Happy October, everyone! Fall is here, and it’s my favorite season. Crisp sunny days, colorful foliage, pumpkins and mums; they all make me happy. I think our pets enjoy the changing season too. Unfortunately, some of our four-legged friends enter autumnal equinox with a flea problem. If you think the cooler overnight weather of the fall means that fleas are a thing of the past, you’re wrong. In fact, flea larvae (immature stage of the flea) develop outdoors in cool, shady areas, as well as in protected areas in our homes. [Read more…]
I’ve written before about signs of pain in pets. Today I’m writing specifically about cats and how they experience pain. The first important point is that yes, cats do feel pain. In fact, many of our older kitties are in chronic pain. The second point is that cats are exceedingly good at hiding their pain. This means your cat may be feeling pain, and you don’t even realize it. [Read more…]
Last week I shared my story about finding my dog, Maple. I was so fortunate to get her back within 24 hours. If I had not, there are other things I would have set in motion to continue my search. I want to share five more tools with you, in case you ever find yourself in the same predicament. [Read more…]
Ten days ago at this time I was feeling pretty low. My dog Maple had been missing for 14 hours. We were on vacation at the Delaware Beach, and she slipped her collar during a walk on the evening of August 11. She ran off, in a neighborhood she didn’t know. It was dark, and although we had sightings of her that night, we gave up our search around midnight, waiting for the light of day to resume. [Read more…]
Last week, I helped a senior large breed dog (15 years old!) and his family. This dog was not eating, barely drinking, couldn’t stand or walk any longer. We were all sitting under a tree in their backyard on a Saturday morning: Henry (not the dog’s real name), Mom, Dad, 2 young sons, and me. As is my routine at all appointments, we sat and talked for a while about their life with Henry and everything he brought to their lives for the past decade and a half. [Read more…]
This is a story about my dog Maple, and how she came into our lives. It’s also a story about solving the mystery of “what kind of dog is she?” We adopted her in April 2011 from Castaway Critters. We guesstimated she was 1 year old at the time. She was living with a wonderful foster mom in a home occupied by big dogs. Maple only weighs 13 pounds, but she stood her ground with the big dogs, according to Foster Mom. [Read more…]
Hello, pet parents! I have to admit I fell off the blogging wagon these past two weeks. The first week I have to blame vacation hangover. Then last Monday, a crazy man running from the local 5-0 drove his pickup truck at high speed into our office. He did a thorough job of destroying it, and the past week has been a bit hectic dealing with the aftermath. The blessing in all of it is that none of our staff was injured (the office was not occupied at the time). We hope to have the office back open in a few months; we’ll rebuild better than ever!
Today’s topic is a super cool techie invention for all of you cat lovers. Whenever I’m asked to examine a cat that’s feeling under the weather, or a cat that is overweight or underweight, one of my first questions is “how much is your cat eating?” More times than not, when the cat in question lives with other cats, no one really quite knows how much each cat is consuming. Many cats are grazers, coming and going from the food bowl multiple times in a day. Perhaps if you feed canned food or feed raw to your cats, you have a better sense of how much your cats are eating.
By far, the majority of cats eat dry kibble. I wish this were not the case for the sake of the cat’s health, but that’s a discussion for another time. Here’s where a super smart guy named Mu-Chi comes in. He’s been working on facial recognition technology for dashboards for the past two years. He’s also the dad to 3 cats. One of his cats, Momo, became very ill with pancreatitis and wasn’t eating for a while. Unfortunately, Mu-Chi didn’t recognize this right away, and by the time he took her to the vet, she was seriously ill and nearly died.
Mu-Chi realized he could apply facial recognition to a cat feeder, and the Bistro was born. How does it work? Your cat steps onto a tray and places his or her face inside the feeder. This activates the camera, which either recognizes your cat or will send you a notification to add the cat if it doesn’t recognize him. Weight sensors underneath the food, water, and the tray holding your cat continuously measure weights of each. All of the data is sent via the cloud to your smartphone, where you can view it using the Bistro App.
Bistro also allows you to control each cat’s portion of food. You can tell it how many meals per day and select the type of food your are feeding, and the feeder will use its extensive database of cat foods to determine how much food to dispense.
You can even observe your cats while eating via the Bistro App. If your cats like to eat at night, the built-in LED lighting system will gradually come on so your cats aren’t startled by a sudden bright light.
I think this feeder is genius! I’ll be watching closely to see how well it performs. According to the Bistro website, the first feeders will ship in February 2015. Expected retail price is $249, but you can pre-order for up to 40% off this price here. What do you think of this invention?
Last week I participated in a webinar led by a veterinary oncologist. He introduced us to a tool, called the Canine Brief Pain Inventory or CBPI, which was developed by Dr. Brown and others at University of Pennsylvania. The tool evaluates both the severity of pain in dogs, as well as how much pain is interfering with normal daily life. It has been validated for dogs with osteoarthritis and bone cancer occurring in the legs. [Read more…]
Yesterday I helped four amazing animals cross over the Rainbow Bridge. They ranged in size from 1 lb (a ferret) to 140 lb (a St. Bernard). Each was a beloved family member. Three had cancer; one had severe arthritis resulting from hip dysplasia and possibly the start of a spinal neurologic disease. Family members of the 3 dogs told me that, among other things, their dogs had been panting heavily even when at rest in the cool house, and they were quite restless. [Read more…]
From time to time, we hear from potential customers that we are too expensive. They say, “My vet will put my dog to sleep and cremate him for $xxx, and you want to charge me double!” People ask us to give them a discount. Sometimes people yell, or they simply hang up on us. Although some days we feel discouraged by this, we have never strayed from the principles that guide our business. [Read more…]