By Melanie Rushforth, SPCA Serving Erie County Vice President, Veterinary Services

Today is World Zoonoses Day! So, what the heck does that even mean?

World Zoonoses Day has been observed on July 6th since 1885 to honor the success of French biologist Louis Pasteur, who administered the first vaccination against zoonotic disease on this day. A zoonosis, or zoonotic disease, is an infectious disease that has jumped from a non-human animal to humans. Zoonotic pathogens may be bacterial, viral or parasitic, or may involve unconventional agents and can spread to humans through direct contact or through food, water or the environment. They represent a major public health problem around the world due to our close relationship with animals in agriculture, as companions and in the natural environment. Zoonoses can also cause disruptions in the production and trade of animal products for food and other uses.

Zoonotic diseases range from minor short-term illness to a major life-changing illness. Certain ones can even cause death.

Zoonotic pathogens can spread to humans through any contact point with domestic, agricultural, or wild animals. People living adjacent to wilderness areas or in semi-urban areas with higher numbers of wild animals are at risk of disease from animals such as rats, foxes or raccoons. Urbanization and the destruction of natural habitats increase the risk of zoonotic diseases by increasing contact between humans and wild animals.

Simple hygiene practices will drastically reduce, if not eliminate, the risk of zoonotic spread of disease from pets to people. Some of the things you can do include:

– Make sure that any sign of illness or disease in your pet is diagnosed and treated promptly by your veterinarian.

– Bathe and groom your pet. This will increase the chance of early detection of any skin lesions.

– Give your pet a broad-spectrum deworming product on a regular basis. The simplest way to do this is to use a monthly heartworm product that includes a dewormer. Prevention is key!

– Wear gloves when gardening or working in areas where dogs, cats, or other animals may have urinated or defecated.

– Pick up any feces on your property and stoop and scoop when you take your dog for a walk. Dispose of all waste materials promptly and safely.

– Always ensure you wash your hands after handling any animal.

– Provide separate food and water dishes for your pet, and wash and store them separately from your family’s dishes.

– Wash pet bedding frequently.

– Use flea and tick control products on a routine basis.

People can come in contact with animals in many places. This includes at home and away from home, in places like fairs, schools, stores, and parks. Insects, like mosquitoes and fleas, and ticks bite people and animals day and night. Thankfully, there are things you can do to protect yourself and your family from zoonotic diseases. A regular vaccination schedule and good hygiene practices will set you and your pets up for good health and a long life. If you are in search of a veterinary home, consider the Lipsey Clinic at the SPCA Serving Erie County. With monthly wellness plans including a preventative package, you will be in good hands for the long-term care of your four-legged friends. More information can be found on lipseyclinic.com.

SPCA Serving Erie County LVT Constantino is Nominee for 2021 American Humane Hero Veterinary Nurse Award

Vote for Marisa each day >>

June 18, 2021 — The annual American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Nurse Awards™ honor the heroes who dedicate their lives to making a difference in animals’ lives, and this year, the SPCA Serving Erie County’s Marisa Constantino, LVT and Dr. Allison Kean, DVM were both nominated for these awards and recognition!

Constantino, pictured here, is one of five veterinary nurses selected to advance to the voting round!

Voting for the 2021 American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Nurse Awards™ ,  sponsored by Zoetis Petcare, is now open!  From now until 12 p.m. Pacific Time on July 29, 2021, you can vote for your favorite vet and vet nurse each day. Your votes will determine the winners that will be featured on Hallmark Channel this fall.

If you are a U.S. resident at least 18 years old, please vote for Marisa each day right here >>

Marisa was nominated due to the outstanding care she provides. Her nomination at AmericanHumane.org reads as follows: 

Marisa demonstrates the characteristics of an American Hero Veterinary Nurse on a daily basis. She demonstrates the perfect balance of professionalism, compassion, logic, curiosity, and reason. Marisa approaches each animal she is presented with as if that animal is the only one she will treat that day, and may not see again. For a large, open admission, multi-species shelter, and public-facing clinic, Marisa does the work of 3 technicians. She has taken on the role of trainer and mentor to a large number of 4th year veterinary students on a regular shelter rotation, and does so with the knowledge that she has been influenced by preceptor mentors like her, and strives to pay it forward, also with the knowledge that these future veterinarians will depend on the talents and skills of technicians as they settle into their career, and knowing how to navigate that partnership with grace and professional respect is crucial.

 As animal welfare shifts to a true social service initiative, the ability to serve people with the same respect as animals in need is a skill that Marisa demonstrates without even trying. She sees the big picture, and works to undo much of the oppression and discrimination that many clients seeking services have experienced at some point in their lives. Marisa sees only solutions, not barriers. 

Animal welfare needs to care about people as much as it cares about animals, and Marisa is a perfect vision of that goal. 

The SPCA’s Vice President of Veterinary Services, Melanie Rushforth, says, “It is an honor to work with someone like Marisa on a daily basis.  She is a humble caretaker and an innovative veterinary nurse who represents the industry with the utmost professionalism.  She helps others be better.” We couldn’t agree more!

One winning Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Nurse will be featured on the 2021 American Humane Hero Dog Awards® broadcast on Hallmark Channel this fall!

Please take this opportunity to vote for Marisa as recipient of the American Humane Hero Veterinary Nurse Award™, and encourage your friends and family members to do the same! 

–SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

 

April is Canine Fitness Month!

By: Shauna Greene, Veterinary Services Coordinator and Lipsey Clinic Manager

Western New Yorkers get pretty stir crazy this time of year and with a world-wide pandemic stretching into its second year, a lot of us are feeling extra cooped up. Humans aren’t the only species feeling the call of the outdoors – your dog wants in on the action! This month gives you the perfect excuse to get out in the sunshine and shed some excess winter/covid weight.  April is Canine Fitness Month!

Taking your dog for a walk around the neighborhood is a great way for them to explore and satisfy their need for mental stimulation while giving you some exercise and the chance to socialize (from a safe distance, of course). If your dog is nervous or anxious around people or other dogs, consider using a yellow leash (or tying a yellow ribbon around their leash) to indicate your dog requires space from others. Here’s a little more information about this movement:

If you want to explore somewhere a bit more exotic, consider one of these dog friendly hiking trails in the WNY area: Guide to Dog Friendly Hiking Trails – Step Out Buffalo

And if you are stuck in the house, there are a lot of ways to exercise your dog indoors (remember, mental stimulation is just as important as physical stimulation and can help prevent destructive behaviors).  Use props made from common household objects like laundry baskets, hula hoops, buckets and exercise steps to build obstacle courses for your dog to work through.  My Australian Cattle Dog, Tex, LOVES it when I set up different tricks for him to figure out:

We’ll talk more about other ways to keep your dog fit throughout the month.  Until then, get outside!

The SPCA’s Lipsey Veterinary Clinic offers veterinary services for cats and dogs! To see all available services, please visit LipseyClinic.com. To make an appointment, please call 716-531-4700.

Have a Heart and Get Ahead of Heartworm! 

By: Melanie Rushforth, Vice President, Veterinary Services SPCA Serving Erie County

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets in the United States and many other parts of the world. It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs in the body. Sounds awful, right? There are preventive measures that all pet owners should be aware of. Read on!

Heartworm disease is far more prevalent in dogs, since the dog is a natural host for heartworms, which means that heartworms that live inside the dog mature into adults, mate, and produce offspring. If untreated, their numbers can increase, and dogs have been known to harbor several hundred worms in their bodies. Heartworm disease causes lasting damage to the heart, lungs, and arteries, and can affect the dog’s health and quality of life long after the parasites are gone. For this reason, prevention is by far the best option, and treatment—when needed—should be administered as early in the course of the disease as possible.

The mosquito plays the main role in the heartworm life cycle. Adult female heartworms living in an infected dog, fox, coyote, or wolf produce microscopic baby worms called microfilaria that circulate in the bloodstream. When a mosquito bites and takes a blood meal from an infected animal, it picks up these baby worms, which develop and mature into “infective stage” larvae over a period of 10 to 14 days. Then, when the infected mosquito bites another dog, cat, or susceptible wild animal, the infective larvae are deposited onto the surface of the animal’s skin and enter the new host through the mosquito’s bite wound. Once inside a new host, it takes approximately six months for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms. Once mature, heartworms can live for five to seven years in dogs and up to two to three years in cats. Because of the longevity of these worms, each mosquito season can lead to an increasing number of worms in an infected pet. For something as small as a mosquito, those little insects can really wreak havoc.

In the early stages of the disease, most dogs show few symptoms or no symptoms at all, which is why it is particularly important to take preventative precautions. The longer the infection persists, the more likely symptoms will develop. Active dogs, dogs heavily infected with heartworms, or those with other health problems often show pronounced clinical signs which may include a mild persistent cough, reluctance to exercise, fatigue after moderate activity, decreased appetite, and weight loss. As heartworm disease progresses, pets may develop heart failure and the appearance of a swollen belly due to excess fluid in the abdomen. Dogs with large numbers of heartworms can develop a sudden blockages of blood flow within the heart leading to a life-threatening form of cardiovascular collapse. This is called caval syndrome and is marked by a sudden onset of labored breathing, pale gums, and dark bloody or coffee-colored urine. Without prompt surgical removal of the heartworm blockage, few dogs survive.

The American Heartworm Society recommends that you “think 12:” (1) get your pet tested every 12 months for heartworm and (2) give your pet heartworm preventative 12 months a year. Some states do have a higher disease risk than others, but heartworm has been reported in all 50 U.S. states and dogs and some cats did test positive for heartworm disease in New York State last year. The mosquito population is determined by climate, mosquito species, and local wildlife. As more animals travel nationally and internationally, the risk of heartworm disease is increasing in each state.

Heartworm disease is easily preventable. There are several excellent products that when given monthly year-round prevent and control common intestinal parasites as well as heartworm disease. If your dog is not currently on heartworm prevention, please contact your veterinarian immediately to establish a preventative treatment schedule or contact the Lipsey Clinic!

The SPCA’s Lipsey Veterinary Clinic offers veterinary services for cats and dogs! To see all available services, please visit LipseyClinic.com. To make an appointment, please call 716-531-4700.

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.

Forbidden Chocolate
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.

Learn more about the Lipsey Clinic at the SPCA Serving Erie County here >>

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.

 

 

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

SPCA Slates Canine Parvo Vaccine Clinic for November 18

October 28, 2020
By: SPCA Vice President of Veterinary Services Melanie Rushforth

Canine parvovirus (commonly called parvo) is a highly contagious viral disease that can produce a life-threatening illness in puppies and dogs. It can be transmitted by any person, animal, or object that comes in contact with an infected dog’s feces.

Puppies, adolescent dogs, and adult dogs who are not vaccinated are at risk of contracting the virus.

On Wednesday, November 18th, the Lipsey Clinic at the SPCA Serving Erie County will host a free community Parvo vaccine clinic in an effort to keep pet dogs in the larger community healthy and vaccinated against this deadly virus.

We will serve dogs 4 months and older at this clinic. This clinic will abide by all capacity restrictions and social distancing directives to keep the humans who love and care for these pets safe and limit the risks of contracting COVID-19.

Appointments are required in order to be seen at this event. The SPCA will not be able to accommodate walk-up clients at this time.

To request an appointment, please email ParvoClinic@yourspca.org . You will receive an automatic reply detailing the process to confirm your appointment. Please note, an appointment request is not a guaranteed appointment.

Due to social distancing and capacity limitations, we will be unable to serve walk-in clients on this day. If you do not get an appointment, you are welcome to schedule a wellness visit at the Lipsey Clinic at the SPCA Serving Erie County.

Masks, worn properly, are required on the SPCA Serving Erie County property. If you do not wear your mask completely covering your nose and mouth for the duration of your time at the SPCA Serving Erie County, you will be asked to leave.

We are honored to serve the pets and the humans of Erie County with dignity and with safety precautions in place.