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The veterinarians and staff at the Shawnee Animal Clinic are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

Current Newsletter Topics

INFOGRAPHIC: Pet Holiday Hazards

The holidays can mean exciting smells, sights, and tastes for your curious pet -- and more ways he or she can get into trouble. Please take a look at the infographic below outlining the most serious dangers. Take the necessary precautions to keep the holidays happy and healthy for everyone in your home!

Click on the graphic below and print it out. Keep it handy during the holiday and give copies to your friends and family.

Holiday Hazards

Cats Encountering Other Cats

When cats encounter other cats, their meetings are often quite unpleasant. Here are some tips that may come in handy when dealing with these unpleasant encounters:

Sit out the minor battles - When cats meet, there will be a certain amount of hissing and posturing. In most case, this is their way of getting to know each other. If they do start arguing, chances are it will settle down in a few minutes.

Don't get in the middle of a fight - If the cats really do start to fight, stay out of it. In the heat of battle, they don't care what they bite or scratch - and that bite could well be you. Keep your hands clear.

Interrupt Correctly - If you see a fight brewing, try to stop it before it gets to a heated pitch. Interrupt the action with the deepest and loudest NO that you can muster. Cats associate a low-pitched voice with a threatening growl and will take it far more seriously than they will a, "Now, now, Fluffy—stop that, please."

Use Water - If you are lucky enough to have the fight occur near a water source, given them a blast with the hose. Even a pitcher of water or water pistol can do the trick. Hard to convince cats will take lots of water.

Think ahead - If you do want two cats, try to get them at the same time and as kittens. Cats that grow up together are less likely to squabble.

Provide an escape route - Make sure that when two cats meet for the first time that they have an easy way out. If they don't feel trapped, they will be less likely to fight.

Indoors vs. Outdoors - The safest place for your cat is inside where there is no chance of territorial fights. The average life span for an indoor cat is 12 to 14 years, for an outdoor cat it is 1 to 2 years.

Neuter your cat young - Cats that are neutered before they are six months old, may never develop the tendency to fight. Aggression is greatly reduced in males and even spayed females display a less quarrelsome disposition.

Anal Glands - Your Pet's Pain in the Butt

If your pet seems to be exhibiting behavioral changes such as scooting around on its butt, tail chasing, and excessively licking or biting around the tail and anus, these are signs that your cat or dog may have a problem with its anal sacs. When this occurs, a veterinarian should examine your pet.

Anal sacs are structures similar to those used by skunks when they spray. These structures are present but less well developed in cats and dogs. Unlike skunks that can voluntarily control their sacs, dogs and cats cannot. Normally, the semi-liquid, smelly material is squeezed out when pets defecate, but sometimes things go wrong.

Problems associated with anal sacs include impaction, infection, abscess, and tumors. Impaction occurs when the duct or tube through which an anal sac empties becomes clogged. Pressure builds in the sac and on surrounding tissue, resulting in painful defecation and, in some cases, constipation.

Anal Gland Abscess

Bacterial infections cause damage resulting in inflammation, pain and itchiness. This condition, similar to, but more painful than hemorrhoids in humans, sometimes leads to unusual levels of fear and aggression in pets. Left untreated, an anal gland infection can abscess. Pain associated with an abscess can become very intense as pressure and inflammation increase. If this stage of the disease is left untreated, the abscess could rupture and drain through the skin. When this occurs, the pain is somewhat reduced; however, the abscess usually reforms and the process starts over again. If the abscess proliferates and drains into deeper tissues, the situation gets much worse.

Tumors of the anal sac appear to be more common among dachshunds, cocker spaniels, German shepherds, beagles, English bulldogs, and Samoyeds. Some tumors are benign and others are very aggressive forms of cancers. The location of the anal sac makes even a benign growth a problem because it impinges on the surrounding structures.

Anal Sac

Many impacted and some infected anal sacs can be treated by careful massage of the affected sac or sacs. Diseased sacs may be very painful and may require some level of pain relief medication or tranquilizer in order to keep the treatment from being a bad experience for the pet.

For some dogs and even some cats, anal sac disease becomes a severe, repeated, and persistent experience. In these cases, the most humane, efficient, and cost-effective treatment choice is surgical removal of the anal sacs. This is called anal sacculectomy. Most of the time, both sacs are removed at the time of the surgery.

Anal sacs have no known beneficial purpose for dogs and cats. As long as they are healthy, it's best to leave them alone. If severe or repeated problems develop, dogs and cats may be better off without them.

Christmas Season Pet Hazards

Holiday season adornments are attractive to all creatures. The ornaments, foods, gifts, wrappings, ribbons, lights and plants are all curiosities for pets. Pets investigate new items by sniffing, tossing, chasing, and finally by tasting. A few precautions are necessary to avoid the holiday crowds at the veterinary hospital.

Holiday Tree

The most common problems this time of year are stomach or intestinal disturbances caused by pets eating the holiday feast or other novelties. Scraps from the table can cause gastrointestinal upset and even predispose pets to life-threatening pancreatitis. Bones can get stuck in the mouth or perforate the intestines and should be avoided. Chocolate is poisonous to cats, dogs, and birds. Plastic wrap and aluminum foil (coated with good-tasting juices) are enticing but can cause intestinal damage (and even blockage) if eaten by the pet.

Other sweet treats, like gum and hard candies, can also make your pet ill. Sugar-free candies and gum are made with xylitol, a sugar substitute that can cause a drop in blood sugar, depression, loss of coordination and seizures in your pet. Xylitol is also linked to liver failure in dogs. Be sure to keep all candies, chocolate and other sweets out of your pet's reach. If you believe your pet may have ingested chocolate or candy, call your veterinarian immediately.

Chocolate and other sweets can make pets sick

Chocolate with Wrappers

Be sure to properly dispose of leftovers and wrappers. Feed pets their usual diet. Treats formulated similarly to the pet's regular diet are generally healthy and safe. Also keep in mind (while cooking) that pets may not know about hot stoves or to stay out from underfoot. Keep pets away from the stove so they don't get burned or get hot foods spilled on them.

Several decorative plants are poisonous. Mistletoe and holly can cause stomach upset with vomiting and diarrhea. The berries of these plants are attractive, easily swallowed, and potentially fatal if consumed. Poinsettias, like the leaves of most any plant, can also cause stomach upset. Use artificial mistletoe and holly; keep other plants out of your pet's reach.

Mistletoe Holly

Mistletoe and Holly

Make sure Christmas trees are secured so that pets cannot pull them over. Omit preservatives from the tree-stand water and cover the water so pets don't drink it. Don't spray snow on the tree unless it is labeled for pet consumption. Angel hair is spun glass and is irritating to both the inside and outside of your pet. Even glass ornaments and ornament hooks have been chewed and swallowed. These objects can cause problems from stomach upset to damaged intestines. Low-hanging ornaments are a real temptation, as are tinsel and electric lights. Decorative lights and electrical wiring can cause shock or burns when chewed, soremember to unplug holiday lights when pets are unattended.

Holidays have lots of activity going on. Be sure doors are not left open as guests come and go. Indoor pets inadvertently left outside could be injured by frostbite, cars, or other animals. Ice-melting chemicals and salt on sidewalks and roads can severely burn foot pads and should be washed off right away. Also, watch that guests don't leave interesting objects, such as chocolate, ribbons, stocking stuffers, or other illicit treats, within your pet's reach.

Holidays can also be as stressful for your pet as they are for you. Large gatherings of unfamiliar people may cause your dog or cat unnecessary stress and worry. If your pet does not interact well with strangers, keeping him or her in a separate room during the festivities may help keep your pet relaxed and worry-free.

Don't leave food items under the tree with an unsupervised pet; the wrapping, ribbon and enclosed gift are probably not compatible with your pet's digestive system. Ask Santa to put gifts out of your pet's reach so your pet won't beat you to them on Christmas morning.

When choosing a gift for your pet, consider the pet as an individual. Cats enjoy lightweight toys they can bat around, catnip toys, scratching posts, and kitty perches. Dogs like balls, chew toys, and things they can carry around. However, beware of toys with parts, such as bells, buttons, string, yarn, or squeaky parts, that can be detached and swallowed. Watch how your pet handles a new toy until you are sure it is safe. Some dogs treat a stuffed toy like a friend and carry it around and sleep with it. Others will tear them up and eat the stuffing and get into trouble. Also, if there is more than one pet in the household, consider all the pets before buying for any one of them. A one-inch diameter toy for a cat is fine, but a puppy in the household may swallow it and possibly require surgery to remove it.


If your pet does get sick, consult your veterinarian before giving any medications. Many of the over-the-counter drugs, such as acetaminophen - Tylenol(r) and Excedrin(r) and ibuprofin - Advil(r), Motrin(r), are toxic for animals even though they are safe for us. Don't wait to see if your pet gets better. If your pet is acting sick, consult your veterinarian.

VIDEO: Winter Holiday Dangers for Pets

We all enjoy the festive nature of the holidays. But, did you know that the delicious food we love and the sparkling decorations could be a danger to our pets? Many holiday traditions, such as tinsel on the tree or mistletoe, have led to pets needing emergency medical treatment. Some foods can cause illnesses in our dogs and cats as well. Wintertime can indeed be hazardous to our pets! Watch this video to learn more.


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ASPCA Revises Stance on Pets as Gifts

ASPCA Revises Stance on Pets as Gifts

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has advocated against giving pets as gifts for decades, but a new survey has caused them to change their tune. According to a telephone survey conducted by the ASPCA, 96 percent of pet owners who got their pet as a gift – whether it was a surprise or not – either increased or didn’t impact their attachment to the animal. Of those owners, 86 percent still remained in the home, which is the same rate as pets obtained in other ways.

While some shelter owners remain skeptical, others have ramped up holiday adoptions in response to the new information. While in the past, many shelters would close around Christmas, this year many plan to remain open and some will even deliver pets to homes on Christmas day.

Celebrity Pets: Chances Are They’re Wealthier Than You

Feel like Grumpy Cat is everywhere these days? It’s not just you.The famously dour feline has had a big few years since her owner posted her on Reddit in 2012. With multiple books, licensed product lines, pet food endorsement deals, and even a starring role in a made-for-TV-movie where she was voiced by Aubrey Plaza, Grumpy Cat has transformed from the star of a popular YouTube video to a full-fledged brand. Grumpy Cat’s owner won’t say how much the cat has made, but one tabloid pegged the figure at $100 million (a figure the owner denies). And yet, it’s still not enough to make Grumpy Cat smile.

Grumpy Cat isn’t the only living meme raking in dough. Boo, the Pomeranian dog, has signed off on licensing deals with companies like Crocs, published three books, and secured a spokesdog gig with Virgin America Airlines. Of course, fame has a dark side: like many celebrities before him, he was the subject of a death hoax. Not to worry – Boo is alive and well.

Other rich pets include Chris P. Bacon, a pig who was born without the use of his hind legs who has learned to get around on wheel legs built out of toys by his owner; Lil’ Bub, a cat whose underdeveloped jaw gives him a permanent slack-jawed expression; and Tuna, a Chihuahua with an overbite that gives the pup a permanent expression somewhere between a grin and grimace. All three have millions of social media followers, book deals, product lines, and endorsement deals that keep them raking in cash hand over paw.

Think your pet has what it takes to be the next A-list meme? Only one way to find out – break out the camera and get something cute on YouTube, because it doesn’t look like the Internet’s love of animals is going away any time soon.