Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Holiday Safety Tips

The holiday season is in full swing, and it’s time for celebrations, decorations and seasonal treats, we must be mindful of the safety of our fur babies!  Christmas trees, decorative plants, lights and seasonal meals can pose a threat to your pets if left unattended.  Here are some friendly tips to keep your pets happy and healthy during this holiday season.

  • Christmas Tree:  Many of us will adorn our homes with this holiday favorite.  Please be mindful that a new object, such as a large sparkly tree, will likely attract the attention of both our feline and canine companions.  Securely anchor your tree to avoid the risk of it tipping over – accidentally causing injury to a curious pet.  Properly anchoring your tree should stop any tree water from spilling, which is important as fertilizers and bacteria can build up in the water, posing the risk of gastrointestinal upset for your pet.
  • Decorations:  Stay clear of tinsel entirely to avoid putting your pet at risk of an obstructed digestive tract.  When selecting tree bulbs, avoid bulbs made out of glass or that can easily shatter if they fall off the tree.  Also try to place bulbs high on the tree to avoid the risk of your pet knocking them down. 
  • Lighting:  Candles should be used cautiously, if avoided entirely, as they can cause burns or even a fire.  Never leave a lit candle unattended.  Wired lights should be kept out of your pet’s reach to avoid electrical shock if he/she were to chew on the wire.  Always unplug your lights when leaving your home.
  • Plants:  Holly can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea when ingested.  Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems.  Many types of lilies can cause kidney failure when ingested.  For the safety of your pets, opt for convincing silk varieties of these plants or consider avoiding them all together.
  • Holiday Meals:  Although it’s tempting to offer your pet some of the delicious holiday meals you’ll be preparing this season, stay clear from any treats that are high in fat, sugar or anything sweetened with xylitol.  Ingesting these kinds of “treats” can put your pet in danger that can result in high medical bills.  Make sure you keep any unattended plates up high so it’s out of reach of your fur baby and make sure your trash is securely covered.
  • Alcohol:  Many of us will be serving festive cocktails for holiday gatherings.  Make sure to place all unattended drinks in areas that your pet cannot reach them.  It’s a good idea to mention this to guests as they arrive.  Alcohol consumption in pets is serious and can result in illness, coma and even death due to respiratory failure. 
  • Noise:  New Year’s Eve gathering often bring upon confetti, noisy poppers and fireworks.  Cats can easily become obstructed when ingesting confetti or strings from poppers and loud noises and fireworks can be terrifying to many pets.  Make sure your pet is in a safe, escape-proof area, as midnight approaches to ensure their safety.  Be sure to check in on them periodically and consider offering a treat like a filled Kong to keep their minds busy during this time.

The holidays are a great time for friends and loved ones to get together.  Let’s make sure it’s safe for our four-legged furry family members by keeping these precautions in mind. Taking the steps now to avoid any potential disasters will keep your stress level down and enable you to relax and enjoy this holiday season!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Going Away for the Holidays?

It's that time of year when many of us travel in order to spend time with loved ones during the holiday season.  While this can be a fantastic time to get away, many of us forget how this may affect our four-legged furry family members.  More often than not, we aren't able to bring our pets on vacation with us, which puts us in the position of finding a pet sitter or finding a place that we can trust with taking care of our beloved furry family members.

When faced with this important decision, many of us will go through various avenues when selecting the right pet sitter or boarding facility.  Your pet's specific needs and your expectations will determine what pet sitter or boarding facility is right for you.  One should keep in mind the degree of care your pet will require when you're away.  Questions that you should ask yourself are:
  • Will my pet need additional attention/playtime/walks?
  • Does my pet take medication?
  • Does my pet have specific dietary needs?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, your pet will benefit from staying in a facility that is able to provide the additional care/medical attention your pet needs.  Many pet sitters are able to accommodate "special needs" pets as well.  It's always a good idea to ask for references or check with your veterinarian to see whom he/she recommends for boarding and pet sitting services.

We are proud to announce the opening of our newly renovated Salty Paws Pet Resort!  Our intentionally low volume resort is designed to give your pet the comfort and feeling of security of home.  Our staff treats our resort guests with the same warm and loving care that we give our own pets!  With rates starting at $29.00 for cats and $36.00 for dogs, we encourage advanced reservations as spaces fill quickly.  Our new pampered pet program is available to the discerning guest who will benefit from extra TLC.  Ask any of our client services representatives for more details.  We wish you all a safe and happy holiday season!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Halloween Photo Contest

As the days become shorter and the temperature drops, many of us think that the threat of fleas and ticks latching onto our four-legged family member reduces, or is even eliminated.  Unfortunately this is completely false, with owners often times finding out the hard way.  The best way to avoid finding yourself faced with a flea infestation or your pet being at risk of a tick-borne illness is using a veterinarian approved flea and tick preventative throughout the year.

There are many products to choose from and discussing your options with your veterinarian is the best way to find the correct match for your pet!  With Halloween approaching this weekend, we thought that it’s the perfect time to give you the opportunity to share a picture of your pet in his/her costume on our Facebook Page with the incentive of a great prize – a Seresto collar!  This collar will protect your dog or cat from fleas and ticks for 8 months!

Upload a picture of your pet in their Halloween costume on our Facebook Page anytime between now and Friday.  The picture that receives the most “likes” will win a free Seresto collar!  Have a wonderful and safe Halloween and we look forward to seeing your pets in creative getups!!!

Terms and conditions of contest:
This contest is in no way sponsored or affiliated with Facebook.  Participants must be 18 years of age or older.  Picture of pet must be uploaded by midnight EST on Friday, October 30, 2015 and all accounted “likes” close at the end of this period.  Photo receiving the most “likes” as determined by Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod will be announced on October 31, 2015 through a Facebook announcement.  Submitter of winning photo is responsible for contacting Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod to claim ownership of photo submitted by providing full name, address and telephone number.  Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod obtains full rights of any and all photos submitted.  Prize cannot be exchanged for cash and must be picked up at Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod Goes Mobile!

Times have definitely changed!  Only ten years ago mobile apps were unheard of.  Nowadays, they have become essential to many of us.  There are literally apps for everything one can think of – from banking, music purchases and even paying for your daily cup of coffee!  Since many of us are on the go, we recognize the importance of a mobile app to help our clients contact us through multiple platforms. 

Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod is proud to announce the launch of our new app!  Downloading our easy to use app gives our clients the ability to schedule appointments and request prescription refills from their smart phone, tablet or any other device!  Our app also has some interesting features such as breaking news, pet food recalls, access to medical articles and a “Tap to Call” feature.

We encourage our clients who prefer to contact us electronically vs. calling us directly to download our easy to use app.  Managing your pet’s care through our new app gives you the ability to reach us anytime!  Thank you for entrusting us with your pet’s care and we hope you find our new app helpful in managing your pet’s health!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!

Since Halloween is just around the corner, we thought it would be wise to give a friendly reminder of things to keep in mind to keep your pets safe.  Trick or Treating is a fun-filled tradition, but we must be leery of the danger this can pose to our beloved four-legged family members.   

As most of us know, chocolate is toxic to dogs, and it is our duty to protect them by keeping chocolate away from our pets.  Most of us think about the candy or chocolate our children are bringing home, but keep in mind where you place your bowl of treats to hand out to our costumed visitors!  Even if the treats you’re offering are not chocolate, they are most likely not appropriate for your canine companion, and should be kept up in high area to avoid any unplanned canine snacking.  Many of us do keep in mind the dangers of chocolate ingestion, but don’t forget that candy ingestion in general is dangerous.  Between the amount of sugar and the types of wrapping these treats are enclosed in, it is best to keep these treats in areas that are inaccessible to our dogs. 

We must not forget our feline companions!  We highly recommend on Halloween night to keep your cat in an enclosed area of the home during Trick or Treating hours.   Many of our cats are indoor only, and opening and closing of your door to hand out treats puts your cat at risk for an unplanned escape.  Additionally, even if your cat is allowed outdoors, keeping him/her inside during this high-traffic (foot and automobile) evening will ensure your feline companion is safe during this festive holiday!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Who Doesn't Love a Frenchie?

The French Bulldog - adorable, playful, pint-sized and energetic.  Hearing the distinct snorting and seeing the all too familiar butt wiggle of this spirited breed brings a smile to everyone’s face.  We have been noticing an increase in the amount of French Bulldogs to our hospital, and I’m sure, many hospitals throughout the country.  There are countless YouTube videos featuring these adorable pups in action, as well as numerous websites dedicated to this breed.  If you’re thinking that a Frenchie is the right 4-legged addition to your family, keep in mind there are a lot of things that you should consider prior to making this important decision.

Just like any breed, there are specific breed-related considerations one must keep in mind prior to taking on the responsibility of a new pet.  The best way to ensure you choose the right breed for you is to do the research prior to making your final decision.  To help with your decision, we wanted to highlight a few conditions that are susceptible to French Bulldogs.  Frenchies have been known to be prone to skin allergies.  While these allergies are manageable, they can come with a cost, which is something to keep in mind when looking into this adorable breed. 

Additionally, French Bulldogs are a brachiocephalic breed.  What on earth is a brachiocephalic breed?  Brachycephalia refers to a flat and wide skull shape.  This skull shape gives these dogs the characteristic flattened face and short nose.  While this appearance is tremendously cute, it does come with risks.  Brachiocephalic breeds are at higher risk of breathing issues, which can be managed, but should be kept in the back of your mind.  Obtaining pet insurance when introducing a new pet is an excellent idea, regardless of the breed, and can reduce the costs of conditions should they arise.  

French Bulldogs are undeniably endearing and a wonderful fit in the right home.  Their personalities are one-of-kind and can bring many years of joy to their human counterparts.  We hope you find this blog informative and encourage all Frenchie lovers to pay us a visit – even if it’s just to say hi! 




Wednesday, September 16, 2015

When Faced with the Unexpected

We’ve all been there.  Our fluffy four-legged companion suddenly becomes ill, and we find ourselves in a panicked state.  What should I do?  Where should I go?  How am I going to pay for this?  This is a difficult, yet very important topic of discussion when being a pet owner.

First and for most – to answer the questions of what should I do and where should I go, it is imperative to have an established relationship with a trusted veterinarian.  This will ensure that you can be seen in a timely fashion and your pet receives the necessary care that he/she deserves.  Nonetheless, we are all too aware that these things happen during the most inconvenient times (i.e. holidays, evenings, weekends, etc.) when your trusted veterinarian is unable to see your pet.  Don’t fret, there are emergency facilities that are open during these times that can help you!

That brings us to the touchy question of how am I going to pay for this?  Thankfully, there are many solutions/programs that are available to offset the financial burden that many of us face during these stressful times.  We cannot stress enough about the importance of having a pet insurance plan.  There are many to choose from, and doing your homework to select the right plan for you and your pet is imperative!  Some insurance plans are geared more towards preventative/annual maintenance, while others are more focused on emergency situations.  Other factors come into play such as breed, age of pet and monthly plan costs; when selecting the right plan for you.  A few that we recommend are Trupanion, V.P.I. and Pets Best, but we strongly encourage you to exhaust all options prior to making this important decision.

Another option for pet owners that has helped is the option of Care Credit.  Care Credit is a medical usage credit card that many veterinary hospitals accept.  This gives owners the option to move forward with treatment when current finances may have limited them previously.  As with any credit card, one can expect interest charges, but there are some promotions that may lessen the amount of interest the owner will be obligated to pay.  In some cases, the owner may not pay any interest at all!  To learn more, go to to see what programs they offer.

Bottom line – the best offense is a great defense when it comes to the medical care your pet needs.  We hope that you consider looking into the aforementioned options to help protect you and your pet if you are ever faced with an unexpected emergency. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod Care Club

With advancements in veterinary diagnostics and preventable measures at our fingertips, we are learning that there is a direct correlation between the quality of life of our four-legged furry family members, and the quality of veterinary care we offer them.  We understand that veterinary care can be a hard expense to swallow, but it is imperative to keep your pet healthy and happy.  Regular Wellness Exams, vaccinations and recommended bloodwork; all play key roles in the health and well-being of your furry family member.  To encourage regular wellness visits, we are proud to offer VACC Care Club packages for both dogs and cats!

We offer two Care Club Packages – the Basic Care Club and the Premium Care Club.

 The Canine Basic Care Club Package includes the following:

  • 2 Wellness Plans
  • Comprehensive Oral Health Assessment
  • Unlimited Additional Office Visits
  • Heartworm/Tick Blood Screen
  • Lab Work
    • CBC, Chemistry Panel, and Urinalysis
  • Intestinal Parasite Screening
  • Recommended Core Vaccines
    • DA2PP
    • Rabies
  • 2 Nail Trims

The Canine Premium Care Club Package includes all of the above and the following:
  • Lab Work
    • Thyroid Test
  • Chest/Abdominal X-Ray Screening - 4 Views
  • Ocular Pressure Test
  • Recommended Core Vaccines
    • Bordetella
    • Influenza
    • Lyme
  • Unlimited Nail Trims

The monthly cost of the Basic Canine Care Club Package is $27.50/mo and the Premium Canine Care Club Package is $59.95/mo.  Either package has a one-time $69.00 enrollment fee.  When totaling the individual cost of both the Basic and Premium Canine Care Club Packages, we see a savings of over $76 annually for the Basic Plan and over $165 in savings with the Premium Package.  As an added incentive, if the year is paid in full, the $69.00 enrollment fee will be waived!

The Feline Basic Care Club Package Includes:
  • 2 Wellness Exams
  • Comprehensive Oral Health Assessment
  • Unlimited Additional Office Visits
  • Feline Leukemia and FIV Testing
  • Lab Work
    • CBC, Chemistry Panel, and Urinalysis
  • Intestinal Parasite Screening
  • Recommended Core Vaccines
    • FVRCP
    • Rabies
  • 2 Nail Trims

The Feline Premium Care Club Package includes all of the above and the following:
  • Chest/Abdominal X-Ray Screening - 2 Views
  • Blood Pressure Screening
  • Recommended Core Vaccines
    • FeLV
  • Unlimited Nail Trims

The monthly cost of the Basic Feline Care Club Package is $27.50/mo and the Premium Feline Care Club Package is $59.95/mo.  Either package has a one-time $69.00 enrollment fee.  When totaling the individual cost of both the Basic and Premium Feline Care Club Packages, we see a savings of over $36 annually for the Basic Plan and over $75 in savings with the Premium Package.  Again, we will waive the $69.00 enrollment fee if the policy year is paid in full!

Both Canine and Feline Care Club Packages are eligible for pets between the ages of 1 and 7.  Monthly payments plans versus the traditional upfront costs of annual and semi-annual visits, give pet owners the opportunity to give their furry family members all of the recommended treatments and preventative care that they deserve.  Furthermore, if you are able to pay for the entire year, your enrollment fee will be waived – furthering your savings on keeping your pet happy and healthy!  Keep in mind that unlimited additional office visits can save you a considerable amount of money during those unexpected situations that inevitably happen with our furry friends.  Diseases and illnesses can creep up quickly and quietly, making frequent preventative visits a great way to ensure your pet stays healthy.  Unfortunately, pets are great at hiding signs of illness from their owners, however, regular office visits can help add more healthy years to your pet’s life.   Additionally, unlimited nail trims offered in our premium packages can add up to a significant amount in savings!  Please feel free to contact us by phone or inquire within if you have any additional questions!


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Preventable Diseases on the Rise on Cape Cod

We have seen a dramatic increase in preventable diseases here at VACC over the last few months.  This month alone, we have diagnosed five cases of heartworm infection – more cases in one month than all of last year combined.  A multitude of reasons play contributable factors to this and other trending preventable diseases. 

Heartworm disease in dogs used to be something rarely seen in the North East. Many believe the change in the number of infected cases is due to the increasing number of pets being rescued from Southern parts of the United States, and being relocated to Northern areas of the Country.  Regardless of the reason, our local Cape Cod wildlife canids (the coyote and fox) will now suffer and likely be at be at greater risk of heartworm disease.  When discussing heartworm prevention with our community, we really should be utilizing the term “parasite prevention.”  Did you know that a very low dose of ivermectin, the active drug found in many “monthly heartworm prevention” products, also kills hookworms as well as a round worm called bay Lisacaris?  This roundworm spreads through the feces of raccoons and can cause permanent blindness or even death, needless to say, keep your children’s sand box covered at night!  Although many of the medications we use for monthly parasite prevention are relatively inexpensive, we find the process of giving the medication on time every month appears to be our ultimate obstacle.  Be cautious of products your veterinarian does not endorse, as many of these products have proven themselves ineffective.  It is sad to see our clients with the best intentions using a product that does not work, resulting in his/her pet falling victim due to ineffectual protection.  If your mind has wandered since you’re under the impression that furry feline companions are not susceptible to this disease,  I’m sorry to say, cats can contract heartworms too.

Missed opportunity for prevention does not stop at parasite control. Keeping up to date on annual vaccines is vital for the well-being of all furry family members.  As a region, New England did a fantastic job keeping Parvovirus primarily out of our area, thanks to strict compliance on vaccines; Parvo is something most veterinarians haven’t seen in years. Parvovirus is a serious gastrointestinal virus which frequently results in fatalities – especially in puppies. The good news is this virus is vaccinated against as part of the annual shot your veterinarian often refers to as “distemper.”  Recent news stories have highlighted cases indicating that it can take only one breeder who didn’t “believe in” vaccines and suddenly we are faced with a Parvo outbreak.  While a breeder is an excellent source for advice for specific breed related questions (i.e. temperament, expected lifespan, expected size at maturity, etc), leave it to your veterinarian to advise you on vaccinations – given your veterinarian is the person who attended a minimum of eight years of higher education to give you advice on scientific- based facts.

Let’s take this opportunity to address the controversial lyme vaccine.  Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by the deer tick.  Is this infection actually preventable on Cape Cod?  The vaccine is estimated between 65-80% effective in preventing lyme disease.  It is certainly a safety net, especially for our larger breeds that tend to spend more time romping in the woods; however your first line of defense is monthly flea and tick prevention.  Your veterinary support staff can help you select the appropriate preventative, but a key criterion for an effective tick preventative is the duration of time it takes to kill the tick once it has bitten your pet.  This is important because there is a direct correlation between the risk of a tick borne illness being transmitted to your pet and the amount of time the tick is biting your pet.   In other words, the longer it takes the preventative to kill the tick, the greater the chance your pet has at contracting a tick borne illness.  Some products are repellent and some require the tick to bite before it is killed, thus your veterinarian’s advice on this subject is imperative when making the decision of which product to choose.

While we’re on the topic of ticks, you’ve all heard about the lone star tick having made itself at home right here on the Cape!  This unwelcome wash-ashore brings us Rocky Mountain spotted fever.  This disease is known to have a high mortality rate, and like lyme, is able to be transmitted to humans.  Again, the most effective protection from ticks is your first line of defense – selecting the right preventative and administering it on consistent monthly basis.

We want to be part of your pet’s health care team for a very long healthy life.  Let’s do what we can in order to reduce the odds of treating diseases that are easily preventable.  If you’re not positive that your pet has adequate preventative care, please give us a call or come on down!