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September 2022

Archive for September, 2022

Using Ultra Sound for Determining Pet Illness

Monday, September 19, 2022
posted by Jim Murphy

Ultra sound is one of the most useful tools in veterinary medicine. It provides a three dimensional image of an animals entire abdomen. With this low stress, non invasive procedure a veterinarian gets a clear picture of every organ. Thomas Baker of the UC Davis Veterinary Teaching Hospital and a Veterinarian specializing in Ultra Sound technology says that the signs of an illness available in digital images can help a veterinarian pinpoint the problem early on. He says that the ultra sound enhances the clinical thought of the veterinarian. Using the information provided with ultrasound, your veterinarian can customize treatment to meet your pets specific needs.  Diagnosis can be made early increasing your pets life and reducing the cost of pet medication that may not be treating the specific problem.

Remember, pets are family!

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Cat Hissing, is it Always a Negative Sound?

Sunday, September 18, 2022
posted by Jim Murphy

We’ve been feeding a sweet stray cat who comes to our porch every morning. She also loves to be pet after she eats. The other day I noticed that when I was petting her, I heard a gentle hiss. She was obvious not upset since she came up to me, hunched her back and rubbed on my leg.

Pet MD has prepared a comprehensive guide to cat hissing. In some cases it may mean that they are unfamiliar with you rather than angry.

You may think hissing in cats is a sign of hostility or animosity, but it’s actually a normal way for cats to express fear.

The most common cause of hissing in cats is friction between two unneutered male cats, or between a male cat that’s not neutered and a female cat that’s not spayed that are looking for a potential mate.

Cats can also hiss at people. If your cat hisses when you or another person attempts to handle them, they likely feel threatened. Your cat may also hiss during a vet visit, perhaps while being restrained by the doctor or technicians.

While hissing is normal, it’s a good idea to determine the cause so you can give your cat space and make changes to your cat’s environment if they are scared or stressed. You should also always investigate excessive hissing with your veterinarian to make sure it’s not your cat’s way of telling you that they are in pain or that something else is wrong.

What Does Cat Hissing Sound Like?

Cat hissing is a common behavior that sounds like the hiss of a snake or the sound of air leaking from a car tire. Feline behaviorists believe cats learned how to hiss by mimicking snakes as a survival technique in the wild.

When a cat hisses, they release a sudden burst of air through their mouth, which causes the hissing noise. If you’re close enough to the cat’s face, you can actually feel the air coming out of their mouth when they’re hissing.

A hiss can also change based on the given situation. A hiss can range from a silent, open-mouth hiss that is more a visual sign of unhappiness, to an aggressive his with full-on spitting. Common behaviors that occur with hissing are:

  • Mouth open with tongue curled
  • Ears flattened
  • Back arched
  • Hairs standing on end (also called piloerection)

Cat Hissing vs. Growling

Sometimes a hiss may be confused with a growl. Growling and hissing are natural behaviors, and both help your cat to communicate. A hiss occurs with the mouth wide open and teeth showing. It is a forceful breath out, with a hard stop. A growl often starts with an “mmmm” sound and then becomes low and long, with the sound originating in the throat.

Why Do Cats Hiss?

Hissing is an expression of discomfort, fear, or stress. Some of the top reasons cat hiss include:

  • Feeling threatened by or fearful of people
  • Confrontation with other animals
  • Protecting their kittens
  • Being in an unfamiliar situation or meeting an unfamiliar animal
  • Stress
  • Physical pain or anticipation of pain
  • Displeasure or annoyance

Cat hissing is more defensive than offensive, whether it’s directed at other animals or at humans. When your cat hisses, they are saying they need space from whatever they’re directing the hiss at.

Why Do Kittens Hiss?

Kittens also hiss sometimes from rough play. If another cat or another kitten is playing too rough, your kitten may hiss as a way of telling the other cat to stop. This play hiss is generally a shorter hiss than the defensive hiss of older cats. Your kitten might also respond to a sudden loud noise by jumping up and hissing, with all their fur standing on end.

Why Do Mother Cats Hiss?

Mother cats are very protective of their kittens. They will hiss when someone comes too close to them, whether it’s a person, another cat, or any other animal. Even the sweetest, most social cat will hiss during a calm interaction with their kittens.

Do Some Cat Breeds Hiss More Than Others?

Although cats can be extremely lovable and sweet, some breeds tend to have a somewhat feistier temperament, which can make them more likely to hiss:

  • Siamese
  • Sphynx
  • Bombay
  • Bengal
  • Scottish Fold
  • Pixie Bob
  • Egyptian Mau
  • American Wirehair
  • Korat
  • Singapura
  • Cymric

Why Do Cats Hiss at Each Other?

Hissing is almost always a sign that a cat that feels mistreated, provoked, insecure, uncomfortable, threatened, or pressured in some way.

The common misconception is that the cat that hisses is teasing or taunting the other cat, dog, or person. In actuality, hissing is often a signal that the cat wants to avoid a physical confrontation. In cat-to-cat behavior, the cat that hisses regularly is almost always the victim or the one being chased or antagonized.

Common scenarios for cats to hiss at each other include:

  • A female cat with a litter of kittens may hiss, growl, chase, swat, or try to bite another cat who approaches, even one she was formerly friendly with.
  • Two unneutered male cats or an unneutered male and an intact female commonly hiss at each other when they are looking for mates.
  • Cats are territorial and will hiss at other cats to assert dominance, especially when a new cat is introduced to their surroundings.
  • After a trip to the vet, it is common for the returning cat to be picked on and hissed at by their housemates. Cats communicate through sight, sound, and scent.
  • Cats will hiss to redirect aggression or when they anticipate pain.

What If My Cat Hisses at a New Kitten?

Cats may also hiss at new kittens to establish boundaries, especially when the older cat’s boundaries are being pushed. A hiss is a quick way for that older cat to tell the kitten to stop.

Socialization as a kitten is an important part of growing up. Kittens who don’t have an opportunity to play and interact with littermates may exhibit more dominant behaviors because they didn’t learn limitations or develop self-control.

Why Is My Cat Hissing at the New Pet?

If your cat is reacting to a big change like a new pet, make gradual, supervised introductions, and most of all, be patient. Give your cat a space in the house that’s all their own so they can feel safe.

Even after your cat is well-acquainted with a new family member, they may still hiss and growl more than normal until they fully trust that they are safe around the new pet.

Why Is My Cat Hissing at My Dog?

There are many reasons your cat might be hissing at your dog. In general, cats do not like confrontation with other animals, and hissing is a way to tell a possible aggressor to keep their distance. Hissing between dogs and cats can also be a territorial behavior when a new cat or dog is introduced to the family.

Why Is My Cat Hissing at Me?

Your cat might hiss at you because they’re annoyed with you. They may not want to be petted right then, or it may be because you’re trying to pick them up when they don’t want you to.

This type of hissing is also common if you have small children at home who don’t know when to leave the cat alone. As with other cats, your cat may also hiss at you because they feel threatened or anticipate pain.

Here are some other things you may do to cause your cat to hiss:

  • Trying to trim their nails or groom them
  • Forcing your cat into a carrier for travel
  • Having the smell of an unfamiliar dog or cat on you
  • Vacuuming or using some other noisy household appliance

Hissing is a natural reaction to a situation; it’s not something that your cat thinks about doing. It doesn’t mean your cat dislikes you or that your cat is aggressive. It’s a warning that your cat may have to resort to aggression if the perceived threat doesn’t back off. Provoking a hissing cat will likely lead to scratching and biting.

Physical pain is one of the less common reasons for a cat to hiss. However, your cat might hiss if you are touching them in an area that hurts them. To determine whether a hiss is due to pain or simply fear, it’s important to be observant and have your cat examined by your veterinarian.

Why Is My Cat Randomly Hissing at Nothing?

Cat are sometimes upset by new or unfamiliar things, including people, objects, or changes in environment. This fear or discomfort can prompt hissing at what might appear to be nothing, but in reality, there is a real trigger.

You can ease their fear by slowly introducing and desensitizing them to a new home or new things in their home environment. With a little bit of time and love, your cat will start to feel comfortable.

What Should I Do If My Cat Hisses?

In the short term, the safest thing to do is back away from a hissing cat to avoid getting scratched or bitten.

Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Give them space and let them hide so they feel secure. Do not stare at your cat or try to hold them or comfort them.
  2. Make sure your cat has plenty of escape routes from other animals/pets and places to hide. Cat condos, perches, cat trees, and other high spaces are perfect, as they allow them safe spots where they can calm down.
  3. Give your cat time. Cats may take hours to calm down.
  4. When they are calm, coax your cat out with food and/or catnip and positive reinforcement. Rewards like toys, treats, or canned food can sometimes help relieve the anxiety and stress associated with cat hissing.

Have Your Cat Checked Out for Health Issues

If you’re in doubt about what your cat’s hissing means, or you see behavior that’s out of the ordinary, schedule an appointment as soon as possible with your veterinarian for your cat to be examined.

A cat who hisses excessively and frequently should be evaluated by a veterinarian to rule out pain or discomfort. Other signs that your cat’s hissing may be caused by a medical problem include:

  • Poor appetite
  • Low energy
  • Reclusiveness (hiding) or other changes in behavior
  • Hissing when you pet them in certain areas (possible pain)

Help Your Cat Feel Less Stressed

If all medical issues have been ruled out, there are plenty of ways you can make your cat feel safe and at ease in their environment.

Give them time to acclimate to any new situation. Understanding your cat’s triggers (like being bothered by the dog) will also help prevent unnecessary injuries.

Daily enrichment that uses physical and mental energy (e.g., interactive toys, catnip, hiding boxes, cat trees, window bird feeders, “kitty” TV, and even supervised outdoor activity) is great for helping decrease stress and anxiety in your cat.

Consider pheromone therapy, like Feliway classic plug-in diffuser and/or spray to assist with anxiety and stress, or Feliway Multi to help with multi-cat issues. Pheromone products should be used in a location where your cat spends most of their time. You can also try behavioral supplements like Solliquin or Composure.

You may also want to ask your vet for a recommendation for an animal behaviorist who specializes in helping people understand their pets’ behavior. They can help analyze your specific situation and provide tactics to try to alleviate your cat’s stress.

Remember, pets are family!

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Large Dogs in The Big City?

Friday, September 16, 2022
posted by Jim Murphy

According to Dr. Timothy Mann, a New York City veterinarian, dogs, energy levels and temperament are more important than factors and size. Some large dogs don’t need a big living space if you provide other opportunities for exercise.  He says that St. Bernards and even great  Danes can all live comfortably in the city. The need regular long walks or a run in a dog park. Then, when they come home, they will be content just lying around. Greyhounds will surprise you. They like to run when they have a chance but they are big couch potatoes! Just give them enough exercise outside and they’ll do fine.

st-bernardThere are advantages to having smalls breeds in apartments or condominiums. Some small dogs can even be trained to use a litter box or fake grass on a balcony so you don’t have to worry about rushing downstairs or waiting for the elevator. Apartments are usually too small to accommodate a dog exercise pen, so it’s important that you take your little one out often for exercise.

Remember, pets are family!

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A Couple of Unique Beautiful Cats

Thursday, September 15, 2022
posted by Jim Murphy

The most common cat in America is the domestic short hair. This kind has no pedigree. Each cats behavior is personality driven.  Your really never know how one will behave until you bring it home.  Among the purebred cats, two of the most different are rag dolls and Bengals. Benjamin Hart, a professor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California’s School of Veterinary Medicine says that Rag Dolls are generally very friendly and affectionate but very placid. Dr Hart says that Bengals are the opposite of placid. They are energetic, active and always ready to play. He says that they were bred to look like a wild cat or a miniature leopard. They are loving and loyal but Bengals are not lap cats. So if you have a Bengal, get lots of cat toys are start playing!

Remember, pets are family!

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Taking an Aggressive Dog the the Vet

Wednesday, September 14, 2022
posted by Jim Murphy

If your dogs behavior is so inappropriate, your veterinarian may refer you to an veterinary behaviorist. This is an expert who deals with dogs and cats behaving badly. Jerry Flanigan, a Behaviorist with Carolina Veterinary Specialists says that if your dog or cat suffers from separation anxiety or acts out in other destructive ways, a behaviorist will develop an action plan based on your pets history and issues. Then it’s up to you to do the majority of the work making the appropriate changes to encourage better pet behavior. A reminder never punish you pet by putting him in his pet carrier, you will defeat the purpose plus create lots of anxiety for your pet!

Remember, pets are family!

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When Dog Barking Be a Problem with Neighbors

Tuesday, September 13, 2022
posted by Jim Murphy

I’m a dog and cat lover, so a barking dog doesn’t usually bother me. Some people are bothered by barking dogs.A barking dog can be a minor annoyance or a major problem, depending on how near he is, how loud he is and what time of the day (or night) he’s barking.  In general a bark every now and then usually is not a problem. If the problem is more serious than that this and the dog is barking at night keeping you and your kids up, then I would first talk to your neighbor. Though this won’t always solve the problem, you may be pleasantly surprised. The dog’s owner may be unaware that he’s bothering you and may be able to take simple measures like getting a dog gate and confining him to another area of the yard or  maybe giving him more exercise and more dog toys to play with. Your neighbor may also  leave a radio or television on during the day so the dog isn’t so conscious of every sound coming from the next apartment. Talking is always my recommendation first. You really don’t want to get law enforcement involved as this can affect the poor dog. As sarcastic as this may sound, your next option may be to move. I’m an animal lover and we need to learn to deal with those that are not!

Remember, pets are family!

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Your Pets Digestion

Monday, September 12, 2022
posted by Jim Murphy

Your pets ability to digest pet food properly is a measure of how efficiently the nutrients in a given product are absorbed and used in your pets system. The ability for a pet to digest their food properly is the highest when a product contains high quality ingredients. That’s why we mentioned to always read the label carefully. The product’s formulas must be carefully targeted to a particular type of pet. For instance, my older cat, Molly is a bit overweight so I make sure that I feed her mostly cat dry cat food especially made for indoor cats. According to Veterinarian Steven Cohn, most quality diets are at least 85% digestible or even higher. In cases where a special diet is used to manage a disease such as diabetes or to help a dog loose weight, a well formulated dog food will contain added fiber. This may actually reduce the foods overall digestibility. Even if this is the case, this product is still high in quality. We also mentioned in a previous posting that cat or dog treats should not be used as a substitute for their actual meal. The contents in these treats can contain lots of fat and the ingredients may not be of the highest quality.

Remember, pets are family!

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A New Friend

Sunday, September 11, 2022
posted by Jim Murphy

We’ve been feeding several stray cats for a couple of years now but now one of these cats has become our friend. A beautiful grey cat patiently sits by our door on the porch every day at 7:00am. I open the door and she meows and comes up to me looking for a rub and a pet. I then fill her water and food bowls  and she anxiously eats her food then comes back to the door and waits until I come out again to give her one final pet of the day .She then eats some more and goes on her way only to return tomorrow for another visit and meal.

We’ve come to look forward to her visits every morning and actually worry if she’s not there at 7:00am. This cat is very affectionate but we could not take her in and expect her to suddenly become an indoor cat. So we enjoy her visits and keep her well fed. Winter is coming and I’m not sure what we’ll do to keep her warm but there’s still some time to think about this.

Cats provides us with love in many ways even if they are outdoors and  just dpay you one visit a day!

Remember, pets are family!

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Don’t Give Your Dog Raisins or Grapes

Saturday, September 10, 2022
posted by Jim Murphy

Raisins and Grapes can be toxic to dogs but the reasons are not clear as to why. Scientists do not understand as to why this toxicity exists. Some dogs show no signs of illness after ingesting many raisins or grapes while others become very sick after eating just one.  The symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, anorexia and acute renal fatal. Renal failure can be fatal.  If you suspect that your dog has ingested raisins or grapes, get him to a vet right away even if it’s just to be on the safe side.  It is not known which dogs will become sick, it’s best to start treatment as soon as possible  to err on the side of caution. Digestion of grapes and raisins is slow so try to induce vomiting up to several hours to get out as many of the grapes or raisins from their system. This can reduce the risk of toxicity but the dog must still be taken to the vet right away. There is no known antidote for grape and raisin toxicity so a quick response could save your dog’s life.

Remember, pets are family!

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A Veterinary Technician is a Good Career

Friday, September 9, 2022
posted by Jim Murphy

If you’d love to be a veterinarian but can’t face eight years of college, you may want to consider a career as a Veterinary Technician.  They work in private and public clinics , in labs, on farms and in classrooms. They’re responsible for things like preparing the animals for surgery and performing routine pet exams. They monitor vital signs, take x rays and work on animal’s dental hygiene. A large part of the job is educating people about how best to care for their pets. To begin a career as a Veterinary Technician, most states require that you complete a two year program. You’ll also have to pass a national board exam. This can be a very gratifying career. It combines a love of animals with medicine and people.

Remember, pets are family!

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