Experts are saying that we are in store for a large spike in Lyme disease cases this spring. The surge is expected to begin in May and last until July. Call the hospital today to talk with our medical staff about whether your pet should be vaccinated against Lyme disease. Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases in the world, and left untreated it can cause serious health problem for your pet. So why the projected big increase this year? According to HealthDay News: “The reason is that oak trees produced relatively few acorns this year, part of a normal cycle of boom and bust years for the acorn crop. But the small crop means trouble for the white-footed mouse, which feeds on the acorns. “We had a boom in acorns, followed by a boom in mice. And now, on the heels of one of the smallest acorn crops we’ve ever seen, the mouse population is crashing,” Richard Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y., said in an institute news release. “What does that have to do with Lyme disease? “Mice are the preferred host for black-legged ticks, which transmit Lyme disease. Black-legged ticks need a bloodmeal at three different stages — as larvae, as nymphs and as adults. As of the spring, the larval ticks that fed on 2011’s large mouse population will be looking for their nymphal meal. “This spring, there will be a lot of Borrelia burgdorferi-infected black-legged ticks in our forests looking for a blood meal. And instead of finding a white-footed mouse, they are going to find other mammals — like us,” Ostfeld added. Borrelia burgdorferi is the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. Here’s a link to the full article.
Your cat’s claws are her favorite tools, useful in climbing, grooming, hunting, self-defense and playing. Your job is to help keep her claws in good shape, by trimming them periodically and providing opportunities for your cat to sharpen them on sturdy, immovable scratching posts. Let’s start with trimming your cat’s claws, using a human toenail trimmer or a cat claw trimmer. Choose a time when you and your cat are relaxed. Wrap your left arm around your cat and hold her front paw in your left hand, so you can clip with your right hand.* Place your left thumb on top of your cat’s toe and your forefinger beneath it. Gently squeeze to expose the claw. When you look at the claw from the side, you’ll see the pink “quick” inside – and the curved hook that forms the end of the claw. With the trimmer in your right hand, cut off the claw’s hook. Avoid the quick to prevent discomfort. Pet and praise your cat as you trim each claw. If you prefer to trim claws only occasionally, fit your cat with plastic claw caps like Soft Paws. To use them, trim your cat’s claws, apply a bit of the supplied glue to the inside of each cap and slide the cap onto the claw. Cuddle your cat for several minutes while the glue dries. As the claws grow over the next four to six weeks, the nail caps will drop off and you’ll need to repeat the process. It’s also important to offer your cat scratching posts, because scratching is a normal cat behavior. The posts should be at least three feet high, so your cat can stretch while she scratches. It’s best to situate some posts vertically and others horizontally. The scratching posts must be stable, because cats don’t like posts that totter. Entice your cat to use each post by rubbing catnip on the surface and flicking a feather toy against it. *If you are left-handed, reverse these directions: Hold your cat with your right arm and clip with your left hand.
Dear Daisy Dog: When I chop vegetables for soups, stews and other dishes, I invariably drop some pieces onto the floor, where my dogs immediately devour them. I worry that some of the veggies may be toxic. Which should I be especially careful about? Daisy Responds: Most vegetables are safe for us dogs – except onions, garlic and chives. They can damage red blood cells and cause anemia, so make sure they don’t fall from your cutting board. If one of your dogs has a history of calcium oxalate bladder stones, it’s best to avoid oxalate-containing vegetables, such as leafy greens (including rhubarb), beets and potatoes. The root of the jicama is safe for dogs, but the seeds and other above-ground parts of the plant are toxic. Because the root is usually sold by itself, you shouldn’t have a problem unless you grow jicama in your garden. Some vegetables, such as cauliflower, produce gas, so you should be careful not to let large quantities drop to the floor. Otherwise, most vegetables are tasty, low-calorie, nutrient-rich, high-fiber treats your dogs can enjoy.
Our friends at Grey Muzzle are participating in the St. Patty’s Marsh Madness Polar Bear Plunge on March 17th and they are asking for your support! The St. Patty´s Day Marsh Madness is a swim into Blue Marsh in the cold of winter. Grey Muzzle will receive 50% of all the sponsor money collected. The rest of the cash will go to support the Berks County area YMCAs. Grey Muzzle and ARL has six “plungers” participating and they need your support. Contact Marcy Tocker at firstname.lastname@example.org to become a sponsor! If you want to come out and support the team and see the chilly swimming, come out to Blue Marsh Lake, Day Use Area at 11 a.m. on March 17th.