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.

What You Need to Know: Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) in 2015

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a chronic, slow-developing and contagious disease of cats. Though FIV is closely related to human AIDS, the virus is specific to cats and cannot be transmitted to humans.

What FIV is and How is it Spread

FIV infects and destroys lymphocytes, which are important white blood cells that help your cat fight infection. Without lymphocytes, your cat’s immune system becomes suppressed.

FIV is most commonly transmitted through bite wounds among cats. Due to their aggressive territorial behavior, non-neutered male cats are most commonly infected. Any cat that is bitten by another cat is at risk of contracting FIV. Casual contact, such as social grooming and sharing litter boxes and food bowls, does not appear to be a source of transmission. FIV is rarely spread from an infected mother cat to her kittens or through sexual contact.

Three Stages of FIV Infection

Within four to six weeks after exposure, your cat’s lymph nodes will become enlarged – a development often accompanied by fever. Although the lymph nodes may remain enlarged for two to nine months, these early symptoms of FIV generally go unnoticed.

During the second stage, enlarged lymph nodes and fever disappear, and your cat may enter a long period of latency. This period may last several years and few (if any) clinical signs are observed. Other infected cats may slowly and progressively deteriorate, or experience recurrent illness mixed with periods of relative good health.

The last stage is the chronic or terminal phase of the infection. Secondary infections are common and may last months or years. More than 50% of infected cats have gum infections (gingivitis) and/or mouth infections (stomatitis). Skin, bladder and respiratory infections are also very common. Other symptoms include poor coat, fever, weight loss, seizures and behavioral changes. Due to the vague and generalized symptoms of FIV, your veterinarian may test your cat when he / she is ill in order to rule out this disease.

Diagnosis, Vaccination and Treatment

The diagnosis of FIV is made by your veterinarian. Your cat’s history, the presence of clinical symptoms, and the results of a specific blood test are instrumental in diagnosing the disease.

If your cat is diagnosed with FIV, any other cats in your household should also be tested. All FIV-positive cats should be kept indoors to prevent the spread of infection and reduce their exposure to secondary infections. Cats in the terminal stages of the disease can shed large quantities of the virus in their saliva and can pose a greater threat to uninfected cats. To best monitor your cat’s health, we advise scheduling wellness appointments every six months. Although there is no specific treatment for FIV, your cat’s health and well-being can be prolonged by easing the secondary effects of the disease.

Currently there is a vaccine to help protect against FIV infection; however, there are several problems with it. Not all vaccinated cats are protected by the vaccine, so preventing exposure, even in vaccinated animals, remains important. Vaccination also interferes with FIV test results. Before deciding on vaccinating your cat, it is best to discuss the advantages and disadvantages with your veterinarian.

FIV-positive cats who receive proper medical care, live in a calm indoor home and are fed a nutritionally balanced diet can live many happy months or years before the disease reaches its final stage. For more information about FIV, or to make an appointment to have your cat tested, please call the veterinary hospital today.

October 4th Is World Animal Day

Mark your calendars – a major holiday for all animal lovers is quickly approaching. World Animal Day was started in 1931 by a group of ecologists in Florence, Italy. Originally intended to bring awareness to endangered species, the scope of the holiday has since expanded. According to the official website for World Animal Day, its mission is “to raise the status of animals in order to improve welfare standards around the globe.”

World Animal Day is observed across the globe in a variety of different ways, from fundraising for various animal welfare groups to public celebrations. To learn more about World Animal Day, visit the official website.

Dog Storm Phobia

It’s storm season, and Spot is going wild. Maybe he’s pacing, hiding under the bed, shaking, panting, or simply craves your attention – whatever it may be, he’s scared and needs your help. Many pet owners think that their dogs will grow out of their phobias, and therefore don’t bother to indulge in Spot’s tantrums. Yet oftentimes it will only get worse with time if nothing is done to help curb your dog’s fears.

Can I have your attention?

There are various theories about why dogs are particularly affected by storms. Some say that low-frequency waves and even electric shocks effect dogs immediately preceding the storm, which humans cannot even hear or feel. This builds anxiety, and by the time the storm has hit, your dog has gone full-fledge manic. But really, can you blame him?

Here are a few tips to help alleviate your dog’s storm phobia:

  • Calm him down like you would your own child. Speak to your dog in a soft and soothing voice in order to assure him that there is no need for stress and fear. Never yell at him when he reacts to the storm, this will only increase his fear – and with it, his barking. This does not, however, mean you should over-coddle him. This may only worsen his phobia.
  • Reward calm behavior. Try to train your dog to settle down on command and learn that becoming calm is a behavior that – along with sit and stay – will be rewarded.
  • Exercise and tire out your dog before a storm is scheduled to hit. This way he’ll have less energy to focus on stress.
  • Create a safe room for your dog to go during the storm. This can be a carpeted room without windows, a basement, or other place where you can play calming music without hearing the outside commotion. However, don’t confine your dog to a small space, especially a crate, as this will only build anxiety.
  • Play a CD with light storm sounds in order to better acclimate your dog throughout the year. You can supply him with treats while he remains calm through the sounds, and gradually increase the volume over time.
  • Consider melatonin or other anti-anxiety drugs. Melatonin doesn’t typically make dogs sleep, but it is known to calm them down and help thwart against bothersome noise. If you think your dog could benefit from a prescription – or if you have any other concerns, don’t hesitate to consult your veterinarian.

Although there’s no easy solution, a few minor adjustments and a bit of patience will go a long way towards helping your Fido weather the storm.

A Safe Home for Your Cat

Since many of us believe that a house is not a home without a cat, we need to ask ourselves if our home is a safe place for them. If you have children, many of the safety measures needed for cats are probably already in place. If not, then it is necessary to look around the house and fix potential hazards.

Even cats that spend most of their time indoors may be exposed to a number of potential hazards. Disinfectants, drain cleaners, and detergents are among the many household chemicals that are toxic to your pet. They should be stored in tightly closed containers and secured cabinets where pets are unable to reach them. Medicines should also be stored out of reach.

Good thing this cat doesn't have thumbs!

Good Thing This Cat Doesn't Have Thumbs!

Sharp objects such as knives and forks, carpet tacks and pins should be kept out of reach. Children's toys and small objects may attract a playful kitty and become lodged in its mouth or swallowed. Although kittens are sometimes pictured with a ball of yarn, a playful kitten and yarn are a bad combination. If ingested, yarn as well as any kind of thread, twine or ribbon could cause serious damage to the esophagus and intestinal tract.

According to the National Safety Council, as many as 5,000 house fires a year can be attributed to pets as a result of their chewing of electrical cords. In order to prevent this hazard, do your best to keep electrical wiring out of your cat's sight and reach. Exposed lamp cords and other wires should be kept as short as possible. If extension cords are used, tack them against a baseboard or run them under a carpet so they cannot be played with or chewed.

If you live in an apartment, your cat may be vulnerable to "high-rise syndrome." If your window screens are not securely fastened, a cat may fall from a window and suffer serious injuries, if not death. A cat should be sufficiently restrained or confined if allowed on an apartment balcony.

A Definite No-No!

A Definite No-No!

According to the Center for Disease Control, 74 percent of homes in the United States built prior to 1980 contain hazardous amounts of lead paint. As with humans, any item containing lead can be extremely harmful to a cat. Harmful effects may not show up until weeks after ingestion. Signs of lead poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, loss of appetite, loss of muscle coordination, blindness, and seizures. Consult your veterinarian immediately if you think there is a possibility of lead poisoning.

In addition to indoor dangers, outdoor hazards are often found in the garage or shed. Harmful products include windshield cleaners, weed killers, insecticides, used motor oil and antifreeze. Many cats are attracted to the sweet taste of antifreeze (believe it or not!) containing the chemical ethylene glycol which is highly toxic to cats. If it is spilled on the ground or leaking from your car, it can combine with a puddle making it exceptionally easy for your cat to drink it. New antifreeze products have been introduced that claim to be non-toxic to pets, but it's always better to be safe than sorry. Be sure to clean up spills of any questionable liquid to avoid injuring your kitty!

Wherever the hazard may come, it is important to remember that your cat is not so different from a child. Curious paws and noses may inevitably discover areas that have yet to be "kitty-proofed." Once you get to know the likes and dislikes of your cat, it would be much easier to determine what is hazardous and what has not made your cat's priority list of noteworthy attractions.

Contagious Yawns…in Dogs

Just when you thought contagious yawns in humans was weird, it’s gotten even weirder: dogs catch our yawns, too! And new studies from Universidade do Porto in Portugal show that dogs are prompted to yawn just from the sound alone. But perhaps the most interesting finding is that our four-legged friends seem to “catch” these yawns more easily from their owners than from anyone else. And this seemingly small discovery may open up a large window into understanding empathetic processes in dogs.


A similar study with humans revealed that people who showed more empathetic qualities also tended to be more susceptible to contagious yawns, ultimately proving yawns to be more empathy-based and emotionally charged than pure physically induced – even for dogs. And although the recent dog studies are not conclusive, many researchers are hopeful that their findings will aid in selecting appropriate dogs for certain emotionally-driven tasks, such as handicap services and therapeutic needs.

So don’t hold back those yawns. Spot is just waiting to commiserate – or is he?

VIDEO: Saving Money on Pet Care

In today's economy, saving money wherever you can is a smart thing to do. There are many opportunities for pet owners to not only save a few dollars, but also provide the best care for their pets. Routine vaccinations for infectious diseases, proper heartworm prevention, routine dental care and healthy diets are just few of the things that can end up saving pet owners big bucks. Watch this video to learn more.

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Meet Bretagne, The Last Surviving 9/11 Rescue Dog

As a remembrance of the lives lost on September 11, 2001, here's a story of the recovery effort from a unique perspective.

In the aftermath of 9/11, hundreds of service dogs aided in search and recovery efforts at Ground Zero. Today, just one remains. Bretagne, a golden retriever, recently celebrated her 16th birthday with a trip to New York where she dined on gourmet cheeseburger, explored the city in a vintage taxi, and took the time to pay her respects at Ground Zero.

Bretagne and her owner, Denise Corliss, came from Texas in the wake of the disaster. It was the first deployment for both Corliss and the then-two year old dog. As a search dog, Bretagne was responsible for searching through areas of rubble. If no one was found, the rubble would be removed. According to Corliss Bretagne regularly spent 12 hours per day searching alongside other rescuers and their canines.

After 9/11, Bretagne and Corliss worked together during Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Ivan. She retired as a search dog in 2009 and now serves as a therapy dog at elementary schools in Texas.

In an interview with the New York Daily News, Corliss said that Bretagne also helped in another way. At one point, Bretagne spotted an exhausted and expressionless firefighter and ran to his side, ignoring Corliss’s calls to return. “It was like she was flipping me the paw,” she said. “She went right to that firefighter and laid down next to him and her head on his lap.”