Sunday, January 18, 2015

What Are Dew Claws?

Take a look at your hand and focus on your thumb, a dew claw can be considered a dog's thumb, it is higher up on the paw, has a toenail, and never reaches the ground like their other nails do.  Dew claws are located on the inside of the front paws and some extra special dogs even have them on their back paws but it is not very common.

When calling about a Cockapoo puppy people often ask me if I remove the dew claws and the answer is no, I do not remove them, and do not see a need to. Because dew claws do not touch the ground their nails do not get worn down like the other ones do, hence their need to be monitored and clipped more often than the other nails. Some people simply do not like to maintain or clip their dogs nails so they remove the dew claws, usually when the puppies are first born, or when their pet is getting spayed or neutered. Sometimes dew claws do not grow properly, they can dangle or grow inwards resulting in them getting caught on things or snagged, so it is important to monitor them and if you see an issue it would be a good idea to discuss it with your vet.

The reason I do not remove dew claws is because my dogs have theirs and I have never had any problems with them, I view it as an unnecessary cosmetic surgery (just like tail docking.) I do monitor my dogs dew claws on a regular basis and clip them as needed.
Removing a dew claw is the equivalent of amputating your thumb, during the surgery the vet will remove the entire toe and claw and your dog must wear bandages during the healing process. Most people choose to have this procedure done while their dogs are getting spayed or neutered so that they don't have to go under anesthesia more than once and they also save on multiple trips to the vet.

When you first get a puppy that has their dew claws I suggest keeping an eye on their paws for the first few months, if you don't have any issues with their dew claws I do not see a reason to remove them. If you find that they are abnormal, floppy, or getting tangled on things then I suggest discussing it with your vet to see if they should be removed. If you do keep them make sure you clip them on a regular basis.


Interested in adopting a Cockapoo puppy? Please visit my website:
http://www.cutecockapoos.com/Puppies1.html


'Like' Us on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/cutecockapoos

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Spaying and Neutering your Dog~ When and Why?

There is a lot of preparation involved with getting a new puppy and talking to your vet about getting them spayed or neutered on time is very important. Spaying is the term used for Females and Neutering is the term used for Males and the general age to have this done is between 4 to 6 months old. With Males it is less invasive and cheaper, their testicles are removed and they go home and are told to limit their mobility for awhile. With Females it is a surgical procedure and more expensive than neutering a Male, Females may spend a night a the vets office and will go home with stitches and also have limited mobility for awhile. Some Females are bothered by their stitches and have to wear what is called an "E" collar to restrain them from licking and biting at their stitches. Depending on what type of stitches your vet uses your dog may have to come back to the clinic two weeks after being spayed to have them removed while other vets use internal stitching that dissolves over time and do not require them to be removed.


Benefits of Spaying a Female:
Unspayed females have a higher risk of developing uterine infections that can be fatal, called Pyometra.
Unspayed females have a higher risk of developing uterine and ovarian cancer, while a female spayed before her first heat cycle has almost zero chance of mammary cancer later on in life.
Unspayed females have 'heat cycles' every 6 to 8 months where they become moody, have bloody discharge, and can also develop an unfriendly odor that most people don't want throughout their house.
When an unspayed female is in 'heat' a male 'stud dog' can detect their smell from miles away and will do whatever he can to reach her which can then result in unwanted puppies, injury, and potential disease spread to your dog during breeding.
Spaying a female before she reaches her first heat cycle can also eliminate the risk of breast cancer.
Spaying a female prevents unwanted puppies and helps control the animal population, keeping them out of overcrowded shelters.
Pet license fees are generally higher for pets that are not fixed.


Benefits of Neutering a Male:
One of the biggest 'fears' people have about adopting a Male puppy is that they think he will spray urine and 'mark his territory' all over the place. This is true IF he is not neutered on time. I tell everyone that adopts a puppy that it is vital to get their animals fixed on time, especially with a male so that their hormones don't kick in and they don't pick up stud like behaviors. If you do wait too long to get your male fixed some of the stud like behaviors that they can develop may not go away if you do eventually get them neutered.
A male that is neutered on time does not develop behaviors that a stud will: they won't mark their territory, act aggressive, fight with other dogs, hump your leg, or run all over the countryside trying to find females that are in heat.
Neutering a male dog can help prevent enlargement of their prostate gland, testicular cancer, hernias, and tumors.
Neutering a male of course prevents unwanted litters of puppies and protects them from potential disease and injuries they can get during breeding.
Neutering a male prevents unwanted puppies, helps control the animal population, and keeps animals out of already crowded shelters.
Pet license fees are generally higher for unfixed pets.




In general spaying and neutering your pets can lead to a longer, healthier life with a milder and more predictable personality. The cost to have the procedure done may seem expensive at first (shop around and compare prices at various vet clinics,) but it's not nearly as expensive as treating Cancer or other issues that may arise in a pet that hasn't been fixed.
For anyone on a tight budget there are generally low cost spay and neuter clinics available in larger cities, please ask your vet or local shelter for more information.





Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Phythiosis "Swamp Cancer" in Dogs

It is very common for customers to keep in touch with us after they adopt one of our Cockapoo puppies, and we really appreciate it, we love to see how the dogs grow and develop over time, and even if someone calls with a quick question we hope we are able to help in any way possible. A few weeks ago I had a customer call for some advice, his family had adopted a puppy named Linus from us two years ago and was encountering some health issues. Linus had lost his appetite, was throwing up, had diarrhea, and was lethargic so the family wanted to know if I had any ideas or advice as to what was going on. First we started off by going over the things the family was doing to treat and diagnose his issues. I asked if he had been taken to the vet, he was, and I wanted to know how the vet was handling the situation. When your pet develops health issues it is very important to be sure your vet is educated and doing the proper treatment. I wanted to be sure that Linus was being properly treated so I asked if the family had submitted a stool sample for testing, if blood tests were being done, and if lactated ringers (IV fluid) was administered to help him stay hydrated. Thankfully all the answers were 'yes,' and I was confident that the family, and their vet, were doing exactly what they should to try and find out what the problem was.
Since I am not a vet we just spoke about his symptoms and current treatments so that I could possibly come up with fresh ideas and offer any advice on what I thought what going on. I asked if they had changed his food, they had not too long ago, and their vet also changed it again to try and help battle his vomiting and loose stool. I asked if anything had changed in their household that he may be having a reaction to: new carpet, new cleaning products, did a pest control company treat their house or a close neighbors, had he been exposed to any new dogs recently? All of this was to try and help the owner see if any recent changes to the household or their activity could be affecting Linus. From all the information I was given I thought it would be a good idea to do an allergy test and also to test Linus for Lyme's disease. Their vet also thought that allergies may be affecting him and had rushed a blood sample to the lab for allergy tests. I asked that they keep in touch on the progress and let me know what they had found out about Linus.
After repeated visits to their vet and then a specialist Linus was determined to have contracted Phythiosis, otherwise knows as "Swamp Cancer," and unfortunately had to be put down. Of course I was very upset to hear the news and felt very bad for the family, they certainly were not given enough time to enjoy their wonderful puppy. I had never heard of Phythiosis so I went to work doing research on this potentially fatal disease and wanted to spread the word so that people become more aware of it and be sure to test their dogs if they develop any symptoms.
What is Phythiosis?
Phythiosis is an uncommon fungal infection that can occur in dogs, horses, and also rarely in cats. It is derived from an aquatic mold called Phythium Insidiosum that can be found in stagnant water. It is most commonly found in swampy/tropical areas of the Southern United States but has also been found in the Central Valley of California (Linus lived in Florida.) It generally enters the animals system through their sinuses, esophagus, or wounds on the skin and is most active in Fall or early Winter months where the fungus can thrive in ponds, wetlands, and swamps.
Symptoms and Types of Phythiosis:
There are two types of Phythiosis: Cutaneous and GI. Cutaneous causes non healing lesions on the animals legs, head, tail, neck, and inner thighs. These lesions eventually cause tissue death where the skin turns black and wastes away.
GI Phythiosis is more common and what Linus suffered from. GI Phythiosis affects the dogs digestive tract and symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, fever, and abdominal pain. GI is a chronic disease and it will cause the walls of the stomach and intestine to thicken.
Diagnosis:
One of the most scary parts about Phythiosis is that it is a relatively new and emerging infection that many vets may not be aware of. The symptoms caused by GI Phythiosis are often caused by lots of other ailments so your vet may not immediately consider, or be aware of this, and not test for it until it's too late, which was what happened with Linus. To test for this your vet can take a swab sample to be studied with a microscope or material can be cultured in a lab for study and testing. A blood sample can be sent in for testing, a urine sample can be tested, and an ultrasound can also be done to detect thickening in the walls of the intestine or stomach.
Treatment:
The sooner you get treatment the better, if the disease is not diagnosed in a timely manner it may be too late and unfortunately this is what happened with Linus. For the Cutaneous form of Phythiosis affected tissue will need to be surgically removed and any remaining, affected tissue will need further treatment via laser to kill any remaining fungus. For the GI type of Phythiosis your vet may choose to put your dog on Anti-Fungal medications but results may be minimal and can severely affect the liver and kidneys so regular blood tests will be required. Another, newer option, is an immunotherapeutic vaccine that has been approved by the USDA to treat Phythiosis, as soon as your dog is diagnosed as having Phythiosis it is important that they are vaccinated to help their immune system fight against the disease. Dogs may also be given anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling and boost their appetite which will also help their immune system to fight against the disease.


I hope I never have to hear about another dog contracting this awful disease, please spread the word to your friends that have pets and also ask your vet if they are aware of it and hopefully we can help spread the word and avoid a late and fatal prognosis.


Since this was my first time ever hearing about Phythiosis I had to do a lot of research online and found the following websites to be very helpful:
http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+2102&aid=345


http://pythiosis.com/


http://www.akcchf.org/news-events/library/articles/pythiosis.html



Thursday, October 30, 2014

Health Insurance for Your Pet


Last week my 10 and 1/2 year old kitty, Abbey, started breathing abnormally and I knew something was very wrong, it was late at night, my vet's office was closed, so I grabbed my phone and started video taping her so that I could show my vet the next morning what was going on. Once we got to the vet's office he told me that it looked like she had pleural effusion- a build up of fluid in her chest cavity which could be a sign of heart disease. We did some imaging of her at his office, did some blood work, and the next day I took her to a specialist to do an Echocardiogram ( a test that uses sound waves to create images of the heart,) and in less than 24 hours I had spent $1,000 simply trying to figure out what was wrong with her. Don't get me wrong, she's worth every penny and I will continue to work on treating her but this brought up the thought I just recently had about Pet Insurance. I have lots of pets and do not have any form of pet insurance but have often been curious about it to see if it would benefit me or my customers in any way. Since I have had pets all my life I, unfortunately, have also lost them over time and have spent quite a large amount of money giving them the best care possible before it's time to say goodbye. For those of you who have only a few pets I think pet insurance is something you may want to consider. In doing my research I have discovered that there are tons of companies out there and very specific things that you should look for before purchasing a plan to be sure it is the right one for you. Here are a few things that I have discovered, hopefully they will help you when shopping for a plan:
There are two types of pet insurance plans available out there- Lifetime and Non-lifetime. A lifetime plan is exactly what it sounds like, a plan to cover your pet over the course of its life. A non-lifetime plan is on an annual basis that needs to be renewed, the catch with them is that if your pet has had a health issue in the previous year they may not cover it in the future when you renew your plan, think of it as a pre-existing condition, it can be excluded from any future payouts.

When shopping for a plan always be sure that they cover your breed, and if they do, see if they charge extra for one particular breed over the other. Some plans also have age limits, they may not allow a puppy to be covered until it is 8 weeks old and then they may also terminate coverage after a certain age to avoid the costs of elder care.

If you have multiple pets ask if they offer a multiple pet discount, it doesn't hurt to ask. Also see if they have a free trial period or a money back trail period if you are unhappy with what you get.

Most, if not all, plans will have some sort of deductible. Make sure you are clear about whether it is a straight forward deductible or if it is a per incident deductible. I noticed that one plan I was looking at had a $100 per incident deductible so if your pet has multiple different things wrong at the same time they may count those as individual incidents and you may have to pay $100 for each one to be taken care of.

See if the plan you are looking at has a cap on the amount of coverage. Some plans will only pay out so much and then you have to pick up the rest while other plans do not have limitation on spending. Also see if the plan excludes coverage for genetic or hereditary issues. If you own a breed that is known for something like hip dysplasia and the plan doesn't cover that then it may not be the right one for you. Plans also do not cover pre-existing conditions so if my kitty Abbey is diagnosed with heart disease I can't call up and insure her tomorrow and expect them to cover the cost of her care for that.

Check to see if the plan you are considering is one that just covers accidents or illnesses or if it also covers routine care like vet exams, vaccines, dental care, etc. Some plans that only cover accidents or illnesses also offer routine care coverage but it's an extra expense.

Finally see how you submit a claim and how the company handles payment. Some companies I looked at require you to pay the vet out of pocket and then you have to file a claim and wait for them to reimburse you. I would check to see if some allow the vet to directly bill them, and if they don't and you have to pay up front, see what the average wait time is until you get a check back from them.

There are a lot of companies out there with a wide variety of options to choose from. One website that I really liked is: www.petinsurancereviews.com
It gives real reviews and ratings from actual customers on a ton of different plans. It also has links to pet insurance websites so you can take a look at what everyone has to offer. I also found a website called: www.topconsumerreviews.com/pet-insurance
which also gives reviews of the top rated pet insurance companies. Do your research to see what options are out there and also read the customer reviews to see how they feel about the plans.

Here are links to what seemed to be the most popular pet insurance providers:
24 Pet Watch- www.24petwatch.com
AKC- www.akcpetinsurance.com
ASPCA- www.aspcapetinsurance.com
Embrace- www.embracepetinsurance.com
Healthy Paws- www.healthypawspetinsurance.com
Pet First- www.petfirst.com
Pet Plan- www.gopetplan.com
Pet Premium- www.petpremium.com
Pets Best- www.petsbest.com
Trupanion- www.trupanion.com
VPI- www.petinsurance.com


If you love your pets like I do then they are family and having an insurance plan can really help out in a time of need.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Are My Cockapoo Puppies AKC Registered?!

When a person or family decides they want to adopt a Cockapoo Puppy the first thing they usually do, once they see a puppy they like, is to call or email the breeder for more information. This is a great idea and I always appreciate it when someone contacts me wanting to be sure that we are all on the same page about my puppies and they type of breeder that I am. People may not realize it but when they call to interview me I am also interviewing them to be sure I feel comfortable with them and that they will give my puppies a good home. Just because you are interested in one of my puppies does not mean that I will let you adopt one, I have to be sure that, I too, am comfortable with everything before I will let you adopt one. I often get asked a lot of the same questions over and over so I did type up a "FAQ" page on my website to help everyone out but not everyone reads it before calling me and it may not cover everything they want to know anyways so conversations are always good.
Since I've been doing this for awhile I can almost instantly tell if someone is experienced with looking for a dog or if this is totally new for them. I've had phone calls and emails where people ask questions that don't make sense or don't apply to the breed so after I do a little digging with them they tell me that they are new to buying a puppy and were told to ask questions by their friends or neighbors and they honestly don't know if they are relevant or not. One such question, that I just got asked again the other day, was "are your Cockapoos AKC registered?" this question tells me that the person asking it is not familiar with what AKC is or what they stand for and that they might not truly understand what a Cockapoo is. AKC- The American Kennel Club is a canine registration that was founded in 1884 to register Purebred dogs, this is their mission statement that can be found on their website:
(www.akc.org)
AKC Mission Statement
The American Kennel Club is dedicated to upholding the integrity of its Registry, promoting the sport of purebred dogs and breeding for type and function. Founded in 1884, the AKC® and its affiliated organizations advocate for the purebred dog as a family companion, advance canine health and well-being, work to protect the rights of all dog owners and promote responsible dog ownership.

AKC’s Objective:

  • Advance the study, breeding, exhibiting, running and maintenance of purebred dogs.

AKC's Core Values:

  • We love purebred dogs
  • We are committed to advancing the sport of the purebred dog
  • We are dedicated to maintaining the integrity of our Registry
  • We protect the health and well-being of all dogs
  • We cherish dogs as companions
  • We are committed to the interests of dog owners
  • We uphold high standards for the administration and operation of the AKC
  • We recognize the critical importance of our clubs and volunteers
Did you notice the parts that I highlighted in yellow? AKC is a registration for purebred dogs and Cockapoos are hybrids, not purebreds, so they are not currently recognized by AKC, or any other purebred registry, as a true breed meaning that they cannot be AKC registered and are also not accepted by other purebred registries. Registration papers can be important to people adopting purebreds because they want to be sure they are actually getting what they are buying and they are also important to breeders so that they know for sure that they are breeding purebred dogs. Registration papers also help people like me obtain a pedigree so that I can see what colors are in my dog's background and possibly know what to expect when I have a litter of babies born. For a family just looking for a household pet registration papers can be a form of proof of ownership but there are also other ways of doing that with things like microchips which I highly suggest.
There are new registrations that have been formed that recognize mixed breeds including the Cockapoo and I think as time goes on organizations like AKC may also change their minds and start to recognize mixed breeds, time will tell. So to summarize, my Cockapoo puppies are not AKC registered because they cannot be, but I do register them with an organization that recognizes them as a breed. Anyone who adopts a puppy from me will get a registration application with their puppy and they can choose to register them if they feel the need. My parent dogs are purebred Cocker Spaniels and Mini Poodles and they are all registered, including with AKC and other purebred registries.
 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Dogs and Ebola

There has been a lot of scary talk in the news these days about the Ebola virus and when I heard about a dog being euthanized because he was owned by a recent victim of the virus I decided to ask my vet if he thought that dogs were at risk for getting and/or sharing the disease, his answer was 'no, he didn't think so,' and that he had just gotten an article emailed to him that he would print off for me to read and share to my customers. My plan was to simply scan and copy the article for everyone to read but I just got a new computer and printer and they just don't like to cooperate with me so I am going to re-type it below:

Ebola Virus &Dogs: Where Do We Stand
J. Scott Weese, DVM, DVSc, DACVIM
Editor in Chief, Clinician's Brief

The recent euthanasia of a dog owned by a Spanish nursing assistant infected with Ebola virus has raised much concern about the canine role in Ebola virus transmission and the risks dogs may pose to humans. As is common with emerging diseases, there are many gaps in our knowledge- and these gaps create fear.
The following key points should be understood:
- There is limited concern about dogs playing a role in natural transmission of Ebola virus in areas where the virus is endemic.
- The likelihood of a dog being exposed to Ebola virus outside of endemic regions in Africa is very unlikely; this would require contact with bodily secretions of a human with symptoms of Ebola virus infection.
- There is evidence that dogs can become infected with Ebola virus, but there is no evidence that they develop disease.*
      -This information comes from a study of dogs in a community where an Ebola virus was underway; 27% of healthy dogs had serum antibodies against the virus, but non had detectable virus in circulation. Evidence of exposure was not surprising, as some dogs scavenged the bodies of animals that had potentially died of Ebola virus infection and had direct contact with humans active with the disease.
     - This situation is profoundly different that that of a household pet with transient exposure to a human that has been exposed or has early infection.
- Irrespective of whether dogs can be exposed to the virus, there is currently no evidence that infected dogs shed the virus.
-In the unlikely event of a pet dog outside of West Africa is exposed to a human with Ebola virus infection, veterinary and public health personnel can investigate the type of contacts between the dog and human (eg, when contact occurred with respect to the presence of symptoms, types and duration of contact,) and determine whether exposure to the virus may have occurred.
-Coordinated efforts are underway to develop guidance for management of dogs exposed to individuals with Ebola virus infection.

The lack of information about Ebola virus in dogs makes development of evidence-based practices difficult. Yet, given the available information about Ebola virus in dogs and the broader understanding of Ebola virus and containment practices, reasonable recommendations can be developed for the very unlikely event that more pet dogs become exposed.
Concerns about dogs and Ebola virus cannot be dismissed, and consideration of the role of pets in transmission of this virus is consistent with efforts to promote One Health. At the same time, the risks must be kept in perspective-and reason must outweigh paranoia-to optimize human and animal health and welfare.

*Ebola virus antibody prevalence in dogs and human risk. Allela L. Bourry O, Pouillot R, et at. Emerg Infect Dis.
11: 385-390, 2005.

About J Scott Weese (author)

J. Scott Weese, DVM, DVSc, DACVIM, is a veterinary internist and microbiologist, chief of infection control at University of Guelph Ontario Veterinary College Health Sciences Center, and Canada Research Chair in Zoonotic diseases. As editor in chief of Clinician's Brief, Dr. Weese provides quintessential expertise on infectious and zoonotic diseases (particularly of companion animals,) infection control, and antimicrobial therapy.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

We are Moving in September 2014

I am going to be updating our website with new location and contact information this weekend and wanted to post this so that I don't get anyone confused when they are looking for a Cockapoo puppy from us! As you may know, once you post something online, like an ad, it seems to get spread everywhere so over the years of advertising our puppies I am sure there are ads all over that I don't even know about and it will take me some time to get everything corrected with our new location information. For those of you familiar with Cute Cockapoos we were originally located in Iola, Wisconsin but we are now moving our business to Manawa, Wisconsin which is actually only a few miles away from our original address. Sandy and I (Jamie) are a mother/daughter team that has raised our puppies together with most of the work and customer pickups being done at Sandy's house in Iola. Since there is so much work to do I have been driving back and forth to Sandy's house on a daily basis to do my part and then come home each night to take care of my own farm, etc. In 2010 my husband and I were finally able to purchase a farm of our own and have been steadily working on updating, remodeling, and doing some new construction to the point that we are ready to have the dogs and puppies here :) Sandy is starting to slow down a little bit and my husband and I are at a point that we can now handle things at home, in Manawa, hence the new location and phone number that will soon be posted to the website. Don't worry, Sandy and I will still be the same people raising the same wonderful Cockapoo Puppies, you will just be picking them up at a new location that will be slightly easier to find than Sandy's house (she's way out in the woods!) If you do encounter an old ad that I have not corrected or found yet you will still be able to get in touch with us, I am not changing our email address. Thank you for your patience while I work on getting all of our information switched over and please do contact us if you are looking for a Cockapoo puppy.
Our email address is:  cutecockapoos@gmail.com
Our website is: http://www.cutecockapoos.com
We are now located in Manawa, Wisconsin
Our new phone # is (920) 596-1730