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Our pets are with us such a short time and no one wants to say goodbye to a beloved pet. With pet cloning, you may not have to. Multiple companies can currently clone your dog or cat with a simple procedure — though it comes with a hefty price tag. What are your options for cloning your pet, and what are some of the possible risks?

The Basics: What is Cloning?

The definition of cloning is to “make an identical copy.” According to the pet-cloning company, ViaGen, “A cloned animal simply shares the identical genes from the donor pet, just like naturally occurring identical twins do.” Cloning preserves your pet’s exact genetic identity.

What is the Cost?

The cloning itself costs $50,000 for dogs and $25,000 for cats according to ViaGen. The price includes state-of-the-art housing, high nutrition diets, expert veterinary care and many other features that enrich the lives of the newly cloned puppy or kitten to keep them happy and healthy.

In addition, you need to cryogenically store a biopsy of your pet’s tissue and cells. This genetic preservation has a current one-time fee of $1600 plus $150 per year to store the tissues and cells.

Cloning is guaranteed in that you are refunded if the cloning attempt is not successful.

The Process

How does the cloning process work? One company, My Friend Again, lays it out like this:

  • Order a biopsy kit that to be delivered to your veterinarian.
  • Your pet undergoes a minor biopsy procedure to extract quality tissue and cells.
  • Your veterinarian stores the tissue and cells properly, and ships them back to My Friend Again where they will freeze and store them in liquid nitrogen (genetic preservation).
  • It takes 6 months for the clones to be born and another 2 months before they can be sent to the owner.

According to Dr. Katy Nelson in Washington’s Top News, the actual cloning process goes as follows:

  • DNA is extracted from the pet to be cloned via the tissue biopsy which is cryogenically preserved.
  • “Surrogate” animals create fertilized eggs.
  • The DNA is then erased from those eggs, and the pet’s preserved DNA is inserted.
  • Those altered eggs are then implanted back into surrogate animals, which may or may not get pregnant and carry them to term.
What are Veterinarians saying?

There is little health risk in collecting the tissue from your pet. However, there are other factors to consider that veterinarians would strongly urge you to keep in mind.

John Fishwick, the president of the British Veterinary Association, said this regarding expectations you may have for your newly-cloned pet:

“The loss of a beloved family dog is always upsetting and it’s easy to see why people may wish to clone their pet, but it is important that people are aware that cloned pets will not have the same personality and behavior as the original animal.” (source)

Cloning cannot guarantee a perfect copy. There are many factors that make up who we are and how we act, both human and animals alike. Outside influences have a significant impact on our personalities that genetics alone cannot be responsible for. Your new puppy or kitten may be an exact biological copy, but may not necessarily have the same personality as the original pet.

Please ask your veterinarian or any one of us here at OVRS if you have any questions regarding cloning your pet. This decision is solely up to you, but we are here to help in any way we can. We can also assist you in collecting a tissue biopsy to return in your biopsy kit.

The post Pet Cloning: Is it Safe? appeared first on OVRS.

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When we’re away from our pets, we want to know they are safe, happy and staying out of trouble. With the latest Pet Technology, we’re able to interact remotely, keep our pets calm or entertained, and even monitor their health and safety. What are some of the best new Pet Tech items on the market?

Best Pet Interaction and Monitoring Devices:

Even if we’re just away at the office, we want to know how our pets are doing and check in with them. No need to run home at lunch to visit your pet. These monitoring devices can keep you connected while you’re away.

  • PetCube: This nifty gadget expands on PetCube’s other devices to allow you to monitor and interact with your pet remotely via wide-angle HD video, microphone and speaker. PetCube recognizes your cat or dog and automatically initiates video recording. It then sends you the video clip, giving you the option to accept the video call to interact with your pet, store or share the clip.

Using PlayCube’s mobile app, you can combine PetCube products to talk to your pet while you have them chase a low-intensity laser (PetCube Play) and record your play. You can even dispense treats (PetCube Bites) or monitor them with night vision.

  • PetKit – Mate: With a 340 degree camera, play via remote-controlled laser, talk to your pet real-time, and take pictures or video of your pet throughout the day.
Best Pet Health Monitoring Devices

We want our pets to be healthy. The ability to check heart rate and body temperature or to monitor sleep is now accessible right at our fingertips.

  • PetPace Smart Collar: This collar is a game-changer. This water-resistant collar is made for cats and dogs alike and tracks everything from pulse to body temperature and can alert you to a possible health problem.
  • Smart Bed: This one will track your pets’ weight, amount of activity and even offer climate control. It pairs with Petric’s collar-attached activity tracker and is controlled via their mobile app. The app can view food and diet recommendations based on your pet’s health and the data can be shared with your veterinarian or others. This is especially handy for pets we want to monitor while we’re away.
Best Pet Tech Activity Tracking Devices

The market has recently exploded with dog activity monitors like FitBark, Tagg and others. This review compares many of the current brands.

  • Whistle: Never worry about your dog running away again. Using Wi-Fi, GPS and cellular technology, Whistle can locate your dog up to 3,000 miles away! This also allows you to monitor their activity including sleep patterns or be alerted if they wander away from an area you identify as “home”.
  • Link AKC Smart GPC Dog Collar: Slightly more expensive than the Whistle tracker, the Smart Collar offers a few more options. This device allows for picture-taking and temperature alerts along with remote access to a light on the collar for better visual. There is also an option for training aids via sounds.
Best Hi-Tech Pet Toys

Sometimes Fido or Fluffy just wants to run around and play with a toy but animals get bored with toys that do not move on their own. Here are a few toys to help with that!

  • Pebby: The ball that animals dream of. Set this to auto-play and let your dog or cat go to town, or control it via an app on your phone. Take pictures or videos, speak to your pet and there’s even a laser for extra playtime! Releases 2018.
  • iFetch Frenzy: This toy is more simple but fun for small to medium dogs when you aren’t available to play fetch. Your dog drops the small tennis ball into the toy and it sends it rolling from one of three holes, always keeping your happy pup guessing!
Best Calming Pet Tech Device
  • DogTV: Dogs now have their own TV channel! This audio-visual therapy tool is great for dogs with separation anxiety or just plain loneliness. Your pup watches dogs on a color-altered screen, specially designed for how dogs see, while listening to calming music. Great for while you’re away or even at home! Check out this link for DogTV examples: DogTV-YouTube

Pet Tech devices aren’t a replacement for your time and attention but can help you stay connected even when you’re not at home. The staff at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services hopes these latest pet technology devices will help you and your pet be happier and healthier together.

The post Pet Technology: What’s the latest? appeared first on OVRS.

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A string of dog food recalls made the news because the source of contamination is an unusual one–a drug used to euthanize animals. The question is how did this euthanasia drug make its way into dog food?

More than 100+ million cans of dog food from three U.S. manufacturers were recalled due to the presence of the drug pentobarbital. This barbiturate (sedative) is most commonly used for anesthesia and for euthanasia. Five dogs were reported to have fallen ill due to pentobarbital-contaminated food. One of the dogs, unfortunately, did not survive.

How could this happen in the U.S.?

Finding a euthanasia drug in dog food is a concern–especially for food produced here in the United States. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the State Department of Agriculture are tasked with enforcing the law that “all animal foods, like human foods, be safe to eat, produced under sanitary conditions, contain no harmful substances, and be truthfully labeled.” (source)

Unfortunately, these oversight organizations don’t have the funding or manpower to test and approve every batch of dog food for sale. Instead, they perform random inspections and testing to ensure product quality and adherence to the rules. That opens up the possibility for issues to slip through.

How did pentobarbital get into this dog food?

According to Food Safety News, suppliers euthanized animals (pigs and horses) that weren’t supposed to be in the dog food. The meat containing pentobarbital was then combined and shipped with the meat intended for the dog food companies.

Suppliers are supposed to have systems in place to ensure that euthanized animals are segregated from animal protein that is intended for animal food use. That obviously didn’t happen in this case. The good news is that the dog food companies can fix the problem by switching to a new supplier with better regulatory processes and policies in place.

Which pet food companies had recalls?

Any contaminated dog food in the stores should have already been removed from the shelves. Check any stock you have at home to be sure that you don’t feed your dog any food on these recall lists.

  • (2017) Evanger’s and Against the Grain (Check HERE for the recall list)
  • (2017) Party Animal, Inc., (Check HERE for the recall list)
  • (2018) J. M. Smucker Company (Check HERE for the recall list)

For all recalls, visit DogFoodAdvisor.com. This website also allows you to stay informed by signing up for recall alerts via email.

What if my dog already ate one of the recalled products?

If your dog ate the food prior to today and is fine, there should be no lasting damage. Pentobarbital fully leaves the body within 2-3 days.

If your dog ate contaminated food in the last few hours, symptoms might include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Excitement
  • Loss of Balance
  • Nausea
  • Nystagmus (eyes moving back and forth in a jerky manner)
  • Unable to stand
  • coma and/or death

If your dog is exhibiting symptoms, contact your Veterinarian, the Pet Poison Helpline, or call Oakland Veterinary Referral Services at (248) 334‑6877. You can also report complaints about any and all pet food products through the Safety Reporting Portal, or by calling their local FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators.

The post Dog Food Recalls: How Did a Euthanasia Drug Get into Dog Food? appeared first on OVRS.

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Not every pet injury requires a trip to the veterinarian. For minor pet emergencies, a first aid kit for your pet is a great idea. For larger issues, a good first aid kit can help until you can reach emergency care. Do you know if you’re prepared to handle a cut, a bee sting, a mild allergic reaction, or an upset stomach?

We all love our pets, so a first aid kit is the best way to be prepared in case of a pet emergency.

First Aid Kit for Your Pet

Having a pet first aid kit handy is an excellent idea! Just like us humans, our pets can require a little first aid treatment now and then. We recommend having a fully stocked first aid kit at home as well as having a convenient, travel sized kit for when you are out and on the go.

Make sure all of the items you put into your first aid pet kit are specifically geared towards pets. For example, adhesive bandages that are made specifically for pets won’t stick to your pet’s fur like regular adhesive bandages will. Here’s what to include in your main kit:

  • Paperwork. Include vaccination records and a first aid manual for pets. Have the number for your vet and an emergency vet hospital handy as well as the poison-control center or hotline. Be sure to add a current photo of your pet.
  • Hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide can be used to clean wounds as well as induce vomiting if your pet happens to consume something toxic.
    (Activated charcoal may also be an option, but get approval by an experienced veterinarian over the phone first.)
  • Medicinals. Antibiotic ointment. A non-prescription anti-inflammatory pain medication like chewable buffered aspirin. Benadryl (diphenhydramine) for mild allergic reactions to bites and stings. Your vet can advise the correct dose for your pet, or 2mg per pound of body weight for dogs is a good rule of thumb.
  • Sterile saline. An eyedropper and a squirt bottle can help administer any it to rinse eyes or wounds.
  • Wound Cleaning. The following items will help you to control any bleeding as well as protect any open wounds so they don’t get infected: stretchy bandages, self-cling bandages (sticks to itself but not to fur), cotton balls, wet wipes, antiseptic wipes, gauze rolls and pads, adhesive tape, scissors, rubber gloves and a syringe.
  • Ice pack for swelling.
  • Styptic pencil or powder to stop bleeding in small cuts.
  • A large blanket (preferably a mylar space blanket) and 2 clean towels.
  • Nutritional treats to help calm an injured pet.
  • Leash and muzzle (to prevent biting if dog is injured and agitated).
  • Bottled water with collapsible water bowl. Also an electrolyte replacement for pets. (Eletewater.com is one)
  • Rectal thermometer and petroleum jelly to lubricate.
  • Tweezers or tick nipper.
  • Multitool or needle-nosed pliers (tons of uses).
  • Medical stapler to quickly close wounds (optional).
  • Flashlight or penlight.
First Aid Kit Storage

Once you have all of your first aid items together, invest in a handy, closed container to help protect the items from any damage. It might be worth it to make 2 first aid kits if you’re someone who is often on the go, as you can keep one in your vehicle and another in your home. A handy doggie backpack is also an option, so that your dog can carry it if you’re away from the car.

If a pet emergency happens to arise and you find yourself not knowing what to do, Oakland Veterinary Referral Services is just a phone call away.

The post How to Make a First Aid Kit for Your Pet appeared first on OVRS.

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Hello! My name is Dr. Jessica Ottnod, a Veterinary Oncologist with Oakland Veterinary Referral Services in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. I want to share the special story of how my dog, Mr. Miggs, became part of my life. I believe destiny was at work to bring us together.

Mr. Miggs is originally from Alabama’s gulf coast. He somehow made his way to a small kill shelter that was not able to take in many stray dogs. Fortunately, the Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago, IL, is a fantastic organization that sends out vans all over the country with a mission to rescue dogs from kill shelters. Mr. Miggs happened to be one of the lucky few.

In November 2013, I lost my pit bull, Andre Lopez, and was devastated. It took me until December 2015 to feel ready to consider adopting another dog. One of the first places I looked was in Michigan City, Indiana, where I drove to meet a woman with a rescued Brussels Griffon. For whatever reason, my heart told me that this was not the dog for me.

When I was halfway between Detroit and Chicago, I spontaneously thought, “Why not take a long weekend trip to Chicago?” I headed to Chicago and found a cheap hotel in an area of Chicago where I had never been before. The next morning, I headed out to breakfast and somehow took a wrong turn, which led to my getting very lost. As I started to walk back, hoping to find the right street, I found myself in front of the Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago.

Even though I had been to Chicago many times before, I never knew this place existed (which makes sense as I had never been in that part of Chicago). The shelter wasn’t open at that hour, so I decided to come back later in the day. I almost didn’t return, thinking perhaps I wasn’t ready for a new pet after all. I finally convinced myself there was no harm in simply looking.

After walking through the entire shelter (or so I thought), I found they just didn’t have the right dog for me and started for the exit. On the way, a large family looking at a puppy blocked the way out, so I headed down a different hallway. Suddenly, I noticed a group of cages I had missed earlier, and there he was – Mr. Miggs!

At first glance, I thought Mr. Miggs was a puppy. I wanted an adult dog so I didn’t think I would be interested, but something about him brought me back to his cage to review his paperwork. I was so excited when I saw that he was actually about 3 years old.

Mr. Miggs was emaciated, had no hair around his ears, no hair on his belly (from a prior chronic flea infestation), and had tapeworms, but he was beautiful in my eyes!

The shelter volunteer took him out of the cage so that we could get to know each other a little better outside. When I sat on one of the benches with a leash in my hand, Mr. Miggs immediately jumped onto my lap and looked at me. You probably guessed by now that I took him, just as it was meant to be.

Mr. Miggs and I are now inseparable. When he isn’t busy vacationing with me up North, coming to work with me on a daily basis, visiting the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus, going to Orion Dog Park to meet new friends, chilling in his stroller, or enjoying Detroit in the summertime, he is curled up next to me watching TV. He is my best friend.

With all of the odd coincidences that had to occur to bring us together, I firmly believe that Mr. Miggs was sent to me for a reason–he is part of my destiny. Mr. Miggs has been one of the few consistent things in my life, and he is truly my angel and saving grace. I can only hope to continue giving him as much unconditional love and affection as he has given me, which is so very easy to do because he’s so very lovable!

The post Mr. Miggs’ Story appeared first on OVRS.

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Heartworm disease is one of the most serious diseases that can affect many mammal species, including dogs and cats. When an animal is diagnosed with heartworms, it means that they literally have worms living in their body, which mostly attack the heart and lungs and even sometimes the blood vessels. Over time, heartworms will cause damage to all of their organs and have the ability to eventually cause heart failure, making this a potentially fatal disease.

Fortunately, heartworm disease is very preventable. The challenge for pet owners is to use heartworm preventatives on their pet consistently. Heartworm preventatives on the market have a track record of virtually 100% protection if administered regularly with no gaps.

The devil is in the gaps

Veterinarians know that the problem is in the gap—when a dog owner misses (or delays) a heartworm preventive dose. Protection lapses and the dog can become infected. When a mosquito transmits a heartworm larvae from an infected dog to an unprotected dog, it only takes about a week for the larvae to become adult heartworms. As adults, heartworms release early-stage larvae (known as microfilariae) into the dog’s circulation. The good news–heartworm doses administered without gaps in coverage stop that from happening.

Heartworm Resistance

In recent years, some heartworm microfilariae have become resistant to the active ingredients (based on macrocyclic lactones) in heartworm preventatives. This means that some microfilariae in the bloodstream may be able to survive and continue to multiply. If so, they can cause more harm even after the dog is back on heartworm prevention.

Veterinary medicine has been studying heartworm resistance since it was discovered about 10 years ago, but there’s still a lot to learn about heartworm resistance, such as how to identify and treat it.

A few things that studies have found out about heartworm resistance so far:

  • Resistance in heart worms is hereditary
  • Genetic markers can help identify what is causing macrocyclic lactone resistance
The slow kill is likely speeding up resistance

One common method of treating dogs in the early stage (Stage 1) of heartworm disease is the slow kill method. Dogs are given monthly ivermectin heartworm prevention so that worms gradually die off over a period of one to two years (while likely continuing to do some damage).

Researchers believe that the slow kill method is likely speeding the spread of heartworm resistance. That’s because the slow kill method tends to kill off the non-resistant heartworm microfilariae in the bloodstream, but is likely to make the resistant microfilariae even more resistant.

What can pet owners do

The most important thing we as pet owners can do is to be more diligent about consistency in giving our pet their heartworm prevention dose without gaps. That stops microfilariae before they start.

What can veterinarians do
  • Acknowledge that heartworm resistance exists and is a cause for concern. Resistant strains are appearing outside the South, such as the highly resistant strain found in Illinois.
  • Continue to help pet owners be consistent about heartworm prevention and to have their pet tested yearly. Lack of compliance by pet owners is the biggest reason dogs get heartworms.
  • Don’t use preventative doses once heartworms have been detected–first kill off all microfilariae.
  • If heartworms are detected, persuade the owner that clearing the dog of any heartworms upfront is the way to go. This is best to help minimize the spread of heartworm resistance.
Diagnosing and Treating Heartworm Resistance

There is currently no test that allows veterinarians to determine which heartworm microfilariae are resistant or whether a particular dog has heartworm resistance. Research is currently looking for a better way to make that determination.

Treatment of resistant strains is currently possible but expensive and labor intensive. Here at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services, we’re happy to answer any questions we can regarding heartworm prevention and resistance.

The post Heartworm Resistance in Dogs appeared first on OVRS.

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What kind of pooper scooper is best? Do you need a heavy-duty pooper scooper, or maybe a pooper scooper with a bag attached? Or do you eschew using a pooper scooper at all–what would make your life easier? Part of the responsibility of being a good dog owner means picking up their poop. Because we love our dogs so much, most of us don’t mind (too much) picking up after them–but it helps to have the right equipment.

Whether you take your dog out for a daily walk around the neighborhood or they get to roam free in a big backyard, picking up your pet’s poop is simply part of the deal. And it’s completely worth it, right? In exchange for having to pick up after your dog, you get the benefit of receiving their unconditional love, which often includes a bunch of wet, sloppy kisses.

Dogs are the best, aren’t they?

Best Pooper Scooper Choices

Pooper scoopers are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes so you’re going to have a lot of pooper scooper choices. Pet owners may find themselves a little overwhelmed at first.

With a bit of guidance and direction from the team here at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services on our favorites in four categories, you’ll surely find the best pooper scooper for the stinky job at hand.

Best heavy-duty pooper scooper? Precision Pet Little Stinker Heavy Duty Poop Scoop with Rake

  • Available in small or large for dogs of all sizes
  • Heavy-duty zinc-plated steel pan and mostly-metal rake
  • Extra-long retractable handle (to prevent pain from bending over)
  • Easy to clean
  • Hanger hooks for easy storage
  • Comes fully assembled

Best pooper scooper with a bag attached? Bag Scooper Adjustable Pooper Scooper

  • Large durable plastic scoop fits into a custom-sized bag
  • Scooper, trash bin and hands stay clean
  • Scooper and bag hold 15-20 medium size dog poops–clean the whole yard in one trip
  • Extendable pole for rake and scooper
  • Made in the USA
  • Includes 50 custom-fit bags

Best pooper scooper for walks or travel? Alfie Pet by Petoga Couture – Iden Pet Waste Pickup Tool

  • Compact and convenient for on the go (only 11″ long)
  • Spring-loaded scooper makes for quick pickup in one simple motion
  • Sharp, jagged teeth make it ideal for scooping waste from grass, gravel, dirt and snow
  • Easily attaches to any style leas, folds flat for convenient storage
  • Round, comfortable handle
  • Very inexpensive

Best swivel pooper scooper? Petmate Clean Response Waste Management System

  • Large capacity swivel bin saves you time with less unloading
  • Can use plastic grocery bags for inexpensive, mess-free clean up
  • Optimally designed rake will pick up on any surface
  • Ergonomically designed to help eliminate back strain and fatigue
  • Comfort grip handle
Bottom Line

Finding the perfect pooper scooper likely isn’t your top priority, but when you find a pooper scooper that is super easy to use, you’ll be amazed at how much easier your life gets! So take your time to compare what’s available.

If you’re the type who wants to be overwhelmed with pooper scooper choices, Pet Life Today compares a whopping 50 top pooper scoopers. Just make sure to choose the best pooper scooper that suits both you as well as your particular dog’s “business”.

The post What are the Best Pooper Scoopers? appeared first on OVRS.

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If you are a dog owner, chances are good that you know about heartworm disease. Chances are also good that you give your dog a monthly heartworm preventive, and that your dog is tested annually to make sure they are heartworm free. However, you may not know that your cat is also at risk.

Although the chances of your cat contracting heartworm is less than it is for your dog, it has been reported that cats in all 50 states are infected with heartworm. In fact, it has also been reported that 10-14% of all shelter cats are infected with heartworm.

As we become more aware of the prevalence of heartworm disease in cats, Oakland Veterinary Referral Services will take the opportunity to discuss the causes, signs, and prevention of heartworm disease in our feline friends.

Heartworm in Cats: The Basics

Heartworm in cats is spread, just as it is in dogs, by mosquitoes. A mosquito transmits the heartworm to a cat after it has bitten an infected dog (or cat), so heartworm cases in cats are directly related to the number of infected dogs in the area. It is important to note that coyotes and foxes are also carriers of the disease, and living amid these wild animals could increase the chances of your cat contracting heartworm.

When your cat is bitten by an infected mosquito, the heartworm larvae enter the bloodstream and migrate to the heart or blood vessels of the lungs. Once there, these foot-long worms wreak havoc on your cat’s heart, lungs, vessels, and other organs. This process takes several months, which makes diagnosis difficult.

Signs of Heartworm Disease in Cats

Cats may be asymptomatic, or they may have severe signs of the disease. Common symptoms include:

  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty breathing
Diagnosis and Treatment

Although respiratory signs in cats are the most common way veterinarians come to suspect heartworm disease, a diagnosis can be tricky. There are fewer worms infecting cats than in dogs; while a dog may have up to 30 adult worms, cats usually have maybe one or two.

Blood tests, x-rays of the chest, and cardiac ultrasound or echocardiogram may all be needed to confirm a diagnosis.

At present, there is no approved drug for eliminating heartworm in cats. When heartworm diagnosed, there are two options:

Treat – The drug that is used for treating dogs can be used, but it causes significant side effects in cats. When the adult heartworms die during this treatment, they pass to the lungs, where the reaction to the dead and dying worms can cause sudden death in the cat.

Treat the symptoms – Your veterinarian may choose to manage the problems that result from heartworm disease rather than treating it. Your veterinarian can treat wheezing with corticosteroids, and your cat may periodically need aggressive treatment, including hospitalization, bronchodilators, and oxygen therapy if there is a respiratory emergency.

Adult heartworms live for 2 to 3 years in the cat (as opposed to 6 or 7 in dogs). During this time, the risk of an acute attack and even sudden death is always a possibility. In this situation, the best hope is that the cat outlives the worms, which is not an ideal situation.

The Good News: Prevention

Because both treating and not treating heartworm can cause death in cats, prevention is truly the best way to manage this problem. Your veterinarian can prescribe an effective and safe monthly preventive.

It’s important to note that dogs and cats have different heartworm medication, so it’s not appropriate to share preventives between them. Check with us for recommendations.

We hope we’ve given you the basics of the scary but preventable problem of heartworm  in cats. Please call us for more information, or if you have any additional questions about your pet’s health.

The post The Heart of the Matter: Heartworm in Cats Can Happen appeared first on OVRS.

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When we have to leave our pets, finding a place for them to stay is downright difficult. There are wonderful facilities out there, but for some, a pet sitter who comes to your house is the way to go. But how to find the perfect person for this important job?

Oakland Veterinary Referral Service offers a pet sitter checklist along with a few tips to help you find the perfect match.

Explore Your Options

Start looking for a pet sitter early so you can take your time finding the right person for your pet. Check with your veterinarian, friends, and co-workers for word-of-mouth recommendations. There are many websites out there, but first-hand referrals from people you trust is always helpful.

If you need an alternative to personal recommendations, there are two national organizations that certify and train pet sitters. The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters and Pet Sitters International are great places to start your search online.

Professional pet sitters might offer other services, such as grooming, training, watering plants, or bringing in the mail. Most offer live-in care which can give your home a lived-in feel while you’re away (also a deterrent for burglars). Professional pet sitters should be licensed and bonded since they’ll have full access to your home and personal belongings.

Ask the Right Questions

It may sound funny, but owners should approach hiring a pet sitter the same way you would a babysitter or nanny. It’s important to ask the right questions, listen to and record their answers, and watch carefully for how they might interact with you and your pets. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Why do you like pet sitting?
  • What does your service include? How many visits per day, and what do you do during each visit?
  • What’s your experience with animals outside of pet sitting?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to handle a pet emergency while pet sitting. What did you do?
  • Do you have a written contract? What does it include?
  • How many other pets are you currently sitting for? What references may I call?
Special Needs Pets

If your pet has special needs, such as medications or behavioral issues, ask people about their experience in these areas. We can also provide some specific tips about how to set your pet up for success with a new pet sitter.

Emergencies

We see it all too often. Pet emergencies always seem to occur when you’re out of town or, better yet, out of the country and unreachable. They seem to plan it that way! For this reason, we created our pet sitter checklist, and we invite you to fill it out and use it to ensure your pet sitter is prepared for an emergency. Better safe than sorry!

Last But Not Least

There’s one member of the family who should definitely be involved in the interview process – your pet! Any pet sitter worth their salt should be happy to come and meet your pet so you can watch them interact and let your pet get to know them.

We hope you find these tips useful as you begin your search for a pet sitter. If you need any help or more guidance, please contact us. We’re happy to help!

The post The Right Stuff: Finding the Perfect Pet Sitter appeared first on OVRS.

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Living with both dogs and cats can be a wonderful experience. Not only do we get to connect with and enjoy these two very different species, but watching them play, snuggle, and even annoy each other is a fun and meaningful aspect of pet ownership.

Of course, living with multiple pets has its challenges, especially when  Fido has a tendency to raid the litter box. Not only do pet owners hate this disgusting practice, it’s also highly likely that the cat doesn’t appreciate their private bathroom being invaded by the family dog!

Fortunately, it doesn’t take much effort to keep your dog out of the litter box, and your team at OVRS is here to help you every step of the way.

Why Do Dogs Like Cat Poop so Much, Anyway?

Most dogs enjoy snacking on feces in general, but, much to our chagrin, they seem to have a special fondness for the feline variety. In many cases, poop eating is an innate exploratory behavior in dogs, and the availability of cat poop can cause this playful activity to turn into a compulsive habit.

Besides being disgusting, eating cat poop can be harmful for dogs by exposing them to harmful bacteria and parasites. Some pathogens, such as salmonella, can also be transmitted to humans.

Keeping the Dog Out of the Litter Box

Sometimes protecting the litter box and its contents requires creative solutions.

  • Move the box – Placing the box up on a shelf is one of the simplest solutions. This way your cat still has easy access, but the dog does not,.
  • Install a cat door – Place the box in a laundry room or other out-of-the-way spot, and install a cat door to allow access for kitty while keeping dogs out.
  • Barricade the area – Make use of baby gates to block off the area where the litter box is kept.
  • Use a covered litter box – As long as your cat is small enough and comfortable with a covered box, this can be a good solution.
  • Keep it clean – Scoop the poop out of your cat’s litter box daily, and wash out the box and replace the litter weekly to reduce the odors that are so appealing to dogs. If you can’t scoop immediately, consider investing in an electronic litter box that automatically scoops feces into a separate bin.
  • Train your dog – This one is easier said than done, but teaching your dog a few basic commands, such as “drop it” or “leave it” can be helpful if you catch them in the act.
  • Combat boredom – Sometimes dogs raid the litter box out of boredom. Make sure your dog is happy and tired each day by providing plenty of exercise and interesting toys, games, training, and other activities designed to stimulate the brain.

As always at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services, we are here for you and your pet. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with your questions about how to keep your dog out of the litter box, or any others concerns about your pet.

The post One Paw at a Time: Keeping the Dog Out of the Litter Box appeared first on OVRS.

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