Is Your Dog at Risk for Overheating?

With the rising temperatures, it is advised that your dog only play outside in the heat for 20 – 30 minutes. They should then be brought indoors to give them a break for an hour or so. Keep in mind the more your dog’s body heat rises the quicker it rises. So, in the summer they don’t need an excessive amount of outdoor play; 3-4 sessions a day is sufficient.

Symptoms of Overheating

Heavy panting or rapid breathing Elevated body temperature
Excessive thirst Weakness, collapse
Glazed eyes Increased pulse and heartbeat
Vomiting, bloody diarrhea Seizures
Bright or dark red tongue, gums Excessive drooling
Staggering, stumbling Non-Responsive: meaning the dog will not acknowledge you or not react when you trying to get their attention.

How to Care for an Overheated Dog

  • If you feel that your pet is overheated DO NOT GIVE THEM ICE COLD WATER give them regular tap water. They may not drink at first. Drinking water may also cause vomiting.
  • Do not put ice packs on your dog for this will cause the blood vessels to constrict and could result in your dog going into shock.
  • Cool your dog down
    • Start with hose water or tap water on the paws (this is the only porous place on a dog) and work your way up the body, wetting the back and the head last.
    • If you have a pool,encourage the dog to walk into it if they won’t carry them into the water feet first and again, cool from the paws up.
  • Allow them to rest in front of a fan or in an area that has good air circulation.
  • Do not make them lay on a wet towel – their body heat will turn the towel into a heating pad.

Rattlesnake Vaccine


The Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake is the largest and potentially the most dangerous rattlesnake on our continent. They grow to be an average of 3-6 feet and snakes up to 8 feet long have been reported. This rattlesnake is found in the whole state of Florida and the surrounding areas of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Diamondbacks are distinctive because of the brown diamonds on their back; the diamonds are usually bordered in black on a cream colored body. Their preferred habitats include pine forests and scrublands and coastal barrier islands. This means     that these snakes are especially common in Tallahassee and the surrounding areas because the entire area from the city south to the coast is covered with pine forests and the Gulf coast west to the rest of the Panhandle has many barrier islands formed from built up sandbars. Since humans have built houses, parks, etc. in their home, the rattlesnakes are stuck in a hostile world where their prey has also disappeared. This means dogs and cats can run into rattlesnakes and corner or aggravate them. Snakes in Florida do not usually attack unless provoked, but curious cats or dogs can box these creatures in their shelter or in the pets’ backyard. Rattlesnakes are not aggressive: the warning rattle shows that the snakes prefer to bite in defense, otherwise they would attack with no warning. Most people that are bitten by rattlesnakes accidently step on them, we can infer that most pets that are bitten accidently stumble upon an aggravated snake. Rattlesnakes have the only neurotoxic venom of the 6 venomous species of snakes in Florida. Neurotoxic means toxic to the nervous system: symptoms of rattlesnake envenomation include tissue and muscle damage, extreme pain at the site of the bite, blurred vision, difficulty swallowing, difficulty breathing and the worst symptom is respiratory failure (suffocation).

To alleviate this problem, we now have a vaccine against rattlesnake venom that will protect your pet. The vaccine boosts immunity to the venom and makes the pet’s reaction less severe. You will have more time to get the pet to a veterinary hospital, the pet will have less inflammation and fewer muscular and neurological effects from the bite, the pet will require less medication and less intensive hospitalization: your pet is more likely to survive the venom. The vaccine costs $70 for the course of the vaccine. There is the initial vaccine and then a booster shot 30 days later. From then on the vaccine should be added to your annual vaccines. The vaccine can be recommended to any dog, but is especially recommended to dogs whom go hiking, camping, kayaking and do other outdoor activities with their family. Small dogs and cats are especially vulnerable to rattlesnake venom, just like children are more vulnerable than adults. A rattlesnake biting an unvaccinated cat is almost 100% fatal. The vaccine may confer immunity to other species of rattlesnakes and other pit vipers with similar venom. Unfortunately, there is not a water moccasin or coral snake vaccine yet.


Please note to ensure that there is no miscommunication: this vaccine does not confer 100% immunity to rattlesnake venom! Even if an animal has a vaccine, a rattlesnake bite is a medical emergency and it may need to be treated with antivenin: the sooner the better. This vaccine gives you time to get your pet to the vet, and a better chance at survival with fewer long-term health effects.

New anxiety medication available at AHVC

thunderstormFlorida has the most frequent and severe thunderstorms in the United States. In Tallahassee, there is an average of 70-80 days with thunderstorms every year; over 10 times more than California! Dogs are naturally frightened by thunder; thunder and other loud noises were a signal to run and hide from larger predators. This nasty combination means that many of the pets we care for have problems every time thunder rolls over the city; we even have dogs that come to see us every time a big storm is going to crash in so we can make sure that they are safe.

Before, there were a few medications that could blunt or stop severe anxiety and we have our soundproofed TV room that prevented the noise from reaching our friends. Unfortunately though, we still wished that we had something more powerful for quelling anxiety with fewer side effects. We have one patient that reacts so strongly to thunder that it was better to put him on chronic drug therapy than try to anticipate thunderstorms. The drugs had a host of side effects: the patient was constantly sedate, did not want to play, and if given for long enough time the drugs could have damaged his liver. Previous drugs also had to be given an hour before a storm which, as any Florida resident can tell you, happen at any moment so we and our clients had to stay up to the minute on the weather to know exactly when to give medication so it would work throughout the storm.

Luckily, Zoetis has started the distribution of Sileo which Dr. Blount is very excited about. It is the first FDA-approved treatment for noise aversion in dogs and it has fewer and less frequent side IMG_4018effects than any other treatment on the market. Previous drugs were also less effective because they were not absorbed as well as Sileo. The medication can be administered at home by applying it to a dog’s gums and it knocks out anxiety for a few hours and can be given as needed throughout a storm, it also takes hold quickly after being administered. Sileo is useful for calming a pet during 4th of July fireworks, parties or any noisy event. Dr. Blount has started to use it to help pets whom are here for playcare and staycare and she is pleased with the results. She has yet to see any side effects, the drug works well, and the pets entrusted to our care are calmer and safer. While not yet approved for these uses by the FDA, Dr. Blount predicts that Sileo will be used for other anxieties, so if your dog panics when his family leaves for dinner it could be used to calm him. The drug would also have applications for training too; by pairing anxiety provoking situations with Sileo it could train the pet to not react to the situation.

We have Sileo available with prescription to arm yourself for those lovely 4th of July fireworks, now your dog can enjoy them with the rest of the family. It is safe and effective in dogs 16 weeks of age and older but should not be used in dogs that are breeding, pregnant, nursing puppies, or have severe dental or gum disease. Sileo should not be redosed before it starts to take effect.

Sharing an Article from the FDA: Online Pet Pharmacies

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Prescriptions are expensive. It can be a struggle sometimes to pay for your pet’s medical care on a budget. But as anything in life, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Online pet pharmacies have been dazzling us with claims of inexpensive meds delivered to your door. Which admittedly sounds wonderful, but in the link below you can find out about the shady business practices which enable this grey market. We would also like to take this opportunity to say that the pharmaceutical companies are aware of this market; and they do their best to shut it down. At Home Veterinary Care and any other veterinary pharmacy will be blacklisted by the pharmaceutical companies that we work with if we do anything to support this grey market of cheap drugs, so  we refuse to participate in the scheme. Also, isn’t it suspicious that these companies only supply prescriptions for pets? Any company that would be able to legally deliver discounted medications for people would sell better than hot, fresh Krispy Kreme doughnuts on a cold winter’s night. Especially in the United States which has the most expensive prescription drug costs in the world.

Online Pet Pharmacies