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Archive for April, 2013

WELCOME:

  • Rajah
  • Sweetpea
  • Webb pups
  • Bella W.
  • Stella W.
  • Laddie
  • Brownie
  • Maverick
  • MacGyver
  • Gino
  • Bella C.
  • Pretty Girl
  • Stella B.
  • Koala
  • Coco
  • Brooklyn
  • Odin
  • Ivan
  • Jackson

 

WE REMEMBER:

  • Milton
  • Abby
  • Misty
  • Sophie
  • Dexter

floralwreathcolor

 

 

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Happy for the cozy temperatures and blue skies we’ve been blessed with the past two weekends, I took the opportunity to twice visit one of my favorite free parks in Virginia — Windsor Castle Park in Smithfield; and I got to know an area that’s new to me — the Mariners’ Museum Park  in Newport News.

I began two Saturdays ago by visiting Windsor Castle Park, just a short drive down the highway from a farm in Suffolk where I take weekend horseback riding lessons. I’ve learned that one of the best things I can do for myself after riding is to go for a nice long walk, to ward off next-day muscle soreness.

Keeper, my lesson horse at Indian Point Farm. Photo by Jennifer Miele.

Keeper, my lesson horse at Indian Point Farm. Photo by Jennifer Miele.

At the park, I kept an eye out for wildlife slightly more exotic than the ubiquitous squirrels. To my delight, I caught sight of a nutria swimming around in the marsh. 

Water rat

He’s larger than he looks! Photo by Jen Miele.

Also spotted, but not photographed: hawks, turkey vultures, and fiddler crabs. I did get a kick out of two squirrels playing a game of tag. The game ended abruptly when Squirrel A jumped up on a bridge, saw me standing there, then turned around and high-tailed it up a tree. Squirrel B (the chaser) had already spotted me and took off in the opposite direction.

The real wildlife worth watching that day were the slightly buzzed folks returning from the Annual Smithfield Wine and Brew Fest held at the park. After chatting up some friendly locals, I turned my attention back to the marshes.

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Windsor Castle Park. Photo by Jen Miele.

Windsor Castle Park. Photo by Jen Miele.

Windsor Castle Park. Photo by Jen Miele.

The next day, I toured the “Working South” exhibit at the Peninsula Fine Arts Center, then set out on the nearby Noland Trail at Mariners’ Museum Park, having forgotten my water bottle, not dressed for hiking, and not realizing the trail is 5 miles long. But I did bring my camera.

Dogwood blossom, Mariners' Museum Park, Newport News, VA. Photo by Jen Miele.

Dogwood blossom, Mariners’ Museum Park, Newport News, VA. Photo by Jen Miele.

Lake Maury. Photo by Jennifer Miele.

Lake Maury. Photo by Jennifer Miele.

Long-leggedy beastie sneaking around the pool. Photo by Jen Miele.

Long-leggedy beastie sneaking around the pool. Photo by Jen Miele.

Hungry turtle. Photo by Jen Miele.

Hungry turtle. Photo by Jen Miele.

This past Saturday, I returned to Windsor Castle Park and cleaned up on the animal sightings. There was yet another (or possibly the same) nutria, for starters.

My camera battery was giving up the ghost, so here is a list of animals I saw and did not photograph: a red-winged blackbird, a goose, turkey vultures, cormorants, cardinals, a skink, turtles, little fish that stay underwater and larger, splashy ones that breach the surface whenever I look the other way.

Sunlight sparkles on the surface of Cypress Creek. Photo by Jen Miele.

Sunlight sparkles on the surface of Cypress Creek. Photo by Jen Miele.

I did capture this heron standing by the shore:

Egret on Cypress Creek. Photo by Jen Miele.

Egret on Cypress Creek. Photo by Jen Miele.

Continuing down the path, I enjoyed the view.

Natural beauty. Photo by Jen Miele.

Natural beauty. Photo by Jen Miele.

Cypress Creek at Windsor Castle Park. Photo by Jen Miele,

Cypress Creek at Windsor Castle Park. Photo by Jen Miele,

Finally — and the absolute highlight of my day — I met the Princess of Windsor Castle Park:

Trail buddy. Photo by Jen Miele.

Trail buddy. Photo by Jen Miele.

Far from being bad luck, Princess was the perfect traveling companion. Though strangers at first, we snuggled on a bench at the end of a pier and admired the view, including the egret pictured earlier. A vulture circled above, then swooped down low to get a better look at us. Just as I was pondering the absence of cormorants in the park, one of the jet-black birds flew overhead.

Adding to the drama, a slate-grey military ‘copter hacked its way through the air over us, using Cypress Creek as its flight path. (Cue “Paint it, Black” by the Rolling Stones.) I waved to the occupants of the helicopter, and I like to think they smiled and waved back at the girl sitting on a bench over the water, cuddling a black cat.

Finally, I’d like to share yet another tree-hugger photo, proving once again that the most dedicated tree-huggers in the world actually live in the forest:

Is this how trees reproduce? Photo by Jen Miele.

Is this how trees reproduce? Photo by Jen Miele.

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What is hyperthyroidism?
The thyroid gland, located in your cat’s neck, uses dietary iodine to make thyroid hormones (thyroxine) that help regulate important body functions, including:

  • Metabolism
  • Body temperature
  • Blood pressure
  • Heart rate
  • Gastrointestinal function

When a cat has hyperthyroidism, its thyroid gland is enlarged and it produces excessive amounts of thyroid hormone.

Illustration from Hill's Pet Nutrition pamphlet on Feline Thyroid Health.

Illustration from Hill’s Pet Nutrition pamphlet on Feline Thyroid Health.

Hyperthyroidism is most often diagnosed in cats older than 10 years. Untreated hyperthyroidism can have serious — even fatal — effects on organs such as the heart and kidneys.

What are the signs of hyperthyroidism?

  • Weight loss
  • Increased appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased thirst
  • Poor skin and coat condition
  • Hyperactivity

Because some of these same symptoms can appear as a result of other diseases, such as diabetes or kidney failure, your cat will need tests such as a blood profile and urinalysis to determine the actual problem.

Did you know? An over-active thyroid is more common in cats than in dogs, and an under-active thyroid is more common in dogs than in cats.

How is hyperthyroidism treated?
There are four types of treatment available today:
1. Daily nutrition: limiting intake of dietary iodine reduces thyroid hormone production. One such food available to cat owners is Hill’s Prescription Diet y/d.
2. Daily medication: anti-thyroid drugs inhibit the production of thyroid hormones. Such drugs must be administered with caution, so that the person giving the medication does not accidentally absorb the drug.
3. Radioactive iodine therapy: radiation to treat abnormal thyroid tissue. This procedure is performed by a veterinary specialist, available through a referral by your regular vet. Treatment is considered highly effective, though it can be expensive if the pet is not covered by pet health insurance.
4. Surgery: removal of diseased thyroid tissue. Surgery is often successful, though some cats may afterwards require thyroxine replacement therapy either short-term or long-term.

Can I purchase Hill’s Prescription y/d at the store?
Y/d is available only through veterinarians. Because it is designed to act on thyroid hormone production, the food is not appropriate for all pets in a household; for this reason, it is not sold as an over-the-counter product.

Illustration from Hill's Pet Nutrition pamphlet on Feline Thyroid Health.

Illustration from Hill’s Pet Nutrition pamphlet on Feline Thyroid Health.

Why does the veterinarian recommend y/d?
In tests, y/d (when fed alone, without treats or other foods) improved thyroid health in 3 weeks. Also, when properly fed, the food is designed to eliminate the need for anti-thyroid drugs. Y/d also provides the daily nutrition your cat needs to stay healthy.
And remember what we said about hyperthyroidism affecting kidney and heart health? Y/d addresses those issues, too. Y/d contains carnitine and taurine for the heart and reduced sodium levels for kidney health.

*************************************************************************************

Sources of information for this article:
Feline Thyroid Health, pamphlet by Hill’s Pet Nutrition available at our clinic
Saunders Manual of Small Animal Practice
Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary

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New research shows that some respiratory illnesses in cats, previously believed to be feline asthma or bronchitis may actually be Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease (HARD).

Heartworm larvae (immature worms) — spread through the bite of a mosquito — migrate to the cat’s lungs where they produce inflammation, leading to breathing difficulties.

Interestingly, dying larvae can also cause inflammation. A few larvae may grow to adulthood, but the death of adult heartworms can produce an inflammatory response so severe that it can cause sudden death in a cat.

KnowHeartworms.org has identified 13 signs that may indicate the presence of heartworms in a cat:

  • anorexia
  • blindness
  • collapse
  • convulsions
  • coughing
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty breathing
  • fainting
  • lethargy
  • rapid heart rate
  • sudden death
  • vomiting
  • weight loss

Other health problems (including kidney disease, Feline Leukemia, hyperthyroidism, and diabetes, among others) may cause some of the same symptoms listed above.

Adding to the confusion is the fact that heartworm disease is difficult to diagnose in cats — as compared to dogs, in which a simple blood test can detect the presence of worms.

And as previously mentioned, heartworm disease in cats is not curable.

However, heartworm disease and HARD are preventable, through the use of products like Revolution. The best time to start your cat on Revolution is before it develops symptoms of HARD

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Revolution is designed to be safe for use in cats that may already be infected with heartworms, and it can prevent further infections. Revolution also protects cats from fleas, roundworms, hookworms, and ear mites.

If your cat is currently on a flea-only treatment, it is easy to switch to Revolution – just ask!

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Q:  What’s brown, green, yellow, and white, and lasts for six months?

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A:  Sentinel Flavor Tabs — the once-a-month heartworm/flea/intestinal worm pill — and it’s back in stock!

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Switching back to Sentinel is easy: simply give Sentinel on the date the next heartworm preventative dose is due.

As always, your dog should be tested before beginning any heartworm preventative, if it has been a year or more since the last test or if you have skipped or delayed any doses.

 

Sentinel - Ask for it by name!

Sentinel – Ask for it by name!

Ready for more good news? You can save $10 on each Sentinel 6-pack with a rebate form available only at our office.*

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Be sure to ask for Sentinel heartworm preventative on your next visit to our clinic!

*Purchases from online or catalogue pharmacies do  not qualify for this offer.

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April is Heartworm Awareness Month for dog owners.

Scratch that —

April is Heartworm Awareness Month for dog and cat owners.

New poster 2

Fact: Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes.

Fact: Mosquitoes don’t just feed on us; they take blood meals from cats and dogs, too.

Fact: Mosquitoes often find their way into our houses, putting “indoor” pets at risk for Heartworm Disease.

Here’s what else you need to know right now:

  • Heartworm disease is preventable, thanks to products like HeartGard, Iverhart Max, and Revolution.
  • It only takes a single heartworm to cause a fatal reaction in cats.
  • Heartworm disease is difficult to diagnose in cats; tests can return false negative results.
  • There is no cure for heartworm disease in cats.
  • Treatment for heartworm infection in dogs is costly, painful, and can be fatal.
Choose your weapon in the fight against heartworm disease.

Choose your weapon in the fight against heartworm disease.

Get more information on Feline Heartworm Disease from KnowHeartworms.org.

Heartworm prevention bonus: Most prescription heartworm preventatives also contain protection against intestinal worms (which can be spread to humans) and some contain protection against fleas or other parasites. That’s a lot of bang for your buck!

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According to a recent interview with leading parasitologists, published by Veterinary Practice News, we can expect to see more ticks this year for the following reasons:

  • Warmer winters
  • Suburbanization, which brings together people, wildlife and ticks
  • An increase in white-tailed deer
  • Migratory birds that carry ticks to new areas
  • A movement toward the preservation of open space and the replanting of trees
  • The use of fewer insecticides

This news is cause for concern for everyone. Those of us who have dogs and cats that venture outdoors must not ignore the risk to our pets. That means protecting our pets, as well as ourselves.

Ticks are carriers for the following six diseases:

  • Lyme Disease
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Anaplasmosis
  • Babesiosis
  • Tularemia
Baked bean? Nope - it's an engorged, dead tick, thoughtfully preserved for the enlightenment of future generations of pet owners. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

Baked bean? Nope – it’s an engorged, dead tick, thoughtfully preserved for the enlightenment of future generations of pet owners. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.

Get links to articles on each disease here and learn how to protect yourself and your family.

We can help protect your pet with Lyme Disease vaccinations and Preventic collars, so let us know if you and your pet will be doing any of the following activities:

  • hiking, especially in wooded or grassy areas, such as state and public parks
  • camping
  • travelling
  • hunting

Of course, ticks can be found right in your own backyard, so keep an eye out for these pests – and if you see one on your dog or cat, tell us!

In fact, we’ve begun hearing from more clients who are finding ticks on their cats — and those cats are not going hiking with their owners. That means ticks are very much a backyard problem in this area.

Found a tick on your pet?
Watch this video from About.com that explains the Do’s and Don’t’s of tick removal.

Need a tick removal device?
I searched Amazon.com and came up with this list of tick removal devices, including the crow-bar type shown in the video.

Other resource on the pending tick explosion:
Companion Animal Parasite Council

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