Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Resident Vet for Dogsrulecatsdrool.com

I am excited to announce that I will be doing guest posts as the resident veterinarian for dogsrulcatesdrool.com.  I will be answering animal health questions sent in by readers.  The Q&A will be posted on a bi-weekly basis.  Please visit http://dogsrulecatsdrool.com/ask-the-veterinarian/ for details on submitting a question.  If your question is chosen, you will be sent a gift basket with goodies for your pet!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Review of Heart of a Hero by Reader's Den

When the story begins, Lady and her brother Red are just two Irish Setter puppies eager to be as brave and heroic a hunter dog as their mother. Though World War II is happening, it's just a war that Lady only vaguely knows about because her master's son went away to join. However, that all changes when a young man named Carl comes by and asks her master if he can work with him for a couple of days.

The moment Lady and Carl meet, they become best friends. Lady comes to love him so much that when her master gives Lady to Carl, she is as excited as Carl is. During the time they spend together, Lady learns basic commands and shows her colors as a hero by rescuing a little boy.

Unfortunately, the war she only vaguely knew about becomes a recurring factor in her life, first starting with Carl's departure. Heart of a Hero is much like a bildungsroman that focuses on all the major moments in Lady's life where her heroic and brave nature shines most. We see what her life is like as a puppy, a hunting dog in training, a member of the 1st Marine War Dog Platoon, a war veteran, and a pet for a little girl.

The book is a simple one, both in writing style and in terms of the plot. However, considering that this book is aimed at kids, the simplicity only complements the story and makes it both a great tale for adults and kids alike. 
Visit Reader's Den

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pet Health Tip #18- "What does it mean when my dog runs on three legs?"

Has your dog ever been running and suddenly picked up on of his back legs and started running on three legs?  Usually this will be for a short distance.  Then thedog will give the leg a shake and go back to running on all four legs.  What causes this?

Your dog is experiencing something called Patellar Luxation.  Sounds complicated, but it is really very simple.  The patella is a small bone that sits in a groove at the front of the knee (the knee cap).  For some dogs, the groove that the patella sits in is too shallow.  So, when the patella is experiencing a lot of movement (i.e. the dog is running), it will slip out of the groove and cause the knee to lock up. The dog will hold the leg up and sometimes give it a little shake causing the patella to slip back into its groove. 

Patellar Luxation is a congenital problem caused by the failure for the the bone to develop correctly. It is a common problem for small breed dogs such as Pomeranians, Poodles, and Chihuahuas.   The luxation itself isn't painful.  It is more of a nuisance.  However, over time, the action of the patella sliding up and over the groove will cause wear and tear on the cartilage of the knee joint.  Eventually, this will lead to arthritis. 

If you have a dog that has a luxating patella problem, then it is important to make sure that they maintain a healthy weight.  This will help slow the progression of the arthritis.  Patellar Luxation can also be surgically repaired.  The surgeon will go into the knee joint and deepen the groove the patella sits in causing a tighter fit.  Surgery is the best solution, but can be expensive.  Most dogs with Patellar Luxation do very well.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012



Ellie gazed vacantly through the chain-link fence that spanned the front of her pen.  The hot sun beat down on the tin roof covering the pen heating it up like a brick oven.  The excessive heat caused Ellie to pant while she lay there staring out into the yard separating the row of dog pens from the building housing the cats.
          Ellie, a one year old Border Collie, was all black except for a white stripe running down the middle of her face that expanded across her muzzle and into a collar around her neck.  She also had four white stockings. Soft, brown, intelligent eyes rested on the bridge of her long muzzle.  Ellie’s ears stood erect on the top of her head giving her an alert appearance.
     Why am I here? Ellie asked herself for what must be the one hundredth time since being brought to the animal shelter.  Ellie remembered vividly the worst day of her life.  On that day, two weeks ago, Ellie’s owners, Tom and Janet, loaded her into their car.  Ellie felt elated.  She loved going places with Tom and Janet.  She jumped into the car with her normal amount of enthusiasm.  As soon as she settled herself into the back seat, she sensed that something wasn’t right.  She could feel the tension in the air.  Tom and Janet usually talked to her about how much fun they were about to have, but this time they were silent as they drove.
     When they brought her inside the Colton County Animal Shelter, Ellie felt a cold fear begin to grip her heart.  Ellie sat numbed by shock while Tom and Janet explained to the shelter worker why they were leaving her with them.  They explained that Janet was pregnant with their first child and they would not have time for Ellie once the baby was born.  The shelter worker tried to convince Tom and Janet to at least wait until the baby was born before making their decision.  But Tom and Janet told the worker that their minds were made up and they weren’t going to change them.
     Ellie could not believe what she was hearing.  She loved children and had been overwhelmed with happiness at the thought of having a baby in the house.  She couldn’t believe that Tom and Janet were going to leave her at the shelter.  Ellie tried to think about what she had done to make them think she would not be good with the baby, but she was at a loss.
     Now, two weeks later, Ellie still couldn’t understand why she was at the shelter.  For the first few days, her heart had been filled with the hope that Tom and Janet would change their minds and return for her.  But as the days had passed, the hope had been replaced with sadness.  She had finally come to the realization that they were never coming back for her.
     During the last two weeks, a few people had shown interest in adopting Ellie, but in the end they had settled on other dogs.  Most people were interested in puppies or small breed dogs.  They did not want a middle sized, older dog.  At first, Ellie tried to get the attention of the people passing by her pen by running up to the fence, giving a bark, and wagging her tail enthusiastically.  But her efforts had not gotten anyone to agree to take her home.  Now when people stopped at her pen, she just looked past them out into the yard waiting for them to reject her and move on to someone else.
     As Ellie sat lost in her thoughts, she heard a soft female voice say, “Well, hello there, beautiful.  Aren’t you a pretty thing?”
     Ellie turned her head and looked at the person who had spoken to her.  A petite woman knelt in front of Ellie’s pen.  Short, curly, brown hair framed an open, friendly face.  Large round glasses sat on the bridge of the woman’s nose.  Feeling drawn to the woman, Ellie stood and moved toward the front of her pen.
     “That’s it, girl,” said the woman as Ellie moved toward her.  “Come here and let me get a better look at you.  My name is Anne, and the card on your pen says that you are Ellie.  How are you doing today, Ellie?”
     Ellie cautiously walked up to the front of her pen.  She sat down and looked straight into Anne’s eyes.  Anne gazed steadily back at her through eyes that were the color of the summer sky.  Ellie could see kindness and understanding shimmering in the depths of those eyes.  Ellie felt a peacefulness creep into her soul as the two sat looking at each other for several moments.
     Finally, Anne smiled and turned to get the attention of one of the shelter workers wandering around the yard.  As one of the workers passed by Anne said, “Excuse me.”  The worker turned toward Anne.  After gaining the worker’s attention, Anne said, “I would like to take Ellie for a walk.”
     “Sure,” responded the worker.  “Let me just go and get a leash.”
     Anne turned back to Ellie.  “What do you say, girl?  Does a walk sound good to you?”
     Ellie felt a rush of happiness and began thumping her tail in response to Anne’s question.  Anne let out a soft laugh and said, “Well, okay, then.  Let’s go for a walk.”
     The shelter worker returned and handed Anne a leash.  Anne unlatched the gate on Ellie’s pen and stepped inside.  She gently placed the leash around Ellie’s neck and led her out into the yard.  It was the first time Ellie had been out of her pen since she had arrived.  It felt great to finally be able to stretch her legs.
     Anne led Ellie down a short dirt pathway to a small enclosure.  As soon as they entered the enclosure, Anne removed Ellie’s collar and said, “How about a run?”
     Overwhelmed with delight, Ellie let out a bark of happiness and took off running as fast as she could.  She ran several loops around the enclosure, enjoying the feel of the wind in her face as she ran.  She loved the feeling of freedom that always accompanied a good run.  Ellie could hear Anne’s musical laughter drifting on the breeze as she ran around the enclosure.  Finally, feeling winded, she slowed to a trot and went to stand in front of Anne.
     Anne came down on her knees and asked, “Ellie, would you like to come home with me?”
     Ellie felt joy flood her soul.  She began to jump and spin in happiness.  Anne sat back on her heels and grinning widely said, “I guess that means, yes.”
     Ellie stopped spinning and returned Anne’s grin.  “Well, don’t you have a pretty smile,” praised Anne.  “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dog smile like that before.”
     Ellie pressed her head into Anne’s arm.  Anne put her arms around Ellie’s neck and gave her a hug.  Then Anne said, “You and I are going to be great friends, Ellie.”
     Anne stood and placed the leash back around Ellie’s neck.  She walked Ellie to the main building that ran beside the dog pens.  They walked inside and addressing the receptionist sitting behind a long counter, Anne said, “I would like to adopt Ellie.”
     The receptionist beamed.  “Oh, that’s wonderful!” she exclaimed.  “We all think Ellie is so sweet.  You made a great choice.”
     The receptionist asked Anne a series of questions and had her fill out a stack of forms.  After several minutes, the receptionist said, “Well, I guess that does it.  Ellie is all yours.”
     Anne bent down and rubbing Ellie’s ear said, “Let’s go home, Ellie.”
     Ellie felt a bounce in her step as she walked beside Anne to her car.  Anne stopped in front of a bright red sedan and opened the back door.  Ellie jumped in and settled herself on the seat.  As they traveled down the road toward what was to be her new home, Ellie stared out the window and thought about the abrupt turn her life had just taken.  She couldn’t believe that she had been adopted by such a nice person.  Ellie knew in her heart that she belonged with Anne.
     They drove for several miles and then Anne turned the car down a bumpy gravel road.  Ellie could see dust billowing up behind the car as they drove.  Finally, after several minutes, Anne pulled to a stop in front of a small yellow house with green shutters.  A wide porch covered the front of the house.  Ellie could see a porch swing swaying slightly in the breeze.  Several baskets filled with brightly colored flowers hung from the porch railing.
     Anne climbed out of the car and came around to let Ellie out.  “Welcome home, Ellie,” Anne said as she opened the door.
    Ellie hopped out of the car and glanced around at her new surroundings.  A tall oak tree stood to one side of the front yard providing a large amount of shade.  Ellie spotted a squirrel dart up the side of the tree.  The sounds of singing birds, chattering squirrels, and buzzing bees drifted along on the breeze.
     “Come on, Ellie.  Let me show you around the place,” said Anne as she walked up onto the front porch.
     Ellie followed Anne up the steps and into the house.  They stepped through the doorway and into the living room.  Brightly polished wood covered the floor.  The walls were painted a pale blue.  A faint lemony scent filled the air.
     Anne continued through the living room and into a kitchen.  She reached into a cabinet and pulled out a metal dog dish.  “Are you thirsty?” she asked as she filled the bowl with water.
     Anne bent and placed the bowl on the floor in front of Ellie.  After she drank her fill, Anne said, “Ready to see the back yard?”
     Ellie followed Anne down a hallway that led to the back door.  Anne pulled open a brown wooden door, pushed open a screen door, and stepped out onto the back porch.  She held the door open for Ellie to follow her out.  Wow, thought Ellie at her first look into the yard.  It’s beautiful.
     Thick green grass covered the ground like a blanket.  Vibrantly colored flowers grew in patches spread out around the yard.  Two large oak trees loomed up out of the ground marking each back corner.  A dense forest lay beyond the edge of the yard.
     Ellie glanced up at Anne with a questioning look to get permission to go explore her surroundings.  Anne smiled down at her and understanding Ellie’s look said, “Go ahead and take a look around.”
     Ellie bounded off the porch and begin to sniff around becoming familiar with the smells of her new yard.  Anne sat down on the back porch and seemed content to watch Ellie explore the yard.  After Ellie felt as if she had gotten a good sense of the area, she joined Anne on the porch.  They sat in silent companionship for several more minutes until finally Anne said, “Well, Ellie, let’s call it a night.”
     The next morning, Anne let Ellie out into the back yard while she stayed inside to do some housework.  Ellie was exploring the edge of the forest when she heard a small animal scream in pain.  Without giving it much thought, Ellie rushed into the thick trees.  She strained her ears to listen for any more sounds.  Finally, she heard the faint sound of panting coming from somewhere to her right.  Ellie turned and hurried toward the sound.
     As she moved in the direction of the panting, the metallic scent of blood filled her nostrils.  Something must be hurt badly, Ellie thought as she continued to move toward the smell.  Suddenly, a frantic rustling sound and several more small screams ripped through the air very near Ellie.
     Ellie turned her head toward the sound and spotted a small rabbit struggling frantically against a vine that was wrapped around its hind legs.  The rabbit gazed with wide, terror filled eyes at Ellie as she struggled.
     Ellie realized that she was the reason the rabbit was in such a panic.  She spoke gently, “Don’t be afraid, little one.  I’m not going to hurt you.  I want to help.”
     The rabbit continued to scream and struggle against the vine.  She clearly did not believe that Ellie wasn’t going to hurt her.
     “Please calm down, before you hurt yourself even more.  I truly mean you no harm.  If you just calm down, I will see if I can get that vine off of you,” said Ellie in a quiet, calm voice.
     Suddenly, the rabbit stopped struggling and lay there panting heavily.  Exhausted from the struggle, the rabbit continued to stare at Ellie as if expecting to be eaten at any moment.
     Ellie slowly made her way toward the frightened rabbit.  She continued to speak in a low soothing voice as she bent her head toward the vine.  Ellie could see the rabbit’s muscles tense up in anticipation of the pain she certain she was about to feel when Ellie sunk her teeth into her.
     Ellie grasped the vine between her teeth and bit down hard.  The vine broke and immediately loosened its grip on the rabbit’s legs.  The rabbit tried to spring up and run away, but its legs were too damaged by the vine and it couldn’t get its footing.
     “You don’t have to run, little one.  I will take you home with me, and Anne will take care of you,” Ellie said softly.
     Finally, the rabbit spoke.  “Who’s Anne?” she asked with a tremble in her voice.
     “Anne is my owner,” answered Ellie.  She was very pleased that the rabbit had finally spoken to her.
     “You really aren’t going to eat me?” asked the rabbit.
     Ellie gave a soft chuckle at the question and said, “I am really not going to eat you.  Like I said before, I only want to help you.  Now, I’m going to have to pick you up in order to carry you home.  Will you let me?”
     The rabbit looked deep into Ellie’s eyes and seeing only kindness there answered, “Yes.”
     Ellie used her teeth to gently lift the small rabbit by the scruff of her neck.  Then she carried the rabbit through the woods toward her house.  Ellie knew in her heart Anne would help the hurt little rabbit.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pet Health Tip #16- Should I get my cat declawed?

This is a tough and touchy subject.  First, I have never had one of my own cats declawed.  However, I have performed the surgery numerous times. 

What does the surgery actually entail? 

The claws are removed by removing the last bone in the digit.  Essentially, that would be like removing the ends of all your fingers.  So, it is not just the nail itself that is removed.  The bone has to be removed or the claw will re-grow.  Not only will the claw re-grow, but it will re-grow in an abnormal way and cause a lot of discomfort for the cat.

How painful is the surgery?

This really depends on the age of the cat.  Young kittens who are declawed before they are 6 months old usually recover within just a few days.  After the first few days, they rarely show any signs of discomfort.  Cats who are declawed over 6 months of age can act painful for a few weeks.  So, if you are going to have the surgery done, the earlier the better.

What are some alternatives?

There are several behavioral modification techniques that you can try if your kitten/cat is destroying your furniture.  First, cats do not like water or loud noises.  So, if you spray them with water or blow an air horn every time you catch them scratching something they aren't supposed to scratch, this will be a major deterrent for them.  They also tend to stay away from citrus smells.  So, you can try using lemon or orange scents on the furniture you don't want them to scratch.  Finally, they don't like the feel of plastic or aluminum foil on their paws.  So, you can put a barrier they would have to walk across to get to their favorite scratching area.  Next, you will need to give them an assortment of alternative places to scratch.  These need to be more attractive than the furniture.  Catnip works really well to attract cats to the post you want them to scratch.

Unlike most dogs, cats tend to take a toenail trim pretty well.  I just get out a pair of regular fingernail clippers and use those to trim the cat's nails.  Dog toenail trimmers are too big and bulky for the small cat claws.  To trim a cat's nails, press on the end of the toe and the nail pops out.  Then you can trim of the tips.  By keeping the nails short, they will do much less damage when they do scratch.

Finally, they do make a product called "Soft Paws".  These are guards that are glued onto the cat's claws.  I have found these to be hard to use.  They don't all pop off at once and so it seems to be a constant struggle to keep them on the cat.


I recommend trying all of the above alternatives before deciding to have you cat declawed.  Especially, if the cat is an adult.  However, I worked in an animal shelter for several years and one of the things that caused me the biggest heartache was to see really nice cats given up for adoption because they were destroying the furniture in the house.  Many of these cats never got adopted.  So, I would definitely support having your cat declawed, if the only other alternatives are to turn them out or have them euthanized.  Most cats recover just fine from the surgery and go on to lead happy healthy lives.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pet Healt Tip #15- Heat Stroke

As this summer has been exceedingly hot, I thought I would write a post about heat stroke and some pointers for reducing the risk for your pet.  Heat stroke is (unfortunately) a common problem with outdoor dogs this time of year, especially when temperatures are soaring into the 100's.  I know it sounds like a no brainer, but the most important things you can do are to make sure your dog has shade and plenty of water.  It is easy to forget how fast water can evaporate in this kind of heat, so make sure that you re-fill the water dishes often.  Dogs with thick coats of fur, even if it is relatively short, should be shaved. That thick fur is just like you wearing your winter coat out in this heat! Another great idea is to add water misters to their pen to act as an air conditioner.  And lastly, DO NOT leave your dog in a vehicle even if the windows are cracked!!!!!

Symptoms of heat stroke include: Excessive panting; recumbent (lying on side); pale mucous membranes (gums and inside of cheeks); and unresponsiveness

Emergency treatments: It is very important to get the dog's temperature down as quickly as possible.  Heat stroke dog temps will be above 105 degrees.  The best thing that you can do is get your dog into a veterinarian, so that they can be started on IV fluids and the vet can work on lowering the dog's temperature.  However, if you are unable to get to a vet clinic, there are some things that you can try.  First of all, you don't want to lower the temperature too quickly.  One of the best ways to lower temperatures is to poor rubbing alcohol along the dog's spine.  Rubbing alcohol evaporates more quickly than water, thus acting as a coolant.  Also, a room temperature water enema works well.  You don't want to use cold water as the dog's temperature is already well above room temperature and cold water would be too much of a shock to the dog's system.

Even with proper treatment, a heat stroke victim's chances of survival are minimal.  So, the best treatment is prevention.  Please be aware of our four legged friends during this heat wave and do what you can to keep them safe and comfortable.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

5 Star Review of WELCOME HOME by This Kid Reviews Books

Welcome Home
by Billi Tiner
160 pages – ages 9+
Published by CreateSpace on December 24, 2011
Kindle Edition Reviewed
Jake, the dog, wanted to have an owner who would make him part of the family. When the time came for Jake and his two siblings to get chosen and taken to a new home, his brother and sister each get good homes and Jake is taken home with a mean man named Joe who abuses him because he wants “Duke” (Joe re-named Jake) to be a fighting dog. During a storm, Jake escapes and meets two dogs, a bulldog named Bo, and a chihuahua named Rico. They join Jake on his journey to find the perfect owner, hoping that the perfect owner will take all the dogs in (Bo and Rico are strays, like Jake). They search everywhere in towns and cities, but when the dogs get to the country, Joe and two friends see them and start shooting at them! The dogs get away, but Bo gets injured. Rico took care of Bo, while Jake went into town to get food. On one of these trips, Jake wasn’t looking and he got hit by a car! He is taken to a hospital and then to a foster home to heal. Jake’s foster parents want to find him a good home with a loving owner. Jake wants to find a good home, but he is also worried about Bo and Rico. Will the friends ever be reunited?
I LOVED this book! It was awesome! I really liked the plot – it was so unique and emotional! I want to read “Friend’s For Life” - Dr. Tiner’s next book about how Bo and Rico met! I really like the character of Rico – a small, Spanish-spewing chihuahua! I like how this book teaches about a sad topic, animal/dog abusing. I love animals and I can’t believe that people could treat them badly. I think this is an important topic kids should know about. Dr. Tiner described the characters and settings in the book very well and told us about this sad topic without any graphic violence. I loved that! I recommend this book to kids 9+!
Five out of five dog bones…ERR, I mean bookworms for Welcome Home!
Here is something cool, Billi Tiner is not only a great author, she is also a veterinarian! To learn more about “Welcome Home” and Dr. Tiner’s other books, please visit her website HERE.


To visit Erik's Website go to http://thiskidreviewsbooks.com/

Monday, July 2, 2012


Ellie is shocked and confused when her owners leave her at the animal shelter.  Feeling abandoned and unloved, Ellie spends her days staring vacantly through the gate of her pen.  Ellie’s life changes when she is finally adopted by a compassionate woman named Anne.  Ellie and Anne form an unbreakable bond of love and friendship.  A thunderstorm drives Toby, a young frightened kitten, to Anne’s porch.  Anne and Ellie immediately welcome him into their family.  One night, they hear an emergency broadcast announcement that a little girl is missing in the woods near their home.  Anne, Ellie, and Toby join in the search to find her, and an incredible rescue team is formed.  The team will be called upon again when a tornado tears through their town.  Will they find any survivors?

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