Hawthorne Veterinary Clinic Newsletter - Spring 2016
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Our mission is to offer a more natural, environmentally aware, and compassionate approach to veterinary medicine. We recognize that all living beings are complex and unique individuals and we all share the common threads of life.
“Walk lightly in the Spring. Mother Earth is pregnant.” 


Another spring is here and all of us at the clinic are exited about a new year of healing, learning, and teaching. This year our team is focusing on sharpening our dental diagnostic and treatment skills (see article below). In addition, I have completed my training with the Chi Institute as a Certified Veterinary Food Therapist and look forward to providing more pet nutrition counselling to our clients. Later this year we will continue to offer free lectures to the community on various holistic pet care topics, so keep your eyes on the People's Food Coop Community calendar for more information.

In October, we will celebrate our fifth year since the purchase of the clinic from Dr. Judkins and 20 years since the clinic first opened it's doors to the public. We are planning to host an open-house for the occasion and hope that many of you will join us in celebration of these milestones. We couldn't have come this far without your support and the interest of our community in holistic veterinary care.

                       Wishing you and your furry companions a wonderful spring, 
Dr. Cornelia Wagner 



With the purchase of a digital dental radiography unit at the end of last year we are now able to provide dental care to our patients beyond removing tartar and extracting mobile or obviously fractured teeth. Radiographic imaging of teeth allows us to look below the gum line and see what is going on with the 60% of the tooth not visible to the naked eye. This enables us to detect pathology earlier and save teeth rather than waiting until a tooth is visibly mobile and extraction is the only treatment option.

Veterinarians know that cats and dogs are experts in hiding tooth pain and often eat normally despite significant oral discomfort because of their evolutionary instinct to avoid showing weakness and to maintain adequate calorie intake. Therefore, dental pain in companion animals often goes unrecognized and pet guardians are unaware that their furry friend is suffering in silence.

The main hurdle to adequate dental care in our veterinary patients is the necessity of general anesthesia in order to perform a comprehensive oral health exam, including dental x-rays. Many pet guardians worry about anesthesia for their older pets and almost everyone has heard horror stories about a pet dying under anesthesia. However, we need to keep in mind that veterinary anesthesia has become much, much safer in the last 10 years and that the actual anesthetic death rate in healthy animals (old age is not a sickness!) is a mere 0.12%. These days, it is medical standard for all pets receiving anesthesia to receive pre-anesthetic blood work to detect hidden organ problems, to provide intravenous access and fluids, to monitor not just body temperature, heart and respiratory rate but also tissue oxygen perfusion, end-tidal carbon dioxide output, and blood pressure. Veterinarians are also much more aware that adequate pain control is vital to making anesthesia safer for our patients. For example, blocking pain reception in the mouth using local anesthetics (so-called "dental blocks") allows us to keep keep our dental patients in a lighter plane of general anesthesia, which directly translates into improved blood pressure, faster recovery times and decreased likelihood of complications.

Many clients like the idea of having their pets' teeth scaled without anesthesia, but the sad truth is that this procedure only removes tartar on the crown of a tooth, mostly a mere cosmetic effect, and does not allow us to find and address pathology below the gum line (where most dental disease occurs). Anesthesia-free dental cleanings may still have their place in some cases to help control tartar between professional dental care appointments but do not replace adequate dental care by a veterinarian. To demonstrate this, look at the photo and x-ray below: A perfectly normal looking tooth has significant pathology going on with one of its roots. To wait with appropriate dental care until the gums around the tooth look inflamed or the tooth becomes mobile means that this cat would be suffering silently in pain until the problem is eventually recognized and treated.

Many pets have some degree of dental disease by the time they are 5 years old, some even earlier. A veterinarian will be able to determine during a physical exam, whether a complete oral health assessment including dental x-rays and a professional cleaning with an ultrasonic scaler are recommended for your pet. 

Lastly, consider purchasing pet insurance that includes coverage of dental care since veterinary bills for these services often range from $500-$1200  (or more) and your pet is likely to need dental care not just once but throughout his/her life.

Want to read more? Click here.
Watch a video on how to brush your dog's teeth here.
Multipurpose Essential Oil Blend For Dogs

This blend is anti-inflammatory, anti-itch, antimicrobial and reduces anxiety. Please only use high-quality essential oils (see links below) as pets are likely to ingest oils in small amounts when grooming.

5 drops lavender essential oil (lavendula augustifolia)
1 drop German chamomile essential oil (matricaria recutita)
2 drops frankincense essential oil (boswellia carterii)
1 drop eucalyptus essential oil (eucalyptus globulus)
1 drop grapefruit essential oil (citrus paradisi)

Add to 15 ml of a base oil such as fractionated coconut oil, jajoba oil or sweet almond oil. This makes a 4% essential oil blend.

This blend has activity for about 3 hours for it's anti-itch effect. Apply several times a day for up to two weeks. This blend can be used for separation anxiety, dermatitis and ear infections. Before applying essential oil blends into your pet's ear please have a veterinarian first confirm during an exam that your pet's ear drums are not ruptured.

Resources for high-quality essential oils:
Original Swiss Aromatics
Mountain Rose Herbs
It can be difficult and confusing trying to understand pet food labels, especially if your pet is suffering from skin or gastrointestinal problems and you are trying to avoid certain ingredients. The FDA states: "Pet owners and veterinary professionals have a right to know what they are feeding their animals. The pet food label contains a wealth of information, if one knows how to read it." To learn more about how to read pet food labels click here...
Veterinarian Dr. Robert Silver's recently published book provides pet guardians with all the necessary information on how to safely use medicinal hemp and marijuana products for their pets. Chapters 1 through 6 give an overview about the history and botany of cannabis, legal considerations for it's use and the research supporting it's medicinal benefits. The last three chapters take a more practical approach, explaining to the cannabis novice different products available on the market, their use and possible safety concerns for pets. In chapter 9, pet guardians learn step-by-step how to make their own cannabis products for their pets such as a coconut oil cannabis extraction. The book concludes with five patient stories, in which the author describes in detail how cannabis products were used for specific diseases in pets, how doses were calculated and the patients' responses to the therapy.

This 120-page book available in e-book format and paper-print from Dr. Silver's website is a great resource for any pet guardian considering cannabis therapy for their ailing pet.

Also, our veterinarians here at Hawthorne Veterinary Clinic have taken continuing education classes with Dr. Silver and can discuss medicinal marijuana and industrial hemp product use, if deemed appropriate for your pet's condition.

To watch an interview with Dr. Silver click on the image or video button below.
Dr. Becker Interviews Dr. Silver about Medical Marijuana
watch video
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phone: 503-233-2332
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1431 SE 23rd Ave, Portland, Oregon 97214

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