Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cats in Holiday Sweaters!

Click on the link below to witness more of this:


Just in case you need some help getting into the holiday spirit.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/videos/eb99206697fb3f88c8e7c46a3643fd66.htm

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod. Travel safely if traveling, enjoy your family and friends, eat enormous amounts of food, but most importantly, 
BE THANKFUL!

Condition Spotlight: Seizures

A seizure can be defined as an abnormal electrical discharge in the brain.  Both dogs and cats can have seizures, but it is far more common in dogs. Although any breed of dog can have a seizure, it appears to be more common in these certain breeds:

  • Beagles
  • Bernese Mountain Dogs
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Collies
  • German Shepherds
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Irish Setters
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Poodles
  • Miniature Schnauzers
  • Saint Bernards
  • Fox Terriers
    (list courtesy Vetstreet)
       A seizure can have many causes.  Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), toxicity, liver disease, tumors, or trauma can all cause your pet to have a seizure.  When a cause of the seizures can’t be found it is called idiopathic epilepsy. Idiopathic epilepsy, an inherited condition, is the most common cause of seizures in dogs.
     When your pet has a seizure, try to move them to a clear area on the floor if you can safely do so.  Pets do not swallow their tongue during a seizure so do not attempt to put your fingers in their mouth or you may be badly injured.  Try to remember to keep track of how long the seizure lasts.  A seizure that goes on for more than 5 minutes requires immediate veterinary attention! Seizures are scary to watch, but are not considered to be painful to your pet. However your pet will most likely feel confused and frightened afterwards.
      If your pet is having seizures, you should get him or her to your vet for an exam as soon as possible.   He/she will do a complete physical exam and perform some laboratory tests to determine the cause of the seizures.  As mentioned earlier, epilepsy is often idiopathic, or of unknown cause, so the exam and test results may come back as normal.
If your pet has a severe grand mal seizures, has several small seizures in a row, or continues to have more than one seizure a month, your veterinarian may want to pet your pet on an anti-seizure medication such as phenobarbital or potassium bromide.  These medications will require that you bring your pet back to the vet for continuous lab work to monitor for any adverse side effects.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Project Samana 2014


    I just returned from my second, and not my last, trip to the Dominican Republic. As many of you know Dr. Labdon started Project Samana in 1992. Project Samana provides veterinary care to both small and large animals on this remote peninsula in the Dominican Republic. Every six months a group of veteranarians, technicians, students, and hard working assistants combining to about 15-20 people, gather from all over the U.S. to contribute their skills and make a difference.
    Samana is far from lacking in tropical beauty, but the people are incredibly poor. It really gives the whole "first world / third world problems" a new meaning. Something I truly believe many of us could use a lesson on. This trip really puts my "issues" in perspective. Not to mention the utter gratitude towards each team that visits. Hundreds of people come from miles away to have their pet spayed, neutered, and/or surgically repaired. Sitting patiently in the oppressive heat for hours on end without a single complaint. They are undoubtedly grateful for our services, and I can honestly say, there is no feeling quite like it.
   Once we arrive in Samana, or first order of business is having a meeting. That way we can introduce ourselves and get a little background on everyone we will be working with that week. After the meeting we eat and attempt a good nights sleep to prepare for day one of Project Samana.
    The team, along with some amazing local volunteers, divides up to make a check in/information area, a surgery prep team, surgeons, recovery team, and a discharge area. On this trip, and any given trip, we typically work on 50 to 70 animals a day! No that is not a typo. We really put all  our compassion and skills together and push hard every day. Except Wednesday. We get Wednesday off to enjoy hiking, horseback riding, beaches, ziplines, or just relaxing by the pool. Wednesday is much needed after the first two days. It also helps us get ready for Thursday and Friday.
    This year our total number was 277 in 3 1/2 days. Primarily spays and neuters, although there is always a leg amputation (or two) and wound repairs as well. The half day on Friday is to take inventory to know what is needed next time, followed by a extraordinary sunset catamaran cruise. It is astonishing to me how close you can become with people you've never met before in 6 days. We all start off with one thing in common, but we end up like family.
     I would like to thank everyone that has contributed large or small to Project Samana. Whether a donation, your time, or just a simple thank you to those who have been. I would also like to thank Dr. Burns for sending myself and several other technicians over the years as well as all the supplies given from VACC to make it happen. Most of all, I would like to thank Dr. Labdon. You are an inspiration to all of us.  Project Samana is absolutely a life changing trip and I am proud to be a part of it.




   

Friday, October 31, 2014

A Handful of Books to Help Get Through The Cold Months






“The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein

download (2)

 A heart-warming and inspirational tale in which Enzo, a loyal family dog, tells the story of his human family, how they nearly fell apart, and what he did to bring them back together.



 "Thunder Dog" by Michael Hingson
 
download (4)

This is the true story of a blind man and his seeing eye that were working in the World Trade Center the day of the terrorist attacks.






 "Unsaid" by Neil Abramson

“Unsaid is an extraordinary story of animals, afterlife, and the power of love. I found myself captivated by the world of this book. It will make you remember, rethink, and rejoice in every meaningful relationship you’ve ever had. Everyone needs to read this book!”
Garth Stein - The Art of Racing in the Rain



"Marley and Me" by John Grogan

“A dog has no use for fancy cars or big homes or designer clothes. Status symbol means nothing to him. A waterlogged stick will do just fine. A dog judges others not by their color or creed or class but by who they are inside. A dog doesn't care if you are rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull. Give him your heart and he will give you his. It was really quite simple, and yet we humans, so much wiser and more sophisticated, have always had trouble figuring out what really counts and what does not. As I wrote that farewell column to Marley, I realized it was all right there in front of us, if only we opened our eyes. Sometimes it took a dog with bad breath, worse manners, and pure intentions to help us see.”
John Grogan


"Inside Of A Dog" by Alexandra Horowitz
 
  

Cognitive scientist Alexandra Horowitz gives us a glimpse inside the mind of man’s best friend.


"Oogy" by Larry Levin
 
There was something about Oogy that made him special. Perhaps it was the missing ear, or the asymmetrical face, or the hapless look of a rescued pup who not long before had been used as bait for pit bull warriors. Whatever the qualities, it convinced Larry Levin and his twin sons to adopt this hapless, ugly pooch and make him part of their household. A heart-tugging saga for anyone who can't resist the plaintive, upturned eyes. A word of mouth bestseller now in a paperback edition that contains a new afterword.
-Barnes & Noble

Friday, October 3, 2014

Hot Spots

A hot spot is a localized area of skin inflammation and infection. The infection can be superficial or deep. Other common names for this condition include: moist dermatitis, and acute moist dermatitis.
The medical name is pyotraumatic dermatitis. Broken down, "pyo-" refers to "pus", "-traumatic" refers to self-inflicted trauma of biting, licking, scratching, and so on, and "dermatitis" means inflammation of the skin. These common skin lesions are usually caused (and made worse) by biting, licking, or scratching.
Signs of a hot spot include redness, oozing, pain, and itchiness. Sometimes hair can mat over the lesion, obscuring the size and degree of the problem. These lesions can appear suddenly, and grow within hours.
There usually is, but not always, an underlying  factor to initiate the extreme licking and scratching behavior. Check your pet for fleas, insect stings or bites. Food allergies, scrapes or wound from rough play are also common causes. Some animals have also been known to start a hot spot out of boredom or stress-related psychological problems.
Since hot spots go from bad to worse so rapidly, the best thing to do for you and your pet is bring him or her to your veterinarian as soon as possible. Even if it's small. You don't want it to escalate to a more painful and traumatic experience.
At the clinic, technicians will shave, scrub, and powder the inflamed area, while you and the veterinarian will try to figure out the cause and what steps to take from there. Most of the time antibiotics and an elizabethan collar are necessary. If they are really awful, some doctors will prescribe something for the itch as well. Whatever it takes to make our friends comfortable!
Most hot spots are a "one and done" visit as long as the owners comply with home care instructions.

       
Chewing.
Scratching.     
Time for the doctor.
 
Humiliation. 


 HAPPY DOG!!!


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Kennel Cough



Common and contagious, canine kennel cough can be transmitted quickly among dogs in the close quarters of a kennel or animal shelter. And while most kennels require proof of vaccination, this does not always preclude the possibility that your dog could come into contact with, and possibly contract, the cough.
Kennel cough, also referred to as tracheobronchitis, is similar to the human cold. One of the most common causes is the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica. Pet owners should seek to prevent kennel cough by vaccinating their pets, not only against Bordetella, but also against other viruses that their veterinarians recommends vaccinating against. Co-infection with other respiratory bacteria are also possible.
But like vaccines developed to protect people from contracting strains of human influenza virus, the vaccination does not prevent the transmission of mutated strains, meaning that even vaccinated dogs can contract mutated or less-severe strains of the cough. If your dog begins coughing persistently after being around other dogs, do not rule out the possibility of kennel cough, and schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.
Symptoms often include coughing or hacking noises that mimic choking sounds, which arise after a 3- to 4-day incubation period. If kennel cough is suspected, note that the coughing will be persistent, forceful, and often will sound dry. Other symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, or eye discharge, but not all dogs suffer from these symptoms. Dogs afflicted with kennel cough often will not experience any changes in energy level or appetite, but, if excited, dogs can cough up a white, frothy phlegm.
Though many dogs recover without treatment, you should always consult your veterinarian if you believe your pet may have contracted kennel cough, not only because it is highly contagious to other dogs, but also because medications can speed your dog’s recovery and minimize symptoms. Antibiotics may be given to treat any present bacterial infections, and cough suppressants are prescribed to mitigate the immediate symptoms. Humidifiers or vaporizers can also provide some relief, and consider switching your dog’s collar for a harness if he pulls during walks.
If your pet has not recovered within the expected time frame, schedule a follow-up appointment with your veterinarian to ensure that kennel cough did not lead to a more serious infection, such as pneumonia. In most cases, symptoms will decrease and ultimately disappear within 3 weeks, but young puppies and older or immunocompromised dogs can take up to 6 weeks to fully recover.
As with many infections, prevention is key. Choose kennels that disinfect all the dogs’ cages routinely and maintain a sanitary facility. Keep your dog away from others you believe may be infected, and ensure that your dog’s vaccinations remain current. And, of course, consult your veterinarian immediately if you believe your dog may have contracted canine kennel cough.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What Dog Breed is Best For You?



 Check out this link on Animal Planet's website. Just answer 10 quick questions and you will get the top breeds that match your lifestyle.



http://www.animalplanet.com/breed-selector/dog-breeds.html

Monday, August 25, 2014

Vaccinations


    Being an AAHA accredited animal hospital, Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod has a specific vaccination protocol to follow. After assessment, our veterinarians will discuss with you a vaccination plan that is customized to your pet. There are many factors in this plan such as lifestyle,  risk level, breed and age. Our goal is to best protect your companion animal from disease while also limiting the frequency with which vaccinations are administered.
Below is a chart showing which vaccines that are considered essential for most pets, and which vaccines are optional based on your pet’s lifestyle and environment:

Dogs Cats
Essential Vaccinations
DHPP, Rabies FVRCP. Rabies
For Selected Dogs For Selected Cats
Lyme disease,
Leptospirosis,
Kennel cough (bordetella),
Canine influenza
Feline leukemia virus
For dogs, we consider DHPP (Distemper) and Rabies to be core vaccines:
  • DHPP: Puppies that start vaccination at 6-8 weeks of age should be vaccinated every 3-4 weeks, with the final dose being given between 14-16 weeks (this is called the initial series).  Their next vaccine should be given no later than 1 year after completion of the initial series.  All DHPP vaccines after that can be given at intervals of 3 years or longer.   Dogs that start vaccination at older than 16 weeks should receive 1 dose, then vaccinated every 3 years or longer.
  • Rabies: One vaccine given no earlier then 12 weeks of age, followed by another vaccine 9 to no later than 12 months after (this is called the initial series).  Rabies vaccines should then be given every 3 years, as required by Massachusetts State Law.
Optional vaccines for dogs, which are given annually after completing the initial series:
  • Lyme: Dogs at least 12 weeks of age can receive the first dose of the initial series, followed by the second dose 2-4 weeks later, then boostered annually.
  • Lepto: Dogs at least 12 weeks of age can receive the first dose of the initial series, followed by the second dose 2-4 weeks later, then boostered annually.
  • Bordetella (Kennel cough): Dogs are given one dose by mouth or by nose as early as 4 weeks of age. That id followd by an injection booster in 2-4 weeks, and then boostered annually.
  • Influenza: Dogs at least 6 weeks of age can receive the first dose of the initial series, followed by a second dose 2-4 weeks later, then boostered annually.
For cats, we consider FVRCP (Feline distemper) and Rabies to be core vaccines:
  • FVRCP: Kittens that start vaccination at 6-8 weeks of age should be vaccinated every 3-4 weeks, with the final dose being given between 16-20 weeks (the initial series).  Their next vaccination should be given no later than 1 year after completion of the initial series.  All FVRCP vaccines after that can be given at intervals of 3 years or longer.  Cats that start vaccination at older than 16 weeks should receive 2 doses 3-4 weeks apart as the initial series, then follow the recommended schedule above.
  • Rabies: One vaccination given no earlier than 12 weeks of age. Afterwards, rabies vaccines should be given annually or every 3 years, as labeled by the vaccine manufacturer and as required by Massachusetts State Law.
An optional vaccine for cats is Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV), which is given annually after completing the initial series:
  • FeLV: Cats at least 8 weeks of age should receive 2 doses 3-4 weeks apart as their initial series. 
Please keep in mind that this is just a general overview of our vaccination protocol. Between the law, the owner, the vet and the patients best interest, a personalized protocol can be discussed during an appointment.       

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Second Chance

Did you know?
  • Approximately 4 million pets are humanely euthanized each year.
  • 25% of pets in shelters are purebreds.
  • Mixed breeds are healthier.  No inbreeding means less inherited genetic disease and breed related defects.
     
     
  • Pets are a lifelong commitment.  Be sure you are ready to be responsible for another life for the next 10-20 years.
  • If you have your heart set on a specific breed, the local breed rescue organization could be a great resource for finding your new family member.  Give your favorite breed a second chance!
          TIPS TO MAKE YOUR NEW PETS TRANSITION INTO YOUR HOME EASIER.
  • Have everything you need for your new pet purchased before you bring him/her home.  This includes food, beds, bowls, toys, litter boxes, etc..
  • Have a quiet, contained space ready that your new pet can spend his/her first few days getting acquainted with their new surroundings.  Once they are comfortable, you can gradually let them explore other areas of your home.
  • Never assume that your new pet will immediately get along with pets already in your home.  Introduce the new pet to your existing pets slowly and carefully.  Be ready to intercede if a conflict occurs. Remember to continue to give your existing pets lots of love and attention so they don’t feel like they have to fight for your affection.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Fun Facts About Dogs

  • Dogs only sweat from the bottoms of their feet, the only way they can discharge heat is by panting.
  • Dogs have about 100 different facial expressions, most of them made with the ears.
  • Dogs have about 10 vocal sounds.
  • Dogs do not have an appendix.
  • There are more than 350 different breeds of dogs worldwide.
  • Dalmatians are born spotless: at first pure white, their spots develop as they age.
  • Contrary to popular belief, dogs aren’t color blind; they can see shades of blue, yellow, green and gray. The color red registers on a grayscale in a dog’s vision.
  • Most domestic dogs are capable of reaching speeds up to about nineteen miles per hour when running at full speed.
  • Using their swiveling ears like radar dishes, experiments have shown that dogs can locate the source of a sound in 6/100ths of a second.
  • Domesticated for more than 10,000 years, the dog was one of the first animals domesticated by humans.

Fun Feline Facts

  • Cats do not have sweat glands.
  • A cat can jump as much as seven times its height.
  • Cats have five toes on each front paw, but only four toes on each back paw.
  • Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds, while dogs only have about ten.
  • A pack of kittens is called a kindle, while a pack of adult cats is called a clowder.
  • An adult cat can run about 12 miles per hour, and can sprint at nearly thirty miles per hour.
  • A cat's tongue is scratchy because it's lined with papillae—tiny elevated backwards hooks that help to hold prey in place.
  • The nose pad of each cat has ridges in a unique pattern not unlike a person's fingerprints.
  • Cats' bodies are extremely flexible; the cat skeleton contains more than 230 bones (a human has about 206), and the pelvis and shoulders loosely attach to the spine. This adds to their flexibility and allows them to fit through very small spaces.
  • Cats have better memories than dogs. Tests conducted by the University of Michigan concluded that while a dog's memory lasts no more than 5 minutes, a cat's can last as long as 16 hours—exceeding even that of monkeys and orangutans.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

With Help From Our Wonderful Clients

Thank you for voting for us! We are honored to receive the Wicked Local 2014 Gold Readers Choice Award. We are flattered to receive this top honor as the Regional Favorite!
Photo: Thank you for voting for us!  We are honored to receive the Wicked Local 2014 Gold Readers Choice Award.  We are flattered to receive this top honor as the Regional Favorite!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Must Have Animal Apps

1. BringFido

download

 If you are looking to have a pet friendly vacation, look no further.  With the BringFido app, you can search for hotels, dog parks, restaurants, and events that are dog friendly all around the globe.  This app is basically a virtual travel agent for your dog, making vacation planning a snap.


 2. MapMyDogWalk

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This app uses your phone’s GPS to map out your walks.  The app will record your walk distance, speed, and duration, then save it so you can monitor your progress.



 3. Tagg-The Pet Tracker
 
download (3)

GPS for your dog and cat! With this app, you can quickly locate your pet if they go missing.   This product does require the purchase of the Pet Tracker pet tracking system, and a minimal monthly fee. The system attaches to your pet’s collar and is weather resistant.


4. The Red Cross Pet First Aid App

download (1)
 
This is one of the best apps for at-your-fingertips pet first aid information. This app has an A to Z listing of common pet ailments, emergency veterinary information, and a place for you to track your own pet’s personal medical history. A must have app for any pet owner!


And last but not least.......

  5. Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod App

iPhone Screenshot 1

 An App for the clients of Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod. Read our Breaking News, access our Medical Dictionary and read Pet Medical Articles. Get information and directions, make hospital, boarding or grooming appointments, contact us or visit our website.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Jenga Cat!!!

Moe is pretty popular on the internet right now but we still had to post just in case any of our fellow animals lovers are missing out. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Dog Bite Prevention

First thing first, ANY breed of dog will bite under the right circumstances! We see just as many Labrador Retrievers, Poodles, mixed breeds, and everything in between that deliver just as vicious of a bite as the common "dangerous breeds". Having said that we also see lots of the "dangerous breeds" that want nothing more than to wiggle at us and kiss us.

Some statistics:
  • About 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year.
  • 1 in 5 of those bitten require medical attention.
  • Children and senior citizens are most likely to be bitten.
  • Adult males are more likely to be bitten than adult females.
  • People with dogs in the home are more likely to be bitten.  The risk increases as the number of dogs in the household increases.

How to read a dog’s body language:
Dogs don’t just bite out of the blue- they always give some warning that they are uncomfortable with their current situation.  As the human, it is our job to learn these signs, and to not engage in activity with the dog that may make it feel threatened.  Although getting in a dogs face to give it “kissies” may seem like a friendly behavior to you, many dog’s perceive this behavior as a threat to it’s wellbeing.
The best thing you can do to avoid being bitten is to learn “doggie language”.
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Always use extreme caution when handling a dog that is in pain.  These dogs have no other way to tell us they hurt except to say “don’t touch me there!” with a bite.  If you must handle a painful or injured dog that is trying to bite you, a quick temporary muzzle can be made using a shoelace tied around the snout so the dog can’t open it’s mouth.  Be sure to remove the muzzle as soon as you are done handling the dog.  Dog’s cool themselves by panting and won’t be able to pant with a muzzle on, risking hyperthermia (over-heating).

Some things you can do that will help prevent a dog bite:
  • Have your dog spayed or neutered.
  • Never leave infants and children alone with a dog.
  • Properly train your dog from the get-go to be a good canine citizen.  If your dog shows signs of aggressive or dominant behaviors, seek professional help.
  • Avoid direct eye contact with dogs.
  • Do not try to pet a strange dog without asking permission from the owner first.  Let the dog sniff your hand and watch for acceptance before petting the dog.  If the dog shows any of the signs of anxiety in the above diagram, slowly return your hand to your side.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Condition Spotlight: Heat Stroke

   
 
      Heat stroke is a term commonly used for hyperthermia or elevated body temperature. Generally speaking, if a pet’s body temperature exceeds 103°F (39.4°C), it is considered abnormal or hyperthermic. Body temperatures above 106°F (41°F) without previous signs of illness are most commonly associated with exposure to excessive external or environmental heat. The critical temperature where multiple organ failure and impending death occurs is 109°F (42.7°C).
The most common cause of heat stroke or hyperthermia  is leaving a dog in a car with inadequate ventilation. The dog’s body temperature in this situation can elevate very rapidly, often within minutes.  It is important to remember that dogs cannot control their body temperature by sweating as humans do, since they only have a relatively small number of sweat glands located in their footpads. Their primary way of regulating body heat is by panting. Other common causes of heat stroke include being left in a yard without access to shade or water on a hot day, being exposed to a hair dryer for an extended period of time, and excessive or vigorous exercise during hot temperatures. Excited or excessively exercised dogs are sometimes at risk even if the environmental temperature and humidity does not appear hot. This is particularly true if they are kept in a poorly ventilated environment or dog house.
Dogs with a restricted airway such as the brachycephalic breeds (flat faced dogs such as pugs, boxers and bulldogs) are at greater risk.  In these breeds, clinical signs of heat stroke can occur when the outside temperature and humidity are only moderately elevated.
Dogs that are muzzled for any reason can be at greater risk since their ability to pant is restricted by the muzzle.
Any infection causing fever (pyrexia) can lead to hyperthermia. Seizures or severe muscle spasms can also elevate the body temperature due to the increase in muscular activity.
Hyperthermia is an immediate medical emergency. Safe, controlled reduction of body temperature is a priority. Cool water may be poured over the head, stomach, underarms and feet, or cool cloths may be applied to these areas.  Rubbing alcohol may be applied to the footpads to dilate pores and increase perspiration. Ice may be placed around the mouth and anus.
The dog’s rectal temperature should be monitored and treatment discontinued once the pet shows signs of recovery or the temperature has fallen to 103ºF (39.4ºC).
The prognosis depends on how high the body temperature elevated, how long the hyperthermia persisted and what the physical condition of the pet was prior to the heat stroke. If the body temperature did not become extremely high, most healthy pets will recover quickly if they are treated immediately. Some pets may experience permanent organ damage or may die at a later date from complications that developed secondarily to the hyperthermia. Pets that experience hyperthermia are at greater risk for subsequent heat stroke due to damage to the thermoregulatory center.
If you have any question about how quickly a car can heat up to a dangerous point, you can always experiment on yourself. It heats up much faster than most think. Running into the store for a few items could turn into an emergency. Please be aware, and be careful.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Chill Out!



Looks like we may actually get some hot weather this year. It's finally time to go outside and enjoy the sunlight without several layers of clothes. Lots of dogs enjoy running, playing, and sometimes just lying around in the sun. It is up to us to make sure that they stay comfortable and avoid heat exhaustion. Air conditioning is always good, but it's their summer too. Our pets want to be outside just as much as we do.
Here are a some fun ways to keep your dog cooled off without even leaving your house.

 * ALWAYS have cold water available at all times.
     
     
  
 * Provide a kid pool. 








     
                                                                 * Play with the hose.






                                                    
 * Make your own frosty paws!
                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                    
Freeze some outdoor toys in a bowl of water with some low sodium chicken broth added. This will keep them busy and cool! I can't wait to try this one.








DIY Friday: Homemade Dog Treats

June 8, 2012 | 10:10 AM | Eat & Drink | By Kara Philp

This customizable frozen treat recipe will delight your furry friends all summer. Photo by Kara Philp
Nothing compares to an ice-cold treat on a hot day, be it a frosty beverage, an old-fashioned ice cream cone or maybe even dip in the pool. The same can be said for your furry friends. Admit it, you love your pup(s) and you’re already thinking of creative ways to cool them off, especially once the temperatures hit the triple digits. So here is another idea for your arsenal.
There is a wide range of recipes for dog ice cream/popsicles/treats, so here is a relatively generic and totally customizable version that will have your BFFs going bananas (don’t just take our word for it).
Ingredients
2 ripe bananas
24 – 32 oz. plain yogurt
1 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup water
Preparation
1. Blend or mix all ingredients together until you have a consistent texture throughout.
2. Pour into ice cube trays, cupcake tins or any small container that will yield a treat appropriately sized for your dog.
3. Garnish (optional). Dog bones, grated cheese, fruits or veggies work great and look cute too.
4. Freeze over night and serve.
Since variety is the spice of life, here are some alternate suggestions: Add more or less water depending on the consistency you dog likes (soft vs. crunchy), substitute the water with chicken broth, substitute the yogurt with baby food (sweet potatoes and pumpkin are big hits) or use all organic ingredients if that’s your thing. Remember, the combination of ingredients doesn’t have to sound appealing for our four-legged children to love and appreciate the gesture. Enjoy.
- See more at: http://www.desertlivingtoday.com/2012/06/08/diy-friday-homemade-dog-treats/#sthash.KdZwitWX.dpuf

DIY Friday: Homemade Dog Treats

June 8, 2012 | 10:10 AM | Eat & Drink | By Kara Philp

This customizable frozen treat recipe will delight your furry friends all summer. Photo by Kara Philp
Nothing compares to an ice-cold treat on a hot day, be it a frosty beverage, an old-fashioned ice cream cone or maybe even dip in the pool. The same can be said for your furry friends. Admit it, you love your pup(s) and you’re already thinking of creative ways to cool them off, especially once the temperatures hit the triple digits. So here is another idea for your arsenal.
There is a wide range of recipes for dog ice cream/popsicles/treats, so here is a relatively generic and totally customizable version that will have your BFFs going bananas (don’t just take our word for it).
Ingredients
2 ripe bananas
24 – 32 oz. plain yogurt
1 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup water
Preparation
1. Blend or mix all ingredients together until you have a consistent texture throughout.
2. Pour into ice cube trays, cupcake tins or any small container that will yield a treat appropriately sized for your dog.
3. Garnish (optional). Dog bones, grated cheese, fruits or veggies work great and look cute too.
4. Freeze over night and serve.
Since variety is the spice of life, here are some alternate suggestions: Add more or less water depending on the consistency you dog likes (soft vs. crunchy), substitute the water with chicken broth, substitute the yogurt with baby food (sweet potatoes and pumpkin are big hits) or use all organic ingredients if that’s your thing. Remember, the combination of ingredients doesn’t have to sound appealing for our four-legged children to love and appreciate the gesture. Enjoy.
- See more at: http://www.desertlivingtoday.com/2012/06/08/diy-friday-homemade-dog-treats/#sthash.KdZwitWX.dpuf

DIY Friday: Homemade Dog Treats

June 8, 2012 | 10:10 AM | Eat & Drink | By Kara Philp

This customizable frozen treat recipe will delight your furry friends all summer. Photo by Kara Philp
Nothing compares to an ice-cold treat on a hot day, be it a frosty beverage, an old-fashioned ice cream cone or maybe even dip in the pool. The same can be said for your furry friends. Admit it, you love your pup(s) and you’re already thinking of creative ways to cool them off, especially once the temperatures hit the triple digits. So here is another idea for your arsenal.
There is a wide range of recipes for dog ice cream/popsicles/treats, so here is a relatively generic and totally customizable version that will have your BFFs going bananas (don’t just take our word for it).
Ingredients
2 ripe bananas
24 – 32 oz. plain yogurt
1 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup water
Preparation
1. Blend or mix all ingredients together until you have a consistent texture throughout.
2. Pour into ice cube trays, cupcake tins or any small container that will yield a treat appropriately sized for your dog.
3. Garnish (optional). Dog bones, grated cheese, fruits or veggies work great and look cute too.
4. Freeze over night and serve.
Since variety is the spice of life, here are some alternate suggestions: Add more or less water depending on the consistency you dog likes (soft vs. crunchy), substitute the water with chicken broth, substitute the yogurt with baby food (sweet potatoes and pumpkin are big hits) or use all organic ingredients if that’s your thing. Remember, the combination of ingredients doesn’t have to sound appealing for our four-legged children to love and appreciate the gesture. Enjoy.
- See more at: http://www.desertlivingtoday.com/2012/06/08/diy-friday-homemade-dog-treats/#sthash.KdZwitWX.dpuf

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Hairballs



The majority of us cat owners are all too familiar with the unpleasant sight and sound of cat producing a hairball. Hairballs are common in cats. Although they may seem gross to us, they are usually a result of good feline hygiene.
During a cat's daily grooming regimen, they tend to swallow loose hair. Most of this hair generally passes through the digestive system and is passed along in cat's stool. Some of the hair, however,  can collect in the stomach or small intestine, causing the cat to hack, gag, or retch until they vomit. The hair that is vomited usually appears matted or tubular in shape.
If your cat continues to gag for more than a day or two, if they seem constipated, or has diarrhea, please see your veterinarian. In rare cases, hairballs can get stuck in the esophagus or cause intestinal blockages, which may require surgery to correct. These symptoms can also be signs of a more serious condition. It’s a good idea to consult with your vet if you see any of these abnormal clinical signs.
Long-haired cats, those who shed excessively and those who groom themselves compulsively are especially prone to hairballs. In some cases, frequent vomiting of hairballs may indicate an underlying gastrointestinal problem, such as inflammatory bowel disease.
If your veterinarian has determined that hairballs are causing your cat’s occasional vomiting, there are several ways to help decrease their formation:
  • Brush your cat to decrease the amount of hair that is ingested. If he has long hair, try to brush him daily. Afterwards, wipe your cat with a clean cloth to remove any loose hairs.
  • Feed your pet commercial cat food specifically formulated to reduce hairballs. By improving skin and coat health, reducing shedding and increasing the amount of fiber in your cat’s diet, certain foods can decrease the formation of hairballs.
  • Give your cat a hairball remedy or lubricant, available at most pet supply stores, to encourage the passage of hair through the intestinal tract. Such products should be used as directed.
  • If your cat grooms himself excessively, give him a new toy or engage him in play to distract him from this activity. You will not only reduce the incidence of hairballs, but also spend some quality social time with your furry friend.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Who's Ready For Yard Work?

    It's that time of year again where we are all eager to get our yards back into shape. However, there are many landscaping products on the market that could pose a threat to your pets. Below is a list, courtesy of the Pet Poison Helpline, of the more common dangers that we need to keep an eye out for.

Mulch Products

Cocoa bean mulch is made of discarded hulls or shells of the cocoa bean, which are by-products of chocolate production. The tempting “chocolate-like” smell often attracts dogs and may encourage them to eat the mulch. Processed cocoa bean hulls can contain theobromine and caffeine, the two toxins of concern in chocolate. Unfortunately, determining the amount of toxins in mulch can be difficult as it varies greatly from product to product. Many varieties contain very low amounts of the toxins and are not as dangerous as dog owners are often led to believe; however, varieties with higher toxin concentrations can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, an abnormal heart rhythm, seizures and in extreme cases, death. Since it is not usually apparent how much of the toxin some mulch contains, it’s best to keep dogs a safe distance away, to always supervise your pet while outside, or to not use the mulch at all.

Fertilizers, Soil Additives and Pesticides

While fertilizers are typically fairly safe for pets, those that contain blood meal, bone meal, feather meal and iron may be especially tasty – and dangerous to dogs. Large ingestions of the meal-containing products can form a concretion in the stomach, potentially obstructing the gastrointestinal tract and/or cause severe pancreatitis. Those that contain iron may result in iron poisoning. Also, ingestion of pesticides and insecticides, especially if they contain organophosphates (often found in systemic rose care products), can be life-threatening, even when ingested in small amounts.

Slug and Snail Baits

Available in a variety of forms (pellets, granular, powder and liquid), slug and snail baits contain the active ingredient metaldehyde, which is highly poisonous to dogs and cats. When ingested, metaldehyde produces clinical signs of distress within one to two hours, including salivation, restlessness, vomiting, tremors, seizures, and life-threateningly high body temperature. These baits are highly toxic and without immediate veterinary attention, symptoms can last for several days and can be fatal.

Compost

Gardeners love their compost; however, it can be toxic to pets and wildlife so please keep it fenced off. As the organic matter decomposes, it is common for molds to grow, some of which produce hazardous tremorgenic mycotoxins. When consumed by an animal, moldy food or compost ingestion can result in sickness and physical distress in as little as 30 minutes. Symptoms include agitation, panting, drooling, vomiting, tremors and seizures. Prompt veterinary treatment with appropriate supportive care usually results in a good prognosis.

Flowers and Plants

Lily of the Valley: An early springtime favorite, the Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis) contains cardiac glycosides, which are also used in many human heart medications. When eaten by dogs or cats, this common perennial can cause vomiting, diarrhea, a drop in heart rate, severe cardiac arrhythmias, and possibly seizures. Any pet with a known exposure should be examined and evaluated by a veterinarian and treated symptomatically.
Spring CrocusCrocuses: There are two types of crocus plants: one blooms in the spring and the other in the fall. The spring plants (Crocus spp.) are more common and cause only gastrointestinal upset accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea in dogs and cats. However, the fall crocus (Meadow Saffron or Colchicum autumnale) is highly toxic and can cause severe vomiting, gastrointestinal bleeding, and multisystem organ failure with bone marrow suppression. Symptoms may be seen immediately but can be delayed for days. If you witness your pet eating a crocus and you are not sure what variety it is, seek veterinary care immediately.
Stargazer Lily   Lilies: Cat owners beware of lilies! While some types, such as the Peace (Spathiphyllum spp.), Peruvian (Alstroemeria spp.) and Calla (Zantedeschia spp.), cause only minor symptoms when eaten, other varieties of the true lily family (Lilium and Hemerocallis species) are deadly and highly toxic to cats, including Tiger, Asiatic, Easter, Japanese Show and Day lilies. Ingesting very small amounts – eating as little as two petals or leaves, or exposure to the pollen – can result in severe kidney failure. Even the water in a vase containing true lilies is considered highly poisonous, as the toxin in the plant is water-soluble. If a cat consumes any part of these lilies, he or she needs immediate veterinary care to prevent kidney failure.

If you are planting this year, do some research prior to your decision. Employees at your local garden nursery may also be able to help answer pet safety questions. As far as fertilizers, baits, mulches, etc., read the packaging first. Most products make a point to say whether or not they are safe for your pet. When in doubt, don't use it. Being outside should be fun for everyone, but most importantly, it needs to be safe. Happy Spring!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Condition Spotlight - What is Vestibular Disease?


     The vestibular system is responsible for maintaining normal balance.  It has central components located in the brain, and peripheral components located in the inner and middle ear.  Vestibular disease refers to a sudden, non-progressive disturbance of balance. It is more common in older dogs. It is also referred to as old dog vestibular syndrome and canine idiopathic vestibular syndrome.
     Most dogs present with the sudden onset of loss of balance, disorientation, head tilt and irregular jerking eye movements called nystagmus. Many dogs will become reluctant to stand or walk. Most dogs will lean or fall in the direction of their head tilt.
     Causes of vestibular disease include middle or inner ear infections, drugs that are toxic to the ear, trauma or injury, tumors and hypothyroidism. When no specific diagnosis is found, the condition will be called idiopathic vestibular syndrome. These cases are distinguished by the sudden onset of clinical signs and the subsequent rapid improvement with little, if any, medical intervention.
Diagnosis is based on medical history, clinical signs, and the results of blood and urine tests. In some cases, diagnostic testing will include radiographs of the head to assess the appearance of the middle and inner ears and the tympanic bullae. Occasionally, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scans will be performed to look for tumors or other abnormalities. Brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) testing may also be performed in some patients.


    Treatment is directed at the underlying cause, if one can be identified. In severe cases, supportive therapy such as intravenous fluids and hospitalization may be required until the pet can eat and walk on its own. If the pet is seriously disoriented or ataxic (stumbling, unable to stand or walk), it may be given sedatives to help it relax. Drugs that help combat nausea or motion sickness such as dimenhydrinate may be beneficial. Antibiotics may be used in cases suspected of having middle or inner ear infections. Corticosteroids are not recommended in older pets, especially in cases where fluid intake may be low.
     Many pets begin to improve within seventy-two hours. The head tilt and stumbling often improve over a seven to ten day period. Most patients are completely recovered within two to three weeks. If the patient fails to improve or worsens, then a more severe underlying disorder should be suspected and advanced diagnostic testing should be pursued. 
     With swimming and hot weather around the corner, we will be seeing increasing amounts of ear infections. If you notice your dog shaking his/her head, or notice the ear smells bad, bring them to the vet as soon as possible.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thank You Animal Control Officers!

      National Animal Control Officer Appreciation week is amongst us. This is the week to recognize the difference Animal Control Officers make in many animals lives. These dedicated professionals go above and beyond in dangerous situations day in and day out. They are faced with images that your average person could not bear. They balance animal welfare often among unreasonable people. Getting an animal out of an unfit environment can make the officer a target for some owners and sometimes even the pet. They perform heroic acts every single day. Being an Animal Control Officer is not a 9:00 to 5:00 job. Those may be the hours on their schedule, but the radio is always on. This is tough on an individuals personal life. It's worth the off schedule hours and extra long days when the outcome is good, but as we all know, that's not always the case. Imagine the frustration level when you know an animal is unsafe and nothing can be done. Talk about your sleepless nights. This is just one example of what Animal Control Officers have to deal with. We've all seen an Animal Cops show or two on Animal Planet. They deserve the recognition, and then some.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Bunnies 101




   Having a pet rabbit can be just as rewarding as owning a dog or a cat. They are full of personality if you put in the time and effort that they, and any other pet deserve. They are not just a simple caged animal. Rabbits have many necessities to keep them healthy and happy. The MSPCA in Centerville will be hosting a seminar dedicated to rabbit basics on Sunday April 6th @ 1:00pm. They will be going over the following:

              -Proper diet
              -Housing and Rabbit Proofing
              -Litter Box Training
              -Spaying/Neutering
              -Behavior
    
     Easter is around the corner and is popular time of year to purchase a bunny as a gift. Many times this is a last minute surprise and after the first week or so when the newness has worn off they are often practically forgotten about. If you or anyone you know is considering a rabbit as a pet, or a gift please attend this seminar. Bunnies are a long term responsibility. If you own a pet, no matter the species, you owe it to them to educate yourselves and give them the best home possible. 
 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Medical Condition Spotlight

What is GDV?
     Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV) is a life threatening disorder most commonly seen in large, deep-chested dogs. The term refers to a gas-filled stomach (bloat) that then twists upon itself. It is a medical emergency that requires surgery to correct.
     The exact cause is still unknown. The most common history is a large breed dog that eats or drinks rapidly and then exercises. In recent studies, stress was found to be a contributing factor to GDV. Dogs that were more relaxed and calm were at less risk of developing GDV than dogs described as “hyper” or “fearful”. Sometimes the condition progresses no further than simple gastric dilatation (bloat) but in other instances the huge, gas-filled stomach twists upon itself so that both entrance and exit to the stomach become occluded.
     GDV is probably one of the most serious non-traumatic conditions seen in dogs. Immediate veterinary attention is required to save the dog’s life. Statistically we know that large, deep chested breeds are more prone to GDV. These include Great Danes, Saint Bernards, Weimaraners, Irish Setters, Gordon Setters, Standard Poodles, Basset Hounds, Doberman Pinschers, and Old English Sheepdogs. Most commonly the condition occurs two to three hours after eating a large meal.
     Gastric dilatation (bloat), usually without volvulus (twist), occasionally occurs in elderly small dogs. The distended stomach pushes the posterior rib cage so that the dog appears swollen or “bloated”. This is most obvious on the left side and gentle tapping of the swelling just behind the last rib often produces hollow, drum-like sounds. The enlarged stomach presses on the diaphragm and breathing becomes labored. The swollen stomach also presses on the larger blood vessels in the abdomen and circulation is seriously compromised, resulting in systemic shock.
Ultimately, the dog collapses and the huge size of the abdomen can be seen as the dog lies on its side.
The gas filled stomach presses on the large veins in the abdomen that carry blood back to the heart, compromising the circulation of blood. Vital tissues become deprived of blood and oxygen, resulting in systemic shock. In addition, the pressure of the gas on the stomach wall results in inadequate circulation to the wall, causing tissue death.   Digestion ceases and toxins accumulate in the blood, exacerbating the shock. As the distension continues to build, the stomach wall can rupture.
     It is imperative that the pressure on the stomach wall and internal organs is reduced as soon as possible. Immediate veterinary care is vital. The veterinarian may first attempt to pass a stomach tube. If this is not possible due to twisting of the stomach, a large bore needle may be passed through the skin into the stomach to relieve the pressure in the stomach. Shock treatment with administering intravenous fluids and medications will begin immediately. Once the patient has been stabilized, the stomach must be returned to its proper position. This involves major abdominal surgery and may be delayed until the patient is able to undergo anesthesia. The primary goals of surgery are to return the stomach to its normal position, to remove any dead or dying stomach tissues and to help prevent future GDV. In high-risk breeds, some veterinarians recommend prophylactic gastropexy. Gastropexy is the surgical attachment of the stomach to the body wall. This does not prevent dilatation (bloat) but does prevent twisting (volvulus) in the majority of cases. This surgery can sometimes be done at the same time as your pet is being spayed or neutered. Your veterinarian can discuss the technique or combination of techniques best for your pet’s future.
    

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I Brake For Opossums



   Ticks have a two-year life cycle during which they have three life stages – larva, nymph, and adult. During each stage, the tick gets blood from a host mammal and then molts into the next stage. After an adult lays her eggs, she dies.
   When larval ticks hatch from their eggs, they are not infected with the pathogen that causes Lyme disease. Many ticks will never become infected but others, depending on which host animal they get their first blood from, will become infected.
   Despite how greasy and grungy opossums may appear, they actually pay lots of attention to their grooming habits. Opossums encounter thousands of ticks on their body on a weekly basis and end up killing 90% of them during their grooming ritual. Mice, on the other hand do a terrible job grooming ticks off themselves. This, in turn makes them a high rate of service to ticks, and gives them a greater tendency to infect those ticks that remain with the Lyme disease pathogen. Below is a table of information from a lecture presented by Dr. Richard S. Ostfeld. Disease Ecologist. Ph.D. Pretty staggering numbers.
  



     Dr. Ostfeld has found that the more diversity of alternate non-mouse hosts there are for ticks to feed on, the lower the number of Lyme disease infected ticks.
This is partly because other host animals don’t infect larval ticks with Lyme disease at the high rate that mice do, partly because the tick burden per white-footed mouse decreases and  partly because some of the alternate hosts, like fox, owls and hawks, do a good job of keeping the mice population in check.
     Our local wildlife plays an important role in ours lives whether we see it or not. Please do your part to protect them and our environment.