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Archive for June 2014

Pure Breed Cats

Most people research breeds of dogs when thinking about getting a dog, but barely anybody thinks about pure breed cats when selecting a family pet. The most commonly chosen pure breed cats are Persians and Siamese, with the Rex family closing in because of their allergy friendly disposition.

When choosing a pure breed you should inquire with the breeder as to the animal’s nature and predisposition to diseases. This information will let you know about the potential compatibility and possible health issues with the cat you choose. Here are some uncommon breeds to consider if you’re a cat person or think you might be.

Large Domestic Breeds
ceHighlander
Highlander cats are bred to look like the Highland Lynx, but no worries, there is no wild cat genes in these animals. Highlanders are extremely loving, gentle and playful. Highlanders love attention and playing, their playful nature helps to give them a muscular looking body.

Highlanders ears can be curled or or not, and the tail may be bobbed or long. The feet of a Highlander may be normal or polydactyl, meaning there are more toes than normal on the foot. The Highlander can grow to weigh between 12-20 lbs, and these cats don’t reach maturity until 3-4 years old. Highlanders can have long or short hair and come in a variety of colors.

Like dogs, the Highlander breeds can be trained to perform tricks, walk on leashes and get along well with children and other dogs and cats.

Maine Coon
ceThese are native to North America and have been bred in the last century to be household pets. Maine Coons are known to be friendly, outgoing, playful–but not hyper, smart, and easily trained. Maine Coons are people oriented, they usually do well even with young children and dogs. They’re also known for the odd, almost chirping sound they make.

Maine Coons have longish hair and tufted ears.This breed can grow to be as large as 20lbs.Maine Coon’s come in a wide variety of colours including Brown, Red, Cream, Silver, Blue, Smoke, Black, White and dilutions of all these colours. They also come in different patterns like Tabby, Tortie, Torbie, Mackerel, Patch, Solid. These colours and patterns can be either with or without White. Eye colour also varies but green is most common with the occasional gold and odd eye colour sometimes showing up.

These cats are intelligent and can be trained to walk on a leash, and uncharacterstic of cats, this breed loves water, don’t be surprised to find this cat trying to get in the tub with you.

ceNorwegian Forest Cat
Norwegian Forest Cats have a triangular face with a straight profile nose. Their feet and ears have long tuts of hair and they hold their long fluffy tail up as if it were a beacon of light from a lighthouse. Because of their long hair they do require some grooming, but not as much as other long haired cats.

Norwegian Forest Cats love company and are excellent companions for children and other pets. They are inquisitive and and patient, and can be trained to do simple tricks. One thing that is an absolute necessity if you own a Norwegian Forest cat is some kind of climbing device. They have a strong natural instinct to be up high to survey their home. A climbing tree is perfect, these cats will spend endless amounts of energy going up and down doing all they can to impress you with their athletic abilities.

When deciding on any pet it’s best to research that pet so you know what kind of care is needed and if the needs of the animal fit into your lifestyle. Most cats are independent, but there are those that like companionship as well, so always make sure that you give love and affection to an animal that needs it, and have someone looking after it when you can’t.

How to Prepare for Puppies

ID-10087220If you’ve got a female dog who you are planning to breed, or who has become unexpectedly pregnant we have tips to help you through your pet’s labour and birthing period. As with all major health issues, you should bring you dog into see your vet to make sure she’s in good health. Your vet might even suggest giving your dog vaccinations so she can pass her antibodies onto her pups.

Meanwhile at home you should be preparing your dog a safe place to have her puppies. Find a box with 7″ sides and line it with old towels and baby blankets to make your dog comfortable. Once the box is ready you should place it in a dark space like a cupboard or a closet, and make sure your dog knows where the box is placed and rests there from time to time. Dog’s naturally seek dark, private spaces when they are preparing to give birth, which is why a closet or cupboard that your dog can access easily is the best place for the birthing box.

If you can calculate the birth date of the puppies you will be ready to check for the signs of labour. The gestation of puppies is 60-64 days from the last date of the mother’s heat. This is not an exact due date, but it gives you a rough estimate of the birth date. Around this date you’ll want to watch your dog for signs of labour. Around the due date you might notice your dog dragging towels or clothing to a dark place away from traffic and noise. Respect your dog’s need for this quiet safe space if you need to move her to the birthing box. On an interesting note, most doggy births occur at night time.

Once your dog reaches 7-8 weeks of pregnancy you should start taking your dog’s temperature rectally. When your dog’s temperature drops below 100 degrees (usually closer to 99), labor will start within the next eight to twelve hours. About 24 hours before labor begins the puppies’ milk is produced, the external genitalia become enlarged and soft, and a thick mucous discharge appears. At this time the dog will refuse food and become quite restless. Since birth is imminent, this is a good time to allow the dog some brief exercise, as well as one last chance for urination and bowel movements.

Dogs’ labour can last between 2-6 hours, however, if the labour lasts longer than 8 hours you should contact your vet immediately. Labour is imminent when your dog becomes ceaselessly restless. You’ll know the puppies are coming when you see a distinct discharge coming from the vulva (she will likely work hard at licking this away) and regular contractions. Contractions in dogs are not as noticeable in dogs as it is in humans, but her belly will feel solid in your hand when you feel it.

Your dog’s natural instincts will take over when she begins the birthing process. During this time you should allow her to do her own thing unless she starts panicking or something seems to be going wrong. The one thing you can do during the birthing process is clear the puppies away form the mother as she gives birth because she will be moving around and possibly trample the new born puppies. Make sure your wearing gloves if you’re going to handle the puppies. You can even use this time to clean the puppies off if the mother hasn’t done it already with a clean towel that has been kept separate.

The birthing process usually involves pups being birthed inside the amniotic sac, then being followed by a placenta. Occasionally the placenta of one pup will come out with the next, it’s natural and necessary for the mother dog to consume the amniotic sacs and placenta after (and during) the birth – this replenishes a lot of the nutrients and energy she looses during birth. After the first puppy, you should expect a puppy every 15 to 20 minutes. If a puppy is stuck and needs help to get out, pull gently, but make sure you wear gloves.

The umbilicus of each puppy will have to be cut with sterile scissors. Some dogs will cut the cord with the teeth, but if your dog doesn’t do this, use the scissors. Tie the cords with floss, making a strong knot just 1 inch above the abdominal area of the puppy. Tie a second floss and cut between the 2 ties of floss. The remaining floss can be removed after 10 minutes, after the blood has clotted.

Neonatal mortality (stillbirths and lifespans of only a few hours or days) are relatively normal for most littered mammals, so be prepared for this eventuality. In some cases you can help your pups live by giving them a gentle massage if you see them having problems breathing or moving around. You should also have a little store-bought puppy milk on hand in case the mother does not produce enough milk.

It is a good idea to have the mother examined by a veterinarian within 24 hours after whelping concludes to ensure that no puppies or placentas remain in the uterus. An injection to reduce the size of the uterus help prevent infections and other complications.

The mother will need more food once her appetite returns, and it should be divided into at least three daily feedings. Dietary supplements can assist milk production. Ask your veterinarian for specific formulations best suited to your dog. Fresh water should be available at all times. If dried milk accumulates, clean the mother’s nipples carefully with warm water.

Just remember that you dog’s instincts will do most of the work, that you are there to give encouragement to your dog and help if necessary. This is an important time for your dog and you, so stay calm and everything will be okay.

Pet Turtles

ID-10017525Turtles are fascinating animals and can make great pets for someone who is willing and able to spend a tremendous amount of time and care on this docile species. These wonderful creatures have roamed the earth for more than 200 million years, meaning turtle ancestors lived amongst the dinosaurs. When given the right amount of care, turtles can even outlive human beings, so if you think you want to get a pet turtle, here is some important information you should know first.

In the USA it is illegal to sell a turtle that is less than 4 inches long. If you are buying a baby turtle because it looks cute, know that you will be doing so illegally. Turtles are classified as an exotic animal, which means you will have to check with your local and state regulations on what kind of turtle you can own and how it is to be kept in your home.

Because turtles carry salmonella you should not own one if you have children in the house younger than 5 years old, there is someone whose health is compromised due to illness, or if there is an elderly person living with you. These people are the most at risk for salmonella related illness that can cause severe illness and even death. Salmonella is dangerous because it sticks to surfaces, therefore when cleaning the turtles environment you will need to take care to ensure that you as well as the turtle are protected from cross contamination.

Still interested in getting a turtle? Here are some tips to choosing a turtle. First step is knowing the difference between a turtle and a tortoise. Turtles spend most of their time in the water, have webbed feet and tend to be omnivores. Tortoises live on land have stumpy feet like those of an elephant and are herbivores. There are many different kinds of turtles and tortoises available for purchase, but finding the right one depends on your ability to create an environment inside a tank or in your backyard that has all the elements a turtle or tortoise needs to be healthy and live long. This means you must research the breed you are interested in and decide if you are able to properly care for that type of turtle.

Common turtle environments include a pond with a log or rocks for sun bathing, a sun lamp, and a dry area where the turtle can come out of the water to get some exercise. It is suggested that prospective turtle owners buy a tank that is no smaller than 40 gallons. When putting bedding in the tank you should not use wood chips or bedding because the turtle can eat them and become ill, not to mention that the bedding is hard to clean and can encourage bacteria to grow inside the tank. Many turtle owners try to recreate the exact environment that the turtle would live in if it were wild. If you’re keeping your turtle in a tank make sure that the tank is kept at 80 degrees fahrenheit during the day and no colder than 70 degrees fahrenheit at night.

When adding water to the tank or the pond make sure to conduct a Ph balance test to ensure that the turtle isn’t being exposed to acidic water or water fused with fluoride and chlorine. However, you can clean tap water by using chlorine, but you must let the water and chlorine sit for 24 hours before it will be safe to use inside the turtle tank. It is recommended that you add partial new water to the tank every week and clean the tank thoroughly every 2-3 weeks. When preparing to clean the tank ensure that you have a safe place to hold your turtle while you clean, this environment should not be used for anything else other than holding your turtle. To clean the water in the tank in-between tank cleanings take a fish net and scoop out any uneaten food or waste to stop the water from becoming contaminated. You may need to do this daily as turtles eat in the water. A water filter can help you to keep the water clean and healthy.

You should feed your turtle a mixture of vegetables, fruits, bugs, and mosquito larvae. This mixture ensures that your turtle is getting all the nutrients he requires form his diet. Juvenile turtles require a strict diet of bugs and larvae until they mature into omnivores. Also make sure that any plants you place inside the tank are turtle friendly, because the turtles will munch on them and anything poisonous will kill you pet.

For more information about turtles you can consult the Humane Society website, or find a group of turtle enthusiasts to learn from. If you have a pet turtle and decide you don’t want to keep it anymore, do not release it into the wild, instead list it for sale and make sure it goes to a good owner. Releasing turtles into the wild is illegal and dangerous. Before purchasing a turtle make sure that you are able to make the commitment that a turtle needs.

Common Feline Health Problems

ID-10022760Cats are independent animals that make great pets for those who have busy day schedules. But there are a few health problems that if you don’t spot them, they can wreak havoc on your cat’s health.

Some of the most common problems which are easily treated include: fleas, nutrition and tape worms. In order to control these issues you need to be proactive, by using methods to control fleas (use flea collars, bath your cat and rid your house of fleas), ensure you’re feeding the best food to your feline and these should take care of the tapeworms, or prevent your cat from getting them. If you have an outdoor cat, doing these will prevent tapeworms in the house, but you don’t control what your cat eats and drinks outside, so you’ll have to be vigilant and watch your cats litter box for spaghetti shaped strings. Tape worms can cause your cat to vomit as well, so if your cat is throwing up, check for tape worms in the consistency of the vomit as well.

Vomiting is another common health issue among cats, simply because they are self cleaning animals. This self cleaning results in hairballs, but if your cat is vomiting more than just hair you should be concerned. Especially if the kitty becomes dehydrated, lethargic, or changes their behavior or meow. In these cases the vomiting may be signs of an infection, urinary tract disease, ingestion of poison or an inedible object, or possibly even diabetes. A quick visit to your vet can get your kitty the help he or she needs.

Gingivitis is commonly associated with health problems.Cats whose teeth aren’t cleaned regularly are at risk of developing gingivitis and complications from untreated plaque growth.The bacteria that grow from the build up of tartar can spread to other organs through the bloodstream and cause kidney damage. So you should have you cats teeth cleaned if you’re unable to do it yourself, and be sure to give you cat toys that promote healthy teeth and gums.

Upper respiratory problems are caused by feline calicivirus and feline herpes virus. Cats are more susceptible to these illnesses when they are in a multi-cat home, kept in close quarters with other cats, and share litter box and food with other cats. Symptoms include: runny nose, congestion, nasal discharge, fever, loss of appetite and rapid breathing. Regular vet check ups and keeping your cat indoors can eliminate some of the root causes of URI’s. Make sure your cats vaccines are up to date, and get your cat vaccinated when their vaccinations run out.

Urinary tract infections are just like the kind humans get, they’re painful, cause urinary crystals, blood in the urine, block urine flow, and increase the size of the bladder wall. Cats with this health issue will strain when relieving themselves and may even meow in pain. Your vet will need urine samples to be sure that your cat is suffering from a UTI, but once given the medication, your cat will be pain free in 10 days. You can prevent A UTI by keeping your cat in a stress-free environment and ensure their nutritional needs are being met.

Kidney failure is another common health problem for cats. This is caused by the aging process. Because this happens gradually, you may not know your cat is sick until they are truly sick and suffering from chronic renal failure. Extreme thirst and frequent urination are among the signs of CRF, along with drooling, dehydration, weight loss and bad breath. Although a cat can’t be cured of CRF, they can be kept comfortable with dietary changes and medication from a vet. If a CRF goes untreated it can lead to acute renal failure, which is deadly when left untreated.

These are the most common types of illnesses, but your feline could be exposed to a range of diseases when roaming outdoors. If your cat suddenly changes their eating or sleeping habits, loses or gains weight rapidly, changes their meow or behavior you should take your cat to the vet immediately. When caught early most illnesses are treatable with minimal health risks to your cat. So don’t wait to see if it gets better, if you’re worried about your cat, listen to your gut feelings and go see a vet, at least to put your mind at ease.