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44Next week is Christmas, and the majority of pet-friendly households plan on including their furry friends in the festivities. However, it’s important for pet parents to take precautions to ensure that everyone has a happy holiday, including all of the four-legged family members.

Just say no to mistletoe (and poinsettias and holly): these plants are poisonous to dogs and cats if ingested and can cause gastrointestinal upset. Keep these plants far out of reach of your pets or better yet, opt for a pet-friendly bouquet this holiday.

O Christmas tree: dogs and cats are naturally curious about the big, colorful tree that now sits in the middle of the room. Even more intriguing are the lights, ornaments and tinsel hanging about. Consider having a tinsel-less tree this year. Tinsel is something pets often try to consume. It can easily cause an obstruction in their digestive tract, which can result in surgery. It’s also not a bad idea to securely anchor your tree to prevent tips and injury to your pets (and your favorite glass ornaments!)

Candles: these are common this time of year, but it’s important not to leave pets unattended when candles are burning. Curious pets can tip them over, potentially injuring themselves or starting a fire.

Pass on the leftovers (for the most part): don’t pile your pup’s plate high with all the same trimmings that are on yours-they will not be used to this amount of human food and could develop gastrointestinal distress. Also, never give your pet bones to chew on that could become lodged in their throat.

No sweet treats: though it’s mostly common knowledge, keep all the Christmassy sugary foods away from your pet, especially chocolate. Chocolate is poisonous to dogs and can cause anything from diarrhea to seizures and in some cases, death.

Wrap it up: Keep gift wrap along with bows and ribbon away from pets. These are often fun to play with (especially for cats!) but if consumed, they can cause intestinal blockages.

Keep em’ happy: when guests arrive, if your pet is particularly shy and fearful of new people, make sure you have a warm, safe place for them to retreat to, away from the noise. Make sure they have fresh water and a bed to snuggle in to make them feel secure.

As always, if you have a question about your pet’s health, please make an appointment at Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic at 231-622-6363.

One major concern for pet owners during the winter months is keeping their pet protected from antifreeze, which can be potentially deadly if ingested. It’s important that antifreeze be kept out of pet’s reach and any spills on driveways and other hard surfaces should be cleaned up immediately. Unfortunately, many pets will consume this liquid, as it tends to have a sweet flavor.

Antifreeze can cause kidney failure in thDB3R5148e matter of a couple of days, and this doesn’t happen just by pets lapping it up in the driveway. If a pet walks through it and then goes inside to lick its paws, there is a real cause for concern.

But how do you know if you pet has gotten into antifreeze? If you suspect your pet has consumed antifreeze, contact your veterinarian first and foremost. Signs of antifreeze poisoning vary depending on the time of ingestion, but include:

-Drinking excessive amounts of water
-Decreased urination

Treatment for antifreeze poisoning is available and the earlier it is caught, the better chance of survival. The best way to make sure your pet doesn’t consume antifreeze is to be vigilant about checking the driveway for spills and monitor your pet when they’re out on walks, as well. Make sure to keep new and used antifreeze in sealed containers out of your pet’s reach and consider using a non-toxic alternative.

As always, if you have a question about your pet’s health, please make an appointment at Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic at 231-622-6363.

Candy CornSince November is National Adopt a Senior Pet month and November 17 is National Take a Hike Day, what better way to keep your beloved senior pet in shape than to start taking them for frequent hikes? Just because they have a little gray around the muzzle, doesn’t mean they should be excluded from a fun, outdoor adventure!

There are several things to keep in mind when exercising an older pet, such as the length of the walk, the outside temperature and any medical issues. Ensure that both you and your pet have a positive experience hiking together by keeping these tips in mind:

Impaired vision/hearing: it’s not uncommon for senior animals to have limited vision or hearing loss. Be sure to keep a careful eye on them so they don’t wander off and become lost on the trail. You may want to keep them on a leash for their own protection.

Special needs: there are a number of health issues that older pets develop such as diabetes, arthritis and hypothyroidism, just to name a few. This doesn’t mean your pet should stay home, however! Just make sure your veterinarian gives you the green light when taking your pet on hikes and bring any medications with you, just in case.

Keep your expectations realistic: your dog may have been able to cruise through a five mile run in their youth, but a senior pet may be limited to just a fraction of that. Make sure to bring an ample amount of water and offer it often. If your pet hasn’t had a lot of exercise lately, start out slow to make sure they don’t overdo it.

Time it right: keep in mind that older animals are more susceptible to temperature changes/extremes. In the summer, attempt to go during the cooler hours of the day, preferably in the morning or evening, and if you take your pet out in the winter, consider outfitting them with booties and a jacket/sweater.

Make an appointment at Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic to have their overall health evaluated to make sure they are healthy enough to taking hiking. To make an appointment, please call 231-622-6363.

Daisy 081617November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month, which aims to bring awareness to the many adoptable older animals waiting in shelters every year to find their forever homes. Each year, Little Traverse Bay Humane Society (LTBHS) finds homes for dozens of senior animals. Younger animals may require a good deal of time from their owners to train them properly. On the other hand, an older animal is likely to be potty trained, while a puppy will require some work and patience. Another thing to consider is that young animals are still developing their personalities, but with older animals, usually what you see is what you get.

Adopting an older animal can be an incredibly rewarding experience, just take it from Emily Stratton, who recently opened her heart and home to Daisy, a 13 year old cat who was surrendered with her feline friend, Lucy, several months ago. Lucy, who was much younger, quickly got adopted, but Daisy found herself sad and lonely at the shelter, being passed up by potential adopters in favor of younger cats. Thankfully, Emily had been keeping an eye on Daisy and vowed that if she didn’t find a home during the Empty the Shelters weekend (where all adoptions were sponsored by the BISSELL Pet Foundation), that she would come on Monday and adopt her.

“It made me so sad when I heard that her buddy (Lucy) left,” Stratton said. “Her story definitely spoke to me and I had to bring her home.”

Stratton said that Daisy has been a wonderful addition, and even though she’s older, she is a great companion.

“Daisy may be an older kitty, but she has a lot of years left in her and a lot of love to give,” she said. “I would recommend adopting an older shelter animal to anyone-they need homes, too.”

It’s Important to keep in mind that older pets may require some extra TLC in regard to their health. Take these tips into consideration so that your senior pet can remain happy and healthy for many years to come!

• Regular check-ups: Make sure to visit your veterinarian for a yearly exam, even if you pet appears in good health as some diseases are not outwardly apparent.

• High-quality food is a must: Older animals are more likely to become obese due to less physical activity than their younger counterparts, so be sure that they are not only eating the appropriate amount of food, but that it’s a high-quality variety that provides your pet with the proper nutrition.

• Consider supplements: If your pet’s fur has lost its luster or if they’re having joint issues, it may be a good idea to consider supplements if your veterinarian approves of them.

• Keep up on oral health: Older animals are likely to have issues with their teeth and gums than younger animals, so schedule a yearly dental exam/cleaning.

• Get them out and about: Make sure you pet continues to be physically active in their golden years. They might not go for as long of a walk as they once did, but be sure they are getting the exercise appropriate for their age and condition. If your senior pet is not used to exercise, consult your veterinarian and develop a plan to start slowly.

Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic offers numerous options for geriatric care to ensure that your pet stays healthy well into their golden years. To make an appointment, please call 231-622-6363.

AbleOne component of health that many people don’t take into consideration when it comes to their pet is mental health. By providing your pet with an outlet to be mentally stimulated and engaged, you’re helping to improve your pet’s overall health. This ultimately results in a happier, more well-adjusted pet. There are several ways to go about this, including:
Training. Teaching you dog a new trick has benefits beyond a better mannered pup. Working with your dog to teach them something new not only engages their brain but also keeps their daily routine fun and interesting. And that saying about old dogs can’t learn new tricks? Not true! Even if you’ve adopted a senior pet, they will definitely benefit (and enjoy!) frequent training sessions with you.

Take a leisurely walk. When you take you dog out on their walk, try not to be in a hurry. Part of what your dog enjoys so much about their daily walks is being able to take the time to smell new things. Since a dog’s sense of smell is so much greater than ours, scents allow him to “see” the world through an olfactory lens, which can keep him mentally stimulated.

Toys and puzzles-both dogs and cats benefit from toys. This can be anything from a laser pointer for your cat (which is great physical exercise, as well) to a fun treat puzzle toy for your dog (that forces them to work for their food). Many pets even enjoy interactive games like hide and seek with their owners. Or consider hiding treats for them to find throughout the house on a rainy day-they will love the challenge!

Consider a cattery-this is typically an enclosed area outside or perhaps built just off a windowsill that curious cats can cozy up in. It allows them to experience the outdoors but stay safe from predators or without getting lost. Being able to listen to birds and feel like they’re outside is a great way for them to enjoy themselves.

Socialization is key-enroll your pup in doggy daycare which is a wonderful way for them to make new friends and also learn proper social skills. This is a good way to keep them mentally stimulated and learn to be more tolerant of other dogs (and people).

As always, if you have any questions regarding your pet’s health, please contact Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic at 231-622-6363.

edited2Crisp air and leaves falling…is there anything better than fall? It’s a great time to get out with your pets-cooler temperatures and sunny days are perfect for a nice hike in the woods. Make sure your pet has a happy and healthy fall by keeping these tips in mind:

-Keep up with your pet’s heartworm and flea/tick medications. These pesky parasites can still be found in the cooler months, so make sure you pet still receives their preventative medications on a regular basis. Be sure to look your pet over frequently for ticks -these are easy to pick up, and 2017 has been a bad year for them!

-Speaking of walks…keep an eye on your pup to make sure they don’t gobble up something they’re not supposed to while outside. This time of year, hundreds of varieties of mushrooms pop up in the woods, and while many are harmless, there are some that could do serious harm if you dog were to consume them.

-Watch what they eat around the house, too-the cooler months often start to drive rodents inside which prompts homeowners to put out traps and rodenticides which can be potentially deadly if your pet were to ingests some. This also includes rodents who have consumed poison and died-if you pet decides to make a yummy treat of one, contact your veterinarian immediately.

-Fall means lots of fun decorations around the house, but to your pet, this might mean a new treat to chew on or fully consume. Make sure they don’t get into trinkets or candles as these items can cause intestinal obstruction (among other issues), which requires immediate medical attention.

As always, if you have any concerns about the above issues throughout the fall season (or any time!) you can make an appointment with Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic at 231-622-6363.

JazzieFullbodyWednesday, October 11 is National Pet Obesity Awareness Day, which originated as a way to prevent and reduce obesity-related health issues in pets. Obesity not only makes a huge impact on an animal’s health, but also on their general well-being, as it makes it difficult to run, play and breathe properly. It’s never easy to turn down a food request from our furry friend, but it’s necessary in order to make sure they stay healthy and happy. Make sure to abide by these tips to keep your best friend at their ideal weight:

It may be difficult for you to visually determine if your pet is obese, so make sure they receive a yearly wellness exam with your veterinarian. Here, they will be weighed and your vet can tell you what the ideal weight is for your pet. Your veterinarian will also determine if there are any underlying health obesity-related health issues.

Weigh your pet at home. It may be difficult, and your home scale might not be quite as accurate as the one at the doctor’s office, but it will give you a general idea of what your pet weighs and a way to keep track if that number starts to creep up.

Be aware of what your pet is eating. Is your pet eating a healthy, appropriate-sized portion of food each day, or is your pup all too eager to oblige when your toddler is feeding them crackers during snack time? It’s important to be aware of what your pet is consuming and to keep this amount in check.

-Feed them high-quality food. It may go without saying, but not all pet foods are created equal. Be sure to ask your veterinarian for a recommendation on what food would be suit your pet’s lifestyle and activity level.

Take a hike….with your pet! Taking your pet on walks obviously works better for dogs than cats, but it’s important for both cats and dogs to receive daily exercise. A laser pointer or fun toy for your cat can work wonders in regard to getting them moving. A game of fetch in the backyard or a swim at the lake are good ways to burn a few calories with your canine companion.

Finally, if in doubt about your pet’s weight, make an appointment with your veterinarian to have them evaluated. To make an appointment with Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic, please call 231-622-6363.

blk lab hurricane harvey pups smallAs the rain fell and the storm waters rose, so did the concerns about the safety of Houston’s residents during Hurricane Harvey. It was quickly determined that the situation in southern Texas was far more dire than anyone had predicted and people scrambled to evacuate to safer ground. Unfortunately, not all of the area’s furry friends were so lucky. In the midst of the evacuation, many pets were left behind and separated from their families.

Thankfully, there were a lot of individuals on the ground helping make sure these sweet babies were rescued and brought to safety. Once these animals were placed in local shelters, great efforts were made to reunite them with their families, however, many were never claimed. This is where Little Traverse Bay Humane Society (and countless amazing rescue groups across the country!) came in.

Last week, we opened our doors to 19 dogs and puppies affected by Hurricane Harvey. They are pets that were rescued directly from the floodwaters in addition to those who were pulled from already-overcrowded shelters to make room for incoming displaced animals.

Included in this transport were a litter of black lab puppies left in a backyard after their family evacuated without them. These poor babies waited as the waters around them rose, hoping for a hero to save them. They were eventually rescued from their flooded backyard, but sadly, help arrived too late for four of the nine puppies. Thankfully, however, rescue crews jumped into action to care for the remaining five. When they were stable and it was apparent that no one was going to claim them, arrangements were made for them to make the long trip to northern Michigan.

These puppies are just five of the 19 that have now been given a new start and hope for a brighter future. There’s Jack, an adorable Golden Retriever/Husky mix who can’t stop playing and jumping for joy as he races around outside in his new surroundings. Then there’s Maggie Sue, a loving, humble hound mix whose sweet, sad eyes tell a tale of their own. They, along with all of the other Hurricane Harvey affected animals, will find amazing, forever homes very soon.deter with pups caption

What’s fantastic is that the Bissell Pet Foundation has generously agreed to sponsor all adoption fees for Hurricane Harvey-affected animals through September 30! We are so grateful that each and every one of these special pets will find new homes, but we are also so grateful to the Bissell Pet Foundation for their support of these animals and our organization as a whole.

Our Hurricane Harvey affected animals are still being evaluated by our veterinarians, but some are already available for adoption and all will be ready by the end of the week. If you are interested in adopting one of these amazing dogs, continue to check our website at www.ltbhs.com to keep updated on available animals or stop by for a visit!

Everyone at LTBHS is so proud to be part of the solution in helping these displaced animals. This is an incredible example of the power in partnerships between rescue groups and coming together to truly save lives.

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catcatcatOctober is all about our feline friends at Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic! On Tuesday, October 17, LTBVC will host Fix Your Feline, which allows owners to have their cat spayed or neutered and vaccinated for rabies, for only $30 (a $120 value!). Pet owners can also have their pet vaccinated for FRVCP, microchipped and treated for fleas/worms for an additional $30 during the event.

On Saturday, October 28, LTBVC will host a Feline Wellness Day, which will include a brief exam, rabies vaccination, FRVCP vaccination, microchip and flea/worm treatment. This package is available for only $35 (a $160 value!).

Both of these clinics offer important, preventative ways to keep your favorite feline friend happy and healthy. Spaying or neutering is incredibly important for many reasons. First and foremost, it can help them lead a longer, healthier life. Altering your animal can increase their lifespan—in cats, this can be as much as 3-5 years! This is because spayed/neutered animals have a very minimal, to no risk of developing diseases such as prostate, ovarian and testicular cancers, among others. Sterilizing your pet will also probably improve their behavior and reduce the likelihood of spraying and aggression. It will decrease your pet’s desire to roam, as well, which keeps them safe in two ways: one, they will be less likely to be hit by a car and injured/killed and two, they won’t become injured due to a fight with another animal. It also helps control the pet overpopulation, reducing the number of unwanted litters in shelters.

Making sure your pet is vaccinated against rabies and FRVCP is an incredibly important way to keep them healthy, too. Rabies is a highly contagious disease spread through the saliva of infected animals and affects the central nervous system. Common carriers include raccoons, skunks and bats, though it can be present in any mammal. Once symptoms of the disease appear, it is almost always fatal. Thankfully, it can be easily prevented with a rabies vaccine. FRVCP is a vaccine that protects your cat against three potentially deadly airborne viruses and is an easy way to keep them healthy.

To sign up for the Fix Your Feline spay/neuter clinic, call 231-347-2396 and to sign up for the Feline Wellness Day, call 231-622-6363.

AmSeptember is Happy, Healthy Cat Month which focuses on ensuring that your feline friend has everything they need for their general well-being. Check out the following tips to keep your cat as happy and healthy as possible!

-It’s very important that cats have access to clean, fresh water. Be sure to change their water on a daily basis to prevent bacteria from accumulating in the bowl (and your cat may be more likely to actually drink from it!). Elderly and nursing cats typically require more water than other cats and are more prone to dehydration, so be sure to look signs such as sunken eyes, lethargy and panting. Some cats appreciate running water, so consider purchasing a bowl where water is continually running.

-Make sure you have enough litter boxes to go around. The rule of thumb is one litter box per cat, plus one. So if you have two cats, you should have three boxes. Be sure to put the boxes somewhere where your kitty is comfortable going, as well, so they will actually use the box.

-Speaking of litter boxes…cats will sometimes go to the bathroom outside their box. This may not be a behavioral issue, but may be the result of a urinary tract infection or other illness. It’s important to have your cat tested for such by your veterinarian to rule out any medical issues.

-Don’t be a litterbug-spay or neuter your cat. This should go without being said, but spaying or neutering your pet is one of the most beneficial things you can do for them. It not only helps prevent unwanted litters from ending up in shelters, but provides many health benefits for your pet, such as reducing the likelihood of certain cancers. Little Traverse Bay Humane Society provides a Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Program that allows pet owners to have their cat sterilized at a low rate.

-Keep their teeth healthy. Cats, like humans, get tartar build-up on their teeth which can lead to decay and gum disease. Most owners find it challenging to brush their cat’s teeth, so it’s a good idea to schedule a dental exam and cleaning with your veterinarian. Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic offers dental exams and cleanings to felines.

-One of the best ways to keep your cat healthy is to keep them up to date on their vaccines and a yearly exam. At Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic, we highly recommend cats receive vaccinations for rabies, distemper and feline leukemia, but after a chat with your vet, you can best determine which vaccines are right for your pet.

Make an appointment to keep your feline friend happy and happy this September by calling 231-622-6363.

Darby 082317Allergies are a problem for many people every autumn, but what about pets? Surprisingly, they can be a real issue for our furry friends, too. When you think allergies, most people assume they come on in the springtime and are gone by summer. Whenever the seasons change, however, is when allergies are most prevalent.

For pets, this can mean a number of things. Unlike people, allergies don’t typically manifest in the form of runny eyes and sneezing. Typically, pet allergies come in the form of uncomfortable itching, which causes animals to excessively lick or scratch at their skin. This can result in secondary infections, which can be painful and cause larger skin issues. Itchy ears from allergens can cause ear infections, which can become a real problem if not properly treated.

The good news is that there are many solutions to bothersome seasonal allergies! The first thing to do if you believe your pet might have allergies is to make an appointment with your veterinarian to figure out if this is the real issue. If it’s determined that allergies are the problem, then your veterinarian can decide on the best route to manage the condition. Some pets may respond well to anti-itch shampoos and antihistamines, but others might require occasional steroids to treat them.

If you think your pet may suffer from seasonal allergies, make an appointment with Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic at 231-622-6363 to have them evaluated.

BaxWe recently observed National Check the Chip Day, which brings awareness to the importance of microchips. Microchipping is an effective way to ensure your pet’s safety and an owner’s own peace of mind. It is the best way to make sure animals get home safe if they are ever lost. Pets who are not microchipped often find themselves in shelters looking for a new home and the more unfortunate ones who end up in high-risk shelters are sometimes euthanized.

A microchip is an implant that is inserted under the skin that contains a unique identification number. This number is registered through the National Register Database which contains the dog’s information, as well as the owner’s. The implant is no larger than a grain of rice and is inserted under the skin in the back of the neck in a matter of minutes. The pet’s ID number can be retrieved with a scanner, which is typically found at vet clinics and animal shelters. Unlike pet tags or ID collars, microchips last the lifetime of the pet. Microchipping is a standard procedure at most shelters. All animals at LTBHS are microchipped before they are adopted.

Another important aspect of microchipping is making sure to update the chip information. Each time a pet owner moves or changes their phone number, the chip should be updated. External tags and collars are another smart thing to do for your pet. While these are not permanent, they are another helpful tool in making sure your animal returns home safely.

If your pet is not already microchipped, please call Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic at 231-622-6363 to schedule an appointment to have this important procedure done.

AddisonOlderNewIt’s not uncommon to find a lump or bump on your pet, but what exactly is it, you wonder? While it’s easy to fear the worst when you see on, these are not usually cause for concern.

But what ARE they? A lipoma is the most common type of lump that veterinarians see. This is a round, soft, non-painful mass under the skin that may look a little unappealing, but will not usually cause harm. Lipomas are typically benign, meaning that they do not spread to other places in the body and grow to a certain size and stay that way.

Occasionally, some lipomas are malignant and spread through an animal’s body. These can obviously pose a health threat and will likely need to be removed for your pet’s health. Since it’s so difficult to know if a lipoma is benign or malignant, it’s wise to have your pet seen by a veterinarian who may do a biopsy to determine the root cause.
Other issues that may cause lumps or bumps on your pet include sebaceous cysts that are essentially just clogged oil glands which will resolve on their own. Rarely, sebaceous glands develop into tumors called sebaceous adenomas, which do not pose any more threat once they are surgically removed.

If your pet has a strange lump or bump, it’s a good idea to get it checked out by a veterinarian to ensure that there are no underlying issues. To make an appointment for your pet to be evaluated by Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic, call 231-622-6363.

edited 1While it goes without saying that outdoor kitties are often at risk for more health issues than their indoor counterparts, one easy way owners can keep them healthy is through routine testing and vaccination for FIV/FeLV.

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a disease that weakens a cat’s immune system. FeLV stands for the feline leukemia virus, which also affects the immune system along with the bone marrow. Both are highly contagious diseases common in outdoor cats spread through infected saliva. Both diseases can be present in a cat’s system for many years without showing any signs of illness. Symptoms of the diseases are similar and can include fever, lethargy, repeated respiratory infections, dental issues and in some cases, chronic eye and skin conditions, in addition to diarrhea and weight loss.

Because there are so many varied symptoms associated with these diseases, it’s a good idea to have your cat tested if they become ill—especially if they are an outdoor cat (this increases their odds of contracting these diseases substantially). Tests can be run by your veterinarian to determine if FeLV or FIV are the cause of your cat’s illness. The good news is that there are also vaccinations to help protect cats against both FeLV and FIV and are available through your veterinarian. Call Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic at 231-622-6363 for additional information about FIV and FeLV and how you can protect your feline friend from these diseases.

smalliStock 539149925It’s summer, which means owners need to be vigilant about protecting their pets (and themselves!) against ticks. Unfortunately, 2017 has been an extremely huge year for these pesky critters, as their population is soaring, especially in Michigan. While it’s not known why their population is exploding across the state, it’s thought that ticks have continues to spread by birds transporting them further and further north.

Ticks are not so problematic themselves, as is the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi that they carry. This bacteria can transfer to any animal or human that the tick bites, which can transmit Lyme disease. Lyme disease can be a serious and debilitating problem to both humans and animals if it is not caught early and treated.

It’s extremely important to protect your pet against Lyme disease and one way to do this is to get them on some sort of preventative medication which discourages ticks from making a meal of your furry friend. Make an appointment today at Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic to protect your pet against ticks and to keep them healthy.

Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic offers a number of preventative medications to protect your furry friend from ticks and other parasites.  To make an appointment, call 231-622-6363.