How to Be a Good Scout or Be Prepared

I am going to show my age now and if it embarrasses you, think of how it embarrasses me! I grew up in an age in which children played outside, were involved in team sports and community organizations. I am proud to say that I went through the scouting ranks and enjoyed it all. I was a brownie, girl scout, cadet, and even became an explorer for a while.

The motto of a good scout, whether boy or girl, is be prepared.

The storm this week, Sandy, also teaches us to be prepared. Being prepared means having a plan in mind before the problem starts, not waiting until the last moment to run to the store and grab whatever items are left on the shelves. We need to be ready for any type of emergency whether it be a freak storm, a car problem, or our pet needing surgery.

A lot of owners don’t think about having a small first aid kit for the pet or even themselves, so when the need arises they run around trying to find things.

A good recommendation is to have an emergency kit consisting of:

  • bandages
  • tape
  • first aid cream
  • alcohol wipes
  • antiseptic towelettes
  • scissors
  • tweezers
  • muzzle

The American Red Cross has a pet first aid kit that is comprehensive and available on line.

This kit is great and even recommends having your veterinarian’s and emergency clinic number at hand. I recommend placing these numbers on the refrigerator or next to the phone. I personally think having it programmed in your cell phone is a great idea.

Now this kit is just in case of injury but you also need to have supplies ready for evacuation if needed.

This evacuation kit for your pet should include things like:

  • leash and collar
  • paperwork about vaccine history (store this in a watertight container)
  • rabies tag
  • medication for your pet
  • crate
  • five to seven days of food (remember to change this out every couple of months)
  • recent picture of your pet in case of separation

When time comes for an evacuation you can just pick up the kit and be ready to roll. Now if you are like me, you have multiple animals that would need to be evacuated so each pet should have a small kit but it doesn’t have to be extravagant. There could be other items included such as paper towels, hand cleaner, towels, water, blankets, and bowls but again a small kit for each pet would be ideal.

Hopefully we won’t ever have to grab either kit but it is nice to have it ready when needed. Please be safe and be a good scout!

We would love to help you put together a pet evacuation or emergency kit; if you would like our help, please call us at ARCC — Animal Rehab & Conditioning Center.

Pain Management or How to Sleep in Class

pain management, lecture, rehab, education,

Ellie slept through three straight hours of pain management. This photo makes me think she will need pain management in the morning for her neck!

I spent this weekend at the SCAV (South Carolina Association of Veterinarians) Continuing Education Meeting in beautiful downtown Greenville. I sat through two days of lectures and I must say that it is extremely tiring to just sit and listen.

I always find it so amusing when I have to sit in lectures on pain management, rehabilitation and other classes to do with body awareness for hours on end (pun intended). We sit there in agony, wiggling quietly, stretching, you name it trying to relieve the pain of sitting there!

I always come away with lots of little nuggets for my practice, my clients, and my patients. I know that while I listen to the lectures I tend to think of certain pets that may fit each category so my notes are interspersed with names of pets.

I then come home with a whole list of people to contact, new ideas to try out and different mind sets on how to treat. I love the education part of it, I just hate the sitting part and that is why I found it so amusing to sit behind Ellie. Ellie is a 12 year old Jack who has severe separation anxiety, imagine that – a vet with a pet who isn’t quite right.

Ellie was given her usual dose of anxiety medication that morning by her mother, Jill, but this time the medication did not take affect. Ellie was more stressed than usual since she was in an unfamiliar place with lots of noise going on around her.

When Jill went back to her room during a break, she heard Ellie barking out her distress and needless to say, the maid and other patrons near her room were not happy; so Ellie came to lectures. For the first few minutes of lecture Ellie was still stressed but then mom picked her up and she was fine. Now I know that all of the trainers and behaviorists are cringing because Jill just said it was okay to be anxious but Ellie was past that point already.

Ellie stayed awake for about 5 minutes post lap and even though, Dr. Mark Epstein is a great speaker, she was soon fast asleep. Her medication kicked in and no matter how much mom shifted, Ellie did not stir. I must admit that the post-lunch wanting-a-nap phase was hitting me but nothing like Miss Ellie. I was jealous of that sound sleep.

This little episode just goes to show that even though Ellie’s medication had always worked for her stress of a new situation overcame the effects. We as pet owners must remember that stress can be a good thing or it can be very detrimental. Your pet picks up on your level of stress and they can become just as agitated as you; that is why I always tell owners that they must have a positive attitude so that their pet can have a positive attitude.

Pain Management is all about picking up on subtle signs of distress such as:

  • panting
  • hiding/staying away from the family
  • behavior changes
  • not moving as much/sleeping more
  • slow moving
  • avoiding things they use to do like jump on the couch or go for walks

A lot of owners feel that their pets are just slowing down due to aging not pain but these are signs of a disability and should be treated as such. There are a lot of conventional and alternative methods to pain management which can be pursued. If your pet is showing any of these signs, you should consult your local veterinarian or your pet’s pain management practitioner at ARCC – Animal Rehab & Conditioning Center.

We will help with your pet’s pain management and hopefully not make you sleep through lecture — Good Night Ellie!


Giddy Up Mattie!

I thought I would speak to everyone about Mattie. Mattie is an older dachshund with a typical dachshund problem – she has disk disease.

Mattie’s owner is very conscientious and wants the best for her pet. Mattie has had an episode of back issues in the past and was able to work her way through it but this time the issue has been more severe.

Since Mattie is an older pet she is not the best candidate for surgery and mom wanted to try and get her through this episode without any drastic measures. Mattie was placed on prednisone and mom was given specific instructions about balance exercises, proprioceptive (knowing where her feet are) exercises, warm compresses, active and passive exercises.

We have monitored Mattie closely and each improvement has been cheered on with great enthusiasm, especially on my part. When Mattie stood for a few seconds without falling over – I was ecstatic. Mom was happy but I was giddy!

We were also using laser therapy on Mattie so I got to check on her progress at least twice a week for 3 weeks and even into the fourth week. I was disappointed that she didn’t start walking by the end of the laser treatments since they had worked so well for us in the past but we continued because we kept seeing small increments of healing.

Mom ordered Mattie a Walkin’ Wheels chair — in pink, of course. These wheelchairs are adjustable and we got it to fit Mattie with a little finagling. Mom noted that they had placed her in the chair the night before but she just stood there.

We used a lot of little treats and in the end placed a leash around her neck to give a little tug to jump start her. Mattie did the typical dog thing and pushed back but food brought her forward. You could see the light come on in Mattie’s eyes when she figured out that the chair allowed her to move.

Mattie didn’t run around the clinic but she did walk slowly. We could watch Mattie’s hind limbs moving while she walked and it is obvious which side we need to work on more.

A lot of people don’t want to think about their pet being in a chair but Mattie is now moving around instead of scooting or just sitting. She is part of the family and as such needs to be with them.

Mattie will hopefully continue to improve and get out of her chair but for now all I can think of is “Giddy Up Mattie!” Have a great week and I will keep you up-to-date on Mattie’s progress.

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