Month: March 2017

Cats can suffer from high blood pressure

 

Most people do not realize that cats suffer from high blood pressure the same as humans. High blood pressure or hypertension is more common in older cats and often goes undetected.

Hypertension in cats can cause a multitude of health issues, such as organ damage to the eyes, heart, brain, and kidneys and even blindness.

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The good news is that your veterinarian can easily check your cat’s blood pressure with a cuff that is put on the cat’s hind leg or tail. It is a painless procedure.

If you have an older cat it may be a good idea to have your cat’s BP checked when you get your cat’s yearly wellness check. High BP can be treated and treatment can prevent serious health issues. Talk to your veterinarian about your cat’s blood pressure.

 www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170301105503.htm

Play laugh in Kea’s, a New Zealand parrot

Dogs do it, rats do it and chimps do it, why not birds? A new study has determined that the Kea, a New Zealand parrot has a “play laugh” that will get other Kea’s to play with them.

Researchers felt that the play laugh was infectious making other birds play with each other. If a bird heard the play laugh and had no one to play with, they would play by themselves. The researchers plan to study more about this aspect of the Kea’s behavior. What is interesting is that this is the first time a researcher has discovered play laughter in a bird. All other research showed it in mammals.

However, this should not be surprising, anyone who has owned multiple birds has seen them play together or at the same time but this is the first time a call or sound has been connected with the behavior

www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170320122838.htm

Chronic colitis in cats

Chronic colitis in cats has been an ongoing problem for cat owners and veterinarians alike. Cats who have it suffer from diarrhea that comes and goes. Often the bowel movements are soft, like a ‘cow pie’ and can have blood and/or mucus in it. The most common cause is a protozoan Tritrichomonas foetus which typically infects the large bowel.

The cats that are most affected are young, about one year of age, come from catteries, shelters or places where there are multiple cats. This infection is transmitted both by feces and orally. What makes this a difficult infection to treat is that it does not respond to most medications. The only medication that seems to work is ronidazole. However, the effectiveness of this drug is in question.

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For multiple cat households or multiple cat environments cleanliness is the best preventative measure that a cat owner can take. More research needs to be done and hopefully can resolve this issue in cats.

www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170320104032.htm

New genetic test for dogs can determine if they carry acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)

Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a genetic lung disorder that affects young dogs and leads to death. It is especially prevalent in Dalmatians.

The gene that has been linked with this syndrome is the anillin protein ANLN. Some dogs who had the gene defect also had only one kidney and some had hydrocephalus or water on the brain. It appears that this genetic issue may be related to those problems as well.

A dog can be a carrier of the gene and not show symptoms. If both parents are carriers, then it is more likely that the puppies will suffer from ARDS. Breeders will be able to test their dogs before breeding and hopefully drastically reduce the instances of ANLN in dogs.

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The genetic test will be available from MyDogDNA test (www.mydogdna.com).

This discovery may also help scientists understand respiratory diseases in humans benefiting both dogs and people.

 www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170314092756.htm

MRI’s help determine which dogs will fail assistance dog training

A unique study conducted by researcher Gregory Berns at Emory University found that functional MRI’s can help determine which dogs will successfully pass assistance dog training.

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The fMRI shows the researchers which dogs are likely to fail and why. Although all the dogs appeared calm and therefore prime candidates for training, the fMRI showed that some dogs had a higher level of activity in the amygdala which is the area of the brain that is associated with excitability. These dogs were more likely to fail assistance dog training.

The fMRI allowed the researchers to predict, with a success rate of 67%, up from 47% which dogs would not succeed in the training program.

This method of predicting which dog can succeed is not something the average dog trainer can use due to the cost. However, in the case of assistance dogs trained at Canine Companions for Independence in Santa Rosa, CA, it helps a great deal because the cost of training a dog ranges from $20,000 to $50,000 and as many as 70% of the dogs in the program fail.

The MRI is a painless way to analyze the dogs. They are taught how to remain still while getting the MRI so no drugs or restraints are used.

Hopefully in the future, the cost of testing the dogs will be within reach of dog trainers so that other types of service and working dogs be tested before they are trained.

www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170307100455.htm

Learn your dog’s body language

A Guest Blog by Kevin Davies

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Sometimes it is difficult to read your pup’s body language. Here are a few tips about how to read and understand your dog’s body language, as well as a few helpful hints on how to react to what your dog is telling you through their actions.

Start by watching and studying your dog. Go ahead and take your dog to a park, and see how other dogs are acting; pay attention to what they doing, and consider why they are doing what they do.

This takes time and practice, but the more time you invest in studying the body language of dogs, the more you and your dog will benefit from Rover’s communication techniques.

First we will look at body language that shows when your pup is stressed and is trying to calm down. Typically, when your dog is worried, they will shiver, whine or cry, and you may see the whites of their eyes.

Dogs sometimes deal with anxiety by licking their lips, walking slowly in circles, or panting. A good way to help calm your dog is by stroking them from their head to their rump, while speaking softly and reassuringly.

If your dog is being aggressive, they will bare their lips back and sometimes snarl or bark. They will also display “hackles,” that is, raised hair on their back between their shoulder blades and sometimes above their tail. Most of the time their ears will be pulled back and the whites of their eyes may will show.

Usually when a dog is aggressive, it is because they feel the need to protect someone or something, or they feel that another dog has provoked them. The best way to handle your dog when they are showing signs of aggression is to remove them from situation. However, it is a good idea to refrain from touching your dog since this might cause them to startle and snap at you.

The next type of common doggie body language is a display of confidence. When a dog feels, they may prance around with their head held high, their tail relaxed and raised, and a relaxed mouth with their lips gently falling over their teeth.

If a dog is fearful, their ears may be pulled back, the whites of their eyes will show, and their head will not be raised. Other body language that communicates fear is also a lowered head and body, and some dogs are known to hide behind your legs, under the bed, or under the table.

The final kind of body language is when your dog wants to play with another dog, or just simply wants to say “hi.” If your dog is initiating playtime with another dog, you will often see your dog paw the air (this is prominent in puppies) or perform a classic bow by lowering their head and bending their front paws. Sometimes a friendly swat or sniff is present as well.

Let your dog play with other dogs the way they want. However, if you feel that your dog is being overwhelmed or is overwhelming their playmate, feel free to intervene for a short “breather” or “time-out.”

Reading your dog’s body language is a process that is an interesting and beneficial experience for the both of you. Remember, the more you study your dog’s movements, the more you will understand and the easier it will be for you to communicate with your pup!

See More of Kevin’s articles at: https://petloverguy.com

Myoclonic epilepsy in dogs and Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy in humans share a common gene

Myoclonic epilepsy in dogs is very similar to juvenile myoclonic epilepsy in humans. Veterinarian researchers have identified a specific gene that is linked to this type of epilepsy.

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Myoclonic seizures are brief shock-like jerks of either a single muscle or a muscle group. In humans the person is typically awake and can think clearly.

In dogs the seizures usually occur by the time the dog is six months old and when they are resting. It appears that some of the seizures can be triggered by light.

The good news is that researchers have identified a gene that is connected to this form of seizure. The gene, DIRS1 is unique to this type of epilepsy and has not been linked to any neurological disorder before. The good news is that the DIRS1 gene is similar to those found in humans.

Researchers have developed a genetic test for dogs which will help veterinarians and breeders identify dogs who have this gene and enable them to modify breeding programs. It seems that  that the Rhodesian Ridgeback is especially susceptible to this form of epilepsy, but it has been found in many other breeds as well.

While more research is needed to further understand the connection between the gene and epilepsy, it is a breakthrough. Once the role of the gene is understood then researchers can develop a cure or treatment for this form of epilepsy.

Again, veterinarian research has the potential to help humans. Dogs are indeed our best friends.

www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170221110730.htm

 

Brominated flame retardants found in cats

This is a short article but important. A recent study found that indoor cats have a high level of brominated flame retardants in their blood as a result of inhaling the dust in homes. Previous studies found that cats who developed Feline Hyperthyroidism had high levels of flame retardants, but now researchers have found it in healthy cats as well.

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As the flame retardant materials age the particles that come from them become part of the dust in a home. What is especially important to be aware of is that other pets, humans, and especially small children also breathe in the dust.

The flame retardants make up part of furniture, electronics, and even various fabrics. So what can we do about it? I have found an air cleaner that can help reduce the dust in a home. I personally have used the Fresh Air Surround air purifier for years and find it helps keep my home allergy free. I picked that model because it kills germs as well, an added benefit, and does a great job of killing household odors, including litter box odor.

I strongly urge everyone to consider this air purifier. You can get more information from David Scharikin, at Finance2@ptd.net or call him at 570-325-2433. There are a number of models to choose from. And no, I do not make a commission for passing this information along. As a pet owner, dogs, cats and birds, and allergic to many indoor and outdoor irritants, it has made my life much better.

FMI: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170224092516.htm