Woof Wednesday: West Nile & Puppy Parasite Prevention

I live just north of Dallas, Texas where the greatest number of West Nile cases are being reported. It’s scary–people have died. Horses at least have a preventative vaccine to help protect them. But what about dogs and cats?

Apparently while pets CAN contract the disease from mosquitoes and a few have been reported, symptoms typically are mild. But there’s no vaccination for pets, or for people. Some flea medications purport to help prevent or repel mosquitoes but it’s best to prevent buggy bites altogether. Petfinder.com has posted an excellent report on West Nile and pets here.

In fact, our dogs act like magnets for parasites. It’s not just fleas or those creepy-crawly ticks, either. If you have puppies (or kittens) there’s a good chance you’ll need to address roundworms, those spaghetti-like creatures passed in the potty deposite (urk!) because those can be a health risk to kids (double urk!). But the intestinal worms are just the tip of the buggy iceberg. Everything from ringworm (fungus) and mange mites that attack the skin, to protozoan parasites so tiny they’re hard to detect or even heartworms–also transmitted by mosquitoes–can affect dogs. Check out this Pet Peeves radio show with Dr. Wallace Graham for the latest on heartworms. I’ve compiled a roundup of more than a dozen articles covering everything you need to know about these most common puppy parasites here.   

What about your dogs? How do you protect them from buggy hitchhikers? Magical-Dawg gets a monthly preventive called Revolution that helps prevent the lion’s share of these parasites. My cat Seren-dipity came to us with a case of ringworm–minor, thank goodness, and it resolved quickly.

As for West Nile virus, are you protecting your horses? What about your human family members? I’m one of those folks mosquitoes loves–Mom always said I must have “sweet blood.” So I stay inside during prime mosquito feeding at dawn and twilight. How do you “bite back” at the mosquito menace? Please share!

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, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay tuned for more news about my forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND!

Monday Mentions: Stroke-icity, Convict Cats & Dining Dogs

”Yep,

This week will be so busy that you may not see much of me–virtually or otherwise. I’ve received back my awesome editor’s revision notes on my thriller LOST AND FOUND and so have cleared my desk to concentrate on that. Never fear, I’ll have blogs for you this week prepared in advance.

Meanwhile for brain food, in the evenings I start rehearsals for the part of Golde in Fiddler On The Roof. For stress relief there’s playtime with the Magical-Dawg and Seren-Kitty…and spending time in the roses.

Did I mention that about 500 antique roses surround our house? It used to be 700+ but the drought, armadillos and grasshopper attrition left a dent. You cannot believe the aroma! Before the weather gets too hot, I plan to spend time with the laptop out on the patio. BRAINSTORM! That’s the perfect place to work on the fiction revisions. I feel better already. 🙂

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the TASTY neato-torpedo links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. Some of this “schtuff” can be hard to categorize and may fit more than one topic so I urge you to at least scan them all.

WRITING SCHTUFF

Stroke From The Inside Out Dr Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain researcher, experienced a stroke and describes the process. Amazing! For writers, this is a must-see video and will give incredible insight into characterization. Thanks to D.P. Lyle for the link.

How To Write A F…antastic Blog  use the “F”

Line In The Sand, must-read blog by Lisa Hall-Wilson for all fiction writers. Excellent post!

Competing With Amazon? Kill DMR! an interesting discussion by Charlie Stross (thanks to the awesome WriterBeware blog for the link)

Stephen King’s FB Promo

PET SCHTUFF

How Not To Get A Cat, a fun blog any cat lover (or writer) will enjoy!

Dog TV? you betcha, Fido! Thanks to Piper Bayard for the paws-up mention

The Farley Foundation helps owners who can’t afford pet health care

Cats In the Klink  a cats-in-prison program that helps inmates and cats, awesome! Thanks to my friend and awesome cat writer Toni Eames for point out this story.

Stacey Ritz new blog, worth checking out, all about pets and writing

Sergeant’s Introduces New Pheromone Behavior Products to help relieve cat and dog anxiety

Bobcat Fever Affects Pet Cats, Too but cytauxzoonosis not as deadly as once thought

Weird Cat Disease turns cats into robots? Scary-bad stuff! What if it jumped species into people…plot for a thriller.

New Studies In IMHA (immune-mediated hemolytic anemia)

Seeing Eye to Eye: Visionary Care for Service Dogs The 5th Annual ACVO/Merial National Service Dog Eye Exam Event offers free exams in May 2012. Learn more from Dr. Bill Miller, a veterinary ophthalmologist with the program, in this eye-opening Pet Peeves show.

And no, it’s not a fake, and not digitally manipulated. Here’s the outtakes:

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, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with excerpts from the forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND, and pet book give-aways!

Lights! Camera! Action! Promote or Die (sorta-kinda-in-a-way)

Today’s Tuesday Tips blog launches the next series and I’m talking about (GASP!) media training for authors. Heck, ANY writer (any NONPROFIT!)  benefits from learning the basics because let’s face it, your publisher ain’t gonna do this for you.

Okay, I’ll take that back. If you’re the sparkle-tacular Sandra Brown (she’s a Texan, ya know! just “met” her on Twitter, FAN GIRL MOMENT!) or the furry-fantastic James Rollins you’ll get folks rolling out the red carpet-diem for quotes and promo ops. The rest of us schlubs need quite a bit of hand-waving creativity to get a notice about current projects, books and causes.

I gave this talk last year at the Oklahoma Writers Federation annual conference, and thought I’d share the high points with readers. Just so’s ya know, I’ve used all of these tips and appeared on hundreds of TV and radio shows, been quoted as an expert in (mumble-mumble) LOTS of print and online media, and made numerous public appearances. So I know a wee bit about the process, what works and what might be better relegated to the “who cares, don’t waste your time” circular file.

UPDATE: This series has been removed–but you can get it in full at a future Amy Appearance.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. 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, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Tuesday Tips: Ask Amy Thinks Outside The Box

 

Now that I’ve got your attention, no–that is NOT a real book. The totally twisted folks over at Smoshed.com posted a whole slew of tongue-in-cheek (I hope!) “Rejected Children’s Books” . Here’s another one that seems to fit today’s theme–think outside the box & get off the @#$%^! pot!

As writers we need to know our audience, and give ’em what they want. Since all my kids have four feet and fur, I’ll leave it to others to wax poetic on what’s appropriate for human children. But for the rest of us, one truism remains in today’s world of publishing. Even though it’s changing faster than Magical-dawg sheds fur, publishers still want the same-ol’ same-ol’ but with a twist.

They want a book that’s exactly the same (so it’ll sell), only different. Arggg! Listen, if you’re writing to a popular “trend” the train has already left you behind. Legacy publishing–the traditional Noo Yawk way of doing things–takes so long that by the time your agent search, editor offer, and publish date rolls around, your piping hot trend is old news fit only for the bottom of the cat box. And we all know that discerning kittehs snub stale boxes and look for pristine accommodations.

”Creative

So the tip of the day is — WRITE WHAT MOVES YOU. Put on your big-kid panties, get off the pot and write what YOU want to read, find your passion, and never mind if others raise eyebrows. It takes a brave soul to be a trend-setter. Somebody had to be the first to turn dry courtroom jargon into a thriller, transform doctor-speak into bone-chilling narratives, fairy-tale broom-riding kids into an international phenom, and cold-blooded suckers into sparkly hearthrobs. Study why that trend works. Then set it on its ear, and find a way to make your twist a success. And remember to listen to your audience!

I’m trying, believe me. Fur keeps getting in my ears.

How do you think outside the box? What passion rules your writing–or other creative outlet? Are you knitting fantastical creations for your grandkids–or the Siamese down the street? Have you figured out a new way to clicker train your goldfish, or teach middle school students? (Now THAT’S scary!)

My audience, for instance, gets pissy about cat box issues. (How’s that for an awkward segue? Stinks, don’t it…) Litter-ary problems are the top cat behavior complaint and there’s lots of reasons why Sheba chooses to …ahem…  “color” outside the lines. I suspect there are parents out there with their own potty-training horror stories. Lucky for me, Seren-kitty has been faithful to her box. This latest Ask Amy “covers” a common potty problem. What are some other tips that have worked for you? Please share!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Thoughty Thursday: Are We There Yet?

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Funny how things that used to be a VERY-BIG-DEAL suddenly become a so-what issue. Stay with me here, but it seems that the whole Conventional vs Natural  vet medicine argument looks a whole lot like Traditional vs Indy pub discussions. Gets ya wantin’ to show your big-dawg teeth, don’t it?

I remember–(OMG, I’m channeling my grandma!)–when “holistic medicine” was woo-woo WAY-OUT-THERE on the fringes stuff that old-wives told tales about but was discounted by all the savvy scientific in-the-know types. I was a skeptic while researching holistic aka wholistic aka natural aka complementary aka new age, aka “WOO WOO” medicine for pets. Hell, they couldn’t even decide what to call it, so how could anyone take it seriously?

But slowly, steadily as I talked to these “fringe vets” about why they did what they did, the lightbulb went off. These weren’t crackpots…okay, some were pretty out there…but for the most part they’d practiced conventional Western vet care for many years. And simply got fed up when failed protocols frustrated pet owners leading to early pet death. Instead of quitting, or doing the same-old that didn’t work, these pioneers went a-lookin’ for answers, from the past, into the future, sideways and downstream every which way. While I don’t buy into every single “natural” trend, I know they have their place and offer great benefits to pets and owners.

Golly-gee-willikers, but for us writers that sounds awfully familiar. I was die-hard Tradional Publishing for 20 years, raising skeptic’s questions and pitying those souls who “resorted” to self publishing aka vanity printing. But slowly, steadily as I talked to these “fringe writers” about why they did what they did, turns out most aren’t crackpots. (Note: I said “most!”). They’d tried the conventional route, many were widely pub’d like Bob Mayer, and JA Konrath and Barry Eisler and too many others to list–and they’d simply got fed up when failed protocols frustrated copyright owners–the authors–leading to early book death. So instead of continuing on a flawed path, these pioneers snatched the reins.

Me, too–although I’m not in their league. Yet. Working on it.

And just like in the “old days” when natural vet medicine was fringe and marginalized, the Indies are being treated like yapping Chihuahuas nipping at the heels of conventional publishing. Am I wrong here? Hellooooo, when did exploration and finding creative ways to help pets–or authors–become forbidden?

Toy dogs don’t get the same respect as the big dawgs. But we’re sparkly bitches, no matter the size, with big-dawg (and cat) attitude that deserves to earn and learn on the same !#$%^&*()_+! playing field.

Vet medicine seems to’ve traveled further along that path. Even ten years ago, using herbs, home prepared foods, acupuncture and nutriceuticals was suspect. Today, old fashioned “natural healing” is the new cutting edge and veterinary medicine has gone back to the past to treat and cure pets. Pet food companies slap NATURAL on the labels, pharmaceutical research explores herbs for cancer therapy, and nutriceuticals that change gene expression wow us with healing power.

”Dr.

Dr. Shawn Messonnier was the “natural vet” when it wasn’t kewl. He explains the concept and why he decided to expand his practice to include holistic treatments in my latest Pet Peeves radio show. Today we call it “integrative medicine” or “complementary care” because it works best alongside conventional “Western” therapies and offer pets the best of all possible worlds. The latest Pet Peeves radio show features Natural Medicine & Veterinary Care with Dr. Shawn including his most recent book Unexpected Miracles: Hope and Holistic Healing for Pets.

And who’d a thunk it? Just discovered my out-of-print book New Choices in Natural Healing for Dogs & Cats –the book that changed my mind about vet care–has been fairy-godmother’d Kindle-ized by the publisher. Gonna have to check my contract and see what royalties I’ve got coming.

I’ve no doubt that the “new age” publishing will also become integrative and complementary. We’re coming closer but not there yet. How do I know this? Because the little dogs and big dogs are still “baptizing” and marking territory–and because the hardcover book is priced $2 cheaper than the Kindle version. Uh…hello?

What do y’all think? “Daddy, are we there yet? . . .” in either vet medicine or publishing?

 

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways! Hint: Pet Care in the New Century includes “cutting edge” medicine from both sides of the holistic/western med exam table.