Summer Safety Tips for Pet Owners

Originally published by AAHA – 6/26/2012

1. When the fireworks start, keep your pet confined indoors.
Animals have been known to leap through glass windows and even eat through crates, harming themselves, to get away from the noise of fireworks.

2. Pets will seek out small spaces to hide – such as behind the couch, under the bed, etc. Make sure you make “safe” places available to them to reduce their stress.

3. Consider administering an anti-anxiety medication to your pet prior to festivities involving fireworks. You can get such medications from your veterinarian.

4. If possible, stay with your pet during the fireworks, soothing and reassuring him to keep stress down.

5. Make sure your pet’s collar has a tag with your phone number and that your pet has been microchipped with an up-to-date address and contact information. In case your pet runs away, this will make reuniting easier.

6. If a wasp or bee stings your pet be on the watch for vomiting, itchiness, hives, swelling, or diarrhea. If they occur, contact your veterinarian immediately.

7. Keep your pet from foraging through leftover picnic foods in the backyard. Corncobs, ribs, hot dogs and other picnic fare can cause gastrointestinal distress to animals.

8. With guests coming and going from the backyard, make sure gates stay closed so your pets don’t slip away unseen.

9. If multiple dogs from different households are present, monitor their play, and separate them as needed to avoid fights and injuries.

10. If the party is at someone else’s house, keep your pet at home and inside. It can also help to create “white noise” by turning on the TV or radio. This can distract your pet from the firework noise and help keep the animal calm.

A Letter from Your Veterinarian at CityPaws Animal Hospital on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Dear CityPaws Family,

As communities respond to the new coronavirus (COVID-19) and there is increased awareness around staying healthy, we wanted to reach out to let you know about the measures we are taking at both of our CityPaws locations, and ask for your help in preventing the spread of germs.

CityPaws Logo

While our patient’s safety and well-being are at the core of what we do every day, our pet owners (you!) are important to us as well.  With the growing concerns of the Coronavirus, we are committed to maintaining a clean environment. We have expanded the use of disinfectants to have frequent office-wide cleaning throughout the day.

According to CDC guidelines we would like to ask you to join us in taking a few extra safety steps:

  • Thorough and sudsy handwashing for a minimum of 20 seconds, especially after contacting public door handles and other common surfaces
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth to prevent the spread of germs
  • If you are personally experiencing any flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath or fever, please plan to stay at home.  We understand that your pet may be in need of medical care and we will work with you to find a solution to providing you with the care they need.

As the situation surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to emerge, you may want to think about creating a plan for your family and pets.  We recommend that you take a look at one of the following links for tips and updates:

For those of you wondering “can I catch the virus from my pet or vice versa?”, the CDC, as well as, the World Organization for Animal Health has issued advisories saying there is currently no evidence that companion animals can spread the virus.

The CDC recommends that people who are sick with COVID-19 restrict contact with pets and other animals, just like you would restrict your contact with other people. When possible, a member of the household other than the individual who is ill should care for any animals in the household.

We will keep you updated should there be any new developments.  Thank you for entrusting us with the care of your pets and for being a part of our CityPaws family.  

Thank you,

The doctors and team at CityPaws Animal Hospital

Dr. Power’s Blog

I recently adopted Fergus, a sweet and rather large French Bulldog, who just celebrated his first birthday. The French Bulldog is one of the more popular breeds at CityPaws Animal Hospital, and while I am very conscious of the health concerns associated with brachycephalic breeds, I have always been enamored by their quirky and loveable personalities.

Brachycephalic breeds include dogs like Fergus, as well as English Bulldogs, Pugs, Boxers, Boston Terriers, Pekingese, Lhasa Apsos, Shih Tzus, Bull Mastiffs, and their mixes. The term brachycephalic means short-headed, and indeed these dogs have been bred to have a compressed face. The degree to which the altered anatomy affects these dogs on a day to day-to-day basis is highly individual, but all have limitations, which should be acknowledged.

The term brachycephalic syndrome is used to describe the range of abnormalities that can occur in these breeds associated with a flat face and short-nose. There can be airway obstruction and dysfunction including Stenotic Nares – meaning narrowed nostrils, which restricts the amount of air that can be inhaled; Enlarged Tongue – a thick and large tongue, which contributes to restriction of the airway; Elongated Soft Palate – the soft palate tissue separates the mouth from the nasal passage – a shorter face results in the soft palate hanging down loosely into the throat obstructing the airway and creating snorting sounds; Hypoplastic Trachea – the trachea or windpipe in some of these breeds can be unusually narrowed; and Everted Laryngeal Saccules – the larynx, or voicebox which normally has two small pockets – at times of increased respiratory effort, these pockets can turn inside out and partially obstruct the throat. These conditions predispose these breeds to breathing difficulties and, in turn, are more at risk for heat stress.

The syndrome can be progressive, and excess weight gain can further compound the issue. Stress, anxiety, excessive panting, and or barking can also contribute to an increased risk of airway swelling and further airway narrowing and obstruction. Chronic obstructive airway problems can also lead to acid reflux and delayed emptying of stomach contents increasing their risk for aspiration pneumonia and gastric ulceration. Special precautions should be taken in warm weather, when traveling and when planning anesthesia in these breeds to minimize the increased risks.

These dogs should be trained to remain calm and tolerate medical procedures and restraint. There are surgical procedures that can be undertaken to improve airflow in the more affected individuals, so the sooner and earlier these are identified and corrected the better. Changes associated with the bones of the skull can often mean the eyes sit in a very shallow eye socket. This means they have a higher risk of proptosis (protrusion of the eyeball) associated with head-trauma or extreme pulling against a leash. A harness is recommended for walking all brachycephalic breeds.

Sometimes the eyes protrude to such an extent that the eyelids cannot even completely close. There can also be prominent folds of skin or abnormal eyelids resulting in eyelashes that rub against the cornea. This can lead to chronic drying and or irritation of the eye. In some dogs, this is worsened by a condition called keratoconjunctivitis sicca, where inadequate lubricating tears are produced. Over time these conditions can lead to blindness, so again earlier detection and appropriate medical and or surgical correction is recommended. The prominent facial folds themselves can accumulate oil and moisture and can experience recurrent yeast and bacterial infections warranting frequent cleaning.

The brachycephalic dog has 42 teeth like all other dog breeds; however, they have less space to accommodate this dentition. This predisposes to malocclusions, crowding, and advanced periodontal disease. At home, dental brushing is even more important in these breeds to limit the frequency of dentistry procedures needed under general anesthesia.

The extent to which your dog may suffer from one or more of these problems is highly variable. Please discuss any specific concerns with your veterinarian.

By: Dr. Alan Power