Client Education for a Healthier, Happier Pet

(810) 627-7179

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At Animal Emergency Hospital, client education is very important to us. We provide helpful information sheets for clients with questions about a variety of health, safety, and pet emergency concerns. We encourage you to review these if you have concerns about your pet. If you have additional questions, please contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure is a chronic condition characterized by the heart’s weakened ability to pump enough blood to maintain body functions. The body fluids start to “back up” behind the heart, either in the lungs or the abdomen. Signs seen by the owner include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Deep, dry cough
  • Weight loss
  • Enlarged abdomen; swollen, puffy limbs
  • Cyanosis – blue discoloration of the tongue and gums
  • Fainting spells

Congestive heart failure can result from a disease affecting the heart valves, birth defects, infections, Heartworm disease, or degenerative disease (“old age”). Although most heart failure patients cannot be cured, many can live comfortable lives with proper medical management. This will include dietary modifications, cardiac medications, avoidance of any strenuous exercise or exertion, and maintaining a cool environment.

As time goes on, your pet will begin to show more severe signs as the heart continues to degenerate. It is impossible to estimate the life expectancy. Our major concern is making your pet as comfortable as possible so that their quality of life is maintained.

If you notice that your pet is having any difficulty breathing or coughing, please bring have your pet evaluated as soon as possible.

De-Skunk Shampoo


  • 1 quart Hydrogen Peroxide
  • ½ cup Baking Soda
  • 1 tbsp of Liquid Dish Soap

Bathe in solution mix, let stand 10 minutes, rinse and repeat up to 3 times. The animal will smell up to 1 year when it gets wet.

Can double or triple amounts depending on the animal’s size.

Is My Pet Having An Emergency?

Pets with the following symptoms should be seen ASAP:

  • Coughing and/or Respiratory Distress (difficult or labored breathing)
  • Neurological Abnormalities: collapse, off balance, head tilt, seizures, circling, head pressing, visual deficiencies, etc.
  • Seizures: more than one in 24 hours
  • Unproductive Retching or Dry Heaving
  • Rapid/Progressive Abdominal Distension
  • Vomiting and/or Inability to Hold Down Food/Water
  • Diarrhea or Straining to Defecate
  • Slow or Rapid Heart Rate
  • Bleeding from Orifices (mouth, nose, rectum, abnormal vaginal bleeding)
  • Lethargy, Weakness
  • Pale Mucous Membranes (pale gum color)
  • Inability to Urinate or Straining to Urinate
  • Difficult or Long labor
  • Toxin Ingestion
  • Trauma
  • Pain/Discomfort (trembling, yelping, unwillingness to move, aggressive behavior when moved)
  • Squinting one or both eyes
  • Facial Swelling and/or Hives
  • Penis is Stuck Out of Sheath

If you are concerned about any symptoms that your pet may be experiencing, please call (810) 238-7557. We recommend that all concerns warrant an exam and consultation with a veterinarian.

Nursing Care for Newborn Puppies and Kittens


Keep the puppies or kittens in a box with high sides. Cover the bottom of the box with a padded flooring like a towel or carpeting. Do not use materials that can become slippery when wet, such as a newspaper.


Newborn puppies and kittens cannot regulate their own body temperature and can become hypothermic very quickly. You will have to provide a heat source for the first few weeks. Acceptable heat sources include warm water bottles, a heating pad, or a heat lamp. A heating pad or a lamp must always be on the low setting. Higher settings can result in severe burns or death. Never cover the entire floor of the box with a heating pad. An overheated newborn must be able to get away from the heat source. Normal rectal temperature should be between 97-100 degrees Fahrenheit.


Until the newborn is able to start eating solid food (about 3-4 weeks) it will need to be bottle fed a replacement formula. There are commercially made formulas available that closely compare to the mother’s milk and meet the nutritional requirements for the puppy or kitten.

Use a bottle specifically designed for puppies and kittens or a medicine dropper to administer the formula. If the hole in the bottle is the right size then you should be able to turn the bottle upside down and see milk slowly drip from the nipple with just a gentle squeeze. If milk flows from the bottle without squeezing it, the hole is too large. If you have to squeeze firmly on the bottle to get milk to flow, the hole is too small. The hole can be enlarged by piercing it with the tip of a hot needle.

Warm the formula to 100 degrees Fahrenheit or to a temperature close to the newborn’s temperature. Feed the puppy or kitten on its stomach and hold the bottle so it does not ingest air. Never squeeze the milk out of the bottle when it is in the newborn’s mouth or they may aspirate the formula into the lungs. Never feed a chilled newborn or a newborn that does not have a strong suckling reflex. Follow the directions on the commercial formula packaging for feeding amounts. They often require you to weigh the newborn on a gram scale. Newborn puppies and kittens need to be fed every 2-3 hours. If the newborn is not able to be bottle fed, contact a veterinarian about potentially tube feeding the puppy or kitten.


After feeding, it is important to stimulate the newborn to urinate and defecate. Use a moistened cotton ball or tissue and swab the anal region until elimination occurs. Do this after each feeding until 3 weeks of age.


Parvo is a viral disease of dogs that causes severe diarrhea, usually bloody, vomiting, loss of appetite, depression, fever, and is often fatal if untreated.

Parvo is spread through both direct transmission when an infected dog comes in contact with a healthy dog, especially via stool; or through indirect/fomite transmission as the viral particles can be easily spread on shoes, clothing or other inanimate objects. The virus is very hardy, able to survive extremes of temperature (i.e., freezing or extreme heat) and is unharmed by detergents, alcohols, and common disinfectants.

It is most commonly seen in young, unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated puppies, but can be seen in unvaccinated adult dogs as well.

If your pet is having severe diarrhea (with or without blood) or vomiting or has stopped eating for more than a day, please have your pet evaluated.


There are several different types of Rodenticide (Rat Poison) on the market. The classic form interferes with clotting factors in the blood making it difficult for an animal to clot their blood (anti-coagulant). This can lead to internal bleeding, bruising, difficulty breathing or coughing due to bleeding into the lungs, neurologic signs such as seizures, and even death if not treated. Once an animal is suspected of having ingested rodenticide, depending on when it could have eaten it, treatments can include inducing vomiting, administration of activated charcoal, performing blood work to evaluate clotting times and the red blood cell count, radiographs to evaluate the lungs, administration of either plasma or whole blood transfusions, and hospitalization for IV fluid therapy and monitoring.

There are also rodenticides on the market which cause Vitamin-D toxicity leading to permanent kidney damage as well as one that causes brain swelling, comas, seizures, and death. It is extremely important that your pet is treated immediately to prevent life-threatening disease.


Seizures can occur in dogs and cats of all ages and for many different reasons. In general, seizures are caused by 2 major groups of problems:

  • Problems not originating from the brain, such as
    • Poisons
    • Kidney, liver, or heart disease
    • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
    • Nerve or muscle problems
    • Infections
  • Problems originating in the brain itself, such as
    • Epilepsy
    • Brain infections (viral, bacterial, fungal)
    • Degenerative conditions of the brain
    • Hydrocephalus
    • Brain tumors
    • Stroke-like conditions and blood clots in the brain

The seizure is not a diagnosis in itself, but a symptom of an underlying problem. After one seizure episode, it is often difficult to determine whether your pet will have further seizures, but your veterinarian will formulate a diagnostic plan to help make a diagnosis or rule out certain diseases. These diagnostics may include blood work, radiographs, urinalysis, blood pressure, or ECG. In most cases, we are looking for normal test results and a thorough process of elimination to determine that the problem is in the brain.

At this point, we may prescribe anti-seizure medications or recommend further testing through a referral to a neurologist for MRI or CSF tap.

Urethral Obstruction / Feline Lower Urinary Disease

Because the male feline urethra is very narrow, especially at the end, microscopic debris, cells and mucous can cause an obstruction. This condition can be life-threatening due to the elevation of potassium that can cause heart problems, as well as elevation of kidney enzymes. Causes include urinary tract infection, stone and/or crystal formation, sterile cystitis (non-infectious inflammation of the bladder that can sometimes be brought on by stress) and in rare cases masses. Testing will determine the cause and help guide treatment specifics. Blood work, urinalysis, urine culture, and abdominal radiographs may be recommended. Typical treatment involves correcting life-threatening electrolyte abnormalities, relief of the obstruction by means of general anesthesia and urinary catheter placement, IV fluids, antibiotics and pain management. In some cases, surgery is recommended as well. Long term prevention may include diet change and increase in water intake.

If you notice your cat is straining to urinate or not producing any urine despite repeated attempts, please bring your pet for immediate evaluation.

Whelping / Dystocia

There are 3 stages of labor. During Stage 1, uterine contractions begin, your dog may appear restless and pace, dig, shiver, pant, or even vomit. This stage can be long, lasting 6 – 12 hours and culminates with the full dilation of the cervix in preparation of the expulsion of a puppy. The 2nd stage is the hard labor stage in which the puppy is expelled. The 3rd stage refers to the expulsion of the placenta and afterbirth.

Puppies are born covered in membranes that must be cleaned away or the pup will suffocate. The mother will bite and lick the membranes away. If she does not do this within 1 – 2 minutes after birth, you must clean the pup for her. Gently remove the slippery covering and rub the pup with a clean towel. Tie the umbilical cord ~ 1/4’’ from the abdominal wall with a string or dental floss.

Expect 1 pup every 45 – 60 minutes with 10 – 30 minutes of hard straining. It is normal for your pet to rest partway through delivery, and she may not strain at all for up to 3 – 4 hours between pups. If she is seen straining hard for over 1 hour or if she takes longer than a 3 – 4 hour break, a veterinarian should be consulted. Expect some puppies to be born tail first – this is not abnormal for dogs.

Call a veterinarian if:

  • 30 – 60 minutes of strong contractions occur with no puppy being produced
  • More than 3 – 4 hours pass between pups and you know there are more to be born
  • She is obviously in extreme pain
  • Vaginal discharge after giving birth should be odorless and may be green, dark red-brown, or bloody and may persist in small amounts for several weeks. There are Several postpartum diseases to watch for including:
    • Metritis (inflammation of the uterus) – signs include fever, foul-smelling vaginal
      discharge, listlessness, loss of appetite, loss of interest in the puppies
    • Decreased milk production; signs are usually noted in the first day or two postpartum
    • Eclampsia (low calcium) – signs include restlessness, no interest in the pups, stiff/painful gait, muscle tremors, inability to stand fever, and seizures
    • Mastitis (inflammation of the mammary glands) – signs include swollen, firm, warm mammary glands