Wildfires are scary. They are something that we constantly have to keep on our minds every summer in Central Oregon. At the moment, dry conditions and winds have caused extreme fire danger throughout the entire state of Oregon. Many of us have friends and family that have been forced to evacuate their homes with little notice due to a fast-moving wildfire in their area. [Read more…]
Enjoying the 4th of July is great fun for many, the beautiful fireworks, games, and gathering with friends and family. But it can be a cause for panic and fear for many dogs and cats. Humane Societies all across the country prepare for the 4th of July due to the mass amounts of animals that come in lost and disoriented from the fear of the fireworks, many humane societies saying that the number of strays or lost dogs more than doubles just in this one night. It is important that we do our part to safeguard our loved pets and keep them safe and comfortable during this stressful time of year. [Read more…]
Cats are very unique animals and are known to be excellent companions to humans. They are our friends, playmates, and, sometimes, our dictators. Because cats have such strong personalities it is important that we support them in their environment. Cats have an innate aversion to new things. This is ultimately an instinctual personality trait for self-preservation. That said, cats also have an instinctual desire for play. Some scientists believe that this stems from the theory of survival of the fittest, for which a cat practices “hunting” and prey-driven behavior in a playful manner with its housemates. Other scientists believe it could just be for the reason we as humans play: for fun! [Read more…]
All species of mammals use pheromones to communicate with others of their kind. They do so by releasing a chemical signal which targets the olfactory organs in those of the same species. We see this in our daily lives with our own pets.
Dogs and cats use pheromones to alert one another of an array of emotions such as fear, anger, aggression, calmness, relaxation, and affection. When we see our cats casually rubbing the side of their face along the corner of the wall or couch, they are actually releasing a pheromone from their cheek gland to let us, and any cats nearby, know that they are at ease and feel safe. [Read more…]
The decision to spay or neuter your pet is based on a variety of factors and we are here to help make the best choice for your family.
Spaying and neutering has been the cornerstone to prevent pet overpopulation in the US. Most shelters and humane societies perform these sterilization procedures as young as possible to help combat this problem. However, for pets that do not come from shelters this decision then falls to the family. Here is some information to help make this decision easier for you.
What is the normal reproductive cycle of a female cat or dog?
Cats: Female kittens can enter their first heat cycle as young as 4 months of age, but typically it is closer to 5-6 months of age. Cats are seasonally polyestrous which means they have multiple cycles during the breeding season which can be from January to late fall. The estrus cycle can be anywhere from 6 days to 3 weeks.
What are the signs? The most notable sign in female cats is a BEHAVIOR change – they can be incredibly vocal, restless, demanding and some may urinate more frequently or spray urine to mark.
Dogs: Dogs will reach their first estrus (heat) cycle when they reach puberty. This is on average around 6 months of age, but can vary. Small breed dogs tend to come into estrus earlier and closer to 6 months of age, while large breed dogs may not have their first estrus cycle until 18 months to 2 years of age. Most dogs have two estrus cycles per year or approximately every 6 months. Some large breed dogs may only cycle once per year.
What are the signs? The earliest signs are typically swelling of the vulva. A bloody discharge may not be evident for a few days after the cycle has started. The discharge starts as very bloody and gradually becomes thin and watery. A female dog may also urinate more frequently, urinate in smaller amounts and develop marking behavior. The average dog can be in heat for up to 2 weeks.
What are the benefits of spaying or neutering my pet?
- Reduced risk of mammary cancer – this can be fatal in approx. 50% of dogs and 90% of cats
- Eliminates risk of uterine infection which can be an emergency situation in dogs and cats
- Eliminates risk of accidental breeding and thus reduces overpopulation
- Eliminates risk of male testicular cancer
- Prevents unwanted estrus behavior in cats – yowling, destruction, urine marking, demanding behavior
- Neutering your male can reduce roaming behavior, urine marking and may help with aggression
What’s the new research on spaying and neutering?
There has been emerging research on the impact of spaying and neutering on the health of the body and also perhaps optimal timing of sterilization. A study from UC Davis in 2013 on Golden Retrievers shed light on the potential risk of early sterilization, such as increased risk of cruciate ligament disease, hip dysplasia and certain cancers such as splenic cancer, bone cancer and lymphoma. This information has spurred the veterinary community to continue research in an attempt to determine optimal timing.
Given this information most veterinarians are currently recommending waiting closer to 1-2 years of age, especially in medium to large breed dogs for spay or neuter. Of course, this is an individual decision with multiple factors and conferring with your veterinarian is always the best plan.
Written by: Brooke Jacoby, DVM