Ticks Of Lucky’s Tail….

Lucky is doing really well learning new tricks. We are taking our time and having fun practicing a few minutes each day. Of course he has known “sit” for some time.

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He also has known “lay down” for a long time. These two tricks were puppy 101. Of course, “Stay” is also included with these two tricks.

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One of my favorites, and I think one of his too, is “leave it”. He is really cute while performing this task, he won’t even look at the treat in front of him until I give him the release command.

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We practiced “speak” and because he is soooo good at this one, we also had to learn quiet!

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Recently we spiced thigs up with “dance” He likes this trick too cause he truly loves to dance with me. When he dances with me, he holds my hands and we dance in a circle while he is on his back legs. When he dances by himself, he gets up on his back legs and dances by himself.

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Lucky also knows how to “shake hands”. I told him it was the polite way to meet new people.

We are still practicing “take a bow” which seems to be really difficult for him to understand and we are also working on crawl, which consists of him lying flat on his belly and doing an army crawl. The important thing is that we are having fun, but we are also making progress! I will post more progress when it happens!

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Ear Infections In Dogs…

What are you talking about mom? It must be something good that I would love if you are telling me about it!

Zeus used to get ear infections all the time because of his allergies.

Zeus used to get ear infections all the time because of his allergies. Ear infections can be painful for your dog and can cause serious long term problems if not treated properly. I learned a lot about them from my experience with him. I thought I would share some information about ear infections with you.

Otitis externa is commonly referred to as an “ear infection”. It is an ear condition characterized by inflammation of the external ear canal. It is particularly prevalent in dogs with long, floppy ears, but can occur in dogs with short perky ears too. Ear infections represent one of the top 10 reasons dogs present to veterinarians and may affect up to 20 percent of dogs.

Infections are caused by fungus, bacteria or parasites. Laboratory tests can help to determine the underlying cause of the infection.

Several factors may predispose dogs to ear infections, including:

• Long floppy ears

• Abnormal ear conformation or anatomy

• Water or hair in the ears

• Allergies

• Trauma

• Tumors

• Foreign material in the ears

• Parasites

• Autoimmune disease

  • Generalized skin disease

Ear infections can occur in dogs of any age, breed, or sex. Dogs predisposed to otitis externa include those with genetic predispositions to abnormal ear canals, such as the Chinese shar-pei chow chows and English bulldogs; breeds with hair in the ears like poodles and terriers; dogs with pendulous pinnae such as the cocker spaniel and Springer spaniels; or outside and working dogs that are exposed to water or foreign bodies. Infections are most common in humid environments or during the summer months, but can occur in all environments and during any time of year.

What to watch for:  Common signs of an infection include:

• Scratching or rubbing the ears

• Head shaking

• An abnormal odor or discharge from the ear

• Pain when you manipulate the ear

• Redness and swelling of the external ear canal

The ears are responsible for taking sound waves from the air and transporting them to the brain. These waves pass through the ear canal until they come in contact with the nerves that convert them into sound and allow for hearing.

The ear canals are divided into three sections; the external, middle, and internal parts. The external ear canal extends from the outside of the ear lobe to the eardrum. The middle ear begins with the eardrum and includes the bones and nerves of the ear. The inner ear is closest to the brain and contains the organs responsible for maintaining proper position.

If the inner ear is not functional, the animal feels dizzy and the brain is not able to determine if he/she is standing, turning, lying down, spinning. The most common abnormality associated with the middle and inner ear is inflammation, which is referred to as otitis media or otitis interna. Otitis is the Latin term for inflammation within the ear. Media and interna refer to the parts of the ear that are inflamed. Otitis externa refers to an external ear canal inflammation or infection.

Inflammation within the ear can have numerous causes including bacteria, fungi, yeast, parasites, foreign objects, trauma, polyps and cancer. Middle ear infections typically occur in association with external ear infections. Inner ear infections can then occur as a progression of a middle ear infection. For this reason, prompt diagnosis and treatment of external ear infections can significantly reduce the chance of a middle and/or inner ear infection.

Deafness is a possible permanent effect if otitis media/interna is not treated appropriately. Signs of middle and inner ear inflammation vary depending on which part of the ear is affected and the severity of the infection.

What to Watch For:

• Head shaking

• Pawing, rubbing at the ear

• Discharge from the external ear canal

• Pain when the head is touched

• Pain with the mouth is opened

• Depression

• Loss of hearing

• Lack of appetite

• Head tilt

• Circling

• Leaning to one side

• Rolling

• Stumbling

• Vomiting

• Side to side involuntary continuous eye movement (nystagmus)

 

Diagnosis:

Otitis media and otitis interna are usually diagnosed based on results of a physical examination and thorough ear exam. Finding the exact cause of the ear inflammation requires more tests and may include:

• Complete blood count (CBC) and biochemical profile to determine the overall health of the animal

• Sedation or anesthesia for a thorough examination since the ear may be quite painful

• Radiographs of the skull and base of the ear, although not usually helpful, to look for tumors or masses at the base of the ear

• Culture and cytology of any discharge or fluid within the canal to determine the cause of the inflammation. Culture can detect bacterial causes and help determine the appropriate antibiotic treatment. Cytology can detect parasite, fungus, yeast and some cancers. (Zeus had many of these done in his days)

 

Treatment:

The goal of treatment for otitis media or otitis interna is to remove the cause of the inflammation and provide ventilation and drainage. Treatments vary depending on the cause of the inflammation and may include:

• Initial flushing of the ear canal with warm saline (salt water solution). Zeus couldn’t tolerate flushing his ears with anything due to his allergies (he was allergic to everything) so we always had to skip this step. We treated his with medication that came in the form of ear drops and kept our fingers crossed he did not have an allergic reaction to the medication.

• If the eardrum is intact, a puncture through the eardrum to alleviate the pain and pressure as well as drain the middle and inner ear. This is painful and is done under anesthesia.

• Flushing the middle ear after perforating the eardrum

• Removal of any foreign object

• Oral antibiotics for 3-6 weeks for bacterial, fungal and yeast infections

Ear medications must be used cautiously, if at all. Usually, flushing the ear and oral antibiotics resolves the infection. For parasitic causes of inflammation, ear medications may be necessary.

If the infection is resistant to treatment or if polyps or cancer is the cause of the inflammation, surgery may be necessary. Surgery is more likely if the inflammation has progressed to include the inner ear.

Home Care and Prevention:

There is no home care for otitis media or otitis interna. See your veterinarian if your pet is showing signs of a middle or inner ear infection. Prompt and thorough treatment of external ear infections can greatly reduce the risk of otitis media and otitis interna. For dogs that hunt or spend time in wooded areas, frequent ear exams looking for foreign objects such as grass awns can help reduce the chance of foreign body induced otitis media/interna.

 

 

Are Our Pets Being Over Vaccinated? What Do You Think?

76281-Royalty-Free-RF-Clipart-Illustration-Of-A-Bulldog-Vet-Holding-A-SyringeI have often wondered if our pets are being over vaccinated. I found an article on WebMD and wanted to share it with you. I would love to hear your opinions on this topic. My dog Lucky is due for his shots in April, and I am planning on talking to his doctor and inquiring about a blood test to check his immunities rather than just jumping into the vaccinations. Of course, we will have the vaccines done if the vet thinks he really does need them.

WebMD Pet Health Feature

By Bill Hendrick

Many pet owners and some animal scientists believe that we are over vaccinating our pets. They also think that some shots may be doing more harm than good. One type of cancer in cats, for example, is known to be caused by vaccinations. In addition, vaccines can cause allergic reactions.

Because reports and rumors of side effects have become so widespread, pet owners increasingly are asking their vets about whether or not to vaccinate. Andy Smith, DVM, a long-time Atlanta veterinarian, says he has “this conversation with a client twice a week. It’s clear there’s a lot of confusion and concern.” So WebMD went to some top veterinary experts to find answers you can use in sorting out your own concerns.

Why do pets need vaccines?

Vaccines protect against contagious, potentially fatal diseases, says Margret Casal, DMV, PhD. Casal is associate professor of medical genetics at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. Vaccines trigger immune responses, she says, and prepare pets to fight future infections.

Casal tells WebMD that vaccines have saved millions of pet lives. And even though some once common diseases are now rare, she says veterinary groups agree that many vaccines are still necessary.

Is there a vaccination controversy?

Yes, says Andrea Looney, DVM, of Cornell University. Some experts advocate yearly shots, others every three years, and a few believe no more vaccines are needed after the first year.

Looney says it’s similar to controversies over human vaccines. “There’s a lot of talk,” she says, “but no evidence [of widespread harm].”

Casal says fears sparked by this “over vaccination” controversy have led many pet owners to skip shots for preventable diseases, causing an alarming rise in pet deaths.

So should all dogs and cats still be vaccinated?

“Absolutely,” says Ronald Schultz, DVM, a pioneer in clinical immunology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. But Schulz is also very much in agreement with those who say pets are being over vaccinated, calling it a “serious problem.” Often, he says, pets are vaccinated by vets who just want to keep clients coming in. But too many vaccines, especially when given in “combo shots,” can “assault” immune systems.

Is it true that vaccines can even cause cancer?

In cats, definitely, says Richard Ford, DVM, professor of veterinary medicine at North Carolina State University. Ford says most but not all scientists believe the culprit is a chemical called an “adjuvant” that’s added to some feline vaccines. “Many [scientists] strongly recommend to avoid using any cat vaccine that is labeled ‘killed’ or ‘inactivated.’ All feline vaccines labeled in this way contain adjuvant. Vaccine labeled ‘attenuated’ or ‘recombinant’ does not contain adjuvant.”

Years ago, vets started noticing tumors forming in the area between the shoulders, where cats are vaccinated. The tumors are rare, occurring in 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 10,000 cats. Veterinarians now give this type of vaccine low on a cats’ front or hind legs so they can amputate if a tumor develops, potentially saving the cats’ life.

Vaccines can definitely cause cancer, says Luci T. Dimick, DVM, of The Ohio State University. She says feline leukemia is caused by a virus and is listed as a “non-core” disease, meaning that it is not regarded as one for which vaccination is essential. Yet many vets feel kittens should be immunized against feline leukemia virus, even though it’s one of the injections, along with rabies, thought to cause cancerous tumors in some cats.

What about other types of reactions?

Vaccines can make pets sick and lethargic and induce diarrhea, Casal says. Fatal reactions, though, are rare. But the controversy over the potential for reactions to the vaccines, she points out, has resulted in a backlash that could have serious consequences. “Sadly,” she says, “some pet owners or even vets just trash a lot of vaccines.” That means some pets aren’t getting the protection they need against disease. “We’ve seen this in people,” Casal says, “which is why we’re seeing more mumps and measles.” Any treatment carries some risk, she says.

Kate Creevy, DVM, is a specialist in small animal internal medicine at the University of Georgia. She says it’s not known why some animals have reactions to vaccines while others don’t. “It may be true that some breeds are more prone to vaccine reactions than other breeds, although this is debatable.”

The most common adverse reactions are mild and short-term, including reduced appetite, fever, and swelling at the point of injection. Allergic reactions appear within minutes or hours and may include vomiting, diarrhea, swelling, and difficulty breathing.

Is there consensus about the major diseases pets face?

Yes, Creevy says. For dogs, they are:

parvovirus, a life-threatening illness that causes vomiting, diarrhea, and white blood cell destruction

distemper, also a life-threatening illness that causes vomiting, diarrhea, pneumonia, and seizures

adenovirus, a life-threatening illness that causes hepatitis

eptospirosis, which causes kidney and liver failure

parainfluenza and Bordetella, which cause kennel cough and are highly contagious, with generally non-life-threatening symptoms that include coughing and runny nose

rabies, a fatal central nervous system disease that can spread to owners. There is no cure for rabies and pets diagnosed with it are euthanized.

Major diseases for cats include:

panleukopenia (also known as feline distemper), which is life threatening, causing vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and low white blood cell count

feline leukemia virus, causing chronic immune suppression that can lead to cancer

herpesvirus and calicivirus which are both highly contagious but rarely life threatening, causing runny eyes, runny nose, fever, and malaise.

Eline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), a retroviral disease that causes chronic immune suppression.

Cats infected with FIV may appear normal for years. But eventually FIV will hinder their ability to fight off other infectious diseases.

But does the fact pets might be susceptible mean they need vaccination?

No, says Schultz. “Lifestyle and location play important roles. If your dog lived on the fifth floor of an apartment building, it wouldn’t have to worry about kennel cough, unless it is kenneled or taken out to be around other dogs. And your dog won’t get Lyme disease in many areas of the country. Ask your vet.”

Leptospira is a life-threatening bacterial infection. Disease outbreaks are usually caused by exposure to water contaminated with the urine of infected animals, including rats, cattle, pigs, horses, and deer. “If your dog doesn’t go hunting, or if it’s not around other animals, there’s no need [for it to be vaccinated,” Schultz says. Also, this vaccine causes more adverse reactions than many others, so it’s important to weigh the risk versus benefit when deciding if you pet needs it.

Vets talk of “core” and “non-core” vaccines. What’s this mean?

Core vaccines are those that are universally recommended and most commonly given. Non-core vaccines are optional, according to protocols set by major veterinary organizations.

Parvovirus vaccine is core, and dogs should get a minimum of three doses between six and 16 weeks, administered at intervals of three to four weeks. The final dose should be given at 14-16 weeks. Then the dog needs a booster a year later followed by revaccination every three years.

Other core vaccines for dogs are those against rabies, distemper, and adenovirus-2. Non-core vaccines include those to ward off Bordetella, parainfluenza, Leptospira, and Lyme disease.

What are the core vaccines for cats?

All kittens should be vaccinated as early as six weeks of age against panleukopenia, the feline form of parvovirus, and also for herpesvirus, rabies, and calicivirus.

Non-core vaccines are for protection from feline leukemia, feline immune deficiency virus, chlamydophilia, and Bordetella.

Why has the topic of pet vaccination become so hot?

Part of the intense focus on pet vaccination stems from the highly publicized debate that vaccines may cause autism in people, a discounted but widespread theory.

Also, new vaccines and research “show that some of the routinely administered vaccines for dogs and cats actually immunize for much longer than one year,” Ford says. “Today, selected vaccines are recommended to be administered to adult pets every three years.

Some veterinarians have expressed reluctance to implement triennial (every three year) vaccination, until there is more information available,” Ford says.

Would I be playing doctor to put my pet on an alternate schedule?

“Alternative vaccination schedules for kittens and puppies are not recommended,” Ford says. “However, among adult dogs and cats, alternative re-vaccination schedules are feasible.”

Are there any alternatives to just doing what vets say?

Yes. Do some research to arm yourself to ask good questions. You also can ask for blood work, called titer testing, a tool to help assess the status of your pet’s defenses against specific infections.

How can you tell if a vet is a good one?

“If they take time to explain vaccines and ask about your pet’s lifestyle, I’d say that’s a good vet,” Casal says. “If you have one who doesn’t want to hear questions, that’s not where you want to be.”

Does the federal government require rabies shots?

No. Only 39 states require rabies vaccines for dogs and 31 for cats, according to a 2008 survey by the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians.

Even within states, rabies requirements vary widely, says Charles Rupprecht, VMD, PhD. Rupprecht is chief of the rabies program at the CDC. The disease is fatal in animals but can be cured in humans who seek medical help immediately after exposure to an infected animal.

A Letter To Zeus….. From Lucky….

Dear Zeus,

I had to write you to tell you all about the the play date I had with Serenity because I know you would have loved to come play too if you were still with us and healthy. I had a lot of fun today and Serenity was as happy to see me as I was to see her! I think she gets lonely too since they lost D.O.G. Kinda like I get lonely a lot since you have been gone. It’s nice to have her for a friend though, she is really nice and even lets me play with her toys just like you used to let me play with yours. You have met Serenity and you knew D.O.G before he passed away. Serenity tells me that she misses you too. It makes me feel good that she remembers you. When ever I go to Serenity’s house to play I always hope you and D.O.G are playing at the rainbow bridge. I can picture the two of you running around having a wonderful time chasing eachohter, just like Serenity and I do!

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Here we are playing on the deck…. It was really hard for our people to get photos today because we were having so much fun and did not have  time to sit still and pose for photos. Sorry if some of these photos are a little blurry, we were having too much fun to care! Serenity does this really cute bounce thing when she gets excited or wants to play. She is bouncing at me in this photo.

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Here we are running around through the trees….. You wouldn’t believe all the smells around this place Zeus! I think we smelled every tree! I would bet that in the summer, this place is crawling with squirrels I can’t wait for Summer to get here so I can chase them, you know how much I love chasing squirrels! Do you still chase squirrels like you used to Zeus? We had so much fun doing that, I miss those days!

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Serenity is waiting for me to chase her. She loves to play, but doesn’t run as much as I do. You know how fast I am, no one can catch me! Serenity tries though and it is fun when she runs after me. We take turns of course and I chase her sometimes too.

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See the ball at my feet? We even played my favorite game today….. You guessed it… FETCH! I could play this game forever as you know. I miss when mom used to play fetch with both of us. Even though I could run faster than you Zeus, I always made sure to let you get the ball once in a while too. That’s what younger brothers do! Serenity is not much of a fetch enthusiest, so we don’t play for long. A few throws makes me happy!

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This is my favorite photo from today, it shows Serenity and I up close and personal! We like to nose around and even give eachother kisses….. Who knows, maybe someday she will be my girlfriend. Do you have any advice you could give me to win over her heart? I know you were always such a  “lady’s man”. I guess I should have paid more attention to your charming ways!

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This is the best way to end a great day. Of course the only thing that would make it better is if you were curled up next to me. I miss snuggling with you the most because I don’t have that kind of bond with anyone, even Serenity. I am really tired now that I played my little heart out today. Mom even took the senic route on the way home which made for a nice drive. I looked out the back window the whole way home. It was kind of relaxing after all that running. Tonight I will dream of my beautiful friend Serenity and of course you will be in my dreams too Zeus. I dream about you a lot, just because you are not here doesn’t mean I don’t think about you often.

I hope you liked reading my letter and I hope I made you smile. I know you always loved it when we used to play. I miss you still and forever will!

Love,

your little Lucky Monkey

The Best Part About Owning A Dog…

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The Best Part About Owning A Dog…

… is the way he will come over to see me,
for no reason, just to let me know I’m
important to him
… is the way he is always ready to lick the
jelly off my nose…

… is the way he looks into my eyes and finds
contentment in simply being near me
… is the way he will run all over the yard,
fetch a soggy tennis ball and bring it back
to me as if to say “look mom, it’s all have,
but it’s yours

… is the way he wakes me up in the morning by pushing
his cold wet nose in my ear and snuffing loudly
… is the way he shreds toilet paper all over the house,
because it’s fun even though he knows he shouldn’t
… is the way he’s sure he can catch the ducks in the
lake today…
… is the way he comes over to me when he is sad
… is the way he wedges himself near me when I am sad and
push all others away, to console me with his love
… is the way he pounces on crickets in the backyard
… is the way he looks perplexed when they escape
… is the way he is terrified of the evil pink hula hoop
… is the way he doesn’t mind how much of that horrid
perfume I’m wearing just because it was a gift from
my relative who’s visiting
… is the way he doesn’t care about bad hair day or
overdue bills
… is the way he loves you, even when you are impatient
with him and have no time this morning for a game
of tug-a-war
… is the way his coat feels like liquid silk under
my fingers
… is the way he finds wisdom beyond words

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