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Lake Olympia Animal Hospital
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Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative disease that can affect multiple joints in the body.  It occurs when the cartilage in the joint is damaged following trauma, surgery, abnormal wear due to do a conformational defect, or excessive wear and tear in athletes or obese animals.  Articular cartilage protects the ends of bone and functions to absorb the stress of weight bearing.  When cartilage is damaged, the inflammatory cascade begins and leads to further cartilage destruction and eventually damage to the underlying bone.  
Early signs of arthritis can be subtle and easily attributed to signs of aging.  Signs of arthritis may include:  reluctance to take walks of usual length, difficulty rising from rest, stiffness that may improve as the pet moves around, difficulty climbing stairs, getting in the car, or onto furniture, limping or an abnormal gait, a change in personality, acting withdrawn, or spending less time playing.
A veterinary examination with palpation of a patient’s joints provides a good basis for the diagnosis of arthritis.  Radiographs will demonstrate the bony changes that are characteristic of osteoarthritis.  Osteophytes, enthesophytes, and bony remodeling are visible changes that can be seen on a radiograph.  Inflammatory changes associated with joint disease will be present prior to the development of radiographic changes. 
                           
Successful management of osteoarthritis requires a multimodal approach.  Diet, supplements, medications, and exercise must all be incorporated rather than just using a single therapy.  Weight management is very important.  Obesity puts extra stress on all the joints and makes it more painful to move around.  Supplements like glucosamine, chondrotin sulfate, MSM, SAMe, and omega 3 fatty acids are helpful for arthritis patients. 
 
Adequan is polysulfated glycosaminoglycan, which is a component of cartilage.  It also works to inhibit harmful enzymes involved in joint cartilage destruction, stimulate cartilage repair, and increase joint lubrication.  Adequan is administered as an injection rather than in an oral formulation, and pet owners can be taught to give these injections at home.
   
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a mainstay of osteoarthritis treatments in dogs.   NSAIDs suppress a portion of the inflammatory pathway in the body that contributes to pain.  All NSAIDs can have the same potential side effects of gastrointestinal upset, ulceration, and liver or kidney disease but are usually well tolerated by our canine patients.  Cats are more sensitive to NSAIDs and we do not have drugs approved for longer term use in cats.  Several other pain relievers are available that provide analgesia without anti-inflammatory effects.  Tramadol, Gabapentin, Amantadine, and Amitriptylline have all been used to address the chronic pain associated with arthritis.  
 
Adrianne Brode, DVM, CCRP
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2014-06-03
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Introducing Foraging Parrot Style
January 15, 2014
By Lake Olympia

Parrot Foraging
Many parrot owners are now well versed in foraging techniques for their birds.  However, some of you may not be familiar with the concept or how to best incorporate it into your parrot’s routine. Foraging is simply the process of looking for and finding food.  This natural process can be very different from one species to another, but the goal is always the same.  In captivity, our parrots simply have to navigate perches to reach their food bowl.  However, in their natural environments, birds can fly miles a day, spend hours stripping bask and leaves from trees, or search for that elusive seed or nut in the undergrowth on the forest floor.  Studies have shown that in their natural environment, Orange Winged Amazons can spend up to eighteen hours a day foraging, whereas they can spend as little as thirty minutes eating in a caged environment.  Our goal is to have our pet parrots spend those hours occupied in productive activities instead of destructive ones, such as feather destruction, self mutilation and screaming.  Not only will foraging occupy your bird’s time, but it is also mentally stimulating.  Given the choice of foraging for food or free feeding from a bowl, most birds will preferentially choose to forage.

Parrot Foraging
Next we need to discuss how to introduce foraging to your parrot.  Foraging does not have to be expensive to implement.  It can be as simple or complex as you and your bird desire.  Foraging should be a part of all parrots lives to provide as many opportunities for your bird to maximize his or her health and wellness.  For some birds, this means simple in cage techniques and toys, while others will benefit from extensive foraging on a special foraging “tree” with multiple toys and feeding stations outside the cage.

Parrot ForagingYou can begin foraging with simple items you may already have on hand at home.  The most basic foraging involves switching from a single feeding bowl to multiple bowls scattered throughout the cage with food divided unequally between them.  It is important to note here that this we are not promoting over feeding.  We simply want you to divide the daily food intake into multiple bowls and toys in the cage.  Ideally, some or all of these bowls should be movable to add even more variety.  Next, cover the bowl with a plain piece of white typing paper.  For quick learners, use plain masking tape to secure the paper around the sides of the bowl or tuck it under the bowl in the holder.  Some birds may need you to poke a small hole or two in the paper to get them started.  You can also hide non-perishable food in a bowl of wooden or plastic beads, ensuring the beads are too large for your bird to swallow.

Parrot ForagingForaging is only limited by your imagination.  Hang nuts in the shell, such as almonds or pecans, from perches with bird safe leather.  Drill holes in an untreated wooden board and push nuts and other non-perishable food items into the holes.  Hang the board from a perch or the cage bars. Place nuts, seeds, dried fruits, Nutriberries, or pellets in unwaxed Dixie cups or drinking water cones.  Twist or fold the top and place in a bowl, toy, or hang in cage.  These are one of my bird’s favorites!  Wrap non-perishable food items in corn husks, tie with bird safe rope or leather and hang or hide in the cage or on the tree.  Small, plain white or brown paper lunch sacks also make great foraging toys.

Parrot Foraging

If your bird loves foraging like mine does, there are dozens of foraging toys available to purchase. These range from simple wooden bowls with lids to complex boxes with multiple nuts and bolts or keys to open.  Another simple toy that is a big hit with most birds is a clear acrylic tube with PVC caps that has small holes or slits drilled in multiple places.  The slits need to be large enough for the tip of the beak and the tongue to reach in to manipulate the food.  These can be small tubes used as foot toys or larger tubes that can be hung via a hole in the cap.  For a more in-depth look at foraging, stop by the clinic for a copy of “Captive Foraging” DVD by Scott Echols, DVM, ABVP Diplomate (Avian).  See the following website list for these and other foraging ideas.

www.bird.com
www.everythingbirdie.com
www.busybeaks.com
www.parrotsparrotsparrots.com/foraging.html

Beth R. Rodney, DVM

 
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2014-06-02
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Our groomers are ready for those summer haircuts!  We can help your dog (or cat!) look their very best and stay cool too!
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2014-02-24
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Video x-ray is used to pinpoint exactly where to give the injections.  This dog will get multiple injections in his affected joints, promoting healing and working to decrease pain and promote healing.   
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Dr. Brode checking the sample, and preparing it to be injected into the patient.
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Here, Eva adds the sample to the Icellator.  The sample will be processed in about an hour.
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Fat tissue is then prepared to be added into a machine called the Icellator for processing next.
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