A Full Plate: Thanksgiving Pet Safety Tips to Make You Really Thankful

Begging for the Holiday FeastYour pet is a member of your family, so of course you want to spend Thanksgiving together. However, with all there is to do, your furry friend could find trouble in the most unexpected ways. That’s why we offer some of our best tips to complete your Thanksgiving pet safety checklist. Now you can sit back, relax, and enjoy all the season has to offer.

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Kennel Cough

coughing dog
It’s fall. Besides the changing colors and cooler weather, Kennel Cough is another thing we expect to rear its ugly head every fall.

What is Kennel Cough?

  Kennel Cough is the common name for Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC). It is seen in dogs in group situations such as kenneling, grooming, dog shows, dog parks etc. The symptoms include hacking, coughing, sneezing and retching.

 So, what causes Kennel Cough then?

 CIRDC can be caused by the following bugs:
 Virus: Bocavirus, Canine Adenovirus Type 2, Canine Corona Virus, Canine Distemper Virus, Canine Herpes Virus, Canine Influenza Parainfluenza, Pneumovirus and Reovirus.
 Bacteria: Bordetella Brochiseptica, Streptococcus Equi, Mycoplasma spp. and secondary bacterial infections.

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Why Obesity in Pets Can Take a Toll on Their Health

Fat CatWe hear a lot about the obesity epidemic and all the health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle. The same epidemic is happening with our pets. An estimated 58% of cats and 53% of dogs are overweight or obese.

As we continue to learn how this impacts the health of our four-legged friends, the old idea of a cute fat cat or pudgy pug can be detrimental. Obesity in pets is a serious concern that can lead to diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and liver problems. Continue…

What Pet Owners Should Know About Rabies in Pets

Pipistrelle BatWhether you envision a mad dog roaming the streets or a run-in with a wild animal, the word “rabies” strikes fear into the hearts of most of us. Despite great efforts to minimize the threat of pets and people coming into contact with this deadly disease, there is still some risk when it comes to rabies in pets.

But, what is rabies and how is it transmitted? Understanding this zoonotic virus and how it spreads between mammals is important to keeping you, your family, and your pet safe. Continue…

Pet Economics vs. Pet Ownership

Pretty girl hugging a pet dog

Pet’s bring companionship, unconditional love and joy to our lives. However, it can be a shock to find out after that first trip to the veterinarian, that they bring bills as well. Sometimes we forget that pets are a long term commitment. Remember that  your furry (feathered or scaled) friend  can live anywhere from 2 to 50+ years.

Do we have your attention now?  Good. Let’s look at the real costs of pet ownership.

The first Year

  • The pet:

  • Exams, vaccines, worming and parasite control

    • average $350 +

  • Spay/Neuter surgery

    • $150 – $400.

  • Collar, leash, pet bed, dishes and crate

    • $200

  • Toys, treats and Chewy bones

    • $20 – $50 per month.

  • Food

    •  Premium pet foods $50 per 35 lb. bag.

    • Less expensive brands $35.

  • Training classes

  • Boarding

    • $20 and upwards per night.

  • Daycare

    • $17 and up per full day.

  • Grooming

  • Kitty litter pans and litter

    • run $200 a year.

Yearly Adult Maintenance Costs

How You Can Help Manage Costs

  • RESEARCH!!! Find out what breeds have health problems.

    • Do you have to have the flat, faced, bull legged dog with extra skin or would a mix from the pound who has lots of hybrid vigor be a better choice.

  • BUDGET before you buy. THINK before you spend.

    • Yes, feed good quality food but base your choices reading the ingredients not clever marketing. Does fluffy really need another toy or a new outfit or would your money be better spent on vaccines.

  • Consider PET INSURANCE. This is a great way to cover those unexpected emergencies.

  • Get REGULAR CHECK-UPS. Catch small problems before they become an emergency.

  • BRUSH THOSE TEETH. Good preventative dental care can save you lots of $$$.

  • Use PREVENTATIVES. Vaccines, worming, heartworm and external parasite prevention are a heck of a lot cheaper than $1000 Parvo or Heartworm treatment

Veterinary Surgery at Animal Family Veterinary Care Center

Veterinary Surgeon Removes Tumor From Dog's LegAt some point or another in their lifetime, most pets will need to have some type of surgery. While this can be a scary thing for many animal lovers, veterinary surgery has come a long way and is safer than ever before. Animal Family Veterinary Care Center is proud to offer the best surgical practices and options for your pets. Continue…

Make Surgery More Safe and Less Scary

Maine Coon kitten

Oh wow! Anesthesia can be so scary! How do you know your pet is going to be ok? Will they wake up? How does a pet owner make certain their pet is receiving the safest surgical care possible?

What you should look for:

  • Take a tour of the facility. Check out the surgical suites. Do they have up to date anesthetic machines, monitoring and warming equipment?
  • Do they stress the importance of pre-surgical bloodwork? Pre-anesthetic testing is what determines if your pet has health problems that would make anesthesia unsafe or if they require special anesthetic drug protocols.
  • What type of anesthesia is used? There is a huge difference between cheap injectable first generation anesthetics and the newer generation of drugs and inhalants that can be specifically tailored to an individual animal’s needs.
  • What kind of staff do they employ? Are the surgical staff highly trained Veterinary Technicians or poorly paid lay persons who learn their trade on the job and with your pet? The best equipment in the world is no good if there is no one who understands what the readings mean.
  • Do they have complete monitoring systems in place? This should include heart rate, blood pressure, carbon dioxide levels, oxygen levels, respiration, body temperature.
  • Do they employ intravenous catheters, IV fluids and endotracheal tubes needed to control blood pressure, oxygen and anesthetic delivery? Or do they use an injectable anesthetic and hope for the best?
  • Do they keep their staff up to date through continuing education? Technology is improving and changing all the time. Make sure the clinic you use keeps their staff current and well trained.
  • Is it clean? Does the clinic smell clean? Believe it or not there are clinics that will use the same surgical pack on more than one animal. Are all the instruments, including those used in dentistry sterilized after each procedure?
  • Is there a good pain management protocol in place? Or will your pet lay in a kennel with no relief once surgery is complete.

What you can do to make anesthesia safer for your pet:

  • Make certain that your veterinarian is aware of all medications, supplements and over the counter drugs your pet is receiving. Then follow their instructions about how and what to administer before anesthesia.
  • Don’t feed your pet if your veterinarian tells you not to. Ignoring this can cause vomiting and aspiration pneumonia. Conversely, if you have an exotic pet, feed them if you are instructed to do so. They have different requirements than dogs and cats.
  • Tell your veterinarian if your pet has ever had any reaction to any type of medication. If your pet has a seizure disorder or is diabetic, please make sure to share this information. This is especially important if you are new to the practice.
  • Don’t let your pet become overweight. It makes anesthesia much less safe.
  • Make sure your pet stays healthy by staying up to date on all routine health care.
  • Don’t wait too long to spay or neuter. Large, overweight females that have been through several heat cycles are every veterinarians least favorite surgical patient. Everything is bigger, with more surrounding fat, more friable, harder to ligate and more prone to bleeding.
  • If you’re not sure, ask questions. We don’t mind.

Feelin’ Hot, Hot, Hot: Summer Pet Safety 101

Summer pet safety should involve giving your dog skate boarding lessons.

The dog days of summer are in full swing. For some of us, the summer heat brings on the urge to spend as much time outdoors as possible, swimming, grilling, or just goofing around in the yard, while others prefer to spend the hottest days inside with the air conditioner at full blast.

Whether you spend your summer out and about, indoors, or a little of both, it’s important to remember to consider your pet’s health and summer pet safety as temperatures rise. Continue…

The Truth About Cats

 mufasa

Cats. Kot, Katt, Gato, Got, Kissa, Felis catus. They domesticated themselves, of course, 3500 years ago but have been around our periphery since prehistoric times. Whether you love them or hate them, cats maintain a kind of tolerant interdependence with mankind. They are neither master nor slave and though they may love us it is only on their own terms.

Our domestic relationship with cats evolved because it was mutually beneficial to us both. They were attracted to the rats and mice near human grain stores and we enjoyed the rodent control cats provided. They slowly became accustomed enough to us to grudgingly move inside our homes. Today while there are some fancier breeds of cats out there by and large they remain unchanged.

How amazing are cats? Check it out.

  • Cats are a true carnivore. That means that unlike humans or dogs they cannot survive on a vegetarian diet. They require active vitamin A, arachidonic acid and taurine all of which are derived from animal tissues. If cats could talk they would tell us they want meat baby meat.

  • Cats don’t have a fixed clavicle which means they can fit through any opening large enough for their head.

  • Cats are especially agile. Their highly flexible vertebrae allow them to rotate their spine up to 180 degrees. This and their righting reflex is what allows them to always land on their feet.

  • Cats have the same number of vertebrae as us until you add their tail which is comprised of 30 more.

  • Cats can jump! As in up to 5 – 6 times their own height.

  • If you are a cat lover or fancier you are an Ailurophile.

  • Speaking of Ailurophiles, the ancient Egyptians loved their cats so much that they dressed them in jewels. If a cat died, the grieving family would shave their eyebrows. Mourning continued until all the hair grew back.  Cats were also often mummified and placed in tombs alongside nobility.

  • Cats are smart too. They meow for our benefit alone. They use different vocalizations to communicate with each other. Cats have a surprisingly large vocabulary too, containing of up to 100 varied sounds.

  • Cats hearing is much better than humans or dogs. They also have superior night vision but people can see a wider variety of colors. At least we win at something.

  • A group of cats is called a clowder or a pounce. The first is probably just a variant on the word clutter.

  • A cat’s brain is more similar to a human’s than a dog.

  • Cat’s purr when they are happy but also when they are frightened or in pain. One researcher found that purring may actually promote healing and aid in pain relief.

  • A Bobcat can purr but not a lion.

  • According to legend, Noah was alarmed by the number of mice running around the ark and prayed for guidance. God told him to rub the lion’s nose. This produced a sneeze from the lion which contained two cats. Later legends would say that knowing he came from the lion is what made the cat so vain.

  • Cats have 30 adult teeth, humans have 32 and dogs have 42.

  • One unaltered queen can produce 100 or more kittens in her lifespan. Her kittens and their kittens can produce up to 400,000 kittens. Cats are wonderful but if they reproduce without control we can’t provide homes for them all. Please spay and neuter your cats.

Storms, Fireworks, and Other Causes of Noise Anxiety in Pets

Maine Coon kittenFrom the sudden rumble of thunder to the hiss-pop-and-bang of local fireworks, noise anxiety in pets is a common concern for many pet owners.

During the spring and summer months, noise from thunderstorms and those celebratory post-ballgame and Fourth of July fireworks can present more of a problem for noise-sensitive pets.

Although most pets can be frightened by noise, in some it becomes a chronic condition or phobia that can create health issues and an increased risk of escape.

Since it is impossible to shelter a pet from all noises, the question is what can be done to help your fur friend better cope with the ensuing clamor. Continue…