Tuesday, December 30, 2014

How to care for a hedgehog

Most of the pets we board are dogs, cats and occasionally rabbits, but when we recently had an inquiry on boarding a hedgehog, we decided to look into this interesting pet to get some more information!

Finding a good breeder. Finding a great breeder to purchase your hedgehog from is paramount.  If you don't, you could end up with a grumpy hedgehog that may die young. Avoid any breeder who posts on Craigslist. Do not buy them from pet stores. Be sure the breeder has quality, pedigree stock with no WHS or cancer in their lineage. See that the breeder is USDA licensed or is a part of breeders groups. Ask to see their set-up and meet their hedgehogs. Don't forget to check for illness.

Bringing the hedgehog home appropriately. Before purchase, make sure you have everything you need set up and ready to go. Allow the hedgehog at least a month to become familiar with you, the new scents, and the new surroundings. They have just experienced a huge change in their life!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Cat's Point of View at Christmas and the holidays!

Your holiday candles are irresistible for us!  You know how we love to 'paw-test' everything to see what it is!  And what cat, especially those inquisitive kittens, doesn't like to sniff and explore!  But singed paws and whiskers are very painful to us.  We surely don't want to create a fire hazard!  Try those electric candles they have, the are all the rage and are safe for all of us.  Also try to put them out of 'paw reach'.  Oh, and remember the fireplace screen - it's too hot for your furry friends and little tots!
We cats love your holiday plants!  We rarely eat them, but we do so enjoy clawing and licking them!  But remember that poisonous holiday plants could cause us tummy trouble that could ruin our holidays. Help us out and use silk or plastic holiday plants make an equally showy statement without the poison potential.

What temptation those trees are to us!  It's natural for us to think you've bought a new climbing perch, complete with cat toys that swing, sparkle, and invite paw-pats and biting. We love heights you know and what a challenge it is for us to climb and knock the whole thing down. You would be so proud if we make to the top! 
One year my owners made it hard for me to even get close to the tree!  They put aluminum foil all around the tree, and they know I don't like that odd feeling when I walk on it! I thought the shiny surface was part of the decoration!   They are so clever that they even dipped white cotton balls in Vicks and stuck them in the tree, knowing that my sense of smell would keep me away!  It looked like real snow; imagine my surprise when I got a whiff of menthol!

But I think I have finally figured it all out!  Who needs that tree with all of those tricks!  I am purrfectly content with a few empty boxes, big ragged bows and that crinkly paper that makes such a great sound! 

And please keep the holiday nog out of my paw's reach...It's like milk, after all...


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Holiday Advice from a Dog's Point of View!

Be especially patient with your humans!  They may be more stressed than usual so give them long, comforting 'doggie leans' and big sloppy, wet kisses!

Be tolerant if your humans put decorations on you.  Smile in appreciation and don't worry that you look ridiculous; they think you are adorable!

They may bring a tree into the house and set it up in your special space and cover it with lights, decorations and things they call 'gifts'.  Stay on their good side and remember:

  • Don't "go" on the tree
  • Don't drink the water in the big water bowl that holds the tree
  • Don't wag your tail when you are near the tree, even if you think you have plenty of room
  • Don't rip open the packages, even if your name is on them
  • Don't chew on the cord that connects the tree to the wall,  it's not a chew toy
  • Don't try to take the colorful balls off the tree or lay on the branches and bat at them 

Your humans may have lots of people over.  These parties can be lots of fun, but they also call for some discretion on your part:

  • Not all strangers appreciate kisses and doggie leans or kitties rubbing up against them
  • Don't eat off the buffet table, tempting and available as it looks (unless no one is looking of course)
  • Beg for goodies subtly, be pleasant, and above all, don't drool (humans can be so picky after all)
  • Let a strangers sit in your favorite spot on the sofa (maybe they will let you join them since you left it all nice and warm for them)
  • Don't drink out of glasses that they leave right next to you (even though you are more than happy to share your water bowl with them)
  • They might have really sparkling candles called Menorahs and they will be really sad if you knock them over (so limit the tail wagging around them just to be safe)

And the most important thing of all...A big man with a white beard and a very loud laugh may emerge from your fireplace in the middle of the night...DON'T BITE HIM!! 
Show him the reason for the season!

Monday, December 15, 2014

DIY First Aid Kit for Your Pet

Pet First Aid

Take some time and create your own first aid kit for your pet. If they could thank you, they would!

Chances are, your family knows exactly which cabinet to turn to at the sight of a runny nose, a splinter, blood, or tummy ache. But when your pet is in need of more than a scratch behind the ears, are you ready? Proper preparation is the best tool to arm yourself with in case of a pet emergency. A pet first aid kit is a smart, personalized, easily created resource that will prepare you to think quickly and logically. It is also something you can pack with you when you take your pet with you on a road trip!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Rabies or Titers?

There is a simple test which may help determine if your dog needs a booster vaccine.
Vaccinations are critical to the well-being of dogs and they protect dogs from potentially deadly, infectious diseases such as distemper and parvovirus. However, vaccination is not without possible side effects—some of which can be life-threatening—so it is imperative to avoid over-vaccination.
Many veterinarians now offer a blood test—called a vaccine titer—to determine whether a dog is protected against these common viruses. Vaccine titers are performed by obtaining a blood sample at a dog’s annual examination and checking it for the presence of antibodies against these diseases.
If your dog still has antibodies three years after their most recent vaccine, a booster vaccine is usually not recommended. If a dog has a negative vaccine titer—meaning there are no measurable antibodies circulating in the blood stream—re-vaccination should be considered.
On September 6, 2014 I held a free Vaccine Titer Clinic sponsored by Spectrum Labs, the creators of VacciCheck Antibody Test Kit! Spectrum Labs donated the test kits to help me spread the word about this healthy vaccination alternative!
Check out our exciting results!
• 60 dogs were tested. All of these dogs were due for their annual checkup and 3 year vaccination. In other words, these dogs would have all been vaccinated at their next checkup.
• 54 dogs (90%) had protective levels of antibody for all viruses tested and did not require a vaccine this year!
This is just one excellent example of how using vaccine antibody titers can help us prevent over-vaccination. Ask your vet about it at your dog’s next checkup!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Fleas in the winter?

Many pet owners believe that once winter hits, they no longer need residential pest control because their pet’s flea infestations will be over…at least for a few months. However, fleas continue to be a problem during the winter, and if you like to keep your home nice and warm (who doesn't?), then those pesky fleas have the perfect home.
Where To Find Fleas
Your home is a great place for fleas to breed during the winter, which not only continues your flea problem, but it also sets the stage for a more severe infestation in the spring. While fleas might spend most of their time on your pet, you should also carefully inspect your carpet, living room furniture and beds to see if they’re hiding out there. Anywhere your pet has traveled in your home should be checked carefully.
Problems Fleas Cause
Fleas feed on blood from your pet when they bite. This can cause serious skin damage for your pet, and in kittens and puppies, the problems are magnified. Smaller animals can even become anemic after suffering too many bites. Not to mention, they can bite people too, even if such cases are rare.
Do-it-yourself residential pest control rarely works because the chemicals available in the store simply aren't strong enough. The best flea control method is by treating the area with professional-grade chemicals. Don’t let fleas get you or your pet down this winter. 

Contact your local residential pest control company for quick elimination of your flea problem before it gets out of control.
SOURCE:  Allison Pest Control

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Remember your pets at Thanksgiving.....

.....not just to give thanks for having them in your life, but to make sure they are as safe and stress free as they can be!

  • Lots of people will be coming and going, with doors often open!  Make sure your pets have proper identification on them should they get out
  • Holiday snacks aren't as good for pets as they are for people!  Keep those munchies, especially chocolate, onions, raisins, grapes and peanuts, out of their reach
  • Poultry and meat bones should NEVER be given to pets.  They can splinter and cause damage to the digestive tract
  • Help your pet find a quiet sanctuary, away from the noise, the crowds and the temptation!  A nice bed, blanket or cozy crate may be just what they need to escape the craziness!  Add a fresh bowl of water that won't be knocked over by guests
  • Remind your guests to respect your pets, ask them not to feed them, pull on them or tease them, especially younger guests!
  • Make sure clean up time is also free from any 'non food' left overs.....like aluminum foil, wax paper and other food wrappings.  And keep the garbage secured or out of reach immediately!
This doesn't mean you pet can't have fun!  Check out these great Thanksgiving Day Treats from the Animal Planet!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thanksgiving Treats!

These are some great Thanksgiving treats you can make for your pets!  Yum!!

Fall Pumpkin Pie Dog Treats


  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • ¼ cup water

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Mix flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger 
  • Add vegetable oil and mix until crumbly (use a mixer or mix by hand) 
  • Add peanut butter and pumpkin, mix well 
  • Add water and mix until batter forms a dough 
  • Roll dough on floured surface until approximately ¼ inch think. Cut into shapes. A small pumpkin, cat or holiday cookie cutter shape works great depending on the season! 
  • Place treats on a cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until they are dry and firm
  • Turn off oven and leave in the oven for an additional 20 to 30 minutes 
  • Remove from oven and cool 
  • Store in a closed cookie tin 
  • Enjoy!

    Fido's Favorite Sweet Potato Pie Treats

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ cup cooked sweet potato, mashed
  • 2 slices of cooked crumbled bacon – alternatively you can use ¼ cup bacon bits
  • ¼ cup water

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Mix flours, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger 
  • Add vegetable oil and mix until crumbly (use a mixer or mix by hand) 
  • Add mashed sweet potato and bacon, mix well
  • Add water and mix until batter forms a dough
  • Roll dough on floured surface until approximately ¼ inch think. Cut into shapes. A small pumpkin, cat or holiday cookie cutter shape works great depending on the season! 
  • Place treats on a cookie sheet, bake for 12 to 15 minutes until they are dry and firm 
  • Turn off oven and leave in the oven for an additional 20 to 30 minutes 
  • Remove from oven and cool 
  • Store in a closed cookie tin 
  • Enjoy!

  • Pumpkin Pie Cookies (for cats and dogs!)
    • 2 cups rice flour
    • 1/2 cup oatmeal
    • 1 cup canned pumpkin
    • 1 cup grated carrots
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened plain applesauce
    • 1/4 flour for rolling
    • In a food processor blend carrots, applesauce and pumpkin until smooth
    • Mix rice flour and oatmeal in a bowl
    • Add wet ingredients to the dry and mix gently until dough forms
    • On a floured breadboard place dough and roll out to about 1/4 inch in thickness
    • Use cookie cutter to cut out little cookies
    • Place cookies on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for seven minutes
    • Flip treats over and cook for five more minutes
    • Remove from oven and cool thoroughly

    Special Note
    Remember, these recipes are treats and should not replace your pet’s regular meals. Please check with your veterinarian if your pet has special dietary needs or food allergies.

    Tuesday, November 18, 2014

    What to do with your pet’s dry skin in the winter?

    We humans aren't the only ones who suffer from dry skin in the winter!  Our dogs’ and cats' coats can get dry and course and some of this can be caused by a deficiency of fatty acids in their diet.  Without these essential fatty acids, wounds won’t heal, kidneys can degenerate and glands can dry up.  You can supplement your pets diet with fatty acids like vegetable oils (safflower, sunflower, etc.).  

    However, the best source is fish oil.  You can even give it to your pooch as a treat!

    Wednesday, November 12, 2014

    November is PET CANCER AWARENESS Month

    Tumors can develop from any tissue and there are many types of tumors that can occur in a variety of locations. The more you know about tumor types can help you monitor your dog and catch possible cancers early, which may help treat the disease before it is too late.

    Knowing the possible signs that your dog may have a cancerous tumor will help in early detection. These symptoms are not necessarily indicative of cancer, but if a pet begins to exhibit any of them, or a combination of symptoms, you should visit your veterinarian immediately.
    1. Lump and bumps: Not all lumps and bumps are cancerous. If you find one on your dog, call your veterinarian. Your pet may need a needle biopsy to determine if the cells are cancerous or not.
    2. Abnormal Odors: Many dogs generally have "doggy breath". If your dog's breath becomes more odorous than normal for your dog, he should be seen by a veterinarian. Foul smelling odors could be a sign of mouth or nose cancers. If your dog has other odors that are not normal for him, such as odors from the ears, or other parts of his body, he should be checked out.
    3. Discharges: This includes blood, pus, vomiting, diarrhea and any other abnormal substance being discharged from any part of your dog's body.
    4. Non-Healing wounds: Wounds that are not healing, such as cuts on their paw or face, could be a sign of infection, skin disease or melanoma.
    5. Extreme or rapid weight loss: Talk to your veterinarian if your dog is not on a diet and you notice a sudden loss in weight. Generally dogs don't stop eating unless there is a reason, and cancer is only one possibility.
    6. Lack of energy: Sleeping more than usual, lack of energy at playtime, getting overly tired on normal walks are all possible signs of cancer.
    7. Changes in urine or stool: blood in the urine or stool, frequent bathroom usage, unusual accidents in the home, difficulty in going to the bathroom are all possible signs of cancer or another ailment.
    Most treatment plans will involve some type of surgery to remove the tumor. Depending on the tumor type and location, your veterinarian may recommend adding other treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Many times veterinarians are able to provide treatment in their clinic, but other times you may need to refer to a veterinary oncologist.

    Source:   Bark Busters

    Tuesday, November 11, 2014

    Training Tips for Your Dog

    Here are some tips we have collected over the years working with your pets!
    Feel free to add some of your own.....or, if you have a special challenge you need help with, let us know!      
    • You get what you reinforce - not necessarily what you want
    If your dog exhibits a behavior you don't like, there is a strong likelihood that it's something that has been reinforced before. A great example is when your dog brings you a toy and barks to entice you to throw it. You throw the toy. Your dog has just learned that barking gets you to do what he wants. You say "no," and he barks even more. Heaven forbid you give in and throw the toy now! Why? Because you will have taught him persistence pays off. Before you know it you'll have a dog that barks and barks every time he wants something. The solution? Ignore his barking or ask him to do something for you (like "sit") before you throw his toy.

    Tuesday, October 28, 2014

    Halloween Pet Safety Tips

    pet safety tips on halloween

    Here are some tips to keep your pets safe and happy on Halloween:

    1. Don't leave your pet outside. Even if you have a fenced yard, bring your pet inside where it is safe. If your dog or cat is usually kept outside, bring him in a few times before the big night to get him used to being indoors. Your dog may be used to strangers, but so many little ghouls and goblins running about may be too much. Remember also that it is a natural instinct for dogs to protect the family from strangers, and on Halloween there will be no shortage of strangers. Cats meanwhile, especially black ones, face serious prejudice over the Halloween holiday!

    2. Keep your dog restrained. If your dog is timid or scared, or if he tends to love people a little too much, it is best to put him in a separate room away from the front door to limit his excitability, aggression, and chance of running outside and becoming lost.

    3. Reassure your pet. The best thing you can do for your dog or cat when he is feeling unsettled by Halloween activities is to act as you normally would. By over-reassuring your pet or giving him an unusual amount of attention, you inadvertently can communicate to him that because you are acting differently, there must be something to worry about.

    4. Have your dog or cat get used to (human) costumes. Your pet may see his family members as strangers once they don their Halloween costumes. Before the kids put them on, allow your pet to scent the costumes. If your costume has a mask, keep the mask off when you are with your dog because dogs can become confused when they can't see our faces.

    5. Check your pet's ID tag. Be sure identification tags are secure on your pet's collar-just in case. If your cat refuses to wear a collar, make sure that there is no chance for an escape!

    6. Keep candy away! Many candies-especially chocolate-are toxic to pets. The severity of the toxicity depends greatly on factors such as breed, age, size, and how much candy was ingested. Problems may range from a mild upset tummy to vomiting and diarrhea, or even death. If you have any concerns at all, consult with a veterinarian immediately. If you want to keep your pet safe, make certain that sweets, including their wrappers, are kept well away from your pet.

    7. Protect everyone from candles and pumpkins. Excited or agitated dogs can easily knock over a lit candle or pumpkin. Be sure those items are away from your dog's reach, or consider a battery-powered candle that does not burn

    8. Think twice about dressing your dog or cat in a costume. While some dogs might enjoy being dressed up, many don't. Experiment first to see if your dog likes being in a costume. If so, fine-he'll most likely enjoy himself and the extra attention it brings. However, if he shows any resistance, don't do it. Dogs feel enough stress around Halloween without also having to endure the discomfort and peculiarity of wearing a strange costume. Cats are far more particular but some are able to get used to being dressed as long as it doesn't restrict their movement. Tips for dressing your dog!

    9. Be prepared. If you take your dog with you while trick-or-treating, be prepared at all times. Do not let your dog approach the door of a house, and stay clear of possible gags or gangs of goblins who will gather at the door. Dogs do not understand that the person jumping out at you will not hurt you; they often think they can only help you by acting aggressively. Neither children nor adults in costumes should approach a dog without the owner's consent. Also, bring poop bags!

    10. Have fun but think of your pet's safety. Finally, if you want your pet to be included in Halloween festivities, think about his safety much as you would the safety of a small child. Your pet does not understand Halloween, so he needs you to provide the guidance and safety that you always do.

    Friday, October 24, 2014

    Pet Identification Options

    Pet ID

    Both dogs and cats need up to date identification. Even if your cat is a 100% indoor cat, she still needs ID - scared or excited pets can slip out the door before you can stop them!

    Check with your city for any licensing or identification requirements for your pet. Here are three choices. A combination of them is best just in case one form of ID fails:
    Pet ID
    License tag: Usually purchased from the city, your pet is assigned a number which is tracked in a computer database. Tags are attached to your pet's collar. If your pet is found, the animal control officer can check the tag number, pull up your address, and call you to let you know they have your pet. It is important to keep this information up to date - for example, if you get a new phone number or move, make sure to update it in their system!

    The disadvantages to using a tag are: the tag can fall off and get lost; it might not be readable; your pet may not always be wearing its collar; your pet may slip out of or lose its collar.

    Tattoo: Tattoos are commonly etched into one of your pet's ears during spay/neuter surgery (pets must be under anesthetic for this procedure). Tattoos are a visible and somewhat permanent method of identification.

    Unlike tags, tattoos are not reliant on your pet wearing its collar. However tattoos usually fade over time, making them illegible. They can be retraced ... but since pets must be under anesthetic and there is always a risk with anesthetic, retracing a tattoo should be done at the same time your pet is undergoing another procedure anyways.

    A microchip is a small, electronic chip (approximately the size of a grain of rice) that is implanted just under your pet's skin. It is administered quickly and painlessly by a simple injection.

    Microchips each have an identification number associated with them. Along with this ID number, your name, address, and phone number are entered into a computer database. If your pet gets lost, animal shelters or city pounds equipped with scanners will be able to scan your pet's body to quickly locate the ID number of the microchip along with the corresponding owner information. Many shelters and pounds these days are equipped to handle microchips.

    IMPORTANT: When getting a microchip, make sure that you register your contact information! Many pets have a chip implanted with no corresponding information! Or when owners move/get new phone numbers they forget to update the contact information registered to the chip! Just like a license tag, it is a good practice to make sure the information is up to date annually.

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014

    October is "Adopt a Shelter Dog Month"

    We would love to see this happen one day...soon!!  Every pet deserves a forever home and you can help that happen.

    If you are looking to adopt or to be a foster home, these organizations are wonderful. And we know there are many others out there, so please let us know if you have others to share!


    ACT V Rescue and Rehabilitation - A non profit, foster based organization dedicated to taking in and thoughtfully rehoming the most unwanted and neglected animals. They provide a healing and caring environment for their animals, where physical and mental rehabilitation is possible

    Animal Humane Society of MN - As the leading animal welfare organization in the Upper Midwest, Animal Humane Society is committed to engaging and serving local communities of people and animals and providing comprehensive programs and services to compassionately serve all of the stages of an animal’s life.

    Homeward Bound Rescue - A private, nonprofit organization concerned with the welfare of dogs and other animals, dedicated to the sheltering and fostering of homeless and unwanted animals.

    Midwest Animal Rescue and Services™ (MARS) - A dedicated and passionate group who rescues dogs and cats that are at risk and homeless through no fault of their own. Once in our care, these companion animals are vaccinated, microchipped, and spayed or neutered. Special attention is provided for those animals that need additional time and medical care before going to a new home.

    Minnesota Greyhound Rescue - A non-profit organization dedicated to finding responsible homes for Greyhounds who are no longer used by the racing industry. Our mission includes educating the public about the cruelty of Greyhound racing, and letting people know that these wonderful dogs make gentle, loving pets.

    Northstar Shih Tzu Rescue (NSTR) - An all-volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to Shih Tzu and Shih Tzu blend dogs. They are a no kill rescue that provides rescue and adoption services, out reach programs, and education in the community.

    Pet Project Rescue - A local, non-profit organization that rescues homeless or abandoned dogs and cats and places them in volunteer foster homes until the animal is adopted by a forever family; focused on reducing the homeless-animal population by dedicating funds and volunteer efforts to provide spay/neuter services for animals in need.

    Retrieve A Golden of Minnesota (RAGOM) - A non profit organization rescuing and rehoming Golden Retrievers (serving Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota).

    A Rotta Love Plus (ARLP) - A comprehensive and proactive all-volunteer advocacy organization that uses a “nose-to-tail” approach to address the issues faced by Rottweilers and pit bulls. ARLP's strategies include public outreach and awareness to repair the reputation of its breeds, community enrichment and education via its therapy dog program, spay/neuter initiatives, owner education and training, and foster-based dog rescue and rehoming. 

    Second Hand Hounds rescues dogs from high kill shelters around the Midwest and from owners who can no longer provide care for their dogs.

    Small Dog Rescue of Minnesota (SDR) - An all-volunteer group committed to the rescue, rehabilitation, and placement of dogs 20 pounds and under.

    Wednesday, October 8, 2014

    Secrets of Contented Living

    Dogs may just be even smarter than we think!

    And although many of us think we ‘work like a dog’, there may be some pearls of wisdom that we can actually learn from our canine friends!

    Secrets of Contented Living:
    • Never pass up a chance to go for a ride
    • Always greet your loved ones enthusiastically – even if they've only been gone for 5 minutes
    • Sometimes, obedience IS the best strategy
    • Carve out your niche...and be sure to let others know when they have invaded your space
    • Find time to talk long walks and to play every day
    • Eat with gusto
    • Be a loyal, dependable BFF (Best Friend Forever)
    • Enjoy those naps
    • If you see someone who is having a bad day, stay close, nuzzle them and let them know you care
    • Don’t take an occasional scolding too personally…..you’ll forget it soon enough
    • When you are happy, show it!

    Friday, October 3, 2014

    Thundershirts and your cat!

    Thundershirts are often associated with dogs that may need calming during thunder storms.

    They also have other uses for anxiety and can be really helpful for cats!

    A Thundershirt provides a gentle ‘hugging’ that calms your cat with gentle, constant pressure.   This can have a dramatic calming effect for most anxious, fearful or overexcited cats…not just during a thunderstorm.   It is often compared to the effect ‘swaddling’ has on an infant and can be used for a visit to the vet, for grooming or even for a cat that is generally anxious.

    Wednesday, September 17, 2014

    Ebola and our Pets

    Source:  Petplace.com

    Written by:  Janice Row

    Can dogs get or transmit the Ebola virus?

    One can scarcely turn on the news today without hearing the latest frightening statistics about the 2014 African Ebola epidemic. WHO (World Health Organization) predicts that before it is contained, 20,000 people will have been infected and it will cost 600 million dollars to fight this outbreak. To date there is no cure, but there are promising new treatments and vaccines being developed to battle the disease that was first identified in 1976.

    What Is Ebola?

    According to comprehensive Center for Disease Control (CDC) studies, Ebola is a virus or group of viruses that originated in central Africa, possibly in birds. The main reservoir for the virus now is thought to be African fruit bats. 

    In people the virus causes headaches, muscle and joint pain, fever, sore throat, diarrhea, vomiting and then progresses to kidney failure and the hemorrhagic stage when the victim begins bleeding internally and externally. 

    Among primates, including humans, the disease is 50 to 90% fatal. 

    What Creatures Are at Risk For Ebola Infection?

    Ebola is a zoonotic disease, which means it can be passed between species. The most adversely affected group is primates, including gorillas, chimpanzees, monkeys and humans. Other animals known to have been naturally infected are the African fruit bats, antelope, porcupines, rodents, pigs and dogs. There have been no documented infections in felines at this time.

    How Is Ebola Spread?

    Ebola is spread in several ways. An important study done by CDC infectious disease experts and veterinarians following the 2001-2002 Ebola outbreak concluded that consumption of infected meat was one avenue. Gorillas and other primates kill and eat infected animals, African hunters trade in "bush meat" and people who consume that can become infected. 

    An important way Ebola is spread amongst humans is by direct contact with body fluids such as urine, saliva, vomit, feces, semen and blood from infected individuals. 

    Objects such as needles may also be contaminated with infected fluids.

    How Do Dogs Get Ebola?

    Dogs and other animals pick up Ebola from consuming infected meat, direct contact with infectious fluids such as urine, feces. 

    Dogs are kept as pets and for hunting in Africa but are not typically fed, therefore they scavenge and ingest infected meat or residue from infected people. The very detailed CDC study found evidence of infection in dogs by testing hundreds of blood samples for antibodies. 

    What are Symptoms of Ebola in Dogs? 

    The CDC concluded that infected dogs are asymptomatic (do not develop symptoms) from Ebola. During the initial time of their infection, however, they can spread the disease to humans and other animals through licking, biting, grooming, saliva, tears, urine, and feces. However, once the virus is cleared from the dog it is no longer contagious. Dogs do not die from Ebola infections. 

    Can MY Dog Get Ebola?

    In the United States and areas of the world not contiguous to the affected countries in central Africa, the chances of contracting Ebola are extremely low. 

    The virus is spread mainly in the current prevalent areas where the lifestyle is far different from ours. There is no known source of infection outside of affected areas in Africa. In our country, and most countries with more stringent rules concerning food production and sanitation, our pets should be protected as well as we are from this type of catastrophic disease.

    Friday, September 12, 2014

    Transporting your cat safely and stress free!

    All cat owners are faced with the question, ‘what is the best way for me to take my cat to a vet appointment’?

    Unlike dogs, traveling by car is not natural for a cat and we tend to feel anxious (unless you are lucky enough to have a cat who enjoys the outing!) when we prepare for the trip. Here are a few suggestions to make the experience a little less stressful…for you and your feline!

    Use a carrier!  

    This will ensure a safe transfer (who needs a cat under your feet when driving!) and it will provide a safe place for them during the ride.  Be sure to put a favorite toy and soft blanket inside so they are comfortable.

    It’s a good idea to keep the carrier out in the open when you aren't transporting so your cat won’t be threatened by it.  Try putting some treats in there periodically so they get used to going in and out of it.

    Be prepared!  Give yourself plenty of time to get your cat in to the carrier so you aren't rushed.  If your cat is new to transporting, consider a trial run before you go to the vet so you both know what to expect!  And remember, a cat can find a new place to hide when under pressure!  Arriving on time and will keep the stress level lower.

    Some cat owners have a more successful trip if they spray Feliway® into to carrier 20 – 30 minutes prior as it will help calm and anxious cat!

    Keep you cat in the carrier when you get to the vet’s and remember to keep talking softly and in a calm voice to your pet.

    The time we spend with our vets is precious.  Make a list in advance of any questions or concerns you have about your cat and the experience will be more beneficial for all!

    Praise your cat on the ride home and give them something special when you get home…and leave the carrier out! 

    If your cat simply will not get into the carrier, or cannot be confined, you may want to consider some alternatives that are on the market! 

    More information and suggestions:

    Friday, September 5, 2014

    What is a "Senior Cat"?

    Gracie just turned 14...is that 'old' for a cat?

    There is no one specific age that classifies a cat as senior. 

    Like people, some cats age faster than others. Generally speaking, however, older cats can be placed into one of three groups:
    Mature or middle-aged: 7–10 years (44–56 years for humans)
    Senior: 11–14 years (60-72 years for humans)
    Geriatric: 15+ years (76+ years for humans)

    With good home and veterinary care, many cats can live into their late teens and early twenties. It’s important to understand that your cat is likely to undergo certain physical changes with age. Some changes, such as reduced kidney function, may be associated with diseases that affect how long — and how well — your pet will live. Others, such 
    as decreased ability to see, hear and taste, may require certain changes in how you interact with and care for your cat. 

    Some of the common changes associated with aging include:

    •  Altered sleep-wake cycle
    •  Changes in vision 
    •  Appearance of brown spots in the iris
    •  Decreased sense of smell
    •  Brittle nails
    •  Decreased lung reserve
    •  Heart or circulatory problems
    •  Decreased digestion and ability to absorb nutrients
    •  Loose, less-elastic skin
    •  Reduced ability to handle stress
    •  Changes in behavior 

     Understanding aging changes, as well as what constitutes “normal” developments and what signals signs of treatable conditions, can be challenging. Some owners might think 
    that, unlike dogs, cats do not need to visit the veterinarian on an ongoing basis, outside of scheduled vaccinations. 

    This couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, by regularly taking your cat to a veterinarian, illness can be diagnosed early and age-related health conditions are delayed or managed. 

    Source:  American Association of Feline Practitioners 
    Sponsored by: Purina Veterinary Diets