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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dog compatibility

By Jennifer Angel of the NY Daily News

Dogs are great. They provide unconditional love no matter how poor, ugly, out of shape or goofy we are. Their tails still wag even when the world crashes down around them. They teach us patience, compassion, joy and consistency with a humble virtue, and only ask for a few pats on the head in return.
Dogs may be God’s gift to mankind, but which dog is right for your lifestyle? Being a responsible dog owner takes time and effort. Before you run out and get a pup, ask yourself if you are ready to make a commitment for the next ten years at least. Consider your current lifestyle and whether you are willing to change it to meet your dog’s needs.

Single lads and lasses
Single, active lifestyles can be a precarious situation for a dog.  Many singles are still young and put in extra hours at the office or to socialize. Dogs require an extreme amount of care, including many daily trips to potty, rigorous exercise and hefty vet bills. Some singles devote their entire life and paycheck to care for their canine, which is admirable, but not everyone is prepared to do this. If a dog is a commitment you are ready to make, consider your living situation and the amount of time you can devote to a doggy before you bring one home.

Size does matter
Most people operate under the false assumption that a small dog doesn’t need to exercise as frequently as a large dog. It actually works the opposite way. Small dogs come with endless energy to burn and a bladder to match their body size. Many smaller breeds are also very difficult to train and require constant reinforcement to avoid behavioral issues. The stature of a small dog may make it fit better physically in an apartment or condo, but their activity level sure does not. Many breeds of large dog on the other hand, are absolute couch potatoes, happy to sleep all day long. Although they may take up more space, they may also require less effort.

Family-friendly Fido
Almost all children beg their parents for a dog. Problems occur when parents do not have the time to care for a pup and their children, or choose the wrong breed for their family.  Research is one of the keys to happy dog ownership and choosing the right dog for you. Read up on different breeds and their behavior with children. Some breeds seem to be better suited to live with kids than others. Many toy and small breed dogs are not the best option for families with small children. The smaller the size of the dog, the more fragile it is, making little, no yet coordinated children a bad fit. Some smaller breeds also have a tendency to be aggressive; little teeth and little children are also a bad combination. Activity level is also a major consideration for families who look to bring a pet into their home.  Although your children seem to have endless energy, it is doubtful they will spend it entertaining Fido at all times. Since you will more than likely be the dog’s primary care giver, ensure you have the time to spend in order to meet his needs.

Expand your options
Most people think ‘puppy’ when they consider adding a family member. There are other options though, than to purchase a puppy. First off, most puppies you purchase at a pet store come from puppy mills. Generally these pups are prone to medical issues due to poor breeding practices and should be avoided.  Your local animal shelter has a plethora of pets of every age ready to share their love.  If you are interested in a specific breed of dog, look up a local breed rescue organization and contact them to see if you qualify to rescue one of their dogs. The beauty of adopting an older dog is many come trained! If you don’t have the time for a puppy, consider adopting a mature dog. They have just as much love to give as a pup, but usually need a home more desperately.

Yet another option
If you are still not quite sure if you can be a good dog mommy or daddy, there is another option. Most rescue organizations whether they are breed specific or not, are in dire need of foster homes. Take a trial run at dog ownership and help a needy pet at the same time. Most foster situations last a few days to a few weeks and can give you an opportunity to test your dog parenting skills.  If you are already sure you’d make an excellent parent for a pooch, fostering is a great way to narrow down the breed, size and sex right for you.

In the end
Welcoming a dog into your family can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience, if done correctly. Keep in mind a dog is a living, breathing creature, not an accessory. They need a ton of attention and care you must provide. If you can provide this, your world and theirs will be much more enjoyable. There are some great websites out there that will assist you in finding the right pooch for you. Petfinder.org has a wealth of resources as well as shelter listings and rescue organizations to help in your search.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A second dog may not be right for you.

A Second Dog May Not Be Right For You
By Susan Hatfield

Last week, I visited with a family who wanted to adopt a second dog. I asked why, and they said because they didn’t have enough time to spend with the dog they already had and wanted a playmate to keep him company. Of course, the last thing they needed was another dog. After some counseling on the phone regarding priorities, they realized adopting a second dog was not the answer. The family decided to ask our help in finding a more appropriate home for the dog they already had as no one in the family really had any time to devote to the animal in the first place.

Unfortunately, we receive many calls like this one. Families need to carefully consider all the pros and cons of adopting a second dog. First of all, are you looking for a puppy or an older dog? Puppies usually adapt more quickly whereas older dogs could take a bit longer to adjust. You need to be aware of “alpha,” or dominant, dogs. You certainly don’t want a situation where fighting could occur.

Consult with your veterinarian about any questions you have regarding canine behavior and tips on adopting a second dog. Some prefer a neutered male and spayed female as they feel two spayed females or two neutered males might not get along. I have to say, in my experience, I’ve never found a firm combination I could recommend. I think it just depends on the breed, characteristics, age, behavior traits, sex and taking the time to see which combination will work with your existing companion.

If you think you’ve found that special dog, I suggest the following tips:

  • Introduce the dogs outside on leashes on neutral ground, so you won’t have territorial issues. They will sniff and could possibly growl at first. Always use a positive voice and watch for those wagging tails. Walk around the area with the dogs still on leashes. Keep a short distance between the dogs so they can still sniff and see each other but cannot become tangled in the leashes should things become volatile.
  • If you think the first meeting went well, during the second meeting, let the dogs run together in an enclosed area while supervised. I think the most important aspect is patience. Have several meetings with both dogs to determine if it could be a long-term relationship. Take your time in selecting your second dog. If the two are “just not hitting it off,” then you might want to rethink that particular dog. There are many wonderful dogs just waiting to be adopted.
  • When you find the right dog, you, and your pets, will be a wonderful combination. Make sure not to favor one over the other. Feed them at the same time but in different dishes and, sometimes, different locations. If you’ve selected a puppy and have an older dog, make sure you give the older dog some quiet time away from all the rowdiness of the young pup.
  • Most important, spend time with them. Take them on walks and to the dog park. Play ball with them outside and let them snuggle up with the kids as they watch TV on Saturday morning. Make them a part of your family. Having two dogs gives you double the love, so enjoy.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Celebrity Pets!

Ever been stuck on what to name your new puppy or kitten? Take a look at what these celebrities have named their furry babies...

Ben Affleck - Martha Stewart
Christina Aguilera - Chewy & Cocoa
Clay Aiken - Raleigh
Jessica Alba - Nancy & Sid
Jennifer Aniston - Norman
Lucille Ball - Tinker Toy & Whoopee
Mischa Barton - Charlie
Halle Berry - Bumper & Petey
Selma Blair - Wink
Orlando Bloom - Essa & Sidi
Marlon Brando - Schlubber
Adam Brody - Penny Lane
Sandra Bullock - Poppy
Mariah Carey - Jackson P. Mutley
Kevin Costner - Rosalita
Courtney Cox - Hopper & Hardy
Tom Cruise - Joseph
Phyllis Diller - Phearless
Hilary Duff - Chiquita & Lola
Jake Gyllenhaal - Atticus & Boo Radley
Jennifer Love Hewitt - Charlie
Paris Hilton - Tinkerbell,Tokyo Blu & Bambi
Jewel - George
Star Jones - Pinky
Ashley Judd - Buttermilk & Shug
Diane Lane - Milo
David Letterman - Bob & Stan
Liberace - Baby Boy & Lady Di
Lindsay Lohan - Chloe
Eva Longoria - Jinxy
Courtney Love - Lloyd
Madonna - Chiquita
Demi Moore - Louie
Mary Kate Olsen - Luca
Oprah - Arizona
Jack Osborne - Lola
Kelly Osborne - Boris & Piglet
Brad Pitt - Purty & Saudi
Natalie Portman - Charlie
Nicole Richie - Honey Child & Cleopatra
Don Rickles - Clown & Joker
Mickey Rourke - Loki
Ashlee Simpson - Blondie
Jessica Simpson - Daisy
Anna Nicole Smith - Mommie
Britney Spears - Bit Bit
Tori Spelling - Mimi La Rue
Martha Stewart - Teeney & Weenie
Superman - Krypto
Liv Tyler - Neal & Mylo
Naomi Watts - Bob & Chicken
Venus Williams - Jackie
Reese Witherspoon - Frank Sinatra
Judd Nelson - Tallulah Bighead
Audrey Hepburn - Mr. Famous
Matthew McConaughey - Miss Hudd
Drew Barrymore - Flossie
Minnie Driver - Bubba
Christina Aguilera - Chewy & Stinky
Beyonce - Munchie
Miley Cyrus - Roadie & Loco
Rihanna - DJ Oliver
Christina Ricci - Sheriff Steve Goldberg
Travis Barker of Blink182 - Biscuit
Adam Sandler - Meatball & Matzoball
Rachel Bilson - Thurmen Murmen

Sunday, November 13, 2011

5 ways to help your pet live longer

5 ways to help your pet live longer

We all want our pets to live long, healthy lives – and we'd all do just about anything to ensure that our cats and dogs can stay with us as long as possible. What five things can you do to keep your pet safe, happy, and by your side longer? We've listed them below, and chances are, you're probably on top of them already.

But one hint may surprise you…

Keep your furry friend indoors
Staying inside, or at least on a leash, protects your pet from
all kinds of dangers. Indoor living shields cats from infectious diseases; digestive upset caused by snacking on poisonous plants or other foreign objects; fights with other cats, dogs, wild animals, or mean humans; and speeding cars.

And as pets age, they can't regulate their body temperatures as effectively, making them more prone to serious weather-related ailments like heat stroke if they're outdoors too long.

Of course it's fine to walk your dog, and the occasional (closely supervised) feline foray into the yard isn't the end of the world. But it's particularly important for cats to do their toileting inside; that way, the humans can monitor them for signs of tummy upset, urinary-tract issues, and so on.

Putting a "catio" in your window for bird-watching purposes, and planting cat grass in pots, can bring the outside in -- without compromising Fluffy's health.

Watch his weight
Obesity in dogs and cats causes the same serious health problems that it does in humans – high blood pressure, breathing problems, diabetes, and joint pain. It's not easy to put a portly pet on a diet, but NOT doing so could shorten his lifespan (and from a practical – and more selfish – standpoint, you really don't want to have to give a cat daily insulin injections).

If your dog or cat is on the spherical side, enlist your vet's help to change his diet. Invest in new toys for your cat that will get him more active, and try switching from "free feeding" to controlled portions at specific meal times. Take dogs for longer or more frequent walks, and get strict about table scraps and extra biscuits.

Aging pets who have maintained normal weights for years may start to plump up as their metabolisms slow down. Changing your senior dog or cat's regular food to a formula that's higher in protein and lower in fat may help, and dogs may benefit from "nutriceutical" supplements. Again, consult with your vet.

Don't skip vet appointments
It's tempting to bail on the vet if your pet seems healthy – the exams, shots, and treatments can add up to a big yearly bill if you don't have pet insurance. But our pets can't tell us when they don't feel quite right, or whether that diarrhea is a passing thing or a symptom of something more serious. The vet CAN tell you – sometimes just by looking into your dog's eyes

As your pet ages, you may need to bring her in more frequently – every six months, instead of every year – for senior-wellness check-ups. Your vet is trained to spot conditions and concerns you can't see, and catching geriatric diseases or cancer early is the best way to find a treatment that time – quality time – to your pet's life.

Dental health is overall health
Most of these tips are common sense – but the importance of taking care of your pet's teeth may come as a surprise. It's the most common major health problem affecting cats and dogs, actually; the bacteria from dental and gum disease can travel elsewhere in their bodies, causing more serious issues.

With that said, we understand that you feel ridiculous brushing your cat's teeth. (And your cat feels even more ridiculous.) But it might seem less absurd if it adds years to your kitty's life. Check your pet's teeth and gums about once a week, if you can. Feed kibble and treats that promote dental health, and keep an eye out for signs of dental or gum disease, including bad breath, lethargy, decreased appetite, weight loss, and facial swelling. Call the vet if you think your cat or dog is having trouble eating due to mouth or tooth pain.

And yes, brush your pet's teeth – using specially formulated brushes and pastes, not "people products." Some pets grow to love the fish-flavored toothpaste; others will fight you tooth and nail. (Forgive the pun.) Even if it's a battle, remind yourself that it's worth fighting – bad teeth can reduce your dog's lifespan 2-4 years in some cases.

Spay and neuter your pets
Spaying or neutering your pet doesn't just prevent overpopulation. It can protect your pet down the line from various reproductive cancers  – of the prostate and ovaries, for instance. And some studies have shown that fixed pets live longer than "intact" pets, although scientists aren't quite sure why. 

We all love an adorable pile of puppies – but coo at pictures online, and get your pet spayed or neutered.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pancreatitis - It's preventable.

I cannot begin to tell you how many times a week I hear from clients that they see no problem giving "some people food" every now and then, because 'My pet has never had any problems.' or the even more popular.. 'If it's good enough for us, why isn't it good enough for them?'.. I'm going to tackle this today and plead my case using a patient we saw recently as a prime example.

On the 18th we saw a 1 1/2 year old Shiba Inu mix named Harriette, who was presented for vomiting. She had begun vomiting bile and was not interested in eating. When Dr. Bawa asked the client what Harriette's usual diet is, they replied with "Pedigree canned food" but then added that the pet was a "finicky eater" and that often they would give her hamburger meat, fish, rice or even milk. It was evident that she had no set diet and that giving her some table food was common practice in the household. She also received "many treats" on a daily basis. In addition to this, she was not currently vaccinated nor on any heartworm prevention. She was not spayed which made pyometra a very real suspicion. Parvo was also a possibility, as she had never received any vaccines. Harriette was in poor shape and the only way we were going to know what was going on with her would be by running diagnostics. Labwork would let us know if there were any viral components and what the liver and kidney values were. Radiographs would let us know if there was any foreign body obstruction. Unfortunately the owner could afford nothing. They declined all recommended treatment and had to leave with Harriette. We were obviously concerned.

I applied for CareCredit for them, which is a credit line issued solely for medical treatment. They were declined. I pressed them to find a co-signer or a family member who would apply for them and let them make the monthly payments. Thankfully after a few hours of worrying on both our part and the owner's, they returned with a generous family member who co-signed for them and reapplied. They were approved, for over three thousand dollars! It was a godsend.

We admitted Harriette immediately and began the needed diagnostics. The owners waited while we ran a full panel of in-house bloodwork. While the blood was running we took two abdominal radiographs. Wasting no time and wanting Harriette to feel better as soon as possible, Dr. Bawa and the nurses hooked her up to an IV and began administering fluids to combat her dehydration, as well as administering an injection of an anti-vomiting medication.

We had partial lab results quickly and it became apparent from the very beginning that something was very wrong. For starters - we had to redraw the blood because there was a layer of fat present in the blood sample itself. We did a blood glucose check and found that Harriette, despite her very young age, was displaying signs of ketoacidosis in addition to our previous suspicion of pancreatitis.

What is pancreatitis?
Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that causes the digestive enzymes to leak and the pancreas literally begins to digest itself. Symptoms include lethargy, vomiting, inappetance, pain, fever and dehydration.

What is ketoacidosis?
Ketoacidosis occurs when the body's failure to produce insulin goes unregulated for long enough that the body then begins burning fatty acids and producing acidic ketones that cause other complications.

To put into perspective what these issues have to do with Harriette's case -
Harriette's poor diet and other factors contributed to her developing diabetes. The pancreas produces insulin and when it is damaged the result is diabetes. A diabetic dog would then need to be regulated on insulin in order to compensate for the lack of insulin being produced by the pancreas. When diabetes is unregulated and insulin is not being given or given regularly, the result is ketoacidosis. During ketoacidosis the pancreas begins burning fatty acids in the place of the needed insulin, and puts out acidic ketones that cause complications and severe illness. It often proves fatal.

Harriette needed to get to a 24-hour emergency facility, and fast. She was going to need insulin, and hourly glucose checks. Her glucose when last checked at DPC was alarmingly abnormal. She began vomiting again upon discharge so we gave her another injection and prepared her for transfer to St. Francis Emergency Hospital.

She returned the following morning and while her glucose was improved, it was still far out of range. In addition to her continued nausea she remained completely uninterested in eating. We kept her on fluids to keep her hydrated and attempted force feeding. Poor Harriette was not doing very well. We continued to give her anti-vomiting medication and she again spent the night at the emergency clinic. Over the next 24 hours she continued to receive small doses of insulin as needed.

It was a long hard road but eventually Harriette's diabetes was regulated while she remained under constant care at St. Francis. All in all she was hospitalized for nearly a week. She began receiving regular insulin injections in an effort to regulate her diabetes and prevent future ketoacidosis. She was also put on a prescription food, Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Low Fat, because of her pancreatitis. Within 2 weeks from her discharge from the hospital she began experiencing grand mal seizures. We are unsure if the owner was diligently administering the insulin at home, but she was brought to the emergency clinic late in the evening and was unresponsive. She then had to be humanely euthanized.

This is one of the saddest cases I have experienced in my decade-long tenure in this field. A dog of less than 2 years of age should not experience this much illness and suffering in such a short period of time. I am not going to point fingers or play the blame game on the owners because they were truly concerned, overwrought and caring owners when they brought her to us. I cannot begin to imagine the guilt and anguish they feel over the loss of their beloved pet. What I want to convey with this story is that pancreatitis is very real, and can happen fast, and hard.

You may think it's okay to give your pet a little table food here and there. You may think.. oh they won't eat.. they must eat! So you give some steak, some rice, a little bit of hamburger.. Little do you know that all you are doing is slowly and subtly training your pet to beg and whine until they get the table food that they, of course, prefer. They don't know any better. If your pet is having difficulty eating or you have concerns with their diet.. contact the vet! Don't let this happen to your pet. It breaks our hearts as much as it breaks yours when we see a dog or cat suffering. Especially if it could have been prevented!

Meet Camper!

Meet Camper - Camper is an approximately four week only Chihuahua puppy we saw recently. He is truly a miracle story. Camper's (temporary) owner is an animal lover named Colette who was driving home from Clewiston when she noticed a suspicious man tossing something into a canal near the side of the road. She pulled her car over and noted that he became nervous and was looking around, obviously whatever it was that he was disposing of was inappropriate. She just had a feeling that something was not quite right.

After observing his behavior for a few minutes she approached him and noted that he had another small object wrapped in a towel and it looked as though he was trying to conceal it behind his back and was preparing to dispose of it as well. Upon closer inspection she noted that it was a tiny puppy, and she thankfully managed to snatch the small bundle from the stranger before he was able to toss the poor puppy into the water.

Aware of the possibility of being injured by the man, she said a few choice words to him but opted to take a photo of his license plate with her cellular phone and got back into her car. Unfortunately the local police informed her that without physically seeing what was first tossed into the water, and by her grabbing this second puppy before any harm was done, it was all hearsay and suspicion and nothing could be done. The bright side was that Camper was saved.

Colette, an animal owner and rescuer who also owns horses, gave Camper a milk substitute and some subcutaneous fluids and immediately made an appointment with us to have him checked out. She noted that he looked to be in bad shape - dirty, itchy, with patchy skin and defecating numerous long worms.

Dr. Horowitz clipped the dry, flaky patches and cleaned Camper with a diluted chlorhexidine solution , which is an antiseptic. We then applied Revolution, as he is too small for Advantage Multi. We also gave Camper some Drontal, an oral deworming tablet to take care of his parasites. Camper is on the road to feeling better, and is even gaining interest in puppy food!

Colette plans to foster Camper until he is large enough and healthy enough for adoption. We cannot begin to express our appreciation for her efforts and hard work in not only saving this puppy but offering him a good home and chance at life until he finds his forever family. It's incredible animal lovers like this that make us truly appreciate what we do here and the calibur of clients we have been blessed with. Thank you Colette for your courageous and selfless behavior! You are one of a kind.

Scrap Table Feeding

I don't feed my dog table scraps every day, but I do like to treat him around the holidays. Is that so bad?

As a general rule, giving animals too much people food sours their appetite for pet food, which is designed to contain all the nutrients they need to stay fit and healthy. If more than 10 percent of your dogs diet consists of table food, you may be inadvertently training him to beg and putting him at risk of weight gain, diabetes, and joint, cardiac and digestive problems. The current obesity epidemic in pets can be partly attributed to people's tendency to feed their animals treats. That said, I do "spoil" my own dog, Rusty, on special occasions with small portions of animal-friendly foods like boneless chicken, hamburger, or hot dogs - and he hasn't come to expect these treats at regular mealtimes. Indulge your pet sensibly with the following guidelines:

Choose carefully. Never give your dog or cat bones or fat trimmings: Cooked bones may splinter and either perforate or obstruct their intestines: raw bones carry bacteria that can cause infection. And fat can contribute to pancreatitis, a painful and dangerous condition in which the pancreas becomes inflamed and unable to produce the enzymes that break down food. Other foods to keep your dog away from at holiday time are chocolate, cocoa, tea and some colas which all contain theobromine and can make dogs fatally ill; onions and garlic can cause anemia; grapes and raisins can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and lethargy; and macademia nuts, which can cause muscle swelling, pain and general distress. Your best bets are small pieces of boneless meat or vegetables.

Pick a better treat. Opt for freeze-dried liver or chicken jerky from the pet store. They're a healthier option, and some dogs may actually preferthem to table food.

Train him right. If your pet does start begging for food, you can break the habit: Arrange the chairs to block easy access to the table while you're eating. Don't leave food where your dog can reach it. Remember if your dog "steals" the sandwich you left on the coffee table that's your fault, not his. So rather than punishign him, maybe you need a swat on the nose as a reminder! Dogs will be dogs!

By Nicholas H. Dodman, B.V.M.S

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Employee Spotlight: Rainey Stahl

Today's employee spotlight is our head treatment nurse, Rainey. Rainey is a jack of all trades.. she has worked in our lab, as acting front desk manager, and her usual position - Treatment Nurse. The treatment nurse is a vital member of our veterinary team. As treatment nurse Rainey is responsible for caring for all hospitalized pets as well as patients whom are dropped off for procedures or diagnostics. She also does room appointments, assists the doctors and other nurses, and makes sure that all the pets in the hospital on that given day are fed, given their prescribed medications, and kept comfortable. Rainey truly excels in her position and we don't know what we would do without her! In addition to being a caring and experienced technician, she is also a pleasure to work with. She is known around the office for her positive attitude, great sense of humor, and warm personality. We love our Rainey!

Hi! My name is Rainey and I’m an animal lover and advocate. I have been employed at DPC for over 5 years now and time really flies at this fast paced clinic!
My primary position at DPC is treatment technician. It’s my responsibility to help hospitalized patients and make sure that they are constantly monitored and cared for. We work with a lot of rescue groups and I always have a sick or injured pet that depends on me for treatment and a little TLC! It is the most rewarding part of my job.
I thoroughly enjoy helping sick pets and nursing them back to health. The knowledge that my dedication and hard work makes a difference is what makes my job worthwhile. Another important part of my job is being a supportive and reliable resource to my coworkers and to the veterinarians at DPC. In addition to my duties as technician, I am frequently helping out at the front desk. So you may see me in an exam room or behind the counter! I am truly a care giver by nature and always try to be involved in rehabilitation, which is my true passion.
I hope to see you and your pet soon!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thanksgiving Safety Tips - Courtesy of the ASPCA!

Thanksgiving Safety Tips

‘Tis the season for friends, family and holiday feasts—but also for possible distress for our animal companions. Pets won’t be so thankful if they munch on undercooked turkey or a pet-unfriendly floral arrangement, or if they stumble upon an unattended alcoholic drink.
Check out the following tips from ASPCA experts for a fulfilling Thanksgiving that your pets can enjoy, too.

Talkin’ Turkey
If you decide to feed your pet a little nibble of turkey, make sure it’s boneless and well-cooked. Don't offer her raw or undercooked turkey, which may contain salmonella bacteria.

Sage Advice
Sage can make your Thanksgiving stuffing taste delish, but it and many other herbs contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression to pets if eaten in large quantities. Cats are especially sensitive to the effects of certain essential oils.

No Bread Dough
Don't spoil your pet’s holiday by giving him raw bread dough. According to ASPCA experts, when raw bread dough is ingested, an animal's body heat causes the dough to rise in his stomach. As it expands, the pet may experience vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring surgery.

Don't Let Them Eat Cake
If you’re baking up Thanksgiving cakes, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs—they could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.

Too Much of a Good Thing
A few small boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato or even a lick of pumpkin pie shouldn’t pose a problem. However, don't allow your pets to overindulge, as they could wind up with a case of stomach upset, diarrhea or even worse—an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis. In fact, it’s best keep pets on their regular diets during the holidays.

A Feast Fit for a Kong
While the humans are chowing down, give your cat and dog their own little feast. Offer them Nylabones or made-for-pet chew bones. Or stuff their usual dinner—perhaps with a few added tidbits of turkey, vegetables (try sweet potato or green beans) and dribbles of gravy—inside a Kong toy. They’ll be happily occupied for awhile, working hard to extract their dinner from the toy.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cat Body Language

Cat Body Language

Cats talk with their bodies all the time - some cats much more so than with their voices. You've probably noticed certain kinds of cat behavior that your Kitty often displays - maybe twitching his tail, stretching out on his back, slowly blinking at you... Do these all mean something? Definitely! This page goes through common body language behaviors that cats display, and tells you what they usually mean.

1) Cat body language: Tail
  • Swishing. A swishing tail (i.e. the whole tail slowly and gently moving from side to side) usually means Kitty is alert, curious and interested in his environment.
  • Lashing. A lashing tail (i.e. the whole tail moving from side to side in a fast, aggressive way) means Kitty is agitated and annoyed. Sometimes when Kitty is doing this he'll adopt a generally aggressive stance (more on this below.) The hair on his tail may also stand on end, giving it a bushy appearance. If he's doing this, leave him alone or you're likely to become the victim of an attack.
  • Twitching. If Kitty is twitching his tail at the tip, this usually indicates he's interested in something he's seen. However, it may also be the first sign of aggression - e.g. if another cat has just invaded his patch - and in this case it could turn to a lashing tail and aggression.
  • Quivering. Cats will quiver their tails at the base as part of cat spraying behavior. However, they may also do this when they rub up against you, or when you stroke their backs, especially near their tail, when they're standing up. In this instance, the quivering is a sign of great affection for you.
  • Tail bolt upright. With some cats, if their tail is upright (i.e. pointing towards the sky) when they're walking, it means they're happy and confident. The rest of their body language (e.g. the way they walk, the way they look around) will also reflect this.
  • Tail half tucked between legs. This usually means the cat is scared, unhappy or feeling threatened. The rest of his body language will confirm this (e.g. head down, ears back, body low to the ground.)
2) Cat body language: Ears
  • Pricked up ears. This is a sign of Kitty being interested in what he can hear around him. You may have noticed cats can also turn their pricked up ears round so they can listen to what's going on behind them without moving their heads...
  • Ears turned back. If Kitty's ears are flattened towards his head and turned back, this usually means he's being threatened and is turning his ears away to protect them.
3) Cat body language: Head and whiskers

  • Raised head.
  • In a stand-off with another cat, a lowered head indicates submissiveness. In other circumstances, it can just indicate sleepiness, contentment or boredom.
  • Lowered head.
  • Whiskers can act as a measure of a cat's mood. If his whiskers are in a forward position, he's relaxed, happy or curious. If they're pulled back, he's defensive or aggressive.
  • Cat whiskers.
  • The meaning of this varies depending on the circumstances. If Kitty is happy, a raised head indicates curiosity and confidence, and is usually associated with pricked up ears. On the other hand, if he's in a stand-off with another cat, a raised head can indicate dominance and in this case his ears will often be turned back for protection.
4) Cat body language: Eyes
  • Wide, staring eyes. This is usually seen before and during a cat fight, or before a cat attacks another animal or a human. They stare to try to scare the other cat / animal / human away.
  • This means the opposite of above - the cat is saying he's happy with the other cat / animal / human and that he trusts them. If you've ever wondered why cats make a beeline for the one person in the room who doesn't like cats, eyes are the reason. The cat lovers in the room will stare at Kitty, which will make him feel threatened, so he'll want to stay away from them. The person who doesn't like cats won't look at him because she's sincerely hoping he won't go anywhere near her. He sees her as the only non-threatening person in the room, so guess who he heads towards?!
  • Narrow, slowly blinking eyes.
5) Cat body language: Body
  • Rubbing against your legs. When Kitty does this, he's leaving his scent on you, effectively marking you as "his territory." It's a sign of affection.
  • Kitty is being submissive. He's paying you a compliment, saying he likes and trusts you.
  • Bent / straight legs. If all Kitty's legs are straight and he has an upright posture, raised head and pricked ears, he's happy, curious and confident. In a stand-off, bent front legs and stretched back legs show that Kitty would rather avoid a fight, but that he will defend himself if he has to.
  • Arched back. In kittens, this is usually a playful stance - they're wanting a play fight. In adult cats, however, it usually indicates that Kitty is preparing for a real fight. Accompanying things may be ears turned back, wide eyes and hair on the back and tail standing on end. This is a sign of affection, comfort and contentment.
When you're trying to interpret cat body language, it's important to look at Kitty's whole body, not just one particular part. I've told you what individual behaviors and some combined behaviors usually mean, but these should be taken into consideration along with everything else Kitty's doing - and with what he's verbally communicating. I hope you have fun trying to figure him out!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Meet Sweet Pea!

Sweet Pea is a 5 year-old grey tabby cat who was presented to us on Saturday. The owner stated that she had a broken jaw and his funds were limited. It was obvious from the beginning that the damage was extensive. Sweet Pea is normally an indoor-only cat but on Saturday she had briefly gotten out and when she returned her jaw was obviously broken, with a piece of bone actually visibly protruding. More than likely during her escape she encountered another animal, and that altercation resulted in this painful injury. Upon arrival it became apparent that she was in intense pain.

Our staff immediately got a doctor and began diagnostics. Sedation was necessary as she was too painful to treat without it. Radiographs were taken and the doctor observed that the fracture was quite severe, the alignment of the entire jaw had been compromised. Surgery was going to be absolutely necessary in rectifying the issue. Finances became a concern and so we admitted Sweet Pea and maintained her on intravenous fluids, as she was too painful to even satisfy her basic need to eat. Who could, with a broken jaw?

We kept her on pain medication and eventually a feeding tube was placed, as it was the only way we could ensure she received the nutrition she needed during this painful ordeal. The wait then began for the funds to become available to perform the procedure. A surgeon our facility works with frequently was notified, and shown the x-rays to ensure that the surgery could be performed at our facility. He confirmed that it was within his capabilities and today he traveled to our clinic to perform the needed procedure. The surgery took one hour, but things were looking good!

As of now Sweet Pea's surgery has been done, with the help of a fund raising underway on her behalf. Nylon sutures were placed to stabilize the jaw, as a portion had been shattered and no bone was present to work with (a wire, etc would not prove effective in this situation, as there was nothing present to reinforce with a wire.)

Following the surgery, another radiograph was then taken to confirm the proper placement. Sweet Pea was then recovered from anesthesia and we determined that observation overnight would be needed. At this time the feeding tube is still in place (syringe feeding will soon be needed, and the tube will be removed) and Sweet Pea is not urinating on her own and will need her bladder expressed periodically. For this reason, we have transferred Sweet Pea to a 24-hour emergency facility. The owner has already picked up and is on her way to the emergency facility. Tomorrow Sweet Pea will return to us for continued care.

Below are some before & after radiographs of the jaw.

Before - Look closely and you can see that the right side of the jaw is obviousy broken with a section of bone protruding forward. The entire area of the jaw was gaping open and disconnected.

After - As you can see the alignment of the lower jaw on both the left and right side are stable and consistent with the upper jaw. This was achieved with nylon suture material, which will, I believe, stay in place permanently in place of the shattered and missing section of bone that would otherwise have anchored the fractured area of the jaw into place.

We will continue to update you on Sweet Pea's status as she continues her road to recovery!

posted by Jessica R.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Employee Spotlight: Brandi Miller, Head Surgery Technician

Our first employee spotlight is going to go to our head surgery technician, Brandi Miller! We are very fortunate to have her as part of our staff. You can rest assured that with her as the head of our surgery staff, each patient is receiving the best possible care. She is not only an informative, thorough and caring nurse but is also known at the office for her lively personality and incredible sense of humor!


Brandi Miller, Head Surgery Technician

Hello fellow animal lovers! My name is Brandi.
I have made animal medicine my career instinctively for 18 years. I have proudly served as senior surgical nurse at DPC for the previous 11 years and counting. I am an avid animal lover and advocate, therefore choosing DPC as my home was only natural.
Our hospital and its employees have never compromised our integrity for the sake of just “business”. We have always been a step above the rest and maintained our goals as such throughout the years. My purpose has been and always will be the comfort, safety and health of your pet first and foremost. That is my pledge to all of my animal friends. Hope to see you soon!

Halloween Safety Tips

ASPCA Halloween Safety Tips!

Attention, animal lovers, it's almost the spookiest night of the year! DPC Veterinary Hospital recommends taking some common sense precautions this Halloween to keep you and your pet saying "trick or treat!" all the way to November 1.

1. No tricks, no treats: That bowl of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Scruffy and Fluffy. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems. If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call us at 954-989-9879 or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

2. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, but they can produce stomach upset in pets who nibble on them.
3. Wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations should be kept out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet might suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.

4. A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise caution if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.

5. Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets. Please don't put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it (yup, a few pets are real hams!). For pets who prefer their “birthday suits,” however, wearing a costume may cause undue stress.

6. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn't annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal's movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Also, be sure to try on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting him go au naturale or donning a festive bandana.

7. Take a closer look at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.

8. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.

9. When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn't dart outside.

10. IDs, please! Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver, increaing the chances that he or she will be returned to you

If you have any other safety questions just call us and our staff will be happy to go over them with you!

Thank you to the USPCA for this helpful list of Halloween safety tips!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Importance of Heartworm Prevention

The Importance of Giving Heartworm Prevention All Year Round

Mosquitoes transmit heartworm disease, which affects both dogs and cats. Due to our temperate climate in Florida, mosquitoes can be seen at various times all year long. I have swatted mosquitoes in my home in January and February, which shows how resilient these insects can be. Even slightly above freezing temperatures will cause otherwise dormant mosquito eggs and pupae to hatch and become active.

When a mosquito bites an animal, the larva, or immature form of the heartworm is deposited on the skin, and from there makes a journey to the bloodstream, which takes 30 days, eventually taking it to the heart, where it will mature to an adult heartworm. This is the reason that heartworm preventatives can be given once per month…they kill the immature heartworm that is migrating through the skin. But, once the larva reaches the bloodstream, the preventative is ineffective. Therefore, it is very important to give the heartworm medication on a strict monthly schedule.

Heartworm disease can be hidden for a long time, sometimes taking years before symptoms appear. One of the first things that dog owners will notice is a decrease in exercise tolerance, which means there is a shorter period before the dog gets tired and stops playing or running. As the disease progresses, a chronic cough may be heard and an even greater exercise intolerance may be noticed. Other symptoms may include weight loss, lethargy due to pneumonia, and signs associated with congestive heart disease. Cats will have episodes of sneezing and coughing, and may eat less and become more isolated from their owners.

Annual heartworm testing for dogs is very important, even if you are giving heartworm preventative every month of the year. Sometimes the preventative will be given late or incorrectly applied to the skin, as in the case of topical products. This is why a heartworm test should be performed yearly in conjunction with a check up and vaccinations.

Treatment for active heartworm infection in dogs consists of a series of injections given in the muscle of the back. This is usually a painful procedure but the pain can be controlled with analgesics and other medications that are given at the time of treatment and at home for several days afterwards. Unfortunately, at this time the injectable medication used for heartworm treatment is on back order. This means that even if a pet is diagnosed as heartworm positive, DPC will be unable to treat for an undetermined amount of time. Now, more than ever, owners need to be diligent about giving their pet's heartworm prevention monthly without interruption.

There are many types of heartworm preventatives available; in both pill and topical liquid form. These products include - Interceptor, Tri-Heart, Advantage Multi, and Trifexis. All of which are available at DPC Veterinary Hospital or via our online pharmacy on our website. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you on what is the best product for your pet. Remember, heartworm prevention is a prescription so a current exam, heartworm test and doctor-patient relationship within our facility is required in order to purchase through us.

Giving heartworm preventative all year is very important for the health of your pet due to the prevalence of mosquitoes and other parasites in Florida. Yearly testing for dogs is also necessary to ensure that treatment will never have to be a necessity for these important companions and family members. If you would like to discuss heartworm prevention or make an appointment please call 954-989-9879 today!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Heat Stroke in Dogs

Heat Stroke in Dogs

You know it stays hot even through September and people find all sorts of ways to keep cool, but what about our animals? How should we keep them cool? Yes, even into the fall thousands of dogs find their way into the family veterinary office or even the emergency room after spending just a few hours in the hot sun. For those of us in warm states, such as Florida.. we see these cases nearly all year 'round. DPC Veterinary Hospital wants to make sure all of our clients are fully informed on the symptoms and dangers of heat stroke in dogs.

As most people know, dogs don’t sweat like we do; they most often cool themselves by panting. Anything that inhibits that natural cooling system can lead to heat stroke. Normally a dog’s temperature ranges from 100 to 102.5. In cases of heat stroke, temperatures over 106 degrees are considered to be an emergency, and temperatures over 110 degrees can be fatal in less than 15 minutes.

Here are the symptoms you need to watch for:

*Vigorous panting
*The inability to stand or weakness while standing
*Thick, ropey saliva, literally foaming at the mouth
*Bright red mucous membranes, although some dogs may show pale or even muddy gums

Use cool, not cold, tap water on the extremities. This will help effectively lower the body temperature. Do not use ice or extremely cold water. While this may seem logical, extreme cold water will cause the surface blood vessels to contract, forming an insulated area that traps heat in the body and literally stops the cooling of these vital internal organs. Without these life savings steps, many dogs could lose their lives to a simple hot day. Then load you pet carefully into the car quickly and get your pet to the veterinarian office.

If your pet is displaying any of these symptoms, please call us at 954-989-9879 immediately!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Dangers of Pet's Riding In A Flatbed

The Dangers of Letting Dogs Ride in the Bed of a Truck

We have all seen it, a happy dog standing with his front legs on the side of the bed of a moving truck. Sure, he has the cool breeze running over his face, and the “freedom” to look around and enjoy the outside air, but just how dangerous can this ride be?

A truck bed is an open box with four metal sides, a metal floor, and no lid that is made to haul strapped-down inanimate objects - not your best friend. Pets that are riding in the bed of pick-ups may seem to be enjoying themselves, noses in the air, running around the truck barking and wagging their tails; but imagine the first fast stop, pot hole, or worse yet, a car accident.

According the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA):

“A survey of veterinarians in Massachusetts found 141 practitioners (71% of those surveyed) had treated a total of 592 dogs that year that were injured as a result of riding in a truck bed.”

All 592 of the ejected dogs could have avoided these injuries had their guardians not placed them in the bed of the pickups.
Some of the dangers a pet may experience while riding in an open bed of a pickup are:
  • flying debris
  • slipping around
  • slamming into the cab of the truck
  • other animals
  • falling out of the bed
  • jumping out of the bed
  • ejection from a sudden stop or accident
  • being hit by another vehicle after leaving the pickup bed
  • temperatures can dehydrate or burn (summer heat) your pet or cause hypothermia and wind injuries (winter cold)
All of these terrible incidents can be avoided by simply not putting your four-legged friend in the bed of a pickup.

When you have your best friend traveling with you, at the very least, keep him in the cab. Best case would be your dog in the cab wearing his seatbelt harness so he cannot move around thereby protecting him in the event of an accident. Any time an animal is traveling with you in a vehicle, make sure he is wearing a seatbelt that has been properly fitted to his body type. A dog jumping around in the car or truck is a hazard to your dog, yourself, your passengers, and everyone else on and around the road.

If you simply “must” put your best friend in the bed of a pick-up, place him in a well fitted travel kennel that has been securely fastened down to the bed of the pick-up.  Keep in mind, the elements will still be affecting him in the bed. Summer heat and winter cold can devastate your four legged friend and cause him great harm as well.

Keeping your best friend safe and at home with his loving family is the number one priority of DPC and your help is greatly appreciated.
Many of our clients may recall that we had a pet staying with us in late 2010/early 2011 for several months. She had three legs and liked to spend time with us behind the front counter during our work days.
Her name was Lyka, and this is her story.
Lyka was presented to DPC in October of 2010 after riding in the flatbed of her owner's truck. She jumped from the moving vehicle, even though she had never done so before, and severely injured her leg. She came in for treatment that included wound care (she had "road rash") and radiographs, as she was limping noticably. It was discovered thereafter by Dr. Bawa that her femur was fractured.
She underwent femoral fracture repair surgery and the owners were informed thereafter that in order to save her limb she would need strict cage rest. After a few weeks she was brought back in and it was evident that the owners had disregarded the post-operative care instructions and her leg was in bad shape. Her limp had worsened and she was in visible pain. New x-rays revealed that the bone had not set properly, the pin was protruding from it's former location, and she was suffering from an infection. She was then surrendered to us and DPC assumed responsibility for her and her care.
She was treated for the infection and waited several grueling weeks for the surgery she needed. The leg was irrepairable at that time she required amputation. She stayed with us through a long recuperation that took several months, and totaled over $5,000 additional to her first surgery and initial care. The total was rapidly nearing $10,000 due to one incident of riding in the flatbed and suffering injury, which her owners said "could never happen."...
Lyka eventually healed and went to a new, loving home. She was three-legged but happy. Lucky for her the ending was happy but prior to her adoption she dealt with quite a bit - Several surgeries, alot of pain and the loss of the family and home she knew and loved. It's such a sad series of events, as it was easily preventable.. Please, please make sure your pet rides carefully at all times! Here's a photo of our beloved Lyka before she left us..

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Looking for a home!

Looking for a home!
4 month old male - Black/Brown ("Brindle" coat) w/Green eyes
Neutered, current on Rabies, and microchipped.
If interested please call us at 954-989-9879

He was brought in as "95 Cat" (for where he was found) and we're still trying to think of a fitting name. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I found a stray - What do I do now?!

I found a stray and I need Help!

Not all strays are abandoned animals or the victim of an uncaring owner. Accidents happen and there may be an owner out there who is desperately trying to find their animal. There is no sure way to tell if a cat or dog has been lost or abandoned. Appearances can be deceiving. Many lost animals quickly take on the classic behaviors, and appearances associated with abandonment such as being skittish, traumatized, underweight, and matted or disheveled. PETS 911 makes the following recommendations for trying to locate a pet’s owner. However, please note, if there are physical signs that the animal has been abused, call your local animal care and control agency immediately for assistance.

1. Always handle the animal carefully. A frightened or hurt animal may behave unpredictably. Do not put yourself or the animal at risk of injury. If in doubt, call your local animal control agency and let the professionals do what they are trained to do.
2. If the animal has license or ID tags, contact the telephone number listed or the issuing agency for license or microchip tags. Either way, this is a good sign that there is an owner out there who is probably anxious to find their pet.
3. Check inside the animal’s ears, on its gums, or the inner surface of the hind legs for tattoos.
4. Contact your local animal care and control agency and report that you have found the pet. Hopefully, the owner has contacted them too. In some municipalities, you must by law turn in a stray pet.
  • People who have lost their pets visit local shelters every day. Taking the found pet to the shelter may be the best thing you can do for it. If it is there, the owners can reclaim it. If you want to keep the pet at your home if no one claims it, you can always ask to be notified if the pet is not reclaimed. Once notified, however, you will want to pick it up right away. In some areas, all found pets must be surrendered to the authorities. Check the laws in your town.
  • If you do elect to keep the pet at your home, please provide all local shelters with a descriptive flyer with multiple photos of the pet. Make identifying the pet easy for the workers and for the owner. Be sure to provide your contact information.
5. Have the animal scanned for a microchip. Some Humane Societies and vets offer this service for free or for a small fee.
6. If the animal appears to be a purebred, contact the nearest breed club to seek help from club members who may be on the lookout for a lost pet.
7. Search the lost pet listings on www.Pets911.com . If you do not find a match, post a found pet listing with a picture of the animal if possible. Always hold back a few details or identifying characteristics from any listings or ads.
If everyone posted to a centralized source, like PETS911, the number of pets who find their way home would skyrocket! More and more people are using the internet for daily tasks and lost and found pets are no exception. We receive wonderful stories of families being reunited every day. PETS911 works!
8. Register the animal with local humane societies and rescue groups offering lost and found services.
9. Check the “Lost” sections of local newspapers and place your own “Found” ad. Many newspapers will offer these ads for free or for a reduced fee.
10. Post found pet flyers in the area where you found the animal. If possible, include a picture and large lettering on the flyer with your phone number and post it at eye level for passing traffic. Also, post it on area supermarket bulletin boards, vet hospitals, groomers, and shopping areas.
11. Talk to area delivery people, postal people, and children. Children often know all of the neighborhood pets. Ask them if they recognize the stray or know of a family that recently lost a pet.

Someone called and claims that the stray is their lost pet. Now what?

It is easy to be swept up in the excitement that your efforts have been rewarded and your foundling is going home. Most likely everything is in order. However, there are unscrupulous people that appear to be loving and concerned pet owners; but instead sell animals for research, as bait for fighting dogs, or as a breeder for puppy and kitten mills. Here are some tips to ensure that the person claiming the animal is legitimate.
1. Ask for identification. When someone calls in response to your postings, ask for the caller’s name and telephone number and tell him/her you will call back right away. If they will not give you this information – Beware!
2. Ask for a description of the animal. An owner should be able to give you details about the animal not mentioned in any of your ads or flyers.
3. If you are satisfied that this is the legitimate owner, arrange to meet at a neutral public location. Ask the owner to bring identifying materials along such as photographs of the animal, AKC papers, veterinary records, as well as their own ID. Most loving pet owners can easily provide this information and will be happy that you are taking such care with their pet.

Nobody has claimed your stray. What are your options?

Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, a stray’s owner sometimes cannot be found. In this event, you will have some decisions to make.
1. You could keep the animal as a permanent part of your family. Often the stray bonds with its rescuer and integrates nicely into its temporary home. Consult your local animal care agency though, to make sure that you have satisfied state and/or local requirements so that you can claim ownership of the stray animal.
2. You could try to find a home for your rescued stray. There are several things you can do to ensure that you find a good permanent home for the dog or cat you found.
  • Talk to friends and neighbors who might be willing and able to give the animal the loving care and companionship it deserves. This is a great solution as it allows you to be able to follow up to ensure the animal’s well being.
  • Seek help from Animal Rescues, Shelters, and Humane Societies. Check to see if they have room to take in your stray. Ask them for their guidance and help in placing your foundling in a new permanent home. Even if they are not willing to take them in, perhaps they would agree to post him as an adoptable pet along with their rescued pets on www.Pets911.com.
  • You can take your stray to an animal shelter. Most shelters and animal control agencies have limitations due to the sad fact that there are more dogs and cats than available homes. Shelters also often suffer from space limitations and funding limitations. This means that they cannot accept every animal that is brought to them and sometimes animals are euthanized to make room for new arrivals. “No Kill” shelters often do not have room and will only be able to take an animal due to a dire emergency. To be certain that you understand what most likely will happen to the animal; ask questions about the shelter’s policies. Ask about the size of cages and runs, adoption screenings, and the circumstances that allow animals to be euthanized.
  • Run ads, place flyers at veterinary offices, grocery stores, etc. Ask a local rescue or shelter to allow you to use one of their adoption applications to help you to screen a potential adopter. Be sure to also ask lots of questions including: Have they had pets in the past? If so, where are the pets now? Who is/will be their veterinarian? Are they willing and able to cover veterinary care and unforeseen medical expenses? Get all of their contact information including name, address, and telephone number. Get personal references and check them. Get promises that the animal will be allowed to live inside the home. Ask for a fee of at minimum $25.00. If a person balks at paying this fee, it is a sign that they would not pay for needed care for the animal. There should also be a provision in the agreement, allowing you to come and visit the animal three or four weeks after placement.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tricks to giving your pet medication.

Tricks for Giving Pet Meds

It’s hard enough for a veterinarian or a trained team member to give pet medications, let alone your average pet owner.

Pet owners struggle to follow the vet’s orders to give their pets medication, and we know the pets need the medication but they don’t want to take it, and just like with toddlers, we have to give pets a prescription they don’t like.

There’s a recent study that shows that only 10% of cat owners and 30% of dog owners succeeded in medicating their pets correctly. What this means, is that prescriptions sent home by the veterinarians often end up in the cupboard or on the person, and not in the pet. And what happens, is that the pet owner is too embarrassed or hesitant to go back to the veterinarian and admit failure.

One trick is to use Pill Pockets. Rather than giving one Pill Pocket as recommended with the medication, you give three. The first one is an empty Pill Pocket as a tease. The second one is the Pill Pocket with the medication. The third one is the chaser.

And for the animal that won’t take any medication, they seem to spit everything out, try a compounding pharmacy. There are several companies out there, FlavoRX is one of them, and they will make your pet’s medication into pet flavors, such as Salty Bacon, Atlantic Salmon, Angus Beef and Bubblegum. Some companies will even send you samples to find out which flavor your pet prefers. About 70% of dogs and cats will lick this medication right out of the spoon. You can do this with both pills and liquids.

And, if nothing else works for your cat, there is the new transdermal system. The medication is put into something that is simply absorbed into the skin, so you wipe put the medication in the cat’s ear. While not all medications can administered this way, many of the common medications can.

However, if your pets takes pills easily, be aware that many pills can be lodged in the esophagus up to five minutes later. While this is uncomfortable for your pet, it can also lead to inflammation and can cause severe problems long term. So, for both dogs and cats, if you are not using something that is chewable, give a water chaser. When you give the water to help flush the pill down, simply grab the corner of their lip, tip their head back, and squirt it in the corner of their mouth, and it will act like a funnel and run down behind the back of their teeth and right down their esophagus. If you try to put the water on their tongue, they will just spit it up right back on you.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

10 Common Pet Misconceptions

Ten Most Common Pet Misconceptions

1. A cat will always land on their feet after a fall.
Cat’s do have a keen sense of balance and often seem acrobatic and land foot side down, however they can be badly injured from falls of varying heights. Cats that fall from high elevations in large urban areas are commonly diagnosed with an injury called High Rise Syndrome. Pet owners should monitor cats on outdoor balconies and keep window screens secure.

2. A dog’s mouth is sterile and licking their wounds is a way to help heal wounds.
A dog’s mouth is a verifiable sewer of bacteria. Repeated licking on wounds can actually inhibit healing in the area.

3. Cats need milk.Cats LIKE milk, but no they do not NEED milk. In fact, many kitties will display digestive upset with diarrhea after drinking milk.

4. Cats can do just fine on a tuna diet.
Feeding an all tuna diet is actually DANGEROUS for your cat. Tuna is nutritionally deficient for cats and feeding an exclusive tuna diet will leave your cat at risk of many nutritionally driven diseases. (Problems include: Thiaminase in tuna is an enzyme that destroys an important B vitamin resulting in a Thiamine deficiency, the risk for a dangerous disease called pansteatitis , and high Magnesium levels in tuna can increase risk of Lower Urinary Tract Disease, as well as other nutritional deficiencies of vitamins and minerals such as calcium.

5. When dogs eat feces it is a sign of worms.While disgusting, this behavior is not a direct sign of worms, although it can increase the potential for ingesting and acquiring parasites from this feces tasting behavior. This behavior is called coprophagy, and is a behavior that is commonly displayed by mother dogs as she cleans the waste from the newborns. Puppies and adult dogs may continue this behavior forming a bad habit and some dogs will even do it for attention getting from their human companions.

6. When a dog scoots it’s rear end on the ground, it means he/she has worms.While some dogs with tapeworms can have itchiness on the anal area, the butt scotching behavior is not a direct indicator for intestinal worms. Actually, the most common cause of butt scooting can be problems with anal sacs, but also diarrhea or even allergies.

7. If a cat’s whiskers are cut off then they loose their balance.
Cats whiskers act more as “‘feelers” and are not involved in maintaining balance.

8. Female dogs should have a litter or go through a heat before getting spayed.There is no sound basis for this old wives tale. There is no behavior benefit to letting a female dog have a litter. In fact, shelters are overfilled with dogs and cats - many of who may have been offspring of such unnecessary breedings. Also, waiting on getting your dog spayed can actually increase its risk of mammary cancer. If a female dog is spayed BEFORE she ever goes into heat, the risk of breast cancer is almost zero. The risk of breast cancer in dogs goes up with each subsequent heat for several years.

9. If your dog eats grass then he/she is sick.Dogs often will eat grass and then vomit, however the fact that your dog nibbles on grass doesn’t necessarily mean he/she is ill. Many dogs just nibble on grass for fun our out of boredom. Some veterinary nutritionists believe that grass and vegetation have some necessary nutritional need.

10. A warm, dry nose is a sign of illness and a cold, wet nose-is a sign of health.
From day to day the appearance of a pet’s nose can change. It can be influenced by activity, climate, and overall behaviors of your pet. Healthy pets occasionally have a dry, warm nose, so unless it is accompanied by signs of illness, then no need to worry. Pet owners shouldn’t rely on this rule to evaluate when its time to see your veterinarian. Consider overall activity, appetite, and other signs of illness when deciding if your pet needs a visit to the doctor.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Popular Dog Myths - Fact or Fiction?

Popular Dog Myths – Fact or Fiction?

-Dogs have night vision

Actually, dogs do not have “night vision,” but they do see better than humans in the dark. The main reason dogs see better than humans in the dark is that their eyes come equipped with a Tapetum. A Tapetum is a mirror-like structure in the back of the canine eye that reflects light back to the retina allowing the dog to have a second view of an object in dimmer situations. A Tapetum also causes the dog’s eyes to seem like they are glowing. Even though dogs can see much better than humans in darker conditions, they do not truly have night vision.

-Dogs should have a litter prior to being spayed and neutered

Research has shown time and time again that a dog having a litter does not help her in any way. In fact, unaltered dogs are actually more susceptible to cancer and urinary tract infections and unaltered dogs are known to have shorter life spans than altered dogs.  Find a spay and neuter clinic or low cost spay and neuter services near you.

-Only male dogs “hump” because they are trying to mate

This is actually very wrong. While male dogs do mount females for procreation, they can also demonstrate this behavior to show dominance. Female dogs may demonstrate this behavior when trying to show dominance as well. The dog being mounted will then learn to be submissive to the mounting dog (Alpha Dog.)

-Purebred dogs are healthier than mutts

This myth has many people talking for years. There is no scientific evidence proving that purebred dogs are healthier than mutts, in fact, it may be the opposite. Purebred dogs have been in-bred for many years, thereby creating, as well as passing along, detrimental traits. Simply put, the dog is passing on its bad traits with the breeder’s sought after “breed standard” traits. This is not to say that a mutt will not have these detrimental traits as well, but it less likely because the dog was probably from unrelated parents.

-A dog’s nose can tell if he is sick

For many years, “old wives” tales have said that a dog’s nose can tell if he is sick. There is actually no research to back this myth up. In fact, a dog’s nose may be wet, cool, dry, or warm at any given time. This does not apply to sunburned noses or raw noses. If you’re worried about him, take your dog to the veterinarian.

-You can’t teach an old dog new tricks

Any dog has the ability to learn, young and old. Remember, an older dog will already have a few set ways that he may be used to, but with a little work and training, he can learn as much as any other dog. Remember, when considering adopting a new dog, that many older dogs come housetrained.

-Dogs have cleaner mouths than humans

Serious bugs can exist in both human and dog mouths as part of the normal flora in a mammal body. Consider the last time you brushed Fido’s teeth. Has he been outside eating feces, bugs, dead birds, and who knows what? Even though Fido’s mouth has different bacteria than humans, his mouth is not necessarily cleaner.

-Some breeds, like Pit Bulls, have the ability to “lock their jaws”

There have been studies on canine jaw function and hinging, and although the dog may have a strong grip, he does not have a “lockable jaw.”

-Dogs can’t learn their names, they just come when they need something

This is false as well. In fact, trainers recommend that one of the first steps toward a well behaved dog is to teach him his name. A dog’s name is a good platform to build new tricks and further train your dog.

-An aggressive dog is a good watch dog

This may seem true if your dog barks at everything and tries to attack people or other animals, but in reality, aggressive dogs do not know if the person nearing them is a friend or an enemy. This can confuse the dog and he may end up biting the wrong person. Many people mistake aggressiveness for protection, and end up getting hurt by the family pet.  If your pet is showing signs of aggression, please take steps to train your dog and to socialize your dog.

-Dogs do not have feelings

Completely and utterly false. Dogs have the ability to move face muscles to show expression. Think about when your dog is upset (mad.) He will adjust his ears, squint his eyes, and even show his teeth to let other know he is upset. This is a good way of telling that a dog is upset. Some dogs have even been known to pout and not make eye contact when they have their feelings hurt.
University of Wisconsin - Madison (2007, November 9).
“How Well Do Dogs See At Night?” ScienceDaily.com


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