Top 10 Animals To Attack Pets
8. Ground Hog
Monday, July 20, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Sleeping Disorders in Animals
Maybe you’ve seen the comical home video on ‘YouTube’ titled “sleepwalking fail”? It is a short clip of a sleeping dog that starts to “run” horizontally in his sleep, then suddenly jumps up and slams into a wall! Although the video is seriously funny, there is nothing funny about what might be wrong with this animal. This dog could be dreaming, although it unknown for certain if animals dream according to Dr. M.A. Crist, Clinical Assistant Professor at Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine. Most likely this animal is displaying signs of a sleep disorder.
Sleeping disorders are not healthy, and as with humans, we see disturbed sleep patterns as a sign of old age, disease or life-altering illness. The two sleeping disorders that are most dangerous to an animal’s health are narcolepsy and cataplexy. If your pet has one of these disorders and is left alone, or unattended near water, they could possibly drown.
“Narcolepsy is the occurrence of uncontrollable Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep phase characterized by the presence of rapid eye movements and fast phase activity,” said Crist “Cataplexy is the sudden development of rapid duration voluntary muscle weakness, flaccidity, or paralysis of all muscles except extraocular and respiratory muscles. These two sleep disorders are usually a congenital and inherited condition that can be brought on by excitement such as playing, eating, drinking, or greeting owners and can last seconds to minutes, many times a day, or infrequently.”
Warning signs of one or both of these disorders are the pet may suddenly collapse into lateral or sterna recumbancy with no movements. With narcolepsy the animal appears asleep, and with cataplexy the animal is alert but can’t follow motion with eye movements. The pet can be aroused with petting, external stimuli, and loud noises. These disorders are not curable.
Older cats may also experience behavior changes in sleep cycles or waking in the night, restlessness and pacing. This is either related to senility or a disease called Hyperthyroidism.
“Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces an excess amount of thyroid hormone which can lead to cardiac disease and high blood pressure,” said Crist. “A specific thyroid blood test can be checked to verify this abnormality and treatment can be initiated. Melatonin, an internal hormone secreted by the pineal gland during darkness, can also be given as an oral supplement usually with minimal side effects as a potential treatment for sleep disorders.”
Of course, there are several things that pet owners can do for their pets before their sleeping disorders become too severe.
“If owners notice their pet having a change in their sleeping pattern they want to take them to their veterinarian for a complete physical examination and laboratory analysis,” said Crist. “Medical problems may contribute to these disturbances and some medicines may need to be prescribed by a veterinarian to help combat their sleep disturbance.”
“While melatonin has been useful for treating sleep disorders that arise from hypothyroidism, senility, or cognitive dysfunction,” said Crist, “it is not regulated by the FDA, so ask a veterinarian the correct dose for your pet. Acupuncture and herbal medications are other modalities that might be used to treat sleep disorders in pets.”
Placing your pet on certain diets can also aid in their sleeping troubles.
“Omega 3 fatty acids and diets that are enriched with antioxidants are good for dogs with cognitive dysfunction and sleep issues,” said Crist. “Therapeutic diets supplemented with antioxidants such as vitamin C, mixed tocopherols, beta-carotene, flavenoids, carotenoids, and omega-3 fatty acids had dogs show improvement on the performance of cognitive tasks than dogs on a non-supplemented diet.”
It will always be a true mystery whether or not pets dream.
“In mammals and birds, studies have shown that long episodes of nondreaming sleep referred to as “slow-wave” or SW sleep is followed by short episodes of dreaming sleep referred to as “rapid-eye-movement” or REM sleep,” said Crist. “If a disturbance in this pattern occurs then sleeping problems can begin. However, we will never really know if pets dream because we cannot talk to them. However, we do know that dogs have the REM sleep phase and this is the dream activity period in people. Dogs do have leg movements, facial twitching, vocalizations, and tail movements. Therefore, it might be likely they are having a dream.”
Crist mentioned that it is important to know some sleep disorders require a lengthy behavioral consultation and examination by a veterinarian. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants should be prescribed for these dogs and cats who have diagnosed obsessive-compulsive behavior disorders that are disturbing their sleeping patterns. She also reminded that by always taking our pets to the veterinarian for their regular check-up, many potential problems can be caught before they seriously affect your pet’s health.
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Monday, July 13, 2009
Monday, July 06, 2009
Friday, July 03, 2009
To protect your pet on the Fourth of July, take these precautions provided by the Humane Society of the United States:
- Resist the urge to take your pet to fireworks displays.
- Do not leave your pet in the car. With only hot air to breathe inside a car, your pet can suffer serious health effects—even death—in a few short minutes. Partially opened windows do not provide sufficient air, but they do provide an opportunity for your pet to be stolen.
- Keep your pets indoors at home in a sheltered, quiet area. Some animals can become destructive when frightened, so be sure that you've removed any items that your pet could destroy or that would be harmful to your pet if chewed. Leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep him company while you're attending Fourth of July picnics, parades, and other celebrations.
- If you know that your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises like thunder, consult with your veterinarian before July 4th for ways to help alleviate the fear and anxiety he or she will experience during fireworks displays.
- Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or on a chain. In their fear, pets who normally wouldn't leave the yard may escape and become lost, or become entangled in their chain, risking injury or death.
- Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags so that if they do become lost, they can be returned promptly. Animals found running at-large should be taken to the local animal shelter, where they will have the best chance of being reunited with their owners.