You Make The Diagnosis: Name This Ancient Breed of Dog

Pictured below is a beautiful sighthound named Nailah.  I had the privilege of meeting her a few weeks ago.  Like other members of her breed, Nailah’s long, lean body is striking.  Name Nailah’s breed.  Name other breeds included in the sighthound family.

Diagnosis:  Saluki

Saluki’s are one of the oldest breeds of dog still in existence.  Originally, they were used for hunting hare and gazelle by nomadic people in Persia.  Salukis are members of the sighthound family.  This means they rely on their vision while hunting instead of their sense of smell.  All sighthounds have aerodynamic bodies that are built for speed.  Some of the more common members of this family include Greyhounds, Afghan hounds, Irish Wolfhounds, Whippets, Borzoi and Italian Greyhounds.  

Source:  Simon & Schuster’s Guide To Dogs, copyright 1980      

Help Your Favorite Animal Charity

2011 is designated around the globe as “World Veterinary Year”.  So in order to give back to the community, I am offering to speak for free on behalf of an animal charity (or several who partner) in any of the 50 United States.  One grant will be made this year.  Again, the charity can be in any state.

You can help your favorite charity by alerting them to this opportunity and perhaps, even writing the grant.  I want them to stay focused on helping animals – not writing a long grant.  So keep it brief and emphasize how the charity or group of them will use this talk to impact animals in your area.  As for background info on the charity’s work and history, reference to their website is sufficient.  The deadline for applications is August 31, 2011.

Further details at: 
Together, let’s do something great for animals! 

Why Do Dogs And Cats Eat Grass?

Last weekend, I was asked why dogs and cats eat grass and other plant material?  Since this is a common question, I decided to address this issue on the blog.  After observing animal behavior for years, I believe there are two basic reasons for eating grass.  First, there is a small group of dogs and cats that simply like to eat plants.  Even though these pets have good diets, they like to nibble on something green.  They consume small amounts that usually pass through their gastric systems without any problem.  The second group eats large amounts of plant material and then vomits.  I think these animals are nauseated and instinctively consume roughage to stimulate vomiting.  I have heard stories of wolves who consume burned wood after eating poisons.  If true, it makes sense from a medical perspective.  The burned wood is of course, charcoal.  This material naturally absorbs poison and prevents it from being absorbed into the wolf’s bloodstream.  We veterinarians keep activated charcoal in the clinic for just this purpose.   

Bee Season Is Here: Puppy With Swollen Face

Bee season is here!  Poor little Ginger was fine when her owners left to run errands.  When they returned, her face was swollen and she could barely open her eyes.  They raced her into the clinic for care.  Thanks to their quick action, Ginger made a complete recovery. 

Although we don’t know exactly what Ginger reacted to, I suspect it was an insect bite.  Bees and ants are extremely active during July and August.  That’s when I see dogs like Ginger come into the clinic with swollen faces.  This is also what can happen in an allergic reaction to anything including medicine, cleaning products and vaccines.  I recommend that all dog owners stock an antihistamine like Benadryl in their medicine cabinet.  Contact your veterinarian for the proper dosing instructions.  Carry some with you on vacation.  My dog Buddy likes to catch bees in his mouth – he is not always the brightest bulb on the tree but I love him!  I send some Benadryl with instructions when he stays at the pet resort.  

You Make The Diagnosis: Find The Animal In This Picture

Hiding amongst the fish is a rare animal that has several adaptations for life in the water.  After you have located this shy creature, name the animal and two unique characteristics.

Diagnosis:  Mata Mata Turtle

In the center of the image is a mata mata turtle clinging to the side of a large rock.  Its shell is covered with dark green algae.  These turtles are native to South America where they live in swamps, marshes and other bodies of slow moving water.  They have a long, tubular nose that resembles a horn.  Mata mata turtles live in shallow water which makes breathing a snap.  They simply stretch their heads to the surface.  

Besides their unique nose, mata mata turtles are known for flaps of skin on their necks that look like fringe to me.  The flaps provide camouflage among the aquatic plants while they wait for dinner to swim by.   

You Make The Diagnosis: Cat Paw Problem

Pictured below is a closeup of a cat’s front paw.  When I first saw this cat, both of his front feet were covered in blood and dirt.  After a thorough cleaning, this is what the left paw looked like.  Examine the photo closely and then answer the following questions:  What is wrong with this cat’s paw?  Is the condition permanent? 

Diagnosis:  Torn Claws

Dogs chased this cat into a tree.  As the cat climbed the tree, one of the dogs grabbed him by the back and pulled him down.  His middle two nails were ripped out as he tried to cling to the tree.  Find the two middle toe pads in the center of the photo and then move up to the red areas below the cotton swab.  That is the bone, called the distal phalangeal or third phalangeal, from which the claw or nail grows.  The nails are still present on the outer toes.  

I placed this cat on medication to control his pain, antibiotics to treat infection and bandaged the paw.  Although he limped for awhile, he eventually made a full recovery.  His nails even grew back.  His owners promised me they would never let him go outside alone again.   

Pet Friendly Bookstores

As an animal lover and author, this Fourth of July I find myself thinking of two great loves – pets and books.  With the summer beach reading season upon us, I thought it would be fun to celebrate bookstores who welcome animals.  If you know a pet friendly bookstore, let me know.  I will compile a list and publish it on this blog in the future.

A great bookstore is a wonderful gift to a community.  It is a place of learning, exploration and discovery.  It is also a place for us to gather as and celebrate community.  Since pets transform our lives it makes sense that well-behaved animals be part of the social experience of bookstores.  When we return home with a new book, I submit there is nothing more tranquil than having a cat in my lap while I open the first page.  So, let’s create a list of all the great bookstores who welcome animals!   I will start the list with:

Changing Hands, Tempe, Arizona
Bookends, Kailua, Hawaii  
Valley Bookseller, Stillwater, Minnesota
HearthFire Books, Evergreen, Colorado
Wild Rumpus, Minneapolis, Minnesota
The Next Page Bookstore & Tea Bar, Frisco, Colorado