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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.
To the Top of Cat allergies allergy cat dander saliva allergens prevention

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.

To the Top of Cat allergies allergy cat dander saliva allergens prevention

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.

To the Top of Cat allergies allergy cat dander saliva allergens prevention

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.
To the Top of Cat allergies allergy cat dander saliva allergens prevention

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.


Every dog is unique. Some are star athletes, while others are couch potatoes. Some can fit inside a purse, while others can barely fit in the backseat of a car. Some are cute and cuddly, while others are noble and independent. Whether your dog is fast or slow, big or small, affectionate or aloof, there is one thing that all of our canine companions have in common: although it’s not a glorious activity from our human point of view, dogs love to sniff each other’s butts.

Of course it seems crude to us of the human variety, but in the dog world, sniffing another’s rear end is simply a social custom. Not unlike a handshake and introduction, or an exchange of business cards, dogs gain valuable information from sniffing around down there. Each dog has a unique scent that is produced by structures called anal glands (or anal sacs). While many owners aren’t even aware that these glands exist, they play an important role in a dog’s social behaviour; dogs use this scent to identify one another, as a form of communication, and as a way to mark their territory.

Anal glands are located just beneath the skin on either side of the anus (at positions 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock). They secrete a foul-smelling liquid which travels through small tubules to openings on either side of the anus. Believe it or not, every time your pet urinates or defecates, a tiny bit of this liquid is released as well, contributing to your dog’s personal fragrance. Similarly, when two dogs meet in the park, the action of raising their tails puts pressure on the anal glands, causing the butt sniffing to start in the first place.

The reason most owners are oblivious to the existence of anal glands, is because most of the time, they don’t cause any problems. For the majority of dogs, anal glands go about their business and express their liquid with each bowel movement and under appropriate social circumstances. However, in some cases, anal glands fail to empty sufficiently and can cause a number of issues for your pet.

The most common problem with anal glands occurs when lack of expression (emptying them) results in impaction. This is extremely uncomfortable for the dog who will usually let his owners know that there is a problem. Typical signs of anal gland impaction include scooting (dragging their rear ends along the ground) or licking/biting at their rear end. Some dogs will also present with loose stools. Fortunately, anal gland impaction can usually be cleared up quickly by your veterinarian. Veterinarians (as well as some breeders and groomers) are proficient at manually expressing anal glands to remove all of the secretion that has built up inside them. Often, one trip to the vet’s office will be enough to relieve your dog’s discomfort, however for other dogs anal gland impaction is an ongoing problem.

There are a variety of reasons why a dog might have trouble expressing its anal glands properly. Sometimes it is simply due to the conformation of the particular dog, or breed of dog. Other times it depends on the thickness of the secretion itself which may be too viscous to express easily. Also, the size and consistency of an animal’s stools can affect anal gland function. Stools which are too small or too soft might not put sufficient pressure on the glands to cause expression. For dogs who are suffering from chronic or recurring anal gland impaction, it is important to make sure they eat a high quality food which is high enough in fibre to ensure large solid stools. In some cases, it is recommended that a dog’s anal glands be surgically removed. This is a fairly simple procedure that can permanently solve the problem.

In addition to anal gland impaction (an uncomfortable, but fairly benign condition), some dogs will also suffer from infections and abscesses of the anal gland. This occurs when bacteria travels from around the anal opening through the tubules to the glands. When this bacteria builds up, serious infections can develop. If left untreated, abscesses can develop fairly quickly. In this case, dogs generally experience pain (as opposed to mere discomfort). Dogs will often present by biting or growling when one tries to touch them anywhere in the general area. Anal gland infections can be treated with antibiotics from your veterinarian. If the infection progresses to the abscess stage however, other complications may arise. It is therefore important to bring your dog to the vet as soon as you notice any signs that might indicate an anal gland problem.

For those dog owners who have never had to deal with an anal gland problem, consider yourselves lucky. As unpleasant as it may be to think about, your dog’s anal glands are as much as part of him as his cute little nose and his fluffy tail. Now that you know they exist, it is important to watch for any signs of anal gland problems in your pet.


It seems like broken bones are something that many pets (and kids) go through at some point in their lives. It can be something as simple as falling off the couch or as severe as being hit by a car. Just like there are many ways to break a bone, there are many ways that your veterinarian can fix a broken bone. We will introduce different methods of fixing broken bones and also some complications that can happen after a bone has been broken.

First we will go over the basics of bone healing. This is important because when we ‘fix’ a bone, we are not magically gluing the bone back together. We are only putting the pieces close to each other so the body can heal faster. Very often, when broken bones are left untreated, the break either never heals or heals in the wrong way. The animal may never be able to use that leg again. Over time, the body heals by creating a lot of cartilage in the area of the break. This is called a ‘callous’. On an X-ray, the callous looks like a large swelling. The body gradually breaks down the cartilage in the callous and deposits bone in its place. The bone then reorganizes into the proper structure. At this point the bone is considered to be healed.

A break in a bone is called a ‘fracture’. There are various typeswounds of fractures. The type of fracture and the bone that is involved, will determine how it will be fixed. For example, fractures can be a simple break or the bone may be shattered into tiny fragments. A simple break is much easier to put back together than tiny fragments. The fracture may or may not break through the skin. A fracture that breaks through the skin may allow bacteria to get in and cause an infection.

Your veterinarian will decide what method is best for your pet’s fracture. Many pets get a cast. Casts are considered good to use on young animals with simple breaks because they will heal very quickly. Another method is the ‘pin and wire’ solution. In this case, a pin is placed inside the bone and wires are put around the bone to hold it together.

Two other methods of fixing a fracture may or may not be offered by your veterinarian. Both of these methods require more equipment and are much more expensive. However, they are often a better choice for very complicated fractures. The first is a ‘bone plate’. A thin, long, rectangular piece of metal is placed inside the leg, directly beside the bone. Screws are then placed through the holes in the plate and are screwed into the bone. The second method is called an ‘external fixator’. It is external because the metal bars are outside of the leg (as opposed to the bone plate). The metal bars are clamped to long screws that are screwed into the bone. Unlike the bone plate, which remains in the leg for the animal’s life, the external fixator is removed once the bone has healed. Keep in mind that veterinarians often use a combination of these various methods, and that there is always more than one way to properly fix a fracture.

Most animals heal very well. The length of time that it will take depends on how old your pet is, how bad the fracture is, and if there are any other medical problems. However, sometimes the bone does not heal properly. This is usually because the bones are not kept stable enough. When the bones are allowed to move even a tiny bit, the blood supply and the callous are disrupted. A fracture that is constantly moving will not heal. Very often this happens with pets that are allowed to run and jump before the bone has entirely healed. In this case the pet can re-break the bone and will have to have it surgically fixed. Sometimes the bone takes too long to heal. In this case the veterinarian may decide to either wait and let it heal over time, or do a second surgery to speed up the healing process.

Broken bones are common in pets. Your veterinarian will be able to determine the best method to fix the fracture or may refer you to another clinic if the fracture is complicated and needs extensive repair. It is very important to work with your vet to reduce the risk of complications by taking good care of the fracture site and restricting your pet’s activity. With luck, your pet will heal up quickly.

The Social Behavior of Older Animals


Book Review: The social behaviour of older animals

even before Jane Goodall, there was Anne Innis Dagg. Anne went to Africa in 1956 to study wildlife, possibly the first foreigner of either gender to do so, except for colonialists who were posted there. She earned her PhD studying the gaits of large mammals, including the giraffe, and had a raft of publications, including the giraffe species account in Mammalian Species (the apex achievement, for a mammalogist), and books that are still the definitive references on giraffe and camels. She became an expert on mammalian (mainly ungulate) locomotion and gaits. In 1973 she and a female colleague set off with a guide and camel driver into the Sahara (it was no safer then than now!) to study camels and their books and papers are still key references. As sort of a sideline to her research and teaching, she began challenging gender bias in biology – and who better to do so than one who had to masquerade as a man just to be accepted onto the property of a South African farmer whose wild giraffe population would be the focus of her first study? In scholarly articles and books, she destroyed gender stereotypes and challenged sociobiological theories (for example, that lion and leaf monkey males always kill young that are not their own so they can have sex with their mothers and pass on their genes; and females living past reproductive age are a useless drain on resources and contrary to evolutionary theory).

“The social behaviour of older animals” (The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore: 2009) is scholarly (and should be on the reading list of every biology student), but written in a very readable style accessible to the lay public. In it, she explores the contributions of older, and especially post-reproductive, animals to their families and societies in an evolutionary context. She shows why, for a wide range of animals, but concentrating on mammals and especially primates, the resources consumed by post-reproductive males and females are more than balanced by their roles as teachers, leaders and mediators; and how their knowledge and wisdom increase the survival chances of their families and societies.

Dagg and other researchers have largely dispelled the ideas of the sociobiologists (although many don't know it yet), which define human behaviour in terms of self-interest. Selfishness is only part (and often wrong, at that) of a much broader view that is not yet in focus. The overthrow of sociobiology has left a sort of vacuum in our understanding of us, from which a new paradigm must soon emerge. Biologists are beginning to explore the evolutionary basis for such human qualities (I'm not saying they are exclusively human) as altruism, compassion, ethical behaviour, moral values, and appreciation of art and beautify in all of its forms. Their results will be most enlightening.



Dog has asthma – asthma in cats

Animals Can Suffer From Asthma

Asthma is a disease that can affect both dogs and cats. Also known as allergic bronchitis, asthma is an inflammation of the airways that is caused by an allergic reaction. Asthma results in an obstruction of the airways when the bronchi (the air passages in the lungs) fill up with mucous and go into spasms. It is far more common in cats than dogs.

Dogs and cats of any age can get asthma, but it occurs more commonly in young and middle-aged pets. The primary sign is coughing. Owners often report wheezing and, in rare cases, respiratory distress. In some cases, pets may become lethargic and stop eating, resulting in weight loss. It is rarely life threatening. Between episodes, pets are usually normal.

To diagnose asthma, it is necessary to take an x-ray of the chest to rule out other respiratory medical problems. Once a diagnosis of allergic bronchitis has been made, treatment often consists of steroids, antihistamines, bronchodilators, or a combination of these drugs. In severe attacks, an injection of epinephrine may be necessary.

The prognosis for control of this disease is excellent, with most pets living happy and normal lives with the help of life-long medication. Unless an underlying cause can be determined, a cure is unlikely. Your veterinarian can help to determine both the cause of asthma as well as the treatment options available for your pet.