I CANNOT thank you all sufficiently for your professional and kind approach.
With kids back to school last month, you might be noticing something about your pet that you hadn’t expected. Is it possible he or she is experiencing back-to-school blues?
After spending months of long summer days with their pint-sized (or bigger!) best friends, dogs—and even cats—can get depressed. This might even be more true for companions of kids who have gone off to college.
Annd remember, if you are upset about a child’s departure—either for the day or for the semester—your pet will pick up on your feelings, too.
So, if you are noticing some recent-onset lethargy (or hyperactivity) in your pet, or even some vocalizing and mopey-ness, you might need to pay a little extra attention to your heartbroken furry friend. There are specific things you can do as well.
Exercise seems to be a good bet. As with people, exercise can stimulate endorphin release, and this can help improve mood.
Another step to take might be to provide your pet with an article of the child’s clothing, giving the animal a sense of comfort with a familiar scent.
(Similarly, clients whose pets need to stay at Hope Veterinary Specialists overnight often leave tee shirts or other items with them so they are surrounded by a familiar scent. This is fine with us, as long as you understand that with our huge laundry operation, should we need to wash your item, you may not ever see it again…)
As with so many other things, however, the answer to the problem is usually time. Give your dog or cat a bit to adjust to the new situation, and he or she will be just fine—and back to his or her self in no time!
Dog reading image from:
While two years old, it’s never too late to spread the word about Fluffy’s Blankets. The following is a press release from Penn State University (Cooperative Extension in Chester County), originally sent out on May 10, 2010.
West Chester, PA: May 10, 2010 – When a pet is sick, both the animal and the owner suffer discomfort, stress, and anxiety. A local group has created a novel program for providing comfort to pet owners and their beloved pets. Fluffy’s Blankets is a cooperative effort, sponsored by Friends Home in Kennett, the Girl Scouts of Eastern PA, and 4-H Creating Community Networks of Chester County Extension. It provides donated blankets and emotional
support to pet owners with sick or injured animals.
“Fluffy’s Blankets is a community-inclusive project that involves all ages,” says Laurie Szoke, Extension Educator for 4-H Creating Community Networks, and a pet owner herself. “When one of my dogs was seriously injured, I saw the toll it took on me and realized that there was a need to support pet owners during difficult times.” Szoke found that comforting her dog in a blanket reassured her pet and quieted her own anxiety, which led to the idea for Fluffy’s Blankets. She approached several community leaders and found they were receptive to the idea.
The program is gaining momentum and earning attention from individuals and organizations that see an opportunity to help their community in a direct way. Dr. James Beach of Walnut Hill Veterinary Clinic in Avondale has agreed to serve as the Veterinary Medicine partner.
A Fluffy’s Blanket gift includes two blankets, a heating pad (seasonal), comfort food, gift coupon for a treat/cup of coffee at a local business and a personalized card from the giver to the recipient.
Sponsors are needed for heating pads and “coffee/tea/treat” coupons from local businesses. To learn more about how you can become involved in Fluffy’s Blankets as a donor or recipient, contact Patrice Bradour at 610-444-2577 ext. 212, or Laurie Szoke at 610-696-3500.
Veterinary Technician Specialists
Credentialed veterinary technicians who want to expand their knowledge may choose to become a specialist. A vet tech specialist designation (VTS) requires a huge amount of work on the part of the technician and can include such things as logging thousands of clinical hours, organizing and submitting detailed case logs, and passing rigorous exams.
Hope Veterinary Specialists is proud to boast we have four vet tech specialists at our referral hospital with a few others in the works. Word is out that we have developed a great mentor program for other nurses in the area to gain their critical care experience with us and apply for this certification. We weren’t surprised by this piece of information: we’ve known all along we are home to the most dedicated and experienced nurses around!
Technicians who choose to specialize have many options to choose from (thanks to http://www.navta.net/index.php?section=specialties&page=specialties for the list):
- The Academy of Veterinary Dental Technicians
- The Academy of Veterinary Technician Anesthetists
- The Academy of Internal Medicine for Veterinary Technicians
- The Academy of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Technicians
- The Academy of Veterinary Behavior Technicians
- The Academy of Veterinary Zoological Medicine Technicians
- The Academy of Equine Veterinary Nursing Technicians
- The Academy of Veterinary Surgical Technicians
- The Academy of Veterinary Technicians in Clinical Practice
- The Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Technicians
- The Academy of Veterinary Clinical Pathology Technicians
Recently, another of our Emergency Services nurses, Samantha Frabizzio, earned the designation of specialist from the Academy of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Technicians after successfully submitting all required documentation and passing the exam. She joins the following staff members, who had previously earned this impressive title:
Brandy Terry, CVT (VTS, ECC)
Caryn McCleary, CVT (VTS, ECC)
Rachel Keyser, CVT (VTS, ECC)
Hope Veterinary Specialists strives to provide you and your pet with the best possible service, and if you’ve ever had the opportunity to interact with any our nurses, you know they are all compassionate, caring, and knowledgeable individuals. The VTS designation is that something extra that helps our nurses, and our hospital, stand out from the crowd!
Let’s say one day you walk in on your four-legged friend in the middle of devouring a loaf of raisin bread or you come home after an evening out to an empty and chewed up medicine bottle on the floor and your pet lying nearby. Maybe your cats, too, nibbled on some lilies. What do you do?
First, quickly gather up the evidence, including any packaging and vomit. Then, seek immediate assistance, even if your pet appears “normal.” Even in instances of poisoning, animals may act like themselves for many hours or days after ingestion.
If your pet is, in fact, acting normally, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) first: 1.888.426.4435, and be ready with the following information:
- Species, breed, age, sex, and weigh for all animals involved
- Symptoms, if any
- Information regarding the exposure, including the agent (if known), the amount involved, and the time elapsed since the time of exposure
- Product container/packaging, for reference
- Be ready to follow the guidance you are given, which may include paying us a visit. Further, please note there is a $65.00 consultation fee for the APCC service, but the information you are given may very well be the difference between life and death for your pet.
It is very important to note that if your animal is having seizures, losing consciousness, is unconscious, or is having difficulty breathing, telephone us immediately and bring your pet right in!
After you arrive at Hope VS with your pet whom you think ingested something potentially dangerous, after we triage him or her, we will likely ask you to call the APCC if you haven’t already. While it is true that Hope VS is an emergency and specialty hospital ready for any pet emergency, the APCC has specially trained veterinary toxicologists on duty 24 hours a day. Additionally, the APCC has a veterinary database that stores more than one million animal cases involving pesticide, drug, plant, metal, and other exposures, all of which can be readily accessed to help them—and us—help you and your pet. Please note that even if you call from our facility, the APCC consultation fee wil still apply.
Once you speak with the APCC, you will be provided a case number. Please provide this to a member of the Hope VS team, as this allows our doctors to then call APCC with further information gained from your pet’s physical exam as well as continually and thoroughly follow up on your case.
So, while it may be difficult to understand why Hope VS needs information from outside our hospital, our being in contact with toxicology specialists who are also familiar with the specifics of your particular case only serve to provide you and your pet the best possible care.
There are many conditions that may necessitate dogs receive (whole) blood transfusions, including those who are hemorrhaging or have a clotting disorder. So that HVS is sure to have donors on hand when blood is needed (the shelf life of whole blood is just 4 hours!), we have our own in-house blood donor program.
To be a canine donor, dogs must
- Have a good temperament
- Weigh at least 50 pounds
- Be between 1 and 8 years old
- Be in excellent general health
- Be available to donate 4 times a year
- Be up to date on routine vaccinations
- Be on heartworm and flea and tick preventatives
A dog will not be allowed to donate blood if he or she has been recently sick (coughing, sneezing, vomiting, having diarrhea) or has serious health condition; was or will be vaccinated within 4 weeks of the donation; has received a transfusion him- or herself; has had recent surgery (within 1 month); has donated a unit of blood in the previous 6 weeks; is in season, pregnant, or going to be bred; is on medication (other than preventatives); or is fed a raw diet.
All potential donors have their blood type determined, are given a complete physical exam, and are screened for metabolic and infectious diseases through the following blood tests: CBC/Chemistry, Babesia, Erlichia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme, and heartworm.
If accepted into the program, the donor dog goes on a list, and when another dog comes in who needs that donor dog’s type of blood, the call goes out and the dog comes in, giving blood for the sick dog’s tranfusion—and getting lots of love and gratitude in return.