Funny that I was just talking about vaccinations and then I saw this article. I'm not sure we all need to rush out and vaccinate our dogs because of this but the disease was wiped out by the end of the 1980's because of vaccination.
Vaccinations for cats and dogs can be a contentious issue for the pet medical community. Many people believe in giving vaccinations every year, many believe in vaccinating less frequently, and some even believe that no vaccinations should be given. What's a loving pet parent to do?
First, educate yourself. Often it comes down to your own opinion about what is best for your own pets and only you can decide that. Of course, it's better to be armed with some knowledge. For example, this article gives many sides to the same story and is quite helpful at bringing all the issues to your attention. There are other sources apart from the internet and we heartily recommend you talk with your own vet about your options.
If you decide to go the less frequent vaccination route, you can opt to have an annual serum antibody test (aka titer test) done to see whether your cat or dog needs any booster shots. The test isn't 100% accurate but good enough for most purposes. Again, you should decide what is best for your cat or dog.
As you may recall, we took Barnes to John's parents' (Rod and Andrea) house in Winnipeg a few weeks ago (because of our mean-spirited neighbor here in Cleveland) and Barnes has been having a ball. Rod is retired and home during the day so Barnes has company, and of course, Barne's is more than entertained by Baby, the resident family cat. They've had their hissing and spitting episodes but now sleep on Andrea's bed together so they don't seem to mind each other, most of the time anyway.
Barnes is getting thoroughly spoiled. He now gets wet food every day because Baby is older and has that as part of her daily routine. He's also getting groomed today for the first time ever so he can keep cool in the summer heat. Andrea phoned me this morning and said that the groomer had another cat there, which didn't seem to mind being groomed at all and looked lovely by the end of it so let's hope Barnes doesn't turn into the Tasmanian Devil when it's his turn. If I can get a post-grooming photo to show you, I will.
We miss Barnes at home but at least we know he's enjoying his new temporary home.
I just got my July issue of Cleveland Magazine and see that the feature article is on the best places to pamper your pooch, puss, or other family critters (of course, it's not online as of June 28 but should be in a week or two).
If they can devote the cover story of one of their monthly issues to the topic of pampering pets, it just goes to show you haw crazy people in Cleveland are about them.
BTW, the picture above is of a couple of Cavalier King Charles puppies that Maggie, a British friend of my mom's, bred earlier this summer. Aren't they gorgeous?!
Purina is now podcasting on a number of topics such as animal training, pet surgery, behavioral theories and pet insurance. New shows will be published every other week. You can play these programs on your portable media player or directly on your computer.
If you want to learn more, including what the heck a podcast is, check out the link below.
Wonder what they are going to say about pet insurance?!
Hip dysplasia is an abnormally developed hip joint with a shallow hip joint cup and changes in the shape of the hip joint ball. Cats can get the disease but you see it most often in dogs by far. A dog can get painful arthritis from the malformed hip joint and symptoms include limping, difficulty standing or walking after getting up, decreased activity, or a bunny-hop gait - very painful indeed.
Hip dysplasia is an inherited disease but often you can't tell how severe the disease will be by looking at the parents. As well, not all dogs that inherit the disease end up with symptoms, indicating a combination of genetics and the dogs environment affecting the degree of the disease. We do know that dogs with no genetic predisposition do not develop hip dysplasia - hooray!
At present, the strongest environmental factor appears to be to rapid growth and weight gain. In a 2004 study done by the Purina Pet Institute in Labrador Retrievers, the incidence of hip dysplasia was reduced by half in a group of puppies fed 25% less than a control group which was allowed to eat free choice. Click here for a nice summary (in english, not scientific language!). Strictly controlling your dog's diet is something you can do to make a significant difference in your dog's health.
How do I know if my dog has this disease?
Unfortunately, you cannot tell if a dog has the disease at birth as it takes several months to reveal itself.
There are two techniques currently used to detect hip dysplasia:
the standard X-ray view used in Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) testing
specific X-ray techniques used by the University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program (PennHIP).
The Penn Hip method appears to be a better method for judging hip dysplasia, as early as 4 months of age in some puppies.
For dogs that show symptoms before they have finished growing, glucosamine based nutritional supplements may help to reduce the arthritis symptoms that develop later in life. Surgery can also be helpful.
Dogs that show signs at older ages may require other drug treatments such as aspirin/codeine combinations, phenylbutazone, glycosaminoglycosans and corticosteroids, although these have to be watched carefully as they can have serious side effects.
Surgical options include excision arthroplasty, where the the head of the leg bone is removed and reshaped or replaced, femoral head ostectomy (FHO), where the head of the bone is not replaced, and pelvic rotation (also known as triple pelvic osteotomy, or pubic symphodesis) where the hip socket is realigned. These procedures need to be done at young ages and are most successful for smaller dogs and cats. There also hip replacement, which has the highest success rate, particularly for larger dogs or more severe cases but it is expensive.
As usual, if you see anything that concerns you about your cat or dog's health, talk to your vet.
Pet insurance considerations
If your pet insurer excludes hereditary conditions, then they exclude hip dysplasia, even in mixed breed dogs and cats. Make sure to check your policy.
For the record, Embrace Pet Insurance covers genetic and hereditary conditions, such as hip dysplasia, as long as your pet has not been diagnosed or shown signs of the condition before you get your insurance or in the waiting period. We do not exclude genetic conditions.
Yvonne DiVita interviews Ken Halloway, creator of the My Personal Pet Books. It's a very interesting discussion about how Ken started this business and some of the behind the scenes about running the business. Do check it out.
In the meantime, you should also read some of Yvonne's blog written in the third person under the pseudonym Jane. She also wrote the book “Dickless Marketing: Smart Marketing to Women Online” - not a shy use of words there!
I used to really dislike it but now it's grown on me and I'm a regular reader of her blog. Jane certainly knows her stuff. Here's her one line bio:
I am not a college professor with 2 kids, I'm a writer, mother, and grandmother, who has one goofy german shepard dog, a fluffy kitty (she is NOT fat!) and a world full of friends I couldn't do without.
So, I'm delighted to find yet another interesting blogger who makes her pets part of who she is.
I got my copy of the newest This Old House magazine (the July/August version but it's not online yet as of June 23) and on the cover is the most amazing dog house with a gorgeous dog on the front (see the picture for another view - sorry for the magazine quality scan). The dog looks like a brown and white border collie with blue eyes but that doesn't sound right - anyone know what kind of dog it is? It's beautiful for sure.
Anyway, in the article they showcase five different dog houses that are built in the style of particular houses such as
a 19th century farmhouse (pictured above)
a Craftsman bungalow
a Victorian Queen Anne-style house
a Colonial-era Georgian house
and an early English manor house
Each has instructions on how to make them if you are really enthusiastic but they are also auctioning off the actual dog houses in the photos on ebay from June 27,2005 to July 7, 2005 with net proceeds going to the ASPCA. Check out the auction here.
That's not all. If you already have a great dog house that looks like your own house or are going to build one soon, submit your photos of the finished product to This Old House by September 19,2005 and enter into a competition. The winner gets a year's worth of Science Diet from Hills. You can get more information here.
If you do buy one of these dog houses or build one, send us your pictures to share with our readers. Even if you just have a great dog house, let's see it!
My home page is the Globe and Mail, one of the Canadian national newspaper (remember I am Canadian and lived in Canada for many years before coming to the States) as I like to keep tabs on all news Canadian. All our family, except John's brother Paul who is teaching English in Thailand, is based in Canada so it's good to know what is going on up north.
Anyway, they have a "daily smile" feature and I thought you might like today's:
What do you call people who take too many pictures of their new dog? Puparazzi. -- Jeffrey Nicholson, Toronto
I'm sorry for starting off with such a horrible expression but it came up this weekend and Alex and I find we use it a lot. Alex is Australian and I'm British/Canadian so we use some colorful phrases in our every day conversation - it's a great cultural experience for onlookers. In this case, I think the shocking images that spring to mind add additional punctuation to the sentence it's used with.
How it comes up: We have spent so long in getting an insurance partner for Embrace Pet Insurance, we may use the phrase like this:
Well if XYZ large insurance company doesn't like it that way, there is more than one way to skin a cat.