Kingsbrook Animal Hospital's Blog

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Help! How do I Keep My Cat Out of the Christmas Tree?

Getting ready for the holidays and about to put your Christmas tree up? Keep in mind that the tree makes a tempting target for many curious cats. Here are some tips on how to pet-proof your Christmas tree.

Cat in Christmas treeConsider the type of tree to buy

When it comes to buying a Christmas tree, I prefer and love real trees. After all, they fill our house with the holiday smells of evergreen. However, keep in mind that if you have cats, real trees are much more tempting. Not only are real trees fragrant and the pine needles more fun to chew on (thankfully, rarely poisonous) but the tree trunk is perfect for scratching and climbing. Consider an artificial tree (after all, less trees are cut down and thrown away, right?). If you do get a real tree, avoid one that is very tall, as a tall tree would be more likely to topple.

Placement of the Christmas tree

Looking for the right spot to put your Christmas tree? Make sure you have plenty of free space on all sides of the tree so your cat doesn’t have a launching point (i.e., jumping off point) to attack the tree! Ideally, place it in an area with an equal amount of free space as the height of the tree (i.e., if the tree is 8 feet tall, consider leaving an 8 foot berth around it).
Securing the Crhistmas tree
Make sure you use a sturdy base to secure the trunk. While these bases are ugly, it beats having your tree topple over. (Simply wrap the base with felt or a tree skirt to hide it.) Also, consider securing the tree from the top (to a ceiling hook) for additional bracing and support.

Pet-proofing the Christmas tree

Here are a few ways to pet-proof your Christmas tree:
  • When watering your real tree, consider wrapping the base with plastic wrap so your cat doesn’t drink the fertilizer or chemicals. (Don’t worry, these are rarely poisonous but can cause gastrointestinal upset.)
  • If you have a real tree, wrap the base of the trunk with aluminum foil. As cats hate the crinkling sound and texture of foil, they are less likely to scratch on the tree trunk. Also, by wrapping the tree trunk with foil you hopefully prevent the initial climb.
  • Avoid dangling ornaments on the bottom 5th of the tree; place ornaments high up on the tree and make sure they are well secured (try twisty ties or zip ties to secure ornaments).
  • Never use tinsel in a household with cats. While tinsel isn’t poisonous, when accidentally swallowed by cats, it can get stuck around the base of the tongue or in the stomach, and result in a life-threatening linear foreign body. This can require expensive surgery to fix, so avoid this holiday emergency by not using any tinsel on your tree this year.
  • If you have a young, curious kitten, make sure to hide the electrical cords for the Christmas lights as best you can. When accidentally bitten, they can result in severe burns in the mouth and even rare fluid accumulation within the lungs (e.g., noncardiogenic pulmonary edema). Hide cords, and consider spraying them with Bitter Apple to prevent chewing. Also, make sure to turn off the Christmas lights and unplug the cords when cats are unsupervised.
When in doubt, avoid a holiday emergency trip to the veterinarian and keep your household safe during this holiday!

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

'Tis the Season for Giving...and Saying THANKS!!!

     We spend the holidays reflecting on things we are thankful for and giving gifts to friends, loved ones and those less fortunate than ourselves.  I would like to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU to those that have given me a gift in 2014.  The gift of your time.  The gift of your skills and creativity.  The gift of your generosity.  The gift of your support.
     The Veterinarians and staff of Kingsbrook Animal Hospital started the Kylie and Cricket Memorial Fund after I lost my two beloved Basenjis in a house fire.  The outpouring of support I received from the Kingsbrook Animal Hospital family (bosses, co-workers, friends and clients) was overwhelming.  That compassion still thrives today in the support of the fund.

     Now it is time for me to show my appreciation to those who have supported the fund.

THANK YOU to the veterinarians and team members of Kingsbrook Animal Hospital for volunteering your time and creativity to plan events to raise money and awareness for the fund. Vet Academy is in it's third year and Flat KAH, the Haunted Hospital and Santa Pictures were a great success!

THANK YOU  to Angie Zeger for making Paracord bracelets and donating raffle items to
raise money and awareness for the fund.  Donation total to date $1033.00.

THANK YOU  to Vicki Baker for donating a raffle basket to raise money and awareness of the fund.  Donation total to date $228.00.
THANK YOU  to Cynthia Balzer for making stained glass paw print ornaments to raise money and awareness of the fund.  Donation total to date $200.00.

THANK YOU  to Kimberly McKinney for donating a portion of her profits of her new Thirty-One business and bringing awareness to the fund.
THANK YOU  to Cyndi Anderson, owner of Country Rabbit Crafters, for donating a
portion of her holiday candle sales for the month of December and bringing awareness to the fund.


THANK YOU  to our friends and clients for your participation in the above events and
fundraisers, and for your generous monetary donations to the fund.

THANK YOU  from the bottom of my heart for allowing us to keep Kylie and Cricket's
memory alive by providing for those animals who have not found their forever homes...YET.

Written by Ranee Baker RVT 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Pets Best releases list of bizarre holiday pet insurance claims

Pets Best releases list of bizarre holiday pet insurance claims

With the winter holiday season right around the corner, Pets Best Insurance Services, LLC, has released its annual list of the most bizarre pet insurance claims submitted during the holiday season.
Costly Croissants
For many, baking is a holiday tradition. From breads to decadent desserts, there’s usually something special in the oven during the holiday season. A 2-year-old Siberian husky named Zoey really bit off more than she could chew when she decided to eat a whole box of frozen croissants. Due to the high amount of yeast in bread dough, a veterinarian induced vomiting and monitored Zoey for hypoglycemia and signs of ethanol toxicity. After a short hospitalization, Zoey was well enough to return to her terrible twos in the comfort of her own home.
Not-So-Cozy Slippers
The arrival of cold winter weather requires most people to pull out cozy blankets, warm robes and fuzzy slippers. Teddy, a 5-year-old Great Pyrenees, has always been a fan of shoes, but there was something extra enticing about those suede, fur-lined slippers his owner pulled out of the closet. Teddy gave in to his temptations and ended up in the hospital after digesting the top of his owner’s slipper. Teddy showed signs of blockage, and during his hospital stay, he experienced bouts of vomiting, producing large and small pieces of slipper. 
Holiday Meal Mishap
Turkey is commonly served during the holiday season, and for one mischievous 7-year-old Labrador retriever mix named Darsha, it was the meal of a lifetime. Once her family was finished with its Thanksgiving meal and had moved on to clearing the table one item at a time, Darsha made her move. She lunged at what was left of the golden turkey carcass sitting on the edge of the dining room table and devoured the entire carcass within seconds. The result was an emergency visit to the vet clinic for evaluations and diagnostics. Darsha made it home that evening with medication and a relieved family.
Sugar Cookie Surprise
When the holiday season ended, it was time for Lily, a 5-year-old Maltipoo, and her parents to prepare for their journey home. The suitcases were packed and ready to load into the car when Lily smelled something delicious inside the front zipper of her parents’ bag. Lily ripped open the flap and found two dozen, homemade sugar cookies. Luckily, she was caught in the act of devouring them. Due to the high concentrations of sugar and fat in sugar cookies, they can cause upset stomach and pancreatitis among dogs. Foods with high sugar content can also cause an osmotic effect in dogs’ gastrointestinal tract by drawing water into the colon, resulting in diarrhea. Lily was rushed to the veterinary hospital for a thorough evaluation, which resulted in a medically induced vomiting. Once the cookies were out of her system and Lily was cleared to leave, she and her parents were able to finally head home.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Maintaining a Senior Pet

Hi, my name is Sophie.  My Mom and Dad call me The Bear Cub, but Sophie will do just fine.  I’m gonna be 13 years old soon, and I have to say that my parents have done a great job keeping me feeling young and spunky.  I get to see my good pal Dr. Cook at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD at least twice a year for wellness exams, sometimes more if my joints are bothering me, and he monitors my liver values with annual blood work.  

My Mom feeds me Hill’s J/D which is formulated to nourish my cartilage and provide an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acid.  I get glucosamine supplements called Dasuquin every day and an injectable glucosamine supplement twice a month called Adequan.  Those sure have made a positive difference in my mobility over the years!  Mommy also gives me this yummy tablet every morning called Denamarin which has significantly regulated my elevated liver enzymes.  

I’m no stranger to having my teeth cleaned - I get to spend a whole day every year with one of the lovely technicians at KAH having my teeth scaled and polished to prevent periodontal disease. In between my cleanings, my Daddy likes to give me CET Chews and Greenies.  He says they keep my mouth healthy and make my breath smell super!

Written by Megan Stone (as told to her by Sophie)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Osteoarthritis Management-What is available for my senior pet?

Osteoarthritis is defined as degeneration of joint cartilage and the underlying bone, most common from middle age onward. It causes pain and stiffness, especially in the hip and knee joints. Osteoarthritis hurts!  I know because I have it.  Some days the pain is tolerable.  Other days it is not.  I have the ability to say that I am not feeling well.  Our pets are not able to tell us when they are experiencing pain.

As pets age, wear and tear on the joints cause inflammation and arthritis.  Your pet may walk slower.  You may notice that they seem stiff when getting up from a laying down position or may groan with the effort.  They may not jump up on the bed or into the car as easily as they used to. They may seem lethargic on rainy days.  You may notice some limping on occasion.  Although these are signs of getting older, they are not normal and there are treatments available.

The veterinarians at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital are well versed in pain management.  They can make recommendations based on your pet and it's lifestyle.  There are many options available for osteoarthritis management.  Here are a few:

Hill's Prescription J/D diet is formulated for joint health.  The ratio of fatty acids in the diet help to reduce inflammation.  It also includes glucosamine and chondroitin which are nutraceuticals that are found in normal cartilage and tendons.  The addition of these agents helps to relieve joint pain and restore cartilage.

Dausaquin is a once daily glucosamine/chondroitin supplement.  It comes in a flavored, chewable tablet for dogs.  It comes in a capsule form for cats that can be opened and sprinkled on the food.

Welactin is a high-potency natural salmon oil supplement. Welactin can be mixed with food, and is a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids which have beneficial effects on the joints, skin, heart, kidneys and immune system.

Adequan (polysulfated glycosaminoglycan) is a prescription,  polysulfated glycosaminoglycan (PSGAG) that helps prevent the cartilage in your dog’s joint from wearing away. It helps keep the cartilage healthy and intact, so that the bone in the joint cannot touch other bones.

NSAID's or Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are prescription medications that are used to treat inflammation associated with osteoarthritis.

If your pet is showing signs of osteoarthritis, call our office in Frederick, MD at 301-631-6900 for an appointment.  We will be glad to help you keep your pet healthy and comfortable into it's senior years.

By: Ranee Baker RVT

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Why are physical exams recommended biannually for pets 8 years and older?

We all know that our pets don’t live as long as we’d like them to. Just like people, their bodies’ age and regular check-ups and health screenings become a recommendation. For humans, our senior years start between 56 and 60 years of age. Our pets, however, reach senior status at 6-8 years of age, depending on species and breed. At this point, they are between 50 and 57 years old in human years, and your veterinarian will start recommending semi-annual examinations every 6 months.

Older pets can develop the same health problems as older people, including joint or bone disease, senility, kidney disease, and diabetes. Unfortunately, our pets cannot tell us if anything hurts; many early signs of disease are very subtle and may not be something you, as a pet owner, notice. Increasing your pet’s examinations to a semi-annual basis helps you and your veterinarian detect signs of illness and other problems sooner, so we can diagnose earlier and begin treatment.

Even though our pets don’t live forever, semi-annual examinations with your veterinarian at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital may help to not only prolong their life, but also maximize their health and well-being so that the time you get to spend with your beloved animal is as wonderful and pain-free as possible.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

My journey as a Licensed Veterinary Technician in Frederick, MD

My decision to go back to school to study Veterinary Technology came in my late 20’s after deciding mental health was not my ideal career choice.  I thoroughly enjoyed my 2 years at Northern Virginia Community College and had an affinity for the information I learned.  My draw to the profession came from a life of being around horses.  Riding was my passion as a child and young adult and during the 2 years I was in school in VA I had the very fortunate opportunity of working at the Marion Dupont Scott Equine Medical Center in the nursing department.  I learned so much about horse health in my time there and gained a much better appreciation of my relationships with horses when I came from the point of reference of caregiver.  It gave me the ability to take the best care of the horse I had been with since I was 10 years old and ultimately had the pleasure of owning for the last 6 years of his life. 

After graduating from the technician program and passing my national board exam I decided I needed a more “normal” schedule and started working at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital.  After 14 years in the same clinic I have to say I am so fortunate to have found my way here.  My experiences here has shaped me as a professional and a person.  I am so lucky to work with a group of doctors and veterinary professionals that have such dedication to what they do and practice kind and thoughtful medicine.  My experiences as a seasoned technician include anesthesia monitoring, patient care, radiology, dentistry, nutritional counseling, client education, performing diagnostic tests, phlebotomy (drawing blood samples) and intravenous catheter placement.   The diversity of my tasks and my patients keeps my life at work very interesting and non-static.  There is always the opportunity to learn and experience something new, even if you have been in the field for many years.

It is a great feeling to be 17 years into a career and still have a passion for it.  I am motivated to stay in this line of work based on my experiences thus far.  I attribute this outlook to Kingsbrook Animal Hospital.  All employers are not created equally.  My veterinarians appreciate my contribution to the health care team and utilize me to my fullest potential.  This mind set on their part has left me open to learn and grow and feel very useful and productive in my work.  

Being a licensed veterinary technician is very rewarding, but can also be very emotionally taxing.  Relationships people have with their pets are very personal and heart felt.  In helping people care for their pets, especially in critical times, we learn our most important job is helping our clients cope with the stress and heartache of seeing their loved one ill.  I greatly appreciate the relationships I have built with owners over the years in helping them care for their pets.

My chosen profession is one I am very grateful for.  I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Written by Nora McKay-Clark RVT