Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Seasonal Toxins-Flowers that Kill in Frederick, MD

Flowers that Kill.

Holiday seasons are laden with celebratory festivities. Food, family, and fun are usually on the agenda and many of our agendas follow a traditional pattern. Just as our schedules become a tradition from year to year, there are many gifts and traditional symbols of these holiday seasons that must be present or "it's just not" that holiday!  For example: "It's just not Thanksgiving until all the men fall asleep in front of the t.v. "watching" the football game!" Or, "It's just not the forth of July until Uncle Eugene tries to set himself on fire lighting the fireworks!" You get the picture! :)  
The Easter holiday is no different. From chocolate bunny ears to dyed eggs- I'm sure you can name a few things on your own "it's just not" Easter list. These things not only signify Easter, but the ushering in of Spring (Thank Goodness!) However, here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital we would like to point out the things that might be on our list that "it's just not" good for your pet to get into.
In this blog, we will talk specifically about the plants of the season that can be toxic to your pet and all of them can be found in Frederick, Maryland. What is typically regarded as a beautiful blooming plant can harbor toxins which can cause mild to severe clinical signs like stomach irritation, drooling, vomiting, abdominal pain, and even death. If you take inventory and notice that you have any of these plants or bulbs, please keep your pet away from them.

Calla Lilies are toxic to both dogs and cats

Easter lilies, stargazer lilies, and Asiatic lilies are all very toxic to cats.

Tulips and Hyacniths- toxic to dogs and cat- all of the plant is toxic but it is very concentrated in the bulb

Daffodils- Toxic to cats and dogs

Crocus- highly toxic to cats and dogs

If you think your pet has eaten part or all of one of the above plants or bulbs call us at 301-631-6900. Remove any of the plant that may still be in your pet's mouth. It's always a good idea to bring along any of the uneaten part of the plant with you to confirm identification and which parts were ingested. You can also call ASPCA Animal Poison Control at 1-888-426-4435 to help determine treatment recommendations.  

Here at KAH, we want you to enjoy your favorite flowers of the season. We hope that with the information above you can do this while avoiding any mishaps so that "it's just not" a stressful event as well!


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Wildlife Encounters-What do I do?

Ahhh....Spring! I am sure everyone is excited about this spring season, considering what this winter brought us! Spring brings sunshine, balmy weather, new growth and sweet baby animals!

Every spring Kingsbrook Animal Hospital receives calls from concerned individuals living in Frederick, MD that have found what are thought to be abandoned wildlife. Our instinct as caring people are to help these tiny creatures. Unfortunately, often what we consider to be helpful, can be detrimental to the baby creature's life.

Wild rabbits make their nest in shallow, fur and grass lined holes on the ground. Because the nest is shallow, it can easily be disrupted by unaware humans or other animals, such as dogs.

A mother rabbit covers her babies in the nest with grasses and returns only 2-3 times a day to nurse.  Typically, nursing occurs at dusk and dawn. Because of this, people often make the mistake of assuming the babies have been abandoned. Usually this is not the case. If a nest is disrupted and the babies are not injured, it is best to replace the grassy covering and leave the nest alone. If you are worried the nest is abandoned, you can place 2 light twigs across the top of the nest.  If the twigs have been disrupted overnight it means the mother has returned to the nest to care for her babies. Inadvertently touching the babies will NOT make the mother abandon them! Ways you can help is by keeping children, pets, lawn mowers and chemicals away from the nest.

    Other creatures who are often mistaken for having been abandoned are baby birds. There are 2 kinds of birds: the kind born with fuzzy down feathers, and those born without feathers. Birds born with feathers, such as ducks, are fairly self sufficient soon after birth. The birds without feathers are much more dependent on their mother. These are the birds born in nests.

     What many people are not aware of is that many kinds of birds, such as robins and blue jays, are unable to fly when they first leave their nest. These baby birds are called fledglings and can hop and flit. They live on the ground between 2-5 days old and their mother will still care for them. The best thing to do is leave a fledgling alone! If it is in an undesirable location such as the middle of the street it can be picked up and put in nearby shrubbery or a place it can hide from predators. Remember: the mother is close by so don't move it far!

Sometimes a bird can be pushed or blown from its nest.  In these cases, it can be returned to the nest.  The mother will not abandon it if it has been touched.

It is almost always best to leave wildlife alone. Unfortunately, sometimes baby wildlife is actually injured or abandoned. Do not attempt to treat or raise a baby yourself! In these cases ALWAYS call a wildlife rehabilitator. Trained and licensed wildlife rehabilitators are the only people that can legally treat injured or abandoned wildlife long term. Often animals that might otherwise be saved die unnecessarily because of treatment given by people trying to help. It is often difficult for the most knowledgable to save wild animals, so it is important to give them their best chance at survival.

If you are unable to contact a rehabilitator, and the animal is visibly injured, call Fredrick County Animal Control. Although the staff at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital are not trained to treat wildlife, we are ALWAYS here to assist you with any questions you may have.


Happy Spring from your friends at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital!


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Rabbits for Easter Gifts? Kingsbrook Animal Hospital's view

Rabbits are a familiar symbol of the Easter holiday. In the days leading up to Easter, they appear on television commercials, packages of candy and stores are filled with stuffed rabbits. It is no surprise that children beg their parents for a bunny of their own.  People who purchase these unique creatures are often unprepared for the care they need and quickly tire of them. In the months following Easter, local humane societies and rabbit rescues are flooded with these Easter gifts that are no longer wanted. The unlucky ones are dumped outside where predators, cars, illness, and injury virtually guarantee an early death.
Rabbits are a big responsibility.  They need unlimited amounts of fresh timothy hay to keep their teeth worn down. This can be messy. They need daily servings of fresh dark greens which can be expensive.  They can be litter box trained with a little patience, but you will sometimes find a fecal pellet here and there.  They are big chewers.  If left unsupervised, they will chew carpeting, woodwork and electrical wires.  This can be dangerous.

The veterinarians at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital want every rabbit's first home to be their forever home.  We don't recommend adopting or purchasing rabbits as gifts.  We ask that you do your homework before acquiring any pet to be prepared to care for that animal for its entire life.  If you have any questions regarding the care of a rabbit, call us in Frederick, MD at 301-631-6900.  Any member of our team would be happy to help you decide if a rabbit or any pet is a good fit for you.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My Four-Legged Lucky Charm By: Ranee Baker RVT

     My name is Blossom and I am a LUCKY dog.  I am four years old and I was used as a breeding Whippet.  When my breeder gave up her kennel license, I was placed up for adoption.

     A family came to visit me at the kennel.  They brought their male Whippet along to meet me.  His name was Rocket and he was 1 year old.  When I came into the room I was very scared.  I army-crawled into the room and wouldn't make eye contact with anyone.  Rocket came over, sniffed me and immediately my personality changed.  I jumped up and started wagging my tail.  I licked Rocket on the muzzle and he returned my kisses.

The nice lady offered me a cookie and pat me on the head.  She said she wanted to take me home forever.  My response to Rocket was so unusual that she asked about it.  I recognized Rocket.  He came from the same kennel and he is my son.  I was so happy to be reunited with him.  The last seven months have been wonderful.  I have blossomed (hence my name) into a sweet, loving little dog.  I have a loving family, a warm bed, and lots and lots of toys to play with.  My mommy tells me everyday how much she loves me and I shower her with kisses to show her my appreciation for giving me a forever home. 

Written by Ranee Baker RVT as told to her by

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Four-Legged Lucky Charm-Dora

Dora is a very special friend to Kingsbrook Animal Hospital. She is a medium sized mixed breed, has been a friend to us since February 2005 and is one of the nicest little dogs anyone could ever meet. Emily adopted Dora in 2005.  A few years after her adoption, she learned that Dora could get her Canine Good Citizenship certification through Wags for Hope. (http://www.wagsforhope.org) Dora and Emily worked hard at completing Dora’s certification, but before they knew it Dora had graduated. Dora brings great joy to anyone she meets.  In December of 2011, Dora started visiting two nursing homes in Frederick, MD.

In late February of 2011, Emily brought Dora into Kingsbrook Animal Hospital for a physical exam by her veterinarian Dr. Davis. Emily was concerned that Dora may have a urinary tract infection. Dr. Davis recommended x-rays of Dora to check for bladder stones. Well, Dora did not have any bladder stones, but something else…something they didn’t expect to find. The shape of Dora’s spleen looked abnormal. This was not the news Emily was expecting to hear.

Our friend Dora had a mass that could either be benign or cancerous.  Either way, if it ruptured it could cause her to internally bleed to death. Dora had an ultrasound confirming a mass was located on her spleen. More x-rays were taken to be sure it had not spread to other parts of her body. Fortunately, the x-rays were clear.  Which meant we could move forward with the needed surgery to remove Dora's spleen.

On March 11, 2011, Dora had her spleen removed and was discharged later that night. Dora recovered well from her big surgery, but more bad news was to come. Dora’s spleen was sent out for biopsy to determine whether or not it was cancerous…and it was. This was sad news for everyone at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital and for Emily too. The average survival expectancy for a dog with hemangiosarcoma is about 6 weeks without chemo therapy and 6 months for dogs with chemo therapy and fewer than 1% of dogs will live a year. Emily had some big decisions to make about her friend.

Emily decided to pursuit chemo therapy for Dora and she tolerated the treatment very well. To everyone’s surprise Dora has been going strong for almost 3 years! She is such an inspiration to everyone and continues to visit nursing homes, is a Reading Education Assistance Dog (http://www.therapyanimals.org/R.E.A.D.html) and is involved in a program called Project Mickey (http://www.projectmickey.org). We are so fortunate to have Dora with us, she brings joy to everyone she meets…we love you Dora!!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

My Four-Legged Lucky Charm By: Dr. Jennifer Walker

Smokey Joe

This is the tale of the luckiest family in Knoxville. 

Lauren and Smokey Joe
    When I think of why I dreamed of becoming a veterinarian, it was for precisely reasons like saving Smokey Joe.  Smokey Joe is a cat who joined our family just under a year ago.  He was born with a birth defect causing his front legs to angle inward.  His  front paws are distorted and his nails grow curled and bent.  He is polydactyl, has extra digits/toes, on his back paws as well. His first family was unable to care for Smokey and could not find anyone willing to adopt him.  They were considering having him euthanized when one of their children reached out to my daughter hoping I could help.
     I still remember the day they drove up our driveway.  We were NOT looking for another furry family member.  I had thought that I might be able to help the little kitten and find it a good home.  Smokey had never been outside and his eyes were wide and curious.  I ushered everyone in and he took off with his now classic “army crawl” and “kangaroo jumps.” In fact, that is how he got his name: “Smokey” for his his gun smoke color and “Joe” because he bounds like a baby kangaroo, a joey.
Radiograph showing deformity

Smokey Joe would crawl or hop up to someone, plop down, roll over and expose his underbelly begging to be pet.  (He incessantly nudges with his head to get his point across if you are too slow at interpreting his message.)   He is truly one of the happiest and best natured cats around.

     I knew right away that his “defects” were beyond traditional repair.  Splints could no longer help Smokey.  His joints are fused and the bones are irregular.  He would never be “normal.” I also knew that his little body had adapted amazingly well!  His back legs have developed large muscles and his extra toes allow him to balance and bound better than any “normal” cat. I knew he could have a good and happy life.  He may require a little special care, but we think he is worth it- and that makes him a perfect part of our family.  

James and Smokey Joe

Interesting Fact:

Polydactyl cats often found their way onto boats because sailors believed they were good luck. They were widely recognized as top-notch mousers, and their extra toes were thought to give them better balance while sailing the high seas.  

Therefore, we are surely the luckiest family in Knoxville and maybe Frederick too! :)

-Dr. Jennifer Walker
Kingsbrook Animal Hospital

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Life on a Highway- The story of a cat named “Ray Charles”

Julie giving Ray his first bath
One of our most memorable come back stories is about a struggling kitten found by a good samaritan on the side of Route 15 in Frederick, Maryland.  He was 5-6 weeks old when he was discovered on the side of the busy road in mid-September.  Not only was he abandoned, but also very frightened and in need of serious veterinary care.  

The good samaritan contacted Frederick County Animal Control.  Unfortunately, they could not shelter anymore cats and based on his condition would likely euthanize him.  

That is where Kingsbrook Animal Hospital stepped in! After hearing of the situation and condition of the little kitten, Dr. Cook agreed to treat him for his numerous ailments and live in the hospital until we could find him a home.  

At only one pound, he was emaciated, dehydrated and suffered from ear mites and yeast infection. As if that was not enough, he had intestinal parasites, an upper respiratory infection and his eyes were severely infected and ulcerated.  Medical care was started immediately with eye and ear medications, fluids, de-wormer, and antibiotics thanks to the Kylie and Cricket Memorial Fund!  His appetite was carefully monitored to make sure he was eating and gaining weight.  
Note the opacity of his eyes
During treatment, his eyes were still very cloudy.  The veterinarians could mildly see his iris which makes his ability to see very low, if at all. He was diagnosed blind, but could potentially see shadows. That did not slow him down at all! Once he was feeling better, his charismatic personality earned him the nickname “Dennis No Menace!"  He was very affectionate and would purr and start “making biscuits” as soon as he was picked up.  He loved to play and we gladly obliged every chance we had.

It wasn’t long before someone found room in their heart for this special needs kitty.  He was adopted that November and renamed “Ray Charles”. He now lives in Portland, Maine with his family which includes a cat and 2 dogs that he loves to play with. His owners think that he can see some shadows based on the fact that he likes to whack the dog's tails! He is a very happy cat now that his days on the streets are far behind him.
Ray Charles is a Happy Cat!!