10600 Monroe Rd.
Closed 1st Weds of each month from 12pm – 1:40pm
|Mon & Fri||7am–7pm|
Closed 1st Weds of each month from 12pm – 1:40pm
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!
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.
* 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
All animals (regardless of vaccination status) must be quarantined for 10 days
Should old acquaintance be forgot... Hanging onto the friends and memories of the year past isn't a bad thing, but hanging on to old troubles may be. Pet obesity is still believed to be on the rise in the U.S. as 2016 comes to an end. It seems well-intentioned pet owners can’t kick the habit of viewing their chubby pets as adorable rather than at-risk for serious health issues.
A Troubling Trend
An American Animal Hospital Association task force found that for 2014 obesity rates for both dogs and cats had risen from the previous year. They now estimate 16.7 percent of dogs and 27.4 percent of cats are clinically obese. In all, the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) estimates 53 percent of dogs and 58 percent of cats are overweight.
Although those numbers don't speak for 2015, it seems the weight problem has not been resolved.
"The 'fat gap' continues to challenge pet owners," said APOP founder Dr. Ernie Ward. "Pet owners think their obese dog or cat is a normal weight, making confronting obesity difficult. No one wants to think their pet is overweight, and overcoming denial is our first battle."
Even with waistlines, diets, and exercise regimens a central focus for a variety of American industries, the obesity rate for humans increased 3 percent from 2011-2012 to 2013-2014. It makes sense that pets' nutritional needs aren't being met when 40 percent of the population is overweight.
With Excess Weight Comes Health Risks
With an increasing trend toward pets being obese rather than just overweight, specialists are concerned. Obesity brings with it a higher risk for Type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure and even certain forms of cancer.
"It is critical pet owners understand an overweight dog or cat is not a healthy pet," said Dr. Julie Churchill, a veterinary nutritionist at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine.
For recommendations on proper nutrition, serving size and exercise requirements, contact your veterinarian.
Spaying or neutering pets is a common procedure, and most pet owners have probably had some experience with having the procedure done on animals they have owned.
Aside from the inconvenience of heat cycles and/or roaming tom cats, there are medical benefits associated to having your pet spayed or neutered. The direct health benefits of spaying or neutering are significant for the pet. If female pets are spayed before their first heat cycle, the risk of developing mammary tumors (breast cancer) is significantly reduced. Spaying female pets eliminates the risk of pyometra, an infection of the uterus. This disease can be very serious, even fatal, in female pets. Male pets can also benefit. Neutering eliminates the risk of testicular cancer and reduces the risk of prostate disease.
Spaying or neutering can indirectly help prolong a pet's life as well. When pets are spayed or neutered, their tendencies to roam or fight are greatly reduced. This prevents the pets from getting lost, stolen, hit by cars, or contracting a contagious disease.
Cats that fight are at risk of contracting a serious disease called feline leukemia. This disease, which affects the immune system of the cat, can be passed from feline to feline through saliva or blood. Cats also run the risk of contracting feline immune deficiency virus when they fight. This disease is very similar to human HIV. It can lie dormant in the cat for quite a while, and when activated, can cause the cat's immune system to function improperly.
Spaying or neutering dogs can help keep them under control. Dogs that have not been spayed or neutered are more likely to wander away from home. While running loose, they have a chance of being hit by a car, getting lost, stolen or taken to the animal shelter.
Even though spays and neuters are considered routine surgery, there is nothing routine about any abdominal surgery performed under general anesthesia. Most veterinarians consider spays and neuters to be major surgery, especially when spaying older animals that have had several heat cycles or have had litters.
Veterinarians and humane societies advise pet owners to have their pets spayed or neutered. The medical advantages have been proven. Complications resulting from these procedures are rare and pets recover from surgery very quickly. Often the day after surgery, animals are bright and alert, sometimes seeming as if nothing had ever happened.
The cost of the procedure varies depending upon the species, sex, size and age of the pet.
With the winter approaching, pet owners should be aware of the dangers posed by rock salt, also known as “ice melt.” Used to combat slippery sidewalks, steps and walkways, rock salt contains a mixture of many minerals which pose unique problems for pets – who, unlike us, walk around bare-pawed all winter.
Pet Paws & Stomachs At Risk
Walking on rock salt-laden ground can lead to local irritation of your pet’s feet. Paws feature mucus membranes which are sensitive to the harsh, drying minerals found in rock salt. Prolonged exposure can lead to cracked paw-skin and, once the sensitive underlying tissue becomes exposed, can be quite painful for your pooch or kitty.
Your pet may want to cleanse his or her feet of the troublesome, yet tasty, substance by engaging in some extensive licking once back indoors. Ingesting the salt in this way, or from treated snow or melted puddles, can cause drooling, painful sores or swelling inside the mouth and oral discomfort. It can also lead to upset stomach, nausea and vomiting. The ASPCA Poison Control Center reports vomiting followed by diarrhea as the most common symptoms of rock salt ingestion in 30 percent of related calls.
However, if your pet decides to eat a buffet of rock salt cubes, this could be toxic and cause lethargy, tremors, disorientation, increased water consumption and seizures. In extreme cases, excessive ingestion can be fatal.
Tips for Cold-Climate Pet Owners
• Keep bags/containers of rock salt out of reach
• Don’t over-salt areas where your pet routinely walks
• Kitty litter works as a safe substitute
• Keep your pet from overeating salty snow or drinking from puddles
• Rinse then towel off your pet's paws after walks
• Monitor paws for excessive dryness, cracking or irritation
• Vaseline can be used as a salt barrier when applied to your pet's paws
• Consider pet booties!
If you suspect your dog or cat has ingested a fair amount of rock salt, call your veterinarian or a Pet Poison Helpline (such as ASPCA's 888-426-4435) immediately.
People have a wide range of attitudes about getting older, ranging from optimism to pessimism. But when it comes to pets, people tend to have a negative attitude about aging. The tragedy of getting old is that we attribute the problems pets face to old age, and don't bring them to the veterinarian. Most owners think that pets can't be helped if it's just old age, often overlooking symptoms that could be treated or eased.
There are a series of physical changes affecting aging pets' bodies. These may include graying of the muzzle, thinning of the coat, brittle toenails, arthritis and lameness, whitening of eyes (cataracts), difficulty hearing and dental problems.
Pets entering their golden years face two types of changes--those that can be relieved with the help of a veterinarian, and those that cannot. Veterinarians can prescribe medication to ease the pain of arthritis and even perform surgery to replace painful hips. Veterinarians don't have means to treat deafness; however, surgery can cure cataracts. There is also medication that can be prescribed to alter mental status, making older pets less senile.
With aging, there are also behavioral and mental changes that take place. Older animals have more difficulty getting around. They lose self-confidence and tend to stay close to their owners and close to home. Fear of strangers and new surroundings may be more pronounced in an older pet as well.
Older dogs and cats usually sleep more, pay less attention and don't tolerate the cold weather as well as they did when they were younger. The aging process begins and ends differently for each animal. It's just like humans. There are people in their 70s who appear young and there are people in their 60s who appear old. On the average though, small dogs and cats begin to exhibit signs of aging at 9 to 10 years old, while large dog breeds begin to age at about 7 years of age.
Owners need to prepare themselves mentally as their pets undergo the aging process. Emphasis should be placed on quality of life. This means that owners should have their older pets examined by a veterinarian. Annual (or even semi-annual) veterinary examinations are recommended. This way, any potentially serious problems can be diagnosed (early and treatment can be provided that may slow the progression of the ailment and, if possible, cure it.
Some pet owners try to avoid the fact that a pet won't be around forever. As a pet ages, it's best to accept the process and try to provide him or her with a good and happy quality of life.
When a pet is very old and has severe medical problems, an owner must confront the decision of putting him or her to sleep. Many owners have a common misconception on this topic. People always hope their pets will die peacefully in their sleep, but this rarely happens. Very often, owners wait too long and the pet incurs too much pain and suffering. When an animal loses bowel control or can't move its legs, owners should interpret these signs and make the appropriate choice.
Making the decision to euthanize a pet that has been a member of the family is never easy. Owners need to know that it is the final step in the human - pet relationship. Putting an animal to sleep is the last act of love from a good owner to their loyal companion.