Daily Paws

Pet news, tips, entertainment and opinions from VetLocator.com

Archive for October, 2010

It’s about to be a scary time for pets…watch out

Sunday, October 17th, 2010
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We live in an area of the country where people decorate for Halloween as much as they do for Christmas, and that is a LOT of lights and sounds and goings on.  And we happen to live in a neighborhood where there is a lot of trick or treating visitors – hundreds of children knock on our door each year.  It is fun for us, and for them, but it’s not fun for our pets.

Here’s our annual reminder to be good to your pets and keep them safe during this very scary time of year:

  • If you purchase candy for the trick or treaters – make sure you put it in a safe spot, away from hungry, curious dogs and cats (and kids for that matter).  Chocolate is toxic for our pets and can cause death if eaten in enough quantity.
    We’ve listed some signs of chocolate toxicity below.
  • During trick or treat night, keep your pets locked in a room that has some soothing music or the tv on to keep them calm.
  • Even though they are inside, make sure your pets have their id on in the event something happens and they get out, get spooked (pun intended), and run away.
  • If you have your own trick or treaters that come home with candy, make sure they also put their candy somewhere your pets can’t get to it.  Children sorting through their evening’s loot and spreading their candy out is a common way pets can get chocolate candy to eat.

Signs of chocolate toxicity

Pets who consume chocolate can experience vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and urination, irregular heartbeat, tremors, seizures and even death. These problems are mainly caused by a substance in chocolate called theobromine.

Chocolate can be harmful to dogs (the most common chocolate sneakers), cats, birds, rats and ferrets.  The amount of chocolate and the pet’s own system will determine what effect chocolate has, so if you suspect your pet has ingested chocolate and they are experiencing any adverse effects, get them to your veterinarian to be checked, right away.

We want everyone to have a safe Halloween night.

  • Halloween Chocolate a Serious Threat to Pets (nlm.nih.gov)
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Be your pet’s advocate. Speak up for them & don’t be afraid to get a 2nd opinion

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010
Pet Advocate - VetLocator.com

Speak up for your pets!

Picture this.  Your dog has had a chronic cough for over a month.

You took your dog to your veterinarian soon after he started coughing and have been dutifully giving him the medicine your vet prescribed, but he does not seem to be getting better.

You call the vet and he asks questions about your dog, how he’s feeling, what’s happening.  You wish your dog could answer the vet directly but, unfortunately he cannot. Your dog is counting on you, as his advocate, to speak for him.

So that’s what you do.

You can’t add anything to what you already told the vet and, while he has some other suggestions for your dog, you’re not feeling too good about what he’s saying.

Should you get a second opinion?


Whether you should get a second opinion depends on several things.  First is your relationship with your vet.  do you feel like you are working together to solve your pet’s health problem?   Is the relationship already suffering from a poor communication level and this is the straw that’s about to break the camel’s back?

So when should you get a second opinion for your pet?

When you’re told something health-related for your pet, you need to use the same kind of judgment you would use in dealing with your own health or the health of your child.

Consider what kind of situation you have (how serious, what you’ve just been told, what the options are, etc.), then think about what you would do if you’d just received similar advice from your physician or your child’s pediatrician.

Would you feel comfortable working with your health provider in trying to work for a better solution or would you feel better asking for a second opinion?

The same advice applies to your pet’s vet.

The decision for asking for a second opinion becomes a lot easier when your vet tells you your pet needs surgery or an expensive treatment in order to fix what’s broken.  In a scenario like this, it is a good idea to ask for a second and maybe even a third opinion.

Here are some questions to answer when considering asking for a second opinion:

  1. Does my vet seem to know about what’s wrong with my pet? Sometimes taking your pet to a veterinarian who specializes in, for example, feline medicine if you have a cat, is a good idea if your general medicine vet is not having success in treating your cat.
  2. Is my pet not getting any better or deteriorating under my vet’s care? This certainly is a good reason to get another opinion, and FAST!  If you are close to your current vet, ask for a specialist recommendation.  Most vets are fine with recommending a specialist and can give you the names of some they trust.  They are on your side in improving the health of your pet.
  3. Has my relationship with my pet’s vet been close up until now? If it is, do I feel like my vet can help us find the right solution for my pet’s health issues? You should be able to answer yes to both of these questions.  If you can’t get a second opinion.
  4. Am I unwilling to take my vet’s advice for tests and procedures because I’m unsure if he/she is right? If your vet has been recommending tests and treatments that you aren’t willing to do because you think they may be unnecessary, you are not working with your vet and this is not helping either of you.  If this is the case, get a second opinion.
  5. Do I feel like my vet has answered all of my questions and I have a clear understanding of what’s wrong with my pet, what my options are and what the costs might be? If the answer is no, then it’s time to either get with your vet and get your questions answered or ask for another opinion.
  6. Does my vet listen to my suggestions when discussing my pet’s condition or does he/she treat me like I’m stupid and my suggestions are without value? Obviously if you leave your pet’s vet feeling like you’re questions and needs have been ignored, it’s time for a second opinion.
  7. Ask your vet “What would you do if this were your pet and you were me?” If you are comfortable with the answer then take your vet’s advice for treatment.  If you are not, get a second opinion.

How do you ask for a second opinion?

If you’ve decided you need a second opinion, here are some suggestions on how to find one.

  • Ask your current vet
  • Use one of VetLocator.com‘s pet pro directories.  Local, House Call, Specialty, Holistic/Alternative and more.
  • Ask for suggestions from friends.  If you are a ‘social web’ person, using Facebook and Twitter can give you some good suggestions from pet owners in your area.

When you take your pet for a second opinion it’s important to come armed with as much information as you can.  Your pet’s medical history, medicines, operations, age, vaccines, etc.  Be up front and honest with the second vet on what your previous vet told you about your pet, what tests were run, etc.  It’s a good idea to let your original veterinarian know you’ll be asking for another opinion because the 2nd vet will need to have access to your pet’s health records.  Staying on good terms with your pet’s original vet is a good idea because most of the time they have a relationship with both your pet and you.

And realize that getting a second opinion and even taking your pet to another vet does not mean you’ll need to switch permanently, especially if you’ve gone to a veterinary specialist.

And then there are those times when we don’t want to accept what our pet’s vet is saying, and we blindly take our pet for other opinions hoping someone is going to tell us something different.

We’ve heard from some vets that say they’ve given ’15th opinions’ to to pet owners who refuse to accept what they are being told about their pet’s health.  That’s not good.  Not good for your pet, not good for you, not good for your pocket book.

So don’t be afraid of being an advocate for your pet and don’t be afraid to get a second opinion if you feel one is warranted.  Your pet will thank you for it.

Linda - VetLocator.com

Give your pet a voice, literally!

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Nemo - VetLocator's office catThis is Nemo, one of our VetLocator office mascots whose job it is to brighten our days, be our spokes cat and keep the place free of any and all creepie crawlies.

He fulfills his duties faithfully and in exchange we keep his food bowl filled twice a day, keep him healthy, and he gets lots and lots of attention and love.

But there are some days when he fixes us with his big yellow cat eyes and I know he is trying to talk, to tell us what’s on his mind at that particular moment.

Does that ever happen with your animals?

Help them out by giving them a voice.

Just click this link to hear what Nemo had to say when we gave him a voice (and we got to choose what we thought he’d sound like too) and then follow the instructions to give your pets a chance to say what’s on their mind!

Linda - VetLocator.com