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The veterinarians and staff at Matthews Animal Clinic are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter of pet-related articles and news stories.

This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine. Get started by browsing the Current Newsletter Topics links that pertain to each article.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

NC Update for Rabies Protocol (as of 2017)

We in the veterinary profession have a responsibility to promote health, wellness, and safety to not only the animals that we care for but also for the owners and the public in general. This especially holds true when it comes to deadly diseases that can be transmitted to people (zoonotic diseases), such as the rabies virus. This virus, once contracted and showing clinical signs, is virtually fatal with no treatment available in both animals and people. Therefore, the only form of protection is vaccination prior to and immediately after any exposure.

Recently, the state of North Carolina has changed the law in regards to the potential for rabies virus exposure in order to protect the public. We at Matthews Animal Clinic want to provide this new information to you so that there is no confusion as to what we must follow.

We want to also emphasize that we are required by law to report any suspicious cases to Animal Control, regardless of the situation or outcome.

Below is information for all potential situations that may arise. We ask that you review this and please feel free to call us (704-847-9856) or Animal Control (Jose Pena at 980-314-9210) with any questions that you may have. We want you to pay special attention to the fact that any potential exposure, regardless of vaccination status (current or overdue), requires a booster vaccination within 96 hours of any bite to an animal from an unknown animal, such as wildlife or stray animals.

Bite to an animal from unknown source:

* Current on Rabies Vaccination and received Rabies booster within 96 hours

Under owner control and observation for 45 days (see below)

Report needed to Health Department for any and all exposures regardless of vaccination status, where they will contact you

* Current on Rabies Vaccination and did NOT receive Rabies booster within 96 hours

Local Health Department will determine steps needed where this can range from owner observation to lengthy and costly quarantine

* Overdue for Rabies Vaccination and received Rabies booster within 96 hours

Under owner control and observation for 45 days (see below)

Report needed to Health Department, will contact you

* Overdue for Rabies Vaccination and did NOT receive booster within 96 hours

Local Health Department will determine steps needed but can range from 1-2 month quarantine up to a 4 month quarantine or euthanasia

* Never been vaccinated

Local Health Department will determine steps needed but can range from 4-6 month quarantine or euthanasia


  • Any puncture (especially in outdoor cats) should be considered exposure
  • Contact 311 for any suspicious stray or wildlife animal (especially bat, raccoon, skunk, fox) that is still present
  • Do not release the animal or remove/bury the carcass, however please do not put yourself in harm’s way as well

Animal that bites a person:

All animals (regardless of vaccination status) must be quarantined for 10 days

Is Sleeping With A Pet Beneficial Your Health?

A recent study by the Mayo Clinic's Center for Sleep Medicine in Arizona reported some people may benefit from sharing a bed with a pet. The study looked at 74 pet owners – 56 percent of whom allow their pet in the bedroom with them. Of those, 41 percent believe sleeping with their pet is beneficial to sleep.

A good night's sleep does more than leave you feeling well-rested. It plays an important role in overall immune function, metabolism, memory, learning and more.

Strengthen Your Bond by Sharing Your Bed

Dr. Ken Tudor, former Veterinary Medical Officer for the United States Department of Agriculture, believes the benefits of sharing a bed with a dog stem from our evolutionary partnership. Domestication of the wild dog undoubtedly included the animals joining "man at the camp fire and later snuggling closely with him for mutual warmth."

In addition to reporting better sleep, respondents also noted a greater sense of security. This could be from the simple reassuring presence of another warm body or because pets often double as protectors who will alert their owners to intruders. Dr. Tudor emphasizes that being in consistent proximity with an animal fosters bonding and a more intimate relationship.

"Some people find that sleeping with their animal actually helps them feel cozy," said Dr. Lois Krahn, a sleep medicine specialist at the center. "One woman said her two small dogs warmed her bed. Another person felt her cat who was touching her during the night was comforting and soothing."

Results May Vary

Although the majority of pet-owning respondents reported sharing their bedroom with their pet, another 20 percent admitted the bed-hogging, snoring or moving around can be disruptive.

Interrupted sleep has been linked to preventing slow-wave sleep and a worse mood than non-interrupted sleepers upon waking. The Mayo Clinic advises patients who have sleep concerns to inquire about whether or not their sleep environment should be shared with a companion animal.

"I think from a sleep standpoint, multiple pets increase the risk of bad sleep," said Krahn.

March 23 is National Puppy Day

March 23 is National Puppy Day! Since 2006, National Puppy Day celebrates the magic and unconditional love that puppies bring to our lives. Over the years, this holiday has grown into an international holiday, and has trended on Twitter since 2012.

Creator Colleen Page—who also founded National Dog Day and National Cat Day—created this event to help save orphaned puppies across the globe while educating the public about the horrors of puppy mills. According to the National Puppy Day website, there are approximately 8,000-10,000 puppy mills in the U.S. , including many businesses that call themselves breeders that purposely allow their dog to get pregnant in hopes of selling puppies through local papers or online.

“The tragedy of puppy mills is that they don’t care about the animals more than a commodity to be sold,” National Puppy Day’s website reads. “Most of these animals live in crammed cages with no room to movie, in complete and utter squalor.”

While National Puppy Day is a great day to post pictures of your adorable puppy to your Twitter feed, don’t forget why we celebrate this holiday: for the fair and ethical treatment of dogs across the world. To learn more about National Puppy Day and why adopting a puppy is important, visit

How to Care for Your New Puppy or Kitten: Socialization

Congratulations on your new family member! If you are new to pet ownership or a seasoned veteran, it is important to stay up to date on proper care for your new puppy or kitten.

Proper socialization helps establish a loving and lasting relationship between you and your pet. Early in your pet's life, it is very important to deal with unfavorable habits and correct them in a productive and timely manner.

One of the best ways to train your pet is to introduce it at a young age to common social situations. Some of these may include trimming nails, bathing, brushing and medicating. By introducing these situations at a very young age, they are far more likely to be accepted by the pet later in life.

For puppies, obedience training is pretty much essential. Most trainers like to start the training process between 4 to 6 months of age, after vaccinations are complete. Many capable trainers are available to help you socialize and train your pet properly. Do your homework in order to take advantage of the training courses offered in your area. Similar to children, pets' habits, both good and bad, are learned at an early age.

Ridding of Fleas in Your Home

Work to Eliminate and Prevent Fleas from Your Pets and Home

Finding out that your pet has fleas can be a stressful experience as both a pet owner and a home owner. There are multiple steps to take and we want to make sure that you’re fully aware and educated on all you need to know in order to protect your furry friends, as well as your living area. Below, we break down how your pet can get fleas, how to get rid of them, and how to prevent them in the future.

How do fleas get in my house?

Unfortunately, there are multiple ways that fleas can find a way into your home – and your pet isn’t always the one to blame! Fleas can attach themselves to both animals and humans, so it could be something that you’ve unknowingly brought into your house.

  • Your pet’s exposure to other animals: Whether you’re at the park, the vet, or even another person’s house with a pet that has fleas, your pet is still vulnerable to exposure.
  • Other pets entering your home: If a friend or family member brings their pet over your house, fleas are able to inhabit the warm space and try to make a home of their own.
  • The backyard: Both you and your pet could become a new host for fleas that are loitering in the backyard and find a place in your house to stay, or simply stick around with your pet.

Once fleas are present, they’re very difficult to find and identify how they got into your home in the first place.

How do I get rid of the fleas?

When you finally realize that there are fleas in your home, there are multiple steps to take to officially get rid of them. They’re not only found on your pet, but they can be in hard-to-reach and hard-to-see places like your carpet, furniture, and tiny crevices throughout the house.

With these helpful steps, you’ll be able to protect you, your pets and your home from fleas!

  • Bring your pet to our office for treatment: Even if they’re not the ones who have fleas on them, start the prevention process as soon as possible.
  • Clean everything: Wash and dry all of your pet’s belongings, as well as your own!
  • Apply treatment to your home: Find the best ways to clean your house so there are no secret spots left that the fleas could be hiding.
  • Repeat this process at least 3 more times: You’re not only trying to clean out the fleas, but any sort of eggs and larvae that they may have left behind.

How can I prevent fleas from returning?

After you’re sure that all the fleas are gone, the next step is prevention. We want you to be aware of all the ways you can protect your home and your pets from dealing with fleas for as long as possible.

First, ask us about our flea treatment and what the best option is for your pet. There are multiple options and it’s important to learn about each of them to see which one would benefit both your pet and your home. Don’t be afraid to ask us as many questions as possible so you have all the proper information you need before choosing the best treatment.

When cleaning your home, your pet’s blankets and toys, and anything else that fleas may love, make sure you’re thorough as possible and maintain a consistent cleaning schedule. Prevention can be simple when you turn it into a routine, so be sure to ask us for any helpful tips if you’re still unsure.

To learn more about ridding your home of fleas, click here.

Internet Famous: Pet Stars of Instagram

They're cute, hilarious and they're taking over Instagram. These pets are celebrities online and can demand a pretty paycheck from sponsors when they post as so-called social influencers. There's even a New York management agency that focuses solely on the crème de la crème dog influencers. Beyond internet fame and more money than they could ever spend on dog treats and fancy pet beds, these animals also play an important role in raising awareness of pet adoption as they themselves were often rescued from an animal shelter.

Check out just a few of the big pet influencers on Instagram below, and be sure follow for some silly, inspiring and adorable content: