A couple days before Veterans Day, I was working a shift at the local veterinary emergency clinic. It had been a fairly quiet night. The most serious case I had seen was a dog that had been hit by a car and came in with some bleeding from the nose, but amazingly it had no other injuries other than some scrapes and bruises. Within an hour even that dog was doing pretty well and seemed very stable.
When a client’s normally well-behaved dog starts misbehaving or acting in an uncharacteristic manner for more than a few days, one of the things a dog trainer asks is if anything has changed in the dog’s environment. Any significant difference in the living situation or the dog’s routine can trigger behavior changes. We try to identify the apparent cause of the problem and work on ways to help the client remedy the situation.
I enjoy writing — mostly because my written words sound more intelligent and grammatically correct than my spoken ones. So when the occasion arose to write this column, I was very frustrated at the fact that I had “writer’s block.” Not even the excitement of waiting until the deadline sparked a lightbulb in my brain. At 39 weeks pregnant, the watermelon-sized bundle of joy in my abdomen was stealing my creative energy. Suddenly, I knew what I needed to do — try to ease the minds of some other stressed parents-to-be out there with some tips for bringing home baby. After all, we will be doing the very same thing this week with our second child, Evelyn.
First, I want to apologize to readers who feel I don’t offer enough advice in my columns. The reason for that and I’m sure you’ll understand when you read this, is because the last guy I gave advice to actually took it.
Early in their training, veterinarians are taught to recognize the “normal” animal well before any introduction to animal disease. This may seem like an oversimplification of a comprehensive, four year education, but identifying what is normal teaches veterinarians to become tuned in to diagnosing abnormalities for patients that cannot speak for themselves.
Last week I attended a lecture at a conference discussing common problems seen in ferrets. The speaker began by saying some of the medial conditions seen in ferrets were similar to what we see in dogs and cats. As a matter of fact, we use a lot of the same medications for ferrets. However, ferrets do have their own unique problems and the majority of the lecture focused on one of them — adrenal gland disease.
Everyone is familiar with dogs that serve as eyes for the blind.
When most owners think of emergencies related to their pet, they envision their pet being hit by a car, being attacked by a large dog or wild animal, having seizures or ingesting a toxin. These scenarios are easy to recognize as true emergencies. However, emergencies that especially concern veterinarians are those that are not so obvious, and the owners may not realize their pet needs medical attention immediately. There is no better example of this than glaucoma.
I recently experienced a reminder of why I love veterinary medicine so much. I returned from lunch one day and my receptionist approached me to ask if I would like to see Sam in his new cart.
Ear mites are a common parasite of cat and dog ears. They are far more common in cats than in dogs. Especially cats that have access to the outdoors, and therefore other cats. Kittens (and puppies) are much more likely to have ear mites than older cats or dogs.
Dr. Chad HigginsI had never seen Max before, but as soon as I walked into the exam room I knew he was in big trouble. From the record I saw that Max was a 6-year-old hound dog mix of some type. By glancing at the emaciated dog lying on the table, I could tell that his condition had occurred over many months if not years. Max followed me with his eyes but didn’t even attempt to lift his head. Petting his head did illicit a slight tail wag. My rule of thumb is that if there is still a tail wag then there is still hope.I started asking his owner some questions about Max to try to get some ideas on what might be going on. He told me that Max was a completely outdoor dog. He was pretty sure Max had a puppy vaccination, but wasn’t certain. I asked if Max had been on heartworm prevention and he told me he had bought worm pills a couple times, but they didn’t seem to help. He had noticed Max losing weight over the last few months, but until recently Max had seemed to be eating pretty well. When I asked if Max had been having any diarrhea, he told me he didn’t know since he was outside all of the time.My examination of Max revealed slightly pale gums, a high heart rate, fluid-filled intestines, a slight fever, and severe emaciation. On the plus side, he seemed pretty well hydrated and the tail was still wagging during my exam. I discussed some of the possible causes of these signs and recommended starting off with a heartworm test. Max wagged his tail some more while we drew a blood sample for the test. The heartworm test normally takes 10 minutes, but within 4 minutes there was a bright blue color change indicating a heartworm infection.Clinical signs associated with a heartworm infection can include weight loss and a fast heart rate, but there are usually other signs seen that Max wasn’t exhibiting. The owner reported there had been no coughing noticed, the lungs sounded clear, and there was no sign of abdominal fluid associated with the right-sided heart failure associated with heartworm disease. I wondered if there was something else going on and wondered about other parasites. I did a rectal exam to attempt to get a stool sample and couldn’t believe what I saw when I withdrew my gloved finger. There was a little bit of soft, bloody stool on my finger, but I hardly noticed this clearly abnormal stool. What really got my attention was that my finger was coated with small white worms! It isn’t uncommon to see an occasional tapeworm segment round the anal area, or even maggots in a severely sick pet that has been having diarrhea. But these were whipworms! Whipworms can be very hard to find in an infected dog. It only takes a few worms to cause loose, bloody stools. Whipworms shed very few eggs so often on routine annual stool checks they might not even be in the stool sample checked. In dogs with a history of loose, bloody stools with repeated negative stool checks we often will just treat them for whipworms to see if that resolves the problem. Dogs pick up whipworms from ingesting eggs in stool in their environment. Normally they inhabit the large intestine and are never seen. The environment Max has been living in must have been severely infested with eggs for me to have found whipworms with a rectal examination. Whipworm eggs are very hardy and can live through the hot, dry summers and also the long, cold winters. Max was continuously re-infecting himself from either eating stool or even just licking his feet after stepping through the infected environment. The case of Max just reinforces the importance of annual stool examinations by your veterinarian. In addition, it is a reminder of how important it is to keep dogs on heartworm prevention year round. I recommend heartworm preventions that also treat and prevent the variety of intestinal worms that dogs can pick up. Most monthly heartworm preventions are labeled to be effective against roundworms and hookworms. A few are also labeled to prevent and treat whipworms as well. Ask your veterinarian what would be best for your situation.Dr. Chad Higgins has owned Amanda Animal Hospital for the past 15 years. He sees dogs, cats and anything else small and furry.
By Dorothy MinerIt’s Cujo! No, it’s 10-pound Fluffy, growling in mama’s lap. Small Dog Syndrome is what happens when small dogs are allowed to become tiny terrors — snarling and snapping whenever they feel their rights have been infringed upon.Small dogs are often allowed to get away with behaviors we would never tolerate in their larger cousins. Some people think it’s cute when Fluffy curls his lip and takes a snap. After all — how much damage could a tiny dog do? (Plenty.) Dogs with Small Dog Syndrome have very high self esteem, often aided by the way they are raised. The causes are many. Little dogs are cute and owners sometimes fail to realize how big a problem they have until their pets are truly nasty. Here are some things to remember if you want to have a pleasant little pet.• They may be tiny, but they’re dogs. They aren’t fashion accessories or little folks in furry costumes. • Small dogs need as much training and socialization as any other dog. Puppy kindergarten and basic obedience training are vital. If you worry about its physical safety in a class, talk to the instructors to see how they handle the needs of the tiny dog in class.• A dog sitting in your lap must not be allowed to growl or snap at people. If that happens, stand up abruptly and put the dog on the floor. Allowing him to remain in your lap reinforces the bad behavior. • Small dogs must learn to walk. Leash training isn’t easy, but picking up your pooch and carrying it instead of teaching good leash manners isn’t the solution.• We enjoy having our dogs sit in our laps, but we must remain in control. Don’t allow him to run all over you, climb up to your shoulder or the top of the chair. This leads to an elevated sense of rank. If your dog sleeps on your bed, teach him to stay in one spot. If he snarls or snaps when you move or touch him, whether he’s on your lap or on your bed, put him on the floor.• Small dogs can be picky eaters, but don’t hand-feed him and don’t feed him from your plate or fork. This puts the dog in the alpha position. Find an appropriate diet and feed him from a bowl on the floor. • Handle him properly. Don’t swoop down and abruptly scoop him up. Let him know you are there and raise him gently. A startled dog may bite.• Monitor children’s interactions with the dog. Young children shouldn’t pick him up or carry him without close supervision. Tiny dogs can be injured easily. If a youngster handles him like a toy or doll, a bite is likely.• Small dogs can and must be housetrained. Just because the size of the puddle or pile is tiny, it is still unsanitary. A dog urinating in the house as a marking behavior is telling everybody he owns the place.If you are already living with a dinky dictator, there are steps you can take to correct the situation. Review his obedience training. Revoke his bed privileges; allowing him to sleep on your bed puts him on equal footing with you. Give him his own sleeping spot in your bedroom, but keep him off your bed. Allow him in your lap by invitation only. Put him on the floor at any sign of problems like barking, lip curling, growling or snapping. Don’t allow any mouthing, even in play; and don’t permit behavior you wouldn’t want to see in a large dog. If your dog is an ankle-biter, snap on his leash and keep him under control in situations where this behavior is likely to occur. Provide for all his needs, but have him do something in return. Have him sit or lie down before you put his food on the floor or before you invite him onto your lap. Have him wait patiently while you get his leash for a walk. Don’t let him run out the door before you. If he wants to be petted or to play, have him do something for you first — a Sit or Down, or even a trick. Put yourself back in control.The world is full of perfectly wonderful little dogs that are sociable and friendly. Expecting the same behavior from your little guy that you would expect from a large dog is the key. Dorothy Miner is a long-time dog obedience and tracking instructor and judge of canine events. She contributes regular columns to several dog publications. She is currently a trainer at That Place for Pets (formerly Hollowell) and teaches weekly classes for the Allen Correctional Institution’s PETS Program.
By Dr. Sara Smith “Miss Piggy” came in for a visit the other day. Her name is Coco, and she is a very cute, 10-week-old potbellied pig with an attitude. I gave her a good physical examination, much to her dislike, then proceeded to give her an injection to rid her of possible scabies, the most common parasite among her kind. She happily allowed me to administer the injection as I fed her what I had in my exam room — a dog treat. It’s true. Pigs really can eat just about anything.My fondness for these interesting creatures has grown along with my knowledge of them, once again proving that we do not stop learning when we graduate veterinary school. If you are considering owning a pot-bellied pig (or miniature pig), make sure that you are able to provide adequate housing, nutrition and activity for your pet. Be prepared to handle their size. A 10-week-old pig is a cuddly 10 to 15 pounds, but a 1-year-old pig is more than 50 pounds. Mini pigs can be indoor, outdoor, or both, but cannot tolerate temperature extremes. It is best to have them indoors if the outdoor temperature is over 85 degrees. Some indoor pigs prefer to seek out “sun spots” so they probably are not keen on the cold, either. Make an area for your mini pig to call its own, with a feeding and watering station, litterbox, and sleeping area. Yes, pigs can be litterbox trained. It needs to be an uncovered box with a wide entrance, and plenty of room to turn around and root. Dirt-like materials, straw or wood chips make good substrates. Make sure the material is easy for you to shovel out and safe for piggy to eat if he gets a little curious. With all this said, do not expect that you won’t have the occasional accident around the house.One of the most common health conditions among miniature pigs is obesity. They need a diet that is tailored to their needs — mini pig food is commercially available, and you should look at the bag as as a starting point when deciding how much to feed. Give supplements in moderation, such as fruits, and crunchy or leafy vegetables. Pigs are omnivores and can handle most anything we can. Do not risk giving bones, rawhides or fruit pits. If you would not want a large or sharp object coursing through your digestive tract, chances are your pig should not have it, either. Use a harness to take your pig on walks, and have a fenced in area to encourage exercise. Ask your veterinarian what an ideal weight would be for your pet while he or she is still young. At rest, mini pigs enjoy rooting, just as their farm animal counterparts do. Provide them with several blankets in their sleeping and relaxing areas. Water intake is very essential to a healthy pig lifestyle, as bladder stones are another common medical problem. If you are concerned your pig does not drink much water, discuss ways to increase intake with your veterinarian, such as adding a small amount of no sugar added fruit juice. Other health concerns with mini pigs include: lameness (due to their conformation, fractures, muscle pulls, and ligament tears are common); enterocolitis (a digestive tract upset that results from eating garbage or fecal material); generalized bacterial infections; overgrown hooves; overheating (pigs do not sweat); and salt toxicity (a possibly fatal condition that occurs when pigs drink very little water).Spaying and neutering surgeries are important in making mini pigs better pets. Males should be neutered around 8 to 12 weeks of age, and females spayed between 4 and 6 months. Both sexes can become very aggressive under the influence of their hormones. Nobody wants a 50 pound house pet charging and biting at him! Just as dogs require maintenance, so do our mini pigs. For Miss Piggy, it’s not easy being beautiful! She might need to have her canine teeth trimmed once a year, and her hooves more often than that. These procedures are likely to require sedation, plus physical restraint. Did I mention that ear plugs are a must-have around an unwilling pig? (By the way, NO pig is willing to have his hooves trimmed, or to be touched by a veterinarian in general). Routine vaccinations are not required for potbellied pigs, but a tetanus shot is a good idea following an injury.As with any pet, having a good relationship with your veterinarian is a hallmark in potbellied pig care. I am looking forward to seeing more lovely pampered piggies.Dr. Sara Smith is an associate veterinarian at Delphos Animal Hospital.
From Dr. April ShattuckMost people know that chocolate is unsafe for pets but are surprised to find that grapes and raisins are also toxic. My infamous dog, Corky, reminded me of this important fact when he proceeded to steal and eat my oatmeal raisin cookie. Even though Corky is an obedience-trained dog, he fails to heed my advice on avoid eating the things that may kill him (as you may remember when he at six chicken wings). Ingestion of grapes and raisins has been associated with kidney failure in dogs, and possibly in cats and ferrets. The phenomenon was first identified by the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in 1999. Both commercially available and home grown seedless or seeded grapes have been implicated, along with pressings from wineries. There have been no reports associating toxicity with cooked jellies or grape seed extract.Researchers have been unable to identify what in or on the grapes and raisins causes the kidney failure. Although dog owners and trainers have traditionally given grapes as treats to their pets with no ill effects, even a handful can be toxic, and potentially lethal. Possibilities include herbicides or pesticides on the grapes, fungus or mold contamination.Vomiting and diarrhea are often the first symptoms of grape or raisin toxicity, developing within a few hours of ingestion. After 24 hours, the pet will become lethargic, drink excessively, not eat and have abdominal pain. Without treatment, oliguric (little urine produced) or anuric (no urine produced) kidney failure will occur, at which point response to treatment is very poor. If your pet has eaten grapes or raisins, this is an EMERGENCY and you should contact your veterinarian or an emergency facility immediately. Induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide if the ingestion occurred within two hours. If it has been longer than two hours or you are unsure when your pet may have eaten the grapes or raisins, your veterinarian may administer activated charcoal orally to absorb the toxins and start intravenous fluids. Intravenous fluids are critical in supporting the kidneys while they recover from the toxicity.Treatment may be required for a couple of days to several weeks. During which, your veterinarian will monitor blood kidney values and urine production daily. If little to no urine is being produced, your pet may need to be placed on dialysis at a specialty hospital. Unfortunately, once the kidneys shut down and stop producing urine, all other body systems follow suit, leading to death.The best treatment, as always, is prevention. As dogs, and some cats, will eat almost anything, keep raisins and grapes out of reach of your pet. Make sure that all family members and guests are aware of the toxic capability of grapes and raisins, as well as other foods such as chocolate, onions, garlic, macadamia nuts and sugar free treats containing xylitol. Invest in an emergency first-aid kit for your pet, including a bottle of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting. Always contact your veterinarian first before administering the hydrogen peroxide. Some items may be too dangerous for your pet to vomit up or it may have been too long since the ingestion. Give a capful (about a teaspoon) of the hydrogen peroxide to a small dog or cat and around 2 tablespoons to a larger dog. A turkey baster, bulb syringe or medical syringe is helpful to administer the peroxide. NOTE: Trap your pet in a small area to avoid having to chase your pet and having to clean vomit from your carpet.Wait patiently and quietly while your pet vomits. Most pets will vomit shortly after administration, but it may take up to five minutes. Inspect the vomit for the grapes and raisins and remove it immediately so your pet doesn't try to re-ingest the food. Repeat the hydrogen peroxide if nothing substantial comes up.Thankfully, Corky has had no ill effects from his tasty encounter. He was given hydrogen peroxide 15 minutes after he ate the cookie. Approximately 10 raisins were found in his vomit, a potentially deadly amount for a dog of his size. Fluids were given under the skin and evaluation of his blood kidney values were normal 48 hours later. Corky will have the opportunity to do more mischievous behavior in the future, and thus, be a constant source of article ideas for me. Lucky for Corky, his “mom” is a veterinarian.
Dr. John Jones“Tell Watson ‘Hi' for me.” That was the last thing I said to Fred as he drifted off to sleep.It had been a long time since we first met. Although I can't remember the year, I do remember the moment. One morning during chores, there on a ledge by a horse stall where the usual cats ate, was a stranger — a scruffy, half-grown tiger. When he saw me see him, he scurried away.Over the next couple of weeks, there were multiple sightings of the skittish cat. Then one day I spied him on the ledge not looking so good, even for him. Listless, his hair coat a mess, he was not putting weight on one of his front paws. As I approached, he didn't run and actually let me touch him. His paw was huge, reddened, obviously painful, and infected. Surprisingly, he accepted my help and antibiotic treatment, and seemed to enjoy being petted. Within a few days, the paw was much improved, and I had a new little barn buddy. Just like that, “Fred the Fraidy Cat” became “Fred the Friendly Dude.” I don't know if the paw injury was the result of a cat bite, and Fred learned a valuable lesson, or if he truly was the proverbial lion with the thorn. But, for the rest of his life, he got along exceedingly well with every cat he encountered — no conflicts, no confrontations, no drama.Perhaps his biggest claim to fame is that he was the best friend of Watson, “the greatest cat that ever lived,” a well-deserved title bestowed upon him by his rodentophobic owner. Though the two cats were similar physically — Watson was an orange tiger, Fred a dark brown; Watson never weighed more than six pounds, Fred no more than seven — they had widely divergent philosophies of life, specifically, rodent life.Watson was a killer, Fred, a pacifist. Watson never met a mouse he wouldn't eat. Fred never met a mouse he would. Maybe that's why they were pals. They didn't compete for prey. Heck, Fred didn't even participate.I mix my sheep feed by hand in five-gallon buckets. Occasionally, a mouse will climb into an empty bucket, then not be able to get out. Watson, the perfect size to drop into the bucket, always emerged with a mouse in his mouth — on rare occasions, sometimes two. Fred, on the other hand, would jump out faster than I imagine even I would, and I'm a pretty jumpy rodentophobe.In spite of these jitters, however, a couple of times after a Fred bailout, and I'd like to think because of his influence, I tipped the bucket over and let the mouse escape. Fred was right. Some of them are kind of cute.An incident that occurred in our hay mow one afternoon further illustrates their opposing ways. Fred was close by when I lifted a bale of straw. I don't know who was more surprised, me or the mouse, but my girlie scream alerted Watson who was down on the barn floor. The poor frightened mouse crawled underneath Fred, who never moved. Within seconds, Watson somehow ricocheted off some boards, scaled a wire panel, hoisted himself over the lipped edge of the mow, pushed Fred aside, and did what we could not.It wasn't a proud moment for either of us. Watson didn't care, though. He accepted both Fred and me for our rodent foibles. In turn, Fred never judged him for his murderous passion. I guess that's what friends do.Watson passed away several years ago beside a rose bush behind our garage and was buried on the spot. Five months ago, we diagnosed Fred with kidney failure, a common condition of older cats. For the last few weeks of his life, Fred spent a great deal of time around the grave. It became his new, favorite hangout. Four weeks ago, Fred joined Watson on the other side of the bush.Best friends in life, they are together again beneath the rose, and, I hope, wherever kitty heaven is. Dr. John H. Jones operates a mixed animal practice in Delphos with his wife, Dr. Bonnie Jones. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine and he raises Southdown sheep. Questions about animal care may be sent to: Dr. John H. Jones, Delphos Animal Hospital, 1825 E. Fifth St., Delphos, OH 45833.
Dr. Adam Ferguson“Who on earth told you that lamb and rice is a hypoallergenic diet?!!” screamed the irate veterinarian.“The kid at the pet store,” replied the sheepish client.“I see,” replied the veterinarian, calming down just a notch or two. “Well, I apologize. I am certain that he mentioned how important it is to make sure nothing else goes in Chloe’s mouth while feeding her new diet. Such as no treats or table scraps. No pills or vitamins hidden in cheese or peanut butter. Her monthly heartworm pill should be a topical drop rather than a flavored pill. I am certain he mentioned these tidbits, right?”“Um, no ... he didn’t mention those things. But he did send us home with some mite medicine for her ears. She’s been digging at those ears something terrible, Doc. So that bright young man, he told us she likely had a bout of ear mites. We’ve been treating her twice a day for the last week. We haven’t seen any improvement yet. Other than the fact that she stands for us a little better when we put the mite medicine in than she did last week. But that might be because we hold that strip of jerky in her mouth while we do it now.”The color rose in the veterinarian’s neck and began to flood his head. The vessels near his temple were throbbing. “Count backwards from ten,” he thought. “In Spanish.”As the near-boiling point was brought back to a simmer, he cautiously asked if the young man full of wisdom beyond his years had suggested a timeline within which the Scratchenlick’s should notice some improvement in Chloe. “Oh, yes,” began Mr. Scratchenlick. “He said she would be scratching less by the end of the first bag of food. We’re not seeing that yet, but we’re only halfway through. You won’t believe how much her stool has improved in just the first week, Doc!”Knowing that in many cases dogs on a hypoallergenic diet will see improvements in their stool, the veterinarian took the bait and asked: “Was Chloe’s stool abnormal to begin with?”“Oh heaven’s no. Not until we started that there bag of lamb and rice. Then she got as loose as chocolate pudding. But she’s really firmed back up in the last few days, so that’s a positive, right?”That’s right. They had not fixed the dog’s scratching or digging at her ears. They did, however, get her stool back to where it had began, which was normal. With a small detour through loosy-goosiness on the way. “That’s a positive,” he again thought to himself. “Mr. Scratchenlick: do you remember when I first mentioned the possibility of Chloe having a food allergy?” asked the veterinarian. “Well, sure I do,” began the re-energized client. “You said that dogs that bother their ears or scoot on their rears likely have a food allergy.”“That’s right!” shouted the veterinarian, seeing a glimmer of hope. “Ears and rears are very often symptoms of food allergy. But I mentioned other allergies, such as atopy, which could cause similar signs.”“I also mentioned the terms ‘novel protein’ and ‘hydrolyzed diet.’ And I discussed the importance of eliminating all other food-type items from Chloe’s daily routine prior to introducing one of these very expensive prescription diets. Does any of this ring a bell?”“Absolutely, Doc!” bolted Mr. Scratchenlick. “I shared what you said with Jack down at the pet store. He knew exactly what you were talking about. He sure is a bright kid. Said he’s been working at the pet store since he got his driver’s license two years ago. I think he knows darn near everything there is to know about dogs.”Patiently waiting for it, the veterinarian let Mr. Scratchenlick proceed.“He knew right away that ‘hydrolyzed diet’ meant a canned food. He saw right through that medical jargon you spent so many years learning. Clearly ‘hydro’ meant ‘water’. Honestly Doc ... why can’t you just say what you mean?”Now enjoying the humor of the situation, the veterinarian mustered up the courage to ask: “Then what, pray tell, did Jack come up with for ‘novel protein,’ Mr. Scratchenlick?”“Now that was a little more difficult, Doc. But Jack used all of the clues; kind of like those detectives you see on TV. He knew that ‘novel’ meant ‘new’ and not ‘book.’ We thought you were trying to throw us off the trail with that one. And ‘protein’ simply meant one of them high-performance diets.”“Since she had already been on two different really-high-performance diets with Alpo and Dad’s, we moved her right on up to Ol’ Roy. You should see her run around on that stuff. Like somebody lit a fire under her rear.”Thinking about the diarrhea that had begun with the feeding of the new food, the veterinarian chuckled to himself about how Chloe probably was running around like there was a fire under her rear. “That sure is some pretty potent protein, Doc. I don’t know why you had to speak in code like that, but I sure am glad that Jack could decipher your secret language. That old Chloe is going to be good as new once we get her over the scooting and scratching and digging at those ears! Now why didn’t you see those mites that Jack just knows are in those ears when you looked in her ears, Doc?” Clearly he should have spent more time at the pet store when he was wasting all those years learning that medical jargon.Dr. Adam Ferguson is co-owner of Baker Animal Hospital in Cridersville. Please visit your veterinarian for a thorough explanation of allergies in your pet.
By Dr. Sara Smith Most of us have had a stray cat hanging around our properties at some point. It may belong to a neighbor down the road, or have been “dumped off” in the country, or truly be homeless and looking for food. Many opinions on cats exist — some view them as vermin, some use them as “mouse patrol” on their farms — but I believe they are wonderful, smart creatures that can provide an invaluable bond, whether they have an indoor or an outdoor home. Cats have been domesticated over time for human companionship, and should be treated as such. Overpopulation has been a major issue with the feline species, and it is up to all of us to battle this problem and stop the spread of more stray cats. Feline overpopulation is one of the top complaints I receive from my clients. Many people want to blame a neighbor or someone else for all of the cats that call their property home, and do not want to take on the responsibility of their medical care. Unfortunately, if you feed cats on your property, and no one else claims them, you might as well call yourself their owner. Shelters and rescue organizations are at their maximum cat capacity and often have no more room. This is your opportunity to help control the cat population. Taking responsibility is the first step in their well-being. You do not need to rush them all to the veterinarian at once if your finances don’t allow. Just start with one cat or work together with a group of neighbors if possible.The next step is talking with your veterinarian about basic healthcare recommendations for outdoor cats, and developing a plan to keep your population free of diseases and parasites. Kittens and adults should be tested for Feline Leukemia and FIV, both feline-only viruses that affect the immune system and are ultimately fatal. In order to stop the transmission of these viruses, positive cats should not be allowed to remain in multiple cat populations. Surgery to prevent pregnancy should be performed for both females and males. Spaying surgery, otherwise known as ovariohysterectomy, is the surgical removal of a female’s ovaries and uterus. It is performed under anesthesia, and requires a hospital stay for most of a day. Recovery is complete in under two weeks, during which time the patient should be confined to a space where she will stay clean, and not be able to jump or climb. For patients that are difficult to catch in a carrier, or must be trapped, dissolvable sutures can be placed in the skin to avoid a return visit for suture removal. Yes, we have ways to sedate “wild” cats safely and effectively, too.Neutering surgery, or orchiectomy, is the surgical removal of a male’s testes. Anesthesia and hospital stay are similar to their female counterparts. Recovery is more rapid, since the surgery does not require entering the abdomen, and no external sutures are present. Removing the source of a male cat’s sex hormones also him less likely to roam, urine mark, and fight (and show aggression to people). These procedures are vital to controlling your cat population and have the benefit of making both males and females better pets.Vaccinations not only protect your cats — they also protect your family, especially the rabies vaccination. Rabies is present in certain wild animals in Ohio, and encounters between cats, opossums, raccoons, and coyotes are not uncommon. Other core vaccinations for cats include the feline “distemper” vaccine (mostly viruses that cause upper respiratory illness), and the feline leukemia vaccine. Vaccinations should be started in kittens as early as 6 to 8 weeks of age.Testing for intestinal parasites or routine deworming are important to the health of your cats and your family as well. Roundworms and hookworms are just two intestinal worms that can be transmitted to people through fecal material or infected soil. Parasites can cause failure to thrive, and even be fatal to kittens.Finally, flea and heartworm preventatives can be costly for a large group of cats, but having a flea-free environment outdoors and indoors is very worthwhile. Flea eggs can find their way into the house on your shoes and clothing, and begin their life cycle on your indoor pets. These pests also transmit the blood parasite Haemobartonella to cats, which can lead to severe anemia, and even death.Talk to your veterinarian today to discuss a spay/neuter and healthcare plan for your outdoor cats. If you allow your cats to multiply so you will always have some to control the mouse population, look into obtaining unwanted kittens from others in your community. Believe me, there will not be a shortage anytime soon.Dr. Sara Smith is an associate veterinarian at Delphos Animal Hospital.
Dr. Bonnie Jones The start of every veterinary examination should include a commitment to conduct a thorough “nose to tail” inspection of the patient. This comprehensive approach prevents overlooking subtle problems besides the obvious current complaint. The end point of every one of my examinations is literally the pet's “endpoint,” the tail and butt area. (Yes, I really am going to teach you about your pet's anal area!)What prompts me to broach this subject is an up-tick in malignant tumors associated with the anal glands diagnosed by veterinarians today. The greatest concern with these tumors is they are commonly overlooked by pet owners because they begin as inwardly growing tumors that are not apparent unless you know where to look for them. Veterinarians are trained to visualize and palpate the area around the anus called the “perineum,” to identify multiple abnormalities, including, but not limited to tumors.Veterinary medicine requires an understanding of normal anatomy before “abnormals” or disease may be diagnosed. Pet owners, too, can become skilled at recognizing their pet's “normals” by conducting a brief daily exam of their pets. Once you are familiar with your pet's body, recognizing a problem early, when it is more treatable, becomes an easier task.Simply lift your pet's tail daily and look for the following around the anus that may indicate a problem: raised, fleshy or black skin growths; grey discoloration of the anus; red or blister-like lesions next to the bottom of the anus, inflamed cracks or “tracts” extending from the anus; fecal soiling; matted hair; and tapeworm segments (egg packets that look like rice or sesame seeds). See your veterinarian immediately if you note any of the above.Next, use your fingers to press on your pet's perianal skin to feel for soft or hard bumps representing tumors lurking under the skin. While the majority of obvious perianal skin tumors diagnosed by sight are benign, malignant tumors usually require greater “hands-on” attention to detect them. Ask your veterinarian to show you how to examine this area at your pet's next visit.By far, the most common perianal problem addressed by veterinarians is “full” anal glands that cause cats and dogs to do what I call “the boot-scootin' boogie.” You've seen it before ... your pet sits his bottom squarely on your most valued flooring, then proceeds to drag or scoot it in a linear fashion. Some pets will do a twirling routine followed by a quick lick or sniff of their butt afterward ... yuck!Essentially, what your pet is doing is expressing anal gland secretions, a musky, foul-smelling liquid or paste, that accumulates in the small glands inside the rectum at 5 o'clock and 7 o'clock positions. Dogs and cats should “pump” their tails after bowel movements to express this material on to their stool. It's a personal “signature,” if you will, and their way of telling other pets that “Buffy” or “Tiger” was here.When pets do not efficiently empty these glands, often because they are over-weight, small in stature, or have short or no tails, this substance accumulates in the glands. Over time the build-up becomes irritating, prompting the “boot-scootin' boogie.” Heed your pet's signal and see your veterinarian as soon at this butt dance begins to prevent the formation of a painful, anal gland abscess.Another increasingly common anal problem is infection of the anal skin secondary to allergies, usually to the pet's own food. One might assume that the pet needs frequent anal gland expression associated with a persistent “butt itch,” when in reality Fido has a yeast skin infection of the anus that is really uncomfortable. Your veterinarian will recommend a food trial, along with treatment of the infection, to eliminate repeat episodes.The importance of regular examinations of your pet's bottom cannot be over-emphasized. Besides identifying tumors, full anal glands, and allergic disease, you could identify an intestinal parasite or diarrhea problem for your pet just by looking at the area daily. Matted rectal hair and fecal soiling is not only unhygienic and unsightly, but also very uncomfortable for your pet. By finding your pet's perianal problem, especially tapeworms and infectious diarrheas promptly, you will protect your family members' health as well.You will never be the “butt” of any joke if you conduct a daily “nose to tail” examination of your pet. Your health and that of your pet depend on it.Dr. Bonnie Jones is co-owner of Delphos Animal Hospital which she operates with her husband, John H. Jones, DVM . She was valedictorian and Outstanding Senior Clinician of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 1985. Dr. Bonnie dedicates this column to “Rocky” Lambert-Messer and “Riley” Michel, beloved pets of very special pet owners.
Dr. John JonesMany of you, I'm sure, already know this, but in case you don't, I am pleased to announce that we are in the midst of a new revolution, one so powerful that it may change the way we eat and the way we live. And I shall sound the alarm: “The chickens are coming! The chickens are coming!”Chickens? Really? Am I crazy? Well, maybe, but the evidence is overwhelming. On a recent trip to a local farm supply store, I found myself surrounded by a plethora of poultry equipment, including feeders, waterers, and “how-to” books. It was more chicken paraphernalia in one location than I had ever encountered before.And, last October, our wonderful employees treated Bonnie and me to a weekend getaway in Holmes County. There, amongst all the beautiful furniture and other wood creations made by the Amish, were many finely crafted, portable chicken coops. Apparently, there is a good demand for this type of product.Probably the most compelling evidence of this poultry revolution, however, has been my brother-in-law, Gary. Having known him for over 30 years, I can safely say, and I mean no disrespect by this, that he is one of the least agriculturally-minded people I have ever met. Early on, Gary was “a car guy.” Then, when the technology revolution dawned, Gary became “a computer guy.” Now, he is called “Grandpa Chicken” by many of his favorite loved ones.Two years ago, Gary and his wife, Cindy, were stricken with “chicken fever.” They purchased seven chicks from Meyer's Hatchery here in Ohio, and ordered one of those posh poultry palaces.Before Gary and Cindy began their venture, I gave them some old issues of “Backyard Poultry” and a Murray McMurray catalog. Many hatcheries offer nice catalogs, but the Iowa-based Murray McMurray is the gold standard. With hundreds of pictures of birds of various sizes, shapes, and colors, there literally is a chicken for everyone.For their flock, Gary and Cindy selected two Buff Orpingtons, Jody and Buffy, two Americanas, Nuggets and Matilda, and three Welsummers, Mary, Cathy and Pastey-Butt. The last had a bit of a diarrhea problem when she first arrived. Fortunately, she recovered quickly, but the name stuck.Buff Orpingtons are large, gentle chickens that lay brown-shelled eggs. Known as a dual-purpose breed, they make a nice stewing hen once their egg laying days are past. Since Jody and Buffy enjoy being held and petted, that, of course, is a moot point. The Americanas produce green eggs, making every day seem like Easter, and the Welsummers have very attractive brown eggs with dark spots.It is obvious when visiting with them that Gary and Cindy really enjoy their hens. From the quiet, contented demeanor of those hens, I'm quite certain the feelings are mutual. The human-animal bond is not reserved solely for the so-called companion animals. Chickens can bond, too. What has triggered this revolution? The main spark, I believe, has been the media coverage of the many E. Coli and Salmonella food contamination scares the past few years. People now have a real desire to know the source of their food and be assured that it is safe.This is also why backyard vegetable gardening has increased in popularity. And, what better complement to a garden than chickens. Garden waste can be fed to the hens and waste from the hens in turn can feed the garden. Composted chicken manure is one of the best fertilizers available. Forget that old adage “a chicken in every pot.” The new mantra should be “six hens in every backyard.”If you have children, chickens are an excellent way to not only expose them to agriculture, but also teach them the responsibility that goes with keeping and caring for other living things. Chickens make great 4-H projects if the kids are old enough. There really is no project that can be more profitable than a pen of meat chickens. The investment is small, the project lasts seven weeks, and the financial gains can be amazing.But, what if you don't live in the country? Don't despair. Many cities do allow the keeping of chickens. In Delphos, for example, there is no prohibition for a family's own use of the eggs and meat. These products cannot be sold for commercial gain, though. Good neighbor rules also apply — the birds cannot wander about loose, the pens must be kept clean, and the hens humanely housed. Roosters are not banned, per se, but their crowing must not disturb the neighbors.So, if you don't already have those six hens in the backyard, I urge you to get some. Raising chickens can be a rewarding and nutritious experience for you and your family. Join the revolution!Dr. John Jones practices at Delphos Animal Hospital.
By Dr. Kathleen BabbittOne of my favorite things to do, warm or cold, is to go for a walk. I tend to use the Heritage Park paved trail and the Rotary River Walk for these walks. I like the fact that is paved and has beautiful scenery. The thing that disturbs me the most is the amount of poop left behind by other dog owners. Not only is this just gross but it's also a health hazard to other dogs and humans.The disgusting nature of letting your dog go just wherever and not cleaning up after him has resulted in many municipalities in banning dogs from walking trails, etc. The eyesore, the smell and the cost of having someone else clean it up becomes overwhelming for the small staffs of most of our parks. So it is easier to just ban dogs. This is unfortunate because our dogs really like exercise, and it punishes us who do pick up our dog's waste. It is a simple as carrying a few bags with you. When your dog defecates, please pick it up, carry it with you, and drop it off at the next wastebasket. Heritage Park and the other parks in that district even provide you with the bags. Another reason to not be lazy is the risk of zoonotic disease. Zoonotic diseases are those diseases that can be passed from animal to man and man to animal. The most concerning is the intestinal parasite Toxocara canis, or the canine roundworm. A dog may become infected with this parasite in one of four ways:1. Ingesting infective eggs from contaminated soil.2. Nursing from an infected mother dog.3. Consuming a prey animal that is infected, usually a rodent.4. During embryonic development when an infected mother dog is pregnant. This is the most common way a dog is infected.To understand how this parasite moves from dog to human we must understand its life cycle first. 1. Eggs are passed when the host defecates. The eggs stay in the environment for about a month. During that time, they develop into infective second-stage larva. The eggs are not infective until they have undergone this development, which means fresh poop is not a problem but soil that has been contaminated with infective feces is dangerous. Eggs can remain in the soil for months to years despite freezing, thawing, drought, etc. 2. The infective egg can now be picked up by a dog or another animal. This usually happens with normal exposure to the infective soil. The eggs then hatch into small worms in the intestines that burrow out of the intestine and become cysts in other body tissues. If the host is a dog, the life cycle proceeds. If not, the cysts remain in the tissues.3. The cyst can remain in the dog for years. When the timing is right they develop, travel to the lungs, get coughed up, swallowed, and enter into the intestines for the second time in their life. If the host is pregnant they instead travel to the fetus and then travel to the puppies' lungs to infect the puppy.If the host is nursing, the larva migrate to the mammary glands and infect the puppies while nursing.4. Once in the intestine, the worms mature and mate. The first eggs are released about a week later. The entire life cycle takes about four to five weeks.Humans can become infected when they come in contact with the infective eggs. This occurs most often in children because of their poor handwashing skills. Humans are not a natural host for the worm, but it tries to complete its life cycle anyway. This results in “visceral larval migrans” in which the larvas migrate randomly throughout the body and eventually die, causing a massive inflammatory reaction. The eye is a common place for the larva to end up and can result in blindness. We can prevent this from happening in several ways. First, pick up the poop. Removing the feces right away prevents the spread of the eggs into the soil. All puppies and new dogs should be given a dewormer several times, and all dogs should be maintained on monthly parasite prevention. Most heartworm preventers control roundworm infections, which is why year-round use is a good idea. Also, teach your children good hygiene.So, please pick up after your dog. Let's keep our parks clean, open to dogs, and prevent our children from getting a terrible disease.Dr. Kathleen Babbitt is the owner of Lima Animal Hospital. She has six dogs that she likes to take to the park. She picks up a lot of poop.
Dr. John JonesNo, Henry didn't really cost $6 million, but like television's legendary Steve Austin, he is bionic. At least part of him is, sort of. Two parts in particular. And, not the really important parts one usually associates with Steve Austin, but parts that, nevertheless, were important to Henry's owner, and as I came to find out, perhaps Henry as well.Henry, an English Bulldog, is a patient of Dr. Sara. Just over a year ago, he was the recipient of a pair of state of the art “Neuticles.” For those of you who don't know, Neuticles is a word combination of “new” and exactly what you're thinking. Made in the USA, these artificial implants replace that which is lost during the neutering procedure.Henry's owner, like many of our male clients, was reluctant to have him neutered. Maybe because I was brought up in the removal business, I've never had any qualms about separating any of my animals from their “particulars.” But when I encounter an owner like Henry's, I do feel a bit like a traitor to my kind, especially when I think of the thousands I so casually and apparently callously tossed into the mud and muck over the years on my farm calls.Everybody's different, however, and Henry's owner certainly had a great deal of empathy and compassion for his dog. And, he is not alone in his feelings. Since 1995, over 500,000 pets worldwide have been “neuticled.”On the company's website is a quote: “Neuticles allow your pet to retain his natural look, self-esteem, and aids in the trauma associated with altering. With Neuticles, it's like nothing ever changed.”That in a nutshell, I believe, explains why Henry's owner was hesitant, and why he agreed to surgery only if Neuticles would be used to fill the void. Although none of us in our practice had dealt with Neuticles before, Dr. Sara, young and courageous, was up to the task.Neuticles are available in four styles and many sizes to accommodate cats, dogs, bulls and stallions. “Original” Neuticles are made from FDA medically approved polypropylene and are the firmest to the touch. “Natural” Neuticles are solid silicone and have a softer, more natural feel. “Ultra Plus” models are specially designed to reduce the formation of scar tissue, which may increase the firmness of the implant. “Ultra Plus with epididymis” Neuticles are the most anatomically correct and, of course, the most expensive. A pair of “Originals” for a Chihuahua can be purchased for $119. A pair of “Ultra Plus with epididymis” for an Irish Wolfhound will cost $1,198.Henry's owner chose a nice set of medium “Ultras,” and brought them to our office to be sterilized prior to the big day.According to Dr. Sara, the surgery went without a hitch. Basically out with the old and in with the new, all through the same incision. Unfortunately, I was out on a farm call. Upon returning, I spotted Henry recovering in his cage. Lying on his side, propped up on his left elbow in a Burt Reynolds-like Cosmo pose, minus the hand, things looked, well … like they should. In fact, if I hadn't seen the clipper marks, I wouldn't have known that I missed the event.Since Dr. Sara did the surgery, why didn't she write this column? For one thing, she's too nice. I don't think I've ever heard her even say the word. Come to think of it, I haven't written it either. But, that probably has more to do with lack of maturity than niceness, I'm afraid.The main reason, however, is because I had the opportunity to see Henry as he exited the building. I was in one of our exam rooms and for some reason had to step out into the hallway. There Henry was, in full strut, head and tail — or whatever that funny corkscrew thing is — held high, exuding the kind of confidence and swagger that can only come when one's pride and dignity are intact, even if those are the only two things that are. He really did look like he felt like a million bucks, maybe six.My patient, a young, female German Shepherd named Bailey, was overcome with curiosity, and popped her head out behind me. Although we should always use caution when anthropomorphizing the thoughts and actions of our four-legged friends, the look on her face was unmistakable. She was impressed. Mission accomplished.Dr. John H. Jones operates a mixed animal practice in Delphos with his wife, Dr. Bonnie Jones. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine and he raises Southdown sheep. Questions about animal care may be sent to: Dr. John H. Jones, Delphos Animal Hospital, 1825 E. Fifth St., Delphos, OH 45833.
Dr. Bonnie Jones “’Tis the Season” certainly rang true this year in our practice and our home. I don’t mean the season of giving, caring and being kind to others that comes with Christmas. I am referring to the seasonal veterinary emergencies that accompany a time of many distractions.This year seemed to have an abundance of the “my dog ate the Christmas chocolate ... ” phone calls. You can fill in the blank with any delectable chocolate treat I would have preferred to ingest instead of knowing my canine patients had done so. Along with numerous phone calls about chocolate intoxications, this year also brought the reminder that “tis the season” for pets to up their frequency of foreign body ingestions. Mix the introduction of holiday decorations and gifts strewn about with the bustle and distraction of pet owners at this time of year, and you have the perfect storm for foreign body ingestions by pets.This year’s unlucky foreign body patient was Boomer, the fun-loving Boxer that gorged on a reindeer decoration made of pipe cleaners and chocolate. After a couple days of binging and purging, abdominal X-rays warranted blood testing and exploratory surgery. While no obvious foreign material was found in Boomer’s intestines, he did experience an episode of acute kidney failure associated with his ingestion. Close monitoring, plenty of fluid therapy to jump start his kidneys, and antibiotics brought a timely recovery so Boomer could be home for Christmas.Many are the stories of feline family members scaling Christmas trees and batting about and breaking ornaments. I try to remind cat owners to place durable, less valued ornaments on the bottom of the tree and invest in a good tree stand. Once stolen from the tree, cats have great fun playing with ornaments and may inadvertently swallow parts of them. Not wanting to exclude pets from “the reason for the season,” many pet owners purchase and wrap gifts for their fur family to open on Christmas morning, which brings me to the real subject of this column. Choosing proper toys for pets can go a long way toward keeping them safe and preventing foreign body ingestions.The nature of dogs, especially large breeds, makes it difficult to provide them with enduring toys that are not harmful if ingested. Powerful canine jaws can exert close to 450 pounds of pressure. Not many toys will withstand that repeated abuse. Thus, I am a great fan of one-piece, indestructible chew toys that are large enough to prohibit swallowing. Hard rubber toys, such as Gumabones and Kongs, are my favorite and most recommended. Most Kong toys have a space to place food treats in or on them to make them more attractive. I recommend stuffing Kongs with canned dog food, peanut butter, or squeeze-cheese mixed with pieces of dental treats or dog kibble. Freeze this Kong delicacy overnight, and your dog will have a delightful treat to keep it busy for an extended period, especially when alone. Avoid dog toys constructed of hard vinyl, nylon or plastic, especially for aggressive chewers, as these materials are notorious for breaking teeth and causing injuries to the gums and lips. Livestock hooves and bones can do similar harm. Even round “soup bones” can be dangerous when they are swallowed whole or become lodged around the lower jaw.Pets given cloth toys, such as stuffed animals, should be carefully selected and monitored. Keep in mind that giving your pet cloth toys may teach it to chew on your cloth possessions such as rugs, socks, and underwear.Another product to avoid for dogs is rawhide. Even with close observation, this substance is often swallowed in large pieces, and invariably “grinds” its way through the intestines. Inflammation or obstruction of the intestines can be the end result. One of the saddest cases I have seen was a Pekingese that arrived at our office minutes after choking to death on a piece of rawhide stuck in the back of his throat.For our feline patients, I recommend the simplest of toys already in your home such as table tennis, foil or paper balls, laser lights, cardboard boxes, and paper bags. Avoid linear toys such as yarn or string, and be cautious with fishing pole toys. Control the rod yourself as you entice your cat to chase its “prey” without swallowing it or the string.Still not convinced about safe toys? Just ask Betsy Louise, our 8-month-old Welsh Corgi puppy, about hydrogen peroxide gastritis. I made her vomit after she snacked on my office rug the day after Christmas.Dr. Bonnie Jones co-owns Delphos Animal Hospital with her husband, Dr. John H. Jones. She was valedictorian and Outstanding Senior Clinician of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 1985.
Dr. Chad Higgins“Thank God it’s Friday,” was all Melanie could think. It had been a long day, a long week, and the upcoming weekend was just a car ride away. Christmas was just a few weeks away and it was so far not even close to looking like Christmas outside. All week it had been cold, wet, sloppy, dirty and just gross outside. Her only clue that Christmas was getting closer was that as she headed home from work it was already dark outside. As Melanie headed down the country road with the rain hitting the windshield and the wipers struggling to keep up, she just wanted nothing more than to just get home and start the weekend.As Melanie pulled up to the stop sign, her eyes were drawn to a very small, dark object next to the road. “Surely it’s just a clump of mud or a small rock,” she thought to herself. Then it moved! She continued looking at it trying to figure out what it was and hoping it would just take off and run away. It was just too dark for Melanie to see for sure what it was, but she thought there was a good chance it was a very wet, very tiny, and very young kitten. Melanie’s eyes were already welling up with tears as she got out of her car. As she approached, the kitten didn’t even lift its head to look at her. It just laid there all huddled up and shivered. Melanie scooped the kitten up and returned to her warm, dry car. She unzipped her coat and placed the kitten next to her warm body. She turned on the car’s interior light and looked at the kitten. The kitten was a calico, was extremely thin, and had a lot of thick eye discharge. Clearly this kitten wouldn’t have survived much longer out in this weather. “What now?” she thought. She already had three cats and two dogs. There was no way she could take in another cat. Melanie knew that the local shelters were full of cats looking for homes, so the chance of finding a home for this orphan was pretty small. Still, she knew having the kitten humanely euthanized was better than having it die alone out in this weather. She called her veterinarian and was told she could bring the kitten right in. As her veterinarian examined the kitten, Melanie just couldn’t stop crying. She knew she was doing the right thing and her veterinarian told her she was doing the right thing. He told her the kitten was less than one pound, a female, and obviously very weak and debilitated. He told her the kitten had a pretty bad eye infection and upper respiratory infection. Melanie just kept repeating that there was no way she could keep the kitten. Her house was full. Her veterinarian assured her that he understood that. He had known her for many years and knew she had a huge heart for animals. He also told her that she was right to bring the kitten in out of the weather. Euthanasia as a much kinder, humane alternative compared to dying outside in the cold all alone.Her veterinarian told her that even if she wanted to keep the kitten, he wasn’t sure if the kitten could recover from the malnutrition and infection, but if it was acceptable to Melanie he would like to take the kitten in and see what happened. If the kitten didn’t improve, he would euthanize her, but if she would improve he would find her a home. The relief that Melanie felt that this kitten would at least be given a shot at life was evident as the tears began flowing faster than before. She thanked her veterinarian profusely and left his office to finally start her well-deserved weekend.Although this story is based on a specific true story, forms of it occur very frequently in veterinary offices all over the country. Our office is called regularly by people with kittens or adult cats that they have found or that they can no longer keep. Although 99.9 percent of the time we have to say no, evidence of the .1 percent of the time is our clinic cats named Manny and Cindy. It isn’t coincidence that most animal hospitals have at least one clinic cat.So what happened to the kitten that this story was based on? We named her Holly. Anyone want a kitten?Dr. Chad Higgins has owned Amanda Animal Hospital for the last 14 years. He and his staff want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Dr. Sara SmithTo follow up on my article about the most commonly asked questions regarding dogs, I couldn’t leave out our feline friends. I notice that while dogs mostly eat strange things, cats have strange behaviors that are difficult to explain. Hopefully I can help you decipher some of these oddities.Q: Why is my cat urinating outside of the litterbox?A: Inappropriate elimination (urinating or defecating outside the box) is a very common problem, and has several possible reasons. First of all, the majority of cats prefer unscented, clumping litter, and the box should be changed weekly and scooped daily. For multiple cat households, there should be one litterbox per cat plus one more. A box that is close to a noisy object, such as the furnace, may scare your cat. Make sure the box is large enough — at least 1.5 times the body length of your cat — or else you may find “presents” around the outside. Cats are solitary animals by nature, and may mark or spray because of stress with housemates, or visualizing other cats out a window. There are also many medical problems that can cause inappropriate elimination, such as idiopathic cystitis (stress induced bladder inflammation), bladder infections, bladder stones, kidney disease, diabetes, and hyperthyroidism, so before “diagnosing” your cat, make a trip to the veterinarian.Q: Why is my cat crying at night? I can’t sleep!A: This may depend on the age and health of your cat. Older cats may undergo behavior changes because of underlying illnesses, such as hyperthyroidism, which increases metabolism. Cognitive dysfunction is also a reality for some cats and dogs, as with humans, and many older cats need more stimulation with toys, treats and activity. There are treatment options for these conditions, and your veterinarian will determine the best course of action. Cats are nocturnal (more active at night), so a younger cat may vocalize due to boredom or hunger. Hiding treat toys around the house with some of your cat’s daily ration of food and providing more activities such as vertical places to jump and scratching posts may keep kitty occupied … and if nothing else, it may be time to introduce a new little kitten to keep him busy!Q: Why does my cat lick my hair or suck on my shirt like he is nursing? Yuck!A: “Wool sucking” behavior is a type of obsessive compulsive disorder in cats, and is more common in certain purebreds. Cats that are weaned early (before 4 weeks) of age may be more likely to have this behavior, although it has never been proven. The nursing-like action triggers a feeling of comfort in the brains of these cats. If your clothes are falling prey to wool sucking, distract your cat with favorite toys or treats. Some cats, however, need drug therapy to treat their OCD, so consult your veterinarian. Q: My cat’s belly looks like it’s dragging the ground. Is that just loose skin?A: Unfortunately, that flap is not just skin — it’s excess fat, and means that Fluffy is going to need to go on a diet! One of my coworkers referred to her cat’s abdominal pooch as “Buttercup and her baby.” After limiting her food and increasing her activity, she is now just “Buttercup” again!Q: How can I stop my cat from “counter surfing”?A: Some cats learn that the counter is a great place to find a snack or a drink from the faucet, and gives them a great view of the house. If this is bothersome to you, resist the urge to use physical punishment to banish kitty from the counter. Cats learn from their environment, so using an unpleasant deterrent that they don’t associate with their owners is best, such as covering the counter surface with double sided tape, foil or plastic wrap. Startling your cat by spraying a water bottle or shaking a can of coins are second line defenses, and scat mats (they emit small electric shocks when stepped on) should only be a last resort. Make sure your cat has plenty of appropriate vertical places to feel safe, and the counter may become less interesting.Q: What do I do with these stray cats or kittens?A: Alas, this is probably the most common question regarding cats that is fielded at our clinic. The local humane society and shelters do as much as they can, but there is very limited space for more cats at these places. That leaves care of unwanted cats to, well, the rest of us. If you cannot find homes for the kittens that have shown up around your house, and you have the means, bring them to your veterinarian to be spayed and neutered to keep the cat population from expanding.Dr. Sara Smith is an associate veterinarian at Delphos Animal Hospital.
Dr. John JonesDr. Sara’s mom, Cristy, lent my wife a book a couple of weeks ago. “Unlikely Friendships” by Jennifer Holland is a collection of tales about special relationships some animals have had with one another and the power and beauty of the animal-animal bond. Over the past four months, our little Betsy Louise has compiled quite a collection of unlikely friendships as well.On the first of July, I adopted a Welsh Corgi puppy. On the fourth, I wrote a column about that first day, a day where I inadvertently stepped all over the grieving process of my wife, Bonnie, for her special friend, “Princess” Bunny.Readers may remember that Betsy and I spent most of that first day “in the doghouse.” Betsy learned a valuable lesson, however — the fastest way out was to make friends. And she proved to be a quick study.Betsy began with Jimmy, our four-year-old Border Collie. Jimmy has always had an affinity for puppies, and their endless wrestling matches would leave both panting and soaked with each other’s spit. They were quite entertaining together, but more importantly, the slight smile I noticed on their mother’s face gave me hope.The cats were intrigued, too, especially Jobey, and soon he was in the fray, with his hair exhibiting the same Betsy mousse. It’s been interesting watching their relationship develop. At the beginning Jobey was twice Betsy’s size, now she is twice his. Yet they continue to play like they did on the first day.Ruthie, our calico with the liver shunt, is doing well physically, but she is kind of whiny. She enjoys being close to the action, as long as she’s not engaged in it. She will, however, wait at the back door for Betsy to come in, and allow a short chase. But, if there’s any contact, she immediately cries, “Mommy, Mommy, the puppy is killing me!” At least that’s what it sounds like.My dog, Robbie, was Betsy’s hardest sell — well, the second hardest. Female Border Collies tend to be a bit bossy and like to manage everything. Jimmy is okay with it; he’s more of a “go with the flow” type. He needs the direction. Betsy, on the other hand, wasn’t aware of the rules.Robbie also has never been fond of other dogs, except for Jimmy. She’s not mean; she just ignores them — more passive-aggressive than aggressive, I guess. She couldn’t ignore this puppy though, who was almost constantly in her face. Betsy’s tenacity somehow won Robbie over and soon they, too, were play wrestling, although not quite to the intensity of the Jimmy and Jobey matches. After Betsy was allowed to sleep on the bed a few weeks ago, many a night would find her “spooning” with Jobey, and lying back-to-back with Robbie.Which brings us to the most important friendship she has made, and the one I admittedly had some doubt being very likely. People grieve differently, I came to find out. I was ready for a puppy; Bonnie clearly was not. Unfortunately, that wasn’t fully realized until after the adoption.The main reservation Bonnie had was that she feared she wasn’t honoring Bunny’s memory, and that she would forget her.Ironically, it was uncanny how much the puppy was like Bunny. The first night she went into a “full Corgi twist,” a move we thought Bunny had patented, had the same hairy paws, and has since channeled Bunny’s “take a message and get back with you” attitude when called to return from pottying outside.As the weeks went by, Bonnie and Betsy spent more and more time with each other. Betsy seems to enjoy gardening, and the two have been going for long walks nearly every night.A few days ago, I believe a major milestone was reached in their relationship. I made some comment about Betsy being a dog, and was quickly corrected. “She’s not a dog; she’s a princess!” Of course she is, but then she had me from the first lick on my nose.Although I regret the pain my adoption decision caused, when I see them together now, I don’t regret the decision. Betsy didn’t make us forget Bunny. She made us remember her even more. And that has been a wonderful gift.As powerful as the animal-animal bond can be, the human-animal bond is much stronger. If you have recently lost a pet, take some time, but don’t over-grieve. A new best friend may already be waiting for you. Consider a visit to your local humane society, dog pound, or rescue organization. The human-animal bond is a terrible thing to waste.Dr. John H. Jones operates a mixed animal practice in Delphos with his wife, Dr. Bonnie Jones, and he raises Southdown sheep.
Dr. Bonnie JonesAdopting a dog is an exciting time for pet owners. But, what do you do if that new bundle of fur has a skin disorder? Soon after entering a new home, all dogs should have a veterinary exam to begin immunizations, deworming and heartworm preventive medication. This visit also provides an opportunity for veterinarians to conduct a full wellness exam and to diagnose diseases, including skin disorders that may be contagious to humans. A primary health concern for dog owners is “mange,” or mite infestation of the skin. While there are multiple different mites pets may acquire, two types of mange are most common. These include demodectic mange or “demodecosis,” and sarcoptic mange, commonly referred to as “scabies.” Specific diagnosis of each of these infestations is made via microscopic examination of deep scrapings of multiple skin lesions on affected dogs.Demodecosis is also referred to as “puppy mange” or “red mange” because it is more commonly diagnosed in puppies and is associated with reddening of the skin. The typical presentation is a young puppy with hair thinning, especially on the forehead or extremities. This condition is generally not itchy, and when mild, does not require treatment. While demodecosis is usually localized, it can be generalized on the entire body and will be harder to eliminate when it affects the toes. Some short-haired dog breeds are over-represented with this disease, including Boston Terriers, Dobermans, Bulldogs and Pitbulls. It is important to note demodecosis is not contagious to other pets or to humans! The Demodex canis mite spends its entire life cycle on the dog. Why these “normal inhabitants of the skin” begin to proliferate by the thousands is not known, however, a genetic or immunologic abnormality is the most likely cause. If five or more areas of hair loss are diagnosed on a patient, the disease may be considered genetic and the dog should not be used for breeding. Treatment of demodecosis when warranted, varies from the use of topical products (rotenone ointments, benzoyl peroxide gels, amitraz dips) to oral anti-parasitic drugs (e.g. milbemycin). Your veterinarian will likely perform follow-up examinations to insure that your dog's demodecosis has entirely resolved. Since this is potentially a genetic and/or immune disorder, recurrences are possible during times of stress.Unlike demodectic mange, sarcoptic mange is contagious to other dogs and humans via direct contact, and will be intensely itchy! Greater than 50 percent of the dog's waking hours will be spent scratching due to irritation associated with the mites' feces. This mite, Sarcoptes scabiei, actually burrows under the skin but can live off the host in the environment for a few days. Scabies mites will reside in kennels, grooming shops and on pet bedding. There is not a breed predilection with this mite infestation, but dogs that travel to shows, stay in kennels, or live outdoors are more likely to encounter this mite.Lesions seen with scabies are most commonly found on ear edges, elbows and undersides of dogs, but may be anywhere on the body. While it is easy to find multiple cigar-shaped demodex mites in skin scrapings, locating the globoid sarcoptic mite is much more difficult. So much so, that scabies is usually diagnosed based on clinical appearance of the skin and response to treatment.The onset of symptoms with scabies is usually sudden, and not all dogs in a household will experience the same intensity of itching. The history for scabies patients often includes that the dog originated from a puppy mill or breeding kennel, traveled to dog shows, was exposed to straw, wood or mulch, or lives in an environment with scabies-infested squirrels or fox. Scabies may be treated either topically (selamectin, amitraz, lime sulfur dips), or orally (ivermectin). Because the source of scabies mites is often difficult to identify or eliminate, once cured, these patients should be placed on selamectin (Revolution), a monthly, topical heartworm preventive known to treat and control sarcoptic mites. The dog's environment should also be treated by disposing of contaminated bedding and cleaning all surfaces with 10 percent bleach solution repeatedly.Owners of dogs diagnosed with sarcoptic mange are themselves most likely to acquire a self-limiting scabies infection on exposed areas of skin such as the wrists, abdomen, and neck from handling the infested dog. Contact your physician for treatment advice if you think you might be experiencing a scabies infestation from your dog.Pets can harbor other skin diseases besides mange that are contagious to humans so please be certain to consult your veterinarian if your furry family member is itchy or has skin lesions.Dr. Bonnie Jones is co-owner of Delphos Animal Hospital. She was valedictorian and Outstanding Senior Clinician of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 1985.
By Adam FergusonAs Midnight crossed the path of yet another unsuspecting victim, he sniggered to himself. How easy it was to terrify these humans into thinking they were facing certain doom! After all, he was a black cat; a panther, if you will; a demon in disguise. He did not even have to cross their path; he merely had to veer toward them and they all ran the other direction trying to avoid him. How liberating it felt to be on the prowl again! He had not felt like this since he was a young kitten; mostly because he had not been free since he was a young kitten. All those years he had spent cooped up with all the other cats. Sharing his food dish. Sharing his bathroom. Sleeping three and four in one bedroom; it was like a prison. He had no trees to climb. No prey to catch. No real territory to roam. Undoubtedly, his human captors had meant well. They provided food, already caught and ready to eat. But how fun was that? They also had provided shelter. Midnight never got rained on, unless he wanted to step out from under the roof. He had heard horror stories from two of the older cats in his ward. Both wore tiger stripes, and both had been captured as adults, after years on the lam. They had told Midnight about nights in the elements with no cover. The driving rain. The scorching sun. And days that turned into weeks with no meals except for insects. As far as they were concerned, a life sentence with three squares and no chance of parole was the cat's meow. Yet, Midnight had often suspected that merely providing food and shelter was not enough on his captors' part. Princess Puma, a recent addition to Midnight's colony, came from a home where she had been the only cat. As such, she had become accustomed to lavish attention from her owner. That is, until her owner died.Princess Puma had told all of her new roommates stories of fancy collars, fine furniture and gourmet cuisine. She spoke of house calls by her doctor when she received complete physical exams. She admitted that the “massage” by the doctor was usually followed by shots. But her owner had assured her that these shots would keep her from getting sick. She informed her peers that medication to prevent fleas existed. She even confided how she got her nails done every so often. Despite her snobbish ways and ivory tower opinions, Midnight would always listen intently to Princess' stories. Even though he was quite a bit younger than she was, it was clear that she had taken a special liking in him, as well. She was, in fact, a real cougar.Midnight's thoughts turned to Princess now. It was bizarre, but in his first few minutes of freedom, his mind raced toward her perception of captivity. One-on-one attention from a loving owner? Not that his owner did not love him; he most certainly did. Yet, trying to divvy that love among 16 other cats certainly made Midnight feel like his captor's time was limited. His own food dish and bathroom? Did such niceties truly exist? Health care? Midnight had never been examined by a doctor. Shots that might help prevent those darn colds he kept getting? That would be wonderful! Medication to prevent those pesky fleas? A dream come true!As Midnight absent-mindedly approached his next human, this one did not attempt to get out of the black cat's path. In fact, he yelled to other humans, “There he is! The missing black leopard!” Immediately several humans approached Midnight with long cylindrical tools pointed at him. Midnight had heard the two old tigers call these tools “guns” and knew this was not going to end well. He heard another human say, “He's the last one. The tigers were destroyed at the farm and the cougar was found hit along the highway.” The events of last week's wild animal massacre brought a sad situation to everybody's attention. Owning exotic pets is not illegal in this state; whether it should be or not is for other people to decide. Animal hoarding, however, is a disease. It begins with good intentions by people who love animals. It usually spirals out of control, to a point where the owner no longer knows how to stop collecting animals. What started out as one, two or three pets quickly becomes dozens. Because, “where else are the animals going to go”? Ultimately, too many animals are sharing not enough resources. Medical care is the first thing to go. Food and housing are always the last things.Dr. Adam Ferguson is a co-owner of Baker Animal Hospital in Cridersville.
By Dr. Kathleen BabbittHow far has behavioral medicine come in the past 10 years. I was probably one of the first class of veterinary students to get any type of behavioral training and education, and that it was not much. This field in the past 10 years has grown by leaps and bounds, and the research has allowed us to see how dogs and cats think. This has allowed us to come up with new training recommendations. At this point you are no longer the Alpha dog ruling by force but the benevolent leader in your house. We know now that the real key to a good dog or cat for that matter is what happens early on in their life. At a recent behavioral conference, we focused on how to make a good puppy. This is because a good puppy will be a good dog. The period in the dog's life that allows them to accept and acclimate to new ideas, people, other animals, etc., is what is termed the socialization period. For puppies it starts at about 6 weeks of age and depending on the breed is done by 12 to 14 weeks of age. This means that a puppy must be exposed to everything you want it to be accustomed to in life during these first and few several weeks. During the weeks of 6 to 8 a puppy is best off with its dam and its siblings. That is because during these two weeks they are learning how to socialize with other dogs. The best place to learn your early skills is with your mom and your siblings. Mom at this point is going to stop coddling the puppies and expect some manners. The siblings are going to be playful but are going to be able to let each other know when play gets too rough. It is best to leave a puppy with its mom and litter mates if possible at this stage. It is important, however, to go and see and interact with your puppy. This will allow you to get to know it and it to know you before you take it home. You can observe if you have the shy-wallflower dog, or the go-getter-into-everything dog. You can be prepared to take that bundle of joy home.Once you get your puppy home, you want to have it checked by your veterinarian within the first three days. This will allow your veterinarian to make sure it is healthy and on the correct vaccination schedule. After your visit you and your puppy need to get out on the town. It is recommended that you take your puppy out of the house at least five days a week. If you are doing a puppy socialization class you can back down to three other days per week. On these outings you want to expose your puppy to the pet store, other dogs, other animals, babies, babies in strollers, children, teenagers, strangers in hats, strangers in wheelchairs, strangers with umbrellas, concrete walkways, gravel walkways, hiking, etc. If you think your puppy may come in contact with something later in life get it exposed to it now.When taking your puppy out for these exposures make sure you are armed with a good leash and well-fitting collar (buckle is fine, puppies should not be on prong, pinch or choker collars), “high dollar” treats, and waste pick up bags. “High dollar” treats refers to a treat your puppy cannot resist. I have found that cheese, cooked chicken, cooked beef patties, and hot dog pieces all work well. You want to make these outings fun, and giving food and good praise does this for puppies. Have strangers stop and give your dog treats, lots of treats, give your dog treats any time it does what you want it to do. Use those treats if a puppy is scared of something. You can line treats up one right after another to get your puppy to walk forward and then have a jackpot treats at the end of trail by the “scary thing.” The use of treats makes scary things less scary because it is hard to be upset when “eating ice cream.” Good mood food sets a good mood.These basic steps to having fun, positive, early interactions for your puppy are going to help you lay the ground work for a good dog. We all want to have a dog that is friendly, easy to train, and is invited to come back often. The key to this is the socialization period. So arm yourselves, and I want to see you out with your puppies!Dr. Kathleen Babbitt owns Lima Animal Hospital. She is looking forward to the changes in behavioral medicine and treatment.
By Dorothy MinerAny person working in a canine business has met a few truly “broken” dogs. Bad things have happened in these dogs' lives that have left them permanently damaged. They really pull at your heartstrings, because you know that in most cases, the damage could have been avoided. Just how “broken” does a dog have to be before it is unfixable? I don't know. But I do know that with lots of effort, many of these dogs can learn to cope and become loving pets when matched with the right owners.A friend living in Kentucky adopted Annie, an adult Chinese Crested from a rescue organization. This little girl was pathetic. She spent the first couple of weeks cowering in corners, only allowing herself to be touched or picked up if she was cornered. She never sought out any close interaction with her new human companion, but there was a glimmer of hope because she would stay in the same room and watch her from a distance. After several weeks, the dog finally jumped up into my friend's chair. She wouldn't allow the owner to touch her, but she would at least sit with her. For the longest time it looked as if this might be as far as the dog could go in becoming comfortable in her new home. Then an interesting series of events started Annie's journey toward becoming a real dog. I came to visit my friend for a week, and now she had to deal with a second human in the home. This made the owner even more of a safe haven for the timid dog. Then two more surprises followed a few days later. My friend's adult son came to visit from California, bringing with him a lively Bull Terrier puppy. Annie's life was thrown into chaos. The first mini-triumph came when the owner was outdoors and her son and I were in the living room with the dogs. Annie took a look at William and then jumped into my lap. She looked as surprised as I did! Apparently I was now at least slightly safer to be near than the bearded young man. She even allowed me to pat her a bit. When her owner came back in, she immediately glued herself to her, and the bond between them seemed to have strengthened. We wondered how Annie would accept the feisty little Bull Terrier puppy, but after the two scary people had gone home, the puppy didn't present any problem for her. Her owner reports that Annie is getting closer to being a “real dog” now, although she will most likely never be totally comfortable around new people. Another symptom of Annie's extreme fearfulness is her panic when a leash is attached to her collar or harness. This isn't the reaction of a dog that hasn't been leash-trained; this is full-out total meltdown panic. Her reaction is instant and absolute. She flips around, defecates in terror and then melts to the ground, unable to move. Thankfully Annie is small and can be carried without trouble.What broke this dog? We don't know. Obviously there was no socialization. She may have been owned by a hoarder or been a breeding dog in a puppy mill and never given any individual attention. She was clearly the victim of abuse. She is definitely a product of poor breeding and was not bred by conscientious people using carefully selected, physically and mentally sound parents. Whatever it was, she has a permanent fear of everybody other than her owner and a very few select others.Taking on the responsibility for one of these dogs is a huge undertaking. Thankfully there are good people like my Kentucky friend who are willing to accept the challenge. Dogs with behavior problems so serious that they cannot be completely changed need good management for their lifetimes. This may mean avoiding certain places, situations, or even many other people. It's a hard job, and it isn't for everybody. But if you take on one of these unfortunate dogs, you will enjoy the reward of watching a fearful, sometimes hostile dog relax, respond to your thoughtful training and care, and once again become more comfortable in its world. If you're up to the challenge, check with the Humane Society or breed rescue group of your choice. Unfortunately, shelters and rescues will always have dogs like Annie in need of loving “forever homes.”Dorothy Miner is a long-time dog trainer, obedience and tracking instructor and judge of canine events. She is a published author and contributes regular columns to several dog publications. Dorothy currently teaches at the Hollowell Academy of Dog Training and, along with Diane Laratta, teaches weekly classes for the Allen Correctional Institution's PETS Program.
By Diane LarattaWe took Waldo on vacation with us this year. Waldo is our 7-year-old French Bulldog, and the love of my life. It had been four or five years since we last took him along on a trip, so he was long overdue for some R&R. The Canadian resort we were staying at for a week is pet friendly, so we got out Waldo's suitcase and began packing.The first thing I did for Waldo's upcoming trip was Google Canadian requirements for dogs crossing the border. At one time Canada only recognized yearly rabies vaccinations, but that policy has changed. However, I am a worry wart, so I made an appointment with my veterinarian to revaccinate Waldo for rabies despite the fact that he was vaccinated only 13 months earlier. With that out of the way, the next thing we had to plan for was his diet and bedding.Waldo will eat just about anything; consequently he's on a perpetual diet. Knowing from experience that many dogs go off their food when they're traveling, I selected some very special canned dog food to add to his premium kibble (nothing's too good for Waldo). Waldo's bedding was another matter. Waldo sleeps with me — on my pillow. Yes. He snores. But then so do I. The resort brochure welcomes pets, but advises that pets cannot be on the beds, must be crated when left in the cabin unattended, and that we had to pick up after our dog. The crate rule was not going to make Waldo a happy camper. He hadn't been in a crate since he was a wee pup. But, rules are rules. I dusted off a crate, pulled out some thick, fluffy bedding and tried to explain to my watchful dog that this was temporary. The day arrived for our journey to Canada. I am a big believer that a dog should be restrained in a car — either in a crate or in a car harness. I've heard horror tales of people getting in an accident, the car doors popping open, and the family pet getting out of the car and hit on the road. However, we are talking about Waldo here. He perches on a pillow between the driver and passenger seats so he doesn't miss anything. He always rides that way, and I suppose he always will. At the US/Canadian border, we supplied Waldo's certificate of health and proof of rabies. I don't think the border guard even looked at it. We were motioned through the gates without incident.Waldo had a blast at the resort. It seemed that every guest brought along their dog! Waldo met a Weimaraner, two Brittney spaniels, a Papillion, a Labrador Retriever, a Bernese Mountain Dog, a Poodle, and even another French Bulldog! The Lab and Spaniels rarely came out of the water. They were in dog heaven! The owner of the spaniels got to the point that he simply opened the door to his cabin, let the dogs out, and watched them race to the lake while he sat on the porch enjoying an adult beverage. So much for the leash rule.Waldo can't swim. French bulldogs are not built for swimming. They sink like rocks. So Waldo walked on the beach and gazed out at the lake, but he was wise enough to know that he shouldn't go in the water. He did, however, thoroughly enjoy the two-mile walk down the road every morning. So many smells to consider. As expected, Waldo went off his food the first couple days. By day three, he was hungry and ate a hearty breakfast. His appetite was on and off during the entire week, but nothing to make me worry.We tried to abide by the “no bed” rule, but by the middle of our vacation, Waldo was sleeping with me. Now I know why the resort charges extra for pets. We did, however, crate Waldo whenever we left him in the cabin unsupervised. It was really more for Waldo's safety than anything else. We didn't want him slipping out the door when the housekeeper came in each day.We thoroughly enjoyed traveling with Waldo. He doesn't get car sick. He doesn't bounce around or bark. He is a quiet, pleasant companion. If you're planning to travel with your dog, I would advise that you make sure it's crate trained, knows how to ride quietly in the car, and that your destination is pet friendly. With all that in place, you'll have a great time.Diane Laratta is the owner/operator of Hollowell Dog Training in Elida. Questions about dog behavior and/or training may be emailed to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By April Shattuck When I was a child, I remember watching “Cujo,” a movie about a St. Bernard that contracts rabies and conducts a reign of terror on a small American town. As a horror fan, I avidly read and watched Stephen King's works. “Cujo,” however, was more terrifying than any of his other novels. Unlike a ghost-ridden hotel or an American Indian burial site for pets, a dog with rabies wasn't as far-fetched and does happen. In fact, 55,000 people worldwide die from rabies each year, a rate of one person every 10 minutes. The greatest number of deaths occurs in Asia and Africa, with approximately 50 percent of those deaths in victims under the age of 15. Exposure to rabid dogs is still the cause of more than 90 percent of human exposures to rabies and of more than 99 percent of human deaths worldwide. Majority of these deaths occur in underdeveloped countries where there is inadequate public health resources and limited access to preventative programs. Rabies is shed through the saliva of an infected animal and then spread through a bite wound. Once introduced, the virus travels through the nervous system eventually infecting the brain. Initially, the bite wound may seem tingly and itchy. Flu-like symptoms follow with symptoms of fever, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. As the disease progresses to the brain, people show irritability, aggression, hallucinations, sensitivity to light or sound, weakness, paralysis and seizures. The individual will find it difficult to swallow and have increase salivation and/or tearing. Paralysis will continue through the remainder of the body, resulting in coma and death.Infected animals will have a similar progression of the disease. The animal may hide more, behave different, run a fever or have a lack in appetite. After about a week, the pet may enter the furious phase (popular public view of rabies) where they are extremely agitated and attack anything that moves. Not all animals go through the furious phase but skip it and go into the paralytic phase. In this phase, they have difficulty swallowing, drool excessively and, in dogs, have a dropped lower jaw.In the U.S., rabies has changed dramatically over the last 100 years, due in part to rabies testing and vaccination programs. Before 1960, majority of rabies cases were reported in domestic animals, whereas 90 percent of cases reported yearly now are found in wildlife. The number of rabies-related deaths has declined from more than 100 annually to just two or three per year now. Those individuals die due to lack of quick treatment, most likely because they didn't even know they had been exposed. Make no mistake: rabies is present in Ohio! Every year, about 50 animals are confirmed with rabies. In 2010, two bats tested positive for the rabies virus in Hardin County. Raccoons, bats and skunks are the most common wildlife to carry rabies in the state of Ohio, but any mammal is susceptible to the virus if exposed. This is why vaccination of domestic pets is so important. Rabies is 100 percent preventable! Surprisingly, many people do not vaccinate their pets to this deadly disease. Even if your pet lives exclusively indoors, he/she needs to be vaccinated against rabies. Exposure to wildlife, although slim, is still possible. Bats can enter homes through your chimney, and raccoons can make their home in your basement or attic. Are you willing to gamble the safety of your family? Secondly, if your pet bites a person, the county health department will enquire about your pets' rabies vaccination status. A few weeks ago, I revisited my childhood and watched “Cujo” again. This movie is not for kids! It was just as terrifying and as intense as the first time I saw it, but I slept better knowing that my pets were vaccinated against rabies. How will you sleep tonight?In Support of World Rabies Day (Sept. 28), Delphos Animal Hospital is hosting a Rabies Vaccine Clinic from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday. We will be offering rabies vaccinations for dogs, cats, ferrets and horses for $15. Microchipping will also be available. Walk-ins welcome.
I wasn’t completely honest in my Mother’s Day column about the orphan lambs. Three significant players were deliberately left out.Apparently, some readers think my stories are too sad. At least that’s the feedback I get. That particular column wasn’t a sad one, although mention of those lambs might have taken it that direction. Still, their story deserves to be told. Pam had her twin boys on a Friday night, uneventfully, except that there was more vaginal bleeding than normal. The next morning I found her down and unable to rise, but her gums were a normal pink color. Occasionally, a ewe will develop milk fever, a common condition of dairy cows. Pam was treated for that, but an hour later she was gone.Bad things rarely happen at a good time, and this was no exception. Lambing season this year overlapped both Dr. Sara’s and Dr. April’s maternity leaves, so it was a bit stressful at times; Saturdays and Tuesdays were the worst. Short on time, I left the lambs in the pen with the dead ewe. There was a chill in the air that March morning and she was, after all, still warm.As I was finishing my chores, another discovery was made — a little lamb alone in a corner, cold and depressed, with the unmistakable look that she was thinking of leaving the living world.She was the victim of one of those “squirrelly” ewes I wrote about, number 850. This ewe loved one of her lambs, but only tolerated the other. If the loved lamb was nursing, the second lamb could steal some, but never was she allowed to nurse by herself. Even more heartbreaking, the little lamb was never allowed to lay by her mother. She sometimes rested by her sister, but more often than not, had to sleep by herself.This lamb was watched closely for the first few days after her family was turned out with the flock, and I thought she was doing OK. Evidently, I was wrong. Now out of time, I put her in the pen with the boys and their dead mother, split a bottle between the three, and went to the office. Returning that afternoon, I found the boys still snuggled by their mom, along with their new sister. When I realized that this was the first time the little ewe lamb lay close to a mother, even a dead one, as a purveyor of sad, I have to say, that was a “lump in the throat” moment.After I removed the ewe, the lambs didn’t make a fuss. They went back to their warm spot and hunkered together against the cold. In spite of their shaky start, however, the lambs didn’t give up, formed new bonds and a new family, and survived. Contrary to what most think about sheep, these lambs had a real will to live. I had a feeling I would write about them. I just didn’t know how or when.During the recent Allen County Fair, I had a chance to visit with a young man who truly exemplifies the word “courage.” His name is Andy Kennedy.I have known Andy and his family for several years. They raise sheep on their farm south of Lima, and Andy helped me show my sheep at one of our first fairs.We were watching the Born and Raised in Allen County Market Lamb Show, and several lambs that Andy raised were in the show and doing extremely well. During our lively discussion about the lambs — I thought they looked nice, Andy was a bit of a critic — I accidentally bumped one of his levers. Andy, you see, uses a wheelchair. Nearly six years ago at the age of 17, he was seriously injured in a truck accident. Facing a devastating adversity that most people fear, like the lambs, Andy didn’t give up, but fought back and triumphed. He continues to help with the family sheep, was a superintendent in the sheep department at the fair, and recently received a degree in accounting.Surprisingly, Andy expressed some reservation about his career choice. “What would you rather be?” I asked.“A math teacher,” Andy replied.“Then be a math teacher,” I replied somewhat cavalierly. Of course, I knew it wouldn’t be that easy, plus the thought of more education at this time seemed daunting to Andy. “Substitute!” I countered.If that is what he really wants to do, if I were a school superintendent, I would hire Andy Kennedy every day I could. He’ll not only teach the kids about math, he’ll teach them much, much more about life. He’s already done that for me.Dr. John H. Jones operates a mixed animal practice in Delphos with his wife, Dr. Bonnie Jones.
Kathy BabbittRecently, I got to have first-hand accounts from a several veterinarian involved in tornado outbreaks. The amount of devastation is amazing but so is the community effort to take care of the residents and their pets. Event though many of the veterinarians in the area had their own clinics destroyed, some even lost family members, they came together to take care of the needs of pets. They, with the help of other disaster rescue organizations, built a makeshift hospital, supplied it and staffed it. These accounts made via mobile phone in the first few days made me think about how we would handle such a disaster. I encourage everyone to have a disaster plan and to practice that plan so that you can be ready.For many reasons animals are not allowed into public emergency relief sites. Being prepared and having arrangements before a disaster occurs can prevent you from having to leave your pet at home.The first thing is to make sure your pet has a form of permanent identification. The only permanent ID forms available are either tattoo or microchips. Collars and tags can be lost or removed making it difficult to reunite owners. In addition, your pet may no longer recognize you and you may not recognize your pet. Microchips are easy to implant and the number can be registered with several national databases. This allows for easy return to the owner. Many veterinarians carry and can implant microchips in a simple office visit. The Humane Society of the United States secondly recommends you put together a disaster supply kit. Into a waterproof box, place three to seven days worth of your pets food, medications, extra leash and collar, a recent photo kept in a sealed plastic bag, veterinary records, and litter and litter box (for cats). The food should either be in easy flip top cans or include a can opener. In addition, the group recommends having a carrier for each of your pets. Cat carriers should be big enough to include a small litter box, food, water and bedding. By having this all ready to go your pet can be transferred to an emergency care facility and be taken care of easily.Make sure to update your box as needed and rotate the food so that it does not spoil. If your pet has a medication that needs to be kept cold, you can use small plastic baggies filled with ice from the Red Cross during the disaster. Having a buddy system can also be useful. This should be a person that you can rely on to take care of your pets in an emergency if you are not home. You can also include additional tags in your supply box with alternative caretakers names and phone numbers if you can not be located.When leaving your home because of a disaster do not leave your pets behind. This even includes when you are being evacuated for only a small amount of time. The severity of the disaster changes quickly and you may not be allowed back in to get your pets. It is also important that if you are sheltering in place to bring outside animals inside as animals will often hide when scared.Unfortunately, sometimes even with good planning, your pet may need to stay home alone for a while. It is recommended to have a supply of dry food, even if it is not what you pet normally eats, and leave a two-to-three-day supply in a sturdy container that cannot be knocked over. Also, leave water in a similar container. Larger dogs can get water from a partially filled bathtub. You can leave a faucet dripping into a container for a continual supply.It is recommended to confine the pet into the safest room in the house such as a bathroom or basement. Other animals such as birds, reptiles and small mammals should also be moved. Birds should be moved in sturdy carriers. Line the carrier with paper towels or absorbent padding, mist the bird with water several times a day, and feed fruits high in water. Small mammals should be moved in housing or carriers that allow for normal bedding, food, water and comfort. Snakes can be transported in pillow cases and transferred to other housing once at the evacuation site. Reptiles can be transported in sturdy carriers. Make sure to bring a bowl big enough for soaking, a heating pad and food.Being prepared in a disaster can make your pet more comfortable and make sure that you and your pet can be reunited. Following simple plans and practicing those plans will make an emergency situation much easier.
It happened when I wasn't looking. I woke up one morning and Dhugal, my perpetually youthful Airedale Terrier, was an old dog. This is a dog that is full of enthusiasm, living every moment to its fullest. I was aware of his chronological age; I just didn't think he'd ever act it. Dhugal is pretty healthy except for a significant heart murmur. He used to practically turn cartwheels when it was time for his daily run around the hayfield, but now I find that on these hot days he would rather find a cool spot in the house where he can lie down and meditate. He's also lost his old rock-hard physique and put on a bit of weight, but haven't we all.One thing that annoys the heck out of me is the hysterical fit he has whenever he spots a cat or other animal from the sunroom windows. The biggest insult to his terrier sensibilities is seeing a great blue heron on the pond. Ever the hunting dog, even if it's all in his mind, he isn't going to let these giant birds go unannounced. Lately I've actually seen him choose to ignore at least the less exciting visiting critters.Dhugal has always been the dominant dog in the household, but second-in-rank Barney the Shih Tzu has been intensifying his efforts to take over as alpha dog recently. That's just not going to happen while my good old Goobie Dog is still here. Dhugal has always been pretty tolerant of my two Shih Tzu boys and my Lab mix. But Barney may push him a bit too hard some day, so I have to keep a close eye on their interactions.Dhugal came to me as a surprise gift 10 years ago. Friends and I flew up to Edmonton to see and evaluate his litter. My friends owned the sire of the puppies, and I was accompanying them to do puppy aptitude testing. They made the show picks, and I ran a series of tests on all of the pups determining which would be likely to excel in hunting, obedience trials, agility or other performance fields. Dhugal was my personal favorite. That was a memorable time for both good and horrible reasons. The good was obvious — Dhugal. The bad was the timing. Our flight to Canada had been scheduled for Sept. 12, 2001. The terrible events of Sept. 11 made that impossible. We were finally able to fly up to Canada a week later. In fact, we were on the first flight out of Cincinnati airport after the skies had been reopened. The tragic events brought out the best in many people. Airport workers and the flight crew treated the few passengers on that flight like first-class royalty. The Canadians greeted us with heartfelt sorrow over the terrorist attacks and a warm welcome.A month later Dhugal was sent to me and our life together began. He took to obedience and field training easily, but after a while he began to show signs of gunshyness. That ended his future as a hunting Airedale, but that was OK with me. His retriever training has been put to good use — he loves to pick up and carry plastic water bottles to my recycling bins and to retrieve socks from the floor and things from the pond. Whenever he caught rabbits that stupidly wandered into range, he would promptly retrieve them to me. Not my idea of a great gift, but it was sure better than having him run off to crunch on the things! Dhugal was also considered to be one of the picks for a career as a show dog, but his curled tail, reminiscent of the tail on an Elsie the Cow creamer, kept him out of the show ring. That was OK, too. Nobody will ever be able to convince me he isn't an extremely handsome dog.I used to fantasize about Dhugal acting more mature and about how much easier things would be in my home if he were a bit more sedate, but now that he's settled into the role of canine senior citizen I don't think I'm ready for him to be on the downhill side of life. I'll continue to treasure my time with him and try to be patient with his occasional outbursts of over-enthusiasm because I know how much I'll miss him when he's gone.You're a good boy, Goobie.Dorothy Miner is a long-time dog trainer, obedience and tracking instructor and judge of canine events. She is a published author and contributes regular columns to several dog publications. Dorothy currently teaches at the Hollowell Academy of Dog Training and, along with Diane Laratta, teaches weekly classes for the Allen Correctional Institution's PETS Program.
By Diane LarattaAfter watching several episodes of a popular TV program about changing a dog’s behavior, some folks may believe that there is no such thing as a dog with a temperament so bad that it should be euthanized. After all, if the guy or gal on television can waltz into a home and turn a bad dog into a seemingly wonderful pet, why can’t every dog be rehabilitated by any trainer?In my opinion, some dogs are born with a genetic propensity for aggression. They are just plain nasty. They may not start out appearing to be aggressive, but somewhere between 16 and 24 months, they change and their true colors emerge. We’ve seen it in our classes. A delightful puppy sails through puppy kindergarten, does well in beginner’s obedience, and even manages to pass its canine good citizen class. Six months to a year later, we get a phone call from the owner describing a completely different dog. What happened?If the dog did not suffer any abuse, trauma and is healthy, nothing the owner did changed this dog. What happened is that it matured and the genes it inherited are now being exhibited.The owner probably missed the warning signs, as they can be subtle. The dog may have growled a few times and the owner dismissed the behavior, sometimes even calling it “talking” instead of what it really was, a warning from the dog. The owner may have made excuses for the dog’s increasingly aggressive behavior. Instead of seeking help from an animal behavior specialist, the owner may try to avoid circumstances that make the dog aggressive. I know people who can’t walk into their kitchen once they set their dog’s food bowl down because the dog gets “funny” while it’s eating. I know other people who have to stay on “their side of the bed” because their dog claimed the other side as its own. It amazes me that people will live with a dog exhibiting this kind of behavior. This type of dog is a ticking time bomb. Given the right trigger, it will bite. Small dogs get away with a whole lot more attitude than the bigger guys. I suppose it’s because a small dog is unlikely to severely injury someone, sending them to the hospital. But they can still inflict enough damage to cause pain and require stitches. Small dogs tend to get a lot of pampering and attention. They begin to think they’re equal to or better than their owners! Let a small dog with aggressive tendencies get to the point that it’s running the household, well, let’s just say, you have a recipe for disaster. Can an aggressive dog make a good pet? Perhaps — in certain circumstances. It takes an experienced dog person to deal with this type of dog. The dog can be managed, and this is a lifelong commitment. There is no time that the owner can let their guard down. When guests are in the house, the dog must be crated or put in a place from which he cannot escape and no one can accidentally get to him. Many years ago, I recall a show dog that retired from the show ring after winning many Best In Shows. The dog was sleeping in the foyer when an elderly adult member of the family accidentally tripped over the dog. The result was disastrous. The dog killed the human. A judge ruled that the dog be euthanized. Yes, you guessed it, the owners did not want to do that and appealed the decision. They agreed to have all the dog’s teeth pulled and to put the dog in a secure place whenever guests were in the house. Some people will go to any lengths to keep their dog regardless of its temperament. I am not one of those people. I have had dogs euthanized for exhibiting aggressive behavior. It is not something I want to live with, and I don’t want to put any one else at risk. How do you avoid buying or adopting a dog with a bad temperament? If you’re buying a purebred dog, go to a reputable breeder. See the parents of the puppy. If they have a good temperament and are living in the breeder’s home and are well socialized, chances are the pup will have a stable temperament. Adopting a dog presents many challenges. If you are adopting from a good rescue agency, they will have temperament tested any dog prior to putting it up for adoption. But remember, dogs living in humane societies and other rescue agencies are under stress. They may have been stray, living on the street, or they may have been rehomed several times. We don’t know what baggage a rescued dog may bring into a home. Be vigilant, cautious, and watch the dog’s body language. If you’re gut feeling is that something isn’t right, take the dog back as soon as possible. There are many, many wonderful dogs that need a home. Adopt one of them!Diane Laratta owns and operates the Hollowell Academy of Dog Training. Questions regarding training or behavior may be emailed to her at email@example.com.
Dr. April ShattuckThis time of year families are increasingly active and spending more time outdoors enjoying all that summer has to offer. With this comes the chance of encountering wildlife and potentially wildlife orphans. Most people are good-hearted and want to help these little creatures by rescuing them, raising them as pets or attempting to re-release them into the wild. Before you decide to bring those adorable critters into your home, there are a few things you should know.Native wildlife are protected, and therefore illegal to possess unless you have a permit from the Division of Wildlife. Wildlife may only be purchased from a legal propagator who has a license to breed these animals in captivity and can confirm that they are free of diseases. These laws are in place for your safety as well as that of the animals.Not only is it illegal to bring these animals into your home, they are extremely difficult to care for. I remember when I was a teenager, running over a nest of wild rabbits with the riding lawn mower. After the guilt subsided, our family felt obligated to care for the four younglings. Despite our best efforts, all but one died, most likely due to the stress of handling and inappropriate care.Looking back, we did a huge disservice to those little rabbits by not leaving them alone. The best option would have been to move the baby rabbits to a safer, hidden area on our property. Despite moving the nest and leaving our scent on them, the mother rabbit would have returned to feed them in the evening. Wildlife parents are devoted to their young and rarely abandon them, unless the parent is injured or dead. The lonely fawn hidden in the grass, the single gosling in the pond, or the baby bird fallen out of the tree are not necessarily abandoned. Doe leave their fawns hidden to protect them, geese will return if a gosling straggles behind, and a mother bird will still feed a fledgling on the ground. Unless you notice the animal is injured with a broken wing or leg, or has a wound or is bleeding, please leave these animals alone.By handling these animals, you also put yourself at risk of the diseases they may carry. Rabies is a serious, real threat in Ohio that can affect any mammal, including people and domestic pets. Raccoons, skunks and bats are the most common wildlife to carry and transmit rabies in Ohio. If you notice an animal acting strangely (confused, aggression without provocation, or wandering during the day), these animals may be sick and should not be handled. Call the Sherriff's office where they will have an updated list of nuisance trappers in your county. Raccoons commonly carry an intestinal roundworm called Baylisascaris procyonis. These worms are transferrable to humans, especially children, where it may cause blindness, central nervous system damage and death. Other diseases wildlife may carry are distemper, leptospirosis, salmonella, cryptosporidium, in addition to ticks and fleas. All of these diseases and parasites are very dangerous to you and your pets. There are ways you can prevent orphaning wildlife. Control and leash your pets so they do not attack wild animals. Educate your children to respect wildlife, leaving them in their habitat and not harassing them. Check trees and brush for nests before cutting them down. Cover chimneys, window wells and vents to prevent animals from nesting there. Lastly, exercise caution when driving, especially at dawn and dusk. If you find an injured wild animal or know for a fact that an animal has been orphaned, contact the Allen County Wildlife Officer, Craig Barr, at 419-429-8379. If possible, do not handle the animal to prevent injury to yourself and to avoid stressing the animal. If you must move the animal to a safer spot, wear gloves and place it in a warm, dark area until the animal can be transferred to the custody of a wildlife rehabilitator. Do not plan on raising these orphans on your own. Wild animals require special care and feeding that is beyond what the average household is capable of providing. Only a licensed wildlife rehabilitator can legally care for native wildlife animals. Leave it to the professionals to decide what the best course of action should be for the animal, which may not include any human involvement. Humans should always be considered a young wild animal's last hope for survival, not its best hope. List of wildlife rehabilitatorsCathy Heistand — reptiles and amphibians, 419-339-1188Laura Daggerhart — orphan squirrels and rabbits only, 513-875-3433Elizabeth Ross — endangered birds of prey, 937-767-7648Nancy Mabrey — neonate (newborn) mammals, 419-673-1977Kelly Rowland — mammals only, 419-509-8283Dr. April Shattuck works part-time at Delphos Animal Hospital.
Dr. John H. JonesOn Friday, July 1, 2011, I made a decision that, hopefully, will impact the lives of my wife and me, our employees, and our pet family as well, for at least the next 15 years.I adopted a puppy.I have another big revelation. Back in April, I watched the royal wedding. Normally, my Welsh blood has given me an inherent genetic disdain for the British monarchy, but I’ve always felt a certain kinship with Prince Charles. We both enjoy agricultural pursuits, we were both spoiled as youngsters, and the way things look now, it is unlikely that either of us will ever be king.So I watched his son marry. What I remember most about the whole affair, though, was a quote that was attributed to William’s grandmother. I’m not sure if the commentator meant the Queen or Diana’s mother. That part is really irrelevant. It is what she told her grandson after the death of his mother that was profound: “Grief is the price we pay for love.”For those who sometimes have trouble following my line of reasoning, and I don’t blame you, that is how the puppy and the royal wedding are related.In January, our beloved Welsh Corgi, Bunny, died from kidney failure. Although it was my idea to adopt her as a puppy, she quickly became Bonnie’s dog.My wife spends way too much time at the office, and Bunny was her constant companion. I know the empty spot by her desk, and the empty spot on her passenger seat pale in comparison to the empty spot in her heart. I know, because I felt the same way after my dog, Chrissy, died in 2001.It was three years before Robbie came into my life. I met her for the first time when she was 4 weeks old, and all it took was one lick on my nose to start the healing process. Three years was too long to wait, but was five months long enough?Of course, everyone was thrilled with my decision. Well, at least the employees were. The rest of the aforementioned family, Bonnie and the pets, not so much.Bonnie knew the puppy that would become our new addition was coming to the office that morning. One of our clients who is a friend of the puppy’s breeder, was bringing her own Corgi for a toenail trim and offered to bring the puppy for us to see.I begged and pleaded with Bonnie. If you don’t want the puppy, tell me “no!” If “no” means “no,” then tell me “no!” She couldn’t tell me “no.” She couldn’t tell me “yes” either. The decision to adopt this puppy would be mine and mine alone.Marriage is a tricky thing. Once the deal was sealed, apparently she could have told me “no.” For most of the rest of the day, I think I would have rather faced the Spanish Inquisition.“You don’t know anything about this puppy! You don’t know the breeder. Were the parents’ hips X-rayed? Were their eyes certified? Were they screened for von Willebrand Disease? Yada, yada, yada.” She didn’t actually say “yada, yada, yada,” but at that point, that’s all I heard.“She licked my nose,” was the only response I could muster.In my defense, however, unless actual genetic testing is performed, most of these screening tests don’t carry much weight. The way recessive genes work, the parents can test fine, and the offspring can still be lemons. Like I said, she licked my nose. She was worth taking a chance.Bonnie didn’t even like the name I chose — Molly. “Everybody names their pet that,” she said. That’s not quite true. A quick computer check revealed that only 91 Mollys have crossed our threshold over the last 10 years. I guess that is quite a few.Another thing I learned that afternoon is how much I forgot about how much work a new puppy is. The little rascal had to pee every 15 minutes. And the poop — that was far more than she ate. How can that be? And the constant monitoring. By 8:30 that evening, I was exhausted and could barely eat my supper.That’s when I was finally shown some mercy. Bonnie took Molly to “potty outside.” They were gone a long time. I’m not sure what all went on, and I even peeked once. But, when they returned, Molly had a new name, Betsy Louise, and Bonnie had the makings of a new best friend.As I write this on the Fourth of July, four days with Betsy have shown us that although grief is a high price to pay, it is still a bargain.Dr. John H. Jones operates a mixed animal practice in Delphos.
Chad HigginsIt is time for my annual headache as I try to decide which of the many good flea products to carry and recommend for my patients. Some of the older products definitely don’t work as well as newer products. Any product that works to kill adult fleas will eventually not work as well. Fleas, like all other insects, know how to adapt. Any insecticide used year after year will eventually produce a population of insects resistant to it. A recent example would be Frontline, which for many years was a great flea product. A couple of years ago I had several clients using it that developed a severe flea problem. Any insecticide that kills adult fleas will eventually produce fleas that are resistant to it. As I was working on trying to decide which flea products to carry and recommend, I was reminded of an “old” product that has been around for many years. It works just as well as it always has because it is extremely unlikely fleas will become resistant to it. I have stressed repeatedly that fleas can develop resistance to any product that kills adult fleas. This older product doesn’t kill adult fleas.Sentinel is a monthly pill for dogs that contains two products. Milbemycin oxime works great as a heartworm prevention, but also controls roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. The other product is lufenuron which suppresses flea populations by breaking their reproductive cycles. This is why it would be extremely hard to develop resistance to it. If it stops reproduction, fleas can’t be produced that are resistant to it. Lufenuron breaks the flea life cycle at a couple of different points. It only needs to break the life cycle at one point to prevent a flea infestation, but the fact that it breaks the life cycle at two points makes it extremely effective to treat an environment already infected.Lufenuron works by inhibiting the development of chitin. Chitin is the hard, crunchy, outer, protective covering of insects. When you give your dog Sentinel monthly to prevent a flea problem, it works by making certain that if a flea gets on your dog it can’t reproduce. In order to reproduce a flea must take a blood meal which will contain the lufenuron. Eggs can be produced and fall off the dog into the environment, but that is where the cycle stops. In order for the larvae to get out of the eggs they need to use an egg tooth to break through the shell. It just so happens that the egg tooth is normally made of chitin. No chitin means no egg tooth. Eventually the egg just dies. If you already have a flea infestation, it isn’t too late for Sentinel. Using Sentinel along with a product to kill adult fleas is the fastest way to get the problem under control. Studies show that even in severe flea infestations, use of Sentinel monthly along with a product to kill the adult fleas will control the situation within eight weeks. Sentinel not only will prevent any newly produced eggs from hatching as described previously, but it also kills the larval stage of the flea. The larvae must feed on the dried blood (flea dirt) fleas produce when they get on a dog, and this dried blood contains lufenuron. The larvae are covered in chitin for protection and when they can no longer produce it, they die. So in infestations, where eggs and larvae make up 85 percent of the total flea infestation, Sentinel will stop all of these future fleas from becoming adults and reproducing.Using Sentinel for flea control is 100 percent effective at preventing a flea infestation. Although a dog may pick up some “hitchhiker” fleas, your home will be protected from an infestation and you can control the “hitchhikers” with an occasional dose of one of the many products that kill adult fleas. Using these products only when needed will also make it much harder for fleas to develop resistance to them. Sentinel is also less expensive than the other flea products, especially when you take into account that you don’t need to buy heartworm prevention since it is included in the Sentinel.For all of the cat owners out there who feel left out, lufenuron is available for cats in an injection called Program that lasts for six months. Although it doesn’t protect against heartworms and intestinal parasites like some of the other cat flea products, it will prevent a flea infested house. Ask your veterinarian about Sentinel for dogs and Program for cats. They are two oldies, but goodies.Chad Higgins has owned Amanda Animal Hospital for the past 14 years. He sees dogs, cats, ferrets and other little furry critters.
Dorothy MinerNot too long ago I adopted a wonderful dog from Allen Correctional Institution’s PETS Program. During Kiri’s first month with me she was on her best behavior. Almost every dog goes through a honeymoon period after going to a new home. Formerly homeless dogs like Kiri know they have a good thing going and they aren’t about to mess it up. Eventually the honeymoon ends and the dog will start to behave in its more typical fashion. I was sure when I adopted Kiri that there wouldn’t be any insurmountable problems, and that’s still true. Most of her habits are cute quirks, but some are a pain in the sit-down. One odd behavior is that she won’t drink out of any of the water bowls in my house. She much prefers puddles to nice, clean water bowls. I wonder if puddles were her only access to water in her previous life. The problem with puddles here is that they can contain runoff from my livestock pasture or chicken yard and from my neighbors’ herd of cattle — not exactly great for the digestive tract! I finally solved that problem by leaving a large pan of water outdoors, with a few leaves floating in it. I hope when summer finally arrives and the puddles dry up Kiri will drink from the bowls in the house like the rest of my canine crew.Housetraining became a problem, which was a surprise to me until I gave it some thought. In prison, her schedule was regimented and her inmate handler’s job was to instruct her in the fine art of being a housepet. She had regularly scheduled potty times during her stay there. The cell she shared with her handler and his cellmate was very small, and it was easy for them to keep an eye on her. She was crated when they were not with her. My house has plenty of places to sneak a quick “drop” out of my sight when the weather is bad. This was proving pretty frustrating until I decided to listen to the advice I give my training clients: Restrict freedom when I can’t watch her, take her out frequently and praise her for performing, and use a cleaner formulated remove pet stains and odors in the house. Staying with her until I actually saw her do her business was important. Kiri is a very busy dog and it only took a minute for her to forget the main reason I put her outside. She has to do the bug inventory, chase the Shih Tzus, and rearrange her collection of sticks. By the time she’s finished with these chores, she’s completely forgotten about her potty duties. I sure hope she gets past this stage quickly because I feel like an idiot standing out in the yard swatting mosquitoes and repeating “go potty-potty” over and over again until she finally does. She’s also a bit of a loudmouth, is too interested in my chickens, occasionally goes deaf when I call her, and is a bit of a termite. I guess since I named her after an operatic soprano I should expect that she’d want to live up to the name! She’s learning not to sing when I leave the house now. Before we reach the last leg of our run around my field I clip her leash back on her collar — long before she remembers my chickens and heads off into a stone-deaf run to check them out. And we’re doing lots of Coming When Called practice. As for being a termite — she originally contented herself with chewing the corners of magazines or stealing stuff from my bucket of recyclables until she discovered the joy of unraveling a rug. Once again I’m taking the advice I give others: Keep an eye on her and confine her out of the way of temptation when I can’t watch her. Use one of the bitter sprays formulated to discourage chewing by making objects on which they are applied taste horrible. Provide her with a variety of inviting doggie chew toys.Kiri is an adolescent and is still testing her limits. When she matures she will be the perfect dog. Up until then, she’ll still be perfect as long as I keep a close eye on her, know what to expect, and keep up on the training. And I’m developing a lot more sympathy for some of my students in the process.Dorothy Miner is a long-time dog trainer, obedience and tracking instructor and judge of canine events. Dorothy currently teaches at the Hollowell Academy of Dog Training and, along with Diane Laratta, teaches weekly classes for the Allen Correctional Institution’s PETS Program.
Diane LarattaSusie was teaching her new puppy to sit on command. Using a tiny treat, she showed it to the puppy, and then slowly raised it just above the puppy’s head. When the puppy looked up to follow the treat, his butt went down and he went into a sit. Susie said the word “sit” as the puppy’s bottom settled into a sit and rewarded the puppy with a treat. After a couple days, Susie said the word “sit” and the puppy promptly went into a sit! It tickled Susie so much that she wanted to show off the puppy’s new command to her husband. “Steve, come here. Bosco knows how to sit!” Suddenly Susie remembered that she had forgotten to praise Bosco for sitting. Susie looked down and said “Good boy, Bosco,” and she gave him a treat. Unfortunately for Susie, Bosco didn’t have a clue that he was being rewarded for sitting. Instead, Bosco thought he was being rewarded for scratching, because while Susie was calling her husband, Bosco had an itch and was busy scratching when Susie said “good boy.” Scratching was the last thing Bosco was doing when he was praised, so he connected the praise to the scratching. When training a dog, timing is everything! Great trainers praise and correct immediately. When the dog does something wrong, and they catch it in the act, they correct promptly. The correction may be verbal, “quiet” or “no bark” or it may be a spritz of water from a squirt bottle as they say, “no chew.” It might be a slight collar correction, “no bite.” But it’s done as the dog is in the midst of the unacceptable behavior — not 10 or 20 seconds afterwards. When the owner of a dog walks into a room, all too often he sees something the dog has destroyed ... a couch pillow or a pair of shoes. The deed was done 30 minutes earlier, but the angry owner feels he must let the dog know that it did something wrong. The owner might take the dog over to the debris and say, “Look what you did! Bad dog!” And the dog responds by hanging its head and lowering its tail. “See, he knows he did wrong,” exclaims the owner. Yes. The dog knows he is in trouble, but he has no clue why. What should the owner have done when he entered the room and saw the damage? The best thing would be to quietly clean it up and resolve not to leave the shoes on the floor or pillows on the couch until the dog was trained to leave them alone.The same rule applies to praising a dog. It has to be done immediately! Because as Susie found out when she praised Bosco, what you think you’re praising the dog for may be something totally different than what the dog thinks he’s getting rewarded for.Every interaction we have with our dog teaches it something. If we open the refrigerator and get out a slice of cheese to munch on and we give a piece to the dog, the next time we open the refrigerator the dog will be right there expecting a piece of cheese. When we’re in the vet’s office with our dog and he’s acting a little nervous, if we pet the dog to soothe its anxiety, we’re actually reinforcing its fears and making matters worse. Dogs don’t think about some things the way humans think about them.While we’re on the subject of training, remember that commands should be given once and if the dog doesn’t obey, the owner should reinforce. Never give a command you can’t reinforce. If you taught the dog to sit and you’re sure he knows what “sit” means, if he doesn’t sit when you give the command, you should put him in a sit — immediately. Not 10 or 20 seconds later. And if you’re in the habit of repeating commands, “Sit, sit, sit, Bosco, please sit,” the dog starts to understand that the command for sit is you saying it four or five times and probably raising your voice as you do it. In other words, you get what you train.Understanding how your dog thinks is very important to raising a great canine companion. Dog obedience classes can be very helpful to training and raising a good dog as good instructors explain the reasons behind your dog’s behavior.Diane Laratta has been actively involved in the sport of purebred dogs for over 35 years. She owns and operates The Hollowell Academy of Dog Training & Grooming. Questions concerning choosing a dog or about dog training/behavior may be sent to her at 201 E. Kiracofe, Elida, OH 45807 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whenever I meet new people, my eyes are immediately drawn to their teeth. Come on, we all have our particular traits that we notice about others — the hair, the eyes, the fingernails … need I go on? I obtained my dental awareness honestly, as my father, uncle and sister are all dentists. They get to see a broad spectrum of human patients, from those who take immaculate care of their pearly whites, to those who likely never brush their teeth.
As spring approaches, the weather will warm and the mosquitoes will soon begin to swarm.
As I consider the patients that I see in the course of a day, I am reminded that dermatology, the study of skin, is a significant portion of my career. In fact, skin is the largest organ of the body, making it appropriate for dermatology to be at the forefront of my work.
I will not claim to be the biggest George Carlin fan. But I do have one of his books. I am not exactly certain as to how I have one of his books, but I do. I think my mom gave it to me when I was in veterinary school. It was probably one of those "what do you get the smart-aleck college kid who thinks he knows everything?" kind of gifts. The title of the book is "Braindroppings," so I can understand her reasoning.
I lost my draft horse mentor a few weeks ago when my friend Paul Loyer passed away. Paul and a small group of breeders like him, the Amish, and Anheuser-Busch, kept the draft horse industry alive during the lean years of the ‘50s and ‘60s, so people like me could later enjoy them.
Many dog owners have a strong affection for the larger dog breeds. For some, the bigger the better is the rule. Besides having a higher grocery bill, large and giant breed dogs are unique in another way. Lima Police K-9 Officer Aron reminded me of this recently when he developed a life-threatening emergency one evening.
Hold up, James Bond! You may have a license to pill, but before you pull the trigger on that vaccine, ask yourself a few questions.
By Nathan Metz Jim Croce made those words “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” famous in 1973. The lyrics to the song span many generations from the young to the not so young. The song tells of known criminal Leroy Brown, the “baddest man in the whole darn town.” Brown made a pass at a pretty married woman, and her husband beat him up in a bar brawl. Even though Jim Croce wrote those lyrics before my time, his words now have made a huge impact on my life. Leroy Brown entered our lives on Valentine’s Day. His story is not one of lustful eyes and a testosterone-driven fight, but of pain and perseverance. On Valentine’s morning, our office received a call about a beagle that had been attacked by, possibly, another dog. Upon physical exam, Leroy presented recumbent and lifeless. As we reviewed the extent of his injuries, we could tell Leroy was in desperate need of medical attention. He had injuries that I, with years of experience, could almost not bear to fathom. His face had almost been chewed off, he had multiple lacerations on his back, and he was missing both of his back feet. The teeth marks were not those of another canine, but of a very close relative, a raccoon. As much as we can gather from the evidence, we assume that Leroy, holding to his name, tried to battle his raccoon intruder in order to save his meal. The raccoon so viciously attacked his face and back that Leroy probably went into shock and was left for dead. At that point the raccoon claimed his prize and began to make a meal out of our Leroy starting with both of his hind feet. One can hardly imagine the torture and agony he went through, at the age of only 7 weeks. We admitted Leroy to our clinic and began fluids and medications to help with the pain and shock. During that long day, Leroy began to stabilize and seemed to have a will to live. As the day drew longer, and the fluids he received drew greater, he had to relieve his bladder. Instead of just going on himself and on his bed — which almost anyone would do — instead he got up out of his bed and walked on his two bloody stumps to go to the bathroom across the room. I looked at my employees and told them that dog will not die today. His owners called later that day and decided, for numerous reasons, that Leroy would be better off in our care. At that point, they signed Leroy over to Metz Petz. The story of recovery did not end there for Leroy. He had to have his dressings changed daily for more than four weeks. His daily routine included three to five minute soaks in warm water to help the dying tissue fall off. He had to wear bandages packed with sugar and iodine to stimulate healthy tissue to regrow to cover the exposed bone on his hind limbs. His face and nose eventually fell off one day, and we had to perform surgery on his left leg to reattach his Achilles’ tendon to the bone. The raccoon had chewed through it. At this point, one might ask, why was this pup not humanely euthanized? I myself struggled with the decision, but after just a few days his will and desire to live was clearly evident. He has been a testimony to many of how perseverance and the will to live can lead to a great outcome. We feel that God has given us Leroy to be a testimony and example to those who have had injuries, illness, or a bad past, that they too can live a happy life. Leroy now lives his life large. He sleeps all day at the office and on weekends and evenings enjoys long walks around Lake Amanda. He smells just fine and can run, with the help of a pair of infant tennis shoes. He currently attends Hollowell Academy of Dog Training, under the direction of Diane Laratta. His favorite activities include eating, barking and training in agility. Dislikes include raccoons, people who make fun of his looks, and raccoons. He plans to receive a degree in Good Citizenship and become a therapy dog for children’s hospitals and nursing homes. Dr. Nathan Metz and Dr. Melissa Metz are both graduates of Ross University. They have recently reopened the former Countryside Clinic in Ada on state Route 309, now Metz Petz Veterinary Clinic. They are the proud parents of two coconut retrievers Dempsie and Bodhi, two overweight clinic cats Bob and Guido, two sugargliders Cain and Abel, and the newest addition, Leroy Brown Valentine, a Beagle pup.