NewsletterThe veterinarians and staff at the Dover Veterinary 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

Preparing You and Your Pets For Disasters

Preparing You (AND Your Pets) For Disasters

San Francisco – a city known for its tolerance and pet-friendly ways – has its earthquake emergency planners devising ways to protect not only you, but your little dog, too! The city’s new goal is to have pet-disaster responders trained and prepared to take animals to temporary shelters and medical units when earthquakes and other emergency situations hit.

Preparing Pets for Disasters

It has long been the case that people are told to leave their pets behind when faced with a disaster. However, studies have revealed that over 40% of pet owners would not evacuate their homes without their pets in tote. New Yorkers proved this theory last year when Irene took its toll on the city. Rather than forcing owners to make a decision on whether or not to evacuate without their pets, the city permitted pet owners to bring their furry friends to the shelters – and that’s exactly what they did.

In the wake of post-Katrina disasters, similar schemes are increasingly gaining tread in other states across the country as well, with the ASPCA often serving as its mascot.

So for all you pet-owners out there, your emergency disaster plan just got a lot more complete.

You've Got a Friend: The Benefits of Animal-Assisted Therapy

Animal-assisted therapy is a program that brings the healing presence of animals to people in health care facilities and nursing homes. Volunteers often bring shelter animals or their own pets on visits to hospital wards, nursing homes, prisons, psychiatric clinics, senior centers and schools.

The loving, nonjudgmental presence of animals creates a cozy, home-like setting an the institutional environment. And where humans sometimes fail, animals are often successful in cutting through the barriers that isolate people with physical and emotional difficulties. Medical studies and field reports show animals have a comforting, reassuring effect on people.

"People who don't respond to anything else often respond to the animals," says Vicki Olivas, coordinator of activities, therapy and volunteer services at California Pacific Medical Center. "Animal-assisted Therapy visits uncover avenues of communication that didn't exist before...As a result, [patients] feel more relaxed in their environment and, ultimately, are more likely to be open to rehabilitation and therapy."

Therapeutic benefits of animal-assisted therapy include:

• Decreased anxiety and depression

• Increased self-esteem

• Stronger desire to communicate

• Lowered blood pressure

• Increased motivation to get well

• Decreased need for painkilling medication

• Increased willingness to interact with other people

The Animals

There are a variety of AAT programs, some including small animals like dogs, cats and hamesters. However, the most popular programs are canine therapy, dolphin therapy and equine therapy. Each animal chosen for the program receives extensive medical and socialization testing before going out on visits. About half of the animals participating programs are the pets of AAT volunteers.

If you are interested in participating in your local Animal-assisted Therapy Program, or if you have a pet that that meets their qualifications, please call your local animal shelter.

Traveling With Your Pets
Keep your pets' needs in mind before going on vacation

Americans are crowding the highways for summer vacation, taking their four-legged friends along for the ride. But before pet lovers hit the road, it's important to take their pets' needs into consideration.

Trips should be as close to your pet's normal routine as possible. If you've never traveled with your pet, start with very short, round-the-block trips before you put them in the car or truck for the long ride. Your veterinarian can give you some good advice and recommend ways to make your pet more comfortable.

Start with short car trips before the long journey

For the safety of both you and your pet, it's best to travel with dogs and cats in pet carriers. In case of an accident, airborne pets are very prone to injury. Carriers are especially important for cats. Many cats will ride on your shoulder, on your head, or get under your feet. It's a potentially dangerous situation if you need to stop quickly and they are under the brake pedal.

Though keeping a pet "strapped down" for safety is important, people should not use standard safety belts on their pets. These belts are designed for human positioning. Dogs don't conform to human positioning with much success. However, there are canine "seat belts," which are actually harnesses that attach to the car's seat belts and may be used to hold dogs in place during the trip.

Owners should also plan for extra stops if pets accompany them on a trip. Because of stress, some cats don't eat or drink and won't need to use the litter box. But it should be provided for them, especially if it's your first trip with your cat. If they don't use it, take them out at rest stops on a leash and see if they'll go.

The number of stops depends on what your pet is used to. Most pets eliminate shortly after they eat. Therefore, if you can control when the food goes in, you can usually control when it goes out.

In terms of exercise, owners should follow their pet's normal schedule. If you take your dog for a 30-minute walk in the evening at home, take the dog for a walk in the evening at your destination. Also, exercising your dog before it gets into the car may make the trip more relaxing for both you and your dog.

Many pets enjoy getting out of the house, as long as it's not a trip to the veterinarian. But if you're planning to drive non-stop, or if you're taking a very short trip, it is probably best to leave the pets at home. Really think if it's necessary for a pet to go with you, or if you are just being selfish and want the pet for company. A trip can cause unneeded stress on an animal.

It is an especially good idea to leave pets at home if they have current health problems that may worsen on the trip. For instance, if a pet has had respiratory problems and the trip is in the mountains, it may be better to leave that pet at home. If you know what direction you're traveling on a long trip, choose towns along the way that have easy access to veterinarians. This is particularly important if your pet has had a recent illness or problems traveling in the past.

If you're concerned about the pet having motion sickness or getting car sick, talk to your veterinarian about a prescription for a tranquilizer or sedative to calm the pet before the trip. Before giving any type of medication, contact your veterinarian to make sure that it is safe.

Finally, it's a good idea to call ahead and make reservations with hotels, motels and campgrounds that accept and welcome pets. Take the necessary supplies, including plastic bags, to clean up after your pet at rest areas.

How do you say 'Woof' in French?
First Aid Kit for Pets

When your pet is injured or poisoned, quick and decisive action can mean the difference between life and death. It is not the time to wonder where you last saw the gauze, if the hydrogen peroxide (used to induce vomiting) is expired, or if you even have styptic powder.

The American Red Cross recommends that the following pet first aid items be kept in a waterproof container:

• Latex gloves

• Gauze sponges

• Gauze roll, 2-inch width

• Elastic cling bandage

• Material to make a splint

• Adhesive tape

• Non-adherent sterile pads

• Small scissors

• Tweezers

• Magnifying glass

• Grooming clippers/safety razor

• Nylon leash

• Towel

• Muzzle

• Compact emergency blanket

• Water-based sterile lubricant

• Hydrogen peroxide 3%

• Rubbing alcohol

• Topical antibiotic ointment

• Antiseptic towelettes

• Insect sting stop pads

• Cotton-tipped swabs

• Instant cold pack

• Epsom salts

• Eye dropper

• Sterile eye lubricant

• Sterile saline wash

• Safety pins (medium size 4)

• Tongue depressors

• Diphenhydramine

• Glucose paste/syrup

• Styptic powder/pencil

• Plastic card

• Petroleum jelly

• Penlight

• Needle-nose pliers

Additional items to consider, include:

• Milk of magnesia and/or activated charcoal to absorb poison

• Digital thermometer for taking your pet’s rectal temperature

• Liquid dish soap for removing a potentially poisonous toxin from your pet's skin

• Canned tuna in water or chicken broth to flush out mouth and esophagus if your pet ingests a chemical (from a plant, household product, or cleaner) that causes irritation

Remember to program the following numbers into your phone and post them prominently in your home:

• Your veterinarian

• A local emergency veterinary hospital

• Animal Poison Control Center

Before an emergency, take the time to assemble your own pet first aid kit. You and your pet will be glad you did

Curiouser and Curiouser: 15 Facts About the Animal Kingdom

From a small poisonous frog to the world's largest mammal in the ocean, the animal kingdom is as vast as it is unique. Here are some curious, weird and fascinating facts about the animals in the world around us.

• A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out.

• The ant can lift 50 times its own weight, can pull 30 times its own weight and always falls over on its right side when intoxicated. (Did the government pay for this research?)

Polar bears are left-handed.

• The flea can jump 350 times its body length. That's like a human jumping the length of a football field.

• A cockroach can live nine days without its head - before it starves to death.

Elephants are the only animals that can't jump. (This is a good thing.)

• An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.

• The blue whale's tongue weights as much as an adult elephant.

• The 2-inch-long golden poison dart frog has enough venom to kill 10 adult men.

• No two tigers have the same exact stripe pattern.

Arabian camels are capable of drinking 30 gallons of water in less than 15 minutes.

Rattlesnakes and their "rattle" is made up of hollow segments and interlocked keratin. When a rattlesnake contracts the muscles in its tail, the legendary sound is produced. In fact, the muscle contractions "shakes" the rattle at 50 times per second, and can continue for three hours.

Jellyfish have 24 eyes, which include four different types. Interestingly, they use their sight for basic object avoidance, so it's unclear why they have so many eyes.

Howler monkeys create a loud sound used to defend its turf that can travel up to 3 miles. They're considered the loudest land animal.

Moths do not have stomachs while a honey bees have two stomachs.