http://www.petmd.com/news/rss en Cats in Carriers: What's Going Through Your Cat's Head? http://www.petmd.com/news/view/cats-carriers-whats-going-through-your-cats-head-36208  
So, what goes through your cat’s head when he sees the carrier? If you haven't done your homework and slowly acclimated your cat to the carrier, it is likely that he will have a fearful response and run away from the carrier or hiss at it. This is also true if your cat has ever been placed inside a carrier against his will. There are some simple things you can do to help prevent your cat from having a negative association with his carrier.
 
How to Get Your Cat Used to the Carrier
 
First, provide your cat with a very gradual introduction to both the carrier and the experience of being transported within the carrier. Incorporate his natural instinct to feel safe and secure by adding soft, familiar bedding in his carrier. Cats regard a small cozy space as safe, almost like a cocoon or sleeping bag. We see it all the time when they play and hide in bags or boxes. Any carrier you use should provide that same feeling of security.
 
Another important tip is to make your cat’s carrier part of your home’s normal “furniture” so it smells familiar to your cat. This helps make the carrier not as scary and eliminate its association with negative experiences. If it isn’t possible to move the carrier into your cat’s normal living areas, place the carrier out in your home at least 24 hours before you plan on transporting your cat. A cat’s sense of smell far exceeds humans. To your cat, there is a world of difference between the smells in the living room and the smells in your garage or basement.
 
Finally, one of my favorite tips is to serve your cat his favorite treats, food, or catnip in the carrier. He will likely love it immediately. Simply placing your cat’s favorite toys in the carrier and leaving the door off can all make it much more cat-friendly in your cat’s mind. Once he is comfortable inside the carrier, you can try moving its location by a few inches. If your cat tolerates the move, then try moving it a few feet, or even placing the carrier up on a chair to work with your cat’s desire to have a “vertical advantage.” Once your cat is totally comfortable with the carrier, you could even take him outside in it. This simulates what will happen when you take your cat on his annual or semiannual trip to the veterinary clinic to keep him healthy.
 
So, in summary:

 Start carrier training when your cat is young.
 Integrate the carrier into your home as much as possible, ideally creating a normal resting spot.
 Place treats, toys, and catnip in the carrier.
 Place familiar bedding or a towel in the carrier.  
 Be patient. If your cat senses that the carrier is unusual, he or she will act accordingly!   

The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) Cat Friendly Practice Program has a great infographic that explains how to turn your cat carrier into a “home away from home.”
 
Finding the Right Cat Carrier
 
When it comes to choosing the best type of carrier for your cat, consider this advice from feline veterinarians:
 

Look for a carrier that is sturdy and made of impact-resistant plastic or fiberglass. 
It is helpful to have a carrier that has a top and a front opening.
Carriers where the top half may be removed allow your veterinarian to examine your cat while he or she sits in the bottom half of the carrier.
Look for a carrier that comes apart easily without loud noises that may startle your cat.
It should be small enough to be cozy for your cat and easily carried by you.
Many cats also prefer a carrier that has sides that offer a visual shield so they can hide and have some privacy.
Look for a carrier that can be positioned safely on a floorboard or level seat where you can secure it with a seatbelt.
It is helpful to look for a carrier that is easy to clean.

For airline travel, a soft-sided carrier is needed to accommodate the “under-the-seat rule” for cabin transport. Again, since cats love bags, a soft-sided bag carrier with a shoulder sling and front, back, and top entrances is ideal. A thin blanket should be on hand to cover your cat’s head. And, of course, make sure to bring along your cat’s favorite treats. A harness and short lead is also ideal, as you will need to carry your cat through security.
 
Bug, my adventure cat, has traveled to Spain, Portugal, Canada, and Mexico, and loves her travel bag as a direct result of starting with her early, feeding her in the bag, and almost always respecting her wishes. (Sometimes she doesn’t want to leave paradise!)             
 
I hope this helps make your cat a better traveler to allow for those very important veterinary visits, a successful cross-town or cross-country move, or even to become a globetrotting or adventure cat like Bug!
 
Dr. Ken Lambrecht is medical director of West Towne Veterinary Center, an AAHA-accredited, gold-level designated Cat Friendly Practice in Madison, Wisconsin. Dr. Ken currently serves on the Cat Friendly Practice Committee. He is pet parent to four cats, including Bug, his world traveling adventure cat.
 
Read more: Why Cats Don’t Get the Care They Need (and Deserve)
]]>
http://www.petmd.com/news/view/cats-carriers-whats-going-through-your-cats-head-36208#comments care cat View Tue, 15 Aug 2017 20:31:49 +0000 36208 at http://www.petmd.com
Fleas Test Positive for Plague in Arizona: What It Means http://www.petmd.com/news/health-science/fleas-test-positive-plague-arizona-what-means-36207  
Fleas carrying Yersinia pestis, the bacterium that causes plague, were discovered in Navajo and Coconino counties. The Navajo County Health Department released a statement urging the public "to take precautions to reduce their risk of exposure to this serious disease, which can be present in fleas, rodents, rabbits, and predators that feed upon these animals." 
 
This isn't the first time plague has been reported in this region of the United States. Back in April, a feral cat that was infected with the plague in New Mexico died from the disease, and a dog in a nearby region was also affected. Thankfully, to date, no pets in Arizona have been reported to have the disease yet. 
 
Dr. Kim Chalfant of La Cueva Animal Hospital in Albuquerque told petMD earlier this year that flea prevention is key for concerned pet parents in areas with plague. "Make sure your pet is treated with an effective flea preventative," Chalfant said. "There are some preventatives that actually repel fleas and keep them from biting, while others kill the parasite after it has fed on the pet. The most effective prevention in this case is something repellent, as the bite can still spread the disease."
 
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, plague occurs after being bitten by a rodent flea that is carrying the plague bacterium, or by handling an animal infected with plague. 
 
Symptoms of plague can include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, dehydration, and, in some cases, enlarged and painful lymph nodes. 
 
If people suspect their pet has been exposed to plague bacteria, they should seek veterinary care immediately. If detected in time, plague can be treated. 
 
Image via Shutterstock 
 
Read more: Flea Infestation Guide: How to Kill and Get Rid of Fleas
]]>
http://www.petmd.com/news/health-science/fleas-test-positive-plague-arizona-what-means-36207#comments cat dog flea Health & Science Tue, 15 Aug 2017 16:02:19 +0000 36207 at http://www.petmd.com
Pet Visits in Hospitals: What Are the Risks? http://www.petmd.com/news/view/pet-visits-hospitals-what-are-risks-36206  
As a dog mom, I know how much snuggles with my fur kid make me feel better. I want my dog around when I don't feel well—especially if I were sick enough to be in the hospital. In fact, research shows dogs reduce anxiety in the hospital, something that many people experience. Anxiety can slow healing, something that often effects my treatment plan for cats and nervous dogs at my own practice. I’ve even let a housemate stay with a hospitalized animal to reduce anxiety, when it was appropriate.
 
But I also know that there are a lot of good reasons the rules are in place prohibiting or restricting pets in the human hospital. Some hospitals allow personal pets to visit while others don’t. If the hospital your family member is in does not allow personal pets, there are probably good reasons.
 
Why Hospitals Have Personal Pet Policies
 
When hospitals prohibit animals, they are doing so out of concern for the health of their patients. Some people in the hospital are very sick and may have compromised immune systems. Some may even have dog allergies. So, dog hair and dander may make these people feel worse or may slow their improvement. The hospital may not have adequate air filtration to handle pet dander or there may be other infrastructure concerns that prevent hospital administration from allowing pets.
 
After doing some research, I learned that more and more hospitals are allowing animal visitation. Many hospitals have their own therapy dogs who will visit patients. Others only allow service or therapy dogs. Those that do allow personal pets have strict standards for who they allow in. For example, a few hospitals will allow cats while others allow miniature horses that are used as service animals. Hospitals require that your companion animal be up to date on vaccines, house-trained, clean, and healthy. The dog must be quiet and good around strangers. The hospital should not be the first place you take your unsocialized dog.
 
Some hospitals have restrictions on which patients can bring their personal companions. These hospitals usually restrict visits to long-term patients (staying several months or more), patients who are at the end of their lives, or children. Some hospitals only allow visits in certain places in the hospital. This seems like a great compromise but of course requires patients to be able to leave their rooms.
 
To manage pet visitation, hospitals may have to add staff to screen dogs, which might require taking money out of the budget for nursing or sanitation staff or other services. This can be a powerful factor against allowing pets to visit.
 
To bypass this, there is a cool group in Canada that will help you check all the boxes for permission to bring your pet into the hospital. It’s called Zachary’s Paws. My favorite part of this group’s work is that it will foster elderly patients’ animals while they are in the hospital so that no one has to give up their beloved companion due to illness.
 
It is worth calling the hospital to find out whether it allows personal companion animals or get your loved one on the list for a visit from a therapy dog. If you have any choice in which hospital you use, choose one that does allow pets and tell the staff this was part of your decision process. If you or a loved one is in a hospital that doesn’t allow pets, tell the hospital that you would like it to reconsider its policy. Hospitals are always looking for ways to improve patient satisfaction (it’s now calculated into their reimbursements from Medicare and some insurance companies).
 
If you are in the unfortunate circumstance of having a loved one in the hospital, talk to your doctor and support staff. They want to help their patients get better and go home. And if a dog visiting speeds up the process, they just might let you bring your canine companion to the hospital.
 
Dr. Elfenbein is a veterinarian and animal behaviorist located in Atlanta. Her mission is to provide pet parents with the information they need to have happy, and healthy, and fulfilled relationships with their dogs and cats.
]]>
http://www.petmd.com/news/view/pet-visits-hospitals-what-are-risks-36206#comments dog health View Tue, 15 Aug 2017 14:23:12 +0000 36206 at http://www.petmd.com
Pets and the Eclipse: What You Need to Know http://www.petmd.com/news/lifestyle-entertainment/pets-and-eclipse-what-you-need-know-36205  
The rare occurrence (the last coast-to-coast total solar eclipse, according to CNN, took place in 1918), in which the sun is totally blocked by the moon, will cross through 14 states. People from all over are planning to—safely, of course—experience this phenomenon with their own eyes. 
 
But, as people prepare to take part in the out-of-this-world event, many pet parents are wondering what impact, if any, the total solar eclipse will have on their dogs and cats. 
 
Thankfully, pet parents won't have to worry about their pets staring directly at the sun and hurting their eyes because, inherently, cats and dogs don't do this. 
 
Greg Novacek, a physics instructor at Wichita State University, said that the glasses humans wear to watch the eclipse can be worn by dogs, but only if the dog is going to look directly at it, which is not recommended, nor is it in the dog's instinct to do so. (Anyone who doesn't have the proper eye protection during the eclipse can damage their eyes, Novacek explained.) 
 
So long as you aren't making your dog or cat stare at the sun, there are certain aspects of the eclipse that may impact your pet. "Inside of the total eclipse path (or near it where more than 95 percent of the sun gets obscured), the sky darkens significantly and the ambient temperature can drop 10 degrees Fahrenheit, or so," said Edward Guinan, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Villanova University. "So animals and pets could easily sense this." 
 
Still, as Guinan pointed out, even that shouldn't have much effect on pets or their behavior overall. In fact, the only way that your pets may become startled by the eclipse, Guinan said, is because of your reaction.
 
"I do not expect unusual behavior—like pets going crazy—unless their owners get real excited during totality," he said. "Many eclipse observers get so excited that they scream and shout with joy when the total phase happens. Total eclipses are real amazing. This human behavior could disturb their pets." 
 
To ensure your pet doesn't get spooked by your reaction or to avoid any risk of them looking at the sun or being impacted by the light and temperature change, Guinan suggested pet parents leave their cats and dogs indoors at least 30 minutes before, and after, the total eclipse occurs. 
 
Image via Shutterstock 
 
Read more: What Cats and Dogs Can See that Humans Can’t: You Won’t Believe it!
 
]]>
http://www.petmd.com/news/lifestyle-entertainment/pets-and-eclipse-what-you-need-know-36205#comments dog Lifestyle & Entertainment Thu, 10 Aug 2017 14:02:16 +0000 36205 at http://www.petmd.com
Dogs Are a Big Reason Millennials Are Buying Homes, Survey Finds http://www.petmd.com/news/lifestyle-entertainment/survey-finds-dogs-are-big-reason-millennials-are-buying-homes-36193  
Most recently, a survey conducted by SunTrust Mortgage asked millennials why they were buying their first home. While the majority of respondents said they wanted more living space or an opportunity to build equity, the third biggest reason, above marriage and the birth of a child, was to have better space or a yard for their dog. 
 
It comes as no surprise, considering that "millennials are now the primary pet-owning demographic, at 35 percent of U.S. pet owners to baby boomers’ 32 percent," according to a report from the American Pet Products Association.
 
Additionally, a study from Olin College of Engineering found that, "Millennials are getting married later in life and are on pace to stay unmarried at rates higher than previous generations." Turns out they're having less babies, too. 
 
While there are a plethora of theories as to why millennials are choosing pets over marriage and children, one of the driving forces is that dogs provide something that generation actively seeks out: unconditional positive regard, explained psychologist Dr. Stanley Coren.
 
"With unconditional positive regard, no matter what you do, you get the rewards, and that's what dogs give you," he said, adding that millennials want the therapeutic benefits that dogs can provide. While marriage and babies can be unpredictable, Coren said, dogs are a guaranteed social companion. 
 
While not all millennial pet parents are turning into homeowners, Michael Sylvia of Terrier Real Estate in Boston said he has noticed a trend with first-floor condominiums that have a common or private yard. "I'm currently selling a first-floor unit with a common yard and the three parties that either made offers, or have been substantially interested in the condo, have all had dogs." 
 
Image via Shutterstock 
 
Read more: Brooklynites Reportedly Forgoing Vaccines for Their Pets
]]>
http://www.petmd.com/news/lifestyle-entertainment/survey-finds-dogs-are-big-reason-millennials-are-buying-homes-36193#comments dog Lifestyle & Entertainment Tue, 08 Aug 2017 17:32:15 +0000 36193 at http://www.petmd.com
Can You Use Your Pet Insurance at the Drug Store? http://www.petmd.com/news/view/can-you-use-your-pet-insurance-drug-store-36192  
On several occasions, clients have asked me if I would write pet prescriptions under their names so they could use health insurance to offset the cost. Doing so would be illegal, but I do have some good news for those of you who have or are thinking of getting pet insurance. Medication costs are covered by most pet insurance policies regardless of whether the prescription is filled at a human or veterinary pharmacy.
 
There are some caveats, of course. First of all, every pet insurance policy is different. Some are quite comprehensive and cover drugs as part of their “regular” policy. Others offer a more a la carte approach, and you might have to purchase optional prescription drug coverage to pay for medicines that you give at home (drugs given while a pet is hospitalized are generally covered). Also, the policies that I’m familiar with all state that the medication has to be prescribed by a veterinarian, even if it is available over-the-counter. It can’t just be something that you’ve decided to give on your own…which is rarely a good idea anyway, right?
 
Also, the coverage provided by pet insurance plans usually involves deductibles, co-pays, and annual limits. You’ll probably still be on the hook for some portion of your pet’s medication expenses. For example, if your policy is written so that you have a 20 percent copay and the drug in question costs $60, you are responsible for $12 and the insurance company will cover the remaining $48. But if you have surpassed your annual limit or you haven’t yet met your deductible for the year (or for the incident, which is how some policies work), you may not be covered at all.
 
The process of getting the insurance company to pay its share of the bill is usually quite straightforward. If you got the medication from a local or online pharmacy, simply provide the insurance company with a copy of the prescription and an itemized receipt showing how much you paid. If you got the drugs directly from your veterinarian, a separate, written prescription should not be necessary. An itemized invoice is usually sufficient.
 
Even if you have pet insurance that covers medications, shopping around for the best price never hurts. This is especially true if you plan on getting them from a local pharmacy. Be aware that the cost of your pet’s prescription is going to be much higher than what you would pay if the prescription was for you and you are insured. Compare the prices offered by your veterinarian, local pharmacies, and VIPPS-accredited online pharmacies to get the best deal, and don’t forget to ask your pet’s doctor if a generic version of the prescribed drug is available.
]]>
http://www.petmd.com/news/view/can-you-use-your-pet-insurance-drug-store-36192#comments care cat dog View Tue, 08 Aug 2017 15:25:38 +0000 36192 at http://www.petmd.com
Brooklynites Reportedly Forgoing Vaccines for Their Pets http://www.petmd.com/news/health-science/brooklynites-reportedly-forgoing-vaccines-their-pets-36191  
According to a report published in Brooklyn Paper, dog owners in the hip and trendy areas of the New York City borough are skipping out on giving their pets recommended vaccinations that are not only critical to the health and safety of animals, but also to humans. Core vaccines for dogs in New York City include the highly contagious parvovirus, bordetella, distemper, hepatitis, and rabies. 
 
Dr. Amy Ford of the Veterinarian Wellness Center of Boerum Hill told the publication she has seen a higher number of clients who don’t want to vaccinate their pets. This increased skepticism likely stems from the anti-vaccine movement that claims inoculations may cause autism in children, she explained. (Experts have found no evidence to support a link between autism and vaccines.)
 
This skepticism is more common among "hipster-y" pet parents, Ford stated, adding, "I really don’t know what the reasoning is, they just feel that injecting chemicals into their pet is going to cause problems." Dr. Stephanie Liff of Pure Paws Veterinary Care of Clinton Hills told Brooklyn Paper that trends in human medicine often trickle down to animal health care.
 
The eyebrow-raising article has sparked plenty of conversations among pet owners and veterinary professionals alike.  
 
Dr. Sara Neuman of Vinegar Hill Veterinary Group in Brooklyn told petMD that this "movement" is actually nothing new. "There are people avidly against vaccines and there are people who say, 'I want to make sure my dog is as safe as possible.' Most are in between," she said. 
 
Neuman said she does not try to "push" vaccines on her patients who are against the practice, but will send out alerts to clients when there is an outbreak of a disease, such as influenza or leptospirosis. She also tries to educate pet owners as much as possible and offers vaccine titers, which "can see if a dog's immune system is sufficient and therefore do not need the vaccine," Neuman explained. 
 
In addition to the possible health problems that could arise from not getting dogs vaccinated, most groomers and pet daycares require dogs to be up-to-date with their immunizations, Neuman pointed out.
 
While Neuman said she hasn't heard of concerns regarding autism in dogs, the pet parents who are against vaccinations, "don't want to unnecessarily give something that could endanger their [pet's] immune system or cause cancer." 
 
Although some dogs have reactions to vaccinations, such as fever, pain, urticaria, vomiting, or diarrhea, these symptoms can easily be treated with Benadryl, Ford said. On rare occasions, "There has been some thought that certain dogs can have an autoimmune reaction to vaccines called ITP (immune-mediated thrombocytopenia)." 
 
Overall, Neuman said that education is key for pet parents, who should always ask their veterinarian about what kind of vaccinations they use and how they work, which is something she sees more often than not in Brooklyn. "This borough is made of very smart, well-educated clients who love and take wonderful care of their pets." 
 
Image via Shutterstock 
 
Read more: To Vaccinate or Not: A Vet's Perspective
]]>
http://www.petmd.com/news/health-science/brooklynites-reportedly-forgoing-vaccines-their-pets-36191#comments dog health Health & Science Fri, 04 Aug 2017 15:52:08 +0000 36191 at http://www.petmd.com
Kitten Cruelly Tied to a Bush Is Now Recovering http://www.petmd.com/news/care-safety/kitten-was-cruelly-tied-bush-now-recovering-36190  
When employees heard a kitten's cry near a walking path, they followed the sound to find a small animal tied to a painful pricker bush by a rope around his neck. 
 
Dearborn Animal Control was called to investigate, and from there, the shelter Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit and VetSelect Dearborn took over to help the injured cat. 
 
Elaine Greene, executive director of Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit, told petMD that the kitten—named Mustang for the location of his rescue—was found in dire conditions. 
 
"The kitty was found to have an open wound with a rope embedded into the tissue around the neck. [The wound] was impacted with maggots, infected and had a [dying tissue] smell," she described. "The kitty was thin and dehydrated."
 
A team of veterinarians had to anesthetize the weeks-old Mustang to remove the rope from his neck and extract the maggots. They also flushed and cleaned his wound. 
 
Amazingly, the feline is recovering well, both mentally and physically. "For all the pain, he has been a trooper," Greene said. "Mustang is very sweet and docile, [he] doesn't mind being held and is still very loving and trusting to people." 
 
That loving nature and brave spirit touched a nerve with one of the clinic's staff, who has since adopted Mustang to give him the safe forever home he deserves. 
 
The person who committed this heinous act of animal cruelty is still at large. According to Greene, the shelter is currently offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator. 
 
"What happened to Mustang was horrendously cruel and a deliberate action," Greene said. "Tying him to a bush with no way to escape predators, the elements, with no food or water, with a wound cutting his neck was beyond the neglect we experience." 
 
People can also help Mustang during his recovery by donating to the Hope's Hero Fund. 
 
Image via Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit 
 
Read more: 3-Month-Old Kitten Sustains Major Injuries from Fireworks
]]>
http://www.petmd.com/news/care-safety/kitten-was-cruelly-tied-bush-now-recovering-36190#comments Care & Safety cat kitten Wed, 02 Aug 2017 15:07:34 +0000 36190 at http://www.petmd.com
Why Cats Don’t Get the Care They Need (and Deserve) http://www.petmd.com/news/view/why-cats-dont-get-care-they-need-and-deserve-36173  
Here are the statistics:

28.5 to 67 percent of cats will get one or more painful tooth resorptive lesions, usually starting between 5 and 7 years
59 percent of all cats are obese
90 percent of cats will develop osteoarthritis by 10 years of age

 
A yearly physical examination at a veterinary clinic (or a house call) is the key to early detection and treatment.
 
The challenge is that 58 percent of cat caregivers report that their cats hate going to the veterinarian. Many owners choose to avoid the hassle of getting their cat into a suitable carrier and transporting them. Houston, we have a major problem here.
 
As both a veterinarian and a cat caregiver (four, at last count), I watch my cats play, hunt, and be master of their surroundings. From listening to many experts in feline behavior, I have surmised that cats have just two “behavior gears”: predator (the hunter) and prey (the hunted). So, we need to avoid putting cats into situations they can't control, where they feel they are being hunted. A trip to the veterinarian can trigger that prey or fear mode, if we are not careful.
 
Making Vet Visits Easier for Your Cat  
 
The Cat Friendly Practice Program by the American Association of Feline Practitioners was developed specifically to increase awareness among veterinarians on how to make the visit easier and friendlier for both the cat and caregiver. The backbone of this program is making the veterinary visit cat-friendly from start (at home) to finish (the reintroduction to home), and with everything done in between to reduce anxiety by respecting a cat's basic nature. It also includes hospital standards that relate to both cat behavior and quality of care provided.
 
I personally know what it is like to have an unhappy cat in a carrier from early experiences. It is painful to say the least. The mournful meows, the painful body language—it is not something any cat loving person wants to put their cat through. So, what do I do differently for my cats now and recommend to my clients? Kitten and cat socialization. In a nutshell, take your cat places—anywhere away from home.
 
After all, if the only time you ever left your house and got in a car was when you traveled to visit your doctor, who almost always drew blood and gave vaccinations, would you ever want to get in a car again? So, as you begin taking your cat out of the house, remember to start early and slowly:

Leave the carrier out in your house so it is familiar.
While at home, feed your cat in the carrier to get them comfortable with being in it.
Once your cat is comfortable with the carrier, carry them around in it.
Put the carrier in your car while it is parked and let your cat explore the inside of the car so it is familiar to them. 

These steps are all worthwhile for trips to the veterinarian, vacation, wherever.
 
Socializing Your Cat
 
Cats can learn to travel well. My adventure cat, Bug, has traveled to Spain, Portugal, Canada, and Mexico. On those travels, she has taught me a lot. I am asked all the time how she came to be such a good traveler. What did I do?

I started when I first got her (12 weeks old).
She had been well socialized before I adopted her.  
She is naturally curious and fearless, and I nurtured these natural instincts in her.
I constantly exposed Bug to new and different things while always preventing her from going into prey mode. She was recently featured on AdventureCats.org, where you can find some great leash training and other great tips that are applicable to any cat when outside the home.  

 
Our clinic, West Towne Veterinary Center in Madison, Wisconsin, holds monthly “Cats Night Out” where cats can get together in Bug’s Gym (the upstairs of our vet clinic). This has changed my perception of cat social interactions. During our Cat Nights, we ensure that all cats have places to hide and we introduce them slowly. We have noticed that at least 80 percent of visiting cats are willing to come out and explore, socialize a bit, and then return home from a vet clinic untraumatized. We give all the cats treats and let them have fun. A few cats don't leave their carriers, but they learned that a car trip to a veterinary clinic doesn't mean a painful experience. Just a car trip to the gas station would accomplish most of the same thing.
 
This summer, we held our first kitty kindergarten classes and fostered 10 kittens. We learned that when kittens are exposed to noise, confusion, other cats, and people of all ages and genders between 7 and 13 weeks of age, they become much more social.
 
Cats are great teachers, if we pay attention. If we continue to observe and respect cats’ natural behaviors and train them to be transported, ensure they receive regular preventive care, and share our experiences, we can all enjoy more of that magic that cats possess and help them to live longer, healthier lives.
 
Dr. Ken Lambrecht is medical director of West Towne Veterinary Center, an AAHA-accredited, gold-level designated Cat Friendly Practice in Madison, Wisconsin. Dr. Ken currently serves on the Cat Friendly Practice Committee. He is pet parent to four cats, including Bug, his world traveling adventure cat.
]]>
http://www.petmd.com/news/view/why-cats-dont-get-care-they-need-and-deserve-36173#comments care cat View Mon, 31 Jul 2017 21:04:39 +0000 36173 at http://www.petmd.com
Dogs and Toxic Algal Blooms: A Warning for Pet Parents http://www.petmd.com/news/health-science/dogs-and-toxic-algal-blooms-warning-pet-parents-36172  
Most recently, a 16-month-old Black Lab named Alex fell ill after swimming in a New York reservoir that, unbeknownst to his owner, had an outbreak of harmful algae, according to a report from EcoWatch. "Alex later collapsed and was immediately rushed to the vet,” the article stated. “Unfortunately, despite treatment, he died five hours later from cyanobacteria neurotoxins, one of the toxins found in algal blooms."
 
In another recent tragedy, two dogs died after swimming in a pond in Napa County, California, that contained toxic blue-green algae, the Sacramento Bee reported. Warnings of similar algae blooms have been popping up more and more in California. 
 
These stories, in addition to the hundreds of other reported cases by the CDC, have touched a nerve with fellow pet owners, especially those who take their dogs near bodies of water. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), in conjunction with veterinarians, scientists, and the New York Sea Grant, created a helpful guide about the dangers of harmful algal blooms and the deadly impact they can have on dogs.
 
Toxic algal bloom are visible scums found in bodies of water like ponds, lakes, and puddles, where dogs can often be found playing or even drinking. Exposure to these toxins can lead to poisoning or even death.
 
According to the guide, these blooms typically occur after periods of warm, sunny, and calm conditions during the summer and fall, at water temperatures between 60 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit, or due to runoff after a big storm. Dr. Christopher Gobler, a professor at Stony Brook University and one of the guide’s contributors, told petMD that global warming may also have an impact because "warmer temperatures make blooms more intense, as does excessive nutrients from wastewater or fertilizers." 
 
Dogs are more susceptible than humans to toxic algae poisoning because of their behavior, the DEC guide explains. "When toxins are present, dogs can be exposed to toxins by drinking the water, by eating washed up mats or scum of toxic cyanobacteria and by having skin contact with water. Dogs are often attracted to algal scum odors. After leaving the water, dogs can also be poisoned by grooming their fur and paws." 
 
If a dog has been poisoned by a toxic algal bloom, some of the signs and symptoms include repeated vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, hives, rashes, difficulty breathing, loss of appetite, and drooling, among others. In more extreme cases, a dog can die from being exposed to toxic algal blooms in water.
 
If a dog has been playing in or even drinking infected waters, signs can begin to show up in as little as a half an hour after exposure. Even scarier, there can be delayed effects from longer or repeated exposure. While all dogs are at risk, smaller dogs (those weighing less than 40 pounds) are expected to have higher health risks when exposed to high toxin concentrations.
 
If you suspect your dog has been exposed to a toxic algal bloom (which the DEC describes as appearing "foamy or like pea soup, spilled paint, colored water; also as scum or floating mats"), it is imperative that you seek immediate veterinary care. 
 
To avoid contact all together, the DEC suggests keeping your dog out of these bodies of water. If your dog does enter the water, "rinse/wash them thoroughly with fresh water from a safe source if available (i.e. bottled water or household garden hose). Otherwise, a towel or rag can be used to remove algal debris." The guide also recommends using rubber gloves while you clean your pet. 
 
The DEC warns that these water-based toxins "are increasing in many areas" and "the number of dog poisonings from cyanobacterial toxins is also on the rise." 
 
Image via Shutterstock 
 
Read more: 7 Scary Diseases Your Dog Can Get from Water
]]>
http://www.petmd.com/news/health-science/dogs-and-toxic-algal-blooms-warning-pet-parents-36172#comments dog Health & Science Mon, 31 Jul 2017 14:25:23 +0000 36172 at http://www.petmd.com
Amid Controversy, Michael Vick to Be Inducted to Hall of Fame http://www.petmd.com/news/lifestyle-entertainment/amid-controversy-michael-vick-be-inducted-hall-fame-36171  
The decision to include Vick, who served 19 months in federal prison for his illegal dogfighting conviction in 2007, has upset many in the animal rights community, as well as those who have ties to the school. 
 
Since the news broke, Change.org started a petition to stop Vick's induction into the Sports Hall of Fame, which has already garnered tens of thousands of signatures. One supporter who signed the petition wrote, "I don't believe in his redemption. Some crimes are unforgivable [and] the abuse [and] murder of innocent animals is one of those." 
 
The Dean of Virginia Tech's veterinary school, Cyril Clarke, expressed his opposition to the decision. "The recent decision to induct Michael Vick into the VT Sports Hall of Fame has generated a tremendous response from both the veterinary community and those who share our commitment to animal welfare and promoting the humane treatment of animals," he said in a statement. "The Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine was not part of the nomination process nor the decision, which was made by a committee of past athletes. The College unequivocally opposes honoring an individual whose past actions contradict our values and the cornerstone of our mission. Over the course of several days, I have communicated with President [Timothy] Sands and other campus administrators to express our disappointment and opposition to this decision. I continue to be in conversations with the president regarding this issue." 
 
However, some see the decision as a recognition of what Vick has done on the field, rather than what he's done off of it. In a statement released to petMD, PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said: "While Michael Vick can never be forgiven for his involvement in and sponsorship of dogfighting or for his other extreme acts of cruelty to animals, PETA recognizes that Virginia Tech is awarding him solely for his football prowess, not as a character role model." 
 
For now, the school is standing by its decision to induct Vick into the Hall of Fame during the upcoming ceremony, slated for Sept. 22, 2017. In a statement, the school said Vick's induction acknowledges his "tremendous achievements as a student athlete—who some will say was the greatest in the history of the university."
 
The statement continued, "In considering Mr. Vick’s nomination to our Sports Hall of Fame, the criminal activities in which he engaged, his subsequent conviction, and time he served for his crime were also considered, and it was informed by the remorse he has shown since that conviction, the work he is currently engaged in to advance animal welfare issues, as well as his efforts to help our current student athletes, based on lessons he’s learned in his own life, make positive choices as they begin their adult lives."
 
Virginia Tech claims that the decision "in no way condones the actions for which he was convicted" and that the university "remains dedicated to the protection of animal health and welfare and embodies great care and compassion for all living animals." 
 
Image via Shutterstock 
 
Read more: How to Help a Pet That is Being Abused or Neglected
]]>
http://www.petmd.com/news/lifestyle-entertainment/amid-controversy-michael-vick-be-inducted-hall-fame-36171#comments dog Lifestyle & Entertainment Thu, 27 Jul 2017 14:24:09 +0000 36171 at http://www.petmd.com
Dog Illegally Buried in Public Park: What Pet Parents Should Know http://www.petmd.com/news/care-safety/dog-illegally-buried-park-what-pet-parents-should-know-36170  
That was the case for a Florida woman who, after allegedly not having the finances to cremate her deceased dog, buried the pet in a local park. Unfortunately, due to Florida law, it is illegal to bury an animal in "any place where such carcass can be devoured by beast or bird." 
 
According to local news affiliate Fox13, a dog named "Jessie Girl" was buried at Lake Wailes Park on July 24, with a gravesite that included "fresh mulch, solar lights and confetti sprinkled with care." 
 
Upon its discovery, officials posted on the City of Lake Wales Facebook page, "We need to find the owner of this dog buried at Lake Wailes Park. While we are sorry for your loss..this was not appropriate. This will have to be removed within 48 hours or we will remove it."
 
The story caught the attention of a local family who wanted to do their part to help ensure Jessie Girl's family could have a proper final resting place for their dog and avoid any legal trouble with the city.
 
TheLedger.com reports that the family, who wished to stay anonymous, helped remove the remains of the 5-year-old Chihuahua for transportation to Veterinary Healthcare Associates for cremation. After her cremation, the family will have their choice of box they'd like to have Jessie Girl put in. 
 
Jessie Girl's owner, Ashley Duey, told The Ledger that she didn't think burying the dog at the public park would cause a problem when she put the dog’s body in a metal box. She also noted that she had not been able to afford cremation services for Jessie Girl, who had been hit by a car. (According to Florida law, the dog could have been buried on private property, so long as the pet was "at least 2 feet below the surface of the ground.") 
 
The Animal Humane Society projects that for end-of-life services for dogs, cremation can cost anywhere from $25 to $90, while urns can cost upward of $150. 
 
Jennifer Nanek, the assistant to the city manager of Lake Wales, urged that no matter how pet parents wish to say goodbye to their pet, they should not bury them in a public space. "Pets can only be buried on private property with permission of the owner or in a designated cemetery," Nanek told petMD. "They cannot be buried in public parks." 
 
Image via Shutterstock 
 
Read more: Coping With Your Pet's Death: An Important Guide
]]>
http://www.petmd.com/news/care-safety/dog-illegally-buried-park-what-pet-parents-should-know-36170#comments Care & Safety dog Wed, 26 Jul 2017 16:26:04 +0000 36170 at http://www.petmd.com
New Research Reveals Evolution of Dog Breeds http://www.petmd.com/news/view/new-research-reveals-evolution-dog-breeds-36157  
New research on canine ancestry reveals some interesting information about just how related different breeds may or may not be. In today’s globally connected world, it is easy to assume that all working breeds are more related to each other than they are to any of the toy breeds, for example. Geneticist Heidi Parker and her colleagues at the National Institutes of Health performed genetic analysis on more than 160 breeds and found that assumption just doesn’t meet the facts. During most of dogs’ evolution as companions, individual cultures were more isolated and yet each had the need for a variety of types of dogs. This means that dogs with similar geographic origins share more genes with each other than a similar looking breed from halfway around the world. For example, even though they look more similar, Pugs and Boston Terriers are less related than Pugs and Schnauzers.
 
Phenomena like this are not only found when humans purpose-breed animals. It’s similar to the emu of Australia and the ostrich of Africa. They fill a similar niche in their environment and share many physical traits though they are quite unrelated—an observation known as convergent evolution. In dogs, the giant herd guarders of Europe and the Mediterranean do not share size-associated genes with each other but each shares many genes with Sighthounds developed in the same region.
 
The researchers confirm previous suggestions that the modern dog originated in Central and East Asia. From there, dogs spread worldwide and were developed into the many types of dogs that were needed in an agricultural society—from protecting animals and land to hunting vermin to entertainment. The original diversification of dogs occurred thousands of years ago. We can thank the Victorian era for the “breed explosion” responsible for the development of our favorite dog breeds.
 
One unexpected result is that German Shepherd dog gene signatures appear in almost every dog breed founded in the Americas. The researchers suggest this may mean that an ancestor of the modern German Shepherd dog came over with explorers as early as Columbus’s era. This does not mean that a dog like the one we call a German Shepherd today was an early immigrant. Rather that the type of dog that sailed to the New World gave rise to diverse breeds on the American continents and is most directly related to those shepherds in the Old World.
 
Maintaining Genetic Diversity of Dog Breeds
 
While this new information probably won’t change anything about how you interact with your dog, it does have implications for how we maintain genetic diversity within breeds today. The research shows that even recently, breeds were often mixed together to enhance or reduce a particular trait. Today, that is against AKC guidelines for registering a purebred dog. So, to help maintain breed health, many good breeders already choose to mate their dogs with champion lines from the other side of the country or even the world. This keeps all of the breed characteristics while mixing in different genes to help reduce the risk of inherited diseases in the puppies. It also reduces the drift of traits in one population of the breed, say to longer or shorter noses.
 
This kind of careful breeding is important because many of the most popular dog breeds have very high risks for particular diseases. The research shows how quickly traits can change when populations are isolated. This is a concern when it impacts your dog’s health, which can happen very quickly in small isolated populations. For example, one type of heart disease is very common in Boxers and another type in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. The lesson here is that if you are going to buy a purebred dog, do your homework. It’s important for both the health of the animal you choose and for the entire breed. If people only buy dogs from family lines free of the common diseases in that breed, the entire breed will become healthier. One great example of this is (a third type of) heart disease in Doberman Pinschers. Twenty years ago, many died young due to progressive heart disease, but today we see much less of the disease in Dobermans without loss of any of their best traits.
 
Hopefully this research will help inform how breeders and breed registry groups maintain genetic health in future generations of our companions. To me, it doesn’t matter what my dog is (I call him an “All-American Mutt”). It only matters that he is happy, healthy, and loves me and my human family.
 
Dr. Elfenbein is a veterinarian and animal behaviorist located in Atlanta. Her mission is to provide pet parents with the information they need to have happy, and healthy, and fulfilled relationships with their dogs and cats.
]]>
http://www.petmd.com/news/view/new-research-reveals-evolution-dog-breeds-36157#comments dog health View Fri, 21 Jul 2017 17:23:04 +0000 36157 at http://www.petmd.com
Cat Saved from Antifreeze Poisoning with Vodka http://www.petmd.com/news/health-science/cat-saved-antifreeze-poisoning-vodka-36156  
According to the RSPCA's Facebook page, the cat was rushed to their facility on July 17 after ingesting antifreeze, which can be lethal. In fact, the staff estimated that the cat had less than an hour to live from the poisoning. Antifreeze poisoning in cats can be fatal with even as little as a teaspoon ingested. 
 
The urgent matter required quick thinking, and Dr. Sarah Kanther had a brilliant, albeit unconventional, idea.
 
Kanther and her team administered a drip of diluted vodka to the cat, who they aptly named Tipsy, "to pass through [his] system in a less toxic form." 
 
As reported by the Australian Broadcasting Company, Tipsy was in acute renal failure and "vodka worked because the enzyme in the cat's body that metabolized the antifreeze, also metabolized the alcohol." 
 
Kanther further explained that, "Once you put the alcohol into his blood it metabolizes that instead, and gives the antifreeze time to pass in a less toxic form." 
 
Frighteningly, it is not known whether Tipsy was "baited" with the poisonous antifreeze, and anyone with information on possible animal cruelty should come forward. Tipsy, who was not microchipped, is currently recovering (hopefully, hangover-free) and will be put up for adoption if an owner does not claim him. 
 
If you suspect your cat has ingested antifreeze, take him to the veterinarian immediately for treatment. 
 
Image via RSPCA Animal Emergency Hospital 
 
Read more: 5 Outdoor Dangers for Cats
]]>
http://www.petmd.com/news/health-science/cat-saved-antifreeze-poisoning-vodka-36156#comments cat Health & Science Fri, 21 Jul 2017 13:16:15 +0000 36156 at http://www.petmd.com
Golden Retriever Gives Birth to Extremely Rare 'Green' Puppy http://www.petmd.com/news/strange-but-true/golden-retriever-gives-birth-extremely-rare-green-puppy-36153  
According to the U.K. outlet The Sun, Louise Sutherland of Scotland was shocked when her dog Rio delivered a puppy that appeared to be a mint green color. 
 
The fascinating and rare pup, who has been making headlines worldwide since his birth, has aptly been named Forest. 
 
So what exactly caused Forest to look like this? Dr. Victor Stora, a resident at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, explained that the green pigment is caused by biliverdin.  
 
"The placenta has an enormous blood supply and there is a lot of blood that moves through the placenta," Stora told petMD. "Blood which escapes the main placenta is broken down in the uterus to biliverdin, which, if this pigment invades into the amnionic sac that surrounds the puppy, would dye the hairs on the fetus green. Therefore, the placentation of this puppy must have been abnormal if it did not repel the biliverdin and allowed it to invade in." 
 
While Forest's rare pigment won't cause any harm, Stora said the pup is actually quite lucky, all things considered.
 
"Most often, defects in the placenta cause the puppy to die becauase this is the only way for it to receive nutrients and oxygen," he noted. "One could understand that if there is a defect in the placenta, it would be odd that only biliverdin would leak in and no other molecules. This puppy is pretty lucky that the defect which allowed the entry of biliverdin did not cause any other potentially toxic substances to come through." 
 
Little Forest's case is an extremely rare one, and a short-lived one to boot. "Like hair dye, this is a temporary change and will fade," Stora said. 
 
Read more: 5 Rare Diseases of Dogs
 
Image via Cascade News
]]>
http://www.petmd.com/news/strange-but-true/golden-retriever-gives-birth-extremely-rare-green-puppy-36153#comments dog Strange But True Thu, 20 Jul 2017 13:31:22 +0000 36153 at http://www.petmd.com
How to Tell If Dogs Are Feline Friendly http://www.petmd.com/news/view/how-tell-if-dogs-are-feline-friendly-36151  
As the age-old cliché goes, dogs and cats are as compatible as cats and mice. It may be due to breed, experience, or just personality. But don't let reputation completely deter you from having both creatures in your home. Now, I have two dogs and a cat who thinks he's a dog, and they are living happily ever after.
 
Every individual dog has his own personality traits, and some don't follow the rules. For instance, although they are a high-risk breed, Alaskan Malamutes are also very protective of their pack. And if they have grown up with or raised a kitten, they are likely to protect it until the end.
           
Relationships that are built early on in life are usually the safest. A puppy who has grown up around a cat will most likely never turn on it. He may dislike other cats or small animals he meets, but not his own. However, if natural prey instincts kick in, harm may come to your feline family member. There's never a 100 percent way of knowing how it will go between two animals, because they are just that: animals.
 
Introducing a New Dog to Your Cat
 
If you have a cat at home and would like to introduce a new dog to the family, it may be best to bring in a puppy. Otherwise, an adult dog can be risky. However, there are ways to tell if that lovable dog at the shelter, begging to come home with you, will work out. Dogs respond well to their natural senses, and you can learn a lot from their body language. 
 
A new study revealed that dogs are more responsive to cat sounds than to the sight or smell of a cat. So, if you are interested in a particular shelter dog and want to assess whether he will fare well in your home with cats, bring a recording of cat sounds to the meet and greet, and see how the dog reacts. A dog with a history of harming cats will take longer to orient himself to the cat sounds, the study found.
 
Always ask the shelter or rescue organization about the dog’s previous history and his behavior around people and other animals, if available. No matter how desperate those puppy eyes are, trust that history will repeat itself. If the dog has gone after a cat or other small animal in the past, he most likely will again. 
 
All in all, make sure to do your research before bringing a new pet into your household. Look into the dog's breed. Is he bred for hunting small prey, such as sight hounds (e.g., Greyhounds, Whippets)? Does he have a strong natural prey instinct, such as Samoyeds, Siberian Huskies, or Malamutes? Is he a Weimaraner, which is never recommended near cats? If any of these breeds are of interest to you, it may not be worth the risk of endangering your house cat near them. 
 
If you are bringing home an adult dog, be sure to familiarize him with the sounds of your cat, and see how he reacts. And always, always closely supervise first introductions and interactions between any two animals. You can never completely predict or trust how the two will respond to each other, and it is always best to err on the side of caution.
 
Natasha Feduik is a licensed veterinary technician with Garden City Park Animal Hospital in New York, where she has been practicing for 10 years. Natasha received her degree in veterinary technology from Purdue University. Natasha has two dogs, a cat, and three birds at home and is passionate about helping people take the best possible care of their animal companions.
]]>
http://www.petmd.com/news/view/how-tell-if-dogs-are-feline-friendly-36151#comments dog View Mon, 17 Jul 2017 20:43:46 +0000 36151 at http://www.petmd.com
American Shelter Dog Initiative Gives Pet Adoption a New Name http://www.petmd.com/news/lifestyle-entertainment/how-american-shelter-dog-initiative-giving-pet-adoption-new-name-36147  
Certain dog breeds and/or mixes such as Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, and Rottweilers get a bad rap based on outdated stereotypes in which they are labeled "dangerous," making them more likely to wind up in shelters or "banned." 
 
That's exactly why the Portsmouth Humane Society (PHS) in Virginia has started the American Shelter Dog initiative, which would remove breed labels entirely. "Every year, it is estimated that 4 million dogs enter animal shelters across the United States," according to PHS. "In 2016, private and public shelters across Virginia took in 96,423 dogs. Of these dogs, approximately 11 percent were reported as euthanized to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Very few of these dogs arrive at the shelter with papers showing what their breed is." 
 
Because of this, shelters typically look at the characteristics of the dog and take their best guess at a breed or mix, PHS explained. When dogs are given a breed label, they are often misidentified but still bare the weight of that breed. While a DNA test would accurately be able to tell the variations of a breed, it is a costly and timely endeavor. 
 
Rather than applying a breed label, PHS will simply refer to these animals as an "American Shelter Dog." "Instead of characterizing dogs based on the breed that we guess they are, we will focus on their personality," PHS stated. "We would like people to realize that every dog is an individual and focus on each of their wonderfully imperfect personalities." 
 
Babs Zuhowski, executive director of PHS, told petMD that each American Shelter Dog description informs potential owners about the animal's age, sex, and primary colors, and also includes a personality summary—the latter of which has been a fun exercise for PHS staffers. For example, the biography they penned for a dog named Journey read: "I'm just a small town dog, and right now I'm living in a lonely world. If you choose me, I'll be faithfully yours. I like to play but I can also be chill; any way you want it, that's the way you need it! I won't stop believing you're the one for me. Come and meet me today!" 
 
While the American Shelter Dog initiative is a relatively new one, the sentiment behind the mission is growing in the United States. 
 
PHS lists its American Shelter Dogs on its Facebook page so potential adopters can learn about pets looking for new new forever homes. "The response has been positive overall," Zuhowski said of the movement. 
 
Even though the dogs may look like certain breeds people are familiar with, "American Shelter Dogs are individuals," Zuhowski emphasized. "Each one has a different personality.
 
"Ending discrimination of any kind is something we should all embrace," she added. "Bully breed dogs are certainly highly discriminated, but we want to demonstrate there is more to the ‘books than their covers.'" 
 
Image via Shutterstock 
 
Read more: 10 Common Myths About Animal Shelters Debunked
]]>
http://www.petmd.com/news/lifestyle-entertainment/how-american-shelter-dog-initiative-giving-pet-adoption-new-name-36147#comments dog Lifestyle & Entertainment Mon, 17 Jul 2017 13:27:24 +0000 36147 at http://www.petmd.com
Is Your Pet’s Food Safe? http://www.petmd.com/news/view/your-pets-food-safe-36136  
The pet food products they tested were from 71 brands that represented “the top 90 percent of the best-selling products in each category.” What they found was eye-opening, to say the least. Here are some of the key findings:
 

Some pet food contains 2,420 parts per billion (ppb) of lead, which is 16 times more than has been found in Flint, Michigan’s “tainted” water (158 ppb).
1,917 percent more arsenic was present in pet food (5,550 ppb) than in cigarette tobacco (360 ppb).
There was 980 percent more BPA (bisphenol A) in pet food in comparison to a can of chicken soup.

 
In a news report, Jaclyn Bowen, the executive director of the Clean Label Project, said that the analytical chemistry laboratory that did the testing, Ellipse Analytics, “has tested tens of thousands of consumer products” and “they literally have never seen environmental and industrial contaminants as high as they have ever seen in pet food.”
 
Yikes. But what does this mean for your pet’s health?
 
The sad truth is that we really don’t know. Research into the long-term health effects in pets of chronic exposure to most of the contaminants that were studied simply hasn’t been done. That said, I think it’s reasonable to take a “better safe than sorry” approach to results like these. Why feed your dog or cat a food that you know contains high levels of toxins when potentially safer alternatives are readily available?
 
The Clean Label Project has conveniently rated all of the products it tested using a 5-star system and provides a scale to denote a product’s purity and value. It’s important to note that this study found that “the cleanest ingredients can be found across all price points” and that “more expensive products are not always better.” I was quite surprised to see that within a particular brand, some products tested well while others fared quite poorly.
 
Consumers also need to be aware of potentially confusing label claims. For example, pet parents may reach for grain-free diets assuming that these would be a more healthy choice, but this research actually found that products labeled as being grain-free tended to have higher levels of toxins.
 
Take a look at the product ratings list to see where your pet’s food ranks, but keep in mind that these ratings only apply to a product’s contamination level. They say nothing about other factors, like whether a food is nutritionally complete and balanced or appropriate for your pet’s age, lifestyle, and overall health. Use this study as part of your research when picking out pet food. Once you have a few options that seem like a potential good fit, run them by your veterinarian. He or she can let you know which would be the best choice for your dog or cat.
]]>
http://www.petmd.com/news/view/your-pets-food-safe-36136#comments cat dog nutrition View Tue, 11 Jul 2017 14:26:24 +0000 36136 at http://www.petmd.com
Fawkes the Cat Severely Burned in Fire Makes Dramatic Recovery http://www.petmd.com/news/care-safety/fawkes-cat-severely-burned-fire-makes-dramatic-recovery-36134  
After a fire ripped through a vacant building in Philadelphia, a firefighter discovered a badly burned stray cat among the rubble. The rescue worker—who found the cat on the anniversary of her cancer surgery—brought the fading feline to Penn Vet’s Emergency Center at Ryan Hospital for treatment.
 
The team at Penn Vet worked hard to stabilize the cat and make him comfortable. While he was in the emergency department, the cat caught the eye of Dr. Kathryn McGonigle who works as a clinical associate professor of internal medicine at the hospital. “He didn’t have a family, and he was covered all over his face in scabs from burns—all over his ears, all over his paws,” she says. “We were worried that he might have structural damage to his eyes. He just had really profound skin damage.”
 
But something about the cat’s spirit caught McGonigle’s attention and quickly won her affection. “I was in the emergency room with my puppy, and we happened to see this cat. He looked directly into our eyes,” she says. “By the end of the day, he was put under my name and we embarked on a journey of healing and recovery.”
 
McGonigle, who likes to play up her Harry Potter-themed last name, decided to call the cat Fawkes after Professor Dumbledore’s phoenix from the popular J.K. Rowling series.
 
Despite the severe injuries that Fawkes endured from the fire, he has become a loving housecat. “Every day of healing, he just got sweeter,” says McGonigle. “He is an incredibly social and friendly cat. He’s a wonderful addition to the family.”
 
Fawkes’ new family includes a 14-month-old Yorkie-Poodle mix named Neville Longbottom and another special-needs cat named Felix, after (you guessed it) the Felix Felicis potion that’s popular in the Harry Potter books. “It’s an extremely happy home,” says McGonigle. “Everyone gets along.”
 
Without the care of the Philadelphia Fire Department, the lifesaving treatment provided by Penn Vet, and Dr. McGonigle’s willingness to open her heart and her home, Fawkes’ story may have had a very different ending.
 
“Fawkes is a phoenix, and phoenixes die and rise from the ashes and are reborn. He was given a second chance,” says McGonigle. 
]]>
http://www.petmd.com/news/care-safety/fawkes-cat-severely-burned-fire-makes-dramatic-recovery-36134#comments Care & Safety cat rescue Mon, 10 Jul 2017 20:30:13 +0000 36134 at http://www.petmd.com
3-Month-Old Kitten Sustains Major Injuries from Fireworks http://www.petmd.com/news/care-safety/3-month-old-kitten-sustains-major-injuries-fireworks-36132  
In early July, a 3-month-old kitten in Jasper County, Iowa, was picked up by local animal control after he sustained traumatic, fireworks-related injuries.
 
The Jasper County Animal Rescue League and Humane Society shared heartbreaking photos of the small kitten in a Facebook post, and noted that the feline was taken to Parkview Animal Hospital for immediate care.
 
The firework exploded in the stray kitten's face, causing burns around the lips, nose, and eyes, as well as facial and jaw fractures and avulsions. 
 
Terri McKinney, the clinic manager of Newton, Iowa's Parkview Animal Hospital, told petMD that the kitten was taken right into surgery upon arrival to stabilize his fractured jaw with an orthopedic wire.
 
"The lip was sutured back to the gingival tissue with the hopes that it would reattach itself with time," she explained. "The burns and ulcerations were clipped and cleaned. Following recovery, he was placed on medications and a diet of soft food to help with healing." 
 
The kitten was in distress, showing signs of both pain and fear due to the trauma, McKinney said, but "with time, proper medical care, nutrition, and great socialization, we anticipate him to be a normal, cuddly kitten." 
 
That seems to already be the case, as the brave and resilient kitten—now named Firecracker—has "been doing remarkably well" since his near-death experience, McKinney noted. "He started eating shortly following surgery and quickly started to groom himself," she said. "He is still recovering and will have to undergo another sedation/possible surgery to check the stabilization of the fracture in a few weeks." 
 
The kitten is very lucky, McKinney said. If the fireworks had hit him any futher up on the face, he could have suffered from "severe vision issues." She said the "quick thinking" of the Jasper County Animal Control officer who rescued him likely saved his life. 
 
Firecracker is currently in the care of the Jasper County Animal Rescue League and Humane Society staff who helped save him. He will be put into foster care until he is healthy enough to be placed into a forever home. 
 
McKinney hopes that Firecracker's tale serves as a reminder to pet parents everywhere to take extra precautions when it comes to summer festivities that include fireworks. "Pet parents need to make sure that all pets are confined to areas where fireworks are not accessible," she warned. "It is quite easy for an animal to quickly get injured when not confined."  
 
To help Firecracker and other pets like him in need, you can donate to the Jasper County Animal Rescue League and Humane Society here. 
 
Image via Jasper County Animal Rescue League and Humane Society Facebook 
 
Read more: Summer Safety Tips for Pets
]]>
http://www.petmd.com/news/care-safety/3-month-old-kitten-sustains-major-injuries-fireworks-36132#comments Care & Safety cat kitten Mon, 10 Jul 2017 12:51:30 +0000 36132 at http://www.petmd.com