It’s National Pet Week!

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We all love our pets, so what better way to celebrate them than now during National Pet Week! Maybe treat them to extra belly rubs, an extra walk or an extra snack – but here in Pennsylvania, there’s another way too.

Years ago, PVMA created our pet photo contest in honor of National Pet Week. Any child in Pennsylvania in grades K-12 can participate. Here’s how it works:

“A MOMENT IN TIME: LOVING AND CARING FOR OUR PETS”

Children can submit a photo which demonstrates the theme “A Moment in Time: Loving and Caring For Our Pets,” and they could win a $50 prize.

  • Photos must be digital, and should be submitted via email to Lori Raver at lraver@pavma.org.
  • Photos should be solely the work of the student
  • Email submissions should include the student’s name, address, phone number, school, and grade.
  • Deadline to submit a photo is May 31, 2016.

PVMA will provide a $50 cash award and a plaque for the first place winner in each grade.

SHOW YOUR FRIENDS WITH OUR ONLINE GALLERY!

Each entry to the PVMA Photo Contest will be added to our online gallery prior to judging in June so you can share with your friends! Submit a photo now!

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Keep your felines safe during Cat Health Month

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CatHealthFebruary is Cat Health Month. Use these resources from PVMA to keep America’s number 1 pet happy and healthy all year long.

Things to Consider Before Getting a Cat fact sheet
Think you’re ready to get a cat? Use this fact sheet to see if you’ve considered all the factors.

Feline Lifestyle Assessment
Having a complete picture of your cat or kitten’s life can help your veterinarian provide better treatment and recommendations for your cat.

Feline-ality Cat Personality Matching
Use this tool from the ASPCA to assess your preferences and expectations when thinking of adopting a new cat.

Bringing Home a New Kitten
A new kitten can be exciting. Start life with your new friend off on the right foot with proper veterinary care, nutrition, and socialization.

kitten jumping

The Importance of Preventive Care
Think your pet only needs to see the veterinarian when something’s wrong? Learn how regular visits can prevent illness instead.

Traveling and Moving With Your Cat
Traveling with cats is legendary – for all the wrong reasons. Learn how to make is less stressful and safe.

Cats and Lilies fact sheet
In addition to other plants, lilies are particularly poisonous to cats. Learn how to prevent accidental ingestion and what to do if it happens.

Spaying and Neutering
Did you know? Spaying and neutering prevents pet overpopulation while also keeping your cat healthy. ​

April is Prevention of Lyme Disease in Dogs Month

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tick

Ok, so April has quite a few things attached to it (Prevent of cruelty to animals, Pet first aid awareness, etc.), but for today’s purposes, we’re preventing lyme disease! Or trying to. As this week – here in Central PA anyway – is the first week that’s had any hint of spring to it at all. Your dogs are likely itching to get outside and play, and unfortunately, so are the ticks.

So what is Lyme Disease anyway?
Lyme disease is a bacterial disease caused by Borrelia burgdorferi (boar-ELL-ee-uh burg-dorf-ERR-eye). Within 1 to 2 weeks of being infected, people may have a “bull’s-eye” rash with fever, headache, and muscle or joint pain. Some people have Lyme disease and do not have any early symptoms. Other people have a fever and other “flu-like” symptoms without a rash.

After several days or weeks, the bacteria may spread throughout the body of an infected person. These people can get symptoms such as rashes in other parts of the body, pain that seems to move from joint to joint, and signs of inflammation of the heart or nerves. If the disease is not treated, a few patients can get additional symptoms, such as swelling and pain in major joints or mental changes, months after getting infected.

How can I protect myself from Lyme disease?

  • Whenever possible, you should avoid entering areas that are likely to be infested with ticks, particularly in spring and summer when nymphal ticks feed.
  • If you are in an area with ticks, you should wear light-colored clothing so that ticks can be spotted more easily and removed before becoming attached.
  • If you are in an area with ticks, wear long-sleeved shirts, and tuck your pants into socks. You may also want to wear high rubber boots (since ticks are usually located close to the ground).

For more information on protecting yourself and your pets from Lyme disease, download our PVMA Lyme Disease fact sheet with more precautions and information. Learn more about Lyme disease, including answers to frequently asked questions, the natural history of Lyme disease and a narrated documentary at CDC’s Lyme disease website at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/lyme.  

A Day in the Life: Nikki Kline – My Newborn Trial!

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The attack kitten

A few months ago Kyle and I were “graced” with the presence of a two-week old kitten. We had been considering getting another cat (although we were thinking adult, who am I to mess with fate), so we decided keep him. Since that period we have gone through multiple different phases of “what was I thinking?!?!?!” He is not my first kitten that I’ve raised from a bottle baby, but I don’t remember it being nearly this hard!
The first two weeks, he still needed all the “hardcore” mommy stuff. Feeding every 3-4 hours didn’t use to be an issue when I was younger. However the 2nd night, as I was sitting in my basement at 3:00 AM bottle feeding him, I was trying really hard to figure out how human moms found this to be good bonding time and how I was going to stay awake for the twelve-hour day that was starting in five hours. He also refused to poop for what seemed like forever when it was time to make him potty. During the day, he was so adorable and snuggly it made up for all the not sleeping nights.
Around four weeks, I started to try to introduce kitten milk in a dish as well as a slurry of kitten milk with canned kitten food…he wanted no parts of it. I, initially, wasn’t too worried about it. Everyone develops at his/her own rate, and I wasn’t going to push him. So I kept offering and bottle feeding, except at 6 weeks, I still managed to have a kitten that wouldn’t lick anything! (and if I let him, he would suck down two bottles worth of food in one feeding). I started getting pushier about the eating on his own, and multiple times, I’m pretty sure he almost drowned in his own food bowl because he wouldn’t lick but would suckle it instead. He also is long haired (yes somehow the girl that said she could never have a long haired cat now has two!), and LOVED playing in the gruel I made him. So he became a pro at almost daily baths. Eventually, he skipped totally over the licking of the milk and went to just straight wet food, except instead of licking or biting it he suckled it and pushed it EVERYWHERE!
I’ve had a bowl of kitten dry food out for him since he started being offered real food, and obviously he had no interest in this because you couldn’t suckle it. My cats eat a mixture of dry and canned, and I decided he was going to follow that trend as well, even if he didn’t agree. So I started trying different varieties, and had the doctors check him to make sure he seemed to be formed correctly. All seemed normal, I tried every combination of food mixture I could come up with and nothing worked, including chicken AND turkey. Until one day, he was sitting on my lap while I was eating Cheez-its (one of my favorite snacks), I accidently dropped and he suddenly woofed it down without a problem!!! So I finally have him weaned over from dry food… with a Cheez- it crumbled in it to just dry food in the bowl.
His newest trait is attack! And he does it well, literally. I can be sitting on the couch and in five minutes he will go from attacking me, the carpet, a toy, the other pets and sometimes even his own body parts. This goes on for hours! Literally 99% of the time when we try to pet him or pick him up he is biting us, fairly aggressively and persistently. When walking our legs are randomly scaled, and the dog can’t even wag her tail without attack. Slink and Norbert are being stalked, pounced and mostly taking solace in the fact he can’t climb everything yet. When he is not in his attack mode, he is curled up usually on my shoulder snuggling and purring away and it makes it all worth it.
Although I don’t remember any of my other kittens putting me through nearly as many obstacles as he has done, in the end with patience and working on “manners,” I’m pretty sure he will turn out to be an adorable, sweet and fun cat (I’m just not convinced this will happen before he is twelve-years-old at this point, haha).

Nikki Kline, Veterinary Technician
French Creek Veterinary Hospital
www.frenchcreekvet.com

A little bit of everything

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japaneseboyI’ve got more than one timely thing I want to touch on, so I’ll just touch on them all! (After all it’s Friday, I can do what I want.)

This Sunday, September 28, is World Rabies Day. While most of us in the US get our dogs and cats vaccinated and then think that rabies is mostly left to the odd wildlife creature, in poorer and less developed countries, rabies is a real threat. Especially to children who are more likely to get bitten. In the Pan-American region, Haiti in particular has a big rabies problem in dogs that roam freely, and the sad fact is that with vaccines, it’s 100% preventable. Click here to learn more about what’s being done from the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) and make a donation if you so choose. A $20 donation buys the vaccine for 50 dogs – that’s a lot.

September is also Disaster Preparedness Month. Disaster preparedness can take many shapes, but in terms of PVMA, we’re thinking about having a plan for the whole family – including pets – if a disaster would happen. Make a plan of where you would stay if you had to leave your home and had to take your pets with you. Do you have their medications? Do they fit in the car? Do you have a pet-friendly place you can stay? Things we take for granted everyday can suddenly become a huge problem during an emergency. Click here to view our disaster preparedness fact sheet and get some ideas of where you need help.

Friday fun! Here are some random things that I like and hope you will too. Have a great weekend!

In the news …

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Harper and Lola

In the past week, I’ve seen several good animal videos and photo essays covering a range of issues and just plain cuteness. Instead of telling you all about them, I thought I’d share. Enjoy!

Frostie the Snow Goat
Frostie – possibly the cutest goat ever – lost the use of his back legs through disease. See how happy he is to get his very own wheelchair.

Mr. G the Goat
Mr G is a goat that was rescued from a hoarding situation who was then separated from his best friend, a burro. See them reunited!

Harlow And Indiana, Instagram’s Best Friends
A photo essay about two dogs that will melt your heart.

Nothing Comes Between a Kid and Their Dog
’nuff said.

BBFF – Bull Dog Best Friend Forever
Harper has no siblings, so her mom got her a bulldog.

A Day in the Life: Dr. Casey Kurtz – Flea-nial!

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itchy_dogFleas, fleas, fleas! (I hope this isn’t like Beetlejuice). I see cases almost everyday, and despite all the chemicals, insect repellents and bug bombs out there, fleas not only persist, but they also flourish. Where do they come from? Are they the spawn of Satan? Are they magical creatures sent from another dimension to mess with our minds? I know ecologically they have a job and a place in the environment. For instance, they do help to enrich and maintain specific soil environments. (Please don’t ask me what those soil characteristics are.) Personally, I wish they would enrich someone else’s soil far away from my patients and me.

It used to be more of a summer issue, but, truthfully, with all the warm winters we’ve had, I see fleas even in the winter. It does not matter if it is a house with only dogs or only cats. It does not matter if your animals never go outside. It does not matter if your dogs are treated and your cats are not. Anyone and everyone’s pets can get fleas if they are not treated with flea preventatives. They commonly come in through the basement or the attic. Fleas are everywhere. They are pervasive!

The two tell tale signs exist (this is the magician’s secret, so hold on for the spoiler alert). The first sign involves hairloss and scabs centered around the back part of the animal just in front of the tail. A second symptom is that your pet will be sleeping and all of a suddenly jump up and start biting at him/herself. The presence of flea dirt, which looks like pepper on your pet’s skin, is also a big hint.

Once your pet is infested, they will rarely go away without using a topical or oral flea preventative. Fleas are like that crazy relative that brings three suitcases for a weekend visit and then stays for months. Given that half of the flea life cycle is spent partying in the environment away the pet, it can take a good three months of continual household and pet treatment to be flea free. They even live in the vacuum cleaner bags (or sweeper bags if you are from Western PA).

What products actually help? I truly think consistency is much more important than the actual product. (I must make the disclaimer that I am not getting kick-backs from any of these companies…if I was, I’d be driving a much faster car!) Also, this is just my opinion, others may disagree with me. For fleas AND ticks, Vectra, Advantix, Advantage and Frontline Plus do the job. Revolution works reasonably well for fleas and also helps with mites. Orally, Sentinel and Comfortis quickly kill adult fleas.

Now for the naughty list; I have seen multiple failures with Pet Armor, which was marketed as the generic Frontline, and it is the ORIGINAL Frontline, NOT Frontline Plus which is what has been used for years. The other products that I STRONGLY avoid are anything made by the Hartz company. Many patients have had severe, life-threatening reactions, and the product often fails to control flea population. Tossing change into a fountain and making a wish may be just as effective. Hartz must have a good marketing department and an even better legal division.

Well, I guess I’ll step off my soap box long enough to wish everyone a healthy, flea-free season. Feel free to ask any questions … that is … if you’re itching for more!

Casey Kurtz, VMD, is a veterinarian at French Creek Veterinary Hospital
www.frenchcreekvet.com