Join Brookfield Animal Hospital’s Book Club! November’s Selection is ‘From Baghdad with Love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named Lava’, by Jay Kopelman. We encourage you to read the book this November, and on December 13th we invite you to join us in a blog discussion. Read Lava’s story this month and join us for discussions on December 13th.
Time to open your doors and feel the nice breeze of spring! Remember to put your screen door in so your pet doesn’t try to enjoy the breeze on their own! They are enjoying the outdoors longer as the urge to explore new territories grab their attention. Even if your pet never wanders away, remember that in old age, pets have a tendency to lose their scent and they can wander too far to retrace their steps.
How long has it been since your cat visited us at Brookfield Animal Hospital? Today is National “Take Your Cat to the Vet” Day! If your cat is due for a visit, it’s time to get them checked. Remember, there’s supposed to be 6-12 months between each visit, depending on your pet’s age! Regular visits can help your cat live longer, because we can identify and treat problems sooner.
Today is National Pet Obesity Awareness Day: a day set aside to educate pet owners about the danger of obesity in pets, and a day for pet owners to look at their options when it comes to their pet’s health. We encourage all pet owners to contact us if they’re concerned about their overweight pets. If you have questions, we can help determine a diet and exercise plan that will improve your pet’s health and increase their life-expectancy. Just ask!
Heartworm disease is a serious, potentially-fatal disease seen in pets in the United States as well as other parts of the world. Heartworm disease is caused by heartworms (Dirofilaria immitis), which are parasites that can grow to be one foot long within an infected animal. These parasites live in the heart and the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the lungs, and they can cause severe lung damage and heart failure. In addition to dogs and cats, heartworms can live in other mammals, such as wolves, coyote, and foxes. These wild animals can serve as a source of infection for our pets.
The mosquito is essential in the transmission of heartworm. Adult female heartworms living in an infected dog, fox, coyote, or wolf produce microscopic immature worms called microfilaria which circulate in the bloodstream. When a mosquito bites an infected animal and takes a blood meal, it picks up these microfilaria. Over the course of 10-14 days, the microfilaria mature into an infective stage of larvae within the mosquito. After maturation occurs, when that mosquito bites a dog, cat, or susceptible wild animal, the infective larvae are able to enter the new host. Once inside the new host, it takes approximately six months for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms. Adult heartworms can live for five to seven years in dogs and up to two to three years in cats. The longer an animal is infected, the more likely it will show signs of disease. The signs of heartworm disease can vary in dogs and cats but often relate to damage to the heart and/or lungs. These signs can be as subtle as a loss of appetite, or as severe as sudden death. We will discuss the signs in more detail in a future post.
Heartworms are present in all 50 states, and the American Heartworm Society estimates that over one million dogs in theUnited States are currently infected with adult heartworms. Because infected mosquitoes can get inside your home, both indoor and outdoor pets are at risk. Prevention is the key to keeping your pet healthy and safe from heartworm disease. A variety of safe and effective preventives are available for both dogs and cats. Look for more blog posts later this month written by our staff members to learn more about heartworm disease and what we recommend to prevent it, or call our office at (203) 775-3679 for more information.
As the temperature begins to raise so does something else…the flea population! Ideally, flea control should begin as flea prevention…before flea season starts. As a loving pet owner, you’d do anything to prevent your cat or dog from suffering, after all, they’re part of the family. Yet every year when flea season begins, it’s like an old broken record. Fleas bite, and the scratching and chewing starts again. It’s a painful and irritating routine for you and your pet. But that’s not all. The adult fleas on your pet can actually cause serious medical problems…like flea allergy dermatitis or tapeworms, and in some extreme cases, anemia. We can help! Ask us how to keep your pet flea free, at your next visit!
Keep pets indoors and warm
The best prescription for winter’s woes is to keep your dog or cat inside with you and your family. The happiest dogs are those who are taken out frequently for walks and exercise but kept inside the rest of the time.
Don’t leave pets outdoors when the temperature drops
During walks, short-haired dogs may feel more comfortable wearing a sweater. No matter what the temperature is, wind chill can threaten a pet’s life. Pets are sensitive to severe cold and are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia during extreme cold snaps. Exposed skin on noses, ears and paw pads can quickly freeze and suffer permanent damage.
Take precautions if your pet spends a lot of time outside
A dog or cat is happiest and healthiest when kept indoors. If for some reason your dog is outdoors much of the day, he or she must be protected by a dry, draft-free shelter that is large enough to allow the dog to sit and lie down comfortably but small enough to hold in his/her body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.
Help neighborhood outdoor cats
If there are outdoor cats, either owned pets or community cats (ferals, who are scared of people, and strays, who are lost or abandoned pets) in your area, remember that they need protection from the elements as well as food and water. It’s easy to give them a hand.
Give your pets plenty of food and water
Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes energy. Routinely check your pet’s water dish to make certain the water is fresh and unfrozen. Use plastic food and water bowls; when the temperature is low, your pet’s tongue can stick and freeze to metal.
Be careful with cats, wildlife and cars
Warm engines in parked cars attract cats and small wildlife, who may crawl up under the hood. To avoid injuring any hidden animals, bang on your car’s hood to scare them away before starting your engine.
Protect paws from salt
The salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet’s feet. Wipe all paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates his/her mouth.
Avoid antifreeze poisoning
Antifreeze is a deadly poison, but it has a sweet taste that may attract animals and children. Wipe up spills and keep antifreeze (and all household chemicals) out of reach. Coolants and antifreeze made with propylene glycol are less toxic to pets, wildlife and family.
Speak out if you see a pet left in the cold
If you encounter a pet left in the cold, document what you see: the date, time, exact location and type of animal, plus as many details as possible. Video and photographic documentation (even a cell phone photo) will help bolster your case. Then contact your local animal control agency or county sheriff’s office and present your evidence. Take detailed notes regarding whom you speak with and when. Respectfully follow up in a few days if the situation has not been remedied.
Decoding Your Dog by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB) brings you explanations of dog behavior to help you understand your own dog. ACVB members have to meet specific criteria and must pass a test in order to be Board Certified in this specialty. Members are in practice, some members are also researchers, all of them are dedicated to staying on top of the latest research in order to bring it to their patients, often consulted by veterinarians in practice when they need expert advice on a case. Many veterinarians will send their clients out for a consultation with an ACVB member if there is one within driving distance. There are other behaviorists but these members must also be veterinarians. The letters after a veterinarian’s DVM or VMD, DACVB means that they are a Diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorist.
Each of the 14 Chapters was written by one or two Veterinary Behaviorists, an assortment from the U.S. and Canada. The book was edited by Debra F. Horowitz, DVM, DACVB and John Ciribassi, DVM, DACVB with Steve Dale. Unmentioned but credited by Steve Dale is editor Beth Adelman. I have no idea why her name doesn’t appear prominently since the description of what she did certainly deserved it.
Written by professionals for pet owners, although some veterinarians may also want a copy in their library, Decoding Your Dog gives pet owners an opportunity to learn about various dog behaviors. Why does my dog to this? Now you’ll have your answer, whether it’s Separation Anxiety or Aggression, Housetraining Problems. This book runs the gamut.
What I found most impressive is the definitive stand on positive training and why its more effective. You know I talk about it repeatedly. Now you can get the information straight from the veterinary behaviorists with studies to back them up.
Many of my favorite veterinary behaviorists appear in this book. You’ll learn how to choose a dog, how to “read” your dog, and you’ll learn about psychopharmacology.There’s also a Glossary of Terms. At the end of each chapter is a box summarizing what you’ve learned, very much recognizable to those of you who own a copy of my Angell Memorial Animal Hospital Book of Wellness and Preventive Care for Dogs. It’s something I think is very helpful for dog owners who are just learning about each topic.
Decoding Your Dog has been in my personal library for awhile. I think it should be in yours, too.
The book, originally published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is 384 pages in hardcover. It can be purchased in Hardcover, Paperback or e-Book format. Price will vary by format and point of purchase. It can be purchased wherever books are sold.
Here’s a link to the Decoding Your Dog: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0547738919/ref=rdr_ext_tmb
Did you know that heartworm is a disease you can prevent your pet from having? Heartworms are a constant threat to your animal, which is why our hospital recommends heartworm screening and prevention for your pet. The most common signs of heartworm disease in cats are coughing, vomiting, breathing difficulties, weight loss and lethargy and are often mistaken for other conditions such as asthma, pneumonia and digestive problems. In fact, the most common clinical signs of heartworm disease in cats actually resemble bronchial asthma. The only way to know for sure is to have us examine and test your pet. This pre-emptive approach can spare your pet the pain of this often fatal disease.
Did you know?
-Cancer accounts for nearly 50% of all disease-related pet deaths each year
-One in four dogs die of cancer.
-Approximately 1 in 4 dogs develops a tumor of some kind during his lifetime.
-Just like in humans, cancer can occur in any part of your dog’s body.
Are you aware that November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month? Run your hands over your pet and feel for any unusual lumps or bumps. If you feel something new or unusual, let’s take a look at it. Dogs and cats can get benign lumps such as lipomas and sebaceous cysts, but they can also get much more serious tumors, like mast cell tumors, melanomas, squamous cell carcinomas, and many others. Many of these can be diagnosed with a simple in-office procedure involving a needle aspirate and then a microscopic exam of the cells obtained. A fine needle aspirate is generally less painful than a vaccination, so don’t hesitate to get that lump checked out. The importance of annual check-ups regardless of the age of your pet is critical in the prevention of cancer.
Here are the top 10 early warning signs of pet cancer listed out by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
1. Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow
2. Sores that do not heal
3. Weight loss
4. Loss of appetite
5. Bleeding or discharge from any body opening
6. Offensive odor
7. Difficulty eating or swallowing
8. Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina
9. Persistent lameness or stiffness
10. Difficulty breathing, urinating or defecating
Better to be safe than sorry, and much better to catch something sooner rather than later!