"What does a healthy-weight dog look like?" is a topic that often comes up at parties I go to

Not really. But I was spending time with a friend who doesn't work in vet med recently, and it made me realize the extent to which the general public has trouble distinguishing a chubby dog from a fit dog: "Is Your Dog Overweight? You May Not Realize It" (via National Geographic).

If you are curious about your pet's body condition, a couple of things:

-There are two widely-used body condition scales- a 1-5 scale, and a 1-9 scale. We use the 1-9 scale, where both 4 and 5 are considered "healthy." On the 1-5 scale, a 3 is considered healthy.

-We record body condition scores on patients at (virtually!) every physical exam, and we're happy to look at your pet's record and tell you his or her most recent BCS if it would interest you!

-If your pet hasn't been in recently, come by and let one of our nurses or doctors have a look and let you know how he or she is doing weight-wise.

 

Cool new thing!

You may have noticed that Dr. Land was out of the office last Wednesday. Well, she WAS, but she was also here all day (though not seeing patients) on Thursday and Friday, and this is why:

Echocardiograms

Smith Vet Hospital is fortunate to have a specially-trained veterinarian, Dr. Amy Land, who has extensive education in cardiac ultrasound. We also have an ultrasound unit equipped with cardiac-specific parts and software, which allows us to perform echocardiograms in-house if necessary.

A cardiac ultrasound instructor from the vet school at Colorado State University was kind enough to come down and spend two full days doing echos with us. It was a great experience, and we're really excited about continuing to improve the services we offer our clients and patients.

Badly burned? Fish skin may be the answer.

What's up with that FACE?

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Does your cat ever make that face? You know the one I’m talking about- it will appear as if Lucifurr is casually sniffing around when she looks up at you with a blank stare, mouth open, and lips curled, then immediately returns to normal?

 

There is a name for this phenomenon: it’s called the flehmen response, and it occurs in various species, including your domestic cats, horses, goats, elephants, hedgehogs and large felines. Flehmen is a German word that translates as “to bare the teeth” which is exactly how the expression looks.

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The flehmen response is most commonly elicited by the odor of urine (i.e. a veterinary professional’s scrubs when he or she returns home…) or other pheromones. During this facial expression, the animal is essentially “smelling” through its mouth, triggering olfactory sensors on the roof of the mouth. The flehmen response is primarily used for intraspecies communication, but there is evidence that animals may respond to the urine or pheromones of other species as well.

Next time your feline friend makes this face, just know that they smell something really, really good!

Please note: if your cat has their mouth open (similar to the photo at the top of the article) for more than a few seconds, he/she may be panting, which is a medical emergency in felines. Please take your cat to a veterinarian if you notice this behavior!