Category Archives: Kitten care

TIS THE SEASON

Thanksgiving is over, and now comes the push towards the next set of holidays! Whether it is Hanukkah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa here are some things to keep in mind for the furry members of your family.

• Changes in schedules and décor around the house can be disconcerting to
some pets. Try to keep your pets’ schedule the same as much as possible
to avoid adding to the stress.
• Remember potential toxins that may show up at your house. Imported snow
globes have been found to contain antifreeze, which is appealing and toxic
to pets. Antifreeze causes renal failure. Salt dough ornaments when
eaten can cause vomiting, diarrhea, trembling, weakness, and seizures.
Chocolate has 2 compounds that are toxic. Depending on the type and
amount of chocolate ingested, symptoms can range from mild
gastrointestinal signs to more serious seizures, tremors, and cardiac
symptoms. Grapes and raisins are known to cause vomiting, diarrhea, loss
of appetite, seizures, tremors, and comas. Macadamia nuts cause vomiting,
weakness and muscle incoordination, and hyperthermia. Alcohol, raw dough
and alcohol pastries cause hypoglycemia, low blood pressure, and
hypothermia. Artificial sweeteners can cause hypoglycemia and liver
failure. Lilies cause renal failure, while holly berries and mistletoe
cause vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. Poinsettias are usually only
mildly toxic.
• If your pet ingests anything, please contact our office. Another resource
is the ASPCA’s Poison Control at 1-888-426-4435.

Need ideas on what to purchase for a family pet or friend’s pet? How about a new leash or collar with a new ID tag or Poop Bags (no explanation needed)? Please be careful with gifting treats and toys, though. Every pet is different with their dietary needs or what they can safely play with. Avoid treats made in other countries, as they have been problematic in the past. A health insurance policy for their pets can literally be a life saver. A donation to a local shelter or national animal welfare group in their honor is very special. Gift certificates to the local pet store or their favorite veterinarian also make great gifts. Whatever you choose, our furry family members deserve to be included on the gift list for all the unconditional love they give us year-round!

On behalf of the staff at Willow Creek Veterinary Center, I want to wish you, your family, and your pets a happy and healthy holiday season!

Ann E. Bastian, V.M.D.

Advertisements

Is It An Emergency?

Hopefully, you will never have to ask yourself that question!  However, our pets have a way of getting themselves into trouble; so, here is a guideline of things that should prompt a phone call.

  1. Trouble breathing.  This can mean a respiratory rate over 50-breaths a minute, nostrils flaring, sitting with the head extended and elbows out, and gums that are pale, or grey/blue.
  2. Trouble urinating. They may be straining and only producing a few drops or no urine.  They may vocalize when they strain and may try to urinate in unusual locations.
  3. Trouble using their hindlegs or unable to walk.
  4. Seizures
  5. Exposure to toxicities. This includes medication, plants, chemicals.
  6. Everything from an animal fight to being hit by a car, a fall, or hit by an unusual  object (i.e. a remote, baseball bat, golf clubs, a chainsaw). Oh, the stories I can tell from 6 years as a full-time emergency vet!
  7. Collapse
  8. Vulvar discharge if the pet is not spayed.
  9. Non-productive vomiting with dogs.

If you are not sure if your pet has a true emergency, please call and talk to one of our staff.  They can assess the situation over the phone and advise you on the best course of action for your pet.

Ann E. Bastian, V.M.D.

Fire Safety For Pets!

This month we celebrate Fire Safety for Pets Day.  Each year, 500,000 pets are affected by house fires, with 40,000 pets losing their lives in fires each year.  In 2013, fire departments responded to 350,000 house fires (that is one house fire every 85 seconds).  December through January is the peak time for house fires.  Pets are actually responsible for 1,000 house fires each year (3 a day).Never leave your pet unattended with burning candles, portable heaters, open fires, and unsecured electric cords.

You can go to www.gopetplan.com/Firesafety to print a full, customizable pet rescue alert for your window.  It will include the name of your pet, their favorite hiding place, and you can add a photo.  This will help fire fighters know to look for your pet.

Remember, never go back into a burning house trying to save a pet once you have safely exited (leave that to the professionals).  Stay safe!

 

Ann E. Bastian, V.M.D.

HARD TO BELIEVE

A couple of weeks ago my veterinary class celebrated our 25th class reunion.  I couldn’t attend because I was at a horse show, but I started thinking of all the changes that have occurred in veterinary medicine in the time I have practiced.

  1. Pain medicine has advanced greatly, and our understanding of pain has also improved.  25 years ago, dogs rarely got Bute or aspirin, which we now know universally causes stomach ulcers.  Today we have different classes and choices of pain medication.  Infusions of pain medication are routine but underheard of then.  While we are currently struggling with an opioid shortage, we still have many more choices then we use to have.  25 years ago, cats had nothing for pain.  Due to their unique metabolism, we still have only a small amount of choices compared to dogs, but at least we have something.
  2. Drugs available for anesthesia are safer and we have more choices. We also have drugs that allow us to safely sedate your pet in the office and then reverse the drugs and send your pet home shortly after a procedure
  3. Flea control consisted of shampoos, dips, sprays and bombs. Today’s choices include topicals, orals, and collars.
  4. We have a better understanding of the role of diet in our pet’s health. Dog and cat food has better ingredients, made into better formulas.  Dog food companies are now actually changing diets to change the gene expression of animals to control disease.
  5. Veterinary specialists are more readily available and accepted. In my first practice the closest specialty hospital was over 2 hours away.  It only offered limited specialists.  A lot of times, we did things because we were the only option for our clients.  It was fun because it allowed us to stretch our wings and do procedures that we are obligated to refer today.  My first boss told me he felt sorry for me, because he predicted correctly that as my career went along we all would be sending more and more to the specialists.
  6. As I write this, I am on call for our patients. Our hospital is one of the last hospitals in the county that take emergency calls.  24/7 emergency clinics are commonplace now, providing supervised care for patients.  This allows our patients to have the best care possible and allows veterinarians and their staff to have a work/life balance that didn’t exist before.  At the first hospital I worked at, I got 3 days off out of every 14 days.  That schedule was commonplace.
  7. The internet didn’t exist, so our research was limited to books and phone calls to specialists we had a relationship with.
  8. Dental care has advanced, and we understand the relationship of periodontal disease to the health of the rest of the body.
  9. Allergy treatment has improved just in the past 2 years, and as a result we are able to keep a lot of pets comfortable without having to resort to treatments with long-term side effects.

I don’t feel as if I have been practicing for 25 years (my mother can’t believe she has a daughter that has been a vet for that long either).  I can only imagine what the next 25 years will bring.

Ann E. Bastian, V.M.D.

That Doesn’t Work That Way……

This past week I noticed a trend among our clients.  As part of a pet’s annual exam, I always try to examine the mouth (if Fluffy will let me).  When I mentioned the grade of tartar found on the pet’s teeth, I was told by multiple clients that their groomer cleans their dog’s teeth.  Brushing a dog or cat’s teeth every 6-8 weeks is not enough.  If you are going to brush your pet’s teeth, it needs to be done several times a week, if not daily.  I feel bad for these clients, because brushing teeth every two months is a waste of money.  Please also understand that what your groomer does is not the same as a complete dental performed at our office.  A complete dental involves an examination of all tooth and gum surfaces under general anesthesia, a complete cleaning and polishing, and a fluoride treatment.

If you would like suggestions on how to care for your pet’s teeth so you can get the most bang for your buck, please reach out to our staff.  We have different types of products (chews, additives, food) to work with every pet and lifestyle.

Ann E. Bastian, V.M.D.

A Month of Celebrations

Celebrations this February include Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Day, Ash Wednesday, President’s Day, Chinese New Year (2018 is the Year of the Dog!), Veterinary Dental Health Month, and Spay/Neuter Awareness Month.  Obviously, the last two take special precedence for our practice.

This year we are offering 20% off the dental cleaning until the end of March.  By 3 years of age, most dogs and cats have some evidence of periodontal disease.  The bacteria associated with periodontal disease can spread via the blood stream.  This can lead to infections of the liver, kidney, heart, lungs, and trigger diabetes and autoimmune diseases.  Signs of dental disease include tartar, bleeding from the mouth, excessive drooling, discomfort when touching the mouth, loose or discolored teeth, loss of appetite, and bad breath.  Once we clean your pet’s teeth, there are multiple options to keep the teeth clean.  Our staff can review which option would work best for you and your pet.

Spaying and neutering is also an important step in protecting your pet’s health.  Cats can have litters 3 times a year with an average of 4 kittens per litter.  In 7 years one unspayed female and her offspring can produce 420,000 cats.  An unspayed dog and her offspring can produce 99,000 dogs in the same time.  Seventy thousand puppies and kittens are born in the United States each day (compared to 10,000 babies a day), and 6-8 million dogs and cats enter the shelters each year.  Over half of these animals will not be adopted.  Spaying and neutering can help decrease the chance of cancer (ovarian, mammary, uterine, prostate, testicular), fights, wandering, infections, and unwanted litters.  It really is in your pet’s best interest to spay or neuter.

As always, helping your pet have the healthiest life is always our top concern!

Ann E. Bastian, V.M.D.

They Haven’t Gone Away!

Happy 2018!  Although Berks County has been in the deep freeze for the past couple of weeks, they are still out there!  What am I talking about?  Parasites.

The numbers are in for 2017 with 3.27% of dogs in Berks County having had roundworms (1 in 31).  Hookworms are in at 2.87% (1 in 35), whipworms — 1.07% (1 in 94), and giardia —  4.9% (1 in 21).  Cats fared no better with 3.29% (1 in 30) having had giardia, 1.12% (1 in 90) had hookworms, and 8.79% (1 in 12) had round worms.

So how do you prevent your family pet from being part of the statistics for 2018?  First, check a fecal at your next vet visit.  If you can’t get a sample, ask the technician or veterinarian to get a sample so we can test it while you are at the office.  That way we can address any issues while you are at Willow Creek.  Puppies and kittens should have at least 4 fecals tested in the first year of their lives.  This is due to the lifecycle of the parasites.  Adult dogs and cats should have 1-2 fecals a year depending on their lifestyles and health.

Kittens and puppies should be dewormed every two weeks until they are put on a broad-spectrum monthly preventative.  Adult dogs and cats should be on a year-round broad-spectrum parasite control.  The Companion Animal Parasite Council has a great website for guidelines for pet owners about parasites, the risks to people, and how best to protect your family pet.  www.petsandparasites.org

Let’s do our best to keep you and your pets as healthy as possible!

Ann E. Bastian, V.M.D.