Our pets are beloved members of our family and seeing them unwell can be heartbreaking. Unfortunately, there are some illnesses that pets are unable to recover from. In the case of terminal illness and/or debilitating pain, one of the kindest things that we can do for them is to relieve them of that burden by making the difficult decision to put them to sleep.
Your veterinarian is the best person to advise you on when it is time to consider euthanizing your pet. However, there are some signs and symptoms to look for that would indicate that your pet is no longer experiencing a good quality of life. If you notice these, it would then be advisable to contact your veterinarian to determine if euthanasia would be the most humane course of action.
These signs include:
Chronic labored breathing, breathlessness and/or coughing
Chronic pain that cannot be controlled by medication (your veterinarian can advise if this is the case)
Frequent diarrhea and/or vomiting that leads to dehydration or severe weight loss
Inability to stand or move around
Disinterest in food or eating
Incontinent to the stage where they are frequently soiling themselves
No interest in communication with family members, treats, games, or other previously enjoyed activity
Zest for life is non-existent
While euthanasia is never an easy decision to make, a small benefit is that it allows family members the time to say their final goodbyes. This opportunity for final displays of love and affection with their pets helps to ease them into the grieving process. It is especially important to prepare young children as this may be their first experience of bereavement.
Many veterinarians will allow you to be present during the euthanasia procedure so that you can comfort your pet as they enter into their final journey. However, while this is a personal decision, it is not recommended that young children be present during this time.
Homeopathy is a medical philosophy and practice based on the theory that by using the correct natural substances, the body can heal itself. Homeopathic remedies are used by more than 200 million people around the globe to treat a wide range of conditions.
The underlying principle is that the same substance that causes symptoms when given in a large dose, could also cure those symptoms if administered in a small dose. The trick is to find the remedy that best matches the symptoms.
Holistic medicines are derived from entirely natural substances such as minerals, plants and animal matter which stimulate the immune system and promote natural self-healing.
While omeopathic remedies are completely natural and safe for the majority of humans and pets, your veterinarian will be able to advise you if there is any reason why homeopathy may not be suitable for your pet.
Homeopathy in animals has had so many success stories that an increasing number of veterinarians are studying, gaining qualifications in, and practicing the principles.
Homeopathy has had proven results in an extensive range of chronic and acute conditions including:
Digestive and endocrine diseases
Fleas, skin and coat disorders
Heart and kidney diseases
Bone and joint disorders
Ears, eyes, nose and mouth problems
Immune system disorders
Mood and behavior problems
Reproductive system problems
Viruses and acute infections
Healing and recovery
There are a wide variety of animals that can be kept as domestic pets. While some, like cats and dogs, are fairly common, others are much less popular. In the past, an exotic animal was a species that was considered to be ‘wild’ in nature and not usually kept as a pet, but today, an exotic pet is pretty much any animal that isn’t a cat or dog, and are more commonly kept as pets than ever before.
The following animals tend to be classified as exotic animals and represent some of the more unusual pets in need of specialist veterinary care:
Amphibians - this includes frogs, newts, toads, and even salamanders.
Birds – including budgies, parrots, and birds of prey.
Crabs – in particular hermit and fiddler crabs.
Farm animals – including goats, llamas, and pigs.
Insects and millipedes – including cockroaches, stick insects, praying mantis and even ants.
Reptiles – such as lizards (including dragons, geckos, and chameleons), snakes, tortoises, and turtles.
Rodents – there are a huge number of animals classed as rodents including chinchillas, hamsters, rats, gerbils, and guinea pigs.
Scorpions - in particular the emperor scorpion.
Spiders – the tarantula is the most commonly kept pet spider in the world.
When a person or animal is unwell, external symptoms and blood test results may only tell part of the story. Advances in medical technology mean that it is now possible to see what is actually happening inside the body. One of the procedures that is being used in humans as well as animals, including horses, is called an endoscopy.
An endoscopy can be used to view and analyze many parts of a horse including the upper respiratory tract as well as parts of the gastrointestinal, reproductive and urinary tracts in order to help veterinarians make accurate diagnoses and recommendations for treatment on a wide range of health problems.
There are two main types of endoscopies available in the equine veterinary field. They are:
This is the most common type of endoscope used for investigative surgery in horses. The endoscope is made up of a bunch of optical fibers that are enclosed within a waterproof rubber tube. The tube is passed into the horse’s body either through a natural body cavity or through a surgical incision. The area is illuminated by a light source that passes through the fiber optics and then examined using an eyepiece that is attached to the external end of the fiber-optic cable.
This more advanced version of the endoscope has a tiny microchip video camera on the end of the scope which relays live feedback to a television screen in the room. This means that multiple people can view the feed, and it can be recorded and played back at a later time.
Cats are known for being notoriously fussy creatures. They demand attention when it suits them, but reject snuggling with their owner when it doesn’t. They are picky eaters, can appear aloof and indifferent to their owners and seem pretty happy to go it alone most of the time.
This fussy attitude often even extends to their sleeping habits, and many owners have gone out and spent a considerable amount of money to provide a large, plush and expensive cat bed, only to find that their kitty refuses to sleep in it. But is she just being fussy, or is there an ulterior motive for this behavior?
According to animal behavior experts, most cats prefer to sleep and hang out in places with good vantage points, which comes from their natural survival instincts. A high position for sleeping or resting gives them an aerial advantage for spotting any potential dangers around them. Much of this instinct comes from their ancestry. Early cats were hunters that lived in the wild, and their climbing ability meant that they had somewhere to retreat to away from larger predators in addition to the capability of attacking smaller prey high up in the branches.
The addition of a new pet can be very exciting! However, knowing where to find your new companion and choosing the right one can be a daunting task. Here are some helpful tips to assist you in making your decision.
Adopting a new pet is a big decision that shouldn’t be done impulsively. Pets require time, effort, and money to be cared for and loved just like any other member of the family. Do you have a yard large enough for a goat to live comfortably? Do you have time to walk your dog more than once a day, every day? Do you have enough money to regularly buy fresh litter for your cat?
Only consider adopting a new pet once you feel confident in your ability to care for them. This includes caring for your children’s pets. Children will naturally want to participate in all the fun aspects of pet care but may have trouble consistently remembering or wanting to do the dirty work. If you won’t be able to care for your pet when your kids can’t, your pet will be the one that’s left neglected.
But we understand that sometimes life can change! If you feel that you can no longer care for your pet, contact the shelter or organization you adopted the animal from, or feel free to come in and talk to us about potential options. There are plenty of choices if you need to rehome your pet so abandonment should never have to be one.
They may not be as common as dogs and cats, but birds make very interesting and rewarding pets. As a conscientious and compassionate owner, it is your responsibility to make sure you are covering all aspects of your bird’s care, from her environment and nutrition to her grooming. Whether this is your first bird, or you are a more experienced aviary owner, there is always something new to learn or be refreshed on.
To help you give your feathered friend the best life possible, here is our brief guide to basic pet bird care.
It goes without saying that your bird will need to live predominantly in a cage. However, as with most pets, it is important that you provide her with as much space as possible. This means buying the biggest cage you can afford and have space for. She should be able to flap her wings without hitting any of the sides and there should be at least 2-3 perches for her to fly between as well as room for plenty of toys and water and food dishes.
When choosing a cage, find one with bars that have a powder-coated finish which is easier to clean and shouldn’t rust and with bars that are close enough together to prevent her from getting her head stuck between them. Ensure it is secure and can be locked. Place her new habitat in a bright area of your home or yard, but not in direct sunlight.
You should line the bottom of the cage with newspapers, paper towels or other cage lining paper. These are the most sterile and easiest to remove on a daily basis when cleaning out her cage. Substrates like sand or wood chippings can easily grow fungus and bacteria, which could lead to your bird becoming sick.
A proper diet is essential for all species of animal including birds. The easiest way to feed your feathered pal is to use commercially formulated diets created specifically for pet birds. This ensures that she will get all of the nutrition she needs from one meal, rather than you trying to choose and balance foods.
Not everyone is lucky enough to live in a state with relatively consistent weather and temperatures and just as humans change their behavior and diet with fluctuations in temperature, so do most animals. Here are our guidelines for seasonal care for your pets.
Once you have decided to make a new pet a part of your family, the first concern you should have is with making them comfortable. After your pet has settled into your home, a good next step would be to think about training which can help to ensure that the behaviors they exhibit are primarily desirable ones.
Whilst dogs have earned a reputation as ‘man’s best friend’ thanks to their loyal and affectionate nature, they can sometimes possess frustrating habits or personality traits that make them difficult to live with, just like their human counterparts.
Training your dog will be hugely beneficial for your dog to learn to live harmoniously alongside his human family. It will strengthen his bond with your family and ensure his safety when out and about.
What is the best method to train my dog?
There are many different schools of thought concerning how to best train a dog. Some owners prefer strict training with punishments for non-compliance, whilst others prefer to praise positive behavior and ignore undesirable reactions. Studies have shown that as a general rule, the latter method works best, but however you decide to train your dog, you will need to consistently control the consequences of your dogs’ behavior in order for the training to be effective.
Since dogs cannot relate events that are separated by time, the consequences to negative behavior need to be immediate. Just as you cannot praise your dog several minutes after returning to you when called since he will not understand why he is receiving it. The easiest way to train a dog is to reward the behaviors that you like and not those that you don’t.
If your dog likes the reward you give them, they will be more likely to repeat that behavior so they can receive it again i.e. love, attention, and praise.
If they dislike the consequences, then they will do the behavior less often.
It really is that simple, but being consistent is vital to a successful training plan, otherwise, you will send mixed messages to your pet. For example, if you do not want your pet to jump on you (which they do to get your attention) then ignore them until they calm down. Once they have calmed down, be sure to praise and make a fuss over them. This will help them to learn that this is the way that you prefer them to behave. It may take several days or weeks of doing this, but your dog will soon learn the correct behavior to exhibit.
We are constantly being told that obesity levels are increasing worldwide and that we should act now in order to ensure our long term health. However, this problem doesn't just affect humans. A shocking statistic from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention states that an estimated 54% of dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese.
(Source: Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 2015)
Just like humans, pets who are overweight are at increased risk for a number of health problems including but not limited to:
Cranial cruciate ligament injury
Decreased life expectancy by up to 2.5 years
Heart and respiratory disease
High blood pressure
Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes
Varying forms of cancer