What You Need to Know
Bee stings can be a serious event and even life threatening in some cases. Dogs are at greater risk for bee stings than people, as they tend to chase or play with things that move. Dogs are likely to get stung in the mouth or on the nose, face, or feet by several different insects, including bees, wasps, and hornets.
If your dog suffers a bee sting, seek veterinary assistance. If you wait for an allergic reaction to occur you may already be too late; your dog could become very ill very quickly.
Signs of Bee Stings
Types of Bee Stings
What to Do
If your dog is stung by an insect, the most important thing to remember is to remain calm. If you think you can remove the stinger, doing so may reduce the amount of venom injected. You can try to remove the stinger by scraping a credit card across the dog’s skin to flick the stinger out. Do not try to remove the stinger by pinching/pulling it (as you might remove a splinter); this may actually increase the amount of venom that is injected.
Severe allergic reactions can happen very quickly and can become life threatening within minutes. If your pet suffers an insect sting, seek veterinary care as soon as possible. If you wait for signs of an allergic reaction to be apparent, you may be losing precious time.
Although there is no antidote for bee stings, your veterinarian can assess your dog and administer medications to treat an allergic reaction. If you were not able to remove the stinger or it is in the mouth or is otherwise hard to reach, your veterinarian can assist with this. Medication to ease the pain and itching associated with stings can be administered by your veterinarian. In the case of a severe reaction or anaphylaxis, hospitalization for observation and more intensive care may be recommended.
To minimize exposure to bee stings, try to help your pet avoid flower beds, a favorite habitat of bees. Bees also may build nests in eaves of houses and in trees. Some hornets and wasps build their nests in the ground, so pay careful attention to where your dog may be digging when he is outside.
It is always a good idea to monitor your property for nests and have them removed when detected. Bees abound in the spring and summer, and “bee proofing” your dog’s environment is a big job. It is a good idea to have the phone numbers for your veterinarian and local veterinary emergency clinic on hand in case your dog is stung.
Good Reasons to Bathe Your Dog
Regular bathing can help keep your dog’s skin and hair/coat healthy, and if you can teach your dog to enjoy being bathed, it can be another way to strengthen your relationship with your dog. The ASPCA recommends bathing your dog about every 3 months; however, certain breeds and dogs that spend a lot of time outside may need to be bathed more often. Some medical conditions may benefit from medicated shampoo products that your veterinarian can prescribe or recommend.
Preparing for a Bath
Mats and tangles are easier to remove by brushing before bathing. Try to make bathing a pleasant experience for your dog: use warm water and a mild shampoo made for dogs or a veterinarian-prescribed medicated shampoo; provide toys, treats, and calm praise as rewards for good behavior. You can bathe your dog indoors in a tub or outdoors. If necessary, place a rubber bath mat under your dog to keep him or her from slipping. Wear old clothes, and have plenty of large, absorbent towels and/or a blow dryer on hand. You’ll also need a spray hose or a large plastic pitcher or unbreakable cup.
If you use a blow dryer to dry your dog, make sure the dryer does not get too hot.
Reasons to Bathe Your Cat
Cats, by nature, are very good groomers. They have pointy structures on the surface of their tongues, called papillae, which are designed to be an essential grooming tool. While they do a good job on their own, there are situations when your cat may need a bath:
Preparing For A Bath
Even the calmest of cats may become stressed around water. Preparation prior to bath time will assist you in creating a low stress environment for the bathing process. Make sure you have shampoo labeled for feline use and appropriate age, a washcloth for wiping your cat’s face/head, and a soft towel to dry your cat after bathing. Also, wear appropriate clothing to shield your arms from scratching/biting.
It may be beneficial to have another person assist you in restraining your cat during the bath. If you are comfortable doing so, you can trim your cat’s nails the night before bathing to minimize the chance of scratches. If you have a long-haired cat, a good brushing prior to bath time will reduce the amount of loose/matted fur.
If you use a blow dryer to dry your cat, make sure the dryer does not get too hot.
What Is Bartonellosis?
Bartonellosis is a disease caused by several bacteria of the Bartonella family. Bartonella organisms can cause bacterial infection in many species, including humans. Certain strains of Bartonella are known to infect cats. Bartonella organisms can be transmitted from a cat to a human via a bite or scratch, so bartonellosis in humans is commonly called cat-scratch disease.
Cats can become infected with Bartonella through exposure to infected fleas. For this reason, cats that roam outdoors are at greater risk for exposure. There is some evidence that ticks may also transmit the disease.
Some reports state that 12% to 50% or more of cats have been infected with Bartonella. The risk of exposure varies greatly depending on the region of the United States. Areas with warmer climates have a higher incidence of fleas and, therefore, a higher percentage of cats infected with Bartonella.
Signs of Bartonellosis
Many cats that have been exposed to Bartonella do not get sick and, therefore, do not show clinical signs of disease. However, these cats may still transmit the disease to humans. Clinically affected (sick) cats may have various clinical signs, including chronic inflammatory conditions that affect the eyes, mouth, respiratory tract, gastrointestinal system, and even the heart. More specific clinical signs may include:
Infected cats may show one or more of the signs listed above. It is very important to discuss these illnesses with your veterinarian because other diseases may also cause these signs.
Symptoms of bartonellosis in humans generally occur about 3 weeks after a cat scratch or bite and include fever and swollen lymph nodes along with a number of other possible symptoms. Consult with your physician regarding any concerns or questions about Bartonella infection.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Your veterinarian may perform a blood test on your cat to check for Bartonella infection. The test indicates the presence of antibodies, which the body uses to fight specific infections. A positive test result means that your cat has been exposed to Bartonella. If your cat is showing signs of disease and has a positive test result, your veterinarian may recommend antibiotics to treat the disease. There is controversy about whether to treat cats that test positive for Bartonella but are not showing signs of illness. It is best to discuss treatment options with your veterinarian.
Regular application of flea and tick preventives, as recommended by your veterinarian, will help to prevent Bartonella infection.
To reduce risk of human infection from cats, keep your cat’s nails trimmed and do not tease or entice play that may result in a bite or scratch from your cat. If you have difficulty trimming your cat’s nails, take him or her to your veterinarian or a professional groomer for nail trimming.
Barking is one of several types of vocal communication by dogs. You may appreciate your dog’s barking when it signals that someone is at your door or that your dog needs something. However, dogs sometimes bark excessively or at inappropriate times. Because barking serves many purposes, determine why your dog is doing it before attempting to address a barking problem. Does your dog use barking to get what he or she wants? For example, dogs that get attention for barking often learn to bark for food, play, and walks as well. Therefore, training your dog to be quiet on command is important so that you can teach your dog a different behavior (such as “sit” or “down”) for getting what he or she wants. Dogs of certain breeds and dogs that aren’t spayed or neutered may bark more than other dogs; therefore, it can be more difficult to reduce barking in these dogs.
Types of Barking
In territorial barking, dogs bark excessively at people, dogs, or other animals within or approaching their territory. Your dog's territory includes the area around your home and anywhere your dog has spent time or associates strongly with you, including your car and the places you walk together.
In alarm barking, dogs bark at any noise or sight regardless of the context. When barking, these dogs usually have a stiff body and move or pounce forward 1 or 2 inches with each bark. These dogs might bark at sights or sounds anywhere, not just when defending familiar areas.
In attention-seeking barking, dogs bark at people or other animals for attention or rewards, such as food, toys, or play.
In greeting barking, dogs bark when they see people or other dogs, but they are excited, have relaxed bodies and wagging tails, and might also whine.
In compulsive barking, dogs bark excessively and repetitively. These dogs often move repetitively as well. For example, a compulsive barker might run back and forth along a fence or pace when indoors.
In socially facilitated barking, dogs bark excessively only when they hear other dogs barking.
In frustration-induced barking, dogs bark excessively only when they’re in a frustrating situation, such as when their activity or movement is restricted.
In illness or injury barking, dogs bark in response to pain.
In separation-anxiety barking, dogs bark excessively only when left alone or when their caretaker is gone. This barking is usually accompanied by at least one other sign of separation anxiety, such as pacing, destruction, elimination, or depression.
Reducing Your Dog’s Barking
It takes time to teach a dog to bark less, so don’t expect a quick fix or that your dog will stop barking completely. Before attempting to resolve your dog’s barking problem, have your veterinarian examine your dog to rule out medical causes. If you need help with reducing your dog’s barking, consider working with a board-certified veterinary behaviorist or a certified applied animal behaviorist or hiring a certified professional dog trainer in your area.
The veterinary behaviorist will help you identify your dog’s type of barking. Answering the following questions can help you:
The following suggestions/guidelines may be recommended by the veterinary behaviorist. Please consult with your veterinary professional.
To manage territorial or alarm barking, block your dog’s view of areas that he or she guards. Block windows that your dog uses, and put a solid barrier or fence around your dog’s outdoor area. In addition, don’t allow your dog to greet people at the front door, yard gate, or property line. Instead, train your dog to go to another location (e.g., a crate or mat) and remain quiet until you invite him or her to greet someone appropriately.
To manage attention-seeking barking, you must consistently not reward your dog for barking. Dog owners often unknowingly reinforce attention-seeking barking by looking at, touching, scolding, or talking to their pets; to dogs, all of these human behaviors are rewards. When your dog starts to bark for attention, stare at the ceiling, turn away from your dog, or leave the room. As soon as your dog stops barking, ask him or her to sit, and then give your dog what he or she wants (e.g., attention, play, treats). To be successful, try to never reward your dog for barking at you.
It might help to teach your dog an alternative behavior. For example, if you don’t want your dog to bark when he or she needs to go out or come in, install a doggy door or teach your dog to ring a hanging bell by touching it with his or her nose or paw. If your dog barks when he or she wants to play, teach your dog to bring a toy to you. If your dog barks when you’re talking on the telephone or working on the computer, give your dog a tasty chew toy to occupy him or her before the barking starts.
In addition, teaching your dog to be silent on command can help strengthen the connection between quiet behavior and attention or rewards. Regularly give your dog attention (e.g., praise, petting, a treat) when he or she isn’t barking.
To manage greeting barking, try to keep greetings low key. Teach your dog to sit and stay when meeting people at the door. First, teach your dog to sit and stay when people aren’t at the door; this will help your dog practice the behavior before being asked to perform it when people arrive. Keep a favorite toy near the front door, and encourage your dog to pick it up before greeting you or guests. (Your dog is less likely to bark with a toy in his or her mouth.) On walks, distract your dog with special treats (e.g., bits of chicken, cheese, or hot dogs) before he or she begins to bark at passersby. Some dogs do best if they are asked to sit as people or dogs pass. Other dogs prefer to keep moving. Praise and reward your dog with treats anytime he or she chooses not to bark. Putting a head halter on your dog when he or she is likely to bark may decrease the likelihood of barking. For safety, use a head halter only when your dog is supervised.
Please seek guidance from your veterinary professional about the use of head halters.
To manage compulsive barking, try changing how you confine your dog. If your dog is alone for long periods of time, increase his or her exercise, mental stimulation, and/or social interaction. For managing compulsive barking, it is recommended to seek guidance from a certified applied animal behaviorist or a veterinary behaviorist.
To manage socially facilitated barking, keep your dog indoors when other dogs are barking, play music to drown out the sound of other dogs, or distract your dog with treats or play when other dogs are barking.
To manage frustration-induced barking, teach your dog to control his or her impulses through obedience training. Teach your dog to wait, sit, and stay, and reward him or her with fun activities such as walks or play with other dogs. This might require the help of a veterinary behaviorist or certified professional dog trainer. You can discourage the presence of animals in your yard by installing motion-activated devices that scare them away.
To manage separation-anxiety barking, your dog must be treated for separation anxiety. Please contact your veterinarian.
Anti-bark collars deliver an unpleasant deterrent (e.g., a loud or ultrasonic noise, a spray of citronella, a brief electric shock) when a dog barks. Anti-bark collars are punishment devices and are not recommended as a first choice for managing a barking problem. This is especially true for barking that is motivated by fear, anxiety, or compulsion. Before using any anti-bark device, please seek the advice and guidance of your veterinarian, a board-certified veterinary behaviorist, a certified applied animal behaviorist, or a qualified certified professional dog trainer.
What Not to Do
What Are BUN and Creatinine?
BUN stands for blood urea nitrogen. The BUN is a measurement that represents the level of urea in the blood. Urea is considered one of the body’s waste products. It is produced when the liver participates in protein metabolism, and it is usually eliminated from the body by the kidneys. Therefore, both the liver and kidneys must be functioning properly for the body to maintain a normal level of urea in the blood.
Creatinine is a substance that the body produces during normal metabolism. The body eliminates creatinine almost exclusively through the kidneys’ filtration process, so measurement of creatinine is an accurate estimation of how well the kidney filtration processes are working. Anything that alters the ability of the kidneys to filter efficiently (such as dehydration) can cause changes in the level of creatinine in the blood.
Taken together, and usually combined with results of a urinalysis (a screening test to evaluate components in the urine), the BUN and creatinine levels provide a very accurate estimation of how well the kidneys are working. The BUN and creatinine levels are frequently part of a blood test known as a chemistry panel, so they are often evaluated during routine wellness checkups or pre-surgery screening in healthy pets.
Often, the BUN and creatinine levels are evaluated along with other blood tests that screen for abnormalities involving the kidneys. Because various illnesses can affect the BUN and creatinine levels, your veterinarian may recommend testing your pet’s blood if your pet has any of the following signs of illness:
How Are the BUN and Creatinine Levels Measured?
To measure your pet’s BUN and creatinine levels, your veterinary team must obtain a small blood sample.
This procedure is usually very quick; it may take only a few seconds if the patient is well behaved. For patients that are very frightened or not well behaved, your veterinary team may want to use a muzzle, towel, or other gentle restraint device. In some cases, such as in patients with very thick fur, it may be necessary to shave the hair from the area where blood will be drawn. The hair will grow back, and this is often a good way to find the vein quickly.
Some veterinary offices have in-house blood analysis equipment, so they can perform the tests for BUN and creatinine in the office and have results the same day. Other offices send blood samples to an outside laboratory for the tests to be performed. If an outside laboratory is used, results are generally available within 1 to 2 days.
Be sure to tell your veterinarian about any medications or supplements your pet may be receiving, as some products can alter the BUN and creatinine levels in the blood.
What Do the BUN and Creatinine Levels Tell Your Veterinarian?
Although changes in the BUN and creatinine levels are commonly associated with kidney disease, many factors can affect these levels. Some antibiotics, for example, can cause these levels to increase.
The following are a few conditions that can cause abnormal BUN and creatinine levels:
Sometimes, the BUN and creatinine levels are both abnormal, but many times, one level is normal and the other is not. If your pet has abnormal test results, your veterinarian will combine that information with other vital information about your pet to decide if further diagnostic testing is recommended to investigate the abnormal result. Additional tests may include a urinalysis, radiographs (“x-rays”), or additional blood testing. Depending on your pet’s overall condition, your veterinarian may recommend medications or other management.
Are There Risks Associated With Measuring the BUN and Creatinine Levels?
Very few risks are associated with measuring the BUN and creatinine levels. Drawing blood takes only a few seconds, and your veterinary team will take precautions to ensure that your pet is not injured during this procedure. Once blood is obtained, all further processing is performed at the veterinarian’s office or at a diagnostic laboratory, so there is no risk of harm to your pet.
What Is BUN?
BUN stands for blood urea nitrogen. The BUN level is a measurement that represents the level of urea in the blood. Urea is considered one of the body’s waste products. It is produced when the liver participates in protein metabolism, and it is usually eliminated from the body by the kidneys. Therefore, both the liver and kidneys must be functioning properly for the body to maintain a normal level of urea in the blood.
The BUN level is an important part of a blood test known as a chemistry panel, so it is often evaluated during routine wellness checkups or pre-surgery screening in healthy pets. Often, it is evaluated along with other blood tests that screen for abnormalities involving the kidneys or liver. Because various illnesses can affect the BUN level, your veterinarian may recommend testing your pet’s BUN level if your pet has any of the following signs of illness:
How Is the BUN Level Measured?
To test your pet’s BUN level, your veterinary team must obtain a small blood sample. This procedure is usually very quick; it may take only a few seconds if the patient is well behaved. For patients that are very frightened or not well behaved, your veterinary team may want to use a muzzle, towel, or other gentle restraint device. In some cases, such as in patients with very thick fur, it may be necessary to shave the hair from the area where blood will be drawn. The hair will grow back, and this is often a good way to find the vein quickly.
Some veterinary offices have in-house blood analysis equipment, so they can perform the BUN level test in the office and have results the same day. Other offices send blood samples to an outside laboratory for the test to be performed. If an outside laboratory is used, results are generally available within 1 to 2 days.
Be sure to tell your veterinarian about any medications or supplements your pet may be receiving, as some products can alter the BUN level in the blood.
What Does the BUN Level Tell Your Veterinarian?
Although changes in the BUN level are commonly associated with kidney disease or inadequate liver function, many other factors can affect the BUN level. Some antibiotics, for example, can cause this level to increase. Additionally, various medical conditions, such as dehydration or stomach bleeding, can affect the BUN level.
An abnormal BUN level (whether too low or too high) can indicate medical problems. The following are a few conditions that cause an abnormal BUN level:
If your pet has an abnormal BUN level, your veterinarian will combine that information with other vital information about your pet to decide if further diagnostic testing is recommended to investigate the abnormal result. Additional tests may include a urinalysis(a screening test to evaluate components in the urine), radiographs (“x-rays”), or additional blood testing. Depending on your pet’s overall condition, your veterinarian may recommend medications or other management.
Are There Risks Associated With Measuring the BUN Level?
Very few risks are associated with measuring the BUN level. Drawing blood takes only a few seconds, and your veterinary team will take precautions to ensure that your pet is not injured during this procedure. Once blood is obtained, all further processing is performed at the veterinarian’s office or at a diagnostic laboratory, so there is no risk of harm to your pet.
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