From the Front Desk

Noise Phobias

Sudden Rain

Anyone else get hit by this sudden storm Thursday afternoon?

As the weather gets nice and the start of summer arrives, the time of year for fun outdoor activities and events also brings some worrisome things in the lives of our pets to my attention.  Even though these things may be common to us as humans, dogs and even some cats have real phobias of your typical thunderstorm or evening of fireworks.  Both dogs and cats not only have a greater range of hearing than humans, but they also have more muscular control of their ears, allowing them to move their ears around for better sound detection.

A loud, unpredictable thunderstorm that echoes through a home can be very troubling for some pets.  Fireworks shows, sometimes lasting for up to half an hour, can seem to be a never ending spectacle of lights and loud booms.  If we think these occasions are loud, just imagine the amplification of what our pets may hear!  Other noises that could trigger tension could be everyday things like playing loud music, trains, and gunfire during hunting seasons.

If your pet seems particularly stressed in certain situations, an appointment can certainly be scheduled to speak with Dr. Estelle about these matters!  There are a numerous different options for treating anxiety, depending on your pet’s health & level of stress.  Treatment options can include examples like antihistamines, herbal remedies, or even prescription sedatives if necessary.  Dr. Estelle will want to do an examination on your pet as part of teaming with you to determine the best treatment options for your pet.

While you are out an about with your pet, it is helpful to be aware of weather and special events, like fireworks.  We want everyone to have a great summer, and that includes our furry friends, too! If you have any questions about anything you’ve read, please feel free to call us at 610-268-6208, or stop in to visit us!  We would be happy to speak with you and answer your questions to the best of our ability!


Bark for Life of Western Berks

barkforlife2

Spring is finally here, and Dr. Estelle & the staff at Blandon Family Veterinary Practice are excited to announce our participation in a very popular event for people of all ages & our canine companions alike!  On Saturday, April 26th, we would love if you would come & visit us at our table at Bark for Life of Western Berks!  Bark For Life is a non-competitive fundraising dog walk event that honors the care-giving qualities of our canine companions.  The event will be held from 9am until 12 noon, and is located on the grounds of Western Berks/Liberty Fire Company in Sinking Spring. The physical address is 836 Ruth Street, Sinking Spring, PA, 19608.  This exciting event will feature agility & Spring Township K9 Unit demonstrations, as well as lots of other fun music, activities & games for all who are attending!  There will also be lots of opportunities to give back to The American Cancer Society; the money raised through Bark for Life & other community Relay For Life events supports human cancer research!

If you plan on going to the event, there are some safety rules to follow.  Below are some rules from the Bark for Life website (http://www.relayforlife.org/barkwesternberkspa )

  • Dogs must be leashed at all times
  • Leashes are to be no longer than 6 feet (no retractable leashes allowed)
  • Dogs should be at least 6 months of age to attend
  • Dogs attending this event must be current on all shots
  • Owners are to “pick up” after their dogs (Supply Stations are available)

If you’d like to see a little more information about the Bark For Life event, please take a look at this video on Relay For Life’s Youtube Channel! We found this video very informational.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFUEoX122Gg

We hope that we will see you at this event! If you have any questions about anything you’ve read, please feel free to call us at 610-268-6208, or stop in to visit us!  We would be happy to speak with you and answer your questions to the best of our ability!


National Dog Training Month

Dr. Estelle & the Staff at Blandon Family Veterinary Practice hope that everyone had a safe, fun, and Happy New Year!  As we look upon new plans for the year, January gets right to helping us be active with our pets’ health and well-being… it’s National Dog Training Month!  Whether you have just acquired a new puppy, rescued a furry friend from a shelter, or even have a senior pet at home already, training is always important, regardless of age.  I have a 14 year old Border Collie Mix named Lucky, and I can certainly say that an old dog CAN learn new tricks!

Lucky

 With patience and determination, training can be done in your own home!  The most important parts of training your dog are that you are diligent with repetition, open minded to our pets’ different learning styles, and, most of all, that you are patient.  I know that my dog, Lucky, was quick to learn new things on most occasions, but other times she was very stubborn.  I always had so much fun during training sessions with my dog, and spending quality time with our pets can certainly strengthen the relationship we have with them.

For some people, the topic of training can be daunting.  But be encouraged, there are a number of great trainers and training facilities in our area!  You may want to partake in those resources as well just for the sheer fun of it too, and for making new friends.    You can find classes for regular obedience training, the ever popular puppy training classes, and even have your dog enrolled for Therapy training!

Even though it may take time and patience on our part as loving owners, we must remember that training is a wonderful, lifelong tool that is always beneficial for our dogs’ mental health and their behavior towards other people and other animals.  Hopefully this information was helpful to you, and we hope that you and your families enjoy the start of a brand new year!  Feel free to visit us in the office or give us a call! Don’t forget, our DENTAL HEALTH SEASON is featured during February & March, so call us and ask about the special promotion!

Our hours are as follows:
Mondays & Fridays: 8am – 4pm
Tuesdays & Thursdays: 11am – 7pm
Every Other Saturday: 8am -12noon
Wednesday & Sunday: closed.

If you have any questions about anything you’ve read, please feel free to call us at 610-268-6208, or stop in to visit us!  We would be happy to speak with you and answer your questions to the best of our ability!


Dental Health Season

DHS 2014 Button

We have once again decided to set aside both February and March to focus on dental health.  Dental health greatly affects the overall health of our pets.  Even though they are adept at hiding it, poor dental health can be very painful for our four-legged family members!

As our promotion for Dental Health Season, if your pet’s dental procedure is completed in the months of February and March; we are offering a free dental x-ray evaluation (a value of $80)!  Since dentals are done under anesthesia, we will require that your pet has had a physical examination with us in the last year and has recent up-to-date bloodwork to evaluate their safety for the procedure.

Dr. Estelle is well trained and well experienced in veterinary dental techniques for pets.  His own father and brother are dentists for people!   Dr. Estelle’s passion for proper pet dental care has lead him to take specialized training seminars on pet dental care.  At BFVP we have a dental x-ray machine and high quality digital equipment to evaluate your pet’s oral health.   With these tools we can catch disease that might not be evident on the surface, yet still hurts your pet and affects their health.

Hundreds of times over pet owners tell us that their pet acts more like a puppy or kitten after a dental procedure.  Please call us to learn more or to schedule an appointment today!


Pet Obesity and Exercise

As the new year is quickly approaching, (again!) people typically think about new year’s resolutions for eating right and exercising, or plans to simply be more active.  It’s always beneficial to stay active and strive for a healthy lifestyle, so why would we want anything different for our pets?  As much as we see weight gain and obesity in our own human society, it is just as prevalent in our pet’s lives as well.   Did you know that about half of dogs and cats living in the United States are overweight or obese?[1]  As we as a society try to get in the routine of living a healthy lifestyle, so can our pets!

Remember to have fun getting creative with new ideas as we take a look at a few different activities that come to mind.  If your schedule allows, take just 30 minutes out of your day to play with your dog, better yet, take him or her for a walk on their leash or harness outside.   I’m sure they will be excited about going outside and taking in all the fun sights and smells!  Let’s not forget about our feline friends either.   I know that my cat, Jinx, simply cannot resist chasing a laser pointer or feathery toy around the house!   Even if you can take 20 or 30 minutes out of your day to spend playing or exercising with your pets, the effort is certainly worth it!  Your pet will thank you with love and, hopefully, a healthy wellness exam or check-up at Blandon Family Veterinary Practice!

Hopefully this information was helpful to you, and we hope that you and your families enjoy the rest of the holiday season and the start of a brand new year!  Feel free to visit us in the office or give us a call!

Our hours are as follows:
Mondays & Fridays: 8am – 4pm
Tuesdays & Thursdays: 11am – 7pm
Every Other Saturday: 8am -12noon
Wednesday & Sunday: closed.

If you have any questions about anything you’ve read, please feel free to call us at 610-268-6208, or stop in to visit us!  We would be happy to speak with you and answer your questions to the best of our ability!


[1]National Pet Obesity Awareness Association.  12.26.2013. http://www.petobesityprevention.com/pet-obesity-fact-risks/


Christmas Time is Here!

It’s that time of year again…Christmas time!  As we prepare for family parties and gatherings with friends, please remember that your pets would like to enjoy the holidays too!  Remember to use decorations that will be less enticing for pets to play with, (or eat!) and be aware of what sorts of yummy human food we have laying around.  Make sure that harmful foods (like chocolate and other candy) is out of reach of our pets who may want a snack!  Dr. Estelle and the staff at Blandon Family Veterinary Practice would like to wish our clients, friends, and community our warmest wishes for a joyous season and a “Very Merry Christmas” with family, friends, and your furry family members too!

To see lots more Christmas Time Pet Safety Tips, check out my Blog from last year!  http://www.blandonfamilyvet.com/2012/11/29/tis-the-season-for-christmastime-pet-safety/

 

I am looking forward to hanging up any Christmas cards that get sent our way! Feel free to come in and visit us! Our hours are as follows: Mondays & Fridays: 8am – 4pm / Tuesdays & Thursdays: 11am – 7pm / Every Other Saturday: 8am -12noon / Wednesday & Sunday: closed.

 

If you have any questions about anything you’ve read, please feel free to call us at 610-268-6208 or stop in to visit us! We would be happy to speak with you and answer your questions to the best of our ability!


Fall Leaves and Antifreeze

As the weather changes and the leaves start falling, we should be aware of a few things that can be harmful to our pets as we try to enjoy the outdoors before it gets really cold out there!  I’m sure that some playful pups like to “help us” when we are raking leaves outside, and may even jump into the crunchy, new pile and have a ball.  Afterwards, give your pup a once over and check them all over for ticks, even if they are already on prevention.  Those pesky little critters (fleas too) are looking for a warm body to latch onto, especially this time of year!

As we get ready for the approaching winter season, we must also be careful of keeping antifreeze in a safe place — away from our pets.  Antifreeze has an enticing odor to some pets, and is extremely poisonous to dogs and cats alike.  Even a small amount can cause irreversible and fatal kidney damage if ingested.

When we are cozied up inside our homes, remember to give your cat or dog warm bedding.  They age quicker than we do, and they don’t always show visible signs of arthritis or joint pain that can affect them as the temperature becomes more and more brisk.  Warm, soft, and fluffy bedding can help them to be comfortable and cozy as the cold weather sets in.  If you have any questions about anything you’ve read, be sure to call us at 610-268-6208, and we will answer your questions to the best of our ability.  Stay warm, be safe, and enjoy the upcoming fall & winter season!


Halloween Safety Tips for More Treats & Less Tricks!

Halloween Safety Tips for More Treats & Less Tricks                       

Another summer has flown by, and the time of year for beautifully colored falling leaves, pumpkin and apple scented everything, and another possibly stressful holiday for your pet is fast approaching.  It’s almost Halloween time!  Even though we have fun with dressing in costumes, decorating the house, having parties, and consuming WAY too much candy, this whole process can have the potential to be a stressful for your pet.  It may seem like all of my blogs are about safety, but I just want to make sure we, as pet owners, are being conscious of our pet’s best interests and having fun during the holidays at the same time!  I’ve done a little research on a few items and situations and I’ve noted some tips that can be helpful while planning for any Halloween festivities.

  • Spooky Décor
    • Stringed Lights have electrical cords that pets like to chew, which can lead to electrical shock – with potentially deadly or debilitating consequences.  Tape down cords or hide them where your pet can’t get to them.
    • Decorations can look amazing, but keep your pets in mind when placing or hanging them inside your home.  Be aware of decorations that can possibly be dangly and distracting, and try to keep them out of your pet’s reach.
    • Pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, but they can still produce symptoms such as stomach upset if ingested.
  • Toxic Tricks… Not Treats!
    • Chocolate is the most common toxic treat during the holidays.  Chocolate contains compounds called methylxanthines.  When ingested by pets, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death.  Caffeine is in the same family of compounds.  As somewhat of a guide, the darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is.  For example, baking chocolate has the highest level of methylxanthines, while dark, milk, and white chocolate have lower, but still dangerous levels of methylxanthines.  If ANY sort of chocolate is ingested by either dogs or cats, please seek Veterinary attention immediately.
    • Other Candies that contain the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause symptoms of distress.  Keeping candy in a secure container with a lid will not only help keep the candy fresh for your human children or guests, but it will also help in keeping curious cats and pushy pooches noses out of the candy jar.
  • Creative Costumes
    • Some pets absolutely love being the center of attention, and we all have seen how adorable your cat or dog is when they are dressed up in some sort of costume or outfit.  In addition to possibly creating a stressful situation, we have to acknowledge that some of these costumes or outfits may actually be distracting or just plain uncomfortable for your pet.  If they love being dressed up, you can probably tell what kinds of outfits they like, and more importantly, when they’ve had enough.  When choosing a costume or outfit for your pet, it should not constrict the animal’s movement, vision, hearing, nor his or her ability to breathe, bark, or meow.  Also keep an eye out for any reactions to the fabric of the costume.  Some pets may have sensitive skin and could even be prone to showing symptoms of an allergic reaction or a rash.  Make sure the fit is accurate, and have your pet try on the costume a few times before the event. This way, your pet has room to be as comfortable as possible.
  • Stressful Situations – Costume Parties & Trick or Treat Nights
    • For some families, trick or treat night means going to different places and doing their own traveling.  For other families, however, trick or treat night means staying home and handing out candy to trick or treaters who come to the door.  Take a minute and think of how stressful this situation may be for your pet… the doorbell rings, then there is noise and excitement at the door, and then everything goes back to normal.  Then, the doorbell rings again, and the whole process repeats for the duration of the evening.  Households with cats should be extra cautious of activity near the door.  Since a little bit of small talk usually is customary, the door may remain wide open for a few minutes or so.  That can lead to a dangerous situation for escape artists cats who could dart out the door.  Dog owners should be aware of possible dangerous situations as well, since there are a few added concerns in addition to attempted escapes out the door.  Make sure your pets have on identification at all times.  With that front door continuously opening and closing for trick or treaters, there is a chance they could run out; especially if they’re spooked.  Did you know that the 4th of July and the days before and after Halloween is the most common time frame for dogs and cats to go missing?
    •  For dogs who get excited easily, the doorbell ringing every few minutes may be very stressful.  Not only do they hear the doorbell, they may also be wary of odd looking creatures trying to enter their domain.  It may be a good idea to keep your excitable dog or wary feline in a different area of the house on a night that may feature more excitement than usual.  Lastly, remember that your scared pet could potentially bite someone in situations like these.  If your pet is overdue on a rabies vaccination, bad things might happen to your pet when the bitten person’s doctor or the health department forces you to furnish proof of your pet’s vaccination status.  Don’t take that risk, and update their vaccines with us if they’re overdue.

Important Info:
Pet Poison Helpline – 1-800-213-6680. (http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com)
The Pet Poison Helpline is associated with The University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. The helpline is staffed by veterinarians and veterinary technicians with special training in animal poisonings; as well as board-certified veterinary toxicologists, internal medicine specialists, and emergency & critical care specialists. This resource is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days of the year.  Please visit the website for cost information.

Hopefully this information was helpful to you, and we hope that you and your families enjoy the rest of the fall season!  Feel free to visit us in the office or give us a call!

Our hours are as follows:
Mondays & Fridays: 8am – 4pm
Tuesdays & Thursdays: 11am – 7pm
Every Other Saturday: 8am -12noon
Wednesday & Sunday: closed.

If you have any questions about anything you’ve read, please feel free to call us at 610-268-6208, or stop in to visit us!  We would be happy to speak with you and answer your questions to the best of our ability!


Helpful Tips for Heat Waves & Summer Vacations

All of us at Blandon Family Veterinary Practice hope that you and your family members are having a wonderful summer!  We certainly can’t believe how fast time is flying by us!  We wanted to remind everyone of a few topics that are commonly revisited during spring and summer, but cannot be reinforced enough.  Even though summer is a time for warm weather, traveling, vacations, and all sorts of parties, we have to remember that many of the things we enjoy can lead to stressful situations for our dogs and cats!  Let’s touch on a few topics that will remind us to take care of our pet’s needs before we go out and enjoy the rest of our summer!

Fireworks

Even though the most of the 4th of July Celebrations have already passed, I’m sure that there are a bunch of fireworks still to be set off throughout the summer months.  (Those tents are all over the place, and the fireworks go on sale after the 4th of July!)  With that said, safety for humans is usually taken very seriously.  But it’s not just the loud noises of the various kinds of fireworks that is concerning to our pets.  On the contrary, we also have to take into consideration numerous chemical ingredients, threat of burns, and even ingestion of the remnants of whatever type of firework is being set off.

Fireworks can contain a variety of heavy metals, such as iron, copper, barium, mercury, phosphorus and magnesium, and they can cause poisoning if ingested.  Most of our pets have an inquisitive side, so it’s not surprising that the most common place for burns is around the face, specifically the muzzle, lips, and tongue.  If ingested, the metals or other materials may cause vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, jaundice, tremors, and seizures.  Since the symptoms may be more serious than they appear at first, if pets are burned or ingest fireworks, please seek immediate veterinary attention.

Heat / Heat Stroke

Many of us have seen variations of signs outside in the parking lots of some businesses and retailers that say “Please Do Not Leave Children or Pets Unattended,” and for good reason!  We have already had some very hot and humid days this summer, and I can’t imagine being stuck inside my own vehicle in that heat for more than a few minutes.  I went to pick up new contact lenses the other day, and even though I was only in the office for 20 minutes, when I re-entered my small SUV, the thermometer read 98 degrees.  Even with the windows cracked, the heat was almost unbearable.  Humans react to extreme heat by perspiring, but the bodies of dogs and cats are very different in this respect.  They only have sweat glands located on the footpads, and the footpads only allow for a small amount of excess heat to exit the body.  Since the rest of the body is covered in fur, in most cases, you can imagine they get very hot very quickly.  Dogs primarily regulate their body temperature by panting, and have also been known to even lick themselves to attempt to cool themselves off.  We implore you to be aware of the dangers of leaving pets or children unattended in a car for any amount of time.

Dr. Ernie Ward is a Veterinarian who wondered what it really felt like to be stuck in a hot car for 30 minutes, so he recorded his experience and uploaded a video so we all could get a glimpse of the reality of this dangerous situation.
Here’s the link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbOcCQ-y3OY

Heat stroke can also affect animals that are confined and/or chained outdoors, ones that cannot get into the shade, those that don’t have access to water, and also pets who may have long walks or other activities on a hot day.  Remember that shade and water are not a magical prevention for heat stroke either.  If you wouldn’t want to be sitting in the same shade with water for hours on end, imagine wearing a fur coat and think how your pet feels during that time.  Heat is even more dangerous for elderly pets and those with most kinds of serious chronic medical conditions (for example heart conditions, diabetes, etc., etc.).  If you would think your great grandmother would be in danger sitting in that heat, then be kind also to your elderly pet and keep them inside.

Owners who have outdoor cats should also watch for symptoms of distress, such as panting, rapid pulse and breathing, and a stumbling or staggering gait.  On extremely hot days, even though they may want to go outside, it may be in their best interest to stay inside if the weather forecast predicts steamy conditions.

If you notice any signs of medical distress, such as heavy panting, difficulty breathing, vomiting, tongue and / or membranes turning red, diarrhea, or seizures, be sure to call a us and take them into the office as soon as possible.

Travel / Vacations

For my husband and me, one of our favorite weeks of summer is (you guessed it!) vacation!  Since Mike & I spend our week of vacation directing lessons at Twin Pines Camp, we are unable to take our dog, Lucky, with us.  Fortunately, my parents usually are able to watch her for the week.  This is not stressful for her at all, since she is familiar with their house and loves to spend time with them.  But, this is not the case for all of our pets.  In most cases, planning a vacation and making arrangements for the care of our pets is a very stressful situation for both the pet and for us too.

There are so many things to think about when we make arrangements for travel and vacations, and some of the most common questions are very important for the health and well-being of our furry friends. — Does my pet have the necessary vaccinations?  How much will a week of boarding cost?  Is it safe to take my pet(s) on this trip?  Will they be less stressed if they stay at home?  I’ll touch on a few tips and bits of information that will hopefully make vacationing a little easier for the whole family.

Vaccines

Whether your pet is lucky enough to enjoy vacation time with you, or if they will be staying in a “resort” of their own at a boarding facility, it is imperative that they are up to date on their yearly vaccines (at minimal the “distemper” and rabies vaccines).  Most facilities also require that dogs have the “kennel cough vaccine” given (also called Bordatella).  We advise, for the best efficacy, that your pet has this one given at least 2 weeks prior to the time of arrival.  Another important vaccine for boarding is one for the Canine Flu.  Only some boarding facilities will mandate this vaccine, but we advise that ALL dogs be protected against this disease if they spend time boarding.  We recommend this because the Canine Flu is much more dangerous than “kennel cough”.   Proper protection for a dog having never had the Flu vaccine requires one shot and a booster.  It takes about two weeks after their second booster for their immune system to be fully protected.  This means proper protection against the Flu will take 6 weeks to achieve.  Some boarding places will not accept the pet if the vaccines are not up to date, so please do plan ahead!  Owners should provide a record of current vaccinations to the boarding facility.

Health Certificates
For adventurous voyagers who are crossing state borders or traveling to another country, a lot more work may be involved. For travel to other states, usually, a Health Certificate will need to be filled out by an accredited Veterinarian, in addition to the pet being up to date on vaccinations.  Achieving the export mandates of some countries can require over 6 months!  To find out further information about International Pet Travel, see this link: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_welfare/pet_travel/pet_travel.shtml

Don’t Forget Your Pets In the Budget

It is a little overwhelming when looking at all of the options of pet care out there.  Staying with family or friends, “at home” pet-sitting, boarding facilities, and pet resorts make up a majority of the list.  It may surprise you to find out how much a week of boarding at a kennel or pet resort may cost.  Of course, rates may vary when we take things like location, duration of stay, breed, size, etc., into consideration.  A few surveys and studies have shown that it may be of less cost to owners if their pets go with them on vacation compared to stay at home or boarding care.  If owners are lucky enough to find family or friends to look after their pets, it may be the least stressful situation for the pet, but if it is an option to take them with you to a pet friendly location, it surely is something to think about.

Accommodations

According to a recent survey, 15% of people have smuggled their pet into a non-pet friendly hotel room or airline.  Even though it may sound like a clever idea at first, it can be potentially dangerous for both you and your pet.  It’s not that the non-pet friendly facilities don’t like pets; usually they are not always equipped with pet safe products and practices.  For example, the layout of the area may not be suitable for noise or taking your pet outside, the products used for cleaning and other purposes may be hazardous to your pet’s health, and I’m fairly certain that there would be consequences if staff members discovered a stow away or two.  Research various accommodations if you are thinking of taking your pet(s) with you, and if exceptions or rules are unclear, I’m sure a call to the establishment will be beneficial.

Pet-friendly establishments don’t just “allow” pets to be there, they often make a conscious effort in aspects of both design and hospitality that other facilities do not.  Other interesting information from a survey about traveling with pets can be found via this link:  http://dogvacay.com/blog/state-of-pet-travel-us-2013/

In any case, if your furry family members will be in someone else’s care while you are traveling or on vacation, please remember to have a list of emergency contacts on hand.  It may also be advisable to type up a waiver of sorts that allows the care-giver temporary permission to make decisions if your pet would need any medical care if you cannot be contacted.  It may seem like a lot of information to get together, but the more prepared you are, the less stressful your trip will be.  After all, we want your pets to have a great vacation too!

Hopefully this information was helpful to you, and we hope that you and your families enjoy the rest of the summer season!  Feel free to visit us in the office or give us a call!

Our hours are as follows:
Mondays & Fridays: 8am – 4pm
Tuesdays & Thursdays: 11am – 7pm
Every Other Saturday: 8am -12noon
Wednesday & Sunday: closed.

If you have any questions about anything you’ve read, please feel free to call us at 610-268-6208 or stop in to visit us!  We would be happy to speak with you and answer your questions to the best of our ability!


Springtime Safety: Be Safe & Enjoy the Outdoors!

Hi there everyone! It’s about that time for another blog about safety! We at Blandon Family Veterinary Practice sincerely hope that everyone is enjoying the approaching Spring and Summer seasons (I know we are!), however, we just wanted to point out some things to look out for as everyone starts to enjoy the outdoors!

I recently visited a Lowe’s to purchase some mulch for my front flower garden, and there were so many different colors and kinds there, luckily I already knew what I wanted and what kind was safe for my pets. Even though it may not be as aromatic as other brands, pet owners should be on the look-out and be aware of the dangers of Cocoa Mulch.

Just like it sounds, Cocoa Mulch is made of (you guessed it) cocoa, which means that it is just as, if not more, toxic as chocolate itself. Cocoa mulch is significantly more toxic than milk or baker’s chocolate because it is compounded from a higher concentration of theobromine. Theobromine is the toxic compound in most chocolates that is responsible for producing the clinical signs of distress seen in pets after ingestion.

Below I have noted additional information from previous blog posts about the toxicity of chocolate.
* Chocolate is the most common toxic treat during the holidays. Chocolate, coffee, and caffeine all contain substances called methylxanthines. When ingested by pets, methylxanthines can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures, and even death. As somewhat of a guide, the darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is. For example, baking chocolate has the highest level of methylxanthines, while dark, milk, and white chocolate have lower, but still very dangerous, levels of methylxanthines. If ANY sort of chocolate is ingested by either dogs or cats, please seek Veterinary attention immediately.

In addition to the toxicity, Cocoa Mulch smells like chocolate, so it has a tendency to attract pets because they have excellent sniffers. Also, anyone who uses mulch might guess what I’m going to say next…there’s a LOT of it to go around! I have a medium sized flower garden, and I ended up with 8 big bags of mulch! In a worst-case scenario, left to their own devices, most dogs (and possibly outdoor cats) will eat cocoa mulch until you catch them, or until toxic effects start to set in, leading to the ingestion of large amounts of the toxin.

Some other products to look out for are certain lawn care chemicals, pesticides, and
all-purpose herbicides, snail and slug bait traps, and weed killers, to name a
few. Be aware of product labels and know that some chemicals are still harmful
even after they are “dry.”

One last reminder before unleashing you and your pets outdoors!! Here’s a link to my past blog about LEASH SAFETY!  (forgive the pun, I couldn’t resist!) It is very important to remember the etiquette and courtesy of using leash safety as most of us will soon be interacting with each other and each other’s pets as it gets nicer outside!
http://www.blandonfamilyvet.com/2012/11/16/wild-about-leash-safety/

We hope that you and your families enjoy a safe and super fun start of springtime! Feel free to visit us in the office or give us a call!

Our hours are as follows:

Mondays & Fridays: 8am – 4pm

Tuesdays & Thursdays: 11am – 7pm

Every Other Saturday: 8am -12noon

Wednesday & Sunday: closed.

If you have any questions about anything you’ve read, please feel free to call us at 610-268-6208 or stop in to visit us! We would be happy to speak with you and answer your questions to the best of our ability!


Homemade Treats For Your Furry Valentine

It’s that time of year when some people can’t help but exhibit signs of being twitterpated! (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch the classic Disney movie Bambi!) – You know what I’m talking about…around Valentine’s Day, love is in the air, cards with heartfelt messages are getting passed around, and lots of chocolate is being bought all over the world!  We as pet owners need to remember that, even though our playful pups and cuddly cats need some extra love on Valentine’s Day too, chocolate is definitely NOT something that we want them to get a hold of!

I’ve noted a section from my Christmastime Pet Safety Blog about the dangers of your cat or dog ingesting chocolate below:

* Chocolate is the most common toxic treat during the holidays. Chocolate, coffee, and caffeine all contain substances called methylxanthines. When ingested by pets, methylxanthines can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. As somewhat of a guide, the darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is. For example, baking chocolate has the highest level of methylxanthines, while dark, milk, and white chocolate have lower, but still very dangerous, levels of methylxanthines. If ANY sort of chocolate is ingested by either dogs or cats, please seek Veterinary attention immediately.

If that put a damper on any gift ideas for your pet, have no fear! While we are eating our yummy chocolate treats, I have found some safe, easy to make, homemade treats for your pets to enjoy!

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Peanut Butter Dog Biscuit Recipe
Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 340g      (2 3/4c) Whole Wheat Flour
  • 340g      (2 3/4c) All-Purpose Flour
  • 30g      (2T) Brown Sugar
  • 5g      (1t) Sea Salt
  • 3      eggs
  • 225g      (1c) Peanut Butter
  • 80ml      (1/3c) Vegetable Oil
  • 235      ml (1c) Water

Directions:

  1. Combine flours, brown sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add eggs and peanut butter and mix until incorporated.
  2. Mix in oil. Next add enough water until dough is smooth and workable.
  3. Cover the dough and set aside for 15-20 min. to relax.
  4. preheat oven to 375º F & line a couple sheet pans with baking paper
  5. Roll out dough to about 3/8″-1/2″ thick. Cut to desired shaped then put on sheet pans.
  6. Bake for approx. 40 min. or until biscuits are slightly browned and fairly hard (they will harden a touch more when cool.) Set aside to cool then treat the pups liberally.

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Cat Cheese Treats

You need:
¾ cup of flour
¾ cup of shredded cheddar cheese
5 tbsp of parmesan cheese
¼ cup of plain yogurt
¼ cup of cornmeal

 Form this mixture into balls and bake the ingredients at 350 degrees for a healthy cat treat that your pet will love!

 

** Those are just two examples, but you can find some other recipes at these websites! **
http://pinterest.com/newfandhound/dog-treats-homemade/

http://pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=homemade+cat+treats

 

Remember, February & March is Blandon Family Veterinary Practice’s Dental Health Season, so call us and ask about a special promotion you can participate in if you schedule a dental procedure for your pet soon! Lindsey is looking forward to helping your pet have squeaky clean teeth! Feel free to come in and visit us! Our hours are as follows: Mondays & Fridays: 8am – 4pm / Tuesdays & Thursdays: 11am – 7pm / Every Other Saturday: 8am -12noon / Wednesday & Sunday: closed.

If you have any questions about anything you’ve read, please feel free to call us at 610-268-6208 or stop in to visit us! We would be happy to speak with you and answer your questions to the best of our ability!


Tis the Season for Christmas Time Pet Safety!

As the Christmas season fast approaches, many families will soon deck the halls and trim their trees, if they have not done so already! As we gather with others and remember how important family is to all of us, we must recall that our furry friends are a big part of our family too! Even though we may not realize it, along with all of the hustle and bustle of the season comes a plethora of dangers to look out for. I’m going to touch on a number of items, plants, and foods to keep an eye on, and possibly even avoid, depending on the level of “holiday spirit” your pet displays! I’ve taken many a phone call where I’ve asked and heard, “Your cat ate HOW MUCH tinsel?”…or “I didn’t think he would eat the WHOLE bowl of my homemade chocolate candy!,” so we at Blandon Family Veterinary Practice want to express our wishes for your pet’s safety this and every Christmas season!

  • Dangerous Decorations
    • Tinsel is easily swallowed by pets and can easily form severe intestinal blockages. In some cases, Exploratory Surgery is required to remove these obstructions. If you do choose to hang it, try to place it high out of your dog or cat’s reach.
    • Ornaments, especially those made of glass, can become lodged in your pet’s digestive tract. Broken ones can also cause internal bleeding if swallowed, and can cut paw pads if stepped on. Hang any breakable ornaments, or those small enough to be swallowed, out of paw’s reach. Families with highly inquisitive pets should possibly consider investing in larger, softer, or shatter-proof decorations and ornaments.
    • Lights have electrical cords that pets like to chew, which can lead to electrical shock – potentially deadly or with debilitating consequences. Tape down cords or hide them where your pet can’t get to them.
    • Oh Christmas Tree! – You know, that big, sparkly, distracting new thing in the middle of the room? Some pets may not mind it, but others may want to play with (or climb up!) your family’s beautiful tree, and that may not end well… for both your pet AND the tree. Try to make sure the tree has a steady base, and also use a tree skirt to help deter pets from getting at the branches, water, and infrastructure. I’ve always had an artificial tree, but for those of you who have the real deal, beware of using any water additives or fertilizers. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea if the water is ingested
  • Poisonous Plants
    • Even when eaten in small quantities, mistletoe can cause your pet excessive drooling and digestive upset. If not taken care of, more serious symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea may manifest. In some extreme cases, mistletoe can cause heart collapse.
    • Holly leaves and berries can cause stomach upset and can be potentially fatal to both dogs and cats.
    • Lillies (most variations) are the #1 flower often used by florists. Just one or two bites from a lily can result in severe acute kidney failure in cats. It is said that even the pollen is highly toxic.
    • Poinsettia Plants are mildly toxic, but still have an irritating sap that can cause blistering in the mouth, as well as an upset stomach in cats and dogs.
    • Yew bushes are not one traditionally cut by people for decorating with evergreen foliage, but just in case you have yews around do not be tempted to use them in decorating.  They are highly toxic to pets and people.
  • Festive Foods
    • Chocolate is the most common toxic treat during the holidays. Chocolate, coffee, and caffeine all contain substances called methylxanthines. When ingested by pets, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. As somewhat of a guide, the darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is. For example, baking chocolate has the highest level of methylxanthines, while dark, milk, and white chocolate have lower, but still very dangerous levels of methylxanthines.  If ANY sort of chocolate is ingested by either dogs or cats, please seek Veterinary attention immediately.
    • Popcorn or cranberry garlands are appetizing to pets, as they can still produce an enticing scent. Dogs, and especially cats, may try to reach this tasty string of garland if not placed high enough!  The biggest problem with such an ingestion is the string.  Strings can cause deadly blockages of the intestines that are difficult to remove surgically.
    • Just a small amount of alcohol can poison your pet. Keep alcoholic drinks out of reach of your pet, and remind your guests to do the same.  Clean up glasses after holiday parties. Pets are often attracted by the sweet taste and smell of certain drinks, especially eggnog.  Remember your pets may weigh half or ten times less than you do, and the effects of alcohol poisoning are inversely that much more dangerous because they’re smaller than you.
    • While you may want your pet to enjoy some extra yummy food during the holidays, make sure they don’t ingest ANY bones. Bones can easily injure the intestine or stomach of your pet, and they can even cause blockages. Make sure waste food and bones are put safely into the trash bin.  The stereotype of bones being a great treat for pets is a nightmare!  If you’ve ever had to be called out of bed at 3:00 AM to come in to remove a life threatening bone blockage from someone’s pet’s intestines… you’d agree.

Well, I hope that I didn’t ruin anyone’s holiday spirit with all of that information! We want your pets to have fun and enjoy the holidays, but rather in the comfort of their own homes, not at the ER! Since it may be helpful to have on hand, I have also added some information below about the Pet Poison Helpline.
____________________________________________
Pet Poison Helpline – 1-800-213-6680. (
http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com)
The Pet Poison Helpline is associated with The University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. The helpline is staffed by veterinarians and veterinary technicians with special training in animal poisonings; as well as board-certified veterinary toxicologists, internal medicine specialists, and emergency & critical care specialists. This resource is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days of the year. As of the time of writing, the charge for this service is $39.00.
______________________________________________

Please keep these pet safety tips in mind all year round, but especially during and throughout the holidays! All of us here at Blandon Family Veterinary Practice would like to wish all of our clients and friends a very happy and healthy Christmas Season!

Lindsey is looking forward to decorating the office and hanging up any Christmas cards that get sent our way! Feel free to come in and visit us! Our hours are as follows: Mondays & Fridays: 8am – 4pm / Tuesdays & Thursdays: 11am – 7pm / Every Other Saturday: 8am -12noon / Wednesday & Sunday: closed.

If you have any questions about anything you’ve read, please feel free to call us at 610-268-6208 or stop in to visit us! We would be happy to speak with you and answer your questions to the best of our ability!


Wild About Leash Safety

It has been so AWESOME meeting new furry friends (& their owners too!) but we wanted to remind everyone about a topic that can be helpful for everyone…LEASH SAFETY! — I will also touch on cat safety a little as well!

Upon entering Blandon Family Veterinary Practice, it is imperative that your dog be leashed at all times, not only for the safety of your dog, but for the security of other pets and owners in the office as well. Even though I know that our furry friends are little angels and listen to us really well at home, we all know that they sometimes act differently when they visit us at the office.  (I love my 13 year old dog, Lucky,  but I know that she is kind of naughty at the vet every time, so I know about this first hand!)

With that said, we all need to keep in mind that even though your pet may be expressing good behavior, the dog that comes in next may be super nervous, and if either dog would happen to get off leash, a number of unexpected things could happen. One of the worst situations that could happen is having a loose dog escape the office. They all know where the door is, and it seems as though they all pay attention whenever it opens. Our pups are a lot smarter than we think! By keeping your dog on a leash, the chance of escape is greatly diminished.

There are many reasons why leash safety is so important, but here are just a few helpful tidbits of information that you can use both in and out of the office:

  • It’s the Law. Simply put, in many areas, it is the law that dogs must be on a leash. Pennsylvania Leash Law states that is “unlawful for the owner or keeper of any dog to fail to keep at all times the dog in any of the following manners”:
    • confined within the premises of the owner;
    • firmly secured by means of a collar and chain or other device so that it cannot stray beyond the premises on which it is secured;
    • under the reasonable control of some person, or when engaged in lawful hunting, exhibition or field training.
  • Using a regular, non-retractable leash gives the owner more control of his or her dog in most, if not all, situations.
  • Using a leash at all times can reinforce good training habits.
  • Using a leash keeps your dog from jumping on people you encounter, ensuring that your dog has the chance of being properly introduced.
  • A well trained, leash-obedient dog is a pleasure to walk with.
  • When you walk your pet on a leash, you can help to monitor the spread of disease. It is less likely that your dog will be exposed to Canine Parvovirus, Distemper, or Giardia. A leashed dog can be restrained or distracted from sniffing the droppings of other animals.
  • A leash is commonly referred to as “Your Pet’s Lifeline”, protecting your pet from traffic and unrestrained animals.
  • Having your dog on a leash allows us at Blandon Family Veterinary Practice to greet your dog properly, which can lead to a positive relationship that can be reinforced each time they visit us here at the office!Don’t think I forgot about our feline friends! It is also imperative that your feline companion be confined in some sort of carrier whenever they visit us at the office. There are plenty of acceptable forms of carriers, such as cardboard carriers or fabric carriers with zippers, but we have found that plastic carriers are usually the best option, since they are usually sturdier and they give cats a little more space to move and look around.There are many advantages to keep your cat confined whenever they are out of their home environment. It is much safer to keep your cat in a carrier, instead of holding him or her in a blanket, for example. I have seen this done before, and it does not end well. Some cats can be easily spooked, and when that happens, again, there could be a number of unexpected things that could happen. Cats can scratch their owners or jump out of their arms. Also, they are really good at finding a hiding spot when they know that we are trying to chase them! When you take all of that in to consideration, I know that it can be pretty tricky to get a cat into a carrier, but it is well worth it!
    We love visitors and we love making new friends!
    Our hours are as follows:
    Mondays & Fridays: 8am – 4pm
    Tuesdays & Thursdays: 11am – 7pm
    Every Other Saturday: 8am -12noon
    Wednesday & Sunday: closed.

    If you have any questions about anything you’ve read, please feel free to call us at 610-268-6208 or stop in to visit us! We would be happy to speak with you and answer your questions to the best of our ability!


Exciting Stuff!

Hello There!

It sure is nice to see some new smiling faces walk through our door! As I’ve been scheduling appointments and having conversations with people over the phone, the schedule is slowly but surely starting to fill up.  Just so everyone knows, I’m always just a phone call or visit away from answering any questions that may arise, and if I can’t answer something, I’d be happy to speak with Dr. Estelle about any inquiries. Family is very important to all of us here at BFVP, and it’s my hope that I can welcome all of our clients into our new family!

It’s great to be meeting and making new friends, both owners and patients alike! Hopefully there will be many more to come!

— Lindsey