“Dog Flu” aka Canine Influenza… Is your Pet at risk?

Friday, July 21st, 2017

Recently, we’ve been receiving questions from some of our pet owners about dog flu. They were concerned about stories they had seen or read in the news about outbreaks. In answering their questions, we realized that all of our dog owners may have similar questions and concerns. So, we’re writing to tell you about dog flu, what puts dogs at risk and what can be done to protect them.

Dog flu is a relatively new disease and can be caused by two different canine influenza virus strains, H3N8 and H3N2. Both strains of dog flu virus cause respiratory disease in dogs. Affected dogs may develop coughing, nasal discharge, fever, lethargy and loss of appetite. The signs of infection are similar to those of other respiratory diseases in dogs. With proper medical attention, most dogs will recover. However, in some cases, dog flu can progress to a more severe or even life-threatening condition, such as pneumonia.

Dog flu is highly contagious, so visiting places where dogs socialize or congregate, such as doggie day cares, dog parks, groomers, boarding facilities, dog shows, and urban locations, places dogs at higher risk for becoming infected. Making the situation even more difficult to control is that dogs can spread the virus before signs of illness appear.

The best way to protect your dog from dog flu is through vaccination. Fortunately, there is a vaccine now available for both dog flu strains. The initial vaccination requires two doses, given 2 to 4 weeks apart. Thereafter, an annual booster is recommended for continued protection.

Protect Your Pet against Dog Flu

We recommend vaccinating dogs against dog flu. Please call us to discuss any questions you might have and to set up an appointment.

To learn more about dog flu, you can also visit www.doginfluenza.com
.

Unlocking Canine Memory For A Happier Pet How Do Dogs Remember? By Victoria Stilwell

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

photo15In her new book, The Secret Language of Dogs, trainer and Animal Planet star Victoria Stilwell explores the ways recent canine studies show us how to better understand the hidden language of dogs.

Memory is crucial for problem solving, hunting of prey, smell recognition, facial recognition, and general learning. Dogs need to memorize environmental landmarks so they can find their way around as well as construct mental maps of where these landmarks are located. Although dogs use visual markers to navigate their surroundings, they rely more heavily on how things smell. This mental mapping is important for remembering territory and territorial boundaries as well as being able to reach a food source or an area of comfort and safety.

Dogs also need to have a good working memory if they have to find food for themselves. They have to remember that if the prey they are chasing goes behind a rock and disappears, it might still be there even though they can’t see it.

It’s believed not only that dogs have good olfactory memory and can remember smells for years afterward, but also that smell is linked to their emotional memory, just as it is in humans. The smell of a veterinary hospital may always elicit negative emotions, whereas the odor of a favored person triggers happiness and joy. Auditory memory is also important and is especially useful when it comes to remembering the sound, tone, and pitch of a human vocal signal that is linked to a certain action or behavior.

Dogs can not only recognize the voices of people they know but also learn and remember that different vocal pitches and tones mean different things. Their physical reading skills can help them determine what human vocalizations mean, and because people tend to speak in higher pitches when they are being affectionate and lower pitches when they are upset or angry, it is easy for dogs to learn the difference and respond accordingly. You can help your dog learn by being consistent with your vocal pitch as well as being aware of how to use tone when talking to your dog or giving cues. In general, the type of cue will determine the type of tone and pitch you use. You can use high energy vocalizations to excite your dog into playing, for example, or to get your dog to come back to you when you call; use medium tones for everyday cues such as “wait” by the food bowl or “stay” by the front door when a guest is entering. You can use lower tones to tell your dog how you feel about a certain behavior, but take care not to frighten him into compliance. The canine memory is so good that he will truly remember and recognize the difference! Dogs that have been raised in positive, stimulating environments tend to have better memory function than dogs that have been raised in social isolation, because the more pleasant experiences a dog has in early life, the more chances its brain has to develop.

Reprinted from THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF DOGS Copyright © 2016 by Victoria Stilwell. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Victoria Stilwell, star of Animal Planet’s popular “It’s Me or the Dog,” is the author of two books and active with international rescue groups. www.positively.com

Article published by thebark.com

PetsMatter | House-soiling cats: What you can do to stop them

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

If your cat is urinating or defecating anywhere other than his litter box, you probably find yourself at your wits’ end. Though house soiling can seem like a deal breaker, it doesn’t have to be. There are ways to remedy the situation so the cat can stay and the behavior goes.

Save your cat

According to the National Council on Pet Population, 72 percent of cats surrendered to animal shelters in the U.S. are euthanized, and research journals in the fields of animal behavior and companionship cite house soiling as the primary reason they are relinquished in the first place.

“One factor that may be underlying this is that 66 percent of owners think that cats act out of spite,” says Ilona Rodan, DVM, DABVP (F), medical director and founder of AAHA-accredited Cat Care Clinic in Madison, Wisconsin. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Instead, she says, it’s because the cat’s physical, social, or medical needs are not being met.

See your veterinarian

The first step in resolving a house soiling problem is to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as you notice a problem.

Rodan, who primarily evaluates cats for behavioral issues, says she often diagnoses medical problems as well. “For example, an owner may think the cat is not using the box because of a new cat [in the house], but a medical workup will reveal bladder stones or intestinal parasites,” she says.

Some cats may even develop life-threatening urinary obstructions because their owners misinterpreted their behavior as acting out, Rodan says, which is why it is essential to get a diagnosis and treatment plan in place as soon as possible.

If a medical diagnosis cannot be confirmed, additional assistance from a board-certified veterinary behaviorist may be recommended.

Marking: Sexual or reactionary?

First, it is important to note the difference between urinating and marking or spraying. When marking or spraying, cats tend to stand upright and eliminate a small amount on vertical surfaces. When urinating, cats usually squat and eliminate larger amounts on horizontal surfaces.

The 2014 American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) and International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) Guidelines for Diagnosing and Solving House-Soiling Behavior in Cats explains that urine spraying is either a sexual or a reactionary behavior.

Sexual marking

Is your cat spayed or neutered? According to the AAFP and ISFM guidelines, intact male and female cats both exhibit sexual marking to advertise their presence and availability.

Spaying or neutering an intact cat will dramatically reduce sexually-related marking.

Reactionary marking

If your cat is spayed or neutered, reactionary marking should be considered.

Introduction of another pet, person, new furniture, or other objects into your home can change the collective odor that the cat is used to, and can stress him enough to induce urine marking behavior.

Suitcases, backpacks, and shoes pick up new scents outside the household, so it is a good idea to keep these out of your cat’s reach. Items that change in temperature, such as stoves, toasters, and other electronic equipment, are also frequent marking targets.

The AAFP and ISFM guidelines state that marking behavior that starts at windows and doors usually suggests the perceived threat is coming from outside the home. Try blocking the cat’s view of windows and doors if he seems triggered by another animal outside. Make sure your cat’s food, water, and resting area are located away from windows and glass doors as well.

Initial marking in stairways, hallways, and doorways, as well as in the centers of rooms, usually indicates stressors originating from within the household.

Judy Torchia, DVM, of Nippers Corner Pet Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, says a cat may also respond to a new animal or person in the house by marking his territory. “They will use the urine marking posture, with or without urinating to do this,” she says.

Looks like marking

Rodan reminds us that spraying, however, can occur for other reasons. It is possible for a cat to look like he is in the spraying or marking position, when he is actually unable to urinate properly due to a medical issue, she says.

“A cat may have bladder stones, stress, or another underlying cause of spraying, so it is very important to have the cat examined and diagnostic tests performed to identify medical problems as soon as possible,” she says.

Stay positive

It is important to note that physically or verbally punishing the cat during or after a house-soiling incident only creates stress, which then increases the motivation to soil—and often in less obvious areas.

Instead, behavior modification efforts should focus on positive reinforcement of desired behaviors. Rewards may include affection, positive attention, treats, or whatever your cat likes.

Clean frequently

Cats will frequently soil the same areas repeatedly. Urine odor changes with time, and frequent marking keeps the odor consistent. Therefore, it is important to clean urine-marked areas regularly.

The AAFP and ISFM guidelines suggest scrubbing the affected area with a 10 percent solution of biological washing powder (enzyme-based laundry detergent), allowing the area to dry, and then spraying the area with isopropyl alcohol.

Chlorine-based products will remove odors from concrete and vinyl floors, but be sure to avoid using ammonia-based cleaners, which smell like urine to a cat.

Try pheromones

Pheromone therapy studies referenced in the AAFP and ISFM guidelines indicate that environmental use of synthetic pheromones can result in up to 90 percent cessation or reduction in urine spraying behavior. This effect can last even after discontinuing use of the pheromone product.

Adding a pheromone diffuser near the litter box may make the location more appealing.

Work together for the right outcome

No matter the cause, it is important to work with your veterinarian and your cat to remedy the situation. The reward of keeping a happy, healthy cat always makes it all worth it!

Source: PetsMatter | House-soiling cats: What you can do to stop them

Diabetes Awareness

Saturday, November 14th, 2015

diabetes-592006_640

 

The month of November is dedicated to pets that suffer from diabetes, a disease that is caused due to a lack of insulin or a poor reaction to their own insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that regulates the amount of glucose in the blood. It is needed to move glucose from the blood into cells, where it is then used for energy. There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 is a lack of production of insulin, while Type II is when there is a poor reaction to the insulin.

The most common form of the disease in dogs is Type 1, insulin-dependent diabetes, which occurs when the pancreas is incapable of producing or secreting adequate levels of insulin (because the body is hindered from making insulin due to the pets immune system destroying the insulin producing cells in the pancreas.) Dogs who have Type I diabetes require insulin therapy to survive. Therapy to treat diabetes may be common in the approach but is unique to each pets case anywhere from the beginning to the end of its life. If the pet is diagnosed due to a drastically high or low blood sugar and are rendered  extremely ill they may require observation and hospital care for several days to regulate their blood sugar. Pets that are more stable may only need oral medication to stabilize glucose levels in the blood. Once a dog has exhausted all other options insulin injections become a necessity for adequate regulation of blood glucose.  Signs and symptoms that would urge a screening or blood test include.

  • Change in appetite
  • Increase in water consumption
  • Weight loss
  • Increased urination
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vomiting
  • Cataract formation, blindness

Ways to prevent diabetes or keep those that have it alive and healthy for as long as possible are such: a proper diet and regular exercise. Both of these things can be very effective preventing diabetes in older dogs. (Aside from other negative health effects, obesity is known to contribute to an ability to respond normally to insulin.)

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 11.03.47 PM

 

AAHA!

Friday, November 6th, 2015

unnamed

 

Their story began with a love for companion animals and a desire to make their lives better with quality health care. It was 1993 when seven veterinary professionals came together and founded an organization that would set a standard for animal practices across the nation, AAHA (The American Animal Hospital Association). It wasn’t till the late 1960s that AAHA started to become what it is today, with more than 900 different requirements to be accredited.  While it is an honor to be accepted anyone can apply. AAHA are passionate about helping veterinary teams practice better medicine, and helping pets and their people stay happy and healthy. An accreditation specialist will contact you to begin working with you as you prepare for your evaluation. On the day of your evaluation, your practice consultant will determine if you have successfully passed each section of the AAHA Standards of Accreditation including the mandatory standards. Some necessary standards  include, Dental Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats, Nutritional Assessment Guidelines, Weight Management Guidelines, Pain Management Guidelines, and different Life Stages Guidelines. AAHA standards also address patient care and pain management, surgery, pharmacy, laboratory, exam facilities, medical records, cleanliness, emergency services, dental care, diagnostic imaging, anesthesiology, and continuing education.  After the evaluation process is completed, your practice will receive a letter of congratulations and a certificate proudly designating you as an AAHA-Accredited Practice! Follow up evaluations ensure that quality of care is continuously being carried out. Only 14% of veterinary practices having the privilege to be called AAHA certified so it is a goal many aim for. Accreditation by the American Animal Hospital Association is the only way to ensure that a veterinary practice is operating at the highest standards of excellence in animal care. Pet owners gain peace of mind when they choose an accredited practice, because they know their AAHA-accredited hospital has passed the highest standards of veterinary care.

AAHA

Dog Day Stress

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

sad dog 1

Like humans, dogs deal with stress and anxiety. Some dogs are more likely to deal with their stress via destructive behavior, while others may use self soothing methods that can cause harm.

#1 Excessive shedding
Every owner understands the constant battle of hair invading there homes, cars, and wardrobe, but have you ever pet your dog during times when they seemed stressed? Most times you will notice a considerable increase in the amount of hair that just seems to pour off. That is due to your pet being anxious.
#2 Pinned-back ears
Dogs will draw their ears back and low when under stress.
#3 Yawning
While yawning is usually associated with being tired, it is also a common sign of being stressed. When your dog yawns it may be a good time to check for other signs.
#4 Panting
Dogs generally pant to cool themselves down when it’s hot or when they’ve been exercising. If your dog is panting for no apparent reason, possibly with their ears pinned back and low, this can be a sign of stress. Be careful if the dog suddenly stops panting and closes their mouth, as they may be escalating toward biting.
#5 Destructive behaviors
Some dogs may look for ways to sooth themselves such as chewing or biting furniture. Other calming methods include destructive biting or licking of their own body (most commonly the paws).
#6 Avoidance
There are many reasons your dog may show avoidance, whether it’s avoiding other dogs or people. Tail tucked, avoiding eye contact, turning away — these are all ways your dog shows you that they are uncomfortable. It’s important to remember that if your dog is avoiding a situation that makes them uncomfortable, this is better than showing aggression and it’s best to respect this message.
#7 Accidents
One of the biggest signs of stress is having accidents in the house. Many dogs who are stressed about being left alone, but have otherwise been house-trained, will backslide in their training. Consider crate training, or confining your dog to a comfortable, closed-off location when you’re out, as this may give them a more secure feeling.
#8 Illness
Does your dog exhibit signs of stress with physical symptoms? Loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, skin problems or allergies can all be signs of stress in man’s best friend. If any of these physical symptoms don’t have an obvious cause, stress should be your prime suspect.
#9 Barking
Does your dog howl or bark a lot? Excessive barking, whether inside or outside the house, can be a sign of anxiety. Try and find a pattern to the barking to determine the cause of the anxiety. Does it happen when you’re gone? When strangers come to the door?

How to help your dog
Recognizing that your dog is experiencing stress is a step in the right direction — but now you need to find ways to help them cope with their anxiety. Here are some ideas for making your dog’s life a bit more stress-free.

Keep things as routine as possible: Routine is important for dogs, just like it is for young children. They suffer less stress when they know their routine, from where they sleep to what time of day they go for a walk or eat.
Prevent stressful situations: If you know, for example, that your dog doesn’t do well in crowded situations, don’t walk them on a busy recreation trail. If your dog is stressed when you aren’t home, crate training might bring them some comfort.
Exercise often: Exercise can be a great stress-reliever for your dog, as long as it’s kept fun and relaxing. Repetitive games of fetch at the dog park can actually cause stress in some dogs, so make sure you find the right balance.
Spend more time together: If you can, spend more time with your dog to reduce stress. Working out in the garage? Bring your furry friend out there with you. They crave being near you and it’s good for their soul (and yours).
Rules: Dogs experience less stress when they know what’s expected of them. Set your house rules and be firm, yet gentle about any disobedience. Your dog wants to please you, but cannot possibly succeed if the rules keep changing.

By working with your dog and setting clear boundaries, you can usually pinpoint the sources of their stress and work with them to help them live a less anxiety-ridden life.

 

happy boxer

http://www.sheknows.com/pets-and-animals/articles/1026295/12-clear-indicators-that-your-dog-is-stressed

10 Doggy Man-Made Myths

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

pug-in-seal-costume

Myth #1. When your dog looks grown up, he is.
Truth- No matter how big he is, or how mature his behavior, your puppy is still a puppy until he’s at least a year old. Large-breed dogs are growing puppies for close to two years.

Myth #2. Neutering your dog will negatively affect his personality.
Truth- If your dog has always been an outgoing, fun-loving, playful dog, neutering won’t change that all. If he is a little reactive with other dogs or roams the neighborhood, neutering may make him a bit gentler and more inclined to stay home.

Myth #3. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
Truth- The biggest challenge in training an older dog is helping them unlearn old behaviors. If you combine patience with sound and treat training, you’ll soon have a talented and well-trained little pal.

Myth #4. Dogs need variety in the food they eat.
Truth- Your dog thrives on routine. Changing diet frequently and rapidly will do him more harm than good.

Myth #5. Obedience training is only for problem dogs.
Truth- Yes, obedience training can help with some unacceptable behaviors, but wouldn’t it be better if those behaviors never had a chance to develop? In addition, obedience training can strengthen the bond between you and your dog and help you enjoy each other’s company even more so!

Myth #6. Dogs need supplements in their diets.
Truth- If they are eating a high quality, nutritionally balanced diet, they will do fine. If you have questions, ask your veterinarian.

Myth #7. Dogs who spend the day in the yard get plenty of exercise.
Truth- Dogs are pack animals — they are not good at running or playing when they are alone. Exercise is an important part of your dog’s health. It’s up to you to be sure he gets it.

Myth #8. Dogs do destructive things to get even with you.
Truth- Don’t project your emotions on your dog. Most behaviors that drive you crazy are normal for a dog and begin when he is bored, tired, sick or lonely.

Myth #9. It’s natural for your dog to have bad breath.
Truth- It isn’t. Bad breath is often, an indication of dental or health trouble.

Myth #10. It’s okay for dogs to be a little plump.
Truth- Excess weight in dogs can be associated with heart, respiratory and blood-sugar level problem, skeletal distress and gastrointestinal disorders. Don’t feed your dog table scraps, and make sure he gets plenty of exercise
dog-surfing-internet
https://www.longmonthumane.org/?q=10-biggest-misconceptions-about-dogs

Cat’s-Eye View

Monday, August 31st, 2015

 

No one ever talks about what the world looks like if you’re a cat. Instead, we speak of the bird’s-eye view and use fish-eye lenses to make things look weird.

But we rarely consider how the internet’s favorite subject sees the world. Luckily, artist Nickolay Lamm has volunteered to act as cat-vision conduit. Here, Lamm presents his idea of what different scenes might look like if you were a cat, taking into consideration the way feline eyes work, and using input from veterinarians and ophthalmologists.

For starters, cats’ visual fields are broader than ours, spanning roughly 200 degrees instead of 180 degrees, and their visual acuity isn’t as good. So, the things humans can sharply resolve at distances of 100-200 feet look blurry to cats, which can see these objects at distances of up to 20 feet. That might not sound so great, but there’s a trade-off: Because of the various photoreceptors parked in cats’ retinas, they kick our asses at seeing in dim light. Instead of the color-resolving, detail-loving cone cells that populate the center of human retinas, cats (and dogs) have many more rod cells, which excel in dim light and are responsible for night-vision capability. The rod cells also refresh more quickly, which lets cats pick up very rapid movements — like, for example, the quickly shifting path a marauding laser dot might trace.

Lastly, cats see colors differently than we do, which is why the cat-versions of these images look less vibrant than the people-versions. Scientists used to think cats were dichromats — able to only see two colors — but they’re not, exactly. While feline photoreceptors are most sensitive to wavelengths in the blue-violet and greenish-yellow ranges, it appears they might be able to see a little bit of green as well. In other words, cats are mostly red-green color blind, as are many of us, with a little bit of green creeping in.

Credit to: http://www.wired.com/2013/10/cats-eye-view/

A Dogs Purpose

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, “I know why”.

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. It changed the way I try and live.

He said, ” People are born so they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The six-year-old continued, “Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

Live simply, Love generously, Care deeply, Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to pass up a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

Take naps.

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop and lie on your back in the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you are not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

There comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good. So, love the people who treat you right. Think good thoughts for the ones who don’t. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is part of LIFE… getting back up is LIVING.

Cushing’s Syndrome

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

Cushings

Cushing’s syndrome is when a dog’s body makes too much of a hormone called cortisol. This chemical helps them respond to stress, controls their weight, fights infections, and keeps their blood sugar levels in check. But too much or too little of it can cause problems.

Symptoms

The condition mostly affects middle-aged and older dogs.

You might notice your dog:

Is thirstier than usual
Seems hungrier
Pees more often. Housebroken dogs may have indoor accidents.
Loses hair or it seems slow to grow
Gets a pot belly
Has thinning skin
Seems very tired and inactive
Pants a lot
Gets skin infections

There are two major types of Cushing, Pituitary dependent and iatrogenic. Pituitary Cushing happens when  a tumor grows in a gland that is the size of a pea that rests in the brain. This is the most common, about 80% to 90% of the animals who have Cushing’s have this kind. The other 15% to 20% of diagnosed dogs  have iatrogenic Cushing. This type comes from a tumor in one of the glands that sit on top of the kidneys, called adrenal glands.

Getting Your Dog Diagnosed

There’s no method that’s 100% accurate for diagnosing Cushing’s, so the vet will do a few tests to see what may be causing your pet’s symptoms and to rule out other health problems.

Your vet will start by testing your dog’s blood and urine. These exams can detect high cholesterol, diluted urine, urinary tract infections, or problems with a protein mostly found in the liver and bones called alkaline phosphatase. All of these are common in animals with Cushing’s. If the results show signs of the condition, your vet will follow up with hormone screening tests by the name of ACTH. The ACTH stimulation test measures how well the adrenal glands work in response to a hormone, called ACTH, that usually prompts them to make cortisol. The vet will take blood samples before and after your dog gets a shot of ACTH to see how the hormone affected him. Your vet might also  do an ultrasound scan of the abdomen. This imaging test will help see if there’s a tumor on the adrenal glands which could affect the kind of treatment needed.

ultrasound

Older posts »