Archive for February, 2011

Obesity in pets is almost the equivalent of smoking in human medicine

Monday, February 28th, 2011

I never equated giving an extra few treats to Simon as really harming him.  He is a little heavier than he should be, but I felt he was getting older so he should enjoy a few more treat  So what if he is a few pounds heavier than he should be. 

But…when the study equated the affects of overweight pets to smoking in human medicine, I was, like most of us (pet owners) would be, horrified!  Well, this is how Steven Budsberg, director of clinical research at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine positoned obesity in animals. “There’s the high cost to people, and it’s self-induced. I never met a German shepherd who could open the refrigerator or food bag and pour himself another bowl.”

A recent study reports that the problem is reaching epidemic proportions, with more than half of U.S. dogs and cats now overweight or obese  — defined as 30% above normal weight.  According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, one-fifth of dogs and cats fit the bill.   The main culprit is us, who routinely overfeed our pets, don’t exercise them enough. Common problems from obesity include diabetes, arthritis, kidney failure, high blood pressure and cancer. Research also suggests that pets fed less over their lifetime can live significantly longer.

One big problem is that our idea of what  is a fat pet is different from what veterinarian’s define as a fat pet. A study by Pfizer Inc.’s Animal Health business showed that 47% of veterinarians felt their (dog)  patients were obese, while only 17% of dog owners agreed.  For instance, a 90-pound female Labrador retriever is equal to a 186-pound woman who is 5-foot, 4-inches tall—a human body-mass index that’s considered obese.  Another example is  a fluffy, domestic short-haired cat weighing 15 pounds;  this  is like a 254-pound man who is 5′ 9″.

Okay, so the problem is us.  We control what we feed our pets, so we control their health.  Feed them less and exercise them more.  I am cutting back on Simon’s treats as of today and committing to taking him out for more exercise starting today.

Hope this opened your eyes.  It did mine.


First 2011 Case of H1N1 Influenza Virus Infection in Cat

Friday, February 18th, 2011

On February 14, 2011, it was reported that two Wisconsin cats whose owner had recently suffered flu-like symptoms has tested positive for the H1N1 influenza virus and had to be euthanized.  These ares the first confirmed case of the H1N1 virus in a pet since January of 2010.

The virus can be transmitted from human to animals.  It has not been reported to being transmitted from pets to humans or between pets.  Here are answers to questions regarding the H1N1 Influenza Virus and our Pet from Karen “Doc” Hlligan, DVM, Director of Veterinary Services at spcaLA

What other types of animals can catch the H1N1 influenza virus? The H1N1 influenza virus has been reported in pigs in 10 countries, turkeys in Canada and Chile, and ferrets in Oregon and Nebraska.  In most cases, the infection appeared to cause mild signs. 

Is canine influenza similar to the H1N1 influenza virus?   No. There is a separate strain of influenza that dogs can catch from other dogs called Canine Influenza H3N8.  People cannot catch the Canine H3N8 Influenza virus and there is a vaccine that is available for dogs.

Can my pet be vaccinated against H1N1?  No. There is no vaccine created for pets against this virus.  Human vaccines cannot safely be used on pets.

What symptoms would I see in my cat if it developed H1N1 influenza infection? 
Symptoms are expected to be mild and include loss of appetite, fever, lethargy, sneezing, nasal discharge and coughing.  Please note that there are many more common infections that can cause these same symptoms in cats and other pets.

Can I catch H1N1 influenza from my pet?  At the moment there are no reports of any person contracting the H1N1 virus from a pet.  Nevertheless, pet owners should take simple precautions to prevent transmission of the virus, especially if your pet is ill.  See below.

Can animals catch this virus from each other?  Currently, there are no reports of this virus spreading from pet to pet.  However, pet owners should follow standard techniques to prevent the spread of any germs between pets. See below.

How can I protect my pets and myself against H1N1?  Good hygiene and sanitation help protect the whole family. Here’s how to protect your two and four legged family members: 

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a sturdy tissue or cough/sneeze into your elbow instead of your hand
  • Wash your hands frequently, especially after coughing or sneezing, before or after touching your face, or before eating
  • Wash your hands before and after handling your pet or your pet’s food bowl, water bowl, bedding, or other supplies
  • Keep sick pets in a separate area, away from healthy pets
  • Do not allow your pet to sit or sleep close to your face, especially if you or your pet are ill
  • Contact your veterinarian or veterinary clinic if your pet becomes ill.
  • Keep your pet’s bedding, food and water bowls clean
  • Keep your pet up-to-date on vaccinations and other preventative care recommended by your veterinarian

Hope this helps in keeping our pets healthy!


Passiones Picantes y Peludos – Hot and Hairy Passions

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

I am very proud and excited to share with you the first Clean+Green video! 

We used actual video footage of cats’ natural movements throughout one day and then built a plot and music around it. 

Click on the link, turn on your speaker volume and prepare to laugh!  Passiones Picantes y Peludos – Hot and Hairy Passions

Screenplay by: Kevin Seaman, Directed by: Jenn Dorn, Music by: Brian Whitty, with the voice talents of: Baruch Porras-Hernandez and Kevin Seaman

Quincy and Simon

Valentine’s Day & Pet Safety

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Happy Valentine’s Day!  May all of you have a valentine with whom you will share this day.

Saint Valentine’s Day, commonly shortened to Valentine’s Day, is held on February 14 celebrating love and affection between intimate companions. The day was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD and is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines“).

Now for all of you who also share your home with a pet or whose Valentine has a pet, here is just a little reminder that you need to be careful with all those flowers and confectionery.

Pet-Safe Bouquets 
Lilies (all types) are potentially fatal to cats. When sending flowers, ask that no lilies are included —and when receiving an arrangement, sift through and remove all dangerous flowers. If your pet is suffering from symptoms such as stomach upset, vomiting or diarrhea, he may have ingested an offending flower or plant. 

Don’t let pets near roses or other thorny stemmed flowers. Biting, stepping on or swallowing their sharp, woody spines can cause serious infection if a puncture occurs.   If you send roses, have them de-thorned.  If you receive roses that aren’t de-thorned, do so.

Chocolate and other Candies 
Remember that chocolate, including baker’s, semi sweet, milk and dark are toxic to pets. In darker chocolates, methylxanthines—caffeine-like stimulants that affect gastrointestinal, neurologic and cardiac function—can cause vomiting/diarrhea, hyperactivity, seizures and an abnormally elevated heart rate. The high-fat content in lighter chocolates can potentially lead to a life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas. Go ahead and indulge, but don’t leave chocolate out for chowhounds to find. 

Don’t let pets near treats sweetened with xylitol. If ingested, gum, candy and other treats that include this sweetener can result in a sudden drop in blood sugar known as hypoglycemia. This can cause your pet to suffer depression, loss of coordination and seizures

Careful with the Bubbly 
Spilled wine, half a glass of champagne, some leftover liquor are nothing to cry over until a curious pet laps them up. Because animals are smaller than humans, a little bit of alcohol can do a lot of harm, causing vomiting, diarrhea, lack of coordination, central nervous system depression, tremors, difficulty breathing, metabolic disturbances and even coma. Potentially fatal respiratory failure can also occur if a large enough amount is ingested. 

Enjoy your day and keep the house safe for your (pet) valentine!

Quincy and Simon

2011 Year of the Rabbit

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Happy New Year!  The Year of 2011 is the Year of the Golden Rabbit, which begins on February 3, 2011 and ends on January 22, 2012.  Rabbits are private individuals and a bit introverted, and people born in this year are reasonably friendly individuals who enjoy the company of a group of good friends.  They are good teachers, counselors and communicators, but also need their own space.

According to Chinese tradition, the Rabbit brings a year in which you can catch your breath and calm your nerves.   To gain the greatest benefits from this time, focus on home, family, security, diplomacy, and your relationships with women and children.   Make it a goal to create a safe, peaceful lifestyle, so you will be able to calmly deal with any problem that may arise.

Rabbit Years:  01/29/1903 to 02/15/1904 (Water), 02/14/1915 to 02/02/1916 (Wood), 02/02/1927 to 01/22/1928 (Fire),  02/19/1939 to 02/07/1940 (Earth),  02/06/1951 to 01/26/1952 (Metal),  01/25/1963 to 02/12/1964 (Water),  02/11/1975 to 01/30/1976 (Wood),  01/29/1987 to 02/16/1988 (Fire),  02/16/1999 to 02/04/2000 (Earth),  02/03/2011 to 01/22/2012 (Metal).

Famous Rabbit People:  Angelina Jolie, Anjelica Huston, Drew Barrymore, Edith Piaf, Fanny Brice, Helen Hunt, Jane Seymour, Joan Crawford, Kate Winslet, Natasha Richardson, and Tina Turner.

Happy New Year from…

Simon and Quincy