Newsletter

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

“Back-To-School Blues” For Your Dog

Parents and youngsters aren’t the only ones who have to adjust to a new schedule every fall. Just as kids grow accustomed to the care-free days of summer, dogs get used to the constant attention and play time that a child’s constant presence brings. Many dogs will adjust quickly to the change, but those prone to separation anxiety may look for ways to lash out.



In an interview with the Associated Press, Dr. Nick Dodman of Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine recommended the following tips to help ease the transition between summer and the school year:

  • Make departure time happy using toys and treats
  • Create a place in the house where the dog feels safe
  • Try starting the routine before school begins
  • Do not indulge with baby talk or sympathy
  • See a veterinarian if the dog’s disposition doesn’t improve

With a little advanced planning and a few tweaks to you and your dog’s morning routine, you can keep your dog relaxed and content while his favorite playmate is gone for the day. Before you know it, your dog’s “back-to-school blues” will be a thing of the past.

VIDEO: Cats Often Overlooked for Veterinary Care

From Siamese and Persians to the outdoor barn kitty, Americans love our cats! With more than 80 million felines being pampered in homes across the country, our cat friends have become the #1 pet in the nation. Since they are so popular, it would be easy to think that our cats are probably given everything that they could want or need. Unfortunately, studies show that cats are much less likely to be given proper veterinary care than our dog friends...why is this? Watch this video to learn the answers of why cats get lower care!

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Dogs for Diabetics

Nothing causes greater worry in a parent than to have his/her child at risk for harm. Parents of diabetics know this anxiety well as the risks of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels) can occur at any time and result in deadly consequences. Fortunately, continuous research studies and programs help insulin-dependent diabetics manage their insulin therapy and lower the risks of a hypoglycemic reaction. And surprisingly, the friendliest blood glucose detector on the market? Dogs.


Living with Risk

As many as three million people have Type 1 diabetes (T1D), an autoimmune disease in which a person’s body stops producing insulin. The disease does not discriminate; T1D strikes both adults and children with equal vigor. It develops suddenly, causes dependence on insulin injections, and carries with it the constant threat of devastating complications.


Dog with Boy



Living with T1D is a constant challenge as individuals must carefully balance injected insulin doses with eating, drinking, physical fitness and other activities. Even with careful monitoring, people with T1D still run the risk of dangerous high or low blood-glucose levels, both of which can be life threatening. The disease can be particularly threatening to babies/young children, newly independent young adults or single adults living alone for the simple reason that it is difficult for these individuals to communicate and/or respond to dangerous complications.


Common Scents

It takes more than common sense to know when an acute attack of hypo or hyperglycemia is about to strike. A relatively new growing class of service dogs is emerging to help diabetic patients predict when blood glucose levels are falling suddenly or unexpectedly. Evidence suggests that these trained dogs can react with an accuracy and speed that beats medical devices such as glucose meters and continuous glucose monitors. Studies have shown that dogs may be able to identify the onset of hypoglycemia up to 30 minutes ahead of it being registered by a glucose meter. With their acute sense of smell, dogs (especially retrievers) are able to react to the chemical scent produced by falling blood sugar levels.


Tangible (and Intangible) Benefits

Clearly, a service dog’s companionship for a diabetic has real and tangible benefits to the patient. The dog is a constant guarantor that, even in a medical crisis, lifesaving measures will be taken. In this case, man’s best friend is truly a very best friend.


However, there are also not-so-readily-viewable advantages to having a service dog available for diabetic patients. When a child has T1D, his mother tends to spend many a night on high alert. Assistance dogs allow parents to rest comfortably while the dog keeps watch. They can also help newly independent college students live away from home without parental oversight. Moreover, an elderly adult living alone with diabetes can also be comforted knowing that her loyal companion is an extra component in her support network. Dogs’ capabilities and reliability in recognizing the impending dangers of hypoglycemia offset the ever present worry that sidles up next to diabetic patients who live with this disease. And not only do they comfort the owners but also those who care about the diabetic.


Further Information

If you or someone you love suffers from diabetes and is interested in this type of assistance, please contact your physician or one of our veterinarians. There are several organizations available that provide service dogs for diabetics, including www.dogs4diabetics.com, www.eenp.org/main/diabetic, www.alertservicedogs.com.

Colleges Opening their Doors to Pets

As enrollment figures are starting to drop, many colleges are welcoming pets. Administrators at Stevens College in Columbia, MO and State University of New York at Canton have seen enrollments increase and emotional problems, often associated with students leaving home for the first time, decrease since allowing pets on campus.

A survey of 1,400 colleges lists allergies and irresponsible students as the two main reasons for not allowing pets. Other objections include mess, noise, disease, biting, roommate issues and pet abandonment. Schools that allow pets solve these problems in a variety of ways, including special dorms for students with pets and extra security deposits and cleaning fees. Schools also require current veterinary records and waivers of liability.


A girl and her dog on the quad


Here are a few schools that allow students to bring their pets to college:

MIT – Cambridge, MA
At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, students may keep cats in “cat-friendly” areas of certain dormitories. The cat-friendly areas have a Pet Chair who is responsible for approving and keeping track of pets in the dorm, and the pet owner must have approval from his or her roommates.

Stetson University – DeLand, FL
Stetson University allows students to bring fish, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, rats, mice, cats and dogs under 50 pounds to pet-friendly housing areas on campus. While several breeds of dogs including pit bulls and Rottweilers are prohibited, the college nonetheless won the Halifax Humane Society’s 2011 Wingate Award for encouraging responsible pet ownership.

Eckerd College – St. Petersburg, FL
Students with pet ducks are in luck at Eckerd College. In addition to cats, small dogs and rabbits, the college allows owners of waterfowl to cohabitate with their feathered friend in its pet friendly dormitories. All pets on the Eckerd campus must be registered with Eckerd’s pet council.

Stephens College – Columbia, MO
Stephens College is home to Searcy Hall, affectionately referred to by students as “Pet Central.” In addition to welcoming cats and small dogs, Stephens offers an on-campus doggie daycare and opportunities to foster pets through a nearby no-kill animal rescue organization.

Caltech – Pasadena, CA
Students housed in Caltech’s seven pet-friendly dorms are allowed to keep up to two indoor cats. Cats are provided with an ID tag by Caltech’s housing office, and students must remove cats if neighbors complain.

SUNY Canton – Canton, NY
State University of New York’s Canton campus has a designated pet wing where students are allowed to keep one cat or a small caged pet with the approval of the residence hall director. Pets in this area are allowed free reign in the hall, as the school’s pet wing community tries to promote a family-like atmosphere for its residents.

These are just a few of the colleges that currently allow pets on campus. In fact, a recent survey of college admissions officers found that 38% of schools have housing where some pets are permitted, with 10% of those schools allowing dogs and 8% allowing cats. Students who dread leaving Fido behind every fall might not have to if they choose a pet-friendly college.

VIDEO: Battling a Canine Killer... Katy's Story

Half of all dogs will develop some sort of cancer in their lifetime and one in four dogs will die. These are the sad statistics of this dreaded disease that affect people and pets. Canine cancer is so prevalent that it is the leading killer of dogs over the age of two. The Canine Cancer Project is now underway to help fund studies aimed at eliminating canine cancer in the next ten to twenty years. Watch this video to learn how you can help eradicate cancer in your dog’s lifetime!


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Average Lifespan Table of Some Animals
ANIMALLIFESPAN
Small Birds5-10 years
Medium Birds10-20 years
Large Birds40-50 years
Small Dogs9-11 years
Medium and
Large Dogs
10 years
Giant Dogs7 years
Ferrets5-11 years
Gerbils3-5 years
Rats3-4 years
Mice2-3 years
Begging for Food

Begging is a common problem in dogs. Often, dogs that beg for food are overweight or obese. Obesity is a medical condition that can lead to serious problems.

Dogs learn how to beg for food very quickly. Frequently they are not even begging for food but rather looking for attention. Because an owner associates this type of behavior as begging for food, food is often substituted for attention.

In order to eliminate this behavior, all members of the family must stop giving treats. Even if begging is rewarded only once in a while, the problem persists and can even get worse.

Food should never be used as a substitute for attention. All dogs require attention and affection.

Once you stop rewarding your dog for begging, the dog will no longer beg. It may take some time but Rover certainly will not starve.

Feline Facts or Fables?

The following common beliefs have circulated in western culture for years. Are they fact or are they fiction? In this article, VetNetwork takes aim at some of these familiar “truths” and demystifies the mystery in them.


The Eyes Have It: Are Cats Colorblind?

While humans and monkeys possess the necessary cells to see all colors, cats and dogs are not as fortunate. While able to see some colors, cats are missing “cone” cells- the cells required to visualize red, blue and green hues. Unlike humans, however, cats are born with the cells necessary to respond well to dim light, thus making them extraordinarily savvy “seers” in both bright and dusky light.


Do cats’ eyes glow?

No. As much as this myth charms children, cats’ eyes do not glow. However, special cells exist in the back of their retina; these cells (tapetum) act like a mirror and reflect light back- thus creating a glowing-like effect.


Persian Black Cat



Pregnant Women Shouldn’t Live with Cats

Toxoplasmosis is a real infection caused by a parasite that can threaten the health of an unborn child. Humans can contract the infection from handling soil or cat litter that contains cat feces infected with the parasite. Other methods of transmission include eating undercooked meat from infected animals or from consuming uncooked foods that have come in contact with contaminated meat.

Most health professionals agree that although toxoplasmosis is a real risk for fetuses, a woman is more likely to catch it from handling raw meat or digging in the garden than directly from her cats. The best way for a pregnant cat owner to protect herself is to empty the litter box daily, have someone else clean the litter box, or wear rubber gloves and a mask if changing the litter.


Cats Steal the Breath of Babies

While this myth is just that, a myth, the simple fact that cats are attracted to warmth and comfort is true and irrefutable. A sleeping baby offers an easy heat source and his/her rhythmic breathing can seem like the perfect cozy place to curl up for a catnap. There is a potential risk to the baby and, therefore, cats should be kept out of a nursery at nap/bedtime.


Cats Hate Water

As much as your son or granddaughter begs to “bathe the kitty”, it is best to leave this pretend play activity to dolls and action figures. Ordinarily, water can be very displeasing to cats and leads to much scrambling and screeching. To be fair, a great deal of water can weigh down a cat’s fur and impede him/her from floating. This is both uncomfortable and frightening for a feline friend.

This being said, not all cats are averse to water. Oftentimes, a kitten can be found playing with a leaky faucet or lapping up a puddle. It’s best to get to know your own cat’s preference and comfort level when considering water play.


Cat in Sink



One Cool Cat

Is your cat hot? No sweat! Unlike their canine counterparts, cats have large, thin ears that provide an important mechanism that allows the blood flowing through the ears to cool.

In hotter temperatures, cats rely on their expert grooming capability. Their meticulous fur-licking is not just so that Fluffy can look good but also so she can feel good. Saliva evaporates from feline fur and this acts as a cooling mechanism.

Lastly, because felines’ sweat glands are located in their paw pads, they secrete sweat through their furry feet. This little known fact often gives owners… pause.


Cats are Nocturnal

Actually, cats are crepuscular, which is a fancy word meaning that they are most active during twilight hours. Dusk and dawn are when they are “full on” and, of course, for outside cats this provides them with a smorgasbord of nighttime prey and excellent hunting. Because cats can see well in dim light (as noted earlier), they have a distinct advantage over mice and other nightly appetizers.


Cats Always Land on their Feet

Interestingly, cats almost always do. Padded landings are nothing new to felines due to their flexible spines, vestibular system (which contributes to balance and spatial orientation), and acute vision, cats have a unique ability to right themselves when falling. When given enough time, a cat will arch her back, position her legs under herself, and relax and spread her body (like a parachute) in preparation for an abrupt landing. In fact, the higher the fall, the better. Greater height (i.e., a greater distance to fall) affords Kitty more time to re-right herself.


Cat Climbing a Cabinet


Although cats have this innate and admirable gift, it does not mean they are immune from harm. While they can most often right themselves before impact, cats are still subject to common injuries from falling, such as trauma to their limbs, jaws and thoracic region.


Cats Have Nine Lives

A cat has nine lives. For three he plays, for three he strays, and for the last three he stays. - English Proverb

Ever wonder where this legend came from? It is likely to have originated from ancient Egyptian times when people devoutly worshipped cats. Cats’ ability to resist even the highest of falls or the riskiest of situations perpetuates this magical myth. In reality, cats are no more able to avoid death than other pets- but they do have a distinct advantage when it comes to resisting harm from falls that would otherwise hurt household pets. As mentioned above, their uncanny ability to right themselves during a fall and land on their feet reduces the risk of neck and back injuries. Additionally, their small size and low body weight softens the impact when they make contact with the ground. Lastly and again, their developed inner ears provide them with a keen sense of balance, which is critical to their landing on their feet.


Forging through Feline Fiction

So the next time the dinner party conversation turns toward feline companionship, you will be well-prepared to contribute and participate. Cats possess interesting and peculiar traits. You can rest knowing that those listed here have merit and are rooted in truth.

Congress Vs. Exotic Pets: The History Of H.R. 669

Not all pets are cute and cuddly and sit in your lap, but pet owners love them just the same. Snakes, iguanas, birds, hamsters, fish and others are all popular pet choices, even though they can't go for a walk in the park or come when you call. However, in 2009, the future of exotic pet ownership was in question when a piece of legislation was introduced during the 111th session of congress.

The bill, H.R. 669, was called the "Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Protection Act." According to the text of the bill, its aim was to "prevent the introduction and establishment of nonnative wildlife species that negatively impact the economy, environment, or other animal species' or human health, and for other purposes."

The overall goal of the bill was noble enough, intending to stop irresponsible pet owners from keeping dangerous pets and preventing non-native species from taking over local ecosystems.

Many species of birds are considered non-native and will be affected by HR 669

Many species of birds are considered non-native and would have been affected by HR 669.

However, the language of the bill was vague, which meant that traditional pets like hamsters, aquarium fish, most species of birds, and reptiles could have been banned under the bill. As part of the bill, substantial scientific proof would have had to be provided before a non-native animal could be imported into the U.S., bred or transported across state lines.

The bill was widely opposed by pet owners, who mounted a massive letter writing campaign declaring opposition to the bill. Luckily for exotic pet owners, the bill died in committee, never even making it to the House floor for a vote. Similar legislation has not yet been introduced.