Tuesday, October 28, 2014

When Is It An Emergency For Your Pet?

From the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) web site.

When is it an emergency?

Most pet owners have been in a situation like this: Buster slipped on the way down the stairs and now he’s walking with a limp. It’s 11:00 at night - should you call your veterinarian, or are you just being a worrywart?
You’re never wrong to call
If you’re concerned about your pet, you should never feel embarrassed about calling a veterinarian. Veterinarians are used to emergencies and they prepare for them. Most veterinary hospitals have doctors on-call or provide referrals to emergency pet hospitals, so don’t worry about waking your veterinarian out of a sound sleep. In fact, all AAHA-accredited hospitals are required to provide 24-hour access to emergency care, either in their own facility or through referral to another hospital. (To find an AAHA-accredited animal hospital near you, visit the Hospital Locator)

Remember, you know your pet better than anyone else. If you notice your pet behaving in a way that’s unusual for her, or if something just doesn’t seem right, you may have picked up on a subtle sign of a real problem. To find out, you can call your veterinary hospital, or an emergency animal hospital near you. By asking a few questions over the phone, an emergency veterinarian should be able to tell you whether you should bring your pet in right away, or whether she can wait for an examination during your hospital’s normal office hours. Even if you find out nothing’s wrong, you’ll be glad to have your mind at ease.
Definite emergencies
There are some times, however, when you won’t need to call first. If you notice any of the following problems, bring your pet in immediately for emergency care. 

Your pet has been experienced some kind of trauma, such as being hit by a car or a blunt object or falling more than a few feet.
  • Your pet isn’t breathing or you can’t feel a heartbeat.
  • Your pet is unconscious and won’t wake up.
  • Your pet has been vomiting or has had diarrhea for more than 24 hours, or she is vomiting blood.
  • You suspect any broken bones.
  • Your pet is having trouble breathing or has something stuck in her throat.
  • Your pet has had or is having a seizure.
  • Your pet is bleeding from the eyes, nose, or mouth, or there is blood in her urine or feces.
  • You think your pet might have ingested something toxic, such as antifreeze, rat poison, any kind of medication that wasn’t prescribed to her, or household cleansers.
  • Your pet, particularly your male cat, is straining to urinate, or is unable to.
  • Your pet shows signs of extreme pain, such as whining, shaking, and refusing to socialize.
  • Your pet collapses or suddenly can’t stand up.
  • Your pet begins bumping into things or suddenly becomes disoriented.
  • You can see irritation or injury to your pet’s eyes, or she suddenly seems to become blind.
  • Your pet’s abdomen is swollen and hard to the touch, and/or she’s gagging and trying to vomit.
  • You see symptoms of heatstroke.
  • Your pregnant dog or cat has gone more than three to four hours between delivering puppies or kittens.
What to do if it’s an emergency
If you notice any of the symptoms above or you suspect a serious problem, try to get directly in touch with a veterinary professional. Don’t leave a voicemail or use the Internet or email.
Your first step is to call your veterinarian. AAHA-accredited hospitals will either have someone answering the phone 24-hours a day or will have a recorded message referring you to another hospital in case of an emergency. If you’re in an unfamiliar city, use the AAHA hospital locator tool to locate an accredited hospital near you. The American Red Cross also has a pet first aid app available to help you locate a veterinarian in case of emergencies.
Once you decide to bring your pet in for emergency treatment, make sure you know where you’re going and how to get your pet there safely. If you have any questions about directions or how to move your ill or injured pet, call the hospital and ask
Be prepared
The best way to deal with pet emergencies is to prepare for them, just in case. The next time you bring your pet in for a checkup, ask your veterinarian what you should do in case of emergency. Find out whether your animal hospital is open 24 hours, or whether they refer emergency cases on evenings and weekends. If they refer, get the name, address, and phone number of the emergency facility they refer to.

Keep your veterinarian’s name and number on an emergency sheet near the phone, right next to the numbers for your doctor, fire department, and poison-control hotline. If your veterinarian refers evening and weekend emergencies to another hospital, write down that hospital’s name and number too, as well as what hours your doctor refers cases there. This way, if an emergency catches you off guard, you won’t have to file through drawers or folders looking for business cards. You may also want to have a list of pet first aid tips easily accessible, along with guidelines for human first aid.

If you’re taking your pet along on a trip, you can find AAHA-accredited hospitals in the area you’ll be visiting by using the hospital locator.

Most important, remember to trust your instincts. You know and love your pet, and you have the right to be worried if something seems wrong. Emergency veterinary professionals are there for you, never hesitate to call.

Friday, October 24, 2014

How to Prevent Leptospirosis

From the web site lepto info.


Annual vaccination for leptospirosis is an affordable means to help protect your dog from a disease than can be very costly to treat. Ask your veterinarian if they use a vaccine that protects against 4 serovars.
Your veterinarian will determine an appropriate vaccination series, depending on your dog's vaccination history and risk factors. Your dog may require an initial vaccination and a booster a few weeks later. Annual vaccination is needed for continued protection.

Environmental precautions

Vaccination is extremely important, but in addition, you may want to consider the following steps you can take to prevent leptospirosis:
  • Have your dog vaccinated against the 4 serovars of Leptospira
  • Wash your hands after direct contact with your pet or its urine.
  • Where possible, avoid exercising your dog in wildlife habitat areas.
  • Prevent your children from playing in areas used for exercising dogs.
  • If you have been around a dog diagnosed with lepto, seek medical information from your veterinarian or  medical provider.

Take This Assessment Test to Determine Your Pet's Risk of Contracting Leptospirosis

Take this risk assessment test to determine your pet's risk of contracting leptospirosis. This link directs you to the risk assessment test on the web site lepto info. http://www.leptoinfo.com/risk_assessment.html

What is Leptospirosis?

With all the concern about leptospirosis and the increase in cases, here is some information about the organism from a web site discussing leptospirosis, lepto info. http://www.leptoinfo.com/about2.html

 What is leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis (lepto for short) is a serious bacterial disease of dogs, multiple animal species, and humans that occurs in countries around the world. In recent years, leptospirosis has become an increasing concern of pet owners and veterinarians in the United States, especially in cities and suburbs. The primary reason is growing populations of wildlife, like raccoons and skunks, which carry disease and infect dogs indirectly. Dogs can get sick even if they never come into direct contact with infected animals.
Lepto has been diagnosed in all types of dogs. All breeds and sizes of dogs are at risk. Lepto can be a very serious disease and can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated early. It generally attacks a dog's liver and kidneys and can lead to organ damage or failure. However, if lepto is caught early, it responds well to antibiotics. Preventative measures, such as vaccinations, are available to pet owners as well.

A bacterial disease

Leptospirosis is caused by the bacterium L. interrogans, part of a group of corkscrew-shaped bacteria called spirochetes.
Leptospira spirochetes are further divided into multiple "subfamilies" called serovars or strains. Around the world, there are more than 200 serovars of lepto. Although there are many serovars, only a few are known to cause disease in dogs. Newer vaccines contain four serovars for protection against today's most common serovars.
Lepto serovars are maintained in nature by "reservoir hosts" that have subclinical infections and shed the organisms for long periods of time. Dogs can be reservoire hosts for the serovar L. canicola. Many academics consider L. canicola the least frequently isolated serovar in dogs. Dogs are "incidental hosts" and generally develop more severe clinical disease for L. grippotyphosa, L. pomona, and L. icterohaemorrhagiae.

Prevalent Serovars


L. grippotyphosa

Currently most common and increasing; leading infectious cause of acute renal failure in dogs

L. pomona

Currently common and increasing; leading infectious cause of acute renal failure in dogs

L. icterohaemorrhagiae

Traditionally common and decreasing, possibly due to widespread vaccination containing this serovar; can cause severe liver disease and jaundice

L. canicola

Traditionally common and decreasing, possibly due to widespread vaccination containing this serovar; can cause severe liver disease and jaundice

Reservoir Hosts

L. grippotyphosa - Raccoon, skunk, opossum, small rodents, and squirrels
L. pomona - Skunk, raccoon, opossum, cow, pig, and deer
L. icterohaemorrhagiae - Rat and pig
L. canicola - Dog

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Top Ten Rattiest Cities in the United States (Actual Rats, Not People!)

Top Ten Rattiest Cities in the United States (Actual Rats, Not People!)

According to Orkin, based upon the number of  rat eradication service requests, the top ten rattiest cities in the United States are:

1) Chicago
2) Los Angeles
3) Washington DC
4) New York
5) San Francisco
6) Seattle
7) Detroit
8) Cleveland
9) Baltimore
10) Miami

Where is the Pied Piper when we need him?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Halloween Hazards for Your Pet

Halloween Hazards for Your Pets
Peter S. Sakas DVM
Niles Animal Hospital and Bird Medical Center
7278 N. Milwaukee Ave. Niles, IL 60714
Ph. 847-647-9325 FAX 847-647-8498


Halloween is a holiday that is great fun. Through the years more and more people have really become involved with extensive decorations in and around the house. In addition, there is the candy and trick or treating. Candy is around the house in bowls for the trick or treaters as well as the candy collected by your own kids as they canvas the neighborhood with their own trick or treating. If you have Halloween parties for kids or adults there will be food and drink around as well. With all this food, decorations and activities it can be a time of great danger for your pet. They will be attracted by the tempting smells and may eat what they should not. They may be intrigued by the shimmering, attractive decorations and begin to chew on objects that could cause severe medical problems. In addition, it can also be a stressful time for your pets due to the commotion involved with the holiday. During the holiday you must take steps to be certain that your pets will be safe from potential harm.

Trick or Treaters
It is always fun when trick or treaters come to the door; you admire them in their costumes, and hand out candy. However, your pets do not understand the significance of the holiday and recognize these people dressed in strange costumes as intruders so they want to protect their home against them. The constant ringing of the doorbell and groups of trick or treaters at the door can be quite stressful for your pets. Strangers in strange costumes can lead to a normal friendly pet becoming fearful or overly aggressive. Crating a pet can sometimes lead to them developing diarrhea or injuring themselves when they are confined in this fashion. It may not be a bad idea to keep your pets in a separate, quiet room, away from the door when trick or treaters arrive.

Halloween Treats/Candy
It is important for all family members to recognize that these treats are for people only and are not to be shared with pets. Candy wrappers and lollipop sticks can be hazardous if swallowed. Lollipop sticks and other plastic parts are especially dangerous if ingested by a pet as they can cause intestinal blockage and possibly rupture the intestines, which is life-threatening.

Almost everyone knows that chocolate is toxic for pets. Theobromine, a chemical found in chocolate is the cause of the poisoning, which can be deadly in dogs, especially, and other pets. They actually have an allergic reaction to the theobromine which can be quite severe. Some dogs may not have as severe of a response but it is not worth taking a chance with your pets. Chocolate should be avoided, do not think a little bit is not going to hurt! If your pet is sensitive to the theobromine it does not take much to cause a toxic reaction.

Depending on the amount ingested, chocolate (bakers, semi sweet, milk and dark) can be potentially poisonous to many animals. Theobromine levels are especially high in dark chocolates. In general, the less sweet the chocolate, the more toxic it could be. In fact, unsweetened baking chocolate contains almost seven times more theobromine than milk chocolate. Vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, hyperactivity and increased thirst, urination and heart rate can be seen with the ingestion of as little as 1/4 ounce of baking chocolate by a 10-pound dog. Halloween treats with chocolate are not appropriate for pets.

Artificial Sweeteners
Other chemicals found in certain candies can also be toxic to your pets. Xylitol, a sweetener found in some candies, mints, baked goods, chocolate, and gum can be toxic to pets if taken in large amounts. Ingestion of significant quantities can produce a fairly sudden drop in blood sugar, resulting in depression, incoordination and seizures. Foods containing Xylitol should be kept well out of reach of your pets. Do not take any chances with you pets. As stated before, do not think that a little bit is not going to hurt. You should have plenty of treats around the house that are appropriate for your pets and use them instead of candies.

Holiday Food
Avoid the temptation to feed your pets leftovers from your holiday meals. Your pet should be kept on its normal diet. Any change of diet, even for one meal, may give your dog or cat severe indigestion and diarrhea. This is particularly true for older animals that have more delicate digestive systems and nutritional requirements. Many of these foods are rich; especially those that are high in fat, and can often cause severe gastrointestinal disturbances in pets which could prove fatal. Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) is a very common disease of dogs and is frequently caused by the eating of table scraps. The pancreas plays a role in digestion of food but when an animal eats a rich or fatty meal, the pancreas is 'overstimulated' and the organ oversecretes enzymes leading to inflammation of the pancreas and surrounding tissues. Signs of pancreatitis include vomiting and abdominal pain, sometimes quite severe. The condition is very uncomfortable for the pet and sometimes can be fatal. If you notice these type of symptoms seek veterinary care.

Although some people may think it is humorous, never offer or allow your pets access to alcoholic beverages. Due to Halloween parties there may be alcoholic drinks carelessly left in areas where pets may be able to reach them. Place these unattended drinks in a safe location where pets cannot reach them. If enough alcohol is ingested, the animal could become very ill and weak. In severe cases they may go into a coma, possibly resulting in death due to respiratory failure.

Halloween Decorations
Animals are attracted to unusual or shiny objects which may be found around the house during Halloween used for decorations or wrapping. Dogs and cats cannot see in color so it is the shiny, shimmering or unusual appearance that attracts them. Birds can see in color, so color may definitely be a source of attraction to them. Keep aluminum foil and cellophane candy wrappers away from pets. Pets may swallow such material, leading to gastrointestinal irritation, causing vomiting or may even pass into the intestinal tract producing an intestinal blockage. Cats are quite often attracted to ribbons, bows, strings and other decorations which they may chew, swallow and develop intestinal blockage. In addition, twinkling lights or other interesting electrical decorations may prove attractive to your pets. They may chew on the cords which may lead to severe electrical shocks.

Keep the decorations out of the reach of your pets to avoid potential danger. If you notice that your pet is very interested in the decorations and may be chewing on them, be certain to relocate the objects in a safe place where you pet cannot get to them.

Exercise caution with lit candles around pets, which could easily become a fire hazard if knocked over by a wagging tail, a curious or frightened cat. This includes the candle placed inside the carved pumpkin, as the pumpkin could be toppled and the candle inside become a fire risk.

During Halloween decorative plants, such as pumpkins or decorative foods, such as corn and gourds are placed around the home to provide a festive holiday setting. These plants and foods though considered to be relatively non-toxic, can potentially cause gastrointestinal upset and may even result in intestinal blockage if large pieces are ingested.

Potpourri/Scented Candles
Liquid potpourri, commonly used to add pleasant scent to the home during certain holidays, can be hazardous to pets. Potentially severe damage to the mouth, skin and eyes could result from exposure to both heated and cool liquid products. Birds are especially sensitive to fumes or airborne toxins and caution must be exercised whenever you are using materials that produce fumes or odors. Use them in areas with good ventilation and keep your birds away from them. If you notice your bird is in respiratory distress, move the bird into an area away from the fumes, get good clean air flow in the area and seek veterinary assistance. Airborne toxins can be fatal to birds.

If you suspect your pet may have become exposed to a potentially toxic product or substance, contact your local veterinarian, a veterinary emergency clinic (if it is after hours for your regular veterinarian) or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately for assistance.

Pet Costumes
It has been quite the trend to dress pets up in costumes for Halloween. Although it can be quite entertaining to see pets in costumes, potential dangers do exist so precautions should be taken. Make sure that when the pet is dressed in a costume there is no interference with breathing, and the ability to see, hear, or move. In addition, if you plan to take your pet out trick or treating with you/your family, especially when it is becoming dark, it would be a good idea to have reflective collars or other reflective materials to ease visibility. (This goes for you and the kids as well)

Referenced from an informational flyer provided by the Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, Urbana, IL and the CVMA.