The veterinarians and staff at the Beach Veterinary Clinic are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

Current Newsletter Topics

Summer Care Tips for Cats

The summer is a great time to get outside and enjoy the warm weather, but you may want to leave Kitty indoors while you frolic in the sun. While it's easy for you to keep cool when temperatures rise, cats have a much more difficult time when it comes to beating the heat. Here are some tips to keep your feline family members nice and cool in the summer.

Cats generally handle warmer temperatures better than dogs, but owners should remain vigilant about Kitty during the summer months. The easiest way to keep your cat cool in the summer is to keep him or her indoors during the hottest parts of the day. If you do let your cat venture outside, do so early in the morning or at dusk, when the temperature is cooler and there is more shade from the sun. While your cat is inside, keep plenty of fresh, cool water available throughout the house. If the weather is extremely hot, consider wrapping your cat in a cool, damp towel or placing a plastic bag full of ice under their bed.

Keep your cat cool during the summer months

When the weather is extremely hot and humid, cats can be prone to heat stroke. Very old cats, as well as obese cats and those with existing health problems are especially susceptible to heath stroke. Owners should also be aware of signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. A cat's normal body temperature should be between 100.5 degrees F and 101.5 degrees F. Any temperature higher than 102 degrees F is dangerous, and immediate action should be taken to lower the cat's temperature. If a cat's temperature increases to 107 degrees F, he or she is possibly suffering the effects of heat stroke.

Signs of heat stroke include:

  • Panting
  • Staring
  • Anxious expression
  • Warm, dry skin
  • High fever
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Vomiting
  • Collapse

If your cat begins exhibiting any of these symptoms, call your veterinarian immediately! To cool your cat down, remove him or her from the area and apply towels soaked in cool water to your cat's skin. Immersion in a cool water bath for 30 minutes may also help lower your cat's temperature. While on the way to the veterinarian's office, place ice packs around your cat's head and body. No matter how you cool your cat off, you must bring him or her to a veterinarian as intravenous fluids may be required. Heat stroke can be fatal if left untreated.

Cats with white coats are prone to sunburn and other summer health problems

Even though Fluffy is covered in a fine coat of fur, she is just as susceptible to sunburn as you. Cats with white coats or white ears and faces are particularly prone to feeling the effects of the sun's rays. And while sunburn is discomforting for your cat in the short term, it can also have long term effects. Extended exposure to direct sunlight can lead to squamous cell carcinoma, a form of cancer that usually appears at the tips of the ears and on the nose. Signs of squamous cell carcinoma include sores that bleed excessively or do not heal. The best way to protect your cat is to keep him or her out of direct sunlight in the summer time. If your cat is going outdoors, you can protect his or her skin with an application of sunscreen; however, be sure only to use a sunscreen formulated for cats. Sunscreen not designed for cats can result in drooling, lethargy, diarrhea and excessive thirst. Ask your veterinarian about sunscreens that are right for your cat.

Your cat may also face other, non-weather-related problems in the summertime. Cats outdoors for a roam may be tempted to take a taste of antifreeze puddles they find in streets and driveways. Antifreeze is extremely toxic to pets—it only takes one to two teaspoons of antifreeze to poison a cat. Symptoms include vomiting, excessive thirst/urination, depression and a wobbly gait. If you suspect your cat has ingested antifreeze, get him or her to a veterinarian immediately. Owners should also make sure there are no open, unscreened windows in their homes. Adventurous cats may jump or accidentally fall out of open windows, leading to broken bones and other injuries.

Summer can be a carefree, easy time for you and your pet, so long as you both play it safe and keep cool. Ask your veterinarian if you have any questions about beating the heat this summer.

Pet Raw Food Movement

The Raw Food Movement…For Dogs?

The raw food diet is sweeping the covers of health magazines and Hollywood celebrity diets – but it doesn’t stop there. Many veterinarians and pet owners are now discussing the benefits of a raw meat diet for pets. And believers are willing to spend big bucks on it. In fact, last year, sales of commercial raw pet foods reached $100 million, representing one of the fasting-growing segments of the $19 billion US pet food market.

Can I have your attention?

The diet finds its roots in the hunt and prey model where animals in the wild eat their food raw. Producers of raw pet foods claim that cooking food kills important nutrients that are important for an animal’s diet and digestive functioning. This is exactly what actress Sharon Misik discovered when she began her two huskies on a raw diet, which she claimed to have cured their severe diarrhea problems and perpetual illnesses.

Many people have turned to the raw pet diet because of its various success stories, or due to recent stories of contamination in processed pet foods. However, this trend has some veterinarians concerned that in fact the opposite may be true. Many critics have claimed that pet owners may be exposing their animals to an increased level of parasites and pathogens in raw meet that are not beneficial to an animal’s health and longevity. But the jury is still out.

Whether your dog can benefit from a raw diet is entirely personal – but regardless of what you choose, be sure that your dog’s meals meet the appropriate safety standards, and always be monitoring your pet’s health along the way.

How Your Cat Has Mastered Manipulation With Cuteness

Think Whiskers is purring out of pure love and joy to be in your company? Or Rubbing against you to show her excitement that you’re home? Well, she may have us all tricked. Whiskers may actually know a whole lot more about her cuteness – and what it can produce – than we ever thought.

Can I have your attention?

  • Rubbing Against You = They Own You
    We love when we’re greeted by an affectionate rub. And we love thinking it’s because Whiskers has missed us so much. This may in fact be true. But what is also true is that a cat tends to rub against a person in order to claim their ownership over them, leaving you with a scent that is theirs – and theirs only. But don’t think that it also works the other way. In fact, after you rub and pet your cat, she wants that smell gone immediately. You may notice she starts licking herself more than usual after a good rub down, right? This actually helps to get your smell off of her coat. And they had us convinced they were just being clean and tidy pets…
  • Leaving Poop Uncovered = They Rule You
    Cats instinctively cover their poop when they’re done going to the bathroom, and we love that. But when you come home to that surprise on the door mat or kitchen floor, it may not be a product of Whisker’s old age or degenerating blind spot. Rather, your cat may be making a statement of power through his poo. This act of defiance marks their territory and flags to all other members of the household that this is one tough kitty!
  • Meowing Like A Baby = Treat Me Like A Baby, Now!
    Cats are smart, we all know this. But just how smart? Well, looks like they have even perfected their meowing to imitate the sounds of a baby – in effect getting us to “baby” them. Studies have shown that a cat’s meow for attention or food shares a similar frequency level to that of a baby crying for similar wants and needs.

So, Whiskers may be more of a master of her own manipulation than we ever thought. But hey, at least she’s cute about it!

The Military’s Dependence on Dogs

The raid and killing of Osama bin Laden remains shrouded in mystery, yet what most people are not aware of is that there was a four-legged teammate that helped make it all possible. Along with the 79 Navy Seals who took part in the raid, a dog – rumored to be either a German Shepherd or Belgian Malinois, was among the crew. The dog was safely secured to a Navy Seal and lowered into the compound from a Blackhawk helicopter.

This was not the first time a dog helped secure a military operation. In fact, the military has increasingly relied on dogs for their ability to detect bombs at a faster rate than most humans or machines. They are also used for their keen ability to detect people inside buildings, and for preventing their escape – both of which were concerns in the bin Laden raid.

Sergeant Kelly Mylott characterized the dogs as ideal means of catching someone who is trying to run away since the dogs are "trained to bite and hold the suspect." Dogs are trained in several different methods for apprehending and holding a fugitive, but "whatever they do," Mylott explains, "it's very difficult for that person to go any further." The dog may also serve as an intimidation device. In areas of the world where dogs are not understood as pets, particularly in the Middle East, they can be very threatening – often even more so than weapons.

Today, there are approximately 600 dogs helping our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, and these numbers are expected to rise. Labrador retrievers are trained to walk in front of troops in order to patrol the routes for safety. In fact, dogs may even expect to earn military honors for their efforts. In 2009, a dog named Remco was awarded a silver star after charging an enemy hide-out in Afghanistan.

German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois are the most common breeds used in the military. They are reported to have the best combination of sense of smell, endurance, speed, strength, and intelligence for the job. And they look the cutest in uniform.

VIDEO: Itchy Pets are Miserable Pets

Itchy pets can be a source of frustration for many owners, but certainly the pets aren't enjoying it either!! Many pets go through an "itch-scratch" cycle that gets worse and worse each year, especially during warmer weather. Flea medications don't seem to help and owners get tired of hearing the poor dog licking and chewing and scratching for relief. What could cause this sort of problem? The answer is a funny sounding word...ATOPY.

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The Legacy of Ketzel, the Cat Composer

Ketzel, musical catWe all claim that we have the smartest cat. And maybe you do. But is your cat a musical genius?

Ketzel, a cat from the Upper West Side of Manhattan, sure was. Ketzel died this summer at the age of nineteen, but has left in her paw steps a musical legacy. Ketzel was a composer – an award-winning composer, in fact, who won a prize at the Paris New Music Review’s One-Minute Competition for a piece she pawed onto her owner's piano one morning in 1996. Morris Cotel, one of Ketzel's owners, was the chairman of the composition department at the Peabody Conservatory, who claimed Ketzel as "one of his best students." Cotel was shocked the morning Ketzel composed her one-minute-wonder, which he claimed to have a "structural elegance … with a beginning, middle, and an end." Cotel took note of his cat’s masterpiece and submitted it to the competition. Although he explained the composer's identity in the entry form, the judges were not told that "Piece for Piano, Four Paws," truly was written by four paws.

Ketzel's piece premiered in 1998 in Peabody. It was later performed in Europe, over public radio, and at the Museum of the City of New York, where the composer herself was in attendance. After announcing Ketzel's piece, a meow was heard from the back of the hall acknowledging her new claim to fame.

Now that is one smart cat.