Some pets die of old age in the comfort of their own home, but many others become seriously ill or get injured in a way or experience that significantly diminishes their quality of life as they grow very old. In these situations, owners are often forced to consider the hard choice of whether to have your pet euthanized in order to spare your pet from pain and suffering.
To know when it is time, it is important to talk with your veterinarian. They are the best-qualified person to help guide you through this difficult process. In some cases, your veterinarian may be able to tell you definitively that it is time to euthanize your pet, but in other cases, you may ultimately need to make the decision based on your observances of your pet’s behavior and attitude.
Some signs that your pet is suffering and no longer enjoying a good quality of life include chronic pain being experienced that cannot be controlled with medication, frequent vomiting or diarrhea that is causing dehydration and/or weight loss, they stop eating, incontinence, lost interest in favorite activities, cannot stand on their own, and/or chronic labored breathing. It is a very difficult decision, but one must consider your pet’s quality of life.
Once you have made the very difficult decision, you also need to decide how and where you and your family will say the final goodbye. Before the procedure is scheduled to take place, make sure that all members of your family have had time with the pet to say a private goodbye. If you have children, make sure that you explain the decision to them and prepare them for the loss of the pet in advance. This may be your child’s first experience with death, and it is very important for you to help her or him through the grieving process. Books that address the subject, such as When a Pet Dies by Fred Rogers or Remembering My Pet by Machama Liss-Levinson and Molly Phinney Baskette, may be very beneficial in helping your child to deal with this loss. It is an individual decision whether or not you and your family want to be present during the euthanasia procedure. For some pet owners, the emotion may be too overwhelming, but for many, it is a comfort to be with their pet during the final moments. It may be inappropriate for young children to witness the procedure since they are not yet able to understand death and may also not understand that they need to remain still and quiet.
Deciding when it is time to say goodbye to your pet is never easy. Owners are put into the difficult decision of deciding when it is their time. While it is never easy, the staff at Olsen Veterinary Clinic are always here to answer whatever questions you may have. Feel free to reach out at 618-656-5868 with any questions or concerns you may have!
Canine influenza is a highly contagious viral infection that affects dogs and cats. Influenza viruses are able to quickly change and give rise to new strains that can infect different species. Of the two strains identified in the US, both of them can be traced to influenza strains known to infect species other than dogs. At some point, these viruses acquired the ability to infect dogs and be transmitted from dog to dog. Virtually all dogs exposed to canine influenza become infected, with approximately 80% developing clinical signs of disease. The other 20% of infected dogs that do not exhibit clinical signs of the disease can still shed the virus and spread the infection.
Canine influenza is transmitted through droplets or aerosols containing respiratory secretions from coughing, barking, and sneezing. Dogs in close contact with infected dogs in places like kennels, groomers, day care facilities, and shelters are at an increased risk of infection. Canine influenza can be spread indirectly through objects like kennels, food and water bowls, collars, and leashes or people who have been in contact with an infected dog to avoid exposing other dogs to the virus. Due to this, people in contact with an infected dog should wash their hands and clean their clothing to avoid spreading the virus. The virus can stay alive and able to infect on surfaces for up to 48 hours, on clothing for 24 hours, and on hands for 12 hours. It is important to implement cleaning and disinfection procedures to reduce the risk of disease transmission.
The majority of infected dogs exhibit the mild form of canine influenza. The most common clinical sign is a cough that persists for 10-21 days despite treatment with antibiotics and cough suppressants. Affected dogs may have a soft, moist cough, or a dry cough similar to that induced by kennel cough. Nasal and/or ocular discharge, sneezing, lethargy, and anorexia may also be observed. Many dogs developed a purulent nasal discharge and fever. Some dogs are more severely affected and exhibit clinical signs of pneumonia, such as a high-grade fever and increased respiratory rate and effort.
Canine influenza cannot be diagnosed solely by clinical symptoms like coughing, sneezing, and nasal discharge because these signs also present with other canine respiratory illnesses. Tests must be done to properly identify strains of canine influenza virus. Contact Dr. Olsen to set up a test if you think that your dog may be infected.
Treatment for canine influenza is largely supportive. Good nutrition helps dogs mount an effective immune response. Most dogs recover from canine influenza within two to three weeks. Secondary bacterial infections, pneumonia, dehydration, or other health factors may require additional diagnostics and treatments.
While canine influenza is a serious threat, vaccines are available against both strands of canine influenza found in the US. Vaccination can reduce the risk of a dog contracting canine influenza and while it may not all together prevent an infection; it may reduce the severity and duration of illness. As always, feel free to contact Dr. Olsen at 618-656-5868 with any questions or to set up an appointment!
Have you ever seen a cat that looks like a mixture between a Persian cat and a Siamese cat? Well it might have just been a Himalayan cat! The Himalayan cat is a hybrid breed identical to the Persian, but Himalayans are distinguished by the points on the cats’ extremities including the facial mask, feet, ears and tail. This results in a Persian-type cat with the coloring and deep blue eyes of the Siamese-patterned cat. These cats are semi-playful but love to lay around and do nothing. They are typically extremely friendly to other pets and children but require a lot of grooming attention. The breed itself is not very vocal but they have an intense need for attention. All of this is not for nothing as Himalayans are extremely affectionate to their owners.
Having a firm, well-rounded midsection, they are medium to large in size. Their head is round, broad, and smooth domed. Their jaws are broad and powerful which accompanies a short, snub nose. Their ears are small and round set widely apart on the head. Himalayan’s coats are long all of the body with a dense undercoat. Perhaps the most striking attribute of the Himalayans are their large, round, and deep blue eyes. It gives their face a sweet expression.
Himalayans are wonderful indoor cat companions. They are gentle, calm, and sweet-tempered. Like Siamese cats, Himalayans love to play fetch with a piece of crumbled paper or a cat toy. They will be entertained for hours, or at least until their next nap. Himalayans are devoted and dependent upon their humans for companionship and protection. They crave attention and affection. Like their Persian siblings, they are docile and won’t harass you for attention the way that some breeds will. They possess the same activity level as the Persian but lack the vocality of a Siamese.
The Himalayan cat is an extremely beautiful cat that makes for a good family pet. While they are striking, it is important to make sure before adopting that you are able to give them the care that they need due to their intense grooming requirements. If you think you are able to give them the attention that they need (and want), then you just may be the right person to adopt a Himalayan cat that needs a home. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Dr. Olsen at 618-656-5868.
Otterhounds are an extremely uncommon dog breed, especially in the United States. Weighing between 80-115 pounds, otterhounds are big, boisterous, and affectionate. Bred in medieval England, their breed was originally intended for the now-outlawed activity of otter hunting. Medieval England had a huge otter population which preyed on fish in rivers and ponds. To protect the valuable food source, packs of Otterhounds were kept by country squires and even kings. Otterhound packs were too good at otter hunting. River otters nearly went extinct and hunting them became outlawed. Otterhounds are extremely unique as they have a dense shaggy coat, webbed feet, an acute sense of smell, and an affinity for swimming.
With the onset of spring, many pets are exposed to the outside environment. This has caused them to become more “itchy” and their scratching has caused discomfort to then leaving the owner searching for possible remedies. Unfortunately, their scratching and head shaking may be caused by the diet that they are fed.
Many dogs and cats for that matter may suffer from food allergies. These allergies can hit about anytime during their lives and present itself with many different symptoms. These symptoms may range from odorous, greasy, dander-laced hair with chronic ear issues to maybe diarrhea with increased flatulance. Your pet may be constantly chewing on its paws, making them red and keeping you up at night with its chewing and licking. A lot of time, we will try and just mask the signs so that they can remain comfortable without diagnosing the problem. Chances are they inherited the trait from their parents.
When these signs appear, looking for the food that causes the issues may be real difficult in finding and the testing is even more difficult. Common food allergies may consist of beef, pork, chicken, corn, wheat, or a number of other ingredients. Food allergies may include one to many ingredients in the diets, so it is not as cut and dried as it may seem to just switch diets. Also blood testing is of no use in determining the allergies.
So with that said, food ingredient avoidance is the best means of controlling the allergies. So an owner may be instructed to feed a very limited ingredient diet for several weeks and see how the pet responds to the diet. Will the pet be pruritic? Will the pet’s skin be odorous? If the clinical signs are better, then you may be able to add additional ingredients and see how your pet responds.
Some owner’s will prefer to feed raw diets or homemade diets. However, those will sometimes be difficult to balance the ration to get the proper minerals and vitamins. Regardless of what you choose, do not hesitate to contact our office and we can help you navigate this issue. Contact us today.
Eighty percent of dogs show signs of gum disease by the time they are two years old. The best cure for these dental issues is early prevention. Once plaque has formed on the teeth, the only way it can be removed is with a mechanical cleaning. Without brushing, this plaque build-up can cause gum disease, bad breath, and tooth decay.
You can help your dog’s teeth by beginning dental maintenance early. In order to keep your dog comfortable while brushing its teeth, wait until your dog has all of their adult teeth before using a toothbrush. This should be around six months. In order for your dog to get comfortable with a toothbrush, you should start brushing your dog’s teeth as early as possible.
To start brushing your dog’s teeth, begin by gently rubbing your puppy’s gums with your finger. Ease into it by massaging their gums regularly while you are snuggling them. Once they are used to your finger, switch to a soft rubber brush that fits on your fingertip. Only use toothpaste that is specifically made for dogs. This comes in flavors like beef, chicken, banana, and mint. You can find this at your local pet store. Once your dog has their adult teeth, begin a weekly brushing regimen and work your way up to three to four times per week.
To begin brushing your dog’s teeth, make sure that you are in a position where your dog is comfortable. You should try kneeling or sitting in front/side of them in order to not appear threatening. If your dog seems upset, stop and try again later. Prep your toothbrush with doggy toothpaste and use small circular motions. Focus on the plaque. Slight bleeding may occur, but if heavy or ongoing bleeding occurs, stop. This might be a sign of too aggressive brushing or even gum disease. Call your vet for advice. Be sure to be reassuring while brushing your dog’s teeth.
Keep the mood light and remind your dog that they are a good boy/girl. End the brushing session with their favorite treat or extra attention.
Other ways to maintain dental wellness is to provide chew toys. Teething is a part of puppy-parenting. Plenty of specially designed puppy toys will be handy in managing this teething. Mildly abrasive foods and toys help keep your dog’s teeth clean. It is important to note that you should avoid natural bones, antlers, dried cow hooves, hard nylon toys, and large rawhide toys with puppies. These are hard enough to fracture delicate puppy teeth.
Lastly, be sure to schedule dental check-ups with your vet. Dogs should go to the vet twice a year for a dental exam. They might need their teeth cleaned annual. If your pup’s breath is especially stinky lately, you should call your vet. Bad breath might be a sign of dental problems or even gum disease. As always, don’t hesitate to contact our office with questions.
With Thanksgiving approaching, there is no doubt that you pup is going to want to partake in the festivities. However, feeding your pup even a few tasty treats from the table is definitely not the way. More often than not, table food is typically too fatty for a dog’s digestive system and can result in severe stomach upsets. To keep your dog safe and healthy this holiday season, keep the following in mind.
Oily and fatty foods, which are often found on OUR tables, can lead to severe dog health problems such as diarrhea, vomiting, and pancreatitis. Even worse, there are several people foods that can be toxic to dogs. For example, onions or any food prepared with them are unsafe for dogs and should never be given to them. Moreover, dogs that are constantly fed with table scraps have the tendency to become dependent on them. Dogs that eat table scraps may start refusing to eat regular dog food. Feeding your pet with table scraps can also cause them to develop bad behaviors such as begging. If you wish to reward your pet for good behavior, give them treats made for them.
If for some reason you just cannot stop feeding your pet table scraps, follow the following rules:
No junk food! Never feed your dog junk foods such as fries, potato chips, leftover pizza, or candies. Your dog should only get healthy food items like steamed or baked potatoes, plain rice, oatmeal, bits of cooked chicken or turkey, finely chopped or steamed unseasoned veggies and certain fresh fruits.
Moderation is key! If you like giving your dog healthy people food, don’t forget to factor his meals into his daily calorie requirement, then, feed your pooch less of their own dog food so they don’t gain weight. Be sure to balance their diet since your dog still needs their regular food. Just try giving less of it on times when you are feeding him with healthy table scraps.
Watch out for toxic food! Above all, you should avoid foods that have been found to be poisonous to dogs. These include, for example, raisins, onions, chocolate, cooked bones, fruit pits, and walnuts. For a more complete list, check it out here.
If you wish to feed your dog human food, a great way to do it is to cook a recipe specifically designed for dogs. These often include scraps that pose no harm to your dog, including rice, cooked eggs, carrots, cheese, peanut butter, berries, chicken, green beans, seedless watermelon, and bananas.
As always, feel free to reach out to Olsen Veterinary Clinic with any questions at 618-656-5868.
Doggy daycare, like regular daycare, can be a cesspool of different germs and infections. If your dog comes home from daycare with a strange cough, your dog might have contracted kennel cough. Kennel cough can be caused by a variety of different viruses and bacteria. Kennel cough is caused by a dog inhaling bacteria or viruses into their upper respiratory tract. Symptoms can be worsened if their lungs are already overworked by cold air, cigarette smoke, stress, or crowded quarters with poor ventilation.
The respiratory tract is usually lined with mucus which helps trap particles that might cause infections which is why kennel cough is often caused by multiple different pathogens – one weakens the mucus in the lungs allowing the other to take root and cause infection. Kennel cough is extremely contagious and spreads around the environment where other dogs inhale the pathogen and become sick. Kennel cough is difficult to control since it is airborne. The main symptom of kennel cough is a cough that sounds like a goose honk. Some dogs will only experience coughing with kennel cough while others may have other symptoms such as sneezing, a runny nose, or eye discharge.
Severe symptoms may include retching, lethargy, and fever. Usually kennel cough lasts for three to four weeks with the worst symptoms in the first five days and dwindling over time. Young puppies and older dogs with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to kennel cough and can take up to six weeks to recover. Stress and environmental factors like temperature, dry climate, and airborne irritants like smoke can increase the severity of prevalent symptoms.
Vaccines for kennel cough are extremely important as they can reduce the odds of getting it or reduce the symptoms. While the vaccine is not 100% effective, it can greatly reduce the odds of your dog contracting the illness if they is frequently in conditions that tend to spread the disease, such as daycare. The vaccine is typically offered in oral, intranasal, and injected forms. The biggest mistake believed by some is that kennel cough is a minor issue that doesn’t call for a trip to the vet. While it may seem like a minor problem, kennel cough can lead to pneumonia or death, especially in dogs that already have weakened immune system.
It’s better to be safe than sorry and take your dog to the vet at the first signs of kennel cough, rather than waiting for the issue to progress. Your vet will be able to tell you how severe of a treatment needed to help your pets kennel cough. A mild cough may only need rest and a cough suppressant while severe kennel cough may require antibiotics or supportive care. Coughing is not only indicative of kennel cough; it may also indicate major health issues such as a collapsing trachea, canine distemper, canine influenza, bronchitis, asthma, or even heart disease. It is always best to err on the side of caution and bring your dog to the vet at any sign of coughing.
There are several home remedies that may help soothe your pet’s symptoms and reduce discomfort. Create a humid environment by using a humidifier or turning on a hot shower and putting your dog in the bathroom with the steam. Some dog owners have found that a small amount of honey daily can help a dog’s throat. Honey has natural antimicrobial and anti fungal agents that can reduce inflammation and soothe sore throats. Thus, reducing coughing while helping your pup fight off infection. Simply give your dog a spoonful of raw honey a few times a day. As always, be sure to check with your vet before introducing human food into your dog’s diet. Another option to consider is CBD oil. It is natural found in hemp plants and highly regarded for its health benefits. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD oil can ease pain and swelling, restoring comfort.
Kennel cough is not a common cold. It is best to visit your veterinarian right away to learn of the best treatment path. As always, feel free to contact Dr. Olsen at 618-656-5868 with any questions or to set up an appointment.
The Peruvian Inca Orchid is not a flower, but a hairless sighthound that developed in Peru. The breed can be hairless or coated and can be found in a range of sizes. These dogs are good hunters and do well in agility. In the hairless variety, the skin can be of any color. The coated variety features all colors as well including black, brown, pink, tan, and white. On a sunny day, Peruvian Inca Orchids require sunscreen because of their exposed skin.
The ancient history of the Peruvian Inca Orchid can be told through pottery and textiles. The breed first appeared in Moche pottery in 750 AD. The Chancay people used the dogs as companions, and certain pottery even depicts them in sweaters. The Chimu considered them good luck and used the dogs’ warmth for the treatment of arthritis and respiratory conditions.
The original hairless dogs were small companion animals, but when Peru was conquered by the Conquistadors, the small dogs were interbred with the dogs of the foreigners and over the years, three distinct sizes developed. In the mountainous regions, the Andean people protected the dogs, but the breed did not fare well in the cities along the coast. There, the hairless dogs were considered diseased and were often exterminated.
In 1966, an American, Jack Walklin, visited Peru and brought eight dogs back to the US. He is believed to be the one to have named the breed the Peruvian Inca Orchid and the breed was established under that name in the US and Europe. In 2001, Peru declared the breed a National Patrimony and the dogs are now protected in Peru.
Peruvian Inca Orchids come in a range of sizes with the smallest standing just short of 10” and the largest topping out at 26”. The distinguishing feature of a Peruvian Inca Orchid is their hairlessness. Their skin can be a solid color or spotted with unpigmented areas. Peruvian Inca Orchids that are coated are in the minority and can occur in the same litter with hairless Peruvian Inca Orchids.
Peruvian Inca Orchids are slim dogs who are very noble and affectionate to those close to them. At the same time, Peruvian Inca Orchids are lively, alert, and can be wary of strangers. Peruvian Inca Orchids make good watch dogs. Peruvian Inca Orchids are loyal and protective of their family but like all dogs should be supervised around children. If you have small pets, the Peruvian Inca Orchid might not be the dog for you as Peruvian Inca Orchids might mistake your small pet as prey.
Dogs often wrestle and playfully bite each other. It’s just part of puppy play time. Sometimes, the wrestling turns into a full-blown dogfight. If the fight doesn’t seem to show signs of stopping, it’s important to step in before one of the dogs get hurt.
Most dogfights only last for a few seconds. It’s important to stay calm and clear headed. Resist the urge to grab your dog by the collar. It might be your first impulse, but when dogs are really fighting, they may whip around and instinctively bite your hand without any past aggression. You are able to tell that it’s a real dogfight when the dog’s bodies are rigid. To stop the fight, make as much noise as possible. You can yell, shriek, stomp your feet, clap your hands, etc. Do whatever you can to attract the dogs’ attention. Similarly, you can use water to get their attention. You can douse the dogs with a hose, bucket of water, etc. (If you are going to a new dog park or unfamiliar place, bring a spray bottle just in case a fight breaks out.) You can also use a barrier such as a large piece of cardboard, plywood, even a big stick to split them up. The large barrier acts as a way to split them up without risking your hands. Lastly, you can throw a blanket over the dogs. Some dogs will stop fighting when they can’t see each other anymore.
It’s important to know when you should step in. Scuffles between dogs last only a few seconds and can appear worse than they actually are. Fights involving fighting breeds should be stopped as they have trouble reacting to social signals from other dogs. Fights between dogs of two very different sizes or two females in heat will need to be broken up; as well as fights involving dogs who are known to have done physical harm in the past or will not walk away. Under no circumstances should you get between the two dogs. You can grab your dog from behind and grab the top of its hind legs, so it is in a wheelbarrow position. You can then walk backwards circling to one side so the dog will not be able to turn and bite you. After you stop the fight, be sure to separate the dogs and keep them out of each other’s sight. This prevents the chance that the two dogs may start fighting again.
To ensure that fight never happens, observe how your dog interacts with other dogs. Does your dog bark, pounce, and snap at other dogs? Do they play rough normally? If you know how your dog acts normally, you will be able to know when a fight is getting ready to begin. When dogs play, it often sounds a lot like it does when they’re fighting. Dogs will growl, snap their jaws, and bite one another roughly. Instead of listening, watch the dogs’ bodies. If they look loose and relaxed, and they’re wagging their tails, they’re probably just playing. However, if the dogs’ bodies appear stiff and rigid, and their tails are down, they may get ready to fight. If one dog thinks it is play time and the other isn’t seeing it as fun, it is best to separate them to avoid any fighting. To further prevent fighting, don’t encourage competition. Dogs get territorial over food and toys. Some breeds are more apt to defend their rights to beloved possessions while some are more apt at sharing. Be sure to know your dog’s unique personality traits so that they can prevent a battle from happening when another dog comes around. You can put treats, food, and toys away when your dog is having social time with another dogs and feed multiple dogs in separate rooms.
Preventing fights start from when the dogs are young puppies. Teach them to play nicely. Use positive reinforcement to reward good behavior. When your dog bites, growls, or exhibits other violent behavior, separate them from the dog that they are playing with and put them in time out until she calms down. Similarly, make sure that your dog knows to come when they are called. If your dog is good at obeying your call to come, you’ll be able to pull them out of tense situations before a fight may start.
As always, feel free to contact Dr. Olsen at Olsen Veterinary Clinic by calling 618-656-5868.