Author Archives: Dr. Jack Stephens

Why Foxtails (Grass Awns) are Dangerous for Pets

Grass awns also known as fox tails or cheat grass can get stuck in dog and cats eyes, paws, noses, and ears and cause infections.

By Dr. Eva Evans, veterinarian and writer for Pets Best Pet Insurance. A pet health insurance agency for dogs and cats.

As warmer weather arrives, so do the many beautiful blooming native plants. In many areas of the country, certain types of grasses produce grass spikelets. Also called “foxtails” or “cheat grass” these barbed seed heads of the grass plants are small, sticky little plant pieces. Often times, when pets are outside in and around these tall grass plants, they can get the barbed grass awns stuck in all sorts of uncomfortable places.

The most common places for grass awns to get stuck on pets are on are under the eyelid, in the ears, in the nostrils, and between the toes. Here are some signs to watch for.

Foxtail in the Eye
If you notice that your pet is squinting and tearing or pawing at his face, there may be a grass awn wedged under the eyelid causing extreme pain on the eye.

Foxtail in the Nose
Pets that inhale grass awns into their nose tend to sneeze violently due to the irritation in the nostrils that triggers a sneezing reflex.Read More…

5 Common Diseases in Large Breed Dogs

A dog sits.

By Dr. Eva Evans, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best Pet Insurance, a pet health insurance agency for dogs and cats.

While most diseases in dogs are seen equally in all sizes and breeds, there are some diseases that are seen almost exclusively in larger breed dogs. The following list contains some of the most common illnesses that occur in large breed dogs. Keep an eye out for these potential diseases if your dog is a large breed.

1. Bone Cancer

Large breed dogs are by far the most common sized dogs to get bone cancer. Typically, this is a special type of cancer called Osteosarcoma. It is most often found in the limbs around the knee joint, the shoulder joint and the wrist joint. Typically, older dogs with this disease will develop firm swelling in the affected part of the limb and they will eventually limp from pain. The cancer eats away at the bone which means that these lesions can fracture or break easily. If you notice a swelling on any part of your dog’s limb or limping, it is best to have it checked out immediately. Radiographs (x-rays) are used to find the lesion and biopsies are often done to confirm cancer.

2. BloatRead More…

Cat Breed Guide: Havana Brown

A Havana Brown cat with pet insurance from Pets Best.

By Dr. Fiona, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a dog insurance and cat insurance agency.

About the Havana Brown

Weight:  Females 6-8 lb, Males 8-10 lb

Points of conformation: Long head with hourglass muzzle, which is a breed distinguishing feature.  Round forward tilting ears Lithe medium length body, long legs and a long tapered tail.

Coat: Medium short and closely lying.

Color: Rich shiny chocolate brown with no other markings.

Grooming needs: Minimal grooming needs, weekly brushing.

Origin: Great Britain.

Behavior Traits: Very intelligent and affectionate

Is a Havana Brown cat right for You?Read More…

Teach Your Dog to Weave Between Your Legs

A Pets Best Pet Insurance dog weaves between poles as part of his agility dog training.By Arden Moore, a certified dog and cat behaviorist with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Arden is an author, radio host, and writer for Pets Best Pet Insurance, a dog insurance and cat insurance agency.

Got a Velcro® dog? By that, I mean a dog who seems to shadow your every step in the house – perhaps even causing you to trip over him. Channel that need to cling too close to you by teaching him this crowd-pleasing trick that should also instill confidence in him.

To be successful, you need to strike a balance between having your dog being attentive, but not being too energetic because you need to work on your timing and balance. He needs to know “watch me” cue and happily following hand signals. This is a key trick used in the popular sport of agility with canine participants weaving in and out of stationary poles.

Here is your 11-step guide:

1. Stand with your legs apart.Read More…

Cats Landing on Their Feet – Are There Health Implications?

A Pets Best Pet Insurance protected kitten jumps through the air and lands on its feet.By Dr. Eva Evans, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best Pet Insurance, a pet health insurance agency for dogs and cats.

As the saying goes, cats always land on their feet! But is this always true?

Cats do typically land on their feet when they jump or fall. The vestibular system is responsible for telling the cat when it is not right-side-up, and this system triggers the cat to rotate in mid-air to make sure its feet land first. Cats are very agile and flexible which helps them rotate during their fall to avoid landing on their head or back.

When cats land on their feet, their joints absorb the shock associated with the landing. The softer the landing material (carpet for example), the less likely a cat is to injure itself. It is widely known that cats falling from greater heights often sustain fewer injuries that those falling from just a few feet up in the air. Read More…

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