Albuquerque Journal Articles

Rare Dog Breeds, Ear Trims, & Air Travel

By drjeffnichol | September 6, 2012 | Comments Off on Rare Dog Breeds, Ear Trims, & Air Travel

Be Careful with “Designer” Dogs; Inbreeding Often Spells Poor Health & Bas Temperaments Question: I will be getting an Argentine Dogo puppy form a breeder in Austin in a few weeks.  She will grow to 90-105 pounds, will she be able to fit under the airplane seat at 8 weeks old? Why do people crop dogs’ ears? How long does it take for the ears to heal? Have you ever seen Argentine Dogos in NM? Should I consider giving her a sedative for the airplane ride, checked in or under the seat?   Dr. Nichol: Dog breeds that are rare…

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Small Breed Dogs

By drjeffnichol | September 6, 2012 | Comments Off on Small Breed Dogs

They have some Issues of their Own but are Better in some ways than Large Dogs Question: A couple of weeks ago there was an article in the Journal about all the “negatives” of adopting “very small” dogs because of their teeth and other health problems.  I’ve been thinking about adopting a small one but this article has put me on hold. I like Chihuahuas and Shih Tzus.   Dr. Nichol: It got my attention too. It’s true that small and toy dogs face special issues. On the flip side there’s a long list of large breed problems only rarely…

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Plan Carefully when Choosing a Lifetime Pet

By drjeffnichol | September 6, 2012 | Comments Off on Plan Carefully when Choosing a Lifetime Pet

The Best Individual means More than Breed. Watch the You Tube Video Question: We are looking to purchase a puppy.  We have two children ages 12 and 13.  We enjoy our back yard along with our vegetable garden.  Our choices of puppies that we are looking toward are Samoyed, St. Bernard and Siberian Husky.  If you could please help us decide which dog would best suit us and the life style we have we would be very grateful.   Dr. Nichol: The right breed of dog, and the best individual fit for your family, has a lot to do with…

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Singing Along

By drjeffnichol | September 6, 2012 | Comments Off on Singing Along

Good tunes and the dogs who love them.   Question: I have a one year old Bearded Collie who barks and howls whenever I play the piano. My question is, does the sound hurt his ears or is he “singing” along?  He doesn’t leave the room or try to hide.  He barks much less if I play soft or slow, if I play loud and fast he howls.   Dr. Nichol: Gee, if only our pets could talk. Some folks might wonder if your Bearded Collie (they look a lot like Old English Sheepdogs) thinks he’s a music critic. I’m…

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The Expense of Raising Pets

By drjeffnichol | September 6, 2012 | Comments Off on The Expense of Raising Pets

There are places to trim costs & do just fine. But cut quality on the wrong priorities & your pets will pay more later.   Question: Should I give vitamins to my pets? I have a whole menagerie. I have 2 guinea pigs, 3 cats, 2 dogs, and some fish. I try to feed good food but it can get expensive. So is it good to feed food that’s just O.K. and add vitamins? Which vitamins are good?   Dr. Nichol: I think I understand where you’re coming from. A lot of us animal lovers surround ourselves with a whole…

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Pets as Gifts

By drjeffnichol | September 6, 2012 | Comments Off on Pets as Gifts

It may be a great idea. But the surprise of a real live long-term responsibility wears off fast. Talk about it first & be ready for the real investment of energy & expense.   Question: My fiancee has said that she might want a pet and I’m running out of time to get her a birthday present. I really love her and I want to see that look of joy on her face when she opens the wriggling box. What kind of pet do you think I should get her?   Dr. Nichol:   Boy, am I glad you asked…

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Estimating Age Pets

By drjeffnichol | September 6, 2012 | Comments Off on Estimating Age Pets

Teeth and, Later, Eyes are the Best Indicators of Age Question: How can I tell how old my cat is, he is a rescue cat and the center had no idea themselves.   Dr. Nichol: This is an important question not only because many health issues are linked to age; cats are very fussy about getting their birthday cakes on the proper day.   Many parts of the body show signs of age (I personally have no idea about this), but in most cats and dogs the teeth and eyes are the most reliable indicators. We can be particularly accurate…

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Why do Cats Purr?

By drjeffnichol | September 6, 2012 | Comments Off on Why do Cats Purr?

Similar to Roaring, No Cat can do Both Do questions like this keep you awake at night or, like most cat owners, do you believe your kitty purrs just because he thinks you’re cute, funny, smart, and marvelous? Sorry. As it turns out, it’s purely physical.   The mechanics of purring start with a neural oscillator in the brain that transmits signals to the muscles of the voice box causing them to vibrate at 25 cycles per second. It’s a trait that domestic cats, pumas, cheetahs, ocelots, bobcats, lynx, and African wild cats share. Cats who roar, on the other…

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Zoonotic Disease Transmission

By drjeffnichol | September 6, 2012 | Comments Off on Zoonotic Disease Transmission

Good Hygiene is Essential but other Humans are the Greatest Risk Question: When the Europeans came to America they brought diseases that we as a people only scarcely survived. Because of the Europeans’ close association with their animals they were immune to most of the diseases that we were not. My question: A lot of people kiss and do other questionable things with their animals, the animals kiss and lick other animals’ butts and parts, is this how diseases were and still are transmitted to humans?   Dr. Nichol: Zoonotic diseases are central to our concerns about worldwide epidemics. There…

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Dirt Rolling Cat

By drjeffnichol | September 6, 2012 | Comments Off on Dirt Rolling Cat

Everybody’s Scalp needs to be Scratched Question: Thomas escapes whenever possible and we always find him rolling in the very dry dusty dirt. This cat loves it; he rolls so many times a day you can’t keep count. I have had cats all my life and never remember having one that rolled in dirt all the time.   Dr. Nichol: Thomas is stimulating his skin and leaving his scent. A cat’s scalp, like ours, needs stimulation to loosen skin flakes. Many kitties accomplish the same thing by grooming with their tongues or by brushing or bathing from their owners. Be…

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