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

Overweight Pets Are In The Majority

Study Says 57% of Cats and 52% of Dogs Are Obese

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention has revealed that pet obesity rates has held steady in the past year, with 57.6% of cats and 52.6% of dogs recorded as overweight or obese, despite efforts by the Association to spread awareness of the dangers of pet obesity. Pet obesity, like obesity in humans, can lead to osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, joint injury, cancer and decreased life expectancy.

Overweight Dogs

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention also found most owners of overweight pets do not realize their pet is considered overweight. 93% of dog owners and 88% of cat owners believed their overweight pets were in the normal weight range. "There's an entire nation of pet owners who are loving their pets to death with too many calories and not enough exercise," said Joe Bartges, DVM, a veterinary nutritionist and internist. "They are in the dark that their pets are overweight and that a host of diseases can arise as a result."

Advantages Of Spays and Neuters

Health Benefits Associated With Spays & Neuters

Spaying or neutering pets is a common procedure, and most pet owners have probably had some experience with having the procedure done on animals they have owned.

Aside from the inconvenience of heat cycles and/or roaming tom cats, there are medical benefits associated to having your pet spayed or neutered. The direct health benefits of spaying or neutering are significant for the pet. If female pets are spayed before their first heat cycle, the risk of developing mammary tumors (breast cancer) is significantly reduced.

Spaying female pets eliminates the risk of pyometra, an infection of the uterus. This disease can be very serious, even fatal, in female pets. Male pets can also benefit. Neutering eliminates the risk of testicular cancer and reduces the risk of prostate disease.

Spay and Neuter Stamps Issued by the U.S. Postal Service

Spay and Neuter Stamps Issued by the U.S. Postal Service

Spaying or neutering can indirectly help prolong a pet's life as well. When pets are spayed or neutered, their tendencies to roam or fight are greatly reduced. This prevents the pets from getting lost, stolen, hit by cars, or contracting a contagious disease.

Cats that fight are at risk of contracting a serious disease called feline leukemia. This disease, which affects the immune system of the cat, can be passed from feline to feline through saliva or blood. Cats also run the risk of contracting feline immune deficiency virus when they fight. This disease is very similar to human HIV. It can lie dormant in the cat for quite a while, and when activated, can cause the cat's immune system to function improperly.

Spaying or neutering dogs can help keep them under control. Dogs that have not been spayed or neutered are more likely to wander away from home. While running loose, they have a chance of being hit by a car, getting lost, stolen, or taken to the animal shelter.

Even though spays and neuters are considered routine surgery, there is nothing routine about any abdominal surgery performed under general anesthesia. Most veterinarians consider spays and neuters to be major surgery, especially when spaying older animals that have had several heat cycles or have had litters.

Veterinarians and humane societies advise pet owners to have their pets spayed or neutered. The medical advantages have been proven. Complications resulting from these procedures are rare and pets recover from surgery very quickly. Often the day after surgery, animals are bright and alert, sometimes seeming as if nothing had ever happened.

The cost of the procedure varies depending upon the species, sex, size, and age of the pet.

Cat Carriers

If you have a cat, you ought to have a cat carrier. We've seen people trying to transport their cat in everything from bare hands to pillow cases. Nothing beats a cat carrier when it comes to safety, comfort and convenience—for both you and your cat. Skip those cardboard ones the shelters give you to take your new pet home; they’re not designed for sturdy long-term use. Others to rule out include carriers with no privacy, or ones that don’t clean easily, such as those made of wicker.

Cat Carrier

Your best bet is a carrier made of hard, high-impact molded plastic that has an open-grid door. Most models have the door at one end, but you may find it easier to deal with your pet if instead, you purchase the kind with the door on the top. These make getting your pet in and out of the carrier much easier.

Another reason to own a carrier - A carrier is an essential piece of any disaster kit, making evacuation easier in the event of an emergency and expanding the possibilities for temporary housing for your pet.

Halloween Tips, Treats and Tricks for Pets

When witches, ghosts and ghouls take to the streets in search of treats this Halloween, they'll have some furry friends by their side. According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, about 7.4 million households celebrating Halloween plan to outfit their pet in a festive Halloween costume this year. Devils and pumpkins are the top choices for pet costumes, with witches, princesses and angels rounding out the list.

One in ten households will dress their dogs up for Halloween this year.

If you plan on letting your pet don a devilish disguise, there are a few safety tips to keep in mind. First, make sure your pet wants to wear a costume! While some animals may not mind being outfitted with a pumpkin suit, others may experience extreme discomfort and stress while in costume. Try putting the costume on your pet in advance of the big night to make sure he or she is comfortable with it. And while your pet is out trick or treating, don't forget about the pets that may be coming to your house - keep a few dog treats by the door to hand out to any four-legged companions accompanying trick-or-treaters.

Whether your pet is dressed like a pumpkin or a dinosaur, make sure the costume allows for easy movement and is not restrictive or confining; however, also be on guard for costumes that drag on the ground. These costumes can get caught in doors or snag on other objects. If your pet's costume includes a mask, modify the eye holes so they are big enough to accommodate your pet's peripheral vision. A pet that can't see may experience increased stress and could become aggressive as a result.

Make sure your pet's costume allows for easy movement.

When the trick-or-treating is over and the treats are ready to be had, be sure to keep chocolate away from your dog. Any amount of chocolate is harmful to your pet, so keep the treats out of their paws, no matter how much they beg. Those cellophane and foil wrappers left behind after the treats are gone are also a potential health hazard for your pet. The wrappers can be caught in your pet's digestive track and cause illness, severe discomfort - and even death - if the problem is left untreated.

There are some other pet safety tips to keep in mind this Halloween:

Jack o'lanterns and lit candles may look spooky, but they can pose problems for your pet. Rambunctious pets can knock lit pumpkins over and start fires, and wagging tails can easily get burned by open flames. Keep lit pumpkins and candles up on a high shelf to avoid accidents.

If you're hosting a Halloween party, keep your pet in a separate room, away from all the hustle and bustle. Too many strangers in odd costumes may cause your pet stress. This will also prevent your pet from sneaking out through an open door and darting out into the night.

Keep your pet indoors during the days and nights around Halloween. Pranksters and vandals have teased, injured, stolen and, in rare cases, killed pets on Halloween. Keeping your pet inside will keep them from becoming a target.


Halloween can be a fun time for you and your pet. Following the above safety tips will make sure the only scares you experience are all in good fun.

Canines with a Cause: Dogs That Sniff Out Bed Bugs

Dogs help sniff out bedbugsDogs are not only our friends, but also our protectors. And in this case, they even keep our beds insect-free! Today, dogs are increasingly being used to help sniff out bed bug infestations around the nation. Companies like "Sniff K9" even offer bed bug certification programs – where dogs run the show. Sniff K9 works with people at their own homes, or those in the hospitality and retail business to ensure that rooms and products are bed-bug free. You can also buy these bed-bug sniffing companions.

The recent surge in these services is due to an increase in bed bug infestations experienced around the country. "Bed bugs are no longer common simply in cheap motels," stated the co-founder of Sniff K9, "but are now frequent at even 5-star facilities and luxury boutiques."

Dogs are used because of their incredibly keen sense of smell. What dog is best for the task, however, may be up for debate. Sniff K9 uses Labradors because they are characteristically fearless, especially when it comes to searching small spaces, relatively low maintenance, and are particularly good at detecting scents. Although seemingly odd or unconventional, the method appears to be a rather effective and quick way to keep these unwanted guests out of your bed.

Fashion Fur-Pas? Tampa Woman Hopes Dog Owners Want Dog-Hair Purses

A woman in Tampa is seeking funding to launch a one-of-a-kind business: selling high-end purses made entirely of dog hair. Doris Carvahlo, an entrepreneur, says the idea combines her passion for animals and fashion. “I turn this groomed dog hair that would be garbage into these handbags,” she said in a video promoting the idea. “These handbags prove that high-end can be made eco-friendly from your pet for you.”

Carvahlo says the entire purse-making process, which begins with sterilizing the dog hair, takes up to 50 hours. She plans to sell the dog hair purses for $1,000, but she’s looking to raise $15,000 on Kickstarter first. That money will allow her to make 30 purses and start her marketing process, she said.

Video: New Pets Help Families in a Changing World

There is no doubt that when times are tough, families bond together to make the best of the situation. And, sometimes a new cute and fuzzy four legged family member can help make rough times more bearable! Whether you choose a purebred kitten from a breeder or an adorable mixed breed puppy from a rescue group, there are a few things you will want to know to keep your new friend happy and healthy. Watch this video to learn how our furry companions actually relieve stress and bring joy to their homes!

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Ebola and Dogs: Cause For Concern?

As the deadly Ebola virus continues to spread from West Africa to other parts of the world, including the United States, questions about its transmission between humans and animals have been raised.

Ebola, which causes a fever, headache muscle pain, weakness, vomiting and eventually dysentery, is fatal 90% of the time. With a third person testing positive for the disease in the United States, many fear that the disease will continue to spread.

According to the World Health Organization, Ebola is often transmitted to people from wild animals including gruit bats, chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines. Human-to-human transmission occurs through contact with infected bodily fluids.

Because of its connection to wild animals, some worry about Ebola spreading to and from an infected person’s pets. In Spain, a dog was euthanized after its owner tested positive for Ebola, leading many to wonder about the transmission of Ebola between humans and dogs. Unfortunately, existing evidence suggests that euthanizing the dog was unnecessary.

According to an article from the Veterinary News Network, most of what is known about dogs and Ebola comes from an outbreak in 2001, where over 400 dogs in the African nation of Gabon had exposure to the virus. Many of these dogs developed antibodies, demonstrating that they contracted the disease.

But the dogs showed no symptoms of Ebola, and there are still no known instances of humans catching the disease from dogs. One possible explanation is that dogs are “dead end hosts,” meaning they can contract the virus but cannot spread it to humans. However, more research is necessary before this can be determined.

The World Health Organization says that there is no evidence that domestic animals play an active role in the transmission of Ebola to humans, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention says there are no reports of pets becoming sick or playing a role in transmission of Ebola to humans.

If your pet is vomiting, has diarrhea or a fever, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. There are other diseases that have similar symptoms and require immediate attention.

For more information about Ebola, visit the CDC website at

Selecting and Caring for Pet Birds

Selecting a Pet Bird

Why do you want to own a bird?

There is no correct answer to this question, but it is one you should fully examine before you purchase a bird. Often a pet bird is the answer for apartment dwellers, people desiring animal companionship with minimal time or money investment, or individuals wanting an affectionate, intelligent pet. However, a bird should never be purchased on impulse. You should approach the task of purchasing a bird already aware of the characteristics of the species of bird you are interested in, the average price of that type of bird in your region and with some knowledge of how to evaluate the health and breed characteristics of the bird you are considering. This requires a bit of research and asking round before you are ready to buy, but the investment of your time saves you much grief at a later date.


The beautiful macaws and cockatoos are not for the neophyte! Most first-time bird owners are happier with finches, canaries, budgerigars ("parakeets") or cockatiels.

Zebra Finch

Birds can be purchased from a variety of sources, such as pet shops, breeders, private dealers, or individuals. If you are buying a bird for the first time, it is almost essential that you purchase your bird from someone who is in the bird breeding and/or selling business. These individuals usually have a reputation to protect. Ask around and find out who in your area is known to deal honestly and fairly with buyers.

Many stores today, especially those specializing in birds, have been operated by bird fanciers who have turned their hobby into a business. These individuals usually know and care about their birds. They have in stock items required for basic care and maintenance of birds, such as play toys, cages, bird feed and general health supplies. Sales personnel generally offer you more information than you ever thought necessary to get you started, so leave yourself plenty of time to shop!

Health should be a primary consideration when you are choosing a bird. Pay close attention to the health of all birds you look at. A free bird, if it is sick, is not worth the long-term monetary and emotional costs. To keep it simple, a sick bird looks sick and a healthy bird looks bright, alert, active and in good feather.

The following clues are important when considering the health of a bird:

  • A sick bird may sit with its feathers puffed up, its eyes may be dull or even closed.
  • The nostrils of a sick bird may be clogged or somewhat occluded. An additional clue is to check the feathers above the nostrils. If they appear wet or matted, then the bird has a nasal discharge.
  • A bird that appears to have breathing problems is often sick.
  • If the feathers around the bird's vent or hindquarters are soiled or matted, this indicates diarrhea.
  • The bird may be listless or inactive.
  • The seed cup may appear not to have been touched, indicating that the bird is off-feed.
  • Be on the lookout for bald spots where feathers should be.
  • Pay careful attention to the following:
    -swellings or sores on the feet or toes
    -a protruding breastbone
    -white crusts on the beak

When you are selecting your bird, you must consider its temperment. An intelligent bird with a good disposition is essential for everyone's benefit. Most birds that are for sale seem to be in a temporarily stressed condition. Do not expect too much at first, but do become aware of how different birds approach you as you make your choice. Intuition and experience are the most reliable guides someone can have in selecting a bird.

When you finally choose your bird, consider the following before money changes hands.

  • If there is a problem, would you be able to locate the seller next?
  • Is there a health certificate that allows for returns or exchanges within a reasonable period of time?
  • Can the seller verify the bird's age and birthplace? (While this may always be possible, most reputable sellers have this information available. If not, learn how to judge the age of the bird species you want to buy.)
  • Will you receive a written bill-of-sale?
  • The purchase of a bird should always be contingent upon the bird being examined by a veterinarian within a few days of purchase. You should be allowed to return the animal and receive a full refund if it is not in sound health.
  • The bill-of-sale should include the purchase price, the guarantee, the return policy, the bird's band number (if known) and a full description of the bird (i.e. color, sex—if known, genus and species).
VIDEO: Snakes and Lizards and Hedgehogs... Oh My!

With more than 11 million reptiles and 18 million small mammals in our homes, these pets have gained in popularity in recent years. Their small size, uniqueness, and easy maintenance have made them very trendy. There are, however, a few things to be aware of before bringing one of these exotics into your home. Watch this video to learn more.

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