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.
***

This blog is brought to you by Diagnostic Imaging Systems.  Diagnostic Imaging Systems, Inc. (DIS) has been providing Quality Imaging products since 1983. The company combines industry knowledge with an understanding of the veterinary practice. For more information, go to Diagnostic Imaging Systems, Inc. website at: www.vetxray.com

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. These terms and conditions of use are subject to change at any time and without notice.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Five Steps to Help Fallout Pigs Flourish

In the nursery, consistency is critical. Pigs that fall behind the rest of the group can lag through future phases and may require additional days to finishing.
Becky Bierlein, a swine specialist for Purina Animal Nutrition, says fallout rates are a top performance indicator in a wean-to-finish facility.
“Many factors – including nutrition, feed budget, environment and even the pigs themselves – can impact fallout rates. To achieve the 0.5 percent or fewer standard, actively engage with pigs from day one.”

  1. Feed small pigs in a different way from the start: No matter the environment, some pigs will be smaller than the rest of the group at weaning. Bierlein encourages separating the bottom 10% and starting them off a bit differently from the main group.
“They need more attention when it comes to feed and environment,” Bierlein says.

  1. Watch for additional fallouts: After dividing the group by size, nursery management can help identify potential problems. Check each pig at least daily to ensure they are active, eating and drinking.
“It’s not enough to glance through your barn,” Bierlein says. “Look at each pig from snout to tail and spine to hoof each day. If a problem is noticed, a fast intervention can help remedy the problem. We need to make sure intervention is fast in order to successfully keep fallout rates below 0.5 percent.”
  1. Determine the cause: If high fallout rates are recorded, a facility evaluation may help determine an underlying issue.
“Foremost, make sure pigs have enough feed and water space,” Bierlein says. She recommends supplying at least one waterer for every 10 pigs and 1 inch of feeder space per pig for animals ranging from 40 to 50 pounds.
“Next, look at the environment to make sure what is happening in the pen is not negatively impacting the pig’s growth and development,” Bierlein advises. “Sometimes it’s just pen dynamics and all we need to do is allow that pig the opportunity to be in another pen.”

  1. Manage fallouts critically: Fallout pigs – whether separated at weaning or during the production process – should be given focused nutrition, hydration and care. Bierlein says this care should be similar to other nursery pigs but with greater vigilance.
“We recommend giving pigs gel, electrolytes and highly palatable starter feed during times of stress,” she says. “Mat-feeding gel, especially, provides both hydration and nutritional components, allowing for an easier transition back onto dry feed.”
  1. Re-introduce pigs to the general population: Once recovered, fallout pigs can begin the transition back to the general population.
“I like to see fallout pigs transitioned into a recovery pen before rejoining the rest of the pigs,” Bierlein says. “This allows the caretaker to observe the pigs and make sure they are transitioning okay away from the hospital pen.”

***

This blog is brought to you by Diagnostic Imaging Systems.  Diagnostic Imaging Systems, Inc. (DIS) has been providing Quality Imaging products since 1983. The company combines industry knowledge with an understanding of the veterinary practice. For more information, go to Diagnostic Imaging Systems, Inc. website at: www.vetxray.com

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. These terms and conditions of use are subject to change at any time and without notice.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Horse Jokes

And for all you Neigh Sayers...


To the veterinarians, ranchers, breeders, stable workers.  For all of you who spend countless hours caring for our equestrian friends...horse jokes from around the internet.... What would we do without the word "stable"?  You decide:  Groan or Grin?

Q: Why did the horse cross the road?
A: Because somebody shouted hay!

Q: What do you call a horse that can't lose a race?
A: Sherbet.

Q: How did the cowboy ride into town on Friday, stay for three days, and ride out on Friday?
A: His horse's name was Friday!

Q: Did you hear about the horse with the negative attitude?
A: She always said neigh.

 Q: What is the best type of story to tell a runaway horse?
 A: A tale of WHOA!

Q: What street do horses live on?
A: Mane St.

Q: When do vampires like horse racing?
A: When it's neck and neck.

 Q: What did the momma say to the foal?
 A: Its pasture your bedtime.

Q: What do race horses eat?
A: Fast Food.

Q: What did the waiter say to the horse?
A: I can't take your order. That's not my stable.

Q: What did one horse say to the other horse?
A: The pace is familiar but I can't remember the mane.

 Q: How do you make a small fortune in the horse industry?
 A: Start with a large fortune.

Q: What do you get if you cross a horse with a bee?
A: Neigh buzz.

Q: Where do horses get their hair done?
A: Maine.

Q: What do you call a well balanced horse?
A: Stable.

Q: What do you call a noisy horse?
A: A herd animal.

Q: How do you get a horse drunk?
A: Drink him under the stable.

Q: Why are most horses in shape?
A: Because they are on a stable diet.

 Q: What did the horse say when it fell?
 A: "I've fallen and I can't giddyup!"

Q: What did the teacher say when the horse walked into her class?
A: "Why the long face?"

Q: What is a young colt's favorite sport?
A: Stable Tennis.

Q: What did the mare tell her filly after dinner?
A: Clear the Stable.

 Q: Where do horses shop?
 A: Old Neigh-vy!

Q: Why did the anorexic start eating hay?
A: The doctor told her she needed to eat like a horse.

Q: How does a cowboy get a stallion to do odd jobs around the farm?
A: Pay him under the stable.

 Q: What kind of bread does a horse eat?
 A: Thoroughbred.

Q: How do you get a wild horse to accept a halter?
A: You turn the stables on him.

Q: A cowboy rode into town on Monday, spent six days and left on Friday.   How is this possible?
A:  Friday was the name of his horse.

There was this young filly whose owners decided to have her "fixed." The stallion next door was heartbroken, as he'd always wanted to mate with her. He pined for her constantly.
Moral of the Story?
"A pony spayed is a pony yearned."

A man in a movie theater notices what looks like a horse sitting next to him.
"Are you a horse?" asked the man, surprised.
"Yes."
"What are you doing at the movies?"
The horse replied, "Well, I liked the book."

A policeman in the big city stops a man in a car with a miniature horse in the front seat.
"What are you doing with that horse?" He exclaimed, "You should take it to the farm."
The following week, the same policeman sees the same man with the horse again in the front seat, with both of them wearing sunglasses. The policeman pulls him over.
"I thought you were going to take that horse to the farm!"
The man replied, "I did. We had such a good time...we are going to the beach this weekend!"


***

This blog is brought to you by Diagnostic Imaging Systems.  Diagnostic Imaging Systems, Inc. (DIS) has been providing Quality Imaging products since 1983. The company combines industry knowledge with an understanding of the veterinary practice. For more information, go to Diagnostic Imaging Systems, Inc. website at: www.vetxray.com

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. These terms and conditions of use are subject to change at any time and without notice.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Is Your Dog Stressed?

As a rule, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out your dog's emotions.   From the "I didn't mean to do it" look that suggests trouble to the "dance of delight" when you come home from work; your dog lets you know how it's feeling.  But can you read the signs of your dog's anxiety? 

Just like humans, different breeds exhibit in different ways.  A more aggressive breed may take out their troubles on you or your home.  Shy breeds may turn their stress inward,  and make themselves sick.  We did some research and came up with a few ways your pooch pal might demonstrate their stress--and how you can help.

Accidents
These are one of the most easy-to-recognize signs of a problem.  Dogs who experience separation anxiety, but have otherwise been house-trained, may backslide in their training. A safe and secure area: crate, small room, etc., may help your dog feel more secure.

Pinned-back ears
Different dogs, different types of ears.  Whether they stand up, drop down or combine the two, dogs will pull their ears back and low when stressed.  Pinned-back ears--something's not right.

Panting
With no way to sweat, dogs generally pant to cool themselves down. If your dog is panting for no apparent reason, possibly with pinned-back ears, she may be stressing.   Be careful if the dog suddenly stops panting and closes his mouth; she may be so anxious she's read to bite.

Shedding
Almost every dog sheds a bit.  But if you notice hair everywhere or bald spots appearing on your pet, it may be a sign of stress.  FYI--vets report a high level of shedding in their exam rooms.  Just like humans, dogs can find a visit to the doctor a daunting experience. 

Yawning
Again, just like we yawn when nervous, so does your dog.  Generally, it's a way to take in additional oxygen that the body craves during anxious situations.  The stress yawn is usually in conjunction with other behaviors such as avoidance or pinned ears.

Avoidance
New surroundings, strangers, an additional animal in the home--there are a host of reasons for your dog to demonstrate avoidance. A tucked tail, turning away, heading out of the room are all signs of discomfort.   Respect the fact that he'd rather leave the room than escalate to aggression, but try to determine the cause of his concern. 

Destructive behaviors
Dogs may try to ease tension by chewing or biting furniture, you or themselves!   This commonly occurs when your pal is left alone or when threatened in the presence of other dogs.

 Illness
Is your dog's illness actually a result of stress?  Loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, skin problems or allergies can all be signs of stress. If you and your vet can find no obvious cause, anxiety may be the problem. 

 Barking
All that noise driving you nuts?   Inside or out, excessive barking can be a sign of tension. Is it separation anxiety?  A stranger at the door? 

How to help your dog
Just like our children, our dogs appreciate routine.   Regular feeding times, walking the same route, and a safe corner to call their own will provide a less stressful environment. 

Develop rules:  Dogs experience less stress when they know what you want. Set your house rules and be firm, yet gentle about them.  Be consistent--your dog wants to please you, but cannot possibly succeed if the rules keep changing.

Avoid stressful situations: If you know, for example, that your dog doesn't like mail delivery, place him in a different part of the house when the postman comes by.  If your dog doesn't like to be left on his own, crate confinement may provide some comfort.   

Exercise frequently: It's a great tension-reliever for your dog.  Keep it fun and mix it up--repetitive games such as fetch can actually cause stress in some dogs.

Togetherness: Folding laundry?  Washing the car?  Bring your furry friend with you. She wants your company.   

Set clear boundaries.  Recognize the signs of your furry friend's stress.  You and your dog will enjoy the benefits of a less tense life.
***

This blog is brought to you by Diagnostic Imaging Systems.  Diagnostic Imaging Systems, Inc. (DIS) has been providing Quality Imaging products since 1983. The company combines industry knowledge with an understanding of the veterinary practice. For more information, go to Diagnostic Imaging Systems, Inc. website at: www.vetxray.com

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. These terms and conditions of use are subject to change at any time and without notice.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

October is Adopt-A-Dog Month

There are a million reasons to adopt a dog during the American Humane Association’s yearly “Adopt-a-Dog Month®” this month.  3-4 million is a more accurate number–that’s how many sheltered animals are euthanized yearly because they never find someone to provide a safe and happy home.
If you’re thinking about making a dog a part of your family, consider adopting from your local shelter or rescue organization.   Dogs are amazing creatures who can make a huge difference in your world–a best friend, your therapy partner, an exercise pal, even an ear to listen to your worries (though you shouldn’t expect much advice!).   Adoption will save a dog’s life and more than likely improve your life.
Your local rescue organization or shelter offers dogs to meet your particular needs.  You can search by type, age, special needs and personality.  Better still, visit a local shelter and you just might be surprised by the animal that you connect with.  If you prefer a particular breed that isn’t available at a shelter, go online to find a genuine breed-specific rescue group in need of adopters like you.
Find out what a shelter or rescue dog can bring to your life this October during Adopt-A-Dog Month. Here are some resources to get you started:
  • Shelters & Rescue Groups–check local organizations and stores that offer adoption days. Here are some of the national ones:
-ASPCA
-American Humane Association
-Petfinder.com
-Petco & Petsmart

Here are a few ways the AHA suggests you celebrate Adopt-A-Dog Month:

  • Adopt from a shelter or rescue group
Talk with shelter staff to find the perfect dog for you, your family  and your lifestyle. Remember… older dogs make excellent pets, too.

  • Spay or neuter your dog
Prevent the possibility of unexpected, and potentially unwanted, puppies. Spayed and neutered animals have been shown to lead longer, healthier lives and have fewer behavioral problems than animals who have not been spayed or neutered.  Many organizations offer reduced rate or free services for rescued dogs.
  • ID your pet
A tag, a microchip or both, will reduce the possibility of your pal becoming one of the presumably “homeless” dogs that end up at your local shelter. Here’s a sad statistic–only 15-20 percent of dogs who enter a shelter are reunited with their owners. Make sure your dog is one of the fortunate few.
  • Support your local shelter
Donate time, money or supplies like pet food, leashes, beds and toys. Call the shelter to see what’s needed.   One toy or a clean towel can make a difference.
“If you haven’t yet experienced that remarkable power of the human-animal bond, American Humane Association encourages you to consider adopting a dog and finding out just how life-changing it can be,” says Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane Association. “With so many dogs in shelters all across our country available for adoption — and many of them never finding a safe, loving, forever home — adopting a dog will make you a hero, too.”
Source:  American Humane Association
***

This blog is brought to you by Diagnostic Imaging Systems.  Diagnostic Imaging Systems, Inc. (DIS) has been providing Quality Imaging products since 1983. The company combines industry knowledge with an understanding of the veterinary practice. For more information, go to Diagnostic Imaging Systems, Inc. website at: www.vetxray.com

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. These terms and conditions of use are subject to change at any time and without notice.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Why do cats eat grass?

The reason why cats sometimes eat grass (and other plants) is not completely understood. There are several probable theories as to why they do:  

For the nutrients
Cats are carnivorous,  they need to consume meat to live. When cats hunt, they consume almost all parts of their prey including the stomach and its contents. This may include small amounts of plant matter and their nutrients. Your pet cat probably doesn't hunt and therefore won't get to ingest those small amounts of plant material obtained from prey.  They may try to obtain these vitamins/minerals by eating grass if there is a nutritional imbalance in the diet.
To help them vomit
We all know what happens after our cats consume grass, they come back inside and vomit all over our favorite bed or rug.  Spiteful?  Maybe.  It is believed that grass acts as an irritant to the stomach, and cats don't have the ability to digest grass in the way herbivores do. This makes sense from an evolutionary point of view because when hunting, cats eat their entire prey.  Vomiting helps rid the digestive tract of unwanted feathers, bones, etc.
To bring up hairballs
Adding to the vomiting theory, it is speculated that another reason cats consume grass is to assist with the passage of hairballs. When cats groom themselves, they inevitably ingest fur which can build up in the stomach. Eating grass can help with the passage of hairballs either from regurgitating or as a laxative.

Because they can
They may simply enjoy the taste of grass. Cat-loving friends tell us that their own feline friends enjoy a variety of greenery--cucumber and broccoli are just two.  Now if we could just get them to eat their spinach!

What kind of grass
If you want to grow a tub of grass inside for your cat to nibble on, common types include:

·         Wheatgrass
·         Barley
·         Common oat

Is there a difference between cat grass and catnip?
Yes, catnip is a member of the mint family. They are completely unrelated. Catnip can also induce a "buzz" in some cats; cat grass doesn't have this effect on cats.
Cat grass and catnip are perfectly safe for your cat to eat.  However, mind there are a large number of plants that are toxic to cats. It is recommended you don't have indoor house plants that are poisonous as they can in some cases lead to death.   The ASPCA includes the following plants on their toxicity list:
·         Aloe Vera
·         Asian Lily
·         Asparagus Fern
·         Begonia
·         Baby's Breath
·         Calla Lily
·         Corn Plant
·         Cycads (Sago Palm, Fern Palm
·         Daffodil
·         Geranium
·         Jade Plant
·         Pencil Cactus
·         Ribbon Plant (Corn Plant, Cornstalk Plant, Dracaena, Dragon Tree)
·         Tulip


Safety precautions
Note that grass grown outdoors may have been sprayed with chemicals such as weed killers or fertilizers that can be toxic to cats.  If you have an outdoor cat, take care if your cat has a tendency to nibble on the greenery.
***

This blog is brought to you by Diagnostic Imaging Systems.  Diagnostic Imaging Systems, Inc. (DIS) has been providing Quality Imaging products since 1983. The company combines industry knowledge with an understanding of the veterinary practice. For more information, go to Diagnostic Imaging Systems, Inc. website at: www.vetxray.com

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. These terms and conditions of use are subject to change at any time and without notice.