• The Truth About Black Cats

    Posted on October 31st, 2012
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    Happy Halloween from Clear the Air!

    We always like to encourage families adopt animals from shelters and we especially encourage the adoption of black animals because believe it or not, they are usually the last to get adopted.

    We would like to share an article from the ASPCA regarding the truth about black cats.

    Have you heard the myth that black cats are unsafe in October, in part because witches may try to adopt them for rituals? We sure have. But guess what? Top ASPCA experts agree that it’s just not true.

    Unfortunately, the truth is kinda scary, too: Year-round, black cats are the least likely to get adopted in shelters across the U.S. In fact, black animals in general take more time to find homes, says Gail Buchwald, Senior Vice President of the Adoption Center.

    At the ASPCA, we LOVE black kitties. (Some of our friendliest cats, like Marissa, are black—yet Marissa has waited more than nine months to find a family. What’s up with that?)

    Aside from the most important reason to adopt black kitties—that they really need extra help finding homes—here are a few reasons to take home one or two:

    • Their fur won’t show on your little black dress.
    • You can tell your kids you adopted a mini panther.
    • Black cats go with everything.
    • In most cultures, black cats are a sign of good luck.
    • You already know black cats are awesome—you have one at home! If you’ve got a great black kitty, tell us about him or her in the comments. You just might persuade someone else to give these felines a little extra attention.
  • Canine Arthritis 101

    Posted on October 19th, 2012
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    Do you think your dog may have arthritis?

    Clear the Air would like to share an article from the ASPCA about Canine Arthritis.  Remember, if you think your pet may have arthritis, it is most important to make a visit to the vet.  The following information is not intended to replace your veterinary care.

    What is canine arthritis? Osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease (DJD), is a progressive, debilitating disorder characterized by a loss of cartilage and the death of cartilage-producing cells. DJD can occur in any joint, but is most often found in the hip. It can lead to permanent loss of function.

    What breeds/ages are prone to canine arthritis?
    In most cases, DJD occurs secondarily to trauma, nutritional disorders or infections. It is prevalent in middle-aged to geriatric dogs (and sometimes in cats). DJD may also occur in young dogs who suffer from canine hip dysplasia, a common developmental disorder of the hip joint found primarily in the larger breeds and breed mixes.

    What medications are used to treat canine arthritis?
    The goals of drug therapy for DJD are to control pain, increase mobility, slow down the destructive process in the joint and encourage cartilage repair. The drugs most often prescribed to control pain and inflammation are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

    – Aspirin, a NSAID, is probably used more often than any other medication to treat DJD in dogs. Although effective in most dogs, aspirin does have gastrointestinal side effects.

    – Carprofen (Rimadyl®) is significantly more potent than aspirin and has a very wide margin of safety. Rare instances of liver toxicity have been reported in dogs receiving carprofen.

    – Etodolac (EtoGesic® has potent analgesic activity. At the recommended dosage, Etodolac presents little potential for development of stomach ulcers.

    Chondroprotective agents are drugs that help protect cartilage as it attempts to repair itself. They have become increasingly popular in treating DJD.
    – Two such drugs are Cosequin® and Glyco-flex®. They consist of glucosamine and purified chondroitin sulfate, major building blocks of cartilage. Cosequin and Glyco-flex are neutraceuticals, i.e. dietary supplements or food additives that do not require FDA approval.

    -Adequan®, on the other hand, has been approved by the FDA for the management of DJD in dogs. It works by inhibiting some mediators of inflammation, as well as enzymes that contribute to the destruction of cartilage. This chondroprotective agent is given to dogs by intramuscular injection. Successful treatment is more likely if the drug is given early in the development of DJD. For example, when puppies diagnosed with hip dysplasia were given Adequan before arthritic changes occurred, their radiographs showed significant improvement and development of DJD was delayed.

    Because the drugs work in different ways, NSAIDs and chondroprotective agents can be given simultaneously to dogs who are severely affected.

    Are there other ways, besides drug therapy, to treat dogs with canine arthritis?
    Drug therapy is most effective when combined with appropriate exercise and weight management. Non-strenuous exercise, such as swimming or walking, is therapeutic and may enhance the nutrition of cartilage. Dogs should be exercised on a regular schedule, and strenuous, high-impact activities should be avoided. Overweight dogs should be placed on an appropriate diet. Dogs with DJD may benefit from being somewhat underweight.

    Is surgery an option for dogs with canine arthritis?
    If medical management fails to reduce pain and improve function, there are many surgical options for hip dysplasia. The most common is femoral head ostectomy, where the head of the thighbone is removed to resolve the pain of the thighbone grinding against the hip socket. Triple pelvic osteotomy is a corrective surgical procedure that reorients the hip socket to realign it with the head of the thighbone, thus stabilizing the joint. If all else fails, total hip replacement with a prosthetic device can be performed.

    Is acupuncture used to treat canine arthritis?
    Although controlled clinical studies are lacking, there are many anecdotal reports on the use of acupuncture in treating musculoskeletal disorders in dogs. Pain from hip dysplasia and accompanying DJD is a common reason for acupuncture referrals.

  • The Low Down On Halloween Pet Costumes

    Posted on October 16th, 2012
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    Halloween pet costumes – safe or not?

    Halloween is upon us and there are many cute Halloween outfits for pets in the stores right now.  We’d like to share some helpful information on making sure your pet is safe with the costume you choose, thanks to the ASPCA.  Check it out:

    With Halloween just around the corner, you might be tempted to make your cat or dog a star by dressing him up in the cutest mini-sized costume you can find. But wait—is trick-or-treat apparel really safe for your furry friends?

    Our experts suggest putting your pet in a costume only if you’re sure he will enjoy it. Some pets love the limelight: wearing a costume and posing for pictures is a blast! Others prefer to stick to their birthday suits for all occasions, and being dressed like a pumpkin for their pet parents’ amusement can cause unnecessary stress.

    If you decide to have your pet wear a costume, here are some helpful safety tips to keep in mind:

    • Your pet’s Halloween garb should not constrict his movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Be sure to try on costumes in advance—and if your furry friend seems distressed, you’ll want to ditch the mini-pirate hat and vest.
    • Examine your pet’s costume and make sure it doesn’t have any small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get caught on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.
    • IDs, please! Make sure your dog or cat has proper identification on underneath that cute costume. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost during Halloween festivities, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver.
  • Be Kind To Animals Week

    Posted on May 7th, 2012
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    Did you know it is Be Kind to Animals Week?

    May 6-12 is Be Kind to Animals Week, and it’s a great time to focus on sharing your love of animals with kids, grand kids, nieces, nephews, students and any other young ones in your life!

    We would like to share ASPCA’s Five Tips you can take yourself to celebrate Be Kind To Animals Week:

    1. Volunteer Together
    Sure, many shelters require volunteers to be 18 to handle animals—but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing kids can do to help! Kids can hold a bake sale for a local shelter, help with web design or do even more. Call your favorite shelter to ask what your kids can do.

    2. Write a Letter to Congress
    I’m sure you know that animals across the country need our help! But did you know that kids can help, too? Talk about the issues with your kids, then write a letter together.

    3. Get Crafty
    If you’ve got a future artist on your hands, consider getting messy in the craft room for shelter animals. What can you do? For starters, you can make cat toys for homeless kitties in your area. Check out this page for instructions. (Hint: You’ll need some old socks.) Or you can decorate bandanas to help shelter pets get noticed!

    4. Get ‘Em Involved in Pet Care
    Whether you decide your 12-year-old is ready for his own guinea pig or you want your 14-year-old to feed the dog dinner each day, getting your kids involved in caring for your pets will help them build a lasting love for animals.

    5. Foster a Shelter Animal
    Of course, this choice isn’t right for everyone; adding an animal, even temporarily, is a big deal! But there’s no better way to show your kids the beauty of the human-animal bond than saving a life together. If your home has room for one more, Be Kind to Animals Week is a great time to foster a shelter cat or dog who needs some extra attention.

    Make sure to comment on our blog if you have any other suggestions of ways to celebrate Be Kind to Animals Week.