Hurricane Pet Tips & Pet Friendly Shelters

Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando
Operation Hours during Hurricane Irma

  • Pet Alliance will be CLOSED on Monday and Tuesday.

The Atlantic Hurricane Season is June 1st to November 30th. Be prepared with these tips from the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando.

Download our Hurricane Preparedness Sheet (PDF)
Download our Hurricane Preparedness Sheet (PDF)

Are you and your pet prepared?

  1. Never leave your pet behind.
  2. The safest place for your pet is with you! If you must evacuate, take your pet along.
  3. Place two ID tags on your pet’s collar. Include a temporary tag with the phone number of a friend or relative who lives outside your immediate area.
  4. Microchip your pet and make sure the chip registration is updated. Be sure to locate and update your microchip registry.
  5. Prepare a travel kit for your pet. Include bowls, food, bottled water, towels, needed prescriptions, bathing supplies, flea/tick control, and leashes.
  6. Make sure your pets are current on vaccinations.
  7. Create a record file for each pet. Include your pet’s vaccination records.
  8. Always travel with photographs of your pet.
  9. Have travel carriers handy for evacuation. Make your pet’s carrier a fun and safe place by placing treats, toys and meals in it on a routine basis.
  10. Most public evacuation shelters do not accept pets. Know ahead of time pet friendly accommodations. Visit ‘Bring Fido‘ to locate pet friendly accommodations, and view our map below for area shelters that do allow them.
  11. Take your dogs on a long walk before the storm.
  12. Keep your pets routine as normal as possible (feeding time and potty time
  13. Bonus tip: you can buy a small area of fake grass and a baby pool and put in the garage for them to use the bathroom during the storm.

For the latest storm information, visit the National Hurricane Center.

Keep checking back for more tips, first-hand accounts, and more, designed to help pet owners be prepared for hurricane season.

You can help a pet in need by supporting the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando, donate today!

Pet Friendly Shelters

Below is a map of Pet Friendly shelters in Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake, Volusia and Brevard counties:

If you do take your pet to a shelter, remember:

  • Shelters are first-come, first-served, so get there early.
  • You must have the pet in a carrier or cage.
  • You must provide proof of current vaccinations.
  • Bring Food, water and serving containers.

The shelter locations in the map above where current as of 9/5/2017 and may change. Please view your county website for full shelter information:

Osceola County
Seminole County
Orange County
Lake County
Brevard County
Volusia County

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.

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.

Take your Cat to the Vet Day

August 22nd is National Bring Your Cat to the Vet Day.  Proper veterinary care is vital to providing your pet with a long and healthy life.  As this special day approaches we want to share with you 5 benefits of routine vet visits from the American Association of Feline Practitioners.

  1. Cats age more rapidly than humans
    A cat reaches the approximate human age of 15 during its first year, then 24 at age 2. Each year after, they age four “cat years” for every calendar year.  For example, your 8-year-old cat would be 48 in cat years.  Veterinary care is crucial because a lot can happen in those four “cat years.”
  2. Cats are masters at hiding illness
    Cat’s are naturally aloof which makes it difficult to detect any health problems they may have. Veterinaries are trained to spot changes or abnormalities that could be overlooked.  Detecting problems early prevents them from becoming more difficult to treat.
  3. More than 50% of cats are overweight
    A veterinarian will check your cats weight during each visit and provide recommendations to help keep your pet at an ideal weight. Even a few extra pounds can put your cat at risk of diabetes, heart, respiratory and kidney disease.
  4. Preventative care is better (and less expensive) than reactive care
    Regular exams help avoid medical emergencies by detecting conditions or disease before they become significant, painful and costlier to treat.
  5. Kittens have 26 teeth, adult cats have 30
    That’s a lot of dental care! Periodontal disease is considered the most prevalent disease in cats three years or older.  While there may be no obvious signs it is important to discuss your cat’s teeth during their routine veterinary visit.

The Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando offers high quality low-cost care for pets at our clinics in both Orlando and Sanford.  Learn more online or call 407-351-7722 to schedule an appointment today.

Check the Chip Day is August 15

Millions of pets go missing each year, and while we hope it never happens to your furry friend a microchip can significantly improve the chance of their safe return.

That’s why we’re inviting you to celebrate ‘Check the Chip Day’ on Monday, August 15.  This is the perfect time to update your pets microchip registration or get your pet microchipped if they are not already.

Keep reading below as we address the many misconceptions about microchips.

 

What is a pet microchip?
The purpose of the microchip is to provide a form of permanent identification. These microchip implants are called RFID tags, (Radio Frequency Identification). They are tiny, about the size of a grain of rice, and are passive. This means that they passively store a unique identification number and do not actively transmit any information. The microchip implanted in your pet has no battery and no internal power source, so it sits inertly in the pet until it is read by a special microchip scanner.

How will the microchip help my pet get home?
Most, if not all, humane societies and animal shelters now have universal microchip readers, and scan all animals that come into their care. If a lost pet is brought to a veterinary clinic, the veterinary staff will use their reader to check for a microchip. The reader will detect the electronic code embedded in the chip and display the identification number on its screen. The registration database is then checked for this identification number (either online or by telephone), and the pet owner’s contact information is retrieved.

Once my pet has been microchipped, is there anything else I need to do?
Yes, you must register the number with the appropriate agency. Your veterinarian will provide you with the documents and contact information and will tell you if any fees are required.

Although the implanted microchip will continue to function over your pet’s lifetime without any need for maintenance, the system won’t work unless you keep your contact information current. If you move or change your telephone number, make sure you update the information with the registration agency. Remember to also get new ID tags for your pet at the same time.

You can search the AAHA’s Universal Pet Microchip database using your pets microchip number

microchipcatHow is the microchip put into my pet?

Before insertion, the sterile microchip is scanned in the package to confirm that the identification code of the transponder is the same as that shown on the package bar code label. Next, the needle containing the microchip is loaded into the application gun or syringe. For pets, the standard site for microchip placement is in the subcutaneous tissue between the shoulder blades. The loose skin between the shoulder blades is gently pulled up, and the needle is quickly inserted. After insertion, the pet is scanned to make sure that the chip is reading properly.

How long does it take?
The procedure is fast, taking about the same amount of time it takes to give any other injection. It takes more time to do the registration paperwork than it does to implant the microchip.

Is it painful to my pet?
It hurts about as much as having blood drawn. The chips are usually inserted without incident in awake animals, even in the tiniest kitten. Some clients choose to have the microchip implanted when their pet is spayed or neutered so that the pet can be anesthetized for the injection, but this is not necessary; the microchip can be implanted at any time that is convenient.

blog5dMy pet never goes outdoors. Does he need a microchip?
Even the most responsible pet owners cannot ensure that their pet won’t get lost. Although most indoor pets tend to stay indoors, there is always a possibility that they can escape if somebody opens a door at the wrong time, if they manage to push through loose window screen if something petches their attention outside, or if there is an emergency situation where the home has to be evacuated. Indoor pets that are not familiar with the great outdoors can become very frightened in these situations and may not be able to figure out how to get back home.

My pet already wears a collar with a tag on it. Does she need a microchip?
If your pet gets lost or picked up by animal control, the more types of identification that she has the better. Although collars are a very visible form of identification, they can accidentally fall off or be intentionally removed. Furthermore, if you have a collar on your pet, it should be a breakaway type so that it doesn’t get caught on anything and cause an injury. In addition, the information on the tag is legible when the tag is new, but as it gets old and worn it may become unreadable. This means that your pet’s collar is not a permanent form of identification.

My pet has a tattoo. Does he need a microchip?
While tattoos are permanent, in reality they aren’t always that helpful as a form of identification. The first problem with tattoos is that they become faded over time, making them difficult to read correctly. The second, more important problem is that there are no common databases for tattoo information, so any information about the pet and its owner can be difficult to trace.

The benefits of microchips are that they cannot be misread, and the identification number is tamper-proof. The information about the pet and owner is usually readily retrievable from the database.

Is there anything else I should know?

Millions of pets get lost every year, and pets that do not have microchips have less than a 5% chance of being reunited with their families. Pets with microchips were found to be more than twenty times as likely to be reunited with their families. The main reasons that owners weren’t found if the pet was microchipped were that the telephone number was incorrect or disconnected, or the owners did not return the phone call or letter from the finder.

The Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando offers free or reduced microchipping at both our Orlando and Sanford clinics for just $30.

One Million Cat Challenge

challenger300x250[1]The Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando is joining animal shelters across North America to save the lives of one million more cats in the next five years. It’s all part of a joint campaign of the Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida and the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program.

The Million Cat Challenge is based on five key initiatives that offer every shelter, in every community, practical choices to reduce euthanasia and increase live outcomes for shelter cats.

“Kittens are usually adopted pretty quickly, it’s the adult cats who may stay in the shelter for a while”, says Rachel Klaren, Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando Shelter Manager.  “One of our approaches to keep adult cats in the home is by offering a free spay for the mother cat when families surrender kittens”

These owners were very grateful to be able to keep their cat, Midnight, and have her spayed for no charge.
These owners were very grateful to be able to keep their cat, Midnight, and have her spayed for no charge.

“The shelters who have taken the Challenge are leading the way in finding and implementing new approaches to saving cats’ lives,” said Dr. Kate Hurley, director of the UC Davis program.

“Spaying and neutering” is key to preventing more homeless cats in our community, says Dr. Morris, Clinic Director for PAGO.  Daily, we offer a variety of free and affordable spay/neuter services for owned and community cats at our Sanford and Orlando clinics as well as on our mobile unit in St. Cloud.

 

About the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando

Formerly the SPCA of Central Florida, our goal is to provide compassionate care to the pets and people of our community.  More than 10,000 homeless dogs and cats will turn to the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando for caring, compassion, and hope through our animal shelters this year. Our highly skilled veterinarians will help and heal an additional 45,000 animals in our veterinary clinics. Learn more at https://petallianceorlando.org.

 

About the Million Cat Challenge

The Million Cat Challenge is a shelter-based campaign to save the lives of one million cats in North America over the next five years. The core strategy of the campaign will focus on five key initiatives that offer every shelter, in every community, practical choices to reduce euthanasia and increase live outcomes for shelter cats. Drs. Levy and Hurley are available for interviews. For more information, visit https://www.millioncatchallenge.org/.