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FOR OVER 475 DOG YEARS!

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Pets in the WorkplaceThe concept of bringing pets into the workplace is increasingly being recognized as beneficial to business operations by improving employee effectiveness and sense of well-being, and increasing customer satisfaction.  More and more businesses are getting on board, and studies and articles are highlighting the results:

  • When workers bring their pets to their workstations, they report less stress by the end of the day, unlike coworkers who do not bring their pets or who are without pets, both of whom report an increased amount of stress by the end of the day.

  • Employees work more hours in a day, stay at an organization for longer, and have fewer absences if they can bring their pets into the workplace.

  • Customers are more likely to relax and enjoy their time at a business, as well as view it as forward-thinking.

  • Gleeful pets may facilitate more positive coworker exchanges and can allow employees to step back from problems before getting too engrossed to find a solution.

  • Being able to take time at work to care for their pet’s needs allows long-distance or long-working employees to cut the costs of walking services.  Simply owning pets saves billions in healthcare costs, but being able to walk those pets saves millions.

Are you interested in bringing these benefits into your work environment, but aren’t sure how to get the ball rolling?  Here are some considerations to help get you started:

 

Decisive Initial Questions – Pets in the Workplace

  • Does your industry-type match up?  The medical, pharmaceutical, chemical, and food industries may not have the regulatory standards compatible with pet-hospitality in the workplace.

  • What is the condition of your workplace?  Even if you work outside of these industries, you may want to consider whether the condition of your workplace poses any threat to the health of your pet, or whether it can handle the wear and tear that  pets might cause.

  • What will insurance cover?  As implied above, pets can impose some level of risk for  property damage and personal injury at the workplace, as well as the legal and insurance issues that may follow them.  It is important for both business owners and employees to verify with their agents how they can be covered in this situations before moving on.

  • Is your work community up for it?  Some people have moderate to severe allergies or phobias.  Others may be concerned about pets being the causes of and outlets for distraction.  How will a pet impact cleanliness and order at work ; are there fears of property damage and personal injury.

 

Suggestions for Implementation

If the movement gets a go-ahead, it can be helpful to co-create/collaborate on a pet-policy!  Why make a policy?  Not only could it address any legal issues should they occur later on down the line, but rules can support the execution of both work goals and interpersonal harmony during the transition into work life with this new addition.  Furthermore, if a business owner includes employees in the policy-making process, participants may be more likely to follow through on requirements because they understand the reason for existence and they all generally agreed on them.  For sample policies, consider these sources: Workable, Pet Sitters International, and LawRoom (this one includes a reminder about Service Dogs).

 

Lastly, check out articles on pets in the workplace supplied by The Balance and Cesar’s Way for more ideas of details to think of adding to a pet-policy.  From fun to strictly practical, they have it all; here are some of the ones we find the most important and the most fun:

  • Fun Group Idea: Make a habit of gathering up the team’s friendly furry family members before/after work or during lunch for a group walk, run, or bike ride!  Be sure they meet in a neutral area and have plenty of time to smell each other.

  • How will the pets be contained and supervised throughout the workday?

  • Pet Play Time: For at least 20-30 minutes a day, declare a jamboree – have the pets share a toy, play one-on-one, or go to a pet-friendly park!  Make sure your pet has an outlet for all of their energy and attention!

  • Which behaviors will be met with which level of consequences?

  • Before they Arrive: Designate a special place for your pet in the workplace, perhaps with a special cushion, and lead them to it.  It may decrease territorial behavior and increase feelings of safety and a willingness to share the area.

  • What level of training is required for pets, and what phase of learning are coworkers willing to support?  That being said, what are any rules around how coworkers and customers can interact with pets at which times – will there be a no touch, no talk, no eye-contact policy?

  • To Maintain that Work-Life Balance: Play, run, walk, or bike for at least 30 minutes before work so that it serves the dual purpose of bonding with your pet  through activity and also allowing them to tire out enough to allow you to work for more sustained periods of time.  A backpack for your pet may also have a similar effect.  Be sure to walk your pet every few hours.

  • What are the requirements surrounding a pet’s vaccine status, health condition, and grooming rituals?

  • Where and when, or, for what events, are pets not allowed?

  • Remember your Responsibility to the Needs of your Pet and to the Items in your Policy

Trainers and veterinarians can be valuable sources of input on whether a furry family member is ready for a trip to the workplace, or on whether a workplace is ready for a few furry visitors!  All questions are welcome at Longview Animal Hospital! (903)-807-0887

 

Other Sources

https://appliedpsychologydegree.usc.edu/resources/articles/the-benefits-of-bringing-pets-to-work/

https://www.selective.com/info-center/resource-center/newsletters/commercial-connections/volume5-issue1-2016/liabilities-for-pet-friendly-business

care credit

The Care Credit program works differently than your typical credit card since it offers shorter term options with no interest as long as you make minimum payments each month and pay in full by the end of the promotional period.    It helps to pay for pet health and wellness care purchases that  exceed $200 and can be just the right product if you have an emergency situation with your pet or if you are just caught short on funds at the time of service.

You can learn complete details and apply online at the Care Credit website at https://www.carecredit.com or you can ask our staff for details.

 

 

pet eye careCats and dogs don’t have adequate and safe tools and strategies at their disposal to clean their own facial areas, so there are things every owner must do to maintain proper pet eye care.  Paws have sharp nails that accumulate bacteria throughout the day, and rubbing their faces into cushions and on floors can pose similar threats.  You, as a pet owner, can do much to protect your furry family members from the suffering of infections and loss of sight, or to support them through it.

 

Pet Eye Care – Maintenance & Prevention

Professionals recommend visiting the vet annually or biannually, making sure your pet receives vaccines, and performing a home health check on your cat or dog on a weekly basis.  This last process can include:

  • checking the eyes for any of the signs and symptoms listed in the section below
  • trimming hair that could scratch the cornea
  • thoroughly cleaning tear-stained fur
  • wiping away discharge with damp cotton balls

There are additional things you can do to support your pet’s defenses against eye issues.  You can administer ointments under the top lid of your pet’s eyes for protection during baths, facial cleanings, and chemical exposures.  Use gentle shampoos (which are easier on the eyes), to keep your pet free from particulates and prevent possible irritants.  Don’t allow your to pet ride in your car with its head out of the window –  while fun for passersby and suspectedly also for your pet – wind, debris, and insects can dry out eyes, cause injury, or inflict infection.

 

Common Malaises

Different breeds of cats and dogs have different predispositions to varying eye ailments.  All are susceptible to infections, and aging can also produce some visual impairments.  The following are not absolute, but occur for both cats and dogs.  

  • Glaucoma: the cornea clouds and the eye swells due to increasing pressure from within.
  • Cataracts: gray or white discoloration in the lens that impairs vision.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy: the layers of the retina slowly break down over time, presenting first in a loss of night vision and leading to blindness.
  • Conjunctivitis: the eye lining becomes irritated, red, and swollen, due to allergies, damage, tear duct issues, or other sources, and it also produces discharge.

 

Signs & Symptoms

When your pet’s eyes are healthy, they are wet and clear, and the linings are pink.  If your cat or dog is distressed about their eyes, they may give you a behavioral cue: rubbing their faces on surfaces or pawing at their faces.  

A closer look may provide you with any of the following physical cues:

  • redness on eyeball or eyelid linings
  • whiteness on eyelid linings, swelling
  • squinting, excessive amounts of tears
  • tear stains around eyes, visible third eyelid
  • unequal pupil size, and mucus or crust buildup at the corners of the eyes

 

Caring While Affected

In the event that your pet displays any of these symptoms for a prolonged period of time, it is important to contact your vet for diagnosis. Treatments and the role you play in them will vary from this point based on the underlying problem.  It is also likely that you will be engaging in some upkeep after surgeries, so it is important pay heed to your vet’s explanations!

  • Saline (saltwater) eye drops or spreadable ointments can treat some infections.
  • A glaucoma drainage implant may be inserted to relieve pressure.
  • Cataract surgery involves replacing the impaired lens with an artificial one.  
  • Conjunctivitis treatments vary based on the underlying reason for infection: drugs and antibiotics for infections and allergies, and surgery for issues like tear-duct malfunctions.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy cannot be definitively cured, but antioxidant supplements may delay degeneration or prevent it if persistently taken from an early time.  

 

Questions?  Concerns?  Give our Longview Animal Hospital Team a call at  (903)-807-0887. 

(Remember, starting in January 2018, we will have walk-in availability on the first and third Saturdays of each month from 8am to noon!)

Dr. Melissa O’Reilly Joins the Team

Dr. Melissa O'Reilly (Longview Animal Hospital New Veterinarian) and Dr. Brian FoyeLongview Animal Hospital is pleased to announce the addition of a new Veterinarian, Dr. Melissa O’Reilly, to their team, beginning on December 4, 2017.  Dr. O’Reilly graduated in May of 2015 from Louisiana State University with a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine and she comes to Texas from Virginia with her husband, Patrick, a mechanic.

The practice has experienced steady growth each year since Dr. Brian Foye took over in 2011 and according to Dr. Foye, “We’ve been stretching ourselves in different ways to care for all our clients’ fur babies.  It will be so helpful having a second veterinarian to meet our growing needs.”  In addition to enhanced appointment opportunities during normal operating hours, the addition of a second Veterinarian will enable the practice to extend their Thursday hours for full day operations and to open on two Saturday mornings each month, beginning in January.

“Many of our clients find it hard to schedule appointments during the work week and we’ve had requests for Saturday hours.  We’re thrilled to have Dr. O’Reilly join us and we know our clients are going to love her”, said  Jill Foye, Practice Manager for Longview Animal Hospital.

Dr. O’Reilly is looking forward to being part of the family at Longview Animal Hospital and to settling into the area with her husband and her animals. Their household currently includes horses, chickens and goats!  “I’m so excited to get back to the South to be near family and friends.  I believe I’ve found an excellent team to join and look forward to working with Dr. Foye and others at this well-established historic practice!”

The expanded hours on Thursdays will begin on Dec. 21 and Saturday walk-in appointments will start in January (2 Saturdays per month) from 8am to noon.

Longview Animal Hospital is one of the oldest continuously operating vet clinics in the area.  The practice, originally named Longview Veterinary Hospital, was established in 1949 by Dr. Alec Sears.  It has changed owners several times over its long history: Dr. Jack Clayton (Owner from about 1950-1954); Dr. Bob Terrell (Owner from 1954-1994); Dr. Christina Odum (Owner from 1994-2011).

In 2011, the practice was taken over by Dr. Brian Foye.  Located at 2500 Estes Parkway, just south of the location where Estes divides and turns into High Street and Mobberly Avenue, the clinic offers updated state-of-the-art medical equipment and a full spectrum of Veterinary Services including diagnostics, surgeries, dental cleanings and extractions, vaccines and boarding.  Learn more about Longview Animal Hospital at their website at https://www.longviewanimalhospital.com or call 903-807-0887.

To Share or Not to Share - What Foods From the Dinner Table are Safe for Your PetWhich Foods from the Dinner Table Can Your Pet Eat?

It’s Thanksgiving time, again!  We know we all like to make our pets happy by giving them treats from the table every now and then, but some foods that we eat can actually be quite dangerous for them.  So, which foods are safe?  Here are some things to keep in mind this holiday season:

Hard No’s

Alcohol, avocado, caffeine, grapes, raisins, and some artificial sweeteners like xylitol found in some candies and gums can all cause death, among other dangerous side effects.  Raw meats may contain bacteria that can contribute to the development of infections.  Onions, garlic, and chives can cause vomiting, discolored urine, asthma, tiredness, and diarrhea, all indicating the damage they do to the gastrointestinal tract, red blood cells, and the liver.  Chocolate, any baked good that contains yeast, and macadamia nuts can also have negative effects on your dog or cat’s health.  Sometimes, it only takes a small amount of these substances to be lethal.  To read more about the signs and symptoms that your pet may be displaying in a negative reaction to any of these foods, click to view slides here.

Maybe’s

We’ve heard mixed messages about dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheeses, and you may also be surprised to find bones on this list, too!

One source says that our pets’ digestive systems aren’t designed to process dairy products, and thus can produce diarrhea and vomiting.  At the same time, not all cats and dogs that drink milk have this response, so not all are lactose-intolerant.  Another source argues that yogurt can improve pets’ digestive systems, just as it does for humans, as long as the yogurts and cheeses they consume are non- or low-fat and are without flavoring or sweetening.  Cottage-cheese is recommended for dogs, and harder cheeses, like Gouda, are recommended for cats.

As for bones, the process of gnawing on them can clean your pet’s teeth, but they can also splinter and cause internal damage if those fragments are swallowed.  As such, it is important to get pressed bones if you choose to buy any bones at all.  Some toys and baby carrots are also said to work just as well for dental hygiene.

Hard Yes’s

Fruits and vegetables are in!  Pears, bananas, oranges, seedless watermelon, blueberries, pumpkin, and green beans are all good and safe sources of nutrition.  That being said, it is a good idea to mind seeds and remember that all is in moderation!  Apple slices can be particularly beneficial, helping your pet’s breath to smell better and clean their teeth, not to mention they are a good source of fiber and vitamin A and C.  Remember to peel them for your cats, though.  Green beans and pumpkin are also high in fiber and low in calories, which may help your pet lose some extra weight.

If something doesn’t sit well with your pet, make sure to call us at Longview Animal Hospital: (903)-807-0887 or (if outside of our normal operating hours): East TX Pet Emergency Hospital: (903)-759-8545.

We have great news to share with you!  On December 4, Dr. Melissa O’Reilly, will be joining our veterinary team at Longview Animal Hospital.  We are thrilled to be working with Dr. O’Reilly and can’t wait for all our clients to meet her.  We’ll be sharing a bit more information in the next few weeks, but for now, please meet our newest Veterinarian on the Longview Animal Hospital team by watching the short introduction below.

Meet Dr. Melissa O’Reilly

Fun and Creative Ways to Exercise Your PetAre you and your dog tired of playing fetch?  Is your cat acting up out of a longing for more diverse activity?  There are many fun and creative ways to exercise your pet, both novel and spin-offs of more traditional activities, that can freshen up your routine on pet exercise, and even your own.  Not only do these contribute to a healthy body, but with creativity and challenge they can also grow a healthy and confident mind.

Traditional

Here’s a reminder of the basics, which can be a good place to start with a dog if there are a lot of outside constraints: fetch, tug-of-war, tricks and obedience commands, and play-dates.  This last one can allow dogs to exercise at their own will and to create their own games.  

Sports

If you are an active person, chances are that you already take your furry fido on some of these adventurous outings.  The following list is a refresher, just in case something hadn’t occurred to you before: Flyball competitions, agility classes, tracking competitions, dancing, biking, fitness and yoga classes inclusive of dogs, stand-up paddleboarding, swimming, kayaking, and running.  Learn more about how to best incorporate your dog into these activities here and here.  In the first link, you can learn about training some dogs for soccer – isn’t that exciting?!

Fun Twists

We also enjoy how the second link presents a handful of ways to spin staple exercise methods: let your dog lead you on the leash when it won’t intrude on someone else’s activities; running at their pace and allowing them to stop and investigate; practice tracking challenges at home with treats and toys or treats inside toys; and working out by doing rigorous exercises while your dog retrieves and returns during fetch.

Exercise Your Pet Indoors

Some of the above you can already do indoors, such as running around the house, workout fetch, tracking, all of the traditional methods, and maybe a gentle game of soccer (…maybe).  A healthy dog may also be keen on running up and down stairs.  Obstacle courses can also be an exciting change for your dog and a creative outlet for you.

Cats

Last, but not least, cats also need physical and mental exercise, and some of the same activities that engage dogs also animate cats, such as play-dates, obstacle courses, agility courses, treadmills or wheels, mouse- and bird- like toys and wands, treats, and teaching tricks and commands.  Cats may easily get bored with their toys, so it may help to cycle through toys, storing some while using others.  An at-home hockey rink with a ball in a tub or a cardboard box can also be oodles of fun for you and exhilarating for your cat.  Lasers, cat towers, and yarn are also standard favorites for cats and their companions.  Healthy doses of catnip for some cats can be enjoyable, but others become aggressive, and this doesn’t mix well with the usual stress of going to the vet.  Walking your cat on a harness outdoors or otherwise letting them roam in your backyard can also be enriching for your cat, although it may be more difficult for older cats to learn to walk on a leash and some cats also may never want to give up being outside.

As you consider these options for exercising with your pet, please keep in mind everyone’s safety and, related to that, your specific pet’s capabilities and limitations.  Always supervise your pets when they are on complex equipment such as wheels and kayaks, and be sure to give some trial runs and training getting into and out of, or onto and off of, such equipment.  Dispose of or pick up any toys or components of them that could cause harm, such as string in the digestive system or a large toy at the top of the stairs.  Should accidents happen, Longview Animal Hospital and our expert Veterinarians are only a phone call and a short drive away.  (903)-807-0887, 2500 Estes Parkway, Longview, Texas.

Training Your Children for a New Pet

Bringing a new pet into your home is a big decision for a family, especially when there are children in the household.  Pets can bring a lot of joy to any home and can help children learn the responsibilities that go along with caring for another living creature.  They provide opportunities for fun and companionship as well as teaching us about compassion.  It is also shown that having a pet in the home reduces the development of allergies to animals. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to help with training your children for a new pet.

 

Sometimes, however, a pet might not be a good fit.  The temperament of both the pet and the child (or children) have to be taken into consideration.  Toddlers, for example, tend to be grabby and will need active supervision and guidance on how to carefully interact with pets.  Respectful interaction is needed to ensure learning and improvement for all. If you are unsure of how a pet will respond to your children (or how your children might respond to your pet), you might consider waiting a few years until children are older and better able to understand what is expected in regards to caring for and living with a dog or a cat.

 

If you decide that a pet is a good fit for your household, there are several things you can do to make this transition easier for both your family and your new addition.  One of the first things is to do some research on dog breeds and their temperaments to determine what breed might be a good fit for your lifestyle and your family dynamic.  There are some online resources you can use as well to help match your child’s age and personality to a fitting breed (i.e. http://www.parents.com/parenting/pets/kids/the-best-pet-for- your-child/#page=5 ).

 

Once you have decided to move forward, consider bringing your child or children to a shelter to meet some prospective pets and determine if there is an animal there that might be considered a good match.   You can also do research together on how to care for a new pet that can include what foods you want to use or what kind of toys might be fun for them or what games might be appropriate to play.  If you are bringing home a puppy or a kitten, you might want to discuss how to handle training for going outside or using a litterbox and what to do when accidents happen.  Knowing the basics of training in advance can help all members of your family start their relationships with a new pet on the right foot.  Small caretaking responsibilities can be decided on in advance so that children are involved, but not overwhelmed.

 

When you reach the day when you bring your new pet home, plan on careful parental supervision and commitment to both pet and child. Designating specific feeding and sleeping areas within your home will help to allow for your new pet to have their own safe space.  You can also consider hiring a trainer to work with you and your family transition to your new roles as caring pet owners.  Discuss and model respectful behaviors (like leaving a dog alone when they are in their crate) and teach your children about guidelines for proper pet interactions. You can also include how to behave around other animals they might meet when out of the home (i.e. ask permission before petting someone else’s dog or cat).

 

There is no doubt that growing up with a pet in your household is a wonderful thing that makes a lasting impression and expands your family.  With some careful assessments and planning, you can prevent some of the mishaps and be assured that the experiences are positive for all involved.  If you are looking for guidance on a new pet, our Team at Longview Animal Hospital is happy to provide assistance.  You can call us at 903-807-0887 or stop in at our office at 2500 Estes Parkway in Longview, TX.  For more information about us and our veterinary services for new pets, please visit http://longviewanimalhospital.com .

Canine influenza, or dog flu, is becoming a threat to dogs throughout the United States.  There are two strains of the virus (CIV H3N8 and CIV H3N2) both of which cause a respiratory infection in dogs.  These relatively new viruses are suspected of coming from mutations of other forms of influenza, such as those affecting horses and birds.  Since these are new viruses, dogs don’t currently have a natural  immunity to it.  It is thought that the Canine influenza viruses can lead to other respiratory infections like Kennel Cough and the symptoms are often similar.  As of May 2017, there are documented cases of Canine influenza in Texas.

This highly contagious virus is passed on through direct contact with infected dogs, as well as through secondary surfaces, clothing and people’s hands.  Cats are also susceptible to the virus (symptoms are runny nose, congestion, general discomfort, lip smacking, and extra salivation) and are able to pass it along to dogs.  At this time, the viruses are not transmissible to humans.

Canine influenza is not usually fatal (less than 10%) and will usually run its course in about 2-3 weeks.  Some dogs don’t display symptoms.  Symptoms in mild cases include a gentle wet or dry cough, lethargy, anorexia, low grade fever, eye and or nose discharge (the latter typically responds to antibiotics indicating a secondary infection resulting from the flu).  Severe cases often present with a high fever (104-106), and symptoms similar to pneumonia including high respiratory rates.

Since these are new viruses, most dogs are vulnerable, with young and older dogs being at greater risk along with dogs that have a lot of contact with other dogs.  Preventive measures include limiting contact with other dogs and staying away from places where flu has been reported.  If you are in the habit of petting other dogs, washing your hands before petting your own dog is a good practice to help prevent spreading the virus.  Good nutrition and strong healthcare practices help make pets less vulnerable.

Treatment for Canine influenza in most cases is supportive and includes cough/respiratory medications, hydration (and antibiotics if a secondary bacterial infection is suspected).  Rest and isolation for the pet are recommended.  For more severe cases, fluid therapy or hospitalization may be required.

Testing is currently available to identify the two strains of the virus (H2N8 and H3N2), and Longview Animal Hospital carries a vaccine to protect against both.  If you have any questions, please contact our team at (903) 807-0887.

For more information, visit www.canineinfluenza.com