Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Are You Afraid of Your Vet?

Hershey, at 14 years old.
He struggled with severe hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis.
Note his thin very straight back legs, thickened elbows and still his adorable sweet gentle smile.
What is normal for me, is not the normal for others. Surely, we are all guilty of this? In my profession I am conditioned to the sight of blood, the smell of vomit, poop, and intestines that are dying. I can diagnose almost as much with my eyes closed and my nose sniffing as with just my hands. But for those of you who are on the other side of the exam table I have to remind myself every single day to keep my veterinary lingo to a cool comfortable limited amount. To not lose or overwhelm a client with my big audacious words and demeanor.

If I can't convince you that I am here for the simple sake of helping your pet I have lost my purpose and strayed from helping both you AND your pet.

It was with this in mind that I provided my response to a friend's daughter when she wrote me asking for help with her elderly lab.

Hey Krista,

My lab - my love - is 12 and has arthritis and dysplasia very bad. More days than not, he has to be carried out to use the bathroom. I know if I take him to the vet, they will tell me to put him down, especially since he can't walk.

However, his mind is still good, and I just don't think he's ready. I make his meals, and give him meds, but now he has developed some sort of skin condition that is causing him to lose his hair very bad on his back end and stomach. It's almost yellowish and scaly on his stomach and his back end is just raw. Is there something I can do to ease this or should I take him in and hope for the best??
I'm sorry to bother you, but would truly appreciate any of your expertise.
Thank you!!!

My reply,


The skin could be too many things for me to be able to guess without an exam and blood work. I would guess it's related to his overall health and would check blood work and any evidence of disease or immune system status. Most importantly you should never feel reluctant to go to the vet. It is not our place to judge you or make a decision for you. It is our job to help you understand what is happening to your pet with a diagnosis and offer you treatment options. In some cases I do think that a pet is suffering and that there are limited treatment options, so I will state this. But as long as my client has their pets best interest in mind, and the pet can eat drink pee and poop I offer pain management and extend a hand to help. Hospice is an option for all creatures and should always be offered. Whereas, euthanasia should never be a matter of convenience nor should it be the only option we provide.

There are lots of options for older dogs who struggle to get up and have pain, like injectable joint supplements, NSAIDs, glucosamine/chondroitin, physical therapy, water therapy, acupuncture and an orthopedic specialist, to name a few.

Go to your vet and explain everything that you told me. They can and will help. If they don't go elsewhere and remind that vet that they have failed you both. 

That's your job, to look for help for your dog. It's our responsibility to be your pets advocate and help you both. 

The answers are out there, but you have to find someone locally to start. I wish you the very best of luck.



I saw my friend later that day and told her that I had replied to her daughters question. I also confessed to feeling saddened by her fears of being "reluctant to seek veterinary help because she believed that she would be forced to put her dog to sleep."

She replied, "Yes, we grew up in an area where our vet said to us, "Your dog is 12, why spend $300 to fix her? It's my recommendation that you put her down."" she paused. "It still upsets me to this day that we used to take their advice."

Another pause,, she started again,

"To which I would now reply, "Well, maybe we do."" She had changed her perception of what her role in taking care of her pet was. But that fear of not knowing what her options were, and what her dog was worth were still burnt into her memory. To her that dog was a family member, to their vet she was a commodity.

This is where my sailor mouth came out,,, and my passion lies..

"What the.. Do vets really say that?" I suppose they do?..may you all feel the burden of a heart bearing the burden of guilt of those who thought that euthanasia was their only option..

Dr. McCadden, our resident acupuncturist has an elderly dog with very weak back legs. We were talking about the options for him..I suggested trying to build him a cart.

Here is the labor of her husband's dog love..a cart from Home Depot stock that she says cost them abut $60.

Where there is a will there is always a way.

If you think that your pet is in need of help go look for someone who shares your view. Never settle for a lazy, uncaring, unwilling anyone..ever. There are some amazing rock star vets out there, knock on as many doors as you need to, one will open the door and help you, I promise.

If you have a pet question, a vet fear, or just need a shoulder to lean on, you can find me and a bunch of other animal rock stars at Pawbly is a place for all things animal related. If you have a question you can ask the community, or, if you take so many photos if your pets that you are fearing being labeled a "crazy cat/dog/ferret/horse/pig...whatever..person" you can post like mad on Pawbly. After all, we are all a little crazy when it comes to our pets!!, Why not join a group of people who embrace you for your pet passions?. And best yet, Pawbly is free for everyone to use.

Or find me on Twitter @FreePetAdvice,  or at the best clinic on planet earth (I am totally biased!), Jarrettsville Veterinary Center, in Jarrettsville Maryland.

Magpie sleeps.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Pet Industry Trends and Outlook for 2014

If you have a question or comment about anything pet related, you can find me at, where I try my darnedest to save every single pet in every single home in every corner of the globe! Are you up for a challenge? Join takes a village to raise a kid, and we need your help! Pitch in, be a voice of your experience, or a shoulder to lean on for a pet family in need. Pawbly is always free to use!

Magpie, pounce ready..the am edition.

Article of interest to share;

Pet businesses will prosper: Industry trends for 2014 and beyond 
By Clarice Brough 

Share this article:  

Is your pet business stoked for the industry trends of 2014 and beyond? If you own a pet store or another pet-related enterprise, chances are your business concerns are similar to those of most pet operations across the United States. 


What do you think about the pet industry outlook?
  • 1. It's looking strong
  • 2. I have some concerns
  • 3. This might get ugly

You most likely belong to a group of small, independently owned pet businesses with either none or fewer than four employees. This is the case for 92.2 percent of all U.S. pet operations according to June'sIBISWorld Industry Report, Pet Stores in the U.S. by Caitlin Moldway. Just 7.8 percent of pet-related businesses have more than 20 employees.

A number of different types of retail operations exist in the pet industry. These most often sell pets, pet foods and pet supplies, and provide pet grooming and boarding services. Other closely related industries are veterinarian services, which also occasionally retail pet foods and supplies, as well as pet insurance. The two national retail chains, PetSmart and PetCo, account for more than half of the industry revenue, with smaller stores and franchises accounting for the remainder.

A variety of specialized pet services and products have also emerged, largely the result of a "pet parenting" attitude among owners. This trend has been increasing for a number of years, but according to Moldway it reached a tipping point in 2005 and 2006 as increasing numbers of people are rewarding pets in human terms. Premium diets have become a mainstay for many pet owners.

Today there is a large demand in specialized diets for dogs, cats, birds and even reptiles, as well as specialized treats and supplements for a number of different household pets. Demand has also increased for specialized pet services such as dog walking and training. Premium services such as pet therapy sessions, full-service boarding in doggy hotels and even pet-only airplane flights have been increasing in popularity as well.

The majority of pet businesses are independently owned and operated, and being small heightens their sensitivity to external market pressures. During the past five years, fluctuations in the economy have affected the buying decisions of pet owners. The demand for standard pet products stayed flat or decreased, while specialty pet products and services increased, pushing the industry revenues up overall, to an average of 3.4 percent annually.

With the economic downturn of the past five years followed by a slow recovery, it helps if you understand where the pet industry has been and where it is heading. Here's a brief overview of the past trends, where we are now and the future outlook. As a pet industry player you will quickly learn how you and your business can prosper. 

Past Trends Leading into 2013

The overall economy has been shaky, but the pet industry was less affected by the recent recession than other retail sectors. The IBISWorld Industry Report shows that for 2008-13, the industry has averaged an overall 3.4 percent annual growth. As reported by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) in the Pet Industry Market Size & Ownership Statistics, the total U.S. pet industry expenditures for 2008 was $43.2 billion while it is estimated at $55.53 billion for 2013.

Although the industry did expand, growth had slowed significantly from earlier years. Surveys conducted in 2010 by Pet Business report a reduction in pet supply spending from 2008-10. During the past five years only supermarkets, mass merchandisers and large retailers benefited from the slowing economy, as they could offer discounted prices and the convenience of one-stop shops. Unfortunately, these tough times forced some smaller specialty retailers to exit the industry. In the five years preceding 2013, the number of pet industry operators contracted at an average annual rate of 0.9 percent to an estimated 13,470 companies.

On a positive note, the downturn prompted about 22 percent of small pet businesses to offset the decline in their retail product sales by adding other specialty pet services. Overall, the industry has continued to expand and is considered to be in the growth stage of its life cycle.

A consistent average growth (since 2008) is attributed to an increase in the number of pet owners along with an emerging trend of the humanization of pets. Moldway says that owners more often see themselves as "pet parents," considering their pets as family members. This has increased demand for premium pet products and services. Consumers are indulging in all-natural and organic pet foods and treats and there is an increased demand for boarding, daycare, training, socialization services and more. 

Pet Trends into 2014 and Beyond

Going forward, growth in the pet industry is projected to be 4 percent annually through 2018. In the next five years, pet operations are projected to maintain strong growth. The number of households owning pets is expected to continue to increase along with an increase in discretionary income as the economic recovery takes hold. These two factors combined will continue to bolster the demand for premium products, foods and pet services.

Pet ownership is the key to increased growth in the industry. Ownership has been on the rise in the United States for the last two decades. The demand for pets, especially cats and dogs, is expected to continue to rise through 2018 and probably beyond. For the next five years, it is projected that the majority of new entrants into the pet-keeping hobby will be single-person households and the aging population.

The IBISWorld report estimates that the average rate of pet ownership will increase at 2.2 percent annually. According to studies by the APPA, in 1998 about 51 million households owned at least one pet, and by 2005 that number had reached 69 million. The most recent APPA study, the 2013-2014 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, estimates 82.5 million or 68 percent of American households are now pet owners.

Pet sales are normally a one-time purchase, so it represents only a small portion of the industry revenue. For 2013, IBISWorld tags the live-animal segment at about 5.6 percent of total industry revenue. The large retailers generally only sell fish and some small animals, and then partner with local pet adoption programs to provide dogs and cats. The independent, small retailers often sell all types of animals. These can include fish, birds, rabbits, a variety of small animals, a variety of reptiles and invertebrates, and cats and dogs.

Two other factors besides an increase in pet ownership are expected to influence an increase in business for independent retailers.

  1. The recovering economy. This will provide consumers with more discretionary income.
  2. The ongoing trend of pet humanization. This will spur demand for premium foods, upscale products, and more specialty services.
Competition will continue from supermarkets and grocery stores that offer one-stop convenience. But consumers will also be seeking pet supply options based on factors other than low prices and return to smaller operators.

Specialty pet services have been the fastest growing segment in the industry. This segment will continue to grow as more pet owners consider animals to be valued members of their families. The IBISWorld report forecasts that the number of pet-related operations will also expand. The number of companies is projected to increase at an average annual rate of 1.6 percent. The number of businesses is expected to reach about 14,611 by 2018, well above the 13,470 in operation today. 

Worldwide Pet Industry Trends

Both the United States and the United Kingdom have long been the leaders of the world pet market. But today a number of other countries are emerging as global pet industry forces.

The majority of the pet operations in the United States are small businesses that operate within a local or regional scope. The IBISWorld Industry Report states that globalization will not have an impact on the retail segment. However, at the manufacturing level, pet supplies are increasingly being imported and exported, and then sold in the domestic market.

A London-based market research firm, Euromonitor International, reports that the trend in world pet markets has increased exponentially within the last five years. According to the article, The World Pet Market Booms, Countries that are Experiencing Unprecedented Growth by Alissa Wolf, the industry insiders attribute this growth to global humanization of pets. Other cultures are also increasingly regarding companion animals as family members.

Wolf indicates that a boom in the world pet markets can be seen in a number of emerging countries. Not only have they experienced growth in their pet industries, some have also begun to schedule their first "Pet Expo"-type conventions. Some of these up and coming countries include:

  • China, where ongoing economic improvement is providing more and more people with disposable income. It has begun to really take off within the last five years here.
  • India too is growing, although the majority of the retailers are "mom and pop"-type outlets, and this country has been slow to adopt commercial pet foods. It has a long history of feeding pets homemade fare, but with an increase in two-income families and hectic lifestyles, it is expected to experience large growth in coming years.
  • Russia has experienced a huge growth in the realm of commercial pet foods, notably in 2010-11.
  • Other up-and-coming world pet markets include Japan, Vietnam and Latin America — where Brazil and Mexico are two of the upcoming superstars.
Pet Industry Future Outlook

The future looks bright in the pet industry. The economic downturn of the past five years is now being followed by a slow recovery, which is quite promising. For the small stores, the impact of competition from supermarkets and mass merchandisers has been strong and will continue. These outlets offer a range of pet products and foods in a moderate price range.

Larger pet retailers like PetSmart and PetCo will also continue to have a strong showing. They offer a broad range of pet foods, pet supplies and pet services ranging in quality and price. They can also buy in bulk, private label these items and subsequently sell them for a lower price, which helps give them an advantage.

Heading into 2014 and beyond, customers will continue to pamper their pets. And as they experience an increase in disposable income they will also be looking for more than low prices. Small business will benefit the most from this shift. Independent operators tend to be the most knowledgeable and experienced in the industry and are able to offer expert advice on a variety of pet-related issues.

As a small business, you need to look at incorporating specialty foods, products and services. You can outshine the competition in your ability to offer personalized customer services. You are more adaptable and can readily offer pet products, foods and services to meet the specific needs of your customers.

Clarice Brough has more than two decades of experience as an exotic animal professional — from owning an exotic pet store to breeding all sorts of exotic pet species. Today she is the website content and public relations manager for, a website devoted to providing quality pet information. You can follow Clarice on the following social media sites:LinkedInGoogle PlusFacebook and Twitter

Looking for another snuggle.

If you have a question or comment about anything pet related, you can find me at It is always free to use! 

You can also find me on Twitter @FreePetAdvice, or at the clinic Jarrettsville Vet. Please stop by and say hello..

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Race to Make Your Life Be Better. Will it be a Robot OR Your Pet?

Shay, my sisters dog was spayed on Thursday.
Taken this morning..

I have a few crazy predictions to make.

1. The workforce is going to become more and more heavily robotized. Think I'm wrong about this one? Read the Wall Street Journals article on "Why the Rise of the Robot Workforce is a Good Thing." Robot's  now clean our floors, assemble our gadgets, perform our most invasive and complicated surgeries, answer our customer service phone calls, predict our weather, perform search and rescues, investigate our crime scenes and bombs, and beat us at almost every game imaginable. The constant search for cheaper goods and services to maintain our bank accounts and keep our businesses competitive with the workforce in China is costing us human jobs and a greater dependency on technology.

2. The keys to unlocking the mystery of science and medicine will increasingly be found in the creatures and gifts that nature has already provided us. IF, we don't distance ourselves or destroy the keys in our quest to decimate the finite natural resources this planet provides us.

Isn't it odd that as we become more dependent on machines our dependency on animals to assist us in greater capacities becomes more evident.

Lucy, post-op cruciate surgery.
Not exactly a therapy dog but she keeps her girls happy and active.

Animals assist us in many ways. Let me give you a few examples;
  • Prison Pet Partnership Program. Started in 1981 by Sister Pauline, a nun, and Dr. Bustad, a veterinarian, their dream was to rehabilitate inmates by fostering an environment where the human-animal bond could be developed. The Washington State Department of Corrections created this innovative program that has led to the successful training of over 700 dogs that have been trained by inmates to assist as service, seizure, and therapy dogs. Many other similiar programs can now be found around the country. Most take dogs from the euthanasia row and are placed with inmates who learn that love is a two way street, where kindness, patience, compassion are paid back. Which of us don't already know that the love and affection of our pets isn't therapeutic?
  • Seizure dogs tell us when a seizure is about to happen AND they can get help if one does happen. Some therapy dogs help us monitor diabetes. Others can detect cancer. Find missing people, buried people, and assist in disaster responses of almost all types. Animals provide us with a reason to get  up in the morning. They keep us happier, laughing and living a longer, safer, more secure life.
  • They make us happy, lower blood pressure, keep us more active, more engaged in our community, help our hearts (literally and figuratively), they help us live longer.
  • For people with autism, ADHD, depression, illness, cancer, chronic pain and disease, they bring a new dimension to our quality of life.
  • Our food supply, ability to survive in almost every environment and place in he world is intimately tied to our dependence on animals. 
Levi, who keeps his parents looking forward and fills their lives with joy.
He has idiopathic epilepsy, and they do an amazing job of managing it.
Even those pups who aren't perfect keep us feeling a sense of purpose.

Here is a story I just found on how our pets are improving our lives, helping us maintain our environment and protect our food supply..Add this to the list..

Barking up the wrong bee: Meet the dog trained to sniff out killer disease that wipes out hives… and he has his own beekeeping suit to protect him from stings

  • Bazz the black labrador has been trained by beekeeper Josh Kennett
  • He can detect by smell a killer bee disease called American foulbrood 
  • The dog kept being stung so Mr Kennett made it a special suit 

Bazz the black labrador was specially trained by beekeeper Josh Kennett to detect by smell a killer bee disease called American foulbrood.

But Mr Kennett was forced to design him his own beekeepers suit after he kept getting stung while saving the buzzing insects.
Bazz the black labrador (pictured in his special suit) has been trained by beekeeper Josh Kennett
Bazz the black labrador (pictured in his special suit) has been trained by beekeeper Josh Kennett
A beekeeping dog is creating a buzz with a special outfit designed to protect him from stings
A beekeeping dog is creating a buzz with a special outfit designed to protect him from stings
Now, the dog has to suit up every time he goes out to the hives.
The beekeeper, from Tintinara in South Australia, created the incredible suit after a long process of trial and error.
Mr Kennett said: 'The process of training Bazz and developing the suit has been an attempt to find a better way of controlling American foulbrood disease.


'There is no cure for the disease .
Josh Kennett created the special suit
Josh Kennett created the special suit
'Detection and quarantine processes are essential to save our bees.
'I realised that Bazz was able to sniff out the disease, and save thousands of bees - but he didn’t like being around them too much when he was getting stung.
'So I’ve tried to develop a suit the dog can wear and hopefully avoid being stung.'
The suit is created to protect the dog as it attempts to detect the devastating disease which wipes out thousands of beehives every year.
The fatal Paenibacillus larvae caused by the infection are usually only visible under high-magnification microscope, but thanks to Bazz’s mesh protected nose, that’s not necessary.
The dare-devil dog is protected from bee attack to let him get close enough to sniff out the hives.
After a lengthy training regime Bazz was ready to take on the challenge and began detecting the disease.
Mr Kennett said: 'We’ve now proven the concept, he can find the infected hives.
'The only challenge now is getting the dog comfortable with the suit. It’s hard to change a dog’s habits overnight.
'To fully cover a dog up and expect it to do the same thing, it takes time to change how he behaves and to get used to that suit.
'But he’s a quick learner and he’s never let us down before.'


American Foulbrood is caused by a spore forming bacterium called Paenibacillus larvae. 
These spores are the infective stage of the disease and infection begins when food contaminated with spores are fed to larvae by the nurse bees.  
Once in the gut of the larva the spores germinate, bateria move into the larval tissues, where they multiply enormously. 
American Foulbrood is caused by a spore forming bacterium called Paenibacillus larvae
American Foulbrood is caused by a spore forming bacterium called Paenibacillus larvae
Infected larvae normally die after the cell is sealed and millions of infective spores form in their remains. 
Spores are very resistant to extremes of heat and cold and to many disinfectants.
The most common method of transmission from infected hive to healthy hive is the beekeeper. 
The spores can easily transferred, if frames of honey or brood are moved between hives, or if other contaminated equipment is used. 
However, robbing by adult bees of dead or dying infected colonies is also an important mode of transmission. If left to run its course, all colonies infected with AFB will eventually die from the disease.
All infected colonies are normally destroyed. 
The first stage is to destroy the adult bees and brood combs by burning, then the hives and any appliances are sterilised by scorching with a blow lamp. 

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Shay, being carried into the house by my dear husband Joe,
 from being spayed.

SO, here is my prediction.
If we don't start paying attention to our world, the unique responsibility we have to our planet and our fellow inhabitants, we are certainly going to jeopardize our own species and affect our own quality of life along the way to our own extinction.

History has shown us that our dependence on horses, camels, and elephants provided transportation, dogs protection, cats internal pest control and all cumulatively still provide immense human companionship. Could your pig be your next heart? Could your dolphin be your next anti-terrorist detection device? Could that tiny insect in the disappearing Amazon be the key to curing cancer?

I guess we won't know if we don't open our eyes and hearts to the possibility?

Charlie, who looks a bit bored as we drive to work.

For more information on why are honeybees so important please read the Mother Nature Network article.

For more information on Pet Prison Programs please see;
Petfinders Prison Dog Program article.
4 Paws for Ability. They provide service dogs to children.
Mother Nature Network. prisoners save shelter dogs from death row.

For other stories about pets improving human lives, please see;
WebMD, 28 ways pets can improve  your health.

Cooper and his little sister Rella.
They are the most amusing pair.
There is no room for anything outside of giddy play when they are around.

For information on the types of skills service/therapy dogs perform please see;
Service Dogs for Independence

Loon and Coot, the Jarrettsville Vet resident cats.
They have a knack for finding the clients who need a little pick me up and
jumping on top of them for a forced snuggle session.

For more information on how animals improve our lives please visit;
Web MD, 28 ways pets improve your health.

If you have a pet question, a fortune to foresee about anything animal related, or if you want to share anything about your favorite pet you can meet a whole bunch of us pet fanatics at It is free to use and a wealth of animal information.

You can also find me on Twitter @FreePetAdvice, or come by the clinic and give the pups a hug in person. We are almost always under the Jarrettsville Vet roof.

Friday, April 25, 2014

If I Could Re-Write the Book

If I could do my life all over I think I would choose to do one of the following;

1. Become a USCG helicopter pilot..
After you see them in action in the middle of a big furious churning ocean rescue a sick, dying person whose only hope is to get safely snapped into a tiny dangling whipping wire line, you know that you have witnessed true courage, skill, and heroism.


2. Be the engineer who designs prosthetic's for animals. After all, we faaar to often use a handicap as a convenient excuse to lay another animal to rest. If I had it all to do over again I would spent my time whittling new legs, noses, beaks, fins, feathers, etc. I would be my own little animal savior Geppetto.

Want to save a life doomed to be cast aside, think way outside the box and look at these miracles;

From ABC News, 

Meet 5 Incredible 'Bionic' Pets With Prosthetic Limbs

PHOTO: Nora lost her back legs to an unknown trauma a few years ago. Her prosthetics do a good job protecting her back legs and allowing her to move naturally.
If the Six Million Dollar Man had a pet sidekick, it would probably be one of these incredible animals. While not exactly bionic, all of them were fitted with an artificial limb after an amputation.
These resilient creatures prove that people aren’t the only ones who can benefit from amazing advances in prosthetic technology. Experts say more and more of our animal friends are being fitted with replacement parts that help them get back on their paws, feet or fins in no time.
“When we started building prosthetics for animals back in 2002, we would do maybe one or two a month,” said Martin Kaufmann, co-founder of OrthoPets, a Colorado-based animal prosthetic maker. “Now we make eight to ten a week.”
PHOTO: Sally, a 6-year-old Saluki was found in Iraq by an American soldier and was brought to the U.S. for treatment for a damaged hind leg. She received an implant about four years ago. The vegetarian who performed her surgery adopted her.
Sally, a 6-year-old Saluki was found in Iraq by an American soldier and was brought to the U.S. for treatment for a damaged hind leg. She received an implant about four years ago. The veterinarian who performed her surgery adopted her.
The main reason animals are receiving prosthetic limbs more often than in the past, Kaufmann believes, is because we humans have come to look upon ourselves as the guardians of our four-legged friends rather than the owners of disposable possessions.
“Once you see yourself as a guardian, you can look at animals through a different lens,” he said. “Your mindset is not to euthanize or chop off a leg, but to help them get back to normal function.”
PHOTO: Tripod, a rescue llama, fractured his back left leg and ultimately it was amputated. Now fitted with a prosthetic, he works as a guard llama on an alpaca ranch in Colorado.
Tripod, a rescue llama, fractured his back left leg and ultimately it was amputated. Now fitted with a prosthetic, he works as a guard llama on an alpaca ranch in Colorado.
The most common site of prosthetic limb replacement on an animal is the paw or foot, Kaufmann said. When a four-legged animal has an amputation of the front leg, it’s usually high up near the shoulder. In a back leg amputation, only the lower portion of the leg typically gets removed.
Socket prostheses are the most common type of replacement limb used in animals. They slip over the limb stump and then strap or buckle into place. Newer, integrated prostheses involve implanting one part of the device into the bone and then anchoring another removable part into it with a screw. Either kind provides long-lasting limb support and more natural movement, Kaufmann said.
PHOTO:  Motala, a 50-year-old elephant in Thailand who lost her left front leg after stepping on a land mine a few years ago, received a new leg.
Reuters Photo
Motala, a 50-year-old elephant in Thailand who lost her left front leg after stepping on a land mine a few years ago, received a new leg.
A typical dog prosthetis paw costs between $1,200 and $1,500 dollars, Kaufmann said. Cat replacement limbs are smaller and less expensive. Prosthetic limbs made for larger beasts like llamas, cows or horses are more expensive.
Most animals are first fitted with a temporary teaching prosthetic. Then once they get the hang of it – typically in about two weeks – they’re switched over to permanent hardware, Kaufmann said, adding that all animals have that eureka moment when they figure out how to use their new limb.
“It’s the most exciting thing in the world to watch,” he said.
PHOTO: Bunker lives on a golf course in Canada. His leg was struck and fractured by a golf ball. A local vet teamed up with OrthoPets to donate his amputation and new limb. He’s now happily roaming the golf course once again.
Bunker lives on a golf course in Canada. His leg was struck and fractured by a golf ball. A local vet teamed up with OrthoPets to donate his amputation and new limb. He’s now happily roaming the golf course once again.

What would you do if you could re-write the book of your life?

You can find me on answering questions, asking for confirmation on the cuteness of my beagles and kitties, or on Twitter @FreePetAdvice, where I try to keep you animal lovers up to date on the latest advancements in pet care, and save the world one little beak, nose, tail wag, hoof, and purr at a time..

Or come to see me at the clinic, Jarrettsville Vet, and tell me about your wildest adventures, dreams, and what you might do if...?

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Hairball Awareness Day

Anytime I see a coughing and/or vomiting cat (and really that is a lot!), I talk a bit about hairballs.

For cats the fastidious, obsessive, slightly compulsive act of grooming ca turn into a clog in the pipes. For all long haired cats i recommend two things. First, brush daily, and second, think about a shave down once or twice a year. Removing as much hair as possible as often as possible results in less hair that your cat ingests.

For indoor cats that have frequent hairball production (frequent in my experience is more than twice a week, or large amounts of hair produced with violent vomiting), I recommend an indoor grass garden, a fountain to encourage water intake, and perhaps either a specially formulated hairball diet, or oral daily lubricant.

As much as I know my clients aren't very fond of the banging hammer sound of  a cat about to hack up part of their last meal, or of picking up piles of vomited hair around the house, I remind them that a hairball on your carpet is better than a hairball stuck in the stomach. Hairballs can grow as hair continues to be ingested and stick to the mass stuck inside your cat. If the hairball is small enough to pass out of the stomach it can get stuck and cause an obstruction in the intestines.

A cat that is vomiting, producing hairballs, or vomiting and not able to keep food down, especially those cats who are looking unkempt, losing weight and acting lethargic or producing fecal material with hair in  it, should be seen by the veterinarian immediately.

In light of today being;

April 25 is Hairball Awareness Day!
April 25 is Hairball Awareness Day!
by Dr. Rebecca Ruch-Gallie / Colorado State University

Posted on April 23, 2014 at 3:00 AM
Updated Tuesday, Apr 15 at 8:32 PM
Believe it or not, April 25 is Hairball Awareness Day, one of the pet-health awareness events recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

If you have a pet cat, you’re probably plenty aware of hairballs: We find them on the carpet and accidentally step on them when we wake up, an unpleasant experience that triggers memory of hearing hacking in the middle of the night. Ugh.

The medical term for hairball is “trichobezoar.”  These masses accumulate in the digestive systems of animals that groom themselves, including cats, rabbits, cattle, even llamas. And hairballs are often no laughing matter for some species, sometimes requiring surgical removal because they may cause cause obstructions and dangerous medical conditions.

In cats, hairballs are a natural consequence of good grooming and typically are expelled. The sound a cat makes when evacuating a hairball is scary, a cross between a cough and a gag; the cat’s facial expressions are equally startling.
Why does this happen?

The projections on a cat’s tongue, which cause it to feel rough, are designed to clean off dead hairs in order to keep a cat’s coat smooth and sleek, the mark of a feline predator.  As pet cats groom, hair moves to the gut, and in most cases on to the litter box.

Sometimes, however, hair hangs up in the stomach or upper intestine and collects fluids and bile. At this point, the trichobezoar becomes a round or tubular mass and must be expelled by vomiting.

Cats that are fastidious, long-haired and older are more prone to forming and ejecting hairballs. You can expect hairballs to appear once or twice per week.

If a pet cat expels hairballs more often than that – or if it has difficulty propelling hairballs – the animal should be seen by a veterinarian.

Prolonged gagging or vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea or constipation should also be of concern as underlying issues or hairball obstruction may be causing problems in your cat.
Here are some ways to help your cat with hairballs:
  • Groom your cat to aid with shedding. Many cats enjoy daily brushing. Pick a soft, bristled brush or a cat grooming mitt.
  • Consider a petroleum-based cat hairball treat. There are several available. These may be used once or twice weekly to help move hair through the digestive system.
  • Keep your cat entertained to avoid the excessive grooming that might result from boredom. The Indoor Pet Initiative offers excellent tips to help keep your cat active at home.

Dr. Rebecca Ruch-Gallie is a veterinarian and clinical coordinator for the Community Practice service at Colorado State University’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Community Practice provides general care, wellness services, and treatment of minor injuries and illnesses for pets.

If you have a question about hairballs, cats or any sort of pet question you can find me on Pawbly is free to use and all members can share photos, post pet information, or meet fellow pet lovers. 
Or you can find me on Twitter @FreePetAdvice..Or come say hello in person at Jarrettsville Vet.
With love from my little hairball..