Monthly Archives: October 2011

Halloween Safety Tips


Halloween can be a fun time of year for the whole family – even your dog. However, there are also many potential dangers and sources of stress for your dog. Just remember to keep your dog safe from these Halloween hazards.

Halloween Candy and Other Treats

Remember that human treats are not usually good for dogs! Candy – especially chocolate – can be extremely toxic to your dog. Artificially sweetened candy, gum and other goodies may also contain xylitol, a highly toxic substance. Dogs may also ingest food wrappers, causing a risk of choking, upset stomach or gastrointestinal blockage. Various party snacks can be too salty and may contain ingredients that can poison your dog. Alcoholic beverages and dogs do not mix – they pose a significant risk of severe illness or even death! Keep all of these “human goodies” far out of your dog’s reach. If you are not positive that you can keep your dog away from these hazards, then consider confining your pet to another area of your home during the festivities. Keeping appropriate dog treats around for your dog can be a great idea, but remember not to overfeed. Sliced carrots or apples (hold the caramel) can be tasty and healthy snack alternatives for people and dogs alike!

Halloween Decorations

Your dog is bound to be curious about new objects around the house, and that includes Halloween decorations. Be sure decorations are not in areas where your dog could ingest them or bump into them. Power cords trip your dog or lead to electrical shock if chewed. Be careful with the placement of jack-o-lanterns – have you ever seen a dog eat a whole pumpkin? It is not pretty! Also, candles can be knocked over, potentially burning your dog and/or starting a fire. Other decorations can be eaten or broken, causing serious harm to your dog. Have fun and decorate – just think about your dog first!

Trick-or-Treaters and other Guests

Though many dogs love visitors, some can become fearful of strangers. Many dogs will even be afraid of people they know if those people are in costumes. Plus, constant ringing of the doorbell might get your dog over-excited or very stressed out. Think about your dog’s typical reaction to visitors and take extra precautions for Halloween. Keep your dog at a distance when greeting trick-or-treaters by putting up an baby gate or confining her to another area of the home. When inviting guests into your home, introduce them to your dog in a positive manner. If your dog seems afraid of guests in costumes, remove her from the situation calmly. During parties and loud gatherings, your dog might do best in another area of your home unless she is used to these types of events and has done well in the past.

Halloween Costumes for Dogs

Some dogs really enjoy getting dressed in costumes- they might ham it up and revel in the attention. Other dogs can become scared or uncomfortable in clothing of any type. If you want to dress your dog up, start simple and see how she handles it. If she does not like it, then don’t push the issue. Try a Halloween bandanna or collar instead. If your dog does seem to enjoy getting dressed up, be certain you choose a costume that fits comfortably. If it is too tight, it could cut off circulation or cause sores to develop. Loose-fitting outfits can trip your dog or get caught on objects around the house. Because of these potential dangers, never leave your dog unattended in the costume. She could become injured or may ingest parts of the costume and choke, become sick, or develop gastrointestinal blockage.

Outdoor Dangers

I personally feel that unsupervised dogs are best kept indoors year-round, though some dogs will do fine living outdoors alone. However, the rules are different during the Halloween season! It is extremely crucial that you keep your dog indoors unless directly supervised. Sadly, there are cruel people who have twisted ideas of fun this time of year – and your dog can be the victim. Though it is more widely know that black cats are targeted during Halloween, any household pet can be at risk and MUST be kept indoors!

Your dog can be part of Halloween fun if you play it safe. As always, follow common dog safety rules: be certain that your dog wears current identification at all times, keep your dog on a leash when outdoors, and keep her safe from potentially dangerous situations. Have fun, be safe and have a happy Halloween!

No Scaredy Cats This Halloween: Top 10 Safety Tips for Pet Parents


Attention, animal lovers, it’s almost the spookiest night of the year! The ASPCA recommends taking some common sense precautions this Halloween to keep you and your pet saying “trick or treat!” all the way to November 1.

1. No tricks, no treats: That bowl of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Scruffy and Fluffy. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems. If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

2. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, but they can produce stomach upset in pets who nibble on them.

3. Wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations should be kept out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet might suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.

4. A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise caution if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.

5. Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets. Please don’t put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it (yup, a few pets are real hams!). For pets who prefer their “birthday suits,” however, wearing a costume may cause undue stress.

6. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal’s movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Also, be sure to try on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting him go au naturale or donning a festive bandana.

7. Take a closer look at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.

8. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.

9. When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn’t dart outside.

10. IDs, please! Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver, increaing the chances that he or she will be returned to you

_ASPCA Halloween Pet Safety Tips. http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/pet-care-tips/halloween-safety-tips.aspx

Halloween Candy Drive for the Troops

It’s almost time for halloween & and if you are anything like us, you are troubled by the same thing year after year ….. leftover halloween candy. Well, we are here to help! Just bring by any leftover candy & drop it off at our office between Oct 31 and Nov 10 & we will have that candy shipped to our US service men & women stationed overseas.

You’re Welcome 😉

Trick or Treat


Halloween can be a fun time of year for the whole family – even your dog. However, there are also many potential dangers and sources of stress for your dog. Just remember to keep your dog safe from these Halloween hazards.

Halloween Candy and Other Treats

Remember that human treats are not usually good for dogs! Candy – especially chocolate – can be extremely toxic to your dog. Artificially sweetened candy, gum and other goodies may also contain xylitol, a highly toxic substance. Dogs may also ingest food wrappers, causing a risk of choking, upset stomach or gastrointestinal blockage. Various party snacks can be too salty and may contain ingredients that can poison your dog. Alcoholic beverages and dogs do not mix – they pose a significant risk of severe illness or even death! Keep all of these “human goodies” far out of your dog’s reach. If you are not positive that you can keep your dog away from these hazards, then consider confining your pet to another area of your home during the festivities. Keeping appropriate dog treats around for your dog can be a great idea, but remember not to overfeed. Sliced carrots or apples (hold the caramel) can be tasty and healthy snack alternatives for people and dogs alike!

Halloween Decorations

Your dog is bound to be curious about new objects around the house, and that includes Halloween decorations. Be sure decorations are not in areas where your dog could ingest them or bump into them. Power cords trip your dog or lead to electrical shock if chewed. Be careful with the placement of jack-o-lanterns – have you ever seen a dog eat a whole pumpkin? It is not pretty! Also, candles can be knocked over, potentially burning your dog and/or starting a fire. Other decorations can be eaten or broken, causing serious harm to your dog. Have fun and decorate – just think about your dog first!

Trick-or-Treaters and other Guests

Though many dogs love visitors, some can become fearful of strangers. Many dogs will even be afraid of people they know if those people are in costumes. Plus, constant ringing of the doorbell might get your dog over-excited or very stressed out. Think about your dog’s typical reaction to visitors and take extra precautions for Halloween. Keep your dog at a distance when greeting trick-or-treaters by putting up an baby gate or confining her to another area of the home. When inviting guests into your home, introduce them to your dog in a positive manner. If your dog seems afraid of guests in costumes, remove her from the situation calmly. During parties and loud gatherings, your dog might do best in another area of your home unless she is used to these types of events and has done well in the past.

Halloween Costumes for Dogs

Some dogs really enjoy getting dressed in costumes- they might ham it up and revel in the attention. Other dogs can become scared or uncomfortable in clothing of any type. If you want to dress your dog up, start simple and see how she handles it. If she does not like it, then don’t push the issue. Try a Halloween bandanna or collar instead. If your dog does seem to enjoy getting dressed up, be certain you choose a costume that fits comfortably. If it is too tight, it could cut off circulation or cause sores to develop. Loose-fitting outfits can trip your dog or get caught on objects around the house. Because of these potential dangers, never leave your dog unattended in the costume. She could become injured or may ingest parts of the costume and choke, become sick, or develop gastrointestinal blockage.

Howl-o-ween Costume Contest


Does your pet like banana splits? Is there another costume that is his or her favorite? KAH is having a Howl-o-ween costume contest. E-mail your photo (one photo per pet, please) to howloween@kingsbrookvet.com. All entries will be placed in an online gallery and each staff member will place a vote for their favorite costumed pet. Prizes will be awarded as follows: $50 KAH credit for first place, $25 KAH credit for second and third place. Deadline for entries is Thursday, October 27th and the winners will be announced on Howl-o-ween. Good luck!

TOP 6 WAYS TO TELL IF YOUR PET IS OVERWEIGHT!


Pet obesity is currently one of the top health concerns for our pets, and a quick assessment of optimal body weight could be the start to lengthening your pet’s life.
Here are some tips to tell if your pet tips the scale, and what to do about it.

Working with your vet to rule out other medical problems is the first step. While some drugs and some disease conditions (i.e. hypothyroidism) may cause a pet to be overweight, more often obesity is caused by overfeeding and high calorie foods. Your vet will help you devise a diet and exercise plan for your pet to get on the track to health and fitness.

1. Pet has lost his/her “figure”
When viewed from above, your pet’s back should show some gentle curves: a gentle dip after the ribs (waist area), a gradual slope to the base of the tail. When viewed from the side, you should see a “tucked up” area just before the hind legs (not a flat line along the base of the belly). Your pet may have a haircoat the prevents easy viewing, but gently running your hands along the top outline of your pet should reveal these natural curves.

2. You can no longer feel your pet’s ribs
With gentle fingertip pressure, you should be able to feel your pet’s ribs easily. If you can only feel cushioned body wall, your pet is carrying too much weight.

3. Your pet is constantly searching for food/begging for treats
A pet who is always on the lookout for food versus a pet who is comfortable “free feeding” is more likely to be overweight. If possible, it is best to offer food free choice (always available). This is not always possible in mixed pet households and with pets who are always craving their next meal, but it will usually encourage a healthier outlook on food consumption. Restricting high calorie treats is also a good way to reduce weight.

4. Your pet is uninterested in, or unable to exercise and keep up with you
Pets of optimum body weight and in good health are usually up for a brisk walk or a game of Frisbee or catch anytime their owner is willing. Pets who are overweight may have the intention, but are soon panting excessively or taking frequent rest breaks just to keep up. Carrying extra body weight can lead to extra pressure on the joints, heart, and lungs. Additionally, other organs, such as liver and pancreas can be affected; leading to diseases such as Diabetes Mellitus.

5. Your pet suffers more from the summer heat than other animals
In addition to the body having to work harder just to move around, overweight pets overheat easily. Fat is a great insulator. This condition is known as “heat intolerance”, and will put overweight animals at greater risk for heat stroke.

6. Your pet is deemed to be at greater risk for anesthesia and surgery
Some drugs are absorbed into the fat layers. This means that more drug is required to induce/maintain anesthesia than an animal of normal weight and it takes longer for the anesthesia to wear off. If the pet is undergoing a surgical procedure in the abdomen, the increased layers of fat make surgery more difficult; it is harder to visualize organs and other tissue, to securely ligate (tie off) vessels, and to close the incision working with extra layers of fat.

By Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM, About.com Guide

Gliding Ants


We already know some species of ants can solve puzzles, some species can do math, and others even have built-in GPS. Add the ability to fly — or glide — to safety, and ants are practically the superheroes of the insect world. And there’s no magic suit (or appendage) necessary.

The Cephalotes atratus species of tree-nesting ant can perform directed aerial descent, according to a recent article in Integrative and Comparative Biology. Simply put, when these ants find themselves falling from extreme heights through a forested canopy, they can zip themselves out of a free fall and back into the safety of the treetops — no wings necessary.

Gliding animals are nothing new to science. Fish, lizards and even snakes have been known to “fly” without wings. But what makes these ants so unique isn’t what they have, but what they don’t.

“In general, all the gliders that we know of have some aspect of their body shape that shows that they have some kind of aerodynamic potential… . But when you look at one of these ants there’s nothing obvious about it that would suggest that it should do anything but fall straight down,” said University of California at Berkeley researcher and PhD candidate Yonatan Munk, who co-authored the paper with Stephen P. Yanoviak and Robert Dudley.

Munk has been lugging specially designed wind tunnels into the Amazonian rain forest since 2007. With these vertical wind tunnels, researchers have been able to capture, on video, the exact movements that allow the ants to control their glides.

The key to directed aerial descent is in the back legs and rearend. C. atratus stretches its legs out, raises them, and then lowers its “gaster,” the posterior body segment: the butt. Voila! The ant has just become an aerodynamic, perfectly controlled backward-glider.

“It’s fairly similar to what human skydivers do — the principles are similar,” Munk said. “It creates a mini parachute out of your own body, heavy parts low, and light parts high.”

But how do these ants see where they’re going? As it happens, directed aerial descent is only possible in daylight and so far, research suggests that C. atratus is attracted to light-colored vertical objects. Munk says this makes sense, given the fact that many of the trees in the Amazon rainforest have trunks covered in white lichens.

Despite understanding the mechanics of the ants’ movements, researchers can only guess as to why this particular species of ant developed gliding skills, while others did not.

An ant that falls from a tree isn’t in danger of dying from the fall itself (although it can be hurt), but rather the conditions on the ground. During the rainy season of the Amazon, the ant could be eaten by a fish. In the dry season, it could be attacked by another species of ant.

They believe it comes down to the value of an individual worker to the colony as a whole. While hitting bottom in the rainforest doesn’t mean certain death, it still means a loss in productivity.

“Avoiding the forest floor only also makes sense if the loss of a worker represents a significant decrease in the colony to collect a resource,” Munk explained.

If that’s the case, Munk said he expected to find more species with similar abilities. The only difficulty, he said, is trying to identify which ants can and can’t fly with no obvious outward signs — until a researcher catches them in action.

Discovery News Analysis by Amy Enchelmeyer
Photo courtesy of Stephen Yanoviak

National Veterinary Technician’s Week


The theme of this year’s NVTW is “Pets and Vets need Techs”. Celebrating for one week every year solidifies the yearly commitment every veterinary technician gives to the profession of veterinary technology, veterinary assisting and veterinary medicine.

NVTW has been an annual tradition since June 1993 when a NAVTA ( North American Veterinary Technician Association) resolution was passed declaring the third week in October as NVTW. Activities to celebrate this week have been a focus of the celebratory efforts. The activities serve these fundamental goals:

•Educate the public about veterinary technicians and what we do

•Reinforce the value and professionalism of veterinary technicians

•Provide an opportunity for veterinary technicians to encourage one another for excellent work ethic and team building

•Acknowledge our quality relationship with veterinarians and other veterinary professionals

Paco, the wonder chihuahua, thwarts robbery


As armed men robbed a smoke shop in Altadena, Calif. on July 7, a small, but mighty chihuahua named Paco came to the rescue, barking and chasing the robbers out of the store.

The Los Angeles County sheriff’s department released surveillance video showing the robbery and the dog’s daring attack in hopes of finding the two men responsible. Even though the pup thoroughly frightened the robbers, they did manage to get away with some cash.

Paco is well-known in the area, his owner Duane Deer said on “Good Morning America.” He spends his days wandering around the neighborhood and hanging out in different stores, Deer said. Eric Knight, the store’s owner, said he was “shocked” by the robbery in the usually safe neighborhood and by Paco’s super-dog behavior. Paco, however, looked completely bored by his heroism, opting to sleep during most of his interview.

To watch the video, go to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/paco-the-wonder-chihuahua-thwarts-robbery-video/2011/07/19/gIQAQ0UfNI_blog.html