Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Travel Anxiety

Does your dog or cat get stressed out by car rides or trips to the vet's office?  At best the anxiety they feel in the car or hospital is unpleasant.  At worst, it can create a potentially dangerous situation for pet owners and veterinary staff alike.  Anxious or fearful pets can bite or scratch owners or staff members, even though they might never do this at home. 

The good news is there are things we can do.   We already have several methods of stress reduction in operation at the Animal Hospital of Rowlett, such as DAP and Feliway diffusers in all exam rooms that release comforting pheromones specific to species.  There is music in all exam rooms to block out background noise from other dogs, cats or people.  The dog and cat areas are on separate sides of the lobby, and the cat lobby is enclosed to further isolate cats from dogs.  The entrances for cats and dogs are separated.  The hospitalization areas for dogs and cats are separated as well.  We provide lots of treats to distract the food motivated pets from things like nail trims and vaccines.  We provide cats with thick soft blankets to lay on or hide in.  Sometimes, however, these things are not enough. 

The dogs and cats that are not comforted adequately by routine stress reduction methods need additional measures.  It's important to realize that not one size fits all when it comes to optimizing things for stress reduction, and it can take time and multiple visits to desensitize the pet to traveling or being at the vet's office.  We should never force anxious pets to accept procedures or restraint that obviously scares them.  It all the pet can handle is one vaccines without excessive restraint, we should try to perform other services at another time, if possible.   Some pets just need several visits where nothing happens except scritches and treats to relax.  Some pets need to have their visits only when it's quiet and calm in the building.  For cats, using crates that are left out all the times as beds at home can provide them some comfort.  Sleepypods are crates where the top half of the crates can be removed to be a comfy pet bed.  Cats, in general, do better in smaller crates, rather than large roomy crates.  Some pets do better with their housemates, some do better without.  Pets are frequently far more relaxed after exercise. So, play or walking prior to visits can help. 

In the car, motion sickness and pain should be addressed if present.  Many dogs suffer from motion sickness.  Most don't actually vomit.  Some may drool excessively.  A test dose of Cerenia can help determine if car anxiety is related to motion sickness.  Older dogs can be reluctant to get in cars if it aggravates osteoarthritis.  Pain control prior to getting in the car may help sort this out. 

Some dogs and cats are so stressed, that they need antianxiety medication to learn to accept the car or the hospital.  There isn't one medication that is perfect for every dog or cat, and the optimum dose may take some time to figure out.  We recommend that pet owners give their dog or cat a test dose of the antianxiety medication and then try to come to the hospital.  It will be readily apparent whether the dose given is enough.  If it's not, the pet goes right back home with nothing bad happening and the dose is increased by the veterinarian.  The process is repeated until a dose is given that provides enough anxiety relief that the pet can be handled without excessive fear.  The multiple trips while figuring out the dose also helps to desensitive. 

If your pet is overly stressed about cars or vet visits, we can help come up with a desensitization program to make it a much better experience.  Please contact us at 972-412-0101 to discuss a protocol that fits your pet's specific needs.

Animal Hospital of Rowlett

Monday, January 25, 2016

Displaced boarding pet

This is one of the cuties that came to us after the storms. She lived with us for a few weeks until her mommy and daddy could get settled into a new place. 

She would stand up to look out the door everytime we walked past. How could you ignore this face!!! *swoon*

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Disaster Preparedness

Disaster Preparedness
Emergencies come in many forms, and they may require anything from a brief absence from your home to permanent evacuation. Each type of disaster requires different measure to keep your pets safe, so the best thing you can do for yourself and your pets is to be prepared.  Here are simple steps you can follow now to make sure you’re ready for the next disaster strikes:
·         Get a rescue alert sticker so that people know that pets are inside your home.  These can be ordered for free from

·         Determine a safe haven for your pets in the event of an evacuation.  Know your veterinarian’s phone number and identify hotels outside of your immediate area that accept pets

Preparing emergency supplies and traveling kits

If you must evacuate your home in a crisis, plan for the worst-case scenario. Even if you think you may be gone for only a day, assume that you may not be allowed to return for several weeks. When recommendations for evacuation have been announced, follow the instructions of local and state officials. To minimize evacuation time, take these simple steps:

·         Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification information. Your pet’s ID tag should contain his name, telephone number and any urgent medical needs. Be sure to also write your pet’s name, your name and contact information on your pet’s carrier.
·         The ASPCA recommends microchipping your pet as a more permanent form of identification. A microchip is implanted under the skin in the animal’s shoulder area, and can be read by a scanner at most animal shelters and veterinary offices.  Animal Hospital of Rowlett/Heath can implant a microchip for $40 with free lifetime registration.
·         Always bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster. Pets can become disoriented and wander away from home in a crisis. 
·         Store an emergency kit and leashes as close to an exit as possible. Make sure that everyone in the family knows where it is, and that it clearly labeled and easy to carry. Items to consider keeping in or near your “Evac-Pack” include:
·         Pet first-aid kit (recommended contents at end of document)
·         3-7 days’ worth of canned (pop-top) or dry food (be sure to rotate every two months)
·         Disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans are perfect)
·         Litter or paper toweling
·         Liquid dish soap and disinfectant
·         Disposable garbage bags for clean-up
·         Pet feeding dishes and water bowls
·         Extra collar or harness as well as an extra leash
·         Photocopies and/or USB of medical records and a waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires (Remember, food and medications need to be rotated out of your emergency kit—otherwise they may go bad or become useless)
·         At least seven days’ worth of bottled water for each person and pet (store in a cool, dry place and replace every two months)
·         A traveling bag, crate or sturdy carrier, ideally one for each pet
·         Flashlight
·         Blanket
·         Recent photos of your pets (in case you are separated and need to make “Lost” posters)
·         Especially for cats: Pillowcase, toys, scoop-able litter
·         Especially for dogs: Extra leash, toys and chew toys, a week’s worth of cage liner
You should also have an emergency kit for the human members of the family. Items to include: Batteries, duct tape, flashlight, radio, multi-tool, tarp, rope, permanent marker, spray paint, baby wipes, protective clothing and footwear, extra cash, rescue whistle, important phone numbers, extra medication and copies of medical and insurance information.

We highly recommend that you download the Pet First Aid by American Red Cross app for your iPhone or Android!  You can also visit them online at
Pet First Aid Kit Contents

·         Absorbent gauze pads
·         Adhesive tape
·         Antiseptic wipes, lotion, powder or spray
·         Blanket (a foil emergency blanket)
·         Cotton balls or swabs
·         Gauze rolls
·         Hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting—do this only when directed by a veterinarian or a poison-control expert)
·         Ice pack
·         Non-latex disposable gloves
·         Petroleum jelly (to lubricate the thermometer)
·         Rectal thermometer (your pet's temperature should not rise above 103°F or fall below 100°F)
·         Scissors (with blunt ends)
·         Sterile non-stick gauze pads for bandages
·         Sterile saline solution (sold at pharmacies)
·         Tweezers
·         A pillowcase to confine your cat for treatment
·         A pet carrier
·         Corn syrup for dogs with low blood sugar
·         Benadryl (1mg per lb. dosing)
·         Non-prescription antibiotic ointment
·         Nail clippers
·         Ear-Cleaning solution

·         Needle nosed pliers