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Closeup of puppy wearing a collar

PET SAFETY

Protecting your new family member

ID Tags

You may have seen it on social media... a pet that's been hit by a car, or a dog that's seen running around your neighborhood. Before any of the animals at MCAS are adopted, they are microchipped. This means that if they find themselves lost, they can be brought into any veterinarian hospital or animal shelter, and be scanned. This scan will provide the owner's information so that the animal can get back home safely.

Pet ID tag attached to a collar

While a microchip is the best way to identify an animal, another helpful way to get the animal safely back home to its family is to make sure he/she is always wearing a collar with an ID tag. Many people don't leave this on their pet saying things like, "my cat is an indoor cat" or "my yard is fenced so my dog never leaves." However, we all know that accidents happen and wearing an ID collar will cut down the time it takes to find the animal's family.

Dog being held tightly on a leash

Securing a Leash

Newly adopted pets are up to four times more likely to run away and are especially vulnerable to fleeing in the face of fear or opportunity. This is rampant in our community and is the reason we strongly urge any new adopter to take extra precautions with their new pet. Here are some helpful ways you can do that..

  • Be aware of things that make loud or sudden noises (slamming doors, ringing appliances, etc.) and try to minimize them.

  • Take frequent, short walks to introduce your dog to the area surrounding your home and help it feel familiar. If your dog ever gets loose, it will help if they know your neighborhood.

  • Keep a collar with ID (your dog’s name and your phone number) on your dog at all times.

 

  • Use safe walking equipment that is separate from their ID collar. A nylon or leather leash (NOT a retractable one), a martingale collar, and harnesses are best for walking flight-risk dogs.

 

  • Attach the leash at two points, in case one fails. Use two collars or a collar and harness.

 

  • Make sure all walking equipment is properly fitted before each and every outing. (Collars should not be able to slip over their ears and harnesses should be snug but not tight.)

 

  • Flight-risk dogs should be leashed—or in a space that is surrounded by a physical fence—and supervised at all times when outdoors.

  • When traveling, make sure your dog is thoughtfully secured in your vehicle. If you don't have a way to allow the dog to leave the vehicle directly into a contained area (ie. a garage), attach the leash and make sure you have a hold of it before opening any car doors.

Protecting Against Heartworm

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets in the United States and beyond. It's caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure, and damage to other organs in the body. Any dog, whether it is an indoor or an outdoor pet, is capable of being infected; all it takes is a bite from a mosquito carrying the infective heartworm larvae.

Mosquito on a dog

Common signs of heartworm infection include coughing, exercise intolerance, failure to grow, labored breathing, a blue or purplish discoloration of the skin and gums, spitting up blood, fainting, nose bleeding, and the accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity. There are two approved treatment protocols, or methods, used for treating existing infections:

Note: Many veterinarians, including those that treat MCAS animals, choose to use the 3-injection treatment, regardless of the dog’s stage of heartworm disease, because it may be safer for the dog and more efficient at killing all the parasites)

  • 2-dose Protocol: 2 doses, 24 hours apart; injected deep into the muscles of the dog’s back, alternating sides of the back between treatments.

  • 3-dose Protocol: The dog would first receive a single injection. One month later, the second and third injections will be administered 24 hours apart. 

To reduce the potential for such “dead worm reactions,” all dogs should be confined throughout treatment and for 4–6 weeks after the final injection. Dogs treated for heartworm should be placed on heartworm preventive drugs (usually before treatment) and tested after 8–12 months to be sure all worms were killed. For those dogs that test positive, retesting might be required and, if an infection is confirmed, a new round of treatment will be needed.

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