Urethral Obstruction in Cats

A cat sitting next to a litter box.
Urethral obstructions occur when the urethra (the tube through which urine exits the body from the bladder) is blocked. These blockages can be caused by plugs (a buildup of protein, cells, or minerals from the bladder), urinary stones, and/or inflammation. While both male and female cats can develop a urethral obstruction, it is most often seen in males because of their longer and narrower urethra. Urethral obstructions are a life-threatening emergency. If the blockage lasts too long and urine is unable to exit the body, the buildup can damage the kidneys and cause the bladder to rupture.

Lyme Disease in Dogs: Risk Factors, Signs, and Treatments

removing tick from dog
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by Borrelia burgdorferi and transmitted through the bite of an infected tick. Transmission of the bacteria can take between 24 to 48 hours after the tick attaches. Lyme disease can result in damage to the joints, kidneys, and nervous system. Lyme disease does not pose a significant threat to cats. The two species typically responsible for transmitting Lyme disease in North America are Ixodes scapularis (eastern black-legged tick) and Ixodes pacificus (western black-legged tick), also known as deer ticks. These ticks have three life stages (larvae, nymphs, adults). Each stage must feed on the blood of a warm-blooded animal in order to survive. If blood is infected with the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, the tick can spread the infection to the next animal it bites. As Lyme disease requires a tick bite to transmit the infection, people or pets diagnosed with Lyme disease cannot directly infect one another.

Marijuana May Be Legal, But It’s Toxic to Pets

dog and marijuana leaf
Marijuana contains a psychoactive substance called tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.  This is the substance that gives humans a “high.” It is also the substance that makes marijuana toxic to pets. Pets can be poisoned by marijuana in different ways: they can eat commercial or homemade edibles, such as baked goods or candies; or directly ingest marijuana or marijuana-related products (e.g.: oils, inhalers); or they can inhale it through second-hand smoke. Dogs and cats are far more sensitive to THC than humans and can have dramatic reactions to even a small amount.

Hot Weather Safety for Dogs

brown dog playing in sprinkler
On very hot, humid days, the safest place for your dog is indoors, ideally in the air conditioning. If you take your dog with you, it’s important to keep your pup hydrated and to watch for signs of heatstroke, which include heavy panting, excessive drooling, bright red gums, hot skin, and incoordination. At the first hint of heatstroke, play it safe and head to your local veterinary ER. If an overheated dog isn’t cooled off quickly, serious complications like organ failure and death can occur. You might be tempted to give your pet a buzz cut in the summer months. A trim is fine, but be sure to keep your pet’s coat at least an inch long. Your dog’s fur coat is designed to keep your pup cool during the summer and warm in the winter. By shaving your dog, you may interfere with this built-in temperature regulation. It’s important to be aware that hot pavement can do serious damage to your dog’s paw pads. Play it safe and schedule walks for early morning or in the evening. If midday walks are unavoidable, try booties or paw wax.  

Heatstroke in Dogs: How to Recognize It and What to Do Next

Irish setter dog panting and drooling
Heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency that occurs when the ambient temperature overwhelms the body’s cooling mechanisms. Dogs cool themselves by panting, but this method is much less effective on hot, humid days. A dog’s normal body temperature is 100°F to 102.5°F. Heatstroke is a body temperature of 105.8°F or higher. If an overheated pet is not cooled off quickly, serious complications like organ failure and death can occur.