This weekend I went to BINGO sponsored by a dog rescue called 2nd Chance 4 Life. The BINGO was fun, I won a few prizes, and all the proceeds went towards helping animals. Most people that know me well know that I am a huge advocate for rescuing animals. I’m a dog foster and foster failure. I have spent most of the past few years working at a shelter and with other rescues including Pitties Love Peace, Lancaster Humane League, United Against Puppy Mills, and now 2nd Chance. I have a lot of experience with shelter dogs…I also happen to have one of my own.
This weekend got me thinking about all the reasons people give me for having a “pure” bred dog or buying a puppy instead of adopting one. When I worked at a shelter, I didn’t get it. I didn’t understand why anyone would buy a puppy when there were so many homeless dogs out there. However, I’ve seen the other side of things too now. I’ve seen the good breeders, the people who breed for show or quality puppies. It’s not always about status, sometimes it’s just because they enjoy what they do and they’re good at it. I know a few amazing breeders that come to Neffsville, and they love their dogs very much.
However, rescue dogs are just as loveable and amazing as any pure bred dog you will find. All of my foster dogs have been great. Even thought this is the case with most shelter dogs, there will always be people skeptical of the idea of not having a pure bred dog or getting a dog with a questionable history. Here are a few misconceptions about rescue dogs:
Myth: Rescue dogs are not easy to train because they’re already set in their ways.
Truth: First off, there are many rescues that get just as many puppies in as they do older dogs. If a puppy is what you’re looking for, they can be just as easily found through a rescue as they can be through a breeder. Even if you get an older dog, that doesn’t mean they’re un-trainable. I had a beagle-mix that was 3 years old and was completely housetrained and learned a bunch of commands in the short time she was with us. Anything is possible with a rescue dog as long as you’re willing to put the time and effort into working with them.
Myth: Rescue dogs are so expensive. Why would I pay $500 for a mixed breed?
Truth: Rescues do not charge money for their dogs because they want to, but because they have to in order to keep their rescue going. Keep in mind…most rescue dogs are already spayed/neutered, microchipped, and up-to-date on vaccinations before they are adopted out. Those things alone would cost you over $500 if done separately. And that would be on top of the cost of the dog if gotten from a breeder.
Truth: Do you know what kind of dog you’re getting when you buy from a breeder? No. It’s true that many rescue dogs come from horrible situations. I’ve seen dogs come from hoarding situations, dogfights, puppy mills, and abuse cases. The one thing that people forget is that dogs are so much more forgiving than humans. Let’s take Annabelle here as an example. Annabelle is a Pitbull Terrier who is 1 year and 7 months old. Annabelle was found wondering the streets with severe burns on her front two legs. Her wounds were so deep and so painful. She was lucky to have been picked up and taken to a shelter. However, that shelter was unable to come up with the funds for her treatments so she was transferred to another shelter in West Virginia. Once she was in stable health, 2nd Chance 4 Life was able to pick her up and bring her back to PA where she continues her recovery. Through it all, Annabelle has been nothing but loving and affectionate. She loves to give hugs and kisses, and enjoys all the love and attention she is receiving. Never once has she ever treated a human the way she was treated, she forgives and forgets like most dog do. So no, you don’t know what kind of dog you’re getting, but if you do your research and find the right rescue, you just might find the perfect dog for you.
Having said all this, I have seen some of the worst-case scenarios including my own. My dog was extremely aggressive when I rescued him and now he’s a friendly and loving pup. Rescue dogs are all about what you put into them. If you’re willing to love and care for another being and give them the best life possible, rescuing is a great option. You can check out petfinder.com to find certain breeds, ages, or genders. Also, you can check out www.2ndchance4liferescue.com for a list of available dogs including the lovely Annabelle. And remember…ADOPT DON’T SHOP!
This day in age there are many different opinions on the neutering of male dogs. Now whether it’s a “masculine” thing or just simply your own personal fear of your dog undergoing surgery, people need to know that neutering your male dog is not only safer for them but it’s safer for other dogs and humans as well. An un-neutered male dog is more likely to get testicular cancer and have prostate issues throughout their life. An un-neutered male dog is also more prone to aggression towards other dogs and even humans. Here are a few myths you may have heard regarding the neutering of male dogs:
Myth: Neutering my male makes him less “masculine.”
Truth: There’s nothing “masculine” about testicular cancer. There’s also nothing “masculine” about a male dog getting loose and trying to knock up an un-spayed female. There’s nothing “masculine” about a litter of puppies or the responsibility that comes with it. And there’s nothing “masculine” about aggression and potentially violent behavior towards other animals and humans.
Myth: Neutering will hurt my pet.
Truth: A typical neuter for a dog (depending on the size) usually takes between 5 to 20 minutes. At Neffsville, we use the safest general anesthesia available and we practice great patient care and pain management. This usually includes pain medications post-op as well. The healing process usually takes about 7 to 10 days, but in my experience most young males are up and acting like their usual self in a day or two.
Myth: Neutering will fix all my dog’s behavior problems.
Truth: Although neutering your male dog may reduce some undesirable behaviors, there is no guarantee that the dog’s behavior will change after being neutered. Neutering does reduce the amount of testosterone in your dog’s system, but it does not completely eliminate the hormone. It also will not change behaviors that have become habitual to your dog like chewing your sofa up or digging holes in the backyard. These behaviors are something you as the owner need to work on nipping in the bud. If they become out of control or if your dog is acting in an outwardly aggressive manor, please contact your veterinarian or consult a behaviorist.
In summary, neutering your male dog is extremely important. Not only are you reducing their risk of cancer, but you are helping them to live a healthier and longer life. With so many dogs in shelters without homes, the best thing we as pet owners can do is to continue to prevent puppies from ending up there as well. Neutering your male dog is the most masculine thing you can do for him. Contact Neffsville Veterinary Clinic for more information on neutering your male dog today!
One of the most common complaints we hear from cat parents is that he or she is urinating outside of the litter box. It is also one of the reasons so many cats end up in shelters. Although this is an extremely frustrating problem to deal with there are some things you can do to help.
Spay or Neuter
If not already, your cat should be spayed or neutered as soon as possible. Cats use urine marking as a form of communication, letting other cats know if they are looking for a mate or claiming territory. Urine marking is much more common in intact cats.
Schedule an appointment with your Veterinarian
There are some medical conditions that could cause your cat to be urinating outside of the litter box. It is very important to consult your veterinarian if you notice any change in his behavior. He will be given a thorough exam to determine if there is a medical explanation for his accidents.
Remove urine odors
Use a cleaning product that will eliminate urine stains and odors. Avoid strong scented cleansers or products containing Ammonia, these may cause your cat to re-mark the area. The goal is to get rid of the odor completely rather than cover it up. Nature’s Miracle is a great product that is guaranteed to permanently eliminate stains and odors caused by pets. Prevent access or make previously soiled areas seem less appealing to avoid re-marking. Scoop litter boxes daily, many cats will urinate inappropriately if their litter box is not up to par.
Consider purchasing additional litter boxes and experimenting with different types of pans and litter to see what your cat prefers. Keep litter pans in private, low traffic areas so they are more appealing. Try to create a comfortable and stress free environment. Feliway is a product that contains a natural pheromone and many have had success with reducing stress and urinary marking. Feliway has been clinically proven and is available in plug-in diffusers, sprays and wipes.
By Meredith Stone
Did you ever watch The Price Is Right? The phrase “Help control the pet population: have your pet spayed or neutered!” was said by Bob Barker at the end of every episode, for decades. Shelters around the country will very often only put animals up for adoption once they‘ve been spayed or neutered, or will require adopters to have the surgery done once the animal is of age if it
’s too young at the time of adoption. Veterinarians around the world advocate for all non-breeding pets to be sterilized, and with the advancements of medicine are able to perform these sterilization surgeries with low complication risk. What exactly does spaying and neutering entail? What are the benefits of these major surgeries?
Spaying, also known as an ovariohysterectomy (OHE), is the surgical sterilization of a female where the uterus (which is split into two tubes, called horns, instead of one organ like in humans) and ovaries are completely removed through an incision in the abdomen. Normally the surgery takes between 30 and 60 minutes. Kittens and puppies are spayed around 6 months of age, usually before their first heat cycle. Spaying provides many health benefits, one of the biggest being reducing the risk of mammary and uterine cancers. In a study of female dogs, those that had been spayed before their first heat cycle were at a near zero percent chance of developing mammary cancers! Even in older animals that have had many heat cycles, spaying at a mature age still helps to decrease the risk. By removing the ovaries along with the uterus, there are no longer hormones being released into the body from which the cancers develop. Another major health benefit of spaying is eliminating the possibility of an infection in the uterus called pyometra. When this infection occurs it can very quickly become life-threatening to your cat or dog and often requires surgical intervention to remove the infected tissue, a few days of hospitalization, and ultimately can be a hefty financial responsibility. When animals are spayed at a young age, especially those who have not yet had a heat cycle, they have a significantly lowered instance of bleeding during surgery due to the lack of mature blood vessels in the reproductive organs. This, coupled with the availability of surgical lasers and post-operative therapy lasers, allows for a less painful recovery and lower chance of post-operative complications. Spaying, while still a serious operation and not one to be taken lightly, is of great benefit to our four-footed female friends.
Seen below: The ovaries (held by clamps in the first picture) and uterine horns of a female dog.
Neutering, the surgical removal of the testicles, is less invasive than a spay surgery but no less important to the health of male pets. Neuter surgeries are performed by making a small incision between the scrotum and base of the penis and removing the testicles. The surgery takes between 20 and 30 minutes. Most neuters are performed on animals around 6 months of age, when the majority of their growth and physical development is completed. Like spaying, there are a number of health benefits that are seen when these pets are neutered. The risk of prostate and testicular cancers is reduced to almost zero percent in those that are neutered. Undesirable behaviors that are exhibited by intact male dogs, like marking, mounting, and roaming, are also significantly decreased if not totally eliminated. When an intact male dog smells a female dog that is in heat, his instinct is to go find her to breed with her. Unfortunately this also leads to lost dogs or ones that are hit by cars. Intact male cats will often spray urine on horizontal surfaces to mark them as their own, including walls and furniture. The pungent aroma and stain it leaves behind are often traits owners cannot live with, but by neutering the cat the behaviors often are gone within a very short period of time. Aggressive behaviors in both species can also be markedly improved when an animal is neutered.
As workers in the veterinary field, we often see animals with health issues, both major and minor, that could have been prevented through spaying or neutering. Here at Neffsville Veterinary Clinic our exceptional team of doctors has decades of collective experience performing spays and neuters, and perform these surgeries every day. When here for any surgery your pet is closely monitored by one of our experienced nurses both while they are awake and under anesthesia, and often are unaware any procedure ever happened. By choosing to spay or neuter your furry family member, along with having regular wellness visits and vaccinations, you are giving them the best possible chance at a long, healthy life!
By Kaitlin Evaston
With the vacation season only a few months away, many people are already starting to make plans for their pets too. There are many misconceptions about pets when they stay at a Pet Resort as it is called here at Neffsville. A Pet Resort is not a typical kennel environment, it is a vacation for your pet while you’re on vacation. More and more “kennels” are switching to this type of lodging for pets simply because it’s what pet owners want. Pet owners want to know that while they’re away having fun in the sun, their dog is still getting the attention and love they deserve. However, it can be a very difficult thing to leave your pet behind at a lodging facility. I know the first time I left my dog for lodging, I cried the entire way home. The truth of the matter is that we probably miss them a whole lot more than they actually miss us. Here are a few myths to think about before you leave your furry family member at the resort:
Myth: My dog/cat won’t eat while I’m gone.
Truth: While this may happen in some cases, most of the time the staff taking care of your pet will be very proactive in getting your pet to eat something. I’ve seen our pet resort staff try all different ways of getting a pet to eat including feeding special wet food or even putting some shredded cheese on top of their food to entice them. When you drop off your pet at any resort, be sure to let them know that if Fido won’t eat his food, they can feel free to try anything to get him to eat. However, most pets do just fine. Their eating habits may change and that may cause them to eat less than normal. Be sure to let the staff know if your dog has any special dietary needs or special feeding instructions such as allowing them to have their food bowl filled at all times. Don’t be afraid to let the lodging staff know. It’s their job to keep your pet’s belly full and comfortable during their stay.
Myth: My pet will be uncomfortable in a strange place.
Truth: Now this is not a completely false statement. Some animals simply do not do well in unfamiliar situations. You know your pet best and if you have a cat that is unsocial and unfriendly or a dog that is extremely scared of other dogs, understand that a lodging facility may not be the best place for them while you are away. These pets may benefit from a personal pet sitter who can come into their environment and take care of them. However, most pets adjust just fine and although it can be a strange place, they can still feel extremely comfortable in a lodging facility.
Myth: My pet will miss me too much and become depressed.
Truth: The first time I ever dropped my dog off at a lodging facility, a girl walked in, greeted him, and asked him if he wanted to go outside and play. He followed that girl right out into the fenced-in yard without so much as a goodbye to me. He didn’t do it because he didn’t love me, he just wanted to play. He had a great stay and when I came to pick him up, I was ten times more excited to see him than he was to see me. Your pet loves you, you know that and everyone around you knows that, but a few days without you will not send them spinning into a sudden depression. As long as you find a facility with great staff members who will give your pet plenty of attention, your pet will enjoy their vacation as much as you enjoy yours. Having said that, they will miss you and I’m sure they will be more than happy to see you as soon as you come to pick them up.
In summary, sending your furry best friend to a lodging facility can be extremely emotional. Do your research and find a facility that works for both you and your dog. Ask for a tour of the facility and know the right questions to ask such as; “Do you have any outdoor space for my dog to play?” and “Do you have a veterinarian on staff in the case of an emergency?” Don’t be afraid to put them on the spot, you should always feel comfortable before leaving your pet with someone. If it doesn’t feel right, look elsewhere. Know that although your pet will miss you while you’re gone and will be happy when you get home, they will be fine on their mini vacation. Be sure that your pet is able to adapt to a strange place and will not be overly stressed out in a different situation for the short time you’re away. If you have a pet that is easily stressed or scared of other dogs, it may be best for you to consult your veterinarian on how to approach finding a place for your pet.
Start preparing for your summer vacation now, space may be running low at your local pet lodging facilities! To contact Neffsville Veterinary Clinic’s Pet Resort and Lodging facilities, please call 717-569-5381 to speak to someone about rates and availability. Thanks for tuning in for this week’s Myth Monday, see you next time!
Working in the veterinary field you come across a great deal of people who don’t understand pet dental hygiene. Your pet has teeth and they require just as much care as your own. Yes, it’s true that certain dental chews are good for your dog’s teeth, but they should not be the sole product you use (also if using a product, check that the product is approved by the VOHC or Veterinary Oral Health Council). The best way to keep your pet’s teeth clean is to brush daily. Without the proper dental care practices at home, your pet could end up with dental disease which results in the animal needing to be put under anesthesia for a cleaning, possible repairs, and/or possible extractions. Here are a few common dental myths we hear in the veterinary field:
Myth: Canine mouths are cleaner than a humans.
Truth: Dogs, like humans, have a lot of bacteria in their mouths. The population of bacteria is different, but that doesn’t mean their mouths are any cleaner. I’ve seen some of the things my dog puts into his mouth and let me just tell you…there is no way that mouth is cleaner than mine.
Myth: Dental disease is inevitable as a pet ages.
Truth: There are many elderly animals who don’t have any dental disease. I had a Jack Russell for 12 years and she never had any issues with her teeth. It all depends on how far you’re willing to go to help to prevent it. Ideally, you should brush your pet’s teeth daily. However, for some people that is next to impossible and some pets won’t even let you get a toothbrush in their mouth. If your pet is one of those, there are other ways to help prevent against dental disease. You can put your dog on a good dental food like Science Diet t/d or you can try some other products recommended by the Veterinary Oral Health Council. Visit www.vohc.org for a full list of approved products or talk to your vet.
Myth: If my pet needs a dental procedure, it’s too dangerous to put an older animal under anesthesia.
Truth: This is a myth that crosses my path all too often. Neffsville Veterinary Clinic uses the safest general anesthesia available. We require all pets to have pre-anesthetic blood work done in order to be sure the pet is in tip-top shape for surgery. There are always risks when any pet or human goes under anesthesia, but our pets are carefully monitored by our technicians and doctors throughout the procedure and after.
In summary, pets’ teeth need just as much care as your own. They require daily brushing with the help of a good diet and regular check-ups with your vet. The risk of dental disease can be greatly reduced with just a toothbrush and some pet toothpaste! And don’t forget that if your pet does need a dental cleaning, talk to your vet about all the precautions they take to keep your furry friend safe throughout the procedure. Thanks for checking out Myth Monday, check back in next week when we talk about Resort Myths!
In honor of International Biscuit Appreciation Day
If your veterinarian has prescribed a special diet for your dog, you may be finding it difficult to find ways to reward him. As tempting as it may be, it is very important that you feed only the specific diet that has been recommended and avoid other foods, treats & table scraps unless approved by your veterinarian. Your veterinarian has recommended this food because he or she feels it is in the best interest of your pet’s health.
We sell treats that are compatible with some of our prescription diets. These can be purchased at Neffsville Veterinary Clinic or on our Online Store.
Give your dog his dry kibble as treats. Measure out the daily amount of food. Put a portion of the food where you normally store your biscuits and use throughout the day. Most dogs don’t care what you’re giving them, as long as they’re getting something!
Home-made biscuits using prescription food
-Place 2 cups of dry food into a blender or food processor. Grind to a powder. Pour the dry powder into a mixing bowl and add 1 1/4 cup of water. Stir until a dough forms. Using a table spoon drop dog cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350° F for 30 minutes. Cool completely before serving to your dog. Store in the refrigerator for one week.
-Place bite sized pieces of canned dog food on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350° F for 30 minutes. Cool completely before serving to your dog. Store in the refrigerator for one week.
-Roll small balls of canned wet food and place on a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Place in the freezer until solid. This makes for an excellent summer treat!
-Open a can of wet dog food. Cut into bite sized pieces for your dog. Microwave them on a microwave safe plate for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. The treats should come out chewy and crispy. Cool completely before serving to your dog. Store in the refrigerator for one
This is a great way to keep your dog entertained! You can get creative using dry and canned food. Fill a Kong 1/2 to 3/4 full with dry food. Then top with wet food. Freeze until solid.
Make pet food gravy to mix with the dry food by adding a few tablespoons of warm water to the equivalent canned dog food. Spoon the gravy over the dry food and serve. Be sure it is not hot before serving to your dog. This is a helpful trick for picky eaters!
Homemade treats should not exceed 10% of your pet’s total daily intake. Heating food alters its nutritional characteristics. Make sure that all treats are cut into sizes that are easy for your pet to chew and swallow.
For questions or more suggestions please contact Neffsville Veterinary Clinic, our team members would be happy to assist you!
By Kaitlin Evaston
Working at a veterinary hospital can be extremely trying day in and day out. As a hospital we deal with sick animals, healthy animals, angry animals, and all sorts of interesting personalities. We also have heard some of the wildest myths. This is not to say that people make these so called veterinary myths up. The biggest offender for these crazy myths is the internet. I have no doubt that internet has some great information, but when it comes to veterinary care, the best person to consult for veterinary advice is your veterinarian.
That being said, veterinary myths are very real and there are so many of them. There are myths about dental disease and spaying/neutering your pet. There are myths about the right kind of food to feed your dog or even about certain breeds being susceptible to different illnesses. As a pet parent, we all feed into these myths at some point. My dog gets terribly carsick, so I read about all the ways to help with the carsickness. Everything from giving my dog smarties before he gets in the car to taking rides around the block until he became immune to the moving vehicle. I explained what was happening to my vet and she lead me through a discussion on how to help de-sensitize him to the motion illness and explained that if that didn’t work, there was always a medication to help. Although my dog still gets carsick when we go on long drives, I am equipped with all the things that I need every time that I go away.
There’s always going to be different ways to see the world, but when it comes to your furry friend, you need the truth. Each Monday I will provide you all with some good old myth busting from the professionals here at Neffsville Veterinary Clinic. And if you at home have a question or possible myth, feel free to email them to us. We want to provide you with all the information you need to help your pet live a healthy life. Thanks for reading our first Myth Monday post! Tune in next week for our first myth busting journey: Dispelling Dental Myths.
By Kaitlin Evaston
Each year U.S. shelters euthanize an estimated 2.4 million dogs and cats; that’s one animal every 13 seconds. Shelters across the world are filled with abandoned, abused, and neglected animals with nowhere to call home. Most of these shelter animals are healthy or have treatable issues. Many of these animals are not spayed or neutered and have been bred or produced accidental litters. This only leads to more animals being without homes…the cycle continues. There is a simple and highly effective way to end this ongoing cycle and that’s by spaying and neutering all cats and dogs.
Spaying and neutering pets is the most effective and humane treatment to decrease the number of homeless animals that are euthanized in shelters or living on the streets. A whopping 87 percent of owned pets in the United States are already spayed or neutered. However, in areas where resources are limited or unattainable, 91 percent are unaltered. There are 30 to 40 million community cats living at large and only 2 percent of these cats are altered, leaving these cats more likely to reproduce even more sick or feral (cats living outside with no humane interaction become “feral” or wild) offspring that will more than likely never know the feel of a warm blanket or the smell of fancy feast in the morning. Not only are strays a problem in the United States, but outside the U.S. there are 300 million dogs living on the streets that are predominantly unaltered and homeless.
Spaying refers to an ovariohysterectomy for females while a male is neutered or castrated. Not only does spaying and neutering your pet prevent them from reproducing, it also prevents against many health issues. Spaying a female prevents them from going through a heat cycle. If spayed before their first heat cycle, it can completely eliminate their chances for breast cancer and uterine cancer. Neuter prevents males from displaying certain undesirable behaviors such as marking, mounting, and male aggression. In the long-run it prevents against testicular cancer, enlargement of the prostate gland, and reduces the risk for perianal tumors.
So what is “World Spay Day”? World Spay Day was originally created as “Spay Day USA” by the Doris Day Animal League in 1995. It was the first and only day that promoted the spaying and neutering of pets all over the world. World Spay Day takes place on February 23, 2016. Presented by the Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society International, and the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, World Spay Day is a day to educate and promote the spaying and neutering of pets all over the world.
You can participate in World Spay Day by planning your own spay day event. Visit www.worldspayday.org for some ideas on how you can help your community promote spaying and neutering and help save lives!
Leeloo, a 9 year-old female spayed Italian Spinone, presented for vomiting, pacing and a decreased appetite. Upon examination Leeloo was depressed and dehydrated. It was clear Leeloo needed inpatient care; she was placed on IV fluids, had digital abdominal x-rays taken and blood work was done in our in-house laboratory. An increase white blood cell count, indicating inflammation/infection, was the only abnormality. Intravenous antibiotics and anti-nausea medications were administered. After 24 hours Leeloo had not improved so an abdominal ultrasound was performed. It yielded no abnormal finding. That evening and into the next morning Leeloo seemed to improve, appearing both more energetic, not vomiting and eating a little food for the first time! It was decided to send Leeloo home and see how she did.
The next day the owners informed us that she had no interest in eating and had vomited multiple times. Sadly, Leeloo had to return to the hospital for further testing. When tests for Addison’s disease and pancreatitis came back normal, we repeated the abdominal x-rays from a few days prior. One segment of intestine (cecum) was very filled up with the gas. At this point Leeloo’s owners and the NVC team knew we had to do exploratory surgery. Upon exploratory laparotomy I found a small intestinal foreign body that had become obstructive and the intestine around the obstruction had begun to die. An intestinal “resection and anastomoses” was performed to remove the foreign body and the dead section of intestine around it. Leeloo has recovered well.
I hope this case illustrates the importance of two things:
1. Not everything shows up on testing.
2. Exploratory surgery, although many times a difficult choice, offers a chance to diagnose or cure many difficult cases.
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