How to Train Your Dog to Love Baths

 

From: P.L.A.Y. Pet Lifestyle And You, Inc

posted by: Randi Case, DC

I  read this article and thought it was very interesting.  Often when a dog is afraid of baths, the owners just give up and don’t bathe them or send them to a groomer.  Maybe these tips will help to calm your pup so you can enjoy bathtime instead of dreading it.

Certain words inspire strong reactions in animals. If I tell my beagle Mary that we’re going for a W-A-L-K, she knows exactly what’s happening. If I don’t move quickly enough, she’ll bark until I open the door. Walks are important, but what happens when there’s an activity that causes dread in your furry friend?

How to Train Your Dog to Like Baths

Bath-day anxiety stresses out the entire household. No one likes to see a four-legged family member scared. So how do you train a dog that’s afraid of the tub to step into the water?

Find the Source

If possible, try to sort out what part of the bathing process your dog is afraid of. Does he start shaking at the sound of water or does he wait until he’s wet? Is he afraid of the bathroom completely? Maybe the bath itself is just fine, but he relates it to those dreaded nail clippers. Identifying the first trigger will help you ease him into accepting baths are safe.

Have Fun

Play in or around the bathtub – especially if you notice that Rover avoids the entire room and not just the tub. He’s associating the room with bad days.

Don’t wait for bath day to use the tub or bathing area as a fun place. Show your dog that the room is used for fun things, too. Make games of tug and belly rubs frequent occurrences.

Tasty Rewards

Whether you were able to pinpoint a specific trigger at bath time not, bribing with toys and treats is a good way to help your dog enjoy bath time. Once you’re in the bathroom, give him a treat. Once he’s in the tub, give him a treat. If you have a second pair of hands, there’s no harm in treats occurring throughout the bath, too.

Take a Drive

Some dogs live for car rides and some don’t. If you’re lucky enough to have a dog that goes gaga for a car ride, try using the ride as the first phase of the reward system. If you head to the park for a long run, Rover might actually be willing to step into a bath to cool down afterwards.

You can actually even cut out the tub altogether by using a public pet washing station. Some states, like Illinois, are practically riddled with pet washings stations in convenient locations like outside of grocery stores and auto repair shops. How could a dog hate bath day when it starts and ends with a car ride and involves a long play date in the park?

Teach Them Young

If your dog is still a puppy, you’re in luck. You won’t have to help unlearn a decade of fear. Odd are good that the event itself is so far from their daily routine that they don’t know how to respond. Following the above reward and play-date steps will swiftly calm a puppy’s fears.

Quick Tips

A few final pointers to round out the actual bathing process:

1. Don’t yell. No matter how frustrated you may be, don’t use anything other than a friendly, soothing tone with your pup. He’s already terrified. Thinking that you’re upset with them is just going to make things worse.
2. Use a mat. Use a cheap rubber mat on the bottom of the tub so the dog’s trembles don’t make him skid. That slippage will only increase the panic.
3. Don’t rush. Rushing will only increase overall stress to you and your dog.
4. Check the temp. We both know you want the drama over with, but accidently throwing ice cold or too hot water on the dog will also make a bad situation worse.

Even the most skittish dog will eventually respond to the above training. You might never have a completely willing participant but, with patience, you can help sooth everyone’s nerves. Stay patient, remind your furry friend that they’re loved and always begin – and end – with a treat.

Naturally Fearful Dogs

Posted by: Randi Case, DC, CCSP

Not all scared dogs are abused…

“She must have been abused,” is a comment I hear with alarming regularity. When a dog cowers and shakes or barks and growls at a person wearing a hat, it’s natural to think that the strong reaction is proof of previous harsh treatment by someone wearing a hat. It’s easy to conclude that a dog who’s scared of children was teased by the neighborhood Dennis the Menace. Similarly, it’s logical to assume that a dog would only react aversely to a broom after having had terrifying experiences with one.

Without a doubt, far too many dogs suffer abuse, but not all dogs who seem to have been abused have been treated badly. Some are fearful because they were inadequately socialized, or have a genetic tendency to be fearful, or both. As often as not, a history of abuse is not a factor.

The most common scenario that leads people to conclude that a dog has been abused is the dog who’s fine with women but scared of men. In these cases, while it’s possible that a man abused the dog, the fact that a dog is afraid of men doesn’t prove the theory. Typically, dogs who have fearful tendencies are more scared of men than of women. I’ve met hundreds of dogs who were only scared of men, but exactly two who feared women more. The fact is, dogs who are fearful have a natural propensity to be more afraid of men. Nobody knows for sure why this is, but it’s likely that men’s larger size, broader shoulders, deeper voices and facial hair make them more intimidating.

Another reason that dogs might be more afraid of men was suggested by a study reported in Current Biology,“Correlated changes in perceptions of the gender and orientation of ambiguous biological motion figures.” When motion was detected only on pointlight displays*, observers perceived an interesting difference between male and female movement. Figures considered masculine in gait seemed to be approaching, while both feminine and gender-neutral gaits were seen as heading away. Fearful dogs are typically most frightened when something scary moves toward them—no wonder they find men more alarming than women.

Scent may also be a factor. A recent experiment, “Olfactory exposure to males, including men, causes stress and related analgesia in rodents,” reported in Nature Methods, showed that mice and rats react differently to male and female experimenters because of differences in the way that they smell. That means that all studies of these rodents’ behavior may have been influenced by the gender of the people conducting the study. The test animals became highly stressed and exhibited decreased pain responses in the presence of human males; even T-shirts worn by men (but not those worn by women) caused this reaction.

The rodents were similarly stressed by odors from males of a range of species, including dogs, cats, guinea pigs and even other rodents. Males release certain pheromones in larger concentrations than females, and these fearinducing chemicals are shared among mammals, which means that dogs could also be affected by them. Scent differences could very likely affect dogs and cause them to be more frightened around men.

The assumption that fear of men indicates a history of abuse by a man is not the only one that may be erroneous. Many people are sure that dogs who react negatively to people with hats or backpacks proves past abuse by a person sporting those same objects. While again, this is possible, it’s more likely that the dog is simply unfamiliar with the objects themselves and the way that they change people’s appearance. Many react fearfully to a changed silhouette, becoming frightened, for example, by the sight of someone they know and love wearing a hat. Once the person removes the hat, the dog switches to happy greeting behavior.

Another commonly misunderstood area relates to the fear of children. Many dogs are skittish around children because of their erratic behavior, especially if they were not well socialized to them at an early age. After all, from a dog’s perspective, kids behave in peculiar and unexpected ways. They change direction suddenly, roll on the ground, move at variable speeds, make weird noises and are generally high-energy, bipedal whirling dervishes. Dogs who are naturally fearful may find excitable, loud humans in motion to be unpredictable, which is frightening. (On the flip side, there are fearful dogs who do fine with kids, but are terrified of adults. Usually, such dogs have had positive experiences with children and are used to their erratic behavior.)

If a dog’s fearfulness toward specific types of people or certain everyday items doesn’t necessarily mean that the dog has been abused, how can you tell if your dog suffered from abuse in the past? The honest answer is that— unless you have the dog’s full backstory— you can never know for certain. However, some clues may help you make an educated guess. Abuse is less likely as an explanation for a dog’s fearfulness if the dog’s reactions fit the pattern associated with dogs who are naturally fearful. The most common pattern is for such dogs to be cautious around strangers, especially men, and to be worse around tall, deep-voiced men with beards, or anyone carrying things—garden implements, brooms or mops, or a clipboard, or wearing sunglasses, a backpack or a hat. Dogs with a generally fearful approach to the world often react most vigorously when unfamiliar people approach, look directly at them, stand up from a sitting position or reach down to pet them.

If the dog has sustained multiple injuries, such as broken bones or teeth, or has scars on the face and body, abuse is more likely. Of course, those injuries could be a result of accidents, and some forms of abuse leave no scars. Still, a dog with unexplained evidence of physical trauma is more likely to have been a victim of abuse than a dog without it.

If a dog’s fear is highly specific, it is more likely to be based on trauma, which could have come in the form of abuse. So, if a dog is afraid of freckled, redheaded children with glasses in the age range of 10 to 12 years, but fine with all other kids, it’s more likely that a negative experience with a child of that description caused the fear. On the other hand, if a dog is only okay with children who are older than about 16, my bet would be that the dog lacks experience with a wide range of children and is only comfortable with children who are more adult-like in size and behavior. Similarly, if the dog is okay with men unless they are wearing loafers with a buckle, I would be inclined to suspect abuse. Specificity of fears is more likely to indicate abuse, because dogs who are generally fearful are usually set off by a wider range of triggers.

Even in the case of a specific fear, we have to be careful about assuming that abuse was the cause. For example, I had a client whose dog was fearful of and aggressive toward only one person. Sounds like that person might have beaten the dog, right? Not in this case. The man the dog was afraid of was the neighbor who had saved the dog’s life during a house fire; the wonderful man went into the house and carried the dog out before the firefighters arrived. Until then, the dog liked this man, but was terrified of him after the fire, presumably because he associated the man with the horrible experience.

While anyone who loves dogs wants to know if a particular dog has been abused, the same process is used to help a dog overcome fears of any origin. Classical conditioning, desensitization and patience will serve people and dogs equally well. It’s critical not to force a frightened dog into situations that provoke fear, but instead, to protect the dog from scary circumstances. Be gentle and kind and refrain from using punishment. Feel free to comfort any dog who is scared without worrying about the common (but misplaced) warning that this will reinforce the fear. Accept that many fearful dogs never become gregarious, go-with-the-flow types, and love them for who they are rather than who you think they should be.

Some people seem relieved when I tell them that their dog may not have been abused, while others seem disappointed to give up the “feel good” story of adopting a dog who was mistreated. I empathize with both groups.

I can understand the relief, and I can also understand how gratifying it feels to give a loving home to a dog who only knew cruelty before. And while I certainly can’t say definitively which dogs with unknown histories have been abused and which haven’t, I agree with other progressive trainers and behaviorists that abused dogs are not as common as one might think.

Many wonderful clients whose dogs are fearful and reactive have said to me, “People are going to think we’ve abused her, but I swear we’ve never hurt her.” It’s a pleasure when I can reassure them that I do believe them, and for very good reason.

Written by: Karen B. London, PhD for The Bark Magazine

Horses and Respiratory Disease: Tips to Protect Your Horse

Protecting your Horse from Respiratory Disease
By Earl Gaughan, DVM, Dipl. ACVS Jun 30, 2014

Topics: Respiratory System Biosecurity Equine Herpesvirus (EHV) Influenza Other Respiratory Problems

Avoiding nose-to-nose contact with horses from other farms can help prevent the spread of infectious respiratory diseases like equine herpesvirus and equine influenza.

Although respiratory diseases are rarely fatal, they are costly for the performance horse. A general rule of thumb is one week off for every day the horse is running a fever—often costing you weeks of training and showing time. Here are some quick tips to help keep respiratory disease out of your barn.

1. Biosecurity—Show grounds and racetracks can be an ideal environment for viruses and bacteria due to the high volume of horses that move in and out of them. You can help protect your horse by taking a few simple measures to help minimize his contact with these viruses and bacteria:

Disinfect your stall prior to using it. Mild antibacterial soap/disinfectants and warm water will kill most harmful viruses and bacteria that can affect your horse. Be sure to clean the walls, doors, bars, and floors—anywhere his nose and mouth can touch.
Avoid nose-to-nose contact with other horses. One of the ways respiratory diseases, such as equine influenza virus and equine herpesvirus, are transmitted is from nose-to-nose contact.
Do not share equipment with other horses without properly disinfecting. This includes bits, brushes, buckets, hoses, etc.
2. Vaccinate regularly—Keep your performance horse, and any horses he comes in contact with, on a regular vaccination schedule.

Have your horse properly vaccinated by a veterinarian at least two weeks prior to the start of your show season.
Talk with your veterinarian about an appropriate vaccination booster schedule. Most performance horses will need to be vaccinated for respiratory diseases such as equine influenza and equine herpesvirus at least bi-annually.
3. Adequate ventilation—It is important to provide adequate ventilation during transport, as well as at home. Ammonia (from urine) and dust can irritate the horse’s respiratory system, making them more susceptible to disease. Keep your barn and arena well-ventilated with clean, natural air, and do your best to remove wet bedding and dust daily. When you are traveling, the same principles apply—dust and ammonia in the trailer can irritate your horse’s trachea, bronchi, and lungs and create what some call “shipping fever.” To help avoid this, consider letting your horse out of the trailer in a safe, secure location to breathe fresh air and move naturally every three to five hours during a long trip.

4. Use medications under veterinary supervision—If you suspect your horse may have contracted or been exposed to a respiratory disease, contact your veterinarian immediately. Respiratory diseases are often less severe if caught early and treated appropriately.

5. Allow your horse to rest as much as possible—Just like humans, horses’ immune systems tend to weaken when they are overworked and overstressed. A couple days of turnout and rest after a show can be one of the best preventative measures.

For more educational information and record-keeping tools that can keep your performance horse on track, talk with your veterinarian about the Merck Animal Health’s Horse Care for Life program.

Shirts, Coats…what size???

Measuring Your Dog

Clothing Measuring Guide

In order to find the right size of clothing for your dog, please complete the following measurements with a measuring tape. If you don’t have a measuring tape use a piece of string or a shoe lace, measure them and then measure the string with a ruler or tape measure. We have included to a printable 7″ Tape Measure, you can tape them together. Be sure to use the LONG inches lines and match them up if you are taping them together otherwise your measurement will be incorrect.

Chest/Girth

Is the size of your dogs chest, at the widest point, which is generally found directly behind the front legs and up and over the back, or alternatively the thickest part of the body or trunk. Take into consideration the amount of fur your pup has.

It is our opinion that this is the most important measurement for clothing. As with humans, if it doesn’t fit around the chest, it won’t fit! Next important measurement is the length unless you have a breed with a large neck.

Length

The Length measurement is from the base of the neck (where their collar sits) to the base of the tail (where the tail is attached).
This is the most common measurement for clothing, however the back length will not matter if the chest measurement is not appropriate. Do not go by weight if it is a clothing item. The lengths stated are the length of the item, this is more of a guide to how long the item will be on your pet’s back. The dog should be standing for this measurement, sitting can add inches.

Neck

The neck measurement is taken around the dogs neck where their collar would naturally sit. For sizing a collar, the collar should be at least 2″ longer than the neck size. This measurement is necessary for large neck dogs such as pugs, and small neck dogs such as chihuahua’s and greyhounds.
Every designer has their own sizing. Every apparel, collar or footwear items has that vendors size chart posted. Use the measurements rather than weight as just with humans, weight does not dictate a specific size. We make every effort to accurately describe all items on PupRwear.com, however if you need more information please feel free to contact us.

Other Major Sizing Considerations
• Don’t buy a size for your pooch based on your estimation of your dog’s size, always measure you dog according to the product’s size chart.
• Does the fabric have give? Is it a knit or cotton, will your dog be able to move with ease? It’s also important to keep garment’s fabric in mind when determining a size as some materials can stretch when worn multiple times.
• If measurements fall between two sizes, please select the larger size.
• Make sure to always compare the picture and product description to ensure you’re going to get what’s pictured and described. For example, dog coats tend to be full length, whereas dog jackets tend to be shorter and many shoppers may not know this important distinction.
• Unless you have no other guide, do not estimate your dog’s size according to weight. Take the extra 3 minutes to measure your dog. In the vast world of dog breeds, weight can be a deceiving measurement.
• Lastly, after measuring your dog, if you’re still not sure, give us a call, we don’t want you to receive an item that is the wrong size. Many of our suppliers do not accept returns, and we have to abide by their policies.

From: http://puprwear.com

Posted by Randi Case, DC, CCSP        Caring For Animals of NJ

5 Phone Numbers Every Dog Owner Should Have Handy

Posted by Randi Case, DC
Written on 02/26/2014 by Brandy Arnold in Animal Advocates

If you’ve got a dog (or, is it that the dog has you?) this is one list you’ll want to print out and keep near the phone. In an emergency, when the internet is down, or if you simply need assistance with your dog from a real, live person, these 5 phone numbers should be in the Rolodex of every dog owner:

National Animal Poison Control Center: 1 888 426 4435. In an emergency every second counts. The National Animal Poison Control Center is a 24-hour manned emergency hotline sponsored in part by 36 different companies. While there is sometimes a charge for consultation, this call could save the life of your dog.

Spay/Neuter Helpline: 1 800 248 SPAY. Irresponsible breeding results in the abandonment and euthanization of thousands of dogs each year. SPAY USA is a national referral service that helps connect pet parents with free or low cost spay and neuter services in their area. With partnerships at over 950 programs and clinics nationwide, they eliminate finances as an excuse for not spaying or neutering your pets.

Animal Legal Hotline: (707) 795-2533. Do you suspect your neighbors are abusing their dog? Are you having issues with your landlord or tenants over a companion animal? Do you want to report a veterinarian that you believe is operating unethically or illegally? Here is the number to call. The Animal Legal Defense Fund can help with landlord-tenant disputes, veterinarian issues, neglect, and any form of abuse.

Emergency Disaster Information Line: 1 800 227 4645. Provided by the American Humane Association, this number provides support and relief information for pet owners living in areas affected by disasters including earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, fire and more. While not an official “hotline,” this number is manned by live persons able to direct pet owners in the event of a natural disaster or emergency.

Pet Travel Hotline: 1800 545 USDA. If you plan on traveling by plane with your dog, a quick call to this number will ensure you are prepared for any bumps in the road where your dog is concerned. Run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, this hotline provides travel resources, licensed pet transporter contact information, rules and regulations, and also assists those that believe their animal was treated inhumanely during travel.

In addition to these national helpline and hotline numbers, make sure you’ve got the numbers for your local veterinarian, nearest emergency veterinarian, and your local animal control services handy, too.

All Dogs May Go to Heaven. These Days, Some Go to Hospice

All Dogs May Go to Heaven. These Days, Some Go to Hospice.

Written by: Matt Richtel (Published: November 30, 2013)

More and more, cats and dogs get the human treatment. There are pet spas, pet therapists, pet clothes. And as it goes in life, so it now goes in the twilight. The latest phenomenon: pet hospice.

Denise Fitzmaurice, right, brought her 4-year-old dog, Sophie, to Dr. Michele Price’s mobile veterinary clinic for an examination.

Around the country, a growing number of veterinarians are offering hospice care, and marketing it as a way to give cats and dogs — and their owners — a less anxious, more comfortable passing.

The approach, in the spirit of the human variety, entails ceasing aggressive medical treatment and giving pain and even anti-anxiety drugs. Unlike in hospice care for humans, euthanasia is an option — and in fact, is a big part of this end-of-life turn. When it’s time, the vet performs it in the living room, bedroom or wherever the family feels comfortable.

That’s a big part of the job, the vets say, relieving pet owner guilt, giving them an emotional bridge to a pet’s death, and letting them grieve at home — rather than in a clinic or animal shelter. The intimacy carries a premium, sometimes costing 25 percent or more than euthanasia in a clinic. Vets, and their customers, say it can be worth it.

“They’re in their own environment, not only the pet but the owners,” said Dr. Mary Gardner, co-founder of Lap of Love, a Florida-based company that is one of the leaders in a small but growing market. “They’re allowed to have other animals present, other cats or dogs present, other children,” added Dr. Gardner, who refers to a pet’s owner as its “mom” or “dad,” and has since relocated her own practice to Los Angeles. “I’ve been to some homes where they had barbecues for that dog, and invited me and the neighbors, and the dog was the man of the hour.”

Lap of Love’s business has blossomed since 2010 from two providers to more than 68 vet partners in 18 states. The International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care, a group started in 2009, now has 200 members, mostly vets, but also several family therapists, lawyers and an animal sanctuary in Northern California that takes in and provides holistic healing and hospice for terminally ill and elderly pets.

“There is a formal end-of-life movement, a formal hospice movement,” said Dr. Eden Myers, a veterinarian in Kentucky who runs JustVetData.com, which tracks industry trends. Of the providers who do this, she said: “They’re everywhere.”

Dr. Amir Shanan, a vet in Chicago who started the International Association for Animal Hospice, described the movement as growing, but still not mainstream; veterinary schools are only now embracing the idea. “There are skeptics out there,” he said. “But 20 years ago, there was almost no one other than skeptics, and that’s changing rapidly.”

There are no formal standards for this hospice care, and Dr. Shanan said there was a debate about what those standards should look like. “The core of the debate is who is to decide when is the right time to euthanize, if at all,” he said, noting that some hospice supporters advocate giving pets palliative care until they die naturally, as in human hospice.

Hospice and in-home euthanasia are different things. Their growth is owing to similar factors, says Dr. Myers, including a growing acceptance of hospice for humans, as well as cellphones, laptops and online marketing that make mobile vet services easier to operate. Plus, she said, more vets offer the services as a business alternative to the high cost of starting and maintaining a traditional clinic.

“And,” she added, “you’ve got people willing to spend scads of money on their pets.”

For pet owners, the financial implications of this end-of-life movement cut two ways. In one light, hospice can be seen as reducing the cost of aggressive medical care, or it can be seen as its own version of aggressive comfort care, at least when compared to euthanizing a pet sooner.

A hospice or euthanasia visit from Lap of Love generally costs $200 or $250, including drugs. Euthanasia at a clinic typically runs less, though prices vary widely, and is even less at a nonprofit shelter, like a local animal shelter. Some pet owners say costs are irrelevant given the peace of mind — their own.

“It was more for me than him,” said Jan Dorr, a bookkeeper in Boca Raton, Fla., who was an early Lap of Love customer in 2010. She’d spent $5,000 on chemotherapy for her chocolate lab, Darby, but the dog’s health continued to fail. When she heard about the idea of pet hospice, her reaction was positive; a year earlier, her own father died after a positive hospice experience. She called Dr. Gardner, who helped make Darby comfortable by increasing his pain medications, and giving Ms. Dorr a checklist of ways to recognize when it was time to let go, such as when Darby stopped eating, walking or interacting.

When Darby’s condition worsened just days later, the vet returned to perform euthanasia. Ms. Dorr lay down on her bed with Darby, hugging him. “She let me say when,” Ms. Dorr said, referring to the vet’s final injection. It was far preferable, she said, to the alternative: “I just couldn’t get it into my head to put him on a steel table in a cold room and let him go.”

Kathryn D. Marocchino, a professor of death and dying at California State University in Vallejo, who in 1996 founded the Nikki Hospice Foundation for Pets, said the end-of-life movement for pets addressed what she described as a “sense of coercion” faced by owners of sick pets forced to decide between aggressive treatment or euthanasia. She said that her group got calls from people thanking them, and saying things like: “Where were you 30 years ago? They made me kill my dog.”

Dr. Michele Price, a veterinarian in Northern Virginia whose in-home end-of-care business has doubled since 2009 to 20 percent of her practice, got a call recently about an ailing Labrador named Champ. She’d first seen the dog in August when his owners thought it was time to euthanize. But when Dr. Price got to the house, Champ was doing O.K., and she and the family decided on hospice treatment and pain meds. Later, Champ took a sharp downward turn and couldn’t walk. Dr. Price returned and they set up for the euthanasia.

Champ was on a quilt next to the fireplace when Dr. Price administered the initial sedation. “They hugged him, and told him what a good dog he was. They said, ‘We love you’ and ‘We’ll miss you,’ ” Ms. Price said of the dog’s owners. As for Champ, “He fell asleep. That’s the last thing he remembered.”

Dr. Mary Gardner, a veterinarian, co-founded an in-home pet hospice and euthanasia service called Lap of Love.

A version of this article appears in print on December 1, 2013, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: All Dogs May Go to Heaven. These Days, Some Go to Hospice..

THE BLOCKED CAT

Posted by : Dr. Randi Case
Dr. Jennifer Coates

Male or female, purebred or domestic shorthair, any cat can develop a urinary condition like Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC), stones, or infection. But when the cat in question is a neutered male, BEWARE! They are at the highest risk for developing a much dreaded veterinary emergency: urinary obstruction.

Neutered male cats have incredibly narrow urethras (the tube that drains the bladder to the outside world through the penis). In fact, a neutered male’s urethra is so narrow that involuntary muscular contractions called urethral spasms can be enough to cause an obstruction. A small stone or a plug made of proteinaceous material and/or crystals can easily become lodged inside the urethra and completely block the outflow of urine.

When a cat is “blocked,” he will usually posture to urinate, but nothing — or just the tiniest dribble — will come out. As the condition progresses, he becomes increasingly uncomfortable. Eventually the pain is excruciating, and the bladder may even rupture due to the buildup of pressure. Also, the chemicals that should be exiting his body through urination quickly begin to accumulate in the blood stream, wreaking havoc on the body. Without rapid intervention, death will follow from this self-poisoning.

Treating a blocked cat involves emptying his bladder, relieving the urethral blockage, and dealing with the biochemical abnormalities that have developed. This is typically done by placing a catheter through the urethra and leaving it in place until the bladder has had a chance to remain empty and recover.

A recent study has shown that in some cases, draining the urine from the bladder via needle and syringe (often repeatedly) can also work. Intravenous or subcutaneous fluid therapy, pain relief, medications that promote normal function of the urinary tract, and providing a quiet, stress-free environment are necessary as well. If a cat never regains the ability to urinate normally, surgery can be performed to create a hole in the urethra above the blockage, through which urine can be expelled.

Unfortunately, cats that have experienced a urethral obstruction are at higher than average risk for developing the problem again. If a definitive cause for the blockage has been found, prevention strategies should be concentrated there. For example, a cat with struvite stones can be fed a diet that is known to dissolve this material and prevent the development of these stones in the future.

When no specific cause has been diagnosed, veterinarians differ in what they recommend. Some prescribe diets like those mentioned above because they generally promote a healthy urine pH and bladder environment. Others focus on water consumption, with the purpose being to dilute the urine enough to discourage crystals or other materials from clumping together. Owners can increase water consumption in their cats by feeding canned food, using a kitty “fountain,” and/or letting a cat’s favorite faucet drip. Research has shown that decreasing stress in the home also plays an important role in prevention.

What constitutes kitty stress, you might ask? In my opinion, boredom and dirty litter boxes are the top two stressors for indoor-only cats.

So, playing with your cat, providing him with lots of toys — and perhaps some catnip — placing a comfy perch in front of the window, turning on some music and keeping the litter boxes clean might just help prevent another panicked rush to the veterinary hospital.

Why do Wolves Howl?

Wolves Howl Because They Care: Social Relationship Can Explain Variation in vocal Production

Posted by Randi Case, DC

When a member of the wolf pack leaves the group, the howling by those left behind isn’t a reflection of stress but of the quality of their relationships. (Credit: Mazzini et al.)

Aug. 22, 2013 — When a member of the wolf pack leaves the group, the howling by those left behind isn’t a reflection of stress but of the quality of their relationships. So say researchers based on a study of nine wolves from two packs living at Austria’s Wolf Science Center that appears in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, on August 22.

The findings shed important light on the degree to which animal vocal production can be considered as voluntary, the researchers say.

“Our results suggest the social relationship can explain more of the variation we see in howling behavior than the emotional state of the wolf,” says Friederike Range of the Messerli Research Institute at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna. “This suggests that wolves, to a certain extent, may be able to use their vocalizations in a flexible way.”

Scientists have known very little about why animals make the sounds that they do. Are they uncontrollable emotional responses? Or do animals have the ability to change those vocalizations based on their own understanding of the social context?

At the Wolf Science Center, human handlers typically take individual wolves out for walks on a leash, one at a time. On those occasions, they knew, the remaining pack mates always howl.

To better understand why, Range and her colleagues measured the wolves’ stress hormone levels. They also collected information on the wolves’ dominance status in the pack and their preferred partners. As they took individual wolves out for long walks, they recorded the reactions of each of their pack mates.

Those observations show that wolves howl more when a wolf they have a better relationship with leaves the group and when that individual is of high social rank. The amount of howling did not correspond to higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

“Our data suggest that howling is not a simple stress response to being separated from close associates but instead may be used more flexibly to maintain contact and perhaps to aid in reuniting with allies,” Range says.

As always, We at TheWagSheet welcome your comments and questions..WOOF!

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press.

Why Does My Cat… Meow at Me?

Why Does My Cat… Meow at Me?
BY DR. PATTY KHULY
Posted by Randi Case. 10/6/2013

If you’ve ever lived with a vocal cat, you’ve almost certainly asked yourself this question. After all, who could resist wanting to know what your feline friend is thinking as she meows plaintively at your sleeping face early in the morning or weaves her way between your legs while crying herself hoarse?

Most of the typical in-the-wild feline sounds—like hissing, spitting, growling, and that hair-raising high-pitched screaming thing cats do when they’re fighting and mating—are self-explanatory: They’re angry, scared, or hoping to impress. But the plain-old “meow” can seem confusing to us humans.

Behaviorists say that cats meow at humans because they want something and, most important, because meowing gets results.

And that’s undeniably true. Meowing works. But why?

Interestingly, some experts say that the sound “meow,” as we know it, developed at least in part because we humans associate it with the needy cry of an infant. But it’s also undeniable that kittens meow when they want something. So it’s no stretch to assume cats didn’t learn to associate meows with requests.

But cats can meow at varying frequencies, pitches, tones, volumes, and lengths. A meow imploring you to open the back door, for example, can sound completely different from the excited, “I’m about to be fed” meow, which is totally different from the meow that happens right before you scratch her right behind her ear at bedtime.

As anyone who’s ever heard two different cats meow knows, no two feline voices are ever exactly the same. But beyond the vagaries of voice box machinery, most of the variation comes from the cat’s own personality. And there’s no predicting how the interaction of any given human-cat personality pairing will affect meowing. After all, when some cats learn that meowing brings them satisfaction, the very act of meowing can become satisfactory in its own right.

So what do you do when the vocal requests get continuous or turn into an obsessive, repetitive behavior? It’s always a good idea to take kitty to the veterinarian’s office to make sure nothing is awry. If the veterinarian doesn’t find any physical problem, you may want to seek out a certified animal behaviorist or a board-certified veterinary behaviorist to get the answer you need.

But rest assured, the vast majority of vocal cats are not pathologically afflicted. Quite the opposite, most are simply voicing their healthy demands—pleasurably.

This article was written by a Veterinarian.

Massive Moby Losing Weight Before Knee Surgery

Excerpted from The (Bloomington) Pantagraph

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) — Using a bed sheet as a sling to help support Moby’s rear left leg, Jenn Jobe took the 90.4-pound beagle mix for a walk.

Even though Moby needed the support of the makeshift sling during his 15-minute walk, his tail was wagging.  ”He’s very happy, very motivated and very loving for being so overweight,” said Jobe, animal care manager at the Humane Society of Central Illinois in Normal.

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In this Aug. 28, 2013 photo, Jenn Jobe of the Humane Society of Central Illinois in Normal, Ill., takes Moby, a 5-year-old, 90.4 pound beagle mix for a walk.

Moby has become Central Illinois’ poster dog on pet obesity.  ”He’s an extreme example,” said Dr. Jamie Schertz of Town & Country Animal Hospital, Normal.

Moby, who is 5 years old, was brought to the humane society July 8. His previous owner could no longer take care of him for medical reasons and couldn’t afford the surgery that Moby needed, Jobe explained. It’s unknown how Moby injured his knee.

The previous owner said the dog already was overweight when he got him two years before. Humane society staff believe the dog ate a lot of table scraps, wasn’t taken for walks and received no medical care for at least two years.

When he was brought to the humane society, he couldn’t walk. He got around by pulling himself forward with his front paws and scooting his back side.

The dog had a different name but Jobe named him Moby, short for “immobile.”

The next day, humane society representatives took Moby to Schertz.”He was brought in on a stretcher,” Schertz recalled. “He was unable to stand on his hind legs because he was so overweight. He had almost no muscle tone in his back legs.”

The injury to his left rear leg is called a luxating patella, meaning his knee cap pops out of place, she said.  He weighed 93.6 pounds — at least 40 pounds overweight.

Schertz put him on anti-inflammatory medicine to help to ease the pain. He was given a supplement to help lubricate his joints. She put him on a prescription weight loss diet. And she prescribed exercise.

Humane society staff walk Moby for 15 minutes three times a day. Moby now does some walking without the sling.”He’s doing fantastic,” Schertz said. While 3.2 pounds of weight loss doesn’t sound like a lot, it has happened while Moby has gained muscle, Schertz said.

Schertz wants Moby to lose about another five pounds and gain more muscle tone before he undergoes the knee surgery.  ”We need to make sure that Moby can support himself on his good (rear) leg before we do the surgery on his bad leg,” she explained.

Schertz hopes that the surgery can be performed in about a month. Surgery and medications will cost $1,200.  After Moby recovers, the humane society hopes that he will be adopted by a family committed to continue his healthy eating and exercise regimen.

For Moby to lose 40 pounds will take several years, Schertz said. Dropping weight too quickly could cause liver damage, she said.  ”The ultimate goal for Moby is to get to a weight that’s manageable for him,” Schertz said. “Hopefully, he’ll have a productive life in a healthy environment.”