Archives for November 2008

California’s Veterinary Service Tax?

If you are a pet owner living in California you are already aware that California plans to tax veterinary care as much as 10.25 percent for your veterinary services–if the proposed economic plan from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is passed.

Governator Arnold’s plan seems to be motivated by the downturn in California’s current economy but lumps those services with luxuries instead of other health care services. Health services that are not targeted so that veterinary services stand alone.

Christie Keith did a nice article on the Veterinary Information Network to drive this home:

“I don’t think getting medical treatment for your cat or your dog should even begin to correlate with getting furniture repaired or playing golf,” said Valerie Fenstermaker, executive director of the California Veterinary Medical Association.

“Veterinary medicine is not a service you’d lump in with luxuries,” said Adrian Hochstadt, assistant director for state legislative and regulatory affairs for the American Veterinary Medical Association. “People of all income levels own pets, and pet ownership should be affordable in this country. It’s a bizarre comparison.” Read More about Sales Tax on Veterinary Services

In addition to the economic hardships the mortgage crisis has contributed to a glut of abandoned animals or relinquished pets. People are already struggling to keep their pets never mind providing them with basic veterinary care.

In the proposed plan pets are lumped with luxury activities such as a round of golf and with inanimate property.

Take a minute to contact the governor’s office to alert them to the fact that veterinary services need to be taken out of the proposal…pets are furry family members not luxury items or a piece of furniture that needs repair.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Office
Phone: 916-445-2841
Fax: 916-558-3160

After you call him take a moment to call and fax your representatives in the state Assembly and Senate. You can enter your zip code to find your state representative here.

Don’t delay take action today.

Thanksgiving Day Pet Safety Tips

Once again it is time for the reminders about Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Pets.

Every year veterinary clinics flood with emergencies because of a lack of understanding and lack of safety preparations for pets.

So I want to remind you that there can be deadly consequences for animals during the holidays.

Holiday threats to animals not only include seasonal decorations, ornamental lighting, ingestion of inappropriate or toxic items, but also excessive consumption of rich foods or harmful food, burns from stoves or candle flames, and more.

Take the edge off with pet exercise.
Get your pet out for regularly scheduled activities but alter the feeding and exercise. Bump up the activity and give you pet a work out before the visitors arrive. Getting your pet out for a walk or taking time to get the pet to play will get rid of excessive energy and help your pet to be better behaved later in the day when company arrives.

Before you sit down to feast take away temptation–from both guests and pets.
If you feed pets before the guests arrive you reduce the temptation for begging and stealing.

Keeping the regular pet feeding schedule is fine but you might want to divide the portion up so you can feed the pets right before the human meal.

Let visitors know that feeding table scraps to your dog or cat can cause him or her unwanted abdominal pain, vomiting or diarrhea–not exactly appetizing images but it gets the point across.

Put out approved dog or cat treats around the rooms where you entertain.
While you do that, discourage snack feeding of human tidbits by warning that food high in sodium such as peanuts and chips or other fatty foods (like poultry skin or fat) can cause the inflammation of the pancreas. (Pancreatitis is potentially life-threatening condition.)

Make sure your guests know that you want them to keep the pet rules and discourage them from feeding critters scraps from the table.

Provide a private refuge for pets.
Some people will ignore your directives and the best approach may be to make sure any animal has a private refuge and is occupied with a chewy or playmates.

You can also use a pet gate or play pen to house the pet nearby during the big meal.

Avoid trashy behavior.
Once the table is cleared, make sure pets cannot get to scraps or bones.

Preventative safety measures are the best strategies–so keep the kitchen off limits when you are preparing food and store leftover food out of reach and in tightly closed containers after the meal.

Next, make sure garbage cans are secured to keep critters out so they are safe from e-coli and unable to chew on leftovers wrapped or sticking onto tinfoil, plastic, or wax paper.

You can also rig up some pet deterrents around off limit counters and trash cans such as Scarecrow Pet Deterrent Spray or SSSCat.

What else can you do?
Pet households should consider providing appropriate chew toys or food occupation devices for pets during the holiday activities.

The Kong Company produces great products and there is a KongTime Toy Dispenser that keeps dogs occupied–which is purr-fect.

For cats look for the Premier Twist and Treat or other toys that provide similar activity.

The investment and preparation can insure that you and your pets have a happy and healthy holiday.

Finally, just in case you have a problem, it never hurts to keep your emergency vet clinic or veterinary hospital number handy.

You never know when you will encounter a disaster during holiday festivities.

The biggest hazards to pets on Thanksgiving include:
-Rich, fatty foods (turkey skins, gravy, etc,) can contribute to pancreatitis. This gland inflammation is painful and can be serious-requiring emergency veterinary assistance.

-Cooked bones can splinter and cause tears or obstruction in a pet’s digestive tract. Brittle, bone splinters pose risk to the esophagus, stomach, and intestines.

-Baking strings, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, and wax paper can cause intestinal obstructions and can create trouble if ingested by your pet.

-Onions in holiday stuffing can lead to canine anemia if consumed by your dog.

-The toxins from grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in pets.

-Ingesting chocolate (contains theobromine) can also cause seizures or kill your pet.

-Don’t forget that caffeine and alcohol are also toxic for pets.

Finally, have a Happy Thanksgiving–and a safe one!