Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love

This afternoon I finished writing the first draft of Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love!  It covers part of the second year of my Minnesota clinic.  Thank you to the fans who waited since Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life was published in 2010.  Cancer set me back for longer than expected but it did not win!  I now feel great and am actively back in clinics, speaking and am so grateful to be back writing.  Hopefully, you find the wait for this second book in the series to be well rewarded.

Publication will take place in 2013 but is still months away.  If you are a fan and want to receive an e-mail notification with information on the launch date and party, please write me at

Media and blogger inquiries to receive an advance review copy of the manuscript should also contact me at that e-mail address.  Advance copies will be made available through e-format.  

Long Haired Chihuahua Gives Birth

This is Angel, a beautiful long-haired Chihuahua.  This is her before picture . . . before having puppies.  Scroll down to learn more about the normal stages of canine labor and a video clip to see Angel’s pups.  

In normal canine parturition, the female (bitch) goes through three specific stages of labor. Prior to its onset, her body temperature will drop a few degrees. (The normal body temperature for dogs is 100.0 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.) Labor should start within twenty-four hours of the temperature drop. In stage one, the mother-to-be is restless. She pants and paces. The poor girl just can’t get comfortable. During this phase her cervix is dilating. She is having small contractions that are not visible. Some first time moms will looks at their sides as if to ask “What’s going on?”

Once contractions are visible, the female is in stage two labor. Puppies are usually born after ten to fifteen minutes of active straining. They may come out head or tail first. Either is fine. Watch closely to see if a placenta (the sac around the pup) is delivered with each pup. Some females will try to eat this which I do not recommend. I have seen intestinal obstructions develop from this.

During stage three labor, any retained placentas are delivered. Watch closely to make sure this happens. A retained placenta may cause a life-threatening infection. Seek medical attention right away if you suspect this occurred.

Angel is an excellent mother.  The following video was taken after she finished giving birth to four healthy pups.  Enjoy! 

Bear The Clinic Cat

Pictured below is Bear, one of the clinic cats at Alta Vista Veterinary Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona.  This is a large hospital that is open from 7 am to 10 pm seven days a week.  I love working there because of the variety of animals we treat and the wonderful staff.  This clinic reminds me of my internship at the Animal Medical Center in New York City – you never know what is going to come through the door.  

Bear looks a little grumpy in this picture for two reasons.  First, I interrupted his afternoon nap to get this picture.  Second, I made a New Year’s resolution for him.  I decided that Bear needed to go on a diet and get daily exercise.  For his part, Bear has decided he does not like my resolution.  I put Bear on a new diet of primarily canned cat food to reduce the amount of carbohydrates he consumes and hopefully, prevent pancreatitis and diabetes.  He also exercises every night for fifteen minutes.  The staff reports he is quite happy the days I don’t work.     


Marrow Bones May Be Dangerous to Dogs

Many who love dogs give their pets marrow bones to chew on.  They naturally believe that marrow bones are safe.  However, one look at the picture below demonstrates why I do not recommend them.  When the dog is chewing out the center, it is easy for the bone to pass over the lower canine teeth and get stuck around the dog’s jaw.  Most dogs need to be sedated in order to remove the bone.  This dog made a full recovery once the bone was removed but after the veterinary bill, that became one very expensive treat!

Cats Need Exercise

Owners do too, but we will focus on the cats.  It is very important for cats to get at least 15 minutes of play each day.  There are a variety of great toys available for them to enjoy.  Remember to mimic their behavior in the wild – hunt, catch, kill.  They need to catch the toy every once and awhile.  This is one of several reasons I do not like playing with a laser.  In fact, some cats develop a neurosis called frenzied play syndrome because they never catch the beam of light.  You should get your cat’s heart rate up and if possible, get them panting. 

Back to their natural behavior, at the end of when they have caught the “prey” you should feed the cat.  That is what they would do in the wild.  Another benefit is the human-animal bond you will enjoy if you take time to play with your cat every day.

The following video clip stars two of my cats, Mauka and Keanu in play.  Please notice that Mauka is allowed to hold the toy for awhile when he catches it to replicate hunting behavior.  Enjoy!

Vaginitis and Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s) in Dogs

Excess hair can lead to vaginitis and UTI’s.  When the female squats to urinate, the urine wets the hair trapping debris.  The dirt can actually wick back into the vagina leading to infection.  The resulting vaginitis or UTI is both painful and can lead to more serious complications.  If you have a female, be sure this area is free of excessive hair.  Below is a picture before I trimmed this patient up.  Note the stained hair extending from the tip of her vulva.