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 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.

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.   


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.


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!!!


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.


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!