What You Need To Know About Pet Poisons

pet poisonsNo pet owner wants to hurt their furry friend, but sometimes it is inevitable. Accidental poisonings can be prevented with simple switches in your home. One of the easiest ways to prevent an accidental poisoning is to watch what you plant in and around your house. While plants provide clean air for you home, they can also be really dangerous for pets based on what types of plants they are. Plants that aren’t toxic to humans like the hibiscus, those in the Easter lily family, mistletoe, and Dieffenbachia can cause medical problems in pets. Issues such as renal failure, irregular heartbeats, cardiac shock, or even death. Other examples of toxic plants include azalea, oleander, castor bean, sago palm, rhododendron, and Japanese yew. If you have these plants and cannot stand to give them up, put them up high in an unreachable location where your animal cannot chew or dig them up

Your cat may love to snack on some grass outside, but this grass can be loaded up with deadly fertilizers and pesticides. Instead, you could make an indoor mini lawn for your cat. Mini lawns provide a safe, edible source of greenery. Special feline gardens are available commercially or you can start your own kitty garden using a bowl, soil, and grass seed. You could also grow catnip for you cat, but make sure to monitor how much your cat chews. While catnip is not generally toxic for cats, too much of the plant can overstimulate your cat’s central nervous system and cause a cat to injure themselves.

If you find that your pet was chewing on a plant, immediately remove the plant from their mouth and rinse their mouth gently with water. Identify which plant your pet was eating and call the poison center or your veterinarian. Be sure to watch for excessive or foamy salivation and changes in the skin around the mouth, eyes, or paws.

Another common cause of accidental poisonings is giving your pet something intended for a human. This could include people food, chemicals, or even medications. People often make the mistake of thinking that people food is ok for pets. Sometimes it is and sometimes it is not. Be sure to avoid milk, bones, chocolate, onions, rich and fatty foods, grapes, raisins, coffee, nicotine, and alcoholic beverages.

Like a child, one should poison-proof their house. Be sure to keep the cleaning products in a high, closed cabinet. There should be nothing below counter level because liquid drain cleaners, as well as tub and tile cleaners, can be lethal. Be sure to take precautions in the garage as well. Insecticides and auto care liquids need to be store high off of the ground to keep your pets from getting into them. Accidental chemical poisonings can even be made in giving medication. Avoid this by reading the label. For example, be sure to read the labels of flea control for your pets because the chemicals in dog flea agents are lethal for cats. Be sure to read the label directions and amounts carefully.

Some pet owners think that human medication will work for pets. This is incorrect. Never give your pet a human medication without consulting with your veterinarian. Even something as simple as aspirin can be lethal to your pet. Products such as acetaminophen and any aspirin product can cause stomach bleeding. Products like birth control and vitamins can also cause internal bleeding.

Cats tend to be attracted to unusual flavors. Be sure to keep things like the calamine lotion, diaper cream, sunblock, etc. away. These products contain an acid related to aspirin in them and will be toxic if ingested. Overall, small actions you take can help prevent the poisonings of your pets and keep them health. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Dr. Olsen at Olsen Veterinary Clinic at 618-656-5868.

Tips To Make It A Good Year For You And Your Pet

Tips To Make It A Good Year For You And Your PetThe beginning of a year is a time for resolutions for most. People reflect on the past and think about what they can do differently in the upcoming year. This year, why don’t you include your pet in your resolutions?

To improve your dog’s life this year, why don’t you increase the amount of exercise they are getting? Dogs love activity, shown by the crazy reaction when a walk is mentioned. Take your dog on an extra-long walk, a run, or an extra outing. You could also look for a place where your dog can enjoy some activity off of their leash at a dog park! Mental exercise is just as important. Give your dog more mind-engaging activities with enrichment puzzles, new toys, visiting new places, and learning new skills and tricks. The easiest thing that could be done, however, is to spend more time completely focused on them. Dogs value this time, and it is especially important in multi-dog households. Improving your dog’s quality of life is a gift that keeps on giving: the more wonderful we make life for our dogs, the more ways they enhance our own.

To improve your cat’s life this year, there are simple things that can be done! To start, it is important to set up a balanced meal plan with clean drinking water. This includes not giving your cat too many treats. Similarly, be sure to visit your vet regularly and make sure that their vaccinations are up to date. While you are there, ask your vet to check their teeth. A cat’s teeth say a lot about their general health. Tartar, gingivitis, and plaque all contribute to bacterial growth and seeding to the rest of the body which can lead to further health issues. A resolution that involves you and your cat, you could help keep your pet’s teeth clean by brushing them with a toothpaste that is specifically formulated for cats. One could also provide toys for your cat. Toys are not just for fun. They provide exercise and prevent boredom. You can keep your cat entertained with toys, treats, interaction, trees, climbing, and excitement.

This new year, don’t forget to include your pet in your resolutions. There are many things you can do to help improve your pets’ quality of life while bettering yours too! As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact Dr. Olsen at 618-656-5868.

The 4 Best Gifts for Your Dog, Dog Owners, and Dog Lovers

pet gift guideAs the holidays approach rapidly, that means it is time for gift giving! It can be easy to forget your pup in the chaos of the holidays, but here are 4 ideas so your pup doesn’t get forgotten.

A Matching Bandanna and Mask Set

This ensures that you and your pup hit the town in style and safely! There are many options available online at places such as Etsy that allow you to support small businesses and get a handmade gift for your favorite dog or dog owner. Here are some of my favorites:

Holiday Matching Mask and Dog Bandanna Set, Red and Black Flannel Mask, Bandanna, and Scrunchie Set, and Happy Snowman Bandanna and Face Mask Set

A Treat Toy

Intended to mimic the experience of hunting prey, these types of toys wobble around while your dog paws at it. It rocks back and forth, and your pup will be obsessed with the magic dispenser that they can’t predict or conquer. Here is an example: The Game Dog Toy. Other options for similar products are Snuffle Mats. They allow dogs to find dry food or treats that you’ve hidden. It is a stimulating activity that dogs love. It also serves as a way to extend food and playtime for your pup every day. This Snuffle Mat has great reviews, is easy to fill, and machine washable.PAW5 Wooly Snuffle Mat

Barkbox Subscription

This company ships out a box either once a month or every three, six, or twelve months that give your dog themed and customized treats and toys! My dog at home LOVES the treats and toys that come to our door and it makes Barkbox day her favorite day of the month! Completely customizable with great customer service, Barkbox is a gift that every dog will appreciate. Get one here: Barkbox Subscription

A New Leash and Collar Set

Every dog and dog owner appreciates a new leash and collar that gets worn and used daily. They also allow the owner and dog to express themselves to every other pet and human! You can get fun colored ones like this or even customized ones like this! Also important are holders for their leashes! Here is a cool handmade one!

How Do I Know It’s Time To Euthanize My Pet?

Time To Euthanize My PetSome pets die of old age in the comfort of their own home, but many others become seriously ill or get injured in a way or experience that significantly diminishes their quality of life as they grow very old. In these situations, owners are often forced to consider the hard choice of whether to have your pet euthanized in order to spare your pet from pain and suffering.

To know when it is time, it is important to talk with your veterinarian. They are the best-qualified person to help guide you through this difficult process. In some cases, your veterinarian may be able to tell you definitively that it is time to euthanize your pet, but in other cases, you may ultimately need to make the decision based on your observances of your pet’s behavior and attitude.

Some signs that your pet is suffering and no longer enjoying a good quality of life include chronic pain being experienced that cannot be controlled with medication, frequent vomiting or diarrhea that is causing dehydration and/or weight loss, they stop eating, incontinence, lost interest in favorite activities, cannot stand on their own, and/or chronic labored breathing. It is a very difficult decision, but one must consider your pet’s quality of life.

Once you have made the very difficult decision, you also need to decide how and where you and your family will say the final goodbye. Before the procedure is scheduled to take place, make sure that all members of your family have had time with the pet to say a private goodbye. If you have children, make sure that you explain the decision to them and prepare them for the loss of the pet in advance. This may be your child’s first experience with death, and it is very important for you to help her or him through the grieving process. Books that address the subject, such as When a Pet Dies by Fred Rogers or Remembering My Pet by Machama Liss-Levinson and Molly Phinney Baskette, may be very beneficial in helping your child to deal with this loss. It is an individual decision whether or not you and your family want to be present during the euthanasia procedure. For some pet owners, the emotion may be too overwhelming, but for many, it is a comfort to be with their pet during the final moments. It may be inappropriate for young children to witness the procedure since they are not yet able to understand death and may also not understand that they need to remain still and quiet.

Deciding when it is time to say goodbye to your pet is never easy. Owners are put into the difficult decision of deciding when it is their time. While it is never easy, the staff at Olsen Veterinary Clinic are always here to answer whatever questions you may have. Feel free to reach out at 618-656-5868 with any questions or concerns you may have!

What You Need To Know About Canine Flu Season

canine influenza

Canine influenza is a highly contagious viral infection that affects dogs and cats. Influenza viruses are able to quickly change and give rise to new strains that can infect different species. Of the two strains identified in the US, both of them can be traced to influenza strains known to infect species other than dogs. At some point, these viruses acquired the ability to infect dogs and be transmitted from dog to dog. Virtually all dogs exposed to canine influenza become infected, with approximately 80% developing clinical signs of disease. The other 20% of infected dogs that do not exhibit clinical signs of the disease can still shed the virus and spread the infection.

Canine influenza is transmitted through droplets or aerosols containing respiratory secretions from coughing, barking, and sneezing. Dogs in close contact with infected dogs in places like kennels, groomers, day care facilities, and shelters are at an increased risk of infection. Canine influenza can be spread indirectly through objects like kennels, food and water bowls, collars, and leashes or people who have been in contact with an infected dog to avoid exposing other dogs to the virus. Due to this, people in contact with an infected dog should wash their hands and clean their clothing to avoid spreading the virus. The virus can stay alive and able to infect on surfaces for up to 48 hours, on clothing for 24 hours, and on hands for 12 hours. It is important to implement cleaning and disinfection procedures to reduce the risk of disease transmission.

The majority of infected dogs exhibit the mild form of canine influenza. The most common clinical sign is a cough that persists for 10-21 days despite treatment with antibiotics and cough suppressants. Affected dogs may have a soft, moist cough, or a dry cough similar to that induced by kennel cough. Nasal and/or ocular discharge, sneezing, lethargy, and anorexia may also be observed. Many dogs developed a purulent nasal discharge and fever. Some dogs are more severely affected and exhibit clinical signs of pneumonia, such as a high-grade fever and increased respiratory rate and effort.

Canine influenza cannot be diagnosed solely by clinical symptoms like coughing, sneezing, and nasal discharge because these signs also present with other canine respiratory illnesses. Tests must be done to properly identify strains of canine influenza virus. Contact Dr. Olsen to set up a test if you think that your dog may be infected.

Treatment for canine influenza is largely supportive. Good nutrition helps dogs mount an effective immune response. Most dogs recover from canine influenza within two to three weeks. Secondary bacterial infections, pneumonia, dehydration, or other health factors may require additional diagnostics and treatments.

While canine influenza is a serious threat, vaccines are available against both strands of canine influenza found in the US. Vaccination can reduce the risk of a dog contracting canine influenza and while it may not all together prevent an infection; it may reduce the severity and duration of illness. As always, feel free to contact Dr. Olsen at 618-656-5868 with any questions or to set up an appointment!

Dr. Olsen’s Breed Spotlight: The Himalayan Cat

Himalayan CatHave you ever seen a cat that looks like a mixture between a Persian cat and a Siamese cat? Well it might have just been a Himalayan cat! The Himalayan cat is a hybrid breed identical to the Persian, but Himalayans are distinguished by the points on the cats’ extremities including the facial mask, feet, ears and tail. This results in a Persian-type cat with the coloring and deep blue eyes of the Siamese-patterned cat. These cats are semi-playful but love to lay around and do nothing. They are typically extremely friendly to other pets and children but require a lot of grooming attention. The breed itself is not very vocal but they have an intense need for attention. All of this is not for nothing as Himalayans are extremely affectionate to their owners.

Having a firm, well-rounded midsection, they are medium to large in size. Their head is round, broad, and smooth domed. Their jaws are broad and powerful which accompanies a short, snub nose. Their ears are small and round set widely apart on the head. Himalayan’s coats are long all of the body with a dense undercoat. Perhaps the most striking attribute of the Himalayans are their large, round, and deep blue eyes. It gives their face a sweet expression.

Himalayans are wonderful indoor cat companions. They are gentle, calm, and sweet-tempered. Like Siamese cats, Himalayans love to play fetch with a piece of crumbled paper or a cat toy. They will be entertained for hours, or at least until their next nap. Himalayans are devoted and dependent upon their humans for companionship and protection. They crave attention and affection. Like their Persian siblings, they are docile and won’t harass you for attention the way that some breeds will. They possess the same activity level as the Persian but lack the vocality of a Siamese.

The Himalayan cat is an extremely beautiful cat that makes for a good family pet. While they are striking, it is important to make sure before adopting that you are able to give them the care that they need due to their intense grooming requirements. If you think you are able to give them the attention that they need (and want), then you just may be the right person to adopt a Himalayan cat that needs a home. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Dr. Olsen at 618-656-5868.

Tips For Traveling With Your Pet This Summer

traveling with your petTraveling is an exciting yet stressful time for humans. Bringing your pet along usually adds to the stress level because it brings along extra preparation and attention to detail. Driving and flying each have their own challenges, but with the right advice, traveling with your pet can be a breeze. No matter where you are going or how you get there, it is important to have your pet wearing a collar and tag with your name, phone number, and any other contact information including emergency numbers.

Unless your pet is small enough to ride with you in the cabin of a plane, air travel is extremely stressful but sometimes unavoidable. When flying by plane, it is best to book a direct flight whenever possible. This will decrease the chances that your pet is left on the tarmac during extreme weather conditions or mishandled by baggage personnel during a layover. Also, make sure that your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date and that their overall health is good dated within ten days of your departure. At your appointment, you can also discuss sedation methods if you suspect that they may become anxious. One of the most important aspects of airline travel with your pet is the crate. The crate should be large enough for your pet to stand, sit, and turn around in comfortably. It should be USDA-approved and lined with shredded newspaper or towels to absorb accidents. Prior to your trip, tape a pouch of food to the outside of the crate so airline personnel will be able to feed your pet in case they get hungry while traveling. The night before you leave, freeze a small dish of water that will be melted by the time they may be thirsty. Make sure that the crate door is securely closed, but not locked, so that airline personal can open it in case of an emergency. Make sure that the crate is marked “Live Animal” as well as your name, cell phone number, emergency phone number, and a photo of your pet. In case your pet escapes, the photo can be a lifesaving measure.

When driving, traveling with pets involve a lot more than just loading the animal in the back seat. It is important to get your pets used to a long trip by taking them on short trips and slowly lengthening the time spent in the car. Keep your pets in a well-ventilated crate or carrier. The crate should be large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. Be sure to secure your pet’s crate so that it does not slide in the event of a sudden stop. If you don’t use a crate, be sure to keep your pet in a harness attached to a seat buckle. Be sure to bring a pet-friendly travel kit with food, bowls, leashes, poop bags, medication, and any travel documents. Be sure to bring a favorite toy or pillow to give your pet a sense of familiarity. Be sure to pack plenty of water and avoid feeding your pet in a moving vehicle. Your pet’s travel feeding schedule should start with a light meal three to four hours before departure. Perhaps most importantly, you should never leave your animal alone in a parked vehicle. In hot weather, the car turns into a furnace causing a risk of heatstroke. In cold weather, the car turns into a refrigerator holding in the cold which could lead to freezing to death.

However, you choose to travel with your pet, it is important to do it safely. By following these tips, both your stress and your pets’ stress can be reduced greatly making travel day a lot easier for both of you. If you have more questions about this or anything else regarding your pet, contact our office today!

Tips For Dealing With Your Long-Haired Dog This Summer

long-haired dogWhen it comes to dogs, it’s no surprise that long-haired dogs are extremely gorgeous. Unfortunately with all of the beauty and fluff that they possess, long-haired dogs come with a bit more work when it comes to grooming them. In order to groom long-haired dogs, regular bathing is a necessity. On average, you should be bathing and grooming your dog once a month with two months being the absolute longest you go in between washes. Some dogs can be groomed every other week so long as you are using a dog shampoo that is gentle. Be wary of over bathing your dog as washing too frequently can result in dry skin. 

When bathing a long-haired dog, matts are a very real issue and requires plenty of patience when bathing. Be sure to use lots of pet shampoo and work from the head down. Starting at the head and then working down from the back will allow you to lather the entire coat evenly and prevent you from having to go back to any missed areas. After you scrub the back and torso, move on to spot clean areas like the belly, chest, legs, and tails. Rinse from head to toe, and then let your dog shake off all of the excess water. Especially with long-haired breeds, it is important to let your dog shake dry as it makes the drying process a lot more manageable. Air drying is the best method for your dog’s skin even though it takes the longest and it might leave your dog with a bit of a “wet dog” smell. Blow drying might lead to skin irritation. Towel drying is the happy medium wherein you can dry your dog 90% of the way and let them air dry the last 10%. Even if you air dry, remember to wipe the ears and paws at these sensitive areas to avoid bacteria grown. 

After bathing, brushing should be done immediately to remove any excess dog hair that has come off during the bath. While brushing should be a daily part of your dog’s grooming routine with a long-haired dog, it is especially important in the first few days after a bath. Bathing stimulates the skin and promotes new hair growth. As a result, your dog will shed the most right after a rinse. It is crucial to help the regenerative process of hair growth by eradicating all of the hair your dog is trying to rid itself of. 

Some may choose to clip their dogs coat after cleaning. If you are trying to go for a certain cut, decide on the shape you are trying to achieve and then clip small amounts at a time to ensure you don’t take too much away. Clipping is one of the most challenging and potentially scary parts of grooming a long-haired dog. Because of this, there is no shame in reaching out for professional assistance. At Olsen Veterinary Clinic, we have an in-house groomer! Contact Karen with Prancing Paws Grooming at 618-910-7581 with any questions or to schedule a grooming appointment!

One of the most integral parts of grooming is cleaning your dog’s ears. Dog’s ears are one of the most sensitive areas but also one of the most susceptible areas to nasty things like yeast infections or mites. After bathing, take time to clean the inside of your dog’s ears with cotton or a similar material that has been lightly covered in witch hazel. Be vigorous in cleaning your dog’s ears without being rough or obtrusive. It is essential to clean all of the flaps and folds inside the ear but be careful to avoid entering the ear canal.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact Olsen Veterinary Clinic at 618-656-5868.

Dr. Olsen’s Breed Spotlight: The Peruvian Inca Orchid


peruvian inca orchidThe Peruvian Inca Orchid is not a flower, but a hairless sighthound that developed in Peru. The breed can be hairless or coated and can be found in a range of sizes. These dogs are good hunters and do well in agility. In the hairless variety, the skin can be of any color. The coated variety features all colors as well including black, brown, pink, tan, and white. On a sunny day, Peruvian Inca Orchids require sunscreen because of their exposed skin.

The ancient history of the Peruvian Inca Orchid can be told through pottery and textiles. The breed first appeared in Moche pottery in 750 AD. The Chancay people used the dogs as companions, and certain pottery even depicts them in sweaters. The Chimu considered them good luck and used the dogs’ warmth for the treatment of arthritis and respiratory conditions.

The original hairless dogs were small companion animals, but when Peru was conquered by the Conquistadors, the small dogs were interbred with the dogs of the foreigners and over the years, three distinct sizes developed. In the mountainous regions, the Andean people protected the dogs, but the breed did not fare well in the cities along the coast. There, the hairless dogs were considered diseased and were often exterminated.

In 1966, an American, Jack Walklin, visited Peru and brought eight dogs back to the US. He is believed to be the one to have named the breed the Peruvian Inca Orchid and the breed was established under that name in the US and Europe. In 2001, Peru declared the breed a National Patrimony and the dogs are now protected in Peru.

Peruvian Inca Orchids come in a range of sizes with the smallest standing just short of 10” and the largest topping out at 26”. The distinguishing feature of a Peruvian Inca Orchid is their hairlessness. Their skin can be a solid color or spotted with unpigmented areas. Peruvian Inca Orchids that are coated are in the minority and can occur in the same litter with hairless Peruvian Inca Orchids.

Peruvian Inca Orchids are slim dogs who are very noble and affectionate to those close to them. At the same time, Peruvian Inca Orchids are lively, alert, and can be wary of strangers. Peruvian Inca Orchids make good watch dogs. Peruvian Inca Orchids are loyal and protective of their family but like all dogs should be supervised around children. If you have small pets, the Peruvian Inca Orchid might not be the dog for you as Peruvian Inca Orchids might mistake your small pet as prey.

Dry Drowning: What Is It And How Do I Prevent It For My Dog


dry drowningEveryone knows of drowning when a person or a pet is submerged in water and can’t get oxygen. Have you heard of dry drowning? Dry drowning occurs when water is aspirated into the lungs or other parts of the airway. If the water doesn’t make it to the lungs, the vocal cords can begin to spasm making breathing difficult. If water does make its way to the lungs, serious complications and even death may occur. The latter condition is referred to “secondary drowning”, but it’s usually also referred to as dry drowning. Dry drowning is a scary thing as it can ‘happen’ HOURS after exposure to water. It’s something that affects all animals with exposure to water, from humans to dogs.

How does dry drowning happen? It can be brought on by a dramatic water event or just a typical bath. A dog whose head goes under the bathwater is just as susceptible as a dog who actively jumps into the pool. In a lot of cases, dry drowning doesn’t look like much at all as the condition starts to shape.

Dry drowning is caused by swallowing water. That’s it! For a moment, consider how large your dog’s mouth is and imagine what it feels like when you go underwater unprepared. The natural instinct is to gasp for air, and it is unavoidable. If your dog has the same instinct, your dog could swallow a lot of water in just one gulp.

If water has gotten into your dog’s lungs, it could take hours or in some cases even days for signs to show. The most common symptoms include coughing or hacking, signs of chest pain, difficulty breathing or wheezing, and extreme lethargy. If you suspect your dog may be suffering from dry drowning, take your dog to the vet immediately. Even if your dog doesn’t seem to be in duress, it’s best to have your dog checked out just to be sure.

It’s important to note that dry drowning can happen as a result of swallowing sand as well. A dog who respirates a lot of sand can suffer the same ill effects of secondary water drowning and should be checked out by a vet.

To protect your dog from dry drowning, be sure to monitory your dog closely around water. Even if your dog is a prolific swimmer, you want to keep an eye on your dog to make sure that a swallowing episode doesn’t occur. It only takes one swallow to dry drown. If your dog is around water frequently, invest in a fitted life jacket to ensure that your dog’s head stays above water as much as possible. HERE is an article from the American Kennel Club listing multiple safe options. Even though most dogs can doggie paddle, their arms get tired just like ours do. Lastly, always take “near” drowning seriously. Even though dogs have a natural swim instinct, if you ever have to “rescue” your dog from the water you should watch her closely for several days afterwards to look for signs of secondary drowning.

As always, if you have any questions or wish to make an appointment, contact Dr. Olsen at Olsen Veterinary Clinic or call us at 618-656-5868.