Page 1

From the EDITOR Welcome to the first issue of PetLife. This new magazine provides you with recent news, relevant articles, hot topics and practical advice. It is a wealth of knowledge valuable to the pet communities of Cary, Apex, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina and Morrisville. PetLife magazine was born when I finally realized, after my lifelong journey with animals, that I needed to make a career out of a passion. It is a new venture for me, one I’ve started out of my love and dedication for animals which began at the age of three, when my family brought home our first dog, Heidi. At ten, I volunteered as a junior curator at the Stamford Museum in Connecticut where I learned how to take care of raccoons, otters, farm animals and native birds. While the learning was great, the best part was that I got to play with and hold all of the animals! My passion for animals only grew stronger. I’ve never not had a dog in my entire life… and that’s a long time! In 1993, I started as a puppy raiser for Canine Companions for Independence, an organization that raises and trains dogs for the disabled. Each time I raised a dog for the program, I took them into my home for 18 months, teaching them basic commands and socializing the puppies by taking them with me everywhere I went. Truth be told, I always taught the dogs a few special tricks, like fetching the paper in the morning and carrying a bag of groceries. It was difficult to give them back at the end of their training, but I always knew there was someone out there who needed the dog more than I did. I’m the type of person who pulls over and helps a dog running on the side of the road, a turtle trying to cross the road, or a deer who got hit by a car. I take in stray cats and find them new homes, rescue the bird that fell out of its nest, and let the squirrels eat off of our bird feeder. I pray my daughter will want to be a vet! Now you get to reap the rewards of my dedication to animals. I hope that you will enjoy this first issue and will make PetLife magazine your go-to source when it comes to caring for your pet. Most importantly, I want to have fun with it and I want YOU to have fun with it. Finally, I’m so thankful for the wonderful pet experts who volunteer their time and expertise for every issue, as well as my family and friends who have supported my venture. I couldn’t have done it without them. Enjoy,


Pet Mania “We’re Crazy about Pets”

Pet mania 1/2 page ad.indd 1

4/27/12 1:32:59 PM


J u ly / a u g u s t 2 0 1 2 Vol. 1 • No. 1

F e at u r e s


Yogurt for dogs?


JUST IN TIME — SUMMER TIPS FOR PETS By NC State University College of Veterinary Medicine


Adopting or purchasing an exotic pet By Dr. Dan Johnson, DVM, DABVP-ECM

Editor: Jan Raymondi Art Director: Nicole Leech

D e pa r t m e n t s IFC — Editor’s Corner 3 — Cats

Editorial Advisors: Kate Parham Christine Willis

7 — Small Animals

Photography: Theresa Hammond


8 — From the Vet

Contents of PetLife Magazine are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without the written consent of PetLife Magazine, LLC. The Editor and staff are not responsible for any of the views expressed by the authors of articles published in PetLife Magazine, nor shall these opinions necessarily indicate those of the Editor. Printed in Raleigh, NC.

A magazine about pets and the people who love them!



eeding yogurt to a dog provides the same benefits it does for humans. Yogurt adds calcium, magnesium, and protein to the diet in a highly digestible form. The protein in yogurt is more readily digested than protein in milk because it goes through a culturing process, which also improves the absorption of B vitamins. Sugar-free yogurt is preferable to avoid adding extra calories to a pet’s diet. Yogurt is rich in Lactobacillus acidophilus, a probiotic necessary for digestive health. Probiotics are healthy bacterium that balances the intestinal tract. Adding yogurt to a dog’s food dish can counterbalance the effects of antibiotics, which often kill off healthy bacteria along with infection. This dairy product can

also ease diarrhea associated with antibiotic medication. Small dog breeds can rapidly suffer dehydration when medicine to treat ailments cause diarrhea as a side effect. Some pet owners purchase treats coated with yogurt or add it to homemade treats used for training. Frozen yogurt provides a refreshing treat on a hot day. Dietary supplements can also be used to supply valuable probiotics. When feeding a dog prepared yogurt, labels should be checked to ensure no other ingredients have been added. A few tablespoons each day added to dry or wet dog food should be enough to promote healthy digestion. Some studies show yogurt might prevent colon cancer by keeping the digestive tract healthy. This source of calcium adheres to bile produced in the liver and might prevent irritation to the lining of the colon. Other research examined yogurt’s effect on the immune system, which revealed the extra calcium increases the number of white blood cells the body uses to ward off infection. Pets with lactose intolerance problems generally tolerate yogurt well because it contains only tiny amounts of lactose. When milk goes through the culturing process, lactose breaks down into another form of sugar that is easier to digest.

These are crunchy, healthy peanut butter dog biscuits that are sure to please even the most finicky of pooches. Ingredients: 1 cup whole wheat flour 1 cup spelt flour (if you don’t have it, use wheat flour in its place) (Note: spelt is a cereal grain in the wheat family and is a delicious & healthy alternative to wheat flour) 1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats 2 TBSP flax seeds 1-1/4 c. warm water 1/4 c. natural peanut butter

Directions: • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. • Mix up the flour, oats and flax seeds in a large mixing bowl. • Add the peanut butter and stir in the water. • Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface. You’ll want to add in more flour, little by little, until the dough is no longer sticky. • Roll out the dough until it’s approximately 1/4 inch thick. Here’s where you get to use those hydrant and bone-shaped, small cookie cutters! Or you can use your handy dandy pizza cutter to cut the dough into rectangles. • Bake for 20 minutes and then turn your oven off. By allowing them to cool in the oven, you’ll get crunchy biscuits! Makes 24 dog biscuits



July/August 2012



ost cats are outdoor creatures and curious by nature - your garden is their playground. However, some gardens can be extremely inhospitable to cats as certain plants could make them very sick or potentially kill them. Here are five examples: Easter Lily This beautiful flower hides a deadly secret – it’s extremely noxious to cats. If cats ingest any part of this flower, it can be fatal. Left untreated, it will probably result in renal failure – even cats that survive may suffer from serious health problems and have a shorter life expectancy as a result. Symptoms include vomiting, loss of appetite, dehydration and lethargy. If you have Easter lilies in your garden (or in your house), make sure your cat can’t get near them as just brushing past them could prove deadly; if the pollen from their stamens drops on to your cat’s fur, he could inadvertently ingest the poison while grooming. Most members of the lily family are toxic to cats. Morning Glory Morning may not be so glorious for your cat after he’s had this plant for breakfast. Although he’s unlikely to die, he could be extremely uncomfortable, suffering disorientation, tremors, digestive upset and oral difficulties that include burning of the mouth and problems swallowing. Hallucinations are also a possible side effect if your cat eats the seeds. Azalea The entire azalea plant is toxic to cats though symptom severity will usually depend on how much they ingest. A nibble may just result in a mild digestive upset - any more could July/August 2012

potentially kill. The toxins in this plant affect the cardiovascular and gastrointestinal systems and cause numerous clinical problems, including incoordination, diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, muscle paralysis, and drooling. Severe toxicosis can lead to coma, followed by death. Tulip While your cat may suffer some degree of discomfort if he eats this flower, he’s going to feel a whole lot worse if he munches on the bulb. Tulip bulbs can cause vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, loss of appetite, convulsions and cardiac problems. Keep these bulbs well away from your cat while storing or planting as he’s likely to play with them, possibly biting them in the process; toxins from his claws can also be ingested when he’s cleaning them. Foxglove All of the foxglove plant is reported to be poisonous to cats, and symptoms include vomiting, tremors, drooling, seizures, abdominal pain, shock and cardiac abnormalities that can lead to death. If you bring foxgloves indoors, position them out of your cat’s reach and dispose of vase water carefully as cut foxgloves can also poison the water that they’ve been standing in. Most people are unaware that there are copious plants that could be harmful to their pet - if you’re unsure, check out the Internet or ask your veterinarian. Also, seek veterinary assistance immediately if you suspect that your cat has ingested any of the above plants. Although some of them may not be as poisonous as others are, prompt medical treatment could potentially save your cat’s life. PetLife


NCSU Vet School


ummer time and living can be easy for you and your pet if you remember the basics. Temperatures and humidity have been high— situations that clinicians at North Carolina State University’s Terry Center* remind us can be dangerous to your companion animal. “If you are uncomfortable, it’s safe to say that your pet is as well,” says Dr. Steve Marks, Clinical Associate Professor of Critical Care and Internal Medicine in the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine. “Pets can suffer from heat stroke, dehydration, and even sunburn. While people sweat through numerous pores to lower body temperature, your pet has limited sweat glands—found mostly on the nose and the pads of their feet. They can become dangerously overheated.”

While all dogs and cats are at risk, older or very young pets, overweight pets, pets with heavy coats, short-nosed dogs and dogs and cats with preexisting disease may need extra care. Limit exercise on hot and humid days to early morning and evening, remember asphalt becomes very hot, keep the water bowl refreshed, and ensure that cooling shade is always nearby. Of course, never leave a pet in a parked car. “Even with the windows rolled down,” says Dr. Marks, “it only takes a few minutes for a dangerous level of heat to build within the interior of a car. Dehydration, heat stroke, and even brain damage to the dog or cat can occur. “If your pet is panting excessively or has difficulty breathing, has an increased heart and respiratory rate, drools, appears weak or in a stupor, place the pet in the shade or air conditioning

*Randall B. Terry, Jr. Companion Animal Veterinary Medical Center



July/August 2012

NCSU Vet School

Other Summer Tips:

A check-up visit with the veterinarian is a good way to begin a healthy and safe summer and to ensure necessary vaccinations are kept up-to-date.

Beware of toxic agents such as plant food, insecticides, fertilizer, coolants, citronella candles, oil products, and insect coils that may be around the home and yard;

A compost bin or garbage can is a common yard element that may result in an emergency visit to the veterinarian with your pet having uncontrolled, non-stop shaking, symptoms of potentially lethal tremorgenic mycotoxin intoxication from ingesting fungus found on decomposing objects;

The heat, loud noise, and confusion of crowded summer events can stress pets and is not an enjoyable experience for them;

Make sure your pet is always wearing a collar or identification such as a microchip;

Maintain recommended heartworm medication since the potentially deadly heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes.

immediately and apply cool—not cold—water to reduce the animal’s core body temperature. Get help from your veterinarian as soon as possible.” Summer is high season for fleas and ticks of all kinds and the appropriate application of veterinarian-recommended tick medication can help keep your pet free from these pests. This summer in particular cat owners are advised to protect their feline companions from tick-transmitted cytauxzoonosis, a malaria-like infectious disease that left untreated has a mortality rate close to 100%.      Summer vacationing with a pet requires preparation and appropriate arrangements for travel, lodging, food, and availability of plenty of water as well as attentive owner observation to protect the pet in new environments. A recommended vacation kennel is an option for your pet while you are away from home. Be sure all vaccinations are upto-date before boarding the pet. “Just like in people, pet vaccines take a little time to provide protection so it’s not a good idea to stop by the veterinarian’s office for a shot before dropping your pet off at the kennel,” says Dr. Marks. Article reprinted with permission from the NC State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

As a resource for pet owners, the Terry Center at NC State’s College of Veterinary Medicine provides a Small Animal Emergency Service weekdays from 5pm to 8am, weekends from 5pm Friday to 8am Monday, and 24 hours a day on legal holidays. Call 919.513.6911 for more information.

July/August 2012




Adopting or Purchasing an Exotic Pet By Dr. Dan Johnson, DVM, DABVP-ECM


ver the last 20 years or so, exotic animals have become very popular as pets. Exotic pets are fascinating to watch, interesting to learn about, and fun to keep. Most exotics are small and can therefore be maintained indoors. Exotics are generally popular with apartment dwellers because they do not require a yard or outdoor exercise. They are also popular with people who are allergic because allergies to exotic pets are rare. Of course, many people have exotics just because they prefer unusual pets. Many exotic pets are unsuitable for beginners because of their complicated husbandry, behavioral, and dietary requirements. Every pet has associated costs; however, some exotic pets are more likely to develop problems than others.

Improper diet and husbandry are the primary cause of disease for non-traditional pets. If your pet’s basic needs are not met it will eventually get sick. Exotic pet owners have to do a lot of research in order to prevent problems. Before getting an exotic pet, find out all you are able about the species. How hard is it to feed properly? How hard is it to house adequately? What diseases is it prone to? Get a list together of the things you will need, and have everything in place before you bring your new pet home. Use defensive purchasing. Don’t buy just anything the pet store offers to sell you. Be aware that misinformation concerning exotic animal diets and husbandry is commonplace. Instead of buying an exotic pet, consider adopting one that needs a home. You can find needy pets through rescue organizations, on the internet, the humane society, veterinary offices, and newspapers and pet periodicals. When adopting a pet through such channels it is important to get as much medical history as possible. Approximate age, previous medical problems, and dietary history are important. When you finally bring him home, let your new pet settle in for a while before showing him off. Change of ownership is a stressful time for new pets, and many diseases become evident during this period. A new environment, new handlers, new diet all result in stress on you new pet. Once he has had several days to acclimate to his new home, it will be safer to take him out and handle him more. Have your new pet looked at by a veterinarian within several days. Owning an exotic pet can be an interesting and rewarding experience if prospective owners take steps ahead of time and get prepared. The proper diet, cage setup, and environmental conditions will help to prevent the majority of disease problems. By gathering all of the facts beforehand, and getting the help of a qualified veterinarian, you can make exotic pet ownership safe and enjoyable for your family and your new pet. Dan Johnson is a 1992 graduate of North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. In 1996 he started North Carolina’s first all-exotics practice. His caseload is made up entirely of exotic pets, fish, wildlife, and zoo species. Dr. Johnson also serves as Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences at NCSU-CVM. In 2010, he was certified as a Diplomate by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP) specializing in Exotic Companion Mammal Practice.



July/August 2012

small animals


nyone who has ever stroked the fur of a chinchilla knows how warm and luxurious it is. Perhaps that is why these beautiful bundles of soft fur are so popular as pets. If you have been thinking about making a chinchilla part of your family, there are some essential things you will need to keep your new pet happy and healthy. The Perfect Chinchilla Hideaway The teeth of the chinchilla are designed for chewing, and they will quickly use those teeth on a wooden or plastic cage. If you plan to keep a chinchilla as a pet, you will need a quality wire cage with narrow bars to prevent your new pet from escaping. Be sure that the wire cage you choose features bare wire instead of plastic or painted wire. Chinchillas love to chew, and they will quickly remove any paint or plastic, and that residue could be harmful to their health. Choose the Right Bedding The right bedding is just as important as the proper cage. It is best to avoid cedar shavings, since many chinchillas are allergic to the aromatic oils. Pine shavings are a better choice, and there are many excellent brands on the market. Some chinchilla owners prefer to use bedding designed specifically for chinchillas, and that can be a good choice as well. No matter what type of bedding you choose, it should be cleaned daily and changed on a regular basis.

Serving the greater Raleigh and Research Triangle areas of North Carolina, Avian and Exotic Animal Care is exclusively dedicated to the care of birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and exotic mammals.

Avian and Exotic Animal Care “The Vets For Unusual Pets�

8711 Fidelity Blvd. Raleigh, NC 27617

The Right Food Chinchillas are special pets, and they need a diet that is equally special. Pet owners should purchase a specialized diet designed specifically for chinchillas. This special chinchilla food is available at most pet stores, and you should be able to pick up a bag before bringing your new pet home. The Dust Bath One of the most important things to keep in mind is that chinchillas love dust baths. Owners should buy a supply of specially designed chinchilla dust before brining their new pets home. Treat your chinchilla to a relaxing dust bath once or twice a week to keep him happy and healthy. You will no doubt enjoy the spectacle of watching your new pet rolling around and enjoying a great time. Keeping your new chinchilla happy and healthy is not difficult. All you need is a basic understanding of the needs of the animal and a few simple and relatively inexpensive supplies. Before you know it you will be enjoying your new pet and spending many relaxing hours stroking that soft and luxurious fur.

PO Box 463 Garner, NC 27529 (919) 424-6391

(919) 844-9166

July/August 2012



From the Vet

Heartworm Update:

Find out what’s newsworthy in 2012


iving in the Southeastern United States, there is a risk that our dogs and cats can contract heartworm infections via a mosquito bite. The mosquito, serving as an intermediary host, carries the heartworm L3 larvae up to a mile transmitting the infection from one infected mammal to another. Some of those mammals are foxes, coyotes, wolves, and ferrets, as well as dogs. Although cats can become infected with heartworms, they are considered “dead end hosts” as they rarely produce the baby heartworms that could be transmitted to another mammal. Heartworms cannot exist outside of the body in the environment nor can a pet self-infect. There are a large number of heartworm preventatives on the market for dogs. There are topical products such as Advantage multi and Revolution. Oral brand names include Heartgard, Iverhart, Triflexis, Interceptor, and Sentinel. Due to production problems in the Nebraska manufacturing plant, neither Interceptor nor Sentinel are available in 2012. Pet owners may request the oral prescription product Triflexis that contains the same heartworm preventative, milbemycin, contained in those products along with a monthly flea treatment, Comfortis. Talk to your veterinarian if you are currently using one of the unavailable preventatives and ask about a substitute product or perhaps the costs of a compounded pharmacy product.

For cats, the most common heartworm preventatives are the oral Heartgard and topicals Advantage multi and Revolution. The topical products have the additive bonus of flea control. There is no treatment to cure heartworm positive cats. Thus it is very important to treat once every 30 days. The biggest concern for veterinarians, rescue organizations, and potential pet owners is the withdrawal from the US market of the treatment for adult heartworm positive dogs, Immiticide by Meriel. The manufacturer’s statement is an indefinite suspension of production and lack of availability til at least 2014. Although limited supplies imported from Europe are noted, for the majority of veterinary treatment centers, unless Immiticide has been stockpiled, the options are limited. In most cases as of spring 2012, what is suggested is the administration of the monthly preventative, watching for reactions to dying worms, and once every 90 days a 21 to 30 day course of the antibiotic Doxycycline. These treatments do not kill adult heartworms, but rather lower the risk of future heartworms being added to burden the pet’s lungs and heart. Thus the current adult population of worm slowly dies off over 3 to 5 years. In that period of time, substantial damage can be done to the lining of the heart and airways leading to potential heart failure and even death. The news has been devastating to owners and fosters of heartworm positive dogs. One widely circulated and totally unsubstantiated claim is that heartworm positive dogs can be treated with a course of Guinness black labeled beer from Ireland. There is no “evidence based medicine” that this is an effective treatment; yet, the claim has gone viral in falsely raising the hope and thus increasing adoption rates of rescued dogs. (see NaturalHealthCareForDogs/message/12452). In summary it is important to start puppies and kittens on preventative at 6 to 8 weeks of age. For new adoptions, all pets 6 months of age and older should be tested at the time of acquisition if there is a sketchy heartworm preventative administration history. Tests should be repeated in 6 months, and then yearly.

For further information about heartworms and risk in your area, visit:

Animation of development of heartworms CLICK ON STATE AND THEN COUNTY TO SEE INCIDENCE



Dr. Betsy Sigmon is Founder of Creature Comforts Animal Hospital in Cary. Her area of interest is in zoonotic diseases and geriatric care. She is one of 17 Diplomates for the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in North Carolina. July/August 2012

Rescue & Adoption FireFly American Staffordshire Terrier Mix 2 years old Let me tell you how excited I am to meet you: super duper excited!!! My name’s Firefly and I can’t wait to go home with you. Snuggling up next to you at the end of our fun filled days is what I’m most looking forward to doing. I can picture us now - we’re both exhausted from our daily walks, zooming around the fenced backyard playing fetch, and hikes on the weekends, so we’re zonked out on the couch. Doesn’t that sound splendid? As you can see, exercise is one of the things I need to do most with my new family. I want to get and stay in shape for sure. If there’s another dog in my new home, it’ll be just fine by me - one more family member for me to love and pal around with, I say. I’m best friends here with my roommate Max, so who knows? Maybe you could adopt both of us! Well, I hope to be relaxing by your side this weekend, so I think you should come meet me today! Jack White Hotot 4 years old Howdy! I’m Jack and I’m here in search of a new home. My previous owner decided they could no longer keep me, so I need someone who understands the responsibility and commitment level of being a pet parent. I’m a super cool bunny who enjoys the company of my human family. I love to bounce around a bunny-proofed space and get my daily exercise outside of my enclosure. Relaxing with my human nearby so I can be petted and loved on is definitely the highlight of every day! I think fresh veggies are delicious, so stock up on lots of carrots and greens for me to nibble on. If you have the right stuff for an exceptional bunny like me, come meet me today! Dorothy Tortie Domestic Shorthair 9 years old I’m Dorothy and I’d love to be the perfect addition to your home. My previous family was no longer able to care for me, so I’m hoping that my next home will be the one I’ve been searching for. I’ve been thinking long and hard about what I want in my new home. I’ve come to the conclusion that even though I would love piles of toys and tons of yummy treats, I would be satisfied with love and attention from my new family. If you insist on getting some new toys for me, I think I would like some feather wands and crinkly balls- they sound like tons of fun! After I exhaust myself by playing with my new toys, I will curl up in a sunny spot on the floor and take a cat nap. If you take me home I promise to be the best kitty ever and will provide you with companionship and lots of laughs from my silly kitty antics. I’m looking forward to being part of your life! July/August 2012

(919) 424-6391 Sleepy Hound Mix 7 months old Cuteness doesn’t even begin to describe me! I was saved from a rural shelter where my siblings and I were slated to be euthanized. We are known as the seven dwarfs! I am full of love, kisses, and puppy tail wags! I love to jump around in circles of joy when I see people! They aren’t sure what breed I am because even though I look like a Retriever/Shepherd mix, I am tiny for my age for that breed. No matter what mix I might be, my foster mom says we have the best temperaments ever and just want to be held and cuddled. I stay away from the mean cat at the foster house, give kisses to all the other dogs and LOVE to play with kids. Up to date on age appropriate vaccines and am microchipped. Buddy Chocolate Lab/Chesapeake Bay Retriever Mix 4 years old I was recently treated for heartworms and was retested in June to be sure it was a complete success! I will sit, shake and speak, for treats of course. I am crate and house trained and I love, love, love to play ball. I am high energy and need a lot of room to run and stretch my legs. I get along well with other doggies and kitties and from what my foster mom has seen so far I do well with children. I can be rambunctious at times so I would need to be supervised so I don’t accidently knock them over. I LOVE attention and treats too!! Oh and I am up-to-date on vaccines, neutered and micro-chipped. Hercules English/American Bulldog Mix 1 year old I am a handsome, muscular, full of myself kind of guy. I have tons of energy and need a fenced yard and someone who will throw the ball for me... a lot! RUFF says that I would do best in a home with an experienced “bully” handler. Even though I know some basic commands, I would thrive in a very structured environment and would benefit from professional dog training. I am picky on who my canine friends are so I would do best as a single dog. I also do not realize my strength so no small kids. Because I am a very smart boy, I need plenty of mental stimulation daily to limit destructive behavior due to boredom. If you are up to the challenge of handling a dashing young man with a high intelligence, than I am your Prince Charming!



PetLife — July–August 2012  

PetLife — July–August 2012