Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Safety Tips


Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday, where we take time to appreciate our loved ones, including our furry (or not so furry) friends. However, there are some holiday related hazards to be aware of when it comes to our pets.

  • The traditional Thanksgiving menu is high in fat - turkey skin and potatoes, for example. A diet high in fat can be harmful to your pet's health, so it is best to refrain from feeding them table scraps. It is particularly risky to feed dogs scraps containing bones, which can cause choking if they break or splinter. Even if you are not feeding your pet directly, keep an eye out for your pet jumping on the table or grabbing food that falls on the floor. Even better, keep your pet out of the room where the meal is being served.
  • Certain herbs, such as sage, can cause gastric distress and central nervous system depression in animals. Also avoid giving your pet chocolate, onions or raw dough.
  • Keep track of your trash. If you leave unsupervised bags of garbage around, your pet can get into them and eat all the foods you were so careful to keep away from him.

  • Stick to your usual routine, feeding your pet his usual food at the regular time. This makes him less likely to go in search of forbidden foods.
  • Pets can become stressed when there is lots of noise and bustle, or too many people handle them. If your pet is generally nervous in these situations, or shows signs of stress, give him his own space. A dog can be taken for a walk before the guests arrive so that he is calm. Don't let children or strangers handle your pet if it stresses him out.
  • Don't take your pet to parades or big bashes. The loud noises and crowds are likely to cause stress.
  • If lots of people are coming in and out of the house, make sure your dog or cat is wearing a collar. They can easily slip out of a door left open and get lost.
  • Other hazards you may have in your house on Thanksgiving are toothpicks from appetizers, skewers and decorations. Keep all of these far away from your pet.

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!




Monday, October 29, 2012

Senior Pet Awareness

With more than 18 million senior dogs, and 22 million senior cats, it is important to help build greater awareness of the special care and changing needs that aging animals require. As a veterinarian I encourage owners of pets ages 7 and older to visit their veterinarians more frequently for senior care checkups.  More medical attention is required for senior pets, and detecting diseases early on is the key to a longer healthier life.

1.     Take your senior pet to the veterinarian for a checkup at least every six months.  This is important in monitoring changes in his or her health.
2.     During your senior pet's regular checkups, regular blood and urine testing can help identify diseases in their earliest and most treatable stages.
3.     Look, listen and feel for bumps, signs of pain, or behavioral changes. Disorientation, changes in sleep or loss of house-training, weight fluctuation, increase in thirst and/or urination, or any change in your pet’s normal behavior could be a sign of a health problem.

4.     Speak with your veterinarian regarding nutritional needs for aging pets.

      5.     Your pet’s gums and teeth can be indications of health problems- dental or otherwise.
6.     Maintaining a familiar routine with your animal is an easy way to minimize stress in their life, in addition to providing exercise for weight control and muscles tone.

7.     Give your pet the love and attention you have always provided.

Establish a senior care program with your veterinarian to improve their healthcare and life expectancy. Love and affection, combined with regular veterinary checkups can help keep your furry companion content in their later years of life.
About the Author

Dr. Alison Birken, owner of Victoria ParkAnimal Hospital, specializes in all general medicine and surgery for dogs and cats. Victoria Park Animal Hospital offers the most state of the art equipment and facilities, in addition to bathing and grooming services.

Victoria Park Animal Hospital
626 North Federal Highway
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
(954) 617-8724



Thursday, October 4, 2012

Costume Contest!!

Halloween is only 4 weeks away!
VPAH is hosting a pet costume contest, judged by our staff and Dr. Birken.

Post pictures on our face book page, Please include, pets name, age and a short description.   Don’t forget to share this with friends and family on facebook

Entries will be accepted until Friday, October 26th.  Winners will be announced on Facebook.

The Winner will receive a free bath, free exam and some fun goodies!!

Visit Us On Facebook!!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

When To Take Your Pet To The Vet

Our pets may get sick or feel a little sluggish from time to time, but may get better on their own. However, there are many symptoms that a pet may show that should never be overlooked and require vet care. As a pet parent it may be difficult to know which ones these are sometimes. Following is a list of some symptoms to watch for that should always be checked out by your veterinarian:

  • Unexplained weight loss (even if gradual)
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Excessive vomiting
  • Excessive liquid/bloody or recurrent diarrhea
  • Sudden inability to get up (may be with or without heavy breathing)
  • Labored/rapid breathing (increased movement/effort in abdomen would be seen) *Does not include normal panting*
  • A cat that is panting
  • Completely non-weight bearing on a leg
  • Pale or blue/purple mucous membranes (look at the non-pigmented part of the gums/inside of lip)
  • Bloated abdomen
  • Loss of appetite with one or more of any other symptoms from list
  • Loss of appetite for more than 24 hours, or decline in appetite over days to weeks
  • Blood in urine
  • Sudden onset of urinary accidents in house/urinating frequently
  • Difficulty passing urine (vocalizing while straining especially in cats)
  • Decline in energy that doesn’t resolve in 24 hours. *If coupled with one or more other symptoms from list, bring in sooner*
  • Inability to get comfortable. Possibly whimpering or crying out, either when touched, moving, or trying to lie down.
If your pet is not their usual self, it’s never a bad idea to have them checked out. You can either call to speak with a Vet Tech to discuss symptoms or schedule an exam. The Vet will need some information about their eating habits, energy level, drinking habits, and how their stools look to help determine what’s wrong.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Special Hurricane price of $50.00
The harsh reality in South Florida is that you can never tell when a hurricane will hit; a harsher reality is that 90% of lost pets never find their way back home.  Protect your loved ones from loss with Datamars pet recovery and identification system.  

Microchipping offers pet owners the only truly permanent method of identifying your pet and linking the animal back to you.   Collar tags can break or become unreadable and tattooing can become illegible. So, if you want to improve your pet’s chances of getting home fast and safe in case it were to go missing, microchipping is your best option.

VPAH is promoting microchipping during Hurricane season.

           Since 1988, Datamars has been designing the most complete portfolio

of RFID solutions for companion animal identification as well as the

Empowering online application Pet Link that supports the reunification

of pets with their owners. Datamars' products include rice-sized glass

and plastic-encapsulated RFID transponders, painlessly injected

under the skin of the animal for permanent identification.


v  Companion animal identification

v  Lost pet reunification

v  Companion animal health record management

Key benefits:

v  Error-free identification

v  Universal readability

v  Extreme durability

v  Fast and painless injection

v  Complete pet ID package

Visit Pet Links online registration at

 Your pets safety and security is our #1 priority…

Victoria Park Animal Hospital 626 N. Federal Highway, Ft. Lauderdale FL 33304  - 954-617-8724

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Spring Break Time!

 While you're off having the time of your life, it's
important to make sure your pets are having just as much fun.

Here are some tips to keep your pets safe and happy this Spring Break:

Home Alone
It is never okay to leave your pet home alone while you are on vacation without someone to care for them. Making sure the house is cool and leaving extra food and water out is not the only answer. There are a countless number of things that can go wrong under this scenario - all of which will make for a very stress-filled vacation.

Find a Reliable Sitter:

While friends and family members can certainly be trustworthy, pet sitting isn't their profession and chances are they won't put as much effort into the care that you'd like. You should look for someone who considers this as a business opportunity and not someone who would consider it as a favor. Look for a professional sitter who can provide references and works for a company that is fully bonded and insured or look into a boarding facility.  Victoria Park Animal Hospital is pleased to offer kennel/boarding services for your Doggie or Kitty.  Since boarding is not our primary business (we’re a full service veterinary hospital), we generally board less than 10 animals at a time, and are pleased to accept animals requiring daily medication. 

Please Contact us to make your pets reservation at 954-617-8724

 Meet and Greet:
Before you leave on vacation, have the sitter over so you can introduce them to your pets and see how everyone interacts. The visit also gives you a chance to familiarize the sitter with your house.

 Establish a Procedure:
It is important to familiarize the sitter with your pets' daily routine. Make sure the sitter is available to feed and walk them at their normal times. This will help make sure your pets don't experience too much separation anxiety.

 Take them along:
Today there are a host of options for "pet friendly" airlines and hotels that make it easy to bring your pet along. Even though you have your pet with you, that doesn't mean you'll have ample free time to walk and feed them. If you find pet-friendly accommodations, look into a professional pet sitting service that will come to your hotel while you're away - this option ensures that your four legged friend not feel left out of all the fun.

     We hope you and your pet have a safe and wonderful time on Spring Break!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Victoria Park Animal Hospital: Warning signs your cat may be sick

Victoria Park Animal Hospital: Warning signs your cat may be sick: Detecting illness in a cat can be tricky, simply because they can't talk and their bodies are (usually) covered with fur. Because of the di...

Warning signs your cat may be sick

Detecting illness in a cat can be tricky, simply because they can't talk and their bodies are (usually) covered with fur. Because of the difficulties, cat owners should take their pets to the vet at least once a year for a check-up. If the cat is a senior (over 7 years old) or has known health issues, the vet will probably recommend more frequent visits. There are also signs of illness to watch for in between visits to the vet:
1) Litter box issues
If your cat has always been perfect about using the litter box, and then suddenly starts making messes outside the box, there's a problem. This is especially true once you've ruled out such obvious concerns as cleanliness. (Cats won't use a dirty litter box anymore than a human would use a dirty toilet.)
If the cat appears to be straining to urinate and/or defecate, get her to the vet. If the cat is trying to go to the bathroom and not producing anything, it could have a blockage somewhere, which could be fatal if left untreated. This is especially true if the cat also seems to be in pain, i.e. it cries while trying to go to the bathroom.
2) Unexplained weight gain or loss
If the cat is losing or gaining weight for no obvious reason, it's time to take her to the vet. This is especially true if the weight change seems sudden. Because of their small size, a cat's gaining or losing a single pound is roughly comparable to a human gaining or losing 10 pounds. Some weight loss in older cats is normal as they lose muscle mass, but extreme gauntness can point to something serious like cancer.
Marked weight gain can result in obesity, which will lead to many health problems. An obese cat can develop many of the same health problems that an obese human will, like diabetes or heart disease.
3) Blood in urine, stool, or vomit
Blood in the urine can indicate a urinary tract disorder, especially if accompanied by straining while trying to urinate and/or increased visits to the litter box. Blood in the stool can indicate a variety of illnesses, some relatively minor. Others, like certain parasitic infections, are more serious. Vomiting blood, however, is always a sign of a serious illness. In some cases, the cat will vomit what looks like coffee grounds, and this is actually partially digested blood. A cat vomiting blood needs to be taken to a vet immediately.
4) Diarrhea or constipation
Untreated diarrhea can result in dehydration, which can be fatal. Diarrhea is caused when too much water is expelled with the stool, thus creating a loose or watery stool. Diarrhea is also associated with an increase in frequency of defecation.
With constipation, the cat produces small, hard, and infrequent stools. A cat typically defecates once or twice a day. Constipation is most commonly caused by hairballs, and can lead to weight loss and anorexia. The occasional watery or hard stool won't hurt a healthy cat, but persistent diarrhea or constipation should be treated by a vet.

5) Changes in appetite or drinking habits
If the cat refuses to eat or drink, get her to the vet. Refusal to eat or drink often means the cat is in pain or is otherwise feeling poorly. Increased thirst, especially when accompanied by increased urination, can point to feline diabetes. Increased appetite can also indicate disease.
6) Repeated vomiting
If the cat vomits up the occasional hairball, that is probably normal. If she vomits several times a day, get her to the vet. If she vomits blood, get her to the vet immediately.
7) Mobility problems
Stiffness, limping, and the like indicate problems, especially in a young cat. In an older animal, they can indicate a condition like arthritis. In any event, have the vet examine her, so he can rule out the more serious problems and/or recommend ways of making your cat more comfortable.
8) Behavioral changes
Sudden changes in behavior also indicate trouble. For example, if a normally outgoing cat suddenly starts hiding all the time, this may mean that they are sick or in pain. Similarly, a cat in pain may become aggressive, especially if you unwittingly touch a sore place.
Basically, any change from a cat's normal appearance or behavior can indicate a problem.