Sabal Chase Animal Clinic

Sabal Chase Animal Clinic
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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I've Selected A Breed. Now What?

I’ve Selected a Breed.  Now What?

For the past few years, roughly 25% percent of dogs in shelters have been purebreds.  While the numbers are lower for cats, it is not at all unusual to find a Siamese, Himalayan, Persian or Manx in a shelter.  Consider a visit to Miami Dade Animal Services or the Humane Society of Greater Miami, or visit their websites ( or to view pictures of the pets that are available for adoption.  There are also many breed specific rescues that operate as a series of foster homes.  A simple Google search such as “German Shepherd rescue, Miami” is a great place to start.  Our office has a list of breed specific rescues within Florida as well.

If you would rather purchase a puppy from a breeder, be sure to choose one that is reputable.  Such breeders are registered with the AKC and can provide references upon request.  They should be licensed and compliant with local ordinances (, and willing to consent to a home visit. In Miami Dade County, it is the law for all breeders to be licensed and for all dogs and cats sold to have a microchip and a health certificate signed by a veterinarian.  It is strongly recommended that you find a breeder who provides health testing for their animals.  These are genetic screenings that test for breed specific problems on animals that are used for breeding.  While the cost of these tests is ultimately passed on to the purchaser, it is well worth the money, as well as the peace of mind to know that your pet comes from a line devoid of common genetic problems.  In other words, more money spent at the time of purchase equals less money spent at the vet!

The Orthopedic Foundation of Animals (OFA) has all of the information on what congential diseases the breed you are interested in should be tested for. You can visit their website and look up that information at

Tiffany has an Australian Shepherd she purchased from a breeder 8 years ago. She has never had to worry about Soleil getting hip dysplasia as Soleil’s parents were OFA tested for hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and CERF eye examined to ensure her parents do not have any hereditary eye diseases. Soleil has been in perfect health her whole life with the exception of an occasional skin allergy.

Soleil enjoying some pool fun. 

Puppies purchased from pet stores are more likely to suffer from both behavioral and medical problems.  Our little Grendel is a three-time rescue who originally came from a low cost, high volume puppy store.  While we love her dearly, her medical record is a litany of congenital problems that never should have been passed along to another generation.  Such stores are often breeding grounds for highly contagious, often deadly diseases such as parvo, distemper and canine influenza.  If you need assistance finding a reputable breeder please call our office or contact the American Kennel Club before visiting a puppy or pet store.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What Do You Want From Your Pet?

What Do You Want From Your Puppy? 

When choosing a pet, temperament and drive are often more important considerations than breed. Do you want a sassy cat that keeps you on your toes?  Consider a Siamese.  Do you want a dog who will be your running partner?  Consider a working or herding breed.  Are you looking for a “couch potato” dog?  Consider a pug.  

Bear in mind that certain breeds of dogs are not designed for intense physical activities.  Bulldogs, pugs, and other “smushy faced” breeds overheat easily and do not make suitable running partners. They are also top heavy, which makes them naturally poor swimmers.  Similarly, dachshunds are not well suited for agility, due to their genetic predisposal to back problems.  Ask yourself what you want life with your new pet to look like before selecting a pet that could fall short of your expectations. 

A certified behaviorist can be of great assistance in assessing an individual animal’s drive. Animal Planet has a great quiz to help you choose the right breed of dog for you: The American Kennel Club’s website,, can give you detailed information on the breed you are intersted in, links to the National Breed Club, and local breeder information.

Max,, while very sweet, will never make a good agility dog.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Youngsters or Adults?

Youngsters or Adults?

If you have decided you are ready for a pet, decide if you would like to adopt an adult, or bring home a puppy or kitten.  Puppies and kittens (especially puppies), whilst adorable, require a tremendous amount of patience and work.  They cry throughout the night.  They need to be potty trained.  They need to be socialized, and are constantly learning.  They chew, they jump, they make mistakes.  And just when you think the puppy nonsense is over, they morph into rebellious adolescents.  Our young Zohan was an easy puppy, but his adolescence was a nightmare.  Raising him from eight weeks was rewarding and fun, and was he ever cute!  But make no mistake - it was a *lot* of work.  Ask yourself if you have the patience for a puppy and be honest.  Don’t worry, we won’t judge you!

Zohan at 6 weeks old

The other option is to adopt an older pet.  The down side is that you miss out on the puppy/kitten phase.  The upside is that you miss out on the puppy/kitten phase!  While adopting an older pet can mean adopting a pet with an uncertain medical or behavioral history, reputable rescues do a great job of maintaining histories when possible.  A certified trainer or behaviorist will often offer pet selection services that can help you to assess an older pet’s temperament.  Their trained eyes can easily spot behaviors and character traits that can help you to choose a pet with the right temperament for your family.  It is always wise to consult these caring professionals when bringing home a new addition, whether it be a puppy or an adult.  We recommend Edel Miedes of K9 Advisors ( and Dee Hoult of Applause Your Paws (.  Please call our office for any additional information.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Pets as Presents?

Pets as Presents?

As the holiday season approaches, many families decide to surprise their loved ones by giving them a pet as a gift.  While the sight of a puppy under the Christmas tree may be adorable, there are many things to consider before giving the gift of a sentient being that will live for roughly 15 years.  Here are just a few things to consider:

Does the recipient want a pet?  If you are shopping for an adult, don’t be afraid to ruin a potential surprise.  Many people love animals and gush profusely over them, yet lack the desire or the ability to keep a pet of their own.  Pet ownership requires time, effort, energy and commitment.  If your loved one cannot provide a suitable environment for a pet, or simply does not want to, please do not give them one as a gift.  Do not assume they will change their mind or make adjustments when they see that cuddly kitten in their Christmas stocking.  If they tell you they do not want a pet, respect their wishes.

Do the children understand that a pet is a responsibility?  Children tire of new things quickly, and younger kids may be frightened of a nipping puppy or a kitten’s sharp claws.  Be certain that your children have had enough exposure to animals for you to assess whether or not they are ready to live with one. New pets come with new rules - the chaotic holiday season is probably not the best time for rolling out a new set of expectations.  Make sure your children are not allergic to pet hair or dander before considering adding a pet to your family.  Most importantly, be sure you are ready to care for the new pet yourself, and that *your* lifestyle is compatible with a new pet.  While bringing home a pet is a great opportunity to teach kids responsibility, prepare for the worst case scenario of having to pick up their slack, just in case.

If this all sounds like a lot to think about, is.  The busy holiday season may not be the best time to do a lifestyle assessment, and help a new pet acclimate.  It is always our recommendation to add a pet to the family either before or after the holiday hustle and bustle.  For the next few weeks, we’ll discuss how to pick the right pet for you.

Monday, November 4, 2013

November Pet of the Month

This November, our pet of the month is Eddie!

Eddie is a four year old orange tabby who suffered an orthopedic injury when he was only two years old.  He developed joint pain and arthritis by the time he was three, and it became difficult for him to move about freely. 

This year, Dr. Kupkee began treating Eddie with Adequan, an injectable nutraceutical that that helps to rebuild joints and cartilage.  It also acts as an anti-inflammatory.  It's been five months since the start of treatment, and his mom reports that he's a brand new kitty.  

Congratulations, Eddie - share with all your Facebook friends!  You're November's Pet of the Month!