Posts in Category: Pet Healthcare

Is Your Senior Cat A Second-Class Citizen?

senior catDid you know that veterinarians see 50% fewer cats for annual wellness exams than dogs?  An even sadder statistic from a recent survey shows that 77% of cats over 12 years of age are not being seen in the 18 months before being euthanized.  This week I will discuss the difference between a senior cat and a geriatric cat and how you can help them before it is too late. Continue…

How To Care For Barn Cats During The Winter

barn catsIn a perfect world, all cats would live pampered lives inside homes designed for their specific needs, with runs and tunnels and high spots in every room. The reality is that not all cats are indoor cats, and not all cats are suitable pets. That is the difference between a stray cat and a feral cat. A stray cat is one that has been a pet at some point and is easily reacclimated to living with humans. A feral cat is one that has never lived with humans and is self-sufficient for its food. Feral cats provide a vital service to humans in keeping down the rodent populations both in towns and farms. Programs that trap, neuter, and then release these cats back into the community sometimes relocate them to farms or warehouses where there is a specific need for rodent control. These are the working cats in our world, and they deserve respect and care. With temperatures starting to dip down into the 40’s at night now is a good time to start thinking about winter preparations for your outdoor working friends, the barn cats. Continue…

My Pet Has Diabetes, Now What?

diabetesApproximately, 1 out of ever 300 dogs and 1 out of ever 230 cats have diabetes in the United States.  Unfortunately, pet diabetes is on the rise.  Since November is Pet Diabetes Awareness Month, Dr. Anna Coffin will discuss what needs to happen after the diagnosis. Continue…

Real-Life Rabies Cases That Might Surprise You

real-life rabies casesDo you understand the seriousness of Rabies?  It’s 100% fatal!  Now that’s serious.  For animals, there is no treatment, but a simple vaccine can protect your pet.  Fortunately, for humans, there is a treatment that can save lives if started in time.  There are things that you can do to protect yourself, your family and your pets from Rabies.  These real-life rabies cases might surprise you. Continue…

Understanding Rabies: Know The Facts


What does To Kill A Mockingbird, Cujo, Their Eyes Were Watching God and Old Yeller all have in common?  Besides being great fictional works of literature, they all contain a Rabies victim.    September 28th is World Rabies Day which was designed to increase community awareness of Rabies and its prevention.  This week Dr. Anna Coffin reveals all the facts. Continue…

The Last Gentle Goodbye: How Will I Know It’s Time?

How Will I Know It's Time?Working at a pet hospital means seeing all sides of life: joyous births, clumsy youths, hale, and hearty adults, failing seniors, and eventually death. We sometimes care for patients from nearly the time they enter this world until the moment they leave it. We learn that certain symptoms mean it’s time to speak in gentle tones, that clients have questions they don’t know how to ask, and that sometimes the only thing you can do is slide over a box of tissues and leave them to their tears.  We all try very hard to make difficult situations as easy to navigate as possible. Sometimes events play out to which we are all-staff and owners alike-merely observers, never having the opportunity to affect the outcome of a patient’s condition. Sometimes we must provide choices no one wants to hear for a result no one should have to endure. And sometimes we find that we, ourselves are on the other side of the exam table being given results and choices we aren’t ready to face, even with all our experience and training. That is where I found myself last week as I struggled to find the courage to say a gentle goodbye to my boy Tank.  I’m hoping my experience may help you understand How will I know it’s time. Continue…

The Dangers of Rabies Transmission To Humans And Rabies Treatment

Rabies treatmentAn infected animal’s saliva transmits the Rabies virus typically from a bite wound.  Other less common modes of transmission include scratches, aerosolized into the respiratory tract or during human transplanting of organs.  Unfortunately, Rabies is fatal once symptoms begin to manifest.  It is imperative to begin rabies treatment before symptoms appear.



Worldwide, 69,000 people die every year from Rabies.  Fortunately, Rabies cases in the United States are rare.  There are only 1 to 3 cases reported annually.  Bats are the major source of Rabies transmission to humans in the United States.  The CDC recommends Rabies treatment to any person encountering a bat, even if there is no bite exposure.  In 2017, a five-year-old boy in Florida died from Rabies after a non-bite contact with a bat.  Despite the low number of human Rabies cases within the United States, 25,000 to 40,000 people receive rabies treatment yearly in the United States after exposure to rabid or potentially rabid animals, especially animals that escape after biting.

A Rabies vaccine is available for prevention of the disease.  Veterinarians, animal handlers and laboratory personnel, should consider routine immunization.  Vaccinated individuals exposed to the Rabies virus only need to receive two doses of vaccines.  One vaccine as soon after exposure as possible and the second vaccine three days later.

When to seek Rabies treatment:

  • A bite from a vaccinated domestic animal does not warrant rabies treatment. However, in some states, public health officials require quarantining the pet for ten days to monitor for signs of Rabies.
  • When deemed necessary by public health officials, the person should begin Rabies treatment immediately. In many of these cases, the animal is unavailable for testing, and the person must complete treatment.  Treatment can be stopped if the animal is available and tests negative for Rabies.
  • Any contact with a bat.

Rabies treatment:

  • Wash the wound with soap and water; cleaning with povidone solution or 70% alcohol will reduce transmission of the virus.
  • Doctors administer a single injection of immunoglobins around the bite wound. In the event of a non-bite exposure, then the doctor injects the immunoglobin into the butt.
  • After the immunoglobin injection, doctors give a series of five Rabies vaccine on day 1, 3, 7, 14 and 28.

Dr. Anna Coffin says the best way to protect yourself from exposure to Rabies is not to handle wildlife or stray animals.  If you live within city limits, call the city animal control officer.  For those living in the country, contact your local sheriff’s office or game warden.  Don’t forget to vaccinate your dogs and cats for Rabies, even if they don’t go outside.

How To Keep Your Senior Dog Youthful

senior dog carePeople are always curious how old their pet is in human years.  Everyone has heard the basic rule of thumb that dogs age seven years for every human year.  This theory has changed slightly over the past few years.  The fact is dogs do age faster than humans, but the size of your dog also plays a factor in this calculation.  Smaller breed dogs live longer than larger breed dogs.  This week I’m discussing my senior dog, Jade, and our battle to keep her youthful. Continue…

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