The Danger of Chocolate To Pets

For a human, a few too many Easter eggs can be seen as a bit indulgent and lead to an afternoon on the sofa in a self-inflicted Danger of chocolate to dogs Falls Road Veterinary Hospitalchocolate coma.

But for a dog it can be potentially life-threatening and, in the most extreme cases, result in death.

Dog owners are warned to be on high alert this Easter and ensure the chocolate is hidden away to ensure dogs are not harmed as a result of chocolate poisoning.

With more instances of discarded Easter Eggs or half-eaten Crème Eggs lying around at Easter than at other times of the year, it is a potential minefield for canines all over the country, and can result in many becoming ill – or even die.

The reason for this toxicity is due to a natural chemical in the cocoa bean called theobromine. Easily digestible by humans, theobromine cannot be broke down by the dog’s digestive system and becomes toxic to dogs, having a serious effect on their nervous system and heart.

As the Easter weekend approaches and people have more chocolate in the home than usual, we’re reminding those with dogs and cats to keep it well out of their reach.

Like with most poisons the toxic impact is dependent on the size of the dog.

Heavier dogs are far less likely to be affected by the same amount of chocolate than those of a smaller size.

For example, it would take just one tablespoon of dark chocolate to severely damage a small Yorkshire Terrier, while 5 tablespoons would lead to a Lab becoming seriously ill.

Yet, it is not only the amount of chocolate that can have effect on how badly a dog reacts. The level of cocoa and the darkness of the chocolate can also have an effect. With darker chocolate containing more of the toxic theobromine than milk chocolate, less is needed to have an adverse effect.

Symptoms of concern for owners can be anything from vomiting, to rapid breathing, to seizures and need to be acted on to ensure that there are not more fatal consequences.

The effects of chocolate poisoning in dogs usually appear within a few hours of eating, and can last as long as 24 hours.

Initial signs can include excessive thirst, vomiting, a sore stomach and restlessness.

These symptoms can then progress to tremors, an abnormal heart rhythm, raised body temperature and rapid breathing.

In severe cases dogs can experience fits, kidney failure and can even die.

If your pet ingest chocolate you should contact your vet for immediately. Please feel free to contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concerns. (301) 983-8400. http://www.fallsroadvet.com,

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Taking the bite out of Fleas & Ticks

TAKING THE BITE OUT OF FLEAS AND TICKS

Fleas are truly devoted to their work. In one day, a single flea can bite your cat or dog more than 400 times. During that same Flea Control Falls Road Veterinary Hospitalday, the flea can consume more than its body weight of your pet’s blood. And before it’s through, a female flea can lay hundreds of eggs on your pet, ensuring that its work will be carried on by generations to come.

Flea bites may be merely a nuisance to some pets, but to others, they can be dangerous. They can cause flea allergy dermatitis—an allergic reaction to proteins in flea saliva. A pet’s constant scratching to rid itself of fleas can cause permanent hair loss and other skin problems. A pet can get a tapeworm if it eats a flea that has one. And flea feasts on your pet’s blood can lead to anemia and, in rare cases, death.

But fleas are not your pet’s only nemesis. Tick bites can give your pet such infections as Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. And ticks can give those same infections to you.

In years past, veterinarians recommended getting rid of fleas by simultaneously “bombing” the house with insecticide, spraying the yard, and dipping the dog or cat. Today, treating only the pet often takes care of the problem. But if there is a severe flea infestation or if the problem persists, you may still need to treat the pet’s environment,

Types of Flea and Tick Products

Hundreds of pesticides, repellents, and growth inhibitors are approved or licensed to control fleas and ticks on cats and dogs or in their environment. Products range from oral medications that require a veterinarian’s prescription to collars, sprays, dips, shampoos, and powders that are available at retail stores. Some products kill only ticks or adult fleas—others break the flea life cycle by preventing flea eggs from developing into adult fleas.

Some flea and tick products are not prescription drugs, yet are available only through veterinarians. This is because the manufacturer chooses to sell its products through vets, so that the vet can provide important safety information to the client.

The Preventic collar is one such product. The collar kills ticks by interfering with a tick’s ability to feed on dogs. It contains the insecticide amitraz, which paralyzes the tick’s mouthparts. Amitraz should not be used on dogs that are sickly, pregnant, or nursing, or with certain drugs that may interact with the insecticide. The manufacturer, Virbac Corp., Fort Worth, Texas, sells the collar through veterinarians, who can ensure that a dog is healthy and can use the collar safely.

When to Treat

It’s best to treat your pet year round. The severity and length of the flea season vary depending on which part of the country you live in. It can last four months in some places, but in other places, like Florida, fleas can live all year long. Fleas can also  live inside a warm house year-round.

In many areas, September is often the worst month for flea infestation. In most parts of the United States, the greatest chance of infection by a tick bite is May through September, the period of greatest tick activity by “nymphs.” Nymphs are the stage of tick development that occurs after they have had their first blood meal and molt, and before they become adults.

Lyme Disease

About 200 species of ticks live in the United States. Some of these can transmit infectious diseases, such as Lyme disease, to pets and humans. Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium transmitted through the bite of the deer tick, also called the black-legged tick, which is no larger than the head of a pin.

Typical symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs include joint soreness and lameness, fever, and loss of appetite. Symptoms in humans include fatigue, chills and fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, and a red, circular skin rash.

Read the Label, Talk to Your Vet

When buying a flea or tick product, it’s important for pet owners to read the label and follow the directions carefully. There can be serious problems with the misuse of dog flea and tick control products containing the insecticide permethrin. Dogs can tolerate concentrated permethrin, but it can be lethal to cats. Never use products on cats that are labeled for use on dogs only.

If the label states that the product is for animals of a certain age or older, don’t use the product on pets that are younger. Flea combs, which can pick up fleas, flea eggs, and ticks, may be useful on puppies and kittens that are too young for flea and tick products.

Talk to your vet about the flea and tick product most appropriate for your pet. The product you use will depend on your pet’s health and age, whether your pet is a cat or a dog, and whether it’s an indoor or outdoor pet. Also check with your vet to determine whether the Lyme vaccine is right for your dog.

Using Flea and Tick Products Safely

  • Read the label carefully before use. If you don’t understand the wording, ask your veterinarian or call the manufacturer.
  • Follow directions exactly. If the product is for dogs, don’t use it on cats or other pets. If the label says use weekly, don’t use it daily. If the product is for the house or yard, don’t put it directly on your pet.
  • After applying the product, wash your hands immediately with soap and water. Use protective gloves if possible.
  • If your pet shows symptoms of illness after treatment, call your veterinarian. Symptoms of poisoning may include poor appetite, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive salivation.
  • Store products away from food and out of children’s reach.

Please feel free to contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concerns. (301) 983-8400. http://www.fallsroadvet.com

 

How To Recognize Heat Exhaustion/Stroke In Dogs

Summertime is here, the heat is upon us and you may be planning vacations, weekend getaways or just some fun hikes with your dogs. You may be able to recognize the Heat Stroke In Dogsdangers of heat exhaustion or heat stroke in humans (i.e.: headache, dizziness, fatigue, disorientation, hot Dry skin, rapid heartbeat) but how do you recognize it in dogs? How is heatstroke in dogs prevented? How is it treated? Help your dog this summer by educating yourself and becoming aware of your dog’s surroundings and by using preventative measures to ensure your dog’s safety. I would recommend that you learn what are your dog’s normal resting heart rate, respiratory rate and temperature before starting out your vacation or daily hikes in the sun.

Dogs cool off by panting, exchanging warmer air from the body for the cooler air outside. They do not sweat to cool off the way humans do, although they can release some moisture through the pads of their feet. The average body temperature for a dog is between 100- 103 degrees and when the outside temperatures reach 85 – 90 degrees or more, cooling off becomes more difficult for the dog. Exercising during the heat, even just a walk, increases panting and loss of body fluid begins. Short nosed breeds such as pugs, bulldogs, boxers, and the Pekinese can overheat more quickly because they can not exchange air as efficiently. Recognizing this will help you to help your dog in the hot summer months. Most of us have heard that leaving a dog in a car, even with the windows rolled down while you pop into a store for something can be fatal. The inside car temperature can jump quickly on warm days as well as overcast days due to the concentration of UV rays penetrating the car’s windows. If you choose to leave your dog outside at home, make sure that the dog has plenty of cool fresh water to drink and plenty of shade. Dog runs and tie downs for dogs can be a hazard when the sun changes position and the shade moves or disappears completely. You may have to provide a shade umbrella, small wading pool, or extra bins of water.

Now that you have taken some measures to prevent heat stroke at home, let’s look at what you’ll need to be aware of when you are out and about with your dog. Hiking, long walks or even just a long day at your child’s baseball games, can be hard on your dog too. Make sure you bring plenty of water, a shade umbrella or tent and maybe even some ice and a towel to help cool off the dog’s undersides if he starts showing signs of heat exhaustion. Plan on taking water breaks in the shade every 15 minutes for at least 5 minutes on hot days when you are hiking. When you are walking on hot sand or asphalt, your dog’s feet can burn. Watch out for metal manhole covers on sidewalks. Be aware of your dog’s behavior and know what is abnormal for your dog. Learn to recognize the following symptoms and act quickly to cool your dog down

Heatstroke symptoms include:

  • Rapid, sometimes frantic, excessive panting
  • Tongue and mucus membranes are bright pink or red and the saliva is thick and tenacious (drooling does not mean that your dog is hydrated! Check the consistency of the drool!)
  • Vomiting and sometimes diarrhea that can be bloody
  • Unsteady, staggering gait
  • Nose and ears dry and hot to the touch
  • Body (rectal) temperature is 104 degrees or higher

What to do:

  • Move your dog to the shade
  • Drinking cool water alone will not fix the problem! Do not let your dog guzzle large amounts of water at a time.
  • Immerse your dog in cool NOT icy cold water. Use a garden hose or bucket to cool the undersides including the groin and arm pits. Use a wet towel or bandana to cool underside if a hose is unavailable
  • Pack ice in wet towels and use on underside and head to help cool dog
  • Get the dog to a vet! Even after he seems to be cooled down!

Some signs to recognize as your dog is starting to become overheated include, whining, fidgeting, and as they pant the tongue extends much further than normal and may be scooped at the end like a big spoon with slimy drool at the tip. If you can cool them off at this point, you can avoid the harsher condition of heat stroke which is very serious and can be fatal.

We recommend having your vet’s contact information in your phone just in case you need it in a hurry when you are out and about and you may even want to make a list of the animal emergency clinics that are close to your home as well. Prevention, knowledge of your dog’s normal behavior and being prepared will help you to enjoy the outdoors with your dog safely in all types of weather.

Please contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions. (301) 983-8400. http://www.fallsroadvet.com

Dog Profile Of The Week – Basset Hound

Despite its low height of under 15 inches, the basset hound is a medium to large dog, weighing in at anywhere from 40 pounds for a small female Basset Houndsto 80 pounds for a large male (18 to 36 kilograms).

Bassets are very heavy-boned dogs with a large body on fairly short legs. Because they are bulky, bassets are slow maturing dogs, often not reaching full size until two years old. Bassets are immediately recognizable by their short, crooked legs, their long hanging ears and their large heads with hanging lips, sad expressive eyes, and wrinkled foreheads. The tail curves up and is carried somewhat gaily. The body is long and with the short legs gives bassets a rectangular appearance. The basset has a nice short, tight coat, with no long hair on legs or tail. Colors most commonly seen are tricolor or red and white but any hound color is acceptable.

Personality:

The basset hound is a friendly, easygoing dog. Originally hunting in packs, they tend to be good with other dogs and other pets in general. Bassets are people oriented and get along well with children. Fairly smart dogs, bassets are not easy to train as they are somewhat stubborn. A firm, patient hand with plenty of creativity is required to bring out the best in them. Bassets can be serious barkers and with their sturdy feet and nails they tend to be diggers. The hunting urge is still quite strong and if not safely confined they will go off hunting on their own.

Living With:

Basset hounds need a firm person in charge of their feeding as they have a definite tendency to become obese, which can cause serious problems with their long backs. Bassets are not high-powered athletes who need to run every day, but they should have a good long walk at least once daily to keep them fit. Most bassets live to 12 or 13 years.

Having developed as pack animals, basset hounds do feel a need for company and are happiest when they have their families around. They are not great watchdogs. Although they may bark, but they then greet strangers happily. The loose lips lead to a fair amount of drooling and many owners keep towels strategically placed around the house for cleanup. Bassets left alone to their own devices can easily become nuisance barkers or diggers. Bassets are fairly intelligent dogs, but they are not the easiest to train. Start training right off with puppies and do plenty of positive training to keep them interested. They enjoy tracking and hunting, even if only as a casual pastime. Grooming is fairly quick and easy and involves just a swipe with a brush once or twice a week. In between groomings, the basset may track a great deal of mud or dirt into the house because of their low stature and big feet.

History:

The basset hound comes from as far back as the 1500s when the pre-revolutionary French were using low slung, heavy-bodied hounds to trail rabbits. The word “bas” is French for “low” befitting the basset hound’s stature. A number of the short, bowlegged French hunting dogs and the basset hound we recognize today were fine-tuned in England in the 1800s. With the exception of height and leg conformation, they are similar to the St. Hubert’s hound.

Bassets were selected not only for their outstanding scenting skills, but also because hunters could keep up with the slow-paced dogs. They not only hunted rabbits and hares, but were also sometimes used to track larger wounded game.
In the United States, the Basset quickly moved on from hunting dog to family pet. Familiarized to the public by cartoons, such as “Fred the Basset,” and in commercials, such as Hush Puppies™ shoes, the basset hound is now primarily a companion dog.

Please feel free to contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions. (301) 983-8400. http://www.fallsroadvet.com

Dog Profile Of The Week – German Shepherd

German shepherd dogs reach a maximum of about 25 inches in height, and they weigh up to about 95 pounds (41 kilograms).

He is a well-proportioned dog. The head is broad and tapers handsomely to a sharp muzzle. The ears are rather large and stand erect. The back is level and muscular, and German Shepherdthe tail is bushy and curves downward. The coat is thick and rough and may be black, tan, black and tan or gray. The coat should be harsh and of medium length; however, long-coated individuals occur often.

The breed lives about 10-12 years.

Personality:

German shepherd dogs get along well with children and other pets if raised with them, but in keeping with their guarding instincts, they tend to be leery of strangers.

The breed is considered to be smart and easy to train.

Some poorly bred German shepherd dogs can be high-strung and nervous. Coupled with poor socialization and inadequate training, over guarding and aggressive behavior are risks.

Living With:

Because German shepherd dogs are large and powerful and have strong guarding instincts, great care should be taken to purchase German shepherds from reputable breeders. Poorly bred dogs are more likely to be nervous.

To prevent over guarding and aggressive behavior, German shepherd dogs should be carefully socialized from a young age and be obedience trained. They should be with the family and continually exposed under supervision to people and other pets around the neighborhood; they should not be confined to a kennel or backyard either alone or with other dogs.

German shepherd dogs are active and like to have something to do. They need ample exercise daily; otherwise, they can get into mischief or become high-strung.

The dog sheds heavily about twice yearly, and the rest of the time sheds a lesser amount continually. To control shedding and keep the coat nice, brush at least a few times a week.

History:

German shepherd dogs are, as their name implies, a breed that originated in Germany. They were developed beginning in the late 1800s by crossing various herding breeds. The breed was subjected to stringent selection and it progressed quickly. In the United Kingdom, the dogs are known as Alsatians because fanciers of the breed there wanted to protect the dog from anti-German sentiments after World War I.

German shepherd dogs were introduced in the United States by soldiers returning home from World War I. The breed caught the public eye because of movie stars Strongheart and later, Rin Tin Tin. By World War II German shepherd dogs were the military breed of choice. The first guide dogs were German shepherd dogs. Today, they are one of the most popular dogs in America. In 1999, German shepherd dogs were third on the American Kennel Club’s list of the Top 50 Breeds.

The German shepherd dog is a herding breed known for its courage, loyalty and guarding instincts. This breed makes an excellent guard dog, police dog, military dog, guide dog for the blind and search and rescue dog. For many families, the German shepherd is also a treasured family pet.

Please feel free to contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions. (301) 983-8400. http://www.fallsroadvet.com.

 

Pet Heat Advisory

We all love spending the long, sunny days of summer outdoors with our furry companions, but being overeager in hot weather can spell danger, warn ASPCA experts. Heat Advisory

Even the healthiest pets can suffer from dehydration, heat stroke and sunburn if overexposed to the heat and heat stroke can be fatal if not treated promptly.

Take these simple precautions, provided by ASPCA experts, to help prevent your pet from overheating. And if you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke, get help from your veterinarian immediately.

No Parking!
Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, a parked car can become a furnace in no time—even with the windows open—which could lead to fatal heat stroke. Also, leaving pets unattended in cars in extreme weather is illegal in several states.

Know the Warning Signs
Symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. They can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees. Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.

Made in the Shade
Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful to not over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.

Summer Style
Giving your dog a lightweight summer haircut helps prevent overheating. Shave down to a one-inch length, never to the skin, so your dog still has some protection from the sun. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. As far as skin care, be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.

Street Smarts
When the temperature is very high, don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close the ground, your pooch’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.

Make a Safe Splash
Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool—not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals that could cause stomach upset.

Screen Test
During warmer months, the ASPCA sees an increase in injured animals as a result of High-Rise Syndrome, which occurs when pets—mostly cats—fall out of windows or doors and are seriously or fatally injured. Pet owners need to know that this is completely preventable if they take simple precautions. Keep all un-screened windows or doors in your home closed and make sure adjustable screens are tightly secured.

If you suspect that your pet is experiencing any symptoms of illness or injury please contact you vet immediately!

Please feel free to contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concerns. (301) 983-8400. http://www.fallsroadvet.com.