Keep the Whole Family Safe During Disasters

ImageEvery year we hear concerns about “an active hurricane season” or “perfect” conditions for wildfires.  These natural disasters can devastate families, including our pets.  But, legislation, along with a national campaign to proactively prepare for disasters, has not only provided needed relief and comfort, it’s helped keep families together!

No one will ever forget the images of a hurricane ravaged Gulf Coast or the bleak desolation of a wildfire.   Media inundates us with pictures of human misery and also the suffering and plight of the animals.  Abandoned pets, forcible separations, and video of dogs and cats desperate to survive have now been etched deeply into our memories.

After the disastrous 2005 hurricane season, new legislation mandating the accounting for people’s pets in disaster plans was proposed and enacted.   The Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act (PETS Act) was signed into law in 2006.   This bi-partisan initiative insures that any state asking for federal assistance in emergency situations must have plans for accommodating pets and service animals during evacuations.

Top Summertime Tips for Pet Safety

ImageSummertime!  Finally, your chance to relax and unwind!  With your sunblock, sunglasses and a good book, you plan to enjoy the day at the pool! Suddenly, you remember your dog is in the yard – unsupervised …surely he will be okay for a couple hours.  Or will he?

Summer temperatures might be great for tan lines and boating trips, but the excessive heat and increased outdoor activities could spell disaster for your pets.  As the mercury rises, take just a few moments to insure that your pets are safe and prevent an urgent trip to the animal ER with a summertime emergency!

The most common heat related problem for pets is heat stroke.  Also known as heat stress or hyperpyrexia, heat stroke is a real emergency for dogs.  Even on moderately warm days, an excited dog might show a body temperature increase of 2-5 degrees Fahrenheit.  Since dogs don’t sweat like we do, they are unable to dissipate the excess heat and heat stroke may soon follow.

Lyme Disease Takes Flight!

ImageEveryone knows that ticks, those creepy spider cousins, have the potential for carrying some pretty serious diseases to our pets.  But, what’s less well known is that these blood thirsty parasites may be arriving in your backyard after traveling by air!

Robins and many other songbirds are often the heralds of springtime and warmer weather just around the corner.  Unfortunately, a new report is stating these welcome spring visitors are quite possibly spreading a serious disease of humans and pets…Lyme Disease!

When most people think about Lyme Disease, they automatically think about the eastern seaboard of the United States.  While it is true that states near Connecticut account for almost 90% of all cases reported, Lyme Disease can be found in all 50 states and is truly a global disease.

 

Holistic Veterinary Medicine…Helpful Treatments or Terrible Hoax?

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Photo by CPAW, Inc.

For many pet owners, the mention of holistic medicine conjures up images of incense-filled rooms with baskets of herbs and a multitude of candles.  But, increasing numbers of pet owners actually seek out veterinarians who incorporate alternative or complementary therapies in their practice.  Is there science to support their beliefs?

In our westernized society, alternative forms of therapy and medicine are often viewed with suspicion and occasionally, outright disbelief.  Practices like acupuncture, acupressure or even homeopathy have many critics.  Still, when it comes to resolving their pets’ ills, some pet owners are willing to take a chance on a non-traditional treatment.

Holistic medicine is generally defined as medical care of the whole pet, including environment, social and personal factors as opposed to the focus of treating just the disease.  Integrative medicine embraces both conventional Western styles with holistic practices.  Many people refer to non-traditional medicine as alternative or even complementary medicine.

Pet Dentistry Without Sedation – Worthwhile or Just Surface Changes?

ImageIn veterinary medicine, dental disease is seen in almost every animal.  But, in our busy lives it’s hard to find the time to do regular preventive care.   Adding to the problem, dental cleanings under general anesthesia seems risky to many.  Recently, anesthesia-free pet dentistry has become a fad.  However, is this option good care and safe long term?

With more than 85% of pets over age three suffering from some sort of dental disease, veterinarians are constantly reminding clients to provide at home dental care for their pets.  In addition, most veterinarians encourage annual dental exams and cleanings for their patients followed by care at home.  Still, pet owners are reluctant to follow these recommendations.

Some people are actually leery of anesthetics used for dental procedures.  In response to client concerns, some people have developed Anesthesia-Free Pet Dentistry (AFPD) protocols.  Marketing brochures show calm dogs sitting on the laps of “pet dental hygienists” who gently scrape tartar off the pet’s teeth.  For anyone who has a senior pet or anyone who has lost a pet under anesthetic, this idea might seem to be right on target.