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

Bird Flu Outbreak Spreads To 16 States

A recent bird flu outbreak has sickened millions of birds, but officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that the risk to humans and other animals is minimal. The outbreak began in December 2014 and has continued to spread. Health officials in Iowa, the top egg-producing state in the US, say that more than 5 million chickens would need to be euthanized after the virus was detected at a large commercial poultry facility.

While some humans have been sickened by another strain of the virus in the past, there are no cases of the strain responsible for this outbreak infecting humans, and the CDC says the risk for humans is low. This virus does not spread through consumption of poultry products.

Although the risk is minimal, the CDC recommends the following:

  • Avoid wild birds and avoid contact with domestic birds that appear ill or have died
  • If you have had contact with infected birds, monitor your own health for conjunctivitis or flu-like symptoms, and see a doctor if these symptoms appear

If you would like more information about bird flu, talk to your veterinarian.

Top 10 Dog Breeds in 2014

Dogs occupy a larger place than ever in our society in recent years. They’re not just pets – they’re real members of our families. People have come to cherish a wide variety of these four-legged friends, and according to the American Kennel Club, the 10 breeds below topped the ranks in 2014.

1. Labrador Retriever – Labrador Retrievers, or simply Labradors or Labs, are frequently described as devoted, obedient, outgoing, gentle, agile and intelligent. Great with children and eager to please, it’s no surprise these dogs came out on top for the 24th consecutive year.

2. German Shepherd Dog – German Shepherds are working dogs, originally bred for herding sheep. They are known for being strong, intelligent, obedient, loyal and easy to train. While they are a common choice for law enforcement and the military, they also make great family pets.

3. Golden Retriever – Golden Retrievers are the loyal, strong and sometimes overly enthusiastic good buddies of the dog world. These energetic, affectionate canines shower their families with endless nuzzles, kisses and tail wags, and make very emotionally rewarding pets.

4. Bulldog – This breed is gentle, kid-friendly, affectionate, and stubborn. Bulldogs are not the energetic equals of Golden Retrievers or Labs. Instead, they favor brief walks and long periods of rest – most preferably with their heads on a beloved human’s lap – between meals.

5. Beagle – Beagles are members of the hound group and possess a great sense of smell and tracking instinct. Happy, outgoing, loving but also inquisitive and determined, these small and hardy dogs make great family pets.

6. Yorkshire Terrier – Yorkshire Terriers are the most popular toy breed in the US. Attention seeking, intelligent and independent, with a propensity for yapping, they are great for apartment dwellers and families with older children.

7. Poodle – Poodles have an unmistakably distinct appearance that makes them stand out from other dogs. They’re elegant, active and very intelligent. There are three types of poodles, Standard, Miniature and Toy, and all are considered to be affectionate family pets.

8. Boxer – Boxers are medium-sized dogs that are happy, loyal, brave, high-spirited, playful, intelligent and energetic. This breed is an excellent watchdog, is a great family pet and benefits greatly from dominant owner and training starting at a young age.

9. French Bulldog – French Bulldogs have a distinct look, too – but they’re a little more funny looking than other dogs. They’re adorable, too, and it’s no mystery why these affectionate small dogs, with their easy-going and playful natures, have won people’s hearts. French Bulldogs enjoy lavishing love on their human companions and generally get along well with everyone, including children.

10. Rottweiler – Often used as search and rescue dogs, guide dogs for the blind, and guard dogs or police dogs, Rottweilers also make great companion pets. Known for being exceptionally intelligent and strong, they are also devoted, good-natured, obedient and fearless. Properly bred and socialized Rottweilers are playful, gentle, and loving to their families.

When deciding to welcome a canine companion into your home, it’s important to consider where you live, your family, your existing pets and your lifestyle. Choosing a pet with the temperament, energy level and size that complement each of these factors is a vital part of making sure your life together is a long and happy one!

Birth of Kittens (Queening)

About two weeks before the kittens are due, a nesting box (or queening box) should be introduced to the expectant mother. This box should be made from a washable material and located in a warm and secluded area. The bottom of the box should be lined with an absorbent material that can be changed frequently. Newspapers, towels, or clean rags make excellent bed liners.

The first stage of labor may last anywhere from several hours to an entire day (24 hours). The queen is restless, fidgety, and usually refuses to eat. The expectant mother may pace about the house or begin digging in the queening box. Abdominal contractions signal the end of this period and the beginning of active labor.

Straining of the stomach muscles (contractions) marks the beginning of the second phase of labor. As the mother continues to strain, less time elapses between contractions. Generally within 15 minutes to one hour after contractions begin, a fluid-filled sac appears at the vaginal opening. This sac surrounds the first kitten.

After several contractions, the first kitten is born. The time interval between successive kittens can range anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Some experienced mothers are able to complete the entire birthing process in 30 minutes.

Generally when each kitten is born, it is enclosed in a membrane or sac. The mother usually licks the kitten's face and breaks the sac. If this sac is not immediately broken by the mother, human intervention is required. The sac must be opened, and the kitten's face must be rubbed. Rubbing the kitten's face with a clean cloth is an excellent method to stimulate breathing. Sometimes the kitten is born without a membrane or sac. If this occurs, the sac will follow the kitten, arriving together with the umbilical cord.

There are two normal positions for delivery. The kittens can come out "head first" or "rear first". A "rear first" delivery is generally more difficult than a "head first" delivery.

Human intervention is required when a kitten is lodged in the birth canal. When this occurs (and the mother is not able to expel the kitten herself), the mother must be restrained and gentle traction applied to the kitten. The kitten is grasped with a clean dry towel and pulled in a downward position, toward the mother's feet. When a kitten is lodged in the birth canal for a considerable amount of time, it is usually born dead.

A greenish-black discharge occurs between births. This discharge is normal and is often blood-tinged. If a reddish discharge occurs at the beginning of labor, and the expectant mother strains for more than one hour without delivering kittens, immediate veterinary attention is required.

After each kitten is born, the remaining portion of the sac should be removed from its face. Any mucus surrounding the nostrils should be cleared away. Kittens should be dried with a clean towel and rubbed in order to stimulate breathing. Using a fine-diameter thread, each umbilical cord should be tied about one inch from the kitten's belly. The cord is cut on the far side of the knot, and the remaining stump (with the cord) is dipped into a white iodine solution. If the kittens are similar looking, it is best to number each one with a permanent marker.

Nursing kittens

Nursing Kittens

When the mother is relaxed and she settles down with her kittens, it is safe to assume that the birthing process is over. A small amount of vaginal bleeding is normal and this often continues for 2 or 3 days. If bleeding seems heavy or continues beyond this period, veterinary attention is required.

A mother and kitten
Canine Influenza Update – June 2015

The Canine Influenza outbreak that started in Chicago has now spread to 13 states. The strain of the virus, H3N2, originated in Asia in 2007 and has sickened over 1000 dogs in the Chicago area alone. Eight dogs have died from either the virus itself or secondary infections. Alabama, California, Georgia, Texas, Massachusetts, New York, Wisconsin, Michigan, New Jersey, Iowa and Indiana have all reported instances of Canine Influenza.

Canine Influenza’s symptoms are similar to the flu that humans get, and include cough, runny nose, and fever. However, the disease cannot be spread to humans. Because the virus is highly contagious between dogs, pet owners in affected areas should avoid dog parks. Vaccinations are also available for dogs in high-risk areas. Please call us today if you like more information about Canine Influenza.

VIDEO: Do Generic Flea Products Meet Your Pets' Needs?

In recent months, brand new "generic" over the counter flea medications have found their way into many grocery stores and big box retail outlets. Many of these compounds compare themselves to well known brands available through your veterinarian and claim that you can get the same protection at half the price. Now, we all want to save money AND we all want to keep our pets safe from those pesky fleas and ticks, but is there any risk to buying your pet's flea products from a display rack? Watch this video for a few tips on choosing the right flea protection.

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Fourth Of July Pet Safety Tips

Fireworks and the Fourth of July go together like ... well, fireworks and the Fourth of July. While you may already have safeguards in place for people and children, there are additional things to consider for pet owners. Here are a few tips on helping your pets remain safe and happy while dealing with fireworks.

Always keep fireworks out of reach of your pet. While this may seem obvious for lit fireworks, it’s important to keep unlit fireworks away from your pets as well. Ingesting fireworks could be lethal for your pet. If your pet does get into your fireworks, contact your veterinarian right away.

Be aware of projectiles. Roman candles, for example, have projectile capabilities. If used incorrectly, an ejected shell can hit a pet, causing burning. If your pet gets burned, contact your veterinarian right away.

Keep your pet on a leash or in a carrier. Never let your pets run free in an area where fireworks are going off.

Know what do to in case of a seizure. For some animals, being in the presence of fireworks can trigger a seizure. If your pet is prone to seizures, he or she should never be around fireworks – but most pet owners won’t know if their dog is prone to seizures until he or she experiences one. If this happens, stay calm and remove any objects in the area that might hurt your pet. Do not attempt to move your pet, as they may bite without knowing it. When the seizure is over, move him or her into an area clear of the firework’s sights and sounds. Call your veterinarian right away.

Ease your pet’s fear. Many pets are frightened of fireworks, and may exhibit fear by whimpering, crying, or otherwise displaying uneasiness. Create a safe space for these animals before the event. During the fireworks, use the radio, television, fan or air conditioner to create white noise that will drown out the sound of the fireworks.

By planning ahead and keeping key information in mind, your pet can have a happy, stress-free Fourth of July – and so can you!

Protecting Your Bird From Avian Flu

Avian Influenza or bird flu is a highly contagious viral disease that can infect many types of birds, including pet birds. It is important to take preventative measures to protect your avian family. Knowing the appropriate measures to take and how to identify possible infection is the best way to do this.

Avian flu is highly contagious

While strains of bird flu can be different, the symptoms are very similar. Below is a list of common symptoms.

  • Sudden increase in bird deaths
  • Sneezing, gasping for air, coughing and nasal discharge
  • Watery and green diarrhea
  • Lack of energy and poor appetite
  • Swelling around the eyes, neck, and head
  • Purple discoloration of the wattles, combs and legs
  • Tremors, drooping wings, circling, twisting of the head and neck or lack of movement

Using preventative measures to protect your birds is just as important as being able to identify symptoms. Follow these five steps for the best possible results:

Keep Your Distance - Restrict access to your birds. If visitors have birds of their own, do not let them near your birds and vice versa.

Keep It Clean - Wear clean clothes and wash your hands thoroughly with a disinfectant before handling your birds. Clean cages and change food and water daily. Remove feed from bags, place it in a clean sealed container and throw the bags away. Clean and disinfect tools that come in contact with your birds or their droppings. Remove droppings before disinfecting. Properly dispose of dead birds.

Do Not Haul Disease Home - When buying a pet bird, request certification from the bird seller that the bird was healthy prior to shipment, legally imported or came from U.S. stock.

If you or your bird has been near other birds or bird owners, such as at a pet store, bird club meeting or bird fair, clean and disinfect travel bird cages, your clothing, shoes and tools before going home. Have your birds been to an exhibition? Keep them separated from your other pet birds for at least two weeks after the event. New birds should be kept separate from your other pet birds for at least 30 days.

Do Not Borrow Disease From Your Neighbor - Do not share tools or bird supplies with your neighbors or other bird owners. If you do bring these items home, clean and disinfect them first.

Report Sick Birds - Do not wait! If your birds are sick or dying, call your local cooperative extension office, local veterinarian, the state veterinarian or U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Veterinary Services office to find out why. The USDA operates a toll-free hotline at 1-866-536-7593 in order to help.