Valentine’s Day and Pets
February 11, 2021
By: SPCA Vice President of Veterinary Services Melanie Rushforth
While we at the Lipsey Clinic at the SPCA Serving Erie County believe the best Valentine’s gift you can give your pet is the gift of a longer and healthier life without the burden of litters and pesky hormonal cycles, free of fleas and other parasites, it’s the season of love! Let’s talk a little about things to look out for this month.
Seasoned pet lovers know that all types of chocolate are potentially life-threatening when ingested by pets. Methylxanthines are caffeine-like stimulants that affect gastrointestinal, neurologic and cardiac function—they can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, seizures and an abnormally elevated heart rate. The high-fat content in lighter chocolates can potentially lead to a life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas. Go ahead and indulge, but don’t leave chocolate out for chowhounds to find.
Careful with Cocktails
Spilled wine, a half a glass of champagne, or some leftover liquor are nothing to cry over until a curious pet laps them up. Because animals are smaller than humans, a little bit of alcohol can do a lot of harm, causing vomiting, diarrhea, lack of coordination, central nervous system depression, tremors, difficulty breathing, metabolic disturbances and even coma. Potentially fatal respiratory failure can also occur if a large amount is ingested.
Life Is Sweet
Don’t let pets near treats sweetened with xylitol. If ingested, gum, candy, and other treats that include this sweetener can result in hypoglycemia (a sudden drop in blood sugar). This can cause your pet to suffer depression, loss of coordination and seizures.
Every Rose Has Its Thorn
Don’t let pets near roses or other thorny-stemmed flowers. Biting, stepping on, or swallowing their sharp, woody spines can cause serious infection if a puncture occurs. De-thorn your roses far away from pets.
Playing with Fire
It’s nice to set your evening aglow with candlelight, but put out the fire when you leave the room. Pawing kittens and nosy pooches can burn themselves or cause a fire by knocking over unattended candles.
Wrap It Up
Gather up tape, ribbons, bows, wrapping paper, cellophane and balloons after presents have been opened—if swallowed, these long, stringy and “fun-to-chew” items can get lodged in your pet’s throat or digestive tract, causing her to choke or vomit.
Find the love you’ve been looking for at the SPCA Serving Erie County! See our adoptable animals >>
SPCA ISSUES WINTER PET SAFETY TIPS
February 5, 2021
By: Gina Lattuca, SPCA Chief Communications Officer
It was a mild winter so far, but as Buffalonians, we knew that snow, wind, and frigid temps would return. This year is different from other years, however, in that it’s a little more complicated to receive emergency veterinary care, as veterinary clinics (including the low-cost Lipsey Veterinary Clinic at the SPCA) strive to comply with COVID-related guidelines. Plan ahead for the upcoming freezing days and nights now to ensure your pets stay safe and healthy throughout the weekend and the remaining winter months. Read on for some of the SPCA Serving Erie County’s winter pet safety tips.
*OUTDOOR ANIMAL SHELTER MUST BE SUITABLE FOR INCLEMENT WEATHER: …and if it’s not, animal welfare officers can rescue the pet even before he or she shows signs of suffering, thanks to New York State’s Shelter Law that went into effect in 2003. Thanks to a legislative push in late 2018 that led to stronger laws concerning the tethering of dogs within Buffalo city limits, the SPCA and other law enforcement organizations can now take even more steps to ensure dogs are protected from the elements.
* Keep a Tight Leash: Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm. Pets can lose their scent on snow and ice, especially if snow is falling at a fast rate, and your pet can easily lose his sense of direction. Pets may also panic during a snowstorm and run away; many pets are lost during the winter months. Remember to keep current identification on your pet at all times!
*Keep Pets At Home: Never leave your pet alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold. Your pet could literally freeze to death.
*Always Dry Pet’s Wet Feet: Thoroughly wipe off your pet’s legs and stomach when she comes in and out of the rain, snow or ice. Check her sensitive foot pads, which may be bleeding from snow or ice encrusted in them. Your pet may also pick up salt and other chemicals on her feet accidentally. These chemicals could hurt her if she swallows them while licking her feet.
*Lay Straw for Dogs’ Visits Outdoors: Can’t get your dog to wear booties? Lay straw on top of snow for trips outdoors by dogs reluctant to step out onto a freezing surface to relieve themselves.
*Check Cars for Cats: During the winter, stray or neglected cats outdoors sometimes sleep under the hood of the car where it’s warm and comfortable. If you start the motor, cats could get caught in or flung about by the fan belt, causing serious injury or death. To prevent this, bang loudly on the hood and sides of your car before turning on the ignition to give the cat a chance to escape.
*Keep Outdoor ‘Sessions’ Short: Take your dog outside only for as long as it takes for him to relieve himself. Dogs, particularly small, short-haired breeds like Chihuahuas and terriers, suffer from the cold despite their seemingly warm fur coats. Live within Buffalo city limits? Don’t forget Buffalo’s new laws pertaining to tethering dogs in inclement weather..
*Bathe Pets Only When Necessary: Your pet runs the chance of catching a cold when wet, especially in cold weather. If you absolutely must bathe your pet, consult a professional groomer or veterinarian.
*Keep Pets Warm: Limit the clipping of your pet’s hair in the cold winter months, keeping your pet as warm as possible. Brush your pet daily in lieu of clipping to keep your pet’s coat healthy, shiny, clean and mat-free. Make sure your pet has a warm place to sleep far away from outside drafts.
*Hungry Pets: Speak to your veterinarian about increasing your pet’s supply of food, particularly protein, to keep his fur thick and healthy through the winter months. Inquire about vitamin and oil supplements.
*ANTIFREEZE IS POISON TO PETS: ANTIFREEZE, EVEN IN SMALL DOSES, IS A LETHAL POISON FOR DOGS AND CATS! Because of its sweet taste, animals are attracted to it. Be sure to clean up spills thoroughly, and consider switching to an animal-friendly antifreeze. Ensure that, if you store Antifreeze in a garage, shed, or other places accessible to your pets, it is well out of pets’ reach.
If your pet becomes lost, be sure to visit YourSPCA.org’s Lost and Found page for recommendations on where to post lost pet listings, and tips for finding your lost pets.
For more tips regarding keeping pets safe and healthy during the winter, contact the SPCA at 716-875-7360, or call the Lipsey Veterinary Clinic at the SPCA, 716-531-4700.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) – When it comes to supporting Buffalo’s sports teams, this weekend is all about the red and blue for the Buffalo Bills. But quietly, support is also going out to a member of the Buffalo Sabres who has suffered a personal loss.
Goaltender Linus Ullmark was with the team on Monday when he received a call from his mother in Sweden that his father had passed away at the age of 63.
On Thursday, Ullmark opened up to Sabres.com about it.
“I had my worst pregame skate in my whole life, probably,” he said. “Usually when these things sort of happen, with me, there’s always been a common theme, and that’s been that my dad has either been very sick or that something bad has happened back home. I sensed that something was wrong.”
He said he’d been checking his phone a lot since his father entered the hospital early last week. When Ullmark reached the locker room, he found that he had a missed call from his mother.
“The hunch that I had was true,” he said. “She just wanted to call me and say that that afternoon, Dad left us. He left us around 5 very peacefully, calmly with her by his side.”
Linus Ullmark has been a friend and supporter of the SPCA Serving Erie County. Last year he sponsored a program called Ullmark’s Barks. It brought more social media attention to animals that were having a harder time getting adopted.
“That was all Buffalonians needed to hear,” said SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca. “People started calling and asking how they could contribute to Ullmark’s Barks in memory of Linus’ father.”
Lattuca said they set up this special SPCA page for contributions >>.
“Linus is such a remarkable man. It gives you an indication of what kind of man his dad was. We think Buffalo is the most compassionate city in the nation and we’re honored to serve this community.”
Lucia, Safe and Sound After Two Years Straying the Streets
December 29, 2020
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca
UPDATE 1/14/2021: Yesterday was a big day for Lucia! She was adopted and went home to West Seneca with Katherine! Be a good girl, Lucia!
Sure, it takes a village to see some things through. But sometimes it takes an entire city. And this particular cat brought to the SPCA yesterday needed the City of Good Neighbors to help her see things straight!
Here is Lucia’s story, as told to us by our Director of Admissions Amy Jaworski and Admissions Counselor Tammi Cogswell:
Approximately two years ago, a calico kitty was admitted to the City of Buffalo Animal Shelter (CBAS). While there, as part of the excellent care provided by CBAS, the kitty had eye removal surgery and was placed in foster care for several weeks before being ready for adoption. She was named Lucia, and, when her rehab was complete, Lucia was placed up for adoption at PetSmart in Buffalo.
Lucia was adopted quickly…but moments after her adoption, while the adopter was walking to her car to bring Lucia home, Lucia fell through the bottom of the cat carrier and was gone. Devoted CBAS volunteers, including SPCA employee Tammi Cogswell, searched for this cat, and in these two years, right up until this week, continued to put food out for her (courtesy of dedicated CBAS volunteer Mary, who made the search for Lucia a regular part of her life for two years!) in the hopes of capturing her, but with no success.
Several months ago, a woman named Susan came to the SPCA to surrender her mother’s cat, and Tammi, working at our Admissions Desk, asked Susan the general questions asked upon intake: how Susan’s mom acquired the cat, how long she owned the cat, etc. The conversation turned to stray cats when Susan responded that her mother’s cat had been a stray; Susan offhandedly mentioned that there was another stray cat who had been in the area a few years, a cat with beautiful colors and ONE EYE!
Tammi, acting as the ever-vigilant animal advocate that she is, asked Susan if this stray cat was in the vicinity of the PetSmart location in the city. The answer was a resounding “Yes,” the cat took up residence on Buffalo’s Rebecca Drive, and Susan promised to send Tammi photos of the cat next time the kitty came around.
Over the last few months, Tammi sent messages to Susan asking about the cat, but Susan was never able to grab another photo. Earlier this month, Susan contacted Tammi asking to borrow a live trap in an effort to safely capture and contain this one-eyed beauty.
We learned this cat had captured many hearts during her 2+-year stay in the neighborhood, and while the entire community came together to help care for her, Lucia had touched the life of one man in particular named Stephen, who was a primary caretaker (he even built a house for her, complete with a heated floor mat). Stephen had become very attached to this little girl and named her “Manechan” (Stephen later said he named this feisty cat Manechan after a feisty, Thai princess…so her full name, Stephen told us, is Lucia Manechan!).
Susan shared with Stephen the possible story behind this stray and put him in touch with Tammi at the SPCA.
Jump ahead to this week…the one-eyed stray Stephen and others in the neighborhood had been caring for was finally safely secured with no trap needed, and arrangements were made for Susan to bring the kitty to the SPCA to be scanned for a microchip.
The big scan happened yesterday, and it was finally confirmed: the beautiful, one-eyed stray is, in fact, Lucia! There were plenty of tears of joy at the SPCA and CBAS over this exciting news! Thanks to Stephen, Susan, and the other amazing, caring community members in the neighborhood unable to keep Lucia, yet dedicated to looking out for her wellbeing, Lucia is alive, safe, and unharmed more than two years after her escape!
Today, Lucia is, understandably, a little stressed, and we’re giving her time to relax and unwind after her adventures. At the time of this writing, SPCA representatives have contacted CBAS representatives to determine what happens next in little Lucia’s story!
The compassionate teams at the CBAS and SPCA, combined with a Buffalo neighborhood full of caring individuals including Stephen and Susan, exemplify an entire community coming together to care for the lives of its animals.
Keep watching this page and YourSPCA.org for updates on Lucia!
Ladies and gentlemen….drum roll, please!
The Spectrum News Buffalo
for Thursday, December 17, 2020:
the SPCA’s own
Click on the image below to see this spotlight on a volunteer who dedicates her life to making our animals’ lives better! THANK YOU, CARY!
Tommy the Cat: Reunited for Christmas! One Stray Cat’s Buffalo-to-North Carolina Journey Home for the Holidays
December 10, 2020
By: SPCA Serving Erie County Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca
See Tommy’s video here >>
“Reunited for Christmas” sounds like a favorite holiday movie with a fantasy ending. For Tommy the cat, however, this holiday fantasy ending was real!
Tommy, a sweet kitten, was adopted at the SPCA Serving Erie County by then-Buffalo resident Frances Grinage back in June of 2018. As part of his adoption, Tommy was microchipped at the SPCA. Frances says he fit right into her Buffalo home, where he lived with other four-footed friends…among them, dogs CoCo and Baby.
Frances tells us that every night, Tommy, CoCo, and Baby contentedly shared her bed for their nightly slumber, and that every morning, Tommy would wake her up with a “kiss” on the nose.
In August of 2020, Frances found herself on the move to North Carolina. Tommy, however, had other plans; as Frances was packing up the car to leave, Tommy escaped. Frances said she searched high and low and wanted to remain in Buffalo until she found Tommy, but finally had to begin her road trip without her beloved boy.
Jump ahead to earlier this December week. A good Samaritan who found a very sweet, stray cat arrived at the SPCA to surrender the kitty. It turns out this sweet cat was microchipped…and that chip identified Tommy’s owner as Frances.
When Frances received the call that Tommy had been found (approximately one mile from where Frances had lived!), she said she was elated! “I couldn’t believe it!” said Frances. “I felt like my heart was going to explode! All I wanted for Christmas was to have my Tommy back.”
The SPCA team went to work, and on Wednesday, December 9 (coincidentally during the annual SPCA T-Mobile Radiothon with Newsradio 930 WBEN and Star 102.5 FM Radio!), with a little help from the SPCA’s Cary Munschauer, Tommy packed his bags and headed to the Buffalo airport for his 1:30 p.m. flight to North Carolina!
As pictured here, Tommy patiently awaited his departure at the airport…seems he had a little bit to say when it was slightly delayed…but Tommy’s flight was closely monitored and it appeared to be a smooth trip home.
Frances contacted us early this morning to say that Tommy arrived safely home, and was resting after his travels! “He cried a lot at first, and was extremely nervous. He finally settled down around 8 p.m.”
Frances added that a 4 1/2-month break apparently did nothing to change Tommy’s routine! Right away, Frances tells us, “…he did recognize me and also CoCo and Baby! We all slept together again! It felt like old times.”
Even during a year as difficult as 2020, Tommy’s tale proves that miracles really do happen, especially in the City of Good Neighbors. An entire community came together to help this cat reunite with his loving mom and family.
“I’m truly happy he’s home,” says Frances. “Thank you and the entire staff of the SPCA for my early Christmas gift!”
See Tommy in this video re-telling of his story:
William Mattar ‘Rescue a Shelter Animal’ Campaign Features SPCA Serving Erie County’s Unending Work
November 24, 2020
UPDATE, DECEMBER 4, 2020: See more on this campaign on WKBW-TV’s AM Buffalo!
Car accident attorney William Mattar recently teamed up with the SPCA Serving Erie County to produce a new television commercial showcasing the SPCA’s tireless and vital work. The spot premiered during the law firm’s annual Rescue a Shelter Animal campaign and features several clips of what happens behind the scenes at the humane society, echoing the message that the SPCA NEVER STOPS.
“From our Rescue a Shelter Animal campaign, we have been able to learn so much about the SPCA Serving Erie County. Our campaign has always focused on rescuing animals. As important as that still is, and in growing our relationship with the Erie County SPCA, we learned that they never stop serving our community. By sponsoring the SPCA and developing this commercial, we wanted the public to be aware of all the vital work they do and encourage everyone to support them at this crucial time. Because once you see it firsthand, you want to help, and you feel a sense of responsibility to make everyone else around you aware,” said William Mattar, pictured here with Peanut Butter Mattar.
“We at the SPCA take that word ‘serving’ in our name very seriously,” says Gina Lattuca, SPCA Serving Erie County chief communications officer. “During this COVID phase, with the patient support of our community members, services like animal rescue, cruelty investigations, wildlife rehabilitation, animal adoptions and admissions, and more still haven’t stopped. We’re incredibly thankful to William Mattar and his team for allowing us to share that message and, in this commercial, provide a rare, behind-the-scenes peek into the work going on every day at the SPCA Serving Erie County.”
Before an animal is paired with its forever home, the SPCA staff and volunteers work tirelessly preparing animals for adoption, including behavioral development, training, providing veterinary care, and everything in between. “Without their ongoing efforts to prepare these animals for a smooth and lasting transition to their forever homes, adoptions would not be successful,” said William Mattar. With the launch of this commercial and through the law firm’s Rescue a Shelter Animal campaign, William Mattar encourages the public to support the SPCA Serving Erie County by providing donations that go directly towards rescuing animals, providing essential resources, and fighting animal cruelty.
William Mattar covered the cost of the SPCA Serving Erie County commercial and has donated all the airtime. The commercial is available below, or watch it on the William Mattar Rescue a Shelter Animal campaign page (beneath the Pet Photo Contest information).
For more information, visit www.WilliamMattar.com.
Lipsey Clinic COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures
November 13, 2020
New York State has recognized veterinary practices such as the Lipsey Clinic at the SPCA Serving Erie County as essential and are allowing them to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. To protect staff from the spread of this virus, veterinary clinics such as the Lipsey Clinic at the SPCA Serving Erie County have made considerations to protect both human and animal health.
The Lipsey Clinic at the SPCA Serving Erie County veterinarians are applying careful professional judgment to case management so that needed care for animals continues to be provided while limiting staff and client person-to-person exposure. This may also include prioritizing urgent patient visits and postponing non-urgent veterinary visits and elective procedures until regular business operations resume in Western New York. In some jurisdictions, executive orders will directly influence what types of procedures may be performed.
The greatest risk of COVID-19 exposure to staff at veterinary clinics comes from person-to-person transmission through respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, or talking, which is the main way SARS-CoV-2 spreads. Clinic staff are continuing to self-screen daily, at the beginning of shifts prior to interacting with staff and clients and will practice social distancing. The Lipsey Clinic at the SPCA Serving Erie County is taking additional precautions to minimize staff contact with all pet owners.
Effective immediately, the Lipsey Clinic at the SPCA Serving Erie County will enforce the following procedures in addition to the standard directive for all individuals to wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth completely and socially distance at least six feet apart when in an area with other people.
-When a client calls to make an appointment, the receptionist will inform the client that only one person will be allowed to approach the building to pass along the pet to a veterinary staff member within the entryway/double doors at the Lipsey Clinic at the SPCA Serving Erie County and anyone else along for the appointment will have to wait in the car. At this time, the receptionist will ask if the pet has had any exposure to a person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. The receptionist will gather applicable information for the pet’s appointment at this time. Any pet who has had exposure to an individual with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 will be deferred to an appointment at a later time.
-Upon arriving for an appointment, the client must call from the car upon arrival. At this time, an assistant may gather pertinent information from the client regarding the concerns for the veterinary visit.
-When the building is cleared from the previous appointment, the client will be invited by phone to approach the building with the pet to hand off the pet to a veterinary assistant at the double doors of the Lipsey Clinic. Only one person should approach the doors with the pet. Pet owners will not be allowed to enter the building.
-A veterinary assistant will weigh the pet in the lobby and bring the pet to the exam room for exam and treatment. Upon completion of the exam, the owner will be called again to discuss any treatments necessary. After treatments are performed, the owner will be called and given the total for the visit, and will complete the check-out process over the phone prior to collecting the pet if the owner is paying by credit card (this is preferred). If the owner is paying with cash, the owner may approach the building if another pet owner is not present, pay for services and receive change, and at that time, retrieve the pet and accompanying paperwork.
It is essential for the health and safety of staff and clients that these safety directives be followed.
For more information, please visit the Lipsey Clinic page >>
— Melanie Rushforth, SPCA Vice President of Veterinary Services