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

Thanksgiving: Sharing the Bounty with Your Pets

Thanksgiving is a holiday meant for gathering around the dinner table with family and friends to share in your thanks for all that you have and all that you’re about to consume! For many pet owners, Fido and Mittens are valued members of the family and saying ‘no’ to their pleading eyes may be something you skimp on given the special occasion.

You may already know of the Thanksgiving foods to avoid feeding your pet, for various health and safety reasons. Those foods include raw or bone-ridden bits of turkey, raw bread dough and cake batter, walnuts, mushrooms, onions and garlic, sage and nutmeg, and, of course, chocolate. There are, however, some foods which should be perfectly safe to share with most pets.

Turkey – In small amounts, and without bones or excess skin and fat, cooked turkey is just fine to feed your pets under the table.

Pumpkin – Again, in small amounts, pumpkin is safe for pets and can even quell an upset stomach if they’ve overdone it on other tasty Thanksgiving fare. With a bounty of beta carotene, vitamins, and fiber, pumpkin also helps with digestion. And, if you’re trying to help your pet slim down, it’s low-calorie!

Sweet Potatoes – If your pets are at your feet during meal preparation, a taste of sweet potato won’t hurt them. Just be sure it’s before you add any of the sweet deliciousness, as pets will have a hard time digesting it. Cooked and plain is the way to go.

Veggies – Most pets enjoy the satisfying crunch of raw vegetables. Carrots and broccoli are packed with beneficial vitamins!

Even though it’s Thanksgiving remember: Everything in moderation, especially for your pets. If your kitty or pooch does overindulge, they could develop a serious upset stomach, diarrhea, or an inflammatory condition of the pancreas. Try to keep your pets on their regular diets through the holiday and supplement the above Thanksgiving goodies only as small treats.

Thanksgiving Tips for Pets

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to gather with family and friends and indulge (and, sometimes, over-indulge) in delicious holiday treats. You can be sure that if your cat or dog is around for the festivities, they'll want to share some of the goodies, too. But no matter how much your pets purr, plead, whine or whimper, owners should remember that holiday treats that are tasty for people can be potentially harmful for pets.

Thanksgiving foods may look tasty to your pet, but they could be harmful.

The typical Thanksgiving spread is flush with a variety of foods, from savory fare like turkey and stuffing to sweet foods like yams and cream pies. Your pet's diet is much blander and boring, and for good reason—foods with lots of fat, dairy and spices can cause vomiting and diarrhea in pets. For this reason, it's best to avoid letting Rover dine on the usual turkey day leftovers. If you must give your pet some holiday foods, stick to dishes like boiled potatoes or rice, which will not upset your pet's stomach.

Some holiday foods, however, can cause much more than an upset stomach in your pet. Garlic and onions are members of the allium family and, if eaten in large quantities, can cause hemolytic anemia, a blood disorder that causes red blood cells to burst. Raisins and grapes are also toxic to pets and have been linked to kidney failure.

Chocolate is one of the most dangerous foods that pets can eat—it's also one of the most prevalent holiday foods. Whether chocolate is found in cookies, cakes, truffles or baking squares, any amount can be dangerous. Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, both methylxanthines that can cause stimulation of the nervous system, increased heart rate and tremors. Signs of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, hyperactivity and increased thirst, urination and heart rate.

Chocolate is dangerous for pets

Other sweet treats, like gum and hard candies, can also make your pet ill. Sugar-free candies and gum are made with xylitol, a sugar substitute that can cause a drop in blood sugar, depression, loss of coordination and seizures in your pet. Xylitol is also linked to liver failure in dogs. Be sure to keep all candies, chocolate and other sweets out of your pet's reach. If you believe your pet may have ingested chocolate or candy, call your veterinarian immediately.

You may also be tempted to give your dog a leftover turkey bone or two once the table is cleared. However, poultry bones are small and easily breakable and can easily shatter and get caught in your pet's throat. These bones can cause damage to your pet's throat or lead to choking.

Holidays can also be as stressful for your pet as they are for you. Large gatherings of unfamiliar people may cause your dog or cat unnecessary stress and worry. If your pet does not interact well with strangers, keeping him or her in a separate room during the festivities may help keep your pet relaxed and worry-free.

During holiday gatherings, it's a good idea to keep your veterinarian's phone number handy. If your pet does get a hold of some Thanksgiving food and experiences mild vomiting or diarrhea, you can help settle their stomach by withholding food for a few hours then feeding small amounts of boiled rice and cooked hamburger. If the symptoms persist, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Why Do Some Dogs Have Watery Eyes?

Do your dog’s eyes always seem to be runny? For many pet owners, this is a common concern. Whether you’re curious what the root cause of the excessive tearing may be or if you’re simply bothered by its cosmetic implications (stained or smelly hair beneath the eye), there are many possible answers.

Creating tears to flush eye irritants away is a natural, healthy body reflex. Excessive tear production is caused by one of two things: increased production or impaired drainage.

Causes of Increased Production

If you suddenly notice your dog’s eyes are unusually watery and he or she is pawing at them or squinting, your pet probably has something lodged in there or has a scratch or other damage. Your dog may be experiencing some pain along with general discomfort. Visiting your veterinarian as soon as possible will stop the irritant from causing any further damage.

In some pets, reflex tearing occurs more often than in others and isn’t cause for concern. This is especially true in breeds whose hair hangs down across their field of vision. Your pet could have eyelashes or hairs that curve into the eye rather than away from it, causing more blinking and need for eye-flushing. Dogs with big, bulging eyes simply have shallow eye sockets and the tears have nowhere to go but out. Short-snouted breeds, such as the Shih-tzu, Pekingese, Maltese, and Pug are prone to these problems.

Irritation can also be caused by dry eye, eye infections like conjunctivitis, or glaucoma. Pets with dry eye will secrete thick, yellow discharge from their eyes. The condition upsets the eyes and can eventually lead to blindness if left untreated. Conjunctivitis, just like in humans, is characterized by watery eyes with redness, puffiness, and stingy discharge. It can be caused by bacteria or allergies from irritants such as dust mites, pollen, mold, dander, cosmetics and perfumes, or certain medications. Lastly, glaucoma can be very painful. In addition to watery eyes, your pet may seem depressed and have eyes that appear cloudy or swollen.

Causes of Impaired Drainage

Impaired drainage is known as epiphora and can be due to your dog’s internal anatomy or result from an injury. Tears typically drain out from tear ducts and empty into the nose. Tears will overflow if something is causing a blockage along this route. Epiphora is common in breeds with flat faces, such as Boxers, Bulldogs, and Pugs, because of their facial anatomy. The condition can also result from a trauma, inflammation, medication, or tumor.

What to Do

If your pet’s watery eyes are the result of reflex tearing, the underlying problem will need to be addressed – a hair trim, allergy treatment, or medication for infection. If your pet’s tear drainage system is blocked, it may need to be flushed or cleared with a surgical procedure.

Tear stains will always be more noticeable on white dogs. The pigments in tears can easily discolor light fur. Regular washing or use of hydrogen peroxide or a special whitening grooming product may help with these stains.

VIDEO: Feral Cats

We are a nation that loves cats. More than 80 million share our homes and our lives. But, we often forget about an unseen population of cats that could be larger and has far fewer admirers. Feral cats live on the edge of our society, in alleyways and abandoned buildings. Often thought to have short and violent lives, these cats have become the center of controversies that pit animal lover against animal lover. Watch this video to learn how one group is looking to change the future for these forgotten felines.

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Five Domestic-Wild Cat Hybrid Breeds

When a male lion and a female tiger are bred, the result is the behemoth known as the liger. When a wild cat and a domestic cat are bred, the result is also stunning. Creating wild-domestic cat hybrid breeds has become a profitable industry, with exotic –yet domesticated – cats sometimes selling for thousands of dollars.

Many first or second generation hybrids are sterile and maintain too many “wild” traits to make decent house pets, but later generations have been able to successfully interbreed and live domestic lives. Although they require more care than a normal domestic cat, here are five popular wild-domestic cat breeds:

1. The Bengal – Although you would think this cat derived from a Bengal tiger-cross, it is actually the result of breeding an Asian leopard cat with a domestic cat. These cats are considered large, with males weighing 10 to 15 pounds on average. Bengals are known to be a handful, requiring a lot of stimulation and vocalizing loudly to get their way. Their shiny, soft fur has two basic patterns: spotted and swirled marble, both often tricolor. The Bengal has been cross-bred with many different breeds, resulting in a variety of hybrids.

2. The Toyger – A Los Angeles breeder has been attempting to create a breed that resembles a tiger since the late eighties. By crossing a domestic cat with a Bengal, she has come pretty close. The breed is considered to be “in development,” but is available worldwide for purchase from different breeders.

3. The Savannah – This hybrid is the result of crossing a domestic cat with an African Serval, which somewhat resembles a cheetah with a smaller head, bigger ears, and added stripes on its body. These cats are tall and lanky.

4. The Chausie – Also known as the Stone Cougar, this mix between a domestic cat and Jungle Cat hybrids can grow up to three feet long and weigh 35 lbs. This breed is considered completely domesticated in temperament because it was bred from more domestic and hybrid pairings than wild ones. With long legs and bodies, they come in three colors: black, black grizzled tabby, and black/brown ticked tabby.

5. The Safari – Although rare, the breeding of a South American Geoffroy’s cat with a domestic feline results in this “living room leopard.”

Veterans and Dogs: Companions of Hope

With Veteran's Day quickly approaching, it is an opportune time to commemorate not only our soldiers and veterans- but those important canine friends that help our servicemen and servicewomen’s reentry to American life.

Engaging in military battles or conflict can create anxiety in even the hardiest of soldiers. Unfortunately, sometimes that anxiety permeates their emotional state in such a way so as to disrupt their attempts at a "normal" life once they return home.

Oftentimes, returned soldiers can suffer not only from anxiety but also from depression, fear and substance abuse. Anyone who has gone through a life-threatening event can develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that can include reliving the experience through memories, nightmares or flashbacks. PTSD can also cause a victim to avoid situations that remind him/her of the event, create negative feelings, and initiate hyperarousal (living with a chronic state of fight or flight). These hard-to-overcome emotions can paralyze veterans, dismantle family life, and prevent an individual’s chance at happiness.

PTSD Therapy Dog

Pawsible Help

A specially trained PTSD dog can give its owner a sense of comfort, security, calm. Like all service dogs, a psychiatric service dog is individually trained to perform tasks that mitigate the owner’s disability. With PTSD, some of these mitigating tasks may involve:

- Providing environmental assessments (entering a room prior to the owner and making sure “the coast is clear”)
- Interrupting an owner’s repetitive or injurious behavior
- Reminding the owner to take medication
- Guiding the handler away from stressful situations.

PTSD Therapy Dog

Creature Comforts

Much research has been performed that demonstrates dogs’ ability to serve as good companions, elicit feelings of love and affection, and reduce stress in humans. These and other natural canine virtues make dogs the perfect therapist for a PTSD survivor. These well-trained service dogs draw individuals out of their shells and help them overcome their emotional numbness or fear. Researchers have also concluded that human-dog bonding has biological effects such as adjusting serotonin levels, lowering blood pressure and overcoming depression.

If you or someone you care about has been affected by PTSD and could benefit from special canine companionship, contact either of the following organizations for more information:

- Canines 4 Hope, 1-772-631-4931 or
- Service Dog Express,

Five Things Dogs Can Sense Before They Happen

Just how intuitive is your dog? Many dog owners will swear up and down that their four-legged friends can understand them – sometimes better than their human friends or partner (yikes!). Whether or not your dog is a master of vocabulary and reading your body language, it is true that dogs can sense things we humans cannot.

Here is a list of the top five most impressive things dogs can sense before they happen:

1. Illness

Has your pet been sniffing or nudging at a particular place on your body for no apparent reason? Believe it or not, humans actually produce faint odors of illness and dogs can pick up on them. These smells could be indicators of anything from diabetes to certain types of cancers. In fact, dogs have been trained to detect skin, prostate, lung, breast and colorectal cancers at success rates higher than those which can be deemed only coincidental. So if you’ve had concerns of your own, maybe it’s time to check with a (human) doctor.

2. Seizures

For people who suffer from seizures, trained seizure alert dogs can be life savers. Although no one knows how they do it, all dogs can sense an impending seizure. They instinctively know it’s going to happen, but only trained dogs can recognize the signs for what they are and alert their owners, lie on top of them during the episode to prevent injuries and even signal for help from passers by.

3. Labor

In addition to detecting illness, some dogs have reportedly been able to sense when a female owner is about to go into labor. Little is known about this phenomenon, but the prevailing belief is women may emit a special “labor scent” or give off other early physical cues. If your dog is attached to your heels late in your pregnancy, your little one’s birthday may be fast-approaching.

4. Storms

With olfactory senses 100 times more sensitive than humans, dogs can sometimes hear approaching storms when they are far off in the distance. Just as we can hear the roll of thunder headed our way, dogs too can pick up on these sounds of nature. Storms can also create an electromagnetic force that dogs can sense or even smell. So if your pooch has already taken to hiding under the bed long before you hear any thunder – he may be more accurate than your local weather man!

5. Earthquakes

Scientists remain divided on just how some dogs have been able to sense seismic activity before it occurs, but cases have definitely been recorded throughout history. Whether they can feel the ground moving through their paws or hear it, if a dog begins to show signs of distress in an earthquake prone area it may be a good time to take shelter somewhere safe. Better safe than sorry, right?

November is Pet Diabetes Month

November is National Diabetes Month, but with more than 50% of the nation’s cats and dogs overweight or obese, raising awareness of the common endocrine disease has been extended to pets – rather than just their human caretakers. It is estimated that one in every 200 cats may be affected by diabetes, being the most common endocrine condition found in felines. The numbers for dogs are similar and only expected to increase.

Diabetes results when a pet’s body doesn’t produce enough insulin (Type I DM) or doesn’t process it properly (Type II DM). When your pet eats, carbohydrates found in his or her food are converted into simple sugars, one of which is glucose. Glucose is then absorbed into the bloodstream through the intestines and travels to cells throughout the body. Inside cells, insulin typically helps turn the glucose into fuel. However, when there isn’t enough insulin, glucose can’t even enter the cells to be converted into energy and instead just builds up in the bloodstream.

Symptoms of Diabetes in Cats & Dogs

• Lethargy

• Excessive Thirst

• Frequent Urination

• Always Hungry, Yet Maintains or Loses Weight

• Thinning, dry, and dull coats in cats

• Cloudy Eyes, in dogs

At-Risk Pets

• Those with genetic predispositions

• Those with other insulin-related disorders

• Those who are obese &/or physically inactive

• Dogs who are between 4- to 14-years-old

• Unspayed/intact female dogs are twice as likely to suffer from diabetes

• Dog breeds with greater risk for development: Cocker Spaniels, Dachshunds, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Labs, Pomeranians, terriers, and Toy Poodles

Although diabetes can’t be cured, it can be managed so that symptoms are reduced or eliminated entirely. Your veterinarian will decide which treatment options are best for your pet. Often, changes in diet and lifestyle, combined with or without daily insulin injections, can help your pet live a happy, healthy, active life.

If you’ve noticed any of the above symptoms in your pet and suspect he or she may have diabetes, contact your veterinarian today. Veterinarians are the only professionals who can accurately diagnose your pet and provide proper health management. Diabetes can affect a pet differently over time, even if your pet has experienced a long period of stability. The sooner your pet is diagnosed, the better, and the less likely you'll incur the cost of an expensive emergency visit for diabetic complications.