain amount of post operative discomfort so some kind of control is always recommended.  At Craig Road, we do not feel that pain control is optional and so it is included in the cost of both traditional and lap spays.

Micro Chipping

A pet microchip is a small device that is implanted under the skin that is embedded with a unique number. When this number is registered with your contact information it provides an easy way for veterinarians and rescue organizations to reunite lost dogs and cats with their owners.  Microchips can be implanted while your pet is awake with just a small amount of discomfort; however, when your pet is being spayed or neutered is a great time to do it as your pet will feel nothing.

For many people spaying their pet is the first veterinary surgical procedure they have ever been involved with, if indeed not the first surgical procedure period! It can be confusing and scary – our job is to answer your questions and give you all the information to make an informed choice about what is right for you and your pet; whether that be a traditional spay vs. a lap spay, pre-operative blood work, I.V. cathers, pain medications and / or pain control.

Please feel free to ask any of our staff next time you are at Craig Road Animal Hospital, give us a call or email, or post in the comments below.

Jun 3, 2013 0 32230 Views

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Non Anesthetic Dental Cleanings – Too Good to be True?

There is a current resurgence in interest in the subject of Non- Anesthesia Dental Scaling: that is a dental cleaning performed while the pet is awake and usually by a non-veterinarian. Dr. Mychajlonka, a vet at Las Vegas’s own Craig Road Animal Hospital, discusses the dangers of these procedures.

Dr. Mychajlonka

By Kurt Mychajlonka, DVM

No anesthetic procedure is 100% safe. However, the reality is that even older pets can undergo an anesthetic procedure safely with the vast majority experiencing no complications what-so-ever. Indeed, the very slight risk of an anesthetic reaction is significantly outweighed by the very real risk of chronic disease from improper scaling and polishing.

The scaling done by without anesthesia is cosmetic at best and often performed by non-licensed personnel. The American Animal Hospital Association, of which Craig Road Animal Hospital is an accredited member, states that: “dental cleanings that are done without anesthetic will make your pet’s teeth prettier, but not healthier.” Only the visible 40% of the tooth is cleaned, while your pet is held down. Under the gum line (the other 60%) and the insides of the teeth, are left uncleaned.

Here at Craig Road, we want your pet dog and cat to lead a healthy long life, have fresh breath and be protected from disease. Non-Anesthesia Dental Scaling, sometimes called NADS, does none of these things and we strongly recommend against it.

Mar 7, 2013 0 19575 Views

phone: 702.645.0331 | fax: 702.645.5009 |
5051 W. Craig Road Las Vegas, NV 89130
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