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Pet Safety

Lost Pet?

According to the American Animal Hospital Association’s 1995 Pet Owner Survey, roughly 30 percent of pet owners have lost a pet at one time. With that in mind, we offer these tips for finding your pet.
 
-Rally your family and friends and go looking. This is especially important if you realize soon that the pet is missing.
- Call your clinic. If your pet is wearing a rabies tag on its collar, the tag number can be traced to our clinic.
- Call every animal shelter or humane organization in your area. Visit the most likely shelters in person because you know your pet better than anyone else. Keep checking daily!
- Check with neighbors and put up signs around your neighborhood (or area the pet was last seen) that include a photo or description of your pet, your phone number, and how long your pet has been missing.
- Call your local newspaper and place a "lost pet" ad. Also check the newspaper daily for "found pets" ads. Often they will print found ads for free.
 
Hopefully your pet will stay with you, safe and sound and you will never need these!

The truth about online pharmacies...it's not pretty.

Spring is finally here!!!  We waited through such a tough winter and we definitely deserve the warm weather that is ahead.  Along with the warm weather, we unfortunately have to deal with all the critters that rear their ugly heads when the sun shines.  Fleas and ticks and heartworms, Oh my! 
 
Through the eyes of your veterinarian’s office, there is one more critter that rears its ugly head, especially around this time of year… the online pharmacy!  1800PetMeds, PetMedExpress, PetCareRx, EntirelyPets blah, blah, blah.  The only praise I have for these companies is for their marketing departments.  Cute, cheerful commercials, boasting on the ease and convenience of their service and “guarantee”.  Without researching what these companies are really about, it looks like the perfect business.  Well…I’ve done the research and it doesn’t look good.  Several of these pharmacies have numerous violations against them, such as
 
  • Selling drugs that have been manufactured outside of the United States.  There are 2 issues with this...
 
1.      There is no FDA present to monitor or approve the medications that were not manufactured here.
2.      Often foreign companies use the metric system for dosing.  You may easily be under or overdosing your furry family member.
 
  • Selling imitations of the prescribed drug or not as the veterinarian wrote the prescription.
 
  • Selling prescriptions directly to consumers without a veterinarian-client-patient relationship.
 
Since the Grand Poobah of them all (1800-PetMeds) is a publicly traded company, lets make some of these violations public. 
 
  • In 1998, The Florida Pharmacy Board, received several complaints against PetMeds for issuing medications to patients without a prescription.  PetMeds was hiring an “alternate veterinarian” to write the prescriptions without having any contact with the patient.  This complaint was settled in 1999 with a small fine and no admission of any wrongdoing.
 
  • In 2001, PetMeds was issued a “stop sales order” after selling a flea control product that had been purchased outside the United States and therefore gave their doses in metric numbers.  The maker of the misbranded product, Novartis, also sued PetMeds and other online pharmacies over this issue.
 
  • In 2002, PetMeds was once again charged by the Florida Pharmacy Board with “operating an alternative veterinarian program”.  Ohio and Texas soon followed with their own lawsuits.  All suits were settled with penalties, probation and community service but once again with no admission to any wrongdoing.
 
  • In 2004, after PetMeds went public, six securities lawsuits were filed by shareholders, claiming that the company delayed disclosing their past problems in order to allow time for its executives, including founder, Marc Puleo, to sell off their shares.
 
Now I’m not sure about all of you, but this doesn’t sound like the kinds of companies I would trust with my girls’ medications.  I’m not even sure it sounds like the kind of business ethics I demand from a company that I do business with.  Please, please be careful where you are getting your pet’s medications from and always remember that the safest place is always through your veterinarian!
 
 
 

How Low Will it Go?

With temps here in MN heading towards zero tonight, make sure when you’re outside with your pets, you can watch them for signs of discomfort with the cold. If they whine, shiver, seem anxious, slow down or stop moving, or start to look for warm places to burrow, they’re saying they want to get back someplace warm.
 
You can also keep an eye out for two serious conditions caused by cold weather. The first and less common of the two is frostbite. Frostbite happens when an animal’s (or a person’s) body gets cold and pulls all the blood from the extremities to the center of the body to stay warm. The animal’s ears, paws, or tail can get cold enough that ice crystals can form in the tissue and damage it. The tricky thing about frostbite is that it’s not immediately obvious. The tissue doesn’t show signs of the damage to it for several days.
 
If you suspect your pet may have frostbite, bring her into a warm environment right away. You can soak her extremities in warm water for about 20 minutes to melt the ice crystals and restore circulation. It’s important that you don’t rub the frostbitten tissue, however--the ice crystals can do a lot of damage to the tissue. Once your pet is warm, wrap her up in some blankets and take her to the veterinarian. Your veterinarian can assess the damage and treat your pet for pain or infection if necessary.
 
Hypothermia, or a body temperature that is below normal, is a condition that occurs when an animal is not able to keep her body temperature from falling below normal. It happens when animals spend too much time in cold temperatures, or when animals with poor health or circulation are exposed to cold. In mild cases, animals will shiver and show signs of depression, lethargy, and weakness. As the condition progresses, an animal’s muscles will stiffen, her heart and breathing rates will slow down, and she will stop responding to stimuli.
If you notice these symptoms, you need to get your pet warm and take her to your clinic or the emergency clinic. You can wrap her in blankets, possibly with a hot water bottle or an electric blanket. As always, remember to wrap hot items in fabric to prevent against burning the skin. In severe cases, your veterinarian can monitor her heart rate and blood pressure and give warm fluids through an IV.
 
Winter can be a beautiful time of year. It can be a dangerous time as well, but it certainly doesn’t have to be. If you take some precautions, you and your pet can have a fabulous time.

Winter winds

Well, with 34 inches of snow on the ground, there's no doubt that winter has arrived!
 
Cold weather can be hard on pets, just like it can be hard on people. Sometimes owners forget that their pets are just as accustomed to the warm shelter of the indoors as they are. Some owners will leave their animals outside for extended periods of time, thinking that all animals are adapted to live outdoors. This can put their pets in danger of serious illness. There are things you can do to keep your animal warm and safe.
 
Keep your pets inside as much as you can when the mercury drops. If you have to take them out, stay outside with them. When you’re cold enough to go inside, they probably are too. If you absolutely must leave them outside for a significant length of time, make sure they have a warm, solid shelter against the wind, thick bedding (hay is a great insulator that they can snuggle down in), and plenty of non-frozen water. Try leaving out a hot water bottle, wrapped in a towel so it won’t burn your pet’s skin.
 
Some animals can remain outside safely longer in the winter than others. In some cases, it’s just common sense: long-haired breeds like Huskies will do better in cold weather than short-haired breeds like Dachshunds. Cats and small dogs that have to wade shoulder-deep in the snow will feel the cold sooner than larger animals. Your pet’s health will also affect how long she can stay out. Conditions like diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and hormonal imbalances can compromise a pet’s ability to regulate her own body heat. Animals that are not generally in good health shouldn’t be exposed to winter weather for a long period of time. Very young and very old animals are vulnerable to the cold as well. Regardless of their health, though, no pets should stay outside for unlimited amounts of time in freezing cold weather. If you have any questions about how long your pet should be out this winter, ask your veterinarian.