Newsletter

Newsletter The veterinarians and staff at the Rhinebeck Animal Hospital are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

Current Newsletter Topics

March 23 is National Puppy Day

March 23 is National Puppy Day! Since 2006, National Puppy Day celebrates the magic and unconditional love that puppies bring to our lives. Over the years, this holiday has grown into an international holiday, and has trended on Twitter since 2012.

Creator Colleen Page—who also founded National Dog Day and National Cat Day—created this event to help save orphaned puppies across the globe while educating the public about the horrors of puppy mills. According to the National Puppy Day website, there are approximately 8,000-10,000 puppy mills in the U.S. , including many businesses that call themselves breeders that purposely allow their dog to get pregnant in hopes of selling puppies through local papers or online.

“The tragedy of puppy mills is that they don’t care about the animals more than a commodity to be sold,” National Puppy Day’s website reads. “Most of these animals live in crammed cages with no room to movie, in complete and utter squalor.”

While National Puppy Day is a great day to post pictures of your adorable puppy to your Twitter feed, don’t forget why we celebrate this holiday: for the fair and ethical treatment of dogs across the world. To learn more about National Puppy Day and why adopting a puppy is important, visit http://www.nationalpuppyday.com/

Proper Care of Older Cats

Cats grow old gracefully. As they grow older, they have a tendency to sleep more. An elderly cat generally spends most of his or her time sleeping on a couch, a comfortable chair or on a blanket close to a heat source. In general, they live longer than dogs. The average life span of a housecat is about 12 to 15 years. Some cats are extremely healthy, living well into their 20s.

Older cats are less active and less playful than kittens and young cats. They are also more irritable. As cats get older, their organs function less efficiently. Degeneration of the kidneys, thyroid glands, pancreas and adrenal glands occurs, resulting in kidney failure, hyperthyroidism and diabetes. Their senses (sight, smell and hearing) have a tendency to deteriorate as well.


Health and Hygiene Concerns Facing Older Cats

• Hyperthyroidism- Hyperthyroidism is due to an overproduction of thyroid hormone by the thyroid glands (two glands, one gland on each side of the throat). Symptoms associated with hyperthyroidism include drastic weight loss, hyperactivity and increased appetite. This disease can be treated medically, surgically or with radiation therapy.

• Kidney failure- This occurs when 70 percent of the kidney's functions are lost. Early symptoms of kidney failure include weight loss, increased thirst, increased urination (frequency and amount), decreased appetite and occasional vomiting. Symptoms of kidney failure result from the buildup of toxins in the body, which are normally removed by healthy kidneys. Specially formulated foods are available for cats that are diagnosed with kidney failure. These foods may be purchased through your veterinarian.

• Heart problems- The most common heart disease is cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy is a primary heart disease, though it can develop secondary to kidney disease and hyperthyroidism.

• Cancer- The virus is transmitted from an infected cat to a healthy cat through intimate "nose-to-nose" contact with infected saliva. There are no specific symptoms for feline leukemia virus infection; however, tumors of the lymph nodes, kidneys and intestines are quite common. Other symptoms include weight loss, anemia (decrease in red blood cells), poor appetite, vomiting and diarrhea.

• Diabetes mellitus- Symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst and increased urination. Animals with diabetes mellitus often have ravenous appetites. Insulin is usually necessary for controlling diabetes mellitus in older cats.

• Digestion- The ability to digest and assimilate fat declines with age. Olfactory (smell) and gustatory (taste) senses are diminished. Food may need to be warmed (not hot) in order to entice an older cat to eat. It is not recommended to give food directly from the refrigerator. Fresh clean water should be available at all times and filled at least once a day.

• Constipation- It is often the result of a decrease in gastrointestinal tract motility. Hairballs can also cause constipation and very often they lead to intestinal impaction. Surgery is occasionally necessary in order to remove obstructive hairballs. Since hairballs are not easily regurgitated, preventative medication such as laxatives should be administered once a week. The use of a laxative is recommended for the prevention of intestinal obstruction, however if the laxative is given too frequently, it can interfere with intestinal absorption of vitamins and minerals.

• Tartar build-up- Tartar causes bad breath and can lead to dental problems — gum disease and tooth loss. Cats may tolerate a bit of home dentistry like brushing, but they must be taken to a veterinary hospital for treatment. Treatment generally consists of cleaning and polishing the teeth.

• Grooming- As cats get older, they groom themselves less and less effectively. Long-haired cats are particularly bothered by coat problems. Their coats are often matted, causing severe skin irritations. If an elderly cat is unable to keep up with his or her grooming, human intervention may be necessary. Long-haired cats and short-haired cats that do not groom themselves effectively should be brushed or combed twice a week.


Routine veterinary check-ups, along with blood and urine tests, are important for detecting medical problems before they become emergency situations. Discuss an examination schedule specific to your cat with your veterinarian.

Ultrasound

Ultrasound, most commonly associated with pregnancy, is not something you may expect to hear at a veterinary office. However, due to improvements in technology, an ultrasound may be something your veterinarian recommends to help diagnose your pet for a number of potential ailments.

An ultrasound is a non-invasive procedure similar to an x-ray. It works by sending sound waves through tissue and recording the waves as they are reflected back. Those reflections are then transformed into images of organs and other objects for your veterinarian to study. In simplest terms, an ultrasound produces a moving picture of an organ or body part as it is actually functioning.

Veterinary Ultrasound Machine

Most commonly used as a diagnostic tool to evaluate diseases of the heart, liver, pancreas, kidney, intestine, spleen, urinary bladder and other organs located in the abdomen, your veterinarian is able to learn valuable information about the health of these organs. Since the pet is usually on his or her back for an ultrasound procedure, sedation or short acting anesthesia may be required. Regardless if sedation is used, ultrasound is an out-patient procedure, usually allowing your pet to go home the same day.

The benefits of ultrasound are enormous. Diseases that would otherwise go undetected can be diagnosed early. If a biopsy is needed, it can be accomplished during an ultrasound. An ultrasound can also replace an exploratory surgery, which can sometimes lead to more serious complications.

Although there are other parts of the body that can be studied with ultrasound, abdominal and cardiac ultrasound are the most common in veterinary medicine.

Abdominal Ultrasound

Abdominal ultrasound is used to evaluate pets with symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, straining to urinate or urinating blood. It can also be helpful in cases of reproductive abnormalities, weight loss and to detect early pregnancy. When physical examination and blood tests indicate a problem with a particular organ, an ultrasonic examination can provide additional information or even a diagnosis.

Ultrasound of the Kidney and Bladder

In order for the ultrasound to produce the best possible picture, a small amount of fur needs to be shaved from the abdomen. After the fur is shaved, the examiner places a probe on the skin of the abdomen and moves it across the surface to examine the organs or regions of interest. An ultrasound can identify organ abnormalities, abdominal masses, tumors, fluid and abnormal lymph nodes.

Echocardiography

An ultrasound of the heart is more commonly known as an echocardiogram. Defined as an ultrasonic examination of the heart, the procedure itself is very similar to that of an abdominal ultrasound.

Ultrasound of the Heart

An ultrasound allows the veterinarian to see inside your pet’s heart. The functioning of the heart valves, the thickness of the heart muscle and the contractions of the heart can all be assessed. Along with a diagnosis, an echocardiogram also allows the veterinarian to determine the best treatment plan for your pet’s condition.

Ultrasound of the Heart

Ultrasound has become a very useful diagnostic tool in veterinary medicine. To a large extent, ultrasound has replaced exploratory abdominal surgery. Along with radiography, ultrasound can also be used to diagnose and treat most heart diseases that occur in dogs and cats.

Quiet! Solutions For Barking Dogs

The first five reasons for barking are rarely the cause of excessive or annoying barking. They are usually specific to certain situations and are short-lived. The sixth and seventh reasons are those most likely to be considered problem barking, and they are not unrelated. Barking for companionship can turn into barking for reward: The dog barks to get its owner’s attention, the owner comes to the dog to tell it to be quiet, perhaps petting it or playing with it, before going away again. The dog is quiet while the owner is there, but has learned that barking will bring the owner back. Thus the system of barking and reward is established.

A solution, again, is to spend more time with your dog and have it near you rather than tied up somewhere separate from you. However, if your dog is separated from you and it begins to bark to get your attention, do not immediately go to the dog. It must learn that barking will not guarantee your presence. By spending more time with the dog at regular intervals not instigated by barking, your dog will feel more assured that it will get sufficient attention from you and will not have as much inclination to bark for companionship.

How to deal with barking dogs

Teach Your Dog To Stop Barking By Understanding Prevention Steps


How do you teach a barking dog to distinguish between friends and strangers?
The solution is to show the dog that certain individuals like garbage collectors or the mailman are, indeed, friends. To accomplish this, the dog has to be introduced to these people and given an opportunity to get to know them. While this is not always practical, it is nonetheless a potential solution. As you restrain your dog, stop delivery people and have a short conversation with them, letting them meet the dog for a brief period. Repeat and lengthen the process over the next few weeks. Eventually, your dog should accept these individuals and all should be well until your regular mailman is sick and another person takes his place.

What do you do with a dog that barks at guests in your house?
One solution is to take the dog to another room and give it something to do. Or, if the guest comes to your home often and you don’t want to have to lock up the dog every time, work to gradually introduce one to the other. Have the guest get on his knees, pet the dog, offer it a treat, and more or less become part of the family. Let your dog establish the speed at which this relationship develops: Don’t force it or your dog may become alarmed by a pushy guest.

How do you deal with a dog that barks at the phone?
This is simply a case of a dog that has been rewarded for barking at a ringing phone. When the dog barks, someone eventually answers the phone and it stops ringing. To stop your dog from doing this, have a friend call and let the phone ring until the dog loses interest. Continue over a period of days, and in time, the dog will learn that barking at the phone accomplishes nothing.

Finally, what do you do with the dog that barks while you are away from home?
There are several possible solutions. One is to act as if you are leaving, then stand outside the door until the dog barks. When it does, return and scold verbally. Another is to get your dog a companion—but you might end up with two barkers! A third is to use a sound-activated tape recorder. When the dog barks, the sound switch turns on the tape recorder for a minute. The tape plays your voice scolding the dog. Some systems can repeat as many as 45 times while you are away.

The best way to reduce your dog’s barking is to pay attention to the reasons for the barking. If you can satisfy the dog’s needs, barking will automatically be reduced. By the same token, learned barking can be extremely persistent. Internal rewards can cause the cycle to go on for years.

The best solution to barking is prevention, so be aware of the possibilities and work to stop problem barking before it starts.

The Many Benefits of Spaying Your Dog

There is little in scientific literature that indicates any negative effects of spaying a dog. The most recent research conducted by Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine indicates that spaying, even on very young puppies (perhaps as young as 8 weeks of age) is safe, and that the dog recovers within a few days.

Aside from having puppies, non-spayed females are more susceptible to mammary gland tumors, uterine infections and ovarian diseases. After the ovaries are removed, vaginal estrous bleeding is no longer a concern. The dull and shaggy coat appearance that often occurs in some dogs during the estrus cycle seems to disappear. Pyometra (infections of the uterus), which are extremely common in non-spayed bitches and almost always require emergency surgery, do not occur. Mammary tumors that get large and multiply quickly occur much less frequently in spayed female dogs.


Behavioral effects

The behavioral effects of dog spays are only positive. The bitch does not go into estrus (heat), the time of the cycle when she is receptive to males. In non-spayed female dogs, there are generally about two heat cycles per year. Since estrus does not occur in spayed female dogs, there are no bloody secretions on the carpets, upholstery or throughout the house. Non-neutered male dogs are attracted to females in heat. These male dogs travel long distances in order to mate with a bitch in estrus. This creates a nuisance, as the male dogs are fairly aggressive and remain in the vicinity until the heat cycle is finished.

Spaying doesn't change the way a dog digests food. It does, however, affect the dog’s activity level. Non-spayed females have periods of greater activity during their estrus cycle. By removing the ovaries, as is done in an ovariohysterectomy (spaying), the female hormone levels are greatly reduced. Without the surge of estrus related hormones, there is no hormone-related increased activity level. To make sure your dog does not become obese, it is necessary to regulate her diet and activity level. Adult dogs can have their rations cut back until you reach a point at which the dog maintains a stable weight. If this is insufficient, there are several good quality weight reducing dog foods that are available. Ask your veterinarian or a veterinary technician for a food that is right for your dog. Also, make sure your dog is exercised, even if it's for one long daily walk.

10 Fun Facts About Cats

Ten Fun Facts About Cats

  1. Cats "paw" or "knead" to mark their territory. Cats sweat through the bottom of their paws and rub off the sweat as a marking mechanism.
  2. Cat urine glows in the dark when a black light shines on it. If you think your cat or kitten has had an accident in your home, use a black light to find the mishap.
  3. If your cat is near you, and her tail is quivering, this is the greatest expression of love your cat can give you, but if your cat is thrashing its tail, she is in a bad mood, so keep your distance!
  4. During her productive life, one female cat could have more than 100 kittens. A single pair of cats and their kittens can produce as many as 420,000 kittens in just seven years.
  5. Sir Isaac Newton invented the cat door.
  6. Cats spend 30 percent of their waking hours grooming themselves.
  7. Ancient Egyptians shaved their eyebrows in mourning when their cats died. And if someone killed a cat, he or she could get the death penalty.
  8. According to the Guinness Book of World records, the oldest cat was Crème Puff from Austin, Texas who died in 2005 at 38 years old.
  9. When cats are happy, they may squeeze their eyes shut.
  10. The reason for the lack of mouse-flavored cat food is due to the fact that the cat test subjects did not like it.