January 2020 Blogs

Beware of Counterfeit Pest Products for Dogs and Cats

Pet owners shopping for Frontline, Advantage and other flea control products for their pets should be on the lookout for counterfeit versions of those products appearing on retailers' shelves. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, these products are packaged in cartons designed to look like legitimate versions of Advantage and Frontline but are not approved by the EPA.

These counterfeit products may be missing instruction leaflets required by U.S. law. The packages also may not feature required child-resistant packaging and the applicators may not be the appropriate size dosage for the animal indicated on the package. Using such products could put your pet at risk as the counterfeit products may contain too much or too little dosage or different ingredients all together, according to the EPA. The packages for the legitimate and counterfeit versions of each product look similar, so you must open the packages and examine the contents inside to determine legitimacy.

Legitimate Frontline products will meet the following criteria:

• The lot number on the carton and the lot number on the applicator package or individual applicators will match.

• The instruction leaflet is included and provides safety information, U.S. telephone numbers and storage and disposal instructions.

• The applicator package is child resistant, and directions for opening the applicator package include an illustration that looks like the applicator package.

• The applicator package has a notch between each individual applicator package. Text on the package is in English only.

• Each individual applicator has a label that includes the name of the manufacturer (Merial); the EPA registration number; the contents measured in fluid ounces (not metric measurement); a list of active ingredients, and the statements "Caution", "Keep out of reach of children" and "See full label for additional directions" in English.

• The applicator label for dog products includes the size of the dog in pounds.

For Advantage products, the following criteria can be used to determine legitimacy:

• All applicator tubes will feature directions printed in English. Any applicator with instructions in another language is counterfeit.

• Applicator tubes will include the EPA registration number, word "WARNING" and a child-safety statement.

• Also on the tube is a reference to referring to the main label of the product for directions, as well as the name of the manufacturer (Bayer).

• Legitimate products will feature an active ingredient statement that matches the statement on the retail carton. Counterfeit products may feature different statements.

It is important to note that the EPA also considers versions of the drug sold in foreign countries - but imported into the United States - to be counterfeit as well. Products purchased in foreign countries may not have the same safety warnings or child-resistant packaging as products approved for sale in America and the dosages and ingredients may be different. If you have purchased counterfeit products, the EPA recommends you dispose of the product according to local solid waste guidelines. You should also notify the staff of the retail outlet you purchased the product from as well as the EPA regional office in your state.

Click here for more information about these counterfeit products.

Family Addition: Adopting Pets as a Couple

You’ve finally found the love of your life, have begun cohabitating and couldn’t be happier. Yet amidst the romantic bliss, something seems amiss. A pet! You desperately want a precious little fur baby to call your own and share your home with. Maybe you have a child or children together already, or maybe it’s just the two of you. Either way, there are several things to consider before you introduce a furry friend into the mix.

Adopting a pet is a great way to combat the high number of pets in shelters, but don’t jump into the commitment unless you are both ready for the added work and responsibility. By talking it out the decision to adopt ahead of time, you’ll greatly reduce the risk of ever having to return your pet to a shelter.

These seven questions should help you determine if you are ready to adopt as a couple:

1. Do you both want to adopt a pet?

In some cases, one partner can be much more gung-ho about wanting to adopt a pet than the other. If this is the case in your relationship, it’s important to discuss. Will you be the one able to take the animal out and feed it most often? Will a pet prevent your partner from doing certain things he or she wants to experience as a couple – such as spontaneous trips where having a pet would be a hindrance? Would either of you prefer purchasing from a breeder rather than adopting?

2. Do you both want to adopt the same kind of pet?

Are you a dog person but your partner loves cats? If one of you will be compromising, you should determine just how big of a deal this will become. Will your partner resent you, or vice versa? Can your cat-loving pet co-parent ever love a canine?

3. Do you have the time needed to care for your new pet?

Many couples work long hours, often on different schedules. A pet requires consistency, especially during training. If you’re barely home, or just want to sleep whenever you can, a pet probably isn’t a good idea at this time. Pets are like children and require a lot of attention.

4. Can you afford it?

Adopting a pet comes with the upfront cost of the adoption fee, but it doesn’t end there. Even after you go crazy at Petco buying coordinating bowls, a luxurious bed and every toy imaginable, there’s still the monthly expense of feeding your new friend. Plus, health issues can arise at any time, especially as your pet ages. You should be financially stable enough to prepare for these situations. You’ll also need to bring your pet to a veterinarian at least once a year to ensure they remain in tip-top health.

5. Will your long-term living situation accommodate a pet?

If you live in a pet-friendly apartment, what happens when your lease is up or your landlord sells the property? How difficult will it be to find a place you can afford that also allows the pet you are considering adopting? Many pet-friendly apartments only allow small dogs or cats and prohibit certain “aggressive breeds” due to insurance costs or personal preferences. Many pets in shelters are there because of living arrangements that could no longer accommodate them.

6. Is your relationship stable enough?

If you’re breaking up every other week, that’s going to create a lot of chaos for an adopted pet who would benefit from a stable environment. Arguing or dividing the pet between two residences when this happens will cause unneeded stress on the animal. Also, if your relationship is suffering and you think a pet can help make it better – think again.

7. Are either of you only compensating for wanting to have a child?

Caring for a pet requires teamwork, sharing responsibilities and compassion. The same is true for a child, but that’s where the similarities end. A pet matures much faster than an infant, so basing your readiness for human parenthood on your pet-parenting skills isn’t the best gauge. If you’re getting a pet because your partner doesn’t want a child but you do, you’re not going to feel completely fulfilled. Even worse, couples who get pets as substitutes for children are more apt to tire of caring for a baby and a pet when that time comes. Don’t adopt if you can’t promise to love your pet unconditionally – even if you have a baby in the future. Your pet is your fur child- forever!

Providing Great Care For Your Senior Cat

Older cats have special health needs and may require more attention and care than younger kitties. The aging process varies between species. For example, if you own a senior dog, your cat may not be considered a senior, even if they are the same age. You should consider your cat a senior around 10 years of age. As your cat ages, changes occur in his physical condition that warrant more frequent visits to the veterinarian. If medical problems are recognized and treated when they are first detected, the treatment may be easier for your cat and less costly for you. Twice-a-year wellness examinations are recommended in order to diagnose medical problems during the early stages.

A geriatric exam is more extensive than a simple check-up and includes a complete physical exam, oral and rectal examinations and a recording of body weight and body condition. The veterinarian will also examine your cat's ears, eyes and various internal organs. Some laboratory work may be done, including a complete blood count, urinalysis, fecal exam and perhaps endocrine blood tests and other complementary examinations. Establishing a base line is an added benefit and can ultimately help, should there be any changes, even small ones, to your cat's health.

As cats grow older, their organs may become less efficient and they may be less resistant to infections and other diseases. As a responsible cat owner, you want your cat to remain healthy and active for as long as possible. It is important to be aware of any condition that may warrant our attention.

As your cat ages, changes occur in his or her physical condition that warrant more frequent trips to the veterinarian.

Simple Tips for Caring for Your Aging Cat

Diet - Cats are carnivores, and even older cats still need plenty of protein. In fact, sometimes they need more protein as the digestive organs become less efficient

Joints - As your cat ages, joint pain and stiffness may develop. This may mean that your cat becomes less active and his or her energy level may decrease. Your cat may become tired more easily and want to nap more often. Muscle tone tends to reduce, which may further reduce your cat's ability to run, jump and climb. This decrease in muscle tone and exercise also contributes to the stiffening of joints.

Senses - Hearing, sight and smell can all become less acute with age and you may need to make allowances for these changes. Watch these changes. Unfortunately, hearing aids and contact lenses still have yet to be fit for cats. Be cognizant of indications of impaired sight, such as bumping into furniture, or loss of hearing, such as if your cat stops reacting to its name or familiar sounds. Eye infections, cataracts, decreased night vision, or even blindness is common; however, these can also be symptoms of a larger problem.

Dental - Older cats are more likely to develop tooth and gum conditions. If your cat has sore gums or loose teeth, he or she may be reluctant to eat, or it may cause food to drop out of his or her mouth. Gum disease not only leads to loss of teeth, but can also cause heart and kidney infections if bacteria enter the bloodstream through inflamed gums. Examine your cat's mouth regularly and ask us for advice if the teeth or gums do not look healthy.

Urinary - Urinary incontinence or inappropriate urination is common in an aging cat. Inappropriate urination may also be the result of a urinary tract disorder, kidney problem or symptomatic of a larger problem. Changes to your cat's litter or litter box location may also trigger urinary issues. Consult our veterinary staff if your cat suddenly becomes incontinent or begins to urinate more frequently.

Behavior - As your cat ages, his or her behavior may change significantly. You might interpret this as simple aging, but it actually might be due to a treatable geriatric disease like cognitive dysfunction. Some typical signs include confusion, disorientation, decreased activity, changes in the sleep/wake cycle, loss of litter box training, or signs which suggest a decrease in your cat's interest in, or ability to interact with, his or her environment or with you.

Kidneys - Excessive thirst and frequent or uncontrolled urination are often signs of kidney problems or diabetes. Since the kidneys process and eliminate waste products into the urine, it is important that these organs remain healthy. Ask your veterinarian about available treatments, such as those provided by holistic and traditional medicine, for slowing down kidney failure and making your cat feel good.

Coat - As cats get older, their temperature sensitivity increases because their coats are often poor and not as resistant to temperature changes. Tolerance of cold temperatures and wet conditions decreases, and the need for a dry, draft-free, sleeping area is a priority. If your cat does go outside, do not leave him or her outside for long periods of time in cold or wet weather. In hot and humid weather, use air conditioning and/or fans to help keep your cat cool.

Grooming - Provide regular grooming. This helps to remove dead hair and prevent hair balls that may cause vomiting or intestinal impaction. Grooming also gives you a chance to inspect your cat for parasites, skin disorders and unusual lumps or lesions that may require our attention. Besides the health benefits, many older cats enjoy the extra physical contact.

Even if your cat seems perfectly healthy, regular geriatric check-ups are important to manage many of the changes associated with aging. Cats over nine years of age should have a veterinary examination twice a year. A complete geriatric health maintenance program can provide a means to target age-related health problems, institute preventive health care measures, and detect any disorders early enough to provide appropriate medical treatment.