Look Into Our Eyes…

True or False: Dogs can only see certain colors

True! Dogs have the ability to see different colors, dispelling the old myth that dogs could only see black, white, and gray. In the last few decades, scientists have found that the retina holds the answer to the difference in color perception between canines and humans. The retina is the innermost layer of the eye and contains millions of light sensing cells (photoreceptors). The two main receptors are rods and cones.

Rods function in less intense light, extremely sensitive, and detect motion. They are typically located at the outer edge of the retina. Dogs have a higher number of rods which contributes to their superb night vision.

Cones control color perception. Each of these cones are sensitive to a different wavelength of light. Since humans have more cones they are able to see a wider range of colors.

Dogs are dichromatic meaning they have two classes of color sensitive cone cells, yellow and blue. While humans are trichromatic and have 3 types of cones red, green, blue. Even though dogs don’t perceive colors the way we do, they don’t appear to be negatively impacted.

The belief is that our canine friends’ vision is quite similar to a person with red-green color blindness. The color red will appear dark brownish gray or black to a dog whereas yellows, greens, and orange all look yellowish to a dog. The photo below shows the color perception between humans and dogs.

Studies have been performed where researchers placed pieces of colored paper on top of locked boxes, but only one box with a specific color was unlocked and had a tasty treat awaiting inside. Once dogs learned to associate the specific color with that fabulous prize inside, the group changed the shade of that color and dogs seemed to continue to go to that box. After 10 tests, the eight test dogs went for the color-based choice 70 percent of the time, and six of the dogs went for it 90 to 100 percent of the time, according to the study published in the British journal.

Now knowing that our four-legged furry friends can see shades of yellow and blue it probably makes more sense why dogs love chasing a bright yellow tennis ball. And for you cat lovers, cats are very similar to dogs and see mostly yellow and blue but they do have some sensitivity to red however it is weaker than humans.

For more information, check out these links:

Are Dogs Color Blind?

Do Dogs See Color?

by Amanda Haebig

Amanda - Oakview Vet Plover Stevens Point WI

Amanda was born in Indiana but has lived in Stevens Point most of her life. She joined the Oakview team in March of 2016 and has quickly become part of the family. She enjoys Motorcycle riding and Horseback riding when not working. She shares her life with her significant other, Kevin and their Siberian Huskies Storm, Hale, and Zepplin.

Cat-Like Reflexes

True or False: Cat’s always land on their feet

False! Most of the time a cat will make it look effortless and land gracefully on all four feet. However, injuries are possible and a falling cat could sustain broken bones, internal damages or even death. There are many contributing factors that help a cat land on its feet so first we will start with anatomy.

Our feline friends are born with a flexible backbone that aids in correcting themselves when they fall. A cat has 30 vertebrae which helps with their suppleness whereas a human only has 24 excluding the coccygeal (tailbone). The vertebrae for the backbone includes the cervical, thoracic, and lumber regions which in both feline and humans are articulating and are separated by intervertebral discs. The intervertebral discs are made up of fibrocartilaginous material that has two layers which act like a shock absorber between vertebrae when there is impact from activity. These factors of the spine allows cats to rotate their bodies around further than most other animals.

The first picture shows basic cat anatomy and the second picture shows you the intervertebral discs.

Next, like many domesticated animals, felines have free floating clavicle bones. The rudimentary collarbone does not articulate with the rest of the body. This acts almost like an extra limb segment because it is no longer inhibited by the clavicle allowing more efficiency when running. In the first picture you will see a human collarbone in red and the second image is a cat shoulders. You can see that in the human image the collarbone connects from sternum to shoulder blade and in the feline image the vestigial collar bone floats, anchored in place by muscles. This feature also allows cats the ability to squeeze through tight spaces and rotate their bodies 180 degrees easily.

One major dynamic in the cat’s ability to land safely after a fall is the vestibular system. The vestibular system is located in the inner ear and has an intricate network of nerves and other apparatuses that act as its balance and orientation compass. Basically this tells the cat which way is up so that it can rotate its head and body separately to the perfect landing position.

The flexible backbone, the floating clavicle and the vestibular system make up the Cat’s Righting Reflex which is a natural ability that allows our feline friends to re-align their bodies and land on their feet. This is not a learned behavior but a cool adaption which sets in as early as 3-4 weeks in kittens and is completely learned by 6-7 weeks of age. The picture below shows the techniques needed to execute the stunning acrobatic flips that land these frisky felines so gracefully on the ground.

Another advantage cats have going for them is their low body-volume-to-weight ratio, thick fur, and the ability to spread out their bodies like a parachute to decrease their terminal velocity which softens the impact just like flying squirrels.

But remember, none of these cool cat facts mean a kitty cannot be injured by falling. In fact, a cat is more likely to be injured from a short fall as their body does not have time to make the flip!

by Amanda Haebrig

Amanda - Oakview Vet Plover Stevens Point WI

Amanda was born in Indiana but has lived in Stevens Point most of her life. She joined the Oakview team in March of 2016 and has quickly become part of the family. She enjoys Motorcycle riding and Horseback riding when not working.
She shares her life with her significant other, Kevin and their Siberian Huskies Storm, Hale, and Zepplin.

Jack’s Ray of Light: Canine Laser Therapy

This article will first allow you to get to know a little about Jack’s riveting “tails” and how as a senior dog low level laser therapy (LLLT) helped his quality of life. According to Jack’s Owners: “If we had it to do over again, we would have tried laser therapy first, before any other treatment. The staff were amazing and always worked with Jack like he was a member of the family; his quality of life improved immensely and worth every penny.

Meet Jack

Meet Jack, a 14 year old black Labrador retriever who had been coming to Oakview Veterinary Medical Center (OVMC) for over a decade and many at the clinic have been blessed to have watched him grow into such an amazing dog. He was a gentle soul, always eager to please and with his happy-go-lucky can do attitude had everyone at “Woof”. Jack would light up the room when he pranced in, tail wagging and a beaming smile on his face like he had no cares in the world befriending anyone around. Brimming with enthusiasm, this fearless warrior would hold his head high no matter what procedure was thrown his way never wavering away from his loving and tractable nature.

Jack's laser - Oakview Vet Plover Stevens Point WI

Jack, a bright-eyed black lab would come to OVMC for routine wellness examinations that included updating vaccines such as DAPP (Distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza and Parvo virus), Lyme, Leptospirosis, Bordetella (Kennel Cough) and got his yearly heartworm check with a tick exposure test.

Also, during these visits the doctors would perform a physical examination looking in his ears and eyes, checking the mouth and teeth, feeling the his lymph nodes and performing range of motion techniques on his limbs looking for any discrepancies that could affect Jack’s well-being.

Another wellness examination Jack took part in was Senior Wellness Screen which is recommended for senior and geriatric patients to help detect minor changes that can be interpreted as the onset of disease or worsening of existing conditions. The screening process starts with the physical examination and some diagnostic testing that include urinalysis, complete blood count, thyroid panel and biochemistry blood testing but depending on a pet’s condition there could be more diagnostic testing recommended.

Jack had been to OVMC for not so routine visits as well. One of these visits was when he was about 12 weeks old and somehow this curious black lab puppy got his paw twisted in the wires of his kennel and injured his left paw. After taking x-rays the doctors noted that he had a transverse distal fracture to the 2nd and 3rd digits (broken toes!). Treatment at that time was to clip and clean the affected area, apply a splint, and a mild pain medication. The owners had the toughest job though, keeping a puppy’s activity restricted for weeks to allow the fractured bones to mend and not letting that splint get wet. After a couple splint changes and exercise restriction, Jack was ready to leave that altercation in the past. Other non-routine visits that he was seen for included skin and ear infections, rodenticide poisoning, and gastrointestinal issues like vomiting and diarrhea. The doctors and staff also got to enjoy Jack’s invigorating aura when he came to stay for boarding and laser therapy visits.

Jack becomes a senior

As Jack aged so did his body, and by late 2012 at the age of 9 his owners noticed that he was starting to exhibit some mobility issue such as difficulty jumping on and off furniture, trouble getting up from laying position, limping and lameness, and difficulty going up and down stairs.

Jack's Laser - Oakview Vet Plover Stevens Point WI

Promptly the owners started Jack on glucosamine which is a natural compound found in healthy fluid and cartilage around the joints. It is classified as a nutritional supplement and is gathered from shells and shellfish or synthesized in a laboratory. The idea behind the use of glucosamine is that it hampers inflammation and regenerates cartilage cell growth and can be used in conjunction with a chondroitin to strength the cartilage.

Jack was diagnosed with osteoarthritis and suspected hip dysplasia in 2013 and was started on Rimadyl which is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and a pain medication called Tramadol (opioid analgesic) along with the glucosamine supplement. This treatment allowed provisional relief for the next few years letting Jack do the things he loved such as going for walks, playing around the yard, scavenging for food, and all the little things that get harder to do with age.

In 2015, Jacks owners noticed his symptoms were becoming more frequent and intensifying. At one of his visits the doctor recommended adding gabapentin to his regiment of pharmaceutical medications. Gabapentin is used both in human medicine and small animal practices. It is an anticonvulsant originally made to treat seizures associated with epilepsy, but now it is widely used to relieve neuropathic pain. The doctors also recommended changing Jack from oral glucosamine to an injectable medicine called Adequan. This medicine is a polysulfated glycosaminoglycan and can inhibit bad enzymes that breaks down cartilage in dogs joints. They also suggested trying something relatively new to many clinics called low level laser therapy.

From 2015 to 2018, Jacks owners managed his mobility conditions to the best of their abilities and looked forward to everyday they got to spend with their beloved pet. Taking on new challenges along the way, Jack’s human parents were faced with some new symptoms suspicious of cognitive disease (senility) that included pacing, changes in appetite and sleep patterns, disorientation, and weight loss. To top it off, Jack was having episodes of fecal and urinary incontinence and intermittent diarrhea. A few more medications were added to Jacks arsenal to help with the new conditions that arose.

It is hard to watch a longtime friend and companion get older and go through these difficult times, but one is willing to do what they can to make their pet the most comfortable while fretting the decisions that lie ahead. Taking into consideration Jack’s quality of life, his owners decided to discontinue some medications and use others on an as needed basis while weighing their options for what best suited Jack’s needs. His devoted owners decided to try laser therapy, a non-invasive procedure that increases circulation by reducing inflammation and the associated pain.

Jack starts laser therapy

Jacks owners stated “By the time we tried laser therapy, Jack was on nearly every pharmaceutical treatment available and I was a bit skeptical that laser therapy (or anything new) would help, but we decided to give it a try.”

Jacks first laser appointment was on January 20th 2018 and the targeted treatment areas that were focused on were his hips and knees. The therapeutic dose was calculated for those areas based off his hair color and length, weight, and type of condition being treated. Since Jack had dark hair, he was lightly spritzed with tap water to keep his hair damp to avoid fringing. The treatment time for one session was approximately 20 minutes and Jack’s owners never left his side. The hand piece used was the roll ball design that offered a gentle and soothing message to the area being treated with the laser light. Jack stayed in good spirits soaking up all the attention and treats he could receive.

“Within 24 hours of his first treatment Jack was moving like a much younger dog, eventually running around the back yard, stealing food, and generally causing trouble like he used to.”

Jack's laser - Oakview Vet Plover Stevens Point WI

Since Jack’s owners saw a significant change in Jack’s mobility and a beaming light back in his eyes, they decided to buy a cold laser therapy package of six sessions. Over the next month Jack came in a few times a week for laser therapy treatments, allowing temporary relief of pain and inflammation and giving him more time to spend with friends and family. Jack’s owners continued treatments over the next few months and got down to weekly and biweekly visits. This was possible because Jack’s owners were vigilant and  able to notice trends in his mobility and behaviors that indicated it was time for another treatment.

Most have heard the old saying “Hard to keep an old dog down,” and that fit Jack perfectly. During his laser appointments Jack usually liked to stand or walk around the room but at times he would take advantage of the soft blanket or rug all the while eating treats. Surprising, a lab that likes to eat! Anyone having owned or worked with Labradors know they typically have insatiable appetites. His desire to keep moving could have been due to any one of his medical conditions, such as hip dysplasia, arthritis or even the cognitive dysfunction. Or it could have been just his zany Labrador nature! Cold Laser Therapy gave Jack the ability to sit, lay, and move around with more ease allowing his essential nature to shine bright one day at a time from just a simple ray of light.

As Jack’s dad said, “If you are skeptical about laser therapy and your dog is suffering, take my advice: try laser therapy…you just might be as amazed as we are.”

In Loving Memory of Jack
October 30, 2003 to April 30, 2018

Jacks blog

written by Amanda Haebig

Amanda - Oakview Vet Plover Stevens Point WIAmanda was born in Indiana but has lived in Stevens Point most of her life. She joined the Oakview team in March of 2016 and has quickly become part of the family.
She enjoys Motorcycle riding and Horseback riding when not working.
She shares her life with her significant other, Kevin and their Siberian Huskies Storm and Hale.

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