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:
“Serena is 14 years old and she was struggling to walk prior to getting her laser treatments. She is now going for walks in the park and her comfort level has increased by 75 percent.”
For more information about this new treatment option, or to schedule a consult with one of our veterinarians please contact us.
Fall Decorating Safety Tip:
One of our favorite Fall decorating items is the colorful and plentiful Indian Corn. It works as a colorful addition to the lowly corn stalk and also doubles as food for our squirrel and bird friends. But it can also be a deadly danger to your dog. Corn cobs are responsible for the deaths of many dogs, not just in fall, but through the year. They like to chew on them, but they can become lodged in the intestinal tract, and the dry cob wreaks havoc on the intestine. Sometimes symptoms do not appear immediately, and it can be several days to a week before your dog shows signs of an obstruction: vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea or straining to defecate and/or not eating, this is an emergency situation.
So … decorate with corn but keep count of the cobs and if you suspect your dog may have eaten one, call our office immediately.
Click picture to get stencils of your favorite dog/cat breeds. You will have to sign in to Better Homes and Gardens, but they’re free and Family Frugal Fun is an interesting website.
Muppet is a stunning, young and sweet cat. She is looking for a special home that will give her the love she deserves. More...
Adia is a quiet and sweet kitty that enjoys being held and having her chin rubbed. She is blind due to an untreated eye infection but has adjusted very well to indoor life. More...
Troy is a handsome, sweet, playful, healthy, silly and friendly shephed mix who needs a family of his own. He will be a wonderful companion, please consider making Troy a part of your family. More ...
The following friends passed on this summer:
Flip Baus, Tula Livny, Roxanne Shields, Maggie Stinson, Tank Suarez, Phoenix Jones, Phillip Nicotera, Phyliss Levin, Lincoln Seydel, Alice Hunter, Sami Glacey, Elmo Blind Dog Rescue Alliance, Ivan Rothwarf, Shannon Lewis, Zoe Kelly, Ryan Wuestner-Balsley, Marissa Mayers, Zeus Wolstenholme, Pooch Beaver, Rebel Oteri, Zoe Laub, Charlie Thomas, Cleo Wong, Coco McKernan, Sanchez Goldberg, Max Krawiec, Pearl Schmidt-Stein, Lana Turner, Molly Zimmerman, Gus Kopchinski, Smokey Jakeman, Samantha Sienkiewicz, Maggie Crabtree, Daisey Smith, Abby Terrizzi, Trudy Lachawiec, Samantha Dugan, Howie Pizzino, Boo Boo Kurtz, Missy Oslager, Shana Halbherr, Sifounas Kountouzi, Merlin Indelicato, Cinderella Glendon, Miz Magic Sanders, Tiger Lily Steerman, Lucky Freeman, Chloe Wade, Sasha Salvato, Tess Feldman, Jingle Schenk, May Levin, Sarah Fleming, Clavin Cheifet, Lacy Stuber, Maxine Gaskill, Riley O'Donnell, Rage Walton, Krimpet Burroughs, Phoenix Roussel, Boot Mastrogiovanni, Shakes Strange, Taylor Cacciola, Hayley Swihart, Maggie Kuns, Trina Cushman, Gunney Manz, Sarina Mann, Rambo Rupp, Stanley Tucker, Isabelle Trabocco, Rocky Burmeff, Rosalie Kalita, Quincy Glickstein, Tigger Streeper, Scully Melzer, Rocky Adams, Katie Broderick, Emma Ochs, Stella Beltz, Reese Peltzman, Sami Littman, Vincenzo Corabi, Minky Nix, Rocky Sinnamon, Kelly Bayer, Corey Saraco, Simba Tendler, Tehja Praediger, Sable Schultz, Rivers Hobson and our heartfelt condolences and love to the families of our dear friends Susan Accetta and Harold Draper.
As Summer winds down, the dog days of July and August are gone and with it (we can only hope) the almost unbearable heat and humidity. I know that I am looking forward to the cooler days and the start of a new season. Our human kids will be starting back to school and we anticipate the routine of the school year. As exciting as it is for us humans, it is a stressful change for our companion animals. From having their human family around almost 24/7, they now have to readjust to more time spent alone. And though it may be difficult to find an extra hour or two, we need to make time for that morning/evening walk, a half hour of fetch and even just lap time. Our pets give us so much; let’s remember to give quality time in return. Read below for some area training classes and even day trips where you can include your dog. Also let’s not forget our cat’s mental stimulation. They can be so unassuming and quiet, unlike dogs who are more demanding. Sometimes we may forget they need company and exercise also. Cuddle and grooming time each evening, a game of chase the paper ball, or even an empty toilet paper roll filled with treats or catnip can entice your feline buddy into a game of chase. With the arrival of Fall comes thoughts of picking apples and pumpkins. Below are some great ideas for incorporating these fruits in your pets’ diets and some cool and safe decorating ideas. And I may be a little early but … Happy Halloween! Kathy
Why is my dog so itchy all of a sudden?
As August winds down many of us are beginning to think about Fall. The evening air is a bit cooler and the days a bit shorter. Our pets, too, notice the change. Summer hair coats may begin to shed to make room for a thicker winter fur. Even though most of our pets live indoors, they are still affected by the change in season. Sometimes, we see certain illnesses that we call "seasonal." The most common, itchy skin, can begin because of new plant blooms such as ragweed, or fleas. Fleas are at their peak now as August, September, and October are typically the worst flea months. This may be due in part to a slow, steady rise of resident flea populations through the summer. Remember, fleas spend 75% of their time in the environment (grass and leaves outside, carpet, furniture, drapes, floor boards, etc. inside) and only 25% of their time on your pet. Their primary purpose while hitching a ride on your friend is to eat! They suck blood and then they're off to live the rest of their little flea lives. The flea life cycle happens all around you, not in the fur of our pets. Remember, too, that the life cycle of the flea is similar to that of the butterfly. There is an egg stage, a larval (caterpillar-like) stage, a pupa (cocoon), and adult. One female flea can lay 500 eggs in her lifetime! The eggs hatch into larvae which are tiny and barely visible to the naked eye. These larvae live in the grass, carpet, etc. and eat tiny bits of detritus (small bits of organic material). After one to two weeks, they produce a pupa where they transform into an adult flea. After emerging from the pupal sheath, the adult flea is hungry and will immediately seek out a warm body for a meal. Although some people will get flea bites, the adult flea prefers the blood of a four-legged mammal. However, if there is an infestation, even the most resistant folks will be bitten. Fleas love hot, humid weather, such as we typically see in late August and September. In the winter when the heat goes on, the air is drier so the fleas will hibernate. Sometimes, if the outside air becomes warm in January or February, there may be a hatching of pupae and a new cycle begins. The eggs can remain in the environment for up to 2 years which is why we may see fleas when we least expect them, such as when we move into a new home that may not have had a recent furry resident.
There are many ways to protect against fleas. Most of you are familiar with the spot on products: Frontline, Revolution, etc. which are very effective. If you have been using the same product over the years and find that it is less effective, then you may have a resistant population of bugs. No chemical is 100% effective forever. There are always some insects that are not killed by the product. Slowly, over time, they multiply until there are many bugs that are not harmed by the product. The easiest and usually most effective way to deal with the problem is to switch products. Fortunately, we now have several to choose from. For those who wish to avoid the chemicals, there are nontoxic products that are available. Most of these contain essential oils that can be very effective. There are some oils, such as penny royal that should not be used on cats. There is information on line that can guide you in preparing your own herbal spray or collar. Again, particularly with cats, be sure that it is safe for them. There is mixed information around the effectiveness of feeding brewer's yeast and garlic. Garlic can be given to dogs (not cats) in small quantities. Dr. Pitcairn (author of The Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats) recommends the following amount of fresh garlic for dogs, according to their size:
The most nontoxic way to deal with fleas is a flea comb and vacuum. Flea combing your pet daily will significantly reduce the population. Vacuuming daily will take up 50% each time. A flea collar can be cut into pieces and put in the vacuum bag. A non toxic flea powder can also be added to the bag. Be sure to change the bags regularly as the fleas can crawl out of the vacuum. If you need help with natural products, contact Hope, at Nature’s Harvest.
Many dogs and cats are allergic to fleas and will bite and scratch incessantly. Fleas prefer the back of the neck and the base of the tail. Be sure to check there first if you suspect a problem. Move the hair in the opposite direction with your hand and you may see the adult flea, which is small and brown, and will hop or scurry away quickly if you come upon it. Or, more likely, you will see the flea excrement (flea dirt) which looks like pepper and on close examination has a bit of a curl. If you are not sure about the "pepper", remove it and place on a white sheet of paper. Add a bit of water and if a red spot (blood) appears you've got your ID. Don't be alarmed if you find fleas or flea dirt. The problem is often easily remedied. Usually, once the pet(s) is treated, there is no need for house sprays or bombs. If, however, there are many fleas on the pet after treatment, a house product may be necessary and a professional should be contacted. Some dogs and cats will not bite or scratch when they have fleas so it is important to check your pets regularly. And, not all pets get fleas when exposed to them. Some seem to have a natural "repellant" in their skin. Fleas can be persistent until a killing frost at which time the adults will die and the eggs and pupae will hibernate.
For any further information or questions, please do not hesitate to call us.
A food allergy involves the immune system. Think peanut allergy in people, for example. BIG reaction! The immune system has a memory like no other, so an exposure to the allergen will cause a reaction every time. In dogs, you’ll see this as excessive scratching, chewing paws, biting of flanks, and there may be ongoing gastrointestinal trouble.
An intolerance to a food (think lactose intolerance) will also cause a reaction, but the immune system is not involved. You drink some milk, have some pain and diarrhea and then it’s over. Unlike an allergic reaction which causes the body to send off chemicals to protect itself from what it believes is a foreign invader for weeks to months, an intolerance ends once the offending food has been removed from the diet.
So what? Why does the difference matter?
It may not necessarily matter all that much in the real world because the goal, no matter if this is an allergy or an intolerance is to have the dog feeling well. We need to remove the offending food and never feed it again. When allergy is present, and inflammation happens, there may be a temporary need for medication to decrease that inflammation. Where it can matter more is when we throw a bit of knowledge into the mix. For example, say you feed beef and the dog seems fine. You feed more beef and the dog gets diarrhea. Assuming the dog is healthy (no parasites etc), you could be seeing an allergy (exposure to the antigen needs to happen two or more times before an allergy develops), or an intolerance to the fat content of the beef or the diet as whole now that beef was added. Another curve ball: there’s some cross-reactivity between beef and bison, so say you feed bison instead. If the dog reacts, it’s unlikely to be to the fat content of bison alone (it’s fairly lean). The same is true of poultry. A dog who’s allergic to chicken may also be allergic to turkey, but that’s not carved in stone.
The best way of determining which foods agree or disagree with a dog is to try feeding them. Keep the diet simple by replacing one food with another and keeping a diary. Food allergy can develop at any time, but chances are you’ll see it sooner rather than later. Most dermatologists agree that an allergy is likely to be seen within 14 days of feeding a new food. Our Tori reacts on day 10. You can set your calendar to that. This doesn’t mean that seeing a reaction on day 20 translates to it not being an allergy, but somewhere in the vicinity of 2 weeks is common.
What about food allergy testing? Save your money. The results are unreliable to say the least. In fact, they can show the opposite of your dog’s reality. Why? Because they measure antibodies and your dog produces some once s/he has been exposed to something. But being exposed to a substance doesn’t mean the dog reacts to it. The more often the exposure occurs, the higher the “allergy reading”, but if your dog has been exposed to say, turkey in her food every day, the reading will be high even though she’s been doing beautifully on turkey. Conversely, if your dog has never eaten fish before, she’s likely to test negative for fish. This doesn’t mean that she won’t react a few days after eating fish.
What to do? Keep to a simple diet of two foods and test things out one at a time. It may be tedious, but it brings results.
For help with canine allergy/intestinal problems or home prepared diets, contact
Monica Segal is a Certified Animal Health Care Professional specializing in canine nutrition.
Lisa, of My Pet’s Teacher, is busy getting her oldest off to college and her younger ones off to high school, but she and her team of trainers will have a full schedule of training classes both fun and serious starting this fall at Horsham Vet. And, of course, Lisa always has new puppy classes starting at Rockledge on Saturday mornings. To sign up, give Lisa a call at 215-900-0125. Lisa has developed two new classes that will be starting soon. “Fitness with Fido,” a fun way for you and your dog to stay in shape and the one Carmen and I look forward to is “A Paw Below Picasso,” a painting class for your dog. Your dog, with your help, will create paintings which will then be sold to benefit area rescue groups. Read below for Lisa’s tips for the invaluable “Wait” command.
Another local trainer, our friend Camille Robinson of the Good Neighbor Dog Training Club offers training classes at the Abington Friends School and Best Friends Pet Care in Willow Grove. I trained with Camille about 20 years ago and remember what a great time my dog Duke and I had in her class. An accomplished obedience competitor, Camille will take you from Puppy Kindergarten to Advanced Obedience. There is nothing more fun than spending a day with your dog in competition and hanging out with friends.
Sigh up for a dog training class, it's a lot of fun for you and your dog!
Think of all of the things that we wait for in the course of a day. If you tried to be conscious of the number of times you had to wait, you'd probably be shocked at how often "waiting" is required of you. You wait on hold on the telephone, listening to mind-numbing music. You wait for the next automated prompt, knowing full well that "some of the choices have been recently changed." I'm certain you have been thanked for your patience at least 20 times while you wait for the Dell technician to prove to you how "very important" your call really is to them.
You wait in line at the grocery store, the ticket booth and the bank. You wait for the traffic light to change and for an open stall in the ladies room. When you are waiting for something exciting to finally come your way, the wait seems endless. Waiting requires patience and understanding. If you're anything like me, it often necessitates that you calm your primal excitement level and reign in your impulses. I'm thinking "the Rita's water ice line" here. I'm also thinking of my dogs here.
Impulse control and calming primal urges is not something that dogs come by naturally. In fact, it's something with which most dogs struggle. Impulse control needs to be taught. "Waiting" is a concept that has to be practiced daily by most dogs because they naturally find it very difficult to do. Waiting is also a behavior that needs to be rewarded generously with high value reinforcers. I ask the dog to "wait," click and reward their pause with a tidbit of chicken or roast beef, and then release them with an "OK."
I like to teach dogs to wait for me to be prepared before I let them out of the car. This is a safety issue. I also teach dogs to wait at doorways, steps and curbsides. My own dogs must wait at my back door long enough to give me time to "shoo" the wildlife on their way before I release my team of bird and squirrel-crazy canines.
The "wait" cue is different from the "stay" cue. "Wait" means "hang on a second" and "stay" means "don't budge until I release you." Waiting is an important cue to teach every dog. It is to their advantage to learn to control their impulses and look to their owner for the next set of instructions.
In the words of the 80s singer-songwriter, Tom Petty, "The Waiting Is The Hardest Part." It is for us and it is for our canine companions. With consistent practice, repetition and high value rewards for compliance, your dog's "wait" will soon be a reliable cue added to their repertoire. Now, if I could only get the AT &T operator to reward my painfully long wait with a high value reward, like a discount off my next bill!
You can make this recipe with some of your own holiday dinner sans the “candy” on the sweet potato and no onion from the turkey.
Place all three ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend into a thick paste. If it seems too thick, you can add some water. A teaspoon mixed with or on top of your cat or small dog’s food, and up to a heaping tablespoon for big dogs is a great tasty addition to a meal. Refrigerate the unused portion or if you are brave, make a larger batch, place into ice cube trays and defrost a cube or two as needed.
Fall is my favorite season. I love the cooler weather and the gorgeous colors on the trees. It’s also the time for many to go back to learning more, which is always a good thing! Fall means the beginning of a new school year. I have always loved school too, even when I was a kid and I wasn’t supposed to like school. That’s because I love to learn new things. I love research “projects” and I love to be well informed about the things that interest me. To me, being informed is the best way to make good choices. Doing your research is a good thing when you are doing something as simple as buying a new television and it is particularly important when you are thinking about adding a new pet dog (or cat) to your family. Having done dog rescue for the last nine years, I can definitely tell you that many, many companion animals end up in a shelter because their previous owners simply did not do their homework before they got their pets. After it was a little too late, they discovered that their choice was not the best for their families or lifestyles.
At a time when there is such a huge selection of easily accessible, accurate and free resources, on dogs and cats, there is no real excuse for not making informed decisions, especially about something as important as adding a companion pet to your household. There are literally thousands of websites, magazine articles and books out there that can help you make a wise choice.
If you are thinking about getting yourself a new dog, one of the most important (and first) decisions you must make is whether or not you should get a dog. Do you have the time to devote to a dog? Dogs can be quite demanding in terms of the time and resources they require. They are wonderful creatures and add so much to our lives but if you are going to get a dog, you must be ready to make a commitment to a being that is totally dependent on you. That commitment could be for 10, 12, or even 15 years. Cats are a little easier in many ways. At least you don’t have to worry about rushing home to let the cat out and cats are usually a bit more independent than dogs and don’t demand quite as much attention. But they still need care every day and companionship, either from you or a feline friend.
Once you have decided getting a dog is the right thing for you and your family, the next step is to figure out what kind of dog you would like to get. Dogs come in so many different sizes, breeds, temperaments and personalities that it can be a bit overwhelming for most folks to figure out what type of dog would be best for them. Again, there are oodles of websites out there that can give you basic information about any breed of dog you might be interested in. Here are just a couple that can help you narrow down your search by giving you a list of breeds that meet a set of criteria your provide: Pet Wave Dog Breed Selector, Animal Planet Dog Breed Selector, Pedigree Find Your Perfect Breed. The American Kennel Club has a great deal of information about the dog breeds they recognize. Every breed has a national breed club that can offer a wealth of information about their breed but make sure you also read about the breed from other sources as that may give you a more complete and balanced perspective on the breed. Talk to family or friends who might have a dog of that breed. If you are really inexperienced and you feel you could use some expert advice, finding an experienced dog trainer or experienced dog person and seeking his/her input can be extremely helpful. Lisa Berkenstock, CPDT of My Pet’s Teacher is just one local trainer who can help you. I am always available to provide you with resources and help in making a wise decision. A large part of what I do as a dog rescuer is to counsel and educate people on making good choices.
Once you have narrowed down your choices as far as a breed or at least have a basic idea of the personality/temperament you are looking for in a dog, your next step is figuring out where you are going to find your four-legged best friend. Having devoted the last nine years of my life to rescuing and finding loving homes for unwanted dogs, I would be remiss if I didn’t encourage you to first look at the thousands upon thousands of wonderful, loving dogs who are currently waiting patiently in shelters or rescues for a home of their own. There are dogs available for adoption in just about every breed, gender, size, color, age and personality you can imagine. Oh, and don’t forget about all those wonderful “mutts” out there. Often times, a mixed breed is truly the best choice! They tend to be healthier than many of the purebred dogs and often times have more even keeled temperaments. And they are certainly more unique in terms of their “look” than the purebred dogs. Every one of them is a little different!
If you are patient, you can find just the perfect dog for you at a shelter or rescue. One of the many avenues for finding the right dog to adopt is through Petfinder. Petfinder is a website where thousands of shelters and rescues can list their available dogs and cats, as well as birds, reptiles and small fuzzy critters if you so desire. You can search Petfinder for just the kind of dog you are looking for, providing your search criteria (breed, gender, age, etc) and you will get a list of available dogs fitting your criteria and where they can be found. Please consider the adoption option; a wonderful dog’s life literally depends on it!
Every one of these dogs were rescued. Please consider adoption. There are so many wonderful, sweet dogs just waiting for a chance to be your loyal companion.
If for some reason you cannot find what you are looking for through adoption at a shelter or rescue, please ONLY consider getting your new pet dog through a responsible and reputable breeder. Please do not purchase a puppy at a pet store, no matter how cute they might be. Every puppy sold at a pet store comes from a puppy mill, a back yard breeder or some other less-than-reputable source. No truly responsible, reputable breeder would ever consider selling their puppies to a pet store, no matter what the pet store sales clerk tells you or what “papers” they can provide for the puppy. Puppies in pet stores are invariably separated from their mothers way too early (gotta get those puppies to the pet store while there still young enough to be totally irresistible!) which can lead to both medical and behavioral issues down the road. And getting that puppy from a pet store means you are supporting what is often a dismal, neglectful and stressful life for the puppies’ parents. Buying that puppy makes room for yet another and perpetuates the cycle of commercial breeding operations.
So how do you go about finding a responsible and reputable breeder? Again, those national breed clubs are a good resource. All of them can refer you to breeders that should be meeting a code of breeding ethics. Here is just one of many good articles on finding a responsible breeder: How to Pick a Good Breeder. And you can also call us at RVC for help finding the right breeder. A truly reputable breeder will also be a great resource in terms of helping you select just the right puppy for your family and can (and should) provide you with information about their breed, their needs and proper care.
If you do get a puppy, it is extremely important you make the commitment to provide the puppy with all he/she needs to grow up to be a happy, healthy and well adjusted adult. That means you bring that puppy to us for all necessary vaccinations, check ups, and spaying or neutering. Spaying/neutering is (in the long run) healthier for any pet dog to be altered and it prevents them from further contributing to the overwhelming numbers of homeless animals.
It is also extremely important that you socialize your puppy as much as possible when he/she is young. The more experiences, people, other dogs, etc. you expose that puppy to, the better your chances that your adult dog will be happy and confident. Another necessity for puppies is training, training and more training! Puppies (just like children) cannot train themselves and need kind and patient guidance in order to be well behaved. It is your responsibility as a dog owner to provide that guidance. Puppy kindergarten classes are easily available and will provide you with the foundation you need to train your puppy. Again, Lisa Berkenstock, CPDT offers puppy classes as well as obedience classes for older dogs. Also keep in mind that training a dog is an ongoing process. Well behaved dogs don’t happen overnight. They require a great deal of time, patience and practice. And yes, you CAN teach “old dogs new tricks!” It is never too late to train a dog. Training with your dog is a very rewarding and great bonding experience.
When choosing a trainer to work with, please make sure he/she has the necessary experience, knowledge and philosophy, Finding the right trainer is just as important as finding the right breeder or the right veterinarian. Make sure the trainer uses only positive training methods. Using harsh or aversive methods (while seemingly providing quick results) can lead to unwanted behavior problems or fearfulness down the road. That “quick fix” can lead to a very difficult and serious problem later. Ask a lot of questions, talk to others who have gone through training with their dogs and read as much as you can about dogs, dog behavior and training. Again, you can always contact RVC, Lisa Berkenstock or me for more resources, websites, and book recommendations. We would be happy to assist you!
Finally, one last word of caution. Many people feel that getting that cute wiggly puppy for Christmas is a wonderful gift idea for the kids, for their Mom, their brother or sister. First, you should never get a living being as a “gift” for anyone who may or may not really want to have such a responsibility in their lives. What may seem like a great idea to you may not be what Uncle Joe is prepared to deal with. If you think a companion dog is something your relative or friend might enjoy, give them a gift certificate instead that is redeemable for a dog or puppy (or kitty) After the holidays and after he/she has agreed that getting that canine or feline friend is desired. Even if that puppy is for your family, add him/her to the home after the holidays when schedules and life are a little less hectic and you have more time to devote to dealing with your new furry friend. And please consider adding an older dog to your family instead of a puppy. Although many folks believe getting a puppy, especially if they have children, is the best choice, other dog experts have a different perspective. Dr. Marty Becker is just one of those who that feel getting an older dog may be a better choice. Check out What’s the best age for a child to get a dog? for more information. Also note that he does not recommend getting toy breeds or very small dogs when you have very young children. He feels that puppies and tiny breeds are often too fragile for very young children and can be easily injured.
And remember, there are thousands of wonderful homeless dogs (and kitties) just waiting for a loving human to give them a second chance. Please consider adoption as it can be a truly rewarding experience.
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