Pet Health

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Emergencies come in many forms, and they may require anything from a brief absence from your home to permanent evacuation. Each type of disaster requires different measures to keep your pets safe. The best thing you can do for yourself and your pets is to be prepared.

Step 1 Get a Rescue Alert Sticker

This easy-to-use sticker will let people know that pets are inside your home. Make sure it is visible to rescue workers, and that it includes 1) the types and number of pets in your household; 2) the name of your veterinarian; and 3) your veterinarian’s phone number. If you must evacuate with your pets, and if time allows, write “EVACUATED” across the stickers.

To get a free emergency pet alert sticker for your home, please fill out our online order form; please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery. Your local pet supply store may also sell similar stickers.

Step 2 Arrange a Safe Haven

Arrange a safe haven for your pets in the event of evacuation. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND. Remember, if it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets. They may become trapped or escape and be exposed to numerous life-threatening hazards. Note that not all Red Cross disaster shelters accept pets, so it is imperative that you have determined where you will bring your pets ahead of time:

  • Contact your veterinarian for a list of preferred boarding kennels and facilities.
  • Ask your local animal shelter if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets.
  • Identify hotels or motels outside of your immediate area that accept pets.
  • Ask friends and relatives outside your immediate area if they would be willing to take in your pet.

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If you are getting a new puppy or kitty, one thing you may not have considered is the hazard that stairs represent to little pets. Block off any stairways with a barrier such as a child gate. Even if you plan to keep your new friend in a single room away from the stairway expect him to break out of confinement at some point so don’t take chances. If your house has been “(human) baby-proofed” then you are already taking many of the steps necessary to protect your pet from accidental poisoning. There some additional things you need to consider, however. Some house and outdoor plants are poisonous to pets. If you spread a chemical treatment in your yard or garden, expect your pet to get into it. He may only walk or roll in it but then he will lick his fur and his paws so always read the label for warnings like hazardous to pets. We recommend that you always feed you friend a quality food formulated specifically for his needs and not feed him from table. This is especially true of certain foods, like chocolate, which are poisonous to our furry friends. If you can’t resist feeding him people food be sure to educate yourself about foods that should never be given to your pet. By the same token, never give you pet medicine that is formulated for people without first checking with your veterinarian.

If you have any reason to suspect your pet may have been poisoned, call your veterinarian. For information on how to handle a possible poisoning emergency, check out ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center website for guidance.

The easiest, most effective way to control fleas in most instances is to use a monthly topical application treatment. We carry both Advantage II and Frontline Pro which we offer to you at our cost. We find these products to be equally effective, but the fleas your dog is exposed to can develop a resistance to a product if it is used continuously over a long period of time. We recommend you alternate these products for the best effect.

If you experience a severe flea infestation you may need to treat your home and yard. The most important first step is to thoroughly vacuum your house. Any place dust can collect may harbor fleas. Don’t forget to thoroughly vacuum your furniture as well. If you decide that it is necessary to fumigate your home you may want to have a professional do it for you. If you decide to do it yourself, look for a product that kills both adult fleas and flea larvae. To kill fleas in your yard, we recommend you battle fleas with their natural enemy, nematodes. Nematodes are microscopic worms that kill flea larvae and cocoons. Apply them to your yard once a month until the fleas are gone. Fleas and their offspring don’t last long in sunlight so concentrate your efforts on the damp, shady areas of your yard. Contact your local garden store to find out when and where to get nematodes.

(from the American Heartworm Society)

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal condition caused by parasitic worms living in the arteries of the lungs and occasionally in the right side of the heart of dogs, cats and other species of mammals, including wolves, foxes, ferrets, sea lions and (in rare instances) humans. Heartworms are classified as nematodes (roundworms) and are filarids, one of many species of roundworms. Dogs and cats of any age or breed are susceptible to infection and heartworms are found in all 50 states.

How Heartworm Happens: The Life Cycle

First, adult female heartworms release their young, called microfilariae, into an animal’s bloodstream. Then, mosquitoes become infected with microfilariae while taking blood meal from the infected animal. During the next 10 to 14 days, the microfilariae mature to the infective larval stage within the mosquito. After that, the mosquito bites another dog, cat or other susceptible animal, and the infective larvae enter through the bite wound. It then takes a little over 6 months for the infective larvae to mature into adult worms. In dogs, the worms may live for up to 7 years. Microfilariae cannot mature into adult heartworms without first passing through a mosquito.

What Are the Signs of Heartworm Disease?

For both dogs and cats, clinical signs of heartworm disease may not be recognized in the early stages, as the number of heartworms in an animal tends to accumulate gradually over a period of months and sometimes years and after repeated mosquito bites. Recently infected dogs may exhibit no signs of the disease, while heavily infected dogs may eventually show clinical signs, including a mild, persistent cough, reluctance to move or exercise, fatigue after only moderate exercise, reduced appetite and weight loss. Cats may exhibit clinical signs that are very non-specific, mimicking many other feline diseases. Chronic clinical signs include vomiting, gagging, difficulty or rapid breathing, lethargy and weight loss. Signs associated with the first stage of heartworm disease, when the heartworms enter a blood vessel and are carried to the pulmonary arteries, are often mistaken for feline asthma or allergic bronchitis, when in fact they are actually due to a syndrome newly defined as Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease (HARD).
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When you bringing in your pet because he is ill it is a good idea to bring in urine and stool samples if you possibly can. This will help your veterinarian diagnose your pet’s problems and it may be hard for us to get a sample when your pet is here and under stress. It is really to collect both urine and stool samples with the help of zipper plastic bags. To collect a urine sample, fold the zipper area of the bag to the outside. This will stiffen the mouth of the bag and help to keep it open. Then all you need to do is place bag under your pet while it is urinating. Seal the bag and store it in the refrigerator until you bring your pet in to see us. To collect a stool sample turn the plastic bag inside out over your hand and use the bag to pick up a piece of stool. Turn the bag right side out and seal the sample inside. Refrigerate the sample until you bring it to us.