Tag Archives: pet safety

Care of Orphaned or Injured Wildlife (Dr. Kara Ruthberg)

Spring is a common time for people to encounter an injured or orphaned wild animal. The first question most would-be rescuers ask is, “What should I do?” Understanding the basics can provide vital guidance when there’s wildlife in need.

Most importantly – if you see what you think may be sick, injured or orphaned wildlife, don’t immediately remove it from its natural habitat. The bird or animal may not need assistance and you could actually do more harm in your attempt to help. Some species leave their offspring alone temporarily, especially during the day. For example, deer and cottontail rabbits spend much of the day away from their well-camouflaged offspring to minimize the chance of predators finding them.

To determine if young wildlife is truly orphaned, check the animal periodically for 24 to 48 hours to see if it is still around. Are parents nearby?  Do you see other babies? Do you see a nesting site? Can they be returned to the nest? Keep your distance. Keep cats and dogs away from the area inhabited by the young animal; the adult may not return if it is noisy or if predators or people are close by.

If you find an abandoned or injured animal the best thing you can do is to call your local Animal Control Officer. They are familiar with handling and equipped to care for these animals. The Officers are knowledgeable about the location and hours of operation of wildlife rehabilitators. Do not handle the animal unless advised to do so. REMEMBER these are wild animals and they can bite or injure you. Some animals in this area (who may appear healthy) are carrying Rabies, a fatal disease that can be passed to humans or pets with a tiny bite or scratch. If you cannot safely capture the animal, keep a close eye on it and its location. If you must handle the animal, take care to minimize the risk of injury to yourself and to the animal. Wear protective clothing and equipment, such as very thick leather gloves, to avoid bites or scratches; wash your hands well after handling the animal. If you or one of your pets does get injured by the animal you must call the Health Department of Animal Control Officer immediately to report the injury and have the animal tested for Rabies.

If you decide to help a wild orphan or injured animal, contacting a wildlife rehabilitation facility is the first priority, as many of these are in need of veterinary attention and specialized care if they are to survive. If no rehabilitators are available in your area, contact a veterinarian to seek assistance for the animal.

Safely capture the animal with a towel or blanket. Then place the animal in a cardboard box with small holes poked in it for air or a pet carrier. Place paper towels or newspapers in the bottom. With baby mammals, you can put a piece of fleece material but do not use terry cloth, wash clothes, or towels; as the loops can come loose and strangle the animal. NEVER GIVE FOOD OR WATER! Improperly feeding a baby animal may cause them to inhale water or food which can be deadly. Also, do not try to bandage any injuries!

Place the animal in a quiet environment. It will need a mild heat source. You can make a “sock buddy” by taking an old gym sock, putting rice in it, and microwaving the sock for 30 second intervals until warm. Place the sock buddy next to the baby. Take the animal to a wildlife rehabilitator or a veterinarian within 24 hours of capture.

If you’re the type of person who would be compelled to help injured or orphaned wildlife, investigate your local resources before an emergency arises. Find out who can help you to perform a rescue out in the field and find out where you can take the animal for veterinary care and rehabilitation and keep those agencies’ contact information handy – you never know when you’re going to come across an animal in need!

 

Kara Ruthberg DVM

The Facts About Heartworm (Dr. Zach Weiner)

It is that time of year again folks.  The sun is making itself known, the flowers are coming into bloom, and the birds are starting to sing.   Yes, spring is every so slowly returning to our neck of the woods.   For many of us this is a time of renewal.  It is a time to make a fresh start and enjoy the outdoors again.

I always look forward to getting outside and enjoying Mother Nature more, as the days get longer and the air gets warmer.  The outdoors man in me loves the thought of hiking at our many parks, fishing by the sea or at a pond, or just lying in a hammock out back and listening to the neighborhood song birds.  So don’t worry readers, I am sure to be out there with you all spring, enjoying the beauty that this great state offers.

Right beside me will be my faithful companion, Frisby.  My dear dog loves to sun herself outside and, even at her advanced age, enjoys the occasional jaunt to the beach or through the woods.  Since she is my best friend, I have made a commitment to keep her as safe as possible.  I know that I have to protect her from the dangers outside while allowing her to enjoy herself.  Yes, the dangers! While dogs in New Jersey are at risk of contracting Heartworm disease all year round, the warmer, wetter weather brings even more mosquitoes which increases the risk of infection.  Therefore, proper protection is even more important this time of year.  Hence, we come to the topic of today’s discussion, Heartworm disease.

I find the best way to discuss this issue is to address questions my clients have posed to me in the past.  As such, this blog will be structured in a question and answer format.

What are Heartworms and how do dogs get them?  Can other animals or people get them?

A Heartworm is a tiny worm that spends most of it lifecycle in dogs’ blood vessels and heart.  These parasites are different than intestinal worms and are spread by contact with mosquitoes.  Dogs can not directly infect you or pass these to other animals.  However, a mosquito that fed on an infected dog can spread the disease to another unprotected dog or cat. By being consistent with your Heartworm preventative (Trifexis, Revolution, Heartgard Plus, etc.) will protect your pet and will actually protect many surrounding dogs by minimizing the parasite’s ability to spread.   A good flea and tick control product with repellent activity, such as Vectra 3D, can help to add extra protection to your pet.  Dogs are the intended hosts for Heartworms but other animals, and rarely even people, have been known to contract Heartworms. So your kitty is not safe without protection either.  In dogs, the worms can cause asthma like reactions, heart disease, embolus of the lungs and even congestive heart failure.  Left untreated, Heartworms are fatal to most infested dogs.  Typically, Heartworms cause asthma like symptoms in cats and people.  Amazingly, there are still many dogs in this area that are not on year round Heartworm prevention. This unprotected population keeps the disease a constant threat to all dogs and cats that may miss a dose or two of their medicine.

 

How do you test for this disease?

The easiest method for determining whether your pet has contracted Heartworm disease is to perform a blood test.  In dogs, we recommend a test called “Accuplex,” It shows if your dog has been exposed to Heartworms and has produced antibodies against them.  It also tests to see if he or she has been exposed to several tick-borne diseases.  This is an important and necessary screening procedure to assure that the medication is continuing to keep your pet safe from the diseases that are prevalent in our area.  In short, it is an essential part of your pet’s preventative care regimen.  We recommend that your dog be routinely tested at his or her yearly physical exam or if there has been a lapse in treatment.

If your pet is showing signs that alert your veterinarian to the possibility that he or she may have contracted Heartworm disease, he or she may recommend some more specific tests in addition to the Accuplex to confirm the presence of the parasite and the extent of the damage that is causing (including directly looking for the worms in blood smears and chest x-rays).

Isn’t there a treatment for this disease?

If caught early enough there are treatment options to address Heartworm disease.  However, the treatment course is neither without risk nor inexpensive.  Additionally, there is frequently no way to reverse damage that has already occurred to the heart and lungs.  The treatment includes injections with a medication that is currently in short supply due to rarity of manufacturers.  The delicate location of these parasites additionally requires post-treatment precautions, including at several MONTHS of strict cage rest.  If these precautions are not followed, life threatening clots can seed the lungs, further complicating an already damaged essential organ.  This is why we strongly recommend prevention with a safe and easy monthly chew treat or pill. By regularly using preventative you will never know how many times it has protected your furry friend.  As my mother used to say “I’ve never been hit by a car, but that doesn’t mean I don’t look both ways before I cross the street.”  Prevention is always better than having to put your pal through the effects of the disease and the treatment.

So what can I do about this problem?

The best news about all of this is that prevention of Heartworm is very easy.  Your pet does not need advanced treatments or even messy baths or dips.  He or she does not need to take a daily pill to keep these worms at bay.  All that is needed is medicine given once-a-month which is safer for them than taking an aspirin is for you and me.   The preventative is not toxic to warm-blooded animals and does not have bad side effects. Currently, there are several products available which are both safe and effective in preventing the Heartworms from infesting your furry friend.  For dogs, we now recommend a product called “Trifexis” due to the fact that it prevents not only Heartworm, but also fleas and intestinal parasites.  For cats, “Revolution” is our product of choice. We also dispense Heartgard Plus for prevention of Heartworms in dogs and cats. Remember, the best way to treat Heartworm disease is to never get it.  Regular use of a veterinary approved preventative is the best way to achieve this.

I’m not sure I can afford preventative.

Ok, so this is not a question, but something that comes up in these difficult times.  I would argue that you cannot afford NOT to use preventatives.  At our hospitals, we try to make Heartworm prevention as affordable as possible. When used correctly it is guaranteed to prevent infestation.  However, if not used and you pet contracts Heartworm disease, the cost of treatment, the emotional toll and the risk to your dog would pay for several lifetimes of prevention.  When you add in the fact that the major Heartworm preventatives also eliminate intestinal parasites that can spread to people, you are getting a great deal of value in a small package.  Certainly, your pooch or kitty will appreciate the safety to run outside free of risk over a new collar, toy or bed.  For that much cost you can truly show your pet how much you love him or her.

Ok, now go enjoy the good weather.  If you’d like to review more information please review the American Heartworm society’s website

http://www.heartwormsociety.org/pet-owner-resources/faqs.html

Zachary Weiner DVM

Lily Toxicity in Cats (Dr. Jenna Koenigstein)

 

Lilies can be fatal in your cat

Beautiful flower, right?  But did you know this pretty and seemingly harmless plant could actually kill your feline companions with a single nibble?  It’s true!  Certain types of lilies are among the most dangerous types of flowers for felines, and far too people are aware of this until it may be too late.  With Spring slowly starting to make its reappearance and stores full of flowers waiting to make their way into your home, we need to take a moment to discuss this potentially deadly toxicity.

The types of lilies that you need to worry about include:

  • Easter
  • Tiger
  • Stargazer
  • Japanese Show
  • Rubrum
  • Any other members of the genus Lilum (“true lilies”)

The toxic compound in lilies is extremely destructive to a cat’s kidneys.  It only takes a nibble on a single leaf or stem, drinking the vase water, or ingesting a small amount of pollen from these flowers (as with grooming) to send your cat into acute (sudden and often irreversible) kidney failure and have you rushing them to the nearest emergency room.

The prognosis for acute kidney failure from lily ingestion may be good as long as it is caught early so that aggressive treatment can be started.  However, if too much time elapses between ingestion and the start of treatment, the prognosis becomes significantly worse and death from disease or euthanasia is much more likely.  Without treatment, acute kidney failure is fatal.

Treatment for lily-induced acute kidney failure involves aggressive IV fluid diuresis, injectable medications, nutritional support, and very close monitoring.  If these fail, advanced procedures could be attempted, such as different types of dialysis, however these are quite expensive and are not readily available even at most specialty veterinary hospitals.

Hopefully it is clear based on all of this information that the best thing you can do is to PREVENT their exposure to lilies.  Here are some suggestions for doing this.

  • If you have cats in your household, do not have lilies!  There is no such thing as “out of reach” for most cats, and even a fallen dead leaf or airborne pollen could be enough to cause toxicity.
  • Keep your cats indoors as many people have lilies in their garden.
  • If you are buying or sending a bouquet to friends or family members with cats, ensure there are no lilies present.
  • Share the knowledge of lily toxicity with family, friends, and florists to try to prevent feline exposure.  From personal experience, it crucial to share knowledge of toxins with those who may inadvertently bring these plants into the house without realizing the danger.  I suggest making a list of toxins for whatever types of animals you have in your home and placing it somewhere important such as on the refrigerator so everyone is aware.  You can ask your veterinarian to help with the making of such a list.

 

Hopefully this entry has helped provide some information to you regarding a dangerous toxicity we see far too often.  Happy Spring!

 

Dr. Jenna Koenigstein

 

 

 

 

Is it too late for New Year’s Resolutions? (Dr. Lorri Mitchell)

We are well into 2013 now and one may wonder, how well are the New Year’s Resolutions coming along? Some of us may be doing well while others may have let them slide. So, instead of fretting about our own personal resolutions, how about making a few to benefit your pet?

 

 

Recently I have been reading some articles about resolutions for our pets and I wonder if any of our readers have made resolutions aimed at making our companions happier and healthier?

I would like to take a moment to share a few resolutions that maybe you can work into your family.

1. Protection. We all protect our pets. Keep them in fenced yards, on leashes or prevent them from escaping outside but is there anything else we can do? Keeping identifying tags on them is another step. Make sure they have current contact information on them too. For those pets (or owners) who don’t like dangling tags there are always the embroidered collars where your info is directly sewn onto it. Microchipping is another way to get extra protection in case your pet goes missing. If your pet is picked up by animal control, brought to a veterinary hospital or a shelter they will be scanned and if chipped they will contact the owner. Already have a chip? Make sure your current contact info is registered with the manufacturer. It is so disappointing to us when we are lucky enough to find a chip in a lost animal only to call the company and find out it has never been linked to an owner. (The Res-Q chips we use have a back-up registry to our hospital.) Since their invention, microchip companies have reunited more than 100,000,000 pets and owners! Keep current copies of vaccine records, documents of any chronic diseases your pet has and medications they are taking in case of emergency.

 

2. Prevention. Resolve to keep up on preventative care. Yearly physicals (twice yearly for those with chronic conditions or senior pets). Start brushing teeth! We can help you develop a home care program for your pet. Do some early detection blood work. Keep up with monthly Heartworm prevention and flea and tick control. The maker of Heartgard has created a free app to help you remember when it is time to give the monthly tablet. Go to www.heartgard.com to download. Use the reminder to do your flea and tick medicine the same day!

 

3. Diet and exercise. The category we all hate! Vow to feed well and use portion control. We can get your pet set up with a weight reduction plan if you need one. Hills has just introduced a new prescription diet, “Metabolic Advanced Weight Solution,” for obese dogs and cats that promises easier weight loss with lasting results. Do homework on the foods you feed including treats as there have been too many recalls in the last few years. Resolve to do more walks or play more laser light chasing or whatever gets your pal going.

 

4. Spend more time with our pets. If given the chance, this is the one I think our pets would choose.  Pledge 10 minutes a day to: brush them if they enjoy it, belly rubs, road trips and lots of cuddles in the lap – it’s been shown to reduce people’s heart rate and blood pressure so we can benefit too. Win Win!

 

5. Get a New Look!
In 2013, give your pet the gift of glam! A regular grooming regimen will make your pet feel proud, pampered and healthy.

 

Now that we know what we need to do in 2013 for our pets, let’s see what it would look like if our pets wrote their own New Years Resolutions…

 

It might look like…..

–          Don’t get in the trash

–          Drink from my bowl not the toilet

–          Play more ball, chase more mice/squirrels

–          I will go willingly to the vet as they tell me it is in my own best interest

–          Let them brush my teeth                                                 

–          Perfect  my begging eyes

–          Improve my manners

–          I will come when I am called

–          Try to stay off the furniture

 

 

 

 

Celebrity Pets

Some celebrity pet owners were asked what their resolutions were for their pets. Actress Hilary Swank responded that her two dogs are so great that she vows to take them everywhere she goes including interviews. Bob Barker wishes his rabbit would use his litter box every time not just when it’s convenient! Glee actress Lea Michele says her cat Sheila needs to resolve to stop going into the bathroom and taking all the cotton balls out of the jar and scattering them all over.

I hope this New Year finds all of you and your pets well and happy. Again, if you wish to speak with our staff about teeth brushing, wellness programs, weight loss or micro chipping contact us anytime. Happy Belated New Year!

Holiday Safety for Your Pets (Dr. Laurie Pearlman)

As the holiday season approaches and you prepare for the festivities please remember to keep pet safety in mind.  Pets are part of our family and they too will be in the midst of all the celebrations.  Here are some simple safety tips to consider during this holiday season:

 

 

 

Holiday decor

Keep all ornaments, ribbons, garlands, tacks and potpourri out of reach. Avoid using tinsel.  Cats love to play with tinsel and often ingest it.  Don’t leave your pet alone in a room where they have access to decorations.  Anything ingested can potentially cause an intestinal obstruction or may be toxic.  

 

Yummy foods

Don’t change your pet’s diet.  Any change in diet can result in diarrhea.  Foods high in fat can trigger pancreatitis so avoid those fatty meat scraps.  Do not feed bones to pets, this can result in some serious gastrointestinal emergencies.  Feed only the safe foods and treats that your pets are used to eating.  Secure the garbage can.  Move foods out of reach on counter tops and tables. Make sure your pet does not have access to foods intended for people.  Many things are toxic to pets that may seem harmless such as : chocolate, any food containing xylitol (artificial sweetener), macadamia nuts, grapes or raisins, onions, alcoholic beverages.  

Plants

Plants can add beauty to our homes and are very decorative but many plants are toxic if ingested.  Keep all plants out of reach.  Check out the ASPCA toxic and non toxic plant list at www.aspca.org

 

 

 

Warmth and light

All of the things used to keep our gathering spaces warm can pose a danger to pets and people.  Block off fireplaces with appropriate safety barriers.  Avoid using candles where pets can reach them.  Keep all electric cords out of reach or secured to prevent access by curious pets.  They may try to chew on the cords resulting in electric shock or burns and if ingested may require surgical care.

 

 

Safe haven

All the noise and activity may be stressful for pets.  Consider setting up a safe, quiet area in your home away from the holiday bustle.  With visitors coming and going pets are more likely to slip out.  Guests often can not resist sharing holiday foods with cute little critters. Remind them not to share anything except safe treats that you provide.

 

 

Identification and vaccinations

Collars and identification tags should have current contact information.  Because collars can be lost if your pet escapes or more commonly not put back on a pet especially after a bath, microchips are very important.  Microchips are a permanent form of identification.  All veterinarians, animal control officers and animal shelters have microchip scanners and will scan found pets in hopes of reuniting a lost pet with an owner.  Microchips are an inexpensive ticket home for a lost pet. If you haven’t already gotten one for your pet please consider calling us to get one for your furry friend today! Guests will often bring visiting pets as well.  Make sure your pets are up to date on their vaccinations.  Never leave pets alone that are not accustomed to being together.

We wish your family and pets a safe and happy holiday season!