The veterinarians and staff at the North Georgia Veterinary Referral Practice are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

Current Newsletter Topics

Clipping Your Pet's Nails

Pet owners vary in their level of comfort in clipping the nails of their dog, cat, rabbit or bird. But it is necessary to regularly clip nails to help maintain health and comfort. Nails which are uncared for can break or tear, and can affect the animal's ability to move about comfortably or cause the animal to injure itself when scratching. If you are uncomfortable clipping the animal's nails yourself, your vet or groomer can do this for you.

If you decide to do it yourself, here are a few tips:

• Remember, the nail is living tissue. Do not clip too close to the quick. If this occurs, the animal will experience pain and the nail will bleed.

• There are two types of nail clippers available: the scissor type (which resembles a traditional scissors) or the guillotine type (which surrounds the whole nail). Both are effective. Choose the one that is most comfortable for you and your pet.

• Many animals resist nail clipping. One way to get them accustomed to it is to handle their paws or feet from a very early age.

• Maintain your pet's nail clippers so that they're sharp. A dull blade and crush and fracture the nail, which is painful for your pet.

Celebrity Pets: Chances Are They’re Wealthier Than You

Feel like Grumpy Cat is everywhere these days? It’s not just you.

The famously dour feline has had a big few years since her owner posted her on Reddit in 2012. With multiple books, licensed product lines, pet food endorsement deals and even a starring role in a made-for-TV-movie, Grumpy Cat has transformed from the star of a popular YouTube video to a full-fledged brand. From TV to the big stage, Grumpy Cat even had a Broadway debut in Cats in October 2016 for a one night only appearance.

Grumpy Cat’s owner won’t say how much the cat has made, but one tabloid pegged the figure at $100 million (a figure the owner denies). And yet, it’s still not enough to make Grumpy Cat smile.

Grumpy Cat isn’t the only living meme raking in dough. Boo, the Pomeranian dog, has signed off on licensing deals with companies like Crocs, published three books and secured a spokesdog gig with Virgin America Airlines. Of course, fame has a dark side: like many celebrities before him, he was the subject of a death hoax. Not to worry – Boo is alive and well.

Other rich pets include Chris P. Bacon, a pig who was born without the use of his hind legs who has learned to get around on wheel legs built out of toys by his owner; Lil’ Bub, a cat whose underdeveloped jaw gives him a permanent slack-jawed expression; and Tuna, a Chihuahua with an overbite that gives the pup a permanent expression somewhere between a grin and grimace. All three have millions of social media followers, book deals, product lines and endorsement deals that keep them raking in cash hand over paw.

Think your pet has what it takes to be the next A-list meme? Only one way to find out – break out the camera and get something cute on YouTube or post on Reddit. The good news for you is that it doesn’t look like the Internet’s love of animals is going away any time soon.

Summer Exacerbates Your Pet’s Breathing Problems

With summer in the air, it’s getting particularly hard for some animals to breath. This is especially the case for short-nosed – or flat-faced dogs such as the Pekingese, pug, bulldog, boxer, shih tzu and chihuahua. However, these airway problems, which are typically due to narrow nostrils, a long soft palate or collapsed voice box, can also affect our feline friends, such as Himalayans and exotic shorthairs. This condition (known as the Brachycephalic airway syndrome) is largely due to the dog or cat’s unique head shape, so there isn’t much you can do to entirely avoid it.

However, there are certain factors that can increase the risk and further complicate their breathing condition. These include:

  1. Allergies
  2. Obesity
  3. Over-excitement
  4. Exercise: Panting may also naturally increase in the summer months as the weather gets hotter and more humid.

Treatment options largely depend on the symptoms exhibited by your dog or cat. In some cases, surgical procedures may be your pet’s best option. So don’t let the summer heat waves stop your pet from getting a breath of fresh air. For more information about symptoms and treatments, talk to your local veterinarian.

Deadly Toxins: How To Keep Your Pet Safe

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center has compiled a list toxins commonly ingested by pets and for the first time ever, over-the-counter-medications proves the most problematic. Help keep your pet happy and healthy be keeping these dangerous items away from your pet.

Common potential pet toxins include:

Over-the-counter medications for humans - Acetaminophen, ibuprofen and herbal supplements were some of the most frequently ingested by pets

Prescription medications for humans - Heart medications, antidepressants, and pain killers were the most frequently ingested

Insecticides - Pet owners are encouraged to read the label of insecticides used in the yard and the home before possibly exposing pets to them

Food for humans - Garlic, onions, grapes, alcohol and xylitol are just a few of the many human foods that can be poisonous for dogs and other pets.

Household products - These include cleaning supplies, paint and fire logs

Veterinary medications - Pet owners should be cautious with veterinary medication, especially any chewable medication which is appealing to pets.

Chocolate - Chocolate, especially dark and baking chocolate, is extremely dangerous to pets if ingested.

Plants - Keeping some greenery inside helps with maintaining fresh air within your house, but they can also be toxic to pet, especially cats. Before adding plants to your household, check to see if they could be toxic to your pet.

Rodenticides - Using rodent poisons to rid your house of mice or rats is a common enough practice but those poisons also pose a potential hazard to your pets. Make sure to keep them out of reach so your pet doesn't accidentally ingest those poisons.

Lawn and Garden Products - While maintaining your yard, be aware of herbicides and fungicides and your pets. They can be dangerous and potentially lethal if ingested.

If your pet ingests something it shouldn’t, contact your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.

Become a Pet Foster Parent

With nearly 7.6 million companion animals entering animal shelters a year, it’s easy to understand why shelters are full and looking for volunteers. Not only do they need donations of pet supplies, they need help with pet care as well. That’s where the role of pet foster parents come in.

Fostering a cat or dog from a local shelter means you open your home to a pet on a temporary basis and provide them with a home-like environment until they’re adopted. It’s not an easy commitment, especially when you have to give them back when they finally find a forever home. It’s a hard decision, but a rewarding experience.

Providing Care

Often, there are a few different types of pet foster candidates like kittens, recovering or sick animals, or adult cats and dogs with medical needs. As a foster parent, you can choose which type of pet you are most comfortable caring for and the best home environment you can provide for.

As a foster pet parent, it’s your responsibility to take the pet to any veterinarian appointments. Most shelters will provide you with the food, equipment and supplies needed to care for the animal. All animal medical expenses are covered. Before you foster, you’ll also need to set up your home for a new pet as well, including food bowls and beds. Some shelters will supply these items for you, however it’s best to check the fostering agreement first just to be sure.

Fostering can last anywhere between a few weeks to several months.

Above all, fostering a pet means that you provide a loving environment for your new foster pet.

Consider Your Own Pets

Introducing a new pet when you already have pets at home can be tough. Some shelters recommend having a separate room where you can keep your foster pet to avoid any confrontations. Some pets may adjust to a new addition easily, others won’t. In short, don’t expect it to necessarily be an easy, quick adjustment.

Know Your Limits

When you volunteer to foster a pet, ultimately it’s up to you about which pet you can foster. While some shelters assign pets to volunteers, it’s important to be honest and upfront about any restriction you might have about fostering a kitten over an adult dog, for example. If your rent or own a condo, make sure your building doesn’t have any breed restrictions.

Maybe there are behavior problems you aren’t able to handle or would prefer to avoid. That’s okay. The same goes for health problems in foster pets. If you aren’t comfortable or able to provide medication to a sick and aging cat, make sure the shelter knows. Being communicative will help ensure you are matched with a good foster fit.

How to Get Started

Search for local rescues and shelters, read about their fostering programs and fill out the fostering application. Once accepted, shelters often require volunteers to go through a short training period or orientation.