Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

It's Time to Check the Chip!


Pet owners have long understood the importance of microchipping their pets. After all, microchipping helps to raise the chances of a reunion with your pet should he or she ever be lost, and the process of insertion is quick, simple, and incredibly cost effective. 
However, there is a potential “catch-22” when it comes to microchipping: the information that the chip contains. The fact is - without the right information, a pet microchip is next to useless. 
How microchips work 
Microchips are programmed with a unique reference number, which is connected to a computerized file. This file contains the customer contact information. So if a lost pet is found, a shelter or veterinarian can scan the microchip, locate the owner’s contact details, and then contact the pet owner to inform them that their pet is safe and sound. Our preferred microchip provider, AVID ID, in combination with PETrac, reunites thousands of pets each week!
However, a microchip is only as useful as the information on the computerized file that it connects to. If this information is out of date, then the microchip is essentially worthless. It is vital that all owners of pets with microchips continually update their personal information with their microchip manufacturer.
“Check The Chip” Day 
Unfortunately, it’s easy to forget to update the computerized file that is linked to your pet’s microchip. In the 21st century, relocating is incredibly common. The average person will move 11.4 times in their lifetime!  Moving is an incredibly stressful process, and the chances of remembering to update your pet’s microchip with every move are slim - understandably so, given that there’s so much else happening, but still a problem should your pet ever be lost.
In an effort to rectify this issue, August 15th has been designated Check The Chip Day - a day dedicated to raising awareness to keep the registration information of microchips up-to-date. Lake Elmo residents are encouraged to use this day as a reminder to contact their microchip manufacturer and check they have the accurate information stored for each pet - and if not, update it. If you're unsure of the manufacturer, please use the AAHA Pet Microchip Lookup tool: http://www.petmicrochiplookup.org.
What if your pet isn’t microchipped?
Check The Chip Day focuses primarily on updating microchip information, but it can also serve as a handy reminder of the importance of microchipping. When it comes to the efficacy of chipping, the statistics tell the story… 
  • Only 22% of all lost dogs in animal shelters will be reunited with their owners. 
  • However, 52% of microchipped dogs will be reunited with their owners. 
  • Fewer than 2% of all cats in animal shelters will be reunited with their owners… 
  • … but a staggering 38% of microchipped cats will be reunited with their families.
As these statistics show, microchipping makes a genuinely major difference to the chances of reunion with a lost pet. If your pet does not currently have a microchip, why not use Check The Chip Day as the inspiration to make an appointment with one of our veterinarians for your pet to have a microchip injected? With a single appointment, you can provide yourself with invaluable peace of mind, and increase your chances of reunion with your furry friend should they ever go astray. 
Infographic: Microchip Your Pet
"August 15th is Check the Chip Day" AVMA, www.avma.org/Events/pethealth/Pages/Check-the-Chip-Day.aspx.
MonaChalabi. “How Many Times Does The Average Person Move?” FiveThirtyEight, FiveThirtyEight, 29 Jan. 2015, fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-many-times-the-average-person-moves/.
“Why Microchip Your Pet?” Petfinder, www.petfinder.com/dogs/lost-and-found-dogs/why-microchip/.
Image Credit: Capuski / iStock Photo / Getty Images Plus

Back to school: How Do Changes in Routines Affect Pets?


Everyone in the family loves summer vacation, but household pets especially delight in the experience. Summer for pets means more time with their favorite humans, relaxing away the summer days, enjoying extra outdoor walks, and receiving plenty of extra attention thanks to your family’s more open schedules.
For most of the family, the switch from lazy summer days to return to the normality of full school days and work schedules not interrupted by long weekend vacations is to be expected - not necessarily welcomed, but at least explicable. Your pets, however, have no way of understanding why their humans are suddenly vacating the house for eight-plus hours a day - and this can impact them in a number of ways. 
The impact of a change in routine
A change in routine is always difficult for pets, most of whom are, by their very nature, literal creatures of habit. Your household routine will change at the start of the school summer vacation period, but, in the eyes of your pets, the change is for the better. 
In the fall, however, the change may be negative for pets - and can result in a condition known as separation anxiety. Having grown accustomed to constant company over the summer, all pets can struggle to be alone during the day - even if they have coped well with this in the past. The negative, from their perspective, change of routine coupled with loneliness can lead to issues. 
What are some of the symptoms of separation anxiety?
  • Depression:
    Pets suffering from separation anxiety will often display signs of depression, such as low mood, low energy, and even a poor appetite. 
  • Destructive behavior:
    Dogs, in particular, are prone to destructive behavior as a result of separation anxiety - you may find, for example, that you return home of an evening to find your dog has semi-destroyed your couch. This isn’t bad behavior; it’s actually a sign of the fact they are anxious and struggling to cope with those feelings. 
  • Excessive vocalization:
    Pets may try to communicate their feelings of anxiety through increased barking or meowing. 
  • “Accidents”:
    A change in routine can cause excessive soiling in all pets, especially if this happens during the times when the family is out of the house.
  • Repetitive walking patterns:
    Many dogs, and sometimes cats, will pace the same route while the family is away. Keep an eye out for excessive wear in specific areas of your floor in case this is happening. 
What can you do about separation anxiety?
Unfortunately, the most obvious solution to separation anxiety - not being separated from your pet - may not be workable. So, instead, you have to focus on relieving the symptoms. 
One way to do this is to ensure your pet has plenty to occupy their time when you are out of the house. Give them access to windows to view the outside world from, for example. Additionally, many owners find that pheromone therapy is incredibly useful for separation anxiety, as it helps to calm them without requiring a heavier pharmaceutical. Additionally food and treat puzzles and mazes help engage pets mentally.
However, it is worth noting that many of the signs of separation anxiety can also be symptoms of other health issues - and the fact these have developed during “back to school” season is a coincidence. As a result, if you notice any of the above symptoms in your pet, it’s worth booking an appointment to discuss the matter with our Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo veterinary team.  With underlying causes ruled out, we can help develop a veterinary care plan that comprises of multiple strategies to help alleviate the symptoms your pet is experiencing. 
With a little intervention, we should be able to help calm separation anxiety in your pets, making for a calmer, happier household.
Image credit: Capuski / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Dangers of Using Online Pharmacies for Your Pet’s Prescriptions

Dangers of Using Online Pharmacies for Your Pet’s Prescriptions:

Today almost everything is on the internet. Instead of having to leave the comfort of your home, modern technology has made it possible to find or purchase whatever you need at the tap of your finger. Although there are a lot of benefits to this new digital world, there are some things that should be avoided -- one of the most important being pet prescriptions.

Difficulty Trusting Supplier Credibility:

For most things, the internet is the go-to place to find the best deals. In the cases of your pet’s health, opting for the cheapest price is not the way to go. Making sure your pet receives proper and accurate care is one of the primary concerns for pet parents. Online pharmaceutical suppliers of pet medicine have drawn in pet owners with their appealing prices and deals on necessary pet care veterinarians offer. While it may be tempting to save a few bucks on big budget hitters like health care, it is very difficult to determine how reputable these suppliers are, much less the drugs they carry.

Dangers of Using Online Pharmacies

Understanding the seriousness of the problem and wanting to prevent further malpractice, the FDA has tackled these shady online pharmacies and reinforced their campaign to make animal parents more aware of how to properly buy veterinary medicine. The organization takes quality assurance issues with online veterinary products very seriously because of the influx of counterfeit, expired, improperly stored, or mislabeled drugs being sold. If an online pharmacy doesn’t require a veterinarian’s prescription, or doesn’t appear to have proper accreditation, chances are it’s not safe.

Insufficient Diagnoses:

Another main concern when it comes to online suppliers, is the accuracy of determining the health concern being treated. Diagnosing your pet and prescribing the best medical treatment for your animal is very difficult without an in-person consultation. Relying on online suppliers, can result in insufficient diagnoses which might even lead to you spending more money on a false health concern.

Further concerns about this issue come from the FDA. Their consumer update specifically advises pet parents make these health-relating decisions with a proper veterinarian-client-patient relationship. In addition to this being the best way to provide an exact diagnosis and being able to prescribe the right medicine, proper drug monitoring and check-ins are crucial for your pet.

Consult Your Veterinarian:

Veterinarians have your best interest at heart, and their primary concern is giving the best care for all of their clients. Putting your trust in an online source that you haven’t developed a relationship with does not give you the same benefits and care that your primary vet does.

While pet health care cost can be a concern for any pet owner, it should not drive you to take drastic measures that put your pet in jeopardy. If you are concerned about the cost of your pet's prescriptions, ask your veterinarian for more cost-efficient treatments or alternative solutions.

Let Our Team at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo Give Your Pet the Proper Care

No matter the health concern or your budget-constraints, our team at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo is here for you and your pet. Don’t forgo expert advice and resort to questionable alternatives. Schedule an appointment with us today to discuss next steps for your pet’s care and let us answer any questions or concerns you may have about online pharmaceuticals.

Photo Credit: katoosha / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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