Saturday, December 21, 2019

The Importance of Hobbies ~ Caitlyn, Veterinary Nurse

When you are wrapped up in your work, it's especially important to remember to take time for your personal hobbies. No matter what type of hobby you choose, you will learn, grow, and you are exposed to new ideas. For me, it’s drawing! I started to doodle and sketch portraits of dogs for fun a few years ago. I soon realized that I really enjoyed drawing those furry faces.

Why are hobbies so important?

Hobbies increase enrichment and bring us joy

It is honoring to be able to give them a portrait of their beloved pet. To see their first reaction is very heartwarming!

Social connections

Hobbies can help you meet new people. I have met so many good people who enjoy my artwork. Some who draw too, which then we can talk about and connect. 

Learning new things 

With a hobby, you can enjoy the process of learning new things without the feeling of discouragement. They can be challenging, which keeps you engaged!  

Stress relief and preventing bad habits

Having a good hobby that you enjoy can help you spend that time with positivity. It can give you a break from your stressful work week. 

There is no limit to the types of hobbies that you can try, but here are a few ideas:

  • Gardening
  • Reading
  • Glass blowing
  • Skating
  • Couponing
  • Hiking
  • Playing instruments 

There are so many! Practice makes perfect. Art is amazing, and if you ever want to grab a pencil and start sketching, go for it! You never know what talent is hidden within your creativity. 

Comments? Questions? Reply to this post below! We would love to have your input on any and all of our posts. 

Friday, November 8, 2019

The Many Benefits of Having a Cat ~ Kristin, Veterinary Nurse

There are a lot of opinions out there on how cats are good for human health in different ways. Just to name a few:

  • They help provide valuable emotional support for children and adults who live with certain emotional or developmental disorders, as they offer valuable bonding, attention, and calming affection. 
  • People struggling with anxiety and stress have also found the calming vibrations of a cats purr soothes the nerves. 
  • A little affection from your kitty can also help lower blood pressure! 
  • There's always the classic reason that people have gotten cats for their barns or homes: vermin control. Having mice and bugs getting into your food can cause all sorts of health problems. 

There are so many reasons that cats are so amazing to me. 

Personally, I've always had a deep love and appreciation for cats. From the super cuddly ones who've never met a stranger, to the aloof and independent ones who only allow affectionate on their own terms. My heart flutters every time I see one. 

I've had a few cats in my lifetime. Some have been fosters who I helped find forever homes for, some have been barn cats that found me and never left, and some have been forever adopted by me. 

I have so much appreciation for every cat that comes into my life. They are always there to brighten your darkest days, be happy with you on your good days, and make you laugh with their goofy habits and playfulness. 

They are your constant when so much in your life may change. There's this beautiful, unspoken bond that you feel when you look at them. My life wouldn't be the same without those cats that have shown me so much love in my life. They're totally worth all of the stuff that they knock off of your counters! 

Comments? Questions? Reply to this post below! We would love to have your input on any and all of our posts. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Right Fit ~ Meredith, Veterinary Nurse

Shortly after my daughter Kenleigh was born, I had to put my lab mix Lyza down, but I still had my two cats. It was very important to me that Kenleigh grow up around animals. I didn't want her to be afraid of them, and I also wanted to be a voice for them.

Fast forward two years, and I decided that I was ready for another dog. We were going to Myrtle Beach for the weekend, and I had been looking at different shelters and animal rescues, since I feel strongly about rescuing vs. buying. I found three dogs that I wanted to meet while we were in Myrtle Beach at the humane society there. One by one, a staff member brought each dog out, and none of them seemed to be quite the right fit for us; I was looking for a more mellow dog for Kenleigh's first experience. She thought for a moment, and then she said, "I have one more I can show you; her name is 'Sparkle'." 

When she brought her out, Sparkle immediately went over to Kenleigh and kissed her hand, and I said, "That's the one!" None of the other dogs we met had acknowledged Kenleigh, and they were very hyper, but Sparkle (now known as Breeze) went right to her as if to say, "That's my new kid." We did all the paperwork to adopt her, got in the car, and she immediately fell asleep. She was home! 

Fast forward three years, and we've been so happy with Breeze! She adjusted well right away, and she and Kenleigh are best buds! 

She cries when Kenleigh leaves, and when I tell Kenleigh it's bedtime, Breeze runs into the bedroom and gets in the bed before Kenleigh. They both will turn five this fall. Rescues seem so grateful in my opinion and make amazing family members!

Comments? Questions? Reply to this post below! We would love to have your input on any and all of our posts. 

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Pre-Adoption Consultations ~ Shana C. Silverstein, DVM, CVA

I recently received a request to chat with a family looking to bring a dog into their home. They own geriatric cats and wanted to make sure that the dog would not be a safety concern for the cats. They had contacted me because they had selected a breed and were strongly considering adopting a puppy. They had a few final questions before putting down a deposit.

When I called them back to find out what questions they had, it came to light that they chose the breed based upon a childhood adoration of the breed (not the specific temperament). They were seeking a puppy because they felt that a puppy raised with cats would be less likely to chase or hurt the cats compared to a newly adopted adult dog. Part of this conclusion was drawn after a relatively disastrous attempt to foster an adult border terrier (who attempted to devour the cats).

Over the course of our conversation (which they allowed me to share with all of you!), we realized that there were some things to reconsider in their Doggie Acquisition Project. First, a small terrier is the last breed that I would choose for two geriatric cats. Despite working with a rescue group that tried to pick a good candidate for their home, it was a bit of a recipe for disaster. Second, their work schedules were really not conducive to raising a boisterous puppy. Also, old cats who had never lived with a dog don’t necessarily love the idea of a curious, playful puppy.

After some further conversation, we talked about the option to adopt from a foster organization that could suggest a dog currently fostered with cats. We also discussed the breeds that I thought would be less successful due to general temperament (terriers!). By the end of our conversation, this family decided that a puppy might have not been a great idea for their particular home. They also know that if they see a dog via a foster group, then they can forward me the link, and I’ll give them my thoughts. In addition, we discussed some good sites to search, reputable organizations, etc.

In contrast to this “almost bought a puppy” experience, we often meet pets soon after being purchased or adopted. Some owners come to the appointment with a contract that they don’t completely understand, recommendations/requirements made by the breeder, and sometimes unclear vaccine records. Sometimes there are questions that I would have loved to see asked prior to purchasing the dog (questions about screening the parents for particular health conditions), or temperament tests to consider performing in choosing a pup from a litter. Once you’ve purchased the dog, I’ll do all that I can to keep that puppy healthy; however, I would love for you to start with a healthy, balanced dog versus one set up for health issues lifelong!

What is the moral of this very long story, Doc?  I want all of you to know that prior to pet acquisition, please remember that we are a valuable resource for you. Consider scheduling a pre-adoption/purchase consult  or phone consult if you are “shopping,” and let us help you become an informed consumer! If you are considering a species that you haven’t owned previously, then you might want to touch base with one of us to understand the requirements of that pet. For instance, puppies need to go out mid-day. Exotic pets can have very specific housing and nutrition needs. Tell us the make-up of your home so that we can take that into account (young children, other pets in the home, allergies, etc). For instance, did you know that the likelihood of inter-cat aggression (or stress) is significantly higher between two female cats and highest between female litter-mates? So if you already have a female cat, you might want to seek a male for number two.

Education is something that we truly enjoy at Shiloh. We love empowering you to become the best pet owners that you can be, and that starts by picking the best match for your home. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if we can be of any assistance!

Comments? Questions? Reply to this post below! We would love to have your input on any and all of our posts. 

Friday, August 16, 2019

Reflections on the Year ~ Talitha, Veterinary Nurse

I am always in awe of and enjoy reflecting on the seasonality of life—how jobs, friendships, pets, and even homes come and go in seasons. One year ago this month, I moved to the Triangle area from a small town in Colorado in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. My first job out of undergrad was at a local veterinary office and pet boarding facility. It was during this time that I adopted my rescue pup, a 2.5-year-old 60-pound female boxer/pit bull mix named Baby-Nugget-Nova-Jugs (she usually just goes by Nova). Shortly after Nova and I found each other, we made the move to North Carolina.

Making the transition from kennel staff to technical staff as a Veterinary Nurse was a huge learning curve. And on top of learning a new position, I was also acclimating to summer in the south and an entirely new life and community after my big move. Looking back on how much I’ve learned and grown over the past 13 months has given me a lot of hope, as well as major feelings of accomplishment. And I know I couldn't have done it without my faithful four-legged best friend.
The biggest thing I learned this past year is how to be a better pet parent. Nova is my first dog as an adult. I grew up with family pets my whole life, but I have never raised one on my own, and as many of you know, adding a young, large, energetic dog into your life can be quite a game changer. Working at Shiloh has taught me everything from choosing the safest toys that she will enjoy, to working on adult dog socialization, to managing Nova’s seasonal allergies.

Working in the veterinary industry has been the best crash course in being a responsible pet owner that I could have ever hoped for. Adopting an adult dog and a ‘bully breed’ has come with its own set of challenges. Nova is muscular and has a (wonderfully) big block-shaped head. Sometimes kids are scared of her. I missed a lot of critical training and socialization time with her as well, and we have spent our time together catching up on a lot of canine manners that she didn’t learn before we met. 

All that said, I can’t imagine raising Nova without the support of my knowledgeable and kind coworkers at Shiloh. And this move would have been impossible without having her as my loving companion. So, it’s all worked out quite beautifully. The folks here have equipped me to be the best pet parent I can be, and for that, I am forever grateful.

With Love,
Talitha and Nova

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Sunday, July 14, 2019

Cola’s Casa: Surrounded by Puppy Love ~ Tara, Veterinary Nurse

A lot of people already know that pet sitting is a big part of my life. I came across this hobby of mine about two years ago. I was looking to make a little extra spending money but was not in the position to get a second job on top of working full time as a veterinary nurse. I tried everything from having yard sales that would bring in money but not be long lasting, to thinking of things I could make and sell (which did not work because I am not crafty in the slightest). 

One day, out of the blue, my sister sent me a link to an app made for pet sitters and helping them find clients. Once I investigated the logistics of the app, I was very interested in pursuing this option. Two years later, I have a strong list of clients, some of whom I have gotten to know and have become great friends with. 

I have welcomed a number of dogs (and even a couple of cats) into my home to stay with me while their owners go out of town, and I have also stayed at some client’s homes when I can as well. I named my little business “Cola’s Casa” after my dog, Cola, who is as much a host to these new visitors as I am. Along with learning each pet’s schedules and habits, Cola and I have learned much more from having this business.

I have learned how to manage my time better because of the pets that must go out or have medications at different times of the day. I have learned the proper way to introduce two dogs together in a different home environment. I’ve learned that no matter how a dog acts in its home environment, it will most likely act completely different in other environments, whether it is more nervous, excited, or even a little aggressive. It has also taught me about Cola and his little quirks with other dogs. 

I have said a number of times that I don’t know what I would do without pet sitting. This is true financially, but also true because it keeps me on my toes; I have met so many great pets and their people. I cannot imagine coming home and not having a house full of sweet pups (and the occasional kitty friend). 

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Saturday, June 15, 2019

Summer: Is Your Dog Overheating? ~Julie, Practice Manager

The hot days of Summer will soon be approaching, and we need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of overheating in our pets. By understanding how our dogs keep cool, we can ensure that they do not overheat, and we can enjoy those dog days of Summer to the fullest. 

When dogs get hot, they do not sweat the way that we do. Sweating to us is a cooling mechanism; however, dogs cool themselves by panting and breathing. When dogs pant, the air passing over the saliva in their mouths helps them cool down. The lining of the dog's lungs also serves as an evaporative surface, kind of like our skin when we sweat. Blood vessels in their face, ears, and feet can expand, also helping to dispel heat from the body. The normal temperature in a dog is between 100.2 and 102.8 Fahrenheit. When a dog's cooling mechanism is overwhelmed, the body may not be able to cool itself adequately, thereby causing overheating. 

Signs & Symptoms: What to Do?

Your pet may be overheating if there is excessive panting and breathing, collapsing or convulsing, bright red or blue gums, vomiting, or diarrhea.

1.)   Immediately bring your pet in out of the heat.

2.)   Alert your veterinarian.

3.)   Run a COOL shower on your pet, especially to the back of the head and neck.

4.)   If getting your pet in the shower or inside is not practical, use a garden hose to cool the dog or place them in a pool of cool water. 

5.)   Use a small bag of frozen vegetables applied to the head to help lower the body temperature.

6.)   Massage the legs (this helps with circulation and reduces the risk of shock).

7.)   Offer cool water and add a pinch of salt to the water bowl, as this will help replace the minerals lost through excessive panting.

When It’s Just Too Hot!

                     Air Temp 770             Asphalt Temp 1250
                     Air Temp 860             Asphalt Temp 1350
                     Air Temp 870             Asphalt Temp 1430

How do you know when it’s too hot to take your pet for a walk? The 5-10 second hand rule can be used. If you cannot hold your hand or foot on a walking surface for a complete 5-10 seconds, then it is too hot for your pet. Something to keep in mind when venturing out with your pet during the hotter part of the day is that ground temperature is hotter than air temperature. Being a better radiator than air, the ground is able to cool more quickly. Shortly after sunset, the earth’s surface is slightly cooler than the air directly above. 

Which surfaces are the hottest? Some synthetic materials, asphalt, brick, concrete, and sand are five of the hottest surfaces that retain more heat than others. Sand is often forgotten because we associate sand with beaches. If you have ever walked on the beach barefoot on a hot, cloudless day, you know how scorching the beach sand can be. 

Walking your pets on these surfaces when the temperatures are extreme can also lead to pad burns. If the pads are extremely burned, blisters can occur. Signs of a burned pad also include licking, chewing, a red or pink hue on the pad, or even limping and not wanting to move. Cool down the feet with cold water or apply a cold pack or compress, and take your pet to the veterinarian if the pads are burned. Treatment may include antibiotics to combat possible infection, and the pads may need bandaging until they heal. 

Armed with the knowledge of how to recognize overheating and how to respond to it (or avoid it in the first place), you can have a safe and fun-filled Summer with your four-legged friend.   

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