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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

Friday, September 2, 2011

OTC Drugs & Your Pet

Many pet owners believe that there's no harm in using human, over-the-counter, medications when their pet seems to be under the weather. It seems a fairly rational thought that if your pet is limping, you can just give it an Ibuprofen. Right? Wrong. We need to be very careful what medication is used for our pets. You may actually be doing more harm than good.

For instance, Tylenol or acetaminophen can never be given to cats. Cats cannot metabolize acetaminophen and this can lead to liver failure. Therefore even small amounts can prove lethal to cats. Aspirin use is also not recommended in cats because they cannot metabolize aspirin and this can lead to overdosing.

Antihistamines like Benadryl (diphenhydramine) and ChlorTrimeton (Chlorpheniramine) can be used to treat allergic reactions for pets, or in some cases for sedation purposes. It is okay to use these medications by themselves but you always want to consult your veterinarian before giving them to your pet to ensure you are giving the correct dosage. You also do not want to give them long term. If you are finding yourself constantly giving your pet Benadryl there may be something going on that needs further care, and/or prescription medication. Also, I cannot stress enough that pet owners must be CAUTIOUS about combination products which often contain Tylenol or aspirin components. Alot of over the counter cold and allergy medications containing diphenhydramine and chlorpheniramine also contain Tylenol or aspirin. You also do NOT want to give your pet anything additional (even Benadryl) if your pet is on prescription medications or has any ongoing medical conditions. Always, always, check with your pet's doctor before doing this to verify it is safe to give.

Dog owners need to be cautious about using over the counter medications as well - such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin) and naprosyn (Aleve) to treat pain. Dogs are more sensitive to gastrointestinal side effects with these medications. NSAID's like Advil or Motrin can cause kidney failure in dogs. It is very important that owners only use veterinarian-approved medications, prescribed for the specific pet it is given to, for pain relief.

ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR VETERINARIAN BEFORE GIVING YOUR PET ANY OTC HUMAN MEDICATION, PRESCRIPTION OR NON-PRESCRIPTION.Alot of items inside your home can pose potential risks for your pet. Soap, sun block, and toothpaste for example can cause severe vomiting and diarrhea. Mothballs if ingested can cause liver, kidney and respiratory damage. If your pet ingests anything in your home, ESPECIALLY HUMAN MEDICATION, please make sure to call poison control and/or your veterinarian immediately.

You can contact the Animal Poison Control Hotline at 888-426-4435 to report any accidental overdose or possible poisoning.

Stay tuned for a post by us about household hazards and what to keep your pet away from!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Planning for Your Pets in your Will.

Who will care for your furry babies?

It’s a sobering thought, but do you know who will take care of your pets if you should die? Many people assume that family members will keep their pets, but shelter volunteers see numerous pets surrendered because of the owner’s death. If plans aren’t carefully made, your pets may not be where you’d hoped. Whether your death turns out to be unexpected or not, planning for your pets' care can give you peace of mind.

No matter what we think of our pets, legally they are property, and unless specific arrangements are made, they will be treated like property after your death. 
Several sources can assist you in ensuring the results you want. Sadly, it’s not as simple as stating in a will "I want my dogs to be taken care of," or "the cats should go to my niece, Katie." What if Katie doesn’t want them, or is undergoing unseen financial misfortune when the time for transfer arrives? 

Several states have pet trust laws in place, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, Wisconsin, and Utah. The laws are not the same in each state. In states without such laws, a trust becomes an honorary system. Without a pet trust, your only option is to designate a caretaker.

A book by Lisa Rogak, titled PerPETual Care: Who Will Look After Your Pets If You’re Not Around?, (published by Litterature) outlines some steps you can take, and mentions why certain approaches may not work but others will. Rogak states, "The law will regard the clause in your will where you bequeath money or property to your pets after death as the equivalent of leaving your car to your washing machine."  She discusses how to avoid challenges from relatives who don’t love pets, and explains how to make a workable, legal plan for your pets in the event of your death or disability. It’s not as straightforward as it sounds.

A new company called PetGuardian estimates that 500,000 pets are euthanized at shelters and veterinary offices each year because their owners have died. PetGuardian offers pet trust plans. In conjunction with the Best Friends Animal Society, which operates the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, it has created the Best Friends Backup Service in which Best Friends will find a "backup caregiver" to ensure that pets are placed in good homes if the designated caregivers are unable to accept the pet. PetGuardian Pet Trust Plans have been created with the help of legal experts, estate planners, and animal care professionals. Veterinary Partner doesn't endorse PetGuardian, but we feel that you should be aware of its services.

Another option to using a service like PetGuardian is to talk to your attorney. While having an attorney create a trust is more expensive than a service like PetGuardian, the attorney will set up a  trust to take care of all your assets, not just pets. These trusts are aimed at reducing probate tax (the so-called "death tax"), but language regarding your pet would simply be included. There would be no additional fee for including pets as you pay for the service as a whole. It's really an issue of telling your attorney what your exact wishes are regarding your pets; this is especially true in states that have pet trust laws in place.

Not all veterinary colleges provide legacy/bequest services, but many do. In a legacy service, your pet will be adopted by a veterinary student, who will care for it for the rest of its life. Ask your veterinarian for names and addresses of veterinary colleges, and check into this fantastic program.

Gina Spadafori, whose Pet Connection column appears in Veterinary Partner, is well aware of these issues. She explains how she has prepared for her pets. Two of the dogs will be returned to breeders, the pocket pets will go back to the rescue groups they came from, the parrot will go to his avian veterinarian (a good friend of Gina’s), and her remaining dogs go to friends who have agreed to keep them. "With each pet will go a sum of money," says Gina.

Being prepared for the worst, or at least the inevitable, can ease some of the concern at that time when everyone is upset and no one is sure what to do. Outlining exactly what you want to happen makes a big difference. 

Source: http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&C=26&A=1674&S=0

Bufo Toad Poisoning

Bufo Toad Poisoning

A common threat to south Florida dogs is poisoning from Bufo marinus,
the giant or cane toad.  This species of toad produces a pasty yellow-
white toxin in the parotid glands, which extend from the head backward
over the shoulder region and is released through pinhole openings in the
skin.  When a dog mouths or bites a Bufo toad the toxin is released and
rapidly absorbed across the mucus membranes of the mouth.

Symptoms of Bufo poisoning occur suddenly and may include profuse
salivation, vocalizing and pawing at the mouth, brick-red gums,
incoordination or a stiff gait, difficulty breathing and the intoxication can
rapidly progress to seizures and death.

The severity of the poisoning depends on the size of the dog and the
amount of toxin absorbed into the blood stream. Puppies and small
breed dogs such as Dachshunds, Mini-Pins, Jack Russell Terriers and
miniature Schnauzers are more seriously affected because they get "more
poison per pound" than a large breed dog.

Bufo toads are most active in the spring and summer months when it is
warm and moist outside.  They are also nocturnal, therefore most
poisonings occur in the evening, late-night or early-morning hours.  
Poisonings can happen very quickly and even dogs being leash-walked
have been known to grab a toad and be poisoned.


Step 1) DO NOT PANIC!!! You need to be able to think clearly and act
quickly to help save your pet.  Panicking will only keep you from acting

Step 2) IMMEDIATELY rinse the dog’s mouth out with a large amount
of water using either a hose, kitchen sink sprayer, shower sprayer or
water bottle.  Rinse the mouth from side to side.
.  The
toxin is very sticky and may need to be gently rubbed off of the mucus
membranes of the mouth.  Be very careful so as not to get bit by your
pet.  Even the gentlest animal may bite if it is scared, in pain or having a

Step 3) Calmly transport the dog to your veterinarian for further care.  
PLAN AHEAD!  Save time in an emergency by preparing now.  Keep the
phone number of your veterinarian by the telephone.  Since most
poisonings occur at night
to make sure that the hospital is
open, don’t waste time driving to a closed facility.  Keep the phone
number and address of a nearby emergency clinic near the phone too, in
case your regular veterinarian is not available.

There is no specific antidote for Bufo-toxin and treatment consists mainly
of supportive care.  The toxin can affect the heart causing it to beat in an
irregular pattern and hyperthermia (body temperature greater than 105
degrees) may develop from seizuring.  Intravenous fluids, cool-water
baths and anti-arrhythmic drugs are all used in the treatment of Bufo

So what can you do to prevent your pet from being poisoned?  First of
all, learn to recognize what a Bufo toad looks like.  Adults can be as large
as 6 to 9 inches in length and have brown, or gray-brown warty skin.  
Younger toads are much smaller but just as dangerous.  Bufo toads are
ground dwelling animals.  Do not confuse them with tree frogs, which
have suction-cup feet and may be found crawling up the side of your

Bufo toads live near water such as ponds, canals and swimming pools.  
Search your yard in the late evening for them.  If you have just moved to
a new neighborhood, ask a neighbor if the toads inhabit the area.

In addition to eating insects, small animals, snakes and vegetation, Bufo
toads are especially fond of pet food.  You can avoid attracting toads to
your yard by not leaving bowls of dog or cat food down on the ground.
If you live in an area inhabited by Bufo toads, you need to be especially
careful.  Direct supervision while your pet is outside is crucial and may
prevent a tragedy.  If you have a fenced-in yard you can make it harder
for the toads to get through the links by putting chicken-wire fencing
along the bottom edge.

Learning to recognize and minimizing the risk of Bufo toads living in
and around your yard are the best ways to prevent your dog from being
poisoned.  But knowing what to do in case of an emergency is the most
important factor in helping your pet to survive.  Rinsing the mouth out
with large amounts of water is the single most important step you can
take.  It will remove excess poison and may actually prevent a minor
intoxication from progressing into a life-threatening one.  Next, call
ahead to your veterinarian’s office to confirm that a doctor is present, and
then calmly and safely transport your pet to the facility.


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Davie, FL 33024
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