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“With all these pet food recalls, I just don’t feel safe feeding Fluffy any of them. What am I supposed to feed Fluffy now?” It seems that quite often we hear about another pet food being recalled for some reason or another, making some people wonder if pet foods are getting more and more dangerous to feed. However, the actual number of pet food recalls is at worst unchanging, and at best (and more likely) decreasing. What has changed is our awareness of the recalls and how quickly and far ranging the information spreads.

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TRAINING

Tidbits

Intuitive

Dogs

By Bryan Williams

Is There a Canine “Sixth Sense?”

M

any dog owners have experienced the joy of returning A very similar kind of behavior has been exhibited by Kane, a male home and seeing their dog eagerly waiting to greet Rhodesian ridgeback owned by Sarah Hamlett. Often when Sarah them, sitting happily in the window or jumping excitedwas coming home, her partner Jason Hopwood noticed that Kane ly at the door. Some of these dogs seem so would go to their apartment window and stand with his front One eager to greet their owners that they become excited paws on a low table so that he could watch for her on or begin waiting even before their owner has arthe street. Like Jaytee, Kane exhibited this behavpossibility is rived home. In most cases, these dogs are probior even when Sarah returned at irregular times, that the sensory range ably responding to their owner’s daily routine, and when she was still several miles away. Jaor have been clued to their owner’s approach son couldn’t have cued Kane because he usuand capability of some (if through their keen senses of hearing and ally didn’t know when Sarah would be returnnot all) dogs has been greatly smell. However, there are a few dogs that ing, and Sarah often didn’t know herself until underestimated, probably have responded even when their owner reit was time. Thus, she couldn’t have cued turns at non-routine times, and their response Kane before leaving home. due to current limits in our often comes when their owner is still some disunderstanding of their tance away from home, when no sensory clues On the surface, Jaytee and Kane appear to be to the owner’s approach are apparent. exhibiting a kind of canine “intuition” or “sixth experience. sense,” and they apparently aren’t the only ones. SurOne such dog is Jaytee, a male mixed-breed terrier owned veys in England and California indicate that many owners by Pamela Smart. While away at work, Pam would leave Jaytee with her have witnessed intuition-like behavior in their own dog. On average, parents, who lived next door. They began noticing that around the time 48% claimed that their dog seems to know when they are coming Pam was expected to come home, Jaytee would often head for their home. Sixty-nine percent claimed that their dog seems to know when porch to sit and wait for her at the window. At first, they thought Jaytee they are going to leave, becoming agitated even before they show any had become attuned to Pam’s work schedule. But even after Pam was signs of their intent to leave. Forty-seven percent claimed their dog laid off and her schedule became less predictable, they found that Jayhas responded to their thoughts or to a silent command. This raises tee still went to the window and waited at the time (unknown to them) certain questions: Is there anything to this phenomenon, or is it all just she was on her way home. Jaytee often began waiting when Pam was coincidence, superstition, and wishful thinking? Is there any scientific still several miles away, suggesting that he wasn’t reacting to her scent evidence to support the idea that canine “intuition” exists? or to the sound of her car coming down the street.


Testing Jaytee and Kane To seriously consider the idea, we have to be as sure as possible that the behavior exhibited by dogs like Jaytee and Kane is not due to ordinary causes. To do this, biologist Rupert Sheldrake conducted a series of field experiments with Jaytee and Kane that were designed to take many ordinary causes into account. Some of the more obvious causes, and the way they were controlled for in Sheldrake’s experiments, are as follows: Routine Response: Over time, the dogs have gradually become attuned to their owners’ daily schedules and routines, and are responding accordingly. To control for this, the owners are asked to return home at random times. Sensory Clues: Through their acute senses, the dogs are responding to the subtle sound and/or scent of their owners as they get close to home. This is controlled by having the owners return from locations several miles away, and examining the dogs’ behavior up until the time the owners get within sensory range. Alternatively, if someone knows when the owner will return, that person may display subtle behavioral changes around that time, which may clue the dogs to their owners’ impending return (this is sometimes called the “Clever Hans” effect, named after a German horse that was claimed to exhibit mathematical ability, but was eventually found to be responding only to the subtle behavioral cues given off by people questioning it). Having no one with the dog know the time clearly prevents this.

Multiple Distractions: Rather than their owners return, the dogs’ behavior is related to their tendency to repeatedly go to the waiting spot throughout the day for ordinary reasons, such as wanting to go outside or to watch people, cats, and other dogs go by. To see if that’s the case, detailed logs and/or video recordings of the dogs’ behavior are checked to see if the dogs really do visit their waiting spots as often throughout the day as when their owners are returning. Selective Memory of Success: In recalling their observations of the dogs’ behavior, people may only tend to remember the times that the dogs responded correctly, while forgetting the incorrect times. Keeping careful logs or video recording the dogs’ behavior helps prevent this. In preliminary experiments with Jaytee (1994-1995), Pam traveled to various locations several miles away and returned home at different times, keeping a log of the time she left for home and her arrival time. To make sure that Jaytee wasn’t responding to the sound of her car, she sometimes returned by taking a taxi or train, riding a bike, or walking. In each instance, her parents noted the time when Jaytee began waiting for her, while not knowing when she would return. Analysis of the data revealed a close relationship between Pam’s travel time and Jaytee’s waiting time at the window From 1995 to 1997, Sheldrake performed additional experiments in which Pam was paged at random times to return home, and Jaytee’s behavior was video-recorded during three separate periods: the main period of Pam’s absence, the 10-minute period before she started returning, and the first ten minutes of her return trip. When

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At Sheldrake’s invitation, an attempt was made in 1995 by psychologist Richard Wiseman and his associates at the University of Hertfordshire to repeat the experiments with Jaytee. At first, their results didn’t seem promising. But then it was learned that their evaluation of Jaytee’s behavior was based upon an exaggerated description given in media reports. Instead of waiting at the window, Wiseman’s team assumed that Jaytee’s behavior was marked by the first moment he inexplicably went to the window for longer than two minutes. This caused them to focus solely on this moment, and ignore any data collected after it. However, when Sheldrake re-analyzed their data, their results were actually found to be consistent with his own. Similar videotaped experiments were conducted with Kane in 1998. Like Jaytee, the results indicate that Kane spent significantly more time at the window when Sarah was coming home than at any other period, at odds of about 5,000 to 1 against chance. The consistency in their behavior, under similar conditions of control, suggests that the two dogs weren’t simply responding to multiple distractions, or to other ordinary cues.

What Could It Be? If the intriguing results obtained with Jaytee and Kane cannot be adequately explained by ordinary causes, then could


it be canine “intuition”? If so, what is its nature? One possibility is that the sensory range and capability of some (if not all) dogs has been greatly underestimated, probably due to current limits in our understanding of their experience. From this perspective, what may look like intuition is really a poorly understood form of canine sense perception. Another possibility is that some dogs really do possess a kind of “sixth sense” that allows them to somehow gain awareness of their owners’ activities at a distance. For several decades, researchers in the field of parapsychology have explored this possibility via experimentation. In one such experiment from the 1950s, J. B. Rhine (head of the Parapsychology Laboratory at Duke University) tested the ability of two German Shepherds, Binnie and Tessie, and their handlers to locate empty land mine casings selected at random from a group of five, which had been buried along a sandy beach under 6 to 12 inches of seawater. Although this greatly reduced the likelihood that they would be located by sight or smell, the two dogs were still able to locate the selected casings at odds greater than 1,000 to 1 against chance (Graph 3). Many other experiments conducted throughout the 1960s and 1970s seem to provide various degrees of evidence for a possible “sixth sense” in dogs and other animals (readable summaries of them are available in Sheldrake’s 1999 book Dogs That Seem to Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home). Perhaps further research will one day resolve the question of whether canine intuition is simply some unrecognized form of ordinary perception, or whether it is a “sixth sense.” At the very least, cases of ostensible canine intuition seem to say something personal about the human-dog relationship. Throughout history, dogs have been bred to by humans to be faithful and devoted companions, and the bond that naturally arises out of such a relationship is often very strong and loving. Canine intuition seems to suggest that some aspect of this bond is maintained even at a remote distance. The faithfulness and devotion of the dogs in these cases seems to be reflected in their responsive behavior to their owners, and perhaps the strong bond between dog and owner is one of the things at the heart of this phenomenon. If so, it indeed says something deep about dogs and the owners who love them.

Bryan Williams is a Native American student at the University of New Mexico. He was a co-recipient of the Parapsychology Foundation’s Eileen J. Garrett Scholarship Award in 2008.

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Hares on the other hand don’t use burrows at all, but make nests in grass and underbrush. Part of the reason for this is their impressive ability to run away from predators, as opposed to hiding from them in the first place. Some species of hares can run as fast at 80 km/h! This speed requires some serious shock absorption to keep their brains from being rattled, so they’ve actually developed hinged skulls. Rabbits are generally known for their massive ears, but they actually do a lot more than just hear predators and friends. Rabbits ears are crucial for thermoregulation! Their large surface areas allow bunnies to release their heat and keep cool, that’s why bunnies that live in hot areas tend to have the largest ears. This article was originally published at McGill.ca/OSS


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DO YOU SMOKE?

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he latest research shows just how dangerous second and third-hand smoke is to the animals who live with us. Second-hand smoke is defined as ‘smoke that is exhaled or otherwise escapes into the air, and can be inhaled by non-smokers, including pets.’ Third- hand smoke is the ‘residue that remains on skin, fur, clothing, furniture, etc.,’ even after the air has cleared. Both of these categories may be combined under the term Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS). One of the most dramatic studies that I’ve run across reveals a greatly increased risk of malignant lymphoma (also referred to as lymphoma or lymphosarcoma) in cats with exposure to ETS. The results showed that the relative risk for malignant lymphoma in cats with any household ETS exposure was almost 2 ½ times higher than that of cats living in smoke-free households. For cats with five or more years of ETS exposure, the relative risk climbed to 3.2 times higher than for cats in smoke-free homes. In other words, these cats were more than three times as likely to develop lymphoma as were cats who were not exposed to ETS. This study, and others like it, also strongly suggest a link between oral cancer in cats and environmental tobacco smoke. When cats groom their fur, it includes the toxins contained in tobacco smoke on their fur, which damages tissues within the mouth, potentially leading to cancer. Is vaping (inhaling a vaporized solution

that contains nicotine) a safer alternative? Maybe, but according to the American Lung Association, “the FDA tested a small sample [of e-cigarettes] just a few years ago and found a number of toxic chemicals, including diethylene glycol — the same ingredient used in antifreeze.” That’s certainly not something that I’d want pets to inhale or lick off of their fur. Dr. Jennifer Coates PetMD.com THE FOLLOWING IS AN EXCERPT FROM JANE HARRELL, PETFINDER.COM ASSOCIATE PRODUCER

I

Cats and Second-Hand Smoke: Cats are more prone to develop cancers of the mouth and lymph nodes due to second-hand smoke. When cats groom themselves, they lick up the toxic substances that have accumulated on their fur. “This grooming behavior exposes the mucous membranes of their mouth to the cancer-causing carcinogens,” veterinarian Carolynn MacAllister of Oklahoma State University tells LiveScience.com. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that cats, living in homes where someone smokes a pack of cigarettes or more each day, are three times more likely to develop malignant lymphoma than cats living with nonsmokers. And a study published in Veterinary Medicine found that cats exposed to smoke from one to 19 cigarettes a day are four times more likely to be diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma — the most common and an aggressive type of oral cancer in cats.

t seems like a ‘no-brainer’ that smoking around your pet is bad. But how dangerous is second-hand smoke to pets? After all, your pet is not getting that much exposure to cancer-causing chemicals, right? Wrong. Pets spend a lot more time than you do in your home — increasing their exposure to carcinogenic substances. And those substances are just as dangerous for pets as they are for humans. “Dog and cat lungs are virtually identical to human lungs,” says Dr. Jan Bellows, DVM, a veterinarian at All Pets Dental Clinic in Weston, FL.

The smell of any type of tobacco or even INCENSE can trigger allergies in cats [skin or sinus] as well as behavioral issue such as inappropriate urination. Obviously, giving up smoking is the best choice for the health of both humans and pets. However, if this is not an option, not smoking indoors and airing out clothing is a positive step and can reduce health risks. Running a quality air filter daily is also highly recommended to remove odor and residue from the home, and it certainly may help reduce human allergies.

Here is what recent studies have to say about the dangers of Second-Hand Smoke:

This information is provided by Felines & Friends to promote long and healthy lives of both pets and their humans.

Dogs and Second-Hand Smoke: Studies suggest that muzzle length plays a role in the type of cancer a dog is likely to develop from

Bobbi Heller Executive Director FELINES & FRIENDS NEW MEXICO

The mission of Felines & Friends is to provide a second chance for cats and kittens so that they may be able to live out their lives in loving homes. www.fandfnm.org

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Laser therapy, what to expect: MLS Laser Therapy is a painless treatment that can last a few seconds to many minutes, depending on the condition and area being treated. Your pet may experience a comfortable sensation at the point of application, but it is common to have no sensation during the treatment. Your pet should not feel any heat during the treatment, and we often see pets sit and relax during their therapy. Pet owners will typically see an improvement after a single laser treatment. On average, most pets experience positive results in 1 to 3 treatments, with the average course of treatment being 7 to 10 sessions. Acute conditions usually subside rapidly, typically within one phase of treatments, while chronic conditions can be controlled with regular treatments. The effects of Laser Therapy are

cumulative; therefore, expect to see improvement as the treatment plan progresses. It is important that once your pet starts receiving laser therapy that the entire course of treatments is completed, as recommended by your doctor. There are no known side effects with therapeutic laser therapy in pets, it is considered safe, effective and is FDA approved in the use in veterinary medicine. Laser therapy is very affordable and is accepted by most pet insurance policies. Advancements in veterinary medicine has allowed veterinarians to use various types of medications, surgeries and other non-invasive therapies. Laser therapy is an amazing non-invasive therapy that can be used alone or in combination with other pain management therapies.

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adopting more

By Margaret Trousdale

When I informed my son and daughter-in-law that offsite pet adoptions announced by the Albuquerque Animal Welfare Services are only $10 and that “I’m thinking about adopting another dog, they both emphatically said, “No.” Sadly I had to agree with them. While I’ve been having a lot of fun hanging out with my two dogs, a third meant more to care for when all our dogs would get together. That would be five. The noise factor would definitely be worse. Feeding would be more complicated. We’d have to watch closely that no one steals anyone else’s kibble or treats. And if there was an emergency, collecting five into a car could be tight. Still, my attention keeps turning on those pet adoption sales sponsored by Albuquerque Animal Welfare Services. They advertise on our local radio and TV stations, begging people to adopt their shelter animals. The advantage is that they’re already fixed and vaccinated. Maybe such low adoption costs contribute to why Albuquerque is the second most dog friendly city in the country? Nevertheless, the main reasons being the city has many dog parks, dog friendly restaurants, and dog friendly shopping centers. I used to look often at the dogs for adoption on CraigsList Albuquerque. Their diversity are fun, but, too many are lost dogs. Animal Humane of New Mexico says that 15% of all dogs and cats get lost. This is very apparent in Craigslist and my neighborhood website. My two adopted terriers are almost nine and four and half years old. They give companionship and a reason for me to be more active. They’re a fun part of my life. Why not want more of this?!

Copyright retained by the author. Permission granted PetMag.

http://www.cabq.gov/pets/events https://albuquerque.craigslist.org/ https://animalhumanenm.org/adopt/lost-found/ https://www.cabq.gov/pets/adoption/search-for-a-lost-or-adoptable-pet

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May 4th, 2019

E

! S T N E V


kitty

Confidential !

Cat CommuniCation What is your cat trying to tell you?

Communication is important for every relationship; without an understanding of what someone is trying to tell you, we are left to assume intentions. We know how dangerous that is in human relationships, and it can also be detrimental to the bond you have with your cat.

Poker Faces Cats have “poker face”, which means they are experts at concealing their feelings. You might be guilty of anthropomorphizing onto cats; you attribute/assume human feelings about what your cat is feeling. This is risky because the cat is probably thinking/feeling something totally different from what you’ve concocted in your mind. For instance, when a cat brings prey into the house, most people say, “He brought me a gift.” when in fact, your cat may simply be trying to get his dinner into a “safe zone” where other predators don’t steal it from him. Another theory on why cats bring prey to you is they are trying to teach you to hunt in the same way their mothers taught them. The important point with these illustrations is cats are mysterious little creatures whose motivations are often misunderstood.

Cats communicate in 4 ways: Olfactory, Visual, Auditory and Vocal. Olfactory signals are the most important communication tools for cats because it is their most refined sense and they can used at any time of the day.

1.

Olfactory communication is the key to cats’ perception.

Cats use olfactory communication as chemical warnings and community scent tools (urine, feces, saliva, scents from glands on paws, face and tail.) Cats rely on their acute ability to differentiate between odors to establish territory borders and to recognize friend or foe. Urine is an important territory marker and a cat will often urinate along the perimeter of a home if he sees cats outside. They also use urine as a bonding tool; if a cat pees in a place that smells like you (the bed, for instance) it could be an attempt to “mix scents” with you and often indicates a cat who is fearful of you. When your cat head butts you and rubs the side of his face on you, he is leaving behind his unique scent, “claiming” you as his own. There are powerful scent glands between the cat’s toes and when a cat scratches your furniture it leaves both a visual and scent marker to other cats, establishing that territory as theirs. Always allow a cat to smell you before you touch them; it’s important for them to read where you’ve


been before they want that scent mixed with theirs. And remember how sensitive their noses are - avoid strong perfumes, heavy air fresheners and scented candles.

2.

Body language is a cat’s visual communication.

A cat communicated with every single part of his body; from his whiskers to the tip of his tail. Each and every posture is an important key to how he is feeling and reacting to you. Whiskers either pushed way forward or flat against cheeks, dilated pupils, lowered tail and weight shifted away from you communicates feelings of stress or fear. A happy cat has relaxed whiskers, forward ears, straight up tail, normal pupils and will be moving toward you. It’s very important to respect your cat’s comfort zone. If your cat exhibits any visual signs of stress, avoid looking directly at him. Allow cats to approach you on their own terms; if a cat moves away when you reach to them, back away and honor their feelings.

3.

The auditory frequencies a cat can hear are very high.

Cats hear much higher-pitched sounds than we can, up to 64 kHz, which is 1.6 octaves above ours - higher than dogs can hear. Cats can hear mice squeaking and bats communicating. If we talk in high-pitched voices, cats relate to us better - perhaps we naturally know this and that’s why we talk to cats in our baby voice. Also, classical music has frequencies that are the least stressful for cats - leave it playing when the cat is alone during the day.

4.

Vocalizing is not normal for cats.

Kittens meow to moms but once grown cats don’t often vocalize with other cats - they do so only in the presence of humans. Tone and melody of cat vocalization varies and is important to the message, for instance, the more variation in the melody the more excited or urgent the message seems to be.

Email me your cat communication stories to Molly@CatBehaviorSolutions.org

Cats make a variety of sounds - chirps, meows, chirrups, hisses, chatter, hiss, purr, mew, miau, yowl, caterwaul (usually heard when a female is in heat) and trilling, to name a few. Trilling is a friendly greeting to you. Purring is a steady rumbling that often means “I’m happy”, but it is also used when cats are feeling distress or pain. If you don’t understand what your cat is trying to say to you, try imitating the sound back and see what happens. He may give you a clue by looking at the food bowl if it’s empty. If your cat is howling constantly, first rule out a medical issue, as this is an indication of discomfort. If there is no medical issue, and you don’t want them to vocalize so much, as with all unwanted behaviors, you want to interrupt the behavior before it starts. Ignore the meowing while it’s happening; responding in any way only reinforces the behavior, since it is very likely to be attention-seeking. Avoid situations that lead to vocalizing. Watch for patterns in the behavior: what time of day is it happening and antecedents. Remove stressful components in the environment and provide more companionship, interactive play, exercise and enrichment. Positively reinforce quiet times.

Annoying Communication I hear a lot of people ask me “Why does my cat paw at me?” or walk across your keyboard and most often it’s to illicit a response from you = attentionseeking. ANY kind of response from these antics will reinforce the behavior so it is best to ignore attention-seeking behaviors you don’t want, and they will eventually fade away.

by molly devoss cftbs (c ert i f ied f el ine

tr aining and b ehav ior s pec i alis t ), R m ( Reik i mas t er ) , c at b ehav i or s ol ut ions Molly DeVoss is a cat expert and a Certified Feline Training and Behavior Specialist. She is the Executive Director of Cat Behavior Solutions, a Trainer/Mentor for The Jackson Galaxy Project Cat Pawsitive Pro, and host of Cat Talk Radio. She has over a decade experience working with one of the highest volume shelters in the U.S. Quite simply, Molly is a cat sleuth. She figures out why cats do what they do and educates cat guardians on how to modify those behaviors when they become difficult to live with.


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welcoming a shelter dog into your

home By Deana Case

O

ne of the most heartwarming and exciting experiences one can have is adopting a dog from an animal shelter. People experience a sense of fulfillment from giving a homeless dog a second chance at a good life. The best way for a new owner and a newly adopted dog to bond is to make the transition into his new home a smooth one. There are many things a person can do before and after adopting their new pet to ensure that the transition goes as smoothly as possible. Life with pets and people is never perfect, and planning and preparation can make the difference between success and failure. Before you adopt a dog, plan for his homecoming.

Dogs experience a wide range of emotions once they are adopted. Though the dog may be happy to leave the shelter, he may also be very uncertain about the changes he is experiencing. If the dog lived in a foster home situation, he may be upset to be leaving the temporary home and will miss the foster humans that loved and took care of him. Give your new dog some time to adjust and get to know you as his new family. It takes most dogs about 3 weeks to adapt to new surroundings and routines. Being prepared and consistent will help the newly adopted dog adjust to his new environment more quickly and will help him get past the uncertainty he may be feeling. The adopter should prepare the home for the dog’s arrival in advance and have a homecoming plan in place before picking up the new dog. Supplies for the dog’s needs should be purchased and placed in the home for easy access. Some of the most common items needed to manage a dog in the home are:

• • • • • • • •

Food Bowls Toys Baby gates Beds Crates Ceaning supplies Training and exercise tools

By having what the dog needs available, you do not have to scramble to find a chew toy to prevent inappropriate chewing or experience frantically gathering paper towels and spray cleaner to address an accident. If you are relaxed when the unexpected happens, the dog stays calm too. This will prevent negative experiences. Any areas of the home the dog will not be welcome in should be gated or secured to prevent him from entering. This is much better than correcting him for entering a for-


bidden area. Preventing unwanted behavior from happening is the best way to help your adopted dog understand his new home and feel safe and welcome there. In addition to having the right supplies in accessible places, having a plan for what will happen when the dog arrives at home is critical for stress reduction and smooth transition. It should be decided where the dog will be taken to go relieve himself before going into the house, and who will be with him. The dog should explore the house while trailing a leash behind him in case he needs to be taken outside quickly and without scaring him. Praise him as he finds the things that are his like his bed, toys and bowls. Otherwise, keep an eye on him and

allow him to get to know his new home. It is best if family members sit down and allow him to come to them and leave them as he wishes. Praise him for interaction and do not restrain him. The newly adoptive family should also take care to display calm body language, speak in softer tones and watch for any stress behaviors from the dog. If the dog wants petting and interaction, he should have it. Some dogs need space when adjusting to such a big change and allowing them to be free to interact as they wish will bring them closer to their people faster. This is not a good time to bring over the neighbors and extended family to meet the new dog. He should have some time to get comfortable

with his immediate family and new home first. Most of the time, the adopted dog adapts quickly to his new home and begins to find delight in being with his new people. Preventing any negative situations from occurring will reduce fearful triggers and associations and augment the dog’s ability to adapt and get settled in. Planning is important, being consistent from the beginning builds confidence in both people and dogs and is the basis for a trusting and loving relationship.

Deana Case is a freelance writer, canine behavior specialist, and animal advocate

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What Is A Board Certified Veterinary Surgeon?

A board certified veterinary surgeon is a licensed veterinarian who has obtained intensive, additional surgical training. A veterinary surgeon can offer special assistance in the following kinds of cases: •Traumatic injury and emergencies (such as fractures, skin wounds and lacerations, correction of gastric dilatation-volvulus, and exploratory (abdominal/thoracic) surgery. •Orthopedic surgeries (such as total hip replacements (THRs), cruciate ligament surgeries (TPLOs), and arthroscopy for joint exploration). •Soft tissue surgeries (such as tumor/cancer removal and correction of congenital defects). While your general practitioner veterinarian can diagnose and treat many health problems, certain diseases and conditions require the care of a doctor who has had specialized, intensive surgical training in order to provide the very best outcome for your pet. Your vet-

Just as your own primary care physician may feel the need to refer you to the care of a specialist from time to time, your general practitioner veterinarian may feel your pet needs the additional expertise of a board certified surgeon for certain surgeries. In fact, many general practitioner veterinarians refer all but the most routine of surgeries to specialists, orthopedic and neurology cases, reconstructive surgeries, tumor removals, etc. Board certified veterinary surgeons also are often affiliated with referral hospitals where they may have access to specialized diagnostic or surgical equipment, the latest and safest anesthesia monitoring equipment, physical therapy or rehabilitation capabilities, and other critical care services that a general practitioner may not have access to. All of these specialized services may be necessary for the optimal care and recovery of your pet. You can be assured that a veterinarian who knows when to refer you and your pet to a veterinary surgeon is one that is caring and committed to ensuring that your pet receives the highest standard of care for his or her problem.

What Kinds of Problems Require the Expertise of a Veterinary Surgeon?

Board certified veterinary surgeons can repair complex fractures, perform total hip replacements, and use advanced techniques to repair torn ligaments (ruptured cruciate ligaments) within the knee. They can also remove cancerous growths, manage extensive or non-healing wounds, and perform reconstructive surgery, such as grafting skin over large injuries. Veterinary surgeons can perform intricate surgeries in the chest or abdomen, such as kidney transplants in cats or repairing heart defects in dogs. Spinal injuries and herniated discs are problems that are also commonly referred to board certified surgeons. Veterinary surgery is also expanding into minimally invasive surgery, such as arthroscopy, thorascopy, and laparoscopy.

Will My Regular Veterinarian Still Be Involved?

In many if not most surgical cases, your regular veterinarian will still supervise your pet’s veterinary care, especially if your pet is continuing to cope with a disease or chronic condition. It depends on your pet’s particular disease and health problem, however. Typically, though, your general practitioner veterinarian will oversee many aspects of your pet’s pre-op and post-op care, just as in human medicine. Recovery periods are often prolonged in many surgical cases, particularly in orthopedic surgery, and it is very important to follow your veterinary team’s recommendations concerning at-home recovery guidelines for your pet, follow up care and appointments, as well as any rehabilitation that has been prescribed.


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Your Pet Magazine May 2019  

Inside you will find educational, fun, informative information all about New mexico's pet community! We are a local publication promoting th...

Your Pet Magazine May 2019  

Inside you will find educational, fun, informative information all about New mexico's pet community! We are a local publication promoting th...