News

Heartworm Prevention is Vital

March 1st, 2021 by Heaven At Home Staff

It’s tempting to skip heartworm medication during winters in Michigan when infectious mosquitoes seem a distant memory. It’s also hard to remember to restart preventative treatment before our wily weather teases us with unseasonal warmth.

Foregoing year-round prevention is like playing Russian roulette with your canine companion’s heart.

“Mosquito species are constantly changing and adapting to cold climates and some species successfully overwinter indoors as well. Year-round prevention is the safest, and is recommended by the American Heartworm Society,” said Dr. Laurie Brush, founder of Heaven at Home Pet Hospice.

“The consequences of skipping prevention can be fatal.”

Heartworm disease is complex, and causes lasting damage to the heart, lungs, kidney, liver and arteries even if your pet survives.

Timeline:

Transmission begins when an infected mosquito carrying microscopic larvae, called microfilaria, feeds on your dog. The microfilaria mature into “infective stage” larvae over 10-14 days. In as few as 51 days, immature heartworm larvae can molt into an adult stage, which cannot be effectively eliminated by preventives. Within 6 months, fully adult heartworms will grow to be a foot long and will begin multiplying, wreaking havoc on the cardiovascular system. Mature heartworms can live for 5 to 7 years.

The resulting damage can affect the dog’s health and quality of life – if he or she survives — long after the parasites are gone.

Symptoms:

By the time your dog shows symptoms, damage has already begun. In early stages, you may notice a chronic cough, fatigue, decreased appetite and weight loss, with a swollen abdomen in later stages.

Severe cardiovascular collapse, called caval syndrome, may follow and is marked by a sudden onset of labored breathing, pale gums, and dark bloody or coffee-colored urine. Without prompt surgical removal of the heartworm blockage, few dogs survive.

If caught in time through annual testing, it can still be expensive and painstaking to treat. Dogs undergoing treatment must have their activity level severely restricted for 6-8 weeks to avoid sudden circulatory blockages from dead parasite fragments.

While cats are a less hospitable environment for heartworms, they also cannot be treated if infected. Immature worms can cause heartworm-associated respiratory disease in felines.

In each case, prevention is by far the best option, via monthly pills, monthly topicals or a six-month injectable product.

Don’t risk missing a dose in this high-stakes disease. The best protection is to treat your fur-friends year-round.


Helping Your Senior Cat with Kidney Disease

February 1st, 2021 by Heaven At Home Staff

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a leading cause of death in more than half of cats over 15 years old.

“A diagnosis of kidney disease sounds ominous, but can be managed. With the right diet, supplements, hydration and new medications being developed, it’s possible to keep senior kitties comfortable and extend their lives,” said Dr. Laurie Brush, founder of Heaven at Home Pet Hospice. Read the rest of this entry »


Space Age Pet Pain & Mood Management

January 1st, 2021 by Heaven At Home Staff

Throughout the ages, the mysterious forces of electricity and magnetism have been thought to possess healing powers. While it might sound a little “Sci-Fido,” current research in targeted Pulse Electro Magnetic Fields (tPEMF) is producing new treatment options with promising results for cats and dogs.

“tPEMF, when administered correctly, is a great way to give an senior cat or dog non-invasive and non-pharmaceutical pain relief through the reduction of inflammation,” said Dr. Laurie Brush, founder of Heaven at Home Pet Hospice. Read the rest of this entry »


Life-Enriching Gifts for Your Senior Pet

December 1st, 2020 by Heaven At Home Staff

The holiday season is upon us in this year “like no other” and there’s a good chance your bond with your fur-friend has been strengthened from all the quality time you’ve spent together. Pay it back with holiday gifts that will improve the quality of your senior pet’s life. Read the rest of this entry »


Holiday Manners for Pets Who’ve Gone “Wild”

November 11th, 2020 by Heaven At Home Staff

After months of working in your pajamas, it’s easy to forget “fashion BC” (Before COVID). It might be just as hard for your pet to remember his or her “manners BC” for the holidays.

Joyous Jumpers

Let’s face it – your heart is jumping for joy to see a long-lost loved one. Will Fido remember them too? Behavior research suggests yes. While dogs don’t excel at traditional long-term memory, they do possess “associative” memory. A pro-social dog with a fond association of your guests might forget the “no jumping” rule.

“A behavior has to be a very well rehearsed with broad contextual understanding in order for your dog to recall it in moments of excitement,” said Kristi Swan, Certified Professional Trainer and owner of A Dog’s Life. “Dogs don’t generalize well.” Read the rest of this entry »


Telemedicine for Aging Pets

May 13th, 2020 by Heaven At Home Staff


In the era of COVID19 social distancing and stay at home orders, many pet parents have had the added stress of managing disease in their aging pets.

The crisis has ushered in a new era of veterinary consultation via telemedicine. This area of service has experienced exponential growth among routine care veterinarians as well as specialists. However, there are a few important things to consider when using veterinary telemedicine. Learn more in our blog post or Learn HOW on our Video Consultations page! Read the rest of this entry »


Assessing the Risks of Lyme Disease and Prevention in Dogs

April 17th, 2020 by Heaven At Home Staff


Half the black-legged deer ticks you and your pet encounter on a Sunday stroll are carriers of a disease that can be deadly. The Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium is zoonotic, meaning it can infect both humans and man’s best friend with Lyme Disease.

For your fur friend, if left untreated, canine Lyme disease can damage the heart, nervous system, and kidneys. Chronically infected dogs may develop a life-threatening form of kidney inflammation and dysfunction. Long-term, Lyme can lead to arthritic-like joint stiffness and lameness. Read the rest of this entry »


COVID-19 Updates: Hospice Telemedicine Now Available, Home Euthanasia Still Available

April 1st, 2020 by Heaven At Home Staff

UPDATE: Hospice and Quality of Life Assessments NOW AVAILABLE BY VIDEO

  • Our doctors are not currently visiting homes for hospice consultations, but we are now offering telemedicine visits with our doctors as an alternative. Call (616) 498-1316 to schedule your appointment. You may also, using your mobile phone, DOWNLOAD THE MEDICI APP  here (opens in a new window.)
  • Once you’ve registered on the APP, please enter THIS code to connect to Dr. Amy Hoss and the Heaven at Home Team: EWEKZRVSAS

 


UPDATE: Heaven at Home’s COVID-19 Protocols for Home Euthanasia Visits:

In light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, we have made some changes to our protocols to protect our clients as well as our doctors and staff, so that we can continue to help pets pass peacefully and comfortably at home. We are following CDC, IAAHCP, and AVMA guidelines.

  • Our doctors will continue to help families say goodbye at home, either outdoors or in a garage or similar light traffic enclosure that can accommodate the 6-foot distance recommendation. We are attempting to avoid indoor exposure for the safety of our staff and your household.
  • Only immediate family, up to 2 people, can attend the appointment but no children under 10 years old may be present. All other family members or friends may attend via Skype, FaceTime, or other technology.
  • We ask all that will be present to please wash their hands just before the doctor arrives.
  • Our doctor will maintain a 6-foot distance from you and your family at all times, both for your protection and for hers. You will be asked to step away from your pet while she gives the initial sedative injection, then you may return as they drift off to sleep. You will be asked to step away again while she places an IV catheter and gives the second injection, then you may return as they pass peacefully.
  • When scheduling, please inform our staff if you or anyone in the home, is sick, experiencing symptoms, or have been exposed to the virus or other illness.
  • We are taking payment over the phone by credit card when you call to schedule. Please let us know if this is not an option for you.
  • Our doctors will go over the consent form with you when they arrive and ask for your verbal consent to proceed, as well as confirm your aftercare wishes for your pet.
  • We are only able to accept favorite blankets or toys to accompany the pet to cremation if your pet is contained in a body care bag, which is available for purchase. Please ask for more information when scheduling.
  • Our doctors will follow disinfectant protocols for themselves and their equipment, including disinfecting their supplies and stretchers, after each appointment. They will, as always, use fresh blankets for each pet.
  • Unfortunately, our doctors will be unable to offer hugs of comfort to our clients during their visit. Please know that this is actually one of the hardest adjustments for our doctors, as they desperately want to comfort you during this heart-wrenching time.

The Pet Effect: Dogs May Help Heart Health

January 31st, 2020 by Heaven At Home Staff

Image of dog with stuffed valentines heart in mouth to depict the heart-healthy effect of pets on humans

February is heart health month!

Make sure you give Fido a lovely Valentine this month; he or she may be giving your heart a healthy boost. A growing body of evidence suggests that having a dog may help with heart health by lowering blood pressure, lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels and even reducing mortality after cardiac events.

One study published recently reviewed patient data from more than 3.8 million people in 10 separate studies. Compared to non-owners, dog owners had a 24% reduced risk of dying from any cause; a 31% reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular-related issues; and a 65% reduced risk dying after a heart attack, according to the reports published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

In the U.S., heart disease is the leading cause of death, responsible for one in four deaths, according to the CDC.

“Owning dogs has previously been linked to better mental health and feeling less lonely, which are both thought to decrease the risk of heart attacks,” said Dr. Laurie Brush, founder of Heaven at Home Pet Hospice. “While this new body of research doesn’t prove causality, it certainly furthers the connection.”

The Mayo Clinic is following a ground-breaking longitudinal study in the Czech Republic that began in 2013 with 1,769 adults, 24% of whom were dog owners. The participants are assessed every five years on the American Heart Association’s seven criteria for heart health: BMI, healthy diet, physical activity level, smoking status, blood pressure, blood glucose, and total cholesterol.

The results released this fall confirmed the association between pet ownership and cardiovascular health (CVH) as defined by the AHA. People who owned a pet, and specifically a dog, were more likely to report scores for physical activity, diet, and blood glucose components at higher levels. This translated into higher CVH score among owners of dogs or other pets than non-owners. In fact, dog owners exhibited better CVH even than owners of other pets. The subjects will be followed until 2030.

While researchers do not yet understand why dog ownership seems to improve blood glucose and lipid profiles, there’s historical proof that petting your dog reduces blood pressure.

So pet away, and give your heart to your fur-friend: they’ll help keep it healthy!

 


Better Ways to Say Goodbye: Pet Hospice & Euthanasia

September 30th, 2019 by Heaven At Home Staff

It’s a tough subject, but our companion animals age faster than we do. It’s hard to see them suffer, and even harder to imagine life without them. What if in their final chapter you could reduce their pain? What if, when the time was right, they could end their life story in the comfort of their favorite place, with the people they love?

“Those are the questions that fueled the rise of the home hospice movement not all that long ago,” said Dr. Laurie Brush, founder of Heaven at Home Pet Hospice.

“Answering those questions became the mission of the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care, and my team’s mission as well.”

IAAHPC celebrates its 10th anniversary this October at its annual conference, where specialized veterinarians like Dr. Brush join together to learn new ways to bring comfort to aging pets and give them compassionate and increasingly sophisticated home care.

“By integrating palliative services early in the management of chronic or life-limiting disease, we can now ameliorate needless suffering and even extend a pet’s life in some cases,” Dr. Brush said.

For example, finding ways to support or improve mobility through cold laser therapy, supplements, management of pain medication and environmental accommodations can make a world of difference to an arthritic pet. Early intervention and management of diseases such as diabetes can also give Fido or Felix a new lease – or leash – on life.

In addition to raising awareness of options, the IAAHPC has also founded a hospice and palliative care certification program for licensed veterinarians and veterinarian technicians. Dr. Brush was among the program’s first 100 graduates worldwide. The 100-hour AHPC Certification establishes a standard of care that reflects excellence. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) now advises pet parents to work with AHPC-certified providers for hospice and palliative care.

Dr. Brush points out that AHPC veterinarians don’t seek to replace a pet’s routine care veterinarian, but to work with them for continuity of care.

“We’re trained specifically to provide both the technical and emotional support required to give the human-animal bond the dignity it deserves during a pet’s sunset years and final farewell. Every pet deserves a compassionate and peaceful, pain-free passing.”


 
Compassionate home care for your companions!
© 2021 - Heaven at Home