Archive for the ‘Pet Care Information’ Category
Veterinary preventive medicine starts with the basics. The CDC states that the incidence of intestinal parasites in pets is on the rise, possibly due to climate change or better detection methods.
Your pet’s fecal sample is sent to the diagnostic lab where it is mixed with zinc sulfate, spun down with a centrifuge and analyzed by a trained technician.
For puppies and kittens and for certain cases in adult pets we will do an in-house Giardia antibody test prior to sending the sample to the lab for analysis.
For more information about the various parasites seen in pets, go to: www.cdc.gov/parasites/animals.html or Veterinarypartners.com.
A 7.5 year study of 90 cats showed the importance of diet on longevity.
The cats were split into three groups. Group One received a nutritionally balanced diet; Group Two received the same diet supplemented with vitamin E and beta-carotene; and Group Three received the basic diet, vitamin E and beta-carotene, omega fatty acids (fish oils) and chicory root as a prebiotic source.
The study revealed that the cats in Group Three lived an average of 11 months longer than those in Group One. Group Two showed no significant differences. Group Three also showed higher blood volume (hematocrit) and body weight, improved lean body mass (LBM) and skin thickness.
We suggest a vitamin supplement such as Nu Cat for cats over 8 years. Hill’s JD diet, canned or dry, is an excellent source of high dose omega fish oils, or your current food can be supplemented with Catalyst omega chews or liquid. Powdered chicory root can be added to canned food at 1/4 teaspoon daily.
Source: Feeding Old Cats- An Update on New Nutritional Therapies, Topics in Companion Animal Medicine 2011.
Earlier in the week, we discussed how to prevent dog bites in children. For the final day of Dog Bite Prevention Week, we are going to discuss what to do if you are bitten by a dog.
If you are unlucky enough to be bitten by a dog, you will realize that it is something that happens very quickly. Even though you will be scared, upset, and in pain, you need to pay attention to what is going on around you.
If the dog is with a person, or if someone comes running up to you and takes the dog, make sure to not let them leave the scene. You need to get their name, their pets name, their veterinarians name, and their contact information.
If the dog appears to be a stray, then you need to get a good look at the dog. Coloring, size, possible breed, and whether or not they have a collar with tags. A good description is needed so you can report a stray dog to the local police and animal control.
If the dog is owned, you need to make sure the pet is up to date on their rabies vaccine. If the pet is not up to date, then the dog needs to go through a 10 day quarantine to confirm that there is no rabies present, and the dog then needs to be rabies vaccinated. If the dog appears to be a stray and runs away after the attack, then the person bitten will need to get a rabies exposure vaccine.
It is also a good idea to report the incident to the local police. This is especially important if the dog is a stray and runs away after being bitten, but it is also important in the event a person is hesitant to give up their information, or tells you that their pet is up to date on their rabies vaccine and expects you to take their word for it.
If the dog belongs to a friend or a family member, you still need to take the same precautions, however you need to use your own personal judgement in regards to alerting the authorities.
Treating a Dog Bite
The next thing that you need to do is to assess and treat your injury. If there are no puncture wounds, you may be able to treat the injury yourself. Cleanse with soap and warm water, apply an antibiotic ointment, and bandage the affected area. However, even if the injury is very minor you should still make an appointment to see your regular doctor as soon as possible. You have to remember that you were bitten by an animal, and considering the amount of bacteria in a dogs mouth you may need to go on antibiotics to get rid of any infection. If you were bitten by a dog that appears to be a stray, you need to seek emergency medical attention immediately since there is no way to prove if the pet was rabies vaccinated.
If it is a major wound with severe bleeding, wrap the affected area with a towel to help stop the bleeding and seek emergency medical attention immediately.
In the first part of our series, we discussed why dogs bite. Today, we’re going to discuss how to prevent dog bites in children. Below are some interesting statistics on dog bites in children:
According to the American Humane Association:
- 50% of dog attacks involved children under 12 years old
- 82% of dog bites treated in the emergency room involved children under 15 years old
- 70% of dog-bite fatalities occurred among children under 10 years old5
- Bite rates are dramatically higher among children who are 5 to 9 years old
- Unsupervised newborns were 370 times more likely than an adult to be killed by a dog
- 65% of bites among children occur to the head and neck
- Boys under the age of 15 years old are bitten more often than girls of the same age
Although adults do often get dog bites, it is blatantly obvious that children are the more likely victims of being bitten or attacked by dogs. Children don’t always have the best manners, and may treat dogs like they would a stuffed animal. The only difference is a stuffed animal can’t cause severe injury or bodily harm! Here are some helpful tips on how to prevent dog bites in children.
The first way to prevent bites or attacks is to never, EVER leave an infant or a young child alone with a dog. If they are left alone and the child is bitten, you have no way to know if the child provoked the attack or if it was unprovoked. It is unfortunate, but if something happens to your child when you’re not there, odds are you will never be able to trust your dog again, and your dog can sense that distrust.
Next, make sure you start educating your children at an early age. Dr. Stacey Kilcullen highly recommends that everyone check out Dr. Sophia Yin’s Website. Dr. Sophia Yin is an internationally acclaimed veterinary behaviorist, and her website has an entire section on dog bite prevention, with a variety of links geared toward preventing dog bites in children. Click Here for a direct link to this section of her website.
When your child meets an unknown dog, always make sure you have your child ask the owner if it’s OK to pet their dog. Asking permission is not only a courtesy to the pet owner, but if the pet is not friendly then a crisis is diverted.
If there is an unknown dog loose in your neighborhood, your child should not run, and especially not scream. Running and screaming will attract the dog, and make the dog more likely to chase them. Instead, stand motionless. The best way to describe this to a child is by telling them to “be still like a tree.”
Instruct your child to never approach a dog when they are sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies. If a dog is woken from a deep enough sleep, it could seriously scare the dog, causing it to lash out and who/whatever happens to be closest. Some dogs are also food aggressive, and if approach while eating may think that you are a threat to their food.
As a pet owner, there are many things that we need to be concerned or afraid of- your pet could get sick, injured, or go missing, to name a few. However, one of the most devastating things your pet could do is bite another person, yourself, or worse, a child.
Many people feel that their dog would never bite, because it probably never has. However, a dog a is still a dog, and there is always the potential that the friendliest dog could bite if they are put in the wrong type of situation. In honor of National Dog Bite Prevention Week, we are going to have a 3 part series on why dogs bite, preventing dog bites in children, and preventing dog bites in adults.
According to the American Humane Association:
- An estimated 4.7 million dog bites occur in the U.S. each year2,3
- Nearly 800,000 dog bites require medical care2
- Approximately 92% of fatal dog attacks involved male dogs, 94% of which were not neutered1
- Approximately 25% of fatal dog attacks involved chained dogs1
- Approximately 71% of bites occur to the extremities (arms, legs, hands, feet)2
- Approximately two-thirds of bites occurred on or near the victim’s property, and most victims knew the dog
- The insurance industry pays more than $1 billion in dog-bite claims each year3
- At least 25 different breeds of dogs have been involved in the 238 dog-bite-related fatalities in the U.S.4
- Approximately 24% of human deaths involved unrestrained dogs off of their owners’ property4
- Approximately 58% of human deaths involved unrestrained dogs on their owners’ property4
Now, after reading these statistics, you’re probably wondering what exactly causes a dog to bite?
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer as there could be a multitude of reason. Every dog lives in a completely different environment with different triggers that can cause aggressive behaviors. Here is a list of the most common reasons/situations that trigger a dog to bite:
Food/Object Aggression- Many dogs are very possessive of their food, treats, and toys, and will give a warning growls or tries to bite when you go near them when they are eating or when they are playing with a toy
Pain- If a dog is painful and doesn’t want to be touched, it will lash out by growling or biting. For example, and dog with a broken nail will usually not want the nail to be touched because it is extremely painful. If they suspect that you are going to touch something that already hurts, they will try to protect themselves by growling or biting.
Invasion of Territory- Some dogs are very protective of their home, and when someone like a delivery/postal worker, or a new friend or family member enters the home, they will try to defend their territory until they know that the new person is OK.
Fear- In veterinary medicine, we see a lot of fear biters, but some dogs are fearful in other places other then the veterinary hospital setting. Some are fearful of anyone who is not the dogs family, and will growl or attempt to bite if the unknown person comes near them.
Protective of Owners or Children- Dogs love their family, sometimes to the point that they would do anything to protect them from what they perceive as a harmful situation. Something as simple as a child running and screaming with a friend can make a dog feel that their family member is in danger and cause them to go into a protective mode.
Dominance- Many dogs have a very dominant personality, and if anyone, even the owner, tries to be the “top dog” over them, they will lash out as a way to assert their dominance.
Now that you know some of the reasons that could cause a dog to bite, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for our next post in the series later in the week on how to prevent dog bites in children.
Last summer was one of the first natural disasters we had had in a very long time, and that was Hurricane Irene.
Some areas were definitely hit worse then others, and our area was extremely lucky. However, it made many people realize that while they may have set up an evacuation plan for themselves (or, for those who hadn’t, it made them realize they needed one), they never thought about what they were going to do with their pets! Our facility was filled to the brim as we tried to accommodate as many pets as possible, since unfortunately many of the evacuation centers set up around the area would not accept pets. The thought of owners having to make a decision to leave their pets unattended during a natural disaster is something we didn’t want, and we took in as many as possible to help our clients in need. We even went so far as to have a technician spend the night to make sure that our boarders and patients were properly taken care of in the event that no one was able to return to our facility to care for them.
Now, having said that, I think we all have realized that an evacuation plan needs to include all of our furry children. In honor of National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day, we are going to discuss the ins and outs of creating an evacuation plan for your pets.
Many people (known as Dooms Day Preppers) have created different types of evacuation bags for themselves which are known as Bug Out Bags, GOOD Bag (Get Out Of Dodge Bags), or INCH Bags (I‘m Not Coming Home Bag). Some of these are simple and meant to have just emergency information and first aid kits, and some are very elaborate with supplies to last up to a week. We are only going to discuss the basics today, however there is a plethora of information for more elaborate bags. If you would like to purchase a pre-made, ready to go evacuation pack for your pets instead of making your own, we highly recommend going to Survival-Goods.com. They have two evacuations buckets, The CATastrophy Kit for Cats, and The DogGoneIt Kit for Dogs. Both kits include MRE food pouches (Meals Ready to Eat, with a 5 year shelf life), blankets, light sticks, bowls, leash/collar, water, 50′ rope, poop bags, can opener, blood stopper, 58 piece first aid kit, pet disaster information, and dog/cat toys. All of this is included in a 3 gallon bucket with lid. The only thing not included is a litter box and litter pan in the cat kit.
Here is a list of what should be in your Pets Evacuation Bag:
1- First Aid Kit. You can buy a pre-made kit, or assemble your own.
2- At least 3 days of food and water and bowls for each. Survival-Goods.com offers MRE (Meals Ready to Eat) dog and cat food that has a 5 year shelf life. This is very useful since emergencies where you would have to evacuate don’t occur often, and most commercial dog foods expire long before the 5 year mark. However, these foods should not be used if your pet has food sensitives or allergies. Collapsible pet bowls are also widely available to help save on space.
4- Up to date vaccine information and any medications that your pet is on.
5- Current photos and physical descriptions of pets, in case they should become lost.
6- Comfort items such as a toys or blankets.
7- Small garbage bags for waste.
8- A leash, harness and sturdy carrier or collapsible crate large enough to be used as a sleeping area for dogs.
9- For cats, a litter box, litter and a sturdy carrier.
Additional Information Sources:
Anyone who has ever lost a beloved pet or had a pet go missing knows the importance of having proper identification for your pet. According to HomeAgain Microchipping:
- Getting lost is the #1 cause of death for pets.
– 1 in 3 pets will go missing during their lifetime.
– Without some form of ID, 90% of missing pets will never be returned home.
Considering these statistics, it’s a simple conclusion that all of our pets need proper forms of identification to keep them safe and make sure they are returned to their owners as quickly as possible. Let’s look over the different forms of pet identification.
First, make sure your pet always has a collar with an ID tag. This tag should have your pet’s name, your name, and a way you can be contacted, whether that is your phone number, your address, or both. If your pet has any special needs (ie- diabetic, blind, deaf, allergies, etc), you should make sure this information is on the tag, or get a special medical tag like one of these from Pet Health Alert.
To go a step further, get your pet microchipped! This is the only form of permanent identification for your pet. A collar is a wonderful item, but if the collar is removed or torn off, then your pet could wind up in a shelter without anyone knowing your pet has a loving home. The majority of shelters, rescues, and animal hospitals now carry microchip scanners, and the first thing they do is scan the pet to see if the pet is just lost and not homeless. Make sure the microchip company you choose uses a universal chip- this means that whether you’re in the US or another country your chip will be recognizable by international microchip scanners.
Another form of identification is the tattoo. While your pet is under anesthesia, your veterinarian tattoos an ID number and a phone number on the ear flap (sometimes it’s on the belly, but it’s most commonly done on the ear). Since the invention of the microchip, many people opt to not do tattoos. However, since a tattoo is visible, a person who finds a loose dog will know right away that the pet is lost. If your veterinarian offers tattoos and microchipping, we recommend doing both- it’s better to be safe than sorry!
We also recommend that you make a pet ID card for your pet. This could just be a large index card with all your pet’s pertinent information, or you can go online and find one of the many companies that make pet ID cards that look similar to a driver’s license. This way in the event that your pet goes missing, you’re not scrambling to find all the information you need.
This card should include:
- A clear, detailed photo of your pet.
-Your pet’s name.
-Your veterinarian’s name and phone number.
-All of the local shelters’ names and phone numbers.
-Local police names and phone numbers.
-The microchip number and the microchip company’s phone number (so you can call and tell them your pet is missing- this way they can put out an alert that your pet is missing).
- Updated vaccine history for your pet.
- A list of any medications that your pet might be taking.
Now, what happens if your pet does go missing? Your first instinct might be to go outside and run door to door calling your pet’s name, but that is not effective. You need to remain calm, and think clearly about the steps that need to be taken to make sure that your pet is reunited with you in a safe and timely fashion. Below is a helpful checklist on what to do if your pet goes missing:
1- Check all the obvious hiding places. Does your pet like to hide in closets or under furniture?
2- If you had your pet outside, check the fence. Are there any holes that your pet could have squeezed through?
3- Once you have determined that your pet is actually missing and not just hiding, pull out your pet ID card, call your veterinarian, the shelters, the police, and the microchip company to alert them that your pet is missing. Make sure to give them a detailed description of your pet, and ask if they would like you to drop off a picture just in case someone finds your pet and drops him off. Call and visit the shelters daily, or as often as you can, to see if your pet was dropped off.
4- Go door to door around your neighborhood, to see if anyone has found or seen your pet.
5- If your pet is not yet found, you can then make flyers and place them everywhere you can. Also, go on your Facebook or Twitter account and post that your pet is missing. You could even make a Facebook page just for the purpose of finding your pet and send it to everyone you know, and ask them to send it to everyone they know. You can reach hundreds, even thousands, of people this way.
6- Whatever you do, don’t give up. Stay positive.
Have you ever had one of those moments where you realize you forgot to give Fluffy her heartworm medicine, and then can’t even remember the last time you gave it? If you have a smartphone, you will never have to worry about forgetting again! Heartgard offers a free iPhone app which reminds you monthly that your pet is due for his/her heartworm pill.
If you don’t use Heartgard the app can still work for you, since all other major heartworm preventatives (such as Tri-Heart, Interceptor, Sentinel, and Revolution) are given monthly as well. For more information on this app, type “heartworm” or “Heartgard” into the search area of the iTunes app store, or click here: iPhone HeartGard App
I am often asked by my clients “when is it time to let go?”. As our pets age, it becomes hard for us to recognize the signs that our pets are having difficulties because we see them day to day. Sometimes, as in humans, changes are only noticed by someone who hasn’t seen the pet in a while.
When is it time? Unfortunately, there is no specific answer. Changes are hard to measure and sometimes not specific. I often ask my clients questions such as: Is your pet able to rise and walk around without any significant difficulty. Is he continuing to socialize with your family, liking the attention from different members? Is he showing an interest in eating or do you continually need to change the food to keep him interested? Sometimes a pets spirit gives out before their body. Other times, it is just the opposite.
I’d like to suggest the concept of making two jars, a good day one and a bad day one. At the end of every day, determine which kind of day it has been. If there are more bad days then good days then I think that may lead us to our answer. It is still a personal decision. I do believe that most of us know when the time has come. The comfort of veterinary medicine is hopefully found in the measures we can take to alleviate our pet’s pain and to provide a peaceful end for our loved family member.
I find great comfort in that most people tell me peaceful and quick the end was. The values of the rainbow bridge was always pertinent.
“Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….