Saturday, January 24, 2015

Pet Health Tip #28- Congestive Heart Failure

Blood flows into the right side of the heart.  The right ventricle then pumps the blood into the lungs where it picks up oxygen.  The blood then flows into the left side of the heart where it is pumped back out into the body.  As the blood flows into the different chambers of the heart, valves close behind it to ensure the blood continues to flow in the correct direction.  The sound that is heard when listening to the heart is the sound of the valves slamming shut.

If the valves do not operate properly, some of the blood will be pushed backwards.  If the valve fails that closes behind the blood flowing into the right side of the heart, then blood will back up into the liver and abdomen and cause “ascites”.  If the valve fails that closes behind the blood flowing into the left side of the heart, then blood will back up into the lungs.

Congenital heart disease can occur in any size dog.  Typically, the heart valves do not form properly, leading to failure to function properly.  The valves don’t seal the openings; and therefore, you can hear the blood leaking through the valve making a ‘whooshing’ sound.  This sound is referred to as a murmur.  Diagnoses of a heart murmur is made by using a stethoscope to listen to the heart.  Many dogs can live for years with a murmur without developing CHF.

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a very common disease in dogs.  CHF can occur in both large and small breed dogs although the underlying causes vary significantly.  In small breed dogs, the most common cause is chronic dental disease.  The bacteria in the mouth set up residence on the heart valves.  Eventually, the valve begins to thicken and function improperly, leading to CHF.  In large breed dogs, the most common underlying cause is due to the heart being over worked.  This leads to a thickening of the heart wall and the failure of the heart to properly pump the blood.  Additionally, severe heartworm infestations can lead to CHF in any size dog.

Symptoms of CHF depend on which side of the heart is affected.  Right sided CHF will lead to ascites.  If the blood is being backed up into the abdomen, then the belly will start to fill with fluid and become distended.  If the blood is being backed up into the liver, then you can start to see signs of liver failure (jaundice, vomiting, loss of appetite, etc.).

Left sided CHF will lead to blood being backed up into the lungs.  The dog will usually wheeze or cough.  The cough is often productive, meaning that they cough up fluid.

With both types of CHF, the dog will have a decrease in energy and possibly a loss of appetite.

Treatment of CHF also depends on the underlying cause.  It can include: medication to increase heart muscle contractions, diuretics to draw the extra fluid out of the lungs, liver, or abdomen, and a special diet.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

EVERY DAY NEEDS A DOG is on SALE for $0.99! 1/19-1/23


When Elizabeth Fischer unexpectedly loses her job as the head of public relations at a large pharmaceutical company, she’s left with big bills and few options. She reluctantly accepts a job as the president of an animal shelter in Spring Valley, a small town twenty miles outside of the city. 

Elizabeth is a big-city girl, who has never even owned a pet. What does she know about running an animal shelter? She has no idea how much her life is about to change. 


"Pet lovers looking for a quick, well-paced, and suspenseful read will appreciate Every 
Day Needs a Dog."- Foreword Clarion Review

"Every Day Needs a Dog by Billi Tiner is the quintessential love story. It has love at first sight, heroes and villains, all the ingredients in the right mix for the perfect story."- Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite

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Friday, January 9, 2015


Ethylene glycol (anti-freeze) is highly toxic to pets.  Cats have an especially low tolerance.  It has a sweet taste that pets love, so if it is available, they will drink it.  Pets usually gain access to ethylene glycol through spills, leaks, or improperly sealed containers.

Early symptoms of toxicity (usually within 30 minutes to a few hours) include: vomiting, diarrhea, depression, a wobbly gait, head tremors, rapid eye movement, increased urination, and thirst.
Advanced symptoms include: severe depression, dehydration, coma, seizures, oral ulcers, and death.

Symptoms are dependent on amount of ethylene glycol consumed.  The toxicity is caused by the metabolites that are released as the body tries to break down the ethylene glycol.  These metabolites are toxic to the liver, nervous system, and kidneys.  The sooner the animal is started on treatment the more likely the ethylene glycol can be filtered out of the body before causing damage.  If you have any suspicion that your pet has consumed ethylene glycol, don’t wait!  Get them to your veterinarian immediately.  Once organ damage has occurred, treatment is much more intense and the chances of recovery are severely diminished.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Pet Health Tip #26- Rat Bait Toxicity

As the weather cools in the fall and winter, mice decide to set up residence in our homes, garages, barns, etc.  When deciding the best course of action to get rid of these pests, it is important to remember your pets.  Most rat poisons contain anticoagulants.  These poisons are not picky about who ingests them, meaning they will cause the same effect whether it is a rat, a dog, or a cat who eats it.  The rat poison smells good, and with your pet’s keen sense of smell, it doesn’t take them long to find it, no matter how well you think you have hidden it.

Many times, it is several days after the pet ingests the poison before they start showing symptoms.  Early symptoms include: Vomit or diarrhea that contains blood, bloody nasal discharge, and pale gums.  As the poison takes more affect, the symptoms will progress to severe anemia, weakness, lethargy, loss of appetite, internal bleeding into the chest or abdomen, and eventually death.

Outdoor pets are at greatest risk for rat poison ingestion.  They can come in contact with it in a barn, neighbor’s trash, or by ingesting a rat who has been poisoned.  If you catch your pet in the act of eating rat poison, you'll need to induce vomiting.  Use a needleless syringe or even a turkey baster to squirt 3% hydrogen peroxide solution into the back of your pet's mouth.  Give between one and two teaspoons of solution for every ten pounds of body weight.  Give the hydrogen peroxide, then wait five or ten minutes to see if your pet vomits.  If not, administer another dose.  Remember- inducing vomiting is ONLY for immediate treatment.  If several hours have already passed since your pet ingested the rat poison, then inducing vomiting will not help.

You will also need to take your pet to the veterinarian to begin treatment.  For acute ingestion without any symptoms, the typical treatment includes giving Vitamin K.  However, if you are seeing the symptoms listed above, then it is important to start emergency treatment.  This may include whole blood or plasma transfusions to restore the blood volume.

Not all rat poisons are toxic to pets.  If you can bring the package with you on your visit, it will help your veterinarian to determine the best treatment options.

Monday, November 24, 2014

SCARRED HEARTS is now available in Audiobook!!


Claire Montgomery is a survivor. During the War Between the States, her family's plantation was burned to the ground, killing her parents and leaving her scarred, both physically and emotionally. Despite facing extreme hardship, she's grown into a compassionate woman with a heart for helping people. She lives in a small cabin with an old ex-slave and a young boy, who was the lone survivor of a wagon train attack. The three of them have formed a make-shift family that includes a one-eyed cat and a baby fox. Their world changes the day a gunfighter full of bullet holes collapses on their land.


"I enjoyed reading Scarred Hearts. It's got a grand combination of romance, history and the old west, and it works marvelously on all accounts. Scarred Hearts is highly recommended."- Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

"I am so happy to find a new writer of western historical romance. A very good book, well written. She captures the emotions of her characters and delivers to the reader perfectly."- Amazon Reviewer

"I loved the characters and the story. The goodness and forgiveness of people is read in this story. I enjoyed it."- Amazon Reviewer

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pet Health Tip #25- Chocolate Toxicity

The symptoms of chocolate toxicity can range from mild diarrhea and vomiting to seizures and death.  The severity of the symptoms depends upon the amount and type of chocolate ingested.  The toxicity levels are as follows:

Milk Chocolate: Mild signs at 0.7 oz per pound of body weight; severe toxicity at 2 oz per pound of body weight.  In other words, one pound of milk chocolate can cause severe signs in a 20 lb dog.

Semi-sweet Chocolate: Mild signs at 0.3 oz per pound of body weight; severe toxicity at 1 oz per pound of body weight.

Baking chocolate: This one is the most toxic and can cause severe symptoms with as little as 2 small 1 oz squares.

In most cases, you will only see mild symptoms of chocolate toxicity, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or fever.  However, if enough is ingested, it could cause severe symptoms, such as muscle spasms, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, seizures, coma, and cardiac arrest.

It is extremely important to keep chocolate stored away from pets.  If you know your dog has ingested chocolate, then keep in mind the above information when determining whether or not your pet will require veterinary attention.  If it is just a piece or two of milk chocolate, then be prepared for some mild diarrhea.  On the other hand, if your dog ingested an entire bar of bakers chocolate, then you will need to seek veterinary attention.  If you are in doubt about the need to seek medical attention, then call your veterinarian and follow their advice.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pet Health Tip #24- Patellar Luxation

Has your dog ever been running and suddenly picked up one of his back legs and started running on three legs?  Usually, this will be for a short distance.  Then, he will give his leg a shake and go back to running on all four legs.

Your dog is experiencing something called Patellar Luxation.  Sounds complicated, but it is really very simple.  The patella (knee cap) is a small bone that sits in a groove at the front of the knee.  For some dogs, the groove the patella sits in is too shallow.  So, when the patella is experiencing a lot of movement (i.e. the dog is running), it will slip out of the groove and cause the knee to lock up.  The dog will hold the leg up and sometimes give it a little shake causing the patella to slip back into its groove.

Patellar Luxation is a congenital problem caused by the failure of the bone to develop correctly.  It is a common problem for small breed dogs such as Pomeranians, Poodles, and Chihuahuas.  The luxation itself isn't painful.  It is more of a nuisance.  However, over time, the action of the patella sliding up and over the groove will cause “wear and tear” on the cartilage of the knee joint.  Eventually, this will lead to arthritis.

If you have a dog that has a luxating patella, then it is important to make sure they maintain a healthy weight.  This will help slow the progression of the arthritis.  Patellar Luxation can also be surgically repaired.  The surgeon will go into the knee joint and deepen the groove the patella sits in, causing a tighter fit.  Surgery is the best solution, but can be expensive.  Most dogs with Patellar Luxation do very well even without treatment.