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Keeping Your Pet Safe and Happy During Your New Year’s Celebration

New Year’s Eve is a time to celebrate and welcome the new year ahead, but this day can cause a lot of stress and dangers for our pets. So, how can you keep your pets happy and safe during this exciting night?

Remember that animals are more sensitive to loud noises than humans, which means that many pets are afraid of fireworks, loud music, and the bustle of large crowds. Certain foods, drinks, and decorations at your gatherings can also cause trouble for your cat or dog as well. It is hard to keep pets safe during holiday celebrations, but VRC is here with a few tips for pet safety during the New Year’s festivities.

1.     Leave your pets home

If you are taking your celebration outside of your home, it is best to leave your pets behind. At home, your pets feel safe and secure. Since it is likely to be loud outside, VRC recommends leaving your pets in a quiet area of your home. If your pet is especially fearful of loud noises, it may be a good idea to have some familiar noises playing to drown out the scary sounds. Comforting music or the television can help make your pet feel less anxious while you are away.

2.     Keep your pets inside

Dogs and cats may try to run or escape when they are frightened. Keeping your pets indoors as much as possible can prevent them from getting out and lost. VRC also advises you to keep windows closed and watch the door leading outside closely to make sure your pet doesn’t escape.

If possible, you may even want to keep your pets in a separate room away from all the festivities. Not only will this keep them from dashing out the door, but it can also prevent them from ingesting things that they shouldn’t and keep them calmer.

Keep your pet leashed if you need to take them out for a bathroom break—even if you have a fenced-in yard. A leash will give you more control if your pet is spooked. You may even want to use a harness instead of a collar that your pet may be able to slip out of. Keep in mind that during times of high-stress or excitement, pets can act in abnormal ways that you may not expect given their usual personality and demeanor.

3.     Check and update information on your pet’s ID tag

Just in case your pet happens to get lost during New Year’s Eve celebrations, make sure all information on your pet’s ID tag is up-to-date. If your pet is microchipped, check the information on that as well. Even if your pet is microchipped, make sure that they are wearing an ID tag. It is better to be safe, and the more ways that someone can contact you, the more likely you are to find your pet.

4.     Keep alcohol and food out of reach

Alcohol is very dangerous—even in small amounts—to cats and dogs. If you are celebrating the New Year with alcohol, keep it out of reach from your pets. Since alcohol is toxic to cats and dogs, it can cause drooling, dry heaving, vomiting, a distended abdomen, low blood pressure, weakness, and more, which could lead to coma or death.

A lot of people foods are dangerous for cats and dogs. During a party, it can be hard to watch your pet to make sure they aren’t getting into anything that could be harmful to them. Keep all food out of reach to prevent any problems. You may also want to speak to your guests and ask that they don’t feed your pet anything during the party.

Contact a veterinarian right away if you suspect that your pet has ingested alcohol or a problem food. Watch out for bones, fatty foods, chocolate, grapes/raisins, and other common foods that are toxic or harmful to pets.

5.     Be mindful of decorations and party supplies

Streamers, balloons, confetti, and other party decorations can cause big trouble for our pets. They not only can cause an upset stomach, but they could cause an intestinal blockage or cause your pet to choke. If you think that your pet has ingested a foreign object, contact an emergency veterinarian.

6.     Wear your pet out earlier in the day

Before the festivities begin, exercise or play with your pet. A tired pet is less likely to have built-up energy that can make them even more anxious. A tired dog or cat may just sleep through any of the stressors caused by New Year’s Eve celebrations, which makes your life much easier.

How Can You Manage Already Anxious Pets?

If your pet is already anxious, it may be a good idea to get anti-anxiety medications for your pet before New Year’s Eve. Set up an appointment with your veterinarian to see if anti-anxiety medications are something that your dog or cat could benefit from. Always speak to your veterinarian before giving your pet any medications, and only give your pet anti-anxiety medications prescribed and given out by a veterinarian. Many human medications are not suitable for pets and can be extremely dangerous.

It is also a good idea to try to maintain your pet’s normal routine as much as possible during the festivities. A routine can help reduce stress in pets. Make any necessary adjustments to keep your pets safe, however.

For anxious pets, following the advice listed above can be very beneficial. Creating a safe space for your pet that is away from noise, commotion, and other stressors can be the best way to manage an already anxious pet during the hustle and bustle of New Year’s celebrations.

What Should You Do If Your Pet Gets Loose?

Your natural instinct will be to chase your pet, but chasing a scared pet will only make them run more. Instead, grab some of your pet’s food or treats and try to call them back to you. You can also try to follow them with food or treats.

If you can’t manage to get your pet to come back to you, you can contact your local animal control officers for help.

What Should You Do If Your Pet Ingests a Dangerous Substance or Item?

Keep the phone number of an emergency veterinarian handy. If you believe that your pet has consumed a dangerous food item or something that isn’t food at all, give the emergency veterinarian a call. They can advise you on whether or not you need to bring your pet in.

Even if they don’t believe that the problem is serious enough for a visit to the veterinary ER, they can still walk you through how to make sure your pet is fine. If you notice any worrisome symptoms later, you should contact a 24/7 emergency veterinarian or go ahead and bring your pet into the ER.

VRC offers 24/7 emergency veterinary services to the Greater Philadelphia area 365 days a year. If you believe your pet needs emergency medical care this New Year’s, call VRC at 610-647-2950 or stop in, no appointment necessary.

Holiday Pet Safety

Happy holidays from our family to yours! As you enjoy the festivities this year, be sure to keep pet safety in mind so that everyone can be sure to have a wonderful winter season.

Download our holiday pet safety guide by clicking HERE to learn more.

How to Manage Your Cat’s Weight

Obesity is a major cause for concern in any being and it can quickly lead to other health issues. In cats, excess weight and obesity can cause serious medical conditions that can lead to a deteriorating overall health. Feline weight management can be difficult, because cats that are overweight tend to be less active, and a diet that isn’t approved by a vet can cause serious health complications.

VRC knows how difficult it can be to manage your cat’s weight properly, and we wanted to share some important information to keep in mind regarding feline obesity.

Why Does Your Cat Need to Lose Weight?

If your cat is overweight or obese, he or she will be at a higher risk for many health conditions. Instead of worrying about if your overweight cat will develop a serious medical condition, the concern is really about when it will happen.

Overweight or obese cats are three times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than cats with a healthy weight. Type 2 diabetes can be a very serious condition, and it can lead to further medical issues as well. Cats with type 2 diabetes may become dehydrated, depressed, or comatose when left untreated, and may need to visit with a veterinary internist in the Greater Philadelphia area for management. Diabetes can even be fatal in cats.

Heart disease is also a concern in felines that are overweight or obese. The additional weight causes cardiovascular stress, which can lead to heart disease that would need to be addressed by a veterinary cardiologist in the Greater Philadelphia area. Heart disease can lead to heart failure. Symptoms of heart failure include lethargy, unhealthy weight loss, weakness, coughing, and difficulty breathing. Eventually, heart failure can cause death.

Orthopedic injuries are common in cats with obesity. These injuries can cause pain and stiffness, as well as permanent damage to joints. It is very important to keep cats at a healthy weight to avoid injuries such as these that can cause chronic pain and a decreased quality of life. Orthopedic injuries can also be debilitating and may require vet surgery at VRC to correct.

Another concern in cats that are overweight or obese is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that causes the cartilage cushion in the joints to break down. In turn, bones start to rub together and cause pain, stiff joints, and bone spurs. Over time, you may notice your cat is less active due to the discomfort osteoarthritis causes, which can further exacerbate weight problems.

How to Tell If Your Cat is Overweight or Obese?

VRC’s number one advice for determining whether or not your cat is overweight or obese is visiting your family veterinarian. However, you can also try the following tests at home.

First, cats with a healthy weight have ribs that are easy to feel. Just behind the shoulder blades, run your fingers flat against your cat’s ribcage. If you can’t easily feel individual ribs, your cat may be overweight. Second, at the end of the ribcage, you should be able to see and feel an indentation that creates a similar shape to an hourglass on your cat.

Overweight cats may also have a droopy stomach. The stomach of a healthy cat should feel like it is “tucked up” under the pelvis. This can be the hardest way to test for excess weight or obesity, but imagine that a line extends from your cat’s breastbone to the pelvis. This line should form an angle between 30° and 45°.

If you notice that these conditions are not met, take your cat to a veterinarian for further examination. A vet can quickly tell you if your cat is overweight or obese and help you get started on a path to better health for your pet.

What to Do If Your Cat is Overweight or Obese?

The first thing you should do if your cat is overweight or obese is consult with your veterinarian. Vets have access to resources and knowledge that you might not be able to get. With the help of a veterinarian, you can set up a diet and exercise plan that will reduce your cat’s weight.

Many vets will offer suggestions for getting your cat to be more active. Your vet can help you personalize your cat’s exercise routine to something he or she will be likely to participate in. Playing with your cat for a few minutes a day can dramatically help with weight loss. Take ten minutes in the morning and another ten minutes in the evening to get out some toys and let your cat burn some calories while having fun.

Not all cats like playing with toys, however. If your cat doesn’t like toys, it won’t be beneficial to attempt playtime. Instead, your vet can offer up suggestions like walking your cat or moving your cat’s food bowl to require more physical activity. Feeding your pet from a food puzzle can help your cat lose weight by requiring him or her to work for food.

One great way to help your cat safely lose weight is through a veterinary physical rehabilitation program at VRC. With therapies such as hydrotherapy, vets can safely exercise your cat down to a healthier weight in ways that are easy on delicate joints. In cases where injuries caused by obesity are severe, surgery may be necessary to repair it. After surgery, physical rehabilitation provides a safe way for your pet to heal while still being active enough to lose some of the problem weight during recovery. VRC’s rehabilitation program can help cats lose weight in a safe, injury-free way.

Dieting is very tricky with cats. Putting your cat on a diet can cause him or her to avoid eating altogether. If your cat doesn’t eat for a few days in a row, he or she can be at risk for developing hepatic lipidosis, a life-threatening liver disease sometimes referred to as fatty liver syndrome. Consulting with your vet before restricting or changing food is extremely important in the process of healthy weight loss for your cat. If a food change is necessary, your vet will provide you with a timeline for gradually switching over food formulas.

VRC is well-equipped to assist your cat with losing weight, as well as addressing medical issues that arise from pet obesity. If you believe that you have a cat with weight issues or a resulting medical condition and you live in Greater Philadelphia area, contact VRC at 610-647-2950 today.

What Do Soft Tissue and Orthopedic Surgeries in Pets Entail?

Much like humans, pets can suffer from a number of different painful ailments that may require surgery as treatment. At VRC , our board-certified surgeons are prepared for your pet’s surgical needs, including veterinary soft tissue and orthopedic surgeries.

Dogs and cats of certain breeds may be more prone to diseases and conditions that require surgery at some point during the course of their lives. Whether the problem with your pet is congenital, traumatic or age-related, and either soft tissue or orthopedic, the veterinary surgeons at VRC are ready to help.

VRC is a great option for people near Malvern, Pennsylvania or the Greater Philadelphia area who have pets in need of surgical care. Our team is dedicated to helping treat your beloved pets during all stages of the surgical process.

Orthopedic Surgery

Veterinary orthopedic surgery is used to treat musculoskeletal issues found in pets. If a pet suffers from a traumatic injury that leads to, fractured bone or torn ligament, or if he or she has a degenerative condition like osteoarthritis, your family veterinarian may refer you to an orthopedic surgeon for treatment. It’s important to keep in mind that orthopedic surgeries can require multiple follow-up visits and radiographs to monitor progress during recovery.

Soft Tissue Surgery

Veterinary soft tissue surgery encompasses procedures relating to the internal organs, skin and muscle. Some common soft tissue surgeries procedures obstructive intestinal foreign body, shunt, airway, reconstructive, and cancer-related surgeries

One common need for a soft tissue surgery is tumor removal. When a cat or dog has a potentially cancerous mass, it is treated much like tumors in humans, and when possible,  soft tissue surgeons will remove it. Your pet would then meet with an oncologist, if needed, for further care.

What to Do After Your Pet’s Surgery

After a surgical procedure, your dog or cat will require time in the hospital and special care at home. Our surgeons will discuss post-operative care with you during your appointment so you can better understand what the surgery will entail and what care will be needed. While each surgery and pet is different, there are a few common post-operative care tips that can help you make it through.

If our doctors are concerned about your pet’s well-being immediately after surgery, he or she may want to keep your pet at the hospital for a few days. This is normal—especially if the surgery was extensive to make sure they are comfortable and recovered from their anesthesia in the initial post-operative period. However, if you pick your dog or cat up only a few hours after surgery, there are a few things you should expect.

First, your dog or cat will need a lot of rest. The first 12 to 24 hours after surgery, they will likely be groggy and confused. This is a normal side-effect of anesthesia and should wear off after 24 hours or so. After this point, you will need to make sure that your pet continues getting enough rest to heal properly.

To help your pet heal, you will need to make sure that they aren’t too active. It can be helpful to confine them to a small room or pen in your home to prevent them from running around, which can hinder the healing process and even cause infection. You can add blankets or bedding to the room or kennel to make your pet more comfortable.

Even if you have to keep your pet in a restricted area, you need to be able to give him or her plenty of attention. Surgery causes stress for your pets and you can help calm them down by sitting and talking to them. Further stress can affect healing times and require longer confinement.

In most cases, your pet will be prescribed medications for you to administer while he or she recovers. Antibiotics and pain relief medications help your pet to heal properly without infection or severe pain. Dogs that are usually extremely active may also require sedatives. It can be tricky to get cats and dogs to take medications, but it is very important that you find something that works so your pet can get the medication they need. Pill pockets often work wonders for a picky pet.

You will also need to monitor the incision from your pet’s surgery. While you may not need to clean it, you need to check it occasionally to make sure it doesn’t look like it is getting infected and that it is healing properly. You also need to prevent your pet from licking and scratching the incision site. At VRC, we always provide you with an e-collar after surgery to ensure your pet does not aggravate his or her incision. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, please give us a call for further instruction.

Especially in the case of orthopedic surgery, your cat or dog may require physical rehabilitation therapy. Our in-house physical rehabilitation center is an ideal way after surgery to get your pet comfortable and moving after surgery.  At VRC, we offer a variety of different rehabilitation services to help get your pet back to his or her normal, pain-free life., Water treadmill, acupuncture, laser therapy, and massage are just a few of the treatments VRC can use to help your pet regain mobility and prevent future injuries, as well as provide pain relief. Physical rehabilitation is also beneficial for the conditioning of canine (and feline!) athletes as well as to keep arthritic pets mobile and active.

Remember that after any kind of surgery, your pet’s surgeon may request subsequent visits to check on your pet’s progress. After each visit, your vet may have new instructions for helping your pet heal. It can be frustrating, but you and your vet have the same goal—getting your pet well. Be honest with your pet’s doctor about what you can and cannot handle, however, as it may affect further treatment plans.

If your vet believes that your cat or dog is suffering from an ailment that requires either orthopedic or soft tissue surgery and you live in the Malvern, Pennsylvania or the Greater Philadelphia area, give VRC a call today at 610-647-2950.