Also known as CDV, Canine Distemper is a highly contagious viral illness that can be debilitating and even fatal. It not only affects dogs but can also be seen in certain species of wildlife, including foxes, skunks, and wolves. Puppies and non-immunized dogs are most commonly affected, but pets on immune-suppressants may also be vulnerable.
Regular exercise is just as important for pets as it is for human beings. Not only does it help keep their weight under control, but it keeps their joints supple and their heart-healthy. Regular exercise benefits for pets include reduction in undesirable behaviors including chewing, barking, jumping up, and being predatory.
Maintaining your pets’ weight.
Helping your dog to unwind and sleep better at night.
Keeping your dog healthy and mobile.
Reduction in constipation and digestive problems.
Building a rapport with your pet and gaining their trust.
In recent years humans have adopted a more sedentary lifestyle, and our pets are following suit. However in order for our pets to live a long, happy and healthy life you need to ensure that activity is worked into their routine. Here is our guide to helping your pet get more exercise.
Until the start of the 20th-century dogs were primarily bred to work in a range of areas, for example, military, farming, search and rescue and sensory support. Whilst some dogs still do work, the majority of them are now couch potatoes where they are provided with food and water and spend the majority of their time in a confined space. Their naturally active tendencies are fading and they are becoming lazy.
Dogs who do not have enough exercise can exhibit some undesirable behavior including:
Destructive: chewing, scratching and digging
Hyperactive: extreme excitability, jumping up, etc.
Play biting / rough play: your dog may nip you regularly when playing
Investigative tendencies: this can include garbage raiding
Predatory: your pet may get very territorial
Vocalization: increased barking, whining, and other attention-seeking sounds
Many people believe that access to a garden or yard counts as exercise, but unless you have the equivalent of a football field outside then it is not enough. Your dog will also don’t want to exercise alone. Interaction with him is the key to getting him moving.
It doesn’t have to mean running for miles either. As long as your dog is moving and his heart rate is increasing then it counts as exercise!
However, before you start your pet off on a regular exercise routine there are a few things that you should take into consideration.
Dogs exercise needs vary depending on their breed and size.
Sustained jogging or running can be problematic for larger dogs as they
are naturally more likely to suffer from cruciate ligament injuries such as
hip dysplasia or arthritis.
Sustained jogging or running is also not recommended for dogs under 18
months of age as their bones haven’t finished growing.
Brachycephalic breeds (those with short or flat noses) can struggle with
their breathing during vigorous exercise, particularly if the temperatures
Ideally, you should always consult with your veterinarian before beginning any regular exercise with your pet.
Almost all dogs will benefit from at least one-half hour-long walk per day. Ideally, try and take him at the same time every day. This helps your pet to get into a routine and is also beneficial for helping your dog know what time of day he will get to empty his bladder/bowels.
If your dog is sociable then look into a local agility group or class. These can be quite competitive and intense but they provide a great workout for your pet and are a good way for you to make new friends too. Some of the activities that your pet will do are good for developing new skills too. Your veterinarian should be able to advise you on how to find your nearest group.
You can’t beat a game of fetch. Simple, effective and you don’t need to go too far. If the weather is poor then you can even play it indoors if you have enough space.
If you live near a lake, river or beach then take your dog swimming. It is a particularly good exercise for dogs with arthritis as it is gentle on their joints. If your dog is reluctant to get into the water, start by encouraging him to chase a ball or toy into the shallows.
Play hide and seek. It is just as important for your pet to exercise their brain as well as their body. Hide and seek is a light physical activity that stimulates your pets cognitive abilities.
REMEMBER: never let your dog off of his leash is you are not confident that he will return to you when called.
Did you know that despite doing all we can to keep our animals safe, approximately one in three pets in the United States will become lost at some point during their lifetime? This is a scenario that no caring and committed owner wants to think about, but by understanding that it is something that could happen, we can take prepare for the eventuality. One of the best ways of doing this is by microchipping your pet.
Many owners are quite content with using collars and tags as identification for their beloved animal. While microchipping isn’t intended to replace this traditional and highly successful practice, it can complement it. Microchips are placed under your pet’s skin and, at the same size as a grain of rice, they are impossible to locate precisely once they have been inserted. This makes them tamper-proof and accident proof. While conventional tags and collars can be removed by thieves or can fall off, microchipping is permanent.
Studies have shown that microchipping is also a much more effective and efficient way of reuniting pets with their owners and animals who are microchipped are significantly more likely to make it back home. Since many animals look alike, ownership disputes are a fairly common occurrence in neighborhoods where there are a number of pets of the same type and breed. However, microchipping can also prove invaluable when it comes to proving who the rightful owner of your pet is. Although having your details on the chip is not proof of ownership, disputes nearly always go the way of the person who registered with the microchip provider.
Don't ignore your pet's bad breath! Dental hygiene is often the cause of stinky breath, and it may indicate other important problems with your pet's health. We understand how easy it is to miss. Many of the problems that stem from poor hygiene occur where you can't see them - below your pet's gum line.
The first line of defense is always home care. But while some animals (especially dogs) tolerate their owners handling their mouths and brushing their teeth, most (especially cats) will struggle or act out. That can always make oral care difficult at best, and ineffective at worst.
The best way to ensure your pet's oral health is to have regular cleanings at our office. Discuss how often you ought to come in as well as a home hygiene regimen with your vet. This will also prevent dental issues from progressing to larger (and potentially deadly) internal issues, such as dysfunction or disease in the heart, kidneys, liver, or lungs.
In the wild, hiding pain, illness, or other weaknesses are survival instincts. Many times, your pet will have the same instincts, even in the safety and comfort of your loving home, so always keep an eye on your pet's eating habits and behaviors. Recognizing the difference between normal changes in mood and red flags can be difficult sometimes.
What you interpret as a persistent grumpiness may actually be a sign that your pet is in pain.
New irritability, shying away from being touched (especially on the face and around the mouth or throat), sluggishness, loss of appetite or difficulty eating, and lethargy are all behavioral signs which may indicate illness.
However, if you note any of the following physical changes, contact your vet immediately:
Red and swollen gums
Bleeding gums, especially when eating or when having teeth brushed
Swelling around the mouth
Loose or missing teeth
Crusted build up at the edge of the gums
Persistent bad or fetid breath
Remember, preventing oral infections and disease will help your pet live a longer, healthier life. Furthermore, caring for your pet with regular cleanings now will save you money later. In 2013, VPI Pet Insurance priced the cost of treatment for dental diseases at more than $530 on average. Our prices for regular cleanings are much less than that!
Birds may be slightly more exotic as pets go, but they are still wonderful companions for people who are looking for an alternative to a furry friend. However, the physiology of a bird is very different to that of a cat, dog or other mammal. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that you register your feathered friend with a veterinarian who has the unique training and experience to be able to understand and manage injuries and health problems that may arise in birds.
As you might expect, the types of services that are usually included in avian vet care are very similar to those offered in standard veterinary offices that deal with less exotic pets. Some of the most common include:
Routine and comprehensive wellness examinations and assessments
Imaging tests including digital x-rays, CT scans and ultrasound scans
Fracture and beak repair
Behavioral consultations for undesirable behavior problems such as aggression
Diagnosing and treating a wide range of medical conditions, with in-patient care if required
Anesthesia / sedation services
Locating a veterinarian that specializes in birds will almost certainly not be as easy as locating a regular vet. One good resource to consider is the Association of Avian Veterinarians, who maintain a list of vets qualified to help care for pet birds. If you know someone who also has pet birds, you could ask them who their vet is and if they would recommend them.
Also known as FPV and Feline Panleukopenia, Feline Distemper is a highly contagious viral disease that can be debilitating and even fatal. Kittens aged between 2 and 6 months are the most vulnerable to the disease, followed by pregnant and immune-compromised cats. Surviving FPV comes with immunity to any further infections by the virus.
The FPV virus is mainly transmitted through direct contact with the blood, feces or urine of an infected cat. It can also be spread by fleas that have been feeding on a contaminated cat. Humans can inadvertently pass FPV after handling the equipment used by contaminated cats if they do not follow proper hand washing protocols. The virus can live on surfaces for up to a year and is resistant to the majority of cleaning products except for household bleach.
FPV attacks the blood cells of an infected cat and in particular those in the bone marrow and intestinal tract. If the infected cat is pregnant, the virus will also attack the stem cells of the unborn kitten. Additionally, FPV makes your pet more vulnerable to other viral and bacterial diseases.
The primary symptoms of FPV include but are not limited to:
Diarrhea (may be blood-stained)
Loss of appetite
Other symptoms include lack of coordination, hiding away from owners, tucking feet away, or resting chin on the floor for prolonged periods.
When a person or animal is unwell, external symptoms and blood test results may only tell a small part of the story. Advances in medical technology mean that it is now possible to see what is actually happening inside you, and one of these procedures is known as an endoscopy.
An endoscopy can be used to view and analyze many parts of a horse including the upper respiratory tract, and parts of the gastrointestinal, reproductive and urinary tracts. This helps veterinarians to make an accurate diagnosis and recommendation for treatment for a wide range of health problems.
There are two main types of endoscopy available in the equine veterinary field. These are:
This is the most common type of endoscope used for investigative surgery in horses. The endoscope is made up of a bunch of optical fibers that are enclosed within a waterproof rubber tube. The tube is passed into the horse’s body either through a natural body cavity or a surgical incision. The area is illuminated by a light source that passes through the fiber optics and then examined using an eyepiece that is attached to the external end of the fiber-optic cable.
This more advanced version of the endoscope has a tiny microchip video camera on the end of the scope which relays live feedback to a television screen in the room. This means that multiple people can view the feed, and it can be recorded and played back at a later time.
It turns out that owning a pet is more than just adorable cuddles and trips to the dog park. Owning a pet can also improve your overall health and wellness.
On a psychological level, pets are shown to decrease levels of depression and anxiety. On an overall health level, owning a pet can decrease your blood pressure, increase your immune system, make you less likely to suffer from a heart attack and stroke, and more.
A study in 2002 by the State University of New York at Buffalo found that having your pet around during difficult tasks can decrease stress. They found that having pets helped participants stay calm and focus on the task at hand. Pets were even more beneficial than having a close friend or family member nearby.
Promises Treatment Centers, which helps recovering drug addicts allows pets into their rehab facilities. The CEO of the facility recommends that having your pet around makes the recovery process less stressful, making drug addicts less likely to reach for substances as a way to decompress.
So, the next time you’re going through a tough time at home or work, try taking a breather to hangout with your pets.
A study by the CDC suggests that having a dog can lower your blood pressure, especially for high-risk hypertensive patients. Oftentimes, stress can cause high blood pressure. When life throws you stressful curve balls, having a dog (or cat) that loves you unconditionally can help you feel at ease. It’s also thought that owning a pet gives you more opportunities to go outside and exercise, which strengthens your heart and lowers your blood pressure.
The CDC suggests that another healthy component of owning a pet is lowering your cholesterol. Research found that people who own pets (particularly men) have lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides than those without pets. Who needs Cheerios, when you can get a dog. Like lower blood pressure, it’s not known if the pet’s presence is specifically lowering cholesterol, or if it’s caused by the lifestyle that comes with owning a pet.
A new pet can be very exciting! But do you know where to find the pet that's right for you? Choosing which pet you'd like can be hard, and not just because you have to choose between one kitten or puppy and another. We've got the tips to help you make the right decision — for you, and for the animal.
Deciding to adopt a new animal is a big decision and one that shouldn't be made impulsively. Pets need to be cared for and loved like any other member of the family, and that takes time, effort, and money. Do you have a yard large enough for a goat to live comfortably? Do you have time more than once per day every single day to walk your dog? Do you have enough money to buy fresh litter for your cat regularly?
Only adopt an animal if you feel confident in your ability to care for them. This includes being able to care for animals you buy for your kids. By their nature, children will want to participate in all the fun parts and have trouble consistently remembering or even wanting to do the dirty work. If you won't be able to care for the animal when your kids can't, that leaves the pet as the one that's hurt or neglected.
But we understand that sometimes things change! If you can no longer care for your animal, contact the shelter or organization you adopted the animal from, or feel free to come in and talk to us about potential options. Please, never abandon your pet!
Letting children, especially young children, and pets, especially new ones, play can be a little nerve wracking. The foremost worry is for the safety of the children, of course — it's more likely that an animal would physically hurt a child than the other way around. Unfortunately, kids can hurt pets too, and what's more, they can antagonize a pet to the point the animal will act out.
This is mostly due to two factors. First, children are still growing, learning, and testing boundaries, coupled with still learning how to verbalize their thoughts and needs. Second, pets can't verbalize at all, making it more difficult for them to communicate when they don't like something, want certain behaviors to stop, or are hurting. As a parent, you need to step in and fill this fundamental gap and help them understand each other.
Keep in mind that some animals simply aren't comfortable around children, and that's okay. When adopting a new pet, especially if it's older, make sure to talk to the shelter or rescue organization staff to make sure the animal is safe to live with kids. Similarly, if you already have kids and kid-friendly pets but are ready to adopt a new pet, make sure to ask if the animal is also comfortable with other animals. Bringing a pet into a home where it's uncomfortable will only make them more and more stressed, and thus more likely to hurt someone.