Category Archives: pet safety

Heartworm Information

If you’ve been keeping up with the news, you’ve probably been hearing a lot about Zika virus, a disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes and can make us ill. But did you know that mosquitoes carry diseases that can cause illness in our pets? Most pet owners are aware of diseases like rabies, feline leukemia, and canine kennel cough. These diseases are transmitted to our pets by contact with other cats, dogs or sometimes wildlife. Heartworm disease is an infection that can be transmitted to our dogs and cats by the bite of an infected mosquito. That means that our pets do not need to be around other animals to become infected with heartworm disease.

Luckily for pet owners, heartworm disease can be very easy to prevent. There is a variety of monthly medications that can be prescribed to your dog and cat, including flavored chewable tablets and topical medications.

Heartworm disease has been on the rise in Pennsylvania over the past few years. According to the American Heartworm Society, vet clinics in PA were reporting an average of 1-5 heartworm cases per year in 2010. Some clinics in northern PA were seeing even less than that. Then in 2013, at the next report, all surveyed clinics were reporting at least 1-5 cases per year, and many clinics reported 6-25 cases per year. This does not include the millions of pets who are never tested.

Heartworm disease affects dogs and cats in different ways. The heartworm larvae is injected into the bloodstream by the mosquito. In dogs, the larvae grow into adult worms in the heart and lung vessels, causing severe damage that may be permanent. There can be as many as 50 adult worms in the heart and lungs in an infected dog. Symptoms in dogs can range from a mild cough to full blown heart failure. Sometimes there are no symptoms at all! In cats, the worm burden tends to be much less but they are more sensitive to the larvae. The larvae can trigger a severe inflammatory reaction in the lungs similar to asthma. This inflammation can cause fatal respiratory disease.

Once infected, heartworm disease can be painful and expensive to treat. There is an injection for dogs that is given multiple times over the course of 1 month to kill the adult heartworms. There is no specific treatment for cats, only supportive care.

It is recommended to test for heartworm disease yearly, even if your dog is on year round prevention. This helps to ensure that the prevention is working. The test also checks for other diseases like Lyme disease. Reliable testing is not available for cats and they can be given heartworm preventive without testing. It is recommended to test your dog before starting the preventive. The preventives only kill the larvae that have been transmitted to your dog within the past 30 days. For example, if your dog was bitten by an infected mosquito on May 15th and you started your preventive on July 1st, your dog is NOT protected from heartworm disease. You should test again in 6-12 months to check for a mature infection. This is another advantage to giving heartworm prevention year round; the risk of missing an infection is much less. And with winters getting warmer, how do we know when the last mosquito left Pennsylvania? September? December? Or did they ever leave at all?

For more information about canine and feline heartworm disease, talk to your vet or visit the American Heartworm Society’s website at www.heartwormsociety.org.

Tech Talk with Sara: Red-eared Sliders

Hello readers!

Today I am going to be talking about Red-eared Sliders. These little guys are one of the most common type of aquatic turtles kept as pets. If you’re thinking of getting an aquatic turtle for a pet & have children, keep in mind that they are a high risk of carrying salmonella. Always remember to practice good hygiene when handling these animals. That being said, I can stop ranting and we can get to some fun facts!

  • The scientific name of the red-eared slider is Trachemys scrita elegans and they received their name from the red stripe behind their eyes.
  • Their life span ranges from 20 to 40 years, making them friends for life!
  • The average size of Red-eared sliders will range anywhere from 6 to 12” in length, and they can reach adult size around 12 to 18 months depending on the conditions in which they are raised.
  • Something you want to keep in mind as they grow is that you will need to upgrade his/her habitat so they remain comfortable throughout their life.
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HOUSING NEEDS

Aquatic turtles are NOT a low maintenance pet. They need to have fresh clean water and plenty of space to swim.  A good rule of thumb is that the turtle must be able to turn around completely without an issue, and aim for about 10 gallons per inch of total turtle length. A deeper swimming area is nice to have since the turtles like to stick their heads out of the water while their bodies are still submerged. In general, the water depth should be about twice the length of the turtle’s shell and there should be several inches of air between the water and the top of the tank to prevent escaping.  Tanks with lids are best to prevent the turtle from being able to crawl out.

It is important to keep your slider’s water clean since the turtles drink the water in which they swim, no matter how nasty I think it is.  This generally requires cleaning and water changes at least once a week.  Always try to keep the water clean & fresh.  Daily removal of any uneaten food & feces right away will help to avoid any illness. Getting your sliders accustomed to eating in a separate container will also help keep their tank clean, which means less work for you.  The habitat needs to be thoroughly cleaned & disinfected at least once a week with a 3% bleach solution & water.  After thoroughly washing & rinsing the enclosure, make sure the area is free of the aroma of bleach. Once done, add clean, dechlorinated water with a temperature ranging from 70 to 75° before returning your turtle to their home.

While plenty of healthy water is essential to sliders, this is not everything.  Sliders also need a dry dock, such as a slate, rock, or area of gravel, to give the turtle an optional area to eat, sunbathe, and dry themselves.  Like all reptiles, their environment should provide a temperature gradient so they can self-regulate their internal temperature.  The air temperature for the warmer basking side needs to be around 95°F & the cooler end, where the water would be, should have a water temperature of 75°F.  Basking bulbs are most commonly used for the area with the turtle dock and a submergible heater is most commonly used for the area with the water.  UVB rays with full spectrum lighting must be used for 10 to 12 hours a day.   This is required daily for the turtle to allow them to properly process the calcium their bodies need.  These bulbs are usually only good for 6 months, so be sure to change them regularly even if they are not “burnt out.”  Be sure your slider cannot burn or injure themselves with any of the objects in and around their tanks.

DIET

Aquatic turtles are omnivores & their main diet usually consists of a commercial pelleted diet with leafy vegetables, non-toxic aquatic plants, & sliced vegetables such as squash & carrots.  However, juvenile sliders are more carnivorous and become more herbivorous as the mature (trading in meat-based nutrients for plants and veggies).  Even adult sliders should to have comet goldfish, earthworms, & insects offered to them as treats to stimulate their hunting ability that may be lacking from their captive lifestyle.  As adults, sliders only need to be fed every couple days and try to maintain a ratio of 30% pellets and animal protein to 70% plant matter.

HEALTH AND BEHAVIOR

When thinking of getting an aquatic turtle for a pet, it is important to remember they do not enjoy being picked up or handled very much, and they are known to bite when frightened. Of course, they are excellent swimmers & they love to jump off their docks into the water. When the light is on for your turtle, you will see him/her basking regularly under the heat lamp to be warm & dry. Your turtle should be active & alert regularly. Of course he/she should be eating regularly. If not, then you should contact our hospital and have Dr. Balmer examine him/her.  You might notice as your turtle is growing that their shell looks to be slightly rough around the edges. This is normal!  It is normal for turtles to occasionally replace their individual scutes as they grow.  However, watch for lesions, sores, bumps, discoloration, or spots on the shell or skin; any discharge from the nose, eyes, mouth, or vent; or if he/she seems to be lethargic.  If you notice any of these signs, you should contact the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County for a physical exam.  Even if your pet is healthy, annual wellness visits are recommended and can reduce the risk of illness/injury. Some commonly seen health issues that aquatic turtles develop are listed below:

  • GI Tract Parasites
    • Signs & Symptoms: poor appetite, lethargic, diarrhea, & anal prolapse.
  • Respiratory Infection
    • Signs & Symptoms: Open mouth breathing, eyes, nose, or mouth discharge, sneezing.

      • This can be caused by a cold environment
  • Shell Rot/Ulcers
    • Discolored or foul-smelling patches or pits on the shell that can become infected

      • Most commonly seen in cases with poor unclean habitats or improper diets
  • Eye or Respiratory Infection
    • Swollen eyes & sides of head
      • Most commonly seen in cases with vitamin A deficiency

Tech Talk with Sarah: Macaws

TECH TALK

By: Sarah Elizabeth

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PET BIRDS

MACAW

Hello! My name is Sarah & I am a vet tech from AHDC. Each month I will be posting a new blog about exotic pets. Things like at home care, pros & cons of having the responsibility of caring for an exotic pet, & general information.

Today I am going to be talking about Macaws! These colorful feathered friends of ours come in many sizes & colors. The personality of a Macaw is very unique.

MACAW

Socialization and Behavior

When first starting the socialization process between you & your new pet macaw, it is best to first allow your pet to adapt to his/her new environment. Not only for them, but also for yourself. For a few days, interact from a distance. Let your new pet get adjusted to your voice, your smell, ect. Macaws are known to build a very strong bond with one specific person of their choosing & can become very protective of this person. They can even potentially become violent if felt threatened. Therefore, at a young age it is best to have multiple people handle your pet so he/she will not feel easily threatened.

Besides proper socialization, macaws need exercise and room to do this.  Macaws are active birds that love to climb, swing, chew, and need adequate mental stimulation (toys) so screaming or plucking doesn’t become a habit out of boredom.  Macaws should have a minimum of 2-3 hours of playtime outside of the cage each day.

If you are interested in learning more about socialization and other macaw facts, check out this website: http://animal-world.com/encyclo/birds/macaws/MacawProfile.htm

Housing/Care

Macaws need very large cages in order to have a comfortable habitat. Although they come in all different sizes, larger macaws have a very wide wingspan  and their housing should allow them to spread their wings and stretch to preen (a minimum of 30in x 40in, height varies but usually about 57+in). Wooden perches are amongst their favorite places to rest, and they enjoy jumping from perch to perch safe from any harm below.  This also helps to stretch & move their muscles to avoid muscular dystrophy, or weakened muscles, which is common in poor environments.

Part of providing a good environment means providing a warm home as macaws come from the warmer environments of Central and South America. A good room temperature is between 70-75 degrees year round.  A heating lamp is a great way to heat an area for your companion, but be sure it is out of reach so your bird cannot harm itself.  Macaws are playful birds, and it is best to have objects that the bird can use to trim down its beak or nails naturally. Many people are under the impression that mirrors are a great thing for a bird so they can look at their reflection, but this is false information! Macaws & other birds tend to become very aggressive toward their own reflection, thinking that it is another bird in their space. Bowls should not be placed under perches, but rather near and beside perches so there is less chance of them soiling in their food & water.

It is best to have your macaw groomed frequently. Having the nails trimmed will keep both of you safe.  Some birds may also need their beaks smoothed or reshaped if they have overgrowth or peeling.  This can be done during an annual wellness for your macaw at AHDC or more frequently as needed.  While the vet and tech are performing such tasks, they are also monitoring your pet to make sure their stress level is okay & they are safe. During your bird’s annual examination, the veterinarian will do an overall exam of your pet & check for any signs of illness such as poor feather quality, damaged blood feathers, irregular breathing, and any other changes.  Blood feathers are new feathers that are developing on the bird and can be damaged due to wing cramping or a poor environment.  A way to keep their feather quality pristine & to be sure your pet macaw has great hygiene is to bathe your pet macaw regularly. It is common for macaws & many other avian breeds to bathe in the shower.  No shampoo necessary! In fact, although we love the flowery smells of most soaps, perfumes, and hand lotions, the smells are very overwhelming and irritating to birds.

I hope you enjoy this first newsletter and that we can help you and your companion enjoy a long and happy life together.

Nutrition

The average weight of a macaw is about 1.75 to 4 lbs. In length, a macaw can range up to about 30 to 35 in. long. Their wingspan can range between 40 to 45 in. long. Although macaws come in all different sizes & colors, I would like to focus on my personal favorite, the Blue and Gold Macaw.  Blue and golds are one of the most popular large parrot kept as companions due to their beautiful coloring and their overabundance of personality.  Most are a blue/turquoise color & have a yellow chest & belly. Their turquoise wings vividly flow into a beautiful green along the side of their bodies to the tip of their tail feathers which will sometimes fade into a dark green. The top of their head is caped with a vivid color of green, while their face is all white & will obviously blush red when excited. Their beaks are very large, curl, & are black in color. The average lifespan is about 50 to 60 years in captivity! A lifelong companion to have by your side.

General Information

The average weight of a macaw is about 1.75 to 4 lbs. In length, a macaw can range up to about 30 to 35 in. long. Their wingspan can range between 40 to 45 in. long. Although macaws come in all different sizes & colors, I would like to focus on my personal favorite, the Blue and Gold Macaw.  Blue and golds are one of the most popular large parrot kept as companions due to their beautiful coloring and their overabundance of personality.  Most are a blue/turquoise color & have a yellow chest & belly. Their turquoise wings vividly flow into a beautiful green along the side of their bodies to the tip of their tail feathers which will sometimes fade into a dark green. The top of their head is caped with a vivid color of green, while their face is all white & will obviously blush red when excited. Their beaks are very large, curl, & are black in color. The average lifespan is about 50 to 60 years in captivity! A lifelong companion to have by your side.

National Kidney Month

Hi Friends!

Some of you may have noticed I have been missing in action these past couple months.  Well the truth is I was a pretty sick cat.  On top of my diabetes, my kidneys decided to try and quit on me.  My AHDC buddies took very good care of me even though I was a pretty ungrateful patient.  Can you believe they wouldn’t let me wander the hospital and with an IV pole like people do on TV?!  Well I’m finally back to work and while my kidneys are not functioning at 100%, I’m back to my normal self and my vets say my values are stable.

So in celebration of National Kidney Month and my feeling better, here are a couple facts everyone should know about kidney disease:

  • Kidneys have many jobs. The filter the blood, tell the body to make red blood cells, help control the blood pressure, and help to keep water, electrolytes, and acid/base regulated in the blood stream.
  • As the kidneys stop working, the filter becomes less effective. Water leaks out and electrolytes and acid/base levels are out of control.  The kidneys also lose their ability to communicate with the rest of the body so you can get anemia and high blood pressure.
  • The good news is you only need 1/3 of your kidneys, the rest is extra (that’s why you can donate a kidney)
  • Now for the bad news… ~50% of cats over 15 years of age will develop some degree of kidney disease. Meaning they will have less than 1/3 of their kidneys functioning :(
  • Outward signs of kidney disease include: increased drinking and urination, decreased appetite, and weight loss.  Sometime you also see signs associated with high blood pressure such as weakness or sudden blindness
  • Luckily my vet friends can often see early signs of kidney disease on urine testing and bloodwork before these symptoms occur. This is why my friends recommend bloodwork monitoring even in healthy pets.
  • While kidney disease is irreversible and progressive, there are some things we can do to slow it down. If caught early, something as simple as a special diet can help us cats feel better.  After I was diagnosed, my vets started me on a new prescription food.  It’s delicious and good for me!
  • If we are very sick, sometimes my vet friends can help the kidneys in the short term by hospitalizing us to give us fluids directly in the vein to flush out the built up toxins.
  • Some other treatments that may be needed long term include fluids under the skin to help flush out our toxins and supplements to control our electrolytes and support the poor sick kidneys. I hate getting my fluids but I know it’s for my own good.  Please don’t tell the technicians I understand because then I might get less pity.  Shhh…
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Winter Safety

By Dr. Zajac

Colder weather and the holidays will soon be here with hidden dangers for our pets. It is important to keep our furry friends safe and happy this season. Dangers for your pets can include plants, table foods, holiday decorations, and of course, colder weather.

Many people are aware that poinsettia can be toxic to dogs and cats, but did you know that many other decorative plants can cause health issues if ingested? Poinsettia, mistletoe, holly and Christmas cactus can all cause stomach upset and diarrhea if eaten. The leaves and flowers of the Amaryllis plant can also cause gastrointestinal upset, but ingesting the bulbs can lead to cardiovascular problems and seizures. Lilies, though not a traditional winter plant, can be deadly even if only small amounts are ingested by cats.

Other potential health hazards for our pets include gastrointestinal illness from eating table foods. Though it is fun to spoil our pets by giving them some of our traditional holiday meals, too much of a yummy thing can be deadly. Eating fatty foods like processed meats or chicken/turkey skin can cause pancreatitis, a potentially fatal inflammation of the pancreas. Symptoms of pancreatitis include lethargy, lack of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea (often bloody). Pancreatitis can also predispose our pets to diabetes in the future. Ingestion of onions can cause severe anemia in both dogs and cats. Do not feed table foods that contain onions or that have been cooked with onions.

Remember to keep potentially hazardous decorations and ornaments away from your pets. Tinsel and ribbons can cut through the intestinal lining if ingested and may require extensive surgery to repair. Glass ornaments can be broken, eaten or stepped on, potentially causing severe lacerations.

Winter holidays are a popular travel time for pets and their people. Remember that health certificates are required for most interstate travel. This is a document signed by your veterinarian ensuring that your pet is healthy enough to travel and is not bringing potentially harmful diseases or parasites to the destination. Usually a rabies vaccine and some type of flea preventative is required for interstate travel. Remember to keep up with your flea/tick and heartworm preventives even through the winter months. Fleas can still live inside where it is nice and warm, and many parasite eggs can continue to live in the soil and mulch around our houses.

If you have pets that live outdoors, provide a shelter that protects against wind and precipitation. Always make sure that fresh water is available and that the water bowls are not covered with ice.

Have fun with your pets this holiday season, and remember to keep them safe, happy and warm. Happy holidays!

Anesthesia and Surgery at AHDC

Hi friends,

Having been declawed, neutered, and undergone several dental procedures, this cat has had multiple run-ins with anesthesia. While some of my experiences happened before I came to AHDC, I wanted to let everyone know a little bit about what my vet and tech friends do to keep your pets safe and pain free.

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  • Before any of your pets are anesthetized, my vets check their bloodwork to be sure there are no underlying issues that may need to be addressed or if any anesthesia adjustments are needed before going “under the knife.”
  • We (sometimes I supervise) individualize all anesthetic plans based on your pet’s age, health, and energy level; and also based on the procedure being done. We also use the safest anesthesia out there. Many of the drugs we use are also used in people since we pets are equally important!
  • We are all about the pain meds! My technicians want all the animals to be comfy and cozy before, during, and after surgery. All the surgery patients get a little something to take the edge off before surgery and help prevent pain during and afterwards. Sorry parents, we can’t prescribe anything for your nerves, just your pet’s. After surgery, everyone who needs it gets pain medications for the next couple days after surgery. And if your pup or kitty is still painful, all you have to do is call and we will do our best to fix that.
  • While your friend is under anesthesia, the awesome AHDC technicians are closely watching all the vitals (heart, blood pressure, oxygen level, etc). They stay with your pet from beginning to end to make sure they are safe and make any adjustments needed.
  • I don’t remember how or when I was declawed, but any kitten or cat declawed at AHDC is kept as comfortable as possible. Before the procedure, they have a nerve block around their tootsies to prevent any sensation during the procedure. My vets use a surgical laser which really helps minimize the trauma and bleeding during the surgery. My cat friends heal so much faster and generally are ready to get back to their normal routines (but just because they feel they are ready, doesn’t mean they are just yet).
  • I have had at least 2 dental cleanings and several teeth extracted. My doctors take xrays of my teeth while I’m asleep to make sure they catch any disease under my gums. They can also do the same for your pet to be sure any dental issues are found and treated. That way your friend will have less mouth discomfort and a clean bill of dental health when they wake up and go home with you.

Basically, my AHDC people want all your pets/kids/friends to be as safe and comfortable as possible while undergoing procedures that can be a little scary for them and their parents.

National Animal Safety and Protection Month

Hi friends,

It’s time for me to get on my soap box again since October is National Animal Safety and Protection Month. We all know that sometimes we animals can be our own worst enemy. Most of us animals disagree that seeing the vet is necessary; and do we seriously need to get our temperatures taken?! To make matters worse, we like to hide our illnesses and get into things we shouldn’t. Is it really my fault that people food is so delicious and strings are so much fun to chew on? But hanging out around this hospital and seeing all the pups and cats that come through our doors has motivated me to give you some tips to keep your friends happy and healthy.

  1. We need to see the veterinarian at least once a year for preventative care. While I will never admit I said this, my doctor friends do know a thing or two about keeping us healthy. Older animals may even benefit from twice yearly visits. The vet can look your pet over and run bloodwork to check the parts of your pet they can’t see (like the kidneys, blood, etc) to make sure we aren’t hiding anything from you.
  2. We need a healthy, balanced diet. Certain people food may be ok in small amounts but the majority of our diet should be dog or cat food. Ask our vets if you are not sure what is best for your friend. Make sure to avoid any food that says “good for all life stages.” Our digestive system ages just like people and what we eat as babies shouldn’t be the same as when we grow up. I don’t see you going around drinking formula.
  3. Also certain people food can be dangerous to us. For example: onions, garlic, chocolate, alcohol, grapes. Basically anything delicious. This website can tell you even more.
  4. Keep us protected against creepy crawly bugs. This means on the inside and outside. Fleas and ticks carry horrible diseases and there are many internal parasites that can make us sick. Regular stool sample testing and year round flea, tick, and heartworm prevention help keep us bug free. And who wants bugs living on or in them. So GROSS!
  5. Keep things out of our reach that can hurt us. Much like baby proofing, you also need to puppy and kitten proof. We love to chew things to make sure we aren’t missing out on something that may taste delicious. This includes plants, socks, underwear (I know its gross, but we can’t help ourselves), trash, medicine, and strings. So many options to chew on! Risks for us include intestinal obstructions, toxicities, and getting in big trouble by our parents. Make sure to keep anything that isn’t for us out of our reach and in a safe place. If you aren’t sure if the house plant is ok for us to take a little nibble, visit this site.

But as always, if you have any questions or concerns call my friends here at AHDC. They’re always happy to help!

Hay, Hay, Hay!

Did you know that most diseases and problems in our pocket pets can be avoided through proper nutrition? This is especially true in our rabbits and guinea pigs because both of these critters are hindgut fermenters. In hindgut fermenters, essential nutrients are not effectively absorbed as food moves through the small intestines. This makes timothy hay the best food source for rabbits and guinea pigs, and is why they ingest their own feces!

Odd as it may seem to their human companions, rabbits and guinea pigs receive valuable nutrition from their stools. Rabbits produce soft night time stools called cecotrophes which are a major source of vitamin B as well as other nutrients necessary for a rabbit’s overall health. Even though guinea pigs don’t produce the cecotrophes like rabbits, the practice of coprophagy, eating their stool, is seen in guinea pigs for similar health benefits.

Timothy hay not only helps the intestines maintain the ideal population of bacteria, it also helps these small mammals wear down their teeth to maintain a proper weight. Adding a few fruits and vegetables into their diets can be appropriate, especially for guinea pigs that require daily vitamin C. However, the bulk of their diet should be hay.

You may have come across pellets formulated for rabbits and guinea pigs that often contain timothy hay. This hay is processed and not as beneficial to the teeth and intestines as regular timothy hay. Therefore, it is better to feed only small amounts of these pellets. We don’t recommend giving cereals or any salty or sugary snacks since these can cause an upset stomach and obesity.

At Animal Hospital of Dauphin County, we care about your pocket pets and want to help you ensure they are receiving the correct nutrition. In order to help you with this, we recommend yearly wellness exam visits. Click here to schedule an appointment for your pocket pet, or call us at 717-652-1270!

And remember to feed hay, hay, hay!

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Summer Care Tips

By Dr. Zajac

Summer is in full swing and that means ice cream, days at the beach, and lots of fun outdoors. But the summer heat can pose serious risk to our furry friends. Animals can be prone to heat stroke if not kept at a cool temperature. Heat stroke can be potentially fatal but can be prevented. It affects virtually all of the organs, especially the brain, kidneys, liver and gastrointestinal tract. Heat stroke occurs when an animal is not able to regulate its body temperature due to high environmental temperatures or overexertion. Certain medical conditions such as obesity, heart disease, hyperthyroidism, seizure disorders, laryngeal paralysis and other respiratory disorders can all increase the risk as well. Breeds that have a short nose or “squished” face are also at higher risk. Heat stroke can be easily prevented by following these tips:

NEVER allow your pet in the car without the air conditioner going. Air temperatures inside cars can quickly rise during these hot days, even with the windows partially down.

Always have plenty of fresh cool water available.

If your pets must be kept outside, make sure they are able to find shade at all times. Do not rely on a covered dog house to provide shade; they can become just as hot as cars with no air flow.

Walk dogs during the cooler parts of the day, usually morning or evening.

If your pet does get overheated, DO NOT use ice or freezing water to cool them off. This will make peripheral blood vessels constrict, causing the core body temperature to remain elevated. You can use cool or tepid water on the skin and coat. Place your pet in front of a fan, not an air conditioner, and provide cool water. Put the pet in the coolest or shadiest area available. Seek veterinary attention immediately if you think your pet is overheating, especially if your pet is having difficulty breathing, not responding to you, or is unable to stand or walk. Excessive salivation, vomiting or diarrhea after exercise can be other signs that your pet is overheating.

Contact your veterinarian for more information on summer care tips for you pets.

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Car Travel With Your Pets

By JC Summer is here in full force and I hear that a lot of my 2- and 4-legged friends are out and about this time of year. Whether it be vacations, errands, or trips to see my vets, at some point we all need to be transported somewhere. One of these days I hope someone takes me to the beach with them. I think I’d look great in some swim trunks! Here are some tips to help your pets ride in style (and safely). • Most important: Never leave your pet in the car on a warm day. Never, ever. • Cats should be kept in their carriers, no matter how much we complain about it. We can be very distracting and get into some dangerous situations if we are allowed to walk around. We just can’t help ourselves. • Please keep our carriers somewhere cool and secure. Trunks and the back of pickup trucks are not safe places for us to ride. • My dog friends also should not ride in the bed of a pickup truck. Sometimes they decide it’s time to get out whether the truck is moving or not and can seriously injure themselves. • If possible, secure your pup with a seat belt using a special harness, in a crate, or with a leash. • If your dog is allowed to move around the car, be sure to keep the windows closed or only open enough so that their nose can fit and no more. We animals have serious self-control problems and are not above squeezing out an open window if given the chance. Despite following these tips, some pets are not cut out for the travel lifestyle. If your pet is one of these and becomes nervous or sick in the car, make sure to speak to my vet friends about what you can do to help make the essential trips more enjoyable.
Happy Summer!
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