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Author: Shelter Staff (page 1 of 24)

Road trips with Fido

This is the time of year when many pet owners hit the road — or sky or rails — for their summer holidays. It seems that when Fluffy and Rover don’t fit with summer plans, too often they end up in our shelter. We want to help owners find alternatives, whether it be bringing pets along safely or making alternate arrangements.

What to Bring

  • Medications: Before you leave, consult with your vet. Ensure your pet is in good physical health before you travel. Pick up refills of any medications your pet will need while you are away. Ensure all medications are clearly labeled and kept in their original packages.
  • Kennel or carrier: Some accommodations ask that you kennel your pet if you are going out and leaving him in the room. This request is sometimes made in order to ensure the safety of your pet while left alone in the room (if they allow pets to be left alone), and also to ensure that their property is not at risk of being destroyed. The kennel is also a safe way for your pet to travel.
  • Food and water bowls.
  • Food and water: Keeping your pet on the same diet that he’s accustomed to will help to prevent the dreaded diarrhea or vomiting.
  • Can opener: if your pet is fed canned food.
  • Stain remover/cleaning supplies… just in case! Please be courteous and clean up as much pet hair, etc. as you can. A good quality lint brush or pet hair roller is always useful!
  • Plastic bags or litter box/scoop so that you can clean up after your pet.
  • Grooming tools including a comb and/or brush, nail clippers, pet shampoo, and anything else your pet may need.
  • Extra towels for wiping those muddy paws and wet or dirty bodies!
  • Collar and leash(es): Consider bringing an extra leash just in case one of them breaks.
  • Comfortable bedding. Bring along whatever your pet is accustomed to, and what smells like “home.”
  • Document file: The document file should be kept in your glovebox and should contain:
    • Identification. Be sure to record the license numbers, tattoo numbers, and microchip numbers of your pets and bring this list with you. It’s important, too, that your contact information is up-to-date.
    • Recent photo. If your pet is lost while you are traveling, the photo will come in handy when describing him to others. Also jot down any unique identifying marks — be specific.
    • Microchip information. If your pet doesn’t have one we would be more than happy to do it here for you.
    • Vaccination records and other documents. If you are travelling to and from another country, such as the United States, be sure to check what types of vaccinations your pet will need. Bring an up-to-date record with you.
    • Any other pertinent certification papers.
  • First aid kit: You can purchase an animal first aid kit or assemble a pet first-aid kit yourself.
    • A pet first aid kit should contain:
    • Vet wrap
    • Gauze
    • Antiseptic wipes
    • Liquid band aid
    • Tick puller
    • Nail clippers
    • Scissors
    • Disposable gloves
    • Hydrogen Peroxide

Stay Safe! Remember…

  • Your pet should always be under your control
  • Always use restraint tools like seatbelts or travel crates
  • Don’t let rover stick his head out of the window; this could cause irritation of the eyes
  • Never leave your pets in an unattended car.

 

  • Come prepared! Be sure to ask hotels/campgrounds, etc. to ensure that they are pet-friendly, and to ensure that you bring all of the necessary paperwork and tools required. For example, some accommodations may require the Canadian Good Citizen Certification, while American hotels may require the Good Neighbor certification. They may also require vaccination records, and they may charge an extra fee. Hotels often require that pets be kept in crates as well; it depends on the hotel or camp ground. Take care to inform yourself on what is required of you as a pet owner.

When Fido can’t come:

Many pets are given up at vacation time because of a perceived inconvenience. Thousands of pets who were left with “pet sitters” are lost each year. A little forethought would have prevented these things from happening. Here are a few helpful hints about holidays and how to make them safe and enjoyable for your pet.

If You Leave Your Pet Behind

  • Take time to explain your pet’s routine to the sitter and include a list of written instructions of what to do if the pet is lost.
  • Whether you choose a pet-sitter or a kennel service, be sure to notify your veterinarian of your absence, and who is authorized to make medical decisions for your pet in the meantime. Also notify the caretaker of your pet that in the case that you cannot be reached, that they are authorized to approve up to a certain amount of money to be spent on emergency medical expenses, and that the veterinarian has been notified of the parties who are authorized to make decisions if medical intervention is required while you’re away.

Remember:

  • Always leave a list of emergency phone numbers for the pet-sitter or kennel service, which includes your phone number, your pet’s veterinarian’s phone number, an emergency after-hours veterinary phone number, and the phone number of an emergency contact in the case that you cannot be reached.
  • Always leave medical, vaccination, and microchip documents with the pet-sitter or kennel service. Whether you choose to have your pet looked after by a pet-sitter, a drop-in neighbor, or a kennel, always leave information on how much money they are allowed to approve in case of emergency veterinary expenses. If you cannot be contacted, it is important that clear instructions are left for the party responsible for your pet while you are away.
  • Provide the contact info of your pet sitter, and who is authorized to make medical decisions in your absence.

 

Happy summer!!

 

Melissa Topham, RVT
Operations Manager
Swift Current SPCA

THANK YOU!

We here at the SPCA would like to send out a huge thank you to Tara  McKay. She is a certified pet groomer and owns Kutz N Kisses Pet grooming. We have had her down here at the shelter on a number of occasions and she graciously donates her time to making our animals look their best for adoptions! So thank you Tara!

Beat the heat

Heatstroke occurs when normal body mechanisms cannot keep the body’s temperature in a safe range. Animals do not have efficient cooling systems like humans who sweat and get overheated easily. A dog with moderate heatstroke can recover within an hour if given prompt first aid and veterinary care. Severe heatstroke  can be deadly and immediate veterinary assistance is needed.

 

Signs and Symptoms of heat stroke in your dog:

  • Rapid panting
  • Bright red tongue
  • Red or pale gums
  • Thick, sticky saliva
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting – sometimes with blood
  • Diarrhea
  • Shock
  • Coma

What to do if you notice one or more of these symptoms,

Remove the dog from the hot area immediately, on the way to your veterinarians you can pour cooled NOT COLD water on your pet to try and cool them down. Using very cold water can actually be counterproductive. Cooling too quickly and especially allowing your pets body temperature to become too low can cause other life-threatening medical conditions. Even if the dog appears to be recovering, take him to your veterinarian as soon as possible. He should still be examined since he may be dehydrated or have other complications.

Offer free choice water but  do not force feed the water.

Dogs who suffer from heatstroke once increase their risk for getting it again and steps must be taken to prevent it on hot, humid days.

 

Steps to prevent heatstroke include:

  • Keep pets with predisposing conditions like heart disease, obesity, older age, or breathing problems cool and in the shade. Even normal activity for these pets can be harmful.
  • Provide access to water at all times.
  • Make sure outside dogs have access to shade.
  • On a hot day, restrict exercise and don’t take your dog jogging with you. Too much exercise when the weather is very hot can be dangerous.
  • Do not muzzle your dog.
  • Avoid places like the beach and especially concrete or asphalt areas where heat is reflected and there is no access to shade.
  • Wetting down your dog with cool water or allowing him to swim can help maintain a normal body temperature.
  • Move your dog to a cool area of the house. Air conditioning is one of the best ways to keep a dog cool, but is not always dependable. To provide a cooler environment, freeze water in soda bottles, or place ice and a small amount of water in several resealable food storage bags, then wrap them in a towel or tube sock. Place them on the floor for the dog to lay on.

But what should you do if you spot a dog locked in a hot car?

There are three steps:

1. Take information. Note the make and model of the car, the license number, exact location, and a description of the dog: breed, colour, size. etc. Remember that windows cracked open do not significantly reduce the internal temperature of a car.
2. Assess the situation. How long have you been present while the dog has been in the car? Is the dog in distress? Signs of heat distress include excessive panting with the tongue fully extended, stumbling, glazed eyes, disorientation, hiding in the footwell, and ultimately, coma and death.
3. Notify authorities. Contact nearby stores and businesses. Ask them to make an announcement for the owner to return to their car. If the dog is in distress, call the city RCMP. Stay on the scene to monitor the situation until the owner or help arrives.
Or T.A.N

Just remember that members of the public are not protected from law if damage is caused to the vehicle to rescue the pet.

And of course, don’t be a part of the problem. Don’t leave your pet in a hot car.

 

 

 

Melissa Topham RVT

Operations Manager

Kitten Season

This season is what most know as spring/ early summer but it is known to us at the Swift Current SPCA as “kitten season”. It’s the time of the year we get calls upon calls of people wanting us to take in pregnant or nursing Moms and their litters of kittens. The more common call, however, is for “abandoned kittens.” I put quotes around it because more often than not the kittens aren’t really abandoned.

 

Unlike human children, who are rarely without a parent in sight, kittens can be left alone for hours at a time and Mom usually isn’t far off. In fact, Mom may even be watching you. People often don’t realize this and tend to automatically assume that Mom has left the litter to starve. They then decide to take things into their own hands and “help” which isn’t always in the best interest of the kittens.

 

So how do we tell if the kittens are in fact truly abandoned or orphaned? 

  • Unless the kittens are in immediate danger, don’t move them. Mom may just be out getting a bite to eat, or taking a break. If you have to move them, make sure it is nearby where Mom can see or hear them calling for her.
  • Keep an eye on the nest from a distance for about 12  hours to determine if they’re truly abandoned. Depending on how old the kittens are, Moms can stay away for hours at a time. It can be hard to tell if Mom slips in and out when you aren’t looking. A way to help tell if the Mom has returned is to sprinkle flour around the area. If Mom comes back she will leave paw prints in the powder.
  • Don’t be alarmed if some of the kittens go missing. This is probably a good sign. Active Moms will move their kittens from place to place if they feel they are in danger.
  • If hours pass and the babies are dirty, fussy and loud, it is safe to consider them abandoned. It’s important to remember to wait an appropriate amount of time and to stay calm. A lot of people panic and want to scoop the kittens up and care for them right away. However, caring for kittens, especially young ones that don’t eat solid food, is a lot of work that most people aren’t prepared to take on. It is more dangerous for kittens growing up without a Mom. Fading Kitten Syndrome is a common occurrence in bottle babies and is a life threatening emergency in which a kitten, sometimes one that was previous healthy, crashes and begins to fade away. If not dealt with immediately, it can quickly result in death. Most often, this is caused by two things: Hypothermia (being too cold) and/or Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) These two things can happen quickly in small kittens and often go unnoticed until too late. Whenever possible, keep Mom in the picture.

 

If you truly do have abandoned or orphaned kittens,

  • Please keep in mind that kitten season is a very busy time of year. Rescues exhaust their resources very quickly and you may be declined. Fosters for bottle babies are always in short supply because they are a lot of work.
  • If you are able to foster the litter, The Swift Current SPCA has a waiting list that you can be put on to get help for your kittens when someone becomes available.

If we in fact aren’t able to help you by taking in your litter we do have lots of helpful tricks and tips that we would be more than willing to share with you on caring for the kittens.

 

So this kitten season, please be patient and do what you can to help appropriately. While it’s hard to resist a pile of adorable, cuddly kittens, letting Mom handle their care is sometimes the best option.

 

Melissa Topham, RVT
Operations Manager
Swift Current SPCA

What is Parvovirus?

You may have heard recently in the news that Calgary Humane Society had to close its doors for a  period of time due to an outbreak of Canine Parvovirus or “Parvo” for short. Now you may be wondering what is this “parvo” and why is it such a big deal to have caused a closure of a humane society?

Canine parvovirus is a dangerous and extraordinarily contagious virus that spreads easily between unvaccinated dogs. If not caught early and treated aggressively parvovirus infection can be lethal. Parvo  is a virus that can cause severe inflammation of the intestines in canines. The virus infects cells of the intestine leading to structural changes that prevent dogs from properly absorbing nutrients.

 

What are the symptoms of Parvo?

Severe vomiting and diarrhea (often bloody) and lack of appetite are common symptoms of canine parvovirus infection. Affected dogs usually develop signs of extreme lethargy (lack of energy), depression and dehydration with fever. Leukopenia (low white blood cells) can often be seen on blood work. In severe cases death can occur rapidly. Symptoms of canine parvovirus will typically develop after an incubation period of 3-10 days in infected dogs. Dog with suspected canine parvovirus exposure should be carefully monitored for symptoms.

 

Is my dog in danger of Parvovirus?

The long and the short of it, yes. All dogs even vaccinated dogs can run the risk of being infected with the Parvovirus. However the higher risk group of dogs are the unvaccinated, the immune compromised and the young.  Puppies who have not completed their full vaccine series and are newly vaccinated (vaccinated less than 10-14 days prior to exposure) may still be at risk of infection.

 

So you may still be asking why did they close the shelter down?

As an organization SPCA’s and Humane Societies take in the most vulnerable animals, often with no information on their history or previous care. They closed the shelter in order to best protect the public and their animals.This closure was mainly a precautionary measure as SPCA’s and Humane Societies take the health of their animals and the health of the public very seriously.

 

Here at Swift Current SPCA there is always a risk of having this happen, but we do our best to minimize this risk by daily deep cleaning, as well as minimizing contact between dogs, as well as humans and unvaccinated dogs. As much as we would love to let you cuddle our litter of puppies we have here, humans can act as something called a “fomite” meaning they can bring the virus in on their clothes or shoes. Even if your dogs are vaccinated at home we can’t take the risk of it being picked up on your shoes outside before coming into the shelter. So please know we want you to cuddle them as much as you want to cuddle them, but for their best interest any cuddling will have to  be done with your eyes!

 

 

Melissa Topham RVT

Operations Manager

 

 

 

 

What does a “No-Kill Shelter” really mean?

Swift Current SPCA is proud to call themselves a no-kill shelter, but what does that really mean? This means one simple thing: every single healthy and adoptable animal is able to stay with us until they are adopted, we do not do “convenience euthanasias” just to make space.  However if a shelter is a “no-kill” shelter, then they must unfortunately turn animals away sometimes. The animals typically turned away from “no-kill” rescues are animals that are too sick or injured to be treated or too dangerous to safely be rehabilitated and placed in a home.The downside to this choice is that it means there are times we have limited capacity to take in new pets; we are a small shelter and as much as we would like to be able to help every animal, sometimes we can’t  Does this mean there are sometimes difficult decisions to be made? Yes.But thanks to the generosity of our incredible community of supporters, these decisions must be made only in the most extreme of cases.  If you have more questions about our policies here at the shelter please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

 

Melissa Topham RVT

Operations Manager

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