Archive for May, 2014

How popular are cats in our culture?

*Google reports that “cats” are searched more than 30 million times a month.

*”Keyboard Cat” has been viewed on You Tube more than 34 million times.
(The oldest cat video on You Tube is boxing cats from 1894:

*”Funny cats” are searched on Google over 360,000 times a month.

*The Humane Society calculates that there are over 95 million cats living in American homes.

There is no doubt that cats are popular and beloved in America — yet cats visit the vet only half as often as dogs, including for routine care and wellness visits.

A recent study by Bayer revealed that, while 83% of cat owners brought their pet to the vet in its “kitten year,” the number dropped precipitously after that. Only 37% of respondents reported bringing their cat to the vet for a wellness checkup within the last year.

Some cat owners prefer to visit the vet only when their cat shows obvious signs of illness or injury. But it is important to remember that cats possess the survival trait of masking signs of weakness, until it is too sick to continue this behavior.

An annual check-up can help uncover clues to a larger problem.

For instance, has your kitty stopped eating her dry food because she’s picky — or has she developed painful dental disease?

Is your cat vomiting every day due to hairballs — or might he have an undiagnosed intestinal disorder?

Does your elderly cat have a new favorite place to sleep — or is arthritis pain keeping him from jumping up to his regular spot?

At home, do you regularly lift your cat’s tail to check for Tapeworm segments? Not everyone does, but the doctor checks this area during the cat’s exam. We’ve caught many a Tapeworm by suprise this way.

During check-ups, we’ve also found fleas with our trusty flea comb, discovered ingrown claws and uncovered hidden puncture wounds. Cats are masters of disguise, but your vet can help you root out their secrets.

Regarding Rabies — let’s look at the law:

ALL cats identified as having an owner must have a current Rabies vaccine, even if the cat never goes outdoors or has contact with animals that go outdoors


Norfolk requires that all cats over 4 months of age have a Rabies vaccine and pet license. Licensing requirements vary by city, so check with your city treasurer or click here.

Cats may have gotten a reputation as solitary, self-sufficient creatures — but they do need your help.

If your cat hasn’t had a wellness checkup in over a year, call us to schedule her appointment.

And if you need help getting a fiesty feline into a cat carrier, check out this video for tips on loading your kitty for a trip to the vet.


This guy is super-fly (and super fat.)

This guy is super-fly (and super fat.)

Today’s Feline Fast Facts are all about Super Cats:

  • The loudest purr by a domestic cat is 67.7 decibels and was achieved by Smokey, owned by Lucinda Ruth Adams of Northampton, UK in 2011.
  • Colonel Meow, a Himalayan-Persian cross who died earlier this year, held the world record for longest fur on a cat — 9 inches.
  • In Talkeetna, Alaska, a cat named Stubbs has been the mayor since July 1997.
  • A French female cat named Felicette became the first cat to fly on the fringes of space in 1963. She was launched in the nose cone of a Veronique AG1 rocket and parachuted back to earth, safe and sound.
  • In 2009, a 3-year-old cat named Lucky fell 26 stories from a Manhattan apartment and survived the fall.
  • The CIA’s Acoustic Kitty operation in the 1960s tried to use cats to obtain secret recordings at the Kremlin and Soviet embassies.

Even the average cat is super, compared to humans:

  • Cats can see in light 8 times dimmer than what people need for vision.
  • Domestic cats can jump up to five times their own height.
  • A cat’s field of vision is 285 degrees, compared to 210 degrees in people.
  • Collarbones in cats are free-flowing, enabling them to squeeze through small places.


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We’re celebrating Cat Week at our clinic by posting about cats all week. Let’s kick it off with a Top Ten list and some kitty trivia!

Top Ten States Where Cats Live the Longest

Montana…………………………14.3 years
Colorado…………………………13.2 years
Rhode Island……………………13 years
Illinois……………………………..12.8 years
Nebraska…………………………12.8 years
California………………………….12.7 years
Massachusetts…………………12.7 years
New Jersey……………………..12.7 years
Michigan…………………………12.6 years.
South Dakota…………………..12.6 years

Virginia did not rank in the Top Ten on this list put together by a veterinary corporation. However, we’ve met Siamese cats that lived into their twenties, so we know Virginia has its share of long-lived cats.

curly baby


Today’s cat trivia:

Celebrate! Cats live almost twice as long today as they did 50 years ago.

Look closely: The print on a cat’s nose has a unique ridged pattern, like a human fingerprint.

Say what? A cat lover is called an ailurophile.

The postcat always meows twice: In the 1870s, the Belgian village of Liege trained 37 mail cats to deliver letters. The plan was to wrap waterproof mailbags around each feline’s neck.

They love Blue Man Group: Cats can see some color — mostly shades of blue. They’re like a person who is red-green colorblind.

Can you hear me-ow? Blue-eyed white cats are more likely to be deaf. If a cat has one blue eye, it is likely deaf on the blue-eyed side.

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May 18th through 24th is National Dog Bite Prevention Week.


On Tuesday, we discussed how to prevent dog bites at home, including how to read canine body language. Avoiding dog bites at home is only half the equation, though. Understanding your own dog’s moods and idiosyncrasies is one thing — but what of the unfamiliar dog?

These tips may prevent or stop an attack by other dogs:

  • Never leave children unsupervised around dogs. Children are the most frequent victims of dog bites.
  • Teach your children not to approach strange dogs. 
  • Children should be taught to ask permission from the dog’s owner before petting it. Some dogs do not like being petted, so remind kids that sometimes the answer will be “NO.” 
  • Don’t run past a dog. Dogs love to chase and catch things. Don’t give them a reason to become excited or aggressive.
  • If a dog approaches to sniff you — stay still. In most cases, the dog will go away when it determines you’re not a threat.
  • If you’re threatened by a dog, remain calm. (We know — this can be tough!) Speak calmly and firmly, if you must talk. Avoid eye contact with the dog. Stay still until he leaves, or back away slowly until he is out of sight. Don’t turn and run.
  • If you fall or are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your head and neck, and protect your face.
  • Dogs that travel in pairs or packs can become dangerous when they spot a target. If you see stray* dogs traveling together in your neighborhood, stay indoors and contact your local animal control officers.

*In this context, “stray” refers to dogs that are homeless or have escaped their yard.

If you are bitten:

  • Seek medical care.
  • Contact authorities and tell them everything you can about the dog, including its owner’s name, color/breed/size of the dog, and where you saw the dog (if animal control officers need to locate it.)
  • You have the right to know the dog’s Rabies vaccination status. The owner will be asked to provide this information to animal control officers who will then inform you of the pet’s status. Depending on this information, you may need to receive Rabies post-exposure vaccines as a precaution.

Information for this article was adapted from “Don’t worry, they won’t bite,” a brochure provided by the AVMA, Insurance Information Institute, and State Farm, and is available at our office.

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May 18 through 24 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week.


What can you do to prevent dog bites in your home?

First, be aware that any dog, any breed, any age and any size can bite if provoked.

A dog will bite to protect itself or its “property” (such as food or toys, pups, even people.) The first bite may serve as a warning; if the warning is ignored, the dog may bite a second time or it may attack.

Consider the circumstances in which a dog may feel threatened and go into protective mode. Knowing this in advance, you will be better able to predict and prevent bites.

Dogs are more likely to bite when:

  • afraid or insecure
  • sick
  • in pain
  • eating
  • sleeping
  • playing with or guarding a toy
  • guarding a family member (human or puppy)
  • irritated or over-stimulated due to rough contact

Proper training (professional help may be called for) and socialization can help a dog feel secure about his role in the family and community, and can teach him how to behave around family and strangers. A dog in its owner’s arms or in a car may bite when approached, due to insecurity or guarding behavior.

Veterinary medical intervention is necessary when pain or illness is suspected to be the root cause of aggression. Sudden-onset aggression in dogs may be a result of pain stemming from an undiagnosed condition. Proper disease treatment and/ or pain-management can improve a pet’s demeanor and return him to being a happy family member.

Respect the dog. Family members — especially children — should be taught not to interrupt a pet that is eating, sleeping, or guarding something. Children should also be taught the proper way to hold a pet and not to yank, squeeze, pull, or hit a pet. A pet that feels threatened may turn to bite without taking time to consider its target.

Learn to read your pet’s body language.
A pet that approaches you with confidence (walks tall, tail up and wagging or down and relaxed, ears forward, jaw relaxed, tongue out, a happy trotting gait) is showing signs that it desires contact.

A pet that is anxious can move into fear mode if its source of anxiety remains present.
Watch for these early warning signs of canine anxiety:

  • attempt to remove itself from source of stimulus
  • avoiding eye contact
  • frequently licking its lips
  • laying the ears back on its head
  • lowering its head
  • panting
  • pacing
  • repeated yawning
  • salivating
  • tucking its tail

Unless the pet or its source of anxiety is removed, the situation can quickly escalate.
Watch for these signs of fear, pain, or aggression:

  • ears pinned back
  • fur bristled 
  • growling, snarling, barking 
  • jaw tensed
  • low “stalking”posture
  • stiff halting gait 
  • tail rapidly swatting side to side
  • teeth bared 
  • tongue pulled in

These dogs are warning you: STAY AWAY!

Not mentioned above is the case of dogs biting during rough play. Dogs are pack animals and they will treat their family members as part of their pack. A trainer can help you establish yourself as leader of the pack.

A dog that does not have a clear understanding of who is in charge in the household may step up to fill the void, or it may react in fear. A dominant dog may try to run herd on its family members the way it would in a dog pack: by using its teeth to get a point across. This is unacceptable in a household.

Establish leadership in the family and discourage rough play. If a dog “wins” at playtime, she may mistakenly believe that she is in charge. Even when that is not the case, remember that a dog does not necessarily understand when “play biting” is acceptable and when it is not. If play biting becomes a favorite pastime, everyone will become her favorite chew toy!

We have listed many of the typical instances in which a dog may bite in the home, but this is not an exhaustive list. Can you think of other reasons a dog may bite a family member or even another pet? Share your experiences with us in the comments section.

On Thursday, we will discuss dog bites and Stranger Danger.

For additional information, visit our clinic to receive a free brochure titled “Don’t worry, they won’t bite.” Or Contact us and we will mail a brochure to you.


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Not sure what you want to do for fun this weekend? We’ve got two ideas for you!

K-9 Karnival at Mount Trashmore Park in Virginia Beach (10 AM to 3 PM)
It’s a day for the dogs as they compete in the 2014 Hyperflite Skyhoundz Local Competition, canine disc contest , 22nd Annual Dog-Gonest  Dog Show, and the Agility Course.
Enjoy canine-related product and service exhibits, rescue organizations and canine demonstrations.
Best of all — admission is FREE.
Click here for more information.

circus dogs vintage image graphicsfairy008b

Bark in the Park at Harbor Park in Norfolk (Gates open at 12:05 PM)
Bring your dog to Harbor Park and enjoy a Sunday afternoon game of Tides baseball with your favorite dog. Tickets for dogs are just $5 each, and the Tides will donate all the proceeds to a local pet-friendly organization.
Humans must purchase their own tickets at regular rates!
Call 757-622-2222 for more information or click here.

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Pet ER (207x174)

Here are 10 fancy ways of saying your pet is sick and needs to see the vet:

Your pet has:

anorexia…………………lack or loss of appetite for food
blepharitis………………inflammation of the eyelids
cachexia…………………general ill health and malnutrition; emaciation
copracrasia.…………….fecal incontinence
hematemesis…………..the vomiting of blood
hematochezia………….blood in the feces
ictus………………………..a seizure or stroke
keratitis..…………………inflammation of the cornea
pyoderma………………..any purulent skin disease
pyuria………………………pus in the urine

Medical definitions taken from Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or suggest a course of treatment for any pet. Pets with symptoms of ill health should be seen by their veterinarian.

 If your pet has an emergency, contact Blue Pearl at 757-499-5463 for 24/7 emergency care.

Read other Medical Definitions here and here.

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We published this post last year, but it’s as true now as it was then: tick populations are on the rise across the US, even in the southern states.

According to a recent interview with leading parasitologists, published by Veterinary Practice Newswe 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 a Lyme Disease vaccination and a Seresto collar, 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 that explains the Do’s and Don’t’s of tick removal.

Need a tick removal device?
I searched 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

Originally published April 9, 2013.

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