By: Elianna Brook, WHVC technician
National Pet Preparedness MonthJune 20, 2017
We’ve all at one point or another had worries about natural disasters. Whether water, wind, fire, or other natural anomaly, the thought of mother nature belting out her best (and worst) can be a scary thought. But have you ever thought to plan for your pet’s well-being if such an event were to occur? It’s easy enough for us to hop in our vehicle and leave town if need be, but when it comes to keeping our furry friends safe, there are other steps that need to be taken.
Being prepared for your pets during a natural disaster means more than having a bag packed for yourself and a space in your car. Have a plan ready ahead of time. Microchips, collars, and ID tags are imperative in the event your pet goes missing. Often people move or change their phone numbers and forget to update their dog’s (or cat’s) tags and microchip information, so be sure to keep those things up to date. Some of these events require an owner to bunker down in a shelter or travel to a family or friend’s residence that may not allow for your pets to join. If warning of a natural disaster is to arise, it would be wise to call around to local shelters (both human and animal), kennels, and hotels to see if your pets are welcome to stay there during the storm.
It’s never recommended to leave your pet at home should an evacuation occur. If an unforeseen event should arise while you are not home, having a friend, relative, or neighbor handy to help your animals is a smart alternative. Be sure to have “rescue alert” stickers at the entry ways of your house. These stickers alert emergency responders as to how many animals are in the home and what species they are. If you or someone else is able to take the animals from your house, don’t forget to write “evacuated” on the stickers so anyone coming after the disaster knows not to look for the listed animals.
Along with having your necessary belongings packed, an owner should also have an evacuation kit prepared for their pet(s). Things to include in this would be their food (in an airtight, waterproof container), water, bowls, medications (and treats or other things necessary to give the meds), litter/litterbox for cats, poop bags, a can opener, toys, bedding, medical records (any current prescriptions, vaccine history, microchip number, etc.), dish soap or other liquid detergent, an extra leash/collar/harness, blanket(s), a flashlight, and pillowcases for cats. The last item listed may sound strange, but anyone with cats knows they may not be easy to get into a carrier on short notice so in the event of an emergency, a pillowcase is a safe alternative (not for long term housing, but if a quick escape is necessary). It’s also a good idea to have pre-made flyers in case your little one goes missing.
After a natural disaster, it’s not uncommon to encounter unfamiliar animals who have lost their way. It’s best to not approach these animals. They may be carrying disease (rabies, distemper, leptospirosis, etc.) or not be behaving normally due to disorientation or fear. Be sure to have your pets up to date with all necessary vaccines and on preventatives like Heartgard for heartworm disease. Pending the weather, there may be more mosquitoes or ticks afterward and those pesky little buggers are the transmitters of heartworm and Lyme disease. It’s also advised that an owner leash walk their pet for at least a few days after a natural disaster as the environment may have changed and can cause confusion. A dog who was once trusted to stay in the yard may wander off not realizing he or she is doing so. Watch for downed power lines and other hazardous conditions.
Natural disasters can be terrifying, overwhelming, and occur without warning. Being prepared in advance is key to the welfare of both you and your pets. Like anything else in life, there’s no guarantee that this information will provide 100% safety and security during an unpredictable event such as a hurricane, flood, or forest fire, but giving your pets the best chance for a happy, healthy life afterward is definitely something worth planning for.
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Treat or Toxin? Fruits and VegetablesMay 30, 2017
Fruits and Vegetables for the Dog
Treat or Toxin?
By Terri Heck, CVT
There is a long-standing disagreement on whether or not dogs are true carnivores. Primarily they are meat eaters but in the wild they ingested far more than muscle meat. Contents of the stomach and intestines of their prey were often of vegetation origin. Wolves and wild dogs often munch on plants and berries. There is a basis for fruits and vegetables to be part of canine nutrition.
We enjoy giving treats to our canine companions. Bits of fruits and vegetables can provide healthy nutrients and are often less calorie dense than many dog treats. Important to stress: Not all fruits and vegetables are safe – some are actually toxic.
Sensible and Safe: Apples (no seeds), bananas, pumpkin, green beans, romaine lettuce and spinach, peaches (no pits!), watermelon, strawberries, raspberries, carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, mango, cucumbers, green beans to give a few ideas. Moderation is the key with any of these.
CAUTIONS: Grapes, raisins avocado, onion, garlic, asparagus and cherries should be avoided. The red part of tomatoes are fine but the green stems are toxic. Mushrooms should always be on the “do not give” list.
Small bits of fruits and vegetables are typically less calorie dense and healthier than dog treats. Dried fruits prepared without added sugar, frozen green beans – fresh is great but consider these options as well. Enjoy treating your dog to a healthy snack.
Have a “Cat Happy” VisitMarch 21, 2017
By Dr. Liz Dailey
The Staff at Winding Hill Veterinary Clinic loves cats and dogs! We also realize cats are not little dogs. Here, we make every effort to meet your cat’s unique needs. Our goal is to ensure your cat has as easy an appointment as possible.
In an effort to meet these goals and ensure the best experience for your cat, we follow specific cat friendly parameters. The veterinary visit begins at home, placing your cat in the carrier. Cats love dark, small places. A carrier crate is perfect in affording a safe, comforting spot. Place the crate in a room your cat spends a lot of time, add comfortable bedding, treats, toys and a towel over the crate, your cat won’t be able to resist. Allowing your cat access to the crate at all times will facilitate an easy transfer for travel.
Feliway, a cat specific pheromone, sprayed about 15 minutes prior to placing your cat in the crate for travel, will decrease the stress the car ride may cause. This pheromone encourages a feeling of familiarity and security. It helps generate comfort and reassurance while cats cope with challenging situations.
The safest place for your cat in the car is on the floor behind the passenger seat with the front seat moved as far back as possible, wedging the crate in place. Once you arrive at WHVC we do our best to get your cat into the exam room as quickly as possible. We realize the waiting room can be stressful.
Once in the exam room, the veterinary technician will take apart the carrier, if possible, allowing your cat to become comfortable with the surroundings. Cats may remain in the carrier, hide under a towel, or explore. During the appointment we attempt to move quietly, slowly, gently and deliberately. We keep our voices down. Our goal is to provide a safe, non threatening environment where cats can be examined calmly and effectively. We strive to avoid reaching “the threshold” beyond which nervous cats become angry, frightened or aggressive. After all, we understand cats do not realize that restraint, examination, and drawing blood are an effort to help them.
Our staff also regularly attends continuing medical education sessions. We utilize the most current feline research to best understand feline body language and facial and behavioral cues. When you reach home remember that your cat smells very different to other household cats and conflict could ensue. If necessary, place the opened carrier in a solitary space to allow the feline patient to eat, rest, and smell “right.”
We strive to keep your cat healthy in mind, body, and spirit.
Meet Our VeterinariansMarch 1, 2017
We here at Winding Hill Veterinary Clinic love our vets. No seriously, we really love our vets. And we know you do as well. So to show our love for these amazing ladies, we thought we would make this month’s blog all about them. Without further ado, here are the wonderful, wild, white-coated women of Winding Hill!
Our medical director, Dr. Patricia Gabig, has been practicing since 1993. She completed her undergraduate in medical technology at Bloomsburg State College and spent 2 years in Italy studying veterinary medicine. She received her veterinary degree from the University of Pennsylvania. It’s thanks to swimming and her overnight weekend shift at the William Pepper Stat Lab that she survived it all! Currently she has two cats, Murfe and Fiona, and likes to relax by reading, biking, swimming, and painting. According to Dr. Gabig, the most unusual pet that she’s gotten to work with was a python with a prolapsed rectum.
Dr. Anne Barnhart also graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and has been out in the field for 30 years. The thing that kept her sane through vet school was doing obedience and show classes with her Russian Wolfhound. While in school, Dr. Barnhart says that coolest thing she was able to do was to work with the ferrets at Marshal Farms in New York. There she learned about their needs and habits and also how to spay, neuter, and descent them. Currently, she likes to read, knit, travel, and care for her 2 Tunis sheep, 3 Finn sheep, 14 chickens (4 Rhode Island Reds, 5 Easter Eggers, 4 Barred Rocks, and 1 Dominique) 1 rooster, and 2 cats, and take walks with her dog, Barend.
Dr. Edwards did her undergraduate at West Virginia University and attended veterinary school at THE Ohio State University. While at OSU, she said that one of the coolest things she got to see was the Budweiser Clydesdales, who always stayed overnight at the teaching hospital when they were passing through town. Aside from getting to visit with the amazing Clydesdales, she said that her pets and her husband are what got her through vet school. Currently, she lives in a beautiful farmhouse with her husband, 6 cats, and some soon-to-arrive honeybees. To relax she enjoys gardening, reading, and canning homegrown food.
Next up is Dr. Catherine Davis, who tells me that she’s been practicing for over 20 years but won’t give us anything more specific in case it dates her. She’s another graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and relied on her friends and pets to get her through. She says that her favorite part of vet school was all of it. Nowadays she spends her time hanging out with family and friends, running, and caring for her pets (2 dogs, 2 cats, 2 kids, and husband!). The most unusual animal that she has gotten to work with was a sugar glider that had to have a tumor removed from it’s eyeball.
While born and raised in New Jersey, Dr. Elizabeth Dailey is a PA girl through and through. She did her undergrad at Dickinson College and then moved on to Drexel University to get her masters in Microbiology/Immunology. From there she attended vet school at, you guessed it, the University of Pennsylvania. While there, she was fortunate to have the opportunity to anesthetize a tiger for an ultrasound! These days, though, she can be found reading, skiing, cycling, and walking her dogs. At the moment she has a hound mix, a cat, and fish, but very soon she’ll be welcoming a Doberman puppy into the family.
The newest veterinarian to join the Winding Hill family is Dr. Tracy Venier. She graduated Ross University in 2012 and along with her diploma she brought back a coconut retriever named Blackie. You can read the story of their adventures in January’s blog post. Going to school on a tropical island definitely had its advantages (besides the sun, surf, and sand). While on St. Kitts she was able to work with the local green vervet monkeys! While she may not have any monkeys, she currently shares her life with her cat, Mia, and her two horses, Valentino and Pearl Snaps. When not out riding her horses, Dr. Venier enjoys decorating and looking for antiques.
As varied as our veterinarians are, I think it was interesting that every single one of them knew that they wanted to be a vet since they were young girls. It appears that they were all smitten with the profession from a young age and haven’t ever stopped loving it! Below are two questions that they answered for me and that I thought merited being printed in their own words:
What is your favorite part of being a veterinarian?
Dr. Edwards: The clients – being able to help them understand and care for their pets.
Dr. Gabig: I like to figure out tough cases, but the downside is that you have limited time to do it.
Dr. Barnhart: Seeing the clients and their interactions with their pets, knowing how important the pet connection is to our health. I also enjoy solving mysteries to find an answer if possible for a pet’s illness.
Dr. Davis: The interaction with people and their pets.
Dr. Dailey: The animals, the owners, and the sense of camaraderie with the staff.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to enter the veterinary profession?
Dr. Venier: Be prepared to work hard and to also be in debt.
Dr. Dailey: Do it! Keep at it. Persevere. It’s a great profession.
Dr. Edwards: Get lots of experience before applying so that you are familiar with the field of veterinary medicine and the types of job options – it’s a big financial investment.
Dr. Barnhart: Try to volunteer or work in the area you think you want to enter (zoo medicine, large animal, etc.) because you are going to spend at least 8 years in school after high school and a significant amount of money to pay for your education.
Dr. Gabig: Don’t just think of small animal practice as all you can do. There are many opportunities to do other things regarding research, pharmaceuticals, engineering, food supply, and even being an astronaut.
Dr. Davis: Work at a vet clinic first to see what it’s really like.
Woman’s Best Friend: Dr. Venier & BlackieJanuary 12, 2017
By Dr. Tracy Venier, DVM
“The journey of life is sweeter when traveled with a dog”
It was during my second semester of Veterinary School when Blackie and I began our wonderful journey together.
Blackie was one of our clinic dogs at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. The clinic dogs were instrumental in our training to learn anatomy, practice palpation, as well as practicing anesthesia and several other invaluable skills to further our education. These dogs also provided some stress relief and enrichment for students. In our second semester, students were assigned to walk and take care of the clinic dogs. Blackie was a mostly black with some tan, fuzzy 6 year old “Coconut Retriever.” This is what we fondly called many of the mixed breed island dogs. It didn’t take me long to realize what a special dog Blackie was, and how lucky I was to find out that Blackie was up for adoption.
Blackie officially came to live with me during my 3rd semester. Together, we spent another 2 years on St. Kitts before embarking on our next journey together. Blackie was my protector, fondly, or not so fondly called “the lion” by many local Kittitians, as he let them know that this was his house and I was his girl. I tried to make Blackie into a beach dog, but soon realized he did not have an affinity for water, sand or the heat despite his Caribbean roots. We had many late nights together spent studying and cramming for exams. He was always there for me.
Then, came our final semester at Ross. As it was almost a right of passage for Ross students to bring a dog, or two home with them as they departed the island, I was worried about getting Blackie on a plane home so I asked my good friend Danielle if she would fly down, spend a few days and take Blackie back to New York to meet my parents.
That month without Blackie was so lonely! I was so eager to return to him. As our time on the island was finished, Ross students complete their final year of training at a University teaching hospital in the US. I did my clinical training at Purdue University. With an even more rigorous schedule, unfortunately that meant a lot of time home alone for Blackie, but we soon found a horse barn close by to school where I would take lessons. I soon learned that Blackie, who remember was not a beach loving dog, loved being a barn dog and loved horses. Some of my fondest memories are riding around and Blackie would follow behind, always close by to me and the horses. He may have grown up as an “island dog,” but his true calling was as a barn dog. We had the best times at Foxton Farm, that even led to the purchase of my beloved Thoroughbred, Valentino.
As our time in Indiana drew to a close, that meant Vet School was officially completed! Blackie and I yet again set back to the East coast. He was the very best travel companion and he loved riding in the car. Blackie helped me through Vet School, clinical year and what followed as I transitioned into the real world of Veterinary Medicine.
My first year out in practice I was devastated when Blackie was diagnosed with malignant oral melanoma, a very aggressive cancer. How fortunate we were that surgery was very successful and with follow up visits with an Oncologist, Blackie did very well.
A little over 2 years ago I took a leap of faith and decided to relocate and take a job with Winding Hill Veterinary Clinic. This was not an easy decision as it meant leaving behind family, friends and a place that I had called home for most of my life. I can honestly say, having Blackie by my side made things much easier, and I also soon learned how wonderful everyone at WHVC would be to not only me but to Blackie also.
Blackie soon became the unofficial Winding Hill mascot as he would take many trips to work with me. He would pick his spot in the Doctors office where he liked to take naps, usually under Dr. Barnhart’s desk. He loved to attend our staff meetings so he could travel around from person to person to beg for pizza, Panera or whatever catered goodies were up for grabs. Blackie also loved coming to the clinic for his weekly therapeutic laser treatments with Nanaette, as she would focus on all of his sore, arthritic spots, and of course, treats were involved. His BFF Brittany also made him his own special platter of treats during his many visits, you can see Blackie was a very food motivated dog but he also loved his interaction with everyone at the clinic as well.
It was this past November that Blackie made his journey to the Rainbow Bridge. While I miss him every single day I am beyond thankful for our 7+ year journey together. My parents would often say how lucky Blackie was to have found me on St. Kitts, but I can honestly say that I was truly the lucky one to have found such a devoted, loyal and loving companion.
I received so many wonderful messages from people that knew Blackie from our time in St. Kitts to Indiana, New York and beyond. I realized that Blackie touched other people’s lives also. My father, who didn’t grow up with dogs and who was admittedly a little timid of most dogs grew to share such a wonderful bond with Blackie. I’m convinced it was almost impossible to not love him, though I know I’m a little biased. Our journey together was one filled with many adventures, wonderful memories and a whole lot of love. And all of those things I will cherish forever.
Gift a Pet for Christmas?December 6, 2016
By Terri Heck CVT Winding Hill
Giving a pet as a gift on a holiday may sound like a good idea – after all they can be such a symbol of love, joy and many things good. But in reality, the gift of a pet comes with the need for a commitment – a commitment of responsibility – time and money. Adding the right pet at the right time to the right family is a blessing that keeps on giving.
Christmas in itself is not the best of times to add a pet to the family. It tends to be a busy time. The hustle and bustle of the season can make building the relationships with the new pet and the bonding experiences more challenging. Added responsibilities can be better timed after the holidays. The winter weather associated with the time of year and a young puppy is not for everyone.
Who better to select their new pet than the person or family who is ready for one. A gift certificate to a shelter or a breeder if the recipient has voiced a place where they would get their new addition could be a welcome gift. Consider a basket of supplies or a book related to their expected pet of choice. Add a card with a little note saying that you would like to help with the purchase of their new pet aka “family member” when they are ready.
Pets and people can share a wonderful connection. Just be sure the pairing is done in a way to bring the love and the joy of the season to both the pet and the person or family.
Appiness is Just a “Click” AwayOctober 25, 2016
Appiness Is Just A “Click” Away
Popular Apps For People and Their Pets
By Dr. Patty Gabig
Here are some applications that one might find useful. Please feel free to contact me with others you have found and feel others could benefit from:
Pet First Aid Red Cross
Take care of your furry family member. The American Red Cross Pet First Aid app puts veterinary advice for everyday emergencies in the palm of your hand. Get the app and be prepared to act when called upon. With videos, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice it’s never been easier to know Pet First Aid. Download: iTunes + Google Play
Animal Poison Control Center (APCC)
Products that may seem safe in your home and garden can actually be toxic for pets, and all too often pets are poisoned as a result of their natural curiosity. That’s why the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – the country’s first animal welfare organization and a leading voice for animals — has launched the APCC by ASPCA App. Download: iTunes + Google Play
Over 65,000 pet sitters and dog walkers have listed their services, making Rover the nation’s largest network. On the app, connect with a nearby sitter, pay securely, and get photo updates. The platform offers insurance, 24/7 support, background checks, and a reservation guarantee. Download: iTunes + Google Play
Need someone to take care of your dog when you’re busy, stuck at work, or on vacation? Wag! connects dog owners with dog lovers in their community they can hire on-demand for dog walking, pet sitting, or dog boarding services 7-days a week. Wag! is like having a trusted dog loving neighbor, or friend at your beck and call! Download: iTunes + Google Play
FitBark monitors your dog’s everyday activity and turns it into BarkPoints, so you can track progress. It’s a new way to understand your dog’s health, explain changes in behavior, make better decisions with your vet, and share memorable moments with friends & family. FitBark is all about your dog, from head to tail. Download: iTunes + Google Play
Be with your pet, even when you are not at home – Cam2Pet makes it possible. Developed and tested for and with pets (dogs and cats) under real conditions! This app would be good for monitoring your pet especially if they are elderly, diabetic or recovering from surgery. Download: iTunes + Google Play
Voyce creates a vital sign baseline for your dog so you and your vet can readily detect and address changes in health and behavior. Manage your dog’s health by settings goals and accessing advice from pet experts, tailored specifically to you and your dog.
The VitusVet App is a life and sanity saving tool for pet owners. In addition to having all of your pet’s medical records available in an emergency, the app helps you take the best care possible of your pets. Track major events and daily items such as medication reminders, walk times, current brand of pet food…even request family vet and specialist appointments. All members of your family and your extended pet care team will have login access to upload information and locate records through the VitusVet app. Just invite them to your pet’s care team and start today! Download: iTunes + Google Play
This is a dog training app with the following potential to: stop your dog or your neighbor’s dog from barking, recall your dog, train your dog to do cool tricks.
How does this works? The application generates frequencies ranging from 100 to 22000 hertz. Dogs hear those sound very well, and those sounds are always the same. That makes it very easy to teach your dog new tricks. Proper tutorial will be implemented in future app update. Remember to not abuse your animals!!! Long exposure to any sound might damage hearing. And that might be a crime. Also don’t use this app on puppies.
It’s harder than you think sometimes to come up with a name for your pet. This data base can help.
And finally, there are also apps that teach children how to care for a pet:
Are there any must-have pet apps that we missed? Let us know!
Halloween Photo ContestOctober 14, 2016
Send us a photo of your pet in a costume and you could win a $50 gift card to our hospital!
Like our Facebook page and send us a direct message on Facebook with your pet’s photo by Sunday, October 23rd.
On Monday the 24th we will post all of the photos in an album and then voting will begin! Vote for your favorite photo(s) by “liking” them or using your favorite reaction. The photo with the most “likes”/”reactions” will be our winner and will be announced on October 31st!
We encourage you to share your picture, or the album, with your friends and family to increase your chances of winning.
Good luck and may the best costume win!
2015 Halloween Contest Winner – Remy Alexa
Have You Checked the Chip?August 15, 2016
By: Elianna Brook, WHVC technician
During the peak of vacation season and fun in the sun, we often forget the anxieties these joyous times bring our furry friends. Whether your pets travel with you, are kenneled, or watched after by trusted friends or family, the chances of them getting away are very high during these times. You may say your dog would never run away or your cat never leaves the house, but stressful times may change these habits in your pets.
If you were to (heaven forbid) get into a car accident while your cat or dog was traveling somewhere with you, during which time they escaped from your vehicle and didn’t know where they were, the best way to maximize their chance of returning home safely is having them microchipped and following up with registering that chip to you. The first thing most animal shelters, veterinary clinics, and police do upon finding a “stray” or lost pet, is to scan for a microchip. These tiny chips are placed just under the skin, typically between the shoulder blades or in that general area. The procedure is often done in correlation with a young pet’s spay or neuter surgery while they’re under anesthesia, but the implants are also placed while animals are awake. It’s a quick procedure that takes just about as long as a regular vaccine administration. These chips may migrate through time, so having your chipped pet scanned at routine veterinary appointments is not frowned upon.
Each year in the United States, about 7,600,000 cats and dogs enter animal shelters. Of those 7.6 million, only about 649,000 are returned home safely to their owners. Imagine how many more pets would find their way home if everyone had their companions microchipped.
Any time of change can be scary for your little (or not so little) ones, so ensuring their ability to find their way home is important. Travel, fireworks, and the hustle and bustle of company or workers in and out of your home are just a few things that could spook a cat or dog into running away. Though microchips aid in the reuniting of many pets with their families, they are not GPS devices so you can’t track your critters if they go missing.
National Check the Chip Day is August 15. If you haven’t had your pets microchipped and are interested in doing so or have more questions, don’t hesitate to contact your favorite veterinarian, technician, receptionist, or other member of the Winding Hill team for more information.
Heartworm and PreventionJune 30, 2016
Heartworm infestations can be deadly, but if you follow a couple easy steps it’s totally preventable. Heartworm is a parasite that lives in the heart, lungs and surrounding blood vessels. Heartworm is passed from a mosquito taking a blood meal on an affected animal, picking up the microfilaria (baby worms). The microfilaria then mature in the mosquito. Once matured, the mosquito then takes another blood meal on an unaffected animal; leaving the microfilaria behind, infecting the next animal.
While heartworms can affect any mammal, the one I’m going to focus on is the canine. The few things you can do to make sure your canine friend stays heartworm free is get a blood test i.e. 4DX+, annually. Not only does this test screen for heartworm, it also screens for Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, anaplasma. On top of that, you want to keep your dog on heartworm prevention year round. There are a couple different types, but most are a flavored tablet your dog will take once a month. Most canines will take it as a treat. There is a treatment for dogs that come up positive, but it lasts several months and can be expensive. Some signs and symptoms to look for are coughing, loss of appetite, intolerance to exercise, and possible weight loss. You also run the risk of the heart or lungs being damaged permanently, so prevention is the best option. So schedule your heart worm test today!
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