Jenn Pet Vet's Blog

All Creatures Great & Small – including beavers January 29, 2012

Filed under: wildlife — Jennifer Forsyth, VMD @ 5:07 pm
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Tree felled by a beaver in my backyard (my Bullmastiff, Petunia, in the background)


This post doesn’t have anything to do with natural pet care, but it is still some pretty cool stuff.  My neighbor had told me a story about a beaver family that built a dam in the stream that runs through my backyard a few years back, but I have never had any proof that I have beavers living in my stream until this past week.  Some busy beaver gnawed down a tree and has been systematically been chewing off the limbs.  January is peak mating season so maybe that’s why there is finally some visible beaver action.


Adult beavers are nocturnal (active mainly at night), semiaquatic, and weigh between 26-60 pounds and are therefore one of the largest rodents in the world.  Very old and fat beavers can even reach 100 pounds (45 kg).  Baby beavers (kits) are the size of walnuts when they are born, but they are born precocious – meaning they are born with their eyes open and fully furred.  A beaver family (colony) usually consists of 4-8 individuals which include the two adults (the adults pair up for life), yearlings, and kits.


Beavers are vegetarians and their diet consists of bark, leaves, twigs, and plant roots.  During the fall they create a food cache which consists of small logs and green branches that are buried in the mud of the stream right outside of their lodge.  A beaver lodge can be one of two types: a hemispherical pile of mud, logs, and sticks – or they dig a burrow in the bank of the stream.


Dam building is probably what most beavers are famous for.  The largest dam on record was found in Alberta, Canada and it was over half a mile long – twice as long as the Hoover Dam.  The purpose of the dam is to flood the areas around their lodge so that it will be deep enough that the water will not fully freeze in the winter.  The flooded area also provides more access to their food sources.


I promise to keep you posted on any addition beaver activity or sightings …

American Beaver (photo from Wikipedia)


My favorite essential oil products January 27, 2012

Filed under: Essential Oils — Jennifer Forsyth, VMD @ 1:51 am
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My Favorite AromaDog Products

There are a lot of wonderful and safe products that utilize essential oils.  My favorites all come from AromaDog.  They also have terrific cat products (AromaCat) that utilize hydrosols instead of essential oils which are much safer for use in cats.  Aromadog has been creating their amazing products since 1998 and they care so much about the quality of their product that they even give the bottles some Reiki before they are sent out so that they are instilled with good intentions.  (Just a little aside about how our intentions can affect water: This video shows some of the crystal patterns produced when Masaru Emoto subjected different water samples to both good and bad thoughts – fascinating stuff)


To help my kids smell better, I use Ladies Man or She Devil.  Both come in sprays and soaps and they smell delicious with the one for the gents being spicy and clean while the one for the ladies has delicate floral notes.  And neither have that annoying (to people and pets) overwhelming perfumy smell.  For those unwanted doggy odors in my house or car I use I Don’t Stink So.


For parasite control I use Flea Flicker (the cat product is Scat! No Fleas) every day when the weather is warm and there is a potential for my dogs to get fleas or ticks.  And if my dogs do end up with a tick, I put a drop of Lyme Blaster on at the site where I removed the tick once a day until redness and swelling is gone (I usually only have to do it once on the first day).


And let’s not forget about our pet’s oral hygiene and take care of their teeth.  I use Bluto’s Yummy Gum Brush (the cat product is Purrly Whites) to keep my dogs gum tissue healthy and it really makes them all perfect for smooching.


Two products that I love to use while I’m at work are Chill-Out for the dogs and Cat Nap for the kitties.  These sprays really help to relax all of my nervous patients before they get their exam – and my clients swear that it also helps them to relax.  I use Chill-Out for my Dogue de Bordeaux, Margaux, during long car rides where she has a little bit of anxiety.  And it definitely relaxes my Chihuahua, Seaweed, during his thunderstorm phobia.  This would also be appropriate to use for dogs that have to deal with separation anxiety or other stressful situations.


For skin issues I use Hot Spot for any moist and red lesions that my dogs develop.  For minor cuts and scratches, my alternative to triple antibiotic ointment is Quick Fix for the dogs and Meow Ouch for the cats.  And there is also I Itch Not which helps with can help relieve itching – especially itching related to allergies.


As a veterinarian, I see a lot of coughing puppies and snotty kittens.  When I was raising a litter of puppies (their mom was dumped at the local animal shelter a week before she was due to whelp) they developed a mild cough.  Cough Drop saved they day for my coughing snotty nosed puppies and saved me from having to put them on antibiotics.  Immewnity Chest is the equivalent for my feline friends.


A cautionary note: if you have a sick dog or cat, always have them examined by a veterinarian as these products are not a substitute for proper diagnosis and treatment.


Street Tails – Maximus January 25, 2012

Filed under: Rescue Groups — Jennifer Forsyth, VMD @ 1:05 pm
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Street Tails - Maximus the Bull TerrierThis is Maximus.  He is a very sweet Bull Terrier and I’m guessing that he is one year old.  He is the type of dog that would be great to come home to, pop open a can of beer, and spend the rest of the night on the couch watching some football – or some reruns of the original Beverly Hills 90210 (or maybe I’m just dating myself – having grown up with the Bud Light Spuds MacKenzie commercials).  Maximus has a great bark (but he isn’t what I’d call barky) and will keep anybody feeling safe from pesky home invasions.

Please fill out an adoption application for him on the Street Tails website.


Essential Oils – a cautionary tale January 22, 2012

Essential oils can be a wonderful natural way to treat your pet, but only when used appropriately.  Undiluted 100% essential oils can have powerful, and many times unwanted affects on your dog or cat.  Never use an essential oil that hasn’t been diluted without first contacting a veterinarian.  The following paragraphs cover the most commonly used essential oils that can be harmful to our furry friends.

Riley, fully recovered from tea tree oil exposure

This is Riley, he came in to see me on Friday after having 100% Australian tea tree oil (Melaleuca oil) applied to his back on Thursday night.  Tea tree oil is often found in shampoos and other skin treatments as flea repellant and for itching.  Riley soon became nauseous and developed a problem with his hind legs where he was no longer able to walk.  This is a typical toxic side effect of this oil, and it can also cause low blood pressure, low body temperature, dehydration, nervousness, tremors, seizures, coma, liver problems, and electrolyte abnormalities.  Fortunately for Riley, a bath in Dawn dish detergent and some fluids returned him to normal by Saturday morning.

Citrus oil and Pennyroyal oil are two other essential oils commonly used for flea prevention and treatment.  Citrus oil causes the same types of neurological problems as tea tree oil and is particularly toxic to cats – causing death in several cats that used an “organic” citrus oil dip according to the label directions.  Pennyroyal oil can cause severe problems in dogs.  It can cause problems with red blood cells and is extremely damaging to the liver.

Wintergreen oil is sometimes used to treat muscle aches and pains because it contains salicylates.  Salicylates are similar to active ingredient in aspirin.  Cats are very sensitive to salicylates and if they are exposed to wintergreen oil they can develop vomiting, diarrhea, and problems with their liver or bone marrow.

Camphor oil is another oil that is used to treat itchy skin.  It can cause vomiting, abdominal pain, tremors, seizures, and it is also toxic to the liver.

For my next post, I’ll cover my favorite essential oil products.  And if you ever have questions about the safety of an essential oil (or any other product) ask your veterinarian – we are here to help you and to protect the health of your pet.


The following is a list of toxic and potentially toxic essential oils from Small Animal Toxicology (Peterson and Talcott).

Toxic: Boldo leaf, Wormseed, Mustard, Armoise, Pennyroyal, Tansy, Thuja, Calamus, Wormwood, Bitter almond, Tree wormwood, Buchu, Horseradish, Lanyana, Southernwood, Western red cedar

Potentially Toxic: Wintergreen, Cornmint, Savory, Clover leaf, Basil, Hyssop, Sassafras, Myrrh, Birch, Bay leaf, Oregano, Tarragon, Tea Tree, Savin.




Bubba – the newest Street Tails adoptee January 17, 2012

Filed under: Rescue Groups — Jennifer Forsyth, VMD @ 10:23 pm
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This is Bubba, he’s the latest Street Tails rescue.  This guy is super sweet and affectionate – and his mohawk is adorable!  I saw him today and he is now officially neutered, vaccinated, heartworm disease free, and up for adoption.  I’m guessing he is around one year of age and that he’s a Dachshund Terrier cross.  If you are interested, fill out an adoption form on the street tails website.

Bubba (Dachshund Terrier cross)


Street Tails January 16, 2012

Filed under: Rescue Groups — Jennifer Forsyth, VMD @ 12:08 am
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I decided to dedicate my first official post to somebody who has dedicated their life to helping dogs and cats in need.  Lindsay Condefer is the owner of a pet store, The Chic Petique, that carries terrific natural foods, treats, toys, and gear.  Even though Lindsay has been rescuing dogs and cats in dire need – or with special needs – for many years, she just recently officially opened the doors to Street Tails Animal Rescue.  She takes in abandoned strays, dogs and cats that are on their last days at the shelter, and special needs pets in the Philadelphia area that wouldn’t have a chance without her unwavering dedication and compassion.

I went to visit Street Tails today and to spend some time with the newest adoptees.  Here are their stories:  Macy is a 2 year old female Cane Corso, forced to live in a vacant lot until she was seized by animal control.  She was such a cuddle bug – definitely the type of girl I’d want to keep warm with on a cold winter’s day.  Camille is a 3 year old Pitbull who had been living at the SPCA for almost a year with an untreated illness (inflammatory bowel disease).  She is a quiet and gentle girl – what I would call the loyal type.  Sampson is a 4 year old Bulldog who was found as a stray in Penn Treaty Park.  He is the type of guy that seems to be comfortable in any situation – super outgoing.  Napoleon is a 2 year old Shih Tzu who was picked up as a stray by Philadelphia animal control.  He is a super busy and playful guy (as you can see from my blurry photo) – he is a little clown and was very entertaining.

If you are looking for a new best friend, check out the Street Tails website for available dogs and cats.  Or become a foster parent for a pet in need.  Or if you are already filled to capacity with four-legged friends, consider a donation of time or money.  Or shop at Thrift for Tails, a second hand shop for your pets that is located within Street Tails and directly supports their rescue efforts.


Why I Blog January 12, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jennifer Forsyth, VMD @ 12:45 am

I’m starting this blog to help pet owners improve the quality of their pet’s lives by improving their health through the use of holistic medicine.  I’m looking forward to connecting with my clients on a regular basis and helping them to help their dogs and cats live healthier lives through natural means.  I will be posting my some exciting stuff in the future about my views on vaccines, what I feed my dogs, simple home remedies, and of course photos.


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