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The veterinarians and staff at Cats & Critters are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

Current Newsletter Topics

“Back-To-School Blues” For Your Dog

Parents and youngsters aren’t the only ones who have to adjust to a new schedule every fall. Just as kids grow accustomed to the care-free days of summer, dogs get used to the constant attention and play time that a child’s constant presence brings. Many dogs will adjust quickly to the change, but those prone to separation anxiety may look for ways to lash out.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Dr. Nick Dodman of Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine recommended the following tips to help ease the transition between summer and the school year:

  • Make departure time happy using toys and treats
  • Create a place in the house where the dog feels safe
  • Try starting the routine before school begins
  • Do not indulge with baby talk or sympathy
  • See a veterinarian if the dog’s disposition doesn’t improve

With a little advanced planning and a few tweaks to you and your dog’s morning routine, you can keep your dog relaxed and content while his favorite playmate is gone for the day. Before you know it, your dog’s “back-to-school blues” will be a thing of the past.

VIDEO: Advances in Pet Vaccine Technology

Canine Distemper? Parvovirus? Lyme Disease? Which vaccines are truly needed by our pets and which ones can they do without? As pet owners increasingly use the Internet and other resources to learn more about the health of their pets, it is easy to get lost and confused by myths and misconceptions about vaccinating our pet friends. Veterinary scientists are helping to clear the confusion with new technology that can protect our pets without exposing them to potential adverse side effects. Watch this video to learn more.

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Marijuana Intoxication in Dogs is on the Rise

Veterinarians are seeing an increase in emergency calls for pets that have been sickened by ingesting marijuana.

In Colorado, where marijuana is legal, veterinarians are seeing a four-fold increase in the number of marijuana toxicity cases. Much of the increase is due to pets getting into their owner’s stash of THC-infused baked goods, or edibles.

Marijuana Intoxication in Dogs is on the Rise

And while humans presumably know how little of each item to ingest, their pets – dogs especially – are prone to eating as much as they can. (Think of them as having a permanent case of the munchies.)

Christy Tomcik, a veterinary technician at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at CSU, says that the effect of marijuana on pets is similar to that of humans. “They become very tired and don’t move very much,” she said. Other effects commonly seen in humans, such as the desire to see whether or not Dark Side of the Moon and The Wizard Of Oz sync up, are not as common.

Pets that have ingested marijuana are typically treated with activated charcoals that can absorb the toxins, inducing vomiting, and administering IV fluids.

Veterinarians say that pet owners should keep treats away from their pets. “Marijuana is a poison to dogs,” said Dr. Billy Griswold, an emergency veterinarian. “Owners have to be careful and use common sense.”

If pets do get into their owner’s stash, veterinarians say it’s important to get medical help for them right away, and never withhold the fact that the pet has eaten marijuana. While pet owners in areas where marijuana isn’t legal may be wary of authority figures, Dr. Brian Serbin, a veterinarian in Phoenix, says that “the veterinary community is not here to tattle on [them]. Be honest with your doctor so we can fix your dog.”

Bronchoscopy - Viewing the Respiratory Tract

Endoscopy is the ability to look inside the body, using a variety of very small cameras attached to either a flexible or rigid tube. The procedure allows the doctor to actually see within a body cavity or within a given organ. Directly viewing the interior of an organ is often very helpful in determining the cause of a problem and/or helpful in establishing a diagnosis.

The endoscope can also be used more aggressively to take biopsy samples or to perform minimally invasive surgery. This has the advantage of being less traumatic to the patient and allows for a faster recovery time.

In veterinary medicine, all endoscopy procedures are performed under general anesthesia. Due to the nature of endoscopy procedures, the amount and duration of anesthesia is much less than would be needed for a standard surgical procedure.

Bronchoscopy is the use of an endoscope to examine the throat and large airways inside the lungs. The scope used for this procedure is a long, flexible one, similar to that used for gastro-intestinal endoscopy, but much smaller in diameter. The small diameter tubing allows for better penetration through the small passageways of the lungs.

Bronchoscopy is an excellent technique for diagnosing infections and performing bacterial cultures of the lungs. It is also very useful for diagnosing many types of lung cancers, inflammatory processes, as well as to remove foreign objects that have been inhaled into the lungs.

View Of The Lower Respiratory Tract Through An Endoscope

View Of The Upper Respiratory Tract Through An Endoscope

Avoiding Pet Care Scams

When you bring your pet to the veterinarian, you expect service you can trust. You count on your vet having the proper medical training, experience, and understanding of how to provide the best care for your animal. And there is no reason why these expectations should not be met. However, this is not always the case. Even with laws in place to serve as protection to you and your pet, many unlawful and potentially harmful practices are slipping between the cracks. In an unfavorable economy, there is increasing concern that unlicensed and unsupervised non-veterinarians may want to work on your pet to make an extra buck, and you may be tempted to succumb to their services. However, these practices are not only illegal, but also harmful or even deadly to your pet. In order to avoid this, it is important to be aware of potential scams.

Avoid Pet Care Scams

Veterinary News Network recently reported on an advertisement that read, “Ear trims – Any dog, any breed -- $25.” The price seemed too good to be true. On the day of the surgery, the owners were told to transfer ownership to the person performing the ear trim. Since pets are technically considered as property, the owner is permitted to “treat and care for” their pets in any manner that does not amount to animal cruelty. It was only after transferring ownership that they found out the person operating on their dog was not a veterinarian.

This story, among countless others, have many pet owners, animal advocates, authorities and veterinarians concerned.

Here are a few potential signs that you – and your pet – are being scammed:

  • Abnormally low prices: although you may be enticed by low prices, you often get what you pay for. This is not to say that a veterinarian will not offer a low price or discount on some services, but rather that you may want to take notice of any abnormally low rates. If it seems too good to be true – it often is.
  • Look for word tricks: why is the person called a “lay animal dentist” or an “animal care specialist”? Why aren’t they called a veterinarian or doctor of veterinary medicine? Furthermore, instead of referring to veterinary services by what they are – veterinary services – people are listing different medical and surgical procedures by other terms, such as “animal husbandry.” Would you want to see a “lay doctor” or “human care person” when you’re sick? Your pet probably doesn’t want to either.
  • Notice any abnormal doctor behavior: why doesn’t this person have the same vocabulary you’re used to hearing from a veterinarian? Why are they forcing you to transfer ownership without reason?

Even in hard economic times, using a true licensed veterinarian will only prove beneficial. Not only will you help avoid the risks and costs associated with unnecessary procedural complications, but you may also help thwart unlawful, unregulated, and harmful practices from penetrating the market. Without proper regulation, you will have no recourse on the non-veterinarian in case of mistakes or even the death of your pet. Furthermore, in a survey conducted on licensed veterinarians performing horse dentistry, the Veterinary News Network found the cost to be the same or less than the services being offered by unsupervised or improperly trained non-veterinarians.

Ultimately, the benefits of using a trained, supervised, and licensed veterinarian far outweigh the disadvantages of a “lay animal doctor.” Any potential fee reduction is also outweighed by the possible harms, risks, and liability you and your pet may incur by using an unlicensed “animal husbandry” provider. Now you know – don’t let those tricks fool you.

Colleges Opening their Doors to Pets

As enrollment figures are starting to drop, many colleges are welcoming pets. Administrators at Stevens College in Columbia, MO and State University of New York at Canton have seen enrollments increase and emotional problems, often associated with students leaving home for the first time, decrease since allowing pets on campus.

A survey of 1,400 colleges lists allergies and irresponsible students as the two main reasons for not allowing pets. Other objections include mess, noise, disease, biting, roommate issues and pet abandonment. Schools that allow pets solve these problems in a variety of ways, including special dorms for students with pets and extra security deposits and cleaning fees. Schools also require current veterinary records and waivers of liability.

A girl and her dog on the quad

Here are a few schools that allow students to bring their pets to college:

MIT – Cambridge, MA
At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, students may keep cats in “cat-friendly” areas of certain dormitories. The cat-friendly areas have a Pet Chair who is responsible for approving and keeping track of pets in the dorm, and the pet owner must have approval from his or her roommates.

Stetson University – DeLand, FL
Stetson University allows students to bring fish, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, rats, mice, cats and dogs under 50 pounds to pet-friendly housing areas on campus. While several breeds of dogs including pit bulls and Rottweilers are prohibited, the college nonetheless won the Halifax Humane Society’s 2011 Wingate Award for encouraging responsible pet ownership.

Eckerd College – St. Petersburg, FL
Students with pet ducks are in luck at Eckerd College. In addition to cats, small dogs and rabbits, the college allows owners of waterfowl to cohabitate with their feathered friend in its pet friendly dormitories. All pets on the Eckerd campus must be registered with Eckerd’s pet council.

Stephens College – Columbia, MO
Stephens College is home to Searcy Hall, affectionately referred to by students as “Pet Central.” In addition to welcoming cats and small dogs, Stephens offers an on-campus doggie daycare and opportunities to foster pets through a nearby no-kill animal rescue organization.

Caltech – Pasadena, CA
Students housed in Caltech’s seven pet-friendly dorms are allowed to keep up to two indoor cats. Cats are provided with an ID tag by Caltech’s housing office, and students must remove cats if neighbors complain.

SUNY Canton – Canton, NY
State University of New York’s Canton campus has a designated pet wing where students are allowed to keep one cat or a small caged pet with the approval of the residence hall director. Pets in this area are allowed free reign in the hall, as the school’s pet wing community tries to promote a family-like atmosphere for its residents.

These are just a few of the colleges that currently allow pets on campus. In fact, a recent survey of college admissions officers found that 38% of schools have housing where some pets are permitted, with 10% of those schools allowing dogs and 8% allowing cats. Students who dread leaving Fido behind every fall might not have to if they choose a pet-friendly college.

Cat Behavior—Hunting

One aspect of cats' behavior which some owners find difficult to accept is hunting, especially when the cat insist on bringing her prey home. Hunting is a very strong instinct in cats and the techniques can be while watching young kittens at play. As the kittens grow older, the skills are finely honed through further play and by watching the mother and mimicking her when she hunts.

Cat Hunting

Hunting is entirely natural for cats and takes place even when they are well fed at home. They evidently enjoy the hunt, stalking patiently and carefully, moving forward and freezing with single minded concentration until they are close enough to pounce. If the cat returns with her kill and presents it to her owner, the reason is possibly because you should congratulate her on her hunting prowess. There is really no point in trying to punish your cat for hunting as it is a part of her nature that is so deeply rooted that to try and eliminate it may well cause her a lot of confusion. Playing catching games with your cat using toys may help to relieve some of her urge to hunt.

Cat in Tree

One solution is to put a bell on her collar so that the birds and other likely victims can hear her coming. If you do this, make sure that the collar has an elasticated section so that she can escape if it gets caught up on some object. It is important to worm your cat regularly, particularly if she hunts. Consult your veterinary hospital for more advice on de-worming.

VIDEO: Designer Dogs or Disaster in the Making?

They are all the rage across the United States and beyond. Cross-breed dogs such as cock-a-poos have been around for many years, while newer crosses, such as labradoodles and puggles keep rising in popularity. So, are these dogs a new “hot” breed or just a designer mutt? This short film clip reviews some of the new designer breeds that are currently popular.

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