Related Links The veterinarians and staff at the Crossroads Animal Clinic are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

Current Newsletter Topics

November is National Pet Diabetes Month

November is National Pet Diabetes Month, but with more than 50 percent of the nation’s cats and dogs overweight or obese, raising awareness of the common endocrine disease has been extended to pets – rather than just their human caretakers. It is estimated that one in every 200 cats may be affected by diabetes, being the most common endocrine condition found in felines. The numbers for dogs are similar and only expected to increase.

Diabetes results when a pet’s body doesn’t produce enough insulin (Type I DM) or doesn’t process it properly (Type II DM). When your pet eats, carbohydrates found in his or her food are converted into simple sugars, one of which is glucose. Glucose is then absorbed into the bloodstream through the intestines and travels to cells throughout the body. Inside cells, insulin typically helps turn the glucose into fuel. However, when there isn’t enough insulin, glucose can’t even enter the cells to be converted into energy and instead just builds up in the bloodstream.

Symptoms of Diabetes in Cats and Dogs:

• Lethargy
• Excessive thirst
• Frequent urination
• Always hungry, yet maintains or loses weight
• Thinning, dry and dull coats in cats
• Cloudy eyes in dogs

National Pet Diabetes Month

At-risk pets include:

• Those with genetic predispositions
• Those with other insulin-related disorders
• Those who are obese and/or physically inactive
• Dogs who are between 4- to 14-years-old
• Unspayed/intact female dogs are twice as likely to suffer from diabetes
• Dog breeds with greater risk for development: Cocker spaniels, dachshunds, Doberman Pinschers, German shepherds, golden retrievers, Labradors, Pomeranians, terriers and Toy Poodles

Although diabetes can’t be cured, it can be managed so that symptoms are reduced or eliminated entirely. Your veterinarian will decide which treatment options are best for your pet. Often, changes in diet and lifestyle, combined with or without daily insulin injections, can help your pet live a happy, healthy, active life.

If you’ve noticed any of the above symptoms in your pet and suspect he or she may have diabetes, contact your veterinarian today. Veterinarians are the only professionals who can accurately diagnose your pet and provide proper health management. Diabetes can affect a pet differently over time, even if your pet has experienced a long period of stability. The sooner your pet is diagnosed, the better, and the less likely you'll incur the cost of an expensive emergency visit for diabetic complications.

Preparing You and Your Pets For Disasters

Preparing You (AND Your Pets) For Disasters

San Francisco – a city known for its tolerance and pet-friendly ways – has its earthquake emergency planners devising ways to protect not only you, but your little dog, too. The city’s new goal is to have pet-disaster responders trained and prepared to take animals to temporary shelters and medical units when earthquakes and other emergency situations hit.

Preparing Pets for Disasters

It has long been the case that people are told to leave their pets behind when faced with a disaster. However, studies have revealed that over 40 percent of pet owners would not evacuate their homes without their pets in tote. New Yorkers proved this theory when Hurricane Irene took its toll on the city. Rather than forcing owners to make a decision on whether or not to evacuate without their pets, the city permitted pet owners to bring their furry friends to the shelters – and that’s exactly what they did.

In the wake of post-Katrina disasters, similar schemes are increasingly gaining tread in other states across the country as well, with the ASPCA often serving as its mascot.

So for all you pet-owners out there, your emergency disaster plan just got a lot more complete.

Is An Exotic Pet Right for You?

There are roughly 44 million nontraditional, or "exotic," pets in the United States. Each year, that number increases. Presently, this number almost equals the number of cats registered as pets in the U.S.

There are several reasons suggested as to why exotic pets have become popular in recent years. The first reason is simply a physical problem or an impossibility of keeping dogs and cats in an urban environment. Urban or city dwellers want to have a pet, so they consider a smaller nontraditional pet like a reptile, rodent, or bird. Secondly, people have just become more interested in exotic pets. Dogs and cats are wonderful, but there's something a little unusual and imaginative about exotic animals.

People should realize, however, that out-of-the-ordinary pets require out-of-the-ordinary care. Nontraditional pets often require precise diets and living conditions that are more difficult to provide than the average pet owner may realize. The most common problems encountered in exotic animal medicine are not related to infectious diseases, but rather management and nutritional related diseases. This is due to the fact that most people who purchase exotics know very little or nothing about them.

When it comes to sickness and disease, exotic animals are usually very adept at concealing their problems. Sick animals in the wild are often singled out as easy prey. Because of this, owners may not recognize symptoms of illness until the animal is very sick or in a near-death situation.

Helping injured exotic pets can be difficult. The actual surgical procedures and medical treatments are very similar in most mammals; however, unexpected complications may result. One such complication is keeping the animal rested or immobile during the post surgery recovery period. This is particularly difficult for an animal recovering from fracture surgery where the convalescent period is extremely long (weeks or months). Another problem associated with keeping certain non-domestic animals as pets is that certain animals are not used to interacting with humans. A wolf or a wolf hybrid is not a dog, and the owners should never forget that fact. At times, this animal may not react the way you expect a normal animal to react. The same is true for other wild animals.

There are also legal issues associated with owning exotic pets. Local and federal laws prohibit taking, keeping, and confining native animals without a special license.

Before purchasing or obtaining an exotic pet, it's important to talk to your veterinarian and several people who have similar pets. These animals should not be purchased as a gift or on a whim without some serious research. Specific articles and books on caring for exotic pets can be found in libraries, book stores, pet shops, online pet supply websites, and from your veterinarian or your veterinarian's website.

The Health Benefits of Owning a Pet

Owning a pet is a lot like having a child. It will require food and drink, opportunities for physical and mental exercise, guidance, attention and love. And, it will give you something back in return. There’s an adage that claims “healthy pet, healthy you,” and it’s true for several reasons.

Imagine bringing a new puppy home. You’re already on the road to being a good pet parent because you’ve done some reading and know how important socialization is for young animals living in a world full of people and the sights and sounds that go with that. After getting settled at home and making sure your pet has visited your veterinarian for any necessary vaccines, you decide to introduce your pet to your neighborhood by taking him for a walk. As you strut around the block with your new prized possession, people begin to notice your adorable ball of fluff. Children and adults you pass will ask to pet your pooch and conversation will follow about his age, breed and so on. These conversations continue to occur and grow into possible friendships at training classes, the dog park and even with other pet-minded individuals online. Pet ownership increases opportunities for exercise, outdoor activities and socialization – as quickly as that.

Pets Lead to More Physical Activity and Socialization

With all those bathroom walks and outdoor adventures, it isn’t surprising to find dog owners are more physically active and less likely to be obese than those without a canine to care for. Other pets may not require outdoor walks, but they do require cage or litter-box cleanings, daily replenishing of food and water, and some form of indoor exercise or interaction that takes away from time which may otherwise be spent planted in front of a television.

Pets can also influence us to be more social and develop relationships with other people and their pets. This may not seem important, but studies have shown people with more social relationships often live longer and are less likely to experience both metal and physical decline as they age.

Additional Health Benefits of Pet Ownership

Heart Health: The National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have both conducted studies showing people with pets are less likely to suffer from heart attack. Pets are proven to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and because pets help reduce stress, pet owners who are recovering from a heart attack will do so more quickly.

Emotional Health: There’s nothing quite like coming home to a wagging tail or purring cat. In addition to reducing feelings of loneliness, pets provide their owners with a sense of purpose, which is crucial in combating depression. It’s understandable why pets are used to bring joy to the sick or elderly in hospitals and nursing homes.

Immune System Health: Research published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology has shown children develop stronger immune systems when exposed to animals early in life. One pediatrician found having a pet in the home can lower a child’s likelihood of developing pet allergies by as much as 33 percent.

How to Ease Your Dog's Separation Anxiety

What is the cause of this obsessive behavior?

Dogs are pack animals and need a social structure. They rely on other dogs (or humans) for interaction. They need to be socialized and need to understand what is expected of them. Many of them have been mistreated in the past and have been locked up alone for long periods of time. Some of them have been abandoned and have ended up in animal shelters.

Dogs need socialization.

Since our pets are usually not socialized in a pack, it is our responsibility to see that the job gets done. Obedience training is the best method for socializing a dog. Both the dog and the owner learn what is expected of each other. If obedience training is begun at an early age, the dog will learn how to interact with both humans and other dogs. They will not have this insecurity that "separation anxiety" dogs seem to display.

How do you treat this condition?

First of all, establish yourself as the leader. In order to learn this, both of you will probably need to enroll in a dog obedience class. This will also help your dog in the socialization game. He may misbehave during the first few classes, but before you know it, he'll be the star pupil. How does this affect the dog's destructive behavior when you leave him alone? Since you are the leader of the pack, the dog accepts the idea that you are leaving. He does not question your authority.

In the beginning, confine your dog to a crate when you are away. This has two advantages. The first is that your dog does not have the opportunity to destroy your house. The second is that your dog actually feels comfortable and secure in the crate. The crate must be large enough for your dog to turn around and stand up.

When you leave, turn on a radio. A talk show is the best type of program. A tape recording of your voice is even better. The radio or the tape recorder should be placed in the bedroom with the door closed (any room as long as the dog cannot enter). Since most destructive behavior occurs during the first hour, you only need a voice recording that lasts slightly more than an hour.

Plan your departures.Before leaving your residence, give your dog a treat. A chewy bone packed with his favorite treat works very well. This should distract your dog long enough for you to leave. Leave quickly and quietly. Do not say goodbye. When you return, give him another treat. By doing this, coming and going are not so traumatic.

Practice your departures.As mentioned earlier, the most difficult time for your dog is the first hour that he is left alone. Practice leaving and entering. Take your dog out of his crate, put your coat on, and then walk out the door. Return immediately. Greet your dog calmly or don't greet him at all. If he is excited, completely ignore him. Repeat the same exercise; however, this time stay out longer. Continue with this exercise until you are comfortable leaving him alone for an entire hour. This may take several weeks to perfect.

Your dog must have regular, planned exercise. This exercise relieves stress and tension. Just like feeding time, your dog needs a specific time for exercise. Dogs like routine. Feed and exercise your dog at the same times every day. They are creatures of habit.

Curing "separation anxiety" is very difficult. It is definitely one of the most challenging behavior problems in dogs. Enrolling in a good obedience-training course is the first step to take.