Keep Your Cat Safe in a Heat Wave

The temperature is soaring, and it’s only going to get hotter. Make sure you know how to keep your cat safe in the summer heat.

  1. Watch out for heatstroke. Symptoms include panting, lethargy, drooling, fever, vomiting and collapse. If you think your cat may have heatstroke, get the vet ASAP — the condition can cause permanent organ damage and death. Learn more about heatstroke in pets.
  2. Offer your cat several ways to cool off. Leave a fan on in a place where your cat can sit in front of it, add some ice cubes to her water or offer her a cool treat (check out our recipe for catsicles.)
  3. Let your cat find cool spots in the house. Your cat will seek out the cooler parts of your home, so make sure she has access to areas with tile floors or rooms that don’t get much sun.
  4. Play in the morning or evening. Any exercise should take place during the cooler hours of the day. This is especially important for young kittens and seniors, both of whom are very vulnerable to heatstroke. (If your cat has just eaten, make sure you give her some time to digest before you begin playtime.)
  5. Brush your cat often. A well-groomed, tangle-free coat will help keep your cat cool. (Learn more about grooming your cat.)

 

Article originally published by PetFinder.

E-Cigarettes and Pets Do Not Mix

E-cigarettes are sparking heated debates as lawmakers, medical professionals and industry grapple over the relative safety of the nicotine-delivering devices. But for pet owners, there is no debate. Nicotine poses a serious threat of poisoning to dogs and cats, and e-cigarettes back a powerful punch. The problem is that many pet owners don’t realize it.

Pet Poison Helpline has encountered a sharp uptick in calls concerning cases of nicotine poisoning in pets that ingested e-cigarettes or liquid nicotine refill solution. In fact, over the past six months, cases have more than doubled, indicating that along with their increased popularity, the nicotine-delivering devices are becoming a more significant threat to pets. While dogs account for the majority of cases, nicotine in e-cigarettes and liquid refill solution is toxic to cats as well. “We’ve handled cases for pets poisoned by eating traditional cigarettes or tobacco products containing nicotine for many years,” said Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS, DABT, DABVT and associate director of veterinary services at Pet Poison Helpline. “But, as the use of e-cigarettes has become more widespread, our call volume for cases involving them has increased considerably.” In an effort to educate pet owners before an accident occurs, Pet Poison Helpline offers this important safety information.

What are e-cigarettes?
E-cigarettes are simply another way of delivering nicotine. Designed to resemble traditional cigarettes, the battery operated devices atomize liquid that contains nicotine, turning it into a vapor that can be inhaled. The most recent craze is flavored e-cigarettes, which are available in an array of flavors from peppermint to banana cream pie, and everything in between.

What makes e-cigarettes toxic to pets?
The aroma of liquid nicotine in e-cigarettes can be alluring to dogs, and flavored e-cigarettes could be even more enticing. The issue is the amount of nicotine in each cartridge, which is between 6 mg and 24 mg. So, each cartridge contains the nicotine equivalent of one to two traditional cigarettes, but purchase packs of five to 100 cartridges multiply that amount many times over, posing a serious threat to pets who chew them. For example, if a single cartridge is ingested by a 50-pound dog, clinical signs of poisoning are likely to occur. But if a dog that weighs 10 pounds ingests the same amount, death is possible. Dogs of any weight that ingest multiple e-cigarette cartridges are at risk for severe poisoning and even death. In addition to the toxicity of nicotine, the actual e-cigarette casing can result in oral injury when chewed, and can cause gastrointestinal upset with the risk of a foreign body obstruction. Some e-cigarette users buy vials of liquid nicotine solution for refilling e-cigarette cartridges. The solution is commonly referred to as “e-liquid” or “e-juice.” The small bottles hold enough liquid to fill multiple cartridges, meaning they contain a considerable amount of nicotine. Pet owners should be very careful to store them out of the reach of pets.

What happens when e-cigarettes are ingested by pets?
Nicotine poisoning in pets has a rapid onset of symptoms – generally within 15 to 60 minutes following ingestion. Symptoms for dogs and cats include vomiting, diarrhea, agitation, elevations in heart rate and respiration rate, depression, tremors, ataxia, weakness, seizures, cyanosis, coma, and cardiac arrest.

What to do if a pet is exposed?
Because nicotine poisoning can happen so rapidly following ingestion, prompt veterinary care can mean the difference between life and death for a pet. Home care is not generally possible with nicotine exposure due to the severity of poisoning, even in small doses. Take action immediately by contacting a veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680. As always, prevention is the best medicine. E-cigarettes, cartridges and vials of refilling solution should always be kept out of the reach of pets and children.

SOURCE: http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/2014/09/e-cigarettes-pets-mix/ Published on September 2, 2014

Halloween Costume Safety

Halloween can be a fun time for children, adults, and pets. We recommend taking some extra precautionary measures for Halloween to keep your pet safe. Keep your pet safe this Halloween with reliable leashes and safe Halloween treats for your pet. It can also be easy to forget about what our pets may be feeling. Fear, anxiety and household dangers can all pose as threats to our pets during Halloween. Below are some helpful tips to keep your pet safe and happy.

1. Be highly visible: Make sure the costume is very reflective so that your pet can be easily seen by drivers. You can buy reflective tape and add strips to the costume.

2. Check for loose ends and parts of the costume: Make sure there are no loose parts on the costume that your pet can eat. Objects such as loose fabric or buttons can become lodged in the intestines causing an obstruction. Loose parts can also cause your pet to trip or become tangled in the costume, resulting in fear, anxiety and a future dislike of this holiday.

3. Make sure the costume is not too tight: You should be able to get two or three fingers between your pet and any fabric or tie that goes around your pet, especially around the neck. Costumes that are too tight can restrict movement and breathing.

4. Do not pick a costume that is too heavy: Your pet could overheat if the costume is too heavy. A heavy costume will exhaust your pet as well as cause them to overheat. Take special care to check his level of comfort several times during the evening. Excessive panting or falling behind should signal you to remove the costume.

5. Use a leash: Your pet may become frightened or spooked by loud or unusual sounds and may try to run away from out of your reach and into ongoing traffic.

6. No tricks, no treats: Candy is for tick-or-treaters, not for your pet. Pets may often be tempted to taste treats that are not intended for them. Candy can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Chocolate in all forms is toxic to dogs and cats. Give your pet a Halloween Crunch Card or take some pet treats with you so he can get his own kind of goodies.

7. Strangers can be scary: Pets should be kept away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.

8. Make sure your pet has their ID tag: Should your pet should get spooked and run loose an ID tag will help with your pet’s return.

9. Listen to your pet: If your pet doesn’t like their costume they will let you know by trying to take the costume off and by barking. Costumes may be cute, but they can also be irritating to a pet that does not want to be in one.

10. Practice: Get your pet used to the costume you have selected. Have him wear it several times before the actual day. He will be so busy watching all the Halloween activities that he should not have to worry about some strange new piece of clothing.

Source: http://www.entirelypets.com/costumesafety.html

Why Dogs Bark and Growl

 

Does your dog growl or bark when a stranger approaches your house or when something goes bump in the night? If so, you’re not alone.

Most dogs will vocalize when they are exposed to new or different situations, including strange people or animals entering their territory; being separated from their pack, mother or even your family members; or new or alarming sounds. Dogs may also bark or growl when they see prey, such as squirrels, and they may bark for attention, food or if they are anxious. Dogs often growl when they are fearful or trying to assert themselves in a situation. If the dog’s fear or assertiveness is alleviated by growling or barking, the dog will learn that his behavior is acceptable and the behavior may become more frequent or severe. Some medical problems may cause growling or barking and older pets experiencing senile changes may have barking problems. Intense and continuous barking may be considered compulsive. Check with your veterinarian to evaluate your pet’s barking or growling problem. Behavior training and drug therapy may be helpful in reducing barking for pets with medical, geriatric and compulsive disorders.

Socializing your puppy can help

Acclimate your puppy to a variety of different people, environments, situations and noises to help lessen anxiety as your puppy grows. Make sure your puppy spends time alone so that he doesn’t develop separation anxiety while you are away from him. Proper training is essential to preventing behavior problems, such as growling and barking. Ask you veterinarian for more information about puppy training. **

Correcting a barking or growling problem

Correcting a barking or growling problem first requires that you have effective management of your dog. Once you have achieved this, you can begin to train your dog to lessen his barking or growling behavior by using rewards for quiet behavior. The reward should be something that the dog really likes such as a favorite treat, tummy rubs, or a favorite toy. Punishment is generally ineffective in correcting barking problems. Too much punishment may even exacerbate the behavior and cause the dog to be fearful or aggressive.

Begin your training with situations that you can easily control (such as a family member making a noise that causes the dog to bark) before moving on to difficult situations (such as a strange animal in your yard). When your dog barks at the stimuli (for instance, a doorbell ring), immediately interrupt the barking. When the dog is quiet offer the dog a reward for their behavior. Without the reward there is no incentive to remain quiet.Reward your dog when, at your request, he has stopped barking. Only reward the dog when he is quiet and gradually increase the amount of time that the dog needs to be quiet for him to receive a reward.

As the barking or growling problem decreases, make sure to direct your dog to more appropriate behavior, such as play, and the problem should lessen over time. Don’t forget to discuss training options with your veterinarian to find the one that will work best for your pet.

Source: http://www.aaha.org/pet_owner/pet_health_library/dog_care/behavior/barking_and_growling.aspx

 

Pets & Easter Egg Hunts

Easter egg hunts are so much fun for kids, and sometimes even for adults! Finding that brightly colored egg stuffed with a surprise is exciting! But don’t forget the dangers of failing to find an egg that’s been stuffed with candy. Your dog leads with their nose, and if you don’t find it, your pet might! Consider stuffing your eggs with something safe for pets this year. If Fido finds them, he’ll be less likely to break them open and eat what’s inside.

ABVP Certifies Veterinarian in Canine/Feline Practice

NASHVILLE, TN ‐‐Libby Ramirez, DVM, has been certified as a Diplomate by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP) specializing in Canine/Feline Practice. Dr. Ramirez mastered a rigorous and demanding application process and certification examination in order to obtain Diplomate status. To qualify to sit for the extensive two‐day examination, a veterinarian must complete either a residency program or six years of clinical veterinary practice. In addition, two case reports, references, descriptions of practice procedures, and professional education records must be submitted and pass review. This year’s examination was given on Nov. 4‐6, 2011 in Chicago, IL. 
Dr. Ramirez is a 2002 graduate of Texas A&M University and has a special interest in Emergency Medicine and Critical Care. Dr. Ramirez practices at the Animal Emergency Hospital of North Texas. She is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Veterinary Emergency & Critical Care Society.  The American Board of Veterinary Practitioners was established in 1978 and is accredited by a special committee of the American Veterinary Medical Association to recognize excellence in clinical practice through the certification of species‐oriented specialists. Over 850 veterinarians worldwide are certified in one of ABVP’s ten practice categories: Avian, Beef Cattle, Equine, Exotic Companion Mammal, Canine and Feline, Dairy, Feline, Food Animal, Reptile and Amphibian and Swine Health Management. For more information on ABVP visit www.abvp.com.
Use of the Title:
Libby Ramirez, DVM, Diplomate, American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (Canine/Feline Practice)
Libby Ramirez, DVM, Diplomate, ABVP (Canine/Feline Practice)
Libby Ramirez, DVM, DABVP (Canine/Feline Practice)