1. Does my indoor cat need vaccines?
It seems counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? If my cat does not go outside and does not encounter disease, then why does he need vaccines every year? Here are a half-dozen good reasons your veterinarian wants to keep your cat up-to-date on vaccines. If you are unsure if your cat is up-to-date on vaccines, contact your veterinarian today to find out.
- Your cat could accidentally get outdoors. They are curious about that big exciting world outside their windows and will not hesitate to go exploring. It only takes a few hours outside for an indoor cat to come in contact with a stray cat or wild animal carrying disease.
- If your cat ends up at a shelter, he or she could be exposed to sick cats. We all hope that this never happens, but as mentioned before, cats can and do escape from their home. If your cat is found but does not have any identity, such as a collar or microchip, the next stop is the local animal shelter. The stress of being taken to the shelter along with crowded shelter conditions can make cats more susceptible to disease.
- You cat may have a lifestyle change. When you bring that adorable kitten home, you are most likely expecting to have him or her for life. However, sometimes life brings changes beyond our control, such as divorce, death in the family, or a move, which can all affect your cat’s lifestyle. There are numerous cats that start out as indoor kittens but later become outdoor cats.
- Stress can cause latent disease to flare-up. Cats are often exposed to the feline herpes virus early on in life, especially if they come from a shelter or contracted the disease in-utero. Cats without up-to-date vaccinations can more easily contract respiratory infections or other disease that can cause latent or dormant disease to flare up in an already sick cat.
- Viruses such as Calicivirus and Feline Herpesvirus can be spread by inanimate objects. A “fomite” is any inanimate object that can carry an infectious organism. Grooming supplies and even shoes and clothing can act as a fomite bringing disease into your home.
2. How can I help my pet’s dental health at home?
You have noticed recently that Buddy’s breath is less than fresh and you are wondering how to help him? Maybe you have noticed that Buddy does not like to chew on toys or dry kibble that he used to love? Depending on the stage of Buddy’s dental disease, there are some good home care remedies that help to keep tartar and gingivitis at bay.
A. Teeth Brushing: If your pet allows it, brushing their teeth daily with a pet toothpaste (NOT human toothpaste) is the gold-standard for treating dental disease. It’s more work but definitely helps the most.
B. Dental diet: We recommend Hill’s Science Diet T/D dental diet. The T/D diet is a complete, balanced diet that can be fed on a daily basis and has been proven to clinically reduce dental disease. The T/D diet can be fed as treats as well, but less frequent use decreases the positive results. T/D is available at Dupont Veterinary Clinic.
C. Chew Products: OraVet Oral Chews (by the makers of Heartgard and Nexgard) are daily oral chews that reduce both halitosisand tartar accumulation. CET Rawhide Chews are rawhide treats coated with enzymes to help inhibit plaque and tartar. Blue Buffalo Dental Bones are another simple option to help reduce tartar. All are available at our hospital.
D. Food Additives: We recommend Clenz-a-dent Food Additive as another easy aid in slowing down plaque and tartar accumulation.
Here is an image displaying the 4 stages of dental disease. Make an appointment with your veterinarian at Dupont Veterinary Clinic to determine if your pet needs a professional cleaning and polishing. Some pets, especially those in stages 3 and 4, can start to lose teeth if your veterinarian does not step in to help your pet.
3. Is my pet overweight?
Obesity in pets is on a steady incline in the United States. Overweight pets are at a much higher risk for developing arthritis, orthopedic disease, cancer, diabetes, and other illnesses. It is important to first determine if your pet is overweight and then determine what his or her ideal weight would be. Click on the following link to be directed to a resource that will walk you through these steps. This article will show you a body fat index risk chart to determine how overweight your pet truly is, then on the second page it will determine what your pet’s ideal weight should be. Feel free to stop by Dupont Veterinary Clinic at any time to put your pet on the scale for a more accurate weight, especially while they are losing weight. There are diseases, such as hypothyroidism, that can lead to weight loss because of a decreased metabolism. If you are concerned about your pet’s weight, contact your veterinarian to have them help you develop a diet plan or recommend a diet for your pet and look for any illness that may be preventing your pet from losing weight.
4. What food should I be feeding my pet?
There are numerous foods on the store shelves and it can be overwhelming when trying to select the appropriate one for your pet. For puppies, make sure to get a food that is labeled for puppies as this provides better overall nutrition for their growing bodies. If you have a large or giant breed puppy, make sure to get a large breed puppy food because this helps provide better nutrition for their large, rapidly growing joints. Hill’s Science Diet has a great large breed puppy, toy breed puppy, or even puppy food (for those puppies of average size) for those youngsters at home. If your pet is between the ages of 1 to 7 and does not have any other dietary restrictions, we recommend selecting a diet labeled for adult dogs. If your pet is 8 years or older, we recommend a senior diet because this type of diet provides less calories for our less active pets as well as added nutrients to support joint health. We do not recommend selecting a diet that is listed for “all life stages” (this label is often listed on the back of the label) as this type of diet provides the same nutrients and calories that would be appropriate for a lactating mother or puppy as it would for a less active senior pet! Just like humans, pets have different nutritional needs at different stages of their life and we need to change their diets accordingly. If you are unsure of the food that you are feeding your pet, feel free to bring the food bag into your vet to have them give you a better nutritional assessment.
5. How do I remove a tick from my pet?
With the warm weather upon us we are seeing an increasing number of ticks on our pets. Here is a link to a short video that can help walk you through safe removal of a tick from your pet and signs and symptoms to look out for after the tick is removed. If you are concerned about removing a tick from your pet, you can schedule an appointment with the technicians at Dupont Veterinary Clinic to have them help you remove the tick. It is important, especially if you are noticing ticks on your pet, to put your pet on a tick preventative. If you are not sure if the monthly preventative your pet is on works against ticks, call your veterinarian to have them help you pick out the best product for your pet.
By Ashley Dawes, DVM
Lex was a working military dog that went to Fallujah, Iraq, with US Marine Corps Cpl. Dustin J. Lee. Lex was wounded in an attack that killed his handler, but despite his own injuries, Lex refused to leave Cpl. Lee’s side. Lex had to be dragged away to be treated by medics. Lex was the first active-duty working military dog that was granted early retirement in order to be adopted. He was adopted by Cpl. Lee’s parents, Jerome and Rachel. Despite his mobility issues due to retaining over 50 pieces of shrapnel in his body from war, he still worked as a therapy dog visiting military veterans at VA hospitals and retirement homes. Lee was awarded an honorary Purple Heart and in 2008 was given an Award for Canine Excellence (ACE) by the American Kennel Club.
2. Rin Tin Tin
This German Shepherd, after being saved from the trenches of WWI, was the first ever canine movie star. He was found on a French battlefield by an American soldier Lee Duncan. After returning to the US, Duncan trained Rinty and he stared in a few small roles in some silent films. Rin Tin Tin’s first big break came in 1929, when he got the role in Warner Bros.’ “Where the North Begins.”
A trained search and rescue dog named Appollo was on-site with his handler Peter Davis of the NYC Police Department within 15 minutes of the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. In the following days, over 350 search and rescue dogs and their handlers came to the Twin Towers site, and to the Pentagon, to search for survivors.
Smoky was a Yorkshire terrier found in 1944 by an American soldier in the New Guinea jungle. After being Cpl. William A. Wynne’s partner for the next two years, she became something of a WWII mascot. She slept in Wynne’s tent, shared his rations, and followed him wherever he went. Smoky survived over 150 air raids on New Guinea and made it through a typhoon at Okinawa. Thanks to her keen sense of hearing and danger, Smoky saved Wynne’s life on multiple occasions warning him and his comrades of incoming fire. She was also the first therapy dog on record.
Sinbad was a mixed-breed canine sailor aboard the US Coast Guard Cutter George W. Campbell. Sinbad served 11 years of sea duty in the Coast Guard, including combat in WWII. He was originally intended to be a gift for Chief Boatswain’s girlfriend, but the girlfriend’s apartment did not allow dogs. Sinbad put his paw print on his own enlistment papers and was issued his own service identification number. He went on to be awarded the American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and the Navy Occupation Service Medal.
By Dr. Ashley Dawes
The very thought of euthanizing a pet makes our heart sink to the pit of our stomach. When our beloved pets are elderly or ill, we have the enormous responsibility and great gift of deciding when it is the right time to let them go. Euthanasia is a gift to pets and, sometimes, can feel like a curse to owners.
Most of our furry companions are aware that their time to say goodbye is approaching before you do. Of course, this does not make it any easier on the owner. Our pets often times recognize our sadness, conflicted grief, and concern and worry that they might be the cause of our sadness. During the euthanasia process it is important to interact with your pet to comfort them and reassure them that they will always be remembered fondly.
Owners often apologize for crying over their pets, but we as a veterinary profession want you to know that crying is allowed and welcomed. We at Dupont Veterinary Clinic are also pet owners and understand how difficult it can be to see our loved ones suffer. This is a time for pet owners to grieve and remember their loved one’s long and happy life that they have shared together.
The vast majority of pet owners opt to stay with their pets for the euthanasia process. If you can, we highly recommend accompanying your pet through this difficult process. As a veterinary profession it is our responsibility to comfort your loved ones as they pass on when you as the owner cannot do so; however, pets are much more comfortable and relieved when their owners are present. Pets are much more confident when their owners are there to reassure them. If you can find the strength to be there with them during this difficult transition, please let your love, your touch, and your presence be the last thing your pet experiences.
During the euthanasia process, you are welcome to bring treats, tell stories, laugh, cry, and celebrate your friend’s life. Surround yourselves with their favorite blankets or toys. Share your favorite stories of your loved one about that trip you took together or their favorite toy, trick, or past time. This is going to be one of the hardest days of your life, but it does not have to be for your best friend. The more you celebrate your pet’s life, no matter how long or short, the easier it will be to continue to live your own after this difficult transition.
This moment between you and your pet should be just that, entirely about your lives together. Prepare yourself ahead of time to understand the process if possible. Speak with your veterinarian or veterinary technician prior to coming to the clinic to have them discuss the steps with you so you have a better understanding of what is to come.
Each relationship between pet and owner is different, just as every euthanasia is different. While it can be incredibly difficult to cope with and experience euthanasia with your pet, we at Dupont Veterinary Clinic hope to guide you and your furry family member through it as seamlessly as possible. As I heard a veterinarian once say, “We love animals so much, we are willing to experience pain right down to our souls in order to keep them from hurting. What greater gift to give a friend than to suffer in their place?”
By Ashley Dawes, DVM
It can be hard to leave your dog or cat at a boarding facility while you are away on vacation or business since we often times consider them family members. Make sure to do your research to find the kennel that best suits your pet’s needs. Some kennels are very basic and some have all of the extras. Here are some tips on finding a good boarding kennel for your pet.
Looking for a Kennel
When you are starting to look for a boarding kennel, one of the best places to start is by word of mouth from people you know and trust. Getting an honest opinion from someone that has used a boarding kennel can be one of the best evaluation of the facility.
It is a good idea to research a kennel as soon as you bring a cat or dog home, just in case you have an emergency or suddenly need to leave home. Some great places to start looking are by searching online, in the phone book, or even calling Dupont Veterinary Clinic to ask your veterinarian. When searching online, the boarding kennel may have a blog or place for customers to write their own reviews of their services.
Make a trip to the facility in person before scheduling your pet to board. Be sure to look at the sleeping area for your pet, where they will be exercised, the overall cleanliness, and take a look at how comfortable the staff is with your pet and other animals at the facility.
Look at all of the additional services that the facility provides, do they include extra play time or exercise, do they play with your dog, or do they have organized play time with the other dogs. If your pet has a specific diet be sure to communicate that to the facility and see how they will accommodate that or if you need to bring food from home. Talk to the boarding facility about any medications they may be taking to see if they are comfortable or able to give those medications. Especially if your dog is diabetic and needs daily insulin injections, ask them if they would be able to give these injections at the facility and if they are able to properly store the insulin bottle. If your pet has specific health needs make sure you ask them what the facility would do in case of a medical emergency. If your pet has a special bed, blanket or toys, find out if you can bring them when they stay there. Those familiar items may help decrease your pet’s anxiety while being away from home.
Find out Which Immunizations are Required
Once you have selected a boarding facility, be sure to get a list of immunizations your pet will need in order to stay there. Compare the list to your records or call your veterinarian at Dupont Veterinary Clinic to determine if your pet is up to date on all vaccines. Be sure to look at your pet’s vaccine records ahead of time so you can schedule an appointment with your veterinarian if needed.
What to Bring
When taking your pet to the boarding kennel be sure to take any food, medications, toys, or bedding with you. Bring copies of your pet’s vaccination records to show proof of immunization if needed. It is also important to leave multiple phone numbers and an emergency contact just in case it is needed while you are out of town.
Once you have found the kennel that you are comfortable with and your pet is current on all their vaccines, you are ready to leave town! Taking these additional steps ahead of time will ensure that your pet is more comfortable and you will be less concerned about their well-being while you are away. We at Dupont Veterinary Clinic hope you and yours have a happy and healthy holiday season!
Ruby is a 7-year-old black Labrador Retriever that has been trained from an early age to assist her owner that is visually impaired. She was trained to be a guide dog in a program based out of Michigan called Leader Dogs for the Blind. This program not only trains guide dogs but also matches clients with a dog that best fits their lifestyle, travel pace, physical size, stamina, and other considerations. Ruby passed guide dog training with flying colors and has been helping her owner on a day to day basis ever since.
During the first year of training, guide dogs grow up in homes with volunteers of the organization where they are taught basic obedience and are exposed to the world. Guide dogs are then coached through four months of formal harness training with a professional guide dog mobility instructor. It is during these four months that they learn guide dog skills, such as stopping at curbs, avoiding obstacles, and finding doors. For example, Ruby was trained to stop at a street curb and wait for her handler to give the command to go forward. Ruby looks for approaching traffic and decides whether or not it is truly safe to cross the street. In this and numerous other ways guide dogs are able to assist their handlers throughout their day.
Ruby is in semi-retirement according to her handler; however, she still stays by her side each and every day. Ruby goes to work with her owner at an organization that was designed to help individuals with disabilities and mental illness so that they may live as independently as possible. Ruby may be at work but she is well known throughout the office and is quick to greet everyone each morning or even console workers if they are having a tough day. Ruby is a happy-go-lucky girl that is eager to please and ready for any task at hand.
At Dupont Veterinary Clinic we value the human-animal bond that enriches so many lives every day. We are proud of Ruby and guide dogs like her for the wonderful service that they provide for their handlers and we hope you feel the same!