Wednesday, March 4, 2015

PET HEALTH TIP #31- Diabetes mellitus- Cats

Diabetes mellitus affects approximately 1 in 400 cats.  Obesity is the number one contributing factor to feline diabetes.  However, not all cats that develop diabetes will be overweight.  Early symptoms of diabetes include: increased appetite, increased urination, increased drinking, and unexplained weight loss.  Advanced symptoms include: loss of appetite, vomiting, ketone breath (sweet odor), and diabetic coma.

Diagnosis of feline diabetes mellitus is based on symptoms, elevated blood sugar levels, and glucose in the urine.  When the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin or the cells fail to respond to insulin, the body cannot properly handle blood sugar.  This leads to elevated glucose in the blood, which spills over into the urine.  The inability to properly use blood glucose can lead to an increased level of ketones.  Ketoacidosis is a life-threatening condition caused by elevated ketones in the blood.

There are three types of diabetes mellitus in cats.  Type I diabetic cats are insulin dependent, meaning their pancreas is not producing enough insulin.  These cats will need to receive regular insulin injections.  In cats with type II diabetes, the cat’s pancreas may make enough insulin but the cat’s body does not use it properly.  This is the most common type of feline diabetes.  Often, these cats will respond to oral medications and dietary restrictions.

Some cats are Type II, but initially need insulin injections.  However, eventually, their system re-regulates and they can go off insulin.  These cats will still require a special diet.

Treating diabetic cats can be an expensive and frustrating endeavor.  The best treatment is prevention.  By maintaining your cat at a healthy body weight, you will significantly reduce the chances of her developing diabetes.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

PET HEALTH TIP #30- Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is an issue that primarily affects cats.  The thyroid gland becomes hyperactive and gives off too much thyroid hormone.  Hyperthyroidism in cats often goes undiagnosed.  However, in severe cases, the most common symptom the owner sees is a cat who has a voracious appetite, but is losing weight.  Often times, they will have an unkempt hair coat.  They also have a very rapid heart rate.  Other possible symptoms include: increased urination, vomiting, restlessness, and diarrhea.

The thyroid gland sits in the throat.  A normal thyroid gland should not be big enough to feel.  However, an enlarged thyroid gland will be palpable.  It will feel like two small peas on either side of the trachea (wind pipe).

Treatment for hyperthyroidism includes daily medication.  However, as most cat owners know, pilling a cat can be a very difficult job.  Some cats will take the pills if they are hidden in food (i.e. hotdog, bread, cheese).  Another good way to pill a cat is to put it in the back of the throat and then squirt water into the cat’s mouth.  This accomplishes two things.  First, the cat will be forced to swallow; and second, the water will cause the pill to slide down the cat’s throat making it more comfortable for the cat.

Irradiation of the thyroid gland is another treatment option that is safe and is actually a cure.  There are special clinics that will irradiate the thyroid gland.  It is a completely painless process.  The cat usually stays in the hospital for a few days in order to eliminate any radioactive waste.  Then they can go home and resume a normal life.  This treatment is the ideal treatment for hyperthyroidism.  However, it is also the most expensive and there are not that many clinics that are licensed to do it.



Monday, February 16, 2015

The Rescue Team is on Sale $0.99! 2/18-2/25

BOOK DESCRIPTION:


Ellie is shocked and confused when her owners leave her at the animal shelter. Feeling abandoned and unloved, Ellie spends her days staring vacantly through the gate of her pen. Ellie’s life changes when she is finally adopted by a compassionate woman named Anne. Ellie and Anne form an unbreakable bond of love and friendship. A thunderstorm drives Toby, a young frightened kitten, to Anne’s porch. Anne and Ellie immediately welcome him into their family. One night, they hear an emergency broadcast announcement that a little girl is missing in the woods near their home. Anne, Ellie, and Toby join in the search to find her, and an incredible rescue team is formed. The team will be called upon again when a tornado tears through their town. Will they find any survivors?



BOOK REVIEWS:


5 Stars- "I recommend this wonderful little story strongly for anyone old enough to read. I give it 5 barks!"- Reviewed by Lee Ashford for Readers Favorite 


"The Rescue Team is a warm-hearted tale of friendship and dedication, highly recommended especially for young animal lovers."- The Midwest Book Review



"What I liked: This is a book that should be on every child's bookshelf. In it, a child can explore some tough and scary situations inside the safe medium of a story, and her parents can be certain the story tells her the right things. In these pages, a couple of abandoned animals find their way to Anne, whose heart is as big as the world. Sometimes things are hard, but this adoptive family learns to stick together, and their love truly saves the day. (And best of all, my son loves this story.)

What I didn't like: Not one thing.

In sum: Buy this for your kids - today. It's a must-have. And if you read my reviews, you know I almost never say that."- Critique de Book

PET HEALTH TIP #29- Hypothyroidism

Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Miniature Schnauzers are the breeds most commonly found to develop hypothyroidism.  The thyroid gland is found in the throat.  Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroid hormone.  Symptoms of hypothyroidism in dogs are similar to those seen in people.  The dog will have excessive weight gain.  The skin will be dry and flaky.  The hair becomes brittle and falls out easily.  There may be areas of hair loss (alopecia), especially on chest, neck, and body.  Often times the dog will also have a very low energy level.

Diagnosis is through a blood test that measures the level of thyroid hormone and function of the thyroid gland.


Treatment includes hormone replacement therapy.  Dogs do very well on thyroid medication.  The dose of medication needed varies, and your dog will need to have his thyroid levels checked regularly to ensure he is on the right dose of medication.  Once started on the medication, dogs will do very well and can lead long and happy lives.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

FRIENDS FOR LIFE is on SALE $0.99! 12/13-12/20

BOOK DESCRIPTION:


Bo and Rico are two puppies who meet at a pet store. The puppies are dognapped from the pet store by two goons. Realizing they are in danger, Bo and Rico must work together to escape the dognappers. After their escape, Bo and Rico find themselves scared and alone on the mean city streets. They are rescued by a streetwise stray named Tank. Tank takes the puppies under his wing and teaches them how to survive on the streets. Bo and Rico embark on several adventures including avoiding the local Animal Control officer, Jimmy; several run-ins with a pack of dogs led by a stray named Mongrel; and rescuing a beautiful lost Poodle named Pearl. Through it all, Bo and Rico form an incredible friendship that will last a lifetime.



BOOK REVIEWS:


"Tiner manages to breathe life into the book's four main characters...An entertaining read..."- Kirkus Reviews

5 star-"Friends for Life" is so much more than just your ordinary dog story...It is such a feel good tale that you will want to mark this as one that will be a classic..."Reviewed by Lorraine Carey for Readers Favorite 

"Friends for Life" is a strong pick for youth readers who enjoy a dog-driven tale."- The Midwest Book Review





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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

HEART OF A HERO is FREE!!! 2/13-2/17

BOOK DESCRIPTION:


Lady, an Irish Setter puppy, is leading a simple life on a farm in Ohio during the 1940’s. Lady’s biggest desire is to become an expert hunting dog like her mother. She has no idea that her life is going to take her down a path where she will find herself in the middle of incredibly dangerous situations, including a world war. On several occasions, Lady will have to find the courage to risk her life in order to save someone she loves. The loyalty and bravery that Lady shows throughout her lifetime illustrate what it truly means to have the heart of a hero.



BOOK REVIEWS:


"Heart of a Hero is a treasure for dog lovers."- Midwest Book Review
  

             
5 stars-"If you are looking for a good read for your child or teen, I highly recommend you grab "Heart of a Hero" by Billi J. Tiner for them. This is a truly awesome book for those who love dogs."-Joy H. for Readers Favorite



"VERY good book. I would highly recomend Heart of a Hero to ANYONE who wants to read it. Probably the best book I have ever read."- Amazon Reviewer




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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Pet Health Tip #28- Congestive Heart Failure

Blood flows into the right side of the heart.  The right ventricle then pumps the blood into the lungs where it picks up oxygen.  The blood then flows into the left side of the heart where it is pumped back out into the body.  As the blood flows into the different chambers of the heart, valves close behind it to ensure the blood continues to flow in the correct direction.  The sound that is heard when listening to the heart is the sound of the valves slamming shut.

If the valves do not operate properly, some of the blood will be pushed backwards.  If the valve fails that closes behind the blood flowing into the right side of the heart, then blood will back up into the liver and abdomen and cause “ascites”.  If the valve fails that closes behind the blood flowing into the left side of the heart, then blood will back up into the lungs.

Congenital heart disease can occur in any size dog.  Typically, the heart valves do not form properly, leading to failure to function properly.  The valves don’t seal the openings; and therefore, you can hear the blood leaking through the valve making a ‘whooshing’ sound.  This sound is referred to as a murmur.  Diagnoses of a heart murmur is made by using a stethoscope to listen to the heart.  Many dogs can live for years with a murmur without developing CHF.

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a very common disease in dogs.  CHF can occur in both large and small breed dogs although the underlying causes vary significantly.  In small breed dogs, the most common cause is chronic dental disease.  The bacteria in the mouth set up residence on the heart valves.  Eventually, the valve begins to thicken and function improperly, leading to CHF.  In large breed dogs, the most common underlying cause is due to the heart being over worked.  This leads to a thickening of the heart wall and the failure of the heart to properly pump the blood.  Additionally, severe heartworm infestations can lead to CHF in any size dog.

Symptoms of CHF depend on which side of the heart is affected.  Right sided CHF will lead to ascites.  If the blood is being backed up into the abdomen, then the belly will start to fill with fluid and become distended.  If the blood is being backed up into the liver, then you can start to see signs of liver failure (jaundice, vomiting, loss of appetite, etc.).

Left sided CHF will lead to blood being backed up into the lungs.  The dog will usually wheeze or cough.  The cough is often productive, meaning that they cough up fluid.

With both types of CHF, the dog will have a decrease in energy and possibly a loss of appetite.

Treatment of CHF also depends on the underlying cause.  It can include: medication to increase heart muscle contractions, diuretics to draw the extra fluid out of the lungs, liver, or abdomen, and a special diet.