It’s the season to start gardening – but for those of us with cats and dogs, sometimes beautiful flowers can hide a deadly danger. Whether you’re looking to exclusively grow a pet-safe garden or want to ensure any toxic plants are kept out of reach, researching your flower choices is the easiest way to ensure you can cultivate a garden that’s both beautiful and safe.
Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) is a deadly disease that affects both wild and domestic poultry including ducks, chickens, turkeys, geese, guinea fowl, quail, and more. This disease is extremely contagious and often fatal, and was recently confirmed in wild mallard ducks in Middlesex and New London counties, in addition to a flock of backyard chickens in Long Island. Due to the serious risk HPAI poses, the Connecticut Department of Agriculture has issued a warning to all poultry owners.
WARNING for pet owners – we’re seeing lots of dogs lately with a serious disease called Leptospirosis.
Leptospirosis is a highly contagious bacterial disease that infects both people and animals and can cause kidney and liver failure. Wildlife such as raccoons and rats are common carriers of infection. Since the bacteria prefers wet environments, all the rain we’ve had this year has contributed to an outbreak of Leptospirosis cases in Connecticut. Dogs can contract Leptospirosis by drinking or swimming in infected puddles, lakes, and rivers, coming into contact with infected urine, or by eating infected rodents.
Signs of Leptospirosis include fever, lethargy, increased thirst/urination, vomiting, diarrhea, and jaundice (yellowed skin). Untreated, it can cause fatal kidney or liver failure. Early and aggressive treatment is critical to fighting off the infection and minimizing organ damage.
Because Leptospirosis also infects people, it’s important to take extra precautions. Preventative measures for dogs include annual Leptospirosis vaccination. This vaccine is highly recommended especially if your dog is exposed to wildlife or other animals. Other preventative measures include controlling rodent populations and removing standing water in your environment.
If you notice your dog showing any symptoms of Leptospirosis, bring them to your veterinarian ASAP! Staying informed and aware of this disease, vaccination of your dogs, and minimizing environmental risks, will help keep your pets and your family safe and healthy.
Why Is My Veterinarian So Busy?!
If you’ve taken a trip to the veterinarian sometime over the past several months, you may have noticed that things seemed different during your visit. If you called your primary care hospital to ask about coming in that day, you were likely told that the schedule was full and that you’d need to wait several days or weeks for your pet to see a doctor. If you went to an emergency or urgent care hospital you may have found yourself waiting for several hours for your pet to be admitted. Wait times and busy schedules have always existed, but over the last year they’ve started climbing rapidly – and there’s no sign of them slowing down.
So why are veterinarians so busy?
Updated Policies Regarding Outside Pharmacies (June 2021)
Due to concerns regarding online pharmacies dispensing counterfeit or damaged products, Pieper Veterinary will no longer be working with outside companies (such as Chewy.com) for prescription refills. We strongly encourage clients to have their prescriptions filled either through one of our hospitals’ on-site pharmacies or online through Vet’s First Choice, who we have partnered directly with.
Why is the policy changing?
There is a widespread problem with outside, non-veterinary companies accidentally dispensing counterfeit products instead of real medications. These counterfeits can be almost identical to the real product and are at best ineffective, and at worst can cause illness or even death. (Flea and tick preventatives are a common target for counterfeiting). Even with real products, they are often stored at incorrect temperatures which can cause them to fail. Additionally, outside stores often send multiple requests, fail to send us needed information, fill the prescriptions incorrectly or without checking with the doctor, or require constant follow-up – this puts a huge strain on our reception staff, slows down our ability to help our clients in-hospital, and can be very dangerous for your pet.
What do you recommend?
We always recommend that our clients fill their prescriptions directly through our hospitals’ on-site pharmacies – you can either call us or fill out an order form over our website. If you prefer to have food/medication shipped to you, Vet’s First Choice is available for online ordering and delivery options, including auto-ship. By using these sources, you can guarantee that your pet’s medications and food are genuine and safe.
What if I still want to use an outside pharmacy/website?
If you wish to continue filling your orders at an outside pharmacy, we will provide you with a written prescription that you can pick up and then send to the pharmacy of your choice via e-mail, fax, posted mail, or in person.
How a Walk in the Woods Turned Into Emergency Surgery
You never know what you're going to find when a case comes into the emergency room - sometimes things that look serious can turn out fine, and sometimes things that you think are one thing turn out to be another. For Toby, what appeared to be a small injury was quickly discovered to be much, much bigger.
Toby, a 6-year-old Goldendoodle, was out enjoying a run through the woods when his family saw blood and what appeared to be a small wound on his chest. Concerned, they brought Toby in to our Urgent Care hospital in Madison to get him checked out. Dr. Urbonas examined Toby and became suspicious that the wound may actually be much deeper than it appeared – possibly even deep enough to reach his chest cavity. If that was the case, it would allow fluid and gas to build up around Toby’s heart and lungs and become life-threatening. She sent Toby and his family over to our 24/7 ER in Middletown for a surgical exploration of the wound.
During the procedure, the doctors quickly realized that although Toby’s wound was less than an inch long, it was very deep – it penetrated at least 7 inches into his chest! An emergency thoracotomy (chest surgery) was performed to clean the wound and place a drain to allow it to heal correctly. The operation went smoothly with no other problems, and after a few days of recuperating in the hospital Toby returned home to his family feeling much, much better.
While Toby’s story might seem like a freak accident, these types of impaling injuries are more common than you might think – our critical care department estimated that they see over a dozen every year through our ER alone. Most of them, like Toby, are simply dogs running in the woods or yards that happen to hit a branch or stick at just the wrong angle. These wounds often look minor on the surface, but can be life-threatening without medical attention.
Thanks to the quick response from his family and the expert care at Pieper, Toby was able to make a full recovery. If you're out with your own pets and notice what seems to be a minor injury, don't be afraid to give your vet a call and see if it should be checked out - you never know what might be going on beneath the surface.