Posts Tagged ‘Norfolk veterinarian’

Houseplant collections are trending, and pet owners want to add a touch of the outdoors to their interior design. Which plants are considered safe to share space with pets? Renee DiPietro, CVT, has the scoop.

Tip: Portions of the text in italics refer to plants that are not safe for pets — read carefully and research thoroughly before introducing a plant into the household.

Pet Safe Plants: Flora and Fauna Can Coexist!

By Renee DiPietro, CVT, Permitted Wildlife Rehabilitation, Plant Lover
Veterinary Information Specialist

Pet owners worry about keeping houseplants in their homes due to the toxic potential of many plant species. As animal lovers, many of us are drawn to the natural world and to plant life specifically for the many benefits to our home environment that plants can provide. The presence of live greenery in our homes can reduce stress, literally help to clean the air, and provide beauty. All of these attributes can contribute to happiness and quality of life. It is true that many plants do have toxic potential and that it is dangerous to keep them in homes with cats, dogs, birds, or really any pet that has any free range capability around the house. This being said there is also a decent number of plants that can co-inhabit your home without any danger to your animal companions.

Spider Plants:
The spider plant is a common house hold plant that is extremely easy to care for and comes in a few interesting varieties including variegated and curly. These super hardy house plants can grow quite large with minimal care but can also be contained by the size of the pot they are grown in. They are suitable as both hanging and table top plants. They do fine in low light applications or with a little sun. Cats enjoy nibbling on and sometimes outright eating spider plants, so for the plant’s safety, if you have cats you may want to employee the hanging application for keeping this member of the indoor flora family.

True Palms:
There are many varieties of palms that can be safely kept with pets. Some of these varieties include Pony tail, Parlor and Areca palms. If seeking to keep palms in your home, it is essential to make sure that they are the indoor variety and that you avoid anything with the words Sago or Cycad. They Sago palm is a cycad, not a true palm and it is extremely toxic to pets. This plant is meant for outdoor applications, but when purchasing palms for your home it is very important to make sure you are not getting a cycad. True palms do not require much light and with a little investigation into their care can be an easy flora addition to your home.

African Violets: These squat fuzzy little beauties brighten up a home not only with their beautiful dark green leaves but also with their bright flowers that come in many colors and also in single or double formation. African violets pose no risk for toxicity to pets. They are a little more temperamental than some house plants. They like to have their feet wet but their heads dry and to have just the right amount of bright sunlight. With a little research and experimentation you can keep these diminutive cuties happy. They are often grown in small clay pots that are easily knocked over by cats. I use heavier pots or put stones in the bottom of pots to keep them weighted down.

Bamboo: This versatile plant can have many fun applications in your home. It can grow happily in soil or even just in water in decorative vases or fish tanks. Lucky or Curly Bamboo is a popular variety and can be grown woven into intricate designs.

Boston Fern: This beautiful cascading plant can be kept both as a hanging plant or on a table top. It can grow quite large if well cared for. These plants are a challenge to keep, as being naturally a forest plant they require moist soil and higher humidity than is found in many homes. Hats off to those of you who can keep a Boston Fern happy year round. I have yet to achieve this goal but they are such a splendid plant that I intend to keep trying.

Cast Iron Plant: This is not a plant I have ever had the pleasure to keep. Though a member of the lily family, this plant is non-toxic to cats and dogs. The beautiful dark green leaves add a tropical element to the home and this plant is also suitable for outdoor planting in warmer climates. Small purple flowers that can appear at the plant’s base are a hidden gem. This plant is very easy to care for and even tolerant of neglect.

Bromeliads: Speaking of tropical flare, Bromeliads are brightly colored and relatively easy to care for if you pay attention to their needs. Many of them are epiphytes, meaning that they don’t grow in soil but rather attached to a substrate and actually extract water and nutrients from the air. These are very interesting, beautiful, non-toxic house plants and well worth a try.

Christmas Cactus: Another fun and colorful plant, I love Christmas Cactuses and have a few of them. Given their name for their habit of blooming prolifically in early winter they are easy to care for, non-toxic, and when blooming show off cascades of red/orange, violet, pink or white flowers. They can grow quite large but will also live happily with tight roots in a smaller pot. Even though this plant is considered to be non-toxic to pets, ingestion can cause mild GI distress (vomiting, diarrhea). While no systemic toxicity is expected, who wants an upset tummy? Or to have to clean up after an upset tummy? Depending on how sensitive your pet’s GI tract is, some cases of GI distress could require veterinary treatment. If you think your pet is inclined to chew on your Christmas Cacti, it would be best to keep these plants out of reach.

Phaleaenopsis Orchid: Also called the Moth Orchid, this drop dead gorgeous flowering plant is one of my very favorites and several grace my kitchen counters, coffee table and office window sill. They are easy to care for if their bright light and careful watering requirements are provided. They bloom reliably with large cascades of flowers and their blooms can last for months before dropping from the plant. This plant does require some fertilization with orchid specific products. I recommend removing the plant from your cat’s or dog’s reach for a day or two after fertilization to avoid your pet licking the fertilizer. Like the Bromeliad, this plant is an epiphyte and not grown in soil but rather a substrate such as bark.

Succulents: Succulents are all the rage these days for both home and commercial plantings. Some varieties such as Haworthia, Peporomia and Burrow’s tail are non-toxic to pets, but others such as Kalanchoe can be very toxic. If you plan to keep succulents with your pets, I recommend thorough research and identification of the varieties you want to keep before bringing them into your home.

Swedish Ivy: This is a beautiful green cascading plant with lovely round, softly serrated leaves and small bluish-purple flowers. Non-toxic to pets and easy to care for, it makes an ideal house plant. It likes bright indirect light and loamy soil. Make sure you are buying a Swedish Ivy, not another type of Ivy such as Devil’s Ivy (Pothos) which is toxic to pets.

Lipstick Plant: This colorful flowering plant is interesting and easy to care for. Bright red flowers that bloom in winter brighten up cold grey days. It likes short periods of bright light, well aerated soil, and a little boost in humidity to honor its tropical origins.

So, have your fauna and your flora too! A home with pets and plants is a pleasure for many people. There are other non-toxic plant varieties beyond this basic list. Do your research on toxic potential for pets before bringing any new plant into your home. If you have existing plants that your pets have never bothered it is a good idea to go through them, see what you have and ensure they are all non-toxic even if your pets have never touched them. It only takes one toxic exposure to have sick pet. Also take a little time to research the plant’s care requirements to ensure you can keep your new plant friend happy and healthy too. Most of all, enjoy all the wonderful moments that both your pets and your plants bring you.

This article was published by the Pet Poison Helpline and is posted here by permission.

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March 17th – 23rd is National Poison Prevention Week

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center has created this infographic to help you inspect your house, room by room, to remove dangers from your pet’s reach.

Tip: this same guide can be used to child-proof your home, as well.

 

Double-click to enlarge

Related: Build a First Aid Kit for Pet Poison Emergencies

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National Poison Prevention Week is March 17 – 23, 2019 — but we’re getting an early start.

Today’s topic: What you need to know about essential oils and your pets

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center [ASPCA APCC] warns pet owners to use caution when using essential oils in the home — especially when the oils are highly concentrated – because of the risk of creating or exacerbating health problems in pets.

According to the APCC, “Essential oils have long been used for maladies such as nasal congestion, anxiety, sore muscles and more. And with the popularity of oil diffusers—an easy way to release oils into the air—there is more alarm about how oils may affect animals.”

  • It is best not to give or apply highly concentrated oils to pets.
  • If a pet has an underlying health problem, particularly a respiratory issue, it may be best to avoid use of essential oil diffusers in the household.
  • Do not use an essential oil diffuser in the house if there are birds present. Birds are more likely than other animals to suffer respiratory effects from a diffuser due to their specialized respiratory system.
  • If using a diffuser or warmer make sure they are out of reach of pets and that pets can leave the area if the smell is getting too strong for them.
  • Don’t keep a diffuser in the same room (or use a strong concentration) for animals who groom themselves. Pets that groom themselves include [but are not limited to] dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, and birds.
  • Pets that have respiratory problems or broken skin, or other health issues, are at higher risk of toxic exposure.

Pets that have been exposed to a toxic level of essential oil may show the following signs, according to ASPCA APCC:

  • ataxia (stumbling, incoordination)
  • muscle weakness
  • depression
  • behavior changes
  • hypothermia (dangerously low body temperature)
  • collapse
  • seizures
  • pneumonia

If you suspect your pet is having a reaction to essential oil exposure, contact an animal poison control center such as ASPCA APCC. Their number is 1-888-426-4435. A $65 fee may be charged to your credit card. Information will be provided to you and, if medical attention is recommended, to the veterinary hospital of your choice.

In the case of suspected poisoning or toxin exposure, we recommend contacting BluePearl at 757-499-5463 for 24/7 emergency veterinary care.

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Reminder: If your pet is not on a heartworm preventative, it could end up with juvenile heartworms swimming through its bloodstream and traveling to the lungs and heart.

At Little Creek Veterinary Clinic, we filmed these two young heartworms in a patient’s blood sample (seen under magnification):

Click for fullscreen view

Dogs and cats can be protected from heartworm disease with a monthly dose of prescription heartworm preventative.

Heartworm disease is spread by mosquitoes and is a year-round problem — think of the occasional warm days we experience each winter, which is enough to send hungry mosquitoes searching for a meal.

Contact Us to learn how to get your pet protected today.

The alternative to prevention just isn’t pretty. Here’s proof:

[Warning: Sensitive content ahead]

 

 

(more…)

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Last Tuesday, we learned about the combination of vaccines that make up the canine DHPP booster, commonly referred to as “the distemper shot.” 

Cats also receive a cocktail of vaccinations, typically rolled into one shot. Since many cats are allowed to roam outdoors unsupervised, it is especially important to keep cats vaccinated against Rabies and other diseases. This is a closer look at the components of the FVRCCP vaccine, sometimes known as the “feline distemper shot.”

FVR is for Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, aka Feline Herpesvirus-1, a severe upper respiratory disease that, once contracted, often remains in the cat’s body. Recurrent outbreaks throughout the cat’s life are common. Signs include fever, congestion, runny eyes and nose, sores and crusts on the face, lip ulcers, mouth breathing, coughing, sneezing, and drooling. Vaccination helps reduce the severity of signs.

C is for Calicivirus, an upper respiratory disease that can cause fever, blisters on the tongue, and may turn into pneumonia.

C is for Chlamydiosis, a bacterial respiratory infection that is highly contagious. Signs include conjunctivitis, sneezing, runny eyes, excessive drooling, and coughing.

P is for Feline Panleukopenia, aka Feline Distemper, a contagious virus that causes fever, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, depression, dehydration, and can lead to death.

Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian, recommends that all cats living in the Norfolk/Virginia Beach/Chesapeake region receive their FVRCCP booster, along with the Rabies vaccine. The FVRCCP booster protects cats against the most common, and serious, feline diseases.

Is your cat due or past due to receive its booster vaccinations? Contact Us to schedule an appointment with our veterinarian today!

Note: Other vaccines are available to cats, including Rabies and Feline Leukemia. However, those vaccines are given in a separate injection and, for our purposes, are not considered part of the distemper combinations.

Lg Caduceus

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True or False: Only senior pets are at risk of dental disease.

False!

A 3 year old cat or dog is still pretty young —
but they’re already at risk of periodontal disease.

Schedule time each day to brush your pet’s teeth, as part of an at-home healthy mouth plan.

You brush your teeth every night, but your pet can’t brush its own teeth — you get to do that! Yay!

Need help or inspiration? Check out these tips on brushing your pet’s teeth, to help prevent or slow down periodontal disease. 

Not sure about the state of your pet’s mouth? Contact Us to schedule an exam for your pet with Dr. Miele.

Double-click the image to enlarge.

Infographic courtesy of ASPCA Pet Health Insurance. Take a look at how their customizable plans can be made to fit your budget.

 

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If you’ve ever wondered what all those funky initials stand for in your dog’s annual “distemper shot,” we’ve got the answer for you.

You may see any of the following combinations:

  • DA2PP
  • DHPP
  • DHLPP
  • DHPPC

All of those abbreviations are variants of the distemper-combination vaccine, which may include extra vaccines given according to a pet’s lifestyle.

So what do those letters actually stand for?

D is for Distemper, a highly contagious virus that can cause death in dogs. Distemper affects the respiratory and nervous systems. Signs include coughing, fever, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures.

A2 is for Adenovirus type 2 /
H is for Adenovirus type 1 (aka Hepatitis)
. Adenovirus 2 and Adenovirus 1 are so closely related that a vaccine against one will work against both diseases. Adenovirus 2 is a respiratory illness that causes coughing, retching, and conjunctivitis. Hepatitis affects the liver and leads to fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. In some cases, Hepatitis will damage the kidneys, also.
 

P is for Parainfluenza, a very contagious respiratory disease. Signs include a dry, hacking cough.

P is for Parvovirus, a deadly virus that spreads quickly among dogs. Signs include vomiting, bloody diarrhea, loss of appetite, and lethargy. In some puppies, Parvovirus attacks the heart.

C is for Coronavirus, a severe intestinal disease that often mimics the signs of Parvo and can occur in puppies vaccinated against Parvovirus. Corona also can appear in conjunction with Parvo, worsening the disease symptoms. Signs include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, lethargy, and excessive thirst.

L is for Leptospirosis, a bacterial infection spread by wild animals. Dogs often acquire the disease by drinking contaminated water outdoors. Signs include high fever, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), bloody stools, exhaustion, and hemorrhage. If your pet becomes infected with Leptospirosis, you can get sick from it, too.

Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian, recommends that all dogs living in the Hampton Roads region receive their distemper-combo booster, along with the Rabies vaccine. The distemper-combo booster protects dogs against the most common, and deadly, canine diseases.

Is your dog due or past due to receive its booster vaccinations? Contact Us to schedule an appointment with our veterinarian today!

Note: Other vaccines are available to dogs, including Rabies, Bordetella, Canine Influenza, and Lyme Disease. However, those vaccines are given in a separate injection and, for our purposes, are not considered part of the distemper combinations.

Coming up next: Alphabet Soup, Part 2: What’s in your cat’s FVRCP vaccine?

Lg Caduceus

(This post originally appeared on our blog on January 24, 2017 — but we like it so much, we’re running it again!)

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