Archive | February, 2014

How your Pet Makes you a Better Person, Valentine’s Day Edition

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Valentine’s Day is generally geared towards expressing how you feel towards other humans in your life. But what about your pets? They are also an important part of your family and life, sharing unconditional love in countless ways that cannot be expressed through, cards, flowers or expensive dinners.

So apart from the surprise treats and snuggles you may share with them to show your gratitude, does your pet really know it’s a special day? Or is the reaction you get out of sharing with them, the loving exchange, that makes you feel more loved on a day all about love?

How your Pet Makes you a Better Person

The relationship you develop with your pet is as unique as any human one. You learn to read their cues, get used to their habits. You appreciate them as a presence in your life and acknowledge all the ways you’ve changed, grown or expanded because of the unconditional love they share with you. Pets and animals also offer an unconditional gift of service, just by showing up as themselves, no expectation for something in return. This gives you the space to also show up as you are — no make-up, no fancy outfit, no presents or glamorous Valentine’s Day plans, and remember you are fabulous and loved!

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If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you know Monty is my very first pet cat. I had no idea how being a cat owner would change me, but I’ve definitely evolved for the better during the last eight years he’s been in my life. That’s why in the spirit of the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday, I wanted to share this. I’m sure all of you pet owners out there can relate and maybe even reflect on a few things that you can acknowledge about how your pet has changed and supported you.

Some of the positive ways my cat Monty impacts my life:

  • Reminds me to take a break and be kind to myself by swiping past my leg for pets, leading me away from my workdesk
  • Helps me ease into my day by jumping on my chest for pets first thing in the morning, but graciously waits until I’m already awake
  • Shows me that even on my crappiest of days, there is something awesome to appreciate and smile about
  • Cracks me up, and laughter is an important key to a happy life
  • Puts up with me when I hug him, even if he’s not feelin’ it, just for me
  • Is an oasis of “cuteness overload” while I work from home
  • Knows if I’m feeling “off” or getting sick before I do, reminding me to take it easy
  • Gives me an opportunity to learn about myself, every day
  • The habits and structure he requires also gives me a little structure, especially on my most chaotic days
  • His unconditional love has absolutely transformed me as a human being

And the biggest bonus — he’s a fantastic mouser that saved my last townhouse from a long-running mouse problem!

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I will never have another “first cat”. Monty has a special place in my heart and life and our connection has showed me more about myself than I ever thought I needed to learn. So on this upcoming day of love, I say don’t worry about flowers and fancy dinners as much as appreciating the unconditional love you get every day you walk in the door from your furry, or non-furry pets. They create a sense of stability and loads of dependable love in the chaos of life, and that is truly a gift.

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Tell me what your pets show you about yourself or the joy they bring to your life! Share this post if you can relate!

Critter Events for February 7th – 14th

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Here are the latest event updates! Some are just for this week and other’s run all month long. This week’s featured cutie is Ela, a domestic short hair female kitten that is very sweet, but shy. She needs a little extra love and socialization, so she would be good with a family in a relaxed home who can dedicate time and special attention to get her feeling at home. Ela’s available through the Front Collins Spay and Neuter Clinic.

Beat the Heat! Special Deal in February ONLY! Offered by Fort Collins Cat Rescue and Spay/Neuter Clinic in collaboration with Pet Smart Charities. Get your female cat fixed for only $20. Call 970-484-1861 to book your appointment, as space is limited.

It’s also National Pet Dental Health Month, focused on the addressing the significance of oral health care for your pets. Check out the post I did earlier this week on the importance of a regular dental health care routine.

Saturday, February 8th 

Animal House Rescue and Grooming Adoption and Informational Event

When: 11 a.m.- 2 p.m.

Where: Petco at 2211 S College Ave #200, Fort Collins, CO 80525

There will be dogs available for adoption and a binder available to check out all adoptable dogs at the shelter. Volunteers will be on-site to talk about volunteering and fostering.

Low cost vaccination clinic hosted by the Fort Collins Cat Rescue & Spay/Neuter Clinic

When: 9 a.m.- 3 p.m.

Where: At the Fort Collins Cat Rescue & Spay/Neuter Clinic: 2321 E. Mulberry St., Fort Collins

Cost: All vaccines are only $15 each.

Sunday, February 9th 

Animal Afternoon 

Join Larimer Animal People Partnership volunteers and their special story-loving critters. Enjoy good books and the opportunity to read to friendly animals. For children in grades K-5. 40-60 minutes.

When: 3 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Where: Council Tree Library in the community room

Cost: Free

February 12th 

Raptors at the Library, Rocky Mountain Raptor Program 

Urban Raptors: Come to meet those species that we have in the cities and towns where we live. Share your yard, open spaces and fields with the raptors. Join Carin Avila and meet some raptors up close!

When: 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Where: Harmony Library, 4616 S. Shields St. Fort Collins, CO 80526

Cost: Free

Save the Date: 

February 15th: Complete Equestrian Vaulters Presents the Heart Beats Gala

Surprise the horse lover in your life with a night of fine equestrian vaulting entertainment! The evening will be packed with love themed performances from our vaulters. The perfect way for families and couples to celebrate Valentine’s Day! Enjoy a pasta and salad from Garlic Knots, Wine Tasting, Hot Drinks from Everyday Joes and dessert from ButterCream Cupcakery.

When: Saturday February 15th, 2014 at 5 p.m.

Where: Colorado State University (CSU), Adams Atkinson Arena 735 Overland Trail Drive, Fort Collins

Cost: Tickets: $10 for children 4-17 years, children 0-3 free, and $15 for adults; $15/child and $20/adult at the door and a silent auction will benefit the 501C3 nonprofit Complete Equestrian Vaulters.

February 21st – 23rd:  CSU Third Annual Equine Symposium 

Learn while interacting with fellow equine practitioners, veterinary technicians and veterinary students. The symposium is sponsored by Colorado State University’s Student Chapter of the American Association of Equine Practitioners. All proceeds support the education of CSU equine students. Lectures, case discussions and an optional wet lab.

 

Pet Dental Awareness Month and the Ugly Truth Behind Gum Disease

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Teeth from a chihuahua that have never been cleaned and the jaw has broken from advanced dental disease.

When was the last time your cat or dog had a good, thorough dental exam by your vet? Can’t remember? Why not make an appointment during February, which also happens to be National Pet Dental Awareness Month? Here’s why you should…

While vaccinations and other health issues are usually more top of mind for pet owners, periodontal disease is the most common health problem that veterinarians find in pets, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and local vet Dr. Brenda McClellan, CSU Veterinary School graduate and co-owner of The Pet Wellness Clinic . “Dental health problems can be very painful for your pet and lead to serious systemic conditions in the heart, liver and kidneys.”

Another important reason is lifespan, adds McClellan. “Animals are living longer now than they ever have before, which means their teeth need to last a lot longer as well. There are exceptions, of course, but on average, most pets do not have good dental health.” In addition, one of the downsides of not keeping up with dental maintenance is that something needs to be done quickly, and often at a large expense for the owner.

The Real Impact of Gum Disease in Pets 

“People don’t realize that all bacteria from the mouth (in both animals and humans) gets into the bloodstream easily because the blood supply is just below the gums. And because teeth are also rooted all along the jawline, it’s easy for bacteria to get into the bloodstream and travel to various organs causing disease,” adds McClellan.

“How healthy is it below the gum line is what I want to know when I do a dental exam,” says McClellan. Bones and teeth grooves can pick up stains, but that’s OK. What pet owners really need to know is what you can’t see under the gums; that’s what’s most important to your pet’s overall health.”

Aside from the long-term health benefits of dental maintenance, McClellan has seen first-hand how much of an impact a simple dental cleaning can make. “I’ve seen a heart murmur clear up after a deep dental cleaning, as well as improved blood levels after a cleaning in animals with liver issues. In alternative situations, I’ve seen animals that need to have every last tooth removed because the gum disease is so bad.”

McClellan says small dogs and cats are the most at risk for dental disease because there is little breathing room between the teeth. Cats in particular are susceptible to resorptive lesions, which eats away at the root of the tooth. “The tooth itself can be spotless but the cat’s body starts absorbing the root of the tooth, making it basically into a shell that falls right out. It’s very painful. Around 50% of cats have this problem but it’s hard to notice without an exam. That’s why it’s so important to have a regular dental health check-up,” she adds. “We also frequently see broken jaws in cats and dogs from dental disease; it eats away at the jaw bone until it fractures.”

Example of a resorptive legion looks in a cat's mouth.

Example of a resorptive legion looks in a cat’s mouth. The tooth had to be removed.

You can see what's happened to the root of the tooth.

You can see what’s happened to the root of the tooth.

What About Dental Care for Exotics?

“As for exotics like ferrets rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, rats, and mice, they also need dental care, says Jennifer Stetler, Certified Vet Tech (CVT) and practice management for Aspenwing Animal Bird and Animal Hospital  “Ferrets are very similar to cats so it’s important to brush their teeth. C.E.T toothpaste (a product line designed by vet dentists) is a good option for paste, and there are a variety of brush sizes. Ferrets also do well with cat greenies to help with tartar management”.

“Rabbits, chinchillas and guinea pigs need their molars filed down regularly because they are open-rooted living teeth and will constantly grow,” adds Stetler. “It’s important to come in twice a year to check as each pet requires something different. Mice and rats in particular can get incisor problems, so those sometimes need to be trimmed.”

The exotic pet’s diet also makes a big impact on their dental health, especially when it comes to managing tartar buildup and tooth growth. Stetler says hay helps the animal grind down their teeth, but it’s also important to pair the hay with plenty of water. She also encourages owners to pay attention to any changes in behavior, feces or and eating habits, because it might be a sign the animal’s dental health should be assessed.

What Can Pet Owners Do?

“Pet owners can help between dental visits by providing brushing, treats and prescription food that manages tartar control, in addition to an additive owners can mix into the drinking water. A wellness insurance plan can also help manage the cost of dental cleanings, surgery and emergency room visits,” says McClellan. “Based on your pet’s health history, your vet can suggest how often dental visits are needed.”

The cost of a real, thorough cleaning runs about $250 or $300, but can be more expensive if tooth extractions are required. Unfortunately, that cannot be determined until the animal is having the cleaning procedure done. In order to get under the gum line safely, animals need to be put under anesthesia. That’s why it’s a bit more expensive.

Cat mouth before a dental cleaning.

Cat mouth before a dental cleaning.

The same cat mouth after a good, thorough cleaning.

The same cat mouth after a good, thorough cleaning.

For regular cleanings at home, you can use a toothbrush designed for pets (there are various sizes) with a choice of C.E.T paste, or you can put a bit of gauze around your finger with some paste and brush the teeth as frequently as possible that way.

McClellan cautions against cheap cleanings that don’t require anesthesia because they are not worth the money. “ There’s a fad going on right now with anesthesia-free dental cleanings — but it’s false advertising. It’s a whitening, not a cleaning. An effective dental cleaning in animals needs to be below the gum line to help with periodontal disease,” adds McClellan.

“Practicing good dental hygiene at home in addition to regular cleanings by your veterinarian is the most efficient and cost-effective way to extend your pet’s life, while keeping them comfortable and pain-free. Your choice as a pet owner is to stay on top of it as maintenance, or spend a whole lot of money for emergency issues.” says McClellan.

 

Help The Scoop Win a Fed-ex Grant, Support a Community Resource with your Votes

The Scoop Blog Network started in April of 2012 with just five blogs. Over the course of (almost) two years, it’s grown into an online media network of 12 blogs covering a range of topics, providing readers with resources, a place for sharing opinions, and encouraging community conversation.

So, what’s the purpose and goal of The Scoop?

This hyper-local niche blog content serves as resource for residents to research and discover lifestyle aspects of Fort Collins. It’s supported by local business advertising through sponsored ads and by incorporating their insights into community conversation. Ticketed community events with our readers also helps us get a better sense of what’s important and how to share more of that through blog content within the network. The ultimate goal is to expand this same format into other cities across the nation, creating a rich resource through local bloggers in other cities.

And the network is now taking steps towards some big goals in 2014 to help with expansion. Here’s the plan:

  • New website that consolidates all of the blogs into one place, making it easier for readers to find content they care about (think of something like a local Huffington Post-type website
  • Plans to launch a network app to help readers “on the go” find the posts, resources, and information they need more easily

To get these bigger projects kicked off, we need little funding, and you can contribute to our success through… VOTES. While it might be a long shot, The Scoop Network is going to try to win the $25,000 from the Fed-Ex Small Business Grant contest to fund these upgrades.

ALL we need from you is to vote! It’s cool to vote every day until the voting period ends on Sunday, February 23rd. So, if you want to, go for it! All it takes is a click. If you believe in The Scoop platform, go ahead and share it with others so they can vote, too. And we might even have a big community party if we win!

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