PAWS AND REFLECT | Making pets happy in the new year

Unconditional love. Eternal gratitude. Joy expressed in wagging tails and purrs. A warm, soft body to cuddle with. A simple lifestyle. Facial expressions that reflect our every mood. Kisses whenever we want them. These are but a few of the wonderful things our pet companions bring into our lives. 

It’s the beginning of a new year for us and for our pets. It’s easy to get caught up in our own resolutions and to forget to move our pets up the priority list. I would like to see all of us resolve to give our pets more attention in 2012, including:

•Washing out the food dishes every day. 

•Minimum of 45 minutes walking/running our dogs every day.

•Tune-ups at the trainers for those pesky behavioral problems that we all know come from the owners, not the dogs. 

•Practice, practice, practice obedience every day — The simple act of going through the door before the dogs helps every time.

•Buying the best-quality food and treats we can find.

•Comfortable beds.

•Winter coats for the short-haired dogs that need them.

•Wash out the salt from the feet if they are exposed. 

•Getting the cats up off the couch and into play once daily.

•Stop free-feeding cats or dogs

•Brush their teeth and get them cleaned on a regular basis.

•Get toys that challenge cats to eat in a way that provides exercise.

•Catnip once in a while for fun.

•Heated sitting/lying places for arthritic animals.

•Essential fatty acid supplements for bones, joints and skin.


•Provide ramps onto beds, couches or our vehicles for arthritic animals.

•Quiet time, concentrating only on our animals, instead of our phones or TVs.

•Cleaning the cat’s litter box daily and washing out once weekly.

•Attaching toys to the scratching posts. 

Our animals appreciate every spare moment we have to return their love and attention. It’s their top priority to make us happy, and it feels good to be able to give back to them. 


Pet of the Month

Emma is a 6-year-old Jack Russell terrier who came to our clinic after not eating for a couple of days. She had vomited three days before but not since then. 

Emma was bright, alert and responsive but seemed a little uncomfortable with touching of her tummy, and I found a mass near her spay scar. 

We took an X-ray, and it looked like her stomach was full of food or some other material. This did not make sense when she had not eaten for a couple of days — unless the material in her stomach was not food. 

We sent the X-rays out to our radiologist for review. We also sent out blood work to check her kidneys, liver and her infectious status. Her blood work came back completely normal, except for a slightly low thyroid. 

When Emma continued to refuse food, an ultrasonographer confirmed that her stomach was full of foreign material and recommended immediate surgery. 

Meanwhile, back at home, her owners found a large section of a carpet missing from behind a piece of furniture in their home. Her owners removed the carpet immediately from the household.

During surgery, we discovered what looked like an entire mop in her stomach. We removed the carpet material, as well as the mass I had found, which ended up being completely benign. 

Emma was immediately relieved and happier when she woke up from anesthesia. She has done very well ever since. 

DR. TERI BYRD practices at the Madison Park Veterinary Hospital (

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