Sunday, June 28, 2015

Pet Health Tip #3- Puppy Hair Loss

There are a several different underlying causes of hair loss in puppies.  I am only going to address a few of them.

Patchy hair loss with associated pruritus (itchiness):  The most common cause for patchy hair loss is fleas.  However, it can also be caused by the Sarcoptes mites.  This is often referred to as “Sarcoptic Mange.”  Infestation with Sarcoptes mites causes severe pruritus.  The puppies will scratch constantly.  Because of the constant scratching, and the damage that it does, the puppies often develop a bacterial skin infection.  These puppies will have red, crusty skin lesions in addition to the hair loss.  Sarcoptes mites live on the skin, and treatment is usually topical.  However, due to the skin infection, the puppies may also need to take antibiotics.  Sarcoptes mites easily transfer to other pets and can cause itchiness in people as well.  They don’t infest humans, meaning they don’t set up permanent residence on our skin.  However, they will bite us if given the chance.

Patchy hair loss without pruritus:  There are two common causes for these symptoms in puppies.  The first is ringworm (See #13 Ringworm for details).  The second common cause is another mite called Demodex, often referred to as “Demodectic Mange.”  These mites live in the skin.  They do not typically cause pruritus, so the puppies don’t usually scratch.  The treatment for demodectic mange is oral and usually requires a long treatment therapy.

Demodectic mange is not contagious to other pets or people.  The puppies actually obtain the mite from their mother, during nursing.  In addition, there is a genetic component that determines whether or not the animal will have any symptoms associated with the infestation.


In conclusion, several underlying factors cause puppy hair loss.  Therefore, it is important to consult your veterinarian for a specific diagnosis and treatment options.

Friday, June 26, 2015

SECOND CHANCE HEARTS Audiobook is NOW AVAILABLE!!!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

This book is the follow up to "Scarred Hearts"

Rachel Somerfield has spent most of her life in Whitman’s Home for Orphaned Girls in New York City. As she approaches her eighteenth birthday, her future looks very bleak. Everything changes the day she runs into Mathew Compton, a dashing young man, who sweeps her off her feet and offers her a chance at happiness. However, things don’t turn out as Rachel hopes, and she finds herself accepting a teaching position in Sand Hill, a small western town. She arrives in Sand Hill penniless, scared, and alone. 

Sheriff Chance Scott has been raising his son, John, alone since his wife died giving him birth. He loved his wife very much, and has given up on the idea of ever finding that kind of love again. He’s resigned to raising his son on his own. When the new schoolteacher arrives, he finds out that she’s in desperate need of his help. Is life offering him a second chance at love? Is it worth risking another broken heart to find out? 





click image to buy now!


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Pet Health Tip #2- Puppy Vaccines

Routine puppy vaccinations against Parvovirus and Distemper virus are essential to ensuring your puppy’s health.  Puppies are initially protected against these viruses through the antibodies they received from their mother.  However, as the mother’s antibodies begin to fade, puppies become susceptible to infection.  There is a window of susceptibility during which time the mother's antibodies are no longer effective, but they are still too high to allow your puppy to develop his own protection.  For most puppies, this window is open between 8-12 weeks of age. Therefore, it is extremely important to keep your puppy away from environments where he could possibly be exposed to the virus until he has received a full round of vaccines.

Most veterinarians recommend your puppy receives his first set of vaccines at approximately 6-8 weeks of age.  Then he should receive a booster every 3-4 weeks until he reaches 16 weeks of age.  This will ensure he receives the full round of vaccines and has developed his own protection by time his mother's antibodies are no longer effective

Parvovirus and Distemper virus are both found throughout the environment and can survive for long periods of time in the soil.  It is imperative that you keep young unvaccinated puppies away from any yards where there was a known positive puppy for at least one year.

Both of these viruses cause severe intestinal distress.  Basically, they cause the intestines to shed their lining.  The intestinal lining consists of the cells that absorb water and nutrients out of the intestines.  Therefore, the puppy ends up losing a lot of water (i.e. diarrhea) and losing a lot of weight due to the inability to absorb nutrients.  The shedding of the intestinal lining is also very painful.  Many puppies, especially small breeds, do not survive this loss of water and nutrients.


If you choose not to vaccinate your puppy and they survive puppyhood, their odds of contracting the viruses do decrease significantly.  However, unvaccinated adult dogs can still become infected with both Parvovirus and Distemper virus. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

PET HEALTH TIP #1- Housebreaking Your Puppy

Housebreaking your puppy can be a frustrating event.  However, remembering a few simple rules could save you and your puppy some heartache.

First, there are specific times when your puppy will need to eliminate. These are:
1) Immediately after waking
2) Approximately five minutes after eating
3) Immediately after playing

Additionally, puppies under six months of age need to eliminate approximately every four hours.

You can use this knowledge to your advantage.  If you know that these events will trigger your puppy’s need to eliminate, then you can time when to take your puppy outside.  Once he is outside, tell him what you want him to do.  For instance, use a phrase like "Go potty."  Don't play with the puppy until he potties.  Then, once he is successful, give him lavish attention and praise.  Eventually, he will learn to go on demand.

Another thing that you can do to greatly decrease the amount of time it takes to potty train your puppy is a method called "crate training."  It is a simple concept that really works.  The idea is that you have a crate your puppy considers his den.  The crate should be big enough for the puppy to lie in comfortably, but not so big that he can use one end of it for a bathroom.  Dogs are pretty clean animals and don't like to eliminate where they sleep.  They are also den animals and feel safe and comfortable sleeping in a small dark place.

Here is how “crate training” works:  The puppy should be inside the crate whenever you are not giving him direct attention.  So, let's start at night.  You place the puppy in the crate.  You will need to give him a potty break in the middle of the night.  Take the puppy directly outside and give him the command to "Go Potty".  Once he obeys, give him praise and attention.  Remember, do not play with him until after he potties.  Then place him back into the crate.  Repeat this process first thing in the morning.  He may only urinate at this time.  Feed him and then take him back outside.  Most puppies will need to defecate about five minutes after eating.  Then place him back into the crate.  He needs to stay in the crate until you are ready to give him attention again.  Make sure to take him directly outside, give him the command, and wait until he potties before playing with him.

Remember he will need to go outside approximately every four hours.  It usually only takes a few days until your puppy will catch on to this routine.  Just like kids, puppies feel most comfortable and confident when they have a routine.  They will be much better behaved in the long run.  So, with “crate training” you get two benefits, a housebroken puppy and a puppy that doesn't have separation anxiety.

If you don't want your puppy to be in a crate while you are home, then you can place him on a leash.  That way he stays within your line of vision.  If you see him sniffing the ground and circling, then he is about to go and you need to get him outside immediately.  This method doesn't work as quickly as crate training, because of the increased likelihood of having accidents.  However, it can also be effective.


“Crate training” is also a great method to use if you are housebreaking an older dog.  In my experience, this method can work within a few days.  Many times, the dog will prefer to spend their time in the crate, even if you leave the door open.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

COMING SOON!!! SECOND CHANCE HEARTS on Audiobook

The audiobook version of "Second Chance Hearts" is almost complete! 


BOOK DESCRIPTION:


Rachel Somerfield has spent most of her life in Whitman’s Home for Orphaned Girls in New York City. As she approaches her eighteenth birthday, her future looks very bleak. Everything changes the day she runs into Mathew Compton, a dashing young man, who sweeps her off her feet and offers her a chance at happiness. However, things don’t turn out as Rachel hopes, and she finds herself accepting a teaching position in Sand Hill, a small western town. She arrives in Sand Hill penniless, scared, and alone. 

Sheriff Chance Scott has been raising his son, John, alone since his wife died giving him birth. He loved his wife very much, and has given up on the idea of ever finding that kind of love again. He’s resigned to raising his son on his own. When the new schoolteacher arrives, he finds out that she’s in desperate need of his help. Is life offering him a second chance at love? Is it worth risking another broken heart to find out? 





click image to buy now!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

PET HEALTH TIP #40- Tick Borne Diseases

Several diseases can be transmitted to dogs and cats from ticks.  Therefore, keeping pets that have access to the outdoors protected from ticks is essential to their overall health.  There are many good tick prevention medications available.

The four most common tick borne diseases that affect dogs in the United States are Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, and Tick Paralysis.  In most cases, the tick must be attached for several hours before they can transmit these diseases.  So, if ticks are promptly removed from your pet, it will greatly reduce their risk of developing a tick borne disease.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is caused by bacteria.  The symptoms include: lameness, fever, swollen lymph nodes and joints, and a reduced appetite.  In severe cases, animals may develop kidney disease, heart conditions, or nervous system disorders. Animals do not develop the "Lyme disease rash" that is commonly seen in humans.

Lyme disease is treated with oral antibiotics.  Since this is a bacterial infection, the animal doesn’t develop an immunity and can contract an infection again.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF)

The symptoms of RMSF are similar to Lyme disease and include: fever, reduced appetite, depression, pain in the joints, lameness, vomiting, and diarrhea. Some animals may develop heart abnormalities, pneumonia, kidney failure, liver damage, or even neurological signs (e.g., seizures, stumbling).

Similar to Lyme disease, RMSF is treated with antibiotics.  However, unlike Lyme disease, dogs usually do develop an immunity to future infections.

Ehrlichiosis

Erhlichiosis is caused by a rickettsial organism.  Common symptoms include depression, reduced appetite (anorexia), fever, stiff and painful joints, and bruising.  Signs typically appear less than a month after a tick bite and last for about four weeks.

Treatment of Ehrlichiosis usually involves an extended course of antibiotics.  Animals will develop antibodies against the organism, but can become re-infected.

Tick Paralysis

Tick paralysis is a strange condition caused by a toxin released by the tick when it attaches to the pet.  Dogs that are sensitive to the toxin can develop weakness in the hind limbs that can progress to complete paralysis.  Owners usually notice a sudden unexplained paralysis in an otherwise healthy dog.  Removal of the tick will lead to a complete recovery.


Cats can be infected by all of the above organisms, but do not tend to be as severely affected.  However, additional tick borne organisms can cause severe infections in cats.  These are discussed below.

Haemobartonellosis

This infection is also known as Feline Infectious Anemia.  The organism attacks the cat’s red blood cells and can lead to severe anemia and weakness.  Cats will often need to be hospitalized and may need blood transfusions if the anemia has become severe.

Tularemia

This is also known as Rabbit Fever.  Cats will show symptoms of a high fever, swollen lymph nodes, nasal discharge, and possibly abscesses at the site of the tick bite. Younger animals are usually at a higher risk of contracting tularemia.

Cytauxzoonsis


This disease is common in wild cats, such as the bobcat.  Ticks that feed off the wild cats can then transmit the disease to domestic cats.  Symptoms include: anemia, depression, high fever, difficulty breathing, and jaundice (i.e., yellowing of the skin). Treatment is often unsuccessful and death can occur in as short as one week following infection.

Monday, May 18, 2015

SECOND CHANCE HEARTS 5 star review by Readers' Favorite

Reviewed By Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite

Second Chance Hearts is a historical romance written by Billi Tiner. Rachel had been living in an orphanage ever since her mother passed away when she was six years old. Her father was a soldier and died as a result of the war. Rachel’s mother had been disowned by her parents because they had not gotten married before he died, so the orphaned girl had nowhere else to go. Now that she’ll be turning 18, Rachel is thrilled to be leaving the harsh and austere care found in Whitman’s Home for Orphaned Girls, but she’s saddened at the prospect of leaving behind her best friend Susannah, who had become more of a sister than a friend. In the past, Rachel had some fears about her ability to survive on her own in New York City, but they were put to rest by a chance encounter. Rachel has a secret that only Susannah knows; on an errand to the market for vegetables, she met a handsome and gallant young man named Matthew Compton. They've been secretly meeting, and he’s asked for her hand in marriage. After they’ve wed, they’ll be traveling out west for his new job as a banker. 

Billi Tiner’s historical romance, Second Chance Hearts, is well-written and entertaining, and it continues the Sand Hill Romance Saga begun with Tiner’s previous novel, Scarred Hearts. While the reader is all too aware that the charming, sociopathic Matthew does not have Rachel’s best interests at heart, Rachel soon realizes it herself and takes steps to ensure that she does not remain his victim. I loved seeing how she befriends Lily and the other women in the brothel where she had found Matthew, and how she insists on working for her keep as a housekeeper for them. Rachel’s story is in many ways a coming of age tale as well as a romance, and it’s marvelous to see how she makes her way after that initial disastrous misstep. Second Chance Hearts does have some non-explicit sexual content that might be found objectionable by readers who are seeking squeaky clean historical romances, but the sweet romance and the warm spirit of Western community in this story ring honest and true. Second Chance Hearts is highly recommended.