Saturday, November 14, 2015

WOUNDED HEARTS is NOW Available!!!

I'm happy to announce that "Wounded Hearts," the third book in the Sand Hill Romance Collection is now available!! The print edition is coming soon!


Hawk has spent his life dealing with hatred, at the hands of his stepfather as a boy, then later, the white men who hate him for being half Indian. Years of being an outcast have hardened his heart and darkened his soul. He stays away from civilization as much as possible, preferring to live a life of solitude. 

Suzanna Brody is a schoolteacher in the small western town of Sand Hill. She likes her life, but she secretly longs for a family. At the ripe old age of twenty-two, she’s all but given up hope. Having grown up in an orphanage, she’s never known what it was like to be a part of a loving family. 

A chance meeting brings these two broken-hearted people together. They are immediately drawn to one another. When Hawk is accused of a crime, Suzanna is ready to stand by his side. Will her love be enough to save him? 

Get all three books for one great price!

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Sunday, November 8, 2015

PET HEALTH TIP #11- Hot Spots

"Hot spots" are localized bacterial skin infections usually caused by Staphylococcus spp. Typically, the skin becomes inflamed and the bacteria that are normally found on the skin invade and cause an infection.  You will notice an area of matted fur or a lesion that is oozing pus.  The skin will be very red and inflamed. Often the lesion appears very suddenly and progresses quickly.

There are 3 common causes of the initial inflammation of the skin:

1) Moist skin- The skin becomes moist due to a bath, swim, or heat.  If the dog has dense fur, then this area doesn't dry properly and the moist skin becomes inflamed allowing the bacterial invasion.

2) Fleas- The skin becomes inflamed from either the flea bites or the dog scratching.

3) Ear infections- Often times a hot spot will develop under the ear due to either the dog digging at his ear or from the discharge coming out of the ear.

The main treatment for “hot spots” is to allow the skin to dry.  First, shave the fur from around the lesion.  Once the fur is removed, then the air can circulated over the skin and dry it out.  The next step is to thoroughly clean the area.  Most of the time the dog will also need oral antibiotics in order to heal the infection.

"Hot spots" can spread very rapidly.  They are extremely painful and can cause nasty looking lesions.  It is important that you get the "hot spot" treated as soon as you notice it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

PET HEALTH TIP #10- Ear Infections

Ear infections are a common medical issue that occurs in dogs.  Ear infections are typically caused by moisture that gets trapped inside the ear canal.  The moist environment is a breeding ground for infectious organisms, such as yeast and bacteria.  Floppy-eared dogs are highly susceptible to ear infections, especially in the summer time.  Since the ear flap covers the opening to the ear canal, air is unable to circulate, which creates a warm, moist environment for the infectious organisms.

Ear infections are easily prevented by cleaning your dog’s ears with a drying solution on a regular basis,  especially floppy-eared dogs.  During the winter, make sure you clean the ears each time your dog has a bath.  This ensures the ear canal is dry after the moisture from the bath enters the ear canal.  During the summer, you should clean the ears approximately every two weeks.  Again, this is to make sure that they remain dry.  If your dog is a swimmer, then the ears should be cleaned out after each swim.

Several good ear cleaning solutions are available.  You can also use a mixture of 1/2 white vinegar and 1/2 warm water dispensed with a bulb syringe (like the ones used on babies).  Although not as effective as the commercial cleaning solutions, it can be used if you are on a budget.  Note: It is important to have an expert show you the proper procedure for cleaning your dog’s ears before you attempt it at home.

Several factors can lead to ear infections.  As I stated, the most common cause is moisture in the ear canal.  Ear infections can also be caused by a foreign object (such as a tick or grass seed) in the ear.  Additionally, they can be caused by allergies.  The skin in the ear is the most tender skin on the dog’s body, so this is often where we see the inflammation of an allergic reaction manifest itself.  The most common allergies to cause ear infections are flea allergies and food allergies (See #37 Allergies in Dogs).

Ear infections are easiest to treat in the early stages.  Symptoms include: redness, odor, excessive scratching at the ear, or tilting the head to one side.  Ear infections can occur in one or both ears.  As the infection progresses, you will also begin to see a discharge.  This discharge can be an oozing pus or dark brown or black waxy build-up.

If your dog is showing the symptoms mentioned above, then you should to take him to a veterinarian, so that a diagnosis of the underlying issue can be made.  If it is your dog’s first ear infection, then it is most likely due to moisture trapped in the ear, and a 10-14 day regimen of ear medication will clear it up.  However, if your dog has been having reoccurring ear infections, then you are most likely looking at a bigger problem.  Chronic ear infections are much harder to treat.  Therefore, the sooner you get a diagnosis, the better the chance of successful treatment.