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Algae: Friend or Foe?

As the weather gets warmer from time to time, especially with our alternating rain and sun, we begin to see the warnings that we receive annually. It has returned and it is present. In our lakes, our pools, and other still bodies of water. So, let’s dive into the bloom!

First, let’s talk about blue-green algae. It’s a type of bacteria that naturally grows in water and looks like algae. That’s why it’s called blue-green algae. Not all blue-green algae is harmful, but you can’t tell just by looking at it! So, it’s safer to assume that any blue-green algae you find is toxic. It can be very dangerous, but if you take it to your vet, there’s a chance they can help.

If you think your pet was exposed to blue-green algae and you’re not sure what to do, here are some simple steps to follow:

  1. Take your pet out of the water immediately and ensure they can’t go back in.
  2. Call your vet right away and make an appointment for your pet to be seen as soon as possible. Time is important in these situations.
  3. Let your vet know about the potential exposure to blue-green algae so they can provide the necessary treatment.
  4. If you suspect your pet drank water with blue-green algae, try to get them to the vet within an hour. The vet can then give them activated charcoal, which can help counteract the harmful effects of the algae on the liver and nervous system.

Remember, seeking professional veterinary help is crucial in these situations. The symptoms can start to appear shortly after exposure, so it’s important to have your pet checked by a vet before any symptoms arise.

Given that this bacterium can also enter your pet’s body when they groom themselves by licking their fur, it is advisable to promptly wash your pet with clean water once they are out of the water. Additionally, it is important to be mindful of the water quality before allowing your pets to swim in it.

Written by Ashley. G, VT

Resources:

VCA Canada – https://vcacanada.com/know-your-pet/algae-poisoning

CDC – https://www.cdc.gov/habs/specific-groups/veterinarians-cyanobacteria.html

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How to make medication request hassle-free!

Getting your requests to your veterinarian can be quite a process, especially when you are uncertain about the necessary information we need to fulfill the request. Let’s take this opportunity to review the information required and help you understand why it's helpful in ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience. What do I need to know before I make a prescription request? There are 5 important pieces of information you'll need to have ready to relay to your veterinary team when requesting a prescription. Medication name Medication concentration Medication dose Medication instructions Quantity you need Let me explain what each one is and why we need it. This information can all be found on your pet's medication label.  Medication Name – This is simple enough; it is the name of your medication, and yes, it is very important. If you call and say you want to refill Fluffy’s eye medication, this won’t help us if they are on 3 different eye medications. Knowing the name of your pet’s medication can be the difference between the correct refill and the wrong refill. Medication Concentration – All medications come in many concentrations, and we want to ensure that your pet gets the correct one to avoid the risk of over- or under-dosing. The concentration is either written as milligrams, mg/mL or a percentage. Pills and tablets can be things like 2.5mg, 10mg, etc. Liquids will be in forms such as 20mg per ml, 200mg/ml, etc., and other medications, such as eye ointments, may say something like 2%. Medication Dose – The dose indicates how much of the medication your pet should be given and how often—for example, 1 tablet every 12 hours or a 1/4″ strip 3 times a day. Medication Instructions – We don't need the exact wording of your label, but we need to know how you are currently giving the medication. This may sound something like I give 1 pill in the morning and 2 pills in the evening or I give 3 units every 12 hours, etc. If what you are giving is different from what is on your medication label, then tell us what you are currently giving and why. It is not recommended to change medication instructions without speaking to your veterinarian. Quantity You Need – To ensure you have the supply you need and avoid multiple trips, please be sure to know what amount(s) of your pet's medication(s) you need. This may be given as a number amount, such as 30 pills or the length of time the medication needs to last,  such as 30 days worth. If you tell us 1 bottle, it doesn't necessarily help us as many medications come in multiple-sized bottles. TIP: Create a folder in your phone’s photo album called Medications, take pictures of your pet’s medication labels, and place them in there for quick access!   Keep in mind that your veterinarian pharmacy, like all other pharmacies, will need time to fill your medication. We kindly ask that you give us 24-48 hours' notice for filling medications as our veterinary staff are very busy and may not always have time to fill medications same-day. TIP: If you are like me and have trouble remembering to get medications refilled on time until you use the last one, there's an APP for that!   If it's a regular medication - there is an app called medisafe that lets you track medications and can be used for pet medications as well. You can set custom notifications to remind you when to refill your medication, such as when you have 5 pills left. If the medication is your pet’s flea and tick medication, check out the app "Flea & Tick"  (iPhone) (Android). This app allows you to track when you last gave your pet their last dose and upload a photo of your medication so you always have what it is at your fingertips. Lastly, look for things your clinic may have, such as QR codes on your medication bottles to help remind you to refill when you run low or website pages like ours (Pharmacy Requests) to make it easier for you to request your medication. Stayed tuned for Part 2.   Written by: Ashely G, VT

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