Category Archives: veterinary care

4 Signs of Dehydration in Cats

dehydration bartBy Langley Cornwell

When it comes to humans, dehydration can come from something as simple as a hot day without enough liquid refreshments. For example, a person might sweat so much that they become dehydrated because they lose water and electrolytes through their sweat. As we sweat, our pores open and release some of our body heat. Additionally, sweat covers our skin and helps to reduce body temperature. Cats get can get overheated too, but they have different methods of cooling down than humans do. Because cats only sweat through their paws, this is an unlikely method by which they might become dehydrated. However, it’s important to realize that cats can become dehydrated for a number of reasons, and to know the symptoms .

Signs of Dehydration

It can be difficult to tell at first glance when a cat is dehydrated. Since they are covered in fur and don’t sweat through anywhere but their paws, you can’t just glance at them and see that they are pale or not sweating when they should be. However, their behavior can be an indication of significant dehydration. In fact, dehydration in cats is often a symptom of another health issue but can oftentimes be overlooked. It’s vital to be aware of the signs of dehydration in cats, because if not caught early it can exacerbate the severity of other health complications.

Here are the major signs of dehydration in cats:
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How to Help a Dog with Stiff Joints

stiff joints fredBy Laurie Darroch

Stiff joints in a dog can be caused by a variety of physical issues, or just simple aging. There are ways to help your dog achieve the best function and ambulation possible, as well as decrease the accompanying pain or discomfort.

Signs of Joint Pain

If your dog’s movement seems slower than normal, or they move in stiff awkward motions, they may be experiencing joint pain. Normal activities such as climbing the stairs or jumping up to a favorite resting spot may be difficult or even impossible. Obsessively licking a sore area, limping, swollen joints, resistance to normal physical activity, slow walking, or joints that are tender to your touch are all signs there is something amiss.

Massage

A gentle massage to the sore joints and surrounding areas can help loosen the stiffness your dog is experiencing. Some conditions may cause extreme joint pain. Check with your vet to make sure a massage is not going to damage your dog’s joints further. They can give you tips on how to do it effectively as well.
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Tooth Resorption in Cats and Dogs

tooth resorption makiaBy Julia Williams

A few months ago I took my cat, Annabelle, in for a routine checkup. After a thorough exam, my vet told me that Annabelle had a painful condition called tooth resorption. This came as a complete surprise, as Annabelle had been acting her normal happy self, she was eating well and seemed to be in perfect health.

I hadn’t noticed any abnormal behavior, and Annabelle did not act like she was in any discomfort when she was scarfing her CANIDAE wet food or her treats. My vet explained that even though tooth resorption is known to be quite painful, in most cases our pets don’t show outward signs until it’s become extremely uncomfortable. This is a largely a survival instinct, since an animal in the wild who showed weakness would be vulnerable to a predator.

What is Tooth Resorption?

Although tooth resorption is similar in appearance to the cavities humans get in their teeth, there is a difference. Cavities are caused by bacterial decay which begins at the tooth’s hard outer surface (the enamel) and progresses toward the interior of the tooth. With tooth resorption, the damage begins inside the tooth with “resorptive lesions” which are caused by cells eating away at the tooth. A tooth that is affected by resorptive lesions will erode and eventually disappear entirely as it is absorbed back into the animal’s body. As a tooth disintegrates, the dentin (inner part of the tooth) and nerve are exposed, causing extreme sensitivity and a great deal of pain.tooth resorption rick

Tooth resorption occurs primarily in cats, but dogs can get it too, as can larger cats such as tigers, lions, cheetahs and leopards. Tooth resorption in domestic housecats is a common condition that affects as many as 50% of cats over three years old.

What Causes Tooth Resorption?

Some studies suggest that an excess of vitamin D in the diet may play a role in tooth resorption; other theories support that it’s an autoimmune response. However, at the present time there is no definitive answer as to what causes the resorptive lesions. What is known is that once an animal develops one resorptive lesion, it’s highly likely that other teeth will also be affected.

Is Tooth Resorption Preventable?

Unfortunately, until it’s understood what causes the resorptive lesions to occur, there is no way to prevent them. Pets that have resorptive lesions in one tooth often have them in other teeth.

How is Tooth Resorption Diagnosed?

Some things to watch for include excessive salivation, bleeding in the mouth and difficulty eating. (You might notice, for example, that your pet appears to only be chewing on one side of her mouth). As I mentioned earlier, however, some pets with tooth resorption may exhibit no outward signs; in this case, the condition will be discovered when your vet examines your pet’s mouth.

Some resorptive lesions can be seen, while others are hidden below the gum. If a lesion is suspected, your vet may use a probe such as a cotton swab. When the lesion is touched by the probe, it causes pain resulting in chattering and jaw spasms. tooth resorption danielleRadiographs (x-rays) are extremely helpful not only in making a definitive diagnosis, especially for the hidden resorptive lesions, but also for treatment planning.

How is Tooth Resorption Treated?

Tooth resorptions can be seen on radiographs in many different stages, depending upon how long the tooth has been affected and how fast it is resorbing. Unfortunately, there is no reliable treatment and extraction of the affected tooth (or teeth) is usually recommended. If the disease has significantly progressed and the resorbing tooth has already fused to the jawbone, the veterinary surgeon may recommend amputation of the tooth instead of extraction. Radiographs while under general anesthesia will help your vet determine which procedure is best.

Top photo by Makia Minich/Flickr
Middle photo by Rick Wasser/Flickr
Bottom photo by Danielle Kellogg/Flickr

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Could Your Dog Have Fall Allergies Too?

allergies timothyBy Lyn Lomasi

You’ve seen or felt it all before: the sneezing, the itching, the watery eyes, the irritated nasal passages, and so on. But your dog is now displaying some of the behavior typical for fall allergies in humans. Could your dog have fall allergies too? Is this even possible? What signs and symptoms should you be concerned about, and when is the appropriate time to pick up the phone and call the vet?

Can Dogs Be Affected By Hay Fever?

The answer to this may not be quite what you’re thinking. If you see your dog struggling with what seems like hay fever or fall allergies, you might be correct. However, in dogs, it is often referred to as atopy. Some of the symptoms of atopy are similar to what humans would experience with hay fever. Atopy is also most common in the fall season. Some of the signs and symptoms vary greatly from hay fever. Fall allergies in dogs can range from mild to serious. Learn the signs to watch for, as well as when the appropriate time to contact your vet is going to be.

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Thyroid Problems in Dogs and Cats

thyroid rekre89By Langley Cornwell

As a responsible pet owner, there are many health issues dogs and cats may experience that you should be aware of. In fact, being a pet owner often means learning about things you had no idea even existed. Each species has specific health conditions that affect them, and then there are several that can afflict both cats and dogs. One of these conditions is thyroid problems.

Both dogs and cats can have problems with their thyroid gland. The thyroid gland produces the hormone that controls metabolism. Cats tend to have hyperthyroidism (too much hormone) while dogs often suffer from hypothyroidism (too little hormone).

How to Know if Your Pet Has a Thyroid Problem

If you notice your dog or cat is acting either extra sluggish or extremely active—as compared to their normal behavior — or is gaining or losing weight, you will want to call your vet and discuss this. It’s important, because if left untreated, thyroid issues may have a detrimental effect on your pet’s quality of life. The symptoms of thyroid problems, if left untreated, can lead to other conditions and can even eventually be fatal.

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The Changing Face of Veterinary Medicine

veterinary medBy Linda Cole

The field of study in veterinary medicine is wide open these days for people who love animals and want to pursue a career working with household pets, wildlife, farm animals or other animals. Advances in technology are helping pets live longer, and changes in the way animals are viewed have created a need for more specialized studies. Veterinary medicine is no longer just about caring for pets in an office. There’s even a field of study that helps protect our food supply. There are some surprising opportunities available for someone with a degree in veterinary medicine besides working as a veterinarian or vet technician.

Sports Medicine

The American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation is open for veterinarians from around the world to get an advanced degree in the science of sports medicine. Its main focus is on the structural, physiological, medical and surgical needs of working and athletic animals. Currently there’s two fields of study: Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation (Canine) and Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation (Equine).

Shelter Medicine

Vets who care for shelter animals deal with the health and welfare of pets in a unique environment. In an effort to improve quality of life for pets that have been abused, neglected, homeless or given up because of medical issues or age, shelter medicine is an important and necessary field of study which also promotes the bond we share with pets, and improves the treatment of animals.

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