Lucerne Veterinary Hospital Blog

Memorial Day Pet Safety Tips

memorial day

Sizzling hamburgers on the grill, piles of golden corn-on-the-cobs glistening with butter, and the clamor of children splashing in the pool under the warm glow of the sun. Memorial Day is the time we commemorate our fallen servicemembers, but it is also a great occasion to gather with friends and family and spend some time outdoors. Festive situations like these, however, are not always the safest of times for pets. Avoid these potential dangers to keep your pets safe during this Memorial Day holiday.


A Relaxed Cat is a Happy Cat! Reducing Your Cat’s Stress for Vet Visits


Cats are excellent predators, but they are also prey for many species in nature, so they tend to hide signs of illness until they are no longer able to. This means you may not be able to tell when your cat is becoming unhealthy, and is why a yearly exam (or twice-yearly, for older cats) is so important to his or her well-being. In addition, regular vaccines and dewormings are important for cats, who may be exposed to infectious diseases and parasites, some of which can be transmitted to humans.

Vet Visits

We all know it can be stressful to get a cat to the veterinarian’s office — SO stressful in fact that we (consciously or subconsciously) avoid doing it. We’re here to tell you we understand, and want to work with you to help make annual exams much easier on both of you. Continue reading for tips on how to decrease the stress associated with a vet visit for both you and your cat.


Holiday Hazards: Keep your pet safe this festive winter season

holiday hazards

Red and green lights twinkle on evergreen branches, gently intertwined with shimmering silver tinsel. The aroma of chocolate chip and gingerbread cookies wafts lazily through homes bustling with excited children. The holiday season is replete with colorful decorations and delicious foods, but it is important to remember that this time of year can present special hazards for pets. Follow these tips so you can enjoy the holiday at home with your loved ones instead of at the emergency room.


Saving a Life through Blood Donation

Illustration of dogs blood donation flat design concept with icons elements

Buddy is just another happy-go-lucky chocolate Labrador until one day he collapses on a hike. He is rushed to the hospital where a bleeding tumor on his spleen is discovered. Midnight is a tiny stray kitten who is very weak from blood loss due to a heavy flea burden. Duke is a young beagle who has just been struck by a car chasing a squirrel across the street.

What do all of these patients have in common?

They all have had their lives saved by blood donors.

Blood donation is a safe and universal procedure performed worldwide to save the lives of sick and injured pets. We are currently looking for a small number of dogs and cats from the community to join our blood donor program. Read on to see if your pet meets the qualifications to save a life. Continue…

Emergency First Aid Care: Part 2

emergency first aid

What can you do in the event of a pet emergency? This entry is a continuation from last week’s emergency first aid article. Last week we addressed traumatic injuries, toxins, and seizures.

Eye Injuries

If you notice your pet’s eye has been dislocated from its socket and the lids can no longer close over the eyeball (known as a proptosis), make sure to keep the eye moist by applying KY jelly or contact lens saline solution before bringing her to your veterinarian. This is an emergency that requires immediate surgery. If your pet has received an irritant in her eye, flush it for 15 minutes with contact lens solution or running water, and monitor closely for any persistent discomfort. Do not remove any foreign bodies that may be impaling the eye. Use an e-collar if you have one available to prevent your pet from traumatizing her eye. Be sure to bring your pet to your veterinarian right away, as the eye is a fragile organ. Severe ocular injuries may require care by a board-certified ophthalmologist.

Heat Stroke

Signs of heat stroke include excessive fatigue, panting, or collapse after spending time in a hot environment. If your pet is experiencing distress after exercise in hot weather or being confined in a very warm environment such as a car, immediately remove your pet from the hot surroundings to a cool, shaded area. Bring down your pet’s temperature with cool water and place a fan on her, then bring her to your veterinarian. Do not use ice water, as this can cause the superficial vessels in your pet’s body to constrict, thereby retaining heat and delaying cooling.

Allergic Reaction

It is not uncommon for a dog to experience an allergic reaction after, for example, having been stung by a bee or bitten by a spider. When this happens, you may observe your dog’s muzzle and face swelling up, or hives developing over her flanks. Benadryl can be very useful for these scenarios, but make sure to contact your veterinarian for dosages and guidance before administering medications to your pet.

Emergency First Aid: In Summary

  • Even before an emergency occurs, keep a list of facilities close to you that provide emergency services, along with directions.
  • If possible, it is also a good idea to set aside funds to be available should you ever be in this situation.
  • A first aid kit can also be invaluable (see our First Aid blog for recommendations)
  • Emergency first aid is important, but when an emergency occurs, the most important thing will be to transport your pet to an emergency facility as soon as possible. Despite how panicked you are, however, drive carefully– crashing your car will not help your pet receive care any sooner!

If you have any doubts as to what constitutes an emergency, do not hesitate to call your veterinarian or nearest emergency facility for guidance.  We will do everything we can to help you get the care your pet needs as quickly as possible.

Sniffly Noses and Hacking Coughs: An Update on Canine Influenza

Dog is lying on back on the bed - selective focus

A year ago, a novel strain of the canine influenza virus alarmed the boarding facilities and animal shelters of Chicago by its unrelenting and rapid spread through the canine community. Veterinary hospitals were overwhelmed by scores of dogs with high fevers, coughing, and sneezing. 1500 dogs became ill within 2 months, with 8 fatalities from pneumonia. Since that time, the virus has spread to at least 29 states, with smaller outbreaks in Seattle and Atlanta. One case so far has been confirmed in Maine. Continue…


Rodenticides: Deadly Not Just to Rats


Scruffy, a rambunctious two-year-old terrier, was at his summer cabin when he found a special treat under the cabinet—a tray of delicious green pellets. His family found the evidence later that evening, and monitored him over the next few days for any signs of illness. His stool was green for a day or two, but otherwise he seemed fine, and his owners breathed a sigh of relief. The following week, however, it was evident that something was seriously wrong. Scruffy started throwing up blood, developing dark diarrhea, and had difficulty breathing. At this point, he was rushed to the animal hospital, where tests showed severe clotting abnormalities. Fortunately, after several days of intensive care, Scruffy was eventually discharged.

Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common occurrence, and not all patients are so lucky. This story highlights the need to address rodenticide exposures as early as possible. There are several types of rat poisons on the market, and some may have delayed effects. It is vital to call your veterinarian as soon as possible so that decontamination and treatment measures can be initiated and the toxicity mitigated.


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I Hate Ticks

I grew up in the Midwest, where we routinely picked ticks off ourselves and our dogs.  We didn’t think twice about it, we just did it.  They were part of being outside and we spent all our time outside.  Why do I now hate them?  Because now it’s my job to keep your dog, cat and family free of tick diseases.  And that’s not easy.

For one thing, ticks carry lots of bad diseases.  Lyme disease, many types of Ehrlichia, Anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Mycoplasma haemominutum and Bartonellosis just to name a few.  Ticks can also carry lots of diseases at the same time.  In other words, they can give your dog more than one disease with any given blood sucking meal.  And did I mention that many of these diseases can be very hard to diagnose or treat effectively?  Some are even fatal.  Yup fatal. Continue…

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