Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Rain, Rain Go Away

By Ray Schmitt
CCVSEH Marketing/PR Executive

According to an Indianapolis Star report from earlier this month, June of 2015 was the wettest June in the history of the state. Average rainfall for the month state-wide was 9.03 inches, and it wasn't only the wettest June we've ever seen; it was also our fourth-wettest month ever since record keeping began in 1895. Now we're nearly halfway through July, but the turn of the calendar hasn't done much to slow down the wet weather.

Over the last few days, severe thunderstorms have brought with them high-speed wind gusts, hail, tornado warnings and, unfortunately, flash flooding. It hardly seems that a day goes by without the threat of a thunderstorm in the forecast so it is unclear when relief from the threat of flooding is on the way. That means there are important questions you need to ask yourself, especially if you are a pet owner. What is your evacuation plan in the event of a flood? Does your plan include steps to ensure your pets' safety? Now, no one is expecting you to make like Noah, build an ark and float away on the rising waters with your animals to safety. But there are some fairly simple steps to take to develop, or refine, a good flood plan for you and your pets.
This is not the safe way to evacuate pets from flood waters.
Use carriers/crates/kennels to carry your pets and avoid
rushing waters and/or debris.

When it comes to getting your pets safely out of a flooded house, first thing is first; have suitable carriers available. While adults may be able to walk through knee-deep flood waters, that level is too high for pets to safely wade through. Rushing waters could overwhelm them or they could be struck by debris in the water. You do not want to be forced to leave your pets behind in a flooded home because you don't have a safe way to get them through flood waters outside of the house. There are a multitude of crates and carriers available for cats and small dogs. Make sure you have enough on hand to account for all of your animals. Medium to large breed dogs should be placed in a suitably-sized crate or kennel to be carried out of the home. This is could be a two-person job depending on the size and weight of the dog.

If you are forced to evacuate your home due to a flood, there is often uncertainty as to when you will be able to get back in. Because of this, having a pet emergency kit prepared will go a long way to making the situation more manageable. At a minimum your pet emergency kit should include a bowl, food, drinkable water and any medications your dog or cat currently takes. Other items worth considering are a leash, bandages, simple saline and a blanket.

Window clings, like this, alert first responders
about pets in your home.
In the event that you and your pets are separated in the process of, or after, evacuating your house, updated registration information is crucial. If your pets are microchipped, go online and make sure that the information is up-to-date with your current address, cell phone number and email address. Also keep a tag on your dog's or cat's collar with the same current contact information, along with the pet's name.

A little research in advance of an emergency situation will also go a long way. Call around to, or email,
shelters and/or rescue groups in your area to find out if they offer services in the event of an emergency. Additionally, you should ask your primary veterinarian about emergency window stickers. These stickers indicate to first responders (fire fighters, police, EMTs) that there are animals inside a residence, along with how many there are. Finally, know where the closest 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital is. Our hospital is always open to help with your pet emergencies.

At the end of the day, no one wants to deal with the stress and the worry of a flooded home. More than that, though, no one wants the added stress and worry if something were to happen to their dog or cat in a flood. Consider some of these tips to help develop a flood-preparedness plan and talk to your veterinarian about what else can be done. And let's all do some kind of anti-rain dance so that we can see the sun around Indianapolis for at least a few days.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Happy Summer From CCVSEH


You wouldn't know it by the way the weather has behaved the last few days, but we are unofficially into the summer season. Memorial Day provides the unofficial kickoff, and what a kickoff it was this year with oodles of sunshine and a thrilling running of the 99th Indianapolis 500. In the months to come we will enjoy cookouts, vacations, hikes, pool days, baseball games and so much more. Summer has something special in store for everyone and each of us has a unique summer memory or summer tradition that we hold close. Recently members of our staff took time out of their busy schedules to recount their own summer memories and traditions so that they can be shared with all of you!

Ray Schmitt, Marketing/PR Executive - My favorite summer tradition is one that began fairly recently. My father's life-long dream was to own a boat and he achieved that dream in the summer of 2010. I was living in South Carolina at the time and only got to go out on the boat once a year when I made it home to visit, but now that I live closer it's wonderful. My wife, my dog and I meet my parents at "their" lake a short drive northeast of Saint Louis multiple times throughout the summer. My sister and her fiance often join in and my brother will travel from Boston to meet up with us for a week-long lake trip and spend each day on the boat. It's far and away my favorite way to spend time with my family in the summer.

Kathryn Fitzwater, DVM, Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Surgery - My favorite thing about summer is the long summer days and outdoor movies in our backyard.

Terry Grieshaber, DVM, Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Dermatology - I really enjoy doing manual labor outdoors on a hot, humid day and finishing the days work with an ice cold beer on my front porch. It takes me back to my  roots. 

Amy Rader, DVM, Director of Emergency Services - The favorite part of summer for me is spending time in the garden. Flower gardens and vegetable gardens. Nothing taste better then the food you grow in your own back yard. R&R = spending the afternoon laying in the hammock with a good book, listening to the birds.

Kathy Kemp, Administrative Assistant - One of my favorite summer memories is the first purchase of my life. My best friend and I were riding bikes. We went around town to garage sales and crossing over the forbidden river when I found the garage-sale find of my life. I found an item that I could not live without so we raced home and I asked for the money to purchase it. My mother said no, but her boyfriend said yes – it was only 50 cents after all.
So Julie and I raced back to the sale and it was gone. I balled my eyes out for a whole minute. The man of the house was gone, too, but there was a teenager overseeing the sale. Through my blubbering, I asked about the item and whether it had been sold. The boy didn’t know so he called for his mom. She came out and saw my tear-streaked face then hollered inside to her husband. He came out with my item in his hand and he was calming me down as he explained that he had taken it inside to clean it. I was over joyed. I gave him the two quarters and thanked him profusely. He asked if I wanted a bag and I told him I didn’t need one because this was going on my handlebars.
I rode all the way home with a great big smile because I was so proud of my very first purchase. It was short lived though because I scared the heck out of my mom as she saw me riding up with an alligator on my handlebars and my face all dirty from crying. Of course, her first thought was that I was hurt.
Ignoring her, I grabbed it up and headed inside. Then she put the brakes on hard and told me no way was that thing going in the house. Well, I ducked under her arm, weaved past the door, and ran into my bedroom. By the time my mom caught up with me, I had put my stuffed alligator on my bedside table facing the door so he could guard my room with his wide-open, teeth-baring mouth.
My mom finally changed her mind when she heard the whole story, but my very first purchase all by myself, even though it was with borrowed money, was complete and I had a stuffed alligator for the next 10 years always at my bedside.

Megan Anderson, Registered Veterinary Technician - My favorite thing about summer has always been vacation. My mother always went out of her way to put together elaborate trips across the country. By the time I started college, and subsequently was not able to travel as much, I had visited 43 states. My favorite trip was the two weeks we spent in Alaska traveling the Alaskan Highway in a motor home. We've always paved our own paths on our tips and spent every effort staying away from the "popular destinations." We had more fun just hitting the road and experiencing what each state had to offer. I plan to add California to my visited list this November at the Veterinary Dental Conference. Even though it's not really a "vacation," in my opinion, it will be fun none the less. I've have many adventures through my summers and I hope to share my experience with my new family as we grow.

We hope you enjoyed our favorite summer memories and traditions. What are some of your own? Feel free to share them with us on our Facebook page, and ones that include pets are highly encouraged!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Canine Flu - What You Need To Know

By Ray Schmitt
CCVSEH PR/Marketing Executive

If you follow the news you have probably come across coverage of the canine flu epidemic that has hit our neighbors to the northwest in Chicago. Reports estimate that thousands of dogs have been infected in the Windy City and that some cases have spilled over into Michigan, as well. With the glut of reports on this outbreak it's important for pet owners in the Hoosier State to know if it could affect them, and if so, how.

What is Known:

  • The particular strain of flu virus that has caused the current epidemic in Chicago has not been
    previously seen in the United States. A recent report in the Chicago Sun Times points to evidence in studies by scientists at Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin that the outbreak was caused by the H3N2 strain and not H3N8 as originally reported. H3N2 has been found to be widely circulated among dog populations in southern China and South Korea the Sun Times states. 
  • There is no evidence that this strain of the virus can be transmitted from canines to humans. But there is evidence to suggest that humans can transmit the disease to another dog after coming into contact with a sick pup.
  • According to the ASPCA canine flu is transmitted through a combination of aerosols, droplets and direct contact with respiratory secretions.
  • A vaccine to combat canine flu does exist but it is not known if it will completely protect dogs from this strain of the virus. Donna Alexander, the administrator of the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control, is quoted in the Sun Times article that the vaccine "does impart enough of an immunity that it may protect the animal’s life. It may make the difference between it being a fatality and a severe hacking cough that the animal can withstand.” Additionally, according to the Indiana State Board of Animal Health, the vaccine is not effective in dogs already infected with the canine flu.
  • Media reports currently attribute five deaths, of the over 1,000 infected, to the current canine flu outbreak.
Possible Signs of Canine Flu:
If you notice any of the following signs in your dog contact your family veterinarian immediately. If their office is closed, our emergency department is open 24-7-365 and can provide help.
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Coughing
  • Rapid and/or Difficult Breathing
  • Nasal discharge that begins clear but progresses to yellowish-green mucous
Other Important Facts:
  • The Indiana State Board of Animal Health encourages dog owners to not panic.
  • Dogs who are in good health but contract canine flu are likely to recover. Extremely old, extremely young and immuno-suppressed dogs are at the highest risk, should they become exposed to canine flu.
  • Risk of exposure for dogs in the Indianapolis area is low. If you are planning to travel to the Chicago area, it is recommended that you vaccinate your pets prior to visiting the city.
  • Antibiotics and supportive care have been shown to be successful in treating dogs who are exposed to canine flu. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Website Relaunch

By Ray Schmitt
CCVSEH Marketing/PR Executive

We all use websites every day for an untold number of reasons. The information that they provide can be invaluable whether they are instructing us, keeping us abreast of current events, or simply entertaining us and giving us a chance to escape for a little while. But how often do we, as website users, take a step back and consider what it takes to run and maintain the websites that we love so much? How often do we think about what it takes for website administrators to keep their site competitive among an almost infinite number of other sites in the battle for clicks and views?

Here is a snapshot of our new-look homepage for
My appreciation for those considerations has grown exponentially as a result of the last few months of work. Months ago I teamed up with our hospital's IT company to begin a total overhaul of Circle City Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Hospital's website - www.circlecityvets.com. It was due for a refresh and it's current version was launched before the proliferation of smart phones and the need for mobile responsive sites. We also wanted to stand out from our competition when it came to the look/feel of the site as well as the quality of content provided within.

I had never had such deep involvement in a website overhaul before and couldn't fully wrap my head around how much work it was going to take to achieve our goals. The hard work has paid off, though, and now comes the fun part - the chance to show everyone the fruits of our labor. On Monday, April 6, 2015 we will launch the brand-new www.circlecityvets.com.

The crown jewel of the relaunch will be an improved mobile version of the site. Improving this experience was of utmost priority to us because our research showed that between 35% and 40% of visitors to our site on a monthly basis were doing so via smart phones or tablets. Our old site wasn't designed to display on those devices so there was a lot of scrolling and re-sizing required. With our new mobile-responsive site that simply won't be the case anymore. It will boast features such as tap-to-call and one-tap directions so that you can contact us quickly and have easy access to turn-by-turn directions if you need us in an emergency.
This snapshot of our staff page gives you a peek at one of the
best features of our re-designed site.

Part of the challenge in designing an effective site for our hospital is that it has to provide information to two
audiences - the general public and our referring doctors. We think we've created a site that will effectively reach both. One feature that exemplifies this is the "Useful Forms" button that will be located on the home page. One click on the button will take both pet owners and/or referring veterinarians to a database of forms that will make their visit or referral efficient. Pet owners can download and print new client forms or questionnaires before they ever step foot inside the hospital while veterinarians can download referral forms for any of the specialties we offer here; from dentistry all the way to surgery. Both audiences will also love our staff page which features high-resolution head shots of each of our doctors and a full bio. This allows anyone to get to know our doctors better before meeting them face-to-face, and helps to improve the comfort level of clients and referring doctors.

There will be much more to discover inside of our new website once it launches on April 6 and we hope that you enjoy exploring it. With this new version we will have direct access to manage the content which means we will be adding new information on a regular basis. Hopefully you'll come back and visit often to see what we've been up to. And while you're visiting please take a moment to consider all of the photographers, developers and administrators who worked long hours to bring the site to you.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Keeping Pets Active in Winter Months

By Ray Schmitt
CCVSEH PR/Marketing Executive

Last night I got home from the hospital shortly after 5:30. I had battled rush hour traffic on the north side of town and pulled into my driveway with a few minutes of daylight remaining - just enough to walk my dog before it got dark. When I woke up in the morning the rain was falling and made every inch of yard, street and sidewalk a slushy mess. By the time I got home the falling temperatures had frozen almost all of that same territory completely over.

Normally I love walking my 50-pound beagle/lab mix around the neighborhood when I wake up in the morning and when I get back from work. It provides me quiet time to collect my thoughts, gets me out of the house for some light exercise and gives me quality time with my pup. It also gives her the essential exercise and stimulation that she needs to be happy. There are times where she could certainly walk two or three hours non-stop just smelling all the smells on the ground. But yesterday was miserable. For both of us. Between the rain, the wind, the cold temperatures and complete lack of a good surface to walk on neither of us enjoyed our regular walk. And it's been that way almost every day since the frigid temperatures set in.

My dog is typically a high-energy dog that needs an hour, or so, of activity every day to be happy. Our walks took up a big chunk of that time, but what are we to do now? Without a doubt there are a lot of you out there who are wondering the same thing; "How can we keep our dogs active and happy when, at this time of year, their time outdoors is so limited?"

Luckily there are a ton of great resources at my disposal - more than a handful of veterinary specialists who had insightful advice on this very topic. I'm not a selfish person and didn't want to keep all of that sound advice to myself so here I am sharing it with all of you. These are the best tips from the staff at CCVSEH to keeping your pet active during cold, dreary winter months.

  • Keep Going Out for Walks. The elements create a challenge when it comes to taking our dogs for walks in the winter. Luckily there are ways to combat the elements. You can start by looking into booties to cover their paws. This will help protect them from painful deicers that can wedge themselves between toes. They'll also help to hold in some warmth on particularly cold days. For dogs with short coats or single-layer coats you can add a layer with a dog-friendly sweater or jacket. You can also look into reflective leash covers to make you more visible to drivers since it gets dark earlier.
  • Indoor Fetch. If you have a pup that love to play fetch out in the yard or the park, the games don't have to stop because of the weather. A staircase is a great place to get a game of fetch going. You can start at the top and let the ball roll to the bottom or toss it up from the bottom to the landing at the top. Running up and down the stairs will provide a great workout for your dog.
  • Go Shopping. Many pet stores allow you to bring your dog with you while you shop. So why not take your buddy with you on a trip for a new toy, a new treat or even a comfy new bed? He or she would love to sniff out their new favorite thing from the store whatever it may be.
  • Play Hide-and-Seek. What dog doesn't love treats? You can use these tasty morsels to get your pup off of the couch. Take some of his or her favorite treats and place them strategically throughout the house. Once they're all hidden it's time for "Fido" to hunt them down! It's also a good chance to work on obedience and commands because you're going to want the pup to stay put while you hide the treats.
  • Learn New Commands. Dogs are eager to please their humans, that's not a secret. They get satisfaction and mental stimulation when they work with you to learn new commands and tricks. Break out of the winter routine by spending some time learning new commands or tricks. If you don't want to do it at home on your own you can also enroll in a local obedience class.
  • Work For Their Supper. Dogs get most of their mental stimulation from the scents that they
    detect. A lot of them are also highly motivated by food. You can make mealtime a stimulating activity by hiding their food in an unusual location or by creating an obstacle course they have to navigate to reach their food.
  • Underwater Treadmill: Our physical rehabilitation department has a state-of-the-art underwater treadmill that is a wonderful way for dogs to get exercise. The water is kept at a balmy 96 degrees, which will provide relief from the cold temps, and it allows them to bear 60 percent less weight thannormal because the water is filled to hip-level. The extra resistance provided by walking underwater helps to strengthen muscles and burn calories.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Our New Year's Resolutions

From the CCVSEH Staff

At our hospital we take our work, but not ourselves, very seriously. We are constantly striving to provide top-notch care to every single patient that walks through our door, and that's something that will not change with the coming new year. There is, however, some truth to the "All work and no play..." credo so some of the staff wanted to have some fun with our New Year's resolutions. Here they are for you to enjoy!

Ray Schmitt, Public Relations/Marketing Executive
 - I resolve to do whatever it takes to get Dr. Lemmons to stop calling me Bigfoot. Since most of the time I'm either at meetings or working on projects at my desk, a day or two can go by without Dr. Lemmons and I seeing each other. As a result he has dubbed me with the same moniker as the mythical creature that roams the woods, but is never really seen by anyone. If I can keep my resolution he'll be calling me "Shadow" by this time next year!

Rachel Kulaga, Client Services Administrator
 - I resolve to not walk as hard in my heels when I'm upstairs. People on the first floor sometimes worry that I'm going to stomp a hole in the ceiling.

Dru Arnold, Director of Human Resources and Accounting
 - Rachel and I both resolve to eat much more Japanese food in 2015! With any luck in the next year the wait staff at our favorite Japanese restaurant in town will know us both by name. And probably won't even have to give us menus to order from.

The Entire Business Office Staff
 - We resolve to keep the plants in the front lobby alive. It might be a good thing we're not the ones in charge of keeping the animals in the back alive.

Jamie Riddle, Registered Veterinary Technician
 - I resolve to invent shoes with lifts in them that are also comfortable. This way all the shorties that I work with can reach the high items in the hospital and stop asking me for help all the time. It's not easy being the tallest person in this whole hospital (except for maybe Dr. Birchard).

From all of us at Circle City Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Hospital, Happy New Year! We hope that 2015 brings you nothing but happiness and joy. And good luck with your resolutions, too.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Coping With Loss During the Holiday Season

by Ray Schmitt
Circle City Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Hospital Marketing/PR Executive

"It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
With the kids jingle belling
And everyone telling you 'Be of good cheer'
It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
It's the hap - happiest season of all
With those holiday greetings and gay happy meetings
When friends come to call
It's the hap - happiest season of all"

Lyrics to "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" performed by Harry Connick Jr. courtesy www.azlyrics.com

If you stop a bunch of people on the street and ask them, "What is your favorite time of the year?" a good majority of them will probably say Christmas. During the holiday season, more than any other time of the year, we as a society focus our energy on getting together with friends, family and loved ones to celebrate.

For adults we draw joy in remembering the Christmases of our childhood, in the act of gift giving, in hosting and attending parties and, likely, having some time off from work to relax. Children, of course, revel in all the new toys they receive and indulging in all the Christmas cookies they can possibly eat.

The bond between humans and our pets is incredibly strong.
But there is one inevitable part of life that can put a major damper on the holiday good cheer; the loss of a loved one. And because we are in the veterinary field all of us at Circle City Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Hospital know that our pets are loved members of our family just as much as any human. Pets are a huge part of our holiday traditions, too, and their loss can cause just as much pain as the loss of a human family member.

If you are having a hard time dealing with the loss of a beloved pet at this time of the year you might find helpful this information we came across and discussed at our December C.A.L.M. meeting. In case you were unaware, we hold C.A.L.M. meetings monthly to provide support to those who are grieving the loss of a pet. The meetings are free to attend and there is no obligation; you can come to as many or as few as you wish.

This article was written specifically about dealing with the loss of a person, but the principles can still apply to dealing with the loss of a pet. The most important idea, the first one mentioned in the article, is talking about your grief. Everyone needs a caring, supportive, non-judgmental environment to discuss their feelings of grief in dealing with a loss. That all-important first step can be taken by simply attending one of our C.A.L.M. meetings.

The next C.A.L.M. meeting will take place at Circle City Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Hospital (9650 Mayflower Park Dr. in Carmel) on Monday, January 5, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. The theme for that meeting is "New Year's Resolutions" and if you want to come prepared you can bring your on resolutions on how you want to feel in the new year. Make a list of feelings you want to let go of (anger, guilt, sadness, doubt, anxiety..) and a list of feelings/memories you want to cherish. You can even RSVP for the event on our Facebook page.

If you are dealing with the loss of a beloved pet this holiday season our entire staff offers its sincere condolences. And we hope that we can help ease the grief through our C.A.L.M. meetings.