Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween Pet Safety

It’s the holiday season again, and everyone knows what that means: colorful decorations, family gatherings, out-of-town trips, baked goodies, succulent holiday meals and presents, presents, presents. But what you may not know is that the benign-seeming trappings of holiday celebration can be dangerous, and even deadly, to your pet and Halloween celebrations are certainly a huge part of our lives and no different that any other time of year.

Here’s some tips, things to watch out for and resources to be safe this holiday season that I have gathered over the years for my press release research that may be handy for everyone – Enjoy!

Holiday injuries reported by local veterinarians
Stomach problems from eating things they shouldn’t and over eating, Vomiting, Smoke inhalation, Blockages, Surgery, Items lodged in the throat or stomach, Stomach poisons, Pets being stepped on, Pancrititus, Diarrehea, Injuries from escape, Upset stomach

Holiday Hazards
· Electrical shock from chewing on lights and decorations
· Decorations that are within reach of pets that get knocked over
· Pets chewing or eating on decorations and gift wrap such as bows, ribbons, artificial snow, bubble lights, strings, tinsel, metal ornament hangers (replace with yarn),
· Eating plants like mistletoe, balsam, juniper, cedar, pine, fir, hibiscus, holly, ivy and pointsetta.
· Eating items like trash, glass or plastic ornaments,
· Certain foods not meant for pets like chocolate, bones, turkey skins, people foods, and candy
· Over eating their own food
· Preservatives, sugar, and aspirin additives used in the water reservoir can cause intestinal problems, so make sure the base is inaccessible.
· When traveling with your pets, make sure they are properly secured and don’t fly them in the cargo area on airplanes unless absolutely necessary.
When cooking dinner for your guests, be sure to move pet birds away from the kitchen area. Fumes released from non-stick cookware and self-cleaning ovens can be deadly.
· Artificial trees pose their own hazards. Small pieces of plastic or aluminum can break off and be swallowed, causing intestinal blockage or irritation to the mouth. Check your tree carefully for loose bits as you assemble it.
· Candles & Lights: When setting the mood, be careful to keep candles out of pets’ reach. No one wants singed whiskers and candles can easily be knocked over causing burns to pets or humans. Also, make sure electrical cords are out of the way, taped firmly to walls or floors.
· Poinsettias are not highly toxic but do have a substance in the leaves that is very irritating. This substance can cause irritation on the skin and also of the stomach and intestines, so ingestion may cause vomiting and diarrhea.
· Chocolate, for example, contains theobromine, which can be toxic to dogs and other animals at fairly low doses. Again, if your pets are loose in the home, make sure such items are out of reach as they will help themselves given the chance. Other sweets may not be toxic but nonetheless should not be given. Likewise, keep your pets on their regular diets. If you stray from the regular diet in order to give pets special treats or meals over the holidays, your pet will likely have a digestive upset, which may not be serious but is uncomfortable and stressful.

Suggestions to prevent injuries and other holiday suggestions
· Pet proof the property
· Keep food items, toxic chemicals and electrical wiring out of reach of pets.
· Properly exercise your pets and provide suitable habitats for them.
· Supervise pets to avoid contact with decorations.
· If you need to decorate your home for the holiday and need to leave for any period of time, secure your pet in a part of the house that is decoration free or at the least quarantine pets by putting baby gates up around holiday d├ęcor
· Unplug/turn off items requiring electricity while not in use, only leave on what is necessary to avoid risks of power surges and sparks from outages.
· Clear obstacles from doorways or entryways.
· Make sure flammable materials are clear from electrical outlets.
· Being responsible with decorations and presents
· Care about what kind of water you put under the tree
· Be careful about food that other people are feeding your pets and chewing on string.
· Keep pets indoors and attended when outside.
· Careful about any candy that is on any gifts (like candy canes, chocolates, etc).
· Keep a watchful eye.
· Pick up trash and keep mistletoe and tees out of reach of pets.
· Keep animals crated, be watchful when others are in town and how they interact with the pets.
· Websites like the SD Humane Society have plenty of tips.
· All small things picked up out of reach of pets like plastic ornaments.
· Get silk plants instead of live plants.
· Keep them away when visitors are present, and in the case of escape make sure your pets are always wearing identification tags.
· Do not feed them foods that are not meant for pets.
· Have a pet professional visit the house during the holidays.
· Put decorations high up out of reach.
· If you can add a bit about what to do if you are having a holiday celebration at the home, you might want to mention that holidays are the most popular time to lose a pet because people come in and out of the doors - so it can be best to confine the pet to another area of the home. That also prevents them from getting snacks off the people-food platters and plates left around.
· You can never give your pet sitter too much information about your dogs. Most folks using a pet sitter for the 1st time severely under estimate just how professional it is. if you don't feel like you are dealing with a professional pet sitter, then call another one. Don’t omit anything about your pet knowingly. If your pet ever bit or nipped someone the person in charge of care of your pets will at least want to know.
· Don’t give pets as gifts! As generous and loving as it may seem, if the receiver is not experienced the likelihood of the pet ending up at a rescue is greater. If you should bring in a new pet into the home, wait until the holidays are over as it may be too stressful for your new “furkid”.
· California Veterinary Medical Association says: “Don't dress up your dog or cat unless you know it likes to be dressed up. If you decide to do so, make sure the costume isn't annoying or unsafe and doesn't restrict movement, vision, hearing, or ability to breathe or bark. Avoid costumes with small or dangling accessories that could be chewed off and possibly choked on.”
· “Too much fatty, rich, or even just new types of foods can make your pet sick, so go easy on the tidbits. Bones can tear up or obstruct your pets' insides. Onions destroy a dog's red blood cells, leading to anemia. And chocolate, especially baking chocolate, can actually kill your dog, so keep it all well out of reach. Instead, treat your pets to feast of their own-pet food, a catnip treat, a special chewy, or a few tablespoons of peanut butter stuffed in a favorite 'food carrier' toy!”
· Pets can get just as stressed with increased guests, noise and activity. Make sure your pet always has a quiet secure place to escape to and be sure to set aside moments every day for quality time with your pet!
· “Luckily, we San Diegans enjoy a pretty moderate climate, but in many parts of the country, winter is a season of bitter cold and wetness. If you're visiting a colder climate this winter…” “Make sure you keep your pets in a warm, dry secure spot. Dogs, cats and other pets, are safer, happier and healthier when kept indoors. The salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet's feet. Wipe the feet with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates his/her mouth. Antifreeze is a deadly poison, but it has a taste that attracts animals. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze (and all household chemicals) out of reach.”
· Don't forget to spend quality time with the fur-family - sometimes we get so caught up in the activities and family feuds, we don't take time for long walks and play sessions with our buddies - which are an excellent de-stressor
· Remember to water the tree regularly, so that the dogs don't!
· Decorate the lower branches with things that don't mind being broken, swallowed or pawed.
· If you have a chewer, coat new wires (like the ones for the christmas tree lights) in bitter apple, or another chew deterent.
· Anchour your christmas tree to the ceiling or wall behind it. The tree was up all of five minutes before Raider decided the garland was fun to grab and run with.
· Don't spoil your holiday with a medical emergency. Please consult your veterinarian, animal poison control, and the manufacturer for specifics. Remember, the earlier you seek treatment, the better for your pet!
· If you want to decorate your pet, invest in a holiday collar.
· Try to minimize changes in your pet's normal routine, place it's home in a quieter part of the home if there are lots of visitors around, and bring familiar belongings or toys if traveling with your pet.
· Keep tabs on the Christmas "Spirits" If you or your guests plan to indulge in any alcoholic beverages, make sure that your bird does not have access to them. Alcohol can be deadly to birds, and curious parrots have been known to sneak a drink out of unattended glasses. Keep your pet safe by confining him to an area away from the festivities.
· Remember that any holiday hazard applies to all types of domestic pets, not just dogs and cats, and especially for pets that will have access.
· Pay attention to stress levels. Birds can get stressed pretty easily, and the holidays can make it worse by exposing them to sights, sounds, and people that they are not accustomed to. Consider leaving your bird caged in a quiet, comfortable, and secure area of your home until the party winds down. This will help make sure that your celebration does not cause undue stress or discomfort for your feathered friend.
· When your bird is out of his cage, always make sure to keep a close eye on what he is getting into. Always paying attention to your bird's whereabouts and actions is the best way to keep your bird safe.
· Many exotic pets (e.g. rabbits, ferrets, and rodents) will happily chew on electrical cords, which may be more accessible with lights and trees in the home. Make sure cords are out of reach, or get some flexible plastic tubing to encase any wires. Playful pets may try to chew or swallow ornaments and decorations, which could potentially cause an intestinal blockage, so close supervision or confinement away from decorations may be necessary.

Disaster Center, The Humane Society of the United States - http://www.hsus.org/hsus_field/hsus_disaster_center
Emergency Preparedness Kits for Cats & Dogs - http://www.petsready.com
Holiday Pet Safety Checklist - http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_HolidaySafety.php
PetSaver First Aid Class program - http://www.pettech.net/petsaver.html
PetSaver First Aid Training - http://www.pettech.net/schedule.html
OptiWell First Aid Classes - http://optiwell.nichirenscoffeehouse.net/pet-first-aid.com.html
American Red Croos First Aid Training Clasases - http://www.sdarc.org/TakeAClass/IndividualTraining/PetFirstAid/tabid/145/Default.aspx
You can also contact the Pet Poison Helpline at (800) 213-6680 or go to www.petpoisonhelpline.com as well.
Animal Poison Control FAQ - http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/animal-poison-control-faq.html
Top 10 Pet Poisons of 2008 - http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/top-10-pet-poisons-of-2008.html
Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants Database- http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/plants/
17 Common Poisonous Plants - http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/17-common-poisonous-plants.html

Hope that helps!! Have a safe Holiday!

Best wishes,

Kat
Pet and House Care Provider
For more resources click on “Pet Owner Resources” at my website: http://petsitdogwalkbykat.com
Pet/House Care Blog: http://petsitdogwalkbykat.blogspot.com

Thursday, October 15, 2009

National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week in November - Get involved now

It's National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week first week in November. In 1996, The HSUS launched National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week. This campaign was designed to acknowledge and promote the invaluable role shelters play in their communities and to increase public awareness of animal welfare issues and shelter services. During National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week, the first full week of every November, The HSUS promotes and celebrates animal shelters across the country through media and public outreach. But without the public's support, many shelters struggle to provide the best care possible for the never-ending stream of dogs, cats and other animals from the community. Whether it's a stray cat who needs to be spayed, a pet dog who has been separated from his family or a kitten who has been the victim of animal cruelty, animal shelters and animal control agencies are bursting at the seams with animals in need.

According to the Humane Society of US's website there are many wayas to get involved. But don't wait until November to start planning. The sooner you begin, the bigger the impact you'll have, and the more animals you'll help.

1. Give your shelters some much-needed publicity—advertise NASA week in your community by distributing free flyers. Print copies of the NASA week flyer and give them to your friends, family and co-workers. Ask local organizations in your community if you can post the flyer on their bulletin boards. You might want to try places like your local veterinarian, library, church or synagogue, gym, grocery store or dog groomer.
2. Ask your local shelter if it needs volunteers for its NASA week event. If it doesn't have an event already scheduled, offer to help plan one. And make sure that your local shelter is aware of the free NASA week resources available online at www.AnimalSheltering.org. These materials, available at no charge to shelters and volunteers, include an event planning guide and poster.
3. Have a fundraiser and donate all of the proceeds to your local shelter in honor of NASA week. Hold a bake sale, a car wash or a flea market to raise funds. Make sure to get your shelter's approval before you begin planning your event.
4. Spread the word to your friends, family and co-workers and encourage them to get involved in NASA week. Obtain a copy or your local shelter's "Wish List." Ask friends, family and co-workers to donate one or two items on the list, then drop your collection off at your local shelter during NASA week.

RESOURCES FOR ANIMAL AGENCIES, ADOPTION CENTERS, SHELTERS, RECUES AND PROGRAMS
A Passion For Paws Akita Rescue - http://www.APassionForPaws.org
Alley Cat Allies - http://www.AlleyCat.org
Angel Wings Cat Rescue Inc. - http://www.AngelWingsCatRescue.com
Animal Control Facility - 700 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA, 92118 (619) 522-7371
Animal Planet's Petfinder – http://www.petfinder.com
Aztec Doberman Pinscher Club of San Diego - http://www.aztecdpc.com/rescue.htm
Baja Animal Sanctuary - http://www.BajaAnimalSancturary.org
Bat Rescue - http://www.batrescue.org
Bichon FurKids - http://www.BichonFurKids.org
Cat AdopTion Service (CATS): San Diego Cat Rescue for Homeless Felines - http://www.catadoptionservice.org
Chihuahua Rescue of San Diego - http://www.ChihuahuaRescueofSanDiego.com
City of Chula Vista Animal Shelter - 130 Beyer Way, CA 91911, (619) 691-5123
City of El Cajon Animal Shelter - 1275 N. Marshall Ave., CA 92020, (619) 441-1580
County Animal Services - http://www.sddac.com
Dachshund Rescue of San Diego - http://www.dachshundrescue.org
Emergency Animal Rescue - http://www.emergencyanimalrescue.org
Escondido Humane Society - http://www.EscondidoHumaneSociety.org
Feral Cat Coalition - http://www.feralcat.com
FOCAS--Friends of County Animal Shelters--San Diego – http://www.focas-sandiego.org
Friends of Cats - http://www.FriendsofCats.org
German Shorthaired Pointer Rescue - http://www.GSP-Rescue.org
Greyhound Adoption Center - http://www.greyhoundog.org
Greyhound Connection - http://www.GreyhoundConnection.org
Helen Woodward Animal Center - http://www.animalcenter.org
Labrador Harbor - http://www.LabradorHarbor.org
Missing Pet Partnerships - http://missingpetpartnership.org
National Cat Protection Society - http://www.NatCat.org
North County Humane Society - http://www.NCHumane.org
Paws of Coronado - http://www.pawsofcoronado.org
PEAC (Parrot Education & Adoption Center) – http://www.peac.org
Pets Are Wonderful Support, North County San Diego (PAWS) - http://www.pawssdc.org
Pit Bull Rescue San Diego - http://www.pitbullrescuesandiego.com
Pug Rescue of San Diego - http://www.pugbutts.com
Rancho Coastal Humane Society - http://www.RCHumaneSociety.org
S.D. Turtle & Tortoise Society - http://www.SDTurtle.org
San Diego Basset Hound Rescue - http://www.bassetrescuesandiego.org
San Diego Bulldog Rescue - http://www.sdbr.org
San Diego County Animal Control - http://www.sddac.com
San Diego County Animal Shelters Foundation - http://www.sdshelters.com
San Diego German Shepherd Rescue – http://www.pets-unleashed.com/germanshepherd.htm
San Diego Herpetological Society - http://www.sdherpsociety.org
San Diego House Rabbit Society - http://www.sandiegorabbits.org
San Diego Humane Society SPCA - http://www.sdhumane.org
SAN DIEGO LAB RESCUE - http://www.sandiegolabrescue.org
San Diego Rottweiler Rescue - http://www.srcsd.netid2.html
San Diego Schutzhund Club - http://www.sandiegoschutzhund.org
San Diego Siberian Husky Adoption – http://www.sanddiegohuskies.com
San Diego Spaniel Rescue – http://www.sdsr.org/events.htm
SDRRC Rescue/San Diego Rhodesian Ridgeback Club Inc - http://www.sdrrc.org/rescue.html
SNAP (Spay Neuter Action Project) - http://www.snap-sandiego.org
Southland Collie Rescue - http://www.Collie.org
Southland Sheltie Rescue San Diego- http://www.sheltierescuesd.com
Southwestern Rottweiler Club of San Diego - http://www.srcsd.net
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals - http://www.aspca.org
The Animal Rescue Site - http://www.theanimalrescuesite.com
The Bulldog Club of Greater San Diego - http://www.sdbulldogs.org/rescue.htm
The S. Ford Foundation for Animals - http://www.sfordfoundation.org
United Animal nations is a non-profit animal advocacy organization - http://www.uan.org
Wee Companions - Small Animal Rescue and Adoption - http://www.weecompanions.com
Westie Rescue of California - http://www.WestieRescueCA.com

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Pet Wellness Tips/Resources and Pet Wellness Month

Pet Wellness is important and National Pet Wellness Month every October is one way Veterinarians spread the word about keeping your pets healthy. Below are some tips and resources I have collected about Pet Wellness (October) and this special month. Enjoy!

National Pet Wellness Month is an educational initiative designed to raise awareness about the pet aging process, disease prevention and the importance of twice-a-year wellness exams for all cats and dogs. Sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association and Fort Dodge Animal Health, National Pet Wellness Month began in October 2004 and is a year-round campaign where pet owners can receive important information, tailored specifically to their pets, from their personal veterinarians. You can find out more information about Pet Wellness and National Pet Wellness Month at http://www.npwm.com.

Pets age 7 times faster, on average, than people. By age 2, most pets have already reached adulthood. At age 4, many are entering middle age. And by age seven, many dogs, particularly larger breeds, are considered "senior." What does this mean for your pet? First, because dogs and cats age more rapidly, dramatic health changes can occur in a very short amount of time. Second, as they age, pets can experience the same aches, pains and other health problems associated with aging in humans. Older dogs and cats are at higher risk for diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, kidney disease, cancer and other serious conditions. Many of these health problems are treatable if diagnosed in time but, unfortunately, many pets don't see their veterinarian as often as they should. Taking your dog or cat to the veterinarian once a year is the same as a person seeing a doctor or dentist just once every seven years! Twice-a-year wellness exams allow your veterinarian to detect, treat or, ideally, prevent problems before they become life threatening. They also provide you with the opportunity to ask your veterinarian questions about nutrition, behavior, dental health or other issues. The goal of a pet wellness program is to prevent or minimize disease or injury, improve your pet's quality of life, and help your pet enjoy a healthy life for as long as possible. Your veterinarian will accomplish this in several ways:
· Routine health screenings
· Ongoing communication between you and your veterinarian.
· Preserving the veterinarian-client-patient relationship.

It’s not easy keeping our pets healthy. After all, dogs and cats are frequently exposed to organisms that can cause disease or illness. Even pets that never go outdoors are at risk. What’s more, pets age seven times faster, on average, than people. That means major health changes can occur in a short amount of time. Risk assessment is ideally performed at your veterinary clinic during the pet’s semi-annual wellness exam. A veterinarian or veterinary technician will ask you a variety of questions about your pet’s behavior, lifestyle, travel history and other factors. Your veterinarian will then use this information to develop an individualized disease prevention program that’s right for your pet and the disease threats in your area.
· Health - Your pet should see the veterinarian for a full check-up, shots and a heartworm blood test every year, and immediately if he is sick or injured.
· Dental Health - While many of us may object to our pet's bad breath, we should pay attention to what it may be telling us. Bad breath is most commonly an indication that your dog is in need of a dental check up. Dental plaque caused by bacteria results in a foul smell that requires professional treatment. After a professional cleaning, the teeth and gums may be maintained in a healthy state by brushing the teeth regularly, feeding a specially formulated dental diet and treats, and avoiding table scraps. Your veterinarian can give you more tips on minimizing dental disease and bad breath. You can clean your canine’s teeth with a dog toothpaste or a baking-soda-and-water paste once or twice a week. Use a child's soft toothbrush, a gauze pad or a piece of nylon pantyhose stretched over your finger.
· Some dogs are prone to periodontal disease, a pocket of infection between the tooth and the gum. This painful condition can result in tooth loss and spread infection to the rest of the body. Veterinarians can clean the teeth as a regular part of your dog's health program.
· Bad Breath- While bad breath caused by dental disease may not be too serious if caught early enough, some odors may be indicative of fairly serious, chronic problems. Liver or intestinal diseases may cause foul breath, whereas a sweet, fruity smell may be indicative of diabetes. If your dog’s breath smells like ammonia or urine, kidney disease is a possibility. Any time you notice your pet has bad breath accompanied by other signs of ill health, such as loss of appetite, vomiting, weight loss, depression, excessive drinking or urinating, schedule a visit to the veterinarian.
· Fleas and Ticks - Daily inspections of your dog for fleas and ticks during the warm seasons are important. Use a flea comb to find and remove fleas. There are several new methods of flea and tick control. Speak to your veterinarian about these and other options. Disease carrying ticks, mosquitoes and fleas, as well as diseases from wildlife, other pets and even standing water, can present a potential health threat to your pet. Protecting your cat or dog from these threats can be difficult, especially if your pet enjoys the outdoors. That's why your veterinarian may recommend a prevention program to protect your pet before it encounters a disease threat. Brush your pet after each outing. Use tick/flea treatments or medications as recommended by your veterinarian to kill fleas and ticks on your pet. Ask your veterinarian how you can protect your pet from Lyme disease through vaccination. Cut or mow tall brush or grass where your pet plays. Do daily "tick checks" on yourself, pet and children. Use tweezers to remove any ticks you find, and apply antiseptic to the affected area. Vacuum your house and wash your pet's bedding regularly to remove flea eggs and larvae.
· Heartworm - This parasite lives in the heart and is passed from dog to dog by mosquitoes. Heartworm infections can be fatal. Your dog should have a blood test for heartworm every spring—this is crucial for detecting infections from the previous year. A once-a-month pill given during mosquito season will protect your dog. If you travel south with your pet during the winter, your dog should be on the preventive medicine during the trip. In some warmer regions, veterinarians recommend preventive heartworm medication throughout the year.
· Medicines and Poisons - Never give your dog medication that has not been prescribed by a veterinarian. For example, did you know that one regular-strength ibuprofen tablet can cause stomach ulcers in a ten-pound dog? Keep rat poison and other rodenticides away from your pet. If you suspect that your animal has ingested a poisonous substance, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center for 24-hour animal poison information at (888) 426-4435.
· Spaying and Neutering - Females should be spayed—the removal of the ovaries and uterus—and males neutered—removal of the testicles—by six months of age. Spaying before maturity significantly reduces the risk of breast cancer, a common and frequently fatal disease of older female dogs. Spaying also eliminates the risk of an infected uterus, a very serious problem in older females that requires surgery and intensive medical care. Neutering males prevents testicular and prostate diseases, some hernias and certain types of aggression.
· Vaccinations - Puppies should be vaccinated with a combination vaccine (called a “5-in-1”) at two, three and four months of age, and then once annually. This vaccine protects the puppy from distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza. A puppy's vaccination program cannot be finished before four months of age. Rottweilers, Doberman pinschers and American Staffordshire terriers/pit bulls should be vaccinated until five months of age. If you have an unvaccinated dog older than four or five months, he will need a series of two vaccinations given two to three weeks apart, followed by a yearly vaccination. Do not walk your puppy or unvaccinated dog outside or let her walk or sit on the floor of an animal hospital until several days after her final vaccination. Since laws vary around the country, contact a local veterinarian for information on rabies vaccination. In New York City, for example, the law requires all pets older than three months of age to be vaccinated for rabies. The first rabies vaccine must be followed by a vaccination a year later, and then every three years. There are a variety of vaccines that may or may not be appropriate for your pet. Your veterinarian can tell you about them. Please note, if your pet gets sick because he is not properly vaccinated, the vaccination should be given after your companion animal recovers.
· Worms - Dogs are commonly exposed to worms and possible infestation—even in urban areas. Microscopic eggs produced by intestinal worms are passed in an infected dog’s feces. Most puppies, even from healthy mothers in good homes, carry roundworms or hookworms. The key to treatment is correct diagnosis. This will ensure that the medication is effective against the parasite your pet has. A dewormer that eliminates roundworms, for example, will not kill tapeworms. Your veterinarian can best determine the culprit—and prescribe the appropriate medication.

WHEN TO CALL A VET FOR YOUR PETS – HOW CAN YOU TELL IF YOUR PET IS SICK
· Dogs and Cats - Inability to move, Constant coughing, sneezing or gagging, Loss of appetite for more than three meals, Swelling around the face and head, Bloody urine, Distended stomach, Neck or back pain, Straining to urinate or defecate, Changes in poop or pee color, size, consistency, how times a day or method, Abnormal discharge from eyes, ears or nose, Eating changes – too fast, too slow, Drooling excessively, Changes in sleep habits, Panting outside of heat, Any bumps or curves, or abnormal weight feeling, Obesity, Bad breath, Changes to teeth and gums color, Ear nose and throat changes – extreme wetness, extreme dryness, thinning, color changes, Changes to coat texture and shine, Changes to how they walk or trot, Difficultlies in running, clmbing or jumping, Excessive water drinking except in hot weather, If it’s been longer than 6 months.
· Birds - Behavioral signs in birds such as sleeping later in the morning, sleeping more during the day, irritability, Unusual complacence, Eating more selectively and picking at food, Eating less, Vocalizing less, A change in the character of the voice or hoarseness, Coughing or sneezing, Different breathing pattern, Making unusual sounds when breathing, Runny nose, Matted eyes, Matted feathers on the face and head, Diarrhea, Black stools, Weight loss, Any swelling, perhaps under the eyes or on the legs, Irregular discoloration of the feathers, Fluffed appearance to feathering, Loss of feathers, Scaling or crusting of skin, Increased temperature of feet or beak, changes in poop
· Reptiles and Amphibians – burns, appetite or water drinking changes, pneumonia, changes to color in skin, animal does not shed, changes in stool, changes in behavior – please note that often times how your habitat is maintain and proper nutrition will prevent these issues.
· Guinea Pigs/Rabbits/Caged pets – please note that often times how your habitat is maintain and proper nutrition will prevent these issues but be on the look out for appetite or water drinking changes, changes to stool, changes to behavior, blistering of the mouth, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, weight gain, if they appear to be sick, long nails, not vaccinated, if they are listless, huddling in a corner all day long, a dull matted coat, refusing food, labored breathing, runny nose, watery eyes, constipation, sneezing, coughing, has nasal discharge, a runny nose and eyes, blood in urine, teeth are not wearing down normally, hairballs in rabbits,
· Aquarium Pets – please note that habitat maintain, proper nutrition and aquarium care will prevent much of the issues associated with aquatic pets seeking veterinary care. If you practice healthy fish tank methods you should be just fine. But be on the look out for the following as it may be time to see a vet: stress, changes in behavior or changes in physical appearance.

HOLISTIC MEDICATIONS – WHAT ARE THE DANGERS
Information summarized courtesy of by: Dr. Amy Wolff

· Natural Diets and Vitamin Supplementation - A vegetarian diet for dogs, which are omnivores, is possible. On the other hand, cats cannot thrive on a vegetarian diet. If you are considering preparing your pet’s food at home, ask your veterinarian for recipes that give proper balance of nutrients and instructions for preparing and storing it safely. There is also the general feeling that a home cooked meal is just better. Ingredients, preparation and freshness can be controlled when the diet is made at home. But it takes careful research to balance a home cooked meal with the necessary amounts of nutrients. There are many components to producing a well-balanced diet for your pet with regard to primary nutrients, vitamins and minerals. A common feeling is that if vitamins and minerals are helpful in small amounts, then large amounts must be better. Caution must be used here since overdoses of vitamins can cause serious illness. An overdose of vitamin A can cause bone disease; large doses of vitamin C can cause stomach upsets; imbalances of vitamin D, phosphorus and calcium can lead to bone demineralization. If you include raw meats in the diet, bacterial contamination becomes a concern. The same goes for raw eggs. Raw eggs also contain a protein that interferes with the absorption of B vitamins.
· Herbal Supplements and Cures - Medicines from plants have been used for thousands of years to prevent or cure a wide variety of ailments. While most plants used have beneficial properties, it is important to remember that the strength of the plant’s active ingredients will vary with the variety of herb and the horticultural practices used to grow them. Herbs can be sprayed with pesticides, fungicides or fertilizers. They may have been fertilized with improperly prepared compost, which can harbor harmful bacteria. They may produce more than one active compound causing unwanted side effects. They may worsen some medical conditions. There are no standards for quality control in production and dosages. Many have vomiting and diarrhea as a side effect. Onion, garlic, pennyroyal, and ginseng are a few of the commonly used herbal preparations that can cause toxicities if used inappropriately. Even if your pet is taking an herbal supplement without complication, make sure your veterinarian knows what you are giving. Some herbs interfere with other health concerns and other medications.
· Acupuncture, Acupressure, Chiropractic and Massage - Used as additions to pain relief and management of chronic conditions, acupuncture, acupressure and chiropractic can be extremely beneficial in making your pet more comfortable. Massage can be very helpful in helping rehabilitate injury and increasing range of motion. The biggest concern for this growing area of veterinary medicine is making sure you have qualified professionals who have completed recognized courses of study in the treatment of animal diseases. None of these procedures should be performed by novices. Before beginning any health care program, talk to your pet’s veterinarian. Many clinics are incorporating these strategies into your pet’s total health care picture. It is unwise to go to your local health store and buy a variety of herbs and supplements to add to your pet’s regimen without this consultation. Any illness or sudden change in your pet’s behavior should have a medical check up before initiating any treatments, herbal or otherwise.

Ten things you should never give your pet CATS AND DOGS
1. Make no bones about it -- bones are bad for animals!
2. Chocolate can be lethal to pets because it contains theobromine, which causes increased heart rate, central nervous system stimulation and constriction of arteries. Clinical symptoms range from vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, and excitability to cardiac failure, seizures and death. This can occur as quickly as four to six hours after ingestion. Baking chocolate is the worst because it contains the highest amount of theobromine.
3. Alcohol is also very bad for cats and dogs.
4. Milk is also not good for animals because many of them are lactose intolerant and will develop diarrhea.
5. Ham and other salty meats and foods are very dangerous to pets. In addition to being high in fat, they are also very salty which can cause serious stomach ache or pancreatitis. Also, large breeds of dogs that eat salty food may drink too much water and develop a life-threatening condition called "bloat."
6. Onions are toxic to pets. They contain allyl propyl disulfide, which damages their red blood cells and can cause fatal consequences in animals. They may become anemic, weak and have trouble breathing.
7. Caffeine is also bad for pets. It contains methylated xanthine that, like chocolate, stimulates the central nervous and cardiac systems and within several hours can cause vomiting, restlessness, heart palpitations and even death.
8. Avocados are also bad for pets. First, they are really high in fat and can cause stomach upset, vomiting and even pancreatitis. Second, the pit is also toxic and can get lodged in the intestinal tract leading to a severe blockage, which may require surgery.
9. Tuna Fish is bad for cats. The feline heart muscle requires an amino acid called taurine to maintain normal strength and function. Regular tuna fish for humans does not have this amino acid and cats that eat too much tuna fish will develop heart problems. If you want to give your cats that taste of tuna that they love, just make sure it is tuna fish for cats which has this amino acid added.
10. Raisins and grapes can lead to kidney failure in pets.

PET HEALTH CARE/VETS/LOW INCOME
Animal Emergency Clinic - http://www.AnimalEmergencySD.com
Animal ER of San Diego - (858) 569-0600, 5610 Kearny Mesa Road San Diego, CA 92111
Animal Hospitals USA - http://www.animalhospitals-usa.com
Animal Urgent Care of Escondido - http://www.AUC.US.com
AVMA - http://www.avma.org
California Veterinary Specialists - http://www.CaliforniaVeterinarySpecialists.com
Classic Green Light Insurance – Pet Insurance packages – http://www.classicgreenlight.com
DNA Testing Company to Determine Dog Breed - http://www.whatsmydog.com
Harmony Animal Hospital - http://www.petvets.com
Holistic Veterinary Care – http://www.animalhealingcenter.net
Nonprofit Veterinary Organization - nonprofit org that provides free veterinary aid - http://www.worldvets.org
Pet Assistance Foundation - http://www.orgsites.com/ca/pet-assistance
Pet Emergency & Specialty - http://www.PESCSanDiego.com
SNAP – Spay Neuter Action - http://www.Snap-SanDiego.org
Swim Therapy - http://www.cuttingedgek9.com
VCA Emergency Animal Hospital & Referral Center - http://www.VCAEmergency.com
VCA North Coast Veterinary & Emergency - http://www.VCANorthCoast.com
Veterinary Specialty Hospital - http://www.VSHSD.com

National Veterinary Technician Week – Vet recommendations

The third week in October has been declared by the National Veterinary Technician Association (NAVTA) as National Veterinary Technician Week (NVTW) since 1993. I wanted to put together some information, tips and resources related to this holiday for everyone, as this is a very special week. Also below are some resources for finding a vet that hires credentialed vet techs so that you can find the best possible care for your pets.

During this week, veterinary technicians can focus attention on their profession through activities to educate the public about their contributions to veterinary medicine as well as to reinforce the value and professionalism of veterinary technicians to veterinarians and the public. It is also a time of year for us pet owner owners to recognize the role these Vet Techs play in the veterinary care of our animals and to acknowledge the veterinary office who hire credentialed technicians. Credentialed technicians receive more than a degree from an accredited veterinary program. Most are required to take a certification examination, and many complete ongoing training in the classroom and on the job to keep up with medical advances and the wide range of animal care disciplines. National Veterinary Technician Week is an opportunity to honor veterinary technicians for the outstanding job they do. It also is an opportunity to educate companion animal owners about the benefits of working with a veterinarian who employs credentialed veterinary technicians. When you invest in medical treatment for your pet, you should receive the best care possible, and credentialed veterinary technicians help ensure this happens.

According to the NAVTA website, during this special week, veterinary technicians can focus favorable attention on their profession through a variety of activities. These activities serve to:
* Educate the public about this vital member of the veterinary medical team.
* Reinforce the value and professionalism of veterinary technicians to veterinarians and the public.
* Provide an opportunity for veterinary technicians to salute one another for excellent performance in their work.
* Acknowledge veterinarians for hiring veterinary technicians.
* Sample press releases, proclamations and other information to celebrate National Veterinary Technician Week are in our members only area. Information about the event and NAVTA is available at www.navta.net.

So how do you, as a pet owner, celebrate NVTW? Where there are many things you can do to celebrate this week, to get your creativity gift giving thought process a boost here are some ideas:
1. Participate or volunteer in a Pet Wellness or Veterinary event
2. Donate to a Pet Wellness or Veterinary Cause on behalf of a Veterinary Technician
3. Send a card, gift basket, flower arrangement to a Veterinarian you go to or know that hires credentialed Vet Techs and to each Vet Tech.
4. Spread the word about NVTW to other pet owners and the benefits of working with a veterinarian who employs these Vet Techs.
5. Spread the word to the world about NVTW, with the information provided by NAVTA on their website.

Can you think of more ways to celebrate this special occasion?

WHERE TO FIND A GOOD VET THAT HIRES VETERINARY TECHICIANS
Animal Emergency Clinic - http://www.AnimalEmergencySD.com
Animal ER of San Diego - (858) 569-0600, 5610 Kearny Mesa Road San Diego, CA 92111
Animal Hospitals USA - http://www.animalhospitals-usa.com
Animal Urgent Care of Escondido - http://www.AUC.US.com
AVMA - http://www.avma.org
California Veterinary Specialists - http://www.CaliforniaVeterinarySpecialists.com
Harmony Animal Hospital - http://www.petvets.com
Holistic Veterinary Care – http://www.animalhealingcenter.net
National Veterinary Technician Association - www.navta.net
Pet Emergency & Specialty - http://www.PESCSanDiego.com
SNAP – Spay Neuter Action - http://www.Snap-SanDiego.org
VCA Emergency Animal Hospital & Referral Center - http://www.VCAEmergency.com
VCA North Coast Veterinary & Emergency - http://www.VCANorthCoast.com
Veterinary Specialty Hospital - http://www.VSHSD.com

And of course, last but most certainly not least - Happy Veterinary Technician Week to all the Vet Techs out there! You guys do an awesome job and deserve the credit for what you do!