Client Education

Below are a few great websites , and posts from us, with trusted pet information! We feel very strongly about education – so feel free to call the hospital for more information on any topic! We have lots of educational handouts at the hospital, so please ask!  We have also started a monthly vlog and blog to help keep the information rolling from us – check them out below!

  • Know your vaccines – Parvovirus

    As many of you probably know, in addition to being a veterinarian I also run a dog rescue called Harley’s Haven.  We save puppies from high kill and rural shelters, and then help find them homes to give them a fresh start.  With running the rescue, we end up seeing a fair amount of sick babies, and one of the most common (and most preventable) illnesses we deal with, is parvovirus.

    Parvo is a HIGHLY contagious virus that is spread mainly through the feces of infected dogs.  It is a virus that attacks the intestines and stomach, so it causes severe vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration.  If it gets severe enough, it can even cause these babies to go into sepsis, and then can lead to death – it can be deadly even with the best of care, so it’s a very scary virus!  The dogs who are most susceptible are young puppies, because they have immature immune systems, and can’t fight the virus off as well as adult dogs.  PLUS, many adult dogs are vaccinated!

    The problem with this virus, is that once a puppy is ill, there is no cure.  All we can do is support them with fluids, antibiotics, nausea medications, and more to try to give them a chance.  It’s up to them and their little bodies to fight it off and pray that we caught it in time.  So that is why it is so scary, and why it can be deadly!

    The thing that is most frustrating, is that this virus is extremely easy to protect against with a vaccine that is safe, inexpensive, and widely available.  There are shot clinics, shelters, rescue groups, and veterinarians everywhere who have this vaccine available – sometimes even for free!  So please – vaccinate your dogs – they need this vaccine as a puppy as a series of 3-4 vaccines, and then a year later, and then every 3 years (or longer, talk to your veterinarian!) as adults.  And when you have young puppies, wait to take them out in public until they are fully vaccinated.  This small action could save their life!  As always, talk to your veterinarian for more info, and happy fall everyone!

  • September BLOG – Help us help Big Corn Island, Nicaragua

    Tiny island, big changes

    There is an island off the coast of Nicaragua called Big Corn Island.  This tiny, beautiful, remote, tropical island is home to about 7,500 people and their animals.  Hundreds and hundreds of dogs, cats, and even livestock, and yet there is not one veterinarian.  All these animals only have access to veterinary care 7 days out of the year – that means they are left to figure it out for themselves the other 358 days.  How do I know this you ask?  Or better yet, why do I care? 

    I know this because I am one of the veterinarians that provides vet care for 4 of those 7 days.  Now, 4 days may not sound like much, and honestly it’s not….but over the past 4 years, in just 4 days each year, we have traveled to this little island and set up shop and have been able to spay/neuter over 350 dogs and cats, and vaccinate over 1300.  This past fall there was the start of a distemper outbreak on the island, which is an incredibly preventable disease, if one has access to the vaccine.  Due to our previous vaccinating, and our support with shipping them 500 vaccines as soon as we heard – we were able to stamp it out quickly, and save so many lives.  Just a few dogs were lost, where previously when they had an outbreak, several hundred didn’t make it.  What a difference a vaccine can make!

    Now let me get to, why do I care?  Every year that we have gone back the number of people who saved their little vaccination booklet and brought it back, brings tears to my eyes.  Some of these families have a tiny house, with a dirt floor, and barely enough to get by for themselves…but they still have a dog or a cat whom they love, and they save that little book to bring back every year to make sure that they get the vaccines and the preventive care that their dog or cat needs.  They care, they just don’t have access to the medications and supplies that they need…which is where we come in.

    If we can accomplish so much on this tiny island in 4 days….my god, how much better could their lives be if there was a full-time vet on the island?  How many other ‘tiny islands’ are out there that we could truly change for the good, if the right people stepped up?  I have 2 quotes that inspire me and all that I do.  The first is by Dr Seuss – ‘Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.’  Big Corn Island has taught me that a small group of dedicated people can make a difference in the lives of hundreds of people and pets, because we care, and because we stepped up to help when we knew we could.

    And the second quote – ‘be the change you wish to see in this world.’  It is my firm belief that good people doing small tasks for the right reason, can truly change the world for the better.  And if we all banded together, just imagine the beautiful world we could live in.

    Want to help us be the change?  Come to our concert fundraiser on Saturday September 14th, donate to our rescue through our website, or donate supplies to go with us on our trip in February 2020.  Check out our website at www.harleyshavendogrescue.com or our facebook page – Big Corn Island Veterinary Expedition Team, for more details about donating, or for tickets for our upcoming concert.  We can’t do it without you – please help us be the change. 

  • March BLOG – spring slim down! Weight loss for your pets!

    Spring time = slim time!

    In a study done in 2017 on dogs and cats in the US, it was found that an astounding 56% of dogs and 60% of cats were considered overweight or obese by their veterinarian.   Over half of both species of pets are overweight!  This translates to over 100 MILLION dogs and cats who are overweight in the US alone!  (information cited from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention website)

    What is happening America??  How much food our pets eat daily is something that we can 100% control – they don’t have the ability to go into the fridge when they are feeling a bit peckish….so why the fatties?  A small weight increase in them translates to big numbers in humans – a 14 pound cat is equivalent to an average sized man weighing 237 pounds!  Those few little pounds for us, make a big difference for our furry friends!  Being overweight has been linked to so many health concerns, including endocrine disorders, such as diabetes, and early onset of arthritis.

    So what can we do? The very first thing – is get your pet evaluated by your veterinarian!  Your vet is going to be invaluable in assisting with serious weight loss.  They can help calculate what your pet should be eating, and can help you formulate a diet as a crucial part of weight loss!  They can also examine your pet and potentially run bloodwork to ensure there isn’t a medical cause that could be the root of the weight issue.  Once you have a diet plan, then get exercising!  Frequent fast paced walks – no strolls in the park…you need to get moving!  Using a laser pointer works for cats, and moving food bowls around so they have to work for their food is a good idea too.  For dogs who still seem hungry, fresh veggies work as a nice low calorie treat!  Carrots, broccoli, or zucchini are favorites!  Remember – you control their diet, so use that to get in control of their weight!  Happy March everyone!!

  • February BLOG – dental health!

    Dental health month is here!

    February is dental health month – so it’s a great month to celebrate teeth!!  According to the AVMA, by the time our pets are 3 years old – 80% of dogs, and 70% of cats have some form of dental disease.  This statistic is terrible!  They also report that only 1% of pet owners brush their pets’ teeth regularly. Only ONE percent – ugh!

    It’s one of the most easily prevented diseases, yet it is so common!  Brushing their teeth just 3 times a week has been proven to make a huge difference in their long-term dental health!  If you compare their dental health to ours, can you imagine not brushing your teeth for weeks?  Months?  Years?  Imagine the amount of tartar and funk that would build up in your mouth.  *Shudder*  Their mouths are NO different – they build up tartar and gingivitis just like we do!

    In the spirit of the new year, consider this as a resolution.  Resolve to brush their teeth three times a week – it is simple, takes just a few minutes, and can mean a huge difference for them as they get older!  Dental cleaning can cost $500 or more, depending on if your pet needs teeth removed, or has other damage.  Brushing a few minutes a day can prevent all of that!

    Here is a great video with some tips on brushing their teeth – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wB3GIAgrTPE

    And if it’s too late, and the tartar is already there, have no fear – talk with your veterinarian about having the teeth evaluated and possibly cleaned to give yourselves a clean slate!  And this month is a great time to do it, since most veterinarians offer discounts – give yours a call to hear more!  Happy brushing!

  • January BLOG – New year’s resolutions for you and your pet!

    The new year is always a time for resolutions, and your pets are no exception to this!  There are lots of healthier, happier lifestyle choices that you can make that incorporate your pet.  Check out these top 5 resolutions!

    1. *Get that annual exam on the books – just like us, having an exam done every year is important to screen for early diseases or problems and for routine wellness care, like vaccines!  A new year is a great time to review when your pet last had an exam and make an appointment!
    2. *Get moving – walking, hiking, kayaking….there are so many ways to get you BOTH moving that will improve everyone’s health!  A good way to stick with it is to make an obtainable goal – start with committing to just 3 walks a week, and then go from there! 
    3. *Get brushing – one of the most preventable problems we see in older pets is dental disease!  If you can work with your pet from a young age, they are often very accepting of tooth brushing.  DAILY should be the goal – get in a good habit, just like yourself!  However, if you can brush at least 3 times a week, that has been proven to slow tartar progression, so get in there!
    4. *Measure for success – weight is an issue in our pets, just like it is in us!  The single most important change you can make to help your pet stay at a healthy weight is to measure their meals!  Use a measuring cup every time and discuss the appropriate volume with your veterinarian – but keeping them lean has been proven over and over to help slow or prevent many health issues!
    5. *Give back – want to help others this new year? Consider fostering a pet in need!  There are so many dogs and cats in shelters, that a great way to give back would be donating your time to a pet in need.  Fostering saves lives, and there are so many great dogs and cats out there just waiting for you!  It’s a great way to help without the longterm commitment of a new pet – contact your local shelters and rescue organizations for more info!

    Happy New year everyone – now get out there and make 2019 the best year yet!!!

  • November BLOG – Keeping our senior pets healthy, longer!

    Senior pet wellness – let’s keep them with us longer!

    The hardest part of having pets is watching them get older, and we all hate how quickly they become seniors.  The good news is that November is senior pet month – so this is a great opportunity to talk about ways to help keep them with us as long as possible!

    There are a few common illnesses that affect older pets that have some key warning signs to look out for.  An older dog or cat who is having urinary issues such as drinking more and urinating more, can be showing signs of diabetes or kidney disease!  This could also present as losing weight despite eating more, or even having urinary accidents inside (or with our feline friends, outside of the litter box).

    A pet with a chronic cough or other breathing changes could have heart disease, or other lung abnormalities.  Older pets can also develop chronic lung changes, such as asthma.  Any pet who is suddenly not as active, or gets winded easily, should be checked out!

    Arthritis is another super common condition in older patients.  This will present as difficulty walking or trouble on the steps.  Or for a cat, possibly not being able to jump on/off of something they could typically jump on.  Limping, or stiffness when getting up is another common sign noted.  Any changes in the way a pet moves or gets around, especially when they are older, can be a part of arthritis.

    For our elderly feline patients, one of the most common conditions we see is hyperthyroidism!  This will often present as an older cat who is eating more but losing weight, vocalizing more or acting unsettled, or possibly drinking more and urinating more.

    Any of these above changes are worth a trip into your veterinarian!  Some of them can be diagnosed by an examination alone, and others would require bloodwork.  But all of them can be diagnosed, and treatment started to help keep our older friends feeling good for as long as possible.  Keep an eye out for changes, and get them checked out – your pets will thank you!  Happy November!

  • September blog -The tiny lions who live in our homes….

    The tiny lions living in our homes, and the secrets they hide

    Though our pet cats are adorable, snuggly, and sweet creatures, they are still predators.  This means that they are excellent at hiding disease!  In the wild, any signs of illness are signs of weakness, so it is ingrained in them to hide disease!

    This is great for wild animals, but terrible for house pets – if they hide their signs of disease, then it is often more advanced before we know, and harder to help them!  This reason is why it is so important to perform regular examinations and bloodwork on our feline friends!   I want to tell you about my friend, we will call him Twizzler.  Twizzler came in for a regular examination and vaccines, and his owner did note that he had lost just a little bit of weight, but was otherwise doing well!  We ended up running some bloodwork to make sure we weren’t missing something!

    As it turns out, Twizzler was in the early stages of diabetes!  We confirmed the diagnosis with a urine sample, and after some education and discussion, were able to start him on insulin injections.  His owner has gotten very comfortable with managing his disease, and is even checking his blood sugar levels at home now.  It has been over 3 years, and he has done awesome – no other signs of illness, and his weight loss has even resolved too!

    Had his owners not brought him in for his exam, and had we not found the weight loss – that would not have prompted us to run some bloodwork and find his diabetes nice and early before he was sick!  Diabetes is very treatable, and cats can live for years with it – but we have to find it first!

    Be proactive with your cats – bring them in for regular examinations, and consider doing screening bloodwork as they get older.  Keeping them happy and healthy for as long as possible is easier if we are able to help them before they are sick!!

    At Pennridge Animal Hospital we do a spring and a fall ‘cat’-ch up sunday wellness clinic for cats ONLY – this is a way to allow people to bring in their pet cats, without needing a set appointment time, or having to deal with scary dogs – and so much more!  Check it out here if you are interested:  https://www.facebook.com/events/337048257036178/

    Happy fall everyone!

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  • Medical or Fun Facts Info Search Topics

    Search for any topic from medical information to fun facts about your pets. Watch some great videos to give you tips on how to trim you pets nails or clean their ears, and much more. http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/

  • In Case of Emergency

    If your pet is experiencing an emergency after hours here are a few places you can call:

    Quakertown Veterinary Hospital  http://www.quakertownvetclinic.com/emergency-vet

    Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center    http://www.vsecvet.com/

    Center for Animal Referral and Emergency Services  https://vetcares.com/

    Metropolitan Veterinary Associates  https://www.metro-vet.com/

     

    Do you know what to do with your pet if there is an emergency? Check out some of these tips:   https://www.avma.org/public/EmergencyCare/Pages/default.aspx

  • General Pet Care

    General pet care information from the American Veterinary Medical Association. Find information about traveling with your pet, preventative health care tips, vaccine information, and common pet poisons, and much more! https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/default.aspx