All posts by craig

Taking Your Pet on Vacation!

FluffyImagine you decide to take your pet on your annual family vacation. You enjoy nice days at the beach, picnics in the dog park, swimming at the pool, walks on the local trails, and then the unimaginable happens.

As you’re driving to the nearest dog-friendly beach you smell a horrid smell coming from the back of the car. You say to Little Jimmy “Do you need to go to the bathroom?” Little Jimmy says, “No, but I think Fluffy does.” You pull up to the beach parking lot and open the door to see diarrhea all over the back of your SUV, but it’s not so bad, because you got that fancy Subaru where the back of the seats and floors are covered in rubber. (Which you are thrilled that you paid the extra money for now.) You get Fluffy out and he doesn’t look good. You reach for your pet bag, which should contain the following items:

• Fluffy’s vaccine records
• Dog License
• List of local veterinarians and their hours (include emergency clinics)
• Rabies certificate
• Extra leash
• Adhesive tape
• Blanket
• Cotton balls
• Baby wipes
• Hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting—do this only when directed by a veterinarian or a poison-control expert)
• Ice pack
• Non-latex disposable gloves
• Petroleum jelly (to lubricate the thermometer)
• Poop Bags
• Rectal thermometer (your pet’s temperature should not rise above 103°F
• Scissors (with blunt ends)
• Sterile non-stick gauze pads for bandages
• Sterile saline solution
• Tweezers (to remove ticks)
• Flea comb
• Water (I recommend one of those water bottles with the attached bowl)

Other key components to keep in mind are to have your pet up to date on all vaccines, including Bordetella and Influenza. Those two vaccines will protect your dog against kennel cough and the flu. Kennel cough and the flu are highly contagious diseases. Dogs commonly contract kennel cough and the flu at places where large amounts of canines congregate. Fluffy should also have flea, tick, and heartworm prevention on board. This will prevent fleas and ticks in your travels.

Let us know if Fluffy gets car sick and we can prescribe a medication that will help prevent Fluffy from getting sick. Contact Leesport Animal Hospital with any question you may have about traveling with your pet.

Lyme Disease DogImagine waking up to the sun shining through the window and thinking today would be a great day to go for a hike. You gathered up Little Jimmy and Fluffy and drive to the nearest trail. You journey through the woods with Fluffy at your side, telling Little Jimmy to look out for those imaginary monsters coming up ahead that are going to take us to their castle, if we are caught. He pretends to battle the monsters and save us all.

After about an hour hike, you decide to head home for lunch. As you are about to cook macaroni and cheese and hot dogs you hear Little Jimmy say “Mommy, what are all these little dots all over Fluffy?” You walk over and to your horror you see about a thousand ticks or what seems to you to be about a thousand ticks, but it’s actually maybe 10. You call your veterinarian and tell them about these small, moving dots on Fluffy. They explain to you they are deer ticks, which carry Lyme disease, but lucky for Fluffy he is Lyme vaccinated.

They recommend you remove the deer ticks from Fluffy and be careful not to let them attach to you because you can also get Lyme disease from deer ticks. He is not on any preventions, though. They recommend you come to the veterinarian and buy a flea and tick preventative that will help keep those ticks and fleas away. They also recommend you make an appointment in 3 to 4 weeks and have a Lyme test performed.

A Lyme test will test for 3 common tick-borne diseases, Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichia, as well as, Heartworm disease caused by mosquitoes. This test will let us know if he contacted any of those diseases from the ticks. They tell you to watch out for a fever, loss of appetite, reduced energy, lameness, generalized stiffness, discomfort, or pain, swelling of joints. If Fluffy does come up positive for tick-borne diseases, it can be treated with a course of antibiotics. Relapses are not uncommon, so you are advised to monitor Fluffy carefully for signs of illness.

Contact Leesport Animal Hospital today for more information on Lyme disease and the Lyme vaccine!

pet poisonImagine you come home after leaving your house for 5 minutes to go pick up a carton of eggs because your husband forgot to tell you he ate the last one and little Jimmy needs his birthday cupcakes tomorrow for school. You tell little Jimmy that you’ll be back in 5 minutes, “please keep an eye on Fluffy, your 2-year-old Chihuahua, and to BE GOOD!” You arrive back home, walk into your house and see a catastrophe. Little Jimmy and Fluffy got into the Easter candy and there is chocolate everywhere. I mean everywhere. You see a mixture of wrappers and brands. Reese’s Pieces, dark chocolate, Hersey kisses, 3 Musketeers, Snickers, Milky Ways, Rolos, and those god awful Milk Duds. You start to panic, but then you remember this blog and now you know what to do.

Call the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680. Have your credit card ready because there is a fee of $59.00. The helpful staff will guide you through the next steps. They will ask you a number of questions, which will help them figure out if Fluffy got a toxic dose of chocolate. Depending on how much chocolate was consumed or you think was consumed because poor Little Jimmy is on a sugar high and can’t tell what is up and what is down. They will tell you how to treat at home or to call your veterinarian. If a toxic dose was consumed, they will fax and call your veterinarian while you are driving Fluffy in and let them and you know the next steps to help Fluffy.

There are a number of things that are harmful to your pet. If you visit the pet poison website,, you can find a list of things that can potentially be, or are, poisonous to our pets, whether it be a cat or dog. There are things that we have around our house that are dangerous to pets that we don’t even know about. Chocolate is one of the most common pet poisons we see at our hospital.

For more information stop by Leesport Animal Hospital today and ask for our client hands outs on pet poison!

poop breathDo you wake up at night wondering what that horrid smell is? You look at your significant other fast asleep and think, ”Wow, what did you eat?” But then…you hear the peaceful sound of snoring coming from the foot of the bed and realize it’s the dog! Laying there on their back, legs spread, mouth wide open, exhaling this putrid smell. Yes, it’s him…his breath!! Your faithful companion that loves to lick your face and even sneak in a french kiss is in fact the source of that putrid smell. If this is you, this month we will change your restless nights of waking up to horrid smells to the sweet smell of mint.

When a dental is performed, we remove all the plaque and tartar from the teeth with dental instruments and an ultrasonic cleaner. We check the teeth for gingival pockets, fractured teeth, mobile teeth, etc. We perform radiographs, to look for any abnormalities within the teeth. We extract any teeth that need to be removed and polish the teeth. All this helps keep the mouth of your pet healthy, which in return supports overall better health for your pet.

The plaque will start forming on the teeth right after the dental. Here are some recommendations to help fight dental disease once your pet’s teeth have had a dental cleaning. We recommend brushing your pet’s teeth at least 3 times a week, if not every day. Brushing the outer surfaces is sufficient. OraVet chews can be given once a day and will help protect against bacteria that leads to plaque, tartar, and bad breath. T/D is a dental diet that can be given as treats or your pet’s diet. T/D cleans the surface of the teeth as your pet is chewing. We sell all these products here at the hospital.

We are helping promote dental health by offering 20% off of routine dental cleaning through the end of March. Please call our office at 610-926-8866 to schedule an appointment for your pet!

Dog with suitcaseWhat is a holiday when you can’t take every member of the family, and that includes your pets? Many people feel as though their dog or cat is a major part of their family and couldn’t bear leaving them at home or in a kennel for an extended period of time.  The truth is that not every pet can handle long-distance travel, so be sure to thoughtfully consider whether your pet’s overall temperament and/or any physical conditions or illnesses they have may create an overly stressful travel experience for both them and you.

Here is a simple list of things you need to remember to do if you are traveling with a pet:

  • Puppies, kittens and senior pets need a visit to the vet to be sure they are fit to travel.
  • Bring your pet’s health records along. These could come in handy in an emergency.
  • Get your pet acclimated to its crate or carrier months ahead of travel time.
  • If flying, book the flight on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, as these are lighter travel days.
  • Know your airline’s pet policy and don’t try to get around it. You may have to eat the price of your ticket when you are not allowed to board.
  • Bring a harness or crate to assure your dog or cat is safe in the car. Use pet pads for accidents.
  • Feed your pet lightly the day of travel and no sooner than 4 hours ahead of time. Keep them hydrated during the trip.
  • Never leave them unattended, either in the car or at the airport.
  • Leave early and take your time. When in the car, stop frequently for walks. When heading to the airport, get to the ticket counter early in case the check-in lines are long.
  • If you are traveling internationally, know your destination country’s pet import rules.
  • Bring supplies – leashes, treats, pick-up bags, medicines, dog or cat food.
  • Contact a pet-friendly hotel should you need one and talk to them about their pet policies.
  • Bring pet towels for easy cleanup.

If you follow these steps and make sure you have everything you and your dog needs, you can both have a safe, comfortable, enjoyable trip and holiday.