Saturday, March 16, 2013


Hello Everyone!

I'm thinking of new ideas for my next post...but I wanted to ask you guys, the readers, if you have any questions/topics you would like me to discuss?

Please feel free to comment below or e-mail me with suggestions/questions!!

Until next time!

Rachel, LVT

"The Visiting Vet Tech" TM

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pets As Holiday Presents.....

This is an issue that I don't think is brought up enough in the pet world during the holiday season.

As the holidays are fast approaching, I feel that this is a topic that needs to be addressed.

Puppies, kittens, guinea pigs, hamsters, and so many more lovable creatures are asked for by family members and friends as presents for the holidays.


Deciding to take on a pet is a HUGE responsibility. This is a LIVING CREATURE and not something that is easily returned if it is not liked and/or taken care of. Or if the person gets bored of the initial thrill of the new "toy". They require YEARS of commitment to the potential owner. They are not the type of present to "surprise" on ANYBODY.

This decision must be discussed with the potential owner, child or adult, and made sure that they understand this is a huge commitment of time and effort.

They are the most REWARDING gifts if gone about in the right, responsible way.

At any point in time, when deciding to get a pet for you or your family- research must be done on the type of pet, what it needs in regards to exercise/grooming/feeding schedules/special needs for exotics, etc. Whether it's a turtle or a Great Dane, each living creature has it's own specific needs. Please make sure you do research before getting one. You should make sure that the pet's needs fit in with the type of lifestyle that you and your family live.

With that said... Happy Holidays Everybody!!

Rachel, LVT

"The Visiting Vet Tech"TM

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Halloween Dangers!!

This next blog was taken straight from The Pet Poison Hotline's webpage ( I wanted to share it because it brought up many important dangers that your pet may encounter this Halloween. So enjoy the holiday but please be careful with your pets!!!



The Most Prevalent Toxic Substances

A record-setting 70 percent of Americans celebrated Halloween in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Unfortunately, it was also a very busy time at Pet Poison Helpline. During the week surrounding Halloween in 2011, call volumes increased by 21 percent, making it one of the call center’s busiest weeks on record. Pet Poison Helpline is a 24-hour animal poison control service that assists pet owners, veterinarians and veterinary technicians who are treating potentially poisoned pets.
“Every year during the week of Halloween our call center gets busy, but never at the levels we experienced in 2011,” said Ahna Brutlag, DVM, assistant director at Pet Poison Helpline. “Many of the cases we handled were for dogs that ingested Halloween candy – the most common denominator being chocolate. By being cognizant of potential hazards, pet owners can help reduce the likelihood of pet poisonings this Halloween.”
The most common Halloween hazards for pets are chocolate, candy overindulgence, raisins, candy wrappers, glow sticks and jewelry and candles.


ChocolateOf all candies, chocolate poses the biggest Halloween “threat” to dogs. Many dogs are attracted to the smell of chocolate, making it a significant threat for massive ingestion. The darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more poisonous it is. Methylxanthines are the chemicals in chocolate that are dangerous to pets, and they are more concentrated in darker chocolates. A single ounce of Baker’s chocolate can make a 50-pound dog very sick. Milk chocolate and white chocolate are less dangerous, but should still be kept out of the reach of pets.  If you think your dog may have ingested chocolate, signs to watch for include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy,  agitation, increased thirst, an elevated heart rate, and in severe cases, seizures.

Candy and sweets overindulgence

Candy and other sweet foods – especially those containing poisonous xylitol – can also be poisonous to pets. Large ingestions of sugary, high-fat candy and sweets can lead to pancreatitis in pets. Potentially fatal, pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas and very painful. Pet owners should be aware that clinical signs of pancreatitis may not present for several days after ingestion. Signs include a decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, and potentially, kidney or organ damage.


RaisinsMini-boxes of raisins can be a healthy treat for trick-or-treaters, but they are extremely poisonous to dogs! Raisins are so dangerous that they deserve the same pet-proofing treatment as chocolate – stored in secure containers far from their reach. Dogs can experience kidney failure after ingesting very small amounts of raisins (including similar products with grapes and currants too). For this reason, any ingestion should be treated as a potential poisoning. Signs of raisin or grape poisoning include vomiting, nausea, decreased appetite, lethargy, abdominal pain, excessive or decreased thirst and urination, bad breath, and rapid onset kidney failure.

Candy wrappers

When pets get into candy, they can eat the wrappers too. Ingestion of foil and cellophane wrappers can sometimes cause a life-threatening bowel obstruction, which may require surgery to correct. Watch for vomiting, decreased appetite, not defecating, straining to defecate, or lethargy. X-rays or even ultrasound may be necessary to diagnose this problem.

Glow sticks and glow jewelry

Due to their curious nature, cats often accidentally ingest glow sticks and jewelry because they are bright and fun to chew. While not usually life-threatening, the contents can cause mouth pain and irritation, as well as profuse drooling and foaming. If your cat chews on glow jewelry, offer a tasty snack to help remove the product from the mouth. Bathing the chemical off the fur is important too, as grooming can contribute to further poisoning.


If you put a costume on your pet, make sure it doesn’t impair his vision, movement or air intake. If it has metallic beads, snaps or other small pieces, be aware that these pieces, especially those that contain zinc and lead, can result in serious poisoning if ingested. Also, before thinking about dying or coloring your pet’s fur, consult with your veterinarian, as some products can be very harmful to pets, even if it’s labeled non-toxic to humans.


Curious noses and wagging tails have a way of finding lit candles. Keep candles out of your pet’s reach to prevent accidental thermal injury or burns.

End of Article.


If you think that your pet may have ingested something toxic this Halloween or any other time for that matter, PLEASE KEEP THIS NUMBER ON HAND. Of course CALL YOUR VETERINARIAN FIRST, but this is a good number to have close by just in case you are having trouble reaching your doctor.
1-800-213-6680 (They are open 24 hours, 7 days a week. Charges may apply.)

Until Next Time,

Rachel, LVT
"The Visiting Vet Tech"TM

My Jack Jack :)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Post Operative Care

There are many reasons that your pet can go "under the knife". This blog is to give you an overall understanding/"step-by-step" post surgery care for your pet for minor surgeries. (Such as spay, neuter, or mass removals)

Warning: There will be some "semi-graphic" photos posted below to demonstrate what a healing wound SHOULD NOT look like. Please be aware beforehand, however, this is something that a responsible pet owner should know to look out for.

Below are Basic Instructions for post operative care:

1. If your pet had surgery that day, first ask the veterinary nurse or doctor if your pet has been fed yet. If not, ask when is a good time to offer a small amount of food. Do NOT offer a full meal because general anesthesia can cause nausea. Offer food in small amounts for that evening. If vomiting occurs, remove food that is being offered. Always confirm with veterinarian that this is normal for the specific procedure that your pet had. Your pet may also not be hungry post surgery, this is alright. Make sure fresh clean water is always available. (Exceptions: Kittens/Puppies/Teacup dogs should be offered food as soon as possible unless otherwise specified to make sure that their blood sugar does not get too low.)

2. Keep pet in confined area away from other pets and children for a day. (ex. bathroom, kitchen, etc.) Do not place them in a room with a high place (sofa, bed, etc.) Rest and sleep are essential for healing. Jumping onto or off of a high surface can rupture the surgery site or cause internal bleeding in a worst case scenario.

3. If pain medication has been prescribed, follow the written instructions on the bottle from your veterinarian carefully. Usually this medication should be given with food unless otherwise specified. DO NOT GIVE HUMAN MEDICINE, FOR EXAMPLE ADVIL, ASPIRIN OR TYLENOL. THESE MEDICATIONS CAN BE DEADLY TO YOUR PET.

4. Incision Care: Check your pet's incision DAILY. Your pet may or may not have stitches (aka sutures) or staples to be removed 10-14 days from the time of surgery. Your veterinarian should let you know this upon discharge. If not, ask. Personally, I would always keep an Elizabethan Collar (aka E-Collar) on my pet after any surgery that he/she has the ability to lick the site at. Even if your pet is "well behaved". Once incisions start to heal, they get ITCHY. It's only natural for them to attempt to lick and/or scratch the site.
You may say "well I will watch them", however, are you always home? Even if you don't work, or work from home...five minutes is all your pet needs to do some serious damage. Or, what happens when you go to the bathroom? Take a shower? Sleep at night? You get the picture. You are not physically able to ALWAYS watch your pet. Safest bet is to leave the e-collar on for at least the first week. It takes the skin 10-14 days to completely heal back together (with no complications).

If your pet is using an e-collar, prepare for them to usually react negatively at first. It will be awkward for them, and hinder their movement. It usually takes pets 24 hours (without taking the cone off!) to get used to the collar, but then they are quite accepting of it. (You may take the collar off to walk your pet, unless told otherwise by your veterinarian.)

Normal Incision Healing:

(example: cat spay; please note yellow color is the iodine used to sterilize the patient before surgery.)

Infected Incision:

(example: cat spay; you can see the skin sides are no longer touching, also known as possibly a "dehissing" incision, it's red, swollen, and it appears to have some puss oozing out of the site)

Minor swelling/redness is normal for the first day or so. If there is still swelling/redness and/or oozing starts to occur, contact your veterinarian IMMEDIATELY.

5. Keep your pet in a calm, clean environment that is warm and dry for the next week. House your pet indoors.

6. Restrict your pet's activity. Short leash walks for dogs for the next week, and discourage running/jumping or rough play for the next 7-10 days. Crate your pet for the first few days if necessary. I know that you feel bad for them, however, you will feel even worse if they need to be re-sedated to fix their surgery site over something that could've been very easily preventable. Whether through restricted activity or an e-collar.

7. Do not wash or clean the incision. Do not put any antibiotic ointments on the incision unless specified by your veterinarian. DO NOT BATHE or get your pet WET for the next 7 days. DO NOT GET YOUR PET GROOMED until TWO WEEKS after surgery (or when ok'd by your vet).

Helpful Hint:

If your pet's incision is on their back or somewhere where an e-collar won't matter or help (for example they can't lick the incision like on the back of their neck or head, BUT THEY CAN SCRATCH IT), I find using a child's t-shirt or pet t-shirt can be extremely helpful. It acts as a barrier from scratching. Just make sure that you continue to check the incision daily and that the incision can "breathe". Make sure it's not a tight piece of clothing.

(my Jack and Lilo sporting their polos) :)

If you have any further questions please feel free to ask. That's why I'm here!

Until Next Time!

Rachel, LVT
"The Visiting Vet Tech"TM

P.S. If you have any topics that you would like me to talk about or questions that you would like me to address on here, please feel free to comment or send me an e-mail at

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Vaccine Overview For Pet Parents

Below is an overview of the most commonly used vaccines and why they are needed. Please remember that where you live and the life style of your pet plays a BIG part in what vaccines you should be giving them.

Rabies Vaccine
This vaccine is the ONLY vaccine that is mandatory, by law, throughout New York State. The Rabies virus can be transmitted through the exchange of bodily fluids of an infected animal, usually via bite wound. This virus, if contracted, is usually FATAL and spreads very quickly. The initial vaccine is given to a pet 6 months of age or older and lasts one year. Rabies booster vaccines after that first year then need to be boostered every THREE years.

Distemper/Adeno Virus Type 2/Canine Parvovirus/Parainfluenza (DA2PP) Vaccine
This vaccine protects your pet against four different types of viruses. All four can be fatal, yet are easily preventable with this one simple vaccine.
 Symptoms of Distemper/Adeno Virus Type 2 are as follows; gooey occular and nasal discharge, fever (which often comes and goes unnoticed), poor appetite, coughing and possible development of pneumonia. As the virus progresses, it affects the gastrointestinal tract, causing vomiting and diarrhea, and then leads to neurological symptoms, such as seizures and tremors.
Symptoms of Parvovirus - Currently, it is primarily a cause of severe illness and death for puppies and adolescent dogs and fortunately, vaccinations an effective route of prevention (if performed on the proper schedule)
Symptoms of Parainfluenza - Severe upper respiratory infections that usually leads to pneumonia and possibly death if not treated.

Bordetella Vaccine
This vaccine is recommended if your dog comes in contact with a variety of other dogs. Bordetella (also known as "Kennel Cough") is highly contagious. The most frequent places that this virus can be contracted are the kennel, grooming facilities, dog parks, boardwalk, puppy/training classes, etc. There is an initial vaccine that is given, and then a booster is given 2 weeks prior to any other dog contact.

Leptospirosis Vaccine
 Do you have raccoons, squirrels, or possums where you live? If so, does  your dog go outside? Even if they only go into your own personal backyard, those pesky critters still manage to find a way into your back yard. Dogs become infected by leptospires when an open skin wound comes into contact with infected urine or with water contaminated with infected urine. Bite wounds, reproductive secretions, and even consumption of infected tissues can transmit this infection. The organisms quickly spread through the bloodstream leading to fever, joint pain, and general overall sickness/depression that can last up to a week. The organism settles in the kidneys and begins to reproduce, leading to further inflammation and then kidney failure. Depending on the type of leptospire involved, other organ failure (especially liver) can be expected as well. Leptospirosis is a life-threatening disease that people can contract and get themselves as well!

Lyme Vaccine
The Lyme vaccine is recommended for dogs that live in areas with a HIGH TICK population. Such examples of high risk areas are: Connecticut, Upstate NY, East Long Island, Westchester, beach communities, etc. Lyme disease is spread through a bite of an infected tick. The vaccine should be boostered annually for full protection from this disease.

Rabies Vaccine
This vaccine is the ONLY vaccine that is mandatory, by law, throughout New York State. The Rabies virus can be transmitted through the exchange of bodily fluids of an infected animal, usually via bite wound. This virus, if contracted, is usually FATAL and spreads very quickly. The initial vaccine is given to a pet 6 months of age or older and lasts one year. Rabies booster vaccines after that first year then need to be boostered every THREE years.
Feline Distemper (Panleukopenia) Vaccine
Feline distemper, caused by a parvovirus, is a life-threatening disease. Virtually every cat will be exposed to this virus. Infection occurs when the virus enters the body through the mouth or nose. Whether illness results or not depends on the immunity in the victim vs. the number of individual virus particles entering the body. Prevention is recommended to be started as early as 8 weeks of age with the Distemper vaccine.

Feline Leukemia Vaccine
Feline Leukemia is the cause of more cat deaths, directly or indirectly, than any other organism and is widespread in the cat population. In order to decide if your cat should be vaccinated, you must look at his or her lifestyle. For instance, are they the only cat in the house? Are they strictly in-doors? Does your cat go outside as well as inside? Transmission is through the saliva of infected cats contaminating the eye, mouth, and nose membranes of non-infected cats via licking/biting, passing infected blood to non-infected cats, and in utero (from mother to fetuses). Unfortunatley, there is no effective treatment for this disease. Treatment is mainly supportive, and may require blood transfusions, prednisone, and anabolic steroids. Eighty-five percent of cats with FeLV infection die within 3 years of the diagnosis.

There are more vaccines out there..but in my opinion these are the core vaccines that are usually given to our pets. If you would like information on the other vaccines, I would be happy to write more about the others. Please feel free to comment!

Next blog coming operative care for your furry friends!

Until next time!

Rachel, LVT

"The Visiting Vet Tech"TM

Friday, March 30, 2012


Okay, now this is a touchy subject among pet owners and veterinarians alike. In the blog post to follow this, I will be explaining each (most) vaccines that your veterinarian may suggest that your pet should receive annually. The best way to make a decision on whether or not which vaccines to get for your dog or cat should come from an educated client. Most vaccines are needed due to the ENVIRONMENT that your pet is exposed to. There are some owners who are also against vaccines...I believe that there is a HAPPY MEDIUM. Absolutely no protection can be very dangerous and irresponsible, while giving your pet every vaccine under the sun can also be doing just as much harm. Please stay tuned for the following blog post..... be continued! 

Rachel, LVT
"The Visiting Vet Tech"TM

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


One of the NUMBER ONE reasons that animals come into the hospital during the summer months is HEAT STROKE!!!!!!!!!!!

1. Brachycephalic or "snub nose" dogs/cat over heat much easier and faster than a "normal" dog. (ex. Pugs, Bulldogs, Persian cats)

(<--- example my dog "Lilo", a French Bulldog, and her face isn't pushed in too bad at all! Note her nostrils how they are very small. That is called "stenotic nares" aka small nostrils. Make it harder to breathe.)
<-Stenotic Nares <-Normal

It's like trying to breathe fast through a straw!

2. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PET IN YOUR CAR WHILE YOU RUN INTO THE STORE AND/OR DO A QUICK ERRAND. It does NOT take long for an animal to over heat and a cracked window DOES NOT HELP!

3. Long walks. 
Unless you are really able to read your pet, make sure you do not push them too hard or far in the heat with exercising. Some pets will do more than they physically can and won't "let you know", by that point, it's too late when you figure it out.

4. Dogs/Cats don't sweat except from the paw pads. Besides that, fur, and panting, those are the only significant forms of regulating their own body temperatures.

Some possible signs your pet is over heating:
1. Excessive panting
2. Bright pink gums/ears/muzzle
3. Drooling
4. Lying laterally recumbent (on their side, breathing rapidly)
5. Physically feeling hot to your touch
6. Finding shade to lay in/cool floor to lay on. (Hot pavement in the summer is just as uncomfortable to their bare feet as yours!!)

How to keep your pet cool:

1. Keep a fan on or air-conditioning on when you are not home to keep the air circulating in your rooms, an open window usually will not do enough.

2. Always make sure there is shade available for your pet, whether it's indoors or out. 

3. Always make sure there is fresh, clean, water available. The colder, the better.

(If you go to the beach/park bring a bowl and your own water to make sure there is some available for your pet!)

4. Ice Cubes
My Frenchie thinks they are treats in the summer, I make her do tricks for them and she loves them. It's a way of getting water in without forcing down their throat. PUURRFEECCTTT!!

Also put ice cubes in water bowls to make sure their water stays cold just like yours!

5. Wet them down!

If they are running in a dog park, throw water all over them! It may make them need a bath once home, but it keeps them cool and away from the hospital from heat stroke!

Even keeping a kiddie pool around so that they can jump in can help!

These are just a few signs and a few ways of keeping your pets cool this summer. If you are ever unsure if your pet is too hot or not, stop the playing, bring them indoors into AC and give them water. If they still do not seem right to your vet, bring them to your vet ASAP.

A dogs normal temperature is between 99F-102.5F
A cats normal temperature is between 99-102.5/103F (depending on stress)

If you are ever unsure take a digital thermometer and take your pets temperature rectally if they let you! Use KY lube and be gentle.

Always call your local vet if you are unsure. 

Until next time,

Rachel Husney, LVT