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March/April 2013

Your Guide To All Things Pets

Kitten Season PLUS: Bunny Love The Essence of Emotions Rescue Me... What is a Rescue? Pet Me! Spotlights & Much More!

Pet Me! is always


to good homes




Lilly Needs Her Chance To Bloom

Pakira Needs A Loving Family I am a one-and-a-half-year-old boy who loves affection, I don’t even mind getting it from other cats! I really would like a home of my own where I can have a lap to snuggle on and someone to cuddle me. I promise to give lots of love in return!

I am an eight-year-old long-haired girl who would love the chance to be part of a family. I am very easy going and having passed my kitten years could simply slot into a house without any drama. I adore attention and would love the chance to meet you.

Rosie Needs A Happy Ending I am a two-year-old girl looking for love and fun times. I like everyone and everything I meet, including other cats. Give me some affection and attention and I pay it back ten fold with cuddles. I love meeting new people and just being part of a family.

We are currently in foster… a foster home is not the same as a forever home ♥ We need a place to call home and a human of our own ♥ When a foster cat is adopted and that space is freed up we can pull another shelter cat to safety….



For more information on these gorgeous shelter cats in foster, please contact Debbie at (661) 803-1842 or


boo Boo Needs a Happy Surprise I am a three-year-old male Main-Coon mix who is affectionate and gentle. I like adults, kids, dogs and other felines alike - in fact my greatest pleasure is being part of day to day activities. I am really well behaved and would love to dote on a family.

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Missy Is Hoping For A Second Chance I am 5 years old. I am a beautiful long-hair tabby. I am an affectionate and gentle girl longing for a human lap to curl up on. I’ve had some hard times lately. My owner died and my family took me to the shelter. I was so stressed I caught a cold and they put me on the “list”... a volunteer helped and took me into a foster home, but it’s not my own home. I miss having a real home.

Trooper Needs a Cat-Savvy Person Who Gets Him I am 2 years old. I like to run the show, cause I can. I sure would like to find my forever home. I am a sweetheart and very playful. I would make a great cat for a single-person family.


Contents 4 Bunny Love 11 P  et Me! Spotlight: Advanced Care Animal Hospital 12 The Essence of Emotions 14 Cardiovascular Disease in Small Animals 18 M  y dog’s on a grain-free diet, so it can’t be food allergies, right? 19 Rescue Me... What is a Rescue? 22 Kitten Season 27 P  et Me! Spotlight: Cinema Veterinary Centre 28 Bruiser 30 Directory for All Things Pets

Advertising Information Direct: 661.255.9979 Fax: 866.259.9201 29743 Seco Cyn. Rd. #518, Santa Clarita, CA 91350

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Please Contact Us For A Subscription – Annual Subscription By Mail: $12 PUBLISHER AND EDITOR Bridget Alves ART DIRECTOR Doug Conboy COVER PHOTO By Yoti Telio, Santa Clarita Photographic Studio PUBLISHED BY Pet Me! Publications

Welcome Spring! The days become a bit longer as we inch away from the cold rainy nights of winter. With the spring, for those of us involved in pet rescue, comes kitten and puppy season, the busiest time of the year. Kittens, with and without their mothers, will pour into shelters and rescues everywhere. I will work tirelessly alongside my fellow rescuers and exhaust every effort to find homes for each new kitten and puppy. There will be tears of joy for those we are able to find homes for and sadness shed for those we are not able to help. In the end, we will be exhausted and our touts to “please spay and neuter” will flow from our lips as naturally as the word hello. Exhausting, joyful, rewarding and sometimes heartbreaking, but without fail, kitten and puppy season returns faithfully every year. Many bunnies find their way to shelters and rescues during the spring season as well. In this issue, Dani Caouette will discuss the rewards and requirements for having a pet rabbit when she takes an in-depth look at rabbit behavior, needs, and shares how you can be the best rabbit pet parent you can be. Remember, pets are not toys! They are a lifelong family commitment! We always welcome your comments and suggestions. Thank you for the wonderful emails and kind support. Thank you for reading!

Bridget Alves Publisher & Editor

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Pet Me! Magazine™ MARCH/APRIL 2013

Bunny Love By Danielle Caouette


abbits have been described as the perfect pet, a cross between the best traits of both a dog and a cat. But unfortunately rabbits are sometimes perceived as a toy, a novelty or become an impulse purchase, especially around Easter. People may get them at six to eight weeks old and think they’re cute. But when they grow into adolescence, and develop their rabbit personalities, we humans aren’t always prepared to properly care for them. They can live to be twelve years or more and have specific needs for shelter, exercise, food and care. Rabbits are adorable, litter box trainable (yes, I’ve seen it!), curious, intelligent and affectionate. With a little time and effort you will be rewarded with an amazing pet! It’s widely recommended that pet rabbits should live indoors, and have at least four hours of quality running/playing time per day. This, in addition to proper diet and care, will help keep your pet rabbit happy, healthy and affectionate for a lifetime. Pet rabbits should live inside your home as loving family members. A rabbit that lives in your home with you can live an average of 5-8 years longer than their outdoor counterparts. There are many hazards to being an outdoor rabbit, not the least of which is lack of human interaction. Rabbits that live in your home as a part of the family will have the chance to

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interact and show you their wonderful, intelligent, loving and playful personalities. Another benefit of keeping your rabbit indoors is that you’re more likely to notice when it’s not behaving normal… we tend to notice changes in our pets more quickly when we are around them a lot. A rabbit left to live outside, even under the best of circumstances, is simply not around you enough for you to note small, subtle changes soon enough. To make a critical decision in your pet’s care, you need to know your rabbit. Monitoring the health of any living thing can mean life or death. It’s easier to note changes from the rabbit’s regular routine, such as becoming less active, not acting as usual self, eating or drinking more or less than usual… you should also recognize subtle changes in your bunny’s physical appearance. Is it looking frazzled, and not grooming regularly? Does your bunny appear uncomfortable or in pain? Health issues are not the only reason to keep your bunny inside with you. There are many hazards in a backyard that can cause injury or death to your pet, including attempted escape, disease, weather, plants and of course, predators. Bunnies that escape most often die due to the elements, sickness or predators. Less than 1 percent of escaped rabbits

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are lucky enough to make it to a rescue, and when they do, are lucky to find a spot where they can be re-homed. There are so many rabbits already in need of help! Bunnies are diggers by nature and it is not possible, nor is it fair, to expect them to stop this embedded habit. Often, a bunny left on its own in a backyard will dig their way out, or create an underground burrow where you may have a hard time finding them. Happy bunnies that live in the house and have their own cardboard boxes filled with digging materials such as hay, shredded newspaper, etc. cannot dig out…but then, why would they want to? Dirt and dampness can contain many forms of bacteria that can cause a bunny to become ill or die. There are many other physical and health dangers lurking in your backyard. Many plants are poisonous to rabbits and our domesticated pets cannot tell the difference, despite what you may have heard. Vines, sprinklers, yard tools and some toys can severely injure or kill a rabbit at play. Rabbits are extremely susceptible to the elements, especially heat. Temperatures above eighty (80) degrees can cause heat stroke and/or death, especially when rabbits are left in direct sunlight, or in badly ventilated housing structures. Signs of heat stress include panting, drooling, rapid breathing or pulse and lethargy. If a bunny shows any of these signs, wipe down his ears with a cool rag, put him in his carrier along with a large bottle of frozen water (keep these handy!) and get to your vet immediately, as this is a life or death situation. Heat is the number one killer of outdoor pet rabbits. There are ways to reduce the weather risks for outdoor rabbits, including misters, fans, shaded patios and frozen bottles of water, but none of these are fail-proof. And keeping a rabbit in a garage, however well-lit and ventilated, is downright unfair! How dreadfully lonely and bored they must be! You need to also beware of predators… Cats, birds, dogs, hawks and snakes are all predators of your pet bunny. Rabbits are prey animals, and because our pets are domesticated prey animals, they do not have the wherewithal or the ability to escape like their wild cousins. A predator doesn’t even have to physically attack your pet in order to cause harm. A rabbit can have a heart attack from fear, which is very common, or he could take off running in fear and break his neck or his back or a leg! Even sturdy hutches might not be enough protection, as they have been ripped apart by dogs. You wouldn’t consider leaving your pet hamster outside to live… Why a rabbit? A house rabbit that has the freedom of your bunny-proofed home does not need extra backyard exercise to remain healthy and happy. This doesn’t mean that your bunny should never go out! A bunny with limited, supervised access to a bunny-safe back yard is a very lucky bunny indeed! Bunny-proofing your home is part of living with a house rabbit. It is natural for rabbits to chew on furniture, rugs, drapes, and, most deadly of all, electrical cords. Cords must be concealed so that the rabbit cannot reach them... Their sharp teeth

can slice through your wires quickly, electrocuting your rabbit. It’s best to cover wires with hard plastic sleeves or flex tubing. These can be purchased at any hardware, home improvement or electronics store. Even better is to keep all wires out of the reach of your bunnies. When you look around the area your bunny will be residing in, do you see any places you don’t want your bunny? Some bunnies can jump 36 inches or higher, and their curiosity brings them on top of shelves, chairs and desks. They are also really good at squeezing into tight spaces, like behind your bookshelf or under your bed. You’ll need to block off these areas. Baby gates or puppy-pens work well, but they should be made of metal, otherwise your bunny will chew their way through. Houseplants can be dangerous to bunnies. Many plants are toxic, such as Poinsettia, holly, tomato leaves, and tulips. It is best to keep any plants out of the reach. Bunnies are natural diggers and will dig anywhere they can, especially on your carpet. Tile floors and untreated sea grass mats are good options for your rabbit. Molding is frequently chewed too. You can purchase plastic guards, but the best option is to give your bunny plenty of other chew options, such as natural wicker baskets and various other chew toys. Did you know that rabbits like to play with toys and people? Rabbits are very social animals that need and crave the attention of their owners, and this playtime is an important exercise routine. They like to play with toys on their own, as well as play games like peek-a-boo, ball or “tag” with their people! This social interaction plays an important role in your rabbits’ overall health and longevity. Toys are important because they provide mental stimulation and physical exercise for your rabbit. Without challenging activities to occupy your pet when you’re not home, your rabbit, especially a solitary rabbit, will get bored. The creative use of toys can extend your rabbit’s life by keeping it interested in their surroundings, giving it the freedom to interact, and allowing your rabbit to constantly learn and grow.

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continued from page 5 A boring bunny is a bored bunny! Your rabbit needs safe activities to keep their body and mind in shape. A rabbit needs things to climb on, crawl under, hop on and around, dig into, and chew on. Without outlets for these physical needs, your rabbit may become fat or depressed, or may create excessive destruction, jumping, chewing, or crawling diversions with your furniture or other undesirable habits. What are good bunny toys? Some great toys to start with include paper bags and cardboard boxes for crawling inside, scratching, and chewing. Bunnies like them much more when they have at least two entry points… You can try using boxes, cardboard rolls from paper towels or toilet paper, untreated wicker baskets or boxes full of shredded paper, straw, or other organic materials for digging. Recycle old phone books for shredding, cat toys that roll or can be tossed, parrot toys that can be tossed, or hung from the top of the cage and chewed or hit, baby toys, such as hard plastic (NO gel-filled) teething toys, rattles and keys, kitty condos, tubes, tunnels, and trees, nudge and roll toys like large rubber balls, plastic “Slinkies,” dried-out untreated wood, twigs and logs that have been aged for at least 3 months. Apple tree branches can be eaten fresh off the tree, but stay away from cherry, peach, apricot, plum and redwood, which are all poisonous! Untreated sea grass or maize mats from Pier One or Cost Plus work great too! Toys are not just for your rabbit, they also keep your house safe. By providing your rabbit with a selection of toys chosen to meet the age, sex and temperament, you have fulfilled most of the requirements of bunny-proofing your home. Proper diet is also critical for a happy healthy bunny. Two of the most important items in the rabbit diet that ensure good intestinal health include plenty of drinking water along with adequate “crude long fiber” such as grass hay, which helps push hair and food through the intestines, and keeps the intestinal muscles in shape and moving food through quickly. This is essential to the balance in a rabbit’s digestive system. Improper diet can quickly lead to intestinal problems, which can lead to death. Grass hay should be fed in unlimited quantities to both adults and baby rabbits. A rabbit fed only commercial rabbit pellets does not get enough long fiber to keep the intestines in good working order. Alfalfa or clover hays, although tasty for the rabbit, are too rich in protein and calcium to be fed regularly. Instead, offer fresh grass hays such as oat, coastal, brome or wheat. Choices include “first cut” or a softer, “second cut.” 6 Pet Me! Magazine™

Second cut hay is lower in fiber, but some rabbits who refuse to eat the healthier high-fiber first cut will often accept second cut hay. Less fiber is better than no fiber at all! High quality rabbit pellet provides trace nutrients, vitamins and minerals that a rabbit might not get if fed only hay and fresh foods. However, very little pellet food is required for good health. Many experienced rabbit veterinarians are now recommending no more than 1/8 cup of quality pellets for a 5-pound rabbit, per day. Some even consider commercial pellets more like a treat food, as it can promote obesity in spayed/neutered adult rabbits. Plus, a rabbit fed too many pellets will sometimes ignore hay, which is a huge detriment to their system. A good quality rabbit pellet will not contain ANY dried fruit, seeds, nuts, colored crunchy bits or other things that are attractive to our human eyes, but very unhealthy for a rabbit. Rabbits are strict herbivores, and in nature they rarely eat fruit, nuts or other such fatty, starchy foods. The complex balance of the rabbit’s system can quickly become dangerously imbalanced if too much simple, digestible carbohydrate is consumed… especially if their diet lacks in fiber. The result is often fecal matter caking onto the rabbit’s behind. This is a sign which can mean more serious health problems are occurring. A good quality rabbit pellet should include approximately 22% crude fiber, and no more than 14% protein, 1% fat and about 1% calcium. Check the label on the rabbit pellets be-


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fore you buy. Most commercial pellets are alfalfa-based, which means they’re higher in calories and lower in fiber. Baby rabbits may be fed unlimited pellets, as their bones and muscles need plenty of protein and calcium for proper growth. A good bunny parent will begin to gradually taper off the quantity of pellets offered, once the rabbit is about eight- to twelve-months-old. Some owners complain that their rabbits won’t eat hay. If the problem is not medical in nature, such as dental issues, which are a common problem and must be treated, then it may be that the rabbit is eating too many pellets, making them less hungry, and less likely to eat the hay, which is so vital to their health. Take the tough love approach! Cut back on the pellets until you are sure your rabbit is eating enough hay. Corn, fresh or dried, is never ok to feed to your rabbit. Rabbits cannot digest the hull of corn kernels, and these cause life-threatening intestinal blockages. Your rabbit may require emergency medical treatment in order to survive. Other types of seeds also have hulls that are indigestible to a rabbit. Rabbits are lagomorphs, not a rodent or a primate. The rabbit’s digestive tract is physiologically more similar to that of a horse than a rodent or primate, and the intestine and related organs can suffer from any overindulgence of starchy or fatty foods. Never feed your rabbit commercial “gourmet” or “treat” mixes filled with dried fruit, nuts and seeds. These may be good

for a bird or hamster, but they are not a proper diet for your rabbit. Don’t feed your rabbit cookies, crackers, or breakfast cereals like oatmeal. They may be high fiber for you, but not for your herbivorous rabbit, who’s far better able to completely digest dietary fiber than we are. Fed to a rabbit, the high fat and simple carbohydrate content of “naughty foods” may contribute to fatty liver disease, obesity, and other health issues. Feeding your rabbit fresh vegetables and greens will help keep the intestinal contents hydrated, which makes it easier for the bunny to process food. Trace nutrients, fiber, and just plain old tastiness are other benefits of fresh greens. After all, what do you think wild rabbits like to eat? Fresh, moist greens are just about as important as hay in maintaining a healthy intestine. Try broccoli, dark leaf lettuces, kale, parsley, endive, dill, basil, cilantro, spinach and carrots including the tops. Almost any green, leafy vegetable that’s good for you is good for a rabbit. Rabbits also love fragrant herbs fresh from the garden, such as tarragon. Experiment and see which types of vegetables and herbs your rabbit enjoys best! Baby rabbits may start receiving greens very gradually at the age of about two months. Add one item at a time, in small amounts, and if you see no intestinal upset, add another. Carrots, romaine lettuce and kale are good starters for young

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continued from page 7 bunnies. A five-pound adult rabbit should receive at least four heaping cups of fresh, varied vegetables per day. Be sure to wash everything thoroughly to remove any pesticide and fertilizer. Try to always buy organic, but even organic produce should be washed well to remove potentially harmful bacteria, such as E. coli. Don’t make the mistake of serving less-thanfresh vegetables to your rabbit. A rabbit is even more sensitive to spoiled food than a human. If the vegetables smell stale or look questionable, they could make your bunny sick. Don’t feed it to your bunny if you wouldn’t eat it yourself! Give starchy vegetables, like carrots, in moderation, and use bits of fruit only in very, very small quantities. Fruits are considered treats, and should be fed sparingly, if at all. Feed no more than two tablespoons a day for a five-pound rabbit. Safe choices are apple, apricot, banana, cherries, mango, peach, plum, papaya, pineapple, apricot, berries... But be very careful not to overdo these treat foods, as they could promote intestinal problems and may cause the bunny to enjoy eating treats instead of their normal, healthy foods. Serve the vegetables and fruits wet, as this will also help increase your rabbit’s intake of liquid. The importance of adequate water intake cannot be stressed enough. A rabbit that does not drink sufficient water will gradually begin to suffer. Skin tenting, a common method used by veterinarians to gauge the state of hydration in many animals, is not a good gauge of hydration in rabbits. It seems that even when the rabbit appears to be well-hydrated, the contents of their intestine may

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not be. When this happens, the ingested food becomes dry and difficult for the rabbit to process. This can start a downhill condition known as “ileus,” which can be life-threatening if not recognized and treated. Water provided in a water bowl is undoubtedly the most natural way to drink and many rabbits will prefer to use a bowl over a water bottle. The downside is bowls are very easily soiled with bedding and litter, and can also be knocked over. Bowls work best if your rabbit is indoors or you have room to place a bowl away from lose bedding and food or you are available to change the water frequently during the day. You can also provide both a bottle and a bowl so your rabbit has the option and a back up if they knock over their bowl. Bowls that clip to the side of the cage sold for birds and are useful if your rabbit likes to knock the bowl over. Heavy ceramic bowls are more rabbit-proof as plastic ones are often picked up and thrown around as toys. Just be careful not to place breakable bowls on a high level where they can be nudged over and broken. It’s important to be sure that if the bowl is porcelain, it is lead free, and that the water is changed daily and the bowl washed thoroughly with hot water and detergent to prevent bacterial growth. If you are considering a rabbit as a pet and you would like to open your heart and home to a new bunny friend, you should certainly try adopting. There are so many rescue rabbits in need of loving homes. You can find different breeds, ages, sizes and colors. And it should be noted, a law recently passed which makes it illegal to purchase animals on city streets and anyone who buys an illegal animal can be fined up to $1,000! The law aims to stop the illegal sale of animals by decreasing the market for them. We should all know better than to buy an animal off of a street. Hopefully this law will help educate people and prevent the sale of these poor sick animals, often kept in deplorable conditions until they die. You don’t “save” one when you buy it… you just open up space for the next victim. Bunnies sold illegally on the streets are taken from their mothers only days after being born, so they can be sold as “dwarf ” and “Mini.” Unable to survive without their mothers, the baby bunnies die within days of being purchased. Instead of purchasing a bunny, contact a rescue or shelter to find the perfect match for you and make sure you have thoroughly considered your de-

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cision to have a rabbit as a pet. Kim Jones, Founder of “The Bunny Brigade,” the volunteer group working with Shelter Hope Pet Shop explains, “Easter is a difficult time for rabbits. Right now there are many shelter rabbits looking for permanent homes and impulse shopping isn’t what we want to promote at this time. We need to educate and show how wonderful companion rabbits are all year round. There is an influx of rabbit surrenders at county shelters in the months following Easter, when the baby bunnies purchased for Easter baskets get to be 4-6 months old, not spayed or neutered and show their teenage behavior. Humans don’t understand their needs, rabbits are very social, then the humans lose interest in the lonely bunny in the backyard hutch and then the rabbit is relinquished at his or her average ‘rabbit’ size of 3-7 lbs from age 6-12 months... until we educate the importance of spay and neuter and understanding rabbits as companion pets, the Easter bunny myth continues.” But anyone who has watched a joyous bunny zip across the floor, jump in the air and flip around in a fun bunny dance, knows that a pet rabbit can be the best form of stress relief. You can’t resist a smile when a bunny sits up in front of you begging for attention! Even the most natural bunny acts, like cleaning their face or ears, is adorable and entertaining. Bunnies are very clever and playful, and if given the opportunity they will entertain you and your family for many years.

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Let’s face it, when it comes to your canine children, you want the best for them. A place where the love and attention they need and want is guaranteed. Castaic Canine Camp sits on 17 pristine acres of land adjacent Castaic Lake. Castaic Canine Camp offers boarding, daycare, training facilities, and services for all ages, breeds and sizes of canines. Castaic Canine Camp accepts furry guests for a day visit or extended stay, and offers inter-action with other dogs or separate accommodations according to your pet’s special needs...and your needs for them. PPet taxi is for those of you who know your pet

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Pet Taxi isi well to stay at home while you're gone for the d But you know you can't make it on time to day. tta your pet out where they need to go. We take ppr provide transportation to vet's office, ggr groomer' s, friend or relative's house, and even tth airport. Wherever your pet may need to go the o be picked up we can transport him. This or sse is not only for dogs, we also provide service ttra transportation for livestock. Also we can pi pick-up and deliver any supply you may need fo your livestock and house pets. Rates depend for on mileage, please call for more details.

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Pet Me! Spotlight

Advanced Care Animal Hospital


e are located in the heart of Canyon Country, at the intersection of White’s Canyon and Soledad Canyon Rd, next to CVS, in the Ralph’s shopping center. Although Advanced Care Animal Hospital is a brand new hospital, the doctor and staff have decades of combined experience. Dr. Gillen is a compassionate and highly-skilled veterinarian. She excels at maintaining the health of her patients by using her understanding of each pets’ subtle signs, and by working closely with their owners to provide the best advice and medical treatment possible. She is also an excellent surgeon, having the knowledge and experience to perform some of the most complex surgical procedures with confidence. Dr. Gillen has been a part of the emergency veterinary field as well and has the ability to remain calm and act quickly to provide the best possible care for her patients during a crisis situation. In surrounding herself with a highly trained and experienced veterinary team, state-of-the-art equipment, and having the highest standards for veterinary care, Dr. Gillen is able to offer

you the very best in veterinary care. Our hospital is equipped with the most current diagnostic, surgical, dental, and anesthetic equipment to ensure your pet’s care. From a simple vaccination to a complex surgical procedure, everything is performed with skill, compassion, the utmost attention to detail, and to the highest standard possible.

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The Essence of

By Sylvia Hathaway, Acupressurist & Reiki Master


magine you are sitting in a tranquil garden in the springtime. The peacefulness of nature surrounds you.You notice a butterfly alight, weightlessly on flower petal nearby; golden rays of sunshine gently warm and comfort you, and a light breeze coaxes you to inhale; to relax; to savor this moment... this calm. You begin to feel renewed. And as you consider the challenges that await you, somehow they seem less daunting. Do you wish you could bottle this wonderful place? Well, you’re in luck. It’s already been done; and more. Enter the world of flower essences. These are “energetic” remedies that address everything that affects the emotions. They have no aroma; as they are not perfumes or essential oils; (which makes them both safe and non-offensive to pets.) The do not conflict with any herb or drug being used. (This is important because, as you will read below, this is a perfect time to use them.) When properly chosen, they are highly effective and beneficial for you and/or your companion animal. Because when it comes to emotions, it is not unusual for you to both (all) be struggling in common; with grief, for instance. Emotions play a role in nearly every aspect of our relationship with the four-legged and feathered beings we share our lives with. This is especially true when working with rescued/adopted animals. Emotions are powerful. Both people and animals can become trapped in the emotional trauma of a difficult situation or tragic event. Think of Katrina. The terror. The confusion. The deadly water. The loneliness. The despair. Survivors need help to heal and time alone is often not enough. Think of that ‘family pet’ dumped at the shelter. Is she sick? How could she not be? Her world too, has just been turned upside-down. Most illnesses have an emotional element to them as well. It is that connection (between emotions and illness) that led to how this interesting therapy came about in the first place. 12 Pet Me! Magazine™

In the 1930’s, Dr. Edward Bach (a bacteriologist and physician) saw a corelation between his patients’ emotional imbalances and their physical problems. Believing that their emotions were actually the source of their ailments and that a gentle solution could be found in nature, he diligently gathered and experimented with infusions of various plants. His method differs from that of homeopathic dilutions. Essences are an energetic imprint of the plant (or other source material being collected). Eventually defining 38 essences by their emotional effects, his primary goal was to avoid disease instead of having to treat it. He saw that emotional well-being and physical health were linked. For this same reason, essences can be a very important addition to any medical treatment, be it conventional or holistic. Consider the emotional response to a poor diagnosis. Shouldn’t this be “treated” also? If you can defuse ‘fear’ with ‘hope’ you can have an effect on the outcome. And when an emotion is at the root, “treating” the emotion can assure a more lasting cure by getting at that root. (Interestingly this has parallels in the 5-Element Theory, which defines the meridian system of acupuncture/acupressure, in assigning emotions to the various organs. Here, for instance, ‘worry’ affects the stomach (ulcers?); ‘grief ’ affects the lungs (asthma?), etc.) It probably isn’t really necessary to note that emotions often play a role in behavioral problems. But, yes, essences can help with these also (once potential medical issues have been addressed). Today there are dozens of essence-bottling companies and (probably) thousands of essence combinations. Now ranging far beyond plant-based sources, and targeting many modern-day stressors, the choices can seem truly overwhelming. So, a good place to start would be to try Rescue Remedy®. This 5-essence emotional first-aid is the most well known essence combination in the world. (Look for the one labeled ‘for pets’ as it is not preserved in alcohol.) Dr. Bach’s pioneering work to develop a method to capture these energetic signatures should not be under-valued. He did indeed find a gentle pathway toward health and wellbeing through nature. A pathway that can be truly vital for those little wild things we call our pets. Essences are a simple, effective way to help restore their connection to nature and the benefits they will realize can be truly amazing.

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Open House y Pet Fair Da Sunday, 13 May 12, 20 1-4 pm

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VAS C O I U D L A R A R C DISEASE in Small Animals By Ghislaine Switz, DVM

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eart disease encompasses any condition of the heart or blood vessels that interferes with normal cardiovascular function, such that there is disruption of oxygenated blood delivery to the body. Heart diseases can be classified as either congenital, meaning present from birth, or acquired, meaning occurring during the animal’s lifetime. Like humans, heart diseases are often passed through the generations. Clinical signs consistent with heart disease include exercise intolerance, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, sleep disruption from restlessness, periodic fainting spells, and/or blueness of the mucous membranes. Most small animal heart diseases will not show outward clinical signs until the particular disease has progressed into an advanced stage. However, veterinarians can detect the presence of heart disease at your pet’s yearly wellness check up exam before clinical signs develop, including presence of heart murmurs (abnormal heart sounds), arrhythmias (irregular heart beat), tachycardia (abnormally fast heart rate), bradycardia (abnormally slow heart rate), and/or abnormal mucous membrane color. If any of these signs are detected, a full cardiac examination is recommended. Heart diseases: 1. Congenital a. Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) = Fetal vessel, that normally disappears after birth, remains persistently connected between the aorta and pulmonary artery

b. Ventricular septal defect (VSD) = Presence of a hole in the septum between the right and left ventricles c. Pulmonic Stenosis (PS) = Narrowing of the pulmonic valve, located in the pulmonic artery, which carries deoxygenated blood to the lungs d. Subalveolar aortic stenosis (SAS) = Narrowing on the aorta, below the aortic valve e. Tricuspid valve dysplasia (TVD) = malformation of the tricuspid valve, located between the right atrium and ventricle 2. Acquired a. Mitral valve disease = mitral valve degeneration, leading to severe regurgitation/leakage of b lood as its being pumped through this valve b. Cardiomyopathies i. Dilated cardiomyopathy = Progressive dilation and subsequent weakness of the heart muscle ii. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy = Progressive thickening of the heart wall iii. Boxer arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy = disease that leads to serious arrhythmias in boxers c. Arrhythmias i. Bradycardia = slow heart rate ii. Tachycardia = fast heart rate

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d. Pericardial effusion = fluid accumulation in the sac that covers the outside of the heart (pericardium) e. Heart injury – parvoviral infections can cause heart disease f. Heart infections – heartworm disease

Diagnostics: • Radiography = “X-rays” o This is one of the most important tests necessary to diagnose heart disease. o Heart disease can be diagnosed with chest x-rays, as they can often show abnormalities in heart size and shape, and may demonstrate enlarged blood vessels in the thorax, o Heart failure may be diagnosed from both chest and abdominal x-rays, if there is evidence of fluid accumulation in the lungs or in the abdominal cavity. • Echocardiography = “Ultrasound exam of the heart” o This test permits visualization of the heart structures, and how they are functioning individually. o Also, an “echo” exam will demonstrate blood flow disturbances through the heart, which will indicate whether the heart valves are all correctly functioning. o Lastly, this test can be used to measure dimensions in

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various portions of the heart, which then helps determine if the heart muscle is contracting properly overall. • Electrocardiography = “EKG” o This test directly measures the electrical activity produced by the heart, and is the only diagnostic modality that can be used to detect heart arrhythmias (abnormal heart beats and/or rhythms) • NT-proBNP blood testing o A test employed by some veterinarians, used to determine whether clinical signs are stemming from heart disease or respiratory illness. o Some veterinarians also believe this test has value in predicting heart disease prognosis. • Miscellaneous testing o Blood pressure – pets with heart disease often carry an increased risk of hypertension (high blood pressure). o Thyroid – most typically a necessary test for cats with suspected hyperthyroidism o Heartworm – recommended if infection is highly suspected o Taurine levels – decreased levels have been shown to cause some types of heart disease o Culture/sensitivity – recommended if a bacterial infection is suspected, and will provide

Pet Me! Magazine™ MARCH/APRIL 2013

Treatment: Below is a list of the most common medications used to treat heart disease. The combination of medications selected typically depends on the type of heart disease present, your pet’s current overall health status, and the severity of the ongoing heart disease. • Diuretics o If congestive heart failure signs are present, this class of drugs is used to remove excess fluid, that can result in pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs) or ascites (abdominal fluid). o Specific drugs • Furosemide – most common • Spironolactone – usually used to complement furosemide, in cases where one diurectic is not enough • ACE (Angiotensin Converting Enzyme) Inhibitors o This class of drugs is used for vasodilation, which means blood vessel diameter relaxation. o This action allows blood to circulate more easily throughout the body, and also helps lower blood pressure. o Specific drugs • Enalapril • Benazepril • Pimobendan o Two modes of action

• Vasodilation • I notrope = improved the force of the heart’s contractions • Digoxin/Digitoxin o An older drug that is not often used any more in veterinary medicine due to the high risk of side effects. • Blood pressure medications o ACE Inhibitors are most often the medications chosen to help lower blood pressure o Alternative options, in cases where ACE inhibitors are not effective • Atenolol – beta blocker • Amlodipine – calcium channel blocker • Blood clot reduction medications o A particular concern in cats with heart disease, blood clots can form inside the heart, and when they dislodge can lead to a condition called “arterial thromboembolism”. o This condition develops when a dislodged blood clot from the heart now lodges inside a blood vessel, cutting off blood circulation to other parts of the body. o Blood clots typically lodge inside the aorta (blood vessel that leaves the heart and carries blood to the entire body). This results in circulation being cut off from the hind legs. Sometimes, blood clots lodge inside the pulmonary arteries, essentially compromising blood flow to the lungs. o Medication choices • Aspirin • Clopidogrel • Supplements – used to complement treatment of certain types of heart disease o Taurine o L-carnitine o Antioxidants eg. CoQ10 Heart disease versus heart failure: • Heart disease – o Aging changes that causes heart structures to become malformed o Can result within the musculature of the heart itself o May be the result of a developmental abnormality o Depends on type and severity of disease o Can range from asymptomatic to showing fatally severe clinical signs • Heart failure – “congestive heart failure” o End result of any type of heart disease, where the heart is unable to function normally and/or pump blood to other parts of the body.

• NOTE: Pets can be diagnosed with heart disease, without experiencing heart failure. However, if/when heart failure develops, heart disease is definitely present, in any form. Pet Me! Magazine™


Pet Me! Magazine™ MARCH/APRIL 2013

My dog’s on a grain-free diet,

so it can’t be food allergies, right? By Amy Shumaker, DVM, DACVD Dermatology for Animals


he short answer to this very common question is “WRONG!” Unfortunately, grains have gotten a bad rap in the last few years, and although they can cause food allergies, they are lower on the list of likely suspects. Most often the offending food allergy is to an animal protein such as beef, chicken, dairy or fish. Food allergy, much like environmental allergies, can cause variable degrees of itching/ chewing, recurrent skin and ear infections and occasionally gastrointestinal problems (loose stool, vomiting). Food allergy is often a very frustrating diagnosis to make as veterinarians ask their owners to please stop feeding their pet’s current diet and all their treats. As veterinarians, no, we are not trying to make your life challenging or interfere with your bond with your pet by denying favorite treats. In order to perform a good food trial to rule in or out a food allergy, the trial must be strict. Although the more common offending ingredients in your pet’s diet are animal protein-based, the possibilities of other ingredients are likely as well due to the varied nature of our pets’ foods and treats, and there is no way of knowing which ingredient might be the one contributing to a food allergy. The other challenge we face is the type of food trial to be performed. The “gold-standard” food trial is a home-cooked diet. That being said, in today’s busy world, as we often find it hard to cook our own meals, how are we going to find time to cook for an 80-pound lab with an insatiable appetite? Fortunately we have several commercial diets available. One approach is to feed a “limited ingredient”diet that is limited in the number of proteins and carbohydrates in the food and contains a “novel” protein (one the pet hasn’t eaten before). Although, not every limited ingredient is equal! Unfortunately it has been Otitis with a swollen ear canal discovered that proteins can have cross-reactions with with a dog with food allergy other related proteins. For example, for those animals allergic to beef, they may have reactions to venison, buffalo, lamb etc, (those with chicken allergy to duck and other poultry) even if they haven’t eaten that protein before. Some recent Same ear after identifying a studies of various “limited food allergy and treating the ingredient” over-the-

ear infection

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counter diets have discovered cross-contamination with additional proteins, so, in short….not so limited. Wow, with all this, what diets are out there? We have several prescription diets that have very unique proteins (kangaroo, rabbit) and are manufactured and tested to guarantee no cross-contamination. Although these diets are more expensive than the over-the-counter diets, our goal is to try to determine if your pet is food allergic or not, and if we do have a food allergy, we will try to work with you and your pet to determine what ingredient it is so we can hopefully avoid it or at least try to find an overthe-counter diet that doesn’t cause your pet to keep you up at night scratching. A properly performed food trial is imperative in our work up of the itchy pet. We hate to go down unnecessary long roads chasing another diagnosis and then when your pet isn’t better, revisiting food allergy and finding out it’s been food all along. One of my colleagues has so often been overheard saying “he has to eat something anyway, why not something that might make him better?” Hang in there…although being strict can be hard when you see those brown eyes pleading with you for a part of your hamburger, this denial is likely not for the rest of your pet’s life!

Pet Me! Magazine™ MARCH/APRIL 2013

RESCUE ME… What is a Rescue? By Kim Schumann


n animal rescue first begins with a person obtaining a 501(c)3 not for profit status with the I.R.S. This means most legitimate rescues are privately funded, rely solely on donations from the public and the hard earned money of their members. There is no annual budget. There is no paid staff. They do, however, have volunteers. Volunteers who are fiercely dedicated to the breed or type of animal the rescue specializes in. They will comb county and city websites for hours on end looking for animals that fit their criteria…Shepherds, Mastiffs, Terriers, Persian Cats, and Blue Eyed Cats etc. They make phone calls, they’ll transport, and they’ll network and raise money. Then they will open their homes to foster animals in need until a permanent home is found.

Space is usually limited and funds are usually low. Some Veterinarians will work with rescues when it comes to spaying, neutering or if there is a special surgery that needs to be done. A cherry eye in a Beagle or blood work on a senior cat is unexpected expense, so a good relationship with a trusted Veterinarian is worth its weight in gold. Adopting from a rescue will be, in most cases, more expensive than adopting from a city or county animal shelter. There will also be more paperwork. An application, an interview and a home check are usually standard practice. If you are not willing to submit to the process you will most likely be turned away. A rescue reserves the right to say “no” to a potential adopter. There is a grave misconception that animal rescues turn a nice profit on the animals they adopt out. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Any money received for the adoption of an animal goes right back into the rescue for medical expenses, gas, and food and housing for the next animal that is pulled from an animal shelter. Animal Rescues are smaller scale operations as compared to your city or county shelter. A lot of rescues don’t have a kennel facility to house their animals in. The animals go to volunteer foster homes, this is where any behavior issues missed while being in the animal shelter can be observed and addressed. A foster home is far less stressful and a more nurturing environment. The volunteers are usually advocates for the breed or type of animal being rescued so they are educated on different types of behaviors or problem areas. Many times animals that are pulled from animal shelters by rescues have kennel cough or other upper respiratory issues and need to be quarantined. Going into a volunteer foster home that has been hand-picked and is equipped to handle the situation means a quicker recovery for the patient. Spending time and money ensuring that an animal has a second chance at a new beginning takes precedence. Screening potential adopters lessens the chance of the animal being returned to the rescue. This is a luxury city and county shelters don’t have. Staff or volunteers can only go so far when it comes to discouraging the family with three energetic children that

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continued from page 19 the shy, fearful Chihuahua isn’t a good match. Then, after a week of not coming out from under the bed and snapping at the energetic children, the Chihuahua is returned to the shelter and deemed a “biter.” Most rescues “pull” their animals from city and county shelters. They hesitate to take from private parties due to ownership legalities; animals in the shelters are the property of the city or county and can be signed over without fear of repercussion. Rescues and animal shelters are filled with animals looking for a second chance. Welcoming a new pet into your home can be a rewarding experience and bring you years of companionship and love. Educating yourself and your family about what being a responsible pet owner means will set an example for others as well as guarantee the pet you choose will have a stable, happy and loving home. Most of the animals in rescues and shelters have been through some kind of upsetting life change and the first stop in their transition is usually an animal shelter. Not an ideal situation but it’s far better than being dumped in the desert or sold to God-knows-who on an internet site. GIMME SHELTER…. Your friendly neighborhood city- or county-run animal shelter operates on a budget that is funded by the tax dollars of the city/county’s citizens. The funding provides vaccinations, medical care (if needed), food, water, shelter and ultimately spaying, neutering and micro-chipping if the animal should go up for adoption. The cost of adoption may vary from city to city, county to county. Animal Shelters will often celebrate a certain “Adoption Month” where they offer lower adoption fees on senior pets as incentive to get the less likely to be adopted cats and dogs out to a good home or a “buy one, get one” kitten deal. The adoption fees are usually all inclusive and cover the cost of vaccines, spay or neutering surgeries, micro-chipping and licensing. Birds • Supplies • Grooming • Cages • Fresh Food • Boarding Under New Ownership

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20 Pet Me! Magazine™

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Now, because the city or county animal shelters are funded by the government they cannot turn away any animal that is brought in to the shelter to be surrendered. It doesn’t matter how aggressive, how old, how young, how sick or how fearful the animal is…the county or city shelter MUST take them in. This being the case there are plenty of animals in city and county animal shelters that have “issues” or were “problem pets.” Chronic barkers, diggers, chewers, biters, pee-ers and poopers fill the cages of these establishments. Most of these issues can be addressed and truly are no reason to surrender an animal to a shelter. One of the problems that city and county shelters face is an inability to address these behavior issues to the degree that they can be corrected. Time and man power are hard to come by. Most city and county animal shelters are packed to capacity and it takes every person and every effort just to see that the animals are cleaned and fed on a daily basis. Volunteers play a huge part in helping shelter staff complete daily tasks as well as trying to socialize and exercise adoption candidates. Animals with issues unintentionally slip through the cracks. Cute and shy on the outside may have problems that go unaddressed until they get to their new home and snap at the toddler or growl at every man that comes too close. Animals act differently in stressful situations – they can be quieter and more compliant. The routine of a shelter and the close quarters may force a cat with a potty problem into

Pet Me! Magazine™ MARCH/APRIL 2013

relieving themselves in the litter box as expected. Then, once in the comfort and quiet of a new home, the territorial marking begins again. A lot of animals that are surrendered come with a brief history supplied by the former owner. Although some of that history may not be too altogether flattering, keep in mind that some of it may not be true. Some owners embellish problems for fear they will be judged for surrendering their pet. What they don’t realize they are doing is stigmatizing the animal and lessening its chances of adoption. A person doesn’t look so horrible if they say the cat or dog bites children when in fact the real issue is the landlord told them to get rid of it. Shelter animals deserve every chance they can get. If you should choose to go to a city or county shelter to adopt a new family member, do your homework. Study the breed or mix of breeds you are interested in. Read about the behavior and habits those breeds are known for, then factor in the stress of being in a shelter and find out anything you can from the staff or volunteers about the animal you are interested in. When a person who is searching finally finds their companion animal, magic happens. If you adopt from a rescue they are able to take more animals from shelters. If you adopt from a shelter the rescues can focus on taking the harder to adopt animals. Whether you start your search with a rescue or in an animal shelter, know that you are ultimately saving a life.

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Kitten Season Pet Me! Magazine™ MARCH/APRIL 2013

You have heard people talk about it, but what exactly is kitten season? Well, kitten season is exactly what it says it is – a season of kittens. By Deborah Eskow, Save-A-Kitty, Inc.

Photo by Yoti Telio, Santa Clarita Photographic Studio 22 Pet Me! Magazine™

Pet Me! Magazine™ MARCH/APRIL 2013


ou have heard people talk about it, but what exactly is kitten season? Kitten season is the time of year when unspayed, feral queens give birth. Unaltered Female cats can go in and out of heat several times between October and February, thus producing several litters in the spring time, after the winter thaw. Due to consistently warmer temperatures here in Southern California, the season seems to be never ending. Mother Nature is nothing short of miraculous. Mothers give life, nurture and protect their young in all walks of life, and Mother Nature is no exception. That is why trees lay dormant in the cold harsh winter and many species of mammals hibernate during those long and inhospitable months. Spring however is a time of rebirth. Weather conditions are conducive to support fragile new life and Mother Nature knows this well. Tiny buds appear on withered, winter of branches, birds busy themselves building nests for their young, flowers begin to bloom and grow, and so too do the tummies of unaltered female feral cats. They instinctively know that their young will have a better chance of survival in the warmer spring and summer months. That instinct also compels the Mama cat to secure a safe nesting place hidden from humans and predators but close enough to urban areas where a food source is available. Feral kittens are often born in bushes close to dumpsters in the parking lots of supermarkets, restaurants, and apartment buildings. If you are ever in a supermarket parking lot late at night on a warm summer evening pay close attention to your surroundings, it would not be unusual to see a kitten or two peeking at you from the nearby bushes. Deep in those bushes would probably be a litter of tiny newborns. So the sad cycle continues as many of these kittens for one reason or another will not reach adulthood. For those that do not make it there are still thousands and thousands that do. Since our climate tends to promote a longer kitten season, it sometimes seems to be only a very small window in which we are not seeing newborns. Many more thousands of kittens are born during the spring and summer. From that point, it is just a matter of time before the calls will come in to help with the first wave of 2013 kittens. Kitten season is particularly challenging for rescue organizations and city and county shelters. The pleas for help with orphaned and unweaned kittens come in daily. There is only so much that rescues can do. Of the thousands that are dropped off at city or county shelters, only a minuscule of a percentage will survive and that will only be if they get bailed out immediately by a rescue or are fortunate enough to be placed into a shelter foster home; which there are not nearly enough of. Quite simply, the shelters do not have the resources to care for abandoned and unweaned kittens. Sadly, the majority of those kittens will be put to sleep; thousands of them! Here are some very important do’s and don’ts for those who find themselves in the company of unweaned kittens

without their mother and are willing to help. Our website includes step-by-step detailed information on raising orphaned newborns. You can visit us at, where I share everything I know about how to care for these sweet little angels. In the meantime, here are some basic do’s and don’ts: 1. NEVER remove unweaned kittens from their nesting place unless you are absolutely 100% sure that the mother is gone. Mother cats rarely abandon their kittens. They go off to hunt for food, but will come back. If you do not see the mother for more than four hours and the kittens are crying, this is a bad sign and you need to intervene. Continually, check back for the mother cat and if possible leave food out to see if that will help lure her. 2. Avoid taking the kittens to a city or county shelter. They will most likely be euthanized. 3. Kittens as young as four weeks begin to walk and are wobbly at best, but they can get around. If you see a tiny kitten, most likely the nest and the rest of the litter will be hidden in a bush or safe place close by. Try to listen and observe before removing the kitten. If there is no sign of the mother, you need to take the kitten in for safety. Once again, do not take it to a shelter, call a rescue. You can also contact your veterinarian and ask if they can help.

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Pet Me! Magazine™ MARCH/APRIL 2013

continued from page 23 4. If you do decide to take responsibility for a litter of unweaned kittens, please know that as you embark on this kind and selfless deed, you need to know that it is exhausting! Unweaned kittens need to be fed every two to three hours around-the-clock with no exception. You will not get a full night’s sleep until the kittens are five to six weeks old. It is costly. Baby bottles, formula, heating pads, bedding, and miscellaneous supplies all add up. There is also a chance you may need veterinary care. Nothing is worse than seeing an ailing kitten suffer and not having the financial resource to get it to the vet. Most rescues have arrangements with vets for discounts. Please do not hesitate to call a rescue if you need help. 5. If you have young children and think that raising these kittens will be an educational and fun project for your children, you are mistaken. These newborns have no immunities without their mother and are very fragile. They are not toys. They

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24 Pet Me! Magazine™

Pet Me! Magazine™ MARCH/APRIL 2013

need to be kept in a fastidiously clean environment, kept warm, fed regularly, and not handled by children. 6. If you work full-time, you will need to make arrangements for someone to feed every four hours while you are at work. Kittens cannot be left unattended all day. 7. Never put any kind of flea powder or flea treatment on a newborn kitten. Fleas need to be eliminated by combing them off with a flea comb. Changing the kittens bedding every time you feed will also help get rid of the fleas. Fleas are dangerous to young kittens and can cause flea anemia* which may result in death. Do not try to bathe fleas off the kittens. Young kittens have no way regulating their body temperature and this could also be a threat to them. *Anemia can be caused from giving any food-containing onion or garlic to cats and kittens, so if you are feeding these kittens and want to wean them to solid food, make sure if you use a human baby food Gerber, etc., that it does not contain onion or garlic. 8. If you rescue a tiny, unweaned kitten, that is very cold, prior to feeding make sure he is warmed up.

9. In an emergency, warm goat’s milk can be given with an eye dropper if you cannot find an open pet shop for bottles and formula. 10. Never under any circumstances give an unweaned kitten water thinking he is thirsty. They can drown from consuming too much water. Specially formulated kitten milk replacer or goat’s milk is the only liquid that should be given to an unweaned kitten. In an emergency, a few drops only of sugar water can be given to a kitten if he seems to be listless and lifeless, but please rush the kitten to a vet immediately.

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Pet Me! Magazine™ MARCH/APRIL 2013

continued from page 25 11. Never mix litters of kittens together. If you are rescuing you need to be aware of contagious feline diseases. You can never be too careful. If you have cats of your own, change clothing and shoes, and thoroughly wash your hands before coming into contact with your own cats. The disease that we worry about most is feline distemper panleukopenia which is highly contagious and often fatal. Adult vaccinated cats have a good immunity against it, but you still need to be careful. The incubation period is fifteen days. After that is up, you can breathe more easily. Panleukopenia can be treated even in a tiny kitten; but it is a dangerous virus and does not always respond to treatment which is primarily supportive care. Information on how to feed, what to feed and exactly what supplies you will need to care for unweaned orphaned kittens down to the best baby bottles for the job can be found on our website www. Taking care of these unweaned kittens is not an easy job. They need constant attention. Often even the simplest things require knowledge, i.e.: Getting these babies to suckle; even if you have the right nursing bottles and the holes in the teet have been modified so that the formula

flows correctly and is the right temperature, you still may be challenged because kittens at first don’t usually get the hang of it. Everything depends on you, so prepare yourself. Take a deep breath. Get ready to fall so in love with this little dependent being(s) that to whom you are everything; and enjoy every furry little moment! Good luck and please do not hesitate to contact us at SaveA-Kitty, Inc. if you need help.


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26 Pet Me! Magazine™

Amy Shumaker, DVM, DACVD Valencia Veterinary Center 23928 Summerhill Lane Valencia, CA 91354 Phone: (661) 855-4870

Pet Me! Magazine™ MARCH/APRIL 2013

Pet Me! Spotlight

Cinema Veterinary Centre


inema Veterinary Centre is located at 23460 Cinema Drive, serving all areas of Santa Clarita Valley including Valencia, Saugus, Newhall, Stevenson Ranch, Canyon Country and Castaic. Dr. Jaimie Ronchetto grew up in the Santa Clarita Valley, and knew she wanted to return to practice in her hometown. A graduate of Hart High, Dr. Ronchetto went on to UC Davis, and then graduated with Honors from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. Cinema Veterinary Centre believes in outstanding quality care in the areas of medicine and surgery. Specializing in general practice, small animals, reptile and “pocket pets,” which are described as any small furry pet including guinea pigs, rabbits and hamsters. Dr. Ronchetto notes, “I really want owners to feel like they are an integral part of the decision-making process when it comes to the care of their pets. It is important to me that my staff and I educate owners and communicate with them in an effective way so that together we can give their pet the highest quality of care that is right for them. I don’t want them agreeing to treatment without really understanding what it is or why we are doing it and then feel confused later.”

Cinema Veterinary Centre focuses on preventative medicine for all of their patients. It’s much easier to prevent a disease than to treat it. They recommend your pets see the doctor once a year, or twice a year after the age of seven. Services available include Wellness Visits, Anesthetic Dental Cleanings with Full Mouth Digital Dental X-ray, Digital X-ray, Ultrasound, Elective Surgery including spays and neuters, Soft Tissue Surgery and Orthopedic Surgery. Cinema Veterinary Centre is open Monday thru Friday 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, with appointments beginning at 9:00 am. Saturdays: 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, with a vaccine clinic from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. They are closed on Sundays. For additional information or to schedule an appointment, call 661-253-9300 or go to

Pet Me! Magazine™


Pet Me! Magazine™ MARCH/APRIL 2013



ruiser’s story is one of a thousand similar stories. Bruiser’s first introduction to the Los Angeles County animal shelter was when he was just a puppy. In June of 2011 he was dropped off and given the status of “stray.” The odds of adoption were very much in his favor, he was a small, brown Chihuahua puppy and very, very cute. His first adopter named him “Bruiser,” like the little Chihuahua in the Reese Witherspoon movie. Twelve days short of one year later Bruiser was returned to the same animal shelter. The reason, “we’re moving and we cannot take him with us” – it’s a pretty common reason given by folks who are turning animals into an animal shelter but regardless, Bruiser was now back to square one... again. He was still young, a little over a year old and still very cute. The younger, smaller dogs fair a little better when it comes to getting adopted from an animal shelter. Bruiser’s second attempt to leave the shelter occurred in mid-July,

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By Kim Schumann

almost thirty five days later. The volunteers at the shelter were showing Bruiser to anyone who would look at him and finally he was adopted again... and returned again... nine days later. The reason he was returned this time? He barks. Imagine that. No one wants a dog that barks excessively but then again after only nine days, you have to wonder if they did anything to try and remedy the situation. Or was returning him the remedy? Either way, Bruiser was, once again, back to square one. The volunteers at the shelter rallied around Bruiser and made sure these multiple returns weren’t wreaking havoc on his little psyche. He was networked on social media sites, taken to adoption events and socialized with other dogs to increase his adoptability. He was labeled “a barker” not something a potential adopter wants to hear but if you don’t want to deal with occasional barking, don’t get a dog. Enter Kelly and Daniel Hernandez. Shortly after July 4th Kelly and Daniel’s fourteen year old pit bull mix, Daisy, had

Pet Me! Magazine™ MARCH/APRIL 2013

passed away quietly in her sleep. She had curled up in her dog bed one night and peacefully slipped away. The family still had their sixteen year old Pointer mix, Jake and their four cats. Kelly and their son Garrett were really not completely ready to fill the empty spot in their hearts that Daisy left when she passed. So on September 1, 2012 when Dan and Kelly walked into the Castaic Animal Care Center, Kelly and Garrett had made it clear to Dan that he wasn’t supposed to come home with another dog. Fate had other plans. The couple looked at a number of dogs. They focused on pit mixes and some of the other larger breeds. Kelly always had larger, outdoor dogs and had never considered a smaller breed. They wanted to see the dogs that no one else wanted, the dogs that did not have a good chance of making it out of the shelter. Bruiser caught Kelly’s eye, she never had a small dog before so he asked about him. The volunteer helping them told them Bruiser’s story of multiple returns and his issues with barking. Kelly and Daniel wanted to see him anyway…. At first, Bruiser paid no attention to either one of them. He watched the people passing by outside of the “meet the pet pen” and focused on the volunteer who was helping Kelly and Dan. Quite often the animals in shelters get attached to the staff or the volunteers who care for and take them out. These are the people who feed them, run with them, cuddle them and in some cases foster them in their own homes. So Bruiser was not impressed with Kelly and Dan, through no fault of their own. Dan liked him, there was something about him. Kelly asked the volunteer for a leash, she wanted to see how he would do on a walk. That’s all it took. Once hooked up to a leash, Bruiser would not take his eyes off of Kelly. He followed her diligently around the pen and responded to her immediately. All of Bruiser’s charm and personality came flooding out once he realized that someone wanted him. Bruiser left with Kelly and Daniel that day. Kelly told the volunteers and staff that he would not be returning the shelter. If he had issues, they would deal with them. He was their dog now and that meant forever. The first thing they did was change Bruiser to “Kado.” Then they hired a trainer to deal with his barking issues. The trainer targeted the problem and educated the family on what to do and how to deal with Kado and his need to bark at everything. Now, he has no barking problem. Kelly takes him to Pet Smart to pick out new toys and he has more snacks to choose from than Garrett. Garrett, who was very close to and grew up with Daisy, surrendered to Kado’s charm less than an hour after meeting him. It’s been six months since the Hernandez family took Kado home. Today he coexists peacefully with the other four legged family members of his new family. Occasionally, he is ambushed by the four cats, but it is all in good fun. He is

gentle and respectful of their space. His youthful energy has even helped his new senior friend, Jake; adjust to life without his longtime friend Daisy. Perhaps the one person he has helped the most was the one who was most hesitant about getting another dog. Initially, Kado was supposed to be Daniel’s dog but fate and Kado had another agenda. Kelly and Kado have become inseparable and he is “the love of her life.” Kelly deals with bouts of depression. She found that having Kado with her would help alleviate her condition. Recently, Kelly had Kado certified as her service dog and he goes with her everywhere. This little dog who was stuck in the revolving door of unwanted pets has finally found his home. There will be no more shelters for Kado. It’s a very happy ending to a story that could be told over and over about different shelter animals but sometimes the endings aren’t as happy or hopeful. When you choose to adopt from an animal shelter, know that you are ultimately saving a life. You are giving an animal that has been tossed aside for any number of invalid reasons, a chance at becoming something special to someone who may need them. They will have some kinks to work out, that’s probably why they are in a shelter in the first place. That doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a second or even a third chance to prove who they are. Kado’s third time was definitely a charm.

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Animal Aftercare

Cal Pet Crematory (310) 278-0633 (818) 983-2313 (323) 875-0633 Guardian Animal Aftercare (818) 768-6465 Great Groomers Bark Ave. Grooming 17737 Sierra Hwy. Canyon Country, Ca. 91351 (661) 299-2227 So Cal Grooming 28011 Seco Cyn. Rd. Santa Clarita, 91390 (661) 513-0778 Precious Pets 27737 Bouquet Cyn. Rd. #124 Saugus, CA (661) 296-2020 Pawpular Pet Suppliers Bird Bungalow 21021 Soledad Canyon Rd Canyon Country, CA 91351 (661) 284-6200 Canyon Pet Center 19154 Soledad Cynd. Rd. Canyon Country, CA (661) 250-7356 Fox Feed 17028 Sierra Highway Canyon Country, 91387 (661) 252-9790 Pet Stop 26870 Sierra Highway Santa Clarita, CA (661) 251-3867 Pet Supply Santa Clarita 26831 Bouquet Canyon Road Santa Clarita, 91350-2372 (661) 296-2654 Dermatology for Pets Amy Shumaker, DVM, DACVD Valencia Veterinary Center 23928 Summerhill Lane Valencia, CA 91354 (661) 855-4870

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Animal Control Centers Castaic Animal Shelter 31044 N. Charlie Canyon Rd. Castaic (661) 257-3191 Lancaster Animal Shelter 5210 W. Ave. I Lancaster, CA 93536 (661) 940-4191 Rescue Organizations

Brittany Foundation Agua Dulce (661) 713-5240 Citizens for Sheltered Animals, Inc. 26893 Bouquet Canyon Rd. C-318 (661) 513-9288 Forgotten Angels Cat Rescue (661) 273-9822 Ratz Nest Rescue (661) 303-7872 Saffyre Sanctuary (Horse Rescue) Sylmar, CA Save A Kitty, Inc. (818) 825-3096 PetSave Foundation Bunny Rescue (661) 478-7360 St. Bonnie’s Sanctuary/ Lange Foundation 27567 Oak Spring Canyon Rd. Canyon Country, CA 91387 (661) 251.5590 Trusted Vets In and Around SCV Advanced Care Animal Hospital 19406 Soledad Canyon Road Santa Clarita, CA 91351 (661) 263-4334

All Creatures Emergency Center 22722 Lyons Ave # 5 Newhall, 91321-2876 (661) 291-1121

Animal Medical Center 25848 McBean Parkway Valencia, 91355 (661) 255-5555 Canyon Country Veterinary Hospital 18840 Soledad Canyon Road Canyon Country, 91351-3772 (661) 424-9900 Cinema Veterinary Centre 23460 Cinema Drive, Unit L Valencia, 91355 (661) 253-9300 Happy Pets Veterinary 27550 Newhall Ranch Road Valencia, 91355 (661) 295-9972 Peaceful Pets In-Home Euthanasia Services (661) 621-3750 Seco Canyon Animal Clinic 27935 Seco Canyon Road Santa Clarita, 91350 (661) 296-8848 Valencia Veterinary Center 24036 Summerhill Ln. Santa Clarita, 91354 (661) 263-9000 VIP Veterinary Services 26111 Bouquet Cyn. Rd. Suite D-5, Saugus, CA 91350 (661) 222-PETS Best Boarding Facilities Canine Country Club 20341 Blue Cloud Road Santa Clarita, 91390-1259 (661) 296-0566 Castaic Canine Camp 36975 Ridge Route Road Castaic, 91384 (661) 257-0957



for all things

Santa Clarita’s Premier Dog Lodge Trish Cohen (661) 618-6628 Pampering Pet Sitters

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Kyle’s Custom Critter Care (661) 305-4981 Dogone-it Marlee (661) 251-3873 Dog Trainers Dog Gone Happy Tami Cox (661) 310-4133 K9 Manners Matter Colleen Lange B.S., ABCDT (661) 993-2366 Alternative Medicines & Healing Sylvia Nahale Hathaway Acupressurist & Reiki Master (661) 378-8612

Calendar of Events

Help and Hope for Lisa Fundraiser for Lisa Lambert March 22, 7-10pm, Robinson Ranch 27734 Sand Canyon Rd.,Cyn Country $60 per person/$500 table of 10. Dinner, Silent & Live Auction 50/50 raffle and live entertainment 2013 Circle of Hope 5K Run/Walk Saturday, April 20th 7:30am-2:00pm Castaic, Rock, Walk & Wag Saturday, April 27, 2013 9:30am – 2pm Central Park 27150 Bouquet Canyon Rd., Saugus Happy Pets Open House Sunday, May 12th, 1:00 – 4:00 World Fest in Woodley Park, Lake Balboa Sunday, May 19th Reiki For Our Companion Animals Every 3rd. Saturday Krisers, 24272 Valencia Blvd., Valencia Forgotten Angels Cat Rescue Adoption Open House Friday’s 4:00 – 7:00pm The Cat Doctor & Friends 26055 Bouquet Canyon, Santa Clarita

Pet Me! Magazine™ MARCH/APRIL 2013

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Pet Me! Magazine™ MARCH/APRIL 2013

Valencia Veterinary Center “pets are people too!” Board Certifiesdt Dermatologi st and Pathologi on Staff $100



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32 Pet Me! Magazine™

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March/April 2013 Issue of Pet Me! Magazine  

Kitten Season, Bunny Love, The Essence of Emotions, Cardiovascular Disease in Small Animals, My Dogs' on a grain-free diet, so it can't be f...

March/April 2013 Issue of Pet Me! Magazine  

Kitten Season, Bunny Love, The Essence of Emotions, Cardiovascular Disease in Small Animals, My Dogs' on a grain-free diet, so it can't be f...