Have a Happy, Safe Holiday Season!

Oakland Veterinary Referral Service wishes you and your furry family a very happy, and above all safe, holiday season this year!  Don’t forget the following during your festivities this year:

  • Dangerous objects

Christmas trees, holiday decorations, and wrapped gifts can all be dangerous items that your pet is not used to having around.  Keep decorations and candles out of the reach of playful paws and wagging tails.  Decorative ribbons, string, and tinsel should also be kept away from pets.  Electrical cords can pose a danger as pets may chew on them or become tangled in them.  Before bringing any plants into your home, be sure to check the ASPCA’s list of toxic plants to avoid problems.

  • Hazardous treats

Food and goodies of all kinds abound this time of year!  Beware of treats containing chocolate, raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, and the artificial sweetener xylitol.  Table scraps, particularly those that are fatty or rich, can cause stomach upset ranging from mild vomiting or diarrhea to severe pancreatitis.  Don’t forget about alcohol, either.  That punch or eggnog might be irresistible to your pet, but can cause serious problems upon ingestion.

  • Scary situations

Pets don’t always take to the holidays like humans do.  A houseful of noisy strangers can be a disturbing event for shyer animals.  Make sure that they have a quiet, safe place to “hide” away from the hub-bub.  It is also a good idea to make sure that all pets are wearing identification and/or are micro-chipped with your current contact information in case they slip out the door with Uncle Bob.

Kennel Cough – What you need to know before boarding your dog

Most people have heard of kennel cough and are aware that it is a contagious upper respiratory disease that can be passed from animal to animal in close contact situations such as a boarding facility.  Here are some things you might not realize, however:

  • Kennel cough is often caused by a complex of infectious viruses, often in combination with the bacteria Bordetella.
  • While the kennel cough vaccine protects against Bordetella (and sometimes Parainfluenza virus), there are several other culprits that can be involved.  This means that just because your dog is vaccinated does not mean that it cannot develop kennel cough (Although vaccinated dogs often develop a much less serious illness).
  • Dogs kept in crowded conditions with poor air circulation are more likely to contract the disease.
  • There are two types of kennel cough vaccines- injectable and intranasal.
  • The injectable vaccine needs to be boostered 3-4 weeks after the initial dose to be effective.  The intranasal vaccine requires at least 4 days in order to provide protection to your pet.  This means you should not wait until the last minute to vaccinate your pet.
  • Intranasal vaccination can produce a very mild, self-limiting case of kennel cough.
  • Kennel cough takes 2-14 days from the time of exposure to the development of clinical signs.
  • If your dog is already incubating kennel cough, vaccination will not stop the disease.
  • Most cases of kennel cough are not serious and resolve quickly with treatment.  Occasionally, though, serious complications can develop.  If your pet is not doing better soon after starting treatment, let your veterinarian know immediately.

If you have any questions contact us or reach out to your primary veterinarian.

Does Your Cat Have a Green Thumb?

Many plants can cause serious harm or even death to a curious kitty that may nibble on them.  Does that mean you have to banish all greenery from your house?  Of course not! Here are some feline-friendly plants you can use to make your living space a little greener:

  • Herbs:  Basil, German chamomile (NOT English), coriander, dill, and parsley are all kitty approved!
  • Flowers:  Cornflowers, impatiens, moon orchids, petunias, and zinnias all get two paws up.
  • Greenery: Bamboo, dwarf palms, and sword ferns are feline-friendly, too.

Before bringing any new plants into your home or outdoor areas where your cat may frequent, you can double check if they are safe by consulting the ASPCA’s list of toxic and non-toxic plants.  This website features links to pictures and information about each plant, including a description of any dangers to your cat.

If you have any questions contact us or reach out to your primary veterinarian.

It’s Getting Hot, Hot, Hot!

For many of us, the heat of the summer means pool parties, barbeques, and sun tans.  For many pets, though, the heat can quickly lead to heat exhaustion.  Dogs and cats have an extra layer of insulation cannot always exchange heat as efficiently as we do.  In particular, “smush-face” breeds such as Pugs, Bulldogs, and Persians have a very difficult time.  This doesn’t mean that your pet can’t enjoy the sunshine, it just means that you need to take some extra precautions when the mercury rises.

Keep a close eye on your pet.  If you begin to notice very heavy panting or deep, fast breathing (hyperventilation), it is probably time to get into the air-conditioning.  Other warning signs can include increased salivation, lethargy or disorientation, and vomiting or diarrhea.  Unchecked these signs can quickly develop into seizures or coma.  Pets should be observed regularly if left outside unattended.  Never leave them in a car unattended.

Make sure your pet has what it needs.  Fresh, cool water should be available at all times.  If you are hiking or walking be sure to bring an extra bottle for Fido.  Your pet should have access to shade and the ability to get out of the heat if desired.  Consider getting a small wading pool for your pet to lounge in.

Don’t chance it.  If your pet is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion, seek veterinary care immediately.

If you have any questions contact us or reach out to your primary veterinarian.