Archive for February, 2013


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It’s been raining all day in Norfolk. Can’t wait until we get back to this:

Norfolk Botanical Garden. Photo by Jennifer Miele.

Norfolk Botanical Garden. Photo by Jennifer Miele.

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The 2012 Hurricane Season is just a memory, but it’s never too soon to gather resources for future events. I spoke with Mr. Scott Mahone, Norfolk’s Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator, and he wanted me to pass along information on Norfolk’s Pet-Friendly Emergency Shelter. The shelter is open to all pet owners who meet the guidelines listed below. Owners are expected to remain at the shelter with their pets — this is not a drop-off service.

The following information is excerpted from

Norfolk now has a Pet-Friendly Shelter! 

Located at the Bayview Recreation Center. Be sure to review all the requirements below before bringing your pet to the shelter. 

Pets will not be permitted at other shelters within the Norfolk City limits.

Location of the Pet-Friendly Shelter:
Bayview Recreation Center
8613 Willow Terrace Blvd.
Norfolk, Va. 23503

Pets that will be accepted at the shelter:
Norfolk’s Pet-Friendly Shelter will be available for domestic animals only.
Household Pets: A domestic animal, such as a

  • dog
  • cat
  • bird
  • rabbit
  • rodent
  • turtle

that is traditionally kept in the home for pleasure rather than for commercial purposes, can travel in commercial carriers, and be housed in temporary facilities.
*Owner will be responsible for animal care, including walking and feeding their animal(s).

Household pets do not include

  • reptiles (except turtles)
  • amphibians
  • fish
  • insects/arachnids
  • farm animals (including horses)
  • animals kept for racing purposes.

Note: Service Animals are permitted at any and all shelters!

For complete information, including Pet Preparation Tips and the Registration Process, visit the official site here.Est. 1973

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Will your pet's next meal come from the trashcan?

Will your pet’s next meal come from the trashcan?

If your dog gets into the trash, he could be in for more trouble than just a tummy ache. Moldy compost or garbage — especially grains, nuts, dairy, pasta, bread, and other foods — can cause severe illness in pets known as Tremorgenic Mycotoxicosis.

Let’s break that down:

Tremorgenic refers to a substance that causes tremors (severe shaking and trembling).

Mycotoxins are poisons released by fungi (mold), and mycotoxicosis is the resultant illness.

In some cases, the tremors are so severe that they resemble seizures. The pet can also develop a high fever, along with excessive panting and salivating. Also look for vomiting, gas, diarrhea, and lethargy. These signs can occur anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours after the pet has eaten the moldy and rotting food. Once begun, tremors can last from hours to days, and immediate treatment is necessary to help prevent lasting damage. Dogs are more commonly affected than other household pets because of their tendency to get into the trash, but all pets that scavenge outdoors are at risk of eating spoiled foods.

Tremorgenic Mycotoxicosis is considered an emergency. The affected pet will likely undergo blood tests and urinalysis, in part to rule in or out other possible causes of illness. Special laboratory tests can determine whether the pet is positive for certain mycotoxins, but those tests are not available at all locations.

Treatment of Tremorgenic Mycotoxicosis is often based on known or suspected garbage ingestion. There is no antidote to the fungal toxins, so treatment consists of cleaning out the gastrointestinal system, relaxing tremorous muscles, relieving the symptoms of illness and allowing the body to recuperate. With treatment, pets may recover within 1-4 days, although some pets may be affected for weeks or months afterward.

Prevention of Tremorgenic Mycotoxicosis is a matter of removing opportunity: keep pets out of compost piles and garbage, and never throw moldy foods or vegetable waste into the yard.

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Image courtesy of Vintage Holiday Crafts.


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Choose a high-quality probiotic designed for pets' intestinal health.

Choose a high-quality probiotic designed for pets’ intestinal health.

Have you heard of the nutritional benefits of probiotics? Did you know pets can take probiotics, too?

What are probiotics?
Probiotics are microorganisms (bacteria) that live in the intestines and aid in the proper digestion of food. The “healthy” bacteria also help to limit harmful bacteria colonies and boost the immune system.

When the beneficial microorganisms are depleted — due to illness, use of antibiotics, or another reason — digestive upset such as diarrhea, gas, and constipation can result.

Eventually, the healthy bacteria (also called “flora”) will recolonize — but that can take time. A faster, safe method of encouraging the growth of new digestive flora is through giving your pet probiotic supplements, such as Vetri-Mega Probiotic.


We have used Vetri-Mega Probiotic with success in stopping diarrhea and promoting normal, healthy digestion in pets.

What is in the bottle?
Each bottle holds 120 capsules containing  several strains each of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium (both are beneficial bacteria), along with an important prebiotic – fructooligosaccharides (FOS).

Wait — what is a prebiotic? 
Think of a prebiotic as food for the probiotic. The FOS in Vetri-Mega Probiotic helps the good bacteria to flourish in your pet’s intestines. In particular, the FOS stimulates the growth of Bifidobacteria.

If your pet has been experiencing diarrhea or constipation, your vet may recommend a probiotic supplement to assist in recovery.

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Your pet’s mouth may seem like a mysterious cave into which objects disappear and only occasionally come back out. But do you really know what it looks like in there, or what it should look like? 

If your pet is cooperative at home (that is, if you’re not in danger of being bitten) gently pry open his mouth and stare into the gaping maw. Check for evidence of poor dental health:

  • Are any teeth loose, broken, or missing?
  • Are the gums swollen or inflamed?
  • Are there any growths on the gums, lips, roof or floor of the mouth?
  • Do you see pus or blood in the mouth?
  • Are the teeth yellow, brown, or crusted with tartar?
  • Is there a foul odor?
  • Is there fur wrapped around the teeth? (This happens mainly in pets that lick or chew at themselves often.)
  • Has your pet become reluctant to eat, drink cold water, or play with chew toys?
  • Is your pet drooling excessively?
  • Is there a lump beneath one or both eyes (this can signal a carnassial tooth root abscess.)

If you notice any of those signs in your pet, it’s time for a dental checkup.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Good pet dental health begins at home. 
Look for pet-specific toothpaste (human toothpaste is not recommended), gels and liquids meant for cleaning your pet’s mouth after meals.

Regular use of a dentifrice can help delay plaque and tartar buildup and it can help freshen your pet’s breath.  (We like Oxyfresh Oral Hygiene for Pets and VetzLife Oral Care Gel.) 

Also, regularly cleaning your pet’s teeth after meals will allow you to notice any changes in oral health right away.

Choose a dentifrice made for pets.

Choose a dentifrice made for pets.

Left: a calculus shell    Right: a molar once covered by the calculus shell  (Photo by Jennifer Miele)

Left: a calculus shell Right: a molar once covered by the calculus shell (Photo by Jennifer Miele)

This is the inside of the calculus shell, which was molded to the tooth.  (Photo by Jennifer Miele)

This is the inside of the calculus shell, which was molded to the tooth. (Photo by Jennifer Miele)

If your pet is uncooperative at home, schedule a dental exam with the vet, but take note: some pets require sedation for a thorough oral exam.

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