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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

Fun in the Fall – Activities in Autumn With Your Pet

Fun in the Fall – Activities in Autumn With Your Pet

As the leaves begin to change colors and the weather turns cooler, there are lots of activities to enjoy with your pet. Don’t go alone – bring your best friend with you.

Go to an Apple Orchard

Apples are ready to be picked, so you’ll find an abundance of apple orchards to visit. Most of them allow dogs and it’s a great way to enjoy the weather together. Apples are a great treat for you to share with your pet as they clean your dog’s teeth and make their breath fresh. Just be careful with the core and seeds because they are a choking concern and toxic.

Go Trick-Or-Treating

Halloween isn’t just for kids – your pet looks adorable dressed up. Head out with the kids and your pets to do some trick-or-treating. Carry some extra treats with you for other animals along the way.

Pumpkin Picking

Just like apple orchards, most pumpkin patches don’t mind dogs. Who knows – your dog might just have an eye for the best pumpkin in the patch. When you are ready to sit down to some homemade pumpkin pie, don’t forget your dog. They can have a small amount of pumpkin puree in their food. It’s great for their digestive system and offers lots of fiber.


With football season getting into full swing, you are sure to be invited to a tailgating party. Of course, your pet will be the hit of the get-together, so be sure to bring them along. Don’t forget their favorite toys and food as well.

Take a Hike

Exercise is great for you and your dog, so why not do it together? While your dog won’t see all the colors, they will recognize the different smells and activity. Look for some local events that you and your dog can walk in together as well.

Final Thoughts

Whatever you do this fall, make sure you include your pets. They deserve to enjoy the magic of the season change with you. Get outside and enjoy the fresh, crisp weather while you can.

Pet Statistics and Growing Trends

Pet Statistics and Growing Trends

The pet business continues to boom with an overall focus of health across the board. Here are the hottest things happening right now and what we can expect in the future.

Natural Pet Products

Natural pet products continue to grow in popularity. That’s because most pet owners understand the high levels of toxicity in synthetic products plus there’s more of a concern for the environment.

The biggest natural pet products right now are:

  • Holistic foods
  • Cat litter
  • Holistic grooming products
  • All-natural flea and tick products
  • Natural fiber toys

Specialty Pet Services

Pet services continue to grow with the increase in popularity. These aren’t always conveniences, but some things that are needed for the pet to maintain a happy life. The most common right now are:

  • Dog training
  • Pet sitting
  • Holistic and upscale spa services like massage and Reiki
  • Pet photography
  • Pet behavioral consulting
  • Self-serve dog washes
  • Yoga
  • Pet communicators

Other Popular Trends

As pet owners continue to increase their spending, luxuries seem to be topping many of the lists for trending products and services. Some other popular trends occurring now include:

Mobile pet grooming – special vehicles arrive at your home to perform grooming services.

Pet-friendly travel – hospitality and vacation locations are catering to pet owners and their furry friends.

Travel apps – apps that help to connect consumers with places to take their dogs and cats.

Pet health insurance – while they’ve been around for some time, popularity is getting larger recently.

What to Look for in the Future

As we move forward, you are going to see some more trends emerging. Pet parents are expected to see continued increases in the industry and spend more money shortly. Online shopping sites, like Amazon, have been selling record amounts of pet products and those numbers will continue to increase. Look for more innovative services, concepts and products to emerge over the next year.

A History of Your Pet's Nature - Animal Origins

A History of Your Pet’s Nature – Animal Origins

Animals have always been relevant to humans, even before they became pets. They were counted on to provide food, transportation and clothing. Even though these purposes still exist today, the role of most animals has changed. Let’s look at how this relationship has evolved.

Prehistoric Times

The relationship between animals and man was mainly a hunter and prey combination. People only viewed animals for their clothing and food.

The first animal to be seen outside of these purposes was the wolf. Humans found that the young cubs would listen to humans when trained. They were used for herding, guarding and hunting. Ancient Civilizations

As humans shifted from being hunters to farmers, working dogs were valued more. This is also the time when cats started to play a role in the equation. They were used to protect the grain stores, barns and houses from mice. Pet ownership was common among the noble and ruling classes. Murals depict the wealthy with animals. Slowly, these animals became companions instead of workers.

The Middle Ages

During these years, lap dogs became popular among noble women. The male nobles spent more of their attention on the useful animals like falcons and hunting hounds.

At the time, the Christian church didn’t believe in keeping pets. They thought that they were to be used for food to feed the poor. It’s possible that this stemmed from the fear of pagan worship and the use of animals. This continued until animals started to be seen as good fortune.

Pet Keeping

Keeping pets wasn’t accepted on a larger scale in Europe until the late 1600s. It almost a hundred years later before the middle class started having pets.

Today, pets have multiple roles in society. They are companions, helpers and an indication of status. They also aid people in activities they can’t do for themselves, such as seeing-eye dogs. Whatever your purpose for having a pet, it’s important that you value the bond and relationship that has taken so many years to cultivate.

Advice for Locating a Lost Pet

Advice for Locating a Lost Pet

You’ve just gotten home from running some errands and your pet is gone. Now, what are you supposed to do? Follow our simple tips and hopefully, you’ll find your loved animal soon.

Don't Wait

It’s important to start your search immediately. Make lots of noise – yell for your animal. Stop everyone you see and ask right away if they’ve seen your pet. Most of the time your pet is nearby, so they might hear you and come running back.

Consider a Reward

Consider creating a flyer with all of your pet’s information on it. Distribute them to libraries, vets, police departments and neighbors. If you are offering a reward, leave out something about your pet’s traits that they will need to identify. Also, avoid scams by staying clear of anyone asking you to wire them money.

Search Often

Go through your neighborhood multiple times each day. Talk to everyone you see along the way. You’ll also want to contact the shelters each day. Look in hiding places in the neighborhood.

Make Sure You Use Collar Tags

You can’t do this once your pet is lost, but it’s a good precautionary measure. Put your cell phone number on the tag.


These are just the size of a grain of rice and placed under the pet’s skin. It transmits your phone number through radio frequency waves. Your vet can implant the chip speedily. Then, when your pet is found, a veterinarian and shelter can scan and attempt to contact you.

There is a small issue with microchips. They run on three varying frequencies and there are two communication protocols sold. Sometimes, a chip is missed, so you don’t want to rely on this as your only way to find your animal.

Whatever you do, don’t panic. The majority of pets are found within 48 hours. Be diligent and don’t give up searching until you find your furry friend.

Questions To Ask Your Veterinarian

Questions To Ask Your Veterinarian

When you head into the wellness exam with your pet, there are some questions you should plan to ask. Here are the top 5 things you need to discuss with your veterinarian.

Is My Pet at a Healthy Weight?

Believe it or not, half of the pets in the United States are now overweight. Most pet owners don’t even realize that there’s a problem. Talk to your vet about the appropriate weight for your animal and what you can do to improve their health.

It’s possible that you need to make some changes to their food. The veterinarian has excellent recommendations that work for your type of pet, so be willing to listen to their suggestions.

Does My Pet Need Shots?

It’s essential that your furry loved one has all their vaccinations. This protects them from dangerous health issues.

Does My Pet Require a Dental Cleaning?

Pets suffer from dental disease more often than most people realize. About 80% of dogs and an estimated 70% of cats over the age of three suffer from periodontal disease. This leads to further complications if left untreated.

Instead of waiting for problems to arise, it makes more sense to be proactive with dental cleanings. In the end, it saves you money and keeps your pet healthy.

What’s the Best Flea and Tick Medication to Use?

Not only are ticks and fleas a nuisance, but they lead to several deadly diseases. With all the options available to prevent and kill these pests, it’s important you know which one is the best. Talk to your vet about their recommendations. You’ll even be able to find some that work for 12 weeks on just one dose.

Will you Explain the Bill?

Instead of walking away confused, ask the vet to explain why the procedures cost what they do. What seems like a lot of money probably won’t once you understand the training and equipment needed to keep your pet healthy.