Dogs and cats will groom themselves by licking their fur. This is normal. They will lick their owners as a sign of affection as well. Licking can be a form of play and to let you know they are hungry. If the owner pays attention to their pet when they lick, it can reinforce the behavior, encouraging the pet to do it more often.
However, some pets will engage in excessive licking. Only the owner can determine if the pet is licking more than normal. Excessive licking is a compulsive behavior and the pet may lick everything in sight. This is not good for the pet and the family. Do not try to “correct” this behavior, it will only make it worse.
The first thing a pet owner must do is schedule a visit with your veterinarian. Excessive licking can be due to allergies, including food allergies. Other causes are boredom, stress, pain and diseases.
Try to recall if anything in the pet’s environment brought about the excessive licking. Changes are especially suspect, did you move, change the pet’s food, bed, alter the environment such as adding or taking away furniture, someone in the family moving in or out, a new pet, neighbor or any other change that the pet is aware of. Even a family member changing jobs, or a family crisis can affect a pet.
The easiest way to correct excessive licking is to give the pet an alternative activity. If the pet is a dog, give the dog a chew toy when he starts to lick. Praise the dog for chewing the toy. If the pet is a cat offer a toy for the cat to play with and interact with the cat. Be sure to give the pet a good rubdown or petting when they stop licking. If the pet tries to lick family members gently say “no” and give them something to chew or an activity.
If the excessive licking was due to a change in the home environment it may take a few weeks for the pet to adjust to the change. If the behavior does not stop or if it increases, it is best to consult with a certified canine or feline behavior consultant. You can find one at www.iaabc.org With time and patience, excessive licking can often be cured.
Dogs and cats can develop diarrhea and vomiting for several reasons. One of the most common causes for diarrhea is a sudden change in diet, such as changing the pet’s food. High quality food is always better but if the pet has been eating poor quality food and then is switched to high quality food too quickly, diarrhea may result. If you are going to change your pet’s food it should be done gradually over at least a week. Keep in mind that high quality food is only available in specialty shops. Examples of high quality food are Wysong and Annamaet.
Sometimes a pet will eat garbage or other food that they find and that can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Eating grass often results in vomiting.
However, unresolved diarrhea and vomiting can be a sign of Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in both dogs and cats. It usually occurs in middle age, in older pets and certain breeds of dogs. Those breeds are: Basenjis, Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers, German Shepherd Dogs, Yorkshire Terriers, Cocker Spaniels, Shar-peis, Rottweilers, Weimaraners, Border Collies, and Boxers.
IBD can be managed with daily medications and regular visits to the veterinarian. If your pet has diarrhea or vomiting for 24 hours or more, you must get them to your veterinarian right away. Even if it is not IBD, your pet is at risk of dehydration.
For an excellent article go to:
Whole genome sequencing looks at the complete DNA sequence to identify anomalies that cause disease. This process allows veterinarians to provide more effective treatment for the diseases that they identify.
Scientists at the University of Missouri, using the 99 Lives Cat Genome Sequencing Consortium established at Mizzou by Leslie Lyons, the Gilbreath-McLorn Endowed Professor of Comparative Medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine, have identified genetic variants that cause progressive retinal atrophy and Niemann-Pick type 1 which is a fatal disorder in domestic cats.
These studies will help domestic cats as well as their close relative the African black-footed cat which also suffers from these disorders.
DNA sequencing has helped in previous studies by identifying a genetic link between degenerative myelopathy in dogs and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in people.
It is exciting to read about the progress that is being made by scientists that will eventually help both people and animals live a longer, quality of life.
Pets suffer from allergies the same as people do. They can suffer all year long or only at certain times of the year depending upon what they are allergic to.
They can be allergic to many things such as the dander from other pets, mites, fleas, pollen’s, insects and foods. The places on the body that typically show the allergic reaction are: ears, underarms, belly, lower legs and feet. The signs typically are: itching, redness, swelling, pimple like bumps, sores that ooze, reoccurring ear infections and loss of fur. Sometimes a pet will pick at the area that irritates them by frequent licking or biting the area.
If you notice any of these symptoms you should take your pet to the veterinarian where a series of tests may be necessary to rule out other medical issues that could mimic allergic symptoms.
If the problem is allergy related there are a number of medications, either taken orally or applied topically that can ease your pet’s discomfort.
Allergies are referred to as Atopic Drmatitis and unfortunately there is no cure for it. However, once your veterinarian determines what your pet is allergic to, they can give your pet allergy shots which in many cases reduce the symptoms significantly. Shots along with oral and topical treatment can give a pet quality of life again.
If your pet is allergic to a certain type of food, you can avoid giving your pet that food. Sometimes a low quality food can cause a problem for a pet. You should only give your pet high quality food. Food that is available at discount stores or the supermarket should be avoided.
For an excellent article, go to: http://www.vetdepot.com/in-depth-look-at-atopicdermatitis-dogs.html
Myotubular myopathy in humans and dogs causes a male infant to be born with muscle weakness which includes difficulty breathing, leading to death in infancy. This type of myopathy only affects the muscles and does not have any impact on intelligence.
Dr. Ana Buj-Bello led a team of researchers in France (Genethon/Inserm) along with teams at the University of Washington and Harvard Medical School, have developed what could be a treatment/cure for this genetic defect which they have applied to dogs.
The team has developed and manufactured an adeno-associated virus (AAV) that works on a cellular level and gives the dog a normal copy of the MTM1 gene that travels to the entire body. The treatment is easy to administer, given by an intravenous injection and restores long-term muscular strength.
Myotubular myopathy is often found in Labrador Retrievers and Rottweilers. The puppies may appear normal at birth but by 7 – 19 weeks they develop muscle weakness, decreased muscle mass, a hoarse bark and have difficulty eating. The puppies are usually smaller at birth, walk with a short, choppy gait, often falling over. Eventually the puppy cannot stand or even hold their head up. Dogs affected are typically euthanized by six months of age. Labrador and Rottweiler mixes are also affected.
Dr. Ana Buj-Bello’s work may be a life-saver for dogs and eventually people as well. Everyone who has a Labrador or Labrador mix or a Rottweiler, and considers breeding their dog should talk to their veterinarian about having their dog genetically tested to see if they are a carrier of this genetic defect. You can order or inquire about a test from: https://www.vgl.ucdavis.edu/services/dog/CNMLabrador.php
Most people do not realize that cats suffer from high blood pressure the same as humans. High blood pressure or hypertension is more common in older cats and often goes undetected.
Hypertension in cats can cause a multitude of health issues, such as organ damage to the eyes, heart, brain, and kidneys and even blindness.
The good news is that your veterinarian can easily check your cat’s blood pressure with a cuff that is put on the cat’s hind leg or tail. It is a painless procedure.
If you have an older cat it may be a good idea to have your cat’s BP checked when you get your cat’s yearly wellness check. High BP can be treated and treatment can prevent serious health issues. Talk to your veterinarian about your cat’s blood pressure.
Chronic colitis in cats has been an ongoing problem for cat owners and veterinarians alike. Cats who have it suffer from diarrhea that comes and goes. Often the bowel movements are soft, like a ‘cow pie’ and can have blood and/or mucus in it. The most common cause is a protozoan Tritrichomonas foetus which typically infects the large bowel.
The cats that are most affected are young, about one year of age, come from catteries, shelters or places where there are multiple cats. This infection is transmitted both by feces and orally. What makes this a difficult infection to treat is that it does not respond to most medications. The only medication that seems to work is ronidazole. However, the effectiveness of this drug is in question.
For multiple cat households or multiple cat environments cleanliness is the best preventative measure that a cat owner can take. More research needs to be done and hopefully can resolve this issue in cats.
Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a genetic lung disorder that affects young dogs and leads to death. It is especially prevalent in Dalmatians.
The gene that has been linked with this syndrome is the anillin protein ANLN. Some dogs who had the gene defect also had only one kidney and some had hydrocephalus or water on the brain. It appears that this genetic issue may be related to those problems as well.
A dog can be a carrier of the gene and not show symptoms. If both parents are carriers, then it is more likely that the puppies will suffer from ARDS. Breeders will be able to test their dogs before breeding and hopefully drastically reduce the instances of ANLN in dogs.
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The genetic test will be available from MyDogDNA test (www.mydogdna.com).
This discovery may also help scientists understand respiratory diseases in humans benefiting both dogs and people.
Myoclonic epilepsy in dogs is very similar to juvenile myoclonic epilepsy in humans. Veterinarian researchers have identified a specific gene that is linked to this type of epilepsy.
Myoclonic seizures are brief shock-like jerks of either a single muscle or a muscle group. In humans the person is typically awake and can think clearly.
In dogs the seizures usually occur by the time the dog is six months old and when they are resting. It appears that some of the seizures can be triggered by light.
The good news is that researchers have identified a gene that is connected to this form of seizure. The gene, DIRS1 is unique to this type of epilepsy and has not been linked to any neurological disorder before. The good news is that the DIRS1 gene is similar to those found in humans.
Researchers have developed a genetic test for dogs which will help veterinarians and breeders identify dogs who have this gene and enable them to modify breeding programs. It seems that that the Rhodesian Ridgeback is especially susceptible to this form of epilepsy, but it has been found in many other breeds as well.
While more research is needed to further understand the connection between the gene and epilepsy, it is a breakthrough. Once the role of the gene is understood then researchers can develop a cure or treatment for this form of epilepsy.
Again, veterinarian research has the potential to help humans. Dogs are indeed our best friends.
This is a short article but important. A recent study found that indoor cats have a high level of brominated flame retardants in their blood as a result of inhaling the dust in homes. Previous studies found that cats who developed Feline Hyperthyroidism had high levels of flame retardants, but now researchers have found it in healthy cats as well.
As the flame retardant materials age the particles that come from them become part of the dust in a home. What is especially important to be aware of is that other pets, humans, and especially small children also breathe in the dust.
The flame retardants make up part of furniture, electronics, and even various fabrics. So what can we do about it? I have found an air cleaner that can help reduce the dust in a home. I personally have used the Fresh Air Surround air purifier for years and find it helps keep my home allergy free. I picked that model because it kills germs as well, an added benefit, and does a great job of killing household odors, including litter box odor.
I strongly urge everyone to consider this air purifier. You can get more information from David Scharikin, at Finance2@ptd.net or call him at 570-325-2433. There are a number of models to choose from. And no, I do not make a commission for passing this information along. As a pet owner, dogs, cats and birds, and allergic to many indoor and outdoor irritants, it has made my life much better.