Category Archives: dogs

When You’re Back From Vacation—Get Your Pet Vaccinations (At Kingsbrook Animal Hospital)!

One of the major reasons pet owners bring their fur-babies to the vet is for “routine shots.”  More and more often there are stories on the news about “overvaccination” or disease

KAH technician Nora is showcasing all of the canine vaccine options!

outbreaks. It can be difficult to determine what is best for a beloved pet—to vaccinate, or not to vaccinate? Fortunately, Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick MD is here to weigh in on this important topic: what are vaccines, which ones are available, and which are best for a pet?

Vaccines are substances that stimulate an immune response to

KAH technician Tiki is displaying our cat vaccines!

bacteria or a virus in a pet or person. They do this by tricking the immune system into thinking that the human or animal who received the vaccine has been infected. The immune system prepares a response to that bacteria or virus, and then saves that information in case of “reinfection.” If the immune system is already familiar with an infection, it responds quickly and strongly. This is how vaccinated pets/people are able to fight off things like the flu so much better than those who are not vaccinated. Think of it like knowing there is a pop quiz coming—the immune system is “studying” when it is vaccinated, so it will perform much better on the test than one that is unprepared.

  • Rabies is a zoonotic (will spread to people) virus that causes neurologic complications in affected animals, and it is fatal. For these reasons, rabies vaccination is required by law, even for pets who don’t go outside often. This is because a pet who slips out the door can easily encounter an infected animal—or an infected bat can quickly fly into a home. Rabies vaccines are available for dogs, cats, ferrets, horses, and several other species. Rabies is a

    KAH veterinarian Dr Lynch is giving this kitty a rabies vaccine. Pet vaccines go under the skin, not into the muscle like people vaccines.

    core vaccine.

  • Distemper is the name given to a virus that attacks the respiratory system. For dogs, the distemper vaccine is often combined with parvovirus and adenovirus vaccines (DAP), and for cats it is combined with calicivirus and panleukopenia (FVRCP). All of these viruses are most likely to attack very young or more elderly pets, but they are very easily spread between members of the same species and can quickly cause an outbreak. Distemper is a core vaccine.
  • Leptospiriosis, or “lepto,” is a type of bacteria that attacks the kidneys, nervous system, and liver. Like rabies, it is both zoonotic and fatal. It is spread through the urine of infected animals; in rural areas/suburbs, it is most often found in deer, squirrels, moles, skunks and rabbits, while in more urban areas rodents like mice and rats are the major carriers. Here in Frederick, Lepto is a core vaccine

    KAH veterinarian Dr Walker is giving a distemper vaccine. Please ask a KAH staff member how we can make the vaccine experience FearFree for your pet!

    since we have several documented cases.

  • Lyme is a bacteria that is spread by ticks. It can affect people and dogs but cannot be spread from one to the other without tick involvement—this means that ticks are vectors for Lyme disease. Here in Frederick, the Lyme vaccine is a lifestyle vaccine, because not all dogs may be at risk for Lyme. Those that are not at risk are indoor-only dogs who are current year-round on flea and tick preventative. Remember—only a week-long temperature of -10°F will kill ticks during the winter, otherwise they are just looking even harder for a warm body!
  • Bordetella is better known as “kennel cough.” It spreads very quickly from dog to dog and causes a slight fever along with its hallmark hacking cough. Environments with lots of dogs in tight

    This sweet pup is receiving a vaccine with the help of 2 KAH technicians. If your dog does better for vaccines with you present — speak up!

    quarters, such as day cares and grooming facilities, are where most infections are likely to occur—so this vaccine is a lifestyle vaccine recommended for dogs who board, groom, or go to dog parks or day care.

  • Feline Leukemia, or FeLV, is a virus that is spread from cat to cat via saliva and causes symptoms very similar to leukemia in humans. Also a lifestyle vaccine, FeLV is reccomended only for cats who go outdoors or interact with other cats who do.

That is a lot of information! It’s easy to become overwhelmed with all of the options out there. Please talk to your veterinarian at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital with any questions or concerns.

A Journey Is Best Measured in (Furry) Friends: Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s Brief History of Pets

November is Pet Pilgrimage Month at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD! We decided to take the suggestion literally and explore the history of pets.

Early dogs were indispensable to their owners, helping to hunt and fish.

The scientific community agrees that dogs were the first domesticated animals. Early humans developed mutually beneficial relationships with dogs; they were better at hunting and guarding, and humans provided a steady supply of food, warmth, and shelter.
Evidence of dogs living and working alongside humans can be found dating all the way back to almost 10,000 BC. Romans and Eqyptians around 3500 BC had dogs painted or carved alongside their nobles and families.

It’s easy to see how such beautiful, regal creatures were once regarded as deities!

Many experts believe that feral cats were introduced into villages by It’s easyGreek and Phoenician traders, where their presence was accepted and gradually welcomed because of their hunting ability. Over time, these cats began to be invited into villagers’ homes and were bred for temperament along with hunting skill. The Japanese, Norse, and Egyptians worshiped cats and believed they were divine beings.

Over the centuries that followed, animals began to be seen as status symbols. Chinese Emperor Ling Ti appointed his dogs senior court officials in AD180, and by the year 800 many wealthy households in Europe and Asia had at least one pet. Kings and queens had favorite

Dogs now enjoy a wide range of comforts from their owners!

furry friends, and explorers visiting new continents or countries would often bring a pet with them (or bring a new pet home). In the 1800s, birds were the most popular pets because they could sing and entertain. By the mid-1900s more “exotic” animals like reptiles and guinea pigs had started to become pets. Pet rabbits took off in

While some cats still hunt for mice, most like to remind their owners of the days when cats were worshiped…

popularity after the early 1970 release of Watership Down.

Today, over 56% of American households have at least one pet, and our pets are considered family members, not just animals. Some “fur babies” have their own social media pages, their own rooms in the home…some celebrity pets even have personal chefs! Pets have come a long way from their origins. Humans wouldn’t be where we are without them, and pet parents everywhere agree that we wouldn’t want to be, either.

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 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!

Recognizing Smiles


Since we humans have no tails to wag, our best friends have to look elsewhere for signs we feel happy and friendly. A new study indicates dogs can learn to distinguish a smile, even on the faces of some strangers.

This ability to learn to recognize smiling faces may have been important to the success of dogs living with humans, the researchers noted in their study.

Social animals need to be able to read others’ emotions, and the cues they rely upon vary by species, the researchers said. Among humans, facial expressions are vital cues. Dogs (and wolves) also use facial expressions, such as bared teeth to show aggression, as well as postures to communicate with one another, lead researcher Miho Nagasawa of Azabu University and colleagues write in the July issue of the journal Animal Cognition.

But can dogs distinguish between human expressions? Our furry friends do come into close, daily contact with humans, and even though the faces of humans and dogs have different structures, dogs often respond to visual cues from humans, as pet owners can attest.

The researchers trained nine pet dogs using photos of their owners, who were smiling in some of the photos and looking neutral in the others. The dogs were trained to touch their nose to photos of their owner’s smiling face. Only five of the dogs completed this training.

These dogs were then shown photo pairs of smiling and blank-expression faces of unfamiliar people as well as of their owners. When shown photo pairs of either their owner or a stranger who was the same gender as their owner, the dogs selected the smiling faces more often than would be expected if they were randomly choosing a photo.

Dogs may be picking up on obvious differences in facial features between the smiling and blank faces, such as the exposed teeth associated with smiling, according to the researchers.

Although five dogs may seem like a small sample size, it is common for animal cognition studies like this one, according to Monique Udell, who studies canine cognition and behavior at the University of Florida. Udell wasn’t involved with the study.

“Really what matters is the ability of individual subjects to reach criterion. If even one dog can do it reliably (or in this case five), this suggests that dogs are ‘capable’ of making the discrimination,” she told LiveScience. “That doesn’t necessitate that all dogs will be good at it.”

“We know that dogs are very good at picking up on subtle cues given by humans, but often those involve movement and occur in the presence of the actual person. It is interesting that picture discriminations of this type can be trained in dogs as well,” Udell wrote in an email.

The ability to recognize human facial expressions, as well as other human cues, does not appear to be innate. Rather, the dogs acquire it as they come to associate, say, a smile with a reward, like extra doggie treats or affection, according to Udell.

“This study has shown that dogs that live closely with humans are also able to recognize positive facial expressions, indicating that these dogs have acquired the social skills helpful to survive. The ability to learn to discriminate human facial expressions must have helped dogs to adapt to human society,” Nagasawa’s team concluded in the study.

But the dogs’ recognition abilities had limits. In another test, when the gender of the person in the photos switched, the dogs’ performances dropped.

It is possible that facial expressions differ between men and women or that the dogs’ close relationships with their owners interfered with their ability to recognize smiles on the faces of the opposite gender, the researchers write.

You can follow LiveSciencewriter Wynne Parry on Twitter @Wynne_Parry. Follow LiveScience for the latest in science news and discoveries on Twitter @livescience and on Facebook.

If Dogs Were Your Teacher


You would learn stuff like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your
face to be pure ecstasy.

Take naps and stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting, when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lay under a shady tree.

When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Stop when you have had enough.

Never pretend to be something you’re not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by
and nuzzle them gently.

A Dog Poem By: Author Unknown

How do dogs drink?


Why does my dog have all those ridges in the roof of the mouth? Using high speed and x-ray videos, researchers at Harvard have determined that when dogs drink they lift water into their mouth and then use these ridges, really called rugae, to hold the water until they swallow it. For the complete article go to:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/31/science/31obdog.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=dog%20drinking&st=cse