Animal Clinic of CB https://animalclinicofcb.com/ Tue, 29 Nov 2022 02:17:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.1.1 The Top 3 Most Common Thanksgiving Hazards for Pets https://animalclinicofcb.com/the-top-3-most-common-thanksgiving-hazards-for-pets/ https://animalclinicofcb.com/the-top-3-most-common-thanksgiving-hazards-for-pets/#respond Sun, 06 Nov 2022 04:17:05 +0000 https://animalclinicofcb.com/?p=1200 As Thanksgiving approaches, you’re likely counting your blessings, with your pet’s companionship at the top of your list. Naturally, you want to include your furry pal in all the holiday activities, but several key Thanksgiving hazards may pop up that require protection for your pet. Watch out for the following three common Thanksgiving dangers. #1: [...]

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As Thanksgiving approaches, you’re likely counting your blessings, with your pet’s companionship at the top of your list. Naturally, you want to include your furry pal in all the holiday activities, but several key Thanksgiving hazards may pop up that require protection for your pet. Watch out for the following three common Thanksgiving dangers.

#1: Thanksgiving foods and pets

Nothing is better than a Thanksgiving table groaning under the weight of all your favorite dishes. Your furry pal, like you, is probably drooling at all the delicious aromas, but they should avoid filling their own plate, since many foods are dangerous for pets. Keep the following foods away from your pet:

  • Turkey — The star attraction of a Thanksgiving feast is also one of the most hazardous to pets. Almost all of the turkey, from the skin to the bones, poses some threat. Spices and seasonings used to flavor a bland bird can upset your pet’s stomach, while the high-fat skin and dark meat can inflame the pancreas, potentially causing serious pancreatitis. Gnawing on a turkey leg exposes your pet to dual hazards, because the bones can splinter and pierce their mouth, esophagus, or stomach, or the shards may lodge in the intestinal tract and require surgical removal. If you must share some Thanksgiving turkey with your pet, choose a small piece of breast meat that contains no seasonings, skin, or bones. 
  • Bread dough — Unbaked yeast dough will eventually turn into pillowy rolls, but the dough, if ingested, can expand in your pet’s oven of a stomach, and form a gastrointestinal blockage. The dough can also cause alcohol toxicity when fermentation takes place in your pet’s stomach and alcohol leaches into their bloodstream, causing dangerous intoxication.
  • Onions, garlic, leeks, and chives — These Allium family members are popular additions to many Thanksgiving dishes, but they can destroy your pet’s red blood cells and cause anemia if your pet consumes large amounts.
  • Desserts — Pies, fruitcakes, cookies, chocolates, and other sweet treats that round out your Thanksgiving spread contain hazardous ingredients for pets. Raisins and currants can cause kidney failure, while chocolate can lead to serious neurologic issues. Sugar-free treats are also unsafe, since they are often sweetened with xylitol, a sugar substitute that can cause hypoglycemia and liver failure in dogs.

#2: Fall decor and pets

Fall brings beautiful, bold colors in seasonal plants, and tempts you to create gorgeous home displays. However, several popular plants and decor items can be hazardous to your pet, including:

  • Pumpkins, corn, and straw — While not necessarily toxic, pumpkins, corn cobs and stalks, and straw items that you display on your porch and in your home can pose a threat to your pet. If eaten, these items can cause gastrointestinal upset or a blockage, especially if they have begun to rot or mold after being left outside too long.
  • Chrysanthemums — Eating these bright blooms can lead to your pet vomiting, having diarrhea, drooling excessively, losing their appetite, and walking difficulty.
  • Autumn crocus — The autumn crocus, which actually belongs to the lily family, can cause anemia, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, difficulty breathing, multi-organ damage, seizures, shock, and possibly death in pets.
  • Acorns — Acorns can be toxic to dogs if eaten in large quantities. The acorn tannins can cause gastrointestinal upset and, in severe cases, lead to kidney failure and death.

#3: Visiting guests and pets

Family and friends who join in your celebrations can provide plenty of interaction for your pet, but can also bring their fair share of hazards. Greetings at the front door can create the perfect opportunity for a pet to slip out and become lost, so ensure their microchip information is up to date before the holiday. Once your guests have settled in, they may leave suitcases open and purses lying about, and your pet may grab the chance to ingest their medications, sugar-free gum, and candy bars. Also, your home filled with strangers can be stressful for your pet, so watch for their anxiety signals. Consider secluding your pet from the commotion in a safe spot that is off-limits to your guests. Find your pet a quiet, comfortable place to relax with their preferred bedding, a new toy, and a long-lasting treat. 

If your furry pal manages to steal the Thanksgiving turkey, or chews on your chrysanthemum display, despite your close attention, contact our Animal Clinic of Council Bluffs team for help.

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Back to Basics: A Pet Owners Owner’s Guide to Intervertebral Disc Disease https://animalclinicofcb.com/back-to-basics-a-pet-owners-owners-guide-to-intervertebral-disc-disease/ https://animalclinicofcb.com/back-to-basics-a-pet-owners-owners-guide-to-intervertebral-disc-disease/#respond Sat, 08 Oct 2022 18:14:06 +0000 https://animalclinicofcb.com/?p=1189 Many people are familiar with nagging, often debilitating, back pain. A tender spot or ache can impact your daily activities, decreasing your ability to complete everyday tasks, including driving. Our pets can also experience painful back problems that affect their ability to walk or eliminate properly, and decrease their overall quality of life. Although our [...]

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Many people are familiar with nagging, often debilitating, back pain. A tender spot or ache can impact your daily activities, decreasing your ability to complete everyday tasks, including driving. Our pets can also experience painful back problems that affect their ability to walk or eliminate properly, and decrease their overall quality of life. Although our pets easily communicate they are ready for a treat or game of fetch, they are stoic, and you may not recognize when your four-legged family member is suffering from back problems. Dogs’ most common spinal issues are disc-related problems, and cats can also experience this condition. Because pets are skilled at hiding pain signs, recognizing that your dog or cat is experiencing back pain can be challenging. Our Animal Clinic of Council Bluffs team describes intervertebral disc disease and the steps you should take if you suspect your pet has this painful back problem. 

What is intervertebral disc disease in pets?

Your pet’s spine (i.e., backbone) is critical to the support of their overall body movement and weight. In addition, the spine protects spinal cord nerves, which transmit impulses between the brain and the body. The backbone comprises numerous small bones (i.e., vertebrae), which are connected by cushions (i.e., intervertebral discs). These discs are composed of an outer covering (i.e., annulus) and an inner gelatinous portion (i.e., nucleus), providing a cushion and absorbing movement within the spine. Pets commonly experience intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) when one or several intervertebral  discs become herniated (i.e., ruptured). The ruptured disc causes pressure on the spinal cord, which can limit a nerve’s ability to send signals properly to various body parts. Pets with spinal compression may lose the ability to control bodily functions, such as walking. IVDD can affect any pet during any life stage, but some breeds have a genetic predisposition, including dachshunds, French bulldogs, shih tzus, and German shepherd dogs. IVDD’s primary causes include:

  • Type I Progressive mineralization causes a disc’s nucleus to weaken. A sudden impact, such as jumping, can cause this material to burst through the disc’s outer portion, putting pressure on the spinal cord. Small-breed dogs, such as dachshunds, commonly experience type I IVDD. 
  • Type II The annulus (i.e., disc’s outer surface) can degenerate over time, which collapses and protrudes against a pet’s spinal cord. Older, large-breed dogs, such as German shepherd dogs, most commonly experience type II IVDD.

Intervertebral disc disease signs in pets

IVDD signs and severity depend on the disease type, location on the spine, and number of affected vertebrae. When severe, this painful condition can cause paralysis. Because IVDD can occur gradually, you may not recognize when your pet is experiencing partial or less-severe herniations. However, immediately bring your pet for an Animal Clinic of Council Bluffs veterinary examination if your pet is suddenly unable to walk. IVDD signs may include:

  • Abnormal gait
  • Reluctance to jump or climb stairs
  • Panting not associated with exercise
  • Vocalizing or biting when touched
  • Weakness in the hind limbs
  • Decreased appetite
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Reluctance to posture for elimination
  • Hunched back
  • Muscle tenseness or spasms
  • Anxious behavior

Intervertebral disc disease diagnosis in pets

Schedule a veterinary examination if your pet cannot walk or has IVDD signs. Your Animal Clinic of Council Bluffs veterinarian will perform a nose-to-tail examination and neurological assessment to localize the affected spinal cord area, which includes an evaluation of your pet’s reflexes and pain response. IVDD signs can mimic other diseases, so your veterinarian may recommend X-rays to further evaluate your pet’s musculoskeletal health and pinpoint their pain source. To assess the severity of your pet’s IVDD, your veterinarian may also recommend advanced imaging—such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or myelography—which requires sedation or general anesthesia to ensure they remain still and calm during the procedure. 

Intervertebral disc disease treatment in pets

Several factors—including pain severity, disease sign duration, previous treatment response, and your pet’s ability to walk—determine your pet’s IVDD treatment plan. In most cases, your veterinarian will require strict crate rest for several weeks to months to prevent your pet from experiencing further injury or inflammation. Pets who are unable to walk may require surgical treatment. Conservative medical treatments may include:

  • Pain medication
  • Muscle relaxant medication
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Physical therapy

Intervertebral disc disease prevention tips for pets

Because some pets are genetically predisposed to IVDD, the condition cannot always be prevented. However, ensuring your pet maintains a healthy weight helps decrease joint stress, which can cause IVDD. Other prevention tips include:

  • Providing a ramp or stairs to prevent your pet from jumping on or off furniture.
  • Avoiding tug-of-war games, which can cause neck and back stress.
  • Feeding your pet an American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO)-approved diet for their age and life stage to ensure they are receiving the nutrients necessary for joint health.
  • Bringing your pet for annual, or more frequent, veterinary examinations to determine their IVDD risk. 

Our Animal Clinic of Council Bluffs team understands your concern when your pet is in pain. Call our office if you have any questions about your pet’s spinal health, or schedule an examination if you suspect they have IVDD. We are here to help ease your pet’s pain.

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7 Factors for Evaluating Your Senior Pet’s Quality of Life https://animalclinicofcb.com/7-factors-for-evaluating-your-senior-pets-quality-of-life/ https://animalclinicofcb.com/7-factors-for-evaluating-your-senior-pets-quality-of-life/#respond Mon, 12 Sep 2022 01:22:27 +0000 https://animalclinicofcb.com/?p=1169 As your pet reaches old age, your thoughts may turn to the inevitable—the passing of your beloved companion—and knowing the end is near is difficult to process. Many quality-of-life assessment tools are available to help you objectively evaluate your senior pet’s quality of life by assessing their happiness and comfort level, and to prevent unnecessary [...]

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As your pet reaches old age, your thoughts may turn to the inevitable—the passing of your beloved companion—and knowing the end is near is difficult to process. Many quality-of-life assessment tools are available to help you objectively evaluate your senior pet’s quality of life by assessing their happiness and comfort level, and to prevent unnecessary pain and suffering. One of the most common quality-of-life assessment tools is the Hurt, Hunger, Hydration, Hygiene, Happiness, Mobility, More good days than bad (HHHHHMM) scale, developed by Dr. Alice Villalobos. Whether you choose palliative and hospice care for your pet as they near the end of their life, or believe that humane euthanasia will be the appropriate choice when the time comes, our Animal Hospital of Council Bluffs team recommends you follow the HHHHHMM scale’s seven factors to evaluate your pet’s quality of life.

#1: Hurt

As pets age, their bodies begin to show a lifetime’s wear and tear, which may be evident in crippling osteoarthritis pain. Limping, lameness, and difficulty walking, rising, and lying down are common osteoarthritis signs in pets. Pets in pain are often unable to perform their favorite activities—playing and jumping up on the couch—or basic functions, such as crouching to reach their food and water bowls, and eliminating properly.

While osteoarthritis is the most common painful condition in pets, other health issues, such as dental disease, cancer, and chronic ear, urinary, or skin infections, can also cause discomfort. While a range of therapies can alleviate pets’ pain, some conditions may not respond well to medications or treatments, especially in a disease’s end stages. Chronic pain can significantly decrease your pet’s quality of life.

#2: Hunger

Many senior pets’ appetite decreases as they age, because their energy needs have decreased, or because they have a medical condition. Certain health issues, such as kidney failure, cause pets to become nauseous, so they avoid eating and may not receive enough nutrition. In addition, many cancers and pain medications cause digestive problems. Fortunately, you have many options to encourage your pet to eat—hand feeding, switching food brands and flavors, incorporating canned pet food or baby food, or home cooking can help. In some cases, pets need advanced nutritional support, which can be provided through a feeding tube. The time to make a decision about your pet’s declining quality of life arrives once your pet shows no interest in food, and cannot take in enough nutrition to maintain their bodily processes.

#3: Hydration

If your pet is not eating enough, they may also not be drinking enough to stay hydrated. Conditions that cause vomiting, diarrhea, or increased urination (e.g., kidney disease, gastrointestinal disease, diabetes) can make it challenging for your pet to take in enough fluid to keep up with losses. Some pets tolerate regular subcutaneous fluid administration to stay hydrated, while others refuse this treatment. If you struggle to administer fluids to your pet, they may be unable to stay adequately hydrated.

#4: Hygiene

Pets who experience decreased mobility and elimination issues often have problems staying clean. A large dog’s incontinence can be difficult to manage, and they can suffer from chronic skin and urinary tract infections if you are unable to keep them clean. In addition, if your pet is unable to move easily, they can develop pressure sores unless you regularly assist them in rolling from side to side.

#5: Happiness

You know your pet’s mood best. Does your pet still express joy and show interest in the environment around them? Do they respond to social interaction and want to be around the family? Or, is your pet depressed, anxious, bored, or afraid? Pets with limited mobility, or those with incontinence issues, may feel lonely if you place their bed in an out-of-the-way room, so place your pet’s bed where they can still feel like they are part of their family who are happy to interact with them.

#6: Mobility

Senior pets commonly experience decreasing mobility, and many options are available to help your pet get up and move. However, if your pet is large, helping them walk and eliminate appropriately can be challenging. You can try using a cart, sling, or harness to help your pet with mobility issues, but if none of these is feasible, you may be unable to keep them clean after eliminating, and they can become depressed and unhappy.

#7: More good days than bad

While you can evaluate certain aspects of your pet’s health to assess their quality of life, you should also consider their overall happiness. When bad days outnumber good days, your pet’s suffering is significant, and their quality of life is poor. 

Assessing your senior pet’s quality of life can be difficult, especially when trying to remain objective. For help evaluating your pet’s comfort and happiness, schedule an appointment with our Animal Clinic of Council Bluffs team.

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How To Avoid The Back-To-School Blues: Pet Edition https://animalclinicofcb.com/how-to-avoid-the-back-to-school-blues-pet-edition/ https://animalclinicofcb.com/how-to-avoid-the-back-to-school-blues-pet-edition/#respond Tue, 16 Aug 2022 23:02:15 +0000 https://animalclinicofcb.com/?p=1154 When school’s out, you and your kids may spend much more time at home, which is great news for your pet, because they spend little to no time at home alone, go on lots of walks, and participate in fun summer activities. Unfortunately, when summer ends, your pet is forced to accept a sudden, stressful [...]

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When school’s out, you and your kids may spend much more time at home, which is great news for your pet, because they spend little to no time at home alone, go on lots of walks, and participate in fun summer activities. Unfortunately, when summer ends, your pet is forced to accept a sudden, stressful change in routine. The transition can be especially difficult for pets with separation anxiety, or those closely bonded with younger family members. Animal Clinic of Council Bluffs offers a few tips that will help ease this transition for the whole family.

#1: Practice the new routine

Implement the new household routine a week or two before school starts, so your pet, and your kids, have a chance to get used to the changes. Ensure all household members have consistent bed and wake times, and get ready to leave in the mornings as though you are off for the day. If your pet is confined during the day, place them in their crate or room for a few hours while you run errands. Keep feeding, walking, and play-times consistent, so your pet knows what to expect.

#2: Make time for your pet

You may be busier than usual during this time, but making time for your pet is important to their wellbeing. Take your dog for a walk, or have a play session with your cat, at a consistent time that you stick with. Your pet appreciates every minute they spend with you, so do what they enjoy most, such as snuggling, a rousing game of tug, training, or a nice brushing session, so that the time really counts.

#3: Keep your pet entertained

Being home alone all day can be pretty boring, so you need to provide entertainment for your pet while you are away to keep them happy, and prevent destructive behaviors. Food-related activities can also create positive associations with you leaving, and with their confinement area. Some ideas include:

  • Providing your dog a Kong toy stuffed with frozen, xylitol-free peanut butter or canned pet food when you depart
  • Hiding treats around the house for your dog or cat to sniff out
  • Installing a treat-dispensing camera as a means to check in and interact with your pet while you’re away

#4: Consider daycare or a dog walker

Exercise is important to your dog’s mental and physical health, but finding time during busy days can be difficult. At daycare, your dog can exercise and socialize with other pets and people in a controlled environment. Dogs in daycare must provide vaccination and fecal parasite exam records, but playing with other dogs always brings a small risk of communicable disease, such as kennel cough. Still, for most dogs, the benefits greatly outweigh the risks.

Some dogs don’t thrive in a group environment, but they need exercise, too. Consider hiring a dog walker to take your pet for a quick jaunt midday—only a few minutes outdoors can make a big difference for your pet.

#5: Use calming products for anxious pets

Several over-the-counter products can help soothe pets who are anxious about being alone. These products may provide a calming effect:

  • Pheromones — Adaptil and Feliway are synthetic versions of your pet’s feel-good pheromones.
  • Pressure wraps — Wraps (e.g., ThunderShirts) provide even pressure around the chest and abdomen that may comfort your pet.
  • Special music — Special music designed for pets has been proven to reduce anxiety. Try “Through a Dog’s Ear,” “Through a Cat’s Ear,” or pet music playlists on streaming apps.
  • Calming supplements — Supplements containing melatonin, L-theanine, flower essences, casein, and other ingredients can tamp down anxiety.

Note that these products are effective for pets with minor anxiety, but do not help pets who have significant separation issues. If you think your pet is suffering from severe separation anxiety, contact your veterinarian to develop a treatment plan. 

#6: Beware of backpack toxins

One last thing to consider about back to school is the potential for toxins in your kids’ backpacks. Gum or candy containing xylitol, grapes or raisins, ADHD medications, and inhalers can all endanger your pet’s health. Ensure everyone puts their backpack in a designated, out-of-reach area and not on the floor when they come home.

Follow the above tips, and the back-to-school transition should not be rough for your pet this year. But, if they are still struggling with being home alone, contact us to schedule an appointment with your Animal Clinic of Council Bluffs team.

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4 Diseases You Can Catch From Your Pet https://animalclinicofcb.com/4-diseases-you-can-catch-from-your-pet/ https://animalclinicofcb.com/4-diseases-you-can-catch-from-your-pet/#respond Sat, 09 Jul 2022 22:22:37 +0000 https://animalclinicofcb.com/?p=1132 The next time you exchange kisses with your pet, keep in mind that they can pass along certain diseases. A zoonotic disease is one that can be transmitted between people and animals, and our team at Animal Clinic of Council Bluffs provides information about zoonotic diseases, and explains how you can safeguard your pet and [...]

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The next time you exchange kisses with your pet, keep in mind that they can pass along certain diseases. A zoonotic disease is one that can be transmitted between people and animals, and our team at Animal Clinic of Council Bluffs provides information about zoonotic diseases, and explains how you can safeguard your pet and your family.

#1: You can catch rabies from your pet

Rabies is a viral disease that targets the nervous system. Pet owners need to know the following Information about rabies:

  • Rabies is transmitted through a bite wound — Typically, rabies is transmitted through an infected animal’s bite. All mammals are susceptible to rabies, but foxes, skunks, raccoons, and bats most commonly spread rabies in the United States.
  • Rabies is fatal — Signs in pets include aggression, excessive drooling, and biting imaginary objects. Signs in humans include fever, lethargy, confusion, and difficulty swallowing. Once signs manifest, the disease is almost always fatal.  
  • Rabies can’t be easily diagnosed — Diagnosis requires examining an animal’s brain tissue post mortem. 
  • No treatment for rabies exists — Humans can receive postexposure prophylaxis to help prevent signs from occurring, but no treatment is available for pets or humans once signs manifest.
  • Rabies is preventable — Rabies vaccines are extremely effective at disease prevention, so ensure your pet is kept up to date to guarantee your family and your pet are protected.

#2: You can catch toxoplasmosis from your pet

Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic infection caused by the single-celled organism Toxoplasma gondii. Pet owners need to know the following Information about toxoplasmosis:

  • Cats are the definitive host for T. gondii — The parasite can infect most warm-blooded animals, but T. gondii needs a cat to complete their life cycle. Cats are infected by ingesting infected prey, and they pass oocysts in the millions in their feces. Most infected cats show no illness signs.
  • Other pets and humans are intermediate hosts — Other pets and humans are infected when they ingest oocysts in the environment. The most common signs are fever, decreased appetite, and lethargy, but other signs can occur depending on the parasite’s location in the body. In severe cases, the eyes and the central nervous system can become significantly inflamed.
  • Pregnant women and immunocompromised people are most at risk — Most healthy people’s immune system can fight off the infection, but if a pregnant woman is infected, the parasite can infect the fetus, causing a miscarriage or serious birth defects. Immunocompromised people can also become severely ill.
  • Toxoplasmosis can be prevented — Don’t allow your cat to ingest small animals or birds. In addition, clean your cat’s litter box daily, and wash your hands thoroughly after handling the litter.

#3: You can catch leptospirosis from your pet

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection caused by organisms in the Leptospira genus. Pet owners need to know the following Information about leptospirosis:

  • Water loving dogs are at higher risk — Transmission most commonly occurs from drinking or swimming in urine-contaminated water, so dogs frequently exposed to natural water sources, such as rivers, lakes, and streams, are at higher risk.
  • Leptospirosis signs can vary — Some infected pets exhibit no signs, while others experience severe illness. Possible signs include fever, muscle tenderness, increased thirst and urination, diarrhea, lethargy, jaundice, and eye inflammation. Infected pets may also develop bleeding disorders. In humans, symptoms typically include fever, headache, muscle aches, diarrhea, jaundice, and a rash. In severe cases, humans may experience kidney or liver failure or meningitis.
  • Leptospirosis can be prevented — A leptospirosis vaccination is available for dogs, and our veterinary professionals can help you determine if the protection could benefit your dog. Leptospirosis infection can also be prevented by discouraging your pet from swimming in or drinking from natural water sources, and ensuring they don’t ingest carcasses.

#4: You can catch cat scratch fever from your pet

Cat scratch fever is a bacterial infection caused by Bartonella henselae. Pet owners need to know the following Information about cat scratch fever:

  • Cats are usually infected by parasites — Most cats transmit the bacteria from infected fleas and ticks. Typically, infected cats show no signs, but in severe cases, the infection may attack the cat’s heart, kidneys, or eyes. 
  • Immunocompromised people are at higher risk — Pregnant women and people suffering from cancer, diabetes, HIV or AIDS, or those with a transplanted organ are at higher risk. Transmission to humans typically occurs when a cat bites, scratches, or licks an open wound. Signs in humans include blisters at the bite or scratch site, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, headaches, fever, joint pain, and rash. In severe cases, the infection can attack the brain, eyes, and bones, and cause a significant inflammatory response.
  • Cat scratch fever can be prevented  — Year-round flea prevention medication can prevent an infected flea from infecting your cat. Other disease prevention steps include avoiding rough play with your cat, and thoroughly cleaning any bite or scratch wounds. 

Catching a disease from your pet is rare, and simple precautions can help ensure your pet won’t make you sick. If your pet is due for a rabies vaccine, or you are interested in vaccinating your dog against leptospirosis, contact our team at Animal Clinic of Council Bluffs, so we can ensure your pet and your family are protected.

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Sassy the Terrier’s Noise Phobia Experience https://animalclinicofcb.com/sassy-the-terriers-noise-phobia-experience/ https://animalclinicofcb.com/sassy-the-terriers-noise-phobia-experience/#respond Wed, 08 Jun 2022 03:15:51 +0000 https://animalclinicofcb.com/?p=1126 Shivering, Sassy lost control of her urine and soaked the blankets in her crate. Her mouth bled as she bit the metal bars. She continued to bark and whine frantically, but her family would not return for another hour, and the thunderstorm raged on.   Unfortunately, Sassy's reaction to the loud noise of the storm is [...]

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Shivering, Sassy lost control of her urine and soaked the blankets in her crate. Her mouth bled as she bit the metal bars. She continued to bark and whine frantically, but her family would not return for another hour, and the thunderstorm raged on.  

Unfortunately, Sassy’s reaction to the loud noise of the storm is not uncommon. The risk of noise phobia increases in the summer, when warm weather brings more outdoor activities, such as fireworks, and more loud thunderstorms. If your pet suffers from noise phobia, the Animal Clinic of Council Bluffs wants to help. Read on to better understand Sassy’s experience and to get helpful treatment tips.

“Sassy has always had a slightly ‘nervous disposition.’ She hates the vacuum cleaner, she doesn’t like being separated from us, and she seems to know before anyone else when a storm is approaching.”

Dogs like Sassy may be predisposed to develop noise phobia. Many dogs develop this condition slowly, although some are affected suddenly. Watch your pet for the early warning signs of anxiety, so we can intervene with treatment at an early stage, and decrease their suffering

“We felt terrible when we came home to find the aftermath of Sassy’s first major noise panic attack episode. We did not realize how severe her anxiety had become.”

“Panic attack” is an accurate phrase to describe many dogs’ reaction to loud noises. Affected pets may show any or all of the following signs of noise aversion: 

  • Licking lips
  • Shaking
  • Pacing
  • Drooling
  • Vocalizing
  • Hiding
  • Clinging
  • Circling
  • Pacing
  • Panting
  • Yawning
  • Destroying furniture or crates
  • Injuring themselves

“After her storm episode when she injured herself and tried to destroy her crate, we never wanted Sassy to experience that pain again. We came to the Animal Clinic of Council Bluffs for help.”

To help pets like Sassy, our first step is to take a thorough history and perform a physical examination. Next, we perform laboratory testing to help determine whether a pet has any underlying physical problems. Behavior modification is the most important arm of many pets’ treatment plans. Sometimes referral to a board-certified veterinary behaviorist is necessary, but our veterinarians and team are usually able to develop a plan, especially in the early stages of the condition. Our plan may include techniques such as distracting and redirecting when you are present during your pet’s episodes. We also may teach you how to help your pet through desensitization and counterconditioning

“The team at Council Bluffs also taught us about supportive care and changes to Sassy’s environment that would help her noise anxiety. Most of these changes were simple and easy to make.”

Complementary therapy for pet noise aversion can include giving your pet calming supplements and using species-specific pheromones. Pet pheromones come in sprays and wipes, and can be used on or near a pet or in the environment to ease their fear. Some pets respond well to T-touch techniques and gear, or compression wear, such as thundershirts. Our team also can provide acupuncture and massage options. The Fear-Free Pets program provides information and helpful instruction about using calming colors, white noise, and soothing music.  

“Sassy’s behavior modification treatment plan required the cooperation of our entire family, and really helped the situation. Ultimately, Sassy also required anti-anxiety medication for full relief.”

Sometimes, behavior modification and supportive therapies are not enough. Fortunately, effective prescription medication options also exist for pets. Sileo, a tranquilizer labeled for canine noise aversion, helps many of our patients. Sileo can be given situationally on days that noise is expected. For pets who need more anxiety relief, a daily medication such as clomipramine may work best. Remember that pets on long-term medication require regular wellness care to ensure their safety. Our team knows your pet and any underlying health conditions that may need continued monitoring.

The Animal Clinic of Council Bluffs can help if your pet suffers from noise phobia. Call for an appointment to discuss their condition. We will perform a thorough physical exam, obtain lab results, and formulate a customized treatment plan for them. Together, we will work to ensure your pet avoids Sassy’s difficult noise phobia experience.

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Preventing Behavior Problems in Puppies https://animalclinicofcb.com/preventing-behavior-problems-in-puppies/ https://animalclinicofcb.com/preventing-behavior-problems-in-puppies/#respond Wed, 04 May 2022 03:02:58 +0000 https://animalclinicofcb.com/?p=1121 If you’ve recently welcomed home a new puppy, or are preparing for one, you’ll want to start them off on the right paw. Puppies thrive with a safe puppy-proof space, predictable access to resources (e.g., elimination locations, food, water, and toys), and positive social interactions. Check out this basic guide to preventing four common puppy [...]

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If you’ve recently welcomed home a new puppy, or are preparing for one, you’ll want to start them off on the right paw. Puppies thrive with a safe puppy-proof space, predictable access to resources (e.g., elimination locations, food, water, and toys), and positive social interactions. Check out this basic guide to preventing four common puppy behavior problems from the Animal Clinic of Council Bluffs.

#1: Crate training and puppies

Crate training your puppy can drastically reduce house training time, help them feel safe and secure, and reduce the likelihood of separation anxiety. Place the crate in a central location, and ensure your puppy learns that their crate is a positive and relaxing space by always providing treats or toys to engage them in the crate when they’re not asleep. Never use the crate as a punishment, or to isolate or deprive your puppy. Always lure them into their crate with a reward, or remain completely neutral.

For a Fear Free guide to crate training, click here

#2: Jumping and puppies

Although a young jumping puppy may seem innocent, boisterous adolescent puppies or adults can harm children, knock elderly adults off balance, and steal items from the counter or table. Teach your puppy proper greetings right away, and get a jump on jumping behavior.

  • Greet the puppy calmly — Ask visitors to ignore your puppy until their “four feet are on the floor.” Avoid using a high-pitched voice, which is more likely to excite the puppy. 
  • Reinforce good behavior — When the puppy is sitting, lying down, or standing with all four feet on the floor, reward them by kneeling down to their level and petting them, or dropping treats on the ground.
  • Ignore jumping — If your puppy puts their paws on you or a visitor, stop all interactions with the puppy or turn away.
  • Ask for a different behavior — Ask your puppy to “Sit” or “Down,” before you give them attention or a treat. Some puppies can be taught to fetch a toy as an alternative to greeting behavior.
  • Treat scatter — In a pinch, or to prevent bad behavior during training and guests arrive, scatter treats on the floor. This will encourage the puppy to look down and will preoccupy them until everyone is settled.

#3: Inappropriate chewing and puppies

Puppies chew to explore their world and find relief from gum pain during teething. While most chewing behavior subsides as the puppy enters adulthood, inappropriate or destructive behavior is self-reinforcing, and harder to correct. Ensure your puppy is confined to a limited area (e.g., crate, play pen, or puppy-proof room) to eliminate inappropriate chewing opportunities. Then, provide plenty of puppy-friendly chewing options of various textures and sizes. Always supervise play, to ensure your puppy isn’t destroying or consuming the toy.

Safe toy options for puppies include:

  • Rubber toys Kong, WestPaw, and ChewKing toys offer pliable rubber or rubber-like material that is flexible and safe for sharp puppy teeth.
  • Teething toys — Puppy toys labeled for teething are often made from plastic, are freezable for maximum comfort, and may include a nubby design for a massage-like effect on the gums. 
  • Puppy chews — Digestible chews made for puppies can satisfy your puppy’s need to gnaw. Monitor your puppy, and remove any pieces that get too small, to prevent choking.
  • Food-stuffed toys — Fill a hollow toy (e.g., Kong, WestPaw Toppl) with canned puppy food, or their dry food soaked in water or low sodium broth, and pureed.   

#4: Overexcitement in puppies

Puppies tend to get over excited, especially when tired. Nipping and humping are two common overarousal behaviors that may indicate it’s time for a nap. 

  • Nipping — If your puppy is nipping or biting at your hands during play, avoid pulling your hands away, which can seem like a prey activity, and excite your puppy more. Instead, yelp sharply (e.g., like a fellow puppy), stop all activity, and go quiet. After five seconds, resume play at a lower intensity. Repeat as needed, but after three tries, end the session, and take your puppy calmly to their crate for a nap. Never scold or punish your puppy for nipping, as this can make them fearful and anxious.
  • Humping — Although humping can trigger jokes and laughter, puppies do this because they are anxious and overexcited—humping is not sexual or dominance-seeking. If your puppy humps your leg or arm during play, calmly extract them, and remove them from the exciting situation. Do not add to their anxiety by scolding, pleading with, or pushing them. If the behavior is linked to a particular time of day, activity, or toy, try providing an alternative, less exciting exercise (e.g., a walk) or change your daily routine. This behavior typically fades as the puppy matures, and can be further reduced by spaying or neutering.

“Homeschooling” your puppy can build a solid foundation of good behavior, but once they’ve received their first vaccines, you should still sign them up for a puppy socialization class. These classes are a safe way to introduce your puppy to new environments and help them build confidence. For trainer recommendations, and any other questions about your new puppy’s care, contact Animal Clinic of Council Bluffs.

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Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease https://animalclinicofcb.com/feline-lower-urinary-tract-disease/ https://animalclinicofcb.com/feline-lower-urinary-tract-disease/#respond Fri, 01 Apr 2022 02:33:49 +0000 https://animalclinicofcb.com/?p=1102 Numerous issues can cause feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), since this is not a specific disease, but rather a term used to describe many conditions that can affect the cat’s bladder and urethra. These issues can cause significant health problems for your cat, and can potentially be life-threatening. Our team at Animal Clinic of [...]

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Numerous issues can cause feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), since this is not a specific disease, but rather a term used to describe many conditions that can affect the cat’s bladder and urethra. These issues can cause significant health problems for your cat, and can potentially be life-threatening. Our team at Animal Clinic of Council Bluffs wants to provide information about lower urinary tract disease in cats, so you will know the signs if your cat is suffering.

Lower urinary tract disease signs in cats

Diseases causing FLUTD typically present in similar ways, causing signs including:

  • Increased urination (pollakiuria) — Inflammation in the bladder or the urethra causes irritation, and can result in a more frequent need to urinate.
  • Painful urination (dysuria) — You may notice your cat straining to urinate, and they may vocalize while urinating.
  • Bloody urine (hematuria) — Inflammation can cause blood to appear in your cat’s urine. The amount may be microscopic or more obvious.
  • Inability to urinate (stranguria) — If your cat is straining to urinate, but producing no urine, they are experiencing an emergency and need immediate veterinary attention.
  • Inappropriate urination (periuria) — Pain and irritation in the bladder or urethra can cause your cat to urinate outside their litter box.
  • Behavioral changes — Your cat may become more withdrawn or exhibit aggression or irritability. In addition, some cats over-groom to cope with the pain and irritation.

Urolithiasis in cats

Approximately 15% to 25% of cats affected by FLUTD suffer from urolithiasis. Uroliths (i.e., bladder stones) are concretions that most commonly form in the urinary bladder, but can also be found in the urethra and kidneys. The most common uroliths types are struvite and calcium oxalate.

  • Struvite urolithiasis — Diets high in magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, sodium, chloride, and fiber with moderate protein content have been associated with increased risk. Female cats are also at higher risk for struvite urolithiasis. Struvite dissolution diets are used to manage the condition, and surgical intervention may be required in some cases.
  • Calcium oxalate urolithiasis — Low sodium and low potassium diets are associated with increased risk, and male cats are also at higher risk. Surgical intervention is typically required to address calcium oxalate urolithiasis.

Urethral obstruction in cats

Urethral obstruction is a common veterinary emergency, accounting for up to 9% of small animal emergencies. The obstruction can be caused by urethral plugs, uroliths, or urethral swelling or spasming, leading to an inability to urinate. Male cats are at higher risk, since their urethra is long and narrow. Other risk factors include indoor-only cats, obesity, and an exclusively dry diet. If not addressed promptly, urethral obstruction can cause acute kidney failure, and can have life-threatening consequences in as little as two days. Treatment involves sedating or anesthetizing your cat to relieve the obstruction, with X-rays or ultrasound possibly needed to determine the obstruction’s cause and location. If a spasming urethra is the cause, sedation alone may be enough to relieve the blockage. If other factors are causing the blockage, a catheter will likely be placed to remove the obstruction, and decompress the bladder. Most cats require intravenous fluids to treat the condition, and medications, such as anti-inflammatories, analgesics, and spasmolytics, may also be prescribed.

Feline idiopathic cystitis in cats

Approximately two-thirds of FLUTD cases are caused by feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC), which is a diagnosis of exclusion, and is made when other factors that could cause FLUTD are ruled out. The exact mechanism behind FIC is unknown, but contributing factors include:

  • Defective bladder lining — Glycosaminoglycans line the bladder wall, and provide protection from irritating substances found in urine. Cats with FIC tend to have a deficiency in this layer, allowing inflammation to occur.
  • Nerve inflammation — Local irritation from urine or brain stimulation in response to stress can stimulate nerves in the bladder wall, causing a release of chemicals that exacerbate the inflammatory response.
  • Stress — Stressed cats are at higher risk for FIC, and stressful events frequently trigger disease episodes.
  • Abnormal response to stress — Stress normally triggers the release of catecholamines and cortisol from the adrenal glands, but in FIC cats, cortisol levels tend to be low, indicating they have an abnormal stress response. 

FIC treatment typically focuses on modifying the diet, encouraging increased water intake, and reducing stress in the cat’s environment. Certain medications may be prescribed if initial management techniques aren’t successful.

Protecting your cat from lower urinary tract disease

Not all FLUTD cases can be prevented, but you can take certain steps to lower your cat’s risk. 

  • Provide adequate water — Ensure your cat has multiple sources of fresh, clean water at all times.
  • Reduce stress — Provide adequate mental and physical enrichment for your cat, to keep them stimulated and help reduce their stress. In addition, minimize major changes in their routine as much as possible.
  • Provide an adequate diet — Ask our veterinary professionals what diet is most appropriate for your cat, and feed small, frequent meals.
  • Manage the litter box appropriately — Ensure you have at least one litter box for every cat in your home, and one extra. Scoop the litter boxes frequently, and completely change the litter at least once a week. Esure the litter boxes are in quiet, low traffic areas in your home. 

FLUTD is a concerning problem for cats, but reducing your cat’s stress and ensuring they are adequately hydrated may help decrease their risk. If your cat is urinating outside their litter box or demonstrating other concerning signs, contact our team at Animal Clinic of Council Bluffs, so we can assess their urinary health.

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5 Ways We Keep Your Pet Safe During Anesthesia https://animalclinicofcb.com/5-ways-we-keep-your-pet-safe-during-anesthesia/ https://animalclinicofcb.com/5-ways-we-keep-your-pet-safe-during-anesthesia/#respond Wed, 16 Mar 2022 03:07:42 +0000 https://animalclinicofcb.com/?p=1097 The thought of their pet undergoing anesthesia can unsettle a pet owner—largely, from a fear of the unknown. Without knowing exactly what is happening to your pet, and all the ways your Animal Clinic of Council Bluffs team is striving to keep them safe, remaining calm, and trusting in our expertise, skill, and dedication, can [...]

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The thought of their pet undergoing anesthesia can unsettle a pet owner—largely, from a fear of the unknown. Without knowing exactly what is happening to your pet, and all the ways your Animal Clinic of Council Bluffs team is striving to keep them safe, remaining calm, and trusting in our expertise, skill, and dedication, can be difficult. However, we know you’ve entrusted your pet to our care, and we do our utmost to ensure they remain safe and comfortable during their procedure. To help put your mind at ease, here are five ways—of many—that our team works to keep your pet safe during anesthesia.

#1: We perform a pre-anesthetic exam on your pet the day of their procedure

Although your pet may have had a physical exam a week ago, we will still perform another one the day of their procedure. A lot can change in a few short days, so we always thoroughly examine your pet, to ensure we have the most accurate and current vital signs. We carefully listen to their heart and lungs, take their temperature, and check their gum color to assess their circulation. Abnormalities on a physical exam are evaluated further through blood work, X-rays, and other diagnostic tests, and, if need be, your pet’s anesthetic procedure will be postponed. 

#2: We run pre-anesthetic blood work on your pet to check their internal health

While a physical exam imparts valuable information about your pet’s overall health, blood work allows an internal look. For most pets, we run a complete blood count (CBC) and blood chemistry profile. These two tests tell us a lot about how your pet’s body is functioning, and will inform us about:

  • Dehydration
  • Anemia
  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Clotting problems
  • Kidney or liver dysfunction
  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Blood glucose issues

If your pet’s blood work shows any abnormality, we’ll dig deeper to find the cause of the problem. For example, if your pet’s kidney values are elevated, we’ll recommend a urinalysis, to see how well the kidneys are concentrating urine, or if your pet simply has not drank much today.

#3: We create a customized anesthetic protocol for your pet

Based on the information we gathered through the physical exam and blood work, we’ll formulate a personalized anesthetic protocol that is unique to your pet’s health status and their procedure. Anesthetic protocols and the drugs we use will vary greatly, depending on your pet’s organ function, their anxiety level, and the procedure’s pain level. For example, a foreign body surgery to remove a sock from the intestinal tract will be more painful than snipping a skin tag, and we’ll tailor our anesthetic protocol accordingly.

#4: We place an intravenous catheter in your pet

In the rare event of an emergency, we will want immediate access to your pet’s vein, to administer life-saving drugs. Because of this, we place an intravenous (IV) catheter in every pet undergoing anesthesia. An IV catheter allows us to administer not only medications, but also fluids, which are essential for maintaining a normal blood pressure. Plus, fluid administration helps your pet’s kidneys metabolize and flush out anesthetic drugs more quickly, enabling your pet to recover more rapidly, so they can return home to you sooner.

#5: Our team closely monitors your pet before, during, and after an anesthetic procedure

Before your pet ever goes under anesthesia, our skilled team is already monitoring their vital signs with a variety of monitoring equipment. Watching the patterns of your pet’s vital signs before, during, and after anesthesia helps us spot any subtle changes, and lets us correct an issue before becoming a serious problem. Vital signs we monitor include:

  • Heart rate and rhythm
  • Respiratory rate and effort
  • Blood pressure
  • Oxygen and carbon dioxide levels
  • Temperature
  • Comfort level
  • Anesthetic depth

At the first hint of a problem or abnormality in your pet’s values, our highly trained and experienced veterinary technician team will inform our veterinarians of the issue. By working together, we can immediately correct a problem, before becoming serious. However, our monitoring doesn’t end when your pet’s procedure is completed. We regularly check your pet’s vital signs until they are fully recovered from anesthesia, are coherent, and able to walk. Then, your four-legged friend can return home to you.

We understand that the thought of your pet undergoing anesthesia can be scary. Our team knows how much trust you place in us to keep your beloved pet safe, and we do our utmost to ensure they are safe and healthy before, during, and after any anesthetic event. If your pet is scheduled for an upcoming procedure, and you have questions about anesthesia, contact our Animal Clinic of Council Bluffs team.

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Your Pet’s Professional Dental Cleaning Outlined In 4 Phases https://animalclinicofcb.com/your-pets-professional-dental-cleaning-outlined-in-4-phases/ https://animalclinicofcb.com/your-pets-professional-dental-cleaning-outlined-in-4-phases/#respond Mon, 14 Feb 2022 03:58:26 +0000 https://animalclinicofcb.com/?p=1092 Up to 80% of pets experience some degree of dental disease by age 3, which, in turn, can lead to significant health issues. Proper oral hygiene is key to helping your pet avoid oral pain, dental infections, and potentially serious heart, liver, and kidney complications. While daily at-home toothbrushing is a critical component of your [...]

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Up to 80% of pets experience some degree of dental disease by age 3, which, in turn, can lead to significant health issues. Proper oral hygiene is key to helping your pet avoid oral pain, dental infections, and potentially serious heart, liver, and kidney complications. While daily at-home toothbrushing is a critical component of your pet’s oral health, so are annual professional dental cleanings. 

Our team at Animal Clinic of Council Bluffs wants to help you understand the ins and outs of this important procedure by explaining the four phases of a professional dental cleaning. 

Phase 1: Your pet’s pre-procedure evaluation

During the pre-procedure evaluation, your pet will receive a thorough examination, including assessment of their vital signs, mouth, heart, lungs, and blood work. Our team will: 

  • Conduct pre-anesthetic testing — By reviewing your pet’s medical history, we can check for any concerns that might make the use of anesthesia riskier for your pet. We may delay the cleaning procedure if your pet has a worsened pre-existing health condition, or if they have an infection, are dehydrated, or are anemic. 
  • Create an individualized anesthetic protocol —  Based on your pet’s pre-procedure evaluation, our team will determine the safest sedative and pain control medications. Pets must be anesthetized during dental treatments so both they and the veterinary professionals performing the procedure are protected. 

Phase 2: Your pet’s preparation for their dental procedure

Before your pet’s dental procedure, our team makes the necessary preparations to administer fluids and anesthesia, including: 

  • Intravenous (IV) catheter placement — An IV catheter is placed so we can administer fluids throughout the procedure to maintain your pet’s hydration and blood pressure. This also provides IV access that can be used to administer fast-acting medications, should a rare complication arise.
  • Sedation A sedative and pain medication will be administered to help your pet relax so they do not experience any unnecessary anxiety or fear.

Phase 3: Your pet’s dental procedure

  • Anesthetic induction — Once your pet is fully relaxed, we administer an IV anesthetic to cause unconsciousness. We then place a breathing tube to secure their airway, and administer anesthetic gas and fresh oxygen to maintain anesthesia. 
  • Dental X-rays — Full-mouth X-rays are taken so we can examine the tooth structure below the gumline. Since the majority of each tooth is buried, X-rays are essential to fully evaluate the tooth root, periodontal structures, and surrounding bone. Any problems, such as fractures, abscesses, tumors, bone loss, or tooth-root abnormalities, are documented on your pet’s dental chart so we can track their dental health over time.
  • Dental cleaning — Like people, pets develop sticky plaque on their teeth within hours of eating, and if the plaque isn’t removed, it hardens to a thick tartar. During your pet’s dental cleaning, the tartar will be removed from your pet’s teeth above and below the gumline. The scaler used creates tiny microabrasions on the surface of their teeth, so we polish them afterward to smooth out the enamel, which helps prevent future plaque buildup. In addition, we often apply fluoride to your pet’s teeth to help strengthen the enamel. It is not uncommon during a dental cleaning to find that a pet has infected, decayed, fractured, or diseased teeth that need to be extracted. If that happens, we will call you to discuss the details. 

Phase 4: Your pet’s dental procedure recovery

By monitoring every step of your pet’s dental cleaning procedure, we can provide a recovery process that is smooth and pain-free. That includes:

  • Helping your pet recover from the anesthesia — Team members will stay with your pet throughout the recovery process. Once your pet’s vital signs are stable and the monitoring equipment is removed, they will relax in a recovery cage with plenty of comfortable blankets until they are ready to go home.
  • Talking to you after your pet’s dental appointment — When you come to pick up your pet, we will answer any questions, go over recommended at-home oral care, and discuss what to watch for going forward when it comes to your pet’s oral health.  

At Animal Clinic of Council Bluffs, we want to ensure your pet avoids painful dental issues that can threaten their overall health. By scheduling annual dental cleanings, and keeping up with at-home care, you can keep your furry friend’s mouth problem-free. Call us today to schedule your pet’s appointment.

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