Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Hi my friends!
As promised, here is part two of my blog on Canine Degenerative Myelopathy where I go more into details about the symptoms, treatments, and care of the disease.
CDM or Canine Degenerative Myelopathy is a progressive disease of the spinal cord. The onset is usually between the ages of 7 and 14. The disease effects the hind limbs of older dogs with the result of paralysis. It is a chronic and progressive illness.
When the body's immune system attacks the myelin sheath around the neurons of the spinal cord, the communication between the lower body and the brain is disrupted. This results in a paralysis of the hind limbs. So far there are 79 breeds of dogs that carry the mutated gene. Some of the breeds affected are: German Shepperds, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Boxers, Standard Poodles, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, both breads of Welsh Corgis, French Bulldogs, Kerry Blue Terriers, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Collies, Irish Setters, and also mixes that are derived from those breeds. There is a test that checks for the mutated gene. The test consists of a cheek swab. Not every dog that carries the gene will show symptoms. Many dogs that have been tested positive for the genetic mutation are symptom free.
The symptoms of CDM are as follows:
- muscle weakness
- muscle loss
- lack of coordination
- dragging of one or both rear paws
- worn down nails on the affected paws due to dragging
CDM is a non-reversible and progressive disease. There are no known treatments that can cure or stop the disease. However, with good supportive care, physical therapy, and dietary supplementation, the progression of the disease can be slowed down.
Lets start by talking about supportive care. An important part of supportive care is to keep your pooch free of pressure sores and skin ulcers. Dogs with muscle weakness or paralysis do not turn on their own, thus spend lots of time on one side of their body. This can result in pressure sores. You can avoid these sores by providing well padded bedding and also by turning your pooch from one side to the other frequently. By frequently I mean once every hour or two. When turning your dog, please never pull him or her up by the tail.
Since many dogs with CDM become incontinent, skin ulcers can appear in areas that are soiled with urine or feces. It is important to keep areas clean. When you put your dog in diapers, make sure to check and change the diapers frequently. Never leave your dog in a soiled diaper. You can also ask your veterinarian to show you how to express the bladder and then do it several times during the day and night.
There are many options that can be used to help your dog ambulate. There are slings that support the hind legs, wheel carts that are measured to fit your dog, and inflatable rubber peanuts in various sizes that can hold up your pooch while eating. When you place your dog in any of the devices, please never lift him or her up by the tail. A good point is also to keep your dog from being overweight. It is much easier on the dog's front legs and also on your back. There is a very good website that offers many of the items such as slings, beds, wheelchairs, and most anything that can make your and your pet's life easier. The link to it is:
There are no known medications that can cure CDM but some people have reported very good results in slowing the progress of the disease down with dietary supplements. One of them is Aminocaproic Acid which inhibits the break down of the myelin sheath. Another one is Acetylcysteine which is a very strong antioxidant. Vitamin E, B, and C as well as Omega 3 Fatty Acids are also known to slow down the disease. Please contact your veterinarian for the correct dosage according to the body weight of your dog. Some veterinarians give steroids but steroids come with many side effects and can also lead to diabetes. In recent years there have been more and more promising news with the use of Acupuncture and Acupressure.
Even though Canine Degenerative Myelopathy is a non reversible and progressive disease, there are ways to manage and slow down the progress of the disease. I hope I was helpful in showing you some of these ways.
Love and Peace,
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Hi my friends!
Today I would like to share with you the story about beautiful Mandy, a sweet pooch who is fighting a courageous battle with canine myelopathy. The story is told by her kind human, Mary.
When we moved into our house it was a joyous time. Our two boys were so excited to move from our small townhouse into a big house with a fenced in yard to run and play in. At that time we had two dogs, Samantha and Molly. But within eight months of moving into our new home, tragically both dogs had passed away. We were devastated! Life was so empty without our cherished pets.
We soon adopted a little hairball Border Collie/Sheltie mix and named her Mandy. The first few weeks she slept in a box with a blanket by our bed. I slept with my arm hanging over the bed into the box to help her adjust to her new home and let her know she was not alone. Life began to get lively! Being that Mandy was part Border Collie, she would run after the boys nipping their ankles to get them to behave. She was full of spunk and the boys loved it.
Through the years she had several serious illnesses and we are so grateful she made it through with the help of our veterinarian. One illness we thought we were losing her. She wouldn't leave the bathroom, so I slept on the floor with her, praying she would pull through. She is a fighter and we were so happy that the next day she was a little better and several days after that, she was back to her loving self.
Mandy is now 14 years old but still a big part of our life. Around five months ago she started having very scary and strange symptoms. Her eyes were moving rapidly as if she was speed reading. She had problems standing and she stopped eating. It was very scary. We contacted our veterinarian and after seeing her he said she had Vascular Vertigo. With several prescriptions and a special diet she started to recover.
Just when we thought the worst was over, Mandy started new scary symptoms. She started falling over. Her legs would give out and her head had tremors. We drove to the veterinarian's office. We were sure this was the last ride Mandy would take in the car. We thought she would not be coming home with us. I sat in the back of the car trying to keep Mandy comfortable as Randy, my husband, drove the car sobbing all the way.
When we got to the office, our vet came out and sat on the floor next to Mandy in the waiting room. He examined her as we watched his face very closely as if maybe we could read his thoughts through his face, looking for some hope. He looked up at us as we sat on the bench sobbing and the tears began to well up in his eyes. The seconds seemed to be hours till the exam was over. He began to explain that Mandy had Degenerative Myelopathy and explained that it's a disease of the spinal cord. He said there is no cure and will continue to progress but with steroids maybe we can slow it down a little. He said she is not in pain and if we are willing to help her through her days he does not feel euthanizing her is necessary. We were scared with the diagnosis but relieved that we had more time with her.
We have a wonderful veterinarian. We have known him for 31 years and put our total trust in him. Mandy has good days and bad days. She can no longer go up or down stairs. At night time my husband and I take turns carrying her upstairs too bed. Some days she is able to take a slow walk around the house and other days she stays next to us in the family room. We don't know how much time we have with her. So we make sure to give her lots of hugs and kisses. She has given us so much love. So we will do whatever it takes to make her comfortable and the rest of her life filled with love. We are not ready to say goodbye to our spunky hairball.
Wow, that is a beautiful story. Thank you so much Mary for sharing it with us. I hope that Mandy has many, many, many more good days and years to come.
Well my friends, stay tuned for part two of this blog where I go a little more into detail about Canine Degenerative Myelopathy. I will talk about the symptoms, treatment, and care of the disease.
Love and Peace,
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Thermometer: It is used rectally. Never put a thermometer in your pet's mouth. The normal
body temperature of a cat is 101.5 F and of a dog is 102 F.
Large syringe without a needle: You can use it to flush wounds or to give oral treatments.
Muzzle: Even if your pet is a sweetheart, when in pain or in shock, the sweetest pet can be unpredictable and bite out of fear. You can also use a towel or a necktie but make sure you leave an opening for the nose so your pet can breath. Importantly, do not use a muzzle if your pet is vomiting.
Leash: You need that to keep your pet from taking off on you. Even if your dog usually follows you without a leash, in an emergency situation your dog might take off.
Stretcher: That can be anything from a board, a floor mat, a door, to a blanket, depending on the size of your pet. It has to be something that you can use to carry your pet to the car if your pet is immobilized.
Here are a few guide lines on how to handle an injured pet before we go on to the basic procedures of pet first aid. A pet with an injury or pain can experience a lot of fear and thus can be unpredictable. Even though your first instinct is to hug your pet in order to calm it down, you should never put your face close to the mouth. If necessary, apply a muzzle to your pet's mouth and leave the nose uncovered so your pet can breath. Remember to never apply a muzzle if your pet is vomiting. It is best to work in a calm and gentle manner. If your pet shows signs of agitation, stop whatever you are doing and stay calm. Contact your veterinarian, an emergency clinic, or the Animal Poison Control Center as soon as possible. If you are doing any first aid procedures, have someone else do the phone calls while you are helping your pet. First aid procedures are not a substitute for veterinary care. So please, follow up with a visit to your vet or during an emergency, visit the nearest pet emergency clinic. When transporting your pet to a clinic or veterinarian, do so in a calm and gentle manner. It is best to transport a pet in a confined space, such as a carrier. It is a good idea to always have a copy of your pet's medical records on hand. If you have to go to an emergency clinic or a veterinarian on call, you can bring the copy of the records along. This way the treating veterinarian knows about the pet's medical history and any lab work or procedures that have been done recently.
So here are some of the most common emergency situations and a description of basic first aid procedures you can perform to help your pet in distress.
Poison and toxins: Call the Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435 immediately or have someone call while you are assisting your pet. When giving information to the APCC know the specifics regarding your pet such as breed, sex, age, weight, symptoms, substance ingested, amount, and length of time ago. Also collect any discarded material such as vomit, feces, or urine. Read the label of the container the toxin was in. Often they tell you what to do about superficial contact or what to do if swallowed. Bring your pet to the nearest pet emergency clinic or your local veterinarian immediately.
Seizures: Keep your pet away from any objects that can injure it but do not restrain your pet. Most importantly, keep your fingers away from the mouth. Time the seizures. The average seizure lasts between two and three minutes. Any seizure over five to seven minutes is of great concern. If a seizure lasts longer than five minutes, bring your pet to the nearest emergency clinic immediately. After a shorter seizure, keep your pet in a quiet, warm, and comfortable place to sleep it off. Follow up with a visit to your veterinarian.
Fractures: Put a muzzle on your pet because fractures can be painful and a pet in distress can be unpredictable. Place your pet on a flat surface that you can also use for transport to the veterinarian. Make sure you secure your pet to the surface when transporting so it doesn't fall off. You can try to splint the broken limb but only if you can get your pet to see a veterinarian right away. The fracture needs to be properly aligned by a veterinarian or otherwise it will not heal correctly and your pet will end up limping. If it is a compound fracture (part of the bone exposed), do not push the bone back in. Cover it up with a gauze pad to keep it clean and seek veterinary care as soon as possible.
Bleeding (external): Put a muzzle on your pet. Apply several gauze pads with moderate pressure to the wound for at least three minutes. If the bleeding stops, apply a new gauze pad and secure with a gauze wrap and medical adhesive tape. If the bleeding is severe and on a limb, you can also apply a tourniquet between the body and the wound. You can use a necktie for this. A tourniquet should be loosened for about 30 seconds every 15 to 20 minutes. It is important to mark down the time that you applied the tourniquet and also the times that you loosened it because a tourniquet should not be kept longer than two hours. When applying a tourniquet, bring your pet to the nearest emergency clinic immediately.
Bleeding (internal): Be familiar with the symptoms of internal bleeding. The symptoms are: bleeding from the nose, mouth, or rectum. Bloody cough or blood in urine. Also pale gums, rapid pulse and/or collapse. If you suspect your pet having an internal bleeding, keep it quite, warm and bring it to the nearest emergency clinic immediately.
Burns: Again, put a muzzle on your pet because burns can be very painful and agitating to your pet. A chemical burn can be flushed with water. To a severe burn, you can apply a compress soaked in ice water for several minutes. After several minutes soak the compress again and apply anew. When transporting your pet to the veterinarian, cover the burn area with sterile gauze to keep it clean. Seek veterinarian care as soon as possible.
Chocking: Know the signs of chocking. Your pet might have difficulty breathing or make chocking sounds. It might also paw at the mouth constantly. The tongue and lips can show a blueish tinge. Try to look into the mouth by pulling the tongue towards the front of the mouth. If you see the obstruction, use tweezers or pliers to remove it and be careful not to stuff it down further. If you cannot remove the obstruction, place your pet on it's side and apply quick and firm pressure in the rip cage area. Use good judgement on the amount of pressure according to the size of your pet. If you are still unsuccessful, transport your pet to the nearest emergency clinic immediately.
Heat stroke: The most important rule of pet companionship is: Never leave your pet in a car on a hot day. A car can get very hot in a very short time and it only takes a few minutes for your pet to become overheated. Heat stroke can be a life threatening situation. Bring your pet out of the sun and to a shaded area. Put a cold, wet towel around your pet's neck and head while leaving the nose free to breath. Re-wet towel every few minutes. You can also gently pour water over the abdomen and between the hind leg area. Bring your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Shock: The symptoms of shock are as follows: weak pulse, shallow breathing, nervousness, and dazed eyes. If your pet shows any or all of these signs, keep your pet confined to a quite and warm place such as a pet carrier. The head should be level with the rest of the body. Seek veterinary care at the nearest pet emergency clinic immediately.
Not breathing: I know it is hard but try to remain clam. Call your veterinarian over the speaker phone or have someone else call while you are attending to your pet. Grasp your pet's tongue and pull forward in order to check for foreign objects. If the trachea is clear, close the mouth and hold it close while you breath into the nose until you see the chest rise. Repeat the mouth to nose breathing every four to five seconds until your pet breathes on its own or your pet is seen at the emergency clinic.
No heart beat: Again, try to remain clam and call your vet over the speaker phone or have someone else call while you are helping your pet. Place your pet on its side on top of a firm surface. Secure an airway and begin rescue breathing as described above. After four to five breath, start chest compressions. The heart is located in the lower half of the chest on the left side, behind the elbow of the front leg. This is the area where you apply the compressions. You do that, on a medium or large size dog, by placing one hand underneath the chest and the other hand above the chest and compress both hands at the same time. On a cat or small size dog, you have to cradle your hand around the chest and squeeze the chest between the thumb and fingers. A compression consists of a quick push down and a quick release. Use good judgement of the amount of pressure to use according to the size of the pet. Since cats and dogs have a more rapid heart beat than people, you should do about 100 compressions per minute. It is best to do this procedure with two people since you have to alternate between breathing and chest compressions. Give five chest compressions and on the 5th release, give one breath. When the chest goes down after the breath, start with compressions again. Continue until the heartbeat is restored and your pet breathes on its own or until you arrive at the emergency clinic and the veterinary takes over.
As you can see, with the right supplies and some basic knowledge of pet first aid, emergency situations can be handled calmly and with confidence. And most importantly, remember that pet first aid can save your pet's life but is not a substitute for veterinary care.
So, stay safe my friends,
Thursday, November 18, 2010
This is the season for good food and lovely decorations. People decorate their homes with a tree, tinsel and pretty plants. They serve good meals, lots of cookies, and festive drinks, and also offer their canine and feline friends a taste of it, not realizing that it can be a poison to them. Today I would like to tell you about some of the things that can be a hazard to your best friend.
Let me start out by saying that candles and furry creatures don't mix. Many of bushy tails have caught on fire just by strolling past a lit candle. As festive it is to have real candles on the Christmas tree, just imagine the surprise when Ms. Kitty gets the urge to climb up the tree. Next thing you know, the fire department is knocking on your door and Christmas is over.
Speaking of Christmas trees, many of us canines and felines are intrigued by tinsel and shiny ornaments. If ingested, tinsel can cause an intestinal blockage in the same way as ribbons and rubber bands can. So, unless you want to spend an arm and a leg on a surgery to remove the blockage, keep those things away from your furry friends.
With the holidays comes good food, lots of cookies, and eggnog. But be aware, some foods can be poisonous to your pet. Here are some of the most important foods that should not be given to pets.
Chocolate: The theobromine in chocolate can cause seizures, coma and death in both, canines and felines.
Grapes and Raisins: They can cause severe kidney as well as gastrointestinal problems in dogs and cats.
Garlic and Onions: The sulfoxides and disulfides damage the Red Blood Cells and cause anemia in dogs and cats.
Nuts: Nuts have a high fat content and can lead to pancreatitis as well as gastrointestinal problems and muscle tremors especially in dogs.
Mushrooms: They can effect the kidneys, liver, and brain. If ingested in large amounts, mushrooms can cause shock symptoms and death. You should make sure there are no wild mushrooms growing in the back yard when Fido roams the yard.
Tomatoes: The oxalates in tomatoes cause gastrointestinal problems, seizures, and tremors mostly in cats.
Raw Potatoes: They have oxalates as well and cause the same problems in both, cats and dogs.
Avocado: Very dangerous to both, canine and feline. They can cause fluids to build up in the chest and heart and can lead to acute heart failure.
Xylitol: This is found in all sugar free products such as gum, candy, and some cookies. It is highly toxic to cats and dogs. When ingested, it causes the insulin in the body to drop to a very dangerous level and thus, lead to liver failure, brain damage, and death. Just 3 grams of Xylitol ingested by a 65 lb. dog can cause the insulin level to drop severely within 15 to 30 minutes and the damage is not reversible.
Caffeine and Alcohol: Both can be toxic to the liver and brain and can cause death in dogs and cats.
So please, keep this in mind when you share foods with your furry friends. Also be careful what you drop on the floor because most of us canines are like four legged vacuum cleaners. What's on the floor, is legally ours. That also goes for medications that you accidentally drop on the floor. Some human medications such as Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, Decongestants, Cold Medicines, and Antidepressants can cause severe problems in both, canines and felines.
Another problem is tobacco. Be very careful not to leave cigarettes or cigarette buds on the table. Tobacco can cause severe damage to the nervous system. Only 15 cigarettes ingested orally by a human will lead to death. You can imagine how little it would take to do the same in a small cat or dog.
Common household products can be another hazard to us. Antifreeze, paint thinner, and drain cleaner when ingested, cause kidney and liver failure as well as neurological damage. Also be aware that toilet cleaner and pool and hot tub cleaners can cause problems with canines that like to drink out of the pool or the toilet.
Fertilizers and cocoa mulch not only cause gastrointestinal problems but can also lead to seizures, kidney failure, and death. You have to be especially careful with the cocoa mulch because it smells good to dogs. The same goes for rodent poison. It smells good so the rodents eat it but unfortunately, the poison smells good to cats and dogs as well. It causes gastrointestinal problems, neurological problems, and can lead to seizures and death when untreated. Ingesting a poisoned rodent can cause the same problems in a milder form.
There are also many plants that can cause mild to severe reactions in pets. Here is a long list of plants that should not be ingested by your furry friend. If you like to enjoy any of these plants, keep them out of reach, away from Fido and Ms. Kitty.
Air plant, Aloe vera, Alocasia, Amanita, Amaryllis, American yew, Apple seeds, Arum lily, Autumn crocus, Australian flame tree, Apricot pits, Asparagus fern, Azalea
Baby's breath, Balsam pear, Baneberry, Bayonet, Beech, Belladonna, Bird of paradise, Bishop's weed, Black laurel, Black locust, Bloodroot, Bluebonnet, Blue-green algae, Boxwood, Bracken fern, Broad beans, Broomcorn grass, Buckeye, Buckthorn, Buddhist pine, Bulb flowers, Burdock, Burning bush, Buttercup
Cacao, Cactus, Caladium, Calla lily, Camel bush, Candelabra tree, Cardinal, Castor bean, Ceriman, Chalice vine, Cherry, Chinaberry tree, Chinese evergreen, Christmas rose, Chrysanthemum, Cineria, Clematis, Cocklebur, Coffee bean, Coral plant, Cordatum, Coriaria, Coriander, Corncockle, Cornstalk plant, Corydalis, Cotton bush, Cowslip, Coyotillo, Crocus, Croton, Crown of thorns, Cutleaf, Cycads, Cyclamen
Daffodil, Daphne, Datura, Deadly amanita, Deadly nightshade, Death camus, Decentrea, Delphinium, Devil's ivy, Dieffenbachia, Drachaena palm, Dragon tree, Dumb cane, Dutchman's breeches
Easter lily, Eggplant, Elaine, Elderberry, Elephant's ear, Emerald feather, English ivy, English yew, Ergot, Eucalyptus, Euonymus, Evergreen
Ferns, False helleborne, False henbane, Felt plant, Fiddle leaf fig, Firethorn, Flame tree, Flax, Florida beauty, Four o'clock, Foxglove
Geranium, German ivy, Giant dumb cane, Glacier ivy, Ghostweed, Glottidium, Golden chain, Golden glow, Golden pothos, Gopher purge, Ground cherry
Heartland philodendron, Heliotrope, Hellebore, Hemlock, Henbane, Holly, Honeysuckle, Horse bean, Horse brush, Horse chestnut, Horsetail, Hurricane plant, Hyacinth, Hydrangea
Indian licorice, Indian rubber plant, Indian tobacco, Indian turnip, Inkberry, Iris, Ivy
Jack in the pulpit, Janet Craig dracaena, Japanese show lily, Jasmine, Java bean, Jerusalem cherry, Jessamine, Jimsonweed, Jonquil, Jungle trumpets, Juniper
Kalanchoe, Kentucky coffee tree
Lacy tree philodendron, Lantana, Larkspur, Laurel, Leucotho, Lily, Lily spider, Lily of the valley, Lima bean, Lobelia, Locoweed, Lords and ladies, Lupine
Madagascar dragon tree, Malanga, Mandrake, Marble tree, Marigold, Marijuana, Maternity plant, Mayapple, Meadow saffron, Mescal bean, Mexican breadfruit, Mexican poppy, Milk vetch, Milkweed, Mistletoe, Mock orange, Monkshood, Moonseed, Morning glory, Mother in law's tongue, Mountain laurel, Mushrooms
Narcissus, Navy bean, Needlepoint ivy, Nephytis, Nettles, Nightshade
Oak, Orleander, Onion, Oriental lily
Panda plant, Parsley, Peacy lily, Peach pits, Peires, Pencil tree, Peony, Periwinkle, Philodendron, Pimpernel, Pigweed, Pileweed, Plumosa fern, Poinciana, Poinsettia, Poison hemlock, Poison ivy, Poison oak, Pokeweed, Poppy, Potato, Pothos, Precatory, Primrose, Privet, Pyracantha
Rain tree, Ranuculus, Rape, Rattlebox, Rattlebush, Red emerald, Red maple, Red princess, Rhododendron, Rhubarb, Ribbon plant, Rosary peas, Rubber plant
Saddle leaf philodendron, Sago palm, Sandbox tree, Satin pothos, Scarlet runner, Schefflera, Scotch broom, Silver pothos, Skunk cabbage, Snowdrop, Snow on the mountain, Sorghum grass, Sorrel, Spindle tree, Spurges, Staggerweed, Star of Bethlehem, String of pearls, Striped dracaena, Sudan grass, Sweetheart ivy, Sweet pea
Tansy mustard, Tansy ragwort, Tiger lily, Tobacco, Tomato plant, Thornapple, Tree philodendron, Tropic snow dieffenbachia, Tulip, Tung tree
Vetch, Virginia bower, Virginia creeper
Water hemlock, Weeping fig, Wattle, White cedar, Wild call, Wisteria
Yam bean, Yews, Yellow jasmine
Oh boy, that sure was a long list. I think my human deserves some credit for typing it all for me. If you think your pet ingested any of these potentially poisonous substances, please seek veterinary care immediately or call the National Animal Poison Control Center's 24 hour hotline at 1-888-426-4435. You should also be familiar with the symptoms of poisoning. Detecting the signs of poisoning can save your pets life. Here is a list of the symptoms you should look out for:
- mouth irritation
- skin rash
- lack of appetite
- hallucinations causing over-reaction to sound or light
- breathing difficulty
- bleeding disorders
- muscle tremor and rigidity
- heart failure
- kidney or liver problems
- coma and death
If you find any or all of these signs, please seek help as soon as possible. If you would like to have more information on this subject, please visit the National Animal Poison Control Center website at
Well my friends, by keeping your furry friends save and away from any potentially poisonous substances, the holiday season can be a wonderful time of the year for you and your pets. So stay save and enjoy.
Love and Peace,
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
I am trying to help out some very sweet kitties whose owner past away recently and who now need a new home ASAP. So, here are some pictures and description of each kitty. All of them are currently in Walnut Creek and ready for good forever homes.
The two sisters
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
The best way to keep gums and teeth healthy is by daily brushing. Yes, you can brush your canine's and feline's teeth! You can use a soft toothbrush for humans or buy a special pet brush at the pet store. You can also get tooth paste for pets there. Don't use human tooth paste because we don't rinse afterwards. So the tooth paste has to be eatable. For cats and small dogs you can use the finger brush.
At first, your pet might struggle a little until the brushing becomes familiar. Try to make it a routine. You can also give a treat as a reward after the brushing. That works very well with dogs. Every morning after breakfast I go to my human and let her brush my teeth as you can see in the picture. Then, I get a treat. I love it!
And speaking of treats, there are special dental treats and chews as well as toys designed to keep the teeth clean. Pet stores have an entire section dedicated to such items. Ask a sales person and they will gladly advice you. And don't forget to follow up with yearly check ups by the veterinarian.
As you can see, keeping your pearly whites clean and healthy doesn't have to be a problem. There are easy ways to do this with the right tools and the right routine. So, my friends, keep brushing daily and most of all, keep smiling!
Love and Peace,
Monday, September 13, 2010
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
Obesity is the most common nutritional disorder in pets. 25% of the pet population is obese. A pet that weighs 15% above the optimal body weight is considered obese. The best way to figure out what the optimal body weight for your pet is, is to consult your veterinarian. Below is a chart that shows what a normal weight, over weight, and obese cat and dog looks like.
Obesity, due to several causes, can lead to many illnesses but can also be prevented or eliminated.
Breed: Certain breeds are more prone to be overweight than others. In cats it's mostly the mixed breeds that draw the short stick. In dogs it's often breeds such as Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Beagles, Bassets, and I hate to say it, Cocker Spaniels.
Life style: In nature, animals hunt for their food. Our pets get their food served to them and really don't have to do much in order to fill their tummies. Many pets have become couch potatoes. Their exercise routine is less than the calorie intake.
Feeding: In nature, animals only eat what they need. Pets often get portions that are bigger than they need. Other times, the food we feed is not appropriate for the age or life style of the pet.
Spaying and neutering: Spaying and neutering is absolutely necessary to keep the pet population under control and is very important but it does result in a decrease of the metabolism and thus, can cause a pet to become overweight.
Diseases: Some diseases such as Hypothyroidism or Cushing's disease can cause a pet to gain a lot of weight. Luckily, they occur in small percentages only and can be controlled by medications.
Medications: There are many medications that can lead to weight gain. For example, Corticosteroids, Anticonvulsants and Appetite Stimulants are just a few of them. Talk to your veterinarian about the side effects of the medications your pet takes.
Obesity can also cause many unwanted diseases. Here is a list of just a few.
- Heart Disease
- Bladder Cancer
- Fatty Liver (Hepatic Lipidosis)
- Respiratory Issues
These are all serious health issues that are a result of obesity and can be prevented. There are simple ways that can prevent your pet from gaining unwanted weight. It is always a good idea to ask your veterinarian what his suggestions are to prevent a weight gain. In general, it's best not to feed table scraps to your pet. Multiple small feedings are better than one large feeding. Measuring the food in exact amounts is very helpful. Make sure your pet is not eating too fast. And most of all, add in lots of exercise on a daily basis.
Well, that all sounds great but sometimes the best intentions can fail and your pet still ends up being overweight. All hope is not lost! There are things that can be done to shed those unwanted pounds. Importantly, talk to your veterinarian about the issue. The goal should be a 1% weight loss per week. Don't over-do it and starve your pet. That could lead to other health issues all together. The way to lose weight is through diet and exercise. Let's talk about the diet first.
Diet: We should feed a low calorie diet. Almost every brand sells a Low Calorie food and it is usually marked on the package or can as such. Most foods also have a chart on the package that tells you how much to feed. If you can't figure it out, ask your veterinarian for the correct amount you should feed your pet. Read the package. The food should have a slightly higher amount of protein, a low amount of carbohydrates, and a low to moderate amount of fat. And we all know that all good pets deserve a treat now and then. Well, veggies such as carrots and fruits such as apples make excellent low calorie treats.
Exercise: A diet doesn't do much if your pet is lounging around all day. So, get your pets enough exercise on a daily basis. Cats exercise differently than dogs. It's easier with a dog. You can take your dog for long walks, play fetch the ball, or let your dog swim. There are also many interactive toys such as Kongs where the dog has to work on getting that carrot treat out of the Kong. They also make interactive toys for cats now where the kitty can chase a toy mouse in a circle or other varieties. You can throw a toy mouse to the top of the stairs so the kitty has to run up and down stairs to fetch the mouse or simply wave a wand with a feather on the end to get kitty running and jumping. You can serve the food on top of a cat tree so kitty will have to do some climbing exercise to get to the food.
Once we have our pet down to an ideal weight, we have to make sure to maintain the weight. The best way to do this is to switch the food gradually to a maintenance diet and to continue with the exercise routine. Also, check the weight on a regular basis. You can do that with kitties or small dogs by holding them and stepping on your bathroom scale. Then weigh yourself without the pet. Subtract the last number from the first and you have your pet's weight. With larger dogs you might have to coax them to sit on the scale. Good luck!
So, as you can see, there are many things you can do to prevent and eliminate obesity before it leads to unwanted health issues. Just remember - keeping your pet healthy and in good shape is rewarding in so many ways.
Alrighty then, lets strap on the sweat bands and nibble on carrots. Till next time. Yours truly,
Monday, August 9, 2010
I would like to tell you about my human's worst night mare. As you all know, she takes care of all kinds of critters when their humans are on vacation. Well, she came to a place on the first day of a 10 day long assignment and there was no key at the spot were it usually is. HORROR! She got a really bad feeling in her stomach. When she tried to reach the owner of the two kitties, the phone said: "The person you are trying to reach is out of reach, call back later". She left a note on the neighbor's door, hoping she would have a key but the neighbor didn't call her. So, the only thing she could do was to call a locksmith. Many hours later and $250.00 later, the locksmith was able to open the door and replace the lock. HALLELUJAH!
Everybody was fine and there was still a little food and water in the dish but it was a very scary situation for my human.
This story inspired me to give you all some guide lines how to make my human's life much easier. So, here we go:
If you go away, please let my human know at least three or four days in advance unless it is an emergency. And by the way, a good deal on a trip to Cabo is not an emergency!
If you leave a day later or come back a day earlier or later, let my human know. There is nothing worst than walking in on someone taking a shower.
If you told my human that you would leave a key at a certain spot, please leave it there. Don't change the location at the last minute without telling my human about it. Also don't forget to leave it! Otherwise, your vacation might cost a lot more than you expected (see above about the cost of a locksmith). And most importantly, make sure it's the right key and it works properly. I hate for my human to get arrested for breaking and entering.
Please leave a payment on the counter so my human can pay her bills and buy me new toys. She remembers to show up, so please, remember to pay her. If you forget anyway, try to mail it to her as soon as you get back. Don't wait a month or two because we have to pay our bills and if we can't pay our bills, my human has to get another job and can't take care of your babies anymore.
Make sure you have enough food, litter and if needed, medication on hand to cover the entire time you are gone plus a little extra in case you can't make it back on time. That includes bird, fish, hamster and any other critter food as well. My human hates to go shopping and besides, it cuts my walking time short.
Let my human know if there are any changes in your pets health, behavior, food, medication, walking schedule, your contact information or anything else that is important. She needs to know that in order to do her job properly.
And since we are talking about health, inform her of any contagious diseases such as ringworm, kennel cough, FIV and anything else that can be carried over to the next place. It's not fair to hide that and put the next kitty or doggy in danger of getting the same disease.
If anybody else is coming to the house while you are gone, let my human know because it scares the living daylight out of her when someone is in the house that she didn't know would be there.
Make sure your neighbor's know that my human is coming to visit your pets. I don't want them to call the police on her because they think she is a burglar.
Please don't be upset when my human does not want to let your kitties outside. There is a reason for it and that is how she is running her business. She is not telling you how to do your business, so don't tell her how to do her's. Kitties can be attacked by other kitties, by dogs, can get hit by cars, and can encounter many other dangers on the street. If they come back injured, my human might not be around and bring them to the veterinarian right away. A lot can happen in 24 hours. By the time of her next visit, your kitty could be very ill. So, please don't fight with my human about that. She does not want to be difficult but only cares about your pet's well being.
Let my human know if your doggy doesn't like other doggies or people. That is a very important thing to know when taking your pooch for a walk. We don't want any surprise attacks.
Well, I think that'll cover about everything. If you keep those things in mind, it will make my human very happy. And if my human is happy, I am happy too!
So, until next time, yours truly,