February 23, 2015
In today’s veterinary blog, our Q & A reveals some of the reasons why cats are out and about – and squalling late at night.
Question: Have you ever had a blissful night's rest disturbed with the screeching, calling and crying of your cat alongside other cats right on your back porch?
We asked Dr. Hazel Carney, Cat Behaviorist and Clinician, why cats often squall and cause such a ruckus in the wee hours of the morning.
Answer: One reason cats are drawn to one another during the night is estrus—or feline fertility. Cats call to one another as part of the mating ritual.
Also, believe it or not, this late night activity may become a learned behavior with owner-rewarded incentives. If a squalling cat gets an owner out of bed for an invitation inside, a midnight snack, and some TLC, this could become a very tiring (and oft-repeated) routine.
There are some medical causes for the behavior. Senior cats that experience decreased vision or hearing could be seeking owner reassurance. Cats with health issues such as hyperthyroidism, hypertension, hypokalemia, thiamine deficiency or intracranial masses may vocalize at night. A complete veterinary examination including ophthalmic evaluation, blood pressure testing and basic laboratory testing will successfully diagnose most medical causes. Upon occasion, cats may require advanced procedures such as an MRI.
A few simple things that bleary-eyed owners can try to quiet kitties at night include keeping cats indoors, utilize in a restful bedroom, and add a nightlight and some calming scents such as lavender.
If you’ve got additional questions about your cat’s quirky behavior, Dr. Carney is here to help. She can help with cat litter box aversion, introducing a new cat to your family, negative or anti-social behaviors, and your cat’s physical wellbeing, too. You may make an appt. by calling 208.375.1600 or via email HERE.
February 13, 2015
Thanks to financial help from the Audrey Pet Foundation and after care from WestVet employees, the Rodriguez family is expecting Max to return home, we are happy to share their story in today's veterinary blog.
WestVet Animal Emergency and Specialty Center in Garden City is happy to report that “Max”, a dog hit by a car following his displacement from a house fire last week, is recovering well after surgery.
The Rodriguez family home burned last week. During the fire, their five-year-old black lab bolted from the backyard, away from neighbors trying to help, and directly into oncoming traffic. After Max was struck by a car, a passerby quickly scooped him up and brought him to WestVet. Our emergency doctors and team treated Max for multiple injuries. The most severe included a fractured pelvis, his spine separating from his pelvis and an injured tail. Overall, WestVet doctors felt he would not walk again without surgery and were concerned about nerve damage and restoring a good quality of life for Max.
Shortly after the incident, Carol spoke with WestVet doctors and learned about the extent of Max’s injuries. She said that while she knew surgery was imperative for Max, she had two concerns: the financial cost, and his post-surgery recovery. She and her son are displaced from their home–and they will be for several months—which means she has no place to provide care for Max, and no yard to guide him with the gentle walks that would be required to help him fully recover.
To help with the financial burden, Carol was directed to apply for funds from the Audrey Pet Foundation. This 501(c)3 non-profit organization provides financial support for specialty veterinary care at WestVet. A completed application for assistance is evaluated and approved by an independent board of directors. Upon approval, a family may receive funds to put toward emergency and specialty treatment. The funds are then combined with donated time by the WestVet hospital, doctors, and specialists, significantly reducing the expense of veterinary care.
Once the financial hurdle was cleared, and WestVet staff members realized the extent of the families’ predicament, two of WestVet’s Veterinary Technicians volunteered to care for Max during his recovery time. Each will move Max into their home for a 3 to 4 week period where he will receive lots of TLC, the necessary physiotherapy, and close assessments to ensure his post-op recovery.
Carol said she was grateful for the help in such a difficult time and that the assistance was just what she needed to restore her son’s dog to good health. Last Friday, Max underwent an 8 hour surgery with Dr. Sean Murphy. Today, Dr. Murphy reports that Max is doing really well and feels that while Max still has some challenges to overcome, he should make a full recovery
Even though Carol feels overwhelmed with all the recent challenges she and her son are currently facing, the generosity from people in the Treasure Valley has been inspiring. “The highlight of this whole ordeal is the amazing things that people have done,” she said. “In the evening, we have returned to our hotel and have received anonymous gifts and cards. The community outreach has been wonderful.” In addition, WestVet can report that generous community members have donated funds directly to the Rodriguez account.
Carol expressed how important their pets were help her son through this ordeal. Remarkably, both of the Rodriguez family pets survived the fire. Their goldfish—a prize from the fair last fall—also survived, even after its bowl had shattered due to the heat.
The Rodriguez family are now in the painstaking process of working with their insurance company for their home and property. Even with such upheaval in their lives, they drop in to visit Max every day at WestVet. Carol tells us one thing she is worried about, that when Max does return home he is going to expect the constant attention and TLC he is currently getting here at the hospital. “He is certainly the center of attention at WestVet,” she said. “He has enjoyed customized bandages, warm blankets, and toys to cuddle with. I just hope we’ll be able to keep up the standard when he returns home.”
February 9, 2015
Pet injuries with Fish Hooks are not uncommon, but they can be fatal, in today's Veterinary blog: Moose has a fish hook embedded in his tongue.
Moose is a 12-week-old Chocolate Labrador puppy. He visited WestVet Emergency Hospital recently after getting a little too curious around the fishing gear. This hungry little pup had taken a big bite of a fish hook—and it had pierced his little tongue.
After his people checked and accounted for the remaining fishing gear (to ensure he hadn’t eaten or swallowed anything else) they brought him to WestVet.
Moose was such a sweet little bundle –though we are confident he will soon grow into his big name. While at WestVet he was certainly distressed, but remained very calm. The emergency team provided a continuous oxygen source and gentle sedation to enable Dr. Sean Murphy to gently extract the hook without further injury.
Moose was a real trooper!
The removal went smoothly and this little one was soon returned to his family and enjoyed extra spoiling during his recuperation at home.
When we checked on his recovery and asked if there were any noticeable repercussions from the accident, his people tell us that he is 100% back to himself and that this little mishap didn’t even show him down.
With outdoor activities on the horizon, Moose wanted to remind pet families that warmer weather may bring additional potential hazards—lawn fertilizer, weed killer, small sporting gear, chewy swim toys, and litter or trash left on walking paths.
February 2, 2015
Suffering From a torn ACL, 'Louie,' was in pain and limping, in today's veterinary blog his family shares this active Yellow Labrador Retriever's TPLO surgery success story.
“Louie” is a four-year-old yellow lab, a sweet bundle of energy, and a TPLO surgery success story. He came to WestVet’s veterinary surgeon Dr. Sean Murphy after his owners noticed a persistent limp and soreness. We were delighted when they agreed to share his story for today’s blog post.
In 2010 Jessica and Vinny were newlyweds. When Louie joined their life, he made a new family of three. They tell us that they fell in love with everything about him. From his energy and enthusiasm for life (whatever he’s doing) to the fact that he looks like he’s actually smiling all the time. They quickly discovered that this happy dog was happiest when he was busy. His favorite activity? Getting dirty, exploring the foothills, or swimming in the Boise River.
Then they noticed that Louie was limping. Jessica reported there was not a specific incident that caused a torn ACL injury for Louie.
“He started getting sore with an accompanied limp after a run in the foothills or the park. We tried some Glucosamine supplements. They seemed to help a little bit, but the problem persisted. Initially, we were hesitant to bring him to Dr. Murphy because he was still 100% fine while playing and running. Then things took a turn. We noticed Louie was limping even before outdoor activities. That’s when we called WestVet.”
After an examination with Dr. Murphy, board certified surgeon, Louie was diagnosed with a torn ACL. Dr. Murphy recommended a TPLO surgery without hesitation.
Jessica and Vinny initially felt a little nervous about the procedure, but Dr. Murphy reassured them that the success rate for veterinary TPLO surgery is very high. He also told them surgery would enable Louie to return to near normal activity
Here is Jessica’s description of the day of surgery and immediate recovery:
“We dropped Louie off first thing Monday morning, July 7th. He was discharged for home the next day. Amazingly, when we picked him up, although he was walking with a sling around his waist, one shaved leg, and a pain medication patch, he was wagging his tail.
The first two weeks were a little stressful. My husband slept nearby Louie to ensure he did not get up and move around too much. We were very careful to use the sling properly, to keep him a tight medication schedule, and to keep him sedentary. We also used ice to help with the swelling.
One of our biggest concerns was keeping our very active Louie calm after the TPLO surgery, but through the healing process, miraculously, Louie seemed to understand his limits. We were very diligent about doing the recommended exercises and physiotherapy prescribed to us by the doctors— something I think that has helped in the healing process immensely.”
Jessica reports that recently Louie had a very positive follow-up eight week check post surgery. Radiographs of the operated limb showed complete healing of the bone cut and all the implants were intact
Jessica tells us that Louie is returning to activity every day. “We are walking Louie about an hour everyday and jogging for about 20 minutes also we are able to do some hill work (all on leash). His muscles seem to be coming back strong. He is determined to make a full recovery. Louie also REALLY enjoys being massaged on the leg he has surgery on after our walks. He is still inside during the day, and according to doctor’s orders, he will not be outside unsupervised until week 12 of recovery.
Most importantly Louie seems so happy! He’s back outside smelling everything in sight and checking out the neighborhood.
I would recommend TPLO surgery for anyone who has a dog suffering from a torn ACL.”
January 16, 2015
January in the Treasure Valley--snow or rain falling, fog lingering, the sun hiding, and everyone shivering! With these extra short days ‘cabin fever’ can set in for all of us---pets included.
A pet’s pent-up energy may result in destructive and negative behavior. A restless or bored dog may exhibit unusual vocalizing (barking, howling, whining), have accidents indoors, scratch at doors, and/or chew on furniture, carpet, or shoes. In an effort to save your sofa and your sanity, here are a few ideas to help the whole household cope with cabin fever.
Getting outside. While people are busy, out and about at work or school, the dog often remains home and on particularly wet, cold, or snowy days, this may mean he remains indoors the entire day. If temperatures are not sub-zero and walkways are cleared of ice and snow, make an effort to bring your dog outside every day. A quick walk (even to the bus stop or around the block) will help release some energy.
Interactive Toys and Treats. On those wintery days when illness, weather, or a busy schedule keeps you inside all day, utilize an interactive toy. There are numerous toy options that enable you to hide a treat inside and keep your pet occupied and trying to find it. These toys provide both mental and physical stimulation.
Playing Indoors. If you have stairs, try running your dog up and down a few times. A game of fetch up and down the stairs would also make a great workout. Long hallways, an empty garage or basement, or other safe indoor areas will serve as a nice ‘plan B’ in place of winter walks. Even a quick a game of tug while you catch the news or during a commercial break will engage your dog and help her relieve some energy. Note: senior dogs may be more inclined to slumber through winter days and nights, gently help them stay active, too.
Plan a play date. If your dog has a furry friend, an indoor play date could be a great way to release some energy. In addition, there are numerous doggy day camps around the Treasure Valley that offer a place for indoor exercise and socializing with other dogs. A visit a few days a week may be the solution for a bored, lonely dog.
Don’t forget your feline. Cats who are accustomed to being indoors and outdoors during milder weather may become restless and bored as well. Schedule a little extra play time with a favorite toy to keep them entertained.
Sometimes, on these extra gray days in Southwestern Idaho it feels like spring is a long, long way off. If you feel some “Winter Blues” sneaking up on your household, make some time for play. Your pets will thank you—and you’ll end up feeling a little brighter and lighter yourself.