As our pet cats and dogs get older, they start to develop their own set of age-related health problems in a similar way that we humans do. While some pets tend to slow down in their old age, others retain that same high level of energy that they had when they were young, and this can sometimes make it difficult for us to recognize that our senior pets may need a little extra care and attention.
You have decided to take the big step and own a dog. However, you are at a loss for how to choose one. You may have flipped through dog magazines or dog breed books, but are overwhelmed by the vast array of breeds. This article is a guide to help you narrow down your search to choose a breed that is suitable for you.
First-time dog owners may have difficulties training their dog at first because they are still learning how to read and understand their dog’s body language. Therefore, it might be easiest to choose a breed that is easy to train. All dogs can be obedience trained, but some are more willing to learn new things and are eager to please.
Over the last decade or so there has been a lot of commotion about “designer breeds”. Goldie-poos (Golden retriever x Standard Poodle), Shi-poos (Shi tzu x Miniature Poodle), and Jugs (Jack Russel terrier x Pug) are some of the more commonly seen breed combinations. These cross-bred dogs (as we will refer to them in this article) have been advertised as having various desirable physical and personality traits. The claims run from non-shedding to “the best qualities from both breeds”. There has been a lot of attention, both praising and critical, given to these cross-bred dogs. We will try to distinguish myth from truth in this article.
Cats get nosebleeds (epistaxis) for different reasons. Sometimes the nosebleeds are the result of something very serious and other times the cause is as simple as bumping into something and bursting a blood vessel. The difficulty is that cats can’t tell us where, why or how that nosebleed came to be. Due the fact that there is such a variety of causes, nosebleeds should be considered serious by default and a call to your vet should be made when you notice them.
There is a lot of variety when it comes to how/why a nose bleeds. Is this a one time thing or is this happening frequently? Is the bleeding coming from one or both nostrils? This is a really important one to figure out as some problems will affect only one nostril while different problems will affect both. Some cats are prone to nosebleeds but most cats get nosebleeds only when there is a problem. The most common reason for nosebleeds is fighting with other cats and getting hit by a moving vehicle.
Most dog owners are aware that dog noses are extremely sensitive. This is due to the quantity of olfactory or ‘smell’ receptors in a dog’s nose. Whereas humans have around five million olfactory receptors, dogs have two hundred and twenty million. This makes their noses exponentially more sensitive than a human’s. Most times a dog’s sensitive nose works to our benefit. All kinds of dogs are used as service dogs to help humans find missing people, sniff out explosives, drugs etc. They can smell people coming from quite a distance and alert us to their presence. There are some embarrassing occasions however, when a dog’s nose is just too sensitive from our human perspective. Most notably this occurs when dogs try to sniff humans in their private areas.
This behaviour is a common one in dogs and equally common is the fact that it upsets most dog owners. The reason some dogs sniff at a human’s private parts is the same reason they sniff the private parts of other dogs. We know that when they smell other dogs in this way they can tell the sex, rank (is the dog more dominant or submissive) age and other information about the dog.
You have a healthy, happy young dog. All of a sudden you notice that your dog feels really sick and is urinating a lot. You rush to the veterinary clinic, looking for an answer. Your veterinarian starts asking questions to get a good history, and starts running tests. Blood work and analysis of urine seems to indicate that your dog is in acute kidney failure. How did that happen? Your veterinarian asks questions- is there any chance your dog got into anti-freeze? No. Lilies? No. Grapes? Yes.
There are a number of different toxins that can cause acute kidney failure in an otherwise healthy dog. Many drugs can predispose dogs to this condition.
Sometimes it is easy for a veterinarian to figure out what is wrong with your pet by simple observation. Other times blood work is used to pick up problems with the thyroid glands, kidneys, or other organs. Often though, the veterinarian will decide to do further tests such as ultrasound and x-rays to look inside the body. These forms of testing are used very routinely for everything from broken bones to cancer. But what happens if none of these tests result in a diagnosis? The testing we just talked about is used to help us determine what is happening in the body. Sometimes all of the tests are negative or the diagnosis is not specific enough. This is when the veterinarian turns to different options.
The next option might be a CT or MRI scan. Both of these options are only available at specialty practices or veterinary schools. They are very expensive, but on the other hand, they often allow veterinarians to exactly diagnose the problem. In fact, both CT and MRI are so precise that for some problems it is almost as good as looking inside the body! The CT and MRI machines are the same as those used in human hospitals. This article will give you a short introduction to the ideas and science behind these forms of testing. Then we will go through a few situations when CT and MRI are used.
Most cats and dogs undergo some type of surgery that requires anesthesia during their lifetimes even if it is only the surgery done for spaying and neutering. Other common procedures that require anesthesia include dental cleaning or dental surgery as well as repairing broken bones. Whenever surgery is done on a pet the topic of anesthesia arises. For the purposes of this article we will be talking about general anesthesia where pets are completely unconscious. We’ve all heard about the potential risks and possible complications regarding anesthesia in our own lives, and so it makes good sense to wonder about anesthetic complications when it comes to our pets as well.
Luckily, veterinary medicine has made huge strides in reducing anesthetic complications. So long as the pet is properly monitored during the actual surgery and the pet has been carefully prescreened for possible problems, anesthesia on pets is quite safe and problems are few.
In order to keep indoor cats inside the house it’s important to make sure that doors and windows are securely closed. It sounds obvious but cats are creative and very determined creatures and if there is a way for them to escape, they often will. This is especially true when cat owners (correctly) make the decision to turn their outdoor cats into indoor cats.
Windows are a favourite way for cats to escape. Make sure that all of the windows cannot be opened by your cat. If a window is left open slightly, some cats will use their paws to open it more fully. If there is no screen the cat can escape right then and there. If there is a screen, with just a bit of determination a cat might be able to break though it or slide it open. All you need to do to solve this problem is get a piece of wood and put it in the track of the window. Cut the length of wood so that when you place it in the window’s track, you can only open the window a few inches. Always make sure that your cat cannot squeeze through the opening space. Then to keep the wood in the track, screw it securely into the window frame.
When people adopt a new cat or are thinking about buying a cat they often want to know how old that cat is. If the cat is a kitten this is usually easy. The original owner should know how old the kitten was or if you bring the kitten to a veterinarian, the vet should be able to tell how old the kitten is with a reasonable degree of accuracy. If good records were kept from kitten-hood or previous adoptions, again this is an easy task. The problem occurs when you are considering getting an adult cat whose age and/or history are unknown.
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