House Soiling Cats

SnickersIf your cat is urinating or defecating anywhere other than his litter box, you probably find yourself at your wits’ end. Though house soiling can seem like a deal breaker, it doesn’t have to be. There are ways to remedy the situation so the cat can stay and the behavior goes.

Save your cat

According to the National Council on Pet Population, 72 percent of cats surrendered to animal shelters in the U.S. are euthanized, and research journals in the fields of animal behavior and companionship site house soiling as the primary reason they are relinquished in the first place. Instead, she says, it’s because the cat’s physical, social, or medical needs are not being met.

See your veterinarian

The first step in resolving a house soiling problem is to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as you notice a problem.

Cats are often diagnosed with medical problems. “For example, an owner may think the cat is not using the box because of a new cat [in the house], but a medical workup will reveal bladder stones or intestinal parasites,” she says.

Some cats may even develop life-threatening urinary obstructions because their owners misinterpreted their behavior as acting out, which is why it is essential to get a diagnosis and treatment plan in place as soon as possible.

If a medical diagnosis cannot be confirmed, additional assistance from a board-certified veterinary behaviorist may be recommended.

Marking: Sexual or reactionary?

First, it is important to note the difference between urinating and marking or spraying. When marking or spraying, cats tend to stand upright and eliminate a small amount on vertical surfaces. When urinating, cats usually squat and eliminate larger amounts on horizontal surfaces.

Litter box aversion can be an environmental issue that causes your cat to urinate or defecate elsewhere. Here are ways to keep your cat returning to his box:

• Keep the litter box away from noisy appliances and where children play

• Clean out the litter box every day

• Wash the litter box every one to four weeks

• Place one litter box at each level of a multilevel home

• Consider having two litter boxes in two separate locations for a single cat

• Consider having at least one more litter box than the total number of cats in separate stations

• Avoid placing food and water close to the litter box

• Try placing the litter box at the location of the house soiling, and once the cat begins to use it, gradually move the box to a preferred location

• Make sure the litter box is at least 1.5 times the length of the cat from nose to tail

• Avoid aromatic litter, litter deodorizers, and liners

• The litter should consist of a fine, sand-like, unscented, clumping material

• The depth of the litter should be at least 1.25 inches

The 2014 American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) and International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) Guidelines for Diagnosing and Solving House-Soiling Behavior in Cats explains that urine spraying is either a sexual or a reactionary behavior.

Sexual marking

Is your cat spayed or neutered? According to the AAFP and ISFM guidelines, intact male and female cats both exhibit sexual marking to advertise their presence and availability.

Spaying or neutering an intact cat will dramatically reduce sexually-related marking.

Reactionary marking

If your cat is spayed or neutered, reactionary marking should be considered.

Introduction of another pet, person, new furniture, or other objects into your home can change the collective odor that the cat is used to, and can stress him enough to induce urine marking behavior.

Suitcases, backpacks, and shoes pick up new scents outside the household, so it is a good idea to keep these out of your cat’s reach. Items that change in temperature, such as stoves, toasters, and other electronic equipment, are also frequent marking targets.

The AAFP and ISFM guidelines state that marking behavior that starts at windows and doors usually suggests the perceived threat is coming from outside the home. Try blocking the cat’s view of windows and doors if he seems triggered by another animal outside. Make sure your cat’s food, water, and resting area are located away from windows and glass doors as well.

Initial marking in stairways, hallways, and doorways, as well as in the centers of rooms, usually indicates stressors originating from within the household.

Judy Torchia, DVM, of Nippers Corner Pet Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, says a cat may also respond to a new animal or person in the house by marking his territory. “They will use the urine marking posture, with or without urinating to do this,” she says.

Stay positive

It is important to note that physically or verbally punishing the cat during or after a house-soiling incident only creates stress, which then increases the motivation to soil—and often in less obvious areas.

Instead, behavior modification efforts should focus on positive reinforcement of desired behaviors. Rewards may include affection, positive attention, treats, or whatever your cat likes.

Clean frequently

Cats will frequently soil the same areas repeatedly. Urine odor changes with time, and frequent marking keeps the odor consistent. Therefore, it is important to clean urine-marked areas regularly.

The AAFP and ISFM guidelines suggest scrubbing the affected area with a 10 percent solution of biological washing powder (enzyme-based laundry detergent), allowing the area to dry, and then spraying the area with isopropyl alcohol.

Chlorine-based products will remove odors from concrete and vinyl floors, but be sure to avoid using ammonia-based cleaners, which smell like urine to a cat.

Try pheromones

Pheromone therapy studies referenced in the AAFP and ISFM guidelines indicate that environmental use of synthetic pheromones can result in up to 90 percent cessation or reduction in urine spraying behavior. This effect can last even after discontinuing use of the pheromone product.

Adding a pheromone diffuser near the litter box may make the location more appealing.

Work together for the right outcome

No matter the cause, it is important to work with your veterinarian and your cat to remedy the situation. The reward of keeping a happy, healthy cat always makes it all worth it.

Four Healthy Oils for your Dog’s Diet

2015-10-06 22.12.06Just like you, your dog may not be getting all the necessary nutrition he needs from eating his regular diet. While standard dog food can certainly come packed with plenty of essential nutrients, you can supplement your dog’s dietary regimen with certain healthy oils—jam packed with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids—to promote optimum health.
What are the healthiest oils for dogs?

Fish oil: Fish oil contains EPA and DHA, omega-3 fatty acids that help arthritis, and also has some anti-cancer effects, says Nancy Scanlan, DVM, CVA, MSFP, and executive director of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation. Fish oil can also improve your dog’s memory.

“The primary reason I recommend fish-oil based omega-3 fatty aids is to yield a natural anti-inflammatory effect that can help reduce overall inflammation in the body and potentially decrease my patients’ reliance on medications aimed at reducing inflammation and pain,” says Dr. Patrick Mahaney, VMD, CVA, CVJ, and a certified veterinary acupuncturist with California Pet Acupuncture and Wellness (CPAW).

Krill oil: While fish oil usually comes from fish higher on the food chain, like salmon, krill oil hails from tiny shrimp-like organisms that rank a little lower. This makes krill oil less likely to be contaminated with mercury, Dr. Scanlan says. It also contains EPA and DHA, and will help give your pet healthier joints and skin, in addition to other benefits.

“All dogs are omnivores that lean towards the carnivorous side, so they best absorb non-vegetarian-based oils like fish and krill,” explains Dr. Mahaney.

Coconut oil: Extra-virgin coconut oil has become a popular choice for humans because it’s a healthier alternative to more processed saturated and trans fats, and the same applies to dogs. Coconut oil has also been shown to help dogs lose weight, give them more energy, and offer relief to dry skin. Bonus: It will help improve your dog’s bad breath!

Flaxseed oil: This oil is high in alpha linolenic omega-3s, which puts it in the same ballpark as wild fish when it comes to boosting heart health. Like many of the other healthy oils, flaxseed oil also helps with mobility for arthritic dogs, and can aid in blood pressure and kidney function.

Keep Your Pet Healthy in 2016

20160106_121006-1Five Back-to-the-Basics Ways to Improve Your Pet’s Health This Year

1. Feed a fresh, balanced, and species-appropriate diet
When it comes to helping your pet have a long, healthy life, there is no single thing more important than providing him with the right nutrition. To be optimally healthy, dogs and cats need quality protein, fats, and a small amount of vegetables and fruits that provide antioxidants and fiber to animals that no longer hunt whole prey.
Your pet needs unadulterated, fresh, and whole foods that are moisture dense. They don’t need grains, fillers, artificial preservatives, colors, additives, chemicals, byproducts, or processed or genetically modified (GM) foods. Although animals can eat some processed foods, they aren’t designed to consume a lifetime of dry or canned diets. To gauge the nutritional quality of the diet you’re currently feeding your pet, see “From Best to Worst – My NEW Rankings of 13 Pet Foods.” You can also use this list for guidance on how to improve your dog’s or cat’s diet.
2. Keep your pet at a healthy weight
Overweight and obese pets is such a widespread problem that many cat and dog owners don’t even realize their animal companion is too heavy to be healthy. Feeding too much of the wrong kind of food is how the problem usually starts. As a carnivore, the foundation of your dog’s or cat’s diet should be animal muscle meats, organs, and bones.
Unfortunately, the foundation of most popular, affordable commercial pet diets is grains, carbohydrates, and fillers – in other words, exactly the ingredients carnivores are NOT designed to eat. Biologically inappropriate nutrition can contribute not only to obesity, but to a long list of diet-related diseases as well.
Lack of adequate exercise is also a big risk factor in creating a too-heavy cat or dog. Our pets are designed to be physically active for optimal health.
Not only does lack of exercise help to pack on the pounds, it can also cause extreme boredom and lack of mental stimulation, which in a dog in particular, can result in a whole host of behavior-related issues.
3. Refuse needless vaccinations
“Needless” vaccinations for most pets who received well-timed puppy or kitten shots include:
Yearly boosters of the core vaccines (distemper, parvo, and adenovirus for dogs; panleukopenia, calici, and herpes for cats) Any non-core vaccines your pet doesn’t absolutely need
Over-vaccinating can create serious short and long-term health problems for your cat or dog. Yes, many pets enjoy long lives despite yearly re-vaccinations, but many others have developed vaccine-associated sarcomas, autoimmune disorders, and other life-threatening diseases.
In lieu of automatic re-vaccinations, I recommend antibody titer tests at 3-year intervals to insure your pet remains immune to the diseases she has been vaccinated for.
For a more thorough understanding of the latest canine vaccination guidelines, along with the dog and cat vaccination protocols Dr. Ronald Schultz, a leading authority in the field of veterinary vaccines and I recommend, read “Good News About the Latest Canine Vaccination Guidelines.”
4. Perform at-home exams and schedule regular wellness visits with your veterinarian
Our pets can’t tell us when they hurt or feel sick. That’s why it’s so important for pet parents to do routine at-home wellness exams on their companion animals.
This is a great way to detect any changes in your pet’s health as soon as they occur so that you can take immediate action. It’s also a great bonding opportunity for you and your dog or cat.
Often pets aren’t seen by a veterinarian until an illness is in an advanced stage. This usually means the animal has been suffering for some time, and sadly, it often means there’s no way to stop or reverse the progress of the disease. Not every condition can be detected by a physical exam, of course, but you’d be surprised how many potential health crises are averted by an alert pet owner who detects a problem and makes an appointment with their veterinarian.
My recommendation for veterinary wellness exams is twice yearly in a healthy pet. Older pets and those with chronic conditions may need to be seen more often. If two visits a year isn’t feasible for you, I strongly urge at least an annual wellness visit to your vet.
I also encourage you to have a holistic practitioner on your pet’s health care team. There is a lot that can be done to improve the health and quality of life of your animal companion beyond what traditional Western medicine is able to offer.
5. Regularly enrich your pet’s environment
Environmental enrichment means enhancing your pet’s surroundings and lifestyle so that he is presented with novelty in his environment, opportunities to learn, and encouragement to engage in instinctive, species-specific behaviors.
Ways to enrich your dog’s environment can include:
Providing a supply of different types of toys in varying shapes, sizes, textures, colors, and scents
Insuring he receives adequate daily exercise/playtime
Taking him on different types of walks
Providing him with regular opportunities for social enrichment, for example, visits to the dog park, play dates with other dogs, or involvement in activities such as agility and nose work
Enriching a kitty’s environment involves creating minimally stressful living quarters and reducing or eliminating events that cause anxiety. Any change to your cat’s daily routine is experienced (by her) as a stress-inducing event. The goal is to minimize change and maximize the amount of control kitty feels over her situation.
Enrichment may also mean adding or changing things in your pet’s environment that encourage her to perform or mimic natural feline activities, like climbing to a high spot or hunting “prey” (cat toys). For details on the five key areas of your cat’s environment and how to enrich each one, read “Your Cat’s Life in Captivity – How to Simulate Conditions in the Wild.”

Winter Safety for your Dog

Big Al• Do not leave your dog outside unsupervised without a heated shelter. Just because your dog has fur, it does not mean he can withstand the cold. Though some dog breeds (like Huskies and Malamutes) are better suited to cold weather, all dogs should have access to a warm shelter at all times. Most dogs do best living indoors. However, if your dog must live outdoors, provide a heatd dog bed and adequate shelter.

• Small dogs or those with little to no hair should have sweaters or jackets for protection against the cold. Some of the most common breeds that will benefit from protective clothing are Chihuahuas, Whippets, and Greyhounds. Remember, not all dogs will tolerate clothing, so don’t push it – just make an extra effort to keep them out of the cold. Keep food and water in a place where they will not freeze – preferably inside! A heated dog bowl can help outdoor water and food from freezing.

• Watch those feet! If your dog will tolerate it, consider foot protection booties. This can keep your dog’s feet safe from harm, such as dangerous objects hidden by the snow or salt on roads and walkways. Additionally, booties can help give your dog a better grip and prevent slipping on ice.

• When walking your dog near ice, use extra caution to avoid slipping. Always keep a close watch your dog and be sure he says nearby. Do not allow your dog to run across frozen bodies of water – he could fall into icy water if the ice is too thin!

• If you use an indoor or outdoor fireplace, always keep a safety guard around it in order to protect your dog away from the flames and soot. Do not leave a fire unattended.

• If your dog is in the cold and begins excessively shaking or shivering, get him back to warm shelter as soon as possible. If you suspect your dog is developing hypothermia, bring him to a vet immediately.

• Avoid letting your dog eat snow or anything else on the ground. Dangerous objects or chemicals may be hidden in the snow. Also, eating snow can cause stomach upset and even hypothermia. Always keep fresh room temperature water available at all times.

• Beware of antifreeze, it’s highly toxic! Antifreeze tastes good to pets, but even a small amount can kill your dog. Though exposure to antifreeze is a risk all year, the risk is especially high during the colder months. Keep your eyes on your dog at all times – and keep antifreeze out of reach. If you suspect your dog has had ANY exposure to antifreeze, get to a vet right away.

• In general, be sure to contact your vet if any abnormal behavior or signs of illness appear.

Finding Time to Train Your Dog

Cali-2
Information excerpted from the book “When Pigs Fly” by Jane Killon
You do have the time to train your dog. Whether you realize it or not, you already are spending a lot of time training your dog. Every minute you are with your dog you are training him. Your everyday interactions with him are the most powerful training tools you have.

Your dog depends entirely on you for all of his needs. If he wants to eat, you feed him. If he wants to go outside, you open the door. If he wants to come out of his crate, you let him out. If he wants his toy, you get it out and throw it for him. Every time your dog wants something, that something can be a reinforcer for something that you want him to do. If you are going to give your dog something he wants or needs, that is an opportunity for you to ask for something in return. Head scratches, belly rubs, play sessions, treats, and walks are all things that you dispense to your dog and they all represent training opportunities. Since you do all of those things every day for your dog anyway, you can train your dog without taking any more time out of your day than you are already giving your dog.

Remember these two concepts:

1. If you do things for your dog without asking him to do something for you, you have trained him to not work to get what he wants. You have trained him that he is free to ignore you until you signal that you will be gratifying one of his desires.

2. If you ask him for a behavior in exchange for doing things for him, you have trained him to work for you to get what he wants. You have trained him that he had better pay attention to you because you never know when a reinforcement opportunity might arise.

Anytime your dog wants to go out or come in the house, you have a golden opportunity to train something. He wants something that only you can give him. Why not get a little something from him in return? Ask your dog for a sit before he rushes through the door. You should work on door etiquette, where your dog sits and stays before the open door until you release him.

When you train with the methods in this book, just being with your dog becomes a dialog. You will find that it is incredibly easy to integrate dog training into your life. Once you have taught the basic foundation behaviors, you never need to have a formal training session with your dog again; just being with your dog will shape him into a model citizen.

For more advice on training impossible (and not-so-impossible) dogs, purchase Jane Killon’s When Pigs Fly! Training Success with Impossible Dogs from The Whole Dog Journal.

Cancer Treatment Vaccine

2015-10-08 20.29.28-1Dr. Lawman is the CEO of Morphogenesis, Inc., which is a cell and gene therapy company located in Tampa, Florida. The company was founded by a brilliant group of scientists from around the world who have a vision of what cell and gene therapy can do for the face of medicine.
Morphogenesis, Inc. is a research and development company that has grown into a clinical stage company about to launch its first human trial. Dr. Lawman and her team have developed a protein-tagged cancer vaccine for companion animals as well as humans called ImmuneFx.
Their approach to cancer is quite different from the traditional standard of care treatments, which include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. “We believe the body’s innate intelligence is what will win the day,” says Dr. Lawman.
Cancer is an ever-changing, ever-evolving disease, which makes it very difficult to treat with traditional therapies. The Morphogenesis scientists have taken the difficulties of treating cancer and turned them into an advantage.
Multiple mutations create cancer, and it was originally assumed those mutations were static. However, science is discovering that the mutations are different in different types of cancers, and they’re different from individual to individual. Sometimes they’re even different from tumor to tumor inside one individual.
When these genetic mutations occur, they sometimes form abnormal proteins. The ImmuneFx cancer vaccine harnesses the power of the immune system and causes it to respond to all those abnormal proteins within individual tumors and individual patients.
I want to make sure everyone reading this understands that ImmuneFx isn’t a vaccine in the traditional sense of the word.
We’re accustomed to vaccines that are designed to protect against potential microbial invasion, in other words, preventative vaccines. ImmuneFx is different in that it is a therapeutic vaccine. “Vaccine” in this instance means the drug is designed to incite the immune system to fight something.
A very encouraging benefit of ImmuneFx is its apparent lack of side effects. Veterinarians have delivered over 1,200 doses to various breeds of cats, dogs, and horses, and have seen no adverse side effects.
What types of cancers ImmuneFx treats according to Dr. Lawman:
“It’s a universal technology. The way it works is that we take a single gene that encodes a bacterial protein that is widely recognized by the immune system. That’s the way the immune system protects against microbial invasions. It recognizes that the bacteria or fungi are foreign to the body, and ImmuneFx takes advantage of that intelligence.
A bacterial protein is expressed on the surface of tumor cells, and those cells can no longer hide from the immune system. Any tumor cell that expresses this bacterial antigen is now exposed to the immune system. It’s like a big red flag waving.”
As Dr. Lawman explains it, this triggers a cascade of events. Once the antigen-presenting cells recognize the flag, they actually chew up the tumor cells, which reveal the abnormal proteins within them.
When that happens, the adaptive immune response (the killer T cells) and the antibody response get educated about all those abnormal proteins. Their numbers expand by the millions as they flood the body, killing every tumor cell that has the antigens on them.
The ImmuneFx vaccine helps the immune system “see” cancer cells that would otherwise be hidden.
At the time of this writing, ImmuneFx has been used to treat over 30 different types of cancers in dogs, cats, and horses. Just two examples are canine osteosarcoma and feline fibrosarcoma. The type of tumor really doesn’t matter, because once the bacterial gene is expressed in those tumor cells, the immune system is able to see what it needs to destroy.
The ImmuneFx technology can be used in several different ways. For example, a veterinarian can take a biopsy of a tumor and send it to the Morphogenesis lab. Once at the lab, the bacterial gene is placed inside the tumor cells, and the cells are irradiated so they can’t divide when they’re administered. The cells are shipped back to the vet, who performs a simple intradermal injection of the cells into the patient. This procedure can be done for any type of tumor sent to Dr. Lawman’s team.
Another approach is to take the bacterial gene and inject it directly into a tumor lesion. Dr. Lawman is currently involved in a melanoma study in horses in which she’s using this technique. The gene is introduced right into the melanoma lesion using a needleless injector. She isn’t prepared to share the results of the study yet, except to say that she’s very surprised and excited.
Morphogenesis is also creating another type of off-the-shelf vaccine. As an example, they can extract osteosarcoma tumor cells from a biopsy sample and grow them in culture until they develop into continuously growing cell lines. By evaluating the antigen expression and perhaps combining a couple of cell lines, they can create an off-the-shelf vaccine.
The surgery to obtain a biopsy is difficult, and logistically, it can also be difficult to directly inject genes into tumor lesions. By growing cell lines in their laboratory, Morphogenesis can create treatments that veterinarians can have on hand to administer to cancer patients in their practice.
At the current time, Morphogenesis can make a personalized vaccine from a patient’s own tumor, and that service is available throughout the US. The plan for the equine melanoma vaccine is that it will be an off-the-shelf product, hopefully available throughout the US sometime next year.
As for the cost of treatments, Dr. Lawman says the veterinarians she works with set treatment costs for their individual practices, but she believes the therapy is being offered to clients at a cost that is comparable to the cost of traditional chemotherapy.
Dr. Lawman and her team are in the process of filing with the FDA to test ImmuneFx in humans. The first study is planned with asymptomatic patients with indolent non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In fact, the FDA and the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC) have given Morphogenesis the green light to be the first to test gene therapy with a cancer population in the earliest stages of the disease.
Another human study Dr. Lawman hopes to start next year involves an off-the-shelf, directly injectable melanoma vaccine somewhat similar to the equine melanoma product they are currently testing.
If you would like to learn more about ImmuneFx and the company, you can visit the website: http://www.morphogenesis-inc.com/. You can also call the company at (813) 875-6600.

Treating Tick Bites

prevent-ticks-dogs_71634c72306906feBecause they are small and their bites don’t itch, ticks are easily overlooked, especially adult deer ticks and the nymphs of any species. Ticks prefer warm, moist conditions, so double-check under collars and around ears. If you aren’t sure what a lump or bump is, inspect it with a magnifying glass. Warts, similar skin growths, and nipples can feel like feeding ticks.

Be careful when removing a tick to grasp it with tweezers firmly at the head, as close to the dog’s skin as possible, and slowly pull straight back. Never twist, press, burn, or apply irritating substances like kerosene to an attached tick because doing so can cause the parasite to expel the contents of its digestive tract, creating an unwanted hypodermic effect.

Three-percent hydrogen peroxide, the common disinfectant, is recommended for tick bites because the oxygen it contains destroys the Lyme disease bacteria. Hydrogen peroxide can be liberally poured over bites on light-haired dogs (keep away from eyes and apply directly to the skin) but because it’s a bleach, this method is not recommended for black or dark-haired dogs.

Using an eyedropper to apply hydrogen peroxide directly to the bite helps prevent unwanted bleaching.

Finding the Right Vet

Dog at the vet

Are you looking for a good veterinarian? Your next veterinarian will come with staff, a facility and more. Make a list of what qualities are most important to you in a veterinarian. Here are some things to consider:
Education / Board Certification / Experience
Some vets take extra steps after vet school, completing internships and/or obtaining board certification. How much does this extra education matter to you? Are you willing to pay extra for it? What about experience? If your dog has a complicated medical problem, you may prefer a vet with experience in that area.
Bedside Manner/Personality
Do you want warm and fuzzy? Someone who listens and really wants to help you and your pet? Or, are you fine with a less interactive vet who is quick and to-the-point?
Medical Practices
Are you looking for a vet who can offer multiple treatment options using up-to-date or even cutting edge medical practices? Or, are you looking for just basic no-frills medical care. There’s nothing wrong with the basics, but if you want to give your dog the best care possible, you need to find a vet who can offer it.
Support Staff
Your vet relies on support staff to keep the clinic running smoothly and take excellent care of patients. Do you want friendly, skilled, knowledgeable, helpful, and compassionate staff who recognize you and your pet? How much do you care about what goes on behind the scenes? Veterinary support staff members do much more than you think.
Facility
Is state of the art equipment of great importance? Do you want your vet clinic to have a sleek, high-tech look and feel or a down-to-earth, cozy neighborhood feel? Maybe you are looking for a combination of the two?
Amenities
Are you looking for a one-stop-shop, or is your search mainly about primary medical care for your pet? Some vets offer boarding, grooming, doggy daycare, physical therapy, and more. Others will refer you to outside businesses for these services. Bigger is not always better, but some people like the idea of an all-in-one animal care center. Others prefer the one-on-one care they can get from a smaller, medical-focused facility.
Location
How far from home are you willing to travel? Does the neighborhood matter? Consider the traffic and how the trip to you vet might affect your dog.
Hours of Operation
Do you need evening or weekend hours due to your schedule? Do you want the option to drop off your pet for the day? Consider your schedule and what will really work for you and your pets.
Cost and Payment Options
Good veterinary care is worth paying for. Do you have financial restrictions? You may want to find a non-profit vet or one who offers payment plans. Are you willing to sacrifice one or more of the other important things on your list? Depending on your area, you might need to compromise.

Five Things to Do to Find Your Missing Pet

lost dog1. Make up flyer’s with your dog’s picture, phone number and reward if possible. Post these flyers in community centers, grocery stores, vet offices, animal shelters or anywhere the flyer has a chance of being noticed.

2. File a lost pet report with every shelter, animal control office and humane society in your area. Visit them as often as possible.

3. Walk and drive through your neighborhood and recruit friends and family to do the same. While you’re out, talk to neighbors and passersby and let them know you are desperate to find your pet.

4. Leave some of your pet’s favorite food and fresh water outside your home in case they find their own way back home.

5. Place ads in local newspapers and onlineat sites such as Missing Pet Network, Petfinder, Find Fido.com, Center for Lost Pets and Craigslist.

When your pet returns home, make sure to have him/her properly collared and tagged, microchips can be especially helpful in getting your lost pet back.

Purrfurred Pet Sitting is a fully insured pet sitting business that puts the safety and well-being of your pet first. For more information: http://www.purrfurredpetsitting.com. – See more at: http://www.purrfurredpetsitting.com/blog/

Canine Influenza

20150418_154020-1Canine influenza is a highly contagious viral infection seen in dogs. Also called dog flu, this respiratory illness is caused by the influenza A virus.
As of April 2015, two strains of canine influenza have been identified: H3N8 and H3N2.
Signs of Canine Influenza
Nearly all dogs that come in contact with canine influenza will contract the virus. Some dogs will never show signs of illness.
The majority of dogs exposed will become mildly to moderately ill. A small number of dogs will develop a severe form of the disease. Dogs that become sick develop one or more of the following signs:
• Coughing (sometimes a dry, persistent cough that resembles kennel cough)
• Sneezing
• Discharge from nose and/or eyes
• Lethargy
• Loss of appetite
• Fever (104ºF to 106ºF seen in the severe form of flu)
Canine Influenza Treatment
Although there is no known cure, canine influenza can usually be treated with supportive care. If your dog is showing any signs of illness, contact your veterinarian right away. After performing a thorough examination and likely some diagnostic tests, your vet will determine the best plan. Treatment generally involves maintaining hydration, supporting nutritional needs and preventing or treating secondary infections. Dogs with severe flu signs will need more intensive veterinary care.
Left untreated, canine influenza can lead to pneumonia. That is why it is so important to seek veterinary attention at the earliest sign of disease.
With proper care, most dogs will make a full recovery. The mortality rate for canine influenza is less than 10%.
Preventing Canine Influenza
Canine influenza is a somewhat newer disease, so dogs generally lack natural immunity to it. The virus can affect dogs of all ages, breeds and sizes, even those in optimum health. That is why nearly all dogs exposed to the dog flu become infected.
Canine influenza is spread through contact with the respiratory secretions of infected dogs. Exposure can also occur by contact with contaminated objects. The risk of exposure increases in areas where dogs gather. This includes boarding kennels, dog parks, “doggie day care” and canine events.
There is a vaccine available for canine influenza, but it was developed for the H3N8 strain. Currently, there is no information about the vaccine’s efficacy against the H3N2 strain. However, if your dog is exposed to many different dogs on a regular basis, the canine influenza vaccine might be recommended. Ask your veterinarian for more information about the dog flu vaccine.
Fortunately, canine influenza is not known to be transmissible from dogs to humans. However, it is possible for humans to transfer the virus from one dog to another through contact. That is why proper hygiene is essential to prevent the spread of the virus. Be sure to wash your hands, face and clothing after contact with unknown or sick dogs. Clean all areas and objects that may be contaminated.
Note: the H3N2 strain of canine influenza virus may be transmissible to cats. Neither strain is known to be transmissible to other species.