September 30, 2010

Dog Anal Glands

Filed under: anal glands — Dr. Amber Reed @ 11:59 am

Perhaps not the ideal topics for discussion over breakfast, your dog’s anal glands are actually an important aspect of social behavior for dogs.  There are two dog anal glands are found at around 5 and 7 o’clock around a dog’s rectal opening.  When your dog defecates, a small amount of a brown, liquid substance is excreted helping your dog to mark his territory.  Moreover, this noxious smelling liquid helps dogs to identify each other which is why dogs often smell each other’s rear end when they first meet.

When dogs urinate and defecate, their anal glands experience a bit of pressure causing the release of a small amount of fluid.  Similarly, when dogs meet new dogs, they raise their tail to apply pressure to their anal glands and release some of this fluid and the butt sniffing ensues.  Unfortunately, dog anal glands have the capacity to get infected from time to time.

In most cases, dogs will keep their anal glands clean and clear and infections never arise.  Yet, while most dogs will never have a problem with their anal glands, infections are not uncommon.  These infections lead to abscesses which can ultimately rupture and cause more serious complications.  Signs of dog anal gland problems include the following:

  • You notice your dog scooting or dragging his bottom across the floor or yard.
  • Your dog is regularly chewing or licking around his rectum.
  • Your dog’s stools are soft.
  • You notice a foul odor coming from your dog’s bottom.

If you notice any of these problems your dog’s anal glands may need to be cleaned and manually expressed.  While it is possible to do this from home, it is probably better to get a trained professional to take care of this somewhat nasty business.  The fluid excreted from your dog’s rectum already smells quite disgusting, and the fact that your dog’s anal glands may be infected will only make matters worse.  Remember, in most cases you will not need to clean your dog’s anal glands and there is no recommended schedule for this kind of grooming.  However, when a problem arises, you should visit your veterinarian or a trained groomer to manually express and clean the anal glands.

September 29, 2010

Understanding Cat Arthritis

Filed under: Arthritis in Cats — Dr. Amber Reed @ 11:30 am

Arthritis is a condition that apparently affects all aging mammals.  Indeed, cat arthritis is a very common condition that affects elderly cats in much the same way arthritis affects humans.  Aching joints, weight gain, altered gait, and even personality changes are among the most common signs that your cat may be suffering from arthritis.

As developments in veterinary medicine continue to advance, cat arthritis has become increasingly treatable.  Indeed, there are a wide variety of cat medications and treatment options that can help you maintain your cat’s health.  Still, before you can start treating cat arthritis, you really must diagnose the condition first, especially since many of the symptoms of arthritis are similar to symptoms of other conditions.

As a cat owner, you no doubt take pet health very seriously.  If you notice your cat displaying any of the following symptoms, you should visit your veterinarian immediately.

  • Stiffness in the morning or when arising from rest
  • Difficulty climbing stairs
  • Obvious pain while walking
  • Increased depression or aggression

The first step to diagnosing cat arthritis involves your veterinarian getting a complete medical history and conducting a physical exam.  Lameness and other arthritic symptoms are not enough to make the correct diagnosis so your vet may also want to conduct other exams like blood tests, radiographs, or an ultrasound.

Once arthritis has been diagnosed, treatment should focus on alleviating the symptoms and restoring quality of life.  While there are a variety of cheap pet drugs that can reduce the pain associated with cat arthritis, the condition itself is not treatable.  Cat medication for arthritis usually includes a combination of treatments including glucosamine, corticosteroids, vitamin C, and NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).  In addition, you need to take some steps to reduce your cat’s pain.  Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and a warm environment are all important to controlling your cat’s arthritis.

September 28, 2010

Tips for Protecting Your Pets from Human Medications

Filed under: Human Medications and Pets — Dr. Amber Reed @ 10:24 am

Pets are susceptible to serious side effects when they accidentally ingest human medications.  First of all, pets are smaller, so prescription doses are generally much smaller as well; but in addition, pets metabolize medications differently which also puts them at risk from dangerous side effects.  As such, it is important to take the necessary precautions to protect your pets from human medications.

The first thing you should do to protect your pets from human medications is to find a safe and secure place to store your prescriptions and over the counter medications.  From Tylenol and Advil to blood pressure and cholesterol medications, there are a number of dangerous side effects from medications that can even put your pet’s life in jeopardy.

  • Always keep medications out of your pet’s reach and never give your pet any medications unless on the advice of a veterinarian.
  • Never leave loose pills lying around and always keep them stored in their original, child proof bottles.
  • If you use weekly pill containers, be sure to store it in a secure cabinet where your pet cannot gain access and remember that some pets may view the plastic container as a chew toy.

In addition, your pet may have prescriptions of its own so it’s important that you keep your pet’s medication and human medication separate.  Veterinarians have countless stories of pet owners who have accidentally given their own medications to their pets.

While storing medications safely is quite obvious, accidental pet overdoses tend to happen in situations that we never consider.

  • If you keep medications in your purse or bag, keep them out of reach of pets.
  • Medications that are safe for children are not necessarily safe for pets.
  • Over the counter and herbal supplements can also be dangerous for pets.
  • Contact your veterinarian or pet poison control immediately if you suspect your pet has ingested human medication.  Be prepared with the type of medication and suspected amount that your pet has ingested.

September 27, 2010

Should you be concerned about your dog’s health if they have ear mites?

Filed under: ear infection in dogs — Dr. Amber Reed @ 10:40 am

canine ear mites While ear mites mostly seem like an irritation, they can actually lead to more serious health concerns. Ear mites are very small infectious parasites that love to live in dogs’ ears. They are very difficult to spot with the naked eye, but generally appear as small white dots in your dog’s ear. Indeed, ear mites will nest in a dog’s ear for their entire life cycle eating your dog’s ear wax until the sensitive skin inside the ear is exposed and irritated.

Veterinarians will usually diagnose ear mites after carefully examining your dog’s ear wax under a microscope. But, since these annoying critters are so small, it can be very difficult to self-diagnose ear mites in dogs. However, there are a range of signs that your dog may in fact be suffering from ear mites.

  • Dry, black discharge from your dog’s ears
  • Your dog constantly scratches behind or inside his ears
  • Frequent head shaking or unusual head tilt
  • Loss of balance
  • Inflammation of the ear canal
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting

dog ear health

Because ear mites are very contagious, and in extreme cases fungal and bacterial infections can result, it is important to take these parasites very seriously. If you notice any or all of the above symptoms, you should take your dog to the veterinarian immediately.

For ear mite treatment, you need to first focuses on cleaning your dog’s ears and removing all of the discharge that has built up. Your vet will likely flush your dog’s ears with warm, soapy water to remove discharge as well as clear out the majority of ear mites. The vet will then prescribe some medicinal drops that can be applied directly to the ear canal.

Ear mites in dogs are relatively easy to treat but you should always visit the veterinarian. Over-the-counter ear medications are often ineffective while your dog is probably suffering from pain and irritation. Your veterinarian can quickly diagnose ear mites and provide your dog with near instant relief.

September 24, 2010

Human Medicine Can Be Hazardous for your Pets health

Filed under: Human Medications and Pets — Dr. Amber Reed @ 9:45 am

trusted pet medsIn your medicine cabinet you probably have a whole host of prescription and over the counter medications that while safe for humans can be extremely dangerous for pets.  The following pharmaceuticals should be kept out of reach of pets and children.

1.       NSAIDs

Advil, Aleve, and Motrin are among the most common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications and can be purchased without prescription.  Ibuprofen or naproxen is the active ingredient in these NSAIDs and even a single dose can be harmful to your pet.  Stomach and intestinal ulcers and kidney failure are among the more serious effects.

2.       Acetaminophen

Tylenol is likely the most popular analgesic on the market today and you’d be hard pressed to find a household without Tylenol or a generic form of acetaminophen.  Safe for humans and even children, acetaminophen has become a go-to for aches and pains associated with colds or other minor illnesses but one regular strength pill can damage your cat’s red blood cells and interfere with her ability to transport oxygen.  In dogs, acetaminophen overdose can cause liver failure and red blood cell damage.

3.       Antidepressants

Small doses of antidepressants like Effexor, Cymbalta, Prozac, or Lexapro are sometimes diagnosed to pets with anxiety problems, but antidepressant overdoses can have serious side effects.  Neurological problems including sedation, lack of coordination, tremors, and seizures as well as stimulant effects like elevated heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature can be caused by antidepressants in pets.  Notably, cats have been known to enjoy the taste of Effexor but just one pill is enough to poison your cat.

4.       ADD/ADHD Treatments

ADD and ADHD are seemingly a growing concern for parents in today’s generation.  While children, and sometimes adults, are often treated harmlessly with medications like Concerta, Adderall, and Ritalin, these strong stimulants contain ingredients like amphetamines and methylphenidate.  Small doses of these medications can be life threatening for pets and may cause seizures, elevated body temperatures, and heart problems.

5.       Benzodiazepines/Sleep Aids

Xanax, Klonopin, Ambien, and Lunesta are prescribed to limit anxiety and assist people with sleeping but in pets these drugs have the opposite effect.  Pets exposed to benzodiazepines and other sleep aids become agitated and in larger doses severe lethargy, lack of coordination, and slowed breathing results.  Cats are also susceptible to liver failure with some benzodiazepines.

6.       Birth Control

Birth control pills contain natural hormones including estrogen, estradiol, and progesterone.  Small doses of birth control pills are usually harmless to pets, but in larger doses birth control pills can suppress bone marrow, especially in birds.  Moreover, non-spayed female pets that come in contact with birth control pills are even more at risk of estrogen poisoning.

7.       ACE Inhibitors canine pill delivery

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors such as Zestril and Altace are used to treat high blood pressure, sometimes even in pets.  However, ACE inhibitor overdoses lead to dangerously low blood pressure, dizziness, and weakness.  In fact, contact with these medications is not particularly serious but if your pet is already suffering from a kidney or heart problem, ingestion of ACE inhibitors can be more serious.  If you suspect your pet has accidentally ingested an ACE inhibitor, monitor him closely and visit the veterinarian immediately if you notice any strange side effects.

8.       Beta-Blockers

Tenormin, Toprol, and Coreg are common beta-blockers that are used to treat high blood pressure.  However, unlike ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers can cause serious problems in pets.  Overdoses of beta-blockers can be life-threatening as they can cause considerable drops in blood pressure leading to a very slow heart rate.

9.       Thyroid Hormones

Armour desiccated thyroid and Synthroid are hormones prescribed for individuals with underactive thyroids.  While these medications are also used in dogs, they are usually prescribed at much higher doses.  As such, accidental ingestion of thyroid hormones is likely not going to cause serious side effects.  However, large overdoses in cats and dogs have been shown to cause muscle tremors, nervousness, panting, increased heart rate, and excessive aggression.

10.   Cholesterol Maintenance Medication

Finally, cholesterol lowering agents like Lipitor, Zocor, and Crestor, known as statins, are common for individuals with high, seeming uncontrollable cholesterol.  Statin overdoses can cause minor vomiting and diarrhea and serious side effects are associated more with long term use.

September 23, 2010

Caring for an Elderly Dog

Filed under: Dog health — Dr. Amber Reed @ 8:42 am

canine arthritis As your dog ages, his needs tend to change.  Young puppies need a lot of exercise and even different nutrition than older dogs.  Moreover, as your dog’s age advances, he will likely suffer from one or many conditions, like arthritis or cataracts, which require special care.  Still, even if your elderly dog is starting to slow down, you can help him live his final years happily and healthily through regular veterinary visits, pet medications, proper nutrition, and daily pet health care.

First, you need to take some time to understand the changes your dog may be facing.  Caring for an elderly dog offers special challenges as your dog may be suffering hearing or vision loss, incontinence, changes in appetite and thirst, weight gain, decreased energy, and even stiffness in joints.  All these changes obviously have an impact on your dog’s quality of life and to keep them in check you’ll need to have regular visits with your veterinarian.  Regular pet health check-ups are especially important when you are caring for an elderly dog because you also have to be vigilant about possible life threatening conditions.

elderly dog careStill, aside from regular vet visits, you need to make some changes at home as well.  Nutrition is particularly important and you should look for a dog food that has been specifically formulated for senior dogs.  Likewise, your dog will still need plenty of exercise but your expectations should change.  Speak to your veterinarian about the best exercise program for your dog, especially if your dog suffers from arthritis.  Dogs with arthritis certainly benefit from regular exercise but high impact programs are not recommended.  Moreover, exercise that involves climbing may not be ideal for your dog.  There are dog pain relief medications for arthritic dogs, make sure you speak to your veterinarian about dog pain medications that will help with your dogs arthritic pain.

Finally, try to understand that like elderly humans, elderly dogs experience some psychological changes as a result of their aging.  Be sensitive and patient and always attempt to provide your dog with loving support.

September 22, 2010

Bathing a Puppy

Filed under: Dog Grooming — Dr. Amber Reed @ 8:41 am

canine healthy coat Bathing your puppy is one of many important aspects of dog grooming and the maintenance of good pet health. Making sure you are giving your puppy good pet healthcare will ensure your pup can avoid skin problems such as parasites, lumps, fleas, or other problems.

how to give a puppy a bathWhile puppies less than 8 weeks old should never be bathed except with plain warm water, older puppies can and should be introduced to a bathing routine that includes shampoo.  Remember that younger puppies cannot be bathed with flea and tick shampoos until around 3 months of age but there are few other bathing rules that restrict you from cleaning your puppy.

When you begin bathing your puppy, you want to give him time to adjust to this new activity.  Many young puppies will be happy to splash around in the bath, but in many cases bathing a puppy may require more patience than you had expected.  You can start by slowly familiarizing your puppy with the bath.  When bathing a puppy, start by luring him into the tub with a treat.  When he is comfortable in the bath, you can start wiping him down with a wet towel.  Gradually introduce warm water and make the bathing experience fun for your puppy.  Eventually, bathing your puppy will become a regular routine that is simple to execute.

Once your puppy is familiar and comfortable with the bathtub, you’ll need to prepare for bathing your puppy.  Comb and brush your puppy’s hair before the bath to remove mats and tangles.  Prepare several old towels on the floor of the bath to minimize splash cleanup.  In addition, you’ll need to choose a gentle bath shampoo that can be worked into your puppy’s coat for around 5 to 10 minutes.  Bathing a puppy should not be too challenging and to minimize bathroom cleanup, it is recommended that you drain the tub while the puppy is in the bath so you can rinse him with clean water and dry him while he is in the bath.

September 21, 2010

Vaccinations and Vaccinosis in Dogs

Filed under: Vaccination — Dr. Amber Reed @ 12:34 pm

canine vitamins Dog vaccinations have been developed to prevent or eliminate certain viral diseases that have been known to impair a dog’s health.  In fact, over the past 20 years there has been a consistent increase in the number and frequency of vaccinations that dogs receive.  Yet, while these vaccinations have been developed to improve health, there is some evidence that they may do just the opposite.  Vaccinosis can be defined as the unintended and unwanted reactions that dogs can have to vaccines and can range from undetectable reactions to death.  Whether your dog has had one vaccine, multiple vaccines, or repeated vaccines over a period of time, it seems that he may be susceptible to vaccinosis.

vaccinations for dogsWhile vaccinations are an important part of your puppy’s overall health, there seems to be growing evidence that repeated, multiple, or unnecessary vaccinations can pose serious health risks.  In many cases where dogs suffer from vaccinosis, treatments including acupuncture, diet changes, and other homeopathic solutions have proven effective.  Nevertheless, it is important to carefully consider your dog’s health before subjecting him to unnecessary vaccinations.  Most specifically, you should discuss the vaccinations with your veterinarian and the possible outcomes.

First of all, it seems that when your dog has received a vaccination for a particular virus or condition, booster vaccinations may be unnecessary, especially if your dog is already carrying the antibodies for that virus.  According to the law, the only vaccine that requires boosters is the rabies vaccine and even that is recommended only every 3 years.  Moreover, the age of vaccination is important.  A rabies vaccine, for example, should never be administered before 6 months of age.

While the underlying causes of vaccinosis are not totally understood, there are a few symptoms that indicate your dog may be suffering from an extreme reaction to the vaccine.  Aggression, epilepsy, excessive licking, anxiety, and insomnia are all examples of symptoms that may be a result of vaccinosis.

September 20, 2010

Bottle Feeding a Newborn Kitten

Filed under: Kitten Care — Dr. Amber Reed @ 10:17 am

bottle feeding kittensIf your cat has recently had kittens or you’ve decided to care for some abandoned kittens, nutrition is one of your most important responsibilities.  During the first several days of life, newborn kittens rely on proper nutrition for survival.  The following detailed instructions should help you understand the best way to bottle feed your new kitten as well as how you can help them with cleanup.

1.       Prepare yourself to be a surrogate mother for your newborn kitten.  Bottle feeding a newborn kitten will not always be easy and you’ll need to devote 10 or 20 minutes several times a day to ensure proper nutrition.

2.       When bottle feeding a newborn kitten, you’ll need a sterile kitten-sized bottle, which you can prepare by soaking the bottle in boiling water for 5 minutes.  After cooling the bottle, collect a bath towel, a washcloth, and a bowl of warm water.

3.       Fill the bottle with a premium brand of commercial kitten milk and warm the milk in a bowl of very hot water.  You want to warm the milk to water temperature before bottle feeding your newborn kitten.

4.       With the kitten face down in your lap, stroke her until she is warm to avoid digestive problems.  Do not raise the kittens head, but place the bottle in her mouth and she should start nursing immediately.

5.       If your kitten does not start nursing immediately, check that milk is flowing freely from the bottle.  You may need to gently stroke your newborn kitten’s head and back to stimulate nursing reflexes.

6.       When you’re finished feeding, burp your newborn kitten by holding one hand under her stomach while gently patting her on the back.

7.       Mother cats will help their newborn kittens to eliminate by licking their anus and genital area.  As a surrogate mother, you’ll need to use a warm, damp cloth to gently rub your newborn kitten’s anus and genitals to stimulate elimination.

8.       Finally, understand that newborn kittens will require somewhere between 9 and 12 feedings of about 1 ounce of formula every day.

September 17, 2010

Kitten Nutrition

Filed under: Kitten Care — Dr. Amber Reed @ 10:08 am

Like infant humans, kittens have specific dietary needs.  Infants develop very quickly and kittens need a diet that is rich in protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals to ensure that they become happy, healthy adult cats.  Muscles and supporting tissue require protein for proper development; fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins need fat; and extra calories help your kitten to have the energy for their developmental needs.  As such, it is important that you take your kittens dietary needs seriously and choose foods that have been formulated for your kitten specifically.

There are a range of canned kitten foods that provide a range of benefits.  Not only are canned foods an excellent source of protein, but premium brands offer all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that your kitten needs to develop strong bones and healthy muscles as well as good dental hygiene.  More importantly, a premium canned kitten food is an excellent source of protein and calories that gives your kitten the energy they need during the first weeks of life, marked by intense growth.

Dry kitten foods are also important for your kitten’s health.  While also providing proteins, vitamins, and minerals, dry kitten foods are also packed with essential fats that help deliver vitamins as well as developing fatty acids that are essential for kitten health.  In fact, dry kitten foods are also rich in proteins and have been shown to help kittens with weight gain.

When it comes to your kitten’s nutrition, you can never be too careful.  The first few weeks of your kitten’s life represent a period of very quick growth and your kitten’s diet is a key element of this growth.  Kittens generally gain wait on a daily basis, so if you notice that your kitten is not growing you should contact your veterinarian immediately.

Older Posts »
Copyright © 2013 CritterCures. All rights reserved.

About us | How To Order | Privacy Notice | Safety
Secure Shopping | 30 Day Money Back Guarantee
FAQ | Shipping & Returns | New products | Blog
Newsletters | Testimonials | Sitemap | Contact us
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.