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
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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.
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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.


Friday, September 9, 2016

Zoo Vets: Doing It All

Today, you might treat a tiny frog.  Tomorrow it might be a herd of rhinoceros.  Zoo veterinarians are the epitome of medical jacks-of-all-trades.  Mammal, fish, reptile or bird, they do it all.
These providers of comprehensive animal care must know how to recognize different digestive, vascular, and reproductive systems; infectious and chronic illnesses; pharmacological needs; and animal behaviors in order to develop courses of care.

MEDICATIONS: Administering drugs isn’t simple as picking up a prescription at the local drugstore. Zoo vets have to cobble together drug dosages, because pharmaceutical companies don’t publish formulations for every species. A published dosage for a dog would probably work for a wolf;  or that antibiotics effective on lizards might work for snakes. But what about a d Gila monster?

SPECIALTY EQUIPMENT: Zoo veterinarians excel in creativity, accommodate everything from pygmy marmosets to California condors. They’ve turned urinary catheters into endotracheal tubes. Anesthesia masks have been made from pop bottles and construction cones.

ANESTHESIA: As with humans, sedating animals and performing surgery are last resorts. That’s why zookeepers train animals to demonstrate behaviors that make it easier to draw blood, administer shots, and conduct exams.

BIRTH DAYS: It’s exciting when babies are born – or hatched. Newborn antelopes and other herd animals are often checked and tagged 48 hours after birth. Although recognizing newborns may seem simple, herd animals often deliver at the same time of year, and the babies look strikingly similar. Vets check the mother’s lactation and the baby’s suckle response and hydration. During difficult labors, vets may manually assist with breech births or perform C-sections.

Vets monitor hormone levels or perform ultrasounds for some expectant mothers. Often, animals are trained to allow vets or a veterinary ultrasonographer to apply a jelly-like substance to their bellies for the test to check the fetus’s health and estimate due dates
Using methods similar to humans, Zoo populations often are managed to limit or facilitate pregnancies. Many animals are on birth control so the population doesn’t get out of control or inbreeding doesn’t occur. In cases where there is a need to increase the population or genetic diversity of a species vets may use assisted reproduction.

ADVANCED DIAGNOSTICS: Zoo vet teams routinely test blood or tissue samples, taking advantage of more than a dozen pathology labs, each one specializing in a certain species or test. When an animal passes away; vets perform necropsies to determine the cause of death so that information can contribute to the body of knowledge among scientists and zoo professionals. When possible, tissue and bones are donated for educational purposes.

In the wild, many animals don’t exhibit obvious signs of illness because other members of its group may perceive it as weakness or because the animal may become easy prey. Diagnosing challenging cases may require the services of onsite or offsite computed-tomography (CT) or magnetic-resonance imaging (MRI) facilities.

Outside medical specialists allow the hospital team to extend their resources. Many zoos routinely works with specialists on cases requiring ophthalmic or dental surgery, CT or MRI scans, pathology results, and hoof trims. The depth of knowledge of a zoo's veterinary team, combined with the expertise of several specialists, will help provide even better care.

So the next time you visit your local zoo and the giraffe sneezes, you can trust that the zoo veterinarian team knows what to do!
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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.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

September 23: National Dogs in Politics Day

Think about it…what qualities would you like to see in your politicians?  Honesty?  Plays well with others?  Dedication?  Lots of energy? Don’t we wish that our politicians displayed the best traits of our dogs?   Dog don’t lie (well, maybe about that accident on the rug).  You know right away if they like you.   They generally are polite to other dogs and people (Congress would do well to mimic); and when they work, they work hard.
Perhaps the two things dogs have in common with politicians are greed and a tendency to sit and yip about nothing.  Dogs are ethical–you don’t bite the person who feeds you, you don’t tear up the house (puppies aside), you don’t let the “bad guys” in; not even for a treat.   They do make positive contributions to political situations, however. President Truman once said that if you wanted a friend in Washington you should get a dog.
So what do you think?  Let’s allow politics to “go to the dogs” on September 23.  We might be surprised at how well they do!!
Fun Facts About First Dogs
Presidential dogs have often endeared themselves to the electorate.  In honor of Dogs in Politics Day, here are a few facts about first dogs:
George Washington’s Foxhounds
The first President had 36 dogs.  George Washington’s favorite breeds were hounds used extensively for fox hunting.  The Father of Our Country is also considered the Father of the American Foxhound.  Washington bred his hounds with the French variety, creating a new breed that survives into today.
James Buchanan’s Newfoundland
Ever wonder why  our 15th president remained a bachelor?  Perhaps it was because of Lara the Newfy, who weighed in at close to 170 pounds.  Lara is reported to be the heaviest dog to occupy the White House.
FDR’s Scotty
Who hasn’t heard about the Scottish Terrier who set the standard for First Dog?  A famously funny story: Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency was being criticized heavily; and the criticism spread to the family.  No response from FDR until Fala was attacked.  To quote The Fala Speech…
“I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself – such as that old, worm-eaten chestnut that I have represented myself as indispensable. But I think I have a right to resent, to object to libelous statements about my dog.”
The only dog to have a statue in a national monument is Fala, FDR’s Scottish Terrier. The statue of Fala is a fixture in the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial.
George W. Bush  & the Internet Stars
Barney and Miss Beazley, First dogs of George W. Bush, were the first presidential dogs to have their own website.
The First Fido–Thank You Mr. Lincoln
We all know at least one dog named Fido. Why is it so common?   Fido has a Latin base meaning “I trust” or faithful one.  The president who came up with that name for his dog was none other than Abraham Lincoln. If it was good enough for Lincoln, it’s good enough for us.

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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.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Vitamin E and Your Horse

Veterinarians will often suggest vitamin E supplements for horses with no access to pasture.  There are many forms on the market; we'd like to provide some guidance to choosing the right one.

Like A, D and K, vitamin E falls into the category of fat-soluble vitamins. These four vitamins require fat for them to be absorbed from the digestive tract, and are stored in the liver and fatty tissues.

Similar to vitamin A, the body does not make any vitamin E; all of it has to come from the diet. Vitamin E is expressed in terms of "activity,” and the NRC or National Research Council recommends 1 International Unit (IU) of vitamin E per kilogram of horse bodyweight. So a 450 kg horse (1000 pounds) would need at least 450 IUs/day of vitamin E. The upper safe diet is considered to be 1,000 IU/kg dry matter (that’s 9100 IU/day for a 1000 lb horse).  Thankfully, vitamin E does not appear to be toxic to horses even at relatively high consumption.

How Much Vitamin E Does a Horse Need?  

Every horse needs vitamin E.  It works closely with selenium to protect cells from excess free radicals or oxidative stress.  According to holistichorse.com:

The amount depends on several factors. The more the horse is exercised, the more vitamin E is needed due to more free radicals being produced; hence more vitamin E is used up to protect cell membranes. 

To survive: 1000-2000 units (IU) a day 
Engaging in regular exercise: 5000 units a day 
Neurological problems like EPM, EDM, and EMND, PSSM: 10,000 units a day 
Broodmares: 5000 units a day 
Older (20+) or Cushing’s horses: 5000 units a day


Found in high amounts in fresh pasture, levels of vitamin E begin to deteriorate the moment forage is cut for hay. Therefore, horses that do not have access to grass or a full serving of fortified grain should receive vitamin E supplementation.

Beyond the Basics

Natural or Synthetic?  Which is best?  When purchasing, 

natural vitamin E appears as d-alpha tocopherol,
synthetic vitamin E appears as dl-alpha tocopherol. 

Although synthetic vitamin E is absorbed by the horse, natural vitamin E has been shown to be more biologically active. It takes a smaller amount of d-alpha tocopherol (natural) to achieve the same activity in the body as dl-alpha tocopherol (synthetic). It's your choice: smaller amounts of the more expensive natural version or larger amounts of the less expensive synthetic version.

You might want to ask your veterinarian to draw a baseline blood sample before you start your horse on a vitamin E supplement and then measure serum alpha tocopherol again about two weeks later, Alpha tocopherol is a fairly fragile compound; your vet will take special care to protect the samples for the lab's analysis.   Things like the wrong type of tube, exposing the sample to light, letting it get too warm, or repeated freeze/thaw cycles can all damage vitamin E in blood samples.

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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.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Alternative Therapies for Horses

This is the first of a multi-part series discussing management plans for your horse

Acupuncture, chiropractic, and equine massage therapy can be valuable parts of your horse's management plan when used appropriately and performed by a qualified practitioner.  The key is knowing when to use these modalities, and who to call for help.
Part I of this series outline key steps that'll help you make the most of alternative therapies in your horse's care plan. Future installments will include basic information on acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage; what they are, when to use them, and how to choose a qualified practitioner.
  • Diagnosis
More often than not, if your horse has a musculoskeletal problem, you should begin with your veterinarian, who can do a lameness work-up to determine a specific diagnosis.
Why? Because many injuries are best identified and managed using conventional medical treatments. Should alternative therapy be avoided in these cases? The simple answer is no; ATs can be extremely helpful not only in pain management but in the healing process.  Just be sure to begin with an accurate diagnosis.
  • Do the Research
Choose your practitioner carefully. A properly trained acupuncturist, chiropractor, or body worker should always refer you to your veterinarian when  appropriate, and never perform services until an underlying problem is diagnosed and treated. Opt for a certified practitioner.
Ask the chosen therapist about his or her education and training.  Be especially cautious of someone who suggests prescription meds without first consulting your vet.  This can often be a red flag that the therapist is unclear about (1) the boundaries between him/her and the vet, (2) the exact nature of the injury, and (3) involvement in the horse's ongoing care.
  • Connect Your Vet
Your veterinarian should remain an important part of your horse's management plan in addition to alternative therapies that are outside his or her direct expertise. Bonus:  Your vet can probably direct you to the most competent and likely candidates to help your horse.
Identical to human care management, working as a team is likely to produce the best results.
  • Medical History
With the correct therapy and practitioner selected, it's important that you be prepared for your appointment.   The therapist is likely to request a medical history that includes any chronic ailments or recent injuries, any currently prescribed meds, as well as unlimited contact with your vet.  Plan for an extensive exam and to decide on a treatment plan appropriate to the horse's condition.
  • Be Honest and Open
If your acupuncturist, chiropractor, or massage therapist asks you about the type of work your horse does, or about any known medical problems, it's important to be accurate with your answers. Not only will it help your therapist devise the best treatment plan, it'll also let him or her know whether current treatments are being effective.
  • Be Realistic

If you're looking for a miracle cure, you'll need to look elsewhere. Medications can't completely cure every disease, and alternative therapy can't fix every problem.
But if you follow all the steps outlined above, are open-minded and have realistic expectations, alternative therapies can make a valuable contribution to your horse's general well-being.
Next Month:  Acupuncture

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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, August 11, 2016

How To Start A Goat Farm

Be sure to check with your local authorities to make sure goats are legally acceptable in your community.   Goats don’t like wet and damp; they prefer a dry pasture with a good barn or shelter. Remember that goats are extremely social; so plan for at least two.  A goat left on its own may noisily call for a friend and become a four-legged vehicle of destruction.
Check and double-check your budget.  Goats eat lots and continuously throughout the day. Plan to invest a significant portion of your budget into feeding and veterinary care. Every bit of food eaten affects the flavor of the milk you harvest and the cheese you make.  Opt for clean foods and healthy pasture vegetation.
Goats have a somewhat delicate constitution that requires regular veterinary care and monitoring. Goats can get sick easily and die quickly. Their curiosity makes them susceptible to accidents; they need to be closely monitored.  Milk dairy goats on, at least, a daily basis to prevent painful infections. If you plan to leave the farm for any amount of time, hire a knowledgeable farm sitter to take care of the animals.
What is a goat’s environment?
Goats graze grass, just like cattle and sheep.  The difference is that they can live off of thinner grass cover than other animals of similar size. Ever seen wild goats on your favorite animal show?  They live in hilly terrain, similar to the craggy highlands their ancestors once roamed. Feral goats also occupy pine meadows and tropical and temperate forests.
Domestic goats may also be kept in areas without any vegetation, as long as they are cared for daily by humans. They can survive on dry roughage, such as hay, for long periods of time.
What are the top-selling farm goats?
Some good examples of top-selling farm milk goats are Alpine, Nubian, Kinder  and Toggenberg to name just a few.  Breeds such as Angora, Nigora and Pygora are popular for their fleece and used for producing cashmere and mohair.
Goats are kept by farmers, both commercial and hobbyist, for  milk, fleece and meat. Many cultures around the world include goat meat as a staple of their diets;  but, as of 2016, there is little demand in the US.  Nigerian Dwarf goats are one popular breed that have traditionally been bred for both meat and dairy, but they have also become popular as pets due to their small size and simple maintenance.

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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.