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.

October is National Pet Wellness Month

Though it may seem like only yesterday that your pet was a playful puppy or curious kitten, pets age more rapidly than humans. At age 2, most pets are considered adults, and by the age 7, pets have entered their senior years. As pets grow older, it becomes increasingly important to spot health problems before they become serious. In order to raise awareness of the pet aging process and promote twice-a-year wellness exams, the American Veterinary Medical Association and Fort Dodge Animal Health has named October "National Pet Wellness Month."

National Pet Wellness Month.

Regular wellness exams are a key part of keeping pets healthy and happy. While annual exams are a good start to keeping your pet healthy, more frequent exams are better. Twice-a-year wellness exams are a way for your veterinarian to detect, treat and, most importantly, prevent problems before they become life-threatening. These exams are also an excellent time for you to ask your vet questions about nutrition, behavior, dental health and other issues. Click here to calculate your pet's age.

Much like humans, as pets age, the risks of cancer, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, heart disease and other conditions increase. Many of these conditions are treatable if diagnosed in time, making twice-yearly wellness exams extremely important. For adult cats and dogs (ages 1-6 years), wellness exams include immunizations, parasite and heartworm checks, dental exams, urinalysis and blood and chemistry profiles. For senior pets, these exams also include osteoarthritis exams, thyroid checks and other tests. Your veterinarian may recommend additional tests depending on your pet's health history.

Contact your veterinarian today to schedule a wellness exam for your pet.

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.

7 Reasons Why Dogs Bark

We’ve identified seven general reasons for barking. Each generates a different kind of bark with a unique sound.

1. Barking to induce play—Dogs will stop barking as the play proceeds. If you do not play with the dog, he or she will eventually give up and stop barking.

2. Barking to discipline young—This bark generally does not persist, as one or two warnings usually stops younger animals in their tracks.

3. Barking to warn off danger—This is a deep, repeated bark. The barking will generally persist until the source of danger is removed or until the dog is able to retreat to a position of safety.

4. Barking to threaten intruders—To stop such a bark, you must either remove the intruder or remove the dog from the situation. Sometimes, stepping to the dog’s side and assuring it that all is well will help reduce their fear of danger and stop the barking.

5. Curiosity barking—In general, this bark is displayed when there is some activity near a dog, but in such a place where the animal cannot have a good look. To stop the barking, all you have to do is let the dog see what it is curious about.

6. Barking for companionship—This is an incessant, repetitive bark, accompanied by a relatively motionless tail and concentration toward the area most associated with the dog’s owners. The solution to this type of bark is to spend more time with the dog. This bark is often displayed by dogs who are ignored, tied out alone or locked up alone.

7. Barking for reward—Dogs can be inadvertently trained to bark and will persist with remarkable determination. Barking can become associated with almost any activity that leads to reward. For instance, a dog that barks at garbage trucks because they intrude within its territory will learn that persistent barking leads to the disappearance of the trucks. This rewards the barking behavior and thus a cycle is begun that is difficult to break. To stop this behavior, it is necessary to interrupt the natural system of reward.

National Veterinary Technician Week begins October 13, 2019

Though you may not always see them when you visit your veterinarian's office, veterinary technicians are the backbone of every veterinary hospital. Technicians are there for your pet throughout his or her hospital visit and do everything from conducting laboratory tests to comforting your pet during procedures. To recognize the integral role veterinary technicians play in delivering veterinary medical care, October 13-19, 2019 has been designated as National Veterinary Technician Week.


National Veterinary Technician Week - October 11-17


The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America has sponsored National Veterinary Technician Week during the third week of October since 1993. The week is a chance to focus on the hard work, care and compassion that veterinary technicians across the country devote to animals and emphasize the team aspect of veterinary health care. In fact, this year's theme is "Veterinary Nursing in Action."

Veterinary technicians must undergo extensive training in order to stay on top of the latest advances in veterinary medicine and animal care. Credentialed veterinary technicians (technicians who are certified, registered or licensed by their state) must complete a college accredited veterinary technician program consisting of courses in anatomy, physiology, medical and surgical technology, anesthesia, pharmacology, microbiology, parasitology, radiology and practice management. After successfully completing the required courses, they must pass a state certification examination. Each year licensed veterinary technicians need to fulfill a set number of continuing education credits in order to maintain their certification.

What do veterinary technicians do for your pet? They draw blood, perform microscopic analysis, check your pet for internal parasites, monitor your pet during surgery, perform dental cleanings, administer medication and most importantly, ensure your pet's safety and comfort. Veterinary technicians are with your pet through every step of the hospital visit, from the initial check-in to the time he or she is discharged from the hospital.

There is no "typical" day for a veterinary technician. Some days may involve performing laboratory procedures and administering vaccinations, while other days might include taking x-rays and educating clients about veterinary care. In some veterinary hospitals, veterinary technicians help provide around-the-clock nursing care. So the next time you see the team of veterinary technicians at your veterinarian's office, be sure to let them know that you and your pet appreciate all their hard work, dedication, and compassion.

How to Celebrate a Safe Halloween with Your Pets

When witches, princesses and superheroes take to the streets in search of treats this Halloween, they'll have some furry friends by their side. According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, total spending for Halloween is expected to reach $8.4 billion this year, an all-time high since the survey began 11 years. With nearly 171 million Americans celebrating Halloween, it's estimated 16 percent of households will not only pick out costumes for themselves, but for their pets as well. Superheroes and mermaids are the top choices for pet costumes, with bees, sharks and Stars Wars-themed garb rounding out the list.

If you plan on letting your pet don a devilish disguise, there are a few safety tips to keep in mind. First, make sure your pet wants to wear a costume. While some animals may not mind being outfitted with a pumpkin suit, others may experience extreme discomfort and stress while in costume. Try putting the costume on your pet in advance of the big night to make sure he or she is comfortable with the idea. And while your pet is out trick-or-treating, don't forget about the pets that may be coming to your house - keep a few dog treats by the door to hand out to any four-legged companions accompanying trick-or-treaters.

Whether your pet is dressed like a spider or a dinosaur, make sure the costume allows for easy movement and is not restrictive or confining. However, also be on guard for costumes that drag on the ground. These costumes can get caught in doors or snag on other objects. If your pet's costume includes a mask, modify the eye holes so they are big enough to accommodate your pet's peripheral vision. A pet that can't see may experience increased stress and could become aggressive as a result.


Halloween Pet Celebrations

When the trick-or-treating is over and the treats are ready to be had, be sure to keep chocolate away from your dog. Any amount of chocolate is harmful to your pet, so keep the treats out of their paws, no matter how much they beg. Those cellophane and foil wrappers left behind after the treats are gone are also a potential health hazard for your pet. The wrappers can be caught in your pet's digestive track and cause illness, severe discomfort and even death if the problem is left untreated.

Additional pet safety tips to keep in mind this Halloween:

• Jack o'lanterns and lit candles may look spooky, but they can pose problems for your pet. Rambunctious pets can knock lit pumpkins over and start fires, and wagging tails can easily get burned by open flames. Keep lit pumpkins and candles up on a high shelf to avoid accidents.

• If you're hosting a Halloween party, keep your pet in a separate room, away from all the hustle and bustle. Too many strangers in odd costumes may cause your pet stress. This will also prevent your pet from sneaking out through an open door and darting out into the night.

• Keep your pet indoors during the days and nights around Halloween. Pranksters and vandals have teased, injured, stolen and, in rare cases, killed pets on Halloween. Keeping your pet inside will keep them from becoming a target.

• With all the Halloween festivities, it's a great idea to make sure your pet has proper identification if they escape from your house or become lost while out trick-or-treating.


Halloween can be a fun time for you and your pet. Following the above safety tips will make sure the only scares you experience are all in good fun.

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