Monthly Newsletter

Duluth Animal Hospital Newsletter

Duluth Animal HospitalThe veterinarians and staff at the Duluth Animal Hospital are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis. Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on Duluth Animal Hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

Current Newsletter Topics

Beat the Heat: Summer Care Tips for Cats

The summer is a great time to get outside and enjoy the warm weather, but you may want to leave Kitty indoors while you frolic in the sun. While it's easy for you to keep cool when temperatures rise, cats have a much more difficult time when it comes to beating the heat. Here are some tips to keep your feline family members nice and cool in the summer.

Cats generally handle warmer temperatures better than dogs, but owners should remain vigilant about Kitty during the summer months. The easiest way to keep your cat cool in the summer is to keep him or her indoors during the hottest parts of the day. If you do let your cat venture outside, do so early in the morning or at dusk when the temperature is cooler and there is more shade from the sun. While your cat is inside, keep plenty of fresh, cool water available throughout the house. If the weather is extremely hot, consider wrapping your cat in a cool, damp towel or placing a plastic bag full of ice under their bed.

Keep your cat cool during the summer months

When the weather is extremely hot and humid, cats can be prone to heat stroke. Very old cats, as well as obese cats and those with existing health problems are especially susceptible to heath stroke. Owners should also be aware of signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. A cat's normal body temperature should be between 100.5 degrees F and 101.5 degrees F. Any temperature higher than 102 degrees F is dangerous, and immediate action should be taken to lower the cat's temperature. If a cat's temperature increases to 107 degrees F, he or she is possibly suffering the effects of heat stroke.

Signs of heat stroke include:

  • Panting
  • Staring
  • Anxious expression
  • Warm, dry skin
  • High fever
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Vomiting
  • Collapse

If your cat begins exhibiting any of these symptoms, call your veterinarian immediately. To cool your cat down, remove him or her from the area and apply towels soaked in cool water to your cat's skin. Immersion in a cool water bath for 30 minutes may also help lower your cat's temperature. While on the way to the veterinarian's office, place ice packs around your cat's head and body. No matter how you cool your cat off, you must bring him or her to a veterinarian as intravenous fluids may be required. Heat stroke can be fatal if left untreated.

Keep your cat cool during the summer months

Even though Kitty is covered in a fine coat of fur, she is just as susceptible to sunburn as you. Cats with white coats or white ears and faces are particularly prone to feeling the effects of the sun's rays. And while sunburn is discomforting for your cat in the short term, it can also have long term effects. Extended exposure to direct sunlight can lead to squamous cell carcinoma, a form of cancer that usually appears at the tips of the ears and on the nose. Signs of squamous cell carcinoma include sores that bleed excessively or do not heal. The best way to protect your cat is to keep him or her out of direct sunlight in the summer time. If your cat is going outdoors, you can protect his or her skin with an application of sunscreen; however, be sure only to use a sunscreen formulated for cats. Sunscreen not designed for cats can result in drooling, lethargy, diarrhea and excessive thirst. Ask your veterinarian about sunscreens that are right for your cat.

Your cat may also face other, non-weather-related problems in the summertime. Cats outdoors for a roam may be tempted to take a taste of antifreeze puddles they find in streets and driveways. Antifreeze is extremely toxic to pets—it only takes one to two teaspoons of antifreeze to poison a cat. Symptoms include vomiting, excessive thirst/urination, depression and a wobbly gait. If you suspect your cat has ingested antifreeze, get him or her to a veterinarian immediately. Owners should also make sure there are no open, unscreened windows in their homes. Adventurous cats may jump or accidentally fall out of open windows, leading to broken bones and other injuries.

Summer can be a carefree, easy time for you and your pet, so long as you both play it safe and keep cool. Ask your veterinarian if you have any questions about beating the heat this summer.

Fireworks Are Dangerous to Your Pet

If you thought it would be harmless to mix pets and fireworks, think again. All fireworks should be kept at a safe distance from curious and unsuspecting pets. Anything from small smoke bombs and sparklers to large aerial displays has the potential to cause severe burns. The face, mouth and paws are the most common places pets get burned by fireworks. Furthermore, fireworks can also contain heavy metals that are used as coloring agents and may cause poisoning if ingested. Symptoms of heavy metal/fireworks poisoning include vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, jaundice, tremors and seizures.


If your pet may have ingested fireworks, immediate examination by a veterinarian is recommended. Do not induce vomiting at home as it can cause severe burns, especially in the mouth and upper gastrointestinal tract. While the prognosis is good in many cases involving the ingestion of small fireworks and minor burns, that is often not the case when the pet has ingested several fireworks. This is due to liver and nerve damage.

As you enjoy your holiday, remember to use common sense, and always put safety first for all family members.

How to Keep Your Dog Cool This Summer

People usually prepare themselves for the dangers of increased temperatures. But as the dog days of summer approach, our trusted companions also need special attention to insure that they don’t get burned. Like for us, the summer months bring an increased danger of heat exhaustion and heat stroke for dogs.

People naturally regulate their body temperature by sweating. Dogs mainly cool themselves by panting or breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. The process of panting directs air over the mucous membranes (moist surface) of the tongue, throat and trachea (windpipe). The air that is flowing over these organs causes evaporation, thus cooling the animal. Another mechanisms that helps remove heat includes dilation of blood vessels in the skin of the face, ears and feet. Dilated blood vessels located on the surface of the body cause the blood to loose heat to the outside air.

A dog’s normal body temperature is 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Like people, dogs can become overheated. If it rises to 105 or 106 degrees, the dog is at risk for developing heat exhaustion. If the body temperature rises to 107 degrees, the dog has entered the danger zone of heat stroke. With heat stroke, damage to the body can be irreversible. Organs begin to shut down, and veterinary care is immediately needed.



Fortunately, if owners recognize heat exhaustion, they can prevent the dog from entering heat stroke. People can easily recognize when the heat gets to them because they become lightheaded and fail to sweat. For dogs, early signs of heat exhaustion may include failure to salivate and a dry mouth. Heat exhaustion may also include a dog lying down and looking tired, losing its appetite and becoming unresponsive to owners.

If heat exhaustion progresses into heat stroke, the dog becomes very warm to touch and may have seizures. Internal mechanisms roll into effect that may cause blood clotting and organ damage. If you are near a phone and think that heat stroke is a possibility, call your veterinarian immediately. If a veterinarian is not within reach, or while waiting for a veterinarian, get the dog out of the sun and cool him or her down with cool water baths (cool—not cold). Provide a fan, especially if you wet the dog down, and encourage him or her to drink water.

While these steps may help a dog, the best treatment is prevention. In order to prevent overheating, some owners may shave their dogs or trim their fur excessively. This isn’t always a good idea. The hair coat may appear to be a burden for a dog; however, it can also keep the animal comfortable by trapping cool air next to the skin, reducing the amount of heat transferred from the hot outside air to the body of the dog.

Dogs with long or thick coats that have problems with matted hair are often good candidates for clipping. Matted hair can cause skin irritation and is undesirable. Owners that do not have time to adequately remove mats and debris from their dog’s coat may prefer to have the coat clipped short. After a short clipping, and if the dog is outdoors, owners need to be careful of sunburn. Sunscreen may be applied to the dog’s skin; however, it is necessary to consult a veterinarian to find out which ones are safe.

Here are some other tips for keeping your dog cool this summer:

  • Keep dogs indoors in air conditioning on very hot days.
  • Do not leave dogs in a car during the summer. Even with the windows down, temperatures inside a car can quickly rise to above 120 degrees. Make sure outdoor dogs have plenty of shade.
  • Keep fresh water available at all times.
  • On very hot days, exercise dogs early in the morning or late in the evening. If this is not possible, exercise in an air conditioned environment.
  • Provide your dog with a sprinkler or wading pool on very warm days.
  • If you take the dog to a lake, make sure it has plenty of time to drink and get wet. Most dogs can drink lake water without adverse effects.
  • If your dog has a light coat or exposed skin, take precautions against sunburn.
  • Dogs can acclimate to warm temperatures and have no trouble staying outdoors in the heat. However, dogs that are used to cool climates or air conditioning should not be left outside on hot days.
  • Acclimating your dog gradually is the key.

If you have questions about caring for your dog during the summer months, please give your veterinarian a call.

Dogs and Cats Can Donate Blood

You may have donated blood, but did you know that dogs and cats can donate blood too? During surgeries, illness or injury, veterinarians need the blood of other pets to potentially save a cat or dog who is in the hospital. According to a recent Huffington Post article, there are a few requirements for a cat or dog to be able to donate blood.

Your dog or cat may be eligible to donate blood if they meet the following requirements:

  • Be between the ages of one and nine
  • Dogs must be 50 lbs. or more
  • Cats must be 10 lbs. or more
  • Cats must be solely indoor pets
  • Never had a transfusion
  • Not used for breeding
  • Not on any long-term medication

Some of these requirements may vary depending on the state and blood bank, so it is important to check every hospital or donation center in your area individually. During every donation, a dog will donate approximately two cups, or one pint at each donation. A cat will donate approximately two ounces. When a dog donates blood just one time, it can help save the lives of up to four dogs! Pets get rewarded for their good deed with food, treats, toys and of course, belly rubs. Learn more with the video and article below.

Huffington Post (Dogs Can Donate Blood, Too)

Celebrate National Feral Cat Day on October 16th

Did you know that there is a day dedicated to helping feral cats? This October 16th marks the annual celebration of National Feral Cat Day. Originally started by Alley Cat Allies in 2001, this special day is all about raising awareness regarding feral cats. Let’s learn more about the ways you can take part in this amazing day. What is National Feral Cat Day About?

The purpose behind October 16th is focused on raising awareness to benefit feral cats. This involves promoting “Trap-Neuter-Return” programs, which are an effective way to help keep the stray population down. In addition, it is a time for recognizing the millions of loving Americans that care for these lovely cats.

National Feral Cat Day hopes to work together with the community to end cats being put down and having cats overpopulate areas. The way to do this is to spay and neuter feral cats. Because of this, many veterinarians will offer free spay and neuter clinics to the public on National Feral Cat Day.

How to Celebrate National Feral Cat Day

Feral cats are much like house cats. They have the same needs and the same natural behaviors. The difference is that they have not been adapted to living around humans, so they can sometimes cause issues in residential neighborhoods.

On October 16th, it is a great day to recognize what you can do for these cats and your community. Here are some steps you might want to take:

  • Discuss with your veterinarian about programs they might be offering for feral cats in your neighborhood.
  • Inform and educate your neighbors about feral cats and help them to get involved.
  • Participate in the Trap-Neuter-Return initiative to help prevent the problems facing feral cats.
  • Join with your local shelter in helping them care for feral cats that are brought into the facility.

Feral cats are just as worthy of healthy lives as domesticated cats. This will require the help and education of entire neighborhoods to make it possible. Use October 16th to be a voice for these cats. Then, they can live the life they were meant to; happy and healthy.

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month: Here’s What You Can Do

The entire month of October is dedicated to the shelter dogs and they deserve all the love and exposure they can get! These cute and lovable animals are in need of a home and it is important to stress adoption of shelter dogs instead of visiting a breeder if you are in search of a pet. Learn more about Adopt a Shelter Dog Month and find out what you can do to help these sweet pooches.

What is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month?

The month of October is a time when local shelters are preparing to help you adopt a new pet. Both the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the American Humane Association are working hard to get these amazing dogs into loving homes.

For those who’ve already rescued shelter dogs, you know that this process is extremely fulfilling. Instead of shopping for a pet at the store, taking the time to rescue a needy animal can bring a more rewarding experience for you and the dog.

Here’s How to Get Involved

If you are ready to use the month of October to make a difference, here are some steps you can take:

  • Contact your local shelter and see if they are offering discounts for adoption this month.
  • If you already have a pet, encourage your loved ones to adopt if they are searching for a pet.
  • Educate neighbors and community members about the importance of adopting instead of “buying” a dog.
  • Donate food to your local animal shelter to help feed the dogs they have up for adoption.
  • Promote the local spay and neuter programs to help reduce the populations in the shelter.
  • Volunteer at the local shelter to walk dogs or clean cages. They will be very grateful for another set of hands.

Even if you already have adopted a dog from the local shelter, maybe it could be time to potentially add a second dog to your household! If your home is a good fit for another pet, consider adopting to give yet another dog the life they deserve. Take this month to remind everyone you meet what the month of October means for these homeless dogs.

Helping to find these animals some loving homes will lift your spirits. These shelter dogs need attention and care; be the one who gives them a home full of love. Help adopt, educate or donate today!

Taking your Pet on a Walk? Watch Out For Wild Animals

Taking your dog for a walk is a fantastic way to get your exercise and enjoy the world around you. During your time outside, it is possible that you could encounter a wild animal that could make your journey dangerous. Sometimes these events are unexpected, while other times you might notice warning signs, such as rustling or noises in the distance. Either way, any chance encounter with a wild animal can be scary and frightening to you and your pet.

There are steps you can take to minimize the chances of endangering yourself and your pet. Consider putting bells on your pet’s collar and plan to make plenty of noise during your walk. This will help to keep the wild animals away. Another option is to carry some protection in the form of a weapon or repellent. Depending what form of creature you encounter, you and your dog could be in danger. To find out more about how to handle individual situations, be sure to check out this post from Dog Time.

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