I am not a veterinarian. The health information provided on and accessible via this Blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be healthcare advice, veterinary or medical diagnosis, treatment or prescribing of any kind. Additionally, none of this information should be considered a promise of benefits, a claim of cures, a legal warranty or a guarantee of results to be achieved. This information is not intended as a substitute for advice from your pet’s veterinarian or any other healthcare provider. You should not use this information for diagnosis or treatment of any disease, condition or health problem or for prescription of any medication, supplement or other treatment for your pet, yourself or any other person or animal. You should consult with a veterinarian before altering or discontinuing any of your pet’s current medications, treatment or care or starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program. You should also check with your pet’s veterinarian if you have or suspect he or she might have a health problem.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Canaries as Pets

Photo Credit: Forest and Kim Starr
Canaries can be the easiest pet birds to have. Even the smallest apartment has room for one. They are simple to care for and do not require much attention. Canaries are solitary in nature, so a lone male is perfectly content by himself and will sing whether you are there or not. It can be your only pet, or part of a household menagerie.

These birds are a type of finch that is native to the Canary Islands, after which they are named. The wild canary, which still exists, is brownish green and looks like a sparrow. Captive bred for 500 years, the yellow mutation has long been the most popular. Today, canaries are available in many colors and a range of sizes, shapes, and patterns.

As with any pet, it is best to buy a canary directly from a breeder. For referrals, contact a local bird club, veterinarian, or pet shop that only sells supplies. A good breeder should band their birds in order to identify them and prevent inbreeding. They should also provide you with care instructions and a food sample. It is a good idea to get your own book on canary care for reference.

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

American Bison

Photo Credit: Jack Dykinga

The American bison, also known as the American buffalo or simply buffalo has one distinct advantage over most domestic cattle: its incredible hardiness. With a rough hide and thick covering of wool-like hair, a bison (even when very young) can easily tolerate the harsh, frigid winters of the upper prairie states and can weather blizzards that would likely kill entire herds of beef animals.

Thriving on grasses alone, the native livestock can range and forage far and wide, and even root out food from beneath deep snow. In fact, some commercial buffalo herds are simply left to forage year ground, although most are fed a little hay during the cold months. (Our Kansas Fish and Game Department's herd is given 1 1/2 pounds of 18% protein pellets, per animal, throughout the winter, as well as and supplemental hay when there's a ground cover of snow.)

The "buffalo" farmed today have been bred with cows, making them more docile and easier to farm. It is estimated that maybe 2% of the "buffalo" alive today are actually pure buffalo. Today's farmable buffalo are very different than the original species.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Keep Pets Safe in the Heat

Photo Credit: Claude Valroff
The summer months can be uncomfortable—even dangerous—for pets and people. It's difficult enough simply to cope with rising temperatures, let alone thick humidity, but things really get tough in areas that are hit with the double blow of intense heat and storm-caused power outages, sometimes with tragic results.

We can help you keep your pets safe and cool this summer. Follow our tips for helping everyone in your family stay healthy and comfortable when the heat is on (and even if the power isn't).

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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Guinea Pigs as Pets

Photo Credit: Sandos
Guinea pigs are tail-less rodents that are native to the west coast of South America and since the mid-1800’s, laboratories have used them for research. The correct name for guinea pigs is Cavy, pronounced “kay-vee”.

Guinea pigs usually weigh around 3 ounces at birth, around 1-2 pounds full grown, and live for 5-6 years. An adult will measure 8-10 inches from the tip of its nose to the end of its rump. Their hair comes in a wide range of colors and the hair may be long, short or short and curly. Cavies have a very good sense of smell and sensitive hearing. They love to vocalize with squeals, chirps, squeaks, and whistles. Although not known for their intelligence, they do recognize their owners and will seek them out and return affection.

Guinea pigs are cuddly, comical, and clever. They make wonderful pets for children and can be very social animals. The animals do better in pairs as they prefer company, so unless you have a lot of time to devote to your pet getting at least two is often a good idea. They are not expensive to own and the biggest expense is the initial setting up of housing. Guinea pigs are hardy pets so veterinarian expenses are minimal.

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