Practicing early detection for your pet’s health

Do you remember the TV show Emergency Vets?  I was addicted.  One of the veterinarians on the show, Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald writes some great articles on animal care.  I just read one on aging dogs called Silver Muzzles.

Because animals are living longer now, the importance of practicing early detection is even more important.  As an animal ages, the immune system can become more susceptible to a variety of  infections.

This is where ThePetCheckup comes in.  As an additional tool in your wellness program, it can help identify many potential problems with your aging animals before the problems get more serious.

Of course, it is just as important to keep up with regular veterinary checkups. But between visits, regular use of ThePetCheckup will provide you will priceless peace of mind.

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More warnings about protecting our pets from heat stroke

I tried to find some statistics on how many dogs left in cars die from heat stroke per year.  It is estimated to be several hundred each summer, but most of the deaths go unreported.

These are totally preventable deaths.  We have all heard the warnings, yet many owners still think they can just run in to a store “for a minute” and their animal will be safe.  On an 85 degree day (most of the country is well above that currently) it only takes 10 minutes for the inside car temp to reach 105.

If you see an animal in a locked car in the summer heat, call the police immediately.  If in a parking lot, notify store employees.

Dr. Marty Becker advises the following if an animal is suffering from heat stroke and needs immediate help:

  • Begin cooling procedures by soaking her body with cool water – cool, but not cold. Use a hose, wet towels or any other source of cool water that is handy. Take her temperature if possible.
  • Concentrate the cooling water on her head, neck and in the areas underneath her front and back legs. Carefully cool her tongue if possible, but don’t let water run into her throat as it could get into her lungs. Never put water in a dog’s mouth that can’t swallow on its own. Put a fan on her if possible – it will speed up the cooling process.
  • After a few minutes, re-check her temperature. If her temp is at or below 104 degrees, stop the cooling process. Further cooling could lead to blood clotting or a too-low body temperature. Get her to a veterinary clinic right away, even if she seems to be recovering.

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low or high pH readings in dog and cat urine testing

We have many customers who’s animals have recurrent bacterial infections.

Keeping a record of the pH values from the monthly home test is, of course, very valuable for them as it can show if the urine is becoming more acidic and creating a condition for crystals or stones to form.

But this is an important test result to watch for everyone as a sudden change in the result shows existing problems as well as potential future problems.

And if your dog or cat is on a special diet, it is easy to monitor how your animal is responding to the diet as times goes on.

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Urine specific gravity reading dogs and cats

The specific gravity (SG) reading measures the concentration of your dog or cat’s urine.

The range goes from 1.000 which is completely dilute (water) through 1.060 which is highly concentrated.

For cats, normal SG is considered between 1.015 and 1.060.  For dogs, the normal range is between 1.015 and 1.050.

If you test right after your dog or cat has had a large drink, the SG will be on the low end as the urine is more diluted.  If you test right after your dog has gone for a long run, the urine could be at the concentrated level.

Abnormal readings of SG can indicate some serious conditions however, such as thyroid, kidney, adrenal or diabetic conditions.

So test about the same time each day under similar conditions and record your results on the results page so you can see if there have been any changes over time.

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Home urine test kit with 8 complete tests

Our intention has always been to make the kit as affordable as possible to dog and cat owners.

When we were first developing ThePetCheckup kit, we intended to include 6 complete tests in the kit and offer refills in quantities of 6, 12, and 24.

We had  a group of business students at Yale run some focus groups and  they found that many people were unfamiliar with urine testing and thought it would be difficult to do.  It’s actually very simple and once the group did their first test, they were totally comfortable with it.

Nonetheless, we decided to include 8 complete tests in the kit and  have been able to keep it that way since then.  It’s been a challenge with the cost of everything going up, so we’re quite proud of that.


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New pet food recalls 2013

I just noticed there have been many pet food recalls since the beginning of the year.

Here is a link to the FDA/Veterinary site where you can read up on them.  It’s quite a list — mostly dog and cat food, but there are some parakeet and other bird food recalls on there too.

Also, an organic food.


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Testimonial on pet urine specific gravity and pH readings

Another nice testimonial from a customer today:

I have used ThePetCheckup for several years and it has proven most useful on several occasions. One of which was when one of my dogs behavior became unusually anxious and nervous. I decided to do a ThePetCheckup and discovered his pH was up significantly. A trip to his Vet confirmed that he’d likely had a reaction to a recent vaccine and an appropriate remedy was prescribed.

More recently, another of my dogs SG was lower than normal, but in the absence of any other serious symptoms. Once more an appt with his Vet confirmed a problem and a course of treatment was undertaken.
Thank You ThePetCheckup for a great product !


LB, Canada

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5 year update on Michael Vick’s former dogs

Best Friends Animal Society has posted a wonderful update on their website about the dogs that were rescued from Michael Vick’s dog-fighting property 5 years ago.

Twenty-two of these dogs went to Best Friends where they were renamed the “Victory Dogs” and it is a pretty amazing story to read about their lives now.

Ten of them have already been adopted into loving homes and most of the others are working towards that goal in their own time.

Two of the dogs, Lucas and Meryl per court order will live their lives out at the shelter, and it is pretty wonderful to read about their lives now too.

You can read the rest of the article here:

It’s really inspiring and quite amazing to know what their lives are like now.



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Dog and cat ear diseases best treated naturally

Here is an article submitted by our friend, holistic veterinarian Dr. Shawn Messonnier. I’ve been on his radio show several times discussing the benefits of ThePetCheckup, and Dr. Shawn is a big fan of the product. I asked him to share his thoughts about a condition he sees on a daily basis at his practice, Paws & Claws Animal Hospital, in Plano, Texas.

*****Not a day goes by that I don’t see a pet with ear disease. All too often the pet has suffered from an ear (and often skin) infection for many months (and in a few recent cases over 4 years!!) Since I focus on a natural approach to healing, my treatment relies more on herbal remedies than conventional drugs (which often have side effects and which don’t always work.)

Here’s my approach to pets with ear and skin disease.

First, properly diagnose the infection by looking at a swab of the ear discharge under the microscope.

Second, thoroughly clean the ears in the office before sending the pet home. This reduces the infection and pain and makes it easier to treat/clean the ears at home.

Finally, use the most natural products that have the best chance to work in treating the infected ears.

I routinely use 2 natural products I’ve developed for the specific purpose of treating infections. The first is Olive Leaf Plus. It’s my favorite supplement to use for pets with ear and skin infections caused by yeasts and bacteria (and is one of the main reasons I rarely use antibiotics and have never used anti-fungal medications in my practice for these pets.) It’s also a great supplement to use to support your pet’s immune system (pets with chronic skin and ear infections, or any infections for that matter, need immune support) and is also used by healthy pets as well as those with any illness in which immune support would be beneficial (all of my cancer patients use Olive Leaf Plus as well.)

Second, I send home a bottle of Dr. Shawn’s Herbal Ear Wash. The herbs contained in the ear wash relieve inflammation, help fight infection, and leave your pet’s ears smelling great!

Following successful resolution of the ear infection, I encourage owners to continue to use the ear wash every 24-48 hours and after bathing to keep the ears clean and odor-free.

While I can’t promise your pet will achieve the same results as my patients, and I can’t make any drug claims since this product is not a medication, I can share my own experiences with you. Since using Olive Leaf Plus and Dr. Shawn’s Herbal Ear Wash as part of my protocol for pets with ear and skin problems, my use of conventional medications has decreased significantly for these problems. For those of you wanting to try to avoid excessive use of antibiotics and anti-fungal medications, here is my protocol to get you started:

*For skin problems, use Dr. Shawn’s Itch Relief Shampoo either daily or several times each  week followed by Dr. Shawn’s Herbal Ear Wash to keep the ears clean following bathing, plus Olive Leaf Plus until the skin problem is resolved.

*For ear problems use Dr. Shawn’s Herbal Ear Wash twice daily for 2-4 weeks plus Olive Leaf Plus for 2-4 weeks.

You can order these products online by going to

and clicking on the link to Dr. Shawn’s Naturals Store on the left side of the page. Be sure to enter code “tpc” to save 10% on your order.

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Know your pet’s health baseline!


Even the most caring and observant pet owners are sometimes taken by surprise to find out that their dog or cat has a serious illness  — and that it may have been coming on for some time.

That’s why it is so great to see that more and more pet owners are practicing preventative medicine and being more proactive with their pet’s healthcare.

Knowing your pet’s “normal” baseline provides great information.  Like us, dogs and cats can have their own “normal” that may vary somewhat from all the normal parameters on a home urine test.  This could be due to a specific diet they are eating ( if the diet is higher in protein, you may find that a trace value for protein is their normal).

The baseline can also vary depending on a wide variety of pre-existing conditions or previous health problems the animal experienced.  Any deviations from the baseline reading becomes very significant and provide important information to the observant pet owner! This is also information your veterinarian will want to be aware of as well.


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