886 S Pine St, PO Box 277

Grantsburg, WI 54840

Phone: (715) 463-2536

1(800) 924-0588

140 Evergreen Square SW

Pine City, MN 55063

Phone: (320) 629-7474

It's National Disaster Preparedness Month

National Disaster Preparedness Month
The recent images from the Texas and Florida floods and the Montana wildfires are heartbreaking. Streets overflowing with water, burning forests, entire families displaced, and rescued pets sent to shelters in other states are hard for us to grasp so far away. At a time like this, it seems only fitting that the Centers for Disease Control sponsors National Disaster Preparedness Month every September. The organization urges all Americans to pre-plan for natural disasters caused by severe weather, acts of terrorism, and other causes. This requires a bit of extra effort for pet owners.
What to Include in an Animal Disaster Kit
While you might view yourself as calm and collected, it’s hard to think of gathering supplies for your pet with a disaster on its way. That’s why the CDC recommends preparing a disaster kit before you need to use it. For pets, it should include the following:
  • Your pet’s regular food placed in airtight container
  • Bottled drinking water
  • Bags for waste
  • Extra litterbox and litter for cats
  • Grooming supplies
  • Your pet’s regular medications
  • A carrier for each pet
  • A leash and/or harness
  • Your pet’s favorite pillow, blanket, or other bedding
  • A few toys
  • Your pet’s vaccination records
  • Written care instructions that direct others how to care for your pet if you become separated
Other Disaster Planning Tips to Keep in Mind
If you have put off getting a microchip for your pet, consider how handy it would be in a natural disaster. Your dog or cat could lose his tag and collar easily amidst all the stress and chaos. If he has a microchip, anyone who finds him can take him to the nearest animal shelter or veterinary clinic to scan for your contact information. It’s also important to label the carrier for each pet with his name, your name, and a telephone number.
The extreme stress of a natural disaster can cause some pets to run towards danger instead of away from it. Even a normally obedient dog or cat could take off the other direction when you call her. The best way to avoid this is to keep a harness or leash by each exit in your home. This keep your pet with you and under your control.
Listing where you would seek shelter in a disaster is also an important part of planning. It makes it easier to evacuate quickly when you know where you’re going. Pet owners should also include the names and addresses of animal shelters where they can bring their pets temporarily if they’re unable to stay together. If the disaster is not so severe that you must leave home, create a safe space for your pet in one area until things get back to normal.

Natural Disasters Are Breeding Grounds for Disease
When disaster strikes, people only think about escaping it. They’re not necessarily considering how quickly disease can spread due to things like stagnant water and exposure to hundreds of other people and animals. 
If your pet is behind on vaccines, we urge you to contact Grantsburg Animal Hospital at 715-463-2536 or Wild River Veterinary Clinic at 320-629-7474 to schedule an appointment. It’s also essential for your pet’s well-being to get regular preventive care exams. Both of these make it much more likely your dog or cat won’t become seriously ill in the aftermath of a disaster. 
Photo Credit: Jetvic / Getty Images

Feline Calicivirus: The Human Equivalent of the Common Cold

Feline Calicivirus
Feline calicivirus is a highly contagious upper respiratory infection (URI) that unvaccinated cats can easily transmit to one another. If you’re bringing home a new kitten and you already have cats in the house, it’s important to isolate them from each other until the kitten receive a calicivirus vaccination. You may need to keep them apart for as long as one week for each cat’s protection.
The symptoms of calicivirus range from mild to severe. Very young kittens and cats with a compromised immune system are more likely to develop severe symptoms. Although calicivirus can be serious in some situations, your cat can’t transfer it to humans.
How This URI Spreads
Calicivirus is most common in crowded living conditions such as an animal shelter or boarding facility. For this reason, catteries require all cats to have a calicivirus vaccine. In fact, it’s part of a series of core vaccines for cats due to how easily it spreads. Unsanitary conditions can also create a breeding grounds for the spread of calicivirus. Yet another way this virus spreads is when an infected cat exchanges bodily fluid with a non-infected cat. Typically, this occurs due to contact with eye discharge or sneeze droplets.
Common Symptoms of Calicivirus
Nasal discharge, eye discharge, and frequent sneezing are the most obvious signs that your cat is unwell. Other indications of this virus include:
  • Lack of appetite
  • Low energy
  • Squinting
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty chewing food completely
  • Pink eye
  • Fever
  • Dehydration
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Breathing difficulty, including noisy breathing
This URI can make your cat feel miserable, so be sure to provide prompt treatment. Fortunately, death from feline calicivirus is extremely rare. 
How to Help Your Cat Feel Better
Just like the common cold in humans, no cure exists to eliminate calicivirus once the symptoms have started. You can help your cat feel more comfortable by doing the following:
  • Gently wipe discharge from the eyes with a damp towel
  • Minimize stress in the household while your cat recovers
  • Bring your cat into the bathroom and turn on the shower so he can breathe in the hot steam. You should not bring him into the shower, however.
  • Make sure that your cat continues to eat. Cats rely heavily on their sense of smell and may show no interest in eating when nasal discharge prevents them from smelling. You may have to temporarily feed your cat foods with a stronger odor or speak to our veterinarian about prescription cat food.
Be sure to keep your cat indoors while she’s recovering from calicivirus because she can easily spread it to other cats. The good news with calicivirus is that it responds well to supportive care. If your cat doesn’t seem to be recovering at home, contact us for an evaluation. 
Moderate to severe cases of this URI may require medications and treatment such as IV fluids or eye drops. As with all illnesses, prevention is the best treatment. If your cat never received a calicivirus vaccine or it has been more than a year since the last one, check with us to see when the next one is due.
Photo Credit: zlyka2008 / Getty Images