Friday, August 24, 2012

Pet Health tip #20- "Why is there blood in my dog's urine?"

Blood in the urine is almost always caused by cystitis (inflammation of the bladder).  There are several underlying medical issues that can cause the cystitis.  The most common cause of cystitis is a bacterial infection.  This is especially true for female dogs.  Bacterial infections in dogs happen the same way they do in people and dogs will show similar symptoms.  These symptoms include: increased frequency of urination, straining to void the bladder, and blood in the urine.  Antibiotics are used to treat bladder infections

Another common cause of cystitis is bladder stones.  Bladder stones are mineral deposits that form into rock-like substances.   These can be as large as golf balls! The symptoms are exactly the same as with bladder infections.  Occasionally, a small stone may become trapped in a male dog's urethra causing a blockage. This is a serious condition that requires emergency treatment.  During the early stages of stone development, the dog will have crystals in the urine.  Dogs may or may not develop symptoms of cystitis during the crystal phase.  As I stated earlier, these crystals and stones are caused by mineral deposits created by the urine either being too acidic or too basic.  The treatment is a change in diet that will either raise or lower the pH of the urine depending on which is needed.  Surgery is usually needed to remove the stones.

A less common cause of cystitis is a bladder tumor.  These typically develop in older female dogs.  The tumors are typically benign.

There are other less common causes of cystitis.  All causes create the same symptoms.  Therefore, it is very important to take your pet to a veterinarian in order to get an accurate diagnosis.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

5 Star Review of Friends for Life by b00k r3vi3ws

Bo and Rico are two puppies who meet at a pet store. The puppies are dognapped from the pet store by two goons. Realizing they are in danger, Bo and Rico must work together to escape the dognappers. After their escape, Bo and Rico find themselves scared and alone on the mean city streets. They are rescued by a streetwise stray named Tank. Tank takes the puppies under his wing and teaches them how to survive on the streets. Bo and Rico embark on several adventures including avoiding the local Animal Control officer, Jimmy; several run-ins with a pack of dogs led by a stray named Mongrel; and rescuing a beautiful lost Poodle named Pearl. Through it all, Bo and Rico form an incredible friendship that will last a lifetime.

"When I started reading this book, I already had an idea formed in my head. I mean the book summary is quite detailed and it provides a very good outline of the story. I mean I already knew that Bo & Rico are going to be ‘dognapped’, they’ll escape, meet Tank, get in trouble with Mongrel and Jimmy, rescue pearl and will emerge as the best buds at the end of the story. However, the book still managed to surprise me. The author takes you through a lot of emotions – amusing, gloomy and thrilling – it a full rollercoaster ride. The ‘adventures’ that Bo and Rico get into actually teaches them a lot about themselves, each other and working together. And though Bo and Rico are definitely takes the center stage and the spotlight is on them, Tank too is sure to make his own place in your heart.

This is the third book that I have read by this author and all three of them are about dogs. I think that being a veterinarian; she really understands dogs and her true passion for these animals are reflected in her books. The best part is that this could be used to teach kids a lot about finding their own strength, about working together and about friendship.

I loved it and you will too… "

Review by b00k r3vi3ws

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Humurous Life Story #9- "Basic Training"

As I have stated previously, I served 3 years in the US Army Veterinary Corps.  I loved my time in the military and have the utmost respect and appreciation for the men and women who serve.  This is a reflection on my time in basic training, some of which was hilarious.  Mostly because I am NOT the "prototypical" soldier.  I fit more of the "Private Benjamin" profile than the "GI Jane" profile.  Anyway, hope you enjoy!

I attended the AMEDD Officer Basic Course for the in San Antonio, Texas.  This course is for all medical personnel who are entering the Army as officers due to their level of education.  This course included dentists, nurses, MDs, DVM, optometrists, etc.  As you can imagine, I was not the only one who didn't fit the "GI Jo/Jane" profile.  Most of this training involves classroom training on the basics of being an officer in the US Army.  However, the training also included some field training. 

The 60ft Rappel Tower:  I am TERRIFIED of heights.  So, the day we headed out to the tower my heart was pounding and I was pouring sweat ( and not just because the temp was over 100 degrees!).  We arrived at the tower and were equipped with our ropes.  We were given instructions on how to use our left hands as our break.  If you loosen the grip your left hand has on the rope, then you can move.  To stop, you pull up with your left hand.  After we were given an illustration, it was time to make the long climb up the wooden ladder to the top of the tower.  By the time I arrived at the top, I was shaking like a leaf.  The Sergeant at the top told me to step to the edge and "Just bend at your waste to lean out over the side".  I stood facing him on the edge of the platform holding the rope in a vice-like grip.  I know that I must have looked like a deer caught in the headlights.  The Sergeant yelled, "Go!".  I bent out over the side and tried to tell my brake hand to let go so that I could move.  I kept chanting to my self "Don't look down.  Don't look down."  I was staring straight ahead.  We were rappelling down the tower in two lines. I could see person after person whiz by me as the people in the other line had no problem rappelling down the tower.  Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I was able to convince my left hand to loosen its grip on the rope.  I took two baby steps and then quickly tightened my grip again.  I continued in this baby stepping manner and slowly made my way down the tower.  I lost all sense of everything that was going on around me and could only see the wall of the tower right in front of me.  Finally, I was jerked out of my concentration by someone shouting in my ear, "You're only 3 feet off the ground.   Put down your feet."  Startled, I looked and was completely embarrassed to see that I was literally, almost sitting on the ground!

The Firing Range:  We were shooting 9mm handguns.  We were shooting in groups of two (the shooter and the spotter). I was the spotter.  The shooter was firing from the prone position.  I was lying next to him in order to give him advice on correcting his aim.  The shooter ran out of ammo and handed the weapon to the instructor.  It was reloaded and handed back.  However, the instructor didn't make sure the safety was engaged.  When the shooter took the weapon from the instructor, he swung it down with his finger on the trigger and fired straight into the ground about 2 feet from my head!

Gas Mask Training:  I wear contacts.  We were instructed not to wear them for obvious reasons when we went through gas mask training exercises. The first day of basic training we were given an eye exam and inserts were ordered for us to wear inside our masks. My inserts did not arrive before our field training began.  So, each time we were supposed to put on our masks, I had to whip off my glasses and put on the mask.  I couldn't see ANYTHING with that mask on.  So, on the day we were supposed to be making our way through enemy fire while under a gas attack, I spent the entire time just trying not to fall down an embankment or run into a tree.  All I could think about was the fact that if I didn't keep at least one person in my line of sight, I would have been completely lost!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Friends for Life Review by Kirkus Review

“Two puppies experience an unexpected adventure in Tiner’s middle-grade reader. Bo meets Rico at a pet store after being separated from his mother for the first time. The puppies bond over their loneliness. Their chances of being adopted by a family are thrown into disarray when a pair of thieves breaks into the store and steals them both. Bo and Rico manage to escape but find themselves out on the streets for the first time in their young lives. A junkyard dog named Tank teaches them the ways of the streets. However, after Tank is unexpectedly adopted, Bo and Rico once again find themselves on their own. Months pass before the twosome happen upon Pearl, a pampered poodle who has been mistakenly left behind by her owner, Margaret. The puppies’ new mission is to find Margaret and reunite her with Pearl. Instead of concluding with Bo and Rico finding their own new homes, however, the story ends with the pair returning to the streets and happily reaffirming their friendship for one another. Tiner (Welcome Home, 2011) manages to breathe life into the book’s four main characters; Tank is perhaps the most memorable. The best scene in the book is one when Tank bonds with a firefighter; in that moment, when he “leans into the man’s embrace,” he transitions from Bo and Rico’s street-tough mentor to an average dog that needs a home. Still, the narrative could use tightening. There are moments when Bo seems to be the main character of the story and others when he and Rico seem to share the spotlight. The book is divided into two rather disparate storylines: the puppies’ youth with Tank and the adventure with Pearl. Considering the reading level of the text, the narrative would likely be better served if split apart into smaller, more easily digestible chapter books. Furthermore, the book’s theme of friendship as being more important than anything else is contradicted by the importance the narrative places on Tank finding a home and Pearl being reunited with her owner. The reader is led to believe that Bo and Rico’s story will conclude similarly, but it does not. An entertaining read that may leave young readers confused.”-Kirkus Review

Author's note:  The story of Bo and Rico is continued in Welcome Home. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

5 Star Review of THE RESCUE TEAM by Reader's Favorite

Reviewed by Lee Ashford for Readers Favorite

"The Rescue Team" by Dr. Billi Tiner is a wonderful adventure featuring Ellie the dog, Toby the cat, and Anne, their human companion. Playing an important secondary role are Brent the fireman, and his dog Tank, reportedly one of the ugliest and scariest looking sweethearts you'll ever encounter. Anne rescues Ellie from the local animal shelter, and they hit it off instantly. Not long after, during a powerful thunderstorm, Ellie sees two eyes staring in at the window during a lightning strike, and rushes to the door. When Anne opens the door, a grey streak squirts past them into the house. Thus enters Toby. The animals worry when Anne isn't home on time, and soon discover her car upside down in a ditch. They lick and purr and bark until she comes to, and calls for help. Soon after rescuing Anne, the three of them rescue little Lisa, a small child who got lost in the woods. Then, in the aftermath of a devastating tornado, the team once again rescues the survivors: first, a lady buried under the rubble of her three story house, and then a young teenager, Luke, living in an abandoned building. So, now that Brent and Anne and all the animals, and young Luke are getting along so well, what do you suppose will happen next?

This was a very uplifting story, and one that will put a smile on the face of the grumpiest guy you know (my kids would say that is me). I will admit that the first few pages put a lump in my throat, as Ellie's original owners took her to the animal shelter because they didn't want to be bothered with her anymore. But once Anne adopted her, this quickly became a very happy, feel-good tale (no pun intended). When I was younger, I did not like it when authors would anthropomorphize animals. But I guess I've mellowed out, after having recently lost my dog after 16-1/2 years. She was more human than a lot of humans I know. I recommend this wonderful little story strongly for anyone old enough to read. I give it 5 barks!

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Pet Health Tip #19- Flea Allergy Dermatitis

There are some great flea control products on the market.  However, flea allergy dermatitis is still a major problem for dog and cat owners.  There are several reasons for that.  The two most common reasons are: 1- Failure to properly apply flea control products 2- Extreme sensitivity to flea bites

So, let's talk about the failure to properly apply flea control products first.  One of the most common problems is that owners don't understand when and how to apply the topical flea control products.  A good rule of thumb is to remember to wait at least 2 days after a bath before applying the product and to wait at least 2 days after applying the product before giving a bath.  The products use the oil glands of the hair follicle for absorption into the skin, so it is important to wait a few days after the bath for the oil glands to replenish.  By the same token, it takes a few days after applying the product before it is completely absorbed, so it is important to allow it time to absorb before allowing your pet to get wet.  This 2 day rule also applies to swimming.  If your dog is a frequent swimmer, then I suggest using an oral flea control product and avoiding the topical products altogether.

Another application issue is to make sure that the product is applied against the skin.  It is important to make sure to part the hair and apply the product directly to the skin.  Don't touch it! I have had several clients who have told me they "rubbed it in."  Don't!  That only takes the product off your pet and onto you.  Also, with cats, it is important to apply it to a part of the head they can't reach with their tongues.  Cats are notorious for bathing the products off.

Next, there are some dogs and cats that are extremely sensitive to flea saliva.  Some animals are so allergic that one flea bite can cause them to itch for an entire week!  So, you may never even see the flea that is causing the allergy.

So, what are the symptoms?  Flea allergy dermatitis in dogs has a very distinct pattern.  They typically are very pruritic (itchy) on their rump near the base of the tail.  The pruritis is accompanied by hair loss and red irritated skin.  If your dog is showing these symptoms, then it is almost certainly fleas.  Look very carefully and you may spot one.

For cats, they usually have hair loss accompanied by very small bumps under the neck and at the back of the ears.

What can you do?  First, and most obviously, you need to make sure that you are properly applying the topical products.  If you have done everything correctly with regard to application, then your pet may have an extreme sensitivity.  These severe allergies can be very frustrating to treat.  You will need to consult a dermatologist for treatment options.