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Archive for May, 2011

When your dog gets a fever

Thursday, May 19, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

dog-left-aloneDetecting a fever in a dog can be difficult. Some signs to look for are lethargy and panting. If your dog does have a fever, he may also refuse his food.  A dogs normal temperature at rest is between 99.5 and 102.5 degrees. This number can climb higher when your dog has some kind of medical problem. Anything higher than 104 degrees requires an immediate call to your veterinarian.The most common cause for fever in dogs is infection, particularly from a wound or abscessed tooth. The most accurate way to detect a fever in your dog is to use a rectal thermometer.  Ask your veterinarian to show you how. Do not try to do it by yourself or never administer any pet medication with your vets advice.

Dog selection guide

Wednesday, May 18, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

dog-sleeping-flowersThe best dog selection guide is free. When considering a dog, be aware that each breed has been designed for a specific purpose.  Its instincts, needs and characteristics should be compatible with your lifestyle. Appearances should not be your only consideration. That cute puppy that was bred to chase rats might also want to dig up your  yard! A guard dog might bark with little provocation and hunting dogs can crave lots of exercise.  Other things to consider are intelligence, grooming requirements, food and accessories like toys and dog crate costs. You should also consider shedding, adult size and how much stimulation you’ll need to provide.  By doing your homework ahead of time, you will be able to insure a long, happy relationship with your new pet.

cat-toiletThere are times that your cat may stop using his litter box. You’ll find that he’ll go right outside the box or in another room. What causes this? There are several things to consider. Did you change the brand of litter recently?  Cats are sensitive and if they don’t like the new litter, they may not want to go in it. If they stop using their box, something is bothering them. In my case, my younger cat stopped using her box because my older, dominant cat would block her and swat her if she went near the box. The solution was to get a second litter box and put it in another room. This worked, now both of my cats are back using their litter boxes.

If your cat is straining in the litter box, or visiting the litter box repeatedly without producing anything or producing tiny drops, there is a good chance that he/she has a urinary tract infection and needs to be seen by a vet. Otherwise, try making the following adjustments:

  • Try a different brand of litter. Cats have very sensitive noses and ofter dislike any perfume or chemical odors.
  • Get a larger box and more of them. Sometimes the box is too small. More boxes is better than having poop or pee on the floor.
  • Try moving the box to a more private yet accessible area.
  • Put the box in the area where he’s peeing or pooping.
  • Take out any plastic liners and remove any covering.
  • Spray feliway where they are going. This is a cat pheromone you can find in many pet stores, and online. It calms cats and keeps them from marking. Spray where they tend to go pee.
  • Keep their box very clean and scoop every day and clean it out once per week.
  • Don’t yell at him or punish him if you find that he’s not using his box. There is a reason for it, you just have to figure out what it is.

Spaying your cat

Sunday, May 15, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

cat-vetUnless you want to breed your cat, you should consider spaying your female cat shortly after you adopt her. Lots of times, females are already spayed before they are put up for adoption.

The spay surgery procedure is routine. It’s abdominal surgery that is performed under general anesthesia.  Your cats belly will be shaved and cleansed and an incision will be made a few inches below her belly button. The veterinarian will remove both ovaries as well as her uterus. Several layers of stitches are used to close the incision internally. Your veterinarian may also close the outside incision with stitches or use surgical adhesive.  After the surgery, your cat will no longer go through the heat cycles and will no longer be able to get pregnant.

Even though the spaying procedure, is very routine, it is still major surgery requiring general anesthesia. Your veterinarian will take numerous measures to keep your cat safe such as checking her heart and lungs before administering the anesthesia. She will be monitored constantly while she is asleep.

Your cat will come home either the day of the surgery or the day after. She will be groggy. Make sure that  she is kept indoors, in a warm safe, quiet room away from other pets. Before you know it, she will be jumping again playing with her cat toys again!

Heart disease in dogs

Saturday, May 14, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

cute-puppy-and-kittenMost owners never suspect heart disease in dogs or cats. I had a situation where my dog developed a cough. At first, it seemed like nothing serious but it was turned out to be a serious heart condition which eventually killed him. So what are the signs that you should look for to determine whether your dog has a heart problem?  The first sign that most owners notice is a cough. The reason for this is because enlarged, failing hearts allow fluid to back up in to the lungs and also press on the wind pipe.

Some other signs to look for is if your dog is unusually listless or tired,  rapid breathing, poor appetite, enlarged tummy, pale or bluish gums and a rapid, weak pulse.  Many pets may have a heart murmur which was the case with my dog.  Heart murmurs occur when a passage through the heart becomes too narrow or too wide. In middle aged cats or dogs, it means that the valve is not working properly.

If you notice any of these symptoms, take your pet to the vet right away. Your vet will perform tests to determine whether or not your dog or cat has a heart condition. In some cases, he may recommend pet medication. I had my dog on two different kinds of medication. His condition was advanced and on the medication, I was only able to prolong is life for six months.

The senior cat

Friday, May 13, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

older-catCats don’t receive mail from AARP, retirement centers or medicare.  Somewhere between the ages 7 and 12, they begin to show that they’re aging. As with humans, age is all relative. The old notion that one cat year is equal to 7 of ours is not reliable at all. A one year old cat is similar to a teenager.  A two year old cat is about 21 in human years. Each following cat year equal about 4 human years.  To reverse comparison, a 52 year old person is similar time wise to a 10 year old cat. A 65 year old person is about 13 in cat years.  You could say that 73 is the new 15 in cat years. How many cat years are you? Don’t  ask your cat, he’ll just meow to tell you it’s time for his cat treats!

The infectious cat

Thursday, May 12, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

cat-beerA healthy cat is a harmless cat but humans can be susceptible to some ailments that are spread by sick cats.  These illness are called zoonotic diseases because they jump across species.  Cat Scratch fever, is the most common disease that is spread from cats to humans. A scratch or bite from a sick cat can cause flu like symptoms. Salmonella may be spread to humans through kitty litter.  Rabies is the most dangerous of all zoonotic diseases. This is why it is very important to have your cat vaccinated.  Common sense hygiene and continuous kitty litter cleaning will spare cat owners from most threats.  Remember you’re far more likely to catch a disease from another person than from a cat. Keeping your cat indoors and in  a clean environment will help your cat stay healthy. Clean your kitty litter regularly and keep up with shots and regular checkups.

The Chihuahua cover up

Wednesday, May 11, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

chihuahua-blanketChihuahua’s dogs have lots of personality. They are loving, emotional and smart! One of their most endearing habits is to snuggle under blankets or clothing to sleep.We really don’t know why they do this but there are several theories.One is that it may be a natural instinct.  It’s behavior encoded in their genes.  Their wild ancestor’s probably slept and raised their young in burrows. It’s also possible that snuggling under blankets will make these little dogs feel safe and secure. Perhaps it’s just warm and cozy. Chihuahua’s especially the smooth coated variety don’t have mush hair and get cold easily. Whatever the reason, Chihuahua owners have to be careful not to sit on a dog hidden beneath a throw or  comforter.  Get a comfortable dog bed and maybe your Chihuahua will sleep there instead of  hiding in unsafe places.

Flowers that are poisonous to your cat

Tuesday, May 10, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

cat-flowerSpring is here and if your cat ventures outdoors, there are some flowers that can harm him. Here is a list of some plants and flowers and some of the affects that they can have on your cat.

  • Amaryllis- can cause stomach and intestinal upset (vomiting, diarrhea).
  • Cactus  – Can punctures your cat’s skin and cause an infection
  • Caladium – causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, shaking head and difficulty breathing.
  • Easter Lily – All parts can cause kidney failure.
  • Dieffenbachia – Affects central nervous system.
  • Ivy- can cause vomiting, diarrhea and excitable behavior.
  • Philodendron  –  causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, shaking head and difficulty breathing.
  • Poinsettia  – causes vomiting, diarrhea, blistering in the mouth and difficulty breathing.

It’s always best to keep your cat indoors. If he does go out and exhibits any of these symptoms, get him to an animal hospital immediately. Never try to administer any pet medication yourself. Wasted time could mean the life or death or your pet.

Special care for your senior dog

Sunday, May 8, 2011
posted by Jim Murphy

dog-glassesWhen dogs age, there are a number of conditions that could limit their responses to you.Partial hearing loss or even deafness can occur. When your dog loses his hearing, he may not run over and great you when you come home.  They will continue to lie down until they feel the vibration of your feet on the floor as you come toward them.  Impaired vision or even blindness can occur. You may a first notice this in the evening when the lighting is poor. The cause for this is sclerosis in the lenses of the eyes or cataracts. Your pet may have trouble recognizing you because all he’s seeing is shadows. Sometimes, older dogs develop a kind of mental disorientation which is called cognitive dysfunction. They may be restless or wander around the house. Some will go into a corner and not know how to get out. Some dogs will bark at nothing.

Your older dog should be evaluated by your veterinarian every six months or so. He will monitor his condition and prescribe the proper treatment or pet medication if necessary. Remember to be patient and always give him plenty of tender loving care!