If you have ever seen a dog with cataracts and you have seen Game of Thrones you will immediately understand the reference. Cataracts make your dog’s eyes look cloudy and grey. In Game of Thrones, the white walkers have grey and blue eyes. We already know winter is coming but as your dog ages are cataracts coming?
Many people believe that cataracts are a natural part of aging. Not all aging animals, or people, develop cataracts. Cataracts are caused by a disease affecting the lens of the eye. They cause impaired vision and can even cause blindness.
The most common cause of cataracts is genetics. But there are other conditions such as diabetes, nutritional disorders, eye injury, or infection that can also lead to cataracts.
- A bluish, gray, or white layer in the eye
- Impaired vision which can be noticed by a reluctance to climb stairs or jump on furniture, and clumsiness.
- Eye irritation (redness, discharge and excessive blinking)
- Rubbing and scratching of their eyes.
Your Vetco veterinarian will have to determine if your dog actually has cataracts. This is done with an eye exam. Depending on what is going on with your dog, your vet may want to run some blood tests to determine the underlying cause.
Once diagnosed there are treatments available. They can get eye drops to help with the inflammation. Most of the time cataracts are not treatable. You should discuss with your vet the best ways to help and care for your dog once they have cataracts.
Nothing is sadder than seeing an abandoned kitten. Unfortunately, this time of year we see more than usual because people get them as gifts and then abandon them when the don’t want them.
Sometimes it can be hard to know if a kitten has really been abandoned or if they have just wandered off. Before you do anything, make sure you know if the kitten has truly been abandoned so you aren’t taking them away from their mother. The best way to make sure is to check with your nearby neighbors to make sure the kitten doesn’t belong to them. You can also observe to see if you notice the kitten returning to the same spot, which might be where her mom is.
If you think it is abandoned you can call animal control to come get them or you can try to capture the kitten yourself. Always be careful when trapping an animal. You do not know if they are healthy or sick, and it is always possible that they will get scared and attack. We do not recommend trapping animals unless you know how to do it.
How Old Is This Kitten?
- Under one week: Eyes shut, ears flat to head, skin looks pinkish. Part of umbilical cord may still be attached.
- 1 week-10 days: Eyes beginning to open, ears still flat. A kitten this age is smaller than your hand.
- 3 weeks: Eyes are fully open, ears are erect, and teeth are visible. Kittens this age are just starting to walk and will be very wobbly.
- 4-5 weeks: Eyes have changed from blue to another color and/or kittens have begun to pounce and leap. Kittens this age will begin to eat gruel or canned food.
- 7 weeks: Kittens of this age will start to eat crunchy kibble/food and are very active and playful. Kittens this age run, jump, and are very mobile.
If a you see a kitten less than 3 weeks old, you should find a mother cat near by. If you don’t find a mother cat, then it is possible the mother died or was picked up by the city. Kittens at this age cannot live without their mother for very long, so don’t leave them out in the cold. Look for their mom and if you don’t find them, bring them inside quickly.
Once you have the kitten you can call ABQ Animal Welfare: 505-768-2000.
You can bring the kitten down to the humane association for adoption.
Or you can keep the kitten and make her the newest member of your family. If you decide to keep the kitten make sure to bring her to Vetco on Menaul to get a thorough check up and get started with vaccinations.
Your dog is walking around in a winter coat, so you don’t need to worry about him getting cold right? Wrong. Though Albuquerque doesn’t get a lot of snow, we do get cold weather. It is a myth that cats and dogs can naturally withstand cold temperatures. There are breeds of dogs, like huskies, that prefer cold temperatures. Most domestic pets are not built to withstand the cold and are susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite.
Cold Weather Tips
- Always check the weather before leaving your pet outside for any period of time.
- Put a jacket or sweater on your pet to help keep them warm, especially pets with short hair.
- Put booties on their paws if they will be running around on ice or snow. The ice and snow can cut the pads of their feet which leads to infections.
- Don’t leave your dog or cat outside. If you are not going to be home, bring your dog or cat back inside.
- Don’t leave your dog in the car. Just like in the summer where temperatures in a car can rise with surprising speed, in the winter they can fall with surprising speed. When you leave your dog in the car, you are putting them at risk of hypothermia and death.
- Dogs shiver to stay warm. If your dog is shivering it is because he is cold.
Signs of Hypothermia:
- violent shivering followed by listlessness and apathy
- a rectal temperature of below 97 degrees
If you think your dog has exposure or hypothermia, call your Albuquerque vet immediately.
What is Frostbite?
Animals have ways of dealing with cold temperatures but when exposed to extreme freezing temperatures for an extended period these same mechanisms that work to keep them warm and alive can actually cause damage and death to the tissues of their extremities (tips of ears, tail, foot pads.) more commonly