August 4, 2010

Caring for Abused Cats

Filed under: abused animal — Dr. Amber Reed @ 2:04 pm

cat abuseThe unfortunate reality for many cats is that their owners are negligent, physically and/or emotionally abusive.  Cats that have been abused may wear obvious signs of the abuse, as is the case with cats that have been maimed or otherwise physically harmed; while other cats appear healthy but have suffered years of physical abuse.  Caring for abused cats certainly has its challenges but for many cat lovers, the challenges are worth the rewards.  Knowing that a cat has the opportunity to live in a loving and nurturing environment is often enough for many cat lovers to accept the responsibility of caring for an abused cat.

feline stress An abused cat will obviously have some behavior problems.  Abused cats may be overly aggressive or even the opposite and suffer from extreme anxiety.  Often, cats that have been abused will not readily go near humans and may even be prone to run and hide.  It is important to let the abused cat adjust to a new environment.  Let the cat come to you on her own terms and be sure to treat the cat with patience, love, and kindness.

With abused cats, any kind of punishment – including yelling, flyswatters, or spraying water, will have a much more profound negative impact on the cat.  Instead, reinforcing positive behaviors with praise and treats will be much more effective for augmenting behavior.  When emotionally abused cats feel threatened, they often respond with aggression and the traumas they have experienced often justify their response to various punishments.  The best approach is to be gentle and calm, yet consistent.  In time, even the most abused cat will come around to a loving and dependable owner.  While they may have difficulty bonding initially, they will almost certainly respond to the care and consideration you show them.

August 3, 2010

Acute Pancreatitis in Dogs

Filed under: Dog Diseases — Dr. Amber Reed @ 2:00 pm

The pancreas is an organ found in all mammals that is responsible for producing insulin and is therefore critical in the metabolism of sugar.  Moreover, the pancreas releases pancreatic enzymes that are necessary for the body to process various nutrients.  Acute pancreatitis is a condition wherein the pancreas is severely inflamed leading to illness and possibly even death.

The causes of acute pancreatitis in dogs may be external or internal.  For example, various medications have been known to cause the condition and certain metabolic disorders are also associated with acute pancreatitis.  Infections, physical trauma, obesity, and nutrition tend to be the most common causes of acute pancreatitis in dogs.

They symptoms of acute pancreatitis in dogs can be quite severe and include but are not limited to the following:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Distended abdomen
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Oily, greasy, or loose stools
  • Fever

Obviously, if you notice these symptoms in your dog it is important to visit the veterinarian because acute pancreatitis can be life threatening but also because only a veterinarian can correctly diagnose your dog’s illness.  Diagnosing acute pancreatitis in dogs requires close observation, a physical examination, and likely some clinical tests.  Generally speaking, dogs with acute pancreatitis have an excess of amylase and lipase in their body making these an important indicator of the disease.

Treating acute pancreatitis depends on how ill your dog has become.  Your veterinarian will first aim to control vomiting and diarrhea and then to get enzyme levels back to normal.  In most cases, dogs with acute pancreatitis cannot eat or drink for about 24 hours after diagnosis allowing the pancreas to heal.  Following this, your veterinarian will recommend a strict diet of low-fat, low-salt, and easily digestible foods.

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.