Saturday, July 27, 2013

Pet Health Tip #19- Hairballs

Hairballs are caused by a cat swallowing hair when it grooms itself.  Most of the hair is passed through the intestinal tract.  However, some of the hair stays in the stomach and aggregates into a hairball.  Young kittens don’t typically have hairball issues for two reasons.  First, they don’t lose much hair when they groom, and therefore, they don’t swallow much hair.  Second, their digestive tract is more active and moves the hair through more easily.  As cats age, they tend to shed more hair; thus causing them to swallow more hair.  Also, they are unable to pass the hair through their digestive tract as efficiently.  As a consequence, the hair sits in the stomach and aggregates into a hairball.  The hairball irritates the stomach causing the cat to retch.  Typically, the cat is able to successfully rid itself of the hairball by vomiting it up.

Hairballs are a normal part of a cat’s life.  They don’t usually cause many problems, other than to the owner who has to clean up the mess.  However, on rare occasions, a hairball will sit in a cat’s stomach so long that it hardens.  This can cause blockage and can become life-threatening.  Again, this is a rare occurrence, but one to be aware of.

So, what can you do about hairballs?  There are some hairball remedy products available.  These products work by binding up the hair and increasing the digestive tract activity to aid in passing the hairball.  They work well and I recommend using them for geriatric cats who have reoccurring issues with hairballs.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

4 Star Review of "Heart of a Hero" plus Book Giveaway

Author Bio:
“Dr. Billi Tiner has been a veterinarian for over 10 years. She lives with her husband, two children, three dogs, and three cats in Missouri. Dr. Tiner is a sports enthusiast and avid reader. She also enjoys spending time outdoors gardening and hiking. Dr. Tiner has written four middle-grader books: Welcome Home, Heart of a Hero, Friends for Life, and The Rescue Team. She uses her experiences as a veterinarian as inspiration for her books.”
I was lucky enough to receive “Heart of a Hero” from the author Billi Tiner for review. Lady is an Irish Setter living on an Ohio Farm in the 1940′s with her doggie family. Then Carl comes to the area and works on the farm where she is at. Sh falls in love with Carl and stays at his side. Soon Carl’s work is done and has to go. Lady is given to Carl. Her and Carl have a lot of fun together but the time eventually comes and Carl has to go to war. A letter comes informing Lady and Carl’s father that he died serving his country. Lady is then enlisted in a training program in the military (the USMC) to become a dog messenger. Lady is very brave. She is put in many dangerous hard situations but rises to the occasion as a hero. She finds herself protecting and helping others. After being injured she is discharged from the service along with her handler. Eventually her handler must go back to war after he decides to re-enlist in the USMC. Like most veterans Lady suffers from PTSD but eventually Lady finds her home.
“Heart of a Hero” is a heart warming story is directed at middle grade kids. Its a story of courage, loyalty, unconditional love, and adventure. It was very touching and I think many dog lovers as well as people who know people in the military would love this book.
You can purchase ”Heart of a Hero” here on Amazon for $2.99 kindle edition.
Would I recommend this book? Yes because I loved “Heart of a Hero”. As a fellow veteran I could relate coming home and trying to figure our where exactly home was while at the same time adapting to a different environment after war. I too lost loved ones to war. This story was very touching to me. I loved it. A very courageous theme.
I give this wonderful book four stars!
The prize: 1 lucky Women’s Intuition reader will win a copy of one of the following children’s books of their choice from Billi Tiner (the author).

To enter the giveaway visit: Women's Intuition

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Pet Health Tip #18- Feline Aids

"Feline Aids" is caused by a virus; specifically, the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV).  FIV causes symptoms in cats that are very similar to the symptoms that HIV causes in people.  It basically destroys the cat's immune system, causing them to be much more susceptible to infections.  Most of the time, the first indication a cat has FIV is that it has an infection that seems to be causing the cat to be more ill than it should.  An example would be a wound that won’t heal.  Another example would be an upper respiratory infection that just won’t go away.

FIV is transmitted from cat to cat through an exchange between the saliva of an infected cat and the bloodstream of a non-infected cat.  Most typically, this is through a bite wound.  The virus then hides in the cat for up to six years before emerging and attacking the immune system.  So, there are a lot of cats who have FIV, but are not showing any symptoms.  Because it is usually transmitted through bite wounds, FIV occurs most commonly in stray cats and the occasional indoor/outdoor cat.

The most full-proof way to protect the cat from contracting FIV is to keep the cat indoors.  That way they are never exposed to cats who have FIV.  Also, since it is transmitted through a bite, if your cat is only going into its own yard, then you don't really need to worry.  However, there are vaccines available for cats who do go outside and tend to wander.

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) causes symptoms similar to FIV and is transmitted much more easily.  It can be transmitted from an infected cat's saliva to a non-infected cat through the mucus membranes (lining in the mouth, nose, and eyes).  Therefore, it can be transmitted by one cat simply hissing and spitting on another or through sharing a water dish, etc.  Therefore, if your cat is going to go outside, then I highly recommend that you have them vaccinated against FeLV.

A simple blood test is used to diagnose FIV and FeLV.  If you are going to bring a new cat into your home, I highly recommend you have her tested first.  That way you will know what you are dealing with.  Like I said, the cat can have the virus for years and not show any symptoms, so if they test positive, then you have to measure their expected life span and the risk to your other cats.

Unfortunately, there is no treatment for either virus.  However, many FeLV or FIV positive cats live long, happy lives.  If you have a cat that is positive for either virus, then it is imperative they remain indoor cats to prevent them from exposing other cats to infection.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Only Trick in the Book's 4 Star Review of "Dogs Aren't Men"

Synopsis:Rebecca Miller is a gifted veterinarian with an extraordinary understanding of animal behavior. She is leading a fulfilling life as the owner and operator of the Animal Friends Veterinary Clinic. Ever since her 30th birthday, her mother has made it her mission to help Rebecca find a man, get married, and give her grandchildren. But Rebecca doesn’t see the need for a man in her life. She has her dog, Captain, and that’s all the companionship she needs. However, her world changes the day she literally runs into Derrick Peterson, a gorgeously handsome ER doctor.

Derrick’s experiences with women have taught him that they are vain, silly, and untrustworthy. He keeps his relationships with them brief and superficial. However, he finds himself being irresistibly drawn to Rebecca. She’s smart, witty, compassionate, and very different from the women he usually encounters. Will Rebecca be the one to break down the wall he’s spent a lifetime building around his heart?

My Review:

"Dogs Aren't Men" is a very clean romance that is fast paced and easily read. While Rebecca and Co. seem to have the worst luck (and a lot of clever coincidence), the story is romantic and feels pretty true to life. Ms. Tiner does a nice job of balancing the fact with fiction. You can tell she is writing of something she is passionate about but she doesn't over do it. Career knowledge aside, the love story comes first and foremost.

There is a well-written connection between Derrick and Rebecca as well as plenty of plot. What made this book so enjoyable for me was that it has a realistic execution of how a relationship begins between two strong-willed characters. "Dogs Aren't Men" had me turning page after page to see what would happen next, and how Rebecca and Derrick would bring themselves together.

While this book didn't change my life, it is certainly deserving of four stars. I wish the ending would have given us a little bit more. Because Ms. Tiner kept the tension building, on multiple levels, we don't get to see Rebecca and Derrick happily together for very long. I certainly was sad to see their story end as it was really sweet once there.

Ms. Tiner presents a great contemporary romance, and if she keeps at it, I'd love to continue following her books. I hope others don't judge this book based on it's not so intriguing cover and try it on for themselves.

Rating: * * * *

Hotness Level: Cool - Mild Warm - Hot - Humid - Smokin

Triggers: Romance, Professionals, Clean

(I received a copy of this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review.)

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Pet Health Tip #17- Litter Box Issues

One of the most common reasons people give away their cat is frustration with the cat’s refusal to use the litter box.  Instead of taking the cat to the veterinarian, they assume the cat has a behavioral problem and just get rid of it.  Most of these cats are wonderful animals.  They would have made great pets, if the owners had a better understanding of the underlying problems that caused the cat to refuse to use the litter box.  So, I thought I would share some tips in the hope of preventing a perfectly good cat from ending up in a shelter.

Reason #1-The most common reason a cat will refuse to use the litter box is that they have a medical issue.  This is especially true if the cat has been using the box and then suddenly stops.  There are two main underlying medical issues that will cause a cat to stop using the litter box:  

First, a bladder infection.  Cats are notorious for getting bladder infections.  Their bathroom (i.e. litter box) isn't always the cleanest place in the world.

Second, urinary crystals.  These are caused by mineral deposits that build up in the urine and then form crystals.

Both of these medical issues cause urination to be very painful for the cat.  The cat doesn't know why it hurts to urinate.  She then blames the litter box for the pain and starts trying to go other places.  To make matters worse, she feels like she has to urinate all the time, so she starts urinating everywhere.  That is the most common complaint from the owner, "She just started peeing all over the house." Please, if your cat starts doing this, take it to the vet!

Reason #2-Cats are very sensitive about where they go to the bathroom.  Think about it.  They are very vulnerable during this time.  They want to feel secure about where they are going.  A big mistake that owners make is to stick the litter box next to something that makes a loud noise (i.e. dryer or water heater).  The cat is just plain scared to urinate in those locations and will find somewhere they feel safe.

Reason #3- The number of boxes, type of box, or litter used in the box will play a big role in whether or not your cat feels comfortable using the litter box.  First, the rule of thumb for number of boxes is one for each cat plus one.  So, if you have three cats, then you should have four boxes.  This can become very inconvenient, but if you have cats that don't particularly care for each other, then the last thing they want is to smell each other’s scent while they use the litter box.

The next issue is the type of box.  Some cats like boxes with a lid and door to enter and some don't.  Finally, some cats prefer sand-like litter in their box, some prefer paper, and others like crystals.  If you want your cat to use the box, then you will have to get them the type of box they prefer and place it in an area where they can feel secure.  It's really not asking that much.  In the outdoors, they can go anywhere they choose.  You are asking them to use a particular box placed in a particular area. The least you can do is make it comfortable for them.

Reason #4- Clean the box regularly!  I can't tell you how many times I have asked the question, "How often do you clean the box?" and have been told something like, "Whenever it starts to smell bad."  Do you like to use the bathroom in a place that smells bad?  Remember, by the time it smells "bad" to you, it smells like something died in there to your cat!