Thursday, June 27, 2013

Project Samana June 2013

Here are a few pictures from Project Samana, which took place earlier this month. Thank you to all of the volunteers and the people of Samana!

Click the link below to see more pictures!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Puppy Socialization vs. Disease Risk

Socializing a puppy at an early age can help to decrease the chances of unwanted fearful behaviors like aggression. Unfortunately, the same time period that is optimal for socializing a puppy (6-14 weeks) is also a time when puppies are particularly at risk of contracting infectious diseases such as parvovirus or distemper virus.
Here are some simple precautions you can take to ensure that your puppy will grow into a healthy and well-adjusted adult dog:
  • Visit the vet to keep up to date on all vaccinations and parasite prevention (including heartworm, intestinal parasites, fleas and ticks).
  • Avoid bringing young puppies to the dog park where you don't know the health history of the other dogs. Instead, look for a local puppy socialization class where all the dogs have been recently examined by a veterinarian and have had at least their first vaccination.
  • Always keep an eye on your puppy when he is socializing with new friends. If he shows signs of fear, illness, or aggression, remove him from the situation.
  • Don't bring a sick dog to play with other dogs.
  • Pick up your dog's stool right away, and don't allow your dog to investigate another dog's stool.
  • Do not allow your dog to come into contact with wildlife.
 It is important for dogs to interact with other dogs. Luckily, it is easy to minimize the risk and keep your dog happy and healthy.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

June is Adopt-a-Cat Month!

June is Adopt-a-Cat Month! Lots of kittens are born in the spring, so this time of year animal shelters are full of kittens (and adult cats) waiting to be adopted.
Here are some tips if you are considering adding a cat to your family:
  • Two cats are better than one! If you can afford it, consider adopting two cats. They will keep each other company when you are not around.
  • Cats live long lives. The average life expectancy of an indoor cat is 12-16 years. Here at VACC, we have seen cats as old as 23 years. Of course unforeseen circumstances can occur, but if you know you won't be able to have a cat in 2 or 3 years, it's not a good time to adopt one. 
  • Not all cats are the same. Cats have personalities. Work with your local shelter to make sure you are adopting the right cat for you.
  • Make sure a cat will fit into your budget. A new cat will need supplies like a litter box, food dish, and toys. A new kitten will require several visits to the vet for vaccines and health check-ups. Food, cat litter, and yearly trips to the vet can add up as well. Be sure you can afford to take care of a cat before you adopt one. VACC's Preventive Care Plans can save you money while giving your cat the very best care.
  • Be prepared! Make sure everything is ready before you bring your new cat home. Food and water bowls, food, litter box with litter, and toys should all be waiting for your cat when she arrives.
  • Go slow! It's a good idea to introduce your cat gradually to her new surroundings, family, and friends.
Click here for more tips on bringing home a new pet.

Friday, June 7, 2013

When Your Pet is Afraid of the Vet

As veterinary professionals, we see lots of fearful pets. For most of these animals, the veterinary office is associated with unpleasant events. For your pet, these unpleasant events can be invasive things like needles, rectal thermometers, or the dreaded nail trim, but they can also be less obvious situations like a crowded waiting room, a strange sound, or a new smell. Things that you may not notice can be very scary for your pet, especially if they spend most of their time in your home.
At VACC we do everything we can to make your pet's visit as comfortable as possible. All of our exam rooms have Feliway diffusers to soothe our feline friends, and an assortment of treats for our canine friends. We approach each of our patients as individuals, using the least amount of restraint possible, and doing our best to make their visit a positive one.
Here are some things you can do to help your pet's visit have more wags and purrs:
  • Stop by for a treat. Technicians are always happy to shower your pet with love and cookies! This strategy works better before your pet has learned to be afraid of us, but can help those who are already fearful as well. If your pet is anxious before they even get inside the building, ask a staff member to bring a treat out to the parking lot. If your pet is afraid of getting on the scale (aren't we all?) come in for a quick weight check and a treat, then leave. The important thing to keep in mind is keep these visits short and happy. It's also a good idea to call ahead to make sure we are not very busy so you won't be waiting long.
  • Teach your cat to love her carrier. Unfortunately for many cats, their visit to the vet begins with being rudely stuffed into the carrier. If your cat learns to associate the carrier with positive things, it will make trips to the vet much easier on you, your cat, and all of the veterinary staff!
  • Play with your pet's ears and feet. Start with three sessions a day lasting five minutes each and use lots of treats. Before you know it, your pet will be looking forward to having these normally sensitive areas handled by you, and they won't mind so much when it happens at the vet visit.
  • Keep calm. Your pet can sense more than you may realize, so if you are nervous they will likely be nervous as well.