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Deadly Dangers of Homemade Slime

Homemade slime is trending particularly with elementary and middle school students. The ASPCA Poison Control Center reports that dogs seem to love it too and so do some cats and they ingest it. It is very important that your dogs and cats never have access to homemade slime or the containers in which it is made as some of the ingredients are extremely toxic and life threatening.

If your dog or cat somehow has access to homemade slime and there is any possibility that they have ingested it—rush them promptly to your veterinarian or veterinary emergency center for immediate treatment.

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Getting Rid of Fleas on Kittens and Puppies

Flea prevention for kittens and puppies under eight weeks old can be challenging as many flea and tick products on the market today are not safe for these young ones.

Here are some recommendations:

  • Bathing with a mild liquid dishwashing detergent, rinsing thoroughly, and following with through flea combing is effective. This does not provide long-term flea protection but it is a good option for very young, small, or sick patients.
  • Be sure that the older dogs and cats in your household are on flea control and wash all bedding regularly.

Please discuss any questions you have with your veterinarian.

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Fall Health Tips for Your Pets

Fall is a beautiful time of year.  Make sure your pet has a healthy and happy fall by following these tips:

  • Check for ticks
    Ticks are still alive and well even though fall weather arrives.  Many tick species are active into the winter and survive the first frost.  Eliminate leaf and garden litter where ticks can survive the cold, continue using tick control and repellent products, and check your pet frequently for ticks.
  • Be careful when it comes to mouse traps and rat and mouse poison as many are very harmful to dogs and cats.
    Direct ingestion can be fatal.  Talk with your veterinarian about methods of pest control that are safe for your beloved pets.  Be aware that your neighbors may be using dangerous rodenticides so if you think your pet has eaten a rodent—contact your veterinarian immediately.
  • Mushrooms appear in many yards and wooded areas in the fall and some are toxic.
    A small percentage of mushrooms are highly toxic to our dogs and cats.  A guide can be found on the ASPCA website.  If you think your furry family member has eaten a toxic mushroom—contact your veterinarian immediately.
  • Feed your pet right as colder temps require more energy for your pet to stay warm.
    Food generates body heat so pets who spend time outdoors need more food to stay warm as the temperatures fall.  Talk with your veterinarian to determine what your pet needs.
  • Protect your pet against antifreeze toxicity.
    People often winterize their cars in the fall.  This includes changing fluids such as antifreeze which can be deadly for your pet.  One to two teaspoons of antifreeze can kill a ten-pound dog.  Less will kill a ten-pound cat.
  • Be careful with decorations.
    Holidays include decorations.  Be careful not to leave decorative items around the house where your pet can sample them.  Gourds or other fall decorative items can be dangerous if ingested and can lead to foreign body obstructions.
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Halloween Safety Tips for Your Pets

Follow these recommendations to ensure your pets’ safety this Halloween.

• Don’t leave treats out. Many popular Halloween treats are toxic to pets. Chocolate and sugar substitutes are particularly dangerous.

• Carved pumpkins are festive but can injure your pet if lighted and knocked over. Ensure your pets do not have access to lighted pumpkins.

• Costumes on pets can cause unnecessary stress. It is best not to put a costume on your cat or dog unless they truly love it. It can limit their ability to move, see, or breathe normally. Easily chewed off parts are a choking hazard.

• Keep your pets calm and easy to identify. Many strangers coming to the door can be frightening and very stressful for your pets. It is advisable to keep them in a separate room away from the front door for trick-or-treating. When opening the door—be sure your dog or cat doesn’t slip outside. Make sure they are always wearing proper identification which can be a lifesaver for your pet.

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Safe Use of Flea & Tick Prevention Products

Fleas and ticks are not just an annoyance—they present health risks to people and animals. They suck your pet’s blood, your blood, and transmit disease. It is very important to protect your pets from these parasites and keep the parasites out of your home.

There are many effective flea and tick prevention products on the market. Some are topical products that you administer directly on your pet’s skin. Others are oral medications. It’s important to consult with your veterinarian about your options and which choice best meets your pet’s specific needs. Here are some important questions to ask your veterinarian:

• What parasites will this product protect my pet against?

• How often should I apply or administer this product?

• How long will it take for this product to be effective?

• What should I do if my pet has a reaction to this product?

• Do I need to use more than one product? If so, how do I apply or administer multiple products.

It is important that you and your veterinarian develop a customized plan that is best for your dog or cat considering their age, breed, lifestyle, health, and any other medications they are receiving. Caution is essential when considering flea and tick treatments for very young, very old, or unhealthy pets. Your veterinarian will help you choose wisely.

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Dr. Jessica Diebold Joins Our Emergency Team

The Veterinary Referral Center of Northern Virginia is pleased to announce that Jessica Diebold, DVM has joined our exceptionally well-qualified Emergency Team.

Jessica Diebold grew up in northwestern Pennsylvania and graduated from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 2001 with a major in English Literature and numerous minors including Chemistry, Biology, and History. After realizing that full-time students can’t support themselves, and with a lifetime love of animal science and zoology, she went on to veterinary school and graduated from St George’s University after completing her clinical year at the University of Florida in 2005.

Prior to joining the Veterinary Referral Center of Northern Virginia’s Emergency Team in July 2018, Dr. Diebold worked as an Emergency Veterinarian for 13 years throughout Northern Virginia. Her professional interests include emergency surgery, emergency medicine, and animal welfare.

Jessica and her husband Nick have two children—five-year old Grayson and nine-year old Lyra.  She enjoys spending her limited free time with her family, caring for her hobby farm and rabbitry, and traveling. She currently has six dogs, one hairless cat, goats, chickens, ducks, ball pythons, saltwater fish, and innumerable rabbits.

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Congratulations to Dr. Madison Walsh

The Veterinary Referral Center of Northern Virginia is pleased to announce that Madison Walsh, DVM has been promoted to Medical Director of our Emergency Division. Dr. Walsh grew up in southern Oregon where she had several animals, including a dog, cats, llamas, and a blue and gold macaw. She moved to Mississippi for college and completed her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 2012. Her passions within veterinary medicine include emergency medicine, client education, and building relationships with people and their pets. She is very pleased to be working her dream job as an emergency veterinarian here in Virginia.

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Dr. Eric Martinez Joins Our Emergency Team

We are delighted to announce that Eric Martinez, DVM has joined our highly qualified Emergency Team.  Dr. Martinez was born and raised in Puerto Rico.  He attended the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez campus for his veterinary prerequisites and participated in multiple research projects. Dr. Martin
ez was accepted to Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine where he participated in research projects funded by the National Institutes of Health and presented at the North Carolina State University Summer Scholars.

After earning his DVM degree, he successfully completed a small animal medicine/surgery rotation and small animal surgical internship in South Florida. Dr. Martinez relocated to the Northern Virginia area for continued training and liked the area so much that he has decided to settle here.  His interests include emergency surgery and medicine.

Dr. Martinez enjoys spending his free time with his wife, two beautiful daughters, two dogs and a cat.  Diving, sailing , and other outdoor activities are among his favorite pastimes.

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Getting Pet Health Information Online

Keeping your beloved dog and cat healthy and happy is very important to you. Understanding their health is a critical component to ensuring their well-being and happiness.

There are many sources of pet health information available to you—books, magazines, family and friends, newspapers and journals, and extensive online resources. The internet can be a great source of information—BUT it is also a major source of misinformation. It is often difficult to separate accurate, reliable information from information that can be extremely harmful to your pet.

What is the best source of reliable, accurate information regarding your pet’s health and well-being? Your veterinarian is your number one resource for correct, actionable information for your beloved four-legged family member. Here’s why:

• Your veterinarian knows you, your pet, and your pet’s individual health needs well and tailors their advice to what’s best for you and your pet.
• Your veterinarian has the education, training, and in-depth knowledge to provide you with the accurate information you need.

When you have questions about your pet’s health and care—contact your veterinarian for the right information.