Tag Archives: Kingsbrook Animal Hospital

There’s No Place Like Home: Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s FearFree™ Tips For New Pets

So, you’ve got a new furry four-legged friend. Congratulations—there is so much more love in your home! But whether you’ve got a brand-new puppy or a more-mature cat, you may notice that things aren’t as rose-colored for your new pet. Of course you want this transitional time to be as smooth as possible, so here are some FearFree™ tips from Kingsbrook Animal Hospital to help a new pet feel more comfortable.

KAH liaison Elizabeth demonstrates Adaptil™ in its spray form. It is also available in collars

Introduction to the Home  Whether or not there are other pets already at home, it is important that a fur-baby’s first few days in a new house are spent confined in a small area with all of the essentials (food, water bowl, bed, toys, litter box for cats). One room is usually enough space.  This helps establish a “safe space” for your new pet and gets them used to the smells and sounds of your home. It’s a great idea to leave your cat’s carrier or your dog’s crate open and accessible within this space, to create a retreat for him/her; adding treats or toys will encourage Fluffy or Rover to enter it freely.  Another strong recommendation is the use of pheromones. Feliway® (for cats) and Adaptil® (for dogs) are available in plug-in diffusers to fill the room with calm-inducing pheromones.  These will comfort the pet and allow for a more relaxed acclimation.

Cats appreciate having their own space as well as somewhere to hide.

Other Pets If your new fur-baby is your one-and-only, you don’t need to worry about sibling spats. But if you’ve already got pets, this step is the most crucial to ensuring a harmonious household. Keeping the new dog or cat separate from existing pets will start you off on the right foot; often the original pets see the new animal as competition for food and attention, so make sure everyone has their own food bowl and toys. Cats are very territorial creatures, so after a week or so of sniffing one another beneath the door it’s helpful to use two (or three!) mesh baby gates to block the open doorway of the new cat’s room. This allows cats to see one another but prevents any physical contact. Dogs’ first face-to-face meeting can be outdoors, in a neutral area that neither perceives as his/her territory. If all goes well, short supervised “play dates” at home are a great next step. Continue leaving the new animal’s crate and pheromones out so that s/he has somewhere to go if feeling overwhelmed. Make sure to spend extra time with your existing animals so they don’t resent the new pet for “stealing” you.

KAH assistant Caitlynn demonstrates using a reward (cheese!) to help make vet visits more positive.

Children It goes without saying that kids and pets should never be unsupervised together. Pets in a new home may be feeling stressed or fearful because of all the changes in their lives, so they might act out if they feel cornered or uncomfortable.  Depending on the age of your children, introductions may be a multi-step process spread out over several weeks or a one-week integration—use treats or a favorite toy to encourage interactions as a positive experience for the animal, and break things off sooner rather than later if either party seems unhappy.

Health Care Before letting your new furry family member mingle with kids and/or other pets, be sure to have him or her thoroughly examined by a veterinarian. To make things less stressful, choose a veterinary office with FearFree™ certification—like Kingsbrook Animal Hospital! KAH staff and veterinarians are trained in low-stress, positive handling to help your

CSR Kelly, technician Julie, Dr. Palm, and assistant Caitlynn highlight some of KAH’s FearFree™ options–including Puppy and Kitten Bingo! Owners who complete the Bingo! card and bring it back to us filled in will receive a prize!

new pet have the most relaxing office visit possible. Bring your pet hungry, and let us know if there is anything in particular that seems to stress your fur-baby before we get started.

Socialization The last step in owning a well-adjusted pet is socialization. This means exposing your new animal to as many different people, places, and things as possible, so s/he isn’t afraid of them later. For dogs, this includes things like learning how to get a bath; for cats, learning to tolerate car rides is key. Limit first experiences to 2-3 minutes, gradually work up to longer times, and remember: make everything positive!

Every pet and every home is different, so if you have any questions or need a hand, don’t hesitate to reach out to Kingsbrook Animal Hospital–we are here to help!

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital Weighs In On Pet Obesity

Pet obesity can be difficult to talk about –but avoiding the issue isn’t helping. Come on out and see a KAH veterinarian so we can start helping your furry friend.

What is the most common health problem our veterinarians see at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital? Easy guesses might be kidney disease, or oral disease, so the answer might be surprising: it’s obesity. Chances are, everyone knows someone with a chubby dog or a fat cat. This is because America’s furry friends have a big problem: pet obesity rates are at an all-time high. In 2018, 56% of dogs and 60% of cats were overweight. Obese pets are at significantly increased risk for joint disease such as osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia, as well as overall health problems such as type II diabetes and hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease).

KAH assistant Aaron and technician Robin showcase  body condition scoring systems. Ask a KAH veterinarian for a copy at your pet’s next visit!

How exactly is pet obesity defined? Here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital, our veterinarians use the Purina Body Condition System to assess a pet’s weight. Each pet is assigned a score from 1 to 9, with a 4-to-5 as the “ideal” weight. At a 5 on the scale, pets have a defined, easily visible waist as well as an obvious abdominal tuck. A 6 or a 7 is an overweight animal, with 8s and 9s qualifying as obese. An easy way to check if a pet is at a good weight is to feel along the animal’s rib cage. The ribs should be felt in the same way as the bones across the back of a human hand. If they are more prominent, the pet is underweight, but if they can only be felt by pressing hard or can’t be felt at all, the pet is overweight.

Once a pet has reached overweight or obese status, what is the best way to help him or her lose the weight?  This depends on a lot of factors, such as: the animal’s age and normal activity level; whether it is a dog, a cat, or a rabbit; and what the pet’s current diet is. The veterinarians at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital work closely with pet owners to create a custom weight loss plan based on all of these factors. Sometimes it is as simple as cutting each meal back by 20%, or switching to a

KAH assistant Kayla is checking pooch Bruce’s weight. KAH staffers will happily conduct free weight checks for any pet–call today to schedule a tech appointment!

weight-management diet. Pets on grain-free diets are more likely to pack on the weight since grain-free diets are usually more calorically dense (have more calories per cup) than diets that contain grains, so a switch to a different food altogether may help Fluffy or Rover slim down.  For obese pets in need of a rigorous diet plan, KAH veterinarians sometimes recommend Hill’s Metabolic Diet, a prescription-only food that is formulated specifically to help pets feel full while increasing their metabolism.  Each dog or cat started on Metabolic is measured to determine their target weight and given a weight loss-over-time plan.  This is because It is dangerous for animals, especially cats, to lose weight too quickly! Rapid weight loss, whether it is intended or not, is a sign that a pet needs to see a veterinarian.

KAH patient Piper has lost almost 30 pounds this year! Check out her weight chart, displayed by KAH technician Katie.

Perhaps the most compelling argument to get the pounds off the pooch is a recent study from the University of Liverpool in England. Researchers found that dogs who were overweight live an average of two-and-a-half less years than dogs who were a healthy weight. All of us want as many years as possible with our fur-babies, and we want them to be good, healthy years, right? Please make an appointment with a veterinarian at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital so that we can help with any weight-loss woes!

Back To School is Cool With Kingsbrook Animal Hospital–Positive Reinforcement Training

It’s time to hit the books again–another school year is starting. The two-legged kids will get on the bus, but our four-legged “fur babies” could use some learning too!  Every dog, no matter how old, can benefit from some positive reinforcement training. Positive reinforcement is quite the buzzword among dog owners these days, but what exactly does it mean, and why is it the best option?

Most dogs respond readily to positive reinforcement training, even in new surroundings.

Dogs, as a species, aim to please and are very likely to perform or repeat behaviors that seem to make their owners happy. If these behaviors are reinforced, the dog will continue to repeat them, whereas behaviors that result in no reward or in a perceived punishment will probably not happen anymore. Positive reinforcement training means rewarding the behaviors that are desired (such as “sit”) and ignoring the behaviors that are undesirable (like barking). For most dogs, beginning with a food reward is a great way to encourage a behavior. Eventually, the treat will not be used every time– this is called fading the lure and is a gradual process that results in the dog performing the command without any physical reward at all. Positive reinforcement can be used to train a variety of behaviors, from a basic “sit” to complicated agility tricks, dance moves, hunting commands, and even nose/scent work.  Training in this manner doesn’t just make a dog better-behaved, it provides healthy and constructive mental stimulation.  Often, those dogs who exhibit

Positive reinforcement classes are a great start for a puppy or a great refresher for an older dog!

“nuisance” behaviors such as barking, chewing, or digging are simply bored and need some mental exercise. Positive reinforcement classes are available at every level of experience, and also offer the fantastic side benefit of socialization, or exposing a dog to new people/places/things and other dogs.

In contrast, there are many training methods that are not so positive.  Shock collars, for example, are a punishment device that issue an electric shock when triggered with a remote. Most of the time, dogs aren’t able to make the connection between their behavior and the shock. This results in a fearful, anxious dog that may even begin to display signs of aggression. Many dogs do make the connection between the collar and the shock, though, and it is very common for owners to state that their dog behaves “perfectly” until the collar is removed. Leash corrections (using a choke or prong collar) can have similar consequences–the dog becomes fearful of or aggressive towards the collar

Not all rewards have to be food! KAH assistant Kayla uses a favorite toy to reinforce a puppy’s good behavior.

Here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital, we are very passionate about positive reinforcement training–it not only helps to build and strengthen the bond between a dog and his owner, but it creates happy, well-adjusted, confident dogs who are able to interact with the world in a positive way. We include discussions of positive reinforcement training in every puppy’s first few visits, and our veterinarians are always ready and willing to make a personalized training recommendation for any dog.

 

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.

Firework Fear: Tips On Independence Day Safety From Kingsbrook Animal Hospital

It’s almost that time of year again–the days are long and warm, neighbors are out grilling, and

KAH veterinarian Dr Kemper poses with a patrioic patient!

everyone is gearing up for the celebration of our nation’s independence. Cookouts and picnics inevitably lead up to a big, colorful fireworks display on July 4th… which is so much fun for humans, but can be terrifying for our dogs and cats.

The loud bangs accompanying fireworks sound 4-6 times louder to our canine friends, and up to 8 times louder to cats.  Couple this with changes in routine, new people, and lots of new food/smells… it’s no wonder that the highest percentage of pets go missing around the

KAH CSR Kelly has prepped her pup Sugar for the upcoming fireworks!

Fourth of July.

The very best way to help fur babies with fireworks is counter-conditioning.  This is a series of exercises done at home that gradually acclimate pets to the loud sounds made by fireworks. While this does take some time and some patience, it is definitely the safest way to get dogs or cats through loud noises.  Some in-depth information about counter-conditioning for fireworks (or thunderstorms!) can be found by clicking here.

Fortunately, there are lots of short-term things we can do to help our furry friends get through this holiday in one piece! Below are some recommendaions from Kingsbrook Animal Hospital‘s top-noch veterinarians:

  1.  Leave pets at home, and if possible remain at home with them. This is also a great

    KAH patient Jada is modeling a thundershirt and listening to an iCalmdog. Both of these fear-free methods are used often here at KAH with our patients who spend the day with us.

    opportunity to check the fit of each pet’s collar, verify contact information on collar tags, and make sure all pets are microchipped jus in case the unthinkable happens.

  2. Consider crating pets or confining them to a small, quiet area with a minimum of traffic. Terrified pets will try to bolt, so keeping them away from doors to the outside is key to preventing escapes.
  3.  Provide background noise, such as the television or radio, to help drown out the sounds. For a fear-free approved and portable option, check out the iCalmDog (or iCalmCat).
  4.  Also consider adding pheremone support for anxiety-prone pets. A great option for cats is the Feliway diffuser, and for dogs try Adaptil–either the collar or the diffuser are good choices.
  5. Thundershirts can help to calm an anxious dog or cat. These snug-fitting, adjustable jackets provide a lot of comfort and are infinitely reusable.
  6. Talk to a Kingsbrook Animal Hospital veterinarian about options for medications. There are several new choices that are great for situational anxiety!

For more information, please see the AVMA’s resource on July 4th Safety and the article on Fireworks Fear from the Fear Free organization.

 

 

A New Bunny Bestie? Kingsbrook Animal Hospital Explores Rabbits and Guinea Pigs as Pets

Springtime is all about new beginnings, and for many families this is the perfect time to add a new, furry member. For those who aren’t ready or able to care for a dog or a cat, “pocket pets” are a frequent starting point.  Although they are adorable and offer lots of love, these smaller pets are not always the easiest to care for! Here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD the two pocket pets we see the most are rabbits and guinea pigs.

Rabbits

KAH’s Dr Lynch cuddles bunny patient Snickers.

While some rabbits do fine outdoors, it is best for rabbits to live inside. For optimal room to move about, 12 square feet (3’ x 4’) are needed for every 5lbs of rabbit—and in order to keep their feet healthy, they need a solid-bottomed cage (not the wire cages so often seen in the pet stores).  Bunnies can be litterbox trained, which frees them up to roam around a room or a floor of the house under supervision. This exercise is important for maintaining a healthy GI tract.

Speaking of GI tracts, rabbits need to eat constantly. While those pelleted diets are tasty, they aren’t all created equal. Look for a high-quality timothy-based diet—we love Oxbow Bunny Basics. While these pellets provide lots of nutrients, the most important thing a rabbit can eat is hay! Every bunny should have access to

KAH assistant Kayla poses with adorable Nittany while she was here for her annual exam.

an unlimited supply of clean, fresh timothy hay. Fresh greens are an important part of each rabbit’s diet, too, but take care to avoid anything high in calcium (such as spinach and kale) to prevent urinary problems. Sugary foods like sweet potatoes, apples and carrots can cause GI stasis, a painful and life-threatening condition where the intestinal tract basically shuts down.

Another consideration for prospective bunny owners is altering. Intact rabbits are prone to behavioral problems and cancer—80% of intact female rabbits will develop mammary cancer, which spreads rapidly and is usually fatal. If trying to house a pair of male rabbits together, neutering both is vital to prevent fighting.

Guinea Pigs

KAH assistants Emily (left) and Caitlynn (right) pause for a photo with a guinea pig patient Chandler.

Guinea pigs (or “cavies”) are similar, but not identical, to rabbits. They also require a solid-bottomed cage, but for these critters, substrate is extremely important.  Guinea pigs cannot have any wood shavings that contain aromatic oils, such as cedar or pine; the oils produce a toxic gas when they mix with guinea pigs’ urine. Cavies are very susceptible to upper respiratory issues and need a clean, dust-free environment—for this reason, recycled paper (e.g. Carefresh) is the best substrate choice.

As far as food, guinea pigs require a nonstop supply of fresh timothy hay just like their bunny cousins. However, guinea pigs cannot produce their own Vitamin C (just like people!) so it is very important that they eat a guinea pig-specific pelleted food, which needs to be stored in the dark to protect the Vitamin C. Fresh fruits and veggies such as oranges and romaine lettuce are great additions to a cavy’s diet and can help boost Vitamin C intake—optimally, guineas should

Joey the guinea pig came to visit KAH with his brother Chandler. We interrupted his hay-munching to snap a photo!

receive the Oxbow Natural Science Vitamin C supplement daily to ensure they’re getting enough of this critical nutrient. Also, like rabbits, high levels of calcium and sugar in a guinea pig’s diet are very dangerous, so it’s best to avoid foods or treats rich in these.

Here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital, we love fur-babies of all sizes! Our veterinarians and staff are available and happy to assist with any questions a new bunny or cavy owner might have!

“Domestic Dinosaurs:” Kingsbrook Animal Hospital Explores Reptiles As Pets

Looking for a pet that is hypoallergenic, quiet, and a great conversation starter? Reptiles are quickly gaining popularity as pets–but that doesn’t mean that they are a great fit for everyone. The most common reptiles we see here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD are bearded dragons and leopard gecko.

KAH assistant Karah’s beardie Amelia is soaking up the sun outside!

Bearded Dragons

Bearded Dragons, or “beardies,” are desert reptiles that originate from Australia.  They prefer drier climates and hot temperatures. Bearded dragons can reach 24 inches when fully grown and a healthy beardie can live up to 15 years!

Housing:

Juvenile bearded dragons may be small, but they grow relatively quickly. A full-grown bearded dragon needs a 75 gallon tank!  Substrate for the bottom of the tank can be newspaper, paper towels, or reptile pellets; sand is not ideal, due to the risk of impaction upon digestion.

KAH’s own Dr. Cardella poses with a beardie patient!

Lighting is extremely important for the health of a bearded dragon. UVB lighting is essential and should be available to beardies 12 hours each day. Being desert animals, they thrive in 90-100 degree temperatures–use temperature gauges to be sure heat is adequate. Basking spots should be available and can be a hide, reptile corkboard, or a reptile log. Heat rocks are not safe, as a beardie that rests on one can incur painful burns on their bellies and toes! Bearded dragons should have a warm side and a cool side to their habitat. A heat mat can be used under the tank to allow the temperature to stay within range of 75-80 degrees overnight.

Feeding:

Happy, healthy beardies eat a diet of both insects and veggies, and have access to UVB lighting.

Beardies are omnivores and require a variety of foods. Talking with your veterinarian at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital is important to help find the correct ratio that works for a bearded dragon’s current age–growing beardies have different needs from adults. A few examples of the foods these guys enjoy include: hornworms, crickets, waxworms, collard greens, turnip greens, cabbage, and bell peppers. Juvenile beardies should eat twice daily, whereas older beardies eat about once a day. Bearded dragons may thrive in desert conditions, but water is still important for our captive beardies! Always have fresh water available in a bowl that is easily accessible for them, and it can be helpful to occasionally mist their habitat.

Leopard Geckos

Housing:

KAH technician Morgan poses with a leopard gecko. These are unique and fascinating pets with a lot of specific husbandry needs!

Leopard geckos reach a size of 10 inches, and live an average of 8-12 years in captivity.  Males usually fight with one another, so only one male can live in each tank with 20 gallons being the smallest tank size advisable.  Like beardies, leopard geckos need a warm environment (88-90 degrees) and a temperature gradient (the cool end should be no less than 75 degrees), and they are also prone to burns from heat rocks.

Since geckos are only active at night, they do not need UVB lighting–but they can benefit from it. Leopard geckos do need a “hide” for the daytime such as a cave or a hut, and ideally this should contain moss or another material that retains humidity. Overnight heat is important for leopard geckos too. They do well with a felt substrate, artificial turf, or newspaper flooring in their habitat, and leopard geckos will actually designate a “potty” corner of their tank all by themselves–this makes for easy cleanup.  Just like bearded dragons, sand is not a good substrate because of the dangers associated with accidentally ingesting it.

Feeding:

Dr Cardella is examining this leopard gecko’s eyes. Improper substrates or humidity can affect a gecko’s ocular health.

Leopard geckos are strict insectivores, and thrive on a diet of live crickets and mealworms.
Insects should be “gut-loaded” (which means they are fed a high-protein and high-nutrient powder for at least 12 hours before being offered to a reptile) and can be “dusted” with a calcium/vitamin powder to ensure the gecko is getting enough of these nutrients. Geckos will also lick up a supplement on their own if it is available in their habitat. Like beardies and all animals, leopard geckos should always have fresh water available in an easily-accessible bowl.

 

Spring (Cleaning) Has Sprung: Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s Top 5 Must-Clean Items This Spring

The weather is (slowly) getting warmer and everyone is anxious to get back outside! Even here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital, that means it’s time to give everything a thorough scrubbing. Here are the top 5 pet items not to overlook during a thorough Spring Cleaning:

  • Pet Bowls

Did you know that a study done by the National Safety Federation found that pet bowls are the 4th germiest item in the home? Gross! If pet bowls are dishwasher safe, place them on the top rack for an easy clean. Otherwise, wash with hot water and a mild detergent (Dawn® is great & gets rid of stuck on debris!). Aim to wash all pets’ bowls daily.

  • Toys

KAH CSR Kelly’s pooch Sugar can rest easy knowing her toys are all clean for spring!

Pet toys are the 7th germiest item, according to the same National Safety Federation study. It makes sense – those toys spend a lot of time in your pet’s mouth! Rubber toys can easily be cleaned & sanitized in the top rack of a dishwasher. Fabric toys can be hand washed with hot water and a mild detergent, or tossed in the washing machine if they’re more durable. Remember to be sure fabric toys are thoroughly dry before giving them back to Fido or Fluffy. This is also an opportunity to evaluate the types of toys pets have–are they too hard, posing a chew hazard? Is there a rip in a seam, exposing that “tasty” stuffing and squeaker? Replace any damaged or risky toys for safety.

  • Bedding

Pets often bring dirt, debris & allergens in to your house after playing outside. These things can accumulate on your pet’s bedding, creating the perfect environment for germs. Bedding can be vacuumed to get rid of hair & debris. All bedding should be washed weekly with hot water & a mild detergent. Again, be sure bedding is completely dry before returning it to a pet. Also, try wiping off those furry feet each time pets come inside to reduce the amount of dirt/allergens tracked in.

  • Litterbox

Ideally, every litterbox should be thoroughly cleaned weekly-monthly, depending on how often it is scooped out and how many cats are in the house. To clean & sanitize, toss all litter and allow the litterbox to soak in hot, soapy water for 10 minutes. Make sure to use a non-scented soap, as strong odors of any kind can deter cats from using the box! Don’t forget to clean the lid (if there is one) and the litter scoop. Allow box to dry completely before adding litter. Best practice is to replace each litterbox every 6 months.

  • Collars

KAH CSR Tiffany is giving her fur-baby Jorie a bath. This is a great time to clean that dog collar!

We know to bathe pets regularly, but when’s the last time that collar was cleaned? This is often forgotten during regular grooming.  Collars can accumulate dirt and grime quickly, potentially causing skin irritation & infections…but spring is the perfect chance to get that collar squeaky clean again! Put some hot water in a bowl and add a small amount of pet shampoo. Allow the collar to soak for 15 minutes and let it air dry completely before replacing it. Remember that only 2 fingers should fit between the collar and the pet’s neck…any less is too tight, and any more means your pet could easily slip out of it. While you are cleaning the collar(s), make sure pets stay indoors or have backup collar(s). This is also a great time to think about a microchip! 

As always, please ask a staff member at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital any questions about cleaning products, toys, or anything pet-related…we are here to keep pets happy and healthy!

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital Discusses Anesthesia-Free Dentistry

You know this story already: You bring your pet to Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD for a routine check-up. You’re feeding a good diet and your fur-baby is healthy and happy—everything should be smooth sailing, right? Then, while the technician is looking in your pet’s mouth, you hear these words: “It looks like Fluffy would really benefit from a professional cleaning.”

For some pet parents, this can conjure up memories of trips to the dentist, financial concerns, or even fears about anesthesia. So, it’s completely understandable that anesthesia-free dentistry (a new movement in veterinary medicine) sounds so appealing…but is it too good to be true?

There are many benefits to anesthetized oral cleanings. Below, we explore 4 key points to consider when deciding what’s best for your furry friend.

  1. Oral examinations under anesthesia are more complete and thorough. They include looking

    KAH’s Dr Cardella is able to perform a full oral examination with her patient under anesthesia.

    at the palate (roof of the mouth), the throat and tonsils, the tongue and all of the mucous membranes inside the oral cavity. Sometimes this uncovers other concerns, like something lodged in the folds of the palate or a cut. It also allows the health care team to visualize and probe each tooth—are any broken? Missing? Extra? Discolored? Loose? Attempting a full oral exam of an awake pet is impractical and is stressful for him/her.

  2. The plaque and tartar up under the gumline are far more

    KAH technician Rush is performing an oral cleaning, which includes scaling teeth below the gumline.

    unhealthy than the visible buildup on the crown of the teeth. The area where the tooth meets the gums (the gingival sulcus) is where the bacteria that cause periodontal disease live. Cleanings under anesthesia include a thorough scaling and polishing of the subgingival space. Awake pets do not usually allow subgingival cleaning—especially if a tooth is painful.

  3. Oral cleanings under general anesthesia include full digital dentalradiographs. Two-thirds of every dog or cat tooth is root,

    Here, Rush is preparing to ake a dental x-ray, which will let the doctor see the roots of the teeth.

    which means it is below the gumline. This allows the veterinarian to see the entire tooth, and can reveal issues like tooth root abscess, root resorption, retained baby teeth, and bone loss. These things can absolutely impact the long-term overall health of a pet! Because of the positioning and the complete stillness needed for good images, it’s impossible to get dental x-rays on an awake pet.

  4. Cleanings under anesthesia are stress-free to the pet, and are not

    KAH technician Sam is helping Carter recover from anesthesia–he is snug and warm in his blanket!

    uncomfortable for them. Even the best-behaved and most tolerant pet can be worried or stressed by the process of cleaning teeth. From the continual rinsing, to the scraping sensation of the instruments, to the noise of a polisher – it’s a lot of new stimulations, sounds, and sensations. Additionally, pets are often asked to hold their heads or mouths in a certain way for a period of time while the cleaning takes place.

We know that everyone wants what is safest and best for their pets, so we are happy to help provide information so each client can make an informed, educated decision. As always, please ask your veterinarian or technician at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital any questions about oral cleanings and care!

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital Celebrates National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week

Kingsbrook CSR Nina quickly poses for a photo before delivering Howl-O-Ween goodies to our friends at Frederick County Animal Control.

There is no better gift to a homeless animal than giving them a second chance at life!  Shelters and rescues across the country work tirelessly to provide animals in need a safe place to sleep, Kingsbrook CSR Nina quickly poses for a photo before delivering some Howl-O-Ween goodies to our friends at FCAC to eat, provide veterinary care and ultimately find their fur-ever home.  According to the Humane Society of the United States, “approximately 3,500 animal shelters across the United States serve the estimated 6-8 million homeless animals who need refuge each year.”

In celebration of National Animal Shelter and Rescue Appreciation Week, we at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD, invite everyone to take some extra time this week to show

FCAC has many adorable dogs and cats available for adoption!

your local animal shelter or rescue some love.  A good place to start is Frederick County Animal Control, our local animal shelter.  FCAC is always in need of the help of volunteers and their time.  For anyone who is unable to volunteer but would still like to donate supplies, it’s easy to call and find out what FCAC needs! Monetary donations are always appreciated, as well as food, toys, and bedding…and it’s also possible to give a token of gratitude for the volunteers and employees by dropping off some human treats (like Nina did!) or some recognition on social media.  For FCAC’s contact information, click here.

Fortunately for the abundance of animals, there are other rescues and shelters in the Frederick area. These organizations not only work to help homeless animals within their community, they also help save lives during natural disasters.  This past September

Kingsbrook CSR Tiffany meets Frank, one of the Beagle Bed & Breakfast rescue dogs.

during Hurricane Florence, countless animals from the Carolinas were in dire need of aid.  Many of the shelters in the affected area needed to be evacuated, and sadly, many animals are humanely euthanized in these events.  Two local Frederick rescues, City Dogs Rescue and Capitol Canines interceded to clear the Carolina shelters and save many dogs from being euthanized.  Both rescues contacted Megan Purtell, owner of the Beagle Bed & Breakfast and foster mom. In less than a month, Megan took in about 20 dogs that were transported from the Carolinas.  Thankfully, many were quickly adopted and lots of folks were able to donate supplies and their time by feeding and walking the dogs, cleaning kennels, and organizing donated food and supplies. Since Megan is a longtime client at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital, some of our staff members were fortunate enough to meet a few of these special dogs.

Kingsbrook veterinarian says hello to Chance, a City Dogs rescue pup from North Carolina.

While natural disasters do not happen frequently, every day there are more and more animals and rescues that need our help.  This year, consider adopting or fostering a homeless animal.  Empower yourself through social media to connect and share information with your friends and family about your favorite shelters or animals!  There is never too little or too much we can do to show our local shelters and rescues that we care and support them.