Category Archives: Pet Health Tips

September 28, 2013 Is World Rabies Day!


September 28, 2013 is World Rabies Day. This is a day of education on the deadly rabies virus and how you can protect your pets and family.

Preventing Rabies Where You Live In Florida

Rabies-Possible Exposure-When To Seek Medical Advice

About Rabies

Be Safe Around Dogs Coloring Book For Children

Dog Bite Prevention Through Education

If your cat or dog is not up to date on their rabies vaccine (or you are just not sure), play it safe and get them to a licensed veterinarian to protect them and your family against this deadly, preventable disease! In Sarasota County cats and dogs are required to be vaccinated and to have a current Sarasota County Rabies License. When we vaccinate for rabies we automatically issue a county license for your pet.

All of us here at Ark Animal Hospital are here to keep your pets safe and your family educated on the best pet care to keep all of you healthy and happy.

Chetica A. Maus, DVM



National Poison Prevention Week – Is Your Pet Safe?

We think Prince M. would make a good spokes-dog

for National Poison Prevention Week.

He’s a happy, intelligent young man who

is concerned about the safety of his friends and family.


Can I give my pet Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Tylenol or other OTC (over the counter) pain medication?

In a word, NO! 

Ibuprofen can definitely be toxic to dogs and other pets—even in small amounts. Depending on the dose ingested, significant gastrointestinal damage or even kidney damage could result. Tylenol (acetaminophen)  is another drug found in many homes that can be deadly to your pets.

  • Acetaminophen can be toxic to dogs and cats, but cats are 7 to 10 times more susceptible to acetaminophen toxicity than dogs are.
  • Once swallowed, acetaminophen reaches the blood stream within 30 minutes; toxic effects are rapid and damage the liver and red blood cells.

In fact, many drugs that are beneficial to humans can be harmful or even deadly for pets. We strongly urge you to never give your pet any medication without first speaking with his or her regular veterinarian.

We strongly advise owners to never give their pets Aspiring or any medication without first consulting with their regular veterinarian. Many drugs, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like aspirin , can cause serious or potentially life-threatening problems, depending on the dose involved.

If you feel that your pet needs pain relief for any reason, we highly recommend that you get in touch with your veterinarian—if you have not already. Your vet can direct you regarding the best dose to use or, if necessary, can prescribe a different pain reliever.

While most human medications are contained in child-proof bottles, these containers are not pet-proof. Pets can easily chew and break open packaging, so medications should always be stored in a secure cabinet above the countertop

Most people will tell you that there is no such thing as “bad” chocolate. 

Unfortunately if you are a pet it is a sweet and delicious treat

that can cause serious illness or death.

Chocolate Toxicity In Dogs

Dogs are known for eating things when they are not supposed to. This is especially true of puppies. Also, dogs have an excellent sense of smell, making it fairly easy to find any secret hiding spots for the chocolate. This can be a dangerous combination when there is chocolate around the house.

Chocolate is derived from the roasted seeds of Theobroma cacao, which contains certain properties that can be toxic to animals: caffeine and theobromine. If ingested, these two ingredients can also lead to various medical complications and may even prove fatal for your dog.

Symptoms of chocolate toxicity:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased reflex responses
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Rapid breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Advanced signs (cardiac failure, weakness, and coma)

The amount and type of chocolate ingested is also important, as they are the determining factors for the severity of the toxicity. The three types of chocolate that you must be aware of are:

  1. Milk Chocolate – Mild signs of toxicity can occur when 0.7 ounces per pound of body weight is ingested; severe toxicity occurs when two ounces per pound of body weight is ingested (or as little as one pound of milk chocolate for a 20-pound dog).
  2. Semi-Sweet Chocolate – Mild signs of toxicity can occur when 0.3 ounce per pound of body weight is ingested; severe toxicity occurs when one ounce per pound of body weight is ingested (or as little as six ounces of semi-sweet chocolate for a 20-pound dog).
  3. Baking Chocolate – This type of chocolate has the highest concentration of caffeine and theobromine. Therefore, as little as two small one-ounce squares of baking chocolate can be toxic to a 20-pound dog (or 0.1 ounce per pound of body weight).

We often get calls from worried pet owners who want to be reassured that even though their pet ate some chocolate that “just a little” won’t hurt….right? You will never hear us say yes to that question! The answer will ALWAYS be to get the pet seen immediately. What we’ve found in the majority of cases is that the “just two little pieces” is often part or all of a bag. How do we know this little gem of information? Well, part of the treatment is to administer a medication to induce vomiting and there’s always the moment of total horror when an owner realizes that finding two empty wrappers does not mean they ate two pieces of chocolate when they see multiple colorful wrappers and a goodly sum of chocolate coming back to haunt them. If your pet ingests chocolate don’t wait to see if there are symptoms-move fast. Induced vomiting is better that seizures, coma and possible death!

In the right quantities chocolate can become toxic for any dog. So be wary of feeding your pet anything that might contain chocolate and always keep it out of reach. Chocolate is toxic to cats as well but they don’t seem as attracted to it as dogs-but the ice cream in a hot fudge sunday might be the motivation for them to give it a taste!

Chocolate is not the only people food that is toxic to pets. 

Xylitol, a sugar substitute can cause liver failure and seizures in dogs. Coffee, tea and alcoholic beverages are also not safe for pets.

Pet Poisons: Household, Garden and Lawn Products, Insecticides and Automotive Products

Pets can find the darndest things to chew up and ingest. Ranging from cardboard boxes, to firewood, paint, soap plastic bags and more, many of these products may only cause a stomach ache, while others, if swallowed  can prove lethal.

Plastic bags are a major cause of intestinal blockages. Often made of poultry manure, dried blood and bone meal, fertilizers can be highly enticing to a pet. Garden and lawn products are two dangerous items that cause many poisoning incidents.

Insecticide labels should be carefully read prior to their use on the lawn, in the house or on the pet. Never use flea or tick prevention products made for dogs on cats. Before putting out rat bait think about the pets that might eat it instead of its intended victim.

Automotive products such as antifreeze, windshield and brake fluids, oil and gasoline are highly toxic to dogs and cats. These products are extremely lethal if ingested. Please keep all automotive products stored safely out of your pet’s reach.

Pet Poisons: Veterinary Medications

While many pet owners find those delectable chewable tablets facilitate giving medications, since they are so delicious, pets can easily consume the whole bottle if given access. Keep all pet medications out of reach. If your pet consumes more than the prescribed dose, or ingests another pet’s medication, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Household Plants

Lilies are beautiful, but according to Cornell Veterinary College, all parts of the plant, even its pollen, are lethal to cats, causing kidney failure. The vibrantly colored Oleander is highly toxic to dogs and cats. Sago plants are high on the list of lethal plants. Here is a list of plants toxic to pets.

Keep your veterinarian’s phone number in a prominent place.

Ark Animal Hospital‘s is 941-493-3300

The Sarasota Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center‘s number is 941-923-7260

If an emergency arises having it handy can safe your pet’s life.

The ASPCA has a 24 hour poison control hot line available for a fee at 888-426-4435. Contact them if you cannot reach your vet or no local pet emergency clinic is available.




Show Us A Smile-February 2013 Is National Pet Dental Health Month



For the entire month of February of 2013 we are offering a 10% dental discount for Ark Animal Hospital’s patients as our way of celebrating National Pet Dental Health Month!

(If your pet is not a current Ark patient and you are interested in bringing your pet(s) to Ark Animal Hospital just give us a call. Our friendly staff will set an appointment for one of our doctors to examine your pet and discuss their dental health needs. The 10% discount will apply to the dental procedure services on the day of the dental. Any necessary annual vaccines/tests,  medications, or products dispensed on the day of the dental are not included in the discount and will be full price.

Pets with periodontal disease, abscessed teeth, tartar and plaque build up and bad breath are nothing to smile about!

According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 85 percent of dogs and cats show signs of oral disease by age four. The trouble begins when food particles and bacteria build up in the mouth to form plaque and tartar, which leads to reversible gingivitis. Gingivitis, if ignored, will progress to periodontal disease. Irreversible periodontal disease leads to tooth decay, bad breath, bleeding gums and, in severe cases, tooth loss. When bacteria from periodontal disease travels into a pet’s bloodstream, the lungs, heart, kidneys, liver and nervous system can be affected. These infections usually are treatable when caught at an early stage. However, if they are not caught in time, they can cause serious organ damage and even death.
All pets are at risk for developing dental problems, so it is important for owners to have their pets examined by a veterinarian annually to detect problems early. It also is important for owners to check their pets often between visits for these warning signs:
  • Bad breath
  • Tartar buildup on the teeth
  • Swollen, receding or bleeding gums
  • Fractured or abscessed teeth
  • Change in eating habits
A pet should be taken to a veterinarian immediately if it shows any of the above symptoms.


All pets coming in for dental procedures must be up to date on their routine yearly lab tests and vaccines. For dogs: Distemper-hepatitis-parvo-corona, Bordetella (tracheobronchitis), Rabies, Heartworm test and Fecal test. For cats: Feline distemper, Feline Leukemia, Rabies and Fecal test. We also require pre-dental blood screening-what test we require are based on the age and the health of your pet. Call us for more information.

We want to share some links below on dental health for your pet.

A video on how to brush your pet’s teeth.

Hill’s Pet Nutrition makes a diet especially for good dental health.

Use this link for coupons to save on your pet’s Hills veterinary diets.

Information of National Dental Health Month from Merial

We apply Oravet to all of our dental patient’s teeth-check here to see why!

Give your pet a healthy, happy smile today!

Dr. Chetica Maus





Time To Decorate The Holiday Tree-Just Say No To Tinsel For A Pet-Safe Holiday!

Santa Claws Is Coming To Hound
Lets Make It A Safe Holiday!

The holiday season is upon us again and as it gets into full bloom there are several issues that may be problematic for our furry family members. The decorations are pretty mesmerizing to people and pets alike. It is often quite challenging to keep the furry ones away from the Christmas trees or the candles of the Menorah. Please take care and remember that tinsel, while it is beautiful on a tree, may act as a linear foreign body for cats. If eaten the tinsel may get stuck as it passes through the digestive track and may have to be surgically removed or may lead to cuts in the intestines that require surgical intervention. I do not recommend using tinsel in cat loving households. Don’t  worry the tree will still be beautiful!

Imagine being an active furry family member and someone has put a tree in the house (how cool) with these swinging balls at eye level. Who could resist that. Please keep this in mind and try to hang bulbs (especially breakable bulbs) higher than tail level. The three dangers are swallowing (may look like a ball to a big dog), breaking (our furry friends rarely wear shoes so cut pads may occur), and dropping hooks (which may lead to cuts in the most unfortunate places).  Please keep these tree trimming tips in mind for the holidays and both you and your furry family members are likely to have a much happier holiday.

We’re here to help you make it a safe and happy holiday season!

Dr. Chetica A. Maus