Summer Travel With Your Pet

Summer means vacation for many families, and many choose to make their pets a part of the adventure. To ensure a safe and healthy trip for your dog or cat as you travel this summer, there are important steps to follow beforehand.

How Will You Be Traveling?

Your pets can have adventures with you whether traveling by plane, boat, train or car, yet each mode of transportation will have its own set of guidelines to think about:

  • Air Travel – Most airlines do have accommodations for pets, both for international and domestic flights. The rules may be slightly different for each one, so it is best to contact the airline before buying your tickets to make sure that your pet will be welcome. If traveling with a cat or small dog, it is best to book a flight that allows pets in carriers to accompany you in the cabin to minimize the risk to the animal. Keep in mind that veterinarians discourage pets that have flat faces, like pugs from air travel  because they are more susceptible to oxygen deprivation.

Health certificates from a vet for safe flying are required by most airlines, and you will have to provide that documentation when checking in your pet. If traveling out of the country, further veterinary documentation, as well as additional examinations, vaccinations, or blood work may be required before you takeoff. Do the research ahead of time and work with your vet to ensure that all requirements are met for your pet’s travel. You don’t want to start your journey with your pet watching you fly away.

  • Boat Travel – If you are booking a summer cruise, be advised that very few make reservations for pets, with the exception of service animals. You might be permitted to bring your pet along in a kennel if making an ocean crossing only. As this would cause undue strain on your pet, it is advisable to leave your pet at home, book them for boarding or make other travel arrangements.
  • Train Travel – Like boat travel, train travel is very restrictive for pet companions, as the length of time needed to reach your destination is much longer. Most don’t allow pets to roam freely on trains, for obvious reasons, but kennel travel may be an option. You would also have the responsibility of taking your dog out for walks at selected stops along the way.
  • Car Travel – Contrary to what you may think, pets traveling inside of a car should be crated and strapped in the back seat. Schedule stops along the way to let them stretch out and do their business. Don’t forget to bring along your harness or leash so that you can walk them safely. If you are driving for multiple days, it is also advisable to book your overnight hotels in advance, checking to make sure that pets are allowed.

Packing for Your Pet

Gear for your pet should be easily accessible in a travel bag that is never far from your side. Don’t forget to pack their collar and leash, vaccination records and some of their favorite treats. Always be prepared with food and lots of cold water. Pets don’t sweat like humans and over heat very easily. Depending on weather conditions, your pet my also need sun screen or booties for the hot ground.

Be Prepared

A thorough work-up by your veterinarian before your pet’s summer adventures is essential, whether traveling nationally or internationally. It is important to make sure that they are current on all vaccinations and preventative medicines, like flea and tick control or heart worm. Your pet should be wearing their collar and identification tags at all times. Having your pet microchipped is another safety measure for identifying your pet if their tags get lost. It is important to ensure that your pets’ tags and microchip are displaying your current contact information, as well.

Even though we think of our pets as family members, it may not be in their best interest to bring them on your summer adventures. Traveling causes anxiety in most pets and in many cases they would have more fun staying at a pet hotel or having a sitter watch them while their human family has the vacation of a lifetime.

Safe travels!

 

Springtime Sniffles

Does your pet suffer from seasonal allergies?

With spring in full swing, many of us start to plan for our annual allergies. With pollination beginning and new plants sprouting up, we humans gear up for our daily Dogsregimen of allergy protection techniques. But, did you know that our pets can suffer from seasonal allergies as well? Just like humans, our furry friends can suffer from food, medicinal and environmental/ seasonal allergies. It is important to know the signs and symptoms of such allergies, because if left untreated, our pets can become very ill. Dogs tend to have more issues with allergies than our feline friends, but none-the-less it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your cats, too.

Signs to Look For:

Our pets can have the usual allergy symptoms of congestion, sneezing, coughing and runny noses and eyes. In addition, your pet may begin continuously scratching themselves, or rubbing against walls, furniture and the floor. Licking and biting at their skin is also a key sign of allergies. Sometimes, scratching and biting can be associated with a severe flea allergy.

Did you know that when your dog is licking or biting at their skin, the saliva will turn their fur a reddish color? Beyond red fur, your pets’ skin can also become red and inflamed. It is important to seek out your veterinarian when this occurs. The more irritated the skin is, the more likely that infection will take place. A scaly rash can be an indicator of infection. It is also important to watch for ear infections. You should be mindful of pets shaking their head, rubbing their ears, and/or a brownish discharge inside the ears. Ear infections can even be the first allergy indicator.

Seek Help:

Consult your veterinarian if you suspect that your pet has allergies. Many times they are very easy to control, but once they get out of hand it can be difficult and uncomfortable for your pet to treat. Your veterinarian can recommend the most effective method to prevent and manage your pet’s allergy symptoms.

Wishing you and your furry friends a wonderful (sniffle-free) springtime!

Do you have room in your heart for another pet?

Before you bring home a new dog or cat, there’s a lot of things to think about – where williStock_000014567864XSmall_jpg you find your pet? Will your pet get along with your other furry companions? How will you help your pet adjust and keep them healthy? We can help you find the answers.

Know Your Family

Research different breeds and talk to your local shelter staff about what pet they would recommend to fit your personality and lifestyle. You want to give your new pet a “Forever Home”; avoid potential problems by knowing the right pet for your family. Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control and the Allen County SPCA are great resources to help you find the best pet for you. Contact them for more information today! We’ve listed their websites under Helpful Resources section.

Beware of “Free” Pets

Reputable rescues and shelters often charge a fee for adoptions because the pet is typically spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped before you bring them home. Remember—When you adopt, you also open up a spot for another adoptable pet to be rescued!

Pet-Proofing Your Home

Is your home fit for a new furry friend? You’ll want to make sure a new pet will have plenty of room to thrive as well as be kept safe from any dangerous distractions. Be sure to prepare your home for your new family member before picking them up.

First Check-up

Regardless of the age or breed of your new pet, a visit to the veterinarian and a complete physical exam should be a top priority. Start your pet off right with vaccinations, baseline testing, and a clean bill of health. Don’t know where to start? Our hospital has a list of all area veterinarians available for free. We are open 24-hours, stop by and ask our receptionists for a copy today.

Sometimes pets get sick, and sometimes pets can get lost. Our hospital provides 24 hour emergency & critical care in those times of need. We help supplement your primary veterinarian to provide the best total care for all your furry loved ones. If you find a lost pet, we can scan for microchips and partner with Animal Care & Control to help reunite pets with their families.

Thanksgiving Safety Tips

The holiday season has arrived, but with all of the celebration comes possible health concerns for our furry friends. Emergency visits to the veterinarian increase during the holidays and are usually due to pets having eaten something they shouldn’t have. Below are some general tips to enjoy the holidays with your pet this year:

Make no bones aboutbone it. Meat bones can easily splinter and cause serious damage to your pet’s gastrointestinal tract. Make sure you have properly disposed of all of the bones and that the garbage is kept out of reach from your curious companions.

 

 

catPets aren’t for stuffing. Too many fatty, seasoned, unfamiliar foods can lead to pancreatitis and gastroenteritis in your pet. Both of these medical conditions can be painful and even life-threatening. If you decide to give your pet a bite of turkey, make sure it is boneless, lean and well-cooked to avoid salmonella bacteria.

 

sweets

Avoid the sweets, stick with treats. Consider all of the desserts prepared during the holidays, many of which contain chocolate and other toxic ingredients to our pets. Keep your pet’s noses out of the batter and focused on a treat of their own such as a made-for-pet chew bone or a Kong toy.

 

 

kitchenKeep out of the kitchen. Even if your pet isn’t one to snoop through the trash, the tasty smells of freshly cooked food can be very tempting, so make sure the garbage and kitchen preparations are properly tied up and covered to avoid your pet reaching any dangerous items or making a mess of the festivities.

 

 

Eeat drink.gifat, drink, and be merry. With all of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, make sure your pet has fresh water, food of their own and quiet time away from the excitement to ensure they aren’t overwhelmed by the festivities.

 

Indoor Cats—not as safe as you think!

Indoor catMany cat owners have pets that are strictly kept indoors.This leads to a common misconception that these felines don’t need regular veterinary care as they are not exposed to as many environmental factors as their outdoor counterparts. According to the veterinarians at Catalina Pet Hospital in Tucson, AZ, this is profoundly untrue.

Indoor cats may not face all of the same risks as outdoor cats, but there are many factors that are unavoidable and can only be detected with proper, regular veterinary care. Some of the more prevalent feline ailments include: dental disease, cancer, and arthritis—just to name a few.

Dental disease is a commonly overlooked condition as it can be difficult to both check and clean a cat’s teeth. Studies show, however, that over 70% of pets over three years old have had some degree of dental disease. Dental disease is painful and progressive. If left untreated, it is possible for the pet to lose all of its teeth as well as developing further complications.

Cancer in felines, though not as common as in canines, is still a very real threat, One of the most common forms of feline cancer is lymphoma—which can be caused by the feline leukemia virus (FeLV). Feline leukemia can be prevented through an annual vaccination for it. Signs of cancer can include lethargy, weight loss, hair loss, and even vomiting or diarrhea—therefore, any of these symptoms should provoke a visit to the veterinarian.

Lastly, arthritis is an extremely common ailment among cats; in fact, 90% of cats over 12 have some degree of arthritis. It can be tricky to notice a change in a cat’s behavior as they typically get arthritis on both sides at the same time, and so, will not be favoring one leg or side.

In general, cats tend to be very private animals and do not demonstrate or vocalize pain the way that dogs and people do. Without the help of a veterinarian, diagnosis can be near impossible, and suffering drawn out. Regular veterinary care will help to prevent unnecessary discomfort and help promote a long and healthy life for the animal.

Keeping your pet calm during a storm

Cat yawning. Also useful for yelling or laughing conceptsThunderstorm phobia unfortunately is an all too common condition in many dogs and cats. According to Dr. Parrish Tanner of Quail Hollow Animal Hospital in Wesley Chapel, FL, “The adverse reaction to a storm usually begins early in life, and often symptoms worsen with each storm season. There is likely a genetic component to storm anxiety, and pets often times have other anxieties as well, such as separation anxiety. The more sensitive senses of our pets heighten the noxious stimuli of thunder, wind, barometric pressure changes, and static electricity.”

Treatments for storm phobia vary with the severity of each pet explains Dr. Tanner, but it is of great benefit to begin at the first sign of anxiety because the condition most likely will worsen over time. Storm phobia can also be a learned response from person to animal or from animal to animal. The most important thing to do at the first sign of storm anxiety in our pets is to remain calm and not to reinforce the anxious tendencies. Our animals look to us for guidance in stressful situations, and we need to reassure them with calm upbeat behavior not anxious or pitying actions.

Developing safe areas for our pets to seek refuge in during storms can lessen their anxiety greatly. An interior room or closet with no windows is an ideal safe room. This room should be available to our pet at all times. A light should be on in the room to negate any flashing from lightening. Soft music or white noise can be played to drown out the noise of thunder. Crates or bedding, food and water should be in the room as well. It is important that our pet sees this room as a safe haven, so interact and play with them in this room at times other than while a storm is in progress.

Once your pet is reassured by your calm behavior and has access to appropriate safe refuge other treatments may still be needed. Pheromone therapy with DAP or Feliway collars and diffusers can be beneficial for some of our pets. Thundershirts that provide a pressure/swaddling effect can lesson some patient’s anxiety as well. In many cases patients will continue to show significant anxiety no matter what we do. Medication for anxiety is often needed to combat storm phobias. In mild cases a quick acting medication can be given at the time of a storm. In more severe cases we often will start the patient on a daily medication for the entire storm season and medicate with quick acting medication at the time of the storm. Our goal with medication is to lessen the anxiety not to sedate the patient. We want to lessen the anxiety so that our pets can then learn through all of the other modifications that we have done that every thing will be ok.

Storm phobias are a very common problem for many of our animals. Remaining calm and providing upbeat reassurance at the first bout of anxiety is very important. Hopefully, we can reduce the anxiety early in a pet’s life so that they can enjoy many stress free years to come.

Feel good pet tails; A tiny chinchilla fills a big heart

Judy and I went on a 14 mile hike in the Arizona desert today.  By the time we returned to our truck, it was getting a little cold, and I had a case of the chills.  It reminded me of one winter afternoon when I went to check a bunch of cows at a dairy farm in New York.  6 cows had twisted stomachs and needed surgery.  It was 20 below zero outside and colder inside the barn.

Each surgery took 45 minutes and I had to strip to the waist to scrub up and operated that way.  In between each surgery I pulled my coat on to prep the next cow and regain some body heat.  Before I began the last surgery, I went out to my truck and started it up and cranked the heater and blower up to as high as they would go.  When I finished and dressed again for the last time, my hands were shaking and my whole body vibrating uncontrollably.  The cows were doing fine but the doctor was blue.  I climbed into my truck and felt the lovely, delicious, heart and body warming heat blowing over me like the hot sun in July.  It felt so good I almost shed a tear.

I think of that day whenever I get chilled and remember my old friend, my truck, with the wonderful heater.  It’s amazing the simple things that bring us the greatest and most exhilarating joy.  Life doesn’t have to be so complicated, but it is.  I returned to the clinic to see a few small animal appointments.  I took a short hot shower and then began the appointments.  One of them was an 8 ounce chinchilla with a large tumor on his hind leg.  I had just operated on six 1500 pound cows and wrestled all day with cows, horses, farmers, and all manner of large animals and now my patient weighed less than a cup of coffee.  But the owner loved that little creature with all her heart and that was what brought us together in the exam room.

I had never operated on something so tiny.  It needed to have the leg amputated, so general anesthesia was the order of the day.  I devised a mask from a plastic syringe cover and made a hole in the bottom into which I could place the tube carrying oxygen blended with gas anesthetic to render the beast unconscious and without pain.  We clipped and scrubbed the leg and I chose the smallest  uture materials we had and went into surgery.  I carefully dissected the muscles of the leg and ligated all the tiny bleeders and removed the leg.   I sutured up the muscles covering the bone that was left and then sutured the skin.  I shut off the anesthetic so the chinchilla was just on oxygen, and within 5 minutes, it was up and moving around.  In an hour it was eating and doing well.

It was the most remarkable thing I had ever done.  Such a tiny beating heart about the size of a pea, but valiant in the struggle to live.  It is amazing the effect such a tiny creature can have on a human being.  They can uplift, strengthen, give purpose to being, save from depression, exhilarate, and bring joy to the troubled heart.  It certainly did all of those things for me.  As I watched it recover and run around I felt great purpose in my chosen career as I relayed to the owner the remarkable recovery of her beloved pet and watched her shed tears of relief.

Cited from the book Fella, a collection of lifetime memories that reminds readers of the trust animals place in us to be their friends and guardians.

By: Dan Gilchrist, DVM
Waterville Veterinary Clinic
Waterville, NY

Why all the Feline Wellness Talk?

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Feline Wellness Exam

“Each veterinarian’s primary goal is to allow your pet to have the best quality of life feasible for as long as possible.”

As the practice of medicine, both human and veterinary, has evolved over time, physicians increasingly share a philosophy of promoting wellness. But what does wellness really mean? This mindset of wellness and prevention means that doctors are looking to provide care for their patients before the worst has already happened, and put into play supportive measures that can delay, if not completely prevent the onset of illness and disease, especially those related to aging and the environment states Bush Animal Hospital in Eugene, OR. Each veterinarian’s primary goal is to allow your pet to have the best quality of life feasible for as long as possible . The tools a veterinarian has available to achieve this can range from simple regular routine examinations and vaccinations to more complex nutritional and pharmaceutical support.  Wellness examinations do not necessarily mean that your pet is going to be subjected to a barrage of complicated medical tests and treatments.

Some animals may need close monitoring of blood work, x-rays or other tests or many pets benefit simply from being physically examined, having their heart and lungs listened to and their general health assessed. Thus preventing a health issue from developing undetected. A general health assessment before surgery can help prevent complications and assure a speedy recovery. Ask your veterinarian for guidance in developing a plan for your cats health care to give you as many years as possible with your cat companions.

Anorexia in cats

Anorexic CatAnorexia, which is a very reduced or complete lack of appetite, can be very serious in cats states Dr. Amanda Maus, at Catalina Pet Hospital in Tucson, Arizona. Decreased appetite can have many causes including fever, intestinal disease, organ disease, or cancer. In addition to whatever the primary cause of the anorexia may be, several days of not eating well can cause what is called fatty liver disease or hepatic lipidosis. Even a few weeks of just eating 25-50% less than usual can lead to this state.

Fatty liver disease, although more common in obese cats, can happen in any cat suffering from anorexia and weight loss, and is the most common type of liver disease seen in cats. Jaundice or yellowing of the skin is commonly seen with this disease. This disease can also cause significant nausea leading to more anorexia and vomiting. Affected cats are often lethargic and dehydrated as well.

Quick veterinary intervention is needed for this disease and most cats will recover with appropriate treatment. The main objective is to remedy the underlying cause as well as to control the nausea and vomiting and to provide proper nutrition. Advanced cases often require the placement of a tube from outside the neck, into the esophagus, so that adequate feeding can be provided without trying to perform oral force feeding. Daily oral force feeding can not only lead to resentment of the caretaker, but also causes worse food aversion. The feeding tube may need to be left in place for up to 2 months in severe cases. In addition to antinausea medication, the cat may also require hydration therapy, electrolyte and vitamin supplementation, and liver support medications.

As you can see, anorexia in cats can be very serious and lead to severe consequences. Daily monitoring of your cat’s food intake can make a huge difference in catching diseases early on. Unexplained weight loss in cats is never acceptable. Early intervention is not only better for the cat’s health, but also can be less costly for the owner.

The dangers of Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is a serious bacterial disease that infects dogs, horses and small wildlife.  It is a life threatening zoonotic disease, or a veterinary disease that can also infect humans.  When an infected animal urinates or salivates on their environment, which may include your lawn, they leave enough bacteria to be infectious if ingested by your pets, states Mary Jean Calvi, LVT, at Pawling Animal Hospital in Pawling, NY.

Often referred to as “Lepto,” it is most often acquired through accidental ingestion of infected urine. However, the bacteria can also enter the body through open wounds, abrasions or mucus membranes in the eyes of nose.  The signs and symptoms of Lepto mimic signs of many other diseases which is why immediate diagnosis is important.  These symptoms include fever, lethargy, GI upset, loss of appetite, joint pain, nausea, excessive drinking, general malaise, jaundice, yellow foamy vomit, dark or bloody urine or unusual “accidents” in the house.

Prevention is the best medicine. Vaccinating your pet against Lepto can make a difference.  Make sure you talk to your vet about this important vaccine.