Having a pet cat definitely enriches our lives. They give us affection (some more than others). They provide companionship. And they entertain us either by running around the house playing or just sitting on the couch looking cute. They are also good for our health. It has been shown that petting a cat relieves stress and lowers heart rate and blood pressure. In fact researchers at the University of Minnesota found that the relative risk of death from a heart attack was significantly reduced in people that currently or even previously owned a cat. The bond a cat owner has with their cat is strong but this bond can be tested if the cat begins urinating or defecating out of the box. The causes of this problem can be divided into 2 categories: medical and behavioral. The first step in determining the cause is to rule out medical problems. In addition to a complete physical exam and urinalysis, your veterinarian may want to run additional tests such as blood tests and x rays to see if there is an underlying medical cause. If medical causes are ruled out than modifying the cat’s environment will often prove rewarding in resolving this problem. The most important thing to be aware of is that the longer this problem goes on the harder it is to fix so it is important to have your cat evaluated by your vet as soon as possible if she starts urinating or defecating out of the box. For more information on litter box problems contact your vet or check out: http://www.aspca.org/Pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/cat-articles/litter-box-problems
No one knows exactly when the first dog became domesticated. The theory is that the more friendly wild canines were adopted by our ancestors and selectively bred for certain characteristics. In addition to being companions they were put to work. By doing tasks such as herding, guarding and hunting they improved the quality of life and were allowed to stick around and eat the scraps left over by their human owners. As civilization advanced life became easier and dogs weren’t needed as much. More and more dogs became companions or family members instead of workers. They went from sleeping outside to sleeping inside. And not only did they move inside the house a lot of them moved into our beds. That’s when the problems started. Many of these dogs are genetically programmed to be outside and in motion for most of their waking hours. They chase vermin, herd livestock and patrol the perimeter of their owner’s property looking for trespassers. Unfortunately our busy lifestyles don’t always account for this. They literally have so much built up physical and mental energy that they don’t know what to do with themselves. The result is anxiety. And anxiety leads to undesirable behaviors. Dogs that are anxious can have obsessive compulsive behaviors like pacing and self mutilation. Some will urinate and defecate in the house. Some will destroy the house. Others will bark and cry all day. The good news is that this problem can be remedied. The key is to intervene early. Stay tuned for future blog posts where I will discuss steps to correct this problem.
For years veterinarians and human medical professionals have been recommending that their patients take a variety of supplements for all kinds of ailments. Glucosamine and Chondroitin have been beneficial for arthritic patients. Fish oils have helped patients with skin and kidney disease. But what about MSM? MSM, short for Methylsulfonylmethane, is a compound that is found in most plant and animal tissue. In addition to aiding many bodily functions MSM has shown to be helpful in the management of arthritis. It helps repair connective tissue. It is a natural anti-inflammatory and is believed to have antioxidant properties. The nice thing about MSM is that, being a supplement, it does not have any serious potential side effects or contraindications. This comes in handy for older patients with kidney disease that are unable to take anti-inflammatory medications. MSM is often one of the ingredients in commercially available arthritis multi-supplements. It can also be taken alone. For more information on MSM check out: http://www.vetriscience.com/sellsheets/Methylsulfonylmethane.pdf
Welcome to the first entry of the Countryside Animal Clinic Blog. We view this as a great opportunity to interact with our existing clients and introduce ourselves to the folks that don’t know about us. Countryside has a great team of Vets, nurses and receptionists. We care about our patients and we love our work. But enough about us. What would you like to hear about? Please feel to send us questions, comments or suggestions for blog posts. To contact us go to www.countrysideanimalclinic.com
So what’s been going on in the pet world lately? Unfortunately food and treat recalls continue to make the news. The latest recall involves possible contamination with Salmonella. Other recalls include excessive moisture leading to mold growth, potential toxins such as propylene glycol, and off odors. What are even more disturbing are the recalls where pets are getting sick from unidentifiable illness. This was seen recently with the alarming number of pets that have gotten sick after eating chicken jerky treats from China (http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/NewsEvents/CVMUpdates/ucm280586.htm) .
So what is a pet owner to do? One option is to go with a home cooked diet. There are 3 concerns with home cooked diets: 1) Pets that are feed table food exclusively may not be getting all of their daily required vitamins and minerals 2) Commercially prepared dry kibble benefits the teeth by stimulating the gums and breaking tartar off during chewing 3) Preparing a home cooked diet on a daily basis can be very time consuming.
Here are some solutions to the previous concerns: 1) If feeding a home cooked diet, you can obtain a recipe from your veterinarian or purchase a multi supplement. A good source for this is https://secure.balanceit.com . Not only does this site sell supplements but they have a free recipe generator. 2) Dogs eating home cooked diets tend to have more advanced dental disease then dogs eating dry food only. If you are feeding your dog a home cooked diet you should brush his teeth daily.
3) Other than making large batches and freezing it there is no easy way around this one.
Now the last thing we want to do is create a panic. The overwhelming majority of commercial pet diets are completely safe and healthy. But it is important to keep an eye out for recalls. A good way to do this is to check out http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/newpetfoodrecalls on a regular basis. If you think your pet is having an adverse reaction to a diet then you should save the food packaging and contact your veterinarian.
Thank you for reading this blog. At this time we plan to publish it on the first of each month. We’ll see you again on Dec 1. Have a great November!