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Ringworm: The Naked Truth & What to Do

Ringworm: The Naked Truth & What to Do

Many years ago, I had my first run-in with ringworm when my German shepherd (age 12 at the time) developed ball patches. A dozen years later, my second personal experience happened when I adopted a stray kitten I named Seren. She had couple of crusty bald spots on her forehead. That’s actually pretty typical. Ringworm most commonly affects elderly or young pets.

Siamese kitten

Seren-kitty at about 5 months old showing off her nekid tummy after spay surgery. We’d had her about 6 weeks, and the bald spots on her head had already resolved.

Ringworm is not a worm, it is a fungal infection of growing hair, dry skin, and sometimes the nails. There are many types, but about 95 percent of feline ringworm cases are caused by Microsporum canis. The condition also affects dogs and people.

CAT FACTS, THE SERIES only from Amy’s Newsletter

You’ll find more detailed information about feline obesity inCat Facts: The Pet Parent’s A-to-Z Home Care Encyclopediawhich includes these topics:

Rabies, Reading Food Labels, Reproduction, Respiration, Respiratory Distress, Restraint, Ringworm, and Roundworms.

I’ve broken the massive CAT FACTS book into catnip-size alpha-chapter sections. Folks can choose which ones they most need. Each chapter will release every week or so, but ONLY for subscribers on my Amy’s Newsletter Of course, you can still get the entire CAT FACTS book either in Kindle or 540+ pages of print.

ringworm

Kittens and elderly pets are most susceptible to ringworm.

WHAT IS RINGWORM?

The name comes from the ring-like lesions typically seen in human cases. Ringworm is a kind of biological contact dermatitis in which skin inflammation is caused by a substance produced by the fungus. The inflammation makes the skin inhospitable for the fungus, so it moves on to greener pastures. In people, the fungus grows outward away from the initial central inflammation in ever-widening rings, leaving the center to heal.

In cats, sores also grow outward from the infection, but rarely produce the ring pattern found in people. Ringworm in cats can look like a variety of other feline skin diseases, but hair loss is the most usual sign. Bald patches may develop in only one area, several spots, or cover the entire body. Ringworm is the most common cause of hair loss in kittens.

The fungus, called a dermatophyte, lives only on hairs that are actively growing. Infected hairs eventually break off rather than fall out, leaving a stubby appearance to the coat. Mild to severe scaling or crusty sores typically develop with varying degrees of itchiness.

HOW DO PETS GET RINGWORM?

Cats and dogs are usually infected by coming in contact with infected hair, but ringworm can also be spread by contact with contaminated grooming equipment or from the environment. Contaminated hairs that are shed into the environment can remain infective for months, and provide a reservoir for reinfection of recovering cats.

All cats can get ringworm, and the length of haircoat has nothing to do with the risk. Both longhaired and shorthaired cats are equally affected. However, the most common victims are immune-compromised, young, and debilitated pets. Puppies and kittens are affected most frequently. Some cats carry the organism without showing signs themselves, and spread ringworm to other cats and pets. If one pet in the household is diagnosed, all should be treated whether they are showing signs or not.

DIAGNOSING RINGWORM

Ringworm in cats is diagnosed by identifying the fungus. The veterinarian may use a Wood’s Lamp to screen suspect cases; about half of M. canis cases will “glow” when exposed to its ultraviolet light. More cases are identified using a culture test which grows the ringworm fungus. A sample of debris brushed from the cat’s skin and fur is placed in a special medium designed to grow certain ringworm species. It may take up to three weeks before the test indicates a positive result.

RINGWORM TREATMENT

During treatment, infective animals should be quarantined from those not showing symptoms. Otherwise healthy cats tend to self-cure in nine months to a year, but during that time, can continually expose other animals (and people) to the fungus. People who are immune compromised, very young or very old are at highest risk.

Shaving ringworm-infected cats to aid treatment used to be routinely recommended but today is based more on the individual situation. Shorthair cats with fewer than five areas of infection may be effectively treated without a full body clipping.

Topical preparations of miconazole are helpful, but medicating the lesion before diagnosis may interfere with proper diagnosis. Miconazole alone or in combination with chlorhexidine is effective. Cats typically are bathed twice weekly, ensuring the product remains at least ten minutes on the cat’s fur. Treat only after your veterinarian diagnoses the condition, and follow his or her recommendation.

Drugs that have been shown to be effective include griseofulvin, terbinafine, ketaconazole, and itraconazole. After ingestion, the drug is incorporated into the growing hair where it slows the growth of the fungus. Pills are usually given once daily for four to eight weeks, and should be continued two weeks beyond the time symptoms have disappeared. A vaccine is also available that may reduce the symptoms of the disease, when used in combination with other therapies.

DEALING WITH RINGWORM AT HOME

Ringworm fungus can live in the environment for well over a year, where it can continuously reinfect cats. For that reason, this infected environment must also be treated; however, fungal spores are difficult to eliminate. Studies indicate that common disinfectants like chlorhexidine and water are not effective. Concentrated bleach or one percent formalin (a formaldehyde solution) have been shown to be effective, but neither are very practical in a home environment.

Daily cleaning of all surfaces using a diluted bleach solution (one part bleach to ten parts water), along with thorough vacuuming is the most effective and practical environmental treatment for most cat owners. Dispose of the vacuum bag by sealing in a plastic garbage sack and removing it from the house.

Has your cat (or dog) ever had ringworm? How did you handle it? Do tell! Now, for catteries and shelters, it can be even more of a challenge–any tips for those folks?

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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Note: Upon occasion, affiliate links to books or other products may be included in posts, from which I earn a small amount with each purchase from the blog. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Dog Ticks & Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Dog Ticks & Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

I’ve written about dog ticks and tick diseases before, including ehrlichiosis. Another devastating condition transmitted by ticks is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

rocky mountain spotted fever transmitted by ticks

Ticks attach themselves and may be hidden by fur.

I’m sharing this entry about ROCKY MOUNTAIN SPOTTED FEVER, an excerpt from Dog Facts, The Series 18 (Chapter R). This chapter covers a lot of ground, and here’s the topic list:

Rabies, Reading Food Labels, Reproduction, Respiration, Respiratory Distress, Restraint, Ringworm, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Rolling, and Roundworms.

I’ve broken the massive book into discounted treat-size alpha-chapter sections available ONLY to subscribers of my PETS PEEVES NEWSLETTER. Folks can choose which ones they most need. Each chapter will release every other week. Of course, you can still get the entire DOG FACTS book either in Kindle or 630+ pages of print.

WHAT IS ROCKY MOUNTAIN SPOTTED FEVER?

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a rickettsial disease caused by the organism Rickettsia rickettsii. Rickettsiae are tiny bacteria-sized parasites that live inside cells, and most spend a portion of their life cycle in an insect vector which then transmits them to an animal host, or reservoir. People and dogs are not the natural host for most of these agents, but can become ill when infected.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be transmitted by several different kinds of ticks, particularly the wood tick and the American dog tick. The illness affects both people and dogs.

A young Magic loved wandering the fields…and easily picked up ticks.

HOW DO DOGS GET

ROCKY MOUNTAIN SPOTTED FEVER

The disease is seasonal, with most cases occurring from spring to early fall. It has been reported in nearly every state, but is most prevalent in the central states from Colorado west to the coast. Most infected dogs may not show any signs at all, but others can suffer severe illness and rapid death. For unknown reasons, Siberian Huskies appear to be most severely affected.

The agent is transmitted to the dog from the bite of an infected tick, and the rickettsiae travel from the tissues to the lymphatic system. They proliferate in the cells found in the walls of small blood vessels throughout the body. This prompts an inflammatory response that results in blood clotting and bleeding disorders, and organ damage.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF ROCKY MOUNTAIN SPOTTED FEVER?

Signs begin with vague illness and continue to get worse. Watch for :

    • fever of up to 105 degrees
    • loss of appetite
    • signs of arthritis
    • coughing or labored breathing
    • abdominal pain
    • vomiting and diarrhea
    • swelling of the face or extremities
    • thick mucoid discharge from the eyes and nose.

Neurologic signs are also common, and may include altered mental states, poor balance, and a rigid neck. Many of these acute signs are similar to canine distemper.

A week or two following initial signs, the dog develops bleeding disorders similar to ehrlichiosis. Nosebleeds, bleeding beneath the skin, or in the urine or feces may result in shock and multiple organ failure. Loss of blood circulation may lead to gangrene and death of affected tissue. Ultimately, kidney failure causes death.

HOW IS ROCKY MOUNTAIN SPOTTED FEVER DIAGNOSED & TREATED?

Diagnosis is sometimes difficult to make, but Rocky Mountain spotted fever should be suspected when these signs appear in a tick-infested dog during spring to fall. The diagnosis is best confirmed with tests, which are available in veterinary laboratories or schools.

When the disease is suspected, dogs should be treated immediately with tetracycline even before blood tests confirm the diagnosis. Dogs suffering from acute disease will respond with a reversal of symptoms within only a day or two of antibiotic therapy, which should be continued for two to three weeks. They may also require other supportive therapy, such as fluid replacement to combat shock and clotting disorders. Once they recover from infection, dogs appear to become resistant to reinfection.

HOW CAN I PROTECT MY DOG?

To prevent the disease, practice tick control with appropriate insecticides. In most instances, the tick vector must be attached and feeding for 12 to 48 hours before a rickettsial agent can be transmitted. Therefore, prompt removal of any ticks found on your dog will virtually eliminate chance of the disease.

However, the crushed tick that contaminates your skin may result in infection, so wear gloves and/or use tweezers to remove ticks from your pet, to protect yourself from exposure. Human signs of the disease include flu-like symptoms, and a rash on the hands, wrists, ankles and feet. See your doctor immediately if you suspect you’ve been exposed, because the disease causes death in 15 to 20 percent of untreated human cases.

Does your dog get ticks? Are you using tick treatment to protect him? Has your dog ever suffered from a tick-borne disease–or have YOU? Someone I know currently is going through long-term debilitating treatment to get rid of a tick-borne illness.

 

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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I recommend nothing unless I feel it would benefit readers. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book giveaways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Bed Wetting Dogs? Dealing With Your Dog’s Urinary Incontinence

Bed Wetting Dogs? Dealing With Your Dog’s Urinary Incontinence

Bed wetting dogs? Say it ain’t so! I’m not talking about house training lapses, but actual urinary incontinence that has nothing to do with training. Your dog has “accidents” when she (it’s usually a girl) leaks urine. Making a mess by bed wetting or worse not only damages your property, it can injure your relationship. Because you get made, but your poor dog simply can’t help it.

bed wetting dogs

Old overweight spayed girl dogs are more prone to bed wetting.

I’m sharing this bed wetting dogs entry about CANINE INCONTINENCE which is an excerpt from Dog Facts, The Series 9 (Chapter I). This chapter covers a lot of ground, and here’s the topic list:

Ibuprofen Toxicity, Identification, Imaging (CT and MRI), Incontinence, Immune System, Infectious Canine Hepatitis (ICH), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Insect Bites and Stings, and Introductions.

I’ve broken the massive book into discounted treat-size alpha-chapter sections available ONLY to subscribers of my PETS PEEVES NEWSLETTER. Folks can choose which ones they most need. Each chapter will release every other week. Of course, you can still get the entire DOG FACTS book either in Kindle or 630+ pages of print.

WHAT IS BED WETTING IN DOGS?

More technically known as urinary incontinence, this condition refers to a loss of bladder control due to a physical problem. Bed wetting or urinary leakage typically affects elderly spayed dogs that develop a problem similar to post-menopausal women, as a result of a lack of estrogen.

In most cases, these dogs are only incontinent when they’re sleeping, and are unaware of the leakage. The decline in the hormone causes a decrease in the muscle tone that controls the urethra.

More rarely, castrated males have a similar problem. Large and giant-breed dogs, obese dogs, and dogs with docked tails (especially Old English Sheepdogs, Rottweilers, Dobermans, and Weimaraners) are affected most often.

VETERINARY OPTIONS FOR BED WETTING IN DOGS

Your veterinarian often prescribes medicine to help control the incontinence by improving the strength of the bladder sphincter. Hormone replacement therapy helps some female dogs. It must be given in tiny doses calculated by the veterinarian for your individual dog’s needs. Testosterone is for male dogs, and more commonly estrogen diethylstilbestrol (brand names DES and Premarin) for the girls. The medication is needed for the rest of the dog’s life.

The most effective and commonly prescribed drug to improve bladder sphincter control and treat incontinence is phenylpropanolamine (PPA). PPA was taken off the market when people developed problems from taking it as an ingredient in common diet medications, but dogs don’t have those problems, and they still benefit from PPA. They’ve now made a veterinary version of it that’s chewable.

Holistic veterinarians may recommend glandular dietary supplements or homeopathic remedies. Acupuncture also may benefit these dogs. If back or spinal issues influence the condition by putting pressure on nerves that control urination, motion palpation (a type of massage) may help. You can refer to New Choices in Natural Healing for Dogs & Cats for more details.

HOME CARE OPTIONS FOR BED WETTING IN DOGS

Watch for urine scald—red, irritated, burned-looking skin around the genitals—vulva on female dogs and the prepuce that covers the male’s penis. Keep the area clean with Baby Wipes or other mild cleansers. Protect the skin with Desitin or a triple antibiotic ointment to help prevent infection.

Pick up the water bowl two hours before bedtime, and make sure the dog uses the bathroom before you turn in for the night. Confine the incontinent dog to an easy-to-clean area. Protect carpet and furniture by putting down sheets of plastic and spreading disposable diapers or products like Depend Undergarments to catch the urine. Some pet product stores carry diaper-like products made for dogs.

Does your aging lady dog have issues with urinary incontinence? How have you dealt with the problem? Do tell!


 

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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I do not recommend anything unless I feel it would benefit readers. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Dog Hot Spots & Home Remedies

Dog Hot Spots & Home Remedies

Dog hot spots often happen during both the spring and fall shedding season and are the bane of many dogs’ existence. Some develop hot spots all year long, especially those with very thick, wooly coats. Have your dogs ever suffered from hot spots?

Fortunately, hot spots are not a problem for cats. Kitties, though, do have their own issues with shedding and hairballs. Bathing cats can help with that.

When dog hot spots are a chronic problem, it can be aggravating and frustrating for pet owners. And painful for the dog! While severe problems need veterinary attention, home remedies for dog hot spots often help enormously.

furry chow chow prone to dog hot spots

Thickly furred dogs like the Chow are more prone to hot spots during shedding season.

I’m sharing this entry about dog HOT SPOTS which is an excerpt from Dog Facts, The Series 8 (Chapter H). This chapter covers a lot of ground, and here’s the topic list:

Hair, Hair Loss, Heart Disease, Heartworm Disease, Hematoma, Hemophilia, Herbs, Hernia, Hip Dysplasia, Holistic Medicine, Homeopathy, Hookworms, Hot Spots, House Training, Human-Animal Bond, Hunting Behavior, Hyperparathyroidism, Hyperthermia (Heatstroke), Hyperthyroidism, Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar), Hypoparathyroidism, Hypothermia, and Hypothyroidism.

I’ve broken the massive book into discounted treat-size alpha-chapter sections available ONLY to subscribers of my PETS PEEVES NEWSLETTER. Folks can choose which ones they most need. Each chapter will release every other week. Of course, you can still get the entire DOG FACTS book either in Kindle or 630+ pages of print.

WHAT ARE DOG HOT SPOTS?

Also referred to as acute moist dermatitis, a hot spot is a localized area of self-induced trauma that becomes infected. Dogs suffering from atopy (inhalant allergy) are at the highest risk. But all dogs can develop these sores.

Dog breeds with heavy double coats like Chow Chows and German Shepherds like Magic seem most prone to developing hot spots immediately prior to shedding, when dead hair may be trapped next to the skin. For unknown reasons, Golden Retrievers tend to develop deeply infected hot spots.

These days, Magic is shedding like crazy, leaving drifts of black woolly fur everywhere. If I didn’t constantly comb and pull off the dead clumps, chances are he’d develop dog hot spots, too.

shepherds prone to hot spots

Magic never had a hot spot–but he shed fur like crazy!

DIAGNOSING DOG HOT SPOTS

Hot spots can appear anywhere on the dog’s body, but the rump, tail, back, and flanks are common sites. Usually, the hot spot appears suddenly as an initially small circular area of hair loss, but they can spread rapidly. Sores can grow to several inches in diameter within a few hours. The infection often smells bad and secretes pus, and hot spots typically are moist due to licking and/or the weeping of the wound, and hot because of infection and inflammation.

No one is certain what causes a hot spot to form, but it’s thought to be prompted by some minor irritation, like a flea bite. Itchiness and discomfort prompt licking and nibbling, and when the dog can’t leave the wound alone, a hot spot erupts.

HOW TO TREAT DOG HOT SPOTS WITH HOME REMEDIES

Treatment consists of getting air to the infection so it will heal and dry, and preventing further self-mutilation. A collar restraint prevents him from licking or nibbling the sore.

Hot spots are both itchy and painful, and often require a veterinarian to sedate the dog before treatment can begin. The fur surrounding the area is clipped away, the skin is cleansed with an antibacterial preparation like diluted hydrogen peroxide, Nolvasan, Betadine, Oxydex or pHisoHex. Pet-formulations of benzoyl peroxide-containing cleansers help reduce the itchiness, dry the lesion, and flush out hair follicles, as well as kill certain bacteria.

Once cleansed, a medication like Burrow’s solution, available at most drug stores or pet stores, may be applied and seems to work quite well to dry the sore. Holistic veterinarians recommend using calendula to soothe the sore. Witch hazel can help cool down the heat of hot spots because it evaporates as quickly as alcohol but without the sting. You can use that two or three times a day.

Another natural remedy for hot spots is the tannic acid found in black tea. This astringent helps dry out the sores so they heal more quickly. Soak a tea bag in hot water, let it cool, and apply the bag directly to the sore for five minutes. You can do this three or four times a day.

VETERINARY TREATMENTS FOR DOG HOT SPOTS

The veterinarian may prescribe ointments like Panalog or Neocort, or short-acting corticosteroids like prednisone that reduce the irritation. Occasionally, antibiotics are required to clear up deep infection. The underlying problem, fleas, allergy, or whatever, must also be addressed.

Since dogs aren’t able to adequately groom themselves, owners must take great responsibility for seeing that coat care is provided. Grooming during shedding season is particularly important and can help prevent problems like hot spots from developing.

How about your dogs? Do they suffer from hot spots? How do you manage the sores?


 

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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I do not recommend anything unless I feel it would benefit readers. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pets Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book giveaways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Enter Goodreads Contest: Win Dog Facts & Cat Facts in Time for Mother’s Day

Enter Goodreads Contest: Win Dog Facts & Cat Facts in Time for Mother’s Day

Pets consider us their moms.

For pet-moms, every day is Mother’s Day.

I’m celebrating the release (and great reviews!) of my two latest books with GIVE AWAYS! Hey, you can enter for yourself, for your dog or cat, or tell others about the chance to win a PAW-tographed print copy of these books.

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, wouldn’t one of these books make a great gift for a pet-mom? *s*

Of course, if you don’t want to rely on chance, you can order Cat Facts here or for dog lovers, Dog Facts here for the pet-loving folks in your life, and get it to them in time.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Dog Facts by Amy Shojai

Dog Facts

by Amy Shojai

Giveaway ends May 16, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Cat Facts by Amy Shojai

Cat Facts

by Amy Shojai

Giveaway ends May 16, 2016.
See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 


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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers?Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Amy Shojai Releases Dog Facts Book: The Pet Parents A-to-Z Home Care Encyclopedia

Amy Shojai Releases Dog Facts Book: The Pet Parents A-to-Z Home Care Encyclopedia

DogFacts

It’s National Pet Day and what better time to release my latest book DOG FACTS: The Pet Parent’s A-to-Z Home Care Encyclopedia! If you pre-ordered an Ebook version at my special $2.99 discount it should have already downloaded to your Ereader of choice. Enjoy, and thanks for your “early adoption.”

Today DOG FACTS releases in all Ebook versions (now $9.99) and print at amazon ($24.99) and will soon be available at other stores, too. This is a MASSIVE book, 642 pages and three pounds of everything you ever wanted to know about keeping your dog happy, healthy, and safe.

Advance reviews make my virtual tail wag: “A Must Have for All Dog Owners. Amy Shojai has hit a grand slam…”

Here’s what’s in the book:

  • An alphabetical A-to-Z listing, with more than 200 entries and 200+ cute dog photos and illustrations, covering everything from abscesses and hair loss to whipworms and zoonosis, holistic care, first aid, and breed health issues (and what to do)
  • Charts that list symptoms for a particular condition, the corresponding home care or first aid, the comparative veterinarian and holistic treatments, and preventive advice
  • A symptoms/conditions table that helps you identify what ailments might be bothering your dog
  • Breed-At-A-Glance chart to compare personality, looks, care challenges and other issues when choosing your purebred dog
  • A comprehensive, easy-to-use index that makes quick reference a snap
  • Contact information for dozens of dog organizations and veterinary resources

DogSampleSpread1

This is a compilation of my more than 25 years as a pet care journalist, incorporating the veterinary advice from hundreds of veterinary experts and thousands of hours of interviews. I’ve tried to keep the cost as economical as possible because I truly believe this book could save dog lives–I want as many pet parents to have access to the book as possible. Heck, instead of getting 3 or 4 of my books, just get this one all-inclusive book! I hope it makes a positive difference for your special dogs.
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I hope you’ll share these links (below) with dog loving friends. Instead of a collection of several books, this door-stop-size book covers all the must-knows from birth to seniors, and I hope is the only dog book a pet parent will need.
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 Could you please do me a favor? SHARE this post with your dog loving friends and let me know how you (they) like the book. I’m not too proud to beg (can you see me sitting up? it’s hissing off the cats…)
Thanks in advance for helping me spread the word! Here are the direct links to the book:

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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!


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