2014 Pet Health Report Published by Banfield

Dog and Cat2

The 2014 edition of Banfield Pet Hospital’s State of Pet Health Report is available for download from Banfield’s website HERE.

This report provides an overview of medical data from the 2.3 million dogs and 470,000 cats treated annually at Banfield facilities nationwide. The 2014 edition contains general pet health statistics as well as a special section on infectious diseases in dogs and cats.

Among the key findings, breed preferences of dog owners continue to trend toward smaller and mixed breed dogs, and away from larger dogs. The majority of cats seen at Banfield remains domestic short, medium and longhairs, although exotic breeds are increasing in popularity as well.

The most common conditions seen in all dogs are dental tartar, ear infections, and obesity, with older dogs also diagnosed with arthritis, eye problems, and tumors. Among cats, the most common problems are dental tartar and obesity, with younger cats frequently presenting with upper respiratory infections and fleas.

The special section on infectious diseases in pets notes a surprising 48% increase in feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) in cats from 2009 to 2013, and an 18% increase in feline upper respiratory infections in the past five years. Another area of concern is Lyme disease in dogs, with a 21% increase in cases from 2009 to 2013.

Your pet’s health is important, and this report serves as a good reminder of the importance of regular veterinary check-ups and preventive care in diagnosing and treating diseases in their early stages.

First Cat Cafe in U.S. Opens in California!

Cat Town

Already popular in Japan, the cat café phenomenon has now reached America, as the nation’s first cat café celebrated its grand opening in Oakland, California on October 25, 2014.  Cat Town Café, an independent non-profit partnering with Oakland Animal Services, hopes that this exciting venture will provides lots of opportunities for local shelter cats to meet potential new owners and find loving forever homes.

The café features an area called the Cat Zone, where cats available for adoption will be free-roaming.  Visitors can spend up to an hour in the Cat Zone.  A ten dollar donation reserves a visiting time, although walk-ins will be accepted if space allows.

Best wishes to Oakland’s Cat Town Café!  Check out their website HERE.  Don’t despair, San Diego cat lovers, a new cat café will be opening soon!  Click HERE for more information.


Pets and Ebola: What’s the Risk?


Yesterday it was announced that Dallas nurse Nina Pham’s beloved dog Bentley tested negative for the Ebola virus. Bentley had been placed in quarantine when Nina contracted Ebola. This good news is tempered by the earlier story of a Spanish nurse’s dog being euthanized when she contracted Ebola, despite strong objections from her husband and the general public.

With Ebola so much in the news lately, what exactly are the risks to pets from the Ebola virus? The “Ask Well” blog in The New York Times recently addressed this issue. They explain that Ebola is primarily an animal disease, most likely originating in the fruit bat. Humans and primates are highly susceptible to the Ebola virus. Ebola has also been found in some wild African animals such as antelopes and rodents. Experiments on pigs, guinea pigs, horses and goats show that these animals may also contract a mild form of the disease.

But what about dogs and cats? Wild cats in Africa are not known to get Ebola, suggesting that all cats may be immune to the disease. Dogs that come into contact with humans can get infected. While the virus has not been found in their blood, antibodies have been detected, so it is likely they can survive infections.

Studies of previous Ebola outbreaks indicate that the greatest number of dogs testing positive for antibodies were found in villages that had human deaths, and also were known to feed dogs scraps of bush meat. Although no dogs became sick, they most likely contracted the virus through contact with the bush meat or human vomit.

It is unknown whether or not dogs can pass on the virus to humans or other animals. No animals in North America have been found to have Ebola, including bats, but it is unclear if they can be carriers. It is speculated that dogs might act as vectors, transmitting Ebola from humans to other animals. Also currently unknown is how long a dog remains infectious, and how long it should remain in quarantine.

Click HERE for the full story.

Say “Treats!” Tips for Taking Great Pet Photos

We’ve all grabbed the camera and taken a quick picture when we see our pets do something cute. But how do you take that special photograph of your dog or cat, one that shows them at their best? We asked professional San Diego pet photographer Allison Shamrell of Allison Shamrell Pet Photography for some advice.

Allison and Bailey

              Allison and Bailey

An experienced pet photographer and student of animal psychology and body language, Allison believes in the importance of highlighting your pet’s unique beauty and personality. Here are Allison’s top pet photography tips, using her work as examples:


  1. Get on their level! Shooting close to the ground from your pet’s perspective makes your pictures more interesting.


  1. Look for the light. The best place to take pictures, especially action shots, is outdoors. If you stay inside, make sure you uncover all windows for the best natural light.


  1. Make it fun for your pet! Your pets will look their best when they are happy, so don’t forget to incorporate play and treats into your photo session.
  2. Tucker him out first! Take your dog for a walk before a session so that he will expend some energy and be more willing to sit for the camera.


  1. Look for the details. Focus on an interesting part of your pet’s body, such as ears, tail and paws, or zoom in for a close shot of your pet’s fur.


  1. Know your camera. Whether you’re using your phone or a high-end camera, get to know your camera’s features and experiment with different settings.


  1. Take plenty of photos. Getting that perfect shot takes work, even for professionals, so don’t be discouraged if your first pictures are disappointing…keep snapping away!
  2. Ask for help. Grab a friend or family member to help out with your photo session. Another person makes it easier to wrangle treats and leashes, and also to help get your pet’s attention.
  3. Keep the background simple. Busy, distracting backgrounds (indoors or outdoors) take the focus away from your pet. Try a session in your backyard instead of a crowded dog park.


10. Take your time. It takes time for all of the elements of a good pet photo to come together.   You can plan on spending at least 10-15 minutes on your photo session, so relax and enjoy spending time with your best friend!

Halloween and Cats

Black Cat

Are cats, especially black cats, in danger of harm at Halloween? There are many opinions about this issue, with some experts stating that Halloween poses no extra risk to cats, and others who argue that people with an anti-cat bias are more likely to abuse cats during Halloween. Some shelters will not adopt out black cats during this time of year, while others use Halloween as an opportunity to promote black cat adoptions.

Whether your cat is black or any other color, there are a few common-sense cat safety guidelines to keep in mind this Halloween. Cats can get upset by ringing doorbells, loud voices, and increased activity in and around the house. Here are some useful tips from CatHealth.com to help keep your cat safe and secure:

  • Begin keeping indoor-outdoor cats inside several days before Halloween. (Cats are always safer living indoors.)
  • Secure your cat in a comfortable room away from the front door, and don’t forget to visit between trick or treaters.
  • Keep your cat away from candles and any tempting decorations that could be hazardous if swallowed.
  • Don’t let your cat eat chocolate or any other type of candy, and don’t let him eat those candy wrappers he’s playing with.
  • Resist the urge to dress your cat up in costumes (they really don’t like it!). Cats can also get frightened when their humans look different, so remember that masks and wigs can be scary to them.
  • If your cat does get out on Halloween, keep calm and encourage your cat to come back inside with gentle calls and his favorite treats.

Halloween can be a stressful time for cats…a little planning can ensure that your cat feels safe this Halloween!