Posts Tagged ‘cats’

Ask a vet for advice on choosing a pet

May 18th, 2012
online vetPart 2, by Online Vet Dr. Laci

Trying to answer the question, “What breed is best for my home and family?”

Okay, you’ve decided if you are going to go dog or cat, but the the next decision is a bit more difficult. Whether it is important to you to go with a purebred or a mixed breed is something you should spend a lot of time deciding. By selecting a mixed breed from a pound or a purebred from a breed-specific rescue agency, an abandoned animal will be re-homed so this is really something to consider. You will be changing the world for this pet! Also, with a mixed breed, some of the genetic problems associated with inbreeding can be avoided and the initial cost to acquire the pet will be considerably lower by sticking with a mixed breed.

If you are set upon a certain breed, the best way to predict the attitude and physical attributes of an adult pet is to do your research about their parentage–and don’t cut corners. Unless you know the parents, it is merely a guessing game trying to predict the size, health, or behaviors the pet will develop as they grow up. It sort of defeats the point of getting a purebred in the first place and you might as well adopt or rescue. In contrast, selecting an adult, something that often not considered, whether rescue or purebreed, allows you to actually see their physical characteristics, health and behavior of the animal. You also skip many frustrating steps of puppyhood when you adopt an adult. Read the rest of this entry »

Online vet advice to keep your pet safe at Easter

April 6th, 2012

online vet advice, ask a vetEaster is a very fun time of your for children and adults alike, but there are some dangers that the pastel holiday poses to our pets. Ask a vet and they are certain to agree that the following items are off limits.

Chocolate is toxic for dogs and cats as well.

Foods containing the artificial sweetener xylitol (think candy, gum, many baked goods and even toothpaste) which can cause a fatal drop in blood pressure and death.

Easter basket grass can cause intestinal obstruction in cats and smaller dogs and may lead to emergency surgery.

easter food toxic for dogsEaster lilies are highly toxic to cats and can cause kidney failure and even death.

Also posing a risk are candy wrappers, sticks and plastic eggs.

If your Easter dinner contains any atypical holiday foods, here are some friendly reminders for foods that are toxic to dogs and cats: Read the rest of this entry »

Ask a vet for advice on choosing a pet

March 30th, 2012
By Online Vet Dr. Laci

ask a vet, online vet, online vet reviewsWhen I asked once on our Facebook page how pet parents chose their pets, the overwhelming majority say that their pet chose them. While it certainly is important to have that “chemistry” and initial exciting spark about a pet that you are considering sharing your life with (potentially for close to 20 years for some pets), it is also wise to follow some guidelines in selecting a pet.

Seeking guidance before obtaining a new pet can prevent countless behavior and health problems in pets. There are so many things to consider! You must not only decide how to select the best pet for your household, but also prepare in advance for the new arrival. Ask a vet or pet expert and they will tell you topics to consider include the species, breed, age, and sex of the pet, where to obtain the pet (rescue or breeder, just not a puppy mill or pet store please!) and how the kennel, breeder, and pets can best be assessed. As for the “homework” you must do before Fido or Fluffy arrives, you should decide where the pet will be housed, what type of bedding, feeding, training, exercise, scheduling, veterinary care, and if pet insurance is something you are interested in.

The lifespan of pets:

    Pet Average Lifespan
    Cats 14 years or more
    Dogs 10 years or more
    Goldfish 2 years or more
    Birds 7 to 80 years
    Guinea Pigs, Hamsters, Mice 2 to 10 years
    Reptiles 2 to 20 years

What pet might be best for my family?
The primary reason that pet owners might one day need to relinquish their pets is because of the unrealistic expectations that they had when they first entered into pet ownership—too much time, too many accidents, restricting your spontaneous schedule, Read the rest of this entry »

Ask a Vet | Aggressive Cat Behavior

March 20th, 2012
By Online Vet, Dr. Laci

It is a problem that I had heard clients complain about before but had never had the stress of dealing with myself. Cats A and B are best friends and do everything together. Cat A goes to the vet and Cat B stays home. Cat A returns to receive anything but a warm welcome from Cat B, who hisses, attacks and seems determined to destroy Cat A. Cat B is convinced Cat A is an enemy and a threat. A previously wonderful cat relationship seems destroyed, and the household is a tense environment for all humans and furkids involved. “Will this ever improve…” you may ask a vet? Read about my own experiences.

ask a vet, online vetWe travel with our pets, like many people across the world do nowadays. Usually this works out okay, but our calico cat Mackenzie did become ill on a recent trip and we soon found ourselves in the vet emergency room at 1am. While Mackenzie suffered no long-term ill effects from the cup of espresso she managed to lap up while I was in the other room, the vacation condo was anything but relaxing when I returned home the next morning with Mackenzie in her carrier.

Rigby, our Siamese did not greet us with a welcome, to say the least. There was hissing, fur flying, growling, screaming, and full on attacks. Initially, I (and Mackenzie) was frozen and shocked, and then as soon as I could compose myself, I realized that Rigby was experiencing what is called non-recognition feline aggression. She didn’t know that Mackenzie was her beloved sister, as Mackenzie smelled like a stinky vet hospital and it is believed that cats recognize each other off their scents, not visual clues.

Non-recognition aggression in cats is an bizarre phenomenon that does not seem to occur in dogs—thank goodness. What it is about these mysterious felines’ personalities or sensory perception that leads to these events remains largely hypothetical, but it does happen and the bad news is there is no easy fix.

What finally worked for us was bathing both the cats in addition to feeding them in the same room. The bath really seemed to help speed things up in our household, but that isn’t always the case.

If you find yourself in this situation, you must separate the cats for as long it takes for the aggresion to end. This may be a few hours or you may be unlikely like we were and it make take upwards of two weeks. You can try to counter condition the aggresor cat by offering food only when the other cat is in sight; even if they are on opposite sides of the room. Make sure the aggressor is on a harness for the safety of all involved. You gradually decrease the space between the cats. Whenever one shows any aggression, distact him/her by making a loud noise, for instance. Read the rest of this entry »

How to toilet train your cat, part 2

February 29th, 2012
The Online Vets‘ quest towards a litter-free existence, continued from part 1

toilet train a cat, online vetAfter several days on step 2, which is a solid red bowl that fits inside fake white toilet frame, meaning no access or view of the sparkling toilet water below, we were pretty confident. We have the smartest kittens in the world, after all. I mean Rigby does tricks, she sits, she fetches, and sweet little Mackenzie, well, she just never could do anything wrong and the fact that she somehow convinced Rigby to listen to her without so much as a hiss is proof of her intelligence. Such a sweetie pie.

Anyways, we had the veterinarians’ meeting of the minds conversation where we discuss their future as if we deciding which school to send actual human children to, and we decided our girls are ready for the next step.

Step 3 is the orange bowl, and in the middle of the orange insert, there is a rather large hole. As you go through the steps, you essentially trick the cat into just peeing in the toilet while perched on the rim of the toilet seat. You slowly take away the litter tray and hope they are so used to the toilet, that they accept it and you say cianarra to cat litter–and more importantly, changing it–forever.

And we decided it was time to move onto step 3. Our brilliant kitten minds could handle it! Read the rest of this entry »

Pet Nutrition: Pet Food Label Tips from your Online Vet

November 29th, 2011
Part 2: Ask a Vet

online vet, ask a vet, chat with a vetAs we reviewed last week in part one of pet nutrition, AAFCO stands for Association of American Feed Control Officials. This organization sets the nutritional standards for pet foods sold in the United States.

Easy things first–

online vet, ask a vetMOISTURE

There are four product forms for pet foods based on moisture level of the food:

1.  Dry = < 20% water content

2. Semi-moist = >20% and <65% content

3.  Wet = >65%  water content

4.  If the moisture level is above 78%, the product must be labeled as a stew, gravy, sauce, broth, milk replacer, expensive pet food in water, etc. The reason is that the maximum moisture declared on a wet pet food shall not exceed 78%

pet food nutrition, how to read a pet food labelThis probably seems pretty basic and logical to you.  Moving forward with how nutritional adequacy is actually determined.  There are two methods.

1. Formulation method

This method is less expensive, and results are determined more quickly because actual feeding or digestibility trials are not required. There is no guarantee of pet acceptance or nutrient bioavailability when utilizing this method.

The pet food product must simply meet the nutrient requirements for the specific life stage established by an AAFCO recognized nutrient profile. This is accomplished by a laboratory analysis.

Read the rest of this entry »

Pet Nutrition: How to read a pet food label 101 by your online vet

November 17th, 2011

pet food label, pet nutrition, ask a vetPart One: Ask the vet

Choosing proper pet nutrition is one of the most important things that you as the pet parent can do to lengthen the healthy time that you and your pet will share together. After the melamine recall of 2007, pet owners internationally are taking a more active interest in pet nutrition.


Reading a pet food label can be quite the daunting task, but with a small amount of education, you can arm yourself with the information to make an informed decision.

We’ll start at the beginning. There are a few basics required to be on pet food labels. The manufacturer’s name, brand, and product, as well as what species the food is designated for, the net weight of the product, and a pet nutrition statement indicating if the food is for a juvenile, adult, etc. Not too many companies skip this basic info, and if they do, consider yourself warned.

Do you need to ask a vet about pet nutrition?  We provide online vet nutrition consultations, and you can get started by typing your question in the box to the right.

Here’s where it gets interesting.  The next broad area of the label to make sense of is defining what the food is labeled as.

The first group is the food that is labeled as 100% something, be it 100% beef, chicken,

ask a vet, online vet, pet nutrition

buffalo, you name it. If a pet food label says this, then it means that the product must be 95% or more of that particular food product they are claiming to be.

Read the rest of this entry »

Aggression in Cats

September 14th, 2011

aggression in cats, how to stop cats from bitingHissing, scratching, biting, screaming, fur flying…if you have been around cats, it is likely you have witnessed at least one of their displays of aggression. While aggressive behaviors in cats can be normal, they can become problematic and there is no quick fix.

Play aggression is perhaps the most common types of aggression cat owners have seen. So what is it? During a causal play session, the cat may suddenly begin biting and scratching. The playfulness escalates to an unacceptable level of aggressiveness. The aggressiveness is most often directed toward other cats or humans but may occasionally be directed toward dogs or other animals.

Kittens that have been removed from their mothers too early, or have had inadequate or inappropriate socialization of kittens to people and other cats may be a cause. This is because kittens that are bottle-raised have not been taught what is appropriate during play by their mother or littermates. They may not realize that their behavior is unacceptable. Read the rest of this entry »

Giardia in Dogs

July 12th, 2011

Ask a Vet About Causes of Diarrhea in Dogs | Giardia

ask a vet online, dog diarrhea, giardia in dogs

Do you have a dog with sudden or relentless diarrhea? One of the common causes of diarrhea in dogs worldwide, indoor, or outdoor, big dog or teacup princess is caused by a single celled protozoan parasite called Giardia. Giardiasis is an acute or chronic gastrointestinal (GI) tract disease. It is characterized by diarrhea and weight loss in both dogs and cats.

Wondering what could be the cause of your pet’s diarrhea?  Ask a vet online now to find out what could be going on.

Giardia may infect dogs and cats. Some types of Giardia can also infect humans. Transmission is by the fecal-oral route, which means that the parasite is swallowed in food and water contaminated with feces. Note, your pet doesn’t have to eat feces to get the parasite. Usually the transmission is through contaminated water–think puddles, lakes, streams, or water that isn’t suited for drinking in some countries.

Giardia in dogs can be asymptomatic, but when signs are present, the most common one is diarrhea that results in the passage of large volumes of watery feces–think cow patty consistency. It has a distinct odor to it as well, one that I have become all too familiar with after being in veterinary medicine for over a decade. The color of the stool usually isn’t abnormal–if you are seeing grey, green, yellow, or black, you’re probably dealing with another culprit.

giardia in dogs, ask a vet, diarrhea in dogs

Giardia

Intermittent or chronic diarrhea, weight loss, decreased appetite, and vomiting occur less often. Rarely, acute or chronic large-bowel diarrhea may develop, with increased frequency and straining to defecate and the presence of mucus and red blood in the feces.

Read the rest of this entry »

Beat the heat with vet tips for a safe summer

July 9th, 2011

summer pet tips, ask a vet, ask the vet, heatstroke in pets

July is here, and along with it the official dog days of summer. Keep your pets safe during this heated season with these easy tips.

Outdoor smarts.

Dogs and cats can become dehydrated quickly, so give your pets plenty of water when they are outdoors, even if they are only out for a short period. Shady places are important so Fido can escape the sun when the temperature rises. In addition, don’t let your pet linger on hot asphalt. Lying on a hot surface cause your pet’s temp to quickly soar, and may even burn them. Of course our readers know to never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle, but be sure to keep an eye out for careless dumb dumbs that do. Don’t forget–heatstroke can be fatal.

heatstroke in dogs, signs of overheated cat, overheated dog

Heatstroke is NOT this obvious.

Know how to tell if your pet is overheated.

The signs of heatstroke include excessive panting, difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, seizures, and an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees, and even blue or bright red gums. Don’t forget—short-faced or stub-nosed breeds like pugs are more susceptible to overheating as they can’t pant as effectively. Also at risk are overweight pets, or those with concurrent illnesses, espeically heart or lung in origin.

Read the rest of this entry »