SUMMER IS HERE!
Warmer days are ahead, and with the change of the seasons, our thoughts turn to spring cleaning and maybe even a few home improvement projects. Now might be a good time to take inventory of potential springtime hazards that might cause harm to your fur-kids. We want you all to have a safe and wonderful Spring!
The following guidelines will help you keep your companion animals healthy and safe during the warmer months ahead.
Cancer has now become one of the leading causes of death in pets. The good news is that many cancers can be treated and even cured if caught early enough. In a nutshell, here are a few things you can do to minimize the chances of your pet developing cancer. First, make sure your pet gets regular exercise. Spay and neuter them as soon as your pet is old enough, typically between 5 1/2 - 6 months old. Limit exposure to chemicals like herbicides, pesticides, and tobacco smoke. Keep your pet out of the sun or use sun screen to prevent sunburn and skin cancer. Finally, to catch any problems early, bring your pet in for a visit at least once a year.
When we are in pain we can try to get relief, but when our pets are in pain, how do we know? The best way is to look for dramatic changes in behavior. Has your pet quit climbing, or going down the stairs? Has he stopped hopping up on the couch to watch TV with you? Does he pace the floor, refusing to sit or lay down? Has he completely cut his usual walk out of his daily routine or has he gotten only a short distance from home and then either sits down, or wants to turn around and go back? Here are a few more signs that your pet may be in pain. Look for:
If you notice any of these behaviors in your pet, be sure to get him in to see his vet right away. Most importantly.... DO NOT.... repeat.... DO NOT administer any type of pain medications until speaking with a veterinarian. And even more importantly, NEVER give Tylenol (acetaminophen), Advil (ibuprofen), Aleve (naproxen), Excedrin (because it contains caffeine), or any other human NSAID's (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)! These can all cause internal bleeding and/or major organ damage, which can be extremely harmful or even fatal to your pet.
Since our pets can't speak to us with words, we should always be on the lookout for signs that require immediate medical attention. These signs include: vomiting or diarrhea several times a day, especially with blood in either. Lack of appetite or decreased activity, urinating more or less frequently, coughing, hair loss, itchy skin, stiffness, lameness or difficulty getting up. If you ever notice any of these symptoms, please call to make an appointment to bring your pet in right away.
A few things to be aware of in your older pet that could be signs of a more serious issue are: lumps/bumps on the skin, increased thirst or urination, bad breath, or excessive barking or meowing.
We continue to see cases of Rabies in our area. Even in our very own parking lot of our clinic, a dead bat was found. We had Animal Control pick it up to test for Rabies, and sure enough! It tested positive! This is a perfect example of why we should never feed, or encourage wild animals to come into our yards. Granted, some of them you can have an extremely hard time keeping out of your yard. Leaving food outside either for your own pets, or for intentionally feeding wild animals, is usually not a good idea. Not only do squirrels, raccoons and possums have a ton of fleas, they can potentially be infected with rabies. If you notice a nocturnal (night time) animal being active during the day, this is a BIG warning sign. DO NOT approach the animal and call Animal Control right away at this number: 805-388-4341. Most importantly..... keep your pets up-to-date on their rabies vaccines.
Be sure your pet is licensed! Failure to do so can result in fines.
Once your pet has received his first rabies vaccine, you are required to license him through Ventura County Animal Services. Penalties and fees can be incurred if your pet is found without a current county license tag. Depending on which city you live in, you may be required to license your cat, however in Ojai and Oak View this is not necessary. Check with animal services to see if your city falls under the category of requiring a license for your cat.
For your convenience, we sell the County license tags at our clinic. The cost is $80.00 for an unaltered (not spayed or neutered) pet, and $20.00 if they are altered. Senior Citizens (55 years or older) now get a discount, and pay only $10.00 a year for their altered pet! If you are licensing your pet for the first time, you must provide proof of a current rabies vaccine and of alteration (typically called a "Sterility Certificate") if your pet has been altered. License fees paid through our office are payable by cash or check only. We don't have the ability to run credit cards for the county.
If your pet is one of our patients, and has previously been licensed, call us to make sure he is current on his rabies vaccine before paying the license renewal fee. It's possible that not only do you need to renew your pets license, but he may also need to get a rabies vaccine booster. If a vaccine is needed, be sure to bring your license renewal notice with you, so that we can get you current on both the vaccine and license.
A lot of people mistakenly think our colored rabies tag is the county license tag. We hand out the colored tags as a courtesy to our clients because it has our name, address and phone number on it. If your pet is wearing it, and happens to get out, anyone that finds him can call our office and we can find the owner by the tag number. Your pet is not required by the county to wear our colored tag.
In 2010, Animal Services started issuing permanent county license tags. These tags are silver stainless steel and shaped like an octagon. While your pet is not required to wear the license tag, it is always a good idea to have it on their collar at all times. You will no longer get a new tag each year at renewal time. If your tag becomes lost, you can get a replacement tag for $5.00. Call our office and we will be happy to assist you.
Why is chocolate lethal? It contains something called theobromine, which is a naturally occurring stimulant found in the cocoa bean. Theobromine increases urination and affects the central nervous system, as well as the heart muscle. Amounts of this stimulant varies by types of chocolate, but it is the theobromine that is poisonous to dogs. Chocolate poisoning isn't simply about "Well, he just ate a bag of M&M's, but he seems fine". He may seem fine on the outside but the real damage is done on the inside!
Chocolate toxicity varies between the different types of chocolate, such as white chocolate, milk chocolate, dark chocolate and baking chocolate, just to name a few. Most people ask "How much is too much?" The answer is not a simple one. It depends on how much your dog weighs, which type of chocolate he ingested, how much he ingested, and does he have any medical issues that could exacerbate the problem. An older dog in not-so-good shape might have a different reaction than a younger dog in better health, even though they both weigh the same!
Here are some symptoms of chocolate poisoning to look for.
Within the first few hours it can include:
As time passes, and the toxin is further absorbed into your pets system, look for:
If you suspect that your pet has ingested even a small amount of chocolate, the best advice is to call your veterinarian right away! From there it can be determined if you have a true emergency that would require a trip to the doctor, of if you can expect your pet to possibly have an upset tummy for a while.
The internet can help open a world of knowledge for taking better care of our pets..... HOWEVER........ Google is NOT a vet. Google doesn't know your pets and doesn't have access to your pets medical records when giving you information based on your search criteria. Moreover, Google doesn't screen message boards to make sure the information you receive doesn't do more harm than good. Some people would suggest that if a medication or homeopathic remedy is OK for you to take, it's OK for your pets. NOT TRUE!! A lot of the time, medications or homeopathic remedies suggested in online forums can be dangerous and sometimes deadly for pets!! So, if you need answers to medical questions concerning your pets, please ask us. We know your pet and will always give you the information you need.