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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 2019 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.

 


Popular Spring Flowers Toxic for Cats

With the weather changing, you may have noticed the first signs of spring in the form of flowers beginning to emerge from the ground.

Soon these flowers will be blooming, but along their beautiful sight and smell, many species of spring flowers add a life-threatening element of danger for your cat.

Lilies of all varieties (Easter Lilies, Daylilies, Asiatic Lilies, Peace Lilies, Lily of the Valley) top the list of spring flowers that are extremely dangerous for felines.

For cats like Duchess, ingesting just a small amount of toxic spring flowers like lilies can be life-threatening.

Ingesting just a leaf or two, or drinking a little water from a vase holding the flowers, can cause kidney failure, and possibly death.

Lilies are so toxic that symptoms can be seen less than 2 hours after ingestion and include:

  • Dehydration
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy

If you suspect your cat has ingested lilies or any harmful substance, seek medical attention immediately – do not wait!

Other spring plants that are toxic for your cat include: daffodils, tulips, chrysanthemums, and hyacinths.

Our animals rely on us to keep them safe — if you have a cat, it’s certainly a good idea to remove lilies and other noxious plants from your home and yard to ensure their safety.

Questions?

Contact Boston Veterinary Care (BVC) at 617-226-5605 or email at bvc@arlboston.org.


ARL Caring for Several Diabetic Cats

Cases of diabetes rapidly rising nationally – link to pet obesity

Diabetes is the second most common endocrine disease (hyperthyroidism is the most common) in cats, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) has seen several cats afflicted with the disease over the past year – recent statistics also indicate the number of cases are rapidly increasing.

The drastic increase can partly be attributed to the rise in pet obesity.

Webster, a 10-year-old male cat, was picked up as a stray in Malden, MA in late January, and had typical signs of living on the streets including dental disease and muscle wasting. However, his blood work revealed a glucose level of 349 – anything over 170 is considered high.

ARL’s shelter medicine staff continued diagnostic testing, instilled dietary changes and constantly monitored Webster hoping to rule out a diabetic diagnosis. However, a fructosamine test, which determines how the animal’s body is regulating blood glucose levels over a 2-3 week period, indicated that Webster’s body was not regulating properly and was properly diagnosed with diabetes.

The cat was placed into foster care, and is currently on a regimen of insulin injections twice a day, 12 hours apart, and after eating. Webster is also on a strict diet of wet and dry food specially formulated for managing diabetes.

Despite the diagnosis, Webster will have a good quality of life, his new owners will simply have to be diligent about follow-up veterinary care and ensuring insulin is administered as prescribed. Once his glucose can be regulated he will be ready to find his forever home!

Approximately half the cats diagnosed with diabetes can achieve remission if the disease is treated promptly – cats in remission may be able to stop insulin entirely as well.

Know the Signs

Diabetic symptoms vary and in addition to increased thirst and decreased activity, other signs include:

  • Weight loss
  • Change in litterbox habits
  • Appetite swings
  • Vomiting
  • Unsteady gait
  • Overall poor health

More than half the cats and dogs in the U.S. are overweight, and as long as pet obesity continues to be an issue, the number of diagnosed cases of diabetes in our pets will continue to rise. ARL encourages pet owners to strictly monitor their animal’s diets, limit treats and take action if a pet begins to gain or lose weight rapidly.


Press Release: Microchip Helps Reunite Lost Cat with Owners

Family notified of cat being found on Valentine’s Day

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is once again reminding the public of the importance of having pets microchipped – this after recently reuniting a Stoughton, MA, family with their cat who went missing shortly before Christmas.

Four-year-old Tigger snuck out of his Stoughton home on December 23, 2018, to explore the outdoors. Perhaps spooked by his surroundings, Tigger ran when his owners tried to get him back inside and unfortunately did not return.

In the following days and weeks, Tigger’s family posted the cat’s picture on social media and posted flyers in their neighborhood and nearby businesses – but still Tigger was not found.

Tigger back in the comforts of home but with a reminder of the elements — note the frostbite on his left ear.

On February 10, a local resident brought a stray cat to ARL’s Dedham Animal Care and Adoption Center. The cat was emaciated, dehydrated, and had suffered from frostbite on its left ear and front paw due to long-term exposure to the elements.

The cat received fluids and was checked by ARL staff and was also scanned for a microchip. The chip was registered to a Florida resident, however after a little detective work, ARL tracked the owner from Florida to Stoughton.

A certification letter was sent to the Stoughton address, and owner Jackie Rhone tells ARL the cat was originally a gift for her 17-year-old daughter, and after two months had given up any hope of finding Tigger.

“That evening (Valentine’s Day) we went out for an errand and when we returned home my husband checked the mail, and when he came inside he screamed “read this Jackie quick”! I started reading it out loud with tears rolling down my face and said “they found our Tigger!”’, Rhone said.

Tigger was reunited with his family two days later and is now strictly an indoor cat.

This reunion would not have been possible if Tigger hadn’t been microchipped.

A Permanent ID

A microchip is a computer chip about the size of a grain of rice, programmed with an identification number unique to your pet. It is non-toxic, non-allergenic, and will last the life of your pet with no maintenance required.

A microchip greatly increases the likelihood of being reunited with a lost pet – an AVMA study shows 52 percent of dogs with microchips are reunited with owners, versus just 21 percent with dogs with no microchip. Owner return rates for cats with microchips is 38 percent versus 1.8 percent for cats without the chip.

ARL recommends pet owners to ensure their animal is microchipped, and to also keep contact information up to date.


It’s National Spay and Neuter Awareness Month!

Spay and Neutering Pets Promotes Health and Longevity

For all of us, the health and well-being of our beloved family pets is paramount; and the simplest way to reduce nuisance and aggressive behaviors, improve long-term health and longevity, is to have your dog or cat spayed or neutered.

February is National Spay and Neuter Awareness Month, and here at the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), we field questions about spay and neuter on a daily basis which typically revolve around two issues – cost and understanding the real and long-term benefits for you and your pet.

Affordable Options Exist

Don’t let cost be a barrier, as there are numerous affordable options throughout Massachusetts that are readily available.

Be sure to talk with your veterinarian about your best course of action, but here are a couple of options.

ARL’s Spay Waggin’ is a mobile veterinary clinic offering high-quality and affordable spay and neuter services. The Spay Waggin’ has been serving Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, the South Shore and South Coast for nearly 20 years; performing more than 50,000 surgeries along the way.

Another place to turn is your local Animal Control Officer. The Massachusetts Animal Fund’s spay and neuter voucher program allows low-income residents receiving state assistance to get their pets this important surgery free of charge. Vouchers can be obtained through your city or town’s Animal Control Officer and are redeemed at participating providers, including ARL’s Spay Waggin’ and Community Surgical Clinic.

By the way, you can help keep this program going by donating on your state tax form on line 33f!

Long-Term Health Benefits

Caring for animals can be expensive, especially when it comes to their health. But consider this – having your pet spayed or neutered can reduce the risk of serious, and costly, health problems later in life.

Neutering male dogs and cats before six months of age prevents testicular cancer and spaying female cats and dogs before their first heat reduces the risk of uterine infections and breast cancer.
Spaying and neutering can also reduce behavioral problems such as marking territory, howling or barking, aggression and wandering.

We all want our pets to live long and healthy lives, and having an animal spayed or neutered actually increases their longevity. According to published reports, neutered male dogs live 18 percent longer than unneutered males, and spayed females live 23 percent longer than spayed females.

Healthy Moms, Happy Litters

How about if you have a pet at home with an unwanted or accidental litter of puppies or kittens? No problem, the Animal Rescue League of Boston can help.

Through the Healthy Moms, Happy Litters program, ARL will provide free spay and neuter services and vaccinations for mother/father dogs and cats. Once the procedure is complete, and animals are returned to the owner.

ARL will also waive the surrender fee for the litter of puppies or kittens, who will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and placed up for adoption.

Remember, there are an abundance of resources and help available to those who need it so please consider having your pet spayed or neutered for their happiness, their health, and for your piece of mind.


Winter is here – ARL reminds pet owners to protect animals from the cold

Winter is finally here in New England, and with the first extreme cold snap upon us, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) reminds pet owners to take cold-weather precautions to protect pets — frigid conditions can endanger the well-being, safety, and the lives of the pets we love.

Here are some things to keep in mind not just for this arctic blast, but for the remainder of winter:

  1. Prepare your dog for the elements. If you have a longer coat dog, let it grow out for the winter; it will provide warmth and protection from the cold. For shorter coat dogs, sweaters, coats and booties can go a long way to protect your pooch.
  2. Wipe off your dog’s paws and stomach. Sidewalks are treated with a number of chemicals. These chemicals can irritate your dog’s paws, and can be poisonous if ingested. When coming in from the cold, clean and dry your dog’s stomach to keep them healthy!
  3. Keep outdoor trips quick. Bathroom breaks or walks, keep it short and sweet and keep your pets indoors as much as possible.
  4. Never leave your dog alone in a cold car. Many Massachusetts residents are aware that it’s illegal to keep an animal in a hot car, under the same law it’s ALSO illegal to keep your animal in a cold car (Ma. Ch. 140, Section 174F. (a) A person shall not confine an animal in a motor vehicle in a manner that could reasonably be expected to threaten the health of the animal due to exposure to extreme heat or cold). When going out, leave your animals at home.
  5. Pay attention to your pet’s grooming and health. An animal with a matted coat cannot keep him or herself warm! Long-haired pets especially during heavy periods of shedding, need extra help maintaining a healthy coat. Senior pets also suffer from increased arthritis pain in the cold, so check with your veterinarian on how to keep your pet comfortable.
  6. Check under the hood. Cats love to warm up underneath the hood of a car, as the residual heat from the engine burns off. Unfortunately, this method of warming up can have dangerous consequences, such as severe burns and other grave injuries. Always pound on the hood of your vehicle and do a quick visual check before starting the engine.

The chill can kill! So bottom line, if it’s too cold for you to be outside, it’s also too cold for your pet to be outside.

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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.