Friday, November 28, 2014

Breed Focus: Papillon

The name Papillon came from the word ‘butterfly’ to describe the shape of their ears. Their main purpose based on their history appears to be companionship. There are pictures dating back to the 16th and 17th century showing them on the laps of the more wealthy families. Overall they have playful and fun attitudes and fit in well with most families.
Their petite frame does lend them to adapt to most living environments. They can fit well into a small apartment. Although their coat is long and will require regularly brushing, it may not require the intense grooming other long haired dogs do since it is lacking an undercoat layer.
There are a coupld of health concerns to be aware of before adding a Papillon to your home. Smaller dogs do tend to have more issues with dental disease and with that may require more frequent dental cleanings. They are also prone to collapsing trachea which can lead to coughing, especially when excited. (For more information on collapsing trachea please click here) Another common condition in smaller dogs is luxating patellas. This is where the knee caps are not secure in their place and can wiggle back and forth. In some instances surgical correction may be necessary. (for more information on luxating patellas please click here
Papillons are beautiful small breed dogs that can make a great addition to many living situations.  If you think they may be the breed for you, check out these websites (here and here) for additional information. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Doodle Days #27

Ok so a couple weekends ago I had a visitor! She came to check out my new place! This is Maggie. Ths is a beagle/pug mix. She is also a little smaller than me. 

I just love playing with her! She is great at chase and tugging! We had so much fun all weekend. 
I may be a little taller but Maggie is up for the challenge
We also took a walk around the neighborhood, and played around in the yard. It was a full weekend!
I love to share my toys! Especially if tugging is involved!
It took me all week to catch up on sleep. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Fungal Fun Facts: Malassezia

A very common fungal infection that many people may not be familiar with is Malassezia. It is commonly found on healthy animals, but does cause symptoms when it is allowed to over grow. Typically this is seen with an underlying allergy, chronic health issue or medication that affects the immune system.
Under a microscope the yeast look like foot prints (photo source)
Symptoms of increased numbers of Malassezia include intense itching, body odor, and thickening or darkening of the skin. It can occur anywhere on the body and even affect the ears. It is important to rule out other possibilities for these symptoms as well. Your veterinarian may recommend a full work up to ensure there are no other conditions occurring. This could include skin scraping to rule out mites. Cytology to confirm presence of the yeast and determine if bacteria is also present. They may also look for fleas and other parasites on the outside of the skin.
Thickened/Darkened skin due to yeast (photo source)
The most important part of treatment is to determine if there are underlying health conditions, such as allergies or chronic illness, and begin treatment for them. In some cases where the skin is not severely affected shampoos and lotions may be enough to manage the yeast and get them back to a normal state. In more advanced cases oral medications may be needed. If oral medications are needed your veterinarian may recommend blood work (if they have not done so to rule out other conditions) to ensure that the liver can metabolize the medication appropriately.
Elephant like skin due to yeast (photo source)
Many times if the underlying issue is a chronic condition, for exam allergies, there will be times where the yeast numbers will grow. Catching the signs early can help minimize the chance of the condition worsening. Contacting your veterinarian right away can help determine which protocol will work best for your pet! For more information on Malassezia please visit this website.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Breed Focus: Old English Sheepdog

Image Source
Many people will recognize the Old English Sheepdog (OES for short) by its coat, but there is a lot more to this dog than just its luxurious locks! They were bred for herding originally and have a sturdy build and do well with obedience training. If left without direction, find alternative ways to entertain themselves (many of which most owners may not care for!).
Before taking on this fun loving large breed dog there are some aspects of pet ownership to consider. With the bigger dogs comes a bigger price tag. They will require more food and with OES they will require regularly grooming. Frequent brushing is a MUST! As far as health concerns they are similar to many other large breed dogs. This can include hip dysplasia and progressive retinal disease (in the eyes). It is also advised to use caution with certain heartworm medications that contain ivermectin. Several breeds in the herding group have been known to be sensitive to this drug.
Old English Sheepdogs will do best in an active household. Although they are not energetic all day, they do need activity to keep them entertained. A fenced in yard is ideal to allow them to exercise safely. If you can commit to regularly grooming and daily exercise you may find that this breed will be a very loyal companion and a great part of your family. For more information on this breed please visit the following website here, here and here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Doodle Days #26

Well last weekend was a big weekend for me! I had a visitor! I will tell you about her next week, but this week I thought I would show you my yard and deck!
Perimeter check to make sure nothing disturbs my yard!
I start every day with perimeter check. I have to make sure that there are no critters in the yard!

The snow does not bother me or interfere with my daily routine! I have a yard to protect!
Checking out the lay of the land!
I love the deck! It is high enough for me to survey my whole domain.
I love the feel of the wind in my hair!
What do you think? Does the snow bother you?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Fungal Fun Facts: Cryptococcus

Cryptococcus is another fungal organism that can cause problems in our household pets. It is not one of the most common fungal organisms but can be found just about anywhere so it is worth mentioning. Typically Cryptococcus is found in the soil or areas with bird droppings. While any animals (or human) can be affected typically cats are more widely affected.
Commonly found in soil or around bird droppings (image source)
Typically the fungal organism is inhaled and therefore will set up in the nasal cavity. It is possible for pets to ingest Cryptococcus and show symptoms in the gastrointestinal tract. Signs of this particular fungus can range from mild to severe. On the mild end of the spectrum, you may note lethargy and lack of appetite. In severe cases there can be swelling around the bridge of the nose or even neurological signs such as seizures.
Severe nasal involvement (image source)
A diagnosis is typically made from obtaining samples from the affected areas. This could include a swab and culture of the nasal cavity or even a biopsy of area. Once the fungal organisms are identified treatment can be initiated. Most cases will respond to long term anti-fungal medications. Some treatments can last up to a year. In the more severe animals they may have to be hospitalized for a short time to stabilize them.
Roman nose in a cat, fungal organisms (yellow arrows) identified on cytology (image source)
Cryptococcus is not a huge threat to our pet population but it is something to be aware of as it can be found in most locations. Animals that are diagnosed with this fungus are typically not able to spread it to people or other pets. If, however, those animals are in the same environment, it is likely they were exposed and should be monitored closely. For more information on this fungus you can visit this website.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Breed Focus: Borzoi

The Borzoi is another member of the sight hound group. They are very similar in structure to the greyhound but have MUCH different coats. Their original purpose was to hunt larger game such as wolves. They originated from Russia, where they were kept by the nobility. Today, many are used for lure chasing and other show ring events.
Like the Greyhound, Borzois do best with a fenced in yard. They need to be quite tall as this breed can jump fences if properly motivated. Underground fences are not typically enough to keep them in when sufficiently motivated. Another characteristic to keep in mind is that they will require regularly brushing and grooming. Their long hair can get tangled very easily.
Overall Borzois tend to be pretty healthy. As with many large breed dogs they do seem to have increase risk for hip dysplasia. One way to decrease the risk is to ensure that the parents were cleared by the Orthopedic Foundation of Animals for sound hips. They are also prone to gastric dilatation and volvulus.  For more information on this condition please click here. There are several diseases of the eyes such as retinal disease and cataracts that seem to be passed from generation to generation. It is best to research the breeder prior to purchasing a puppy! 
Although they can reach great speeds and have high energy at times, Borzois are typically very calm and gentle dogs. They can make excellent family companions and adapt to many different living situations. For more information on if this breed could be a good fit for your family please visit the following websites here, here and here

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Doodle Days #25

Well once again you won't get to see my yard....I may have gotten into a spot of trouble....See I chewed on something I wasn't supposed to....
This is not the face of a doodle that knows he's in trouble
 Now this was just something I found laying around. It was a soft pad for under furniture....If I understand correctly I'm in trouble because I wasn't supposed to chew on it....sometimes I just like to taste things! I can't help it I just like to chew!
Cuddling with my new pig head 
 I'm under strict surveillance now and am only allowed to chew on my toys. Pictured here is my new stuffed pig. This was a gift from a family member, not a reward for my 'alleged' bad behavior. I actually really love him! I'm going to try to be really good this week so I can show you my yard next week!
Just one little lick!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Fungal Fun Facts: Ringworm (dermatophytosis)

Ringworm is a condition most people have at least heard of at some point in their lives. Although worm is in the name, it is actually caused by a fungal organism. This particular fungus is found throughout most environments. They thrive on eating skin cells. The classic shape is a ring that almost has the appearance of a worm which is how it was originally named.
Due to its hardy nature in the environment most animals are susceptible to contracting this fungus. The most commonly affected seem to be young animals or animals with a compromised immune system. Once infected, they will continue to shed spores throughout the environment that can be used to infect others or continue to re-infect the original host. This is very important to remember when treating ringworm as it can be transmitted to people.
Image Source
Symptoms include circular lesions of hair loss or crusting. They can be found anywhere but the most common location includes the face especially around the nose. It is generally not itchy, however rare cases will show intense scratching.
Wood's lamp detecting ringworm (image source)
There are several methods of diagnosis. A wood’s lamp can be used to examine the skin around the lesion. The fungus will show up as a bright green area. This is not 100% accurate but can be useful and inexpensive test. If negative other tests need to be pursued. If positive, treatment can be instituted. Other tests include culture of the hair follicles. If growth on the culture media is noted then it can be examined under a microscope for a definitive diagnosis. Another option would be a biopsy. Where a sample of the skin is taken and submitted for histopathology. This is analysis of very small skin segments with special stains to identify the cause of the lesions.  
Culture plates of fungal spores (image source)
Treatment must be applied to the animal (or people affected) and the environment. There are many options for treatment and working with your veterinarian will determine which will be best for your. If localized a cream may work when applied to that area. If the infection persists or is a large area oral antifungal medications may be best option. Once in the home environment strict decontamination needs to be instituted. Without rigorous treatment of the environment it is likely for the infection to keep coming back. Treatment should be continued until two negative fungal cultures are obtained one month apart from each other.
Image Source
One final note is that some animals are called asymptomatic carriers. So they do not demonstrate any hair loss or crusting but can continue to pass it to other animals and people in the house. Cultures may be necessary to determine if the pet is a carrier. For more information on ringworm please click here

Friday, November 7, 2014

Breed Focus: Siberian Cat

The other day we had a new little kitten come in that was a breed I had never heard of. It was a Siberian Cat. I immediately went to look up more information on this striking breed. They originated in Russia and are among some of the bigger domesticated cats we see. Overall they tend to be active but agreeable. They can adapt to most living situations.
Image Source
With their thick coat, they will require regularly brushing to avoid matted hair developing. While having a very thick coat likely served them well during the cold Russian winters, it does require a little extra up keep. It is also important to keep this active breed engaged and entertained. They will do well with puzzle toys and various perches around the house!
Image Source
In terms of health concerns, the biggest concern seems to be hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This is a condition in which the bottom portion of the heart wall becomes very thickened and fails to pump blood normally, eventually leading to heart failure. Thoroughly investigating breeders and their breeding stock can help minimize the chances your own cat developing this condition.  For more inforation on HCM (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) please click here. As with many of our house cats it is also important to regulate how much they eat and encourage activity. This will help minimize their risk for obesity and conditions associated with it (such as diabetes).
Image Source
Overall Siberian cats seem to make very agreeable pets if you are willing to put up with some maintenance brushing! For more information on this large and unique breed pleae visit the following websites here and here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Doodle Days #24

Well it was raining on Tuesday, so I didn't get a chance to get pictures of my awesome yard. I thought really hard about what to write.

I kept thinking and thinking...then tried a marshmallow for motivation.

So I guess I'll just show off my new Thanksgiving bandanna (it even has a turkey leg on it!)

I am all set for the holidays! (Which is probably a good thing...there have been a lot of Christmas movies on our tv lately!)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Fungal Fun Facts: Blastomycosis

There is a fungus among us! We are exposed to fungal spores daily, and so are our pets. Over the next few weeks, I thought we’d take a look at the various types of fungal organisms we may encounter. Some are merely annoying while others can be quite serious.
Blastomycosis is one of the more serious fungal infections. This particular fungus is primarily located in Missouri, Tennessee, Ohio and along the Mississippi River. It prefers to grow in areas with wet soil. Once inhaled, it can spread to various parts of the body. While it can affect any animal, dogs seem to be the most severely and most frequently affected. It cannot be transmitted to other animals or people, but if these animals were exposed to the same environment they could contract this organism as well. 
General symptoms are vague and include loss of appetite, decreased energy and a significantly elevated temperature. Symptoms will vary depending on where the organisms start to grow in the body. Some of the more commonly affected organs include the eyes, lungs, bones and skin. The eyes will typically become very irritated, sometimes with swelling and discharge. Coughing is typically seen when the lungs are affected. If x-rays of the lungs are taken it is often referred to as a ‘snow storm’ affected because it is difficult to discern normal structures. With joints typically there will be limping and extreme pain. In severe cases it can even cause fractures of the bones. Skin lesions typically will develop draining tracts that will not respond to antibiotics and have a very thick discharge.
Snow Storm appearance to lungs. (Image Source)
There are treatment options, however depending on the severity of the condition treatment is not always successful. Long term use (sometimes months) of anti-fungal medications are often required to alleviate the symptoms. It is also important to maintain a healthy immune system. This means a good balanced diet, and avoiding medications (such as steroids) that could inhibit the immune system. In some severe ocular (eye) cases it is necessary to remove the eye to keep the patient comfortable.
Cytology identifying blastomycosis. (Image Source)

There are a variety of tests that can be done to detect the fungal spores in the body. These include biopsies, sometimes cytology (looking at the cells under a microscope), blood tests or even urine tests. With this being such a serious condition though, sometimes treatment will be started before test results are available. The sooner treatment is initiated the more likely for a better outcome. For more information on Blastomycosis please click here