The veterinarians and staff at the Irving Pet 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

Thanksgiving: Sharing the Bounty with Your Pets

Thanksgiving is a holiday meant for gathering around the dinner table with family and friends to share in your thanks for all that you have and all that you’re about to consume! For many pet owners, Fido and Mittens are valued members of the family and saying ‘no’ to their pleading eyes may be something you skimp on given the special occasion.

You may already know of the Thanksgiving foods to avoid feeding your pet, for various health and safety reasons. Those foods include raw or bone-ridden bits of turkey, raw bread dough and cake batter, walnuts, mushrooms, onions and garlic, sage and nutmeg, and, of course, chocolate. There are, however, some foods which should be perfectly safe to share with most pets.

Turkey – In small amounts, and without bones or excess skin and fat, cooked turkey is just fine to feed your pets under the table.

Pumpkin – Again, in small amounts, pumpkin is safe for pets and can even quell an upset stomach if they’ve overdone it on other tasty Thanksgiving fare. With a bounty of beta carotene, vitamins, and fiber, pumpkin also helps with digestion. And, if you’re trying to help your pet slim down, it’s low-calorie!

Sweet Potatoes – If your pets are at your feet during meal preparation, a taste of sweet potato won’t hurt them. Just be sure it’s before you add any of the sweet deliciousness, as pets will have a hard time digesting it. Cooked and plain is the way to go.

Veggies – Most pets enjoy the satisfying crunch of raw vegetables. Carrots and broccoli are packed with beneficial vitamins!

Even though it’s Thanksgiving remember: Everything in moderation, especially for your pets. If your kitty or pooch does overindulge, they could develop a serious upset stomach, diarrhea, or an inflammatory condition of the pancreas. Try to keep your pets on their regular diets through the holiday and supplement the above Thanksgiving goodies only as small treats.

Veterans and Dogs: Companions of Hope

With Veteran's Day quickly approaching, it is an opportune time to commemorate not only our soldiers and veterans- but those important canine friends that help our servicemen and servicewomen’s reentry to American life.

Engaging in military battles or conflict can create anxiety in even the hardiest of soldiers. Unfortunately, sometimes that anxiety permeates their emotional state in such a way so as to disrupt their attempts at a "normal" life once they return home.

Oftentimes, returned soldiers can suffer not only from anxiety but also from depression, fear and substance abuse. Anyone who has gone through a life-threatening event can develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that can include reliving the experience through memories, nightmares or flashbacks. PTSD can also cause a victim to avoid situations that remind him/her of the event, create negative feelings, and initiate hyperarousal (living with a chronic state of fight or flight). These hard-to-overcome emotions can paralyze veterans, dismantle family life, and prevent an individual’s chance at happiness.

PTSD Therapy Dog

Pawsible Help

A specially trained PTSD dog can give its owner a sense of comfort, security, calm. Like all service dogs, a psychiatric service dog is individually trained to perform tasks that mitigate the owner’s disability. With PTSD, some of these mitigating tasks may involve:

- Providing environmental assessments (entering a room prior to the owner and making sure “the coast is clear”)
- Interrupting an owner’s repetitive or injurious behavior
- Reminding the owner to take medication
- Guiding the handler away from stressful situations.

PTSD Therapy Dog

Creature Comforts

Much research has been performed that demonstrates dogs’ ability to serve as good companions, elicit feelings of love and affection, and reduce stress in humans. These and other natural canine virtues make dogs the perfect therapist for a PTSD survivor. These well-trained service dogs draw individuals out of their shells and help them overcome their emotional numbness or fear. Researchers have also concluded that human-dog bonding has biological effects such as adjusting serotonin levels, lowering blood pressure and overcoming depression.

If you or someone you care about has been affected by PTSD and could benefit from special canine companionship, contact either of the following organizations for more information:

- Canines 4 Hope, 1-772-631-4931 or
- Service Dog Express,

Thanksgiving Tips for Pets

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to gather with family and friends and indulge (and, sometimes, over-indulge) in delicious holiday treats. You can be sure that if your cat or dog is around for the festivities, they'll want to share some of the goodies, too. But no matter how much your pets purr, plead, whine or whimper, owners should remember that holiday treats that are tasty for people can be potentially harmful for pets.

Thanksgiving foods may look tasty to your pet, but they could be harmful.

The typical Thanksgiving spread is flush with a variety of foods, from savory fare like turkey and stuffing to sweet foods like yams and cream pies. Your pet's diet is much blander and boring, and for good reason—foods with lots of fat, dairy and spices can cause vomiting and diarrhea in pets. For this reason, it's best to avoid letting Rover dine on the usual turkey day leftovers. If you must give your pet some holiday foods, stick to dishes like boiled potatoes or rice, which will not upset your pet's stomach.

Some holiday foods, however, can cause much more than an upset stomach in your pet. Garlic and onions are members of the allium family and, if eaten in large quantities, can cause hemolytic anemia, a blood disorder that causes red blood cells to burst. Raisins and grapes are also toxic to pets and have been linked to kidney failure.

Chocolate is one of the most dangerous foods that pets can eat—it's also one of the most prevalent holiday foods. Whether chocolate is found in cookies, cakes, truffles or baking squares, any amount can be dangerous. Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, both methylxanthines that can cause stimulation of the nervous system, increased heart rate and tremors. Signs of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, hyperactivity and increased thirst, urination and heart rate.

Chocolate is dangerous for pets

Other sweet treats, like gum and hard candies, can also make your pet ill. Sugar-free candies and gum are made with xylitol, a sugar substitute that can cause a drop in blood sugar, depression, loss of coordination and seizures in your pet. Xylitol is also linked to liver failure in dogs. Be sure to keep all candies, chocolate and other sweets out of your pet's reach. If you believe your pet may have ingested chocolate or candy, call your veterinarian immediately.

You may also be tempted to give your dog a leftover turkey bone or two once the table is cleared. However, poultry bones are small and easily breakable and can easily shatter and get caught in your pet's throat. These bones can cause damage to your pet's throat or lead to choking.

Holidays can also be as stressful for your pet as they are for you. Large gatherings of unfamiliar people may cause your dog or cat unnecessary stress and worry. If your pet does not interact well with strangers, keeping him or her in a separate room during the festivities may help keep your pet relaxed and worry-free.

During holiday gatherings, it's a good idea to keep your veterinarian's phone number handy. If your pet does get a hold of some Thanksgiving food and experiences mild vomiting or diarrhea, you can help settle their stomach by withholding food for a few hours then feeding small amounts of boiled rice and cooked hamburger. If the symptoms persist, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Traveling With Pets Just Got Easier at O’Hare

Astroturf has been introduced at the O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. It isn’t replacing the airport’s paved landing strips, but it can now be found in a small corner of Terminal 3. An artificial grass carpeted bathroom for pets has been installed indoors for passengers traveling with pets and service animals.

Complete with miniature fire hydrants, the green oases are designed to make “going” in a bustling airport as comfortable as possible for pets and their owners. Located just outside the Rotunda area of Terminal 3, the room is accessible via an automatic glass door and includes a pop-up sprinkler system to wash away urine. Pet owners can also pick up a hose themselves and wash-up either of the room’s two 2-foot by 4-foot “relief areas” once their pet has done his or her duties. Just like city streets, pet waste bags will be used when pets go “number two.”

“We are pleased to offer this new amenity for passengers, especially those who depend on the assistance of service animals when they travel through our airport," said Ginger Evans, Chicago Department of Aviation commissioner. "This is another way we are making O'Hare International Airport more accessible to the traveling public and creating a more welcoming environment for visitors to Chicago."

The new room is beneficial to pet owners, who previously had to pass through security checkpoints to reenter terminals after taking pets to any of the airport’s three outdoor pet restroom areas. The room is wheelchair accessible and complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act, making travel much more convenient for disabled passengers with service animals.

With more people and pets taking to the skies, airports are evolving to meet the needs of their customers. Indoor pet restrooms are just the launching point, however. Denver International Airport has become the first to boast an on-airport pet boarding facility. The 25,000 square-foot space includes private suites, a bone-shaped splashing pool, flat screen TVs, on-site medical experts, obedience training, and, for when pets really need to relax and wind down, massage therapy.

The Department of Transportation began requiring all U.S. airlines to provide animal relief areas at airports, as well as escorts to those areas for any passenger traveling with a service animal, in 2009. O’Hare’s outdoor relief areas are still located near the lower curb in front of Terminals 1, 2, and 5. With natural grass, wood chips, or gravel, the spaces are fenced in and also require owners to clean up after their pets.

Other airports which have introduced indoor pet relief areas include: San Diego International Airport, CA; Palm Springs International Airport, CA; Fresno Yosemite International Airport, CA; Sea-Tac Airport, WA; Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, MN; Washington Dulles International Airport, VA; Pittsburgh International Airport, PA; Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, TX; Detroit Metro Airport, MI; Asheville Regional Airport, NC; Fayetteville Regional Airport, NC; and Memphis International Airport, TN.

Source: Chicago Tribune

VIDEO: Modern Veterinary Anesthesia

Do you worry whenever your pet might need surgery? Of course you do...the Internet is full of all sorts of information about the dangers your beloved animal might face when under anesthesia. But, how true is that? Are pets dying every day while undergoing routine spays, neuters and other procedures? Watch this video to see the real story and understand how veterinarians and animal hospitals are working hard to make sure that your four legged friend's surgery goes smoothly and safely!

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The Most Unique Felines You Know Nothing About

Many pet owners can rattle off a slew of different dog breeds, but how many different cat breeds can you name? It probably isn’t that many and that’s a shame because some absolutely gorgeous or interesting kitties have fascinating names and histories. Here are a few that top our list:

Longhaired Maine Coon Cat – The state’s official cat, Maine Coons are one of the oldest natural breeds in North America and they’re a sight to behold. A large breed, they come in a variety of colors and patterns and are known for their intelligence, hunting skills, and lovable personalities. Their exact origins remain unknown, but some believe they are decedent of cats brought over by the Vikings long before Columbus landed at Plymouth Rock.

Norwegian Forest Cat – Speaking of Vikings, this large Nordic breed’s history goes back to ancient tales of Norse goddess Freya, whose chariot was pulled by six giant cats. Although they almost went extinct, they are now very popular in Europe. In Norway, the word used for forest cat is “skogcatt,” but the breed is often called “Wegie” for short. These cats are smart, independent, and known for being climbers and hunters – mice beware!

Khao Manee – This “White Gem” is a very rare breed from Thailand. All white, they are often referred to as the Diamond Eye Cat because their eyes sparkle vivid blue, gold, or one of each color. They are muscular and athletic and known to enjoy meowing and communicating with their owners. They recently gained popularity and have been adopted by Western cat breeders.

Balinese – Siamese cats are agile and gorgeous, but their longhaired cousin, the Balinese is named for the graceful dancers of the Indonesian island of Bali. These beautiful cats love their humans and will follow them around for attention, but with much less vocalization than their shorthaired cousin. They are very active and social.


American Curl Cat – Have you ever flipped your pet’s ears inside-out? This breed is characterized by ears that curl outward. Extremely affectionate, this breed is one of the youngest – first appearing in Lakewood, California in the early 1980’s. All Curls are decedent of one named Shulamith, after a princess in the biblical book “Song of Solomon.”

Scottish Fold – These felines look a bit sad. While the Curl’s ears curl outward, the Fold’s ears fold inward. Their trademark ears don’t begin to lop over until kittens are around 3 to 4 weeks of age – and those whose don’t are referred to as “straights.” Pop artist Taylor Swift regularly shows off two of her own, Meredith and Olivia Benson, to adoring fans via social media.

Cornish Rex – This breed may not be easy on the eyes, but give one a pet. These kitties lack their outer coats and only have their soft, often curly, undercoat. This makes the rex’s coat the softest of any breed in the world. They typically weigh only 6 to 10 lbs. and have very confident personalities. The longhaired Selkirk Rex, on the other hand, has a thick, full, mop-like coat.

VIDEO: Lost and Found with Modern Technology

For more than 15 years, pet owners have heard about the security and peace of mind that microchip identification can bring. But with new and confusing additions to the market, plus several competing database sites, just how safe is your pet? Is it possible that your microchipped pet might not make it home? This high tech identification for pets is a great idea, but may not be ready for prime time. Watch this video to learn more.


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November is Pet Diabetes Month

November is National Diabetes Month, but with more than 50% of the nation’s cats and dogs overweight or obese, raising awareness of the common endocrine disease has been extended to pets – rather than just their human caretakers. It is estimated that one in every 200 cats may be affected by diabetes, being the most common endocrine condition found in felines. The numbers for dogs are similar and only expected to increase.

Diabetes results when a pet’s body doesn’t produce enough insulin (Type I DM) or doesn’t process it properly (Type II DM). When your pet eats, carbohydrates found in his or her food are converted into simple sugars, one of which is glucose. Glucose is then absorbed into the bloodstream through the intestines and travels to cells throughout the body. Inside cells, insulin typically helps turn the glucose into fuel. However, when there isn’t enough insulin, glucose can’t even enter the cells to be converted into energy and instead just builds up in the bloodstream.

Symptoms of Diabetes in Cats & Dogs

• Lethargy

• Excessive Thirst

• Frequent Urination

• Always Hungry, Yet Maintains or Loses Weight

• Thinning, dry, and dull coats in cats

• Cloudy Eyes, in dogs

At-Risk Pets

• Those with genetic predispositions

• Those with other insulin-related disorders

• Those who are obese &/or physically inactive

• Dogs who are between 4- to 14-years-old

• Unspayed/intact female dogs are twice as likely to suffer from diabetes

• Dog breeds with greater risk for development: Cocker Spaniels, Dachshunds, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Labs, Pomeranians, terriers, and Toy Poodles

Although diabetes can’t be cured, it can be managed so that symptoms are reduced or eliminated entirely. Your veterinarian will decide which treatment options are best for your pet. Often, changes in diet and lifestyle, combined with or without daily insulin injections, can help your pet live a happy, healthy, active life.

If you’ve noticed any of the above symptoms in your pet and suspect he or she may have diabetes, contact your veterinarian today. Veterinarians are the only professionals who can accurately diagnose your pet and provide proper health management. Diabetes can affect a pet differently over time, even if your pet has experienced a long period of stability. The sooner your pet is diagnosed, the better, and the less likely you'll incur the cost of an expensive emergency visit for diabetic complications.

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