Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s 2016 Reflections: What We’re Thankful For

As 2016 draws to a close, the staff at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD took a moment to reflect on what we’re grateful for.

Besides ♥each other♥, here are the top 5 answers!

  1. KAH technician Julie with our wonderful client Shelly during Santa Paws 2016

    Our fantastic clients Self-explanatory, and number 1 for a reason. Thank you all so much for choosing KAH to help care for those adorable fur babies!

  2. Our new dental x-ray unit

    The new dental x-ray unit Our new machine takes great quality radiographs that help us identify potential problem areas during all of our Oral Evaluation & Cleanings.

  3. Dr. Davis demonstrates the use of our surgical CO2 laser…on an orange?!

    Our CO2 surgery laser Having this special piece of equipment (we are the only veterinary clinic in the area that has a CO2 laser!) allows us to perform surgeries more quickly and less painfully than traditional methods.

  4.  The opportunity to give back This year, our staff was able to donate to 2 Frederick families in need to give them a wonderful Christmas. We also utilized the Kylie & Cricket Fund to make a food & toy donation to Frederick County Animal Control—click here to learn more!
  5. KAH assistant Robin (left) and technician Abby (right) deliver toys, food, and holiday candy (for people only!) to FCAC on 12/21.

    Everything we have planned for 2017 So far, we have several exciting events and topics scheduled for our clients and patients during the New Year. We can’t wait to share them!

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital Gives Back For The Holidays

Julie, Dr. Davis, Elizabeth, Dr. Walker, and Melissa pose with our gifts for the second family KAH supported this year!

Julie and Kelly pause for a selfie before making the trip to the YMCA.

For the past several years, the staff of Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD has “adopted” a family for Christmas. These families are in unfortunate situations and may not have a visit from Santa without our help. This year, after signing up to support a family with 4 children, KAH technician Julie was approached by a liaison to the Frederick County Public School system about a second family in need. Of course, our staff quickly jumped at the chance to bring Christmas cheer times 2!

KAH technician Julie’s kitty Calvin gets in on the wrapping action!

 

Kelly helps the YMCA staff unload all of the gifts.

We gathered and wrapped gifts for each individual member of the families over two weeks. Every staff member contributed! On December 21st ,it was time to deliver the presents. We loaded up Kelly’s sleigh—er, car, with lots of packages to deliver to our first family. Kelly and Julie delivered a full Christmas for this family of 6, and the family advocates who collected the gifts were overwhelmed. Each individual had tears in his/her eyes, and it was an emotional moment for Kelly and Julie             as well!

Meanwhile, Melissa and Dr. Walker loaded up another car with gifts for our second family. The scene was much the same at this drop-off—the attendants were so excited that this family of 4 would be able to have a real Christmas after all!

Each and every member of the KAH staff is so grateful that we were able to make a real difference in our community this holiday season.  From all of us to all of you, have a wonderful holiday!

Kelly, Dr. Walker, and technician Melissa load up the gifts for our second family!

Julie poses with the YMCA Head Start employees alongside all of the gifts we donated.

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s Top 5 Things To Remember When Traveling With Your Pet

There’s no place like home for the holidays! Traveling with your pets can be a very exciting adventure…especially during the winter months. When traveling with pets during this holiday season there are even more things to consider too!
Here are the TOP 5 TRAVEL TIPS for winter-wanderings with your four-legged family:

Having a first aid kit on hand with some basic supplies is a great idea while traveling.

1. PET EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS
Anything can happen; especially when having to stop for frequent potty breaks. Having a small first aid kit for your pet that includes things like clean water, a bowl, extra leash, baby wipes to clean off paws, Neosporen-type ointment, gauze squares, paper towels, and tweezers can be helpful in the event of a small accident. Also the addresses and phone numbers for emergency
animal hospitals along your route in the case of a big accident can be very helpful, or at the very least, put your mind at ease.
2. DOCUMENTATION
Making sure you have a current Rabies Certificate and up to date vaccine certificate is very
helpful when crossing state lines; depending on where you are traveling to, an Interstate Health
Certificate or an International Health Certificate may be needed. Certain pet-friendly hotels will
want documents like the Rabies Certificate as well to make sure they are allowing vaccinated
fur-guests into the rooms. Plus in the event that a stop at a vets office is necessary during your
trip, you can present them with Fido’s vaccine history.
3. CRATE OR SEAT BELT

KAH CSR Kelly’s sweet Wyatt loves to ride in the car! Use a seatbelt or tether to keep pets safely anchored in the backseat.

Having your pet sit on your lap or ride ‘shotgun’ with you may seem like a good idea, but slippery conditions can be unpredictable due to the weather changing so quickly during this time of year. Having your pet secure in the car is the best option for their safety (and yours)! A kennel, carrier or pet-specific seat belt is a great way to make sure that they don’t go flying in the event of a car accident or sudden stop.
4. ‘BUSY’ PRODUCTS
Providing toys, chews or treats is a great way to make sure your furry family member is occupied during long trips. Making things like a Kong Pupsicle is a great way to keep Rover busy for a while! (soak their kibble in water, smush it into a Kong toy then freeze- VOILA!). You may want to avoid things like stuffed animals that can be destroyed and ingested since you’ll be driving and unable to keep a continuous eye on them.
5. THE ‘USUAL’
Having your pets everyday items are a must for traveling with them. Food and
water bowls, daily medications, food, collar/harness, leash and ID tags are an
absolute must. Having extra bowls, leashes and collars are a really good idea to
have ‘just-in-case’. Absorbent towels and plastic bags are a staple item during the
winter time- nothings worse than a wet dog and 8 more hours to drive!

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s Festive Feline Faux-Pas

Welcome back for the Kingsbrook Animal Hospital‘s holiday hazards: cats edition (last week we considered holiday hazards for dogs).  There are cross-over hazards to beware of for both dogs and cats that were discussed last week, such as:

  • Blog star Johnny Blaze is back with a message for all cats everywhere: don't eat holiday plants!

    Blog star Johnny Blaze is back with a message for all cats everywhere: don’t eat holiday plants!

    watching to make sure pets are not eating people foods that can make them sick, like raw bread dough, chocolate, xylitol, and alcohol

  • being diligent about not giving in to overindulgence to prevent GI upset
  • keeping festive plants in places pets do not have access to, or considering fake plants, as many holiday plants are toxic
  • keeping medications out of reach
  • monitoring your pet’s access to the Christmas tree or if unable to do that or placing ornaments higher on the tree so they are not at a good “batting or chewing” height
  • and unplugging your electrical cords when pets are not being supervised.

    Here are some other holiday hazards that are more cat specific:

    KAH client service rep Kelly's "cousin" Buddy decides to decorate himself for Christmas! Many cats are attracted to garland and will chew or even ingest pieces of it.

    KAH client service rep Kelly’s “cousin” Buddy decides to decorate himself for Christmas! Many cats are attracted to garland and will chew or even ingest pieces of it.

    Tinsel, ribbon, and strings– Few cats are able to pass by this stuff without stopping to bat, chew or ingest it! In fact, strings are one of the top foreign bodies seen in cats year-round.
    Liquid potpourri or candles– These candles and warmers can help our homes smell wonderful during the holiday season and throughout the year, but do pose a burn risk for cats. If you have a counter-surfing cat then please unplug or blow out while the cat is not under your direct supervision.
    Finally, some cats find it thrilling to attempt to climb the Christmas tree. Create an unpleasant barrier (tin foil, double-sided sticky tape) around the base of the tree to help deter them from climbing. It is always a good idea to securely anchor your tree as well- just to be safe.
    Allowing a “safe zone” for your feline friend to retreat to as needed where it is quieter and away from the festivities can provide them with a much appreciated break.

    While you cannot always prevent emergencies from happening, we hope this list helps keep your pets safe and happy during the holidays. It can be very helpful to have your veterinarian’s phone number, as well as a local emergency hospital’s number, pre-programmed into your phone to be prepared in case of emergency. The veterinarians and veterinary staff here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD wish you and your fur babies a happy holiday season!

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s Top Canine Christmas Calamaties

The 2016 holiday season is here, and with the festive spirit also comes some special consideration for dog owners (come back next week for Holiday Hazards for Cats).

What would the holidays be without all the tasty treats?!  Many people are giving or receiving baked goods during the holidays, which depending on the ingredients can pose a health risk to your fur babies.  Most of us know by this point to watch out for chocolate and xylitol, but some others we might not be quite so familiar with are: raw bread dough, grapes, raisins, alcohol, and onions.

  • Overindulgence, while often originally well-intentioned, can cause severe gastrointestinal upset that may require your pet to be hospitalized.  You can try to prevent this by pre-emptively giving out some of your dog’s treats or dog food to guests to eliminate those fatty, spicy, yummy human foods and bones.

    KAH technician Katie's own Maddie says, "Pointsettias will cause GI upset (vomiting, nausea, etc.) in pets who decide to have a taste!"

    KAH technician Katie’s own Maddie says, “Pointsettias will cause GI upset (vomiting, nausea, etc.) in pets who decide to have a taste!”

  • Holiday plants- poinsettias, mistletoe, holly, lilies, and pine trees- all help to fill the home with bright colors and festive smells during the holiday season.  Mistletoe can be very toxic to animals.  Poinsettia is a holiday favorite most people falsely think of as being extremely toxic, although it can still be quite irritating to our pet’s GI systems.
  • Be sure to check to make sure any water additive for your Christmas tree is pet friendly.
  • There are often large numbers of visitors throughout the holiday season, and pets can consume medications that family and friends have brought with them. Dogs can be very curious and suitcases and luggage can be an interesting new thing for them to nose through and many are not above chomping or eating medications.

    Many medications safe for humans can be dangerous for pets. Even pet medications can be hazardous if the pet overdoses!

    Many medications safe for humans can be dangerous for pets. Even pet medications can be hazardous if the pet overdoses!

  • People often have their medications with them- sometimes even all the medications mixed together in a bag or a daily pill organizer. Keeping all medications closed in a cabinet can help keep you dog safe.  Also, asking visitors take medication in a room separate from the pets can be prudent too- this way if a pill is dropped it can be located again before your dog has a chance to eat it.
  • Traveling with a list of your medication’s name, milligrams, and the number of pills you have can be extremely helpful in an emergency ingestion situation.
  • KAH assistant Robin's Jacoby proves that curiosity isn't just for cats! Garlands, ornaments, and lights can be hazardous to unsupervised furry friends.

    KAH assistant Robin’s Jacoby proves that curiosity isn’t just for cats! Garlands, ornaments, and lights can be hazardous to unsupervised furry friends.

    Finally, ornaments, lights, and electrical cords can be enticing for your four legged friends to play with and/or chew. The dangers associated with your dogs’ playing with these can include: lacerations, electrical shock, and foreign body ingestion.

While you cannot always prevent emergencies from happening, we hope this list helps keep your pets safe and happy during the holidays.  It can be very helpful to have your veterinarian’s phone number as well as a local emergency hospital phone number pre-programmed into your phone, so if there is an emergency you are prepared. The veterinarians and veterinary staff here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD wish you and your fur babies a happy holiday season!

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital Proves You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks!

Many people believe that it’s next to impossible to train an older pet to do…well, pretty much anything. Is there any truth to the old adage “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks?”  Positive-reinforcement trainer Laurie Luck, owner of Smart Dog University, took a few moments to share some insights on working with more mature pets.

KAH senior patient Sasha practices her training on a soft, non-slip mat

KAH senior patient Sasha practices her training on a soft, non-slip mat.

“It’s not harder at all to teach an older dog, as long as you’re training a new behavior,” Laurie says.  “If you’re trying to un-train a bad habit and then train a new one, it will definitely take longer. But dogs are capable of learning at any age.”

While working with older dogs, keep in mind they may have some physical limitations (such as hearing or vision loss, or arthritis) that make training more of a challenge. It’s best to train the word along with a hand signal, and to train on a non-slip surface like a mat or carpet.  Shorter sessions are best, because more senior dogs may not have the physical endurance that a young dog does.  If the dog doesn’t have any previous training, he or she needs to “learn how to learn” before training can progress.  The easiest way to do this is to start with a simple command like “focus” or “touch.”  Finally, cut back on Rover’s regular rations if using food to train; less active

KAH senior patient Baker waves to the camera!

KAH senior patient Baker waves to the camera!

pets can pack on the pounds quickly if too many extra calories become part of their diets.

 

On the flip side, there are a lot of great advantages to training an older dog!  Their attention spans are much longer than that of puppies, and they are less distractable.  Going into training with a senior dog also means knowing their likes, dislikes, and triggers.  For example, is this a food-motivated dog? Or does a favorite toy work better as a reward?  The best benefit of all, though, is that “training an older dog is really a kindness,” Laurie shared.  “Physically, maybe they can’t go for walks anymore, but they can definitely use their brains!”

KAH assistant Robin's senior kitty Widget proves that cats are just as smart as dogs!

KAH assistant Robin’s senior kitty Widget proves that cats are just as smart as dogs!

 

Cat lovers, take note—it’s absolutely possible to train cats, too! Cats are just as smart as dogs are, but they tend to not be as motivated to please or to respond to commands as are their canine counterparts. A favorite treat or even catnip can be a reward. For some cats, pieces of dry cat food work well too. Cats can be taught to sit, speak, come when called, and even fetch! The Humane Society of the US has some great beginner’s advice on training cats here.

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s Sensational “Small Business Saturday”–Thanks For Giving!

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick MD, is more than an exceptional veterinary clinic–we’re a small business, too. Clients and neighbors alike can visit our lobby to pick up some gifts for pet-loving friends and family on Small Business Saturday! This year, Small Business Saturday is November 26th.

These Pet Odor Exterminator Candles look and smell wonderful!

These Pet Odor Exterminator Candles look and smell wonderful!

One of the items we offer for sale is a line of soy-based candles. These Pet Odor Exterminator Candles are available in several different scents, including seasonal options like “Sugared Cranberry” and “Sparkling Juniper.” In addition to smelling great, these candles perform just as advertised. They’re fantastic at eliminating odors, from wet dog to burnt popcorn…we’ve repeatedly tested them here, so we can guarantee that they work well!  At less than $8.00 each, Pet Odor Exterminator Candles make affordable small gifts for anyone on your list. 

KAH technicians Sam, Abby, and Morgan model our fleece jackets!

KAH technicians Sam, Abby, and Morgan model our fleece jackets!


Another great gift option is our Kingsbrook Animal Hospital fleece jacket! Modeled almost daily 
by the staff at KAH, these jackets are super-comfortable and go with just about everything. For the first time ever, we’re offering these jackets for purchase by our clients. For those pet owners who routinely ask if we offer “frequent flier miles,” a KAH fleece jacket is the perfect cherry on top–and for anyone on your gift list with a serious fashion sense, it’s the obvious high-style present. The cost is only $35.00, with $7.50 of each purchase going to support the Kylie & Cricket Memorial Fund.

In the “stocking stuffers” category, Kingsbrook Animal Hospital offers KAH car magnets and decals. Recipients can show their KAH pride anywhere they drive! There are also Bare Bites and Greenies treats for our four-footed family members, who of course deserve plenty of presents as well!  Stop in on Saturday, November 26th to start holiday shopping and support our small business!

Healthy, Happy Senior Pets at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital

The staff at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD, takes pride in providing excellent life-long care for our patients. As our patients age, our recommendations for their care change, too, because we want to help all animals live the longest, healthiest lives possible! Here, we’ll outline care for our patients who reach “senior” status.

KAH technician Julie's sweet kitty Calvin poses with his dinner--Science Diet Senior canned food. Yummy!

KAH technician Julie’s sweet kitty Calvin poses with his dinner–Science Diet Senior canned food. Yummy!

One commonly asked question is “When is my pet considered a senior?” At Kingsbrook Animal Hospital, all patients over the age of 8 are considered seniors. As a side note, smaller-breed dogs such as Chihuahuas age more slowly than large-breed dogs like Labrador Retrievers. Good preventative health care is equally important for dogs of all sizes, though, so it’s important to be proactive with any patient’s care regardless of size! One easy way to do this is to switch a pet to a senior diet at the appropriate age. Senior diets contain lower levels of calcium, fats, and carbohydrates. This helps prevent less-active furry friends from becoming overweight, and it also puts less stress on their digestive tract and other organ systems. Most brands of pet food offer a senior formula, and KAH’s veterinarians are glad to discuss any nutrition questions during each physical exam.

Dr. Cook performs a physical exam on adorable patient Quinn. Exams provide lots of information about the health of a patient!

Dr. Cook performs a physical exam on adorable patient Quinn. Exams provide lots of information about the health of a patient!

Speaking of exams…Kingsbrook Animal Hospital recommends biannual office visits for all senior patients. This enables the veterinarian to perform a physical exam every 6 months, and catch any changes or issues much sooner. A good physical exam includes obtaining an up-to-date, accurate weight on a pet; listening to heart and lungs with a stethoscope; checking vital signs like body temperature and capillary refill time; feeling the patient for lumps and bumps; and looking inside the mouth at the teeth and gums. The exam is also an excellent time for pet owners to mention any changes noticed at home–for example: slow to get up in the mornings, not eating as well, or trouble seeing. Combining this information with the findings of the patient’s physical exam allows the veterinarian to determine if there are any issues that need to be medically addressed.

KAH assistant Robin and technician Rush draw blood on Maggie. Annual bloodwork for senior patients is one of the most important diagnostics in veterinary medicine.

KAH assistant Robin and technician Rush draw blood on Maggie. Annual bloodwork for senior patients is one of the most important diagnostics in veterinary medicine.

Another important recommendation is senior bloodwork. While many owners cringe a little at the financial implications, Kingsbrook Animal Hospital recommends performing lab work on all “senior” patients at least once a year. The blood work most often requested by the doctor includes a complete blood count (CBC), a serum chemistry panel, and a urinalysis. For cats, it will also screen for thyroid levels. The CBC portion looks at red and white blood cell counts, and differentiates between different types of these cells. Some problems detected by a CBC include anemia, dehydration, infection, and even certain bone marrow disorders. The serum chemistry gives values of over 25 different enzymes and proteins found in the blood. These enzymes help internal organ function.

KAH technician Morgan is reading a urinalysis! All urine samples submitted to KAH are read in-house.

KAH technician Morgan is reading a urinalysis! All urine samples submitted to KAH are read in-house.

Catching any changes to the liver or kidneys early can make an enormous difference in treatment and prognosis for a beloved pet. A urinalysis is an important adjunct to the blood panel, as it gives more information about the kidneys and allows the veterinarian to notice problems earlier than bloodwork alone will indicate them. Thyroid screening in older cats is very important, since hyperthyroidism is very common and can cause many other problems such as kidney failure, high blood pressure, heart arrhythmias, and digestive issues.

 

The staff at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital may make additional recommendations for senior patients–every pet is an individual!

Assisted Living For Animals: Senior Pet Tips From Kingsbrook Animal Hospital

At Kingsbrook Animal Hospital, we know our furry companions are more than just pets—they’re family members! Our animals live, sleep, eat, and play right alongside us, and they age with us as well. Just as aging can pose obstacles for humans, becoming a “senior” pet comes with some challenges too. Below, we’ll look at some of the common changes we see in our senior patients, and discuss what we can do at home (and at KAH!) to help make them more comfortable.

KAH technician Nora with her dog, Sam.

KAH technician Nora with her dog, Sam. Sam is almost 9 years old, and eats Hill’s j/d to help with her bones and joints!

One of the biggest changes we notice in senior pets is in their skeletal systems. Older bones and joints just don’t move like they used to, and patients may suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, or even a narrowing of the space between the bones of the spine. This can make getting up or lying down uncomfortable. Dogs may not want to jump up on the bed anymore or may have difficulty getting into the car; cats may spend less time on the top of the couch or in the window sills, preferring to nap in a sunbeam on the floor instead. To help with these problems, a joint supplement like Dasuquin® can help the pet’s body repair cartilage to reduce arthritis pain. Hills Prescription Diets offers j/d, a diet with glucosamine, chondriotin, and omega-3 fatty acids added in to help support aging joints.  Orthopedic foam beds are comfortable and provide good cushioning for achy pets. Stairs and ramps are available to make transitions in height easier on elderly pets. It’s also important to provide regular low-intensity exercise to keep pets mobile and active. Being sedentary increases stiffness in joints, and becoming overweight puts more stress on any patient’s bones.

KAH technician Lainey gently reassures Fuji as he wakes up from anesthesia.

KAH technician Lainey gently reassures Fuji   as he wakes up from anesthesia.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or pain medications can be prescribed by a veterinarian for long-term use in uncomfortable patients.

Another issue is hearing and vision loss. Aging pets often lose some of their hearing–which means it is harder to get their attention, but easier to startle them. Most pets will still respond to loud hand-claps or vibrations in the floor, but it’s best to approach deaf or partially-deaf pets slowly and gently to avoid a fear response. Dogs, especially, seem to lose some low-light vision and some depth perception as they get older. For these pets, steps and stairs become harder to navigate. Leaving lights on at night or teaching an older dog to begin sleeping downstairs can help to minimize falls and anxiety.

Even cats can go for walks! Make sure any pet that goes outdoors is receiving preventative medications for fleas, ticks, and heartworms.

Even cats can go for walks! Make sure any pet that goes outdoors is receiving preventative medications for fleas, ticks, and heartworms.

Some pets will experience cognitive dysfunction or dementia as they age, which can manifest with symptoms much like Alzheimer’s disease in humans. These pets can become anxious, may stare into space or wander in circles, and sometimes will vocalize randomly and repeatedly. Occasionally, there may even be a break in house- or litterbox-training. Purina ProPlan (Bright Minds) and Hills Prescription Diets (B/D) both offer diets that can help with these symptoms, and there are many medications available with a veterinary prescription that will make pets with cognitive dysfunction more comfortable. Keeping pets engaged and stimulated with walks, playtime, and new activities will reduce some stress and anxiety. Providing extra potty breaks for dogs or extra litterboxes for cats can also help to mitigate some of these changes.