Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Recently my follower/blogging friend Mimi (Hey Girl!) left me a comment about my previous blog and asked me this, here is her comment:

I do get confused on what cats need. My dog is down pat but I've had trouble with Ms. Kitty. I took her in for her shots at 7 weeks, she ended up getting sick..had ear mites that the vet should have checked for in my opinion...had to give her some kind of shot for the infection...took her back twice...anyway long story short...when I checked the other day on getting her spayed they said she had not had her vaccinations. I thought what was that $200 for when I brought her in August? Then they said it would cost $250.00 to spay her. I believe my vet is trying to rip me off. what do you think?
So here is my answer:
Okay so about 6 weeks or older is when a kitten get his/her fist set of vaccines. Then 3 weeks later your kitten needs to receive another round of shots, and then another round will be needed again three weeks later. Check out my previous post about vaccines and that should tell you what she needs.
The reason why your kitten probably did not get her vaccines boosted again is because she had an infection and her immune system was compromised. The injection they gave her was an anti-biotic that will last for two weeks. As for the ear mite issue. YES your vet should have caught that at the first visit. When your pet goes to their very first exam after adoption your vet should do a complete head to tail check, this includes the ears and the eyes. If you feel that this is something that your vet missed talk to the office manager and tell her the issue and that you feel that you should not have had to pay for an exam the second time around because of a mistake made by the doctor. Hopefully you can get a discount at your next visit or reimbursed for the office call/exam fee.
The reason why it may cost the $250.00 to spay her is because your vet may use the pediatric form of anesthesia which is not only SAFER for your pet BUT it is more expensive. Your vet probably will do what is called a Pre-anesthetic blood screen BEFORE any anesthesia is given. This blood screen will check your pets liver and kidney values which will make sure they are functioning properly in order for your kittens body to safely metabolize the anesthesia. Another thing that your vet may do (and should do) is an IV catheter and fluids. When your pet has and IV catheter and fluids while under anesthesia it helps their body flush the anesthesia out of their system and it helps your pet come out of the anesthetic a lot easier. Your vet also may do what is called Pre-Medication ( I hope that they do). Pre-medication for your pet can be pain meds and/or anti-biotics and/or a sedative to help your pet relax before surgery. Then of course there is also the cost of the doctors time, and the actual spay itself. What I mean when I say "the actual spay itself" is that you are paying for the tools used, any materials such as sutures, gauze etc etc.. and then the disposal of your pets reproductive organs because it is considered hazardous wasted and has to be disposed of a certain way by law. You may also be charged for overnight hospitalization if your pet has to stay the night.
I would recommend getting an estimate from your vet for any kind of surgical procedure that your pet needs. This way they not only have to stick to the price they gave you BUT you also know what you are paying for. Make sure that you look it over with your vet, ask any questions that you may have, and make sure that you not only take a copy of the estimate for your own records but also make sure that there is a copy of it in your records kept at your vet. And if you are given an estimate at the end of the year make sure that the cost of things is not going up after the year ends, because if it is your estimate from the year previous is no longer good.
I hope I was able to answer all your questions,
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your families!

DISCLAIMER: I am not a veterinarian and I can not diagnose or prescribe medications for your pet. If you think your pet is having a medical emergency or needs diagnosing please seek medical attention from your veterinarian immediately.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The right time to start vaccines and what vaccines to give.

I have decided to post a little blurb about vaccines. First let me explain what a vaccine is. A vaccine is a modified- live virus or a killed virus that is injected into your pet under the skin. When the vaccine is injected into your pet your pets immune system will then begin to memorize what this virus looks like and then will then memorize what it is and how to effectively break it down and kill it off. Because your pet is injected with a modified-live or killed virus you pet needs to have an exam and temperature taken before receiving the vaccine. This needs to be done because if your pets immune system is compromised and then your pet is given the vaccine it could make your pet really sick OR it could kill your pet. So why is it that your pet needs to have vaccines? Puppies and Kittens acquire some immunity from their mother, but this immunity begins to fade between the time they are weaned and approximately twelve weeks of age. It is important for puppies and kittens to begin a series of vaccinations shortly after being weaned. The vaccinations need to be repeated every three to four weeks until the age of fifteen weeks in kittens and sixteen weeks in puppies. The individual components in the vaccine will vary, depending upon the potential diseases your pet may be exposed to. After completing the puppy or kitten series, the DAP (for puppies) and the FHCP (for kittens) vaccines can be good for as long as three years. However the youngster will need to have their Rabies and Bordetella/ FELV boosted after one year. I recommend that every pet receive a yearly exam until age 7 and twice a year after age 7. Now here are the vaccine series that your pet should receive as a puppy/kitten and then depending on how long the vaccine is good for every year to every three years.

Core Vaccines (DAP and Rabies):
-start at 6 to 8 weeks old with DAP
-repeat DAP every 3 to 4 weeks until 16 weeks old or older
-give Rabies vaccine at 12 weeks of age or older
-repeat DAP and Rabies vaccines one year later

Non-Core Vaccines (Leptospirosis and Bordetella)
-give Leptospirosis and/or Bordetella at 12 and 16 weeks
-Th 1st Bordetella is Intranasal, 2nd is injectable
-repeat Leptospirosis and/or Bordetella one year later

Core Vaccines: these are the vaccinations I would recommend for all dogs in my region.
Non-core Vaccines: these are the vaccinations that can be given in addition to the core vaccinations for patients "at risk".

Core Vaccines- For cats (FHCP and Rabies):
-start at 6 to 8 weeks old with FHCP
-repeat FHCP every 3 weeks until 15 weeks old or older
-give Rabies vaccine at 12 weeks or older
-give FHCP and Rabies one year later
Non-core Vaccines (FeLV):
-kittens must be at least 9 weeks old and FeLV negative to receive the vaccine
-give 2 doses of FeLV with-in a 3 week interval
-repeat FeLV one year later

Core Vaccines: these are the vaccinations I recommend for all cats in my region
Non-core Vaccines: these are the vaccinations that can be given in addition to the core vaccinations for patients "at risk".

DISCLAIMER: I am not a veterinarian and I can not diagnose or prescribe medications for your pet. If you think your pet is having a medical emergency or needs diagnosing please seek medical attention from your veterinarian immediately.

Pets and why they shed..

One of my followers MiMi had a question about why her pets are shedding like crazy lately... Here is her question:
I have a question about shedding. My dog and cat have started doing some heavy duty shedding and dandruff creating. It's never been this bad before. It's killing me! I thought they should not shed until summer. Any advice?

Well let me just say that this year has been particularly unbelievable as far as shedding goes, I can't tell you how often I have to dust mop the office lately.
There are many reasons why your pets could be shedding like crazy so here they are:

A change in the seasons. When it gets warmer or colder your pet is going to shed. When they do this they tend to do whats called "blowing their coat". When it goes from winter to summer they blow their heavy undercoat and grow in a thinner coat for the summer to keep cool. When it gets colder your pet will shed that thinner coat and grow in thicker hair and a heavy under coat to stay warm.

Your pet's thyroid could be out of balance. You can have a simple T4 screen done at your vet. If this is the case there are medications that you can give to help level this out. Your pet will probably have to be on this for the rest of his or her life so be prepared for some medication adjustments and frequent blood tests for about a month or two and then annual/bi-annual blood tests (depending on your vets protocal) to make sure that your pet is getting the right dose of medication.

If there has been anything stressful at the home happening such as a big move, a new pet, a lot of visitors, or major changes to your pets environment such as a remodel, changing of furniture, or where your pet normally eats or sleeps.

Your pet could have whats called Demodex , its a skin condition that can cause your pet to shed like crazy and have dandruff. OR you cat could have lice. NOT to worry though because this lice is species specific and it only likes cats or dogs.

If you brought home a new pet from a shelter he/she could have a type of mange mite that can cause the shedding, lice, or the demodex. It is a common thing that happens a lot so if this is the case don't think its you.

Here are a couple things that you could try to help reduce the shedding:

Brush your pet thoroughly daily for a couple weeks and then weekly. Start by brushing the coat out in the opposite direction that it lays. Start from the bottom and work your way up, and then brush in the direction that the coat does lay. This will help them shed that old coat and the new one grow in. Not to mention it will feel good to your pet and it will encourage good grooming habits. You can also take your pet to the groomer if you find that it bothers your sinuses too much.

I also noticed that MiMi was talking about how her allergies seemed to be acting up since the new kitty arrived. I can explain this too.
The reason why you are seeming to be allergic to your new kitty but never before to any other cat it's that the proteins in her saliva are different that your older kitty's. When the new kitten grooms herself her saliva dries on her fur and then later flakes off onto things. You then come along not knowing it is there, and with out realizing it you either stir it up into the air, or you touch it and then your face in some way and directly expose yourself, or if she tends to lay on things like your bed, clothes, favorite place to sit and then you go to that spot your also exposing yourself unknowingly. To help with this try taking a daily allergy pill like clairitin or something like that to help. I know that it sounds weird that you can be allergic to one cat and not the other but trust me I have the same issue at work and it's not just with cats. Some breeds of dogs cause me to have a reaction too. If it seems that you aren't able to cope with the allergy related reaction to your new kitty you made need to re-home her or take her back to the shelter you got her from.

I hope that I was able to answer your questions.
Merry Christmas!

DISCLAIMER: I am not a veterinarian and I can not diagnose or prescribe medications for your pet. If you think your pet is having a medical emergency or needs diagnosing please seek medical attention from your veterinarian immediately.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Answers to your question about nuts and Grapes..

Nuts have natural oils in them that can cause your pet to get an upset stomach, or diarrhea. Not to mention if your pet eats too many at one time they can cause what is called an Intestinal Blockage which means that those nuts are stuck somewhere in your pet's tummy and your pet would most likely need to have surgery to take them out of your pet's intestines.

As for Grapes. There are a couple schools of thought on this. One is that grapes have a natural mold that grows on them. Sometimes we see it and other times it's there but we dont see it. When your pet eats the grape with the mold, the mold as it's breaking down turns toxic making your pet ill. The second school of thought is that the seeds inside of grapes become toxic as they break down in your pets intestines. Dr.'s say that they really don't know what causes these things to make your pet sick, but they know that these things make them sick from treating pets who are ill from ingesting grapes. So they have their schools of thought on this and that is why they say not to feed your pets grapes.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The holiday spread

Each year just after Thanksgiving and just before/after Christmas I get A LOT of phone calls from clients because their pet has eaten chocolate of some kind, has diarrhea, is vomiting etc.. etc.. and they don't know why.
So here is a small list of things that you should NOT be feeding Fido or Fluffy:
Chocolate, the darker it is the more toxic it is to your pet.
Anything that has a pit
Any kind of nut
Anything that has ANY kind of artificial sweetener
Marsh mellows

If your pet should ingest any of these things here is an easy way to make them vomit it back up.
First you are going to want to get the following things:
Hydrogen Peroxide and an open container to hold it in once you have measured it.
A turkey baster that you don't care about ;)
A measuring cup/tablespoon
A bath tub and a quiet room

**** The Hydrogen Peroxide that I am referring to is just the regular stuff in the brown bottle that you can buy in the first aid section at your grocery store.***

Okay so now that you have all of those things you are going to want to measure your Hydrogen Peroxide. I recommend using these amounts for different size breeds.
Large Breeds need about 1/2 a cup to 1 cup of Hydrogen peroxide (35 lbs and up)
Medium Breeds need about 1/4 to a 1/2 cup of Hydrogen peroxide (15-35lbs)
Small breeds need about 2 tbsp to a 1/4 of a cup of hydrogen peroxide (0-15 lbs)
You will then pour your Hydrogen Peroxide into your open container, suck it up with your turkey baster, then standing BEHIND your pet you are going to open its mouth, stick the turkey baster in the back of the mouth and SQUEEZE it all in! What follows is your pet either pretty much instantly vomiting (hence the need to be BEHIND your pet and in a bath tub/walk in shower) if your pet does not vomit with in 15-20 minutes of you doing this do it one more time.. if another 15 minutes passes and still no vomiting call your vet and take your pet in so that they can give stronger meds to make your pet vomit. If your pet does vomit he/she may do so a couple times. Now after all of this if your pet vomits most of what they ingested and your are sure they are done vomiting, you are going to want to put them in a quiet room to rest for a little bit. Now if Fido/Fluffy just so happens to sneak something or a lot of something off of a plate/table or someone feeds your pet, even though you make them vomit, you can probably expect diarrhea for a couple days. Here are a couple of options for you to try before making the call to make an appointment to see your vet. (If the diarrhea is still persisting I wouldn't wait more than 2 days to see a vet.)
  1. DON'T let your pet just fill up on water. Yes they are going be thirsty from the diarrhea but doing this will irritate their intestines more and the water will just go right through them. So give them small frequent drinks of water.
  2. Feed a gentle diet. Chicken boiled in water with white rice or serve boiled chicken with low fat cottage cheese with a little bit of rice.
  3. You can add a couple tablespoons of PURE 100% pumpkin to their food.

Now here are some options for your pet that you can feed during the big holiday dinners, calories included. It is called DR. Ernies Thanksgiving Day menu.
This meal is ideal for a 20-50 pound dog but you can adjust the amounts according to your pets size.

Spinach, Baby Carrots (about 4), and apple cubes about 6 1/2" cubes (approx. 25 calories)

Main Course:
Turkey-roasted breast without the skin/gravy about 2 oz (approx 75 calories
Cooked sweet potato- 1/4 of a large one (approx. 40 calories)
Green beans- 1/2 a cup (approx 8 calories)

100% PURE canned pumpkin- 1/4 cup (approx 20 calories)
Graham Crackers plain 1/2 sheet (2 crackers) ( approx 30 calories)
Honey-1/2 tsp.- (approx 12 calories) with a pinch of Cinnamon Spice

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

DISCLAIMER: I am not a veterinarian and I can not diagnose or prescribe medications for your pet. If you think your pet is having a medical emergency or needs diagnosing please seek medical attention from your veterinarian immediately.

Monday, November 17, 2008

How much is that puppy in the window?

So it has dawned on me that it is that time of year... the holidays, and around this time of year I see a lot of families/newlyweds that have just purchased/adopted a new pet. But unfortunately not long after (or around spring) I get the phone call that they no longer own the pet for some reason. If you are thinking of purchasing/adopting a pet here are a couple things to think about:
1) When adopting a puppy/kitten its like having a NEW BABY in the house IT IS A LOT OF WORK! but it is also TONS OF FUN!
2) Think about what breed of Dog/Cat do you want. Do you want something with Long Hair or Short? Do you want a show dog/cat? a lap dog/cat? A big giant dog that thinks it is a lap dog?A hunting dog? or just a good old dog? is a good place to start researching what breed of cat or dog you want.
3) Think about your families lifestyle. Are you generally busy and in and out of the house a lot? How often do you vacation? How old are your kids? and Are they ready for the families responsibility of taking on a new pet? A good book to read is called The Perfect Puppy, I dont remember who wrote it but its a book that we recommend at my clinic.
4) Once you have picked a breed or two to choose from RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH! Be a GOOD consumer. Know what breed of dog you really are choosing, Know where your pet is coming from, in other words are the parents AKC registered? Have they had their Eyes and Hips certified? If you are buying from a pet shop do you know if the puppy came from a puppy mill or an actual breeder?(The pet shops can provide proof)
5) If you buy from a breeder, do research about the breeder too. Make sure that they are a registered breeder. Also make sure that they don't breed with in their genetic lines. BE CAREFUL of getting a pet off of websites like Craigslist. And most importantly BE VERY CAREFUL OF DESIGNER BREEDS. I can not tell you how many of those little puppies end up having MAJOR issues!Some breeds just were not meant to be blended together. Also real breeders will always have a contract of some kind with you. They will usually be willing to take the puppy back if you can not keep it, and they almost always make sure that the puppy has had a well pet check and a vaccine or two before they go to their new home. If you adopt from a shelter RESEARCH the shelter, if it is a reputable rescue/shelter like The Humane Society, Homeward Pets,, or like 24 hour pet watch you should not have to worry. There are also a lot of purebred rescues as well.
Now once you have adopted your new furry family member be sure to take it into your vet with in 7 days of bringing your pet home. This way you yourself can make sure that your pet is healthy.
When finding a veterinarian if you don't already have one again DO YOUR RESEARCH. Don't go to places that are what I like to call "Drive through Vets" Your pet deserves quality care. With all the ways we have to obtain information there is no excuse for not doing your research. Make sure that your vet is reputable. Call around not just for prices, but ask them things like , How long have you been in business? Why should I choose you as my new Vet? How long have all of your doctors been there? and how long have they been practicing for? Also ask them.. If you were not able to get me in for an emergency appointment what is the name of another vet that you would reccomend me to? Also ask if they have any specials or packages to offer. AND make sure you know where the Emergency Veterinary Clinics in your area are located, and that you know if they are open 24 hours are just at night.
Here are a couple things that you will need to do at your first vet visit:
  1. Make sure that you BRING ALL THE ADOPTION PAPERWORK WITH YOU. This will help your vet know if your pet is due for vaccine boosters and what vaccines it still needs such as Bordetella, DAP, Rabies, Leptospirosis, Corona Virus for dogs and FHCP, FELV/FIV, Rabies for cats .. the list of different vaccines could go on. What vaccines your pet will need depends on where you live. And make sure that you finish your puppy/kitten vaccination series. Usually vaccine boosters will need to be done about 3-4 weeks apart, and then boosted one year later every year thereafter. Some vaccines like Rabies and DAP/FHCP are good for three years at their one year check up. It is also recommended that if you have a senior pet (age 7 or older) that they see a vet for an exam every 6 months and they are current on their vaccines.
  2. Bring a fecal (poop) sample to have it tested to make sure that your pet does not have intestinal parasites.
  3. Discuss spaying/neutering your pet and get an estimate. If it came from a shelter/rescue chances are you wont need to do this. It is important that you spay your female pet BEFORE she goes into heat. Once she goes into heat the cost of the spay goes up due to the extra time it takes to tie off all the blood supply to the uterus. Not to mention every male dog with in a 5 mile radius will be at your door. As for males you will want to neuter as soon as you can. Un-neutered males tend to be more aggressive, less submissive and well lets face it.. if they smell a female in heat they will be going NUTS! Usually about 16 weeks of age is the best time to spay/neuter your pet.
  4. Start your pet on Flea and Tick Preventatives as well as an Intestinal Parasite and Heartwom preventative. I recommend Frontline and Revolution for the topical treatments and Sentinel or Interceptor for the internal preventatives. (we will discuss this more in detail later) AND KEEP THEM ON IT! It is more expensive to get rid of those parasites in your home than it is to prevent them. You will need to do this YEAR ROUND. It is safe to use both preventatives together. When you use both preventatives you are not only protecting the outside of your pet you are protecting their insides too! Also when you don't use a preventative you are putting yours and your children's health at risk as well. Some veterinarians have a rebate program in place so be sure to ask if yours does. Some vets will send home samples too! Make sure that when your pet is a puppy/kitten you bring them in monthly for at least the first 6 months for Cats, the first year for small breed dogs, and the first year and a half for large breed dogs to have their weight checked. In order for your pet to get the proper dose of preventative medicine you will need to know how much it weighs while it is growing up until it reaches its adult weight.
  5. Be prepared to talk vaccines. Ask what vaccines does your pet need. Discuss whether or not you are going to be at dog parks, puppy classes, boarding at a kennel or at the groomers, camping, hunting or fishing.
  6. GET YOUR PET MICROCHIPPED! This will insure that if Fido or fluffy gets out he/she will be safely returned to you. Or if someone does happen to steal your dog it is the only way that you can prove that the dog is yours. (Unless it has an AKC # tattooed on it) and DON'T FORGET to register your pet with the microchip company and keep your info updated because if its not your pet cant get back to you.
  7. Ask questions! There is no such thing as a dumb question. Be informed! Don't forget to talk about puppy classes too. A lot of times Veterinarians will have a couple of good affordable trainers or puppy classes to recommend.
Last but not least don't have a heart attack if the bill seems big. Its your first visit to the vet! And HAVE FUN WITH YOUR NEW FURRY FRIEND!
If you have any questions like always feel free to ask.

Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian and I can not diagnose your pet or prescribe medications. If you think your pet is having a medical emergency or needs medical attention see your veterinarian immediately.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A fun give away!

If you love quilts-and give aways then get on over to And see what you need to do to enter! Three quilts will be given away and they are gorgeous!
How fun-Good luck to all!

Monday, November 10, 2008

A little about me..

Hi my name is Amber. I am new to the blogging scene but at the urging of my mom I am going to give this a whirl. I work at a veterinary hospital as a receptionist. I also am the one responsible for creating all of our information boards that we have in our waiting room. I live close to where I work so I see a lot of our clients at the store or out in public and I get asked a lot of questions. As a result I kinda figured that there may be a lot of other people out there that have questions too. So I have decided to blog about a few things and hopefully I will answer a question or two along the way. Let me also say that the fact that I am receptionist does make my job interesting. I have seen all kinds of things walk through my door so you'd be surprised at how much I really know. Feel free to ask me about anything and PLEASE send me pics of your furry friend/loved one.
Happy Holidays!
*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and I can not diagnose your pet or prescribe medications. If you feel that your pet is having a medical emergency or needs diagnosing you should see your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Buddy The Aussie Dog

Buddy The Aussie Dog