We had it all wrong. In 2001, Leslie and I opened Advanced Animal Care of Mount Pleasant. The very name was chosen to emphasize that our practice was progressive, on the technological forefront of our field. We wanted to be the practice that was … Continue reading An Open Letter to Our Clients
We have quite a few cats, ranging from all ages, looking for loving homes. All of the cats we take in come from either abusive homes, were abandoned by their caregivers, or were found living on the streets to fend for themselves. The younger … Continue reading “The Best Things in Life are Rescued”
Beverly was left to fend for herself outdoors when left behind by family. She came into our clinic by a kind person who wanted to see her have a chance at a better life. She was very sick and suffering from a longtime fight with … Continue reading Diabetic Senior Kitty Found A Family with AAC Staff
As many of you may already know, there has been a bit of a storm brewing in the veterinary community of South Carolina and the rest of the country over the issue of low-cost practices and rescue organizations providing medical services i.e. spay/ neuter, vaccinations, parasite treatment and microchip implantation. The concern of some of our veterinarian colleagues is that their income may be compromised by these organizations which have an unfair advantage of providing these services at a sometimes significantly discounted price due to less stringent regulation and various subsidizing resources.
As veterinarians and practice owners, Leslie and I fully understand our colleague’s concern and agree on some of the issues; however we are very concerned about this proposed legislation. We have always worked hard to promote better health and care for the animals of our community, both the ones with a family and those without. We also are painfully aware of the many animals that go uncared for, that are neglected, that are homeless and are in homes in which the people do not have the means to fully and properly care for them.
Leslie and I are concerned that this animal welfare legislation S.687 has very little to do with promoting or improving the welfare of animals and more about protecting the veterinary communities own financial interest. Our greatest concern is the restriction of the ability of nonprofit organizations and other animal welfare groups to reach and care for those that are currently not being cared for. We know there are many pets in our community that are not under the care of a veterinarian due to a multitude of reasons (financial, transportation, education, etc.) which as a result of this legislation will now be “untouchable” by organizations that are designed specifically to provide care for those pets. These are pets that would not darken the door of a veterinary office to begin with, but if this legislation passes, would now not be able to get the care so very much needed. All because of the action of the community that took an oath to care for them!
Leslie and I are passionate about our calling. We are also disheartened by the organization and community that we love being a part of. We, however, are not politicians or understand what it is to be an activist, so we are reaching out to those that we know and respect who are of similar mind and are asking for your help. Please contact your senator (Lawrence Grooms or Paul Campbell, Jr of Berkeley & Charleston counties) that is on the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources and let them know about your concern. We would love to hear from you about your thoughts and opinions and of course any advice and help you may have on what we can do to make this a better piece of legislation.
David Steele, DVM Leslie Steele, DVM
Veterinarians/Owners of Advanced Animal Care of Mount Pleasant
Friends, we need some help finding homes for four cats. Actually two pairs.
In the ideal situation, we get kittens at a very young age before they have become conditioned to fear humans. Some kittens learn this from their mothers very, very soon after birth. When we take in kittens that are 8-12 weeks old before they’ve known human contact, they tend to retain these “shy” characteristics even after they’ve learned that most people are “good” and would never hurt them. Their instinct is to retain a certain amount of healthy distrust, just to be on the safe side. These are the cats that will run up to you for treats, talk to you and maybe even rub against your leg. They may also like to be petted and rubbed, but are most likely rarely going to want to be picked up.
We have two pairs of kitties that are somewhat “shy”. In addition to being born to feral mothers, they have lived the majority of their lives in a veterinary hospital. And while they are loved and cared for daily, it is not a true home. They deserve to have their own family.
Storm and Elmo:
Storm is an 18 mo old female/spayed dilute tortishell (patches of grey and peach). She was found as a tiny kitten in a dumpster on Clements Ferry Road. She is very independent and extremely active and athletic. Elmo is an 18 mo male/neutered black cat that has an absolutely fantastic personality. He is a third generation of a family of cats living under the cottages at Charles Pinckney Elementary School in Mt Pleasant. He is very, very smart and always very busy. Both love to play and are very attached to one another.
Pictured: Elmo (black) left, Storm (gray) right
Darwin and Jax:
Darwin is a 12 mo old male/neutered red and white tabby. He was found stray at about 8 weeks of age with his sister. After she was soon adopted, Darwin became a bit withdrawn and became less interactive. Jax is a 9 mo old male/neutered back cat with adorable linx tips on his ears. Jax was also born beneath a cottage at Pinckney Elementary school; but probably 4th or 5th generation. He has always been very shy, and therefore sat back as he watched his siblings being adopted out one by one. He and Darwin bonded instantly and are rarely seen very far apart. They are also very active, inquisitive cats that need more of a life than a clinic has to offer.
All four of these cats are extremely healthy and hardy. In addition to routine vaccinations, they have had the opportunity to develop real life immunity by growing up in an animal hospital. They are all smart, inquisitive and beautiful cats. They would all benefit from safe outdoor time as they would love to run and play and hunt. If you have room in your heart for either of these pairs of kitties, please let us know. Adoption fees are negotiable. For more information click here.
Pictured: Darwin (orange) left, Jax (black) right
“The love for all living creatures is the noblest attribute of man.” – Charles Darwin
The holidays are here, and now is the time when we are busy wrapping presents, cooking delicious meals, and spending time with family. Among the hustle and bustle, our pets are watching and waiting for an opportunity to get into mischief! Some may sneak a turkey leg when your back is turned, others may take a bite of that yummy chocolate cake, and then follow it up with a nice drink from the Christmas tree water. These seemingly normal holiday behaviors can result with you spending your holiday at the veterinary emergency hospital and all the money you’ve saved for presents has now gone towards Scruffy’s emergency surgery. Here is a list of holiday safety tips to ensure you, your family, and your pets have a wonderful and safe holiday season!
Try to Remember These Basic Tips –
- Turkey Bones can cause stomach perforation and painful constipation. Often times, surgery is necessary to remove bone fragments from the intestines. Fatty foods can cause pancreatitis, a potentially dangerous inflammation of the pancreas that produces toxic enzymes and causes illness and dehydration.
- Sugar-Free Baked Goods often contain xylitol, which causes blood pressure to decrease to dangerously low levels. Ingestion may result in vomiting, lethargy, loss of coordination, seizures, and liver failure.
- Chocolate stimulates the nervous system and heart in both dogs and cats. Dark chocolate poses a greater risk and can cause agitation, vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, tremors, seizures, and even death.
- Holiday Plants are a favorite of our pets. Mistletoe and holly pose the biggest threat and causes vomiting, diarrhea and heart arrhythmia.
- Alcohol is for human consumption only! It depresses the nervous system and results in vomiting, disorientation, diarrhea, lethargy, difficulty breathing, tremors, comas, and seizures.
- Tinsel & Ribbons not only pose a choking hazard (please don’t use them as collars), but can also slice the digestive track and cause intestinal obstruction.
- Electrical cords should be turned off and unplugged when you aren’t home. Live cords can cause burns in or around your pet’s mouth, difficulty breathing, seizures, and cardiac arrest.
- Christmas Trees need to be properly secured, fragile glass ornaments should be kept off low-lying branches. If you have a real tree be sure you don’t add fertilizer to the tree water, and keep pets away from stagnant water sitting in the reservoir. Watch out for signs of vomiting and diarrhea if you know they’ve been near it!
- Holiday Visitors will be coming and going, and this much activity can be confusing and stressful for pets. Make sure they have a safe, quiet space to retreat to if necessary. Elderly and sick pets can be extra sensitive to over-stimulation. Products like Adaptil and Feliway are great to use for pets with many forms of anxiety. Signs of stress can show up as gastrointestinal issues, discomfort, diarrhea, and irritability.
- Imported Snow Globes have shown to contain antifreeze (ethylene glycol) in some cases. As little as 1 teaspoon ingested by a cat, or 2 tablespoon for a dog, can be fatal. Signs of ingestion include lack of coordination, excessive thirst, and lethargy. Immediate treatment by a veterinarian is imperative if you think your pet is at risk. Crystals develop in the kidneys resulting in acute kidney failure. Sometimes a pet will not show signs of distress until it is too late.
- Liquid Potpourri is sometimes not realized to be so dangerous for our pets – especially cats. Just a lick or two can result in chemical burns, fever, difficulty breathing, and tremors. Although dogs aren’t as sensitive, it is advised to still use caution.
Call Advanced Animal Care of Mount Pleasant for more information at 843-884-9838.
Please be aware that there is a $39 fee per incident when you call the Pet Poison Hotline at 1-855-764-7661.
If you have an emergency after hours, you can call Veterinary Emergency Care in Mt. Pleasant, SC at 843-216-7554.
AAC WISHES YOU AND YOUR PET A HAPPY AND SAFE HOLIDAY SEASON!
Dr. David Steele recently sat for an interview with ABC News 4 Lowcountry Live to discuss Low Stress Handling — a new technique that is breaking ground in the veterinary industry thanks to the widely respected animal behaviorist Dr. Sophia Yin. Both Drs. David & Leslie Steele are big advocates of this technique, and have trained their staff in low stress restraint and handling to help ensure their patients have a calm and peaceful veterinary experience.
Here, Dr. Steele explains this new method and why it is so important to both you and your pet:
What is low stress handling?
Essentially, low stress handling is an approach to working with animals with their perspective central to your method. When I was trained, as many of my colleagues continue to be trained today, we approached our interactions with our patients in a very human centric mind-set. What I mean is that we don’t consider the emotional state of the pet or the effect of our actions upon the pet’s emotional state. Don’t get me wrong, the veterinary community is made up of very compassionate people; focused on the welfare and well-being of animals, but veterinary care was and, in many cases, continues to be centered on accomplishing a task or therapy despite the patient’s resistance or fear, all ultimately for the pet’s better health. The problem is that the end result is medically healthier pet, but behaviorally and emotionally worse. Low stress handling is an approach in which we engage the patient, we get them to be active participants in their care, and we work to gain their trust.
I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard a client tell me what an ordeal it was to get their pet in to the clinic. Let’s face it – it is not going to be pleasant going to the doctor. In many cases you are there when you don’t feel well, you’re uncomfortable at the least, and then there are procedures such as needle sticks, awkward positioning or restraint, palpation and probing, and so on.
I don’t like going to the doctor any more than you, but at least I go willingly and of my own volition. My patients don’t drive themselves up to the office and get an annual wellness checkup and lab work because they know that it is best for them. It saddens us to know that many of our patients fear coming to see us. We certainly didn’t get into this link of work to hurt or scare pets any more than a pediatrician or dentist did. Imagine that as a result of all the positive interactions your pet experienced during the puppy/kitten hood visits, resulted in a pet that is happy and comfortable with riding in the car or carrier and is relaxed and comfortable while we help take care of them. That is our dream and should be yours as well.
What is an example of low stress handling?
Ok, let’s say we have a patient who we need to collect a blood sample from for testing. Traditionally, we would have one and sometimes two technicians restrain the patient so that they would not move while another technician or doctor collected the blood sample. Some patients sit nicely and are comfortable, others freeze with fear (we usually praise this behavior)while we do it, while others may “go down fighting”. Now let’s see what low stress handling does. We do it all the time. Think about teaching your pet to shake. Our goal is to perform the sample collection, but with only one technician. We can teach our pet to sit and then give us their leg for us to hold while drawing blood. We can work with them to show we are trustworthy, reliable, and positive force in their life. We’re the good guys!
I know it seems far-fetched, but it can work. Domesticated animals have been selected for over hundreds of years to be human centric and understand much of our communication. They understand us and can learn to do what we ask of them. It’s just a matter of communication. Zoos are doing low stress handling all over the world. Rather than tranquilizing a lion or dolphin, they use training techniques to get the lion to willingly give his tail through a fence in order for the medical staff to draw blood. Animal handlers have taught dolphins to swim up with their bellies exposed so they can perform ultrasound examinations. It can be done.
What are some tips pet owners can use to help make going to the veterinary office easier?
First of all, don’t wait until the appointment time to get them into a carrier or put them into the car for the first time. For cats, I recommend leaving the carrier out all the time as a hiding place at home. Put nice bedding and an occasional treat inside to encourage exploration. Also, it is helpful to use Feliway, a pheromone spray that helps lessen stress and anxiety for cats.
For dogs, I recommend taking them in the car regularly and even come to the office for “happy visits”. I encourage bringing dogs in whenever they can so they can get treats and love from our staff. We’re teaching them that sometimes when they come – nothing bad happens and they get to play and have treats. What an awesome visit!
Dr. Steele is available for behavior consultations. You can fill out a Behavior Questionnaire by clicking here.
Call Advanced Animal Care of Mt. Pleasant to schedule an appointment at 843-884-9838. Our veterinarians will create a behavior modification plan specific to your pets needs!