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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Having a Happy Halloween with your pets!

*Make sure you walk your dog early in the evening, to avoid the crowds.

* If you decide to dress your pet in a costume, please make sure it is lightweight and non-constricting. Don't use rubber bands, as they can constrict blood flow if too tight, can become entangled in an animal's fur, and may even be left mistakenly on the pet. Do not leave him/her in the costume unattended as they could chew it up and ingest harmful materials or become entangled and choke.

* If you are escorting children for trick-or-treating, leave your pets at home. Dogs get can excited and stressed when encountering all these "strange laughing, squealing" creatures and may become agitated enough to snap at a young child. If you must take your dog with you, keep it on a short leash and away from large groups of children and other pets.

* Tell the children not to share their candy with the family pet.  Chocolate can be toxic to animals – causing vomiting, restlessness, heart issues, or even death.  If you think the pet has eaten chocolate, please contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.  Wrappers and lollipop sticks should be discarded into the garbage as they can be hazardous to your pet if swallowed by causing intestinal obstructions and even perforating the intestines, which is life-threatening.

* Be careful with jack-o-lanterns, candles, fake spider webs, and other decorations.  If they ingest the decorations they may become ill, and if they knock over a lit candle they may get burned or start a fire.

Halloween can be a fun day for all of your family members – two and four legged – if everyone remains safe.  Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

More Halloween Tips!

Please keep your pets inside as they may become easily agitated or frightened by the kids, costumes, and loud noises.  By keeping them secluded in a quiet room away from all the activity, you can ensure that they do not escape through an open door.  You could give your pet food, water, and even some special treats or a safe toy to play with while they are in the room. Please have collars and tags for identification on them, just in case they do manage to escape!

Keep cats inside several days prior to and the night of Halloween. Sadly cats are often the victims of pranksters’ cruel tricks.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Trick or Treating - Help your pets!

Halloween is a great time of the year for children and adults alike – as we look forward to fun, costumes, trick-or-treating, and candy!  Unfortunately it can be especially stressful and pose hazards for your beloved pets.  This week we will have some great tips to help keep your animals safe and sound this Halloween season.

One alternative to having the trick-or-treaters come to the front door and ringing the bell would be to have a station with a table, chairs and candy set up at the end of the driveway.  This way the pets are inside and not upset by the constant bell-ringing, the door is not providing a chance for them to slip out, and they do not get nervous with the different costumes.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Are your Decorations a Trick or a Treat?

Halloween decorations such as fake cobwebs should be kept out of reach of dogs and cats. Light strands, loose wires and electric cords can be a serious hazard to your pet who may chew them. Never leave candles, such as those in jack-o-lanterns, unattended, especially around puppies and kittens and wagging tails!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dog-gone scared at halloween?

Some dogs experience intense anxiety over the large number of strangely dressed visitors. Keeping your pet away from all the trick-or-treaters may do the trick, but if you think that your pet will need something more, speak with Dr. Westbrook or Dr. Williams well in advance. They may have several recommendations – and it's always a good idea to do a trial run before the big night to see how your pet will react.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Glowing Good Time?

Glow Sticks
These fun little gadgets are commonly used to keep kids safe while they're outside in the dark. Pets (especially cats) find the sticks to be a lot of fun as well. Pets may chew on them, puncturing the sticks. While most of the glow items are labeled as non-toxic, they do have an extremely bitter taste. This may cause pets who bit into them to begin drooling and racing around the house. A little treat or sip of milk and the taste reaction will usually stop. Call our office at 407-366-4486 if you have any further concerns.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Why are Rabies Vaccines so important?

        September 28, World Rabies Day, has been an annual worldwide event since 2007.  It is an initiative that was started by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC).  Worldwide, more than 55,000 people die from rabies, with majority of these deaths (approximately 95%) occurring in Asia and Africa1.  Startlingly, almost half of these deaths occur in children under the age of 15 years.  This is thought to be attributed to the lack of knowledge, as well as general curiosity, for children to expose themselves to potentially infected animals.  Although the rabies virus can be found in numerous animal species, including wild and domestic animals, the vast majority of human cases are the result of being bitten by an infected dog.  The sad reality is that this sometimes regarded as 100% fatal disease is 100% preventable through appropriate education and preventative measures, specifically targeting cats and dogs. 
     You may ask why then are rabies vaccines still important/mandatory in the US if the majority of human cases occur in under-developed countries? The reason is simple.  It is BECAUSE of the rabies vaccination protocols in place that the human cases have declined in the US.  Appropriately vaccinating our furry four-legged family members provides the first line of defense, acting as a protective barrier against rabies infection, without having to provide pre-exposure immunization of everyone in the general population.  According to data provided by the Florida Department of Health, in 2012 32 counties had 102 reported cases of animal rabies (majority occurring in raccoons) as of December 31, 20122.  These cases were only tested and reported if direct exposure to humans or pets occurred.  It was determined that the most at-risk domestic animal for contracting rabies is an unvaccinated outdoor cat2.  
                Perhaps the most devastating fact regarding rabies is that the disease is arguably 100% fatal and 100% preventable.  With proper education of the most at-risk population (children) and promoting the vaccination of domestic animals (dogs and cats), rabies infection in humans could hopefully be eradicated in years to come.  For more information on World Rabies Day, and upcoming events, please visit

  1. World Health Organization. Revised July 2013.
  2. Florida Department of Health.
  3. Global Alliance for Rabies Control.