All posts by cvp

Halloween Costume Contest

Calling All Halloween Lovers!


Send us a photo of your pet in a costume and you could win a $50 gift card to our hospital!


To enter:
Like our Facebook page and send us a direct message on Facebook with your pet’s photo by Sunday, October 23rd.


On Monday the 24th we will post all of the photos in an album and then voting will begin! Vote for your favorite photo(s) by “liking” them or using your favorite reaction. The photo with the most “likes”/”reactions” will be our winner and will be announced on October 31st!


We encourage you to share your picture, or the album, with your friends and family to increase your chances of winning.


Good luck and may the best costume win!

*One photo per pet. If you have won a contest more than once, we ask that you please split the prize with the 2nd place winner. To keep this lighthearted and fun, pictures shared to “like for like” groups or those similar, or others deemed unfair or inappropriate, will be disqualified.


Bernville - nicole palmer - jax and duke

2015 Halloween Contest Winner – Jax and Duke


Pets and Bee Stings

By Dr. Pickett Bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets and some ants deliver venom when they sting. The result is almost always redness, swelling and pain. The estimated lethal dose is 10 stings per pound of body weight, so death is exceedingly rare. Anaphylactic shock also is very rare in pets. Anaphylaxis, an exaggerated allergic reaction that can be fatal, is unrelated to the actual number of stings. If your pet gets stung and you see the stinger, remove it. Apply a cool compress to the area. If your pet seems particularly uncomfortable, lidocaine spray will numb the sting. An antihistamine, such as Benadryl, helps minimize the swelling and redness. A pain reliever can ease discomfort. If your dog makes a sport of chasing or snapping at bees, ask your veterinarian about having some of each in your home pharmacy in case the need arises. Still want to know more? Take a look at this Bee Stings 101 article.

Like our Facebook Page and Feed an Animal in Need

Help us fill an animal’s food bowl and spread some holiday cheer this season! From December 9th to January 9th, every time we get a like on Facebook we will donate a scoop of food in partnership with Hill’s Pet Nutrition to the Hillside SPCA – an animal shelter in our area. Please help us by spreading the word! When we post on any of our social media accounts, please share, retweet, or create something on your own. We’re aiming to get 1,000 likes (that equals about 10 40-lb bags of dog food!) and we can’t do it without you! So please let all your friends, family, coworkers, and anyone else know so we can make this holiday season just a little bit better for these animals in need. Visit our Facebook page to make a difference! Hillside SPCA, Inc is a Pennsylvania non-profit corporation that provides animal welfare services to all of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. The county presently has a population of approximately 153,000. Our service area covers approximately 783 square miles. The Hillside SPCA, Inc. operates an animal shelter facility located at 51 SPCA Road, Pottsville, Pennsylvania. The shelter houses many cats and dogs and the number of animals in residence at any given time varies with the seasons, spring and summer often being especially busy. shutterstock_216951478

Thanksgiving Dinner and Your Pet

Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away and soon enough you will be sitting down for your big dinner and your pet will place himself next to you and just stare at you—waiting and begging for you to drop just a morsel of turkey on the floor. A poll of petMD readers showed that 56% of people share Thanksgiving food scraps with their pets. We do not encourage families to feed their pets from the table as it can be unhealthy and can cause negative behavior, but we also know that sometimes the temptation is too great. If you know that you are one of these families, please follow these tips and keep your animals safe! The YES List: Turkey can be a great lean protein for your pet. Remove any skin or fat from the meat and only offer your pet dry, white meat. Turkey gravy often has ingredients that can be bad for animals. Unless your pet is used to table scraps, keep the serving sizes small to avoid gastrointestinal issues. As long as they’re plain, green beans are actually a healthy and good treat for pets. Do not feed your pet green beans if they are marinated or in a green bean casserole. If you want to feed your pet mashed potatoes, be very careful of any additional ingredients. Cheese, butter, garlic, onions, gravy, and more should not be a part of your pet’s diet. When served in a small portion, cranberry sauce can be enjoyable for your pet but careful with the amount of sugar in it. As long as you know that your pet’s stomach is okay with dairy, macaroni and cheese is another okay option. If you are at all unsure, only give him or her plain macaroni. The NO List: Along with gravy, also make sure your pet does not eat any alliums (onions, garlic, leeks, scallions, etc). These can be toxic to your pet. If you have grapes at your meal, do not let your pet eat them. Grapes and raisins have been shown to cause kidney failure in dogs. Do not give your pet any food with xylitol or artificial sweeteners. While you may be trying to make your meal healthier by not using real sugar, sweeteners containing xylitol are poisonous to pets. Chocolate is an absolute no. Be aware of what contains chocolate and keep it out of reach of pets. Especially if the food contains baking chocolate. Keep your alcohol to yourself. Even small amounts of alcohol can cause alcohol poisoning in animals. Make sure to throw away all packaging, wrappers, bones, and other items properly. A pet can easily get into the garbage and choke on something. Educate your guests on what they can and cannot give your pet. Also make sure that there is somewhere for your pet to escape to if they are overwhelmed or stressed. Most importantly, enjoy your holiday! We will be closed on Thanksgiving Day but if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask!

Diabetes in Pets

November is National Pet Diabetes Month. Are your pets at risk? The likelihood of your cat or dog developing diabetes is anywhere between 1 in 100 and 1 in 500 and experts say those numbers are increasing. Diabetes mellitus, the clinical name for “sugar diabetes,” is a disease that affects glucose in your pet’s blood and is caused by a shortage of insulin or when the body can’t process insulin properly. Diabetes in dogs is usually type 1 while diabetes in cats is usually type 2 but can progress to type 1. The food that your pet eats is broken down into small components that the body can use. One of the components, carbohydrates, is converted into sugar or glucose. If there is too little insulin or the insulin cannot be processed correctly, then the glucose is not able to enter the cells and provide energy. Because the cells cannot absorb glucose, a diabetic pet may always want to eat but still look malnourished. If your pet exhibits the following symptoms, he or she may have diabetes: -Excessive drinking or urination, -increased appetite (early stages) or loss of appetite (late stages), -weight loss, -lethargy or weakness, and -vomiting or other intestinal problems. If your pet has these symptoms then let us or your veterinarian know so we can get started on creating a plan for your and your pet. Although diabetes is not curable, it can be managed with daily insulin injections and changes in diet (and exercise for dogs). Oral medications have shown to be not particularly helpful. Successful management of your pet’s diabetes means that he or she can live a happy and healthy life. Making sure that your pet is eating a proper diet, gets regular exercise, and maintains a healthy weight can be a big help in preventing diabetes. For more information about pet diabetes, visit http://www.petdiabetesmonth.com.

Pet Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween is a holiday that humans and animals can enjoy together. There are many exciting aspects of Halloween but that doesn’t mean there are no risks. See below and read how to have fun while keeping your animal friends safe. CANDY – Don’t feed your pets Halloween candy! Chocolate in all forms, especially dark or baking chocolate, can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is found in most sugar-free candy and it is also toxic to animals. Also be sure to throw away all wrappers as they present a choking hazard. CANDLES – Make sure to keep any lit candles or jack-o-lanterns out of reach from pets. They are attracted to the bright light and can either burn themselves or cause a fire. CHIP YOUR PET – Make sure your pet is properly identified with a microchip and collar and tag. They can easily escape through an open door when you greet trick-or-treaters or while trick-or-treating. Only 22% of lost dogs and less than 2% of lost cats that are not microchipped are ever returned to their owners. COSTUMES – Make sure any costume you put on your pet fits properly and is comfortable. Also make sure that it doesn’t have any pieces that can be chewed off and doesn’t affect your pet’s seeing, hearing, breathing, or moving. You should also avoid any costumes with metal pieces. Some metals (like zinc) are dangerous if ingested. If your pet does not want to wear a costume, you should not force it. Never leave your pet unattended while he or she is wearing a costume. DECORATIONS – Make sure to keep all wires and electrical cords out of reach of pets. If they chew on them, they could suffer from cuts, burns, or receive a shock. Also keep pumpkins and decorative corn out of reach. While these are considered relatively nontoxic, they can produce stomach upset if ingested. GLOW STICKS – Although the liquid in glow sticks and glow jewelry has not been known to be toxic, it causes pain and irritation in the mouth and will make your pets salivate excessively and act strangely. KEEP YOUR PET INSIDE – There have been reports of pranks being played on pets that are outside. You should bring any outdoor cats inside a few days prior and a few days after Halloween as well. If you bring your pet trick-or-treating with you, make sure you keep them on a leash with a firm grip. Animals can be spooked by all the people and costumes they may see. While inside, put them in a safe space where they are comfortable. The constant motion of trick-or-treaters at the door can be stressful and upsetting to pets. We hope you have a wonderful and safe Halloween full of devilish dogs, cool cats, boo bunnies, and more!

Canine Influenza Vaccination

We at Bernville Veterinary Clinic – Pet Spa & Resort are now recommending that our dog patients be vaccinated for Canine Influenza and will require it for our Spa guests. Canine Influenza Virus (H3N8) is an influenza virus that is relatively new and highly contagious. It can be a part of a complex of viral and bacterial upper respiratory agents causing illness in dogs. Different parts of the country have experienced outbreaks, including the northeast and Pennsylvania. Signs of Canine Flu are very similar to Kennel Cough except usually more severe. These signs include coughing mainly; fever, ocular & nasal discharge, and sneezing. The disease can progress to pneumonia in severe cases. About 80% of dogs exposed to the virus will show signs of the Flu and up to 8% can die from infection. The 20% who show no signs will still shed and spread the virus. The virus can remain active on hands for up to 12 hours and 24 hours on clothing. The safe vaccine greatly reduces the viral shedding and severity of cough as well as protecting the lungs from severe lesions. We would like to stay ahead of this disease and be proactive instead of reacting after sickness or death occurs in our area. The vaccine is administered and boosted 2 to 4 weeks apart and then yearly thereafter.

Pet Obesity

Did you know that obesity is not just an epidemic in humans but also in pets? According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), over 57% of dogs and 52% of cats are obese and these numbers are on the rise. Much like humans, obesity in pets can lead to diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, joint problems, and ultimately a shortened life expectancy. Based on a survey created by APOP, a surprising 93% of dog owners and 88% of cat owners thought their pet was in the normal weight range. This disparity is known as the “fat gap” and is thought to be one of the primary factors in the growing rate of pet obesity. To tell if your pet is a healthy weight, use this scoring system. Your pet should rank at about a 3 if he or she is a healthy weight. To keep your pet at a healthy weight, take care in providing him or her with a healthy diet and ensuring the proper amount of exercise. Pet foods have become more calorically dense and people are feeding their pets more. If your pet is already overweight or obese, talk to your veterinarian about the best course of action. Your vet will probably recommend a controlled diet and specific type of food. It can be hard to know what the proper caloric intake and weight should be for your pet so APOP has provided a few useful tables to help. This information does not replace the advice of your veterinarian and should only be used as a starting point. Pet Caloric Needs – http://www.petobesityprevention.org/pet-caloric-needs/ Ideal Weight Ranges – http://www.petobesityprevention.org/ideal-weight-ranges/

It’s World Rabies Day

Today, September 28th, is World Rabies Day. Rabies is an infectious virus that affects the central nervous system in mammals and is transmitted through the saliva of animals. Both humans and animals can contract the virus if they handle or get bitten by an infected animal. It is estimated that each year in the US about 40,000 people receive the rabies prevention treatment, post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), because they may have been exposed to rabies. There is no cure to rabies and it is almost always fatal. Globally about 55,000 people die each year of rabies, mostly in Africa and Asia. In the northeast, the most common rabid wildlife are raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats. Although 90% of all rabid animals reported to the CDC are wild animals, most people are exposed to rabies because of a cat or a dog. Cats are also about three times more likely to be rabid than dogs are. For this reason, it is important to visit your veterinarian on a regular basis and make sure all rabies vaccinations are up-to-date for cats, dogs, and even ferrets. Giving your pet direct supervision while they are outdoors is also important in reducing exposure to rabies. Pets that have not gotten their rabies vaccine and are exposed to rabies must be quarantined for six month, or euthanized, because of their risk of getting rabies after the exposure. Every US state (excluding Hawaii) requires all dogs and cats to get the rabies vaccination. They should then be subsequently revaccinated on an ongoing basis according to the directions of the vaccine manufacturer. Hawaii is the only US state that has not had any reported cases of rabies. Dogs and cats that are imported into Hawaii must be placed in quarantine. You can read more and view the laws for each state here or here. World Rabies Day, since its launch in 2007, has helped to educate over 182 million people and vaccinated about 7.7 million dogs through events in 150 countries. To read more about World Rabies Day, visit their website at http://rabiesalliance.org/world-rabies-day.

Foods Toxic to Dogs

September is National Food Safety Month. Like cats and humans, certain foods can be toxic to dogs. While cats and dogs share many food toxicities, here is dog-specific and alphabetic list of the foods you should avoid giving your dog. Alcohol: Dogs are far more sensitive to alcohol than humans are. Just a little bit can cause vomiting, diarrhea, central nervous system depression, coordination problems, difficulty breathing, coma, and even death. Hops in particular, which is found in beer, has been found to poison dogs. Dogs affected by hops can have damage and failure to multiple organ systems due to an uncontrollably high body temperature. Avocado: Persin, the toxic element in Avocado, can cause mild upset stomach. Persin can be found in the leaves, seed, bark, and inside the fruit. Avocado is sometimes included in pet food but does not pose a threat to dogs. Chocolate: Unlike cats, dogs will eat chocolate on their own. The rule with chocolate is usually, “the darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is.” White chocolate contains very few methylxanthines, the toxic component of chocolate, while dark baker’s chocolate has very high levels of methylxanthines. Depending on the type and quantity of the chocolate consumed, the reaction your dog may have can range from vomiting, increased thirst, abdominal discomfort, and restlessness to severe agitation, muscle tremors, irregular heart rhythm, high body temperature, seizures, and death. Coffee/Caffeine: Caffeine in large enough quantities can be fatal for a dog and there is no antidote. Symptoms of caffeine poisoning include restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations, muscle tremors, and bleeding. Corncobs: Corncobs are not digestible and often cause obstructions in the intestines. Fat Trimmings and Bones: Don’t feed your dog table scraps. Fat, when cooked or uncooked, can cause pancreatitis (inflamed pancreas). Bones should not be given to dogs either, as they can choke on it or the bone may splinter and cause an obstruction or internal lacerations. Grapes and Raisins: Although it is not known what makes grapes and raisins toxic, they have been associated with kidney failure in dogs. Some dogs eat them without any effects while others can develop vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, and kidney failure. Kidney failure means your dog’s ability to product urine decreases so they are unable to filter toxins out of their system. Macadamia nuts: Although the chance that macadamia nuts are deathly to dogs is low, the symptoms they do feel can be very uncomfortable. Symptoms can include muscle tremors, paralysis of the back legs, vomiting, and more. Milk/Dairy Products: Because dogs are devoid of the lactase needed to breakdown milk, milk and milk-based products can cause diarrhea and an upset stomach. Mushrooms: Some types of mushrooms contain toxins that can affect multiple systems in the body that result in nervous system abnormalities, seizures, shock, or death. Onions, Garlic, and Chives: All members, and close members of the onion family (including shallots, garlic, scallions, etc.), can cause damage to a dog’s red blood cells, leading to anemia. Like chocolate, the stronger it is, the more toxic it is. Garlic has been found to be more toxic to dogs than onions. Even dehydrated forms of garlic and onion are a threat to your dog’s health. Affected dogs may exhibit symptoms up to five days later and can include weakness, reluctance to move, and orange-tinted to dark red urine. Dogs that have ingested garlic or onion should be examined by a veterinarian immediately. Persimmons, Peaches, and Plums: The seeds or pits from these fruits are the main concern. Persimmons seeds can cause inflammation of the small intestines or intestinal obstruction. Intestinal obstruction is also a concern for peach and plum pits. Peach and plum pits also contain cyanide which is poisonous to both dogs and humans. Humans just know not to eat them. Raw eggs, meat, and fish: Raw eggs, meat, and fish can contain bacteria like salmonella that can lead to food poisoning. Raw eggs also interfere with the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin) and can lead to skin, hair, and coat issues. Certain fish can cause “fish disease” which can be fatal within the first two weeks. The first signs are vomiting, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. Thoroughly cooking meat and fish will kill the parasites and protect your dog. Salt: Giving your dog salty foods is not a good idea. Eating too much salt can cause excessive thirst and urination which leads to sodium ion poisoning. Symptoms of excessive salt consumption can include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, elevated body temperature, seizures, and even death. Sugary foods: Sugary foods, such as candy and gum, are usually sweetened with xylitol. Xylitol is known for increasing insulin production which causes blood sugar levels to drop. It can also cause disorientation and seizures as fast as 30 minutes after ingestion or as delayed as several hours. Xylitol can also lead to liver failure in just a few days. Even if the sugary food doesn’t contain xylitol it can still lead to obesity, dental problems, and diabetes. Yeast dough: Yeast dough can expand and produce gas in the digestive system. This can lead to pain and a possible rupture of the stomach or intestines. Additionally, when the yeast causes the dough to rise, it produces alcohol that can lead to alcohol poisoning. Dogs with extreme poisoning cases can go into a coma or have seizures. Non-food items: Foreign objects such as toys, small items of clothing, and medicine are perhaps a greater risk to dogs than food. One case is medical marijuana. It comes in many forms that a pet can easily eat and can cause vomiting, changes in heart rate, and depress the nervous system. If you suspect your dog ate any of these foods, first try to determine what and how much he or she ate. You should then call us or your veterinarian to see if medical attention is needed. If a veterinarian is not available, call either Animal Poison Control at 888-426-4435 or the Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680. Do you have a cat? Most foods that are toxic for dogs are also toxic for cats. Check out this blog post for a cat-specific list of toxic foods. If you’re unsure about a certain food for either your cat or your dog and it’s not on this list, call your veterinarian. Your pet’s health is worth the call!