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Archive for October, 2010

Urinary Tract Infections in Cats

Sunday, October 31, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

cat-cleaningUrinary tract infections are fairly common in dogs and cats but more common in dogs.  Cats  can come down with this infection as well. This is known as Feline Urologic Syndrome effecting less than 1% of the overall cat population.  The most common cause of this is stones in the urinary tract. If the condition is severe, it can totally block the urinary tract.  So what are the symptoms of this condition? Most cats urinate at night when they are most active. The first sign is when they have litter box problems.  Signs to look for are:

  • Small or no urine at all. Pain is a sign but cats are very tolerant to pain so you may not be able to notice that they are actually in pain.
  • Excessive grooming of their genitals especially if they cry while they are doing it. Another tell tail sign is blood in their urine.
  • If your cat has stopped urinating inside his box but you notice urine outside of the box, this could be a sign of a urinary tract infection.

If you notice any of these things, get your cat to the vet to be checked out. In most cases, there is pet medication that can cure this condition.

What is a Martingale collar?

Saturday, October 30, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

whippet-maringaleSome dogs such as Greyhounds and Whippets require a Martingale collar because of their thin necks and tapered heads. Regular buckle collars will slip right over their heads. A Martingale collar is a limited slip collar. It has two loops. One large loop which slips over the dog’s head and one smaller loop.  The dog leash is attached to a ring on the smaller loop.  The collar can tighten the amount of the smaller loop. It can partially tighten but it has a limit. This is why it was given the name, limited slip collar.  You can adjust the collar so it slips over your dog’s head. When the collar tightens, the dog cannot slip out of it.  The main advantages of this type of collar is that it fits on the dog’s neck and he can’t slip out of it.  Once the collar is adjusted, you don’t have to loosen or tighten it every time you put in on your dog.

Playing with your cat

Thursday, October 28, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

cat-fishingHow much time should you spend playing with your cat? Well, it depends on the cat. Indoor cats require lots of love and attention and some exercise. My older cat, Mollie will not play at all. The only thing that will get her moving around a bit is some cat nip which I give her every once in awhile. My younger cat, Millie demands to be played with several times per day. She insists! She will drag out her fishing pole cat toy and sit on it and meow until I give in. Most of the time, I’m at work or busy during the day so it’s difficult to find the time to play with her. At night, I make sure that I give her all of the exercise that she needs and she loves it! She has so many cat toys but likes the simplest one of all. After one of her fishing pole string toys broke, I just attached one of those plastic rings that come off of milk or juice containers to the end of her stick. She loves it and prefers this simple homemade toy over all of the others. So make sure  that you pay attention to your indoor cat. Make some time each day to play with her, she will appreciate you for it!!

How about a cat for grandma

Tuesday, October 26, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

cat-grandmaIf you have an older relative, why not ask her if she would like a cat?  Older people who own pets tend to live longer independently than a senior who does not have any pets.  Studies also show that a pet can lower our blood pressure and heart rate and even reduce the frequency of a serious illness.  Your older relative may like the idea of owning a cat. It would keep both her mind and body more active.  A cat is easier to care for than a dog. If your relative indicates that she would like one, you may suggest a short haired cat. There is less grooming and less cleaning up to do. Get some cat toys for her to play with the cat in the evening. This is the best way to make sure that both the cat and grandma get a good nights sleep.

Can you tame a feral cat?

Sunday, October 24, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

feral-cats-1Even though a feral cat may look like a regular house cat, they are actually very different. Feral cats can survive in the wild without any human contact or interaction. Feral cats are actually happier outside in their own territory.  They have their own hierarchies and exhibit their own natural behavior.

My older cat Mollie was born a feral cat. She was part of a group of them that lived behind my apartment complex in the swamp land. I found her under a car on a very cold damp, October night. I put my hand out and she actually walked over to me. She was only five weeks old and in perfect health.

Adopting an older feral cat is very different and difficult. Their behavior patterns have already been established.  It would be very hard to socialize an older feral cat. They do better in their own outdoor environment.  Even if you feed them and give them cat treats, they still may never come around to accept humans.

GDV or bloat in dogs is life threatening!

Saturday, October 23, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

great-daneI heard a story about a women who was watching a friends dogs while the owner was on vacation. The dog suddenly got very ill and tried to vomit. He died when he got to the hospital. What happened?  The dog had bloat or GDV (gastric dilation and volulus). What this means is that the stomach distends with gas and then twists thus cutting off the blood supply.  Emergency treatment is needed within 5 to 24 hours or the dog will surely die.  What kind of dogs get bloat? Usually  large breeds that tend to be older. If caught early enough, surgery is done to untwist the stomach and then secure it so it can’t twist again.  Great Danes are the dogs that are most commonly affected by bloat. Labs, Golden Retrievers even Poodles and German Shepherds are also affected.  How could this be prevented? First of all, you should exercise your dog regularly but not right after he eats. Wait awhile before taking him out for exercise.Feed your dog 2 to 3 meals per day, and minimize the fat/oil content. Also limit the amount of dog treats as these usually contain fat.  Surgery is also an option for high risk dogs. As mentioned earlier, the stomach is secured in place preventing it from twisting.

How do you choose a good veterinarian?

Friday, October 22, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

cat-vetYou just got a new pet and you see so many animal hospitals and veterinarians in the area but how do you choose?  Three things that you should be looking for is qualifications, experience and references.  Make sure that you ask lots of questions like what are the office hours?  Will they take emergencies at any hour? Do they keep detailed records on all patients?  Do the doctors take courses to make sure that their pet medication and procedures are up to date?  It is very important to look around the clinic. Is the environment clean and safe?  Always check the recommendations of other pet owners.  Your veterinarian, like your own doctor should be someone that you can rely on. Trust your own instincts.  If you feel uneasy for any reason, keep looking. Never settle on someone that you have doubts about.

Seasonal Sheading

Thursday, October 21, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

dog-snowYou could go through your closets and pick out a warm coat as soon as the weather gets cold. Dogs and cats need a head start to grow that warm winter coat. In order to do this, your dog or cat will start shedding it’s summer coat a few months before it gets cold. There are a few factors that influence the time to start shedding. They are breed, age and temperature.  The most important signal is the change in the amount of daylight. For your dog or cat, the shorter days are signs that they have to get out their winter coat.  As soon as the days get longer again, the winter coats will start coming off.  If your cat is an indoor cat, it will probably shed continually because it’s body can not recognize the change of seasons. Even though your dog will grow his winter coat, it’s a good idea to buy him a nice warm dog coat especially if he has short hair.

Turkey Cat CultureThat’s a lot to digest. So what are the facts?  Some people have the information wrong. Hereditary deafness is one of the major concerns in all white cats. This situation is made worse if the cat also has either one or two blue eyes.  Researchers have found that only 17  to 22 percent of all white cats are born deaf. The percentage goes up to 40% if the cat also has one blue eye and up to 65%  to 85% if both of the cat’s eyes are blue and the cat is all white.  An interesting fact is that if a cat is deaf in only one ear, that ear will be on the same side as the blue eye.  If a cat is deaf in only one ear, you may never know it. They may act and appear normal. There are some precautions that you should take if the cat is deaf in both ears.  Keep them indoors. There are lots of threats outside, dogs, oncoming cars etc. Keep them away from situations where they have to depend on their auditory senses.

If your cat is deaf,  give him lots of love, cat toys and treats and make sure that he is kept out of danger.

A SWEET HAZZARD

Tuesday, October 19, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

dog-flowerAnti freeze, the fluid that makes your car run better in both summer and winter is very dangerous to your pet. Ethylene Glycol is the anti freeze that is commonly used in car radiators and this is extremely toxic to pets. As little as one tablespoon can kill a cat and a couple of ounces can kill a dog.  Animals will  ingest it because it smells and tastes so sweet.  If you have pets, it is vital that you clean up any leaking anti freeze.  If you’re worried that you pet may have ingested some, don’t waste any time. Call your veterinarian or the National Animal Poison Control hot line right away!  Your veterinarian may suggest that you administer hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting. Don’t administer any pet medication on your own. This situation is out of your control just get your pet to a vet as soon as you can!!