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Heatstroke and Your Pet

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.

General Pet Safety

General Pet Safety

Keeping your pet safe is the most important part of keeping both you and your pet happy. When you first adopt a pet or new breed of pet — or even better, before you adopt them — be sure to research the basics of your pet. When you finally select a pet, talk to the shelter staff about things you might need to worry about or watch out for. Of course, you can always stop by with your pet to discuss behaviors, concerns, or anything else.

Below we've got some general notes on basic safety tips, whether indoors or outdoors. Remember that traveling —that's more than a quick jog to the park or a ride across town for a play date— may require some extra steps based on the species of your pet. Traveling at any distance can give some pets anxiety, and there's other physical safety factors to consider. Come by and talk to us about what you may need, especially if you're about to travel abroad!

Picking your Perfect Puppy

Picking your Perfect Puppy

With the World Canine Organization recognizing over 300 different breeds of dog across the globe, it can be extremely difficult to know which is right for you and your lifestyle. When deciding to bring a puppy into your home, you are making a committing to, usually, at least ten years of love, care, and attention. So ensuring that you select the right dog for you is absolutely crucial.

With this in mind, we have put together this article to look at the physical and behavioral characteristics of a few popular breeds when they are fully matured.
 

American Bulldog

Height (males): 22-28 inches Weight (males): 70-120lbs
Height (females): 20-26 inches Weight (females): 60-100lbs
Life expectancy: up to 16 years

Physical characteristics: Muscular, powerful and sturdy animals they are also surprisingly athletic. Its strong jaws and muzzle can mean it can look ‘mean’. The tail is low set, thick at the base and tapers to a point. The coat is short and smooth and comes in an array of colors.

Temperament: American bulldogs make extremely loyal pets that display strong protective instincts towards their families. Highly alert and great with children, they are sociable animals that need to know their place in the family hierarchy. A firm pack leader, good socialization from a young age and obedience training will make them easier to handle.

Exercise: They are relatively inactive when indoors, but need at least an average sized yard and a long daily walk.

Health: The breed is prone to hip dysplasia.
 

Alaskan Malamute

Height (males): 24-26 inches Weight (males): 80-95lbs
Height (females): 22-24 inches Weight (females): 70-85lbs
Life expectancy: 12-16 years

Physical characteristics: The largest of the arctic dogs, the Alaskan malamute is a well-built animal that strongly resembles a wolf. It has a plumed tail, large thick feet with tough pads and a dense, coarse coat up to three inches in length and in an array of colors. The muzzle and legs are almost always white.

Temperament: These dogs are sociable, loyal and bright. They are better suited to older children and love to please their human family. However, because they are so friendly, they are more likely to welcome intruders than scare them, so do not make very good guard dogs! They have strong prey instincts, so they should not be around smaller animals. Strong leadership, obedience training, and proper socialization are critical as without them they can become destructive.

Exercise: Alaskan Malamutes are very active and love the outdoors, so they are best suited to homes with large yards and an owner who can commit to long daily walks. High fences and buried fence bases are a must as they like to try and roam. They struggle with hot climates, so they will need less exercise and plenty of cool water and shade.

Health: This breed is prone to hip dysplasia, bloating, and dwarfism.
 

Bichon Frise

Height (males): 9-12 inches Weight (males): 7-12lbs
Height (females): 9-11 inches Weight (females): 7-10lbs
Life expectancy: around 15 years

Physical characteristics: A small and sturdy dog, the Bichon Frise has a short muzzle and dropped ears covered in hair. It has a thick tail that is carried over the back and a double coat of up to four inches in length that is usually a shade of white, cream, apricot or grey.

Temperament: These extremely sociable animals make ideal companions as they adore human company and love to please their owners. They are excellent with all ages of humans and other dogs and are affectionate and intelligent. As with all small dogs, there is a risk of developing small dog syndrome where the animal feels that he is the pack leader to humans. This can cause them to develop a number of behavioral problems, so ensure that steps are taken to prevent small dog syndrome from setting in by asserting yourself firmly as the pack leader.

Exercise: The Bichon Frise can happily live in an apartment provided they are given regular exercise through daily walks and play.

Health: This breed can be sensitive to flea bites, and prone to cataracts, skin and ear ailments, epilepsy, and dislocated kneecaps.
 

Boston Terrier

Height: 15-17 inches Weight: 10-25lbs
Life expectancy: approximately 15 years

Physical characteristics: Compact, square-bodied dogs with good muscle tone and erect ears; the Boston Terrier is a handsome animal. The legs are quite wide set, the tail is short, and the coat is short and fine.

Temperament: These are intelligent creatures that are easy to train and affectionate with their family. They are good with people of all ages and love to be sociable. Also at risk of developing small dog syndrome, so proper authority and obedience training is necessary to ensure that they know their place.

Exercise: Boston Terriers are suited to apartments as well as houses with yards, so long as they get regular walks and play. They are sensitive to extreme changes in weather.

Health: Their prominent eyes can be prone to injury, as well as a multitude of eye-related health problems, including glaucoma, ulcers, and cataracts. Deafness, tumors, and breathing difficulties when exerted or dealing with hot weather are also concerns.
 

Equine: Lameness Evaluation

Equine: Lameness Evaluation

Lameness is one of the most prevalent problems presented to equine veterinarians. The term is used to describe an abnormal gait or stance due to the animal feeling pain or experiencing a restriction in the normal range of movement caused by underlying mechanical or neurological problems. The pain or restriction can originate from any part of the body such as the hoof, the leg or neck. The degree of severity can vary from a mild change in gait to completely preventing the horse from using or bearing weight on the affected limb. Unfortunately, lameness is the primary reason that older horses are put down. Why might my horse be lame?

There are many reasons why a horse can become lame, but some of the most common reasons include:

  • Abscesses or bruises in the hoof

  • Back and neck problems

  • Degenerative joint diseases

  • Fractures

  • Laminitis – inflammation of the soft tissue structures which attach the pedal bone to the hoof wall

  • Ligament injuries

  • Tendon damage

Poison Guide: What to do if you think your pet has been poisoned

Poison Guide: What to do if you think your pet has been poisoned

Sadly thousands of pets every year suffer from the accidental ingestion of harmful substances, many of them household poisons. Poisoning can cause extreme health problems and even death, but these can be prevented by understanding which common household toxins may harm your pet and how to poison-proof your home. This guide will also explain some of the symptoms you should look out for and what you should do if you suspect your pet has ingested a toxic substance.
 

Most Common Poisons

We have taken information from the Pet Poison Helpline website to bring you information on some of the most common for cats and dogs. Please be aware that these lists are in no specific order and the toxicity levels for these poisons are variable.
 

Top Ten most commonly reported cat poisons

  • Topical spot-on insecticides

  • Household cleaners

  • Antidepressants

  • Lilies

  • Insoluble oxalate plants

  • Human and veterinary NSAIDS

  • Cold and flu medication (e.g. Tylenol)

  • Glow sticks

  • ADHD/ADD medications and amphetamines

  • Mouse and rat poison

 

Top Ten most commonly reported dog poisons

  • Chocolate

  • Mouse and rat poisons

  • Vitamins and minerals

  • NSAIDS

  • Cardiac medications

  • Cold and allergy medications

  • Antidepressants

  • Xylitol

  • Acetaminophen

  • Caffeine pills

 

Plants that are poisonous to pets

Although there are thousands of species of plants, there are a few that are highly toxic to pets. This list represents some of the most poisonous plants to pets.

  • Autumn Crocus

  • Azalea

  • Cyclamen

  • Kalanchoe

  • Lilies

  • Oleander

  • Dieffenbachia

  • Daffodils

  • Lily of the Valley

  • Sago Palm

  • Tulips

  • Hyacinths

How to Help Your Pet Get More Exercise

How to Help Your Pet Get More Exercise

Regular exercise is just as important for pets as it is for human beings. Not only does it help keep their weight under control, but it keeps their joints supple and their heart healthy.
Regular exercise benefits for pets include:
 

  • Reduction in undesirable behaviors including chewing, barking, jumping up, and being predatory.

  • Maintaining your pet's weight.

  • Helping your dog to unwind and sleep better at night.

  • Keeping your dog healthy and mobile.

  • Reduction in constipation and digestive problems.

  • Building a rapport with your pet and gaining their trust.
     

In recent years humans have adopted a more sedentary lifestyle, and our pets are following suit. However, in order for our pets to live a long, happy and healthy life you need to ensure that activity is worked into their routine. Here is our guide to helping your pet get more exercise.
 

Exercise for Dogs

Until the start of the 20th century dogs were primarily bred to work in a range of areas, for example military, farming, search and rescue and sensory support. While some dogs still do work, the majority of them are now pets that are provided food and water and spend the majority of their time in a confined space. Their natural active tendencies are fading and they are becoming lazy.

Dogs who do not have enough exercise can exhibit some undesirable behavior including:
 

  • Destructive: chewing, scratching and digging

  • Hyperactive: extreme excitability, jumping up etc.

  • Play biting / rough play: your dog may nip you regularly when playing

  • Investigative tendencies: this can include garbage raiding

  • Predatory: your pet may get very territorial

  • Vocalization: increased barking, whining and other attention seeking sounds
     

Many people believe that access to a garden or yard counts as exercise, but unless you have the equivalent of a football field outside then it is not enough. Your dog also may not want to exercise alone. Interaction with him/her is the key to getting him moving. This doesn’t have to mean running for miles either. As long as your dog is moving and his/her heart rate is increasing then it counts as exercise!

However, before you start your pet off on a regular exercise routine there are a few things that you should take into consideration.
 

  • Exercise needs vary depending on their breed and size.

  • Sustained jogging or running can be problematic for larger dogs as they are naturally more likely to suffer from cruciate ligament injuries such as hip dysplasia or arthritis.

  • Sustained jogging or running is also not recommended for dogs under 18 months of age as their bones haven’t finished growing.

  • Brachycephalic breeds (those with short or flat noses) can struggle with their breathing during vigorous exercise, particularly if the temperatures are warm.

  • Ideally you should always consult with your veterinarian before beginning any regular exercise with your pet.
     

What sort of exercise can I do with my dog?
Almost all dogs will benefit from at least one half hour long walk per day. Ideally try and take him/her at the same time every day. This helps your pet to get into a routine and is also beneficial for helping your dog know what time of day he will get to empty his bladder/bowels.

If your dog is sociable then look into a local agility group or class. These can be quite competitive and intense but they provide a great workout for your pet and are a good way for you to make new friends too. Some of the activities that your pet will do are good for developing new skills too. Your veterinarian should be able to advise you how to find your nearest group.

You can’t beat a game of fetch. Simple, effective and you don’t need to go too far. If the weather is poor then you can even play it indoors if you have enough space.

If you live near a lake, river or beach then take your dog swimming. It is particularly good exercise for dogs with arthritis as it is gentle on their joints. If your dog is reluctant to get into the water, start by encouraging him to chase a ball or toy into the shallows.

Play hide and seek. It is just as important for your pet to exercise their brain as well as their body. Hide and seek is a light physical activity that stimulates your pets cognitive abilities.

REMEMBER: Never let your dog off of his leash is you are not confident that he will return to you when called.

How to Bath your Cat and Survive Scratch-Free!

How to Bath your Cat and Survive Scratch-Free!

We all know that most cats like water as much as we like receiving a letter from the IRS! While they may spend hours grooming themselves to perfection, there are some circumstances that may mean that it is necessary to perform a thorough cleaning of your feline friend.

Cats can find being bathed extremely stressful which makes them far more likely to become defensive or even aggressive, hissing, raising their fur and even lashing out at you. However, with some preparation and patience you can bath your cat and survive scratch-free and the secret involves not so much a bath, but a shower instead!
 

Get Organized

Just like bathing a baby; bathing a cat requires everything that you need to be within arm’s reach. You should have:

  • A shower or bath with a handheld shower head.

  • Several towels to clean her off and help her dry.

  • Special cat shampoo and conditioner. These are available from most pet stores and your veterinarian will be able to advise if there is a particular brand that would be good for your feline friend. You should never use human shampoo or conditioner as is has a different PH level to the sort suitable for cats and could damage your pet’s hair or skin.
     

Pre-bathing Prep

Before you start you should brush your cat to remove any knots or tangles, particularly if she is a long-furred breed.

Set the water temperature to warm and have it running through the shower head at a medium level spray.

Best flea treatments for dogs and cats

Best flea treatments for dogs and cats

As pet owners you will know that unfortunately, fleas are an extremely common and annoying occurrence and it is important to treat your dogs and cats for worms and fleas on a regular basis. However, with 95% of flea and egg larvae living in your environment rather than on your pet, it is equally if not more important to treat your home too, otherwise the infestation will return time and time again.
 

How do I know if my pet has fleas?

It is not uncommon to be able to spot fleas jumping off and on your pet’s body, but they are very small and very fast. They are flat-bodied, dark brown or black in color (unless they are full of blood in which case they can be lighter) and usually less than an eighth of an inch big. However, typical behavioral symptoms include restlessness, and chewing, scratching or licking certain parts of his body more often than usual. If you suspect that your dog or cat has fleas, you can check his skin and coat for signs of them or ‘flea dirt’ which looks like regular dirt but is actually flea faeces. If you aren’t sure if it is actual dirt rather than flea dirt, put some on a paper towel and add some water. If it is flea dirt, then it will turn a reddish brown as it will contain blood that the flea has ingested and then excreted.
 

Finding the right treatment

With so many different flea treatments available on the market, finding the right one can be tricky. We have put together this list of some of the best and most effective flea treatments for dogs and cats to get you started, but discovering which works best for you and your pets may require some trial and error.
 

Frontline® Flea Spray for Dogs and Cats

Frontline® sprays do not contain the potentially toxic insecticides found in many pet store sprays, and this one is a one-stop-shop for any household that has both cats and dogs. It is also safe to use if you have kittens or puppies in your property, and is water-resistant so it is still effective even if you like in an area with a high rainfall.
 

Frontline® Plus for Dogs and Cats

A topical version of Frontline®, this formula will repel fleas and other pests at all life stages for a full 30 days. This helps to prevent re-infestation and keep your home clear of fleas for a month at a time. Like other Frontline® products, it is free of potentially harmful insecticides and water-resistant.

Traveling With Your Pet

Traveling With Your Pet

Our pets are a beloved part of our family and sometimes this means that they have to travel with us when we undertake long journeys. As a general rule cats seriously dislike traveling and are almost always better off at home in their own environment. Dogs are more amenable to traveling, but there are still a number of considerations to make to ensure that the journey is both safe and comfortable for your pet.


Traveling by Car

The most important thing to remember is to ensure that your pet is not free to roam around the vehicle. Not only could this be distracting for the driver, but your pet will not be protected in the event of a crash. You may have seen dog seat belts being sold in some pet stores. Whilst they have been approved for sale, there is no reliable evidence proving them to be effective in accidents. Instead you should secure your pet in a crate that has been tethered to the car by a seatbelt or other secure method. Ensure that crate is big enough for your pet to change position if they become uncomfortable.

  • Do not put animals in the front passenger seat of your vehicle. If the airbag deploys then there is a chance that your pet could be seriously injured.

  • Do not ever leave your pet alone in the car. Animal thieves frequent parking lots and service stations looking for unattended pets to steal. Also leaving an animal alone in a warm car can be fatal. On a day where the outside temperature is 85F, the temperature inside your vehicle can reach 120F in just 10 minutes putting your pet at serious risk.

  • Do not allow your pet to stick his head outside a moving vehicle. Doing so risks injury or sickness by fast-moving air forcing itself into your pets’ lungs.

  • Never transport your pet in the back of an open pick-up truck.

  • Make plenty of bathroom breaks. This will also allow your pet to stretch their legs and have a drink.

  • As a general rule, if you wouldn’t allow your child to do it then do not allow your pet to do it either!

Flea Prevention and Care

Flea Prevention and Care

Saving Your Pet from an Itchy Problem: Fleas

 

Every parent to a furry pet knows how much of a nuisance fleas can be. At best your pets become itchy and skittish, at worst they become miserable and lethargic. And just like ticks, fleas can be a vector for disease for your pets, or even for you! Fleas can be partly responsible for roundworms or flatworms, and can be responsible for infections including typhus, spotted fever, cat-scratch fever, or more rarely, the plague.

So what can we do? The best first step is prevention, but if that fails, there are ways to spot the beginnings of a flea infestation as well as ways to stop it in its tracks.
 

Preventing an infestation

Stop an infestation before it can start! When winter turns to spring, and the weather starts to get warm, don't wait until you can notice fleas on your pets or their playmates. You'll have a much happier home if you follow these easy steps:

  • Keep your home clean. Vacuum your house regularly, especially if you have deep pile rugs, and make sure your pet's favorite spaces are regularly cleaned/washed, aired out, and preferably getting plenty of sunlight.

  • Clean yards fend off more than ticks. Keeping a clean yard, including mowed lawns and trimmed foliage, will drastically reduce the potential population of fleas in your outdoors. Keeping any trash, especially foods, carefully sealed for disposal will help keep away other animals that are likely to harbor fleas

  • Use flea treatments. There's a number of options for flea treatments available based on the type of pet and their age, including spot-on treatments and flea collars. Always read the instructions carefully to avoid harming your cat instead of helping them. And of course, always feel free to come in and talk to our staff about what treatments are best for your pet.

  • Consider professional pest control. This option isn't always in a pet owner's budget, and it should always be considered carefully to ensure the best health for your pets, plants, and fish. This can also help prevent other potentially nasty bugs from biting you and your animals, including mosquitoes.
     

Catching an infestation early

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, fleas find their way into our homes and onto us and our animals. Maybe it's because you live in an apartment, and they hitch a ride on your neighbor's dog. Or perhaps your selected flea treatment didn't last as long as you expected it to, or wasn't even effective at all.

No matter the reason, we've got a few tips on how to identify a flea infestation as early as possible. The earlier you identify it, the earlier you can get it under control!

  • Comb your pet regularly. You can monitor your pet's fur for fleas at multiple stages and check their skin for irritations, bite marks, or other signs of fleas, such as eggs or detritus (blackish-red "flea dirt"). You want to pay close attention to favored locations, such as the back of the head and around the ears, the armpits, or the rump. Remember: fleas will jump on and off of you and your pet, so finding signs of fleas is important, even if you do not find fleas themselves.

  • Fleas love to jump. Fleas are tiny and quick, but they usually appear in groups once the infestation has started. You'll probably be able to feel them jumping on and off of you, especially your feet and lower legs. Your pet's skin will probably also "jump," as they twitch from the movement of fleas (as opposed to being bitten).

  • Keep an eye on your pet's behavior. Are they scratching more than usual? Are they pulling their fur out? Do they have dermatitis? Are they biting at the same area over and over? These are all potential signs that fleas are present. Note: If this behavior is present, but you cannot find any other signs of fleas, bring your pet in to be checked by us. We can ensure there are no other health problems!

  • White brings fleas to light. Sometimes it can be hard to determine if the evidence you're finding is of fleas, instead of just plain dirt, especially if your pet spends a lot of time outside. Put down white paper towels when you comb your pet with the flea comb. You can check the detritus that falls off the pet onto the paper towel or is stuck on the comb to see if it's like dried blood, or if it looks like the earth around your home. Also, if you wear white socks, you'll be able to see the fleas jumping on and off of you.

  • Fleas don't just jump on you. In fact, individually they don't even spend most of their time on you or your pet. Check your pet's favorite places — the dog bed where they love to flop, the spot on the overstuffed chair where your cat loves to sun itself, or even the places in the house where they play the most. Fleas will leave behind similar detritus on your surroundings as they do on your pet.

  • Check all of your pets. If one pet is exhibiting signs of fleas, but your other pet's behavior hasn't changed and they don't scratch themselves much, that doesn't mean the fleas only want to eat one pet. There is a good likelihood you'll find evidence of fleas on both! The reason is that not all animals are allergic to flea bites.

  • Anemia is a concern. Be sure to keep an eye on your pets during regular care and grooming. Lethargy, weakness, and even pale gums can be signs that they're anemic, i.e., that a high number of fleas are sucking their blood. Be sure to come see us so we can get your pet well!

Vaccinations and Examinations

Vaccinations and Examinations

Regular vaccinations and examinations will help keep your pet healthy and happy. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you of the frequency that your pet should be examined, but most recommend either annual or six-monthly visits. This is because pets age an average of 7 times faster than humans and so by the time they reach 6/7 years old they are considered middle-aged. Larger breeds of dogs are often considered to be seniors by the time they reach 8.

Typical components of a wellness examination include:

  • Checking the central nervous center

  • Checking and cleaning the ears, treating if required

  • Checking joints and mobility

  • Checking skin and condition of coat

  • Checking urinary and reproductive systems

  • Dental examination

  • Eye examination

  • Listen to the heart

  • Listen to the lungs

  • Observation of alertness and response

  • Palpate the abdomen checking for painful areas and/or growths or tumors

  • Physical examination of the rest of the body for unusual lumps

  • Weight check
     

Other tests that your pet may be given include:

  • Heartworm testing (otherwise known as blood parasite screening)

  • Fecal testing. This allows the veterinarian to check for the presence of internal parasites such as hookworms, roundworms and whipworms.

  • Blood work. Blood tests screen for infection or disease that may not otherwise be detected through a physical examination. Blood work also allows a veterinarian a comprehensive assessment of your pets’ health.

Canine Distemper

Canine Distemper

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:

  • Coughing

  • Diarrhea

  • Fever

  • Lethargy

  • Nasal discharge

  • Reduced appetite

  • Vomiting

  • 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.

Exotic Animal Medicine

Exotic Animal Medicine

There are a wide variety of animals that can be kept as domestic pets. However, while some, like cats, dogs and rabbits are fairly common, others are much less popular. In the past, an exotic animal was a species that was considered to be ‘wild’ in nature and not usually kept as a pet. However, today, an exotic pet is pretty much any animal that isn’t a cat or dog, although obviously some types of animal are still much more exotic than others. 

The following animals tend to be classified as exotic animals and represent some of the more unusual pets in need of specialist veterinary care:

Amphibians - this includes frogs, newts, toads and even salamanders. 

Birds – including budgies, parrots and birds of prey.

Crabs – in particular hermit and fiddler crabs. 

Farm animals – including goats, llamas and pigs.

Ferrets 

Insects and millipedes – including cockroaches, stick insects, praying mantis and even ants.

Rabbits 

Reptiles – such as lizards (including dragons, geckos and chameleons), snakes, tortoises and turtles.

Rodents – there are a huge number of animals classed as rodents including chinchillas, hamsters, rats, gerbils and guinea pigs.

Scorpions - in particular the emperor scorpion.

Spiders – the tarantula is the most commonly kept pet spider in the world.  

Euthanasia

Euthanasia

Our pets are beloved members of our family and it can be heartbreaking to see them unwell. Unfortunately, there are some illnesses that pets are unable to recover from. In the case of terminal illness and/or debilitating pain or suffering, one of the kindest things that we can do for them is to relieve them of that burden by making the difficult decision to put them to sleep.
 

How do I know if it is the right time to consider euthanasia?

Your veterinarian is the best person to advise you when it is time to consider euthanizing your pet. However there are also some signs and symptoms that your pet is no longer experiencing a good quality of life, and if you notice these then it would be advisable to contact your veterinarian to determine if euthanasia would be the most humane course of action. These signs include:
 

  • Chronic labored breathing, breathlessness and/or coughing

  • Chronic pain that cannot be controlled by medication (your veterinarian can advise if this is the case)

  • Frequent diarrhea and/or vomiting that leads to dehydration or severe weight loss

  • Inability to stand or move around

  • Disinterest in food or eating

  • Incontinent to the stage where they are frequently soiling themselves

  • No interest in communication with family members, treats, games, or other previously enjoyed activity

  • Zest for life is non-existent
     

Euthanasia has the small benefit of allowing family members the time to say their final goodbyes to your pet. This is an emotional time and giving them the opportunity for final displays of love and affection with their pet will help ease them into the grieving process. It is especially important to prepare young children as this may be their first experience of bereavement.

Many veterinarians will allow you to be present during the euthanasia procedure so that you can comfort your pet as they enter their final journey. This is a personal decision, but it is recommended that young children are not present during this time.

Equine: Dentistry

Equine: Dentistry

One of the most important parts of responsible equine ownership is caring for their teeth and ensuring they are strong, clean and healthy. This is because oral health can have a significant impact on the overall wellbeing of your animal. Left untreated, dental problems can cause problems with the function of the nervous system, muscular balance, cardiovascular health, imbalance of chemicals in the body, digestive system and the structural stability of the head, neck, and tongue. Most equine dental problems begin as mild and treatable occurrences. However, they can rapidly increase in severity if left untreated. Regular check-ups by an experienced and qualified equine dentist are vital.
 

Symptoms of equine dental problems

One of the reasons that regularly scheduled check-ups are important is because many horses don’t display any clear symptoms of dental issues until they develop into major problems or begin to cause them pain. However, many responsible equine owners can tell when their horse isn’t feeling quite right. If they are unable to establish what is wrong, then there is a good chance that dental problems may be to blame.
Some of the signs and symptoms of equine dental problems that you can look out for include:
 

  • Tilting the head when not eating

  • Head tossing or shaking

  • Excessive saliva

  • Nasal discharge

  • Facial swelling

  • Foul breath

  • Dropping food

  • Stiffness on one side

  • Napping, bucking or rearing

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • Grass packing in cheeks

  • Slow to eat or dips feed or hay in drinking water

  • Nervousness or a dislike of being handled
     

In some cases, behavior changes can also be a sign of dental problems. These could be mouthing or chewing the bit, unexplained subtle lameness, resisting bridling or even rearing or bolting.

Equine: Endoscopy

Equine: Endoscopy

When a person or animal is unwell, external symptoms and blood test results may only tell a small part of the story. Advances in medical technology mean that it is now possible to see what is actually happening inside you, and one of these procedures is known as an endoscopy.

An endoscopy can be used to view and analyze many parts of a horse including the upper respiratory tract, and parts of the gastrointestinal, reproductive and urinary tracts. This helps veterinarians to make an accurate diagnosis and recommendation for treatment for a wide range of health problems.
 

Types of endoscopy

There are two main types of endoscopy available in the equine veterinary field. These are:


Fiberoptic Endoscope

This is the most common type of endoscope used for investigative surgery in horses. The endoscope is made up of a bunch of optical fibers that are enclosed within a waterproof rubber tube. The tube is passed into the horse’s body either through a natural body cavity or a surgical incision. The area is illuminated by a light source that passes through the fiber optics and then examined using an eyepiece that is attached to the external end of the fiber-optic cable.
 

Video Endoscope

This more advanced version of the endoscope has a tiny microchip video camera on the end of the scope which relays live feedback to a television screen in the room. This means that multiple people can view the feed, and it can be recorded and played back at a later time.

Homeopathy for Animals

Homeopathy for Animals

What is Homeopathy?

Homeopathy is a medical philosophy and practice based on the theory that, using the right natural substances, the body can heal itself. Homeopathic remedies are used by more than 200 million people around the globe to treat a wide range of conditions.

The underlying principle is that the same substance in a large dose that causes the symptoms in the first place could also cure those symptoms if administered in a small dose. The trick is in getting the symptoms to match the remedy.

Holistic medicines are derived from entirely natural substances such as minerals, plants and animal matter which stimulate the immune system and promote natural self-healing.
 

Is homeopathy safe for my pet?

Yes, homeopathic remedies are completely natural and safe for the majority of humans and pets alike. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you if there is any reason why homeopathy may not be suitable for your pet.
Homeopathy in animals has had so many success stories that an increasing number of veterinarians are studying, gaining qualifications and practicing the principles.
 

What conditions can homeopathic remedies help to treat?

Homeopathy has had proven results in an extensive range of chronic and acute conditions including:

  • Digestive and endocrine diseases

  • Fleas, skin and coat disorders

  • Heart and kidney diseases

  • Bone and joint disorders

  • Ears, eyes, nose and mouth problems

  • Immune system disorders

  • Respiratory disease

  • Mood and behavior problems

  • Reproductive system problems

  • Viruses and acute infections

  • Healing and recovery

Why cats like to relax and sleep up high

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 behaviour?

According to animal behaviour experts, most cats prefer to sleep and hang out in places with good vantage points. It comes from their instinct to protect their 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.

The Importance of Pet Grooming

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.
Recognizing an Ill Pet

Recognizing an Ill Pet

Just like humans pets can have days where they feel a little lethargic and under the weather, but it is the natural instinct of an animal to try and disguise any signs of illness. They do this in the wild as showing weakness leaves them vulnerable to predators and open to attack. Unfortunately this can make it tricky to determine if your pet is feeling a little unwell or if they are suffering from a more serious illness.

There are a number of symptoms and changes in your pets’ appearance, behavior and physical condition that you can look out for. These include but are not limited to:

  • Abnormal vocal noises

  • Bloating of the abdomen

  • Blood in the stools or urine

  • Decreased energy or activity levels

  • Diarrhea and/or vomiting

  • Discharge from the nose or eyes

  • Excessive scratching or licking of the body

  • Foul odor from ears, mouth or skin

  • Increased shedding or bald patches

  • Limping

  • Lumps or tumors

  • Persistent hiding

  • Reluctance to use stairs

  • Seizures

  • Straining or an inability to pass urine or stools

Any of the above symptoms should be checked out by a veterinarian within 24/48 hours.

Symptoms that require immediate veterinary treatment include:

  • Bloated or hardened abdomen

  • Excessive vomiting or diarrhea

  • Inability to stand up or urinate

  • Seizures


Whilst a sick pet may require inpatient treatment in care in your veterinary surgery for days or even weeks, you will need to continue providing them with care and compassion to aid their recovery when they come home. This can include administering medication, supporting physical rehabilitation, emotional care, and fulfilling any special dietary requirements.

Feeding Your Pet

Feeding Your Pet

A healthy and balanced diet is essential for a healthy and happy pet. Not only will it provide your pet with enough energy for his day to day activities, but it is also vital for proper brain function. An adequate diet is also particularly important for animals in the early stages of their development.

One of the most important things to remember when it comes to feeding your pet is to feed them by ‘life-stage’. Different animals, and in particular cats and dogs, require different nutrition at different stages of their life. For example, puppies around 12 weeks of age will require around 3 meals a day and it is not until they reach around 6 months of age that this amount should be reduced. That said, your animal may prefer smaller and more frequent meals. They key to feeding your pet properly is understanding what works best for them.
 

Methods of Feeding

A popular method of feeding is known as ‘free-feeding’. This is where a bowl of food is left out so that a pet can eat as much or as little and as frequently as they prefer. This works best for dry foods since they do not spoil as quickly as the wet variety. Some studies show that this method results in over-eating and subsequent pet obesity. However it may be the best option for you if you cannot stick to a feeding schedule.

Scheduled portioned feeding requires a strict routine that you need to be able to guarantee to stick to. Your pet will know when meal times are and ensure that they are ready for them, with cats coming indoors specifically at these times. This method limits the amount that your pet eats either by portion size or by time as some pet owners prefer to give their animals a specific time frame in which they must eat. This method also works well if you have pets that require medication to be mixed with their food, or have an animal on a calorie-controlled diet.

If you are unsure which method is right for your pet, consult with your veterinarian who will be more than happy to provide advice.
 

General Feeding Advice

Do NOT offer home cooked meals. These may not meet the complex nutritional needs of your pet. Instead stick to especially formulated pet foods.

Ticks

Ticks

Ticks are arachnids that belong to the same family as spiders and mites. They are parasitic and feed on the blood of host animals. They are visible to the naked eye, but start of around the size of a pin head before swelling with blood as they feast. 

Animals living in the Southern States or near heavily wooded areas will have increased exposure to ticks which like to live in thick long grass, as it allows them to attach to host animals as they walk by. They are most active during the late spring and summer months and they are not fussy which breeds of animals they feed on. However animals that spend a lot of time outdoors will be more susceptible to ticks.

 

Symptoms of Ticks

Animals with few ticks can present with little or no symptoms and it is often not until there is a larger infestation or infection from the bites that signs become apparent. If and when symptoms do materialize they can include itching, scratching and visible red or inflamed irritations on the skin. 

Ticks can transmit a number of diseases including Babesia, Cytauxzoonosis, Lyme disease and Mycoplasma. Some animals can also have allergic reactions to tick bites which result in infections. Symptoms from these reactions or diseases can include fever, lethargy, loss of appetite and pain and can last for several days or several weeks. If you are concerned that your pet has developed illness from a tick bite, consult with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Heartworm

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

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.

First Aid for Pets

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 wellbeing of your pet at all times. With that in mind, here is our guide to basic first aid for pets.
 

Bleeding (Externally)

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 eased.
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.
 

Bleeding (Internally)

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

  • Pale gums

  • Rapid pulse rate

  • Weak pulse

  • Unconsciousness

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.
 

Burns

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

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

  • Choking sounds

  • Excessive coughing

  • 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 oesophagus. If it is not easily removed then don’t spent 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.

Basic Pet Bird Care

Basic Pet Bird Care

They may not be as common as dogs and cats, but birds make very interesting and rewarding pets. As with any animal, as a conscientious and compassionate owner it is your responsibility to make sure you are covering all aspects of your bird’s care, from her environment and nutrition to her grooming. Whether this is your first bird, or you are a more experienced aviary owner, there is always something new to learn or to refresh your memory about. 

To help you give your feathered friend the best life possible, here is our brief guide to basic pet bird care. 
 

Habitat

It goes without saying that your bird will need to live predominantly in a cage. However, as with most pets it is important that you provide her with as much space as possible. This means buying the biggest cage you can afford and have space for. She should be able to flap her wings without hitting any of the sides and there should be at least 2/3 perches for her to fly between. There also needs to be room for plenty of toys and water and food dishes.

Choose a cage that has bars that are too close together for her to get her head stuck between them and opt for one with a powder-coated finish since these are easier to clean and shouldn’t rust. Ensure it is secure and can be locked. Place her new habitat in a bright area of your home or yard, but not in direct sunlight. 

You should line the bottom of the cage with newspapers, paper towels or other plain cage line paper. These are the most sterile and are the easiest to remove on a daily basis when cleaning out her cage. Substrates like sand or wood chippings easily grow fungus and bacteria, which could lead to your bird becoming sick. 
 

Nutrition

A proper diet is essential for all species of animal including birds. The easiest way to feed your feathered pal is to use commercial formulated diets created specifically for pet birds. This ensures that she will get all of the nutrition she needs from one meal, rather than you trying to choose and balance foods. 

How to Adopt a New Pet

How to Adopt a New Pet

A new pet can be very exciting! But do you know where to find the pet that's right for you? Choosing which pet you'd like can be hard, and not just because you have to choose between one kitten or puppy and another.

We've got the tips to help you make the right decision — for you, and for the animal.
 

Things to keep in mind

Deciding to adopt a new animal is a big decision and one that shouldn't be made impulsively. Pets need to be cared for and loved like any other member of the family, and that takes time, effort, and money. Do you have a yard large enough for a goat to live comfortably? Do you have time more than once per day every single day to walk your dog? Do you have enough money to buy fresh litter for your cat regularly?

Only adopt an animal if you feel confident in your ability to care for them. This includes being able to care for animals you buy for your kids. By their nature, children will want to participate in all the fun parts and have trouble consistently remembering or even wanting to do the dirty work. If you won't be able to care for the animal when your kids can't, that leaves the pet as the one that's hurt or neglected.

But we understand that sometimes things change! If you can no longer care for your animal, contact the shelter or organization you adopted the animal from, or feel free to come in and talk to us about potential options. Please, never abandon your pet!

How to Stay Safe and Have Fun When Kids and Pets Play

How to Stay Safe and Have Fun When Kids and Pets Play

Letting children, especially young children, and pets, especially new ones, play can be a little nerve wracking. The foremost worry is for the safety of the children, of course — it's more likely that an animal would physically hurt a child than the other way around. Unfortunately, kids can hurt pets too, and what's more, they can antagonize a pet to the point the animal will act out.

This is mostly due to two factors. First, children are still growing, learning, and testing boundaries, coupled with still learning how to verbalize their thoughts and needs. Second, pets can't verbalize at all, making it more difficult for them to communicate when they don't like something, want certain behaviors to stop, or are hurting. As a parent, you need to step in and fill this fundamental gap and help them understand each other.


Ensure new pets like kids

Keep in mind that some animals simply aren't comfortable around children, and that's okay. When adopting a new pet, especially if it's older, make sure to talk to the shelter or rescue organization staff to make sure the animal is safe to live with kids. Similarly, if you already have kids and kid-friendly pets but are ready to adopt a new pet, make sure to ask if the animal is also comfortable with other animals. Bringing a pet into a home where it's uncomfortable will only make them more and more stressed, and thus more likely to hurt someone.

Pet Loss Support

Pet Loss Support

Your pet is a much loved member of your family and so the loss of your pet can be heart-breaking for everyone concerned. It can be an incredibly difficult time and you may feel that there is a hole that cannot be filled. However you are not alone and there are more people who understand your pain than you might realize and there are an increasing number of support groups available.

If you are visiting this page then it is probably because you have experienced the loss of one of your pets, and if so we extend our deepest sympathies to you.

We have put together this page to help you understand your grief and answer some questions that you may have.
 

Grief Responses

Just the same as losing a human loved one, grief responses can vary hugely depending on the individual. We all grieve in different ways and our emotions and behavior will change too.

Some of the typical emotional grief responses you may experience include intense tearfulness, insomnia, failure to accept loss, denial, shock, loss of appetite, disorientation, anger, guilt, isolation, nausea, thinking that you can see/hear your pet, emotional numbness, depression and reliving your final moments with your pet.

Some of the typical behavioural grief responses that you may experience include being unable to remove your pet’s possessions, sleeping with his/her favorite toy or blanket, avoiding walking the same routes you took when walking your pet, continuing with your daily routine as if your pet were still alive, withdrawing from everyone and over-memorializing your pet.

Seasonal Care

Seasonal Care

Not everyone is lucky enough to live in a State with relatively consistent weather and temperatures. Just as humans change their behavior and diet with fluctuations in temperature, so do most animals. Here are our guidelines for seasonal care for your pets.


Winter

If temperatures plummet and your pet usually likes to spend most of its time outdoors try and persuade them to stay indoors in the warm instead. If circumstances mean that your pet has to be kept outdoors then take steps to ensure that they are as warm and comfortable as possible. This means providing them with a dry and draft-free shelter with plenty of extra blankets. You should also regularly check their water supply to ensure that it hasn’t frozen.

If the ground is covered with snow, ice or just extremely cold then you may want to consider animal booties. These are widely available from most pet stores.

Be prepared to see a change in your pets eating habits. Outdoor pets tend to require extra food. They burn this extra food to help keep them warm. Indoor pets are likely to eat far less as they conserve energy by sleeping more.

Keep your pets away from antifreeze. Unfortunately, it smells and tastes delicious to dogs and cats, but even the smallest sip can be deadly. Keep pets out of garages and outbuildings and clean up any spillages as soon as they happen. Speak to your neighbors about the dangers and ask them to ensure that any antifreeze they have is securely stored and that they too clean up any spillages that may occur. If your pet acts as if they are drunk or begins to convulse then take them to a vet immediately.

Check under the hood of your car before starting the engine. Many cats like to sneak under the hood of a vehicle once you have gone inside so that they can curl up against the warm engine. If you are unable to open the hood then a firm tap on it should be sufficient to wake any sleeping cat.

Ensure that rabbit hutches are brought inside. If this isn’t possible then ensure that you put extra newspaper in for insulation. Again, check their water source to ensure that it isn’t frozen.

Pet Obesity

Pet Obesity

We are constantly being told that obesity levels are increasing and we should act now to ensure our long term health. However this problem does not just affect humans. A shocking statistic from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention states that an estimated 54% of dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese.
(Source: Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 2015)

Just like humans, pets who are overweight are at increased risk of a number of health problems including but not limited to:

  • Cranial cruciate ligament injury

  • Decreased life expectancy by up to 2.5 years

  • Heart and respiratory disease

  • High blood pressure

  • Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes

  • Kidney disease

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Varying forms of cancer

Benefits of LASIK

Benefits of LASIK

LASIK is the number one elective surgical procedure today, and more than a million American’s have had the procedure since its inception. The main reason for its popularity is the great deal of benefits that it offers, including minimizing or in some cases even eliminating the need for the patient to use eye glasses or contact lenses after the procedure.
Let’s take a look at why LASIK is taking the ocular world by storm.
 

Better vision

Clearly the biggest reason for choosing LASIK is improved vision. While some patients have relatively mild problems with their eyesight, others experience major disturbances in their vision that makes functioning day to day almost impossible without the use of visual aids. LASIK can dramatically improve the quality of your vision, reducing the need to wear visual aids, or in some cases, completely eliminating it.
 

A good investment

Eyesight is also notoriously inconsistent, with the majority of people finding that their vision marginally improves or deteriorates with each visit to their optician. When this happens, it is necessary for the optician to recommend a different prescription, and this means expense as the patient finds themselves purchasing new eyeglasses or contacts to reflect their new visual requirements.

Although there is no guarantee that you will be able to completely prescription-free after LASIK, most patients find that eyesight is so improved that any changes to their prescription are much less frequent.
 
Eyeglasses and contacts are known for being fiddly and fragile, and the need for maintenance and replacements are a common complaint. However, with less need for such devices, the cost of caring for them is also reduced. 
 

A short, painless procedure

LASIK surgery can be performed in one, very short procedure. You should expect to spend around 30 minutes in the surgery suite, but the actual time it takes can be as little as 10 minutes – for both eyes! The remainder of the time will be spent preparing you and ensuring you are comfortable afterwards.

The entire process is carried out after anesthetic drops have been placed into your eyes, so you can rest assured you will feel absolutely no pain throughout. If you are particularly anxious about the process, it may be possible to be given a sedative to help you relax.

Training Your Pet

Training Your Pet

Once your pet has settled into your home it is a good idea to think about training. Training your pet can help ensure that the behaviors that they exhibit are primarily desirable ones. Dogs in particular like to please their owners and doing so will help retain a lifelong bond between you.


Training your Dog

Whilst dogs have earned a reputation as ‘man’s best friend’ thanks to their loyal and affectionate nature, just like their human counterparts they can sometimes possess annoying habits or personality traits that make them difficult to live with.

Training your dog will be hugely beneficial to your dog learning to live harmoniously alongside his human family. It will strengthen the bond between you and ensure his safety when out and about. Many dogs also find training to be a fun activity.
 

What is the best method to train my dog?

There are many different schools of thought as to how best to train a dog. Some owners prefer strict training with punishments for non-compliance, whilst others prefer to praise positive behavior and ignore undesirable reactions. Studies have shown that as a general rule the latter method works best, but however you decide to train your dog, in order to do so effectively you need to consistently control the consequences of your dogs’ behavior.

Dogs cannot relate events that are separated by time and so the consequences to behavior need to be immediate. You cannot praise your dog several minutes after returning to you when called as he will not understand why he is receiving it. The easiest way to train a dog is to reward the behaviors that you like and not reward those that you don’t.

  • If your dog likes the consequence you give them they will be more likely to repeat that behavior so they get the consequence again i.e. love, attention and praise.

  • If they dislike the consequences then they will do the behavior less often.


It really is that simple, but being consistent is vital otherwise you will send mixed messages to your pet. For example, if you do not want your pet to jump up at you (which they do to get your attention) then ignore them until they calm down. Praise and make a fuss of them as soon as they have returned to calm behavior. They will then learn that this is the way that you prefer them to behave. It may take several days or weeks of doing this, but your dog will soon learn the correct behavior to exhibit.

Cosmetic Services

Cosmetic Services

We all want to look out best, and the last decade has seen a significant increase in the number of people seeking cosmetic services in order to enhance their appearance. Our eyes are our most distinguishing feature and as such, we want to make the most of them. Thankfully there are now a range of cosmetic services that can help to rejuvenate our eyes and the area around them to keep them fresh, young and wrinkle free. 
Let’s take a look at some of the services on offer.
 

Pigment removal

The brown pigment spots that appear on the face are often referred to as age spots, and are a result of sun exposure. With age, the repeated exposure to UV rays causes melanin, a compound that is responsible for pigmentation and  protecting the skin, begins to clump together to form an area of hyperpigmentation. Whilst they aren’t any cause for concern, many people feel that they look unsightly. However, there are a number of different treatments that you can get to remove them including topical creams, laser therapy and chemical peels. 
If you are suffering from darker pigmentation then we strongly recommend that you make an appointment with a qualified dermatologist who will recommend the best course of treatment for you, based on your specific needs.

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Avian Vet Care

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 mammal. 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

  • Blood panels

  • Imaging tests including digital x-rays, CT scans and ultrasound scans

  • Preventative care

  • 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

  • Anesthesia / sedation services


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.

Conditions Auto Injuries

Conditions Auto Injuries

With more vehicles on the road than ever before, automobile accidents are an unfortunate but very common occurrence. Even the most confident and experienced driver can make mistakes, and sometimes those errors can have catastrophic results. Estimates suggest that there are around 2.35 million auto-injuries in the United States every year – more than 6,000 every single day. While some injuries may be very minor, others can have debilitating and sometimes permanent consequences. 

Neck and back damage are among the most common type of injury sustained during automobile accidents. This is because the force of the impact overextends and strains the ligaments and muscles in the back, causing injuries including:
 

Compression fractures

These occur when the upper part of the body is thrown forward while the lower body is restrained by a seat belt. When this happens, the vertebrae can be pulled apart, causing them to fracture. In severe cases, the spinal cord may also become damaged by the fractured pieces of bone.
 

Disc herniation

The intervertebral discs are sponge-like circular pads that sit in-between the vertebrae. They have several functions, including enabling the spine to absorb impacts without becoming damaged. However, if the outer layer of a disc becomes damaged, the soft, inner gel can seep out and irritate the surrounding nerves.
 

Spondylolisthesis 

This condition occurs when a vertebra moves out of place due to force or a fracture in the bone. The displaced bone may then press on the surrounding nerves, causing pain and other neurological symptoms.
 

Whiplash

Whiplash is most common in rear-end collisions as the impact of the secondary car forces your head to ‘whip’ backwards and forwards in quick succession. As a result, the muscles in the neck are overextended. 

LASIK Procedure

LASIK Procedure

If you are one of the thousands of people considering LASIK laser eye surgery, then you will probably be gathering as much information as possible about the treatment. By this point you are probably aware of the benefits that LASIK offers, such as a reduced or eliminated need for glasses or contact lenses and greater convenience in your day to day life. However, for many patients, despite the advantages of LASIK, the thought of surgery on their eyes is still a cause of anxiety and fear. One of the best ways to alleviate this concern is to find out more about what the procedure entails.


Your consultation

Before you can be approved for any form of laser vision correction, including LASIK, you will need to attend a consultation appointment with your surgeon. During consultations, we will perform an examination of your eyes and use your medical and ocular history to determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure. He will also speak to you about the expected outcome from your surgery, making you aware that while LASIK will dramatically improve your eyesight, there is no guarantee that you will not need to wear glasses in some situations, such as while driving in the dark. 


How LASIK works

LASIK uses a cool, ultraviolet beam of light to reshape the patient’s cornea. Doing so will more accurately focus the light that enters the eye on to the retina, thus improving the patient’s vision.

The way in which the cornea needs to be reshaped will depend on the visual needs of the patient. For example, a patient who is far-sighted will need their cornea reshaping to be steeper to experience better eyesight. Alternatively, a patient who is near-sighted will require their cornea to be flattened in order to improve their vision. LASIK can also smooth an irregular cornea into a more standard shape, meaning that the procedure can also be used to correct astigmatism.


The LASIK procedure

The LASIK procedure is very fast and straightforward. Although you will probably be in the surgical suite for around half an hour, the actual process only takes a couple of minutes per eye. The rest of the time will be spent preparing and ensuring that you are comfortable.

Anesthetic eye drops are given to patients before their procedure so that the entire process is pain-free. If you are particularly anxious, it may also be possible for you to be slightly sedated – this should be discussed with your doctor at your consultation appointment.

Once you are in position, we will use a femtosecond laser to cut a thin, circular flap into the outer cornea. This can then be pulled back to reveal the underlying corneal tissue, known as the stroma, so that it can be reshaped using the laser.

The exact path that the laser needs to take, known as the topography, will have been pre-programmed ahead of the procedure, and can be followed with completely precision and accuracy.

Once the reshaping is complete, the flap can be replaced back over the eye and the surgery is complete. There is no need for sutures or bandages as the cornea will start to heal immediately and without any medical intervention.

Picking Your Perfect Cat

Picking Your Perfect Cat

If you have decided that a cat is the right pet for you, then you may think that the decision-making process is complete, but in fact, you are still at the very beginning. Cats, like humans, are all very different and selecting one to suit your needs and lifestyle is vitally important as it will require the commitment of your love, care, and attention for upwards of 10 years. Here is our guide to helping you pick your perfect cat.
 

Kitten or adult cat?

Many people instinctively choose kittens over adult cats, and this is largely due to their childlike cuteness, curiosity, and playful behavior. However, they may not realize that they need a great deal of supervision, patience, attention, and training. Leave unsupervised kittens in your sitting room for any period of time and you could be faced with a surprising level of destruction! It is also difficult to know exactly what personality they may develop once they outgrow their kitten traits. She may become a docile companion, or she may continue to be a mischievous and energetic ball of fur.

It is also important to remember that if you are bringing a kitten into a home with very young children, you will need to provide an added amount of supervision. This is because your child may be exhibiting the same curiosity and mischievous behavior as your kittens and will be unlikely to give them the gentle touch that they require.
By comparison, older cats may have outgrown some of that initial cuteness, but the typical behaviors that they exhibit after around the age of one will be a reliable indicator of their regular temperament.
 

Short vs long hair

Responsible pet owners always make sure that their pets are well groomed, and in the case of longer hair animals this can prove to be a considerable commitment. Long fur will need to be brushed at least once per day to prevent matting and so if you opt for a long haired, cat then you will need to ensure that you have sufficient time to dedicate to daily grooming.

Not all cats like bring groomed and if your cat doesn’t then you may have to enlist the services of a professional groomer. However, if your cat is one that loves to be pampered then she will come running as soon as she sees her brush!
 

Personality and pure breed vs mixed breed

While pure breed cats tend to conform to what is known as a ‘breed standard,’ meaning that you can predict their expected physical and behavioral characteristics based on breed type, each animal is still unique. Many people believe that purchasing a pure breed will not only guarantee its temperament, but will also ensure it has good health, but sadly this is not the case. Many pure breed animals suffer from genetic health problems due to inter-breeding.

It is also possible to estimate the physical and behavioral traits of mixed breed cats based on the combination of breeds used to create it. For example, combining two short-haired, highly active breeds will be extremely likely to produce another short-haired highly active cat.

As we have said, whether pure or mixed breed, each cat is unique and will require handling to suit their personality. Some are sedentary, some are active, some love to be stroked and handled, and others will only come to you for petting when it suits them. If you are looking for a companion cat, then you would ideally be looking for a sedentary and tactile cat, whereas if you are looking for a cat to play with children, then you should aim for an active breed.

Am I a candidate for LASIK?

Am I a candidate for LASIK?

If you already rely on wearing glasses or contact lenses to be able to see clearly, you may be frustrated with the effect that they have on your life. Regular vision tests, finding glasses to suit your face shape, having to remember to take eyeglasses with you wherever you go, prescription sunglasses, fiddly contact lenses… the list of inconveniences associated with conventional ocular solutions is extensive. 

LASIK is a modern, minimally-invasive procedure that can substantially reduce or eliminate your need to use eyeglasses or contact lenses, allowing you to enjoy life without limitations or inconvenience. The popularity and success of LASIK laser eye surgery has helped to make it the number one elective surgery across the globe. 
 

Candidacy for LASIK

LASIK has an extremely high success rate. According to the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, 96% of patients achieve 20/20 vision or better. However, it’s high success rate doesn’t make LASIK automatically the right solution for everyone.

Candidacy for LASIK is assessed by our Doctors on a case by case basis, so that you be certain that whatever treatment is recommended for you, it will give you the very best opportunity to improve your vision. During your consultation, our Doctors will perform a thorough examination of your eyes and vision, ask you about your general health and talk you through both the procedure and aftercare.

The general guidelines for LASIK candidacy state that patients must:
 

  • be at least 18 years of age

  • have had stable vision with no prescription changes for a minimum of 12 months

  • have a current prescription for eye glasses or contact lenses that falls between specified parameters (Our Doctors will be aware of what these parameters are)

  • have no significant medical or eye-related problems such as glaucoma, macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy

  • have no history of corneal disease

  • not be pregnant or nursing at the time of the procedure

Conditions: Neck Pain

Conditions: Neck Pain

Neck pain is a relatively common problem, and most of us will experience some degree of discomfort in this part of our body at least once in our lifetime. In most cases, neck pain will improve and disappear on its own, but if you frequently suffer from this problem, or find that conventional ways of relieving your pain are not working, you may wish to consider chiropractic care. 
 

About neck pain

The neck is highly important part of our body, containing the very top of the spine, called the cervical spine, and many blood vessels and nerves that supply structures including our esophagus, larynx, trachea and thyroid gland. The neck is also home to major blood vessels including the carotid arteries and jugular veins. 

When there is tension in the neck, it can have a significant impact on the flow of blood between the head and body, as well as causing compression of the nerves and potentially the spinal cord. When this happens, it can have an effect on other areas of the body, including the upper and lower limbs. 
 

What causes neck pain?

In many instances, the exact cause of neck pain may never be known. However, some of the most common causes believes to be behind the majority of cases include:

  • Sleeping in an awkward position

  • Bad posture

  • Trapped nerve

  • An injury, such as from a vehicle collision or fall

The pain you experience may also differ. It may be a dull ache that persists no matter what position you place your head in. Alternatively, you may experience a sharp pain when you place your head a certain way, or perform a specific movement, such as turning your head from side to side. 

In many cases, neck pain may be accompanied by other symptoms, including swelling or inflammation in the neck, pain that radiates into the shoulders or upper arms, or headaches.

Finding a Reputable Breeder

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.

Massage Therapy

Massage Therapy

Massages have been used therapeutically for thousands of years, with styles and techniques evolving through the centuries. Today, there are more than 100 varieties of massage being used in counties all around the world, helping to relieve back pain and muscle stiffness in millions of patients. 

Although chiropractic care is not the same as massage, an increasing number of chiropractors are offering massage therapy to help alleviate pain and rehabilitate injuries in patients suffering from problems with their musculoskeletal system. Most qualified and experienced chiropractors agree that while massage therapy can be beneficial as a standalone treatment, it is far superior when performed alongside conventional chiropractic adjustments. 
 

What is massage therapy?

Massage therapy refers to the manual manipulation of the soft tissue on the body, including the skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. There are many different techniques, with some of the most popular being:
 

Swedish massage

A gentle form of massage that uses long strokes, deep circular movements, kneading, vibrations and tapping to relax your body and help you feel revitalized.
 

Sports massage

Similar to Swedish massage, but targeted at people heavily involved in sport, and used to treat or prevent injuries. 
 

Deep massage

With slower, more forceful strokes, this type of massage targets the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue with the aim of stimulating blood flow to the area so that they can heal.
 

Trigger point massage

Focused on specific areas of tight muscle, this massage helps to loose and relax these areas that tend to tighten with overuse or injury. 

Latisse

Latisse

Our eyes are one of our most defining features, but many of us are unhappy with them for one major reason – our lashes. Lashes are not only a practical feature, but a cosmetic one. Unfortunately, we have not all been blessed with long, curly, dark and luscious lashes that frame our face. In fact, many of us feel that our lashes are a little lacklustre and are missing the fullness and definition that they can bring. Thankfully, there is now a solution – Latisse.
Latisse is a prescription treatment for hypotrichosis (shorter, thinner, less or otherwise inadequate eyelashes) that can support your lashes to grow longer, darker and fuller than before. It is the only product of its kind to be FDA-approved.
 

How does Latisse work?

It is believed that Latisse works by increasing the length of the anagen phase of your eyelash hair cycle, which is the growth phase. This means that your eyelashes grow for longer, giving them chance to thicken and lengthen. 
 

Why do I need a prescription for Latisse?

Latisse is only available on prescription to ensure that it is only used by people who suffer from hypotrichosis, and so that your doctor can monitor your treatment.

Equine: Castration

Equine: Castration

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.

Conditions: Headaches

Conditions: Headaches

A headache is a very broad term given to pain that is felt in the head or sometimes the neck. There are many different types of pain, from acute localized discomfort to a more generalized ache, and while some headaches appear suddenly and only last for a short time, others may build gradually and last for several hours. 
 

Types of headaches

While experts have identified more than 150 different types of headache, some are more common than others. These include:
 

Tension headaches

By far the most common is a tension headache, which is usually attributed to stress. They tend to come and go and cause mild to moderate pain with no other symptoms. 
 

Migraines

These are often considered to be more painful than a tension headache. They also last longer, anything from a few hours to a few days, and are accompanied by symptoms such as sensitivity to light, smells or sound, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision and loss of appetite. Some people suffer from recurrent migraines and may experience several or more in a month. 
 

Cluster headaches

Cluster headaches, perhaps unsurprisingly, tend to occur in groups, and are more common in men though there is no evidence to suggest why. The pain of a cluster headache tends to be burning or piercing and localized behind or around one eye. It also tends to be so severe that the patient can’t function properly until the pain eases and may just pace during an attack. 
 

Sinus headaches

These tend to happen if you have a cold or a sinus infection. With a sinus headache, the pain is felt in your cheekbones, forehead or bridge of your nose, which is where your sinuses are located. It is actually caused by your sinuses becoming swollen. The pain of a sinus headache is usually improved by taking an anti-inflammatory pain tablet. 

There are a range of things that you can do to help one-off headaches, such as taking pain medications, drinking plenty of water and trying to relax somewhere calm and quiet. However, if you suffer from recurrent headaches then you may wish to consider chiropractic care, which has been shown to be very successful in providing relief and even helping prevent this type of pain.  

Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration, commonly referred to as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is the single largest cause of sight loss in the developed world and affects more than 10 million Americans. It usually affects people over the age of 60, but has been known to affect those who are younger. It is a painless condition that usually affects both eyes, and the loss is experienced in the central vision. It does not affect the peripheral vision, meaning that it doesn’t cause total blindness.
 

What is the macula?

The macula is the most sensitive part of the retina and is responsible for our central vision and what allows us to see fine details with clarity.
 

Varieties of AMD

Wet AMD

Wet AMD is one variety of the condition in which abnormal blood vessels grow into the macula, leaking blood or fluid which then causes scarring and a rapid loss of central vision. Wet AMD can develop suddenly and rapid referral to a specialist is essential as it can be treated if caught quickly.
 

Dry AMD

Dry AMD is the most common variety of age-related macular degeneration, and is a gradual deterioration of the retina as the cells die off over time and are not regenerated. Up to 15% of people with dry AMD go on to develop wet AMD, and so any sudden changes in your vision should be followed up with your ophthalmologist as soon as possible.

Athletic Recovery

Athletic Recovery

Whether you are a professional sportsperson, or you just enjoy taking part in your spare time, injuries are very much a common occurrence. Pulls, sprains and strains happen regularly, and while many heal quickly without the need for professional intervention, other injuries may see you needing to take weeks or even months away from your sport while you heal. 

Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to increase the rate at which your injury will heal and reduce any pain or other side effects that you experience during the process. In addition to hot/cold therapies, sports massage and pain medications, you should also consider making an appointment for a consultation with a chiropractor.
 

Common types of sports injury treated by chiropractors

Although professional or regular sports players are less likely to suffer from injury than someone who plays intermittently, they do still occur. All of our bodies are prone to the same types of injury, many of which can create a range of side effects, from discomfort and pain to swelling, limited mobility and an interruption to the ability to perform day to day tasks. 

In some instances, it may be an underlying problem that causes the injury, such as issues with joints or the spine itself. These often occur gradually and without causing any symptoms, until one day, when the underlying problem causes something noticeable to develop. 

Some of the most common sports injuries treated by chiropractors include:

  • Achilles tendon problems

  • Calf and hamstring pulls

  • Golfer’s elbow

  • Groin strain

  • Lower back pain

  • Neck pain

  • Shoulder pain (rotator cuff injuries)

  • Thigh injuries

iDesign Custom Lasik

iDesign Custom Lasik

If you thought that just laser eye surgery was impressive then prepared to be astounded by the arrival of iDesign custom Lasik. iDesign is the most advanced wavefront guided laser treatment available. The system creates a uniquely accurate measurement of the entire optical system that can be relied upon completely with no guesswork. This is then used to create a highly detailed topography or map of your eye, making it easier for your surgeon to pinpoint the areas that need addressing with pinpoint precision. 
 

How accurate is iDesign?

iDesign is extremely accurate and the diagnostic equipment is able to determine 1,257 different micro eye prescriptions. Each one of these will measure the eye prescription to 0.01 of a dioptre strength – 25 times more than what a regular glasses or contact lens prescription is measured to. 
 

Who is iDesign suitable for?

While iDesign Custom Lasik can benefit almost any patient with refractive problems, it is particularly beneficial for people who have unusual corneas or have had eye surgery in the past. 
 

Is it painful?

Laser eye surgery is generally considered a pain-free procedure by the majority of patients. Anesthetic eye-drops are used to numb the outer area of the eye during the course of the surgery. Once these have worn off, some patients do experience some mild discomfort during the days following the procedure, but over the counter pain relief is usually sufficient to relieve this.

Canine Parvovirus

Canine Parvovirus

What is Canine Parvovirus?

Also known as CPV, Canine Parvovirus is a highly contagious viral illness that can be debilitating and even fatal. It has two main forms, the more common intestinal variety and the less common cardiac variety. Puppies aged between 6 weeks and 6 months old are most commonly affected, but early vaccinations can significantly reduce the risk of contracting CPV.

CPV is resistant to the majority of cleaning products and household bleach is the only known way to eradicate it.

 

What causes CPV?

The CPV virus is mainly transmitted through direct contact with an infected animal, or indirectly through contact with the stools of an infected dog which contain a heavy concentration of the virus. This contact can include inhalation as well as touch. The virus can also live in the ground for up to a year where it can be brought into contact with a dog by way of shoes.

Certain breeds of dog are more susceptible to CPV. These are: Alaskan Sled Dogs, Dobermans Pinschers, English Springer Spaniels, German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Pitbulls and Rottweilers. Dogs that take immunosuppressant medication or have not had adequate vaccinations are also more likely to contract CPV.

As with most contagious diseases, animal shelters and kennels are much more likely to be contaminated.

 

Symptoms of CPV

The intestinal variety of CPV affects an animals’ ability to absorb nutrients from their food. This means that an infected dog will rapidly become dehydrated and weak.
The primary symptoms of intestinal CPV include but are not limited to:

  • Anorexia / severe weight loss

  • Bloody diarrhea

  • Coughing

  • Fever

  • Lethargy

  • Pain, particularly if the abdomen is touched

  • Rapid heartbeat

  • Vomiting

  • Wet tissue of eyes and mouth becomes red and inflamed

In rare cases of CPV a dog may exhibit symptoms consistent with hypothermia rather than a high fever. Cardiac CPV is extremely rare and usually only seen in very young puppies where it attacks their heart muscles. Cardiac CPV almost always results in death.

Conditions Lower Back Pain

Conditions Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is an exceptionally common complaint and is estimated that 80% of Americans will suffer from it at some point during their lifetime. Lower back pain is also a leading cause of absence from work due to ill health, although more than half of cases are believed to be as a direct result from the patient doing a job that involves continual sitting. 

In many cases, the back pain is either not severe enough for the patient to seek professional intervention or resolves itself within a few days. However, there is a percentage of individuals who suffer from chronic, recurrent back pain and are reliant on pain medication to help keep them comfortable day to day. 

Fortunately, there is no longer any need to suffer from ongoing lower back pain. Chiropractic care from a trained and experienced professional can help relieve your discomfort and enable you to work, sleep and enjoy life without worrying about back pain. 
 

What causes lower back pain?

The lower back, also known as the lumbar, works with the bones of the pelvis to help support the weight of our body and stabilize, rotate, flex and bend the spinal column. 

Lower back pain has been attributed to many different things, but experts tend to agree that a sedentary lifestyle, combined with the growing obesity problem, has definitely contributed to the increasing number of people experiencing lower back pain. Posture is also a significant cause of lower back pain, with sitting at laptops and computers for hours on end, sitting too long while driving and when watching television all associated with this type of discomfort.

Occasionally, back pain can be attributed to a medical condition such as sciatica, an irritation of the nerve that runs from the pelvis to the feet, or a slipped/herniated disc. Nevertheless, often it is impossible to pinpoint an exact cause of lower back pain, and if this is the case, doctors tend to refer to it as ‘non-specific back pain’. 

Feline Distemper

Feline Distemper

What is Feline Distemper?

Also known as FPV and Feline Panleukopenia, Feline Distemper is a highly contagious viral disease that can be debilitating and even fatal. Kittens aged between 2 and 6 months are the most vulnerable to the disease, followed by pregnant and immune-compromised cats. Surviving FPV comes with immunity to any further infections by the virus.
 

What causes FPV?

The FPV virus is mainly transmitted through direct contact with the blood, feces or urine of an infected cat. It can also be spread by fleas that have been feeding on a contaminated cat. Humans can inadvertently pass FPV after handling the equipment used by contaminated cats if they do not follow proper hand washing protocols. The virus can live on surfaces for up to a year and is resistant to the majority of cleaning products except for household bleach.

FPV attacks the blood cells of an infected cat and in particular those in the bone marrow and intestinal tract. If the infected cat is pregnant, the virus will also attack the stem cells of the unborn kitten. Additionally, FPV makes your pet more vulnerable to other viral and bacterial diseases.
 

Symptoms of FPV

The primary symptoms of FPV include but are not limited to:
 

  • Anaemia

  • Dehydration

  • Depression

  • Diarrhea (may be blood-stained)

  • High temperature

  • Loss of appetite

  • Rough coat

  • Vomiting
     

Other symptoms include lack of coordination, hiding away from owners, tucking feet away, or resting chin on the floor for prolonged periods.

Limbal Relaxing Incisions

Limbal Relaxing Incisions

Astigmatism is a relatively common eye disorder that causes the vision to be blurred or distorted. It occurs when the lens part of the eye, known as the cornea, isn’t perfectly curved and instead resembles a football rather than a soccer ball. This means that the light entering the eye come through at a distorted angle, making the object appear blurry and out of focus.
There are several ways in which it is possible to treat astigmatism, including laser eye surgery and corrective lenses. However, another possibility is a solution referred to as limbal relaxing incisions.
 

What are limbal relaxing incisions?

Limbal relaxing incisions are microscopic cuts to an area in the eye known as the limbus. This helps to relax the curve in the cornea and improve its ability to focus light correctly. It can significantly improve your astigmatism and the overall quality of your vision.
 

Am I a good candidate for limbal relaxing incisions?

If you have astigmatism, are over 18, in good general health and have no major eye conditions, then chances are you are a good candidate for limbal relaxing incisions. Make an appointment with your eye doctor to discuss your candidacy further.

Chiropractic Care Overview

Chiropractic Care Overview

If you are a little confused about what chiropractic care means, you most certainly aren’t alone. Many people are confused about the nature of chiropractic treatment and the somewhat poor reputation associated with chiropractic care. 

Lets find out more about this highly successful form of alternative medicine that offers relief to millions of Americans every year. 
 

What is chiropractic care?

Various forms of manipulation have been used therapeutically for centuries. However, it wasn’t until the 1800s that scientific basis for the practice was established, and the word ‘chiropractic’, a translated form of the Greek words cheir and praktos, which essentially mean ‘done by hand’, was established. 

Chiropractic care refers to the manual manipulation of the body with the purpose of alleviating problems with the musculoskeletal system. The musculoskeletal system comprises of the bones, muscles, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, joints and other connective tissues that provide shape, support, stability and movement in the body. When there are problems within the musculoskeletal system, it can cause mild, chronic or extreme pain, limited mobility and difficulty in carrying out our usual day to day tasks.

A chiropractor can treat a variety of spinal conditions and their side effects by manipulating the spine by hand – a process that sounds much more intense and painful than it really is. In actual fact, spinal manipulation is a precise, swift adjustment that aims to release the pressure on the nerves in your back. In doing so, the body can begin to heal itself. 
 

What issues can chiropractic care help address?

Chiropractic care has been successfully used to treat a wide range of spinal conditions, although most tend to occur either in the lower back (lumbar) or neck (cervical spine). Some of the most commonly seen conditions treated by chiropractors include:

  • Arthritis in the spine

  • Herniated disc

  • Pinched nerves

  • Sciatica

  • Scoliosis

  • Spinal stenosis

  • Whiplash, usually as a result of an automobile accident

Implantable Contact Lenses

Implantable Contact Lenses

If you dislike wearing glasses and you are not a suitable candidate for laser eye surgery, then implantable contact lenses (ICL’s) may offer the permanent vision correction that you require.
 

How do implantable contact lenses work?

Implantable contact lenses basically work in exactly the same way as standard/external contact lenses do. ICL’s alter the shape of the cornea in order to correct refractive errors such as near and far-sightedness, and astigmatism. However, unlike non-permanent contact lenses, ICL’s are surgically placed inside the eye rather than over the top of it. 

Implantable contact lenses are also sometimes known as phakic intraocular lenses (IOL’s). The reason for this is because the two share a number of characteristics. IOL’s are seen in cataract surgery where they take the place of the affected natural lens after it has been removed. However, when used as implantable contact lenses they work in conjunction with the natural lens of the eye in order to correct your vision.
 

What happens during the procedure?

The procedure requires your surgeon to make a tiny incision in to the cornea to allow access to the natural lens underneath. The ICL is then inserted through the incision and placed either in front of or behind the iris which is the colored part of your eye, and in front of the natural lens. The incision into the cornea is able to heal naturally without stitches, and the entire process is extremely quick.
 

Will it hurt?

Your surgeon will give you anesthetic, usually in the form of eye drops, ahead of the procedure and as such you should experience very little, if any, discomfort.

Dental Hygiene and Oral Care

Dental Hygiene and Oral Care

Don't ignore your pet's bad breath! Dental hygiene is often the cause of stinky breath, and it may indicate other important problems with your pet's health. We understand how easy it is to miss. Many of the problems that stem from poor hygiene occur where you can't see them - below your pet's gum line.
The first line of defense is always home care. But while some animals (especially dogs) tolerate their owners handling their mouths and brushing their teeth, most (especially cats) will struggle or act out. That can always make oral care difficult at best, and ineffective at worst.

The best way to ensure your pet's oral health is to have regular cleanings at our office. Discuss how often you ought to come in as well as a home hygiene regimen with your vet. This will also prevent dental issues from progressing to larger (and potentially deadly) internal issues, such as dysfunction or disease in the heart, kidneys, liver, or lungs.

In the wild, hiding pain, illness, or other weaknesses are survival instincts. Many times, your pet will have the same instincts, even in the safety and comfort of your loving home, so always keep an eye on your pet's eating habits and behaviors. Recognizing the difference between normal changes in mood and red flags can be difficult sometimes. What you interpret as a persistent grumpiness may actually be a sign that your pet is in pain. New irritability, shying away from being touched (especially on the face and around the mouth or throat), sluggishness, loss of appetite or difficulty eating, and lethargy are all behavioral signs which may indicate illness.

However, if you note any of the following physical changes, contact your vet immediately:

  • Red and swollen gums

  • Bleeding gums, especially when eating or when having teeth brushed

  • Swelling around the mouth

  • Oral abscesses

  • Abnormal chewing

  • Loose or missing teeth

  • Discolored teeth

  • Crusted build up at the edge of the gums

  • Persistent bad or fetid breath

  • Excessive drooling

  • Weight loss

Remember, preventing oral infections and disease will help your pet live a longer, healthier life. Furthermore, caring for your pet with regular cleanings now will save you money later. In 2013, VPI Pet Insurance priced the cost of treatment for dental diseases at more than $530 on average. Our prices for regular cleanings are much less than that!