Sabal Chase Animal Clinic

Sabal Chase Animal Clinic
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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Preventing Pet Theft

South Florida residents are forever being warned about the prevalence of property theft. Generally speaking, our local miscreants are looking for cash, electronics, jewelry, and cars. Whilst victims of burglary often report feeling angry and vulnerable, many are quick to add that their possessions are merely "things".  And things can be replaced. Sadly, however, more and more families are arriving home to find that their irreplaceable pets have been stolen as well.

Small, purebred dogs are common targets for pet thieves. Yorkshire Terriers, Chihuahuas and Malteses are especially vulnerable. French Bulldogs and Boston Terriers are hot commodities, and the popularity of Labradors and Labradoodles has caused a coinciding spike in thefts of these breeds as well. Finally, dog-nappers single out breeds with reputations for guarding and fighting. This puts German Shepherds, Pit bull type dogs, Rottweilers and Dobermans squarely in the sights of dog thieves.

The best way to protect your pets from theft is to keep them under your supervision at all times.  Keep them indoors when you are not at home, and secure your home to the best of your ability.  Unless your large breed dogs have been trained to protect your home, do not leave them outdoors unattended. Dog thieves are not easily intimidated, are many are very good at making friends with so-called "guard dogs." Finally, even if the air conditioner is running, do not leave a dog unattended in a car. Cars can be stolen in the time it takes us to blink, and a canine passenger is an added bonus to a car thief. Make sure your pets are micro-chipped, as this tiny device can provide proof of legal ownership if your pet is recovered and claimed by another party.

Sadly, we live in a time and space where too many humans fail to see animals as anything other than commodities. If we apply the same principles of vigilance towards our pets as we do to our inanimate possessions, we can offer our companion animals a measure of protection from the unthinkable.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Meet Misty Mae, Our July Pet Of The Month!

This month, our featured pet is Misty Mae! Misty Mae is a seven-year-old Maltese who's got her humans wrapped around her proverbial little finger. When she's not melting hearts with those  big brown eyes, Misty can be found trailing her human brother in the hopes he might drop something interesting - like a pacifier!

Don't be fooled by the posh purebred routine - there's never a dull moment when this gal is in the house. She's the perfect balance of sweetness and spunk. And Dr. Kupkee has been caught fawning over her on more than one occasion!

Congratulations, Misty Mae, and share with all your friends - you're our Pet Of The Month!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Fighting Felines: Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

One of the most common problems cat owners face is that of cats who share the same space, but can’t seem to get along. When a new cat is brought into a home with an established, resident cat, the transition does not always go smoothly. New cats should always be introduced gradually. Start by limiting the newcomer’s range to certain rooms in your home. The established cat will know there is a new cat in the house, but neither will have to be in the other’s space at first. Let the established cat smell anything with which the new cat has had contact, and leave the item in a communal area. This will let the established cat know that eventually, this will be a shared space. Face to face meetings should be brief at first, and must always end on a good note. Reward both cats for their good behavior with treats, play activities, and praise.

If one of the cats is bullying the other, you may need to seek help from a trainer or behaviorist. Many Certified Professional Dog Trainers are also great with cats, so don’t give up if a Google search for cat behaviorists is fruitless. As a short term solution, make sure the cat who is being bullied has access to a high shelf, cat tree, or kitty condo. Height provides cats with feelings of both confidence and safety, and a cat who is not feeling stressed is less likely to develop health and behavioral problems. Additionally, the bully cat should wear a collar with a bell attached. The sound of the bell will alert the other cat to the movements of the bully. This prevents the target from being ambushed or stalked, and gives him plenty of time to escape to higher ground. Make sure the collar is labelled for cats, and will safely break apart if it gets caught. This trick alone tends to even the field, and should help keep the peace until a the behaviorist arrives.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Meet Chiquita, our June Pet of the Month!

World, meet Chiquita, our June Pet of the Month! Chiquita is a 12-year-old Miniature Pinscher who loves sunbathing and being spoiled. And who can resist spoiling that face? Despite the adulation, Chiquita's sweet and laid back temperament made her an instant hit with our team. Even when she's waiting for Santa with her four-legged companions, she still keeps her cool.

Congratulations, Chiquita, and share with all your friends - you're our Pet of the Month!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Hype About Flu

The Hype About Flu!
What You Need To Know About H3N2!

The recent H3N2 outbreak in Central Florida has alarmed many pet owners. Here is some information on what you should know.

  • Ace recovering from an upper respiratory infection.
    The H3N2 virus was first discovered in Chicago, Illinois in 2015. Since then the virus has been found in more than 30 states, including Florida.
  • In December 2015, Merck released the first H3N2 vaccine.
  • PLEASE NOTE: the H3N8 vaccine, either from Merck or Zoetis, does NOT offer cross protection against the H3N2 virus. It is a different strain altogether.
  • The vaccine may not 100% prevent the virus, but it will offer more protection than not vaccinating at all. If a vaccinated dog contracts H3N2, it will not last as long and the symptoms will not be as serious.
  • The virus can survive in the environment for up to 24 hours but is easily killed with soap and water.
  • The best way to prevent your dog from getting the virus would be to vaccinate against the H3N2 virus AND to limit your dog’s exposure to areas that they may socialize with other dogs like dog parks, day care, shelters, pet stores, dog shows, social events, etc.  
  • Testing is available if your dog shows signs of coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, decreased appetite, and lethargy. PLEASE avoid contact with other pets if your dog shows these symptoms.
  • The H3N2 virus can infect cats, but not humans. There is currently no vaccine for cats.
  • Treatment involves supportive care, cough suppressants and antibiotics to prevent secondary infection. Some dogs contract pneumonia secondary to H3N2 and require hospitalization.

The University of Florida has detailed information for pet owners here.

Here at Sabal Chase Animal Clinic, we have been offering the H3N2 vaccine since it first came out in 2015. At that time, we made it a mandatory vaccine for all of our boarders.

If you wish to schedule an appointment to get your dog vaccinated for H3N2, please call us as soon as possible so we can accommodate you. If this is the first time your dog has received this vaccine (or if your dog was not previously boostered), they will need to return in 2-3 weeks for a 2nd vaccination.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Dogs And Kids: Don't Punish The Growl

Don't Punish The Growl

Every year, roughly 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs. Nearly half of the victims of said bites are children between the ages of five and nine.  Throughout my career, I have seen these statistics manifested in the form of traumatized children and surrendered pets. Veterinary professionals are forever telling parents to closely watch interactions between dogs and children. Yet we often fall short when it comes to telling them what they should be watching for.

Perhaps the most telling sign of impending trouble between dogs and kids is the growl. When asked by researchers how they would react if they caught their dog growling at their child, the response of most parents was that they would punish the dog - severely. After all, they would want to be sure it never happened again. Dogs, however, are cause-and-effect thinkers. To a dog, a growl is a warning. She is saying, “Back off, or I will bite you.” When this behavior is punished, she learns that giving a warning leads to unpleasant consequences. The result is a dog who skips the warning, and goes straight to the bite. Should you catch your dog growling at your child, calmly separate the pair, and seek immediate assistance from a Certified Professional Dog Trainer. These caring professionals can help both dogs and families to safely  enjoy the human-animal bond.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Meet Agatha, our May Pet of the Month!

Introducing Agatha, our May Pet of the Month! While the two-year-old tabby may look innocent and sweet, this feisty feline wears the Cone of Shame like a boss. She bravely did battle with a string of twine measuring five feet, four inches in length. And it wasn't enough to simply defeat the twine - she ate it!

All of it.

Thanks to her mom's quick thinking, Agatha is now recovering from a 90-minute surgical procedure in which Dr. Kupkee removed the twine from her intestines and stomach.

All of it.

She ate what?!

While she continues to flaunt her Cone of Shame, we've no doubt she'll be back to her spirited self as soon as her stitches are removed. In the meantime, she continues to heal like a champ - and what remains of the twine has been safely stashed out of her reach.

Congratulations, Agatha, and share with all of your friends - you're not only the Slayer of Twine, you're our Pet of the Month!