Finding a Reputable Breeder
With thousands of unwanted dogs living in shelters and desperately looking for new homes, we highly recommend that you at least consider adopting a puppy or adult dog. You will be able to find details of your local shelters and rescue centers online. However, if your heart is set on a purebred puppy then the very first thing you should do is find a reputable breeder.
Unfortunately, there are many people out there who view breeding purely as a source of income and they have very little concern for either the current or future welfare of their puppies. However, by asking the right questions and making some careful observations, it is possible to distinguish between them and knowledgeable and professional breeders. Here is our guide to helping you find a reputable breeder for your pet.
Equine castration is the most common surgical procedure performed on horses. Not only does it prevent unwanted breeding, but it can also dramatically improve the behavior and management of your horse.
When should equine castration take place?
Equine castration usually takes place in either the spring or autumn months in order to avoid bacteria-carrying flies in the summer and the mud of winter. Traditionally, castration is carried out in a horse’s yearling year, but there is no reason why the procedure cannot be undertaken at other times. However, both testicles must have descended into the scrotum before the castration takes place. If one testicle is undescended, then waiting to castrate is usually the most viable option. However, it is possible to carry out a full castration via laparoscopy to find the retained testicle, although this requires much more surgical intervention and therefore a longer recovery period.
Your equine veterinarian will obtain the medical history and conduct a thorough examination of your horse before performing castration, to ensure that he is in good condition, has been wormed regularly, his vaccinations are up to date and he has not suffered any recent respiratory infection.
Avian Vet Care
Birds may be slightly more exotic as pets go, but they are still wonderful companions for people who are looking for an alternative to a furry friend. However, the physiology of a bird is very different to that of a cat, dog or other mammals. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that you register your feathered friend with a veterinarian who has the unique training and experience to be able to understand and manage injuries and health problems that may arise in birds.
Services included in avian vet care
As you might expect, the types of services that are usually included in avian vet care are very similar to those offered in standard veterinary offices that deal with less exotic pets. Some of the most common include:
Routine and comprehensive wellness examinations and assessments
Imaging tests including digital x-rays, CT scans, and ultrasound scans
Fracture and beak repair
Behavioral consultations for undesirable behavior problems such as aggression
Diagnosing and treating a wide range of medical conditions, with in-patient care if required
How to find an experienced avian vet
Locating a veterinarian that specializes in birds will almost certainly not be as easy as locating a regular vet. One good resource to consider is the Association of Avian Veterinarians, who maintain a list of vets qualified to help care for pet birds. If you know someone who also has pet birds, you could ask them who their vet is and if they would recommend them.
Why cats like to relax and sleep up high
Cats are known for being notoriously fussy creatures. They demand attention when it suits them, but reject snuggling with their owner when it doesn’t. They are picky eaters, can appear aloof and indifferent to their owners and seem pretty happy to go it alone most of the time.
This fussy attitude often even extends to their sleeping habits, and many owners have gone out and spent a considerable amount of their hard-earned cash to provide a large, plush and expensive cat bed, only to find that their pampered pussy refuses to sleep in it. But is she just being fussy, or is there an ulterior motive for this behavior?
According to animal behavior experts, most cats prefer to sleep and hang out in places with good vantage points. It comes from their instinct to protect themselves, and a high position for sleeping or resting gives them an aerial advantage for spotting any potential dangers around them. Much of this instinct comes from their ancestry. Early cats were hunters that lived in the wild, and their climbing ability meant that they had somewhere to retreat to away from larger predators, plus the capability of attacking smaller prey high up in the branches. Therefore, climbing and being up high was natural, and this has been passed down to the cats that we keep as pets today.
First Aid for Pets
Accidents and emergencies aren’t just for humans. While first aid is no substitute for emergency veterinary care,
it is important for treating certain injuries and preventing symptoms or situations from worsening.
In critical emergencies opting to administer first aid before heading to your veterinarian could make the difference between the life and death of your pet.
As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to try and ensure the safety and well being of your pet at all times. With that in mind, here is our guide to basic first aid for pets.
Usually the sign of a fight with another pet or an accident, external bleeding can be dealt with relatively quickly and simply unless it is severe and/or located on the legs.
You may need to muzzle your pet to establish the site of injury as he may be in some pain. Once you have located it, press a thick; clean gauze pad over the wound, applying pressure until the blood begins to clot. It may take a number of minutes for the clot to gain enough strength to sufficiently stop the bleeding, so instead of checking every few seconds, hold the gauze in place for at least two minutes before lifting it to check if the bleeding has ceased.
If your pet has severe blood loss from the legs then you should use a thin strip of gauze, elastic band or similar to create tourniquet between the wound and the body. Once it is in place you should cover it with a gauze pad and keep gentle pressure on the wound.
Loosen the tourniquet for around half a minute every 15 to 20 minutes so that you don’t cut the circulation off from the wound entirely, and get someone to drive you to an emergency veterinarian immediately as severe blood loss can be deadly for any pet.
It may not always be possible to tell that your pet is bleeding internally, but some of the symptoms that you can look out for include:
Coughing up blood
Bleeding from the nose, mouth or rectum
Blood in urine
Rapid pulse rate
If any of the above symptoms present themselves then you should make your pet as warm and
comfortable as possible and take him immediately to your emergency veterinarian.
If your pet suffers from any form of burn injury then you should muzzle him before applying large quantities of ice-cold water to the affected area.
In the case of chemical burns then the water should be free-flowing; cleansing the skin as much as possible. Otherwise, hold an ice-cold compress to the burned area and immediately transport your pet to your emergency veterinary service.
Choking is just as common in pets as it is in humans, and knowing how to assist your pet if he chokes could save his life. Symptoms of choking include:
Struggling to breathe
Pawing at the mouth and nose
Lips or tongue turning blue
Your pet will be in an extreme state of panic and is more likely to accidentally bite you, so using caution you should try and look into his mouth and see if any blockages are immediately visible. If you can see something obstructing your pet’s airway you should carefully try and remove it using tongs, pliers or tweezers, taking extreme care not to push the item further into the esophagus. If it is not easily removed then don’t spend time repeatedly trying to reach it.
If you are unable to remove it or your pet collapses you should try and force air from the lungs in an attempt to push the object out from the other direction. The way you should do this is by putting both of your hands on the side of your pet’s rib cage and applying short sharp bursts of firm pressure.
Keep doing this until you manage to dislodge the foreign object or until you arrive at the emergency veterinary service.
What is Heartworm?
Heartworm is a serious illness that can cause heart failure, lung disease, organ damage and even death in dogs, cats and ferrets. Heartworm is most prevalent in pets living along the Atlantic Gulf coasts from New Jersey to the Gulf of Mexico, and in those living alongside the Mississippi and its main tributaries. However it has been found in pets in all of the US States.
What causes Heartworm?
Heartworm is caused by parasitic worm larvae that lives inside mosquitoes. When the mosquito bites an animal it transfers some worm larvae into it where the larvae then matures, mates and produces offspring inside its living host. The offspring produced by female adult heartworms is known as microfilariae and lives in the host animals’ blood stream. When a mosquito then bites an infected animal it draws microfilariae into its body where it turns it into infective larvae, beginning the cycle again.
Once an animal has been infected it takes time for the larvae to mature into adults that are capable of reproduction. In dogs this period is usually 6-7 months and in cats and ferrets around 8 months. Adult heartworms look like cooked spaghetti and can range in size from 4-6 inches in males and 10-12 inches in females. The number of worms found in a pet is known as its ‘worm burden’ and this can vary depending on the species of animal and the severity of the infection.
Heartworm in Dogs
The lifespan of heartworms within an infected dog is between 5 and 7 years and the average worm burden is 15. However dogs have been seen with worm burdens ranging from 1 to 250.
Symptoms of Heartworm in Dogs
The severity of the symptoms of heartworm in dogs is dependent on the worm burden of the animal, how long they have been infected and how well their body can cope with the disease. However, it is usually broken down into four stages.
Class 1: no visible symptoms or very mild symptoms such as an intermittent cough or wheeze.
Class 2: mild to more moderate symptoms including intermittent coughing and lethargy or breathlessness after light to moderate exercise. At this time some heart and lung changes may be seen on x-rays.
Class 3: symptoms will include frequent or persistent coughing, lethargy, and breathlessness after mild activity. Heart and lung changes will definitely be visible on x-rays.
Class 4: this stage is otherwise known as Caval Syndrome and is reached when an infected animal has been left untreated for an extended period of time. At this stage, the animal experiences restricted blood flow to the heart caused by a blockage of worms. Heart failure is imminent and emergency surgery to remove the worms is the only course of action. However, this comes with its own risks and most dogs with Caval Syndrome do not survive.
Bringing Your Pet Home
When it comes to bringing a new pet into your home, preparation is crucial in order for them to make a successful transition. It can take days, weeks or even several months for your pet to consider your home its new home. Here are our top tips for helping your new pet settle in.
Supplies and equipment
Ensure that you have all of the supplies and equipment that your new pet will need. This includes fundamental items such as a bed, water bowl and food, as well as toys and other items to stimulate their cognitive development and keep them entertained. Remember that your pets’ emotional wellbeing and mental stimulation is just as important as their physical needs.
Prepare any other pets in the home
Ensure that any other pets in the home are up to date with their vaccinations. Whilst shelters do their best to treat any viruses, occasionally re-homed pets do bring new diseases with them that could be transmitted to existing pets in the household.
You may also have to introduce existing pets to your new pet gradually until they get used to one another.
Register with a Veterinarian
As soon as you bring your pet home you should register with a veterinarian and make an appointment for your pet to have a thorough health check. Ideally, this should be done within a week of their arrival. They can advise on the correct vaccination protocol for your pet and ensure that there are no underlying illnesses or concerns.
You should also speak to your veterinarian about spaying or neutering your pet. There are thousands of animals in shelters across the country that are desperate for loving homes. Limiting population growth further by having your pet spayed or neutered is a responsible course of action for any owner.
Establish rules and guidelines in advance
Establishing some basic house rules ahead of your pets’ arrival can help create a routine that your pet will quickly adopt as his own. Knowing what to expect will also help him settle in much faster. Assigning specific responsibilities to family members can help them bond with your pet and take ownership of their commitment as a pet owner.
Being consistent with rules for your pet will make training them much easier. For example, do not start off by letting your pet sleep on the sofas if this is not a behavior you want to continue in the future.
The Importance of Pet Grooming
While for many people the concept of grooming your pet conjures up notions of brushes and bows, it is in fact a vital element to their overall health and wellbeing. Regularly grooming your animal allows you to catch any underlying diseases or conditions early, meaning that they will be able to be treated quicker and more efficiently and will, therefore, be less likely to have any lasting effect on your pet.
However, not all animals enjoy the grooming process and many owners find that it is easier to send their pet to a professional groomer on a regular basis instead. If you have a puppy or a kitten then training them to ensure the grooming process is an important part of their learning and will be beneficial to them as they reach maturity. This is especially true of nail clipping and ear cleaning which require them sitting completely still for the process. Good breeders will often begin grooming their litters as soon as they are old enough to help get them used to the process. Even if you do opt to use a professional pet groomer, there are still a number of regular grooming techniques that you can do at home with your pet to strengthen your bond.
Here are some of the important benefits of pet grooming.
Heatstroke and Your Pet
As Spring warms up into Summer and the humidity and heat start to really set in, it's good to remember that, like every other member in your family, you need to take extra care with your pet. You can become dehydrated and dangerously hot, which can result in falling unconscious at best, vital organ damage, or at its very worst, death. The same is true for your pets!
We tend to think of animals as hardier than humans, but the truth is, dogs and cats begin to experience heatstroke (hyperthermia, medically speaking) at the same internal body temperature as humans do — 104° F. Severe heatstroke begins at 105° to 106° F internally, as well. It might be more difficult for you to gauge temperature with smaller pets such as hamsters, but there's one rule of thumb to keep in mind. Always watch the heat index. Meteorologist uses the heat index value to discuss what the temperature is once humidity is applied; it's this balance of heat and humidity that are dangerous to the health of your pet and you.
If the heat index is 90° F, you need to be sure to take precautions to protect your pets. They won't be able to ask you to turn on the air conditioning or ask you for extra water, or even to tell you they're starting to feel ill. Your pets depend on you to responsibly monitor the weather and give them what they need to stay healthy and comfortable.
What is Canine Distemper?
Also known as CDV, Canine Distemper is a highly contagious viral illness that can be debilitating and even fatal. It not only affects dogs but can also be seen in certain species of wildlife, including foxes, skunks, and wolves. Puppies and non-immunized dogs are most commonly affected, but pets on immune-suppressants may also be vulnerable.
CDV is resistant to the majority of cleaning products, and household bleach is the only known way to eradicate it.
What causes CDV?
The CDV virus is mainly transmitted through direct contact with an infected animal via bodily fluids such as saliva from coughs or sneezes. Inhalation is the most common way it enters a new dogs system. CDV attacks the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, and central nervous system.
The virus does not live long once outside the body, so indirect contact is extremely rare.
As with most contagious diseases, animal shelters and kennels are much more likely to be contaminated.
Symptoms of CDV
The primary symptoms of CDV include but are not limited to:
Watery or pus-like discharge from the eyes
Once the virus reaches the central nervous system (CNS), it can cause twitching, seizures, and partial or total paralysis. This causes irreparable damage to a dog’s nervous system, resulting in death.