October, 2019

October 09, 2019

How Can I Help Prevent Excessive Weight Gain in My Pet?

How Can I Help Prevent Excessive Weight Gain in My Pet?

Pets naturally gain and lose weight due to many factors like age, activity level, time of year, and health status. While weight gain is not always in itself a bad thing, the underlying factors that can cause excessive weight gain, or obesity, need to be understood, as they can lead to secondary health issues such as diabetes and skin disease, or worsen naturally-occurring, age-related diseases like arthritis and degenerative joint disease. In observance of Pet Obesity Awareness Day, here are some tips and tricks to help your small animal maintain a healthy weight:

Know when you’re loving your pet with food and work to curb your own behavior.

Some pet owners might feel guilty they’re not spending enough time with their pet and can repeatedly compensate for this offering a little extra food or a few extra treats here and there without realizing how many extra calories they are providing to their pet. Your pet values your attention more than they value food (even if they have you convinced otherwise!)—instead of additional food, reward your pet with attention every chance you get.

Just because your pet is begging doesn’t mean they’re starving!

We’re all guilty of giving in to our pets when they beg for food, but it’s important to remember that the immediate food reward we give our pets can have negative effects to their long-term physical wellbeing. Giving in to begging also sets unreasonable expectations for future interactions. Pet owners should actively balance what kinds and amounts of food their pet receives, as pets might still seek out food to eat even though they aren’t particularly hungry.

Make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise.

Just like us, your pet’s ancestors didn’t live a sedentary lifestyle. While we might be long-removed from our ancestors, we still inherit our metabolism and need for a healthy amount of exercise. Encouraging natural behaviors through safe enrichment options such as natural chews can help get your small animal engaged in their surroundings. Make sure to also set aside time each day for your pet to explore outside their habitat in a pet-proofed space, such as an exercise pen. Depending on where you live and the time of year, supervised outside time can also provide an excellent opportunity for physical activity.

Ensure your pet is eating a proper, uniform fortified food.

Specifically avoid muesli mixes that encourage selective eating, as your small animal will try to choose more tasty morsels over healthier pieces of food in mixes, which can lead to imbalanced nutrition. Choose instead a uniform food where the same nutrition can be found in every bite. Also make sure your pet’s food is appropriate for your pet’s species, and that the ingredients are appropriate for your pet’s age. For herbivores like rabbits and guinea pigs, alfalfa-based pellets should only be given to young, pregnant, or nursing animals; adult animals who are not pregnant or nursing should receive a grass hay-based fortified food, such as timothy grass hay.

Avoid dairy and added sugars in your pet’s food and treats.

Dairy-based treats, such as yogurt drops, are unhealthy for small animals like rabbits and guinea pigs and should be avoided completely. They often contain both natural and added sugars to make them appealing to your little one. While the occasional seed can be a nice treat for omnivores like rats, hamsters, and gerbils, these energy-dense foods can also be high in fat and cause weight problems if given too often. The best treat options are hay-based treats like Oxbow’s Simple Rewards baked treats, freeze-dried fruit without any added sugars like Oxbow’s Simple Rewards freeze-dried strawberry or banana treats, or controlled amounts of dark leafy greens.

Moderate your pet’s fruit intake.

While fresh fruits in small, infrequent amounts can certainly be nutritious and enriching, too much fruit can provide an excessive amount of sugars, which can lead to GI disturbances.
Discuss what your pet’s ideal, healthy weight is with your vet. Some pet owners can have a skewed perception of what a healthy animal looks like. At your pet’s next veterinary appointment, make sure to discuss what your pet’s ideal weight is, and make a plan with your veterinarian about how to get to and maintain this ideal weight.

Weigh your pet at home regularly.

Weight is a physical factor that pet parents can easily monitor at home. Purchase a scale for your pet’s weekly weigh-ins to monitor their weight. The type of scale you should purchase depends on your pet’s species and breed (guinea pigs can often be weighed on a kitchen scale that registers up to 10 pounds, for example). We recommend weighing your pet at the same time of day once a week (i.e. 9 a.m. every Saturday), and keeping a physical log of your pet’s weight each week. This is the most effective way to see if your pet is consistently gaining, losing, or maintaining their weight. While owners should always make note of weight changes, these changes aren’t always something to be concerned about. If your pet is having rapid weight fluctuations, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.
If you’re following these steps and your pet is still struggling with their weight, explore the possibility of underlying health issues. Sometimes weight gain can be a symptom of health issues that are not as readily visible, such as osteoarthritis and metabolic or thyroid problems. Investigating these issues with your veterinarian can help ensure that your pet lives as healthy and happy of a life as possible.


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October 04, 2019

Dr. James Carpenter Recognized with 2019 Oxbow Quest Award

Dr. James Carpenter Recognized with 2019 Oxbow Quest Award

Oxbow Animal Health has announced Dr. James Carpenter as the winner of the 2019 Oxbow Exotic Mammal Health (Quest) Award. Established in 2009, the Quest is presented annually to an animal health professional who advances the field of exotic mammal medicine and care.  Dr. Carpenter, who serves as Professor of Exotic Pet, Wildlife, and Zoological Medicine at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, was presented with the award at the 2019 ExoticsCon conference in St. Louis, Missouri at a reception in his honor. 

“Throughout Dr. James Carpenter’s 40 years in the field of exotic animal, wildlife, and zoo animal medicine, he has contributed to the development of countless veterinary professionals through his research, teaching, authorship, and industry leadership,” said John Miller, President and Founder of Oxbow Animal Health.  “Dr. Carpenter’s contributions to the advancement of exotic medicine simply cannot be overstated and we are truly honored to recognize him with this award.”

“I am greatly honored to be the recipient of the 2019 Oxbow Quest Award (Oxbow Exotic Mammal Health Award),” said Dr. Carpenter.  “It was the most amazing, emotional, and memorable celebration of my professional life, which has spanned over 40 years in the field of exotic animal/zoological medicine. I am greatly appreciative of Oxbow Animal Health for envisioning, sponsoring, and hosting this event.”
James W. Carpenter, MS, DVM, Dipl. ACZM, has been a clinical and research veterinarian for over 40 years in the field of exotic animal, wildlife (including endangered species), and zoo animal medicine, has assisted in developing an internationally-recognized program in Zoological Medicine at KSU, and has trained 42 Interns and Residents. He is the author of 185 scientific papers, 47 book chapters, and 250 proceedings articles, and is Co-editor of Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents: Clinical Medicine and Surgery (2004;2012; and 3E in prep) and is the Editor of the Exotic Animal Formulary (1996, 2001, 2005, 2013, 2018).  Dr. Carpenter is the Past-President of: the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians, the Association of Avian Veterinarians, and the American College of Zoological Medicine.  He was awarded the Edwin J. Frick Professorship in Veterinary Medicine from the KSU College of Veterinary Medicine in 2002, and named the Exotic DVM of the Year for 2000, and the T.J. Lafeber Avian Practitioner of the Year for 2012.  He was also named an Alumni of the Year by the Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2009.  In 2013, the Veterinary Health Center (KSU College of Veterinary Medicine) named the new veterinary facility at Manhattan’s Sunset Zoo the “James W. Carpenter Clinic at Sunset Zoo”. Dr. Carpenter is also the former Editor of the Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, and is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery. 

The Oxbow Quest Award is based on excellence in one or more of the following areas: exhibiting leadership in the field of exotic mammal health, advancing the understanding of clinical diseases and treatments in exotic mammal pets, promoting the field of exotic mammal medicine, promoting the field of exotic mammal nutrition or providing innovation to the field of exotic mammal medicine. Nominations are made by submitting a CV and letter of recommendation describing the individual and how they exemplify the above qualities. For more information, visit www.oxbowvetconnect.com.

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October 01, 2019

Oxbow Animal Health Introduces Matt Bair as Manufacturing Engineer

Oxbow Animal Health Introduces Matt Bair as Manufacturing Engineer

Oxbow Animal Health, a global leader in small animal nutrition, has announced the hiring of Matt Bair as Manufacturing Engineer. In his role, Bair will be responsible for designing and installing new equipment, managing capital projects, and serving as a key contributor to continuous improvement processes.

For the last 6 years, Bair has worked manufacturing aerospace composites at Royal Engineered Composites in Minden, NE. During his time at Royal, he held roles ranging from Project Engineer, in which he helped to onboard new programs, to his most recent position as Manufacturing Engineering Manager in which he leads a team of nine technical employees.

Matt graduated from the University of Nebraska- Lincoln (UNL) in 2013 with a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering. He is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in Engineering Management from UNL. Recently, Matt completed his requirements and passed his professional engineering exam to become a licensed Professional Engineer in Nebraska.

“We are very excited to welcome Matt to the Oxbow Team,” said Jeff Gottwald, Oxbow’s Vice President of Manufacturing. “Matt’s professional experience and training make him an ideal fit for Oxbow as we continue to grow and evolve our manufacturing processes and increase efficiencies companywide.” “I am very excited to have the opportunity to join the growing and dynamic team at Oxbow,” said Bair. I look forward to being a part of Oxbow’s bright future.”

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