About Oak Tree Animal Hospital

Oak Tree Animal Animal is a veterinary hospital located in the Northwest area of Tampa FL. It is owned and staffed by veterinarian, Dr. Uthaya Kumar, who has been a practicing vet in Tampa for over 10 years. For quality, professional, compassionate and affordable veterinary pet healthcare in Tampa, call Oak Tree Animal Hospital – 1.813.935-2080.

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Reasons a Pet is a Benefit for Kids in a Family

Having a pet in a house with children has the tendency to finish that family. The human animal bond within the house will certainly support and grow, thus supplying significant positive family dynamics, especially for the youngsters. For many, having a pet in the house completes the mental image of their family.

Let us not forget the 6-8 million pets a year that are housed in animal shelters. Getting a pet for the family will in addition assist these animals.

From: Adoptapet.com (http://www.adoptapet.com/blog/10-reasons-pets-are-good-for-kids)

There are so many benefits that pets provide for kids! It’s easy for kids to get wrapped up in the idea of owning a new pet, but it’s up to their parents to make sure the experience is a positive one, and that the pet receives the care he or she needs for their entire lives. Kids tend to think of all the fun, good things. Parents who are experienced, or even first-time pet owners, know there is a lot of patience, time, and effort involved, but that the pay-off of sharing your home and life with the unconditional love a well-cared for pet gives, it’s well worth it. For those parents sitting on the edge, here are several positive benefits you might not have thought of when bringing a pet home for your kids.

1. Children who grow up in homes with pets have less risk of developing common allergies and asthma.

2. Playing with dogs may help lower blood pressure.

3. Kids with pets get outside more – to go for walks, run, and play – and enjoy all the associated health benefits.

4. Pet owners require fewer doctors’ visits.

5. Emerging readers often feel more comfortable reading aloud to a pet.

6. Nurturing a pet is an acceptable way for boys to “parent play”; to practice being caregivers.

7. Feeding and caring for a pet encourages childhood responsibility.

8. Children with pets display improved impulse control, social skills and self-esteem.

9. Sharing the love and care of a family pet forges an additional common bond among siblings.

10. Cuddling a pet reduces stress, loneliness, and anxiety.

11. Pets offer security and stability. Nearly 70% of children confide in their pets, confident their secrets will not be betrayed.

12. And pets provide a natural gateway into the animal kingdom- love for one’s pet as a child often translates into an adult belief that the relationship between humans and animals is one of mutual support.

Ebola | As A Pet Owner – Should You Be Concerned?

Ebola | As A Pet Owner – Should You Be Concerned?

Ebola is all over the news. A dog was euthanized in Spain because the owner came down with Ebola. This has created a controversy. The bottom line is we don’t really have enough facts and research to really make an educated decision. It would have been nice to have quarantined the dog so we could have gotten more information about the potential danger, if any. Below is an article created by Veterinary News Network (VNN) which will provide some information for you.

Can Ebola Virus affect our Dogs and Cats

• For the past several months, countries in West Africa have been experiencing an outbreak of illness caused by the Ebola virus. People infected with this virus usually show a fever, headache, muscle pain, weakness, vomiting and diarrhea, followed by dysentery or blood in the diarrhea and abdominal pain. It is basically a viral hemorragic fever.

• Sadly, although recoveries can happen they are rarew and up to 90 percentage of people who test positive for Ebola will die. There is currently no cure. As with many diseases, the only treatment is supportive care, such as rehydration and treating any direct symptom as best as possible.

• With the recent news that a second person has tested positive for Ebola here in North America even after taking all the precautions of a health care worker in a major hospital, many people are becoming alarmed about the transmission of the disease especially considering the uncontrolled migration of people through our southern border and other unidentified viral infections that are known to have come to our contry via this route.

• Further, with the euthanasia of the an infected patient’s dog in Spain (and the outrage that caused around the world), the concerns of the Ebola virus are not limited to protecting only people, but also whether or not our pets are at risk of infection or could possibly transmit the disease to people or other animals.

• Here is what we know at this time; precious little research has been devoted to whether dogs or cats can become infected with Ebola, consequently facts are known. At least one study has indicated that dogs can become infected with the virus, deveop a titer, but the dogs in the study did not demonstrate transmission. (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/11/3/pdfs/04-0981.pdf).

• However, even though dogs do develop antibodies to the virus, at this point there is no evidence that dogs actually get sick or even show symptoms. What’s more important though is that there are no documented cases of dogs passing the virus to humans. And it must be emphasized – this is true AT THIS POINT, as wse are early in our experience with this disease outside of Africa.

• Because no studies of this particular virus have been done on a large scale in dogs and cats, we are simply in uncharted territory and do not know. Because of this we all have to be vigilant and watch for these general signs and get out pets treated immediately.

• Both the CDC and all veterinary health authorities, public health agnencies and epidemiologists and microbiolobists are on alert around the clock, it is important to understand everything is being done to monitor populationis of people and all animals for unusual signs and even testing where necessary.

• If your pet is sick or shows any symptoms such as fever (usually seen as lack of appetite), vomiting, diarrhea etc., you should see your veterinarian immediately and we’ll make our best effort to get a diagnosis and treat your pet.



Too Many Dog Bites! 10 Things You Need to Know to Prevent a Dog Bite

Too Many Dog Bites! 10 Things You Need to Know to Prevent a Dog Bite

Hey, did you know there was a National Dog Bite Prevention Week?

Yep, the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) National Dog Bite Prevention Week in 2014 is from May 18th until the 24th of May and the pont as usual will be on teaching people about dog bite prevention.
Well, the vast majority of these dog bites can be prevented. Who gets bitten the more often? Of course youngsters! Therefore, telling children must be the responsibility of the parents, especially if there are pets in the household.

With 70 million living in the United States, there’s got to be a substantial number of dog bites. Actually 4.5 – 5 million dog bites occur annually. As many as 20% of these dog bites need a doctor’s attention. That’s 800,000 a year and half of those are kids. Senior citizens are the next most common group suffering from a dog bite. Children are commonly more seriously traumatized. The responsible dog is usually known to the child. The dog bites generally occurs during normal daily interactivity with the dog.

So what ideas can we provide to help curtail this serious problem? Listed are 10 things a person can do.

Do some research and homework about various breeds

One of the most essential things is to do some study about different breed characters and behavioral trends before picking a dog for the household. Do not adopt or get an animal based upon impulse for emotional reasons, feeling sorry for the dog or guilty. Do not let somebody force a puppy on you. This generally turns out badly. Particularly if this is your first dog. Learn exactly what to try to find in a pet. Speak with a veterinarian, a trustworthy breeder, at least someone in the veterinary or pet care field. People who have actually had years of experience handling and taking care of various canines. If you are not alone, the other individuals, particularly adults, have to be on board entirely. Don’t permit children to make the choice. You have to take a look at your family situation and see if the dog fits (sex, breed, size, activity level, personality, kind of coat, monetary dedication, etc.) into your lifestyle.

If thinking about a puppy, check out the parents, at least the mother dog

Temperament is a heritable characteristic. Exactly how does she react when you approach and touch her? Will she sit on when instructed? Are you able to get her to lie down on her side? Take the puppy and pick the puppy up. Exactly how does it respond? Put the puppy dog on its back and side? How does it respond? If it fights you, vocalizes or attempts to bite, don’t get it. You will have issues in socializing it.

You need to have human socialization with the puppy

With that specified, ensure that your young puppy is well-socialized. The capability to socialize the pet is crucial in having an excellent and loyal animal. You need to work with your dog to comply with the basic commands such as sit, stay, lie down, obey when you say no and return to you when you call. The dog has to be comfortable walking with you on a leash (ie. – walks with you in a calm way, doesn’t drag you and is at your side). The most important thing you can do to prevent behavioral problems and reduce the risk of your dog biting someone is proper socializing. If your dog has a loyal nature, you will considerably lower the risk of biting somebody and misbehaving.


Workout with your dog daily

Exercise is likewise crucial, especially in specific animals. Pet dogs have energy that has to be burnt on a routine daily basis. Depending on the dog, the workout could be long strolls or have to be more aerobic. Good routine workout likewise provides psychological excitement for the pet and will make the pet better within the home.

Play appropriately with your pet

When individuals or the youngsters play with the dog, stay away from the play fighting or tug-of-war sort of games. That form of activity is over stimulating and matches the dog against you. Never aggravate the dog with your hands. Having your fingers, hands or arms in the animal’s mouth is saying to the dog it is okay to bite, even though it is in a playful manner. Additionally, don’t ever put your dog in a circumstance in which he/she feels teased or endangered.

Lead instruction is needed

As already touched on, you need to regularly use a leash whenever you walk your dog in public. You really need to maintain control. You do not have control, if your dog is pulling you along. Each family members need to have effective control when walking the dog, not just one particular person. You need to pursue out some obedience training if you have a substantial concern when walking your dog.

Don’t leave your dog outdoors alone in the yard

Keeping a animal outside in the yard unattended can lead to issues. Digging holes and jumping the fence are commonplace issues. You can acquire a few territorial and aggression problems if another dog is adjacent to your yard. This could undo the work you have already accomplished.

Timely neutering and spaying can assist

Neutering and spaying are good things to do. Getting rid of the hormonal impacts can lessen some common aggression inclinations present among intact animals. You need to talk about the timing of neutering and spaying with your vet.

Get yearly health and physical examinations

Regular health and physical examinations really should be done at a minimum yearly. If touched where there is pain, dogs in pain from osteoarthritis might potentially nip. Your veterinarian can provide medication for arthritic pain.

Take time to enlighten and teach your children

You must teach your children how to approach and act with not only your own pet but various other dogs that they may run into. Be sure that they understand not to merely go up a dog and extend their hand to touch the pet. Never go to hug a dog or get hold of the pet in any way. They should never move toward a pet that is not on a leash and under a grownup’s control. You really should never leave an infant or small child alone with any dog, even your own.

Watch the videos below to help teach your child:


Oak Tree Animal Hospital
7201 Armenia Avenue North
Tampa FL 33604

A veterinary animal hospital located in Hillsborough County providing veterinary medical
and surgical care in Northwest Tampa and surrounding areas.

Need veterinary care for your dog or cat? We are an affordable animal hospital in Tampa FL.

Call us for an appointment and let us help you with your best friend and companion.


Easy Dog Training Tips to Help Improve a Dog’s Behavior

Easy Dog Training Tips to Help Improve a Dog’s Behavior

Easy Dog Training Steps

There are numerous benefits to teaching your pet dog. Having fewer behavioral problems because your dog will be developing improved manners. This will in addition will offer you a more rewarding relationship with your buddy. Your pet will connect better with other people and youngsters. You will have the ability to take your animal with you to more places.


To stop an animal from digging in your backyard you will have to learn the cause. Some pets simply dig naturally; however, other pet dogs dig because they’re lonesome or want a cool place to lay down when it’s hot outdoors. If you let your animal stay in the backyard for hours with little attention, no interactivity, void of exercise or no cool place to avoid of the sun, you may be contributing to the problem.

Proper Environment

Develop an environment that is learning-friendly for training sessions. Get rid of interruptions such as kids, tv or anything else that can draw attention away from you. Kids enjoy to assist; nevertheless, they can be your greatest barrier while trying to train your canine. When distractions are eliminated you will not need to constantly refocus your animal to pay attention, and this leads to quicker and simpler training.

Much Better Socialization

Socializing is an essential part of any canine training. You must attempt beneficial reinforcement when presenting your dog to brand-new people or children. Have the individual feed your canine a special treat when the visitor shows up. This is likewise reliable when greeting individuals in unfamiliar environments. In time, the your canine will connect satisfying new individuals with a positive experience.

Get your pet accustomed to being petted everywhere by touching all areas of your dog’s body. Make certain to include the toes, feet, belly, inside the mouth, ears, snout as well as the tail. Desensitizing your pet dog to being touched everywhere makes it simpler to condition your animal so it doesn’t assault a visitor who touches your canine in a place that your animal is not used to being touched.

Learning Tricks

If there is a technique you’d like your animal to be able to do on command, make certain you praise your canine whenever she or he does the behavior. This works well for behaviors that you are actively teaching, along with actions that your dog might do typically. For instance, if you think it would be enjoyable to teach your animal to “talk” whenever you ask, merely say, “talk,” and give a treat to your animal whenever the dog does the trick. Ultimately, he or she will discover the association between the phrase “talk” and the action of barking, and the advantage.

Repeating is important when you are trying to train your canine to follow a command. When she or he effectively follows your command, practice the command numerous times a day and be sure to provide your pet dog praise and a treat. Repeating will guarantee that your animal will follow the command and remember it in the future.

Remove the Hormonal Influences

Spaying or neutering your pet can avoid unwanted habits from ever beginning. Territorial marking, inappropriate soiling, in addition to hostility can be an outcome of sexual maturation. By neutering or spaying your pets, you can stop your pet dog, as well as cats, from wandering if they ever get out of your home by mistake. Neutering and spaying is reasonably painless with contemporary veterinary medicine anesthesia and pain management. Your animal will likewise profit from the wellness elements of spaying or neutering for life.


Behavioral training is vital for a well-mannered, positive, friendly, and mellow pet … and their owner! There are lots of and different pointers on pet dog training offered. You will discover some that work for you. So put a few of these pointers into practice and go have a good time with your pet!



Oak Tree Animal Hospital
7201 Armenia Avenue North
Tampa FL 33604

A veterinary animal hospital located in Hillsborough County providing veterinary medical
and surgical care in Northwest Tampa and surrounding areas.

Need veterinary care for your dog or cat? We are an affordable animal hospital in Tampa FL.

Call us for an appointment and let us help you with your best friend and companion.

Pet Microchipping Could Possibly Save Your Pet’s Life

How Can A Microchip Help My Pet Get Back Home

 Video Courtesy of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Microchipping is one of the most loving things you can do for your pet. A lost pet will experience a tremendous amount of trauma from being separated from its owner, as well as feelings of disorientation as they desperately try to find their way back home. An exuberant pet that inadvertently dashes out into the street when a gate has accidentally been left open is led by instinct and a feeling of freedom to keep exploring. This can cause an animal to stray further and further away from home. If a pet is found and there is no way to determine who the owners are, the founders may decide to keep it for themselves, or take it to an animal shelter. If the pet is not claimed by its owners within a reasonable period of time, it will be put down.

Millions of lost animals turn up at animal shelters every year, most are not returned to their owners and have to be euthenased, as the shelter cannot cope with such large amounts of animals. If a pet has been fitted with a pet microchip the animal shelter will be able to scan the microchip to find the identification number encoded into the chip. This identification number will enable the supplier of the microchip to access the registration of the pet, which contains all the contact information of the owners, and soon the pet can be reunited with its loving family.

Although microchipping will significantly increase the potential of finding your pet if it should get lost, it is only one component in a system involving the microchip, scanners that are able to read the information on the chip, and the registration of the contact details of the owners, as well as a collar with tags which inform someone who finds the pet that it carries a microchip.

How does a microchip work?

A microchip is a very small device, no bigger than a grain of rice, that is contained in a capsule together with an antenna and a capacitator. This capsule is implanted under the skin, usually between the shoulder blades, of a pet. A scanner activates the microchip and the information encoded into the microchip is displayed on a small LCD screen. When you microchip and register your pet, an identification number is linked to your contact information on an online registry, which can be accessed by organizations who own scanners, such as animal shelters, humane organizations, animal hospitals and veterinarians, who will contact you to advise you that your pet has been found.

Owners of pets sometimes forget to update the contact information when their living circumstances change. A microchip is only as effective as the correct contact information it contains, so it is most important to not only microchip your pet, but to register the microchip with the supplier of the device, and then keep your contact information up to date. It is also most important for your pet to wear a collar with a tag, which will tell the person who has found your pet, that it has been microchipped. If the collar is damaged or lost, there is still a chance that someone will take the pet to a place where it can be checked for microchipping.


Oak Tree Animal Hospital
7201 Armenia Avenue North
Tampa FL 33604

A veterinary animal hospital located in Hillsborough County providing veterinary medical
and surgical care in Northwest Tampa and surrounding areas.

Need veterinary care for your dog or cat? We are an affordable animal hospital in Tampa FL.

Call us for an appointment and let us help you with your best friend and companion.



Seasonal Pet Toxins to Avoid

Seasonal Pet Toxins to Avoid

The holiday season is a time of year when people decorate their homes of Christmas trees and have busy holiday plans. It is a time for cooking and baking desserts many of which include chocolate.

Ingestion of seasonal plants

We know that there are a lot of concerns around the holidays, especially certain potential intoxications such as chocolate and the ingestion of those seasonal plants. The three common plants that one finds around the holidays are poinsettias, holly and mistletoe.

Fortunately, none of these plants are particularly dangerous except that they can cause significant gastro-intestinal upset which would include vomiting and diarrhea. If a pet consumes one of these plants you should call your veterinarian right away and talk to them about it.

Ingestion of chocolate

A lot of people know that chocolate is potentially toxic to dogs but what we need to recognize is that there are different kinds of chocolate. The two toxic components in chocolate are caffeine and theobromine. It is the theobromine in chocolate which causes most of the symptoms in a pet. Theobromine affects the pet’s intestinal system, nervous system (brain), cardiovascular system and the kidneys. The main one that could be lethal produces cardiac arrhythmias, which causes the heart not to beat the way that it normally should.

Milk chocolate is one that could potentially be toxic but is usually a threat to small dogs. However, baker’s chocolate actually has ten times the amount of the toxin, theobromine, than milk chocolate. The risk of a true toxicity is much higher with baker’s chocolate then with milk chocolate.

How much is this too much? Veterinarians get a lot of questions of people calling about a pet getting into a Hershey’s bar or kisses. Now, it really depends on two things. First, one must consider the size of the pet. For example, a big dog is going to be much less likely to be intoxicated than a very small dog.

The second factor is how much and what kind of chocolate was consumed. If your pet gets into chocolate products, it is really important to find out how much theobromine that product contains.

“Let’s look at how much theobromine is in certain types of chocolate, and then we can best know if you need to be concerned about chocolate poisoning in your pet. A 5oz milk chocolate bar contains 250mg of theobromine, a dark chocolate bar contains 600 mg. Unsweetened baking chocolate contains 400mg theobromine per square, Semisweet chocolate chips (30 chips), 250mg. Dry cocoa powder contains 700 mg of theobromine per ounce.

The toxic and potentially fatal dose of chocolate is 60mg/kg- so a 10lb dog only needs to consume 300mg of chocolate. Clinical Signs can be seen as low as 20mg/kg- meaning a small 10lb dog only needs to consume 100mg to have problems. Severe signs are seen at 40mg/kg- or consuming 200mg of chocolate.

A poodle weighing 10lbs can be fatally poisoned by as little as one milk chocolate bar containing 250mg of theobromine. A 75lb larger breed dog, such as a Golden Retriever, would need to eat to eat 8 milk chocolate bars to become seriously ill. On the other hand, the dark chocolate and baker’s chocolate are far more toxic; the 75lb Golden only needs to consume 3 of the dark chocolate bars to be fatally poisoned.”

One can either look on the of the label of the rapper of the product. Many companies, such as the Hershey’s company, have a website you can go to and provides useful information about how much of theobromine is in that particular product.

Also, another option would be calling the National Animal Poison Control Center. If you just go to their website there are some very useful articles on different types of products and potential hazards within the home that you might want to be aware of.

Got a Pet Poison Emergency? Call (888) 426-4435

One thing, you can always call your regular veterinarian and ask for his or her advice on what to do.

Ingestion of macadamia nuts

A lot of people aren’t aware of the fact that macadamia nuts are potentially toxic.

We don’t know what the poisonous agent is but animals consuming macadamia nuts can actually have depression, hallucinations and hind limb weakness.

Macadamia Nuts

Although macadamia nut toxicosis is unlikely to be fatal in dogs, it can cause very uncomfortable symptoms that may persist for up to 48 hours. Affected dogs develop weakness in their rear legs, appear to be in pain, may have tremors and may develop a low grade fever. Fortunately, these signs will gradually subside over 48 hours, but dogs experiencing more than mild symptoms can benefit from veterinary care, which may include intravenous fluid therapy and pain control.”

What to do if you think your pet ingested something poisonous

It’s really important, if you think your dog or your cat has gotten into something that’s potentially toxic, to call your vet and follow their directions. It is best to get your dog or cat to them, so they can evaluate your pet and start treatment, if necessary.

The first thing that your veterinary hospital is going to ask you is… what is the particular compound, product or food that your pet ingested? Next, they’re going to ask how much do you think your pet consumed and third, they’re going to ask, how long has it been since your pet consumed the particular product, substance or food.

What are some other potential recommendations that your veterinarian is likely to make, if your pet has gotten into omething that’s potentially poisonous?

One, they may recommend that you induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide. Please never do this unless you’ve consulted with your veterinarian first.

Second, they may ask that you bring your pet immediately into the animal hospital for examination, possible laboratory tests and supportive care, such as fluids and administer products to help reduce the absorption of the toxin. Also, they may try to reduce the amount of the ingested substance by nducing vomiting, if that has not been done.

There are numerous potential toxic sources during this time of the year, but the ingestion of chocolate products is still the most common problem encountered by veterinarians during the holidays.


Oak Tree Animal Hospital
7201 Armenia Avenue North
Tampa FL 33604

A veterinary animal hospital located in Hillsborough County providing veterinary medical
and surgical care in Northwest Tampa and surrounding areas.

Need veterinary care for your dog or cat? We are an affordable animal hospital in Tampa FL.

Call us for an appointment and let us help you with your best friend and companion.

Stop! Poisonous Pet Foods | Foods You Should Not Feed Your Pets

Stop! Poisonous Pet Foods | Foods You Should Not Feed Your Pets

Food that we eat does not necessarily translate into food that can be eaten by our pets. Some foods are health hazards to our pets despite them being very safe and healthy for humans. Pet owners must refrain from feeding their pets every thing that humans eat with the assumption that since they themselves can eat it then it follows that their pet can eat it. This may be a difficult undertaking because 1) Pets are excellent beggars – all they have to do is look at you with those begging drooling eyes and 2) it may be difficult to know which foods are poisonous!

Not all that is healthy food to humans is healthy to pets. Take for example Onions, Garlic and Chives! These are healthy vegetables that every human being on earth should eat. But did you know that they can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage in our pets, especially in dogs and pets. These foods are potentially dangerous when taken in large amounts! Another example is avocado.

“Avocado – The leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados contain Persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Birds and rodents are especially sensitive to avocado poisoning, and can develop congestion, difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation around the heart. Some ingestions may even be fatal.”

Grapes and raisins are delicious and healthy to humans but are toxic foods to pets.

“Grapes & Raisins – Although the toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown, these fruits can cause kidney failure. In pets who already have certain health problems, signs may be more dramatic.”

It is very easy to give your pet fruit like peach, pear or plum, however the pit of these fruits contains cyanogenic glycosides which can cause cyanide poisoning.

The following is a list og some of poisonous foods to your pet that you feed your feed without knowing. The list is from a Humane Society:

Alcoholic beverages
Apple seeds
Apricot pits
Cherry pits
Candy (particularly chocolate—which is toxic to dogs, cats, and ferrets—and any candy containing the toxic sweetener Xylitol)
Coffee (grounds, beans, and chocolate-covered espresso beans)
Gum (can cause blockages and sugar free gums may contain the toxic sweetener Xylitol)
Hops (used in home beer brewing)
Macadamia nuts
Moldy foods
Mushroom plants
Mustard seeds
Onions and onion powder
Peach pits
Potato leaves and stems (green parts)
Rhubarb leaves
Tea (because it contains caffeine)
Tomato leaves and stems (green parts)
Xylitol (artificial sweetener that is toxic to pets)
Yeast dough

Your pet’s life and health are important and if you think your pet has ingested any food or anything that is dangerous to it contact your veterinarian and call the Animal Poison Control Center (ASPCA) at (888) 426-4435.

We also advice that you download and print “Toxic Food Guide for Pets – What Not to Feed Dogs and Cats” document. This can be used as a reference and guide to the type of food you should avoid giving your pets.

Don’t Smoke Cigarettes Around Your Pets | Dangers and Harm

Don’t Smoke Cigarettes Around Your Pets | Dangers and Harm

Just as in people, second hand cigarette smoking can be extremely dangerous to your pets. If you are a cigarette smoker, you may be unknowingly increasing the risk of some serious health concerns influencing your animals. Because it would take you a longer time to see any issues, the unsafe impacts in animals can be even worse. By the time you observe any symptoms it might be too late.

Research has found that allergies, skin disease and respiratory issues, in cats and pets, can result from previously smoking. Besides second-hand smoke, the ingestion of nicotine, which can be dangerous in itself, can also take place from cigarette butts, replacement gum, nicotine patches and contaminated drinking water. This is actually termed third hand smoke.

“A recent study from Harvard Medical School, published in the January 2009 Journal of Pediatrics, found additional health risks associated with what they termed “third-hand smoke,” describing the invisible yet toxic brew of gases and particles clinging to smokers’ hair and clothing, cars, and carpeting that lingers long after the second-hand smoke has cleared the room.” (Dr. Karen Becker, Healthy Pets, September 17, 2009).

If you can “smell” the smoke then that is third hand smoke.

Some of the more typically effected and vulnerable pets include dogs, cats, rabbits and birds.

Damage in pet dogs:

Canines that live in a home with a cigarette smoker are more vulnerable to obtaining respiratory illness, such as allergy to tobacco smoke, as compared to those that are residing in a smoke free environment. Surprisingly, nasal illness, such as nasal cancer, is more widespread in long nosed pets than shorter or medium nosed pets. This is due to the fact that the longer nosed dogs offer more area where the carcinogens, when inhaled, can build up. Unfortunately, pet dogs that establish nasal cancer hardly ever survive for more than a year. Now on the other hand, short nosed pets, such as pugs and cats, have a greater risk of developing pneumonia from second hand smoke and lung cancer. An additional significant side effect of secondhand cigarette smoking in pet dogs is long bone cancer. Likewise you have to consider that the environment, which includes the pet’s fur, contaminated rugs, carpets, furniture, etc., can be a secondhand source, due to consumption, by licking and grooming, of the carcinogens left.

Harm in cats:

Cats, much like pet dogs, are vulnerable to secondhand smoke. Allergy and asthma are very typical in cats in these smoking households. What even makes it more of a potential problem in cats is their grooming habits. Cats continuously groom themselves by licking their fur and as a result can ingest more of the cancer causing carcinogens that accumulate on their fur. Due to this, mouth cancer such as Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) can result. Secondhand smoke likewise correlates to malignant lymphoma occurrence. Both of these cancers types have a poor prognosis when they occur in a cat and can be really expensive if treatment is attempted.

Harm in rabbits:

Secondhand smoke likewise causes respiratory issues in rabbits plus diarrhea, throwing up, salivation and even cardiac problems. Sadly, it might be tough to see these clinical problems, which occur, in time to be treatable, thus the health of your pet might slowly deteriorate.

Harm in birds:

Pet birds are also susceptible to illness troubles from secondhand smoke. A bird’s respiratory system is really sensitive to any type of air toxin in the surroundings. Therefore, the effects in birds can even be worse than those in other animals. Due to the lack of a diaphragm, it easier for them to inhale polluted air. Some of the other threats associated with second hand smoking in birds consist of respiratory paralysis and pneumonia. Second hand smoke can also trigger feather damage and plucking in birds. If you clean a bird that lives with a smoker, the rinsing water will be brownish yellow in color and the feather will have an odor that stays until all the feathers molt.


As a result, if you are a cigarette smoker, it is best that you refrain from cigarette smoking around your pets; otherwise, you might trigger some significant illness problems. Clearly, it would be best to give up cigarette smoking not just for the smoker’s benefit; however, likewise for their pet’s health. Nonetheless, with that stated, if someone smokes and has animals, the cigarette smoker needs to decrease the exposure to their pets. This can be achieved by smoking outside or utilize a designated smoke only room and keep the pets out of the space. Also, avoid smoking cigarettes in the vehicle, particularly when pets are also traveling in the automobile.

Signs of illness from second hand smoke might be as basic as the pet just being sluggish (no energy), difficulty in breathing, coughing or noticeable masses/sores involving the mouth. If any of these happen the pet must be taken to a veterinarian for an assessment.

An Age Old Question | Why Is My Pet Eating That  Grass Again?

An Age Old Question | Why Is My Pet Eating That Grass Again?

The information contained in this article was obtained from Veterinary News Network and Applied Animal Behavior Science, 111: 120-132.

A very commonly asked question of veterinarians is “Doctor why does my dog or cat keep eating grass?”

Over the years the usual answer has been that the pet eats grass, because the pet is sick and instinctively tries to make themself vomit. The other common answer is that there is some type of deficiency within the pet’s diet, and the pet is trying to correct the deficiency.

Well, to test these notions, the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, conducted a survey of over 3,000 pet owners. The study was developed by Drs. Karen Sueda, Kelly Cliff and Benjamin Hart. Of the 3,000 surveys, 1,600 were used in the study. They found that 80% of the dogs, when having the chance to eat grass or some other plant did so. From the results they also found that 68% of the dogs ate grass on a daily or at least a weekly basis. Very few, only 8%, of the dogs demonstrated any signs of illness before eating grass or some other plant and of that group, 22% vomited post ingestion. The vomiting was more prevalent in dogs showing some signs of illness before eating the plant material. The survey also implied that younger dogs tended to eat grass or plants more and they did not appear to be ill prior to ingestion, and did not vomit routinely after ingestion.

Based on these findings, it appears that eating grass or plants is more of a behavioral issue that occurs commonly in dogs, and there is no relationship to the pet being ill and the grass eating by the pet. They also concluded that vomiting does not usually occur after the ingestion.

We just said this is normal, but it has also been suggested that the eating of grass and/or plants, may be a means for dogs and cats in the wild, to help eliminate intestinal worms. Based on this, our domesticated species may have simply inherited the trait for the consumption of grass and plants.

With cats, the situation is about the same; however, it appears that cats are less likely to eat grass or plants, they also do not appear to be ill before ingesting and they also do not usually vomit after eating plant material.

So what’s the conclusion here? Well, basically it is concluded that this is a normal behavioral action of both dogs and cats, and pet owners need not be concerned with it. However; if the pet has signs of illness prior to ingesting grass or plants, the pet should be examined as a precautionary measure to determine if there is an underlying disease process occurring. Finally, this does not mean that dogs and cats can eat any type of grass or plants. Remember, there are toxic plants in nature and in homes. Also, the ingestion of grass that has been treated with fertilizers, weed killers and pesticides could potentially be very serious if ingested.

It might just be best, to take measures, so your pet does not ingest any grass or plants.


Watch this video for more information…


How to Teach Three Easy Dog Tricks

How to Teach Three Easy Dog Tricks

Well, maybe not that one!

To teach your dog tricks even easy ones you need to have some small reward treats, be in a quiet suitable place and keep the training sessions to 10 – 15 minutes or your dog will start to get bored. Remember when he gets something right lots of praise and a reward treat. Just be careful not to get him over excited or he will lose concentration.

Getting your dog to give you his paw

First get your dog to sit, then as you say the word ‘paw’ take your dog’s paw in your hand, give the dog a treat, repeat this. After a few times, do not take his paw so quickly, say the word, count to one then take it. Now you should notice he is bringing his paw up as you say the word. If he does not, go back to saying it at the same time. Do it a few more times then slow your response again. After 2 or 3 sessions most dogs will this one up quite happily.

The high five is a progression of the above trick

Hold a treat in your fingers and raise your hand slightly higher than you would for the paw trick. Your dog will think you want to do the paw trick and will reach for the treat with his paw as we taught him earlier. As he reaches up you say, “high five” and give him the treat. Once your dog has mastered the paw trick, this one should be very easy to learn and with just a few sessions, he will be doing it on hand signal rather than voice control.

Getting your dog to jump through a hoop

Before you start this one, I would just like to ask you to be a little sensible and not hold the hoop too high, as you do not want your dog to hurt himself while doing the trick. Sit your dog on one side of a hoola hoop. Get the dog’s attention on your hand. On the other side of the hoop, take a treat in your hand and give the dog the command to release him from the sit. At first he may attempt to go around or under the hoop. If this happens, start again. Your dog wants the treat and will soon learn that going around or under does not get it, so he will soon start going through the hoop. When he does, say hoopla and give him the treat. He will soon be jumping through the hoop on the command of hoopla. If you have a smaller dog,you might want to start with the hoop touching the ground so the dog just goes through the hoop and then, slowly raise it as he gets used to the trick.


Oak Tree Animal Hospital – Tampa
Tampa, FL 33604