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

Selecting a Boarding Kennel For Your Dog

Every owner wants to find a well-run boarding kennel for their pet, but how do you tell if it is well-run? Here's a ten point check list for any facility you are considering.

  1. Do They Allow Inspection?
    You should be able to tour the whole facility with little advance notice. Any facility which refuses a tour is suspect. Many facilities are very busy and have specific tour hours. Please be respectful of their visiting hours.
  2. Dogs Should Look Happy
    While touring the kennel, most of the dogs should be up near or on the gates wagging their tails, barking and generally making a nuisance of themselves. One or two may hang back, but most should be up front.
  3. Fencing
    Double fencing is a must. Double fencing is one line of well maintained fence with another line of equally well maintained fence a few feet away. This ensures that even if a dog does get out of his run, he is still contained. Single fence facilities are OK; however, double fencing is much better.
  4. Doors
    There should always be two doors between your animal and freedom. Facilities which have doors directly to the outside in the kennel area are accidents waiting to happen.
  5. A Member of ABKA?
    ABKA stands for American Boarding Kennel Association, and is a good sign of the owner's commitment to professionalism. It isn't a guarantee, and lack of it does not mean the kennel isn't first-class, but it is reassuring to see the ABKA logo.
  6. Requires Vaccinations
    Good kennels require proof of up-to-date vaccinations including kennel cough (bordatella). Never leave an animal in a kennel where vaccinations are not required. This is your only guarantee against some major contagious diseases.
  7. Smells Clean
    Your nose knows. A boarding kennel filled with dogs will smell like dogs. Along with dogs, you may well smell disinfectant. There shouldn't be an overwhelming stench of urine or feces. Occasionally a dog comes in for boarding who isn't clean in their indoor pen, but these are rare. If more than a couple of dogs have urine and/or feces in their indoor areas, something is wrong.
  8. Indoor/Outdoor Runs
    These are attached runs with an individual door for each dog. This situation is safer and less stressful for your pet than being kept in a crate and taken outside a few times daily. The exception to this is dogs who may become frightened in the kennel. For these dogs, crating in a quieter area is best.
  9. Boarding Kennels and Disease
    No matter how excellent the kennel, boarding is still a stressful experience for most dogs. Stress leaves animals susceptible to disease. Also, not all vaccinations are 100 percent effective. Even dogs who have been vaccinated against kennel cough and viral diarrhea can pick up a strain not covered by the vaccine. Even a carefully run facility will occasionally have an intestinal bug. We take for granted that our children will get colds or skin a knee at school or camp, yet we are surprised when our dogs do the canine equivalent at a kennel.
  10. Provide Information
    If an emergency occurs, the kennel's obligation is to inform you of the situation (if possible), get the dog the necessary veterinary care while at their facility, and to practice thorough sanitation measures. Disease is rare at a good facility - but it can happen. That's just part of the package when your board your dog. Because of this, elderly dogs; puppies under six months of age; fearful, anxious dogs, and dogs with immune problems are best cared for in a home environment.
Have Backyard Chickens? Take Precautions!

Have Backyard Chickens? Take Precautions!

Three hundred people nation-wide have been linked to an outbreak of salmonella originating from a hatchery in Ohio. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the outbreak has stemmed from humans in contact with live chickens from Mt. Healthy Hatcheries, which supplies live chicks to stores in several states. Many of those infected raise backyard chickens.



Backyard Chickens


The CDC says that consumers who own live poultry can protect themselves against the illness by washing hands thoroughly with soap immediately after touching live poultry, keeping live poultry outside the house, and keeping living spaces for live poultry clean. The CDC offers additional information on salmonella prevention, as well as symptoms, on their website at http://www.cdc.gov.

VIDEO: Pet Proofing Your Home

Every pet owner has been shocked to come home and see the damage their pet has done to the house. But our pets can be in greater danger from our medications, other chemicals, and even holiday decorations. Are there ways to help keep your pet safe inside the home? Watch this video to learn more.


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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.

Separation Anxiety

What is the cause of this obsessive behavior?

Dogs are pack animals and need a social structure. They rely on other dogs (or humans) for interaction. They need to be socialized and need to understand what is expected of them. Many of them have been mistreated in the past and have been locked up alone for long periods of time. Some of them have been abandoned and have ended up in animal shelters.

Destructive Dog

Destructive Behavior Due to Separation Anxiety

Dogs need socialization.

Since our pets are usually not socialized in a pack, it is our responsibility to see that the job gets done. Obedience training is the best method for socializing a dog. Both the dog and the owner learn what is expected of each other. If obedience training is begun at an early age, the dog will learn how to interact with both humans and other dogs. They will not have this insecurity that "separation anxiety" dogs seem to display.

How do you treat this condition?

First of all, establish yourself as the leader! In order to learn this, both of you will probably need to enroll in a dog obedience class. This will also help your dog in the socialization game. He may misbehave during the first few classes, but before you know it, he'll be the star pupil. How does this affect the dog's destructive behavior when you leave him alone? Since you are the leader of the pack, the dog accepts the idea that you are leaving. He does not question your authority!

In the beginning, confine your dog to a crate when you are away. This has two advantages. The first is that your dog does not have the opportunity to destroy your house. The second is that your dog actually feels comfortable and secure in the crate. The crate must be large enough for your dog to turn around and stand up.

When you leave, turn on a radio. A talk show is the best type of program. A tape recording of your voice is even better. The radio or the tape recorder should be placed in the bedroom with the door closed (any room as long as the dog cannot enter). Since most destructive behavior occurs during the first hour, you only need a voice recording that lasts slightly more than an hour.

Make plans for Fido when you are not home.

Plan your departures.Before leaving your residence, give your dog a treat. A chewy bone packed with his favorite treat works very well. This should distract your dog long enough for you to leave. Leave quickly and quietly! Do not say goodbye! When you return, give him another treat. By doing this, coming and going are not so traumatic.

Practice your departures.As mentioned earlier, the most difficult time for your dog is the first hour that he is left alone. Practice leaving and entering. Take your dog out of his crate, put your coat on, and then walk out the door. Return immediately. Greet your dog calmly or don't greet him at all. If he is excited, completely ignore him. Repeat the same exercise; however, this time stay out longer. Continue with this exercise until you are comfortable leaving him alone for an entire hour. This may take several weeks to perfect.

Anxiety

Your dog must have regular, planned exercise. This exercise relieves stress and tension. Just like feeding time, your dog needs a specific time for exercise. Dogs like routine. Feed and exercise your dog at the same times every day. They are creatures of habit.

Curing "separation anxiety" is very difficult. It is definitely one of the most challenging behavior problems in dogs. Enrolling in a good obedience-training course is the first step to take.

Digital Radiology - Better than Traditional X-Rays

We have recently invested in state-of-the-art digital x-ray equipment. This new technology greatly enhances our diagnostic abilities and better assist our team in treating your pet. Digital x-ray equipment has many benefits for you, your pet, our staff and the environment.

The ability to provide a range of imaging techniques is essential for rapidly diagnosing your pet's medical problems. For the most part, your pet is unable to describe his or her symptoms. As a result, we need to rely on additional techniques in order to make an accurate diagnosis. The better the diagnostic technology and equipment, the more accurate the diagnosis.

We have recently purchased a new, state-of-the-art, digital radiology machine. Compared to x-rays produced by a traditional machine, the quality of digital radiographs is much better. However, not all digital x-ray machines are the same, nor do they give the same detail. It is important to have an x-ray machine that produces superior and detailed images. Our machine, is one of the best machines manufactured for veterinary hospitals. This machine produces high quality images, allowing a higher probability of making an accurate diagnosis for your pet's condition. Since all the radiographs we take are digital, the time spent taking your pets' radiographs is significantly shortened and fewer x-rays are needed to achieve diagnostic-quality results.

Radiology, the most common form of imaging, allows us to view the shape, size, and location of organs inside your pet's body. Radiographs (x-rays) are extremely helpful for diagnosing and monitoring many medical and surgical conditions. X-rays are useful in examining your pet's bones, lungs, heart, abdomen, oral cavity and other areas of the body. An x-ray can detect a fractured bone, cancerous tumor, heart problem and locate an obstruction or foreign body in your pet's stomach or intestine. X-rays and Ultrasound are often utilized if cancer is suspected. X-rays are also used for evaluation and certification by OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals).

Digital radiology benefits the environment. Since there are no strong chemicals, film and fumes, there is much less impact on our surroundings.

VIDEO: Online Pet Pharmacies - Saving Money or Risk to Your Pets?

It sure SEEMS like it would be less of a hassle... ordering your pet's medications from your living room and laptop computer. But, how much do you know about these online pet pharmacies? Which ones are reputable and which ones should be avoided? Watch this video for tips on spotting the bad sites and ideas for how you and your veterinarian can work together to make sure your pet gets the right medications and the best care.


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The Cat’s Out of the Bag: Ten Toys Under $25 That Your Cat Will Love

Da Bird Feather Teaser

Play and exercise are an important part of pet health. For cats, toys are a great way to stimulate play, combat obesity, discourage unwanted behavior, and provide an outlet for unused energy and predatory instincts. Below are ten highly rated toys that at under $25—most under $10—will help keep your cat happy and healthy and won’t break the bank.

  1. Da Bird Feather Teaser, online from $7.49. This teaser simulates the motion of a bird at your control. A flick of the wrist and the brightly colored feathers dance and spin enticing your cat to play. Encourages instinctual behaviors and exercise to keep your cat healthy and alert.
  2. Mylar Crinkle Ball Cat Toys, online from $1.49, an inexpensive, sure-fire hit that your cat will love to bat and bobble around the house.
  3. Yeowww! Catnip Banana, online price from $4.13. These popular stuffed bananas are made in the USA and filled with organically grown catnip.
  4. Fat Cat Kitty Hoots Big Mama’s Scratchy Box, online from $8.37. An effective, economical way to satisfy your cat’s desire to scratch and save your furniture. Comes with a supply of "Zoom Around the Room Organic Catnip." The box is 100 percent recyclable. May need to be replaced every 1-2 months, depending on usage.
  5. PetSafe SlimCat, online from $4.69. PetSafe Slimcat is an interactive feeding ball that works by distributing your cat's food into smaller meals that can be fed at regular intervals. Slimcat can also satiate your cat's craving to hunt which results in a more peaceful pet.
  6. Petlinks System Dream Curl Curvy Two-Surface Scratcher

  7. Petlinks System Dream Curl Curvy Two-Surface Scratcher online from $20.99. Your cat will love the shapely contours of the Dream Curl and its enticing variety of scratching surfaces and angles. Made from Earth-friendly sisal and contains organic catnip. The scratcher core is made from recycled material.
  8. Tipsy Nip Ball, online from $5. This organic catnip infused non-toxic wooden ball is sure to be a hit with your cat. When not in use, store in the accompanying bottle of catnip to keep the ball catnipalicious.
  9. Cat Amazing Interactive Puzzle for Cats

  10. Cat Amazing Interactive Puzzle for Cats, from $14.95. This interactive puzzle game has three levels of difficulty to stimulate and challenge cats, and those who complete the puzzle are rewarded with a treat. It is the perfect test of your cat’s skill and ingenuity and is an instant hit wherever people and cats are gathered. Made from 30 percent recycled cardboard and is 100 percent recyclable, and printed with certified metal-free inks.
  11. The Cat Dancer, available online from $1.79. The Cat Dancer is the original interactive cat toy. Spring steel wire and rolled cardboard create an irresistible lure for cats and great fun for cat lovers. According to their website, The Cat Dancer has been "home-tested by over 8 million cats."
  12. Teddy for Kitty, $5.95, available online through EcoChoices Natural Living Store, is a teddy bear made from rugged corduroy and a colorful patch and filled with organically grown catnip. Made in the USA.

Don’t forget: Homemade cat toys can be just as entertaining as those that are store-bought. Cats love batting around a crumpled ball of paper, hiding in a large paper bag or cardboard box, or attacking an object, such as a feather, bell, or stocking stuffed with catnip, attached to a string or pole. Best of all, you probably have most or all of these items in your home already.

Pet Rabbit Care Part 1: DIET

This is Part I in a series of articles on caring for rabbits. Look for additional featured articles in upcoming issues of our newsletter.

Rabbits make intelligent, friendly and quiet house pets. The average life span for a bunny is 7 to 10 years, with records of up to 15 years of age being reported. The following information is designed to help you take the best care of your pet and enjoy a happy, healthy life with him or her.

Pet Rabbit

Diet

Rabbit Pellets: A good quality rabbit pellet may be offered daily but in limited quantities. The uncontrolled feeding of a pelleted diet can lead to obesity, heart and liver disease, chronic diarrhea, and kidney disease which results from the high concentration of carbohydrates, low fiber and high calcium levels in the pellets. Make sure that you buy pellets high in fiber (18 percent or more), and that you buy small quantities. Oxbow Hay Company sells very reasonable, high fiber pellets. You can find them on the web. Keep the pellets refrigerated or cool and dry to prevent spoilage. Old, rancid pellets can cause a rabbit to stop eating.

The following chart shows daily amounts to be fed to your bunny. Do not refill the bowl even if the pellets are all eaten before the next day. Overfeeding of pellets is the number one cause of health problems we see. Keep your rabbit healthy by not overdoing it!

*Rabbits up to eight months of age can have access to pellets free choice, because they are still growing rapidly. However, after eight months of age, they should receive the following maintenance diet.

  • 2-4 lb. of body weight—1/8 cup daily
  • 5-7 lb. of body weight—1/4 cup daily
  • 8-10 lb. of body weight—1/2 cup daily
  • 11 - 15 lb of body weight—3/4 cup daily

*Please note that these food amounts are for the maintenance of the non-breeding, mature house rabbit. If you intend to breed your pet, then we suggest increasing the daily pellet amounts by 1/4 cup during the breeding season. For does that are nursing babies, the pellets should be increased over a 4 to 5 day period to free-choice until the babies are weaned. After the breeding period is over, resume feeding at the maintenance levels as listed above.

In some situations, your veterinarian may recommend that pellets should be removed totally from the diet. Do not become alarmed, because your pet will be able to receive all the nutrients necessary from the hay and fresh foods that you will be instructed to feed. This is commonly the treatment suggested by our hospital for very overweight bunnies that need to lose weight safely.

*Avoid pellets with dried vegetables and fruits. These are not healthy for bunnies.

Hay: Timothy, Orchard, or other grass hay(but not alfalfa) should be offered daily in limited amounts. It is important that hay be available at all times for your pet. In fact, 90 percent of your bunny's diet should consist of hay! Rabbits tend to eat small amounts of food frequently throughout the day and withholding hay for long periods of time can lead to intestinal upsets.

We prefer the loose, long strands of hay, as opposed to the pressed cubes or chopped hay. The fiber in the hay is extremely important in promoting normal digestion and for the prevention of hairballs. Hay also contains proteins and other nutrients essential to the good health of your pet. We no longer recommend the use of alfalfa hay, particularly if it is being used along with pellets (which are already high in alfalfa), because it may provide too much calcium and extra carbohydrates, which may lead to serious health problems and digestive upsets. If the rabbit is on a no pellet diet, then alfalfa hay may be used in unlimited amounts, but weight loss may be more difficult to achieve.

Check with your local pet stores for timothy hay or other types of grass hay. They can be purchased on the web at Oxbow Hay Company. Also check with local feed stores and horse barns, because many of these places will sell you a "flake" of hay off a bale at a very nominal cost. Hay should be stored in a cool, dry place with good air circulation (don't close it tightly in a plastic bag). Discard wet or damp hay, or any hay that does not have a "fresh" smell. The best way to offer the hay is to use a hayrack on the outside of the cage. Your pet can pull the hay into the cage through the bars, as he or she needs it. This keeps the hay clean and eliminates much of the waste.

At certain times of the year and in certain locations, it may be difficult to obtain grass hay. At these times it is okay to use hays mixed with alfalfa, or use strictly alfalfa hay for a short period of time. The most important thing is to always have hay available to the pet. Remember, we are restricting the pellets, and the hay is a major source of fiber and nutrients.

Fresh Foods: These foods should be given daily. Rabbits in the wild eat primarily tough, fibrous leaves, bark and other difficult to digest plants. Their digestive tract functions best when it has the most work to do in breaking down cellulose. If your pet is not used to getting any fresh foods, then start out gradually with the green leafy veggies and add a new food item from the list every 5 to 7 days. If the addition of any item leads to diarrhea or unformed stools in 24 to 48 hours, then remove it from the diet.

Young bunnies should also be introduced to new foods gradually. However, once your pet is eating these foods, try to give at least three types daily. We find that the addition of these fresh fibrous foods, along with the hay, helps in the prevention of hairballs and other digestive upsets. Plus, your bunny will love you for it!

The following are all foods that you can try on your pet. The total amount of fresh food that can be given daily, once your pet has been gradually introduced to it as described above, is about one heaping cup per 5 pounds of body weight.

Carrot tops, beet tops, dandelion greens and flowers (these are excellent, but no pesticides, please), kale, collard greens, escarole, romaine lettuce, (don't give light colored leaf lettuce or iceberg lettuce), parsley, clover, cabbage, broccoli (don't forget the leaves), carrot, green peppers, pea pods (the flat edible kind), brussels sprouts, basil, peppermint leaves, raspberry leaves, radicchio, bok choy and spinach.

Try to feed at least three different types of greens daily. Feeding just one type of green food only (especially broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts and spinach) may lead to nutrient imbalances.

Treat Foods: In a small amount, you can give one of these "treat" foods daily, (give about one level tablespoon per 5 lbs. of body weight) - strawberries, papaya, pineapple, apple, pear, melon, raspberries, peach, pear or dried whole grain bread.

One can alternately give one level teaspoon per 5 pounds body weight of banana or dried fruit.

*WE DO NOT RECOMMEND GIVING ANY OF THE FOLLOWING FOODS ROUTINELY BECAUSE OF THEIR POTENTIAL FOR CAUSING DIETARY UPSET AND OBESITY: Salty or sugary snacks, nuts, chocolate, breakfast cereals, and other grains (including oatmeal and corn). AVOID CRACKERS AND BREAD TYPE PRODUCTS.

Water: This should always be available and changed daily. A dirty water container can breed bacteria that can cause disease. The container can be either a water bottle or heavy bowl that is weighted or secured to the side of the cage so that it does not tip over. Do not use medications or vitamins in the water, because your pet may not drink if the taste or color is altered.

Vitamins: These are not felt to be necessary if the rabbit is getting pellets, hay and fresh foods in the diet. In fact, the indiscriminate use of vitamins may lead to over dosage and serious disease.

Salt or Mineral Block: Not necessary for the house pet on the described diet. You may want to have one available for those animals kept outdoors in warm climates and for breeding animals. (We do not recommend keeping pet rabbits outdoors.)

Night Droppings: It may seem strange to list this as a part of the diet, but these "special droppings" are an essential part of your pet's nutrition. During certain times of the day, usually in the evening, you may observe your pet licking the anal area and actually eating some of the droppings in the process.

These cecal (we are not confusing this with the word fecal) pellets are softer, greener, and have a stronger odor than the normal hard, dry round waste droppings. Your pet knows when these droppings are being produced and will take care of eating them himself. These cecal pellets come from the cecum, which is the part of the digestive system where fermentation of food takes place, and they are rich in vitamins and nutrients, which are needed by your pet to maintain good health. After eating these "vitamin pellets," he will redigest this material and extract all the necessary nutrients. This habit may appear distasteful to us, but it is normal and important for your pet.

Occasionally, a rabbit will drop these cecal pellets along with the waste pellets instead of eating them. They will be soft, brighter green, come in clumps and are misshapen, but formed and have an odor. This is not considered diarrhea, and, if it only occurs occasionally, is not considered a disease problem.

Pet Sitting: It’s for the Birds

It’s fairly easy these days to find someone to walk your dog, feed your cat, or clean your rabbit’s cage while you are out of town. But many people, even in urban areas, are finding ways to keep chickens. These are not family pets; they are primarily food sources. They provide fresh eggs, keep bug and pest populations down, and are fun to have around the yard. The problem? It’s not easy to find someone to watch the henhouse when owners need to fly the coop.

Chicken sitters hard to findChickens can be aggressive and dangerous. When threatened, they will flap their wings, fly up at your head or arms, and peck with their beaks. They often attack the hand that tries to take their eggs.

Fortunately for bird keepers, some enterprising pet sitters, like Easy Acres Chicken Sitting in Los Angeles, have added chicken sitting to their menu of offerings, and for $20 a day, they will clean the coops, collect eggs, and drop off food and fresh water. This company will even let free-range chickens out and collect them at the end of the day.

In a slow economy, it pays to be creative, especially for small companies and individuals trying to stay afloat. Expanding the list of species is one way that pet sitters can gain new clients. Those who aren’t “chicken” to care for urban and suburban flocks will find that more and more people are opting for fresh eggs and looking for intrepid caretakers for the birds.