The Rainbow You Don’t Want to See: Rat Poisoning and Your Pet

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I will never forget my panic when I saw Makita poop out a rainbow of blue, green and purple on a walk at Sanford Farm West. Having just retrieved her the night before from a good Samaratin who had found her and had kept her safe for the duration of my 7-hour search for her through the Windswept Bogs, I was just relaxing into the relief that she was alive and well! So when her poop revealed the tell-tale colors of rat poison, I was dismayed. I quickly called my vet-tech friend who confirmed that yes, rat poison is usually blue and green and that I should get Makita to the vet right away.

The emergency vet at Offshore looked at the sample and was as concerned as I was, but was a also little baffled by the purple color. She’d never seen that in rat poison. But to be on the safe side, she prepared the charcoal that was going to be forced down Makita’s throat to absorb any of the poison that might be left in her system. JUST as the syringe was headed to Makita’s mouth, my cell phone rang. The good Samaratin had gotten my panicked message and reported that indeed his son had seen Makita eat some crayons the night before at his house. 
 
PHEW! It was not rat poison after all, just Makita’s fetish for snacking on inappropriate morsels rearing its head (or should I say tail?).
 
While Makita and I were lucky that day, others on Nantucket recently have not been. Saturday a friend lost her cat to what the vets at Offshore suspect was rat poison, and two other dogs are currently being treated for it. Offshore doesn’t have exact statistics on how many of these cases they treat each year, but they report it does happen here on Nantucket, and they’ve seen 3 cases in the last few weeks.
 
It’s hard to imagine that in this day and age people put poison out around their houses to kill what they see as pests. But they do. These poisons are not just potentially deadly to our pets, but to wildlife and humans as well.
 
Some believe cats should be indoor-only to avoid these kinds of dangers, and dogs should remain on leash so we can stop them from eating strange and sometimes harmful substances. However, here on Nantucket we do let our cats out and our dogs off leash, so given that, let’s all be mindful that these dangers exist and know what to do should your pet have a close encounter with one.
 
There are different kinds of rat poisoning, with different kinds of ingredients, but symptoms of rat poisoning in a cat or dog can include: 
  • loss of appetite
  • impaired movement
  • paralysis of the animal’s hind limbs
  • slight muscle tremors, 
  • generalized seizures
  • lethargy
  • difficulty breathing
  • pale gums
  • coughing (especially of blood)
  • vomiting (with blood)
  • bloody nose
  • swelling or bumps on the skin (e.g., hematomas)
  • collapse
  • bleeding from the gums
Obviously, if you suspect your pet has ingested rat poisoning and/or has any of the above symptoms, call your vet immediately. Your vet may recommend a home solution of hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting, or may instruct you to bring the pet right in, depending on the situation. 
 
For those of you without pets, and who use poison to deter rats and mice, please be mindful of where you put it. Know that poison outside of your home may be ingested by pets or by wildlife. Furthermore, hawks and other birds of prey also die when they eat rodents who have eaten the poison. The best option for all concerned is to use humane traps, such as those by Havahart.
 
Though in the end it is up to the pet’s family to keep him or her safe, if we all work together, we can help prevent these tragic pet deaths.

An Easy Way to Save a Life

spayNantucket Safe Harbor for Animals is one of the luckiest animal shelters around. We never have to make the heart-breaking decision to euthanize a healthy animal. We have the space and foster home resources to care for the animals who come our way until they find new homes.

Other shelters are not so lucky. Cats, dogs, and rabbits end up in shelters every day because their families can no longer care for them, or because they got lost, or were deliberately abandoned. Since there are more pets in shelters than people looking to adopt a pet, the 2.7 million a year who don’t find homes are euthanized.

Luckily, there is a way for you to help ensure these pets get the full life they deserve: have YOUR pets spayed and neutered.

When you spay or neuter your own pet, you ensure that none of your pet’s offspring will end up in a shelter. Even if you think you can find a home for each kitten or puppy, each of those puppies or kittens takes the home of one already waiting in a shelter.

At Nantucket Safe Harbor for Animals we sterilize pets as early as 8 weeks old so they leave the shelter already to go. For your own pet, you can talk to your veterinarian, who will most likely recommend sterilizing a female before her first heat and a male at around 6 months. The reason to have the surgery when the pets are still young is that cats can get pregnant as early as four months old, and dogs as early as six months old, and each can have two to three litters a year. That’s what you call a problem of exponential proportions!

To help solve this problem, call your vet today to have your pet spayed or neutered. It’s the simplest way to save the life of a shelter animal. Each of us can save one . . . but together we can save them all.

If you need financial assistance for this important surgery, just call us: 508-825-2287.

Say it Isn’t So. . . OK, it Isn’t! Myths and Facts about Spaying and Neutering

706975_1382024960.0165I used to think that people didn’t sterilize their pets simply because it’s an additional cost. But I’ve since learned there are many reasons people avoid this important surgery, and most of those reasons are, in fact, myths. Read on:

MYTH: It’s better to let your female pet have one litter before spaying.

FACT: Medical evidence proves the opposite: females spayed before their first heat are healthier. Not only that, spaying before a first heat cuts down on the chance of mammary tumors later in life.

MYTH: Allowing my pet to have a litter lets my children witness the miracle of birth.

FACT: Unfortunately, this “miracle” comes with a big side of heartbreak because almost three million pets are euthanized each year. Instead, teach your children to respect all living creatures by sterilizing yours and helping to minimize pet overpopulation.

MYTH: My male pet will be embarrassed without his “man parts.”

FACT: Your male pet doesn’t know he has “man parts.” It’s more likely a projection of what YOU are feeling. (Ouch). If your dog’s manliness really concerns you, check out neuticles. Not kidding.

MYTH: Sterilized pets get fat and lazy.

FACT: The truth is that pets who get fat and lazy do so because they eat too much and don’t get enough exercise, just like people. If you are truly worried about this, be sure to take dogs for long walks, and have plenty of active play sessions with your cats.

MYTH: I can only have the perfect pet if I let my current perfect pet have babies. I want one just like her.

FACT: No pet will ever be a carbon copy of your current pet. There are shelter pets waiting for homes who are just as cute, smart, sweet, and loving in their own way. Let your next pet be an original!

MYTH: It’s expensive to have my pet spayed or neutered.

FACT: Many low-cost options exist for spay/neuter services. Furthermore, charges mount up for unsterilized animals too: wounds due to fighting, kennel fees due to roaming, pet license fees that are usually at least double for non-sterilized pets.

MYTH: I’ll find good homes for all the puppies and kittens my pet has.

FACT: You may find homes for your pet’s puppies and kittens. But you can only control what decisions you make with your own pet, not the decisions other people make with theirs. Your pet’s puppies and kittens, or their puppies or kittens, may end up in an animal shelter. Further, for every puppy or kitten you hand out to someone, one in a shelter goes without a home and may be euthanized. There simply are not enough homes for them all.

Be sure to read our next post about how spaying and neutering is the KEY to overcoming our pet overpopulation problem.

An Odor-Free Home & A Fatter Wallet: What’s Not to Like?

un-neuteredFebruary is Spay Neuter Month, and let me say it needs it’s own month. There are so many reasons to spay or neuter your pet that it will take three blog posts to fit them all in! The first in our 3-part series about Spaying and Neutering discusses the benefits to you and your pet of this vital surgery.

Most importantly for both you and your pet is the fact that sterilized pets live longer. A USA Today article reports that neutered male dogs live 18% longer than un-neutered male dogs and spayed female dogs live 23% longer than unspayed female dogs. This is due to several factors:

  • Sterilized animals have less incidents of several forms of reproductive cancers: mammary, testicular, uterine, and prostate, for example.
  • Especially for male pets, sterilizing cuts down on roaming. Roaming pets get into fights, get attacked or eaten by predators, get hit by cars, and/or end up at the pound.

You want your pets to live the longest, healthiest life possible, don’t you? Sterilizing them goes a long way towards achieving this.

For you, a sterilized animal, overall, is less expensive:

  • Sterilized animals are less costly to care for because they are less likely to develop certain cancers, which are expensive to treat.
  • They get into fewer fights, fights that can result in wounds needing medical attention.
  • Should a female dog have a litter, the cost of her pre-natal care and pup examinations, vaccinations and wormers is far more than the cost to have had mom spayed in the first place.
  • Sterilized animals are also cheaper to register with your local town—usually about half the cost, but sometimes just a fraction. Here on Nantucket, it’s $5 for a sterilized dog, but $10 for an unsterilized dog.
  • Some pounds charge more to release an unsterilized pet, but might waive the kennel fees altogether if you are willing to have your pet sterilized. That’s how important it is: shelters and humane societies are willing to take on the cost for you!

Annoying behaviors are diminished once an animal is spayed or neutered, especially when sterilized early in life:

  • Excessive barking in dogs
  • Yowling in cats
  • Aggression
  • The aforementioned roaming
  • Urine marking. (Urine-marking is especially problematic, since it’s an odor almost impossible to get rid of once the cat starts spraying.)

Calmer animals, an odor-free, quieter home, and a fatter wallet are just so much more enjoyable, don’t you think?

If you agree that the benefits of sterilizing your pet are mounting up, make an appointment today with your veterinarian to have your pet spayed or neutered. If the cost of the surgery is prohibitive, there are resources that can help:

  • SNIPP–Nantucket Safe Harbor for Animals (application), 508‐825-2287
  • SNAP–MSPCA (application), http://www.mspca.org/programs/spayneuter/
  • SPAY WAGGIN’–AnimalRescueLeague (dogs and cats), 877‐590‐7729
  • The STOP Clinic (cats), www.thestopclinic.com
  • CATMOBILE–Feline Rescue Society, 978-465‐1940

We never want the cost of the surgery to be a barrier to having it done. In the long run, the costs to you, your pet, and society of avoiding the surgery far outweigh its one-time fee.

Next week: De-bunking popular myths about spaying and neutering.

A Flurry of Furry Forever Homes!

The last two months have been a flurry of puppies, kittens, seniors and adults flying out the door. We couldn’t be more happy with all these new families! Enjoy!

Rue
Rue joins the Almodobar Family.

 

the three that went together
Naila, Mau and Phineas (now Shellie, Max and Oreo) all went home together to live with the Eldridges.
Mau and adopter
Max Eldridge with his new friend.

 

Calleigh now Hazel with family
Calleigh, now Hazel, with her new family full of kids!

 

Horatio now Brady with family
Horatio, now Brady, with his new family.

 

Natalie now Rory with Brittany
Brittany finally got to adopt one of her own after fostering so many. Meet Rory!

 

Olivia and the Eldridges
Olivia goes home with the Eldridges.

 

Catherine with Seanne
Catherine lights up Seanne’s life.

 

Janice now Ruby and mom
Janice, now Ruby, and new family. Her new mom reports that had she drawn a picture of the perfect dog, it would be Janice!

 

Leo
Leo with one of his new brothers and a cousin. Didn’t take him long to settle in with some head butts.

 

Max
Max, at 16, found a soft new place to rest his weary bones.

 

Stella now Splash and Jude
Jude joins our “LMR Twofer Club” by adopting Stella, now Splash. Cleo, who went home with Jude earlier this year, is so happy to have a baby sister.

 

Luke with
Luke, the world’s most friendly cat and now named Archie, goes home with his new friend.

 

Trudy with Paul
Trudy found love with Paul.

 

Mia now Salty the Dotos
Mia, now Salty, and the Dotos.

 

Hank now Milo and Angela and Brian
Milo (formerly Hank) joins Angela and Brian to complete the family.

 

Houlie and James
Houli and James make the perfect match.

 

Nadia and Adrienne
Nadia makes Adrienne so happy. And vice versa.

 

Flopsie
Flopsie hopped right into his new dad’s heart.

 

Anne and Kim
Anne waited and waited for the perfect pooch (and spousal permission) to adopt. Finally Kim, now Belle, is all her own!

 

Bernie
After surviving eye surgery and living with cancer, Bernie got the best Christmas present ever: a family to call her own.

 

What it Takes to be a NiSHA Volunteer

Ever wondered what it takes to be a NiSHA Volunteer? Read on. . . and see if you’ve got what it takes.

Brains . . .

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and braun.

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A soft lap . . .

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and a steady shoulder.

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The right hat for the job . . .

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and the appropriate facial expression.

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A talent for juggling . . .

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and a knack for crafts.

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Impeccable hygiene . . .

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and restaurant experience.

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Friends in high places . . .

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and the ability to laugh at yourself.

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What it takes is a community of individuals who care . . .

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If you think YOU have what it takes, join us.

NSHA Community Connections

Many people think of NSHA as a shelter–a place to bring an animal to safety or a place to find a new furry friend. And we are certainly that. AND we are more than that. We offer many programs to islanders that help them. . . find, keep, or help their pets; learn about the responsible care of animals; and find meaningful ways to give back to their community.

Fall has been a busy month for NSHA’s community work. Here’s what we’ve been up to.

The Farmer’s Market welcomed us almost every Saturday. We loved talking to islanders and visitors alike about all things animal. We met lovely people, found homes for a few dogs, and filled our coin canister!

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Our Microchip and ID Clinic with Animal Care with Kindness (Dr. Paula Klek) attracted some interesting customers–not all of whom we could actually safely microchip. But everyone had fun making their own “shrinky-dink” pet ID tags! Gotta keep our pets safe.

microchipclinic idtag

In October, for Black Pet Month, we teamed up with the Black Dog store on Straight Wharf for a Black Pet Celebration. Many children came out to “adopt” their own black cat or dog toy. Current and past black shelter dogs paraded their loveliness for all to see. And many myths about black dogs and cats were dispelled in the process.

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An important part of NSHA’s mission is to advocate for all animals. October and November were months to gather signatures to help “Prevent Farm Animal Cruelty” reach the 95,000 signatures they needed to get a bill onto the 2016 Massachusetts ballot that would outlaw cruel confinement for farmed chickens, pigs and calves. Keeping compassion local!

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Thanks to all of our wonderful, tireless volunteers who make our community work possible!

NSHA’s Newest Families

Our latest batch of happy tales!

Sassy Sophie Beth and Lisa
The BEST things come to those who wait. Sophie and Sassy, sisters who waited a year at the shelter, were rewarded with the best new moms, Lisa and Beth!
Kerry and Dingo
Dingo held out until Kerry said I DO! With his new bro Mookie.

 

 

Kate with Judith and Phil
Kate found love on the mainland with Judith and Phil.

 

Edit and Fernanda
Edit (yes, Edit) found a new life with Fernanda.

 

Dee Dee and folks
Dee Dee didn’t even make it to the island before she was swooped up into her new family’s arms.

 

Skylar and Kendall now Jasper
Skylar, now Jasper, and his new mom Kendall.
Charlie with Catherine and Andy
Charlie with Catherine, Andy, and big sis (an LMR alum).

 

beans and brother
Beans’s wait rewarded her with a new brother!

 

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Oh, and Beans also got a sister! And toys. Did I mention the toys?

 

piggies
And two guinea piggies went wee wee wee wee all the way to their new home!

The Stray Hotel

 

doghotelbestMost of us have seen a stray dog running loose on a Nantucket bike path at least once. Some of us have even attempted a rescue. But then what? Where should we bring a stray dog (or cat) until the family can be located? Where is there room at the inn?

Here is the low down on stray pet accommodations on Nantucket:

If you have found a stray dog or cat, bring it to Nantucket Safe Harbor for Animals at 11 Crooked Lane, SIDE DOOR to the left of the building. We are responsible for receiving all strays until they are reunited with their families. If it is after hours or you are unable to bring the animal to the shelter yourself, call the Animal Control Officer at 508-228-1212. The police have a key to the shelter and know how to bring stray dogs in and tuck them in for the night.

If you have lost a dog or cat, call NSHA at 508-825-2287 to see if he or she “checked in” overnight. If not, email a picture and details to nsha@ackshelter.org. We will post the information on our Facebook page, and we and our followers will help get your pet home in a timely manner.

Please note that stray animals are not the responsibility of Offshore Animal Hospital, the veterinary practice at 11 Crooked Lane, which is a totally separate organization from Nantucket Safe Harbor for Animals (the shelter). While Offshore does run a dog hotel, it’s for “registered guests” only, and bringing stray dogs there interrupts the staff’s important veterinary work.

If you have pets, make sure they have collars and ID tags on at all times. Current contact information on ID tags saves a stay at the shelter, or, if they do end up checking in, ID tags will minimize their visit—and their bill.

 

Fall Forever Homes

In late September we wrapped up another 7 Little Mountain Rescue dog adoptions. One bunny, two cats and several kittens also went on home. Enjoy the photos, which show the joy that adoption brings to the whole family.

HTArchienowHenryandSonya
Archie, now Henry, with his new mom Sonya.

 

HTBethandHenryFrancisBlack
Henry Francis Black simply stole his new mom’s heart. Beth had been waiting to adopt a dog who the cats would OK. Well, the cats OK’d Henry– and the proof is in the picture.

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HTClayEddyJackson
Clay and Jackson said yes to Eddy!

 

HTCraigBradTeddyBearBrodyLuce
Craig, Brad, Lucy and Brody welcomed Teddy Bear into their home.

 

HTDaphne
Sweet Daphne has made her new family very happy!

 

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Jackie “O” joins Dina and her family and heads to Montana.

 

HTJamienowFInnwithcyndi
Finn found love with Cyndi.

 

HTMaxCarrErinnowGreyLady
Max and Carr decided on Erin, now “Grey Lady.” What fun she will have!

 

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NSHA Volunteers Peter, Susan, and Gwen open their hearts to sweet Sidney.