Dear Christopher Cat We would like to add a kitten to our family, and we are thinking about taking one of the many free farm kittens advertised locally. Do you see any problem with this plan? Christopher Responds For starters, the “free” farm kitten will cost you more than a kitten from a shelter or rescue organization, after you pay for vaccinations, deworming medicine and spay/neuter surgery. In addition, you may inadvertently perpetuate the cat overpopulation problem by taking a kitten off the farmer’s hands. As long as farmers and others can avoid having their adult cats surgically sterilized by giving away the unwanted kittens, the cat overpopulation problem will continue. On the other hand, humane societies and cat rescue organizations encourage spay/neuter surgery, and they educate the public about reducing pet overpopulation through sterilization. August 19 is National Homeless Animals’ Day. Celebrate by adopting a cat – or two – from your local shelter or rescue organization. That’s where our last three cats – Dougie, Cali and Carlie – came from, and they are my best friends. Ask the Vet’s Pets is written by our own: Dr. Lee Pickett
Most male dogs and cats are ready and willing to reproduce by the time they are six to 12 months of age. There are able to breed consistently throughout the year or whenever they are exposed to a receptive female. Both male dogs and cats are prone to wander in search of romance and find themselves exposed to fighting with another animals or dangers such as cars. In addition, male cats are well-known to mark their territories by spraying ordorous urine on furniture, walls, shrubs, etc. Male dogs are sometimes equally anxious to mark their territories. Surgical neutering of male dogs and cats, called orchiectomy, eliminated any reproductive behavior and reduces urine odor and the desire to spray. Your male dog or cat will continue to have his own unique personality. He will be less likely to roam and enjoy staying at home more. The surgery removes the testicles. If you have specific questions, please give us a call!
Here are some tips to the make the trip easier for you and your cat: ◾Choose a cat carrier with a top that easily opens or lifts off. ◾Add a towel or blanket to prevent slippage and help your cat feel cozy. ◾Spray the towel — not your cat — with Feliway, a feline facial pheromone that calms cats and helps them feel secure. ◾Keep the carrier out in the open in a safe place so your cat can adjust to going in and out. Throw treats inside from time to time to give your cat a treat for going in. ◾Feed your cat inside the carrier. ◾When your cat looks comfortable, start taking him or her on a tour of the house. When that feels good, start with short trips in the car. ◾Make the trip as rewarding as possible. Offer treats and calming language. Keep the loud music and sharp turns to a minimum, especially during the first few trips. ◾When you make your trip to our hospital bring along a favorite toy and/or a blanket with familiar smells. ◾Most important: keep your cool! Cats can sense our emotions, if you’re calm, it will help them feel better, too.
Hey, I’m Cardigan! I’m a 6-year-old spayed female DSH brown and black tiger at the Berks ARL. I’ve been at the shelter since October and I’m getting very lonely here. I don’t want to spend my golden years by myself. I’m very sweet and affectionate. I love being petted, snuggling, and giving kisses. I’m looking for a steady companion to travel on the road of life with. To learn more, go to: www.berksarl.org
Last year, there were more than 100,000 cases of pet poisoning in the U.S (cats and dogs). Many of these were caused by substances you probably have in your home, substances that may seem perfectly harmless to you. But just because something is safe for people doesn’t mean it won’t hurt beloved pets.
- Dog poison No. 1: Humane medications. Drugs that might be beneficial, or even life-saving, for people can have the opposite effect in pets. And it doesn’t always take a large dose to do major damage.
Some of the most common and harmful medications that poison dogs include:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, which can cause stomach and intestinal ulcers or kidney failure.
- Anti-depressants, which may cause vomiting and, in more serious instances, serotonin syndrome – a dangerous condition that raises temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, and may cause seizures.
- Isoniazid, a tuberculosis drug, is difficult for dogs to process. Even one tablet can cause problems in a small dog. Signs of poisoning include seizures and coma.
- Dog poison No. 2: Incorrect use of Flea and tick products. You may think you’re doing your dog a favor when you apply products marketed to fight fleas and ticks, but thousands of animals are unintentionally poisoned by these products every year. Problems can occur if dogs accidentally ingest these products or if small dogs receive excessive amounts. If you have any specific question, please don’t hesitate to call.
- Dog poison No. 3: People food. Your canine companion may look so cute as he sits there begging for a bite of your chocolate cake or a chip covered in guacamole, but not giving him what he wants could save his life. Animals have different metabolisms than people. Some foods and beverages that are perfectly safe for people can be dangerous, and sometimes fatal, for dogs. ◾Chocolate. Though not harmful to people, chocolate products contain substances called methylxanthines that can cause vomiting in small doses, and death if ingested in larger quantities. Darker chocolate contains more of these dangerous substances than do white or milk chocolate. The amount of chocolate that could result in death depends on the type of chocolate and the size of the dog. For smaller breeds, just half an ounce of baking chocolate can be fatal, while a larger dog might survive eating 4 to 8 ounces. Coffee and caffeine have similarly dangerous chemicals.
- Alcohol. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning in animals are similar to those in people, and may include vomiting, breathing problems, coma and, in severe cases, death.
- Avocado. You might think of them as healthy, but avocadoes have a substance called persin that can act as a dog poison, causing vomiting and diarrhea.
- Macadamia nuts. Dogs may suffer from a series of symptoms, including weakness, overheating, and vomiting, after consumption of macadamia nuts.
- Grapes and raisins. Experts aren’t sure why, but these fruits can induce kidney failure in dogs. Even a small number may cause problems in some dogs.
- Xylitol. This sweetener is found in many products, including sugar-free gum and candy. It causes a rapid drop in blood sugar, resulting in weakness and seizures. Liver failure also has been reported in some dogs.
- Dog poison No. 4: Rat and mouse poison. Rodenticides, if ingested by dogs, can cause severe problems. The symptoms depend on the nature of the poison, and signs may not start for several days after consumption. In some instances, the dog may have eaten the poisoned rodent, and not been directly exposed to the toxin.
- Dog poison No. 5: Pet medications. Just as we can be sickened or killed by medications intended to help us, cases of pet poisoning by veterinary drugs are not uncommon. Some of the more commonly reported problem medications include painkillers and de-wormers.
- Dog poison No. 6: Household plants. They may be pretty, but plants aren’t necessarily pet friendly. Some of the more toxic plants to dogs include: ◾Azaleas and rhododendrons. These pretty flowering plants contain toxins that may cause vomiting, diarrhea, coma, and potentially even death.
- Tulips and daffodils. The bulbs of these plants may cause serious stomach problems, convulsions, and damage to the heart.
- Sago palms. Eating just a few seeds may be enough to cause vomiting, seizures, and liver failure.
- Dog poison No. 7: Chemical hazards. Not surprisingly, chemicals contained in antifreeze, paint thinner, and chemicals for pools can act as dog poison. The pet poisoning symptoms they may produce include stomach upset, depression, and chemical burns.
- Dog poison No. 8: Household cleaners. Just as cleaners like bleach can poison people, they are also a leading cause of pet poisoning, resulting in stomach and respiratory tract problems.
- Dog poison No. 9: Heavy metals. Lead, which may be in paint, linoleum, and batteries, can be poisonous if eaten by your dog, causing gastrointestinal and neurological problems. Zinc poisoning may occur in dogs that swallow pennies, producing symptoms of weakness from severe anemia.
- Dog poison No. 10: Fertilizer. Products for your lawn and garden may be poisonous to pets that ingest them.
HILLSIDE SPCA Hours for Adoption: Mon. – Sat. 11:30 am to 3:00 pm for dogs, 4:00 pm for cats ~ Sunday 11:30 am to 2:00 pm for dogs, 3:00 pm for cats For information about available pets, go to: www.hillsidespca.org
Cat Dental Tip: Having a Hard Time Brushing your Cat’s Teeth? Try Tuna Juice! That’s right! Start by just handling the face, then the lips, then begin rubbing the teeth and gums of your cat with your finger. Try a few drops of water flavored tuna juice from a can. From here you can slowly start to work in a more structured brushing routine.
A few weeks ago a good Samaritan brought us a kitten that he had found in the Boyer’s parking lot. She had been hit by a car and we weren’t sure if she would pull through. After 24 hours she had regained enough strength to withstand jaw reconstruction surgery. Over the next few weeks under the care of Lynnette, one of our certified technicians, the kitten began to thrive. During that time a wonderful patient by the name of Parker had lost his long fought battle with his medical conditions and went to wait for his family by the rainbow bridge. We couldn’t stand to see his wonderful owners in so much pain. We decided to introduce them to the little ball of fur from the Boyer’s parking lot, the rest is history. Betsy and George we couldn’t be happier that BeBe has brought the smiles back that we had so badly missed!
No tricks, no treats: That bowl of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Scruffy and Fluffy. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems. If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call us ASAP!