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Archive for March, 2011

How can anyone resist those big brown eyes?  I’m talking big sad beagle eyes.

Those eyes look right at me, her brow gets all wrinkled, and she looks like her heart is going to break if she doesn’t get a bite.  It is so hard to look at, I must turn away.

It’s hard enough having to cut her amount of kibble back.  It’s going to take a resolve of steel to keep from giving her a crumb here and there.  An overweight dog is an unhealthy dog.  That will become my new mantra.

She depends on me to take care of her. Joint problems, heart problems, diabetes…I certainly don’t wish that on my baby girl.   The less weight her frame has to carry the better she will feel.  The better she feels the more we can get out and do.  Then more we do the brighter and healthier those big brown eyes will shine.

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It’s a bright, sunny and cold Monday morning.  Casey and I went for our first walk since before fall.  Well, it wasn’t  a real walk unless you count stroll, stop, sniff, track …repeat, a walk.   But it was a beginning.

This year we have had the “winter that will not end” and all Casey and I have managed to do is gain weight.  Not good for either of us, but especially bad for her.  Being a beagle, she has a little frame and a true love of food. Combine that with those big sad puppy dog eyes and wrinkled brow and she is an easy target for obesity.

We did so well last summer.  Walking or hiking on local trails almost daily.  Measuring every bit of food and counting all the good girl treats.  We both managed to get our weight under control.  This year we are once again starting at square one.  Casey back on weight control kibble and me trying to count Weight Watcher points.  I wonder if the franchise has ever thought about starting a Doggy Weight Watchers program.   I bet it would do great.

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Being a member of the pet professional community is usually very fun.  Sharing stories about pet antics and goofy behavior is sure to bring smiles and giggles.

However; there is another side of the profession that is heartbreaking.  A front row seat to the horrific things some humans do to animals.   It comes to us through email, blog posts, networking groups, and from the people who have leading roles in the care of these poor abused animals.  Animal control, veterinarians, shelter and rescue workers, and the many volunteers who make it their life’s mission to save those that are suffering.

Animal cruelty comes in many shapes and sizes.  It is not just the dogs that have been put in the ring to fight, or pets that were beaten, maimed, and starved.  It happens around us every day.

Dogs and cats left out in the yard day and night through all kinds of weather. Some with no shelter to escape the bitter winds, freezing temps, or baking sun.  Deep snow, freezing temperatures, sweltering heat, or predators are what they have to look forward to each day.

These actions while maybe not illegal, are cruel and abusive.  These animals have no companionship.  The only human interaction they have is if and when a human tosses them food.   They don’t know how it feels to have their bellies rubbed or behind their ears scratched.  It can make both dogs and cats mean and untrusting.  Often leading to them being put down when they turn to biting as a defense mechanism.

So please, before you get that cute little puppy or kitten who will need a lifetime of love and care.    Ask yourself, “Am I ready for that commitment?”

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Had the vet visit yesterday.  All is fine, just an update on Casey’s rabies shot.

Casey is my beagle with a few personality problems.  Rescued on the day the previous owner was having her put down, she lives the life of a queen here. We have come to know her sometimes erratic behavior, constantly work to show her it is unacceptable, and reward her with treats for behaving nicely. Mostly we love her through it all.

Certain things stress her and a visit from the vet is one of them.  She needs to be given an anti-anxiety drug a few hours before the visit.  It makes her very out of it, lethargic, and clingy.  One thing it doesn’t do is make her friendly to the vet.

I was nervous about this visit because the vet was coming without the tech.  This meant I was going to have to hold Casey while she got her shot and a manicure.  Even though I would much rather have her snap at me then them, I turn into a very nervous mother which Casey senses.  That makes her more anxious and she bites.

It is easier for me to bring Casey to the truck then do everything in the house.  More light, everything right at hand, and a more confined space.  Yesterday I got her there with very little tugging and a slight butt push up the stairs.   Once inside the vet donned her elbow length leather gloves and covered Casey with a towel.  In that manner she is able to be picked up and put on the table.  Not so bad.

Once on the table I was able to hold her body and head still and within seconds the shot was done.  Over in a flash.  Next …nails clipped.

With the towel still over her head and the vet again wearing the gloves we switched places.  I did the clipping while she held her.   It was going pretty easily until she mentioned the powder in case of bleeding.  Yup you guessed it; I clipped and there was blood.  Lots of it.  Casey didn’t move, yell, or bite. It didn’t bother her at all.  I got myself with the spring on the clippers.   Took a pretty good chunk of skin and man did it hurt.

In the end Casey was fine.  In fact I had to drag her out of the clinic.  Luckily she is a healthy dog so vet visits are few and far between.  I think we will always need the towel and gloves, but hope we can cut down on the drugs as she gets older, or prescribe some for me too.

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Along with the mud and muck the first signs of  spring wildlife are showing themselves.

It is an exciting time here.  After the long cold snowy winter our resident woodpecker has returned, and he brought a couple of  friends.  One who looks just like him, not in the picture, and a little guy, just to the right of him.

We have been looking for this guy for years.  He is very good at camouflaging himself in the trees once the leaves appear, but with them still bare he can’t hide his bright red-head.  He is a welcome sight and a welcome sound.

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At 2:30 this morning the dog and I were woken up by screaming, howling, and hissing.  At first I thought I had a rumble between two of my cats,  so I got up to investigate.  After a search through the house I found my three sitting quietly. It was then I realized all the noise was coming from outside my closed bedroom window.  Two cats, either the neighbor’s or feral, were doing their mating ritual next to my warm foundation.  That means kitten season is almost here.

Each year shelters are overwhelmed with pregnant females or new litters of kittens.  Though they try, the sad fact is they are not all adopted.  Millions of healthy cats are euthanized each year.   This could be prevented by having your cat spayed or neutered.

The simple truth is one unspayed female giving birth to two female kittens who reproduce could possibly contribute 10,000 kittens, to the population, in a seven-year period.  Yes, that is 10,000 kittens.  All in need of loving caring homes.

Please help reduce this problem by having your cat spayed or neutered and spreading the word for others to follow suit.  If you are in need of some help paying,  the ASPCA has set up a database of low-cost programs and Spay-USA is a wealth of information.   Don’t sit by and think this problem doesn’t affect your family.   It affects us all.

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I want to share something I read this morning.  It comes from a pet store owner.

 I just wanted to let everyone know that we have a cat through one of our stores that died from Seizures Monday night after being sick all weekend. They had just switched over to the canned Wellness 2 weeks ago 😦

The kitty was diabetic pre-…switching to the Wellness which is why they came to see us for a *better* food. Thiamine is essential for nerve impulses. Diabetics tend to have nerve dysfunction. Thiamine too low = Diabetic kitty developed seizures.”

This is serious and as we know from the past, recalls have a way of snowballing.  They start with one batch or one flavor and grow.  While the PR departments are doing damage control we continue buying and feeding food that could be killing our pets. 

If you own a diabetic cat and have been feeding Wellness canned STOP!   If your cat, diabetic or not, has been eating Wellness and is not acting normally please call your vet immediately and have them seen.   Tell the vet they have been eating Wellness Cat Food.

Here are symptoms to be watching for:
                                   1. Ventroflexion of the neck
        (bending down of head with chin close to or touching neck)

                                   2.Muscle weakness
                                   3. Wobbly walking
                                   4.Dilated pupils
                                   5.Anorexia
                                   6. Seizures
                                   7. Aggression

Though I can not recommend Instinctive Choice or Life’s Abundance for diabetic pets, I fully recommend it for any dog or cat that is not on a prescription diet.  

*On a personal note, my dogs and cats were eating Wellness and Old Mother Hubbard food before switching to Life’s Abundance.  It was during the giant pet food recall in 2007.  I switched because of the answers I received, or should I say did not receive,  regarding quality control.  With Life’s Abundance, your order goes from manufacturer, to our warehouse, to you.  Each purchase you make is logged under your account and you would be contacted directly if the need ever arose.  Thankfully, because of Dr Jane’s involvement at every level and the company’s commitment to quality,  we have never had a recall.   If you would like the phone number to corporate please send me a message and I will send it to you.

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