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Health & Wellness

What Do Those Lab Tests Mean?  From Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Article: The Wisdom of Keeping Your Cat Indoors

Cocoa Mulch Danger

This alert comes from a fellow writer’s veterinarian friend.  Cocoa Mulch, which is sold by Home Depot, Foreman's Garden Supply and other Garden supply stores, contains a lethal ingredient called "Theobromine."  It is lethal to dogs and cats.  It smells like chocolate and it really attracts dogs.  They will ingest this stuff and die.  Several deaths already occurred in the last 2-3 weeks.  Just a word of caution -- check what you are using in your gardens and be aware of what your gardeners are using in your gardens.  Theobromine is the ingredient that is used to make all chocolate -- especially dark or baker's chocolate -- which is toxic to dogs.  Cacao bean shells contain potentially toxic quantities of theobromine, a xanthine compound similar in effects to caffeine and theophylline.  A dog that ingested a lethal quantity of garden mulch made from cacao bean shells developed severe convulsions and died 17 hours later. Analysis of the stomach contents and the ingested cacao bean shells revealed the presence of lethal amounts of theobromine.

The following website is snopes.com which is operated by Barbara and David Mikkelson.  I had never heard of it before.  It is called an urban legends reference website.  They have some useful information on the Cocoa Mulch Danger with links to the following: Hershey's who evidently is a manufacturer of Cocoa Mulch.  ASPCA website with warning information.  The University of Minnesota Veterinary Teaching Hospital (click on the link that reads "tables."  Also, The German Shepherd Rescue of New England Inc. 

Car Sickness

Playing children's Bible songs is a great way to combat car sickness.  It can help them to relax and bring peace to your pet.  We have always found that our cats love music!  We play them just for fun, too! 

Dental Care

There are clear indications that oral health status has a profound effect on the animal's general health. Periodontal disease may cause bacteria and toxins to enter the bloodstream with potentially deleterious effects on internal organs. Conversely, poor systemic health may manifest in the oral cavity in various ways and may also exacerbate periodontal disease. Your pet's dental examination is therefore not limited to the oral cavity but always includes a general physical examination.

Veterinarians likely recommend brushing your pet's teeth daily.  That schedule may not be possible for everyone.  For many years we have been brushing our cats teeth on a weekly basis.  Therefore, I would say that once or twice per week will likely prevent problems.  A big plus to this routine is that your pet doesn't have to undergo the use of anesthesia. 

My technique is to use an electric toothbrush. I like this because you have only a couple of minutes to get in and out of their mouths and the electric toothbrush gives you the quick brush strokes.  We have brush heads for each cat and using masking tape we label each one with their names.  Usually we use CET toothpaste.  My approach is to sit on the floor with my legs crossed and put the cat inside my legs in a bracelike position.  I wrap a towel around them and using a little container of water (not too cold) I use one hand to open their mouth and the other to brush.  You have to get in and out as fast as you can.  I stop every few seconds to give them a breather -- sometimes they sneeze during the process.  I've also found that rather than getting mad at them because they don't want to cooperate, I speak sweetly and tell them that they are very important and special and we don't want them to get sick because their teeth aren't clean. 

Fresh Water   

Always leave plenty of fresh water for your pet.  We have clean water available in a couple of locations in the house.  It's important to change it daily and use a clean bowl.  In the hot weather it is important that they drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.




Pet Loss Prevention:  Even if you have a cat that stays indoors, it is advisable to put a name tag on a collar on them.  We like the nylon break-away safety collars.  If the cat ever got the collar caught on something, it would unlock and come off.  You don't want to put them in danger.   JeffersPet.com is just one place on the internet where you can find these.  They are in most pet stores as well.  Click on the collars to go to Jeffers now.

You'll need a tag with your pet's name, your name, phone number and address on it.  One place online where you can purchase these are at http://www.luckypet.com/.  Click on the tags to go there now.http://www.luckypet.com/


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