When a four-year-old poodle mix named Fluffy arrived at the ASPCA Animal Hospital, doctors knew they were dealing with a very sick dog. Vomiting and straining to urinate, Fluffy was unhappy and visibly depressed. Surgeons decided to operate the following day—a decision that would prove more critical than they even realized.
Fluffy underwent a cystotomy, a procedure during which an incision is made into the urinary bladder to remove bladder stones. But what surgeons found was no ordinary stone: 2 inches long and 1.5 inches wide, the stone was “like a jumbo chicken egg,” said Dr. J’mai Gayle, Director of Surgery.
As Fluffy’s surgery was underway, doctors also discovered that pressure from the stone had caused her ureter (the tube from the kidney to the bladder) to rupture. Infected urine had spilled into her belly and formed an abscess, which Dr. Maren Krafchik had to clear out before the dog’s kidney could be removed. No wonder the poor pooch was vomiting and feeling so ill! Despite the surgical trauma that Fluffy had been through, Dr. Janice Fenichel, who saw Fluffy on her arrival, said “she looked 100 percent better” as soon as she awoke.
While Fluffy is recovering nicely, we hope that her story serves as a reminder to all pet parents. “It is so important to get any medical problems checked out right away,” says Dr. Amy Fox, Fluffy’s operating surgeon. “The sooner we treat these problems, the better chance the animals have of making a full recovery.”
Early signs of bladder stones include straining to urinate, blood in the urine, and frequent need to urinate. A pet owner noticing any of these things should take their pet to the vet immediately.
Fluffy’s cystotomy and additional procedures were made possible in part by the ASPCA’s Trooper Fund, a program in place to cover medical costs for animals whose guardians need assistance with veterinary expenses.
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Expecting the unexpected is par for the course when rescuing animals from cases of cruelty. But little did we know that two turtles would become part of the story of thousands of birds rescued from a cockfighting bust earlier this month.
Outside the raid site in Queens, Julia Blue, an ASPCA responder, discovered an abandoned red-eared slider. Julia took the turtle, whom she named Spalding, to her home, where her bunny, a hare named Jack, was not thrilled with his new slow-and-steady companion.
Meanwhile, a New York Times reporter, who was covering the raid, also found a turtle, encrusted in snow and ice, at the scene. She contacted the New York Turtle and Tortoise Society (NYTTS), and the organization agreed to find placement for the lucky reptile, who was named Ice-T by Times readers.
Julia contacted the NYTTS, too, and eventually the two turtles were reunited. Both turtles were placed with an urban wildlife education program, where according to NYTTS, their back story will help bring attention to the larger issues facing abandoned pets.
We’re joining forces to help special cats around the country with the creation of Lil BUB’s BIG Fund for the ASPCA. All donations collected through this fund will be distributed as grants to assist cats that need special care or need a little extra help getting adopted due to conditions such as blindness, deafness, physical disabilities, birth defects, chronic illnesses, or old age.
“Lil BUB has come to represent the unique bond and love between people and animals,” says ASPCA President & CEO Matt Bershadker. “The sad truth is that there are millions of cats at risk and who need our help. We’re proud to partner with Lil BUB to raise awareness and funds for these special cats.”
In addition to direct donations, 8-10 percent of the purchase price of items from the BUB STORE will go directly towards the fund to animal welfare groups that provide a variety of services for special needs cats, including medical care, rehabilitation, hospice care, relocation programs, adoption events and safety net programs to keep cats and families together.
We’re so excited to be able to help special cats even more, thanks to Lil BUB’s help. GOOD JOB, BUB!
Does it seem like there are too many animals and not enough homes for them all? Well, you’re right! And the biggest cause of pet overpopulation is failing to spay and neuter your pets. You’d think people would have gotten the message by now—spaying and neutering saves lives! But there are still tons of unwanted litters. What gives?
February is National Spay/Neuter Month, and we could use your help to spread the word. Please share one of our spay/neuter memes on your social networks—like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. They're funny, informative and a really easy way to remind people about the importance of spaying and neutering pets. Visit our collection of shareable memes today, and let us know which one is your favorite.
By Dr. Louise Murray, Vice President of the ASPCA Animal Hospital
Pet owners want to provide their furry friends with a healthy diet, but all the available pet food options can be overwhelming at times. Here are some tips to help you select the right food for your pet.
It’s helpful to read pet food labels before making a purchase. Here’s what to look for:
Make sure the food meets the standards of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
Review food ingredients and the order in which they’re listed, since ingredients are listed in order of relative amounts. Feeding cats carbohydrates such as corn may lead to health issues including obesity and diabetes. Dogs are omnivores, like us, and as such are more nutritionally flexible.
Foods labeled as gourmet, premium, or super or ultra premium are not required to contain higher quality ingredients, and are not held to higher nutritional standards; the term natural also does not have an official definition.
When the label lists meat by-products, this refers to animal parts that we may not choose to eat but are not intrinsically unhealthy for pets. The term by-productmeal refers to animal tissue that has been rendered, an industrial process converting slaughterhouse offal and deceased animals from various sources into a more stable material; some owners prefer to avoid foods containing meat meal.
If you prefer to make homemade food for your pet, read these helpful tips:
You can prepare healthy meals at home if you ensure that the diet is balanced for your pet’s species, stage of life, and any health conditions. An unbalanced diet can lead to serious problems, such as bone fragility, heart disease, and blindness. Homemade diets must be balanced by a board-certified veterinary nutritionist. Pet Diets and Balance It provide helpful guides for at-home pet food preparation.
If you prepare food for your pet, ensure all meats are cooked properly. Raw meat can be contaminated with harmful bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella, presenting a health hazard not only to your pet but to your family as well, and can be found in the stool of pets who consume uncooked meat.
Ever wondered why dogs and cats need different foods?
The nutritional needs of dogs and cats are very different. Dogs are omnivores and can do well on either meat-containing or vegetarian diets, while cats are strict carnivores with very precise nutritional needs.
Because their ancestors lived in desert environments, cats often don’t drink enough and they produce urine with relatively little water in it. Therefore, it’s a good idea to include moist foods in your cat’s diet to help prevent the formation of crystals and stones in the urinary tract. Another characteristic of cats is that they can become seriously ill if they resent a food change or go on a hunger strike so any diet change must be made slowly and carefully. When switching foods, watch your cat’s appetite closely, and never try to starve a cat into eating a new food!
Always be sure to check with your pet’s veterinarian regarding the best diet for your companion, and discuss any special dietary needs your pet may have.