<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - ]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcmiami.com/feature/all-about-animals http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida http://www.nbcmiami.comen-usFri, 02 Dec 2016 14:53:22 -0500Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:53:22 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Pets of the Week: Humane Society of Broward County]]> Wed, 30 Nov 2016 13:29:50 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/NBC6+winter_Snow.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Pets of the Week: Humane Society of Broward County]]> Wed, 23 Nov 2016 17:03:13 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/NBC6_Big+Momma.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Thanksgiving and Pets: How To Avoid A Holiday Vet Visit]]> Sun, 20 Nov 2016 11:10:36 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/111816+thanksgiving+pets.JPG

Every year as Thanksgiving approaches, pet parents ask me if it’s really such a bad thing to share the feast with their four-legged family members. I am often reminded that it’s the season for sharing, and that they are thankful for their pets. Surely a little bit of turkey is okay, right?

Nobody likes a holiday buzzkill. And chances are, someone will break the “no table food” rule this year anyway. So let’s just focus on the foods Fluffy absolutely, positively cannot have.

Garlic and Onions

Garlic and onions are species belonging to the allium family, a type of plant that while beneficial for humans, is not tolerated by dogs and cats. Other common foods in this category include shallots, leeks, chives, and Chinese onions. Pets that ingest these foods often suffer from gastrointestinal distress. When larger amounts are consumed, a life-threatening condition called Heinz body anemia can develop. Clinical signs include lethargy, inappetance, pale gums, hyperventilation, and collapse. Heinz body anemia is fatal if not treated, so make sure any holiday treats do not include onions or garlic.

Bear in mind that the highest concentrations of both are often found in seasoning packets. In addition to tasting great, these crinkly wonders make irresistible playthings. One of our patients spent the holiday getting blood transfusions after stealing and eating a turkey seasoning pouch. If you must give Fluffy a taste of the turkey, make sure it has not been seasoned with onions, garlic, or any member of the allium family.

Sugar-Free Goodies

Many sugar-free mints, candies, chewing gums and baked goods contain a sweetener called Xylitol. This naturally occurring compound is derived from the birch tree, and is often marketed as a safe, natural alternative to sugar. Pets who ingest even small amounts of Xylitol experience sudden, dramatic drops in their blood sugar.

While the most obvious clinical sign of Xylitol toxicity is seizures, many pets can also experience, vomiting, lethargy, weakness, collapse, and death. Xylitol toxicity is nearly always fatal, and pets who survive the initial crisis may still be at risk for liver damage and blood clotting disorders.

Perhaps the most alarming aspect of Xylitol is the shear number of products in which it is found. In addition to products that are clearly marked as sugar-free, it is used to sweeten toothpaste, mouthwash, kids’ vitamins, supplements, fish oil capsules, and over-the-counter medications. Bottom line - anything marketed for human consumption should never be given to pets without first consulting your veterinarian. And since many products containing Xylitol are often found in ladies’ handbags, make sure your dinner guests stash their purses well out of Fluffy’s reach.


Our geriatric dachshund will magically forget about her aching back and defy the laws of gravity in her attempts to knock over a bottle of beer. While our guests think it’s hilarious, alcohol toxicity is one of the leading causes of holiday visits to the emergency clinic. Symptoms include respiratory depression and liver damage, so keep any adult beverages out of your fur-kid’s reach.


As a general rule,the texture of nuts and seeds make them difficult to digest. Certain types such as walnuts, pecans, and hickory nuts can contain a toxin produced by common species of mold. Additionally nuts are naturally high in fat, and even these “good fats” can lead to pancreatitis in companion animals. Macadamia nuts have been linked to lethargy, weakness, tremors and seizures in dogs with a history of ingestion. While researchers have yet to identify the compound that causes these symptoms, the connection has been proven definitively.


In addition to caffeine, chocolate contains a substance called theobromine which is toxic to dogs and cats. Clinical signs of theobromine toxicity include vomiting, increased heart rate, rapid breathing, muscle rigidity, elevated body temperature, and seizures. While all chocolate can create problems, a general rule is the darker the chocolate, the greater the threat. Baking chocolate and cocoa powder are particularly dangerous.

Cooking Debris

Cooking twine, turkey bones, discarded fat, foil pans, and greasy paper towels are just a few of the reasons we are open on Black Friday. Make sure garbage bags are off the floor and out of reach. Secure garbage bins and clear counter tops as soon as possible. If your dog is crate trained or your kitty is happy in a separate room, you may want to consider keeping them out of the kitchen altogether.

The Most Important Tip Of All

Have a safe and wonderful holiday! Happy Thanksgiving from your friends at NBC 6 South Florida and Sabal Chase Animal Clinic!

Dr. Kupkee is the lead practitioner at Sabal Chase Animal Clinic

Do you have a question for Dr. Kupkee? Send him an email by clicking here

Click here to check out great deals and discounts exclusively for NBC 6 fans!

<![CDATA[Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Your Pets]]> Wed, 16 Nov 2016 23:33:46 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/111616+pet+safety+thanksgiving.jpg

What better way to show how thankful you are for your pets than to keep them safe and full during Thanksgiving festivities.

The folks at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals have some helpful tips to make sure your furry baby enjoys the holiday feasts, accident-free.

Some of staple dishes on the dinner table could harm your pets and you may not even know it. ASPCA advises not to give your pet raw or under-cooked turkey, which may contain salmonella bacteria. "Do not give your pet the left over carcass - the bones can be problematic for the digestive tract, " ASPCA warns.

If you cat or dog is hanging out in the kitchen while you're cooking and baking, be sure to keep them away from raw bread dough and batter. They can become sick and may require hospitalization.

You can still offer your furry baby a fulfilling Thanksgiving dinner, by adding small portion of boneless turkey, sweet potato or green beans to their plate. However, don't let your cat or dog overeat because they could end up with an upset stomach, diarrhea or worse.

Photo Credit: ASPCA]]>
<![CDATA[Black Bear Caught Stealing Sweets From Florida Garage]]> Wed, 23 Nov 2016 12:53:58 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/194*120/Black+bear+Florida+garage.PNG

A Florida couple was surprised to find a black bear plundering through the refrigerator in their garage, looking for a snack.

Mike Chindamo went into the garage of his Seminole County home after hearing a suspicious noise.

"I said to my wife, why did you leave the freezer door open, and just when I said that, the bear popped up from the other side, and it was absurdly huge," Chindamo told WESH 2 News.

Bypassing all the frozen meat and fish being stored in the refrigerator, the estimated 450-pound black bear helped itself to the couple's ice cream and cake.

Before dining and dashing, Chindamo’s neighbor was able to capture video of the bear in snacking away in the driveway. 

Photo Credit: WESH 2 News]]>
<![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Pets of the Week]]> Tue, 22 Nov 2016 15:54:38 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/112216Rocky+A1552094.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Pets on Pot: Owners Say Medical Marijuana Works on Animals]]> Fri, 18 Nov 2016 00:22:39 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/111716+pets+marijuana.jpg

Florida is now one of many states where medical marijuana is allowed for people, but what about pets? Some say pot-based products are working wonders for their ailing furry friends.

"It's my friend's dog that I'm taking care of and he has trouble going up the stairs," Yesikka Vivancos said.

Vivancos says the solution for Rock, an 11-year-old bulldog, is in a little jar.

"I just put it on his hind legs just like you would put it on your knee," she said.

She applies a cannabis-based cream, which she also uses on her 10-year-old miniature Dachshund, Leia.

"I would find her under my bed. She wouldn't jump, she wouldn't get on the couch, she wouldn't climb up her steps on my bed. She wouldn't want to go walking," Vivancos said.

Leia has arthritis on her hinds.

"I thought maybe if I could just give her a massage and I did. I started noticing that there wasn't a pause, that she was continuing to walk, she was always jumping," Vivancos said.

More and more people believe cannabis-based products containing little to no THC are making their pets feel better, without the high. The hemp can be found in creams, chews and treats.

"Industrial hemp products differ in that they have a very low percentage of THC, but they have higher percentage of other things," said Dr. Ian Kupkee of Sabal Chase Animal Clinic.

Dr. Kupkee says cannabis-based products are illegal, but that doesn't mean they don't work.

"So we're put in this very difficult situation," he said.

Dr. Kupkee says because of government restrictions on marijuana derived products, it's impossible to scientifically say if hemp heals. The evidence is all anecdotal, and pet lovers like Vivancos don't believe that should be dismissed.

"It doesn't hurt. It's not going to hurt the dog. They're not gonna get high. They're not gonna have munchies, they're just gonna be alleviated of pain," she said.

The cream Vivancos used is for people and has very low THC. There are similar products specifically for pets but you won't find any vets recommending or prescribing them, but they can be found online.

<![CDATA[Miami-Dade Fire Crews Rescue Puppies Trapped in Cemetery]]> Thu, 17 Nov 2016 21:21:20 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/111716+puppies+rescued+miami-dade+cemetery.jpg

Firefighters came to the rescue of three puppies that were found trapped under a cement slab at a Miami-Dade cemetery Thursday afternoon.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue crews were alerted to a faint sound coming from underneath the box which is used to house coffins at the cemetery at 1125 Northwest 137th Street.

The crews moved around a couple of the slabs and found one puppy that was stuck in a tight spot. A small trench was dug around the puppy and the dog was freed.

But crews quickly realized that two more puppies were trapped underneath the slabs, and worked to rescue the other two. The puppies were all frightened but in good health, officials said.

It's unknown what led the puppies to the tight spot but it's believed they were cared for by their mother. The dogs were turned over to the Redland Rockpit Abandoned Dogs Project, which is trying to reunite them with their mother. They will be fed and put up for adoption after they're checked out.

Photo Credit: Miami-Dade Fire Rescue]]>
<![CDATA[Broward Humane Society's Pets of the Week - November 16]]> Wed, 16 Nov 2016 12:46:12 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/1116+NBC6_Chevy.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Broward County Opening New Animal Adoption Center]]> Tue, 15 Nov 2016 07:38:20 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/111516+broward+new+animal+adoption+center.jpg

Broward County residents will get a chance to see a brand new home for animals seeking adoption in the area – while offering people a sweet deal to bring home a new pet.

The new shelter is located at 2400 Southwest 42nd street in Fort Lauderdale, across the street from the parking lot of Fort Lauderdale / Hollywood International Airport.

Today, as part of the grand opening, all adoption fees will be waived plus adopters will receive specials on pet food – in a mission to encourage you at home to adopt and not shop for a new addition, such as what NBC 6 did this summer with our Clear the Shelters initiative.

The new center boasts twice the size of the former shelter with space to care for up to 500 dogs and cats. Upgraded features include air conditioned kennels, meet and greet adoption rooms as well as pet interaction areas and more

The center will officially open at 11 AM Tuesday.

<![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Daisy]]> Sat, 12 Nov 2016 10:52:40 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/225*120/pet+of+the+week+daisy.jpg

Our pet of the week is Daisy, a 2-year-old Hound-mix, who is looking for her forever home.

Tracy Calvino with Pooches in Pines stopped by NBC 6 on Saturday with Daisy. She said Daisy is a lover and a runner. She also loves to relax and is well-behaved.

Calvino said Daisy is great with kids and loves to be around people. He'll need to go to a loving home. Daisy is great around other dogs, too.

If you're interested in Daisy, contact Pooches in Pines at (954) 431-2200 or visit their Facebook and Twitter pages for more information.

For more animal news or to view other pets up for adoption, visit our All About Animals page.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[2 Eagles Trapped in Storm Drain Rescued in Central Florida]]> Thu, 10 Nov 2016 19:44:50 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Eagels+in+Storm+Drain.jpg

Two eagles that became trapped in a storm drain in central Florida have been rescued.

The eagles were reported trapped in a drain in Orange County near Goldenrod Road and Curry Ford Road, WESH reported. One of them was reported injured.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission responded to the scene and the eagles were eventually freed.

Photo Credit: Orange County Fire Rescue]]>
<![CDATA[Broward Humane Society's Pets of the Week]]> Wed, 09 Nov 2016 13:59:03 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/NBC6_Batman1.jpg A look at the pets of the week from the Broward Humane Society]]> <![CDATA[Pets of the Week: Miami-Dade Animal Services]]> Mon, 07 Nov 2016 15:53:41 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/110716Charlie+A1815470.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Clear the Shelters: Tia]]> Sat, 05 Nov 2016 10:37:18 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/212*120/pet+of+the+week+tia.jpg

Our pet of the week is Tia, a 3-month-old Terrier mix, who is looking for her forever home.

Laurie Wax with Humane Society of Greater Miami stopped by NBC 6 on Saturday with Tia. She said Tia is an easygoing puppy who loves to snuggle.

Puppy Tia would make a great pet for a family with kids or a single person. Tia gets along great with people and plays nicely with other dogs

If you're interested in Tia or other animals up for adoption, contact Humane Society of Greater Miami at (305)-696-0800.

For more animal news or to view other pets up for adoption, visit our All About Animals page.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Pot for Pets? Medical Marijuana In The Veterinary Field]]> Sun, 06 Nov 2016 11:59:58 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/110416+pot+pets.JPG

When Florida voters head to the polls next week, they will be asked to help decide the future of medical marijuana in our state. As Election Day approaches, several clients and viewers have approached me with a thought provoking question: Could expanding the definition of legal medicinal marijuana lead to marijuana-based medicine for Florida’s pets?

It’s a great question! And like most great questions, the answer is somewhat complicated. So let’s dig in.

As of this writing, marijuana is listed as a Schedule 1 substance with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Should Amendment 2 become the law of the land in Florida, it will not change the fact that the federal government defines marijuana, and all other Schedule 1 substances as “drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”

In the world of human medicine, physicians practicing in states where medical marijuana is legal can recommend or prescribe medicinal marijuana without fear of legal consequences. Those protections, however, do NOT apply to veterinarians. Even if restrictions on medical marijuana are relaxed on November 8th, it will remain a license-losing offense for veterinarians to prescribe it, or even recommend its use. Because of marijuana’s continued listing as a Schedule 1 substance, this restriction even applies to vets who practice in states where both medicinal and recreational marijuana is legal. That’s problem number one.



Problem number two is that the same DEA classification of marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance makes it very difficult to collect meaningful, scientific data on any possible benefits to pets. Many pet owners are surprised to learn the the American Veterinary Medical Association has no official position on the use of medical marijuana in pets.

Yet why should they? When push comes to shove, veterinarians are scientists. The so-called “scheduling conflict” surrounding medical marijuana means translational research, dosage protocols, and all of the benefits that arise as the result of well thought-out, controlled clinical trials remain out of reach to the veterinary profession. The evidence isn’t there due to the fact that merely collecting data comes with career-ending consequences for veterinary researchers. As a result, we simply do not have the science to support the use of medicinal marijuana for pets.

What we DO have, however, is a vast body of anecdotal evidence provided by medical marijuana users who have shared legally obtained products with their pets. These pet owners insist their prescriptions have helped pets cope with a gamut of ailments including anxiety, depression, chronic pain, seizures, inflammatory bowel disease, and even cancer. Whether the veterinary community wants to believe it or not, the fact remains that many pet owners are not willing to wait for legislation or science to lead the way. This has caused our profession to have no choice but to pay attention.

The Pot Predicament

Marijuana occupies a strange set of honors in the halls of veterinary medicine. On the one hand, many veterinarians are desperate to study it. Reports from pet owners who have used it on their pets, combined with research being done in human medicine, relentlessly pique our curiosity. On the other hand, it holds the dubious honor of being one of the top reasons pets are rushed to emergency clinics! In fact, a 2012 study showed that over a five-year period in which marijuana restrictions loosened in Colorado, the number of marijuana toxicity cases increased fourfold throughout that state. 

While we know dogs and cats have cannabinoid receptors, the lack of research means we do not know how the drug will affect our pets or how much is too much. Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest dogs and cats require less marijuana to be affected by it than humans do. And the lack of regulation of marijuana itself means owners cannot be certain what their pets are receiving. For this reason, the one bit of advice veterinarians ARE allowed to dispense regarding marijuana is that in certain doses (which by the way, we don’t know!), it is toxic to pets, and can be fatal. In other words, please don’t “dope” your pets. This includes the sharing of “special” baked goods, which often contain yet another problematic substance - chocolate.

That said, should your pets get into your stash, please be honest with the veterinarian who sees you. Nearly every veterinarian I know, myself included, has a handful of horror stories about “mystery cases” that are eventually linked to marijuana consumption. While many people find such stories amusing, they are no laughing matter for clients who spend hundreds of dollars on unnecessary diagnostics before another party sheepishly admits to letting Fluffy partake. If there’s pot in the picture, speak up. It is not our job to prosecute or judge you, and frankly your medical matters or recreational activities are none of our darn business. All we want to do is help your pet, and we prefer to do so without breaking the bank. To do that, we need your help, and we need full disclosure.

Marijuana vs. hemp

While marijuana remains tightly controlled, the regulations on industrial hemp have begun to loosen. Unlike marijuana, commercially grown hemp contains less than 0.3% of the psychoactive ingredient THC, and high doses of CBD, the compounds believed to have the most therapeutic and medicinal benefits. While hemp products are not restricted by a Schedule 1 listing, they are considered nutraceuticals or supplements.

While the anecdotal evidence surrounding these products is wildly exciting, they are not regulated by the FDA. Indeed, some companies have already been warned about the validity of claims made about their products. So once again, the profession must temper consumer enthusiasm with the lack of scientific study and concrete evidence.

One thing is certain - regardless of the outcome of Tuesday’s vote, the changing social attitudes regarding marijuana have created a demand for knowledge and access that vets can no longer afford to ignore. We can only hope that science and research will soon win the day, and provide the answers our profession and our clients are seeking.

Dr. Kupkee is the lead practitioner at Sabal Chase Animal Clinic 

Do you have a question for Dr. Kupkee? Send him an email by clicking here

Click here for special deals and discounts exclusively for NBC 6 viewers! 

<![CDATA[Pets of the Week: Humane Society of Broward County]]> Wed, 02 Nov 2016 11:31:04 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/NBC6+new_Sarah1102.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Sinatra]]> Sun, 30 Oct 2016 10:38:09 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/220*120/pet+of+the+week+sinatra.jpg

Our pet of the week is Sinatra, a American Staffordshire Terrier, who is looking for his forever home.

Lisa Mendheim with Broward Animal Care stopped by NBC 6 on Sunday with Sinatra. She said Sinatra is very lovey-dovey, healthy, and friendly.

Sinatra is beautiful and super sweet. He would make a great family pet.

If you're interested in Sinatra or other animals up for adoption, contact Broward Animal Care at (954) 359-1313.

For more animal news, visit our All About Animals section.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Jungle Island Celebrating Halloween with Cool Creatures]]> Sat, 29 Oct 2016 12:17:16 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000026249334_1200x675_796530243795.jpg Jungle Island's Dr. Jason Chatfield joined NBC 6 Saturday, bringing along with him some cool and spooky animals!]]> <![CDATA[Protect Your Pets From Halloween Hazards]]> Sun, 30 Oct 2016 13:46:07 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/kupkee+102716.JPG

No matter how old you are, or whether or not you have little ones, Halloween is fun! But as with other hectic holidays, the fun and games need to be tempered with a little due diligence. Here are some tips to keep your fur kids safe this Halloween.

Keep all candy away from pets.

While cats are not generally drawn to candy, dogs will eat it with gusto - especially chocolate! Chocolate contains theobromine, an alkaloid that is toxic to dogs and cats. Clinical signs of theobromine poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive panting, and increased urination. These signs can to progress to irregular heartbeat, seizures, internal bleeding, cardiac arrest, and even death. While the amount of theobromine found in dark chocolate and baking chocolate is much higher than amounts found in milk chocolate, all varieties can pose serious risks to your pet. The high fat and sugar contents can lead to gastrointestinal upset, or life-threatening pancreatitis.

In addition to chocolate, nuts can pose problems for pets as well. Their shape, size, and texture make them difficult to digest, and in the worst case scenario, they can cause an obstruction that requires a surgical repair. Walnuts often contain toxins produced by fungi. These compounds can lead to neurological symptoms. Macadamia nuts have been linked to muscle tremors, hindquarter paralysis, high fever and rapid heart rate. As of this writing, veterinary researchers have not identified the substance that causes these symptoms. Raisins must also be kept away from pets. Raisins and grapes contain compounds that have been linked to kidney failure in pets, and it only takes a small amount to make them seriously ill.

Sugar free candy must also be kept out of a pet’s reach. Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in many sugar free sweets, can cause a life-threatening drop in blood sugar within 10-15 minutes of ingestion. Larger doses can lead to liver necrosis, kidney failure, and death. Xylitol is commonly added to toothpaste, mouthwash, medications and supplements, so be sure to check with your veterinarian before giving your pet any products intended for human use.

It is important to make sure children know about the doggie dangers in their trick-or-treat bags. Make sure they know candy is never to be shared, and must be stored out of a pet's reach. Ask them to bring any unwanted candy to an adult so they will not be tempted to get rid of it by giving it to a pet. If your pet has a habit of getting into the trash, try to find a creative solution for unwanted candy.

Remember that Halloween is scary.

While many pets are happy to join in spooky fun, others find it absolutely terrifying. Constant knocking, strangers at the door, loud noises, crazy costumes - all of these things can be frightening for our pets. Since the front door is likely to opening and closing often, the best place for your cat may be in another room, behind a closed door. Be sure she has access to food, water, and a litter box. If your dog is not having fun, it's okay to put him in his kennel. Frightened animals may bolt through open doors. Additionally, a frightened dog is statistically likely to bite. Keep a watchful eye on both dogs and children, and calmly remove dogs from situations that may trigger a bite.

Choose pet costumes with care.

Our social media audience is getting a huge kick out of Grendel and Zohan’s costumes! The dogs, however, are less than thrilled with the headpieces. That’s okay - we’ll take some pictures, have a few giggles, then pin them back so the dogs can enjoy the day too.

While pet costumes are a blast for us, the pets themselves may be no be so enthusiastic. Unhappy pets may injure themselves trying to “escape” from an uncomfortable costume. Know your pet’s limits and don’t force them to endure something they hate. And if you’re headed outdoors with a costumed pet, remember it’s still hot out there! Many costumes are designed for cooler climates, so bring plenty of water, and ditch the costume if your pet becomes overheated.

Clean up after crafts.

If you’re spending Halloween in a DIY costume, clean up all crafting debris as soon as possible. Shiny needles and wispy threads are irresistible to cats. When swallowed, they present a life-threatening emergency. Ribbons and strings can cause problems as well, so keep your kitty away from the crafting supplies.

Keep pets inside.

As Halloween approaches, our neighbors may decide to engage in a bit of mischief. Do not leave pets unattended outdoors where they can be teased, harassed, or frightened.

Most importantly - have fun! By taking a few simple precautions, we can save our pets from a scary Halloween trip to the vet.

Dr. Kupkee is the lead practitioner at Sabal Chase Animal Clinic

Do you have a question for Dr. Kupkee?  Send him an email by clicking here

Click here to check out these great deals and offers exclusively for NBC 6 fans!

<![CDATA[Pets of the Week: Humane Society of Broward County]]> Thu, 27 Oct 2016 08:21:13 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/NBC6+halloween_Casper.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Pets of the Week]]> Wed, 26 Oct 2016 19:11:40 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/Max+A1792134.JPG Miami-Dade Animal Services Pets of the Week]]> <![CDATA[Florida Manatee Sets Record For Oldest Ever In Captivity ]]> Wed, 26 Oct 2016 12:37:10 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/102616+snooty+manatee+record+setter.jpg

One manatee at a Florida museum is enjoying his birthday in a special way – by getting his name in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Snooty is a 68-year old-manatee – yes, you read that right – who was brought to the South Florida Museum in Bradenton when he was just 11-months-old back in 1949.

Previously, the oldest manatee in Florida that was documented was 59 years of age followed by the next oldest being 48.

Snooty lives in a 60,000 gallon tank at the museum with two other manatees. Officials say he spends more time around the humans who come to see him than with the other sea cows.

Most manatees who live in the wild don’t reach the age of 10 based on a variety of issues, such as algae blooms and boat strikes.

Photo Credit: YouTube / Guinness Book of World Records]]>
<![CDATA[Consumers Advised to Choose Pet Halloween Costumes Wisely]]> Thu, 20 Oct 2016 04:53:35 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/232*120/pet+costume+uncle+sam.jpg

Consumers are spending more this year on Halloween than ever before – about $8.5 billion dollars according to the National Retail Federation.

Many are also including our furry friends.

"From everyone that's planning to celebrate Halloween this season, we've learned that about 86% of people are planning to dress up their pets in some sort of Halloween costume,” said Ana Smith from the NRF.

Pet owners aren't afraid to get creative, with costumes ranging from political to papal.

It's all part of a growing trend: furry friends treated more like family members than pets...and that includes participating in holidays.



Smith says pumpkins are the number one outfit for pets, with lion, bumble bee and star wars characters also popular.

But pets aren't thrilled about dressing up.

"I think the most important thing is that the dog is comfortable that they can walk full stride and not be restricted,” said dog trainer Caitlin Cornwell.

You want to get the right fit by considering breed, weight and measurements when sizing a store-bought costume. Also be sure the animal can see, breathe and drink normally – and just know some may not be on board.

If your pet seems stressed, consider a simpler option.

"Think about making your own costume, you can use pet friendly paint on a black dog to make a zebra rather than the dog having to feel restricted in a full-body costume,” said Cornwell.

Also, make sure you keep pets away from the Halloween candy. Chocolate is an obvious one to keep away from your pooch, but sugar-free candy and gum containing xylitol can also be toxic to pets.

<![CDATA[Dash Cam Video of Injured Bald Eagle Rescued From Highway]]> Wed, 19 Oct 2016 18:58:26 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/101916baldeaglerescue.jpg

A Florida Highway Patrol trooper helped save a bald eagle after it was hit by a jeep on a busy highway in Osceola County.

Dash cam footage showed trooper Julio Velez driving toward the eagle, which you can see sitting on the shoulder.

He then got out of his cruiser, picked up the bird and put it in the back of his patrol car.

The bird injured the trooper during the process.

"He received several puncture wounds to his arm, those talons I'm sure are pretty sharp. But, he re-positioned, bear hugged the eagle and was able to get into the car," said FHP Sgt. Kim Montes.

The eagle stayed put while trooper Velez drove it to Animal Control.

Amazingly, it has no broken bones and experts believe it will likely fly free again.

Even though he was scarred from the incident, trooper Velez said he has no regrets.

<![CDATA[Pets of the Week: Humane Society of Broward County]]> Wed, 19 Oct 2016 12:51:10 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/NBC6+new_Pelu+1019.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Pets of the Week]]> Tue, 18 Oct 2016 12:48:08 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/Caramel+A1727353.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Max]]> Sun, 16 Oct 2016 10:16:36 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/231*120/pet+of+week+max.jpg

Our pet of the week is Max, a three-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback, who is looking for his forever home.

Lisa Mendheim with Broward Animal Care stopped by NBC 6 on Sunday with Max. She said Max is very lovable, playful, and fit.

Max loves being walked and belly rubs.

Mendheim said Max gets along with other pets and is great with kids. He would make a great family pet.

If you're interested in Max or other animals up for adoption, contact Broward Animal Care at (954) 359-1313.

For more animal news, visit our All About Animals section.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Clear the Shelters, Pooches in Pines Fundraiser]]> Sat, 15 Oct 2016 11:12:06 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/222*120/pet+of+the+week+thor1.jpg

Our pet of the week is Thor, a 4-year-old Pit Bull mix, who is looking for his forever home.

Tracy Calvino with Pooches in Pines stopped by NBC 6 on Saturday with Thor. She said he is very playful and sweet. He loves to run and play.

Calvino said Thor is doesn't get along with all dogs, so he should go to a home without other pets. But he is great with kids. Thor loves playing and being around people.

Beginning November 1, if you make a purchase on pitbullshirt.com, 10 percent of your money will go to Pooches in Pines. But don't forget to mention them when you're buying.

If you're interested in Thor, contact Pooches in Pines at (954) 431-2200 or visit their Facebook and Twitter pages for more information.

For more animal news or to view other pets up for adoption, visit our All About Animals

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Is New World Screwworm A Threat To Our Pets?]]> Sun, 23 Oct 2016 17:20:21 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/Clear+The+Shelters+Adopt+Ian+Kupkee.JPG

Every November, my wife and I attend a veterinary conference in Key West. While the trip is always educational and fun, the family member who enjoys it the most is our older dachshund, Grendel. Whether she’s frolicking on the dog beach or parading up and down Duval Street, she is thoroughly convinced the trip is all about her. But not this year.

This year, she is staying with friends in Miami.

I know - first world dog problems. How could I be so heartless? Surely I must be vying for the title of Meanest Dog Daddy In The World! (I’m not, but trust me, that’s exactly how I feel.) What on earth could possibly inspire me to leave the Diva of Duval Street at home? The decision was prompted by the discovery of an invasive parasite known as New World Screwworm in the Lower Keys. And yes, this little parasite is a big threat, not just to our pets, but to our native wildlife, and our local economy as well.

What the heck is a screwworm?

New World screwworms are the larvae, or maggots, of a fly that thrives in warm, humid climates. While the United States has not had an outbreak of screwworm in over fifty years, the USDA lists many of our South American and Caribbean neighbors as currently dealing with screwworm. Screwworms can infest pets, livestock, and other warm blooded animals - including humans. Thankfully, frequent bathing means the chances of a human becoming infected with screwworm are slim. That said, populations without access to basic hygiene are considered at risk. Adult screwworms (flies) lay their eggs near open wounds - even wounds as small as a flea or tick bite. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae tunnel into the living tissue of the host, continually eating the flesh until the life cycle is complete. Screwworms do their damage quickly and without mercy. Left untreated, screwworm infestations can be fatal.

While screwworm was eradicated in the U.S. in the 1950’s, the USDA announced earlier this month that it had reappeared in the some of the Lower Keys. Sadly, the latest victim is the already endangered Key Deer population. While their total numbers are somewhere between just 600 and 800, fifty animals have already been euthanized due to screwworm infestation. Given that this number likely to rise, and that all other warm blooded animals are at risk, it’s no surprise the veterinary community is on edge.

Can screwworm spread to the rest of Florida?

Screwworm has been described by Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture as a "potentially devastating animal disease that sends shivers down every rancher’s spine." While the threat to pets and wildlife is very real, livestock and food animals are especially susceptible to screwworm infestation. If screwworm finds it’s way to Florida’s mainland, the financial loss to our agricultural sector could easily top $1 billion. Hence the shivers.

What can pet owners do to stop the spread of screwworm?

Stopping screwworm in its tracks calls for a community effort. And the USDA is asking for your help. The most important thing pet owners can do right now is cooperate with local efforts to contain and eradicate the disease. An Animal Health Check Zone is now in place from Mile Marker 91 south. Animals leaving the Keys will be given health checks at Mile Marker 106 to make sure they are not showing signs of screwworm. The checkpoint will ensure the parasite does not not move north and infest animals in other parts of the state. It is very important that pet parents comply with requests to to have their fur kids checked at these stops.

If you live in the Keys, or will be visiting there with your pets, be sure to check them daily and thoroughly for any signs of screwworm. Look for any type of wound, even tiny ones, and monitor them for changes. Infested wounds will deepen and enlarge as the the parasites feed. Wounds showing discharge, or giving off an unpleasant odor, should be checked out by a licensed veterinarian immediately.

Are there any home remedies or over-the-counter treatments for screwworm?

Screwworm can only be treated with prescription medications dispensed by a licensed veterinarian. Additionally, an infected pet may have to be sedated for the larvae to be extracted. Because of the risk to humans, this must be done in a setting where controls are in place to ensure the parasites are handled safely. The risk to humans also means veterinarians must assist the USDA in tracking the possible spread of the disease. Confirmed cases of screwworm must be reported to the USDA by your veterinarian. Remember, it’s not just our pets that are at risk, but our wildlife, our food supply, and ourselves.

Is it safe to bring pets to the Keys?

As of this writing, the USDA is not telling pet owners to reconsider bringing animals in or out of the Lower Keys. We chose to leave Grendel at home because for all her spunk and sassiness, she has some health problems. One such problem is a liver condition which makes it harder for her body to handle certain medications. I’m not sure how quickly she would bounce back from a screwworm infection. It is certainly possible we’re being overly cautious (read, neurotic). But the decision we made is the right one for her and for our family. Your veterinarian can help you decide what is best for your pet and your family.

Because while I may not be the Meanest Dog Daddy in the World, there’s a good chance I’m one of the most overprotective. Besides, there’s always next year’s convention.

Sorry, Grendel.

For more information on New World screwworm, please click here to visit the USDA’s website.


Dr. Kupkee is the lead practitioner at Sabal Chase Animal Clinic.

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<![CDATA[Pets of the Week: Humane Society of Broward County]]> Wed, 12 Oct 2016 12:36:53 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/NBC6+new_Cookie+1.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Outbreak of Rare Insect in Florida Keys Deer Drawing Concern]]> Mon, 10 Oct 2016 17:11:49 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/deer19.jpg

An outbreak of a rare fly larva in the Florida Keys has residents on guard and experts hoping to protect an already endangered deer population.

Tests taken from the Big Pine Key area in Monroe County earlier this month tested positive for New World Screwworms, a maggot that can enter warm blooded creatures – including humans and livestock. They typically enter through open wounds and live off human flesh, but can be treated if detected early.

The screwworm has not been widely present in the United States in over 50 years, being found mostly in South American and Caribbean nations.

Some of the deer population in the area has already been infected and suffered losses to the insect. The Florida Department of Agriculture has established a checkpoint at mile marker 106 along U.S. 1 where any animal traveling northbound is scanned for possible infection.

Representatives from both the state – including Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam – and Monroe County will hold a 1 PM press conference to discuss continuing efforts to combat the outbreak.

Anyone who suspects their pet may be infected or they themselves may have been infected is asked to call 1-800-HELP-FLA.

<![CDATA[Pets of the Week: Humane Society of Broward County]]> Wed, 05 Oct 2016 23:31:06 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/NBC6+new_Boboy.jpg A gallery of the pets available for adoption at the Humane Society of Broward County. (Oct 5, 2016)]]> <![CDATA[Broward County's Pets of the Week]]> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 18:38:34 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/NBC6+new_Bella3.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Pets of the Week]]> Wed, 28 Sep 2016 18:31:54 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/Danny+A1816103.JPG Miami-Dade Animal Services Pets of the Week -- September 28, 2016]]> <![CDATA[Broward Humane Society Adoptable Pets for September 23rd]]> Wed, 21 Sep 2016 10:23:11 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/1+NBC6+new_Duke.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Tiny]]> Sun, 18 Sep 2016 11:25:01 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/232*120/pet+of+week+tiny.jpg

Our pet of the week is Tiny, a Pointer mix, who is looking for his forever home.

Lisa Mendheim with Broward Animal Care stopped by NBC 6 on Sunday with Tiny. She said Tiny is laid-back and friendly.

Tiny would make a great pet for a loving family and gets along well with other pets.

If you're interested in Tiny or other animals up for adoption, contact Broward Animal Care at (954) 359-1313.

For more animal news, visit our All About Animals section.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Broward Humane Society Adoptable Pets for September 16th]]> Fri, 16 Sep 2016 04:41:12 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/NBC6+new_Cleopatra.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Pets of the Week]]> Thu, 15 Sep 2016 22:17:53 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*213/Bambi+A1809805.JPG Check out the adoptable pets from Miami-Dade County Animal Services]]> <![CDATA[Manatees Rescued From Florida Golf Course Pond]]> Fri, 16 Sep 2016 12:44:09 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/091516+manatee+rescue+citrus+county.jpg

A group of manatees displaced by Hurricane Hermine are heading home.

It's been nearly two weeks since the six manatees were left stranded in a pond at a golf course in Citrus County on Florida's Gulf Coast.

The four adults and two calves were swept in to the pond by flood waters that receded too quickly.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission workers and volunteers showed up Thursday to help move the manatees back into the Gulf, but it was no easy feat. FWC said one of the manatees was one of the largest they've ever seen, weighing in at more than 1,400 pounds.

Each manatee underwent a health assessment before being returned to the water.

Photo Credit: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission]]>
<![CDATA[Cops Capture Large Snake Outside Homestead School]]> Wed, 14 Sep 2016 15:23:30 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/091416+big+snake+homestead+senior+high+school+police.jpg

Miami-Dade Schools Police had to wrangle a big snake that was found outside a Homestead school Wednesday.

The snake was discovered outside Homestead Senior High School at 2351 Southeast 12th Avenue, officials said.

After capturing the snake, the officers posed for pictures with it before turning the reptile over to the Miami-Dade Police venom unit.

Photo Credit: Twitter.com/mySchoolCOP
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<![CDATA[Game Day Fun With Pets: Tailgating Tips]]> Tue, 13 Sep 2016 23:07:39 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000025479233_1200x675_764447299991.jpg Pet Supplies Plus has tips on how to make the most fun with your furry friends at your tailgating party.]]>