Monday, Apr. 15th 2013

Shedding and new practice

Veterinary Alternatives April 2013 Newsletter

Howdy once again!  Been pretty busy lately, hence the lateness of this newsletter.

I have two main topics to discuss today:

SHEDDING AND COAT HEALTH: With spring comes, in many breeds, shedding of the winter coat or undercoat.  The degree of shedding depends on several things:  how much the pet is outdoors and exposed to the elements and natural day lengths, diet, breed, and frequency of brushing and/or bathing.  Breed is the most important determining factor in the amount of shedding.  Most breeds of hot parts of the world like Africa are single coated, meaning they have no undercoat.   Their shedding is usually not markedly different during the year.  Northern breeds such as sled-type dogs or many hunting breeds like Labradors have varying degrees of undercoat which sheds out quite heavily as the weather warms.  This undercoat serves an important insulating function and needs to be kept brushed in order to keep a layer of air trapped close to the skin for warmth in the winter.  It can also act as an insulator in the summer so keeping it brushed, unmatted, and unshaved is an important way to help these heavy coated dogs stay cool in summer.  Ask your groomer for the best way to care for your dog’s coat—a healthy coat is good for them as well!

By now, many of you are wondering how to reduce shedding.  Regular brushing, or grooming of short hard-coated breeds with a rubber glove, will help pull the dead hairs from the coat before it ends up on your furniture and clothing.  By regular, I mean daily with heavy shedders, both cats and dogs.  Shorter coated breeds benefit from weekly brushing or petting with a grooming glove.  Whatever you brush with should not be traumatic to the skin, but should be able to reach the bottom of the hairs.  Brushing a long-coated dog with a short-bristled brush does not remove undercoat or prevent matting.

Diet is also important in coat health, and probably nothing affects the quality of the skin and coat more.  Proper diet varies significantly by breed, activity level, and health status so this is best discussed with your favorite holistic veterinarian trained in nutritional therapies (I know a good one!).  One thing you can do, if your pet is not sensitive or on a low-fat diet, is to supplement with about ½ cooked egg per 20# of body weight daily.  Egg is a blood and qi tonic and can have dramatic effects on coat quality within only a couple of weeks.  If your pet is overweight, be sure to reduce their regular food slightly to account for calories from the egg.

If your dog’s skin is frequently inflamed, significant diet changes and/or special supplements may be indicated.  Call for an appointment if you wish to prevent those common flare-ups in summer!

PRACTICE EXPANSION: What has kept me busiest lately is the rapid progression towards opening a fixed practice.  One thing leads to another—by making an offer on land, I need to contact banks for financing pre-approval.  I also need to come up with a floor plan so I can make a site plan so I can talk to the KC Development Board about my plans and get their suggestions and checklist ready before finalizing any plans.  Next up, actually getting the financing, purchasing the land with one LLC, making another LLC to seek financing to actually build the practice and run it, finding an architect and builder, figuring out what all this is going to cost including capital expenses for the first year…whew!  You get the idea!  Talking to lots of bankers, accountants, real estate agents, and lawyers lately!  Luckily so far I’m finding really great ones that are very helpful and encouraging.  My ultimate plan is to have a fully integrative  full-service veterinary practice in the Martin City area with a conventional vet (unknown yet) and a holistic vet (me) for a full complement of services offered to all patients.  This high customer-service practice will have a wellness-based approach with optimal health for all patients our ultimate goal.    The soothing atmosphere and engaging, helpful staff will be a pleasure to visit and we hope you and your pets will love it!  Imagine bringing in a dog to be spayed and have it receive acupuncture for pain, cold laser to speed healing, homeopathy to reduce bruising and swelling, pre-surgical bloodwork to be sure organ function is normal, an IV catheter placed in case emergency drugs or fluids are needed, and pain medications as appropriate.  All included in the cost of the surgery, along with a post-surgery chiropractic exam and adjustments and another cold laser treatment a few days after the surgery.  You will know that your pet has received everything possible to make the surgery go smoothly and help it recover with a minimum of discomfort.  We will also offer vaccination titers with vaccines only when needed, ongoing weekly puppy classes on a six-week cycle, monthly or quarterly free seminars open to the public on various pet health-related topics, and have a multi-purpose room available for community groups and dog training clubs to use, as well as a large fenced area in back for various outdoor events.  I can’t wait for this practice to be part of the Martin City/South Kansas City community and will be keeping everyone up to date on progress through this newsletter and especially my Facebook page.  If you haven’t liked the page yet, I encourage you to do so as there will be lots of information there on this practice!  Can’t wait to see you all at the grand opening, hopefully sometime in 2014!

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18011 E St. Rte 58
Raymore, MO 64083

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