It’s the middle of the night and here comes the three o’clock alarm clock. Well I guess it’s three. This never-ending alarm clock sets itself off at any given time of the day but usually after midnight. You can call him Spinnaker, also known as “Spinny” because he spins repeatedly in circles at breakfast for his dental chew treat.
Snoring in pets is a common occurrence especially in Bulldogs, Pugs, Shih Tzus and toy Spaniels. Spinnaker is a cavalier King Charles spaniel with special snoring skills. These dogs with broad skulls and short muzzles often suffer from some degree of airway obstruction known as brachycephalic syndrome, manifested by mouth breathing, snorting and snoring. Elongated soft palate is one cause of obstruction. This flap of mucosa can partially obstruct the airway and is corrected with a surgical procedure to shorten it. Dogs that snore can also experience some degree of respiratory compromise that affects their waking life. Dogs, unlike humans who have the ability to sweat, rely on their tongue and airways as a cooling mechanism during the hot weather. They act as heat exchangers on an engine with the cooler inhaled air chilling the blood flowing through their lungs and over their tongues.
On any given night I can be awakened by our best bed buddies, Chili Pepper and Peppercorn making guest appearances along with our constant foot warmer Spinnaker. It makes it difficult when you wake up, to solve the mystery of which canine the snoring is emanating from. Most times as I lift my head from the pillow to out the villain, I am greeted by silence but as soon as I roll over the alarm commences again.
Mandy cat our petite Himalayan cat that we rescued (she had a fish hook in her stomach) was a professional snorer. Many a night I poked Christi in the ribs to encourage her to please stop snoring only to find our five-pound Mandy cat was the culprit, producing snores that any Bulldog would be proud to call its own. It is for all of the above reasons people are advised not to sleep with their pets especially if suffering with insomnia. Some one forgot to inform our ten best friends that this should be the official bedroom policy.
Several of our felines have signed up online for “Frog Watch” – a program that helps increase our knowledge of frogs and toads in Canada. Our two new kitty condo towers (with incorporated scratching posts) make a superb viewing platform to monitor the frogs and toads as they wander safely to and fro from our upper pond, three feet from the window. “Onion Sauce” and “Mole” have their nostrils plastered to the window in anticipation of an impending lunch. Frequently Mr. Frog can be found abutting the glass with a Kermit smile on his face as if to say “Catch me if you can!”
Frogs and toads can be used as indicator species because they are vulnerable to changes in the atmosphere, the land and the water. The website is Frog Watch Ontario Nature Watch. The most effective way to track frog and toad populations is to listen to their mating calls in the springtime. Each species of frog and toad have a distinct mating call. Our garden has a healthy number of baby toads hopping about, each one smaller than my fingernail. We keep a vigilant eye out so as not to tread on our newest neighbours.
Fleas are on the late summer upswing so remember to apply your monthly parasite medications for your buddies. Happy toad watching! Dr. Terry
Dr. Davidson owns Parkhill Animal Hospital in Peterborough, ON