Doc Holly writes the Aiken Standard's 'Pet Talk' column.

 

Our Chief of Staff Dr. Holly Woltz (Doc Holly) has practiced veterinary medicine for over 25 years and specializes in senior pet care. Now she is sharing her expertise on pet health care with the readers of the Aiken Standard. A former teacher and writer, she enjoys talking and writing about the human-companion animal bond and its importance. You can read her recent "Pet Talk" articles by clicking the links below.

Pet Talk: Christmas present becomes new daily companion
Published January 3, 2017

Pet Talk: Making sure animals are happy is top priority
Published December 20, 2016

Pet Talk: Broken hearts mend, can love again
Published December 6, 2016

The Veterinary Information Network (VIN) has a Drug and Food Recall Center to provide information and links about current pet food and veterinary drug recalls that affect veterinary practices, pet owners, and pets. Please use this as a resource to keep up to date on the latest product recalls. (Click link below to access recall information.)

VIN's Veterinary Drug & Pet Food Recall Center

Cats are weird, and they come down with some mysterious ailments. One disease has had a number of names over the years, and this is a reflection of how little we truly understand it. The current name among veterinary dentists is Feline Chronic Gingivo-Stomatitis (FCGS).

Feline Dental DiseaseMost cats have some degree of gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and many also have periodontal disease (deeper infection of the tissues below the gum line). An unfortunate few have a much more dramatic and severe inflammatory disease — Feline Chronic Gingivo-Stomatitis.

Felines with FCGS exhibit inflammation and redness, which extends behind the gums into other tissues lining the mouth. It is present even where there are no teeth and creeps to the back of the mouth, into the throat and under the tongue.

This redness, bleeding, painful inflammation returns rapidly after a dental cleaning or antibiotic treatment. Most cats that have this dental disease are thin, and their overall condition appears sickly.

We don't know that causes Feline Chronic Gingivo-Stomatitis. There is no evidence to point to any specific bacteria, virus or allergy. It does seem to be an abnormal local immune response of unknown origin. Unfortunately, because we do not know the cause, we cannot offer a cure.

I brush my teeth two to three times a day. I floss every other day. I see my dentist and hygienist for a professional evaluation and cleaning every six months. It's a combination of BOTH — daily plaque control at home and regular professional care, that keeps my teeth healthy. When was the last time you did anything to help your pet's teeth stay clean and healthy?

  Dog Dental Care

Gingivitis (inflammation of the gum tissue) and periodontitis (inflammation of the deeper tissues around the teeth roots) are caused by an invisible slime of bacteria. This is dental plaque.

Immediately after a professional dental cleaning, the teeth are clean as a whistle. When you brush your teeth at night, they are clean. However, this biofilm accumulates quickly and overnight.

Early plaque is a thin film and oxygen can penetrate it, so the aerobic bacteria tends to be relatively harmless. If the plaque is removed mechanically with a good tooth brushing, it doesn't progress.

However, if the plaque is left undisturbed, it grows thicker. Oxygen can't penetrate all the way through, so harmful, anaerobic bacteria starts to predominate. Within several days, the mature plaque film can accumulate minerals from saliva and food to form hard dental tartar. This mineralized tartar is much harder to remove.

Veterinary Services of Aiken Team

These are folks that we (and your pet) can’t do without. They are constantly learning by taking continuing education courses to be knowledgeable with all aspects of nursing, surgical, dental emergency procedures, and more. Every morning they meet with each anesthesia patient and human to discuss the forthcoming procedure. They are exquisitely sensitive to following doctor's instructions for each patient and discussing any changes in their patients conditions. Frequently they serve as the communicators between the veterinarian and the client. All excel at giving excellent and compassionate care to our patients.

The members of our Reception & Client Care Team are the very first people you see when you step in our animal clinic or the ones helping you on the phone. They go out of their way to be friendly, polite and courteous while juggling appointments, registering or discharging patients, entering information into the computer, answering phones, communicating extensive pet care information and, of course, making sure that all patients receive a cuddle and scratch behind the ears.

Our caretakers are the backbone of our animal hospital. They not only make sure the hospital is clean and fully maintained (from air conditioning to lights to having enough pet food and water bowls), but also ensure that your pet receives exemplary, loving care while staying with us. They are the ones who walk and play with your pet. They are the ones who write the report cards and take the pictures. They are the ones who make sure that everyone has a bed, food and water, daily medication if needed and a veterinarian's care if something appears wrong. They even go to Hardee's to buy the hamburger (plain, no condiments!) when a pet is not eating!

Phil, our groomer extraordinaire, is considered to be the first pet groomer in the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA) and has perfected his craft over 30 years. He first had a dog grooming shop named "The London Daisey Doggery" in 1968 and became associated with Veterinary Services of Aiken in 1990. Adept at grooming complicated canine coats (Bichon Frises, Poodles, Briards) or complete cut downs, he also is accustomed to bathing and grooming cats. Working with the veterinarians, he has become knowledgeable with dermatology and does many special shampoos and treatments. He's very active in the community, having served on the Board of Directors at the Margaret Weston Health Center, and in various capacities with the Aiken NAACP. In 1991, he was awarded the Medger Evans award, the highest award given to an NAACP volunteer.