Newsletter

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

What You Need to Know: Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) in 2015

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is an immune-mediated contagious viral disease of cats caused by certain strains of the feline coronavirus. The disease is progressive and eventually fatal.

How the Disease is Spread and Risk Factors

Although FIP is not highly contagious, infected cats can transmit the virus through body fluids (respiratory and oral secretions) and feces. Infection occurs by inhalation or ingestion of the virus. Close contact between cats is very important for transmission of the disease. The disease can also be passed from mothers to unborn kittens or through milk.

Cats living in multiple cat populations, such as in shelters or catteries, are at the greatest risk of FIP infection. Cats with weakened immune systems, including kittens or seniors or those with the feline leukemia virus (FeLV) or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), are most susceptible; however, cats of all ages can become infected.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms of FIP include fever, weight loss, fatigue, and lack of appetite followed by a swollen abdomen, jaundice, kidney and liver disorders and eye problems. Due to the vague and generalized symptoms of FIP, your veterinarian may test your cat when he / she is ill in order to rule out this disease.



As the disease progresses, cats typically develop either a "wet" or "dry" form of FIP. The wet form is characterized by an accumulation of thick yellow fluid in the body cavities. In the dry form, nodular masses are seen on the surface and inside certain organs such as the spleen, liver, kidneys, eyes, brain and lungs.

Diagnosis of FIP is made through a combination of physical examination, your cat’s history, presenting symptoms, X-ray and laboratory tests.

What to do if Your Cat has FIP

Unfortunately, there is no cure for this fatal disease. If your cat is diagnosed with FIP, we recommend supportive care, including easing the effects of the symptoms, providing good nutrition and of course giving your sweet companion lots of love and attention. There has been an FIP vaccination since 2002, but it is controversial due to its ineffectiveness. Research aimed at slowing the disease’s progress is ongoing.

If you have a multi-cat household, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of FIP. These include scooping litter daily, thoroughly disinfecting the litter box regularly and keeping the litter box away from food and water dishes. Keeping up with your cats’ vaccinations and providing a good diet are also important. If you suspect one of your cats has FIP, he or she should immediately be separated from your other cats and taken to your veterinary hospital for testing.

To learn more about FIP, schedule an appointment, or to have your cat(s) tested for FIP, please call the veterinary hospital today.

Home is Where the Poison Is

March is Poison Prevention Awareness Month. 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 preventatives: 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; 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.

VIDEO: Therapy Dogs and Cats Relieve Stress in Hospitals

Everyone knows how beneficial pets can be in our lives. But now, recent scientific evidence has actually proven what pet owners already knew. Heart failure patients who spent 12 minutes with a dog or cat had lower stress hormone levels, lower blood pressure levels, and a general brighter outlook about their recovery. Therapy dogs, and cats, have now started their rounds, under "doctor's orders". Watch this video to learn more.

 

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How to Take Pictures of Your Pets

Wish you had a lens ready for those cute moments when Whiskers snuggles up against Spot on the couch? Or when Fido gives you that adorable look? More often than not, we are simply not picture-ready for those picture-perfect moments of our pets. And by the time we finally reach for our cameras, the moment has already passed. If this sounds familiar, here are a few tips to help your pet get the spotlight he deserves:

Can I have your attention?

  1. Timing is everything: With animals, time is always of the essence. Your pet is constantly moving, so having a camera that’s both accessible and easy-to-shoot may be key to capturing those fleeting moments. Where movement presents an issue, photographers also recommend shooting in “burst mode” whenever possible.   
  2. Get low: You may need to do some gymnastics in order to accomplish the shots you want. Shooting from a comfortable angle probably won’t allow those cute puppy eyes to shine through. Getting down to your pet’s level will instantly improve your shots.
  3. Shoot like a video camera: Instead of waiting for your pet to do something cute before reaching for your camera, try reversing your steps. Grab your camera and wait for your pet to entertain you. Usually we’re just a few seconds too late. But if you already have your camera ready, you’re sure to catch Fido in the act.
  4. Keep shooting: Especially in the age of digital photography, there’s no reason you can’t rapid fire until you find that one shot that perfectly captures the moment. After twenty shots, you’re bound to get one image that fits the bill.
  5. Use natural lighting: It’s best to use natural lighting when photographing your pets. If you have to use a flash, avoid taking the photo from straight on, otherwise you’ll get a red-eye effect. Photographers typically recommend soft morning light or early evening light that comes through trees or windows.   
  6. Get their attention: Though the best shots are usually candid, it often helps to get your pet’s attention using treats, toys, or simply calling their name. Remember, dogs will often respond to multiple calls, but chose your battles wisely with Whiskers – she may only fall for that trick once.  
  7. Experiment: Play around with your camera’s various modes and shutter speeds to see what best suits your animal’s movements and personality. Each picture tells a story, so don’t be afraid to play around with your camera until you’ve created the story you want to tell.

Dog in Costume

Pets can be the most fun – albeit complicated – subjects to photograph. With some time, patience, and a lot of experimenting, you too can get the shots of Fido you’ve always wanted. So go ahead, snap away!

What's Your Dog Saying?

1. You catch your dog doing something you don't want him to do and you yell at him. Your dog is not making eye contact with you. His lips are pulled back and his ears are flat against his head. He turns his head away from you and licks his lips when you approach. What is your dog expressing?

  1. Submission
  2. Guilt
  3. Stubbornness
  4. Fear

2. You meet a strange dog. He snarls at you with his hackles (the hair on his back) raised. His tail is held low and stiff and his ears are laid back. What is this dog saying?

  1. I am afraid and may bite or run.
  2. I am the boss and I am going to bite you.
  3. I am afraid and will run away.
  4. I am angry.

3. Your dog is chattering his teeth. What is he saying?

  1. I smell a female dog in heat.
  2. I am hungry.
  3. I am cold.
  4. I am feeling car sick.

4. Your male dog mounts another male. Why?

  1. Because he likes other male dogs.
  2. Because he wants to mate and is frustrated.
  3. Because he likes the other dog.
  4. To show that he is the boss.

5. A dog is approaching you slowly. He is looking directly into your eyes and seems to be walking on his tiptoes. His ears are up and his tail is also up and wagging slowly. What is he saying?

  1. I am curious.
  2. I am friendly.
  3. I may bite you.
  4. I am scared.

6. Your dog faces you and is panting. He bows down on his front legs with his tail wagging quickly. He barks in a high-pitched voice. What is he saying?

  1. I am frustrated.
  2. I need to go outside!
  3. I want some food.
  4. Play with me!

7. Your dog yawns. What is he saying?

  1. I am bored.
  2. I need a walk.
  3. I am tired.
  4. I am nervous.

8. A dog you don't know comes up to you and takes your hand in his mouth without biting it. What is he saying?

  1. I want some food.
  2. Hello!
  3. If you move, I'll bite you.
  4. I am worried.

9. You approach a puppy whom you just caught urinating on the floor. He rolls over on his back and urinates again. What is he saying?

  1. I am submissive.
  2. I am spiteful. I urinate on the floor on purpose.
  3. I am not housebroken.
  4. I will urinate where I please.

10. You are teaching your dog something new. After a bit of work, he scratches at his neck. You are sure he doesn't have any fleas. Why is he scratching?

  1. He needs a break.
  2. He is being stubborn.
  3. He is itchy.
  4. He wants to pull his collar off.

Answer Key

  1. A
  2. A
  3. A
  4. D
  5. C
  6. D
  7. D
  8. A
  9. A
  10. A
VIDEO: Top Products to Help Pets and Help Pets Have Fun

From webpages online to catalogs and even grocery store shelves, products for our pets are showing up everywhere. Pet owners have literally hundreds of thousands of choices when it comes to finding play items, grooming needs and even products that help with behavior issues. But, how do you know what is a GOOD product and which ones should be left alone? Take a few moments to watch this video and see some Top Pet Products recommended by veterinarians!

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