Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pet Obesity: RIP Meows


With the recent passing of Meows, the 39 lb. cat, it has brought to the attention of the nation one of the largest health problems pets in the United States face, obesity. Have you heard about Meows? Meows was an approximately 2 year old, Domestic Shorthair cat, that had been relinquished to the Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Humane Society, by his 87 year old owner, in late April. Meows came to the shelter weighing in at an unheard of 39 lbs! An average Domestic Shorthair weighs in around 8-12 lbs. His extreme obesity sparked the interest of shows such as Today and Anderson 360. During his short time with the shelter, Meows was gradually losing weight. Unfortunately, Meow's moment of fame was cut short. Meow's passing was announced by the Humane Society's director, Mary Martin, via Facebook on Monday, stating that: "...respiratory distress that Meow was experiencing last week took his life." "...we were unable to stop the progression of what turned out to be pulmonary failure."
Meows at the Shelter
Sadly enough, though an extreme example, Meows is not alone in suffering from pet obesity. A steadily increasing number of the U.S. pet population is overweight. Overweight pets are at an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, joint problems and more! In fact, studies show that pets fed to maintain an ideal body condition score, live, on average, 1.8 years longer! 

Hillspet.com offers the following tips to help manage your pets weight:
  • Avoid feeding table scraps and snacks
  • Stick to the recommended daily feeding guide- it can be useful to weigh out the amount at the beginning of the day, to avoid accidental overfeeding
  • Divide the daily allowance into several meals for the most efficient weight loss
  • Keep your pet in another room when preparing or eating your own meals
  • If you have several pets, feed them separately
  • Don't leave any food lying around
  • Make sure you have enough of the recommended food for holidays, and if you're going away, give clear feeding instructions to the person looking after your pet
Check out www.hillspet.com/weight-management for helpful tools to help you keep track of your pets food intake and weight loss, calculate your pets body condition score, and more! As always, if you have any questions regarding your pet's weight, don't hesitate to call your Veterinarian to schedule a meeting! 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Re-cycle Recipe for Cotton

Start with one active young Boxer from the Boxer rescue.

Allow him several years of dog-dome, running and playing at will.

Mix in unfortunate genetics for degenerative myelopathy.

Once mixed, give Cotton less than a year to loose the ability to walk.

Add one donated doggie wheelchair from a generous client.

Retrofit the chair to Cotton’s specifications.

Sit back and enjoy watching Cotton’s new leash on the world J

P.S. Watch for Cotton on his daily walks!  Embrace his love for life.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Have We Seen Your Cat Lately?

Compared with dogs, pet cats don't get to see their vets as often, according to the American Association of Feline Practitioners and the American Animal Hospital Association. It is easy to understand why: cats are not always easy to find and then to get into their carriers, and they are often very stressed during the trip to the vet's office and during the visit itself. In addition, it may be mistakenly thought that cats are naturally healthier and more self-reliant than dogs and that, if something were wrong, signs would be noticed at home. Indoor-only cats may also be mistakenly thought to be at less risk of illness than cats who go outdoors, and therefore require less preventative care.

Unfortunately, cats are susceptible to a lot of health problems, regardless of their lifestyle, and, unlike dogs, they may hide signs of not feeling well until an illness as really progressed. Periodic physical examinations can help identify abnormalities before they turn into serious problems, sparing suffering and expense later. Cats' health can change fairly quickly, as well, so a clean bill of health this year does not necessarily mean next year's visit can be postponed.

At Animal Clinic at Equestrian Woods, we try to make the visit and exam as stress-free as possible. Getting cats used to both the carrier and traveling reduces the stress of getting here, so we can help keep feline family members healthy for a long, happy life.

Here are some tips to help cats get used to the carrier and travel to the vet:
  • Leave the carrier out at home with catnip or treats inside
  • Once he/she is comfortable in the carrier, take your cat with a favorite toy or treats on short rides in the car, gradually increasing distance as anxiety decreases. This shows that car rides don't always end at the vet clinic
  • Avoid feeding a couple of hours prior to travel
  • Minimize noise in the car-no loud music, no open windows, no sudden starts and stops. Sometimes a towel partially covering the carrier keeps carsickness at bay
  • Feliway, a synthetic feline facial pheromone, has a calming effect on cats when used in their carrier and the car about 30 minutes before travel
                                     Melissa Egan, DVM

Thursday, February 2, 2012

 Jennifer Carl-Howard, DVM
My teeth are fine!

   At the Animal Clinic at Equestrian Woods, the doctors and staff believe a healthy mouth is the most important avenue to a long and healthy life.  Did you know up to 80% of all pets have tartar and plaque on their teeth?  Many have broken, loose or abscessed teeth they never told you about! 
mmmm... worse than we thought

“But, my groomer brushes my dog’s teeth when they are in for a bath.”

 This is as ineffective as you brushing once a month!  Knowing my own morning breath is strong after only twelve hours, I cannot imagine waiting a month between brushings.  To be effective, daily brushing is required to prevent plaque and tartar.

teeth no one sees

                                                                                                                   “But my pet had his/her teeth cleaned a year ago.”     
 Plaque began to build on the teeth within 30 minutes of the last cleaning!  Plaque, when left on the teeth, turns to tartar in short order.  Tartar is like concrete, teaming with bacteria and food debris on the teeth.  No amount of brushing will remove tartar. 

“But, the anesthesia is dangerous, especially when they are older.”
 The risk of anesthetic reaction is very low with the new drugs available. At the Animal Clinic at Equestrian Woods, each anesthesia procedure is monitored start to finish by a technician.  A doctor is present throughout the entire procedure to assess possible oral disease.  Our patients are awake very quickly, usually within five minutes. 

diseased tooth which was extracted

 “But, my pet is not showing pain.  They are eating just fine.”

normal lower molar

 Our four legged friends are pre- programmed to hide illness.  This is a survival technique.  Animals with broken, abscessed, or cavity riddled teeth rarely show overt pain and rarely stop eating. 
 They live with the chronic pain and infection, which shortens their life. 

February is National Pet Dental Month!  This is a perfect time to assess your pet’s mouth and breath.  Our technicians will provide FREE screenings of your pet’s mouth.  If your pet is deemed to be one of the 80% needing a cleaning, we will provide FREE pre-operative blood screening, a $60 value, for routine dental cleanings scheduled for February.   We would be happy to discuss ways to help maintain a healthy mouth in your pet.  Please call with any questions or to set a time for your oral health check.

 animalcliniceq.com    (859)  224-1418   Facebook.com/animalcliniceq

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


There are few times in the life of a pet owner when a most unique creature enters their world and proceeds to redefine the meaning of loving an animal.  Cats being the quirky critters they are, are all the more special when they are able to endear to them almost everyone who meets them. 

Cisco, and brother Poncho, entered my life sixteen years ago as young felines in need of a veterinarian .  It was a fleeting interlude of doctor and patient.  That is until by chance, they were reintroduced into my daily routine.  For their first twelve years, Cisco and Poncho ruled their country estate. Brothers standing together, fending all whom crossed their way.  Coyotes, hawks,  raccoons, opossums, stray dogs, wandering cats, nearby road traffic.  They shared their outdoor world mostly unscathed.  That is until their farm was sold and they were abandoned to fend for themselves.  The temporary solution was to take them into my home until we moved to the farm.  So quickly did they adapt to indoor life, with only a few grumbles regarding the lack of fresh rabbit or mice on the menu,  the brothers gained a lasting foothold on my heart. 

Cisco and his genuine love of people quickly made him a favorite of everyone in the clinic.  Official greeter, consoler, entertainer of children, and lap kitty.  He wore all hats with equal diligence.  With his snagged tooth smile, he regularly pushed into an exam room to seek a head scratch.   He often found the lap of a grieving person, suffering from the loss of a pet, and provide gentle and  patient reassurance.  Children were his favorite target, often seeking them as soon as they entered his domain. Always gentle and kind, we had no worries when Cisco was on the job.
We almost lost him two years ago to sepsis from a perforated bowel caused by cancer.  At fourteen, he endured bowel removal and chemotherapy.  Though not a good patient, he resumed his normal duties as though nothing had happened.  His treatment had weakened his body, but not his spirit.  Then, an unfortunate run in with someone’s feet left him with torn ligaments in his knee.  Many will remember him hobbling around in a full leg splint for three months, garnering all the empathy he could from anyone who would listen.  We still laugh to the image of him tap, tap, tapping down the hall with the splint no more bothersome than his daily bath.   He has endured broken teeth, mouth sores, thyroid disease, debilitating sinus infection, and allergies.  I have no doubt he used more than nine of his lives. This proved to be good fortune everyone who has encountered him these last few years.

Cisco’s final battle proved more than we could surmount.  As his friends surrounded him and tears fell to his coat, he raised his valiant head, gave a weak farewell and slipped away from us.  As I left the building, the most beautiful full moon was peaking the horizon. His body will return to his farm for burial, but Cisco’s spirit was, at this moment, rising with the full moon.  His presence in our lives embodied the sentiment of Maya Angelou, “…people will never forget how you made them feel.”   I have rarely been so moved by one small creature, and Cisco has branded my heart.  Be in peace my friend.
1995 to 2012

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Charlie's Story: Rally Competition

What a whirlwind couple of weeks!  Up before the roosters and bleary eyed for television interviews, then off to the Lexington Kennel Club dog show for my first ever obedience rally competition.  Sleep was becoming a precious commodity for a busy brown dog on the go.  Bill Bryant, Lee Cruse (who referred to me as a mutt), Stacy Ellisson ( my favorite ) and Kristi Runyon were welcoming and happy to have me and my new four legged friends on the set.  Bonnie was a master spokesperson, giving first rate interviews with each station.

Was it ever hot for the first three days of the competition!  This little brown dog absorbs all the sunlight.  Mom had to keep me iced down to prevent overheating.  My first two days I posted a perfect 100 score on the course!  By day three, I was wearing down and had a minor bobble, posting a 98.  But it was a sweep, winning all three days against the pure breeds.  This completed my novice title!  I am now officially Charlie Chip, RN ( Rally Novice ). 

Day four brought a tough decision.  I could continue to compete at the same level or move up into the advanced level, off leash.  Mom (with prodding from Dad ) decided to move me onward since my performance was stellar.  Boy was she nervous.  Advance adds harder maneuvers, jumping and is off leash. (boy could I have some fun with that! ) I’ll admit we needed work on some of the advance maneuvers and she drilled me hard that night!  “Team Charlie” showed up the next morning ( t-shirts in place ) to give emotional support.  Needless to say, I performed like a pro and posted a 96, thus earning the first rally advanced leg of my title.  Why would they doubt me?

I’m just glad to have the last few days to SLEEP!  I have been blessed to have great friends following me and my story.  I will continue onward toward my advanced, then an excellent rally title.  A huge accomplishment for this little All American dog!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

      I was adjusting to life without a cat better than I expected.  Mo and Tuff died early 2010 about 3 months apart.  It was very quiet in our house without our cats even though we have 3 dogs.  Then one day my husband decided that we needed the cutest little black kitten with no tail.  He was sweet for approximately 3 days then the teeth and claws became his weapons.  He would constantly stalk and attack our feet, toes and bare legs, climbing them whenever possible with screams following from our end.  Anytime we would hold him he would bite us quite hard for such a little guy.  Only Sophie, one of our chihuahuas, could play with him.  She loves him and protects him from the other dogs, but she can't provide the discipline that he needs from another cat.

So the dreaded day came where I had to take my own advice that I so frequently gave out at the clinic.
"What do I do with a kitten that is very play aggressive?" they say
"Get another cat of course, it will help them get the extra energy out" I say so non-chalantly to those clients.

     Upon our research of the surrounding shelters and our daughter's recent adoption of a shelter cat, we chose Woodford Humane Society.  They had a program called 60 cats in 60 days where the cats that had been at the shelter the longest were adopted out to approved homes with the adoption fee waived.  My daughter's cat is a really sweet girl that fit right in to her 2 cat, 1 puppy household.  We thought we'd give it a try.  My husband went in search of one we had seen online.  The shelter worker said unfortunately she would probably not be a good match with a kitten.  She recommended a 4 year old male named Doakes.  He had been at the shelter since April 2010.  He's a large, black cat with beautiful green eyes.  He called me and discussed the recommendation and we settled on him since he would be a better fit.

     When Doakes got to our home he smacked our cattle dog in her face 3 times and glared at her until she walked away.  He settled right in to life in our home in about an hour.  Our kitten was unsure of him the first night, but the next day they were big buddies.  It's still too soon to see if the kitten's attitude will be adjusted but our fingers are crossed.  I think Doakes is enjoying his new home.  He sleeps with us, along with Sophie who is not liking the company.  The cats are such opposite personalities that we have decided on the names - Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  I think by reading you know which is which.  Wish us luck.  I think we are going to need it.