Zoo-Boo at Houston Zoo

On October 18-19 and 25-26, bring your little ghouls and goblins to the Houston Zoo for a frightfully enjoyable adventure: the all new ZOO BOO!  Pick a pumpkin to decorate from the Fiesta Mart Pumpkin Patch. Enjoy the Monster Mashquerade—a kids’ “bash” where children can masquerade in animal masks.

All this, plus our spooky—and thoroughly educational— Jamba Juice Lost Species Cemetery, animal mask coloring, Halloween-themed creepy-crawler Keeper Chats, and the animal- themed Trunk-or-Treat stations.
And to make ZOO BOO even more spooktacular (for your pocket book), we’ve scared up some Houston Zoo discount admission tickets savings for you and your little monsters—available at your local Fiesta Mart in Houston!

Diarrhea in Pets

As a pet owner it is often distressing to have a sick or ailing pet. Diarrhea in your pet is one such ailment that can often cause discomfort for the owner as well as the pet by causing accidents around the house. Diarrhea is the passage of unformed, loose stools and may appear for many different reasons. This handout will review the causes of diarrhea, treatments for diarrhea and observations that will be helpful for your veterinarian to diagnose the problem.

Diarrhea occurs when digested food speeds through the digestive tract too quickly and forms loose, watery stools. It is also marked by the decreased absorption of water, electrolytes and other nutrients. The causes of diarrhea are wide ranging. Some animals experience mild diarrhea due to stress, allergies, change in food patterns, or stomach irritants. This stomach irritation can range from mild to severe and may be caused by some form of bacteria, virus, plant or chemical. It is important to remember that while diarrhea by itself is not a disease, it may be a symptom of a larger more complex problem.

Remember that variations in stools occur for many reasons. However, one of the concerning complications of prolonged diarrhea is dehydration. Observe your pet closely and if your pet has experienced diarrhea for two days, seems lethargic, refuses water or has other symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Before a treatment can be started, the cause of the diarrhea must be determined. There are many different tests that can be performed to determine the many causes of diarrhea. However, initially, a more generalized, cost effective and less invasive approach is often tried first. This approach calls for withholding food for 24 hours while encouraging water consumption. This allows the irritated stomach and bowels to calm down. Then gradually and in small portions, bland foods are offered to the animal. The foods most often recommended are white boiled rice, pasta, chicken broth and skinless chicken breasts. As the animals stools return to normal, then small portions of their normal diet may be gradually incorporated with the bland foods. If this generalized approach does not seem to be calming your pets diarrhea distress, then your veterinarian may perform more tests to determine if the diarrhea is a symptom of larger and more far reaching problems. Clinical workups may include blood work, stool samples, urine cultures and food trials. These tests will determine if the diarrhea is simply caused by a bacteria, virus or food allergy or if the distress is a symptom of larger issues, such as cancer.

In order to assist your veterinarian with the proper diagnosis, observe the following details about your pet:

  • How frequently is your pet defecating?
  • What are the consistency, smell and color of the stools?
  • Is your pet exhibiting any other symptoms such as lethargy, vomiting or weight loss?
  • Has there been any change to your pets normal routine, food or environment?
  • Does your pet have access to small objects that might have been swallowed?
  • Has your pet escaped your house/yard recently and had access to foreign objects?

Rabies still a problem in San Antonio, Montana

An elderly man in San Antonio, Texas that feeds the stray cats, was bitten by a kitten that proved to carry Rabies. This is the second rabid cat in San Antonio this year. Rabies is carried by skunks, foxes, raccoons and bats in the wild and can cross over to domestic animal if not vaccinated. People must still be vigilant around wild animals and unvaccinated animals to ensure they do not get exposed to Rabies. Fourteen people in Texas have died from Rabies in the past 30 years.

See complete story here http://www.mysanantonio.com/health/30077809.html

Another Rabies story comes from Montana where a parent brought a dead bat to school and allowed the children to touch it. School officials took the bat and it tested positive for Rabies. Now all the kids that were exposed will have to take post exposure Rabies injections.

See complete story here http://www.greatfallstribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081003/NEWS01/81003024

Yet one more story of Rabies involves some rescued animals brought back from Iraq. A labrador retriever puppy named Crusader, adopted by a soldier became ill shortly after arriving from Iraq. He was later euthanized and tested positive for Rabies. SPCA is now requiring rabies vaccinations 30 days before boarding planes and entering the United States.

Read more here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/03/nyregion/03rabies.html?_r=2&ref=nyregion&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

World Rabies day was on September 28, the following is a prevention tips for pet owners.

Rabies – Prevention tips for Pet Owners

Basic facts
•    There are around 7,000 cases of animal rabies, mostly in wildlife species, reported in the U.S. every year.  These animals can expose humans or pets to rabies.
•    Cats are more likely to be infected with rabies than dogs! Probably because they are less likely to be vaccinated and may not be well supervised when outdoors.

Rabies prevention starts with the animal owner
•    All dogs, cats and ferrets should be vaccinated against rabies.  Consider vaccinating valuable livestock and horses.  Animals that have frequent contact with humans should be vaccinated.
•    You can reduce the possibility of your pets being exposed to rabies by not letting them roam free.
•    Spaying and neutering your pets may decrease undesirable behavior, like aggression and roaming.
•    Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals – even if they appear friendly.

Reduce the risk of exposure to rabies from wildlife
•    Don’t leave garbage or pet food outside, as it may attract wild or stray animals.
•    Wild animals should not be kept as pets.
•    Observe wild animals from a distance. Do not feed or handle them – even if they appear friendly.
•    If you see a wild animal acting strangely, report it to city or county animal control personnel.

What to do when your pet bites someone
•    Contact your local health department or local animal control.
•    A dog, cat or ferret that bites a human will need to be examined by a veterinarian.
•    The local public health official will require monitoring of the pet for 10 days, even if it is vaccinated.
•    Report promptly any illness or unusual behavior of your pet to your veterinarian.

What to do when your pet gets bitten by another animal
•    Consult your veterinarian immediately who will examine your pet and assess your pet’s vaccination needs.
•    Contact local animal control if your pet was bitten by a stray or wild animal.
•    If you can identify or safely capture the animal that bit your pet, this will help determine if your pet was exposed to rabies.
•    If your pet is currently vaccinated and possibly exposed to rabies, it will receive a booster vaccination and be subjected to close supervision for 45 days or more as specified by state law or local ordinance.
•    If a rabies-suspect or confirmed rabid animal bites your pet and your pet is not currently vaccinated, the only options are euthanasia (to prevent the development of rabies) or a strict 6 month quarantine (to see if your pet will develop rabies from this potential exposure).

What to do if you are bitten by an animal
•    Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water.
•    Contact your physician immediately.
•    Report the bite to the local health department to evaluate the need for rabies post exposure prophylaxis.
•    If you can identify or safely capture the animal, you may not need to have shots. Dogs, cats and ferrets can be observed for 10 days to see if they pose a risk of rabies exposure to you. Other animals may be tested for rabies although this requires euthanasia and testing of brain material.
•    Prompt and appropriate preventative treatment after being bitten and before the disease develops can stop rabies infection and prevent the disease.

Halloween Costumes for Bad, Evil or Scary Dogs

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Hero Dog Halloween Costumes

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Caring for Your Pet’s Teeth

We all know how important good dental hygiene is for our own health, but many dog owners are unaware that this is true for their pets too. Dental disease is one of the most common preventable illnesses in pets, affecting more than 75% of dogs and cats over three years of age. Infections of the teeth and gums can cause pain, loose teeth, and damage to internal organs like the kidneys and heart. All of this can be avoided by practicing proper dental care techniques.

Dental Disease in Dogs
The term dental disease includes a variety of ailments. The most common of these is periodontitis. Plaque, a soft mixture of bacteria, food, and saliva accumulates on your dogs teeth, especially near the gums. The plaque hardens to become tartar. The plaque and tartar irritate the tissues around the tooth and its root. This starts out as gingivitis (reddened gums). Infections and abscesses develop around the tooth, resulting in bad breath, bleeding, pain, and tooth loss. Infected, bleeding gums allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream and circulate throughout the body, damaging the kidneys and heart.

Injuries of the teeth and gums, such as broken teeth, are also common in dogs. This is especially true of dogs that chew on hard objects, such as rocks, cow hooves, bones, and fences. Injured or bleeding teeth require immediate veterinary care.

Dental Examinations
Each time your dog has a routine physical examination, your veterinarian will check his teeth and gums. He is looking for buildup of plaque or tartar, reddened gums (gingivitis), bleeding, broken teeth, and other problems. Your dog should receive a dental exam at least once or twice a year. If you notice problems like breath odor, drooling, or difficulty eating, he should be examined right away. The sooner that dental disease is identified and treated, the better the outcome.

Tooth Brushing
Teaching your dog to accept daily dental care is surprisingly easy. The key is to start slowly and make the experience as pleasant as possible. Place a small amount of the liquid from a can of water-packed tuna on your finger and allow him to lick it off. Repeat, this time holding his mouth closed and stroking the outside surfaces of his teeth lightly.

Eventually, over a period of one or more weeks, you can substitute a piece of gauze, a finger toothbrush, or a small, soft toothbrush instead of your finger. Remember, unless your veterinarian directs you otherwise, you only need to clean the outside tooth surfaces. This reduces the chance of a painful bite! Once your dog comfortably accepts the brushing process, you can introduce toothpastes designed for pets in place of the tuna water.

The most important aspect of tooth brushing is the mechanical action, but toothpastes can add helpful ingredients like fluoride, enzymes that help break down plaque, and antiseptics that prevent bacterial growth. They are flavored to please your dogs palate too. Never use toothpaste designed for humans the ingredients may irritate your dogs mouth and cause an upset stomach.

Plaque begins to develop within hours after brushing. Within about three days, plaque is converted into tartar. Therefore, daily brushing is recommended. Less frequent brushing is still beneficial, but may allow the gradual development of periodontitis. A daily brushing routine not only keeps your pets mouth healthy but also keeps his breath smelling fresh.

Professional Care
Most dogs require professional dental cleanings and periodontal care periodically. If your veterinarian detects signs of gingivitis or tartar accumulation during the dental exam, he will recommend a professional cleaning in order to halt the progress of periodontal disease.

Your dog will receive anesthesia for the dental cleaning. All surfaces of the tooth will be carefully cleaned, even below the gum line. The teeth will be polished to discourage deposition of new plaque. Fluoride or other preventive treatments may be applied. Because your dog is asleep, his mouth can be inspected carefully for signs of additional problems. The professional cleaning is the only way to stop the progress of periodontal disease once tartar has formed.

Treats, Chews, and Other Products
A variety of products are marketed to help keep your dogs teeth clean at home. These include dental care diets, plaque reducing treats and toys, and solutions that are applied to dogs mouth. Check with your veterinarian before using these products, because some may be unsafe or may interfere with other treatments your dog is receiving. In general, avoid very hard chews such as natural bone or cow hooves. Also, remember that although treats and chews may be of some benefit, there is no substitute for daily tooth brushing.