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Critters Corner
By Karen Cunningham
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Critters Corner

This Week’s Featured Pets

First published: July 02, 2015 at 1:29 am
Last modified: July 02, 2015 at 1:29 am
Elliot

DELILAH (6676) is a female adult, chocolate Labrador retriever mix. ELLIOTT (6491B) is a domestic short hair, male adult, orange and white tabby. Deliliah and Elliott are currently available for adoption at the St. Lawrence Valley SPCA.

You can learn more about them and the other cats and dogs currently residing at the shelter by telephoning the shelter at 393-5191, visiting the shelter on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m., or on our website at www.stlawrencevalleyspca.org.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center handled more than 167,000 calls (1-888-426-4435) involving pets exposed to possibly poisonous substances in 2014.

Human foods are appealing to pets, especially dogs. Dogs can get into serious trouble by ingesting onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, and xylitol, a sugar substitute which can be life-threatening for animals. Approximately 13,200 cases involved human foods in 2014.

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Does your pet’s food/treats have antifreeze?

First published: June 30, 2015 at 1:31 am
Last modified: June 30, 2015 at 1:31 am

Propylene Glycol (PG) is a humectant (moistening agent) found in some soft dog foods and treats. It is chemically derived from ethylene glycol (EG), also known as antifreeze, which is extremely toxic to animals.

PG is touted as non-toxic and non-absorbent for your pet, but consuming ‘pet-safe’ antifreeze will not improve your pet’s health.

The FDA states propylene glycol is used as a humectant in soft-moist pet foods, which helps retain water and gives products their unique texture and taste. Basically, propylene glycol is used as a preservative in soft-moist pet foods and treats.

It has been known for some time that propylene glycol causes Heinz Body formation in the red blood cells of cats (small clumps of proteins seen in the cells when viewed under the microscope), but it could not be shown to cause overt anemia and other clinical effects.

Reports in the veterinary literature of scientifically sound studies have shown that propylene glycol reduces the red blood cell survival time, renders red blood cells more susceptible to oxidative damage, and has other adverse effects in cats consuming the substance at levels found in soft-moist food. Therefore, propylene glycol is prohibited for use in cat foods.

Veterinary data indicates that propylene glycol is toxic in 50 percent of dogs at doses of 9ml/kg. Ingestion of propylene glycol may cause gastrointestinal irritation with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Read the ingredients in the food/treats that you select for your pet so that you can make the safest choice. Propylene glycol is one of those ingredients that’s just not worth the risk.

It’s hot out! Don’t leave your pet in the car!

Within 30 minutes the car’s interior can climb from 85 degrees to 120 degrees.

On an 85-degree day it only takes 10 minutes for the inside of your car to reach 102 degrees.

Even if the temperature outside is only 70 degrees, the inside of your car may be as much as 90 degrees.

Pets most at risk for overheating are young, elderly, or overweight animals, those with short muzzles and those with thick or dark-colored coats.

A car may overheat even when the windows have been left open an inch or two.

Shade offers little protection on a hot day and moves with the sun.

Animals do not sweat, they cool down by panting and can easily overheat which can result in extensive organ damage or death.

If you see an animal in a car on a hot day, try to locate the owner by notifying local businesses so they can make an urgent announcement, call local animal control, local law enforcement, or call 911. Stay by the car until help arrives.

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This Weeks Featured Pets

First published: June 25, 2015 at 1:59 am
Last modified: June 25, 2015 at 1:59 am
Raven

RAVEN (6654A) a female adult, black, tan, & white Beagle mix.. SAM (6562) is a male adult, orange and white domestic short hair.

Ajax and Sam are currently available for adoption at the St. Lawrence Valley SPCA. You can learn more about them and the other cats and dogs currently residing at the shelter by telephoning the shelter at 393-5191, visiting the shelter on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m., or on our website at www.stlawrencevalleyspca.org.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center handled more than 167,000 calls (1-888-426-4435) involving pets exposed to possibly poisonous substances in 2014. Household items were the cause for concern in more than 13,500 cases, especially paints and cleaning products.

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Summer’s Pet Hazards

First published: June 23, 2015 at 1:39 am
Last modified: June 23, 2015 at 1:39 am

Most people love to spend these warm days enjoying the outdoors with friends and family, but it is important to remember that some activities can be dangerous for our pets.

A visit to your veterinarian for a spring or early summer check-up is a must. Make sure your pets get tested for heartworm. Ask your doctor to recommend a safe heartworm preventative and a flea and tick control program.

Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot outdoors. Make sure your pet has a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful not to over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.

Symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor, and even collapse.

Additional symptoms may include seizures, bloody diarrhea, vomiting, elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees.

Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively.

In addition, pets that are elderly, overweight, or suffer from heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible. If you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke, get help from your veterinarian immediately.

NEVER leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, a parked car can become a furnace in minutes—even with the windows open.

Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool—not all pets are good swimmers. If your pets want to swim, introduce them to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats.

Rinse your pets off after swimming. Keep your pets from drinking pool water which contains chemicals.

Keep all unscreened windows or doors in your home closed and make sure screens are tightly secured. Pets may fall out of windows or doors and often are seriously or fatally injured. They may also be lost if they are successful in getting out of your home.

Feel free to trim longer hair on your pet, but never shave the coat. A pet’s coat protects it from overheating and sunburn.

When the temperature is very high, don’t let our pet linger on hot asphalt. Keep walks during these times to a minimum; sensitive paws can burn.

Commonly used flea and tick products, mouse and rat baits, and lawn and garden insecticides can be harmful to cats and dogs if ingested, so keep them out of reach. When walking your dog, steer clear of areas that you suspect have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals. Keep citronella candles, oil products, and insect coils out of pets’ reach.

Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-426-4435) if you suspect your animal has ingested a poisonous substance.

Remember that the food and drink offered at a backyard party or barbeque may be poisonous to pets. Do not share these snacks with your pets.

Please leave your pets at home and secured inside when holiday fireworks are offered. Never use fireworks around pets. Exposure to lit fireworks can result in severe burns or trauma to curious pets. Unused fireworks are also hazardous as they contain toxic substances.

Be sure that any product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.

Be aware of the hazards and keep your pets safe while they enjoy the summer with you.

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This Weeks Featured Pets

First published: June 18, 2015 at 1:36 am
Last modified: June 18, 2015 at 1:36 am
Rubin

RUGER (6656) is a male adult, tan, black, and white Siberian husky/boxer/American Staffordshire terrier mix. RUBIN (6539) is a domestic short hair, black and white male adult.

Ruger and Rubin are currently available for adoption at the St. Lawrence Valley SPCA. You can learn more about them and the other cats and dogs currently residing at the shelter by telephoning the shelter at 393-5191, visiting the shelter on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m., or on our website at www.stlawrencevalleyspca.org.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center handled more than 167,000 calls (1-888-426-4435) involving pets exposed to possibly poisonous substances in 2014. Insecticides were third on the list, comprising 9.1% of calls (15,000 cases). These products can be very dangerous, especially if the label directions are not followed.

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Ticks Cause Lyme Disease

First published: June 16, 2015 at 1:42 am
Last modified: June 16, 2015 at 1:42 am

As the weather gets warmer, our pets spend more time outside. However, being in the outdoors can expose them to ticks and tick-borne illnesses. Make sure you know what you can do to protect your pets from tick-borne diseases.

Ticks are more than just creepy, they can spread a number of different diseases that affect both pets and people. Ticks can transmit Lyme disease and also Ehrlichia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Anaplasmosis, Tularemia, and Babesia.

The best way to treat Lyme disease is to prevent it in the first place. Talk with your veterinarian about tick-borne diseases in your area. Fortunately, there are numerous products available to prevent tick infestations. Topical medications and medicated-collars are effective in keeping ticks away from your pets. Your veterinarian may also recommend additional protection like a vaccination for Lyme disease. Although these preventative measures are effective, it is important to note that none provide 100% protection.

Since no preventative treatment can be completely foolproof, it is important to inspect your pets for ticks on a daily basis. Know what ticks look like, study up on the lifecycles of ticks, and give your pet a head-to-tail inspection. Since ticks need to be embedded for 24 to 48 hours to spread infections, prompt proper removal is critical.

If you find a tick on your pet, remove it right away. Here are some tips for safe and effective tick removal. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands. Grasp the tick very close to the skin with a pair of fine-tipped tweezers or a tick removal device available from your veterinarian. With a steady motion, pull the tick’s body away from the skin. To prevent infection, avoid crushing the tick. After tick removal, clean your pet’s skin with soap and warm water. Throw the dead tick away in your trash or flush it down the toilet. Never use petroleum jelly, a hot match, nail polish, or other products to remove a tick.

Ticks can spread a number of different diseases, so the signs and symptoms can vary depending on the disease. Some of the signs seen in several of these illnesses include: lethargy (loss of energy), loss of appetite, and lameness or reluctance to move. Symptoms of Lyme disease may come and go, vary from mild to severe, and mimic other conditions. In many pets, the signs may not appear for several months after infection. In severe cases, your pet may also develop heart disease, central nervous system disorders, or fatal kidney disease. It is best not to wait for symptoms to appear. If your pet has been exposed to ticks speak with your veterinarian immediately about screening tests and preventative products.

Screening tests are a fast and easy way to detect tick-borne diseases early when they are easier to treat. Many vets routinely include a screening test for tick-borne illnesses with their annual blood work. For more information about ticks, instruction on how to safely remove them, and ways to protect your pets, speak with your veterinarian.

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This Weeks Featured Pets

First published: June 11, 2015 at 1:24 am
Last modified: June 11, 2015 at 1:24 am
Marlin

MARLIN (6593C) is a female senior adult, chocolate Labrador retriever. MOLLY (6544) is a domestic long hair, female adult tabby w/white markings. Marlin and Molly are currently available for adoption at the St. Lawrence Valley SPCA. You can learn more about them and the other cats and dogs currently residing at the shelter by telephoning the shelter at 393-5191, visiting the shelter on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m., or on our website at www.stlawrencevalleyspca.org.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center handled more than 167,000 calls (1-888-426-4435) involving pets exposed to possibly poisonous substances in 2014. Over-the-counter medications, including herbal and other natural supplements, were second on the list with 25,000 calls. This category is exceptionally large, encompassing more than 6,900 different products.

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Don’t Ignore Your Pets Bad Breath

First published: June 09, 2015 at 1:35 am
Last modified: June 09, 2015 at 1:35 am

When your pet has bad breath it’s important to visit your veterinarian to determine the exact cause and best course of treatment. Bad breath in pets is often caused by tooth or gum disease, but can also be a sign of a more serious medical problem in the mouth, respiratory system, stomach, or internal organs.

Your veterinarian will perform a physical examination and may need diagnostic tests like laboratory work or x-rays to pinpoint the cause of the problem. You will likely discuss your pet’s overall health, including diet, exercise, interactions with humans and other pets, and general behavior. Depending on your veterinarian’s diagnosis, you will be advised on the steps you should take to handle your pet’s specific problem.

The following signs may indicate medical problems requiring immediate treatment. Unusually sweet or fruity breath could indicate diabetes, especially if your pet has been drinking and urinating with increased frequency. Excessive drooling, especially if blood-tinged, or pawing at the mouth can accompany bad breath and be a sign of foreign bodies, loose teeth, or other serious oral disease.

Being proactive about your pet’s oral health will not only make your life together more pleasant, it’s smart preventive medicine. Pets that have top-notch dental care live happier, longer lives.

Ask your veterinarian to monitor the state of your pet’s teeth and breath during regular checkups. Feed your pet a high-quality diet and prevent it from eating inappropriate items. Brush your pet’s teeth frequently if possible—every day is ideal. Ask your veterinarian to show you how to do this, and be sure you use only toothpaste formulated for pets.

Your veterinarian will likely recommend dental cleanings regularly throughout your pet’s life. These procedures require anesthesia in order to do a thorough cleaning, to get x-rays of the teeth, and to address significant tooth or gum issues. In making this recommendation, your veterinarian will be careful to weigh the benefits of the procedure (which can be significant) with the risks (which are usually small) for your pet specifically.

HYPOTHYROIDISM IN DOGS

The thyroid gland is in the neck and makes a hormone called thyroxine that controls metabolism (the process of turning food into fuel). With hypothyroidism, the gland doesn’t make enough of that hormone.

It’s a common disease in dogs. It affects all breeds, but is often found in golden retrievers, Doberman pinchers, Irish setters, dachshunds, boxers, and cocker spaniels. It usually happens in middle-aged dogs (ages 4 to 10) of medium to large breeds. Neutered males and spayed females also have a higher risk but vets are unsure why.

The first sign of hypothyroidism is hair loss, usually on your dog’s trunk, back of the rear legs, and tail. The coat will be dull and thin, the skin flaky, but not itchy or red. The dog may also have black patches of skin. This is followed by weight gain, muscle loss, sluggishness, a slowed heart rate, toenail and ear infections, and intolerance to cold.

It’s not widespread, but hypothyroidism is also linked to seizures, heart and blood vessel problems, and infertility. For a diagnosis, your vet will do a series of blood tests.

The good news is this disease isn’t life-threatening. Plus, it’s fairly easy and inexpensive to treat. Your dog will have to take oral drugs daily for the rest of its life. The drug is a manmade hormone called levothyroxine or L-thyroxine. Doses are specific to each dog. Left untreated, the disease will affect your dog’s quality of life.

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This Weeks Featured Pets

First published: June 04, 2015 at 1:29 am
Last modified: June 04, 2015 at 1:29 am
Jumper

SADIE (6633) is a female adult, white, black, and brown treeing walker coonhound. JUMPER (6477B) is a domestic short hair, male adult, gray and white tabby. Sadie and Jumper are currently available for adoption at the St. Lawrence Valley SPCA. You can learn more about them and the other cats and dogs currently residing at the shelter by telephoning the shelter at 393-5191, visiting the shelter on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m., or on our website at www.stlawrencevalleyspca.org.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center handled more than 167,000 calls (1-888-426-4435) involving pets exposed to possibly poisonous substances in 2014. Here is the first of the ten most common pet toxins: Nearly 16% of these calls were from pet parents whose pets got into medicines intended for human use. The prescriptions that caused the most concern correlated with the most popular medications prescribed to humans.

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Reasons You Should Keep Your Cats Indoors

First published: June 02, 2015 at 1:53 am
Last modified: June 02, 2015 at 1:53 am

It’s a no-brainer that cats who are kept indoors are safe from the many dangers that free-roaming and indoor/outdoor cats face every time they are outside—infectious and deadly diseases, speeding cars, loose dogs, and cruel people, to name a few. But keeping cats indoors has another safety side effect—it makes life easier and safer for wildlife, too.

You may think that it’s no big deal in the larger scheme of things if your cat occasionally brings home a mouse or bird, but multiply that by the estimated 154 million cats living in homes and on the streets and the death toll adds up.

According to a Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute study, free-roaming cats are responsible for the deaths of an estimated average of 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals every year. Yes That’s billion with a B. That massive death toll makes cats a bigger threat to wildlife than nearly any other human-linked cause.

Cats will often “play” with their victims, dragging out the animals’ terror and suffering. Moreover, cats don’t always kill animals outright, sometimes leaving them maimed, to suffer with horrific injuries.

Feral cat colonies are especially deadly. Native birds and small animals aren’t equipped to deal with the large concentration of non-native predators that comes with such a colony.

Cats will kill whatever they can get their paws on, including endangered birds. Migratory birds are especially vulnerable when they are trying to rest during exhausting journeys of hundreds or even thousands of miles. Fledglings may spend days on the ground before they are able to fly, making them easy prey for free-roaming cats.

In order to be responsible, conscientious neighbors to wildlife (who were here long before most of us and our cats), we need to get serious about spaying and neutering cats (and not just our own—but by supporting spay/neuter programs), cracking down on people who abandon cats (resulting in feral cat colonies), supporting shelters that maintain an open-door policy (that accept all cats, including litters of kittens found outdoors, stray cats, and feral cats), encouraging public officials to pass laws requiring that all cats be spayed or neutered, and by keeping our cats safely indoors.

UPCOMING RABIES

CLINICS

Thursday, June 4, Stockholm/Lawrence/Brasher/Hopkinton, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Tri-Town Arena.

Thursday, June 18, Potsdam, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Potsdam Town Barn.

Thursday, June 25, Russell, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Russell Fire Dept.

Saturday, June 27, Norwood, from 3 to 4 p.m. at the Norwood Fire Dept.

Please note....It is important to make sure all domesticated dogs, cats, and ferrets are immunized against rabies.

Three Year Vaccinations are available but a CURRENT RABIES CERTIFICATE is required and is the only acceptable proof for an animal to receive a three-year vaccination certificate. According to NYS law, the rabies tag is NOT acceptable proof of a previous vaccination.

Dogs and cats must be at least three (3) months old to be vaccinated.

Pregnant dogs and cats CAN be vaccinated.

Animals Must Have A Collar And Leash. Cats Must Be In An Animal Carrier Or A Pillowcase. All Animals Must Be Under The Control Of An Adult.

Ferrets need to be vaccinated yearly.

Clinics may change or be cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances without notice, please call 386-2325 for clinic confirmation or questions. For more rabies information, visit the St. Lawrence County Public Health Department website at: http://www.co.st-lawrence.ny.us/Departments/PublicHealth/RabiesControl.

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