The veterinarians and staff at the University Animal Hospital are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fun and fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to pet care, information on our animal hospital, as well as news on the latest trends and discoveries in veterinary medicine.

Please enjoy the newsletter!

Current Newsletter Topics

7 Reasons Why Dogs Bark

We’ve identified seven general reasons for barking. Each generates a different kind of bark with a unique sound.

  1. Barking to induce play—Dogs will stop barking as the play proceeds. If you do not play with the dog, he (or she) will eventually give up and stop barking.
  2. Barking to discipline young—This bark generally does not persist, as one or two warnings usually stop younger animals in their tracks.
  3. Barking to warn of danger—This is a deep, repeated bark. The barking will generally persist until the source of danger is removed or until the dog is able to retreat to a position of safety.
  4. Can I have your attention?

  5. Barking to threaten intruders—To stop such a bark, you must either remove the intruder or remove the dog from the situation. Sometimes, stepping to the dog’s side and assuring it that all is well will cause it to stop barking.
  6. Curiosity barking—In general, this bark is displayed when there is some activity near a dog, but in such a place where the animal cannot have a good look. To stop the barking, all you have to do is let the dog see what it is curious about.
  7. Barking for companionship—This is an incessant, repetitive bark, accompanied by a relatively motionless tail and concentration toward the area most associated with the dog’s owners. The solution to this type of bark is to spend more time with the dog and to allow the dog access to the area where humansspend their time. This bark is often displayed by dogs that are ignored, tied out alone or locked up alone.
  8. Barking for reward—Dogs can be inadvertently trained to bark and will persist with remarkable persistence. Barking can become associated with almost any activity that leads to reward. For instance, a dog that barks at garbage trucks because they intrude within its territory will learn that persistent barking leads to the disappearance of the trucks. This rewards the barking behavior, and a cycle is begun that is difficult to break. To break the cycle, it is necessary to interrupt the natural system of reward.
Summer Exacerbates Your Pet’s Breathing Problems

How Summer Exacerbates Your Pet’s Breathing Problems & What You Can Do To Help

Pets in Summer

With summer in the air, it’s getting particularly hard for some animals to breath. This is especially the case for short-nose – or flat-faced – dogs, such as the Pekingese, pug, bulldog, boxer, shih tzu, and chihuahua. However, these airway problems, which are typically due to narrow nostrils, a long soft palate, or collapsed voice box, can also affect our feline friends, such as Himalayans and exotic shorthairs. This condition (known as the Brachycephalic airway syndrome) is largely due to the dog or cat’s unique head shape, so there isn’t much you can do to entirely avoid it.

However, there are certain factors that can increase the risk and further complicate their breathing condition. These include:

  1. Allergies (especially in the summer)
  2. Obesity
  3. Over-excitement
  4. Exercise and any other activity that could lead to excessive breathing. Panting may also naturally increase in the summer months as the weather gets hotter and more humid.

Treatment options largely depend on the symptoms exhibited by your dog or cat. In some cases, surgical procedures may be your pet’s best option.  So don’t let the summer heat waves stop your pet from getting a breath of fresh air. For more information about symptoms and treatments, talk to your local veterinarian.

Cat Dental Facts and Disease

Kittens have 26 temporary teeth that begin to erupt at about two to three weeks of age. They have 30 permanent teeth that emerge at about three to four months.

Studies show that 70 percent of cats show signs of gum disease by age three. Symptoms include yellow and brown build-up of tartar along the gumline, red inflamed gums and persistent bad breath.

Feline Odontoclastic Lesions (FORL), commonly called cervical line lesions, are the most common dental disease of domestic cats. The disease was virtually unrecognized until the mid-1970's. Recent studies show about 28 percent of domestic cats show at least one lesion. The lesions often begin below the gumline, so they can develop undetected. Often, the first sign to the pet owner is a severely inflamed gum around a tooth. Cat owners should seek veterinary care if their cat exhibits pain or inflammation around the gums.

Abdominal Ultrasound

Ultrasound is a non-invasive, modern technique that produces real-time images of the abdominal organs. It allows your veterinarian to achieve a depth of detail that is not possible with X-rays.

Veterinary Ultrasound Machine

Veterinary Ultrasound Machine

Ultrasound of the Kidney and Bladder

Abdominal ultrasound allows the doctor to fully examine the liver, gallbladder, spleen, adrenal glands, pancreas, kidneys, urinary bladder, and parts of the stomach and intestines. Ultrasound examination of these organs is crucial when a diagnosis depends upon seeing the surface or inside an organ, or when surgery or anesthesia would not be desirable. Abdominal ultrasound is completely painless, and generally can be performed using no anesthesia or sedation. Abdominal ultrasound has revolutionized the study of liver diseases, and is crucial to diagnosing and treating many types of cancer.

Birth of Kittens (Queening)

About two weeks before the kittens are due, a nesting box (or queening box) should be introduced to the expectant mother. This box should be made from a washable material and located in a warm and secluded area. The bottom of the box should be lined with an absorbent material that can be changed frequently. Newspapers, towels, or clean rags make excellent bed liners.

The first stage of labor may last anywhere from several hours to an entire day (24 hours). The queen is restless, fidgety, and usually refuses to eat. The expectant mother may pace about the house or begin digging in the queening box. Abdominal contractions signal the end of this period and the beginning of active labor.

Straining of the stomach muscles (contractions) marks the beginning of the second phase of labor. As the mother continues to strain, less time elapses between contractions. Generally within 15 minutes to one hour after contractions begin, a fluid-filled sac appears at the vaginal opening. This sac surrounds the first kitten.

After several contractions, the first kitten is born. The time interval between successive kittens can range anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Some experienced mothers are able to complete the entire birthing process in 30 minutes.

Generally when each kitten is born, it is enclosed in a membrane or sac. The mother usually licks the kitten's face and breaks the sac. If this sac is not immediately broken by the mother, human intervention is required. The sac must be opened, and the kitten's face must be rubbed. Rubbing the kitten's face with a clean cloth is an excellent method to stimulate breathing. Sometimes the kitten is born without a membrane or sac. If this occurs, the sac will follow the kitten, arriving together with the umbilical cord.

There are two normal positions for delivery. The kittens can come out "head first" or "rear first". A "rear first" delivery is generally more difficult than a "head first" delivery.

Human intervention is required when a kitten is lodged in the birth canal. When this occurs (and the mother is not able to expel the kitten herself), the mother must be restrained and gentle traction applied to the kitten. The kitten is grasped with a clean dry towel and pulled in a downward position, toward the mother's feet. When a kitten is lodged in the birth canal for a considerable amount of time, it is usually born dead.

A greenish-black discharge occurs between births. This discharge is normal and is often blood-tinged. If a reddish discharge occurs at the beginning of labor, and the expectant mother strains for more than one hour without delivering kittens, immediate veterinary attention is required.

After each kitten is born, the remaining portion of the sac should be removed from its face. Any mucus surrounding the nostrils should be cleared away. Kittens should be dried with a clean towel and rubbed in order to stimulate breathing. Using a fine-diameter thread, each umbilical cord should be tied about one inch from the kitten's belly. The cord is cut on the far side of the knot, and the remaining stump (with the cord) is dipped into a white iodine solution. If the kittens are similar looking, it is best to number each one with a permanent marker.

Nursing kittens

Nursing Kittens

When the mother is relaxed and she settles down with her kittens, it is safe to assume that the birthing process is over. A small amount of vaginal bleeding is normal and this often continues for 2 or 3 days. If bleeding seems heavy or continues beyond this period, veterinary attention is required.

A mother and kitten
How to Cope With the Loss of Your Pet

Losing a pet is always hard, no matter how or when it happens. Yet coping with this loss and finding people who understand what you are going through may prove even more difficult. For one thing, you can’t talk to your sick or aging animal the way you would with your ailing friends or family. This void makes it especially challenging to get the answers or closure you may want or need.


If you find yourself in this situation, here are a few tips to help you get through these challenging times:

  1. Keep your pet’s memories alive
  2. Keep the memory of your pet alive through photos, collages, videos, and through simply talking about the memories you shared with your furry friend. Your friends and family will understand. Having something concrete to hold onto may help provide the comfort you need during the times you most miss your pet.

  3. Hold a goodbye or remembrance ceremony

    The way you choose to say your goodbyes to your pet is personal. Everyone deals with their grief differently. However, dedicating some time and energy to saying some final words to your pet may provide the closure and comfort you need. Acknowledging the significance and loss of a pet may be especially important for kids who may be more impressionable and effected by the loss.


  5. Be honest about your feelings
  6. You have the right to feel however you feel. Never feel bad about the way you express your sadness – or maybe even your anger and guilt – over the loss of your pet.  Your family and friends will understand.

  7. Take time to grieve
  8. Many people think buying a new pet immediately after another pet’s death will alleviate or quicken the grieving process. Although buying a new pet may ultimately prove to be a good decision, it should not serve as a quick replacement or coping mechanism. First, take time to grieve your loss, then visit the idea of owning another pet.


  9. Keep your normal routine
  10. If Fido liked early morning walks or mid-day yard time, continue the tradition. If your schedule was timed around taking your dog for walks, why not continue? You can still try to maintain your normal schedule if it was something you enjoyed doing. Getting in the extra outdoor time is never a bad thing.

  11. Donate extra attention to your other pets
  12. Where you may need to adjust your routine is for the benefit of your other animals. If you have other pets in your household, consider dedicating more time and energy towards them. Not only will that be therapeutic for you, but also beneficial for them. Your other pets may be suffering right along with you as they grieve the loss of their fellow housemate and companion.

Can Your Doggie Paddle?

Almost all of us learned to swim with the doggie paddle. So, we may be surprised to find out that our doggie can’t, well, paddle.

With the hot summer months ahead, we’re all anxious to take Fido to the beach. But what many pet owners don’t realize is that he may not be the natural swimmer you always assumed him to be. Though it’s true that most dogs will automatically start “doggie paddling” in order to stay afloat, this does not always mean that they can hold their head up long enough to swim.

Dog with Goggles

Most dogs that can’t swim have heavy chests in relation to the rest of their body. Think: Bulldogs. Labs, on the other hand, are pretty much bred for swimming. But don’t let this basic rule of thumb get you in trouble this summer. If your dog doesn’t race to the water’s edge, it’s wise to assume that he may not be a champion swimmer, and it is your job to ensure he reaches shore safely.

Teaching your dog to swim may be as simple as luring him in with encouragement, treats, and toys until he’s ready to go solo. Start shallow and work your way deeper and deeper. The learning curve is usually pretty quick, especially if there are other dogs around who appear to be having fun in the water. If you come to realize that your dog isn’t the avid swimmer you imagined, he can still have fun with you at the lake this summer. Just strap on a life vest, and he’s good to go!