Pet blood pressure check is smart idea
• Hypertension isn’t just for humans. Cats and dogs can also develop high blood pressure, often related to kidney disease, an over- or underactive thyroid gland or other medical conditions. Hypertension that goes unrecognized and untreated in pets can damage organs and lead to renal failure, blindness, stroke or heart failure. Pets can take medication to control high blood pressure. Depending on the cause, your veterinarian may also recommend medication or dietary changes to treat underlying diseases. “If these underlying problems are treated successfully, then blood pressure can return to normal, and anti-hypertensive drugs can be discontinued,” said Dr. John N. Stallone, a professor at Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who studies hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases in pets.
• If you read books set in Ireland or Great Britain, you may have seen mention of dogs called lurchers and wondered what they were. Lurchers are cross-breeds made up of any sighthound — such as a Greyhound — and another breed such as a border collie or terrier. The goal is to create a dog that’s fast, smart and hard-working. Some crosses may seek to bring in greater tenacity or better scenting ability. Lurchers are known for being silent and sneaky when hunting and were nicknamed “the poacher’s dog.”
• Speaking last month at the Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas, veterinary behaviorist Debra Horwitz offered four takeaways for managing pet behavior problems: Most behaviors that people dislike are normal animal behaviors, and pets need appropriate outlets for performing them or to learn to do something different; understand that animals see situations differently than humans and have different expectations for outcomes; meet a dog or cat’s needs for social interactions, exploration, safety and control; and consult trainers who use Fear Free training methods to diminish anxiety and increase learning. — Dr. Marty Becker, Kim Campbell Thornton and Mikkel Becker
PHOTO CAPTION:When pets aren’t able to engage in normal behaviors, they can become stressed and behave in ways owners don’t like.