Category Archives: ruthie bently

Can Dogs Get Distemper if They’ve Been Vaccinated?

By Ruthie Bently

Pet owners are required to get their cats and dogs vaccinated against the rabies disease, and there are other vaccinations our pets get depending on their owner’s preference and veterinarian’s recommendations. The distemper vaccination is not a required vaccination in the United States, but it is strongly advised by veterinarians because distemper can be fatal in certain cases.

A dog can contract distemper from a vaccination and this is known as vaccinial distemper; it is exceedingly rare but is possible. I spoke with my vet, and in his 32 years of practice he has never seen a dog contract distemper from a vaccination. If a dog contracts distemper from an inoculation, it is a situation where the dog’s immune system has already been severely compromised by something else.

The distemper virus is related to measles in humans, and in days gone by they used human measles vaccine to immunize puppies. A dog contracts distemper by coming in contact with an infected dog’s bodily secretions such as drool, discharge from a sneeze or cough, even urine; it is introduced to the body through the mouth or nose. In places of the world where vaccines are not commonly used, distemper can affect any age dog.

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How to Help a Cat with Feline Arthritis

By Ruthie Bently

As cats age they may get feline osteoarthritis, also known as feline or cat arthritis. A cat that is overweight can develop osteoarthritis. Feline osteoarthritis can be difficult to diagnose as a cat’s instinct leads them to attempt to hide their infirmity. (Any signs of weakness can lead to a lion’s place in a pride being compromised.) Osteoarthritis affects the cartilage and soft tissue around the joints. Cartilage is the natural shock absorber of an organism, and is made of protein. It’s like an airbag for your joints. Arthritis causes cartilage to deteriorate from around the joints. If left untreated, the bones can begin to rub against each other, and bone thickening or bone spurs may result. The symptoms are varied and may not be something you might associate to arthritis. While feline arthritis is not curable, it is manageable and you may be able to prevent it in your cat.

Some cats slow down as they age. If your cat isn’t one of those but they are exhibiting some strange behaviors and you are concerned there may be something wrong, here are some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis. A cat may sleep more often and pick lower places to sleep. They may not cover leavings in the litter box, and if the box is too tall for them to easily climb into they may have an accident outside the litter box. Your cat may not want to jump up to high vantage points like they used to. Their leg muscles may look thinner or less filled out than they used to; this is called muscle wasting.

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Tips for Living with a Blind Dog

By Ruthie Bently

When a person loses their sight, there are many avenues of assistance. But what do you do when it is your dog? Making some simple changes to your house can help your blind dog adjust easier. Experts suggest not moving furniture or rugs, as it can make it more difficult for your blind dog to maneuver around the home. Evaluate each room from your dog’s height and sight level for hidden dangers. Are there any cords dangling in the way that could trip up your dog? Check for sharp corners or objects at a level your dog may run into, and move or pad them to lessen the effect of an accident. To help a blind dog acclimate faster, walk them around the house and re-introduce them to their favorite rooms, areas for sleeping and eating, and anywhere else they will spend time.

When approaching your blind dog, talk to them softly so they don’t get startled. Do not approach your dog if they are sleeping or from behind, as this may frighten them. You can provide encouragement to your dog by talking to them often. If your blind dog has obedience training, a consistent use of their regular basic commands gives them normality.

Using textured floor runners for a path through the rooms your blind dog spends the most time in can help them find their way using their feet. For example, if they sleep in the kitchen, use a floor runner to go from their crate or bed to the outside door they use most often. Don’t change where you feed or water them, and don’t carry them to their food or up stairs, as this can confuse them. If you have stairs, think about installing a gate at the top to prevent tumbles. Try to keep the floors clear of any obstacles that may hinder your blind dog’s movement through the rooms.

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What Causes a Dog to Snore?

By Ruthie Bently

Do you live with a snorer? No, I’m not talking about the two legged variety that may live with you, but that adorable four-legged furry version. Did you know that an estimated 21% of all dogs snore? (By contrast, only 7% of our feline friends snore). Since many of us have at some time let our dogs sleep with us, we’ve had to deal with this snoring problem or banish them from our bedroom. What causes a dog to snore – and how do you stop it?

There are several reasons that might cause your dog to snore, including environmental and physical. Some dogs are born with excess tissue around their neck and throat; this tissue can interfere with a dog’s breathing under certain circumstances. If your dog is overweight, they may also be carrying extra skin and body tissue around their neck. This extra body weight can cause the upper airway to close. Congestion in a dog’s nasal passages can also cause snoring.

Congestion can be caused by allergies, a cold, pneumonia, or environmental factors like secondhand smoke or smog. Even household cleaners and air fresheners may cause allergies. Secondhand smoke is an irritant to a dog’s respiratory system and can lead to snoring problems. If your dog has or is prone to allergies, some allergens can cause the air passages to narrow, which results in snoring. Anything that causes a dog’s airway to constrict or can obstruct it can lead to snoring.

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Saluki, the Royal Dog of Egypt

By Ruthie Bently

The Saluki is one of the oldest known dog breeds in the world, named for the ancient southern Arabian city of Saluq, which no longer exists. The breed is known as the “Royal Dog of Egypt,” since the nobility were the only people allowed to own them. Their mummified remains have been found in the tombs of pharaohs as well as many tombs of the Upper Nile, and there are several carvings of King Tutankhamen with his favored Salukis. Some Saluki likenesses have been dated back to 2100 B.C. More recently excavated tombs dating between 7000 and 6000 B.C. Sumaria also contain Saluki carvings. The Saluki is known by other names as well: the Arabian Hound, Persian Sighthound, Gazelle Hound, Persian Greyhound, and the Tanji.

The Saluki is native to eastern Turkestan to Turkey, though due to the nomadic existence of their owners they ranged from the Caspian Sea to the Sahara desert. Historians believe they are related to the Afghan Hound and date back to Alexander the Great’s invasion of India in 329 B.C. Considered a sacred gift from Allah, they were only offered as gifts and never sold. Bedouin tribes regarded a Saluki with a white forehead patch as special, and it was believed that they wore “the kiss of Allah.”

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Canine Liver Disease: Causes and Symptoms

By Ruthie Bently

Canine liver disease is the fifth leading cause of death for dogs, and it’s estimated that three percent of all diseases veterinarians see are connected to the liver.

Canine liver disease has many causes, such as physiological, physical and chemical. It can be called “prior” or “after” liver disease. An example of “prior” liver disease would be a cancer; an example of “after” liver disease is a blocked bile duct.

The liver is the second largest organ in a dog’s body (after the skin) and is the workhorse of their body. It’s a specialized manufacturing and pollution control center, and is what makes the body function properly. The liver processes food eaten, manufactures the necessary building blocks, detoxifies and recycles the blood, and gets rid of the waste created. Since the liver is connected so intricately to the biochemistry of an organism, it can make diagnosing canine liver disease difficult. Liver disease can affect many body functions and in turn the liver can be affected by many other organs and systems of the body.

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