Take Caution With The Heat

So far this spring we have been experiencing cooler than normal temperatures, which human and furry friends alike have surely been enjoying. However, we can expect the month of May to bring warmer days, which will likely also encourage more outdoor activities, in which most of us will want to enjoy with our pets. With the increase in heat and activity, the possibility of heat exhaustion and heat stroke becomes a real concern.

Dogs can only dissipate heat from a small area in their feet, where sweat glands are located, as well as through their oral cavity by panting.   To add to this, many family dogs are thick coated and/or overweight, which further insulates them and impedes heat loss. Because of the dogs methods of heat dispersion, it is obvious that dogs are better designed for working in colder climates. However, even then they are at risk of overheating. It was reported that dogs suffered heat exhaustion during the Alaskan sled race, the Iditarod,  a few years ago because the air temperatures that year stayed around the low 30′s.  This is a testament to the amount of heat a working dog can generate, even in freezing temperatures and snow.

There has been an apparent trend over the past 4-5 years where the majority of heat stroke/exhaustion  cases present in the month of May and June.  The easiest explanation for this is due to unfit, unconditioned pets who have been taking the winter months off and are starting to get out and be active again. It should also be noted that day time temperatures typically jump 15 to 25 degrees over a short period of time. The rise in ambient temperatures combined with out of shape pets is the perfect formula for heat exhaustion/stroke.

The normal temperature of a dog at rest is usually between 100 and 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit.  Exercise induced temperatures can safely range between 102 to 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat exhaustion becomes a concern when temperature climb above 104 degrees, and heat stroke is seen when temperatures exceed 105 to 106 degrees. The internal temperature of the pet is only one component      involved when assessing overheating related cases. Overall hydration and length of time at elevated temperatures play into the larger picture and/or severity of the episode.

There are several symptoms of heat exhaustion/stroke to watch out for in your pet while enjoying the great outdoor this summer: Bright red gums, hyper salivation and thickening of the saliva, disorientation, weakness, laying down and reluctance to get back up.

 If you think your pet may be over heating…

    • Get them into a shady, cool spot immediately.
    • Use cool, but not cold, water and wet their entire body.
    • Allow them to drink small amounts of water, you can even drip cool water in their mouth, and on their feet.  Be careful when using wet rags and towels, as they can act as an insulator, trapping the heat next to the animals body. Do not cover the entire animal with the wet towel/rags and change them often to keep them cool.
    • If possible, monitor the pets temperature using a rectal thermometer. It is best to stop the cooling process when the body temperature hits 103 to 103.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
    •  Excessive cooling efforts can sling shot the pet into hypothermia and again restrict blood flow to tissues.
    • As soon as possible,  get the pet to veterinary care where iv fluids can be started and organ function and overall well being can be evaluated.

The best way to protect your pet against overheating is to prevent it.

  • Start exercising them slowly and gradually to help build physical fitness.
  • Avoid the hottest times of the day and take them out during the early mornings or late evenings, which are typically the coolest times of the day.
  •  Be sure to carry adequate fresh water for yourself and your pet, unless you are certain there is accessible, safe, fresh drinking water available along your route.

It is our goal to not see any heat exhaustion or heat strokes cases this year.  Help us reach this goal by being safe with your pets: plan ahead before you get out and exercise, walk, hike, or work your dogs this summer.
If you have any questions or want to discuss over heating problems further, feel free to give us a call.

Matt  Thompson DVM

Why Do Cats Have Whiskers

CatWhiskersArticle from www.PetMD.com

Cats possess many physiological attributes that give them their astounding athletic abilities; one of the most prominent features all cats share that enables this are whiskers. But why exactly do cats have whiskers?

THE ANATOMY OF THE WHISKER

A common mistake people make is assuming that cat whiskers and human hair are alike. The whiskers, unlike human hair, are actually touch receptors. These longer, stiffer hairs — also called vibrissae — are embedded more deeply in the cat’s body than the shorter top-fur coat. The vibrissae are connected securely to the sensitive muscular and nervous systems, sending information about the surroundings directly to the cat’s sensory nerves, giving it a heightened sense of feeling and helping the cat to detect and respond to changes in its surroundings – sort of like kitty radar.

A cat’s tactile hairs may be the most prominent on either side of its nose and upper facial lip. You may be also able to see shorter whiskers above each of the eyes (kind of like eyebrows). But did you know that cats also have whiskers on their jaw line and on the back of their front legs?

THOU SHALL NOT CUT YOUR CAT’S WHISKERS!

Another common mistake is presuming that cat whiskers should be trimmed. Some cats, like the Devon Rex, even have curly facial whiskers, so you might think that it wouldn’t be harmful to straighten them out with a little trim. You’d be wrong!

Grooming, trimming or cutting off a cat’s whiskers is a big no-no. Without their tactile hairs, cats become verydisoriented and frightened. In short, whiskers enable cats to gauge and make sense of their environment. Whiskers do grow back, but cats need their whiskers to remain intact in the same way you and I need our touch senses to get around. That is, cats use their whiskers in the same way that we use the touch receptors in our finger tips to feel our way around in the darkness, and to alert us to potentially painful situations.

Cat whiskers shed and grow back naturally, and should be left alone.

FEELING THEIR WAY AROUND – EVEN IN THE DARK

Cats have a sensory organ at the end of their whiskers called a proprioceptor, which sends tactile signals to the brain and nervous system. The proprioceptor is related to the position of the body and limbs, an important part of knowing where every part of the body is so that decisions can be made for the next immediate movement. This organ makes the cat’s whiskers very sensitive to even the smallest change in the cat’s environment. A cat’s whiskers not only help it to gauge whether it can fit into a tight space (without even being able to see it), they can even respond to vibrations in the air, such as when the cat is chasing prey.

Whiskers also serve as a way for cats to visually measure distance, which is why they are able to leap so quickly and gracefully onto a narrow ledge or out of harm’s way.

GETTING IN THE MOOD

Whiskers serve another purpose besides acting as guidance, tracking, and radar systems – they also serve as a kind of barometer for the cat’s moods. When a cat is resting or content, its whiskers will be mostly immobile. But if you see the whiskers suddenly bunch up and lay flat against the cat’s face — that may be a sign that the cat is scared.

Perhaps when playing “chase the toy” with a cat, you’ll notice its whiskers are pointing forward. This is probably its “game face,” a sign that your cat is in hunting mode.

The whiskers also make it pretty easy to tell when a cat is startled or excited, because every hair on its body will be standing on end, including the whiskers, which will point almost completely forward.

Whiskers are a vital part of a cat’s mobility and sense of security. Without whiskers, cats would not be able to achieve the great acrobatic feats that are so awe-inspiring, or protect themselves from dangerous situations.

Protect Yourself From Dog Park Bullies

BY JANE HARRELL of Petfinder.com

Dog parks can be a great place to let your dog socialize and burn off some excess energy.

But can you tell when play between dogs has gone from fun roughhousing to bullying? Check out these tips.

How to Spot a Dog-Park Bully

Protect Your Dog From Dog Park Bullies

Bullying means one dog is playing too rough for another (remember, the bully might be YOUR dog!), and when it happens, it’s time to leave. Here are signs that play has stopped being fun:

  • One dog repeatedly pins another down, with no reciprocation
  • One dog repeatedly chases another, with no reciprocation
  • A dog does not back off when the other dog gives a high-pitched yelp
  • A dog continues to pursue another who is trying to end the play session by, for example, hiding behind your legs or jumping on a bench
  • You see anything that makes you uncomfortable (you know your dog best, so trust your instincts!)

 

Signs Your Dog Is Uncomfortable
Your dog might not come to you when he’s feeling bullied or uncomfortable, so keep an eye out for these body-language cues:

  • A tail that is low or tucked under
  • Lip licking
  • Yawning
  • Barking while backing away from another dog
  • Avoiding eye contact and turning his head away when another dog approaches

 

What Does Good Play Look Like?
While it’s important to remove your dog from a bullying situation, it’s also good to know when play that looks rough to you is really fun for him. Here are signs your dog is having a great time:

play-bow-dog.jpg

Play bow
  • A tail wagging in wide sweeps or fast circles
  • A playful bark that’s slightly higher than his “alert” bark at home
  • Play bows (see photo)
  • Reciprocation: each dog taking turns doing the chasing, pinning, etc.

 

The fact is, any dog of any breed, size, sex, age or temperament can be a bully — or a victim of bullying — and many dogs can go from bully to bullied in different contexts.

If your dog doesn’t have a group of pals with whom he can play in a positive way at your local dog park, reach out to local pet parents, or check out Meetup.com, and organize playdates at a safe, fenced-in area. Your dog will thank you with a nice long nap afterwards!

Why is my cat suddenly peeing all over the house?

The cat either has an infection or a behavioral problem. Uncontrolled urination is a possible sign of a urinary tract or bladder infection. After a trip to the veterinarian, your cat should be cleared up with antibiotics or diagnosed with a behavioral problem.  A cat’s typical behavior is very clean. With this in mind, make sure that there is a separate litter box for each cat in your home. You can, also, try changing the type of litter or using a covered litter box. For extreme cases, move the litter box to where your cat prefers to urinate and then move it about an inch a day until it has been returned to its original location.

Source of the article: here

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