Common Holiday Hazards From the Publisher of American Veterinarian

The holiday season is approaching fast! For many,  the next few months will focus on family, friends, and good cheer. For your furriest family members the holidays may bring unfamiliar faces, loud noises, and the temptation to eat potentially hazardous things. Knowing what to looks out for and steps to take in an emergency can help ensure that for both you and your pet this is really the most wonderful time of the year.

CHOCOLATE

Although hit poses a well-known danger to pets, chocolate remains one of the most highly reported pet toxicities. In fact, the Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) of the ASPCA addressed about 17,540 chocolate toxicity cases in 2017. That’s about 48 cases a day! Chocolate becomes a heightened concern during the holiday season because of the increased volume of candies. baked goods, and chocolate-covered treats in the home. During the week of Halloween, call sot the Pet Poison Helpline increased by 12% making it the center’s busiest time of the year.

DECOR

The final few months of the year are brimming with opportunities to decorate your home. Unfortunately for pets, soem decorations look like toys and could lead to injury. One major culprit: tinsel. Shiny and string-like, this is a major temptation in cats- and a major threat. Because tinsel is thin and sharp, it can be swallowed easily and become lodged in a cat’s stomach and unable to pass through the intestines. Most veterinarians recommend skipping the tinsel if you have a cat in your home. Pet owners who celebrate Christmas should anchor the tree securely so it cannot tip over, potentially injuring a pet. Also, keep an eye on the water in their tree’s stand. Some pets lap up the stagnant water, which is a breeding ground for bacteria and some may have fertilizer or other additives in it.

NOISE

From a pet’s perspective, many holiday traditions aren’t exciting- they’re scary. On Halloween, you might rejoice in the stream of costume-clad trick-or-treaters at the door but your pet just notices that the doorbell has rung dozens of times with oddly dressed strangers. This can result in unexpected aggression or an attempt to escape through the open door. The best way to avoid this stress is to put your pet in a secure crate or a room as far away as possible from the door.

On New Year’s Eve, the fireworks that start off a fresh year may produce an unwelcome barrage of noise that may send your pet hiding. If you know that your pet suffers from noise aversion or anxiety, speak with your veterinarian about extra measures you can take to ensure your pet gets through the next few weeks unscathed.

XYLITOL

It’s very likely that the sugar-free sweetener xylitol lurks in your pantry. A common ingredient in baked goods, gum, and even peanut butter. This additive is particularly dangerous for dogs. It can cause their blood sugar to drop and even lead to liver failure. .Although you can check the ingredient list of the foods you sever or prepare at home, it’s best to keep all baked goods out of your pet’s reach.

PLANTS

It’s widely believed that poinsettias are toxic to pets, but that’s not entirely true. Although eating large amounts of the plant has the potential to sicken and animal, mistletoe and holly are actually much more toxic. If ingested, either plant could lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and heart arrhythmia is both dogs and cats.

Likewise, Halloween decorations such as pumpkins and cornstalks can cause gastrointestinal upset or intestinal blockage. Jack o’ lanterns or other decorations with lite candles could burn a curious pet. Be sure to keep a watchful eye on your pet or use alternative decorations.

GUESTS

You may look forward to the parties and excitement of the season but that doesn’t mean your furry friend does. In fact, your pet is probably not a party animal at all. Unfamiliar faces may increase your pet’s level of anxiety or aggression and pose a safety risk. Also, guests entering and exiting your home may not notice your pet slipping out the door behind them.

To help prevent mishaps, tell visitors in advance that you have a pet. You should also set up a comfortable, quiet place as a retreat for your pet if the socializing becomes too overwhelming. Don’t forget to check in on them from time to time. If you host overnight guests, be leery of their medications. Yours likely are properly stored away but visitors may leave pills in their suitcase or on a nightstand where pets can access them easily. This applies to prescription and OTC medications, supplements, and vitamins. Las year, the APCC received nearly 35,000 calls about the accidental ingestion

BE PREPARED

You don’t have to choose between having a pet and having a good time this holiday season but being a responsible pet owner means taking precautions to keep your pet happy and healthy well into the new year. If, despite your best efforts, you suspect your cat or dog has ingested a potentially toxic decoration or food item, immediately call a pet poison hotline, such as teh APCC (888-426-4435) or Pet Poison Helpline (855-764-7661). Specially trained staff can help you identify what your pet ingested and alert you of any danger. If you notice that your pet seems sick or acts odd, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian.

Leptospirosis Cases on the Rise Again

HEALTH ALERT! We are seeing an increased number of leptospirosis cases the past month. These cases have been resistant to traditional medications used to cure this infection. This disease is caused by a bacteria that is transmitted in the urine of wildlife and rodents, particularly raccoons. Urine contaminated water, food, and soil can enter through mucous membranes and wounds. What’s even scarier is if your dog gets it, they can give it to you. It leads to both kidney and liver failure in both humans and dogs. Thankfully, cats are fairly resistant. Please make sure your dog is up to date on their lepto vaccination. If not, please call us to schedule his or her appointment today to get protected.

Picking the Right Pet Insurance

The pet insurance market can be confusing to navigate. There are many different plan and options you can choose from. This article can help you understand different plans and how to select the right company and coverage for your pet.

What kind of coverage choices are offered?

Accident/Injury– This kind of coverage covers just that. Things that would fall under this category include hit by car, lacerations, broken bones, etc. It does not cover illness.

Illness– This type of coverage includes sickness. This includes conditions like diabetes, infections, liver disease, and other health issues.

Complete– This combines accidental and illness coverages.

Preventative/Wellness– This provides benefits for exams, vaccinations, dental cleanings, and other things that are needed to insure a healthy pet over the years. Many preventative plans must be purchased in conjunction with injury or illness plans.

Some companies differ in what they may cover such as heritable or congenital conditions. Others may provide coverage in alternative therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic work, stem cells, and aqua therapy. You will need to read coverage details to find what all is available under your plan.

An insurance company may limit payout on certain conditions regardless of the final veterinary bill. Read your plan carefully before selecting. Example: Company A will only cover $1000 for a repair on a broken leg. The surgeon’s bill may be $3000. You would be responsible for the other $2000.

Deductible

This can be variable between companies. A company may have specific plans you can choose from or may allow you to set your own deductible.

There is also variation in how the deductible works. Some companies have an annual deductible regardless of the number of visits and reasons while other companies may have a deductible to meet for each new condition. If the company offers a deductible per condition, this is typically for the life of the pet but is dependent on the insurance company’s policy. Be sure to read the fine print carefully and ask questions.

Coverage Percentage and Limit

Many companies offer different levels of coverage and limits. A company may allow you to select your set amount of coverage for the year or you may have the option to select unlimited coverage. Also, companies typically only pay a certain percentage of your bills. Some companies will allow you to select the amount covered on a percentage basis but others may not (example: 80% bill pay vs 90%).

Age Limit

Sign up for coverage may only be allowed for pets in a certain age group. Many do not allow you to sign up a puppy or kitten less than 8 weeks of age while other companies will not allow pets older than 13 or 14 years old. There are some companies that do not have age restrictions.

Premium

You will need to determine what works for your monthly budget. Many of the things above will influence your plan premiums. A high deductible with a lower percentage covered will result in a lower monthly premium than a low deductible unlimited coverage plan.

Premiums are also influence by geographical region, species, and age the pet is signed up for health insurance. A 5 year bulldog in New York will have a much higher premium than a 3 year old cat in Nebraska.

Reimbursement Options

Most companies require you to submit your claim paperwork and veterinary hospital invoices and then will reimburse you in a specified amount of time. This means that you are still responsible for 100% of the veterinary bill up front when you checkout. You will be responsible for submitting the claim. The insurance company often contacts the veterinarian for copies of medical history regarding the claim.

Trupanion does offer Trupanion Express (some hospitals may not have). This allows for pre-approval of claims and coverage can be applied directly to your hospital bill.

Other Considerations:

NO insurance will cover pre-existing conditions. Some may cover a condition in the future if it is considered completely treatable and your pet goes a certain amount of time since the initial problem.

Waiting periods– With most companies, there is a waiting period after you sign up before you can actually use your pet’s insurance. This varies between companies and can range between 14-30 days. Some companies may break this down even further. Example 14 day wait for illness, 30 day wait for injury, and 6 month wait period for orthopedic issues. A few companies offer free 30 day trials with an exam and this allows for immediate coverage. You typically must sign up within 24-72 hours after the exam in order to be eligible.

Fourth of July Safety Tips

While we love to celebrate the 4th of July, this is an extremely scary time for many of our pets. Fireworks and noise is very frightening for some animals and household festivities can be stressful and pose health risks. This time of the year has the most pets reported missing. Read further for tips on how to keep your pets safe over the holiday.

Prepare in Advance:

  • Make sure your pet has updated ID tags and microchip information.
  • If your pet is not microchipped, consider doing so. Collars and tags can come off.
  • Take a current photo of all of your pets just in case.
  • If your pet has a history of being anxious or you may think it will be a problem, speak to your veterinarian about anxiety medications, supplements, and desensitization techniques BEFORE the fireworks and holiday activity starts.
  • Make sure their environment is secure. Are fences in good repair? Any holes or areas they could push through? Do gate and door latches secure well?

Safety Tips:

  • Leave your pets at home. Fireworks and unfamiliar environments are extremely scary for some. Consider boarding or hiring a pet sitter if you are going out of town for an extended period of time.
  • Put in a safe, escape proof room or crate during fireworks and parties.
  • Choose a location in the house that is the quietest area if possible. Keep a radio or TV on to help block out some of the noise from outdoors.
  • Go outside with them for bathroom business. Keep on a leash if they are particularly anxious and could bolt (even in fenced yards).
  • Keep pets inside when fireworks are being set off.
  • Put notes on exit doors and gates to remind guests to keep these closed and secure.
  • Don’t let pets near the BBQ or around food tables
  • Do not feed or let guests feed your pet table scraps.
  • Keep them cool and offer water and shade if they are outdoors. This is a hot time of the year and heat stroke can easily occur.

After the Celebration:

  • Check the yard for old fireworks and sparklers before letting them outside. Even if you did not set off any fireworks, debris can drift over from neighbors.
  • Pickup any dropped food scraps or other debris that your pet may get into. This includes charcoal and glow sticks.

DOGGY DAYCARE ENTRANCE MOVING!

Starting Monday June 4, 2018 Doggy Daycare drop off and pickup will be through the North entrance of 400 hall.  Please follow these simple rules to help things go more smoothly.

Doggy Day Care Check-In Etiquette

Keep your pet on a leash at all times.

Keep your pet near your side at all times. Do not allow your pet to wander.

Do NOT allow your pet to approach other dogs or people.

Give other daycare attendees plenty of space. Allow at least 5-10 feet between you and the next person in front or behind you. We are trying to avoid congestion in the hallway.

 These rules are for all our daycare attendees’ safety. While your dog may be friends with another in the daycare yard, the excitement at drop off can be overwhelming for some individuals. Also, not all dogs coming for daycare are allowed in the yard at the same time as others. Not everyone is a friend with the other dogs. Some pets may be leash reactive or protective of their owners. This can create fighting and tension between dogs. We want this to be a fun and safe environment for all pets and owners. Please follow these rules accordingly.

Interview with Cytopoint User!

Cytopoint has been a revolutionary new allergy medication for our patients! A single injection lasts 4-8 weeks against environmental allergies that make your dog itchy, scratchy, and miserable. Jackson’s owner is sharing his story with Cytopoint.

Pet Care Center (PCC): How long has Jackson been fighting allergies?

Jackson’s Owner (JO): 2 years

PCC: What symptoms did he experience?

JO: Lots or itching, red skin, and was very irritable.

PCC: How fast did the Cytopoint start working?

JO: Within a day he seemed like started to feel better.

PCC: How long did it last for him?

JO: About 2 months.

PCC: How do you feel it has impacted his life?

JO: It provides him relief from the constant itching!

PCC: Do you feel it works better than other medications used in the past (compared to Benadryl, steroids, Apoquel)?

JO: Yes, Cytopoint has been the best medication by far for his allergies and it is more cost effective.

PCC: What are a few things you like about the Cytopoint shot?

JO: It works quickly, alleviates his symptoms, and gets him feeling back to normal!

If your dog is suffering from allergies, please ask us how this product could help impact his/her life.