Your Pets Count

pet information that caters to your special friend

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May 2021

Archive for May, 2021

Does your cat sometimes behave a little strange? Mine does.  Sometimes in the middle of the night, she meows for no apparent reason. I think that she wants me to get up so she’s not alone. This is attention seeking behavior. She’s sometimes make a racket with her toys in the middle of the night. My cat also pushes things off the night stand. She is telling me that it’s time for me to get up and she doesn’t want me to sleep any longer. I once had a BOSE wave radio on my nightstand. My cat learned how to turn in on, not only that, but she would increase the volume so it sounded like a symphony at 3:00 in the morning. I’m sure that delighted my neighbors! I once watched what she was doing. She would turn the radio on, then looked at me to see if I noticed. If I did not wake up, she would increase the volume with her paw until I literally jumped out of bed! Needless to say, the BOSE is gone. It’s stashed in one of my closets. Great memories of my sweet cat Molly who passed away three years ago.

Remember, your pets count!

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What is Tooth Resorption in Pets?

Sunday, May 16, 2021
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!

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Detecting Cancer in Our Feline Friends

Friday, May 14, 2021
posted by Jim Murphy

Finding out that a loved one has cancer can be a very scary thing. Finding out that loved one is your cat can also be very confusing.  It’s important to realize that different vets may have different ways of dealing with the disease. As with humans, it’s always a good idea to get a second opinion. You want to make sure that your little friend gets the best treatment possible.

Symptoms of cancer in cats may include:

  • Lumps (which are not always malignant, but are always worth having a veterinarian examine)
  • Swelling
  • Persistent sores or skin infections
  • Abnormal discharge from any part of the body
  • Bad breath
  • Listlessness, lethargy or other marked change in behavior
  • Weight loss
  • Sudden lameness
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Scaly and/or red skin patches
  • Decreased or loss of appetite
  • Difficulty breathing, urinating or defecating
  • Change in behavior

(Provided by the ASPCA)

Cancer in cats can be diagnosed at any age but older cats are more prone to it. Certain breeds are prone to specific cancers, but cats with white ears and heads are particularly susceptible to skin cancer. Ask your vet if your cat falls into specific at-risk categories.

Remember, your pets count!

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Cats Fascination with TV

Thursday, May 13, 2021
posted by Jim Murphy

Are your cats included in the Nielsen ratings?  I don’t think so but some cats are fascinated by the television. What is the reason for this? There was a study where cats were shown a variety of images on TV programs. The most popular programs depicted birds, rodents and fish — natural prey for felines. One possible reason that some cats like to watch TV is that they may have a higher prey drive and are more likely to be attracted to the quick movements of objects across the screen. The TV may be a good escape to a cat who is bored.  It a good idea to try to interact with a cat who is “glued” to the TV. They may get frustrated when they realize that they can’t catch the prey that they see on the screen. To distract her, give her some toys to play with. Even though seeing a cat watch TV is cute, you wouldn’t want to encourage her to go after the mouse running around on the TV screen!

Remember, your pets count!

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Dogs are able to track and locate disaster victims using their amazing sense of smell. They have about 200 million scent receptors in their noses. We only have about 5 million. Dogs can sort out smell about 10,000 times better than we can. The longer the nose, the better it works. On the job, search and rescue dogs use two different search modes.  One is air scenting, which involves the dog holding its head up  as it works off lead. They will try to catch the victims scent in the air and follow it to the source.  The other method is ground tracking.  A ground tracking dog sniffs out a specific scent as it works on a lead with his handler.  Keep lots of dog treats on hand when training these dogs.

Remember, your pets count!

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Reasons Cats Hiss

Monday, May 10, 2021
posted by Jim Murphy

As a cat owner, you’ve probably heard your cat hiss or growl at you. Cats hiss or growl when they are feeling threatened by something. Sometimes this behavior can be due to a number of things that may not be directed at you.  Unlike dogs, cats aren’t known as social animals but they do require love too. One reason why a cat may hiss or growl is that it’s upset with its owner. The owner may have been away for awhile on vacation and the cat may hiss or growl at him when he returns home. Your cats hissing is a way that she shows her displeasure.  Give your cat a little time and things will return to normal.

Sometimes a cat will growl or hiss when they have lost another feline friend. This is very normal and a sign of grieving

Remember, your pets count!

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Diarrhea in Cats a Complicated Issue

Saturday, May 8, 2021
posted by Jim Murphy

Our cat Atlantis battles many different ailments including kidney disease, thyroid disease and even digestive issues. I also believe he has inflammatory bowel disease. He has bouts with vomiting and diarrhea. Now we’re in the diarrhea phase. His stools are loose but not frequent and seems like he’s in no pain when he goes. I have him on a simple diet and watch him carefully. If things change, I’ll contact my vet immediately. The Pet Health Network ( has put together a comprehensive article on feline diarrhea.  I’ve included it below.


One of the most common problems we see in veterinary medicine is gastrointestinal (GI) upset/diarrhea. Depending on your cat’s lifestyle, you may or may not be readily aware of the details of her bathroom habits. In addition, cats are very fastidious about grooming so the tell-tale (or tell-tail) signs of diarrhea may be missed—especially in the early stages. For this reason, routine veterinary visits are important.

If you do notice your cat has diarrhea between visits, what could be the cause? When should you worry and consult your veterinarian? What can you do at home? I’ll discuss these answers here.

What are the causes of cat diarrhea?
This would be an exhaustively long list if we went into everything that can cause your cat to have loose stools, but here are some of the general categories:

  • Parasites –  Parasites can definitely irritate your cat’s gastrointestinal, causing all kinds of diarrhea involving the small and/or large bowels. Significant numbers of parasites that cause diarrhea are more common in younger kittens
  • InfectionsViral or bacterial infections can also cause diarrhea and also occur more frequently in younger cats
  • Dietary indiscretion or diet change– Cats tend to be more careful about what they eat than dogs are, but sometimes they do eat inappropriate things like grass, string, etc. Even a purposeful change in diet from one food to another can cause diarrhea
  • Stress– Just like with people, stress/anxiety/excitement can result in GI upset (especially lower bowel irritation or colitis)
  • Primary inflammatory disorders– Like inflammatory bowel disease in people, inflammatory disorders can cause your cat to develop diarrhea
  • Metabolic diseases– From disorders of the pancreas or liver to thyroid imbalances, there are many other problems that upset the motility or environment in the GI tract resulting in diarrhea
  • Medications/toxins– Most know that certain antibiotics can upset the GI tract but other medications and certain toxins can also cause diarrhea
  • Constipation– Constipation may seem counterintuitive, but I mention it because older cats are prone to developing motility problems in their colons leading to constipation. In these cases, the cats often manage to only pass small amount of more liquid stools around the obstruction.

How may you be able to help stop cat diarrhea?
Because there are so many potential causes of diarrhea in cats, you should check with your veterinarian if your cat is having it regularly. Obviously some of these causes need specific therapy, but some of the others may resolve on their own with simple, supportive care. In those cases what might your veterinarian advise you can you do at home?

  • To feed or not to feed? Years ago, many vets always thought that GI upsets required some brief period of fasting to ‘rest’ the bowels. That is true with vomiting, but nowadays, we realize that your cat’s intestines need nutrition in order to heal themselves. So withholding food will not be recommended.
  • What to feed? Increasing fiber intake is an option since it is considered a great ‘equalizer’ (good for constipation but also good for diarrhea). However, I think it is best to go with multiple smaller meals (say 4 a day) of something easily digestible. That means a low fat, mostly carbohydrate diet like potatoes, pasta or rice (with a little bit of chicken), turkey, low fat cottage cheese or yoghurt. Some cats are also happy to eat meat based baby foods.
  • What about over the counter meds? You can find many references to administering kaopectate or Peptobismal® and even Imodium® to your cat for diarrhea. Peptobismal is NOT recommended for use in cats, and determining dosages for the other products can be tricky. So ask what your veterinarian recommends. [Editor’s Note: Never assume human medications are safe for cats.]

When is it time to worry about cat diarrhea?
First of all, you know your cat best. If you are concerned, do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian. Remember that your veterinarian is there to advise you. But be aware that there are some aspects of diarrhea that are more alarming and some consequences that can be quite concerning.

To start with, one way to classify diarrhea is as either small bowel or large bowel diarrhea.

  • With small bowel diarrhea you are more likely to see large volumes or watery diarrhea which can quickly lead to significant dehydration and an electrolyte imbalance.
  • On the other hand, large bowel diarrheas involve the lower bowel or colon so that you more typically see a cat straining and uncomfortable, but passing only small amounts of soft/mucoid/sometimes bloody stool.

Generally, if your cat had one somewhat soft stool but is still happy, playful and eating normally, you can probably safely wait to see what the next bowel movement looks like before taking any major steps. Some of the red flags that should make you more concerned are:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy/depression
  • Pain/discomfort
  • Blood in the stool (either dark, blackish stool or visible, frank, red blood)
  • Associated vomiting
  • Or if your cat is more likely to be quickly compromised by ongoing diarrhea (i.e. very young, very old, or already battling some other medical problem)

In these cases, you should consult with your veterinarian. Even if the ultimate cause of the diarrhea is not anything serious, getting that diagnosis and beginning therapy are important steps. If the diarrhea appears to be the large volume, small bowel type, your cat will likely benefit from at least some supplemental fluid and electrolyte administration and probably other anti-diarrheal medications. With large bowel diarrhea, your cat may be supremely uncomfortable and the continued straining will only make the irritation worse. In that case, your veterinarian can administer medications to ease the discomfort and to make your cat feel better more quickly.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian — they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

Remember, your pets count!

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Detecting Heart Problems In Your Pets

Friday, May 7, 2021
posted by Jim Murphy

If you notice that your cat or dog has shortness of breath, sudden weakness or an extended abdomen don’t take it lightly. It could be a sign of heart disease.  Many times, there are no symptoms. My dog had no symptoms until one day I noticed that he would cough. The coughing and wheezing got worst and when I took him to the vet, it was determined that he had a heart defect from birth which is now threatening his life!  Jonathan Abbot, a cardiologist at the Virginia, Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine says that there are a number of ways that they could diagnose heart disease before your pet shows any signs. Some of these ways are x rays of the chest, electrocardiography, and cardiac ultrasound.  Your vet will also check for a heart murmur and use a blood test to check for heart worm. Once this is diagnosed, there are treatments and pet medication that will enhance both the quality and length of your pets life. So don’t hesitate, have your pet checked now. I waited and although the pet medication worked for about six months, my little dog eventually passed away.

Remember, your pets count!

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An Older Animal Deserves a Chance Too!

Wednesday, May 5, 2021
posted by Jim Murphy

Local animal shelters are filled with cats and dogs abandoned due to various reasons. It really bothers me how many people got rid of their pets for financial reasons yet maintain an unlimited cellphone plan and mindlessly text all day! The fact is that many people will not adopt an older cat or dog for fear that it only has a few years to live. Remember cats can live as long as 20 years, so if you adopt a twelve year old cat and if it’s in good health, you can have eight good years with it. Giving a second chance to an abandoned older cat or dog is a very rewarding experience. Perhaps, as the holiday season comes to an end, we can bring in 2015 by  really helping the animal shelters and adopting a needy animal. If you cannot adopt a pet due to allergies or financial reasons, animal shelters could use old blankets, food or anything else that you can donate. Spend your money on cat toys or a pet carrier instead of paying for minutes to mindlessly texting and playing with social media  all day. Now that’s really making a difference!

Remember, your pets count!

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Pets, Camping and Snakes

Tuesday, May 4, 2021
posted by Jim Murphy

Even though your pet enjoys the outdoors, he may tread on dangerous ground.  You decide to take your dog camping with you. He loves being out in the woods or field but poisonous snakes can go with the territory. Dr. Fred Omi, a Veterinarian at Kansas State University says that not all snake bites are alike.  He says that only half of the bites given to dogs or cats by snakes are injections of venim. The rest are called “dry” bites where the snake bites but does not inject the venum into the dog or cat.  Don’t overreact but never ignore your pets snakebite. Don’t attempt to administer pet medication yourself. See your veterinarian right away, he will determine whether the bite needs further treatment.

Remember, your pets count!

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