Housetraining your Puppy

Congratulations on bringing home your new puppy! A new puppy can be an exciting and rewarding experience. However, along with the fun, often come some challenges for the new owners. One such challenge is housetraining your new pet. However, with the positive tips in this handout, housetraining outside can be a quick and rewarding experience for both the new puppy and its owners.

In order to assist your puppy with learning housetraining quickly and easily, it is important that you recognize your pets cues that they need to eliminate. Most puppies need to use the restroom every three to four hours during the day and within thirty minutes of eating, drinking, exercise, play or sleep. Most puppies will also exhibit some outward signs that they need to eliminate such as, sniffing the floor, walking in circles, squatting, slinking, or trying to hide behind objects. Closely supervising your pet and being in tune to their body language will make the housetraining transition easier for everyone involved.

Puppies learn quickly and easily when a positive routine is established. When it is time to take your pet outdoors to eliminate, use the same path, door and elimination location each time. Speak to your pet in an upbeat and encouraging tone. When you have reached the elimination area, use a key phrase to encourage your pet to eliminate, such as “Go Potty”. This key phrase will become his cue to eliminate and will be helpful in times when you are not in a familiar location to give him permission to eliminate. Once your puppy has done his business reward him immediately with lavish praise and treats. It is important that you accompany your pet each time he eliminates; this allows you to make sure that he has done his business and to reward him immediately for his good efforts.[DFR::450515-10398130-cj|align_right_1]

Until your new puppy is successfully housetrained, it is recommended that they be kept on a leash at all times. This allows you to carefully observe their body language, behaviors and cues that it may be time for a trip outside. If you cannot supervise your pet, then the dog should be confined in a puppy proofed area of your home. This area should have a warm bed, food, water and area for elimination. Before confining your pet, be sure that he has been allowed to relieve himself and has been exercised. If your puppy does have an accident while you are not supervising him, remember, that punishment after the fact only serves to scare and intimidate your puppy at a time when bonding is crucial. If your puppy does begin to have an accident while you are supervising him, then quickly startle the puppy by clapping or staying Stop. Then proceed to follow your routine and then reward the puppy when he finishes in the proper location. Remember that with proper supervision and practice housetraining will be a rewarding experience for both you and your new puppy.

Baby NightHawk

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Neutering Your Dog

Neutering, or orchiectomy, is a surgical sterilization procedure that can provide major health benefits for dogs. Here are some important facts you should know before getting your dog neutered.

The Neuter Surgery
Orchiectomy is a surgery that is performed under general anesthesia. Your dogs belly will be shaved and cleansed, and an incision will be made between his scrotum and the base of his penis. The veterinarian will remove both testicles and tie off the spermatic cords. The skin incision is closed with stitches or surgical adhesive. Following neuter surgery, your dog will no longer produce sperm and he will have lower testosterone levels.

Although neutering is very routine, it still carries the risks associated with general anesthesia and surgery. Your veterinarian takes numerous measures to keep your dog safe, such as checking his heart and lungs before administering anesthesia and monitoring him constantly while he is asleep. You can ask whether your veterinarian recommends any additional safety precautions, such as pre-anesthetic blood tests or administration of IV fluids during the procedure.

The normal behavior of an un-neutered dog is often incompatible with being a household pet. Intact dogs tend to wander from home, seeking a mate or defending their territory. This puts them at risk for being hit by a car or being injured in a dog fight. Urine marking and some types of aggression are more pronounced in un-neutered dogs as well. Although neutering may not entirely eliminate these behaviors, it can diminish them by 50-90%.

Intact male dogs suffer from a high incidence of inflammation and enlargement of the prostate, as well as testicular tumors. Older dogs commonly develop swollen and infected prostate glands. These conditions are painful and can interfere with urination and defecation. After neutering, the prostate shrinks considerably. Tumors of the testicles, common in older intact male dogs, are eliminated entirely.

The final benefit of neutering is that its the best way you can help end pet overpopulation. Every year, 3-4 million cats and dogs are euthanized in U.S. animal shelters. None of us wants to contribute to that sad statistic, but we may do so unwittingly. Puppies adopted to apparently good homes may be given away or lost. Even purebred dogs end up homeless. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that 25% of the dogs in U.S. animal shelters are purebred!

Considerations Before Surgery
Consult with your veterinarian about when to schedule your dogs neuter surgery. Traditionally, pets are neutered at around six months of age. However, some veterinarians advocate performing the procedure earlier. The night before your dogs surgery, remove his food and water before you go to bed. He should not eat or drink anything during the night or the morning of his surgery.

Considerations After Surgery
Your dog may go home the day of his surgery, or may stay in the hospital overnight. If he goes home the same day, expect him to feel a little groggy. Keep him indoors, in a warm, safe, quiet room away from other pets. During the first week after surgery, try to restrict his activity level. Leash walks are OK, but avoid excessive running, jumping, and roughhousing.

Check his incision daily. Stitches, if present, will need to be removed in about 10-14 days. If you notice your dog licking his incision frequently, ask for an Elizabethan collar. Many dogs develop a swollen or slightly bruised scrotal area following neuter surgery. Some swelling is normal, but dont be afraid to ask your veterinarian if you are concerned about your dog.

The effects of neutering on your dog will not be instantaneous. Testosterone levels wane over a period of weeks or months, followed by a reduction in fertility and territorial and mating behaviors.

Cat Bite Wounds

Cats are highly territorial and often fight when they meet outside or, less commonly, within the household. During fights, cats inflict deep bite wounds that inject bacteria from the mouth into the internal tissues. Cat bite wounds frequently become infected and abscessed. An abscess is a pocket of infection that the body has walled off.

Signs of Abscesses
If you know your cat has been in a fight, its a good idea to examine him carefully for signs of injury. Bite wounds may leave only tiny puncture holes on the skin. Veterinary care is always recommended for cat bite wounds. More often, you wont know that your cat has been fighting until an abscess forms. Signs of an abscess include fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, pain and the appearance of a swollen area. Hair may be lost in the area, and the skin may rupture, leaking foul-swelling pus onto the fur. The most common areas for bite wounds and abscesses are the face, legs, and the base of the tail.

Your veterinarian can usually diagnose the abscess based on a physical exam. It may be necessary to shave hair from parts of the body to look for bite wounds.

Abscess Treatment
Cats typically require anesthesia for initial drainage and cleansing of the infected area. All of the pus and dead tissue will be removed. The wound is encouraged to heal without trapping bacteria under the skin again. This usually means that the wound is left open so that the internal tissues heal first, before the skin. Drains may be placed temporarily under the skin. In addition to giving oral medications, it may be necessary for you to administer topical antiseptics or antibiotics directly to the wound area. Hot packing the area with a warm, wet washcloth for 5-10 minutes twice daily is also beneficial. Most cats heal well with proper bite wounds

Even though an untreated abscess usually ruptures and drains on its own, recurrence is extremely common without professional care. Cats with abscesses can also get sick enough to stop eating and become severely dehydrated. Prompt medical attention is a must for all cat bite wounds and abscesses.

Biting is the most common means by which some serious cat diseases are spread. Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV), Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), and Rabies can all be spread by bites. If your cat goes outside he should be vaccinated against FeLV and Rabies. Your veterinarian may also advise testing for exposure to FeLV and FIV after a bite.

Preventing Abscesses
The main mechanism for preventing abscesses is keeping cats indoors, where they are less likely to fight. Routinely checking your cat for injuries is also a good idea.

Debra Garrison, DVM

Diabetes in Cats

Diabetes in catsTwo forms of diabetes can be found in cats. The first, Diabetes Mellitus is the most common and will be the form discussed in this handout. The rarer form is called Diabetes Inspidus, which will not be covered here. Diabetes mellitus is caused by an excessive amount of sugar in your cats blood and a deficiency in insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas. The exact causes of this disease are unknown, but diet, obesity, genetics, age and complications from other illnesses can all lead to diabetes. This disease is more common in dogs and only one in every four hundred cats develops diabetes.

So, how do you know whether or not your pet is developing diabetes? There are signs to look out for! If your cat is drinking an excessive amount of water, has an increased appetite, is urinating more often and seems to be losing weight, then your cat may be developing diabetes. Your veterinarian is able to test for this disease, which will be discussed later on. Before we discuss the treatment of this condition, lets discuss some preventive steps that can be taken to avoid it.

Once your cat has diabetes, this disease will be with him for the remainder of his life. Therefore, it is very important that we take steps to avoid this disease. Although diabetes can be acquired through genetics, which is difficult to avoid, the most common cause of the disease is obesity. It is very important that your cat gets regular exercise and is maintained on a well balanced diet. Your veterinarian can recommend a cat food that is right for your pet and make recommendations for an exercise regiment. Cats that are kept indoors should be encouraged to play in order to maintain a healthy body weight.

If diabetes is suspected, your veterinarian will perform a simple blood test to measure the level of glucose (blood sugar) in your cats blood. Multiple blood glucose tests are often necessary to establish a baseline. If your cats blood glucose level returns high on the first test, this may have just resulted from a recent meal and does not necessarily indicate that your cat has diabetes. If your veterinarian determines that your cat does have diabetes, he or she will want to perform regular blood glucose tests at the veterinary practice to monitor levels. Your veterinarian may also have you monitor your cats blood glucose at home by sending you with an easy to use urine test kit.

Some mild cases of diabetes can be treated with a strict diet that is low in carbohydrates and high in protein. However, many cases will require your cat to be on insulin therapy. An oral form of insulin is available for humans, however, this is not effective in pets and an injectable form must be used. Your veterinarian will determine the proper type of insulin for your cat and the specific dose. This dose may be changed several times during the first few weeks of insulin therapy in order to properly regulate your pets blood glucose levels.

A member of the veterinary staff will instruct you on how to administer an insulin injection, which is given subcutaneously (below the skin). It is very important to follow your veterinarians exact dosage as an overdose of insulin can cause dangerously low blood sugars. If you ever feel that your pet has received too much insulin, you should contact your veterinarian or local emergency pet hospital if it is after hours. Corn syrup or honey can be given to quickly increase your cats blood sugar levels if an overdose is suspected. Patients that have overdosed on insulin tend to become very lethargic, unsteady, develop shaking and in severe cases convulsions can occur.

If your cat is insulin-dependent, it is important that he receives a diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates. He should be fed at the same time everyday and insulin should be given at mealtimes as directed by your veterinarian. Maintaining a healthy weight is very important for the diabetic pet, so regular exercise is a must. Cats that have been diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus can be effectively treated with insulin therapy and can lead healthy, normal lives.

Prescription diet m/d

For the Nutritional Management of Cats with Obesity or Diabetes For veterinarians with overweight feline patients, Hill’s now provides two nutritional therapy options: Prescription Diet® r/d® Feline cat food is a low-calorie, high-fiber, nutritional therapy with the highest levels of L-Carnitine to effectively reduce weight and increase muscle mass while keeping cats feeling full. Prescription Diet® m/d® Feline cat food is an alternative nutritional therapy for weight loss in cats. Prescription Diet® m/d® Feline is a low-carbohydrate, high-protein food with the highest levels of L-Carnitine that alters a cats unique metabolism to reduce body fat and increase muscle mass. Added fiber increases satiety. Prescription Diet® m/d® Feline is also useful as a nutritional aid for cats with diabetes mellitus.The nutritional formulation of Prescription Diet® m/d® may also be useful for pets with a variety of conditions.

Debra Garrison, DVM