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January Newsletter 2018

Vital Visits News, Tips, and Fun!

Vital Visits Pup and Person Info!

Happy New Year!

  • Brrrrrr, it’s cold out there! Consider taking your pooch on a few, but shorter walks in this chilly weather. Put a sweater on smaller dogs or those with short coats!
  • Unwanted Pet Items – We are picking up unwanted pet items. If you have any unwanted pet items; food, towels, sheets, etc. and some magazine paper items for the bird sanctuary, please let us know. The next time Vital Visits cares for your pets, leave a note for your Pet Sitter to bring the unwanted pet items to the office. If we cannot use pet items for the fosters and rescues on our list, we will gladly donate to one of the shelters we work with.  
  • Job Openings – adding sitters! Adding Pet Sitters to Plano, TX  Richardson, TX Dallas, TX and Garland, TX.  If you know anyone that may be interested send them this link to Apply. Thank you!

Diabetes in Dogs

Diabetes in canines is a complex and chronic disease where they have either a lack of the hormone insulin or an inadequate response to it. Although there is no cure for it, pets with diabetes can be managed successfully.

The cause of diabetes isn’t known. We do know that autoimmune disease, genetics, weight, pancreatitis, and some medications (like steroids) play a role in the development of the disease.

Often this disease is caught by blood work on your pet’s yearly well visit. Diabetes is usually a silent disease because many pets don’t show obvious symptoms early on. Look for the following indications:

  • Greater than normal thirst
  • Increased hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Lack of energy, weakness, or fatigue
  • Thinning or dull fur
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Frequent urination (maybe even accidents in the house)
  • Cloudy eyes

Obviously, if your buddy is showing these symptoms, it’s time for a vet visit. Don’t put it off; it’s best to catch this problem sooner rather than later.

Your vet will prescribe a treatment for your dog which almost always requires insulin injections twice a day and glucose monitoring, combined with dietary changes and exercise. Management of a newly diagnosed dog can be daunting at first, but both owners and dogs quickly adjust to this new routine. Along with the insulin, another critical factor in management is daily exercise (call us we can help).

So if your best friend is diagnosed with diabetes, don’t panic. With proper care, you’ll have many more happy, active years together!


Common Health Issues for Small Dogs

Small dogs have become doggone popular; they are SO big on charm and personality, cute as buttons, and easily portable! However, you may not realize that small breeds can generally be more fragile than the big guys. Before adopting a small breed, it’s good to understand some of the health risks that come with them.

Breathing issues – small dogs with short noses and flat faces (like a Pug or Boston Terrier) have a tiny more compressed airway- so don’t demand too much from them. Strenuous exercise needs to be kept to a minimum especially in hot weather.

Patellar Luxation – or more simply put, a dislocated kneecap. This problem can occur in any breed, but it’s more common in small breeds.

Intervertebral Disk Disease – this happens when the cushion between the vertebra come into contact with the spinal cord. It can cause discomfort, nerve damage, or even some paralysis.

Pancreatitis – this problem can develop when the pancreas becomes inflamed and can occur for a variety of reasons, such as obesity, infection, and sometimes just appears out of the blue.

Ectropion – this abnormality often affects short-nosed, flat-faced breeds. It causes the margin or the eyelid to roll outward which results in exposing the inner tissue of the eye and can lead to itchy eyes or frequent infections.

Oral Health Issues – Small breeds have small mouths, yet they still have 42 teeth like dogs of any size. This can lead to crooked teeth or an unusual bite and makes them a target for dental disease.

Don’t let this stop you from adopting a pint-sized pup, many have no health problems at all and if you know what to look for you can stay ahead of any petite pooch problems!


Introduce Your Cat to a New Friend

Last month we floated the idea of adopting a new cat to keep your current kitty company. This month we’ll go over some plans for introducing your cat to their new friend.

In an ideal world, your newcomer would be the opposite gender, fixed, smaller, and younger than your current cat. With any new addition to your pet family, you should plan to take it slowly because this is a stressful time for both cats involved. We don’t want either cat to have a bad experience or get injured.

Do these steps slowly, while gauging their tolerance to each other. Some cats may accept a newcomer in a couple of days; others may take a lot longer.

  • Before you bring the new cat home set up a separate safe room for the newcomer. They will need their own litter box, food and water bowls (be sure they are not near the litter box), and toys.
  • Scent is very important for cats. Let them smell each other indirectly by rubbing a towel on one and letting the other smell it. Do this with both cats and leave the scented towel near their food dish.
  • Expect some hissing thru the door; this is a natural and healthy behavior as they start to figure out the pecking order.
  • On day two, switch the cats around for a bit. Allow the new cat to explore the whole house and put your old cat in the new cat’s safe room for an hour or so. Do this for a couple of days, so they get a chance to inspect and smell the others’ lair.
  • After a couple of days of doing the steps above, allow the cats to sniff each other through an open door with a baby gate up. They may hiss or even ignore each other, which is OK and completely normal.
  • If you feel they are ready to mingle, let them do so under closesupervision. Ignore any hissing and growling, only intervene if an actual physical battle breaks out.
  • Make this first activity together a fun one; they will learn to associate their new friend with pleasure. Play a game with them, feed them (in separate dishes placed a bit away from each other), pet them, and offer a lot of praise.
  • If things go badly back up a few steps and take it slowly. Introductions can take from 2 hours to 6 months (most happen in a week or so).

Nine chances out of ten, your cats will soon be best buddies and get along famously, just be patient.


Great Pet Links!

Here are some interesting pet articles, pictures, and videos we’ve found on the net this month.


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