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How to Adopt a New Pet

Where to find animals you can take home

You probably know by now that purchasing a pet may not be the best idea as you can never be sure whether your pet comes from someplace reputable or somewhere like a puppy mill. That means you'll need to find a rescue group, a local humane society, or an animal shelter. Of course, that means you'll also have a lot of options, especially since adoptions are often much less expensive than purchases and include a number of medical services as a part of the fee.

We can suggest local shelters or organizations, and possibly even let you know about any special adoption events going on in the area. If you aren't local, simply do a Google search for your city and state with the terms "animal shelter" and this should give you results for municipal shelters and local welfare societies.

Another great way to connect with local rescue groups is to head to — believe it or not — Petco or PetSmart. While both of these companies are national corporations, they have both made a promise to partner with rescue organizations in order to save adoptable pets from being euthanized. You can find organization information and even meet adoptable animals in the store.


If you're too impatient to head to a shelter or store, are a little more remote, or are just looking for more options, there are online services that can help you connect with pets locally and across the country. Some rescue groups are even willing to fly animals from one location to another if it means the animal will have a loving home! Here are just a few of your online options:


How to choose your new pet

You might already know exactly what you're looking for in a pet, and that's great! Be sure to chat with adoption staff to make sure that your expectations are realistic for what you'll need to do, how much it will cost, and how your pet will behave. After all, just because a dog is tiny enough to live in an apartment doesn't mean the dog will be quiet enough.

This is especially important if you already have other pets, children, or are adopting an older animal. Some animals are too rough to be around children or react poorly to other animals. It isn't fair to you or your pet to put them in a situation that's going to make them uncomfortable or afraid which may cause them to lash out.

Some sites, like the ASPCA, have suggestions on how to pick the right animal for you. Not only about the breed, but also for helping to decide between a dog and a guinea pig. Other sites offer experts that will suggest matches based on your needs, including AdoptAPet.com. However, visiting pets at the local shelter or talking directly with foster-pet parents will help you know exactly what the animal needs. Some shelters or organizations may even offer home visits with the animal before adoption to make sure it's a good fit.


Actually adopting your new pet

Before adopting your new pet, you'll want to make sure you're ready to bring an animal home. You don't want to bring a cat home without a litter box, or a bird without a cage for it to nest in. Any pet-proofing of your home should be done beforehand as well. You should also be sure you've got some free time to help your pet adjust to its new surroundings, especially if you have kids or other pets. Once you're ready, contact the shelter or rescue group.

Every organization is going to have a slightly different process and price for adoption, but there is a general process that you should be prepared for.

1. Filling out an adoption application. (This may be a general form for eligibility or may pertain to a particular animal.)
2. Choosing your animal.
3. Filing an adoption agreement, formalizing fees and declaring the health status and current vaccinations for your animal.
4. Paying adoption fees.
5. Finalized medical care for services not already rendered (e.g., spaying).
6. Transporting your animal home.

Pet Loss Support

Bereavement following Euthanasia

Following the decision to euthanize your pet, you can often feel extreme guilt, bitterness, and regret and constantly ask yourself if there was something more that could’ve been done. While these are normal responses, it is important to remember that any good veterinarian will never agree to euthanize a pet if there is another viable option. If your pet has been put to sleep, then you should try and process that it was the kindest and most humane option for your beloved pet.

Some owners who have made the decision to euthanize may find it easier to complete all stages of grief as they will have had more time to process and come to terms with that decision.

If you chose to be with your pet during his final moments the trauma may continue through the grieving period. Replaying those memories, although painful, is completely normal. If you chose not to be with your pet when he was put to sleep then you may feel an overwhelming sense of guilt which again, is a normal part of the grieving process.

At this point your heart will very much be ruling your head. But as your grief progresses, you will be able to rationalize that whatever decisions you have made regarding your pet’s departure from this life were made because you loved him and wanted to end his suffering in the kindest, most painless and humane way possible.

Telling your children your pet has died

For many children, the loss of a pet will be their first experience with death and can help them learn to cope with other losses during their lifetime.

Breaking the news that your pet has died will likely be very distressing. Therefore you should try and do so in a place where your child feels safe and secure with minimal distractions. What and how you tell your children will depend largely on their age and maturity level.

If you are getting ready to euthanize your pet, you should consider preparing your children by explaining to them that the veterinarian did everything they could for your pet, that he wouldn’t or couldn’t get better and that it is the kindest way for your pet to die without feeling hurt or scared. You may wish to give your children the option of saying a final goodbye.

It is recommended not to use the words ‘sleep’ in any context as younger children may take this literally and become frightened of going to sleep themselves either for anesthesia in the future, or even just going to sleep at night.

If your pet’s death is unexpected, then calmly and simply explain the basic details of what happened. For example, "Rover’s heart was poor and couldn’t work anymore". Using words like death and dying may be a good way to explain what they are to your child. You need to make sure that they realize that your pet is unable to come back to them.

Whether your pet was euthanized or was taken from you suddenly, you should let your child’s questions guide how much information you provide them.

Can I just tell my child that their pet went away?
You could tell your child that their pet has gone away, but this isn’t advisable as they may expect their pet to return to them. Alternatively, if they find out the truth, this may anger or upset them.

What do I tell my child if they ask what happens after death?
Only you can decide what is appropriate to tell your children, and you may choose to answer based on your personal beliefs. However, it is ok to tell your children that you don’t know and that what happens after death is a mystery.

How might my child react?
Your children may experience grief in the same way that you do. However way they choose to express themselves, you should try to support and understand them.

Basic Pet Bird Care

Many people mistakenly believe that birds should mainly eat nuts and seeds, but this is incorrect. Instead, these should be occasional treats and not part of her regular diet. If your pet bird is unwell, your vet may recommend that she follows a very specific diet – ask your veterinarian for more advice. 
 

Hygiene

Cleaning out your bird’s cage is essential if she is to remain healthy and happy. Daily cleaning of the cage floor and bowls is recommended. Check the paper as you replace it and look for any signs of blood which might suggest that your bird is unwell. In addition to replacing the paper daily, you should also do a thorough clean of her cage using hot, soapy water at least once a week to keep it in optimum condition. 
 

Grooming

Yes, bird grooming really is a ‘thing’ and it is important to keep your feathered friend looking and feeling great. Ideally, you should bathe your birdie at least two times a week, either using a spray bottle, setting up a birdbath in your sink, or using a shallow bowl of water. After her bath, gently towel dry her and keep her in a warm room away from drafts. She may even enjoy a gentle blow-dry – just be sure to use a warm, not hot, setting and keep her a good 12 inches back from the dryer. 

If you have a parrot, you will find that her nails need to be clipped on a fairly regular basis to prevent them from becoming too long. Parrots also need to have their wings clipped to prevent flight and keep them safe. Consult with your avian veterinarian for these services. 
 

Toys and mental stimulation

Mental stimulation is just as important for a bird as any other type of pet. Many are extremely intelligent and playful creatures. Parrots, in particular, are well-known for their curious and inquisitive nature. You should provide a variety of toys to help keep her entertained which can be picked up in any pet store. You can even give her a piece of corn on the cob, or place leaves on or against the outside of the cage for her to peck at with her beak. 

Human interaction is also crucial. Your bird will love spending time bonding and playing with you. Talk to her, take her out in a secure room and enjoy games together, encouraging her to return to you with a small treat. Make a fuss over her and ensure she knows how important she is to you and your family. 

If you are considering bringing a pet bird into your family and would like further advice and guidance before you do, our team has the experience and knowledge of avian care needed to help you offer your bird a safe, comfortable and happy home. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.  

Seasonal Care

Spring

Spring is a great time of year for the whole family and with certain holidays, there can be an increase in the amount of chocolate in the environment. And while chocolate is a great treat for your human family, chocolate can be toxic and even deadly for animals, with dogs being the most commonly affected as they are known for having a ‘sweet tooth’.

The most common symptoms of chocolate ingestion are seen within the first 12 hours and can include:

  • Diarrhea and/or vomiting

  • Excitement or trembling that may be perceived as nervousness

  • Excessive thirst and occasionally excessive urination

  • Muscle spasms

  • Seizures

  • Coma (rare)

  • Death (rare but if death occurs it is usually as a result of heart rhythm abnormalities).
     

Chocolate is toxic to dogs and other animals because they are unable to effectively break down a chemical component in chocolate known as theobromine. If you suspect that your pet has ingested chocolate, you should immediately contact your veterinarian for advice.


Summer

  • Unlike humans, animals do not have the ability to sweat. Instead, they release excess heat through their paw pads and by panting. Unfortunately, animals with brachycephalic (flat) faces, such as pugs and persian cats, are unable to pant as effectively due to their shortened nasal passages which makes them more vulnerable to heatstroke and dehydration.

 

  • Dehydration is a major concern for all animals during the summer. Be sure that your pet always has access to plenty of cool water with somewhere shady to rest and remember to keep them indoors during the hottest part of the day.

 

  • If you cannot place the back of your hand on to the sidewalk and hold it there for more than 5 seconds without it becoming painful, then it is too hot for your pet's paws and you should avoid letting them outside until it has cooled.

 

  • It is not uncommon for antifreeze to leak out of overheating cars, so please see our advice on antifreeze in the ‘winter’ section above.

 

  • Don’t forget sunscreen! Pet sunscreen is available at your local pet supply store and will help to protect your pet from the summer sun which is especially important for pets with short, fine hair and pink skin. Never use sunscreen that is not designed specifically for animals. Be sure to speak to your veterinarian about what sunscreen is right for your pet.
  • If you take your dog to a river, lake, pool or the beach to cool off, stay aware of where they are to ensure their safety in the water.

Training Your Pet

What positive consequences should I use?

The biggest thing that your dog craves is love, attention, and affection from his human family. Rewarding their good behavior with this kind of attention, as well as with the occasional commercial treat, should make your pet happy and will lead to successful training.

For more information on training your dog, speak with your veterinarian who will be able to direct you to reputable local training classes.


Training your Cat

Cats are naturally independent creatures who are not as inclined as dogs to work for praise or attention and are harder to motivate. This does not mean that they cannot be trained, but that you will need additional patience during their training.

Just like when training a dog, desired behaviors should be reinforced by offering rewards whilst undesirable behavior should be left unrewarded. However, unlike dogs who are happy to be rewarded with affection, cats almost always need to be rewarded with food, so be sure to find the treats that your cat likes best. These could be small chunks of meat, tuna or commercial cat treats.

To coincide with the treats, some people use a clicker or a pen with a clicking function to train their feline friends. Clicking at the precise moment that your cat performs a desirable behavior and then offering them a treat will help them to associate positive rewards with that behavior.

Pet Obesity

How can I tell if my pet is overweight?

There are several methods that you can use to determine if your pet may be overweight or obese. These methods are simple physical checks that you can do in your own home.

Dogs and cats should be hourglass shaped with a clear taper at their waist. Overweight animals do not have this taper and therefore appear more oval or egg-shaped.

In a pet of a healthy weight, you should be able to feel, but not see, their ribs, as visible ribs are indicative of an underweight animal. If you place your hands on either side of your pet's chest and cannot feel their ribs, then they are very likely to be overweight.

Animals do not usually reach major levels of obesity until they are at least 7 years old, but when they do, they tend to have large amounts of fat on the hips and neck as well as a very large, round abdomen.

Veterinarians are also able to determine your pet's Body Fat Index by taking several different measurements, and then will be able to advise you if it is within healthy parameters.

If you are at all concerned about the weight of your pet, please contact your veterinarian to make an appointment to determine if your pet would benefit from a specifically tailored weight loss program.


Treatment

Just like their human friends, the key to combating obesity in pets is to decrease the number of calories being eaten and increase the amount of exercise taken. Many guidelines suggest to reduce your pet's food by 25%, however, we recommend that you speak to your veterinarian who will consider your pets breed, age and general health before recommending drastic changes to their diet or lifestyle.

Your veterinarian will undertake regular monitoring of your pet during any tailored weight loss program to ensure that weight loss is steady and achieved healthily. They will also advise changes to the program if any aspects are not working as they should. Activity levels can also be monitored and increased in line with your pet's weight loss and improving fitness.


Weight Loss Tips

 
  • Avoid giving your pet snacks from the dinner table – all those little nibbles quickly mount up to a lot of extra calories.

  • Limit treats to several times a week. The calories given as treats must be deducted from the total daily recommended calories your pet is given.

  • Follow the feeding instructions and ensure that your pet is eating the right amount of food for their current stage of life.

  • You may want to consider how many times per day you feed your pet. Sometimes splitting larger portions into smaller, more regular meals will help keep your pet feeling full and satisfied.

  • When it comes to exercising with your pet, get into a routine. Whether it’s going for walks or playing with them, try to do it at the same time every day. This way your pet knows what to expect and it quickly becomes a habit for both of you!

Microchipping


What does pet microchipping involve?

 

Pet microchipping is a quick and painless process that is no different from your furbaby receiving a vaccine. The microchip itself is contained within a glass capsule no larger than a grain of rice which is implanted under the skin, usually between your pet’s shoulder blades. Once in place, it can be left for the duration of your pet’s lifetime. 
 

Each microchip contains just two pieces of information: a unique reference number and the name of the microchip provider. When a lost pet is found, a veterinarian, shelter or other animal professional with access to an RFID scanner will be able to scan the area between the shoulder blades to check for the presence of a microchip. The scanner will activate the chip, which is otherwise dormant, and the unique number and the name of the microchip provider will be displayed on the scanner’s screen. The service scanning the animal can then contact the chip provider to obtain the personal information relating to that unique reference number which is contained on a secure database. Finally, the owner can be contacted and told that their pet has been found. 
 

Are my personal details safe?

 

Naturally, many people are concerned about the safety of their personal information. Rest assured that microchip providers invest a great deal of money and expertise into their security systems and there are protocols in place to ensure that no one can access your personal details without bypassing stringent security measures. You can also choose how much information to give your microchip provider, with many owners choosing only to divulge their name, city and contact number to minimize the risk of identity theft. 
 

Is pet microchipping safe?

 

Although there is a slight risk associated with any surgically implanted device, the microchip used contains no moving parts and lies dormant until it comes into contact with an RFID scanner. Contrary to what many people believe, there is no evidence to support the theory that pet microchipping causes the development of any health problems and experts agree that the benefits of microchipping animals far outweigh the minuscule risks attached to the process. 

If you would like to arrange an appointment to get your pet microchipped, or if you have any further questions about the process, please don’t hesitate to contact our office.

Finding a Reputable Breeder

Where to start

Looking online is an obvious and tempting place to start looking for breeders, but unless they have been personally recommended or are affiliated with a recognized kennel club, then you could potentially waste time looking at dogs from unprofessional and dishonest breeders. Instead, consider asking your local vet, visiting a dog show or looking online at The American Kennel Club who offer breeder referrals. Of course, there is no substitute for reliable personal recommendations either, so if you know someone with a fantastic puppy, ask them which breeder they used.
 

Questions to ask the breeder

There are a number of questions that you can ask breeders which will help you identify whether they have the best interests of their animals at heart. The key things you should be asking are:


How long have they been breeding for?

Most serious breeders have been dedicated to the practice for some time, and there is a little substitute for experience. The longer someone has been breeding then the more knowledgeable they will be.


How old is the mother of the litter?

A responsible breeder will not breed an animal until it reaches full maturity, which for dogs is around two years old, ideally three.


How many litters do you raise per year?

Responsible breeders will ensure that female dogs are bred no more than once per year, and typically will breed no more than two, maybe three litters per year so they can ensure they have enough time to dedicate to raising them properly. Any more than that is indicative of a commercial operation or puppy farming.


Do you only breed one type of dog?

Again, breeding more than one variety of dogs could be indicative of puppy farming.


Where do the puppies live?

The very best environment for a puppy to be raised in is a regular household. This ensures that they get used to regular visitors, children, and other animals which means that they are being socialized from birth. A puppy that is raised in a family environment is more likely to be friendly and relaxed. Puppies that have been raised isolated from humans are prone to anxiety, shyness or aggression.


How often are the puppies handled?

Again, handling is a big part of socializing your puppy and a reputable breeder should ensure that their puppies are handled regularly by a variety of people.


Can I meet the parents?

While many breeders use stud dogs meaning that the father is often not available for viewing, any reputable breeder will be able to give you plenty of information about the physical and temperamental characteristics of him, as well as full health information.

The mother should always be available for viewing alongside her puppies. While it is understandable that she may be wary, she should still be attentive and friendly towards you. The mothers’ health information should also be readily available, and you can gauge her size and temperament for an idea as to how the pups may behave in maturity.


Can I speak to people who have previously had puppies from you?

Any good breeder will be happy to provide you with references to successfully homed pups. They may even go so far as to refer you to other breeders.


Can I have copies of health clearances?

If applicable, certain breeds may be tested for specific genetic conditions and given a health clearance certificate by an independent agency such as the Canine Eye Registration Foundation which should be made available to you. Responsible breeders will also ensure that their pups have flea prevention treatment, worm treatment, and applicable vaccinations before letting them go to their new homes.
Other signs of a good breeder:
 

  • Reputable breeders will likely ask you to sign a spay/neuter contract for your pet which promises that you will take the necessary steps to avoid breeding and subsequent addition to the huge overpopulation of dogs.

  • The environment is clean, has a neutral odor and the animals are supplied with fresh water, beds, and toys.

  • Enthusiastic breeders often participate in dog shows and competitions alongside breeding.

  • A reputable breeder will provide you with as much ongoing support as you need either by email, phone or occasionally in person. If for any reason you are unable to continue to care for the dog, a responsible breeder should always offer to take them back to ensure that they are well cared for until they can be re-homed.

  • The breeder is honest about any drawbacks of the breed you are interested in. For example, if the breed is particularly noisy, or prone to specific health problems.

  • The breeder asks you lots of questions. For a reputable and responsible breeder, the interview goes both ways. They have the pup’s best interests at heart and want to ensure that they go to loving homes that are prepared for the commitment they require. It has been known for breeders to refuse to sell pups to people that they feel cannot provide a suitable home for their animals.
     

We hope that you will find this article helpful in sourcing a reputable breeder for your next family pet.

Canine Parvovirus

Diagnosis

A combination of tests is required in order to give an accurate diagnosis of Canine Parvovirus. These tests can include but are not limited to:
 

  • Biochemical profiling

  • Blood tests

  • Imaging studies including x-rays and ultrasounds

  • Physical examination

  • Urine analysis
     

You will also be asked to provide a comprehensive history of the health of your pet and the progression of any symptoms they have displayed. You may also be asked to provide samples of other bodily fluids.
 

Treatment

There is no cure for CPV itself, but instead, treatment revolves around easing symptoms and ensuring that further problems such as bacterial infections do not take hold. This is usually done in a hospital environment and may involve intravenous fluid therapy, nutrition therapy, anti-sickness medications, antibiotics, and anthelmintics.

Puppies have a lower survival rate because of their underdeveloped immune systems, but the survival rate for adult dogs is usually around 70%. Dogs who do not survive usually succumb to secondary bacterial infections, organ failure from severe dehydration, intestinal hemorrhages or as a result of toxins in the bloodstream.
 

Prevention is better than cure!

As with most illnesses, prevention is almost certainly better than a cure. Vaccinations against CPV can be done as early as 8 weeks old and puppies should be vaccinated at 8, 12 and 16 weeks, after which they should be kept from socializing with other animals for another 2 weeks. After 16 weeks of age, they should be sufficiently vaccinated to have contact with other animals. However, if your pet is one of the higher-risk breeds, they may require an extended initial vaccination schedule.

If you are bringing an older dog into your home, be sure to check with the shelter or current owner when it last had a CPV vaccination. If you have any doubts, you should consult with your veterinarian to ensure that your pet is on the correct vaccination schedule.
 

Ongoing Care

Dogs that have had CPV need to be kept in isolation for a minimum of two months after the initial recovery stage. Your pet will still have a weakened immune system, but your veterinarian will be able to advise you on ways that you can boost it. Your pet will also prefer an easy to digest diet, and for its food and water to be close by. Ensure that you regularly clean all of your dogs’ supplies with a non-toxic cleaner.

Unfortunately suffering from CPV does not leave your pet with immunity so there is no guarantee that it will not reoccur. Make sure your dog is vaccinated against CPV as soon as possible, and remember to complete the schedule of vaccines required to ensure immunity.

Dental Hygiene and Oral Care

Anesthesia for procedures

We always recommend and utilize the use of anesthesia for all dental procedures.
There are always risks when using an anesthetic, however, these risks are outweighed by the fact that this makes all procedures safer for your pet, safer for the vet, and ensures efficacy. Attempting procedures without anesthesia can present other dangers to the animal or vet. Especially when work needs to be done under the gum line, any movement could mean harm to your pet from our dental equipment.

After all, your pet cannot have a reasoned discussion with our staff the way you can with your dentist. Procedures are likely to make them afraid and they will probably try to get away. Animals who are in pain will often act defensively and are more likely to bite. Even when they're healthy, most animals cannot hold still long enough for procedures like X-rays to be completed correctly.

Advances in the latest anesthetics mean that for most normal procedures, your pet can go home on the very same day. They may be groggy, but their behavior should return to normal the next day.
 

Procedures we offer

The procedures we use to treat your pet's mouth are very close to the procedures a dentist uses for you.

Your pet's health is as important to us as it is to you which is why we provide a full offering of dental procedures including:
 

Hygiene:

  • Scaling (removal of plaque and tartar above the gum line)

  • Polishing

  • Filing

  • Cleaning plaque and tartar below the gum line

  • Examining below the gum line for signs of disease (X-ray)
     

Oral Procedures:

  • Endodontic therapy (Root canals)

  • Tooth restoration

  • Orthodontics

  • Periodontal disease treatments

  • Infection treatment
     

Surgical procedures:

  • Fracture repairs

  • Extraction of teeth or dental pulp

  • Oral cancer or cysts treatment

  • Cleft palate treatment

  • Tooth abscess treatment

Equine: Castration

Types of castration

Castration can be achieved in two ways. Which is right for your horse will be dependent on his age, size, and temperament, among other factors. Your equine veterinarian will be able to advise you on which method will be most suitable for your animal.


Open Castration

Open castration is the most popular method and can be performed by an experienced and qualified equine veterinarian in your horse's usual environment.

Depending on the size and temperament of your horse, the procedure may be carried out under heavy sedation or with a local or general anesthetic.

In some cases, it is possible to castrate a horse while they stand, but only in extremely laid-back and well-managed equines. During open castration, one incision is made over each testicle, but rather than being closed with sutures, they are left open so that they can drain and heal freely.


Closed Castration

Closed castrations must be performed under sterile conditions at your equine veterinarian’s surgery suite and under a general anesthetic. While the procedure is the same, in a closed castration the wounds are sealed using sutures. This significantly reduces the likelihood of hemorrhaging, but since the wounds are unable to drain as well as those in open castrations, many horses will develop swelling at the castration site in the days or even weeks after the operation.


Recovery Period

All horses are given post-operative antibiotics and pain relief following the procedure to help ensure a smooth recovery. Additionally, during the recovery period, most equine specialist veterinarians will recommend that your horse gets some light exercise every day. This will encourage the wound to drain and minimize any swelling. If you have a paddock, then your horse should be left to move around as normal. However, if your horse is stabled, then he should be walked out 3 or 4 times a day for at least ten minutes each time.
 

Complications

Castration should always be performed by a qualified and experienced equine veterinarian. However, any surgery carries a risk of complications including:
 

  • Infections: Castrations are usually carried out during spring and autumn in order to avoid some of the infection risk posed by flies during summer and mud during winter. Some infections can be picked up during the surgery itself, regardless of how clean the environment where the castration takes place is. Your veterinarian will ensure that maximum hygiene is achieved regardless, in order to minimize any infection risk.

  • Post-operative bleeding: This is more common in open castrations but can occur in either case. A little blood is usually of no concern, but if your horse experiences a constant stream of blood or you are concerned about excessive bleeding, then contact your equine veterinarian immediately.

  • Swelling: Some swelling after castration is completely normal and may increase until around five days post-operation when it should reach its peak. Gentle daily exercise is recommended to help minimize swelling.

  • Hernia: Herniation of the abdominal contents through the wound is much more common in open castrations and castration of foals. However, the risk can be minimized by using the closed technique of castration instead.

  • Reaction to anesthetic: The use of anesthetic always carries some risk with it, but your equine will be given a pre-anesthesia examination to ensure they are at low-risk of an adverse reaction.

Picking Your Perfect Cat

We hope that you have found this article helpful and wish you every success in
picking your perfect cat.

Feline Distemper

Diagnosis

Diagnosing FPV can be tricky as many of the symptoms that present themselves can be indicative of a wide range of illnesses, such as pancreatitis or poisoning. Therefore, it is necessary to perform a combination of tests in order to give an accurate diagnosis.

These tests can include but are not limited to:

  • Biochemical profiling

  • Blood tests

  • Physical examination

  • Urine analysis
     

You will also be asked to provide a comprehensive history of the health of your pet as well as the progression of any symptoms they have displayed. You may also be asked to provide samples of other bodily fluids.
 

Treatment

There is no cure for FPV itself, but it is possible to treat the primary and most life-threatening complications of the virus which is dehydration. Your cat will be immediately started on intravenous fluid therapy to bring their hydration levels up and restore the balance of electrolytes in their system. Antibiotics may also be prescribed in order to prevent the onset of any infections that your cat may be vulnerable to.

If treatment begins within the first 48 hours of contracting the virus, the survival rate is substantially higher.
 

Prevention is better than cure!

As with most illnesses, prevention is almost certainly better than cure. Vaccinations against FPV can begin when kittens are around 8 weeks of age. They should then receive booster vaccinations at 12 weeks and 16 weeks.

If you are bringing home an older cat, check with the shelter or current owner when it last had an FPV vaccination. If you have any doubts, consult with your veterinarian to ensure that your pet is on the correct vaccination schedule.
 

Ongoing Care

Cats that are recovering from FPV should be kept in isolation for several weeks with their litter tray, food, and water all nearby. Your cat will also need plenty of love and affection, so ensure that you adhere strictly to thorough hand washing protocols to avoid unintentionally spreading the virus.

Surviving the Feline Distemper means your cat will be immune if it comes into contact with the virus in the future.

Avian Vet Care

Once you have found one or more veterinarians that have the training and experience to handle birds, it is important to schedule an appointment to meet them and reassure yourself that they are the best person to support you in caring for your bird. To do this, some of the questions that you could ask include:
 

  • Are you a member of the Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV)? To be accredited by this association a vet needs to demonstrate a particularly high standard of care when treating pets.  

  • How long have you been treating birds? Obviously, the greater the amount of experience the professional has, the more likely they are to be able to offer knowledgeable and comprehensive services. 

  • What species of birds are you familiar with? Different types of birds react differently to certain medical procedures, so you need to find a vet that is knowledgeable about specific treatments that will work for your bird. 

  • Do you offer emergency or after-hours care? Sometimes accidents and illnesses arise outside of office hours. If these are serious enough to warrant immediate medical care, you need to be sure that your vet, or an alternative specialist vet, is available. 

  • Do you offer house calls? Birds are not great travelers and the experience can make them extremely stressed which can exacerbate whatever illness or injury is ailing them. Many specialist avian vets offer house calls for both emergencies and routine veterinary care. 

  • What costs are involved with the services you offer? Unfortunately, since birds are more specialized than other animals, the cost of caring for them can be greater. Ask your vet for information about their fees so that you can understand what costs you will be liable for, should your feathered friend become unwell.
     

With the right care both at home and from a qualified and experienced avian vet, your bird can enjoy a long, healthy and happy life with you and your family.

First Aid for Pets

Fractures

If you believe that your pet may have fractured a bone, he may be in considerable pain. Muzzle him if you can and then place your pet on a flat surface to support the fracture. Wrap a blanket or towel around him to keep him in place and then take him straight to your veterinarian. Unless you are a professional, we do not recommend that you use a DIY splint, as this can cause more harm than good.
 

Heatstroke

Far too many pets, especially dogs, die from being left in cars on warm days. Even if you don’t feel that it is particularly hot outside, the heat inside a vehicle can escalate very quickly through the glass so never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle.

Pets can suffer from heatstroke extremely easily. If your pet is panting excessively, he may be trying to cool himself down. Here is what you should do to help him:
 

  • Move him to a cool; shaded area.

  • Put a towel into cool or cold water and then wrap it around your pet’s head and neck; taking care not to cover his eyes, nose or mouth. The heat will be absorbed into the water so you should repeat this process every few minutes to ensure extremely cool water is being used.

  • If you can, use a hose so that cool water is continually running over your pet’s body. Pay special attention to the stomach and the area in between the hind legs as this is the area that retains the most heat. Use your hands to gently sweep the water away from its body.

  • Once you are satisfied your pet is cool enough to be moved, take him straight to see your emergency veterinarian.
     

Poisoning

Exposure to poison can be a common problem for pets and steps should be taken to ensure that anything containing hazardous chemicals, including human medication, is kept in a locked cupboard away from your pets.

As a general rule, anything that is toxic to human beings should also be considered to be harmful to your pet. However, there are also a variety of common food items that are hazardous to your pet. For a comprehensive list of pet poisons, we highly recommend you check out the Pet Poison Helpline website http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/.

If you believe your pet’s skin has been exposed to a toxic product such as bleach or other cleaning product, use the information given on the product label for what you should do if a human came into contact with the chemicals and apply the same instructions.

If you believe your pet has consumed something harmful, contact the Pet Poison Helpline which is open 24/7 and give them as much information as possible about your pet and the type of poison you believe he may have consumed.

You should also collect anything that your pet has vomited and put it in a sealed bag so that you can take it with you to your veterinarian’s office.

Heartworm

Heartworm in Cats

Cats are naturally more resistant to heartworm and once infected, the worms have a lifespan of only 2-3 years. Adult worms do not grow as long as seen in dogs, and fewer microfilariae mature into adults. Similarly, there are many fewer microfilariae present in a feline blood stream – an average of only 20% compared to 80-90% seen in canines. Worm burdens are also much lower with an average of only 1-3 worms seen per cat.
 

Symptoms of Heartworm in Cats

Many cats are able to rid themselves of heartworm before any symptoms become evident. However, some infected cats have been known to die without presenting any warning or symptoms.

Once a cat is bitten they will develop HARD – Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease. During this time your cat will experience shallow, rapid or difficulty breathing along with coughing and wheezing. The symptoms are not dissimilar to that of feline asthma or bronchitis. Other symptoms that may present themselves are very non-specific such as changes in appetite, lethargy and weight loss. All of these make heartworm much harder to detect in cats.
 

Heartworm in Ferrets

Ferrets are similar to dogs in that they are far more susceptible to heartworm than cats. Microfilariae levels found in the bloodstream of ferrets are typically around 50-60% and they usually have low worm burdens.
 

Symptoms of Heartworm in Ferrets

Symptoms of heartworm in ferrets are very similar to those seen in cats with respiratory difficulties and fatigue being the most prevalent indications. However, like their feline counterparts, heartworm in ferrets is difficult to diagnose.
 

Diagnosis of Heartworm

How to diagnose heartworm is similar across the species.
 

Diagnosing Heartworm in Dogs

Dog suspected to be infected with heartworm are usually given an antigen test. This is a blood test that detects proteins that are released by adult female heartworms into the bloodstream of the host animal. However, this test cannot usually detect infections that are less than 6/7 months old as any microfilariae in the bloodstream may not be fully matured.

Other methods of diagnosis include imaging during which time x-rays or ultrasounds of your dog will be taken to determine if heartworms are present.
 

Diagnosing Heartworm in Cats and Ferrets

Heartworm is trickier to diagnose in cats and ferrets and is therefore necessary to use a combination of blood tests and imaging to provide an accurate diagnosis of the disease.
 

Treating Heartworm

The FDA has a number of approved heartworm treatments available for dogs, the majority of which use arsenic, which is effective at killing off adult heartworms. There are also several drugs that are able to eradicate microfilariae from your pets’ bloodstream.

Whilst there are no treatments approved specifically for cats and ferrets infected with heartworm, your veterinarian may be able to prescribe treatments approved for other species under ‘extra-label drug use’. Talk to your veterinarian to discuss the best option for your pet.

Any treatment for heartworm also poses a risk to your pet due to the toxic nature of some of the ingredients which have been known to cause life-threatening complications including blood clots. Diagnosis and treatment can also be expensive due to the number of tests and comprehensive care your pet will require.
 

Prevention is better than cure!

As with most illnesses, prevention is almost certainly better than cure. There are a number of preventative treatments available via veterinarian prescription including injections, oral tablets, and topical liquids.

Pets older than 6/7 months of age should be tested for heartworm before beginning preventative treatment, whilst newborn animals can be treated right from their first vaccinations.

Speak to your veterinarian who will be happy to advise you on the best course of preventative care for your pet.
 

Are humans at risk from Heartworm?

Heartworm is spread via mosquitoes and is not contagious. In very rare cases, people can get heartworm after being bitten by an infected mosquito, but we do not make natural hosts and any larvae usually die before reaching adulthood.

Bringing Your Pet Home

Toilet training

When it comes to training your pet to do their business in the correct location, patience is definitely a virtue. Be sure to be consistent and stick to a routine. If you have a dog, let them outside at the same time every day. A good place to start is first thing in the morning, the last thing at night, and after meals. Stay with them to bolster their confidence, but wait ‘in the wings’ until they are finished.

Most kittens are trained to use the litter box before they go to their new homes, but if you need to reinforce this training, place them in the litter tray after waking and after meals. Using a litter box does go against a cat's natural instinct, so once they are settled, you may find that they prefer to do their business outdoors. With both dogs and cats, positive behavior reinforcement by way of praise, attention, affection, and treats is often the quickest and easiest way to get them trained.

 

Take the day off and limit visitors for a while

If you can, taking the day off to spend with your new pet is an ideal way to help them settle into their new home. It is crucial to give you and your pet time to get to know one another without outside pressures.

Try and keep new visitors to the house to a minimum until your pet has settled in. It is important that your pet gets to bond with you and your family first.

 

Prepare children

Children are naturally curious and will no doubt be extremely excited by the arrival of a new pet so be sure to explain to them that animals take time to adjust to new environments and may be scared, nervous or wary of them for a few days. Take the time to educate your children on how to treat your pet with the care and respect that they deserve.

 

Adopting an older pet?

If you are adopting an older pet it is prudent to try and find out as much history about the pet as possible. This will let you know what sort of temperament and behavior to expect. This will also help you make any adjustments necessary for the well being of your new pet. For example, some pets that have gone hungry when living with previous owners can be guarded, possessive or even aggressive at feeding times and need to be given space to eat.

 

Exercising your dog

When exercising your dog do not let him off the lead for at least the first 4 weeks. Begin training him to return to you when called by gently pulling his lead towards you. Be sure to reward his successful return with lots of praise and affection.

When you feel that your dog is ready to be let off the lead, begin in a secure, fenced-in location until you are completely sure that he will return to you when called. Also make sure he has a secure means of identification, either in the form of a collar and tag or ideally, a microchip.

 

Letting your feline outside

Before you let your cat or kitten outside for the first time ensure that she has adequate identification either in the form of a collar and tag or ideally, a microchip. Cats can wander quite far from home and you want to make sure you can be contacted if she gets lost.

You will also need to consider your immediate environment before you let your kitten or cat outdoors. If you live near a busy road then you may wish to limit her time outdoors to quieter traffic times.

Keep in mind that once outside, your kitten is vulnerable to diseases so you should wait until at least a week after she has finished her first course of vaccinations (approx. 13/14 weeks of age). You should also ensure that spaying or neutering has been done before letting them roam.

You can train your cat to respond to you calling her by offering praise and goodies such as tuna chunks or commercial cat treats.

6 Ways Owning a Pet is Good For Your Health

4. A Happy Pet Can Boost Your Mood

There’s nothing quite like being greeted by a happy dog after a long day, which is why some think that the majority of the overall physical health benefits of owning a pet might be a product of their mental health benefits.

Pets are also often used in various forms of cognitive therapy. For instance, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, they give dogs to soldiers as a way to help with post-traumatic stress disorder. Having a pet gives you something to look after, a purpose to get up in the morning, and someone that will love you unconditionally.
 

5. Pets Help You Socialize

This is geared more towards dog owners, unless you frequent cat cafes. Owning a dog can help you socialize since they increase the likelihood that you’ll go out and do things. For instance, something as simple as taking your dog for a walk around the neighborhood could cause you to bump into neighbors with familiar faces, who are probably excited to see your cute pupper out and about. Pets can also be conversation starters, giving people a reason to talk to you. Not to mention going to the dog park, as that is a community experience where you’re able to interact with other dog lovers.
 

6. Prevent Strokes by Stroking a Cat

According to a study by the American Stroke Association, owning a cat makes you 30% less likely to develop a stroke. In the study, 4,435 participants were followed and after taking account of factors such as smoking, diabetes, and high blood pressure, half of the participants that owned cats were less likely to develop strokes. As we mentioned earlier, owning a pet reduces stress and anxiety, which in turn, protects your heart and lowers your blood pressure. It is also believed that petting a cat reduces the stress hormone, cortisol, which lowers your heart rate and blood pressure. 

Best virtually indestructible dog toys for aggressive chewers

Kong - Extreme Range

Kong is a well known international dog chew manufacturer, and their Extreme range is absolutely ideal for the aggressive chewer in your life! There are a number of different products in the range, but all are made from a super-durable rubber and are recommended worldwide by veterinarians and dog trainers. There are different designs made to bounce, stretch, roll, and can even be stuffed with your dog’s favorite treat!

Check out the full selection on their website and find the perfect virtually indestructible chew toy for your canine companion.
 

Benebone Wishbone

If your dog likes to get his teeth into something tasty, then a Benebone Wishbone may be the perfect chew toy for them! Made from super-strong and durable nylon, the regular Wishbone and Wishbone mini are available in three flavors (bacon, peanut butter, and rotisserie chicken) and contain absolutely no chemicals or artificial flavors. There is also a jumbo Wishbone and Dental Chew that are available in bacon flavor only.

Visit their website to find out more about the product range and where to find them near you.
 

West Paw Zogoflex® - Hurley

Is it a stick? Is it a bone? Is it a ball? A highly versatile dog toy, the Zogoflex® Hurley is all three. This U.S. bestseller is so lightweight that it floats, yet so tough that West Pae claims that it should last a lifetime – and if it doesn’t they will give you a free one-time replacement! Available in a variety of sizes and colors, the Hurley is BPA-free, phthalate-free and non-toxic, and can even be popped in the dishwasher.

To find out more about the Zogoflex® Hurley and its suitability for your cheeky chewer, pop on over and visit their website.

The Importance of Pet Grooming

Brushing

Quite often misconstrued as the only part of grooming, brushing is still a huge element of the grooming process. Regular brushing removes dirt, dandruff and dead hairs from your pet. For kittens and cats, it can also help to cut back on the number of hairballs that they ingest. Regular brushing prevents tangles and matting which can be painful and lead to infections. Brushing also stimulates the natural oils in your pet's fur, which are then spread across the coat leaving it with a healthy, glossy sheen.

When brushing your pet you will be able to do a thorough examination of its skin, identifying any issues such as ticks, fleas, or bald and dry patches. Any swellings or other abnormalities will also be easier to feel.
 

Ears

Ears can be a concern for a number of different breeds who are more susceptible to infections and parasites. Ears should be clean and odor-free with weekly washes, but if anything looks red, swollen or has an unpleasant smell, plus any sign of infestation by mites or ticks, your pet should be examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
 

Eyes

Like ears, eyes can also be prone to infection if the hairs around them are not kept trimmed. Eyes should be bright and clear. Any squinting, watery eyes or anything that looks sore should be checked by your veterinarian.
 

Teeth

Regular teeth brushing is the only way to help combat periodontal disease and having bad breath is a sure sign of a dental problem. Your vet will be happy to recommend specialist pet toothbrushes and toothpaste, as well as if they think an in-office dental cleaning would be appropriate, so be sure to ask.
 

Bathing

Bathing your pet too often can actually have a detrimental effect on their health as it strips the natural oils from their skin, leaving them with dry, itchy patches which when scratched, could cause infection. That said, some bathing is needed to ensure that your animal remains clean and germ-free, so be sure to ask your vet what sort of bathing schedule they would recommend for your pet.
 

Nail Trimming

Pets can have extremely sharp nails which, if not trimmed frequently, can cause serious injury. Regular trims can reduce the risk of injury, stop them from getting caught in carpet or other upholstery, and prevent the likelihood of ingrown nails. For older pets, it can also ease arthritis and other joint pain.

We hope that this article has helped highlight the importance of regular grooming your pet for its overall health and wellbeing.

Ticks

Checking your Pet for Ticks

Dogs and cats that spend a lot of time outdoors will be at a higher risk for picking up ticks, but checking your pet carefully on a regular basis will help you prevent a tick infestation from taking root. 

You can check for ticks by running your hands over your pet's coat to check for any unusual lumps as well as carefully check the preferred locations for ticks, which is around the head, feet, and ears. 


What do I do if I spot a Tick?

It is best to remove a tick as soon as you spot it by treating the area with rubbing alcohol and removing the parasite using a pair of tweezers. Be sure to remove all parts of the tick as it is possible for parts of it to remain embedded in your pet's skin which could lead to an infection. Additionally, the tick's blood could be infected with a number of diseases so avoid getting it on yourself or your pet.

Ticks are notoriously difficult to kill so throwing it away or trying to drown it in the toilet is not always effective. Instead, submerge the tick in a jar of rubbing alcohol to stop it from reattaching to your animal. 


Treatment for Ticks

There are many topical and oral treatments available that both treat fleas and kill ticks whilst protecting against future infestation. Speak with your veterinarian who can help you select the right treatment for your pet.


Prevention is better than cure!

As with most illnesses, prevention is almost certainly better than cure! Speaking with your veterinarian about oral or topical treatments to protect against tick infestation is important, but there are also a number of things you can do to make your surrounding area a less hospitable environment for ticks by ensuring that your lawn is mowed regularly and that any tall weeds are removed. 

Recognizing an Ill Pet

Medicating your Pet

Medicating your pet can be difficult if you are unfamiliar with the best ways in which to administer the drugs. Your veterinarian will explain the dosages of any prescribed medication and will be able to demonstrate the easiest ways of administering them. Luckily, many medications can be incorporated into meal times, making the process simpler and less stressful for you and your pet.

Make sure that your pet finishes the entire course of prescribed medications, even if they look and act as if they are at full health. Not doing so could mean that the virus or infection may not be fully eradicated and your pet could become unwell again.

If your veterinarian has prescribed a special diet, be sure to feed your pet separately from any other animals in the house. Adhere strictly to the instructions given as any deviation from the plan, no matter how small, could be potentially harmful to your pet.


Ongoing Care

Your pet may need to be kept isolated from other animals in the house. They will need a quiet environment with food and water nearby as they may be physically weak for some time. Ensure plenty of fresh water is always available.

You should also keep young children away from your recovering pet as they may not understand the space that they need to fully rehabilitate.

Any changes in or worsening of symptoms should be immediately reported to your veterinarian. These changes could indicate that the medication your pet has been receiving needs urgent review or your pet's illness has become more serious. Do not delay in making an appointment and be sure to fully explain the situation to the receptionist on duty.

Feeding Your Pet

Dogs

The first ingredient listed in any dog food should be a specified meat. If the first ingredient listed is wheat, corn, meat by-product, or bone meal, then this dog food should be avoided. Dogs’ teeth are primarily made up of canines that are designed for shredding meat, not grinding grains.

Additionally, dogs should be kept on the same brand and type of food as much as possible. Changing their food too often could cause them to have an upset stomach. If you do have to change, be sure to introduce the new food gradually by mixing the new with the old over a period of time so that your dog's digestive system has a chance to adjust.
 

Cats

To cats, the odor of their food is particularly important as is the temperature of their food, which they prefer to be around body temperature when they consume it. Glass or ceramic bowls do not absorb externals odors and are the best choice for feeding. They also like to be able to see their surroundings when they eat and not backed into a corner.

Cats naturally prefer grazing on small meals, so dry food free-feeding is often the most popular choice for mealtimes.
Protein and fats are the most palatable types of food for cats and they much prefer the texture of meat to anything else.
 

Rabbits

Rabbits need at least one bunny-sized bundle of hay every day. Accompany this with a handful of washed leafy green vegetables or herbs such as kale, lettuce, broccoli, sage, or mint. Try and offer variety to ensure your rabbit gets a good mix of nutrients.

When choosing pellets, opting for good quality is important. As a general rule, you should feed your rabbit one eggcup of pellets per kg of your rabbit's’ weight. For example, if your rabbit weighs 1kg then you should only give them one eggcup of pellets every day.

Lawnmower clippings are NOT safe for your rabbit to eat and do not give your rabbit muesli!

Treats for rabbits should be infrequent and limited to carrots and apples.

How to Stay Safe and Have Fun When Kids and Pets Play

Ensure your kids like the species or breed of pet

Sometimes, your children may not be comfortable around certain animals or new pets. While it's important to help your child overcome certain fears in order to become comfortable with new experiences, it's important to remember that sometimes forcing a child to interact with an animal is not okay. Only you as the parent can make that determination, and some things go without saying, like you shouldn't buy a pet tarantula for a kid with arachnophobia.

Kids are also likely to lash out at an animal when they're afraid. Whether it's crying, screaming, or something physical such as pushing or hitting. These reactions can create a bad atmosphere for the pet and since the pet is unable to understand, it can create a cycle of tension that will inevitably lead to the animal defending itself.


Training, training, training

Pets, especially young cats or dogs, can go through behavior training that will help them to be comfortable around children. Once they've been trained, you can intercede with appropriate commands for the pet as well as the child. Sometimes, even pets that don't like kids can be trained to interact safely. This is great especially if there is a child that doesn't live with you, but visits often or for long periods of time. When looking for a training professional, be sure to ask your veterinarian, as they can make some great suggestions!

Of course, your pets are not the only ones who need training. Kids need training too! Young children are still learning the right way to behave around animals as well as the boundaries between "nice and playful" and "mean and hurtful." Without being taught, kids won't understand that even though they think pulling on a pet's ears is funny, that doesn't mean that the pet likes, it which makes it a bad thing to do. Additionally, there are things about different breeds that need to be taught, such as certain pets, like rabbits or gerbils, require special handling, hands need to be washed after interacting with reptiles, and fish tank windows are not be tapped on. It is also important to teach kids when to leave their pets alone, such as when they're eating, sleeping, or defecating.

Below are more tips for keeping pets and kids happy and comfortable while they play:
 

  • Always make sure interactions are supervised, either by you or by someone who understands the importance of child-animal safety. This will enable you to intervene and redirect any poor behavior.

  • Keep initial introductions between the child and the pet calm and with you in control. This will influence their behavior and enable a pleasant first interaction.

  • Train animals like cats and dogs to not jump on new arrivals, especially children.

  • Use treats to reinforce positive associations and good behavior. This can be particularly effective with cats.

  • Don't allow any roughhousing, especially if the pet and the child are still adjusting to each other. It can be hard to know if the pet is becoming anxious or if the child is going too far. It can also be hard to ensure your pet won't get too rough during play.

  • Similarly, don't let your child attempt to ride or lift large pets.

  • Learn the signs of anxiety and agitation in your pet (e.g., panting without exercise, growling, bared teeth, defensive postures) so you can tell when to separate your child from the animal.

  • Remember that any pet can act out and harm a child through scratching and biting.

  • Find ways to prevent pet toys and children's toys from becoming confused in order to avoid territorialism.

  • Make sure your pet has a safe space to retreat to away from children, such as a dog crate or an elevated cat bed, as being cornered or trapped will make an already anxious pet afraid and more likely to lash out.

  • Teach your child the appropriate way to approach animals, and to never try to approach or touch any animal that does not belong to your family.

Equine: Dentistry

Dental care for foals

It is important to be aware that losing baby teeth isn’t just for humans. Foals will also lose their first teeth after a few years, with adult teeth coming in behind them at around five years of age. In some instances, there can be dental problems during this transitional period including impacted teeth and infections.


Dental care for older equines

Horse’s adult teeth continue to grow for the duration of their lives. This means that they need to be worn down adequately to prevent serious dental issues from occurring. While this happens naturally in the wild, domestic horses will need to visit an experienced equine dentist for a procedure known as ‘floating’ which involves filing down the teeth manually. This procedure is usually required at least once every 12 months to ensure that your horse’s teeth are kept even and at a suitable length.


Tooth removal

Horses may lose or require teeth to be removed for a number of reasons which can make it tricky for your animal to chew and eat their regular food. If your equine struggles to eat properly, is spraying or dropping food, or if you are worried that he isn’t getting the nutrition that he needs, then you should consult with your veterinarian about his diet. It may be necessary to switch to a different variety of food or way of feeding in order to keep your horse in optimum health.

Regular visits to a qualified and experienced equine dentist can help prevent painful and debilitating dental conditions and ensure the overall health and wellbeing of your horse.

Why cats like to relax and sleep up high

In addition to being up high, your cat may also prefer small, enclosed spaces, particularly when they sleep. Again, this comes from the need to feel protected. Many cats love to sleep in cardboard boxes that are enclosed on all sides as this means that they only have one point of entry to keep a sleepy eye on, reducing their vulnerability.

Once your cat finds the perfect place to sleep, she may be happy there for a while, but in many cases, you may find that she will switch spots after a few months. The exact reason for this can only be speculated, but experts suggest that it comes from the fact that cats are extraordinarily clean creatures who severely dislike dirt and dust. Therefore, if the area in which they sleep becomes too dirty or the scent changes, your cat will probably start looking for somewhere else to sleep.

Speaking of sleep, cats sleep – a lot. In fact, most cats will sleep up to 16 hours per day, so make sure that your feline friend has somewhere where she feels safe and comfortable to relax and nap.

Equine: Endoscopy

Why might equines require an endoscopy?

Health problems are a concern for any responsible animal owner and an endoscopy may be recommended to help with diagnosing any number of conditions. Additionally, endoscopies are routinely used in the sale/purchase of racehorses because they can accurately identify the presence of a laryngeal condition that can affect the ability of a racehorse to perform successfully.
 

Equine endoscopies and laryngeal hemiplegia

Laryngeal hemiplegia (also referred to as recurrent laryngeal neuropathy or laryngeal paralysis) is a common condition amongst racehorses where the nerves that supply the muscles of the larynx become diseased, impeding their ability to function correctly. This prevents the larynx from opening completely which prevents the animal from taking adequate breaths and consequently reduces the ability to perform at full capacity.

Racehorses with laryngeal hemiplegia make an unusual ‘whistling’ noise when they breathe which is caused by a narrowed airway. An endoscope inserted into the upper respiratory tract, a procedure commonly known as ‘the wind test,’ will be able to identify the condition. Portable endoscopes are often used at horse sales/purchases for this reason so that the buyer can ensure the horse is in good health and will be a sound investment. Trying to race a horse that suffers from laryngeal hemiplegia would be irresponsible as it is extremely dangerous to their health.

Euthanasia

What happens during the euthanasia procedure?

Understanding what happens during a euthanasia procedure before the actual event can be beneficial. Not only will you understand the medical process, but you can be comforted by the knowledge that the way in which your pet will be put to sleep will be peaceful and completely pain-free. Your veterinarian will explain the entire procedure to you, but if you require further clarification of any part of the process, please don't hesitate to ask.

Smaller to mid-sized pets are usually placed on a table, whilst larger animals are more comfortable on the floor. Be sure to bring their favorite blanket or bed to give them added comfort during this time. A veterinary technician will usually hold your pet still to ensure that the procedure is done swiftly and smoothly, but if your pet is unable to stay still for the procedure, then the veterinarian may give him a sedative beforehand.

Most often an IV catheter is placed into a vein in the front or rear leg of your pet to ensure that the vein does not rupture when the euthanizing drug is injected. Your veterinarian will then use this vein to inject your pet with an overdose of sodium pentobarbital, or other anesthetic drug, which will cause your pet to fall into unconsciousness, before slowing and then stopping the heart altogether.

Your veterinarian will then use a stethoscope to confirm that the heart has stopped beating. For a few minutes after the process, you may witness involuntary muscle twitching or breathing from your pet and the bladder and bowels may release. These are all perfectly normal occurrences with no cause for concern. You are then usually given the option to spend a few minutes alone with your pet.
 

Cremation or Burial

Ahead of the euthanasia process, you will be asked whether you would prefer for your pet to be cremated or prepared for burial. Cremation is a very popular option, after which you can scatter your pet's ashes in their favorite walking spot, keep them in an urn, or arrange for them to be made into jewelry or a paperweight.

Alternatively, you may wish to bury your pet. If you want to bury your pet at home, be sure to check any local ordinances for restrictions. There are also pet cemeteries located across the US, which your veterinarian should be able to advise you on where to find the closest one.

Exotic Animal Medicine

One of the main reasons that these animals are classified as exotic and should only be treated by a veterinarian with experience of the species is because their anatomy is so completely different from that of a cat or dog. Not only are they so different from the more commonly kept pets, the behavior that they might exhibit when sick or injured, as well as the effects that the illness or injury may have on their body, can vary greatly in different species that fall under the umbrella of exotic pets. For example, a vet will need specialist knowledge to successfully diagnose and treat a bird with a fractured wing. A veterinary specialist with unique knowledge of the body and behaviors of your species of pets is necessary for an accurate diagnosis and subsequent treatment to be obtained. 

Equally, the medications that may be required will be vastly different from the drugs usually administered to a canine or feline pet. Only a veterinary specialist will have a solid understanding of these medications and how they should be used to treat your pet.

Exotic animals also have specific nutritional and environmental needs. If they are to remain healthy, their owners will need to closely replicate the habitat that they would live in if they were still in the wild. For example, animals that are used to hot, humid weather, such as lizards and snakes, are best kept in terrariums that can be sufficiently heated. An exotic veterinarian will have the knowledge and experience to be able to make recommendations relating to these aspects of your pet's care. 

If you have or are looking to adopt an exotic pet, be sure to seek out a veterinarian who has sufficient training and experience in handling your variety of animals so that your pet may get the best care possible. Ask local owners of similar animals for recommendations or go online to search out exotic vets in your area. 

Homeopathy for Animals

What happens during my pet’s first appointment?

The initial consultation will usually last around an hour and will involve you giving comprehensive information about your pet to your homeopathic doctor. You may be asked about your pet’s medical history from birth (or from as far back as your ownership goes), his emotional wellbeing, any allergies, his eating and drinking patterns and so on.

This information is necessary for your doctor to be able to provide an accurate diagnosis and select the best homeopathic treatment for your pet. With more than 2500 treatments currently on the market, it is vital that your doctor gets the correct remedy in place as soon as possible. As such, the more information that you can provide about your pet, the better!

Once your doctor has all of the information they need, they will be able to put together a treatment plan for your pet. You will then be contacted to return to the doctor a few days later to discuss your pet’s plan and receive your supply of homeopathic remedies. You will also be given any other advice that the doctor feels may be beneficial to your pet such as guidance on exercise or nutrition.
 

How long will it take before we can see results?

It is important to remember that homeopathy treats the root cause of the problem rather than just masking the pain and symptoms. It is also important to remember that everyone, including animals, heals at different rates. You will need to be patient and allow your pet time to heal naturally. As a general rule, the longer a problem has existed, the longer it will take to treat it.
 

How much does homeopathy cost?

While the actual homeopathic medicines are relatively inexpensive compared to controlled pharmaceutical drugs, your doctor will have to spend a number of hours creating your pet’s tailored treatment plan, so the costs will vary.

If you have been referred to homeopathy by your veterinarian, all or part of the cost of the treatment may be covered on your insurance. Please be sure check with your insurer for more details. 

Heatstroke and Your Pet

Prevent heatstroke before there are any problems

Animal's bodies work differently than human bodies. For instance, cats and dogs only sweat through the pads on their feet while rabbits dissipate heat through their ears. What keeps you cool may not help your pets to stay cool, and if you're ever unsure about how to care for your specific pet, please feel free to ask us!

Here are some basic tips to help you help your pet avoid heatstroke:
 

  • Use an air conditioner. Because of the way your animals sweat, a fan by itself will not be enough to help them release body heat.

  • Be prepared for severe or disastrous weather that could disable power in your home. This may increase the risk of heat stroke, as you will have a harder time providing cool water.

  • Consider using the basement when you're leaving your pet alone at home. Since it's underground, it will be naturally cooler.

  • Provide plenty of shade and ventilation. This is true while you're indoors, but it's especially important when you're outdoors. When outdoors, ensure nothing could keep your pet from reaching the shade (e.g., leash getting stuck on something).

  • Keep your pets indoors both on very hot days and during the hottest part of the day, and avoid ground that will retain heat, such as asphalt and sand.

  • NEVER leave your pet in the car unattended, no matter how quick your errand or how shady your parking spot is. Cracking the windows is not enough to ensure the safety of your pet. It is pets being left in vehicles that is a leading cause of hyperthermia-related pet deaths.

  • Do not muzzle larger pets, like dogs. Panting is part of their cooling process, and how they pant will help you determine how well or poorly they're reacting to the temperature.

  • Make sure your pet has easy access to water, and if you're going to be out of the house, consider using a pet fountain that will prevent spillage. Putting ice cubes in your pet's water will also help them keep their internal temperature down. Note: Older or impaired animals may drink less water than other pets; be sure you make cool water even easier to access.

  • Use ice packs or similar DIY options (e.g., frozen water bottles) to help your pet cool itself. For small pets, you can put this in their cage for them to lay against. Larger animals may need them wrapped in a towel so they can lay on top of them.

  • Apply water to keep your pets cool. This could be something small, such as misting your rabbit's ears, or something wetter, like letting your dog have a dip in the pool.

  • Give your pets cool treats, like peanut-butter Popsicles or chilled wet food.

  • Take extra care with animals that have certain high-risk factors, including heart or lung disease, obesity, or thick-hair coats.
    Symptoms
     

Early stages of overheating can be treated at home, but you should check in with your veterinarian to make sure your pet isn't suffering from any internal or more serious effects. Hopefully, you can catch these symptoms quickly and prevent heatstroke from progressing, but once the condition of your pet has moved to heatstroke, you will need to take immediate action and bring your pet to your veterinarian as quickly as possible.
Symptoms of overheating include:

  • Unusually rapid panting with the tongue hanging out.

  • Lethargy.

  • Unwillingness to move.

  • Dehydration.

  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat.

  • Difficulty urinating.

  • Black or tar-like stool.

  • Vomiting and diarrhea.

  • Uncoordinated movements and muscle weakness.

  • Dizziness or stupor.

  • Glazed eyes.

  • Thick saliva.

  • Dark red or very pale discoloration of moist tissues (gums and tongue)

  • Vomiting blood.

  • Bloody stool.

  • Sudden breathing distress, possibly with fluid in the lungs.

  • Muscle tremors and seizures.

  • Shock.

  • Coma.
     

Even lizards and birds can experience heatstroke. Stiffness, discolored skin or tongue, rigidity, lethargy, and loss of appetite are a few signs that these pets may be experiencing heatstroke. Be sure to talk to us about your specific pet so you will know what to watch out for.

 

Effects

Even if your pet seems better once you have normalized their body temperature, they may still be injured. Always bring your pets into your veterinarian for assessment and treatment in order to prevent more serious internal problems.

These internal issues may include:

  • Acute kidney failure.

  • Cardiac or pulmonary distress or arrest.

  • Blood clot dysfunction or disorder.

  • Systemic inflammatory response system.

  • Liver disease, disorder, or cell breakdown.

  • Depression or other mental changes.

  • Hydrocephalus (abnormal accumulation of fluid around the brain).

  • If left untreated, heatstroke can result in death.
     

Treatment - What you can do

If you determine that your pet does have heatstroke, you will need to handle your pet with extreme care. For example, making them too cold, or making them cold too quickly, can cause problems such as an increased risk of shock or hypothermia. The latter will cause the blood vessels to constrict, making blood flow difficult and prevent your pet from actually being able to cool down.

In the case of small pets, you will want to wet their paws and ears with cool water. Wetting the fur will also help as it will imitate the process of sweating. It is especially important to cool small pets down slowly, otherwise, there's an increased risk of life-threatening complications. Once you've brought their temperature down some, wrap them in a wet towel gently and loosely to keep them cool while you transport them to a local emergency veterinary hospital.


Caring for larger pets is similar. You will want to bring your pet's body temperature down to a safe level (about 103° F) by wetting their fur with cool water or by using cloths wet with cool water placed in key locations such as the back of the head and the armpits. Allow them to drink water or lick ice if they are thirsty, but do not give them cold water or try to force them to drink. You can use a children's re-hydration drink or add a little salt to their water to help restore minerals lost from overheating. Once they are at a normal temperature, dry your pet thoroughly to prevent hypothermia and bring them to an emergency veterinarian immediately.

If you've found your pet unconscious and are unable to wake them, bathe them in cool water, being careful not to let water get into their nose or mouth, as this can result in aspirated pneumonia. Bring them to an emergency veterinary hospital as quickly as possible, and if you can, put a cold pack against their belly during transport. Frozen water bottles or bags of frozen vegetables can double for an ice pack.
 

Treatment - What we can do and Aftercare

Once you've brought your pet to us, we offer an array of services to meet the specific needs of your pet.
These include:

  • Temperature regulation.

  • Respiratory aid.

  • Blood tests.

  • Clot tests.

  • Full body exam.

  • Tests for damage to internal organs.

  • Treatments based on our diagnosis.


In most cases, pets can fully recover complication free. However, your pet may temporarily or permanently require a special diet if there are complications. Always remember that pets who have experienced heatstroke once have a greater risk of experiencing it again.

If your pet's behavior has not returned to normal after a few days (or as otherwise discussed with your vet), bring your pet back for further assessment.

Vaccinations and Examinations

Vaccinations

 

When to vaccinate

Puppies and kittens are usually protected from infectious diseases by their mother’s milk provided that she has been adequately vaccinated herself. However, this protection only lasts for a short while.

  • Puppies should be vaccinated at 8, 11, and 14 weeks.

  • Kittens should be vaccinated at 9, 12, and 15 weeks.

  • Boosters should be given 12 months after the date of the last vaccinations.

  • If you have an older pet, your veterinarian will be able to advise you on the correct vaccination protocol to follow.

 

Dogs

Dogs should be routinely vaccinated against:
 

  • Canine distemper

  • Canine parvovirus

  • Infectious canine hepatitis

  • Leptospirosis
     

If your dog is going to spending time in kennels, you should also inquire about getting them vaccinated against kennel cough. The vaccine is usually given via the nostrils and protects against bordetella bronchiseptica and parainfluenza virus.

Dogs will also need a rabies vaccination.

 

Cats

Cats should be routinely vaccinated against:

  • Feline calicivirus

  • Feline herpes virus

  • Feline infectious enteritis

  • Feline leukemia virus
     

(Current guidelines recommend that only ‘at risk’ cats are vaccinated against feline leukemia virus. Those deemed at risk include kittens and immune-compromised cats).

 

Rabbits

Rabbits should be routinely vaccinated against:
 

  • Myxomatosis

  • Rabbit (viral) hemorrhagic disease (RHD)
     

If your pet is having single vaccines, then the myxomatosis vaccine should be given from 6 weeks of age, and the RHD vaccine from 8 weeks. Single vaccines cannot be given simultaneously. After this time myxomatosis boosters should be given every 6 months.

Combined vaccines offer annual protection against both diseases and can be given from 5 weeks of age.

If you are unsure about anything regarding your pet's vaccines, please consult your veterinarian who will be able to advise you on the best vaccination protocol to follow.

Flea Prevention and Care

Putting an end to the infestation

The fleas have gotten past your defenses and into your home. What now? How do you and your pet stay healthy and put an end to your misery?

Attaining the best results is going to depend on the severity of the infestation. After all, just giving your pet a shampoo treatment isn't going to help if there are already eggs, larva, and adults living in your carpet. At a certain point, a simple house spray or carpet treatment may be enough, but if the infestation is severe, you may want to talk to your vet about the risks and benefits of certain types of more extreme solutions.

Sometimes people mistake monitoring tools, like flea traps, with infestation control. Flea traps cannot trap the majority of fleas in your home nor can it treat the source of the infestation, be it your pet, your yard, or something else. They also won't do anything to prevent new larva from hatching.

The first point of control should be your pet. Even if they aren't the source of an infestation, this will help mitigate discomfort and health risks. Be sure to talk to us about your options!

  • A once-monthly oral medication will help interfere with the early life stages of new fleas.

  • Spot-on treatment can protect your pet's entire body and kill adult fleas on contact.

  • You may want to use a flea shampoo, which will only last a couple of weeks but will immediately kill all the fleas on your pet as well as protect your pet over time.

  • In severe situations, a dip, much like a shampoo, may be required. However, if it is not used carefully, dips can be hazardous to both you and your pet.

  • Remember to keep combing your pet. This will let you know if the selected treatment is working as expected. You should also regularly vacuum your home in order to prevent flea eggs and larva from settling in, as well as regularly clean bedding, etc.

  • However, treating your animal won't be enough. Treating your home and your yard are important steps to ensuring the fleas are gone for good. This is likely to require a combination of treatments since no one treatment can cover everything. This may require a bit of spending and it will definitely require patience. Hiring professional exterminators will work as well as they are trained in what to look for in your yard and home, and have the tools necessary to fully treat your home.

  • Flea bombs sound like the best all-around treatment because, like other bug bombs and foggers, it fills up the space of a room. It does require multiple bombs to treat multiple rooms. However, the downside is that it leaves some areas untreated (e.g., inside closets, drawers, or cabinets, or even underneath some kinds of furniture) and leaves a residue that can contaminate food.

  • Anti-flea sprays are available that can be used on carpets and furniture, and some are even multi-use sprays that can be used on your pets. (Always read the instructions! Using one that's furniture use only on your pet can make them sick!) However, the length of time these sprays last is very brief, meaning you will have to use and buy these products often.

  • Another option is carpet powders which are spread out on the floor, allowed to 'rest' like waiting for a flea bomb to completely expend itself, and then are vacuumed up. These are harder to come by and often are not available in regular stores, but they are long-lasting and kill fleas at every life cycle. Unfortunately, you cannot spread it on furniture and it needs to be vacuumed thoroughly.

  • When it comes to your yard, there are a few natural options that may help, but cannot be guaranteed, including using cedar chips or Pennyroyal herbs as a repellent and spraying nematodes (which do not affect humans or pets) on your yard.

  • Flea insecticides are also available for your yard. Like indoor treatments, you should always read all the instructions and follow them carefully and remember to protect yourself with gloves and a dust mask. You'll need to cover the whole yard, so make sure your pets and/or children don't play in the area until the process is finished.
     

You should never rely on one method to kill fleas, and never only treat one area at a time as this will inevitably provide a small percentage of fleas a sanctuary, which in turn will lead to a new infestation.

Picking your Perfect Puppy

Chihuahua

Height: 6-9 inches Weight: 2-6lbs
Life expectancy: Up to 16 years

Physical characteristics: Classified as a ‘toy-sized’ dog, it has a body that is longer than it's sickle-shaped tail and large erect ears. Coats are normally short and come in a large range of colors.

Temperament: A good companion dog, the Chihuahua is a bright and loyal addition to any household. Small dog syndrome is a huge issue for Chihuahuas as their size means people tend to let them get away with dominant behavior. Unless this issue is tackled firmly, they are often not suitable to be homed with children since they can become aggressive.

Exercise: These dogs prefer warmer weather and are happily suited to apartment living provided they have daily exercise, which can be taken care of by regular playtime.

Health: This breed is prone to rheumatism, colds, and gum and eye problems. They gain weight easily and are susceptible to poison, so take extra care around toxic products. Their short muzzles mean they are likely to wheeze and snore.
 

Dalmatian

Height (males): 22-24 inches Weight: 55lbs
Height (females): 20-22 inches
Life expectancy: approximately 10-12 years

Physical characteristics: Most commonly recognized by their spotted coats which come in a variety of colors including lemon and tri-color. They are strong dogs with good muscle tone, hanging ears, and tapered tails. Puppies are born completely white and later develop spots.

Temperament: Dalmatians have huge amounts of stamina and energy which makes for very bouncy, yet friendly pets. They enjoy playing with older children, but may be too boisterous for younger family members. They require firm handling, plenty of physical and mental stimulation, and consistent training. As they age, they often become more docile and easier to manage.

Exercise: Not suited to living in cold climates, these dogs require a lot of exercise. Several walks per day and access to a large yard are ideal starting points, but be prepared to put in a lot of activity with your Dalmatian.

Health: Approximately 10-12% of Dalmatians are born deaf, but don't be discouraged, it is possible to raise a deaf dog to become well adjusted. The breed is also prone to urinary stones and skin allergies.
 

Poodle (standard)

Height: 15 inches or more Weight: 45-70lbs
Life expectancy: 12-15 years

Physical characteristics: A medium to large sized dog, the standard Poodle is distinctive thanks to its curly or corded coat, high-carried tail, and low hanging ears. Poodles require extensive grooming to ensure the coat doesn’t become matted and dirty.

Temperament: Often considered to be a very proud, graceful, and intelligent animal that is easy to train. They are generally friendly with children, strangers, and most other dogs.

Exercise: Poodles are relatively inactive indoors and only require a small yard provided they are given daily walks.

Health: The breed is, unfortunately, subject to a number of genetic conditions, including poor eye health, allergies, skin conditions, bloating, hip dysplasia, and ear infections.

We hope that this article has given you an insight into the broad range of physical and behavioral characteristics that are present across different breeds of dogs. For further breed information, we recommend visiting www.dogbreedinfo.com.

How to Help Your Pet Get More Exercise

Exercise for Cats

Regular exercise is just as important for cats as it is for dogs. Whilst cats were never intended to work, more and more are choosing to stay indoors where they are warm and comfortable rather than roaming outside.

You should try and spend at least 15 minutes each day engaging your feline friend in some form of activity. Kittens and younger cats will happily play, but you might find that older kitties may need a bit more encouragement!

Activities that stimulate the natural hunting instinct in your cat are usually the best received and luckily, there are plenty of tools that you can use to get them involved. These include feathers on sticks or a string, a long piece of yarn, faux mice, birds or anything that they can chase. Just make sure that you put any yarn or string away after you're done playing to minimize the risk of them eating it!

Another popular game is getting your cat to chase a beam of light by using a small flashlight or laser pointer. The narrower the point of light the better, as it will mimic a bug that your cat will delight in trying to hunt down.

Cat trees are also a good investment. They help your cat to work their muscles and keep their joints supple as well as naturally wear down the sharpness of their claws.

Additionally, cats love sensory exploration, so use open-ended cardboard boxes, long tubes, crunchy paper, bells and anything else that makes a noise to create a fun play area for them.
 

Exercise for smaller animals

When it comes to the smaller animals in your household, you will still need to give them the opportunity to use their muscles and get their heart rate up. Ensure that their cages are large enough to allow for plenty of movement and if possible, create a safe outdoor space for them to run around in.

Your pet retailer will be able to supply you with extended cages for climbing and accessories such as wheels which will encourage your pets to keep moving.

Poison Guide: What to do if you think your pet has been poisoned

Human medications poisonous to pets

According to statistics from the Pet Poison helpline, almost 50% of all calls to them are related to suspected poisoning by human medication. Here is a list of the top 10 human medicines most frequently ingested by pets.
 

  1. NSAIDs (e.g. Advil, Aleve and Motrin)

  2. Acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol)

  3. Antidepressants

  4. ADHD/ADD medications

  5. Benzodiazepines and sleep aids (e.g. Xanax)

  6. Birth control pills

  7. ACE inhibitors (e.g. Zestril, Altace)

  8. Beta-Blockers

  9. Thyroid hormones

  10. Cholesterol-lowering agents aka statins
     

Recognizing the signs of poisoning in your pet

The symptoms that your pet will display can be extremely variable depending on what type of poison they have ingested. However, there are some common signs of poisoning that you can look out for.

These include:

  • Gastrointestinal Symptoms: diarrhea, vomiting, drooling, lack of appetite, nausea.
  • Internal Bleeding Symptoms: racing heartbeat, pale gums, vomiting/coughing up blood, weakness/tiredness and unconsciousness.
  • Liver Failure Symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea, black tarry stools, jaundice or yellow coloring to the gums, unusual behavior, weakness, and subsequent unconsciousness.
  • Kidney Failure Symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst or urination, lack of appetite, halitosis/bad breath and decreased/no urination.


If you are at all concerned that your pet may have been poisoned then you should contact your veterinarian immediately, or call the Pet Poison Helpline on 800-213-6680.
 

Poison-proofing your home

The risk of poisoning can be dramatically reduced by poison-proofing your home. Here are some of the key steps that you can take to keep hazardous substances out of reach of your precious pets.
 

  • Keep all medications (prescription and over the counter) in a secure, higher level cupboard.

  • Keep all cleaning products in a secure cupboard, preferably also at a higher level.

  • Ensure that there are no pets in the room when you spray cleaning products and wait a good hour or two before you let your animals re-enter.

  • Close your toilet lid to prevent your pets from drinking the water.

  • If you have flowers in your backyard, ensure that they are not poisonous (the full list of poisonous plants is available on the Pet Poison Helpine website.)

  • Educate your whole family about poison safety – it can be especially tempting for young children to share their chocolate treats with their pets. Educating them early about what your pet can and cannot eat will help prevent poisoning.

Traveling With Your Pet

Traveling by Plane

Air travel is not suitable for animals and should only be used in situations where it is absolutely necessary and there are no alternatives. It is particularly dangerous for breeds with brachycephalic faces such as bulldogs, Persian cats and pugs since these breeds have an increased risk of heat stroke and oxygen deprivation due to having shortened nasal passages.

If possible, you should always take your pet in the cabin with you. Most airlines will allow this for an additional fee, but there may be restrictions on pet size and the type of carrier allowed to be used. Ensure that you make all the necessary arrangements well in advance of your flight as there are also limitations on how many animals can be taken in the cabin at one time. Speak with your airline for information on their policy for transporting pets.

Be prepared for security checks. Your pet's carrier will still have to pass through security x-rays and you should be prepared to adequately restrain your pet whilst this happens.

If your pet is unable to fly in the cabin and you have no option but to transport them in the cargo hold, you should be aware that many animals are lost, injured or killed when traveling this way due to insecure crates, turbulence, rough handling, poor ventilation and extreme temperature fluctuations.

There are a number of steps that you can take to increase the chances of your pet having a safe flight in the cargo hold.
 

  • Always use direct flights where possible.

  • Always travel on the same flight as your pet where possible.

  • Carry a picture of your pet with you. If anything does happen, this will make it easier to look for your pet and prove that he is yours.

  • Do not feed your pet 4-6 hours before the trip to try and ensure that they do not need to evacuate their bowels mid-flight. Small amounts of water should be given to avoid dehydration.

  • Ensure that the captain and flight attendants are aware that there is at least one animal traveling in the cargo hold.

  • Ensure that your pet has identification, either by securing him with a collar and identity tag, or preferably a microchip.

  • Give your pet a thorough examination as soon as you arrive at your destination, and take him straight to a veterinarian if you are at all concerned.

  • Let your pet explore and get used to the carrier or crate in the weeks leading up to the journey.

  • Put your travel information along with your contact details on the side of the carrier or crate.

  • Try and choose flight times that will accommodate extreme temperature fluctuations. For example, if traveling in the summer when the weather is hot, try and travel in the evening when the temperatures decrease to a more comfortable level. If traveling during winter, try and fly during the day when the temperatures are warmer.

Equine: Lameness Evaluation

Diagnosing equine lameness

Lameness is something that can be challenging for veterinarians to diagnose, particularly in the case of animals with subtle or intermittent symptoms. In the absence of an obvious external injury, your veterinarian will need to use their knowledge and skill in order to determine both the location and the extent of the problem. You will be asked to provide a thorough medical history of your horse as well as information about his current nutrition and exercise regime.

Your veterinarian will perform a hands-on examination to check the muscles, joints, tendons and bones for any evidence of swelling, heat, or other obvious problems. Your veterinarian will also perform flexion tests which assess the capsule surrounding the joints along with the associated ligaments, tendons, and bone ends. To do this, he will hold the limb in a fixed position for a short amount of time before releasing it. When your horse moves away, your veterinarian will perform a visual analysis to check for any increased signs of lameness.

Investigative tests are also common and may include x-rays and/or ultrasound scans to obtain a clear, internal picture of your equine. These tests can pick up on problems such as fractures and damaged tendons. However, because of the wide variation of causes of lameness, in a large number of cases it is necessary for your veterinarian to perform additional tests in order to find the area that is causing the problem. These tests, known as nerve and joint blocks, involve inserting a numbing injection into one area of the horse at a time, usually starting with the legs. Your equine is then assessed, usually by trotting and lunging, to try and pinpoint the area of concern. Nerve and joint blocks can be relatively time-consuming as it is necessary for each area to regain feeling before moving on to the next, in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis.
 

Before the evaluation

Your veterinarian may have a couple of stipulations before bringing your horse in for a lameness evaluation.
These may include:

  • That no farrier should be performed on your horse’s feet in the two weeks ahead of the lameness evaluation and that shoes should not be removed.

  • That no pain-killers are given to your horse in the five days ahead of the evaluation.

  • That you provide any relevant supplies as it may be necessary to see how your horse moves under the saddle.

 

Lameness Scale

With such a large degree of lameness possible, a scale has been developed by the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP).
The criteria are as follows:

0 – Lameness is not perceptible under any circumstances
1 – Lameness is difficult to observe and is not consistently apparent, regardless of circumstances
2 – Lameness is difficult to observe at a walk or when trotting in a straight line, but consistently apparent under certain circumstances
3 – Lameness is consistently observable at a trot under all circumstances
4 – Lameness is obvious at a walk
5 – Lameness produces minimal weight bearing in motion and/or at rest or a complete inability to move

Please be aware that this is an arbitrary scale and some vets use variations that grade up to 10.

Best flea treatments for dogs and cats

Seresto™ Flea and Tick Collar for Dogs and Cats

These collars offer a long-term solution to flea and pest problems when compared to other products. Unlike topical and oral treatments, which typically require a monthly application, the Seresto™ collars provide protection for up to 8 months. There are multiple varieties available that cater to both dogs or cats.
 

Capstar® Flea Control for Dogs and Cats

If you prefer to administer your pet’s flea treatment orally then this is a good option. It kills fleas quickly and can be used in conjunction with other popular preventatives to help stop any future infestations. It is also safe for pets that are pregnant or nursing. There are a number of formulas available for dogs and cats so make sure to select the correct one for your pet’s weight and species.
 

Advantage® II for Dogs and Cats

This topical treatment uses pesticides to kill and repel a variety of pests including fleas. It is known for being incredibly fast-acting as it kills all adult fleas within 12 hours of the first application. However, some animals find that the solution irritates their skin. It comes in a selection of formulas which are based on weight.
 

Sentry Fiproguard for Cats

A very popular alternative to Frontline®, Sentry Fiproguard is an economical option for providing basic protection against fleas and other pests and is often used by people with a large number of pets. It is also water-resistant and so will remain effective even in areas that experience high rainfall.
 

Effix for Dogs

Another topical treatment, Effix begins to eliminate fleas as quickly as six hours after application and also repels a wide variety of other pests including mosquitos, lice, and ticks. It is a good all-round treatment that requires a monthly application.

Canine Distemper

Diagnosis

Diagnosing CDV can be tricky, as many of the symptoms that present themselves can be indicative of a wide range of illnesses. Therefore, it is necessary to undertake a combination of tests in order to give an accurate diagnosis. These tests can include but are not limited to:
 

  • Biochemical profiling

  • Blood tests

  • Imaging studies including x-rays and ultrasounds

  • Physical examination
     

You will also be asked to provide a comprehensive history of the health of your pet as well as the progression of any symptoms that they have displayed. You may also be asked to provide samples of other bodily fluids.
 

Treatment

There is no cure for CDV itself, but treatment revolves around easing any symptoms and ensuring that further problems like bacterial infections do not take hold. This is usually done in a hospital environment and may involve intravenous fluid therapy, anti-sickness medications, antibiotics, anti-convulsion medications, and glucocorticoid therapy.

Vaccinations against CDV are also effective in killing the virus if administered within 4 days of exposure to the virus.
Canine distemper is estimated to be fatal in around 50% of cases affecting adult dogs and around 80% of cases affecting puppies. When fatalities occur, it is usually due to damage to the central nervous system, resulting in complications.
 

Prevention is better than cure!

As with most illnesses, prevention is almost certainly better than cure. Vaccinations against CDV can be done as early as 8 weeks old and puppies should be vaccinated at 8, 12 and 16 weeks, after which they should be kept from socializing with other animals for another 2 weeks. After 16 weeks of age, they should be sufficiently vaccinated to have contact with other animals.

If you are re-homing an older dog, be sure to check with the shelter or current owner about when he/she last had a CDV vaccination. If you are in any doubt at all, then consult with your veterinarian to ensure that your pet receives the correct vaccination program for their requirements.
 

Ongoing Care

Dogs that are suspected of having CDV should be isolated from any other dogs within the household and you should ensure that your other dogs are adequately vaccinated against the disease. Your pet will need a warm, safe place to recover, with food and water located nearby. Be sure to regularly clean all of your dog's supplies with a non-toxic cleaner.

Regular CDV vaccinations should help prevent further occurrences.

General Pet Safety

Indoors

 
  • Use childproof latches to secure not only belongings you don't want your pets potentially destroying, but also to secure chemicals and other hazardous materials that can be dangerous for your pet to be exposed to or ingest.

  • Similarly, ensure garbage cans and toilets are firmly closed.

  • Keep electrical cords tucked away or otherwise secured so your pet cannot chew on them.

  • Always check places that aren't normally observed (e.g., under chairs) for items your pet may interpret as toys, but present choking or ingestion hazards (e.g., kittens swallowing yarn).

  • Keep drawers closed, especially large drawers in dressers that your pet may try to hide inside of. Check the drawer before closing it to ensure you don't trap your pet inside.

  • Similarly, if your pets have access to the garage, make sure they aren't hiding in the engine of your vehicle or on top of a tire as this can be deadly.

  • Ensure ventilation openings are covered as small pets could work their way into the ventilation system, and large pets could get stuck trying.

  • Similarly, ensure there are no openings or spaces in the wall behind various appliances.

  • Research whether or not your houseplants are poisonous to your pet.

  • Ensure that items with buttons or drawstrings, cosmetics, and medications out of reach and inside a secure cabinet.

  • Make sure that your tools (e.g., hammers, screws), craft items (e.g., sewing thread or needle), and cooking utensils (e.g., knives) are put away.

  • Regularly clean your pet's food and water dishes (or fountains) to prevent illness from mold and scum.

  • Regularly clean your pet's "bathroom" and restock its materials (e.g., litter) which will help to minimize accidents around the house.

  • Give your pet a safe space that's just for them where they can retreat to if they're feeling uncomfortable. This can be something expensive like a cat "superhighway" or something as simple as a dog bed that's out of the way.

  • Pet-proof your furniture as best as possible and ensure that you have pet-appropriate furniture. Leather couches, for instance, won't survive for long with a new cat, and the materials under the leather can be harmful if ingested.
     

Outdoors

 
  • Ensure your yard's fence, whether physical or electrical, is in good condition and encloses your yard completely.

  • Don't let dogs or other burrowers dig out under the fence!

  • Always keep your pet in a collar and on a leash / in a body harness when walking with them in an unenclosed area. Only let a dog off its leash in an unenclosed park if it is well trained to return and is well behaved around strangers.

  • When traveling in a vehicle, ensure your pet can't escape out of the window. Only open the windows if they are properly restrained and never let your pet put their paws out the window. If it's a particularly long drive, be sure to have an appropriate number of stops to allow your pet to use the bathroom.

  • NEVER let your pet ride on the driver.

  • NEVER leave your pet loose or merely leashed in a truck bed while driving. This is not secure enough to protect your pet from being thrown out of the truck into traffic.

  • Ensure your species of pet is allowed at a location, or you have a secure way to safely leave them outside.

  • Always be responsible for following ordinances regarding your pet, such as disposing of dog feces correctly.

  • When enjoying non-residential locations (e.g., camping in the forest) keep your pet from interacting too closely with wildlife. It is dangerous for both your pet and wildlife. Contact your veterinarian for advice if you're an outdoor enthusiast and want to bring your pet into the wild often.

  • When boating, ensure there's a ramp for your animal to easily board and disembark, a pet-specific life vest, pet-safe sunscreen, a crate for your pet to feel safe in, a means to keep them from falling overboard, and a dog-pad or litter box so they can relieve themselves.

  • Be familiar with pet first aid and always have any applicable medication on hand. First aid should always be a stop-gap to help your pet until you can bring your pet to an emergency vet.

  • Please, never abandon your pet!

  • Be aware of your pet's needs in various weather conditions. In summer they may suffer heatstroke, in winter they may suffer lameness from ice building up between the toes or illness from chemicals like antifreeze, and thunder can cause anxiety or undesirable behavior.


Microchip your pets

Most adoptable pets have already been given a microchip if they come from a rescue group or shelter. However, if your pet doesn't have one, whether because it's a new pet or one you adopted before chipping became prevalent, you should take this extra step for your pet. It doesn't matter if your pet lives exclusively indoors or if it loves the outdoors, microchipping is essential for the safety of your pet.

Why? Because it means your pet can always find its way home to you. If your indoor cat slips past you out the door and is picked up by animal control, collar or no collar, your pet is returned to you and not sent to the municipal (not no-kill) shelter. If your outdoor dog is stuck outside when there's a weather disaster and loses its collar, rescue personnel can eventually reunite you with them. Even if you lose your lizard while studying abroad, it can still be identified and returned to you. If somehow your pet is stolen, the information on your pet's microchip will help prove the pet is really yours.

Having a microchip can also help ensure you're contacted in the event of an accident involving your pet.

That's a peace of mind we can all appreciate!

If you need a pet microchipped, make an appointment with your veterinary office today.

How to Bath your Cat and Survive Scratch-Free!

The Bathing Process

While speaking softly to your cat and offering plenty of reassurance and praise, gently place her into the shower tray or bath. Using a showerhead from above is significantly less stressful for your pet as she is far more likely to be used to being rained on than she is to being lowered into 4 inches of tepid water!

Hold your cat in place by the scruff of her neck, or use a harness if you think she is going to be tricky to control. Begin washing her gently using soft, confident strokes. Cats are very intuitive at picking up on stress, so if you seem stressed she will likely also be on edge and far more prone to lash out or try to make a run for it!

Since she’s probably not as dirty as you think, only apply a small amount of shampoo. Make sure to rinse her clean and then repeat with the conditioner. Take care to avoid her eyes and nose.
 

Getting Dry

Once she is clean, you should towel-dry your cat as much as possible. Some cats are petrified of hair dryers, but if your feline friend isn’t, you could consider trying to dry her using low heat and speed. However, you may need to confine her to a carrier in order to do this. Alternatively, you could leave your cat in the warm bathroom until her coat is totally dry. The important thing here is to ensure that she is thoroughly dried before letting her go into other parts of the house. Damp cats can easily become chilled which can make them unwell, or in the case of kittens, particularly low body temperatures can be life-threatening.

And that’s it! The secret to bathing your cat and surviving scratch-free really lies in the fact that a well-prepared shower is the very best way to get your feline companion clean.

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