Category Archives: Pet Care

Dog Care

Grooming and Washing

Your nose will generally tell you when a dog should be washed—as a rule, about every three weeks or whenever the dog becomes smelly. Choose a warm day and a warm draught-free location. A small dog may be washed in the laundry tub or the bath.

Pour warm water over the animal to wet the hair, being careful not to get water in its ears, then apply an insecticidal shampoo, or a bland soap if the dog suffers from any allergic dermatitis. Wash any gross dirt from the coat and re-lather, leaving the shampoo on for about ten to fifteen minutes to allow the insecticide to work.

Rinse the dog, using warm water, and then apply an insecticidal rinse to the coat. Insecticidal rinses, used to protect the dog against fleas and mites, are also partially effective against ticks. Remember that insecticidal rinses are poisons; the manufacturers’ instructions must be followed carefully.

Towel the dog down and leave it in the sun to dry. Dogs naturally roll to dry themselves, so tie up your dog on a surface where it will not get dirty. Dogs that have a lot of hair around the ear canal should have their ears plucked with a small pair of tweezers. Cleaning the ear lobes is done with a piece of cotton wool soaked in diluted methylated spirits to dissolve any wax. Cotton buds can safely be used to clean the ear canal, as the ear canal in the dog has a right-angled bend before it reaches the ear drum, making penetration of the drum almost impossible.

Adult dogs change their coats once a year, usually in spring. The process takes about six weeks. To groom, use a fine-toothed metal comb or pluck the hair out with fingers and thumb when it is loose enough to do so without hurting the animal. Occasionally the dog will scratch as if troubled by skin cisease or insects, but this is just nature’s way of hastening removal of the old coat. Dogs also shed their coats during serious illness or after whelping. The first (or puppy) coat is soft and woolly and is different from the second and subsequent coats. It is usually much darker. Pups generally change their coats for the first time at nine or ten months, but if born in winter they will change their coats in spring.

For those owners wishing to enter their dogs in dog shows, good grooming is imperative. Grooming tools include: Brushes Always use a bristle brush, soft, medium or stiff on short-haired dogs, and a pin brush .on long-haired breeds to remove the loose undercoat. Combs A regular size, coarse steel comb should be used on long-haired breeds and a fine comb on smooth-coated dogs.

Nail clippers. Nails need cutting if they touch the ground when the dog is standing upright, as the pressure can cause a painful condition in the joints of the toes. Outdoor dogs, particularly those running on concrete or other hard surfaces, rarely need their nails cut. Indoor dogs, or those kept on soft around, should have their nails checked regularly and cut when necessary. Long nails, particularly dew claws which do not touch the ground, can grow too long, and curl and embed themselves painfully in the footpads. Ordinary scissors should not be used. Use proper nail clippers of the guillotine type. The flat surface of the guillotine blade should be parallel with the bottom of the pad. If the pink quick is visible, cut the nails to within 3 millimeters of the end of the pink.

Scissors. A sharp pair of scissors will be suitable for grooming most breeds, but in the case of poodles, or other breeds which need a curved effect on their coats, used curved scissors.

Fine stripping knife. This is a tool that should be used instead of a brush on the sensitive areas of the body such as the ears and head.

Tweezers. Use tweezers regularly to pluck hair from inside the ears to stop dirt and debris collecting and thus protect the dog from ear infections by allowing proper air circulation to dry out the ear canal.

Velvet pad or soft handkerchief. Essential for rubbing the coat of white short-haired breeds to give a gloss. A velvet pad rubbed over the coat of other short-haired breeds such as Boxer or Dachshund gives a good sheen. Tooth scraper Teeth should be kept fairly white by using a tooth scraper to remove excess tartar. If the teeth are bad, take the dog to your vet. No-tangle shampoo Knotted hair can largely be prevented by using a no-tangle shampoo. If knots occur, you may have to cut them out. Use blunt scissors. You may have to go right to skin level and leave the dog with various bare patches, but this is better than subjecting the dog to a very painful experience if you comb the knots out.

Feeding

Before dogs were domesticated they used to catch their prey and eat the hole of it. It supplied them with a balanced, nutritious diet of bones, muscles and internal organs such as the heart, kidneys, liver and lungs. It also provided various vitamins and minerals from the vegetative matter in the gut of the animal eaten. Dogs had to be fit and slim enough to chase and catch their prey. After eating a large meal they would lie down and sleep it off. If they became obese they would not be fit enough to chase and kill more prey.

Dogs are very adaptable in terms of diet and because of this they have thrived in a wide variety of environments and on a wide range of diets. As result, they are probably less subject to serious dietary disease than most other animals. In the past decade, dogs have benefited from our increasing knowledge of their nutritional requirements and the application of that knowledge to prepared, commercial dog foods. Dog feeding is now much less haphazard than it was in the past, when the dog was dependent on its owner’s variable and often rudimentary understanding of nutrition.

Overfeeding

Excess food intake with resultant obesity is becoming an ever-increasing problem for dogs in urban areas. The dog is often hand-fed two or three mes a day, at the owner’s meal-times. Dogs only need to be fed once a day.

Urban restrictions on the animal’s territorial horizons mean the dog leads rather sedentary life, not using up a great deal of energy and therefore going to fat. Obese animals have an increased susceptibility to various diseases including osteoarthritis, sugar diabetes, skin disease and impairment f body-heat regulation, pulmonary, cardiovascular, hepatic and reproductive functions. Recent scientific evidence indicates that chronic under feeding of a complete diet is the only means known for increasing the length f life of laboratory animals beyond the limits characteristic with the species. On the other extreme, chronic overfeeding or other dietary excesses or imbalances curtail the animals’ life span.

Inadequate Feeding

Inadequate food intake is not uncommon, particularly among breeders trying to get their animals into show condition. The animals are thin but healthy, yet won’t put on weight. This can be a complex and difficult problem, although more often it can be rectified easily.

If the animal is otherwise healthy there are two possibilities: lack of opportunity and lack of motivation. Lack of opportunity may simply be that another dog is taking the larger share, or that the dog is unable to eat enough f the food with which it is fed to attain a satisfactory body weight. Where his occurs and the food is too bulky for the animal to accommodate its energy requirements at one meal, it may be necessary to feed the dog three or four times per day instead of once a day. This situation is particularly relevant to a bitch losing weight with a large litter of puppies.

Boredom may be another cause of reduced food intake. While dogs and cats can subsist more or less indefinitely on one type of food (providing it is nutritionally complete), most animals will show some boredom with the same diet after a period of about a week. If increased palatability and food intake is desired, it is advisable to vary the type of food that is fed to the animal. This should be done slowly, avoiding abrupt and major changes to the diet. Food that is fed cold is also of low palatability.

Bones

Bones are important for several reasons. The first is that they prevent boredom. Chewing on bones also exercises the dog’s jaws and keeps the teeth clean and free of dental caries and tartar build-up. They are a rich source of nutrients—particularly calcium and phosphorus—and contain proteins and minerals essential for the dog’s development and general maintenance.

However, bones can cause two problems. They can form obstructions or pierce the food pipe. And if fed in large quantities, they can cause constipation. Their high concentration of calcium carbonate can create rock-like masses when water is resorbed in the large intestine.

Bones should form only about 10 per cent of the dog’s diet. Fish, chicken • and chop bones should never be given to your pet, as they can splinter or fracture easily and lodge in the food pipe. The best bones are shin of beef or soft crumbly bones such as knuckles or boiled breast of mutton. Whichever bone is given, ensure that your dog is nibbling small crumbs from the end of the bone, not shattering it into large fragments.

Milk

Milk is an essential part of the pup’s diet but can still be fed to older , dogs without harm. It is a rich source of protein, fat and minerals, as well as having a pleasant taste.

Milk can either be given as the raw product, slightly warmed, or reconstituted from either tinned or dehydrated milk. If the dog or pup is not accustomed to straight cow’s milk, it is advisable to commence by using watered-down milk (50 per cent water, 50 per cent milk).

The concentration of milk should gradually be increased over a period of five to six days. Some puppies are allergic to cow’s milk and this will induce diarrhea. It is a fallacy that milk transmits worms.

General Exercise

Young puppies up to six months of age should be allowed to exercise themselves. This is particularly important in the larger breeds, which are those that reach 15 kilograms by the age of three months. Forced exercise during the early growing phase can do damage to the hip joints and promote hip dysplasia. It is just as important, however, not to confine dogs for long periods. The dog in its natural environment is a roaming animal and requires plenty of territory.

The amount of exercise is also dependent on the breed. Sporting an _ hunting dogs require much more exercise and territory than smaller breeds or lap dogs. These factors should be taken into consideration before purchasing the dog. A large number of domestic dogs get very little organize.

exercise and not only keep happy and healthy but even reach a ripe old age. Hard exercise, such as following a jogger or a bicycle, is not good for a dog and may be injurious to its health. A dog is a very loyal companion any will do its utmost to keep in contact with its master in these situations. But in doing so it may become liable to injury. If you can, take the dog for a walk each day; the dog will exercise itself running three or four times the distance that you walk, and by doing this will exercise within its own limits

Tans and Dew Claws

These can be removed to breed requirements by the vet when the pup is four to five days old, before it becomes old enough to suffer too greatly from the procedure. The dewclaw is equivalent to the thumb in humans and in the adult dog is approximately 2 1/2 centimeters above the ground on the inside of the front legs. Some dogs may have them on the hind legs as well.

Caring for the Sick Dog

Signs of disease present in two ways: a general disease condition where the dog is off-color and won’t eat; and the local problem, for example, a tooth decay, local abscess or fracture of a limb. With local problems it is usually very obvious what is wrong and how extensive it is.

In the general disease situation, the dog is usually lethargic, in many cases because of a fever although it might be because of a subnormal temperature. Lethargy is usually accompanied by decreased appetite, and subsequent loss of weight. Loss of weight can also occur while a dog is taking its normal diet, in cases of diarrhea, kidney disease, sugar diabetes or bleeding into the intestinal tract.

Variation in the thirst of the animal can indicate a problem. Increased thirst can accompany a fever, or may be present in a dog with a normal temperature which is suffering from sugar diabetes or a kidney complaint. A lack of thirst can produce dehydration, particularly in small animals. Sometimes an increased respiratory rate is a sign of disease. Frequently, the coat looks harsh and dry and the third eyelids may slip across, making the dog look as though it has a skin growing over the eyes.

A thermometer is indispensable when treating a sick dog; thick-bulb-end; thermometers are the best type. Normal temperature for a dog is 38.5°C, considerably higher than that of a human. The rectum is the best place to’ take the temperature because the dog can’t bite the thermometer. Shake the thermometer down to below 38°C, lift up the dog’s tail, slide the thermometer in about 4 or 5 centimeters and leave it against the wall of the’ rectum for about one minute. A slight temperature is 39°C, a high temperature is 40°C. With a high temperature, the dog will usually be off its food The rectum is the best place to and showing signs of lethargy. It should be taken to a vet.

Nursing a Sick Dog

When a dog is not well, the following points are important. The dog requires a dry, draught-free place to rest, one that has a fairly constant temperature The kennel or living area must be kept clean at all times and all things use: for the dog’s treatment must be kept clean. It must be left undisturbed except for feeding, treatment and cleaning. Children should be allowed visit their dog only at prescribed intervals; they must be quiet and able to handle the dog.

Treatment must be carried out thoroughly, regularly and at the correct time. Fresh, clean water must always be available. Select food you know the dog likes, preferably barbecued chicken meat and red meats. Dressings. given slowly bandages and so on should only be reused if boiled. Dressings that have been soiled by a wound or discharge must never be reused. Bed sores are caused by the dog lying on hard surfaces; the skin over bon.: prominences begins to die which allows surface bacteria to invade and caul sores. Bed sores can be prevented by lying the dog on a mattress of foam rubber. Bed sores should be treated with astringent agents such a mercurochrome, triple dye, or acriflavin.

It is most important that the dog, no matter how sick, gets fluids on a daily basis. The fluid requirement of the dog is approximately 20 milliliters per kilogram body-weight daily. If the dog is not taking this orally, veterinary advice should be sought so that it can be given the fluids intravenously Failure to take in this amount of fluid per day will result in kidney shutdown and permanent kidney damage.

Teeth

A puppy is born without teeth, but by five to eight weeks it will have twentyeight puppy or ‘milk’ teeth, which seldom give trouble while being cut. At about four months—sometimes a little sooner—puppies other than toy dogs begin to change their teeth. The forty-two or forty-four permanent teeth are usually through by five months.

Toy dogs change their teeth a little later. It is generally the toy breeds that have trouble at this time; sometimes they appear unable to cast their milk teeth, which should be extracted when the permanent teeth come through. Overcrowding can be a problem, particularly in dogs with short muzzles. Discoloration of teeth can be caused by the administration of certain antibiotics to the puppy or the mother before the teeth erupt.

Teeth troubles have become more common since the introduction of soft commercial foods, which allow accumulation of food debris (plaque) between the teeth and between the tooth and gum margin. Plaque in turn allows tartar to build up, causing discoloration and decay of the tooth. Sometimes gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and bad breath follow. Dry biscuits, fed at least once a day as part of the ration, will help keep the dog’s teeth in good order. A large shank bone with some tissue and tendon sheaths attached will help, as the time spent tearing and gnawing the bone will exercise and clean the teeth.

Check your dog’s teeth annually by pulling back the lips to expose the teeth at the rear of the mouth. Any accumulation of tartar (a yellow substance) should be removed. If this is impossible, or if the dog is uncooperative, visit the vet.

The only teeth that regularly cause a problem are the carnassial teeth, situated on either side of the upper jaw, towards the rear. They are massive teeth with triple roots which are subject to decay in aging dogs. The first sign of trouble is usually a swelling in the cheek, beneath the eye. The dog will show signs of discomfort and may go off its food; sometimes the eye will be inflamed. If the offending tooth is not removed, a sinus may break out over the swelling, discharging a foul-smelling pus.

Housing dogs can be accommodated in a number of ways. In temperate climates, a kennel is not essential, provided the dog has access to the house, a garage, underneath the house, or some other suitable shelter which protects it from direct sunlight, wind and rain. In cooler climates, a kennel is essential. The kennel should just exceed the size of the dog so that body heat can warm Obesity is becoming an ever increasing health problem.

The surrounding air. The kennel should be located in the shade and should well-ventilated, warm in winter and cool in summer. It should be weather-proof, draught-free and elevated from the ground, with a wooden po o)0r.r. Bedding should be disposable, for example, sawdust, shavings or newspapers, as this helps eliminate a breeding site for fleas and mites. Rinse the kennel once a month with an insecticidal preparation, put in new, bedding and burn the old. All feeding utensils should be washed daily, and :lean water provided daily in a shady spot.

Long hair

In most cases long-haired dogs were bred in cooler climates, but during the past hundred years or so they have been transported to all parts of the world. including some very hot climates. In these areas fleas and ticks are much more prevalent and they can be a severe problem for long-haired dogs. In countries where ticks are a problem (especially the paralysis tick, which can kill a dog in a matter of days) the long hair makes it particularly difficult to search the dog. in some cases the dog may have to be clipped all over, which can be quite expensive and ruins the appearance.

Unhealthy skin conditions are also much more prevalent in long-haired dogs. Fleas, which cause an allergic reaction, are better protected under the long hair. Grass seeds, burrs, sticks and other irritating objects are more easily held within long hair to irritate the skin. Skin problems in long-haired dogs are usually at a serious stage before the owner spots them.

In general, long-haired dogs require much more grooming, care and maintenance than short-haired dogs. Matted hair around the anal area frequently prevents the dog from passing feces, and this calls for the hair to be clipped. Long-haired dogs usually have an abundance of hair in the ear canal and this, together with long, floppy ears, will predispose the animal to poor circulation in the ear canal. A moist environment ensues, allowing bugs to breed and causing ‘canker’ or infection of the ear.

Dog First Aid

Whenever dogs have bandages, plaster casts or any other restrictive material placed on the limbs, it is important to ensure that circulation is r ing the toes. This can be tested by feeling the toes to make sure the:. warm rather than cold. Sensation can be determined by pinching the to make the dog withdraw the foot.

Restraint

Wherever possible, try to handle the dog by peaceful means. Where fails, the following methods may have to be employed. When treating savage or difficult dog, place medication inside something the dog such as sweets, meat or chicken cubes. If this fails, starve the dog for one or two days or as long as is necessary to get the tablets down. the tablets in very small quantities of food and keep the dog’s appetite

To restrain the dog from biting, place a commercial leather muzzle around its nose. If you do not have a leather muzzle, use the lead attached to far collar. Pull the lead tight from the collar, wrap it two or three times around the front of the dog’s snout and hold the loose end together with the collar in one hand with your other hand keeping the rest of the lead intact around the closed muzzle. The dog can then be held so that a second person can do whatever is necessary.

Alternatively, use a cord or tape bandage. Make a loop as if doing the part of a bow, put the loop around the dog’s muzzle and pull tight so the twist is on top. Take the cord or tape below the muzzle and tie, then F – tight again. Take the two ends up and tie tightly behind the dog’s ears. To catch a savage dog, make a dog catcher with a piece of hollow pipe 2 meters long, with a noose through the pipe.

A dog can be restrained from licking at wounds and bandages by placing an Elizabethan collar around its neck. Another device is a plastic bucket with a hole in the bucket just big enough to fit over the head. Make six to eight small holes around the cut to allow tapes or shoelaces to be threader through and around the collar to keep the bucket firmly attached. Pull the lead tight and wrap it around the muzzle.

Artificial Respiration

When a drowned dog stops breathing, hold it up by the hind legs with th: head hanging down, to allow the water to escape from the lungs. Speed essential. As soon as the water has ceased to run out of its mouth, lie th: dog on its side with the tongue out as far as possible and commence artificial respiration.

complete Pet Care Dogs — Sick dogs — First aid This means placing the palms of both hands over tire chest surface, and rhythmically and slowly pressing and releasing so that the air is driven in and out of the lungs. This cycle should be repeated about thirty times a minute for small dogs and about twenty times a minute for large dogs. If this is going to be effective, the heart beat will resume within a few seconds. It does not always work, but is well worth a try.

Bleeding

Major bleeding from an artery is seen as a squirting, pulsating blood stream which should be cut off by tourniquet application between the wound and the heart. Tourniquets should be gently released for a few seconds every three to four minutes if they are kept in place for any length of time. Small areas of bleeding can usually be stopped by pressure-bandaging the area.

Motor vehicle accident

Be very careful handling any dog, even your own. after a car accident. If the dog is badly injured, move it on to a blanket by approaching it from the rear, taking the scruff of the neck between the ears in one hand and the loose skin over the back in the other, and pull it on to the blanket. Take the dog to a vet.

Shock

In this condition the dog is usually in a state of collapse, and the mucous membranes (in the mouth) are very pale. Place the dog in a head down position (the head at an angle of 30 degrees). Keep the animal warm and administer warm fluids if it will drink. Take the dog to a vet immediately.

Traveling

Domestic animals that are unused to traveling should be tranquilized or sedated for journeys, as they can get very upset. To prevent travel sickness, do not feed the animal within four hours of traveling and allow the dog adequate ventilation away from exhaust fumes. Keep your dog on the floor of the car so it cannot see moving objects outside. Travel sickness in dogs is usually demonstrated by salivation and vomiting. Specific anti-sickness tablets are available for dogs.

Boarding

Dogs to be boarded should be fully vaccinated and wormed fourteen days beforehand. Once a satisfactory establishment has been found, continue to patronize it because it and the staff will become familiar to the dog. The dog should be re-wormed four weeks after returning home.

Visits to the Vet

Visits to the vet Dogs can’t talk, so the vet depends heavily on the owner’s observations. If it is a non-urgent problem, watch the dog for twenty-four hours and make a list of any abnormal signs. Check its eating habits and toilet activities (take samples of urine and feces). Is the dog vomiting or doing anything else unusual? Do not attend to minor discharging wounds or skin lesions for at least twenty-four hours before the visit, so that the type and color of the discharge is obvious.

If possible, make an appointment, as this will reduce the length, of time your pet is confined in a waiting room with other animals and will thus reduce the risk of fights. Take the dog for a walk outside first and let it sniff the local smells to stimulate it to go to the toilet—this lessens the likelihood that the smells of other dogs in the waiting room will cause an ‘accident’.

Make sure that the dog’s collar is a firm fit and cannot slip over its head if the dog pulls back, and use a strong secure lead. Don’t let a child hold it—you are taking the dog into a strange place with strange smells, some of which may be offensive to it; there will be other animals present, and the vet’s surgery is no doubt alongside a busy road.

Horse Pregnancy

The period of pregnancy in the mare is about eleven months. Determination of pregnancy can be made in three ways:

  1. Conformation. The conformation of a horse is the key to its progression. Conformation is basically the way the horse has been put together. The body should be in pleasing balance with the limbs and should be well-proportioned. The horse is a working animal and its working ability is determined by the condition of its limbs and feet. Poor conformation of limbs may contribute to lameness.
  2. Laboratory Testing. There are two types of tests: blood tests which are done between sixty and ninety days after service, and a urine test which is done between two hundred and two hundred and seventy-five days after service.
  3. Manual Testing. This is done by a veterinarian who examines the mare internally via the rectum. This requires considerable experience and dexterity if it is to be carried out with any degree of accuracy. An early indication can be given at twenty-one days, although a final legal decision is not possible till six weeks into the pregnancy. This is called a 42-day pregnancy test, on which a certificate may be issued.

Ultra Sound Scanning

This is a non-invasive technique which is harmless to the operator and the mare. An electronic probe sweeps the area under examination. Echoes, produced as the beam scans the various organs, provide a clear, moving image on a display screen. Accurate diagnosis of pregnancy can be made as early as 14 days after ovulation.
Manual and ultra-sound testing gives a much quicker result and allows time for rebreeding if the mare is not in foal; the other tests are used if there is any danger to the vet, the mare or the fetus in manual testing (for example, very highly strung mares, or mares that abort easily).

The Hours Before Birth

Between six and forty-eight hours before foaling, a small amount of clear thick, serum-like material oozes from each teat canal (there are two can alsper teat in the mare). This serum hardens to a wax-like material, and once this appears most mares will foal within the following twelve to twenty-four hours. But some mares show little or no wax. A particular mare will usually be constant in her foaling procedure and any unusual behavior should be recorded, especially where the mare is not seen to wax at all.
Vulvas of sutured mares should be cut at least a week before the foal is due, to prevent tearing.
In most mares the pelvic ligaments show slackening twelve to eighteen hours before foaling. A hollow appears on either side of the root of the tail and the tail loses its power to hug down over the perineal region. Unfortunately, however, mares do not always follow rules. A mare can appear days off foaling when examined at midnight, and yet have a foal several hours old at her side at dawn.

Foaling

During the first stage of labour the mare may paw the ground, look at her flank, kick at her belly, crouch, catch her breath or wander uneasily around—and then resume feeding. This may be repeated in ten to fifteen minutes. From this point on, the mare should be kept under supervision. It is preferable to keep out of sight and not to interfere unless there is an obvious emergency.
There are no fixed rules for the act of foaling. Most mares lie on their side to foal, raising the upper hind leg at each contraction. At this stage the labour pains, which have been intermittent and of short duration, become intensified and succeed each other at shorter intervals.
When the cervix has relaxed sufficiently, the contractions will force the fluid-filled membranes through the vulval lips of the mare. About five minutes after the appearance of the water bag, the first leg appears and the bag bursts, discharging about 4 liters of placental fluid. After a short rest the second leg appears 8-10 centimeters behind the first. Never pull on the less-advanced leg in an attempt to level it with the first, as this invariably results in fractured ribs for the foal. Both feet should appear with the soles facing the mare’s hooves, and the foal’s muzzle between the knees. Any other combination of the above, such as head only, or soles up, requires a vet immediately, as the foal is probably presenting abnormally.
One of the most important conditions to prevent is the recto-vaginal fistula, where the foal’s foot ruptures the roof of the vagina and tears it longitudinally as the mare strains. This will be evidenced by a leg being caught in the roof of the vagina, and possibly even the appearance of a hoof through the anus. In this case a sterilized, lubricated hand should be placed in the vagina around the offending leg and the leg pushed towards the mare’s head and redirected into the vaginal cavity. This should be done immediately the problem is noticed. This condition is most common in young mares foaling for the first time but may also occur in older broodmares with deep bellies. Repair of the tear is a complicated surgical procedure requiring skilled veterinary attention.
Occasionally the mare will expel her foal until its hips become wedged in her pelvis. In this event she needs help, and delivery must be made quickly or the foal will be lost.
the foal slowly from side to side. If this is not successful. the attendant should pass a sterilized, lubricated hand into the birth canal, over the rump of the foal and grasp the tail. A hard pull on it as the mare strains almost always brings the foal.
Allow the umbilical cord to tear of its own accord about 3-5 centimeters from the navel.
If the mare has not passed her entire afterbirth within three hours of foaling it should be considered retained placental membrane. A vet can apply medication to help the mare pass all of the membrane and contract the uterus.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Don’t hurry the mare or hover over her.
  • Don’t touch the mare or foal while the labour is progressing normally—that is, let the mare foal as decreed by nature.
  • Don’t hesitate to call your vet if the mare is in trouble. Trouble is indicated by the mare straining for more than one hour without the appearance of the foal; the appearance of the head and no feet, or the head and one foot, or the feet and no head. Once normal foaling begins the foal is born within 15 minutes of the appearance of the feet. if waiting for help, keep the mare walking, provided the foal is not hanging out.
  • Make sure the membranes over the foal’s nostrils are torn; if this does not happen by the time the head is out, quickly tear them away with your fingers.

‘Foaling heat’

According to most data, the average gestation period for thoroughbreds is about 340 days. Data indicate that colts are generally carried longer than fillies. Disease can influence the length of gestation. Normally, the mare has a ‘foaling heat’ soon after the birth of the foal, usually on or about the ninth day. This is usually a short estrus, but the mare will accept the stallion and, under favorable conditions, will conceive. If the mare has had a rough foaling with evidence of bruising and hematomas of the birth canal, it is advisable not to breed at this time, nor should a mare that has foaled for the first time be rebred at foal heat, as she is more likely to have suffered damage.
Some breeders hesitate to breed on the ninth day for several reasons:

  • The mare showing signs of estrus may not be near ovulation.
  • There is a possibility of uterine infection.
  • Traumatic injury to the birth canal often goes unnoticed.
  • The womb of a mare kept in a box for nine days after foaling has rarely contracted properly, and while there may not be infection the presence of secretions and retained debris is unfavorable for conception.
    For these reasons, routine genital examinations at the seventh or eighth day after foaling are indicated. If the mare is not mated on foal heat she will normally cycle again eighteen to twenty-one days later. Failing this, it will be fifty to sixty days.

After Foaling

Always spread the membranes out on the ground and make sure both uterine horn tips are present. Many mares who retain the afterbirth for more than three hours will have difficulty conceiving at the next foaling heat. Never pull the membranes out manually, unless under veterinary supervision. Keep the membranes for your veterinary surgeon to examine.
The following should be carried out after foaling:

  • Enema for foal (100 milliliters of warm soapy water).
  • Navel swab of tincture of iodine.
  • Shot of wide-range antibiotic to both mare and foal, especially if there is a history of infection.
  • Tetanus anti-toxin or toxoid, to both mare and foal.
  • Drench of 4.5 liters of mineral oil for the mare to prevent post-partum colic. Repair of episiotomy (cut vulva) or tears.
  • Wash mare’s hindquarters with disinfectant.

If the mare fails to lick the foal and show it affection, a little table salt rubbed on the foal’s neck and shoulders may help. A little of the dam’s milk rubbed on the foal’s muzzle and face may overcome resentment. A mare should be supervised until she thoroughly accepts the foal and allows it to suckle. On rare occasions this may take as long as a week, in which case tranquilization may be used to allow the foal to suckle. Very rarely a mare may reject the foal so savagely that it is best to bring the foal up by hand,if a suitable foster-mare cannot be found. Consideration should be given to culling such a mare from the breeding program.

Horse Weaning

Weaning can take place between four and seven months. The guiding factor should really be the dam’s condition. For instance, a fat mare with plenty of milk can suckle her foal for six months or longer, particularly if she is empty (not in foal again) and therefore does not need to nourish a fetuses well. A day or two before separation, accustom the mare to having her udder and teats gently handled and milked.
On the morning selected for weaning, the mare should be walked to her new paddock leaving her foal behind in its usual box with both upper and lower doors shut. It is important that the foal is strictly confined in a safe enclosure, which must have solid high walls. The mare should be placed in a sturdy yard well out of earshot of the foal’s cries. The mare’s udder should be inspected twice a day and she will need to be milked to relieve the pressure. Do not strip her out completely as this only stimulates further milk secretion and production.

Hamster Care

Like the guinea pig, the hamster is a small rodent. Their care and problems are similar but here are some differences. The hamster is a nocturnal and solitary animal with a life-span of 1-2 years. Two or more will always fight, regardless of sex. The most common is the golden hamster originating in Syria.
The young begin eating solid food when 7-9 days old and drinking at 10 days. Coprophagia in the adult is normal. Estrus occurs every four days. Mating occurs at night and male and female should only be together when the female is in heat or they will fight. The gestation period is only 15-18 days. Litter size 4-7. The young are naked and develop hair by 7 days and are weaned at 20-25 days. Eyes are open at 5 days.

Cannibalism

A female hamster with newborn young may conceal an entire litter in her cheek pouches when disturbed. If sufficiently upset she may eat her young. They should not therefore be handled for the first 10 days. Fostering of orphan litters is rarely successful and both the adopted and natural litters may be cannibalized. Hand rearing is usually unsuccessful

Constipation

Usually occurs at 10-15 days of age in hamsters still suckling. Affected hamsters have a large swollen abdomen with a bulging anus. Prompt veterinary attention is required.

Hibernation

Below 40°F (5°C) body temperature drops to 2° to 5°F (1° to 2°C) above the ambient temperature and pulse and respiration fall.

Impacted Cheek Pouches

Empty and flush with water.

Overgrown Teeth

Teeth grow continuously and clipping is necessary if the diet provides insufficient wear.

Sleeper disease

If the environmental temperature reaches 72°-77°F (22°-25°C) the hamster may become stiff and lifeless and if disturbed moves the head from side to side. It will return to normal after 5 minutes. `Apparently dead’ hamsters should be warmed and stimulated prior to disposal.

`Wet tail’ (Diarrhea)

There is severe diarrhea with moistening and inflammation of the anal area leading to death in 2-7 days. Usually occurs in recently weaned animals of 3-5 weeks of age. Prompt veterinary attention requiring electrolytes, antibiotics, and anti-spasmolytics is necessary.

Worms

Tapeworm and pinworm are the most common and respond to appropriate veterinary treatment.

Pet Safety

Pets can give a lot of pleasure. They make good companions for all ages and are an excellent way for children to learn about responsibility and caring for others. Being a deterrent to burglars and an intruder alarm, a family dog also helps to safeguard the home.

Keeping pets involves a lot of responsibility, however, and they can cause accidents and spread disease if not properly looked after. Make sure you know how to care for any animal you own and that whichever member of the family takes on the routine tasks will have enough time and commitment to do the job properly. Bear these points in mind when deciding what sort of pet to bring into the home.

Living with dogs

Dogs interact with humans so well that they soon become a member of the household, demanding their equal share of company and attention to keep them happy and well behaved. As dogs can live for ten to 15 years or even more, owning one is a long-term commitment. Feeds need to be regular, as does exercise. Grooming is necessary to keep the dog’s skin and coat in good condition, and to minimize the amount of hair shed in the house, and with long-haired varieties, this can overtime become more of a chore than a pleasure. Dogs bring dirt and dust into the house, so increasing the amount of housework around them.

Choose the breed carefully to suit your family situation; dogs are bred for certain characteristics and different types can require much more exercise and feeding than others. Most dogs do not like to be left alone for long periods, and some can become destructive in the home. Check on the dog’s likely temperament and if you are buying a puppy try to see both parents.

Training is another important aspect in a dog’s life. Dogs must always be kept under control and well behaved, especially in public. An uncontrollable dog is a potential danger in the home and on the street. If you have any difficulty with training your dog, seek out a training group, where your dog can learn to socialize with other canines and learn to respond to your commands.

Keeping cats

Cats are much more independent than dogs, and require less care and attention. They groom themselves, unless they are long-haired, and often spend a lot of their time on their own. However, when they do want attention, or a nice warm lap to snuggle into, they can be very affectionate and rewarding as pets. They will even play with you, but on their terms and only when they feel like it.

It is wise to get a male cat neutered and a female cat spayed. Males grow into rangy beasts which take to fighting and spraying your property as they mark out their own territory. Females can, and most probably will, start to reproduce at six months of age and can produce two litters a year. Finding good homes for the kittens can become a regular headache. Talk to your local vet about the best time to spay and neuter your pet, if unsure.

Small rodents

Mice, hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits all have their particular charms. They are generally relatively short-lived, although some rabbits do go on for many years. Although they are much cheaper to keep than either dogs or cats, they all need to be contained in cages, preferably with areas or runs large enough for them to exercise in. Hamsters particularly like toys and wheels to play with and guinea pigs and rabbits benefit from being allowed to run out of doors. Cages should be cleaned weekly.

Many children are wonderfully at ease with pets, but it is a good idea to show them how to hold and handle animals safely.

Dog Potty Training

Feeding stimulates the intestinal tract, and it is usual for a puppy to want to defecate soon after a meal. Toilet training is one of the very earliest lessons which needs to be taught. Puppies are naturally clean by nature, so this should not prove a particularly difficult task. The basics are usually mastered within two weeks in most cases.

Young puppies do not always have full control of their sphincter muscles and so at first are not able to control the passing of urine and feeces. In any event, it is wise to place a suitable receptacle within easy reach throughout the day, and after a meal the puppy should be taken into the garden and encouraged to use an area here. Bear in mind, however, that bitch’s urine in particular is quite acidic, and is likely to damage the grass of a lawn, resulting in unsightly yellow patches. Mining your puppy to use a specific area of soil is therefore to be recommended from the start. Once the routine is established the dog is unlikely to vary its habits significantly as it will be attracted back to the scent.

Most owners tend to feed their puppies on the kitchen floor, placing a dirt-box nearby for use at night, or during the day in an emergency You should encourage the puppy to go outside to relieve itself, however, whenever you are present, rather than using the dirt-box. You will need to be observant, therefore, noting when the puppy wants to relieve itself.
You can use a large plastic cat litter tray as a dirt-box. Fill this with a small amount of cat litter, having lined it first with newspaper. This will make it easier to clean once it is soiled. You will need to remove and discard the detachable lid, which is a feature of many cat litter trays, since this will just get in the way, and means that accidents are more likely to happen. As an additional precaution, you should stand the tray on newspaper.
Several manufacturers now market products which are claimed to attract dogs for toilet purposes. You can add one of these to the litter in the first instance, as it may encourage your puppy to relieve itself here.
Although it may not appear especially hygienic to keep the litter tray in the kitchen, this is probably the best place because the floor surface here tends to be impermeable. If a disaster occurs it will be easy to disinfect the area thoroughly. This is especially important in a home with young children.
Many puppies are infected at birth with the roundworm Toxocara Canis, and so must be wormed frequently on a vet’s advice for the first six months of life, and regularly thereafter. The eggs of these parasites are voided in the feces, and the resulting larvae do represent a slight risk to human health, because they may cause the disease known as toxocariasis. The eggs can be swallowed by children who are apt to put dirty fingers into their mouths; the larvae may then migrate from the gut around the body. If they form a cyst in the eye, blindness is likely to result.
By thoroughly cleaning the soiled area you will prevent human infection, simply because the eggs are not immediately infective when they are passed from the dog’s body in its feces. They will take approximately a week to reach this stage, so that while any traces remaining in a carpet could give rise to problems, a solid floor can be easily disinfected to kill them before this stage is reached. The eggs can remain viable for a considerable period of time, however, and so you should dispose of faecal matter carefully to prevent any risk of infection in the garden if you have a young family.
The threat posed by toxocariasis, or visceral larval migrans, as it is also known, is relatively slight with about 10 cases a year being recorded in England and Wales, as an example. Nevertheless, it is a serious condition if the eye is affected, and sensible precautionary measures should be taken. Children must be supervised at all times when in contact with puppies, and then taught to wash their hands afterwards as a matter of course.
When you first introduce the litter tray, place the puppy here if you suspect that it is likely to use it. If you have a conservatory area behind your kitchen, this may be an even better location for the tray, since here it will be close to an outer door. The aim is, of course, to persuade the puppy to ask to go outside into the garden when it wants to urinate or defecate.

After a meal, when you take the puppy outside, try the scenting preparation again, although its possible effects are likely to be diluted by rain. Point to the spot, and this should serve to encourage the puppy to sniff in this region. Although at first it may prove excitable and run off around the garden, the puppy should soon return to you. Such excitement alone may cause it to urinate here.
You can offer encouragement, using a phrase which the young dog will come to identify with in time, such as ‘clean dog’. Give plenty of praise and encouragement once it has performed as you want before calling the youngster by its name to follow you back indoors. This is useful practice to prepare for the time when you allow the dog off the leash for the first time, and call it back to you.
If the puppy has done nothing after five or 10 minutes, follow the same routine, but once you are inside remain more watchful. A number of factors, such as noise, rain and even washing flapping on a clothes-line, may disturb a young puppy in such surroundings. Once it is back
within the confines of home, however, it may immediately decide to go to the toilet. There is really little point in scolding the puppy at this stage, especially if it has not been used to the big outdoors before.
Once your dog has relieved itself, clean up the area thoroughly using a dog scoop. Several disposable types are available from pet shops, and are essential for dog owners where it is compulsory to clean up after their pets if they are walking in a public area. Although the area :an then be cleaned, the puppy is likely to be attracted back to the site again unless you can remove the underlying odor. Dogs have very sensitive noses, and they rely heavily on scent markings in their lives.
While disinfecting the soiled area is obviously to be recommended, you need to be careful in your choice of disinfectant. This is because some disinfectants serve to reinforce rather than overcome such scents which are not discernible by our noses. Pine-scented products may do this and so are best avoided for this reason. Vinegar can be used to remove the scent, and again, products are available from pet shops which fulfill a similar function, in contrast to those which attract the dog.
After relieving itself, a puppy way start scratching and digging the ground, This behavior should not be encouraged, because it can cause damage to the lawn or plants. You will also need to wipe your pets feet with a towel to remove mud before you allow it back in the home,

On average, young puppies may relieve themselves about six times a day. Under no circumstances, however, particularly when you are feeding a dried diet, should you withhold water for any period of time in order to reduce urinary output. This can have devastating consequences, and may cause long-term damage to the urinary tract. Urine production naturally declines while the puppy is asleep, so that once it has been put outside at night, then the young dog should be able to last quite comfortably through to the morning. Take it out into the garden again then, without delay.
Puppies are unable to relate to an event which occurred in the past, so if you find that a place has been soiled overnight there is little point in scolding the puppy accordingly. Nor should you rub the dog’s nose in it. This is merely unpleasant, and serves no useful purpose. After all, dogs actually sniff regularly where others have soiled, around lamp posts for example, so this is certainly no deterrent.
Although the basics of toilet training can be mastered rapidly, it will take two or three months before a puppy is regularly asking to go outside of its own accord. Supervision of puppies is important, because digestive disturbances such as diarrhea are potentially more serious in younger dogs. Never ignore a young dog’s request to go out into the back yard, because this can cause it to soil around the home, and inhibits the toilet-training process. Cleaning up after your puppy is Important, whether In the garden or a park. Devices like tilts poop scoop are better suited for domestic use. Smaller more discreet means of cleaning up are preferable when you are out for a walk.

Rabbit Health

Rabbits are prone to illness which is usually caused by poor management or unsanitary living conditions. Sore hocks, for example, result from rough or wet floors. In this condition, the pads of the rabbit’s hind feet become inflamed, producing an unhappy rabbit who loses vitality and weight if the condition is not cared for immediately. Change the bed frequently or run the rabbit on dry soil to correct the problem. Severe cases can be treated by cleaning the pads with soap and warm water and then, after drying, dabbing the area with iodine.
Small mites which invade the external ear of the rabbit produce ear mange. Fluid released from infected areas hardens into irritating scabs. An animal infected with ear mange will continually scratch the infected ear with its hind leg, thereby scratching open the scabs and causing further infection. A solution of one part camphorated oil and five parts heavy mineral oil should be applied to the area daily until the infection heals.
Vent disease, or inflammation of the sex organs, can be controlled by applying a lotion of one part calomel to three parts lanolin. The disease will not afflict healthy animals if they are bred with care.
Colds and pneumonia may be caused by raising animals in drafty environments. It is wise to consult a vet about these and other serious ailments. Below is a list of some rabbit health problems.

Abscesses

Abscesses are most commonly found around the jaw, neck and feet. They usually need to be lanced and hence require veterinary treatment with antibiotics.

Constipation

Constipation is a frequently encountered problem. Feed only moist greens for two or three days and add liquid paraffin

Cystitis

The most common urinary problem is cystitis, evidenced by pus and blood passed when the animal’s bladder is pressed. The rabbit is slightly lethargic and may be off its food and be drinking more water than usual. The cystitis does not seem to cause pain and responds well to veterinary treatment with Penicillin/Clavulox.

Diarrhea

It may be caused by too many greens in the diet, but is usually the result of coccidiosis. Treat with Thiabendazole(injection) 5 milligrams per 100 grams body-weight, or 0.1per cent Sulphamethazine in drinking water for two weeks or preferably a coccidiocide.

Ear Disorders

The usual sign of an ear problem is that the rabbit raising its head and scratching its ears. Sometimes the the ear will have a red, yellow or whitish scale on the surface, and it may smell because of a discharge ear. The ear infections are usually caused by mites. If can, clean the rabbit’s ears out with cotton buds an apply them with a lukewarm 50 per cent peroxide water solution before using ear drops available from your veterinarian.

Eye Disorders

A reddened and protruding eye is usually caused b an infection (or abscess) below the eye or by conjunctivitis. Treatment includes lancing and antibiotics.

Head Tilt

The cause is trauma or middle ear infection. Treatment is by cat or dog ear drops and injection of Gentamycin 5 milligrams per kilogram body weight.

Mange

Skin mange is also caused by mites. The rabbit will itself fuss continually about the infested area until raw lesions appear. The lesions can take various forms; some will be a wet, moist area with a yellowish crust or there may be just loss of hair with no apparent on of the skin. These areas can be treated with benzyl benzoate=lotion to a third of the body daily until the whole body has been treated. Repeat weekly for two or three weeks best to clip away the hair for at least 2 centimeters on the lesions. A new product called Ectodex is proving successful. In serious cases the veterinarian will take a scraping to determine the type of mite causing them. A grayish or yellowish crust on nose, face and also be caused by ringworm. Apply Thiabendazole K1 solution twice daily for ten days. Griseofulvin tablets rate of 2 milligrams per 100 grams body-weight can give good results. Ivermectin is also useful.

Myxornatosis

This is a highly fatal viral disease which is transmitted mosquitoes and the rabbit flea. After a short period there is a fever, followed by a reluctance to eat as ears become hot and swollen. The eyes become and red and begin to weep. Death invariably occurs within seven days.

Pregnancy Toxemia

This can account for deaths occurring suddenly during late pregnancy. The toxemia is usually nutritional in origin and may be caused by the intake of food failing in quantity or quality or both towards the end of pregnancy.

Respiratory Diseases

When the rabbit develops a cold it sniffles and sneezes just like a human being with a cold. To identify cases early, put your ear to the rabbit’s chest and listen for the typical rattling sound. Take the rabbit to the vet at this stage.
Sometimes pneumonia may develop in very young rabbits or nursing does. If this happens, the rabbit will lose its appetite, be very thirsty and have a fever. The normal body temperature is 39°C. Fever temperature is above 40°C. The breathing will be labored and heavy in near terminal cases. The pneumonia may be complicated and associated with diarrhea. In these cases it is best to take the rabbit to a vet who will prescribe an antibiotic. A good antibiotics Ampicillin orally 10 milligrams per kilogram body-weight twice daily for seven days.

Slobbers

Excess production of saliva, difficulty in eating and getting overgrown teeth caught on the wire cage are all signs of overgrown or ingrown incisors or molars.
It usually occurs in mature rabbits who are not provided with hard objects to gnaw. However, the greatest cause is malocclusion or failure of the opposing teeth to meet. The only effective treatment is to cut overgrown or ingrown incisors or molars.

Sores

Sores can be a consequence of keeping bucks in over-crowded conditions. Fighting breaks out between the bucks and even the strongest male may suffer scratching and sub-sequent sores.
Pressure sores on hocks are common in rabbits housed in cages with wire flooring.

Teeth Disorders

Overgrowth of incisor teeth is caused by insufficient rough-age in the rabbit’s diet. The teeth should be filed down with an emery board or file. Add roughage to the diet and a wood block to the cage for chewing, so that the teeth are subjected to normal (and necessary) wear.

Vaccinations

Vaccination against myxomatosis—a viral disease which in certain areas has been introduced to eradicate the wild rabbit—is available in some areas for pet rabbits. Otherwise rabbits do not require vaccination.

Weight Loss

Weight loss or poor weight gain, loss of strength, or stiffness in hind legs are all caused by a vitamin E deficiency. Add vitamin E to the rabbit’s diet at the rate of of 1 milligram per kilogram body-weight until symptoms disappear.

How to Build a Bird Cage

Housing all the pets kept for the enjoyment of the human race is what birds probably hate the most because of their restrictions. Birds, like any other animal, will live and breed successfully only if their environment is satisfactory. It is most important intending bird purchasers obtain the type of aviary the particular bird requires. For all but canaries or budgerigars, substantial aviaries are needed and construct the aviary before the birds are purchased.

Breeding cages suitable for canaries and finches can be made yourself on any desired number. Or they can be purchased ready-made in working units. The units are separated by inserting a sheet of wallboard between the wire sections during the breeding season; the wallboard can be at the conclusion of the breeding season so that the cages can be Is small aviaries.

Breeding Cages

Breeding cages are so small, they should have a removable paper liner that can be laid on the floor and removed each time and water utensils should be attached to the outside of small cages so the water and feed being spilled on the cage floor. This allows for leaning, and discourages the bird from eating off the floor.

The large aviary will have all that is needed to meet the requirements of species, such as running water for drinking and bathing, an floor, twigs and shrubs on which to perch, and nesting materials available from the floor. It is in the smaller aviaries and cages that owners must pay particular attention to ensuring that the birds have everything necessary to make them feel at home and comfortable in their small environment.

Cages should be provided with shrubbery, either in pots or as cut pieces, for the birds to perch on, particularly in the case of finches. The shrub branches are preferable to dowel perches and must be provided during the breeding season anyway for the birds to nest in.

Where perches are used, they should not be the round hardwood dowels commonly used, but should be made of oval softwood. Hardwood should not be used because it invariably splits, allowing a hiding place for mites and lice, which can then withstand disinfection of the cage and attack the birds again at night.

Canary cages should have two perches, the first 7-10 centimeters from the ground and the second not closer that 15 centimeters to the roof of the cage; the perches should be at opposite ends of the cage. The distance of the top perch from the roof is critical during the breeding season, as mating may be impaired if it is too close to the ceiling. The cock bird must be able to mount the female, flap his wings to maintain his balance, and swing to the correct mating position freely.

Small Aviary

Small Aviary is a problem and only a few small birds are kept. Because of the smaller space, hygiene becomes more important and it is advisable to have the aviary raised off the ground with metal floor tray at the bottom of the cage to collect feces for The floor of the aviary should be 60-80 centimeters above the that it is completely rodent-proof.

Small Indoor Cages

Indoor cages are very small, usually 50cm X 50cm X 30cm, and provide for only one or two small birds such as budgerigars or canary. Because the cages are so small, they are available ready made at different prices. They usually have a self-feeding and watering system and removable floor tray. These items make for a hygienic existence, necessary in such a small area. cage is so small, it must be placed where there is plenty of action so the bird does not become bored. Once the bird has become comfortable, owners let it out for short periods to fly in a closed room

The Large Enclosed Aviary

Tropical birds kept in non-tropical climates require special conditions. In- , stead of having an open netted flying area, birds should be totally housed, with windows suitably placed for ventilation if necessary. In the southern hemisphere large windows should be placed in the northern and western walls to catch the morning and afternoon sun. Suitable bird-proof air vents should be placed in the eaves to provide ventilation when the windows are closed during very cold weather.

Whenever glass is built into an aviary it should have bird wire on the inside to prevent the birds flying into the glass and injuring themselves. Birds tend to fly at glass because they can see their reflections in it, presumably because they assume the reflection is an intruder to be driven off.

The large open aviary birds except the canary or the budgerigar (which seem to cope with small cages) should have room not only to stretch their wings but also to fly. If you have the space available it is best to build a large aviary 2 meters wide. Small birds are very popular and meters high and up to 2.5 meters long. The bottom of the aviary should give their owners much pleasure.

The aviary should be rodent-proofed with galvanized sheeting, each sheet about a meter long. Bury one end of the sheets 70 centimeters into the ground, so that rodents are discouraged from digging their way into the aviary, and so that 30 centimeters of sheeting protrudes above the ground. Overlap any joins in the sheeting. Corrugated iron is excellent for this purpose. The iron should be nailed or screwed to each corner post and to the timber frame.

The floor of the aviary should be soil in which grasses and other low shrubs are growing. Some dry grass, hay or twigs should be made available on the floor for nesting material. A compost heap can be kept in the aviary to attract insects for feeding. For the walls, wire netting is available as `chicken mesh’. This gives an open netted flying area to the birds (but do make sure small birds can’t fly through the holes in the wire netting!). This is the ideal aviary and most species of bird can be kept in it as the environment is very similar to that in the wild.

One end of the aviary should be enclosed with solid walls and roofed, with a door that can be shut, to keep the birds inside during cold or windy weather. Any building material is satisfactory providing it affords protection. During the breeding season those birds which prefer secluded nest sites may be confined to the indoor section while outdoor shrubbery nesting birds may be left in the open section.

In hot weather, aviaries can be cooled by a sprinkler system on the roof.

Cat Grooming

Cats are fastidious and hygienic animals; they keep themselves clean. At times, however, they need some help particularly the long-haired types. Grooming makes the animal feel better as it stimulates the circulation and removes any debris and loose hair. Grooming can be pleasurable for the cat if it is done on a regular basis and the cat’s hair kept in reasonable condition, but it can easily turn into a fight if it is left until long hair becomes matted and knotted.
Matting can become so severe on the sides and belly that the cat needs a general anesthetic before the thick wads of hair are removed. In this case, there is no alternative but to take the mat off at skin level. Grooming tools required are a stiff brush, a metal comb with . close-set teeth, a smoothing glove or cloth and a pair of blunt-ended scissors. Place the cat on a table or bench, preferably out of the sun. Brush and comb the cat both with and against the lay of its hair. If the hair is matted, gently push the scissors between the skin and the hair mat and snip.
Sometimes a cat gets so dirty it needs a bath—though this must be approached with caution. Choose washing days at random; find the cat and lock it up before you prepare the bath or—invariably—no cat! Three-quarters fill a 10-litre plastic bucket with warm water. Use a recognized cat shampoo, preferably one that contains an insecticide; shampoos containing 20 per cent coconut oil are very satisfactory. Bath the cat in a confined area, such as the bathroom or the laundry, with the door shut. You will need two people. The first person should take the cat by the scruff of the neck in one hand and the back legs in the other and place it backside first into the bucket of warm water. The second person then runs his or her fingers through the cat’s hair to make sure that the skin is wet right up to and including the neck. This should be done quickly and efficiently. Remove the cat from the water, place it on a bench and lather with shampoo; after massaging the shampoo into its coat, return the cat to the water and rinse the shampoo off. If the cat is particularly dirty, the process may need to be repeated. If the cat reacts violently to this technique, wrap a towel soaked in water around it to wet its fur. Hold the animal firmly as you do this, leaving its head out of the towel. Again, you will need two people—one to wrap the around the cat while the other holds its scruff and the back legs. Once :he cat is thoroughly wet, remove the towel and lather its coat in the usual Talk reassuringly to the animal. After rinsing is complete, press any excess water from the coat using your hands. Rub the cat down vigorously a towel to dry the hair. In cold weather, do the job in a warmed room.
Short-haired cats should not be brushed. Instead, use a chamois or smoothing cloth, rubbing the hair with the lie towards the rear of the animal. This will bring out the sheen.
Long-haired cats that are being exhibited at a show should be washed with a good shampoo no fewer than three to four days before the show, as it takes several days for the natural oils to return to the coat. Newly washed cats will often have a dull coat. Pour Johnson’s Baby Powder liberally over the coat while brushing it back against the lie, towards the head. Do this daily until twenty-four hours before showing, when all the powder must be removed. Black cats should not be powdered, as it dulls the coat. Instead, rub some bran (warmed in the oven) into the fur twenty-four hours before the show. Once the bran has dried, comb it out carefully. With Persian cats, trim the hair around the tops of the ears to round off the outline.
Whatever other beauty tricks you use to make your cat look its best at a show, don’t resort to using blue rinses to produce a silver-grey Chinchilla, or black boot polish to darken the tips of the Seal-point Siamese. This is illegal and if detected may mean disqualification.

Cat Care

Most of the nutritional diseases seen in cats result from reliance on a single food or type of diet, which usually occurs for reasons of convenience, economy or because the cat refuses any other food. When cats are restricted to a single diet it magnifies marginal deficiencies and may result in nutritional disease. Cats are fussy eaters and easily become addicted to a particular diet or type of food. They establish their eating patterns at a very early age and if not exposed to a variety of food as kittens they may be very restricted in the food they accept as adults.

The complex nutritional requirements of a cat can be met best and most economically by using a commercially prepared cat food. Home diets can be made up, but when the time and cost of ingredients are taken into account they cannot be compared with commercially prepared rations. These factors are becoming more important for the average pet owner. Recent research has demonstrated that the cat has many unique nutritional requirements which are quite different to other species, such as the dog. It is most important that the very best diet is fed when maximum performance is expected, such as reproductive efficiency or showing.

When a cat is first changed to dry food from either meat or tinned food, it is most important to teach it to drink more water. This can be done by mixing water into the food or by salting the food. Dried food should be introduced gradually so the animal can adjust to the increased drinking requirements.

How Much Food to Feed a Cat?

Recommended amounts and frequency of feeding for kittens and cats

During Weaning

0.8 kg 1/2-2/3 cup 3-4

At 6 Months

2.5 kg 1/2_2/3. 3/4-1 cup 2

Adults

3.0 kg 1/2 1 cup 1-2

During Pregnancy

3.5 kg 3/4-1 1-1 1/2 cups* 2

During Lactation

11/2 1 1/2-2 cups* 2-3
*Dry foods should not form the entire diet of a female cat during pregnancy and lactation.

A Cat’s Diet

Commercial products available for feeding your pet can be classified as moist foods or dry foods.
Moist foods usually contain 75 per cent moisture, 25 per cent solids. They may be complete rations, providing all requirements for the cat, or incomplete rations requiring supplementation with meat. Always read the label to ensure your cat is receiving a properly balanced diet.

Dry foods are 10 per cent moisture and 90 per cent solids. They can be mixed with each other or with other foods to satisfy the owner’s preferences and the cat’s taste.

Supplementary meat, eggs, table scraps, gravy, and so on, may be used, but in small quantities that should not exceed 25 per cent of the total diet; otherwise you run the risk of upsetting the balance of nutrients in the commercial product.

Where a home preparation is preferred, additional calcium, iodine, vitamin A and possibly trace elements are desirable. A five-month-old kitten being fed meat could have calcium carbonate and a daily egg (at least, the yolk) and some milk, if tolerated, to improve its diet. Meat should be cooked or. if the cat prefers it raw, deep frozen for at least fourteen days to prevent parasite transmission. Whole eggs should be cooked also, as uncooked egg white is indigestible and it does contain half the protein content.

Dangers of an All-Meat Diet

Nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism (N.S.H.) disease is seen most often in healthy looking, well-grown kittens at four to six months of age which are being fed a basically all-meat diet. The protein content, caloric value and palatability of meat initially produces rapid growth, which increases the kitten’s calcium requirements during the peak bone growth period. The problem is that in skeletal meat the calcium content is low and the phosphorus content relatively high (calcium to phosphorus ratio 1 : 10). At this ratio little calcium is absorbed, and body hormones stimulate the kitten’s bones to dissolve to provide sufficient blood calcium.

Early signs of N.S.H. include behavioral changes, irritability and reluctance to run, jump and play. Affected kittens prefer sitting to standing and may show deviation of the paws inwards and lameness or weakness in the hindquarters (sometimes caused by fractures). Secondary complaints are respiratory difficulties, constipation and (at adulthood) difficulty giving birth. Even in severe cases, clinical improvement is obvious within a few weeks, once the diet has been corrected.

The most important step in treating nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism is to provide the cat with a diet containing adequate amounts of calcium and phosphorus in the ratio of 1 : 1. The ideal way is to replace the meat diet with a completely balanced commercial ration. Cats being choosy eaters, however, will often refuse to change. Enforcing the change by starving the cat into submission is usually unsuccessful and does not provide the intake of minerals required for improvement. In this case, the meat diet may be supplemented with calcium to achieve the same purpose. Supplement each 100 grams of meat with 1 gram (1 level teaspoon) of calcium carbonate during the treatment period.
Once symptoms have subsided, administer half a teaspoon of calcium carbonate per 100 grams of meat. Where female cats have been affected by N.S.H., have them desexed to save them from difficulties giving birth, as the pelvis is usually permanently narrowed. The erroneous use of the name `rickets’ for this disease infers that a deficiency of vitamin D plays a role in its cause and suggests the use of the vitamin in its treatment. Although vitamin D enhances intestinal absorption of calcium, large doses actually increase demineralization of skeletal bone. The use of combined injections of vitamin D and calcium is to be discouraged as they usually provide large doses of vitamin D and insignificant amounts of calcium, a dangerous combination in cats.

Special Diets

Prescription diets for health problems such as obesity, cystitis, pancreatitis are available. Consult your veterinarian.

Cats that are exceptionally active, are kept in a cold environment or are used for breeding have higher energy requirements \than most. (The opposite applies to inactive, confined cats, old animals or those known to gain weight easily.) Growth, pregnancy and lactation are the most frequent indications for increased energy, protein, vitamins and minerals. If a balanced diet containing good-quality protein is offered, the increased quantity of the food consumed will ensure increased quantities of all the nutrients to meet these requirements. In some cases, however, particularly during pregnancy, additional protein supplementation may be necessary. Eggs or small quantities of meat are then suitable. Feeding liver occasionally—that is, once weekly or fortnightly—provides additional vitamin A and is recommended during pregnancy. Illness, fever or loss of appetite increases requirements of B-group vitamins; add brewer’s yeast.

When the animal is ill, some foods may be more attractive than others, especially those with strong odors such as fish (tuna, sardines, pilchards), chicken and baby foods. Most foods should be warmed at least to room temperature. This enhances the odors, although cats with oral ulcers, as in upper respiratory tract infections, gain some relief from eating cold foods. Ice cream can also be attractive to these sick cats.

Fat

The cat has a high energy requirement, making a diet with a high calorie density necessary. The cat’s high fat requirement in its food is made necessary by these energy demands.

Dietary fat is a concentrated source of energy; it provides essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins and adds palatability to the diet. However, many owners and breeders reduce the fat in the erroneous belief that cats cannot tolerate dietary fat. Recent research has shown that the cat prefers a high level of dietary fat and should have at least 30 per cent in the diet (dry basis). Cats digest and absorb fat very efficiently even at such high levels. Cats fed diets deficient in essential fatty acids become listless, their coats become dry with severe dandruff, and they show other abnormalities such as infertility.

Caring for the Sick Cat

The first signs of sickness noticed by the owner are usually decreased appetite and listlessness. As long as a cat looks bright and has missed only a couple of meals, there is generally no need for concern, the cat may be eating at a neighbor’s house, or having success hunting. If it appears listless, keep a careful eye on it and try to confine it; sometimes it is best to lock the cat up, as cats will go into old sheds or under houses or into other inaccessible places when they are ill.

Other signs of early illness are prolapse of the third eyelid, vomiting, diarrhea, sneezing, runny eyes, straining, crouching, ear scratching, head shaking, bad breath, yowling, dribbling from the mouth and spitting. With any of these symptoms, the animal should be taken to a vet for a complete examination.

More than any other animal, a sick cat needs familiar surroundings. Its owner should give it plenty of attention. Often loving care can be more beneficial than medicine. Siamese and Burmese in particular will lose the will to live if they do not get a lot of attention from the owner. Because the owner’s tender loving care is so important, most vets will keep a sick cat in the surgery only until it is over the critical stage, even if this means daily return visits to the surgery for further treatment. The combination of veterinary care and home attention is the best way to speedy recovery in the cat. Cats recuperating and convalescing from an illness will eat better if returned home. Cats can be difficult patients, their nervousness and tendency to bite and scratch in unfamiliar situations often makes treatment hazardous. When the cat returns home, put it in a warm, draught-free semi-dark room, where it can observe the activities of the family.

Your veterinarian will rely heavily on the cat’s history and any observations that you can relay. It is best to record the cat’s temperature, medical history and current symptoms, and any other abnormalities or relevant information the cat may show. This should be written down in a notebook.
A sick cat’s temperature should be taken twice a day, in the morning and again in the evening, when it will be at its highest point.

To take its temperature, use a narrow-bulb human thermometer. Shake it down below 38°C, lubricate the tip with soap, lift the animal’s tail and insert the thermometer into the rectum. The mercury bulb should lie against the rectal wall to get a correct reading. Leave the thermometer in the rectum for about a minute. Normal temperature is about 38.5°C, but kittens might have a slightly higher reading. A slight fever is about 39-39.5°C, and a serious temperature is 40°C and higher. If the fever is due to a bacterial infection, it will be twenty-four hours before antibiotics reduce the temperature even half a degree. As long as the temperature is falling, it is worthwhile persevering with the drug. If the temperature does not drop within hours, contact your vet. Cats that are ill, have a fever or are off -2tir food need increased vitamin B in their diet.

Foods with strong odors, such as fish (tuna, sardines, pilchards) chicken baby food, are more attractive to the sick cat. Odors can be enhanced by warming the food—although cats with mouth ulcers, as in respiratory tract viruses, gain some relief from discomfort by eating cold foods.
Cats suffering from cat flu (feline respiratory disease) will sometimes get from inhaling human decongestants. Hold the cat’s head over a bowl steaming water and decongestant, with a towel over cat and bowl, and hold it there firmly for a few minutes to inhale the vapor. Hold the cat in a way that it cannot struggle and hurt itself with the hot water. Sick cats, particularly those suffering from upper respiratory tract infections. respond to the ‘purring therapy’. This involves handling the cat and cuddling it to induce it to purr. The increased heart rate and respiratory involvement tends to clear out the sinuses, allowing the cat to smell its food and thus eat better.

Losing Hair

Cats living indoors shed hair all year round because of the artificial light and various other factors, including dryness of the skin, humidity and cold. A cat normally sheds hair according to the seasonal light pattern; as the day gets longer, the hair stops growing and begins to fall out, and new hair replaces the old. When the days get shorter, the new coat grows faster and less hair is shed. All cats with artificial light shed some hair all the year round, but usually it is more predominant during spring. Regular combing will help prevent hair from accumulating on furniture and clothes.

Birth Control

Unless you have your female cat desexed or your male cat neutered, you will always have to contend with the animal’s vigorous sex life. Females possess `neat sexual energy and will copulate with more than one torn during the :at period, which is usually short but very noisy, with both male and female howling till the mating is over. Three or four heat periods a year are not uncommon.
Methods of contraception, apart from keeping the cat confined, are: Contraceptive tablet or injection This method is not commonly used because of inconvenience. Lengthy use of these drugs may cause side effects and the cat may put on weight.

Desexing (spaying) is the usual choice. A surgical procedure to remove the ovaries, spaying is best done at six months of age. It prevents the cat from having heat cycles and prevents the birth of unwanted kittens. It also stops the female becoming involved in fights and eliminates visits by tom cats. The cat’s tubes can be tied instead of removing the ovaries, but as this does not eliminate the nuisance problem of the cat on heat it is not recommended.

Cat Nail Care

Each of the cat’s nails has a hard outer covering, with blood vessels and nerves inside. Close observation will ‘reveal a pink area (the blood vessel) running down to within 3 millimeters of the tip of the nail. When clipping your cat’s nails, always ensure that you do not encroach on those blood vessels. Although ordinary scissors can be used, they are not as gentle as nail clippers with the guillotine-type action.

Hold the cat in your lap to cut its nails. If it is nervous or if it struggles. put it into a bag or wrap it in a towel leaving the feet exposed. Grasp the toe firmly with your finger under the pad on the bottom of the toe and your thumb on the fur at the top. Exert gentle pressure until the claw is exposed. Clip the nail and file or sandpaper the rough edges. If_ the blood vessel is cut, pressure and the use of a styptic pencil will soon stop the bleeding. (A styptic pencil contains a substance such as alum or tannic acid which causes contraction of blood vessels).

Removing Paint

A cloth dipped in turpentine will remove oil-based paint before it has dried. Never let turpentine come into contact with the cat’s skin. If the paint is already dry, it will have to be clipped off. It is important to remove paint or any other chemical from your cat’s coat, as cats are very sensitive to insecticides and other chemicals, not only from absorption through the skin but particularly from the constant licking at the area when attempting to clean itself. Water-based paints can be rinsed off while wet; once dried, clip the cat’s hair.

Removing Tar and Grease

Tar can be removed with paraffin which, however, is a skin irritant and must be washed off with a shampoo as quickly as possible. Lard or any other animal fat rubbed into the region will also loosen the tar which can then be rubbed off with a rough towel and shampoo.
Fresh chewing gum can be removed with paraffin or acetone (nail polish remover), but be sure to wash these dissolving agents off quickly.

Exercise

Cats by their nature require very little exercise to keep lithe and fit.

Vitamins

Cats in the wild drink only small quantities of water, usually once a day. The water content of their natural food is about 70 per cent. Cats, in addition, have the ability to utilize water from their dietary fat and can also concentrate their urine (that is, they can excrete large quantities of waste products in a very small quantity of fluid—this is what makes their urine so strong smelling). A cat fed on commercial tinned food (approximately 75 per cent water) will consume about 30 milliliters (3 dessertspoons) of water daily. If the cat is fed dry foods (approximately 10 per cent water), its water requirements increase tenfold. The small quantity of water consumed by cats on a moist diet leads many owners to believe that water does not have to be provided. Even when water is available, cats will often prefer to drink from sinks, basins, bathtubs, showers, toilet bowls and plant containers. Beware, as cats are liable to ingest toxic substances from these sources (for example, disinfectants, plant sprays, fertilizers, and insecticides).

Vitamin A

Several features of the cat’s vitamin A requirements and metabolism are unusual among the animal species:
The cat stores large quantities of vitamin A in the kidney as well as in the liver.
Cats have a relatively high requirement of vitamin A for their size. Because they cannot make vitamin A, they must be provided with vitamin A in the diet.
Adequate amounts of dietary fat are necessary for normal intestinal absorption of vitamin A.
The usual sources of dietary vitamin A are liver, eggs and milk. Acute and chronic vitamin A deficiency can cause blindness, sterility, reduced litter size, weak or dead kittens, skeletal deformities, neurological defects, cleft palate, hare-lip, emaciation, weakness of the hind legs and respiratory problems. Major losses of vitamin A occur during pregnancy and lactation, reducing the queen’s stores by up to 75 per cent. If her stores are already low, the kittens will have low vitamin A stores at birth and through the suckling period. It is recommended that liver be fed occasionally, feeding particularly during pregnancy to replenish stores of vitamin A. Hyperkeratosis is a skin disorder of vitamin A deficiency.

Excessive vitamin A is also dangerous. Diets consisting mainly of liver have been responsible for bone abnormalities attributable to excess vitamin A. Too much cod-liver oil and multi-vitamin preparations may also be sources of excessive vitamin A. Affected cats show stiffness of the neck, foreleg lameness and paralysis, sensitivity to touch and abnormalities of gait and posture.
Other signs include depression, irritability, reversible testicular degeneration in tom cats, premature loss of incisor teeth, and excessive gum tissue production. The length of time an excess intake of vitamin A will take to produce clinical signs depends on the level of intake and the age of the cat. Younger cats show signs sooner than older ones.

In most clinical cases, affected cats are at least two years old and have been on a high vitamin A intake, usually in the form of a predominantly liver diet, for at least a year. Removal of the source of the excess results in marked clinical improvement within a few weeks. But while skeletal lesions are halted and undergo remodeling over the following year, they do not resolve completely and the cat may remain lame.

Vitamin B

Most balanced diets contain adequate quantities of B-group vitamins, but under certain circumstances (such as pregnancy and lactation) B-group requirements may increase. If the cat has a fever or is off its food for more than a few days, supplementary vitamin B-group therapy is advised because body stores are not substantial. Since failure to eat may be the effect of an acute deficiency of several of the B-group vitamins, the signs may be masked and aggravate the primary complaint. A convenient source of oral supplementary B-group vitamins is provided by brewer’s yeast. Many cats will voluntarily eat the tablets. The recommended dose is 0.5 to 1.0 gram per kilogram body-weight.

Thiamine (Vitamin B1) Thiamine is destroyed by heat, usually from cooking or processing. In commercial foods, extra thiamine is added before cooking to compensate for the predictable losses. Clinical signs of thiamine deficiency are usually the result of long-term dependence on a deficient or marginal commercial product, unless raw fish has been fed to the cat. Signs of thiamine deficiency can appear within six to eight weeks. Pregnancy, illness, loss of appetite or fever may cause the onset of signs more quickly.

The clinical signs include: convulsions precipitated by handling; marked dilation of the eyes; characteristic flexion of the head and neck downwards; irritability; wobbliness of the back legs; walking with paws extended. A cat suffering from thiamine deficiency may previously have been off its food, lost weight, vomited, become weak in the hindquarters. The oral administration of thiamine in the form of brewer’s yeast tablets at a dose rate of 1 gram per kilogram body-weight per day produces noticeable improvement within twelve to twenty-four hours. However, in severe cases where there have been convulsions for several days, brain lesions may be irreversible.

After clinical improvement the offending diet should be changed and oral thiamine supplemented in the form of brewer’s yeast tablets.

Vitamin D

The cat’s requirements for vitamin D are low, and its own production is probably adequate for its needs. Signs of deficiency are rare.

Vitamin E

Steatitis (yellow fat disease) has been reported in cats as a result of diets high in unsaturated fatty acids, usually from fish or fish oils. The most common offending diet is canned red tuna, but other fish, cod-liver oil, liver and horsemeat have also produced the disease.

When high amounts of unsaturated fatty acids are present in the diet, adequate amounts of vitamin E are required to prevent the development of steatitic. When the oils are combined with adequate vitamin E supplies, they are not harmful even in large amounts. Affected cats are irritable, reluctant to move and fevered, and being touched causes them pain. Veterinary treatment consists of specific vitamin therapy, with oral administration of alpha-tocopheral at the rate of 50 milligrams per day.

Calcium and phosphorus

A newborn kitten has a very small amount of skeletal calcium, which may be related to the low levels at calcium in its mother’s milk. When the queen receives inadequate dietary calcium, her kittens show less skeletal mineralization at weaning time than would occur with normal diets. Calcium deposition in the bones is not greatly increased even when supplementary calcium is given to kittens during the suckling period and only increases significantly when the kitten is fed a complete diet after weaning, The calcium required for bone growth and accumulation of skeletal stores must be derived from dietary sources. While growing, kittens require 200 to 400 milligrams of calcium per day.

The best utilization of dietary calcium takes place when the calcium : phosphorus ratio is 0 9 : 1.1. Very large quantities can be safely given if this ratio is constant. For the pet owner, there is great difficulty in trying to estimate this ratio in home diets. It is therefore easier to select for the cat a complete commercial ration, which will have been balanced for calcium and phosphorus.

The problem occurs because in the wild the eat catches and eats the whole prey—a balanced diet. The home diet may consist of minced meat—one section of the prey. When growth is completed, intestinal absorption of calcium decreases to about 30 per cent of intake if the diet has previously been adequate and skeletal stores are normal.

In pregnancy and lactation, calcium loss increases to the point where a queen may lose one-third of her calcium reserves when raising five to six kittens. A daily intake of at least 600 milligrams of calcium is recommended to meet these requirements. With a continuing intake of a calcium-deficient diet, severe depletion of skeletal stores occurs, resulting in a generalized porous condition of the bones of both queen and kittens and consequent reduced bone growth and mineralization

Carbohydrates

Experimental feedings and analyses indicate that cats are able to efficiently digest most types of carbohydrates. Diarrhea sometimes occurs in kittens that are unable to digest the lactose component of cow’s milk.

Protein

Cats have an unusually high requirement for dietary protein—nearly double that of dogs and several times that of humans on a body-weight basis; cats will refuse food with less than 19 per cent protein. The protein offered must be of a high biological value and easily digestible. Blindness can be induced if a cat is fed a protein-deficient diet. The recommended dietary protein levels for cats are a minimum of 21 per cent (dry basis) for adults, and 33 per cent (dry basis) for kittens. Dry basis means that the calculation is made after all water is extracted and only dry food is left.

Other Minerals

Iron and copper deficiencies are uncommon, as cats are able to obtain the required amounts from a meat-based diet. The normal diet of the cat is rich in magnesium, so cats suffering from feline urological syndrome (a urine disorder) usually need a special low-magnesium diet.

Protecting Household Furniture

Protecting household furniture is a natural instinct for a cat to seek high places to perch. Particular firmness may be required of you to stop your cat jumping on the table at meal-times. Pushing the cat down each time it jumps up will not, in most cases, break the habit. A firmer approach is necessary. Put the cat in another or outdoors at meal-times or when food is being prepared, or discourage jumping by making a loud noise on the table when it looks like making in attempt.

While clawing at curtains, rugs and furniture is an enjoyable activity for a kitten, it is an expensive pastime for an owner. Most cats can be discouraged by substitutes, a wooden log with the bark left on it is ideal. Simply fasten a rough-barked post on to a wide heavy base. Fasten a small toy or piece of wool to a string embedded in the top of the post—this will also amuse the cat.

Some cats constantly claw the furniture despite being provided with a scratching post. Persistent offenders can have their front claws removed by surgery. This is neither disfiguring nor disabling, but it should be done only as a last resort. The animal can still defend itself, but not as well as before. The main argument for declawing is that it allows many people to keep their cats instead of having them put down.

Traveling

Never attempt to transport a cat in an insecure container, this includes wicker baskets and cardboard carrying boxes which can rapidly develop holes if soaked by urine. Instead, use a firmly fastened basket, a carrying case, zip bag or pillow slip.

Moving house The cat’s natural instincts are acute, especially the homing instinct. It is often reported that a cat has travelled 50 kilometers or more from its new home back to the old one. It has been recorded, incredible though it may seem, special event, be sure to go to your vet early enough to allow at least three weeks for the full course. After that a single injection annually will keep up a high level of protection. Your vet will advise you of the best program for your cat.

There are some circumstances under which kittens cannot be isolated until they are old enough to be properly vaccinated against panleukopenia and cat flu. In these cases, some degree of protection can be given to the kitten by administering a vaccine at about six weeks of age. This should be considered as only a temporary vaccination. It is essential that kittens are vaccinated again at twelve weeks.

Dog Veterinary

When you are giving tablets to your dog, it may be possible simply to disguise them in food, such as a piece of meat, which can then be added to the dog’s meal. You must check that the tablet is actually consumed, rather than simply being left in the bottom of the bowl. Should this method fail, then you are likely to be forced to place the tablet directly into its mouth. Do not attempt to break up the tablet instead and powder it over the food at the dog’s meal. This is because some tablets, especially those prescribed for deworming purposes, often have a nasty taste and may cause your dog to salivate if they are swallowed in this form. Normally, the drug itself is retained in a protective coating which conceals its taste

If you need to give a tablet directly to the dog, it may be helpful to have someone else : assist you by holding the dog. It is reasonably easy to open the dog’s mouth by putting your left hand on either side of the upper jaw, while prying the lower jaw apart with your other hand. (Obviously you will find it easier to reverse the positioning of your hands if you are left-handed.)

Holding the tablet with the thumb and — finger of your right hand, drop this as far bad as possible in the dog’s mouth, without releasing your grip on the jaws. You mus: – close the mouth, so as to encourage the swallow the tablet. It will help to tilt the rel,: slightly upwards, and stroke the throat around the same time.

As a routine measure, you should open your dog’s mouth each week, so that it becomes used to this procedure. Dogs will otherwise prove rather snappy under the circumstances. This is not only important in giving tablets, but it also enables you to inspect their teeth. A number of dental products, including special canine toothbrushes and paste are now available it is advisable to use these regularly to help to prevent the build-up of harmful plasm on the teeth, especially close to the border with the gums. Here it is particularly harmful, as it is likely to trigger inflammation known as gingivitis, which can result in erosion of the gum and weakening of the teeth. In addition, a build-up of plaque is a common cause of bad breath, known technically as halitosis, which is unpleasant and easily prevented in this case.

A third reason for being able to open your dog’s mouth easily is if it swallows a bone, or a ball becomes stuck here. In such emergency situations your dog will be frightened anyway, and you will need to protect yourself as far as possible against being bitten. This will be almost inevitable if the dog is not used to having its mouth opened. Yet if it is not alarmed by this procedure, you may well be able to relieve the obstruction and so prevent the dog from choking at a time when rapid action is required.

A slightly different procedure is required if you need to give your dog a liquid medicine using a syringe, and, again, you can practise this slightly different grip. In this instance, the jaws should be held together with the nose pointing upwards. The tip of the syringe is then inserted from the side of the mouth, and the plunger gently depressed so as not to cause the medication to run out of the mouth. Never attempt to pour liquid medication straight into the mouth from the front or spoon it in, since this will inevitably cause choking.

It is important to bear in mind that a dog will not forget an unhappy experience of this nature, and almost certainly, at some stage in its life, it will require treatment which has to be given orally. You may then find yourself faced with a real battle if your dog has not been taught to co-operate in this fashion. It can make all the difference to a successful outcome to a course of medication, yet, unfortunately, the majority of dog owners rarely consider this aspect of training.

Similarly, you should not just look at the eyes or ears when there may be a problem here. You may want to wipe around the eyes with moist cotton wool on occasions as part of the regular grooming process, and also inspect the ears. You can use a cotton wool bud to remove any obvious build-up of dirt in the ear canal, but never be tempted to probe here, as this may cause injury.
Ear infections are most likely to occur in breeds with relatively long and heavy ears, such as spaniels. Again, apart from alerting you to the likely development of a problem here, such inspections will help to ensure that even with a painful condition, the dog will have sufficient confidence to allow you to treat it without attempting to snap or simply pulling its head away repeatedly.

It is especially important in these cases to apply the medication effectively in order to cure the condition. Recurrences are otherwise quite likely, and, ultimately, surgery may be the only recourse. You can help when providing the medication by massaging the side of the ear. Take care to be gentle, since these ear infections are intensely irritating and painful.

Another useful training procedure for health purposes is to lift the dog’s feet regularly so that you can examine them. This will reveal any overgrowth of the claws, which will have to be trimmed back. You can do this yourself, although it will probably be better if you arrange for a vet to undertake the task in the first instance, as it is important to judge the required length properly. If the nail is cut too short then it will almost inevitably bleed.

Being able to examine the feet easily is also important if the dog becomes lame at any stage. It may be that a grass seed has penetrated between the paws. This is a very painful condition, and there is a risk that the seed responsible may track further up the leg. Yet if you can see it still protruding, you can retrieve it before serious harm is caused.

Harvest mites (Trombicula auturrinalis) may cause severe irritation between the toes during the late summer in particular, and result in the dog chewing fiercely at its feet. Treatment in this instance is likely to require the bathing of the region with a safe insecticide. This will be much easier to do if the dog will allow you to lift its feet. You will then be able to soak them in the medicated solution for maximum effectiveness.

Paw injuries are sadly not uncommon, especially on sharp pieces of glass which can inflict a nasty cut. In spite of their horny appearance, a dog’s pads will bleed profusely if cut. Efficient emergency treatment relies upon being able to stem the blood loss with a tourniquet around the foot. You will find this task so much easier if the dog is used to the routine of having its leg lifted. You can then concentrate much more effectively on dealing with the wound, rather than having to battle with your dog in order to help it.

Regrettably, few owners of pet dogs consider such maneuvers to be part of the regular training routine and yet they can be so vital in preventing the dog from becoming unnecessarily upset when it is injured. The value of having taught the dog to allow you to open its mouth is clearly visible here. Fluid medication should be given in the side of the mouth, rather than at the front. From this position it is less likely to run out over the fur. When administering tablets, do not break them. as many have an unpleasant taste.