Aggression: The number one reason why animals are given up to the shelter or euthanized. Aggression can be a very scary thing to see, but knowing the reason behind the aggression can give you a better understanding of why your pet acts the way it does and in most cases with time and consistency, the behavior can be modified.
There are several different types of aggression and we’ll focus on the number 1 type in this blog: Social/dominance aggression.
Dominance aggression is when there is social hierarchy. It is displayed when the social structure is challenged. This is usually displayed in a group of dogs and the Alpha dog (the “top dog”) is challenged by a dog lower in the hierarchy. This can happen over food, a comfortable place to rest, or a mate. This type of aggression needs to happen to avoid fights in the future. The challenges will happen for a couple of days until the hierarchy is established. But please, don’t let it get too far out of control. Challenges are more of a “show of aggression” such as growling or snarling and possibly a nip. Try to snap the dogs out of it if it starts to get too serious. However, it is important to remember NEVER to get between two dogs that are fighting. Your safety comes first! Once the hierarchy is established, it usually only takes a direct stare or threat of charging from the “Alpha” to diffuse any possible future confrontation. This type of aggression can also occur due to “scarce resources”, such as food, treats, the desired place to rest, and even your attention.
The fix: when bringing in a new puppy or new adult dog, have the new dog take a submissive position to the existing dog(s). If you know that you have an existing dog that is a dominant dog, it would be helpful if the first meeting was made in neutral territory- such as a park. Make the new dog lie on its back and allow the other dog to sniff it. If needed, use a leash on the existing dog to keep contact minimal. Once contact has been made, and no aggression occurs, rewarding each dog with praise helps avoid future rumbles. Treats are effective as well, but make sure the existing dog gets the treat first. You don’t want to start a fight over treats! In most aggressive dogs, a good start is to 1.) make sure the dog is getting plenty of exercise to spend any pent-up energy. 2.) solidify basic obedience with the dog. Making the dominant/aggressive dog perform a submissive behavior (such as “sit”, “down”, “stay”) before whatever the trigger for the aggression happens, takes them out of that aggressive mind set.
Social aggression in cats is most often seen in confined cats, since most feral cats are more solitary. Have you ever seen two cats walk past each other and then all of a sudden one pounces? They lay on their sides, belly-to-belly, clawing and biting until one jumps up and runs off. These cats are deciding who is going to be dominant. Much like dogs, confined cats will form a social hierarchy. Unlike dogs, however, the aggression may continue even after the hierarchy if formed. In the rare case that a feral group forms a hierarchy, it usually depends on size in females and age in males.
The Fix: when bringing in new cat, allow one room for the new cat to have all to itself and keep the door closed for a good 2-3 days. That way, the existing cat in the house has time to hear and smell the new cat without seeing it, thus reducing stress on both sides. After the first couple of days, swap the bedding and food dishes of the two cats. This gives the other even a better sniff. Finally, after about a week, leave the door to the new cat’s room slightly ajar and let the new cat wonder out on its own. If it does start to feel stressed or aggressed upon, the new cat has “safe place” to return to. For a funny telling of this first encounter, you can watch this video:
Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in a comment below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Heritage Veterinary Hospital
Domestic Animal Behavior by Katherine Houpt
Canine and Feline Behavior Problems by Dr. Stephanie Schwartz
Although pet parents are well aware of poisons lurking around their home, many don’t realize that some of the biggest culprits are sitting right on their own nightstands. In 2007, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center received 89,000 calls related to pets ingesting over-the-counter and prescription medications. To help you prevent an accident from happening, our experts have created a list of the top 10 human medications that most often poison our furry friends.
If you suspect your pet has ingested any of the following items, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435. And remember to keep all medications tucked away in bathroom cabinets—and far from curious cats and dogs.
NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen or naproxen are the most common cause of pet poisoning in small animals, and can cause serious problems even in minimal doses. Pets are extremely sensitive to their effects, and may experience stomach and intestinal ulcers and—in the case of cats—kidney damage.
Antidepressants can cause vomiting and lethargy and certain types can lead to serotonin syndrome—a condition marked by agitation, elevated body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure, disorientation, vocalization, tremors and seizures.
Cats are especially sensitive to acetaminophen, which can damage red blood cells and interfere with their ability to transport oxygen. In dogs, it can cause liver damage and, at higher doses, red blood cell damage.
Methylphenidate (for ADHD)
Medications used to treat ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in people act as stimulants in pets and can dangerously elevate heart rates, blood pressure and body temperature, as well as cause seizures.
Fluorouracil—an anti-cancer drug—is used topically to treat minor skin cancers and solar keratitis in humans. It has proven to be rapidly fatal to dogs, causing severe vomiting, seizures and cardiac arrest even in those who’ve chewed on discarded cotton swabs used to apply the medication.
Often the first line of defense against tuberculosis, isoniazid is particularly toxic for dogs because they don’t metabolize it as well as other species. It can cause a rapid onset of severe seizures that may ultimately result in death.
Pseudoephedrine is a popular decongestant in many cold and sinus products, and acts like a stimulant if accidentally ingested by pets. In cats and dogs, it causes elevated heart rates, blood pressure and body temperature as well as seizures.
Many oral diabetes treatments—including glipizide and glyburide—can cause a major drop in blood sugar levels of affected pets. Clinical signs of ingestion include disorientation, lack of coordination and seizures.
Even small exposures to Vitamin D analogues like calcipotriene and calcitriol can cause life-threatening spikes in blood calcium levels in pets. Clinical signs of exposure—including vomiting, loss of appetite, increased urination and thirst due to kidney failure—often don’t occur for more than 24 hours after ingestion.
Baclofen is a muscle relaxant that can impair the central nervous systems of cats and dogs. Some symptoms of ingestion include significant depression, disorientation, vocalization, seizures and coma, which can lead to death.
*Article from the ASPCA website
MEDIVET STEM CELL THERAPY IS AVAILABLE AT HERITAGE VETERINARY HOSPITAL
What is stem cell therapy? Stem cells are the body’s repair cells, the basic building blocks of life. They can divide and turn into tissues such as skin, fat, muscle, bone cartilage, and nerves to name a few. They also possess the ability to replicate into organs such as the heart, liver, intestines, pancreas, etc.
There are two basic types of stem cells. These are: Embryonic and somatic (adult). Embryonic cells are found in the placenta and embryo. Somatic cells are found in the bone marrow, fat, skin, liver, blood vessels, and neurons. Somatic cells do not have the ability to reproduce into any mature cell type or are able to create a complete organ. There are no moral or ethical concerns harvesting this type of cell, activating them, and reintroducing them back to the patient in areas where healing and regeneration is needed.
What is the procedure for collecting my pet’s stem cells? On the day of the procedure one of our doctors will put your pet under anesthesia. A couple of tablespoons of fat will be removed. Your pet will be allowed to awaken. The next step is to process the fat for the removal of the stem cells. This step will take a couple of hours. Once the cells have been collected your pet will be sedated and they will be administered into the affected joints and/or the bloodstream.
What results will be seen and when? Every animal is different and there are no guarantees, however, in 95% of the arthritic cases positive clinical improvement has been seen. Some pets have experienced a difference within a week. Even though quick results are possible you should begin to see improvement within 90 days following the treatment. Extreme cases of arthritis may require multiple injections, so banking your extra cells is recommended.
What conditions do you treat? Our typical patient has osteoarthritis (hip dysplasia, degenerative joint disease, calcifications, common degeneration and inflammation), soft tissue injuries (cruciate injuries, tears, ruptures, inflammation), or needs accelerated healing of fractures. We know a lot about these conditions, and over 95% of these patients get better, with MediVet’s Stem Cell Therapy.
We also treat other cases under “compassionate use”. We know less about these conditions, but are seeing some exciting results. Some of those conditions are: degenerative myelopathy, feline gingivitis, end-stage renal disease, liver and kidney failure, allergy, auto-immune, inflammatory bowel disease, pulmonary fibrosis, IMHA, atopy, and spine trauma. Please talk to your vet if you have questions about any of these conditions.
Dr. Joe Landers, Dr. Stephanie Bradley, Dr. Jessica Zink, Dr. Julie Merrick-Landers
Approximately 85-95% of all dogs and cats two years old or older have periodontal disease. The first sign of which is halitosis (bad breath)! Periodontal disease is the major cause of tooth loss in pets as well as a major factor in infections of the liver, heart, lung, and even the brain. Gum disease is painful. Red gums indicate inflammation and hurts. Dogs and cats have the same nerve supply to teeth & gums as humans and hurt just as much when infection is present.
Periodontal disease and tooth loss is totally preventable in many cases and controllable in the rest with regular dental cleanings as often as needed (usually annually but sometimes more often) and daily home care.
Proper home dental care is important because plaque begins to accumulate within 24-48 hours after eating and begins to mineralize into calculus and tartar. As this infection builds up the bacteria spread under the gumline where the real damage occurs as the gum begins to separate from the tooth as the disease progresses.
Please call us with any questions- 918-627-8575
-The Veterinarians of Heritage Veterinary Hospital Drs. Joe, Julie, Stephanie and Jessica
February is National Pet Dental Month!
Receive 10% off of your pet’s dental cleaning in February!
Every FEBRUARY is Dental Health Month at Heritage Veterinary Hospital.
Your pet’s teeth are very important to their overall health. If we noted during your visit the need for your pet to have a dental cleaning and polishing then keep reading!
Dental disease is the most common disease in dogs and cats. Over 68% of all pets over the age of three have some form of periodontal or dental disease, making it by far the most common canine disease.
*Pets need to have their teeth cleaned? Can’t I just brush his teeth?
-Brushing your pet’s teeth is a great way to prevent dental disease. However, when a pet has signs of dental disease such as red or inflammed gums, bad breath, tartar, or even loose teeth, your pet needs a dental.
*Yuck! My pet’s teeth look like the dog in the picture below, maybe even worse! What should I do?
-No worries. Your pet’s tartar can be removed with a professional scaling and polishing under anesthesia. Your pet’s teeth will then be polished and fluoride will be applied. Some pets may also need to have tooth extractions and/or antibiotics.
*I have an older pet. Is it ok to have her under anesthesia?
-Your pet will have an exam by one of our doctors prior to their dental. Your pet will also have blood work performed to check cell counts and internal organs. If any concerns are noted, one of the doctors will call you. Your pet will be monitored throughout the procedure and until he or she goes home.
*My pet has a healthy smile again! Now what?
-You will pick-up your pet in the afternoon and be greeted by your pet’s fresh breath! We will give you instructions on how to brush your pet’s teeth. Do not use human dentifrice or toothpaste. You can begin giving special canine toys as well as feeding the newer dental diets and dental treats to help reduce tartar build up.
Please call us at 918-627-8575 to make an appointment. We perform dentals Monday-Friday mornings. Drop-offs start at 7:30a.m. We look forward to seeing you soon.
Joe Landers, DVM , Julie Merrick-Landers DVM , Stephanie Bradley, DVM, Jessica Zink, DVM
P.S. Want more info? Visit our website at www.gtvets.com to see a short dental care video.