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Category: Boston Veterinary Care
Halloween Pet Safety Tips for a Spook-Free Holiday

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and Boston Veterinary Care (BVC) share important tips to keep your pets safe and happy this Halloween season.

Boston Terrier in Halloween costume

Tip: If it’s your pet’s first time wearing a costume this Halloween, spend a few days before the big holiday getting them acclimated to wearing it. Keep in mind, some pets are just not fans of wearing costumes and would much rather wear a festive collar or bandanna instead.

With the month of October almost half over, Halloween 2018 is right around the corner! You may be a fan of the spookiest time of year, but for your pet, this haunting holiday can be truly scary.

Not to worry though, enjoying the festivities and keeping your pets safe is easier than you think – Follow these 3 tips to ensure your pet has a spook-free Halloween this season:

1. Keep your pets inside. The Halloween season often brings out tricksters who might taunt or harm an animal left outdoors. It’s always a good idea to keep pets inside with proper, up-to-date identification. If your pet must be outdoors, be sure to keep them leashed and an eye on them at all times.

2. Stash the sweet treats. Chocolate, especially darker chocolates, are highly toxic to cats and dogs. Additionally, many candies and gums contain Xylitol. This sugarless sweetener is highly toxic to pets. Always keep chocolate and candies out of your pet’s reach.

3. Be careful with costumes. If you decide to dress your pet up for this festive holiday, costume safety is key. Keep these costume safety tips in mind:

  • Always supervise your pet while they’re wearing a costume.
  • Make sure your pet’s costume fits properly and does not restrict their movement.
  • Be cautious of loose or dangling pieces that pets could potentially choke on.
  • Ditch the masks or other accessories that could potentially make it difficult for your pet to breath or obstruct their vision.

No plans for Halloween? Spend the day getting to know some of our adoptable animals.

 


Press Release: ARL Sees Uptick in Leptospirosis

With a recent uptick in positive cases of Leptospirosis, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is alerting the public about the potentially life-threatening bacteria.

Boston Veterinary Care (BVC) has seen two positive cases in the past two weeks, the latest coming during the past holiday weekend.

Leptospirosis is spread through the urine of infected animals, and can infect animals and humans through contact with the contaminated urine, water or soil. In a city setting, it’s most commonly spread through the rodent population and it’s easily spread to humans, and can cause liver and kidney failure.

Common symptoms include: fever, increased drinking and urination, vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, and weakness.

Early treatment is critical for Leptospirosis, and if your dog is exhibiting any combination of these symptoms, seek medical treatment immediately.

There is a vaccine for Leptospirosis, and if you feel your dog may be at risk to contract the bacteria, ARL urges you to discuss the vaccine with your primary veterinarian.


What to Know About Canine Influenza

This past week, the first case of canine influenza of the year in Massachusetts was confirmed, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) wants to remind dog owners that canine influenza is highly contagious and precautions should be taken.

What is Canine Influeza?

Canine influenza is a respiratory infection – highly contagious – and spread by nose to nose contact or coughing.

There are two strains, H3N8 and H3N2, the latter of which was responsible for a 2015 outbreak that was believed to have resulted from the direct transfer of an avian influenza virus. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), since 2015 thousands of dogs in the U.S. have tested positive for the H3N2 strain of canine influenza.

What to Look For and Who’s At-Risk

Clinical signs of canine influenza are similar to human flu and consist of:

  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Lethargy

Dogs can have the virus up to two weeks before displaying symptoms, and puppies and older dogs are most susceptible to developing more severe disease like pneumonia.

According to the AVMA, there is no evidence of transmission of canine influenza from dogs to humans or to horses, ferrets, or other animal species. It should be noted however, that in 2016 cats at an Indiana animal shelter were infected with canine influenza from dogs and cat to cat transmission is possible.

Lifestyle

Do you go to dog parks, use a dog-walking service or belong to dog social circles? If so, one preventative measure to consider is vaccination.

“Dogs that have contact with other dogs on walks, in daycare, or go to dog parks are at an increased risk and should definitely be vaccinated with the bivalent vaccine,” said Boston Veterinary Care (BVC) Lead Veterinarian Dr. Nicole Breda.

The vaccine won’t prevent every infection, but can reduce the clinical symptoms. Vaccinations are available at BVC or your regular veterinarian’s office.

See Signs, Take Action

Vigilance is responsible pet ownership. Canine influenza is rarely fatal, however should you notice any symptoms, contact your regular veterinarian immediately. With treatment, most dogs recover in 2-3 weeks.


It’s National ‘Check the Chip’ Day!

Sharon resident reunited with cat thanks to microchip

Today is National ‘Check the Chip’ Day, a day to remind pet owners of the importance of not only having a microchip implanted, but to make sure that all contact information is up to date. While not replacing a collar and tags, a microchip drastically improves the chances of being reunited with a pet should they become lost.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, a dog with a microchip is twice as likely to be returned to their owners, while a cat with a microchip is 20 times more likely to be returned.

Microchip Success Story

In February, Sharon resident Tyler Martin’s four-year-old brown tabby Bailey went missing. Bailey’s owner posted flyers around his neighborhood, but as the days and weeks passed, the hope for a reunion dwindled and the belief was that Bailey was gone for good.

Fast forward six months to August – the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Rescue Services received a call from a resident in Norwood about a possible stray cat in their yard. Rescue agents responded to the scene and were able to corral the friendly cat, transporting the animal to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center.

Bailey was scanned for a microchip and the information led ARL to Martin. When contacted, he was emotional and ecstatic to hear the news, but shocked that Bailey had been found on the other side of Route 95 in another town! He left work and was in Dedham in less than 30 minutes.

At the shelter, Bailey was shy and wasn’t looking to interact with anyone, however when his owner arrived, a quick sniff of the hand created an instant reconnection, and the reunion was complete.

A happy reunion to say the least, and if Bailey had not been microchipped, it’s unlikely this reunion would’ve happened.

How the Microchip Works

A microchip is a tiny computer chip, about the size of a grain of rice, programmed with an identification number that is unique to your pet. It is non-toxic, non-allergenic, and will last the life of your pet with no maintenance required. The microchip is injected with a needle beneath the skin between the shoulder blades and is anchored in place as a thin layer of connective tissue forms around it.

Your pet’s identification number is entered into a national microchip registry, and you can think of the microchip as a permanent ID tag for your pet – but if you move or change phone numbers it’s important to make sure that your contact information is updated to increase the chances of a reunion.

When you adopt a dog or cat from ARL, along with being vaccinated, spayed or neutered, medically and behaviorally evaluated, the animal will also have a microchip implanted before you take them home.

Take Advantage of Boston Veterinary Care’s Special August Promotion!

This month, BVC clients will receive 25% off microchipping — registration included — with an exam or procedure; not to be combined with any other offer. Click here or call (617) 226-5606 for more details or to make an appointment.


Memorial Day Weekend Travel Tips to Keep Your Dog Cool and Calm

Things to keep in mind if you’re bringing your furry friend along for the ride

Memorial Day Weekend is here, and for many of us it means three things — Honoring our service men and women; spending time with friends and family and; travelling!

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and Boston Veterinary Care (BVC) want to remind you that busy holiday weekends can be stressful and dangerous for your pup.

While temperatures during Memorial Day Weekend are expected to be seasonal, even when the outside temperature is 70 degrees, the inside of a car can heat up to more than 100 degrees in a matter of minutes — even with the windows left partially opened! That’s why leaving your pet inside of a hot car is the most common cause of deadly heat stroke — it’s just TOO HOT FOR SPOT! Remember, pets don’t sweat like humans do and cannot cool their bodies efficiently in hot temperatures.

If you plan on taking your best friend along for the ride this weekend, here are some tips to help keep your dog safe:

  1. Never leave your pup alone in a parked car if they must travel with you. Not only are hot cars the most common cause for heat stroke, but leaving an animal inside a parked car is ILLEGAL in Massachusetts.
  2. Just like us, dogs need bathroom breaks! When driving long distances, be sure to periodically find a safe area to pull over to allow your pup to do their business, and get a little fresh water and perhaps some food.
  3. Always keep your canine on a leash or in a carrier if they must be outside. Find a shady spot with plenty of air flow and lots of fresh water.
  4. Keep them away from dangerous objects. Secure your pet a good distance from sparklers, BBQs, and pools. Additionally, there are many plants and flowers that can be toxic to dogs, so make sure your pet is under constant supervision while outdoors.
  5. Loud noises can be spooky! Things like fireworks and other loud noises can make a dog “fearfully aggressive,” so monitor your dog and keep them calm, especially around children.
  6. Make sure your dog’s microchip and ID tag information is current. Many animal shelters report increases of “stray” animals during holidays due to the number of pets running away from the noise and excitement. Make sure your contact information is current and always on your dog’s collar to ensure an easy reunion should they be separated from you.

Prevention is responsible pet ownership. When in doubt, leave your pet at home in a quiet, cool room. Turn on a TV or radio to help distract from outside noises and leave them free to roam around so they don’t feel too confined.


April 8-14 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week

Education, Awareness are Keys to Prevention

There are an estimated 70 million dogs in the United States, and every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 4.5 million dog bites are reported – 20 percent of which require medical attention.

The CDC goes on to estimate that at least half of dog bite victims are children.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) wants to take this opportunity during National Dog Bite Prevention Week to remind dog owners that learning behavioral signs and properly training and socializing your animal can go a long way in drastically reducing these statistics.

When it comes to behavior, it’s important to recognize when a dog is becoming uncomfortable. Some of the signs include:

  • Panting
  • Yawning
  • Cowering
  • Holding its breath
  • Flattening its ears
  • Growling
  • Snapping
  • Curling upper lip

When a dog gives these cues, it’s important to back off immediately. Too often these signs are ignored and result in a bite.

Teaching Children

It’s important to teach children not to approach a strange dog; however, it should be noted that not only strange dogs bite. Even a family pet can bite if it feels frightened, threatened, or is in pain. Parents should consider supervising a child’s interactions with dogs, while teaching the aforementioned behavioral cues.

Training and Socialization

Training and socializing with people and other animals is vital to having a puppy become a well-mannered adult dog. Have questions? You can always contact ARL’s FREE Pet Behavior Helpline at (617) 226-5666.

ARL also offers a number of training courses covering a variety of areas including basic manners, commands, social skills and mental enrichment exercises. Courses are offered at ARL’s Boston location, and reduced rates are offered (first-time only!) to dogs adopted from ARL within the previous six months, and for Boston Veterinary Care clients.


Follow These 4 Pet Safety Tips for a Hoppy Easter

Keep your pets safe during the festivities

Spring is in the air (finally) and what better way to celebrate than with colorful eggs, bright flowers, and bunny-shaped chocolate– besides, perhaps, adding a new furry member to your family!

Spring Into Love and consider adopting an animal from the Animal Rescue League of Boston!

When you adopt, you give an animal a chance at a better life.  All adoptable animals at the ARL also receive:

  • Spay or neuter services
  • Health screening and veterinary examination
  • Behavior screening and evaluations
  • Vaccinations and flea/tick/mite treatment
  • Microchip identification and registration

Search adoptables now or visit our adoptable pets at our shelters, 1 pm – 6:30 pm.

With the Easter and Passover holiday upon us, remember that your pets will be curious about the new decorative items and delish goodies that you bring into your household. Be sure to keep these 4 pet safety tips in mind during the festivities:

  1. Leave lilies at the store. Although beautiful and iconic to Easter, a lily’s leaf, pollen, and flower are highly toxic if ingested by cats. Make sure to keep a special eye on cats as their excellent climbing skills can give them easy access to flowers and plants.

    say no to lilies

    Say no to lilies, chocolate, and harmful decorations this Easter and Passover!

  2. Keep fake grass, candles, and other decorations out of reach. When your pet ingests stringy objects like ribbons or Easter basket grass, they can become wrapped around the base of the tongue or stomach and cause serious intestinal issues. Ceremonial Passover candles should be monitored at all times to prevent pets’ fur from catching fire.
  3. Chocolate and candy are a no-no. Chocolate, especially the darker bitter kind, is poisonous to pets. Chocolate contains methylxanthines, a relative of caffeine, and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and death. Many candies and gums contain the sugarless sweetener Xylitol, which is also highly toxic to pets.
  4. Hide eggs from your pets too. Secure pets during Easter egg hunts or other activities where plastic eggs or other small objects can be ingested. Consuming real eggs can cause illness as well if they have spoiled. Keep your pet busy with toys and treats and don’t forget to pick up all hidden gems once the activity is over.

From everyone at the ARL, Happy Easter and Passover!


Boston Veterinary Care Monthly

Anyone who’s cared for a puppy knows how cute they can be – but they can also be mischievous and challenging! Curious by nature, puppies can get into things they shouldn’t and chew whatever comes in range of their mouths.

For Finn, an 11-month-old Boxer-mix, his curiosity almost cost him his life.

When he was brought to Boston Veterinary Care (BVC), he hadn’t eaten for several days, was lethargic, dehydrated, and an examination showed some sort of obstruction lodged in his intestinal tract.

He needed surgery immediately, but the procedure was cost-prohibitive for Finn’s owner. His owner applied and was approved for the Alice T. Whitney Helping Hands Fund, and Finn was sedated and taken into surgery.

An incision into his stomach revealed a pom-pom from a winter hat was blocking the outflow tract from the stomach. While the pom-pom was removed, a second obstruction, likely another piece of the winter hat, was found further down in his small intestines. This blockage was more serious and had caused a 12-inch section of the intestines to die and rupture.

The section of intestines was resected, and due to the extensive surgery, when Finn awoke he was in pain and his body temperature was too low. Finn was transferred to Tufts Veterinary Emergency Treatment & Specialties in Walpole for overnight care and pain management.

He was successfully discharged two days later, and Finn is back to his energetic self! The nearly $4,000 treatment was covered by the Alice T. Whitney Helping Hands Fund and Finn’s owner was overjoyed and thankful for the assistance and to have her beloved companion be healthy once again.

“It was a grueling surgery, but Finn showed his strength, and it’s wonderful to see how he’s recovered and will go on to lead a healthy life,” said BVC Lead Veterinarian, Dr. Nicole Breda.

The Alice T. Whitney Fund gives homeless animals and family pets the chance to heal — see how you can help today!

Dental Health Month at BVC

February is National Pet Dental Health Month, and through the end of the month BVC is offering a free dental exam, toothbrush, and toothpaste with every wellness exam. Additionally, BVC offers a free pet exam for first time clients.

BVC is the clinic with a mission – as all profits benefit shelter animals of the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL). BVC offers a number of high-quality outpatient services, click here to find out more!


Boston Veterinary Care Monthly

A life-threatening infection and a life-saving surgery

Recently, the family of three-year-old Mica noticed she was lethargic, not eating, and her abdomen was distended. Alarmed, they brought her to Boston Veterinary Care (BVC), and just in the nick of time.

An examination and x-ray confirmed that Mica was suffering from pyometra — a uterine infection that requires immediate attention. If left untreated, a uterine rupture would spread the infection into the abdominal cavity, and spell certain death. While not an uncommon condition, Mica’s case was severe.

“This was the worst case of pyometra I’ve seen in a cat,” said BVC Lead Veterinarian Dr. Nicole Breda. “Mica was close to rupture and needed surgery to remove the uterus and the infection, and to save her life.”

Quick action led to a successful surgery, and in the process Mica lost a third of her body weight. Mica weighed nine pounds upon check-in, and the removed infected area weighed an astonishing three pounds! With the crisis averted, Mica has her life back and is back home where she belongs.

“She’s doing well, her owner is so grateful to BVC for saving Mica’s life, and she will go onto have a nice long and healthy life,” Dr. Breda said.

Discover BVC

Located in Boston’s South End, BVC is the clinic with a mission — all profits benefit ARL’s shelter animals.

Along with a FREE wellness exam for new clients, BVC offers a variety of high-quality outpatient services including:

Wellness examinations and vaccinations

  •         Surgery
  •         Dental care
  •         Senior pet care
  •         Advanced diagnostics
  •         Radiology/diagnostic imaging

Cat-Only Night

A trip to the vet can be stressful for any animal, but particularly for cats. That’s why BVC also offers a cats-only night every Tuesday! Schedule your cat’s exam for after 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and enjoy a dog-free waiting room — less stress for you and your feline friend! 

To schedule an appointment call (617) 226-5605, or email bvc@arlboston.org.


Emma Undergoes Life-Saving Surgery at BVC

Family Pet on the Mend Thanks to Alice T. Whitney Helping Hands Fund

Emma, a sweet 10-year-old Chihuahua, was brought to Boston Veterinary Care (BVC) because her owners noticed her belly had become bloated and assumed she was putting on some extra pounds. She was also lethargic and was not acting like her normal self.

Upon examination, it was discovered that Emma had a very bad infection in her uterus, called pyometra. The infection was now in her bloodstream, causing the belly bloat and making her extremely sick. Pyometra, if not treated quickly and aggressively, can be life-threatening.

Alice T. Whitney Helping Hands Fund

Emma needed surgery — a $1,350 surgery. Her owners love her very much, but could not afford the supportive care and emergency surgery needed to remove the uterus and kill the infection. Fortunately, Emma’s owners qualified for the Alice T. Whitney Helping Hands Fund, which provides financial assistance to families with limited economic means in veterinary emergencies.

Despite some concerns, the decision was made to move ahead with the procedure.

“She was so sick, we were not sure she would survive the surgery, but everyone at BVC fell in love with her and wanted to give her a chance,” said Dr. Nicole Breda, BVC’s Lead Veterinarian. “Without the surgery she would not have survived much longer.”

Success

Emma showed her toughness, and the surgery was a complete success. During her follow up, Emma was alert, playful, and her belly bloat had somewhat subsided. She is healthy and back to being herself. Her owners have their beloved family pet back and gleefully exclaimed to Dr. Breda how happy and thankful they were for BVC and the Alice T. Whitney Helping Hands Fund. To see more of Emma click here!

Give homeless animals and family pets the chance to heal  

Animals with serious medical conditions as a result of illness, accidental injury, neglect, or abuse make their way into the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) every single day with no one to cover the hefty expense of emergency surgery, treatment, or rehabilitation.

When you make a gift to the Alice T. Whitney Helping Hands Fund, your donation will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $25,000, to provide financial assistance for:

  •   Critically ill or injured homeless animals that come into ARL’s Animal Care and Adoption Centers with no one to care for them.
  •   Clients of Boston Veterinary Care, a clinic supporting the programs of ARL, who want to keep their family pets, but do not have the economic means to pay for their veterinary expenses.

Only with your support can animals in the most critical of need receive the high-quality veterinary care necessary to gain a second chance at life. Click the red button below to…

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