Monday, March 29, 2010

Easter bunnies, ducks, and chicks......oh MY!!!

Easter is coming!!! Here comes Peter Cottontail!
I am not going to tell you that domestic bunnies don't make good pets. They do. They're intelligent, cute, and fun. But, lots of times folks who buy baby bunnies for their kids don't know what they are getting into. So,  they eventually decide that they don't want them. So, they either take them to shelters, or release them into the wild. Shelters are already under a strain, and domestic bunnies have zero chance of survival in the wild.....I don't even want to speculate what could happen to them, but it would be very ugly indeed.
Please think long and hard before you get your child any pet; a bunny, dog, cat, whatever. And don't even think of getting them a cute baby chick or baby duckling. That is just WRONG! But, if you do go for a bunny, read up on their feeding and care, and find one at your local shelter, NOT a pet store.
Make Mine Chocolate is a great website for info on pet bunnies. Check it out!!


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Heartworm Prevention....Protect your best friend all year round!

Heartworm Overview
Heartworm infections are very serious, and potentially fatal for dogs. Heartworms are a type of roundworm known as filarids. They live in the arteries, lungs, and heart of an infected animal. Many mammals such as dogs, cats, foxes, and even people can contract heartworms.
Heartworm infestation is spread by infected mosquitoes. When an infected mosquito bites a dog it deposits heartworm larvae under the skin. The larvae eat through the skin and connective tissue for up to two months before reaching the blood stream. Once in the blood, heartworms are transported to the arteries and lungs where they mature into adults. At six months of age, heartworms will begin producing offspring. Heartworms may live for up to seven years, with males reaching eight inches and female worms growing to twelve inches.
In reaction to the infestation, the organs heartworms inhabit become inflamed. Because this inflammation interferes with blood flow, the most common causes of death from a heartworm infestation are blood clots in the lungs or congestive heart failure.
Because heartworms are spread by mosquito bites, dogs with short hair are more susceptible to infection than those with longer hair. While heartworm infection is found throughout the United States, infection rates are highest (approximately 50%) in areas within 150 miles of the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts.
The only way for your dog to become infected with heartworms is through a mosquito bite. Dogs cannot be infected by eating or coming into contact with dog waste that contains the eggs of heartworms. An infected dog cannot spread heartworms to another dog.
Heartworms are a dangerous parasite and can permanently damage a dog’s health. Even once treated, the damage the worms cause may be permanent. Please—if you have not done so already—put your dog on a preventative medication!
Diagnosing Heartworm Infection
Your veterinarian may use both blood tests and physical tests to determine the severity of a heartworm infection.
Blood Tests
The following two blood tests are used to diagnose heartworm disease:
~Microfilaria Test
~Heartworm Antigen Test
The Microfilaria test detects pre-larval heartworms in the blood. When female heartworms produce microfilaria, they produce antigens that the heartworm antigen test detects. It may take up to seven months after the infection has occurred before either of these tests provides consistently accurate results.
Physical Tests
Diagnosing heartworm infection using a physical examination alone can be difficult to perform accurately. Mildly infected dogs may show no signs of infection. Therefore, your veterinarian will likely perform a blood test in addition to a physical examination.
Severely infected dogs may show signs of heart failure, fatigue, coughing, rapid heartbeat, enlarged liver, loss of appetite, fainting, or jaundice. Occasionally, heartworms may also be present in the eyes, abdominal cavity, and even the spinal cord.
Physical tests used to identify the extent of heartworm disease and to develop a prognosis include x-rays and ultrasounds performed on the heart and lungs.
Heartworm Treatment
Unless the infection is severe, heartworm disease can be successfully treated in dogs. Treatment involves injecting a drug called adulticide into the muscle tissue of the dog to kill the heartworms. Adulticide is the only FDA drug approved for the treatment of heartworms. Treatment presents some risk: the blood vessels may become filled with dead worms, which may block blood flow, causing death.
Severe cases of heartworm disease may be extremely difficult to treat, and one dose of adulticide may be insufficient to kill all adult heartworms. Six months after the adulticide treatment has been completed, your dog will need an antigen test to ensure that all heartworms have been killed. If the test is positive for the antigen, your dog will likely need another treatment.
It is very important that your dog not be allowed to exercise during treatment, as your dog’s entire pulmonary system will be under significant strain. So let your pooch take it easy with a gentle recovery period.
Heartworm Prevention
Heartworm disease is preventable. Dog owners need to take steps now and consult their veterinarian about how to best protect their pets from this dangerous disease. Heartworm prevention is safe, easy and inexpensive.
There are a variety of options for preventing heartworm infection in dogs,including daily and monthly tablets and chewables, monthly topicals and a six-month injectable product. All of these methods are extremely effective, and when administered properly on a timely schedule, heartworm infection can be completely prevented. These medications interrupt heartworm development before adult worms reach the lungs and cause disease.
It is your responsibility to faithfully maintain the prevention program you have selected in consultation with your veterinarian.
So please, give your best friend heartworm preventative all year round. It's the right thing to do!

(Information from the American Heartworm Society)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Waiting patiently for Dad

It's been a long week but Dad is coming home today!!! I sure hope he brings me something from favorite bones from Publix would be nice. But, I'll be happy just to see him and get my beautiful yellow fur all over his business suit. I am waiting patiently by the front door....where are you Dad?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Just me and my mom

Dad is off on business, so it is just me and my mom for a few days. The sun finally came out today and I have been very busy doing what I really enjoy and that is sleeping. I am following the sun around my backyard deck and generally having a great day today, thus far. Mom has promised a nice, long walk this afternoon, and I am waiting patiently for that to occur. Every now and then I get up and walk to to the front door to see if Dad is back, but alas, he is not. I leave a bit of dog snot on the side windows, so he will know that I have eagerly been awaiting his return. Mom is not so bad....she feeds me on time and has been pretty good about remembering to load up my Kong when she has her cocktail at 5 o'clock. Is it 5 o'clock yet?

Friday, March 12, 2010

My new friend, Lulu

Mom and Dad went to some friends house for dinner and actually took me! But WHOA!! A little white tornado of a dog lives there: Lulu. Lulu is a Maltese. She was quite the yipper but that doesn't bother me as much as she moves so very, very fast. She was sniffing my face then she was sniffing my, er, butt...back and forth, back and forth. So, when the going gets tough, this tough old girl just lays down and pretends to sleep. Of course, I got a couple of snarls in when the parents weren't looking and Lulu got just a little too close. But after a while, it was all good. The snacks came out and the missus got me my own water bowl. I'm not hard to please at all. Hope to see little Lulu again soon.