When we walk our dogs, we all want them to behave perfectly while on the leash. Some individuals will growl, bark or lunge at other dogs while out leash walking. It is important to recognize the triggers for your dog, in order to improve the behavior. Some dogs will only react to dogs that are bigger than they are, others respond to specific breeds. Some dogs are better when off lead and worse when on a leash. Some dogs are well behaved beyond a specific distance from the other dog. The first step in modifying and controlling this behavior is to recognize the triggers and also the frequency of the behavior. It is a good idea to keep a log of the episodes and specifically what happened: distance/breed/provocation. This is also helpful to monitor the success of treatment strategies. Another very helpful thing is to record an episode to show your veterinarian. At Sudbury Animal Hospital, we can look at the behavior and help to determine whether it is normal or abnormal.
June 4, 2014
My Older Cat is drinking a lot of water and losing weight. What could it be?
There are three common problems that make cats lose weight and drink a large volume of water. The first is kidney disease. These cats usually flood the litter box, but their urine is very dilute. It can even look watery and have little or no odor. Often their appetite is diminished and they may sleep more than usual. The second is hyperthyroidism. Many of these cats will eat and drink more than usual, yet still lose weight. The thyroid sets our basic level of metabolism and in this case the metabolism is in overdrive. Many hyperthyroid cats will be more active than previously, particularly at night. They can yowl loudly in the nighttime hours. The last common possibility is diabetes. These cats also tend to eat more and drink more than is normal for them. Their urine is usually yellow, and can even look thick due to the sugar that is in it. Many, but not all, diabetic cats were overweight or obese when the problem started.
June 2, 2014
The warmer months in Massachusetts bring ticks out, and ticks carry disease. The tiny deer tick, carries Lyme disease. The symptoms of Lyme disease include the following: lameness in only one or all legs, swollen lymph nodes, fever and lethargy. Only approximately 10% of infected dogs will show any signs at all, but many carry a hidden infection. It is important to protect dogs from this disease as it can become chronic, or lead to kidney failure (known as Lyme Nephritis) or heart disease (myocarditis).
The best thing for your dog, is to prevent Lyme infection. Tick control is the most important part of prevention. Using a paraciticide, like Advantix or Frontline is very helpful. It is also essential to check your pets daily for the presence of ticks. A tick needs to be attached for greater than 24 hours, in order to transmit disease. The last piece of the prevention puzzle is vaccination against Lyme disease. The recombinant vaccine that we use at Sudbury Animal Hospital is very safe and makes it 8 times less likely that your dog will contract Lyme disease. The primary reasons for vaccine failure are (1) letting the vaccine lapse, or go overdue, and (2) a very large tick population that overwhelms the vaccine. Using tick prevention, tick removal and vaccination is the best combination to prevent Lyme disease.