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November 2010

Archive for November, 2010

When your dog goes for a “scoot” or two

Wednesday, November 17, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

dog-scootYou’re in the process of making dinner and your guests are about to arrive. Your dog comes into the kitchen and goes for a “scoot.”  She sits on her behind and drags her rear across the floor. What does this mean? It means that she’s probably itchy. One of two things may be going on.  The most common cause of itchy bottoms in dogs is clogged anal glands.  When you dog defecates, her anal glands deposit secretions on the stool.  These secretions will help other dogs recognize who your dog is, her age and her gender. Sometimes these glands get clogged and need to be treated by a veterinarian. There is another possible reason for bottom scooting. It could be tape worm. If you notice worm segments that look like long grains of rice in your dog’s feces,  bring a stool sample to your veterinarian for testing. There is some pet medication that could help. So don’t ignore that scoot.

Cats that chew on cloth or other fabrics

Tuesday, November 16, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

cat-picaMost of the time a cat, unlike a dog, a cat won’t chew on anything other than their food. Sometimes you will encounter a cat with a very strange behavior problem.  They will chew on wool, plastic or other materials.  There is a term for this behavior. It’s called Pica and it’s an eating disorder. It means that a cat will crave to eat other items besides their food. Siamese cats and other oriental breeds are the most frequent offenders.  Almost any mixed breed cat can have this problem.  Cats with Pica, will  bite telephone cords, plastic items or even pantie hose.  Veterinarians aren’t really sure why cats do this but Pica seems like a obsessive compulsive disorder.  An interesting fact is that some cats respond to the same drugs that are used to treat obsessive compulsive disorders in humans.  These cats may also crave ruffage so maybe it would be a good idea to plant a garden just for the cat suffering from Pica. Your cat will play with their cat toys but usually craves to eat the other items described earlier.

Leptospirosis in dogs

Monday, November 15, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

golden-doodleLeptospirosis is a potentially deadly bacterial disease.  It’s spread by the urine of infected animals. This disease damages a dogs liver and kidney. It will give him soreness, lethargy and fever. Some other symptoms are vomiting and bloody urine.  The good news is that there is a vaccine available. At this point, the vaccine does not protect against all strains of Leptospirosis.

Some ways to protect your dog is to keep him away from stagnant water and rodents.  Watch for flu like symptoms.  If your dog does become infected, your veterinarian will like administer pet medication such as penicillin to clear up the bloodstream and then after the kidney has recovered, give your dog a course of drugs called tetracycline. The dog may become dehydrated so intravenous fluids may also be needed. If you do notice any symptoms, don hesitate. Get your dog to the vet right away.

My spiteful kitty!

Sunday, November 14, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy
Mollie, my spiteful kitty!

Mollie, my spiteful kitty!

Actually, cats are not spiteful creatures but if something in their little world gets out of balance, you will notice some behavior changes. This weekend, I had a guest visiting. My guest is not comfortable around cats and my older cat, Mollie senses this. It came time for bedtime. I had my guest stay in our guest bedroom. My guest closed the door and went to bed. During the night, I heard scratching at the guest room door. It was Mollie reminding my guest that this was her house and that nobody belonged in that bedroom.

This morning, my guest told me that when she got up to use the bathroom during the night, there was Mollie blocking the doorway and meowing. Mollie clearing was saying that my guest had no business using the bathroom!

Later this morning, I noticed a stain on the floor next to the guest bedroom door and another one in front of the guest bathroom door. I got out the pet stain remover and as I leaned over to remove it, I realize that the stain was urine! Molly decided that clawing at the guest bedroom door, meowing and blocking the bathroom door wasn’t enough to emphasize the fact that my guest wasn’t welcome. So she peed to make sure that my guest got the message!

My guest left later this morning and all is well in Mollies little world again.

Puppy Vaccinations

Saturday, November 13, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

very-cute-puppyAs soon as you get your puppy, you should consider getting him vaccinated.  He first vaccinations will help him build up immunity to disease.  What shots should your puppy get? Most dogs receive the rabies shot as well as combination vaccine called DHLPP.  It’s administered as a series of shots and will guard your pup against diseases like distemper,  hepatitis, leptosporosis, parainfluenza, and parvo virus.  In order to keep his immunity up, your dog will probably get these shots for the rest of his life. Always talk to your veterinarian about what is best for your pet.  Your vet may recommend that your adult dog get vaccinated less frequently.  Depending on where you live or when you are planning on going with your dog, he may also need to be vaccinated against kennel cough, corona, lyme disease or giardia.

In addition to his vaccinations, make sure your pup is given the proper food and lots of exercise and play time. He should have a dog crate, dog water bowl and lots of dog toys to play with.

Good luck!

The Cat and the crow

Thursday, November 11, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

cat-crowHaving cat and bird in the same room usually spells disaster. The two are naturally enemies right?  Well here’s some proof in very rare circumstances, the two could actually get along. In this heart warming video, a kitten receives guidance, nurturing and friendship from, of all creatures, a crow. The two become best friends.  This situation occurred because the kitten apparently, was separated from it’s mother and would not have survived without the mothering and friendship of  his friend, the crow.  If you own a cat, don’t run out and buy a bird just yet. The two probably will not get along and you will be minus one bird before you know it.  Your cat will get enough exercise playing with his cat toys!

Click link to view video!

The cat and the crow

Heartworm in dogs

Wednesday, November 10, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

dogs-greetingHeart worms are parasites.  In their adult form, they pose a very serious threat to dogs.  These worm like parasites can infest a dogs heart and all of the large arteries that go to it’s lungs.  Mosquitoes  are the culprits as they carry the heart worm larvae.  It’s transmitted to dogs by biting them.  The season where heart worm infection is common is spring and summer when the mosquitoes are out. In some areas of the country, heart worm is a risk all year long. Symptoms include coughing, weight loss and lethargy. Unfortunately, this disease can be fatal.  The good news is that it’s very preventable.  If your dog is at risk for heart worm, your vet will suggest very affective pet medication to prevent this disease.

How does your dog see?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

dog-glassesWe know that a dogs sense of smell is much better than ours.  What about the way he sees?  When it comes to low light, he could see about three times better than us. This is because his pupils are large and he has many more rods than cones in his retina.  His peripheral vision is also much better than ours.  He can see roughly 250 degrees.  We see colors much better that our dogs as well as sharper images.  What dogs see at 20 feet, we could see clearly at 75 feet.  Canine eyes lack one of the three sets of receptors found in human eyes.  So don’t think that your dog will see the color of the big red dog toy you bought him for Christmas. Dogs don’t see reds and greens. They do see blues and yellows.

Cat Scratch Fever

Monday, November 8, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

cat-in-carIs Cat Scratch Fever something that you should worry about?  It is true that getting scratched by a cat can lead to health problems.  But usually, there’s no need to get alarmed.  The disease is now known as Cat Scratch Disease and it’s caused by bacteria that can be transmitted from an infected cat to a human through a scratch or a bite.  Most of these cases are children who have been scratched my a kitten. Feral cats and kittens are more likely to carry this disease. Don’t try to touch or hold a feral cat without knowing the cats background. If you’ve been feeding  it and giving it treats for a while, you may be confident that it will not scratch or bite if held. Don’t get too confident.

The symptoms of Cat Scratch Fever are an infected wound, swelling of the lymph nodes and a fever.  In most cases, the disease is mild and no treatment is usually needed. However people with depressed immune systems should see a doctor because they may need antibiotics.

What does it take to become a veterinarian?

Sunday, November 7, 2010
posted by Jim Murphy

vet-animalIf you’re thinking of becoming a veterinarian, be prepared for years of schooling. If you are seriously considering this career, ask yourself if you are interested in animals and the natural world and do you do well in biology classes?  If the answers to these questions are yes, then study hard and consider interning for a local veterinarian. Admission to a veterinarian school is very competitive as there are fewer than sixty such schools in the country. After you graduate, there are lots of possible career paths that you could take.  Anywhere you find animals, you’ll find vets.  You’ll find them at zoo’s to movie sets.  In addition to working in a clinic or in private practice, a veterinarian could choose to work in the bio technology field. You may be interested in working on developing new pet medication and choose a research career in a lab. Maybe you would prefer working in public health or in animal shelters. Whatever you do, be prepared to study long and hard but the rewards outweigh the work involved in getting there.