Friday, July 1, 2016

How to stay safe when life gets LOUD

With the July 4th celebrations upon us, it’s time to have the ever popular talk about loud noises, and what it means for your dog. About one third of dog owners report their fuzzy friends have what we in the ‘biz’ call “noise aversion”... or a fear of loud noises. These loud noises could be in the form of thunder, loud cars, construction, or at this time of year, fireworks.  Dogs relay their fear of noise in a variety of behavioral ways including panting, trembling, drooling, cowering, and escape behavior. Escape behavior is particularly dangerous to your canine companion if you happen to be out of your home or in a public place when the event strikes. Here’s a refresher course on how to keep your furry friends safe at this potentially stressful time of year:

                Be ahead of the game: Anticipate events and weather (as best you can in these parts) and anything else that can be a potential stressor for your pooch and set him up to win. This may be making sure he’s in a safe place in the morning if you know there will be storms later in the day, medicating him, or making sure you’re able to be with him at the time of the event.  

                 Plan for the best; prepare for the worst: We all know that even with the most meticulous planning, things can still go wrong. There are a couple ways to be prepared; one is making sure you know where your local emergency clinics are in case something goes wrong outside of your regular veterinarian’s business hours. Another simple method is making sure your pet has proper identification in the event of an escape. Many larger pet supply stores can hook you up with a personalized tag in a matter of minutes. Alternatively you can have your pet microchipped, and their ID can travel along with them forever. Microchipping is a quick procedure that can be done by your vet, typically without sedation.

Know their limits: As much as you may wish you had the kind of dog that could peacefully sit through a fireworks finale, or won’t wake you up at 3 am because a storm is coming, not everyone is that lucky. A dog’s tolerance to stressful events can often run on a sliding scale of positive and negative reinforcements. Meaning, if your dog already stresses out at certain events, forcing him to do them are not the way to get him accustomed to them, it’ll just make it a more stressful event. Talk to your vet or a trainer about steps you can take to help your furry friend work through his fears. Bonus points: training can help you bond with your pooch.        

                Know when to ask for help: There are many products on the market that claim to help with your pet’s stress level. Though you can spend the time and effort to sift through the product claims, remember that it’s our job to do that; let us help! You may have already heard of the newest product we’re carrying to help pets with their noise related stresses; Sileo. In a nutshell, it’s a product that can be administered to your pet at the time of the stressful event. Feel free to call us and ask what the best course of action is to help your pet with their stresses.

                Having a reactive pet can be a little stressful to YOU as well. As with any issue you may face on the long and windy road of pet ownership, remember that we here in the vet care industry want nothing more than to help you keep your pet safe and healthy. Though it’s been said, many times, many ways, keep your pets safe this Independence Day.

Monday, June 20, 2016

A day in the life of…a BAH Cat boarder

              It was a morning, like any other morning. I woke up, slinked down the hall and awaited my human to serve me breakfast. I couldn’t ignore the fact that something felt off.  I could feel it in my whiskers that day... Also, THE CARRIER was in the kitchen. I was going somewhere, and I probably wouldn’t like it.
I attempted a casual game of hide and go seek, emphasis on the hide part. I carefully sauntered towards the Livingroom, hoping to make my escape under the couch and out of reach of my human.  Just as I was home free, my human caught on to my master plan and lifted me up and into her arms. My human loaded me into THE CARRIER (I didn’t make it easy on her, don’t worry) and she carried me to the car, but not before commenting on my winter weight gain... a low blow.
I don’t know how long I spent in the car, it could have been minutes, and it could have been years. The car finally stopped and after a short walk, the front of THE CARRIER opened. I was greeted by a stranger. She sure seemed to be excited to meet me. My human was talking to the stranger, so I took it upon myself to leave THE CARRIER. We were in a nice room with photos of cats, and a big window. I hear words like “boarding” and “tlc package” being thrown around. Bath? No, you’re nuts. No bath for me. But a bedtime snack does sound good.
My human leaves, but this new human assured me I would be well taken care of and I was promised some “fun”. I was skeptical, but kept an open mind. I needed to meet with a doctor for a quick exam before settling in, so they put me in temporary accommodations and I have to say, they were quiet nice. I stayed on the second floor of the feline hotel and had use of a very large window, all to myself. I had my exam with the doctor, we had an open dialogue regarding my health and agreed that I’d chase more toys and ease up on the fancy feast.
After my appointment my new friend brought me downstairs and showed me my official room. We felines have our own wing of the hospital. It’s a quieter space, separated from the canines, that lends well to our more reserved nature and superior intellectual side. It has a large bird mural and a very well kept fish tank. Our rooms are spacious kitty condos for one. My happy new friend explained to me that my human sprung for the elite “tlc” package. I was quite relieved, I love being pampered. I settled into my room, explored each level, and decided that the second floor was my favorite as the south facing window looked in on the fish tank. My stay at hotel BAH was a flurry of excitement. My new human friend changed my cushy bedding twice a day, my meals were timely and she was always very attentive to my needs. Once a day, I was taken out of my room and was able to choose from a selection of toys and played to my heart’s content. Each afternoon I was offered some treats and that would entertain me until dinner time.
I almost couldn’t believe it when my new human friend took me out of my cozy room and tried to place me in THE CARRIER that brought me here. No! How could it be? We had gotten so close, shared so many memories. I seethed with anger until I heard a familiar voice. It was my human. As much fun as I had at hotel BAH, I was looking forward to getting back to my normal routine. Overall, I was quite pleased with the accommodations offered and if I have to be placed in THE CARRIER, I would be ok if I ended up back at hotel BAH!

Friday, May 27, 2016

A day in the life of a BAH Boarder: Canine Edition
Ever wonder what happens after you drop off your pup for boarding here at Brookfield Animal Hospital? Well here’s an inside look at the boarding process, and the steps we take to make sure your pooch is happy, healthy and well taken care of. Don’t be disappointed if your furry friend doesn’t look back after being dropped off.  We’d like to think it’s because they have so much fun with us during their stay.
Arrival: Drop off time is at your convenience. Upon arrival with your dog, you’ll be escorted into an exam room, where you can fill the kennel staff in about the details of the stay. We will go over any medical issues and/or vaccines your pup may need, because after all, we are a vet and your canine’s health is priority one. We’ll also go over optional services for your pet such as exercise time, baths (free with a 7 night stay) and our popular “TLC” (Tender Loving Care) package.  Speaking of the TLC package, 9 out of 10 dogs surveyed prefer it. That 10th dog? He just doesn’t know about it. The TLC package includes a special memory foam mattress, a homemade bedtime snack, extra snuggle time with our terrific kennel staff, a daily photo that is texted right to you, as well as a full “report card” that tells you about your pet’s stay. After the quick meeting, your pooch is ready to check into their bunk for the stay. Our accommodations consist of  two 4 by 6 runs back to back and your pup gets all of it to romp around, redecorate, feng-shui and whatever else they feel is necessary to really make the space theirs.
Morning activities: Kennel staff arrives at 7:45 am, and breakfasts start then. After the pups finish their food, those who opted for extra exercise time will go out for a morning frolic while a kennel staff person cleans and gets the bunk all cozy for your dog’s return. Outside time is always enjoyed with a staff member, not other dogs, just to keep things safe. Any pets going home that day get ready for their parental reunion, while those staying longer have some midmorning down time.
Midday Activities: All who get lunch will have it served around 12. This is when the “TLC” pooches get their special attention and their mini photo-shoot.  It’s the highlight of any dog’s day (and usually the staff member’s too!)Often times the pups will take turns following around a staff member, enjoying some play in our outdoor area, and some snuggles indoors. We provide toys, and the kisses are free. Dogs who want a little extra cardio will get the other part of their half hour of extra exercise time, as well.  
Evening Activities: Dinner starts promptly at 4 (dogs love the early bird special).  After, they have time to settle down, hear a bedtime story and have their bunks tidied up one last time before everyone is tucked in for the night around 8:00. One of our technicians will complete final rounds around 8 PM to make sure all is well.
So there you have it, morning to night, your canine companions are kept clean, happy and social. Our kennel staff members are true animal lovers at heart and care for your furkids as they do their own. We’re proud of our boarding facility and love to show it off so if you’re in the neighborhood, stop in and we’d be happy to give you a tour.

Kate Dickson

Friday, May 6, 2016

Preventatives As Far as the Eye Can See

                Last week I dropped some knowledge on the good, the bad and the ugly on heartworm disease. If you remember, the only good news was that it is very easily preventable. When I first started working in the veterinary field, my own head spun with the options available for heartworm prevention…there’s a LOT out there. While most of the oral preventatives are based around a few of the same formulas, they are marketed under many different names. We here at Brookfield Animal Hospital love nothing more than making life a little easier for you and we offer what we think is the best out there for heartworm preventatives (or HWP as we say in the biz). That being said, there are a couple different ways to get the preventative INTO your dog or cats system. We offer injectable, oral and topical formulas. Confused yet?Don’t panic, here’s what you need to know to make your choice easier:  

                Injectable: we offer an injectable HWP called Proheart. The injection is good for 6 months, no muss, no fuss. We offer the option to save a couple bucks by purchasing a year’s worth of protection, though the pet still needs to come in every 6 months for the injection. It can be administered by one of our technicians, so no doctor visit is necessary.  

                Oral: we have pared down our chewable HWP options to just one; Interceptor Plus. You may remember the days when we had some other choices lining our shelves. We have chosen Inteceptor Plus as our go-to oral HWP because it protects against heartworm in addition to quite a few types of intestinal parasites that your dog could pick up in the world, all while being very affordable. It’s the best bang for your buck, so it made our decision easy. We do offer a couple of the other brands of chewable preventatives on our online pharmacy, so if you or your dog is a creature of habit, feel free to seek and purchase.

                Topical: we carry Revolution for both cats and dogs. Revolution is the ONLY heartworm preventative we carry for cats. Feline revolution also guards against common intestinal parasites as well as ear mites, fleas and ticks. It knocks out just about any kind of icky thing you don’t want in your cat’s system in one fell swoop. What’s not to like? Canine revolution also takes care of fleas, ticks, and is even used for certain parasitic skin conditions as well as heartworm. It’s a fast drying liquid that is applied on the pet monthly at home.

                HWP, like all medications, comes with the expected ‘buyer beware’ caveats. It is highly recommended that you purchase your HWP directly from a veterinary practice. Price comparing and purchasing online to save a few dollars may seem like a savvy way to shop, but you may be selling your furry friend short, pun intended. When you purchase HWP directly from a vet, you’re also purchasing a manufacturer’s guarantee stating that, should your pet come up positive for heartworm, they’ll cover the cost of treatment. Purchasing from a third party often negates this guarantee. Regular heartworm testing is required for a vet to dispense HWP, and keeps you compliant with the guarantee, while no doubt easing your mind that your pet is happy and healthy..and that’s what our lives are all about, isn’t it? As always, feel free to call in and chat us up about heartworm, prevention and beyond, we’re up for a good conversation anytime!

Kate Dickson

Friday, April 22, 2016

Dogs, Cats and Heartworm... Oh My!

For many of us April means spring showers, the beginning of warmer weather and not knowing if the sweater you walked out of the house with will be too much or not enough. However, to a veterinarian, April means Heartworm Awareness Month. Here we'll cover the ins and outs of this nasty parasite, and justify our reasoning for always asking "do you need to purchase more heartworm preventative?" when you're here. We have your beloved pet's well-being in mind, we assure you.
Let's get the scary truths out of the way; heartworm is a serious and potentially fatal parasitic infestation that can affect dogs, cats, ferrets and other mammals. For our feline friends, though heartworm disease isn’t as common as it is in dogs, it’s presence may remain unknown until a pet becomes very sick or even passes from it as it is tough to diagnose and there is no treatment available. For the kitties, prevention is the ONLY option to stay safe against heartworm. For our canine companions, heartworm disease often exhibits no symptoms until its advanced stages, so routine testing is the primary way to diagnose. Treatment is costly and not without risks as it requires multiple injections and the pet's activity level must be severely restricted.  The term “heartworm positive” can be a tough thing to hear, but there is a silver lining to the situation: heartworm disease is easily preventable.
So we covered why you don’t want heartworm disease to be a part of your furry friend’s life, now let’s talk about what you can do to prevent it. We’ve made that simple for you and the answer is…well, PREVENTATIVES! We offer an array of heartworm preventatives that can be found in our hospital, and additional varieties can be found at our online pharmacy, right on our website. The key to getting the most peace of mind out of your preventatives is consistency. Give the preventative on the same date, each month. We recommend keeping your pet on preventatives year round. Why? Let’s just take a brief moment to reminisce on our 50 degree December. Holiday cheer wasn’t the only thing abound at that time.. the mosquitoes were too.
                So your pet is on preventatives (year round) and we are abundantly proud of you but guess what…that’s half the battle!  What else can YOU be doing to prevent heartworm disease? Talk about it! Knowledge is power and although the details about heartworm don’t often come up in conversation when faced with juicy gossip and recaps of what happened on the Walking Dead (don’t get me started), make it a point to share some of these pieces of knowledge I’ve shared with you today. Getting one more pet on consistent heartworm prevention can mean one less heartworm positive dog or cat, and one less pet owner who has to face some tough and expensive choices.
Don’t hesitate to call us with any questions, we love to answer them! Tune in next week where I offer you a handy informational insider’s guide to our heartworm preventatives.

Kate Dickson
BAH Receptionist

Thursday, April 21, 2016

What Is Canine Influenza Virus?

There are many causes of kennel cough, both bacterial and viral. Canine influenza virus (CIV) is one of the viral causes of kennel cough. This highly contagious respiratory disease has affected thousands of dogs in the United States. Because CIV is a relatively new virus, most dogs have not been exposed to it before. Dogs of any age, breed, and vaccine status are susceptible to this infection.

How Could My Dog Catch Canine Influenza Virus?
CIV is easily transmitted between dogs through a combination of aerosols, droplets, and direct contact with respiratory secretions. The virus does not survive for a long time in the environment, so dogs usually get CIV when they are in close proximity to other infectious dogs.

Which Dogs Are Prone to Canine Influenza Virus? 
Any dog who interacts with large numbers of dogs is at increased risk for exposure. Pet owners should consult their veterinarian for information about the canine influenza vaccine.

What Are the General Signs of Canine Influenza Virus? 
While most dogs will show typical signs of kennel cough, but a small percentage of dogs will develop a more severe illness. Signs of canine influenza virus include:
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Variable fever
  • Clear nasal discharge that progresses to thick, yellowish-green mucus
  • Rapid/difficult breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
Can Dogs Die From Canine Influenza Virus?
If CIV is quickly diagnosed and treated, the fatality rate is quite low. Deaths are usually caused by secondary complications, such as pneumonia. It is important that dogs with CIV receive proper veterinary care.

How Is Canine Influenza Virus Diagnosed?
Veterinarians will typically conduct a thorough physical examination and run a series of tests to diagnose the illness.

How Is Canine Influenza Treated?
Because CIV is a virus similar to the flu in humans, there is no specific antiviral medication available. However, supportive care and appropriate treatment of secondary infections are important. Your veterinarian may advise the following to soothe your dog while the condition runs its course:
  • Good nutrition and supplements to raise immunity
  • A warm, quiet, and comfortable spot to rest
  • Medications to treat secondary bacterial infections
  • Intravenous fluids to maintain hydration
  • Workup and treatment for pneumonia
Be advised, while most dogs will fight the infection within 10 to 30 days, secondary infections require antibiotics and, in the case of pneumonia, sometimes even hospitalization.

What Should I Do if I Think My Dog Has Canine Influenza Virus? 
If you think your dog has canine influenza virus, immediately isolate him or her from all other dogs and call your veterinarian.

Can I Catch Canine Influenza From My Dog?
So far there has been no evidence to indicate that dogs can transmit CIV to humans.

How Can I Help Prevent My Dog From Spreading the Disease? 
Any dog infected with CIV should be kept isolated from other dogs for 10 to 14 days from the onset of signs. Dogs are most infectious before signs are apparent, and can continue shedding the virus for approximately 10 days. This means that by the time signs of the illness are seen, other dogs may have already been exposed.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Easter Pet Poisons

The veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline receive hundreds of calls this time of year from pet owners and veterinarians concerning cats that have ingested Easter lilies.
“Unbeknownst to many pet owners, Easter lilies are highly toxic to cats,” said Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS assistant director at Pet Poison Helpline. “All parts of the Easter lily plant are poisonous – the petals, the leaves, the stem and even the pollen. Cats that ingest as few as one or two leaves, or even a small amount of pollen while grooming their fur, can suffer severe kidney failure.”
In most situations, symptoms of poisoning will develop within six to 12 hours of exposure. Early signs include vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy and dehydration. Symptoms worsen as kidney failure develops. Some cats will experience disorientation, staggering and seizures.
“There is no effective antidote to counteract lily poisoning, so the sooner you can get your cat to the veterinarian, the better his chances of survival will be,” said Brutlag. “If you see your cat licking or eating any part of an Easter lily, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately. If left untreated, his chances of survival are low.”
Treatment includes inducing vomiting, administering drugs like activated charcoal (to bind the poison in the stomach and intestines), intravenous fluid therapy to flush out the kidneys, and monitoring of kidney function through blood testing. The prognosis and the cost – both financially and physically – to the pet owner and cat, are best when treated immediately.
There are several other types of lilies that are toxic to cats as well. They are of the Lilium and Hemerocallis species and commonly referred to as Tiger lilies, Day lilies and Asiatic lilies. Popular in many gardens and yards, they can also result in severe acute kidney failure. These lilies are commonly found in florist bouquets, so it is imperative to check for poisonous flowers before bringing bouquets into the household. Other types of lilies – such as the Peace, Peruvian and Calla lilies – are usually not a problem for cats and may cause only minor drooling.
Thankfully, lily poisoning does not occur in dogs or people. However, if a large amount is ingested, it can result in mild gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Other Dangers to Pets at Easter Time

Pet Poison Helpline also receives calls concerning pets that have ingested Easter grass and chocolate.
Usually green or yellow in color, Easter grass is the fake grass that often accompanies Easter baskets. When your cat or dog ingests something “stringy” like Easter grass, it can become anchored around the base of the tongue or stomach, rendering it unable to pass through the intestines. It can result in a linear foreign body and cause severe damage to the intestinal tract, often requiring expensive abdominal surgery.
Lastly, during the week of Easter, calls to Pet Poison Helpline concerning dogs that have been poisoned by chocolate increase by nearly 200 percent. While the occasional chocolate chip in one cookie may not be an issue, certain types of chocolate are very toxic to dogs. In general, the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the greater the danger. Baker’s chocolate and dark chocolate pose the biggest problem. The chemical toxicity is due to methylxanthines (a relative of caffeine) and results in vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, an abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and possibly death. Other sources include chewable chocolate flavored multi-vitamins, baked goods, or chocolate-covered espresso beans. If you suspect that your dog ate chocolate, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately.
Spring is in the air and Easter is a wonderful holiday. Remember that your pets will be curious about new items you bring into your household like Easter lilies, Easter grass and chocolate. Keep them a safe distance away from your pets’ reach and enjoy the holiday and the season.