The Glenville Veterinary Clinic

Dangers in the Kitchen

Foods that are safe and delicious to us can be deadly to our pets.  Watch out for the following common foods:

  • Onions, garlic, and chives damage red blood cells
  • Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure
  • Chocolate, coffee, and caffeine can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal heart activity, tremors, and seizures
  • Sugar-free gum and other products containing xylitol cause liver damage and liver failure
  • Yeast dough can continue to rise after it is eaten and cause rupture of the stomach or intestines.

If your pet has eaten any of these items, contact a veterinarian immediately!  For more information on common edible hazards, check out:  The ASPCA’s list of “People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets.”

The Truth About Teeth

Dental disease is one of the most common diseases in our pets!  All pets are at risk regardless of what they eat or how much they chew.  Just through the everyday acts of eating and salivating, tartar forms on teeth.  As tartar builds up, the gums become inflamed and begin to recede.  Gum recession exposes the sensitive roots of the teeth.  Often times, we don’t even know that our cats and dogs are suffering from dental disease because they still eat.  But left untreated, dental disease can cause pain and serious infection. This infection can be at the gumline, the roots of the teeth (which extend all the way back to the eye!), and can sometimes affect the entire body.   There are several ways to prevent or slow the progression of dental disease.  First, and most importantly, brushing our pets’ teeth at home every day greatly decreases gum disease and tartar build up!  Make sure to use pet-safe toothpaste to make brushing teeth a safe, tasty, and enjoyable process.  Second, regular check-ups with the veterinarian are very important!  We check teeth at every visit.  Next, your veterinarian might recommend a professional dental cleaning.  During a dental cleaning, your pet is placed under anesthesia.  All of the tartar and plaque is cleaned off of the teeth and from under the gumline, and the teeth are polished.  It’s just like what happens to us at the dentist!  If a tooth is too painful or sick to be saved, it is carefully removed.  Last, there are many products available to try to slow the progression of dental disease. These products can be helpful, but brushing teeth is the best thing we can do at home to keep our pets’ teeth healthy!

Outbreak alert: Parvovirus

There is currently an outbreak of parvo in the upstate New York area.

Parvo is a very serious viral disease that causes severe vomiting and diarrhea in puppies and young dogs.  Puppies rapidly become very dehydrated and cannot absorb nutrients.  Along with vomiting and diarrhea, the immune system is greatly affected by the virus.   Because the immune system is affected, bacteria can enter the blood stream and cause further illness.  Parvo is highly contagious through the feces of sick dogs and can be picked up just by walking outside in an infected area such as a lawn or dog park.  Treatment requires intensive hospitalization care including intravenous fluids, antibiotics, and anti-nausea medications.  Some puppies cannot be saved despite receiving this care.

The good news is that the parvo vaccine is very effective.  Puppies should receive this vaccine every 3-4 weeks until they are approximately 20 weeks old.   Adult dogs should receive this vaccine every 1-3 years.  Be proactive about this awful virus – call the vet if you see vomiting and diarrhea, and schedule an appointment for vaccines if your puppy or dog is overdue.

Litterbox Rules

Cats urinating outside of the litterbox can be a big problem for their owners! If your cat is not using the litterbox properly, the first thing to do is to check for a medical condition. There are many medical causes that can cause unwanted urination behaviors, but there can also be behavioral reasons. Practicing good litterbox habits can help correct and prevent urinating outside of the box.

1) Number of boxes. The number of litterboxes in the house should be equal to the number of cats in the household plus one (so even if you just have 1 cat, there should be 2 litterboxes located in different parts of the house).
2) Box selection. There are many choices for a litterbox. Some are covered, some are open, some are big, some are little, some have a big step to get in, and some have a gentle slope. Different cats have different preferences!
3) Type of litter. Litter choice is important! Most cats prefer an unscented, clay-based, clumping litter. It may be necessary to try several different types of litter to see what type your cat likes best!
4) Hygiene. Litterboxes should be scooped daily. Once a week, all of the litter should be changed. Once a month, the litter should be removed and the box cleaned with mild soap and water.

Making sure that the litterbox is a pleasant place is the best way to keep your cat content to use it!

What is Lepto?

Leptospirosis, also called “lepto,” is a bacteria spread by wild animals. Raccoons, opossums, skunks, squirrels, and rats are just some of the animals which can spread this bacteria through their urine. The bacteria can live in water like ponds or lakes for a long time. Dogs are infected when they touch or drink either contaminated water or urine. The infection then causes liver failure and kidney failure. Importantly, people can also catch this disease! Luckily, most cases of lepto in dogs can be prevented through vaccination. We want your canine companion to enjoy being outdoors and swimming safely this summer. If your dog is at risk for lepto, vaccination can help. And remember, any sign of not eating, vomiting, diarrhea, or sluggishness deserves a call to the veterinarian!

Springtime is for the birds!

Spring is in the air, and wildlife is becoming more active!

Just like human teenagers, bird chicks called “fledglings” leave the nest (or “fledge”) to learn how to survive on their own.  Because they are just learning how to fly, these chicks spend as much time on the ground as in the trees!  The parents stay close by, watching from nearby bushes, trees, or grass.   The adults continue to bring their fledglings food and provide encouragement as they learn how to find their own food and fly!  Many people find birds on the ground at this time of year and are worried that they are injured or have a broken wing because they are not flying well.  But think twice before you “rescue” a bird on the ground in springtime – he may just be learning and still have a parent nearby!

Westminster, revisited

The 136thannual Westminster Kennel Club Annual Dog Show took place February 13-14, 2012.  While dogs across the rest of the nation were busy celebrating Valentine’s Day with their owners, 2000 canine champions were competing to capture awards in New York City.  Dogs compete for the titles of Best Of Breed, Best In Group, and Best In Show.  This year, the prestigious title of Best In Show went to Malachy, a four-year-old Pekignese.  The contenders look very elegant in the ring, but all that beauty takes hard work!  Below is a picture of Shih Tzu being primped and preened behind the scenes at this year’s Westminster.

Shih Tzu at the 2012 Westminster Dog Show. Image courtesy of Andrea Tu, DVM.

 

 

The threat of thunder…

Does your beloved dog have a particularly hard time with the spring storms?  Thunderstorm phobia is a real phobia, like a panic attack.  Don’t punish him; bring him to your vet instead and we can provide you with behavior modification recommendations.  Thunderstorm phobia gets worse with age, so don’t delay this important conversation with us!

Ticks on the move!

As the days become warmer, our animals are not the only critters becoming more active outdoors!  Ticks are parasites which feed on blood and carry numerous infectious diseases which can harm our pets.  There are numerous species of ticks, and each species carries different diseases.  There are over a dozen recognized pathogens that can be transmitted to dogs through ticks, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and tularemia.  To prevent disease transmission by ticks, several steps should be taken.

1) Pets should be checked for ticks daily.  This involves thoroughly evaluating the skin of your cat or dog, and removing any ticks which are found.  There are numerous tools available to aid in the removal of ticks, but attached ticks should never be burned, crushed, or grasped by bare hands for removal.

2) Tick preventative should be used year-round.   Tick infestations can occur throughout the year due to significant variation in tick populations between different geographic locations.  Glenville Vet Clinic offers numerous safe and effective products.  Talk to us about which products are right for your pet!

3) Dogs should be tested yearly with a “4DX” test, also called a heartworm or heartworm-lyme test.  This test screens for heartworm and Lyme disease, and also looks for two other tick-borne diseases known as Ehrlichia and Anaplasma.

4) Dogs who will be exposed to ticks should be vaccinated against Lyme disease.

Although ticks and tick-borne pathogens can be a significant problem for both pets and people, following these simple steps can help avoid illness in our four-legged friends!

For more information about ticks, pets, and people, see the Companion Animal Parasite Council webpage at http://www.capcvet.org/recommendations/ticks.html.

Deer tick. Image courtesy of the Companion Animal Parasite Council

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from Glenville Vet!  The New Year brings us the opportunity to make resolutions for ourselves and our pets.  This is the year to take longer walks with our dogs, and to help our cats lose a few pounds by cutting back on the amount of kibble we feed them!  Here at GVC, the New Year is also a time to reflect on all the new friends we have made.  One company, VPI Pet Insurance, keeps track of all their new patients by compiling the list of the most popular pet names of 2011.  Did your new companion make the list?

 

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