Have a safe and happy holiday!
In observance of the upcoming holiday, St. Francis Pet Clinic will be closing at 12noon on 11/26 and will be closed on 11/27. If you have an emergency contact our office for our on call vets phone number.
Have a safe and happy holiday!
Brrrr—it's cold outside! The following guidelines will help you protect your companion animals when the mercury dips.
Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, felines can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed. Cats who are allowed to stray are exposed to infectious diseases, including rabies, from other cats, dogs and wildlife.
During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.
Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm, dogs can easily become lost. Make sure your dog always wears ID tags.
Thoroughly wipe off your dog's legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.
Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.
Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If your puppy appears to be sensitive to the weather, you may opt to paper-train him inside. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself.
Does your dog spend a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities? Increase his supply of food, particularly protein, to keep him, and his fur, in tip-top shape.
Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. Visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center more information.
Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
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Hit by Car
An animal in pain is more likely to bite. So muzzle it first with a scarf, belt, or towel, unless it’s vomiting. Get the animal off the road by gently sliding it onto a towel or blanket (these should be in your car's first-aid kit). Don't lift the animal. Make sure it’s warm, as it may be in shock. If it seems to have any broken bones, roll up a magazine or newspaper to use as a splint.
Many household items can be dangerous to dogs and cats -- everything from antifreeze, insecticides, and aspirin to raisins and sugar-free gum. But don't panic. Many of these have antidotes. Call the Animal Poison Control hotline at 888-426-4435 or the Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680 immediately. They can probably help you even before you get to the vet.
If your pet is unconscious, open its mouth and try to clear the object out with your fingers. Or hang a small animal from its back legs and try to shake the object out. If the animal is conscious, do a modified Heimlich maneuver. Place the pet on its side, applying pressure right behind the ribs and pressing your hands forward. This may help push the item out. Get someone else to drive to the vet so you can continue to do this on the way.
A seizure will generally pass on its own in less than 3 minutes. Your job is to make sure the animal is safe while it's happening. Get any movable furniture away from the pet. Don't put your hands or your face near the animal's mouth, and don't pull its tongue out of the mouth. Unlike humans, animals won't swallow their tongues during a seizure. When the seizure is over, contact your vet.
If another dog bites your pet, get to the clinic as soon as possible. Dog bites can pull a lot of hair and debris into the wound. If it’s not cleaned out soon, it can become infected.
Bee and Wasp Stings
Bee and wasp stings usually cause just minor swelling and itching. If you can see the stinger, use a credit card to scrape it out, or pull it out with tweezers. An antihistamine like Benadryl will relieve some of the symptoms, but call your vet to ask how much to give. If you notice any swelling on the face or neck, or hives all over the body, get the animal to the vet right away. This could be a severe anaphylactic reaction -- a definite emergency.
If your animal is panting heavily, drooling, having trouble breathing, or showing other symptoms of heatstroke, move it to a shady area immediately. Put a cool, wet cloth around its neck and head (not its face). You can also gently hose the animal down with cool water, especially the belly, before transporting it to the vet.
Dr. Karsten Fostvedt