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December Newsletter 2018

Vital Visits News, Tips, and Fun!
Don’t forget to see our links and clickable pet infographic at the end of the newsletter; chock full of holiday tips and information!

Rabies! What You Need to Know

The word “rabies” creates dread in most of us and it should. Rabies is a devastating and deadly viral disease that affects mammals; including dogs, cats, and humans. It’s called a zoonotic disease which means it can be transferred from animals to humans. Rabies is widespread and found in every US state except Hawaii.

Rabies mainly occurs in wild animals like skunks, raccoons, bats, fox, and coyotes. Cats are the most common domestic animal infected with this disease. That’s because many cat owners let their cats out to hunt and don’t vaccinate them. Unfortunately, there is no cure for rabies. This disease is almost always fatal and once signs of the disease are present the animal usually dies within days.

Most states have mandatory laws requiring rabies vaccinations for both dogs and cats. Most kittens and pups receive their first vaccination at 12 weeks of age and then every year after that (there is also a vaccination that lasts 3 years). Most areas have free or low-cost rabies clinics sponsored by local animal control, shelters, or the humane society.

There is only one way to keep your animals healthy – vaccinate them. If you don’t and your dog bites someone, depending on the laws in your area, it could mean quarantine or euthanasia for your pet. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal call your veterinarian immediately. Get the wound cleaned and let your vet decide if your pet needs a rabies booster.

If you come in contact with or get bitten by an unvaccinated animal (wild or domestic), you may need to go through rabies vaccinations. Don’t panic, wash the wound thoroughly with soap and lots of water (wash for a good 10 minutes). Call your doctor or go to an emergency room and explain what happened. Report your bite to animal control as soon as possible and your local health department. Rabies vaccinations for a bite are not as bad as they use to be but still require a series of shots based on your weight over a few weeks.

These vaccinations are very expensive, usually covered by insurance, but not always. So, protect yourself ahead of time. Here is an excellent article about rabies facts and more importantly – prevention tips.

Keep your family and best friends safe, vaccinate for rabies!


Vital Visits News!

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How to Keep Your Senior Pet in Tip-Top Shape!

Great news! Due to improved vet care and better dietary habits, our pets are living longer than ever before. As a consequence, this leads to a bit more veterinary care as your pet age.

What is senior anyway? There isn’t a specific age when the senior label is applied for either cats or dogs. It depends on species, breed, genetics, and the overall health of your pet. Generally, cats can be considered senior citizens at around 11 years of age. For small dogs “older” starts around 11 years old and about 9 for large pooches.

Here are some things you can expect as your pet ages, less energy, weight gain, and behavioral changes.

How can we best manage our senior pets to keep them as healthy as possible for as long as possible?

Vet care: The most important thing you can do with your older pet is to visit your vet more often. Age-related problems can be subtle and happen slowly – something you may miss but your vet won’t. If you notice changes in their behavior, appetite, sudden changes in their energy level, or any unexplained lumps, schedule a vet visit. Ask your vet for a body condition evaluation at each visit too.

Diet: Most pets are less active as they age so they’ll need fewer calories. Try feeding fresh veggies for treats, or to reduce the calorie content of their meals. Ask your vet about fortifying their diets.

Get moving: Exercise helps your older pet stay healthy. It will help to maintain a healthy body weight, slow the degeneration of joints, and it’s fun! Listen to your pet; if they seem tired, it’s time to stop. Maybe your dog used to hike with you for hours but don’t ask them to do that anymore. Dogs try to keep up with their owners even when they are tired. Keep it short and keep it fun.

Keep them thinking: You can teach older pets new tricks and you should! Try introducing some puzzle toys that your pet has to figure out in order to get a treat. Anything that keeps their mind active is a plus.

Brush their teeth: Dental care is important. Bad teeth will make your pet miserable, and it will be hard for them to eat. Keep brushing those chompers!

Vision & Hearing: If your pet has vision or hearing problems, be sure to keep them safe. Remove dangerous objects around the house, use gates, and keep them on a leash or in a fenced area. At night keep a light on for a pet with vision problems.

Accessibility: Your dog or cat may develop issues that make it more difficult for them to get around. Help them navigate by providing ramps, steps to get on the bed, a litter box with lower sides, rugs on hard floors, orthopedic beds, and even a harness to help them up.

Sadly, senior pets are often the last adopted at shelters, which is unfortunate because they are the perfect pet for many families. Most often they are trained, more laid back, and a lot less work than a puppy or kitten! So if you are thinking of adding to your pet family, don’t overlook an older pet.

Keeping our pets happy and healthy in their senior years just takes a watchful eye and a few accommodations.

Senior Pet Tips


Is Your Cat Crazy for Catnip?

Here is the low down on catnip! Catnip is a perennial herb in the mint family. Most cats, including lions, tigers, and yes your domesticated house cat are susceptible to the aromatic oils found in the leaves of the plant. We say “most” because genetically about a quarter of cats don’t seem to respond at all to catnip.

What happens to those cats that do respond to catnip? Well, if you’re a science buff, when your cat sniffs the volatile oil in catnip it interacts with feline nasal tissue, which turns on sensory neurons that stimulate certain areas of their brain and gives them a hyperactive reaction. On the other hand, if your cat eats the catnip, they usually settle into a zoned-out state of bliss. Either state, hyperactive or bliss, usually lasts for about 10 minutes.

Is catnip safe for your cat? The answer to that is yes it’s both safe for your cat to sniff or eat and it’s non-addictive. Some people use it as a training aid, so if your cat is clawing up your furniture, you might try rubbing some catnip on their scratching post. Some people don’t like the idea of their cat getting “high,” so it’s a matter of personal choice if you want your cat to indulge, but again, it won’t hurt your cat.

You can grow catnip in your garden or on your windowsill. It can be purchased as a plant from your local garden center, or you can grow it from seed. Even easier, you can buy it dried or in toys from pet supply stores. If you buy it loose store it in your freezer because the potency of the catnip oils doesn’t last a long time when exposed to air.

Go ahead, buy your cat a catnip toy and enjoy the show!

Check out this link; photographer Andrew Marttila captured photos of cats “on” catnip.

More Catnip information.


Great Pet Links!

Here are some interesting pet articles, pictures, and videos we’ve found on the net this month.


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