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Category: Boston Veterinary Care
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.


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!