Friday, May 30, 2014

Breed Focus: Golden Retriever

When I was younger I used to LOVE learning about all the different breeds. I think it is so interesting to learn what makes each breed unique. Whether it is their specific characteristics or temperaments, I think it is all remarkable. Knowing some of these distinctions may help determine if this breed (or a mix of this breed) would be a good addition to your home!
Golden retrievers are consistently among the top owned dog breeds. They are generally high energy, intelligent and very lovable! Originally they were used for hunting in England and Scotland. For that reason, registered dogs are typically in the sporting group.
The intelligence is really apparent as they are commonly used as service dogs  They make great companions even if they aren’t used for assistance.
Being intelligent and energetic does mean they will require more exercise. They typically do best in homes that are active and can be active with them. Swimming, jogging, playing fetch are just a few of the activities that golden retrievers can enjoy. If you don’t find something to entertain them they may find ways to entertain themselves that are not quite as enjoyable for you!
On the medical side, there are a couple of conditions that Goldens seem more pre-disposed to when compared to other breeds. One thing to keep in mind is they do shed….A LOT! Regular brushing (or vacuuming) may be necessary. Food and environmental allergies are also common in this breed. It may be something you will have to watch for closely and manage throughout their life. Another, unfortunate predisposition is certain types of cancer. There are some malignancies that can cut a golden retriever’s life shorter than we would like. There is some hope though! An interesting fact about Golden Retrievers is that right now there is a life time study going on to see if we can link any of these conditions to procedures or predisposing conditions and hopefully prevent them in the future. To learn more about this amazing study click here 
It’s always a good idea to thoroughly assess your household before bringing a pet it. If you have questions local dog groups, training facilities or your veterinarian may be able to help direct you to certain breeds or mixes that would work well for you. Each pet has their own personality so just because breeds usually act a certain way doesn’t mean they will all be like that! Adding a pet to your family should be fun and rewarding, a little research can help make sure they are a good fit!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Doodle Days #1

Hi Everyone! This is Charlie ‘Doodle’ Kirk! I saw that my owner was writing a blog and I wanted in on the action as well! I think I lead an interesting life and people would like to know what I’m up to all day.

I LOVE going on walks or running. I try to get all the rabbits and squirrels we come across. I also LOVE playing tug or bringing toys to be thrown over and over and over again.

I also love to stare out the window. I need to make sure the rabbits and squirrels are not up to any shenanigans on my watch!

I love to visit different places. I especially love visiting my friend Percy….I’m just not sure he knows we are friends.

I look forward to sharing my days with you! If you ever have any questions for me I would be happy to answer them! 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wormy Wednesdays: Heartworms

Worms are so gross! (I suppose unless they are in one of these ) 

 There are several different types of worms that are commonly found in our pets. Many of which are preventable and treatable. Today we are going to focus on the heartworm! As the name suggests this particular worm lives in the heart and lungs of cats and dogs. So what is the big deal with heartworms anyway?

First they are transmitted by mosquitoes. This allows them to be delivered to the blood supply where they can then mature in the heart and lungs of the dog or cat. Overtime this can lead to some serious damage to these organs. In both cats and dogs, early infections may not have any symptoms. As the disease progresses in dogs you may notice a mild but continuous cough. Along with this you may notice that they just don’t have the energy they used to and may not want to exercise. Cats are a different story. Their symptoms can often be similar to other infections. You may see signs such as vomiting or rapid breathing, that can easily be confused with other respiratory diseases.

Diagnosing heartworm disease in dogs can be done with a blood test. If it comes up positive then many times we will screen a blood sample to look for the baby worms swimming around, this is done on the microscope. Cats again are a little more difficult. There is no easy test for them but rather a series of tests that may need to be done to come to a diagnosis. Yearly testing in dogs is critical to keeping the worms under control and ensuring that your preventative is still working. Early detection could be the difference between a happy healthy life for you pet and serious consequences. Even if you give the preventative every month on the same day, testing is essential to ensuring that everything is working properly.

Here’s the good news! Heartworms can be prevented! There are many products out there so sometimes we just need to find the one that will work best for us, but whatever you use it is important to use it monthly. Even in cats! Even in cats that are just inside! Prevention is much cheaper and safer than treating heartworms will ever be. The treatment process is long and can be painful as well as dangerous. It is only approved in dogs. Another benefit of many heartworm preventatives is that they also prevent against many of the intestinal parasites we will discuss in the future.

For even more information visit the heartworm society's website here!  (yes heartworms are such a big deal they have their own society!) or talk to your veterinarian. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Introducing Dr. Marci Kirk! (That's me!)

Hello Everyone! This is Dr. Marci Kirk. I wanted to introduce myself so I can start contributing to the blog from time to time. I thought we would start with a little background about me to get things rolling!

I graduated from U of I Veterinary School in 2011. I worked in a small animal practice in Charleston/Mattoon area prior to coming to Country View Veterinary Clinic. I love getting to know clients and their pets! That’s probably my favorite part of practicing medicine. I am also very interested in nutrition and dermatology. I think both of these are important in the overall health of our pets.

Away from the office, I enjoy spending time with my husband, Michael, and our dog Charlie (a golden retriever/poodle mix). In my free time I enjoy running. I usually have a race or goal I’m training for, and typically this will be a Disney race. I absolutely love Disney and running races there is just another great way to experience it. Charlie usually comes along on several of my training runs with me. It is a great for both of us to stay active and entertained. I also enjoy reading. If I have free time I will try to read a book just for fun. I’m always open to suggestions!

My hope is to continue to make the blog informative and fun, so if you have any suggestions, comments or topics you’d like discussed just let us know! Don’t forget to check out our Facebook page for even more updates and pictures of some of our patients!