Archive for April, 2012

It’s possible to teach a deaf dog new tricks

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Dogs and cats can have either congenital or acquired deafness, and only a Brain Auditory Evoked Response (BAER) test can confirm hearing loss unequivocally, writes veterinarian Christie Long. She points out that deaf animals make excellent pets and that deaf dogs can be taught to respond to hand signals.

Click Here for more information

June 22 is Take Your Dog to Work Day

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Pet Sitters International has sponsored the day since 1999, encouraging employers to allow pets in the workplace for one summer Friday.

The goal is to boost employee morale and promote animal adoption and support for shelters and animal rescue groups.

For information, go to

Paige is Serenaded!

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

Sandy Chang and pet partner Paige had a great visit Friday morning April 13th.   Paige was serenaded by a senior lady who did such an instant mood swing that the therapy staff was astonished. The lady had been sad and clingy all morning, but perked up, smiled and sang songs as soon as she started petting Paige! She was even singing to our trading card as Paige left.  Good job, Paige!

Hyperthyroidism is Increasingly Common Among Older Cats

Friday, April 13th, 2012

If you have a kitty, you have probably heard of feline hyperthyroidism. Chances are even better if your Fluffy is a senior. That’s because feline hyperthyroidism is the No. 1 endocrine disorder of aging cats.

Hyperthyroidism is caused by an overactive thyroid gland. The opposite condition is an underactive thyroid gland, or hypothyroidism. People can be affected by either condition. Interestingly, for our four-legged family members, hyperthyroidism is virtually exclusive to senior cats, and hypothyroidism to dogs.

In fact, hyperthyroidism is so common in aging cats that standard wellness guidelines recommend screening for this disorder annually once a cat turns 7 years old.

The initial signs of an overactive thyroid gland can be subtle. As the disease progresses, your kitty may begin to show more obvious signs of a problem.

Early detection is key to successfully managing this disease and Fluffy’s overall health. Although some consequences of hyperthyroidism are reversible once treatment is established, others are not.

Excess thyroid hormone affects virtually every organ in the body. It increases metabolism, causing weight loss despite increased appetite. Fat and muscle are burned away. If left untreated, hyperthyroidism is a wasting disease.

Initially, you may not be aware that your cat has lost a few ounces. Or, you may erroneously think that Fluffy’s diet is finally taking effect.

Your veterinarian may examine Fluffy and feel an enlarged thyroid gland in his throat. This is usually due to a benign growth of thyroid cells. These abnormal cells don’t listen to the cat’s body’s signals to turn off hormone production.

Rarely, the enlarged thyroid gland may be due to cancer. This occurs in 1 to 2 percent of hyperthyroid cats. These cats initially have signs similar to other hyperthyroid cats, but the abnormal cells eventually metastasize, causing tumors elsewhere, such as in the lungs.

As metabolism increases, the heart works harder. This muscle pump changes in size and dimension due to the constant stimulation. Eventually, this leads to heart failure.

The kidneys take a toll as hyperthyroid blood is pounded into their delicate filters. Ironically, hyperthyroidism can initially mask the signs of kidney disease, but the damage is occurring nevertheless.

Blood pressure may climb and affect a variety of organs. For example, cats may become blind from retinal detachment.

Uncontrolled hyperthyroidism increases anesthetic risk. Safe anesthesia protocols include screening all senior cats for hyperthyroidism before performing elective anesthesia.

Fortunately, hyperthyroidism can be easily diagnosed with a simple, inexpensive blood test. Occasionally, thyroid levels can be in the “gray zone.” These cases warrant monitoring until their thyroid trend can be determined.

The good news is that most cases of hyperthyroidism can be successfully managed.

Daily, lifelong medicine controls hyperthyroidism in many cats. Most kitties tolerate this quite well. However, 10 to 15 percent become too ill from side effects of the drug to continue. Risks include severe nausea, liver disease and blood cell destruction. Cats need to be monitored closely for life-threatening risks, especially when starting or increasing this drug.

Unlike drug treatment, radioactive iodine therapy is a permanent remedy for hyperthyroidism. Certain government-approved centers provide this treatment by injecting affected cats with radioactive iodine. The sick thyroid cells attract this medicine, which in turn destroys them. Not all cats are good candidates for this procedure, but for those that are, the results can be marvelous.

Another option is to surgically remove the sick thyroid gland. This is also a permanent treatment, but involves placing a potentially unstable patient under anesthesia. Sometimes, the adjacent parathyroid gland is also damaged or removed, causing possibly severe calcium derangements.

In recent months, a novel therapeutic diet has been developed by a major pet food manufacturer to treat hyperthyroidism. The food is safe and effective, but cats must stay on it forever and cannot have treats or other nibbles of food. This can be especially challenging in households with multiple cats.

Research is ongoing to better understand what causes some cats to become hyperthyroid.  We know that the incidence of this disorder is increasing.

This is partly due to the increasing lifespan of cats over the past few decades. Since hyperthyroidism is a disorder of senior cats, we expect to see the incidence rise with a larger senior feline population.

But the incidence of hyperthyroidism is increasing faster than the senior cat population. And indoor cats have a higher risk than cats that go outside.

Various environmental factors, including canned cat food, flea products and cat litter have been studied as possible causes, but none has been found to be associated with hyperthyroidism.

A more recent theory suggests flame retardants in furniture and rugs as a possible culprit. More research is needed to determine whether there is actually a cause and effect relationship.

The bottom line: You can help Fluffy by having her thyroid checked every year after age 7.

• • •

Dr. Heidi Bassler practices at Bassler Veterinary Hospital

Charlie the pug

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Mr. Eckles came to Sunnycrest Animal Care Center in Fullerton, CA with Charlie his 15 year old Pug and sadly felt he needed to have Charlie put to sleep because he could no longer carry Charlie up the stairs and Charlie could not make it on his own.  We offered to either keep Charlie at the office or find a home for him. It only took a few days for Mary at Pug Nation Rescue of Los Angeles ( to find Charlie a great home with someone who will bring him to visit his dad once a month.  Charlie got to visit Mr. Eckles on his 95th birthday on his way to his foster home.  Doesn’t get any better than this!  Thanks to everyone who helped find Charlie a wonderful home.

Virbac Announces Voluntary Recall Notice for One Lot of IVERHART MAX® Chewable Tablets (ivermectin / pyrantel pamoate / praziquantel)

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Click to read the Press Release

Diamond Pet Food Suspends Delivery of All Brands made in SC

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Written By: Susan Thixton

  • 4-12-2012

One of you great Independent Pet Store People out there sent me a ‘heads up’ that their Distributor would not be delivering any products made by Diamond Pet Food; though she received no explanation why.  I called Diamond and was told…
Paraphrasing ‘In light of the recent Diamond Pet Food Recall, out of precaution Diamond is suspending delivery of all products made at the Diamond South Carolina facility until more information is available.’  Told to me by Julie, Diamond Pet Food Representative.
Julie did not have a list of Diamond manufactured foods made at the South Carolina Plant.  She suggested if a pet owner has a question if the food was made at the South Carolina Diamond Pet Food plant, please contact the respective company.
Foods made by Diamond Pet Food (though not confirmed to be made at the South Carolina Plant) Solid Gold Canidae/Felidae Natural Balance Kirkland (Costco Brand) Chicken Soup Taste of the Wild
No other information was provided.  Julie was very open and did not hesitate to share this with me.  I thank Diamond Pet Food for the openness.

Dog Saves Own Life by Calling Police

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012


George, a two-year-old Basset Hound in West Yorkshire, England got into a predicament while his owners were gone.

He got tangled in a phone cord and began choking. Somehow he managed to dial 999, the British equivalent of 911. Hearing heavy breathing, the emergency operator dispatched four police officers to the scene.

A neighbor, Paul Walker, let the police into the home where they found George choking on the living room floor. Walker ripped the wire out to release the frantic pup.

Grateful that her dog was all right when she returned, owner Lydia Brown said,

We still don’t know how he managed it. It’s one of those old-fashioned phones with the dialing ring. He’s not usually very smart. He’s really dopey and just likes to chew socks.

George, the World’s Tallest Dog

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Read about his daily life

Diamond Pet Food Recall

Sunday, April 8th, 2012

Click Here for Details