Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Interesting article in the C.C. Times....

Animal lovers plan pet food pantry

SANDWICH — The dramatic downturn in the economy could be rough on pets as more of them are being surrendered to shelters.
But two friends have a plan that could help pet owners keep their beloved animals at home.
Carol Eklund of Sandwich and Terry Hingst of Carver have created a nonprofit corporation with plans to open the Cape's first food pantry for pets. The pantry is still in its infancy, with Eklund and Hingst still scouting possible locations in the Hyannis area.
"We're seeing a need with the economy the way it is," said Eklund, president of For the Love of a Pet Inc. Foreclosures and the high price of fuel are driving up the number of people bringing cats, dogs and other pets to area shelters, she said.
Since January, 107 people have dropped their pets off at the Centerville shelter operated by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Brian Adams, a spokesman for MSPCA, said the agency now records how many pets are given up as a result of foreclosures. Since the beginning of the year, four pets have been surrendered at the Centerville shelter because of foreclosure and another 23 because their owners could no longer afford them, he said.

The Centerville shelter of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals tracks the reason given by owners who bring in a pet for adoption.
From January through the end of September, here are the economic reasons that were given:
Foreclosure: 4
Landlord won't allow: 20
Moving: 57
Cost: 23
Homeless: 3
Source: MSPCA

"We are definitely seeing additional surrenders at our shelters due to foreclosures," Adams said. The problem is especially acute in cities. Other Cape shelters said they are also seeing an increase in the number of pets being given up for adoption.
"I know that we've seen a lot of people who have to surrender pets because they're losing their homes or their home situation is changing," said Kristin Petty, assistant manager of the Animal Rescue League's Brewster shelter. "That's been a fairly common reason in the last six months or so."
A pet food pantry, however, may not be the only option for Cape pet owners facing a budget crunch. The Falmouth Service Center, a community food pantry, does provide some pet food when it comes in, volunteer Carolyn Schmitt said. "It's not something we buy or openly solicit," she said. "If we get it, we're willing to give it (to people)." For the Love of a Pet plans to sell donated pet items like crates in a boutique to raise money for additional pet food to give away.
In return, they'll ask some of the pet owners to volunteer at the shelter.
Eklund and Hingst, who met selling real estate, are both dog lovers. Eklund has two Maltese named Mindy and Melody. Hingst has two border collies, Max and Sheba, and two cats, Buddy and Baby. The two women have recently completed the paperwork to register the corporation. Already, they're collecting donations at two locations — Agway in Sandwich and The Grateful Dog in Hyannis. They hope to locate drop-off points in towns across the Cape and South Shore.
They want to get the shelter open before the heating season exacerbates the problem for pet owners.
"I just have seen, with the economy the way it is, the lack of money, people are making tough choices to give up their pets," Hingst said. "Seeing kids cry is not a good thing."

By George Brennan
October 13, 2008

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Fluffy needs her teeth cleaned. What does this entail?

The entire periodontal procedure or dental begins with a physical examination and blood work to determine whether or not Fluffy is healthy enough to undergo anesthesia.

When Fluffy is admitted to the hospital, she is given a pre-anesthetic medication to reduce pain and stress. After an intravenous catheter is placed, a short acting anesthetic injectable is given to make her fall asleep. At that point a breathing tube is inserted and a human grade gas anesthesia / oxygen mix is administered directly into her lungs. During the entire procedure she will be kept on a thermal warming blanket to assure that her temperature stays within normal limits. In addition, her heart rate, oxygen saturation, and blood pressure are all closely monitored by highly trained technicians. Intravenous fluids are also given during and after the procedure to maintain blood pressure, and to keep her hydrated.

Once Fluffy is under anesthesia, a complete oral exam is performed to check for any growths or abnormalities. With the same instruments used in human medicine all of the teeth are cleaned, scaled, and polished to remove the calculus and tartar above and below the gum line. This is known as subgingival scaling. Once the entire mouth has been cleaned, each tooth is inspected for any deep pockets. Pockets are indicators of periodontal disease which causes bone loss around the root of the tooth.

If a pocket is found, a digital dental xray is taken of the tooth to determine the level of bone loss. If minimal bone loss is noted an antibiotic gel is placed into the pocket to prevent infection, further bone loss, and possible future extraction. If more than 50% bone loss is noted the tooth will be extracted. Without extraction this tooth will eventually become infected and very painful.

If a tooth or teeth need to be extracted, great care is taken in preventing and controlling pain. In addition to two different injections of powerful types of pain medication, a local nerve block is performed around the extraction site.

When the procedure is over, Fluffy will spend the remainder of the day recovering and resting while being closely monitored by our trained staff.

Above is a picture of what Fluffy's teeth looked like before her cleaning. Below is the after shot. The difference is almost unbelievable.

Every February, several veterinary groups, including the The American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA),and the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS) join together to educate pet owners to the importance of regular care of their pets dental needs during Pet Dental Health Month. Here at Vet Associates we also take dental care very seriously. If you have any questions or would like further information on pet dental care please feel free to contact our office.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year resolutions for pet owners....

If you do not already have a regimented schedule for all the needs our pets count on us for, there's no better time to start then a new year. Time seems to fly by if you live a busy life and before you know it weeks and months have passed. It is important that your pets get all they need throughout the year to keep them healthy and happy.
These include:

*monthly heartworm preventative
*monthly flea and tick preventative
*6 month fecal parasite check
*yearly heartworm blood test
*yearly exams
*yearly vaccinations
*yearly blood work (seniors/chronic)

Sometimes we just have too much going on at once and it is easy to forget things. The most convenient way for me to remember is to sit down at the beginning of the year and mark the calender of all the regular events and animal treatments for the entire year. If you don't have time for that, maybe try a marking a month at a time. Most importantly always remember that no matter what life brings, no matter how crazy we may get, our pets are never too busy for us. We owe it to them to prevent anything we can and keep them healthy.


Obesity can be a problem for everyone.

Nearly 35% of cats and dogs are overweight. Is yours?? Overweight cats and dogs are more susceptible to a wide range of health problems like:

DIABETES -Early warning signs can include weakness, increased thirst, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, depression or abdominal pain.

ARTHRITIS AND OTHER JOINT DISORDERS - Signs can include behavioral changes, limping, stiffness or difficulty climbing stairs.

HEART DISEASE - Signs can include coughing, lethargy, difficulty breathing, intolerance to exercise, loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE - As there are no visible warning signs, regular checkups are recommended.

SKIN PROBLEMS - Early signs include unkempt coat. Look for repeated itching and scratching.

* Give us a call if your pets weight is a concern.