Yearly Archives: 2016

Employee Spotlight: Jolene

Jolene BlurbJolene is a receptionist at Wyomissing Animal Hospital. She started out by doing an internship as a veterinary assistant but decided that she enjoyed the client interaction more.

She currently has two pets; Kahlua, a 10 year old chocolate Labrador that loves everyone and eating everything, and a kitten named Cannoli who is about eight months old that Jolene rescued from work. All she had to do was take one look at him and knew she needed to keep him.

She is currently engaged and is planning on getting married next October to her fiancé Kyle. When she’s not a work she loves reading books such as the Lunar Chronicles and playing video games. She also enjoys doing crafty things like crocheting, which works out because she works part-time at Michaels!

Meet some of our other employees!
Jenna
Jamie

Christmas Safety

shutterstock_90414850It’s that time of year again where snow is in the air and Christmas decorations are going up. Decorating for Christmas is always fun and cheerful however, it’s not always the best idea when you have pets. It’s generally a good idea to always look at things from their perspective to make sure decorations are up and out of their reach.

Christmas trees are a tradition in most households but the tree itself can cause a lot of problems when it comes to animals. Cats especially love to get in the tree and eat the needles and climb all the way to the top (if they make it). Cats are also fond of anything shiny especially if it makes a crinkly noise. So ornaments and tinsel are always first in their minds, not to mention the lights and decorations. Cats aren’t the only ones that love the tree, but dogs tend to try to drink the water and even eat homemade ornaments. All of these can cause stomach upset to say the least but can easily become an emergency situation if they eat too much or eat the wrong thing.

A lot of the time decorations are up off the floor but you really want to watch extension cords and candles, cats and dogs are fond of chewing on anything and if it’s new that’s even more exciting. Sometimes even flames of candles will draw their attention and that’s generally not a good idea they can easily get burned or even knock it over and start other things in the room on fire. Tinsel is really pretty and shiny but pets will disagree and either rip it to shreds or sometimes eat it and that can cause intestinal blockage or even become a choking hazard. Try to be mindful and keep things out of reach.

shutterstock_169235831Along with decorations who doesn’t love to make holiday cookies and desserts. I don’t know many people that would pass them up and as much as we love it our pets think they do too, but most are toxic. Chocolate for one is very toxic to dogs even small amounts especially dark chocolate and baking chocolate can cause major problems. Anything with artificial sweeteners can be toxic because a lot have xylitol in them and that is very toxic as well. It’s always good to keep alcohol out of reach as well. Even small amounts can cause major problems.

With any holiday it’s always good to be prepared and always keep a close eye on all your pets. If your pets are prone to getting into things try to make sure they are never left alone and try to look at things from their point of view.

If you would happen to run into an emergency always have your veterinarian phone number on hand, poison control and an emergency vet.

Wyomissing Animal Hospital – 610-372-2121
Poison Control number 888-426-4435
Berks Animal Emergency (Shillington) – 610-777-7535
Metropolitan (Norristown) – 610-666-0914
Valley Central (Whitehall) – 610-435-1553
Hope (Malvern) – 610-296-2099

How to Keep Pets Safe in the Cold

shutterstock_112452653As the seasons change and it becomes colder outside pets can feel the difference too. Some pets enjoy the cold but not all do so it’s best to know how to keep them safe. When it comes to keeping them safe common sense is the best way to go, if you are cold most likely they are too. Pets do have fur but just like us they still feel the cold. Always bring your pets in especially if the temperature is 20°F.

Cold tolerance is different for each pet. The tolerance depends on the type of coat, how their body stores fat, activity level and over all health of each animal. Even if pets do have a longer coat and are used to the colder weather they should still not be left unattended outside for any length of time and make sure their coat is groomed. (Matted fur doesn’t aid in keeping them warm and can cause skin problems) Shorter coated pets are more sensitive to cold so even little sweaters and booties are a good choice for them. Your pet may appear healthy but cold can make even slight sicknesses worse. If your pet is diabetic, has heart disease, kidney disease, hormonal imbalances they generally have a hard time regulating their body temp. Very young and very old animals are generally prone to having issues with the cold so always keep a close eye on them.

Pets should be kept inside during the colder months but if they do stay outside make sure that they always have food and water. Try to check the water frequently to keep it from freezing and sometimes use heated water bowels. Animals outside should always have shelter and it’s best to be facing away from wind if possible. The bottom should be kept off the ground and the bedding should be thick and warm. The bedding should be changed regularly to make sure it stays warm and dry. Try to avoid space heaters and heating pads because the pet can burn themselves and it can sometimes catch fire. Also make sure that if your pet is going to be staying outside that they keep a healthy weight through the winter, they will need more calories to help with body heat but it’s best to check with your veterinarian to make sure they don’t gain too much weight.

shutterstock_166559537If you want to make sure your pet is still active during the colder months that’s fine just limit the time they are outside and make sure they are monitored the whole time. Walks are fine but it’s better to shorten them. Always check their feet after being outside to make sure they are not cracked or bleeding. Always clean off ice and snow from paws and try to keep fur between toes cut short. When taking them outside make sure to stay clear of ice, frozen ponds or lakes, pets can fall or fall in and it can become an emergency quickly. Also make sure they have proper identification on at all times when outside just in case they would get away from you.

In addition to just to the cold weather there are other things to watch for in the colder months. Antifreeze is out a lot in the cold and it smells very sweet to animals but is very deadly. Small amounts can cause major problems for them and sometimes even death. Always watch and make sure any spills are cleaned up right away. Monitor wood stoves, fire places, electric blankets and space heaters because they can burn them very easily. Never leave them in the car because they can be affected by carbon monoxide poisoning and hypothermia. If there is severe weather coming always try to be prepared not only for yourself but your pets as well. An emergency kit is a good option with enough food, water and medications including heartworm prevention and flea and tick prevention for 5 days. Also try to have extra blankets, leashes and collars.

Thanksgiving Precautions

By Kendra Martin

The holiday season is upon us and Thanksgiving is starting it out. Everyone loves to meet up with family and enjoy a nice dinner but pets aren’t always as enthusiastic as we would like. Here are some tips and tricks to keeping them happy and healthy during this holiday time.

Pets enjoy being with us all the time especially when we are eating and most of us know that not everything we eat they should eat. Turkey and turkey skin being one of them. It is extremely fatty and pets have a hard time digesting fatty foods and sometimes it can even cause pancreatitis. Also desserts are generally not a good idea either due to chocolate or xylitol (which is generally in unsweetened desserts). Try to keep all trash up and away from the ground or reachable by pets. Almost everything smells good to them but is not generally safe for them to eat.

shutterstock_4156369When holidays come friends and family visit but some pets get too excited and others are not fond of the idea at all. It’s good to always know ahead of time how your pet is going to be. Sometimes it’s good to keep them separate all together. Certain pets are better in an area by themselves with their favorite toy. Cats tend to get very stressed when anything changes in their home especially a lot of people being in their space. Stress can cause disease so keeping them by themselves is generally the best idea in keeping them calm and stress free. Always tell your guests know if your pet is around to make sure they don’t leave doors open and watch when entering and exiting your home. Keeping up to date identification and collars are always a good idea just in case your pet gets out.

Decorations always make the holidays come together but try to make sure that you keep your pets in mind. Lit candles and fire places make things look so nice but can quickly cause problems with your pets. They can easily become burned or even knock things over and start your house on fire. Not to mention certain plants that are really pretty can be very toxic. For example baby’s breath, sweet william and lilies to name a few. Keep an eye on all ribbons and strings, cats especially love to play with them but if they decide to eat them can quickly become a problem.

Traveling with pets can be fun but it’s good to plan ahead. Heath certificates from your veterinarian are used when traveling across state lines and international borders and when flying in an airplane. Never leave pets alone in vehicles regardless of length of time or weather because it can easily become dangerous. Always have your pets restrained properly in vehicles when traveling either in a harness or carrier but never in the back of a pickup truck. Pets can easily become distracting or find little places to hide in vehicles. In case you can’t take your pet with you on your travels there is a lot of boarding kennels available out there but it’s always good to fully check out the facility first and find out what vaccines are necessary to board there. 

The best precaution when it comes to pets is to be prepared. Try to have a game plan ahead of time to make sure they stay safe and healthy. If traveling with your pets it’s a good idea to have copies of their medical records, extra medications, and up to date identification in case anything would go wrong while enjoying the holiday season. Fast action and being prepared saves more lives.

Halloween and Pets

By Kendra Martin

Halloween is a fun holiday to collect all kinds of candies and dress up in costumes but not every member of the family likes the festivities. Everyone loves to have their pets involved and dressed up in the cute costumes that they see at the pet stores but just like other holidays there’s some precautions that should be taken to keep them safe.

Pets are super cute and costumes just add to that but choosing the right costume is very important. Try to make sure that the costume fits properly and seems generally comfortable to them. If it seems they are having trouble walking or breathing that’s probably not the best one. Always keep a close eye on them because sometimes they will remove it themselves causing them to eat certain parts and that can make them sick. Also, if there are any parts that hang off such as strings, ties, belts or sashes they can cause bodily injury if they become too tight or even cause strangulation. Costumes can be really fun just make sure they are supervised properly while wearing them to insure their safety.

Everyone loves to collect candy and pets love that too but it’s best to keep it as far away as possible. All forms of chocolate are toxic especially baking and dark chocolate. It can become lethal for dogs and cats rather quickly. Also a lot of sugar free candies out there have xylitol in them now and that again is very toxic to animals and can affect them rather quickly. Some symptoms to watch for are vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, seizures and loss of coordination.  Sometimes even wrappers and lollipop sticks can easily become choking hazards. If you are concerned at all please contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Decorations are really neat to see especially the really elaborate ones, with all the lights and creatures all around. As much as we enjoy them sometimes our pets will try to figure them out by getting into everything.  They can find wires and even little or big decorations and put them in their mouths which can harm them. Lanterns or candles can easily be knocked over and start something on fire or they can burn themselves trying to investigate too closely. Try to make sure that all decorations are out of reach or placed where they won’t become harmful. Sometimes pets even like to chew and play with glow sticks that can break open and cause your pet to salivate heavily or even act strangely. Most are not toxic but it’s never a bad idea to contact poison control (ASPCA Poison Control 888-426-4435) or your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Pets are of course very important to all of us so making sure they are safe and secure is a great idea. It’s not a good idea to let your pets out without supervision because some people think it’s fun to pull pranks on them, tease them, injure them, steal them or even worse. Try to keep all cats inside a few days before Halloween to a few days after Halloween especially if they are black. Also some pets will scare a lot easier with constant noise and ringing of the doorbell all night. If your pet is one to get overly excited every time someone comes to the door it might be a good idea to have them in a different part of the house for the night. Also costumes can scare them easily because it’s not something they normally see. Always make sure your pet has proper identification on just in case they do get loose.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry but just in case anything would happen it’s always good to be prepared. Always have an emergency Veterinary phone number and location ready with directions.

Berks Animal Emergency and Referral – 610-775-7535
400 West Lancaster Avenue, Shillington PA 19607

Metropolitan Veterinary Associates and Emergency – 610-666-1050
2626 Van Buren Avenue, Valley Forge PA 19482

Hope Veterinary Specialist – 610-926-2099
40 Three Tun Road, Malvern PA 19355

PETS Emergency – 717-295-7387
930 North Queen Street, Lancaster PA 17603

ASPCA PET POISON HELPLINE – 888-426-4435

Halloween Photo Contest

Calling All Halloween Lovers!
Send us a photo of your pet in a costume and you could win a $50 gift card to our hospital!

To enter:
Like our Facebook page and send us a direct message on Facebook with your pet’s photo by Sunday, October 23rd.

On Monday the 24th we will post all of the photos in an album and then voting will begin! Vote for your favorite photo(s) by “liking” them or using your favorite reaction. The photo with the most “likes”/”reactions” will be our winner and will be announced on October 31st!

We encourage you to share your picture, or the album, with your friends and family to increase your chances of winning.

Good luck and may the best costume win!

*One photo per pet. If you have won a contest more than once, we ask that you please split the prize with the 2nd place winner. To keep this lighthearted and fun, pictures shared to “like for like” groups or those similar, or others deemed unfair or inappropriate, will be disqualified.

2015 Halloween Contest Winner – Buddy

Tips for Traveling with Cats

By: Kendra Martin

Cats are generally not the best with traveling. They are very keen on staying in their environment and don’t like to be moved but sometimes they need to travel. Here are some tips to help out.

1) Carefully select a carrier
There are many different types of carries available. Select one that is rugged, with padding on the bottom and front and top openings for easy access. Always keep them in the carrier while traveling so they don’t get loose. The safest place in a vehicle is behind the drivers seat with a seat belt.

2) Leave carrier out at home
Cats are not fond of getting out of their routines especially being put into carrier for travel. The carrier doesn’t need to be a scary place. Leaving the carrier out all the time allows it to become part of their home and even a warm, interesting hiding place. It’s best to try to keep it in a peaceful part of your house away from noisy objects like washer and dryers.

shutterstock_2682729713) Create Positive Associations with the carrier
Cats like feeling safe, secure and happy. A lot of the time being with their owners help with that. You can put a piece of your clothing in the carrier with them to keep them calm. Leaving the carrier around the house allows you to even play with them in the carrier and put fun things like food, treats or even cat nip in them to keep them a happy place.

4) Practice Rides
A lot of the time cats aren’t good with travel is because it doesn’t happen very often and they usually end up going to the Vet when they do. If you start to take your cat on short frequent rides it will help them get used to the ride. You can also try covering the carrier with a towel or blanket so they don’t get over stimulated or scared from the outside. They also feed off our emotions so try to keep your voice soft and calm and the music in the vehicle quiet and peaceful.

5) Ask Your Veterinarian
Some cats no matter how many times you try to get them used to their carrier and travel they will still become very stressed or even nausous. That’s when you want to look towards your Veterinarian for help there are some over the counter remedies that can help along with prescriptions medications that can help your little one calm down.

6) Travel Precautions
Always check your cat’s carrier prior to taking them outside every time to make sure there is no rips or tears to the carrier and that everything is still hooked together properly. Also if your cat allows it collars and tags are a good idea to just in case they do break free but if your cat is like so many it’s a good idea to look into getting your cat microchiped. Microchips are little devices placed under the skin that holds all of your information.

7) Be patient and have fun
Cats will take time with any type of change so don’t give up quickly. It doesn’t happen overnight but by taking these steps into consideration you can cuts down on stress for your feline friends making traveling easier. Also by making traveling easier makes the likelihood that they will have yearly exams and will allow them to live happier and healthier lives.

Heat Stroke

With the temperatures so hot outside, it’s important to think about how to keep your pets safe in the heat. Heat stroke, sun burn and foot/paw burns are the most dangerous. Heat stroke can cause organ failure, seizures, brain damage, hemorrhages, blindness, convulsions, or even death. Heat stoke happens when the body mechanisms cannot keep the body temperature in a safe range. The regular temperature for a dog is 100-102.5°F. If their temperature reaches 106°F that can become deadly and your dog should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Cats’ internal temperature is normally 101-102°F and if their temperature reaches 105°F then they should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Signs of heat stroke in dogs are rapid panting, bright red tongue, red or pale gums, thick sticky saliva, depression, weakness, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, shock, and coma. Sings of heat stroke for cats is rapid pulse/breathing, staggering gait, redness of mouth, vomiting, and lethargy.

Certain dogs are more prone to having problems with heat, such as brachycephalic breeds like pugs and bulldogs. Some breeds just don’t tolerate heat well either such as Boxers, Huskies and St. Bernards. Along with breeds there are also illnesses that can make  animals more susceptible to heat problems such as obesity, older age, breathing difficulties(laryngeal paralysis), and heart disease.

Some general tips for avoiding heat problems with pets are:

  1. If the temperature is high outside don’t let your pets stay on hot surfaces for long shutterstock_189871142amounts of time (such as concrete, asphalt or cement).
  2. When your pets are close to the ground it increases their body temperature and they can burn their paw pads on the hot ground.
  3. When getting summer hair cuts, try to keep at least an half inch of fur there to protect from sunburn.
  4. Always keep freshwater available at all times.
  5. Do your best to restrict activity and allow them to have access to shade.
  6. If your pet isn’t that nice, it’s not the best idea to put a muzzle on them for long amounts of time because it doesn’t allow them to pant.
  7. Swimming is always a good idea to help keep them cool and get exercise at the same time. Even sprinklers can help to lower body temperature.
  8. The most important is to never leave any animal in a car by themselves. Even if the car is parked in the shade the  temperature can increase quickly, easily reaching 140°F.

If you ever have concerns, try to remove your pet from the heat. You can even wet them thoroughly with cool to room temperature water. Do not use ice or very cold water when trying to cool them down. The ice water can cause their bodies to cool too quickly and then that can cause adverse side effects. Also, never force your pet to drink water as it can cause them to choke or even inhale the water into their lungs.

Felines are a little different but still can have issues with heat. Some good ideas to help to keep them cool are, making “cat-sickles” by freezing their wet foot in a plastic cup and shutterstock_235923349giving them as treats throughout the day. You can also chill the water by putting ice cubes in it and sometimes the cats even like to play with the ice cubes as a bonus. Try to make sure their water is always fresh and cool and allow them to have access to rooms with a fan or air conditioner running. Sometimes even keeping the blinds closed will help cut down on the heat. Leaving bare floors and basements available are also nice for them to cool down on. If you happen to open windows always make sure the screens are fully attached and secure. If you are concerned at all it might be best to leave them closed and find an alternative route unless you are going to be watching them the whole time.

Cats don’t pant like dogs; they actually recreate sweating like humans. They groom themselves and the saliva from their tongue acts like sweat and cools their body down when it evaporates. It’s also not a good idea to shave cats in the summer, the fur is actually evolved to keep them warm in the winter and protects them from the sun and slows down dehydration in the summer. If you notice your cat panting, breathing rapidly, having excessively sweaty paws, or acting restless they are showing signs of heat problems and you should call your veterinarian right away.  If you are concerned at all, call your veterinarian and check with them or take them to the nearest emergency vet facility.

Have You Checked the Chip?

By: Kendra Martin

Our pets are very precious to us and to most, even family. Losing a member of our family would be devastating. Luckily for our furry family members there is an option out there to make the chances of a home coming even greater. Microchips are the best chance any pet would have to coming back home in case they would run away and get picked up by a rescue or a good Samaritan. I know what you are thinking my dog has a collar and id tags, and that’s great. But what happens when for some reason they break off, or Fido decided to go on a chewing party and there goes another collar. Sometimes they can even back right out of their collars and get away quickly.  Mistakes happen, but luckily microchips can’t fall off or get lost. Even if cats allow a collar to be put on them the likelihood that they don’t get caught on something and it gets removed is very low. Cat’s believe if their head fit they fit and that doesn’t always work out in their favor.

Microchips are little computer chips that have a barcode on them much like items you would buy from the grocery store. They hold a number on them that when scanned connect them to all of the owners information. The chips are only about the size of a grain of rice and can easily be implanted with a syringe and needle. Much like most vaccines are given. It is usually placed between the should blades so the chances of it migrating are lower. Most rescues and vet hospitals have the scanners available so the staff can check for microchips on pets who are found. Once scanned they receive the numbers and once contacting the company that they are registered with they will get all the owners information.

The best part is the microchips are made from biocompatible material so it will not degenerate over time so as long as you keep your information up to date it will always help get them home. The most important part of having a microchip is having them registered. Some vet hospitals will register them for you but other places like rescues or breeders you would need to register them yourself with your information. Make sure you get all the information about them so that you can correctly keep them up to date. Most microchip companies will contact you once a year as well to make sure.

Also if your dog has a microchip they are qualified for a lifetime license so that’s one more thing not to have to worry about depending on the county you live in. Having the microchip implanted in your pets will increase your chances of having your pet home safely. Ten million dogs and cats are lost or stolen every year in the United States. Cats with microchips are 20 times more likely to be returned and dogs 2.5 times more likely to be returned. It’s definitely worth it in the long run and your pets will thank you too.

Employee Spotlight: Jamie

Jamie is a runner/greeter at Wyomissing Animal Hospital and has been with us since August of 2011. She is from Sinking Spring and graduated from Wilson High School. She is currently enrolled in Penn State Berks majoring in marketing and management. When she’s not working or going to school she loves listening to music and going to concerts. She also really enjoys cold weather and being outdoors with her dogs Riley and Lilly. Riley is 11 years young and Lilly is 6 years old. They are both English Springer Spaniels. Whenever she is free you can always find her spending time with her family especially her two nephews Connor who is 4 years old and Nolan who is 1 year old.

Meet some of our other employees!
Jenna