5 Unusual Sports Involving Pets

A black dog rushes at a red ball, larger in size than itself.

Sports involving pets–that usually brings to mind hunting dogs and agility. But we are combining our love of both recreational exercise and pets in new and interesting ways. Doga, or yoga with dogs, is one form of exercise that combines them. It doesn’t stop there. When you, Fido or Frisky is ready to skip the normal exercise routine or wants something more challenging than a game of Fetch, it may be time to try one of these five unusual sports involving pets. 

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The Origins of 10 Dog Breeds and What They Were Bred to Do

How did we end up with so many dog breeds? Man domesticated dogs roughly 15,000 years ago and they have been man (and woman’s) best friend since. Dogs roamed with us as protectors and to ward off other wildlife and would-be intruders. They also kept rodents and other pests away. Of course, they quickly became our companions, tried and true.

What about the many dog breeds we see today; why do we have so many and why were some of them bred to do certain “jobs”? The team at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services is glad you asked. 

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Red Eyes, Squinting and Other Dog Eye Problems

A dog eye being examined by a techincian

Red eyes, excessive tearing, green or yellow discharge, squinting one or both eyes, and trouble seeing are dog eye problems that indicate you should have your pet’s eyes checked by a veterinarian.

What causes these eye problems in dogs? We’re here to answer these questions and emphasize the importance of vision health for your pets. 

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Cloudy Vision: Cataracts in Dogs

dog with cataracts in his eyes

Cataracts in dogs are usually easy to spot. The clouded look of the pupil gives them away. Unfortunately, many dog owners assume that cataracts just come with age and don’t think to intervene to address them. This is troubling because eye health is so important to a dog’s general health and quality of life.

The good news is that there is treatment available for cataracts so that your canine can have good vision and eye health throughout their golden years.

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Serious Thanksgiving Food Risks For Your Pets

Dog eyeing turkey leg

Dog eyeing turkey leg

 

We all look forward to the holiday season as a time of family, friends, food, and fun. Unfortunately, though, Thanksgiving is also a time where we see a dramatic increase in the number of pet emergencies.

Be sure to be aware of potential Thanksgiving food risks and keep your pet safe this holiday season.

Pancreatitis in Pets

Just as for people, overindulgence in rich, fatty foods can upset the digestive system, resulting in vomiting, diarrhea, or both. Sometimes, though, when pets indulge too much the result is something more serious than just a tummy ache. Continue…

Ceva – Future Leader Dog for the Blind!

What’s better than a snuggly, happy puppy?  A snuggly, happy puppy with a job description that includes helping others!  Oakland Veterinary Referral Service’s very own Dr. Theresa DePorter has had the honor to help train a puppy named Ceva to become a Leader Dog for the blind.  Ceva earned her name from Ceva Animal Health, who has sponsored her care and training.

Dr. DePorter with Ceva at Leader Dog School

Dr. DePorter with Ceva at Leader Dog School

Dr. DePorter, along with an experienced Leader Dog trainer, took on the important task of
training Ceva to be the best guide dog possible.  Tremendous dedication was required as Dr. DePorter spent the first year of Ceva’s life exposing her to all sorts of situations and locations similar to what she will face on duty.  This has helped Ceva to build a foundation that will allow her to be comfortable and confident for her future owner.   Because a guide dog is expected to keep her owner safe in any range of situations, Dr. DePorter took Ceva many places throughout her training including restaurants, veterinary conferences, and even New York City!  This taught Ceva to be very good at ignoring distractions, even tasty ones!

In October, Ceva “graduated” to Leader Dog, where she will continue her training before being placed.  This is the equivalent of her heading off to college!  Dr. DePorter misses Ceva, but is very proud of her.  We are all excited for Ceva to continue on to help someone in need.  Feel free to follow Ceva along with us on her very own Facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/cevaleaderdog

All about heartworm disease… How much do you know?

cat and dogSo, what exactly is heartworm disease? Heartworm disease refers to clinical symptoms that result from a parasite injected into the bloodstream by mosquitoes.

Heartworms go through several cycles of maturation:

  1. Larvae are injected into the dog’s blood stream by a mosquito bite. These larvae travel to arteries within the lungs and become sexually productive adult worms.
  2. Adult worms produce “heartworm babies” which are ingested by mosquitoes after biting an infected dog.
  3. These babies go through another growth phase within the mosquito and the larvae are then injected back into another dog via a bite from the mosquito.
  4. Lather, rinse, repeat…

Clinical signs that are associated with heartworm disease are due to inflammation within the lungs. An intense inflammatory reaction causes lung disease and respiratory symptoms (coughing, shortness of breath). In advanced stages of the disease, the patient may become weak and have signs of respiratory distress.

Cats are not a part of the heartworm life cycle, but they can become infected. A cat may become ill after being infected with only one heartworm. A small number of worms may not cause symptoms in a dog, but the dog may serve as a reservoir of infection for other dogs.

Prevention (Human and Animal):

Owners can help decrease exposure to mosquitoes and limit their reproduction by removing any standing water on their property. Whenever possible, cover any open sources of water. Fish may help reduce the mosquito population around ponds.

Dark clothing attracts mosquitoes, so people should wear lighter colors. Mosquitoes are most active at night, so both you and your pets should avoid excessive outdoor activity after sundown. Whenever you are outdoors, wear mosquito repellent and check with your veterinarian for a pet-safe mosquito repellent for your dog or cat.

Other ways to minimize exposure to mosquitoes include using screens in your windows and doors and inspecting them to ensure there are no holes large enough for a mosquito to fit through. Avoid having your doors open any longer than necessary at night.

The most important preventative measure for your pet is a monthly oral preventative medication such as Hartguard. Ask your veterinarian which brand they recommend and be sure to keep your pet protected.

Treatment:

Medical management of heartworm infection is aimed at destroying the worms and treating any secondary complications that result from the infection. Some patients require medications to relieve inflammation within the lungs. To “kill” the adult worm, there is a specific agent that is injected. The third phase of therapy is to reduce the number of “heartworm babies” in the bloodstream. The medication used to eradicate adult worms cannot be used in cats. Heartworms have a shorter life span in cats, so the clinical signs are generally treated medically until the worm dies on its own. In very advanced cases in both dogs and cats, surgical extraction of the adult worms from the heart may be required.

If your pet is not yet on a heartworm preventative, be sure to call your veterinarian as soon as possible. Heartworm is much easier to prevent than it is to treat. If you’re interested in learning more about veterinary cardiology, you can visit our cardiology page.