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Bridgette’s Story

While driving home one day in Fort Myers, FL, Rosemary Arway found herself in the right place at the right time. As she was crossing over the Cape Coral bridge, she spied a tiny black kitten cowering near a concrete divider that was dangerously close to the traffic that zoomed by. Rosemary wasn’t able to stop, but she wasn’t about to leave that kitten alone. She turned her car around as soon as she was able, and came back to the bridge. The kitten was still there, and when Rosemary scooped the tiny animal up, she found the kitten to be wet, shivering, and bleeding.

Another driver had seen the kitten, and expressed his concern. Rosemary said she would take the kitten to the closest veterinary hospital straight away, and the man was so grateful for her kindness that he chipped in $40 for the vet bill.


Throughout this “rescue” Rosemary had been talking to her sister on the phone. She asked her sister to locate the closest veterinary hospital and send her the address, so no time would be wasted. Her sister found the address for Kindness Animal Hospital, and off Rosemary drove with the little kitten.

As soon as Rosemary arrived and told the staff what had happened, they quickly took action. Dr. Arlyne Salcedo and several other staff members began an assessment on the kitten. They determined that their patient was a “she”, and that she had sustained a severe concussion, numerous abrasions including serious lacerations by her mouth and eye, and a fractured tail. She stayed under the care of the staff and veterinarians for the rest of the day.

When Rosemary went back to Kindness Animal Hospital to check on Bridgette – the name her husband later chose for the kitten – she got an update on the kitten’s health. She would need to be on many medications, and have part of her tail amputated. But the little black kitten was going to make it.

“Dr. Salcedo was a wonderful resource on what I needed to do in helping ‘transition’ Bridgette from being a highly frightened and skittish kitten to a relaxed kitty,” Rosemary said. “Dr. Salcedo suggested several interventions that I used and the metamorphosis was extraordinary.  Her knowledge of behavioral issues was extraordinary.”

Bridgette was closely monitored during the next few weeks by the staff at Kindness Animal Hospital. She made a full recovery, and now lives with Rosemary, her husband, and their three dogs, four horses, and four cats.

“I am so grateful for the extraordinary care and compassion that the entire staff at Kindness Animal Hospital demonstrated,” Rosemary said. “And we are so confident in their ability and so impressed with their sincerity that we are moving all our pet’s care to them.”

Rosemary sends a special thanks to Dr. Salcedo and vet tech Frankie for being there for Bridgette.


Top 5 Summer Pet Tips


It’s summer! We know you want your pets to have fun and be safe while they’re outdoors, so we want to help you prepare them for the seasonal hazards that are common at this time of year. Consider the following five summer pet safety tips, and contact Kindness Animal Hospital if you have any questions.

Beat the Summer Heat

With Cape Coral’s hot summer temperatures, heatstroke can pose a threat to people and pets. Keep your pet safe from the heat by ensuring they have a sheltered area to resort to while they’re outdoors. Leave plenty of cool, fresh water outside for them, too, and toss in some ice cubes a few times to keep the water cool. Limit your pet’s time outdoors in the late morning and early afternoon hours, when the sun is the hottest, and always check on them regularly to make sure they’re safe. If the temperature feels too hot for you, it’s likely too hot for your pet, so it’s best to keep them indoors during inclement weather.

IDs, Please!

Summer is the season when the number of missing pets tends to increase. Don’t let your pet be one of them. Make sure your canine or feline companion has adequate identification in the form of an ID collar and/or permanent microchip. That way, if your pet ever becomes separated from you, they can be returned. This is especially important if your pet spends a lot of time outdoors or if you’ll be traveling somewhere with them for summer vacation.

Dangerous Parasites

Warmer temperatures unfortunately bring parasites like fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. These tiny critters can cause a number of health problems for pets, including allergy dermatitis (fleas), Lyme disease (ticks), and heartworm disease (mosquitoes). To protect your pet, we recommend keeping them on a year-round preventive. We carry several parasite preventives here at Kindness Animal Hospital and can recommend the best one for your pet at your next visit.

Poisonous Plants

 Sago palms are common in Florida and help beautify homes, but did you know they are highly toxic to pets? The seeds are the most toxic and can cause several damage to the liver or worse if ingested. Other toxic plants include azaleas, oleander, and lilies. If you have these plants near your home, make sure your pet can’t access them.

Beach Safety

Summer isn’t summer without a trip to the beach. If you’ll be bringing Fluffy along, first make sure that the beach of your choice is dog-friendly. Avoid going to the beach during the late morning and afternoon hours, when the hot sand can burn your dog’s paw pads. Bring plenty of fresh water too, and don’t forget the bowl! Remember to also keep your dog on a leash, both for their protection and that of the other people and pets on the beach. You might want to also consider having your dog wear a life jacket if you let them swim.

What Is Canine Influenza Virus?


There are many causes of kennel cough, both bacterial and viral. Canine influenza virus (CIV) is one of the viral causes of kennel cough. This highly contagious respiratory disease has affected thousands of dogs in the United States. Because CIV is a relatively new virus, most dogs have not been exposed to it before. Dogs of any age, breed, and vaccine status are susceptible to this infection.

How Could My Dog Catch Canine Influenza Virus?
CIV is easily transmitted between dogs through a combination of aerosols, droplets, and direct contact with respiratory secretions. The virus does not survive for a long time in the environment, so dogs usually get CIV when they are in close proximity to other infectious dogs.

Which Dogs Are Prone to Canine Influenza Virus? 
Any dog who interacts with large numbers of dogs is at increased risk for exposure. Pet owners should consult their veterinarian for information about the canine influenza vaccine.

What Are the General Signs of Canine Influenza Virus? 
While most dogs will show typical signs of kennel cough, but a small percentage of dogs will develop a more severe illness. Signs of canine influenza virus include:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Variable fever
  • Clear nasal discharge that progresses to thick, yellowish-green mucus
  • Rapid/difficult breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

Can Dogs Die From Canine Influenza Virus?
If CIV is quickly diagnosed and treated, the fatality rate is quite low. Deaths are usually caused by secondary complications, such as pneumonia. It is important that dogs with CIV receive proper veterinary care.

How Is Canine Influenza Virus Diagnosed?
Veterinarians will typically conduct a thorough physical examination and run a series of tests to diagnose the illness.

How Is Canine Influenza Treated?
Because CIV is a virus similar to the flu in humans, there is no specific antiviral medication available. However, supportive care and appropriate treatment of secondary infections are important. Your veterinarian may advise the following to soothe your dog while the condition runs its course:

  • Good nutrition and supplements to raise immunity
  • A warm, quiet, and comfortable spot to rest
  • Medications to treat secondary bacterial infections
  • Intravenous fluids to maintain hydration
  • Workup and treatment for pneumonia

Be advised, while most dogs will fight the infection within 10 to 30 days, secondary infections require antibiotics and, in the case of pneumonia, sometimes even hospitalization.

What Should I Do if I Think My Dog Has Canine Influenza Virus? 
If you think your dog has canine influenza virus, immediately isolate him or her from all other dogs and call your veterinarian.

Can I Catch Canine Influenza From My Dog?
So far there has been no evidence to indicate that dogs can transmit CIV to humans.

How Can I Help Prevent My Dog From Spreading the Disease? 
Any dog infected with CIV should be kept isolated from other dogs for 10 to 14 days from the onset of signs. Dogs are most infectious before signs are apparent, and can continue shedding the virus for approximately 10 days. This means that by the time signs of the illness are seen, other dogs may have already been exposed.


Easter Pet Poisons


The veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline receive hundreds of calls this time of year from pet owners and veterinarians concerning cats that have ingested Easter lilies.

“Unbeknownst to many pet owners, Easter lilies are highly toxic to cats,” said Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS assistant director at Pet Poison Helpline. “All parts of the Easter lily plant are poisonous – the petals, the leaves, the stem and even the pollen. Cats that ingest as few as one or two leaves, or even a small amount of pollen while grooming their fur, can suffer severe kidney failure.”

In most situations, symptoms of poisoning will develop within six to 12 hours of exposure. Early signs include vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy and dehydration. Symptoms worsen as kidney failure develops. Some cats will experience disorientation, staggering and seizures.

“There is no effective antidote to counteract lily poisoning, so the sooner you can get your cat to the veterinarian, the better his chances of survival will be,” said Brutlag. “If you see your cat licking or eating any part of an Easter lily, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately. If left untreated, his chances of survival are low.”

Treatment includes inducing vomiting, administering drugs like activated charcoal (to bind the poison in the stomach and intestines), intravenous fluid therapy to flush out the kidneys, and monitoring of kidney function through blood testing. The prognosis and the cost – both financially and physically – to the pet owner and cat, are best when treated immediately.

There are several other types of lilies that are toxic to cats as well. They are of the Lilium and Hemerocallis species and commonly referred to as Tiger lilies, Day lilies and Asiatic lilies. Popular in many gardens and yards, they can also result in severe acute kidney failure. These lilies are commonly found in florist bouquets, so it is imperative to check for poisonous flowers before bringing bouquets into the household. Other types of lilies – such as the Peace, Peruvian and Calla lilies – are usually not a problem for cats and may cause only minor drooling.

Thankfully, lily poisoning does not occur in dogs or people. However, if a large amount is ingested, it can result in mild gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Other Dangers to Pets at Easter Time

Pet Poison Helpline also receives calls concerning pets that have ingested Easter grass and chocolate.

Usually green or yellow in color, Easter grass is the fake grass that often accompanies Easter baskets. When your cat or dog ingests something “stringy” like Easter grass, it can become anchored around the base of the tongue or stomach, rendering it unable to pass through the intestines. It can result in a linear foreign body and cause severe damage to the intestinal tract, often requiring expensive abdominal surgery.

Lastly, during the week of Easter, calls to Pet Poison Helpline concerning dogs that have been poisoned by chocolate increase by nearly 200 percent. While the occasional chocolate chip in one cookie may not be an issue, certain types of chocolate are very toxic to dogs. In general, the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the greater the danger. Baker’s chocolate and dark chocolate pose the biggest problem. The chemical toxicity is due to methylxanthines (a relative of caffeine) and results in vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, an abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and possibly death. Other sources include chewable chocolate flavored multi-vitamins, baked goods, or chocolate-covered espresso beans. If you suspect that your dog ate chocolate, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately.

Spring is in the air and Easter is a wonderful holiday. Remember that your pets will be curious about new items you bring into your household like Easter lilies, Easter grass and chocolate. Keep them a safe distance away from your pets’ reach and enjoy the holiday and the season.