Friday, February 22, 2013

Finn...the Coolest Golden Retriever You'll Ever Meet

Many of our clients are dogs and, like most people, they all have different temperaments. Sure, many breeds are expected to act a certain way and a good portion of them display the behaviors typically inherent to their lineage. Golden retrievers are regarded as energetic, highly active and in some cases, typically friendly and eager to please. They can also be very patient dogs. 

That brings us to Finn. He may just be the coolest customer on his block. You see, his neighborhood is filled with dogs of all shapes and sizes and when we go for a walk, we pass the homes of many of his furry four-legged neighbors. Of course, it never fails that when we walk by the front yards of most of these other dogs, they go into veritable conniption fits when they see us pass. Whether it's the large boxer or the german shepherds or the collection of small terriers who run around their gated yards untethered, they all bark and yap at ol' Finn when he saunters by. 

Now you have to understand, Finn is larger than most other retrievers, with his sturdy shoulders, long, thick body and tail that swings back and forth; kind of like a shark swimming through the water. He cuts a pretty imposing silhouette in the afternoon sun. But Finn is the very example of patience and is so chill that when those other dogs bark and growl at him, not only does he not flinch, he doesn't even look twice. He just ambles on down the street like he owns the place. Maybe that sort of confidence threatens the other dogs around him. Perhaps they don't like to see this dog so sure of himself. But that's Finn. He lets the others just keep talking loud and sayin' nothin...while he keeps quiet and just moves along his own path. And maybe that, in and of itself, speaks volumes about how cool he is.

That's Finn...the coolest golden retriever you'll ever meet.  

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Treating Your Pet's Itchy Irritated Skin

Skin irritation is an immune response that can make pets miserable. But much like human allergic reactions, most skin afflictions are easily treated, and luckily, cats and dogs can take a form of the same medication that doctors prescribe to us to combat itchy, red skin. It's called chlorpheniramine, a powerful antihistamine with a high rate of success and it is available in various forms; capsules, tablets and syrup.

Common Forms of Dermatitis

The three most common forms of dermatitis are caused by fleas, inhalation of or direct contact with an allergen, and possible reaction to the ingredients in your pet's food. Each form of stimuli often leads to red, swollen, itchy skin which your loved one will scratch repeatedly and if severe enough, could result in hair loss of the affected area or even a bacterial infection from broken, scratched skin. Some allergic reactions can also lead to coughing, sneezing, and other respiratory issues. The first tell-tale signs that a cat or dog has some manner of skin irritation is excessive scratching, chewing, and/or licking of various parts of the body.

Symptoms Skin Irritation

There are a number of possible reactions your pet can be having and where they may appear on the body: Cat miliary dermatitis is primarily found on the back of the cat and is often related to flea bites, Symmetrical Alopecia generally shows up on the belly, abdomen and legs and looks like the pet's hair is falling out, Granuloma Complex which often reveals itself through itchy, lacerated lesions on the legs, and Head and Neck Pruritus, a reaction centered around the head and neck which is sometimes confused with common food allergies that also reveal their symptoms in the same general areas. Fleas and mites that cause allergic reactions in pets can show their symptoms in similar ways to all four of these common skin reactions and a flea treatment will usually be administered with chlorpheniramine to ease the discomfort from the parasitic bites.

Side Effects and Caution with Using Chlopheniramine

Administering chlorpheniramine to your pet is widely regarded as a safe and effective antihistamine to combat the symptoms of dermatitis and other allergic reactions. There may be some minor side effects such as drowsiness, nausea, diarrhea, dry mouth and vomiting. It is also important, before starting any kind of antihistamine regimen, to tell your veterinarian if your pet is taking any prescriptions as there could be adverse reactions if chlorpheniramine is mixed with other medications. Pets who are pregnant should also not take this antihistamine, nor should pets with glaucoma, high blood pressure, heart disease or lung disease. Any medical conditions your pet has should be reported to your veterinarian, and it is imperative that your dog or cat receives a full check up to make sure your their irritation diagnosis isn't something more severe or life threatening than a standard allergy.