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Mewvies for Your Cat

posted January 15th, 2008 by
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Story by Marilyn King

Could your cat benefit from some mental stimulation this winter, and have great fun doing so?   

Check out Mewvie, motion pictures for your cat!    

Cats of all ages enjoy Mewvies, which are DVDs of action-packed scenes filled with birds, bugs, and various other types of critters, all for your cat’s delight!   Cats can watch mice scurrying in and out of a loaf of bread, or watch birds flocking in a feeder, scampering squirrels, and jittering bugs of all kinds.  Each Mewvie “loops” continuously, meaning that it can play over and over so your kitty can have constant entertainment if left alone for an extended period.

Mewvie is the brainchild of friends Jeff Walderich and Fred Emmer, two local Tulsans.  Jeff is the owner of a local strategic marketing communications firm, and Fred serves as the director of business development for the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce.  When Jeff began a remodel of his 100-year old offices near downtown Tulsa a little over two years ago, he realized his Persian cat Paris would have to remain at home, after being accustomed to coming along to the offices every day.   Since Paris was so used to being around people all day, Jeff thought some stimulation at home might make the loneliness not as difficult.  Voila – the Mewvie idea was born.   

Jeff and Fred played around with different ideas, and eventually created 30 different “scenes.”   They sent demonstrations to a test group they formed, and the members showed the scenes to their cats and then rated them as to which ones got the greatest reaction from the cat.   Backyard Buffet, their first edition, was the final result. Not long after, Birdland Bonanza and Bug Brigade followed.  Mewvie Madness, a video of cats actually watching the Mewvies, is entertainment for the entire family, including the family cats!  

To introduce their Mewvies, they were featured at a booth at the Tulsa State Fair for three consecutive years, and they opened a test kiosk at Promenade Mall.  They’ve also sold their Mewvies on the QVC channel, and have been featured on 20/20.  Mewvies are now being viewed by cats all over the U.S., plus as far away as South Africa, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Give your cat a gift he’ll truly enjoy for hours on end this winter!   Mewvie!   

Dog Training 411

posted January 15th, 2008 by
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Story by Mary Green

Q: My neighbor has informed me that my dog barks all the time, and she is going to report me to animal control.  What can I do?

AIf your dog is in the backyard home alone while you are gone, there may be lots of reasons for the barking.  In order to resolve the issue, you may have to do some detective work.  Ask the neighbor for specifics about the barking, such as what’s going on when he is barking.  Set up a video camera, tape recorder, or do “recon” from a neighbor’s house.  Leave your house, drive around the block, park and sneak back to observe.  Once you have determined a cause, or causes, for the barking you can take corrective measures.  This is applicable whether your dog is outdoors barking in the yard or inside your apartment. 

He may be lonely or bored, and spending too much time home alone without enough to do.  How can you tell if this is the problem?  His barking may be very repetitive and may include howling, and he may be standing in the middle of the yard.  Adolescent dogs (those under 2 years), sporting dogs and herding dogs are particularly notorious for boredom barking.  

You can combat boredom by creating a more interesting environment.  Instead of feeding dog food out of a bowl, use food-stuffing toys such as Kong®, Buster Cube®, or Premier Busy Buddy® and let your dog “hunt” for his breakfast.  You can even put a few dog biscuits in a brown paper sack and hide them in the yard for a scavenger hunt.  Create a digging area in a child’s sandbox, hang a tether-ball from a sturdy tree branch.  Leave a good-sized knuckle bone outside for him to chew.  For indoor dogs, leave the TV or radio on to mask outside noises.

Maybe he is becoming territorial, or protective of the area.  If his barking sounds like an alarm (sharp, rapid) and his body posture is erect and targeted at something, he may be guarding.  Sometimes these dogs create paths that follow the fence line.  If he is barking at traffic, people or dogs passing by, you may have to restrict his access to certain areas of the yard, or windows.  When you are home, teach your dog a stop-barking cue by calling him to come to you and giving him a really good reward.  If you have a privacy fence, he may be frustrated by looking at the world through a slit in the fence.  If that’s the case, try creating a window by cutting out a small portion of the fence and blocking it with wire screening.

He may be afraid of something.  I worked with a client whose dog barked frantically and continually when he was left outdoors.  This was a newly developing problem and we were able to determine that he was frightened by the construction going on at another house.  We successfully integrated crate training indoors, and the dog was fine left alone.

Take a good look at your dog’s typical day.  Is he isolated for a long period of time?  Are you taking him on daily walks, playing fetch, grooming him, taking him for car rides, or going to training class?  Every dog needs physical exercise, mental stimulation, and social time with their family.  

Regardless of the reason, nuisance barking causes bad feelings between neighbors, and can potentially lead to removing the dog from the home, or even retaliation.  Devices such as no-bark collars (citronella, high-frequency noise, or shock) may appear as a solution, but these do not address the underlying cause of the dog’s barking, and often result in developing other bad behavior.

Q: What do you do for a dog with separation anxiety?  

AFirst, you have to know what separation anxiety is, and if your dog really “has” it.  Destructive behavior that happens when the dog’s owner is absent may just be an issue of boredom or access.  True separation anxiety occurs every time the dog is left alone.  The dog may become anxious when he realizes the owner is preparing to leave — gathering car keys, coat, purse, etc.  When the owner is gone, the dog may pace, whine, salivate, and destroy things.  He may shake or tremble.  In severe cases the dog may urinate and defecate, and self-mutilate.  

Mild cases may be helped by altering your patterns of coming and going.  Keep all greetings very low-key.  Change your routine; put your keys in a different place.  Leave the radio or TV on for company.  Teach your dog not to shadow you from room to room.  Dr. Patricia McConnell, says “All your dog needs to learn is:  crate = feeling good.”  A good crate training routine can be a lifesaver for a home-alone dog.  In her booklet, “I’ll be Home Soon,” Dr. McConnell has written great information that the average pet owner can use for a mild case of separation anxiety.

Serious separation anxiety cases are not easily treated without professional help, and perhaps the addition of anti-anxiety medications.

A Dog’s Prayer

posted January 15th, 2008 by
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Beth Norman Harris

Treat me kindly, my beloved master, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of me.

Do not break my spirit with a stick, for though I should lick your hand between the blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me do.

Speak to me often, for your voice is the world’s sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail when your footstep falls upon my waiting ear.

When it is cold and wet, please take me inside, for I am now a domesticated animal, no longer used to bitter elements.   And I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth.   Though had you no home, I would rather follow you through ice and show than rest upon the softest pillow in the warmest home in all the land, for you are my god and I am your devoted worshipper.

Keep my pan filled with fresh water, for although 

I should not reproach you were it dry, I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst.   Feed me clean food, that I may stay well, to romp and play by your side, and stand ready, willing and able to protect you with my life should your life be in danger.

And, beloved master, should the great Master see fit to deprive me of my health or sight, do not turn me away from you.  Rather, hold me gently in your arms as skilled hands grant me the merciful boon of eternal rest – and I will leave you knowing with the last breath I drew, my fate was ever safest in your hands.

Area Vets Endorse Three-Year Vaccines

posted January 15th, 2008 by
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Current concerns about the possible over-vaccination of dogs and cats during their lifetimes, and what problems, if any, there could be with over-vaccinating, have led to the development of a three-year vaccine for rabies, distemper, hepatitis, and parovirus for dogs, and a three-year vaccine for the herpes virus, calicivirus, panleukopenia, and rabies for cats.   

TulsaPets Magazine wanted to find out more about a three-year vaccine, and queried three local veterinarians for their opinions, including Dr. Chris Adolph, South Park Veterinary Hospital, Dr. Mark Setser, All Creatures/Village Vet Animal Hospitals, and Dr. Rodney Robards, Southern Hills Veterinary Hospital.

Dr. Adolph:  “For dogs, it is beneficial due to the fact that we are providing the same level of protection with less immune system stimulation over their life time.  Same for cats, but it is beneficial to give cats less injections due to the injection sarcoma issue.”   Dr. Setser: “A big plus with the new vaccine is the fact that your pet receives fewer vaccinations over his/her lifetime.  The antigens (proteins) included in vaccines stimulate the body to develop resistance to infectious agents.

By using the three-year vaccine, the body is challenged less often by these antigens, which minimizes the total risk for vaccine reactions, and also minimizes the number of injections over a pet’s lifetime.” Dr. Robards: “We vaccinate our pets more than we vaccinate our children.”

Because the 3-year vaccines do not cover all diseases, some vaccinations are still recommended annually for cats and dogs.  Additionally, veterinarians recommend annual or semi-annual exams for pets.

In general, the three year vaccines cost about twice as much as a one-year, so averaged over three years, the total cost is less than these annual vaccinations.

Dr. Setser notes that the FDA has extensively tested the new vaccine. “It’s been challenge-tested…” Dr. Robards adds that research indicates the 3-year dosage “is probably more effective than annual vaccinations.”

Contact your vet for more details on the three-year vaccine.

Story by Marilyn King

A Cinderella Story of Trash to Treasure

posted January 15th, 2008 by
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Story by Pat Atkinson

While Show Dogs Strut, Shaggy Little Lost Mutt Wins Hearts and a Home

While the finest of their breeds pranced and posed at the 2007 two-state dog show in downtown Tulsa, the real winner was a little lost mutt who stole the hearts of everyone and found a forever home.

Surrounded by hundreds of primped, pampered, clipped, brushed, coiffed kings and queens of the dog world, this little dog’s happiness outshined all as she trotted through the Convention Center beside her adopting person, Robert Rudy, who was providing security at the show.

This shaggy tale of a Cinderella story unfolded among the approximately 2,100 pure breds where CC (named for Convention Center) was dumped, but left with a new life and a forever family.

On the first day of the four-day combined specialty show licensed by the American Kennel Club and hosted by the Tulsa Mid-Continent Kennel Club, the little gray and white dog was spotted in the parking lot, lonely and frightened, searching for safety under the scores of rolling homes –- RVs fit for the finest of the breeds and their people.

Ragged, dusty, thin, in need of a bath, a haircut and a decent meal, she was certainly “outstanding” among the spotless beauties vying for ribbons and points. No doubt tossed out on the acres of asphalt like a bit of disposable trash, the waif was taken in and put in a crate as word spread about her through the dog world people and the four-footed stars.

No show star this little shaggy girl, but it’s hard to resist a sweet dog with a grateful smile and happily wagging tail, thought to be a mix of Petits Bassets Griffons Vendeens (pbgv) and Lhasa Apsos mixed together with who-knows-what-else.

Robert Rudy, wearing a uniform yellow “Event Staff” shirt and a self-described animal-lover, saw the dog while making his rounds and offered to help with her care-taking and walking.  Once they met, it was mutual love at first sight.

By Day 2, little Miss Mutt was named for the Convention Center, where her new life began.  CC was pronounced healthy by a veterinarian who estimated her about one year old. Others donated food and toys, vendors provided a yellow bone-shaped tag, collar and leash.

And that first night at home with her new family, shaggy CC dined like a princess, sharing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with Rudy’s 17-month-old granddaughter.   By meal’s end, both toddler and pup had most of the insides of the sandwich painting the outsides of their faces!  The meal and meeting was a big hit.

By Day 3, CC was outfitted proudly in a vendor-donated bright yellow coat, custom-embroidered with “Special Event,” matching her person’s official shirt.  She was dressed for the Ball and having the ball of her life.

By Day 4, her shaggy rags were clipped and groomed, courtesy of her new show friends.  All day she happily wagged her way alongside Rudy, smiling up at perfumed Rottweilers and Mastiffs, offering kisses to the tiny, fluffed Pekingese, Poms, Yorkies.

On the last day of the big show, the dog world elite gathered outside Ring 1 for the final showdown.  The best of their breeds, showing off, posing on table-tops, striking the winning stance, performing with a twitch of the leash, perfection in the dog world.

By late afternoon, hundreds of winners had rounded the inside of the white picket fence at Ring 1 with their professional handlers — top dogs, selected by serious-faced judges handing out colorful rosette ribbons in front of signs announcing First, Second, Third, Fourth place.

Show dogs strutting their stuff. And then there was one.

In a class of her very own, CC and her person – unmistakable in their bright yellow Special Event outfits – were introduced over the speaker system as they entered Ring 1 both wearing the biggest smiles of all.  

Once around the winner’s ring they went, little Miss Mutt prancing alongside Rudy’s long strides, heads held high, CC’S furry feet barely touching the carpeted path, her whole back half swinging side-to-side keeping up with her tail.

Applause and cheers accompanied this rags to riches real life story.  It doesn’t get much better than a little lost dog taking home the gold.

And as the day faded and this fancy dog show closed, a grateful little unwanted Cinderella dog and her kind Prince headed home to share a PB&J dinner.

CC has settled in with her new family, sharing space with a bossy tabby named Psycho, a couple of “big” senior citizen dogs (all furry residents had been dumped and adopted), a few horses, and a visiting granddaughter who’s about her age and loves to play.  Those two will grow up together.

A sweet, true-life fairy tale that ends just like all the best ones ever after.

Ask the Vet

posted January 15th, 2008 by
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Photo by Evan Taylor Photography

Story by Dr. Chad Lewis


 Even though I feed my 8 year old Schnauzer/Poodle mix a good quality lamb and rice mix food and no people food (except for an occasional piece of cheese) she has periods where she will leave a mess on the carpet even though she has just been outside a couple of hours earlier.  It is definitely diarrhea and I treat it with crushed Pepto-Bismol tablets, which generally works.  She will be fine for months and then for two or three days have diarrhea.  I have heard that a day of fasting for a dog will allow their digestive system to rest and “catch up.”  Is this true and if so, will it hurt her?

Thanks- D. Bennetch

A: I am glad to hear that you limit her “people food”; Schnauzers as a breed more commonly get a disease called pancreatitis which is severe stomach upset including vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Dogs and cats in general have a sensitive stomach and rapid food changes or fatty treats such as steak, hot dogs and hamburgers can cause vomiting and diarrhea.  As a general rule I would recommend a good lab work up to rule out metabolic diseases, multiple fecal screens and a giardia ELISA test to rule out intestinal parasites.  Sometimes intestinal parasites such as whipworms or giardia can cause on again off again diarrhea.  If she will eat you do not need to withhold food, but a diet higher in fiber may help calm the signs of diarrhea.

Q: My 15-year old female Lab has suddenly started having a hard time getting around, and her back legs splay out from under her, especially on tile or hardwood floors where there’s no traction.   I’ve put her in little hunting type “boots” with a non-skid bottom on them.   I’ve heard that dogs sweat through their feet, so will leaving these boots on her for prolonged periods of time hurt anything?

S. Miller

A: It is true that dogs do sweat through their pads, but they pant to get rid of the majority of their excess heat.  Leaving on the booties will not cause her to overheat, but may make it more likely to develop a skin infection if the booties are left on all the time.  Just take them off occasionally to let the feet dry out a few times a day and make sure that skin is a healthy pink and does not smell abnormal.  Also there is a newer prescription diet out by Science Diet that is great for older dogs with arthritis called J/D.  It has done wonders for our patients and some dogs are acting like puppies again. We try to use multiple methods to treat arthritis pain in dogs: weight control, chondroitin-glucosamine supplements, diet and controlled exercise.

Q: I have a young Golden Retriever pup that’s about six months old.   Sometimes when she’s sleeping she must be having violent puppy dreams because she’ll cry and jerk and her legs go back and forth.   Should I wake her up when she’s doing this?   Sometimes it can be loud and she seems frightened.

T. Wilder

A: Dogs and cats seem to “dream” while they sleep and will twitch and cry out at times and this is normal and nothing to be concerned about.  You do not need to wake her up.  You can video tape her when this happens and have your veterinarian take a look to make sure it is not a seizure.