Friday, June 10, 2016

Disaster Preparedness


Emergencies come in many forms, and they may require anything from a brief absence from your home to permanent evacuation. Each type of disaster requires different measures to keep your pets safe, so the best thing you can do for yourself and your pets is to be prepared. Here are simple steps you can follow now to make sure you’re ready before the next disaster strikes:

Step 1: Get a Rescue Alert Sticker
This easy-to-use sticker will let people know that pets are inside your home. Make sure it is visible to rescue workers (we recommend placing it on or near your front door), and that it includes the types and number of pets in your home as well as the name and number of your veterinarian. If you must evacuate with your pets, and if time allows, write “EVACUATED” across the stickers. To get a free emergency pet alert sticker for your home, please fill out our online order form and allow 6-8 weeks for delivery. Your local pet supply store may also sell similar stickers.

Step 2: Arrange a Safe Haven
Arrange a safe haven for your pets in the event of evacuation. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND. Remember, if it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets. They may become trapped or escape and be exposed to numerous life-threatening hazards. Note that not all shelters accept pets, so it is imperative that you have determined where you will bring your pets ahead of time:
  • Contact your veterinarian for a list of preferred boarding kennels and facilities.
  • Ask your local animal shelter if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets.
  • Identify hotels or motels outside of your immediate area that accept pets.
  • Ask friends and relatives outside your immediate area if they would be willing to take in your pet.
  • Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification information. Your pet’s ID tag should contain his name, telephone number and any urgent medical needs. Be sure to also write your pet’s name, your name and contact information on your pet’s carrier.
  • The ASPCA recommends microchipping your pet as a more permanent form of identification. A microchip is implanted under the skin in the animal’s shoulder area, and can be read by a scanner at most animal shelters.
  • Always bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster. Pets can become disoriented and wander away from home in a crisis.
  • Store an emergency kit and leashes as close to an exit as possible. Make sure that everyone in the family knows where it is, and that it clearly labeled and easy to carry. Items to consider keeping in or near your “Evac-Pack” include:

    • Pet first-aid kit and guide book (ask your vet what to include)
    • 3-7 days’ worth of canned (pop-top) or dry food (be sure to rotate every two months)
    • Disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans are perfect)
    • Litter or paper toweling
    • Liquid dish soap and disinfectant
    • Disposable garbage bags for clean-up
    • Pet feeding dishes and water bowls
    • Extra collar or harness as well as an extra leash
    • Photocopies and/or USB of medical records and a waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires (Remember, food and medications need to be rotated out of your emergency kit—otherwise they may go bad or become useless)
    • At least seven days’ worth of bottled water for each person and pet (store in a cool, dry place and replace every two months)
    • A traveling bag, crate or sturdy carrier, ideally one for each pet
    • Flashlight
    • Blanket
    • Recent photos of your pets (in case you are separated and need to make “Lost” posters)
    • Especially for cats: Pillowcase, toys, scoop-able litter
    • Especially for dogs: Extra leash, toys and chew toys, a week’s worth of cage liner

  • Access critical advice on what to do with your pet before, during, and after a major storm—even if there’s no data connectivity.
  • Store and manage your pet’s critical health records.
  • Receive a personalized missing pet recovery kit, including step-by-step instructions on how to search for a lost animal in a variety of circumstances.
  • Build a lost pet digital flyer that can be shared instantly on your social media channels.
  • Get the latest and most relevant news about pets and animal welfare.

Other Considerations

  • Determine well in advance which rooms offer safe havens. These rooms should be clear or hazards such as windows, flying debris, etc.
  • Choose easy-to-clean areas such as utility rooms, bathrooms and basements as safe zones
  • Access to a supply of fresh water is particularly important. In areas that may lose electricity, fill up bathtubs and sinks ahead of time to ensure that you have access to water during a power outage or other crises.
  • In the event of flooding, go to the highest location in your home, or a room that has access to counters or high shelves where your animals can take shelter.
  • Keep a clean and tidy stable and pasture. Remove hazardous and flammable materials, debris and machinery from around the barn’s walkways, entrances and exits. Regularly maintain and inspect barn floors and septic tanks. Inspect your grounds regularly and remove dangerous debris in the pasture.
  • Prevent fires by instituting a no-smoking policy around your barn. Avoid using or leaving on appliances in the barn, even seemingly-harmless appliances like box fans, heaters and power tools can overheat. Exposed wiring can also lead to electrical fires in the barn, as can a simple nudge from an animal who accidentally knocks over a machine.
  • Get your horse used to wearing a halter, and get him used to trailering. Periodically, you should practice quickly getting your horse on a trailer for the same reason that schools have fire drills—asking a group of unpracticed children to exit a burning building in a calm fashion is a little unrealistic, as is requesting a new and strange behavior of your horse.
  • If you own a trailer, please inspect it regularly. Also, make sure your towing vehicle is appropriate for the size and weight of the trailer and horse. Always make sure the trailer is hitched properly—the hitch locked on the ball, safety chains or cables attached, and emergency brake battery charged and linked to towing vehicle. Proper tire pressure (as shown on the tire wall) is also very important.
  • Get your horse well-socialized and used to being handled by all kinds of strangers. If possible, invite emergency responders and/or members of your local fire service to interact with your horse. It will be mutually beneficial for them to become acquainted. Firemen’s turnout gear may smell like smoke and look unusual, which many horses find frightening—so ask them to wear their usual response gear to get your horse used to the look and smell.
  • Set up a phone tree/buddy system with other nearby horse owners and local farms. This could prove invaluable should you—or they—need to evacuate animals or share resources like trailers, pastures or extra hands!
  • Keep equine veterinary records in a safe place where they can quickly be reached. Be sure to post emergency phone numbers by the phone. Include your 24-hour veterinarian, emergency services and friends. You should also keep a copy for emergency services personnel in the barn that includes phone numbers for you, your emergency contact, your 24-hour veterinarian and several friends.
  • Birds should be transported in a secure travel cage or carrier.
  • In cold weather, make certain you have a blanket over your pet’s cage. This may also help reduce the stress of traveling.
  • In warm weather, carry a spray bottle to periodically moisten your bird’s feathers.
  • Have recent photos available, and keep your bird’s leg bands on for identification.
  • If the carrier does not have a perch, line it for paper towels that you can change frequently.
  • Keep the carrier in as quiet an area as possible.
  • It is particularly imperative that birds eat on a daily basis, so purchase a timed feeder. If you need to leave your bird unexpectedly, the feeder will ensure his daily feeding schedule.
  • Items to keep on hand: Catch net, heavy towel, blanket or sheet to cover cage, cage liner.
  • A snake may be transported in a pillowcase, but you should have permanent and secure housing for him when you reach a safe place.
  • Take a sturdy bowl that is large for your pet to soak in. It’s also a good idea to bring along a heating pad or other warming devise, such as a hot water bottle.
  • Lizards can be transported like birds (see above).
  • Small animals, such as hamsters, gerbils, mice and guinea pigs, should be transported in secure carriers with bedding materials, food and food bowls.
  • Items to keep on hand: Salt lick, extra water bottle, small hidebox or tube, a week’s worth of bedding.


Step 3: Choose "Designated Caregivers”
This step will take considerable time and thought. When choosing a temporary caregiver, consider someone who lives close to your residence. He or she should be someone who is generally home during the day while you are at work or has easy access to your home. A set of keys should be given to this trusted individual. This may work well with neighbors who have pets of their own—you may even swap responsibilities, depending upon who has accessibility.
When selecting a permanent caregiver, you’ll need to consider other criteria. This is a person to whom you are entrusting the care of your pet in the event that something should happen to you. When selecting this “foster parent,” consider people who have met your pet and have successful cared for animals in the past. Be sure to discuss your expectations at length with a permanent caregiver, so he or she understands the responsibility of caring for your pet.

Step 4: Prepare Emergency Supplies and Traveling Kits
If you must evacuate your home in a crisis, plan for the worst-case scenario. Even if you think you may be gone for only a day, assume that you may not be allowed to return for several weeks. When recommendations for evacuation have been announced, follow the instructions of local and state officials. To minimize evacuation time, take these simple steps:
You should also have an emergency kit for the human members of the family. Items to include: Batteries, duct tape, flashlight, radio, multi-tool, tarp, rope, permanent marker, spray paint, baby wipes, protective clothing and footwear, extra cash, rescue whistle, important phone numbers, extra medication and copies of medical and insurance information.

Step 5: Keep the ASPCA On-Hand at All Times
The free ASPCA mobile app shows pet parents exactly what to do in case of a natural disaster. It also allows pet owners to store vital medical records and provides information on making life-saving decisions during natural disasters. With a few swipes, you can:

Geographic Considerations: If you live in an area that is prone to certain natural disasters, such as tornadoes, earthquakes or floods, you should plan accordingly.
  • Determine well in advance which rooms offer safe havens. These rooms should be clear or hazards such as windows, flying debris, etc.
  • Choose easy-to-clean areas such as utility rooms, bathrooms and basements as safe zones
  • Access to a supply of fresh water is particularly important. In areas that may lose electricity, fill up bathtubs and sinks ahead of time to ensure that you have access to water during a power outage or other crises.
  • In the event of flooding, go to the highest location in your home, or a room that has access to counters or high shelves where your animals can take shelter.
Special Considerations for Horses
  • Keep a clean and tidy stable and pasture. Remove hazardous and flammable materials, debris and machinery from around the barn’s walkways, entrances and exits. Regularly maintain and inspect barn floors and septic tanks. Inspect your grounds regularly and remove dangerous debris in the pasture.
  • Prevent fires by instituting a no-smoking policy around your barn. Avoid using or leaving on appliances in the barn, even seemingly-harmless appliances like box fans, heaters and power tools can overheat. Exposed wiring can also lead to electrical fires in the barn, as can a simple nudge from an animal who accidentally knocks over a machine.
  • Get your horse used to wearing a halter, and get him used to trailering. Periodically, you should practice quickly getting your horse on a trailer for the same reason that schools have fire drills—asking a group of unpracticed children to exit a burning building in a calm fashion is a little unrealistic, as is requesting a new and strange behavior of your horse.
  • If you own a trailer, please inspect it regularly. Also, make sure your towing vehicle is appropriate for the size and weight of the trailer and horse. Always make sure the trailer is hitched properly—the hitch locked on the ball, safety chains or cables attached, and emergency brake battery charged and linked to towing vehicle. Proper tire pressure (as shown on the tire wall) is also very important.
  • Get your horse well-socialized and used to being handled by all kinds of strangers. If possible, invite emergency responders and/or members of your local fire service to interact with your horse. It will be mutually beneficial for them to become acquainted. Firemen’s turnout gear may smell like smoke and look unusual, which many horses find frightening—so ask them to wear their usual response gear to get your horse used to the look and smell.
  • Set up a phone tree/buddy system with other nearby horse owners and local farms. This could prove invaluable should you—or they—need to evacuate animals or share resources like trailers, pastures or extra hands!
  • Keep equine veterinary records in a safe place where they can quickly be reached. Be sure to post emergency phone numbers by the phone. Include your 24-hour veterinarian, emergency services and friends. You should also keep a copy for emergency services personnel in the barn that includes phone numbers for you, your emergency contact, your 24-hour veterinarian and several friends.
Special Considerations for Birds
  • Birds should be transported in a secure travel cage or carrier.
  • In cold weather, make certain you have a blanket over your pet’s cage. This may also help reduce the stress of traveling.
  • In warm weather, carry a spray bottle to periodically moisten your bird’s feathers.
  • Have recent photos available, and keep your bird’s leg bands on for identification.
  • If the carrier does not have a perch, line it for paper towels that you can change frequently.
  • Keep the carrier in as quiet an area as possible.
  • It is particularly imperative that birds eat on a daily basis, so purchase a timed feeder. If you need to leave your bird unexpectedly, the feeder will ensure his daily feeding schedule.
  • Items to keep on hand: Catch net, heavy towel, blanket or sheet to cover cage, cage liner.
Special Considerations for Reptiles
  • A snake may be transported in a pillowcase, but you should have permanent and secure housing for him when you reach a safe place.
  • Take a sturdy bowl that is large for your pet to soak in. It’s also a good idea to bring along a heating pad or other warming devise, such as a hot water bottle.
  • Lizards can be transported like birds (see above).
Special Considerations for Small Animals
  • Small animals, such as hamsters, gerbils, mice and guinea pigs, should be transported in secure carriers with bedding materials, food and food bowls.
  • Items to keep on hand: Salt lick, extra water bottle, small hidebox or tube, a week’s worth of bedding.
Source: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/disaster-preparedness

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Identifying Lost Pets With Microchips


Despite your best efforts, accidents can happen. Someone leaves a door ajar, an intrepid pooch digs under a fence, and your best intentions go awry: Your pet escapes and gets lost. If he's wearing a collar and identification tag, chances are good that you’ll get him back.

But what if the collar comes off?

To protect their pets, many owners turn to technology, in the form of identification microchips implanted in their pets. Microchips are tiny transponders, about the size of a grain of rice, that can be implanted in your pet's skin by many veterinarians and animal shelters; some shelters implant one in all pets they place.

Microchips are a good back-up option for pet identification, but should never be the main one.
Reading a microchip takes a special scanner, one that an animal control officer or shelter will have, but your neighbor down the street will not. And if Fido wanders off, it's likely to be a private citizen who encounters him first. That's why, in the event of accidental separation, identification tags are your pet's first ticket home. That said, microchips provide an extra level of protection in case your pet loses his collar and tags. Providing your pets with both tags and a microchip can help ensure a happy reunion if the unthinkable happens.

How and where are microchips placed?
Microchips are implanted just under the skin, usually right between the shoulder blades. This is done with a large-bore needle and doesn't require anesthesia.

How they work
Each microchip contains a registration number and the phone number of the registry for the particular brand of chip. A handheld scanner reads the radio frequency of the chip and displays this information. An animal shelter or vet clinic that finds your pet can contact the registry to get your name and phone number.

Can a microchip get lost inside my pet?
Your pet's subcutaneous tissue usually bonds to the chip within 24 hours, preventing it from moving. There's a small chance that the chip could migrate to another part of the body, but it can't actually get lost.

How long do microchips last?
Microchips are designed to work for 25 years.

Where can I get my pet microchipped?
Many veterinarians and some animal shelters implant microchips for a small fee. But—and this is very important—just getting a microchip isn't enough—you also need to register your pet with the microchip company.

How do I register my pet?
Complete the paperwork that comes with the chip and send it to the registry, or do it online if that option is available. Some companies charge a one-time registration fee while others charge an annual fee. You’ll also receive a tag for your pet’s collar with the chip number and registry phone number.

Are there different types of chips?
Yes, and that used to be a problem. Competing microchip companies use different frequencies to send signals to scanners, and until recently there was no universal scanner that could read all the different frequencies. That was a problem if a pet had a microchip that a particular scanner couldn't detect. Many microchip companies now produce universal scanners and provide them to animal shelters and animal control agencies at no or very low cost. If your local shelters don’t have scanners, they can contact some of the major manufacturers to ask about getting one.

Are there different registries?
Yes, and that, too, used to be problematic. Different chip companies maintained separate databases. Now, some chip companies will register pets with any brand of chip Also, the American Microchip Advisory Council is working to develop a network of the registry databases to streamline the return of pets to their families.

Can a microchip replace my pet's collar and tags?
No. Despite advances in universal scanners and registry procedures, microchips aren't foolproof, and you shouldn't rely on them exclusively to protect your pet. Universal scanners can detect a competing company's chip, but they may not be able to read the data. And if shelter or vet clinic personnel don’t use the scanner properly, they may fail to detect a chip.

What if I move?
You need to contact the company that registers the chip to update your information; otherwise, the chip will be useless. You may be charged a small fee to process the update.

What do I do if I adopt a pet who's already been microchipped?
If you know what brand of chip your pet has, contact the corresponding registry to update the information. If you don’t know what type of chip your pet has, find a vet or animal shelter that can read it.

SOURCE: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/microchips.html?referrer=

Friday, April 1, 2016

Pet First Aid Supplies Checklist

As a pet owner, you need to make sure to have basic first aid supplies for your pets in your household. Carefully putting together a well-provisioned first aid kit will make you more ready to deal with a medical emergency if one confronts you for your dog, cat or other pet. Have this kit in the house and fully stocked with supplies at all times, next to the first aid kit for your family. Many of the items in a family first aid kit can be used for pets, too.

 Phone numbers and your pet's medical record (including medications and vaccination history)

Veterinarian:

Emergency veterinary clinic:

Animal Poison Control Center:
888-4ANI-HELP (888-426-4435)
(there may be a fee for this call)
Know these numbers before you need them. If you do not know the number of the emergency clinic in your area, ask your veterinarian or go to the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society Web site for a searchable list of emergency clinics by state or visit MyVeterinarian.com, enter the zip code, and check the "emergency" box to get a listing of emergency providers in the area.
 GauzeFor wrapping wounds or muzzling the injured animal
 Nonstick bandages, towels, or strips of clean clothTo control bleeding or protect wounds
 Adhesive tape for bandages

*do NOT use human adhesive bandages (eg, Band-Aids®) on pets
For securing the gauze wrap or bandage
 Milk of magnesia
Activated charcoal
To absorb poison
Always contact your veterinarian or local poison control center before inducing vomiting or treating an animal for poison
 Hydrogen peroxide (3%)To induce vomiting
Always contact your veterinarian or local poison control center before inducing vomiting or treating an animal for poison
 Digital Thermometer
—you will need a "fever" thermometer because the temperature scale of regular thermometers doesn't go high enough for pets
To check your pet's temperature. Do not insert a thermometer in your pet's mouth—the temperature must be taken rectally.
 Eye dropper (or large syringe without needle)To give oral treatments or flush wounds
 Muzzle (in an emergency a rope, necktie, soft cloth, nylon stocking, small towel may be used)To cover your pet's head.
If your pet is vomiting, do not muzzle it!
 LeashTo transport your pet (if your pet is capable of walking without further injury)
 Stretcher (in an emergency a door, board, blanket or floor mat may be used)To stabilize the injured animal and prevent further injury during transport
SOURCE: https://www.avma.org/public/EmergencyCare/Pages/Supplies-Checklist.aspx

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Easter Pet Poisons

The veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline receive hundreds of calls this time of year from pet owners and veterinarians concerning cats that have ingested Easter lilies. “Unbeknownst to many pet owners, Easter lilies are highly toxic to cats,” said Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS assistant director at Pet Poison Helpline. “All parts of the Easter lily plant are poisonous – the petals, the leaves, the stem and even the pollen. Cats that ingest as few as one or two leaves, or even a small amount of pollen while grooming their fur, can suffer severe kidney failure.”

In most situations, symptoms of poisoning will develop within six to 12 hours of exposure. Early signs include vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy and dehydration. Symptoms worsen as kidney failure develops. Some cats will experience disorientation, staggering and seizures. “There is no effective antidote to counteract lily poisoning, so the sooner you can get your cat to the veterinarian, the better his chances of survival will be,” said Brutlag.

“If you see your cat licking or eating any part of an Easter lily, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately. If left untreated, his chances of survival are low.” Treatment includes inducing vomiting, administering drugs like activated charcoal (to bind the poison in the stomach and intestines), intravenous fluid therapy to flush out the kidneys, and monitoring of kidney function through blood testing. The prognosis and the cost – both financially and physically – to the pet owner and cat, are best when treated immediately.

There are several other types of lilies that are toxic to cats as well. They are of the Lilium and Hemerocallis species and commonly referred to as Tiger lilies, Day lilies and Asiatic lilies. Popular in many gardens and yards, they can also result in severe acute kidney failure. These lilies are commonly found in florist bouquets, so it is imperative to check for poisonous flowers before bringing bouquets into the household. Other types of lilies – such as the Peace, Peruvian and Calla lilies – are usually not a problem for cats and may cause only minor drooling. Thankfully, lily poisoning does not occur in dogs or people. However, if a large amount is ingested, it can result in mild gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Other Dangers to Pets at Easter Time
Pet Poison Helpline also receives calls concerning pets that have ingested Easter grass and chocolate. Usually green or yellow in color, Easter grass is the fake grass that often accompanies Easter baskets. When your cat or dog ingests something “stringy” like Easter grass, it can become anchored around the base of the tongue or stomach, rendering it unable to pass through the intestines. It can result in a linear foreign body and cause severe damage to the intestinal tract, often requiring expensive abdominal surgery.

Lastly, during the week of Easter, calls to Pet Poison Helpline concerning dogs that have been poisoned by chocolate increase by nearly 200 percent. While the occasional chocolate chip in one cookie may not be an issue, certain types of chocolate are very toxic to dogs. In general, the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the greater the danger. Baker’s chocolate and dark chocolate pose the biggest problem. The chemical toxicity is due to methylxanthines (a relative of caffeine) and results in vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, an abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and possibly death.

Other sources include chewable chocolate flavored multi-vitamins, baked goods, or chocolate-covered espresso beans. If you suspect that your dog ate chocolate, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately. Spring is in the air and Easter is a wonderful holiday. Remember that your pets will be curious about new items you bring into your household like Easter lilies, Easter grass and chocolate. Keep them a safe distance away from your pets’ reach and enjoy the holiday and the season.

 SOURCE: http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-owners/seasons/easter/

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Most Common Pet Toxins

It’s Poison Prevention Awareness Month, a time to get those dangerous chemicals into places that are pet-proof. Home cleaning products, human medicines, dangerous foods—all of these items need to be out of your pet’s reach at all times.

Here is a list of top household toxins, with 2015 claim counts and prevention pointers for each.


Drug Reactions

Nationwide received more claims for drug reactions than all other poisoning claims combined in 2015. Many of these claims involved pets given drugs intended for human consumption, such as over-the-counter pain relievers.

Pet owners often give pets over-the-counter or prescription drugs for their ailments, unaware that even given in small amounts, many of these drugs cannot be metabolized by pets fast enough to prevent an overdose. Never give pets medications without consulting a veterinarian.

Rodenticide

Even if these poisons, most often sold in pellet form, are placed away from pets, rodents can carry them to pet-occupied areas. The taste and smell of rodenticides is designed to appeal to small mammals. Pet owners should consider other options for eliminating rodents.

Methylxanthine

The methylxanthine class of chemical compounds includes theobromine and caffeine, both of which are common ingredients in chocolate. Toxic amounts of theobromine can cause vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, hyperactivity, abnormal rhythms of the heart, or even seizures in pets. Unsweetened baking chocolate contains much higher levels of theobromine than milk chocolate, causing toxicity with the consumption of much smaller amounts.

Plant Poisoning

Many household plants can be toxic to pets, including sago palms, tulips, oleander, hyacinths, poinsettias, azaleas, lilies, and amaryllis. Other plant products including onions, grapes and raisins are also categorized under the company’s plant toxicity code.

Pet owners should exercise extra caution when pets are near these plants and abstain from giving grapes and raisins as treats.


Household Chemicals

Pets will get into just about anything with bright colors and strong odors. Ingestion of cleaning supplies such as bleach, liquid potpourri, even deodorant or toiletries can result in an ill pet.

Keep these items secured.


Metaldyhyde

This deadly component of snail bait can also attract pets. Signs usually occur quickly and include vomiting and whole body tremors.

Pet owners should consider alternative methods for getting rid of snails and slugs.

Organophosphate

This group of insecticides works to inactivate acetylcholinesterase, which is essential to nerve function in insects and pets. Ingestion can occur through skin absorption or oral intake.

The chemicals degrade quickly after being sprayed outside, but pets should not be exposed to any area that has recently been sprayed.

Toad Poisoning

Some species of toad, particularly along the Gulf Coast, secrete a toxic substance when threatened – or licked by curious dogs. Toxic effects are immediate and can be life-threatening.

Make sure to regularly monitor pets when outdoors to reduce exposure to hazardous creatures.

Heavy Metals

Mercury, lead or excessive amounts of zinc, iron, cobalt and copper can cause serious illness in pets, especially if allowed to accumulate in a pet’s body.

Pets may be exposed to heavy metals through lead-based paint, ingestion of pennies coined after 1982, vitamins, soil contamination, or water pollutants.

Antifreeze

The sweet taste of antifreeze appeals to pets. While most people are aware of the poisonous potential of antifreeze, they may not notice a pool collecting from a leak beneath a car. Regularly give a glance beneath the car and clean any spills immediately.

Contact the Always Compassionate Veterinary Care team at (412) 882-3070 with any questions you may have. 



Source: https://www.petinsurance.com/healthzone/pet-articles/pet-health-toxins/Most-Common-Pet-Toxins.aspx

Thursday, February 4, 2016

February is National Pet Dental Health Month


Dental health is a very important part of your pet’s overall health, and dental problems can cause, or be caused by, other health problems. Your pet’s teeth and gums should be checked at least once a year by your veterinarian to check for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.

What is veterinary dentistry, and who should perform it?

Veterinary dentistry includes the cleaning, adjustment, filing, extraction, or repair of your pets' teeth and all other aspects of oral health care. These procedures should be performed by a veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary dentist. Subject to state or provincial regulation, veterinary technicians are allowed to perform certain dental procedures under the supervision of a veterinarian. The process begins with an oral exam of your pet’s mouth by a veterinarian. Radiographs (x-rays) may be needed to evaluate the health of the jaw and the tooth roots below the gumline. Because most dental disease occurs below the gumline, where you can’t see it, a thorough dental cleaning and evaluation are performed under anesthesia. Dental cleaning includes scaling (to remove dental plaque and tartar) and polishing, similar to the process used on your own teeth during your regular dental cleanings.

Oral health in dogs and cats 

Your pet’s teeth should be checked at least once a year by your veterinarian for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy. Have your pet’s teeth checked sooner if you observe any of the following problems:

  • bad breath 
  • broken or loose teeth 
  • extra teeth or retained baby teeth 
  • teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar 
  • abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth 
  • reduced appetite or refusal to eat 
  • pain in or around the mouth 
  • bleeding from the mouth 
  • swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth 


Some pets become irritable when they have dental problems, and any changes in your pet’s behavior should prompt a visit to your veterinarian. Always be careful when evaluating your pet’s mouth, because a painful animal may bite.

Causes of pet dental problems 

Although cavities are less common in pets than in people, they can have many of the same dental problems that people can develop: broken teeth and roots periodontal disease abscesses or infected teeth cysts or tumors in the mouth malocclusion, or misalignment of the teeth and bite broken (fractured) jaw palate defects (such as cleft palate) Periodontal disease is the most common dental condition in dogs and cats – by the time your pet is 3 years old, he or she will very likely have some early evidence of periodontal disease, which will worsen as your pet grows older if effective preventive measures aren’t taken. Early detection and treatment are critical, because advanced periodontal disease can cause severe problems and pain for your pet. Periodontal disease doesn’t just affect your pet’s mouth. Other health problems found in association with periodontal disease include kidney, liver, and heart muscle changes. It starts with plaque that hardens into tartar. Tartar above the gumline can often easily be seen and removed, but plaque and tartar below the gumline is damaging and sets the stage for infection and damage to the jawbone and the tissues that connect the tooth to the jaw bone. Periodontal disease is graded on a scale of 0 (normal) to 4 (severe). The treatment of periodontal disease involves a thorough dental cleaning and x-rays may be needed to determine the severity of the disease. Your veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary dentist will make recommendations based on your pet’s overall health and the health of your pet’s teeth, and provide you with options to consider.

Why does dentistry require anesthesia?
When you go to the dentist, you know that what’s being done is meant to help you and keep your mouth healthy. Your dentist uses techniques to minimize pain and discomfort and can ask you how you are feeling, so you accept the procedures and do your best to keep still. Your pet does not understand the benefit of dental procedures, and he or she reacts by moving, trying to escape, or even biting. Anesthesia makes it possible to perform the dental procedures with less stress and pain for your pet. In addition, anesthesia allows for a better cleaning because your pet is not moving around and risking injury from the dental equipment. If radiographs (x-rays) are needed, your pet needs to be very still in order to get good images, and this is unlikely without heavy sedation or anesthesia. Although anesthesia will always have risks, it’s safer now than ever and continues to improve so that the risks are very low and are far outweighed by the benefits. Most pets can go home the same day of the procedure, although they might seem a little groggy for the rest of the day.

What can I do at home for my pet’s oral health? 
What about “anesthesia-free” dental cleanings? The American Veterinary Dental College does not recommend dental cleanings without anesthesia because they do not allow cleaning or inspection below the gumline, where most dental disease occurs, and can result in injury to the pet or the person performing the procedure. Prevention of the most common oral disease in pets consists of frequent removal of the dental plaque and tartar that forms on teeth that are not kept clean. Regularly brushing your pet’s teeth is the single most effective thing you can do to keep their teeth healthy between dental cleanings, and may reduce the frequency or even eliminate the need for periodic dental cleaning by your veterinarian. Daily brushing is best, but it’s not always possible and brushing several times a week can be effective. Most dogs accept brushing, but cats can be a bit more resistant – patience and training are important. There are many pet products marketed with claims that they improve dental health, but not all of them are effective. Talk with your veterinarian about any dental products, treats, or dental-specific diets you’re considering for your pet, or ask your veterinarian for their recommendation.

Source: https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Pet-Dental-Care.aspx

Thursday, January 14, 2016

VACCINATION


One of the most important measures you can take is to have your dog vaccinated for Lyme disease, especially if you live in an area where exposure to Lyme disease is high. Annual vaccination is an affordable means to help protect your dog from a disease that can be very costly to treat. Many dogs that become infected with Lyme disease are never fully free of infection despite antibiotic treatment. Ask your veterinarian if he or she uses a vaccine that protects against Lyme disease.

Your veterinarian will determine an appropriate vaccination series, depending on your dog's vaccination history and risk factors. Your dog may require an initial vaccination and a booster a few weeks later. Annual vaccination is needed for continued protection.

Vaccination before a dog becomes infected provides the best outcome. Depending on the risk factors for your dog, the following vaccination protocols are often used.

  • Vaccinate puppies as part of their puppy shots. 
  • Vaccinate dogs whose vaccination and disease history is unknown. 
  • If an adult dog is not vaccinated, test for antibodies to see if your dog has ever been exposed to Lyme disease. This test can be done in the exam room at the same time your dog is being tested for heartworms at his annual exam. It is highly accurate and you'll get the results in about 10 minutes. 
  • If the test is positive AND the dog has some signs of Lyme disease such as tenderness or swelling in his or her legs, a fever, or he or she seems lethargic, your veterinarian will determine the appropriate treatment. 
  • If the test is positive AND the dog is NOT showing signs of Lyme disease, it is up to the client and veterinarian to decide what course of therapy to take. One Lyme vaccine has been proven safe in dogs that test positive for Lyme infection.
  • One Lyme vaccine has been proven safe in dogs that test positive for Lyme infection. All vaccinated dogs should receive an initial vaccination and a booster at least 2 weeks later.

Annual revaccination is recommended. Ask us about the effectiveness and safety of Lyme vaccines and the best vaccination protocol for your dog (412) 882-3070.



SOURCE: http://www.lymeinfo.com/prevent-Lyme/vaccination.html