All posts by James

Fun Facts About Siamese Cats

April 6th is National Siamese Cat Day! Known for being charismatic and talkative, these cute cats have some very loyal fans. A vet lists some fun facts about these remarkable felines below.

What’s In A Name?

The name Siamese cat translates to wichien-matt which means “moon diamond.” That’s a purrfect moniker for these pretty cats!

History

Siamese cats originated in Thailand, which was once known as Siam. Some stories say that they were first raised by Buddhist monks. Other tales say that the first Siamese cats were adopted by royalty. There is some documentation of this: records of them being adopted by royals go far back as 1350. They were also depicted in the Tamra Maew (The Cat Book Poems) which was produced between the 14th and 18th centuries. 

Crossed Eyes and Crooked Tails

Siamese cats traditionally had crossed eyes. According to legend, a Siamese cat was given the duty of guarding a king’s goblet. Fluffy held onto it so hard that her tail bent and her eyes crossed!

Tip Of The Tail

Siamese cats have a very distinctive look, with dark tips on their paws, ears, and tails. Those tips are actually climate-controlled. The gene that causes this color results in cats having pale fur on the warmer parts of their bodies and dark fur on the cooler spots. This same gene is also responsible for Fluffy’s blue eyes.

Color Development

Siamese cats are born white. Those tips appear when they are several weeks old. Although the classic Siamese tips were dark, today breeders also allow blue, chocolate, and lilac.

Spies Like Us

Back in the 1960s, two Siamese cats actually revealed an espionage plot. The cats lived at the Dutch Embassy in Russia. When they started arching their backs and clawing at a wall, the ambassador suspected that something was up. Further investigation revealed over two dozen hidden microphones behind the wall! We hope the cats got lots of tuna and catnip.

Purrsonality

Siamese cats get very attached to their human servants, and absolutely hate being left alone. For this reason, many breeders recommend having at least one other kitty in the house.

Intelligence

Siamese cats are extremely intelligent. They can learn simple tricks, enjoy playing Fetch, and often like walking on leashes. They’re also notorious escape artists that hate being confined.

Please contact us, your vet clinic, anytime. We’re here to help!

Does Your Cat Have a Cold?

Did you know that our feline friends can get their own version of colds or flus? In many cases, cats just feel a bit stuffy and tired for a few days, and then recover on their own. However, kitty colds can develop into upper respiratory infections, or URIs. These can be extremely dangerous! Senior cats and kittens are especially at risk, because of their weaker immune systems. A vet discusses cat colds below.

Warning Signs

Keep an eye out for warning signs. Lethargy is a common one. If Fluffy is stuffed up, she may sleep even more than usual. Some other red flags include coughing, sneezing, fever, runny nose, watery eyes, reduced food and/or water intake, wheezing, and/or difficulty breathing. Contact your vet right away if you notice any of these symptoms.

Medicine

Once Fluffy has been properly diagnosed, your vet will be able to give you specific treatment options. These may include antibiotics and/or other medications. Never give Fluffy human medications, unless your vet specifically recommends it. This applies to home remedies too. Things like garlic, whiskey, and turmeric, which are in many of Grandma’s old home remedies, might work for us but are extremely dangerous for our furry friends!

Home Care

Believe it or not, Fluffy may enjoy a bit of chicken soup. Skip the garlic, onions, rice, and pasta: warm, sodium-free chicken broth with some plain, boneless chicken (and perhaps some peas and carrots) is fine. Some kitties like having their canned food warmed up a bit. You can also put a humidifier on and/or bring your feline pal into the bathroom while you shower, so she can breathe the steam. You may want to get your cat a new bed or a comfy throw blanket to curl up in. You’ll also need to make sure your furry buddy is drinking lots of water. Of course, cuddles and ear scritches are on the agenda as well.

Preventing Colds

As the saying says, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. First and foremost, keep up with Fluffy’s vaccinations, such as the vaccine for feline calicivirus. Keep in mind that cats can still spread the virus after they have recovered. Keeping your kitty indoors will reduce the odds of her coming into contact with infected felines.

Do you have questions about cat colds? Contact us, your local vet clinic, today!

The Benefits of Antioxidants for Dogs

You’ve definitely heard of antioxidants before. They’re found in many human foods and offer us many health benefits. The question is, do antioxidants offer those same benefits for our canine companions?

The answer is yes—antioxidants are important for keeping your pup happy and healthy throughout their life. Let’s take a look at some of the major benefits of antioxidants for dogs.

They Keep Food Fresh

Antioxidants do just what their name suggests: battle oxidation. Oxidation occurs when food is exposed to oxygen, which will break down the food’s cells over time and spoil it. It’s the same reason that fruit goes brown if it’s out for too long. Dog food is no different. By including antioxidants in dog food, manufacturers can keep their product safe for consumption for extended periods of time.

At home, you can also take steps to keep your dog’s food fresh by keeping it away from heat, light, and moisture. Storing your dog’s kibble in a cool, dry, dark place is your best bet.

They Boost Your Dog’s Health

Antioxidants do more than just protect your dog’s food—they’re also beneficial for your dog’s health. Antioxidants counter the effects of free radicals in your pet’s body. Free radicals are naturally occurring agents that contain oxygen, and they damage both healthy and unhealthy cells that already exist in your dog’s body. Antioxidants help to keep free radicals at bay, keeping your dog’s cells healthier for longer and stopping the degeneration of tissues.

Other benefits include increased immune system function, better vision (thanks to antioxidants like leutine and zeanxathin), and even increased exercise tolerance.  Antioxidants also protect the heart and circulatory system from free radicals, thereby lowering the risk of heart disease. Even cancer can be made less likely thanks to the power of antioxidants.

They Combat the Effects of Aging

Antioxidants may be especially important for our older animal companions. The older your dog gets, the more that his or her cells suffer small amounts of damage to their structure. That means that the cells, and the organs that they make up, don’t function as well as your dog ages. Since antioxidants combat that cell damage, they’re vital for maintaining your dog’s bodily systems as they continue to enter their golden years.

Want to learn more about the role antioxidants play in your dog’s nutrition and wellness? Need a dietary recommendation? Contact your vet for help.

Can My Pets Be Allergic to Each Other?

As you probably know, your dog or cat can be allergic to many things. Dust, dirt, fleas, mold, pollen, ingredients in their food, certain materials like rubber or plastic… the list goes on and on. But can dogs and cats themselves can be allergic to each other? And if they are, what do you do about it?

Can Dogs and Cats Be Allergic to Each Other?

Yes, dogs and cats can be allergic to each other. It’s possible for dogs to be allergic to cats and vice versa, and it’s also possible for dogs to be allergic to other dogs and for cats to be allergic to other cats.

Pet-to-pet allergies aren’t diagnosed nearly as often as allergies to the substances mentioned above—mold, pollen, food ingredients like pork or soy, etc.—are, but they’re entirely possible. Many people make the mistake of thinking that it’s a dog or cat’s hair itself that causes allergies, but it’s actually the proteins found in pet dander, saliva, and urine. Those proteins cause allergic reactions in humans who suffer from pet allergies, and they’re also the root cause of pet-to-pet allergies.

What are the Signs of a Pet-to-Pet Allergic Reaction?

Pet-to-pet allergic reactions closely mirror the signs of allergic reactions to other substances. Primarily, you’ll notice your pet scratching themselves—that’s because pets that suffer from allergies have an abnormal skin barrier that lets environmental allergens like dust, dirt, and dander be absorbed more easily. The skin responds by releasing histamine, which causes a feeling of itching.

Aside from intense scratching, a pet experiencing an allergic reaction may display signs like sneezing, runny nose or eyes, puffy or red eyes, and red, irritated skin. You might notice bald patches or even skin trauma, caused by your pet scratching themselves to try and find relief.

What Do I Do to Solve the Problem?

If you suspect your pet is experiencing an allergic reaction, whether it’s to another pet in the house or any other substance, call your veterinarian. Tests can be performed to confirm the presence of allergies. From there, allergy medications may be prescribed, or your veterinarian will offer advice on using air purifiers and bathing your pet(s) with medicated shampoo to lessen your allergic pet’s exposure to allergens. Don’t worry—there are many options before it comes to giving up one of your pets!

To learn more, contact your vet’s office today.

Understanding AKC Dog Groups

The puparazzi are getting pretty excited. The Westminster Kennel Show starts February 10th! It’s always fun to see these pampered pooches strutting their stuff! As you may know, dog shows typically divide their furry contestants into breed groups. A veterinarian goes over the AKC’s official groups below.

Sporting

The sporting group contains some very popular pups, such as the Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, and the Cocker Spaniel. Typically, these pooches were bred to help hunters retrieve birds. As one might expect, many of these dogs love to swim. Many sporting breed dogs have thick coats, which helped them swim out to retrieve waterfowl from lakes and ponds. Some, such as the Labrador Retriever, even have webbed paws!

Hound Group

Elvis may not have thought much of Hound dogs, but we’re pretty fond of these loyal and curious pups ourselves. This group includes some of the world’s renowned trackers, such as the Bloodhound, as well as sighthounds, such as Greyhounds.

Terrier Group

Terriers were also bred to help with hunting, though they’re more suited to rooting out vermin than chasing game. As you may know, terriers love to dig! The Bull Terrier and Scottish Terrier are a few examples from the terrier group.

Working Group

Dogs in the working group traditionally performed a variety of jobs, from pulling sleds to guarding livestock and homes. The working dog group includes guard dogs, like the Rottweiler, as well as the Boxer.

Toy Group

The main thing toy breeds have in common is their small size. Many of these adorable little guys were bred as companion animals. As one may expect, toy breeds make very lovable lapdogs. The Chihuahua, Pug, Shih-Tzu, Pomeranian, and Yorkie all belong to this group.

Herding Group

The herding group includes popular pets like the German Shepherd and Border Collie. Many herding dogs are extremely intelligent, and love to please their owners. If your pet is a herding dog, you may notice Fido trying to herd your family!

Non-Sporting Group

This group is basically a catch-all for pups that don’t fit into any of the other categories. Aside from a love of treats and belly rubs, these pooches don’t necessarily have much in common. Many popular pets, including the Dalmatian and Poodle, fall into this category.

Please contact us, your vet clinic, for all of your pet’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!

Dog Training Mistakes

January is National Train Your Dog Month! Of course, Fido’s education is important all year long. Training is really what makes the difference between your pooch being a ‘Good dog’ and being, well, a bit unruly. Here, a vet lists some common dog training mistakes.

Inconsistency

There are many schools of thought when it comes to dog training. You can opt to go with clicker training, or stick to more basic options. Each method has its own pros and cons. However, switching tactics halfway through Fido’s petucation may do more harm than good. Consistency is also important when it comes to teaching vocal commands. Man’s Best Friend is smart, but he won’t understand different ways of saying the same thing. If you say Sit one day and the next day tell your furry pal to Sit down now, you may just confuse your cute pet.

Poor Curriculum

We know, tricks like Shake Paw and Roll Over are super adorable. However, you’ll want to start with the basics, like Sit, Stay, Come, Heel, and Lay Down. Work on these key commands one at a time. Don’t move on until your four-legged student has mastered each one. (It’s worth noting that it’s usually easiest to start with Sit, as it’s so easy for dogs to pick up.)

Long Classes

Our canine pals don’t really have very long attention spans, except of course when they’re watching you cook bacon. Fido may lose interest if his classes are too long. Keep puppy training sessions short and sweet. About 15-20 minutes at a time is good.

Negative Reinforcement

Never punish your furry friend for messing up, or not picking something up quickly enough. Dogs all learn at their own paces. It’s also important to understand that Fido doesn’t really have a good grasp on punishment. He may not know why you’re angry, which can make him anxious. It can also cause him to form a negative association with training. That’s the last thing you want!

Stopping

Training is often more of a journey than a destination. Once your canine buddy has mastered the basics, try working with him in a busy area, like a park. Or, move on to more advanced commands. You may find that Fido really enjoys learning new things!

Please call us, your local vet clinic, for all of your pup’s veterinary care needs. We’re always happy to help!

4 Ways That Great Nutrition Benefits Your Pet

Everyone knows that nutrition is important for any animal companion. When your pet receives the right combination of vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and water on a daily basis, they stay healthy—it’s that simple. But what specifically does good nutrition do for our pets? How does it benefit them? Let’s take a closer look at some of the important benefits of nutrition for your pet.

Skin and Fur Health

Did you know that a pet with a smooth, shiny coat of fur is probably in good health? A pet’s coat is one of the best indicators of their nutrition! Fatty acids play a big role here, specifically omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. When a pet receives these nutrients in the right amounts through their food, the skin stays healthy and moisturized. Fatty acids also provide anti-inflammatory properties, which can help your pet be less itchy. That leads to a coat with a smooth, healthy sheen and minimal shedding.

Disease Prevention

Another reason that nutrition is so important for your animal friend is because it helps prevent dangerous diseases. Vitamins and minerals, in particular, are the nutrients that keep your pet from coming down with diseases like distemper, parvovirus, leukemia, and many more. Vitamins reduce damage to the body’s cells, while minerals keep cells functioning normally. It’s important that your pet’s food supplies him or her with the proper vitamins and minerals.

Keep in mind that vaccination is also essential for helping your pet to avoid disease. Talk to your veterinarian right away if your pet needs vaccines or booster shots.

Body Condition

Your pet’s general body condition is another thing that’s affected heavily by nutrition. If a pet doesn’t receive enough protein, they won’t be able to build or maintain strong, healthy muscles. Protein is also essential for repairing damaged cells, making new cells, and building hair, skin, and other body tissues. That’s why your pet’s food should always include a good protein source, like chicken or beef.

Digestive Health

None of the nutrients listed above would do any good if your pet’s body wasn’t able to digest and absorb them. That’s where carbohydrates come in—they provide fiber that helps with digestion and elimination. They’re essential for allowing your dog’s body to use the nutrients received through food and eliminate the waste that’s left behind.

To learn more about your pet’s nutrition, call your vet’s office. We’re here for you!

Caring for a Toy Breed Dog

Do you have a pint-sized pup? Small dogs are adorable! Many toy breeds were initially bred as companion animals, so they tend to be very affectionate and cuddly. However, Fido does have some specific care needs. A vet discusses small dog care below.

General Health

Obesity is often a problem with toy breeds, simply because it’s so easy to overfeed them. They’re also prone to hypoglycemia, which is a dangerous drop in blood sugar. Ask your vet for more information. It’s also important to keep up with veterinary care. Those regular appointments are a great chance to get specific advice on Fido’s care!

Clothing

Little dogs get cold very quickly. In colder regions, snow is a serious hazard to them, as it can be over their heads so easily. Get Fido a winter jacket, and limit his outdoor time when it’s chilly.

Aging

Small breeds typically have longer lifespans than big dogs. They also age more slowly. Fido may not enter his golden years until age 10 or even older!

Gear

When shopping for your dog, always choose products that were specifically made for small dogs. Your pet could hurt himself on things made for bigger pooches! Also, toy breeds can easily get choked or jerked around when wearing collars. Get Fido a harness instead.

Injuries

Small dogs are very fragile. Fido could get hurt just by jumping out of your arms! Also, make sure not to step on the little guy. Be very careful when carrying your pup, and use a travel carrier if you take him out and about. If you have children, supervise pet playtime carefully. It’s very easy for a youngster to accidentally injure a tiny dog. We also recommend getting pet stairs, so your furry buddy doesn’t fall off the bed.

Outdoor Area

Do you have a yard for your dog to play in? That’s great! Be sure to use fencing that’s the right size. Otherwise, Fido could slip right through. Also, don’t leave your pet outdoors without supervision, especially after dark. Small dogs can make very tempting prey for many wild animals!

Petiquette

We love seeing pets get pampered! However, you shouldn’t coddle Fido too much. Teach your pooch basic commands, like Sit and Stay, and don’t let him nip at people or other dogs.

Do you have questions about toy breed care? Contact us, your vet clinic!

And Meow, A Word About Cat Towers

Does your kitty have a cat tower? If so, that’s great! This may very well be Fluffy’s favorite piece of ‘purrniture.’ A Georgetown, IN vet discusses cat towers in this article.

Benefits of Cat Towers

Although kitties aren’t officially classed as arboreal, or tree dwelling, they certainly do enjoy trees. Fluffy uses them to sharpen her nails, escape danger, hunt birds, and get a good vantage point of her kingdom. She also sometimes just likes to hang out on them. You probably don’t have a tree in the middle of your living room, so a cat tower is the next best thing.

Refreshing An Old Cat Tower

Sometimes cats lose interest in their towers. There are some things you can do to pique your furball’s interest again. First, try cleaning it. Vacuuming might work, but if it’s really stained or worn, you may want to use a shampooer with an attachment. If the covering is beyond cleaning, redo it in carpet. You don’ t need the expensive stuff! Another thing you can try is moving it to a different spot. Sprinkling catnip around it and/or putting toys near it may also help.

Choosing Cat Towers

Kitty towers are not one-size-fits-all. You’ll want to keep your furry pal’s age, health, and purrsonality in mind when you go shopping. Kittens will appreciate towers that incorporate fun toys and offer them lots of things to climb and hang from. Adult cats may be more interested in napping, and like towers with comfy beds and lounging spots. Senior felines can’t climb as well as their younger counterparts, and will need towers with the lowest levels close to the floor. Do you have a scaredy-cat on your hands? Get something that offers your timid furball lots of enclosed hiding spots. If you have more than one cat, choose pieces that will fit all of your kitties at once.

DIY

Is a cat tower a bit too much for your budget right now? Go the DIY route. You can upcycle an old stepladder, bookshelf, or storage shelf by adding wooden planks to the steps to widen them out. Cover the whole thing in carpet or sisal rope, and tell Fluffy to stay off. She’ll immediately hop on!

Please call us, your local Georgetown, IN vet clinic, for all of your cat’s veterinary care needs. We are here to help!

Playing With A Senior Dog

Playing is one of the best things you can do for your canine buddy. It’s also very beneficial for senior dogs! As Fido grows older, running and jumping will help keep him strong physically. Playing also provides mental stimulation, which is great for his mind. However, there are some things to keep in mind when playing with an older dog. A local Georgetown, IN vet discusses playing with senior dogs below.

Try Different Toys

As Fido ages, he may develop issues with his vision and/or hearing. Try using toys that light up or make noise.

Short Sessions

Your furry friend won’t have as much energy or stamina as he used to. Fido may be tired out after just a few rounds of Fetch. Instead of spending long chunks of time playing with your canine pal, break doggy playtime into several short sessions. Even a few minutes of jumping and running will help!

Don’t Crowd Fido

Younger dogs often like to run and play with their buddies, which is super cute to watch. Older dogs, however, are much more fragile, and just can’t withstand roughhousing from younger pups. Play with Fido by himself or with another dog his age.

Watch The Weather

Older dogs are very sensitive to weather extremes. Don’t encourage Fido to run and play when it’s really hot out. Also, make sure your pooch always has water available.

Don’t Overdo It

Dogs love to try to please their humans. If Fido seems tired, don’t try to make him play. Just let your old buddy rest!

Check With Your Vet

As your furry buddy ages, his needs will change. Ask your vet for specific recommendations about the amount and type of play Fido needs. It’s worth noting that many dogs develop arthritis or hip dysplasia in their golden years. Don’t encourage your faithful pet to jump or to stand on his back legs. That will put a lot of stress on his hips, which can exacerbate these painful bone/joint conditions.

Offer Rewards

Keeping that cute tail going will be one of your biggest jobs as your furry pal ages. Make playtime extra fun for Fido by incorporating treats, praise, and belly rubs. Just don’t go overboard with the treats: you don’t want your pooch becoming obese!

Do you have questions about caring for your senior dog? Call us, your Georgetown, IN vet clinic, anytime!