Newsletter

Newsletter The veterinarians and team at Swift Creek Animal Hospital are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

Current Newsletter Topics

June is Adopt-A-Cat Month - Here's How to Find the Right Purring Companion

You may have heard the saying, "You own a dog, but you feed a cat." It is true that cats value their independence a bit more than their canine counterparts. But, if you've ever been around cats, you already know they crave and require love and companionship. Cats make wonderful pets and most easily adjust to a variety of lifestyles and living spaces. Every cat is a true individual though, so it's important to take the time to choose a four-footed friend who's right for you. A cat's personality, age and appearance, as well as the kinds of pets you already have at home, are all things you should keep in mind when making your selection.

If you've ever been to a shelter, you have probably noticed that some cats meow and head butt the cage door while others simply lie back and gaze at you with a look of total ambiguity. There are as many different personalities of cats as there are cats in the shelter. Which disposition is best for you? YOU have to decide.

Regardless of individual personality, look for a cat that is playful, active, alert and comfortable while being held. At the shelter, ask an adoption counselor for assistance when you wish to spend some time with individual cats. Because they are in an unfamiliar environment, some cats that are usually quite social may be frightened or passive while in the shelter.

As a general rule, kittens are curious, playful and full of energy, while adult cats are more relaxed and less mischievous. Kittens also require more time to train and feed. Cats are only kittens for a few months, though, so the age of the cat you adopt should really depend on the level of maturity you are looking for. Young children usually don't have the maturity to handle kittens responsibly, so a cat that is at least 4 months old is probably the best choice for homes with young children.



They All May Be Cute, But Which Is Right For You?

Though dogs also have differences in coat, choosing the length of coat on a cat is a little different. Because the hair is generally finer and cats generally shed more, hair length can be an important part of your decision. Cats can have long, fluffy coats or short, dense fur and the choice between the two is chiefly a matter of preference, availability and your willingness to devote time to regular grooming. Short-haired cats are generally easier to come by since they're the most popular and the most common. Keep in mind that long-haired cats require frequent grooming to remain mat-free. Felines with short coats also require brushing, though less frequently. Most cats enjoy a regular brushing and look forward to this daily ritual.

If you already own a cat or dog, you're probably wondering how easy it is to add a cat to the family. The good news is that cats can get along with other cats, and despite the common stereotype, most dogs can get along with cats too. Unfortunately, introducing a new cat to a home with other pets can be time consuming and require patience on your part.

The best way to handle adding a new cat to the home is to provide time for a period of adjustment. You can do this effectively by isolating your new feline in a room of his own for a while, something that is a good idea for a new cat anyway. After several days, supervise meetings between the animals for periods of increasing length. Most cats will soon learn to accept each other. Some dogs simply won't tolerate the presence of a cat, but by carefully introducing them, most problems can be solved.


No matter which kind of cat you choose, remember that you're making a commitment to love and care for your new feline friend for his or her lifetime. That could mean 10, 15 or even 20 years. So choose you new companion carefully and be a responsible pet owner. In no time at all, you'll know how wonderful sharing your home with a cat can be.

For more information about Adopt-A-Cat month, please visit the American Humane Association's website.

Safe Garden for your Pets

Can I have your attention?

With the summer months ahead, many of us have gardening on the mind. But your green thumb doesn’t have to come at Fido’s expense. Here are some tips to ensure that your garden is kept pet-friendly this summer:

  1. Avoid sweet-smelling mulch: parasites tend to thrive in mulch, and sweet-smelling cocoa mulch contains toxic ingredients if ingested by dogs and cats.
  2. Use nontoxic plants and fertilizers: Look over the ASPCA’s list of toxic and nontoxic plants in order to determine whether your plants are hazardous to Fido’s health (such as the popular azaleas, Easter lilies and rhododendron). This also applies to fertilizers and any pesticides you may use.
  3. Watch out for freshly watered lawn: Try not to let your pet walk on your lawn or garden areas after watering it. Chemicals you have applied can stick to your pet’s paws, which they may proceed to lick and ingest.
  4. Arm against fleas, ticks and heartworm:  Summer brings in the bugs, so make sure to take preventive measures against fleas, ticks and heartworm. Visit your local veterinarians for suggestions and treatments.
  5. Watch for Allergies: With all the summer pollen in the air, watch for signs that your pets may be struggling right along with you. After taking your daily walks, wipe your animal’s paws down with a towel in order to keep any unwanted pollen out of the house.

With summer fun comes summer struggles. But with these few easy tips in mind, it may make it a whole lot easier – and healthier – for both you and your pet.

Take Your Dog to Work Day is Friday, June 23

Take Your Dog to Work Day

Initially celebrated in 1999, Pet Sitters International's Take Your Dog To Work Day® (TYDTWDay®) was created for two reasons: first, to celebrate dogs’ innate virtues of loyalty, love and dedication to their human companions, and second, to encourage canine adoption from rescue shelters, humane societies and breed rescue clubs. This year, the annual event occurs on Friday, June 23 and employers are encouraged to support TYDTWDay by opening their workplace to employees’ canine friends. Participation will create an immediate “feel good” workplace environment and allow your staff to meet each other's special family members.

Looking for additional ways to celebrate and support this popular day?

- Solicit photos and designate a bulletin board for a “Dog/Owner Look-Alike Contest”
- Host a Pet Fair. Provide ASPCA or shelter materials and client educational materials regarding dog adoption, preventive care, training, diets, etc.
- Award a “Top Dog” honor, which employee’s dog can do the best trick, has the cutest face or the most endearing personality?

So don’t let sleeping dogs lie. Win over your employees and your clients by participating in this fun annual event and watch as wagging tails spread office joy.

Popular Cat Breeds

Cats are becoming the most popular household pets worldwide. There are more than 100 million house cats in the Western world and this figure is increasing. In the U.S., 38 million households have cats and the total number of cats exceeds 90 million. There are many reasons for feline popularity. Cats make affectionate, extremely devoted and low maintenance companions.

There are over a hundred recognized breeds of domestic cats. According to the Cat Fanciers Association, fewer than 3 percent of all owned cats worldwide are pedigreed. Unlike dog breeds, cat breeds are a relatively new concept and many are imports from other countries. Only for the last 20 years have we seen the diversity that makes up most of our cat breeds today.

Below is a list of some of the more common cat breeds of the world.


The Abyssinian is a very active, playful and inquisitive breed. This slender, short-haired breed is distinguished by its ticked tabby coat pattern, which is a pattern more commonly seen in wild cats. Though ruddy is the color most associated with the breed, "Abys" are available in blue, fawn and red (also known as sorrel) as well.

Although the Abyssinian is one of the oldest known breeds, there continues to be speculation and controversy concerning its history. Recent studies by geneticists show that the most convincing origin of the Abyssinian breed is the coast of the Indian Ocean and parts of Southeast Asia.

Abyssinian


The American Shorthair was developed from native American working cats. It is a moderately stocky, even-tempered cat with a short coat. Although this breed is available in a wide variety of colors and patterns, the silver classic tabby is perhaps best known.

The American Shorthair is America’s own breed, whose ancestors are the cats that came to North America with the early pioneers from Europe. There are records that indicate several cats arrived on the Mayflower.

American Shorthair


Also known as the "Sacred Cat of Burma", the Birman has a number of fanciful legends associated with its origin. It is a semi-longhaired cat, accepted only in the pointed pattern, but is distinguished from the Balinese and Himalayan not only by its moderately stocky body type, but by its four white feet.

The Birman cat is believed to have originated in Burma, where it was considered the sacred companion cat of the Kittah priests.

Birman


The Chartreux is an old natural breed which originated in France. There exists a lovely old legend that the Chartreux lived with, and were named for, the Carthusian monks of France, and perhaps even shared a tipple or two of their famous Chartreuse liqueur.

Known for its woolly blue coat, brilliant orange eyes and smiling expression, it is a sturdy, quiet and sweet-tempered cat.

Chartreux


The Cornish Rex is known for its soft, wavy, curly hair: even the whiskers curl. Its coat feels like crushed velvet to the touch. The original Rex, a cream male named Kallibunker was born in 1950 in Cornwall, England.

Today’s Cornish Rex has a racy, slender body, and is found in a wide variety of colors and patterns.

Cornish Rex


The Korat is a small cat known for its sleek silvery blue coat, heart-shaped face and prominent gooseberry-green eyes. Korats originated in Thailand, where they are regarded as "good luck" cats. They are energetic and affectionate companions.

The earliest known picture of a Korat, or Si-Sawat, cat is to be found in the ancient book of paintings and verses known as The Cat-Book Poems in Bangkok’s National Library. It is believed by the Fine Arts Department, a division of Thailand’s Ministry of Education, to have been produced some time during the Ayudhya Period of Siamese History (1350-1767). The gift of a pair of Si-Sawat cats to a bride ensures a fortunate marriage.

Korat


The Maine Coon is known for its large size, easy-going temperament and rugged appearance. This native New England breed is well-adapted to that harsh climate, with a heavy, shaggy coat, bushy tail and tufted ears and toes. Though the brown classic tabby pattern is perhaps the best known, Maine Coons are available in a variety of colors and patterns.

The Maine Coon Cat is the native American longhaired cat and was recognized as a specific breed in Maine where they were held in high regard for their mousing talents. Through nature’s own breeding program, this breed has developed into a sturdy cat ideally suited to the harsh winters and varied seasons of the region.

Maine Coon


The Manx is distinguished by a feature it lacks - a tail. This natural mutation is thought to have originated hundreds of years ago on the Isle of Man, off the coast of England, hence the name Manx. Since many trade ships docked on the Isle, and all had ship cats, it is hard to tell just what the parent cat really was. CFA has recognized the Manx as a breed since the 1920s.

The "Manx gene" produces cats with tails of varying length, from the "longie" (normal tail) to the "stumpy" (short tail) and "rumpy" (no tail). Manx cats are stocky and rounded in appearance, with short backs and long hind legs that make them appear rabbit-like. The thick coat can be either short or semi-long, though in some associations the longhairs are known as Cymrics. Manx are available in a variety of colors and patterns.

Manx


The Ocicat looks like a small wild spotted cat, but is in fact a domestic breed created by combining the Siamese, Abyssinian and American Shorthair. "Ocis" are active, affectionate and very social. They are available in various patterns, though only the spotted patterns may be shown and in several different colors.

Feline enthusiasts have always been awed by the spotted cats of the wild: ocelots, margays, leopards and others. Never before was there such an effort to breed an entirely domestic cat that can offer the spotted beauty of the wild cats, while maintaining the lovely, predictable disposition of the domestic cat. With so many wild spotteds disappearing as their native habitats are destroyed and invaded, it is increasingly important that this man-made breed can satisfy people who want something "exotic."

Ocicat


The Persian is perhaps the most widely recognized cat breed. It is certainly the most numerous of all the breeds. The Persian is known for its extremely long, fluffy coat, very stocky body type, round head, large eyes and flat face. Persians have a sweet and gentle temperament, and are among the most placid of all breeds. Buyers are advised that the long, soft coat requires daily grooming.

Persians are available in a myriad of colors and patterns. Persians with the pointed ("Siamese") pattern are sometimes called Himalayans. In Britain, the Persian is known as the Longhair, and the Himalayan is known as the Colorpoint Longhair.

Persian


The Scottish Fold is characterized by its distinctive ears, which are folded forward and down, and by its large, rounded eyes, which give it a sweet, wide-eyed expression. They are mellow and affectionate cats. Scottish Folds are found in both longhair and shorthair varieties, in a great number of color and pattern combinations.

In 1961, a shepherd by the name of William Ross spotted the first known Scottish Fold cat at a farm near Coupar Angus in the Tayside Region of Scotland, Northwest of Dundee. The unique thing about this cat was that her ears folded forward and downward on her head. The resulting look gave the impression of a "pixie," "owl," or "teddy bear" that has captured the hearts of many American cat fanciers. Scottish Fold kittens are born with straight ears. At about 3 to 4 weeks of age, their ears fold...or they don’t!

Scottish Fold


The Siamese is distinguished by its brilliant blue eyes and its colored "points" (ears, face, tail and feet), which provide a striking contrast to its light-colored body. It is vocal, demanding, lively and affectionate. Today’s show Siamese display a very long, slender body type and a long, wedge-shaped head with huge ears. Some breeders work with a more moderate, rounded type of Siamese known as the Traditional (Applehead) Siamese.

Siamese were originally recognized in the seal, blue, chocolate and lilac point colors. In some associations, additional colors and patterns are accepted as part of the Siamese breed while other associations call these cats Colorpoint Shorthairs.

Having been nurtured and protected within temple walls for centuries, a fact documented in art and literature, the Siamese became known to the rest of the world through the royal family of Siam. What better gift to present to a visiting dignitary than these beautiful native treasures? This is exactly the way this breed became known outside the borders of what we now call Thailand.

Siamese


The Tonkinese was produced by crossing the Burmese and Siamese breeds. This playful, people-oriented breed has a moderate body type and a sleek, soft coat and features a unique pattern known as "mink": it is pointed like the Siamese, but the body is colored in a shade harmonizing with the point color and the eyes are aqua in shade. "Tonks" are available in a range of colors intermediate between their Burmese and Siamese parent breeds. In some associations non-mink colors and patterns are also accepted.

Caring for Tonkinese is as easy as feeding a well-balanced feline diet, clipping their nails weekly (providing a scratching post and insisting they use it is also imperative), using a rubber brush to groom them, and of course the all important visit to the vet for check-ups and vaccinations.

Tonkinese


The Turkish Van is a semi-longhaired cat distinguished by its unusual pattern: the cat is white except for a colored tail and color on the head. (This is called the "Van" pattern and is seen in other breeds as well.) Turkish Vans are said to be fond of water and swimming.

The cat known in the United States as the Turkish Van is a rare and ancient breed that developed in central and southwest Asia, which today encompasses the countries of Iran, Iraq, southwest Soviet Union and Far Eastern Turkey. They are considered regional treasures in their homeland.

Turkish Van

Planning is Key to Healthy Puppy Litters

The starting point for a healthy litter of puppies is a healthy, active bitch. It is important to have vaccination and de-worming programs updated before the bitch is mated. Heartworm prevention should be continued throughout her pregnancy.

About a month after the breeding, a veterinarian can conduct a pregnancy exam. False pregnancy, a physiological condition in which the bitch displays all the signs of pregnancy, except having puppies in her uterus, can fool owners and lead to undue anxiety.

Nutritionally, everything a bitch needs for the duration of pregnancy is in a good quality, balanced, commercial (not generic) dog food. Large doses of supplemental minerals or vitamins may only unbalance a balanced diet.

Dinner time!

During the first six weeks of the pregnancy, it is recommended to feed the usual pre-pregnancy maintenance diet. The mother's caloric requirements don't increase dramatically until the last three weeks of pregnancy. During this time, the pups grow significantly in size and the nutritional requirements increase proportionately. This increase in food continues during the first three weeks after delivery, when she is producing the most milk. You should gradually increase her daily food over this six-week period from the maintenance quantity to three times that amount.

Set up a whelping area early so that the mother has time to become comfortable. A whelping box should be big enough for the bitch to stretch out and turn around, bedded with sheets or towels that can be easily cleaned, and located in a quiet, secluded, draft-free area.

The bitch's rectal temperature indicates when she is about to whelp. A dog's normal temperature is 101 or 102. In late pregnancy, it runs below normal, around 100. Within 24 hours before delivery, it drops to 97 or 98. Toward the end of the pregnancy, the dog's abdomen balloons out, her mammary glands enlarge and may drip milk and she displays nesting behavior. However, the only sure sign of impending labor is the drop in rectal temperature. It is recommended to take the bitch's temperature twice a day (always at the same time each day) so as not to miss it.

Labor begins with contractions of the abdominal muscles and uterus. The amniotic sac protrudes, followed by a pup and placental membranes. Puppies are generally born in pairs, maybe 15 minutes apart, followed by a rest period that lasts up to an hour or, in large litters, even longer. The mother may take a break and walk around during this rest time.

Each pup is delivered enclosed in an amniotic sac that the mother breaks open. The mother then chews the umbilical cord and cleans the pup. The placenta is delivered with or right after each puppy. The bitch often eats the placenta, but it is not necessary for her to do so and can cause vomiting and diarrhea. The mother also licks the pups' bottom in order to stimulate urination and defecation. If the bitch does not do these things, you should get the pup out of the amniotic sac (so it can breath), tie off (one inch from the body) and cut the umbilical cord, dry the pup, disinfect the navel, and let the pup nurse. Use a warm wet hand towel to lightly stroke the pup's anal and genital areas in order to stimulate urination and defecation.

Any of the following conditions call for veterinary assistance in delivery:

  • The rectal temperature drops and labor does not begin within 24 hours
  • The temperature does not drop within a week after the due date
  • Labor contractions continue for more than 30 minutes without producing a pup
  • All the pups are not delivered within 24 to 36 hours of labor
  • There is not a placenta delivered with each puppy.

Healthy puppies nurse right away and then every few hours. The pups must nurse from their mother within 12 hours of birth to receive colostrum (antibodies against disease). After 12 hours, their stomachs do not absorb antibodies. After this first 12 hours, if the mother does not have enough milk, or if her litter is too large, the pups' diet can be supplemented with commercial puppy milk replacement. Cow's milk is nutritionally inadequate for puppies.

Supplemental heat should only be used for orphan puppies if the room's temperature is too cold for the mother's comfort. A newborn pup can't generate body heat until it develops the shiver reflex; this occurs at about 2 1/2 weeks of age. Orphan pups need an environmental temperature of about 97 degrees the first week, in the mid-80s the second week, then in the 70s. If the mother is there to keep the pups warm, high temperatures are unnecessary and make her uncomfortable.

Good health can be monitored by weighing the pups every day. A healthy pup's weight increases daily. A sick pup does not gain weight but can lose weight. Weight loss is generally the first sign of illness. Good health can be maintained by disinfecting the pups' navels with half-strength tincture of iodine a couple times a day until it dries up and falls off. The most common cause of puppy death is infection via the belly button.

Within a day of delivery, the bitch should be taken to the veterinarian for an examination. The examination is to make sure that there are no remaining puppies and to make sure that all placental remnants are expelled from the uterus. Normal vaginal discharge can last for two to three weeks.

Good planning is the key to having healthy puppies. Most bitches whelp without a problem. However, when a problem occurs, time is very critical. Plan in advance with your veterinarian and discuss emergency and after-hours procedures.