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Archive for March, 2012

When a snake bites your dog or cat

Saturday, March 31, 2012
posted by Jim Murphy

Venomous snakes such as Rattlesnakes and Watermoccasins are very common across the southwest and southeast. Thousands of pets are bitten every year, especially in out of the way dry, rocky or swamp areas. Signs of a snake bite include rapid swelling near the site of the bite, often on the animals head or face. Fang marks in the middle of the swelling area, oozing of bloody fluid,  acute pain, lethargy, weakness and in some cases, total collapse. Venom potency varies from species to species and many bites are not fatal. Even so, venom can cause great harm to bodily systems. Any animal bitten by a poisonous snake should be rushed to an animal clinic as quickly as possible.

Remember, your pets count!

The latest on dog leashes

Friday, March 30, 2012
posted by Jim Murphy

The best leash allows you to communicate with your dog and keep him under control. A six foot leather or nylon lead is the standard for taking walks and basic obedience training. Nylon can be rough on your hands but is more durable than leather. Avoid chain leashes, which can injure you or your dog. Also avoid leashes with decorations that can come off and choke your dog. Retractable leads can come in links up to twenty six feet. They’re great for giving your dog more freedom and teaching him to come when called. Look for one with non slip handles, a sturdy lock with a quick release, a smooth rewind and reflective tape to keep you both visible at night. Bigger dogs need wider leashes, so know your dog’s approximate weight.

Remember, your pets count!

Keep a close eye on your pet

Wednesday, March 28, 2012
posted by Jim Murphy

Are you comfortable letting your dog run around the yard without any supervision? In most cases, this is fine but you should always keep an eye on him. Some negligent owners will let their dog run in the yard and then get involved with chores, TV and a host of other things that even includes leaving the house to go to the grocery store! I read an article in today’s paper where a pit bull was let outside and got his head stuck in a truck tire. It took hours to finally get him free. The dog was in pain and very frightened.  If you let your dog out in the yard, make sure that you check on him frequently as accidents do happen.

Remember, your pets count!

Pet jaw trouble

Tuesday, March 27, 2012
posted by Jim Murphy

The TMJ Joint is a hinged jaw that lets your jaw open and close. Problems with it can occur in pets as well as people.  Inflammation, developmental structure and trauma are a few ways that your pet can end up with a TMJ that isn’t functioning properly. As a result, your pet may be unable to eat without pain or in a severe case, may be unable to open his  mouth at all.  Problems with TMJ are generally diagnosed by a pet dentist through radiography or CT scans. It’s important to investigate TMJ problems promptly because many get worse over time and can cause discomfort for your pet until they are treated. For more information, talk to your veterinarian.

Remember, your pets count!

Tooth resorption in pets

Sunday, March 25, 2012
posted by Jim Murphy

Tooth resorption is a dental condition in which an animal develops a lesion around the root of a tooth. It can appear to be a tooth fracture, or be hidden beneath the gum line. Tooth resorption occurs commonly in cats, about one in two cats have it. Feline dentists check for the condition routinely. Dogs can acquire the problem as well, but rarely do. If you notice a change in your pets eating habits and increased salivation, consider taking your pet to the veterinarian. He or she will take x rays to determine the affected teeth and stage of disease. Treatment may involve tooth extraction. To find out more, talk to your veterinarian or a veterinary dental specialist.

Remember, your pets count!

Is your dog stressed out?

Saturday, March 24, 2012
posted by Jim Murphy

Just like people, dogs can become stressed out. New people or animals in the household, travel, confinement, owner separation and fear of thunderstorms are all common causes of canine stress. Symptoms may range from mild whining or a loss of appetite to inappropriate eliminations and all out panic attacks.  Nervous dogs may tremble, bark and even show destructive behavior. If your dog appears to be stressed out, your veterinarian could rule out physical problems, and if necessary, prescribe anti-anxiety drugs and behavior modification techniques. Maintaining a regular schedule of feeding, long walks and playtime can also go a long way to keeping your  dog’s stress at bay.

Remember, your pets count!

Your pets kidneys

Friday, March 23, 2012
posted by Jim Murphy

The kidneys remove excess water and waste from the blood.  Kidney functions diminishes slowly with age. In older dogs and cats, kidney failure is a leading cause of illness. Damaged kidneys are less able to concentrate urine so the body needs more fluid. Increased thirst and urination are often the first signs of kidney disease. As the  disease progresses, pets lose weight and their appetite. They play less, sleep more and may exhibit constipation and nausea.  By the time most owners notice these changes, most kidney function is already lost. There is no cure for chronic kidney failure,but your veterinarian can help slow it’s progression and improve it’s quality of life.

Remember, your pets count!

Monitor your cats water intake

Wednesday, March 21, 2012
posted by Jim Murphy

It’s essential that your cat get enough water to keep him from dehydrating and becoming ill. Cats are not like dogs who drink lots of water at one time. Cats like cold, fresh water. Lots of cats like to drink the running water from a faucet or a bathtub. I allow my cats to do this. Monitor your cat’s water intake. If your cat isn’t getting enough water, you should consider feeding him some wet canned food. I feed my cats on can of Fancy Feast per day along with their regular dry food. The canned food will cause you cat to take in larger amounts of water and more protein. The canned food generally contains a higher percentage of protein than dry food. You should always look at the labels of all the food that you would feed to your cat. Feeding your cat wet or moist food could prevent bladder issues later in life.

Remember, your pets count!

Osteoarthritis and nutrition

Tuesday, March 20, 2012
posted by Jim Murphy

As our pets age, they can develop osteoarthritis.  It’s also know as degenerative joint disease. Osteoarthritis occurs when  cartilage wears away leaving bones to rub against each other creating lots of pain. Larger dogs with a pre-disposition for hip dysplasia, may be more prone to this condition.  The good news is that this condition can be prevented by giving your dog good nutrition starting while he is still a puppy.  Omega 3 fatty acids in the diet can benefit the immune system and inflammatory response. Portion control is also very important.  Feeding too much calcium and calories are known risk factors. Keeping your dog lean can minimize the development of this condition and alleviate stress on the joints if osteoarthritis is already present.

Remember, your pets count!

A dangerous disease for your dog

Sunday, March 18, 2012
posted by Jim Murphy

Canine Leishmaniasis is a potentially fatal disease that is caused by a parasite. Dogs can become infected when bitten by an infected sand fly. Sand flies become infected by biting an already infected animal. Some signs of Leishmaniasis include dry skin, dandruff, hair loss around the eyes and muzzle and skin sores, especially on the dogs head and legs. Severe weight loss is another symptom. This disease was recently discovered in hunting packs of fox hounds in the south eastern United States. In areas with infected sand flies, dogs should wear collars impregnated with insecticide. They should stay indoors when sand flies  are most active from just before sunset until sun up.

Remember, your pets count!