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

Be Wary of These Top Pet Toxins

The ASPCA has compiled a list of toxins that were the cause of the most calls to the Animal Poison Control Center in a one-year period. Pet owners should be aware of these potentially dangerous items and take the necessary steps to keep them away from their pets.

Toxic Foods for Pets

Common potential pet toxins include:

Prescription medications for humans: Heart medications, antidepressants, and pain killers were the most frequently ingested.

Insecticides: Pet owners are encouraged to read the label of insecticides used in the yard and the home before possibly exposing pets to them.

Over-the-counter medications for humans: Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and herbal supplements were some of the most frequently ingested by pets.

Household products: These include cleaning supplies and fire logs.

Food for humans: Garlic, onions, grapes, and raisins are just a few of the many human foods that can be poisonous for dogs and other pets.

If your pet ingests something it shouldn’t, contact your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.

Halloween Tips, Treats and Tricks for Pets

When witches, ghosts and ghouls take to the streets in search of treats this Halloween, they'll have some furry friends by their side. According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, about 7.4 million households celebrating Halloween plan to outfit their pet in a festive Halloween costume this year. Devils and pumpkins are the top choices for pet costumes, with witches, princesses and angels rounding out the list.

One in ten households will dress their dogs up for Halloween this year.

If you plan on letting your pet don a devilish disguise, there are a few safety tips to keep in mind. First, make sure your pet wants to wear a costume! While some animals may not mind being outfitted with a pumpkin suit, others may experience extreme discomfort and stress while in costume. Try putting the costume on your pet in advance of the big night to make sure he or she is comfortable with it. And while your pet is out trick or treating, don't forget about the pets that may be coming to your house - keep a few dog treats by the door to hand out to any four-legged companions accompanying trick-or-treaters.

Whether your pet is dressed like a pumpkin or a dinosaur, make sure the costume allows for easy movement and is not restrictive or confining; however, also be on guard for costumes that drag on the ground. These costumes can get caught in doors or snag on other objects. If your pet's costume includes a mask, modify the eye holes so they are big enough to accommodate your pet's peripheral vision. A pet that can't see may experience increased stress and could become aggressive as a result.

Make sure your pet's costume allows for easy movement.

When the trick-or-treating is over and the treats are ready to be had, be sure to keep chocolate away from your dog. Any amount of chocolate is harmful to your pet, so keep the treats out of their paws, no matter how much they beg. Those cellophane and foil wrappers left behind after the treats are gone are also a potential health hazard for your pet. The wrappers can be caught in your pet's digestive track and cause illness, severe discomfort - and even death - if the problem is left untreated.

There are some other pet safety tips to keep in mind this Halloween:

Jack o'lanterns and lit candles may look spooky, but they can pose problems for your pet. Rambunctious pets can knock lit pumpkins over and start fires, and wagging tails can easily get burned by open flames. Keep lit pumpkins and candles up on a high shelf to avoid accidents.

If you're hosting a Halloween party, keep your pet in a separate room, away from all the hustle and bustle. Too many strangers in odd costumes may cause your pet stress. This will also prevent your pet from sneaking out through an open door and darting out into the night.

Keep your pet indoors during the days and nights around Halloween. Pranksters and vandals have teased, injured, stolen and, in rare cases, killed pets on Halloween. Keeping your pet inside will keep them from becoming a target.


Halloween can be a fun time for you and your pet. Following the above safety tips will make sure the only scares you experience are all in good fun.

Oregon Supreme Court Rules That Animals Can Be Treated As Victims

The Oregon Supreme Court has ruled the animals can be treated as victims in legal cases, effectively affording animals the same protections humans have in abuse cases. The ruling stems from a 2009 court case in which the defendant was convicted of starving 20 horses and goats on his property. The defendant argued that because the law defines animals as property, he should not have been charged with separate counts of neglect for each animal. The judge disagreed, arguing that each animal was a separate victim.

The ruling is expected to result in longer sentences for those convicted of animal abuse. According to Lora Dunn, staff attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund in Portland, the ruling may also change how law enforcement responds to animal abuse calls, as it may eliminate the need for law enforcement to obtain a warrant in certain circumstances to investigate claims of neglect or abuse. “To acknowledge that animals are victims of crime, that’s really common sense to us,” said Dunn.

Cat Sense: New Book Helps Us Understand Our Purring Pals

Why do cats do what they do? Even the most experienced cat owner must sometimes wonder. For answers, check out one of the newest additions to the cat-egory of cat books, John Bradshaw’s Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet.

3 Cats

Described by Amazon as a “must-read for any cat lover” Cat Sense is a comprehensive history of the cat, infused with Bradshaw’s insights based his scientific and behavioral research about the domestic cat. Fascinated by cats since childhood, Bradshaw's goal is to expand the understanding of our feline companions and improve the quality of human-cat relationships.

Here are some interview highlights from the author's interview on NPR’s Fresh Air program:

On cats' social behavior:

"I think cats are much less demonstrative animals than dogs are. It's kind of not their fault; they evolved from a solitary animal that has never had the need for a sophisticated social repertoire in the way that the dog — having evolved from the wolf — had that ready-made. So their faces are just not terribly expressive, and some people read into that, that they're kind of cynical and aloof and those sorts of things. But I don't believe that for a moment. I think cats show, by their behavior, even if it's a bit more subtle than a dog's, that they really are fond of their owners."

On the purpose of purring:

"The purr is popularly thought of as ... indicating comfort and contentment. And it can be that, but signals like the purr — because it is a signal, it's giving out a message and it's trying to get you to do something. They don't evolve just to convey emotions, not in the animal world, anyway. What we think cats are doing here is just trying to reassure their person — or [another] cat — who is hearing the purr that they are no threat, and ideally they'd like them to stand still and help them do something. So it starts off with kittens purring to get their mother to lie still while they're suckling, and it goes on into adulthood. ... It's a signal to the animals, [and] the people around them to pay attention and try to help them."

For more excerpts, please visit NPR’s website.

Ebola and Dogs: Cause For Concern?

As the deadly Ebola virus continues to spread from West Africa to other parts of the world, including the United States, questions about its transmission between humans and animals have been raised.

Ebola, which causes a fever, headache muscle pain, weakness, vomiting and eventually dysentery, is fatal 90% of the time. With a third person testing positive for the disease in the United States, many fear that the disease will continue to spread.

According to the World Health Organization, Ebola is often transmitted to people from wild animals including gruit bats, chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines. Human-to-human transmission occurs through contact with infected bodily fluids.

Because of its connection to wild animals, some worry about Ebola spreading to and from an infected person’s pets. In Spain, a dog was euthanized after its owner tested positive for Ebola, leading many to wonder about the transmission of Ebola between humans and dogs. Unfortunately, existing evidence suggests that euthanizing the dog was unnecessary.

According to an article from the Veterinary News Network, most of what is known about dogs and Ebola comes from an outbreak in 2001, where over 400 dogs in the African nation of Gabon had exposure to the virus. Many of these dogs developed antibodies, demonstrating that they contracted the disease.

But the dogs showed no symptoms of Ebola, and there are still no known instances of humans catching the disease from dogs. One possible explanation is that dogs are “dead end hosts,” meaning they can contract the virus but cannot spread it to humans. However, more research is necessary before this can be determined.

The World Health Organization says that there is no evidence that domestic animals play an active role in the transmission of Ebola to humans, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention says there are no reports of pets becoming sick or playing a role in transmission of Ebola to humans.

If your pet is vomiting, has diarrhea or a fever, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. There are other diseases that have similar symptoms and require immediate attention.

For more information about Ebola, visit the CDC website at

Pet Etiquette: Don't Be Rude; Know the Rules

No one appreciates a loudmouth, or someone who chews with their mouth wide open. These things are obvious rules of etiquette we all follow so that we are not rude to others.

Being a pet owner also comes with its own etiquette rules and while some may seem obvious, it is always helpful to remind ourselves what we should do to be considerate pet owners. After all, you want people to view you as a responsible pet owner and your furry friend as a well behaved companion.

So, without further ado, here they are:

City vs. Rural Living – The importance and rigidness of pet etiquette are in direct proportion to the population density of where you live. If you live in an urban area there not only will be more etiquette rules, but greater importance placed on them than if you live in a rural area.

Know the rules of pet etiquette

Leashes – Many municipalities require all dogs that are walked in public or are taken to specific areas such as parks, beaches and other public places have a leash. People may enjoy seeing dogs at the park, but also may not appreciate them running wild. The ASPCA also recommends that leashes—particularly those in urban areas—be kept to six feet or less and be thick enough for walkers, people on rollerblades, bicyclers, and joggers to see.

Get a License – Being sure to purchase a license for your pet is not only a legal requirement in many communities, but could help identify a lost pet and pays for animal control efforts. A license also shows that you take being a pet owner seriously and participate in your community’s efforts to document pet ownership.

Scoop the Poop – Seems obvious, but there are those sidewalks and parks with a ridiculous number of landmines. Also, animal feces can have parasites and present other health issues, especially for young children.

Peeing – Gardeners often put a lot of effort into their flower beds, bushes and trees, so be respectful and try to avoid letting your dog pee on them.

Train dogs with four commands

Commands – Being in control of your pet is more than simply having a leash. From an early age it is important to train your dog to obey what have become known as the Four Basic Commands: sit/stay, heal, leave it, and come.

Noise – If loud noises cause your dog to become scared, nervous and/or act out in some way, stay aware of the potential for a loud noise such as a car horn or siren to occur. Also try to avoid having your dog surprised by a sudden movement or commotion near him or her such as a bicyclist or jogger passing from behind.

Tying Your Dog Up – Leaving your dog tied to a tree or post while you get a drink or shop means others have to avoid your dog. This is worse if your dog has trouble when it can’t see you or becomes anxious when tied.

Bad Apples – Even though most pet owners are responsible and considerate, there are always a few bad apples out there that give all pet owners a bad name. If you see someone not picking up after their pet or allowing their dog to be a nuisance, find a way to politely remind them that manners and pet etiquette are important.

For more, visit: the ASPCA's website on urban dog etiquette.

Medicinal Marijuana for Pets: A Pot Patch for Spot

A marijuana pain patch developed in 2000 for human use will soon be available for pets. Medical Marijuana Delivery Systems (MMDS), a Seattle company, acquired the patent for the human pain patch from its inventor and is now testing the device on dogs. The patch will be sold under the brand name Tertacan.

Medical Marijuana patch coming for Dogs

The patch allows the marijuana to be delivered through the skin. Its effects are said to be a more mellow alternative to pharmaceutical pain killers, and will alleviate the pain associated with arthritis, cancer, and other chronic conditions common to some dog breeds. The patch may also be used on cats and horses.

There are some legal questions surrounding the application of marijuana to pets. In states where medicinal marijuana is legal, veterinarians will be allowed to purchase and prescribe the patches for their patients. Other state legislatures will have to change state laws to allow the patches to be prescribed. MMDS plans to approach states for approval to use the patch for veterinary purposes.

Marijuana in leaf form, which has to be smoked and inhaled for the medicinal effects, is poisonous to pets if eaten. Reactions in pets can be severe, and veterinarians are often not informed by the owner when the plant is ingested. In patch form, the drug will be prescribed and dosed appropriately and poses little danger to pets or humans if properly stored. MMDS is also planning to market the patch for human use.

VIDEO: Golden Retrievers May Hold the Answers in Canine Cancer

How do genetics, diet and environment influence the incidence of cancer and other diseases in our pets? To answer that question, Morris Animal Foundation created the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, the most groundbreaking observational study ever undertaken to improve canine health. Learn more in the video below!

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