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Pet Ringworm

If you ever see circular areas of hair loss on your pet that are not itchy, suspect ringworm.
It is difficult to treat, and of big concern to me is the toxicity of the treatments.
One of my clients was a Persian Cat breeder. She had a large outbreak of ringworm, and another vet prescribed typical (but potentially toxic), medication.
Three of her cats died from this medication.
You need to be aware of the potential toxicity of “traditional” medication and be aware of the alternatives.
What is ringworm?
Ringworm is a contagious fungal infection of the skin, caused by Microsporum canis.
It is NOT caused by a worm.
It is spread from person to person, from animal to person, or indirectly from contaminated objects.
Ringworm infects three sites: scalp, body and nails.
Ringworm is typically seen in young dogs and cats.
Diseases or medications that suppress the immune system generally make your pet more susceptible to ringworm.
Typical lesions are circular areas of hair loss (alopecia) on the hair coat; however, any change in the hair coat and/or skin may be consistent with ringworm.
The affected skin often appears scaly and inflamed. Some pets suffer from severe skin disease while others have minor lesions or even none at all.
What to Watch For:
# Circular areas of hair loss (alopecia)
# Scaly and inflamed skin
Ringworm often looks similar to other skin diseases, so it is difficult to diagnose based on skin appearance alone. Your veterinarian will run diagnostic tests to confirm the presence of the fungus. Some of these test may include:
# Laboratory tests to include a complete blood count, biochemical profile, and urinalysis if immune suppression is a suspected underlying cause of the ringworm
# A fungal culture to provide positive identification
# Woods lamp examination. If the area fluoresces under the light, ringworm is suspected. However, culture is still strongly recommended. A negative fluorescence does not rule out ringworm, as several species of the ringworm do not fluoresce.
# Microscopic examination of hairs
Ringworm Treatment
The treatment for ringworm can be both frustrating and expensive, especially in a multi-pet household.
Treating both your pet and the environment are of equal importance.
Many pets will resolve an infection spontaneously over several months, but treatment generally expedites cure and helps reduce environmental contamination.
Nevertheless, some infections can persist.
TOPICAL ANTISEPTIC SCRUBS. Hibitane (chlorhexadine) is a very effective topical antiseptic useful in cleaning the affected area. Purchase it at any pharmacy. Wash the area twice daily.
NEEM. This is a herb called Azadirachta indica, with antifungal and antiseptic qualities. The tincture of the herb can be applied topically twice daily to speed up healing.
VINEGAR. Although it smells bad, it is an effective antifungal treatment. Wipe the affected area twice daily.

Anorexia in Pets

Anorexia or lack of appetite is a common complaint among pet owners. It is one of the
first signs that owners notice when their pet is becoming ill and is a common reason
for presentation of animals to the veterinary clinic. Unfortunately, lack of appetite
is not a sign that is specific for any one disease or illness-there are multiple causes.
The remainder of this article will discuss some of the reasons animals stop eating, some
of the methods of determining an underlying cause, and some of the things that can be
done if your pet decides to stop eating.

Anorexia can have a multitude of causes ranging from behavioral and environmental causes
to illness. While this list is not all-inclusive, some of the most common causes of
anorexia in pets are listed below.

Environmental/weather changes. Hot, humid weather conditions can cause animals
to have a decreased appetite. It is not uncommon for pets to be less active and eat
less during hot summer weather. Typically, with cooler temperatures, appetite will
improve if this is the sole cause of anorexia.

Stress and depression. Things that cause a change in the animal's normal routine
can cause some animals to stop eating. For example, the loss of a companion pet or loss
of a human can cause animals to be depressed/stressed and result in lack of appetite.
Other stressors such as moving, adding a new pet, the presence of a new baby, or visiting
guests, can also result in anorexia.

Food change. A sudden change in diet can cause animals to refuse food, especially
if food is changed to something that is less palatable than the original diet. Slow,
gradual change between diets can help eliminate lack of appetite due to a change in diet.

Food intolerance and food allergy. Like people, certain types of foods can cause
GI irritation in pets. For example, fatty or greasy foods may cause a pet to experience
gas and cramping and result in a lack of appetite. Some animals can be allergic to
certain proteins contained in pet foods such as chicken, beef, wheat, corn, or soy.
Animals with food allergy can have signs ranging from lack of appetite to vomiting and

Side effects of medications. Some long-term medications, such as medications for
heart failure (not heartworm medications) and arthritis medications, can cause GI
irritation and lack of appetite. Some short-term medications, such as antibiotics,
can cause similar problems.

Picky eater/spoiled appetite. Some pets become very picky eaters and are tempted
with human foods. This can often compound a pet's refusal to eat pet foods. Some pets
become spoiled with pet treats and human foods and will become too full to eat their
regular food.

Fractured/damaged teeth. Excessively worn or fractured teeth can be painful and
can cause a pet to refuse to eat.

Illness. Illnesses such as gastrointestinal disease, kidney disease, heart
disease, liver disease, dental disease, cancer, etc. can cause an animal to stop or
decrease eating. Some of these diseases can cause nausea, which will impair the desire
of a pet to eat. Some of these diseases can cause painful lesions or ulcers with in
the mouth that can hinder a pet's ability to eat. Some of these diseases cause
weakness, which can result in a decreased appetite.

Looking for the cause of appetite loss is the most important consideration of caring
for pets with anorexia. Healthy animals typically have good appetites. A thorough
physical examination of the pet, paying special attention to the oral cavity, lymph
nodes, and GI tract may provide important clues as to the cause. Diagnostic testing
such as bloodwork, x-rays, and GI endoscopy may be warranted. Specific testing based
on the history and physical examination should be recommended by the veterinarian.

Obtaining a proper diagnosis is the first and most important step to treating anorexia.
Treating the cause of the appetite loss is critical for success. For example,
changing foods or adding moisture to the diet will have little or no long-term results
if the pet is suffering from undiagnosed cancer. Without determining the underlying
cause, many treatment options will be successful for short periods of time or completely
unsuccessful altogether.

While you are waiting for laboratory testing results or early on in mild cases of
anorexia some general tips that can be tried to improve appetite include: 1) Moistening
the food. Adding a little bit of warm water to dry food can stimulate appetite.
2) Heating food. Some animals will eat food better if it is warmed slightly. 3) Canned
food. For animals that are accustomed to dry food, canned food may perk up the
appetite. Mix small amounts of canned food with the dry food first as large quantities
of canned food can cause diarrhea in pets that normally get dry food. 4) Changing brands
or flavors of food. Moving to a higher quality and/or more palatable food may stimulate
a pet's appetite. Again, mix small amounts of the new food with the regular food to
avoid diarrhea. 5) Appetite stimulants. Some prescription medications are available
that can help to stimulate the appetite in some cases. 6) Change bowl shape/size.
While this is often not successful, in some cases changing from a bowl to a plate or
moving to a larger bowl can make a difference for a picky eater. 7) Top dress food
with boiled chicken and rice. While feeding human foods is not generally recommended,
adding small amounts of boiled chicken and rice to the regular food may encourage a
picky eater to finish his/her bowl. However, extreme caution should be used as some
animals will not return to their normal diet once they have been tempted with human
foods. 8)Try a nutritional supplement. Several are available at our online store

Cancer in cats and dogs

Cancer in cats and dogs – Cancer quick facts

  • Cancer in dogs and cats parallels the disease in humans.
  • Cancer in dogs and cats is often treatable.
  • Cancer in dogs and cats come in a myriad of forms.
  • Cancer in dogs and cats occurs later in life.
  • Cancer in dogs and cats can affect any organ.
  • Cancer in dogs and cats is often diagnosed by x-ray.
  • Cancer in dogs and cats can be due to environmental causes.
  • Cancer in dogs and cats may be fatal.
  • Cancer in dogs and cats may cause cachexia.
  • Cancer in dogs and cats may reoccur.

Cancer is a tremendously broad and complicated subject. To keep this article manageable, I have only scratched the surface of the subject. I am not a cancer specialist, but I deal with tumors of my client’s older pets on a regular basis. I try to furnish them with sound, practical advice during these difficult times. Many cutting edge cancer therapies offered by veterinary oncologists and hub veterinary centers undoubtedly do extend the lives of pets. But I question the quality of these short periods added to the pet’s life and the emotional cost involved. I also have doubts whether these therapies are truly performed for the good of the pet. Instead, they are often done for the peace of mind of owners unwilling to accept the fact that life must come to an end – often before we want it to.

Your pet’s cells are forever growing and replacing themselves, and growth gone awry is the basis of all cancer. Normal cell growth and replacement fills a bodily need. When cells grow for any reason other than the good of the body we call them cancerous or a tumorous. Cell growth is strictly controlled by instructions written in DNA code in every cell. In tumorous cells an error has occurred in this script allowing the cells to grow out of control. When these errors are minor, the cells still look and act a lot like normal. We call tumors formed from these cells benign. When the errors are major we call the tumors malignant.

Small snippets of tumor tissue are called biopsies. Examination of biopsies allows us to determine if the growth is benign or malignant. A fibrous capsule often covers benign tumors and relatively few of the tumor cells are actively growing. Some common benign tumors of dogs are the lipomas or fatty tumors that form under the dog’s skin and the cauliflower-like papillomas that form within the skin. Under the microscope, the cells of these tumors look very much like normal tissue. The borders of these tumors are usually regular making them easy to remove surgically. Before I remove skin tumors from a dog I shear its coat off close to the skin. I send the owners home with a surgical marker to mark the position of even the smallest tumor. Just before surgery, I infiltrate the area of the tumor with a combination of Novocain and epinephrine. This numbs the area and stops the loss of blood. Then I excise the tumors with a scalpel and suture the incision. I freeze or cauterize off small papillomas. I have never had a tumor of this type regrow. Lipomas or fatty tumors are present just under the skin. They are only found on fat dogs. If the dog looses sufficient weight, these tumors shrink or disappear on their own. Because they are invariably encapsulated they are quite easy to remove. I have never had one regrow. Lipomas that have grown around nerves or large blood vessels are more difficult to remove. The outcomes are also good if sufficient care is taken to preserve the nerves and blood vessels.

Tumors that arise from glandular cells are called carcinomas. Tumors that arise from the skin, muscle, bone and fibrous connective tissues of the body are called sarcomas. When cancers are found in their original location they are called primary tumors. When they have moved to a new location in the body they are called metastatic tumors. Only malignant tumors have the capacity to move to new locations. Because of this and their invasiveness, they are life threatening. Cancers that move often become trapped in the sieve-like structure of the lungs, liver, bone marrow and kidneys. When they do the symptoms that we see are do to the physical destruction of these organs more than to the tumor cells themselves. Metastatic tumors are usually highly vascular. That is, they are rich in blood vesicles to supply the nutrients that fast-growing tumor cells require.

Cancer has many causes or risk factors. Agents that increase the likelihood of cancer are called carcinogens. Some of the risk factors are written within the genetic code you pet was born with which make it particularly susceptible to one form of cancer or another. Boxers and the giant breeds of dogs are renown for their predisposition to tumors. Other risk factors, such as cancer causing or oncogenic chemicals, may be found in the pet’s environment or diet (formaldehyde, chlorine-containing compounds, nitrates, etc.). Some of these chemicals cause the cells genetic code (DNA) to mutate and so are called mutagens. Physical agents (radiation, asbestos, etc.) can also cause cancer through chronic irritation and inflammation. Certain viruses have also been found to cause cancer in animals. Often cancer results from the combined effects of genetics, physical and chemical carcinogens. The immune system plays an important role in detecting and eliminating new cancers. Any factor that causes immunosuppression increases the incidence of tumors. Feline immunodeficiency disease (feline AIDS) and feline leukemia both of which are caused by retrovirus are conditions leading to a variety of tumors in cats. Hormones that cause body organs to proliferate can also cause cancer. Breast or mammary tumors in dogs are quite common and occur only in older unsprayed females. This is because of the biyearly hormone rises in unsprayed female dogs associated with their estrus or heat cycles.

As in people, the earlier we detect and remove cancers from pets the more successful we are. Skin tumors are rather easy to diagnose. But tumors within the body often only show as weight loss, low-grade fever, weakness, and lethargy. By the time these cancers are large enough to detect they are in advanced stages and difficult to treat.

X-rays are my first choice in diagnosing internal tumors in dogs and cats. Many tumors are bulky and distort the shapes of the organs they reside in making them readily apparent on x-rays. Many can also be seen using ultrasound equipment. Large veterinary facilities and universities have more sophisticated CT and MRI imaging equipment. Since smaller veterinary hospitals do not have this equipment, we make more use of biopsies and exploratory surgery to diagnose cancer. When the abdomen is opened and all the organs inspected, tumors that were not visible on radiographs are often obvious. When they are not, biopsies of the major organs examined by a pathologist often discover the tumor. Pathology reports also reveal the aggressiveness of tumors and the likelihood that they have already moved or will move.

The most common cancers in dogs are skin cancers. Skin cancers make up over half the total number of cancers that occur in dogs. The most common skin cancers that I encounter are papillomas. These are small cauliflower-like viral tumors that proliferate as a dog ages. They are common on the mussel, trunk and extremities of dogs with graying hair. The vast majority are not malignant and cause no damage beyond being nicked or worried into bleeding by the dog as it grooms.. The next most common cancer in dogs are lipomas. They often occur multiply just under a dog’s skin. They are very rare in cats and ferrets. The next most common skin cancer in dogs is the mastocytoma (or mast cell tumor). These distinctive tumors are oval, firm and slightly raised. Sometimes their center is brown or bluish. Mastocytomas are only locally invasive (malignant) and do not metastasize to other organs. Cancerous cells project outward from the tumor into what appears to be normal skin. So when I excise them, I remove three times the diameter of the visible tumor to be sure that all tumorous cells are removed. The biggest problem occurs with mast cell tumors on the extremities in that insufficient skin may be left to close the excision wound.

Skin tumors in cats are much more to be malignant than those of dogs. I remove them as rapidly as I discover them and always send tissue from the tumor to a veterinary pathologist for evaluation. In too high a number, these tumors have already metastasized to other locations before they were removed.

Mammary gland tumors have a high incidence in older unsprayed dogs. They begin to develop between six and ten years of age and are caused by the hormone progesterone associated with estrus, and reproduction. The most common form is the fibrous and hard mixed mammary carcinoma. They form most frequently in the posterior breasts nearest the rear legs. Often the breasts involved give milk or milk-like fluid. Most are well encapsulated and easy to remove. They are usually not highly malignant and most of the time I get to them before they have metastasized. Of special concern to me are tumors that are ulcerated and which have infiltrated the skin. These are often malignant. I also worry about these tumors when they involve the lymph nodes of the groin and base of the foreleg. I have sent sections from the same tumor of this type to two different pathologists and gotten differing opinions as to their degree of malignancy. This is because determination of malignancy is a subjective process. Spaying females before their third or fourth heat cycle can prevent these tumors.

Lymphatic tumors are tumors of certain white blood cells called lymphocytes. They are classified as lymphosarcomas, lymphomas and lymphoid leukemias. These tumors are quite common in cats, ferrets and dogs. In cats, these tumors occur under the immunosuppressive effect of the feline AIDS and Feline Leukemia virus. They are the second and third most common tumors in ferrets and dogs respectively occurring most commonly in Golden and Labrador retrievers and Doberman pinchers. In ferrets and dogs this cancer appear spontaneously. The tumors appear as sold growths called lymphomas which begin in the lymph nodes or bone marrow or as individual cells freely circulating in the blood called leukemia. Animals as young as four years may develop these tumors. These animals are often presented to me with painless, enlarged lymph nodes over the whole body but occasionally it is a single node that is enlarged. Some of the dogs have an increased number of abnormally large lymphocytes in their blood stream but most do not. At this stage the pets do not appear to be ill. Other animals, particularly cats, develop this form of cancer in the walls of their intestines, which leads to diarrhea and weight loss. A biopsy of one of the enlarged superficial lymph nodes confirms the diagnosis. This type of tumor in dogs responds well to chemotherapy. It does not respond well in cats. The drugs commonly used to treat lymphomas are vincristine, L-asparaginase, cyclophosphomide, doxorubicin, and prednisolone. With this treatment, three-quarters of the dogs caught early in the disease live an additional six month or more. Without treatment their average future life span is about four months.

Tumors of the mouth, lips and tongue are relatively common in dogs and cats. These tumors often bleed by the time they are noticed. A large percentage of them are highly malignant – especially in cats. A variety of tumors form here. They include squamous cell carcinomas, adenocarcinomas, fibrosarcomas and malignant melanomas. Dogs that develop these tumors are generally six to ten years of age. A big problem in dealing with these tumors is that they often surround important structures of the mouth and are therefore next to impossible to remove in their entirety. But most of these tumors can be surgically removed (debulked) and the dog or cat then treated with radiation. This procedure is particularly stressful to cats that often have to be force-fed or fed intravenously. I am not inclined to suggest this procedure to most clients but I do make them aware that these procedures exist. There is some evidence that the viruses responsible for papilloma are involved in the formation of some of these oral tumors in dogs. Chemotherapy has not been very rewarding in these cases. Before considering chemotherapy for your pet, ask what the average increased life expectancy the procedure might be. Specialists tend to be highly optimistic about the benefits of their specialty so take their numbers with a grain of salt and really try to pin them down.

Bone cancers or osteosarcomas occur frequently in large and giant breeds of dogs. They tend to form at the growth plates near the ends of the long bones of the legs. These dogs are often brought to me because of lameness. X-rays of these tumors are highly distinctive and easy to diagnose. Because they often metastasize to the lungs, I include a chest film of every dog I radiograph for this problem. Not all cases are so advanced that tumors in the lungs can be detected. Late in the disease these dogs may have a cough. Neutered male dogs have a higher risk of this disease, as do dogs with a previous injury to the leg involved. The best treatment for these tumors when they occur on a leg is the removal of that leg. A chemotherapeutic drug called Cisplatin along with radiation treatment is helpful in cases where the tumor is inoperable because of location. The drug, Feldene (pyroxicam) is a good analgesic in these dogs. This drug may also have some mild chemotherapeutic effects.

Nutritional support is very important for all cancer patients. This is especially true for cats because minimal cancer-induced stress stop them from eating. Cancer cachexia is a form of protein malnutrition that affects many cancer patients – especially those where the disease is widespread. Offering flavorful, highly digestible and energy-dense diets can reverse some of the signs of cancer. The best diets for cancer patients are rich in fat and protein and low in carbohydrates

Puppy Vaccination Schedule

Your veterinarian will determine a proper puppy vaccination schedule for your pet, but you still need to be aware of some important milestones.


Because missing even one vaccination may expose your puppy to a variety of diseases.

Your puppy will receive his or hers first series of vaccines between 6 and 8 weeks of age. More will follow.

I will show you what vaccines, and at what age, your puppy will receive, but first, let's review some important...

Facts About Dog Vaccination

Puppy Vaccination Schedule
  • Some people think that smaller breeds receive smaller dosage vaccines than puppies of larger breeds. That's not true. All puppies receive the same dosage.
  • After a vaccine is administered, it does not immediately stimulate your puppy's immune system. First, puppy's immune system must recognize and respond to the antigens it received.
  • Usually, protection against the decease will begin about 5 days after the vaccination. Full protection can take additional 5 to 9 days.
  • Sometimes, your puppy will need to be vaccinated two or more times over several weeks to achieve full protection.
  • Finally, one of the biggest misconceptions about dog vaccination is that booster shots are required on an annual basis. That's not so. Here is a short video that shows why some annual booster shots are not only unnecessary but may also be dangerous...
  • Side Effects of Puppy Shots

    Just like babies, puppies can experience a number of adverse reactions to vaccination.

    Here are some of the symptoms and what you should do if your puppy displays any of them…


    May occurs in the first 24 hours after vaccination. If it lasts longer than 24 hours, call your veterinarian


    Just like depression, may occur in the first 24 hours after vaccination. Contact your veterinarian if it lasts beyond 24 hours


    Same as vomiting


    This is probably an allergic reaction. Call your veterinarian immediately


    Same as vomiting

    The dog health guide includes additional symptom charts. Each chart starts from the specific symptoms of a particular ailment and tells you the recommended path of treatment for each one, as well as advising whether veterinary care should be sought – and if so, how urgently.

  • Puppy Vaccination Schedule

    Your veterinarian will determine a schedule for your puppy. What follows is just a sample puppy vaccination schedule.


    6 weeks

    Distemper, Deworming, Fecal flotation, Heartworm preventive

    9 weeks

    Distemper, Parvo, Corona, Bordetella

    12 weeks

    Distemper, Parvo, Corona

    16 weeks

    Distemper, Parvo, Corona, Rabies, Fecal Flotation, Lyme


    Distemper, Parvo, Corona, Rabies, Fecal Flotation, Heartworm test

    Discuss your puppy's vaccination schedule with your vet during the first visit.

Vaccination Schedules for Cats

It is recommended by most veterinarians that you have your
cat vaccinated for the different various diseases listed below at the times listed. The
rabies shot is also required annually or every three years in many parts of the United States of America. Exposure or risk of exposure and vaccine types may vary the schedule for your cat, of course. Be sure to check with your veterinarian to make sure that they have the vaccines available before you go in to the office. It is also recommended that your read all the literature on the vaccines that you can so that you are aware of the risks associated with the different vaccinations. 8 weeks: Pneumonitis Distemper vaccine Intestinal parasite screen Strategic de-worming (for intestinal parasites) 8 to 10 weeks: Calcivirus Feline Leukemia Virus/FIV test Feline Leukemia vaccine (only for cats at high risk) Panleucopia Rhinotracheitis Distemper vaccine Intestinal parasite screen Strategic de-worming (for intestinal parasites) 12 to 14 weeks: Calcivirus Feline Leukemia Virus Panleucopenia Rhinotracheitis Distemper vaccine 2 to 4 months: Feline Leukemia Virus One Year: One-year Rabies vaccine Strategic de-worming (for intestinal parasites) Feline Leukemia vaccine (only for cats at high risk) Keep in mind this is a generic list and your veterinarian's plan for your individual cat's treatment may vary.

canine obesity

We all love our dogs. In fact, we love them so much, we offer them treats, table scraps and extra-large portions of food to demonstrate our affection. And they more than willingly accept every bit of food we send their way, whether or not it is good for them. Unfortunately, we often do more harm than good. Our emotional bond with our pets, together with changes in the way pet food is manufactured, can form the foundation for a deadly combination of canine and human excess.
Already, studies suggest between 25 and 40 per cent of all domesticated dogs in the U.S. are overweight. Obesity is also a serious problem among dogs in Canada. Given these dogs do not feed themselves, this epidemic of canine obesity is the responsibility of owners who overfeed their pets. The consequences of excess weight in dogs are similar to those for humans, including an increased risk of the following conditions:

• Heart disease.
• Liver disease.
• Breathing problems.
• Diabetes.
• Digestive problems.
• Arthritis and joint weakness.
• Skin disease.
• Heat intolerance.

Furthermore, several studies have shown dogs who remain lean will live much longer than those whose systems must cope with too much weight.

Detecting the problem
How much weight is too much? Sometimes it is difficult to tell if your dog is overweight, particularly if it is one of the hairier breeds, but there are few general rules of thumb.

1. Look down at your dog from above. You should be able to see a defined ‘waist’ just above the hip bones. If you cannot see the waist, your dog is too heavy.

2. You should be able to see and feel your dog’s ribs. While they should not be sticking out and your dog should not look like a walking skeleton, you should be able to see a rib or two and be able to feel them easily. If you cannot, your dog is overweight.

3. Your dog should not have a hanging belly. Some altered females have a slight pouch as a result of spaying surgery, but this should consist only of hanging skin, not fat. You can tell by gently squeezing the pouch; if the skin fold of the pouch is more than 0.5 inches thick, your dog is fat.

If your dog is overweight, it is likely eating too much and you have probably been too liberal with dog food, table scraps and/or treats.

Better habits
Dogs are carnivores, yet many dog foods list corn and corn meal as the most plentiful ingredients. These and other grain-based ingredients can offer clues to the underlying causes of obesity, as they are carbohydrates. Canine digestive systems are not designed to cope well with high-carbohydrate diets.

As a result, weight loss supplements have been introduced, with ingredients designed to help reduce the absorption of calories. Humans have used similar products.

Better eating and exercise habits will also speed the process of canine weight loss. Your dog needs to be walked every day and should never be given leftovers from your table.

When your dog takes in more calories than it burns off, the resulting surplus is stored as fat. In fact, as little as one per cent extra caloric intake (i.e. an extra biscuit or two per day) can result in a 25 per cent increase over ideal body weight by middle age.

If you want to give your dog a healthy treat, you can try a home-cooked variation, like cooking up a healthy chicken broth with some vegetables. You can try stewing some chicken livers or other organ meats that your butcher would otherwise throw away—so you can get them cheap or perhaps even free. Just make sure to strain out all bones.

Be sure to ask your veterinarian for advice regarding weight loss supplements, exercise and/or healthier food for your overweight dog.

how to keep your pets smiling

Dental disease is one of the most common health problems for dogs and cats. In fact, an estimated 85 per cent of all dogs and cats suffer some degree of dental disease.

However, some animals that have very poor dental hygiene show no outward symptoms at all.

If your pet’s mouth is neglected, teeth may fall out, painful infections of the tooth root can occur and your pet may develop further diseases in other body organs, such as the kidneys, liver and heart. Keeping your pet’s mouth healthy can improve both the quality and the length of its life.

Your veterinarian can advise you on how best to maintain your pet’s dental health. Many pets require scaling (i.e. gentle removal of tartar and plaque on the tooth surface and under the gum line) and polishing, much like their owners—the main difference being the teeth are cleaned when the pet is under general anesthesia.

Some of your pet’s teeth may require X-rays, as these enable your veterinarian to study the roots and the bones around them. Root canals or extractions can be performed if necessary. Some pets even require braces.

Daily brushing with pet-specific toothpaste, feeding plaque-reducing foods or treats and using mouthwash and tooth gels will all help prevent dental disease in your pet.

Even older pets can be trained to accept daily toothbrush use. Some pet toothpastes are flavoured with poultry, beef or salmon to make them more attractive.

Oral hygiene solutions can also be added to your pet’s drinking water to further fight plaque and bad breath. For more information about keeping your pet happy and healthy through proper dental hygiene, talk with your veterinarian.

Julie Schell, DVM, is based at the Bow Bottom Veterinary Hospital and Boarding Centre

Medication for Dog Arthritis

Medication designed for humans can be used for our pets as well. Interestingly, Flexicose and Synflex are quite effective as dog arthritis medication as well. If you try to do some research, you will see that Flexicose has a product line targeted for pets. Just look at the pet label attached to it. But know that this is the same formula as regular Flexicose designed for humans. So, this is a perfectly safe medication.
At around ages 8 to 9, dogs will start to suffer from arthritis. They will start to show some of the symptoms of the disease. Just like humans who are in their later years, such diseases will usually come about. The good thing though is that, there are a number of options available to address this condition. One can go for a dog arthritis medication or not. It all depends on how you plan to approach this. First, let us try to check the non-medication option for dogs with arthritis.
The Number One "Dog Arthritis Medication" is a Diet!
The more natural way of approaching this condition of your dog is through a diet. With this, your dog will be able to keep his or her weight at a normal level. Having just the right weight will not aggravate the arthritis condition of the dog. Being overweight will just worsen the symptoms. To get the best results, put your dog on a diet--this will be much better than putting it on medication. With the right diet, your dog will enjoy more benefits of being healthy.
Could your dog have canine hip displasia?
The right exercise regimen is important. Like humans, too much exercise will be bad for the health and will pose risk of being injured. For dogs with arthritis, too much exercise will put more stress on the joints--making it more damaging on its part. Most dogs, if left unchecked, will really go hyper and may overdo the playing and the running around--too much for their own good. If you will notice, after a while of hyper activity, your dog will start to limp and may already feel the pain with the over-activity. Dog arthritis medication will prove to be helpful especially if your dog is in the later years as well. Also, another extreme: too little exercise, will be a bad thing as well. Remember that the purpose is to keep the weight at a normal level, so with little exercise, your dog is bound to gain weight.
Types of Dog Arthritis Medication
If you have done what you can, putting your dog on a diet and making it do some exercises, and still no results--you may have to employ another approach. This time, you can go for a dog arthritis medication. There are three choices you can go with: a prescription drug like Rimadyl, then there are over-the-counter drug as aspirin, and lastly, natural glucosamine supplements.

You can search the Internet and find a lot of articles about the dangers of prescription dog arthritis medication. It is important to do some research on your own, so that you also learn the dangers of some medications for dogs with arthritis. For example, do you know that Rimadyl, though safe for most dogs, can be deadly for some? Without the knowledge from your research, you may have put your dog on an unnecessary risk.

Liquid Glucosamine Works!
Natural supplementation is another method of dog arthritis medication. This is quite popular and has been used by many dog owners. The reason: safety factor. With glucosamine, there are no reported significant side effects on dogs with arthritis. Unlike an over-the-counter drug as aspirin, which resulted to a near death experience of one of our dogs, liquid glucosamine is just unparalleled with its effectiveness and safety.
More Info About Using Glucosamine for Dogs:
The best approach we would recommend is to go for glucosamine first. Before treating your pet with other dog arthritis medication, give the glucosamine some time to take effect. It is worth a try than to risk having some side effects on your dog with arthritis. With glucosamine, aside from the other benefits, it will not cost you that much as well.

How to Cure Dog Diarrhea at Home - 4 Proven Methods

Dog diarrhea is not a disease but a symptom telling you that your dog is sick. The common cause of diarrhea in dogs is what they eat. Knowing this there are several ways on how to cure dog diarrhea at home to make your dog healthy again.

1. Change in Diet

When a dog has diarrhea its digestive system is currently sensitive. To help your pet stop feeding the usual food to it and change it to foods that are mild to the stomach. This is done by adding cooked meat and rice or potatoes with no fat and is proven to be an effective way on how to cure dog diarrhea at home. The serving is also smaller than the usually to help your dog in digesting its new diet. You also need to increase your dog’s water intake to keep it hydrated. You should also add electrolyte supplements to overtake the dehyrdration caused by diarrhea.

2. Clean you Dog’s Food and Water Bowls

Always clean your dog’s feeding and drinking bowls to prevent it from ingesting more bad bacteria which can aggravate its condition. Spoiled food particles could also worsen your dog’s diarrhea so clean its feeding bowl thoroughly. You may need to get your dog a new feeding bowl if you have not clean the old one for weeks. Thoroughly rinse all bowls to remove soap particles because if your dog eats them it will worsen its condition. Maintain a clean hygiene for your dog especially on food. This is essential in how to cure dog diarrhea at home

3. Natural Remedies

Food rich in fiber and water will be good for your dog when it has diarrhea. Probiotics are also good as the imbalance between good and bad bacteria is a very common cause of diarrhea. Combining these will greatly improve your dog’s condition.

4. Oral Rehydration Solution

Dogs need electrolytes too. ORS is a great source of these electrolytes to keep your dog hydrated after losing so much fluid when it defecates. Mix the ORS in your dog’s drinking water. If your dog does not like the water’s taste you may have to use a syringe to help your dog in taking the solution.

Knowing how to cure dog diarrhea at home is very important to every dog owners. To be able to treat dog diarrhea immediately the first source of cure should be where the dog lives. This way getting rid of diarrhea in dogs will be quicker and more effective.

Elimination Disorders in Cats

Feline elimination disorders (FEDs) can be difficult to deal with. They may take time to resolve, require detective work to find the cause of the problem, and undermine the human-animal bond. However, there are ways to tackle this issue.

Inappropriate Elimination vs. Spraying: An important distinction

Inappropriate elimination occurs when your cat urinates (or, less commonly, defecates) outside its usual litterbox. There is usually a fair amount of urine, as it fully voids its bladder. A distinction must be made between this and spraying, where the cat backs up to a vertical surface, such as furniture or walls, and sprays a small amount of urine. These two types of behaviour have different bases and thus different methods to solve them must be implemented. Spraying is simply a means of ‘marking’ territory, while eliminating in inappropriate areas may mean the cat prefers to not use its litterbox for one reason or another.

Causes of FEDs usually fall into three main categories. The cat may simply prefer to eliminate in a place other than the litterbox, or, on the other hand, have a distaste for its litterbox. For example, it may be a shy, quiet cat, but the litterbox is in the middle of a busy kitchen, and so to avoid the situation, it eliminates under a bed or in a closet. Studies have been done to show that cats consistently prefer non-scented, fine, sandy litter. You can try buying a few different brands to see if your cat prefers one type over another. Some cats also prefer different textures, such as tile or even the bathtub. For these cats you can make makeshift litterboxes with the preferred material and see if it makes a difference. It is important to note that urine permeates certain materials, such as concrete, very well. The scent of urine can cause the cat to repeatedly eliminate in the same area. Thus, enzymatic cleaners are needed to get the smell out; keep in mind that a cat’s nose is many times more sensitive than your own.

Another cause of FEDs is medical in nature. It’s important to rule out these medical causes FIRST as the cat has no control over them. Your veterinarian must be called on in these cases to properly diagnose what is going on. There are a variety of medical causes that can cause a cat to avoid the litterbox. If after seeing the vet you have a definitive diagnosis, then you can apply practical solutions to help solve the problem. For example, a cat may be suffering from arthritis, which makes it both difficult and painful to climb into the litterbox. Solving this one practically is simple; use a shallow litter pan instead of a deep box. Boot trays filled with litter work very well for some cats. Other medical problems include bladder disease, kidney disease, or urinary obstructions. Something to note is that a cat that cannot urinate is a medical emergency; if you see your cat repeatedly straining at the litterbox, but producing no urine, an immediate visit to the vet is required.

The third cause of FEDs is environmental stress. There may not be enough litterboxes in a multicat household; the general rule of thumb is that the number of litterboxes available should be equal to the number of cats in the house plus TWO. This avoids scuffles at the box. Very importantly, the boxes must be spread out throughout the house, so that if a shy cat wants to avoid a bully, it can comfortably go to another area of the house to eliminate. A cat may also not want to use a litterbox after a recent change, such as after a move into a new house. Also, try not to leave a litterbox somewhere loud and where lots of activity goes on. Leaving it in a furnace room or laundry room may scare the cat if the furnace or washing machine suddenly turns on, and a shy cat may not want to relive the experience. Keep your cat’s personality in mind when you position a box.

All in all, the preceding tips should help you start to work out why your cat has developed an elimination disorder. You may have to do a bit of work to figure out the inciting cause and first rule out medical possibilities. If the condition is non-medical it may cause some frustration at first to find your cat’s preferences, but in the end a happy healthy cat, eliminating comfortably in an appropriate spot, will be well worth your time!

Cats in Heat

In cats, the term “in heat” is the more common way of referring to the estrous cycle, or the period of time when your cat is fertile and able to become pregnant. Note that this can only occur in intact females (those that are not spayed). While not necessarily as dramatic as heat cycles in dogs, heat cycles in cats come with their own set of difficulties to owners, and for this reason it is important to understand what is going on, especially if you have an intact female cat.

Cats are considered seasonally polyestrous breeders, which means that they will have multiple estrous cycles (or heat cycles) only during a certain portion of the year. Typically, this will begin in the winter and continue until early autumn, and most females will give birth to kittens the following winter and spring.

A typical heat can last anywhere from 3-16 days, with an average of about 7 days. During this period of time, the female cat will exhibit various behavioural changes, including:

  • rubbing up against couches, other pieces of furniture, and people
  • increased vocalizing
  • lordotic posture: the cat will lower the front half of her body close the floor, and raise her hind end in the air (it almost looks as though the cat is bowing). Often, the cat’s tail will be elevated as well.

Many people will describe their cats during this period of time to be uncomfortable, as the cats will appear agitated and unable to settle.

It is during this period of time that the cat is able to be bred. If this occurs successfully, the cat will become pregnant and give birth approximately 63 days later. If the cat is not bred (and this is important) – she will go through a period called “interestrus”, which is the interval of time between estrous periods. What this means is that if the cat is not bred, she will go into repeated estrous cycles or heats every 12-30 days; it is because of this reason that people often say that cats always seem to be in heat.

It is important to note that unlike dogs, cats do not experience any bloody discharge (that is, cats do not bleed during their heat cycle). For this reason, some people might assume that heat cycles in cats are milder than they are in dogs, because owners don’t have to worry about keeping their houses clean from the bloody discharge that occurs. However, the vocalizing that happens when a cat is in heat can be very loud and constant, and many people will find this just as, if not more aggravating, than bloody discharge.

The easiest way to deal with unwanted estrous behaviour is to spay your cat. A spay (or ovariohysterectomy) is the removal of the uterus and the ovaries, and this procedure will completely eliminate estrous or heat cycles. If you choose not to have your cat spayed, then be prepared to experience the above behavioural signs every two or three weeks during the time of the year when your cat is able to be bred. Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done to soothe your cat while she is in heat; some people say that giving your cat lots of extra attention during this time will help reduce the amount of vocalizing that occurs, but the success level of this “treatment” seems to vary greatly depending on the individual cat. Regardless of how you choose to handle your cat while she is in heat, it is strongly suggested that you keep her indoors so as to prevent the birth of any unwanted kittens.

Spaying and neutering Of Dogs

Spaying or neutering your dog can seem cruel, but if your dog or bitch is not spayed or neutered, the results can be far more serious, particularly if litter after litter ofunwanted puppies are born. There are two camps when it comes to spay and neuter surgery, those who agree with it, and those who oppose it.

Those for spaying and neutering include many dog shelters and rescue groups, who often sterilise all of the animals that they adopt. Some advocacy groups believe that spaying and neutering should be law for all dogs and cats. Many dog owners believe that dogs should not be allowed to create unwanted litters.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, there are many pet owners and animal care workers who think that sterilising animals is cruel, and that pets shouldn't have to lose their reproductive capacity. The cost of the surgery also prevents some families from having it done. Furthermore, myths about canine reproduction can put people off (including dogs turning into wimps, and bitches becoming fat.)

What does spaying or neutering a dog actually do?

Neutering male dogs often means that they roam less, mark territory less, and are less dominant with humans and other animals. Neutered dogs are often healthier.Female dogs who have been spayed suffer less from heat cycles that can lead to personality changes.

Dogs and bitches do not gain weight simply through sterilisation; this is controlled by diet and exercise, or genetic precondition.

Is surgery for spaying or neutering a dog expensive?

Many animal experts believe that spaying and neutering surgery should be free in order to encourage dog owners to sterilise their pets. The surgery is comparatively major, however, and particularly amongst bitches who have already had a litter it can be difficult and time-consuming. The operation includes pre-surgical exams, anaesthetisation, preparation and the actual surgery itself.

Taking responsibility for dogs who have not been spayed or neutered

Those pet owners who have taken the decision not to spay their bitches or neuter their dogs have a right to their choice, but they should take responsibility for their animal. For instance, if a dog has a surprise or unwanted (by the owner) litter, then the following essentials must be remembered:

  • The bitch must have excellent nutrition and vet care during and following the birth
  • The owner should stay with the bitch during a birth, in order to clean and dry the puppies and deal with any problems during the pregnancy or delivery
  • The puppies must be kept warm and the whelping area must be kept clean
  • The puppies should be kept for at least eight weeks
  • The pups should have basic healthcare before being sold/given

Cat Allergies

Many cat lovers deny themselves the pleasure of feline companionship because of allergies to cats. Here are some items to help minimize cat allergies. Although individual cats may produce more or less allergen, there is no relationship between the pet's hair length and allergen production, and there is no such thing as a hypo-allergenic breed, although the Siberian Cat is thought to be the most allergen free of all the breeds. Cat hair is a major carrier of the dander, and should be kept under control.
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Cat allergen is present in the largest amounts in homes with cats, but has also been found in homes where cats have never been present and in offices or public places were animals are not allowed. Cat allergen is particularly sticky and is carried on clothing from places with cats to other locations, therefore, it is almost impossible to not be exposed to some level of cat allergen. Levels of exposure will be much higher where cats are present and these levels are more likely to cause allergy symptoms. Sensivite persons will be miserable when exposed to the dander, and for extremely allergic individuals, this exposure can be life-threatening.

Because the allergen particles are particularly small, they remain air-borne for longer periods of time. Cat sensitive individuals are more likely to have a rapid allergic reaction when entering a home with cats because the allergen is always present. Opening windows, using exhaust fans, and using high-efficiency air cleaners can decrease the amount of air-borne allergen.

Happy Nap by Little Jeane

Soft furnishings, such as carpets, sofas, and mattresses, will hold cat allergen even after a cat is removed from the home or banished from the bedroom. It has been shown that it can take as long as 20 weeks for levels of allergen in carpets to decrease to the levels found in a home without a cat, and up to five years for cat allergen levels in mattresses to decrease to such levels.

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These items may help in the removal of some of the allergens, and removal or treatment of the carpet and sofa and encasing the mattress, will reduce the continued exposure to these reservoirs of allergen. There are mattress and pillow enclosures made specifically for this purpose. If you are particularly allergic, do not use a fan in the bedroom, as this can bring the dander off surfaces and into the air.

Cat allergen is also found on vertical surfaces such as walls. Attempts to decrease cat allergen exposure in a home should include wall cleaning.

Highly insulated, energy efficient homes actually trap animal dander inside. Opening windows can help increase air exchange and decrease air-borne allergens. Use a "HEPA" (High Efficiency Particle Arresting) air cleaner. Air cleaners of this type can reduce the level of air-borne cat allergen up to 50%. It is important to place the unit away from furnishings and not directly on the carpet so as not to disturb settled allergy particles.

Since vacuuming may blow cat allergen into the air, it is important to use avacuum cleaner that has been proven to have a high level of allergen containment. The use of HEPA certified vacuum bags can inexpensively upgrade the vacuum you presently own.

If the cat is restricted to a certain area of the home, it is important to realize that airflow through the ducts in a forced air system could spread the allergen to other parts of the house. HEPA certified Register Filter Padsfor vents and High-Efficiency Furnace Filters can help trap the allergens and reduce their spread.

Nothing can take the place of keeping the cat outside to minimize allergen exposure. If the cat is allowed inside, keep it out of the bedroom at all times. Use Register Filter Pads to prevent the spread of the air-borne allergens throughout the home, and be sure to keep the cat hair under control so the dander is minimized.

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Cat lovers with allergies like myself, can opt for allergy treatments; including shots, prescription allergy medicines and nose sprays. Personally, I use medicine and nose sprays. I also keep the cat hair under control and use a mattress enclosure. Additionally, I use Simple Solution Allergy Reliefspray on my bedding and upholstered furniture to settle and counter-act the allergens. I find this regimen works for me, but please contact your physician for your own tailored solution.

You can use a face mask when brushing your cat or changing the kitty litter. Wash your hands before and after touching the cat, and change clothing after contact with your cat.
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Studies have demonstrated that washing a cat with water removes much of the surface allergen, and significantly reduced the amount of future cat allergen produced by removing the loose hair. A damp washcloth run down the fur will also remove a lot of hair, providing an immediate sense of accomplishment and relief.You can also use the Furminator grooming tool to reduce the shedding hair.

ANY relief from cat allergen is a welcome improvement to breathing! See aCat Groomer for more information and tips on grooming your cat and recommendations for supplements and treatments for your cat to reduce shedding.

Appropriate Diet For Cats

A common concern, particularly for owners of overweight cats is, what is the most appropriate diet for cats? You can't buy a tiny treadmill for your cat. It's very important in helping your cat lose weight to feed her a nutritious, balanced diet. The appropriate diet for an overweight cat is nutritionally balanced food which consists of approximately 40 percent meat-derived protein, about 14 percent fat, and less than 18 percent carbohydrates. Moisture content will usually be between 70 to 80%

Get her off of fatty, salty, designed-to-be-delicious food and gently wean her onto healthier, nutritionally balanced, wet food. Even better is to wean her onto raw foods afterwards. Many dry cat foods are full of heavily processed, rendered meats and grains. You should understand that there are nutritionally balanced dry foods and poor quality canned foods. The type of food is not the issue. A nutritionally balanced cat food is a higher quality, and usually contains less fat, less salt and significantly fewer grains (carbohydrates).

Regardless what you give your cat, it's very important to read the package label! All cat foods sold in the United States have a label that says "Guaranteed Analysis," which advises the percentage of any certain nutrient group, mineral or vitamin. An important "nutrient" is the moisture, or water, content!

Important things to look for in that analysis include protein, which provides long-term energy, various vitamins for general health, and taurine, which is produced in the liver of most animals. After weaning cats are physically unable to create taurine. Other items to look for on the can label include "Complete and Balanced" which means the cat food has been independently certified to contain the right levels of certain essential nutrients and vitamins, and has not been found to cause health problems at that level.

Once you decide what to feed your cat, you need to decide how to offer food. Cats are famous for being finicky eaters and will often not eat even if they are hungry. There is nothing quite as daunting as a stubborn overweight cat that refuses to eat what you know is good for her. If a cat fasts she may develop a disease called "Fatty Liver Disease," which is often fatal. Instead of just giving her a can of wet food instead of her usual dry food, give your overweight cat as many cans of wet food as she will eat. Only offer her small portions of dry food twice a day. Then, when she starts eating the wet food, decrease the portions of dry food. Very gradually reduce the amount of wet food so she doesn't eat more calories than she should.

Feed your overweight cat high-grade, low in fat, wet food, or even more preferable, homemade raw foods. The first key to successfully reducing your cat's weight is to become aware of the ingredients in the food you are offering. Know what cat's nutritional requirements are. Balanced nutrition versus calories is a key. Select high nutrition, balanced nutrition with as few calories as possible. Read cat food labels, especially the ingredients analysis! Another key is gradual replacement of one food with another.

You are the key to whether your cat receives a healthy food or one that provides calories without giving the nutrient groups required.

Being raised with 6 cats will give anyone an intense education on "what can go wrong" when living with such a mix of felines! With a pet cat that is a true "fluff ball" you will be, as I was, on a first name basis with your vet.



Distemper is a highly contagious viral disease of domestic dogs. Some other species, including ferrets, skunks, and raccoons, are also affected by this disease.


The virus is spread primarily by direct contact to a susceptible dog from a dog with the disease. Coughing can spread the virus over short distances. The discharge from the nose is heavily laden with the virus.


As with many infections, the clinical signs can vary from one dog to the next. The main signs are fever, loss of appetite, a thick yellow discharge from the nose and eyes, coughing, and seizures.


There are many diseases that cause coughing, fever, loss of appetite, or seizures. However, this combination is unique to canine distemper. If the diagnosis is in doubt, a blood test can be performed for confirmation.


As with most viral infections, there is no drug that will kill the virus. Antibiotics are used because many secondary bacterial infections occur. Intravenous fluids, cough suppressants, and drugs to control seizures may be used. Intensive nursing care is essential. This is best accomplished with the dog in the hospital.


Usually, but not always. Some may be left with persistent nervous twitches (chorea) and recurrent seizures.


A very effective vaccine is available to protect dogs against distemper. It is given to puppies, as young as 5 weeks of age, in a series of 3-5 injections. Annual revaccination is strongly recommended.


Distemper is a world-wide disease. Fortunately, vaccines have been very effective in reducing its incidence to very low levels in well cared-for dogs. Stray dogs can be a source of the virus, as can skunks, ferrets, and raccoons.