Yearly Archives: 2017

by Finch, our Hospital Resident

Well, hello there! My name is Finch and you may have seen me lounging around at the front desk at Ardmore Animal Hospital or waddling around on the front lawn. Today, I want to talk to you about some Thanksgiving holiday hazards for pets. With the holidays upon us there is a lot to think about. I have many moms that take care of me here at AAH and I see them rushing around preparing for everything, but one thing they need to make sure to remember is to keep their pets (and your pets!) healthy and happy this holiday season.

thanksgiving1One of the biggest hazards during the holidays is the delicious tasting, delightfully smelling foods that everyone makes. I used to enjoy that fun stuff but I’m on a pretty strict diet these days. Four-legged family members should be kept away from these goodies for many reasons. Fatty foods can cause pancreatitis (an inflammation of the pancreas that can cause vomiting, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain.)

Turkey should be kept away from us, too. Poultry carcasses, packaging, strings etc. should be disposed of as soon as possible and taken directly out to the trash. I cannot tell you how tempting an open trash bag full of meaty goodness is. These items are dangerous because they can cause intestinal blockages and, on occasion, stomach perforation. Other ingredients in holiday foods that are toxic include, but are not limited to, onions, garlic, chocolate, raisin, grapes, xylitol, and yeast. Bread dough can be a big problem because it can cause gas and severe bloating.

thanksgiving2If you feel like you want to spoil your pet just a bit for the holiday- create a special little feast with dog or cat appropriate treats and food. Foods are not just the only hazard. There are several plants that pets should be kept away from. Amaryllis, Baby’s Breath, Sweet William, and some ferns are toxic to dogs and cats. The ASPCA has a complete list of toxic foods and plants on their website as well as their Pet Poison Control hotline.

Visitors in the home can also be very upsetting for many pets. More people in the home means more new smells and louder noise levels. For a dog or cat that isn’t used to this it can cause a lot of stress. Products like thundershirts, calming collars, and pheromone plug-ins can help ease some of the anxiety. Keep an eye on the entryways and exits of your home when friends and family come over, as some stressed animals tend to bolt if given the opportunity. Make sure your pet has up to date info on a collar and/or a microchip. I am microchipped AND have a collar with my name and several phone numbers (in case I run away, although, that’s highly unlikely).

The last thing I want to talk about is traveling with your pet. If you are headed out of town with your dog or cat you will want to make sure you have a health certificate with all of the updated vaccines. It’s good to have this in case you need to see another vet out of town. Make sure when you are packing yourself that you also pack for Fluffy or Fido too! Bringing their regular diet, favorite stuffies, and important medications will ensure that you pet stays happy and healthy during your travels. If you pet is staying at a boarding facility while you go away, then make sure to check with your veterinarian and the boarding facility about special vaccines that may be needed.

I hope my tips help you keep you animals safe this Thanksgiving and every other holiday as well. As for me, I will be spending Thanksgiving with one of the receptionists and her family. I’m sure she will have a special holiday feast for me. I sure do have a lot to be thankful for this year. Happy Holidays!

Happy Pit Bull Awareness Day! My name is Trixie and my mom works for the Ardmore Animal Hospital. She found me on the Dodo – A social media group that features pets in need. I’m blind in one eye and missing the other, so of course someone had to fall for me! I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. The Pit bull laws are a tad harsh in the big apple. The New York City Housing Authority bans Pit bulls in any housing under its control. They also ban Dobermans and Rottweilers. Some of the municipalities even consider us a “dangerous” dog, which means stricter laws against us if we were to have an incident. Yikes!

EmmaTrixie (002)My story goes like this – I was found at around six weeks old in a storm drain. My right eye was ruptured and I had a very low temperature. I was almost dead. A man found me and brought me to Sean Casey Animal Rescue, located in Brooklyn. A family who did volunteer work at the rescue was willing to foster me right away. I was fixed up, nursed back to health and feeling on top of the world. My foster mom had a few other dogs who I got along with very well. Shortly after they added a baby human to our pack, so of course they needed to find a place with more room. Their new apartment complex wouldn’t allow me to live with them because I’m a Pit bull… Shocker! Back to the shelter I went. I also spent some time with a handful of different fosters who were allowed to house me. Once I was with my last foster mom, Diana, I was featured on The Dodo and that’s when my “furever” mom and dad found me! They drove all the way to Brooklyn with their other Pit bull, Emma. She loved me right away at our meet and sniff. My mom and dad went home to “think about it” and without hesitation, they drove back up the following weekend to adopt me! Woohoo! The city of brotherly love welcomed me with open arms. There are restrictions here as well, but not quite as strict as New York. My mom says all pitties are welcome in her home, so I’m safe here. I love playing with my human baby brother, Dylan and my feline brother, Sid Vicious. Sid thinks I’m funny looking, but he secretly loves me. There isn’t much to be afraid of, really. I just want to sleep, eat and run in circles! My Pit bull sister, Emma, practically raised Dylan from infancy until toddler-hood. She slept by his side day in and day out and always shared her toys. She was a big red beauty. Sadly, she passed in December 2016 from lymphoma. Man, was she awesome at helping me learn my way around my new digs! She was also nothing to be afraid of… Unless you were a carpenter bee. She thought those guys were pretty tasty. 

Enough about me, though. Let’s discuss the truth about my breed. A dog is usually classified as a Pit bull just from its looks. A stocky body, boxy head, broad stature. That’s a lot of breeds and that is why we always catch a bad rap. A Boston Terrier mix all the way to a Mastiff mix can be classified as a Pit bull type dog by shelters or law enforcement. So if any one of my fellow bully breeds does anything wrong, we are all stereotyped. Is that really fair? We are one of the most feared breeds, but I blame humans. We are used and mistreated because of our loyalty and eagerness to please. In reality, we are gentle enough to have once been considered a “nanny” dog. I try to take darn good care of my baby human brother. I do steal the occasional chicken nugget, but we typically rock at being gentle and caring. We are smart, loyal and LOVE to snuggle! We don’t want to fight. We aren’t born aggressive. We aren’t capable of locking our jaws. It’s not a natural instinct for us to attack. We aren’t sharks! Our bite force is actually the same as a retriever – about 235 pounds. The myth about having a 1600 pound bite force is completely false. We also scored higher on the temperament testing than most trusted family breeds. According to the 2008 testing of 218 dog breeds by the American Temperament Testing Society, the passing rate for the American Pit bull Terrier was 85%, American Staffordshire Terrier was 83.9%, Staffordshire Bull Terriers was 88%! Some breeds that scored lower than us include the Beagle, Border Collie, Dalmatian, Greyhound, Caviler King Charles Spaniel and Toy Poodles. Last year’s test results proved to be very similar.

Emmadylan (002)There are just too many stereotypes and myths to count, but I can promise we aren’t what everyone thinks. There is an alarming amount of “Pit bull type” dogs in shelters all across America. Why are there so many of us? It’s not because we have behavioral issues. It’s because there are so many of us classified as “Pit bulls” and perhaps too many stereotypes going against us. Please don’t fall for them! We also end up in shelters due to a thing called “BSL” or Breed Specific Legislation. There are several cities that ban us because of all the misinformation and prejudice . Denver, CO. Miami, FL. Council Bluffs, IA. The list is endless! How do we stop these bans? Educate! Educate! Educate! Give us a try. Go to your local shelter and volunteer. Take us for walks and find out just how awesome and sweet we really are. The numbers are scary. Every year, 1.2 million pups are euthanized in shelters and 40% consist of Pit bulls. Yikes! Thankfully, we’re becoming more and more accepted and humans are becoming more aware of the stereotypes being only stereotypes. But, we still need more believers!

The younger generations find us to be trendy these days and I’m OK with that! Us pitties just ask that you make sure you can keep us for life, because the mixture of trendiness and BSL is what’s putting us in these shelters in the first place. I’ll say it time and time again, we aren’t the problem – The human that owns us usually is. That goes for attacks and the number of us, homeless. Please consider giving us a chance, even if it’s just fostering one of us. The less of us in shelters means the less euthanized. You may become a “foster failure” and fall head over heels in love with one of us! Be prepared for lots of kisses, snuggles and FUN if you adopt a Pit bull. And, beware that pitties are like potato chips… You can’t just have one!

Reasons to own a Pit bull:

1. We come in any color variety
2. We can make friends with just about anyone
3. We’re pretty darn intelligent
4. We’re warm on chilly winter days (we love to snuggle)
5. We are eager to please
6. We’ve got energy for running, hiking, or a day at the park
7. We can sub as a babysitter last minute (we were nanny dogs)
8. We’re pretty low maintenance
9. We’re great home security
10. We’ll love you until the end of time

Woof!

Trixie Myers

A perspective by Gertie Lombardo

Hey Guys! It’s your resident blogger, Gertie Lombardo. You may remember me from my blog about Chihuahua Appreciation Day. Today, I am here to talk to you about pet obesity. It’s no surprise when I tell you that human obesity rates are higher than ever. I suppose you may have heard the notion that pets often resemble their owners and that is reflected in the following statistics:  53% of adult dogs and 55% of adult cats are overweight or obese. How can your owner tell if you are a healthy weight? Your owner should be able to feel your ribs easily when they gently press your sides. Being overweight comes with a host of other health issues.

ChihuahuaAs with our owners, being overweight can affect a pet’s health in many ways. Obesity can result in arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, certain cancers, as well as heart and respiratory disease. Obesity can take two years of your four legged friend’s life- that’s like 14-18 human years! I know I would like to live with my owner for as long as I possibly can! She feels the same way and that’s why she had to make some serious decisions last year when Dr. Montgomery recommended that I slim down a bit. I don’t actually eat that much so my mom was hesitant to cut back on my food for fear of malnourishment over time. I was put on a scientifically formulated diet that helps me with safe weight reduction and I didn’t have to cut back on the amount of food I eat!

If you suspect that your pet may be overweight, then it’s time to have a discussion with your veterinarian.  In addition to specially formulated diets, some other things that your pet parent can do to help you lose weight include the following: measure meals appropriately, establish a feeding schedule, limit snacks (I know this is a hard one!), choose low calorie treats, and most importantly, get moving! You might even help your owner drop a few pounds and get healthy like you! As for my weight loss journey, I was told to lose three pounds (hey, that’s a lot for a little Chihuahua) and I am down two. It’s always that pesky last pound that is the hardest to lose! I even got into my old bikini this past summer. Gotta go- time to grab the leash and take my mom for a walk!

Hi! My name is Sid Vicious and I’m here to shine some light on Black Cat Appreciation Day. I live at home with my mom, dad and baby brother (all human). I also have one crazy looking dog sister. My name comes from a popular English punk band called the Sex Pistols. My dad says he knew I was a punk from the start! Thanks Dad! I’m just your average five year old black cat. I sleep most of my day away and I love cat nip. My mom brought me home from the Ardmore Animal Hospital when I was about five months old. I showed up on a fellow employees front porch and wouldn’t leave. She had a great setup! I know what you’re going to ask. Is my mom a witch? No. And, my dad isn’t a warlock. My baby brother is questionable, but hey!

There’s a lot of hype about us black cats being bad luck, but we’re not! We’re actually considered good luck in several countries. We’re also a sailors best friend. Those guys like to keep us on their vessels with hopes we’ll get them home safely. And, eat the mice. Yum! Two birds, one stone. Birds are tasty too… I better stop before I get hungry! Over in Japan they believe we bring good luck to single women. If I lived with a single lady, it is believed that I’d bring her many suitors. Perhaps even make them fall head over heels in love! Those are really high expectations for a guy like me. I know one thing is for sure. I’d never mess up a little black dress before a date!

All the rumors about us being a witches companion started some time back in the Middle Ages, where they thought us to be associated with sorcery and evil omens. Harsh, if you ask me. My mom calls me rude at times, but never evil. The Pilgrims thought we were part demon and anyone found showing us a little love, was punished or even killed! Now, that’s not to say I wouldn’t hang out with a witch who had a belly rub and a meal to offer, but the whole spell casting gig isn’t really my thing. It was also thought that we were the witch in disguise. Like a vampire who can fly away into the night in the form of a bat? Come on Pilgrims. Because of these rumors and outrageous superstitions, people would kill us, thinking they were solving the “witch situation”. Those myths earned us longer stays at shelters across America. My mom tells me most people are coming around to the idea of owning one of me, because we obviously aren’t evil creatures from the underworld, but thanks to all those stories we seem to be less likely to get adopted. We all need love!

There are a lot of us out there in the world! About twenty two breeds of felines can come in a black coat. We also have mostly golden colored eyes thanks to the melanin pigment in us. My mom loves my golden eyes! The Bombay breed is exclusively black. Other breeds that can come with my beautiful panther-like coat are the Norwegian Forest Cat, Japanese Bobtails and Scottish Folds. And, of course, the ever so awesome Domestic Shorthair! The genetic mutation that gives us our silky black coat is also in the same family of genes that helps you humans be more resistant to serious diseases like HIV. For this, we may live longer, healthier lives. That’s our only magical power, I swear!

So let’s recap!

  1. I’m good luck – Not bad luck.
  2. My mom is not a witch and neither am I.
  3. Lots of breeds come in black.
  4. I’ll never ruin your little black dress.
  5. I may be healthier than the average tabby.
  6. We need homes just like the rest.
  7. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, but only because I look dashing dressed up.
  8. You should celebrate us every day, but especially today!

Happy Black Cat Appreciation Day, all!

Meow,
Sid Vicious Myers

I Like Big Mutts and I Cannot Lie

By Lauren Myers

Happy National Mutt Day! Mutts are so awesome, there are actually two days dedicated to celebrating how much they rock. We celebrate their awesomeness on July 31st and December 2nd , in order to raise as much awareness as possible for our furry, four legged friends. There are an alarming amount of mixed breeds (and dogs in general) at shelters Terrier_mixed-breed_dogacross America. More than 75% of the shelter population consists of mutts! That number, alone should encourage anyone to drive to their local shelter and adopt. If you’re still not sold, here are some other reasons why mutts rule and purebreds drool… Literally!

Mutts can come in any shape, size or color you’d like! I, personally love my mutt big, fawn colored and squishy faced, like Clifford (a famous mutt). Apartment or city dwellers may enjoy the company of a smaller, noise tolerant, not-too-much-space-necessary pup. Don’t have $1000.00 lying around for a Shih Tzu? That’s OK! You can find yourself a mutt with Shih Tzu in him or one that resembles your favorite breed without having a drop of that breed in it’s DNA. Do you live on a few acres with livestock? Get yourself a collie mix, a cattle dog mix or a lab mix with endless amounts of energy and herding abilities! Most adoption fees range from completely free to $300. That’s reason alone to love mutts.

Crossbreeds and mutts are similar, but different. A crossbreed is two specific breeds, intentionally bred together to get a “designer” breed. Your Doodles and Poo’s and Chi- weenies are crossbreeds, but still tend to be healthier than their purebred parents. Mutts are more involved than your crossbreed friend. Mixing genes gives your furry family member a better chance of not living with the threat of strange allergies, cancers and other genetic diseases passed down from generation to generation. A healthier dog means a longer, happier life with your furry friend. Who wouldn’t want that?

pexels-photo-68718Something fun to do with your four legged friend is a DNA test. You have the chance to find out what specific breeds make up your uniquely put together mutt. Your veterinarian can run a test that is pretty fool proof by a simple blood draw. They tend to cost a decent amount, so you can also order a DNA test online that requires a simple cheek swab. A great test to search for is the “Wisdom Panel 3.0 Breed Identification DNA Test Kit”, found on Chewy.com and costing less than $90. It detects about 250 breeds so you’re bound to find out what your mutt consists of! Finding out what your mixed breed is made up of can help you better understand his or her needs and personality traits.

Lastly, there are a paw-full of organizations that would like to celebrate mutts along with you. Country singer, Miranda Lambert started a donation supported organization called MuttNation Foundation. Say that ten times fast. The mission is to end animal cruelty, neglect and homelessness. There are marches each year to raise awareness and help adopt out as many shelter pets as possible. Nutz4Mutts.com is a fun website that celebrates your mixed breed with funny videos, proud apparel and helpful tips on what’s best for your breed of mutt. There is also a website dedicated to this very day called NationalMuttDay.com, which takes the cake as far as celebrating goes. Let’s honor our Benji’s and our Old Yellers, by doing something great for a mutt in your own neighborhood. If you cannot adopt a shelter pet, you can donate your time at your local shelter or send a few bags of food their way. Any little bit helps and they appreciate even the smallest token of love. Think about your nearest and dearest mutt today and tell the world why you love them and cannot lie.

 

By Gertie Lombardo

Hey there! Happy International Chihuahua Appreciation Day! Allow me to introduce myself: My name Is Gertie and my mom works at the front desk at Ardmore Animal Hospital. Perhaps you remember seeing me. Sometimes my brother Chimi and I get to come to work with my mom!

So, here’s the scoop: I am a Chihuahua. We are the smallest breed in the dog world and we were bred specifically for companionship. I am really good at being my mom’s companion. I follow her everywhere she goes like it’s my job. Whether it’s on the couch or lying in bed at night, you can usually find me right next to her. I absolutely MUST be touching her or I can’t sleep. Chihuahuas are a very loyal and form strong bonds with our family but we tend to single out one specific person and really attach ourselves to them. Did you know that our loyalty runs so deep that sometimes if our owner passes away, we could die of a broken heart!

Chihuahuas are from the Mexican State of Chihuahua. We are thought to be the descendants of the ancient Techichi dog. Because we are “desert dogs”, we tend to not like rain and cold weather. Winter is hard for my brother and me because we don’t like to go outside to do our “business”. Our mom and dad sometimes come home to “accidents” in the house. Chihuahuas are notorious for being hard to house train, but we have the largest brain in relation to our body than any other breed, so I don’t think that’s true… we just know that we don’t like going out when the weather is less than ideal!

Some fun facts about Chihuahuas include the following: We live to be 14-18 years old, so be prepared for a long term relationship if you adopt one. We are a generally healthy breed but we can be prone to heart conditions and luxating patellas; this condition is where the knee cap dislocates itself from its normal position. I actually had surgery to correct my knee. It was painful and I had a long recovery, but I am now in tip top shape and I can run with the best of them. Which reminds me; Chihuahuas don’t need much exercise so we make great apartment pets! Chimi and I rarely go for walks because our little legs get tired real fast.

Chihuahuas have a quirky and eccentric personality. Some of us are pretty social and others tend to be less than thrilled with the prospect of communicating with anyone. This is actually genetic- the temperament of a Chihuahua is largely based on the temperament of the dog’s parents and grandparents. Personally, I am not fond of other dogs right off the bat, but after I growl a few times at them and they seem cool with it, then I’m cool with them. My best friend is my older brother Chimi. He’s part Chihuahua and part terrier of some sort. We keep each other company, we snuggle, and we love getting into trouble together!

Thank you for letting me tell you a little about my breed. We are often misunderstood, but once you get to know a Chihuahua, you will find us to be one of the most devoted and funny little breeds you’ll ever meet.

By Erika Lombardo

You know how important it is for you and your family to get their annual influenza vaccines. Did you know that your dog could potentially be at risk of contracting certain strains of Influenza? In the United States, there are currently two strains of the virus. The H3N8 strain was first reported in Greyhounds in 2003 and has been reported in 41 states. This virus is of equine origin and can be very difficult to diagnose. The other strain is the H3N2 strain. This virus was recently found in the States and has avian origins. The H3N2 virus has already spread to 30 states.

You can determine if your dog is at risk for contracting Canine Influenza by asking the following:

  • Does your dog go to daycare?
  • Does your dog board at a kennel or pet hotel?
  • Does your dog attend training classes with other dogs?
  • Does your dog play at dog parks?
  • Does your dog participate in dog-friendly events?
  • Does your dog go to the groomer?
  • Does your dog greet other dogs on their walks?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, your dog is at a higher risk for canine influenza and other respiratory diseases. These viruses spread through direct contact, coughing and sneezing, and contaminated hands, clothing, or other surfaces.

Clinical signs of influenza include the following: coughing and retching, sneezing, nasal and/or ocular discharge, decreased appetite, and lethargy. If you notice these signs in your dog, call your Veterinarian for an appointment. At this time, the virus does not pose a risk in humans, however, the CDC is closely monitoring the situation.

If you feel your dog is currently at risk for Canine Influenza call your Veterinarian to schedule the vaccine. At Ardmore Animal Hospital, we have the combo flu vaccine that protects your dog from both strains.

 

By Karen Sabatini

If you knew that giving your dog a tasty, chewy, inexpensive treat every 30 days could prevent a devastating and deadly disease—wouldn’t you give it to him? If that same tasty, chewy treat could kill intestinal parasites—wouldn’t you give it to him? Well you can! One simple test every year followed by monthly heartworm preventive could save your dog’s life.

hwHeartworm Disease is caused by a parasitic worm called Dirofilaria immitis. The worms enter the dog’s body through a bite from an infected mosquito. Inside the dog the worms mature into adults. Their entire life cycle is lived inside the dog. They mate inside and produce offspring. The worms life primarily in the heart, lungs and blood vessels of a heartworm infected dog.

Most heartworm disease in the United States is seen in the southern states along the Gulf coast. The insurgence of dogs being rescued from kill shelters in the south is helping spread the disease in cooler climates of the northern states. When a mosquito bites a heartworm infected dog the mosquito becomes infected with the heartworm offspring called microfilaria. Inside the mosquito the microfilaria become infective larvae. When that mosquito bites another dog, that dog then becomes infected with heartworm and the cycle begins again.

Heartworm disease is not contagious from one dog to the next. Dirofilaria-immitis-dog-heartIt can only be contracted from an infected mosquito. Adult heartworms look like strands of spaghetti which live inside the dog, which, if left untreated will cause death.

In the early stages of heartworm disease most dogs will not show symptoms. The longer the dog is infected with heartworm, the more severe the symptoms will be. A sedentary dog may not show any symptoms for quite some time while a more active dog will show exhibit signs such as coughing, fatigue and exercise intolerance.

17757465_1388099761265646_904690972640563834_nThe treatment for heartworm disease is not only painful and toxic, but it is also expensive. A lifetime supply of heart worm preventatives (pictured to the right) would still cost you less money than it would to treat your dog for heartworm. Immiticide, one of the drugs used to treat heartworm, is an arsenic containing drug which is given via a deep muscle injection into the back muscles. Treatment requires multiple visits and hospitalizations, blood work, x-rays and a series of injections.

The best treatment for heartworm is prevention. There are chewable and non chewable medications and also topical medication applied to the skin. Many of the medications contain products that also prevent and treat roundworms, whipworms, hookworms and tapeworms.

A blood test is used to test a dog for heartworms. The earliest that heartworm can be detected in a dog’s bloodstream is about 5 months after it has been bitten by an infected mosquito. It is strongly recommended that a dog which tests negative for heartworm be immediately started on a monthly heartworm preventive given year round for the rest of the dog’s life.

Please test your dogs annually and invest in a lifetime of health and happiness for your precious companion by purchasing and remembering to give her monthly heartworm medication. As always, we are always happy to help you decide which product to choose and discuss heartworm disease with you at any time.

*Click on the images for a larger view

K9 Veterans Day— March 13, 2017 By Erika Lombardo and Dr. Aliya McCullough

“The capability they bring to the fight cannot be replicated by man or machine. By all measures of performance, their yield outperforms any asset we have in our inventory.” –General David Petreaus

1024px-K-9_Andy

Dogs are called “man’s best friend” for many good reasons. They love us unconditionally, they are quick to forgive, and we beam with pride when they show off their tricks. Dogs are incredible animals and many dogs have done extraordinary things in their short lives. On this day, we recognize some of the most notable of these canines: Military Working Dogs (MWDs).

Many troops have come to rely on MWDs to help keep them safe and assist them in their jobs. These dogs are specially trained to detect explosives, seek out illegal drugs, look for missing troops, and target enemies. Not only are they active on the front lines, but behind the scenes they can also serve as therapy dogs and service dogs. Their visual, auditory, and olfactory senses are superhuman. Did you know that dogs have 10-20 times the scent receptors in their nose and the area of their brain devoted to smell is very large? MWDs can detect intruders from 200 meters with little or no wind or up to 1000 meters away in windy conditions!

There have been some famous canine war heroes in our history. A German Shepherd mix named Chips was one of the first dogs trained and sent overseas. He was responsible for many enemy surrenders and he was awarded the Silver Star, Distinguished Service Cross, and the Purple Heart. Another very decorated war hero was Sergeant Stubby. The only dog to achieve the rank of Sergeant, Sgt. Stubby was found as a stray on the campus of Yale in 1917 and then smuggled into France during WWI by his adoptive owner. He went on to save his regiment from surprise mustard gas attacks and even captured a German spy by his pants! Gunner, a Kelpie, was known for his remarkable hearing. He was able to warn of troops of an encroaching  Japanese aircraft 20 minutes before it could be seen on radars. Air raid sirens were sounded when Gunner gave the warning, he was that reliable!

Sgt. Stubby
Sgt. Stubby

According to the U.S. Department of Defense, there are around 2700 active duty MWDs  in our country’s armed forces. These MWDs are deployed all over the world with a large number of them stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Originally, there were over 30 breeds trained to be MWDs but recently that list of breeds has been narrowed down to 7: German Shepherds, Dobermans, Belgian Sheepdogs, Huskies, Farm Collies, Eskimo dogs,  and Malamutes. Only 50% of dogs who start training actually pass and go on to serve. Their typical span of service is around 8 years. Prior to the year 2000, dogs who finished their service were considered  “military surplus equipment” and it was thought that they could not properly adjust to civilian life. In these instances, the dogs were abandoned or euthanized. In the year 2000, President Clinton passed a law called “Robby’s Law”, this allows MWD handlers and their families to adopt the dog after completing its military service.

Military Working dogs, when trained, are worth tens of thousands of dollars, but when it comes to the security, peace of mind, and companionship they provide to their fellow soldier, they are priceless. Today, we remember all those exceptional canines who have selflessly served our country.

“The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog.” –George Graham Vest

By Dr. James Bianco

shutterstock_207906148Felines are considered senior citizens as they approach the age of nine or ten. It is at this time that we begin to see the changes in them that are directly related to the aging process. It is important to note that a cat ages approximately 5 years for every 1 year of human life. For example: a 19 year old feline is considered to be between 92-95 years of age.

The changes that you might begin to see as your cat ages are weight loss, increased drinking, a loss of muscle definition along with a decrease in appetite. These may be related to the normal aging process, but are much more likely a result of an underlying change in organ function or serious disease.

Bi-annual examinations are essential in identifying unfavorable trends in health such as blood sugar (glucose) levels, which can be an indication of the onset diabetes. We also find older cats with weight loss suffering from decreased kidney function or an over-active thyroid condition called hyperthyroidism. Unfortunately, these problems are all too common but can be successfully treated if caught early.

The veterinarian’s examination can be important in identifying abnormal growths on the skin along with abnormalities in normal abdominal organ structure. Many times an early diagnosis and surgical intervention can mean the difference between life or death.

Blood tests are also essential as our cats age. We use them to identify the early onset of kidney dysfunction which many times can be treated with a diet change and fluid administration. With proper treatment, most cats diagnosed with renal disease go on to live normal lives. We have patients that have lived beyond 20 years of age with kidney disease but were identified and treated accordingly.

shutterstock_125555864Hyperthyroidism which is usually seen in cats that are losing weight slowly over time can be treated with medication, surgery, or iodine isotope therapy which is curative. Diabetes in cats is sometimes a transient disease that can be corrected with diet alone. We can also treat this disease successfully with insulin.

Cats are tough customers that do not show early signs of disease like dogs or humans. They are survivors that, through evolution, have adapted themselves not to show weakness in a hostile environment. Exposing weakness or disease in the wild can be dangerous as other predators take advantage. We have treated numerous cats in advanced states of disease that appeared to be normal to owners. Identification of problems was diagnosed because of physical examinations and diagnostic procedures such as blood testing and x-rays.

In conclusion, cats can live a long life. Life span is directly related to their genetic make-up, nutrition, and proper medical care. Yearly examinations are the most important thing that you can do to ensure that your beloved feline may live a long a healthy life.

Book your cat’s next visit with our online scheduler by clicking here!