Monthly Archives: October 2012

Cataracts

Cataracts are one of the most common eye problems affecting pets. They can affect all breeds and ages of dogs and cats, but the condition is found more commonly in certain dog breeds, such as Cockers, Poodles, Miniature Schnauzers and Terriers.

The normal, transparent lens in the eye focuses beams of light onto the retina so that your pet can see clearly. A cataract is a disruption of the normal arrangement of the lens fibers that interferes with sight by partially or completely blocking the clarity of the lens. A cataract may be quite small and not significantly interfere with your pet’s vision, but if the cataract becomes dense enough, vision may be lost.

It is not unusual for your pet’s eyes to become slightly blue-gray as they age. As a normal part of the aging process, the lens becomes thicker, making the eyes appear grayer. This condition, called nuclear sclerosis, usually occurs in dogs over six years of age and typically does not affect their vision. Therefore treatment for this condition is not recommended.

Cataracts can be hereditary or due to old age. Inherited conditions are the most common cause of cataracts and may be present at birth or develop when the animal is very young. They can also be caused by injury, or illness such as diabetes. If your pet’s cataracts are due to an underlying condition, such as diabetes, treating the condition may diminish the cataracts.

There is no effective medical treatment for cataracts. Cataracts are not painful, but when your pet has trouble navigating due to vision loss, his sight can be restored to near normal through surgery. A veterinary ophthalmologist will surgically remove the lens, replacing it with a plastic or acrylic prosthetic lens to allow for more focused vision. Cataract surgery generally has a 90-95% success rate, but it is also a very delicate procedure that requires extensive postoperative care by the pet owner.

After surgery, your pet will have to wear a protective collar (Elizabethan Collar) until his eye heals and you will need to keep him quiet and calm. Your pet will also require eye drops to be administered several times a day for a few weeks.

You and your veterinarian can decide if cataracts are affecting your pet’s vision enough to warrant surgery. For more information, consult with your veterinarian.

Things You Didn’t Know Could Harm Your Pet

We all know that chocolate is toxic to dogs.  But were you aware of the host of other items that can be harmful to your pet?  Take a minute to read the following list – you just might be surprised at the dangers lurking in your home.  According to the ASPCA, of the 167,000 poisoning cases handled by the Animal Poison Control Center, the Number 1 culprit was human medications!!

HOUSEHOLD ITEMS
Ibuprofen
Acetaminophen
Detergents
Fabric Softener
Drain Cleaners
Disenfectants
Bleach
Paint Thinner
Mothballs
Potpourri
 
HARMFUL FOODS
Chocolate
Gum (particularly gum containing Xylitol, an artificial sweetener)
Grapes
Raisins
Macadamia Nuts
Avocados
Onions
Garlic
Tea Leaves
Coffee
Raw Yeast Dough
Spoiled Foods
Fatty Foods
 
COMMON PLANTS
Aloe
Azalea
Buckeye
Calla Lily
Clematis
Daffodil
Daylily
Dieffenbachia
Easter Lily
Ferns
Honeysuckle
Hydrangea
Iris
Morning Glory
Oleander
Peace Lily
Rhododendron
Tulip
Wisteria
Yucca
 
OUTSIDE THE HOME
Antifreeze/Coolant
Gasoline
Pesticides
Fertilizer
Oil
 
 
 
 
 
Take a few preventative steps to prevent your pet from coming into contact with toxic items: remove toxic plants from arrangements/yard area, keep all chemicals out of reach and locked away, empty the trashcan frequently and keep the trash can behind a cupboard.  Small steps such as these can keep your pet safe and healthy.

If you are concerned that your pet may have ingested something toxic, please call Animal Poison Control at 1-800-548-2423.

Cat Vocalizations

Meow More Than Ever!

Purrs, chirps, hisses and snarls…What exactly is your cat trying to tell you?

A stray tabby gives birth to a litter of three kittens under the lilac bush in a backyard.      As she nurses them, she purrs; as they suckle, the kittens purr, too. When the queen shifts her weight to try to find a more comfortable nursing position, one of the kittens lets out a distress call, indicating he’s trapped under his mother’s weight. She readjusts herself, and the purring party continues.

One morning, the mother cat decides to move her litter to a safer spot. She deposits
the first one inside the garden shed, and goes to retrieve the next one. Detecting the absence of his mother via his sense of smell, the kitten in the shed lets out a loud distress call, distinctly meant to reunite mothers and wayward kittens.

As the kittens mature, the queen spends more time away from the nest, hunting for prey to ensure enough milk for her growing crew. Each time she returns, she gives out a “brrp” to her kittens.

When the kittens enter the weaning stage, the queen brings prey home to them, calling them over to it with a chirp. The kittens also begin to make chirping noises in anticipation for what they are about to receive. However, one night’s dinner is interrupted when Mom lets out a long, low-pitched growl. The kittens scatter and retreat to safety inside the shed before the owl overhead can snatch one for his own evening meal.

As independent hunters, cats have limited need for an extensive vocal repertory. Cat-to-cat vocalizations are generally limited to communicating with one’s kittens, one’s sexual partners and one’s potential enemies. There is also an array of vocalizations used by our furry friends when they attempt to communicate with us.

By changing volume, intensity and number of repetitions of the vocalizations and backing them up with expressive body language and olfactory signaling, cats ensure their messages are received and that their needs are met.

    Purring 101

The purr is the most common sound issued by cats—and yet one of the least understood. Kittens just a few hours old begin purring as they knead their mother’s chest and nurse. The purr sound is made both on the inhale and the exhale, with an instantaneous break between breaths. Built-up pressure created by the opening and closing of the glottis results in a sudden separation of the vocal folds, creating the purr. While purring is often heard when the cat seems content, those familiar with handling cats in pain or near death know that they also purr when under duress, the reason for which is yet unknown.

    The Meaning of Meow

The second most common vocalization is the meow. Rarely heard between cats, this vocalization seems tailor-made for communication between cats and humans. Early on, cats notice that meowing brings attention, contact, food and play from their human companions. Some behaviorists suggest that certain cats seem to alter their meows to suit different purposes, and that some guardians can differentiate between, say, the “I’m Hungry!” meow” from the “Let Me Out!” meow.

The meow is the most often used of the vowel patterns—vocalizations produced with the mouth first open and then gradually closing.
– The sound cats make when highly aroused by the sight of prey is called chirping.
– When a cat is frustrated (such as when an indoor cat finds he is unable to get to the birds at the feeder), you may hear him chatter.
– When a neonate kitten is cold, isolated from his mother or trapped, he issues a distress call—also sometimes called an anger wail. As the kitten matures, the distress call is used when play is too rough or the cat finds something else to protest.

    A Hiss Is Just a Hiss?

All threat vocalizations are produced with the mouth held open. These sounds mirror the cat’s intense emotional state. A hiss is uttered when a cat is surprised by an enemy. A high-pitched shriek or scream is expressed when the cat is in pain or fearful and aggressive. Snarling is often heard when two toms are in the midst of a fight over territory or female attention. And a long, low-pitched growl warns of danger.

Halloween Safety Tips

Attention, animal lovers, it’s almost the spookiest night of the year! The ASPCA recommends taking some common sense precautions this Halloween to keep you and your pet saying “trick or treat!” all the way to November 1.

1. No tricks, no treats: That bowl of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Scruffy and Fluffy. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems. If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

2. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, but they can produce stomach upset in pets who nibble on them.

3. Wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations should be kept out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet might suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.

4. A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise caution if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.

5. Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets. Please don’t put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it (yup, a few pets are real hams!). For pets who prefer their “birthday suits,” however, wearing a costume may cause undue stress.

6. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal’s movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Also, be sure to try on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting him go au naturale or donning a festive bandana.

7. Take a closer look at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.

8. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.

9. When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn’t dart outside.

10. IDs, please! Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver, increaing the chances that he or she will be returned to you

Costume Contest

Would you like to win a dental maintenance kit for your four legged family member? Follow the steps below to enter your pet:

  • Like us on Facebook
  • Upload a picture of your four legged friend in costume.

  

Our staff will select a winner at our next staff meeting on November 1st.  Please feel free to share this post with your friends. Thank you and good luck!!!

Fido Fest

Mark your calendars for Fido Fest!

October
7, 2012
noon to 5:00pm
Admission: Free
Benefiting: The dog park at
Godown Road

over 60 vendor booths, dog contests, dog-sport
demonstrations, Blessing of the Dog and the Worthington Pooch Parade.

For
more information, please call 6143496630 or email info@worthingtondogpark.com.