Dear Friend,
In this issue you will find:
Seasonal Allergies
Warm Weather Safety
Online Pharmacies, Use Caution
Food Shelf Update


Seasonal Allergies, Be Prepared

Those of us who suffer from allergies know how miserable they can be. For me, the itchy eyes are just awful this time of year. For about a week I start having a little itching and then it is like a switch is thrown and I want to scratch my eyes out. The itching will even wake me up at night and cause an allergic conjunctivitis. A couple of weeks later the symptoms just stop. This strongly suggests something that blooms in the spring, like trees.

Different individuals have allergies to different things. So while ragweed does not bother me, a friend is just miserable with respiratory symptoms and needs steroids for about a month. 

Dogs and cats have allergies as well. Just like people, what they are allergic to varies greatly. We see fewer problems in the winter months than the rest of the year. We definitely see a jump in cases in August when the ragweed blooms. Again, it is like a switch is thrown. 

When we know that an allergy season is coming we can prepare. Starting antihistamines before the start of the season helps many patients. Starting steroids at low doses or some of the newer drugs can also help considerably. Once symptoms start, it can be a bit more difficult to get them under control and steroids are often needed. 

We see many allergy patients. Some are horribly miserable and suffering greatly. While we cannot cure the allergies, we can make the patient more comfortable. There are also treatments available that will help retrain the immune system to react more appropriately. 

This summer, please help your pet be more comfortable. If he/she has known seasonal allergies, be proactive and speak with us about medications before the symptoms start. If he/she starts getting itchy, have him/her seen so we can decide how to best help him/her be comfortable.


Warm Weather Safety

Finally! The warm weather arrives. It is a bit hard to believe after such a cool winter and spring. We are finally getting into the season of road construction and temps are going to get even warmer. 

Along with the warm weather come hot cars, hot sun, the need for lots of water, and lots of bugs. 

Please keep your pet safe this summer. 

Do not leave them in a hot car. (Try sitting in the car for a few minutes after parking in the sun.)

Do not leave them in a location where they cannot get out of the sun. A nice shady place with plenty of fresh water is a must. I have seen dogs die of heat stroke after being left on a deck in the sun on a warm day. 

Use your flea and tick medications along with heartworm preventatives. Doing so can prevent many diseases.

Take extra precautions on really hot days. Not all animals are smart enough to get out of the sun on a hot sunny day. If you are uncomfortably hot, it is a safe bet your pet, in its warm fur coat, is also hot. 

If your pet gets suddenly very weak on a hot day, starts acting uncoordinated, starts to vomit or to have bloody diarrhea, please have them seen by a veterinarian very quickly. They could be in a life threatening situation.  

Online Pharmacies, Use Caution

We continue to see more and more prescription requests from online pharmacies. While this can be a very good service, there have also been problems. This is truly a case of “buyer beware.” 

There have been many complaints that the FDA has investigated. These include:
Counterfeit products
Unapproved drugs
Shipping expired drugs
Dispensing without a prescription
Making false claims about the benefits of a medication
Improper labeling
Incorrect or dangerous ingredients (such as xylitol)
Storage temperature problems

These complaints have come from both human and veterinary medicine. 

So, how do you protect yourself? 

Aggressive marketing and deep discounts often mean the medications are stolen, counterfeit, substandard or unapproved. (Too good to be true.)
No reputable pharmacy will sell you a prescription drug without a valid doctor's prescription.
Check to see if the pharmacy is licensed in your state. While not required by law, this is a good indication of a reputable pharmacy. (Look at the website for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy for this information. )
The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy runs a program to certify online pharmacies called Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS). 
Ask your veterinarian for a suggested online pharmacy.
Ensure that the pharmacy is based in the United States.
Try to ensure that the pharmacy employs certified pharmacists.
Try to know when the prescription will be delivered so it does not sit in the heat or cold.

Even when you are following good practices to find an online pharmacy it can be difficult to know whether there will be a problem. Even the shipping can be problematic. We have had products delivered to the clinic frozen that should not be or that are obviously too warm for proper storage. 

For more information see:

Roberts UCC Food Pantry

Roberts UCC Food Pantry

Food Shelf Update

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