Guest Post: Indoor or Outdoor Cat?

Our post today by Dr Rex Riggs addresses the indoor/outdoor dilemma that we all face as cat owners. I have one cat, Lily, who goes out during the day and two younger cats, Rocket and Rosie (aka The Kittens) who stay in all the time.  I know which one I have to take to the vet for accidents more - Lily. And there's that fox that runs by our house every now and then... Here's what Dr Riggs has to say on the topic.

Indoor or outdoor? That is the question. The question I get when a new kitten comes in for its initial shots.  My answer…..keep the cat inside! I don’t hesitate. There is nothing good for a cat to be outside.  I will get people who grow up on a farm or in the country and they say “we always had cats that were outside cats, that is where they should be.” Then I ask “what were the names of the 10 cats you had growing up?

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Guest Post: A Warm Winter Is Not Necessarily A Good Thing For Pets

I have to admit, I've been rather selfish in wanting another warm winter like we had last year in northeast Ohio. I run and I can't bear to use my treadmill so a milder winter means more time outside for me; however, the milder weather isn't necessarily good for pets as Dr Riggs points out below.

Well it looks like the winter months are coming.  Usually that means snow ice and slush… and slush… and slush (I live in Central Ohio). We need to buy cute coats and bundle our dogs up when they go outside and make sure their feet are clean of salt and ice as they come into the warmth of the house. 

That was the way it use to be … but last year was not like that at all. The decade of 2000-2009 was the hottest decade on record, with eight of the hottest ten years having occurred since 2000. Hmmm what is in store for this winter?? 

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Guest Post: veterinary perspective on adopting your cat or dog

This month's topic is pet adoption and Dr Riggs talks about his experience with dog adoptions from a veterinary perspective.

Rescuing or adopting has become the "new" way to acquire a new pet these days.  People have seen or heard too much of the horrors of puppy mills and pet stores, and many have decided not to go this route. I could not be happier!

In 27 years of practice I can’t tell you how many sick and genetically defective animals I have seen from pet stores and poor breeders.  Ohio has dubiously become a national supplier of puppy mill puppies in recent years, most commonly coming from Amish farms in the north central part of our state. Yes… the Amish.

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Guest Post: can I get pet insurance for that?

This month, we are turning the tables from pet health and having our veterinary expert, Dr Rex Riggs, chime in on our theme for the month, pet insurance. Today, Dr Riggs talks about his perspective on pet insurance as an active practitioner.

“Can I get pet insurance to pay for this?” 

I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked that question, immediately after I just have informed a client their pet will require a big surgery or treatment. Too late.  I wish they would have thought about pet insurance when the pet was young. 

I can see why they did not consider pet insurance five or six years ago.  It was not very good.  That is the problem we deal with today.

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Guest Post: Animal Olympics

Have you been watching the Olympics with your pets? Dr Riggs is a big fan of the Olympic Games and that led him to ponder - what if animals were allowed in the Olympics?

I love the Olympics!   Maybe I am a naive optimist, but it seems the only time the world gets together and is as one.  Seeing all the athletes of the world in one place congratulating each other, laughing with other athletes of countries with opposing political and religious ideals… makes me wonder. Hmm…  Yes, well, back to the blog. 

It is amazing to see the athleticism of all the athletes.  The amazing speed and grace of American’s Micheal Phelps, Missy Franklin and China’s Sun Yang.The phenomenal courage and skill of the gymnasts. How do they get the guts to do the things they do???  I am in awe every time I see the smoothness and apparent ease of Usain Bolt breaking another world record.  What about the tiny weightlifters who clean and jerk three times their body weight over their head? The endurance of the cyclists blows me away. It is a testament to their dedication, hard work and skill. Their accomplishments are to be commended.

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Guest Post: Acupuncture for Pets - a safe modality for pain management

DSC06391Since this month's topic is alternative treatments for pet health issues, Dr Riggs deferred to Dr Cathy Latimer in his practice who is now certified in acupuncture from Colorado State University. I for one wasn't sure how acupuncture worked and now I know!

The pictures are our very own gentlemanly Bruiser, Chrissy's 10 year old Mastiff, who needs a little help getting his mojo back as he ages. You'll see that Bruiser is getting
his acupuncture therapy at Dancing Paws Animal Wellness here in Richfield, OH. We are very fond of them and all the good work they do.

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Guest Post: it's been a record year for flea and ticks

In our discussions about summer dangers, one we have not touched on yet is ticks and the diseases they carry. Dr Riggs talks about ticks, Lyme disease and how to prevent it.

Summer is here in all its hot and sticky glory. Most places in the country had record high temperatures this last year and no one had the cold winter weather we have been accustomed to. Some people liked this and some didn’t.

One thing for sure… the bugs liked it!  This year has been and will continue to be the buggiest year ever.  We started seeing ticks in our area back in October and they haven’t left yet.

Ticks are discusting, gross and big carriers of disease for both our pets and us. They carry a number of bad diseases. The most common disease most people are aware of is Lyme disease. It is a disease that is only carried by one specific tick called Ioxedes Scapularis. It is endemic on the east coast, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, the Northwest and now…in Ohio, where I live.

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Guest Post: top 4 signs of pet allergies

Achoo! Yes, it is allergy season and our theme this month is allergies. Dr Riggs goes over the reasons why allergies look different in dogs and cats than they do in humans and the most common signs that your dog (and cat) has allergies.

Boy…is it allergy season again in Ohio! It seems like this has been the worst season in years. Could be due to the fact we had such a warm winter and spring. I am sure there are many of you that have used your quota of Allegra, Zyrtec or the plethora of other antihistamines available. Animals are suffering through their allergies too. In fact animals have allergies to the same pollens that we do; the difference is that we most often have respiratory signs, such as sneezing and watery eyes, where dogs and cats have problems with their skin.

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Guest Post: annual vet visits are more than vaccinations

Our theme this month is pet wellness and Dr Riggs reminds us that our annual vet visits are so much more than just to get vaccinations.

Veterinarians and their clients have for years referred to the annual trip to the vet as the “vaccination appointment”. There is no question vaccines have allowed us to protect our pets against a myriad of diseases. Evaluating each animal’s need for the various vaccinations available is an important part of the yearly visit; but is it the only reason to come to the vet?

That answer would be…no.

I know all of us have seen vaccine clinics at our local pet stores. Our local veterinary organizations sets up free rabies clinics for anyone who wants to show up. Humane societies will have low cost vaccine days. On the surface these seem to be honorable endeavors, but think about it. What is the purpose of these? Are they helping the animals? Are they helping the owners? Are they a business decision to have people come to the store to buy toys and food?

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Guest Post: adding a young dog to an older dog household

Our theme this month is bringing in new dogs and cats into your household - can you relate? Dr Riggs talks about bringing a younger dog into his older dog household and the issues to consider when doing so.

One of the more common questions I get from owners of older dogs is…. “Should I get a new dog now, or should I wait until my current dog is gone”? 

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