<?php echo HOSPNAME; ?>Newsletter articles The veterinarians and staff at the York 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.

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Current Newsletter Topics

Summer Tips for Dogs

Helping Rover Beat The Heat!

People usually prepare themselves for the dangers of increased temperatures. But as the dog days of summer approach, our trusted companions also need special attention to insure that they don’t get burned. Like for us, the summer months bring an increased danger of heat exhaustion and heat stroke for dogs.

Dogs in Pool

People naturally regulate their body temperature by sweating. Dogs mainly cool themselves by panting, or breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. The process of panting directs air over the mucous membranes (moist surface) of the tongue, throat and trachea (windpipe). The air that is flowing over these organs causes evaporation, thus cooling the animal. Another mechanisms that helps remove heat includes dilation of blood vessels in the skin of the face, ears and feet. Dilated blood vessels located on the surface of the body cause the blood to loose heat to the outside air.

A dog’s normal body temperature is 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Like people, dogs can become overheated. If it rises to 105 or 106 degrees, the dog is at risk for developing heat exhaustion. If the body temperature rises to 107 degrees, the dog has entered the danger zone of heat stroke. With heat stroke, damage to the body can be irreversible. Organs begin to shut down, and veterinary care is immediately needed.

Fortunately, if owners recognize heat exhaustion, they can prevent the dog from entering heat stroke. People can easily recognize when the heat gets to them because they become lightheaded and fail to sweat. For dogs, early signs of heat exhaustion may include failure to salivate and a dry mouth. Heat exhaustion may also include a dog lying down and looking tired, losing its appetite, and becoming unresponsive to owners.

If heat exhaustion progresses into heat stroke, the dog becomes very warm to touch and may have seizures. Internal mechanisms roll into effect that may cause blood clotting and organ damage. If you are near a phone and think that heat stroke is a possibility, call your veterinarian immediately. If a veterinarian is not within reach, or while waiting for a veterinarian, get the dog out of the sun and cool him or her down with cool water baths (cool—not cold). Provide a fan, especially if you wet the dog down, and encourage him or her to drink water.

While these steps may help a dog, the best treatment is prevention. In order to prevent overheating, some owners may shave their dogs or trim their fur excessively. This isn’t always a good idea. The hair coat may appear to be a burden for a dog; however, it can also keep the animal comfortable by trapping cool air next to the skin, reducing the amount of heat transferred from the hot outside air to the body of the dog.

Dogs with long or thick coats that have problems with matted hair are often good candidates for clipping. Matted hair can cause skin irritation and is undesirable. Owners that do not have time to adequately remove mats and debris from their dog’s coat may prefer to have the coat clipped short. After a short clipping, and if the dog is outdoors, owners need to be careful of sunburn. Sunscreen may be applied to the dog’s skin; however, it is necessary to consult a veterinarian to find out which ones are safe.

Here are some other tips for keeping your dog cool this summer:

  • Keep dogs indoors, in air conditioning, on very hot days.
  • Do not leave dogs in a car during the summer. Even with the windows down, temperatures inside a car can quickly rise to above 120 degrees.Make sure outdoor dogs have plenty of shade.
  • Keep fresh water available at all times.
  • On very hot days, exercise dogs early in the morning or late in the evening. If this is not possible, exercise in an air conditioned environment.
  • Provide your dog with a sprinkler or wading pool on very warm days.
  • If you take the dog to a lake, make sure it has plenty of time to drink and get wet. Most dogs can drink lake water without adverse effects.
  • If your dog has a light coat or exposed skin, take precautions against sunburn.
  • Dogs can acclimate to warm temperatures and have no trouble staying outdoors in the heat. However, dogs that are used to cool climates or air conditioning should not be left outside on hot days.
  • Acclimating your dog gradually is the key.

If you have questions about caring for your dog during the summer months, please give us a call today.

VIDEO - What Are Heartworms?

Why are heartworms a threat to your dog? This short video explains.

Has Your Dog Developed Bald Patches? This May Be Why…

You shared your peanut butter sandwich with your pooch and now he's itching, shedding, and developing bald patches – lesson learned. Food allergies are just one of several reasons your pup can seem to become "folicly challenged" overnight.

Hair loss is a symptom of an underlying problem and is often accompanied by intense itchiness or pain, among other things. The following are all potential causes of hair loss in dogs and all should prompt a call to your veterinarian for treatment recommendations:

Allergies – Allergies are quite common in dogs of all breeds and backgrounds. They are typically due to fleas, but can also be the result of food or an inhaled irritant like dust or pollen. The most common symptom associated with allergies is itching. Other symptoms include coughing, sneezing, and wheezing or digestive problems causing vomiting, flatulence, or diarrhea.

Cushing's Disease – Most common in older dogs, Hyperadrenocorticism/Cushing's Disease is caused by an excess of the cortisol hormone (found in corticosteroid drugs). In addition to hair loss, it can cause a pot-belly and darkened skin.

Hereditary – Of course there are breeds that remain hairless throughout their lives, but there are also some breeds more prone to hair loss than others. These include the Chihuahua, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, Italian Greyhound and the Whippet. Bald spots appear most commonly on the ear, chest, back, or thigh.

Infection – Bacterial or fungal infections may be to blame for hair loss. Ringworm, a fungus, causes areas of irregular or circular hair loss as well as infected scabs/crusts and inflammation.

Infestation – If your pet is host to parasites like fleas, ticks, or mites, he or she probably feels very uncomfortable! Symptoms of infestation may include inflammation, itching, and redness. Hair loss typically occurs around the ears and eyes or belly/chest.

Pressure Sores – Although more obvious than the above possibilities, pressure sores are still a cause of hair loss. They are characterized by calloused skin that may crack or bleed and lose hair. They are most common in large older dogs and are formed on elbows or other pressure points that regularly come into contact with hard surfaces.

Five Domestic-Wild Cat Hybrid Breeds

When a male lion and a female tiger are bred, the result is the behemoth known as the liger. When a wild cat and a domestic cat are bred, the result is also stunning. Creating wild-domestic cat hybrid breeds has become a profitable industry, with exotic –yet domesticated – cats sometimes selling for thousands of dollars.

Many first or second generation hybrids are sterile and maintain too many “wild” traits to make decent house pets, but later generations have been able to successfully interbreed and live domestic lives. Although they require more care than a normal domestic cat, here are five popular wild-domestic cat breeds:

1. The Bengal – Although you would think this cat derived from a Bengal tiger-cross, it is actually the result of breeding an Asian leopard cat with a domestic cat. These cats are considered large, with males weighing 10 to 15 pounds on average. Bengals are known to be a handful, requiring a lot of stimulation and vocalizing loudly to get their way. Their shiny, soft fur has two basic patterns: spotted and swirled marble, both often tricolor. The Bengal has been cross-bred with many different breeds, resulting in a variety of hybrids.

2. The Toyger – A Los Angeles breeder has been attempting to create a breed that resembles a tiger since the late eighties. By crossing a domestic cat with a Bengal, she has come pretty close. The breed is considered to be “in development,” but is available worldwide for purchase from different breeders.

3. The Savannah – This hybrid is the result of crossing a domestic cat with an African Serval, which somewhat resembles a cheetah with a smaller head, bigger ears, and added stripes on its body. These cats are tall and lanky.

4. The Chausie – Also known as the Stone Cougar, this mix between a domestic cat and Jungle Cat hybrids can grow up to three feet long and weigh 35 lbs. This breed is considered completely domesticated in temperament because it was bred from more domestic and hybrid pairings than wild ones. With long legs and bodies, they come in three colors: black, black grizzled tabby, and black/brown ticked tabby.

5. The Safari – Although rare, the breeding of a South American Geoffroy’s cat with a domestic feline results in this “living room leopard.”

Keeping Kitties Entertained

Most cats hold their human caretakers to high standards. As a cat lover, you're quite aware of how you can't always meet their unspoken expectations. You know the displeased feline glare better than anyone and so you understand it takes work to keep your kitty happy.

Indoor cats especially must be provided with activities to connect them with their wild ways. Otherwise, your bored ball of fur may quickly turn disruptive or worse - destructive! Luckily, kitty entertainment comes cheap and toys can even be rotated (research has shown that old toys regain their novelty this way).

Some activities sure to provide some stimulation include:

Letting them hunt – Hopefully your house isn't plagued by mice or rats, but there are still ways your cat can experience what it's like to be a hunter or huntress. Try hiding some of your cat's food throughout the house or place it in food-dispensing toys. Working for a meal will be mentally and physically engaging. You can also infuse old socks with scents or treats, create a scent trail, and hide them in various places to encourage your cat to go on the prowl.

Letting them explore – If you've seen the YouTube videos, you know many cats love boxes and sometimes even shopping bags. Let your cat investigate or climb inside these objects or invest in a kitty condo. If your cat is an indoor cat, consider getting a harness and taking him or her on an adventure into the backyard. You could even build an enclosed outdoor area.

Letting them watch cat TV – Animal Planet is a good start, but there are videos made just for cats featuring close-ups of birds and mice that many cats can't seem to get enough of. Windows (especially those overlooking a bird or squirrel feeder) and aquariums can also serve as a source of visual entertainment for the more nature-inclined. Just be sure screens and tank lids are secure to prevent escape or an unfortunate catastrophe.

Letting them enjoy you – Some cats prefer toys they can toss around on their own, but many others still enjoy interactive play with their human. Feather wands, mouse-like or catnip-filled toys tend to be favorites. You can also try teaching your cat some new tricks.

Feline-Friendly Tunes

A “Music for Cats” EP was released to the masses, human and feline, on October 25, 2015. Before you shake your head or laugh, consider this: It was composed by a member of the National Symphony Orchestra.

It has been cellist David Teie’s dream to prove his universal theory of music by creating music that appeals to all kinds of animals. His theory is that relaxing music features sounds similar to those which humans and animals would’ve heard while in the womb and thus has a direct emotional – and enjoyable – effect.

Monkey Dance Music, for Starters

According to Teie, the music humans find relaxing is the kind that has a similar pace to a mother’s resting heart-rate. Violins, commonly used in soothing ballads, are in the same range as a mother’s voice. It has been his mission to recreate these standards in other species.

He started with monkeys. For them, he theorized, the music would need to be faster and higher-pitched than slow jams for humans because they have faster pulses and communicate with higher-pitched sounds. By working with Charles Snowdon, a psychology professor at the University of Wisconsin, Teie was able to test his tunes on an entire colony of tamarinds. And, it worked! The music Teie designed to relax the monkeys did just that. The “monkey dance music,” on the other hand, made them jump around.

That wasn’t his first success either. In 2008, Teie had written two songs – “Rusty’s Ballad” and “Cozmo’s Air” - that prompted favorable feline responses as part of an Applied Animal Behavior Science study.

“Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty, Little Ball of Fur…”

Although Penny sings a lovely cat-based tune to calm Sheldon in the sitcom “The Big Bang Theory,” Teie wasn’t writing adorable lyrics. He wanted to create something that would make cats feel good because it was vaguely familiar.

“If you play an actual purr, the cats will habituate to it,” Teie said. “What I’m trying to do is tickle their brains so they think, ‘I don’t know what that is, but it gets to me. It makes me feel good.’”

Teie was able to speed up the sound of a snare drum to the same pace as a purr. But, after studying purr sound-waves, he realized each beat actually needed to contain two different sounds. Through the magic of technology, he created an entirely new instrument on his computer. The new sound was based on an organ, but made to mimic the opening and closing of a cat’s vocal cords. Added to this were kitten mews, and presto!

Marketing to Cats?

Teie soon realized that to fund continued testing of his universal theory of music he needed to make some cash. He decided to create an entire album for cats, but realized it would sell better if their human caretakers could find it enjoyable too. The “Music for Cats” EP will feature his hard, research-driven work interlocked with actual cello melodies. The finished product is supposedly music that is calming for both people and their cats. Cat critics will continue to sound off – will it be received with mostly two paws up, or down?

Source: The Washington Post

Ice Water: Dangerous for Dogs?

Concerned pet owners may have come across a Facebook post warning against giving dogs ice water. The post claims that giving dogs ice water can cause bloat, which can lead to a life-threatening condition called gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV), or bloat. It’s often accompanied by a seemingly true story of a well-meaning pet owner trying to keep their dog cool on a hot day only to find they must rush their pet to the emergency vet.

It sounds scary, but it’s absolutely false. Veterinarians across the country have been addressing this myth for years, but the misinformation continues to spread thanks to social media. Frigid gastric ‘cramping’ is a falsehood similar to those that inform you that your hair will grow back coarser if you shave it (myth), or that you shouldn’t go swimming for 30 minutes after eating lest you drown in a fit of cramps (myth).

Bloat can be caused when your dog drinks too much too quickly, but the temperature of the water has nothing to do with this. In fact, putting ice cubes in your dog’s water can sometimes slow your dog’s water consumption, keeping the risk of bloat at bay.

If you have a large dog and are concerned about bloat, we recommend feeding a few small meals per day instead of one large meal and avoid exercising for an hour or so after eating. But if your pup is thirsty on a hot day, there’s nothing dangerous about helping them cool off with ice water.

Bloat or gastric torsion is a disease n which the dog’s stomach dilates and then rotates, or twists, around its axis. Bloat is primarily a disease of large and giant-breed dogs. Deep-chested breeds such as great Danes, German shepherds and standard poodles are most commonly affected.

For additional information about bloat, please give us a call.