Reed Pet Rescue Project with Reed Nissan

The “Reed Nissan Pet Rescue Project 90-Day Adopt-a-Thon” officially kicked off its fourth year with the goal once again to help find 2,000 cats and dogs FURever homes.

Reed Nissan, Reed Nissan Clermont and the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando (PAGO) have come together for the fourth time to host the 90-Day Adopt-a-Thon in hopes of exceeding their success in 2016.

Reed Nissan is a longtime supporter of the Pet Alliance and the organization’s two shelters. Currently, the dealership donates a portion of sales from each car sold to PAGO. Reed Nissan’s donations directly support projects dedicated to the safety and well-being of the animals, including play yard sun shades—critical for the animals enduring the hot Florida weather.

The 2017 Adopt-a-Thon encourages and challenges the Central Florida community to adopt a pet in need of a safe and happy FURever home. We’ll update you over the next few months on events and activities related to the Adopt-a-Thon.

Learn more at

Heartworm Awareness Month

Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes and can be deadly, if left untreated.  “Dogs get heartworms by being bitten by mosquitoes,” says Dr. Rhoades, Medical Director for the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando. “Keeping dogs on a heartworm prevention is required year-round to keep them healthy here in Florida.”  Prescription heartworm prevention is available for dogs who have tested negative for the disease for about $10 a month.


What do heartworms do to a dog?

It takes about seven months, once a dog is bitten by an infected mosquito, for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms.  Adult heartworms can grow up to a foot long and can live for 5-7 years.  They can fill the heart chambers, lungs and clog major blood vessels leading from the heart.  Heartworms can cause difficulty in breathing and reduced blood flow to major organs of the body.  The heart, lungs, liver and kidneys can all be caused to malfunction by an infection of adult heartworms.

heartworm3The signs of heartworm disease depend on the number of adult worms present, the location of the worms, the length of time the worms have been in the dog and the degree of damage that has been sustained by the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys.

The most obvious clinical signs of heartworm disease are a soft, dry cough, shortness of breath, weakness, nervousness, listlessness and loss of stamina. All of these signs are most noticeable following exercise, when some dogs may even faint or become disoriented. Your veterinarian may notice abnormal lung and heart sounds when listening to the chest with a stethoscope. In advanced cases, congestive heart failure may be apparent and the abdomen and legs will swell from fluid accumulation. There may also be evidence of weight loss, poor condition and anemia. Severely infected dogs may die suddenly during exercise or excitement.

It usually takes time before the dog displays clear signs of infection. Consequently, the disease is diagnosed mainly in two to eight year old dogs. Unfortunately, by the time clinical signs are seen, the disease is usually well advanced.  This is why we cannot stress the importance of testing your dog annually and then keeping them current on heartworm preventative.


How is heartworm disease spread?

Since transmission requires the mosquito as an intermediate host, the disease is not spread directly from dog to dog. Spread of the disease coincides with mosquito season, which last year-round in Florida.

The mosquito usually bites the dog where the hair coat is thinnest. However, having long hair certainly does not prevent a dog from getting heartworms.


How is heartworm disease treated?

heartworm2The treatment consists of both oral and injectable drugs and takes approximately four months to complete.  Initially, thirty days of oral antibiotics (doxycycline) are prescribed followed by two sessions of injectable drugs a month apart.  It is critical to restrict exercise during this treatment period while the adult heartworms die and are reabsorbed by the body.  Your veterinarian will determine the specific treatment schedule according to your dog’s condition.

The adult worms die in a few days and start to decompose following the injectable phase of the treatment. As they break up, they are carried to the lungs, where they lodge in the small blood vessels and are eventually reabsorbed by the body. This can be a dangerous period so it is absolutely essential that the dog be kept as quiet as possible and is not allowed to exercise for one month following treatment. The first week after the injections is critical because this is when the worms are dying. A cough is noticeable for seven to eight weeks after treatment in many heavily infected dogs


What is the response to treatment and prognosis?

Dog owners are usually pleasantly surprised at the improvement in their dog following treatment for heartworms, especially if the dog had been demonstrating any clinical signs of heartworm disease. Many dogs display renewed vigor and vitality, improved appetite and weight gain.


How can I prevent my dog from getting heartworms?

You can prevent your dog from getting heartworms by using a heartworm preventive. When a dog has been successfully treated for heartworms, it is essential to maintain them on a heartworm prevention program to prevent future recurrence. With the safe and affordable heartworm preventives available today, no pet should ever have to endure this dreaded disease.

Make the Gift of a Lifetime

Are you interested in making a gift that will have significant impact on helping pets in Central Florida? There is an excellent opportunity if you are a donor in your 70s who want to make a gift during your lifetime from an asset that would be subject to multiple levels of taxation if it remained in your taxable estate. It possible to give individual retirement account (IRA) assets to charity, free from federal tax, annually.

This means donors can give far more with less! This may be an attractive giving option for you if you are:

Over 70½ and now receiving minimum IRA distributions—but do not need the extra income.
Interested in making a significant lifetime gift to impact pets in your community.

The Pension Protection Act of 2006 permitted individuals to roll over up to $100,000 from an IRA directly to a qualifying charity without being taxed. In 2015, Congress passed the PATH Act, making permanent this unique charitable giving opportunity. Single and married individuals 70½ and older are eligible to give in this way from their individual retirement accounts.

Using IRA assets to make a gift during your lifetime, as opposed to giving via bequest in your will, enables you to experience the joy of making a major gift.

For more information on the Charitable IRA opportunity, please contact Cathy Rodgers at (407) 418-0904 or [email protected]

Anna & Cindy – A Legacy of Love

Anna Hume lived a life of kindness, generosity and love for her family. She spent the last several years of her life living at the Mayflower in Winter Park. Anna loved painting, water aerobics, and getting her hair and nails done – but she especially loved her cat Cindy. As Anna was making decisions about her estate, she spent a lot of time researching different organizations that did work she cared about. One of those organizations was Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando. Anna knew the gift she left would be used to support an organization that had spent the past 80 years caring for and finding homes for homeless pets. She designated a portion of her estate to help continue this work. Anna’s family reached out to Pet Alliance after her passing and asked if there was a way we could honor this wonderful legacy gift. In honor of her love of cats and especially Cindy, Pet Alliance named one of the community cat area in Orlando after Anna and Cindy. We hope the next time you visit, you check out the “Cat Community Room in Memory of Anna B. Hume” inside and “Cindy’s Catio” the cats’ outside enclosure.

If you are interested in finding out how you can make Pet Alliance a part of your legacy. Please contact Cathy Rodgers at 407-418-0904 or [email protected]

Thanksgiving Pet Dangers

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to pause and give thanks for the joys in your life, especially your furry friends!  It’s also a time when your home may be full of wonderfully tempting foods for your pets.

Of course, it’s always best to never give your pet table food but we realize the holidays are a time of indulgence for some.

Here are 10 foods you should be aware of the dangers for your pet this Thanksgiving:

  1. Turkey bones are coking hazards for your pets that can puncture the stomach and intestines which could be fatal.  If you must share with your pet, give them small bites of cooked turkey with all the bones removed.
  2. Stuffing often contains scallions, garlic and onions, all of which are toxic to animals and can result in anemia.
  3. Nutmeg has mild hallucinogenic properties that when ingested by your pet can result in seizures, tremors and other problems.  Pumpkin and sweet potatoes when pure in form can be very good for your dog.
  4. Alcohol is never, ever, okay for your pet.  They can cause vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, and even death.
  5. Nuts of all kind including almonds, pecans and walnuts are high in oils and fats that can cause vomiting and diarrhea in pets.
  6. Dough is dangerous when ingested raw because the yeast continues to convert sugars into carbon dioxide gas and alcohol which can caught the pet to become intoxicated, a life-threatening emergency.
  7. Chocolate is well known to most pet owners but it’s great to remind guests not to share their tasty treats with your pets.
  8. Cooking debris such as cooking twine, discarded fat and greasy paper towels will attract your pets attention if left out or in an easy to access trashcan.  Be sure to guard against them consuming these.

If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

The Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando wishes you, and your pets, a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We will be closed on Thursday, November 24 for the Thanksgiving holiday.  We will resume normal operations on Friday, November 25.

Halloween Pet Safety

HalloweenSafetyEveryone at the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando wants you to have a happy, and safe, Halloween!  While this holiday can be a lot of fun, it can be terrifying and even dangerous for your pets.  Keep these 10 tips in mind to ensure they are able to enjoy the holidays safely.

  • Save the candy for trick-or-treaters, not Wags and Whiskers. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for pets. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems. If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
  • Halloween can be an exciting time for you and your pet, use caution when opening the door for trick-or-treaters to ensure your pet doesn’t dart outside.
  • All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.
  • A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise caution if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.
  • Dressing your pet can be adorable but don’t put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it (yup, a few pets are real hams!). For pets who prefer their “birthday suits,” however, wearing a costume may cause undue stress – that’s not what the holidays are about, right?
  • If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn’t stressful or unsafe. It should not restrict their movement or hearing, or impede the ability to breathe, bark or meow. Also, be sure to try on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting him go au naturale or donning a festive bandana.
  • Take a closer look at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.
  • Wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations should be kept out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet might suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.
  • Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, but they can produce stomach upset in pets who nibble on them.
  • IDs, please! Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver, increasing the chances that he or she will be returned to you.