The month of February is reserved to spotlight a dog breed. Most of the time, I try to shed some light on a breed that isn’t very popular. Well this month is no exception as I am featuring a dog that is not very popular, unique in its appearance, rich in history and really considers its only job as being a companion for its owner. That breed is the Lowchen, which is also known as the “Little Lion Dog”.
The Lowchen is a small breed that generally stands about a foot tall but has an enormous heart. The coat is traditionally kept in a “lion clip” in which most of the hind quarters and tail are clipped down close to the skin. The overall effect is that of a mini lion with a full mane and plumed tail. This breed coat comes in many colors and color combinations.
The breed has a long and somewhat controversial history. We know from works of art depicting images of small dogs in a very distinctive lion trim from the breed dated to the 16thcentury. The breed has been depicted throughout the centuries in paintings, drawings and tapestries from around the world.
The controversy arises as to the exact origin of the breed. There are several theories of debate with one thinking that the breed originated in Northern Europe which is now known as Germany, France and Belgium. Because it came from this area, the Lowchen is thought to be tied to the breeds that were the forerunner to the modern day poodle. The stories go that they were a favorite companion for the ladies of the castles and they would lay close to their owners at night to keep them warm like a water bottle, as well as attract the fleas away from the owner.
Another theory is that the Lowchen originated in the Mediterranean region and are directly related to the Bichon breeds. Also there are some theories that the breed might have originated in Russia or Tibet.
The Lowchen has been a resident of all households through the ages, from castles to farmyards and cottages. Aside from the function of being a companion, they possibly were varmint hunters and fierce little guards.
There is a story from the late 1700’s about a Lowchen whose name was Bijou. As the story goes, Bijou was so upset that his owner was leaving him behind, he jumped out of a castle window into the Lahn River that was 60 feet below. One ending has him surviving and was rewarded by riding to the hunt in the owner’s saddle, the other that the jump ended in disaster. Whichever the outcome, his portrait from 1787 still hangs in the Baronesses’ bedroom in Wellburg Castle.
Little has been written about this breeds early years. The first record of a breeder and fancier was Dr. Walthier in Germany in the 1800’s. The breed standard was written in the 1800’s and in 1897, a Madame Madelaine Bennert purchased her first Lowchen. She is the one who would be recognized for her efforts in saving the disappearing breed.
In 1999, the Lowchen was admitted into the AKC in the Non-Sporting group. The Lowchen is a small breed that weighs about 15 pounds and has a life expectancy or about 13-15 years. It is a very loving dog whose sole purpose is giving love and hoping to get loved in return. It might see a squirrel, chase it and catch it, but it would not know what to do with it if it did catch it. It will bark at strangers, but then when they enter, the Lowchen will lick them to death. The Lowchen’s favorite spot to be is on the couch watching out the window.
Don’t mistake the breeds sweetness, because it is a true lion that will stand up to any German Shepherd and bark down a Great Dane. They are active, smart, and love children. They can make very good agility dogs because they are trainable, resourceful and very adaptable. Since they like to bark, it is recommended that they undergo some obedience training. Due to their haircoat it is advisable that they be brushed regularly and see an experienced groomer monthly. Another plus with this breed is that they are hypoallergenic.
There are very few health problems with this breed. But they may suffer from patellar luxations, heart issues and some eye issues.
Here at the Olsen Veterinary Clinic, we love to see all breeds. So if you have a Lowchen, or a mixed breed, gives us a call at (618)-656-5868 and we will be happy to assist you.
We as humans bathe at least once daily. Right? So should pets get bathed daily also? This is one of the questions that we get from pet owners regarding their four-legged family member. Generally my answer to the question would be no, but there are many factors that go into determining the proper frequency.
Obviously if your pet has been running and playing outside a lot and they are dirty and very odorous, then they possibly should be bathed. But why do we even bathe our pets? The easy answer is for its health. Without one, your dogs’ skin could get irritated and infected and its coat could get matted and hard. A dog’s breed, coat characteristics, and other variables play a factor in this.
So how often do we bathe a dog? The top reason is when the smell. Easy rule of thumb is if it smells beyond just normal dog smell, it’s time for a bath. If you are unsure about the skin, I would recommend talking to experts in the field like your veterinarian or a professional groomer. They can help you understand what may be the best options for your pet.
If your pet has skin issues, it may be prescribed a medical shampoo. As a dermatological professor told us—if it is wet, you want to dry it and if it is dry you will want to add moisture. Unfortunately, there is not one shampoo that will do both.
As human’s have different hair and skin issues, so do dogs. Some breeds are double-coated breeds. These breeds like the Samoyed, Alaskan Malamute and the Chow Chow most likely will require less frequent bathing but more brushing to keep their coats healthy and clean. By contrast, a breed like the Bassett Hound has a more oily coat, so it may require more frequent bathings. Short haired breeds like Dalmatians and Weimaraners tend to require very few bathings as they can regulate their natural oils without much help.
Now that we have determined factors that play into bathing your pet, what do we buy? First you will need a shampoo that will be appropriate for your pet as we have discussed previously. Secondly, some lukewarm water. Hot water can burn your pets skin and dry it out. Rule of thumb– the cooler the better. A good brush is good to have on hand. Prior to bathing it is best to comb out your pet and shed any dead hair. By combing agains the coat, you can prevent mats and help spread out your pet’s natural oils. Be sure that you have towels on hand to wipe them dry. I do not recommend using a blow dryer as the heat will dry out the skin. There are also dry shampoos out there that you can use to spray them down with and wipe it off without having to bathe them to preserve the natural oils.
So you are still confused about bathing your pet? Remember that we are always here to assist you, so please don’t hesitate to call us at (618)-656-5868.
You are about to experience the trip of a lifetime, but there is only one problem. You have a pet that is very unruly and it is hard to leave it behind because all your friends and family scatter when asked to take care of it. Have you ever had that scenario? I am sure a few of the readers have. So what options are out there that will give you piece of mind that your pet will be taken care of?
Consider taking your pet to a friend or family member that has pets, but make sure they are accustomed to each other. Friends that are also pet owners are very likely to be able to handle a pet that is a handful.
Another solution may be to hire a pet sitter that will stay in your home 24/7. That way your pet will not need to leave your house and can retain their comfort and schedule in your own home. Professional pet sitters are typically well equipped to handle pets that are rambunctious.
A not so new trend is the dog kennels. Marketing has kindly changed their names to pet hotels. Your pet may actually enjoy it. A lot of them offer daycare also, so you may consider taking them for daycare or a weekend prior to you leaving. If they enjoy it, then you may feel better about leaving them there. Some also have pet cams so that you may be able to check in on them anytime day or night. Make sure you bring your pet in before going, as most establishments require your pet be up to date on vaccinations.
Lastly, a refresher obedience class can be a good idea. Positive-reinforcement or private classes make work best.
With the upcoming holiday season, our readers may happen to have this situation. The Olsen Veterinary Clinic can offer advice to our clients and give them some options that are out there. Please call the office at (618)-656-5868 for questions or comments.
Dogs seem to get into ugly predicaments during the summer. If they like to wander, sometimes they may come back with that sticky tree sap that can cause debris like rocks or pine needles to stick to their paws. This can sometimes be quite painful and it leads to an owner figuring out how to remove the sap from your pet. Some types of sap can be toxic if ingested or cause irritation if it comes in contact with your pet’s skin, so it is important to work quickly to remove it.
Fortunately, removing tree sap is an easy process and can be done using common household items. Below are some steps that I recommend to remove sap from the fur.
- If the sap is hardened, it will need to be softened using a hair dryer set on its lowest setting. Test the dryer first with your hand to find a safe distance where the air feels warm but not hot.
- Loosen the sap by using olive oil, mineral oil, or smooth peanut butter. Massage the product onto the affected fur and let it sit a few minutes. It is important to only use products that are safe if ingested, since your pet may try to lick the oily substance off its fur.
- Use your fingers and a wide-tooth comb to carefully and slowly work the sap out of your pet’s fur. As you go, you can wipe some of the oily product and residue with a washcloth or paper towel.
- If there are stubborn patches near the tips of the hair, you can carefully trim them with a scissors, making sure to avoid cutting too close to the skin.
- Do a final cleanse with a pet friendly shampoo and warm water. You may need to shampoo the area more than once to get all of the oily product out.
To remove sap from the feet, massage the area with the products listed above and them bathe them in a pet shampoo. The stubborn areas of fur around the paws may need the assistance of a groomer if you do not feel comfortable with that area.
As stated before, work quickly because that sap can cause some local irritation and digestive issues. If they experience symptoms like nausea, vomiting, weakness or irritation, seek your veterinarian as soon as possible.
As many of you know, I usually write monthly blogs informing the readers about what we can do to make your pets’ lives better and happier. However this month, I am reversing the trend and writing about what pets do to make our lives better.
It is a proven fact that pets can reduce anxieties that we have. To people with anxieties, pets can be like a superhero. Everyone has their own coping mechanisms that work for them, but sometimes having a pet can curb anxiety. By just having a pet present, even though it can’t talk, a person’s phobic and anxiety disorders are often reduced by the pets companionship. This relationship builds self confidence for people that are anxious when they go out in the world.
With depression, people tend to self isolate. So with having a pet, people are forced to go out and walk.
Pets are always down to cuddle. That contact can do wonders to curb anxiety. Maybe it makes you feel less alone or less like you have to handle everything by yourself. With this bonding, one gets a mutual relationship in which the pet and owner give warmth, love and nurturing. Research has also shown that tactile sensations can even lower blood pressure.
Pets are always the ones that listen and don’t ever offer advice. As humans, sometimes we don’t want advice—we just want to vent. A pet will never try to fix you. You can sit for hours on end ranting and they will never try to solve you or your problems. A pet sitting there listening loves you and sometimes that is all you need.
Pet ownership is good not only for people living alone, but for whole family systems. Pets become full members of the family in which lots of interaction swirls around children, parents and siblings as they compete to feed, love and care for the pet. So with a pet at home, this offers a distraction so that a tiny bit of anxiety doesn’t amplify to a big deal. Pet ownership can teach children the value of life in addition to providing them with some sort of responsibility of care and feeding.
Having a pet at home means that there is someone waiting for you to come home and be with you when you are there. Having a pet can give one a sense of security and help with dealing with aloneness better. A pet can provide someone to talk to in order to ease your nerves. A pet there will mean that you are never alone.
Having a pet can help us meet new people. With pet ownership, it requires responsibility and part of that is exercising your dog. While on walks you can make friends and hold conversations with other people. Pets are a great conversation starter, so with them, we can socialize.
No matter what, pets offer unconditional love. Sometimes it feels like no one really likes you. But your pet will always be that person that is on your side.
The benefits of pet ownership are many and they are very much an integral part of our lives. Because of this, we want them to live as long as possible. So it is important to take care of them. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call us at 656-5868.
With the holidays rapidly approaching, pet owners usually ask for gift ideas for their four-legged companions. As with every other Santa’s list from our children, electronics and technology play an important part in holiday pet toys. So without further adieu, I will introduce some ideas that might be appealing to the pet owner with the pet in mind.
- Bascolor Electric Rotating Butterfly– This gift from Amazon is for the cat owners who want to keep their kitten active. It is described as a butterfly that flashes in the dark that will fulfill your kitty’s hunting urges.
- Cat Scratcher Lounge– This cardboard lounge is infused with catnip that your cat is going to be addicted to in record time. It also can be used as a scratch board. Available from Amazon for about $20.
- K&H Crinkle Sack Cat Bed– This cat bed makes the noise of a paper bag that your cat will love. Inside, it is covered with a plush lamb wool that is easy to wash and take care of. The overstuffed bolster keeps the sack open for easy access for your kitten. It is also available on Amazon.
- Nerf Tennis Ball Blaster– This toy will launch tennis balls 50 feet in the air and is easy to operate. It works with standard tennis balls but if you get the lighter replacement balls they will go farther. No need to touch the slimy ball because it is easy to reload.
- Pet Acoustics Pet Tunes Calming Music Dog Speaker– A bluetooth speaker that is preloaded with 90 minutes of music developed by a sound animal behaviorist to reduce stress and calm nervous canines. It alleviates stress and related behaviors such as excessive barking and pacing which can happen when your pet is home alone during thunderstorms, traveling or when it is adapting to new environments. It comes complete with a rechargeable battery.
- GPS tracking systems– There are many available for the high tech owner that can have a GPS and activity monitor which set up virtual fences to indicate safe zones and give notifications where your pet has traveled too far. They range in price starting at $39.
- Furbo Dog Camera– For the really techie person that wants to see, talk and toss treats to your dog even when you are not at home. It gives smart dog alerts and the camera gives peace-of-mind to the dog’s parents. The camera lets you see, talk and toss treats from anywhere and sends alerts when your dog barks. The two-way camera allows you to hear and speak to your dog and works with Amazon Alexa.
- Pet DNA testing– By discovering your pet’s ancestry, pet owners and veterinarians can work together to tailor wellness plans that fit the unique one-of -a-kind needs of the dog. It helps owners discover typical ailments that certain dogs can have over one another and provide insight to personality traits of the breeds in your dog’s genetic make up. It is also available for cats. Price ranges from $70 to $180.
This is not an all-inclusive list, but it may give pet owners ideas when shopping for our four-legged friends. At this time, I would like to thank each and all of my clients for their loyalty and business that have come my way. May each and everyone have a happy and safe holiday season and a prosperous 2018. Don’t forget to contact us at any time, even during holiday emergencies, if you have any questions.
If the holidays are at your place like it is at our place, it is family, food and football—not necessarily in any order. Unfortunately many pet owners think that holiday time means giving their pets a taste of the tender morsels that they partake in. Before you give table scraps – STOP and think a minute. These high-fat type of foods or foods that your pet is not accustom to can lead to disaster if given to our pets. Just a small amount can lead to pancreatitis in our pets, which can lead to terrible consequences.
If your pet develops pancreatitis, the treatment focuses on supportive care, such as controlling nausea and vomiting, preventing further dehydration or imbalances in the blood and feeding a low-fat nutritious diet. Serious cases may mean hospitalizing your pet for a few days or longer. Unfortunately, many other diseases have these clinical signs and it makes it a challenge determining if your pet has pancreatitis.
Early diagnosis and treatment is the key to preventing other complications such as dehydration and other systemic diseases.
As your pet ages, he can develop intolerances to certain foods so it may be best to just feed high quality pet foods with little variance and only allow healthy pet treats in moderation.
Most owners know that a only a good quality diet is necessary for their pet, however sometimes good intention visiting guests can complicate things by letting them finish their plate or giving them all of the trimmings off the turkey because they couldn’t resist.
This kind gesture could lead to the previous mentioned consequences.
To avoid pancreatitis a pet owner may take precautions to prevent it. This may include:
- Ask guests to not feed your pet table scraps
- Have healthy treats present if your guests can’t resist
- Keep pets out of the garbage
- Place your pet in a quiet room during mealtime or feed it prior to you and your guests eating
Holidays are all about celebrating and pets are a big part of our family. Kind gestures like feeding table scraps can put a damper on the celebrating if it involves an emergency trip to your veterinarian. So if you set ground rules and make your guests aware of the restrictions for your pets, we can have a safe and happy holiday season.
Olsen Veterinary Clinic is committed to the health and happiness of your pet. For questions, or to schedule an appointment, contact us here.
Pet vaccines are important, and they have a long history. Probably the most important technological gains were discovered in the 1790’s by Dr. Edward Jenner. He discovered the first vaccination by giving people a preparation of material from cowpox, which was a common animal disease in cattle. The people that were injected with or “vaccinated” with the material did not get sick and remained healthy when they were exposed to the deadly smallpox virus. Over 100 years later, a French scientist by the name of Louis Pastuer, found that they could protect people and animals from disease by injecting altered forms of microorganisms.
The process of how a vaccine works is a complex reaction that involves many chemical and cellular reactions within and between the immune system cells of the body. Basically the role of the vaccine is to expose the immune system of the pet to viral and bacterial antigens that are contained in the vaccine. In the future, when the pet is exposed to that related organism, the body will recognize it and then activate the immune system to prevent the disease from producing or reducing the signs of clinical disease.
Vaccines can be administered by subcutaneous or intramuscular injections, intranasal or orally. The vaccines that are injected or given orally tend to produce a more systemic or whole body response, whereas the intranasal provides a more local response. Intranasal vaccines can be advantageous to provide a quicker response and prevent or kill the new virus before it can get any further in the body. Local nasal vaccines would not be helpful for a virus that has been ingested and causes intestinal disease such as parvovirus in dogs. For that we would want a vaccine that would produce a more systemic response.
The vaccines that we use in veterinary medicine are most generally either a killed or a modified live (attenuated) vaccine. There are multiple indications for both, but generally speaking the killed vaccines are safer and unlikely to cause disease in the immunocompromised pet. Whereas, the live vaccines provide a more amplified response that leads to a better, longer lasting immune protection. Several of the vaccines that we use have many different viruses in one injection. This allows to vaccinate for several of the organisms in one injection.
To confuse you even more, pets get some protection through the placenta when the puppies and kittens are in the mother’s uterus and when they get colostrum which is the first milk that they drink. This protection will decrease over time and usually will be low enough by 12 weeks of age where vaccinations will start reacting. There is no way to measure quick, easy and inexpensive way to measure the immunity gained here, so we generally recommend starting vaccines at 6 to 8 weeks of age and then booster them every 2 to 4 weeks until they are 16 weeks of age. Generally, it is not the number of vaccinations that they get, but when they get them at their chronological age.
A vaccine helps prime an animal against a specific disease. It does this by stimulating the immune system with a nonpathogenic virus or bacteria. If the animal responds adequately, it will develop cells that will help it to quickly and efficiently fight off the pathogenic form of the agent if it is encountered later. Here at Olsen Veterinary Clinic, we have tailored our vaccination programs to meet the needs of your pet. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us here, or call our office at 618-656-5868.
In today’s society, almost everyone has some medications – whether over-the-counter or prescription sitting around at home. The important thing to remember, however, is that human medications and pet medications are NOT created equal. While some human medications are safe, some can be very toxic to pets if they happen to ingest them. As a matter of fact, the Pet Poison Hotline reports that nearly 50% of the calls involve human medications. These issues can arise if your pet accidentally chewed into the pill bottle or a well-intentioned pet owner gave their pet a human medication. Pet poisonings are common, can be very serious, and spell disaster for a beloved pet.
With that in mind, listed below are 10 medications that can cause toxicity to your pet and therefore should be kept away from them.
NSAIDS – Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs are common, everyday drugs that are found in most households. This classification includes popular drugs like Aleve, Advil and Motrin. The side effects can be some of the most dangerous drugs for pets to ingest. In fact just 1 or 2 pills can cause pets to suffer serious stomach and intestinal ulcers and in some cases cause kidney failure.
Acetaminophin – For that occasional headache or fever, almost everyone has some Tylenol sitting around their home. As safe as it is for children the opposite is true for pets. Just a small dose of acetaminophin can cause damage to your pet’s red blood cells, reducing its ability to carry oxygen through the body. The drug can also cause liver damage in your pet.
Birth Control Pills – Dogs usually mistaken the birth control containers for toys, but if they swallow a large number, they can get ill. Estrogen and Estradiol have shown to cause bone marrow suppression in pets. Surprisingly, female pets have an increased risk of suffering from the most serious side effects.
Antidepressants – Veterinarians have at times prescribed medications meant for humans to pets like Prozac. When used as your veterinarian has prescribed, they are safe. But accidental or overdose can be toxic to your pet. These clinical signs can include serious neurological problems that include sedation, loss of coordination, tremors and even seizures.
ADHD/ADD Medications – Prescription medications for this human condition are very strong stimulants like amphetamines and are very dangerous for pets. Ingestion of small amounts can cause life-threatening tremors, seizures, elevated body temperature and heart problems. Drugs in this category include Adderall, Ritalin and Concerta.
Benzodiazepines and Sleep Aids – Drugs like Xanax and Ambien are given to humans to reduce anxiety and help sleep better. However in pets, it can cause the opposite. It has been shown that small doses can cause pets to be agitated, along with severe lethargy, incoordination, and a slowed breathing rate. In cats, it has been known to cause liver failure.
Beta-blockers – Beta-blockers are commonly prescribed drugs for humans suffering from blood pressure problems. But all it takes is a small amount for pets to ingest to make it life-threatening to them. These drugs can cause severe drops in blood pressure and a very slow heart rate.
Ace-Inhibitors – Like in humans, these drugs are often used in veterinary medicine to treat pets suffering from high blood pressure. Though typically safe, overdoses can cause low blood pressure, dizziness, and weakness. If pets have ingested just a small amount of this medication, they can be monitored at home unless they have kidney failure or heart disease.
Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs – Drugs like Lipitor are advertised on the TV and are now found in many households in America. While these drugs are considered statins, long term use can potentially leads to problems. In most cases, one may see some mild form of intestinal upset which would include vomiting or diarrhea.
Thyroid Hormones – These medications are routinely prescribed for pets that have underactive thyroids. Surprisingly the thyroid hormone needed to treat dogs is much higher than a persons dose. So, if dogs accidentally get into thyroid hormones, it rarely results in problems. In cats it can be a different story. Large overdoses in cats can cause muscle tremors, nervousness, panting, a rapid heart rate and aggression.
Most pets are naturally curious creatures so it is important to keep them out of reach from your pets. Here are some tips to help ensure that they never ingest your medicine.
- Never leave loose pills in a plastic sandwich bag-the bags are too easy to chew into. Make sure the rest of the family does the same, keeping their medications out of reach.
- If your medication is in a pill box or weekly pill container, make sure that it is safely stored in a cabinet. Too many pets may think that it is a plastic toy.
- Never store your pets medication near your medications. Pet poisonous hotlines received several calls every year from concerned owners who have inadventantly given their own medication to their pet.
- Hang up your purse or backpack. Curious pets will explore the contents of your bag and simply placing it out of reach solves the problem.
A lot of pet poisonings stem from pets ingesting human drugs and pets metabolize the drugs differently than humans do. So because of this, even safe over-the-counter medications may cause serious poisonings in pets.
If your pet has ingested a human over-the-counter or prescription or medication, please call your veterinarian, your local emergency animal hospital or the Pet Poison Hot Line’s 24 hour animal control center at 800-213-6680 immediately. Of course, if our office can be of any assistance, do not hesitate to call or contact us here.
With the dog days of summer upon us, we as pet owners need to be aware of heatstroke with your pet. This can be a life-threatening condition that occurs because your pet cannot lower its body temperature efficiently, so its body temperature increases to dangerous levels.
There are many common situations that can set the stage for heatstroke. These include: strenuous exercise in hot, humid weather, being a brachycephalic (short-nosed) breed, suffering from heart or lung disease that interferes with efficient breathing, being confined without shade or shelter and fresh water in hot weather, being confined on concrete or asphalt and the most logical-left in a closed up car in the warm weather.
Heatstroke begins with heavy panting and difficulty breathing. The tongue and mucous membranes appear bright red. The saliva is thick and tenacious and the dog usually vomits. The rectal temperature rises to 104 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. The dog becomes progressively unsteady and passes bloody diarrhea. As shock sits in, the lips and mucous membranes turn gray. Collapse, seizures, coma and death rapidly ensue.
It is important to take emergency measures to begin cooling your pet immediately. One suggestion would be to move it to an air-conditioned building and begin cooling your pet with spraying your pet with a garden hose or immersing it in cool water for up to two minutes. Also if possible, it is helpful to place the wet pet in front of an electric fan. Ice packs work well when applied to the groin and armpit areas because this is the area where the blood is the closest to the surface in the body. Monitor the rectal temperature and continue the cooling process until it falls to 103 degrees. Seeking veterinary assistance is of utmost importance since this is an emergency. Your veterinarian will take steps to reverse the effects of heat, dehydration, and low blood pressure. An IV catheter will be placed and fluids will be given to help get blood flowing to major organs again.
Treatment is aimed to supporting these organs in the hope that the damage that they have sustained isn’t permanent. Unfortunately, it will often take days to know which organs have been affected. Specific treatments may include antibiotics, blood pressure medications and blood transfusions.
Because heatstroke can be so deadly and strike rapidly, it is best to take steps to prevent it. In hot weather, it is best to exercise your pet during the coolest part of the day (early morning and late evening) and always provide plenty of fresh, cool water and rest. A person can also help their pet by cooling them by allowing them to swim or spray them off with a hose after exercising.
Never leave a pet in a car during warm weather-not even for a few minutes with the windows cracked. Brachycephalic dog owners should be extra vigilant, keeping their dogs inside in air-conditioning on hot days. All geriatric, obese, and respiratory compromised pets should be exercised with caution in hot weather.
So remember if your pet is acting distressed, start cooling it down and seek assistance from your veterinarian immediately.