Harmony House for Cats has been a consistent aid to our neighborhood cats since 1970 and will be celebrating their 50th anniversary next year! We want to truly thank Harmony House for Cats, their volunteers, and all of those who donate and advocate for the cats and kittens of Chicago. “Together we are saving lives, one cat or kitten at a time!”
Adopt -A-Less-Adoptable-Pet Week was introduced by PetFinder in 2009 to bring awareness to all of the wonderful, adoptable pets that are unfortunately overlooked due to age, color of fur, medical/physical conditions, or other factors that categorize the pet as “less” adoptable. To raise awareness and promote the adoption of special needs animals, we wanted to share the story and goals of local organization Bialy’s Wellness Foundation.
“ENSURING ALL PETS ENJOY LONG, ACTIVE AND HAPPY LIVES.”
Bialy’s Wellness Foundation, or BWF, financially assists and provides resources to families, rescues, and caretakers of pets with mobility impairments and neurologic congenital abnormalities. Our friend, partner, and founder, Erin, started BWF after caring for her first pet needing specialized care: Bialy. “Bialy was urinary and fecal incontinent and paralyzed in her back legs,” Erin explained, “I found there were not a lot of resources out there to help with her case, so when she passed I found it imperative to start a non profit to help others care for their pets.”
Caring for a mobility impaired pet
We asked Erin to give us the inside scoop on the reality of caring for a mobility impaired pet. She expressed, “Overall, the reward is receiving an unconditional love from the pet you care for and developing a very special bond. The most important thing is to find a routine that works for you and once you get into a routine, it becomes second nature and does get easier. Then, it is so important to find a support system (like your veterinarian, friends, family and organizations like BWF) to help guide you, answer questions you may have, and ask for help because at times it can become demanding, physically and emotionally. I learned that not taking time away from caring for Bialy, and now Josh (@gimmesomejosh), was taking a toll on other areas in my life. Like many caregivers, you get worn out and need to recharge and incorporate healthy self care.”
Erin went on to explain, “Another one of our organizational goals is to help change the perception of pets with mobility impairments. “
So often when we are walking Josh(pictured above) we have people flock to us due to their lack of experience of cart using pets. Most of the time we get comments like,
“Oh, poor guy”
“That’s so sad!!”
“What happened to him?”
“Why is he like that? or
"You're a saint"
The immediate response and connotation is negative, sad and burdensome. We want to change the conversation and perception of pets like Josh. He is an extremely happy dog with an amazing quality of life. There is always another way to look at things and we hope to open everyone's mind and shift attitudes to highlight how extraordinary these pets can be.”
How many pets with special needs/mobility impairments end up in shelters and do they usually get adopted?
“Unfortunately we don't have data on this but we have put together surveys to help us better quantify the need to assist theses families since so many are brought into the shelter system due to financial or physical demands that cannot be met. We have worked locally with the CRISP program to ensure if a pet is being relinquished to Chicago Animal Care and Control that our contact information is passed along to see if our assistance will help keep the pet together with their family. “
“We have started a Forever Friday campaign as well. Special needs animals are often overlooked in the shelter and rescue community due to the added expense and involved care they require. It is important to give every animal a chance at living the best life possible. So our goal with this campaign is to raise awareness and promote the adoption of special needs animals by sharing photos, stories and experiences of other animals who need help finding their forever homes.”
Other than BWF, are there other resources that could help me take care of a special needs pet?
“Absolutely! There are online forums and groups where people can share their experiences with others going through similar situations. Your veterinarian, veterinary specialists, and support staff can be invaluable with sharing their expertise. Many of the businesses that provide supplies and equipment for mobility impaired pets also can be great resources. And of course organizations that focus on helping this population of pets like Bialy's Wellness Foundation can also provide great resources such as:
Wheeling Superheros https://www.wheelingsuperheroes.org/ - wheelchairs
Joey’s Paws https://www.joeyspaw.org/ - wheelchairs & prosthetics
These Dog Days http://www.thesedogdays.com/ - community/share life
Buddy Foundation https://thebuddyfoundation.org/ - surgery for dogs in Maryland
Tripawds Foundation https://tripawds.org/ - specific to amputees
Gunnars Wheels https://www.facebook.com/Gunnars-wheels-1155089164561706/ - wheelchairs
Handicapped Pets Foundation http://hpets.org/ - wheelchairs
Mango on a Mission https://www.mangosfreedomwheels.com/ - wheelchairs
Heaths Haven (ID) http://www.heathshavenrescue.com/ - special needs rescue
Panda Paws (WA) https://www.pandapawsrescue.org/ - special needs rescue
Lovey Loaves (FL) - http://www.loveyloaves.org/ - special needs rescue
Pets with Disabilities (MD) http://www.petswithdisabilities.org/ - special needs rescue
Rolling Dog Farm (NH) https://www.rollingdogfarm.org/ - special needs rescue
SNARR (LA) https://snarranimalrescue.org/home.html - special needs rescue
Lessons from a Paralyzed dog (blog) https://lessonsfromaparalyzeddog.com/ - resources
Wondering how you can get involved?
“Foster, volunteer, donate to an organization that assists pets with mobility impairments. Support the caretakers by offering your time or lending an ear. And never make judgements! We are doing what we can to change the perception and conversation.”
We want to truly thank Erin, Bialy’s Wellness Foundation, and all of those who advocate and promote the adoption of special needs animals. Together, we can make a difference in this population of pets.
This past Sunday Funday we had a blast hanging out with those in the Gold Coast neighborhood enjoying snacks, beverages, and meeting many new four legged friends! A HUGE thank you to the Carl Sandburg Village Association for opening their courtyard for the event.
What’s up Next?
Logan Square Farmer’s Market on Sunday, September 22nd from 10am-3pm
Join BLVD and our friends at Whirlpool for happy hour in River North to not only engage with adoptable, adorable puppies from ALIVE Rescue, but to also interactively learn about safe ingredients and recipes for homemade pet treats!
by Ashley Peters, DVM
Summer can be a fun time in Chicago to spend with your pets, but we and Wags-a-Lot Dog Walking want to make sure you can both enjoy it safely. Here are a few things to keep in mind while enjoying the sunshine.
What summer safety tips do you have for city dogs? What issues pop up in your practice this time of year that could be prevented?
Dog Parks: We see a lot of people spending more time with their pets at the dog park or beaches. Although these areas can allow exercise, playtime, and socialization, a lot of accidents, dog fights, and wounds can occur. Make sure to monitor your dog closely and to leave if you’re noticing unwanted behavior either exhibited by or to your dog. If you have a very small or fragile dog, try to avoid parks where there are a lot of larger dogs playing. Lastly, before you let your dog off-leash, make sure you have worked on some basic obedience, so if a problem does occur, your dog will listen and quickly respond to you.
Diseases: With many dogs out and about and interacting with each other, we see a surge in upper respiratory diseases such as kennel cough and canine influenza as well as other infectious disease including leptospirosis (a bacterial infection spread in wildlife/rodent urine and water sources), lyme disease, giardia, and gastrointestinal parasites. A proactive approach to such harmful diseases would be to make sure your pet is up to date on vaccinations, heart worm prevention, and flea/tick prevention.
Heat Stroke: One of the biggest issues we see this time of year in Chicago is heat stroke. When our dogs’ body temperature reaches a certain point, a number of harmful side effects can be life threatening. Signs of heatstroke include excessive panting, difficulty breathing, increased heart rate or respiratory rate, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, or even collapse. If your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms, seek veterinary attention right away! We recommend you gradually acclimate your dog to the warmer temperatures before allowing excessive exercise or play. Even a nice 70-75 degree day after many cooler days can be a problem. Make sure to always allow access to fresh cool water to keep them hydrated, an area for shade, or a place where they can cool down. Especially with our Brachycephalic breeds (such as French bulldogs, English bulldogs, Boston terriers, etc) who already have more compromised airways due to their anatomy, these hot and humid days can be detrimental. Make sure to take it easy and explore earlier in the day or later at night.
Sidewalks and Asphalt: During very hot days, asphalt can heat up quickly. Prolonged exposure can cause painful burns to our dogs sensitive paw pads. On hot days keep walking on these surfaces to a minimum.
Household Safety: When the weather is nice and we have our windows open, make sure that you have well fastened screens in place to prevent dogs from falling out or escaping.
Fairs and Festivals: We see a number of dogs enjoying time walking around the various street festivals Chicago has to offer. Make sure to monitor your dog from ingesting garbage or unwanted products they may find on the street or sidewalk and try to keep people food to a minimum. The goal is to avoid causing gastrointestinal upset that can lead to problems like pancreatitis or a bowel obstruction.
Fireworks: On and around the 4th of July, you can bank on hearing an increase in loud noises due to impressive firework displays. These loud noises and sounds can cause a lot of anxiety for our pets that can lead to destructive behaviors, or even escape. Create a safe place for your pets to stay indoors away from windows and loud noises, if possible. If your pet has extreme distress in these situations, make sure to speak with your veterinarian about certain medications to help reduce their anxiety.
Hear Us Out
Flea and Tick 101
Why are regular flea and tick prevention doses so important? What brand(s) do you recommend?
Fleas and ticks are common external parasites we can find on our adventurous pets, even in Chicago. Adult fleas live on our pets and lay eggs which then drop off into the environment and mature into new adult fleas (which can quickly create a flea infestation in our homes). Dogs can pick up fleas from any environment they visit frequently including the groomer, daycare, dogs parks, even from wildlife around our homes. Fleas can transmit infectious disease such as tapeworms, and unfortunately some dogs can have allergic response that can cause severe itching and skin infections. Ticks are small parasites that feed on the blood of their hosts. In the last few years we have seen an increase in our tick population throughout the Midwest. Ticks can transmit a number of diseases, like Lyme disease which can affect both humans and pets. If a dog has a heavy enough infestation with ticks. it can lead to a neurologic condition called tick paralysis. Although we think of fleas and ticks mainly being active during the warmer months, they can actually cause problems for our pets year round.
The best way to protect our dogs from these parasites is to use a regular flea and tick prevention. There are many types out there including collars, topicals, and chewable products. The two most common brands we use are Nexgard and Bravecto. Both products are an oral chewable pill that you can give as a treat! Nexgard protects against fleas and ticks for one month, most commonly used with puppies. Bravecto protects for 3 months, most commonly use with dogs over 6 months of age.
Lastly, we recommend you keep your dog on a regular heartworm preventative. Heartworm is a parasitic disease spread by mosquito bites to dogs. When bitten by an infected mosquito, a baby heartworm is transmitted to our dogs bloodstream that over time will develop into a large worm that lives in the heart and major blood vessels. These worms can cause damage leading to heart failure. Unfortunately, we are seeing an increase in heartworm disease due to the changing weather and shelter dogs being rescued from the south. There are topical, chewable, and injectable types of heartworm prevention. We use a once a month chewable product called Heartgard and Proheart, which is a one time injection that protects for 6 months. With the changing weather and environment these days, we recommend you protect your dog with these products year round.
Camping can be a fun way to escape with our dogs and a wonderful change of scenery for our city dwelling pets.; however, be sure to check on a few of these things before heading out to the woods.
What safety precautions should be taken when going camping with a dog (or taking a city dog to a more remote environment)?
Make sure your dog is up to date on vaccinations and heartworm plus flea/tick medications to prevent unwanted disease.
Bring doggie food and water bowls, recommending the portable kind! Make sure to bring a clean/fresh source of water to offer your dog. Try to prevent your dog from drinking out of dirty puddles and ponds where diseases such as leptospirosis and giardia can fester.
Make sure to bring your dog his regular food from home, bedding to sleep on, and towels to dry off in the event of water activities. Make sure to provide an area of shade when it’s warm outside and a place to keep warm if it gets cool at night.
Make sure to have a properly fitting leash, collar and/or harness, and that they are covered with the proper identification (ID tags, microchip).
Keep pets on leash during walks and hikes. There are many new sights, sounds, and smells to be experienced while exploring that they normally wouldn’t be exposed to in the city and we don’t want them to get scared, distracted, or run away. Keeping them on leash can also prevent encounters with wildlife and protect them from falling off steep trails or cliffs.
After hikes be sure to check your dog over for ticks, thorns, burrs, foxtails, etc that can get tangled in their fur. If doing any extensive hiking, you may want to get your dog fitted with booties to protect their paw pads on the trails.
If you are traveling far from home to go camping, try to look up local veterinary clinic information in case of an emergency.
We recommend you either make or buy a doggie first aid-kit to take with you in case of a problem or emergency. These may include items such as absorbent gauze pads, triple antibiotic ointment, hydrogen peroxide, adhesive tape/bandage material, tweezers, etc.
We hope you found these tips helpful! If you need to make an appointment or need to refill your prescriptions for heartworm or flea and tick preventatives, don’t hesitate to contact us.
by Tyler Williams, DVM
While sharing your home with an animal companion can be one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences of one's life, it is important to remember that pet ownership is also a big responsibility! Pet owners must be committed to providing for all of a pet's needs for the entire life of that animal. This includes housing/shelter, food & water, training, grooming, exercise and veterinary care. It is essential that you take the time to thoroughly research the basics of pet care and make sure you are familiar with the unique attributes of the breed before acquiring a new pet to ensure you are well prepared to meet of all your pet's needs.
Acquiring a pet should never be an impulsive decision. Tragically, animal shelters receive thousands of unwanted/abandoned animals each year as a result of inadequately considered decisions on pet ownership. Before you make the decision to become a pet owner, review these considerations to help ensure you can provide a good forever home for a new family member:
Can I afford a pet?
The costs of pet ownership will vary depending on the animal you choose. Remember that there are many costs involved with pet ownership that are often overlooked. Up front costs for puppies and kittens include adoption/purchasing fees, frequent veterinary exams, vaccinations, de-wormings, training, leashes/collars, microchipping and spay or neuter surgery. You will also need to be prepared to cover continual expenses for adult animals associated with feeding, boarding, bedding, toys, grooming, training and annual health checks and veterinary care. You will also need to ensure you can pay for any emergency medical treatment required in the event of injury or illness. Some of these costs can be mitigated with a Pet Health Insurance plan, such as ASPCA Pet Health Insurance.
Do I have enough time for a pet?
Caring for a pet takes a considerable amount of time each and every day. Training, exercise, feeding, grooming, socialization, and playing are all fundamental aspects of pet ownership. Some pets require more of your time than others - puppies and kittens are a particularly large time investment - but every pet requires daily care so you need to be sure you have time available or have someone you trust be able to take the time to meet these daily requirements for your pet.
Can I commit to a pet for its whole life?
Pets are a long term commitment. The average lifespan of a dog is 10-12 years and cats can live 15-20 years and their senior years often require additional veterinary care to keep them healthy. Also remember that young kittens and puppies will be constantly growing so be prepared to provide for the animal when it is a full grown adult too. This includes appropriately sized bedding/collars/harnesses/leashes, larger food volumes, and larger space requirements.
Will a pet fit into my lifestyle?
Daily working hours, relationship commitments, vacationing, and social life events are all factors that need to be considered before owning a pet. You'll have to consider if your own housing accepts pets and when you need to move, your options may be limited by having a pet. You must be sure that your lifestyle can accommodate all of your pet's specific needs as they rely on you completely for their care. Before you own a pet, get to know the breed you are interested in and do enough research to be familiar with what kind of schedule you would need to keep in order to meet its needs. Some animals are high-energy and require lots of regular exercise while others are more sedentary and can be self sufficient if left alone for longer periods of time. Make sure you can make accommodations for pet care if you ever need to be away from home.
Is my home pet friendly?
There are many aspects to consider when determining if you can provide suitable accommodations for a pet. Don't forget to factor in the size of your home, access to a yard or park, proximity to the "bathroom" area, permission to keep a pet in your residence, potential health complications of all people in your home (i.e. allergies), and temperament of any pets already established in the household.
Be mindful of the dangers that common household items can pose to pets. It is important to go through your home before you bring in a new pet to identify and eliminate potential hazards. This includes access to cabinets and counter tops, human medications, toxic plants, electrical cords, cleaning chemicals, small toys, curtains, etc.
Obviously, we love our pets. They bring us joy, they can be sources of comfort and loyal companionship. If you are committed to making sure they have that in return, we look forward to meeting them! It's part of our mission to be advocates for the needs of our animal friends and the best way we can do that is through education. We want you to provide the best life you can give your new pet - and help you along the way.
by Dr. Dylan
Greetings BLVD Friends and Clients,
2018 has been another whirlwind year over hear at BLVD Vet! Here are some highlights:
Fear Free: We had Colleen,one of our Certified Veterinary Technicians, become credentialed in Fear Free™ handling of pets. She has brought many of their methods back to BLVD where it has become a core way of how we interact with pets. Fear Free’s mission is to prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in pets by inspiring and educating the people who care for them. This is important to us as we want your pets to have a great experience when they come to us!
BLVD Babies: Two of our colleagues: Charlene, CVT, and Dr. Geisler gave birth to healthy little girls this fall. Charlene is already back in the office and we are looking forward to having Dr. Geisler rejoin us this January. We will have regular availability for Dr. Geisler’s Chiropractic and Acupuncture patients as soon as she’s back!
Dr. Josie Arbogast: In August, our newest DVM, Dr. Arbogast joined us. It has been an absolute pleasure working with Dr. Arbogast. Her enthusiasm, can-do attitude and great bedside manner have been an incredible addition to the BLVD DVM group. Plus, she’s a natural on social media, so look for more of Dr. Arbogast’s “BLVD Pointers” in 2019 on our Instagram and Facebook feeds. If you have any questions or topics you would like covered, please submit them here!
AAHA Re-Accreditation at BLVD Vet Logan Square: The American Animal Hospital Association requires regular inspections in order to maintain our accredited status. This December we passed our 2nd evaluation since 2016 with flying colors! Our scores were even higher, which makes us so proud as we believe in always looking for ways to improve all aspects of our practice. To read more about AAHA Accreditation, click here.
Much of my time this past year has been spent identifying and hiring veterinarians who are exceptionally talented and excel in both patient and client care. I’m pleased to say that our veterinarians Dr. Geisler, Dr. Williams, Dr. Cordes and Dr. Arbogast have even more positive online reviews than I do so my expectation is that every pet will continue to receive an exceptional level of care regardless of whom they see. I plan to continue to have regular but reduced clinical hours going forward, but please know you can always ask for me.
One of the important projects we’ve worked on this year is establishing Boulevard Veterinary’s Core Values. They are as follows:
These came from a collaborative effort of our staff, managers, as well as Kelly and myself. I found that it was more a process of identifying what our intrinsic values already were and putting them into words, rather than simply creating a list of aspirations. Your feedback was another important consideration in establishing these values, your emails and reviews have consistently helped direct us in what we’re doing well and what we can do better.
There are lots of exciting things in store for 2019 at BLVD Vet. As always, thank you for your patronage and support!
Happy New Year,
Dylan Frederickson, DVM
by Dr. Josie Arbogast
It's the most wonderful time of the year- a time to spend celebrating with our friends and family members, including our furry ones! As we prepare for this holiday season, here are a few helpful tips on what you should help your pets avoid so as not to put a damper on the festivities:
Mistletoe & Holly: Whether you are decking the halls or cuddling up underneath the mistletoe this winter, be sure it's out of your pet's reach. Holly and mistletoe can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea and if large amounts are ingested, and even cardiovascular problems can occur in our pets.
Lilies: Although these flowers look great in a holiday bouquet, a significant number of lily species can cause severe kidney damage in cats from ingestion of any part of the plant, including pollen that could accumulate on your cat’s fur. It’s generally recommend to not keep lilies in your home if you have a cat to be safe.
Poinsettias: It may be better to opt for the silk or artificial version when decorating with these traditional holiday plants. Poinsettias contain a sap that can cause severe GI upset and blisters in the mouth.
Tinsel: Our feline friends love bright, shiny objects and especially strings. So, when they see a tree full of tinsel - it’s game on! Although tinsel itself is not toxic, it can cause serious gastrointestinal complications such as an intestinal obstruction or blockage if swallowed.
Candles: Never leave your pet unattended around an open flame. One wrong step or wag of a tail could cause your pet to get burnt or start a house fire.
Christmas Trees: We recommend securing your Christmas tree to the ceiling or to a door frame to prevent it from tipping over and causing potential injury. This will also keep the tree water from spilling, which is not safe for our pets to drink.
Leftovers: Although our pets usually want to help us sample the spread, it's important to keep the table food to a minimum. Fatty foods, meats, and grease can cause severe gastrointestinal upset and pancreatitis.
Sweet treats: By now, most of us know that our pets should never eat chocolate, especially dark chocolate. However, it’s best to avoid feeding them sweets altogether as many of these contain an artificial sweetener known as xylitol, which can cause our pet’s blood sugar to drop to dangerously low levels and require hospitalization.
Grapes/raisins: Many holiday dishes contain these fruits and if ingested, even in very small quantities, can cause acute kidney failure.
We hope you find these tips helpful, and if you have any questions you can always give us a call or shoot us an email with your questions. If you are unable to reach us and need immediate assistance due to ingestion or exposure, please contact ASPCA Animal Poison Control.
We want to underscore that the FDA still deems these medications safe for the majority of patients. From the FDA bulletin: “The FDA carefully reviewed studies and other data on Bravecto, Credelio, Nexgard and Simparica prior to approval, and these products continue to be safe and effective for the majority of animals.”
Happy Holidays friends!
We hope you and your pets are staying bundled up as we dive into the colder holiday season! Our team wanted to share couple tidbits before the year is through that can benefit pets in need as well as some new offerings for your pets.
ALIVE Rescue Donation Drive
We are happy to announce that we're now carrying a safe, easy alternative to monthly Heartworm prescriptions! After hearing out many of your requests and doing the research, we wanted to make this convenient and effective option available to our patients. Proheart 6 is an alternative Heartworm preventive that we administer here at the practice that lasts for 6 months. In two visits to your favorite vet, your dog can have year round protection against Heartworm disease. For many clients, depending on your pets weight, this is also the more economical option. Next time your dog is in need of a refill, we welcome you to talk to us about this as an option for your pet.
Feliscratch by Feliway
For our feline companions, we're introducing a new product by Feliway. Feliscratch uses a synthetic copy of natural pheromones that our cats leave behind when they mark their territory by scratching. A pipette of this pheromone is applied to where you want your cat to scratch instead, such as their cat tree, and it lasts up to four weeks. Their studies indicate 8 out of 10 cats respond positively, a great step in saving our furniture! If you're having issues with your cat clawing up your furniture at home, please bring it up the next time you talk to us.
Take care and stay cozy,
The BLVD Team
We had a busy October as we get to know our new River North neighborhood! We hope you had as much fun as we had these past few weeks. Check out all the cute costumes and boozy debauchery below.
BLVD Yappy Hour at Parc Huron
BLVD Yappy Hour at Erie on the Park
BLVD Vet Trick-Or-Treat 2017
And last but not least a little video of all the Team trickery we had on Halloween!
If you'd like Boulevard Veterinary to host a Yappy Hour at your pet friendly business or residence, please contact Kelly Frederickson at email@example.com.