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It is National Poison Prevention Week. Find out how you can prevent accidental poisoning of your pet.
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Advanced Planning for Animal Welfare

For many Jamaicans, before we make any major additions or changes in our lives, careful planning is required. We must consider if we can afford a new car or home, is it the right time to have a baby, can one dedicate the time, effort and
finances that are required?

So why don’t we take similar consideration when adding a new pet to our household? Even the noblest of motives without due deliberation may lead to an animal being neglected or abandoned. Animals have the right to five welfare freedoms: freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition; from discomfort; from
pain, injury and disease; to express normal behaviour and freedom from fear and distress.

Many animals are abandoned because no consideration beyond the ability of the dog to protect the home, or the cuteness of a curled up kitten is given. Dogs are discarded because owners didn’t consider the frequent grooming costs associated with some breeds, euthanized because an emergency procedure is required and the owner refuses to spend the money on the animal, or the cat has diabetes and the owner is unprepared for the lifelong commitment required. We need to take the time to contemplate the financial and emotional investment of owning an animal.

Can I afford to feed this animal for the next fifteen years? Do I have adequate facilities to house this animal, the time and patience required to housetrain this puppy? The tolerance when my male cat or dog strays, when the cat is shedding hair everywhere, or my female dog is attracting every male dog within a 15 mile radius. Can I afford the medical care: vaccines for my puppy and regular checkups? Should my animal have a medical emergency, do I have the financial resources set aside to address this? So before you buy that puppy, adopt that cat or even collect the hamster from the pet store, stop to consider, can I ensure this animal will receive the above freedoms? Can I truly offer a home where its welfare will
be one of my priorities?
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Why Should I Get My Pet's Teeth Cleaned?

So what is all the fuss about? Let's put it like this....a little plaque goes a long way. Plaque causes disease around the tooth, breaking down the structures that support the tooth and making them loose. It can lead to not just infection of the tooth but bacteria can also enter the blood stream leading to heart and kidney disease which are very complicated to treat and may even lead to death. So let's talk about prevention.

Brushing your dog's teeth is a great way to prevent the build up of tartar but it doesn't remove it once it's formed. Once you can see build up, it's time for a professional teeth cleaning. Unfortunately we can't just say "open wide" and expect our dogs to be happy about us cleaning their teeth to get rid of all the tartar that has taken residence there, not to mention those hard to reach places at the back of their mouth. A proper teeth cleaning requires a veterinarian to place your animal under anaesthesia, remove the plaque from all the teeth and under the gumline, check each tooth for stability and assess the surrounding structures. It gives them a chance to detect hidden problems that may not be visible and assess the entire mouth, which is especially important in cats.

You may ask, are there risks associated with anaesthesia, yes, especially as your pet gets older. However our team of experienced veterinarians and technicians are fully prepared to keep the process safe. Bloodwork is done beforehand to ensure your pet is healthy, our veterinarians use the safest drug tailored to your pets needs and our technicians are trained to monitor them while they are under anaesthesia.

So go ahead and take a look inside your pets mouth, if you have to hold your breath, that's more than 'doggy breath'. Plus remember whatever you see at the front of the mouth is not a true reflection of the entire mouth, so make sure to check the teeth around the back (molars).
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Gramoxone Poisoning

Gramoxone is a herbicide commonly used to spray lawns. Unfortunately malicious persons may lace food with this chemical with the intent of poisoning your pet. Gramoxone affects the respiratory system and more often than not leads to a slow painful death. There is no antidote for the chemical and euthanasia is many times the most humane option.

Signs of gramoxone poisoning:
• Ulcerations to the mouth
• Difficulty breathing
• Loud groaning noises

How to keep your pet safe:
• If your pet is not a guard dog consider keeping them inside the house or in a kennel at night
• Do not allow your pet to roam unsupervised outside of your yard
• Ensure your property is adequately enclosed so your pet cannot escape
• Teach your pet not to accept food from strangers without your permission.

If you think your pet may have been exposed to this chemical rush them to the Veterinarian right away!
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What's in a Booster?
You may have brought your puppy to the vet when they were younger to get their vaccines or as Jamaicans like to say 'shots'. But what about when they're all grown up? Adult dogs still need protection against viruses and bacteria. The vaccines they get as puppies don't protect them forever and need to be 'boosted', some of them only last for six months and some of the bacteria lead to diseases that can be transmitted to humans. How often your dog gets a booster depends on various factors such as their lifestyle and your veterinarian is best able to analyze these and make the best recommendation for your pet. Also remember that although boosters play an important role in your dog's health, they won't magically make your dog get bigger or put on more muscle mass. Talk to your vet today and make the right choice for your canine companion. Call 998-1462 to speak with us!
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Check out these tips to keep your dog cool!
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What Is Heartworm Disease & How Is It Spread?

Heartworm Disease is caused by the worm Dirofilaria Immitis. Heartworm is spread when a mosquito bites an infected animal and obtains the larvae from its blood. The mosquito then bites your healthy animal and the larvae enter the blood stream.
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How Does Heartworm Affect My Dog?

When your pet is infected the worm migrates through the blood vessels to the heart where the adult worm causes damage. If your dog has a lot of worms they may spill over into the lungs causing damage there too.
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How Do I Know If My Pet Has Heartworm Disease?

Cats
Cats often display no signs of having heartworm. When they do, signs include coughing, laboured breathing, and vomiting. Sudden death may also occur.

Dogs
Common symptoms of heartworm disease include coughing and lethargy. Pets with severe disease may develop heart failure and seem to have a swollen belly. However your pet may display no symptoms at all depending on how many worms are present. That's why it's important to have your dog tested by your veterinarian. They can take blood and run the test and you'll have the results in 8 minutes!
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How Do I Prevent It?

Heartworm is prevented by giving your pet a drug called ivermectin. This may be administered via injection by your veterinarian or you may purchase the over the counter product and give it orally once a month. Prevention is a lifetime commitment!
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