Monday, April 14, 2014

How To Detect Hydrocephalus In Your Dog

Chihuahua (Photo credit: almass1981)
Not familiar with the term hydrocephalus? It's a condition in humans and animals that's also known as "water on the brain". In reality it's not water at all, rather cerebrospinal fluid - the fluid that fills in the ventricles in the brain. When a person or a pet suffers from this condition, the fluid levels fail to regulate which causes pressure and swelling.

While all types of dogs are theoretically susceptible to hydrocephalus, a few breeds in particular seem more prone to it than others. This list includes:

  • Maltese
  • Pomeranians
  • Chihuahuas
  • Yorkshire Terriers
A key difference between human and canine hydrocephalus is that dogs aren't born with hydrocephalus. While humans can develop it later in life, dogs exclusively develop it later in life most often from anatomical problems. Most commonly, the areas that allow the passing of the fluid (technically known as rostral colliculi) begin to narrow from brain swelling or natural fusing together of bones.

If you begin to notice the following symptoms, it's possible your dog could be suffering from hydrocephalus and you should mention the behavior to your veterinarian:

  • Loss of coordination
  • Depression
  • Seizures
  • Vision problems
  • Enlarged skull
  • Vision/hearing issues
  • Unusual gait
Unfortunately, even when symptoms are present it can take a bit of work before a positive diagnosis is made. Your vet will likely run your pet through a batter of tests including a CT scan, MRI, ultrasound or even a spinal tap before getting enough evidence that the symptoms are indeed caused by hydrocephalus.

Treatment can range from changes in diet and hydration to medication to reduce the production of cerebrospinal fluids to mild steroids to reduce brain swelling. Ultimately, though, your pet will be happier and more comfortable once the appropriate treatment is identified. First, though, you must be able to spot the signs, and hopefull this article helped.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Dog Days

Wishbone's Dog Days of the West
It's the Dog Days people. Let me tell you, i'm feeling it.

Looking over my mood charts (detailed logs I've kept for about 2 years now, documenting my mood swings, medications, sleeping habits, etc.), i'm noticing that just about this time every year i hit a funk. i get lazy during the days and end up living curiously similar to a vampire. i sleep until the early afternoon, laze about until sunset and then suddenly come to life, accomplishing a fair amount. But then it comes 10 pm rather quickly (that's when i'm supposed to take my medications) and i'm wide awake. Then i don't take my meds until 3 am, when i'm finally feeling sleepy. Then i doze off at 4 or 5 only to start the whole damn cycle again.

i was beginning to really beat myself up about it, especially since i had trained myself to be an early riser (though returning to the night shift at the CafĂ© sabotaged that quite nicely). Now, after reviewing my mood charts, i'm realizing that it's simply my freaky-deaky brain reacting to the hottest part of the year.

It's 4 am as i'm writing this. Oh yes, people, i'm feeling the dog days. But the question, is what kind of dog breed am I?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Balsam Fir Essential Oil

English: A "Golden False Acacia" in ...

While some people question the efficacy of herbal supplements for pets, I'm a firm believer. Balsam Fir (Idaho) is a conifer oil distilled in northern Idaho that has a refreshing and uplifting scent. Used in massage, it has a soothing effect on muscle and body discomfort associated with exercise. It has anticoagulant and anti-inflammatory properties and is useful for sinus infections, fatigue, arthritis and muscular pain. Balsam's fragrant influence is grounding, stimulating to the mind and relaxing to the body.

Balsam is great for massage when diluted 50/50 with a carrier oil such as grapeseed oil. It is very relaxing and helps to take away the aches and pains. My horse, Cassie, normally shows lots of interest in the Balsam when I offer it to her after a training session.

I make sure all of the oils I use are 100% therapeutic grade - so you know they are pure and without any additives. I won't use any other brand on myself, my family or my horses.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Christmas Past...Went To The Dogs.

BERLIN - NOVEMBER 27:  A woman dressed as ange...
(Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
Found a lost post from last Christmas to get you into...errr...out of the Christmas spirit.

They just don’t get it. They don’t understand the amount of work that goes into it for THEM.

Months spent planning and shopping. Weeks spent wrapping and baking. Hours spent obsessing over whether everything is perfect. A night spent sitting up until I’m sure that they are asleep…

And so far today I’ve heard a lot more complaints and whining than thank yous and Merry Christmases….

I’d rather have had the black sweatshirt.
This mount doesn’t have the right screws for this tv, are you sure it said it was for this brand?

I got two matching sweaters (well, it’s not really my fault that my mother and I have the same taste in little girl clothes).

How do you like the tv on the wall? What do I care it’s not mine.

And on and on and on….

Until I retreated to a corner to devil with my little niece, who’s almost three and too little to complain really, and ended up putting my hip out of place while playing airplane with her.

At least my dogs were happy, they loved the new balls, doggy supplements and chews that Santa left for them! My Jack and I have been playing fetch for hours, but he’ll only go after the green ball, he refuses to touch the purple and yellow ones (I thought dogs are color blind?), but his brothers don’t seem to care which color they have, they don’t really play fetch, they act like they’re above it and just run off with the balls, it must be a Pomeranian thing.

Hope everyone had a wonderful, bah humbug-less Christmas!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

So what was the biggest complaint you heard this year?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How to Pick Up a Gecko

English: Leopard gecko example

Picking up your Leopard Gecko is a quite a step in the taming process. You have to be sure that your gecko is ready for this step before you attempt it. If your gecko isn't ready, this could be a very dangerous task. Up until this point, your gecko should have been going through the normal taming process. You've held your hand out and let your gecko climb onto it. You've maybe enticed the gecko to climb onto your hand with food or gentle nudges. But picking up your gecko is a huge step forward.

Before you attempt to pick up the gecko, you should start getting it used to your touch. For a week or two, try gently touching the gecko’s body on the back or sides. Never ever touch the tail. Remember, we don’t want the gecko to drop its tail if startled. The first week, the gecko will probably run away. Once the gecko stops running away, you’re ready to try picking the gecko up.

To pick up the gecko, use you index and middle fingers on one side, and your thumb on the other. Gently brush the gecko to let it know that you are about to touch it. If it doesn’t run, gently squeeze from the sides and pick it up. Don’t go too high. Remember that the gecko still might jump. If it squirms or tries to jump, let it go. Try again another day. If it’s ok, then pick it up and put it in your open hand.

It’s still best to let your gecko climb onto your hand, but this is helpful if you don’t have the time to wait around. It might be helpful if you’re trying to clean the habitat and the gecko isn’t interested in climbing out. Just remember to be careful. You don’t want the gecko to be afraid of you. That will simply set your taming progress back a few weeks.

It’s been nearly 3 months since Artemis came to her new home. I’d have to say that the taming process is pretty much complete now that she allows us to pick her up. Artemis recognizes when anyone comes to the habitat to talk to her. She’ll come out of her cave and climb up on top to greet you. This is presumably because she’s hungry and expects food… but the point is that she does not fear people anymore.
As for an update on her diet, she has been feeding mainly on mealworms lately. She gets crickets now and then as a bit of a change from her regular diet. She is still a very healthy eater with a gigantic appetite. She’s completely healthy and everything is going great!

I want to try to post some more information on a topic here that we haven’t really discussed yet: Breeding. Look for some updates coming soon with more information on breeding. We’re also going to try to remember to get some new photos of Artemis up on here for everyone to see. This should all be coming within the next week or two.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Horse Care Tips

The Westbury White Horse
The Westbury White Horse (Photo credit: JohnBurke)
So you have a horse. How do you keep it living healthy and strong? We've got a few top nutritional tips for your horse so it can kick the long face.

1. Grass and hay keeps the doctor away, at least for horses. Grass contains large amounts of fiber and water, which are big necessities for a horse diet. Hay is great for the colder months, but be sure it is free of dust and mold.

2. Horses' stomachs were meant for grazing, which means that feeding them small quantities frequently throughout the course of the day is the most natural and healthy eating habit for them to get into. It may not fit in well with your day or work schedule, but certainly make sure their eating style matches that for the weekend.

3. Grains contain quite a bit of calories that most average horses don't need, and can actually lead to serious health problems if they eat too much of it. Bone, joint and muscle problems can occur especially at a young age, so it's best to keep to the low calorie diets of grass and hay.

4. Supplements when needed. Many nutrients are simply not available in particular locations, and since horses are historically known to travel and gain a large number of natural nutrients, it's nice to have them all compacted into horse supplements for a wide range of breeds. Usually these can be administered on a monthly basis, however follow the directions closely to know when your horse should take theirs.
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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Picking Out a Dog Bed

Dog Looking at and Listening to a Phonograph, ...
Dog Looking at and Listening to a Phonograph, "His Master's Voice", The Original RCA Music Puppy Dog Logo Symbol for Advertising (Photo credit: Beverly & Pack)
Dog breeds come in all sizes and shapes, and picking out the right bed for them can be a bit of a challenge when there are so many options available. It all seems a bit complicated, and quite expensive, but sorting through the clutter can be a bit easier when you know what you're doing.

Finding the cheapest bed isn't always the best option for both you and your pet. Many cheaper beds are made of thin and cheap material, which is not comfortable for your dog, and also can be destroyed faster than their stuffed animal chew toys. On the flip side, make sure you know what you're paying for if you're looking for something on the expensive end. Just because it's expensive does not mean that your dog will find it comfortable.

Make sure you buy something that can be easily washed. Odds are you will want to wash it once every 3-4 months, and it would be best if it could withstand the tests of your washer and dryer. Picking out the shape and size of your dog bed is similar to looking at dog carriers. Just think of what your dog would prefer to sleep on (besides your bed). Try and pick something that matches your dog's sleeping personality, as they will be more likely to use it.
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