Monthly Newsletter

Animal Emergency Center of North Fulton Newsletter

Animal Emergency Center of North Fulton

The veterinarians and staff at the Animal Emergency Center of North Fulton 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 Animal Emergency Center of North Fulton, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy!

Current Newsletter Topics

February is National Pet Dental Health Month

Dental care is vital to your pet's health. If you've already established a dental care program for your pet, you're off to a great start. But if your pet hasn't received a dental exam from your veterinarian, it's time to get started. February is National Pet Dental Health Month, the perfect time to schedule a dental exam for your pet and develop a home dental care regimen for your best friend.

Why is dental care so important for your pet? Periodontal disease is the number one diagnosed problem in pets. By the age of two, more than 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have periodontal disease in one form or another. The buildup of plaque and tartar on your pet's teeth leads to bacterial infections that can enter the bloodstream and infect other parts of your pet's body. Periodontal disease has been linked to heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, osteoporosis and other problems.

The good news is that periodontal disease is easily prevented. Regular dental cleanings and a home dental care regimen can eliminate the plaque and tartar that lead to gum disease and oral infections. During a dental cleaning, your veterinarian also performs a complete oral examination of your pet. This includes screening for oral cancer, broken teeth and cavities. Spotting these problems early makes them easier to treat and improves your pet's overall oral health.

Your pet's dental cleaning is more involved than the same process you go through at your dentist's office. Anesthesia is required to keep your pet still and comfortable during the procedure. Because of this, your pet undergoes a thorough physical examination before each dental cleaning. Laboratory blood tests, as well as other diagnostic procedures are also used to screen for potential problems and risks before anesthesia is administered. Using these results, your veterinarian develops a safe anesthetic protocol specifically for your pet.

A Cat's Teeth Before and After a Dental Cleaning

During a dental cleaning, tartar is removed from your pet's teeth with a hand scaler. Next, a periodontal probe is used to check for pockets under the gumline - where periodontal disease and bad breath start. An ultrasonic scaler is used to clean above the gumline and a curette is used to clean the teeth under the gumline and in the crevices. Finally, the teeth are polished and an anti-bacterial solution is applied to help delay future tartar build-up.

Dental care doesn't end in your veterinarian's office. Brushing your pet's teeth at home is an added level of protection against gum disease. In order to be most effective, brushing must be done at least three times a week; however, daily brushing is ideal. Brushing your pet's teeth can be supplemented with antiseptic rinses. Some pet foods and treats are also effective in preventing plaque and tartar buildup. However, there is no substitute for regular brushing and professional dental cleanings.

Call your veterinary hospital to schedule a dental examination and cleaning for your pet today. Your best friend will thank you!

Canine Troubles: How to Win Over Your New Love’s Dog

You've fallen in love and nothing can interfere with your new budding relationship until you meet the dog.

Your initial introduction with Dog goes terribly awry. Instead of tail wagging and face licking, he greets you with growls and snarls of aggression. Is there couples therapy for dogs and new significant others? Dog likes the mailman and the UPS driver. So why do his hackles go up at you?

Winning over your partner’s new pup is much like trying to impress your future in-laws—it’s a relationship that requires time and nurturing. Before despair sets in, review these tips and revel in a newfound furry friendship.

Couple with Dog

• Retreat, Reacquaint, Renew  

So the first introduction didn’t go well. You physically retreated with Dog’s initial greeting, so an emotional retreat seems appropriate, too. Try re-introducing yourself to Dog, but this time on neutral turf. How about a park? Anywhere is fine as long as it's not at Dog’s home. He is protective and territorial, and he sees you as a trespasser. Have your “Meet & Greet” in a quasi-Switzerland and watch neutrality provide positive results.

• Bow - Wow

Bow down to Dog on his level. Establish those ground rules by literally getting down on the ground and then wow him with his love language—a Frisbee, a tennis ball, a peanut butter stuffed Kong. As long as your partner gives you the go ahead, pack your pockets full full of treats. Dog will soon equate your presence with treats, quickly moving you up his ladder of affection. The sooner your competitor (and that’s how Dog views you) can change his perspective, the sooner you will be able to carry on your human love connection.

• Speak the Right Love Language

Healthy relationships require time and attention. Once you’re allowed on the sofa (but not in Dog’s favorite spot, of course), invite Dog onto your lap (assuming he is not a St. Bernard), and give him a rub behind the ears. Other ways to heighten your appeal?  Become his primary food distributor, engage in fun interactive games (fetch, fetch and fetch!), assume pet routines and duties and best of all, get to know him.

• Teach Your Children Well

Dogs are trained to follow a pack leader, so be that leader. Make eye contact and stay the course. Your significant other can help by immediately nipping any aggressive behavior in the bud. The sooner Dog learns that you are his new Alpha (or at least his Beta), the happier life will be for you both. 

• Dog Eat Dog World

Despite your best intentions, it is possible that Dog will just not learn to like you. A dog’s trust and respect are not always automatic. And even the best laid plans can’t guarantee that his canine heart will be won over. 

In the end, if your human love relationship is worth continuing, Dog may have to permanently move in with a friend, a cousin, a neighbor. Beware of the possible resentment this might provoke on the part of your significant other; both of you must agree that this is the best choice for your future as a couple.

Hopefully, with dedication and effort, you will find yourself enveloped in a happy and accepting trio: your significant other, Dog and you. And you’ll feel like Top Dog.

Emergency Kit For Your Pet

Of course, the best way to handle emergency situations is to avoid them by keeping your pet safe and healthy. However, in spite of your best efforts, accidents can happen. Here are some tips to consider before you need to use them.

Pet First Aid Kit

Always keep within reach the phone numbers for your veterinarian, emergency clinic, poison control center, etc. Keep a copy of your pet's health records where you can easily find them. You may also want to invest in a book that covers first aid procedures. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations. For example, the ASPCA's Complete Dog Care Manual and Complete Cat Care Manual have excellent information on first aid principles, as well as what to do in case of traffic injury. The book also contains useful information on how to perform artificial respiration and what steps to follow in case of poisoning, burns, insect bites, etc.

Have a pet carrier so you can safely transport your pet to an emergency clinic or veterinary hospital. Remember: An injured or ill pet may not act like its normal, sweet-tempered self. Handle the pet with care so you don't get bitten or scratched and need emergency treatment yourself!

Keep an emergency kit on hand with such items as:

• Bandages

• Adhesive tape

• Cotton

• Antiseptic cream

• Sterile dressings

• Gauze

• Thermometer

• Tweezers

• Scissors

• Blanket

Avoiding DIY Veterinary Care Can Save You and Your Pet

While making a hair color change or painting a room seem reasonable to do yourself, when it comes to your pet’s health, it’s best to leave that to the professionals. Do-it-yourself (DIY) or "at-home" tests for Heartworm, Ehrlichia, Lyme disease, Feline Leukemia and other diseases have recently begun to infiltrate the online market. And while it may seem like an easy and inexpensive way to test your pets, these products may actually wind up causing your pet – and wallet – more harm than good. Messing up an at-home test is not merely creating the risk of a beauty blunder, but actually putting your animal’s safety, and even trust, in jeopardy.

In fact, one user review stated that after cutting her dog’s nail to get a blood sample for the test, it took her three months before her dog would let her touch its feet again. Another comment expressed a similar sentiment, stating that her dog "now hated [her] and is hiding under the bed." Further, she could not stop her dog’s toenail bleeding and now has spots all over her bedspread. Yet another review, written by a self-proclaimed ex-groomer, discusses how to cut the nail precisely enough as to avoid the vein. But what if you’re not a groomer? And what if you can’t stop the bleeding? In trying to avoid a trip to the veterinarian, you have actually created another reason for a visit. And what if the test is positive and you need treatment? Cue… the second trip.

Admittedly, there may be conveniences and cost benefits to using at-home tests if everything goes accordingly to plan. There are a few positive reviews (most notably on the product websites themselves) from people who had luck with collecting blood samples from their pets. However, it's when things don't go as directed on the back of the box, that you should be worried. To avoid the added stress for both you and your pet, leave the medical tests to your veterinarian – after all, that’s what they’re trained to do.

Home is Where the Poison is

Pet poisoning is a serious problem. Ingestion of harmful foods and chemicals is among the top reasons that pets require emergency care. However, with proper awareness and precautions, pet poisoning is preventable.

Delicious But Deadly: What You Need to Know

For your curious, non-discriminating pet, home offers a buffet of tempting but harmful treats. The biggest threats include:

• Human medicine - Over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil), prescription medications (such as heart medications and anti-depressants), as well as dietary supplements

• Flea and tick preventives - Always follow recommended dosages and instructions and never use treatments intended for a dog on a cat. Exceeding recommended doses is dangerous and not the way to kill more fleas and ticks.

• Human food - Chocolate, garlic, onions, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, the artificial sweetener xylitol (found in sugar-free gum), and avocados are toxic to pets.

• Household cleaners and chemicals - paint, paint thinners, solvents, and pool chemicals (etc.!)

• Plants - According to the Pet Poison Helpline, the most common poisonous household plants are the autumn crocus, azalea, cyclamen, kalanchoe, lilies, oleander, dieffenbachia, daffodils, lily of the valley, sago palm, tulips and hyacinths. And don’t forget about poinsettias, mistletoe and holly during the holidays.

• Rodenticides - Use with extreme caution because they are engineered to be appetizing. The most common type uses an anticoagulant, which causes internal bleeding and death.

• Pest control baits and insecticides - Though less harmful than rodenticides, bait containers themselves post a risk if ingested.

• Lawn and garden chemicals - Allow for proper drying time (up to 48 hours) in the area before giving pets access to treated areas and plants.

• Antifreeze - Antifreeze is very sweet and attractive to dogs. There is an antidote but it must be given shortly after ingestion, so if you suspect ingestion seek veterinary attention immediately.

What You Can Do: Pet-Proofing Prevents Problems

Keep cleaners and other harmful chemicals in a secure, or locked cabinet and clean up any spills immediately. Use organic alternatives whenever possible. Keep all medicine in a bathroom and if you are concerned about your pet gobbling a dropped pill, close the door before taking. Keep people food out of reach and remind all family members and guests not to feed your pets. Remember that a determined or bored pet can chew through containers, bottles and even child-safe locks.

If you suspect that your pet has eaten something poisonous, act quickly. Contact your veterinarian, local emergency hospital, and/or the Pet Poison Helpline at (800) 213-6680.