Newsletter The veterinarians and staff at the Staples Mill Animal Hospital are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

Current Newsletter Topics

May is National Chip Your Pet Month: Is Your Pet Protected?

Each year, millions of dogs and cats are lost. In fact, this disaster strikes nearly one-third of all pet-owning families. Of the millions of cats and dogs that are lost, only 10 percent are ever identified and returned to their owners. More pets lives are lost because owners did not identify them than from all infectious diseases combined.

All pets should wear traditional collars with identification and rabies vaccination tags. A traditional collar, however, is not enough. These collars are often worn loosely and are easily removed. Cat collars are designed to break off if the animal is caught in a tree branch. When the traditional collar is lost, removed or breaks off, nothing is left to identify the pet unless the pet has a microchip.

Microchips are rapidly becoming a very popular method for identifying pets. Once the microchip is inserted, the pet is identified for life. Microchips are safe, unalterable and permanent identification for pets. The microchip is a tiny computer chip or transponder about the size of a grain of rice. The chip is inserted under the skin between the shoulder blades of a cat or dog, in much the same way that a vaccine is administered. The microchip is coded with a unique 10-digit code. Each microchip that is inserted contains a unique code, specific to the individual pet.

Inserting the microchip is simple and causes minimal or no discomfort. The microchip comes pre-loaded in a syringe, ready for insertion. The entire procedure takes less than 10 seconds. Post-injection reactions are very rare and the encapsulated microchip remains in place permanently.

The scanner is a hand-held device used to detect the message encoded in the microchip. The scanner is passed over the animal, paying particular attention to the area between the shoulder blades. If a microchip is present, the 10-digit number (encoded in the capsule) is read by the scanner. Scanners are provided to animal control, humane shelters and other rescue organizations so that all stray pets are scanned and those with microchips are reunited with their owners. Veterinarians can also purchase scanners for use in their hospital.

The veterinary hospital where the microchip is implanted records the pet’s information and its unique microchip identification number. When a lost pet is found and scanned, the veterinary hospital is immediately contacted. Since most veterinary hospitals are not open 24 hours a day, it may take some time before you are notified. In addition to this standard registration, you can register your pet in your own name for a charge of $15-20. By doing this, as soon as your pet is found, you are notified.

Along with the additional registration fee, we recommend that you update your personal information with the microchip database on a regular basis. It is also advisable to have your veterinarian test the microchip on an annual basis in order to make sure that it is properly transmitting data.

Avoiding Pet Care Scams

When you bring your pet to the veterinarian, you expect service you can trust. You count on your vet having the proper medical training, experience and understanding of how to provide the best care for your animal. And there is no reason why these expectations should not be met. However, this is not always the case. Even with laws in place to serve as protection to you and your pet, many unlawful and potentially harmful practices are slipping between the cracks. In an unfavorable economy, there is increasing concern that unlicensed and unsupervised non-veterinarians may want to work on your pet to make an extra buck, and you may be tempted to succumb to their services. However, these practices are not only illegal, but also harmful or even deadly to your pet. In order to avoid this, it is important to be aware of potential scams.

Avoid Pet Care Scams

Veterinary News Network recently reported on an advertisement that read, “Ear trims – Any dog, any breed -- $25.” The price seemed too good to be true. On the day of the surgery, the owners were told to transfer ownership to the person performing the ear trim. Since pets are technically considered as property, the owner is permitted to "treat and care for" their pets in any manner that does not amount to animal cruelty. It was only after transferring ownership that they found out the person operating on their dog was not a veterinarian.

This story, among countless others, have many pet owners, animal advocates, authorities and veterinarians concerned.

Here are a few potential signs that you – and your pet – are being scammed:

• Unusually low prices- Although you may be enticed by low prices, you often get what you pay for. This is not to say that a veterinarian will not offer a low price or discount on some services, but rather that you may want to take notice of any unusal low rates. If it seems too good to be true, it often is.

• Look for word tricks- Why is the person called a "lay animal dentist" or an "animal care specialist?" Why aren't they called a veterinarian or doctor of veterinary medicine? Furthermore, instead of referring to veterinary services by what they are – veterinary services – people are listing different medical and surgical procedures by other terms, such as "animal husbandry." Would you want to see a "lay doctor" or "human care person" when you're sick? Your pet probably doesn't want to either.

• Notice any abnormal doctor behavior- Why doesn't this person have the same vocabulary you're used to hearing from a veterinarian? Why are they forcing you to transfer ownership without reason?

Even in hard economic times, using a true licensed veterinarian will only prove beneficial. Not only will you help avoid the risks and costs associated with unnecessary procedural complications, but you may also help thwart unlawful, unregulated and harmful practices from penetrating the market. Without proper regulation, you will have no recourse on the non-veterinarian in case of mistakes or even the death of your pet. Furthermore, in a survey conducted on licensed veterinarians performing horse dentistry, the Veterinary News Network found the cost to be the same or less than the services being offered by unsupervised or improperly trained non-veterinarians.

Ultimately, the benefits of using a trained, supervised and licensed veterinarian far outweigh the disadvantages of a lay animal doctor. Any potential fee reduction is also outweighed by the possible harms, risks and liability you and your pet may incur by using an unlicensed animal husbandry provider.

May is Intestinal Parasite Awareness Month

Did you know that 34 percent of pets are infected with intestinal parasites?

The close relationship between people and their pets increasingly means parasite infections can be shared among dogs, cats and their owners. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 1 to 3 million people are infected with an intestinal parasite in the United States. Children are at particular risk.

The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) recommends that fecal examinations for intestinal parasites be conducted at least once a year. In addition, if children are present in the household, the CAPC recommends that you de-worm your pet quarterly.

To help raise awareness we will perform free fecal examinations (a $16.50 value) during the month of May, limited to one pet per household.

Pet Obesity Can Cost You A Fortune

Studies reveal that half of the dogs and cats found in American homes are overweight or obese, translating to over 85 million. Pet obesity has become a major health concern across the nation, forcing us to rethink what we throw into Fido’s bowl or pass under the table.

Yet, what we often don’t think about are the costs associated with this soaring trend. Not only are there diseases and conditions caused by obesity, but also many others that are greatly exacerbated by the extra pounds. And the increase in costs can be alarming. In fact, treating pets with diabetes, heart disease or ligament tears that are caused by weakened joints can cost you thousands in veterinary fees. According to Petplan, pet insurance claims in 2011 for heart disease increased by 32 percent, diabetes by 253 percent and arthritis by a whopping 348 percent.

But just as people need to be safe about their dieting, the same holds true for animals. If you have questions about your pet’s eating habits or changing dietary needs, consult your local veterinarian for help.

Fat Cat

Supporting a Loved One in Grief

It isn't uncommon for a pet to share a particularly strong bond with one member of the family. Maybe your husband or wife was closer than you to a pet who has passed and is therefore grieving in a much different way. Or, maybe you've never had a pet before, but someone near and dear is coping with the loss of one of their own. To help your loved one cope, offer a nonjudgmental listening ear.

Helping Your Loved One Heal

Supporting a friend, spouse, or relative as they grieve the loss of a pet is as easy as sharing physical space and listening. You don't need to have the right words or clichés to share, some of these may even be hurtful. Listening without judgement or advice and talking about the deceased pet will help your loved one feel better.

As everyone grieves differently, some may want more space and time alone than others. Respect your loved one's wishes and be attentive to their unspoken needs. You may consider helping out around the house or doing the things your friend just doesn't feel up to. Never push the person into getting a new pet. That decision is a personal one to make and shouldn't be made while in an emotional state. A pet is a commitment. If and when your loved one wants another pet, he or she will make that decision.

Continued Support

Being there for your loved one immediately following the loss of a pet is important, but this is a time when an outpouring of love and support may occur. Checking in with the person days, weeks or months down the road when the bereaved may feel like everyone has since forgotten and moved on is especially important.