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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Pet Health Tip #39- Vomiting/Diarrhea

A wide variety of underlying factors can cause vomiting and/or diarrhea in both dogs and cats.  To narrow down possible causes, look at some important elements in the pet’s history.  These include:

Age- The list of underlying causes in a young, healthy animal is different than the list in an older animal.
Overall health of the animal- Any additional symptoms, such as listlessness or anorexia.
Indoor vs. Outdoor pet- Possible exposure to toxins.
Frequency of vomiting
Presence of blood in vomitus

Potential causes of vomiting and/or diarrhea in puppies/kittens:

1) Foreign Body- This is one of the first things to rule out because puppies and kittens are notorious for eating things that they shouldn’t.
2) Intestinal Parasites- This is a very common cause of diarrhea in young animals.  In addition, a high worm burden will sometimes cause vomiting.
3) Toxin Ingestion- Several house plants will cause vomiting if ingested.  Additional toxins include: chocolate, ethylene glycol, and rat bait.
4) Viral Infection- In a puppy, it is important to rule out the possibility of a viral infection such as Parvovirus or Distemper virus.
5) Diet- An abrupt change in food or if the puppy/kitten eats something outside of their normal diet, especially something high in fat, can cause vomiting.

Potential causes of vomiting and/or diarrhea in older dogs/cats:
1) Stress- Older animals become much more sensitive to changes in their environment.  If the animal has been placed under increased stress in the environment, this can cause vomiting and/or diarrhea.  The diarrhea will often be blood tinged.
2) Food Sensitivity- This can be due to a change in diet or sometimes dogs/cats will develop sensitivity to their regular food as they age.  The most common symptom is chronic unexplained vomiting.
3) Underlying health issue-  In older dogs/cats it is very important to rule out the possibility of an underlying health issue, such as pancreatitis, renal disease, or liver disease.
4) Foreign Body- This includes hairballs for cats.
5) Toxin Ingestion- Several house plants will cause vomiting if ingested.  Additional toxins include: chocolate, ethylene glycol, and rat bait.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Pet Health Tip #38- Allergies-Cats

Just like with dogs, there are several allergens that can cause allergic reactions in cats.  However, the symptoms shown in cats are a little different than in dogs.  Cats are more prone to showing respiratory symptoms, including: runny nose, runny eyes, coughing, and wheezing.  This is because cats are more sensitive to inhaled allergens than dogs.

Food Allergens:  Cats can be allergic to ingredients in commercially available cat foods, such as fish, corn, chicken, wheat, and soy.  Cats with food allergies will often develop dermatitis (inflammation of the skin) around the face and ears.  However, the skin lesions can occur anywhere.  Similar to dogs, diagnosis of food allergies is done by putting the cat on a restricted ingredient diet for several months to see if the skin lesions clear up.

Generalized Allergens:  Several allergens can cause reactions in cats.  These include, dust, mold, pollen, fleas, and cigarette smoke.  Cats who are exposed to cigarette smoke will often develop asthma and have difficulty breathing.  In addition to the respiratory symptoms, cats can also develop localized inflammation of the skin that causes the cat to continuously groom that area.  This is usually on the belly or inside the back legs.  They will often groom themselves to the point of creating severe inflammation of the skin in that area.

Flea allergies cause skin lesions that are referred to as military dermatitis.  These are tiny, scabbed bumps usually located on the face, ears, and rump.

To determine what allergens your cat may be sensitive to, a dermatologist will need to perform intradermal skin testing.  Once you have an idea of what allergens are causing the reactions, you can limit your cat’s exposure to the allergens.  This could include: keeping your cat in a room that is smoke free, treating for fleas, or eliminating possible food allergens from your cat’s diet.  Your cat may also need medications such as oral anti-histamines or steroid injections.

Saturday, May 9, 2015


"Second Chance Hearts", the follow-up to "Scarred Hearts", is now available!! 
Paperback and audiobook coming soon! 


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!