Monday, February 20, 2017

Pygmy Goat Health--Part I

Pygmy goats are cute and cuddly and provide us with many valuable services. For example, they keep the vegetation on your property cut, they produce natural fertilizers that you can use for your garden, and they also help control populations of fleas and ticks on your property.
 
Raising pygmy goats is funny and enjoyable. This is an African goat breed that, in its homeland it is raised for meat production.  An adult pygmy goat weighs about 75 pounds and stand about 16 to 23 inches tall at the shoulder. They are very friendly in nature and lovable. Pygmy wethers (castrated goats) make far better pets than does and bucks. Wethers also don’t give off that musky billy goat odor. Pygmy does reach maturity quickly.  They can get pregnant as young as 3 months. For the first year, keep bucks separated from the does to avoiding unwanted pregnancy.  Pygmy does can give birth to triplets, even quadruplets.

They can survive for about 10 to 12 years. Pygmy goats are like other available goat breeds, except for their size. Their basic needs are almost the same like other goats.

It's important to note that pygmy goats, like all goats, are herd animals.  If you're thinking about 1 goat--you're thinking about 2 goats.  You don't want a lonely, depressed little buck or doe...do you? 
The environment in which your pygmy goat is kept is key to good health.  Having said that, things can go wrong: anything from accidents to the presence of disease. Nothing can be completely predicted but everything can be prevented from deteriorating further with timely action. Never adopt the attitude of “Let’s wait and see what happens.” The sooner help is sought, the greater the chances of recovery. This particularly applies to sick animals requiring veterinary assistance.

No one knows your animals better than you, and regular observation is the best defense.  If you know what is considered normal behavior, you'll quickly recognize what is not.  Your powers of  observation can be boosted with knowledge of normal values.

Normal Values
v  Body Temperature 102-103 Fahrenheit
§  Body Temperature is taken via the anus by gently inserting a lubricated thermometer, and leaving it in place for one minute.   A digital thermometer is far easier to read and to handle. Available from any agricultural merchants.
v  Heart Rate 70 – 95 beats per minute
§  Heart Rate can be assessed by placing the hands just below the elbows and on either side of the goat’s chest. The use of a stethoscope is more accurate and can be purchased for a nominal fee.
v  Respiration rate 10 – 30 breaths per minute
§  Respiration Rate can be determined by observing the movements of the chest and the flanks.

v  Rumen movement 1 -1.5 per minute
§  Rumen Movement is the toughest to assess; a vet is best for this.  A rough guide can be sought by pressing your fist into the rumen between the end of the rib cage and the pelvic bone on the left hand side of the goat.

This is the first in an ongoing series.
Future articles will include tips on feeding, housing, health matters, etc.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Animal Cruelty

Here at Diagnostic Imaging Systems, we've made it our goal to help veterinarians and their teams provide the greatest care possible.  DIS products are specifically designed and engineered to match equine, mixed, or small animal practice requirements.

We know that you enjoy reading our blogs.  Sometimes you'll find information for both the professional and the layperson, the business owner and the pet caretaker.  Other times, we'll provide something to tickle your funny bone.  But there can be a dark side to the lives of the creatures that share our planet.  The big picture name:  Animal Cruelty.

Animal abuse statistics show a grave and depressing scenario when it comes to suffering of animals at the hands of man.  It is a pity that animals we keep as companions are often domesticated and confined to small spaces, denying them of their natural habitat and animal freedom.

Are You Aware That
-Puppy mills are large-scale commercial operations that prioritize profit over health.  Many dogs are plagued with illnesses like kidney or heart disease as a result of the living conditions
-Thousands of greyhounds die each year—some in the name of “selective breeding”—before they ever get near a racetrack. Many dogs do not make it to the supposed “retirement” age of 4 or 5.
-Due to genetic manipulation, 90% of broiler chickens (chickens bred specifically for meat production) have trouble walking.
-Dog fighting became prevalent in the US after the Civil War, with professional "pits" (thus the name "pit bulls") proliferating in the 1860s. The practice was source of entertainment for police officers and firemen.  Today dog fighting has been reported in urban, suburban, and rural settings every region of the US.   
-It’s been estimated that there are 900 to 2,000 new cases every year of animal hoarding in the US; with an estimated 250,000 animals suffering through the ordeal.
-Over 115 million animals – mice, rats, dogs, cats, rabbits, monkeys, birds, among others – are killed in laboratory experiments worldwide for chemical, drug, food, and cosmetics testing every year.
-Every major circus that uses animals has been cited for violating the minimal standards of care set by the United States Animal Welfare (AWA).  UPDATE:  RIngling Bros Circus has announced it will be closing due to decline of interest and animal rights (chiefly elephant) activism.
-Most rodeo events rely on creating a stressful environment for the domesticated and often docile animals involved. Participants rely on harsh handling practices (i.e. twisting calves’ tails or painful electric shocks) to make animals perform.
-The exotic pet trade is a multi-billion dollar industry in the US and while some wild pets are bred in captivity, many are taken from their native habitats. The stress of being violently removed from their homes causes a number to die prematurely.
There has never been a documented report of a man, woman or child has ever been killed or harmed while trying to protect animals' rights and save an animal from abuse.
The shocking number of animal cruelty cases reported every day is just the tip of the iceberg; most cases are never reported. Unlike violent crimes against people, cases of animal abuse are not compiled by state or federal agencies, making it difficult to calculate just how common they are. However, we can use the information that is available to try to understand and prevent cases of abuse.

Sources
1 American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
2 People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
3 People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
4 Human Society International.

5 Born Free USA. "Get The Facts: Specific Circus Fact Sheets." 

Friday, February 10, 2017

National Love Your Pet Day

We don't know how it started.  We don't know when it started.  On February 20th, pet lovers everywhere observe National Love Your Pet Day.  This unofficial holiday is an excuse (as if you need one) to give extra attention to your pets.  It's a great day to focus on that special connection between animals and humans.

Did you know that most households in the United States have at least one pet?  In the United States, dogs edge out cats, but only just.  And our choices aren't limited to furry friends; thinks about all of those friends and family members who partner up with fish, reptiles, birds and yes...rodents!  Whatever your choice, we suggest you spend a little extra time with them.  According to the National Center for Health Research, you'll reap the benefits of
  • a healthier heart
  • lower blood pressure
  • reduced stress
  • more exercise
  • less depression
  • significant impact on allergies and asthma
  • social support and social interactions with other people
And then there's the love.

How To Celebrate

Step On It

Take your dog for a walk. It allows you and them to get plenty of exercise and it's a great way to show your appreciation.  Don't forget to bring some water for the two of you and, for safety's sake, always keep your dog on a leash except where free run is allowed.   

Treats

Give them a special treat. Choose something from a pet store, or make it personal and create it yourself. There's all kinds of ideas for different pets. You can attach a special bird treat to the side of their cage or give your rabbit their favorite vegetable. If your pet is on a special diet, make sure that it's acceptable.

Toys

Make them or buy them.  You know they love them.  Have a paper towel cardboard roll?  Perfect for a mouse. Bell & String?  Purrrr....Word of advice?  No Shoes!!!

Bath

Give them a bath filled with love. No animal (except for cats) hates baths. Make them feel clean and comfortable with this method. Dogs love a follow-up brushing.

Freedom

Let a rodent out of its cage for a longer time. Much like us, a mouse or hamster wants (and needs) to explore new environments and surroundings. 

Quality Time

Every pet, and we mean every pet, wants some special attention.  You don't need to spend every minute of the day, but a little extra time let's 'em know that you love 'em.

Cuddle Up

Let your pet sleep alongside you. Whether it's your bed or on the floor, your pet will sigh, purr or squawk with love. 

Surprise your pet pal on February 20th with a little something special.  It's National Love Your Pet Day! 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Vet Tech Tips

Skilled Professional?  Newbie?  Read on to discover some thoughts on what makes for a great Vet Tech. 

Be Creative
It is easy to look at a supplied list and use it as a treatment outline.  A talented  Tech goes beyond the checklist! 
  • Meds--Why has the medication been prescribed? Think about what you are administering and what the patient has previously been prescribed.   Is there a possibility of an interaction?  Any side effects?  Can you group meds or must they be given separately and/or at specific intervals?  What should be expected from the treatment? 
  • Quality of care--A hospital visit or stay is scary; you can help your patient cope with the stress. Is their treatment area clean and soothing?  Is their bedding fresh and dry?  Don't rely on your vision alone.  Let your fingers do the walking through the towels, padding, etc.  Is there water available?  Have they been fed?  Are they allowed either? A gentle word or loving scratch under the chin will go a long way to your patient's comfort.
Checklists are OK, but don't stop there.  Think, Tech, Think...and provide the expert care that your patient deserves.

Predict, Plan, Prepare  
Show your vet and the entire practice team your value by anticipating both the needs of the patient and the needs of the team.    A wise Vet Tech thinks critically, analyzes all the data and, just maybe, listens at the examination room door.  Always consider the practice's rules, both the vet's and client's needs,  and the goal to provide the very best care. 
Think proactive not reactive, and you'll be the "Tech guru" at your practice.

Speak, Vet Tech, Speak
Yes, you're skilled in understanding animals...that's why you became a Vet Tech!  It's up to you to be their voice. Monitor their pain and discuss best choices.  Be sure that all of the critical facts have been conveyed to the vet prior to any procedure.  Sometimes it's as simple as watching over the foods they eat or the time they eat. Would an extra fleece pad in their cage help their arthritis?   Listen to the patient, Communicate their needs. 

Never Stop Learning
The world of veterinary medicine is ever-changing and you have to commit yourself to ever-education.  How to do it?  Read Journals like Clinician’s Brief, Veterinary Team Brief, or scientific journals like the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care or the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.  Explore continuing education courses.  Your vet will be thrilled to help you in your question for knowledge and your goal to be the Vet Tech who sets the bar of excellence. 

Those who can...Teach!
Make it your goal to share your knowledge and skills.  Not only will you earn the respect and undying faith of the newest member of the team, you'll  revitalize your own career.    
Do you have a tip or trick that will help the Vet Tech community?  Contact Diagnostic Imaging Systems and let us know.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Meow + Roar = Hybrid Cats

Beautiful, strong and mysterious – just some of the traits driving up the demand for hybrid cat breeds.

It's the closest you’ll get to sharing your home with a lion or tiger; hybrids were developed by crossing a domestic cat breed with a wild cat breed.

They are often categorized as F1, F2, F3, F4 and F6, which indicates how many generations they are removed from the original wild individual.  This means that, unlike the domestic house cat (felis catus), which has had over 9000 years of close contact with humans, and has been selectively bred over centuries for adaption to such a lifestyle, hybrid cat breeds have lived only a few generations with people.  These different hybrids generally look and act quite different from each other, depending on how great a percentage of their bloodline is wild.

Hybrid Health Alert
Hybrids whether early generation or domestic often have the following common health issues which can be expensive:
  • Painful irritable bowel disease (IBD) that causes chronic diarrhea
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Tri-Trichamonas Foetus
  • Luxating patella
  • Often high corona titers and the only known test for FIP – Feline Infectious Peritonitis (but not always reliable)
  • Gingivitis and mouth lesions (most common in Chausies)

Common hybrid cats
BENGAL
The beautiful Bengal is a cross between a domestic cat and an Asian Leopard Cat.  High energy, extremely athletic and cat-astrophically clever, the Bengal can be a lot to handle.  All his characteristics make the Bengal tons of fun and capable of learning to walk on a leash.  going for a leash walk. Break out your bikini...Bengals swim!

CHAUSIE
The Chausie is an outstanding hybrid, crossed between the Egyptian Jungle Cat (Felix chaus) and either the domestic shorthair or the Abyssinian. This feline is fearless, fast and frisky, famous for its jumping skills.  The Chausie cat is smart, smart, smart, and knows all your homes special secret places.  Hide the valuables...owners report this cat burglar has been known to swipe pieces of jewelry!

SAVANNAH
Cross a 30-pound African Serval with a 8-pound Siamese Sealpoint and do you get?  The Savannah.   The breed has been out-crossed with Domestic and Oriental Shorthairs, Ocicats and Egyptian Maus to develop the modern Savannah cat breed we know and love today – beautiful, athletic, and smart. This cat can be taught to walk on a leash, and has the ability to jump 8 feet straight into the air.   The Savannah may be the ideal cat for dog lovers--it can be trained to "Stay" and "Sit."
Get the Facts
The specific qualities of each hybrid wild cat breed depends on how many generations they are removed from their wild ancestors as well as the traits inherited from their specific parentage. Hybrids, particularly of the F1 variety, can be a handful, and some jurisdictions consider them to be wild animals and do not allow them to be kept in private residences.  Please check your local and state laws before proceeding.

Think this over carefully, and find a rescue organization or breeder you trust before taking the plunge.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Horses & Kids: Friends with Benefits

Much like adults, children carry physical and emotional damage.  Sometimes it's difficult for them to explain exactly what's wrong or how a grown-up can make it better.  Horses, and many other animals, offer something special--an opportunity to learn new and effective ways to cope with problems as well as interactions that may extend beyond the barn or stable.

It's All About Body Language
Horses communicate through body language.  Teaching your child to "read the signs"  helps him or her to understand how their choices, temperament and demeanor impact another living creature.  The kids can learn what behaviors are effective and which need to be modified to become both leaders and partners.  A relationship with a horse is a powerfully motivating incentive for children to want to change. It's perfect for helping your child learn responsibility, accountability, and strength of character.

Other Lives Matter
We all want our children to have more; more opportunity, more education, more "things."  Sometimes the result is It's all about me.   A relationship with another living thing requires a child to think about another's needs, wants and desires; emphasizing the horse's point of view creates empathy for others.   Recognizing the horse's point of view just might turn a "me" moment into a "we" moment.

Little Leaders
Adults understand what it takes to be a good leader--firmness, consistency, a sense of fair play and kindness.   A child who can move a half-ton animal with effective communication skills is empowered for life.  Balancing the skills is critical to coping and problem solving.

Why the Horse
Kids are drawn to these majestic animals who provide, no strings attached,  acceptance and love.  Horses, as herd animals, are naturally sensitive, insightful and social.
  • Friendship with a horse is based on the same qualities as friendship with another human.
  • Developing a relationship with a horse is the same as developing a friendship with a peer. It requires trust, common respect, and interactive communication.
  • Like people, horses have unique identities.  Children learn how to appreciate individual personalities and, consequently, modify their own behaviors.
  • Horses always tell the truth. Children learn to recognize the value of the behavior as well as how their own emotions and energy impact animals and humans, alike.
  • Observing horse society teaches the body language, boundaries and how another views their surroundings.
  • Grooming teaches trust, empathy, and responsibility.

Who knew that horses could teach us so many things?

Monday, October 31, 2016

Kidney Disease Diagnosing The Danger In Cats

Cats (and dogs) of all ages can be at risk for chronic kidney disease.  Essential organs, an animal’s kidneys help manage blood pressure, remove waste from their blood and make red blood cells and hormones. Kidneys can begin to fail as your pet ages. Left untreated, kidney disease can lead to a number of health issues. If the disease is determined to be chronic, there is no cure. But with early diagnosis, the condition can be effectively managed.

Did you know?
  • 75% of your pet’s kidney function is permanently gone before you see signs of serious illness.
  • 1 in 3 cats will get kidney disease.
  • More than half of all cats over age 15 are afflicted.

Chronic kidney disease is very common in cats, especially those that are older than age 5. Renal (kidney) insufficiency or renal failure occurs when the kidneys are no longer able to do their job--to remove waste products from the blood. Renal failure is not the same as not being able to produce urine; in fact cats with renal failure make more urine than normal in an attempt to remove waste products.   When the kidneys are failing, they lose their ability to maintain their normal hydration levels. Because of this increase in the amount of urine being excreted, cats become dehydrated very quickly and in turn, start to drink more water. This leads to a continuous cycle of increased urinations and increased drinking – two of the key signs of kidney disease.

Chronic Renal Failure in Cats
Failure of the kidneys, can take place so slowly, that by the time the symptoms have become obvious, it may be more difficult to treat the condition.   While chronic renal failure cannot be reversed or cured, treatment and management aimed at reducing the contributing factors and symptoms can slow its progression.

Symptoms and Types
Symptoms often occur gradually over an extended period.  Symptoms vary and may include some or all of those listed below:
  • Anorexia
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Weight loss
  • Increased thirst
  • Acute blindness
  • Seizures and comas
  • Blood in the urine (hematuria)
  • An increase in frequency and amount of urination
Causes
Causes of kidney failure can include kidney disease, urinary blockage (obstruction of the urinary tract or of the ureters), ingestion of certain human prescription medications (such as NSAIDS, for example, Advil and Aleve), infection, lymphoma, diabetes mellitus, and genetic (hereditary) factors.

Diagnosis and Treatment
Pet parents need to watch for subtle signs; early diagnosis is the key. Cats tend to hide their symptoms for as long as possible, until their bodies can no longer compensate.  Veterinary science has worked to find solutions for spotting and managing chronic kidney disease earlier and with more efficiency. With early diagnosis and thorough, ongoing care, veterinarians can create quality of life and add to the pet’s lifespan.

The answer is in what is called “SDMA Testing” and is a real breakthrough in veterinary medicine.  Research shows that with SDMA testing, chronic kidney disease can be found an average of 9 months earlier in dogs and 17 months earlier in cats creating the maximum opportunity for early treatment and management.

Until now, chronic kidney disease has routinely been diagnosed by measuring blood creatinine. However, creatinine does not detect a problem until a cat or dog has lost up to 75% of their kidney function, which can be too late to manage the disease simply. Pets experiencing chronic kidney disease may require lifelong management, including regular veterinary visits, special diets, medications administered daily and even, potentially, subcutaneous injections. For these reasons and, probably most importantly, the overall health and well-being of your beloved pal, spotting kidney disease in its earliest stages can save you money, time and effort while ensuring your pet a better, longer life.

There’s much more to learn about chronic kidney disease if you want to protect your cat, and having this knowledge is the first step in the fight against a disease that claims too many lives. Ask your veterinarian what you can be doing to keep your cat healthier, happier and in your life for longer.
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