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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.


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6902 Stirling Road
Davie, FL 33024
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