FOLIC ACID FOR VETERINARY USE by Barbara Forney, VMD
Overview: Therapeutic Class, "B" Vitamin. Species-Dogs, cats and horses
Commonly Prescribed by Vets for: Small-intestinal disease, drug-related folate deficiency, cleft-palate prevention..
FDA Status No veterinary approved products available. Search for Available Dosage Forms
Folic acid or vitamin B9 is a water-soluble synthetic folate. Naturally occurring folate is found in many foods. Folates have an important role in nucleoprotein synthesis, homocysteine metabolism, cellular division, erythropoeisis, neural development and the synthesis of neurotransmitters. Folic acid is absorbed primarily by carrier-mediated diffusion within the proximal small intestine. Folic-acid supplementation frequently is prescribed in humans during pregnancy and when animals or humans are taking drugs that may interfere with folate absorption. There are multiple drugs that may affect folate levels due to competitive, reversible inhibition of the enzyme dihydrofolate reductase.
Dogs and Cats
Folic-acid supplementation is used in animals at risk for folate deficiency, particularly animals with small-intestinal disease or malabsorption. Serum-folate levels should be determined prior to therapy; in some instances serum-folate levels actually are increased due to bacterial synthesis of folate within the small intestine. Cats with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency are more likely to have folate deficiency than dogs with pancreatic insufficiency because of the synthesis of folate by small-intestinal bacteria in dogs.
Research on cleft palates in brachycephalic breeds of dogs supports the use of folic-acid supplementation in the pregnant bitch as a means of decreasing the incidence of cleft palate by as much as 48-76%. There is a great deal of research supporting folic-acid supplementation in pregnant women as a means of preventing neural-tube defects.
Hyper-homocysteinemia is a risk factor for thromboembolism in people; there is some preliminary data that supports the use of folic-acid supplementation in cats with hyper-homocysteinemia or those recovering from thromboembolism.
Folic-acid supplementation sometimes is used in horses, particularly broodmares and breeding stallions, undergoing long-term treatment for equine protozoal myeloencephalitis with the anitprotozoal drugs pyrimethamine and sulfonamides. These drugs are known to inhibit dihydrofolate reductase.
Folic Acid Side Effects
Folic acid is considered relatively nontoxic; side effects are unlikely. CNS side-effects have occurred in humans following very-high doses.
Folate levels may be variable in dogs with enteropathy. Before administering supplemental folic acid, colbalamin and folate levels should be established.
Drugs that interfere with folate utilization include anti-convulsants (dilantin, phenytoin and primidone), sulfasalazine, barbiturates, nitrofurantoin, methotrexate, trimethoprim and pyrimethamine.
Chloramphenicol may slow the response to folic-acid supplementation.
In cases of accidental overdose, excess folic-acid will be metabolized or excreted in the urine.
About the Author
Dr. Barbara Forney is a veterinary practitioner in Chester County, Pennsylvania. She has a master's degree in animal science from the University of Delaware and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1982.
She began to develop her interest in client education and medical writing 1997. Recent publications include portions of The Pill Book Guide to Medication for Your Dog and Cat, and most recently Understanding Equine Medications published by the Bloodhorse.
Dr. Forney is an FEI veterinarian and an active member of the AAEP, AVMA, and AMWA.
You can purchase books by Dr. Forney at www.exclusivelyequine.com
The information contained on this site is general in nature and is intended for use as an informational aid. It does not cover all possible uses, actions, precautions, side effects, or interactions of the products shown, nor is the information intended as medical advice or diagnosis for individual health problems or for making an evaluation as to the risks and benefits of using a particular product. You should consult your doctor about diagnosis and treatment of any health problems. Information and statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration ("FDA"), nor has the FDA approved the products to diagnose, cure or prevent disease.
Wedgewood compounded veterinary preparations are not intended for use in food and food-producing animals.
CONQUERING BEHAVIORAL PROBLEMS - BARKING
BARKING A PROBLEM: From Pet Nutrition.Conquering Behavioral Problems series.
The first common behavioral problem we will discuss is barking dogs. With more and more communities having noise ordinances and people living in more urban settings, this is becoming an increasingly important problem.
Instead of thinking you are training to stop barking, you should instead think of it as training to be quiet.
To teach the "quiet" command you will first have to anticipate a situation when the dog will bark (knocking at the door, a neighbor outside, etc.) so that you can be prepared to quiet the dog on command. You can even have a friend or family member help you by doing something that normally the dog would bark at (like knock on the door). As soon as your dog makes the smallest first woof, say, "quiet" and call the dog to you and ask it to 'sit,' and praise a quiet response.
If your dog doesn't listen and barks after you ask it to be quiet you can immediately use a dog whistle or sound an air horn as you repeat the 'quiet' command. You don't want your pet to be afraid, but it should be loud enough that it immediately stops barking and shows a slight startle response. Another alternative is to leave a head halter (like the Gentle Leader) and leash attached to the dog. If your pet does not immediately become quiet on command, then quickly pull the leash and guide the dog into a quiet sitting position. Once he/she is quietly sitting then a treat can be given to encourage the quiet behavior.
You also want to make sure throughout the day that you encourage quiet behavior. You should acknowledge when the dog is being quiet and provide attention, affection, play, or food to encourage this behavior. Barking must not be reinforced with any accidental form of praise like affection. If for some reason the barking cannot be stopped, it should be ignored until the dog is quiet.
You should avoid any yelling, punishising, or any anxious behavior that may further aggravate your dog's barking and anxiety.
Some dogs also respond well to a bark-activated device like a citronella spray no bark collar. Barking will trigger the release of a spray that most dogs don't like. You still, however, want to teach the "quiet" command and make sure to give a treat or reward when your dog responds to the "quiet" command.
You want to avoid leaving your dog outside unsupervised for long periods. Dogs are often stimulated to bark by other dogs and people outside or they may start to bark to attract your attention. You need to be the one that calls them inside and not let them bark to be let inside or it will only encourage the barking behavior.
Many dogs will just bark because of daily events going on around them, but there are some dogs that have lots of anxiety and are very fearful about being left home alone. If your neighbors say your dog is always barking when you are gone or you are suspicious that this might be the case then you should set up a video camera to see what your dog does when you are not there. If your dog feels stressed when you are not home then you can still teach the "quiet" command, but you will also need to address the underlying separation anxiety issues causing the barking which involves additional training information. You should and can always use your vet as an information source. They may also be able to refer you to qualified trainers and
Source: Your pals at Pet Nutrition Products
Pet Nutrition Products
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Apopka, Florida 32712
Dogs Shows- What's it all about? ... or Winner's What?!
A Day at the Dog Show (Part One)
By Kiesha Crawmer, Kismet Sighthounds
I remember the first time I attended a dog show. It seemed like mass confusion. Dogs and people milling about, running seemingly willy-nilly in and out of rings, people shouting numbers. It made my head hurt just trying to make sense out of it.
Most dog shows in the United States are held by the American Kennel Club, the largest registry of purebred dogs in this country. Upon arriving at a dog show, visit the superintendent's table. They will have free schedules available, known as "judging programs." The judging program has a list of breeds, the number of that breed entered, the ring they will be shown in and the ring time.
After determining what breeds you'd like to observe, locate the rings they are being judged in, and arrive a few minutes before judging time starts. You will see a lot of people holding dogs standing outside the ring, many of them wearing numbered armbands. Two people will be standing in the ring, one of whom wears is a badge saying he or she is the judge. The judge is totally in charge of what happens in the ring.
The second person in the ring is the steward. The steward functions as the judge's assistant and keeps things running smoothly. S/he checks in exhibitors, hands out armbands, calls exhibitors in for the classes, gets ribbons ready for the judge to award, and marks a catalog with all absentees and placements (among other tasks).
When showtime arrives, the steward will start calling the dogs into the ring. The dogs are shown in categories based on sex, age, where they were bred, and if the exhibitor is the breeder. They are also shown in categories for dogs who are working toward their championship, and dogs who are already champions. The dogs are shown anonymously; only the handler's armband number identifies them.
Handlers and dogs move around the ring, and when they have completed the circuit, the dogs are examined individually. The judge examines the dog's bite, to make sure the teeth meet in the manner prescribed by the breed standard (some standards also require the judge to check for missing teeth). The judge also checks for condition (muscle tone), proper coat texture, and structure. This is particularly important in coated breeds, where structural faults can be hidden by skillful grooming. While grooming may fool the eye, it won't deceive a knowledgeable pair of hands! All the males must also be checked for two normally descended testicles.
The winners of each category then return to the ring to compete against each dog of their same sex. The male and female winners of this competition are known as the Winners Dog and Winners Bitch; these are the awards that come with the all-important championship points. "First runner ups" known as Reserve Winners Dog and Reserve Winners Bitch are also selected. (There is no apostrophe after "Winners".)
What happens next? On to the Best of Breed competition in part two!
Copyright 2002 by Kiesha Crawmer. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Best of Breed and Beyond:
A Day at the Dog Show (Part Two)
By Kiesha Crawmer, Kismet Sighthounds
Part one of this series ended with judging of Winners Bitch (WB) and Reserve Winners Bitch (RWB). Immediately afterward, the steward calls in the dogs for Best of Breed (BOB) competition. This consists of the dogs who have already finished their championships (often referred to as "specials"), the Winners Dog, and the Winners Bitch. The judge individually examines the specials, and evaluates them stacked and moving. Often competition is quite keen, and in this class showmanship can be critical.
After careful consideration, the judge makes three awards. Best of Breed is awarded to the dog that most closely approaches the breed standard on that day, in the judge's opinion. Next Best of Winners is awarded, which is exactly what it says, the best between the Winners Dog and Winners Bitch. The last award given is Best of Opposite Sex (BOS). If BOB is a male, BOS is given to the most outstanding female, and vice versa. There is no rule stating that BOB and/or BOS must be champions, and in fact it is not uncommon for class dogs to win these awards.
The dog judged Best of Breed is eligible for the next level of competition, known as group judging. All fully recognized AKC breeds are divided into seven variety groups. They are: Sporting Group, Hound Group, Working Group, Terrier Group, Toy Group, Non-Sporting Group, and Herding Group.
The steward calls each Best of Breed winner into the group ring, and they all line up, stacked and looking their best. All dogs are individually examined and gaited, even if they are showing to the same judge who did their individual breed. It is important to remember that the dogs are not really being judged against each other, but against the perfect specimen of its breed described by the breed standard. In other words, not "is the Papillon prettier than the Pug," but "does the Papillon more closely match its breed standard than the Pug." Four placements are made in each variety group, first, second, third and fourth.
After all of the groups are judged, it's time for the main event! The seven group winners are called into the ring for Best In Show (BIS) judging. Once again, dogs are judged starting from scratch. A BIS judge must know the breed standards for all breeds, a great feat of memory.
Many judges have a theatrical flair, and make the award in a dramatic fashion. With a great flourish, the judge points at the Best in Show winner that day. There are congratulations, tears and laughter. The awarding of Best In Show brings our day at the dog show to an end.
Copyright 2002 by Kiesha Crawmer. Used with permission. All rights reserved.