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The Good Samaritan’s Guide: How to Help Feral Cats

17th century philosopher Thomas Hobbes famously described life outside society as “nasty, brutish, and short”. The same can be said for the lives of feral cats (also called “community cats”). Feral cats generally eat from trash bins and must deal with temperature extremes, traffic, mistreatment from humans and other cats, infections, disease, flea infestations, and more.

Anyone who lives near a population of community cats knows how quickly their numbers can grow, and how susceptible the individuals are to disease and injury. Knowing how to help feral cats is key in reducing their numbers and keeping the population healthy.

Life on the Fringe

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), a feral cat is defined as “any cat who is too poorly socialized to be handled…and who cannot be placed into a typical pet home”. Unlike a stray cat, who has become lost or been abandoned by the owners, feral cats are not used to contact with people and are generally too fearful or aggressive to be handled or adopted.
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Mutts Vs. Purebreds: What Pet Owners Need to Know

mutts vs purebredsProspective pet owners have a lot to think about before committing to bringing home a new, four-legged family member. Although many of us gravitate toward a specific pet breed, there are concerns about the overall health and hardiness of a purebred pet, not to mention a desire to help pets in need by adopting from a shelter or rescue. Thus, we may find ourselves struggling with the age-old debate of mutts vs. purebreds.

Genetic Concerns

Inherited diseases and disorders affect all pets, regardless of breed or background, but a purebred animal runs a higher risk of suffering from one of the many damaging genetic conditions. Although there are no hard and fast statistics on the subject, it goes without saying that breeding animals that share similar genetics is going to increase the likelihood of passing on diseases or conditions they may share.

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The Wonderful World of Hairballs! Your Questions Answered

It’s a rare cat owner who gets away without cleaning up a hairball or two (or many, many more). Most feline fanciers are more than familiar with the telltale low hacking sound that accompanies a soggy, hairy, unidentifiable mess on their couch, bed, or new cashmere sweater.

Have you ever wondered why cats produce hairballs? Is it normal? Is it healthy? Can anything be done to stop–or at least reduce–the amount of hairballs produced? Look no further; your friends at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services have everything you’ve ever wanted to know about hairballs right here!

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Spring into Action with Pet Safe Cleaning Tips from OVRS!

The warmer temperatures of spring bring thoughts of backyard barbecues, long walks in the park, and spring cleaning! Cleaning of any sort is a special challenge for pet owners, who not only have extra to clean (shedding fur, grimy food bowls, muddy paw prints, and smelly litter boxes for starters), but who also have to keep the safety of their furry friends in mind at the same time.

The health of your sweet pet is our top priority at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services, so consider the following pet safe cleaning tips our gift to you!

The Importance of Pet Safe Cleaning

Using your favorite commercial cleaner in the bathroom or to mop the kitchen floor may not seem like a big deal, but ingredients commonly found in cleaning products, such as alcohol, ammonia, organic solvents, and phenols, can have serious implications for pets. Not only are pets physically smaller than humans, they use their mouths to groom themselves and explore their worlds, making the chances of coming into contact with a cleaning product that much greater.
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Fatal Flowers: Protect Your Pet From Lily Toxicity

The lily is a hardy, resilient flower grown from a bulb that delights florists and gardeners alike. Its scent is intoxicating and lingering, the colors bright and cheerful, and for some, the flower carries special meaning.

There are over 100 different types of lilies – and they’re all toxic for your pet, especially cats (but some varieties are toxic to dogs as well). Sure, many animals pass a potted, planted, or well-placed lily without eating it. Others, sadly, fall victim to lily toxicity. Because of its dangerous effects, we want to make sure pet owners know what to do to prevent – or manage – a potential poisoning.

The Season for Lilies

Spring reveals many blooms and blossoms, and lilies are among the first that pop up from their well-hidden bulbs so be aware of what’s in your yard (or a neighbor’s yard if your pet goes outside). Not only popular in garden beds, lilies abound in grocery, hardware, and home improvement stores to purchase as gifts around Easter time.

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Pet Owner Tax Breaks You Should Know About

Tuesday, April 18th is drawing nearer, and those of us who haven’t filed our taxes yet are scrambling to get our documents together, ahead of the looming deadline. Although figuring out which tax deductions you are eligible for can be a headache, it may be worth looking into, especially if you’re a pet owner. While you probably won’t be able to write off that $79 football jersey you bought for your Boston Terrier, chances are you may qualify for other pet owner tax breaks.

Pet Owner Tax Breaks

You may consider Fido or Fluffy a full-fledged family member, but the IRS doesn’t see it that way. Although you won’t be able to claim your dog, cat, parakeet, guinea pig, bearded dragon lizard, or any other pet as a dependent, there are a few ways to offset some of the expense that goes along with owning a pet.

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Go Spartans! A Healthy Dose of March Madness

For many, team sports are exceedingly fun to watch – but we’re hard pressed to find a sport that surpasses the chaos and fanfare of college basketball. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is known for hosting sizable tournaments in a variety of sports. However, they’ve achieved unmatched distinction through the promotion and organization of exciting (dare we say frenzied?) basketball games.

This time of year gives way to explosive competitions. The term March Madness describes the heightened enthusiasm surrounding men’s and women’s college basketball, and all of us at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services are eager to thoroughly enjoy this basketball phenomenon. We invite you to join us/compete with us to help determine the next champions of college basketball with our OVRS March Madness Pool! Continue reading

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All About Pet Oncologic Surgery (and Our New Doctor!)

Although cancer is not a word that any pet owner wants to hear, the fact remains that some of our pets will wind up with this diagnosis. Cancer is a reality for roughly 12 million dogs and cats in the United States, and is the leading cause of death in pets over 10 years of age.

While cancer in pets is a scary thought, the prognosis is good for many dogs and cats. More and more pets are receiving treatment, thanks to continuing advances in veterinary medicine. At Oakland Veterinary Referral Services, we are proud to offer a state-of-the-art veterinary oncology department, including diagnostics, treatment services, pet oncologic surgery, and other services designed to meet the varied needs of our precious patients.
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Your Guide To Pet Friendly Travel Planning Sites and Services

Spring hasn’t quite arrived here in Michigan, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start planning for warm weather travel. Spring and summer are the ideal times to hit the road (or the skies), especially if you’re planning on bringing a four-legged companion along.

Today there are more options than ever for pet friendly travel, and getting your furry guy or gal to and from your destination is easier than ever. Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a more extended vacation, the team at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services can help.
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Treat Talk: Navigating the World of Pet Treats

A pet’s love affair with treats is as old and deep as the sea itself. Well, maybe we’re being a bit dramatic, but all pet owners know how much their pets enjoy treats. From the humble Milk-Bone to the gourmet, handmade pet treats that are so prevalent these days, it can be tough to figure out what’s safe and healthy for our pets.

We are big fans of treats here at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services, and we want to help you make informed choices when it comes to selecting the treat that’s right for your pet.

The Big “No-Nos”

There are a surprising number of dangers among certain treats. Balancing the risks and benefits is key when selecting a treat for your pet. Especially hearing about so many recalls in the news. Some of the problems that may result from treats include:
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