So how is everyone’s spring so far? Mine has been uneventful (which in the feline world is never a bad thing). I hear the weather has been the typical Virginia spring of warm, cold, hot, chilly, warm, hot… completely indecisive! I guess now would be a good time to go over some concerns that the spring weather can bring.
Last time I discussed plant toxicity and stressed the importance of researching before breaking out the green thumb. Now the research you need to do is as simple as turning on the TV, internet or radio and checking the temperature.
Many people enjoy the routine of taking out the dog and going for a walk or a jog, or even go for car rides (like to the dog park, etc.). This is fine, but you need to be sure that you and your dog are prepared for the temperature throughout the day. I realize that it is not quite summer yet, but I think that also gives the misconception that it will not get as hot just because it is spring. It does not take much to make a car turn into a sauna. According to www.VeterinaryPartner.com, a study done at Stanford University Medical Center found that a car’s inside temperature can increase by up to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, even on a 70-degree day. That means that what might be considered a perfect spring day outside can potentially be life threatening inside of a vehicle. Anytime any animal is in a car, hot or cold, warm, cool, sunny, dreary, whatever it may be, owners MUST take responsibility and make 100% sure that their pet is comfortable and in a safe environment. This applies to any environment that an animal is in, not just vehicles. In Virginia it is illegal to leave a pet in the car if the outside temperature is 70 degrees or higher.
For anyone who exercises with their pets (whatever that pet may be), it is also important to consider the weather before going for a walk, jog, or even taking out in the yard to play. Dogs especially can over-exert themselves and overheat quickly. Unlike humans, dogs usually do not know when to stop so owners need to be cautious and do it for them when necessary. Take into consideration the breed(s) of your pets as some breeds are predisposed to having heart issues, respiratory issues (like Bulldogs, Pekingese & Persians for example) and issues with obesity. These can be especially taxing in warm weather and extra caution should be taken to prevent hyperthermia or overexertion.
In an article on hyperthermia on www.VeterinaryPartner.com, it gives some helpful advice on what to do and what NOT to do. So what should you do in this situation? First take your pet out of the location where they developed hyperthermia to a cool, shaded area and if possible, direct a fan in your pet’s direction. Taking your pet’s temperature (rectally) and recording it is ideal. Apply cool, wet towels to back of the neck, groin area and armpits and if possible, wet the ear flaps and paws with cool water. Keeping a fan directly in your pet’s direction during this time can greatly help the cooling process until you can get them to a veterinary hospital (which should be done ASAP!).
What should you not do? Probably what most people would think to do first: giving cold water or ice cubes. Keep room temperature water available but do not force them to drink it. You also should stay with your pet or have someone monitoring them at all times until you reach the veterinary facility so DO NOT LEAVE THEM UNATTENDED!!
Speaking of all this warmth, it is time for me to do my daily sunbathing. Until next time…
Hello! Mason, again. Spring has officially sprung and just because I’m an indoor kitty that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it! When the timing is appropriate, my staff opens up a few windows for some much needed fresh air; I even have my own perch in my living quarters so I can stalk all of the prey that I will never catch.
So while April showers bring May flowers (which are awesome), they also bring with them potential hazards. What could possibly be considered dangerous about this season? Unfortunately Mother Nature mixed with our ever-growing curiosity often result in concerned owners frantically calling GFAH and Poison Control. With the extraordinary number of different plant varieties out there, how do you know which ones are considered safe for pets?
Doing your homework prior to planting is very important. There are many reliable websites out there, but for every good one there are hundreds of others to avoid. Now let’s be clear; I am in no way, shape or form advising anyone to practice internet diagnostics. Google is no replacement for veterinary advice; however, it can serve as a guide in the right direction. Websites like www.aspca.com (Link for toxic and non-toxic plants) and www.veterinarypartner.com offer information about plant toxicity. ASPCA’s website can separate plants by species and shows toxic and non-toxic, though it only shows toxicity in dogs, cats & horses.
If you have an indoor/outdoor cat or a dog that goes out into the yard unsupervised at times, it is vital that you are well informed about all the plants in your yard. Have something in your garden that you didn’t plant? No clue what it is? Ask your local nursery for help identifying the plant, then check the websites mentioned above for toxicity information.
No matter what season it may be, the same rules apply to indoor plants or floral arrangements. Check with the nursery or florist for the name of the plant or flower (especially toxic are lily’s all varieties) then with ASPCA’s list of toxic plants. For the plants you do bring home, make sure to make the plant(s) inaccessible to your pets, regardless of the plant. Something considered non-toxic can still do a number on the tummy when ingested. If you want to have home grown catnip or cat grass around, that stuff can be GREAT! Be careful though because we don’t know the difference between “bad plants” and “good plants”; to us they’re all great, at least until we don’t feel well!
Hope you are having a great start to spring so far! I’ll be taking my “Spring Break” pretty soon and I’m looking for ideas of where to go. Green exam room? Dental suite? Employee lounge! The possibilities are endless.
Til next meow,
Ladies: I’d like to express my appreciation for all my lovely bouquets of flowers you, my adoring fans sent me for Valentine’s Day. Furthermore, a news flash about yours truly; I’ve had to start back on my Trixsyn medication (joint supplement) again after all my recent activities, including knocking over a few of the flowers I mentioned earlier. I guess it’s true, I’m not getting any younger and neither are my joints! I appreciate the Get Well cards and thoughts from everyone!
Although I’m a bit late, better late than never! February is Pet Dental Health Month.
So why exactly is it important to practice good dental hygiene when it comes to your furry family members? According to VeterinaryPartner.com, 85% of pets have dental disease by the time they reach three years of age! Now we all know that an animal’s age is much different than a human’s, but nonetheless, three still seems so young. After all, it still feels like we are just getting past our puppy and kitten stages!
Regular wellness visits are important to your pet’s health, including the teeth! Did you know that your pet can experience complications in other parts of the body as a result of dental disease? It’s true; bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream and affect vital organs (like the liver and kidneys) and can even do damage to the valves of the heart. Another reason why keeping up with the teeth can be imperative to your pet’s health, as well as their comfort.
So how can you spot dental disease in your pet? Here are a few signs to look out for that may indicate your pet needs a dental issue addressed:
1) Change in eating habits- Interest in food but not eating, taking longer than normal to eat, if they appear to favor one side of the mouth when chewing or for pets that get both types, eating the wet food and not the dry. Most animals with dental disease will eat normally, even if their mouths are painful.
2) Noticeable foul odor: People usually notice this when up close to their pet or of course if they are getting slobbered on (silly canines…). Often owners will put off having the teeth checked until it gets to be what they consider to be unbearable, which as I mentioned before can be detrimental to your pet’s health (as well as your pocketbook). Animals can develop abscesses inside the mouth, most of the time caused by a broken tooth. Letting this go is definitely not a good idea and we recommend having your pet seen as soon as possible to avoid the issue becoming worse and also to help control the pain. Just think of how painful it can be when you have a cavity or if you have ever had a broken tooth! Ouch!!
3) You notice your pet’s gums are very red or inflamed. The gums are just as important to keep up with as the teeth.
So, what happens when an animal is treated for periodontal disease? Sometimes they just need a good, thorough cleaning. Other times they need a little extra done depending on the progression of the dental disease or if they need to have a tooth removed.
It doesn’t have to be Pet Dental Health month to care about your pet’s teeth! Below I have added a few links to some good articles about animal periodontal disease. These are located on the website www.veterinarypartner.com, which we consider to be a very reliable and informative source for just about everything pets!
*What to Expect If Your Pet Needs Dental Care: https://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=168
*Dental Home Care: https://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=640
Well, I have expelled just about all of the knowledge that I can handle for now. Until next time my friends!
P.S. To some of the newer GFAH staff members… When it says on the white board that “Mason has been fed”, you should never ever believe that. See, we have this on-going inside joke where they write down that they fed me and then I cry a bunch because it is all lies. Such a cruel, cruel world.