March 15, 2013

Kidney Disease Awareness for Cats and Dogs

Did you know that it is National Kidney Awareness Month? Similar to how kidney disease can affect humans, it can also develop in pets. As a matter of fact, kidney disease is the second leading cause of death in cats. This is pretty scary if you’re a cat owner, right?

What do kidneys even do? Well, they are organs that have two main jobs:

1. Remove waste/toxins from the blood
2. Maintain bodily fluids

The job that kidneys perform is just as important as the job of our hearts. Without kidneys, animals, as well as humans, would die.

The problem with kidney disease is that it is hard to detect until it is too late. When you begin to see symptoms of the disease in your cat or dog, it is likely that 75% of their kidneys are already damaged. Such symptoms include:

• Increased thirst
• Increased urination
• Cloudy urine
• Loss of appetite
• Weight loss
• Bad breath
• Ulcers in the mouth and on the tongue
• Dull coats with heavy shedding

Since kidney disease is hard to detect until most of the damage is done, you have to take care of your pet’s kidney health (and all aspects of their health) the moment you become a pet owner. In order to do this, make sure that you take your furry friend for yearly check-ups with your vet, and ensure that your vet is doing yearly blood work. It is easier to detect illnesses, like kidney disease, through blood tests than relying on symptoms.

If your cat, dog, or any other pet has kidney disease, it is likely that your doctor will recommend the following treatment options:

1. Diet change
2. Fluid therapy
3. Various medications

Make sure you do the research regarding the pros and cons of all treatments. There are even natural options to help with kidney disease that you may find more suitable for your pet.

Below is a list of cat and dog breeds that are the most susceptible to kidney disease:


• Abyssinian
• Persian
• Siamese


• Beagles
• Bull and Cairn Terriers
• Chow Chows
• Dalmations
• Doberman Pinchers
• English Cocker Spaniels
• German Sheperds
• Minature Schnauzers
• Poodles
• Shar-Peis
• Samoyeds
• Shih Tzus

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February 12, 2013

Pet Health: Smoking and Your Furry Friend

Filed under: cats,dogs,pet health,pets,puppy health,Smoking,Uncategorized,Your Pet — Tags: , — Dr. Amber Reed @ 1:00 pm

At one point or another, we have all been told that smoking is bad for our health. We have been shown the impact of tar on human organs, we have been told about the many cancers that can result from smoking, and time after time we are informed of the dangers of secondhand smoke. Full of this knowledge on the health risks related to smoking, have you ever consider the impact that smoking may have on your pet?

Just as smoking may affect the people around you, studies have shown that it may also impact your pets. When someone smokes, toxins are released into the very same air that your pet breathes in. When breathing in air, the toxins move through your pet’s mouth, into their lungs, and throughout their circulation system. This process is repeated every time your furry friend takes a breath. Moreover, toxins that are released into the air come in contact with your pet’s fur and skin. When grooming themselves, pets lick their fur, fur on which toxins like nicotine and tar may collect. The nicotine and tar enters your pet’s mouth and digestive system each time they lick themselves.

Smoking effects and pet health

Studies have shown that a few effects that second-hand smoke can have on your pet are:

  • Cancers: lymphoma, lung, and nasal
  • Respiratory problems
  • Allergies
  • Skin diseases
  • Eye infections
  • Vomiting
  • Salivation

It is common for us to hear the effects that smoking has upon humans, that we may forget to think about how our pets are impacted. Next time you think of lighting up near your pet, think about the effects that smoking might have on their health.


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November 13, 2012

15 Household Items Poisonous to Dogs and Cats

1.         Human Medications

When a pet ingests a human medication, it could cause vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, seizures and even death.

Be careful not to drop any pills on the floor without picking them up. Store them in their bottles in a secure place.

Never give a pet a human pill as treatment for an injury or illness.

2.         Chocolate

Any type of chocolate could cause a dog to suffer from hyperactivity, seizures, dehydration, and excessive urination. It could also kill.

Keep chocolate away from dogs and clean up any crumbs.

3.         Grapes and Raisins

Grapes in their fresh form or their dried form can cause renal failure in your dog and should never be fed to them.

4.         Avocados

Avocados can cause vomiting and diarrhea in pets. Remember to keep guacamole away from them, too.

5.         Lilies

Cats are known to snack on flowers and greenery. It’s important to keep lilies out of your home if you have a cat.

Cats that eat lilies are known to have their kidneys fail.

6.         Weed Killers

Weed killers contain harmful toxins that can harm your pets if ingested or inhaled.

The damage could be seen right away or may not appear for years. Keep your pets away from outdoor treatments for several hours after application.

7.         Pesticides

Pesticides can cause health problems in your pets if inhaled or ingested. Be sure to use non-toxic pest sprays in your house.

8.         Rodenticides

If a product can kill vermin, it could also harm your pets.

The dosages may not be enough to kill your pet but many mouse baits can cause internal bleeding in your pets. That can kill.

9.         Cleaning Products

Eating off a freshly cleaned floor, licking up spilled detergent or just inhaling certain cleaning products can cause immediate and long term damage to your pet.

Choose all natural and/or non-toxic products to clean your home.

10.       Glow Jewelry

The chemicals within glow in the dark jewelry typically aren’t lethal, but can cause panic when ingested by animals due to the strong taste.

Prevent this from happening by keeping these objects out of your pet’s reach and rinse their mouths out with water if it does happen.

11.       Paint

It’s not always clear what exactly is in paint, but it can be toxic to humans and pets alike.

Be sure to skip paints with antimicrobial or mildew fighting labels. These can cause thyroid damage. Store them away from your pets since their fumes can escape the can even when tightly covered.

12.       Flea and Tick Treatments

Just like insecticides for your lawn, flea and tick treatments can also damage pets if used incorrectly.

Make sure your cat doesn’t have access to your dog’s products and vice-versa since this can result in poisoning. Also be sure to use the right product designated for your pet’s size.

Specifically, K9 Advantix can kill a cat. Even if a cat just grooms a freshly treated dog.

13.       Gum

Chewing gum contains an ingredient called xylitol which can cause a dangerous dip in your dog’s blood sugar if ingested. Keep it away from your pets.

14.       Diet Soda

Xylitol is the sweetener used in diet sodas and can cause seizures and liver failure in your dog. Clean up any spilled soda before your dog can lick it up.

15.       Toothpaste

Toothpaste also contains xylitol which is known to reduce cavities in humans but it can make your dog seriously sick. Keep your toothpaste tube in a cabinet that your dog can’t access.

July 25, 2011

There is Blood in My Dog’s Urine

urinary tract infection in dogsIf your dog has been peeing blood recently, it is time for a visit to the vet. Bloody urine occurs if a canine urinary tract infection is present, if there are bladder stones (Canine urolithiasis), or a combination of the two. Canine urolithiasis in dogs commonly occurs in dogs between the ages of two and ten years old. Bladder stones most often occur in the bladder but they can also occur in the kidneys or the ureters.

Blood in the urine is a typical symptom of canine urolithiasis. Other symptoms include urination at inappropriate places, odor in urine, back pain, and difficulty urinating or frequent urination in dogs. On the contrary, most pets do not experience any symptoms when hosting bladder stones. Bleeding occurs because the stones irritate and scrape the urinary tract causing cuts and thus resulting in bloody urine.

The proper name given to stones which form in the bladder is “calculi”. Calculi are usually made up of minerals such as magnesium, ammonium phosphate, or calcium oxalate. Usually these minerals form stones within the urinary tract when the urine is over saturated. Bacterial infections in the urinary system often result in calculi composed of ammonium phosphate, which is also known as struvite.

Treatment usually depends on the size of the stones and if there is an infection present. If the stones were caused by a bacterial infection, then your pet will be prescribed antibiotics. In most cases, dogs are given a special diet that focuses on lowering mineral concentrations. If the stones had caused blockages, your vet will remove them immediately. If necessary, your veterinarian will also prescribe medications to help rid of calculi. Complete elimination happens within 4-16 weeks.

Reoccurrence of urolithiasis is frequent in dogs which is why many veterinarians encourage pet owners to continue keeping their dogs on the special diet. When keeping your pet on the special diet, it is crucial that he or she only consumes what your veterinarian has approved. Refrain from feeding your pet additional supplements, cereals, and foods as doing so can prolong your pets’ suffering.

June 13, 2011

Plants Your Pet Should Avoid

Filed under: pet health — Tags: , , , , — Dr. Amber Reed @ 1:26 pm

Plants Dogs Should not EatWhenever a dog gets a chance, they will go exploring. Their curiosity is what makes them stop at every fire hydrant, go digging in the dirt, and lick whatever looks good. This curiosity is fun for them but it’s time to check out what they are putting their noses into. Dogs will always go up to different plants to take a sniff especially when outside. Some of these plants might look pretty on the outside but can cause serious damage to pets. Here are just a few so you can keep your dogs health in perfect condition.


Lilies can cause a lot of damage to a dog’s health in small amounts. If ingested, lilies can cause damage to the kidneys. Also, a small amount can cause a dog to vomit, suffer nausea, arrhythmia, and a slowed heart beat.


These pretty flowers aren’t so pretty on the inside. The bulb part of the flower contains toxins that can cause depression in dogs of the central nervous system. It can also cause intense gas, irritation, loss of appetite, excessive drooling and cardiac abnormalities.


Not only dogs are affected by this plant but also grazing animals such as horses. If ingested symptoms of diarrhea, excessive salivation, depression, vomiting, weakness, and coma in dogs. These symptoms can result in death from cardiovascular collapse.

Sogo Palms

T his plant doesn’t even need to be ingested by your dog to have harmful effects on them. If this plant is licked, seeds are swallowed which causes symptoms of vomiting, liver failure, seizures, and may lead to death. Keep your dog as far away from this plant as you can since the whole thing is poisonous.


Pothos are popular household plants that cause serious damage to a dog. If it is chewed by a dog or ingested, it can cause mechanical irritation and swelling of the tissue in the mouth and other parts of the gastrointestinal tract.


These colorful and bright flowers bring a lot of attention to themselves when found in areas of the woods or in a nearby park. Grayantoxins are found in Azaleas which cause vomiting. Ingestion of this plant results in hyper salivation, weakness, and can end in coma or death.

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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.