Newsletter

The entire team at Parsell Pet Crematorium is pleased to provide you with an online newsletter, which we update on a regular basis with interesting, educational articles to help you and your family in your time of need.

Please enjoy the newsletter!





Current Newsletter Topics

Help Your Dog Overcome the "Back-To-School Blues”

Parents and youngsters aren’t the only ones having adjust to a new schedule every fall. Just as kids grow accustomed to the care-free days of summer, dogs get used to the constant attention and play time that a child’s constant presence brings. Many dogs will adjust quickly to the change when school begins again, but those prone to separation anxiety may look for ways to lash out.



In an interview with the Associated Press, Dr. Nick Dodman of Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine recommended the following tips to help ease the transition between summer and the school year:

• Make departure time happy using toys and treats

• Create a place in the house where the dog feels safe

• Try starting the routine before school begins

• Do not indulge with baby talk or sympathy

• See a veterinarian if the dog’s disposition doesn’t improve

With a little advanced planning and a few tweaks to you and your dog’s morning routine, you can keep your dog relaxed and content while his favorite playmate is gone for the day. Before you know it, your dog’s “back-to-school blues” will be a thing of the past.

10 Common Questions Asked after the Loss of a Pet

The loss of a cherished animal companion can cause extreme sadness, intense guilt and a whirlwind of other emotions. Often, you will seek answers to questions that may not be black and white. Below, you will find some of the most common questions pet owners ask of themselves while grieving the death of a pet.



1. When is the right time to euthanize a pet?

Your veterinarian will make a recommendation based on your pet's physical condition and long-term outlook. You, however, have the unique insight into your pet's daily quality of life. By evaluating your pet's health honestly, you will be able to work with your veterinarian to come to the most humane decision for your individual pet. The decision to euthanize will never be easy, but is often the final act of love you can provide a pet who is suffering.


2. Should I stay with my pet during euthanasia?

This is a completely personal decision that you will need to make. Many pet owners want to be there for their pets and witness it so they can see it happened peacefully and without pain. This can be traumatic, but not witnessing the death may make it harder to accept that the pet is really gone. Also, you want to gauge your own emotional strength- if you have an uncontrolled outpouring of emotions before your pet passes, it may be upsetting for him or her to witness. Euthanasia can sometimes be performed at home. Discuss your options with your veterinarian beforehand.


3. I've heard of the stages of grief, but what are they?

The grieving process is often illustrated by five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Typically, you will move through them progressively, but everyone grieves in different ways. You'll know you're beginning to heal when you're thinking more rationally and more often of the good times you shared with your pet rather than of the "what-ifs" and the guilt.


4. How can I cope with my feelings?

Having someone to share your feelings with will help you not have to keep them locked up inside. Don't deny how you feel or simply put on a brave face. You must acknowledge your feelings to work through them. Some of your thoughts may be misguided and as time passes you will be able to realize this. Do whatever works best for you as a means of emotional expression – go somewhere secluded and scream, cry, talk, write, paint, create a memorial, or find a new activity to fill the time you previously would've spent with your pet.


5. Should I just get over it?

It is common to hear the phrase "it was just a pet" when others find your emotions to be too extreme or too long-lasting. These people aren't aware that the death of a pet creates the same emotional response as the loss of a human friend or family member. Grieving is natural and thousands of pet owners can attest to that.


6. Who can I talk to?

Share your feelings with family or friends who have pets. Reminisce about your pet. Or, speak with your veterinarian or local humane association to identify pet loss counselors or support groups. Hospitals and churches also often have resources for grief support.


7. Should I do burial, cremation, or disposal?

This is another decision which should be based on your personal wishes. It can be easiest to have a clinic dispose of your pet's remains (often for a fee), but many prefer something more formal. Based on your living situation, a burial at home may be a good choice. However, both burial and cremation depend on your personal or religious values, finances and future plans. Your veterinarian or an online search will provide options available in your area.


8. What should I tell my children?

Be honest with your children and provide as much information as they seek in a way that matches their age and maturity level. Saying their pet was "put to sleep" is not advised, as they may begin to fear bedtime. Allow your children to grieve in their own ways and be open about your own emotions around them rather than teaching them to keep it all inside.


9. Will my other pets get depressed?

Your other pets may notice a change in the household. Based on their relationship, some may search for their companion, eat less and seem to be grieving. Giving your surviving pets extra love and attention during this time will be beneficial not only to them, but to you as well.


10. Should I get a new pet right away?

Generally, it is best to allow yourself time to work through your grief and loss before introducing a new pet into your home and life. A new pet is a unique individual, not a replacement. Try to avoid getting one that looks the same or naming it the same as your deceased pet, and don't expect it to behave exactly the same either. Getting a new pet too soon may lead to resentment or feelings of disloyalty because you still want your old pet back.

What Your Pet Taught You in Death

A Lesson in Finality

The loss of a pet is often the first loss a person experiences during his or her lifetime and it never gets easier. That loss serves as a testament to the finality of life. It teaches you that no matter how well you feed your pet, how many walks you take together, or how often you visit your veterinarian, an end will come and you have no control over it.

This knowledge can come with many emotions – anger that is has to be this way, uncertainty about what comes next, or just plain emptiness and sorrow when contemplating life's fragility. Through this initial darkness, you may learn to better cherish the here and now. As a pet owner, you'll learn to love even when loss waits on the horizon.



Living Life to its Fullest

In an AARP article titled “What Our Dogs Teach Us About Aging,” author David Dudley recommended the following: "Eat the best food you can afford. Go for a walk, even if it's raining. Take a lot of naps. Keep your teeth clean and your breath fresh, so that the people you lick will not flinch. And when someone you love walks in through the door, even if it happens five times a day, go totally insane with joy."

For him, like most pet parents, old age snuck up quickly on his pet – a mixed breed dog named Foghat. Eighteen when he died, the dog had accompanied Dudley through "emerging adulthood," the beginning of a marriage and the birth of his first and only child. To him, it seemed as if the dog's age appeared overnight and his health began diminishing significantly from that point forward. By watching his beloved dog age, he learned how "some fears and eccentricities will lift with the years; others will only deepen" and that "one by one, the things you love to do become too difficult and slip out of your life." Despite this, he said, "you will still be you, and people will still cherish your wobbly presence" however inconvenient it may be.

Although the body ages and the mind dims in both animals and humans, what remains deep inside doesn’t change. There, the personality, the memories, the love still resides. Death teaches that even after the heart stops beating, the essence of the deceased doesn’t disappear. Your pet will always live on through your memories, photos, and stories. And, you’ll continue to carry the valuable life lessons your pet taught you – those about patience, compassion, trust, loyalty, respect, and responsibility.

Your Next Pet: Have You Considered Rescuing an Animal in Need?

After the death of a beloved companion, the house may no longer feel the same. You may have another pet who seems lonely or you may just want the companionship of another pet in your life again. Once you have given yourself ample time to grieve, you may start thinking about getting a new pet. Consider this: Each year approximately 7.6 million companion animals end up in shelters nationwide. Of the 2.7 million who are euthanized, roughly 1.2 million are dogs and 1.4 million are cats. When considering your next pet, why not consider rescuing one of the many pets who are in need of a forever home? If you've never rescued/adopted before, you may be reluctant for a variety of reasons. Below, you'll find several of the common misconceptions about animals in shelters.

"They’re Less Healthy & You Can't Get a Purebred"

On the contrary, pets adopted from shelters or rescues are actually five percent less likely to require an unplanned visit to the veterinary office than those bought at a pet store. This was determined when the Vice President of Veterinary Services at Petplan Pet Insurance analyzed claims made to the company. Additionally, most major animal shelters will vaccinate and microchip pets upon intake and many of the animals will be or have already been spayed or neutered. That makes your out-of-pocket expenses much less than if purchasing from a costly pet store and then having to schedule additional visits with your veterinarian.



There is much debate about whether purebreds or mixed breeds are healthier. Either way, a quarter of all dogs in shelters are actually purebreds. If you fancy a particular breed, there are rescue organizations for just about all of them – tracking down a healthy pet of your liking is almost always possible.

"They Aren't Trained & Can't Be"

While it makes sense that some dogs and cats are surrendered to shelters or abandoned because of behavioral problems, that isn't always the case. Many animals in shelters lived with their human families for years and are very well trained. Those who are particularly unruly often receive training and socialization before being considered for adoption to lessen the likelihood of them ending up back at the shelter. Many shelters include descriptions of their available pets online - which will often provide information on the commands they know, their personalities, and so on. Many shelters or rescues will also allow (or encourage) a meet-and-greet, so you can get a better idea of the animal's temperament.

"But, I Want a Puppy/Kitten"

Although senior pets are more in need of loving homes, shelters have pets of all ages – including puppies and kittens. Although puppies and kittens may not be surrendered as often, pregnant animals or litters removed from bad homes/environments are quite common.


Shelter pets come in all shapes, sizes, ages, breeds, and conditions. By adopting, you may well be saving that animal's life, but you'll also be gaining a very grateful friend.

Blood Testing: What It All Means

Many technologies that help humans live longer, healthier lives are available to your pet. By performing some basic blood tests, your veterinarian can gather information concerning the health and well being of your pet.

Complete Blood Count

This blood test actually consists of several tests that evaluate the number and type of blood cells in the circulation. Cells that are evaluated consist of white blood cells (WBC), red blood cells (RBC) and platelets. White blood cells are important in helping the body fight infection. Red blood cells are fundamental for carrying oxygen to the body's tissues. The measurement of these cells can indicate anemia, infection, leukemia, stress and inflammation. Platelets are involved in the blood clotting process and if low in number can indicate a bleeding disorder. The hematocrit (HCT) provides information pertaining to the relative number of red blood cells (RBC) in circulation. This test is used to diagnose anemia and dehydration.


Blood Chemistry

These tests survey many of the organ systems of the body in order to make sure they are working properly.

Albumin (ALB) - Low levels indicates chronic liver or kidney disease, intestinal disease or intestinal parasites (hookworm).

Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT) - Elevated with liver disease or injury.

Alkaline Phosphatase (ALKP) - Elevated levels can indicate liver disease or Cushing’s disease.

Amylase (AMYL) - Elevated blood levels can indicate pancreatic and/or kidney disease.

Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) - Reflects kidney and liver disease as well as dehydration.

Cholesterol (CHOL) - Elevated levels are seen in many disorders. Some include liver and kidney disease and hypothroidism.

Creatinine (CREA) - Elevated levels can be due to kidney disease or urinary tract obstruction.

Blood Glucose (GLU) - High levels can indicate diabetes. Low levels can indicate liver disease, infection or certain tumors.

Total Bilirubin (TBIL) - Levels of Bilirubin are useful in diagnosing anemia and bile duct problems.

Total Protein (TP) - This can detect many conditions. Some include liver, kidney and gasrointestinal diseases as well as dehydration.

Blood Electrolytes

Calcium (Ca) - Increased levels are seen with certain tumors and kidney and parathyroiud gland disease.

Phosphorus (PHOS) - Elevated levels can indicate kidney disease.

Sodium, Potassium, Chloride - All should be within normal levels. Vomiting, dehydration and diarrhea can affect their levels.

10 Common Signs Of Cancer In Small Animals

Cancer in its early stages can often be treated. If your pet shows any of the symptoms listed below, we recommend that you call the animal hospital to make an appointment. Early diagnosis and treatment is the best way to treat any disorder in pets.

  1. Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow
  2. Sores that do not heal
  3. Weight loss
  4. Loss of appetitie
  5. Bleeding or discharge from any body opening
  6. Offensive odor
  7. Difficulty eating or swallowing
  8. Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina
  9. Persistent lameness or stiffness
  10. Difficulty breathing, urinating or defecating
Allergy Testing in Pets

The goal of allergy testing is to identify the specific allergen(s) to which your pet has an allergy. Allergy testing is done either with a blood test (sometimes also called 'ELISA' or 'RAST testing') or with intradermal testing (sometimes also called 'skin testing'). Following the identification of the allergen(s), your pet usually begins a series of injections of a dilute solution of the allergens, with the idea of desensitizing his or her immune system to future allergen exposure. This is called immunotherapy. The exact schedule of injections is tailored to each individual case, but often begins as a once a week injection. The injections are usually carried out over the course of several months to years, and most patients require the injections for life.

Skin problems (particularly itching) and ear problems are two of the most common reasons why veterinarians see pets. Unlike humans who react to allergens with nasal symptoms, dogs react with skin conditions. These problems may range from poor coat texture or length, to itching and chewing, to hot spots and eventually self-mutilation. Allergies may also play a part in chronic ear infections. To make matters more difficult to diagnose and treat, thyroid disease may add to the problem as well.



Many times, severe skin itching and inflammation is caused by allergies to fleas, foods or environmental substances. If we can determine exactly what your pet is allergic to, it will allow us to provide more effective treatment. For pollen and dust allergies, it allows for the possibility of treatment with allergy shots (also called immunotherapy or hypo sensitization), which help to decrease the immune system's exaggerated response to these substances. Knowing exactly what the allergies are may also allow you to avoid things to which your pet is very sensitive to, such as fleas.

There are basically two types of allergy tests performed by veterinarians. The goal of allergy testing is to identify specific substances that are causing the allergic reaction, so that avoidance (if possible) and/or desensitization through allergy shots may be attempted.

As mentioned previously, allergy testing is done either by blood testing or by intradermal skin testing. The intradermal test involves clipping the fur from the side of the animal's chest and injecting very small amounts of pollen from trees and grasses, molds and insect extracts, into the superficial layers of the skin. Often, the test is administered under a light sedative/analgesic so that the pet feels no discomfort. If the animal is allergic, a hive-shaped mound forms at the site of one or more injections. This type of testing is more traditional, more involved and more expensive than blood testing, but has very few false positive reactions.

For the blood test, a small amount of blood is taken and sent to a special laboratory. Generally, the test results come back in about three weeks. This type of testing is newer and less expensive however, interpretation is more difficult. Although serum allergy testing can give meaningful results, intradermal skin testing is considered to be more accurate and is the preferred method of allergy testing.

If you have questions regarding your pet's skin problem or potential allergies, do not hesitate to call your veterinarian for more information.