The Glenville Veterinary Clinic

Thanksgiving Safety Tips

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful and meaningful holiday. During this happy time of family, food and giving, we all want to be sure our furry family members are included in the festivities.  Here are some important tips to help keep your “Pumpkin Pie” or “Little Turkey” safe!

Too much of a good thing
A few nibbles of boneless, skinless cooked turkey or a taste of mashed potato shouldn’t pose a problem for most pets. However, don’t allow them to overindulge, as they could wind up with a case of stomach upset, diarrhea, or even worse – an inflammatory condition called pancreatitis. If your pet is on a restricted diet or doesn’t usually handle new food well, pick out a new toy instead, to make him feel special during the holiday.

Make no bones about it
Turkey bones can easily splinter and lacerate (cut) your pet’s intestines, or cause a blockage – both which can be life threatening. Immediately dispose of the turkey carcass outside in the trash, and be sure to keep an eye on your garbage can indoors.  Pets can hit the jackpot and eat large amounts of table scraps, bones, and food wrappings faster than you can say “where’s the dog?”

‘Tis the seasoning
Fresh or powdered garlic and onions, found in stuffing and used as a general seasoning, damage pets’ red blood cells, which can lead to anemia. Grapes, raisins, chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, artificial sweeteners (such as in sugar-free foods), and bread dough can also be very dangerous if ingested.

Quiet time
Make sure your pet has a quiet retreat should the holiday festivities be too much for him. Consider confining him to a crate or bedroom if he is easily stressed by all the activity, or if you know he is prone to stealing people food.

Just in case…
It is our hope that you will never need to go to the emergency clinic, but it’s always good to have phone numbers on hand, just in case (all open 24/7):

Capital District Veterinary Referral Hospital  (formerly Capital District Animal Emergency Clinic)
222 Troy Schenectady Road (Route 2),  Latham (12110)
518-785-1094

Upstate Veterinary Specialties Emergency Care
152 Sparrowbush Rd, Latham (12110)
518-783-3198

Northway Animal Emergency Clinic

35 Fawn Road, Gan­sevoort (12831)
518-761‑2602

We will be open 8am – 5 pm on Wednesday 11/23/16 and closed on Thanksgiving Day

Warm weather tips

Summer is finally here! Here are some tips for keeping our furry friends safe and cool.

dog-drinking-fountain_0

Made in the Shade
Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun and plenty of fresh, clean water. Go easy on the exercise, and limit time outdoors when it’s extremely hot.

Face time
Dogs with flat faces (like pugs, shihtzus, and bulldogs) have a tougher time in hot weather because they can’t pant as effectively.  Elderly, overweight, or ill pets should also be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible. 

No Parking!
Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. Even on a 72 degree day, and even with the windows open, your car can easily reach 100 degrees or more in just a few minutes. Air conditioning can fail, so this is not always a safe option. Leaving pets unattended in a vehicle is also illegal in many areas.

Street Smarts 
Don’t let dogs linger on hot pavement, as their sensitive paw pads can easily burn.

Make a Safe Splash
Never leave pets unsupervised around water. Be sure to rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt, and try to keep them from drinking pool water.

Party Animals
During warm weather festivities, remember to keep alcohol and other “people food” away from pets. They can cause anything from mild stomach upset to severe distress, and some foods (such as chocolate, raisins, and sugar-free products) can be poisonous and even deadly to pets.

Visit the Vet 
We highly recommend that dogs be kept on heartworm preventative year-round – most brands will also protect against intestinal parasites.  Flea and tick preventatives are also a must.

Heat Stroke – Know the Warning Signs
Signs of heat stroke can include:

  • Skin is hot to the touch
  • Rapid panting
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Weakness / loss of coordination
  • Seizure
  • Collapse / unconsciousness

If you think your pet is showing symptoms of heatstroke, move them to a cool area and contact your veterinarian immediately! While mild cases may be treated at home, severe cases can end in death very quickly.  Do NOT immerse your pet in ice water – instead, apply cool water or wet towels.  Cooling too quickly can be just as dangerous.

Our pets rely on us to protect them and keep them comfortable and safe year round. Remember, if you’re hot, your pets are definitely hot!

Pets as gifts: why Santa should reconsider

gift pets

You may have visions of a fluffy puppy with a big red bow, or a box of adorable kittens sitting under the Christmas tree, but pets don’t always make good gifts.

Can great-grandma really take care of that tiny German Shepherd puppy who will soon be the size of a small pony?  Does your sister with 3 children really have time for a rambunctious kitten?

Pets can’t be returned or exchanged like a sweater.  Pet ownership is a huge commitment, possibly 20 years or more.  So it’s crucial that the person who will be caring for the pet choose the pet for themselves.  Consider factors such as pet size, grooming needs, energy level, training, and even housing – someone who rents their home may have landlord restrictions as to what type of pets are allowed.  And there’s always the obvious question: does this person even want a pet?

Instead of gift-wrapping a live pet for the holidays, here are some alternatives:

  • Gift certificate to a pet supply store
  • Gift certificate to an animal shelter – either one that the shelter offers, or one that you make yourself – so adoption fees are covered and the recipient can choose his or her own pet
  • Supplies such as pet beds, toys, collar, or leash
  • Pictures of the type of pet you think the recipient may like
  • Books on pet care

When it comes time to choose that special furry family member, make adoption your first option.  There are hundreds of pets looking for homes in shelters – even kittens, puppies, and pure breed dogs.  Pet stores are great places to find supplies, but adoption is a gift to both the pet owner AND the pet!  For shelters in your area, visit www.petfinder.com

Halloween Safety Tips

halloween dog
Most of us know that chocolate can be very dangerous to our furry friends.  But there are other potential dangers at Halloween time that pet owners should be aware of.

Party on, Wayne
While the humans celebrate, the 4-legged guests may be waiting for that tasty tidbit of food to fall onto the floor.  Many foods can cause stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea when ingested.  Other foods such as raisins, onions, artificial sweeteners (such as in sugar-free candy), and even some nuts and seeds can be dangerous or even deadly.  Also be on the lookout for small toys, candy wrappers, and other discarded items that could cause choking or intestinal blockage if swallowed.  And let’s not forget the beverages – alcohol is a definite no-no for pets!

Ding dong
Some pets go bananas when the doorbell rings.  So it stands to reason that some pets go out of their furry minds on Halloween due to the doorbell ringing over and over.  Many animals find the constant opening of the door to trick or treaters a perfect opportunity to dash outside.  Be sure that all pets are wearing collars with ID tags (and better yet, are microchipped), just in case they make an escape.  If you anticipate a large amount of visitors, pets are best off confined to a separate room where they are safe from the noise and opening of the door.  Dogs who are used to being crated may be quite comfortable in a crate, however, Halloween night is not the time to introduce a dog to a crate for the first time.

You light up my life
Candles may make your jack-o-lantern look great, but never leave them burning around unattended pets (or children).  Curious critters may go in for a closer look and end up with singed whiskers, or worse.  Use battery-operated LED candles, or simply snuff them out before leaving the room.

The same glow sticks that light the way for your trick or treaters are tempting chew toys for pets.  Their teeth can easily pierce the plastic, causing the chemical contents to spill into their mouths, also creating a choking hazard.  Keep these out of paws’ reach, and ensure children do the same.

Oh look, another pumpkin
Sure, Fido looks adorable dressed up, but is he as thrilled as you are?  While some pets don’t appear to mind costumes, others are miserable and are likely passing their time plotting their revenge.  If your pet truly seems content dressed up, just be sure the costume isn’t too tight and doesn’t have any small pieces that could be ingested.

Just in case…
It is our hope that you will never need to go to the emergency clinic, but it’s always good to have their phone number on hand, just in case.  The Capital District Veterinary Referral Hospital offers 24-hour care 8:00 am Friday to 8:00 am Tuesday, and overnight care Tuesday through Thursday 5:00 pm to 8:00 am.  They are located at 222 Troy-Schenectady Road (Route 2) in Latham, and their phone number is 785-1094.

To all our clients and furry friends, have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Fleas: the other f-word

fleasFleas are small, wingless insects that feed on blood by biting animals.  While they cannot fly, their strong legs allow them to jump up to a foot in the air. Their hard outer shell makes it difficult to “squash” them, and also makes them resistant to insecticides. Not only do fleas cause discomfort by biting (and imagine how your pet feels having those little buggers crawling around on their skin), but they can also cause anemia, infections, allergic reactions, and tapeworm infestation.

How do I tell if my pet has fleas?
Obvious signs of fleas are itching and scratching, but some pets may not show any signs.  You can check your pet’s body, especially on the inside of his legs and his belly, for any live fleas.  You can also take a fine-toothed comb and run it through your pet’s fur right above his tail.  If you see any red or black debris, it could be flea dirt: digested blood that has been excreted by the flea, otherwise known as “flea poop.”  Place some of this debris on a wet paper towel; if it runs red, then you have flea dirt – and fleas!

The adult flea has a lifespan of up to one year, and has a complete life cycle: egg, larva, pupae, and adult.  A single flea can lay up to 50 eggs each day.  The larvae/pupae that hatch from these eggs may remain in the environment for several months.  It is very difficult to kill the pupae stage, and the egg is also resistant to insecticides.  Only the adult flea infests the animal to obtain a blood meal.  The rest of the life cycle takes place in the environment: commonly your carpets, pet bedding, and furniture.

Now that we know about their life cycle, let’s learn how to get rid of them! You must treat both the environment AND your pets.  First, treat all the cats and dogs in the home, even if they do not go outside.  We highly discourage using any flea products you may find at your supermarket or pet store, as we cannot guarantee their safety or effectiveness.  We recommend using a topical medication such as Advantix II (for dogs) or Frontline Plus (for cats or dogs), which you can purchase from your veterinarian (we almost always have “buy one get one” promotions going on, so be sure to ask!).  For severe infestations, there is a pill called Capstar that will kill any live fleas on the pet; it starts working within 30 minutes but only lasts for 24 hours.  Topical mediations should be applied every 30 days for at least 3 months in a row, but ideally year round.  For dogs, we also recommend Sentinel, which is a heartworm- and intestinal parasite-preventative that will also control flea eggs (but not live fleas). 

What about shampoos and collars?
For some pets, a flea bath may be appropriate, but it’s best left to the professionals (your groomer or veterinarian).  Many flea shampoos contain strong chemicals, so it is very important to avoid the pet’s eyes, and are only effective short-term.  And we probably don’t need to tell you that most cats do NOT enjoy getting baths!  While flea collars have come a long way in recent years, many still only work to control fleas around the front end of the pet (so fleas tend to simply travel to the other end).  The newer flea collars available from your veterinarian can be effective, but they are not appropriate for all pets.  Remember that each pet is different, so be sure to ask your veterinarian which products are best for your dog or cat.

After all the pets have been treated, it’s time to treat your house. First, launder anything you can fit in a washing machine, especially pet bedding and your linens (bath mats, sheets, blankets, etc), using HOT water.  Wash the entire pet bed, rather than just the cover, as fleas love to hide in stuffing!  If you can’t wash and dry it, throw it out.  Also wash your pet’s toys. 

Then, vacuum like you’ve never vacuumed before!  Under furniture, beneath couch cushions, in every nook and cranny, especially any area where pets spend a lot of time.  Anything that you couldn’t fit in your washing machine should be vacuumed.  After vacuuming, immediately remove the bag or empty the canister, double-bag the contents and discard it in the trash outside.  Also vacuum and mop any tile or hard-wood flooring, as fleas can hide in cracks and baseboards.

The next step is to use an area spray available through your veterinarian, pet store, or hardware store.  Area sprays are more effective than “bombs” or “foggers” because fleas can easily hide under furniture and other items that the bomb/fogger cannot reach. Apply an even mist with the area spray, remembering to get under furniture.  Read the directions carefully to see how long people and pets should avoid the area.  Once the spray has dried, vacuum at least every other day (remember to throw out the bag or empty the canister immediately). Repeat the area spray treatments in 2 weeks to kill the emerging new fleas.

Along with using area sprays, you can also make a homemade “flea trap” using a shallow bowl filled with water and dish soap placed under a desk lamp (just make sure to keep curious pets from drinking out of it).  While fleas drown easily, they thrive in high humidity, so adding a dehumidifier is a safe addition to your flea control regimen.  

Remember to continue to treat pets monthly, ideally year round but at least until we’ve had a hard frost, and beginning again in spring right after the first thaw.  If you have had fleas in your home, all pets should be treated year round.

Fleas range from a minor inconvenience to a major nuisance. The best method to avoid either is prevention!  Be sure to ask your veterinarian which products are right for your pets.

Disaster Preparedness for Pets

dog first aid kit

When disaster strikes, don’t be caught unprepared! Plan ahead and follow these tips.

Assemble an emergency kit
Pack a back pack or sturdy container with your pet’s essentials, including:

  • Written plan for alternative locations to bring your pets if they can’t come with you
  • A sturdy leash for dogs and a sturdy carrier for smaller pets (this can double as your container), clearly labeled with your contact information
  • Medications – at least a 2 week supply
  • 2 weeks’ worth of food (remember to get pop-top cans or include a manual can opener), bottled water, dishes, and cat litterbox with litter
  • First Aid kit
  • Contact information for your veterinarian
  • Medical records (in plastic sleeves) – be sure to highlight any medical problems or allergies
  • Current photos of your pets (laminated or in plastic sleeves)
  • Toys and treats
  • Cleaning supplies, paper towels, baby wipes and trash bags
  • Blankets – for bedding and also to “scoop up” a scared pet
  • It’s also a good idea to store pets’ photos and other essential information on your phone
  • Be sure to rotate out medications, water, and dry food every couple of months

Safety starts at home
Always bring pets indoors at the warning of a storm or other dangerous situation. Pets can become disoriented and wander away from home during a crisis.  Choose a “safe room” in your home such as a basement or interior room (preferably without windows) on the lowest floor in the case of tornadoes or other severe storms. In the event of flooding, go to the highest location in your home. Fill up bathtubs, sinks, and buckets ahead of time to ensure you have access to clean water (especially if your home is on a pump or a well: no electricity, no water).  Remember to keep your emergency kit close by!

ID is the key
All pets should wear a collar with ID tags at all times. If your phone number changes, be sure to get new tags right away with updated information. It’s also a good idea to have your pets microchipped by your veterinarian. A tiny microchip (about the size of a grain of rice) implanted under your pet’s skin can be scanned by animal shelters, veterinarians, and dog control officers. This number is linked to you in a database and serves as permanent identification in case your pet is separated from you.

Arrange a safe haven
If you must evacuate your home, never leave your pets behind! You may not be able to return for a long period of time, and if it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets. Not all disaster shelters accept pets, so be sure to keep a written plan ahead of time of where you could bring them. Keep a list of boarding kennels, animal shelters, and hotels who accept pets. Your list should include facilities both inside and outside of your immediate area. Also ask friends and relatives (near and far) if they would be willing to take in your pet.

With all this talk about your pets, don’t forget the humans! Assemble an emergency kit for each human member of your family, including: medications, water, non-perishable food, batteries, flashlight, radio, multi-tool such as a Swiss Army knife, cleaning and first aid supplies, blankets, several changes of clothes and shoes, important phone numbers, current photos, and information on health insurance and any medical conditions.

Facebook has become the go-to place for information – it’s a great place to post updates on local conditions and your whereabouts for family and friends.  Be sure to “like” the Glenville Veterinary Hospital page  here.

emergency1

Why does my cat do that?

Ever wondered why cats do the quirky things they do?
Here we unravel some of the mysteries of the feline world.

Siggy funnyHospital cat Siggy being a goofball, while an unamused Juno looks on

 

Why do cats sleep so much?

Cats sleep over 16 hours a day, or about two thirds of their lives. Cats are not actually nocturnal, but crepuscular, meaning they are most active around sunrise and sunset. In the wild, these are the best times for hunting when there is just enough light for them to see, and this is why kitty wants to play when you’re ready to sleep. Cats are also light sleepers, so they must sleep longer to compensate. This is where the term “cat nap” comes from.

Why do cats purr?

Typically, a purring cat is a happy cat. Kittens are able to purr shortly after birth and use purring to show contentment. Cats purr to communicate to others that they are friendly or want to play. Cats also purr when they are scared or sick as a way to soothe themselves, much the way a human would sing or hum to relieve stress.

Why do cats “make biscuits”?

Nursing kittens knead their paws on their mother cat to stimulate milk flow. Adult cats knead on people as a way to comfort themselves and to show affection. It reminds them of when they were kittens, safe and happy with their mother cat, and that is quite a compliment to a kitty’s human companion.

Why so much grooming?

Cats spend up to three hours grooming daily. A cat’s saliva is thought to contain a detergent-like substance that keeps the coat soft and clean. Their rough tongue removes dead hair and also acts as a “self massage” that can relieve stress. Cats groom each other as a way of enriching social bonds between fellow felines.

Why do cats claw furniture?

Contrary to popular belief, cats are not “sharpening” their claws. They are actually encouraging the dead outer layers of their claws to shed. Cats are one of the few animals who walk directly on their toes, and scratching helps file off the ragged edges. It helps the kitty stretch and exercise the muscles in their legs and back. This action also allows the cat to mark its territory with the scent glands on their paw pads. Keeping claws trimmed and having a few well-placed scratching posts will discourage clawing on your furniture (a spray bottle filled with plain water also works wonders).

Why do cats rub their faces on things?

Cats have scent glands on their face, chin, and in their mouth. Rubbing on objects or people deposits their scent through chemicals called pheromones, marking their territory. It’s a way of telling their owner “you’re mine.”

Why is my cat squinting at me?

Another way cats communicate is with their eyes. Much like with dogs (and humans), a direct stare is usually perceived as a threat. A slow blink, on the other hand, is a way to show that they mean no harm, and that they approve of the other cat’s presence. So next time you’re hanging out with your feline friend, give them a slow blink. Chances are, they will return the gesture.

 

cat squint

How To: Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

In honor of Veterinary Dental Health Month, this blog is a useful guide on how to brush your pet’s teeth.

Who:  Dogs and cats!

What:  Brushing teeth!

When:  Every day!

How:  It’s best to introduce brushing teeth while your pet is still a puppy or kitten, but it’s never too late to teach an old dog (or cat) new tricks!

Start by handling your pet’s mouth and letting her lick some animal-safe toothpaste off of your fingers.  If your pet does not enjoy the toothpaste right away, try some low-sodium chicken broth instead, and then slowly reintroduce the pet toothpaste.  Do not use human toothpaste, as this should not be eaten.  Once she will lick toothpaste off your finger, place some of the toothpaste on a piece of gauze or a toothbrush.  Gently rub the gauze or toothbrush over her teeth and gums.  Go slowly!  You may only be able to rub the gauze or toothbrush over one or two teeth on the first day, but slowly increase the number of teeth you are brushing each day.

Keep the brushing sessions short, and be sure to stop the toothbrushing before you or your pet gets frustrated or upset.

Brushing teeth every day is the best way to prevent dental disease and bad breath!

Bella, sit!

Check out the most popular pet names of 2012, as reported by VPI Pet Insurance!  Is your new companion on the list?

Dogs Cats Birds and Exotics
1. Bella 1. Bella 1. Charlie
2. Bailey 2. Max 2. Buddy
3. Max 3. Chloe 3. Bella
4. Lucy 4. Oliver 4. Max
5. Molly 5. Lucy 5. Angel
6. Buddy 6. Smokey 6. Baby
7. Daisy 7. Shadow 7. Coco
8. Maggie 8. Tiger 8. Rocky
9. Charlie 9. Charlie 9. Bandit
10. Sophie 10. Tigger 10. Sunny

Trick-or-treat! Your pet and chocolate exposure

Halloween brings out the ghosts, goblins, and lots and lots of chocolate!  Chocolate may be America’s favorite sweet, especially around the fall and winter holidays.  Although chocolate is delicious to us, it can be dangerous to our pets.  What is it that causes this confection to be a problem for our animals?

There are multiple ways that chocolate can be problematic for our pets.  The richness of chocolate can cause irritation to the stomach.  The fat and calories can cause a disease called pancreatitis, which can result in severe pain in the abdomen and stomach upset.  In large doses, chocolate can actually be deadly.

The substance in chocolate which is toxic to our pets is theobromine.   Theobromine is a stimulant.  It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, tremors, seizures, rapid heart rates, heart arrhythmias, and, in severe cases, death.

The amount of theobromine that an animal eats will determine how sick it may become.  Theobromine is found in the highest doses in concentrated products like bakers’ chocolate.  Bakers’ chocolate contains the most theobromine, followed by semisweet, and then milk chocolate.  Goods that are just flavored with chocolate (like cookies and brownies) have the least amount of theobromine.

If your pet eats chocolate, it’s important to tell your vet what type of chocolate and how much was consumed, as well as what time it was eaten.   Mild cases may not require any treatment at all.  However, severe cases of chocolate toxicity can require hospitalization.

Have fun this Halloween!  But remember – keep the chocolate away from our furry friends.