The veterinarians and staff at the PetCare Animal 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

Your 2016 Preventative Care Checklist

Your pet’s preventative veterinary care shouldn’t be based on when you receive a reminder from your veterinarian in the mail. What if that postcard is accidentally thrown away or you move without updating your information? Instead of being reactionary, be proactive for your pet’s well-being in 2016!

The following are all services you should schedule for your pet this year:

Annual Wellness Exam

A comprehensive physical examination helps your veterinarian evaluate your pet’s health and aids you in making informed decisions about your special companion’s veterinary care.


Vaccinations are the number one way you can protect your beloved pet from serious infectious diseases and bacteria. Health threats vary from region to region and your veterinarian has an individual immunization program for your pet based on his/her lifestyle and your local conditions.

Parasite Protection

Both external (fleas, ticks) and internal (heartworm, hookworm, roundworm) parasites can cause problems for your pet and your family. The good news is these problems can be avoided by using safe, effective parasite prevention products year-round or as your veterinarian deems necessary.

Lab Work

Laboratory testing provides information about your pet’s overall systemic health without the need for invasive, expensive procedures. Diagnostic tests can detect Heartworm disease, Lyme disease, infections, Feline Leukemia, intestinal parasites, urinary tract infections, and many additional diseases and conditions that can go unnoticed in their early stages. Blood testing can show early evidence of diabetes, changes in liver or kidney function, or serve as a baseline for future reference.

Dental Check-Up

Regular dental check-ups, combined with good dental hygiene at home, can increase your pet’s health, vitality, and well-being. If left untreated, dental disease can be painful, inhibit proper nutrition, and even lead to serious systemic issues that may threaten your pet’s overall health before symptoms are noticeable.

Microchip Pet ID

Microchip pet IDs are a fundamental way to protect your pet. A microchip will register your pet with a unique identification number, which is filed in a database with your contact information. If your pet is lost, the microchip can be scanned by animal control officers, at shelters, and at veterinary hospitals in the U.S. and in many foreign countries. This safe, reliable, and permanent pet identification takes less than 10 seconds to implant, and requires no annual fee.

The Truth About Avocados

For many, avocado has long been one of those fruits considered to be on the do not eat list for pets. Now more popular than ever, the truth is that if Fido or Whiskers sneaks a taste of your fresh guacamole, you don’t need to rush him to a veterinarian. In fact, you probably don’t need to do anything.

Semi-Safe for Cats and Dogs

The bark and leaves of an avocado tree and the seed and skin of the fruit itself contain an oil-soluble toxin known as persin. Although cited as causing vomiting and diarrhea in cats and dogs, new information suggests it’s not that dangerous – even when eaten in large quantities. According to the ASPCA, only mild stomach upset may occur if your cat or dog eats a significant amount of avocado flesh or peel.

The greater danger comes from pets who get ahold of the whole fruit and ingest its large, ping pong ball-sized pit. If the seed gets stuck in your pet’s throat, stomach or intestinal tract, he or she will require emergency veterinary care.

Still A Danger for Other Pets

Birds, rabbits, horses, and some other large animals are sensitive to the persin found in avocados. They can experience respiratory distress, congestion, fluid accumulation around the heart, and even death following ingestion.

Canaries, parakeets, cockatiels and large parrots are considered the birds most susceptible to persin toxicity. They should never be fed avocado or guacamole. Symptoms of avocado poisoning in birds include those mentioned above, as well as the inability to perch. Treatment can be given if caught early and may be successful, but most birds do not survive poisonings because of their high metabolic rate and anatomy.

Given that avocado may cause your pooch or kitty an upset stomach, it’s recommended to be safe rather than sorry – that goes for all human food and table scraps. If your pet ingests avocado and shows concerning symptoms, contact your veterinarian.

How to Care for Your New Puppy or Kitten: Socialization

Congratulations on your new family member! If you are new to pet ownership or a seasoned veteran, it is important to stay up to date on proper care for your new puppy or kitten.

Proper socialization helps establish a loving and lasting relationship between you and your pet. Early in your pet’s life, it is very important to deal with unfavorable habits and correct them in a productive and timely manner.

One of the best ways to train your pet is to introduce it at a young age to common social situations. Some of these may include trimming nails, bathing, brushing and medicating. By introducing these situations at a very young age, they are far more likely to be accepted by the pet later in life.

For puppies, obedience training is pretty much essential. Most trainers like to start the training process between four to six months of age, after vaccinations are complete. Many capable trainers are available to help you socialize and train your pet properly. Do your homework in order to take advantage of the training courses offered in your area. Similar to children, pets’ habits, both good and bad, are learned at an early age!

You’ve Heard Of Cat Burglars, But What About Cat Grocers?

A feline patron has made himself a home in a south London grocery store, despite the manager’s many attempts to give him the boot. The cat gained Internet stardom when shoppers began tweeting photos of the straight-faced kitty.

The orange tabby has been identified as six-year-old Olly Oliver, a nearby neighbor of the store.

Olly began inviting himself into the grocery store during November of 2015, but was ousted by authorities due to health concerns. That didn’t stop Olly, however. Although security has removed the cat several times, he finds a way to saunter back in. Human patrons routinely find him warming himself by the front door heaters or perched high atop aisle shelves.

Unlike some pets who sneak into stores to steal toys or treats, Olly’s actions have been nothing but admirable. Rather than feeding his own cravings, he simply judges others from above as they shop to feed theirs below.

Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is Underway!

Eighty-five mushers with teams of 16 dogs each took to the snow on Sunday in a race that pits man and dog against Alaska’s unforgiving wilderness. This year marks the 44th anniversary of the first Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, a long-distance race held each March to determine the best mushers and sled dog teams.

The Iditarod’s grueling trek spans nearly 1,000 miles northwest across the state, toward a finish line on the western coast in Nome. The earliest finishers won’t reach this destination until early next week.

The History

The Iditarod is held, not just as a popular and highly-competitive sporting event, but also to commemorate the January 1925 “Great Race of Mercy” which gave Balto his fame.

During the winter of 1925, the people (especially the children) of Nome were threatened by a diphtheria epidemic. The town was icebound and supplies could only be brought in by sled dogs. The nearest available antitoxin was more than 800 miles away in Anchorage. The serum had to be sent by train and then passed between twenty mushers over 674 miles. More than 100 dogs made the delivery possible, running in relay fashion for no more than 100 miles each. Gunnar Kaasen, of Norway, and his lead dog Balto made the final stretch and thus became the public heroes of the mission.

The Race

There are two trails used for the Iditarod: a northern route, which is run on even-numbered years, and a southern route, which is run on odd-numbered years. This year, the route spans 975 miles and includes desolate stretches of up to 85 miles between checkpoints.

There are more than two dozen checkpoints along either trail where mushers sign-in and camp out or retrieve drop bags of supplies. During the eight to 15-or-more-day race, every team must take one 24-hour layover and two separate eight-hour layovers. On the trail and before the race, veterinarians check the dogs for signs of foot and shoulder injuries, respiration problems, dehydration, diarrhea, and exhaustion. Drugs used to mask symptoms of injury are prohibited.

Record-Setting Wins

To date, the fastest finishing time is held by Dallas Seavey and his team – clocking in at 8 days, 13 hours, 4 minutes, and 19 seconds in 2014. Seavey was also the youngest musher to ever win the race at the age of 25. His father, was the oldest to win at 53.

This year’s first place prize is $50,400 and a new truck. Other top finishers will split a cash purse of $750,000. However, most teams spend between $10,000 to $40,000 on supplies, transportation, dog maintenance, and the entry fee to compete.

West Highland White Terrier Takes Best in Show At Crufts

While a member of the sporting group took Best in Show at this year’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show held in New York City, across the pond it was a terrier who earned the crown. The Westie, formally named “Geordie Girl” but known as Devon, beat out thousands of other canine competitors. In addition to being shown by the youngest handler participating, it was also the owner-handler’s first time at Crufts. The win marks the first Crufts best in show title for the breed since 1990.

Considered Great Britain’s cousin to Westminster, Crufts is a four-day event topped off with an equally world famous dog show. The difference between the two, however, goes much deeper than where they are held.

A Brief History Lesson

Now in its 125th year, Crufts is one of the biggest dog shows in the world. It was founded in 1891 by Charles Cruft, an incredibly successful dog biscuit salesman. Through becoming such a big name in the world of dog treats, Crufts soon found himself in the role of secretary for various “fancy dog show” groups – the Toy Spaniel, Pug, Setter, Borzois and St. Bernard. With a growing workload and a large enough network of influence to simply consolidate and start his own show, he decided to do just that.

Having just marked its 140th year, the Westminster Dog Show got its start more than a decade before Crufts – in 1877. It began as a show for gun dogs, with prizes including pearl-handled pistols. Originally put on by the Westminster Kennel Club, it is now hosted by the American Kennel Club.

What’s the Difference?

Although both shows aim to name a best in show dog which exemplifies purebred breed perfection, the atmosphere and itinerary for the shows differ in many ways.

Whereas the Westminster Dog Show is just that, a dog show, Crufts is more akin to a canine festival. Both purebreds and mixes are welcome and there are many events to participate in outside of the pedigreed main event. With activities ranging from obedience and agility, to racing, duck herding, dancing, and a crossbreed “Scruffts” competition, Crufts is a celebration of all dogs rather than a prestigious arena reserved solely for the best of the best. The event even includes more than 300 vendor stands offering special treats and products for sale to attendees.

The Westminster is a much more formal affair and only features AKC purebreds. Considered the “Super Bowl of Dog Shows” in America, Westminster is far from the largest dog show in the world. While it sees about 2,800 contestants, Crufts sees more than 22,000 canine attendees from more than 40 different countries. The Westminster is, however, the largest dog show in America and is the second-longest continuously held sporting event in the country.

The two shows vary with some breed standards and how they group dogs. The seven British Kennel Club pedigree groups include those of gundog, utility, and pastoral instead of sporting, non-sporting and herding, alongside the shared hound, toy, working and terrier groups.

2016 Results Best in Show Sporting/ Gundog Non-Sporting/ Utility Hound Working Herding/ Pastoral Terrier Toy
Westminster German Shorthaired Pointer German Shorthaired Pointer Bulldog Borzoi Samoyed German Shepherd Skye Terrier Shih Tzu
Crufts West Highland White Terrier Gordon Setter German Spitz Whippet Bouvier des Flandres Border Collie West Highland White Terrier Pekingese
How to Bond with Your Reptile

The majority of reptile owners agree that their pets seem to recognize them or know a certain routine, but don’t have an emotional – or loving – connection with them. Experts have found that reptiles are capable of expressing fear, aggression, interest, and sometimes even enjoyment of human contact.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that people can create wonderful bonds with reptiles,” said Lorelei Tibbetts, a licensed veterinary technician who specializes in exotic pet medicine and is the hospital manager at The Center for Avian and Exotic Medicine in New York City. “It may not be the same relationship you get with another kind of pet like a dog or cat, but it’s not any less rewarding. It’s just a different bond.”

While it may be a different experience than bonding with a cat or a dog, there are many ways to develop your relationship with your pet reptile.

Bonding Techniques

The more time you spend with your reptile, the more comfortable you will become with one another. Your bond may be strengthened by:

Handling – Many reptiles will show signs of pleasure from human touch or contact – especially turtles and lizards. Turtles are known for enjoying having their shells, heads or chins stroked and bearded dragons like to perch on their person’s shoulder. Reptiles can carry Salmonella, so always wash your hands before and after handling them.

Stimulation – Your reptile may be in a better mood if he or she isn’t bored by an under-stimulating habitat. Provide plenty of hiding places, climbing objects, and other features. Take your reptile outside of this environment and even outdoors if applicable. If your pet still shies away from your touch, you’ll at least be able to enjoy observing him or her from the opposite side of the glass.