Though we have included these before, the issue of plants at the holidays is something that bears repeating. Click the link below and keep this list in your purse when doing your fall/ holiday plant buying – not only for your own home but for those friends and family that have pets. You can even include the list with your holiday cards.
Holly is a beautiful holiday plant but it can be quite toxic to pets.
Bella is a gorgeous white cat with the most amazing green eyes. She needs a home, please consider adopting this wonderful kitty. More ...
Baby is a very sweet but shy mixed breed dog that came from the Hopi Reservation. She needs a patient and understanding home, preferably with at least another dog companion. More ...
Reds was left tied to a fence and was about to be taken to a shelter when we rescued him. Because we did not have a foster home, he went to a boarding kennel, he has been there for 3 months. Please consider giving this wonderful dog a home. More ...
Gift Certificates are available; the perfect gift for your pet loving friends!
This article gives you some strategies to deal with fleas in a natural, nontoxic way:
Eliminate Fleas Without Poisons.
We have recently added a Companion Therapy Laser from LifeCure, LLC to our clinic. Laser therapy is a drug-free, surgery-free and pain-free alternative treatment that can provide relief for many common pet ailments.
Below are just a few of the disorders that respond well to laser therapy:
For more information about this new treatment option, please contact us.
Click below to see the many ailments that laser therapy can help with.
Please call to schedule a consult with one of our veterinarians.
"Serena," a 13 y.o. Aussie was running and skipping playfully after her 2nd treatment. The owners had not seen this much activity in several years. They were quite delighted.
Aramis Garritano is just one of Lisa Berkenstock’s puppy kindergarten graduates. Whether you have a puppy or an adult dog, Lisa can help you teach your dog how to be a well behaved pet. Please visit My Pet’s Teacher to learn more about Lisa’s dog training classes.
Eli Lyons just loves dressing up for Halloween. This year he was a bumble bee. Isn’t he just the cutest?
We lost some special friends July through October; we will miss them all.
Jade Candeloro, Mama Plomchok, Toby Gross, Mickey Segal, Pumpkin Carson, Miranda Ulmer, Lilly Shannon, Bandit Kent, Magic Cerrato, Casey Malloy, Tigger Keller, Reggie Kutner, Samantha Palermo, Lucca Rosso, Holly Haywood, Pebble McGrory, Topanga Fineberg, Nadya of Blind Dog Rescue, Cloudy Wolf, Snowball Schiller, Danny Milestone, Casey Kasztelan, Maxine Badora, Miles Santo, Bella Quitmeyer, Copper Vandervender, Louise Walsh, Alley Slavet, Lady Mechel, Morgan Freeman, Smokey Weber, Hope and Little Guy Wurster-Glancy, Suzie and Stinkey Gross, Sir Winston Carrion, Rusty Johnson, Duke Torres, Molly Lyons-Fetterolf, BooBoo Kitty Gale, Lightfoot Brann, Binx Evans, Daisy Wynne,
Meadow DeLeo, Missy Cropper, Brutus Viviano, Minerva Sieger, Smokey Schneider, Felix Daniels, Max Weekes, Danny Smith, Lily Ulmer, Buck McConnell, Buckus Marckinkiewicz, Alfie Zwerling, Cayenne Miller, Blazen Jester, Ronin Kelly, Rex Remich, Yuki Feldman, Casey Wilson, Juliette Heckler, Razz Goodman, Gherkin Merscher, Jesse Molnar, Kita Belciano, Kringle Krothe, Mister Dodaro, Cheeks Lefebvre, Buster Paluba, Lucky Diebold, Alice Melzer, Beamer McCarthy, Bishop Hildebrand, Lex Regan, Chance Kern, Basia Acevedo, Khaki Hobson, Talisker Ochs, Cali Harms, Joey Feldman, Bella Jensen, Bob Wuller, Sonoma Whiting, Honey Myers, Peaches Cooper, Marco Pelle (AKA Cassidy), LC Mullen, Sasha Morien, Coco Simons, Max Beck, Al Aversa, Hemingway Swierczynski, Samantha Barnes, Buddy Mooney, Noah Tashjian, Travis and Eliot Gill, Little One Libohorzsky, Molly Murtha, Spencer Kellenbenz, George Everett, Bubbles Bernstein, Princess Leah Carrion, Libbra Raissanen, Stella Berkenstock, Bentley Etkin, Libby DiStefano-Mancuso, Trixie Livingstone, Roo and Kiwi Merkel.
Welcome to the First Anniversary Issue of the Rockledge Veterinary Clinic E-newsletter. RVC E-newsletter sounds OK but don’t you think it needs a catchier name? Like … RockVet News or maybe Rock the Vet? What do you think? Send in your ideas and the winner will receive a $25 gift certificate to their favorite pet store (we like Pabby’s Pet Pantry). We will be publishing the newsletter 4 times a year: November, February, May and August. We would like to hear your ideas and thoughts on what we have done so far. Please email us at: email@example.com with Newsletter in the subject line.
Summer is over and Fall has arrived and hopefully this will soon bring an end to the horrific flea season that has plagued us. No, it’s not just your pets – EVERYONE has been having a heck of a time. Continue to be diligent in the checking of your pets and in vacuuming your living space frequently – this is the best defense against those nasty little pests. A product that we and our clients really like is Flea Busters – a non-toxic borate powder that you sprinkle on the floors and furniture that just sucks the juice out of those nasty little pests. It’s similar to those little desiccant packs you find in your vitamins and coat pockets and the product comes with a one year guarantee! Check it out at www.fleabusters.com and stop in to try it. For your furry friends, a non toxic flea killer is diatomaceous earth. It is sprinkled on the coat, just as you would flea powder, and is completely safe. Be aware, however, that DE comes in two forms – one for your garden (that is not safe for your pet), and a food grade product that is very safe. There are many available products online.
Now that the cool weather has returned this is the perfect time to start a walking program with your dog. Now that the time has changed, it is lighter in the early morning and the cooler weather means your four-footed buddy will be raring to go. Remember to start slow, increase your distance gradually and soon (hopefully in 4-6 weeks) a habit will be born. For the chubby kitty in your home, the early evenings mean that you may settle in a little sooner on your most comfy chair to catch up on the new Fall episodes of your favorite sitcom, thereby offering a warm lap to snuggle upon. Use this time to play chase the birdie with your cat, or even fetch (yes, cats fetch-sort of) not only increasing their activity level, but building the bond between you and little furry tiger.
Halloween is past and Thanksgiving and Christmas/Hanukah are around the corner. With these holidays comes the need to cook! Well OK maybe not all of us, but I do. Soup is a big part of my cold weather nesting syndrome. I like to share some of my homemade soups with my dogs and cats. I just leave out the onions, go light on the garlic and seasonings and make a big ol’ pot of chicken or beef soup. I add some barley or rice, whatever is in the cabinet, add fresh carrots, some greens (spinach or broccoli rabe), celery, corn, peas, maybe some string beans and a small amount of diced tomato for taste. Season with fresh basil, oregano and/or parsley (dried is OK), and presto you have the beginnings of a meal for you, and a nice topping to your dogs kibble or as a meal. Of course the cats prefer to eat only the meat portion, with maybe some rice and a small amount of corn/peas, but it is a nice treat that can take the place of the occasional meal, or get your pet started on the road to a home cooked diet. Of course you can’t forget the dessert portion, so I’ve included some homemade treat recipes for your dog/cat. I haven’t tried them yet as baking is not my forte, but they sound awfully good and fairly simple. Do you cook for your dog or cat? Email your recipes and we can include them on our Facebook page!
We have some great articles and ideas for you in this issue and I hope you not only enjoy reading them, but put them to good use. Happy Fall and Best Wishes for the Holiday Season to you and yours. Kathy
IIn today’s increasingly dog “unfriendly” communities, putting our pets best foot forward is not only good for your relationship with your pet, but helps to foster a more positive opinion of dogs in general. Across this country communities are not only limiting the number of pets you can own, but the size and type of dog. Can you imagine your condo association telling you that your Dalmatian has to go because he is over 35 pounds? Or that you can no longer keep your Shih Tzu in your apartment because the new neighbor has a dog that won’t stop barking? Or your insurance company stating that Rex has to go because he is a dreaded pit bull type dog? It happens every day but more and more a formal degree or CGC certificate is being accepted as proof that your dog is well mannered and therefore exempt from these restrictions. See what our trainer Lisa Berkenstock has to say:
The American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen® Program is a formal way to establish your dog as a respected, mannerly community and household member. Established in 1989, The CGC Program is a certification program whereby dog owners can be recognized and rewarded for their hard work in relation to their dog's behavior.
This rapidly-growing program can improve the bond between you and your dog. As you work on this 10 step certification curriculum, you are certain to get to know your canine companion much better. The CGC test includes the following test points: accepting a friendly stranger, sitting politely for petting, appearance and grooming, walking on a loose leash, walking through a crowd, sit and down on command/staying in place, coming when called, reaction to another dog, reactions to distractions and supervised separation. More information about the specifics of these tests can be obtained by checking out the American Kennel Club website.
CGC is open to all breeds, including mixed breeds. All dogs who are fully vaccinated may participate. There is even a new AKC certification offering for puppies. It is called Socialization Training Activity Responsibility (S.T.A.R.) Puppy Program.
Some therapy dog groups use the CGC as a screening tool. Some home owners insurance policies offer discounts for the owners of CGC certified dogs.
Recently, we at Rockledge Veterinary Clinic were confronted with a heartbreaking situation not once or twice, but multiple times. Here is the scenario: One of our clients passes away and no family member or friend is willing and able to take over the care of the deceased person's pet. A relative calls us, asking if we know anyone who would like to adopt Fluffy or Fido. Perhaps Fluffy is an elderly cat with a health problem who had not been seen by a vet for a few years. Perhaps Fido requires a special diet or medication. Perhaps the pet is a young animal with no special needs, but is alone and unwanted nonetheless. When we cannot help other than to offer contact information for rescue groups, the relative says, "Well, then, Fluffy or Fido is going to the shelter." The chance of an older pet and/or a pet traumatized by the sudden loss of his owner – the chance of that pet getting adopted is slim. Even young and healthy animals are often killed. In the case of cats, many are simply abandoned on the street, betrayed, confused, terrified and utterly unprepared for surviving outside, searching for every meal, exposed to the elements, to cars, to danger every day and night.
We urge you to make arrangements for your pet now, while you are healthy. Do not assume that a family member or friend will take over the care of your pet. People's circumstances change. They may want to help, but, when the time comes, will be unable to do so. There are organizations that can help and legal steps you can take to ensure the safety – the very lives – of your faithful companions.
For example, the author of this article, a proud and protective mother to several cats, has enrolled her furbabies in the Guardian Angel Program at Tabby's Place, a cage-free, no-kill sanctuary for cats in Ringoes, New Jersey. Details are available on their website (go the bottom of the home page and click on the link for the Guardian Angel Program), but, briefly, should I die or become incapacitated, Tabby's Place will take my cats, regardless of any special needs, and either find them a home which meets their rigorous standards or allow them to live out their days at the sanctuary. Such piece of mind does not come free, of course – the cost is $15,000 per cat (regardless of the length of time the cat spends at the sanctuary), but that is a very small price for me to pay to know that my beloved kitties will always be safe and loved. I have money set aside for this should it need to be paid in my lifetime and I have a life insurance policy which is partially payable to Tabby's Place to cover the cost after my death. I visited the sanctuary before signing the Guardian Angel agreement and spoke with the person in charge of the Program to be sure it meets my standards. And the folks at Rockledge can tell you – I have high standards when it comes to my cats. In addition, I have enrolled my 81-year-old father's cats in the program and received, in writing, my brothers' approval. Although I plan to take my father's cats should anything happen to him, as I said, things can change, and I want to know those cats will always be safe. Even though it is not required, I obtained my brothers' approval because they and I are my father's beneficiaries. Depending on family relationships, it may or may not be wise to alert the beneficiaries that they will getting "x" amount of dollars less if Fluffy survives her owner and the sanctuary has to be paid, but at least one trusted person – a relative or friend or your attorney – should be informed of the arrangement. Also, I carry an emergency contact card in my wallet so that in the case of an accident, the police will know to call someone about my cats and I have provided the sanctuary with Rockledge's information and my close relatives' names and numbers. In the case of Tabby's Place, you are not obliged to give the cats to them – if, for example, I am able to take my father's cats, I certainly will. I do not need to turn them over to the sanctuary and, if no cats go to the sanctuary, no payment need be made. It is a back-up plan, just in case.
Another option is Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah, the pinnacle of animal sanctuaries. Best Friends takes many different kinds of animals – dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, potbellied pigs, birds. At the time I inquired, the cost of the Best Friends program was $40,000 per pet because they do not charge different amounts for different species – it is $40,000 whether you are enrolling a parrot who will live for 80 years, a horse who eats a lot, an elderly dog with health problems or a delightful young kitten who will likely be adopted soon.
A vital fact to note is that these arrangements MUST be made in advance. You cannot call Tabby's Place or Best Friends Animal Society (or any other sanctuary, to my knowledge) after your friend or relative dies and beg or bribe them to take the pet.
Do your homework. Research organizations on the internet. For larger sanctuaries or organizations, call the Development or Membership Departments. Contact rescue groups for the particular species or breed of pet that you have. If a group can't help you, ask if they can refer you somewhere else. Go nationwide – many large groups, such as Best Friends, and even some smaller places have volunteers or employees who will go get the pet(s) and take them back to the sanctuary. Your survivors will not necessarily need to transport them there. That is part of what you are paying for. In fact, that is one of many questions you should ask. And don't be afraid to ask. I e-mailed the woman at Tabby's Place several times as I thought of various questions, like "Do you microchip all your cats if they are not chipped already?" (Answer: Yes!) "Do you have a 100% return policy? If someone adopts one of my cats and time goes by, whether it is one month or five years, and they want to return the cat for whatever reason, can they do so?" (Answer :Yes!) Also, "Do you ever ‘trade’ cats with other sanctuaries or with rescue groups?" (Answer: No! Never!) Ask questions! This is your money, but more importantly, your baby, the little (or big) furry face who depends on you and provides unconditional love in return. I cannot tell you how much better I slept at night after I made these plans – my cats, some of whom are older, some of whom have special needs, they mean the world to me and now I know I will have cared for them to the very end. No matter what happens to me, they will be safe and loved. You and your pets deserve that, too.
If you do not want your pets to go to a sanctuary, there are other steps you can take to ensure their care.
Make sure you have a Durable General Power of Attorney, a document that will give someone else, your "agent", the authority to do certain things in case you are incapacitated. Include among your agent's delineated powers the authority to pay for the care of your pets – veterinary care and medicine, boarding fees, pet-sitting services, food, litter, toys – whatever you can think of – and then add general language to cover anything you may have missed. You'll want to give examples of the "care" you authorize, but you don't want to limit your agent to pay for only the items you mention. It is important to include such a clause in your Durable Power of Attorney because it is possible someone with legal standing could object to such expeditures otherwise, saying that the document authorizes your agent to do things only for you, not for your pet. It is important to understand that the authority granted by a Durable Power of Attorney ends at your death, after which your Will takes effect as soon as it is probated.
Talk with your estate planning attorney about setting up a trust for the care of your pets. Such a trust can be included in your Will or can be a separate document. There are different forms for pet trusts in Pennsylvania, depending on how you want to arrange it. You will have to think about whom to appoint as caretaker of your pets (and name at least one alternate in case your original choice is unable to serve) and as trustee of the trust (and, again, name at least one alternate). Think about how much money will be needed to fund the trust and know that it cannot be excessive. Excessive funding can not only inspire your other beneficiaries to object, but can also be struck down and reduced by a court. Calculate how much you spend on your pets, include additional funds to cover possible increased medical and dietary expenses as your pets age, decide if you want to compensate the caregiver himself and reach a reasonable figure, often $10,000 – $50,000 per pet, depending on the breed, age and health of your pet.
A good website that discusses continuing care for pets is www.2ndchance4pets.org.
Tell a variety of people about your plans for your pets. Keep your vet's contact information on the refrigerator. Have the name, address and phone number of a 24/7 emergency veterinary hospital equally accessible. Write out instruction sheets for each pet with feeding information, medical requirements, daily habits, etc. Keep these sheets up-to-date and in a folder called "emergency information." Make sure several people know where you keep this folder and where you keep your pets' records, including rabies certificates.
If, as you go through this process, you encounter an attorney who does not take seriously your desire to ensure your pets' safety or who tells you that it is impossible to include provisions for your pets in your Durable Power of Attorney or in your will or trust, get another attorney! Do not give up! And if anyone says you are overreacting or otherwise denigrates your plans, remember that you are not doing it for that person's approval, you are doing it to ensure the safety of your pets, your faithful and loving companions.
And if you are still hesitating, thinking that all this sounds like so much time and trouble, then absorb this sobering statistic: It is estimated that 500,000 animals are killed every year in shelters after being turned in due to the disability or death of their owners. If you think it could never happen to your beloved pet, think again. Think about your pet's confusion and fear – think about your pet's last moment on earth. Do you want that moment to be at the hands of a stranger, in an unfamiliar environment, surrounded by scary noises and smells, and determined by the need for the cage for the next homeless animal – or do you want it to be in loving arms, in a peaceful room, after having had a long and full life, and determined by careful consideration, with respect for the gravity of the decision?
Take the necessary steps to protect your pets and ensure their safety even if you can no longer care for them. They are depending on you! Please consult with your attorney to finalize all arrangements and to be sure that your wishes will be carried out.
Robin Levin, Estate/Trust Administrator
Q. My cat has just been diagnosed with chronic kidney failure. Can you please tell me what this means and what I need to do to keep my cat comfortable?
Since many of our geriatric patients suffer from chronic kidney failure, I would like to address some common treatments used.
Renal, or kidney, failure occurs when the kidneys have not been able to do at least one of the many jobs that is required of them. Kidneys do a lot for a body. Some of their tasks include maintaining the acid-base balance, regulating blood pressure, maintaining the needed hydration level, stimulating red blood cell production, and filtering out/urinating away toxins. Renal failure can be acute (meaning sudden) or chronic (meaning over some time, usually months to years). Some causes of acute kidney failure are antifreeze, grape/raisin toxicity, Lilly ingestion (cats), leptosporosis (a bacterial infection that occurs in dogs), or adverse reactions to certain medications. Chronic renal failure causes are many and include congenital diseases, cancer, kidney stones (especially if infected), feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), kidney infections and diseases that affect parts of kidneys, in addition to irreversible acute kidney failure.
Unfortunately, when the diagnosis of chronic kidney failure is made, the instigating disease may be long gone but progressive loss of kidney function continues. The goal of therapy is to prevent the progression of the disease (not cure it) and prevent the patient from feeling the affects of compromised kidneys. The prognosis varies patient to patient because patients may be in different stages of kidney failure when it is discovered, each animal may respond differently to therapy, and there many be limitations to what an owner/animal can handle.
Diet: There are many different veterinary kidney diets available. Several studies have shown that patients fed a kidney diet have prolonged survival and decreased hospitalization times. In general, there are reduced levels of sodium, chloride, phosphorus, and protein with increased amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants in a kidney diet. It is known that phosphorus restriction is very important to prolonging your companion animal's survival but sometimes a special diet is not enough. Your veterinarian may prescribe a phosphate binder to help lower the phosphorus even further if needed.
Hypertension Management: Hypertension (elevated blood pressure) may occur in animals with chronic renal failure. Unregulated hypertension may further the development of kidney failure so having your animal's blood pressure checked on a regular basis is important.
Treating Proteinuria: A normal kidney should not allow protein to pass into the urine. Depending on the stage of kidney failure, an animal may develop proteinuria (protein in the urine). The detection of proteinuria helps a veterinarian stage the kidney failure and treatment should be instituted (untreated proteinuria can further kidney failure).
Maintaining Hydration: Since a compromised kidney will allow excessive water to pass from the body (instead of preserving it when needed), it may be necessary to provide hydration in other ways. It is absolutely important to always provide fresh, clean water to any animal, but it is especially important when your beloved pet is in kidney failure. Some animals can be encouraged to drink more by flavoring the water (mixing in a small amount of canned food, for example). Furthermore, cats may increase their water intake when switched to canned food (dogs tend to just drink less if offered canned food) because canned food has a higher water content then dry. However, sometimes the above measures are not enough and it becomes important to provide fluids in other ways (helps flush out the toxins that build-up). In that situation, a veterinarian may recommend subcutaneous fluid therapy. This is a method of delivering additional fluids to an animal by placing the fluids underneath the skin and allowing the animal to absorb them. Although it may sound alarming at first, the procedure is not difficult and can be done at home by an owner (or at the veterinary clinic if an owner is not comfortable). I invite you to visit the Pet Healthy Library which very nicely explains subcutaneous fluid administration and call us with any questions or concerns.
If you feel your companion may be suffering from kidney failure, he/she is currently being treated for kidney failure and you have follow-up questions, or if you have any medical concerns, please do not hesitate to call! Dr. Laura
Ask the vet questions can be submitted by Email.
Regular grooming sessions are essential to your pet's overall health and well being. Grooming sessions can be a great bonding time for you and your dog or cat. Brushing, bathing and nail trimming are the three main components of grooming. The length of your pet's fur will determine how much brushing is required. Long haired dogs and cats need daily brushing, while short haired dogs and cats require less grooming time. Brushing is something that can be done at home and although it takes some time it is one of the most important parts of grooming. Regular brushing and combing helps prevent matting, removes loose fur and reduces shedding. Brushing also gives you a chance to check your pet's fur for skin irritations, lumps, sore spots, fleas and ticks. Your pet's activity level will determine how often bathing and nail trimming will be needed. Most pets require a thorough bathing, nail trim and grooming every four to six weeks. Try to determine a grooming schedule that works well for you and your pet. Remember grooming isn't just about how your dog looks and smells, it is an important part of your pet's overall heath.
For dogs: Most dogs are happy with just about any treat you offer them but these homemade treats are not only healthy, they will get that tail wagging at double speed!
Preparation: In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked turkey, garlic, grated cheese and parsley. Mix well. Add beaten eggs; mix again. Add flour, brewers yeast, and oil and mix thoroughly until all ingredients are well-blended. Drop by rounded teaspoons full onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in a preheated oven at 350º F for about 20 minutes or until nicely browned. Move to wire racks to cool and harden. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator.
Preparation: Sift the flour, cornmeal and gelatin together in a large mixing bowl. Add milk, egg, vegetable oil, strained beef and beef broth. Mix until well blended. Refrigerate the dough for about 1 hour. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/4" thick. Use a pizza cutter to cut the rolled-out dough into 1" to 1-1/2" squares. Place the squares on an ungreased cookie sheet, about 1/4" apart. Bake in a preheated oven at 300º F for 1 hour. Remove from cookie sheets to a wire rack. Cool completely, then store in a covered container in the refrigerator.
For Cats: The pet stores are full of cat treats. But did you know that you can make your own healthy kitty treats at home? These recipes help you find a way to your cat's heart:
Savory Cheese Treats
Preparation: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine cheeses and yogurt. Add flour and cornmeal. If needed, add a small amount of water to create a nice dough. Knead dough into a ball and roll to 1/4 inch. Cut into one inch sized pieces and place on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Makes 2 dozen.
Preparation: Preheat the over to 350 F. Combine chicken, broth and margarine and blend
well. Add flour and cornmeal. Knead dough into a ball and roll to 1/4 inch. Cut into one-inch sized pieces and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Makes 18 cookies.
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