The Joys of Pet Adoption

Why adopt a pet when you can purchase exactly what you want from a breeder or a pet store?  Here are a few reasons why!

  • You can feel good about putting a small dent in the pet overpopulation problem.
  • Every time you look at your new pet you will know that you saved a life.
  • You know what you are getting- if you take home an adult animal you know what size, temperament, and medical issues you might be taking on.
  • Many times adopted animals come fully vaccinated and spayed/neutered.  One less thing to worry about!
  • You will know for a fact that you are not supporting puppy mills or other irresponsible breeders.
  • Your new pet will likely come potty trained and socialized!
  • When you adopt a pet you inspire others to do the same.

So, inspire us!  Share your adoption story with us in the comments section or on our Facebook page.  We can’t wait to hear about how you and your pets found each other!

Vaccinations are Important for ALL Pets

Even if your pet lives a relatively tame life, regular vaccinations are an important part of protecting them against debilitating and sometimes fatal illness.  Some diseases that pets can carry are even zoonotic, or transmissible to people.

Pets can be exposed to disease at the grooming salon, boarding kennel, through your window screens, even by a stowaway animal in the house such as a bat, mouse, or raccoon.  Even the most well behaved animal can slip out the door or be involved in a natural disaster during which their normal risk status can change.

Talk with your veterinarian about which vaccines are recommended for your individual pet.

All About Xylitol and the Danger it Poses to Your Pet

The emergency and critical care doctors at OVRS would like to remind pet owners how dangerous Xylitol, an artificial sweetener is for dogs and cats.  The emergency and critical care doctors have reported an increased number of pets being treated for eating xylitol, used as a sugar substitute in foods, including sugar-free gum, sugar-free mints, chewable vitamins, tooth paste and oral-care products. Xylitol is also available in a granulated form at your local grocery store for baking and beverage sweeteners.

Question: Why is xylitol so dangerous for dogs and cats?

Answer: Ingestion of xylitol primarily affects insulin release throughout the body. Insulin causes an increase of glucose (blood sugar) uptake into the liver, muscle, and fat cells resulting in decreasing blood glucose levels.

Xylitol strongly promotes the release of insulin from the pancreas into circulation leading to a rapid decrease of blood glucose levels. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can occur within 30 to 60 minutes of xylitol ingestion with levels as low as 0.1g xylitol /kg body weight.

Hypoglycemia may compound further into liver toxicity, liver damage, and ultimately liver failure. Ingesting amounts of xylitol greater than 0.5 g xylitol /kg body weight increases the risk for developing liver toxicity.

Sugar-free chewing gum is the most common cause of dogs that present to the emergency room. However, the recent introduction of xylitol as a substitute for sugar in grocery stores has increased the potential for toxicity.

Xylitol is perfectly safe for people, but because of different metabolisms, it can be fatal for dogs and cats. A simple piece of cupcake or cookie could kill an animal if the danger is unknown and not addressed immediately.

Question: What are the signs my dog might have eaten xylitol?

Answer: Immediately after ingestion, vomiting may occur. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) develops within 30 to 60 minutes, resulting in lethargy and weakness. These signs may quickly develop into ataxia (trouble walking), collapse, and seizures. Prolonged blood clotting times as well as skin and intestinal hemorrhaging are clinical signs associated with liver toxicity that may develop within hours and warrant a very poor prognosis.

Question: What do I do if I think my dog has eaten xylitol? What is the treatment and prognosis?

Answer: If xylitol ingestion occurs, consult your veterinarian immediately. Inducing vomiting to remove the xylitol is imperative, but close monitoring of blood sugar levels and intravenous infusions of glucose (sugar) may also be needed depending on the amount ingested and how quickly the problem was recognized.

The prognosis for dogs with hypoglycemia is good with immediate and proper treatment, while the prognosis for dogs that have developed liver toxicity is poor. Large ingestions of xylitol (a relatively small amount of the product) that are not caught immediately can result in fulminant liver failure and death despite aggressive supportive care. This can occur in less than 36 hours in dogs that are otherwise young and healthy.

If your dog or cat is exhibiting any of the signs listed above of having eaten xylitol, please contact your regular vet or OVRS immediately.

Cataract Awareness Month

It’s August, and that means that it is cataract awareness month!  Educate yourself on this common pet problem by reading our FAQs:

What is a cataract?

The eye contains a clear lens that helps the eye to focus.  Any opacity that develops in the lens is a cataract.  Very small cataracts may not cause a problem at all, but larger, cloudier opacities can cause blurry or even totally obscured vision.

If my pet’s eyes are cloudy, does that mean it has cataracts?

Most pets will start to have some hardening of the lens as they age.  This results in a grayish-blue haziness to the eye.  This is NOT a cataract and does not usually interfere with vision.

Why did my dog/cat develop cataracts?

Most cataracts are inherited and can occur at any age and develop at any speed in one or both eyes.  Diabetes or other ocular diseases can also cause cataracts to develop.

What can be done about cataracts?

There is nothing that can be done to reverse a cataract once it has developed.  For certain patients, a veterinary ophthalmologist can perform a surgery in which the lens is removed.  This is a delicate and involved procedure, however it can restore vision almost completely.

What if I don’t do surgery?

Most pets do well even if they are blinded by cataracts.  They should be monitored closely, however, as cataracts can lead to painful glaucoma or luxation (displacement) of the lens.

If you have any questions about cataracts please consult with your regular vet, or give us a call.